Dec 27, 2013

Justin Bieber ~ Believe Movie Review

The continual controversy that seems to revolve around Justin Bieber is one of the most annoying things I can think of.  No one ever seems to have anything nice to say about him, just that he continually is screwing up this, that or the other.  As much as I think that he is far from perfect, I do think he is a good person with a kind heart that tries his best to do good for other people.  I am a HUGE fan of his music and think he is beyond talented.  He can sing yes, but he also plays drums, piano, and guitar.  He went from being a kid singing on the front steps at a local theater to this big huge entertainer and honestly who of us are perfect all the time?  I venture to say if we took my fairly grounded 16 year old and gave him millions of dollars and put him in front of the world as an entertainer he would be scrutinized and wouldn't be able to do much right in the eyes of the world either.  I wanted to start this review by making sure everyone understands where I come from when it comes to Justin.  For me, it is more about the music than anything, but at the same time, I honestly feel the way I stated in this paragraph that we are looking at a 20 year old kid that really isn't all that bad if we take him as a normal person rather than someone that we are placing unrealistic expectations on because he is in the public eye.

I took my 8 year old Coconut to the movie with me.  Last Christmas she was given tickets to the Believe tour and her and I got to go last January.  We are both big fans of Justin and his music.  

It's hard to believe it's been a year since all of that happened.  I asked Coconut if she would help me with the review so I'm going to do a little Q&A with her so you can get an 8 year old super fan's take on Justin Bieber: Believe.  

Why did you want to go see the Justin Bieber movie?

Because I love Justin Bieber!!!

Why do you love Justin Bieber?

Because his hair is cute and he is really nice to other people.  He loves his fans and I love his music.

What was your favorite part of the movie?

This is a hard one because I loved it!  I liked when he was with the little girl Avalanna and when it was at the concert part and he sang "As Long As You Love Me".

Was the movie as good as the concert?

Yes.  The movie was a little, tiny bit better because it had more detail to it.  I liked seeing behind the scenes stuff like with the dancers and I thought they were just some of his friends that could dance I didn't know they had to audition to be dancers.  I liked how they made the stage because I didn't know if they just got that stuff from someone else and then they put it all together.  

Did you like the music concert clips?

Yes! Because it showed me more of the stuff I didn't know or that we couldn't see up close at the concert.

Would you recommend this movie to your friends, even if they aren't a fan of Justin Bieber?

Yeah, because I think it could turn someone into a Belieber like Never Say Never did for me.

Thank you Coconut.  

You're welcome mom.

Now you get my take on the movie.  

I wanted to go to the Believe movie because I love Justin Bieber (not in a creepy stalker kind of way) I think he is a mega talented musician and entertainer. It was a very interesting backstage look at the entire Believe tour from director and dancer selection to choreography and also into the creative process that Justin goes through for his music.  Music is something so essential to my life that I literally have to listen to it every single day.  I myself am an accomplished pianist and I understand the craft of making music and putting your heart an soul into playing a piece of music even if it isn't something I have written myself.  The movie also shows some of what Justin and his more well known staff goes through on a daily basis just to try and go out in public which is near impossible.  It is something that comes with the territory and they understand that but at the same time it makes me feel for them not being able to just be a normal person maybe ever again.  Justin talks about some of the personal things that have gone on in his life from being hounded by the paparazzi and being in love and also when love doesn't last forever.  

As with all music, some of us prefer one kind over another.  I have always loved and been able to listen to pretty much anything.  I love pop music a lot and always have.  I love Justin Beiber's music and I love the fact I can let my 8 year old listen to it uncensored.  I love the fact that she comes to me and says "Mom, I love Justin Bieber's song Believe because it means you can do anything as long as you believe in yourself". Justin's Believe album has quite an array of music on it, some fast dance type numbers, some slow, some even with a touch of mo-town.  I loved being able to revisit the concert experience through the movie and enjoy the ride of his performances for each song and how the songs are interpreted through the dance numbers and the music combined.  

