Book Review: Go Big Or Go Home

scottySeason 10 is my favorite season of American Idol, so I was pretty excited when I saw that Scotty McCreery had written a book and that the publisher granted my wish to read and review it on NetGalley!

It was really cool to read about all the effort that went into Scotty eventually deciding to try out for Idol – how his Mom had forged his signature to sign him up for a local Idol competition (you’d think it would have been the other way around with the kid forging the parents signature!) and how he always used to sing Elvis on the bus to the kids on the way to school.  How his parents took him to Milwaukee to audition – and they didn’t even tell his sister that they went!

He recalls the reasoning behind choosing the songs that he did and talks a lot about how he still wanted to play baseball for his high school and even went back to finish his senior year after he won Idol. That was something I really admired about Scotty – not only did he go back to finish school (he said that he would never again have a graduation from high school with all his friends, but tours and everything else he could) he also went to college and scheduled his tours around that! He just seems like such a sweet, down to earth home town boy.

Scotty is also the national goodwill ambassador for the 12.14 foundation – which hit close to home for me since I am from CT and have a few connections to some of the people who lost their life that day in Newtown. I think he is a perfect fit even if he is not from CT.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

It was just a simple singing competition that would be fun to audition for. Who knew what kind of doors it might open for a sixteen-year-old from Garner, North Carolina.

Go Big or Go Home is the story of a kid with country songs in his soul. The special thing with Scotty McCreery, however, is that he has this God-given ability to sing those tunes the exact way they should be sung. Daring to enter the limelight at such a young age, Scotty finds himself embraced by the nation, and even overseas, as he competes on “American Idol”. This is his journey from his North Carolina roots to winning America’s most popular singing competition and launching a musical career he had always dreamt about.

Go Big or Go Home narrates Scotty’s journey from a kid imitating Elvis on the school bus to 30 million across America tuning in to see him win Season 10 of “American Idol”. Now as he completes his ground-breaking fourth album, Scotty shares a glimpse of where he came from and the impact his faith, family and friends have had on a humbled guy who keeps asking “why me?”

Throwback Thursday: SK6ers 12/28/07

Headliner: Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers
Opener(s): n/a
Venue: Fairfield Theater
Cost: $28

Setlist:

Start The Day Early
You Ain’t Goin Nowhere
Sweet Sophia
Baby Its Cold Outside
Fourt of July
Days
Now I’m Not So Lost
Bad Advice
Uninspired Gambling
Rag Mama Rag
Such a Way
Milwaukee
Satisfied Man
Nothing for Christmas
See You Later See You Soon
Amazing Grace

Recap:

This is one of the only shows I sat on the side of the stage at the Fairfield Theater for.  It was a holiday themed show, kind of, and SK6ers had some friends sitting in with them for the set.

 

Javier Colon at Ridgefield Playhouse April 28

Thursday night Javier Colon brought his Gravity Tour to the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT.  At first I wasn’t going to attend, but after Ernie Halter was announced as the opener I started to more strongly consider the show and then I ended up winning  tickets from the radio.  So even though I thought I’d be taking a month off after doing 7 consecutive weeks of concerts, plans changed.

Just a note – a lot of the dates on this tour are being promoted as you being able to win a guitar if you buy tickets.  I wasn’t sure how this was going to work, but figured I’d be out of the running since I had won the tickets.  It seems that there will be 1 winner chosen at the end of the tour from everyone who bought tickets, it’s not being done on a show by show basis.

Ernie opened the show and was really funny and played about an hour even though his set was only 7 songs – I love how he tells stories about the songs and his life and other funny things during his set and I’d much rather less songs to hear more stories. His set was: I Look Good On You, Come Home To Me, No Diggity, Water Falls, Black Coffee In Bed, Whisper (by request), Pretty Girl (by request).  I liked his story before one of the covers he was going to… he mentioned it had a rap and I had a feeling it was going to be Water Falls and he had overheard someone at a show saying that they “knew it was a James Taylor song but weren’t sure which one” haha. I love his acoustic throwback album so it was nice he did a few from it.

Ernie also ended up playing guitar during Javier’s set along with Matt Cusson on keys.  Javier mentioned when he came out that he lost his voice a week or so ago and it was still coming back but he didn’t want to cancel the show.  Considering how bad his speaking voice sounded I was a bit concerned for the rest of the show, but if it’s even possible it seemed like he was sounding better and better as the show went on.  They also adjusted the key of a few of the songs since he wasn’t really able to hit the higher notes he usually can but if he wasn’t discussing it on stage with Matt to go “down 2” I’d never have even realized they did that.  Like Ernie, Javier’s set had a lot of stories as well.  One story was about how his wife tells him he talks to much and people go to his shows to hear him sing!   He mentioned that he is heavily influenced by James Taylor or “JT” not to be confused with Justin Timberlake and how he wouldn’t be singing a Justin song – but then ended up doing Cry Me a River (or a good majority of it) and told about how he met him when he was golfing with Adam Levine a few weeks ago but couldn’t ask for a picture because that’s just not what you do so he had no proof but to trust him that it DID happen.  He then did James Taylor’s Never Die Young.

The other highlight of Javier’s set was when he was playing with a new “toy” he had.  It was a pedal that could distort not only the guitar to sound more metal (or other sounds too) but it could distort his voice to make it sound like he was singing harmony with himself.  He did a bit of Metallica’s Nothing Else Mattered and mentioned that the harmony part made it sound like a lot of country songs so he did a medley that included Taylor Swift’s Mean, Florida Georgia Line’s Cruise and Wagon Wheel. (I’m not sure who did that one originally but I know Darius Rucker has made it pretty popular recently)  When he just talked through it when it was on that setting he sounded like the devil and he mentioned how he had scared his son when he asked him to “come here” when using it.

I wasn’t too sure on the photo policy – they said “no flash photography” and wanted us to put our phones away and security was going around shining lights in people’s faces so I only “snuck” a few photos.

 

Javier Colon Setlist The Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield, CT, USA 2016

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Product Review: Art 2 Frame 16 x 20 Canvas Print

I am always looking for new and fun ways to display some of my photography. One of my favorite ways is to get my photos printed and wrapped on to canvas.  Recently I had the chance to try out “Art To Frames” which makes their canvases available on Amazon.com.  I got a 16×20 and after struggling to choose which photo I wanted to use for my canvas, the process couldn’t have been easier.  Simply find them on Amazon, choose which size you want (they are available in 16×20, 24×16, 24×18, 24×20, 30×20 and 36×24 and prices start at $24.95) and then press the “Customize Now” button.  There you can easily upload a picture from your computer and add it to your cart.  ArtToFrames recommends that you use an image greater than 1MB and for best results a 2500 x 3500 px or higher resolution photo shot in portrait mode.  They are currently able to support a maximum file size of 7MB in jpeg or png formats.

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Once you’re done, just sit back and wait for your canvas to come in the mail! Mine came in just a couple days and looks amazing! I can’t wait to find the perfect spot to hang it!

I received this product at a discount in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

Music Monday: Haley Reinhart Better

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My Cake
Behave
Better
Can’t Help Falling in Love
Check Please
Bad Light
Talkin’ About
Good or Bad
Love Is Worth Fighting For
I Belong To You
Listen

 

It’s no secret that Season 10 of American Idol was my favorite. A big part of the reason why is Haley Reinhart – who came in 3rd place. She has one of the most amazing voices and growls I’ve ever heard so I was thrilled to find out that she had released another album recently.  The album and first single are both called “Better” and the album in full is nothing short of amazing.  The singing just seems to come so naturally to her and I love it! My favorite tracks are Check Please, Good or Bad and Love Is Worth Fighting For but the full album is definitely worth a listen or 2 or 10 or 100.

Scrapbook Saturday: September Pt 3

Trip to NYC to see the Meredith Vieira Show.

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Book Review: Once Upon a Dream

OnceUponOnce Upon a Dream was a book I thought I would enjoy, a new take on Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.  Unfortunately it was very tough for me to get through and I ended up not finishing it after struggling to get about halfway through.  I had previously read the Aladdin version from this book series and that one was also tough to get through, though I did manage to finish.  I was very excited for this book series but now I’m not sure I will consider reading any others since they are not what I was expecting and hoping them to be.

