Blogmas | Album Review: “Snow Waltz” by Lindsey Stirling

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It has been a long time since I’ve actually done a proper album review. I had plans on changing that this year, but I couldn’t find the right album to make my comeback, that is, until I found out Lindsey Stirling had released a brand-new holiday album.

In 2018, I watched the music video of her version to “Carol Of The Bells” and I still love that reedition of that song. I have found one other cover that could rival it by the artist Ashnikko. I like the symphonic way that Lindsey brought while I also enjoy how creepy Ashnikko was able to do with hers. Anyways, after I heard that song in general, I ended up doing a first impression album review of “Warmer In The Winter” as part of that year’s blogmas content.

Last month, Lindsey unleashed her second album called, “Snow Waltz” and I was smitten. When I saw it on Spotify, I immediately stopped listening to the title track and saved the album so I could do a review of the whole thing you guys. I ended up watching the music video for it, and I absolutely loved how it felt like a live action of the film, ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ as that’s the perfect way to explain how the music video looked like to me. I’ll share it with you later in the post, so you can check it out for yourselves.

For this album, we have 14 songs, and it features two other artists, which is interesting as the previous album had more than that, so I’m hoping this means the rest of the songs are instrumentals. I like hearing Lindsey’s creativity and personality with those types of songs, so I’m hoping I don’t become too disappointed this early in the post.

So, let’s begin with the first track, “Sleigh Ride” and this is a popular tune for many people in the world. If you’ve never listened to anything by Lindsey Stirling, it probably would be strange to only hear a bubbly violin, but this is what I enjoy about her music. It’s usually happy sounds, and I’ve always thought this was a sweet song, and I’m glad the violin sounds don’t take away that tone of the song. What I wasn’t expecting was the way the next song sounded like, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” was so strange at first. Don’t get me wrong, I like it. I tend to enjoy the “weirder” versions of songs, but this sort of had a tiny bit of hip hop throughout and I liked the fact that there were vocals but not a lot of them though.

“Crazy For Christmas” is the first to feature another singer, Bonnie McKee. They have written songs for many, many pop artists and released her own music too. I think they have a beautiful voice, full of sass. This song in particular most be an original as I’ve never heard of it before; I like it though. It gives me Christina Aguilera’s “Candyman” vibes. It has a nice 1940’s flair to it, but it was still very mellow too. It was cute! Next, there’s “Feliz Navidad” which is “Merry Christmas” in Spanish and this one is full of holiday tones but in a faster tempo with Lindsey and the violin on full display.

You don’t see too many artists doing little introductions like these anymore but it’s an interesting way to breaking down part of the album and giving it something else. Honestly, the intro brought me back to her song “Roundabout Rival” with those bold and intense sounds that would go absolutely great with an even powerful Paso Dable choreography! Afterwards, we finally have the title track and I mostly like the fact that it does sound a tiny bit like “Carol Of The Bells” but it also doesn’t sound a true Christmas song either, it can be enjoyed in any season.

Next, there’s “Christmas Time With You” with an artist by the name of Frawley. I have never heard of them, but that’s okay though. I feel like with Frawley’s voice, the entire song has a country vibe. You could do the Charleston to this one honestly! It’s bobby enough to consider with a row of dancers kicking their feet out, kind of like the Rockettes! Okay, let’s move on to our ninth track, “Little Drummer Boy” and since this is essentially about and made for the drums, I loved this route of exchanging the drumming effects to a slow and subtle violin beat instead. I like when overtime a song such as this one with its traditional roots can be turned into something else for the next generation to enjoy.

Another well-known tune to the lineup is, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and this has a beautiful introduction with an almost ethereal way about it. We have a mysterious singer that fades in and out majority of the song, but I’ve found over the years that Lindsey has sang in a lot of her songs, now whether or not this is her is unknown. Other than that, the song itself reminds me of beloved tune of hers, “Crystalize” as it sort of has the same vibe and it’s very pop forward too. Next, we have “O Holy Night” and this one definitely has a cinematic approach to it, which made me really happy because I love anything with some excitement and this rendition definitely has everything I usually enjoy when it comes to that subgenre.