Coconut mentioned Avalanna.  If you want to research the story about her and Justin (or just go see Believe for the story) it is quite incredible. In short, she was a sick 6 year old that Justin visited and they immediately formed a pretty tight bond.  He talked about her and they dedicated a whole segment of the movie to her and her story.  It was very incredible and very moving (yes I forgot my tissues and had to use buttery popcorn napkins).  These are the things that help you see Justin as just a kind person trying to do something good for someone and not a mega pop star.  There is defiantly more to him than most would think.

I sincerely enjoyed Believe from start to finish and if music is your thing, I would suggest taking the time to go see it.  It is a great look at Justin, his music and the powerful force behind it. 

I give Justin Bieber's Believe 
8 Music Notes

Dec 24, 2013

Sarcastic Song Suggestions ~ 2013 Christmas Edition


We are starting an exciting new series at The Sarcastic Palmtree called
Sarcastic Song Suggestions
We will be posting on a regular basis what Banana and Flamingo are listening to on their playlists right now, kind of like a Top Ten Favorites for the current time period.  This week, in honor of Christmas, Banana will be doing his top 10 favorite Christmas Songs, both old and new!

Let's start with some old favorites...

1. Last Christmas

I love almost every single version of this song I hear!  My favorite three versions are the original by WHAM! (of course), a version from Darren Hayes (from Savage Garden) off of the CD "A Rosie Christmas", and the newest version I've heard this year by Ariana Grande, featured on her new Christmas EP "Christmas Kisses" which you can buy on iTunes by clicking here.  

2. All I want For Christmas Is You

Okay... Even though Mariah Carey isn't one of my favorite people... I LOVE this song!  It's one of my favorites to listen to every year!  I will also admit to liking the duet version she does with Justin Bieber... Who has a couple of good songs on his Christmas album... But, as always, the original is the best!

3.  Nuttin' For Christmas

I've been growing up with this album my whole life so I don't know how well it originally did.  I know that it is pretty awesome and it's a Christmas album that everyone must buy or at least listen to in their lifetime.  I love this song, and it makes me sad to say that this song, along with the rest of the album, can't be purchased on iTunes.  It's such an amazing song and I love the rock twist on a holiday classic.

4. Fa La La 

Okay... so I'm not a Justin Bieber fan by any means... but I know that I like a couple of songs off of this Christmas album!  This song is a duet he does with the group Boys II Men and I honestly wouldn't have given this song a try if it wasn't for them... I LOVE the a cappella version of this song more than the original version because it sounds better and it's pretty cool to listen to 
a cappella music.

5. Merry Christmas From The Family

This is the other AMAZING song off of the album "Another Rosie Christmas".  This is a duet that Rosie O'Donnell does with famous country group the Dixie Chicks.  This song is awesome because of how funny the lyrics are... if you can even understand half of them!  I love this song SO MUCH and I know that I'm placing it at #5 but it's a tough competition...

6. Gonna Eat For Christmas

You HAVE to go out with a BANG and that's why I saved this song for the final "old" spot!  I get a kick out of this song every time I listen to it!  It's something that most of us can probably relate to because Christmas is the one time of year that, as far as food is concerned, you go big or go home!  Plus I love all the harmony between Rosie O'Donnell and Gloria Estefan in this song... I'm a sucker for any songs with good harmony.
Please go out and buy this album... It has too many good songs to miss out on you can find the link to iTunes here.

That concludes the old list of  my top 10 favorite Christmas songs this year... now on to the top 4 brand new Christmas songs...
(If you wish to take a look at it on iTunes... click on the name of the song)

 I loved this song the first time I heard it!  I've been waiting to listen to her Christmas album for awhile now and just started to a couple if weeks ago.  This song is probably my favorite off of the album because it's just fun and happy AND she performed it on Ellen... Which is always a bonus!  ;)

  I have too many nice things to say about this guy... I loved him when he was on American Idol and I admire the fact that he stood up for what he believed in even though the producers said it could cost him the win he VERY much deserved (he was on one of the worst seasons EVER and it should've been a runaway win for him).  ANYWAY... I love his twist on such a cool holiday song that everyone knows at least the chorus to... Plus I liked the Batman part in the song because it makes everyone crack up and smile every time my family listens to it!  

