Music Monday | Diddy

Hello!

We are in another month: June. Hope everyone has been enjoying your summer so far! If you have missed out on what the special meaning of this blog series, you can check it out here. Back in April, I started off with the big dogs: Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin. And then last month, I talked about the influence both Timbaland and Missy Elliott had on me in the late 90’s and early 00’s.

The last two months were kind of easy to sort out because I’ve known who I wanted to talk about, but once I started working on my June content, my mind went blank. I knew I wanted to discuss my love of Scott Storch, but I had no idea to pair him up with originally, until it hit me of another producer who was at the heart of my teenage years too.


Although my mom enjoys The Notorious B.I.G. now, I actually don’t remember anything by him or Diddy when I was child, so I’m basing this post on what I loved during my pre-teenage years.

In 2002, before MTV was probably in the early days of creating Jersey Shore, they still had music on their minds. TRL was still well and kicking – I even think both Carson Daly and Vanessa Lachey (nee Miliano) were still hosting the show too! The time was new for everybody, even the music competition shows. American Idol would have been on their second or third season around this time, and thanks to the success of AI, Diddy worked with MTV to create something similar, titling it “Making The Band”. Some of you might remember the show; I remember seeing the promos while TRL went on commercial breaks but I didn’t actually watch it until 2004.

I loved when Diddy decided on creating the ultimate all girl group for his label Bad Boy Records. I still remember (vaguely) of the first season and finding Aubrey O’Day and Aundrea Fimbres, but he wasn’t ready to build a group with the girls on that season, so they came back for a second shot and both Aubrey, Aundrea were joined with Shannon Bex, Dawn Richard, and D. Woods. By the time, they released their first album, I had never listened to a whole album all the way through before, so the fact I can do this for this and Welcome To The Dollhouse was an absolute shock but a very good sign or so I thought. I loved Danity Kane and still do, but my favorite was always Aundrea and since she really never came back to the group over the last few years, I haven’t been as excited as I was in the beginning.

While Diddy was seemingly busy creating one group, he actually went back to MTV with the intentions to make an all male group too! I did watch that season and the finale shocked me, because after the creation of what we know as Day26, absolutely nobody figured he would give Donnie Klang a solo contract! Unfortunately, neither Day26 or Donnie really broke out on their own like DK. I think they each had one decent album release and everything was over.

At the beginning of the year, I heard that the series was coming back but since the COVOID-19 mess, I hadn’t heard anything else about it. Honestly, the only thing I can say about it is, not everything should be rebooted. Back then, there were only two or three music shows whereas now, there are so many to literally drive a person go a bit nutty! I think one of the main differences it worked back then was because, if you wanted to watch something on TV, you had to watch it that night or else you were screwed unless they showed it over the weekend as an encore. Now, we rely on our DVRs and would rather wait until the season is over and binge a large collection at a time.

I really don’t think I’d watch the new reboot, that is, if it ever gets off the ground! I think I’d try it – watch the pilot and see if that magic is still there inside of me. Honestly, it will take a lot of twists and turns in just that hour premiere to capture my full attention to keep coming back for more each week.

Do you remember the ‘Making The Band’ show? What are your thoughts on the prospect of it coming back to TV? 

snowflake

 

Book Review: “Throne Of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas

Hello!

On the day I published my review of “Women Of Scotland” by Helen Susan Swift, I finished reading my then current book “Throne Of Glass”. If my mom hadn’t been ready for bed the night before, I would have been done with it because I was like 10% of the done so I will be forever kicking myself for that!

I have known about this series for an awful long time. I have seen their beautiful covers all over BookTube and they are one reason why I absolutely hate the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” because that’s how I became interested in the series in the first place! I was attracted by their covers and I just wanted them for their beauty. So, the fact that I had an open opportunity to get the first book of the series for like a dollar on Amazon, a week or two after Christmas was amazing!

