Monday, October 31, 2016

Music Monday - 13 Great Halloween Songs That Aren't "Thriller" or "Monster Mash"

Throwing a Halloween party or looking for some fun music to listen to while handing out trick or treat candy?   I made a list of 13 of my favorite Halloween songs.  Although I like "Thriller" a lot, you won't find it here, and some of the songs you hear a lot like "Monster Mash" are missing too.  I went for songs you don't hear as often at Halloween, just to keep things interesting!  Just click on the song title link to hear each song at Youtube.
  1. "Spooky" - Dusty Springfield (1968).  The Classics IV version is best known, but I prefer Dusty's jazzy cover.
  2. "I Put a Spell On You" - Nina Simone (1965).  My favorite Halloween song, and Nina Simone's version is my favorite.
  3. "Voodoo" - Chris Isaak (1987).  I confess:  Chris Isaak is one of my secret celebrity boyfriends.  And I love this song! 
  4. "Dead Man's Party" - Oingo Boingo (1985).  THE Halloween song from my college years.
  5. "The Twilight Zone" - Manhattan Transfer (1979).  I love them - my favorite vocal jazz group.
  6. "Superstition" - Stevie Wonder (1972).  One of my favorite Stevie Wonder songs.
  7. "Evil Woman" - Electric Light Orchestra (1975).  Great 1970's retro song.
  8. "Bad Moon Rising" - Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969).  I think CCR deserves more oldies music love;  they're one of my favorite 1960's bands.
  9. "Season of the Witch" - Donovan (1966).  A 1960's hippie rock addition.
  10. "Hungry Like the Wolf" - Duran Duran (1982).  Some new wave dance fun!  Not a traditional Halloween song, but if you listen to the lyrics, it fits into this list. 
  11. "Witchcraft" - Frank Sinatra (1957).  A cool jazz addition to your Halloween playlist.  Love Sinatra.
  12. "Cat People" - David Bowie (1982).  One of my favorite Bowie songs, and also one of my favorites for Halloween.
  13. "Bewitched" - Peggy Lee (1965).  Yes, it's the TV theme with lyrics!
What are YOUR favorite Halloween songs?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Book Review: All Is Bright: A Devotional Journey to Color Your Way to Christmas by Nancy Guthrie

Book Synopsis
The perfect gift for the creatives and coloring-book lovers in your life! Includes bonus activities and kid-friendly coloring pages for the whole family!

This Christmas season, celebrate the birth of our Savior through beautiful design and devotion. Grab your colored pencils, cozy up with your favorite blanket and a cup of tea, and settle in for a night of peace and wonder with All Is Bright. For lovers of the Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest coloring books, All Is Bright is the perfect way to transform the Advent and Christmas seasons for your whole family, re-centering the holidays on the miracle of Jesus’ birth. Combining 31 days of rich content by the beloved and inspirational Nancy Guthrie with intricate designs that will reconnect you with the heart of Christ, this coloring book devotional journey reminds us all of what the season really calls us to: worship.

My Review

All Is Bright is a beautiful and unique Christmas coloring book.  It is designed to use daily throughout the month of December.  Each day has a devotional page, followed by a coloring page.  

The book is beautifully designed.  Some of the coloring pages are intricate patterns, and some are pictures.  The pictures include: Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus;  candles;  O Little Town of Bethlehem; the word JOY with an intricate frame pattern;  an angel;  a door decorated for Christmas with a Welcome sign; a lamp post and pine boughs; more!

The pages are card stock.  This is a beautifully produced book, well bound, with great attention to detail.

There is a section of family activities and conversation starters that would be wonderful for a family who wants to share the Advent journey together.

There are also some coloring pages toward the end of the book.

I love coloring and find it so relaxing and peaceful.  It would be delightful to listen to Christmas music and do these pages, one per night, over the Christmas season.    

My only critique is that there is text on the back of each coloring page, and the pages are not perforated.  It would be nice if they had a blank back and a perforated edge to remove the pages after they are colored.

I recommend All is Bright very highly for anyone who enjoys coloring, and who wants a special coloring book for the Christmas season.  Five stars!

You can find out more at the Tyndale Inspire Creativity Pinterest board, including some sample pages to color!  You can also see the beautiful Tyndale Living Expressions books at the Tyndale site.  I am a great fan of these books!

