A Childhood Celebrity Crush Passes: Rest in Peace, Davy Jones

More and more these days, I learn about breaking news from Facebook or Twitter.  Today, a friend of mine posted the news about the death of Davy Jones. For those of you who don’t know who in the heck he even is, he was a member of a band called the Monkee‘s.  They had a tv show also called The Monkee’s that catapulted them into the hearts of preteens everywhere in the 1960’s and then into my heart in the 1980’s when Nickelodeon re-aired the series.  I fell for the little cute British teenager, Davy Jones.  Those boy bands always seem to worm their way into my heart!  At the time I thought Davy Jones was only 16, that they were a new group, and I just might have a chance at dating him when I got a few years older.  My Mom eventually had to break my little heart and inform me that Nickelodeon was showing reruns.   She had watched them on tv when she was a teen.  Davy Jones was her age.  Wow, did that information throw me for a loop.  You’d have thought I would have caught on from the sytle of clothing they were wearing but this was way before fashion held much of any importance in my life.

I still find myself singing various Monkee songs from time to time, my all time favorite being Daydream Believer, and I have always held a special place in my heart for Davy Jones, as I do for the many other celeb crushes of mine.  I am so sad to hear he is gone from this world.  Rest in peace! ~Chrissy


Lent From A Child’s Perspective

With the Lenten Season upon us, I had my annual talk with the kids about what our Lenten Sacrifices are going to be and why we do this.  For anyone not familiar with Lent, Lent is the season of preparation for Easter. It starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter, lasting for 40 days (not counting Sundays). We prepare for Easter by fasting and practicing spiritual discipline during this time.  Now, you must keep in mind that my children are rather young (eight years…wait.. he’s NINE years old now (yikes!) and 5 years old) so these talks are quite simple and often become slightly comical because of the perspective young children bring to the table.

English: Ashes imposed on the forehead of a Ch...

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So I started off talking about Ash Wednesday over our morning routine, as we were going to attend church that evening to get our ashes.   The last few years I didn’t take the kids to Ash Wednesday services for various kid reasons, so this seemed like their first time since they don’t remember their younger years when they did receive them.  Anyhow,  they looked at me funny when I explained that the Priest would dip his thumb into ashes and make the Sign of the Cross on their forehead.  “Why?” asked my oldest.  “It is a ritual that we do to show God we are sorry for our sins.”  They pondered that for a few minutes as they ate their cereal.  “What are the ashes made from?” asked my youngest.  “They are burnt palm leaves from the previous year’s Easter celebration.” I said.  Again, another pause.  After a few more minutes, my oldest looked worried.  I asked him what was up.  He sighs and says, “Mom, I’m worried the ashes are going to burn my skin!”  Oh my word, you can imagine how surprised I was because as a “mature” adult, I know these ashes are cooled off.  But to my little children, they associate ashes as the hot burning ashes that come from the coals out in the grill when Daddy cooks steaks or hamburgers.  So naturally they would assume that I was going to march them into church and let the Priest put hot, burning ashes on their heads!  I immediately told them not to worry, that these are cold ashes and anything we do at church wouldn’t cause physical pain to their bodies.  I was very thankful that I had decided to talk about the process so I was able to discover this hidden fear and squelch it.

Once we got to Church, the kids were amazed with all of the beautiful architecture and the stained glass windows.  This was the first time we had been to this parish, as we just moved and are exploring different Catholic churches to find one that is a right fit for us.  So, as we waited for mass to start, we took in our new surroundings.  I noticed that there were kneelers in each row, something our California church did not offer.  So I explained to them that instead of standing for some of the service like we did in California, that we would be doing  a lot more kneeling.  As I suspected, my son was very interested in these kneelers and fiddled with them most of the mass.

“Why do they do things so different at all the churches, Mom?” my youngest asked me at one point.  That was one question I do not know the answer to, but would love to find out.   If anyone out there has a perspective on why some catholic churches change up the phrasing or switch a routine, I would love to understand that so I can give my kids a perspective.  Before we started moving around the country, I was clueless that not all Catholic churches do their mass exactly the same.  It is a bit daunting as a visitor to the church to try and follow along when the responses are different and things like that.  One thing I loved about this church was that there was a Choir balcony, just like my home church where Chrissy remembers seeing me for the first time.  She talks about it in our first post.

