Book Review: Daron’s Guitar Chronicles Volume 2

daron2Volume 2 of the guitar chronicles was about twice as long as volume 1. But I kind of liked it better that way (once I got over the fact that it meant it was over 400 pages).  I seemed to get hooked on this book a lot faster than the first and felt more immersed in the story.  I felt like I was sitting around with Daron and he was telling me this story about how his band was on the verge of getting signed, they had a new singer and found a drummer and they were on tour… and everything that comes along with it.  Once the band gets signed things really start moving, Daron is hooking up with the lead singer but doesn’t want the rest of the band to know that he is and isn’t sure that Ziggy can keep his secret.  But then their relationship seems to be losing their on stage chemistry and messing with Daron a bit.  Daron’s Dad comes back in the picture and although the 1st book had Daron trying to avoid him at all costs, he ends up hiring him to help out the band this time.  It was fun to follow the ride of M3 and everything behind the scenes from Daron’s point of view.  This book didn’t end with quite as much of a cliffhanger, but Volume 3 is out there and I am looking forward to getting back into Daron’s world some day soon!

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

About the Book

It’s the summer of 1987, and Daron Marks is trying to make it big. His band is starting to attract attention from major labels, which is good, but his own attention too often strays to the band’s lead singer, Ziggy. Daron already struggles with being gay, he doesn’t need a relationship with a band member to make things worse. He resolves to keep his crush a secret. But nothing stays a secret for very long in the white-hot spotlight of fame.

Volume 2 of Daron’s Guitar Chronicles encompasses over 80 chapters of the popular online serial (over 300 book pages), the most tumultuous year of Daron’s life yet.

Book Review: Dangerously Dark

darjkDangerously Dark is the second book in a series. I had previously read the first, Criminal Confections. The third, The Semisweet Hereafter is coming soon. After reading the first I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue with the series, but figured I’d give it another chance. Unfortunately it still fell flat for me.

In this book, Hayden is supposed to go meet her financial advisor whom she has a crush on based just on his voice.  But he ends up reminding her that instead she needs to go to Portland for her friend Carissa’s engagement party.  Then Carissa’s fiancé turns up dead. Everyone seems to think it was an accident, but since Hayden seems to stumble upon murders as a hobby now, she thinks he has been murdered and is trying to solve it.

Once again, I didn’t really like how everything just went along as normal in the book when people were dead. Although, I guess if you think it was an accident there’s no investigation needed… unless you’re Hayden.

Not sure I’ll stick around for book 3 in this series.

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

About the Book

Chocolate-whisperer Hayden Mundy Moore has just arrived in Portland, Oregon, where she’s about to scarf soufflés and sip cacao-based cocktails at her friend’s engagement party. Fresh from nabbing her first candy-covered killer, the last thing Hayden wants to do is mix her love of chocolate with criminal mischief again. But then the groom-to-be turns up dead before beginning his renowned Chocolate-After-Dark tour. . .

Hayden’s friends insist that Declan’s death was a freak accident, but she knows there’s no mistaking the bitter aftertaste of homicide. In the midst of habañero hot chocolate and mocha-chunk gelato, a choco-crazed killer waits to strike again. Hayden will need to use more than her extraordinarily gifted taste buds to bring this murderer to justice, but she just might have bitten off more than she can chew in the process.

Book Review: White House Kids

whitehouseWhite House Kids tells the story about the President’s children who have lived in the white house. It is sort of like a scrapbook with a lot of fun pictures and illustrations throughout.  I found the section on “white house firsts” to be interesting – I didn’t know that two President’s children married their first cousins… in the white house.  I also enjoyed the section on the “most daring stunts” that were done by the white house kids!  This was a very interesting book and while it is geared towards kids, I think that adults would enjoy it as well – whether they be presidential history buffs or just interested in learning more about the President’s kids!