Author Bio
Nancy Guthrie speaks at conferences around the country and internationally. She and her husband, David, are the co-hosts of the GriefShare video series used in over 8,500 churches around the world and host Respite Retreats for couples who have faced the death of a child. She is the author of numerous books including Holding on to Hope, Hearing Jesus Speak Into Your Sorrow, and The One Year Book of Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament.

I received this book from the Tyndale Blog Network.

Book Review: Life of the Party: The Remarkable Story of How Brownie Wise Built, and Lost, a Tupperware Party Empire by Bob Kealing

Book Synopsis
The incredible story of Brownie Wise, the Southern single mother—and postwar #Girlboss—who built, and lost, a Tupperware home-party empire

Before Mary Kay, Martha Stewart, and Joy Mangano, there was Brownie Wise, the charismatic Tupperware executive who converted postwar optimism into a record-breaking sales engine powered by American housewives. In Life of the Party, Bob Kealing offers the definitive portrait of Wise, a plucky businesswoman who divorced her alcoholic husband, started her own successful business, and eventually caught the eye of Tupperware inventor, Earl Tupper, whose plastic containers were collecting dust on store shelves.

The Tupperware Party that Wise popularized, a master-class in the soft sell, drove Tupperware’s sales to soaring heights. It also gave minimally educated and economically invisible postwar women, including some African-American women, an acceptable outlet for making their own money for their families—and for being rewarded for their efforts. With the people skills of Dale Carnegie, the looks of Doris Day, and the magnetism of Eva Peron, Wise was as popular among her many devoted followers as she was among the press, and she become the first woman to appear on the cover of BusinessWeek in 1954. Then, at the height of her success, Wise’s ascent ended as quickly as it began. Earl Tupper fired her under mysterious circumstances, wrote her out of Tupperware’s success story, and left her with a pittance. He walked away with a fortune and she disappeared—until now.

Originally published as Tupperware Unsealed by the University Press of Florida in 2008—and optioned by Sony Pictures, with Sandra Bullock attached to star—this revised and updated edition is perfectly timed to take advantage of renewed interest in this long-overlooked American business icon.

My Review
I've wanted to read Life of the Party since I first read about it.  I have a great fascination with all things retro, and was interested in the story of Tupperware promised by this book.  What I did not know is that the story of Brownie Wise was even more interesting.

Brownie Wise was born in Buford, Georgia, near Atlanta.  She grew up to marry a handsome automotive executive and move to Detroit.  They had a son, and some happiness before her husband's mood swings became too much to bear.  After five turbulent years together, they divorced. Brownie became an executive secretary at Bendix, and wrote an advice column in the local newspaper under the name Hibiscus.  As a way to supplement her income, she began working part-time as a sales representative for Stanley Home Products.

It turned out that Brownie had a gift for selling, and for motivating others to sell.  When she was unable to advance within the Stanley company because she was a woman, she began selling Tupperware.  That is when her life really changed.  She did so well that Earl Tupper, the inventor of Tupperware and owner of the company, offered her a job as a distributor in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Brownie was thrilled to be able to move back to the south with her son and mother.  After moving to Florida, her reach within the Tupperware company only grew.

Eventually, unfortunately, there was a strong clash of wills and personalities between Earl Tupper, the consummate businessman, and Brownie Wise, the consummate salesperson and marketer.  She was fired suddenly and her life changed.

This was such an interesting read.  I found Brownie Wise's sale and marketing strategies inspiring.  She worked so hard and kept such a positive approach to business.

I also loved the retro aspects of this story -- tales of Tupperware parties and early pastel Tupperware products.  The products were sold at home parties with hostesses and saleswomen working together.  They offered games, prizes, and refreshments to guests.  Guests learned about Tupperware by seeing it in person.  The product was often demonstrated by tossing a full, sealed Tupperware container across the room;  guests could see that it remained tightly sealed, even under these circumstances.

The small details of 1950's life and vintage Florida were also interesting.  For instance, on her move to Florida, Brownie and her son Jerry travelled to St. Augustine and Marineland on their way to Fort Lauderdale.  

There were small black and white photos throughout the book, which made it even more interesting and only added to the nostalgic appeal of this story.

I would recommend Life of the Party to readers who enjoy retro theme books, women's history, and inspiring memoirs.  This was a very enjoyable read!    

