Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Wrote a Justin Bieber Book!

Justin Bieber book written by me!

It's not exactly a secret that growing up, I was a big time fan of teen idols. I loved Jason Bateman, Corey Feldman, Corey Haim, Sean Astin and more. So you can imagine how excited I was to write THREE celebrity biographies for children. Check 'em out. 

Justin Bieber - is like, either you LOVE him or LOATHE him. Regardless, you cannot deny Justin Bieber is truly living the dream. To go from a regular small town kid from Canada to a HUGE star -- seriously! Unlike most celebs, Justin Bieber didn't have famous parents. He didn't come from big bucks. He's a true rags to riches story and I admire that about the kid. He's also incredibly talented (he plays several instruments) and beyond generous. He's involved in so many charities and causes, the list is endless... I won't lie, after writing this Justin Bieber book, I myself became a Belieber. I thought this was kinda cool, I once blogged about his nice-looking dad, Jeremy Bieber and his GRANDMA commented. Her name is Kate and her comment is the very last one.

Selena Gomez book written by me!

Selena Gomez - an awesome role model for young girls. Selena Gomez happened upon a Barney audition in her home state of Texas and basically the work trickled in from there. Today she's a successful singer and actress both in movies and TV. Obviously, in addition to being mega talented, she's made headlines as Justin Bieber's girlfriend. Selena has her own clothing line, is an ambassador for UNICEF and is involved in dozens of charities and causes, much like Justin Bieber.

Twilight star, Taylor Lautner book, yup by me!

Taylor Lautner - Twilight fans know him as Jacob, Taylor Lautner hails from Michigan and I have to say, he's another kid any parent would be proud of. Focused, smart and grounded, Taylor stays away from celeb parties and gossip. At press time, he wasn't tweeting, didn't have a Facebook page or even an official website. Talk about a low-key hot young star workin' it to remain under the radar. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Zima - Clear College Drink of the '90s

Zima, my drink of choice in 1993.

Back in the early 1990s I enjoyed knocking back a few cold ones every weekend. Today, I rarely drink (weird, I know) ... I turned 21 in 1993 and thought I was all big and bad suckin' on a Zima that year. Barely of drinking age, Zima did me right.

Yup, I thought Zima was the coolest. The packaging. The logo - zomething about the ZIMA logo reminded me of ESPRIT - one of my favorite brands back in high school. The Zima TV commercials showing young folks sportin' flannel shirts, having the time of their lives at a bar, party or bar & grill - I could relate!

There was something special about a crisp, cold, CLEAR Zima. It wasn't beer. It wasn't a wine color. It wasn't hard liquor. Zima was like, its own entity. Yes, I realize today, Zima is looked upon as a big joke, but back in 1993 it was cool for a hot second. Trust me.

Five Fun Facts About Zima

  1. Zima was born in 1993 and died in 2008.
  2. Zima, produced and distributed by Coors Brewing Company, sold 1.2 million barrels in 1994 - best Zima year ever!
  3. Zima means "winter" in Slavic languages. 
  4. Coors blew $50 million in marketing this cool, clear wine cooler alternative. 
  5. For some reason, teens believed Zima's alcohol content wouldn't appear in breathalyzer tests. Weird. Wiki says it was 10 proof.
Check out this typical Zima TV commercial from 1994. Note the clothing and hair styles. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nickelodeon's Out of Control - Cut it Out!

Nickelodeon's Out of Control stared Dave Coulier.

Before we knew him as Joey Gladstone from the 1987 hit family sitcom Full House and as the subject of fellow '80s Nickelodeon star, Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" song in 1995, Dave Coulier hosted a kid's "late night" or news-style sketch comedy show on Nickelodeon called Out of Control.

Out of Control was recorded between 1983-1984 and originally aired between October, 1984 and May, 1985.
The kid's show featured a cast of zany regulars such as Diz Aster (Diz McNally) and Angela "Scoop" Quickly (Jill Wakewood) with the occasional special guest such as The Incredible Hulk's Bill Bixby.