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

About the book

Living in America’s most famous residence might seem glamorous at first–it’s the most fun place any kid could live! There’s a bowling alley in the basement, chefs are always available to prepare whatever you’re craving, and sometimes presidential aides will even help you with your homework! But life isn’t always easy for the youngsters who call the White House home. They’re always in the spotlight, and those pesky Secret Service agents are always around. For every perk, there’s a problem. From Washington to Obama, see the White House through the eyes of the children and grandchildren. Filled with wacky, weird, and wonderful stories, it shows what it’s like to call the president Dad (or Granddad or Uncle). Find out what schools they went to, what mischief they caused, and what pets they had. There are first-person accounts from letters and interviews, fascinating photos, original illustrations, and even a section that follows the children after they left the White House.

Book Review: Wake Up Happy


Wake Up Happy is a book by former NFL star and current co host of Live with Kelly and Michael, Michael Strahan. Each chapter of the book starts with one of Michael’s “Rules” and then that chapter goes on to tell a bit about himself in relation to the rule and some cases where the rule worked for him or maybe how he learned to make it one of his rules.  In addition to being an autobiography it is also a bit of a self help book in helping your achieve your goals like Michael has.

His brothers used to call him “BOB” when he was little – which stood for “booty on back” because he was heavy.  Once Michael found out that is what it stood for and his brothers were teasing him, he worked hard to lose weight.  He grew up in Germany but ended up going to school in Texas and then was drafted by the Giants. Where he was terrified to leave his hotel room in NYC.

The book has a lot of great tips and information. One thing that stuck with me as that by the time you go to bed each day, you have made 35000 decisions that day.  I found this number to be crazy, but considering how often I spend deciding what book to read or if I should write a review or nap –  I guess it makes sense.  A lot of the decisions you are making you don’t even realize you are making them!

You don’t have to be a fan of Michael to read this book and gain from it.  His rules work for all walks of life, whether you are trying to get a promotion or want to follow his footsteps and play in the NFL.

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

About the Book

From America’s favorite football player turned morning talk show host—a man who makes just about everything look easy—a mélange of stories and motivational advice to inspire the reader to turn up the heat and go from good to great in pursuit of their personal ambitions.

Michael Strahan spent his childhood on a military base in Europe, where community meant everything, and life, though idyllic, was different. For one, when people referenced football they meant soccer. So when Michael’s father suggested he work toward a college scholarship by playing football in Texas, where tens of thousands of people show up for a weekend game, the odds were long. Yet he did, indeed, land a scholarship and from there a draft into the NFL where he scaled the league’s heights, broke records, and helped his team win the Super Bowl as a result of which he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. How? By developing “Strahan’s Rules”—a mix of mental discipline, positive thinking, and a sense of play. He also used the Rules to forge a successful post pro-ball career as cohost with Kelly Ripa on Live!—a position for which he was considered the longshot—and much more.

In Wake Up Happy, Michael shares personal stories about how he gets and stays motivated and how readers can do the same in their quest to attain their life goals.

Here are a few of “Strahan’s Rules”:

1) Listen to other people, but don’t take their opinions for fact. Have your own experiences. Draw your own conclusions.

2) You can’t change other people but you can change how you act around them. Usually, that’s more than enough.

3) Don’t pre-judge. Help can—and will—come from the most unexpected places. Be open to everything around you.

Inspiring and chock full of advice that will help the reader make significant strides toward pursuing his or her dream, Wake Up Happy is a book no one, young or old, male or female will want to miss.

Product Review: My Crafts Self Healing Cutting Mat


As you probably know if you frequent this blog, I am a scrapbooker.  I find I never have enough space with a cutting mat, especially when I am working on my own diecuts and need to clean them up a bit when they don’t cut properly for whatever reason.  Now I have a new self healing mat to use which should make sure I have enough space for my next group of projects!  After you cut the mat, it seals back up so that the surface doesn’t get messed up from cutting it with a knife or any other sharp objects.  You can also flip the mat over once one side seems to have run its course for DOUBLE the lifetime of the mat!  It is a pretty blue and it has a bunch of different gridlines and angles marked out on it to help with measuring.  The mat is 11×17 inches so it will fit a 12×12 scrapbook page almost entirely in the middle of it.


