Book Review: Sister’s Guide to NYC Cupcakes

I love NYC and I love Cupcakes.  So I was thrilled to see that there was a guidebook out there devoted to the cupcake shop locations in NYC!

The book is broken down by areas of the city – Chealsea, Union Square, East Village, NoHo, SoHo, Nolita, East Village / Lower East Side, Lower East Side, and Stand Alone Bakeries.

It includes a ton more than the few that I knew of and hope to try or have tried – Baked By Melissa, Crumbs (which I have tried!), Babycakes and Magnolia Bakery.  (It is actually a total of 27 bakeries but for someone with a sweet tooth like me that is certainly a TON!)  There are probably plenty more up there that have popped up since the book was published and the Sisters note that anyone that was skipped was done so unintentionally!

There are a bunch of photos of each of the establishments and their cupcakes. I love the layout of the book and boy oh boy is it hard to try and narrow down which locations to definitely try (one day I will have hit them all!) because everything just looks so yummy!

In addition to information on the “sweet assortment” and “something special” which talk about the locations themselves, there is also a “and there’s more” section which features other sightseeing that can be done in the neighborhood of the bakery.  Definitely a nice touch and helpful if you want to do more than just eat cupcakes all day. (And if you are in NYC I definitely recommend doing more – the more you walk the more cupcakes you can fit in your diet…)

Now I just need to figure out how many trips to the city it is going to take to try them all… (The sisters claim that it is possible to break the book down in to 4 sections and do each section in one day – so I’ll need at least 4 more trips to the city. I think I can handle that – and then some!)

I received a free e-book from the publisher through NetGalley in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Use this unique travel guide to make the most of your trip to New York City and all the cupcakes it offers. No trip would be complete without visiting Chelsea, Union Square, the East Village, NoHo, SoHo, Nolita, and the Lower East Side. This guide highlights bakeries in each of these areas. The tour was developed based on personal wanderings of three rural Missouri sisters in New York City. The sixty-four-page guide is the perfect size to tuck in a bag while traveling throughout the city. This limited-edition book published by the Donning Company Publishers of Virginia Beach, Virginia, is a must have.

Nanette McLain is from Queens, New York. She is a social worker for a large non-rofit agency serving NYC and Long Island. Because of her growing knowledge of the city, she is a fabulous tour guide for her sisters and friends who visit. It was one of these explorations that sparked the idea for a cupcake travel guide. Nerissa Pinkston is from a rural community in Missouri. She is an RN for a home health agency. When she finds extra time, she loves to escape to faraway places. New York City has been a favorite stop since her younger sister moved there. Nichelle Walters is from a suburban community near Kansas City, Missouri. Before having children, she taught sixth graders in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. She is now a stay-at-home mom. Traveling with two of her sisters has been a delight. They have enjoyed Barcelona, Paris, London, and cities throughout the US, including New York City.

Some updates on my favorites!

I didn’t want to spam you all with multiple posts so I figured I’d consolidate it here in a one stop shop post.  Some updates on some of my fave bands…

Honor Society have put up a free download of their new single “Serendipity” which you can download by heading over to their Facebook page and clicking the “FREE SINGLE” icon.  They’ve also announced that their new album, also called Serendipity will be released on September 18th.  They are doing a CD release party September 19th in LA and I hope that NYC release party details will be coming soon 🙂

Action Item‘s new single “Last Day of Summer” had its music video premiered through MTV’s Buzzworthy blog today.  Feel free to check it out here: and if you really like it – buy it on iTunes!  They are heading out on the road this fall as support for Owl City.

One Direction has announced their new album will be out on November 13th and it is called “Take Me Home”.  I absolutely LOVE the album art!

Book Review: The One

The One is a biography about the Godfather of Soul – Mr James Brown.  James Brown was born dead and his Aunt Minnie refused to give up on him.

James was quite the business man. When the label wouldnt release his Live at the Apollo album because they didn’t think it was any good,  he took matters into his own hands and sent copies around.  Demand for the album became so big that the label had to release it! He was also abusive. There were stories of him beating a girlfriend and getting violent with others as well.

