Friday, 22 August 2014

Liebster Award

Thank you very much to Ellie B. at thoughts of a fashion lover  for her nomination of our blog for the Liebster Award.  The Liebster Award is a kind of chain award given out to bloggers with under 200 followers in an effort to help people to discover new blogs.

The rules for the Liebster Award are as follows:

1. Must link back to the person that nominated you.
2. Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
3. Cannot nominate the person who nominated you.
4. Provide nominees with 11 questions of your choice.
5. Must inform nominees of your nomination.
6. Provide nominees with a link to your post for more info.

Here are the questions that I answered from Ellie B.!

1. What got you into blogging?

I began blogging around a year from the time I met my friend Carlyn, whom I met on an online fan site for Emma Watson, when she asked if I would be interested in sharing a blog with her.

2. Which blogs/bloggers inspire you most?

I don't like to single out any one blog/blogger as "more inspirational" than another.  I think as an individual each blogger/blog has something important, something of interest and something inspirational to offer their readers.  I'm inspired by any one who takes that leap of faith and shares what is important to them on a blog.

3. Are there things you are scared/shy to blog about?

Definitely!  Some of my blog posts cover very personal topics.  I've even discussed my fears and failings.  There is some anonymity available through blogging that makes sharing those things a little less scary, but my friends and family know where and how to find my blog, so opening myself up like that is not always easy.

4. What do you find to be the most difficult about blogging?

Even though I've been blogging for a while now, I'd say: the time.  Sometimes it's hard to find the time to blog and I don't want the blog to suffer by giving only a halfhearted effort.  So the discipline to give the blog the time it needs and deserves is a challenge that pops up now and then.

5. Is there anything you would like to change about your blog?

I think there are always ways to improve.  I think to increase our readership and audience interaction would be the main thing.  That is one of the nice things I appreciate about this Liebster Award.  It's an opportunity to reach out to others and have others discover our blog as well.

6. What do your friends think of your blog?

My friends have always been very supportive of me and what I choose to do.  I have not really asked for feed back on my blog.  I know some of them read it and sometimes I get a question or a comment related to the blog, and it's always a positive interaction.

7. Describe yourself in 3 words!

a. Positive
b. Faithful
c. Learning

8. How would other people describe you?

Haha!  This is always a tough one to answer.  Well I asked and I was told I'm sensitive, honest, giving (wow this is turning out better than I expected) but I can procrastinate and lack some initiative at times on a more critical note.  I also over-think some things resulting in needless worry.  >.<  --- *Jon Bear editorial comment: why do you think it took me so long to make my Liebster Award post?

9. Are you a glass half-full or half-empty person?

I try to be a glass is half full person.  I think I am successfully so most of the time.  I have my faults like anyone though and sometimes I can let the negativity creep in.

10. What is one country that you want to visit?

Australia and my friend Carlyn Girl hopefully one day! =) *she's promised me a pet possum*

11. Favorite thing to do?

Spend time with family and friends, tell stories and laugh!

Here are the Blogs I have nominated for the Liebster Award: 

My Questions for my Liebster Nominees!

1. What message/feeling do you want others to take away from your blog when they read it?

2. Do you have any favorite blog communities where you like to discover other blogs of interest?

3. Do you have a personal favorite blog post you've made?  If so which is it?

4. Share 3 hobbies or interests you have unrelated to your blog?

5. In general what are the things that appeal to you in a blog design?

6. Favorite band(s)/singer(s)/performing artist(s)?

7. What are the goals and expectations you have for your blog over the next year?

8. What would be your favorite ride at the amusement park/town fair?

9. Have you influenced/inspired (or been influenced/ inspired by) any friends or family members to blog?

10. What is your favorite travel destination?

11. Favorite place to dine out?

Thanks again to Ellie B. for the honor of her nomination.  Carlyn and I wish Ellie and all our chosen Liebster bloggers the best in discovering blogs of interest and being discovered.  I know the Liebster Award has helped me to find new blogs I hope to frequent and enjoy.  Hopefully it will do so for those bloggers I nominated as well.  =)

Monday, 18 August 2014

Entertainment Monday: Sheppard (18 August, 2014)

I no longer follow bands like I use to when I was younger. I don’t watch the music video shows and I’m usually the last to know when it comes to the music industry. I first learnt about Sheppard when they were interviewed on a few Australian breakfast television shows and heard them on the radio.

 Sheppard is an Australian Indie pop band whose song Geronimo has launched them to success. They are the first indie band to make it to number one in the Australian charts. The band is from Brisbane and comprises of six members. It originally started with two siblings Amy and George Sheppard who then included their musically talented friends and their sister Emma.
                                     (International music video of Geronimo ) 
I like their quirky video clips and I love singing the chorus of Geronimo.  I think it’s the chorus that really sells the song as it’s so catchy. I think the song is about two lovers who have been separated after a misunderstanding and the guy wants to get the girl back.

Personally, I like the Australian video clip because it has a story and it's so creative. They make a monster out of cardboard boxes. 

