Hello and happy late in the day Thursday! Today we are talking household favorites. I’ll let the boys go first.
Max and Dallas’ Favorites
Wild hair, neon dry erase markers and the big blue exercise ball. Oh, and doing their favorite chant which goes something like this, “Hop! Hop! Pickaliss!” I have no clue what it means, but when Dallas was Max’s age (21 months) he had his own favorite saying, “OH shauntee!” That was right before he invented his wrestling move, where he would put his diapered butt on your face and announce, “BOOJY!”
I was about to call this section, Mom’s Favorites, but I sometimes remember that I do have another identity. Lots of my volunteer duties for the year are slowly wrapping up, but I still have more than I probably should on my plate. I’ve had to let things slide a bit lately, because I am trying my best to no longer put myself last. It’s taking longer for our home to get clean, we aren’t going on as many field trips, I’m not blogging at night like I’d prefer and so on. However, I am also not eating scones for breakfast, pb&j for lunch, a small dinner and then lots of cereal before bed. I am taking the time to take care of myself and my energy level and jeans are thanking me for it.
The things I’m loving right now are:
- Flaxseed – I doubt details are needed here. But life is much better with a cooperating GI system
- Trader Joe’s chocolate protein powder
- my Kindle Fire – it’s totally life changing!
- Once Upon a Time – such a fun show
- The Cooking Channel – a modern, younger Food Network
While this should be a family favorite, I’ll add it here…DAMY’s Peanut Butter Hummus. I wasn’t so sure that we would enjoy this recipe, many of the homemade hummus trials of the past have led to dry, garlic laden, pasty dip. Not this dip. I have made this three times so far, each time because we ran out. The kids love it, I love it and even my meat loving husband loves it!
The Voice (Television)
Still feeling the Oscar hangover, Movie Fuel is going to jump the shark this week. Since its inception 11 seasons ago, I have always been a big closeted American Idol fan (and still am for the most part). Recently, however, my attention has turned to a new singing reality series. With less drama, better judges and a more fun format, The Voice has quickly replaced the stale Fox network overkill that was once the perennial favorite on our family television week in and week out. Why I like these shows, I am not quite sure, but there is something special about an average citizen like you and I shooting to superstardom basically overnight because of an opportunity to show off their singing talent.
Drama versus Singing
American Idol used to be about the music, but has gradually transgressed into yelling, fainting, obnoxious, poisonous prima donnas. The last straw this season, was when an entire show (two hours!) was dedicated to the squabbling that took place during “group week” with absolutely no singing that took place the entire episode? First of all, why do solo artists even have to have a group format? It always seemed ridiculous to me. I understand, part of the show is to do terrible Brady Bunch style group songs with bad dancing and horrid costumes, but when trying to find a star in the making, why waste the time? Well, luckily, The Voice doesn’t care if you can sing in a group as long as you can sing! The NBC hit starts with what are called “Blind Auditions”; the judges can only listen to the artist (without seeing them) and base their decision to move them on to the next round based on their voice only. And, while there is a story line for each contestant, it is quick and painless. The best part of the show is that all of the contestants have been prescreened and by the time we see them on our televisions, we already know they will be good singers, it is just a matter of how good! We can do without the William Hung’s and the costumed freaks who are sent in front of the judges just to be lambasted. While some people watch American Idol just for the train wrecks, it has gotten old after a decade.
Let’s face it, the judges on American Idol without Simon Cowell are just plain boring and lost. Two has-beens and one never-been, repeating the same judgments and recommendations about being “pitchy” or being “born with it” or being compared to past Idol contestants who we barely remember. Steven Tyler is like your crazy grandmother (literally), Randy Jackson keeps trying to be hip with his weird outfits and overuse of the word “dawg” (which was popular in the 90′s) and Jennifer Lopez still wants one of her entourage to pick out the green M&M’s from her candy dish (it’s not happening! You’re done!). With The Voice, you have four relevant music stars with positive feedback and informed recommendations based on what it has taken them to become top selling artists today. Cee Lo Green has had huge hits and is still going; from underground hip hop to mainstream pop, the Gnarls Barkley front man and “F*%$ You” balladeer, you can just tell, really knows and loves music (watch him lip synch every song that the contestants sing). Yes, the Dr. Evil cat is a little weird, but part of being a superstar requires being eccentric and Cee Lo is as close to a contemporary Elton John as our generation is going to get. Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine is the a-hole with a heart of gold (well maybe not so much). His past transgression and well known escapades as a womanizer and general miscreant is almost forgiven while watching his nice guy persona encourage the budding stars on stage. Of the four judges, he seems to know what he is talking about the most and has a natural confidence that makes you want to root for him and his team of singers. Country singer Blake Shelton is easily the funniest judge on the show and has the quickest wit. One of the best parts of watching the show is hearing him take digs at his fellow judges; Christina Aguillera’s ridiculous chest, Cee Lo’s height and jewelry, Adam’s pretty boy persona and so much more. The dynamic of having a country singer judge on a pop singing show only helps its credibility that much more. Then, there is Christina Aguillera. By far the most annoying and fake contestant (no pun intended), she reminds me of a louder, dumber, blonde Elvira. But her personality contrasts really well with the other judges, similar to Paula Abdul in the early Idol days. And, what’s not to like about the judges hugging each contestant picked as part of their team?
American Idol is about singing, but it is also about image (as they say, “that is what sells albums”). Because of this, there is a tendency to pick out the youngest and prettiest contestants on the show, not always the most vocally talented. With The Voice, especially during the blind auditions, image is nothing. The talent is prescreened for quality chops and regardless of age, sex, race, gender, etc. the best talent is chosen. The elimination rounds are fun too. Instead of group competitions filled with cat fights and people hitting the floor do to exhaustion, each contestant on The Voice goes head to head with one another and then are paired down from 48 to 24 and then go to the live show where America votes. There’s no triple elimination or situations where groups are piled into a conference room just to be made to wonder whether or not they made it and then tricked when the judges come into the room, etc. It’s a purer version of a reality singing contest.
The best part of The Voice is that it is only one once a week , Monday’s at 8pm. So check it out! You won’t be disappointed!