Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fall TV Schedule for 2011

Part 2 in a series of 4


8pm time slot--

Winners: The Amazing Race on CBS and The Simpsons and Allen Gregory on FOX, and Sunday Night Football on NBC is always a popular choice for the sports fans.

The Amazing Race is always so fun to watch; pick your favorite team and watch them race around the world. This year's teams include past Survivor contestants who also happen to be dating, Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca, Former Las Vegas Showgirls Kaylani and Lisa, former Olympic snowboarders Andy Finch and Tommy Czeschin, Zac Sunderland who was the first person under 18 to sail solo around the world and his father Laurence, and retired NFL player Marcus Pollard with his wife Amani.

Some stops rumored this season include: Denmark, Indonesia, Thailand, Malawi, Belgium, and Taiwan!
Premieres: Sept. 25th

The Simpsons returns for its 23rd season continuing its run as the longest running comedy series on television. Homer is kidnapped in the season opener, and executive producer Al Jean promises plenty more adventures like Maggie going missing, and Homer becoming a hairdresser. This season's guest voices/ stars include: Halle Berry, Paul Rudd, Ricky Gervais, Rachel Weisz, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Alyson Hannigan and Joe Mantegna; basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; lifestyle guru Martha Stewart; and pop sensation Katy Perry, who appears in a live-action sequence alongside Simpsons puppets. Premieres:
Sept. 25th

Allen Gregory is a new half hour animated comedy co-created by Jonah Hill from Superbad, Andrew Mogel, and Jarrad Paul. The title character Allen Gregory is the story of a seven year old boy who acts like a grown up. This is the first time in a long time I have been this excited about a new animated series; I watched some clips and I found myself laughing out loud. If you're interested check out the website for more information on Allen Gregory.
Premieres: Oct. 30th

Losers: Once Upon a Time on ABC, good idea in theory but I don't think this translates well as a series on TV. I don't see this series getting past season 1 or in this case, probably the first chapter.

Inspired by fairy tales, Once Upon A Time takes place in Storybrooke, Maine where fairy tale characters look like normal people and don't remember their true identities or anything about their true lives.
Premieres: Oct. 23rd

9pm time slot--

Winners: The final season of Desperate Housewives on ABC and The Good Wife on CBS really started to heat up and get interesting in it's second season. The third season trailers prove that it has not lost momentum.

I must admit, after the first four seasons of Desperate Housewives, I became desperate to find something better on television to watch. There was something about it that wasn't entertaining anymore. I think it started to change during season five where everything had flashed forward five years. When I heard that this season was the last, I was excited, not because it was ending, but because I hoped that somehow that magic that they had seasons one through four would come back in season eight; I am keeping my fingers crossed! Series creator Marc Cherry promises a classy ending, but with housewives that hot, who wants classy? Premieres: Sept. 25th

I missed the entire second season of The Good Wife, one of my biggest regrets ever from this previous season of TV. I began seeing clips everywhere from last season, and I thought to myself, why didn't I watch. This season I have absolutely no excuse. Here is a recap of season two to catch you up or refresh your memory:

Premieres: Sept. 25th

10pm time slot--

Winners: the newbie, Pan Am on ABC and an oldie but goodie, CSI: Miami on CBS.

In 1963, Pan Am was the biggest name in the airline industry. In the 60's, only people who had money could afford the modern luxury of air travel. For women who became airline stewardesses, it meant a free way of seeing the world that they would be unexposed to otherwise. They became seen by men as the most desirable women to be with. The pilots were like rock stars; there was nothing a Pan Am Pilot couldn't do. I love that being someone who didn't experience the 60's this is a look at those times me, and for those who did, it brings back that warm, exciting nostalgia that only the 60's can deliver. The show has a good cast led by movie star Christina Ricci as stewardess Maggie. Please check out the website above if you want a more in depth description.
Premieres: Sept. 25th

Entering it's tenth season, CSI: Miami proves that old habits die hard. With a cast that's worth its weight in gold, this CSI franchise is without question the strongest of the bunch. What's in store this season? Horatio has a long time nemesis played by Carlos Bernard from 24, and he becomes a real pain in the butt. Expect to see more romance with Calleigh and Eric, especially since Emily Proctor is no longer pregnant. Later in the season, Calleigh talks adoption! Also, a season long mystery will kick off, it involves a psycho doctor and an ambulance van used as a private torture chamber. Yikes!
Premieres: Sept. 25th


8pm time slot--

Winners: Two reality shows will square off, it's Dancing with the Stars on ABC versus The Sing Off on NBC. Don't ask, I have no idea which one I am going to choose.

Losers: Terra Nova on FOX; it has all the hype, but I don't see it being a ratings success. I don't know if I want to watch another "Lost"-like show. The series has the biggest budget of any series ever on TV, understandable since its backed by director Steven Speilberg, but you know what they say sometimes: the bigger the budget, the bigger the bust.
Premieres: Sept. 26th

Undecided: Gossip Girl on The CW; everything was wonderful until they went to college, and then the show kind of went downhill. Well, except for when Serena & Nate and Blair & Chuck were together, but then in true Gossip Girl fashion, they once again showed us that nothing lasts forever. Will all the cast changes revitalize the show or will it become as passe as a leisure suit?

Dancing with the Stars announced its cast which left some people puzzled, other were happy, and then there were those who vowed not to watch. I say no matter what, it will still be entertaining, and you can always watch for your favorite pro dancer. However, there are several new pro dancers this year too.

Take a look at this season's pairings:

•Ron Artest dancing with Peta Murgatroyd

•David Arquette dancing with Kym Johnson

•Chaz Bono dancing with Lacey Schwimmer

•Elisabetta Canalis dancing with Val Chmerkovskiy

•Kristen Cavallari dancing with Mark Ballas

•Nancy Grace dancing with Tristan McManus

•Rob Kardashian dancing with Cheryl Burke

•Carson Kressley dancing with Anna Trebunskaya

•Ricki Lake dancing with Derek Hough

•J.R. Martinez dancing with Karina Smirnoff

•Chynna Phillips dancing with Tony Dovolani

•Hope Solo dancing with Maksim Chmerkovskiy

My predictions for the top 3 in no order: David and Kym, Ricki and Derek, and Hope and Maksim

Dark Horse: J.R. and Karina

For bios and more details, check out the Dancing with the Stars website.
Premieres: Sept. 19th

The Sing Off on NBC has been one of those genuine surprises on television. How refreshing is it to see a-capella singing groups use their talents to entertain people. Due to the success of the past two seasons, the third season has been expanded; there are 16 groups competing this year. There is one new judge because Nicole Scherzinger left to judge The X-Factor. Sara Bareilles joins the panel which already includes Ben Folds and Shawn Stockman along with Nick Lachey hosting. Check out The Sing Off website for details about this season's contestants.
Premieres: Sept. 19th

This season on Gossip Girl:
Kaylee DeFer joins the cast as Charlie, a possible new partner for Nate that is since he has already been through every other female character.
Jenny and Vanessa are gone; thank goodness!
Blair and Chuck might get back together as is the possibility for Serena and Dan.
In the meantime, Blair has her wedding to plan to a prince!
Serena is much more focused this year, and her future is looking more clear than ever.
Someone is pregnant, and hopefully we will find out who.
That's all for now, you know you love, xoxo ..... Gossip Girl, I mean Miss V. ;-)
Premieres: Sept. 26th

9pm time slot--

Winners: The newcomer, Hart of Dixie on The CW; Rachel Bilson is all grown up and the trailers for the series look great.

Undecided: a Charlie Sheen-less Two and a Half Men on CBS; this could be a great success and it could be a great disaster. It all rests on Ashton Kutcher and how well he works with an already comfortable cast.

The premise of Hart of Dixie is endearing: It's about city girl Zoe Hart who has just become a doctor and her ego being crushed when she discovers she did not get the fellowship at the New York City hospital she wanted. She then accepts an offer from a stranger in Bluebell, Alabama. He too is a doctor, and wants Zoe to join him at his practice. The kind doctor dies shortly thereafter leaving Dr. Hart his half of the medical practice. From there on out, the series centers around some people who don't exactly embody "Southern Hospitality" and how they treat the young Dr. Hart and those who actually become her allies. For a more detailed synopsis and bios of the cast, check out the Hart of Dixie website. This show has a lot of "hart", I definitely see it returning next year.
Premieres: Sept. 26th

This season of Two and a Half Men kicks off without one of the two men, following last year's debacle, Charlie Sheen is not returning to the show. To prove there are no hard feelings (just kidding), the season begins at Charlie's funeral with all of his ex girlfriends in attendance. Charlie's house is put on the market and Kutcher's character is the buyer and I've heard that somehow he convinces Alan and Jake to stay. Also look for Courtney Thorne Smith to return as Alan's love interest. How everything else unfolds this season is a mystery to me, but I may just be so curious that I have no choice but to watch.
Premieres: Sept. 19th

10pm time slot--

Winners: Hawaii Five-0 on CBS returns as the most watched new drama of last season and the most DVR'd series ever, and The Playboy Club on NBC is a new drama about what else, but Playboy Bunnies.

McGarrett, Danno, and the gang return for the sophomore season of Hawaii Five-0 along with some new cast members. Before you ask, Chin Ho Kelly and Kono are returning, but joining is Masi Oka (Heroes) as Dr. Max Bergman and Terry O'Quinn (LOST) as McGarrett's former SEAL training officer Lt. Commander Joe White. I know that the season opener finds McGarrett and Kono in jail, but not for long because White comes to help get them out.
Premieres: Sept. 19th

The Playboy Club almost didn't make it to TV and several cities don't want to run the show on their NBC prime time schedule. The cast, for all those keeping track, may be one of the most attractive on television, is led by Eddie Cibrian and Amber Heard and rounded out by Naturi Naughton, Jenna Dewan, and Laura Benanti and several others. The show centers around, what else, but The Playboy Club of the 1960's in downtown Chicago where drinks were cheap, the mob were frequent guests, music played, and Bunnies entertained. However, what a lot of people don't know is what happened behind the scenes, proof that all that glitters is not gold, and that these Bunnies had big dreams!
Premieres: Sept. 19th