I also wanted to share the cover that Sheppard did of Say something by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera. I think it’s just as good as the original. 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014


Jon and I decided that we’ll try our hardest to finish read more book this August. We often start books but fail to read them to the end. I am a very slow reader where I read one or two chapters then not return to the book for days or months. Sometimes I can be riveted by a story and spend hours reading.

So we’re going to be dedicated readers who read at least a chapter a day. I'm also going to bring my books around for slow points in the day like when I'm waiting for something. Hopefully, it means we’ll finish a few books on our book list too.

Currently I’m reading Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer, Kevin and I in India by Frank Kusy and Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Entertainment Monday: Vampire Weekend (August 11, 2014)

No, Vampire Weekend is not the newest tween movie or television sensation sweeping America, instead they are are the Alternative Music band from New York City who are beginning to make quite a name for themselves with the successes of their first three albums since they debuted in 2008 (formed 2006).  Their latest album Modern Vampires of the City won the Grammy for best Alternative Music album 2014.  "The band consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Ezra Koenig, guitarist/keyboardist and backing vocalist Rostam Batmanglij, drummer and percussionist Chris Tomson and bassist and backing vocalist Chris Baio."  
Oxford Comma 


When their self titled debut album came out I was immediately taken by several of their songs.  I love the sly humor of the writing that comes through in a lot of their tunes.  One of my favorite songs off of their first album is Oxford Comma.

I heard their sound described somewhere as a combination between the Beatles and the Beach Boys once.  Personally I don't quite get the comparison and while they'll be hard pressed to have the star power of either group from eras when the music industry did not have to compete with as many other entertainment options, I would not be surprised if they end up having the staying power with music fans given their auspicious beginnings.  Stylistically I think that their songs are fun and focus on social situations.  I don't want to use the word "issues" because I don't think their music necessarily tackles world matters, but focus more on personal matters in social interaction.

On their current release I really enjoy Step, a song I think is an example of what I mentioned that takes a look at the jealousies of relationships and questions of "possession" of another person with regards to relationships (at least from a male perspective).

I've mentioned a few times now about how I'd like to see a band live.  I don't mean to give the impression that I have the desire to see every band live that I enjoy.  I know I have to pick and choose given my monetary limitations.  With that said, given the opportunity, Vampire Weekend is definitely a band I would pick to see over many if not all other current bands.  There would be a few bands or performing artists who no longer perform live that I'd pick over them though and some of those may be discussed on future entertainment Mondays.  One of the things I love about music is how it can be from 100s of years ago and still be relevant.  Vampire Weekend has a chance to become one of those iconic bands. 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Miles to go by Miley Cyrus & Hilary Liftin- Review by Carlyn

I first I wanted to read this book when it first came out in 2009 but never got around to it. I found it in a thrift shop a couple of weeks ago for four dollars and decided to read it. I like reading autobiographies because I get a glimpse of a person’s life which is a bit more intimate than reading an interview.  Miley has definitely changed from being America’s Sweetheart to a twerking wild child. I wanted to know more about Miley’s rise to fame and how she grew up.
Miley Cyrus in her Hannah Montana days 
Miley’s book was written with the help of Hilary Liftin and it reads like Miley is talking to you. It starts off when she was about twelve and wanting to perform in front of a crowd. Miley has always been interested in singing, dancing and acting. She was an energetic child who was physically active and talkative.  I can see that Miley still has that energy in her new outrageous persona.
Miley Cyrus in 2011
Miley did competitive cheer leading as a child but gave it up to pursue acting. It was hard for her because she went to many auditions and missed out on cheer leading. When she would get rejected it made her regret missing cheer leading events. Miley was bullied through middle school to a point where she had no friends and didn't want to go to school. Miley saw acting as a way out and was glad when she finally got the role of Hannah Montana.

“Cheerleading was my safe haven, the one place where I knew I had friends I could trust to the ends of the earth. Or at least to catch me when I was flying through the air, which was a little more likely than reaching the ends of the earth, anyway. But at school I had no such safety net. And things were getting worse.
I still have no idea how the Anti-Miley Club got a janitor’s key to the school bathroom, but one day I was on my way to science class and they shoved me in and locked it. I was trapped. I banged on the door until my fists hurt. Nobody came. I tried to open the window, but it was stuck. It dawned on me that everyone was already in class.”  (Cyrus & Liftin, 2009 p. 26).

The book goes onto to describe Miley filming the Hannah Montana series, the movie, her music and how she was about to star in The Last Song. The book also describes her hang ups, relationships and thoughts about everything that was happening to her. I respect the fact that Miley includes in the autobiography how she let people down when she was too focused on her hang ups and had to be told to get over it. It would be easy to gloss over things and be perfect but she admits the mistakes she made. Another nice side of her is her deep love for her family, God and making the most out of life.   

“My parents named me Destiny Hope because they believed that my destiny was to bring hope to people.” ( Cyrus & Lifton, 2009, p. 257).

I learnt stuff I didn't know about her before such as how Emily Osment and Miley didn't have a close friendship but were cordial enough towards each other. I also learnt that a song that I liked called Bottom of the Ocean was written about a failed relationship and the death of her goldfish Lyric and Melody.