I don't remember much about this show other than Dave Coulier acting wacky and always including his "Cut it -- OUT" catch phrase in every episode. Obviously he later brought "CUT IT -- OUT" to Full House

Watch this episode of Out of Control to refresh your memory. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

1980s Klik Klaks or Clackers or Kabangers! Great Balls of Fun!

1980s Kabangers or Ka-bangers
were also known as Klik Klaks or Clackers.

I must have been an odd child back in the '80s. In fact, I know I was. For some reason, I had this short-lived obsession with a toy called KABANGERS. Can you believe they topped my fave toy list? What???

I'm not even sure if one would consider Kabangers or Klik Klaks an actual toy. Kids from the '70s call them Clackers, Klackers, Knocker balls or Click Clackers. I knew them in the 1980s as Kabangers or Ka-bangers

This ball clacking "toy" was completely re-dic! Kabangers were basically two hard balls danging from a durable rope. Children would swing them back and forth until they clicked and clacked, hitting into each other. Boring, hello? Yet, I loved these balls until they'd slam my finger. If I got too into the ball clacking action, they'd smack me right in the face crushing my nose. Great concept. Great fun. Loved it!

Anyone remember Kabangers

Still confused or don't remember this this click clack toy? Watch as this dude demonstrates his Ka-bangers with great skill.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Conan O'Brien Gets His Own Comic Book

Bluewater Productions highlights my old pal, Conan O'Brien
in their latest comic book celebrity biography mag.
In the late 1990s I worked for Sterling/MacFadden Partnership. Back then, they published some of America's favorite teen entertainment magazines including Tiger Beat, Sixteen, Teen Beat, Teen Machine and more. Many of my favorite career-related stories involve my teen mag editor days. There's the day I made Britney Spears cry. The day Hanson made me cry. And one day I'll never forget - the day Conan O'Brien and his crew showed up at our offices.

In the late 1990s teen idols were huge and Conan wanted in on all the action and attention boy bands were getting. He turned to us in search of answers. We did some brainstorming with Conan and offered advice on how he too could become the next 'N Sync star, Leo DiCaprio or Backstreet Boy. You truly need to watch the video below in full. Trust me, you will be el oh elin' for sure! He ends with a hilarious photo shoot complete with an adorable fuzzy kitten. Be sure to check out my face when Conan makes a joke about Backstreet Boy's AJ one day getting busted with a hooker. Classic.

Having a soft spot for the red-headed late night star, you can imagine my excitement when I heard that the latest Bluewater Productions -- a boutique Vancouver, Washington publishing company -- comic book biography-style magazine would focus on Conan O'Brien. The FAME: Conan O'Brien comic book hits book stores and online book retailers such as this August for only $3.99

Bluewater Production made headlines
with their Justin Bieber bio comic book.
Bluewater Productions first caught my attention when they made headlines with their Justin Bieber comic book as I was busy researching for my own Justin Bieber bio. In fact, this September my celebrity bios on Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Taylor Lautner hit Amazon and other online bookstores and libraries. I wish Bluewater Productions would let me do something for them - how fun would that be?! So Bluewater Productions, if you're reading this, hook a sister up! 

Visit BlueWater Productions for more info, latest titles, news and more!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Before Yearbooks, We Had Autograph Books

Autograph books captured final goodbyes from
 grammar school teachers and friends.

"May you never feel the color of this page."

Because I attended Catholic school, I didn't have a six grade graduation like many of my neighbors. Too young for yearbooks, we were given little hard covered autograph books to capture memories of our final school days. The first pages of these books would allow you to include personal information. A page of favorites lists Stephen King as my favorite author, Goonies as my favorite movie and Serena as my best friend.
Intro pages to the autograph books...

