Thursday, September 22, 2016

The show I'm "crazy" about

I started watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend at the beginning of this month and was immediately hooked. Not only is it funny with a chick-flick feel, but it also has musical numbers. Rebecca (played by Rachel Bloom) is easy to relate to, whether or not you’ve done something drastic for love. Some things that have come up in her life have definitely struck a nerve. Not to mention that Rachel Bloom is my new girl crush, given that she’s cute, funny, and can sing really well. I can also relate to Paula, a mom who is looking for something interesting to do outside her home and finds that by investing way too much into Rebecca's quest to be with Josh. And of course, I adore Greg. He's like my replacement for Danny Castellano (from The Mindy Project), yet he is eerily similar to him. He's played by Santino Fontana, who also reminds me a bit of Christian Campbell, and who did the voice of this guy (so we know he can sing really well):

The character I both love to hate and hate to love is, of course, Valencia. Like when she's nice, she's so awesome and I would totally want to hang with her. When she's mean, watch out for the claws. She really knows how to go for the jugular. Then there are times when I really feel sorry for her. In second place for both categories is Naomi, Rebecca's mom. She can be totally overbearing and shallow, but other times she's proven herself to be caring and loving. Josh is a mixed bag too. I want to like him because Rebecca does, but it's hard to with Greg being a potential option. I like Josh best when he stands up for himself.

Finally, I really like Heather. She sounds so vapid, but she has a good heart underneath her "what do you want from me, I'm just a student" attitude.

I love how quirky the show is, even without trying too hard. It's just so naturally funny when done the right way. (Some of it reminds me of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but unlike season two of that show, this series is actually hilarious and I hope it has similar humor in season two.) Like at the end of each episode, there's something funny based on something that was said or that happened during the episode.

And, of course, there is the music. The songs are so funny and done in different musical styles. The theme song is catchy and reminds me of the one from The Nanny, especially since they have all the animation. I love that she tells the sun that "the situation is a lot more nuanced." I also love the way she says "West Covina, California."

Now that I’m finished with season one, I’m already going through withdrawal until season two starts next month. After the below video, I'm sharing my favorite episodes and songs. There are spoilers, so don't read any further until you've watched the season in its entirety and can come back to see if you agree.

Curious? Watch a trailer for the first season (really just the first episode). Please note that the guy playing her boss was re-cast for the show, and is no longer played by Michael McDonald from MadTV (however, Stephnie Weir and Michael Hitchcock are on a few episodes):

Here are my favorite episodes from the season (may contain SPOILERS):

Episode 4-I'm Going on a Date with Josh's Friend!:
Because, well, Greg! I did enjoy the moment he and Rebecca had before she went and messed everything up.

Episode 8-My Mom, Greg's Mom and Josh's Sweet Dance Moves!:Paula as a British Jew, Naomi's song, Heather getting Greg to see that he's wrong about his mom and then kissing him and quitting her job on the spot, what Naomi thought Rebecca gave her as a gift, etc.

Episode 10-I'm Back at Camp with Josh!: Just a really cute episode. I loved the girls giving Rebecca a pep talk. I also like that Josh stood up to Valencia at the end.

Episode 11-That Text Was Not Meant for Josh!: The text situation itself (sooooooo mortifying); Paula and Scott bonding over Rebecca's love life, which included them talking out the theme song.

Episode 13-Josh and I Go to Los Angeles!: JAP Battle, Les Miz style song, B.J. Novak cameo, Greg realizing he really does like Rebecca, heightened drama at the end, Valencia getting shut down.

Episode 16-Josh's Sister Is Getting Married!: The ending was well worth it. Lots of cute and funny moments. I love how Greg had more face time this episode. It was cute how he helped Marty try to woo the girl at the store and how he learned something about himself in the process.

Episode 17-Why Is Josh in a Bad Mood?: Living vicariously through Rebecca's "relationship" with Greg. So many funny moments too.

Episode 18-Paula Needs to Get Over Josh!: Lea Salonga! Paula's Gypsy style song! feeling angry with and sad for Greg at the same time. The "crazy" ending.