WARNING: There are spoilers included below! If you haven’t read the book/series, I’d highly recommend you skip the rest of this post

16034235After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

taken from Goodreads


I knew very little before going into this, I vaguely remember reading the description when I first heard about it (seven years ago is a long time!) and checked it as “want to read” on my Goodreads account. Other than that, I never really expected to see it anywhere but on my TBR list for the next decade. That’s part of my problem when I watch book hauls on YouTube, because I will collect over 20 books at a time and look into them on the site, and I will either leave it out or put it on my “curious” shelf with the others!

The book itself is very hefty and honestly it scared me in the beginning.

It had been a while since I’ve read an over 300+ page book, but I took the challenge and was quite proud of myself for buying it back in January. I was also extremely happy I still adored fantasy/historical fiction. After going reading Melissa de la Cruz’s novel “The Ring and The Crown” a couple of years ago, I was for sure thinking I had lost all desire to read another type of book that were written in both topics again.

This book hooked the moment we hear Celaena is being taken out of the salt mines and is escorted by the Captain Of The Guard and several other guards to this strange place. I immediately fell in love with Celaena, but what is so interesting is that she has this cocky attitude during this part and if you know me well enough, you’d understand that I do not like anybody–both real and/or fictionized–that acts this way! I also have to say that I remind family members to not be like that because karma is a real bitch and she’ll find you out quick! So, the fact that I loved Celaena was semi-cocky around her guards, especially Choal, cracked me up!

Although, there were times where I had issues with imagining the glass castle and various characters, I was still able to enjoy myself while learning more about Celaena’s world and it wasn’t until I was halfway in the book did I start to see everything come together in my head. Once I established this, I could see Nephemia easier and the smallest details of the castle and what everyone was wearing in the different chapters.

Another part that I loved was the fact that even though I knew in my mind I would start to figure out how everything ends for Celaena. The duel was a huge deal for her and us, of course, but from the time I had begun reading the second chapter I was spoiling the ways everything could work out for her in the end. However, once I got there I realized that I hadn’t done anything to mess things up for myself. It was still concealed and those final three chapters moved rather fast at first but nicely stilled for a moment, but I wasn’t in the know of what was about to happen afterwards.

I have to add one more thing. It is mostly for anyone who has read the book and possibly the rest of the series. Who were seeing in your mind as the “perfect” person to play each character? For me, I had issues coming up with both Celaena and Chaol, but Dorian was actually the easiest out of the bunch. I instantly thought of Dylan O’Brien. I’m not too familiar with him, but I loved him in the movie American Assassin (2018) and the way he looked in that film, became part of the map I was seeing described in the book. Choal was next and I am furious with myself that this one appeared, but an image of the actor who played Joffrey in Game Of Thrones popped in my head. I just imagined him a little older, so they matched in age. Choal was actually my favorite male character of the book.

Now as for Celaena though, I had the worst luck figuring her out. After several chapters and learning more of her personality, I finally came to the conclusion that Dove Cameron would be perfect! I’ve seen her play a villian on Agents Of S.H.I.E.LD. so that helped me establish she could fight hard and of course, she’s a natural blonde on top of it!

Have you read Throne Of Glass yet? If you have, what book (without spoiling too much for me!) are you on now? What were your thoughts on the first book?

snowflake

Coronavirus | When Does The Cycle End?

I wasn’t going to talk about this. I didn’t want to be another echo in a steady line of chatter, but I have realized two things about this Coronavirus madness. If this panedemic has taught us anything, it is that we truly are as human beings are only concerned about ourselves and the cliche phrase “history repeats itself” rings true to our new reality.

Before I get too far, I should mention that I hardly watch the news. Honestly, I don’t have to, social media is doing its best that it is plastered in every newsfeed, tweet, and vlog. I understand the panic and worry over your financials; I may be a disabled, but I’m not an idiot! I feel for every person who is sick in the hospital forced away from their families and the ones who are upset about the fact that everything is being cancelled.

For the past two days, I have been going through our DVR watching documentaries that I had piled up for a number of weeks. The two I want to talk to you were broadcast on PBS and a part of it’s American Experience program.

