Friday, December 23, 2011

My Top 10 Favorite Christmas Songs

10. “O Holy Night” by Mariah Carey. Celine Dion has a nice version, too, but Mariah hits that note that can send the pigeons out of the church rafters. Of course that means pigeon poo everywhere…still, a great version of the song. Just duck if you’re near pigeons.

9. Muppet Christmas Carol’s “It Feels Christmas” and “Bless Us All.” The first song is just catchy and cute and the second is a fave because the little frog that plays Tiny Tim coughs at the end and since high school I have thought the froggy coughing is the cutest thing ever. What? It’s Tiny Tim. He’s not well.

8. “Give Love on Christmas” by Johnny Gill. I love that man’s voice. He could sing “Happy birthday” and I’d buy it. They never play this one on the radio though. They never play him on the radio period. Probably jealous of his sexiness.

7. “Joy to the World” was always my favorite as a kid because it meant Mass was over and I could go home and open presents. Hey, I was a kid, you try walking past a living room full of Santa’s best to sit on a wooden pew for an hour. Plus it’s bouncy.

6. “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” by Celine Dion. I prefer Celine’s version to Lennon’s because she gets that anger in her voice that’s more appropriate for the subject matter. It reminds me of when I was a kid and they executed Nicolae Ceausescu at Christmas. Oh sorry, way to bring everyone down. Think happy thoughts.

5. “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey. How can you not like this one? One of her best and before she started doing that odd breathy sing-y thing. I remember finding out the lip liner she used at that time and was so happy when I found out I already owned it.

4. “Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag” by SheDaisy. It’s jazzy and fun and one of the only songs I can think of with the sister, Kristyn, as the lead. Her voice is deeper and I don’t know why she doesn’t sing the lead more often. Plus, we Krysten/Kristyns with “y’s” in our names have to stick together.

3. “Blue Christmas” by Elvis. It’s not officially the Christmas season until I hear this song. He makes the holiday hot.

2. “Last Christmas” by George Michael. I don’t think this is a shocker I’d have this on my list. I heard it for the first time while in grade school trying on clothes in Mary Anne. Remember that store? There were no doors on the dressing rooms. Classy. I thought, “That sounds like George!” My mom and I ran to Record Town and asked and the guy said it was a Wham! song. Plus if you’ve seen the video it’s full of 80’s awesomeness including a full length fur coat on a man. This is good stuff people.

1.“Every Year, Every Christmas” by Luther Vandross. It’s the perfect melancholy “missing someone” sort of song with that sexiness only Luther could put on a Christmas song without making it weird. Loved him, love the song. Great video for it, too.

Honorable mentions: “December Song” by George Michael. It’s really the cute video that I like more than the song. It’s a little sad, but the video is so adorable. Plus, it’s George, so how can I not like it? Also “Jingle Bell Rock.” I don’t care for the song, but it was one of my Grandpa’s favorites so it doesn’t feel like Christmas till I hear it.

What are your favorite Christmas songs?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

New review

Check out my review on Rebecca Cantrell' latest, A Game of Lies over at Authors and Appetizers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I'm doing the Once Upon a Time read-a-thon and it's not going well seeing as I had a 16 hour power outage that left me in the dark. But I did get some reading done. I'm currently working on ""A Game of Lies" by Rebecca Cantrell. Great so far! Here's a review of another great one I read and enjoyed called "Hemingway Deadlights."

Hemingway Deadlights: A Mystery is set in 1956 and Papa Hemingway is at the point in his career where he has stalled a bit in his writing and is drinking even more heavily than usual. Hemingway is living in Key West Florida when the book begins and spends his days drinking. Soon he finds out a friend of his, a local fisherman named Peter Cuthbert, was harpooned to death and the polic department isn’t exactly on the case. Since his writing isn’t going anywhere, Hemingway decides to take a crack at solving the crime himself. He travels to Cuba and meets with a mobster, Fidel Castro, and Che Guevara. Guevara informs him that Cuthbert was more than just a simple fisherman. He soon gets up caught in a situation between the FBI, CIA and Batista’s corrupt government in Cuba.

The book shows us the beginning of Ernest’s paranoid and the downfall of his career due to writer’s block, mental illness, and booze. The book even opens with Hemingway falling off his roof drunk and ending up in a cast. We also see his paranoia and drinking binges taking affect. This is an entertaining take on the writer’s life having him solve crime while being chased by mobsters, spies, the CIA, etc. The author stays true to Hemingway’s personality and traits which makes for an entertaining story.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I ♥ Dave Barry

Check out my new review on Dave Barry's latest book!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What Would You Do?

Check out my new review on "This is Not The Story You Think It Is" by Laura Munson. Whatwould you do if your husband said he wasn't sure he ever really loved you and wanted out of your marriage?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mr. Right or Mr. Good Enough?

