Tag Archives: alone

Amy’s Favorite Things, Vol. 2

9 Dec

Since Oprah dropped the ball on her favorite things this year, it looks like I’m going to have to take up the slack (incidentally, I’ll also be taking over for Oprah when the daytime talk show queen turns in her microphone).  I’m sorry I won’t be able to send Backseat Writers a crap load of cool stuff to celebrate “Amy’s Favorite Things” (AFT) but you do have a chance to win an AFT Prize Pack, which includes an Oh Deer Super Dooper Pocket Pooper Keychain, a stuffed cow I got for free at Chick-Fil-A, an unopened package of Ice Breakers Ice Cube Gum I found on my desk, a beautiful star ornament created with my very own hands, and a personalized Christmas card with a holiday picture of my dogs inside (actually, anyone can get one of those, just e-mail me your mailing address).  Who needs fancy schmancy items like digital cameras and expensive make-up when you get can win stuff like this?

Without further ado, I present you with my favorite things of 2009.

AMAZON’S 50 ALBUMS FOR $5 (OR LESS)

Every month the world’s largest online retailer picks 50 albums that cost only $5 to download (but they picked 100 for December).  And every-so-often they slash prices even more—to a mere $2.99.  Over the year, I’ve been able to snag the latest from Sherwood, Owl City, Mat Kearny, and others.  Right now (12/09), you can get Green River Ordinance’s Out of My Hands (read interview), Switchfoot’s Hello Hurricane,  Relient K’s Let it Snow Baby…Let It Reindeer, The Almost’s Monster Monster, Beach Boys’ Pet SoundsThe Turtles’ Greatest Hits and The Elf Soundtrack –all for only $5.

TWITTER

Yes, people, I’ve joined the Twitter revolution!  It’s oh-so-fun to exchange silly banter—all in 140 characters or less. (Incidentally, that gushing statement about Twitter is only 119 characters!)

KRISTIN CHENOWETH

OK, while Kristin Chenoweth isn’t a thing; she’s a person and I’ve written about her before (“Snooked on Pushing Daisies“), but there’s more Cheno love to share.  Last spring, Kristin released her authobiography, A Little Bit Wicked, this fall she starred on one of my favorite shows, “Glee” (also performing a rousing duet of “Alone” with Matthew Morrison aka “Mr. Shue”) and she just made a Lifetime movie, The Twelve Men of Christmas.  Plus,  she’s the voice of Rosetta the fairy in the Tinkerbell movies.  There there’s Maddie’s Corner, an organization started by Kristin to help people and animals.  Yes, Kristin has a dog named Maddie and I have a dog named Maddy (Madalyne)!  Who knew? Suffice to say, Kristin Chenoweth is still smokin’ hot and undoubtedly one of my favorite things, er, people.

HOLIDAY ANIMAL CANDY POOPERS

I’ve known about these things for a while, but they never fail to crack me up.  Maybe I’m just immature, but a reindeer with a cranky face pooping brown candies out of his butt is really funny to me.  Plus, the candy-filled key chains and toys have all sorts of hilarious names like Poo-lar Bear (The Sub-Zero Poopin’ Hero), Baa Humbug Sheep (The Grumpy Party Pooper), and Oh Deer! (The Super Duper Reindeer Pooper). Because I love these things so much, I’m offering one of these little guys in my Prize Pack.  It’s a keychain version of Oh Deer for Pooper lovers on the go.

“GLEE”

Is this show great or what?  Singing, dancing, high school drama, a hot Spanish teacher—it’s all the stuff that I wish I had in high school (minus the drama—no one wants that!)  Plus, the cast on “Glee” can really sing.  I’m especially impressed with Lea Michele who plays young starlet Rachel Berry (my fave character) and Matthew Morrison’s vocals have really grown on me (especially during his “Alone” duet with Kristin Chenoweth as well as his mash-up of “Young Girl” and “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”).  Jane Lynch is also notable as the gym teacher everyone loves to hate—Sue Slyvester.  And that’s how Amy sees it.  Hmm, sounds better when Sue says it.

TINYPIC.COM

What a storage site!  Not only can TinyPic be integrated into your social networks like Twitter and Facebook, but it also offers dandy photo editing tools to touch up digital photographs in a hurry.  No need to use Photoshop for minor edits and TinyPic offers a ton of storage, as well as printing options (which I have yet to use).

HOODED SCARVES WITH POCKETS

Hooded scarves with pockets (HSwP) are a fashion must (guys, feel free to tune out).  It’s a hat!  It’s a scarf!  And it’s got pockets for storage!  I’ve only seen two of these out in the great wide yonder—there was a beautiful cream-colored HSwP at Target for around $17, but the knitting was shabby and coming undone—pass!  I found another HSwP online at Bath & Body Works of all places—a pink, gray, and white patterned beauty that cost $20 on clearance; it has since disappeared.  Sadly, the HSwP pictured on the left is $200, and even though it has faux fur and button—that is still way too pricey.  Even this amazing brown Fair Isle knit is $50, but I can’t figure out how it looks when worn.  If any of you know of any hot deals on HSwP (buttons preferred), let me know!