Favorite songs (may contain SPOILERS):

In no particular order, other than alphabetical. I'm too lazy to link a video to each song, but they're all here. Just for fun, here's a ranking of all the songs.

"After Everything I Have Done For You": This Mama Rose number was perfect for Paula and she did it so well.

"Face Your Fears": Paula sings it really well and I love the background chorus

"Flooded with Justice": Definitely inspired by Les Miz and I love it for that reason.

"Getting Bi": Has a fun 80s feel and the words are so funny. I love how Daryl felt he needed to out himself at a work meeting.

"Group Hang": Fun song with a salsa feel. I love how she's questioning the authenticity of the restaurant.

"I Gave You a UTI": So funny and upbeat. *And Greg sings it! He's so cute how he sings it too.

"I Have Friends": Reminds me of something from Teen Witch. I love how people describe themselves instead of using names. I also love the duet with her younger self.

"I'm The Villain in My Own Story": Clever song and fun video to go along with it. Has a Disney feel.

"JAP Battle": Best line "Sheket b'vaka shut the hell up." I also love that this song was inspired by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

"Oh My God I Think I Like You": I like how Rebecca is realizing her feelings for Greg and it also has an 80s feel.

"One Indescribable Instant": Reminds me of Enchanted. 

"Put Yourself First": Fun girl power song, even though the message isn't totally clear.

"Settle For Me": Reminds me of the Big Band era music. Plus *Greg is singing it! The music video for it is cute.

"Textmergency": Has an 80s big hair band feel. I love how they're arguing about what the situation should be called. I like "textastrophe" better.

"West Covina": Has a Broadway opening number feel to it.

"What'll It Be": Sounds like "Piano Man" at first but then is all passionate and intense. And it's *Greg singing!

"Where's The Bathroom?": Tova Feldshuh is hilarious with this song. It's the ultimate nagging Jewish mother song. It reminds me of this thing I wrote in HS when I listed everything my mom would say to me all the time. (She saw it and said "you were listening!")

"Women Gotta Stick Together": This is a funny country-style song, regardless of the fact that Valencia sings it. I love how she's insulting everyone but they are all following her anyway.

"You Stupid B*tch": This self-berating ballad is so perfect for the show and I love how Rebecca sings it so convincingly and with all the shame in her voice.

*The only song I have to make an exception for, when it comes to Greg, is "I Could if I Wanted To." That song doesn't appeal to me, even though it was ranked high on the article I posted above.

Monday, September 19, 2016

All at Sea

So...four months ago I went on a cruise with my family (husband, kids, and my parents). Although I haven’t written about it until now, it’s been fresh in my head the entire time. However, I am not planning to go through the details of each and every day. Instead, I will share the highlights.

*The pool area for the kids. Since my kids love swimming and water activities, this was perfect for them. They had a shallow pool, splash park, current pool/mini-lazy river, and a hot tub that felt more like a bathtub so kids could go in it too. We spent a lot of time by the pool area. There was also a soft serve ice cream machine, as an added bonus.

*The shows. Probably the best part of the trip was all the entertainment in one place. We saw a full Broadway production of Mamma Mia on the first night. My daughter loved it and made me sing the songs with her afterward. There was an ice rink, where they put on Ice Capade quality shows. One of the shows was about the cruise ship in the style of a Monopoly game. The other was a How to Train Your Dragon ice show. One of the nights, there was a show in the main theater where they did singing, dancing, and acrobatics (Blue Planet). It had a bunch of popular songs done in different styles and sung by some of the actors from Mamma Mia. It was visually pleasing too. Another night, they featured a ventriloquist, Ronn Lucas, who was really funny. There was even an aquatic theater where they did a water show. (The water show was probably the least of my favorites because it felt slow and repetitive, but some of the stunts were cool. My husband liked it a lot.) On our final night, we saw a family-friendly comedy act, which made up for us not getting a chance to see the adults only comedy acts.
Waiting to see Mamma Mia

The ice rink turns into a regular floor for watching other shows

Oceanaria at the aquatic theater

Blue Planet (photo credit:

*The excursions. We weren’t always at sea. We spent one day in Labadee, Haiti, which is privately owned by Royal Caribbean. The kids were happy to finally spend time at a beach and loved playing around in the water. The next day was in Jamaica. We docked at Falsmouth and then met our tour guide who took us to Ocho Rios for our visit to Blue Hole. That was really impressive. I’m a coward when it comes to jumping into depths of water from any height, but the tour guide there was really nice about it. He even carried my daughter the entire time. Later that week, we went to Cozumel and went to a stingray beach. We had lots of stingrays swimming all around us and the guides showed us how to feed and pet them. (I did not feed them as I wasn’t going to hold a dead fish in order to do so.) Then my husband and sons went snorkeling and they enjoyed that a lot. (Again, so not my thing.) We got back onto the boat earlier than most people, so the dining areas and pool were not crowded.

Blue Hole

*The ship itself. Allure of the Seas is huge. There are different sections, like the Promenade, which has restaurants, shops, and entertainment areas; Central Park, which actually looks like a section of Central Park in NYC and also has restaurants and little sitting areas; The Boardwalk, which has the aquatic theater, a carousel, stuff for kids to do, etc.; a kid’s activity center that has a science lab, craft room, movie theater, etc.; the area with the ice rink, jazz club, and comedy club; three large dining rooms, as well as snack bars and lounges. There is just so much to explore and take in!


Carousel at The Boardwalk

*Evening entertainment. You basically had to clone yourself to do it all. There were so many things going on at one time. My favorite was The Quest. It was like a scavenger hunt game show. Each team had two captains, one male and one female. The game show host would give a task to one of the captains to get an item from the audience and do something random with it. It was so funny and involved a lot of audience participation. (Here is a video I found online from someone else, as we didn't get one the night we did it.)
Another night, I participated in this game called “If You Know it, Sing it.” I ended up helping our team win by knowing the words to “Mamma Mia.” (Thanks to my daughter who made me sing it with her all the time.) There was a woman on my team who was clearly drunk and kept hogging the microphone even when she didn’t know the words. I was especially annoyed when she did it during “Obladi, Oblada.” (Anyone who has watched Life Goes On in the 80's should know all the words to that song!) There was another woman on my team who balanced out my annoyance for the drunk lady, as she grabbed the microphone from the other team during “Beat It” and just rocked out. One night, they had dancing to 80's music. The music was super loud though. However, my younger son was dancing all silly and someone on the entertainment staff gave him a prize. Good thing I won the same prize at the singing contest because my daughter was so jealous and wanted it too.
One of the evenings, my older son and I went to a jazz concert where they were performing songs from movies, TV shows, and musicals. The lead singer’s name is Simon Drew and he was giving away his CDs at the end, so I got one of them. My son and I got a kick out of him saying that every song was his “all-time favorite.” (In a British accent, no less.) We’d say that about every song after that night.

*Food/Dining. The dining staff was accommodating to our dietary needs and even gave us challah and Kosher wine on Friday night. They were even good about getting our reservations changed so we didn’t have to eat so late with the kids. Since we had limited options, it was easy to get bored of certain food items after a while.

We didn’t make any new friends, as it was too hard to socialize while focusing on our kids. We saw a lot of the same people around the boat, but never made the effort to chat with them or introduce ourselves. One person who stood out was this woman with extremely frizzy hair. My hair has a mind of its own, but I’m not brave enough to avoid conditioner or gel. I applaud her for not caring how wild her hair was and just letting it go the way it wanted.

Also, unless your kids are really close in age, the child care programming doesn’t work well if they want to stay together. We found that out the hard way and it was very frustrating. Needless to say, we did not have a “date night.” We also had to take turns relaxing during pool time, as someone had to be watching our daughter. I did get a little reading time in, but I usually wanted to sleep when I had the chance to relax by myself.

Overall, we had a great time and the kids already want to go on another cruise. If that’s the case, I’d probably want something even more kid-friendly with opportunities to socialize with other families. Not to say this wasn’t kid-friendly. It was sponsored by Dreamworks! However, if the kids don’t want to go to child care because of their lame rules, there should at least be more entertainment options for them at night. You know a cruise will make them into insomniacs! Perhaps a late night sundae bar would do the trick? Or another family friendly show?

