For #BostonStrong and All Runners Everywhere

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Food & Nutrition | 2 Comments

Today marks the running of the 2014 Boston Marathon.  Although I will never qualify for this race, I am part of the running community and I know that this will be an emotional race for all involved.  Last year my entire family came out to support the #BostonStrong movement and this year, I felt a short post would show my reverence for this great event so in the motivational words of The Alarm, I leave you all with this:   The Alarm, Rain In The Summertime, #BostonStrong   For an amazing story about my friend Gerard Pescatore (aka The Music of Running) and his amazing wife who is returning to Boston this year, you should read this.   For all runners everywhere.

Friday’s Featured Female – Karen Booth

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Friday's Featured Female | 2 Comments

Welcome to Friday’s Featured Female!

Friday's Featured Female, #FFF
This weekly series features inspirational stories from admirable women.  IMHO, it’s always good to be reminded of how strength, determination, hard work, heart and ingenuity can impact the quality of one’s life and I’m proud that these women will allow me to share their stories here.

 

Today I’m featuring author, parent, fellow 80′s diehard and Duranie extraordinaire, Karen Booth.  Karen and I have Duran Duran and Twitter for bringing us together.  I really am indebted to social media for expanding my circle of friends (is that cool or sad because many of them I’ve never even met IRL).  Even though Karen has gotten the chance to meet Duran Duran on more than one occasion, I still like her (very much in fact).

Karen Booth, John Taylor, Duran Duran

Yeah, that’s Karen and John Taylor.

 

Karen loves music and spent her twenties working her way up through the music industry but the story of how she found her true passion as an author is an inspirational one that she’s chosen to share here.  I have a ton of admiration for people who go against the grain but listen to their hearts so let me ask….

Soooo have you met Karen?

Karen Booth, Bring Me Back

 

I never like to focus on the negative, but the summer of 2008 was no fun. My son had major surgery, my kids were re-assigned to a new school, and our house was struck by lightning and burned almost completely to the ground. We lost everything. I also turned 40 that summer. (MB note:  Way to rub it in Mother Nature)

 

The fire was obviously the worst. It was an exhausting job to deal with insurance, oversee the rebuild, shop for an entire household of stuff, and keep my kids happy. I made myself the last priority. I put an at-home business on hold, something I’d worked on for 8 years. I stopped exercising, which was really stupid, as I certainly needed the stress-relief. I took care of the house business and the kids and my husband.

 

Luckily, we were back in our re-built house by February of 2009. Once we were settled, I thought about returning to my home business (I design and make handbags), but there was an idea in my head that wouldn’t go away, an idea for a book, the book that eventually became the novel ‘Bring Me Back’. Oddly enough, the biggest hurdle to writing it was getting past my preconceived notions of what I was capable of. Writing a novel seemed ridiculous. I’d never written a word of fiction in my life outside of school assignments, although I’d done a fair amount of non-fiction writing as an adult. Surely I couldn’t write a novel.

 

Amidst my “should I or shouldn’t I?” quandary, I read an article about turning 40. One of the quotes was: “Now that you’re 40, are you taking off or are you coming in for a landing?”

 

That hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn’t coming in for a landing. I didn’t even feel 40, whatever that feels like. So, I began to write. I had no clue what I was doing, but I just went with it. I didn’t sleep much. I wrote every chance I got. Some days, I would sit at my desk and write and cry my eyes out because I was so wrapped up in my story. It was complete catharsis.

 

I quickly discovered that sorting out a novel plot requires a lot of thinking. One thing that really helped was to keep my body occupied, so I started working out on the elliptical every day, eventually adding in weights and Zumba. It took me about six months to complete a draft of ‘Bring Me Back’. In that time, I lost 38 pounds, which made me 35 pounds lighter than I was when I got married.

 

One crucial part of my journey with ‘Bring Me Back’ was writing a heroine on the brink of 40 and to portray her as vibrant and active and sexy. There are so few books with romantic story lines that involve women over 30, certainly not women who have children or family to deal with. That bugged me. I had to fix that. Along the way, it helped to change the way I see myself.

Bring Me Back, Karen Booth

 

I gained so much from the entire experience—a new career as an author (my third full-length novel “Back Forever” comes out in May!), a new, stronger body, and I found something inside of me that I didn’t know was there. I suppose you could say it came out of the ashes.

MB Note: To connect with Karen, you can find her at the below social media outlets but I highly encourage you to avail yourself of a FREE download of “Claire’s Diary” the prequel to the very fun “Bring Me Back” and “Back Forever” (due in May).

