Anatomy of a Song Book Review + GIVEAWAY!

WIN A COPY OF Anatomy of a Song BELOW!

Whether it’s Taylor Swift’s “All to Well”, R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion”, or Led Zepplin’s “Whole Lotta Love”, every great song usually starts with one hell of a backstory.

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In Anatomy of a Song, based on the ongoing Wall Street Journal column, writer and music historian Marc Meyers brings five decades of music to life through his oral histories of 45 songs that have had some impact on rock, R&B, or pop culture. Writers, producers, musicians, and singers talk about the emotional meaning behind their songs, as well as the inspirations and techniques that helped every mistake, every nuance, every one-take recording all the more amazing.

When I first read Anatomy of a Song, it was a full sensory experience. After each chapter, I would take a break to pull up each song on YouTube and listen to it in its entirety. I’d listen for the little instrumental queues in “Shout” by the Isley Brothers…or the nods to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in “Proud Mary” by John Fogerty. Listening to these songs in order of release (they are in order of release in the book, also) really shows how musicians and singers are influenced and motivated by each other. I even put together a YouTube playlist with the songs in order for your listening pleasure!  For anyone with an appreciation for music and writing, this book is a fascinating read.

Check out my Anatomy of a Song playlist on YouTube to listen to all the songs featured in this book!

Filled with interviews by Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart, The Clash, Stevie Wonder, Keith Richards, Cyndi Lauper and many more, Anatomy of a Song is a love letter to the music that defined generations of listeners.

GIVEAWAY! 
Want the chance to read this book yourself? Well, you’re in luck because I happen to have a copy to give away to one lucky reader!  All you need to do is write a comment below with your favorite song growing up and what it meant to you.  I’ll pick a random winner from the comments on December 8th!  Good luck!

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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November 23, 2017 · 8:16 am

12 Unique DIY Advent Calendars

Whether you’re counting down the days to Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, a wedding or a baby being born, an Advent Calendar is a fun way to help the time go by!

These 12 Unique DIY Advent Calendars are great for families looking for a fun way to count down the days until Christmas.  Opening one little gift every day was one of my favorite family traditions, and I can’t wait to use some of these ideas with my family!

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12 Unique DIY Advent Calendars

Gather up some Christmas-colored baby socks for a Stocking Sock Calendar. Fill each sock with candies or small trinkets. This would also be a cute way to count down the days to a baby’s birth or gender reveal!

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This Punch Board Advent Calendar is great for kids! Fill each hole with candies or little toys to help them count down the days to Christmas, a birthday, or New Year’s.

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Not all advent calendars have to have gifts. This Printable Advent Chain encourages families to spend time together with different daily activities. Once you’re done with that day’s task, add it to the paper chain for a fun Christmas decoration filled with memories.

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Hang paper cups filled with goodies from the ceiling with this Paper Cup Advent Calendar.

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This Balloon Calendar is great for counting down the days or hours until New Year’s Eve!

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I love this Rustic Advent Calendar.  This doesn’t have a tutorial, but you could easily wrap small gifts and attach them to a strong branch for the same effect.

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Turn an over-the-door shoe storage container into a countdown calendar with this Woodland Inspired Advent Calendar.

Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer Advent Calendar

If you don’t have the room to display a full advent calendar, you can arrange your gifts in a bucket for a similar, adorable effect.

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Mini muffin pans are just begging to be advent calendars!  This Muffin Pan Advent Calendar is great for bakers.

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This book advent calendar is one of my favorites. Wrap 24 books and put them under the tree. Unwrap one a night and read it together as a family.

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This Ornament Advent Calendar gives you a cute decorated tree just in time for Christmas!

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If you’re a house of adults, this Pringles Advent Calendar is just the vessel to fill with mini alcohol bottles, beer bottles, or wine!

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Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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If I Loved You Less

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“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.”
Jane Austen

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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Coconut Curry Chicken

When I go out for Thai food, there are two buzzwords that usually draw me in to trying a new dish…coconut and curry.

While I’m not a huge fan of spicy food, there are times when I just need a hot bowl of curry in my life…and even better when it’s seasoned with creamy coconut milk.