Alright... So I was a little on the fence about buying this song because almost every single version I've heard of this song SUCKS!  I was willing to give Karmin a chance because they're British and I like a couple of their other songs.  I never thought I could like a version of this song... They always seem to have their own awesome sound that they put in their music and this song was no different... They did a great job of providing a modern twist to an old song.

Ariana Grande is probably my favorite new artist of the year... She has proven to be very successful with just her debut album "Yours Truly" and for the past month she has been releasing Christmas singles, following in the footsteps of Justin Bieber (whose album FINALLY came out this week after a lot of single releases), all the way up to the release of her Christmas EP "Christmas Kisses"... This song reminds me a lot of a song she released a year or two ago called "Put Your Hearts Up" which basically is a good, upbeat song with a good message- "If we give a little love we can change the world".  The same theme of love applies here where she talks about giving love and spreading cheer to everyone.  I liked her debut album, her Christmas EP, and I can't wait to see what she has in store for all of us on her next album! 

Banana and Flamingo wish everyone...
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Dec 21, 2013

What's in the Snow? Scavenger Hunt ~ Christmas at the Beach

Welcome to The Sarcastic Palmtree
What's in the Snow at the Sarcastic Palmtree?

Christmas at the beach of course!

I have always wanted to go to the beach for Christmas. I haven't done it yet, so come with me as we take a visit to the beach for Christmas and imagine what it might be like!
First, let's decorate our beach house for Christmas!

I love to listen to music while I decorate so let's put on 
Cody Simpson ~ The Acoustic Sessions!  
I picked this album because Cody's music has a total beach sound to it and this album in particular has Cody's acoustic version of
Please Come Home For Christmas!

Now we have the music on let's decorate!
Let's put a wreath on the door....
Some garland on the stairs....
And of course we need a Christmas Tree!
Now that the decorating is done, let's relax and have some fun!

Anyone who has visited the Sarcastic Palmtree before knows that I love to read.  What's a trip to the beach without a good beach read?  I always make time to read several books in my week at the beach and this year I found a beachy book that I enjoyed so much that I plan to read it on every beach trip I make in the future!

Chasing Forever Down is a book I fell in love with almost immediately and I felt such a strong connection to it that I read it twice this year.  I read and review a lot of books and this one is hands down my favorite book of 2013! 

Here's a little bit about the book:

After seventeen-year-old Haley Sullivan meets a mysterious stranger who plays by his own rules, she's more than determined to learn every trick of the trade from the master himself. But her dream-chasing mentor disappears after that night, and according to the local newspapers, he's been dead for years. Knowing he's very much alive, Haley enlists best friend Linzi to join her on a scavenger-hunt-style road trip that ultimately lands them in the surf town of Crescent Cove, California. Mystery guy is no mystery here, though – he's Colby Taylor, the west coast's biggest professional surfer.

If Haley wants to talk to the wave rider again, she'll have to get past his four intimidating bodyguards who are highly skilled in the business of sending starstruck fangirls back to where they belong. Haley is up for the challenge if it means chasing her dreams and escaping the perfectly corporate future that's been planned for her. But dealing with these bodyguards isn't exactly what Haley imagined it'd be. Sure, being thrown off a jet ski sucks, but falling in love with one of them might just be worse.

I had planned to review the book for this post then I got the exciting news that there is going to be a book tour for Chasing Forever Down January13-17 so I will be saving my review for the tour. Instead, Nikki has been gracious enough to let us chat with my favorite character in the book, A.J. Gonzalez.  I love A.J. because he has a huge attitude problem and at the same time has the ability to be your best friend.  A.J. has a super big heart and would do anything for his friends.

Let's head out to Crescent Cove and see what A.J. is up to.....

Hey AJ. Thanks for hanging out with us today. What’s been going on in Crescent Cove since Haley left to go back to North Carolina? I’m sure you have been staying out of trouble, right?