The next day the kids and I were talking about what our Lenten sacrifices were going to be.  This topic always amuses me to see what they are going to give up.  Now, I’m not quite as strict as some parents may be.  I don’t expect perfection from my kids and I know they will not necessarily follow through with what they are sacrificing, especially my youngest.  However, I’m trying to instill the idea in them and get them into the habit of trying their best.  My oldest is getting crafty.  He started coming up with ideas that were ridiculously easy.  “I’ll give up playing “Sponge Bob” on the Wii.”   He hasn’t played that game in 4 months.  Nice try.  “Sweetheart, it is supposed to be something that you do or eat somewhat regularly so that is is a true sacrifice.”  After several other attempts, he finally landed on ice cream, along with his sister.  I told them I would try to give up soda.  (This was going to be a tough one for me!)  So we went off into our day with our decisions made.

Little did I know that a mess of worries had accumulated in my daughter’s mind throughout the day over this subject.  That evening she started crying, “I am going to miss having ice cream!”  I was trying to calm her down but there was no having it!  “It’s been nice having ice cream and I just will miss it forever!” she cries in that little dramatic voice!  “Sweetheart, you don’t have to give it up forever!”  Sniff, sniff….huh?  She thought that this sacrifice meant that never again would she be allowed to taste the cold, sweet goodness of ice cream!  I hate to laugh at her worries but this one gave me a good chuckle!  I told her she could pick something else, it isn’t supposed to be so traumatic!  She said, in a very stoic voice, “No Mom.  (Sniff..) I can do it.  (Sniff) I’m fine.  But…can I have it tonight for one last time just to get me through it?”  I chuckled and said yes, she could.

So those are my stories of the perspective my kids gave me on some of our Catholic traditions.  It’s funny how I started the week planning on teaching my children about sacrifice and penance and their take on it was hot ash torture and life long mourning over the loss of their favorite things.  I used to feel really bad years ago when this sort of thing happened but I’ve learned that kids just have a different take on life than we do.  They are more simple and honest and they don’t hold anything back!

I’ve Died and Gone to Heaven over Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds

Trader Joe’s came into my city over two years ago and my husband and I immediately fell in love.  It is our absolute favorite place to stop for groceries.  We would probably visit daily if it weren’t for the fact that it is clear across town.  Darn you Trader Joe’s.  You couldn’t have had the foresight to know your most loyal and hopelessly devoted customers lived a good 20 minutes out of the way!

Woops, oh dear! I’m sorry.  I’ve done it now. I’m going to have to pause for a quick song break. There is just no getting over it once a song pops in my head. If you are not an avid Grease fan and did not have this happen to you after reading the last sentence in my first paragraph, you can skip over this part and continue reading on below. If you are an avid Grease fan, then you’re welcome!

Ok, I’m good now.  Where were we….

More often then not, my husband is the one who tends to get out to that neck in the woods, so he’ll stop in and pick up some things.  Last week he bought home a new find, Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds.  They are coated in dark chocolate mixed with sea salt and turbinado sugar.  I’m not sure exactly what turbinado sugar is but I really don’t care because, wow, these amazing.  The mingling of these salty and sweet flavors leaves my taste buds singing, “MY, OH MY!”  Eating just one is impossible.  I am officially addicted.  If fact, I even snuck a bunch of them in my purse with me to the movie theater last weekend.  We went and saw Channing Tatum, err…I mean, The Vow!  Why would this be a confirmation of the addictive propertes of these almonds you might wonder?  Well, since I was a teeny tiny girl I have almost religiously followed a certain movie theater tradition, eating a box of Junior Mints.  So, I broke down and ditched my beloved movie theater tradition for the sake of these out of this world almonds.  I can’t get enough and I fully expect an intervention in the coming months.



The Perfect Gift for your BFF

A couple years ago, I was browsing  one of my favorite websites, Etsy.com and stumbled across what I feel is the perfect “just because” gift to give your best friend.  Remember those “broken” pendant necklaces from childhood which when you fit them together read BEST FRIENDS?  Remember how special you felt walking with your BFF arm and arm across the playground, each proudly wearing one half of the necklace?  I had stumbled upon a more grown-up, classy, stylish version of this necklace.  There was no way I could pass this find up.  It was fabulous.

