Monday, October 26, 2015

Review: We Love Disney

Thanks to One2One Network (#O2O) I've been able to listen to the new #WeLoveDisney CD the last few days. The album features the hottest artists from across the pop, rock, R&B, and country worlds delivering their own unique interpretations of classic Disney songs.

These were all (mostly) songs I was familiar with, and I really liked hearing them re-imagined.  I was not familiar with most of the artists featured on this album, but after listening to We Love Disney, I am ready to check some of them out and see what the rest of their music sounds like.  I am really enjoying the vocals on this.

The album starts off with the suave, big band feel of Friend Like Me, which I absolutely loved.  Check out the video on YouTube; I think you'll like it too.  I looked up several of the original songs from the Disney movies on YouTube, just to compare them to the ones on this album - Friend Like Me, I Wanna Be Like You, and Everybody Wants to Be a Cat, to name a few.  I feel like all the songs stay true to the originals while being something entirely updated and new at the same time.

I'm liking the Rascal Flatts and Lucy Hale version of Let It Go better than the original.  Also, even though I usually consider It's a Small World one of the most annoying songs on the planet, probably because of having to ride the ride over and over and over with my children, I almost like it on this album.  They did a very nice job.

The We Love Disney track list:
1. NE-YO Friend Like Me (Aladdin)
2. Jessie J Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid)
3. Jason Derulo Can You Feel the Love Tonight / Nants Ingonyama (The Lion King)
4. Gwen Stefani The Rainbow Connection (The Muppet Movie)
5. Ariana Grande Zero To Hero (Hercules)
6. Jhené Aiko In a World of My Own/Very Good Advice (Alice in Wonderland)
7. Fall Out Boy I Wanna Be Like You (The Monkey Song) (The Jungle Book)
8. Tori Kelly Colors of the Wind (Pocahontas)
9. Kacey Musgraves A Spoonful of Sugar (Mary Poppins)
10. Charles Perry Evrybody Wants To Be a Cat (The Aristocats)
11. Jessie Ware A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes (Cinderella)
12. Lucy Hale & Rascal Flatts Let It Go (Frozen)
13. Various Artists It's a Small World
Deluxe Version will include two extra tracks:
Brenna Whitaker It’s Not Easy Being Green (The Muppet Show)
Yuna A Whole New World (Aladdin)

We Love Disney will be available October 30th and  can be pre-ordered now on  iTunes and Amazon.
For more information, visit the Official We Love Disney website.

I participated in the We Love Disney album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Review: Harry Connick Jr. - That Would Be Me

I have enjoyed Harry Connick Jr's music for quite a while now, so I was very excited to see that he has a new CD coming out - tomorrow! October 23, 2015.  I was even more excited when I was given the chance to listen to it early through One2One Network.

On That Would Be Me, Connick threw himself out of his comfort zone and into the studio with two ‘external’ producers, Eg White (Sam Smith, Adele, Florence And The Machine) and Butch Walker (Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Pink, Weezer, Fall Out Boy). The album was recorded in London with White and Nashville with Walker, and the result is a carefully crafted record full of surprises and stirring musical conjurations, delivering 11 new songs and new insights into his artistry.

So far I've listened to That Would Be Me twice, and loved everything about it.  That Would Be Me is a very upbeat and fun album, and I had a hard time sitting still through it.  If I hadn't been on my computer listening...  Body parts were definitely moving.  Currently my favorite songs, if I had to pick some, are (I Think I) Love You A Little Bit and "the sultry/funky damn-near-‘70’s sounding" Songwriter. I'm also liking Right Where It Hurts.

Here are a couple snippets of the lyrics I really liked:
you put your smile right where my self control was s'pposed to be
the last thing I expected
you caught me by surprise
everything was fine until I looked into your eyes

I've been burned before but you sure got my fire lit
I think I love you a little bit

That Would Be Me is available everywhere October 23, 2015.  You can grab your copy on iTunes or Amazon.  You'll want to be listening to this one.  For more information, be sure and visit the Official Harry Connick Jr. website and his facebook page.