The first was about the outbreak of Influenza in 1918-19. I knew from the time it started it was an older episode because of the quality of color on the screen. It was talking to people who were infected or had members of their own family and possibly friends that were diagnosed with it and died.

It featured a lot of elderly people talk about their childhoods before and after the sickness creped into their cities and towns. What really pulled me in was when the narrator explained that it didn’t start with children and their weak immune systems. Instead it was the soldiers in the army camps that were being taken out first. You have to remember that at the time, World War I was going on and the need for young and healthy men were desperately needed to help fight the cause overseas.

Unfortunately, the war wasn’t the only killing machine out there. When Influenza appeared in the spring of 1918, there is a possibility that 500 million people worldwide came down with the deadly virus. Once the war was over, the men who came home were “healthy” to the naked eye but the disease lingered in their bodies to spread into their families and friends who were happy as clams to have their loved one back. All of a sudden the happiness was shattered when more and more people were being knocked down by the symptoms of the virus. The world was put on pause, and businesses and whole families were put on lockdown.

At this time, radio was the only way people could have contact with the outside. There was no TV for young children who were either bored or sick in their beds. They got by with doing chores, schoolwork, and played with their siblings in their rooms. To me, it is a surprise the stock market didn’t crash when the virus showed up because nobody would go anywhere. They were too afraid to!

Even though mainstream medicine was popular in the homes of American people, some could be superstitious and say that God was punishing them for their sins. Satan was there to claim every single person affected with the influenza. However, like with most sicknesses, as quickly as it came in, it disappeared! It had ended just in time as World War I was over and soldiers stationed in Europe were allowed to return to their homes again. Everyone was back to their old selves like nothing ever happened.

coronavirus news on screen
Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

The next morning I woke up, had breakfast and started watching my second documentary, this time it was about polio. Since this epidemic happened in the 1950’s, the talk about it was discussed a little bit more compared to the influenza outbreak. I heard it through both sides of my grandparents when I was younger. I never heard much talk about it while I was a teen and honestly neither one were discussed in school. You would hear someone talk about a fraction of what happened and that was pretty much it.

So, when I saw American Experience was going to re-air the episode about polio or infantile paralysis I knew it would keep me entertained for the lack of a better word.

Where the influenza had been affecting anyone from the ages to 20 to under 50, polio began to infect children the most. Adults were also struck with it too, such as future President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt or FDR for short. He was the one that everyone talked about in my family. I think it was to possibly show me that at one time we had a disabled President.

Anyways, the program was focused more on the relationship with FDR and his friend Basil O’Connor. He was put in charge of running the President’s fund and resort for more research done on polio. As influenza came and went fairly quickly, polio dragged on and on, infecting as many people as it could at various ages. Polio was known for headaches, dizziness, and eventually the loss of movement, which explains the technical term ‘infantile paralysis’.

If you have ever watched the episode of The Waltons, where their mother becomes diagnosed with polio. In the beginning you see this strong young woman become affected by a dark shadow one day. She could no longer control her arms or legs. She could no longer go outside by herself because it made her unable to walk or do anything by herself. This was common to everyone who had it. They could be permanent paralyzed and at the mercy of their families for support. Although for Mrs. Walton regained the usage of her body at the end of the show.

After Basil O’Connor met Jonas Salk, he began to look into the science behind this nasty curse. In 1953, it was announced that Dr. Salk had discovered the source of the problem and gave treatment on a number of people to test it. A year later it was said that the vaccine had worked and they moved to have it be given to everyone in America. Forty-four years later, it was said that polio had became extinct

Yet here we are again, in our own crisis, dealing with a brand new illness with really no end in sight.

History will continue to repeat itself over and over, to show us what we need to see again. When each sickness rolled into town, people seemed to be kind and stayed at home. They followed quarantine rules and religiously practiced social distancing, so to not affect anybody else with the virus. So, as we keep modern day Americans, Italians, English, etc keep gathering together for fun, we are only making everything worse.