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


Product Review: Activated Charcoal Shoe Odor Eliminator

Recently I had the chance to try out some of Sagano’s Activated Charcoal Shoe Odor Eliminators.  Activated charcoal is a highly porous deodorizing material that has a powerful ability to attract, absorb and remove not only unpleasant smells but also other impurities in the air. So you will not only get rid of stink, you’ll also improve air quality!

In addition to deodorizing shoes, it can also be used anywhere that there may be moisture that is the cause of the odor – shoes, gloves, gym bags, boots, luggage, etc.
MADE FROM ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS: This shoe odor remover is made from pure Activated Charcoal. It’s free from chemicals and other harmful ingredients.
100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE: If you’re not fully satisfied with the results of this product, you may return your item and we’ll give you a refund with no questions asked! So click on the “Add to Cart” button now and start wearing cleaner, fresher shoes every time!

There is a slight scent to these odor eliminators, but it is much more neutral than whatever smells you are trying to get rid of by using them! I put them in my shoes overnight and have noticed a difference even after just one night of using them!

I received a product in exchange for this review.

Hanson New Orleans

My second set of shows on Hanson’s Roots & Rock N Roll tour was in New Orleans, LA.  I woke up at 2am, headed to the airport and got to New Orleans about 11am.  Tara picked me up and then we waited for Rachel to land about an hour after me and then we headed to the hotel, which fortunately let us check in early.

We did some shopping, exploring and eating before the show both days.  Night 1 was Zac’s birthday show so we knew we would be in for at least some cake.  During the last song of Paul McDonald’s set, Carrick joined him on stage and next thing I knew all of Hanson was on stage too for “Renegade” (Check out my youtube for video!)

When Hanson first took the stage they sang happy birthday to Zac and mixed up the setlist a bit by starting with “Teach Your Children” – this wasn’t a new song for my never before heard list, but it was the first time it had been done on this tour and it had been a while since they had done it live. (It was a bit of a staple in 2003, and only came up a few times since then in setlists)

The rest of the setlist, for the most part, was the same as in New York City.  But they did add a totally new cover to the list – Leon Russell’s “Delta Lady”.  I ended up trying to google what they were singing to figure it out and when I saw Leon Russell’s name I figured that had to be it – and Isaac confirmed after the song by mentioning it was a Leon song!

After Zac’s “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”, Taylor went and got a cake that had candles for “30” on it.  Zac sang happy birthday to himself and then smashed his own face in the cake because then he’d get to eat it all himself. It was cheesecake.  He also mentioned if you licked him, he’d taste like cheesecake.

Then it was time for the after party.  I thought Zac may show up to have a bit of a birthday party with us all, but I only saw him sneaking around on the balcony.  We ended up leaving before it was over to head back to the hotel.

Day 2 Hanson took a 1 mile walk with concert goers in the afternoon.  I worked at the registration table and got to talk to Zac a bit after the walk about how hot, humid and muggy it was and mardi gras beads. We had 172 walkers.

The second show had a similar setlist as well, but Taylor did Love Me as his solo which is probably my favorite Taylor solo so I was excited about that.  They also did Yearbook (again) which features my name so my 2 friends in front of me on the balcony turned around and made sad faces at me!

Afterwards, we decided to wait by the bus. Zac came out, but there were too many people for us to get near him. About an hour later Isaac came out and we moved to a spot to get a photo with him and decided to leave.  Taylor ended up coming out about an hour after that, but since we decided to leave for Dallas at 4am because of the hurricane coming we decided not to bother sticking around.

Setlists under the cut. Pictures coming soon.

Read More

Love with Food Box – September


It’s that time again, when everyone’s buckling down for a new school year and in need of some serious brain food. The September box has you covered, so get cracking on snacking! And while you’re savoring that gift of knowledge, be proud to know that every Love with Food box helps fight hunger. Extra credit, anyone?

Adult Complete Vitamin Pack by Smarty Pants
Who said only kids can get away with gummy vitamins? These fruity bites have good enough stuff like Omega 3s and fiber to please any doctor.

I’ve been taking gummy vitamins for a while, but these are a lot more tasty and look like gum drops! Can’t beat that!

They come in vegan as well. The Green Forks has some great picks for vegan gummy bears.