I remember going through my mother's old things around that time. Mesmerized by her sixth grade autograph book and high school yearbook, I would curl up in my canopy bed and flip through them. I would read and reread her little navy blue autograph book. Each page was pretty pastel color, signed by my grandparents, uncles, great aunts, teachers and faceless young students she once knew. Oftentimes the pages would consist of poetic lines which weren't very personal. For example, I believe my grandpa signed a baby blue page. He didn't wish her good luck in junior high. He didn't congratulate her on completing grammar school. All he said was, "May you never be the color of this page, love Dad." 

When I received my autograph book, the exact same style and make of my mother's book, I noticed that my grandmother wrote me very similar wish about not feeling blue. Friends made jokes about The Monkees and wished me luck in high school. By the 1980s the poetic verses were no longer the popular thing the way they were in the early 1960s.

My grandma wrote this on a blue page of my autograph book.
 My grandpa wrote the exact same thing in my mom's book.

Did you have a book similar to this when you graduated from sixth or eight grade?

Friday, July 15, 2011

LA Gear | 1980s Retro Sneakers

LA Gear was all the rage in '89.

LA Gear -- Late '80s Fashion & Footwear Icon

Yesterday, a chick I attended high school with posted clips on Facebook from our video yearbook. The first thing that struck me, other than the horrendous Long Island accents so thick it was almost difficult to comprehend anyone, were the awful fashions. I'm sorry, but other than Esprit, Benetton and maybe Limited and The Gap, styles from 1988-1990 were just hideous. One of the biggest culprits, I mean contributors to such wretched fashions? LA Gear

LA Gear, obviously a brand out of Los Angeles, California were so incredibly popular at one point, they were one of the top three selling brands -- behind Reebok and Nike. In 1986, LA Gear focused on high-top sneaker styles for women -- I guess, other than Reebok, not many sneaker or footwear companies were really doing that. I was more of a Chuck Taylor Converse All Star high-top girl, so you can imagine my disapproval of the white high-top look.
Girls loved LA Gear in the late 1980s.
Anyway, between 1986-1989, LA Gear really were all the rage in America. The shirts, the sneakers -- at one point the company raked in $224 million in sales! The brand continued to flourish into the '90s, but by about 1994 they began to fade out. LA Gear filed for bankruptcy in 1998. LA Gear relaunched in 2008, and is slightly cashing in on their nostalgic, retro '80s factor. Check out their website for fun '80s style revival gear.

View a retro LA Gear TV commercial here:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

1980s Woven Friendship Bracelets

I never could make these damn Friendship bracelets.
The 1980s were all about FRIENDSHIP and woven patterned crafty girly stuff. Everyone was making friendship booksfriendship pins, those cute ribbon hair barrettes and ribbon hair clips (some even had beads dangling from them!) and my personal favorite, friendship bracelets. Remember them? They were made using coordinating colors of durable thread?

Well guess what, other than friendship pins, which, let's face it, were easy. I mean all you had to do was stick some tiny beads onto a small safety pin and you were good to go. Any idiot can do that! I just could NOT master anything involving a pattern. Seriously. I couldn't even braid my own hair, Barbie's hair or anyone's hair for that matter. Oh, and I sucked at making those damn plastic lanyards at camp - mine always had odd knots in them or leaned to one side. (Click that lanyard link for step-by-step directions!)

... and I never could master those dang plastic lanyards
at Girl Scout camp either!
The other day, I did something I haven't done since childhood. I actually broke down and PURCHASED three friendship bracelets. Hello, loser! The purpose of these friendship bracelets was to trade them with friends. Hence the name!