Thanks for having me! The Cove's been boring, honestly. Reed is always working at the boating store. Alston tries picking up chicks. Colby Taylor's still hiding out like an idiot. The usual. Cove's pretty boring all the time though. As for trouble... well, I don't look for trouble but it always finds me in the form of a $%@! named Pittman.

How’s Miles been doing since being signed by Drenaline Surf?

Eh, things are about the same. He's done well, surfed in a few competitions. He won't use his money to buy a new truck though and he damn sure needs one. Pretty stupid if you ask me (and technically you sorta did). Ocean Blast Energy hasn't done a photo shoot with him either yet... I think they're holding out for... well, a prettier face. No offense to Miles. But they definitely want someone else to be their poster boy. (I won't name names here...) But yeah - Miles is good. Mostly just surfing and hanging with the Hooligans as usual.
Speaking of, what’s been going on with the West Coast Hooligans?
Jace is still working at the music store. I think they're on the verge of going out of business, though. Music isn't thriving much with the surf scene here. Theo is lifeguarding during the summer and he's trying to get on at the gym for the colder months, but that idiot drinks too much. I wouldn't want him saving my life. Kale's been partying a lot, but I'll cut him slack because he always invites me. And Topher and Miles are always ^@*#! surfing...when Miles isn't with his new girlfriend...
Tell us a little bit about Christmas in Crescent Cove.
OMG it's so #^!@& bright! Freaking stars everywhere. It's like the usual Cove on steroids. People are all about the whole "stars and crescent moons" crap during the year, but it's like 10x worse at Christmas. People like Christmas because it's an excuse to go overboard. BUT Colby does fork out a lot of his competition winnings for gifts, and this is the only time of the year that I won't complain about him.
I know you and Haley became really close friends while she was in Crescent Cove this summer. I bet you can’t wait to get her back when summer rolls around. What are you looking forward to most in 2014?
Topher and I have a countdown going until the day she gets back. We're also in competition to see who has the most text messages from her from the day she left until the day she returns. I think I'll win, but the Hooligan brags all the time that he knows he'll win. Whatever. But yeah, Haley's return is the main thing I'm looking forward to. It'll be nice to have a real friend around. And she's the only one who'll knock Colby down a few notches, so yeah, she needs to get back already. Is it not summer yet?
Thanks AJ for stopping in at the Sarcastic Palmtree. We look forward to seeing you and everyone else in Rough Waters sometime in 2014!

If you want more of A.J. and the other residents of Crescent Cove, get your copy of Chasing Forever Down right now for just $.99! 

Get Chasing Forever Down on Amazon 

A big thank you to Nikki Godwin for helping with A.J.'s interview. 

When our family vacations at the beach, at the end of the day we like to relax and watch movies as a family.  I was trying to think of a movie that reminds me of the beach and the one I came up with is 
Safe Haven
I thought of Safe Haven because our family likes to vacation at a little beach in North Carolina just outside of Wilmington named Carolina Beach.  
It is beautiful and quiet and every time we go, we take the ferry across to the small town of Southport where the movie Safe Haven was filmed.  On our last trip we were able to see some of the shooting locations and movie props that were left in the museum in Southport.  I love this movie and find it to be a great one to watch while on a visit to the beach.

Clues and Giveaways
There are 2 separate giveaways associated with this post.  If you are looking for the clue to go with the giveaway for the What's in the Snow? Scavenger Hunt here it is:
Clue #6: One of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals, said to breathe fire.
The Link to the website to enter your answers for the scavenger hunt is here.

The Sarcastic Palmtree is also doing our own giveaway as a thank you & Merry Christmas to all of our readers! 

Here's what we're giving away

1 copy of Cody Simpson ~ The Acoustic Sessions 
(either by Amazon download or iTunes gift download)
1 DVD of Safe Haven 
 1 Beach charm bracelet 
 1 Paperback copy of Chasing Forever Down 
signed by Author Nikki Godwin
3 ebook copies of Chasing Forever Down 
(Gifted through Amazon)

 You can enter our giveaway with the the Rafflecopter below. 
(All Giveaway items are US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much for stopping by The Sarcastic Palmtree!  Banana and Flamingo wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years in 2014!