When Did Princesses Become The Villains?

I don’t often indulge in debates about feminism and whether Disney Princesses, Barbie and other “Girly” type things are bad for little girls self-image. People are going to think what they want just as I have my opinion and that’s great. But today I saw this video and I couldn’t help responding.

Here’s the thing: I think some of what they are singing is true. As girls, women we do have to love our selves, rescue ourselves and follow our dreams. What I disagree with is that you have to give up on love to have that. Why can’t we as women have both? Why must we chose?

I agree that no one should ever give up everything they are for another person. It doesn’t matter if that person is a parent, a friend, or a lover. In life and love one must compromise certainly but if someone truly loves you they should love all of you even the parts and bits they don’t understand or agree with.

These are my beliefs, the beliefs of a 42 year old single woman who grew up playing Barbies and watching (loving) Disney Princess movies. To this day Sleeping Beauty and Little Mermaid remain two of my all time favourite movies. So do the Sound of Music, Gone With The Wind and Meet Me in St. Louis. All movies where the women give up everything for the men they love. Yet none of these things have ever made me act that way.

I had/have friends who give up everything for the new men in their lives. Whenever the relationship ends they have to reconnect with all their female friends all over again. You hear all the time, “We haven’t hung out like this in forever.” or “When did -big life event- happen? Do I get annoyed with these friends? Absolutely but that is who they are and who am I to tell them to live their lives differently? Do I agree with it? Hell no but most people don’t understand why I don’t want to be married or have children either. Yet we are still friends because we accept and respect these differences in each other.

What I do want to say about this is that maybe it’s time to stop worrying about it all so much. If you are a good parent and have raised your child (female or male) to be strong, brave independent individuals, if they are surrounded by well rounded people in real life then there is a good chance that none of this is truly going to influence anything more then a desire to dress a certain way and sing songs until they outgrow that stage and move on to the next phase.

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My View of the Grammys

I love award shows. I especially love ones like the Grammys as they truly entertain without being overly provocative. I know if I am watching the MTV Awards there are going to be provocative performances, it’s why we watch it but the Grammys, ah the Grammys are just truly exceptional performances, often consisting of awesome teaming’s of older well seasoned artists with new or this generations hot stars.

This year the big opening number was Beyoncé with rumours of her husband Jay Z joining her. I am going to admit upfront I am not a Beyoncé fan. Sure she has some songs that I enjoy but I own none of the works from her solo career. I personally feel that Kelly Rowland is a better singer. Though I’ve been hearing a lot about this great new album of hers, I haven’t listened to it. I did see her new video on MuchMusic, wasn’t overly impressed. It didn’t move me, the song didn’t stick in my head, I can’t tell you the name of it.
Still she is a good performer and I expected to be blown away by her. She is opening the Grammys! Instead I kept wondering if Rihanna knew that Beyoncé was ripping of her style. From the vocals to the costume all I saw was Rihanna. Very disappointing. I was so bored I started reading my current book, I’ve never done that during the opening number .
Also it was not the hi-energy performance I would expect at the opening. The kind of song and performance that says, “Hey! This is a PARTY!! Let’s celebrate the best in music!”.

L.L.Cool J is the host. He is doing a good job. Very smooth as always.

Anna Kendrick and Pharrell Williams were the first presenters. Anna’s dress was beautiful and very rock and roll while still be suited to her image. I adore Pharrell and was amused by his outfit that reminded me of the Mountie uniforms.
anna kendrick

In fact a lot of what has happened up to this point makes me think of this Grammys as ” Ode to…..”. First Beyoncé’s Ode to Rihanna, Pharrell’s Ode to the Mounties and then Katy Perry’s performance of Dark House or her Ode to Lady Gaga.

The pairing of Chicago and Robin Thicke was a good fit in that their music was complimentary to each other but it wasn’t overly exciting.

Hunter Hayes, the up and coming young country and western star debuted a new song called “Invisible”. A new anthem for the young people who are being bullied or anyone who needs to be reminded that we are all unique and worthwhile.

Another reason I really enjoy the Grammys is because there are so many performances and not as many long drawn out acceptance speeches for a bunch of awards that the general public cares nothing about. Thank you Grammys for not making me sit through that and for the great performances you provide.

John Legend, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, to name a few did not disappoint, giving us exactly what we would expect to see from these consummate artists.

Pink was her usually stunningly breath-taking self. Whether showing off her aerial acrobatic strengths or her ability to vocally pull at our heart strings I couldn’t look away. Even if she does the aerial act at every single award show I can not not watch it. I much preferred this performance to her Blow Me One Last Kiss giant dancing legs one.

I enjoyed seeing Walk Off the Earth as the footage for Lorde’s nomination for Best Pop Solo Performance. See their version below.

Jay Z’s acceptance speech was funny and sweet and the dress Beyoncé was wearing was beautiful.

I am super excited to see the live action Maleficent movie so I was thrilled to see a trailer for it during the show. I have to say that I am not thrilled by the Lana del Ray version of Once Upon a Dream. That song is supposed to be light and beautiful and about young love not creepy dark and mournfully scary.