Track Listing:
  1. (I Like It When You) Smile
  2. (I Do) Like We Do
  3. Tryin' To Matter
  4. Songwriter
  5. Do You Really Need Her
  6. You Don t Need A Man
  7. You Have No Idea
  8. Where Prisoners Drown
  9. (I Think I) Love You A Little Bit
  10. Every Time I Fall In Love
  11. Right Where It Hurts

I participated in the That Would Be Me album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own. #ThatWouldBeMe #O2O

Thursday, October 15, 2015

What You Need to Know About Flood Maps

FEMA is about to revise its flood maps, and this might mean physical or financial changes for your family if you live near a body of water. The good news is that the changes aren't necessarily bad. If you'd like to learn more about flood maps, here's some basic information.
  1. Flood maps refer to geographic locations where there's a risk of flooding. FEMA has released many over the years, with the latest revisions coming out in 2013 and the newest expected to come out this fall.
  2. Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) are expected to increase across the entire country. BFEs refer to the amount of water expected to rise during a flooding situation. Each state has its own BFE, and your state's might be affected by everything from your number of lakes to your annual level of precipitation.
  3. A Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) is an area particularly vulnerable to flooding; this may be because of rain, storms, river flows or just low ground elevation.
  4. If your home is decreed to be in a SFHA, this could raise your homeowners insurance or even require you to purchase flood insurance specifically. Your property value might also decrease because of the stigma or the inconvenience to new buyers.
  5. A silver lining of SFHAs: Sometimes homes are added to them by accident. If you think your house doesn't belong in a hazard area, contact a flood insurance company and ask about a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). This amendment will take you out of the SFHA and release you from all its expenses and obligations.
  6. If your home does belong in a SFHA, you still don't have to fret right away. There might be steps you can take to protect your property from floods and therefore exempt yourself from some of the worst SFHA regulations. Again, contact a flood insurance company to figure out your options.
  7. Though flood maps may seem like a hassle, it's important to remember that they save lives. Even if you find yourself inconvenienced by a flood map, there's a reason they exist.
These are just a few things you may or may not have known about flood maps. As you can see, there's a lot to parse about them, so don't get discouraged if you need additional research to figure it out. Simply check out sites like Flood Zone Mitigations ( to learn more.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Review: Andrea Bocelli's Cinema

Andrea Bocelli is the biggest selling living classical music artist. His albums have sold over 80 million copies! Andrea even recently sang for Pope Francis on his trip to the U.S.

I'm not sure where I've been, but I have not been listening to any of Andrea Bocelli's music.  Until now.  Thanks to One2One Network, I have had a chance to listen to his new album Cinema.  The album, Bocelli's first new studio recording in two years, will be released on October 23 by Verve Records.  It includes a collection of interpretations of songs from classic movies like West Side Story, The Godfather and Gladiator.

Bocelli said the following:
With the album Cinema, I’m fulfilling a wish that I’ve harboured for decades. I’ve never made a secret of my dream of bringing to life a recording project associated with soundtracks, as I truly believe that it’s an exceptional artistic treasure trove.

It’s an area that has always fascinated me: the scores written for films are very free and potentially very creative. A vast grassland where the composer can roam as he pleases, whatever his inspiration, where he can experiment without having to submit to the norms of the classical song (based on the sequence requiring two strophes, one short instrumental passage, one strophe, one short instrumental passage), or to a theme that is necessarily the conventional one, relating to love.

If films are a “dream factory”, the music that supports them embraces these dreams and heightens all of the magic and emotional vitality. My invitation, my token is for these immortal “classics” to merge with the experiences, with the most precious memories, with the emotions of every listener, to become the inimitable soundtrack to their life.
True to his status as a truly international artist, Andrea has recorded songs in five different languages (Italian, French, Spanish, English and Sicilian) and has partnered with global superstar Ariana Grande on the heart wrenching duet E Piu Ti Penso from Once Upon A Time in America/ Malena and Nicole Scherzinger on the epic musical anthem Don’t Cry For Me Argentina from Evita.

