Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2021

It is the last day of November, dear reader, and I am finally wrapping up the spooky season which was a HUGE success. The only activity I was unable to do on my Halloween Fun List was the New Orleans Zombie Run which was an extra activity that I thought would be fun to do if my schedule permitted. However, I just could not fit it into my schedule once I accepted the role of Eleanor Slides in the play, The House on Haunted Hill.

Kelsi and I participated in our first Halloween ReadaThon which was successful. Even though I had to rearrange my original TBR list, I still completed all of the prompts and read some fabulous books and short stories. In fact, I read one more book this season than last season. As for short stories, I read three this time around which was two less than last season.

Horror movies were also on my list, and I was able to watch 20 movies this season which is amazing. I only watched 13 movies last year. Unfortunately, I was unable to watch Near Dark or Trick ‘r Treat because they were both unavailable; however, I replaced them with The Halloween Tree and Dark Was the Night.

I accessorized my work wardrobe with Halloween/Fall earrings, pins, and socks. My hubby bought me a Halloween t-shirt which I wore on Halloween Night for when I handed candy out to trick-or-treaters. Ironically, it has the face of a creepy clown on it, and clowns freak me out. I added some Halloween decorations in the reading area of my bedroom, but unfortunately, never added any to my fall decorations on my front porch. Kelsi and I hung out together the first weekend of October and vlogged about our wonderful day having lunch, shopping for Halloween decor, and more. It was definitely one of the highlights of the spooky season. Two activities that I left off my list was sending out Halloween cards to a few of my friends and posting a daily Halloween-related Snoopy picture on my FB story. I even received a Halloween card from Kelsi. Happiness Boost!

I tried a new spooky adult beverage called the Drunk Witch Cocktail. It consisted of Vodka, Grenadine, and Blue Curacao topped with Sprite. I enjoyed it, but it was strong, so drinking one was quite sufficient. I also drank fall flavored coffee throughout the month. And, I baked an Autumn Pumpkin Cake from a recipe featured on the blog, It’s a Charming Life (itsacharminglife.com.). It was simple to make and tasted delicious.

Kelsi and I had several wonderful chats about all the enjoyable activities we did during the spooky season. Our final one was a Halloween 2021 Wrap Up Chat where we discussed our thematic activities, including The House on Haunted Hill. What an exciting opportunity! I had the best time performing in the play and will eventually share my incredible experience with you.

That’s a wrap, dear reader. As Kelsi mentioned in her description of our chat, “we put a bow on the 2021 Halloween season.” Kelsi and I could not have asked for a better spooky season, especially following the turmoil of Hurricane Ida. Planned activities for a season or surrounding a specific holiday boosts happiness, creates fond memories, and enriches one’s life, especially if you share those activities with a friend, a family member, or your significant other. Do you plan activities for a season or surrounding a specific holiday? If so, please share in the comments. In the meantime, I need to finish my Christmas Fun List. Happiness!

My Halloween decorations I bought while shopping with Kelsi along with the Halloween card I received from Kelsi.

“Make a commitment to having fun. See your best friends and make time for your hobbies and passions.” ~ Robert Holden

Read Full Post »

This is Part 2 of the movies I watched during the spooky season. I liked most of the films in this second part, especially the two found footage films, Creep and The Houses October Built. I cannot go into much detail about either film without spoiling them. Creep is about a videographer who answers an online ad to film a day in the life of a dying man. It is weird, creepy, cringey, and one of my favorite films on this list. The Houses October Built documents five friends taking a road trip across America to visit haunted house attractions, but they soon discover that not all haunted houses are make-believe and harmless fun. I highly recommend both films for a creepy good time.

Two other films I recommend are both Netflix Originals, 1922 and A Classic Horror Story. 1922 is based on a short story written by Stephen King. It is about a farmer who slowly descends into madness and faces dire consequences after making a dark and deadly decision. A Classic Horror Story is an Italian horror film that appears to be something familiar to horror movie fans, but turns out to be something altogether different. Again, I cannot share much about this film without spoiling the gruesome details.