You Can't Trade Friendship Bracelets If You Can't MAKE Them!
When purchasing woven friendship bracelets, it is important to be DISCREET. You don't want everyone knowing that #1 can't make threaded friendship bracelets yourself and #2 don't have friends lining up to gift them to you for free! 
Today, there are even how-to books and
websites on friendship bracelets!
Don't Tell Anyone, But in 1983, I STOLE Friendship Bracelets!
Today, thank heavens for Etsy. Back in the '80s I did the unthinkable. I stole them!! I was just too embarrassed to own up to the fact that I didn't have the talent to make my own and, well, I guess I didn't have the right friends to teach me. Our corner card store had this lovely display of friendship bracelets back in 1983. I remember actually looking at those bracelets in all their woven glory and slipping a few of them on my wrist and well, slipping out of the store. Can you believe it? I'm such a nervous wreck today, I can't imagine trying to get away with that type of illegal behavior. For serious.

*Note, this photo and these bracelets were purchased from cool Etsy chick MilkandHoneybyAndrea

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Scott Baio 1980s Afterschool Specials

Scott Baio as The Boy Who Drank Too Much
DVD available at
When you hear the name Scott Baio, you most likely think of Charles in Charge or Joanie Loves Chachi or perhaps that horrible VH-1 reality show, Scott Baio Is 45 and Single. I doubt many of you think of two early 1980s after school specials staring Chachi in Charge as a drunkard in The Boy Who Drank Too Much and as a pothead in Stoned. These specials were no joke -- Scott won an Emmy Award nomination for Stoned!

Don't believe me? Check out these classic video clips to see bad boy Scott Baio in action!

Here's Scott Baio as a high school hockey star headed down the wrong path in the 1980 after school special, The Boy Who Drank Too Much.

Here's Scott as a high school skateboarding druggie in the 1981 classic after school special, Stoned

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

NBC's That's One To Grow On!

Kim Fields in a PSA for "One To Grow On"

While watching our favorite morning television programs between 1983 and 1989, NBC provided us kids with informative PSAs called "One To Grow On," which they later renamed, "The More You Know." These helpful public service announcements focused on everything from safety and hygiene to ethics and morals. What's more, they came from our favorite '80s celebrities such as Family Ties' Michael J. Fox, Silver Spoons star Ricky Schroder and  Facts of Life's Kim Fields

I have always hated going to the doctor and dentist. Apparently I missed this particular helpful PSA from Punky Brewster star Soleil  Moon Frye telling us not to worry when it's time to see the doctor. 

Here's "One To Grow On" from my personal favorite teen idol, Jason Bateman reminding us to be courteous and keep our music down. Too funny. Check it out!

Monday, July 11, 2011

I Wasn't Allowed To Drink Kool-Aid

Mom never let us "drink the Kool-Aid."

As a youngster in the late '70s and early '80s, there were foods Mom never let us have such as Shake 'n Bake and sugar cereals. Kool-Aid was another fun product banned from our house. The Kool-Aid commercials interrupted all of my favorite TV shows.

I longed to be a Kool-Aid kid screaming, "HEY KOOL-AID!" The icy cold red liquid goodness served up in that beautiful glass pitcher looked so refreshing and delicious. Never mind the insane, red round singing Kool-Aid man rescuing thirsty kids all over America. That freak never came to my Long Island street on a hot summer day.

One of the many fun Kool-Aid flavors and
promotions I missed out on.

I wonder what it was about Kool-Aid that made Mom's banned food and beverage list. I think it had to have been the bright fun Kool-Aid colors. Then again, maybe it was the idea of adding your own TWO cups of sugar - the reality being that sugar was the main ingredient.  Here is a vintage commercial from my childhood advertising the famous drink I so badly wanted to try.

Were there any non-alcoholic beverages or foods that were or are banned in your home? I'd love to hear about them!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

1980s Almost Home Cookies by Nabisco

Almost Home cookies from the '80s.

Does anyone remember Almost Home cookies by Nabisco?

I've already reminisced about yummy long-gone 1980s foods like TEAM Flakes, Better Cheddars and Pudding Pops. I want to dedicate this post my favorite cookies from the '80s -- Almost Home. These soft cookies truly rocked. I think I first had them at my grandma's house. She probably bought them on sale or with a coupon. I sorta remember my grandparents saying they didn't like them because of their chewy consistency. Most adults prefer crunchy cookies.