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This amazing chicken recipe is the best of both worlds.  It has delicious curry flavor and a creamy coconut tomato sauce, and the heat can be adjusted to your liking.  The recipe as is has practically no heat from spices, but you can easily add Thai chilies or chili paste to up the heat of this curry dish.

Serve it with rice or a big ol’ slice of naan for a delicious meal that’s perfect for this cool pre-winter weather!

Coconut Curry Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 package chicken tenders (about 6-8 tenders should work)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 onion, chopped and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Instructions:

Cut chicken tenders into small bite-sized chunks.  Season with salt and pepper.  I also added a little curry powder to the chicken, just because I love it!

Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat.  Add oil and curry powder.  Heat curry oil for 1 minute.

Add chicken to oil, followed by onions.  Cook 7-10 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle and the juices run clear.  Add chopped garlic.  Cook an additional 1-2 minutes.

ENJOY THE SMELLS.  This dish smells AMAZING as it cooks.

Add the coconut milk, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar.  Stir to combine.  Turn the heat down to medium low and cover the pot.  Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes.

Serve as is or over a bowl of rice.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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25 Celebrities Reveal Their Favorite Books

A few weeks ago we looked at 24 Authors Who Shared Their Favorite Books…today we’re gonna continue the list and see what our favorite celebrities love to read when they have some rare time off.

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Looks like it’s time to rehash my Goodreads list now…

25 Celebrities Reveal Their Favorite Books

James Franco
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

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“My father gave me this book when I was getting into trouble in high school…I really love the interior lives of the characters and the multiple perspectives—they have inspired my own stories.”

Zoe Saldana
Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid

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Lucy…called out to me, to the kind of life I had and the kind of person I am.”

Katie Holmes
Washington Square by Henry James

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“I loved the setting and the way James writes about people.”

Jon Hamm
Arcadia by Tom Stoppard

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“Stoppard has an amazing command of the English language. He moves the plot along in such a way that if you’re not paying close attention, you won’t catch the five or six things that are going on.”

Bill Murray
A Story Like the Wind by Laurens Van Der Post

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Natalie Portman
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

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“It’s one of the most beautiful, entertaining, challenging books – something that takes all your attention. I think the stories are meditations on violence, specifically the necessity of violence.”

Michael Caine
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

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Michelle Obama
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

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“…that book helped me love reading…it grabbed me and pulled me and I just kept reading and kept reading.”

Robin Williams
Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov

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“It’s one of the greatest books of all time, and the greatest character is The Mule.”

Stephen King
Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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Dolly Parton
The Little Engine that Could, Watty Piper

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“I’m the little engine that did. I think it’s a great little inspirational book. It really kinda sums me up pretty good.”

Denzel Washington
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

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Emma Watson
The BFG by Roald Dahl

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“My dad read me The BFG when I was younger. I like books that aren’t just lovely but that have memories in themselves. Just like playing a song, picking up a book again that has memories can take you back to another place or another time.”

Tom Hanks
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

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Olivia Munn
Replay by Ken Grimwood

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“The takeaway for me was that no matter what life you’ve led or the choices you’ve made, there will always be great love and great sadness – you can’t escape those two things.”

Kate Winslet
Therese Raquin by Emile Zola

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Alec Baldwin
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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“In some important ways the characters that we have grown to love in this story are worse off at its end, but they are wiser, and the family still has each other. This is a great story about facing life’s difficulties and moving on, no matter what.”

Zooey Deschanel
A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace

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“It’s delightfully astute.”

George Clooney
War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy

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Will Smith
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

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“Coelho talks about the whole of the universe, and it’s contained in one grain of sand. For years I’ve been saying that, and not it’s really starting to expose itself to me.”

Jim Carrey
Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Rachel McAdams
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

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“[David Sedaris]…has a way of finding humor in the strangest and most painful moments…[his] books are such a revelation about how you can celebrate life’s strangeness and idiosyncrasies.”

Halle Berry
Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime by J. California Cooper

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“The stories in this collection follow common folk dealing with everyday issues. They’re good people who sometimes make evil choices, and you see them suffer as a result. While many of the stories start off dark and depressing, ultimately, they are incredibly inspirational.”

Emma Thompson
The Odyssey by Homer

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Daniel Radcliffe
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

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“It’s just the greatest explosion of imagination, craziness, satire, humor, and heart.”

