2015 Year in Review

Most expensive show:
As it has been for the past 3 years – Hanson Back to the Island event.  Not including BTTI, NKOTB was $124.

Least (not free) expensive show:
Jon McLaughlin was $33 and the least expensive ticket of the year

Free shows:
80s Extravaganza, Hanson (x2), Counting Crows, Tony Lucca, All 4 One, Sugar Ray

# artists seen: 86
# unique artists seen: 42
# shows seen in CT:   19
# of shows out of state: 27

Show farthest away: Hanson in Morrison, CO
Closest show:   Lee DeWyze, Stephen Kellogg or Jon McLaughlin in Fairfield
$$ spent on tickets:   $2,923.48
Miles traveled: 8,603.10

Top 6 shows of the year?
Zacs Birthday show in New Orleans
Hanson/Blues Traveler at Red Rocks
Hanson’s BTTI Christmas set
Isaac’s solo set at BTTI
David Cook Infinity Hall
Nick Jonas at Mohegan

Total number of shows in 2015? 46

First show of the year?
Hanson in Cancun

First show with actual tickets:
80s Extravaganza

Last show of the year?
TIC Christmas Show

Most surprising show?
Hanson at Red Rocks – JC CHASEZ!

Most disappointing?
Pentatonix at Oakdale or KTUphoria

Farthest traveled?
1,984 miles to Colorado

States attended shows in?
Mexico, CT, OK, NY, CO, LA, TX

Venue most visited?
Mohegan Sun Arena – 8 shows

Band seen the most?
Hanson – 12 times

Best new discovery?
Culture Club – even though they’re not quite “new” ha

Bands seen this year that also broke up this year?
I think for once I have no answer to this!

Friends made at shows?
Made a bunch of friends at the Hanson shows this year!

Band members met?
Hanson x2, David Cook x2, Adam Lambert, Kelly Clarkson, Jason DeRulo, Tony Lucca, Paul McDonald, Andrew Ripp, Zac Hanson, Isaac Hanson, Jon McLaughlin

Best souvenir from a show?
I got a pick at the Red Rocks show

Longest time in line?
I really didn’t spend too much time in line for any show. Probably Hanson in New Orleans the 2nd night?

Shows seen from the barricade [front row]–
Hanson in Cancun, NKOTB (kind of), Tony Lucca

Most shows in one month?
January – 5
February – 2
March – 1
April – 1
May – 4
June – 1
July – 4
August – 2
September – 4 (and all at Mohegan Sun!)
October – 6
November – 3
December  –  1

October wins!

Most shows in one week?
Back To The Island was 5.  I also did 4 Hanson shows back-to-back-to-back-to-back

Biggest crowd?
I think Jones Beach was probably the most – KTUphoria

Any drunk encounters?
None that stick out… was a funny drunk guy in front of me for part of the TIC Christmas show… dancing with his pretzel… lol


Throwback Thursday: Hanson 3/1/07

Headliner: Hanson
Opener(s):  April Smith and the Great Picture Show
Venue: Starland Ballroom Sayreville, NJ
Cost: $27


Been There Before
One More

Great Divide
Been There Before
Lost Without Eachother
This Time Around
Your Illusion
One More
Dying To Be alive
Ive Been Down
Blue Sky
Wheres The Love
Running Man
Penny and Me
Rock N Roll Razorblade
Something Going Round
Watch Over Me
Tearing It Down


Before this show Hanson did a Members Only Event with a couple of songs performed and a Q&A. We also got to stay inside after that to get a prime spot for the show.  We opted to go to the side of the stage and I remember being really annoyed that their backup musician was in the way a lot! These were preview shows before the Walk was actually released, if I am remembering correctly – although it may have been in out in Japan already because before the show my friend and I had decided that we knew they’d start with Great Divide.




Product Review: Medium Sized Luggage Organizer #packingcubes

It’s no secret that I travel a decent amount.  And with checking luggage usually running about $50 extra per trip, I try to travel with carry-ons only as often as I can.  With my next trip happening next week, I have been trying to see if I can manage to fit a weeks worth of clothes into just a backpack.  The jury is still out as my bed is now a mess of clothes and packing cubes, but I have added a new medium sized cube to my collection.

Previously I had tried large cubes – but they ended up taking up almost all of my carry on space for just one of them. (They work great if I am checking luggage though!) I have also tried slim cubes which I did like and a small cube as well.  But the medium seems to be the perfect size and I’m kind of bummed I will only have one for this trip – but I will make it work!

The cube is 13.5″ x 9.75″ x 3″.  I can easily fit 2-3 days worth of clothes in it, if not more if I really try.  It also has a strap on it and can be used on its own as an overnight bag or as a caddy to fit all your toiletries in.  It would also work great for a dirty clothes holder once you are unpacked at your location – to keep everything dirty separated from the clean.

These bags can be used to easily organize your stuff – put an outfit or two in each bag and only pull out what you need each day rather than rummaging through everything every morning and making a mess of your clothes.

