Monday, March 31, 2014

Music Monday - "Soul Sauce" by Cal Tjader (1964)

Presented for your listening enjoyment:  "Soul Sauce" by Cal Tjader.  This 1964 Latin jazz song was performed by Cal Tjader, and written by Chano Pozo and Dizzy Gillespie.   This song always makes me feel like summer ... so I couldn't resist sharing it with you.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Fave: Tick Top Toys Vintage Website

Happy Friday!  My Friday Fave is the website Tick Tock Toys.  This is a great website photo gallery for anyone who loves 1950's - 1970's vintage food packaging or amusement parks.

The photos are arranged into galleries, so you can visit and enjoy.  A few of my favorites include:  Food Packaging, Funny Face Drink Mix (I loved this as a kid!), Vintage Supermarket Photos, Halloween Make-Up Kits, and more.

There is a great section of photos of the Okefenokee Swamp Dark Ride from Six Flags of Georgia.  This ride was designed by Sid and Marty Krofft, and I loved it as a child.  My very favorite, though, is the section about Themed Lands.  These photos all feature Story Book Lands, Santa's Villages, Parks, Children's Zoos, and more.  These were my favorite places to visit when I was growing up, and I still love seeing pictures of them.   I have some vintage postcards featuring Story Book Lands and Santa's Villages in my store's Amusement Park department.  (The photos above are postcards of Children's Fairyland in Oakland, California.)

I have recommended Tick Tock Toys many times to friends, and wanted to share the link with you as well!   Just be prepared to settle in with a tall glass of Funny Face (maybe my favorite, Goofy Grape), and enjoy your visit.

Do you remember Story Book Lands or Santa's Villages from childhood?  I would love to hear your memories in the comments section, below.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Music Monday - "Sally, Go Round the Roses" by the Jaynetts

I heard "Sally, Go Round the Roses" for the first time on XM radio a few years ago.  It is such an unusual song, catchy and rather haunting at the same time.   This song was performed by the girl group The Jaynetts in 1963.   It was written by Lona Stevens, who was inspired by "Ring Around the Rosie."

One of my fantasy jobs would be selecting music for a tv series or movie.  If I had that fantasy job, I would certainly use this song for an eerie show like Under the Dome or a movie like The Sixth Sense.  

According to music lore, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were very taken with this song, which led to its release.  What do you think of it?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Faves: Dancing With the Stars and Songpop

Happy Friday!

My Friday Faves are extra light and fluffy this week.  My first fave is Dancing With the Stars.  This is my favorite "popcorn show," and it is back.  The cast is really interesting this season!   There are two dancers who have an exceptional background (ice dancers Meryl White and Charlie Davis), and an eclectic group otherwise, with NeNe Leakes, Drew Carey, Danica McKellar, Diana Nyad, Candace Cameron Bure, Cody Simpson, Paralympic athlete Amy Purdy, hockey player Sean Avery, James Maslow, Cody Simpson, and Billy Dee Williams.  

My favorites so far are Charlie Davis (he is adorable, and sure to do well, with his skating background), Drew Carey (so fun and likable), and Danica McKellar.  I also was so impressed with Amy Purdy.   

On the flip side, Sean Avery does "mean face" well and sort of scares me.  Candace Cameron Bure is going to get on my last nerves if she mentions modesty every show.  She knew, when she signed up, that she was going on a dance competition with traditional ballroom costumes.  Billy Dee Williams is a talented actor, but he is not going to be able to keep up with the demands of this show, and I think he will go home soon.

I miss the Harold Wheeler Band, but am happy to see Erin Andrews as the new cohost with Tom Bergeron (replacing Brooke Burke-Charvet).  Erin seems like she will be quicker with quips and off-the-cuff comments and interviews.

My second Friday Fave is Songpop.  This game is available for Facebook, Android device, or iTunes (for iPad or iPhone).  It is basically "Name That Tune," with snippets of songs (original artists) and multiple choice questions based on song title or artist.   You can choose your favorite categories, and the choices are great:  Musicals, Vocal Jazz, '60's Collection, '70's AM Pop, etc.  You can either play with friends (via Facebook connection) or be matched with players who have similar music tastes.  It is a great way to unwind, and fun for anyone who loves music.

How about you?  Do you play Songpop?  Are you watching Dancing With the Stars?  If so, who are your favorites this season?   I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Heroes of the City Review and Giveaway (Ends 3/26)

I am delighted to host a giveaway prize pack featuring the Heroes of the City toys, book, and DVD movie, as pictured above.

Heroes of the City is a media company in Sweden.  They have a wonderful website:  Heroes of the City website.  