Clearly it was a memorable trip if I had all this to share four months later!

Check out some video and photo montages from my husband:
Day 1 (Boarding the ship and first night at sea)
Day 2 (At sea, formal night)
Day 3 (Labadee and the singing contest)
Day 4 (Jamaica)

There's one more coming that I'll share once it's available.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The summer I turned 40

Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about three years, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

We're finally back after summer break, but will be posting bi-weekly as life keeps getting in the way.

This week, Froggie chose the topic: My summer

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic. I will be only posting links to posts on this same topic from my group. So check back if you were hoping to read their blogs and don't see a link yet.
Darwin Shrugged
Moma Rock

This summer went by in a blur. At least it feels that way! I can’t even remember most of what I did in June. It started off with “Will” visiting during Memorial weekend. He stayed with us for a couple of days and we got to do some exploring in DC. I even had a reunion for him and “Jack” at our house. Like the good old days!

The big thing in June was my daughter graduating from Pre-K. She narrated a story during the performance part of the ceremony and spoke so well. I was verklempt! At the end of the month, we all saw Finding Dory. I enjoyed it a lot.

July was the month of the big 4-0. It started out with Fourth of July weekend. We had one of my online friends and her family over for a BBQ that Sunday. On the actual holiday, it was raining a lot, so we went to an indoor pool nearby. They had a shallow splash pool for the kids that included a little water slide. The kids had a lot of fun and the water was the perfect temperature.

A few days before my birthday, my husband threw me a little party for our friends in the neighborhood to attend during Shabbat. We had a great turnout and he even made this “time machine” for me.

The next day, I saw a community theater production of Rent with two of my close friends. It was decent, but the rhythms were off a lot of the time. And Angel’s makeup made him look like one of the Golden Girls going for a night on the town.

My actual birthday was…interesting. It started out with a trip to the pediatrician because my younger son wasn’t feeling well. Turns out, he had strep. I spent most of the day with him and we watched The Karate Kid (the original version). My in-laws were in town, so they stayed home with him for a little while so that I could get my hair cut. (They also stayed with the kids that evening.)

At night, my husband and I went out for dinner and frozen yogurt, and then saw Evita at a local professional theater. It was a different kind of production in comparison with the movie version, but they did a nice job with it. The dancing was kind of strange though. The next day, he and I went to a Nats game with my office. It was fun, but too hot to stay out the whole time. When we got home that evening, I got a manicure and pedicure. It was really nice! I enjoyed all the Facebook posts I received on my birthday, as well.

The weekend following my birthday, we went to our cousin’s Bat Mitzvah. It was nice to see some family that we don’t normally get to see. There was also a brunch at their house and we spent some time at their pool too. The Bat Mitzvah reception was a lot of fun and my older son had a blast dancing with the other kids. My parents were there too, even though it’s on my husband’s side. They’re best friends with my husband’s cousins, through whom we originally got connected to more cousins. The Bat Mitzvah was for their granddaughter.

At the end of July, we went to a really nice water park by Chesapeake Beach. There were a lot of slides, including a cool one that you go down on a raft. They had a lazy river, as well. We had a great time there and I am glad I got the Certifikid deal when it was available.

August was more low-key in the beginning of the month. We took the kids to a butterfly exhibit at a nearby nature center. The butterflies seemed to like my younger son. My daughter kept telling me to take a lot of random butterfly pictures. It was really hot in the exhibit though.

The exciting part of August was when we took the kids to NYC for a few days to spend time with my in-laws and tour around the city. It was more for them to really experience NYC, as the last time they were there, my older son was three and doesn’t remember anything about it. He’s wanted to go for a while, so he was really excited. The days were filled with visits to museums, Ground Zero, seeing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, going up the Empire State Building, and eating at some delicious Kosher meat restaurants. We also saw Matilda. It was cute, but sometimes I had trouble understanding what they were saying since they used thick British accents. I was verklempt from the ending though.

