Author Archive

Book Review: My Doll, My Style

My Doll, My Style has a lot of sewing patterns for 18 inch dolls.  If this was out when I was about 10 years old, I probably would have tried my hand at sewing and making some of these designs for my doll! I was obsessed with picking out outfits for my American Girl 18″ doll – that is until I decided she was possessed and moved at night when I was asleep and locked her in a locker never to be seen again.

The book has some really cute summer/beach attire and accessories and a bunch of other designs too. A lot of great ideas for you or your daughter to sew!

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

About the Book

Style trends trickle down to girls’ clothes, infusing their day-to-day wardrobes with edgy, fashion-forward pieces combined with age-appropriate styling. It’s that line of thinking that inspires this new doll clothes collection, resulting in a must-have project book with up-to-date silhouettes and fabrics that kids gravitate towards (and infused with thumbs-up sensibility from mom.)
12+ designs with accessories ranging from fancy to out-and-about cool following today’s fashion-savvy girl through a busy week!Great for all skill levels with information on sewing basics and tips on using contemporary fabrics including metallic transfers, sewing with knits, and more.My Doll, My Style is authored Anna Allen is the owner and designer of Doll It Up, a popular website dedicated to 18-doll clothes patterns and accessories. Doll It Up has established its brand, focusing on well-fitting doll clothes, simple designs for beginner/intermediate sewing, styles inspired by current fashion, and beautiful photography.

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Book Review: Rad Girls Can

I like to think that I have my finger on the pulse when it comes to Rad Girls, but whenever I read these books I am always surprised to find out there are only a handful that I have heard of before reading the book and with this edition of Rad Girls Can, I found the same thing to be true.  Why are there so many Rad Girls out there that I otherwise have not heard about? Where is all the media and social media coverage for them?  At least I keep reading these books to educate myself and I hope that if you have a daughter you give her these books to read as well so she can find out about the Rad Girls out there and hopefully follow in their footsteps!

This book contains 50 girls – all of who have done amazing things before they even turned 20 years old. It also includes some who are transgender. The book notes that it believes in celebrating the greatness of all young people, but this book only focuses on females. This book is full of great and inspiring stories of all these girls that have done amazing things. It kind of makes me feel like quite a slacker! But I always enjoy reading about girls who kick ass, and these in this book certainly do.

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

About the Book

From the New York Times best-selling authors of Rad Women Worldwide and Rad American Women A-Z, a bold and brave collection of stories and art about inspiring and accomplished girls who have made positive impacts on the world before the age of 20.

You might know the stories of Malala Yousafzai, Anne Frank, Jazz Jennings, and Joan of Arc. But have you heard about Yusra Mardini, a Syrian refugee who swam a sinking boat to shore, saved twenty lives, then went on to compete as an Olympic swimmer? Or Trisha Prabhu, who invented an anti-cyberbullying app at age 13? Or Barbara Rose Johns, whose high school protest helped spark the civil rights movement?

In Rad Girls Can, you’ll learn about a diverse group of young women who are living rad lives, whether excelling in male-dominated sports like boxing, rock climbing, or skateboarding; speaking out against injustice and discrimination; expressing themselves through dance, writing, and music; or advocating for girls around the world. Each profile is paired with the dynamic paper-cut art that made the authors’ first two books New York Times best sellers. Featuring both contemporary and historical figures, Rad Girls Can offers hope, inspiration, and motivation to readers of all ages and genders.

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Book Review: Rock and Roll Explorer Guide To New York City

The Rock and Roll Explorer Guide to New York City is a really cool book.  It breaks down different neighborhoods in NYC and how they relate to stories in Rock And Roll History.  There is the address to the location, details about it and photos in some cases.  It is also noted if the location no longer exists, and instead just shares the stories locations.  Certain more iconic bands have their own sections in the book – for instance The Beatles have their own chapter and John and Yoko have a chapter as well.  It was fun to go through and see which locations I have been to (not many) and which I have heard of (some, but nowhere near all).

Definitely an interesting and fun read and a great guide for the next trip to New York City when we aren’t sure what to do or check out!