Alicia was living in California at the time, so I packaged up the BE FRI half, handed it over to the UPS guy and sat back, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for it to arrive on her doorstep.  My, oh, my did it take everything out of me not to say something to her about the package that was on its way.  Alicia is usually the one I go to when I have some kind of juicy news to tell.  Ahh, it was torture!  Thankfully it only lasted a few days.  She called me immediately after opening it.   I wish I could have been ther to see her open it but I could hear the surprise and joy in her voice.  She loved it!  While we were on the phone together, Alicia had one sweet little side conversation with her little daughter .  She told her how much she wished that she would have a special best friend in her life when she is our age.  Her daugher then asked in her cute, tiny melodic voice if she doesn’t have a best friend, can she borrow her mom’s.  Talk about breaking my heart with sweetness!  Alicia’s daughter is already such a kind, thoughtful, and just plain adorable young girl, I can only imagine the amazing young woman she will one day become.

BFF Necklace From AccentTreasuresBest Friends Necklaces with Leaf Toggle and by AccentTreasures.        The necklaces seen here from a photo by Accent Treasures on Etsy.com, are only $22.99 for the pair!  I had no problems with my order.  They arrived via USPS mail in a matter of days and the necklaces were even cuter then the photo!  If you are looking for something unique and unexpected for your BFF I would highly recommend one of these necklaces.



Who Has Your Back?

As I’m sure we all know, life is full of moments that challenge us.  Whether it is a good experience or a bad one, we have all found ourselves in a position where we have to live up to the challenge.  How do we handle these situations?  I have found that we all approach things that are unique to our personality.  If you are quiet and reserved by nature, you probably tend to sit back and analyze the situation for the best possible outcome.  If you are strong and confident, you probably charge in with guns blazing.  But what if you find yourself in a situation that is totally, completely, 100 percent OUT of your comfort zone?  You call in for back up.

Now, you know what I’m talking about.  You pick up the phone and call that person that you know will have your back and lead you in the right direction.  We all have that person.  In fact, I’d be willing to bet that we all have numerous people that we rely on, completely dependent on the situation.  For example, if you need to go to the bank for a loan and you are just NOT a numbers person, you call your parents, sibling or friend that you consider THE expert.  If you need to start looking for schools for your first born child and find that there is absolutely no school in the universe that could ever meet your expectations for caring for THE smartest child EVER, you call your Mom for advice or maybe some other Moms you know to guide you down the path.  Or, if you are like most girls I know (including myself) and you need to buy a car, you definitely call for back-up!

Tonight I was told one of the most endearing stories I’ve heard in a while.  It’s actually about two best friends.  We’ll call them Talls and Smalls.  They are actually a younger version of me and Chrissy in so many ways.  Talls and Smalls are loving, strong and passionate individuals who can make everyone in their presence feel so special.  In my opinion, they are both a bit quiet and reserved at times, but Talls is probably a bit more talkative than Smalls is.  They are super awesome and always have each others back.  I’ve never told them this before, but when I think about their names for each other, I’m always reminded of the movie “The Sandlot” with the catch-phrase, “You’re killing me Smalls!” Ha ha!

This week, Talls was having a rough go of things with her car.  She was at her wits end with the Devil-Mobile and was ready to drive it off a cliff and not look back.  But, Talls is a responsible young lady and would never dream of doing something so reprehensible.  Talls was also struggling with the fact that she needed a new car, but wanted to try and do it without relying on her parents as her back-up.  We’ve all been there.  That point in our life when we realize that we always go to Mom & Dad for assistance, but should probably try to spread our wings a bit and do it on our own.  So, what do you do in this situation?  Call in your Best Friend for back-up.

I’m extremely impressed with the way Talls called in Smalls for back-up.  Talls owns the fact that she is clueless on things like “MSRP”, “trade-in value” and “qualifying discounts.”  She is also very willing to push her sweet tiny friend Smalls in front of her and say “talk to her!”  Ha ha ha!   A common misconception about “smaller” people is that they can be talked over or taken advantage of.  I’m happy to say this isn’t the case with my friend Smalls.   Smalls is a strong-willed and spunky individual who knows her stuff and isn’t afraid to speak up, especially for her friend.  So Smalls had NO problem standing by her BFFs side to go car shopping!

