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Kelly Clarkson Mohegan Sun Arena

I wasn’t sure how jetlagged I’d be when I headed to Mohegan Sun to see Kelly Clarkson just 4 days after getting home from Australia but was pretty sure back-to-back concerts last trip to Australia helped get me back on EST so I was hoping for the best. (Australia post(s) are coming, eventually)

I ended up having a seat right by one of her side catwalks and for the longest time no one showed up to sit in the seats next to or in front of me.  Finally next to me filled it but it turned out they didn’t actually sell any of the seats in front of me as after both openers had taken the stage they started seeing who wanted to move based on the catwalk obstructing views and they filled in the rows in front of me.

I was happy no one really stood for the show because I was really not sure how I’d be able to handle a full set of that being so exhausted! Brynn Cartelli from The Voice opened and being from MA this was her “home town show” and Maggie Rose also opened.  Both ended up joining Kelly later in her set as well.

I enjoy that Kelly talks a lot during her set and tells some background stories about the songs.  She also started talking to a pregnant woman in the audience and went on about how she was miserable during her pregnancies and 2 was enough, then she decided they’d finish the conversation later and she would get back to singing. She ended up talking about how the next song was about how no one in her small town got divorced except her family and her friends and then started talking about how sometimes divorce was good… joked about how she hadn’t even had anything to drink yet and she was just going to stop talking and sing.

For A Minute and a Glass of Wine she had Brynn Cartelli join her and they did a duet of Foy Vance’s Make it Rain – a song that Kelly said she hadn’t heard until Brynn brought it up to her (maybe she did it on the voice? i dont know, i dont watch anymore)

The catwalk was so, so close – Kelly came up it 2 or 3 times during the show and her band and backup singers used it as well, and overall my blindly buying a single ticket as soon as tickets went on sale and not having an accurate seating chart worked in my favor (for once?)


Matt Nathanson VIP / Acoustic concert The Warehouse Fairfield, CT

February 24th I treated myself to not one, but two Matt Nathanson concerts at The Warehouse in Fairfield, CT. He was doing an acoustic run in smaller venues than usual and since most shows sold out so quickly he did a VIP show as well which you did not need tickets to the concert in order to attend to allow for more fans to have access, which was really cool.

For the VIP show he spun the wheel of Nathanson 3x as well as did a Q&A with the audience. There were some really great questions and I think Matt really enjoyed himself. Afterwards we all got to meet him as well as get a signed poster and coffee mug.

The wheel spins were Song-Spiration, High School and Wedding Dress which led to performances of Room at the End of the World, Illusions a song he had written for a girl in high school and of course, Wedding Dress.

For the show, the wheel was switched out a bit. Unfortunately, the crowd was less than stellar. One woman kept yelling “FASTER” and at first Matt said “Do you want me to spin the wheel faster or sing the song? I have one and a half singles, do you think I am not going to sing it?” and when she yelled it again later, he said “I am literally taking it off the setlist right now” and he did – I wasn’t sure if he was serious until we got to the end of the show, and Faster, the song I was *most* looking forward to hearing, wasn’t done. He did throw in an older less played song instead, which I am sure made the super fans happy but as a more casual fan I didn’t really notice that he did that. The crowd continued to yell out – and I have to wonder if his witty responses were making it seem like he was condoning the behavior and making people think it was ok to shout out things and if it would have been less if he had instead ignored them and just continued on with the show. (Though I can see how it would be hard to ignore it – but simply asking security to find the person shouting and escort them out may have gotten his annoyance across a bit better and would have made things more enjoyable for the rest of us as well. *shrugs*) Despite the song I most wanted to hear being cut, I had an enjoyable night and definitely need to try and see him more on future tours – even though I doubt he will be coming back to Fairfield anytime soon!

