Virtual Race: Kruger National Park Safari

Race Title: Kruger National Park Safari
Distance:  117mi
Company:  Yes.Fit
Charity:  NA

I started this race in June or July and finished it in December.  It took quite some time and I was kind of bummed I didn’t see any animals on my safari as I went through the actual area on the Yes.Fit website.  Ah well, someday I will get there for real and see animals 🙂

Music Monday: Lady Gaga Joanne

Diamond Heart
John Wayne
Dancin’ in Circles
Perfect Illusion
Million Reasons
Sinner’s Prayer
Come to Mama
Hey Girl
Angel Down
Grigio Girls
Just Another Day


Joanne was one of the CDs that I gifted my Mom with for Christmas and was the only one of the 3 she had requested. (Reviews on the other 2 coming soon, hopefully!)  This CD is a little bit different than what I am used to from Lady Gaga, a bit more stripped down from her usual over the top songs.  My favorite tracks are Perfect Illusion (which reminds me of another song but I can’t place it – Madonna maybe?) A-Yo is a very catchy track as well. Hey Girl with Florence Welch is another great track too.  I think this a pretty decent CD though I’m not much of a Gaga fan, I will tolerate it when it inevitably ends up on in my Mom’s car.

Bon Jovi This House Is Not For Sale Tour Rehearsal

Wednesday night Bon Jovi held a rehearsal for their This House Is Not For Sale tour at Mohegan Sun.  They had been rehearsing for 2 weeks at the casino and opened up the rehearsal for radio winners, family and friends.  “I’d call it a dress rehearsal, but I couldn’t find a dress” Jon said welcoming everyone to the show, remembering how they kicked off their last tour at the casino in the middle of a blizzard.

While the radio station emails said that it would be a 45-60 minute performance, it was a full blown approximately 2 hour show with 23 songs.  The band went through the first 21 with no breaks at all and came out for the encore to play a couple of their biggest hits – Wanted Dead or Alive and Livin’ on a Prayer.  My friend Miriam had won the tickets and is a Bon Jovi fan, I on the other hand am not, but can’t say no to a free show, plus I figured it would be a good time. (It was.)  When she asked me what my favorite part was I said, “the end”, but not because it was over – just because that was really the only time I knew 2 consecutive songs and could really sing along.

The beginning of the show may have been having sound issues or maybe my earplugs weren’t properly sitting in my ears because things sounded a bit muffled.  A few songs into the show things started sounding better and it seemed like Jon had gotten more comfortable with being back up on stage in front of a crowd. We were told there were about 1,000 fans in attendance – including Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The floor was standing only and a couple of the sections around the arena seemed to be filled in as well.

Part of the set Jon stopped to tell some stories about the songs and why they were written.  I don’t care who the artist is, I always like hearing that background and behind the scenes stuff. He talked a bit about the name of the new album, This House is Not For Sale and how the inspiration for the song and the album cover came about.  He talked a bit about how one of the songs was about the record label and now they are back with them.

The setlist is below, although Jon did mention that they change it for every show so I’m not sure how much of a ‘tease’ this is for the full tour. (And a setlist posted on twitter from the show did seem to show a couple more songs that they skipped)

Book Review: Party of One

Party of One is a memoir by former MTV VJ Dave Holmes.  I totally remember watching him on Wannabe a VJ but rooting for Jesse and then being mildly annoyed that Jesse won but Dave somehow ended up on MTV more than him. (And then Jesse showed up at a Hanson concert I was at and I fangirled.)  I also somehow also missed the fact that Dave is gay.  (I guess I also didn’t really read the description of the book – I was just like, music related? Someone I know? Ok gotta read this one! Since it is definitely mentioned in there. Woops.)

The beginning of the book is about him growing up and how when he was younger he said he wanted to hang out with one of the guys at school because he thought he was “cute” to his Mom. He backtracked and went through high school closeted and came out when he was going to college, but it was at a time when it still wasn’t accepted.  He moved to New York after graduation and had some jobs that he wasn’t that into and then ended up auditioning for Wannabe a VJ (where there was a Hanson poster on the wall – unfortunately their only mention in the book – although all my other boybands are obviously represented more)

There aren’t a lot of behind the scenes dirt, but I found all the talk about his time at MTV interesting because it was back when MTV was my life and I could remember almost everything he was talking about.

The book goes on to talk about 9/11 and living in New York (and somehow being the last person to find out about it despite being in New York at the time) and then how he moved out to LA and tried his hand at acting but everyone thought he was ugly.

I found out a lot about Dave that I didn’t know about before and the book is really funny and well written and I enjoyed reading it. I like how he made it kind of like a mixtape – each of the 21 chapters is named after a different song with a few interludes thrown in for good measure!

I received a free copy of this book from blogging for books in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.