Other films worth checking out include Aftermath (partly based on a true story), Pulse, the Japanese horror film (goosebumps guaranteed from the eerie encounter with the ghost woman), Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (atmospheric and eerie), The Brood (directed by David Cronenberg and contains disturbing body horror), Dark Was the Night (beast in the woods wreaks havoc on a sleepy little town), and Malevolent (pretending to see something you don’t can backfire).

There were two movies on my list that I deem duds. The ultra-low budget film, Driller Killer, is at the bottom of the movie barrel and is the worst movie I have watched for any of my marathons. Driller Killer is the absurd tale about an artist who goes insane and decides to trade his paintbrush for a power drill. Not too far behind is the boring film, Session 9. It takes place in an insane asylum where an asbestos removal crew has been hired to clean up the place, but uncovers a mysterious presence in the process. Surprisingly, both films have gained a cult following.

You can hear more of my thoughts about the movies that I watched in common with Kelsi, along with her thoughts, in our Halloween Horror Movie Marathon Wrap Up Part 2. In addition to a more in-depth commentary on these films, this chat also includes a discussion about acting and what makes a movie seem dated or not, and we both reveal our Top 10 Favorite Watches From the Halloween Marathon. It is another long video, but Kelsi again does a terrific job of including time stamps in the description section. As always, we hope you enjoy it and appreciate you taking the time to watch our video. Please consider giving us a thumbs up if you like it, and share it with a friend who likes listening to chats about horror movies.

That’s a wrap on the movies I watched during the spooky season, dear reader. It was a wickedly good time. I have one final post to publish recapping my Halloween Fun List, and then I’ll be switching gears and focusing on Christmas and the winter season. Happiness!

“I sit here and can’t believe that it happened. And yet I have to believe it. Dreams or nightmares? Madness or sanity? I don’t know which is which.” ~Jessica (Zohra Lampert), Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971)

Read Full Post »

Thanksgiving this year looked a little different from years past. We were missing a couple of people around the table, and the hubster and I went with a nontraditional Thanksgiving meal. We were striving for simple. Normally, Barry fries a turkey, and it is usually joined by cranberry sauce, a green veggie, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and a pecan or pumpkin pie. Since it would only be the four of us gathered around the table on Thursday, our menu consisted of turkey burgers, broccoli casserole, spinach artichoke dip, and cheesecake for dessert (courtesy of Rouse’s). Thankfully, I married a man who likes to cook. Everything on my plate was delicious. Of course, Mrs. Billie baked cookies. Chocolate chip cookies to be exact. My Daddy and Son #1 spent Thanksgiving in Atlanta with my sister Rachel, my brother-in-law Lee, and my beautiful niece Emma. According to my Daddy, their menu consisted of “ham, green bean casserole, and of course, dessert.”

On Friday evening, Barry and I joined Shelly and Kerry to attend Friendsgiving at my friend Wendy’s house. Shelly and I graduated from Riverdale High School with Wendy. This was my very first Friendsgiving event and Wendy’s first time hosting one. There were about 15 of us, mostly Riverdale graduates. What an absolutely awesome evening! Fantastic food, terrific conversation, and lots of laughter, especially when Wendy, Sharon, and Kristie performed their award-winning dance moves to the song “Heartbeat-It’s a Lovebeat” by the DeFranco Family, a Canadian pop music group from the 70s. Back in the 6th grade, they won the overall prize at their school’s talent show with this performance. Everyone had a wonderful time, so Wendy is planning to make Friendsgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, an annual event. Happiness Boost!