I know you’re bored. I live at home, and rarely get to go out when the air is clear. It’s been over two weeks since I have seen my sister, brother-in-law and little nephew. Yes, I have seen and talked to them on FaceTime, but I love being face-to-face with people. So I ask you to please do everything you can to help eradicate this new virus, so we can go back to our normal lives and forget about it just like our ancestors did before us.

Thank you!

snowflake

The Best Movies Of 2019!

thebestmovies

Howdy!

For our last post of the week, I will be discussing my favorite movies of 2019!

Since I didn’t do my “Movies I Want To See” series last year, I wasn’t really keeping up with the newer movies but I was okay with it. What I did instead was I basically made a vow to make time in my day (or night) to watch something in my DVR folder or on Netflix. This was probably the smartest thing I did, because I ended up checking out a lot of films in the meantime. I even tried to make this post a little easier because I used Pinterest to keep track of everything I watched throughout the year.

The Hours (2002)

I think this was the most important film I watched at the beginning of the year. It was a story about three women in their different time periods, but it circled around their lives at the time they are reading Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. So, you have Nicole Kidman starring as Virginia Woolf. The time is 1923, and she is in the process of writing the book but you learn that she has had series of breakdowns and attempted suicide in the past. The next character is Laura, played by Julianne Moore and the year is 1965. She is a mother, who is very unhappy. And finally, there’s Meryl Steep, who is Clarissa and we are back in the present which is 2001. She is a bisexual woman, who tries to keep an eye on her former partner Richard and meets his mother after his death by suicide.

It was a heartbreaking movie that I both loved and hated, because at the time I watched it, I was very depressed and since I have had contemplated suicide in the past, it hit me deeply. After I finished it, I literally got out my notebook and wrote in it about how I was feeling and mostly I was full of anger on my situation in life. I cried and cried, but I let myself cry it out and I’m glad I did that because once I was done, I suddenly felt better about everything. I was no longer sad about my life. If anything, it helped me move on. I don’t know if I kept that entry or not, I think I got rid of it around October.

Descendants 3 (2019)

I was really surprised that not only did I watched this movie, but I loved it! A part of me was conflicted at first because I was watching it to honor Cameron Boyce and the other part I was curious to see what the song was during the promos! After the first song and dance routine was over, I instantly got comfortable on my bed and watched the whole thing in one sitting!

If you have not checked out the films, it is about the descendants of our beloved Disney characters, but there’s a catch as the good characters live in Auradon. They have their magical powers and basically live in a place of luxury, whereas the villains all live on a island that takes away their magical powers and isolates them away. At the time of this film, the original descendants of Maleficent, The Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Jabar, and Cruella Di Vill go back to the island and chose four kids to come to be educated and live with their mentors on Auradon.

I am a sucker when it comes to musicals. Disney musicals use to really get me when I was younger, but I kind of thought I was too old to enjoy them again. It was shocking how quick that thought flew away after I heard “Queen Of Mean” sung by Sleeping Beauty’s daughter Prince Aubrey (Sarah Jeffrey). I’m not going to even hide the fact that after I heard for the first time, I rewind the whole song over so I could learn the lyrics on my closed captions! I learned it within a day or so; the same thing happened with “Night Falls” too!

Chaplin (1992)

This one was probably the best I had seen in a long time! I am familiar with the story of actor Charlie Chaplin, but I was not expecting to enjoy seeing Robert Downey Jr. playing him. I was so worried that I would be picturing Tony Stark the whole time, but thankfully I didn’t. He completely took over the man and his iconic role as the “Tramp” to the point where you thought you were seeing the real Mr. Chaplin on your television screen!

The film is all about Charlie Chaplin’s life, starting while he is exiled in Switzerland after being accused of being a communist. He is met with his biographer to discuss what he wants to put in his book. So, we are taken through some things from his young life with his older half brother Sidney and their mother, who had psychotic breakdowns to what led him to create his own production studio and finally the point he meets his wife and love of his life: Oona O’Neil.