 

Website: http://karenbooth.net

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenbbooth

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karenboothauthor

 

 Has a disaster ever helped you make a permanent and positive change in your life?

Lucky 7

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Wild Boy is 7 today – 1/3 of the way to the legal drinking age.Last year, my post about Wild Boy’s birthday was about being 1/3 of the way to being a legal adult so I guess that it’s fitting that this year, I bring drinking into the equation.

This year that I felt the need to drink a little bit more as a parent.  If Wild Boy at 6 years old is any indication of what he’s going to be like as a teenager, I’m in a lot of trouble.  But until that time, I’ll just remember that the days are long but the years are so very short and remember some of the highlights from this year:

Birthday, 7th birthday

  • You are a green belt in Martial Arts and are determined to get to blue before the end of the year.
  • You and your best buddy in class won the Jog-A-Thon for the 1st grade (you did the equivalent of a 10K in an hour – which is faster than I run for sure).
  • The important toys went from Lego to Power Rangers to Ddjaki, Pokemon and Rainbow Loom right now.
  • Kale and broccoli are now foods you enjoy eating (thumbs up for this RD mom) and ice cream is something you don’t like so much.
  • You’re getting exposed to Jewish education twice a month (you’re already ahead of me in this department, kid).
  • Sports became a big deal this year – we even got a wall decal with your name on it and all the sports you like.  Basketball, handball, tetherball and soccer seem to be your favorites.  This is the year that baseball became boring.  We’ll see if you sign up for Little League next year.
  • Skateboarding now has priority over bike riding and the scooter, that’s so 5 years old.
  • You got a chance to stay up late, eat at Bottega restaurant’s private room and be a part of an adult evening.
  • We all got the chance to discover why Californians love camping at Pismo Beach
  • You got the chance to spend some time in the summer and at Thanksgiving in NY and say goodbye to our Brooklyn apartment.
  • According to you, shirts are now optional at home and friend’s houses.
  • Your current favorite song is “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons and you sing it all of the time.
  • Math is still your favorite subject.  You’re doing well but you’ve been told by your teacher that you need to slow down (and “swalllow your comments” in class)
  • Curse words were finally introduced.  I couldn’t help but laugh when you thought “shick” was a curse word.  You laughed when I told you what the true word meant.
  • You’ve instituted a nightly hug time, rarely sleep with Moo anymore (although he’s always on your nightstand) and have started shooing Jay and me away when we drop you off at school.
  • You told your first very big lie and got into a lot of trouble for it.  I’m not sure how deep the long term consequences will go but you’re learning what it’s like to grow up a little bit.
babydickey.com

babydickey.com – Can I laugh at the name of the site?

I love you my energetic, passionate, sweet, smart, handsome and overly delicious child and although I’d like to keep you small forever, I’m thrilled to be your parent.

 

Tunes For Tuesday – Social Distortion

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Welcome to Tunes For Tuesday!

Music, Tunes For Tuesday

Image: Daisy

 

The tune for today is honor of Wild Boy’s birthday tomorrow.  WB’s favorite song is “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash.  He sings it all the time and even got his preschool music teacher to sing it during weekly sessions at school (he still plays it even though WB is long gone from the school).

Although the original version by the Man In Black is classic and wonderful, I happen to love this version by Social Distortion.  Mike Ness has a vocal quality that I think is the epitome of rock and roll.  I have quite a few Social D songs in my regular running playlist.  If you haven’t heard this version, you should and if you have already, you know you need to hear it again.

Play it loud and enjoy!

 

 

Cover or original?  You choose.

8 Things About the 80′s New Wave Music book “Mad World”

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Duran Duran, Music | 4 Comments

As a long-time devoted fan of Duran Duran, I’ve often been dismissed as being stuck in the 80′s.  I understand that not everyone was raised on New Wave radio in both Los Angeles (KROQ) and New York (WLIR/WDRE) and chose to spend a large percentage of their high school days either waiting on line (that’s outside on a line for you youngsters, not on a computer) for concert tickets or to get into a venue to see a show.  Lori Majewski (formerly of Us Weekly, Entertainment Weekly and Teen People), might understand though because she and her co-author Jonathan Bernstein (contributor to Spin, Rolling Stone, the Face) are about to release the book, Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980′s  (released April 15, 2014).

Given my very loud social media passion for all things 80′s and Duran Duran, I became connected with Lori and was thrilled to be sent an advance copy of this book to review.  This fun and informative book gives amazing insight into the New Wave artists from the 1980′s straight from the artists themselves.  I was absolutely floored by the amount of knowledge I learned –   I used to pride myself on having a decent 80′s New Wave music trivia base but this book put me to shame.