Sea Salt Caramel Apple Granola by Bear Naked
This stuff tastes like it belongs on a decadent dessert – but with whole grain oats, it’s great brain food combined with apple-y goodness.

This was really good! Tasted like apple pie and is definitely something I’d have again and again as a snack.

Mini Peanut Butter Clutter by JimmyBar!
This bar’s got all the yummy peanut butter flavor kids love in an after-school snack, without the bad stuff like added sugar or preservatives.

I was a bit hesitant to try this because it had dates in it but curiosity soon got the better of me since I love peanut butter and I was pleasantly surprised with how good it was!

Cookie Thins by Mrs. Thinster’s
What’s more comforting after a long school day than cookies? With no GMOs or artificial flavors, this is one crispy treat you can feel good about!

These were cake flavored cookies and you really can not get any better than that as a snack.

Gluten Free Original Mini Pretzel Crisps by Snack Factory
All the crunchy, salty goodness of pretzels minus the gluten. Perfect for stashing in a backpack for recess or munching on while tackling math homework.

These were really good. Thin pretzels and very yummy.

Cheddar N’ Stuff Super Crackers by Funley’s Delicious
These bites are deliciously cheesy and packed with vitamin D and calcium – and your kids won’t even realize they’re eating broccoli too. A+ snacking.

The packaging SAYS you’re eating broccoli too which is why I was hesitant to try them. But they were good and you really can’t taste the broccoli but there are little green specks in the orange which reminded me with every one there was broccoli in it. I know, I need to grow up.

Snapea Crisps by Harvest Snaps
Yes, they’re veggies. But the kids won’t even care after tasting these salty, crunchy, fresh bites. Keep ’em in the glove compartment for the carpool!

These were in a past box as well. They are really good and don’t seem like you’re eating veggies at all!

Fruit Snacks by Yumearth Organics
These will make the kids think they’re getting one over on you at snacktime – except they’re actually made with natural flavors and no gluten! Surprise!

These were supposed to have several flavors including banana – which i was most looking forward to, but all I seemed to have in my bag were peach and a couple strawberry. Bummer. Guess I’ll just have to buy more 😉

Best Places to Listen to Music on the Go

Best Places to Listen to Music on the Go

Grooveshark ranked as one of the best music streaming services in the world and had millions of fans when the company shut down. Whether you were a fan of that company or not, you can still listen to your favorite tunes while on the go. Though some people run YouTube in the background and listen to music while at work, those videos may make your tablet, smartphone or computer run too slowly. Check out apps that let you listen to all your favorite singers from nearly any device you own.


Apple fans know all about iTunes. This music and video program lets you save, play and share both music and videos from any device. Once you download the music player, you can request that it go through your device, find any files you have that it can use and upload those files into the cloud. You can then download the songs you want specifically on your device, and iTunes will keep your other music in the cloud. This lets you log in from any equipped device and download more songs, and you can buy songs, entire records, television shows and movies from iTunes too.

Google Music Player

Though Apple has millions of fans, there are a large number of people who prefer Android devices. The Google Music Player offers all the benefits of iTunes but for those who don’t want to download the software and those who do not own Apple devices. With the Google Music Player, you can shop the site and buy individual songs or complete albums from all your favorite artists, but you can also upload your own music too. Google lets you create your own playlists too for working out, falling asleep at night, sharing with friends and for anything else you want.


Spotify is quite possibly the largest and most popular of all music streaming apps. Though it does have better benefits for paid members, you can sign up for a free account and take advantage of some of its benefits. Spotify has more than 50 million users from around the world and has more than 10 million songs available at any given time. This is one of the few apps that lets you decide on your mood and listen to music based on your current mood. Spotify will find songs for you based on what others submitted.

Nokia MixRadio

If you have a Nokia phone, you’re only minutes away from listening to songs from all your favorite artists, including Don Burns, Elvis Presley and Taylor Swift. This app plays music based on the artists you like. You include a list of artists, and the app will stream music from those artists and similar artists right to your phone. You can even create multiple playlists based on different genres, eliminate songs you don’t like and skip songs. With apps like iTunes and Nokia MixRadio, you can listen to your favorite music anywhere you go.

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