Nabisco was one of the first companies to introduce SOFT and chewy cookies. However, soft and chewy obviously don't always sell well and Almost Home cookies faded into the woodwork along with foods like Chicken Tonight and JELL-O 123. 

About a year ago, I picked up a box of Chewy Chips Ahoy! and was shocked to taste a big difference in their chewiness. They were rubbery and nothing like they once were. This made me realize that if Almost Home cookies were available today, they too would most likely taste rubbery -- they're both made by Nabisco.

Here's a cool retro commercial from 1983 for Nabisco's Almost Home cookies.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine

The Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine by Hasbro. 
Image from 

This was our first Fourth of July living in Florida. We enjoyed a BBQ with my aunt, uncle and cousins. When the sun went down, we headed to the beach to watch the fireworks at the beach and indulged in a tasty sweet snow cone.

Munching the soft ice reminded me The Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine, a toy I had always wanted, yet never owned. The Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine seemed like the type of toy that was cool for like a week or two, but then became tiresome. I could definitely see the novelty wearing off for me so I'm glad my folks never bought us one. 

The Snoopy Snow-Con Machine was first introduced in 1979. Although it is no longer a Hasbro toy, The Snoopy Snow-Con Machine is still available from your favorite toy store for less than $20.

Here's an old-school commercial for the Snoopy Sno Cone Machine snow cone maker.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

1980s GOTCHA Surf & Skate Clothing

GOTCHA was the hottest
'80s clothing and accessory brand

I was fascinated with surfer/skater styles and fashions back in the late 1980s, yet I never skateboarded. I tried, but honestly didn't have coordination and balance needed to stay on the board. Living on Long Island, we had access to many different beaches, however I never once surfed. Yeah, I was a total skate/surf poser. 
Cool GOTCHA gear from the 1980s.
I had completely forgotten about my love of GOTCHA until recently when a reader contacted me regarding GOTCHA brand surf clothing and GOTCHA bracelets. I can't believe I blocked out that memory. I loved their logo and had GOTCHA stickers plastered all over my binders and notebooks. I mastered drawing the logo -- it was one of my favorite things to doodle in class back in the '80s. 

GOTCHA was a favorite line of clothing for surfers back in the 1980s. Originated in Laguna Beach, California in 1978 by pro surfers Michael Tomson and Joel Cooper, the GOTCHA clothing line included everything from t-shirts to jeans.
Shawn Stussy's version of the GOTCHA logo.
I was surprised to learn that the original GOTCHA logo was designed by Shawn Stussy of Stussy clothing fame although I don't remember his version of the logo, I preferred the one above with the cool  flipped "O" and "A."

For more info and to see what GOTCHA is up to today, visit

Friday, July 1, 2011

Huey Lewis Power of Love Back To The Future Summer 1985

Back to the Future & Power of Love rocked
Fourth of July Weekend, 1985

July 4th weekend in 1985 was totally rockin' ... Back to the Future just opened and I was lovin' this joint by Huey Lewis and The News. Anyone old enough to remember? Yeah, didn't think so... Man, I need some older readers!

The summer of 1985 was awesome for me... Why?
  1. I loved Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future and Teen Wolf  both out that summer! 
  2. I was both confused and excited by New Coke
  3. I was sweatin' the three boys from Explorers!
  4. I smiled as the Live Aid concert brought in big bucks to feed hungry Ethiopians!
  5. I was thrilled Madonna married Sean Penn on my brother's birthday!
  6. I loved Bruce Springsteen that summer and only that summer with his Born in the USA tour in full effect -- note that is the only Bruce Springsteen album I have ever owned.
  7. The obvious -- too young to worry about boyfriends, careers, bills and school was out for summer!


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