Book Review: Awesome America

awesomeamericaAwesome America is made by Time For Kids and is “Everything you ever wanted to know about the history, people and culture”.  Each chapter is broken down into 3 points – “Find Out” with a question that will be answered in the chapter. “Learn” with what you will learn by reading the chapter and “Take a Closer Look” with some other interesting tidbits related to the content of that chapter.

The book starts with the history of America – and talks about how Columbus was NOT the one to discover America.  I know that every October there is a lot of controversy involved with “Columbus Day” and I liked that this was brought up first thing in this book.  It then goes into bios on each of the founding fathers with a timeline of their life events.  In the chapter on the government, there is a nice break down of the bill of rights and its amendments.

There is even a chapter all about touring the 50 states and some great images of the country. (And yes, even some pics of Buffalo)

This book makes learning fun, with a lot of color photos and info graphics to help explain things.  Honestly if books like this were used in my history classes growing up, I may have actually paid attention and retained a lot more information than I did!

About the Book

TIME For Kids explores America from sea to shining sea!

Discover what makes America unique in this comprehensive timeline and photographic overview of American history–pre-Columbus through the present–highlighting the milestone events and important people that have made America awesome.

Perfect for both dip-in reference and longer-form reading, Awesome America is organized into thematic sections, each comprised of bite-sized articles, engaging factoid sidebars, colorful charts, graphics and interactive quizzes to help make learning about American history interesting, interactive, and fun. From America’s early history all the way to present day, kids will learn about what it was like to grow up in the 1700’s, 1800’s, 1900’s and today and discover the inventions, innovations, and important social movements great American’s have created over the years.


Product Review: United Tapes Decorative Washi Tape

I admit that I have a washi tape problem. I don’t know how many tapes are in my collection and I am sure there are many that I’ve yet to use at all on any project. They’re just waiting for that perfect moment.  Sometimes I use them to line pages, sometimes I use them as accents on pages, sometimes they are the border for images on pages… and sometimes I use them as actual tape.  I recently had the chance to try out United Tapes Decorative Craft Washi Masking Tape (Set of 12 Rolls) and I knew from the moment I opened the box that this was going to be a match made in heaven.  So far I have only used a handful of the tapes, but I have so many other ideas in mind.  This is a great starter set for someone not sure if they like washi tape or not (and a great price, as well.) or the perfect addition to anyone with a larger washi tape collection (like me.)

Great to use on your planners (which I am debating diving into for 2017… we’ll see), scrapbook pages, cards, or any other paper crafts.  There is a variety of colors and designs, polka dots, stars, stripes, chevron, basically anything that is hot right now is included.

I did have some trouble with the corners peeling up on some of my pages, but I think it was combined with the crazy weather and the fact that I didn’t rub them down hard enough after putting them on the page. After sticking them down better, they seem to be working quite well.

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

BEAUTIFUL VIBRANT COLORS: Rainbow themed set of 12 rolls of washi tape (15mm wide x 10 meters long). You will find aesthetically pleasing and fun designs within the main theme including dots, stripes, stars, arrows, and geometric shapes. Colors included are red, orange, pink, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, and white
STICKY AND FLEXIBLE: United Tapes products are sticky and also very easy to peel off and reapply. They can be reapplied many times before they start to lose their adhesive properties. Don’t hesitate to use on walls. They will leave no residue behind if you choose to remove them. Great for children.
DECORATE TIL YOU DROP: Go crazy decorating anything and everything with these washi tapes. They are perfect for calendars, planners, journals, envelopes, folders, or whatever your heart desires.
SCISSOR-LESS: Don’t get stuck having to use scissors to cut through other sellers’ washi tape. Scissors are not necessary for these washi tapes. Make your life easier by going SCISSOR-LESS.
100% MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE: United Tapes are backed by 100% guarantee that you are fully satisfied with your product or receive your money back.

Book Review: This One Moment

thisonemomentI liked This One Moment because in addition to being a rock star romance, it also had the element of a mystery with it. The story follows “Tyler” who is in the band Pushing Limits.  Before he ran away from his old life and became Tyler the rockstar, he was Nolan Kincaid.  He pretty much “ghosted” his best friend Hailey in an effort to leave everything from his past behind, despite the fact that he has been in love with her.

When he gets a call from the only friend from his old life telling him that Hailey is in a coma, he rushes home to be by her side.  Both of their lives have changed significantly since Nolan skipped town and I can’t help but think that things would have been a lot different for these two if they just communicated! (But then we wouldn’t have a book to read, would we?)  Nolan doesn’t want to leave until they find out who attacked Hailey, but is forced to head back to LA to do some damage control and work on his bands new album.

Will they find out who attacked Hailey? Will Nolan choose to be in a fake relationship with the starlet Alyssa? Can Nolan face the demons from his past and move on from them? Find out all this – and more! in This One Moment.

This seems like it is the first book in a series, so I am interested in seeing what the rest will be about – whether it be more of Nolan or the rest of his band.  I liked this author’s writing style and although I should have gone to sleep and left part of this book for another day, I had to stay up all night to finish it and see what happened!

