Posts tagged with “As the World Turns DVD”

Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2012: Pop Culture for Your Mama

Mother’s Day is but a few days away. Has the gift panic set in? Read on all the solutions to all your Mama’s Day gift-giving needs (plus a bunch of stuff you’re probably gonna want for your own summer reading/watching wish list):

As the World Turns: 20 Classic Episodes DVD (
With Soapland dwindled down to just four daytime shows still on the air, and no regular access to episodes from defunct series, this set from Soap Classics is a gem that would make a great gift for any mom who ever spent her afternoons in front of the tube or who scheduled her college classes around her favorite soap. The 20 eps in the set are broken up into “Great Weddings,” “Secrets and Scandals,” “Oakdale Through the Years” and “Villains and Vixens,” and include classic ATWT moments like the weddings of Tom and Margo, Kim and Bob and Steve and Betsy (when Betsy was played by Meg Ryan, before her big-screen stardom), Luke Snyder’s coming out, a Snyder farm Christmas from 2009 and the (first) return of dastardly James Stenbeck.

Guiding Light: 20 Classic Episodes DVD (
Sigh. This set makes me remember how much I loved GL and how much I miss it still. This set is broken into the same categories as the ATWT collection, except that “Springfield Through the Years” subs for Oakdale. And among the memorable GL moments included in the 20 episodes: the weddings of supercouple Kelly and Morgan, Quinton and Nola, Reva and Josh and Billy and Vanessa; the truth about who Phillip Spaulding’s parents are; the show’s 50th anniversary episode from 1987; the death of the evil Roger Thorpe; and, my favorite soap moment ever, Kim Zimmer‘s classic performance as Reva Shayne, stripping in a fountain and declaring, “I baptize myself the slut of Springfield!” PS — also offers GL collections of The Bauer Family Story, The Reva Shayne Collection and The Phillips Spaulding Story.

Girl Walks into a Bar . . .: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle by Rachel Dratch (Gotham)
Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock alum Dratch penned this sweet and funny tome to answer those questions she’s asked again and again, namely, 1) what really happened with 30 Rock and 2) what’s the deal with you and your baby’s dad? As for 30 Rock, it was an awkward situation when she was replaced with Jane Krakowski, but Dratch explains that the casting switcheroo made perfect sense and that she has no bitter feelings about it given that. She also shares major details about taking a chance in her dating life, which led to meeting her boyfriend in a bar, which led to a very surprising fortysomething pregnancy. She addresses it all with humor and honesty, and you’ll be won over by both.

Chuck: The Complete Fifth Season on Blu-ray (Warner Home Video)
Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) remains one of TV land’s all-time greatest geeks, and the NBC series had a good five-season run, even if fans had to eat a lot of Subway sammiches to help keep it on the air. In this final season, Chuck and his beloved Sara launched their own private spy biz, even though Chuck was no longer Intersect-loaded. His BFF Morgan Guillermo Grimes, through an unlikely, but still fan-pleasing scenario, became the new Intersect, Chuck and Sara went through some major romantic trials and lovable, patriotic grump John Casey found love with an equally intense partner, making it a short, but satisfying way to wrap the series.
Bonus features: The Blu-ray is filled with them including 2 full-length audio commentaries, deleted scenes, a gag reel, an extended version of the series finale, full versions of the Big Mike and Captain Awesome Buy More commercials and six featurettes, including “Sandwiches and Superfans: The Saving of a Show.”

Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete First and Second Seasons DVD (Warner Home Video)
Laverne and Shirley, Lucy and Ethel, Cagney and Lacey, Mary and Rhoda,  … Rizzoli and Isles. Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander have fantastic chemistry as BFFs — one’s a street-smart detective (Harmon), the other’s a somewhat naïve medical examiner — who also happen to be complete opposites.