I received a copy of this prize to review.   This would make a great gift for a child age 2 - 6.  The book is sturdy and colorful, the movie features fun animation, and the little cars are well made and perfect for a small child.

Heroes of the City also has an especially cute game and movie app on iTunes:  Heroes of the City on iTunes.   It features fun movies and lively games for children ages 2 - 6.   The design is bright, lively, and engaging, and the games are sure to please a young child.

Heroes of the City is offering a prize pack for this giveaway.  One winner will receive a book, DVD movie, and toy package as pictured above.   The prize drawing will run from March 20 until March 26 (the Rafflecopter closes on March 27 at 12:00 a.m.).   The prize entry method is Rafflecopter.  A winner will be randomly drawn.  The winner will be announced here, and the prize will be mailed from the sponsor in Sweden. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 17, 2014

Music Monday - "Chanson D'Amour" by Art and Dotty Todd

My Music Monday song this week is "Chanson D'Amour" by Art and Dotty Todd.  They were a husband and wife singing duo, and they charted with this hit song in 1958.  It is a lovely song, and one of my favorite classic pop tunes.  It has always sounded like a song you might have heard at a cocktail party or night club in the late 1950's.  It evokes a sense of time and place.   

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Faves: Happy About the Long Winter

Happy Friday!   I hope you've had a good week.  I'm on the run today, so I'll keep my Friday Faves short and sweet.

My first Friday Fave is The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Over the past few weeks, I've enjoyed participating in a children's literature group read of The Long Winter.  This book, published in 1940, tells the story of the Ingalls family during the blizzard of 1880 - 1881 (South Dakota).  The Ingalls family was living in a store building in the little town when the blizzard arrived.  (You'll find photos of their actual home here:  Frontiergirl website.)  It is inspiring to read how the family pulled together to make do as food ran low, and they were snowbound inside.  Laura Ingalls' future husband, Almanzo Wilder, is a hero of this book, as he goes with a friend, Cap Garland, to find wheat for the town.  I have read all the Little House books many times, but had not read this one in quite a while.  It was a perfect winter read -- and it made me grateful for our winter weather in the south, as variable as it may be.

I'm also happy about the song "Happy" by Pharrell Williams this week.  I usually listen to older music (oldies, jazz, Broadway), but this song is everywhere.  I love it -- especially the line:  "Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof."  
Wishing you a great weekend!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Music Monday - "They Say It's Spring" by Blossom Dearie

Blossom Dearie is one of my favorite jazz singers.  In addition to one of the best names ever, she had such a light, pretty voice, and was a talented jazz pianist as well.  "They Say It's Spring" was a hit for her in 1957.  This song was written by Bob Haymes, who wrote the great standard song, "That's All," and it has a similar sound.  It is a beautiful, Spring-like day in Atlanta, and this seems like a perfect song to share with you today.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Faves: Daylight Saving Time and the Napoleon Bowl

Happy Friday!  Hope you've had a great week.  

My first Friday Fave is Daylight Saving Time.  We spring forward Saturday night, and Sunday, March 9 will be the first day of DST.  I like Daylight Saving Time:  it always makes me feel energized, and I love sunlight that lasts later in the day.  

My other Friday Fave is the Napoleon bowl.   This is one of my favorite restaurant meals, and it is served at Napoleon's, a little pub in Decatur, Georgia (Atlanta area).  I order my bowl with no cheese and guacamole added instead.  This is what it looks like:
It is a layer of rice, salsa, black beans, tomatillo sauce (salsa verde), onions, tomatoes, and guacamole, with a little crown of tortilla chips.  Yummy!

Napoleon's is a fun little restaurant.  I was there with a group for my Mom's birthday.  (Happy Birthday, Mom!) She had the fried green tomato sandwich on marbled rye, with chipotle mayonnaise and sweet potato fries.

Napoleon's has several vegetarian entrees. I wish the restaurant had more vegan options, but you can special order and vegan-ize a few things on the menu.

How about you -- how has your week been?  What do you think of Daylight Savings Time?    I hope you'll leave a comment below.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Music Monday: "After the Gold Rush" by Neil Young

I will tell you a secret:  when I cannot sleep at night I listen to "After the Gold Rush" by Neil Young.  Oh, I listen to other songs too, but I keep coming back to this one. I'm not sure why.  If you listen to the lyrics, it's actually a sad song, although it sings like poetry.  It moves me.

I first encountered "After the Gold Rush" by Prelude, when I was in elementary school.  Later I loved the version by three of my favorite singers, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris from one of their Trio albums.  But this is the version that I always come back to: