Category Archives: Music

What I’m Lovin’ Lately

You know it’s been a really long time since you posted a blog when you’re faced with the log-in page as soon as you click over to Word Press.

Oops.

The thing is, life has been…well, lively, lately. And after all, the whole point of life is to be an active participant. Am I right? So that’s what I’ve been doing. Participatin’.

When I’m not working out, working, or out, there are a few things that have been tying up my extra attention the past week or two. And since those things have kept me so busy, I thought the least I could do would be share them with you. Then we can participate together, and I’ll stop feeling so guilty about my lack of blogging, because you’ll be enjoying life, too.

Here’s a list of things I’m lovin’ lately.

National Grammar Day
You may or may not have known this, but yesterday (March 4, 2014) was National Grammar Day. Now, as a writer, every day is Grammar Day for me. But…it’s nice to have a day set aside in the year to highlight something as important as proper grammar. And no one does it with the same grace and panache as my friends, Fafa and Mario. If you haven’t heard of Glove and Boots, then please, let me introduce you to the funniest video blog on the internet with my FAVORITE one, ever: “Fix Your Grammar.”

NKOTB reference, FTW.

New (To Me) Music
I know, I know. I’m a little late to the Bruno Mars party. Truthfully, I was actually familiar with a few of his songs before his amazing performance on this year’s Super Bowl–I just wasn’t really aware that it was Bruno singing. Ya dig?

Anyway, after witnessing my entire family (ages 26-65, respectively) bobbing their heads along to the music during Super Bowl halftime, Brian and I decided it was high time we downloaded some new tunes. And so, Bruno Mars has taken over our iPods, and we listen to him with an almost religious fervor.

My favorite song changes from day-to-day, but the one that always sends me into a dance frenzy is “The Lazy Song.” And so, I’m here to share it with you today, so you can dance, too.

Also, the monkeys kill me.

Exercise That I Actually ENJOY
I never thought it would happen. I’ve been trying to find a fun method of burning calories since I was in college. Step aerobics–not fun. Bike riding–not fun after the age of 10. Running drills on the elliptical–fun like a root canal is fun.

But a couple of weeks ago, my shiny new Weight Loss Buddy (WLB) and I discovered Werq classes at our local gym. Now we’d tried Zumba, and while it was sort of fun, it was a little more challenging than either of us were quite expecting. But Werq? It’s like Zumba’s favorite hip-hop cousin. And ZOMG, it is SO much fun. I’ve been doing 2-3 classes a week, and have managed to lose 14 pounds and 8.5 inches since Jan 7.

Just watch—it even LOOKS like fun!


The best part is the energy in the class. Everyone who shows up is really ready for a fun hour of dance. So. Much. FUN. And clearly, it’s working!

The Most Epic Song-Bomb, EVER.
You guys remember the video blog I did awhile ago about being song-bombed, right? No? Well click HERE and go watch it….I’ll wait.

Now, if you think THAT song is the most epic bomb, ever, then you haven’t seen the new Lego Movie yet. We saw it two weeks ago, and we’re still walking around singing “Everything is Awesome.” (It doesn’t help that it also runs rampant through the video game, which Brian and I are currently playing together.)

I am warning you now…if you don’t want this ridiculously catchy tune stuck in your head from now until the end of days, you won’t click the play button. But you really do want to hear it, don’t you?


Now, readers, I release you back into the wild, where you’ll inadvertently share your new favorite song with the world. Believe me, you will. You’ll be singing it at the grocery store, in the shower, at the post office, in line at Target….

Heeeee’s BAAAAACCK…
I told myself I wasn’t going to watch it…that it would be too painful after our very public breakup last year. I made a promise to myself to avoid the torture, especially when I learned that SHE would make guest appearances on the show centered around the Wahlberg’s new chain restaurant.

But when Wahlburgers started up a couple of weeks ago, I broke that promise to myself and DVR’d it.

And I hate to admit it, but the truth is…I’m utterly charmed.

It’s funny, it’s heart-warming, and Alma Wahlberg (Mother to Donnie and Mark) is just about the cutest thing in the world.

But I don’t watch it for Alma. Or Mark. Or Paul. Or the burgers.

Nay, I watch it for Donnie.

A bad habit is hard to break, ladies. Especially one that’s been practiced since childhood.

So…what’s been keeping you busy, readers? Got anything fun you’d like to share? I’m always looking for new forms of entertainment. Tell me all about it in the comments below. And remember…

EVERYTHING IS AWESOME….EVERYTHING IS COOL WHEN YOU’RE PART OF A TEAM…EVERYTHING IS AWESOME…WHEN YOU’RE LIVING YOUR DREAM!♪

The Buttons and The Pins and The Loud Fanfare

It’s the video blog you’ve all been asking for since Wednesday—my New Kids on the Block concert experience. Let me just say that, for the handful of videos that compile this 10 minute video blog, there are a dozen or more that didn’t make the cut. I tried to only use the best footage, and my favorite moments, to compile this glimpse into the concert for you guys. I could’ve made it twice as long, and I talked for at least 20 minutes on camera about the concert alone…but I’ve whittled it down to the very best, just for you. Enjoy.

 

 

If you can’t see the video above, point your browser here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFBquoM6sSE&feature=share&list=UUEczew4VOwLtc9F–J-rUUA

SPECIAL THANKS TO gal-pal, Jenn, who was my concert buddy and my forever-New Kids friend. To Brian, for making this experience happen for me–I can never tell you how grateful I am to you for everything. And to the New Kids on the Block, for making Wednesday everything I had hoped and dreamed for over the last 22 years. I can’t wait to do it again, and soon.

Pardon Me While I SQUEEEEE!!!!

Tomorrow is the day, y’all. THE day. THE BIGGEST DAY OF MY LIFE SO FAR.

Have no idea what I’m talking about? In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap:

 


That’s right. Tomorrow is the first NKOTB concert for me since 1990. And I’m SUPER excited. It’s marked on every single calendar in my house…

Pic 2 pic 1

…the calendar on my phone…

pic 3

…and it’s also part of an iPhone countdown (which I look at hourly. Because.)

pic 4

And so, with the most exciting thing that has ever happened in my life occurring in a little over 24 hours, I’ve started doing what any normal, sane person would do.

I’m squeeing at every possible minute.

I’m checking my Twitter feed, FB feed, and the internet for updates as the guys travel to Charlotte.

I’m making a mental checklist of all the things I need to pack, and wondering if Donnie Pinata will fit into my small suitcase.

And I’m preparing to make the world’s most glitter-tastic poster to wave around at the show, in hopes that it will gain Donnie’s attention, thereby securing me a kiss.

So—which image is your favorite, folks? Let me know. It’s going on the poster.

Image #1:

DW kiss 1

Image #2:

DW kiss 2

Image #3:

DW kiss 3

 

Vote! Because I’m starting on the poster ASAP, and I need the most convincing kiss photo possible to win my heart’s desire. (A reenactment of this photo, naturally.) (Don’t worry, I have Brian’s permission.) (Mostly.)

Let The Countdown Begin

Today is Monday, May 20, 2013.

In exactly 30 days, something extraordinary happens to me. Join me as the countdown begins.

 

 

 

 

I Had The Time of MY Life

Boredom set in last night by about 8 p.m. We flipped and flipped and flipped, and not a single decent television program could be found. That’s when I saw THIS in my cable lineup:

Dirty Dancing 1

So then I was all like, HOLD ‘UP WAITAMINUTE….WHAT DOES THAT SAY?”

I sat up and leaned in so I could read it a little better…

dirty dancign 2 copy

I looked over at my husband, who had become mysteriously interested in his laptop. With a maniacal laugh, I punched the play button and sat back to enjoy a movie classic–one I’ve seen so many times, I can recite certain scenes verbatim.

I giggled when Johnny almost lost his balance on the log. I cheered when he told off her dad for putting her in a corner. And I cried when she nailed the lift in the end…

(Oh, shut up. You know you wanted to see it, too.)

When bedtime rolled around, I pachanga-ed all the way to the bathroom, humming the music from the soundtrack under my breath.

I was squirting a line of toothpaste onto my toothbrush, singing away, when I noticed my husband standing in the doorway with THIS look on his face:

dirty dancing 3

That’s his “I’m so amused at you right now, so I’m just going to keep watching while you unknowingly humiliate yourself” face.

I stopped dead in my tracks, the melody I’d been singing dying off in a discordant manner.

“What?” I asked innocently.

“Nothing,” he answered. “Just wondering what the story was behind all those fun and cool noises you were just making.”

I giggled. “I wasn’t making noises, I was singing the song. The song from the movie.” (At this point, the hormones and lack of sleep kicked in and I couldn’t make words.) “You know…where they….” I mimed dancing. “And she…” I mimed running then jumping. “Then he…” And I mimed him lifting her into the air.

Brian shook his head, laughing, and said, “Whatever, crazy lady.” He then exited the scene, leaving me to ponder just what I sounded like to him. To me, I sounded like this:

Never mind. I get it.

Excitement Is A New Album From My Favorite Boy Band, Ever

For those of you who don’t care a whit about NKOTB, my obsession with Donnie Wahlberg, or the fact that I’m doing cartwheels because of their new album, you can probably skip this post. However, you are weirdos and I reserve the right to judge you for judging me. 

The New Kids newest album, “10,” came out today. I downloaded it on iTunes this morning before the gym, and was waiting (with Brian) outside of Target at 7:45 so I could buy my store exclusive copy (TWO EXTRA TRACKS!!!) when they opened at 8.

Like a true fan-girl, I recorded my reactions as I opened the cd. There may or may not be a love letter for the band at the end as well. Enjoy. 


Summer of Dreams

I feel like I should probably issue an apology to those of you who follow my Twitter feed. Normally, I’m all like “Hey, go read this blog!” and “You guys are awesome!” and “This totally made me laugh!” 

But this past Tuesday, an announcement was made that was so big, so MONUMENTAL, that it changed the course of my Tweeting in a nano-second.

If you were reading along, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, here’s a quick refresher course:



For those who don’t speak hashtag, let me explain a little further. The New Kids on the Block—the band I’ve been obsessed with since I was 9 years old, dancing around my room in a tutu and tennis shoes—made an appearance on The View. 

That, in an of itself, is reason enough to get me all giddy. But the reality is that they’d been tweeting since before Christmas that there was a BIG announcement coming in 2013. And they did not disappoint. Not only did the group announce a brand new album, hitting stores in April, but they also announced a brand new North American tour!!

And they’re not going alone.

OH no, friends and neighbors, they’re making this the Biggest Boy Band Lollapalooza in All the Land.

They’re taking Boyz 2 Men AND 98 Degrees with them!!!

(Pause for a moment of silence while you peruse the following photo:)

The insanity can be found HERE.


(Children of the 90s, rejoice!)

When I realized I was going to have another opportunity to see the group perform, I sort of lost my mind. Which created an even bigger Twitter monster:


That little snippet was only the tip of the ice berg, people. 

And if you’ll notice the second tweet…


Then you’ll understand why THIS is the face I’ve been making since Tuesday:



(I tried making this photo black and white in order to make it less scary. I don’t think it worked, though.)

My gal pal, Jenn, jumped on the concert band wagon as soon as I started going berserk on my personal Facebook page. She’s been gung-ho to go to a concert with me since we met a few years ago. And she’s the perfect New Kids friend, because SHE’S a Joey girl, and I’m a Donnie girl.


So it will work out well when we meet the guys. There will be no competition for our favorite Kid’s affections. Right, Jenn?

Anyway, Jenn and I both have birthdays in June, and as it happens, the concert is making a stop in Charlotte on June 19. And guess who’s going?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

(If you didn’t guess Jenn and me, then you’re not very good at this game.)

Now for the kismet part of this whole thing. I’ve only been to one New Kids concert in my whole life. It was in 1990, not too long after my 9th birthday, at the Charlotte Coliseum. I’ll finally get to see them again, in 2013, 6 days after my 32nd birthday, at the same coliseum.

GOOSE BUMPS!!!!

With all that excitement in June, I don’t know how I’m going to handle the added excitement of attending my very first Comic-Con in July!!!?!?

Oh, yes. Brian and I have been planning a trip to San Diego for 2013 since he started nursing school. It’s our big “Hooray for Life Changes” vacation, and we are totally pumped. While they haven’t started making formal announcements of all the nerdy-type fun there will be at this year’s event, we are hoping for a Big Bang Theory panel, something involving Joss Whedon, and most importantly, Doctor Who and Transformer stuff. 

But there will be a whole separate post about that. Because c’mon. It’s COMIC-CON.

I just don’t know what to do with myself, readers. All this excitement, jam-packed into one season? It really will be the summer of dreams.

I Was Born To Be In An All-Male A Cappella Group.

While you re-arrange your face into a more normal appearance, let me back-pedal a bit and explain why.

You see, Christmas at my house just isn’t Christmas without a little Straight, No Chaser. We LOVE this group. My husband, who was always the semi-Scrooge in our little family, was completely won over when he first heard their version of The Twelve Days of Christmas. When he showed slight enthusiasm for a Christmas song, I immediately went to iTunes and downloaded every single Christmas song they’ve ever done. And now, each year the gentle strains of Straight, No Chaser, can be heard in our home as we deck the halls.

Still, that doesn’t explain why I believe, in my soul of souls, that I’m meant to be in an all-male a cappella group. Specifically, I’m meant to be in THIS all-male a cappella group. (And not just because their name is grammatically correct.) Here, let me make my case. 

#1: I think I’d fit right in.
Sure, it’s a bunch of boys who can sing. And I’m a girl who can’t sing. BUT, (hear me out, readers. The argument is about to get good.) I am all about cheese. Not just the kind you eat, but the really theatrical, cheesy goodness that comprises a majority of an a cappella group’s performances. Need someone to pull a face and do jazz hands? I’m SO your girl. 

Photo source


#2: So what if I can’t sing…
I could easily be the member who makes funny noises, says something campy or snaps my fingers. Plus, I can lip-sync like nobody’s business. Can you tell me, based on this photographic evidence, that I am not, in fact, singing in perfect harmony? No, you cannot.

Photo source


#3 I already know all the words.
It’s true. I know where all the high notes in “Jingle Bells.” I know all the places to chant in “Who Spiked the Egg Nog.” And I always know where the high kicks begin in my all-time favorite Straight, No Chaser Christmas tune—The Christmas Can Can.



I even taught myself the Spanish parts of “Donde Esta Santa Claus.” See? That’s some true dedication right there.

So, Straight, No Chaser? Can I be your first female member? I promise I can make up for my lack of vocal abilities and slight stage fright with an enthusiasm that is promised to be contagious.

An Announcement, A Rabbit That Looks Like My Cat, and A Little Disco (For Funsies)

First and foremost, the formalities…

You will notice that Abby Gabs has been magically transformed over night. That’s right—this writer is ready to jump head first into National Novel Writing Month, and I figured giving my blog (and Twitter profile, and Facebook page) a serious makeover would help keep me in the spirit all November long. For those who have absolutely no clue what I’m talking about, you can learn all about NaNoWriMo on their glorious website, or you can click on the handy-dandy tab above titled “Chasing My Dreams.”

I will try to post here as frequently as usual, and will probably not write about NaNo (much,) so if you’re curious as to my progress, you can check out the Word Count graphic to the left. It’ll tell you how many words I’ve written. May I ask, dear Reader, if it gets to be November 15, and that number hasn’t reached 5 digits yet, that you gift me a swift kick in the arse? (Or perhaps a gentle nudge, depending on your mood?) A million thanks in advance.

Now that I’ve reminded you that I’ll be hunched over my keyboard, striving for brilliance, for the next 30 days, I’d like to share with you a few highlights from our visit to the Coastal Carolina Fair last evening.

First of all, it was a night of Look Alikes. When we visited the petting zoo, I was shocked and amazed to see my cat, Scooter, there. Except….well, it wasn’t a cat. It was a bunny. But he looked JUST LIKE Scooter. See?:


Photographic proof that I’m not crazy (despite my penchant for cooing at animals and children in a weird, high-pitched voice):


Then, as if the Scooter-Look-Alike Bunny wasn’t enough, we sat down behind a young man who, I swear, looked JUST LIKE Detective Esposito (played by actor Jon Huertas) from the television show, Castle. So much so that I pulled up a picture of Huertas on my phone just so Brian could validate my claim. Throughout the entire concert (more on that in a minute) I kept elbowing Brian in the ribs, saying things like, “Holy crap, that guy looks like Espo!” and “I swear, he could be Esposito’s twin!” Finally, I got up the nerve to talk to the young man, and because he was an awesomely good sport, I also secured more Photographic Evidence to prove to you that I’m NOT crazy:

Photo of Jon Huertas courtesy of this website


I don’t know what was more surprising: that all he was missing was a tiny bit of facial hair, that he was totally cool with taking a goofy picture with me, or that he’d never seen or heard of the show Castle.


Crazy pants.

Anyhoo, the only reason we ventured out to the fair last night was because of a change in their scheduled entertainment. You see, The Village People were supposed to play. You know…these guys:


Yes, they still tour. And yes, they still dress up. Awesome. (Photo)


But unfortunately, due to Sandy, The Village People were stuck in New Jersey and would not be able to make it to their scheduled performance. <Insert “Aw Shucks” here.> And so, the very smart people in charge of the Coastal Carolina Fair put out feelers for a last minute replacement, and our hero, Edwin McCain, came to the rescue.


I’ve told you, without mincing words, that I’m absolutely in love with Edwin McCain. I’ve been following him since I was a sophomore in high school, and I’ve been to tons of concerts, and even a breast cancer awareness benefit. He is, without a shadow of a doubt, the author of my life’s soundtrack. (Seriously, if you’ve never heard of him, find him on iTunes. You’ve probably heard the song “I’ll Be” and don’t even know it.) So naturally, when we caught wind that Edwin was going to perform in lieu of the People, we beat feet to the fairgrounds and took our seats front and center (behind Espo.)

About halfway through the show, there was a quiet moment when Edwin switched from an electric to an acoustic guitar. A gentleman in the audience took the opportunity to shout “PLAY YMCA!!!!” Edwin, always a good sport, laughed and started to make a joke. That’s when his bass player, Jason Pomar, began free-styling the bass line of the popular 70s song. By the time drummer “Tez,” saxophonist Craig and lead guitarist Larry has figured out the tune (which took less than 2 minutes), Edwin launched into the song, completely unrehearsed. And naturally, I got it ALL on tape:


So. Much. Fun. 

We’ve been to a ton of Edwin shows over the past 13 years, and this is, hands down, the funniest thing we’ve ever witnessed. (Sorry for the blip in the middle…blame the new iPhone user who accidentally hit the “stop” button. My bad.)

To recap: today marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo (if you’d like to donate coffee, email me here); I saw a rabbit that looked my cat, and a dude who looked like an actor; and Edwin McCain knows how to rock, disco style.

Happy Thursday!

A Wicked Review: 6 Degrees of Donnie Wahlberg

I mentioned in my last post that I was going to see the travelling Broadway production of Wicked. Many of you have sent texts or tweets inquiring as to how the evening went. It all started with a photo shoot…

This is our “we’re normal, we’re adorable, look how pretty we are” shot.
This is our “we’re giddy, we’re overly-excited,
OMG we’re going to see Wicked” shot.


…followed by our prompt arrival at the theater. As in, we pulled into our parking space at 5:45. They didn’t open the doors to the event until 6:45. And the show didn’t start until 7:30. We were the FIRST ones there. Seriously. I’m not joking. Even the parking attendant was amused at our punctuality.



And so, Tina and I stood outside of the theater for over an hour, noses pressed to the glass, peering inside to “see what we could see.” We were thrilled to see tables of Playbills nearest to our door. We squealed with glee when we saw the swag table, decked out in t-shirts and coffee mugs and track jackets, all in varying shades of green.


And when the ushers began to appear, all wearing Elphaba-green bow-ties? Well, we may have joined hands and jumped up and down. Maybe.


When they finally opened the doors to the theater, Tina was the FIRST person inside. We enjoyed frosty beverages (daiquiris–both banana and strawberry.) We tried our best to seem nonchalant as we casually browsed the wares for sale. I noticed a large book on one of the tables and realized (with some enthusiasm) that it was the Grimmerie. (For those not familiar with the book or play, the Grimmerie is the book of magic spells used by the Witch.) While there were no spells to be found in the pages of this particular Grimmerie, it was instead a ‘behind the scenes’ book, all about the characters, music, creators, and design of Wicked.


I flipped open the heavy green cover, and the first page I turned to had a large picture of Fiyero, Elphaba’s love interest. I gasped as I instantly recognized the actor as Joey McIntyre.



For those with no clue who Joey McIntyre is, and why I nearly swooned with delight when I realized he’d been the 2nd Fiyero (and voted “Favorite Fiyero” on BestofBroadway.com) on Broadway, let me remind you of the title of this particular blog post. (I’ll wait while you scroll back up to read it.) Then, let me point you to exhibit A:

NKOTB….from left to right, Joey McIntyre, Jon Knight,
Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan Knight and Danny Wood.


It’s like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, except with Donnie Wahlberg. If there really was a yellow brick road, I’m convinced it would lead me to Donnie’s house.



ANYhoo


We left the swag table, Tina listening to me chatter on and on about Joey McIntyre, and headed over to the double doors leading into the theater. We stood there, waiting patiently, until they finally opened them up and let people stampede wander to their seats. Tickets clutched in our hands, we asked the first usher we came to where we might find Row K, Seats 36 and 37.


She pointed her flashlight down toward the stage and said, “Just keep following the stairs until you find Row K on your right. Then, head toward the center until you find your seats.”


I followed Tina down the stairs. Each step took us closer to the stage. We found Row K, and Tina led the way down the row. And the closer we got to the center, the more excited she became. She kept looking over her shoulder at me, eyebrows raised in disbelief. And there they were, seats 36 and 37–smack dab in the middle of theater, 10 rows back from the orchestra.


Tina sat down, a huge smile on her face, and said, “Remind me that any time I go to a play, I want YOU to get the tickets. These seats are AMAZING!!!”


She wasn’t kidding. This photo was taken from my seat:



We were SO CLOSE, I couldn’t even get the dragon AND the stage floor into the same shot.


At 7:30 sharp, the lights went down, the orchestra began to play, and the show started. I won’t tell you much about it, in case you ever go to see it yourself. Suffice it to say that I laughed, I cried, I applauded and whooped and hollered. At intermission, Tina and I stayed glued to our seats, never willing to miss a single minute. We talked about every single aspect of the show: from music to actors to costumes to lighting. And when the curtain came down at the end of the second Act, I was absolutely awed. 


I was expecting it to be great. But it was SO much more than I ever anticipated. I get weepy just thinking about it.


I will say this: every single person I talked to who had seen the show previously said that “Defying Gravity” would be the highlight of the live show. I’d seen it on YouTube and on various TV shows, so I knew exactly what was going to happen. But when Elphaba took to the sky on her broom for the first time, I was absolutely awestruck. I had goosebumps. All the little hairs on the back of my neck stood up. And involuntary tears rolled down my cheeks. It. Was. Amazing.


Wicked was the topic of conversation for the rest of Tina’s visit. We listened to the soundtrack over and over, talked about our favorite parts over and over, quoted from the show over and over. When she left Saturday afternoon, she gave me a big hug and thanked me for the memory we’d created together. And then my Wicked Weekend came to an end.


I can’t wait for the opportunity to go and see the show again. And I will. Believe you me.


But for now, I’m going to ride the Wicked high I’m still on.


And I’m going to figure out the 6 degrees of separation between Donnie Wahlberg and Kevin Bacon. 


What? I really think I could do it…


*EDIT* Thanks to friend, reader, and fellow book clubber, Rachel, who figured out the 6 degrees between Donnie Wahlberg and Kevin Bacon. If you’re curious, here it goes:  Kevin Bacon was in JFK with Gary Oldman who is married to Uma Thurman who was in “The Accidental Husband” with Ajay Naidu who was in “Office Space” with Ron Livingston who was in “Band of Brothers” with Donnie Wahlberg!