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


About the Book

Fame, fortune, and stadiums full of screaming fans are right around the corner for the rock band at the heart of Stina Lindenblatt’s steamy, intense Pushing Limits series. But it’s an epic love affair that steals the show in this opening act.

When Nolan Kincaid skipped town to chase the music career of his dreams, he knew he wouldn’t miss the reminders of his broken family—he wasn’t so sure he could forget the girl he left behind. Now his band is touring nonstop, the recording sessions go all night, and the groupies are crazed. But when he hears that Hailey Wilkins is in trouble, he drops everything.

Hailey thought she’d missed her chance with Nolan. Five years ago, the moment she realized she loved him was the moment he decided to leave. Now, when a brutal assault lands her in the ICU, Nolan flies straight to her bedside, acting like nothing’s changed. What’s a rock star like him doing, canceling shows and risking his record deal, just to nurse an old friend back to health? And why should Hailey believe he’ll stay this time?

With her attacker still at large, Nolan’s ready to rise to the occasion. He knows he let Hailey down once before, but he’s ready to give her everything, heart and soul—and he’ll fight for the chance to prove it.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Virtual Race: Turtle Bay Bolt


Race Title: Turtle Bay Bolt
Distance: 24.1 Miles
Company: Yes.Fit
Charity: Max Love Project

The Turtle Bay Bolt race was a very popular one on Yes.Fit (formerly Make Yes Happen) as it was limited and closed down after the first wave of medals ran out.  They got in a second (and last) shipment and so I scooped in and signed up for the race even though I was in the middle of others. I had them set my race to start June 1 for me (which you can now do on your own since the site revamped) and it took me just over a month to finish it.  This is one of the prettiest medals I have, it’s kind of like a suncatcher and the pics really don’t do it justice! I hope they do other similarly styled medals in the future. This race had views through Hawaii.

Jim Gaffigan at Foxwoods

For my birthday (today!) I got myself and my mom tickets to see Jim Gaffigan at Foxwoods. I ended up getting some pretty sweet spots for his 10:30 show, even though I was kind of annoyed the show was at 10:30.  Of course, it sold out so quickly they added a 7:00pm show and I probably should have seen that coming!  We got there around 8 and were going to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe for my birthday, but with a 40 minute wait we weren’t sure that would allow for enough time to eat, play and make it to the show on time.

Before doors opened, I was busy catching Pokemon and doing some gambling, where I put $10 in a machine, played $0.50 and immediately won $15.30.  I played it down to $20 and ended the night with doubling my money.  Not bad! 😉

Just after 10:30pm it was time for the show to start.  The opener for the night was Ted Alexandro. My mom’s review was, “I didn’t think he was going to be that funny, but he was”  I mean, what more can you really ask for, right?

Jim came out at about 11 and did an hour set. He was great, as I expected – even though I did have a moment of uncertainty when a guy who sat at a slot machine a couple down from me told another guy who was trying to give away comp tickets that “we already saw him, and he sucked”… he later was saying that the slot machine sucked as well so I was hoping this guy just hated everything and I am probably right. (Either that or he had no idea what he was getting into seeing Jim.  Having read his books and watching his show every week, his set was basically what I had expected it to be – jokes about life, his kids and food!)

The last time I had seen Jim I was in college and he did a set on The View, so it was nice to see him in person again now that he’s blown up. (Literally and figuratively? I kid, he isn’t that fat in person!)

Hanson Alive @ Five

Several months ago I had a dream.  I was backstage at a Hanson show with some of my friends and we were setting up hot plates full of food for Hanson and the crew to eat.  It was almost my birthday. We were in Stamford, CT.  I woke up thinking to myself – does Stamford even have a concert venue?  Then I realized that Stamford always has their summer Thursday evening concert series “Alive @ Five”, I saw that an announcement was set for mid-May, but promptly forgot about it, knowing I’d be too concerned with getting ready to head to Tulsa for MOE to worry about the lineup.  Then the lineup was announced – and Hanson was set to be the second weeks entertainment! And just 5 days before my birthday.  (Now if I can dream the winning lottery numbers so I’ll never miss another Hanson show again, that would be great)

We got to see some of the soundcheck, where they of course made up a fake song, went through the same song a few times, threw in a little Ghostbusters at the end of a song… there were some issues with the set up so I think that allowed for them to be on stage a bit longer, which was awesome for us but not so much for them since they were having so many different issues.

