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Book Review: For the Right Reasons

31 March 2015

Every woman in America has at one time indulged in The Bachelor(ette) franchise. I remember joining all my Alpha sisters at university in the common room to watch the weekly episodes while drinking hot chocolate and munching on popcorn. Those were the crazy university days. Fast forward a decade later and Sean Lowe was the 17th Bachelor after being rejected by Bachelorette Emily (Season 8). I had not watched the show religiously for several years but was intrigued by the "Virgin Bachelor" title. And who doesn't love their 'happily ever after' ending featuring the first televised wedding of a Bachelor marrying his chosen one (previous Bachelor Jason married Molly who was technically his second choice). 

Food Review: Champagne Bakery

27 March 2015

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to visit with girlfriend, Heather, whom you will remember from Mad Hatter Tea Party and my birthday celebrations.

Beauty: Spring Hydrating Beauty

We've sure been having some toasty warm and dry days here in Southern California of late. Happy Springtime! While that is wonderful for soaking in some Vitamin D and luxurious strolls around the block, that also means our skin can become dry, flaky and need a good beauty treatment.

Book Review: Capture the Moment

26 March 2015

Everyone to some degree is a photographer in this day and age. Just look at all those Instagram pics people can take with their smartphones. So whether you use photography for your blog, make photography your livelihood, or enjoy dabbling with the odd photograph here and there, we can all appreciate a properly composed photograph.

American Idol: Top 9 (LIVE Recap)

25 March 2015

It's another American Idol (80s Music) and the producers have put the audience out of their misery fast. Daniel Seavey is safe once again, America. We are just going to have to soldier on and vote extra hard for our favorites so they don't end up in the bottom.

And now for some e-jumping up and down... THE Boy George is on American Idol tonight looking superb and sounding incredible. This man doesn't age, makes you just want to get up and dance/sing, and has me searching for my Boy George mp3s.

Next safe... Quentin! He is starting to wear less distracting nose rings. Not sure if this is deliberate but a smart move - he takes risks but no need to be too distracting where we forget to pay attention to his voice. He is singing "In The Air Tonight" and his intensity and vocals are stronger than last week for sure. I completely agree with the judges - Keith calling it "killer" and JLo saying it was "crazy".
(c) JLo/Twitter
While they take a commercial break, let's take a moment to say how gorgeous JLo looks. LOVING the hair, makeup and outfit choice.
Yay! My girl (favorite) Joey Cook is through and I love her reaction to meeting Boy George. Joey's outfit screams the 80s + her personality. She obviously had fun singing "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" but was it her strongest performance? No. I just hope that she doesn't lose votes this week because of her song choice. So if you are a fan of Joey Cook, be sure to get out and vote! And can I please join Joey and Boy George for a hug and cup of British tea? Made me love her even more seeing her with Boy George.

I had fun with you, Joey!

And Tyanna Jones is up next! Singing a Whitney Houston song has me worried a bit. She overreached last week so here's hoping. Her vocals are solid but this is too karaoke-ish, me thinks. Her high notes are pure fun for sure, tho. Positive praise from the judges who are encouraging. She definitely deserves to stay next week but with Daniel S. likely to be saved once again, she needs to fight a bit harder.

Thank God, Jax is safe! With two eliminations tonight, you never can tell who is safe but we definitely haven't seen enough of Jax yet. That smile of her's is so contagious. Great advice from Boy George! So what of her performance of Bon Jovi's "You Give Love A Bad Name"? I personally enjoyed it. She made the number her own and it was great seeing her on piano and the way she flirted with the camera and teased those lyrics. Well done, girl! 

As for the judges - I def. agree that she would have been better without the band. But bravo, girl! Fans of Jax, be sure to vote! None of our favorites are guaranteed safe.

Kelly Clarkson next week, ay?
And it's Nick Fradiani up next. Phew. (Seeing him fail at the skip ball - o gosh, lol. I loved my skip ball.) He's chosen "Man in the Mirror" and for the most part his vocals are strong and it seems he gave his all to that performance. The girls in the audience seemed to enjoy it and Harry called it an "absolute perfect song choice". Yes, Harry, he is humble and a "sweet, kind soul" comes across. Hopefully the constant talk about his good looks won't turn potential voters off.

That might have been my favorite of your performances, too, Nick!

Anyone else wondering what Quentin, Nick and Joey are going to be singing from the Kelly Clarkson songbook next week? Should be "interesting".

Did you hear that, Boy George fans? He is touring in America this July.

What the heck? Who are "Salt n Pepper"? They're ruining "Push It". Cameramen maybe you should focus more on Harry Connick, Jr.'s improv moves, lol. I might be in the minority though because acc. to Twitter people are loving the performance.

Only 3 more spots left... Who's safe? Hoping Qaasim and Clark are safe. And it's Clark Beckham up next, ladies and gents, in a white tee and black vest. Nice look for him. (He's never seen a Lite Brite before? Oye.)
His version of "Every Breath You Take" on piano was stripped down, intimate and frankly my favorite of his thus far. It really allowed him to show off his vocals and musicality. I suddenly have a visual of him and Harry Connick, Jr., doing a duet for the finale. The judges gave excellent praise and he definitely deserves to be back next week.