High School Friends: Shannon, Chris, Kat, Jeff, Kristie, Sharon, Michelle, Shelly, Stacey, Kim, Steve, Eddie, and Wendy (holding Millie)

The weekend kept on giving with last night’s Drink Nightsgiving (just made this up to even out the “giving” theme in the title of this post-HA!). Barry and I drove over to the Cyrus’s house to partake in libations with Shelly, Kerry, Mrs. Carol (Shelly’s mom), and Mr. Mike (Shelly’s bonus dad and my Godson). Drink Nights with the Cyruses originated because of COVID restrictions. I am not a big drinker; however, I like trying fancy cocktails. Kerry, who is our official bartender and enjoys mixing fancy cocktails, served us Black Cherry Chocolate Martinis last night. This yummy adult beverage is his very own concoction. To make one marvelous martini, you will need the following ingredients: 1 ounce chocolate vodka; 1 ounce cherry vodka; 2-3 ounces of Just Black Cherry Juice (Knudsen); Hershey’s dark chocolate syrup to taste. According to Kerry, “you can increase vodka amounts if you want it a bit stronger. Or, decrease vodka amounts if it’s too strong.” In addition to our martinis, we nibbled on snacks which included a cheese dip that Mrs. Carol made (shaped like a turkey), a crab rangoon dip that Shelly made, chocolate, and Cape Cod potato chips (provided by me). Another enjoyable evening spent with fabulous friends.

It’s now Sunday, the last day of my vacation. Although it was shortened this year because of Hurricane Ida, I am grateful for the much-needed break from my day job and for spending quality time with my family and friends. Family relationships and friendships are super important to me, and I have been blessed with many wonderful humans who bring so much joy to my life. And, you are also counted among those humans that enrich my life, dear reader. Thank you for being you and reading my content. If you participated in a “giving” activity or have a suggestion for a fancy cocktail, please share in the comments or email me at katloyacano@gmail.com. Enjoy the remainder of your weekend. Happiness!

“Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, hostility, worry, and irritation. It is savoring, it is not taking things for granted, it is present-oriented.” ~ Sonja Lyubomirsky

Read Full Post »

The Halloween season would not be complete without watching horror movies. I chose 20 films this year for my Halloween Movie Marathon. This post is Part 1 of my movie discussion and only mentions eight of the films that I watched during October. Three of them were kid-friendly Halloween movies and new watches for me. They included The Monster Squad, The Halloween Tree, and Halloweentown. The Monster Squad is campy and a bit more appropriate for teenagers. Of these three movies, it was my least favorite despite featuring the Universal Monsters, a horror movie club run by kids, and a friendship between a precious little girl and Frankenstein. Surprisingly, I adored Halloweentown, a Disney original starring the wonderful Debbie Reynolds. It is a heartwarming story featuring friendly monsters and a young girl who discovers her magical powers as a witch. Another pleasant surprise was the delightful animated film The Halloween Tree narrated by Ray Bradbury, who is the author of the book of the same name. The film is a magical journey through the history of the spooky season. Halloweentown and The Halloween Tree will definitely be rewatches for me in the future during the Halloween season.

There were two more campy movies on my list, House on Haunted Hill and The People Under the Stairs. I chose to watch House on Haunted Hill because of the play I was in at The Columbia Theatre during the spooky season. I enjoyed it immensely for its plot twists, spookiness in addition to its campiness, and Vincent Price. The People Under the Stairs was not one of my favorites on this year’s list. It is supposed to be horror satire and does have a few redeeming qualities. After reading an article about Jordan Peele’s thoughts on the film and potentially spearheading a remake, along with Kelsi’s thoughts in our chat about the movie, I plan to rewatch this film before making any final judgements. I would LOVE to see a remake of this movie, especially if Jordan Peele is at the helm.