While I do know a lot of James Brown’s songs, I didn’t know much about him so this book definitely opened my eyes a bit about him and his music as well as his personal life.

The book also focuses on social issues – most notibly the Civil Rights movement and James’ involvement with this.  I have to say this was probably the most interesting aspect of the book because it is not what you typically see in a biopgraphy about a musician.

I certainly recommend this book for anyone looking to find out more about James Brown and all of the aspects of his live – activist, musician and business man.

I received a free ecopy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

The definitive biography of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, with fascinating findings on his life as a Civil Rights activist, an entrepreneur, and the most innovative musician of our time.

Playing 350 shows a year at his peak, with more than forty Billboard hits, James Brown was a dazzling showman who transformed American music. His life offstage was just as vibrant, but until now no biographer has delivered a complete profile. The One draws on interviews with more than 100 people who knew Brown personally or played with him professionally. Using these sources, award-winning writer RJ Smith draws a portrait of a man whose twisted and amazing life helps us to understand the music he made.

The One delves deeply into the story of a man who was raised in abject poverty in the segregated South but grew up to earn (and lose) several fortunes. Covering everything from Brown’s unconventional childhood (his aunt ran a bordello), to his role in the Black Power movement, which used “Say It Loud (I’m Black and Proud)” as its anthem, to his high-profile friendships, to his complicated family life, Smith’s meticulous research and sparkling prose blend biography with a cultural history of a pivotal era. At the heart of The One is Brown’s musical genius, as Smith traces the legend’s reinvention of funk, soul, R&B, and pop, and his evolution as an artist whose crucial influence spans at least 5 decades.

Ultimate beanbag chair giveaway – Bloggers Wanted!

6 Foot Ultimate Sack Bean Bag Chair giveaway event ~ Bloggers Wanted!

Hosted by Bella Savvy

PRIZE: One winner will receive a 6 foot Ultimate Sack bean bag chair with fur cover in the color of their choice ($280 value). It measures 6 foot wide by 3 foot high.

This bad boy seats 3 adults!

EVENT DATES: September 5, 2012 – September 19, 2102

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Participation is FREE when you post this announcement on your blog
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Book Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures Volume 1 was a fun read!  I loved  the Ninja Turtles as a kid – I had a HUGE crush on Michaelangelo (I am pretty sure he is the reason my favorite color is orange) and I wanted to be April O’Neil (I went to school for a minor in journalism – if I stuck with it I might have been on my way!)

Volume 1 has 4 different comics in one – The Return of Shredder parts 1 & 2 as well as The Incredible Shrinking Turtles Parts 1 & 2.  It was nice to take a trip back to my youth with some familar characters.  They seem to be trying to revive the franchise, hopefully they will do it justice and get a whole new generation interested in the series!

I really dislike reading ebook copies of comics because they are often very hard to read on my Nook – but when it comes to TMNT,  I just couldn’t resist.  I did end up reading the books on my desktop though – where I could stretch the books over my dual monitors and was able to read and follow along with the story and dialogue no problem (The pages looked GREAT zoomed in!)

The stories were great too – the ninja turtles helped get bad guys while at the grocery store… but then the bad guys dressed as the ninja turtles and went around telling everyone they were the “crooked ninja turtles” to start trouble.  Of course, the REAL turtles didn’t let them get away with this for very long!   In the other they were shrunk and captured – ut oh! But it is the turtles so you know they’ll come up with some original way to get out of the trouble they get themselves into.

I am looking forward to checking out some of the future volumes of TMNT “re-presentation” comics, but I might just have to buy them and not rely on digital copies 🙂

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

About the Book

Classic animated TMNT action is collected here in this re-presentation of two fan-favorite cartoon adaptations!

In both “The Return of Shredder Parts 1-2” and “The Incredible Shrinking Turtles Parts 1-2” read along as Shredder comes back to Earth from Dimension X and attempts to exact his revenge upon the hard-backed heroes

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES will premiere on Nickelodeon on September 29th in the US.

