Susan Boyle is an inspirational performer and much more. The 52-year-old singer shot to stardom after being discovered on Britain’s Got Talent back in 2009 and became and overnight success. For the last four and a half years, she has enjoyed success seen by very few and has used her success to help others including children.
Boyle’s own childhood was a rough one. As a child she was told she had suffered oxygen deprivation during birth and the kids at school tagged her with the unkind nickname “Susie Simple.” She recently spoke with the Observer after she had been diagnosed with Asperger’s and said, “It was the wrong diagnosis when I was a kid […] I always knew it was an unfair label. Now I have a clearer understanding of what’s wrong and I feel relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself.”
Asperger’s influences social interaction and communication skills, and at times it hampers the ability to determine what behavior is appropriate in various social contexts.
Last year, Susan decided to see a Scottish specialist for a diagnosis. “I thought I had a more serious illness and couldn’t function properly,” but to her surprise along with the Asperger’s diagnosis, she was told she had an above average IQ. She has said that Asperger’s doesn’t define who she is, but instead the diagnosis will help people better understand who she is. ”I have Aspberger’s. It’s a relief.”
“It’s a condition that I have to live with and work through, but I feel more relaxed about myself. People will have a greater understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do.” – Susan Boyle via the Observer
Where does she pull her strength from? Her values come from her Catholic upbringing. She says it’s the “backbone” of her life and says that “believing in God makes you strong emotionally.” With that said, there’s one thing that’s certain. She’s not one who just “talks the talk” she lives it and it shows.
Susan Boyle is now promoting her fourth album.
Photo credits: susanboylemusicuk
I’m not a big fan of musicals. As I kid I’d roll my eyes when actors started singing in the middle of a scene and wondered why they’d do such an unnatural thing.
With that mindset, I still decided to check out the Carrie Underwood version of Sound of Music which aired live on NBC on Dec. 6, but knew I wouldn’t be tuned in for the whole show. It was mostly curiosity as my interest was more in watching a live telecast of such magnitude.
To my surprise I ended up watching the entire three hours.
Carrie Underwood starred in the role of Maria von Trapp, and to my surprise True Blood’s Stephen Moyer pulled off the role of Captain von Trapp. The telecast was based on the original Broadway production and was presented on 4 soundstages in Long Island. When you step back and realize they were acting, singing, and dancing for three hours and there were no major mess ups, it was a major accomplishment.
I’ve seen various reviews of the show, some suggesting Underwood’s acting left something to be desired while others are saying no one watched for her acting but had tuned in for her singing which did not disappoint.
NBC, on the other hand, is looking to the future and hopes the program will become an annual Christmas presentation. When I heard that, I thought about movies like It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story classics I tune in to watch each year and yet they were not well received when they were first released.
I think NBC may have a winner on their hands. The cast was spot on and the voices were spectacular…and all live. I’m still impressed and I have to admit, I’d probably watch again next year.
Photo credits: Amazon
Grumpy Cat, whose real name is Tarder Sauce, is an Internet sensation. In a few, short months he has achieved over 100,000 twitter followers and a million plus likes on his Facebook page. He has snagged a gig with Purina, purred his way into a role in a new movie, and now has his own line of coffee products.
The Grumppuccino is a new iced coffee drink that comes in vanilla, mocha, and coffee. The tagline is It’s awfully good, and I supposed the idea is that it may even make Grumpy Cat smile. It was released August 7th, is available online, and according to the website, will soon be available at a store near you.
It sounds ridiculous to say that I am struck with career-envy over the success of a curmudgeonly cat but there you have it. He is an overnight success, has advertising and movie deals, and now has his own coffee. His very own coffee.
I hate that cat.
Actually, I love Grumpy Cat. The dry humor that goes along with the memes that are posted absolutely are my kind of humor. The total lack of expression on his face says more than anything could. He is WC Fields in cat form.
It’s only a matter of time before he gets his own TV show, magazine, and maybe even a stint on Food Network. He shouldn’t have any problems — that cat knows how to keep his mouth shut.
I’ve been a Carrie Underwood fan since she was a contestant on American Idol. For the most part, her career since that win has been line a fairy tale. That is until now.
The problems started when Carrie Underwood accepted the role of Maria Von Trapp in the Sound of Music remake. Since then, the 30-year-old country music superstar has received a steady supply of negative feedback.
I admit when I heard she was doing the remake, it did surprise me. Part of me doesn’t like the whole remake thing. It’s never as good as the original, and I think it shows a lack of ingenuity and creativity. People need to come up with new ideas instead of dredging up past successes to try and capitalize on them, but that’s another issue.
The problem with trying to remake Sound of Music is that it is an iconic movie. Julie Andrews shot to fame after she played Maria almost 50 years ago in the original which was based on a Broadway musical. Underwood is going to be playing the role live on NBC on Thursday Dec. 5 at 8:00 p.m.
She admits she’s grown tired of the backlash from accepting the role.