I didn’t tell a lot of friends I was going to be in NYC because the focus was on spending time with family and exploring. However, we got to meet up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. And the last time she saw my kids, my daughter was a toddler. And we also had a random meet-up with another friend who just happened to be at the Museum of Natural History at the same time we were. Only in New York, right?!?

Random meet up with my friend from HS

Planned meet up 

We didn't get to see the show,
but we couldn't resist stopping by!
At NY Historical Society, which had a Hamilton
exhibit, as well as a cool kid's museum and a
Mo Willems exhibit.
We ended the summer (as in right before the kids went back to school) by taking my cousin out to dinner, as she moved across the country to study at University of Maryland. It was nice to spend time with her and I hope to see her again soon!

Labor Day weekend was pretty uneventful, but a friend from Chicago was in town, so we got to see her and meet her new baby.

As for TV shows...I watched Orange is the New Black, Odd Mom Out, The Goldbergs, Orphan Black, Stranger Things, and am now getting into Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I didn't see a lot of movies. Just one in the theater and a couple on DVD (Room and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2).

I obviously read a ton of books! One of my favorites from this summer is Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale. I also got into audio books for the first time. I started off with In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume and am now almost finished listening to The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg.

That’s about it for my summer. I’m not into hot weather at all and am glad that autumn is almost here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Eleven reasons to watch Stranger Things

As you may already know, I love the TV series Stranger Things. Now that I'm done, I'm going through withdrawal. Mind you, I don't normally like anything scary, but this was worth watching! Here are 11 reasons you should be watching too. (Or you'll agree if you've already watched and also became addicted.) I'll try not to spoil it though!

First, check out the trailer:

1. The theme music/opening credits: It goes so well with the mood of the show.

2. The 80s feel. I know I can get that from The Goldbergs too, but this is different. It centers on a specific time of the 80s and gives off more of a feel for that time. (Or does it? Hahaha.) Side note: Adam Goldberg wants to do a crossover of The Goldbergs and Stranger Things. That would be awesome!

3. Winona Ryder. Even though her character is mostly pumped full of adrenaline, it was cool to see her in a different kind of role than I'm used to.

4. Nancy (Natalia Dyer) = #GirlCrush.

5. More conspiracies than Orphan Black. At least it feels that way to me. There are just layers upon layers of them.

6. Fantastic special effects.

7. Dustin (Gaten Matarrazo)...and not only for his fantastic curls. He's definitely my favorite of the four boys.

8. Seeing a man's grief. I know that sounds depressing, but usually women are shown as the ones grieving over spouses or children in movies, TV shows, books, etc. David Harbour plays a man who is grieving a loss and does it so heartbreaking-ly well.

9. It's addictive. Why can't there be more than eight episodes?!? If I were able to binge-watch without worrying about throwing off my entire schedule, I totally would. Even with pacing it out a bit, I'm still going through withdrawal!

10. Even though it's an awesome show, it's fun to play MST3K with. My husband and I found ourselves joking around a lot about certain lines and scenes.

11. Last, but not least, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). Such an impressive kid with a scream that can rival my youngest child's.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Goldbergs--Season 3 with SPOILERS

I couldn't wait and ended up binge watching (if two episodes a night counts) season three with my sons. My husband even started watching some of the episodes with us and was laughing too. (If I can't get him hooked on Hamilton, at least I have a chance with The Goldbergs.) Starting with season four, we'll only get to watch one episode a week, depending on how often new ones are aired. How will we survive?!?

Before I share my favorite episodes of season three, see my thoughts on the first two seasons.
Season 1
Season 2

I noticed that AJ Michalka, who plays Lainey, is now listed in the opening credits after the theme song. I thought that was an interesting development since they just listed the actors who played the family members in the past.


#2 A Chorus Lie: Beverly asks Miss Cinoman to let Adam -- who is going through puberty -- lip sync in the school musical; Murray inspires Erica to go to the homecoming dance with Geoff Schwartz.
I happened to watch this episode the same day as the Melania Trump Milli Vanilli situation, which made it that much funnier. I also love A Chorus Line, so there's that.

#3 Jimmy Five is Alive:
Murray builds a robot with Adam but creative differences drive them apart; Barry accidentally tapes over Beverly's treasured video of his fifth birthday party.
What's even funnier than Murray's bad pronunciation of "robot" is Barry's shenanigans with the video recorder.