Recently reviewed a book about making the case for settling for Mr. Good Enough and not the movie fantasy version of Mr. Right. Let me know your thoughts!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New review up!

Check out my new review of this hilarious memoir!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Contest Time

Head over to Authors and Appetizers to win a copy of Learn Something Every Day today only!

Leave a comment on the Authors and Appetizers blog to enter to win one of two copies. Include your email address with your comment so we can find you if you are the winner! Winners will be chosen at 7 p.m. CST

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New Book Review!

Check out my review on "When We Were Strangers" on Authors and Appetizers!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Live Like Elizabeth Taylor

I’ve always loved Elizabeth Taylor, but in the last three years I became more familiar with her movies because the Portuguese cable company, MEO, played her films all the time. “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” was on a few times a month, ditto “Giant,” “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” “Butterfield 8,” and even some films from her that I wasn’t even aware she had made. I always wondered why the Portuguese were so fascinated with her in particular since there were rarely any Grace Kelly movies on, or Audrey, or Carole, or even Marilyn. Maybe it was the dark hair. After all their version of “Alice in Wonderland” in their parade features several brunette Alices and not one blond.

But then again, how could you not be fascinated with her? I had violet colored contacts in high school and all through college and grad school due to her. Of course with my super dark hair (yes, that is my natural color), violet was the only shade that worked on me, but when I did a makeup segment on the news and someone commented about the young Elizabeth Taylor with the “non-gummy lipstick,” my day was made. I actually worked with a makeup artist who had done her makeup. He did my makeup and I remember one of the girls in the dressing room asking him if she really had violet eyes and he said no, crystal blue, which was a bit disappointing, but then I think how gorgeous she was in the black and white movies that it doesn’t really matter.

My dad and I went to classic movie day at the Courtland Center Cinemas in Flint, Michigan to watch “A Place in the Sun” and my first thought was, she’s on a huge screen and she has no pores. None. Not a one. Of course this was in my Biore pad obsession days, but still. Her skin was completely creamy and flawless.

Elizabeth packed a lot of living into her 79 years. She had many bad illnesses, almost dying a few times, losing a loved one, marriages, divorces, but you can’t say she didn’t really live. So many of us, myself included, play it safe and take the road more traveled, but Elizabeth went for it in every aspect of her life. Maybe that’s a lesson for us all.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Boxes Everywhere

There are so many reasons to hate moving. The worst part? Having your nice clean, once sanitary things placed in a box where they are touching stuff that you really thought you threw out. Like when my beautiful throw pillows that can’t be disinfected are placed on the same shoe racks that once held shoes. And not just any shoes. Shoes that walked on ancient European streets that were riddled with stray dog excrement and a trillion years of disease. Remember there were plagues in Europe and your history books had illustrations of carts holding bloated corpses they took off the streets due to said plagues. Hence why my shoe dirt is not ordinary shoe dirt. Plus the road across the street from where I lived had animals on it daily when the farmers walked their cows down it. Why? I still have no clue. Maybe cows need exercise? But it is interesting to note that European farmers dress a lot better than American ones. They would spit on a John Deere hat. But nonetheless, the dirt on my shoes is nothing you’d want on your throw pillows.

Since my stuff was coming over from Europe on a boat, and we informed it would sit at the port for a good three months, I decided to put my books and papers and past work in plastic storage bins. I figured it would keep everything clean, dry, and safe. Well, safe-ish. Then, yesterday, I found 2 of the plastic lids with a mystery crud on them. Was it rat poop? Innocent dirt? Nasty, slutty dirt? Or Indiscriminate unrecognizable sludge? No clue. My worst fears tell me it’s rat poop. Or mice poop. Rat poop sounds grosser, but really, is mice poop any better? No. And of course one of the nasty bins somehow had the top pop off and the tape that was holding it on as a secondary security system also came off. So did anything get inside? No way to tell. Things like that make me wish I had just set the books in that box on fire. It’d be less painful than letting them get defiled by whatever that evil is on the lid. And even if I do convince myself it’s just some odd shaped dirt, I know myself well enough to know I’ll never be comfortable putting those books on my nice bookcase.

I haven’t even opened that many boxes and so far I’ve found wrinkled scrapbook stuff, boots with mildew, and a purse that looks like an elephant sat on it. I haven’t opened any of the boxes with breakables in it yet, but I admit, that’s partly because I’m scared. Oh well, here’s hoping the rest of the boxes are poop-free. And pray that no bats fly out. I don't think my heart could take it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Is It Spring Yet?

I am not prepared for this weather. I just came from a place where it got not colder than the 60’s and now I have to put on gloves and a coat everywhere I go. A coat? Seriously? Everyday? And I actually wear sweaters now. I forgot how much I hate wearing a coat inside stores and nothing’s worse than a hot heavy sweater under a coat when you come in from the cold and go into a chop that’s toasty and you begin to bake. I was putting up with this cold, but then winter decided to push me and add freezing rain to the mix. I dealt with the snow, but the ice thing is a whole other thing. It makes everything dangerous and it knocked off my freakin’ power for like, six hours. And everyone knows you can only keep the food in your fridge safe for four hours.