Most Talkative: Stories From the Front Lines of Pop Culture by Andy Cohen (Henry Holt)
The face of Bravo shares some dishy info on the Real Housewives and pop culture in general in this memoir, written by a man who, the publisher stated in a press release, knew two things from a young age: “He was gay, and he loved television.” The book is indeed packed with juicy little tidbits, as well as his hilarious letters from camp and a few photos, including one of a much younger Cohen looking like he’s doing his best impression of Bon Jovi, circa 1987 (long, curly hair, vest with no short, jean cutoffs … oh yeah, you have to see it to believe it). Examples: his ponytailed days as a CBS News intern in NYC, where his fellow intern was Julie Chen; his interview with Tammy Faye Baker, who gave him homemade candy that he kept for decades; and the time Cybill Shepherd pitched him a reality series while taking her shirt off and goading him into getting topless, too.

Mildred Pierce: The Collector’s Edition Blu-ray & DVD (HBO)
Audio commentary from director Todd Haynes and behind-the-scenes featurettes make this Blu-ray edition worth buying, even if you’ve already seen the HBO miniseries. Kate Winslet, as tough mama Mildred, earned Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG awards for her portrayal, though Evan Rachel Wood as Mildred’s daughter-from-Hell Veda nearly steals the show in a performance that was every bit as awards-worthy.

Cinema Verite DVD (HBO)
Diane Lane, Tim Robbins, James Gandolfini and Thomas Dekker star in this HBO movie, a fictional account of An American Family, the 1973 PBS documentary series that’s considered one of the first reality TV shows. The most fascinating thing about the movie: that, after all the outrageous reality TV we’ve all seen in the last decade or so, Cinema Verite still manages to convey how shocking it was at the time to see the Loud family self-destruct in front of the TV audience. The DVD also features a making-of special and audio commentary, as well as updates on the Loud clan, including the surprising status of Pat and Bill Loud today.

Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh, My! by Alan Richardson and Karen Tack (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Because what girl doesn’t want to know how to make a cupcake that looks like a high heel? This book is full of cute and genius ideas for fashioning adorable cupcakes, no matter what your skill level with baking or cake decorating.

Boardwalk Empire: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray (HBO)
This souped-up release of the HBO Prohibition-era drama includes a making-of feature, a featurette on the history of Atlantic City as “the original Sin City,” six audio commentaries with cast and crew, a character guide and a feature on how the whole Boardwalk Empire world was created for the series.

Sansa Clip Zip MP3 Player (SanDisk)
Perfect for the gym, a long walk or your own personal soundtrack to accompany reading time, the Sansa Clip Zip is a nifty little MP3 player (it’s less than 2.5 inches tall) with a large color screen, stopwatch, backlight, FM radio, voice recorder and expandable memory card, capability to hold 60 hours of music, and it clips right onto your clothing (and weighs next to nothing — 16 grams). Bonus: it comes in a variety of colors, including red, orange, blue, purple, black and white.

Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster by Kristen Johnston (Gallery Books)
The 3rd Rock From the Sun star has written a very funny book — she is as talented a writer as she is a performer — but there’s much more to this tale, as Johnston shares the surprising story of her addictions. The title refers to her excruciatingly painful, long and lonely stay in a London hospital when she was working in London and her guts literally burst open after years of abusing pills and booze. There’s much redemption in her story, and even more bravery in her decision to spill her guts — the good, the bad and the ugly — about her life.

Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV by Warren Littlefield (Doubleday)
Littlefield was the president of NBC during the ’90s, when the network truly was Must See TV, and he’s sharing hundreds of little tidbits that any true TV fan will love, from the complete backstory on how Seinfeld became a classic TV comedy (but only after nearly failing before and right after it made it on air) and the casting decisions that almost were (Craig Bierko was the first choice to play Chandler on Friends) to off-camera drama like how John Ratzenberger almost beat up Kelsey Grammer on Cheers and how George Costanza’s fiancé, Susan, was killed off partly because the actress who played her was, well, difficult. For the fan of ’90s TV, this is the must-read book of the spring/summer.

