Cover Lover

Cover Lover

There are songs we love, there are songs we don’t discover until another band performs a cover version of it, and then there are the songs that have cover versions so good, I dare say they are better than the originals. That’s what I’m talking about today.
 

First up:

 
“Sound of Silence” – The Simon & Garfunkel original is iconic. BUT metal band Disturbed recently released their version of it, and I absolutely love the orchestration and the way lead singer David Draiman seems to growl some of the lyrics.

 

 
One of my favorite hard rock bands, Halestorm, absolutely rocks their cover of hard rock/heavy metal icon Dio’s “Straight Through the Heart”.

 
And, one of my favorite Dio songs, “Rainbow in the Dark”, also has a great cover version, courtesy of Corey Taylor (of Slipknot and Stone Sour).

 
For my Philly peeps, I give you “No Easy Way Out.” Robert Tepper’s song is on the soundtrack to Rocky IV, but heavy metal band Bullet for My Valentine’s version is a head-banging good time. 

 
And, you guys! I’ve saved THE BEST for last! Our very own Xio Axelrod is an amazing singer. And her take on Coldplay’s “Yellow” will leave you feeling all shades of happy. I love her voice! Check her out: 

 
I could go on and on… but I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts, and if there are any cover versions you love, feel free to add them in the comments!
 
Heading back into my playlist,
Susan-Sig
The Best Medicine

The Best Medicine

Lifeis better
In honor of National Humor Month, we’re talking laughter.
smile
 
So. True. 
And it really is the best medicine:
 
bubbles
 
Laughter releases bunches of feel-good hormones. Research finds that humor can help you cope better with pain, enhance your immune system, reduce stress, even help you live longer. So you should, you know, do it a lot. 😀 
 
And how’s this for an “aww” moment:
makeherfall
 
I’m lucky that I’m married to a man with a wonderful sense of humor who makes me laugh every single day. But the best feeling is when I make him laugh. 
In books, movies, and real life, I always fall for the funny guy. And in friendships, I’m lucky to have several shades of humor in several different people.
wasted
 
Which leads me to one more quote:
favthings
 
So there you have it. Celebrate the folks who bring laughter into your life. 
 
And if you need more laughs, check out National Humor Month’s official website: http://www.humormonth.com/
 
 
Wishing you a day filled with belly laughs and giggles,
Susan-Sig
Go-to Tunes

Go-to Tunes

Go-to Tunes

We all have playlists — for working out, primping for a night out, relaxation, driving, etc. But do any of your songs cross over? 
Here’s a song that pulls double duty for me: “Eye of the Tiger”.
I’ve seen the Rocky movies countless times over the years. Maybe there’s an extra affinity because he’s from Philly and he’s Italian…I don’t know…but I like them.
This song works not only for working out (it’s on my running and kickboxing playlists), but it’s also background music when I’m writing or editing against a deadline. If Rocky can run through South Philly and up the Art Museum steps (if you come to Philly, you HAVE to run up those steps!), and can train like crazy in all sorts of weather, then I certainly can bust through whatever task is at hand and pound it into submission. 😀
 
For your viewing pleasure, here’s Jensen Ackles from Supernatural lip-syncing the lyrics. Enjoy 😉

And one full of Rocky highlights:

What are some of your go-to tunes?
Susan-Sig
Christmastime in the City

Christmastime in the City

I love my hometown, especially during the holiday season. Welcome to Philadelphia. I’m taking you on a tour of not-to-be-missed local traditions.
First up, the Macy’s Christmas Light Show.
The Christmas Light Show and Wanamaker Organ Concert at Macy’s is a Philadelphia holiday tradition that dates back more than half a century. The store, in Center City (downtown Philly) — housed in the historic Wanamaker Building — in the Grand Court atrium. You can do your shopping and when your spirits sag, stop and watch snowflakes, ballerinas, snowmen, and angels light up the screen along with the giant Christmas Tree. The finale of the four-story-high light show is accompanied by festive music from the Wanamaker Grand Organ. We visited the light show every year when I was growing up.
Up next, for the history buffs, we have Deck the Alley — Elfreth’s Alley
America’s oldest street, Elfreth’s Alley, decks the halls for the holiday season. Residents of the historic street open their homes to the public on December 5 as carolers and colonial reenactors create a festive mood. It’s a cool place to visit at any time of year, but especially when it’s all dressed up for the holidays.
Food-wise, Philly has more to offer than just cheesesteaks. So let’s go to Reading Terminal Market.
The Reading Terminal Market, at 12th and Arch Streets, (established in 1892) is the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ market. Cool, no? Here, you can find virtually every type of cuisine, (yes, even those cheesesteaks). During the holiday season, the market sets up a very cool holiday railroad. It has fourteen working train lines and miniature scenery of Center City and the countryside, surrounding almost one-third of a mile of track.
Let’s get physical! I’m talking ice skating, of course.  I have two awesome locations for you:
                       