Of the 20 movies that I watched, only two were rewatches. Kelsi and I watched Silver Bullet together and had a lively discussion on her YouTube channel comparing it to the novella it is based on, Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King. It was wonderful revisiting this film, and even more wonderful experiencing it with Kelsi as she watched it for the first time. Nightbreed was my other rewatch, but this time around, I watched the director’s cut which was much better than the theatrical version. Admittedly, I was somewhat disappointed with the film after reading Cabal, the novella written by Clive Barker and the basis for the film. Cabal is darker and the characters are more fleshed out than in the film. I would have liked to have seen more of the character, Dr. Decker, also known as the sadistic serial killer Button Face. The critically acclaimed director, David Cronenberg, plays the role of Dr. Decker and nails the dreadfully creepy character. Coincidentally, one of Cronenberg’s films, The Brood, made our movie list for this year’s marathon. One merit of the film was the visually appealing monsters or Nighbreed that reside in Midian. Kelsi and I both agree that Clive Barker is a master of horror; however, if you have not discovered his work, we do not recommend starting with Cabal or Nightbreed. They are enjoyable but not where we suggest you start with exploring the fantastical worlds of Clive Barker. I would recommend The Hellbound Heart, Books of Blood (short stories), or Weaveworld for first reads and Hellraiser for a first watch. You will get a taste of his brillance as a horror writer and want to discover more of his work on the page and in film.

Dear reader, you can hear more of my thoughts about these movies, Kelsi’s thoughts, and our reaction to Art the Clown in the anthology film All Hallows’ Eve in our Halloween Horror Movie Marathon Wrap Up Part 1. Art the clown is still super creepy, and the three frightening short films within an equally frightening film, which crosses the line between reality and the make-believe, make All Hallows’ Eve more terrifying than Terrifier. In addition to a more in-depth commentary on these films, this chat also includes some stats, a few overall thoughts about the marathon, as well as surprises and disappointments. It is a long video, but Kelsi does a terrific job of including time stamps in the description section. Also, like our friend Ray does, you could listen to it like a podcast. We hope you enjoy it, and please consider leaving a comment or two, as well as any suggestions because we do appreciate your feedback.

This is just Part 1 of the movies I watched during the spooky season, dear reader. My post on Part 2 will be published shortly. Feel free to comment on some of the horror movies you enjoy watching, especially during the spooky season. Happiness!

“There’ll be food and drink and ghosts…and perhaps even a few murders. You’re all invited.” ~ Frederick Loren (Vincent Price), House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Read Full Post »

My Halloween Fun List this year included a thematic ReadaThon which I hosted with Kelsi. The ReadaThon turned out to be a spooky delight. Kelsi and I chose books and short stories focused on attributes of horror movies. Originally, each one of my prompts was assigned its own selection. However, with the unexpected surprise of landing a role in a local play, I had to adjust my original Readathon choices, so I could complete the activity. Basically, I re-shelved all three of the short stories I had selected from Night Shift by Stephen King as well as the novels, Thinner by Richard Bachman, Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh, and Night of the Living Dummy by R. L. Stine.

I kept the other selections from my original list and added “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving. While I am not a stranger to the movie, Sleepy Hollow (starring Johnny Depp), or the television show, Sleepy Hollow (starring Tom Mison), I had actually never read the gothic short story. In my opinion, it is the perfect spooky read for an October evening, especially one that is chilly enough to situate you in a comfy chair while reading the mysterious tale near a toasty fire. Ichabod Crane brings you on quite an adventure in the valley of Sleepy Hollow where he encounters the infamous Headless Horseman.

My favorite new read for the season is The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. My book club unanimously voted to read it for October, so I added it to my ReadaThon (helped me double dip on two prompts). What an absolutely delightful piece of literature! It is a wonderful treat filled with beautiful imagery, mesmerizing characters, and a breathtaking journey through the history of Halloween. It is another perfect read for the Halloween season. My friend and fellow blogger Rita wrote an awesome review about the book that aligns with my own feelings about the book.

One of my favorite stories to read in the month of October is The Widow’s Broom by the wonderful Chris Van Allsburg. I adore picture books, and this one is an incredibly enchanting story about a widow who discovers the merits of a magical broom. Van Allsburg’s illustrations are captivating and whimsical. I saved it to read on Halloween night. It inspired me to make mini broom treats with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and pretzel sticks. Yum!