The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo That Ended World War II by Lawrence Verria and George Galdorisi (Naval Institute Press)
You know the photo … the photo, the one of the sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square, minutes after Japan surrendered to the United States. After being published in LIFE magazine a couple of weeks later, the pic became one of the most iconic images of World War II — and history — but the true identities of the nurse and sailor have been an ongoing mystery and controversy since. Authors Verria and Galdorisi propose that they’ve finally got the scoop on the identities of the duo in the photo, and this engrossing read unfolds their detective work.

Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult’s Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It’s Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner by Jen Lancaster (NAL Hardcover)
One of my all-time favorite authors, Lancaster is irreverent about things other people take way too seriously and takes things others poo-poo way too seriously herself. And that’s only one of her charms, and one of the things that, as a reader, makes you laugh out loud and want to recruit her as your new BFF. A new Lancaster release is always a treat, and Jeneration X is no exception, as the author makes the painful decision to make grown-up decisions about buying a house, engaging in financial planning and having kids. Hilarity, as it always does in Jennsylvania, ensues.

Harper’s Bazaar: Greatest Hits by Glenda Bailey (Abrams)
This gorgeous (and heavy: it weighs almost five pounds) collection of the best of the magazine’s past decade is the perfect coffee table book, one that will look pretty and interesting sitting on your coffee table or bookcase and which will provide endless hours of beautiful and inspiring fashion pics. Fashion names like Sarah Jessica Parker, Tom Ford, Alexander McQueen, Patrick Demarchelier, Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell and Agyness Deyn (who pays homage to Michael Jackson) pepper the full color book, but my fave: the magazine’s January 2006 cover, which proves that no one can rock kelly green like Julianne Moore.

The BBC Natural History Collection featuring Planet Earth (with Planet Earth, The Blue Planet: Seas of Life Special Edition, Life of Mammals and Life of Birds) (BBC Worldwide)
Hands down, the most spectacular, fascinating, visually mind-blowing nature documentaries ever filmed, and one of the few sets that will truly entertain the whole family.

Vogue: The Covers by Dodie Kazanjian (Abrams)
The book doesn’t include every cover since the magazine’s premiere on December 17, 1892, but there are more than 300 of them represented in this impressive tome, which is more than enough to paint a picture of how both the magazine and the fashion world have evolved (and make you and your mom very happy that we no longer have to wear what looks like 50 pounds of clothing every day). The book is full of fashion icons of every decade — and even includes last year’s Lady Gaga “Born This Way” cover — and includes in a special vellum envelope in the back a set of five frame-worthy cover reproductions. A highlight: page 73’s reprint of the Dec. 1, 1939 Christmas gifts issue, in which the Vogue logo is spelled out in jewelry.

Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray (HBO)
Oh, c’mon, everybody’s watching it, even those of us who aren’t usually into the whole fantasy saga genre, because at its heart, it’s a really good (and graphically violent, admittedly) soap opera with fantastic performances (Peter Dinklage … really, it doesn’t get better). The Blu-ray set comes with a slew of bonus materials, including audio commentaries, a complete guide to Westeros, character profiles and a feature on adapting the books for TV.

Inspiration: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World by Crystal McCrary/photographs by Lauri Lyons (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)
Released during Women’s History Month earlier this year, Inspiration features short, but sweet biographies and beautiful photographs of 30 black women who’ve influenced every part of the world from the White House (yes, Michelle Obama) and Wimbledon (Venus Williams) to Hollywood (Raven-Symone) and the music industry (Mary J. Blige). Among the other famous names who share their inspiring stories: Ruby Dee, Patty LaBelle, Whoopi Goldberg, Iman, Shonda Rhimes, Soledad O’Brien, Laila Ali and Oprah‘s BFF Gayle King (though Oprah herself is MIA … is there anything we don’t already know about her anyway?).