I found Miley Cyrus to be a delightful girl. She’s warm hearted, funny, enthusiastic and energetic. I think she still that way except she’s more outlandish.  I don’t know what happened when she suddenly decided to be overtly sexual and a bit crude. I guess she’s exploring that side of her and I wonder how long that will last. In the book, she does say that she often talks before thinking and she has a weird sense of humour and likes to goof off. I think that is evident in her latest music videos.
Miley Cyrus 2014
I think Miley Cyrus is a talented young woman. I love how she sings. I'm not a die hard Miley fan but I follow her career. I look forward to seeing her life unfold and where it leads. The book is named Miles to Go because Miley acknowledges that her autobiography is just a snap shot of her life up to being sixteen years old. She knows that there are still miles to go and she’ll grow and change.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Entertainment Monday: Bonnie Anderson (August 8th, 2014)

Bonnie Anderson won the first Australia’s Got Talent in 2012 with her beautiful voice. 

Many thought that soon after the competition she would start a singing career but she did not. Her family decided that she would focus on enjoying her childhood. I think that it was an admirable decision and quite unusual. I think it also shows the faith they have in Bonnie’s talent to breakthrough when she is ready. At the age of nineteen, Bonnie is back in the spotlight to start her music career. Here are two of her songs so far:

Raise the Bar (2013)

Raise the Bar is Bonnie’s debut single. I like it because a fun summer song and makes me think about being young and hanging out with friends during the school holidays.

Blackout (2014)

Blackout  has a more edgy club sound. Bonnie is fierce in a black cat suit and plays a femme fatale in the video clip. Personally I don’t like this clip as much as Raise the Bar. I think she’s trying a little too hard on this one and it’s not very original.

I hope to see more of her music and it seems that she’s still in the experimenting stage of her music career. Usually I get a feeling about who will breakthrough in music but I’m not sure about Bonnie. Her songs haven’t done so well in the music charts but not all artists have instant success with their first singles.  Australian artist Delta Goodrem, didn’t have much luck with her first song I don’t care but her second attempt Born to Try was a huge hit. 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Entertainment Monday: Sia Furler (July 28, 2014)

As a music listener I'm not a huge popular music fan at this point in my life.  While I have always been an alternative music fan I listened primarily to popular music throughout my teens and most of my twenties.  These days my expose to popular music mostly comes via television commercials and my work place which always has music playing over our PA system. 

I also get some minimal exposure to what's popular today through the websites that I visit.  Sometimes those websites are not music related.  I don't mean to besmirch popular music either.  I think there are a lot of great songs and artists out there who create music in what amounts to the mainstream music scene.  I simply do not have the time I did when I was younger to listen to the variety of music that I did back then, so I have to make some choices, which are choices that generally keep me in the dark with regards to some of the mainstream artists today.

I have mentioned before how Carlyn and I first became friends on an Emma Watson fan site and it's through my membership on that site that I also was first exposed to the music of Sia Furler.  Sia is a very prominent player in many of the popular music hits of today. 

Sia Furler is an Australian born musician who is less than a month older than myself and has become much more famous in the last several years since I first learned of her, not entirely out of her own performances, but for the music she has written for many of today's most talented popular music artists.  So while there are several music fans who may be familiar with her because of her link as a writer for artists such as Britney Spears, Rihanna, Celine Dion and Christina Aguilera, I was first acquainted with her music about 5 and a half years ago through her own performances of her songs like Butterflies, Numb and Breathe Me.   Many of Sia's songs were used on fan videos that I watched posted to or youtube.

I've seen critical reviews from fans of Sia that consider her more talented vocally than many of the popular artists she writes for.  I do not necceserally agree with that.  Which is not to say that I don't consider Sia comparable to artists like Rihanna or Celine Dion or Christina Aguilera vocally.  I do think there is a legitimate argument to be made and she can hold her own.  With that said, I would personally consider her to be behind many of those artists in vocal talent with regards to range and purity of vocals.

What I will say on her behalf though is that her voice is very unique and this might sound contradictory to what I said about vocal talent but I like it a little bit  better than Rihanna or Celine Dion or (much more than) Britney Spear's voices.  I still prefer Christina Aguilera's voice and consider her range and vocal ability a bit better than Sia's.

What I will also say for Sia on her behalf is that as an all around musician I think she is among the best singer/writers in the business today.  I've also enjoyed the tunes she has produced for herself more than many of the most popular songs she has written or produced for others.

Sia's most recent hit song that she sings is called Chandelier

The song that originally made me take notice of Sia and appreciate her music is a tune that does not seem to get it's rightful place among her best songs in my opinion, and it's called Numb.

One of the most popular songs that Sia has written for another artist is the song Diamonds as performed by Rihanna.

If you had either no knowledge or a general knowledge of Sia Furler before, I hope that perhaps my discussion of her here might bring her and her music even more new fans.  She is obviously an extremely talented musician, song writer and performer who is getting some very deserved recognition and figures to play a big part in the future love of music for millions of music fans worldwide.