Here is the entire track listing:
  1. Maria (From West Side Story)
  2. La chanson de Lara (From Dr. Zhivago)
  3. Moon River (From Breakfast At Tiffany's)
  4. E più ti penso (From Once Upon A Time In America/Malèna) duet with Ariana Grande
  5. Be My Love (From The Toast Of New Orleans)
  6. The Music Of The Night (From The Phantom Of The Opera)
  7. Brucia la terra (From The Godfather)
  8. Por Una Cabeza (From Scent Of A Woman)
  9. No Llores Por Mi Argentina (From Evita) duet with Nicole Scherzinger
  10. L'amore è una cosa meravigliosa (From Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing)
  11. Mi mancherai (From Il Postino/The Postman)
  12. Cheek To Cheek (From Top Hat) duet with Veronica Berti
  13. Sorridi amore vai (From Life Is Beautiful/La vita è bella)
  14. Historia De Amor (From Love Story)
  15. Ol' Man River (From Showboat)
  16. Nelle tue mani (Now We Are Free) (From Gladiator)
I'm sure some of those are familiar to you, and you'll love hearing Andrea Bocelli's amazing voice on them.  I will admit that, not only have I not been familiar with Bocelli's music, but I was not familiar with many of these songs, either.  It didn't matter though.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the entire album.  I did enjoy the songs I was most familiar with most - Maria and The Music of the Night, to name a couple.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to come to love all of the songs on the album, the more I listen.  I'm loving the music (I'm loving the guitar on Brucia La Terra.) and especially Andrea Bocelli's voice on each and every song.  This man can seriously sing!  (I know, you probably could have told me that already)  But seriously - just WOW

Grab your own copy of Andrea Bocelli's Cinema now.  It's available for pre-order on iTunes and Amazon right now. Also be sure to look for Andrea Bocelli: Cinema, which will make its initial airing as the final presentation of PBS’ Fall Arts Festival, and is set to air nationwide across hundreds of PBS stations on November 27. The concert event will be personally arranged for Bocelli’s extraordinary voice by musical director, David Foster. I'm marking my calendar now!

Now let me get back to listening to Cinema by Andrea Bocelli.  After which, I will probably check out some more of his music on YouTube.

I participated in the Andrea Bocelli “Cinema” album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own.  #Cinema #O2O

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Three Important Ways to Protect Your Home From Dangerous Chemicals

Having a place to call home is one of the best feelings in life. It is important, however, to ensure that your home is safe for you and everyone who lives in it. Protecting your family and pets from dangerous chemicals which might reside in your home is a big responsibility, but one that ensures the safety of you and your home. Chemicals can enter your home through a number of avenues. Paints, kitchen appliances, cleaning products, and faulty heating devices can all bring in harmful chemicals. In order to ensure that your home environment is safe, take these three precautions to test for and eliminate dangerous chemicals.
  1. Lead
    Many homes built before 1978 were constructed with lead paint on the walls, cabinets, staircases, and other parts of the house. In the late 1970's, however, it was discovered that when the lead begins to chip, it releases dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere. These chemicals can seriously inhibit brain development in children and cause a host of other health problems. If you fear that your home may have lead paint, it is important to have it professionally tested. If there is lead in your paint, you will need to have it removed.
  2. Radon
    Radon is an invisible, radioactive gas, which is naturally occurring in the atmosphere. A leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, Radon can enter a home in a number of ways. Most commonly, it enters through the foundation of a home when radon is present in the soil. It is important to have your home tested for radon. If radon is present, the source should be identified and a radon gas mitigation system should be stalled. Companies such as SWAT specialize in venting this gas out of your home and creating a safe living environment for you and your family. 
  3. Carbon Monoxide
    Carbon monoxide is a combustion pollutant which is caused by burning materials. This dangerous gas is deadly if breathed into your body in large quantities. It can enter your home through appliances, heaters, clothes dryers, ovens, stoves, furnaces, and other common household items. It is important to have a carbon monoxide detector present in your home. This device can measure levels of the gas in your home and notify you it reaches an unsafe level. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