The first is the Blue Cross RiverRink, an Olympic-size skating rink overlooking the Delaware River. During Winterfest, they also have a ski chalet-style lodge and winter garden, a heated tent, holiday trees, and fire pits. 
 
Option two is in the heart of the city at the ice rink at Dilworth Park, right next to City Hall. You’ll skate under great views of the city skyline.
If you’ll be in the city through New Year’s, then a tradition that’s a MUST is the Mummer’s parade on New Year’s Day. 
The Mummers Parade dates back to 1901. Men, women and children dressed in colorful, lavish costumes dance, perform, and strut down the one of biggest streets in the city. Mummers belong to more than 40 organized clubs. The clubs split into five divisions: the Comics and Wench Brigades satirize issues; the Fancies wear glamorous outfits; the String Bands play banjoes, saxophones, percussion and other reed and string instruments; and the Fancy Brigades are known for fantastic choreographed performances. The clubs are in it to win it – local bragging rights.
 
You have to see it to truly appreciate and understand: 

This is only a sampling of all the city has to offer for the holidays. Come for a visit!

Happy Holidays,
Susan-Sig
Food For Thanks

Food For Thanks

Thanksgiving is next week. And I’m doubly lucky because 1.) I don’t have to cook and 2.) I get to see my amazing family.

Even though I’m not cooking, I can’t show up empty-handed (credit goes to my Italian blood). But with other family members covering the traditional dishes, what’s a girl to do?

Add an element of fun, of course 🙂

And that leads us to Edible Centerpieces!

How cute are they? The best part is they are easy to make so you won’t spend a ton of time in the kitchen. The possibilities are endless. Add in whatever ingredients you like, in whatever order you like. Use your imagination and let your creativity fly!

Dressing up the table AND filling up people’s bellies, your creation pulls double duty. *high five*

So, which one should I make?

 

Happy Thanksgiving,

Susan-Sig

To Costume Or Not To Costume? That Is The Question OR Halloween: It’s Not Just For Kids

To Costume Or Not To Costume? That Is The Question OR Halloween: It’s Not Just For Kids

So, my better half and I were invited to a Halloween party this year. A costume party. I have to admit, the idea of going somewhere as a matched pair that’s not our usual selves is a pretty fun idea. We could be Snow White and Price Charming, Superman and Wonder Woman, Hulk and She-Hulk (green body paint would be fun!). The possibilities are endless. (Really. Endless. Search “Halloween costumes for adults” on Google. I’ll wait…) 
But costume party aside, I have several friends who work in corporate offices and they are allowed to come into the office in costume on Halloween. This is cool. This also never happened during my brief stint in the corporate world, but I’m all for it. I have other friends who wear costumes when they take their kids trick-or-treating or hand out candy, and friends who dress up their pets for the day. (If I had a pet, I’d SO do this too).
If you feel silly dressing up, remember this: People have been doing it for centuries. An early reference to wearing costumes at Halloween comes from Scotland (My ancestors rock!) in 1585. There are many references to the custom during the 18th and 19th centuries in Scotland, Ireland, Mann and Wales. It has been suggested that the custom comes from the Celtic festivals of Samhain and Calan Gaeaf. Halloween costumes were traditionally based on frightening supernatural or folkloric beings, but by the 1930’s costumes based on characters in mass media such as film, literature, and radio were popular. You can literally be anything you want to be.
 
I don’t think you’re ever too old to take part. And I don’t think you should take yourself or life too seriously, so if you have the chance to be Ironman or a fairy or a football player or a minion, or heck, a deck of cards for the day, why not take it?
 
So, are you dressing up? If so, what as?
 