About the book

From former MTV VJ Dave Holmes, the hilarious memoir of a perpetual outsider fumbling towards self-acceptance, with the music of the ’80s, ’90s, and today as his soundtrack

Dave Holmes has spent his life on the periphery, nose pressed hopefully against the glass, wanting just one thing: to get inside. Growing up, he was the artsy son in the sporty family. At his all-boys high school and Catholic college, he was the closeted gay kid surrounded by crush-worthy straight guys. And in his twenties, in the middle of a disastrous career in advertising, he accidentally became an MTV VJ overnight when he finished second, naturally, in the Wanna Be a VJ contest, opening the door to fame, fortune, and celebrity—you know, almost.

In Party of One, Holmes tells the hilariously painful and painfully hilarious tales—in the vein of Rob Sheffield, Andy Cohen, and Paul Feig—of an outsider desperate to get in, of a misfit constantly changing shape, of a music geek who finally learns to accept himself. Structured around a mix of hits and deep cuts from the last four decades—from Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” and En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind” to LCD Soundsystem’s “Losing My Edge” and Bleachers’ “I Wanna Get Better”—and punctuated with interludes like “So You’ve Had Your Heart Broken in the 1990s: A Playlist” and “Notes on (Jesse) Camp,” this book is for anyone who’s ever felt like a square peg, especially those who have found their place in the world around a band, an album, or a song. It’s a laugh-out-loud funny, deeply nostalgic story about never fitting in, never giving up, and letting good music guide the way.

Book Review: That’s So 90s Pop

I have to say, I was super pumped when I saw this book. 90s pop is basically my life.  And a coloring/activity book is the perfect thing to de-stress after a busy work week! I was a little bit nervous waiting for the book to come in the mail because I was worried that Hanson wasn’t going to be included and I was going to have to give this book a horrible review, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were included with their very own coloring and activity page.  This book is a lot longer than I was expecting it to be – there are 2 pages (or 1 front and back) for each of the stars included.  The front is the coloring page and the back is the activity page.  Activities are all sorts of different things like connect the dots, spot the difference and two truths and a lie.  Hanson’s activity is two truths and a lie which I am sure it will be no surprise that I aced it.  Also included in the book is BSB, NSYNC, and Nick Lachey (though the rest of 98 degrees is surprisingly missing).  In addition to 90s pop stars there are some early 00s as well… and of course, no 90s Pop book would be complete without a Carson Daly mask for you to color.

I haven’t really started coloring too much of this book yet, but I can’t wait to dive right in and give Hanson their long blonde locks, color in Nick Lachey’s tattoos and help Britney Spears find the necklace that she thought the old lady threw in the ocean in the end.  If you are anywhere near as into 90s pop as I am, this book is a must have, even if the drawings in it are a bit silly. (I mean, you’re telling me that is Joey Fatone, really?)

I received a free copy of this book from blogging for books in order to write this review.

That’s So ’90s Pop! is available for purchase at the following retailers:

About the Book

Join Britney Spears in a maze searching for the necklace she once thought the old lady dropped into the ocean. Join Mandy Moore for a Candy-fuelled adventure in her green VW bug. Color in the scorching tattoos on Nick Lachey’s rippling biceps. All this and so much more to be discovered within the pages of That’s so ’90s Pop, a fill-in activity book featuring a bevy of beloved musical pop stars from the late ’90s/ early ’00s.

Pop Stars Include:
·         The Spice Girls
·         Backstreet Boys
·         Britney Spears
·         N Sync
·         Christina Aguilera
·         98 Degrees
·         Mariah Carey
·         TLC
·         Mandy Moore
·         Enrique Iglesias
·         Destiny’s Child
·         Jessica Simpson
·         Macy Gray
·         Alanis Morisette
·         Aaron Carter
·         Usher
·         Lil’ Kim
·         Pink
·         Blink 182
·         Los Del Rio
·         and more!

Virtual Race: Umbridge Run

Race Title: Umbridge 13k (Or until it sinks in)
Distance: 13k
Company:  Hogwarts Running Club
Charity: My Stuff Bags Foundation

When I first found HRC this event was either just closing or had just closed.  I wasn’t entirely a fan of the medal so I skipped it.  But when this and Molly were the only medals holding me back from being a Perfect Prefect as a first year, I decided I had to go for it.

Music Monday: Daya Sit Still Look Pretty

Love of My Life
Hide Away
Sit Still, Look Pretty
Back to Me
Got The Feeling
We Are



I really love the single that Daya has on the radio “Sit Still, Look Pretty” (and for more than just the Snow White reference)  So I decided for this Music Monday I’d give her full album that came out in October a listen!  The CD starts out with a lot of the songs sounding very much so alike.  There are some standout tracks, but most of them are the ones that are on the radio already.  Overall I found this CD to be a bit of a bust and I think that only certain tracks will make it into any playlists I make, not the entirety of this album.


Getting a Job as a Choreographer

Dancing is a wonderful activity. It can make you feel good and make you healthier at the same time. Are you someone who loves to dance every chance that you get? If this is the case, you might want to think about pursuing a career that will pay you to dance on a daily basis. There are a number of jobs that you can choose from. One of the most exciting and potentially lucrative careers in the field of dance is that of a choreographer. Craig Revel Horwood is an example of someone who made it big in show business as a choreographer. Here are some of the things that you can do to get started in the choreography profession.