Jason Mraz Tour Is A Four Letter Word

I did 3 new things Saturday night. 1. I went to the Meadows (Comcast Theater) alone for a show. 2. I saw Jason Mraz live for the first time 3. I did a “paperless ticket” show for the first time.

And pretty much everything worked out alright!  I’ll start with talking about paperless ticketing because I really couldn’t find ANYTHING when I was trying to prepare myself.  Pretty much every other show that I was going to that said it would be paperless either ended up sending out tickets or got canceled. (All were John Mayer) so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Ticketmaster tells you to bring your credit card and photo ID.  I had both ready, but they didn’t ask for my ID.  How this helps deter scalpers, I don’t know.  You could either hand them the CC back or they could use a pre-paid visa.  But I’m also convinced the scalpers are in kahoots with the ticket sites and they do things like paperless ticketing to make the consumer THINK they are looking out for their best interest.   (Where I did get asked for ID? Trying to park! Apparently the theater is trying to crack down on people who steal their grandmothers handicapped passes. So I had to have my pass signed and show my ID as well. The guy apologized profusely since I was legit. So strange! But I kind of like it.)

Anyway… after I gave my CC it got swiped into a machine and then a little piece of paper printed out that had my seat location on it. Which was a relief because I didn’t remember the specifics of my seat and I wanted *something* for my scrapbook!

I made my way to my seats… I had researched beforehand to find out that B1 was row 2 because it goes A1, B1, C1 then A, B, C.  Many others didn’t do their research and there was a lot of confusion.  The fact that there were wires with mats covering them on the floor that were also covering the 1s on one side of the seats didn’t help the situation either.  But I accepted my part time job as seat usher because they were nowhere to be found… and sent a few people a few rows back.  (It was sad to see one guy freak out because he was first row only to then find out he was actually 4th!)

Christina Perri was the first opener. I had seen her 2 times before at TIC’s christmas shows. To be honest, I couldn’t remember if I liked her or not and had to look back at my past reviews to see what I had said! It looks like I never said anything either way.  I do like her voice, but I think that she has too many slower songs which I do not have the attention span for (for any artist).  I liked how she gave everyone a pep talk about “dreaming huge” and never giving up on it.  My mantra is dream big so I definitely can relate to that. (Although I never seem to follow through. I need to work on that)

Then it was time for Jason!  Jason and I go way back. I’ve been a fan of his for years – though I guess you could say “on and off”. I got in to him when I was finishing up high school / starting college with Waiting For My Rocket. I don’t know if I have any in between albums before Love is a four letter word… but I kept up with his singles, etc.  Considering the set list – I’m missing out on a LOT.

Fortunately the beginning of his set had quite a few songs in a row that I knew. Unfortunately the majority of the rest of the set I was not familiar with. Typically before shows like this I try to listen to older stuff to get myself prepared – but if you read the blog you know how busy I’ve been with being in the land of boybands.

That doesn’t mean that I enjoyed the show any less. I’ve been waiting FOR-EV-ER to see Jason and was so glad to finally see a show. (But next time I vow to be more prepared!)  He puts on a great show he has a TON of energy.

My only complaint was that I had tried to sit because I hurt my foot Friday night and didn’t want to aggravate it standing if I didn’t have to.  The front row moved up to the barricade. I stood for a bit but realized I could still see if I sat.   That was – until a couple of girls came from I don’t know where and moved in to the front row (which was now 3-4 people deep.)  I freaking HATE this.  You bought your seats. I bought mine. STAY THERE.  I tend to enjoy shows MORE if I am sitting because then there is not the worrying that I could fall over at any moment if someone next to me knocks me dancing. (My balance sucks)  And the girl behind me hit me on the head like 3 times! She sounded like a super fan (sang every lyric so loudly I could hear even though I had earplugs on) so I guess she was just a little bit excited.  But one time really hurt.

The encore ended up being 3 songs. It started about 10:45 I want to say?  But Jason came out first an apologized saying that he had a lot more songs that he wanted to play for us, but couldn’t because there was a strict curfew.  There were some Boos and he said that he did still have some songs for us, but not as many as he had wanted.