We now come to our final three tracks of the album; and this one is probably an original because I’ve never quite heard of it before, but this wasn’t the oddest part of it. Well, “oddest” is probably the worst word to use here but I couldn’t figure out a better way to describe my surprise when hearing David Achuleta’s voice after all of these years. “Magic” is very bubbly in the best way, and despite David has grown up since his days on Americal Idol, I still liked how sweet his voice was able to mesh with Lindsey’s melody. The thirteenth track is, “Deck The Halls” and I really liked the pop sound mixed with symphonic notes throughout, it was very lovely. And finally, the last song is, “Ice Storm” and again, it’s another original by Lindsey herself and it has a faster and harder tempo, but it could keep up a holiday cheer about it too. I thought it was a great way to end the album.

Well, now we are done with Lindsey Stirling’s second holiday album, and I can’t say I was surprised I enjoyed it because I tend to love the majority of her work anyways, but I also don’t want to seem biased either. My only problem with this collection of songs is that there weren’t any shockers anywhere, whereas with “Warmer In the Winter” had many familiar artists and interesting ways to transform these oldies (but still great!) into something other people would adopt into their family get-togethers every year, and I’m not saying people won’t do this with this album, it was just a tiny bit plain for me that’s all.

Have you listened to “Snow Waltz” by Lindsey Stirling yet? What were your thoughts about it? Any favorites?

snowflake

Blogmas | A Little Wrap Up

Hello!

Welcome back to Blogmas everyone!

I wasn’t sure I would actually participate this year, especially what happened those two weeks at the beginning of November… If you’re wondering about that, you can read my little update in the monthly playlist I released on Monday. Anyways, we are here now and for some odd reason I have developed a trend during Blogmas and I tend to do a simple recap of the previous year’s holiday posts. I’m still unsure why I started doing this, but it’s become part of my ritual for the first week of December; kind of like publishing a playlist at the end of each month, I guess.


Why I Decided on 8 Days

For anyone who doesn’t know or understand what Blogmas/Vlogmas is, it is a theme in which a person releases a post or vlog (video log) of everyday up until Christmas or sometimes the day after, it just depends on the person. I have blogged every day once and I will never do it again, because I felt so stressed out, so when I wrote this post, I was explaining my need to shrink the timetable just a bit with only eight days. This year, I am doing seven posts, but it could also change depending on my end-of-the-year posts too.

The Christmas Song Tag

This is another annual thing for me to do for Blogmas, and that is at least one Christmas-y tag. I actually love doing them every year, mainly because I am curious about if my answers will change as much as the year before, and since we’ve added a new member into our family, I’m sure that’ll change it up a bit.

I’ve done this tag multiple times over the years, but I think the oldest is from 2014, and again, I enjoy reading about what I had said in that post and compare it to the others. As much as I like this tag in general, I would love to see if anyone’s created any more Christmas tags; I have been tempted to combine all of the tags I’ve done in the post and come up with an ultimate Christmas tag, but I haven’t made my mind up yet, so we’ll have to see what happens next year.

Festive and Winter-y Baby Names

Last December, I decided to do something different and share some of my favorite holiday theme baby names.

Back in 2020, I spent the entire month creating new and festive name combinations on my second Instagram page, and it was really fun, but extremely chaotic as I was posting six name pairings each day. I will say, my page looked gorgeous, and I did feel proud for committing to both Blogmas and the names. I definitely don’t recommend it, and I will not be doing that again but kudos to anyone who is multitasking like that in 2022.

So, when I go to 2021, I knew I couldn’t do that again, so I thought of a different route and honestly, this was so much better! I was able to add more names and discuss which names represent this time of the year the best.

Holidays Reads & TV

I spend a lot of my time on Instagram and scroll through a lot of bookstagrammers and I always see various holiday-ish books that actually sound interesting, but I am very difficult to please when it comes to stories based around Christmas, I mean, there’s a reason why I have never been a fan of the Hallmark Channel. I actually pick that channel and Lifetime out of my guide once November comes around because they drive me nuts!

However, I finally talked myself into listening to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickins, and I think I may end up making it part of my tradition, kind of like what I do with Halloween; I like to watch the music video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on the final day of October. I’ve done it every year since 2009. This year, I wasn’t able to watch the film but I listened to the actual song before I left for the nursing home, and I’m saying that counts for something!