Talls found an awesome car and was somewhat torn on the vehicle.  The scruffy Dealer-Dude in front of her was trying to sell her on a car that she just wasn’t all that in to.  (It’s not me, it’s you.)  So, Smalls said that they weren’t settling…off to the next dealership.  It was at this next dealership where Smalls shined.  The Dealer tried to short change Talls on her Trade-In value by quite a hefty sum.  They were also trying to rip her off by selling her a loan with a crappy interest rate.  Little did the Dealer-Dude at this joint know that Smalls had just bought a car the week before with her husband and was all over the fact that rates were even lower than what was being offered.  So Smalls laid it out on the table to the guy in front of her.  About an hour later, Talls was the proud owner of a 2012 vehicle, the color she wanted, with full trade-in value AND the lowest interest rate in town! You GO Girls!  Wooooo hooo!

Talls should be proud of herself for taking on a new challenge, despite her fears, and taking care of things like the young independent woman she is.  I, for one, am very impressed.  And Smalls deserves some major Kudos for guiding her friend and for giving her friend strength when she needed it.  So the moral of the story is to always call in that one person that you KNOW knows their stuff, whether it be your neighbor, your parents, a sibling or your Best Friend.  It’s better to go in with some back up and get the best deal of the day!  🙂

~ Alicia


“It’s Just a Good Vibration”: A Little Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch Nostalgia

Flipping through television stations the other day in the hopes of finding something good to watch, I came across a movie starring Mark Wahlberg.  Ahhh, Mark Wahlberg, or Marky-Mark as most women in our 30’s first came to know him as.  He hates to be called that nowadays.  Placing myself in his shoes, I suppose I would hate to have people referring to me as Chrissy-Chris.  Hmm, well actually it might have a nice ring to it after I think about it!  As a teenager, I was a big fan of Marky-Mark the singer, the Calvin Klein model, and the younger brother of New Kids on the Block’s Donnie Wahlberg.  I was an even bigger fan of New Kids on the Block but I’ll save that for a future post.

Music for the People (Marky Mark and the Funky...
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The first concert Alicia and I attended with one another was Marky-Mark and the Funky Bunch in the early 90’s.  My parents dropped us off in front of the Music Hall a good hour before the concert was supposed to start.  Our bangs were teased, our hair curled and our jean legs rolled up tightly.  Standing in line with hundreds of teenage girls brimming with contained hysteria was infectious.  Minutes ticked by achingly slow as we waited for the doors to open.  Three girls who were a couple grades behind us in High School pulled out a boom box, cranked up the volume and began performing a choreographed dance routine to “Good Vibrations” in front of the doors.  In today’s day and age, it would have probably been the start of a flash mob.  Back then, we thought they were showing off.  We didn’t get to see the whole dance, cause we heard a bunch of screams behind us as a tour bus drove by.  Was it Marky-Mark in that tour bus?  We’ll never know but whoever was inside it was trailed down the block by a mad stampede of screaming girls.

Once inside the Music Hall, we bought soda’s, found our seats and did some people watching while we were waiting for the concert to begin.  All of a sudden the lights turned off, the stage lit up and the announcer proclaimed, “Are you READY?”  AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!  Yes, Yes!  We’re ready!!!!  The screams were deafening, never letting up the entire concert. Marky-Mark ran around the stage with his Calvin’s peeking out the top of his pants.  The beginning of what would over the coming years become a horrible trend among male youths.  Year by year the pants hanging lower and lower and lower.  Is that trend over now? Have the pants been pulled up yet?  Ok, sorry.  I wandered a bit off track there.

At the time of his concert he only had a few songs out, so it only lasted about an hour which was our only real disappointment.  We left the concert hall and stood on the sidewalk waiting along with everyone else for our ride to pick us up.  Our ears were ringing, our voices screamed away into oblivion, and we had big, goofy smiles on our faces.  We had a blast!  It’s too bad that I can’t seem to find a single photo of it to share here.  (Psst, guess what?  I found pictures! See below! ~A)  So how about a little taste of Marky-Mark and the Funky Bunch to tide you over.  Enjoy!


Well my friend, I remember that concert very vividly!!  I will admit that you always seem to remember SO many more details than I ever do.  (They say that having children will do that to your memory, but I think it’s more that you are more detail oriented than I am!)  Anyhow, that concert was an eye-opening experience for me. 

I believe this was my first concert ever.  Chrissy had been to so many more concerts than I did, so I felt a little bit inferior in this category.  She always seemed to be so worldly to me.  She was always a few steps ahead of me on experiences, as I was so timid and shy (hard to believe it, I know) and I always appreciated that she would bring me into these new situations and let me do them with her.  So, having never been to a concert, standing outside waiting for it to start was pure excitement for me all on its own!  Ha ha. 