Being as it was a Connecticut show and the first time they’ve been back in 5 years, I *needed* front row.  We ended up getting there pretty early to stake our claim on a spot up front.  It was looking like we’d be home free, in the first or second row… when mother nature had other plans.  We were told that a storm was coming and if we wanted to, we could hide out in any of the local restaurants.  Of course, if we left our spot, we’d never be able to get it back so we threw on ponchos and raincoats and stood in the rain for about 15 mins waiting for the storm to pass.  It was windy, the tents that had been set up for the festival were flying all over the place and there were a few flashes of lightning (which we had said we’d leave if we saw, but we still stayed put)

After the rain passed, DJs and entertainment from Kunjan Collective got us hyped up for the opener – Alec Chambers.  There is something about openers for Hanson that I always end up not liking them and thinking their sets are too long no matter how good they are, because I just can’t wait to see Hanson.  This was no different.  I’m sure Alec is wonderful outside of Hanson concerts and since he’s local perhaps I should give him another chance some other time.  But I just wanted Hanson on stage!

After Alec’s set there was some more hype from JHype and Theo from Kunjan Collective and then finally, just after 7, it was time for Hanson!  I wasn’t sure what kind of set we were going to get, as their most recent shows were done for the US Navy overseas and I hadn’t seen any of the setlists.  We figured a fair mix of the singles since it was more of a casual crowd but I have to say I was really, really pleased with the setlist! Taylor had mentioned they’d save Runaway Run for the show and I think if they came out and only sang that I’d have been happy! They opened and closed with a cover, but the rest of the set was all originals. Taylor did trick me a bit when I was writing out the setlist – I often will hear a couple opening notes and be able to tweet out or write down what the song will be before they even started singing it.  Before one song Taylor talked about how they had an album called Anthem… and everything was leading into them performing “Get the Girl Back” but then Taylor said… “And the girl is named PENNY!” and they ended up doing Penny and Me.  Get the Girl Back didn’t come for a few songs later.  I think he was more confused than trying to trick me though 😉 The show was over by about 9:30 and we opted to head right home instead of try and get pics with the guys, because it looked like a bit of a crowd had formed by where they would be coming out.

I wish that show meant I’d be seeing them more, but while I am trying to figure out a trip to Disney World to see them this fall, I will have to wait until next year for their big world tour to see them do a full set again.  It seems so far away!

Book Review: Bars, Booze and Blues

barsI always enjoy compilation books such as these because I like reading about everyone’s different experience on similar topics.  Bars, Booze and Blues has a bunch of stories from different bars relating to blues music.  Each story begins with a small bio of the person who is telling the story. Where they are from, who they performed with, etc. Their story follows.  A lot of cool stories throughout. An interesting read.

It’s always hard to sum up these kinds of books though.  There are some photos, some stories make you wish you were there and some make you glad you weren’t.

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


About the Book

True accounts from musicians, bar owners, and regulars at the crossroads of good times and despair

Bars, Booze, and Blues collects lively bar tales from the intersection of black and white musical cultures in the South. Many of these stories do not seem dignified, decent, or filled with uplifting euphoria, but they are real narratives of people who worked hard with their hands during the week to celebrate the weekend with music and mind altering substances.

These are stories of musicians who may not be famous celebrities but are men and women deeply occupied with their craft. These are professional musicians stuck with a day job.The collection also includes stories from fans and bar owners, people vital to shaping a local music scene.

The stories explore the “crossroads,” that intoxicated intersection of spirituality, race, and music that forms a rich, southern vernacular. In personal narratives, musicians and partygoers relate tales of narrow escape (almost getting busted by the law while transporting moonshine), of desperate poverty (rat-infested kitchens and repossessed cars), of magic (hiring a root doctor to make a charm), and loss (death or incarceration). Here are stories of defiant miscegenation, of forgetting race and going out to eat together after a jam, and then not being served. Assorted boasts of improbable hijinks give the ‘blue collar’ musician a wild, gritty glamour and emphasize the riotous freedom of fans, who sometimes risk the strong-arm of southern liquor laws and gets into company car accidents to chase the good times.

Emily D. Edwards, Greensboro, North Carolina, is a professor of media studies at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She is also an independent filmmaker, whose work includes the documentary, Deadheads: An America Subculture, which is distributed nationally on PBS stations, and two feature films with blues music scores, Root Doctor (2005) and Bone Creek (2009).

Throwback Thursday: Honor Society July 5 & 10, 2008

Headliner: Honor Society
Opener(s): N/A
Venue: The Knitting Factory / Toquet Hall
Cost: $12 / $6



Due to the fact that I can’t seem to properly count… Honor Society shows #1 and #2 are in one post here.  It’s kind of funny that I was just looking back on where it all began, 8 years ago, and then they finally released their documentary – 3 years in the making just around the same time as my “fanniversary” and the fan site I had dedicated to them expiring (which I had already decided that I was not going to renew.)  It would be an understatement to say that Honor Society was a huge part of my life during the years that they were active. I honestly haven’t listened to much of their stuff at all since the break up, 3 years, it’s just too hard to – too many memories come flooding back.  I wasn’t even sure I wanted to watch the documentary, but I did and promised myself I wasn’t going to cry.  For the most part, the documentary was happy and it was nice to see all the shows I was at (and say “I was there, I was there, I was there” as they were mentioning different shows and tours!) but I did end up crying with about 3 minutes left to go. THREE MINUTES.  Ugh.  I tried!   It’s crazy to look back at these pictures. Wow.

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