Anyways, I also shared my favorite short Christmas cartoons. They were not produced by Walt Disney, but they are as old as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1939) and I’m happy to know I can actually watch them without having to use YouTube because that’s what I’ve been using since 2015, but now they’re on Prime Video as a collection, and I’m really enjoying having them so easily again.

Wooden + Dot Ornaments

I love giving and making gifts for people. I’ve done a lot of seasonal crafts over the years but being able to do them for Christmas is different for me as a person. I like being able to make someone else special for a day, and Christmas is the perfect holiday to do that. As I continue to do these wooden ornaments, the list of people increases and unfortunately can knock off others, and honestly, I hate leaving certain people off the list, but I can always add them to my 2023 list. I was literally rereading these paragraphs and realized I sound an awful lot like Santa Claus…

Best Songs of 2021

One of the main reasons why I keep track of all of the songs I’ve enjoyed over the past year, and it actually makes things so much easier in the end. I like to be almost done writing the December post before I bring everything into one playlist. It is also helpful to wait until Spotify’s unleashed their end-of-the-year collections as well. It gives you a better idea of which artists, bands, genres, etc. you were loving the entire year.

The list for 2021 is actually one of my favorites. Despite my best efforts, not all of my yearly playlists end up being favorites in itself, but I’ve had a couple of them before, the first was 2016, the second best is from 2019 and this one. I am excited to see what I can do with the best songs for 2022 later this month.

If you would like to check out my 2021 wrap up playlist, you can click here.

Top 7 Books of 2021

For the final post of Blogmas content, it is usually my top favorite books of the year. In 2021, I decided to write about the Top 7 books, and I find it odd that I completed my original goal of 30 books and managed to shrink my favorites list to only seven. I probably wanted to make things easier for myself, especially doing this post in general, and I can understand my need to do it that way, especially if I wasn’t in the mood to do any more Blogmas stuff after Christmas.


Next Monday, I will officially start my Blogmas content, and my schedule will continue as normally, a new post will publish around 7:30am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I am hoping to finish before Christmas arrives and relish in those final two weeks of December before putting my sights on what I want to do in January. So, I truly hope you find something that you enjoy and if you’re a new blogger, looking for advice or ideas to do for Blogmas, I hope you are inspired to spread your own Christmas spirit onto your platform.

How do you feel about Blogmas and/or Vlogmas? Whose content are you most looking forward to this year?

snowflake

Recent Additions To | Halloween Playlist

Hello 😉

In 2019, I had felt guilty I didn’t do this after I had signed up for Spotify several years ago, I finally created a Halloween playlist. I had hoped it would be more of an aesthetic pleasing to both the traditionists out there that enjoy the classics like “Monster Mash and the original version of “Thriller” by the legendary Michael Jackson, and for anyone like myself finding modern hits that could pass for the season. Once it became October, I immediately wanted to revamp it with songs I’ve been listening to for the past three years.

So, this post is all about the music I’ve found and we’re going to discuss some of my ultimate favorites here and there.

A type of mood or vibe I go about looking for awesome candidates.

I am a lover of darker tones when it comes to music in general. It doesn’t have to be autumn or Halloween for that matter to generate that type of vibe for me because I want it all the time.

This didn’t exactly happen for me until I found a collection of artists in their early days of releasing music; now when it comes to the type of music BANKS and Ruelle releases, they’ve barely changed since their first singles, and usually that’s not like me because I love the evolution musicians tend to do after doing the same for so long, and you can thank Linkin Park for that by the way!

For these women though, I just can’t let it go and they continue to give us as fans, more and more, and I just consume all of it. Unfortunately, I saw Laurel and Zella Day make that switch fairly after their first albums/EPs were out to the public and a part of me was very sad, but I can learn to enjoy these new changes and search for more devoted to that certain style I was drawn to in the first place.

Heavy metal, hard rock and a tiny bit of grunge…

As you finish with the classics, you start to notice a pattern because instead of hearing straight pop music or songs you think belong in a playlist like this and you instantly move onto the melodramatic beats and vicious screams. In the beginning, I wanted an even mixture, but it quickly became a mess after a while because I couldn’t hold myself back any longer.