Author Bio
Bob Kealing is an Edward R. Murrow and four-time Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist based in Orlando Florida at WESH-TV. He has appeared on national programs such as Dateline NBC, the Today Show, CBS This Morning, and has appeared as a guest on NPR, CNN, MSNBC, NBC and C-SPAN. The author of four non-fiction books, Kealing’s research led to the establishment of the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando, a literary landmark in the National Register of Historic Places, and Gram Parsons Derry Down, a Florida Heritage site honoring the pioneering country rock musician in his birthplace, Winter Haven.  Kealing lives north of Orlando with his wife, son and daughter.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Dear Abby - Vintage Halloween Dogs

Dear Friends,

Happy ALMOST Halloween!  Are you ready for Halloween?   I am looking forward to a quiet holiday, with extra treats and happy music when the trick or treaters come by.  I like children, but don't like loud noises at the door, so I stay in the bedroom all safe and comfy on Halloween night.

When I'm not playing, walking, snuggling, and blogging, I like to collect dog theme vintage cards, photos, postcards, and images.  I would love to share some vintage Halloween dogs with you today.

This Calling All Girls magazine features a girl dressed as a witch -- and her dachshund rides on the broom!

Betsy McCall paper dolls like this came in McCall's magazines back in the 1960's.  These Betsy McCall pictures feature Betsy's dachshund, Nosy, playing on Halloween.

This children's book, Fall is Here, has an illustration of two children carving a jack o'lantern with the help of their cocker spaniel.

A cute Scottish Terrier is pictured on this 1940's vintage greeting card.

A beagle finds his person - even in a costume! - on this Wee Wisdom magazine cover.

In this vintage photo, a Boston Terrier dog is dressed up as a sailor for Halloween.   I think the shadow in the foreground looks spooky!

A boy wears a Halloween advertising pattern costume, and his dog is dressed up too in this vintage photo.

Extra spooky!  A child is ready to trick or treat as their dog watches in this vintage photo.

This cute vintage photo features a little clown and his dog.

 A little girl is dressed up for Halloween, and waiting with her dog in this antique photo.

Aww!  I love this vintage photo.  I hope this sweet looking dog gets lots of treats.

In this vintage photo a cat and dog go trick or treating together.

 This vintage postcard features a boy and girl with their cat and dog. 

 A sweet little terrier dog helps his boy line up Jack O' Lanterns on this vintage postcard.

This vintage postcard has a black cat peeking out of a jack o' lantern and greeting a dog.

An owl and dog play near a big jack o' lantern on this Halloween postcard.

Two dogs are surprised when a cat peeks out of a jack o' lantern on this vintage postcard.

I hope these fun vintage postcards put you in a Halloween mood.  If you have cats or dogs, do they enjoy greeting trick or treaters?  Do your pets like to dress up for Halloween?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below!

Have a great weekend and Happy Halloween!


Abby xoxoxo

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Book Spotlight - The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole by Rebecca Adler

Book Synopsis
Tex-Mex waitress and part-time reporter Josie Callahan is about to serve up some Lone Star justice in this spicy Taste of Texas Mystery from the author of Here Today, Gone Tamale. 

Tourists are pouring into the town of Broken Boot for the annual Homestead Days Music Festival. Opening the celebration at Two Boots dance hall is smooth-talking country singer Jeff Clark, the ex-boyfriend of Josie’s best friend, Patti Perez. When the charming Clark woos Patti onstage in an attempt to rekindle some sparks with his old flame, Josie fears her friend will end up as just one more notch on the singer’s guitar strap.

To impress her editor at the Broken Boot Bugle, Josie and her Chihuahua, Lenny, pursue the singer to Patti’s house, hoping for an interview. Instead, they discover Clark facedown in a bowl of guacamole with a bloodied guitar at his side. With Patti suddenly a murder suspect, Josie must use her reporter skills to find out who had a chip on their shoulder—before the killer double dips….


Author Bio
Rebecca Adler grew up on the sugar beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. Drawn to the Big Apple by the sweet smell of wishful thinking, she studied acting on Broadway until a dark-eyed cowboy flung her over his saddle and hightailed it to the Southwest.

Prior to writing women’s fiction, Gina always found a way to add a touch of the dramatic to her life: dinner theatre in Mississippi, can-can club in Florida, and playing a giant Furskin in the New York Toy Fair, plus the occasional play and musical.

She’s currently content to pour her melodramatic tendencies into writing her Taste of Texas culinary mystery series. Set in far West Texas, her humorous stories are filled with delicious suspense and scrumptious Tex-Mex recipes. Her alter ego, Gina Lee Nelson, writes sweet contemporary romances with a sweet, Southern-fried flavor.