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

About the Book

From the churches and street corners of Harlem and The Bronx to the underground clubs of the East Village, New York City has been a musical mecca for generations, and Rock & Roll Explorer Guide to New York City is the definitive story of its development throughout the five boroughs.

Plug in and walk the same streets a young Bob Dylan walked. See where Patti Smith, the Ramones, Beastie Boys, and Jeff Buckley played. Visit on foot the places Lou Reed mentions in his songs or where Paul Simon grew up; where the Strokes drowned their sorrows, Grizzly Bear cut their teeth and Jimi Hendrix found his vision. Rock and Roll Explorer Guide gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at how bands came together, scenes developed, and classic songs were written. Artists come and go, neighborhoods change, venues open and close, but the music lives on.

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Book Review: Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is a book full of photos and details on America’s Legendary Mach 3 Spy Plane.  It is really cool to see all the photos of this plane and all about the history of it.

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

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Book Review: 200 Embroidered Flowers

200 Embroidered Flowers has instructions on how to make some really cool looking embroidered flower designs.  This isn’t something I have tried to do before, but the way the book explains all the knots and stitchings in the beginning of the book makes it seem like this is something I might be able to try out! Of course, I had to check to see if there was a pansy design included and was happy to see that there was – and a hop plant as well! Maybe I’ll soon be on my way to a Hanson themed embroidered flower display…

In addition to Hops and Pansy’s just about any other flower or plant you could imagine was included – aloe, african voilets, cactus, etc! and they even have some done on tote bags instead of embroidery hooks. Lots of great and wonderful designs if you are looking for flowers of all shapes, sizes and colors.

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

About the Book

Learn how to stitch all your favourite flowers, leaves and foliage, with this is collection of tutorials for 200 embroidered flowers and foliage. Discover how to stitch beautiful blooms including roses, daisies, daffodils, pansies and buttercups as well as more exotic blooms.

Modern hand embroidery expert, Kristen Gula, shows you how to create all the floral motifs from a stitch library of less than 10 embroidery stitches.

As well as the step tutorials for the flowers and leaves, there are 10 projects for home decor items and accessories that showcase the embroidery so you can show off your makes and create beautiful gifts for family and friends. Choose from a collar motif, pillow cover, table decoration, shoe embellishments and many more!

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Book Review: Lies We Tell Our Kids

Lies We Tell Our Kids is a book of lies that parents have told their kids – and some cute and creepy illustrations of them.  Like George Washington was the first president in space and fish don’t sleep so we can. I am not sure how many of these are actually told by parents – but there were a handful that I had heard at one point or another! Really cute book that gave me a few good laughs.

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

About the Book

From acclaimed artist Brett Wagner comes a book about tall tales that parents tell their kids in the hopes of getting them to do something… eat, sleep, apologize to their sibling or siblings or learn to do something the right way. Fun, heartfelt and a little bit weird “Lies We Tell Our Kids” exposes the not-so-great generational parent tactic… lying to your child for the greater good!

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Book Review: One To Watch Me / One To See Me

One To Watch Me and One To See Me are a series of 2 books in “The ONE Series”.  Emmeline needs to get away from her family, former fiance and job for a bit.  She ends up booking a trip from Chicago to Miami to stay in a beach house for a bit to regroup and find herself.  Someone there is watching her, and she knows it.  She ends up meeting a handsome stranger and spending almost all of her free time with him.  Their relationship turns hot and heavy almost immediately and she seems to throw out all of her fears and inhibitions even though she normally seems to have such a good head on her shoulders.  These books are two short pieces of the story, but I could not stop reading either and wanting to know more about what was going on with her former fiance and if he was playing her and her father and his business.  I also really wanted to know who the heck was watching her, even though I had my ideas from the beginning of the series as to who it might be. (I doubted myself a couple of times, but in the end, I was right)  I really enjoy these quick read romance stories because there is a lot of action and not a lot of backstory.

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

 

About the Book(s)

When there’s no one left to trust, should you try trusting a stranger?
Someone is watching Emmeline, and for the first time, she feels seen.

Emmeline Weiss is living a dream life—or so it appears. She comes from a wealthy, influential family, has a blossoming career, and a sophisticated fiancé. Lost in the fray, and on the brink of forgetting who she really is, Emmeline needs a few weeks of sand and saltwater: a break for once. But her search for clarity—and her true self—turns up a smart, sexy stranger instead, ONE who sees her soul and awakens her body, giving her everything she never knew she wanted. When Emmeline learns her charmed life in Chicago has been a setup, her soul-searching trip to the shores takes a dark turn. Someone is watching her. Caught between fear, and an exciting new desire to push away her inhibitions, whom can she trust?

Can you trust someone who can’t afford to trust you back?
Emmeline is ready to be seen. And someone is watching.

Emmeline Weiss is facing the most important day of her life. The stakes are high: her high-powered, high-society life in Chicago could come crumbling down around her. But if it did, would she be in a free fall, or would she be free? In a time like this, Emmeline knows she needs to sort enemies from friends—and quickly—but who can she trust? And what if trust has more than ONE definition?
As her life dismantles into dark questions and darker answers, the last thing Emmeline expects is for passion and chemistry, physical need and wild sex, to take over. For the first time, with this sexy stranger, Emmeline feels seen.
But maybe it’s because someone is watching…

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Hanson Day Tulsa 2018

2018 Hanson Day was my 10th trip to Tulsa, OK to see Hanson.  When I first started planning my trip back in 2009 I am pretty sure I billed it as a ‘once in a lifetime’ chance to experience their home town.  In 2009 they recorded the Stand Up, Stand Up EP and there really weren’t any other events.  10 years later (and not really ‘consecutive hanson day’ events either – since 2010 was a Halloween event!) and it is fascinating to see not only how the Hanson event and activities have grown, but how Tulsa has continued to grow and flourish.

My trip started with some excitement. I had only 40 minutes to get off my plane from Hartford and onto my flight to Tulsa in Dallas.  When my shoes set off the metal detector upon arrival in Hartford, my gate was the furthest away and every flight around me was getting delayed due to weather, I was hoping I’d still make it and all the drama was working itself out early.  When the pilot came on and said we would be delayed 10 minutes because of weather and he hoped to make up the time during the flight but before landing told us we would be 5-8 minutes late, I started mentally preparing myself to drive from Dallas to Tulsa.  And when the jet bridge wouldn’t move to connect to the plane, I thought that any chance I had of making it was over. When we landed I was at the mercy of the wheelchair pusher. I informed him my flight was taking off VERY soon and let’s see if we could make it.  He was being thoroughly pessimistic about the whole thing – and then informed me that gate A8 was THE. LAST. GATE. In A.  Yet somehow, despite hearing “Flight 299 to Tulsa, you need to be on the plane NOW” we made it – and I wasn’t even the last one to board the plane.  Thanks American Airlines for holding that flight because if not it would have been Strike 3 for you.  (When I booked the flight it was an hour or so layover and they changed it on me)

Thursday morning our day kicked off waiting outside Ida Red to pick up an Albertane Tour 20th anniversary pint glass and try the special drink they had come up with.  After that we got our Hanson.net wristbands and hopped in line for the store.  I spent a new record amount of money, but in my defense I was picking up merch for 3 others in addition to myself.  Once you take out their totals,  I was pretty much on pace for my usual amount, despite being a bit underwhelmed with the merch this year. (But I’ll confess, that $100 blanket is beautiful and I can’t wait to put it on my bed.) Then there was some eating, some volunteering, some more eating and then it was time for some karaoke – where facebook and snapchat filters set me into a fit of hysterics.  Maybe I needed some sleep…

Friday we got I line for the gallery pretty early, and while there were some original paintings left by the time I entered, I opted to get a couple of prints instead. We also participated in the String Theory ball of yarn.  After the gallery it was time for group photos, so we headed down to Cain’s Ballroom for that.  We stopped at Prairie Brewpub for my first visit before getting ready for the Storytellers concert.  I was pretty nervous that they were going to play With You In Your Dreams and my fears came true when Taylor started mentioning that they wanted us to sing in a chorus.  The setlist was Albertane Tour throwback (and Money was a song I had never heard them perform live before) and I liked that they “themed” it to a 20th anniversary – but… I can really do without WYIYD for the foreseeable future.  Then it was time for the ST Leaders dinner where my cane almost took someone out… and I realized that IPA Cheddar Burger meant that the cheese had the beer in it… and was gross.  I ended up falling asleep instead of going to Taylor’s Dance Party that night. Oops.

Saturday we had a later day, starting off with the Listening Party of Zac’s special music project “The Machine”, it was definitely interesting… then we headed off to Pinot’s Pallette where we painted our own version of Zac’s pansy painting from the gallery.  I went roque – from the moment the instructor said “paint your canvas light blue” and mine was light orange.   I did a mixture of oranges, yellows and reds for my pansy.  It probably could have used more yellow, but overall it came out pretty good.  That night was the full Members Only Concert and I was really digging the 100% members only song setlist – until it got to the solos and then it kind of lost me… and then they played Where’s the Love which I love but am a bit sick of. (Honestly though I know I complain about the setlists but I’d rather be at a Hanson show with a (imo) lame setlist than pretty much anywhere else in the world. So.) After the concert we rushed off to Firkin Feast – and after the gross burger the night before I was wondering what I had gotten myself into, but I actually enjoyed 2 of the 4 beers that they offered after thinking I would never find a beer I would actually like, so that was a plus, and despite the menu not being at ALL what I would ever choose to eat, I ate each of my courses in its entirety and enjoyed it!

Sunday was The Hop Jam Beer & Music Festival.  Hanson wasn’t performing, which made things a bit less hectic and crowded.  I volunteered handing out fliers at the entrance with a great group of security guys (way better than the group I was with last year) and still had a chance to check out Paul McDonald’s set from my hotel room and some of Manchester Orchestra’s as well.  I was also pretty close to Guthrie Green which had the local bands playing and was pretty impressed with what I heard from there as well.

Monday it was time to go and my flight home was pretty uneventful except for the fact that the best flight I could get home for points on Southwest was to take a detour to Denver with a 4 hour layover.  I can’t complain, it was only $6 and I got to have a delicious Einstein Mac & Cheese bagel!

Category: Concert, Hanson, Travel  Comments off

Book Review: Altered to Death

Altered to Death is another one of the Scrap This murder mysteries.  When I started this book back in December I realized that I had missed out on 2 of the books in the series and considered going back to read the other two before this one.  When I realized I was never going to find the time to catch up, I decided to skip them.  I don’t think that I missed out on any major details by skipping those 2 books in the series and maybe eventually I will be able to go back to them.  I think this is the first one that I read where the murder mystery didn’t revolve around the scrapbook store.

Faith was hired by the town to put together a historical scrapbook of its history and it uncovered a body and a mystery that of course gets Faith into all sorts of crazy predicaments and situations.  There is a diary and no one really knows what is going on with the heir and of course, small town, everyone is all up in everyone else’s business.  Faith tries to solve the mystery and get the information she needs from other people in town without revealing too much of what she has found, or thinks she has found.

This was another fun read like the others in this series that I have read and I love that there is such a niche genre of scrapbook murder mysteries out there for me to enjoy.

About the Book

Even knee-deep in planning her wedding, Faith Hunter finds herself distracted by the town scrapbook she was commissioned to create. Eden’s oldest mystery, the founding family’s exodus nearly a hundred years ago, remains unsolved. When a search through the family’s abandoned mansion leads to the uncovering of bones on the property and ex-boyfriend Steve Davis announces a surprise heir has staked a claim, Faith is determined to dig up the truth left behind.

Meanwhile, family friend Wyatt Buford asks Faith to look into his deadbeat father’s disappearing act and his connection to the murder. Her quest for answers unearths secrets past and present that some would prefer stay buried at any cost. Faith’s resolve to present the facts and nothing but about Eden’s history could lead to her own future being cut short.

