Category Archives: Reviews

Christmas Movie Reviews

Christmas Movie Challenge


I am a bit behind have been keeping up with my Christmas Movie watching! Here are my reviews from Week One:

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

All time favorite Christmas Movie

I love it. I love the Claymation, the Bumble, the dogs that jump on Yukon Cornelius sleigh, Burl Ives singing.

I’ve noticed this for quite a few years. Santa and Donner are DICKS to Rudolph.

Charlie Brown Christmas

All time favorite Christmas Movie

Another special I love love love. It’s funny, even in 1964, the commercialization of Christmas was an issue. But Linus always slays with his monologue:

Christmas Vacation

Christmas Vacation Movie Review

This movie was okay. Meh. A very young Juliette Lewis playing the daughter. I realize my husband drives like Clark Griswold! It was okay. I was wrapping a few presents, it was something different to view besides Property Brothers.  Watch it again? Probably not.

The Santa Clause


This movie was pretty cute. I watched most of it while putting up my Christmas tree, so it helped both activities-decorating the tree and getting a bit into the holiday spirit. Would I watch it again? Probably not.

On to Week Two!

Holiday Comfort Zone Challenge: Christmas Movies

Christmas Movie Challenge

I’ve been stuck in a rut with Christmas movies.  This means I  have not watched a new Christmas movie since “Home Alone” and “Die Hard”aka 40 years ago. I’ve never fully watched “Elf”, “A Christmas Story.” Or even National Lampoon’s “Holiday Vacation”.

Why Bah Humbug

Working retail, I kind of hate the Christmas season. It’s shoved down our  throats from Halloween on. If you only visit stores, your exposure is rather small. But spending ten hours in a store? You become rather immune, then rather allergic to the whole concept. You can’t wait for all the noise, all the fan fare, to just GO AWAY.


Christmas Movies

My Holiday Challenge is “to watch a holiday movie or “special” that I haven’t seen, every day, until Christmas.” The impetus came from a flyer I picked up shopping at Kohls, which advertised a different holiday movie every day. I don’t plan on blogging on each one; maybe just a weekly recap, on what I watched, on what I thought, and my rating on the candy cane enjoyment factor.


So, on Dancer! “On, Donner! On, Blitzen! On, Chewy! On, Tavo! C’mon, Becto” **

**Probably need to be old to understand this…

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone-Buy Wine at Aldi

Step Out of your Comfort Zone

I heard there was an award winning bottle of wine available at our local Aldi grocery store. (Or, here in Ohio, it’s always called * Aldis*.  It’s a Buckeye thing.)


Shopping at Aldi

We’ve shopped at Aldi since they popped up here in Ohio. They used to be more of a bulk food type store. The food items were left on pallets. You brought your own bags-or bought them at the store. There were very good prices on most food items.


Aldi Remodel

It seems most Aldi stores were remodeled in the last few years, and the concept of the store has changed a bit. Prices are higher. Items are placed on shelves now.  There is more environmental friendly lighting and organic products available. I’ve read the company is starting to copy the Whole Foods 365 model.

Wine at Aldi

Some Aldi stores carry wine. We’ve tried a few bottles from the store-why resist a 4.99 bottle of wine? What do you have to lose?

Aldi Rose

The Award Winning Wine

The  Cotes de Provence 2016 Rose earned a silver medal at the International Wine Challenge. The rose is a blend of syrah, grenache, and cinsault grapes.



It was good. Light, with a bit of a strawberry flavor, but not sweet. Yes it as probably the best 7.99 Rose I’ve had. I did not do a blind taste test like this article did, and they concluded they couldn’t taste the difference. So why not take a chance on eight bucks and buy a bottle? But buy it now, this was a special purchase~and drink it today, rose wine is not meant to be cellared!

Aldi Rose Wine



Favorite Podcasts 2017 Edition

Favorite Podcasts 2017 Edition

It is September 30, which is International Podcast Day.  It is time to share my new favorite podcasts for 2017.Podcast Day

Some of my listening has shifted due to changes in my life. I’m no longer running but still striving to keep a active outside lifestyle.

Pedalshift  A bi-monthly podcast by Tim Mooney, it is focused on bike touring. I have picked up many tips listening to the podcasts. It helped that Tim is based in the DC area and is quite knowledgeble about both the C&O Towpath Trail and the Great Allegheny Passage Trail.

Outside In A Show About the  natural world and how we use it. Highly produced by New Hampshire Public Radio. I really enjoyed “Always Wear Earth Tones” about a man who lived outside for nearly two decades before he was found out.

Science Vs Presented by Gimlet Media, Science Vs takes on fads, trends, and the opinionated mob to find out what’s fact, what’s not, and what’s somewhere in between.  Sometimes it’s fun to just have a random podcast about whether nuclear energy is safe, or whether lemmings actually commit suicide-Science Vs will find out and present the facts.

The Intelligent Racer Podcast I didn’t know about this podcast until they interviewed Gary Robbins and John Kelly of The Barkley Marathons. They get all sorts of people on their podcast, including Ryan Sandes who won Western States in 2017, and Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman.

XX Will Travel  Another “new to me” podcast I stumbled across.  A podcast for independent women travelers, many assorted shows on different subjects, reviews of cities and countries,

Women on the Road-somewhat of a spin off of the She Explores Podcast, interviews with women who are living on the road, usually in a van set up.

Wild Ideas Worth Living informative podcast interviews about people who have set big goals for themselves and achieved them,  usually in some manner about the natural world and adventure.

Any new and noteworthy podcasts for me to take a listen to?