Setlists under the cut!
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Music Monday: Johnny Keyser From Where I Stand

Never Too Late
From Where I Stand
We Try
In The Bitter
Early Morning Rain
A Change is Gonna Come


Probably the most anticipated CD release of the year, for me anyway, is Johnny Keyser’s acoustic CD “From Where I Stand.”  If you are new to Concert Katie – Johnny was a contestant on this years American Idol.  Unfortunately, he was cut REALLY early on even though many fell in love with him during his audition. (Or maybe that was just me and JLo?)  It was teased that he may come back as the 13th contestant – but then idol brought back Jermaine only to end up disqualifying him shortly thereafter. (lameee)

Anyway – after Johnny got kicked off, he went to work on his EP. It ended up debuting at #44 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart – just 6 days after its release.  Johnny wrote on his website: “My EP went digital 6 days ago, we’ve done zero advertising, haven’t contacted any radio stations, and yet somehow I break on to the Billboard charts, which are driven in large part by radio play… All on the same day that America crowns their next ‘Idol’.”  Perhaps it wasn’t just me and JLo in love with him afterall.  Johnny is also the first American Idol contestant in the history of the show to hit the billboard charts with an Indie album before the end of the season they competed in.  Maybe you SHOULD have brought him back, huh Idol?  (Or maybe not. He might be better off on his own.)

With the exception of the final track on the EP… all songs are Johnny originals and they are all quite great! I think that my favorite is Selah.  The CD gives me a bit of a Gavin DeGraw vibe.  It’s all acoustic, but I’d love to hear some of these songs with a full on electric set up, I’m sure they would be even better than they already are.



From Where I Stand is available at iTunes, Amazon and

The Wanted at Mohegan Sun

Friday night I dealt with some awful CT traffic and made my way up to the casino to see THE WANTED! After mixtape festival last week, I was more than excited to see them again.

Opening the show was Carly Rae Jepsen – who did the same set that she did at Mixtape Festival – which was good because there were some holes in the setlist that I had that I was able to fill in! I also decided I really like her song “Guitar String Wedding Ring” but am really over “Call Me Maybe” especially since this was the 5th show in a ROW where it was performed.  (Twice by Honor Society’s openers, once by Kelly Clarkson and now 2 times by Carly Rae herself).  She mentioned she would be opening for Justin Bieber this fall and that her new album Kiss comes out September 18th so they had been holding back on playing new songs to save them.

Then it was time for The Wanted!  I decided to go absolutely picture crazy during this show. (Moreso than usual.) It was funny how somehow Siva was never in good lighting, but at times Tom would be glowing because he was always in great lighting. (Some day I’ll get a photo album up and running where you can see everything beside the few I pick and choose for the blog posts!)  Max seemed to be really in to the crowd and mentioned 2 or 3 times that he wanted to come back. (I hope that means something is in the works!)  They did a very different set from Mixtape Festival. (2 more songs too!)  The guys just seem like they are having SUCH a fun time on stage that I have gotten over my “but boybands need to dance!” hang up.

For Heart Vacancy they brought up 5 girls on stage – I was shocked to see a girl that I had told I liked her shirt up there! It could have been me! (Although I don’t think I’d have gone. I’d have been scared out of my mind to be on stage!) This is also when I decided it is now on my bucket list to get a hug from Jay!

After the show we wandered around the casino in hopes of bumping in to the guys, but a little while later saw a tweet that they were back on their way to NYC 🙁  As much as I love shows at the casino – it is becoming more and more frustrating that it is near impossible to meet them.

Setlists under the cut!

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Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration

Back in 2000 I went to an outdoor concert and got really, really, really severely sunburned.  Since then, I always try to load up on the sunscreen when I go to outdoor shows or just outside in general. (Baseball games are another time I end up burnt.)