Author Links
Twitter: @CozyTxMysteries

Purchase Links
Amazon   Barnes and Noble
KOBO      Apple

Friday, October 21, 2016

Dear Abby - Pet Meet and Greet - Gizmo and Family

Hi Friends!
I hope you are having a good week.  Today our good friend Angela and her sweet fur family (including my great buddy Gizmo!) have stopped by the blog to visit.  Angela runs the Doxieposse page on Facebook - fun pictures and stories there.  I know you will enjoy meeting Gizmo and his family!
Abby:  Who are your pets?

Angela:  My pets' names are Gizmo (doxie mix, 10 years) - Sarge (weimaraner, almost 6) - Twinkles (lab mix, age unknown, maybe close to 10) - Miss P (cat, 5) - Murray (cat, 5) - Gimli (cat, 2) - Blue (bearded dragon, 2 months).

Abby:  Is there a story behind any of your pets' names?

Angela:  Gizmo was named before he was born. He had an older brother that was named LB. When LB would get scared or upset, he would shake and hide like the gremlin, Gizmo. We always joked that he should have been named Gizmo. When LB was stolen while on vacation with my brother, we were heartbroken. Gizmo was born a few weeks later; he looked just like LB and we named him Gizmo. 
Abby:  What is the funniest thing your pets have done?

Angela:  Gizmo has had many misadventures and makes me laugh every day. One that sticks out was the time I had a scorpion problem in my room. I set out sticky traps all over the room. Gizmo came up to me with one stuck to his butt. After laughing for a while, I pulled it off and a brown patch of fur came off with it. He looked so embarrassed. 
Miss P

Abby:  Have your pets had any adventures?

Angela:  Gizmo's name on twitter is "GizmoAdventures." He has always been my little adventurer. When we would go on walks, he would go through a fence and walk along side me through the woods. He didn't like staying on the path. I would always say "there's Gizmo on one of his adventures." He has also traveled to the beach and the lake. He loves going places and seeing new sights and sniffing new smells.

  What do you and your pets do for fun?

Angela:  The dogs love to walk. WALK is their favorite word. They don't really like it for the exercise, they like the walks because it means they get to leave the yard, they get to explore new areas and chase bunnies and other vermin. The cats mostly lay around the house observing things. Gimli, he loves to be outside. He will chase birds, mice and frogs. He also likes to hang with the dogs. I call him my "puppy."
Gimli, Gizmo

Gimli, Gizmo, Miss P

Gimli, Gizmo

Abby:  Do your pets have any favorite, special toys?

Angela:  Most the furbabies don't really bother with toys. Gizmo, on the other hand, loves his toys. Every time I come in the house, he grabs a new toy for me to throw for him. He may be the oldest, but he still has the spirit of a pup. Right now, his favorite toy is a blue jay that his auntie Barbara sent him for his birthday. As a Texas Rangers fan, I don't approve...but he loves it.
Gizmo, Miss P
Abby:  What are some special things your pets can do?

Angela:  I wouldn't really call it special, but it's special to me; they all do zoomies. I love watching them get excited and run in circles really fast. It always makes my heart smile. Through the years, I noticed many of my pets did the same thing, so I enjoy watching them do it and I also enjoy the happy memories it brings to mind.
Sarge, Gizmo

Sarge, Gizmo
Abby:  What are your pets' most lovable qualities?

Angela:  They are all so sweet, well, all but Murray. She belonged to my brother and he left her at my house on Christmas. She can be loving, but not as inviting as the others. But Sarge always Velcros himself to me. This is a weimaraner thing, so I read. Twinkles loves to give kisses and shake hands. Gizmo just looks at you with his big brown puppy eyes and you melt. He did it this morning. I had to stop what I was doing and give him hugs and kisses. He also likes to cuddle. Gimli is a big cuddle bug. He will actually crawl in your lap and lay like a baby and he purrs all the time. Miss P, she loves to lay near anyone (not on them) and lick your hands and also give love bites. 
Gizmo, Twinkles, Sarge
What great stories and pictures!  Thank you, Angela.   I love hearing about dogs and kitties living together in a family;  there are always fun stories.  I have to add that I also love zoomies!  I do them when I have company.  Readers, you can leave comments for Angela and her furkids in the comment section below.
If you would like to spotlight your pets in an upcoming Pet Meet and Greet, please leave your email in the comments.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend!
Abby xoxoxo