“Faith Hunter is a delightful amateur sleuth and the quirky characters that inhabit the town of Eden are the perfect complement to her overly inquisitive ways.” – Jenn McKinlay, New York Times Bestselling Author of Copy Cap Murder

Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you’ll probably like them all.

Author Bio: The Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series brings together Christina Freeburn’s love of mysteries, scrapbooking, and West Virginia. When not writing or reading, she can be found in her scrapbook room or at a crop. Alas, none of the real-life crops have had a sexy male prosecutor or a handsome police officer attending. Christina served in the JAG Corps of the US Army and has also worked as a paralegal, librarian, and church secretary. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, children, a dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid or allergic to felines.

Category: Book Review  Comments off

Blog Catchup

I’ve been having a terrible time trying to keep track of what I have to blog about and what I haven’t. Or putting together actual blog posts and reviews. So here’s a brief recap of what I’ve been doing for the past 2 months…

The Last Bandoleros
My friend Lauren asked me if I’d be interested in checking out The Last Bandoleros at The Wolfs Den. I really had no idea what to expect (w

e had met one of the members something like 10 years ago!) but I was pleasantly surprised. I thought they would be more country but they were not so I am sold! I picked up their EP after the show and have thoroughly enjoyed listening to it.

Jeff Dye
Lauren also dragged me to see Jeff Dye. You may know him from Last Comic Standing or Better Late Than Never. I typically don’t like comedians but Jeff had me laughing his entire set and he was a lot of fun to chat with after the show as well. I’m pretty sure this won’t be my last blog post about him.

Kinky Boots
David Cook made his Broadway debut in Kinky Boots in NYC – so of course I had to check it out! Also in the show was Wayne Brady and Kirstin from Pentatonix. I wasn’t sure what to expect since he would need to have an accent since the show takes place in England. But he did great and it was so fun to hear “him” come through on the songs. A really, really fun show as well.

Andy Grammer
Andy Grammer took his “The Good Parts” tour to the Ridgefield Playhouse. We had about 6th row for the show. Everyone was sitting until Andy made a comment on it and said we could stay seating if we wanted, but we could stand too. I had a feeling that would be how it works because the Playhouse tends to sell their closest seats to members of their ‘club’ and they are usually there moreso to support the venue than as a fan of the band. Although I’m not sure how you can sit still listening to Andy and all of his upbeat songs! After the show we had a chance to meet him briefly and snap a few photos. Always enjoyable!

*NSYNC Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Sometimes all the stars in your life align up perfectly and you end up getting booked on a trip to California just a few days before *NSYNC is set to get a star on the walk of fame, so you ask your manager if you can extend the trip out a bit and she agrees… so a baseball game, Disneyland and seeing all 5 members of *NSYNC on stage together again end up happening. The ceremony was a LOT of standing around and I am not sure I will ever get feeling back in my legs or feet but it was truly amazing to be a part of such a special moment! Now I have to plan a trip back to LA because we were far too exhausted after waiting for the ceremony and then for The Dirty Pop-Up Shop to head back and see the star!

Ruben Studdard sings Luther Vandross
You know I love me some Idol, so when Ruben came to the wolf den to sing the songs of Luther I had to check it out. Unfortunately we didn’t get in line early enough to get a good seat and for a while we weren’t even sure we would get any seat, so I think being on the side of the stage kind of lost some of the interaction for us, but I thought Ruben sounded great and it was a lot of fun to hear him do a different song catalog (even though he did do a few Luther songs back on Idol).

Tim Tebow and The Rumble Ponies
Tim Tebow is a Met… so when the Binghamton Rumble Ponies made their way to Hartford to play the Yard Goats, we went to check him out. 2 rows from the field yielded some great photos and an autograph for my friend Christine. Tim ended up coming out of the game early, but it was also a work night so we were happy to have an ‘excuse’ to leave early! We had fun playing baseball bingo during the game and enjoyed some great BBQ. We’ll be back when he makes his triumphant return next month… hopefully this time I can snag an autograph for myself J

Category: American Idol, Concert, David Cook  Comments off