Music Monday: Carrie Underwood Storyteller


Renegade Runaway
Dirty Laundry
Church Bells
Smoke Break
Choctaw County Affair
Like I’ll Never Love You Again
The Girl You Think I Am
What I Never Knew I Always Wanted
Heartbeat (Stripped)
Little Girl Don’t Grow Up Too Fast

Storyteller is the fifth studio album from American Idol winner Carrie Underwood. It was released in October of 2015. This album comes across as more “country” than some of her other tracks, at least to me.  The album has been doing really well on the charts and got Carrie some records – She is the only country artist in history to have all of her studio albums debut at number 1 or 2! She is also the only artist to score six consecutive number one albums on the Top Country Albums chart.

The album kicks off with a great track – Renegade Runaway and the others all follow suit.  I think that my favorite tracks are Renegade Runaway and surprisingly enough, Choctaw County Affair which is probably one of the more ‘country’ tracks on the album… There have been 2 singles released off the album so far, Smoke Break, which I’m not really all that fond of and Heartbeat which is featured on the album with 2 different versions – one as a bonus track.

Product Review: Hybrid Hip Leather Fanny Pack

The Hybrid Hip Leather Fanny Pack comes in 2 colors, Brown and Black.  It is easy to keep all your essentials within easy reach while keeping your hands free.  The pack is made using supple, full-grain leather to construct a sturdy 3-compartment waist bag. The roomy top-opening is great for holding travel documents, iPhone, USB cables and earbuds, safely and securely with zipper closure.  There are two smaller front pouches, one with zipper closer and one with a toggle fastener. My camera fits easily in either of these pouches but my phone (Galaxy S5) fits but cannot zip or toggle close.  Most of the time I want easy access to it anyway, so having the pouch unzipped is not a problem and if I want to keep it more secure it fits easily in the larger zipper pouch.  All of the pouches are easy to open with just one hand which is great since I’ve been using a cane a lot as of late and typically only have 1 free hand available.

The belt of the pack is fully-adjustable fitting waist sizes from 30-40 inches.  I had no problem easily adjusting it to perfectly fit on my waist in a way I felt was comfortable. It is made in black to compliment motorcycle accessories or brown to compliment horse riding accessories.

I received a free fanny pack in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

Book Review: Bases Loaded

basesloadedBases Loaded is a collection of baseball erotica stories.  The book is only about 100 pages so there are several short stories in them – which are my favorite.  There are a variety of different styles of stories, the only common theme is baseball. There are gay and straight stories included as well.  I really liked the collection, though of course there were a few stories I liked more than others.  I think if you like baseball and you like to read erotica it will be hard to not find at least one story in this collection that you enjoy! (And most likely there will be more)

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

About the Book

Bases are loaded and there’s potential for multiple homeruns in this sexy collection of Baseball erotica!

Bases Loaded compiles twelve seriously sexy short stories that will have you rooting for the happy ending, even if you are not a baseball fan like the editor.

All of the authors in this anthology have a unique take on the game and the hit players, which is guaranteed to make you want to go up to bat!

So go ahead, you’re up and the bases are loaded!

Featuring stories by: L. Maretta, Malin James, C.P. McClennan, Yolanda Shoshanda, Robin Juliet, Rosalía Zizzo, Nicole Wilder, Thomma Finland, Vita Perez, Tomio Hall-Black, Lexi Hayes and Oleander Plume

Book Review: Crochet Stories Grimms’ Fairy Tales

grimmAnother Crochet book in which I wish I knew how to crochet.  This one features some of your favorite characters from Grimms’ Fairy Tales.   As with most craft books, this one starts out with some notes, tips and abbreviations so you understand what is going on in the rest of the book.   The first pattern is an easy pattern known as the “Basic Person” which will get you started on any of the person characters in the book.  Each project has a list of all the things you need and is broken down by The Yarn, The Hook, Additional Materials, Measurements and Gauge.  There is the skill level, a photo of the finished product and a break down of the steps to create it.  The rest of the book is broken down by each of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales beginning with a photo of a scene that you can create and then the story. Included are Hansel and Gretel, THe Hare and the Hedgehog, Jack and the beanstalk (The giant looks a bit like Hagrid if you decide to try and make some Harry Potter characters too!), Tom Thumb and Rapunzel.