“I get hate tweets and stuff like, ‘You’re not Julie Andrews!’ I know I’m not Julie. Nobody is and I would never pretend that I was … I know my place.” Carrie Underwood via told Entertainment Weekly
I wonder if others in the show are receiving hate mail, or if it is just a Julie Andrews/Carrie Underwood thing. Julie Andrews has shown her support for this project a number of times, and even said she thinks “after 40 or 50 years it’s probably time somebody else had a crack at it.”
I know Carrie has the voice for it, but a live show has to be scary. I wish her the best and hope things settle down and people stop throwing a tantrum over things like this.
Photo credits: kindofadraag
Disclaimer, Pioneer Christmas Collection was provided to me so that I could do this review. One of the authors is a long time Internet friend but that did not hamper me giving my honest opinion.
I love Christmas. I love the whole shebang from the day before Thanksgiving right up until about 10 a.m. on December 26. At that point the entire holiday season is over as far as I am concerned.
I do a lot of heavy reading. Some of it is because of my job and some of it is because I tend to be just a wee bit intense. Still, once in awhile I like to give the old gray matter a rest and read something light and fun.
Just to be brutally honest, some of my favorite light reading centers around Christmas romance, and if you add a shot of history I’m a goner. I’ll curl up on the window seat in my kitchen, wrap up in a soft afghan, sip chai, and read the entire day away.
To quote Rapunzel, “Best.Day.Ever,”
This book is extra-special to me because one of the authors included in the collection is Shannon McNear, a homeschooling mom that I have known for roughly 17 years. She is amazing in every way and, although we met on the Internet, we have had a couple of opportunities to hang out and trade hugs in person. She has been honing her writing skills for all of that time and is now seeing the results of all of that hard work.
In other words, if Shannon is involved in this then I know it’s not going to disappoint me!
So, Shannon sent me my very own autographed copy and I sat right down to take a look. I have sensory processing disorder — this is not a random statement at all. I really hate the way the pages and cover of the book feel. It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard but I think it’s related to my sensitivity more than anything else. If you tend to have issues with textures be warned.
There are nine short stories included in the book set up in chronological order.
The first, Defending Truth, begins in October 1781. It is the story of a woman who finds a Tory hiding in a cave during the Revolutionary War. He’s changed but can he convince her of that ?
The Calling is set in 1820 Ohio where a woman lives with her father and works in his stagecoach shop. Will she convince her love to stay in one place?
A Silent Night brings us to Scotland in 1824 where Lorna Findlay is about to follow her husband to the Michigan wilderness.
A Pony Express Christmas - Nebraska in 1862 is the setting for this tale of a woman stranded and a man about to be hanged.
A Christmas Castle introduces the reader to Annie Morgan newly widowed from the husband she married by proxy in Arizona (1867), the mother of an unexpected daughter, and the neighbor of a man that knows how to bring out her temper.
North Dakota was a tough land to master in the 1870s. Belle Stedman finds herself alone in a snowy dugout, having just given birth to her second child, and her husband missing. Will she allow a stranger to help? The Cowboy’s Angel is hard to put down.
In A Badlands Christmas Noela Nancarrow has always enjoyed a comfortable life in New York. How will she and her sister find their Christmas spirit in a God-forsaken place like 1880s Dakota Territory?
Living like nomads in a portable tepee is a hard life for Mattie and her family. Oklahoma Territory in 1889 is full of difficulties that Mattie must overcome. Will she accept help from a rancher? Could she end up being a Buckskin Bride?
The Gold Rush Christmas is the last story. It follows Samantha and her twin brother, Peter, as they book passage on a ship headed for Alaska to try and find their missionary father.
The authors are (in no particular order) Lauraine Snelling, Margaret Brownley, Kathleen Fuller, Marcia Gruver, Cynthia Hickey, Vickie McDonough, Shannon McNear, Michelle Ule, and Anna Urquhart.
I think you’d be delighted to find A Pioneer Christmas Collection under your tree.
image: Marye Audet
It’s hard to believe we’ve come to the end of another season of Dancing with the Stars. This season’s finale included Amber Riley, Corbin Bleu, and Jack Osboune vying for the mirrorball trophy.
All the Season 17 stars were back in the ballroom for the event and snippets of them reminiscing about the fun, the aches and pains, and the glory they experienced through the DWTS journey were fun and interesting to watch.
Before the competitive dances, Amber and Derek performed an encore dance of their country-Western freestyle dance from Monday night. Bill Nye also returned to the dance floor for a cha cha with pro Tyne Stecklein and stunned the audience with backflips and handsprings across the floor during the number, but then we learned a stunt double was used.
And for me seeing Valerie Harper dance to What a Wonderful World was inspirational. She said she, “wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”
Once the finalists performed, it came down to the results, and the new winner is…Amber Riley and her partner Derek Hough. Amber is the first African American female to take home the mirrorball trophy. Her message to her fans:
“I want to let women of all sizes out there know — you can do whatever you put your mind to! It doesn’t matter what size you are, what color you are. You can do whatever, whatever, whatever you put your mind to!”
For Derek Hough this was his fifth mirrorball trophy, a record in itself. No other dance pro comes close. Hough admits, “It might not be about the highest scores. It might not be about the dances at all. It’s really going to come down to who America feels should be the winner.”