They come in different colors – this particular Dot&Dot bag is offered in Dark Blue, Green, Gray, Light Blue, Pink, Purple or Red.  Color coordinate so all of yours are the same, use different colors for different days or different colors for different members of the family to help keep things organized!

The bags minimize wrinkles on your clothes so you’ll still be looking good. And they maximize luggage space by holding everything tightly together.  Once the bag is zippered you don’t have to worry about your clothes unfolding or unrolling and taking up extra space like they might without the cubes.

I am a packing cube believer and if you try them out too, I think you will be as well.  Check them out at Amazon.

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

Book Review: Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays

hollywoodHollywood Celebrates the Holiday is a compilation of many images from the silent era of movies all the way through the 1970s of celebrities dressed up and celebrating various holidays. It starts with the New Year and works its way through the year with Easter, Halloween, Christmas, among other holidays.  I have to say my favorite was the Little Rascals photo celebrating Valentine’s Day!

Many of the stars I recognized and many I didnt, but thankfully there are great captions explaining who everyone is and even an index at the end in case I want to look up anyone in particular once I flipped through it once!

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

About the Book

Marvelously illustrated with more than 200 rare images from the silent era through the 1970s, this joyous treasure trove features film and television’s most famous actors and actresses celebrating the holidays, big and small, in lavishly produced photographs. Join the stars for festive fun in celebrating a variety of holidays, from New Year’s to Saint Patrick’s Day to Christmas and everything in between. Legends such as Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Crawford, Judy Garland, and Audrey Hepburn spread holiday cheer throughout the calendar year in iconic, ironic, and illustrious style. These images, taken by legendary stills photographers, hearken back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, when motion picture studios devised elaborate publicity campaigns to promote their stars and to keep their names and faces in front of the movie-going public all year round.

Does a band owe their fans?

Just what is a fan owed? If they buy a CD they should get a CD in which the artist gave their all to put it together. If they buy a concert ticket they should get a kick ass performance. If they buy a VIP pass they should get a little more time and attention from their favorites.  If they are devoting their hard earned money and precious time by being a fan, they should get at least a decent effort put forth from their favorite artist in return.

I do think that fans in the following case are owed at least an explanation, but you may not.  (And you’re probably the type of person who thinks it is ok to just ignore your girlfriend/boyfriend to break up with her/him.) I’m not going to name any names, but if you read the blog regularly or know me you may be able to figure out who I am talking about.

Back in May 2014 a band put together a crowd funding campaign in order to fund their new record.  I love these types of things because it allows a lot of bands and artists to release albums they otherwise wouldn’t be able to without a label backing them.  They often offer fun “rewards” to the fans as a thank you for backing the project and allows for a lot of different ways for fans and bands to interact.

In this case – the band promised a full length album recorded in thirds.  They toured to promote the first third. They released the first third. And then they seemed to go into hiding.  While some fans did get their rewards, others forked over large sums of money to be “VIP for life” and other such experiences that needed to happen when the band toured – and then the band opened for another group on a limited run and that was it.  $400 for ‘VIP for Life’ that ended up working itself out to maybe one ticket? Assuming any of the shows on this run were even close enough for you to attend?

When fans started getting up in arms about the band seemingly disappearing off the face of the earth, and their rewards not being fulfilled,  the second part of the album was released – with one song not even having lyrics, making it seem like it was half-assed just to release something to get the fans to back down.

It seems apparent that the band is no longer – each of them are clearly doing their own thing.  Emails asking about refunds are ignored. The crowd funding site is simply asking them to post an update and tells fans that they have to take legal action in order to get their money back.  Many fans are wondering “are you even still a band?”  Shouldn’t we at least be told if it is over? Be allowed to get some closure?  Some of these fans have invested a lot of money and time and effort into this band over the years.  Some of them invested a lot of money into this crowd funding project and came up empty handed.  Shouldn’t they at least be given an explanation of what their money went towards if not the album and touring to support it? Offered a compromise if the money was spent and they can’t give them a refund? Right now it seems like the money went towards trips to Disney World or helping to manage another artist – certainly not an album or a tour like they were promised.

This is a case of “buyer beware” and also a warning not to get too invested in bands because they will inevitably end up breaking your heart. (A lesson I will never seem to learn.)

Love With Food Box : November


It’s no surprise that November’s Love with Food Box was all about being Thankful! And Thank-full.  There’s so much to be thankful for this month: Fall weather, reunions with family, and most importantly delicious food. Love with Food is here with enough scrumptious snacks to make every day feel like Thanksgiving. Need another reason to be thank-full? Every box sold donates meals to food banks around the country!

Sesame Tocchetti by Bello Rustico
Start of off the holiday on a high note with these crunchy, rich bready bites made in italy and just begging to be paired with a glass of wine.