All the Buzz: What to Watch on TV for Fall 2011

Part 1 in a series of 4

From detectives to doctors, Pan Am Stewardesses to Playboy Bunnies, and our old favorites to the newbies we've been waiting for, this season's Fall TV schedule has a lot to offer. Every year around this time, I sit down at my computer and pull up the Fall TV schedule, and I check off the shows I want to watch, "x" out the shows I have no interest in or never have, and I question mark the shows I need to find out about. There's no concrete way of knowing about a new show until you watch it, or watch a preview, or read something about the show that gives you a synopsis of what it's all about.

For the first time in a long time, a few comedies have garnered my interest; this doesn't happen often. I am also finding that there are several dramedies: dramas that contain comedic elements sprinkled intelligently throughout the show. There is a new reality show with some familiar faces that hopes to top all reality shows (you know it's the X-Factor). There are some old faces that we haven't seen in a while trying to do what came so naturally before, like Tim Allen (new show: Last Man Standing, old show: Home Improvement). There are also some shows that have brand new faces to TV like the comedy Two Broke Girls.

This year could be a difficult one for you to plan your TV schedule until critics and the public, including you, have decided on which new shows are worth your time watching. It has already been announced that this will be the last season of ABC's successful dramedy Desperate Housewives which will close the curtains following this, the eighth season. What other shows will take their final bow? At this point, that's anyone's guess.

I like something that a few of the networks are doing this year more than ever before, which is, they are using Saturday night as a night to encore shows that aired during the course of the week. I think this is a smart way of allowing the viewer to see something they could not initially see because maybe they weren't home or they were watching another show on another network.

So here is how this is going to work, this post is going to be the first in a series of posts about the upcoming Fall TV Season. I will note this at the top of the post, for example this is part 1 of 4. This should be fun! To give you a look at what I'm working with, this is the schedule:

I hope you will offer your comments if you agree or disagree with my schedule and my predictions along the way. Please feel free to comment right on my blog or to join me on my Facebook page: Miss V's Voice!

Happy Fall TV Season!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Beyonce's Surprise Announcement at the VMA's, oh, and The Winners!

Beyonce was glowing in an orangey-red Lanvin Fall dress with great jewelry to compliment it. With Jay-Z and Kanye West going on tour together for "Watch the Throne", will Queen Bey tour with "4" or will that time come after she gives birth?

My favorite moment at last night's VMAs came with Beyonce's public announcement that she was indeed with child. I was so happy for her, and to see the joy shared by so many of her peers was a wonderful vision. Beyonce looked radiant and rocked the stage as she always does, this time singing her new single "Love on Top" penned by Knowles herself, The Dream, and Shea Taylor. The hint came at the beginning of her performance when Beyonce told everyone to "feel the love that's growing inside of me". At the end of the performance she unbuttoned her sparkly pink jacket and she rubbed her growing belly. Goal oriented as she is, Beyonce had told reporters many times that she hoped to have a child by 30, the talented 29 year old will turn 30 on Sept. 4th.

MTV news reported that backstage Beyonce said, "I'm free!" to one of the well-wishers, indicating that she and Jay are thrilled to not have to keep such a big secret any longer. "We're all free!" she said to the group. Beyonce and a possible baby has been speculated several times by the media. She even told Cynthia McFadden earlier this year that she felt when the time really did come that she was pregnant no one would care because it had been falsely reported so many times. Beyonce is so classy though and she truly found the perfect way to make the announcement to everyone. Congratulations to Beyonce and Jay-Z!

Get More: 2011 VMA, Music, Beyoncé

The Winners for the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards:

Video Of the Year: Katy Perry, "Fireworks"

Video with a Message: Lady Gaga, "Born This Way"

Best New Artist Video: Tyler the Creator, "Yonkers"

Best Pop Video: Britney Spears, "Til the World Ends"

Best Rock Video: Foo Fighters, "Walk"

Best Hip Hop Video: Nicki Minaj, "Super Bass"

Best Famale Video: Lady Gaga, "Born This Way"

Best Male Video: Justin Bieber, "U Smile"

Best Collaboration Video: Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, "ET"

Best Art Direction in a Video: Adele, "Rolling in the Deep"

Best Choreography in a Video: Beyonce, "Run the World (Girls)"

Best Cinematography in a Video: Adele, "Rolling in the Deep"

Best Direction in a Video: Beastie Boys, "Make Some Noise"

Best Editing in a Video: Adele, "Rolling in the Deep"

Best Special Effects in a Video: Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, "ET"

This year was the year of the ladies at the VMA's with women winning 11 out of the 15 categories! Six women won these 11 awards: Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Adele, Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, and Beyonce, each one has released a successful album this year or last year. It makes me extra proud because each one of them is so talented and has worked so hard for their success. Congratulations to all the nominees and all the winners! Thanks for making 2011 an unforgettable year in music.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Did the Right Person Win So You Think You Can Dance Season 8?

It's been several weeks since the finale of So You Think You Can Dance aired and Season 8 came to a close. Looking back over my notes for the season, I felt the need to wrap things up nicely for those of you who enjoyed hearing about all my favorite routines over the course of the season.

Marko, Melanie, Sasha, and Tadd danced in the finale this year, arguably the strongest four dancers to ever dance in a finale. Each one of these dancers is a triple threat in their own right, and I am almost certain that we will see them dancing in videos, going on tour with entertainers, and acting on Broadway.

The Final 4: 8.10.11

My favorite routines from the finale:

Tadd and Season 4 Winner Joshua Allen danced a hip hop routine choreographed by Lil C, music was Hustle Hard by Ace Hood-- Mary said you did enough to produce a hard hitting hip hop number. Guest judge Kenny Ortega thought the pairing was perfect and they played off each other perfectly. Guest judge Katie Holmes said I completely bought it, you guys were amazing. Lil C, I loved it.
This was definitely my favorite hard hitting hip hop of the season. Tadd definitely proved that although he didn't win the season, he deserved to be here.

Melanie and Season 7's Robert Roldan danced a contemporary routine choreographed by Stacey Tookey, music was Sacrifice by Sinead O'Conner-- Kenny said I would push myself to the front of the line to work with you my darling. Katie said, Melanie, thank you for all your work, you and Robert were magical. Mary said you just have this captivating capability.
It's been hard to not like Melanie this season, she really loves and has a passion for dance. I suppose you could say the same of other dancers in the competition as well. Hearing after the finale was over that Melanie and Marko practiced more than any other couple over the course of the season made me respect Melanie even more. Knowing that every time she came out and danced that she wanted to dance her best for everyone watching her made me see that dance carries meaning with her.

Melanie and Tadd danced a jazz routine choreographed Ray Leeper, music was Show Me What You're Working With by Sister Monica-- Nigel said, Melanie you were stunning and Tadd, you totally redeemed yourself. Kenny told Melanie that she brings theater to everything she does and her chemistry with Tadd was exceptional. Katie said it was so fun to watch and the characters were great. Mary said, Tadd, redemption is the best medicine, and Melanie, you strut like no one else.
This routine was like a cherry on top of a sundae, such a delight to watch.

4th Tadd
3rd Marko
2nd Sasha
WINNER Melanie

I want to congratulate all the dancers on an amazing season. I don't personally know a lot about dance: I don't even dance myself, but every year, I learn more watching the show. Dancing to me is a true expression of one's inner emotions, and requires great athleticism, grace, and physical stamina. I cannot imagine being as unbelievably talented as these dancers are. They are truly blessed with a gift.

So did the right person win So You Think You Can Dance? Weigh in below and comment...
I would have been happy with any of the final four winning, calling me diplomatic if you wish.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Runaway Shopping Cart

I love those new shopping carts at Target. They have a modern look to them, almost like they came out of The Jetsons or something. The rounded corners are particularly appealing, they aren't as easy to get hurt on. They're particularly easy to push, smoother than most shopping carts.

Kudos also to those half shopping carts that they are beginning to have at supermarkets. I've seen them at Roche Bros., Whole Foods, and now even Stop & Shop. It's good because when you take a full cart you almost feel like you have to fill it up. For some reason it doesn't seem right to push a cart around with one or two items in it, unless of course they are big, heavy items and then it's perfectly acceptable. The full cart is almost the stores way of guilting you into buying things that you really don't need. I have better will power than the majority of people, I'm usually good at only buying what I need, but a half cart helps to ease the guilt.

Although I love shopping carts, I cannot tell you about anything more annoying than coming out of a store, walking to my car, and finding a shopping cart within a 20 foot radius of my car, unless of course I have parked next to a shopping cart return portal. I can honestly tell you that at times I have parked as far from the store that I am going into as possible because no one else parks there which typically means there will be no chance of a shopping cart damaging my car.

I've been thinking about this lately though, and it really isn't the shopping cart damaging my car, it's my fellow human being. Is it me, or have people developed a more lax attitude in the past 10 years? I never remember finding so many carts traveling aimlessly around parking lots and finding their way into people's cars like magnets as I have lately. I am not going to discriminate and tell you that I see more at certain stores, or in certain towns or cities. I will tell you that I do notice patterns, yes, I do keep track of this in my head. I think of it as my own personal sociology experiment. I may even start keeping a log of some sort.

Last January, I was in a three car collision that was not my fault and the rear bumper of my car was destroyed. I brought my car to the collision shop where they gave my car a brand new bumper. I have never had anything new for my car; I bought it used. I got my car back sometime towards the end of February, and was out with a friend at a shopping center near their home less than one month later. I came out to my car to find a cart had been left near my car, and it was touching the rear bumper. Sure enough, when I removed the cart there were several deep black scratches on my tan car. Clearly, I was a victim of someone who couldn't bother to bring their cart back, and as a result it damaged my car. I can almost guarantee that if the person who damaged my car had their car damaged, they would be even more up in arms and angry than I was at the time.

I think what it comes down to at the end of the day is values. People in general have little to no respect for another person's property. I don't know whether it has do with the change in times, how people are raised now, or maybe I am just around more rude people than I am used to being around. I was raised to believe in the golden rule, not the rule that says, "whoever has the gold makes the rules", but the rule that says, "treat other people the way you would wanted to be treated." Even if you want to make the argument that you don't care about your car getting scratched by a shopping cart, it doesn't mean the someone else wants it to happen to their car. Some people take great pride in their cars. I know people who wash and vacuum their cars every week whether it needs it or not.

Secondly, Call me crazy, but people in the medical and health fields keep talking about the problem we have with obesity and depression in this country, wouldn't we be helping that problem if we walked and little bit more, hence, bringing our carts back to shopping cart return portals or God forbid, the storefront itself?

Personally, I use the time returning my shopping cart to de-stress. You would be amazed what a difference that three minutes makes in helping me to clear my mind and unplug from a stressful day. We are all in such a hurry all the time, but just where is it exactly that we're racing to? Is it to the end of our lives? Are we racing to life as the lax, valueless people we've become? "Life is a journey, not a race," that's an old proverb I like to keep handy. So next time you think about not returning your shopping cart think about where it is exactly that you're racing to, and think about shopping carts racing into cars, maybe even yours.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Aaliyah Remembered

She was a star: angelic, inspirational, a triple threat, poised, a workaholic, the princess of R&B, confident, sweet, and supportive. Ten years ago today, that all ended when Aaliyah's plane crashed in the Bahamas killing all nine people on board. The 22 year old had just finished filming the music video for "Rock the Boat". The pilot was unlicensed and autopsy results revealed that he had traces of cocaine and alcohol in his system. Now her fans from all over the world look to the sky, that's how high her star would have been.

Aaliyah Dana Haughton was destined for stardom at the age of ten. Born in the Bronx and raised in Detroit, she was performing on stages with Gladys Knight at the age of 11 and by the age of 12, the natural born entertainer had a record deal. Her uncle, an entertainment lawyer with his own record label (Blackground Records), introduced her to R. Kelly. Kelly became her mentor and produced her first album "Age Ain't Nothing But A Number". What followed the success of her album, released in 1994 when she was only 15, were allegations that Kelly had illegally married the teenager. In 1995, Aaliyah's parents had the marriage annulled.

Two years later in 1996, her second album, "One in a Million" was released under the production of Timbaland and Missy Elliott who went on to be close friends of Aaliyah. It was during that time that she graduated from Detroit High School for the Performing Arts with a 4.0 gpa. "One In Million", meanwhile, enjoyed worldwide success garnering attention for the drama major from all different channels. She recorded a song for the movie "Anastasia" and become the youngest person to perform at the Academy Awards in 1998. Tommy Hilfiger gave her an endorsement deal for modeling his line,and she began an acting career in which she was and would have been very successful.

Aaliyah's final album, "Aaliyah", was released in 2001 the same year she earned her first major acting role in the film "Romeo Must Die". "Queen of the Damned" was released posthumously, and the triple threat had been tapped for roles in "The Matrix" sequels, the lead role in "Honey" (Jessica Alba took over the role), and the lead role in a remake of the 70s musical "Sparkle" (which was to be produced by Whitney Houston). Sources say that ten years later talks about the project have begun again. She had so much to live for, so many projects unfinished, so much life not lived; reports even say Aaliyah was engaged to record executive Damon Dash at the time of her death.

The legacy she has left behind is beautiful in and of itself but what is even more beautiful is who she was. Aaliyah had a soul that reached out and wrapped its arms around people. It's clear; people still listen to her music today. Those in the music industry look to her even now for inspiration. Missy Elliott is quoted as saying, "I’m constantly talking about her. I still watch her videos and listen to her music. She’s a major part in our lives and in music". Brandy remembers Aaliyah as being a ground breaker for young women in R&B music, a supportive presence, and a friend. Brandy said of her friend, "She didn't let anybody tell her what she needed to do or how to do it. It seemed like everything she was doing was coming from her. She moved in silence. She wasn't boastful. She was humble and unique. She wasn't afraid to express her individuality". Drake even wrote a letter to the late Aaliyah, addressing her by her middle name, on the ninth anniversary of her death. The letter moved me because it's amazing to think about how someone can love someone so much without even meeting them. Her aura, her passion for life was so strong that those touched by her couldn't help but feel it even though she wasn't with them.

I cannot help but to post the letter below:

Dear Dana,

I’ve never lost a parent, a friend, or a lover but I will never forget this day for the rest of my life. I remember getting the news that you had passed and it connected with my heart like a clean shot from Muhammad Ali. I was crushed. Not only was I one of your biggest fans but I was truly in love with you. I loved the way you carried yourself, the way you dressed, the confidence with which you addressed passion and relationships in your music. I said to myself that even if we never met, I wanted a woman in my life just like you. I am pained that we will never get to connect now that music ended up being my career path. But you should know, we all listen to you everyday and we remain inspired and moved by all that you’ve given the world. I hope I make the right life choices so I can end up in heaven where I know you rest your head. I’ll continue to make music in your honor until the day we finally meet. Dinner’s on me!

Love you always and forever,



Maybe the reason I love how she lived her life is because she lived it with fearlessness and contentment; I am beginning to believe that it's the best way to live.
In the MTV documentary series, "Diary", Aaliyah says, "I am truly blessed to wake up every morning and do something that I love. There's nothing better than that,"

Like musicians and music critics, I too believe Aaliyah would be a great influence in the music world if she were alive today. She was a trailblazer, unafraid of marching to her own beat, a risk taker, she dared to bring new musical concepts to the forefront, and she pushed not only herself but those in her field to take it to the next level. I will remember her as the quiet tomboy with the airy voice who blossomed into a beautiful woman with a beautiful spirit that just won't burn out.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

From Day to Night Casual Fall Fashion 2011

Yes, I absolutely understand that unless I am rich I will probably never own a piece of Alexander McQueen anything. However, being that this is my fashion dream, I centered this fashion set around an Alexander McQueen cardigan. A black cardigan is one of the most basic pieces in my wardrobe or in any wardrobe for that matter, and this would be my choice for the ultimate black cardigan. As you can see in this fashion set there are lots of options and the various outfits can really take you from day to night. You can mix and match, but everything comes back to that one special piece. For those who can afford to splurge, know that it would be $1,495 well spent.

Fall Fashion 2011 .... From Day to Night

Alexander McQueen wool cardigan
$1,495 -

Oasis sleeveless shirt
£45 -

Tube top
$17 -

VPL v neck tank top
$195 -

J brand jeans
$190 -

All Saints super skinny jeans
$120 -

H&M leather boots
£25 -

Forever21 platform heels
$23 -

Gold bag
$50 -

Juicy Couture drop earrings
$52 -

Just Female Acces gold necklace
€18 -

Just Female Acces gold necklace
€18 -

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fall Fashion 2011

I discovered today! I am a little bit obsessed. A friend of mine, and well known to you if you read my blog, is participating in Fashion's Night Out in Boston on September 8th, with her online boutique, StyleRush, Anyway, I decided to try my hand at designing my own fashion set. Take a look and let me know how you think it turned out. I may post some more if I am able to make more.

The Fall Look for FNO

Roberto cavalli dress
$1,195 -

Donna Karan wool jacket
$3,495 -

Loeffler Randall stiletto heels
$795 -

$35 -

Camel jewelry
$18 -

Gold tone jewelry
$12 -

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In Praise of Country Music

Country music has had a real breakthrough year; 2011 has been a year when it has all happened.

Shania Twain, who is considered country music royalty, made a comeback, not with an album, but to the public eye after a long hiatus as a result of her divorce from Mutt Lange. Twain says the divorce was so tough that it caused her to lose a voice that so many find unforgettable. It seems though that she's moved forward and made strides just like country music has; she married in January and announced in June that in December of 2012 she will headline her own Las Vegas show at Caesar's Palace for two years.

Lots of country couples tied the knot, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, Kellie Pickler and Kyle Jacobs, and LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian.

Country trio, Lady Antebellum walked away from this year's Grammy Awards with Record of the Year and Song of the Year for "Need You Now" as well as three other Grammy's within country categories. This was five Grammy's for a group that most people in the country had never heard of five years ago!

This year on American Idol two young promising country singers finished in first and second place, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina, both will release debut albums this October. They have, by all accounts, been welcomed by the country music community. This is a community that is close knit and takes pride in each and every member.

Maybe it's the state of our country, but country music has become a real comfort to so many people. Every song has a story. When listening to a country music album or radio station, you will, without a doubt, experience a range of emotions. There are songs about a loved one who left Earth too soon and songs about drinking beer and margaritas in Mexico on vacation.

Brad Paisley, the reigning Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, even titled his new album "This is Country Music". The song "This is Country Music" details exactly what the genre is, stereotypes and all. Here are the lyrics so you can see and read exactly what I mean:

You're not supposed to say the word "cancer" in a song.
And tellin' folks Jesus is the answer can rub 'em wrong.
It ain't hip to sing about tractors, trucks, little towns, and mama, yeah that might be true.
But this is country music and we do

Do you like to drink a cold one on the weekend and get a little loud
Do you wanna say I'm sorry or I love you but you don't know how?
Do you wish somebody had the nerve to tell that stupid boss of yours
to shove it next time he yells at you?
Well this is country music and we do

So turn it on, turn it up, and sing a long
This is real; this is your life in a song
Yeah this is country music.

Are you haunted by the echo of your mother on the phone
Crying as she tells you that your brother is not coming home?
And if there's anyone that still has pride and the memory of those
that died defending the old red, white, and blue,
This is country music and we do

So turn it on, turn it up, and sing a long
This is real; this is your life in a song
Just like a road that takes you home
Yeah this is right where you belong
This is country music
This is country music
He Stopped Loving Her Today
Hello Darling
God Bless the USA
Amarillo by the Morning
Stand by your Man
Mama Drive
Take Me Home
I Walk the Line
Country Boy Can Survive

Here are a few songs that I have been hitting the repeat button on all year:

Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not-- Thompson Square

Dirt Road Anthem-- Jason Aldean

Don't You Wanna Stay-- Jason Aldean feat. Kelly Clarkson

Felt Good On My Lips-- Tim McGraw

Heart Like Mine-- Miranda Lambert

Honey Bee-- Blake Shelton

I Won't Let Go-- Rascal Flatts

Just A Kiss-- Lady Antebellum

A Little Bit Stronger-- Sara Evans

Live A Little-- Kenny Chesney

Long Hot Summer-- Keith Urban

Made in America-- Toby Keith

Mean-- Taylor Swift

My Kinda Party-- Jason Aldean

Old Alabama-- Brad Paisley with Alabama

Put You In A Song-- Keith Urban

Remind Me-- Brad Paisley feat. Carrie Underwood

Somewhere With You-- Kenny Chesney

Sparks Fly-- Taylor Swift

This-- Darius Rucker

This Is Country Music-- Brad Paisley

Tomorrow-- Chris Young

Turn On The Radio-- Reba

Voices-- Chris Young

Who Are You When I'm Not Looking-- Blake Shelton

Without You-- Keith Urban

You Lie-- The Band Perry

You can see a complete list of great country hits from 2011 right here:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We Should All Be Grateful

Over the weekend 30 Americans were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan; 22 of them were NAVY Seals, the best of the best. Although, I believe all 30 were the best of the best. In times like these, events like these, so many things run through my mind. Short stories about war like the book The Things They Carried, books like Dear America and Hiroshima. In addition to books, movies in recent years have made war seem so real, it comes to life on screen for those of us who are lucky enough never to live it: Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, Black Hawk Down, Jarhead, Three Kings, The Thin Red Line, Pearl Harbor, Good Morning Vietnam, and I am sure the list could continue but you get the idea.

There is nothing glorious about war. There have been times where the government has tried to trivialize it, justify it, and because it is so brave and courageous they make it seem glorious. No matter how you feel about our government, it should not effect the way you feel about our military. We are free every day because of them. They sacrifice their lives so our lives are safe.

More than the books, the movies, and the government, when I think of war, I think of dinner tables across America where a chair at the table is empty. And of course, for most, that chair will be filled again by that very person off at war, but for some, sadly it will remain empty. War is broken hearts, death, atrocity, killing, gunfire, the desert, and dog tags. War is all the care packages we send to people we know and love and people who we don't know but we love anyway. War is letters that we write with words we meant to say in person but never got the chance to. We hope to have the chance to say them in person.

I am always reminded of a story that a friend's husband told me about when he was at war in Iraq and came back. He said he was at Dunkin' Donuts getting coffee and the line was rather long and someone in the line started complaining about having to wait in line. He told me that in that moment, all he could think about is how happy he was to be waiting in line at Dunkin' Donuts, that being in Iraq, away from his family, at war was so horrible that waiting in line was no big deal. Wow, I wish he had told that person who was complaining that. It puts things in perspective doesn't it?

Sometimes, people in our society don't stop to think about their actions and how it effects others. They're so caught up in their own issues that often they don't see past themselves to see all the sacrifices that people around them make so that they may live as they do. People are paid minimum wage at Dunkin' Donuts so we can go in and buy a coffee for $2. People go to war so we can live free.

The 30 men and women who died embody the American spirit; they are what this country is all about. I have friends who are in the war now, they too are the American spirit, our American spirit.

It's times like these that I look to reexamine my own life. I urge everyone else out there to do the same, it's not a chore, but rather an opportunity.

What are we living for? Is it to hurt other people? Or help other people?

How are we living our lives? Can you look at your life honestly and be proud of the way that you live it? There are a lot of people who sleep soundly at night knowing that they hurt other people. They don't care because they have no conscience. Perhaps they experienced great amounts of pain in their life, pain so great that it desensitized them from feeling for others. Whatever the reason, not having a conscience, not caring, is not something to be proud of.

Look at yourself honestly in the mirror, cry if you need to, if you have the heart to. Are you jealous? Unkind? Mean? Gossipy? Do you judge to the point that it hurts others? Do you live with hate in your heart? Do you use others (be it your children or an enemy) for your own benefit? Do you not care about the consequences of your actions and what it imposes upon others? Let go of all of those things. I can honestly say I've looked at myself critically, and in the past year, there are so many things I've experienced, so many things I've worked on, and so many things I've fixed. It feels good to live life in such an honest way. It feels good to be grateful for life.

I ask these questions because I know people who live with the jealousy, unkindness, and hate in their hearts. I say this not to expose them because I would have to use names to do that. I say it because a part of me hopes that they will read this and just know who they are. A part of me hopes that they want to live better lives. Believing in God and going to church does not make you a good person. Living your life in a way that is giving and being proud of the life you live is what makes you a good person.

I know one woman in particular who lives with a lot of hate. She uses people, she's jealous though won't admit it, and she forces people to act and be how she thinks they should be. Her ideas of what is right and wrong are so scrambled up. What upsets me is how much it hurts some people that I care about. I find myself thinking how stressful it must be to be her. I mean she must really be exhausted at night, and for what? For a false sense of pride? For the joy of hurting others and keeping them down because she is down too? I don't know why, and I don't know how to answer. I wish I did know why, maybe there would be some way of helping her.

It's a shame that people die at war every day and yet those living among us squander second chances. We should all be grateful.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Just Because I Had to Share It...

On last week's So You Think You Can Dance results show, magic was created once again, Thanks to Travis Wall, Lauren Froderman, and Kent Boyd.....

So You Think You Can Dance Season 8 Becomes Unforgettable

The Top 8 7.27.11

Here are some more of my favorite routines...

The 8 finalists with an all star

Caitylnn and Ivan (Season 2) danced a lyrical hip hop choreographed by Marty Kudelek, music was Let Me Love You by Mario-- Mark said you are drop dead gorgeous, you did a really good job tonight and hung in there with Ivan. Nigel said get down into the dance more but you played the part well. Guest judge Lady Gaga called Caitlynn sexy and urged her to move all the way through every move like Ivan does.
This was magic for me, I loved the coolness of Ivan and the connection he had with Caitlynn. The style of the routine was very old school but it didn't feel aged to me.

Jordan and Ade (Season 5) danced a jazz routine choreographed by Tyce Diorio, music was Nutbush City Limits by Tina Turner-- Nigel said it was fun, well done darling. Gaga said your legs are fabulous. Guest judge Rob Marshall said you're what I love and you do it all with such abandon. Mary told Jordan she flourishes in strong female roles.
Jordan has been one of my favorite dancers since day one when I saw her audition. This performance confirmed my love for Jordan.

Melanie and Neil (Season 3) danced a contemporary routine choreographed by Mandy Moore, music was Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler-- Lady Gaga said I would have you on my tour tomorrow. Rob said it's exquisite to watch you.
I wanna go on tour with Melanie! She seems so fun and talented.

Jess and Lauren G. (Season 3) danced a hip hip choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon, music was Take a Bow by Rhianna-- Mary said Jess gave an honest performance and has improved every week. Gaga said I have so much respect for you, you out-shined the props and the choreography. Rob said simple, pure, and beautiful Jess; you have used this competition to grow.
Jess is truly extraordinary; I predict a great Broadway career ahead.

Tadd and Lauren F. (Season 7) danced a jazz routine choreographed by Mandy Moore, music was Another One Bites the Dust by Queen-- Nigel said this is a great style for you, very Michael Jackson-esque. Gaga loved the styling and loves how he isn't in any one box, he can always change himself as a dancer. Rob said the mark of a real pro is someone who keeps going; you are very special. Mary said you're cool and you swag like no one else. "You're gonna land in the finale Tadd, I know it".
Everything down to Tadd's facial expressions in this routine were perfection.

Marko and Allison (Season 2) danced a contemporary routine choreographed by Sonya Tayeh, music was I Know It's Over by Jeff Buckley-- A crying Lady Gaga said I am so proud of you, I know you really love to dance. Whether you're number one, three, or ten, who cares cause you've got it. Rob said Allison is a true artist, incredible partnership. Mary said you're so honest and so sincere; you're my favorite dancer.
Nigel said this moment transcends dance.
Nigel, I could not agree more. Marko and Allison dance with so much maturity.

Marko and Ricky danced a hip hop choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon, music was Bad Boy for Life by Diddy feat. Black Rob and Mark Curry-- Mary loved it; "right and tight".Nigel said you guys cleaned up tonight. Rob admired their range and called it astonishing.

The Top 6 8.3.11

Sasha and Kent (Season 7) danced a contemporary routine choreographed by Tyce Diorio, music was Fool Of Me by Me’Shell Ndegeocello-- Guest judge Christina Applegate said she has so much courage and thank you for sharing your life and experiences with us. Mary said it was intoxicating and Tyce has built such a body of work on this show and yet Sasha you are still a superstar to me. Nigel called her brilliant. Lil felt she was speaking to him the whole time. “I love the way you dance, I would have given anything to work with you this season. You are phenomenal.”
I was just blown away by this performance, the partnership was so passionate.

Caitlynn and Pasha (Season 3) danced a samba choreographed by Dmitry Chaplin, music was Drop It Low (District 78 Remix by Kat DeLuna-- Christina said wow, and your body, whatever. Mary said your bodies were just melting together. Nigel called Caitlynn a sexy dancer. Lil C said swan dive into sexy, don't cannonball.
This was mui caliente, and I would love for both of them to give us all dancing lessons.

Dancing in the finale will be Marko, Melanie, Sasha, and Tadd.

Who is your pick?