As you said Chrissy, Marky-Mark came rushing out and you could feel the electricity in the air.  I swear I felt every ounce of every girl’s excitement rush through my body!  I was filled with pure excitement!  I will also never forget something he did during the concert.  It was simply shocking to me.  SHOCKING!  At one point, he walked onto the stage wearing this big, white, fluffy bath robe.  I was so naive and was not comprehending what was going on.  WHAM!  Down goes the robe!  There stood Marky-Mark in nothing but his boxers.  Oh MY WORD!  I couldn’t even hear myself scream because of the deafening roar of the room.   This was my first exposure to the sexual side of music industry and it completely caught me off guard!  (I was used to listening to music from the Bee Gees and Neil Diamond for crying out loud!) I will say that this was no pornographic display.  He was just wearing very big boxers.  But he was a fine specimen of a well-toned young man so just showing off his abs like he did threw every young girl into a frenzy.  Sigh.  

That night was an exciting experience for us both I’d say and I was happy that I got to share it with you girl!  We had a lot of fun and I am happy we got to see Marky-Mark running around with his shirt off.  Oh, and that we got to hear his music too!  😉  LOL

~ Alicia-leash



Seeing as how one of our blog’s focuses is on friendship, I figured now was as good as time as any to tell you about one of my short comings.  Since we are all friends here, I feel I can be completely honest.  After all, if  you can’t turn to your friends when you need to admit something, who can you turn to?

English: Cover of Anne of Green Gables by Lucy...

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It is very difficult for me to admit this.  I’ve had many interventions in my life and have been stubborn as hell about admitting that I have a problem with this topic.  Here it goes.  I am obsessed with “Anne of Green Gables.”  THERE!  I said it out loud for the whole world to hear!   But there is something wrong with this admission.  I am not sad about this.  Quite the contrary!  I am happy to admit that I am obsessed with the Anne-Girl.  I have adored Anne Shirley since I started reading and have loved her ever since.  If, for some reason, you aren’t familiar with Anne of Green Gables, here is a beautiful slide show highlighting the story of Anne Shirley.


Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert Blythe in Anne of ...

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There is something very unique and special about “Anne of Green Gables,” written my Lucy Maud Montgomery.  Whether it be your special bond with your best friend, the trials and tribulations of growing up, or the ongoing romance between Anne and Gilbert (Gil…sigh…), I think there is something that most of us can relate to. The book is set in Prince Edward Island, Canada.  It has become one of my dream vacation destinations.  The beautiful shores and country side have lured me in and I can’t wait to visit there someday!  Anne has taught me about how special it is when you find a true Kindred Spirit in this life; that you need to embrace them and love them whole heartedly!  There are so many things about Anne of Green Gables I love, one of which is the story of her and her bosom friend Diana.  It complete embodies how I feel my friendship is with Chrissy over all these years.

For me, one of the main things that Anne represents is the need we all have for love, affection and family.  Anne is an orphan in need of love and because of this, she found love and beauty everywhere she turned:  from the beautiful cherry blossom tree she thought she may sleep in had Matthew not picked her up from the train station, to the Lake of Shining Waters, where her soon-to-be best friend Diana Berry lived.  That intense love she has reminds me of the intense love I have for my two sisters and two brothers.  They are my best friends in so many different ways and I can’t imagine my life without them.   They have been my biggest cheerleaders in life, have taught me how to be self-less and have always made me feel like I could do anything in the world.  I will love them until the end of time and will always cherish all they do for me.  They are four of my most cherished Kindred Spirits.

The love Anne has for Matthew & Marilla, her adoptive parents who are brother & sister, reminds me of my love for my parents.  My parents are everything I aspire to be.  I strive to be the Mother that my Mom is to us all with her unrelenting love, her love of life and her willingness to break a few rules.  My Dad has always made me feel safe and protected, someone I admire and respect so deeply.  Without them in my life, I don’t know how I would have survived many of life’s experiences.  I thank God every day for blessing me with the parents I have.  They have always, and still do, make me feel exceptional.  I owe so much of who I am to them and I love them so very, very much.

Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie on location...

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In all honesty, I think I’ve grown closer to Anne over the last few years because living so far away from my family has made me appreciate them even more.  I find myself watching the movie quite often because it makes me feel like I got to have a little bit of home.  It helps remind me that no matter where I am in this world, I will always have my family.  They are there for me no matter what, and I hope they know that I will always be there for them.

~ Alicia