June 2021

Book Review: Festivals

While I am not made for music festivals, I really enjoy reading about them and pretending that they are something that I can attend.  Festivals is a music lovers’ guide to the festivals you need to know.  It starts in the 60s and chronologically talks about some of the biggest music festivals around the world and there are a TON of really awesome photos throughout this book. (And I just love the throwback 60s./70s vibe to the font used for the title!)  There is a page or so about each festival with how it started, if it’s still happening, where it’s located and then a few photos.  If you’re a festival go-er, definitely check this book out to see what ones you might want to hit up next!

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

About the Book

I was first introduced to Justin Baldoni when he was on Jane the Virgin.  When I saw that he had a book out, I had to check it out.  I was actually very surprised by how open he was in this book, called “Man Enough” which is an exploration of masculinity.  You always hear about how growing up as a young girl is difficult due to all the media pressure on the perfect body, perfect makeup looks, etc and I never really thought that young boys also had similar things to face when they were growing up as well.  I think Justin did a great job explaining difficulties that he and other men will face growing up, sometimes coming out of his comfort zone and being quite vulnerable and telling stories from his youth that may be considered embarrassing.  But I think that it is important to share these stories – so if a young boy going through similar situations picks up this book he will know he is not alone.  I think reading it as a female also opened my eyes a bit as well because I definitely thought guys had it so much easier and after finishing the book I am not sure that is so true anymore!  He touches on a lot of great subject and even if you don’t know him from an actor, I think it would be a beneficial read!

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

What Will You Do There? ARIZONA

While I’ve technically been in Arizona very briefly on a trip to the Hoover Dam, it didn’t count. One thing I am looking to check out is the Four Corners Monument. Could be an easy way to knock out 3 states (I’ve already been to CO) but it does seem like cheating (and it’s not even in the right spot) – but it’ll have to fall into one of the states visits for sure. The monument is supposed to be the spot where the corner of Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico meet. I’m not sure which state I’ll include this in but since Arizona was the first on the list, I figured I’d talk about it here.  An Arizona Diamondbacks game would also be on the list, maybe checking out the AZ portion of Rt 66 and of course the Grand Canyon. (Most of which I believe to have penny machines) And another fun stop might be to stand on the corner in Winslow, AZ and take it easy.

Book Review: You’re Not Crazy – It’s Your Mother

I’m not saying for sure my mother is narcissistic, but dang if things aren’t toxic right now.  In looking for ways to help cope, understand, get my point across, I came across the book “You’re not Crazy, it’s your mother” and decided to check it out.  I was immediately drawn in just by the foreward of the book – “The information in this book will give you freedom in a way you can’t even imagine right now. The exact shape of this freedom will be down to you. This book does not impose any decisions. Rather, it gives you information, perspective and opinions to allow you to choose your own freedom.  Know this too: You are not broken and in need of fixing. You are, rather, wounded and in need of healing.”  It is also worth noting that this book doesn’t need to just be for the Mother/Daughter dynamic and can be helpful for any parent/child dynamic.

For anyone else that may be going through this – say it with me – You are not crazy. You are perfectly sane. Your perceptions are valid and right. You can trust your own reality. Some days this is much, much easier said than done, but I am hoping what I have learned in this book will help me confront, understand and heal from this toxic bullshit that has been going on since last year. (And perhaps my whole life, but it’s only magnified itself recently.)  This book also helped explain why I may have some of the anxiety issues that I have. Still working through getting those under control, but understanding where they may have stemmed from has been helpful.

The book ends with some tapping techniques I’ll certainly be trying out to see if they can help.  I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

A comprehensively revised and expanded new edition of Danu Morrigan’s #1 bestselling book, which has helped tens of thousands of daughters of narcissistic mothers around the world.

Do you find yourself emotionally bruised, upset and confused after being in touch with your mother? Do you somehow feel like you’re not a real person in her company? If so, you are far from alone. Millions of daughters experience the same hall-of-mirrors dizziness. Many of them have come to the conclusion that their mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and that explains all that they have suffered. This book explores this – maybe it will resonate for you the same way and make you feel understood and validated as never before.

This new edition includes a wealth of new insight and understanding learned by Danu over the last ten years, including: Clarity about escaping the toxic dynamic, through The Four Steps to Freedom; managing our fear of regretting our decisions; how Stories steer us without us realising; the NM’s performative kindness and performative love; overcoming the trap of The Silent Treatment; distinguishing narcissistic ‘niceness’ from genuine decency; how to recognise, get, and contribute to healthy relationships.

Danu Morrigan lives in Ireland and runs the phenomenally popular website daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com. She has also written Dear Daughter of a Narcissistic Mother and To the Unloved Daughter.

But What Will You Do There? ARKANSAS

A tentative trip to Arkansas is in the works.  Not 100% sure if it’ll end up happening… but here’s what I’m thinking… Be sure to check back in December to see if I went through with it.

A little birdie has told me that there may be some holiday themed Kris Allen shows with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.  Sounds like a great way to knock another state off the list to me.  My research shows the symphony is based in Little Rock – which means I’d have to go to the Big Dam Bridge for name alone.  That’s also where Bill Clinton is from so his Presidential Library is there. Another interesting location (that also has a penny machine) that would be worth exploring and learning more about is the Little Rock Central High School.