The one thing I have never enjoy is music like grunge, but I find it absolutely perfect for Halloween!

Back to Linkin Park and I was never a fan of their grunge-y album, that had a slight nod to the nu metal fanbase that most of us fell in love in the first place. The album in question is “The Hunting Party” that was released in 2014. I will say, it is rightly titled for this time of the year! Anyways, this is one of three albums LP ever made that I didn’t really enjoy that much but I tend to have a craving for it by the end of October. I don’t know why it happens, but it is consistent, and I’ve learned to live with it.

If it was featured on a recent film and/or TV show, or just a freaking ad for a product, I’ll find it.

I am NOT sorry to admit this, but I actually enjoyed the first Suicide Squad film–actually, both my dad and former brother-in-law are in agreement with me about it. They also liked Ben Affleck as Batman too, but let’s not get too sidetracked here, and let’s talk about the soundtrack. I really love “Purple Lamborghini” with Rick Ross and Skrillex, but I’ve never thought of it as “Halloween-y.” but like many others, I’d put Twenty-One Pilots’ “Heathens” on the list in a damn heartbeat. It took me a bit longer to add “Sucka 4 Pain” with Logic, Lil Wayne, Quavo,

Two of my absolute favorite tracks to date that I will listen to all year long but instantly be drawn back to the first season of The Chilling Adventures to Sabrina on Netflix is, “Black Mad Woman” by VCTRYS and “A Little Wicked” by Valerie Broussard, which plays during the end of the last episode where Sabrina becomes a bit of a bad b(w)itch and her hair goes from a natural blonde color to platinum and her whole swagger just changes in those final scenes and I just adore them!

Here are some of the most recent additions to the actual playlist.

Sweet But Psycho by Ava Max
Mad Hatter by Melanie Martinez
Lurk by The Neighbourhood
Diseased by Icon for Hire
Wish You Hell by Like A Storm
Red Cold River by Breaking Benjamin
Spellbound by Lacuna Coil
Bloodmoney by Poppy
Halloweenie: IV: Innards by Ashnikko
Come Little Children by Clovet Mae
Dead Man Walking by Jelly Roll
Yikes by Nicki Minaj
Like A Villain by Bad Omens
Zombified by Falling In Reverse
Sweet Revenge by Kat Leon featuring Jo Blankenburg
Burn by 2WEI with Edda Hayes
I Did Something Bad by Taylor Swift
Man or a Monster by Sam Tinnesz featuring Zayde Wolf
To The Hellfire by Lorna Shore
Pink Venom by BLACKPINK

If you would like to check out the whole Halloween playlist, click here to be transported to a new window and you can listen to your favorites and maybe you find some brand-new tunes along the way. Before you go, how about you tell me about your absolute favorite song for Halloween in the comments below.

snowflake

September Playlist + Meet My Niece!

Hello everyone!

This past month has been pretty crazy and I’m happy to be done with it honestly.

The beginning of it was interesting though, my sister has expected contractions throughout her pregnancies, but she went to the hospital more frequent with this one, and the most recent weren’t necessarily had anything to do with my niece. She had some issues with her breathing and her feet were very swollen, and she was told to rest more and put up her feet, and she tried to do everything the doctor requested but she still had complications, so she went to the hospital to be checked out and when she came home over two weeks later, we had welcomed our newest member into the family!

💗 MEET KIMBER MAE 💗

In my baby announcement back in May, I mentioned that I wasn’t going to share her name until she was born, mainly for the suspense but I also didn’t know whether or not her parents would change it last minute.

Kimber is a preemie, like moi, but at least she didn’t weight like two pounds and have to spend roughly 70 days in the NICU! Despite this though, she actually weights one pound less than her brother Nolan. We are all in agreement that we definitely don’t remember Nolan ever being this small! Nolan was a chunky baby but she’s very petite. A big difference between she and Nolan is that Kimber loves to be swaddled whereas Nolan has never enjoyed being wrapped up. He’s even four years old and he does not sleep with a blanket on him!