Now I’m off to find a costume for my inner She-Hulk 🙂
Susan-Sig

 

Fresh New Start

Fresh New Start

It’s back to school time. The start of a fresh new school year. I don’t have kids, but as a writer, I appreciate the sales on writing supplies.
I stocked up on post-it notes, a couple of notebooks, and a box of “Xtra Fun” pencils (extra fun because they are multiple colors). We have tons of pens (collected from fellow writers and writing conventions) in the apartment, but had only one pencil – a golf one left over from a game of mini-golf a few years ago.
 
Some people use this time of year as a sort of New Years. They may start a diet or new exercise plan, or some other “big change”. They’re back from vacation, ready to get back into the grid. It’s the perfect time to implement a new routine.
The return of September also means the return of football. I’m super excited! Any given Sunday, your team has the chance to win. I have high hopes for a lot of teams, and players (and am personally vested several in thanks to fantasy football). 
Cue up Autumn Thunder and give me some Gridiron Greats. 

 
The weather is turning cooler, the air more crisp. Soon, leaves will fall, and we’ll swap shorts and tees for jeans and sweaters. After the heat of Summer, the first stirrings of Autumn are very refreshing. 
 
And…a discussion about September wouldn’t be complete without mentioning…pumpkin spice lattes.
They’re ba-ack! But I personally feel these should wait until October before making their appearance. 🙂
What are you most excited about this time of year?
Susan-Sig

 

Salad Days

Salad Days

It’s Summer. It’s hot. No one wants to turn on their oven. Plus, you’ve worked hard (or played hard) all day. You don’t want to spend an hour prepping and then cooking a meal. And so, *drum roll, please* I present to you my go-to Summer meal… (frankly, it’s my go-to every-season meal)…
 
The Salad.
 
And not just any salad. No. It’s special. It’s “tropical. And that means: your taste buds are about to go on vacation.
Tropical Spinach Salad
Recipe credit: Cathy at Lemon Tree Dwelling
Ingredients
3 c. fresh baby spinach
⅓ c. strawberries, chopped
⅓ c. pineapple, chopped
½ avocado, cubed
1 slice red onion, quartered ⅛ c.
⅛ c. chopped pecans
fresh-shaved parmesan cheese, to taste
(Change it up by adding in almonds, walnuts, or chickpeas)
Instructions
1. Layer ingredients in medium salad bowl.
2. OPTIONAL: Top with Sweet Lime Vinaigrette – (1/8 c. olive oil, 1/8 c. vinegar, Tbsp. lime juice, Tbsp. agave nectar). I find this dressing too sweet, so if I use anything, it’s a light drizzle of olive oil.
3. Combine ingredients in a small container with a lid; shake well.
Voila! Your meal is served. 
But, wait. Where’s dessert???
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget that!
Here it is, in all its gorgeous, colorful, vitamin-filled goodness 🙂
Summer Fruit Salad
 
Ingredients
 
Blackberries – 1 cup
Strawberries – 1 cup hulled and quartered
Grapes – 1 cup
Kiwi – 1 cup peeled and quartered
Blueberries – 1 cup
Oranges – 3 oranges, peeled and cut into wedges
Watermelon – 1 cup cubed watermelon
Instructions
 
   1. Mix ingredients into a bowl.
   2. Serve.
 
Beverage perfect for the meal:
You could have a glass of chilled wine, or coconut water, or regular water, or my go-to iced coffee.
 
There. Dinner (or lunch) done. Light and healthy and delicious. 🙂
Susan-Sig
Best Face Forward

Best Face Forward

There are people who hate wearing makeup. There are people who love wearing makeup. One group is not better than the other. Wear it or don’t, but please respect (or at least, don’t mock) the other side. I’m in the pro-makeup camp. I love playing with colors and using my face as the canvas. (Eye makeup only. Lipstick isn’t my thing. I’m more of a Burt’s Bees balm type of girl). And, yes, I do this every day. Again, because I like it, and it makes me happy. How can sparkles and shimmer not make you happy?

In medieval times, having pale skin was equated with beauty and high class. Many women went to great lengths to achieve a pale complexion, including bleeding out with leeches or draining some of their blood by slashing a vein. (Um, seriously, that’s the most painful beauty method ever!!). It wasn’t until 1920 when Coco Chanel was on a cruise to the French Riviera and accidentally got sunburned that tans started to become popular.
And speaking of Coco:
Back in the Victorian Era, makeup was seen as something reserved for prostitutes, actresses, working-class women and women of “questionable morals”. To that I say:
AND
   
Today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite makeup quotes from a few beauty and style icons.