Mad World Book, New Wave, 80's music

Mad World: Adam Ant, Morrissey and Duran Duran on the cover? Sold!

I don’t want to give it all away but here are 8 Things About the 80′s New Wave Music Book “Mad World” here:

 

1.   This is NOT a “look at but don’t read” coffee table book:

You’ll definitely want to read this book.  It’s paperback, smaller than you’d expect (7.9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches) and is accented by bright colors and photos.  There’s a unique format to this oral history book  - there are short chapters based on 36 songs/artists.  Each chapter begins with an introductory paragraph about the artist/song, followed by commentary by the authors and then insight from the artists themselves.  You’ll also find a “Then and Now” recap about the artist and enclosed within each chapter there is a “mixtape” – a list of songs by other artists that related to the chapter/theme discussed.

 

cassette player

Image: Alan Klim

 

2.  4 Major Musical Influences:

Nearly every single artist interviewed in the book either had something to say about or was influenced by David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Nile Rodgers and Disco.  Three of my favorite mentions were when Howard Jones stated that he liked David Bowie but that his lyrics were meaningless, how INXS tried to “throw off” Duran Duran from working with Nile Rodgers after John Taylor showed interest and that Tom Bailey (Thompson Twins) and Nile Rodgers played Scrabble after Live Aid (instead of partying).

David Bowie

Image: dwhartwig

 

3.  Dazzling Brilliance:

Discovering that the musical artists that I looked up to as a teenager are now educated adults didn’t take the shine off the apple. Many of these artists left art school or never went to college at all but the words, observations, comparisons, quotes and references used were mind blowing. The Foreward of the book written by Nick Rhodes was unbelievably eloquent (and I don’t just say that because he’s in Duran Duran, read it and you’ll understand). A few other stand-outs included:  how Devo contrived to make “Whip It” as version of Chinese propaganda, Adam Ant’s intrigue with the Native American culture, that Spandau Ballet described their band as a blend of Iggy Pop and Edith Piaf and the vast musical knowledge and calculated development as the band as a brand by Martin Fry (ABC) was extraordinary.

 

4.  Big hair = big ego:  

Big hair was a hallmark of the 80′s but wow, it seems that the guys with the biggest hair certainly had (or still have) the ego to match.  Mike Score (Flock of Seagulls) said one of his songs sounds as good as a song by the Beatles, Ian McCulloch (Echo and The Bunnymen) thinks of one his songs is the greatest song ever written and all I can say about Limahl (Kajagoogoo) is that I have a feeling I know why the rest of his own band gave him the heave-ho back in the day.

 

5.  Juicy Tidbits:  

Spoiler Alert

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT - I won’t give them all away (because there are many) but here are a few things that floored me to learn (if you’re looking for Duran Duran info go to #6):

  • The rift between Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook of New Order often was taken out via bass presence while recording/mixing their songs.
  • Spandau Ballet was a Nazi guard term about the twitches from Jewish hangings in Spandau prison in Germany. The band did NOT know the significance until after they reached a modicum of fame though.
  • Thomas Dolby is responsible for the synthesizer sound on Foreigner’s “Urgent”, co-wrote Lena Lovich’s “New Toy” and writes his song titles first and lyrics after.
  • Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke only got to know each other on their 2008 reunion tour.  They were not friends during Yaz.
  • Terri Nunn (Berlin) and DJ Richard Blade (KROQ and Sirius Radio) were nearly married.
  • Mike Score (Flock of Seagulls) used 1 can of Aquanet every night on his space-age hairstyle.
  • A-ha called the early version of “Take On Me” “The Juicyfruit Song” because they thought it sounded commercial.
  • Johnny Marr (The Smiths) writes songs in batches of 3 and wrote “William, It Was Really Nothing”, “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” and “How Soon Is Now” over 3 day period.
  • Midge Ure (Ultravox) got the inspiration for “Vienna” after a friend’s mondegreen with the song “Rhiannon”.  Ure had never even been to Vienna when he wrote the song.
  • Daryl Hall was brought in to sing on the chorus of “Original Sin” by INXS by Nile Rodgers (this one was a huge shock to me)

 

6. Everyone had something to say about Duran Duran…including Duran Duran.

Duran Duran, Mad World Book

 

Duran Duran were mentioned by nearly every single artist in this book including ABC, Flock Of Seagulls, Soft Cell, The Smiths, Tears For Fears and INXS.  Not only did Duran Duran have their own chapter but many quotes from Simon, John and Nick were included in other chapters.  For example, I knew that Simon Le Bon and Michael Hutchence were friends but it was especially interesting to read the words that Simon said about how and why they were friends felt very intimate.