I received a free ecopy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

What if the sleeping beauty never woke up? Once Upon a Dream marks the second book in a new YA line that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways.
It should be simple–a dragon defeated, a slumbering princess in a castle, a prince poised to wake her. But when the prince falls asleep as his lips touch the fair maiden’s, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.
With a desperate fairy’s last curse controlling her mind, Princess Aurora must escape from a different castle of thorns and navigate a dangerously magical landscape–created from her very own dreams. Aurora isn’t alone–a charming prince is eager to join her quest, and old friends offer their help. But as Maleficent’s agents follow her every move, Aurora struggles to discover who her true allies are and, moreover, who she truly is. Time is running out. Will the sleeping beauty be able to wake herself up?

Throwback Thursday: Backstreet Boys 12/13/07

 

Headliner: Backstreet Boys

Recap:

I have this show marked as “canceled” on my listing of shows, but it really wasn’t canceled.  There was a snow storm and by the time my friend and I would have had to leave to get to the show in time, most of the highways in CT were closed down.  But since BSB was able to make it to the venue, the show went on… without us.  And all of us poor suckers who had to work and didn’t take the day off to get to the show in time, couldn’t even get a refund, despite there being no possible way to get there from where we lived due to there being no roads that it was actually legal to be driving on!

Love With Food Box March

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There’s nothing more real than love – for family, friends, or even just for life itself. And what better way to show love in a very real way than with delicious all-natural snacks! This month, show someone you love how special they are and share these goodies. Then again, there’s nothing wrong with showing yourself a little love and keeping them!

Fruit Snacks by Horizon Organic
Yummy Horizon fruit snacks are a hit with everyone. Certified organic and free artificial colors and preservatives, these make a great snack anytime.

Fruit snacks always seem to be my go-to for the first try in these boxes and these did not disappoint.

Rosemary and Sea Salt Port Clouds by Bacon’s Heir
Whoever says pork skins can’t be fancy has never been lucky enough to taste these addictive snacks. So share the wealth… or you know, just keep them.

Couldn’t get past eating one of these. 🙁

Lemon Wafer Bites by Dolcetto
Be prepared – these cookies are just the right balance of crispy layers and lemon-y goodness to make you wonder where they’ve been all your life

I think these were in a box once before and I enjoyed them then and now!

Original Naan Crisps by Stonefire Flatbreads
Authentically made, fire-baked, and addictively crunchy, these crisps are just begging for your favorite dip.

I think these were in a box before too.  I ate them without dip, but just as good!

Almond Roca Buttercrunch Toffee with Almonds by Brown & Haley
Watch out: This is not a candy for the faint of heart. This is pure almond-y, rich. chocolate. indulgence. You were warned.

These were really good! Two thumbs up

Strawberry Fig Bar by Nature’s Bakery
The search for a tasty snack with no trans fat or artificial stuff is over with this fruity bar that’s just seconds away from blowing your mind.

Shared this one with Mom. She approved.

Pitted Greek Olive Mix by Olympos
Everyone could use a little exotic Mediterranean flavor to spice up your day every once in a while, right? These olives are the answer.

Another one Mom tried. Thought they were too salty.

Peppermint Salt Water Taffy by Salty Road
There aren’t many ways to improve upon this magic combination of sweet and salty, but adding a refreshing hint of peppermint is one of them.

Brother tried this – and like it.

Product Review: 100 Gel Pens

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Recently I had the chance to review a 100 pack of Gel Pens from Artists’ Choice.  They come in a great case so you can keep them all together and it doesn’t take up a ton of room and also there is not any duplicates.  I had previously gotten a set of 60 to review and while there was quite a selection, there were also a lot of duplicates.  This one doesn’t have that – which I found to be both awesome (so many colors to choose from!) and not so great either since I was coloring in a large segment of a scrapbook page (I went on a kick of making my scrapbook pages be coloring book pages too) and needed to use 3 different pens once the first one ran out halfway through.  Fortunately I expected to run out of ink and was doing every other letter so it would look like it was done on purpose – and it only ran out one letter too soon.  See if you can spot it in the future when the page makes it into a scrapbook saturday post (It isn’t done yet so I’m not sure when it will be… but someday!)

All the colors I tried were very vibrant and some even had sparkles in them which is always a plus!  They worked well and I didn’t have to fight them to get the ink to come out and i am looking forward to coloring some more scrapbook pages, writing out setlists and even doing some coloring book pages with them in the future! Definitely check these out if you are looking for some colorful gel pens.

I received a free product in exchange for this review, I was not otherwise compensated.