There are some grumblings that Hough has become “bigger than the show” and whoever is paired with him has an unfair advantage. I say Amber earned the win. What do you think?
Photo credits: dancingwts09
This morning we took our girls to see Disney’s Frozen. I will be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the movie. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big Disney fan but from the promos it looked very hokey. I think it was Olaf the snowman. Very cute but I just had no idea what the lesson of the movie was going to be.
I found out pretty quickly.
Frozen is the charming tale about two princesses who are sisters, Elsa (Idina Menzel), the eldest child of the King and Queen of Arendelle, has the power to freeze things and Anna (Kristen Bell), the younger sister who admires her big sister.
After a small mishap with her powers, Anna is made to forget about Elsa’s powers and Elsa and Anna are separated as children. Soon after, the Queen and King are in a fatal accident and die. The girls are left with no one but each other and Elsa keeps herself away from her little sister, for fear that she will accidentally injure her again.
Time passes and the girls grow up and apart but at the heart of it all, they are still sisters and their love is a bond that not even time can alter. The day comes for Elsa to be crowned queen and with trepidation she opens the castle gates to the public once again. After years of being separated from one another and their subjects, the two girls are once again face-to-face.
The love is palpable but still, for Anna’s safety, Elsa must distance herself.
An incident occurs and again, Elsa finds herself feeling vulnerable and incapable of controlling her powers around people. She runs off into the frozen abyss and as her emotions run high, her powers freeze Arendelle.
Fearless optimist Anna sets off on an epic journey, teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer Sven, to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf (voice of Josh Gad), Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.
On the way, they unexpectedly find love and Anna sacrifices her own safety to break through the icy exterior that surrounds Elsa’s heart. Her act of unconditional love proves once and for all to Elsa that love can conquer all and with your sister to support and love you, there is no obstacle too big and no winter too cold to weather.
I loved this movie so much because it was not about a princess who is saved by a prince charming, but about the love and bond that sisters share. In the end, Elsa’s one true love was her little sister, Anna, because no matter the time that had passed or the incredible circumstances that they had to muddle through, her sister was always there for her.
Anna’s selfless kindness saved Elsa’s life and in turn, showed her that warmth emanated from within and in that moment, Elsa unfroze Arendelle and they all lived happily ever after.
This is one of my new favorite Disney movies, tied for first with The Princess Frog and Brave.
What’s your favorite Disney movie?
Photo Source: Disney
Almost every little girl I’ve ever know wishes for a pony. Most of us never realize the dream of owning a real horse, but many of us lived out our fantasy with a My Little Pony as we were growing up. These special toys offered a chance have a pretty horse without mucking stalls.
My Little Pony was introduced by Hasbro in the 1980s and to say they were popular is an understatement. They evolved into a whole line so we could fill our imaginary stables with Earth Ponies, Unicorn and Pegasus, Rainbow Ponies, Mother and Baby Ponies, and Plush Ponies.
Hasbro tried to cash in on the ponies’ popularity by expanding to My Little Kitty, Puppy, and Bunny sets, but they didn’t make it like the My Little Pony toy line which later enjoyed its own television shows. In 2010 there was a resurgence in popularity, and now have you seen the newest stage in the evolution of this iconic toy?
It’s a doll they are calling the Fluttershy doll.
The doll is marketed as the true friend for all your Equestria Girls adventure. She comes with hair that matches her pony. I know they are trying to expand the My Little Pony franchise, but these dolls look like teenage girls. How many teenage girls really play with these ponies?
Some parents have complained the dolls look like “sexified teenage goth girls” but Hasbro describes them as “glamourous.” Some are trying to say that the doll is the new pony, but that’s not really the case. The doll is the new companion to the pony.
For me, that’s the sad part. How many little girls will miss out on that magical relationship between themselves and their own pony because there’s a Fluttershy doll taking their place? I might be over reacting, but I don’t think we need the doll.
Photo credits: Amazon
I’m a Hunger Games fan. I admit, when I first heard about the premise of the books I wasn’t quite sure what to think, but then a couple of friends read them and highly recommended them.
Once I started reading, I was hooked and devoured the trilogy. When the first movie came out, my concern was they wouldn’t do the story justice. I often feel that way because there is no way a movie can encapsulate all the detail and emotion found in the pages of a book.
I could point a finger at a few faults, but instead of getting into all that, let’s just say that if you took a Hunger Games quiz and had to answer the question of who gave Katniss the mocking jay pin, the answer would be different from the book to the movie. That was a change I didn’t really like, but overall they did a pretty good job with it, and now I’m looking forward to the second movie Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
They’re expecting it to beat the November box office record which is currently held by Twilight New Moon which took in $142 million.
Catching Fire picks up where the first movie ended. In this movie, past Hunger Games victors are forced to participate in the 75th anniversary Hunger Games. This puts Peta and Katniss back in the arena along with all the others who have won in the past. I could tell you more, but nobody likes a spoiler.
This is an adventure movie, but it is also thought provoking. If you haven’t read the books, I highly recommend them. For those who plan to see Catching Fire in the theater, it’s worth the IMAX experience!
Photo credits: Amazon