The Rap/Rock collaboration of Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons was a get up out of your seat and move performance. THIS is what I expect from the Grammys!! Taylor Swift dancing, Steven Tyler singing along now that’s a performance.

I enjoyed Kacey Musgraves song Follow Your Arrow, I’ll be purchasing that from iTunes tomorrow but I really, really enjoyed her light up cowboy boots. They made me smile and wish I had a pair.

Oh My Goodness! The Pepsi Football Half-Time show was unbelievably funny. It reminded me of the great Pepsi commercials that I loved in the 80’s that showcased all my favourite stars.

Julia Roberts talked of a Grammy special to air on February 9th on CBS at the same time that the Ed Sullivan show first aired the Beatles on American tv 50 years ago thus changing the music industry and the world. What followed was Sir Paul McCartney sitting at a Beatles inspired piano as he sang one of his new songs with, as Julia said, a little help from his friend Ringo Starr. I have to say Queenie Eye sounded a lot like one the Beatles would have sang as a group back in the day.

What a delightful treat to see Jeremy Renner at this show as a presenter. He introduced the Four Horsemen, or at least the two that are left, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. I really enjoyed this one more when Blake Shelton joined them. I can’t say I’m a fan of Willie’s voice, never have been.
Although I do enjoy the song Mama’s Don’t Let your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys and was thrilled to hear it done tonight. I was a little disappointed that there was no tribute to George Jones, a country legend we lost this past year.

The rare tv performance of Daft Punk was introduced by Neil Patrick Harris from How I Met Your Mother and how much more exciting that they were joined by not only Pharrell but by Stevie Wonder. Stevie Wonder on Get Lucky, brilliant! They all looked like they were having so much fun performing together. Like they were rocking out in someone’s living room.

I realized while watching that usually during concert shows I don’t like when they pan the audience. I don’t care what the audience is doing, I want to see the action but during the Grammys it is so much fun to see these big celebrities on their feet dancing and singing along just like every other concert goer around the world. This was never more true then during Get Lucky.

It may not be a popular thought but I am disgusted that Royals beat Same Love for Best Song. I don’t think it is at all. Can’t believe this one!

While I don’t listen to Metallica their performance had my toes tapping. Probably not what they or their fans would want to hear. Toe tapping might be considered little wussy for such hard rock. 😉

Queen Latifah looked awesome in a black sparkly dress as she introduced Macklemore & Ryan Lewis who sang Same Love, a song the world needs to listen to more. Mary Lambert shined in a red sparkly dress. I was impressed that her only real adornment was her gorgeous tattoo on her shoulder. No glitz and glam of a fancy light show or costumes and yet I couldn’t take my eyes from the tv. Then when Queen Latifah came out and married 30 couples, just WOW what a beautiful moment. The whole spectacular moment was rounded out with the addition of Madonna singing her classic Open Your Heart to Me then finishing up Same Love with Mary Lambert.

This year the Grammys added a new award called The Music Educator Award. This award honours an exceptional music teacher who is nominated by someone they know. I love this award! they should have done it sooner. Teachers like these can and do make such a difference in some kids lives.

The memorial was touching as always. I love that they honour these talented people each year, even ones in the business that we may not know like producers, mixers or journalists. I always find it a bittersweet moment as there is always someone on the list that I hadn’t heard had passed away this year that person was Bebo Valdes, a Cuban born pianist and big band leader. Also a composer and arranger. The end of the tribute that had Billie Joel Armstrong and Miranda Lambert singing The Everly Brothers, When Will I Be Loved was sadly sweet.

The best acceptance speech was when Daft Punk won Record of the Year and the producer speaking for them said that they thought the wedding and Same Love were one of the best and most touching moments of the evening and that we need more of that kind of love for our fellow man around the world. Or something like that.

Nine Inch Nails with Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Grohl and Lindsey Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac is exactly the kind of powerhouse performance I expect from the Grammys and though it is not my type of music they certainly lived up to all expectations for a Grammy Finale. It was Rockin’!

Book Club reads Naughty Girls Book Club

naughty girls

As mentioned before I run a couple of book clubs at the store I work in. Our last meeting of the romance book club we discussed The Naughty Girls Book Club by Sophie Hart. This is the story of a 40 something year old divorced woman who is looking for a way to increase business at the coffee shop she owns. When the book store across the street closes it’s doors she decides to start a book club.

The very first meeting they discuss a classic but it looks like it may be a bust until she accidentally makes the next pick the hot new erotic fiction that everyone everywhere is reading. This leads to the book club reading various romantic and erotic stories from many years as picked by the members of the group.
Through the various meetings you come to know the different characters and how they relate to the stories they are reading.

The members are of various ages and become friends on their reading journey. They fall in love or out of love and work on their relationships throughout the story.

It was a fun read. Really gripped me in the beginning, got a little dry in the middle but picked up again. It is a story I would recommend if you are looking for a nice light read. While parts of it are sexy I don’t know that I would call it Naughty and I certainly wouldn’t term it as an erotic read. But then again I don’t find 50 Shades of Grey to be all that erotic either. Way to clinical. I would classify this book as being chick lit, along the lines of Jennifer Crusie, Cathy Kelly or Cecelia Ahern.