What to Buy for Your Boss

Buying a gift for your boss, whether it’s for a holiday or for reaching a milestone at work, can be a difficult task.  While there are tons of different gifts out there, you need to choose based on the occasion, and the relationship you have with your boss.
Vintage Eversharp Fountain Pen and Pencil Set
Here are some tips and suggestions to help you pick out the perfect gift for your boss the next time you need one:
  • Pen Sets
    You work with your boss, so getting him or her a work related gift just makes sense, doesn’t it? One of the best work related gifts that you can get anywhere is a pen set or a fine pen.  While your boss may already have a nice pen or two, that doesn’t mean that he couldn’t use one more. Best of all, your boss will think of you every single time he uses that pen, and that could be a subconscious boon for your career. Don’t underestimate the power of a great gift for your boss when it comes to your work life!
  • Flowers
    When you buy flowers for your boss the best type are wildflowers or ones that look good in an office setting. Avoid romantic bouquets like roses and go for native flowers that offer a bright pop of color to an office. Examples include sunflowers, lilies or even small plants in pots.
  • Alcohol
    Not everybody drinks, so you'll want to first be sure that your boss does.  If he enjoys a good bottle of wine or scotch, that makes for a wonderful gift.
  • Cookie Baskets
    Everybody loves cookies, and cookie gift baskets are both personal enough to mean something and impersonal enough that you could give one to pretty much anybody. If you know your boss has a favorite cookie you should obviously pick that type of the gift basket.  If you don’t know his favorite cookie, you can get a mixed cookie gift basket that anybody will love. Even if your boss isn't the world’s biggest cookie fan he'll  enjoy taking them home and sharing with family, or may even choose to share with the entire office. 
Do you have any other gift ideas?  Feel free to share them in the comments.

To Do

To do list...I used to keep lists all the time - lists of the things I needed to get done, lists of the clothes to pack when going on a trip, etc. Then somewhere along the line I stopped making those lists.  I kind of made them in my head, but I quickly found out that didn't work too well.  I'd think of something I needed to get done, think to myself that I needed to be sure and remember, and then I'd promptly forget.  I'm not saying I never got anything done, but I know I forgot plenty.

Recently I have started making lists again - after several months (or longer) of telling myself that I really needed to start writing things down again.  I'm sure I don't write every little thing down that I maybe should, but I've been trying.  It is kind of satisfying to be able to check things off when I actually get them done.

Today I was thinking about - not writing down yet - all the things I need to get done around the house.  I started listing bathrooms that need cleaned, furniture that needs dusted, floors that need swept, vacuumed and mopped, shirts that need ironed, food that needs cooked, etc.  I started wondering if it would be easier just to make a list of the things that don't need done!

Of course, that would take away the satisfaction of checking off the things that I get done, and I can't think of a single thing to put on that list of things I don't need to do.

How's your to do list looking?

Thursday, October 08, 2015

A Lake-Front Lifestyle

Do you dream of peaceful days and nights, great friends and neighbors, and outdoor activities year-round?  Having just returned home from a very peaceful and wonderful Feast of Tabernacles filled with great friends and neighbors and plenty of time outdoors, I can definitely say yes to that.  It's not exactly the same, but if you also answered yes, you may want to check out some of these lake-front homes in the Lake Wylie communities where everything you're dreaming of is right outside your back door.

Lakefront living offers a tranquil lifestyle with gorgeous wooded areas, wide open vistas and breath-taking water views. Along the shores of Lake Wylie, you'll find beautiful communities with friendly neighbors and wonderful outdoor activities for the entire family. Living on a lake offers easy access to year-round swimming, boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities with family and friends in a peaceful, quiet setting. With your own private boat dock, you can easily take a relaxing cruise around the lake, or head out for an early morning fishing adventure. Lake-front living feels a bit like being on vacation all year.

Take a look at some of the benefits:


Whether you're retired or just want a place to unwind after a busy day at work, a lake-front lifestyle will quickly relieve the stresses of your day. You can begin each day with an invigorating sunrise and end each day with a glowing sunset. The soothing sounds of the water and the fresh, clean air will provide a relaxing, comfortable lifestyle where stress just melts away.

Entertainment and Activities

With the lake right outside your back door, outdoor entertaining and activities are simple. Whether you prefer an outdoor barbecue with friends and neighbors or a quiet canoe adventure with the kids, the lake provides the perfect setting and opportunity. With a boathouse and dock, it's easy to jump in the boat after lunch for a scenic boat ride or a trip to your neighbor's house for a coffee visit.

Health & Fitness

Lake-front living also offers opportunities for you and your family to get plenty of exercise and stay healthy and fit. You can take part in fun ways to exercise like swimming, rowing, hiking, or jumping on a giant water trampoline that the kids will love. With a lake-front lifestyle, exercise feels much more like fun than exercise, but your body and health will tell the real story. 

I feel like I could get used to a lifestyle like that.  How about you?  Of course, when deciding on a lake-front property, you'll want to choose a location that fits your needs and personality. Different lake-front communities offer their own unique lifestyle and amenities, so look for one that's right for the lifestyle you have been dreaming about.