It was such a good film! I wasn’t able to watch it in one sitting like I wanted, but it never really left me, I was haunted by the previous scenes so I kept telling myself to go back and once it was over, I was really bummed but wanted to recommend it to anyone who would listen honestly!

For Sama (2019)

I don’t know what drew me to watch this documentary but I did, and I’m happy that happened because it was hauntingly beautiful!

PBS was airing this on “Frontline” one night and I just felt complied to check it out. It made my heart ache for everyone in Syria. It made me think of a friend I had that lived/lives there, and the reason why I said “lived” is because it’s been around four years since I have heard from her. She use to tweet about her father dying and she was having to move with her family, and it just didn’t seem real until I watched this and I began to think of her again and wonder where she was or did she make it out alive?

This film was recorded in a range of two or three years. The title “For Sama” is in dedication to the filmmaker’s daughter Sama, who was born at the height of the civil war in Syria. Sama’s mother is Waad Al-Kaeb, she married a doctor that treated people who were hurt prior and during the bombings in Aleppo. The whole film is in Arabic but English subtitles are provided at the bottom of the screen. You could hear and feel every emotion like pride for their home, worry that they wouldn’t make it, horror to seeing everyday people, children included with various injuries from the aftermath of the bombings and the love in the tone of her voice. It does get pretty graphic but it was real. When you hear about bombings on the news on TV, I feel like for most people (myself included) can switch off their minds to how a bomb that dropped to the ground, on top of homes, that the innocent escaped in time. You will see children die and be born within five minutes of each other.

Detroit (2017)

It was so surprising that it took me two years to finally watch this film. I remember the day I was going through the new movie trailers on YouTube and then coming across this one. I am a lover of real life situations being played out on film. I would rather spend the rest of my days watching them because then I would never forget about our history as human beings. Not everyone has the best intentions for others, much less themselves and I think it is the perfect way to describe the situation of this movie.

Detroit is a story of a time where there was a lot of violence towards the African-Americans and the police department of the 1960’s; there is injustice among the community and everything has hit a breaking point. You are introduced to a group of people who are staying at a hotel and somebody starts shooting at the police as a joke, and since tensions are already high and everybody feels threatened, things get very out of control and the consequences were awful. They could have been better, hell, even prevented as nobody should have been killed in a way these people were and then you realize that even though the times have changed, history has a way of repeating itself over and over again.

I am finally done with this post, but if you’d like to see what else I watched in 2019, you should go check out my Pinterest board. I hope you have enjoyed this post and have a great weekend!

snowflake

Blogmas | Favorite Christmas Short Films

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Howdy!

I have talked about how I am going very non-traditional this Christmas, with my tree and how I choose to decorate it, but when it comes to the holiday as a whole I have my ultimate favorites that I look forward to doing like baking sugar cookies and putting lots of frosting and sprinkles on the tops of them with my sister and brother-in-law. Hopefully this year, Mr. Nolan can join us as we create a fairly large mess in the kitchen–I can’t wait to see my mom’s face for that!

                                                                          ……………………

YouTube isn’t just about influencers/creators and live sports – although they are both nice to watch every day of the week, I actually like finding things from my childhood on there. I have watched a lot of movies that I hadn’t seen since I was seven or nine years old. Unfortunately, there are some channels that have been taken off because of violating copyright policies, but I wouldn’t let that make you sad because I’ve also found there is always another one in the depths of the site waiting for you to find it!

I’ve already shared on my Instagram stories who I am watching on YouTube, but I have yet to share with you what makes me feel so festive and ready for Christmas. Well, technically I wrote a blog post about it back in 2011 or 2012, but I thought it was time to redo it and give you individual links to each one so maybe you can check them out too with your family!