Best performance tonight (thus far): Clark Beckham
Weakest performance tonight (thus far): Daniel Seavey
Next up - Qaasim Middleton. I'm glad to see the save did not go to waste. Was the microphone drop repeat supposed to help him win votes? Hmm... He's singing "Addicted to Love" and I am hoping for a less dramatic/zealous performance. He is a "great storyteller" like Boy George said but those facial expressions can be a bit too distracting. My wish came true - he focused on his vocals this week but are they strong enough to keep him in the Top 8? The competition is stiff. Keith wants to hear something even more vulnerable if he's here next week.

So who stays? It seems a toss up between Rayvon and Adanna based on last week's performances. Unfortunately Maddie's performance last week pretty much guarantees she is going home this week. I hope she is able to get another shot at her music, she's talented, sweet and a very pretty girl.

And the last one in to the Top 9 is...
Rayvon Owens.
Interesting... no more country contingency on the show. Wow, he didn't know who Alf was?
He's singing "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and his lack of chemistry with the mentors was very interesting... Keith wanted him to own the stage and while he has a smooth voice he is perhaps one of the more forgettable singers at the end of the day. Was it the nerves from being in the bottom or just not Rayvon's best night? It was a fine performance but I wonder if he'll be in the bottom again, especially seeing that he didn't take the mentors' recommendations.

So, strongest of the night? Clark Beckham
Weakest of the night? Daniel, Rayvon and Qaasim
Most likely going home? Rayvon or Qaasim


American Idol: Top 10 Recap

19 March 2015

What a night!
Tonight the Top 10 went to the movies and with the enormous catalogue of amazing numbers it was a mixed kettle of fish.
SPOILER ALERT: If you have yet to see the episode stop reading and go turn on American Idol.

Clarks: Sandals Season!

Last Saturday, my folks treated me to a brand new pair of sandals (thank you guys!!) and I am in love.
I received a pair of Clarks Skiff Cayman sandals (Off Broadway Shoes) in size 8.  
(c) The Joyous Living
For me, a sandal has to fit 3 requirements:
1. Comfort!
2. Added height
3. Cuteness Factor

These sandals fit all 3 perfectly. The sandal has a 1.5" wedge height and the charming flowers on the leather strap adds just the right amount of cuteness without being too girly or gaudy. 

As for comfort, they blow other sandals out of the water. I have had difficultly walking these past few months and could probably double as a drunk or very old civilian when out and about (no joke!) but these shoes are like a second skin and I find myself feeling more assured and steady when walking. (Also, they are a medium width (acc. to Clarks) and my wide feet fit in these sandals perfectly.)

These specific sandals are not SS15 but you can find them at your local Off Broadway Shoes retailer or online at Amazon. BUT if you must have a pair of this season's darlings - 
here are just a few of my favourites from the website (in alphabetical order):
(c) Clarks, 2015

What is your favourite sandal brand? Happy Spring!

Book Review: The Paleo Chef

18 March 2015

Blogging for Books generously sent me a copy of Pete Evan's The Paleo Chef, a beautiful hardbound cookbook that prides itself on "Quick, Flavorful Paleo Meals for Eating Well".
(c) AAP

Movie Review: The Last Five Years

14 March 2015

Hello! I have been poorly the past few weeks so what better than to check out Jason Robert Brown's indie film production of his musical, The Last Five Years. The film had its share of difficulties getting off the ground, even after filming the time required to find a distributor left fans wondering if it would ever see the light of day. Thankfully a distributor was found and a limited screening of The Last Five Years opened in the US in February 2015 at cinemas and is available for purchase on iTunes ($14.99) and Amazon Instant Video ($14.99). A UK release is coming up too (see below).

Westlake Hyatt: Wedding Yumminess

11 March 2015

Last month I had the pleasure of attending my best friend's brother's wedding at the Westlake Hyatt. I have known this amazing guy since he was a little one and love him like a brother so it was a true treat but what is certain to interest my lovely readers is the meal. Many weddings it seems like the meal is either overcooked, undercooked, bland or well just blah.

Book Review: Pharaoh's Daughter by Mesu Andrews

04 March 2015

Everyone knows of the story of Moses pulled from the bullrushes as a babe whether its from a reading of the Scriptures, a viewing of The Ten Commandments or in artwork. 

Mesu Andrews
 has managed to take the timeless story and weave it from an entirely unique point of view -- Anippe, the woman who drew Moses from the waters. She seems to have taken great pains in her research even choosing to make Mered, the husband of Pharaoh's daughter according to 1 Chronicles 4:17-18, one of her story's key characters.  While The Pharaoh's Daughter is first and foremost historical fiction, the story woven is plausible and realistic. Thankfully, Ms. Andrews has provided a chart of her key characters and a brief explanatory note at her book's conclusion explaining key choices such as the inclusion of Mered.

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