#6 Couples Costume: Adam chooses to spend Halloween night with Dana rather than Beverly, who decides to teach her son a lesson about the dangers of the holiday. And later, Adam regrets taking Barry and Erica's advice to visit a haunted house when he's expected to go back inside to find Dana's lost promise ring.
The best parts are with Beverly doing everything she warned Adam against and not realizing it until Murray calls her out on it. Adam's reaction to the haunted house is also really funny though.

#7 Lucky:
Barry's dream of having a dog comes true, but he's disappointed when the pup takes an immediate liking to Murray; at the same time, Beverly is upset not to be included when Erica and Lainey plan a girls-only sleepover.
Three words: Troop Beverly Hills. This movie is a cult classic. Also, I got teary-eyed at the end of the episode. And Lucky was really cute!

#10 A Christmas Story: Disappointed with her unenthusiastic family during the holidays, Beverly creates "Super Hanukkah" to get them into the spirit, but it's too similar to Christmas. Meanwhile, Adam is annoyed that Barry is more interested in hanging with Lainey than him, so he triple-dog dares his brother with results neither one see coming.
It was nice to see the Goldbergs doing something Jewish, even if they were celebrating Hanukkah the Christmas way. So many funny lines and parts though. "Tchotchke pockets!" Aquaman parting the red sea. The triple dog dare. I introduced my kids to Hanukkah Harry from SNL after watching this episode.

#12 Baio and Switch: As Beverly promises to bring Scott Baio to Jenkintown for Hands Across America, Adam ends up with two dates to the same dance.
It was funny how Adam handled having two dates and Murray kept telling him not to be a moron. I also loved who Beverly thought was more famous than Scott Baio. (It is rather funny to see anything about Scott Baio after the reason he's been in the news these days.)

#13 Double Dare: A TV game show is hosting tryouts at Emmy and Adam's school. Will they make it on to the show?
One of the best of the season! Hilarious!!! I would have loved a chance to audition for Double Dare when I was a kid. (My sister and I used to make obstacle courses in our basement, if that tells you anything.) I think the best part was Pops auditioning. It was also funny how Bill was teaching Beverly about football using terms she'd understand.

#15 Weird Al: Adam makes a big change while Barry and Erica try to help Murray.
Two reasons...Weird Al actually being on the episode and my friend's picture at the end. Oh, and Adam's parody of "Everybody Have Fun Tonight."

Remember this one?

#17 The Dirty Dancing Dance: Beverly helps Erica plan a school dance with a "Dirty Dancing" theme, but turns on her daughter once she realizes it may be inappropriate. Meanwhile, Murray and Adam try to become better dancers, without much luck.
I love Dirty Dancing. And yes, I got teary-eyed when Erica finally was able to do the lift. The first attempt was hilarious though! And Barry's "Footloose" dance! I also love Adam and Murray practicing the lift in the pool.

#20 Dungeons and Dragons, Anyone?: Adam rallies his nerd pals to fight back against Mellor's school yard pick system for gym. Mellor choices Adam as a Captain - and the power goes to Adam's head; he also picks the best athletes - even after Dave Kim chooses "Dungeons & Dragons" as the next team sport. Adam must train his doltish classmates to win at the game. Erica is surprised when Bev sparks to an out of state college tour; Murray turns the tables and forbids his daughter from leaving town; Erica then shares that she is not ready to leave the nest/town - at this time.
I think it made a good point about how not everyone is good at the same things and that we shouldn't make each other feel bad about it. I also love Barry wanting to be Lord Big of Tasty. And all the Back to School stuff with Pops was funny. Now I need to see that movie!

#23 Big Orange: Beverly and Lainey team up to destroy something they both despise: Barry's favorite shirt. But once It goes missing, Adam and Erica agree to help their brother investigate what exactly happened to it. Meanwhile, Murray decides to tear down the family tree house, which makes Adam upset.
I love "The Goldberg Gang." I think I enjoy anytime they show Erica before her transformation. Best line: "A super hot Balki Bartokomous."