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Joey McIntyre in Waitress on Broadway

One Saturday at the end of February I headed to New York City with my mom to see Joey McIntyre in Waitress. I had previously seen Jason Mraz in the same role a little over a year ago so I was curious to see how their portrayals matched up. At the end of Part I, I was thinking Jason had the edge – as the doctor I think is supposed to be a little bit strange and awkward and Jason could play that with ease, where as Joey came across a bit more confident.  By the end, I wasn’t really sure who I thought did better as they both kind of brought something different to the character.  I teased that if Joey came out to sign, he would win, as Jason did not come out.   I managed to get my playbill signed by Joey in addition to the actresses that played Becky and Jenna.  We debated waiting for Ogie and trying to get a selfie with Joey – but the crowd was creeping in as Joey came near, so once my playbill was signed we ducked out and went to dinner.  This is a really fun show and the only one I have seen more than once!

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Gaelic Storm at The Wolf Den

Friday night we headed to The Wolf’s Den at Mohegan Sun to catch a free show from Gaelic Storm (aka Garlic Thunder, which is the name they told me they should be called when I met them 10 years ago on The Rock Boat) I hadn’t seen them in 10 years and I think several of the band members had switched out since  then, but they still were as funny and entertaining as when I had seen them last, and hopefully will get to see them again soon, now that I have a couple of friends who also enjoy them.  I didn’t keep track of the setlist and it looks like no one else really did either, as the one below is missing quite a few songs

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Book Review: The Ultimate History of The ’80s Teen Movie

I was not a teen until the late ’90s and I’m also not a huge movie watcher, but with Fandom Running Club starting a “Cult Classic” medal series, well maybe I should see what the 80s had to offer so I can try and guess on some of the clues to come. (The first one is “Dont You 4K About Me” – The Breakfast Club – which is an 80s movie I have seen!)

The book starts in… 1978? With talk about John Travolta.  It compares some of the story lines from the 80s with how they would not fly in a movie today.  The book is quite long and touches on a TON of movies… most of which of course I had never seen (but have heard of, at least!)  And a lot of details on them.  It is a history, after all.

I was hoping for a check list of sorts of all the movies in the back of the book so I could see what I had seen and what I haven’t, but let’s be honest, my number would probably be able to be counted on one hand.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated. This book is being released March 19, 2019 by Diversion Books.

About the Book

A trip back to the era of troubled teens and awesome soundtracks; of Reagan, rap, and Ridgemont High; of MTV, VHS, and “Axel F”; of outsiders, lost boys, and dead poets; of Bill and Ted, Brooke Shields, and the Brat Pack; of three Porky’s flicks, two Coreys, and one summer when “Baby” refused to be put in a corner.

The Ultimate History of the ’80s Teen Movie goes behind the scenes of a genre where cult hits mingled with studio blockbusters, where giants like Spielberg and Coppola rubbed shoulders with baby-faced first-timers, and where future superstars Sean, Demi, and Tom all got their big break. Music, comedy, and politics all play a part in the surprisingly complex history of the ’80s teen movie. And while the films might have been aimed primarily at adolescents, the best tackle universal issues and remain relevant to all ages.

From a late ’70s Hollywood influx to an early ’90s indie scene that gave youth cinema a timely reboot, film expert James King highlights the personal struggles, the social changes, and the boardroom shake-ups that produced an iconic time in movie history.

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Book Review: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a collection of poetry from Mr Rogers. There are a lot included and a lot of great illustrations to go with it – starting with the famous “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” which was the opening song to his show.  I think my favorite in the book was “I’m Glad I’m the Way I Am” – the first verse “I’m glad I’m the way I am, I’m glad I’m me. I’, glad I’m the way That I’m supposed to be” resonates with me. The rest of it too, but mostly that first part.  There are a lot of different topics covered in each of the poems/songs as well.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated. This book will be released March 19, 2019 from Quirk Books.

About the Book

For the first time ever, 75 beloved songs from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and The Children’s Corner are collected in this charmingly illustrated treasury, sure to be cherished by generations of children as well as the millions of adults who grew up with Mister Rogers.

It’s you I like.
It’s not the things you wear,
It’s not the way you do your hair—
But it’s you I like.