Happy Birthday Alexander Hamilton!

There’s a million things he hasn’t done-but it’s another birthday! Of course he’s a Capricorn!

(I have a few affiliate links to Amazon. If you click through and buy, I get a few pennies. 🙂 )

Alexander Hamilton Podcasts

Alexander Hamilton is probably THE favorite most popular Founding Father of the day. If you don’t know much about Hamilton-the guy on the ten dollar bill-Ron Chernow has written a great biography about him.

He was our first Treasury Secretary.  That sounds really boring. He set up the way our country functions 240 years ago that we still use today. He invented the Coast Guard.

Lin-Manuel Miranda read Chernow’s biography and wrote, produced, and starred in the Broadway hit: Hamilton An American Musical.

Yes, you can take the life of a Founding Father and turn it into a charming awesome production about an orphan immigrant who makes good-then is murdered in a duel by the Vice President of the United States.


There are four  podcasts about Hamilton and Hamilton An American Musical:

Pod4Ham: Pod4Ham is a podcast that’s all about the musical “Hamilton,” taking it one track at a time. Every episode will features different groups of people talking about a single track from the Original Broadway Cast Recording.  Yes, you can spend thirty or forty minutes talking about one song!

The Hamilcast: I call this the FanGirl Podcast, meant in a very positive funny fashion. From their website: “In this American podcast about an American musical about a bastard orphan, we (your hosts Gillian Pensavalle and Bianca Soto) talk all things Hamilton including how it brings people together, how we find Ham references in everyday life, and the general brilliance of the show.”  

The Room Where It’s Happening This podcast also takes each song from the Original Broadway Cast Recording (don’t call it a soundtrack: it’s not) and discusses it.  Travon Free and Mike Drucker  host this with special super-fan actors, musicians, writers, and comedians,

Hamilton The Podcast on Graphomania

This also is a nice podcast on the musical.  Join Robbie Hurlocker and Vinton Bayne as they discuss Hamilton, a hip hop musical based on the life and times of the first treasury secretary of America. I really enjoy how the hosts are knowledgeable about hip-hop and rap, two music genres I don’t know anything about.


More Hamilton and American Revolution History Podcasts

Stuff You Missed in History Class

Tracy Wilson and Holly Fray have several episodes that if you are interested in the Hamilton era:

Hercules Mulligan  5/9/16 and 5/11/16 Podcasts

The Reynolds Pamphlet Live 11/2/16

You need to check out their listings, it’s extensive and interesting!

The Junto Cast is a podcast with a more scholarly approach, produced monthly.  Each episode features a roundtable discussion by academic historians, Ken Owen, Michael Hattem, Roy Rogers, and guest panelists, exploring a single aspect of early American history in depth.

Several Hamilton episodes:

The Election of 1800  11/5/16

Alexander Hamilton 10/15/2015 and 11/2/2015

Founder in Early American 1/28/15

The Early American Presidents 2/27/2014

Did I miss any Hamilton podcasts or episodes on another show? Please let me know, I would love to listen!

Review: Mamma Chia Energy Drink

Review: Mamma Chia Energy Drink

I was given some samples of Mamma Chia Energy Drink, and here is my review of them: Mamma Chia Energy Drinks


Drink One-I drank this one during my 50K at URINEO.  The taste was good.  BUT just so you know, if you are not familiar with the gelatinous nature of chia seeds it might be a turn off.  I drank this in the middle of the ultra, hoping to not have any untoward gi side effects. It did not!

Drink Two: I took the grape flavor to work,

Grape Mamma Chia Energy Drink

Grape Mamma Chia Energy Drink

and drank it about hour eight into my ten hour shift. I was going running after work.  Running right after work is my hardest time to work out-I’m usually tired from work, the late afternoon is my low spot of energy.

So I sampled my grape drink. Wow, it was tasty! A nice grape flavor, and the gelatinous matter of the drink did not bother me so much. I felt pretty good getting out of work to get my run on! As the website says “A super-healthy way to start the day as well as the perfect afternoon pick-me-up!”

Mamma Chia Energy drink has natural caffeine from guayusa. Guayusa is found in the leaves of the holly berry tree native to the Amazon rain forest of Ecuador.  As I drank it, I did feel a bit refreshed and more perky! The drink went down easily and I felt refreshed, with a bit more energy than I would have gotten from a Diet Coke. Mama Chia energy drink also has:

  • More than an entire day’s worth of Omega-3s (2500 mg)
  • 25 percent of one’s daily fiber (6 grams)
  • 4 grams of complete protein
  • 90 mg of natural caffeine (about as much in an 8 oz. cup of coffee)
  • Twice the antioxidants of a cup of green tea
  • Calcium, powerful antioxidants and valuable minerals
  • 120 calories

I drank the raspberry Clean Energy the next day, also before a run, and enjoyed the little perk of energy I got from the beverage.

Having another run to complete on New Years Eve Day, I drank my remaining drink before my 13 mile run. I didn’t really notice the same “pick me up” that I got drinking the beverage at work versus just before a run, but I still enjoyed the beverage.

Retailing for $2.99, the Clean Energy organic beverages are available in four flavors and will be available at select retailers, including Whole Foods, Safeway and Target, starting in January.

Verdict: I enjoyed the taste of the Clean Energy Drink. My only con with the product that it has to be refrigerated, as I wouldn’t mind taking these on an ultra. But if I came across these in the grocery store, I would buy one or two for a mid-afternoon pick me up!

Mamma Chia provided the Clean Energy drinks for my review. My thoughts on the product are my own opinion.