I think my personal favorites are the house from Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel and her tower and the hedgehogs! Now, if only I could learn how to crochet.  Maybe that’s something for the 2017 crafty to-do list.  2016 has enough on there as it is 😉

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

About the Book

Practitioners of amigurumi, the Japanese art of crocheting stuffed dolls, will adore this collection of sixteen playful patterns for fairy tale figures. Projects include the witch and the gingerbread house as well as the hero and heroine of “Hansel and Gretel”; the giant and the golden goose’s eggs of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” in addition to the beanstalk and Jack himself; the long-haired captive of “Rapunzel,” her lonely tower, and her rescuer, the prince; the animals of “The Hare and the Hedgehog” plus a juicy carrot; and the wee subject of “Tom Thumb” and his cow.
Clear instructions for creating the characters are accompanied by color photos of the finished products along with charming retellings of all five fairy tales. An introductory chapter offers general notes and tips, including pointers on working in the round, stuffing, measurements, and finishing.

Book Review: Sounds Like Teen Spirit

teenspiritSounds Like Teen Spirit is a book made up of Stolen Melodies, Ripped-Off Riffs and the Secret History of Rock and Roll.  This is the updated version for 2016. There is new music, old music and even entire sections devoted to Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Rod Stewart!  This book examines songs that sound like songs that came before them.  While Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines was a hot topic more recently, this type of thing has been going on pretty much since the dawn of music. The author notes that this book is meant to be an interactive experience and suggests that you listen to the tracks presented to see the similarities for yourself.  This was how I had intended to go through the book as a lot of times I don’t hear the similarities in songs until they are pointed out to me. (Stay With Me / I Won’t Back Down I never heard initially which my brother found to be ridiculous because he picked up on it right away.)

The first part of the book, new music, has a case of “Katie isn’t paying enough attention at all” in mentioning that Rixton’s “Me and My Broken Heart” sounds like Rob Thomas’s “Lonely No More”, to the point that they gave Rob songwriting credits on the track.

Most of the tracks throughout the book I either am familiar with one or the other mentioned, but rarely both.  Thankfully, most of these were available on YouTube for me to give a listen to see what I thought. It was fun how some of the songs within a couple seconds I could hear the similarities and others it took listening to the entire song sometimes more than once before I caught the similar melodies.

I think my favorite section was towards the end – they stole from themselves. When Paul McCartney songs sounds like Beatles tunes and songs from The Knack sound like… songs from The Knack?  Can you really steal from yourself?

Definitely one of the more interesting music related books that I have read as of late! Worth checking out!

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

About the Book

This 2016 edition of Sounds Like Teen Spirit provides hundreds of pairings of songs that appear to have “borrowed” their melodies from earlier songs. Readers will discover the music that influnced the songs of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and many more.

Sounds Like Teen Spirit covers recent plagirism cases involveing Robin Thicke, Sam Smith and Coldplay as well as famous cases such as when George Harrison was sued over his song “My Sweet Lord” by the publishers of the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine”

Readers will never hear the familiar songs in quite the same way after reading Sounds Like Teen Spirit. For example, the Doors’ “Hello I Love You” has the same melody and the Kinks’ “All Day and All Night,” and the riff that powered Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a variation on the guitar riff from Boston’s “More than a Feeling.”

Sounds Like Teen Spirit explains that creative artists are influenced by a wide and often surprising range of sources. For instance, John Lennon’s song “Imagine” may have have been influenced by a novelty song that his father recorded to cash in on his son’s fame, and Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier” contains the melody from “The Banana Splits Theme!”


Book Review: Grumpy Cat Volume 1

grumpycatThe Misadventures of Grumpy Cat (and Pokey!) is a comic containing 11 stories about everyone’s favorite internet cat, Grumpy Cat.  I usually try to stay away from comics, but something about Grumpy Cat made me have to check this book out.   Pokey seems to be looking for more fun everywhere and Grumpy cat just could not care less.  However, throughout the book the two of them get in all sorts of predicaments.  There is even some bonus material at the end of the book.  It’s hard to pick which of the stories was my favorite, because Grumpy and Pokey are just too cute and I loved seeing them on the screen.


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


About the Book

Dynamite proudly presents the comic book misadventures of Grumpy Cat, featuring “The World’s Grumpiest Cat” and her brother, Pokey! With her ever-present pout and sassy disposition, Grumpy Cat has won the hearts of people everywhere. Now, her unbearable cuteness and infectious sourpuss are featured in an all-new, all-sensational collection of comic stories, sure to make fans of all ages laugh! If you love the memes, the videos, and that irresistible scowl, then get ready for the wildly fun antics of Grumpy Cat and Pokey!