From funny to sweet, silly to sincere, the lyrics of Mister Rogers explore such universal topics as feelings, new siblings, everyday life, imagination, and more. Through these songs—as well as endearing puppets and honest conversations—Mister Rogers instilled in his young viewers the values of kindness, self-awareness, and self-esteem. But most of all, he taught children that they are loved, just as they are. Perfect for bedtime, sing-along, or quiet time alone, this beautiful book of meaningful poetry is for every child—including the child inside of every one of us.

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Book Review: Love You Head To Toe

Love You Head To Toe is an adorable book about babies and comparing things they do to animals.  Everything rhymes and the illustrations are made of paper piecing which you know I am alll about.  Some of the animals featured are sea stars, turtles, kangaroos, hedgehogs.  Each animal is illustrated as well as an illustration of an ADORABLE baby in a similar pose to the animals.  A ton of work must have gone into these illustrations alone!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review.  This book will be published March 15 from Owlkids Books.

About the Book

Pairing creative rhyming similes with cut-paper collage art, Love You Head to Toe is an adorable book that compares newborn babies to baby animals on every page. Bright, playful illustrations show a different baby and a different species of animal, both engaged in similar behavior: babies stretch their limbs like sea stars, splash in the water like ducklings, toddle around like bear cubs, and fill their chubby cheeks like chipmunks.

Action verbs on each page give the book energy and movement and reflect the varied activities of a baby’s day, with key elements like mealtime, bath time, and bedtime in chronological order. Babies and caregivers of a wide range of ethnicities are represented in this heartwarming read-aloud designed to show little ones how much they are cherished and loved.

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Book Review: Baby Animals with Their Families

Baby Animals with their Families is a picture book that shows baby animals, with, you guessed it, their families.  Some cuties included are chimps, lions, polar bears, and a ton of other adorable babies.  A bunch of adorable photos and some interesting facts about families and what they are called and how they survive out in the wild.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated. This book will be released on March 15 from Owlkids books.

About the Book

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Book Review: Super Structures

Super Structures is all about some of the great structures in the world and their history.  Building structures can go all the way back to the pyramids.  In addition to talking a bit about the structures, there is also instructions on how to build your own using different pieces. In addition to pyramids you can also learn about and build pillars and posts, arches, domes, and my personal favorite, bridges.  It features some of my favorite bridges – Golden Gate in San Francisco and Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia.  It then goes into towers and sky scrapers, big wheels, and finally wind turbines.  I kind of wish I had the actual model kit so I could try to build some of these structures instead of just the e-book where I can only read about them.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated. This book was released October 16, 2018 from Quarto Publishing Group.

About the Book

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Book Review: The Sea Book

The Sea Book helps you learn all about, what else? The sea! It shows what the bottom of the sea looks like and tells us why the sea is important and then goes into what lives in the sea. Of course there are plenty of fish in the sea – and it tells about some of the things that fish can do and some of the traits that fish in the sea have.  It also talks about other mammals and animals in the sea, and even the life cycle of a sea turtle.  The end of the book talks about some man made problems with the sea and how you can help. This book is pretty short, but is jam-packed with a TON of great information about the sea and some beautiful illustrations as well!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated. This book was published February 5th from DK Children.

About the Book

Featuring fascinating fishy facts accompanied by bright, bold, and beautiful illustrations, this book takes children on a journey through the sea and all its zones.

The Sea Book explores a wealth of incredible marine animals and their habitats, from up on the ice, down to colorful coral reefs, underwater forests, and right down to the deepest darkest depths where the weird and wonderful lurk.

Following on from The Bee Book, Charlotte Milner continues to highlight to children important ecological issues faced by our planet, this time with a focus on marine life and the damaging effects humans are having on our seas. Children will discover what they can do to help, and there are tips on how to live plastic-free. Children will even get to craft their own recycled shopping bag!

This charming celebration of the sea shows children just how extraordinary our oceans are, and is a reminder that it is up to us to keep it that way.

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