1. Sign up for dance classes that are taught be a professional instructor.

It is important that you only receive instruction from a person who has been highly trained in the field of dance. It stands to reason that you will become a better dancer if you have an outstanding instructor. Do not be in a rush to find a dance class. Take some time and do some research about all of the various dance classes in your area. Make sure that you learn a great deal about who the instructors are. It would also be a good idea to choose a dance class that has a small number of students. This will help to ensure that you get an adequate amount of attention from the instructor.

2. Attend a school that will teach you the art of choreography.

Becoming a great choreographer will require you to know much more than basic dance steps. You will need to learn the subtle elements that go into any great dance routine. There is a lot of creativity when it comes to being a choreographer. Therefore, there are many elements that you will not be able to learn in a class. All great choreographers have a natural gift for what they do. However, going to school to learn about choreography will allow you to see how routines are created and staged with actual dancers. This will be valuable for you later when you are creating routines of your own.

3. Send a tape of your choreography to various producers.

You should allow people in the industry to see the work you have done. You might get hired by doing this. It is important that you contact an employment lawyer as soon as possible if you are experiencing harassment in your workplace.

Book Review: I Was Saved By The Bell

savedI Was Saved By The Bell is the autobiography of Peter Engel, the executive producer of Saved By The Bell, among other shows.  The first half of the book is all about his life before Saved By The Bell and how he went to 30 Rock and asked to be a page in person and even though they told him that he had to apply on paper he somehow convinced them to give him the job. He was in film school and wanting to get into TV and that got his foot in the door.  He also worked on the campaign for JFK, (So don’t believe Wikipedia when it says he was born in 1960! That threw me for a loop when I was reading a bit about him before diving into the book!) as well as a producer on many shows and had lots of fun stories to share.  Then he ended up getting involved with drugs and God even visited him at his apartment.  Halfway through we get to the photos and then it’s time for the real reason I was reading, all the info on Saved By The Bell.  At first, Peter wasn’t interested in creating the show but eventually gave in.  He talks a bit about the casting process and how his daughter fell in love with Zack on paper and he knew that he had to cast the right person and how Mark-Paul helped cast Screech and that Peter didn’t realize how young he was at first.  Peter went on to work on several other teen sitcoms that aired on Saturday morning (many of which I remember, but none I watched as often as Saved By The Bell) and then ended up going on to create Last Comic Standing and how he was nominated for an Emmy for it against Donald Trump and The Apprentice and all the other people with the other shows would say – “Anyone but Trump!” – sounds familiar… Amazing Race, one of my fave reality shows, ended up winning.

I really enjoyed this book and it was a fairly quick read.  Some others said that parts of the story moved slowly – and I can see what they mean.  Based on the title I was expecting more of it to be about Saved By The Bell.  Granted, essentially half of the book is, but it is a bit slow to get to it, but we really needed all the back story to see how Peter moved up the ranks and all the stories and lessons he learned along the way.

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

About the Book

Peter Engel, one of the most prolific producers in television with more than 1,000 episodes produced under his banner, single handedly created the teen sitcom with Saved By The Bell, which he executive produced through all of its many incarnations, and which led to his many other teen series, including California Dreams, Hang Time, City Guys, and USA High. As if defining and conquering the teen arena wasn’t enough, Peter produced the iconic Last Comic Standing, enabling the discovery of an entirely new, fresh generation of comedians.

All of this would be more of a career than any producer could ever dream of having, and with more than 50 years in the television industry, Peter has forgotten more than most will ever know. But Peter’s story isn’t just his professional success; his life and work touched and inspired an entire “Bell” generation, whose values and views of a diverse world were shaped by the stories and plain old fun of Peter’s shows.

There is also another side of Peter that most don’t know—his personal journey that began in New York City’s Upper West Side; his discovery of television the night his family’s brand new TV lit up the living room; his first taste of creative success; the injustices of the 1950s; working for JFK’s election in 1960, with the catastrophic letdown that followed; his dream in the 1970s of making “important” television; his loves, marriages, family, and faith; and, in the 1990s and 2000s, finding his greatest success where he least expected it. Along the way, Peter encountered some of the most iconic personalities of his times—John Lennon, Orson Welles, Bette Davis, Jacques Cousteau, John DeLorean, and, of course, John F. Kennedy, among them—and great stories always followed.

I Was Saved by the Bell is the chronicle of Peter’s amazing journey. His stories will make you laugh, cry, and want them never to end. Together, they are a master class on life from the perspective of a man who grew up during a time of great uncertainty and came of age in an era of hope and promise. With the ups and downs of the decades as a backdrop, Peter opens his heart and shares the experiences of his own good times, bad times, reflection, redemption, and, ultimately, joy and satisfaction of a life lived the only way he could—with passion.

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