A few Duran tidbits:

  • Simon takes you through what “Girls On Film” means and talks about his musical influences.
  • John Taylor said he thought that 3 tracks that represented the best of the first few years of the band would be “Rio”, “The Chauffeur” and the “Girls On Film” 12 inch.
  • The video for “Girls On Film” was shot in one day.
  • Simon reveals his penchant for dark haired women (woo hoo!) and his pride at seeing his wife own “Girls On Film” when she walks the runway.
  • Hearing Simon and Sting singing together during “Do They Know It’s Christmas” made Nick Rhodes ask Sting to sing on the Arcadia album.

 

7.  Is There Something I Should Know?:

Yes, I snuck in another Duran Duran reference but because this book is so chock-full of information and so entertaining that a few things begged the question that could be best asked in the words above:

  • How did all of the songs included make the 36 song cut?  I know you can’t please everyone but with the limited space available and large amount of impactful New Wave artists, I’m unconvinced that either The Waitresses or Animotion needed to be included when so many others were left out (see #8)
  • Why was XTC was considered a “band of weirdos” in the mixtape section?  Apart from Andy Partridge’s stage fright, the term didn’t seem to apply (IMHO).
  • Who decided on the font size and type?  With an audience that’s likely over 35 (or 44 like me), the font size was sometimes very small (quotes and Mixtape sections) and difficult to read at times (white type on a dark background was striking but not easy on the eyes – even with my glasses).

 

8. Mad World Book 2 Recommendations:  

Mad World, 80's music, New Wave

There’s no doubt (no musical pun intended) that there were artists that could (or should) have been included in this book.  In the hopes that that there will be a follow up book, I’m offering my suggestions for the following artists to be included in  Mad World Book 2:

  • U2/”With Or Without You”: While the song isn’t my favorite on the album, there’s no deny the longevity of this band and the album The Joshua Tree was a seminal album of the 1980′s.
  • The Alarm/”68 Guns”: I’m definitely biased here but this passionate Welsh band had a place in New Wave music.  They opened for U2 and The Police during the 80′s and they still have a cult following.  Mike Peters, a 2 time cancer survivor, not only still tours extensively and he is one of the co-founders of the cancer charity Love Hope Strength.
  • The Cure/”Just Like Heaven”: A super happy song by a band who were “emo”  before emo was emo.
  • Culture Club/”Karma Chameleon” certainly was an anthem in the 80′s, Boy George caused plenty of controversy with his appearance and from what I’ve heard, there was definitely intriguing behind the scenes drama within the band.
  • Pet Shop Boys/“West End Girls” From “Smash Hits” to electronic duo of iconic status.  When an actor on UK’s “Doctor Who” takes his stage name from Neil Tennant, it’s safe to say an impression’s been made.
  • Frankie Goes To Hollywood/”Relax”:  Who didn’t own a “Frankie Says Relax” t-shirt?
  • Paul Young/”Everytime You Go Away” or “Come Back and Stay”:  The man was the main voice in “Do They Know It’s Christmas”.  This blue-eyed soul singer captured quite a lot of the US New Wave audience.
  • More Brits: The English Beat, Wham!, Squeeze, China Crisis, Big Country, Nik Kershaw, Joe Jackson, Kirsty MacColl, Billy Idol and XTC (among others)
  • American Invasion: Oingo Boingo, The Go-Go’s, Wall of Voodoo, The Tubes, R.E.M. and The B-52′s (to name a few).

 

 

Overall, I really liked this book.  Much like the MTV VJ book, Mad World gives you behind the scenes insight into the life an times of the era and the artists but this time, it’s from the artists themselves.  Mad World was also a fun, informative and compelling read.  I loved the what I considered the “banter” between Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein at the beginning of each chapter.  Mad World made me laugh at loud and surprised me many times.  I’m looking forward to seeing if my suggestion for Mad World 2 will come to be.

Bottom line, Mad World is a unique book that allows a fan to gain deeper insight into how an artist channels their own environment and experiences into every aspect of how they create music.

For more information about Mad World (including book tour stops and a fabulous blog), connect here:

Website: www.madworldbook.com

Facebook: MadWorldTheBook

Twitter: @madworldbook

Disclaimer:  I did receive a complimentary copy of the book to review but all opinions are clearly my own.  There is an affiliate link within the the post.  If you buy Mad World through my affiliate link, you may add a few pennies to my Duran Duran next tour fund and I thank you in advance.

 

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