I really enjoyed comparing the books they read with ones I have read and I certainly discovered new ones to read. It was interesting to see which stories the author chose for the club to read.

I would give this story 3 Reads out of 5. A good story but not great.

Old Hollywood Movies & Musicals

I grew up watching old movies on tv, especially old musicals.

They have such a feel good quality to them, making your day feel brighter and not just because they are filmed in Technicolor!

I enjoy watching the complex group dance scenes and singing along with the catchy songs but I adore  the fashion. The fabulous dresses and gorgeous shoes. The men in their sharp suits and everyone wearing amazing hats.  The fashion in these films, for me anyway, is a character in itself.

I’ve started to collect some of these old favourites on DVD and BluRay.  Most of them have to be ordered which is a shame. One of the things I miss most about giving cable up, are the channels that show the old movies, like TCM. Luckily they have an incredible website to peruse and purchase from.

http://www.tcm.com/

Not only is it chock full of information about all the old movies it has a fun stuff section with wallpaper, screensavers, trivia  and so on.

Some of my all time favourites are the movies that star Judy Garland, June Allyson, Van Johnson, and Lucille Ball. Then there are the ones that star Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelley, Katherine Hepburn or Audrey Hepburn. And let’s not forget Peter Lawford,  Andy Rooney, and Doris Day. I especially enjoy the movies that include more than one of these stars. For instance: Two Girls and a Sailor stars June Allyson & Van Johnson but has a star studded cast of characters as well.

Every Christmas while wrapping presents it is a ritual for me to watch Little Women (starring June Allyson, Elizabeth Taylor and Margaret O’Brien, Meet Me in St. Louis and White Christmas.

Two or three times a year I can be found watching Good News, Two Girls and a Sailor, Singing in the Rain and Sabrina.  Every month I watch an Elvis movie. My personal faves are Clambake, Roustabout, G.I Blues and Blue Hawaii. it tickles my funny bone when Angela Lansbury says “He didn’t give his Mama any goodnight sugar.” And when Elvis sings Rainbows in G. I Blues it touches my heart.

Whenever I get the chance I share these old movie favourites with my nieces and my younger friends who may not be as familiar as them with I am. Last year I shared my White Christmas watching and wrapping ritual with my good friend A. She had never seen the whole movie. What a great way to share the Christmas spirit and we had so much fun.

I urge you to take the time to find a classic or choose your favourite one and share it with someone who has never seen it but has similar taste to you. You may be surprised by their observations.

 

Spark Contes from The Midnight Garden

There is an incredibly fun review and contest over at the Midnight Garden that you may be very tempted to entered. In fact you may find yourself feeling compelled to enter. But don’t, it leads to a highly contagious disease known as Merrickitis!

Just in case you can’t get past the desire to enter here’s a link.

http://www.themidnightgarden.net/2012/09/spark-elemental-2-review-giveaway.html#

Save yourself!

Learning Stuff from A&E Reality TV

I hooked my cable into my internet to get a clear picture since I don’t have cable. Instead of the three free channels I expected to see  I receive a weird mix of various channels which is nicer than only having three channels I will say.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been watching Storage Wars, Storage Wars Texas, Cajun Justice, and more recently Duck Dynasty and American Hoggers. The thing I love about these shows is seeing how other people live. The things they eat that I would never consider eating. The things they do for fun.

But even more I love that despite all the very strange differences there are still so many similarities. Working to support our families. Loving  family and friends even when we are arguing with them. Having fun and  living life.

The treasures and trash that they find on the Storage Wars shows is so fascinating but man could I do without Dave. I am sorry but I don’t believe you have to be that much of a jack ass to get ahead and be the best. I often try to find a worthwhile  quality in him but I haven’t been able to.  Darrell and Brandon make me laugh.  Darrell talks about Brandon being negative and not taking the wheel but really the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And Barry just makes me laugh, he finds some of the most interesting things. The Texas version is almost the same. Victor is a jerk.  Moe is the crazy collector. But the ladies who up-cycle their finds make it interesting to see what they will make.

And then there is Krystal “Pistol” on American Hoggers.  She is determined to prove that anything boys can do girls can do better. Though I don’t care who does it better I admire her ability to do it just as well (and yes, most times, better) than her brother. All while being “girly” in pink fringe chaps, wearing makeup and touting a pink rifle.  Krystal and Lea prove that women can handle the tough stuff! You go girls!

The funny thing is that I never thought these shows would hold any interest for me. It just goes to show that there’s always something new to learn.

The Amazing Skylark Contest

Meagan Spooner the author of Skylark an incredible yet to be released YA novel is having an amazing contest to celebrate the release of Skylark.

I suggest you head on over to her site http://www.meaganspooner.com/the-skys-the-limit-contest-for-skylark/ and enter, or don’t because I’d REALLY like to win! 🙂

If you like Hunger Games, Divergent, Delirium and books of that ilk you will devour Skylark! So original and well written I can’t wait to start selling it to all my regulars and my teen book club!