Maybe I’d be less bitter if the boots I needed hadn’t sold out. Or if the power hadn’t gone out during Brooke and Julian’s wedding on “One Tree Hill.” By the way, didn’t you expect her dress to be cuter considering she’s a designer? And what’s with Julian’s bangs?

They say the groundhog didn’t see his shadow so spring will come, but I look outside and am not so sure. I guess I don’t need spring to hurry up, but I’d at least like to make it to my mailbox without dying. I’m a simple girl with simple needs.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Gotta Have Faith--and Now I Finally Do!

I went back in time today. No, not some “Being Erica,” time traveling therapy session. Today I got the George Michael Faith box set my husband ordered for me for Valentine’s Day. I opened the heavy box (to me it was heavy, probably not to normal people) and instantly went back in time to that kid who used to sit in front of the TV hoping and praying MTV would play “Father Figure” just one more time. As I opened the box, I found the photos (all hot, like Hottie McHot-hot kind of hot), a concert poster, CDs, and a record. I never had a George Michael record, but the second I took it out of the sleeve, I remembered my mom pulling out her old records to play for me while she’d do my hair. I don’t even know the last time I saw a record—maybe at a club years ago? But there it was, the album I never got as a kid because it was banned by some city or country or dictator as well as my mother.

Even though I wasn’t allowed to buy the album, I found ways around that. I taped songs off the radio, but then I got my opportunity. I had to make a commercial for a modeling thing to show how I’d handle myself on camera. They said I could write my own script and choose what product I wanted to pretend to promote. I decided to use the album, borrowed my friend Wendy’s tape as my prop, and wore the George Michael sweatshirt my mom bought me for Christmas. The commercial went well (the woman running the camera was a huge George fan, so there were many close-ups of the cover), and it gave me the opportunity to listen to the whole album until I gave it back to Wendy. It was amazing.

Oddly, my mom allowed me to buy the videos, but not the CD, so I had some George stuff, but it was a while before I owned the album. My mom always thought my crush on George was due to the fact she tried to ban him from the house (although she also bought me most of the singles, maybe because they were radio approved?) But as I was looking through the booklet that came in the set today, it reminded me of why I started liking him. Even though I liked the songs, and thought he was cute, I think my big attraction was the fact he talked about the process that went into making the album. That would appeal to a kid whose teachers were already steering her into going into writing. I recall all those interviews and MTV pieces on him that I watched transfixed and about passed out when I realized one of them is included on the DVD.

It’s amazing how just a few pictures, songs, an interview, and a record could completely take me back in time. Now excuse me, I have to go be a kid again.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Check out my friend Rachel's blog, "Come What May," and her new kitchen utensil giveaway!

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Valentine's Day

My Christmas decorations didn't show up in time for me to decorate the new house for Christmas, so I only had a couple of things up that were sent to me as housewarming gifts. However, Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday so I had to decorate for it. I had brought a bunch of Valentine decorations to Portugal, but when I moved from one place to another there, well they were victims of the great sewer backup. Rest in peace little decorations.

I must say this year it wasn't easy finding decorations. Some of the stores had stuff that was too high priced ($50 for small heart bookends?) or they had more stuff for parties or gifts. But I kept looking and found a few things. I saw some ornaments and thought how cool would it be to have a Valentine tree? I only bought two at first because I wasn't sure I'd find a tree. Then I hit another store and there it was: a six foot pink tree. It was a pre-lit Christmas tree, so it was 75% off. It was perfect. It was the right shade of pink--that Barbie/Katie Price shade and they had ornaments and wire garlands. So I spent my Thursday night decorating it.

Now do I decorate for St. Patrick's Day next or head right into Easter?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My 2010

Every blogger has been getting in on this and seeing as I've jumped on every bandwagon since the Cabbage Patch Kid craze, I had to join in, so here is my 2010 review.

1.What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Started watching Katie Price’s reality show. It was oddly addictive. I knew I had watched too much when I caught a glimpse of myself wearing bright pink lip gloss usually reserved for hookers in North Korea with a matching bright pink top and pastel sweatpants.

2.Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My resolution was, “don’t die,” and that was accomplished. Fingers crossed for this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Several friends. Mostly baby boys. And I now have an imaginary adopted baby named Charlemagne that I was going to talk to in public to see if that’d get me off the island earlier. No baby news here. I have no biological clock and my husband doesn’t care for children at all.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Other than many of my hopes and dreams?

5. What countries did you visit?

While living in Portugal, I had several dreams where the island drifted and I was in Antarctica and South Africa. I believe dream visits count, so I spent a considerable amount of time with penguins.

I6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

Patience, sanity, a DVD set of “Home Movies.” The usual.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Winning the gold in figure skating in the Olympics. I was fabulous and my costume was so adorable.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Other than the gold medal? Um, not flying to England to stand outside of the prison George Michael crying holding a sign saying, “Marry me, George.” Even I was surprised I kept my dignity on that.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I had a whole speech planned to tell someone off, but when I had to meet with them, I was in a position where I needed them, so I had to keep my little mouth shut. My dad always says never burn your bridges, but I enjoy pouring gasoline on them and lighting them ablaze.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No comment

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A Faberge egg with the New Kids on the Block riding merry-go-round horses when you open it.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Everyone who sent me a care package that kept me alive on the island. Except for the person who sent me something that spoiled and almost made Mr. H vomit when he opened it. What the hell were they thinking sending something that spoils in the mail?

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I get enraged more than depressed. I’ll keep the personal one to myself, but George Michael kissing that male escort in Australia didn’t do my blood pressure any favors.

14. Where did most of your money go?

I just moved from one country and all my stuff is still stuck there at the port, so where didn’t my money go would be the better question.

15. What did you get really excited about?

Coming back to the U.S., I got excited about going to Kmart and the fact it was open 7 days a week and past 7 p.m.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?

“Cry Me Out” and “Just Haven’t Met You Yet.” Oh Pixie Lott, you got me through some nights. And when that Michael Buble song comes on when I’m in a grocery store, it makes me want to dance like they did in the music video. I always wonder if anyone else feels that way when they hear it, too.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

(a) happier or sadder?
(b) thinner or fatter?
(c) richer or poorer?

(a) Happier. I’m in the land of 24 hour grocery stores.

(b) Probably bigger seeing as there’s food in this country
(c) Poorer seeing as we’ve had to start over from scratch. I can’t wait to get to the point where I can blow my money on stupid frivolous crap. Like more North Korean bright pink lip gloss, but this time with shimmer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I had bedazzled more of my clothes and bought more European tabloids with celebrities no one in the U.S. has ever heard of, but who are awesomely Euro trashy.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Watching “Jerseylicious.”

20. How did you spend Christmas?

2009 brought flooding to the island and no mail or food plane, so really being dry and fed was a huge step up.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?

Yes, with Applegate Farm’s gluten-free chicken nuggets and Organicville’s Ranch dressing. I may divorce my husband so Ranchie and I can run off together.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

“Being Erica” and I used to watch some European decorating shows and house hunting shows and scream at the TV, “You’ll fall through the floor! Nothing’s been updated in 100 years! That’s not quaint, that’s Legionnaire’s waiting to happen, you dmbass!” And wondering why they’d buy a home in a country they’d most likely get shot in and/or decapitated.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Yes, I do. I got over my hatred of 2 other people and it’s been replaced when someone else.

24. What was the best book you read?

I was doing book reviews last year and there were some doozies, but Pop on Top is a go-to classic. That and Boy George’s “Take it Like a Man.”

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Pixie Lott. Although I think that was 2009. And that weird little French guy who was like an emaciated Moby who sat barefoot while naked chicks sat around him and he sang and looked depressed. I would have liked to have been in the meeting when they decided to sign him.

26. What did you want and get?

A proposal from Bret Michaels. Bastard won’t make an honest woman of me.

27. What did you want and not get?

I only got one gift card & I love those. Oh and George to dump a certain Texan boy toy.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Sex and the City 2. I watched “Not without My Daughter” for the 1st time and got some neato ideas if I should ever become the leader of a country. I could put my picture on anything and everything.

29. What did you do on your birthday?

I don’t recall what I did. I remember the presents the most. The presents were most awesome this year.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If I hadn’t seen George Michael in a bathing suit and Crocs while rubbing suntan oil on a male escort. I could have done without that.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

Getting mistaken for a local and/or European told me I was on the right path with my clothes. Looking back, I guess I was channeling Katie Price on her off-days, not on her showing off her man-made gifts.

32. What kept you sane?

Good mail days and new magazine day. And that is the honest truth.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Do you need to even ask? Since age 10, George Michael. I also developed a slight crush on Bryan Greenberg, but only when his hair looks good.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

I got enraged over something a European leader did, but he’ll shoot you as to look at you, so I won’t mention his name. Crap, I’ve said to much. He’ll probably put mercury in my Coke.

35. Who did you miss?

My imaginary friend couldn’t take island life and dumped me.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I met some great new people in Ohio and made some friends in Portugal. And in my mind Kai on “Being Erica” is my pal.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

Do not assume a red top you have washed a million times is not going to turn your only white bra pink. Oh and stay off the internet the day George Michael is photographed kissing a male escort while wearing Crocs.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Karma Chameleon