The Big C: The Complete Second Season (Sony)
The first season (also available on Sony DVD) earned Laura Linney a Golden Globe, as her Cathy dealt with the possibility of leaving her husband, son and brother behind when she was diagnosed with cancer. Season two found Cathy deciding to fight her stage four cancer head on, with the help of a new doctor (played by Alan Alda) and the companionship of a fellow stage four patient (Hugh Dancy), who was much more conflicted about how much longer he wanted to continue battling the disease. Fantastically written and performed, The Big C may not be quite the comedy it’s often billed as, but there are welcome moments of levity amongst all the drama.

I Brake for Yard Sales by Lara Spencer (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)
Yep, the Good Morning America co-host is also quite the garage sale/flea market/auction expert, and she uses her cheap finds and some DIY magic to decorate her home with some pretty fantastic wares. In this fun, photo-packed how-to book, Spencer shares her tips for finding and making over (often for as little as $5) such goodies as dilapidated chairs that become pink faux leather-covered treasures (page 37), cool, retro-chic re-done mirrors and lighting fixtures and endless end tables and footstools that have been transformed with a little bit of paint (and a lot of Spencer’s TLC and DIY know-how). Spencer even shares a list of some of her favorite bargaining haunts from across the country (Housing Works in New York City and the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena are, of course, among them), along with photos of the makeover she performed on Kathy Griffin‘s house and tips like how to use great fabric to make any cheap find look luxurious and how not to be afraid to make that occasional Dumpster dive for a find with lots of potential.

Pie it Forward: Pies, Tarts, Tortes, Galettes and Other Pastries Reinvented by Gesine Bullock-Prado (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)
Yes, the author and bakery owner is the sister of Sandra Bullock, but there’s only one reason to buy this cookbook: the yummy, yummy recipes and pie pics. A chapter on basic dough and cream recipes leads right into the sweet treats themselves, including the New England Berry Galette, Strawberry Rhubard Lattice Crumble Pie, “hand pies” (turnover-like mini pies), Gesine Confectionary Cherry Pie, pie pops (mini pies on a stick!), Buttermilk Peach Pie (seriously), Velvet Elvis Pie (yep, bananas and peanut butter) and Fleur de Del Caramel Almond Brownie Pie.

Route 66: The Complete Series (Shout! Factory)
The ’60s series with the iconic theme song, cool Corvette and impressive list of future stars as guests gets the full box set treatment. Among the guests Tod, Linc and Buz met in their travels: Robert Redford, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Walter Matthau, Martin Sheen, Buster Keaton, Julie Newmar, Ed Asner, Lee Marvin, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, William Shatner, Burt Reynolds, Gene Hackman and Alan Alda.

Total Memory Makeover: Uncover Your Past, Take Charge of Your Future by Marilu Henner (Gallery Books)
You know the show Unforgettable on CBS, about the cop who can remember every detail of every day of her life? She has Highly Superior Auto-biographical Memory (HSAM), and so does Taxi and Evening Shade alum Henner, who writes about it in this book. First of all, it is an amazing, and amazingly rare, ability; only 12 people, ever, have been confirmed to have it. Henner writes about HSAM, but the real point of the book is to show people how they can boost their own total recall, and then “turn your newfound memories into a treasure map to a successful future.”  She includes exercises throughout the book, as well as thoughtful, practical ways strengthening your memories — even, and sometimes especially, the bad ones — can be a really good thing.

Downton Abbey seasons 1 and 2 DVDs (PBS)
It’s the PBS drama that even people who usually only watch reality TV like. What more do you need to know?

You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death and Other Humiliations by Michael Ian Black (Gallery Books)
The Ed and The State actor is at his funniest in this new book of musings about, as the subtitle says, marriage, sex and other humiliations, like how he may not love his colicky baby and how it never occurred to him that he was to blame for his parents’ divorce until they continued to assure him that he wasn’t. And this gem, which is his takeaway from the joint therapy sessions he and his wife shared: “What I learn, and this is a tough pill to swallow, is that other people have their own stories in which I am not the star. From their point of view, whenever I do upsetting things, I am less like Harrison Ford as Han Solo and more like Mel Gibson as Mel Gibson.” PS: This particular book is probably, as that last quote illustrates, a good choice as a Father’s Day gift, too.