I chose two enjoyable short stories from A Newbery Halloween. This is a charming collection of endearing stories from exceptional Newbery Award-winning authors. The first story, “The Magic Ball” by Charles J. Finger, involves a “cold-eyed witch” who practices strange magic with the help of a magic ball. The second story, “The Man of Influence” by Paul Fleishman, includes a struggling stone carver, an affable apparition, and a surprising twist at the end.

The other books included in my ReadaThon were not October or Halloween related per se, but they fulfilled the remaining prompts on the list and added a spooky element to the season. As I mentioned in a previous post, My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix was wonderful. It was my first book by Hendrix, but it will definitely not be my last. Cabal by Clive Barker reminded me how much I enjoy his writing and swayed my initial feelings for the film adaptation of the novel which goes by the title, Nightbreed. The middle school book, Fear Zone 2 by K. R. Alexander, was a spooky enough sequel to Fear Zone and featured a creepy clown. Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King did not disappoint. It is a short book packed with action and terrific illustrations. Kelsi and I did a livestream chat comparing it to its film adaption, Silver Bullet.

Kelsi and I had an October Reading Wrap Up chat to discuss some of the books and short stories we read for our Halloween Horror Movie Mania ReadaThon. It includes our stats, such as the total number of pages read for the month. Books mentioned in the chat include: Cabal, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Autumncrow, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Halloween Tree, Cycle of the Werewolf, and more. Additionally, we had our friends Melanie, Melissa, and Rachael weigh in with their thoughts on The Halloween Tree. Please check it out, and let us know what you think about our book selections, our ReadaThon, and our chat in general. We welcome your comments, suggestions, and ideas for future ReadaThons and chats.

Dear reader, I hope you also had an enjoyable spooky season. I plan to publish a few more posts about the other activities I participated in throughout October. I am a tad bit behind with my writing because of performing in The House on Haunted Hill (fabulous reason), recording video chats with Kelsi (always time well-spent), and living life in general (several added commitments that have seriously enriched my life). They have all been wonderful experiences, and I am so grateful for them. And, I am grateful to you, dear reader, for stopping by and reading my blog. Happiness!

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” ~ Joyce Carol Oates

Read Full Post »

It has been two weeks since the dreadful time change took place amidst my current season of sacrifice and the onset of colder temperatures. Not surprisingly, I am riding the struggle bus. Normally, the weekend before Thanksgiving is a time of jubilant celebration since it kicks off a much-needed week-long vacation from my day job. Not so this year, thanks to Ida. It will now begin at 3:20 pm on Tuesday afternoon.

My teacher friends and I have to make up all the days we missed in the wake of Ida’s destruction even though we were definitely not on a vacation. If it sounds like I am grumbling, I am (a little), along with all of my teacher friends, the students, and their parents. I admit, we are somewhat spoiled and love our holiday breaks. But, please, do not misunderstand, I am grateful and appreciate any time off that we do get to stay home. However, this school year we really need our Thanksgiving break after dealing with COVID (still dealing with it), Hurricane Ida (still dealing with it), and the end of Daylight Saving Time (still dealing with it).

Most of my dear readers know that the next four months will be tough on me. I have to push myself not to surrender to my sofa once the sunlight disappears. The last couple of years I have immersed myself in activities (a play, movie marathons, NaNoWriMo, holiday fun lists, etc.) so as not to succomb to the season of SAD. So far, the only side effect has been going to bed earlier than usual and not getting a good night’s sleep. I do not sleep well in general, so this has been challenging. I find myself relying on Melatonin in the middle of the night to fall back to sleep and an additional cup of coffee to make it through the work day.

On a Brighter Note

My hubby and I went out Friday night with our fabulous friends, Shelly and Kerry. We always have a terrific time together, and this was no exception.