Since she came so early, as she was supposed to be born in early October, we had to make some adjustments to our plans of having my nephew come to our house while Blondie was in the hospital, we assumed it would be like two days, but it turned out to be two weeks. He went to his dad’s house on certain days but for the most part he stayed at our house, and he was a very good boy. He was very helpful to us, especially my dad and I, with our issues lately. I watched a LOT of toddler based educational shows like Paw Patrol, Blippi, and Cocomelon. By the end though, I was growing to be a fan of Blippi’s videos at Children’s Museums and Zoos. And at night we switched between Bluey (another favorite of mine!) and Muffet Babies. He seemed to enjoy having a sleepover in Aunt Meg’s room.

When Blondie was officially allowed to go home, she came to our house, and I finally got to meet her after almost a week after she was born. I was thrilled as this meant that I could have her on my bed like I did when Nolan was a baby. My mom got her a bouncy seat thingy in the beginning of her pregnancy, and we got to test it out and we found out that even though she enjoyed sitting in it, she seemed even smaller! I swore she gave me a little smile that next morning too!

found on Unsplash

Now let’s move on to the sad part of this post. I was hoping to write a separate one, but I thought it would look strange since I included Kimber’s announcement in this one.

I am very sad that Her Majesty the Queen has died. She was the reason why I became obsessed with the British royals and other monarchs in Eastern Europe, as I was curious about why she had the Roman Numeral “II” behind her name and that’s when I discovered my love of the Plantagenet and Tudor dynasties.

I have watched many documentaries on the Queen’s 70 reign in the last few years. I’ve enjoyed seeing her all dressed up, doing engagements out in public in various colors and her signature smile, hat and bags. She always seemed so interested in everything! I will forever enjoy the opening of the opening ceremony of the Olympics in 2012, where she walks the walls of Buckingham Palace with James Bond and her corgies, and acts like she drops out of the helicopter into that arena, I knew it was fake but it still shocked me they would do something like that. She must’ve had her say in the way of the segment too, after all she is the Queen, she wasn’t going to do something that showed her in a negative way, and joining Daniel Craig, allows us as the audience and fans to see her playfulness and overall sense of humor!

After 70 years of her reign, we now have a King and will probably have one for quite a while as after King Charles is William, The Prince of Wales, and his son Prince George of Wales. This part is a part weird, but I’m sure I am not alone in my thinking, but I am curious on how the British royals will evolve into this new order, and still be able to be caring human beings to themselves and others around the world.


As you can imagine, having to experience all of these new changes in a matter of two weeks, I haven’t been able to listen to music nor read my books as much as I normally do, I am finally trying to keep up with my stuff but I’m trying to take it easy as well.

This month saw a lot of good and bad things, but I still had my music to get me through it. So, I hope you enjoy my Top 20 below. If you’d like to play the entire monthly playlist on Spotify, click here

Little Lies by Fleetwood Mac
Fallin’ For You by Colbie Calliat
Sometimes A Prayer Will Do by Celtic Woman
All She Wanna Do by John Legend
Late Night Talking by Harry Styles
Brand New by Ben Rector
Love Me Anyway by P!nk featuring Chris Stapleton
Vegas by Doja Cat
Choke by The Warning featuring grandson and Zero 9:36
Shivering by Illenium featuring Spiritbox
Kickstart My Heart by Halocene featuring Shershen&Zaritskaya
Bow Down by Rain Paris
Toxic by Charlotte Wessels
Try Again by Aaliyah
Come, Little Children by Clovet Mae
Godless by BANKS
Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost by Eklipse featuring Melissa Bonny
Bom Bidi Bom by Nick Jonas featuring Nicki Minaj
Black Widow by Fame On Fire featuring Twiggy

What were listening to this month? Name your top three favorites in the comments!

snowflake

Book Review: “Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies” by Hayley Nolan

Hello!

If you know me well enough, you wouldn’t be surprised by my loving support of Queen Anne Boleyn. I’ve always thought she has a bad rap before, during and after her marriage to King Henry VIII. I’ve watched a lot of movies, tv shows, and documentaries that follow the whole “six wives” drama, and I’ve wanted to read a biographical story of her life, but I didn’t want to hear to hear the same things I’ve been hearing since 2008, and I have attempted to read this book two years ago, but I just wasn’t in the mood for it, so after the book itself basically stalking me for months on end, I decided to make a goal to read and complete it before the anniversary of her death in 1536.