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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25 Fun Facts about the Best Boy Bands

Let’s be honest, you still busta move every time “Bye Bye Bye” comes on your shuffle, right?

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Ahh, the 90’s shuffle…

The 90’s and 2000’s had the BEST in pop music, and our favorite boy bands helped pave the way to some of the best dance songs of all time!

Whether you loved JC, JT, or AJ, this list of 25 Fun Facts about the Best Boy Bands is sure to give you all the nostalgic feels!

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25 Fun Facts about the Best Boy Bands

NSYNC

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  1. NSYNC is an acronym using the last letter of each member’s first name: JustiN, ChriS, JoeY, JasoN, and JC.
  2. After failing to make the cut to join The Backstreet Boys, Chris Kirkpatrick came up with the idea for NSYNC and pitched it to Lou Pearlman, who launched NSYNC’s career.
  3. “It’s Gonna Be Me” is the only NYSNC single to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  4. Lance Bass dated Boy Meets World star Danielle Fishell from 1999-2000.
  5. Pearlman and his record company, Trans Continental, was sued by NSYNC in 1999 for defrauding them of millions of dollars.  The lawsuit, which settled out of court, got NSYNC out of their contract with Lou, allowing them to sign with Jive Records.  Lou is now serving 25 years in prison for running a Ponzi scheme.
  6. In 2000, their second album, No Strings Attached, sold a record-breaking 2.4 million copies within the first week of release.  The album ultimately sold 11.1 million copies (and counting!), and is the second-biggest selling album of the 2000’s, after The Beatles’ 1.

Backstreet Boys

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  1. Howie Dorough was the only member of The Backstreet Boys to study dance professionally.
  2. Kevin Richardson received the most fan mail of all The Backstreet Boys members.
  3. AJ McLean’s mom joined him every time he traveled on a concert tour.  She was the group’s tour publicist.
  4. Their first performance was in 1993 for 3,000 people at SeaWorld.  They were the opening act for Shamu the killer whale.
  5. McLean lived in the same building as Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Ryan Gosling (all members of The Mickey Mouse Club) in 1992.  While playing basketball with Gosling one day, McLean asked him if he wanted to join the band.  He actually expressed interest, but it obviously never happened.
  6. Nick Carter had a minor background role in the movie, Edward Scissorhands.  If you look closely during a shot of the neighborhood, you can spot Nick as one of the kids playing on a slip-and-slide.

New Kids on the Block

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  1. Joey McIntyre was only 12 years old when he joined New Kids on the Block!
  2. The New Kids on the Block rose to fame as an opening act for the pop star, Tiffany.  A year later, she was an opening act for New Kids!
  3. In 1991, the New Kids topped Forbes’ list of highest paid entertainers, beating out Madonna, Prince, and even Michael Jackson.
  4. Jonathan Knight left the group in 1994 not just because of his panic attacks and anxiety, but because he was exhausted from hiding his homosexuality from the rest of the group.
  5. Jennifer Lopez once a backup dancer for the group for their performance at the American Music Awards in 1991.

Boyz II Men

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  1. Boyz II Men formed at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts in Philadelphia.  The group would practice in the school’s bathrooms due to the excellent acoustics.
  2. In 1992, Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” set a record by staying at the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for 13 weeks straight.  The record was previously held by Elvis Presley.
  3. In 2012, the music industry rewarded Boyz II Men with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  4. Boyz II Men recently performed in a Geico insurance ad singing about the side effects of prescription medication with the tagline, “If you’re Boyz II Men, you make anything sound good.  It’s what you do.”

98 Degrees

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  1. The group 98 Degrees actually formed independently and was then later picked up by a record label, rather than being assembled by a label or producer.
  2. To get recognition while competing with groups like The Spice Girls, The Backstreet Boys, and NYSNC, 98 Degrees emphasized that they wrote their own music and played on the fact that they were signed to Motown, which gave them a little more credibility as far as R&B and soul music goes.
  3. The group also opened for Janet Jackson’s Velvet Rope Tour.
  4. 98 Degrees also appeared in the movie, Mulan, singing “True to Your Heart”.

 

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

 

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