We attended Starry November Night in the middle of Downtown Hammond. The event included live music, train rides, a wine walk, vendors, and local businesses interacting with the community. It was an incredibly enjoyable evening, and exactly what I needed to stave off post-show blues and to avoid the siren call of my couch. The four of us chose to dine at a new restaurant, Son of a Biscuit, to kick off the evening. It is an easygoing establishment featuring a pun-filled menu of eggscellent choices. We were taken care of throughout the meal by a wonderful waitress named Camryn. Of course, our meal would not be complete without first ordering a cocktail. I chose Feeling Peachy, and let’s just say, after consuming it, I definitely felt peachy keen. We skipped appetizers and ordered entrees which was a difficult decision because everything on the menu sounded mouthwatering. I finally decided on Bacon Shrimp Mac N Cheese (homemade mac n cheese topped with grilled imported shrimp and bacon with a biscuit on the side). It was scrumptious! Needless to say, we will all be back in the future.

After dinner, we strolled through Downtown Hammond, enjoying the sights, the sounds, popping in and out of several shops, and stopping by a vendor booth or two. I enjoyed eating a yummy cupcake and topped it off with a deliciously hot Butter Rum Latte from PJ’s Coffee. I encountered so many lovely friends, former co-workers, students, and their parents, many who I have not seen in ages. It was awesome catching up with Ava who I taught a few years back and is currently in college, my super nice friend and former co-worker Angie (also met her husband David), and the sweetest parents, Marie and Robert, who I have known for years. I taught their son Cameron when he was in 2nd grade and in 8th grade. We also made a point of stopping by Wonder Collective Gifts where my friend Tweety, who is an artist, had some of her amazing artwork on display.

While visiting the Hammond Regional Arts Center, I said hello to my sweet friend Tara who I recently shared the stage with in The House on Haunted Hill at the Columbia Theatre. It was the first time seeing her since the show ended its run last weekend. Hopefully, it will not be the last. We both plan to audition at the beginning of December for the play Puffs.

Starry November Night was a wonderful way to start the weekend. I am looking forward to Barry and I getting together with Shelly and Kerry again soon. We already have several outings planned for the upcoming weeks.

Welcome to Night Vale

If you happen to be a fan of podcasts and The X-Files, consider checking out the wonderfully weird, Welcome to Night Vale. Alex, a castmate from The House on Haunted Hill, recently introduced me to this otherwordly podcast that includes a radio show format with cool music for the weather segment. The episode running time is around 30 minutes. I would highly recommend you start at the beginning with the pilot which sets the stage for mysterious malarkey.

I am counting down the hours until Tuesday afternoon, dear reader. I am thrilled to have a few days off to relax, recharge, and regroup. The year is quickly coming to an end, and I need to assess 2021 to look at what worked, what did not work, and how I want to begin the new year. Will I carry over items into 2022? Or, will I start the new year with a clean slate? Those questions and many more will need to be answered by the end of December. As of right now, I will enjoy what remains of this beautiful Sunday, and I hope you will do the same. Happiness!

“The soul that gives thanks can find comfort in everything; the soul that complains can find comfort in nothing.” ~ Hannah Whitall Smith

Hanging out with SWOLEman the Snowman and his little snowman buddy at Downtown Fitness (Starry November Night)

Read Full Post »

HappierHealthier.Blog

Creative personal growth toward better health and happiness

Cristian Mihai

builds stuff

Keto Zeal

Living A Keto Lifestyle

Movy

Watch New Movies

Finger Lakes Connected

Finger Lakes Connected connects consumers to local businesses.

Eat Think Wellness ᐈ Health, Wellness And Fitness Blog

Our blog provides dietary supplement reviews and health articles to help you make informed decisions to achieve your health, wellness and fitness goals.

Health Matters

Health matters at your finger tips

The Kat Files

Finding Adventure in Everyday Life

Never Alone

Empowering Oneself

Creating Websites From Scratch

HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript

Get On With It

Writing and drawings about work, family and the stuff in-between

theleadlesspencil

Musings on the 3Rs: Reading, Running and t-Ravelling. Or anything else that makes me ponder.

Daniel J Bockman

Businessman, Author and Speaker

Li. A. Wake

Author and Screenwriter

dastardly.reads

procrastination.queen

This West London Life

Attempting to live a better story ... and scrapbooking it.