Never Say Never: Finding a Life That Fits by Ricki Lake (Atria Books)
Who doesn’t love Ricki Lake for at least one of her many Hollywood projects, be it her early John Waters movie career, her daytime talk show, her documentary The Business of Being Born or her recent stint on Dancing With the Stars? Lake will be hosting a new talk show in September, and in the meantime, she’s sharing some surprising and very personal stories in this memoir, in which she discusses her painful childhood — including sexual abuse and a relationship with her mother that led to estrangement as an adult — how she landed her career-launching role in Hairspray, her lifelong struggle with her weight, her talk show, her first marriage and its painful demise, the birth of her sons and her funny attempts at online dating as a celebrity.

Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest and Irreverent Look at Motherhood — The Good, the Bad and the Scary by Jill Smokler (Gallery Books) blogger Smokler shares some of her blog missives, and adds plenty of fresh ones, as she shares the real spin on mommyhood, including her well-intentioned, but unsuccessful, attempt to breastfeed, how she curses at her kids (in her head) and how she once threw a birthday party for her three-year-old … and forgot to invite her husband! Smokler also shares confessions from anonymous mommies, like the mom who — rather cleverly — joined her gym only so she could read while her kids were in the gym’s free day care and the mom whose 18-month-old couldn’t say “mommy,” but could say the word “shit” and use it correctly.

Born to Be Brad: My Life and Style, So Far by Brad Goreski (It Books)
I used to find him annoying when he was Rachel Zoe‘s assistant, but the It’s a Brad, Brad World version of Brad Goreski revealed him to be a much savvier, talented, charming guy than he’d been portrayed as on The Rachel Zoe Project. And with a much more inspiring backstory, as he unfolds in greater detail in this memoir. Raised in a small Canadian town that was the opposite of a fashion hotbed, Goreski was always interested in all things fashion, something that alienated him from his schoolmates and sometimes even his parents. Angsty years led to drug problems later, and he was by no means an overnight success as a stylist, and that, along with his persistence, talent, clear love of what he does and his relationship with boyfriend Gary have made him nothing short of endearing. And yes, there are plenty of photos and style advice, like 9 Things Every Woman Should Have in Her Wardrobe, How to Buy Vintage Clothes, the most inspirational movies (fashion-wise) and a list of Goreski’s favorite style icons (Molly Ringwald is among them).

The Everygirl’s Guide to Life by Maria Menounos (It Books)
The TV hostess’s book is a complete lifestyle guide, and if you know nothing, or very little about her, this should clue you in on why the book is worth reading: “Growing up, I worked as a janitor cleaning nightclubs alongside my parents, and my last job before working in Hollywood was selling sausages on the streets of Boston,” she writes. “These days, I eat at places like Chili’s, shop at Target … watch bad reality TV, go to bargain matinee movies and even know my way around Home Depot.” Sounds like a down-to-earth girl you could hang with, right? So it’s a bonus that she’s written a book that’s full of practical, clever tips on everything from home and office organization and makeup tips to finances and home décor, as well as advice on dating, surrounding yourself with a “sunshine committee” of positive people, fitness, healthy eating and career moves.

The French Dog by Rachael McKenna (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)
Gorgeously designed coffee table book, chock full of photos of cute doggies in various locales around France … what’s not to love?

Hazan Family Favorites: Beloved Italian Recipes by Giuliano Hazan (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)
The frequent Today show guest shares the favorite recipes of his family (his mom was famous Italian cookbook writer Marcella Hazan), so they are tried and true dishes through multiple generations. The accompanying photos are nothing short of mouthwatering, including Maccheroni Soup with Sausage and Porcini, Bolognese Lasagne, Al Cantunzein’s Papparadelle with Sausage and Peppers, Uccellini Scappati and a perfectly pink homemade Strawberry Gelato.

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