Not a wine drinker, but sure enjoyed these as a snack

Tea Sachets by David’s Tea
Nothing screams fall more than a warm cup of soothing tea. Go ahead and steal a few moments to relax and sip. Holidays are stressful, you deserve it.

Haven’t tried these teas yet!

Milk Chocolate Squares by Chocolaterie Monbana
Sometimes a little sweetness is the perfect reminder that life is good. And these brightly wrapped bites of delicious are perfect for the job.

This was the first snack I tried.  Who can say no to chocolate?

Dark Chocolate Squares by Chocolaterie Monbana
Everyone has a little dark side, and these morsels are just the thing for it. But they’re so good, you just might end up sharing with everyone.

I preferred the milk to dark, but still good!

Honey Graham Sticks by Back to Nature
These cookies will bring back all those childhood memories, and the touch of honey will have you back for more – despite the Thanksgiving food coma.

I was expecting these to taste a bit different, but they were still good even though they didn’t live up to my expectations.

“Dirty” Sweet Potato Chips by Dirty Potato Chips
These are no ordinary potato chips. A perfect balance of crunchy, sweet and salty that will instantly make you the star of the holiday season.

Probably the most Thanksgiving-y of the bunch, these chips were delicious!

Raspberry Trufflecremes in Milk Chocolate No. 30 by Dilettante Chocolates
In this season of being thankful, sometimes you still need a moment for yourself. So unwrap this little morsel of indulgence to keep you grounded

This was my #2 pick in the box – i love raspberry and love chocolate and thought these were a great combination!

Salted Caramel Brownie Brittle by Sheila G’s
A treat made for Thanksgiving, because it’s made for sharing. Salty-sweet with a chocolate-y crunch…hey, we never said the sharing thing would be easy.

I’ve had these once before in a box and enjoyed them once again.  But I did not share!

Biscoff by Lotus Bakeries
Crunchy, Rich, with just the right bit of sweet. The perrfect cookie to pair with a cup of coffee at the end of a long, delicious meal with family.

These were also a really great snack that I enjoyed!

Bonus Item: Turbinado Natural Cane Sugar by Maui Brand
Tip: Add a pinch of this to a warm mug of David’s Tea (any flavor will do) on a rainy day to remember why you’re so thankful fall is finally here.

I didn’t use this with tea, but I did like the sugar. Nice big chunks and a great addition to my iced-tea!

Music Monday: Selena Gomez Revival


Kill Em With Kindness
Hands To Myself
Same Old Love
Good For You (feat ASAP Rocky)
Me & the Rhythm
Body Heat

Revival is the latest release from former Disney starlet Selena Gomez. I have to say I was expecting more from this album. It got off to a really slow start and I really didn’t start getting into it until “Me and The Rhythm” – that and “Body Heat” are probably my 2 faves on the CD.  Same Old Love and Good For You also caught my attention but that is probably just because I hear them so often on the radio.  I have to say I was expecting a bit more from this album but I can see a few tracks making it into a playlist or two.  Not sure I’ll be listening to it as a whole all that often though!

Book Review: Caillou and the Big Bully

bullyIn Caillou and The Big Bully, Caillou doesn’t want to go to daycare.  Mommy says he has to.  When he gets home, he is mean to Rosie.  Mommy and Daddy know that something is going on.  Caillou finally tells him that Theo at daycare is too big for him and is mean.  Daddy teaches Caillou how to stand up for himself.  The next time Theo tries to push him around, Caillou tells him to stop, and Theo does.  The daycare teacher also tells Theo to be polite and gentle with the other kids at daycare.

This is the only book of the Caillou series that I had read that actually seemed to teach a good lesson.  Although, I’m not sure why the daycare teacher took until Caillou stood up to Theo to tell Theo to be nicer.  But  I guess he was doing all this to Caillou behind her back.

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

About the Book

Caillou is bullied at day care by a much bigger and stronger boy named Theo. Sometimes Theo uses his strength to get what he wants. Caillou is afraid of him. In this story, Caillou learns to stand up for himself and say no to bullying.

Bullying can start at a very young age and early interventions will help victimized children to feel supported and to stand up.

In this series, children will go hand in hand with Caillou to navigate their way successfully through various key developmental experiences of childhood. All books are written in consultation with early childhood specialist to ensure content accuracy.

Book Review: Caillou: The School Bus

busIn Caillou and the School Bus, Caillou sees the other kids getting on the bus and wants to know when it will be his turn.  Daddy tells him that he has to wait 1 more birthday before he can ride the school bus, but the next day they can wait for the bus to check it out.  When Caillou meets the bus driver, Mr Washington, he says that he will check with his boss to see if it is ok to take Caillou for a ride the next day.  Caillou can’t wait! He draws a picture of the bus.  The next day, Mr Washington takes Caillou on a ride to the school and then back home to see Daddy.  Caillou is so excited!

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

About the Book

Caillou’s friend, Sarah, gets on the big, yellow school bus every morning, but Caillou has to wait a little longer before he goes to school. He just can’t wait to ride the school bus.

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