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A bold new analysis of one of history’s most misrepresented women.

History has lied.

Anne Boleyn has been sold to us as a dark figure, a scheming seductress who bewitched Henry VIII into divorcing his queen and his church in an unprecedented display of passion. Quite the tragic love story, right?

Wrong.

In this electrifying exposé, Hayley Nolan explores for the first time the full, uncensored evidence of Anne Boleyn’s life and relationship with Henry VIII, revealing the shocking suppression of a powerful woman.

So leave all notions of outdated and romanticized folklore at the door and forget what you think you know about one of the Tudors’ most notorious queens. She may have been silenced for centuries, but this urgent book ensures Anne Boleyn’s voice is being heard now.

#TheTruthWillOut

taken from Goodreads.

Everything you think you know about the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn is turned upside down, as with every historian and film based on the second line of the Tudor dynasty can be comprised of lies, and lots of them. There were things that I didn’t concern beforehand that while I read this book immediately changed my mind and where I stand on my view of both the king and his former “love” that was Anne Boleyn.

I just want to let everything know, I took quite a few notes between mid-April to early May, just so I could remember things that I thought were really important to other people who enjoy a 16th Century soap opera!

Who was the real Anne Boleyn?

The first thing I thought was both crucial and interesting was how the author Hayley had the guts to say that Henry VIII could have suffered a mental illness all throughout his life. She believes she could have been a sociopath, and yes, she tells her readers why this seems like something he would have been going through in life, and It wouldn’t have been caused by the jousting accident he had in 1520’s, although she does point out that it could have heightened his paranoia of his court and of course, not being able to have an acceptable heir.

I thought it was somewhat funny how much I was comparing his actions like of Victoria Helen Stone’s Jane Doe series. Jane is also a sociopath, but totally fictional, so in a way, to see how her mind works–she doesn’t believe she is in the wrong, blames over people, she doesn’t know how to show true emotions like love, and is ruled by her impulses. I thought Victoria’s books were the shit before; I definitely love them now. but it was also frightening to see the similarities between these two, and again Jane is a fictional character!

Besides the rundown of Henry’s erratic behavior, you understand that we need to see Anne as a human being, although it was 1500’s, she deserves to have her real story told and this book is full of information by tons of courtiers and religious people of the time, such as Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Crammer, Archbishop of Canterbury, William Latymer, William Kingston, Chapuleys, Ambassador of Spain. You are told things that many historians and authors normally pass through because it doesn’t fit the mold that is the Tudor era.

One of the things we always learn about this part of history is that court life is not about this grand and there is always a party of some sort going on, but this isn’t exactly true. People were stuck in large palaces, and it was fairly quiet, so there was always in need of musicians and poets to keep everyone happy (or at least comfortable with their surroundings!) but it wasn’t just the king and his advisors that were working hard, the Queen also had her own job as she helped the king discover another religion which was evangelism and helped break away from Rome. She was helping students continue their schooling and protected them from harm for practicing another faith. She always worked based on what she hoped would happen for the nation and educate her little daughter Elizabeth as Protestant than Catholicism.

When non-history-fanatics think of Anne Boleyn, do they recall her fighting for religious reform and freedom? No, they think six wives, six fingers and beheaded.

There is something I wasn’t a huge fan of, I didn’t care on how cocky Hayley was, getting her point across with each chapter. I understand as someone who loves and supports Anne very much, you want everyone to know the facts, but I thought the author was sort of cocky with her words. However, there were interesting tidbits that were mixed with sarcasm here and you felt like she was sitting right next to me having a very intense debate about who was really responsible for bringing Anne (and the other poor victims) of the murdering plot down for good, and when it came to sections like this, I was fine with that familiar banter but the rest, not so much.

Anyways, if you are looking for a different perspective on this time period and looking at the ‘romance’ or ‘love story’ that was King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. I definitely recommend this book, but if you are set with what media chooses to discuss, then you might want to ease yourself into the real truth of Anne Boleyn.

Have you read Hayley Nolan’s “Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies” yet? If you have checked it out, what were some of your thoughts about what she shared with us?

snowflake