Liz Taylor’s advice:

liz

 

Marilyn Monroe’s thoughts:

 

marilyn

 

Audrey Hepburn is my fave, so she gets two:

                       audrey-eatingmakeup                 

 

Whether you’re PRO or CON on the makeup-wearing, don’t forget:

 

beautywithoutmakeup

 

AND:

No matter what:

 

Now, please excuse me. I’m feeling the urge to play with some new metallic shades 🙂

Susan-Sig

P.S. For my fellow eyeliner lovers:

Because it’s the Cup

Because it’s the Cup

By Susan Scott Shelley
It’s one of my favorite times of year – Hockey Playoffs are here! It’s about two months worth of non-stop action. I don’t watch much television, but the play-offs are Must-See TV. A frenetic energy fills the air. The intensity, battles in the corners for pucks, checking, skating, goaltending – EVERYTHING is elevated to a higher level, and it’s AWESOME.
2015_Stanley_Cup_playoffs_logo
 
“There can be only one.” This is true for Highlander, and also for the eventual Stanley Cup champs. 16 teams battle it out for the honor of hoisting the Cup. And the term “battle” is appropriate. Fresh off of a grueling 82-game season, their quest for the cup is comprised of four playoff rounds, and each round is a “best of seven” series.
The first two games are played at one team’s home arena, then the next two games are played at the opponent’s home arena, and then it goes back and forth for each of the next three games, until one team has won four games. Then they do it all over again in the next round.
That’s a lot of hockey. A lot of skating, a lot of checking, a lot of shots, a lot of sweat, and depending on the match up, a lot of travel time. Also, games can’t end in a tie, so when you tack on extra periods of play…well, let’s just say the players will be downing a lot of Gatorade.
 
Hockey players are some of the toughest athletes in sports. They battle through all sorts of injuries and will play despite broken bones or severe gashes from sticks or skates. (Google some pics…it’s not pretty). Some are also superstitious come this time of year. You’ll see playoff beards appear and hear of some interesting pre-game rituals.
 fire-ice
Let’s talk playoff teams.
Canadiens vs. Senators – These teams hate each other, so that makes this series all the more intense. Goaltender match up: Carey Price against Andrew Hammond. I like both players, but think the Habs will win the series. Their up 3-0 as of today.

Predators vs. Blackhawks – Chicago finished first in the league in shots, while Nashville finished third. I think Chicago, with Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Kane, will take the series.
 
Capitals vs. Islanders – Two words: Alex Ovechkin. LOVE him. The sniper carried the Capitals, and had a league-leading 53 goals this season. I’d love to see his team win.washington-capitals-forward-alexander-ovechkin
Blues vs. Wild – The Blues may have won the Central Division, but I wouldn’t count out the Wild. I like Zach Parise, and goalie Devan Dubnyk and hope their team wins.
 
Lightning vs. Red Wings – Interesting tidbit: Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman played for the Red Wings for his entire NHL career. I’m thinking the Lightning, with their captain (my fave) Steven Stamkos, will win the series.
Rangers vs. Penguins – The Pens may have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby but the Rangers have Rick Nash (42 goals in the regular season), Martin St. Louis, Dan Boyle, Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan McDonagh, and more. I’m betting on my Rangers.
lund
 
Ducks vs. Jets  – The Ducks have Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf. The Jets have Dustin Byfuglien on defense. I’m thinking the Ducks will take it.
 
Canucks vs. Flames – I have a soft spot for the Sedin twins and goaltender Eddie Lack (Want some fun entertainment? Check out his Twitter feed). I’d love to see the Canucks win. Three games in, it’s obvious these teams do NOT like each other…
 
What about the final round?
For the Cup finals, I’d like a repeat of 1994: Rangers v. Canucks, with the Rangers winning it all. (Back then, the Rangers won the series, 4-3, and Captain Mark Messier scored the winning goal. Talk about a perfect ending.) But I think the more likely match up this year will be the Rangers v. Blackhawks. I still think my Rangers will win it all.
 
I’m going to mix sports here, and leave you with a Vince Lombardi quote that I believe describes the Stanley Cup winning team perfectly: 
vince
 
Who are you rooting for? Share! Bonus points and virtual confetti will be awarded to any Ranger fans. 🙂
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