#24 Have a Summer: Adam and his friends are concerned about Hell Week as new incoming freshmen are hazed by the seniors class. Adam gains respect after body slamming his brother during a school graduation ritual. Meanwhile, Evelyn Silver and her class try to figure out what to put in the schools time capsule.
I love how Adam body slams Barry. So hard not to laugh. The part with Erica and Geoff at the end is totally reminiscent of the season one finale of Friends. The slip-n-slide part looked fun!
What would you put in an 80s time capsule?

Bring on season four! We're ready and looking forward to more fun nostalgia. I think there needs to be an episode focused on Pee Wee's Playhouse (I did see Chairy in the basement, after all) or Pee Wee's Big Adventure. There also needs to be some focus on Michael Jackson and Madonna. If you're a Goldbergs fan like me, what would you like to see in season four?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Book Giveaway: The Hamilton Affair

As you may already know by now, I am obsessed with Hamilton. I even started a fan group at Facebook. As a result, Skyhorse Publishing reached out to me to feature a historical fiction novel coming out next week....The Hamilton Affair by Elizabeth Cobbs. They even have THREE copies for some lucky readers in the US and/or Canada!

Of course, now I have lines from "The Reynolds Pamphlet" in my head!

Check out the book trailer. You can also watch it at Amazon for a chance to win a copy over there too. (US only. Ends 8/2.)


For fans of the Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway musical Hamilton, set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Revolution, and featuring a cast of iconic characters such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the Marquis de Lafayette, The Hamilton Affair tells the sweeping, tumultuous, true love story of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler, from tremulous beginning to bittersweet ending—his at a dueling ground on the shores of the Hudson River, hers more than half a century later after a brave, successful life.

Hamilton was a bastard son, raised on the Caribbean island of St. Croix. He went to America to pursue his education. Along the way he became one of the American Revolution’s most dashing—and unlikely—heroes. Adored by Washington, hated by Jefferson, Hamilton was a lightning rod: the most controversial leader of the American Revolution.

She was the well-to-do daughter of one of New York’s most exalted families—feisty, adventurous, and loyal to a fault. When she met Alexander, she fell head over heels. She pursued him despite his illegitimacy, and loved him despite his infidelity. In 1816 (two centuries ago), she shamed Congress into supporting his seven orphaned children. Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton started New York’s first orphanage. The only “founding mother” to truly embrace public service, she raised 160 children in addition to her own.

With its flawless writing, brilliantly drawn characters, and epic scope, The Hamilton Affair will take its place among the greatest novels of American history.

Elizabeth Cobbs, Professor and Dwight E. Stanford Chair in American Foreign Relations at San Diego State University, has won literary prizes for both history and fiction: the Allan Nevins Prize, Stuart Bernath Book Prize, San Diego Book Award, and Director's Mention for the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction. Her books include AMERICAN UMPIRE (2013), BROKEN PROMISES; A NOVEL OF THE CIVIL WAR (2011), ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE: THE PEACE CORPS AND THE 1960s (2000), and THE RICH NEIGHBOR POLICY (1992). She has served on the jury for the Pulitzer Prize in History and on the Historical Advisory Committee of the U.S. State Department. She has received awards and fellowships from the Fulbright Commission; Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace; Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Organization of American States; American Philosophical Society; Rockefeller Foundation, and other distinguished institutions. Her essays have been published in the New York Times, Jerusalem Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, China Daily News, National Public Radio, Washington Independent, San Diego Union, and Reuters. Her current project is a history of women soldiers in World War One. Visit Elizabeth at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway.  If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on this blog, enter the giveaway here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends August 2nd at midnight EST.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Birthday Book Giveaway

Keeping it simple here...because today is my birthday, I want to give away some books. The gift of reading (and the amazing books I've had the opportunity to read) has been a treasure to me over the past 40 years (maybe less since I didn't start reading until I was three or four years old).

Unlike my book blog, I'm limiting this to US/Canada.

Good luck!

These are NOT the books I'm giving away. That part is a surprise!

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway.  If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on this blog, enter the giveaway here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends July 24th at midnight EST.