What Will You Do There? IOWA

One of my “fun facts” about me in my online dating profiles is that I’m trying to get to all 50 states and am over halfway there.  The first follow up question is usually, which of the states you have left do you want to visit the most?  My answer is usually Alaska.  Then it turns into a “but what will you do once you get there?” and for some states I have a vague idea of some sort of touristy type thing to check out and others I have no clue. (See a Hanson concert there goes without saying, though I do need to go back to a few states to get my lists to sync up)  Since for the most part I am home and have far too much free time on my hands and a lot of wanderlust, I decided to do some googling to see a few fun things I can maybe check out when I finally get to visit these states.

This state is a GO for August… but here’s what I had come up with when I first started researching.  Be sure to come back in August to see where I actually ended up!

In 2020, MLB was going to be playing a game at the “Field of Dreams” Dyersville, IA location. I had thought about possibly going, but it ended up canceled, just like everything else.  Hanson also was going to be playing at the state fair in Des Moines not too long after.  It turns out both have been rescheduled for August 2021 – about 5 days apart. If I can figure out what to do in the interim, that might be a fun trip to pull off.  Either way, for Iowa I think a trip to the Field of Dreams set is a given. As far as penny locations, the Botanical Gardens looks interesting, the State Fair seems to have machines at times and one of the minor leagues of the Cubs has a team with a machine as well.

Stephen Kellogg at the Kate 6/10/21

Thursday night was my first full capacity not socially distanced show since I guess February 2020. (Although that was Jamaica and is a bit different, so it may have even been December 2019 – either way it’s been a LONG time) February 2020 was also when I bought the ticket to this show and it had gotten bumped a few times before being rescheduled for a year after the initial June 2020 show date.  Stephen Kellogg got the honors – after he was also a staple of my 2020 online concert going experience having to pivot his book tour to a fully online production he put on from his home and eventually extending it to special shows throughout the whole year.

I won’t lie and say I was fully excited about going to this show.  Being in a full room of people, masks optional if you’re vaccinated, was a scary thought.  I was nervous. I was surprised I knew where my ticket was.  I forgot my earplugs.  I couldn’t figure out when doors were. I opted to wear my mask because having a neurological disorder, it seems like an easy way to bring my risk down a bit more even though I am now fully vaccinated.

Stephen came out solo to start the show, a big smile on his face, happy to see a room full of people and started with “On The Road Again”, no doubt an ode to being able to be back out in front of humans and not just staring at a camera projecting to us via computer screens.  Then his band joined him – this was his first full band show in many, many months!  His older 2 daughters also came out to sing for a couple of songs and the younger 2 joined them to lead the dance moves to “Big Easy”, it’s always great to see the girls and how happy Stephen always seems when they are on stage with him.  When I first started going to SK6ers shows, his oldest daughter was just a baby!

I thought the setlist was a great mix and my 2 favorites back to back ended the main set so that had me pumped!  When Stephen came out for the encore he asked if there was a certain person in the audience and then he asked his date to marry him! She said yes! What a way to kick off live shows again! (He also said someone else emailed offering $500 if he’d play a specific song – and he denied the request)

After the show, my cousin was invited backstage and I got to tag along.  It was crazy and hectic and everything that I imagined backstage would be, but it was nice to say hi and chat a bit with Stephen as well as Eric who played guitar during the show (and co-wrote many songs with Stephen on his latest release!)

Overall the night went well and has made me feel a bit better about re-entering the world (albeit slowly and still masked for a bit longer)  But my body was not used to being out so late and socializing and I totally had to take a 2.5 hour nap today because of it!  Hopefully I haven’t lost my concert stamina forever and it’ll come back like riding a bike! 😉

Book Review: Home Sweet Road

I had first heard of Johnnyswim somewhere in passing at some point, I’m sure.  I first saw them perform at the Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis when I went to see Hanson and was absolutely blown away by their talent and harmony.  Really good harmony is usually for siblings, not a husband and wife duo so I found it kind of amusing when Amanda mentioned in the book that she thought Abner had looked like her brother.  Maybe there was some higher power pushing them together somewhere along the way.

The book tells the story of how they met and their backgrounds (I had not realized that Amanda’s mother is Donna Summer!) and I got a kick out of how they both went back over what was going through their heads and their plans to try and get each other’s attention (which ended up taking 4 years!) But Amanda’s plan had a few different ideas, “since being a normal human wasn’t an option.”  What is it about these guys that we are interested in that makes us forget how to be a normal human, anyway?

The book may also tell you the real reason behind the name Johnnyswim.  Or maybe it won’t.  Just know every story you may have heard previously is a lie – and they tend to not repeat the same stories twice. I guess use your best judgement if you believe what they actually included to be published!

Abner and Amanda are also all about community with their friends and so they decided to include some recipes from their friends as well and they told about how they used to have community dinners.  It was nice to feel like I was part of their world even if it was just for an afternoon.

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

About the Book

The hugely popular singer/songwriter duo Johnnyswim share their story like never before, showing readers how to find home wherever they are in this visually stunning debut.

Foreword by Chip and Joanna Gaines

Work and life partners Amanda Sudano Ramirez and Abner Ramirez are known for translating the memories and milestones of their journey, as well as the honest realities of marriage, into their spirited and soulful songs. With this beautifully designed, visually stunning book, the duo shares never-before-told stories, beautiful photos, recipes, poetry, and more from their life in a deeply engaging experience as they travel on tour around the country with their three young kids, capturing the family’s raw, intimate, and behind-the-scenes life on the road and embracing home no matter where they are.

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