Love With Food Box January


It’s a near year, which means a new chance to live your best life and what better way to start than with a little kindness? Pass this month’s Love with Food box around with friends and family – it’s sure to be a hit! And don’t forget: You’ve already gotten some good karma for the year, because every box sold donates at least one meal to food bands around the U.S.

Corn and Sea Salt Chips by The Better Chip
Who knew a chip so simple would be so addictively delicious. The perfect partner for salsa or queso, although you’ll love them on their own.

These were really good, I ate them on their own but boy oh boy would they be great as nachos!

Mini Chocolates by Ritter Sport
The only thing wrong with these bites of chocolate-wrapped heaven? We use only the best wrappings from Roberts Technology Group. You’ll always be left wanting another. Or three.

This was good and I did wish I had more.

Handmade Sea Salt Caramel by Annie B’s
Ready for a candy that packs an irresistible taste, no GMOs and organic ingredients into one bite? The wait is over.

Very good. But what caramel isn’t?

Hard Candies by Goorganic
Ready for a candy that packs an irresistible taste, no GMOs and organic ingredients into one bite? The wait is over.

These were cherry and pretty good!

Granola Cookie 2 pack by Nothin’ But Foods
The kids will think they’re pulling one over on you. You’ll know they’re eating oats, nuts and all the good-for-you stuff they THINK they don’t like. It’s the best way to buy gluten-free oats in Australia for kids that are picky eaters.

Don’t like the good for you stuff so Mom tried this and said it was delicious!

Original Premium Smoked Pork Snack Stick by Dimario Foods
If you think this is smoky, salty, scrumptious stuff is going to be like the boring jerky you’re used to, you’ve got another thing coming.

I really liked this !

Mini Wafers by Loacker
Light and indulgent at the same time – the perfect dessert to pair with a cup of coffee, although you’ll probably go back for more.

These were good… and I did want more!

Tomato & Onion Bruschetta by Dipin
Tired of mindlessly munching on the same boring old crackers? Easy fix. Just dip them in this flavorful Mediterranean dip and be amazed.

This was the only item I had not yet tried as of writing.


Idol Thoughts -Top 24 Week 2


This past week we got to see the second half of American Idol’s Top 24 perform. Same as previous, Wednesday night was a solo performance and Thursday night 6 former Idol contestants came back to do duets – David Cook, Chris Daughtry, Jordin Sparks, Kellie Pickler, Constantine Maroulis and Haley Reinhart.  Once again I was excited for the duets because David, Jordin and Haley are just a few of my favorite idols. (Although Chris and Constantine are probably a few of my least favorites.) While the previous week had all winners except 1, this week was only 2 winners.

Once again the duet songs were based on songs that the past idols had done on the show or released as singles.  It seemed that the current contestants had to pick from that as their criteria.

Some thoughts… based on Wednesday night’s order.

Shelbie Z kicked off the show – I thought that she was a front runner in the competition early on, but I was not really a fan of her solo performance OR her duet – which we blamed on Constantine.  I thought Shelbie would be safe.

I thought that Manny’s take on Adventure of a Lifetime was too current of a song to try and do.  I find that I like performances better when I haven’t heard the original 18 times just that morning.  I want to like Manny but there is just something about him I don’t like.  His performance of No Air with Jordin was awesome though and I figured he would be safe after that, even though I was teetering on sending him home after his solo performance.


Kory Wheeler gives me creepy vibes.  He also did a relatively current song, James Bay Let It Go – which I actually just really fell in love with this week post-Grammys so that was working against him.  Haley’s duet with him was really awesome, though probably due to Haley being really awesome.  I didn’t have him as making it through.

Amelia went with something a little less recent, Wake Me Up, I thought her solo performance was awkward at points because she was just standing there.  Something also seemed off about her performance.  Her performance with Kellie was decent, but I don’t think she will make it to the Top 14.

Jenn did another current song in Justin Bieber’s Sorry.  If I heard Coldplay’s song 18 times this morning then I heard Justin Bieber’s 28 times.  This song is stuck in my head constantly, so any sway from the original was going to be off to me.  I was not a fan of her performance at all. I also thought her duet with Constantine was horrible.  I am trying not to let me bias towards the idols sway my opinion of the duets, but either it is, or Constantine’s duets were just that bad. I think Jenn will be going home!