In my Influenster Vox Box there was some Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30.  It retails for $8.99 for a 6oz bottle and is available in SPF 12, 30 and 50. With its ultra-luxurious hydrating silk ribbons, Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration™ lotion sunscreen nourishes and pampers skin while providing broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, and 12-hour moisturization when out in the sun.

There was really no better place to try it out than Mixtape Festival – Day 2. (Day 1 had overcast and rain so I figured I’d be ok without it)  As soon as we sat down we loaded up on it.  In addition to being sunscreen, it is also a moisturizer and I definitely noticed that my skin was feeling softer throughout the day.  It didn’t really have a smell and wasn’t as greasy as some other sunscreens I have used in the past.

It was very bright and hot out, but I didn’t get burned at all.  In fact, the top of my knees (which ALWAYS end up burned for me) actually looked a bit tanner than they were before the show.  I definitely give the Silk Hydration two big thumbs up, and will be keeping the small bottle I received in my purse at all times to make sure I am always prepared for the sun!


I received a free sample of Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration in my Influenster VoxBox in order to try it out and post a review.

Book Review: Quest, Inc.


Quest Inc asks the question – Can You Buy a New Life?  Even after reading the book, I am not sure I can answer this question, but the book certainly makes you think about it.  It starts with Robert, who had the motto “flatten your fat” and was trying to help make America less obese.  Except that after getting recognition from the President he is now obese, losing his wife and home and not sure where to turn.
When he considers jumping off a building to commit suicide, he is reunited with Dr. Carter King, who was also recognized by the President on the campaign Robert was working on.
After helping Robert get back in to shape, Dr. King and the rest of the gang get back together and attempt to create a business to help transform people. Help you lose weight and get in to shape in 12 weeks, get off the streets, stop being racist, or how to not be nasty and become nice, etc.
Meanwhile, an investigative journalist is also following this new startup – Quest, Inc. and hoping that they fail so that she can write a great story exposing them for the frauds she believes that they are.
The group (I can’t decide if they are “the a-team” or “misfits”) quickly gets several clients and they all team up to help them in different aspects of their life.  Psychologically, Physically, Mentally… Some of the clients are obviously harder to help than others.  Some are there because it is their choice to make the change and others are there because their family or bosses want them to get help and change.
There are so many characters in this book, all with different personalities and quirks, I think that any reader would have no problem finding one (or more than one) that they can relate to.   I also liked how at the end, they met up with the journalist which led to them discussing the progress of everyone that they worked with throughout the book.  I thought that was a rather quick and simple way to catch not only the journalist but the readers up with what had happened with everyone without making the book longer than it needed to be to finish up their stories.  And the book was pretty short – only 174 pages, easy enough to read in 2 afternoons with it split up into 4 parts and each parts split up in to chapters.
Definitely recommended for anyone looking for a quick summer read! I am looking forward to the next!
I received a free e-book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated and all opinions are my own.
About the Book

The World’s #1 Personal Development Agency . . . has to prove it.

What if you brought together five top personal development experts—equipped with virtually everything we know about unleashing human potential—and gave them some lives to change? Could they really coach anyone to lose fifty pounds, fix a broken relationship, or get rich? What would they do for a homeless person, or a pro-golfer trailing at the back of her league? How about taking the racism out of a racist, or turning a hellish employee into a ray of sunshine?

Welcome to Quest, Inc. They say they can change your life. Now, as they’re followed by an investigative journalist from one of the world’s leading news publications, they have to prove it—or be damned as charlatans.

Based on real life peak performance and transformational strategies, you’ll see the highs and lows everyone faces on the road to self-realization—especially the experts. Get ready for breakthrough . . . or breakdown.

Excerpt Link (Chapter 1):

Justin Cohen’s Bio:

Justin Cohen is the author of four books and seven audiobooks. He produced and hosted a television talk show in which he interviewed some of the world’s top experts on success. As a leading authority on personal development, with an honors degree in Psychology, Justin speaks, trains and writes in the fields of motivation, sales, service and leadership. Having spoken professionally for nearly fourteen years, Justin has presented in twelve different countries, and in virtually every industry, to an average of ten thousand people annually.
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