Well, that wraps up another year of Amy’s Favorite Things !  Now I suppose you want to know how to win AFT Prize Pack.  It is *so* easy.  All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me (and the world) about one of your favorite things!  If you Tweet or write a Facebook status note about the contest, you get an extra entry (one for Twitter, and one for Facebook for a grand total of three entries!)  Hint: if you follow @amysondova or @backseatwriter on Twitter, you can RT (reTweet) what I say.  I only wish I was eligible to win this contest.  The contest ends on 12/16 at 12 PM EST. Oh, and don’t forget to re-visit all my favorite things from last year!

JOSH ROSENTHAL’s Villages Suite Continues with EVEN THE STRONGEST HERO

21 Sep

Singer/songwriter Josh Rosenthal has undertaken a gargantuan task by releasing a series of four albums in four months.  The project, simply known as the Villages Suite, speaks of how people live together in community and relate to one another.  The first of the four albums, Overture, introduces listeners to the substance of the next three albums. Overture and Even the Strongest Hero are now available on iTunes. (Read Q&A with Josh about Overture). If you prefer a hard copy of the album, you can purchase Even the Strongest Hero at the Josh Rosenthal online store.


Released September 15, Even the Strongest Hero, the second album in Josh Rosenthal’s Villages Suites is a solo acoustic album that debunks the lone wolf mentality of our culture—people were not meant to be alone.  Using the force of his voice and a guitar, Rosenthal stresses, “Solo acoustic albums always force the imagination to add other instruments and other people to the song.  While acoustic albums are good, the listener would always benefit from more–while living life alone, we benefit from being surrounded by more people.” (Read more about Rosenthal’s motivation at his blog).

Recorded at Jeff Pardo’s studio, The Track Shack, in Nashville, the album is a compilation of four original songs and a cover of Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You.”  The tone of Even the Strongest Hero is melancholy, yet reflective.  Songs like “Change” and “Alone” are unabashedly naked in their universal truths about humankind’s tendency towards doubt and unbelief.

According to Rosenthal, “Alone.” which was co-written with Sparrow Recording artist Josh Wilson, is the song that best describes the message of the Villages Suite. “Even the strongest hero can’t deny what everybody knows, we weren’t meant to be alone.  Our culture loves the self made man.  But the iconic self made man leads an unsustainable life.  There comes a point where everybody needs somebody for emotional/financial/spiritual stability.  Bottom line – no matter what our culture communicates, we can’t deny that we were made to be dependent,” says Rosenthal.

“Change” tackles the topic of shame and how we are all covered in it, despite our freedom in God through our identity with Christ.  Rosenthal elaborates, “If guilt tells us we’ve done something wrong, shame tells us we ARE something wrong. No matter how successful I become, I will always struggle with an enemy that tells me I am an insufficient failure who should give up.”

Other songs on the album include “Inside Asleep” and “Better Man,” which talk about trusting in the love of Jesus during the storms of life and the love shown to Rosenthal by his wife. “I married a woman who is so patient with me.  She doesn’t condescend me.  She doesn’t treat me like women treat their husbands on TV; you know, like the ‘King of Queens’.  That woman treats her husband like he’s another child, not like he’s her husband.  My wife is extremely forgiving.  This song honors my wife’s love for me while admitting my inability to be right (shame),” shares a thoughtful Rosenthal.

When responding to my hurried e-mail, Josh added this as a personal note to my comments, “I hope the Villages Suite fits into a lot of people’s stories of healing.” It has certainly fit into mine.

And the story continues with Lonely Together, a full band album, releasing October 13, which will be available on iTunes and through Rosenthal’s site.  Stay tuned for coverage of Part 3 of the Villages Suite.

Only the Lonely Give Thanks Alone

16 Nov
Poor Big Bird.

Poor Big Bird.

The holidays are fast approaching, and I always anticipate them with a sense of dread–because I hate the day after Christmas.  There’s all this excitement in the air and then it’s over.  I hate that “over” feeling.  It sucks the life right out of me.  But this year, I’m not looking forward to the holidays in general because of my fractured family.

When I was 20, my parents got divorced.  Then both of my parents (for lack of a better term) got remarried to someone new.  Now mom and dad have “new” families and I’m left out in the cold.  So this year, mom is spending Thanksgiving with her husband and his children while dad is mostly likely spending the day with his significant other and her children.  As you can see, that leaves me without family on the day where everyone supposedly sits around the dining table with family gorging themselves on turkey, stuffing, and cranberry concoctions.  I know I’m not alone in being alone on Thanksgiving.  (At least I’ll see both parents on or around Christmas Day…some people don’t even have that).

So I’ve come to think of Thanksgiving as a day of strategic planning to get the best early morning Black Friday deals.  I scour the ads, make a list, and execute a strategy that will enable me to get the best presents at the best prices.  Plus, my best friend/roommate will be home on Thanksgiving, so I’m not technically alone.  We’re just without our families…on a day when family has come to mean everything.  Or at least it would seem from all those Campbell’s Green Bean Casserole commercials.

It’s a bit early to be giving thanks, and I do have a lot for which to be thankful.  However, right now I’m not thinking about that; I’m being brutally honest because I know someone out there feels the same way.  Whether or not you are caught in the in-between of step-families or just in the lonliest time of your life, I hope you know that you’re not alone.  Sometimes it’s enough to just know someone else feels, thinks, experiences the same thing.

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