CJ Johnson did I’ll Be – which was an older song and I think he did a great rendition.  The judges thought he was out of tune, it didn’t seem that way to me, but after disliking the 3 performances before his I might have been grasping to anything that sounded somewhat decent.  He did a duet with David and something about it just didn’t click for me.  I wanted to love it, but I didn’t. But I think that CJ will be safe.

Lee Jean – I liked his performance and was hoping that the show was taking a turn for the better with 2 performances in a row.  He did his duet with Chris – my only note was “good”.  I think Lee will be safe.

I had been looking forward to Trent’s performance for weeks.  He did so amazing when he had mono that I couldn’t wait to see what he sounded like well.  He did not disappoint in his solo or his duet with Jordin.  Probably the best duet of the night.

Tristan – I don’t have any recollection of her from earlier in the competition, which I think is working against her. I thought something was off in her solo performance.  Her duet with Kellie also seemed off to me (it might have been the rushing that the judges mentioned) but it wasn’t horrible.  I did have her on my list to go home though.

I liked Adam Lasher’s performance, but the judges didn’t.  I also didn’t hate his duet with Haley, though it was a little bit stiff and awkward at times.  I want him to stay, but the judges seem to have it in for him so I’m putting him on my home list.

Dalton is my favorite. I also really liked his duet with Chris even though I don’t like Chris so that is saying a lot.  I obviously think Dalton is going through.  I also think it’s weird that JLo and I seem to have the same taste in guys / contestants (Except for her ex husband)

Finally was Olivia – did not like her rendition of Demi Lovato at all.  I was torn after that if I wanted her to stay or go.  I did enjoy her duet with David a lot more. That pushed me over the edge to keep her.

It started off where I had 3 in a row I was ready to send home, so I thought thinks would work out better for me picking 5 this week. But once again it was a pretty tough decision.  My 5 to go home: Kory, Amelia, Jenn, Tristan and Adam.  I thought that there would be no one that would make me upset if they made it through, but I changed my mind once I did see who made it through and that Jenn went instead of Shelbie.  I was 4/5 correct which was twice as good as the week before.

Now I do really get to be a judge by voting with the Top 14 so things will get interesting…




Music Monday: Demi Lovato Confident


Cool for the Summer
Old Ways
For You
Stone Cold
Kingdom Come (ft Iggy Azalea)
Waitin For You (ft Sirah)
Mr. Hughes

For a while I was not a fan of Demi.  But a few months back I called a truce, and just in time as she is going to be touring with Nick Jonas this summer.  Confident is her 5th studio release and came out in October 2015.  I did enjoy the 2 singles that have been released, Confident and Cool for the Summer.  The whole album is a bit more eclectic than the singles, but is easy to listen to and really doesn’t have any tracks that I feel the need to skip over.

Book Review: Quilts Presidential and Patriotic

quiltsQuilts: Presidential and Patriotic is a look at several quilts that were made related to american history over the years. It features lots of information and photos of the quilts.  I always love to look at books about quilts simply because I am not sure I have the patience or the talent to make them but there are so many people that do and come up with such wonderful things.  The quilts in this book do not disappoint, gorgeous creations of red, white and blue honoring our great nation.  All of the fabric that has been created featuring the presidents and campaign buttons and other historical items are pretty cool to see too.  Some of the detail put into embroidered faces of the presidents is amazing, even their signatures!

A must see for any American!  I don’t think you need to be a history buff or even a quilter to see that there is some real talent in these pages!

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

About the Book

Throughout our country’s history, quiltmakers have honored America’s presidents in their quiltmaking. Featuring more than 330 images with insightful explanations, this book looks at the presidential quilts and patriotic quilts that have been made by American quilters. From the presidencies of George Washington through Barack Obama, the quilts—along with intriguing quilt-related comments from newspapers of the times—help us enjoy American history, and reflect on how quilt history has chosen to remember the US presidents. Also highlighted are 43 gorgeous newly-made quilts representing each of the United States presidents to date. Each measures twenty-four inches square, and is constructed in a pattern and fabric historically accurate to the leader’s presidential term of office; their makers are quilt historians and enthusiasts affiliated with the American Quilt Study Group.

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