I am actually fairly picky when it comes to the oldie Christmas shorts, the only ever modern film that I love is Olaf’s Frozen Adventure that came out in 2017! The ones that I will be discussing today all came out in the early 1930’s! The story behind them is a bit of a blur, because I still have no clue who had them on TV but my gut always brings me back to Turner Movies Classic, considering the date they were all released! However, they also could have been recorded on a VHS for when my mom and her siblings were little, and my grandparents let us watch it. Both of these stories are very likely, it’s just the matter of figuring it out which one is right!

Here are the four Christmas short films I love:

Somewhere In DreamLand (1936)

I know this isn’t directed towards the holiday season, but the first time I watched it was for Christmas.

This follows a pair of siblings, brother and sister, and they are shown collecting chunks of wood laying on the street. As they drag a very heavy wagon of wood back home, they come across a selection of shops that specialize in every child’s dream: sweets. Unfortunately, they are very poor and cannot afford to have anything, but once they arrive home and climb into bed for the night, they dream about all of the candy and ice cream their little hearts desire and when they wake up the next day, they are welcomed by a beautiful surprise.

The setting for this cartoon is during the Great Depression, which makes a lot of sense for both the plot and the year the film came out as well. In 1936, we haven’t established our decision on joining our allies in World War II yet, but we are slowly making our way out of that time in history. You do get a sense of what families were going through during this time though, because the mother of the children, looks very worn down and when the kids ask for more food, she breaks down and sobs into her apron. I can’t imagine the pain everybody went through during this time, and then on top of that I remember that it happened again in 2008 – the dates might’ve changed but the pain stays the same.

Christmas Comes But Once A Year (1936)

This is incredible little tale about these very poor orphans that are celebrating Christmas. They each get out of bed and run out to their living area where they have a sad tree with some dirty socks hanging above the fire place. The children grab and play with their toys only to see them break in front of their eyes. As they cry, an older man drives by in his car whistling a festive tune and discovers the heartbreaking wailing from inside the house and he basically fixes up their toys, house and it’s a merry time with all of these smiling faces again!

It tugs at your heart because in the back of your mind that are children and their families that cannot afford food, water, shelter, even new toys for the holidays! It really puts things into perspective about your surroundings. I definitely feel very humble after watching this film and always want a big hug from my parents afterwards.

Side note: This has captions included at the bottom of the screen!

Santa’s Surprise (1947)

This is next one, I think is what drove me to enjoy learning and respecting other people from around the world.

The story goes like this, Santa Claus is making his way through all parts of the world, the US, Norway, Germany, China, etc and what he doesn’t know is that as he puts the presents underneath the tree, a child is sneaking onboard his sleigh and when Santa is done for the night, he heads off to the North Pole with these kids. As he snuggles into bed, the little ones make sure the coast is clear and head inside his house to basically return the favor of bringing them gifts every year.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1948)

Everybody has their favorite movie on the story of Rudolph, but this is mine. Apparently, the saying “the older, the better” works perfectly here!

I feel like I should say, I really haven’t seen any other movie about the story of Rudolph, so I’m not sure on how much they really go on about his life before becoming part of Santa’s crew. Once this one starts though, you see this deer that just wants to fit in with the rest of the herd but because of his big red nose, he gets made fun of by his peers but as his mother calls for him for the night, she reminds to hung up his stocking.

After he drifts over to sleep, we venture into how Santa Claus prepares for his night ahead and finds out that it’s extremely foggy. As the clock crimes, he calls out to all of his flying reindeer to their places and they race out to deliever gifts to everyone, even the animals.  When he stops at Rudolph’s house, he discovers a very noticeable light coming from a room and finds it is Rudolph and his special nose. Santa invites him to guide his sleigh and they leave to finish the night off. By the next day, the news has spread across the village and because he helped protect Santa and his other reindeer, he was rewarded a hero and was finally accepted among his kind.

I think the main reason why I love this one the most is that the way the backgrounds remind me of Scooby-Doo, where it doesn’t matter how much running or in this case flying everybody does, the background rarely changes! It is a very adorable cartoon.

Have you ever seen any of these before? If you have, which one is your favorite? What are your favorite movies or shows that you enjoy watching at this time of the year?

snowflake