25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 6

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

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Courtesy of Lee Mendelson Film Productions / MGN 

Today we celebrate not just one song, but several from what is arguably the best Christmas special ever made.  Last night this holiday favorite aired for the 54th year in a row and yes, I was front and center.  It leaves me all warm and cuddly inside while hitting all the points of the season:  good will towards men, non-commercialism, listening to special holiday music with people you care about, choosing to decorate (and celebrate, for that matter) in a way that makes you happy, even if that way is not the conventional approach, knowing that anything is beautiful with a little love and the core religious aspect of what Christmas is all about.  Plus it stars some of my best friends in the universe, the Peanuts.

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Courtesy of Lee Mendelson Productions / MGN 

Based on the successful comic strip started in 1950, the animated holiday special was commissioned and sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company which obviously knew a good thing when they saw it.  It was the first TV appearance for the Peanuts characters and catapulted them and their creator from a mere phenomenon to super stardom.  Merchandise of all kinds was created and it was not just limited to toys.  Other items like cookie jars, home decor & accessories, watches, clothing, greeting cards, lunch boxes, Pez dispensers, banks, etc. were also marketed.  You name it, it is out there.  And today it is still a billion dollar industry that all began with this special from 1965.  Not to mention its incredible unforgettable grown-up soundtrack that critic Shawn M. Haney wrote ” “introduce[d] contemporary jazz to youngsters with grace, charm, and creativity.”  If this were the only Christmas album I could listen to for the rest of my life, I would be perfectly fine with that (but please don’t tell Bruce Springsteen!!!).

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Other Peanuts TV specials followed, as did movies, including a 3-D one in 2015.  And the comic strip also continued for the next 35 years.  Sadly it came to an end in February 2000 when its glorious creator was forced to retire due to his failing health.  He died the day after the last strip was published.  His official cause of death was cancer.  Unofficially, I think it was due to a broken heart.  We all knew from the last words of that final strip how much it hurt to say goodbye to the characters he created who became our beloved friends.  His words were ones we could all identify with:

“Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy…..how can I ever forget them?”

Thanks to “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, none of us ever have to.  But how do we ever thank you, Charles M. Schulz, for the gift of our dear sweet cherished Peanuts?

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Christmas Is Coming” (1965, instrumental by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, written by Vince Guaraldi in 1965).

Christmas Time Is Here” (1965, vocal version by choristers from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in San Rafael, California, written by Lee Mendelson & Vince Guaraldi in 1965).

Christmas Time Is Here” (1965, instrumental version by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, written by Lee Mendelson & Vince Guaraldi in 1965).

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (1965, vocal by choristers from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in San Rafael, California, based on a 1739 Christmas carol with various writers including Charles Wesley and George Whitefield).

Linus and Lucy” (1965, instrumental by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, written by Vince Guaraldi in 1965).

O Tannenbaum” (1965, instrumental by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, written by Vince Guaraldi in 1965).

Skating” (1965, instrumental by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, written by Ernst Anschutz in 1824).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

The Battle Is On

A week after Halloween and we are divided.  What side are you on?  Is it still fall or are you in Christmas mode?

My feet are firmly planted in the current autumn season.  I love it WAY too much to end it so abruptly (not to mention prematurely).  And luckily there are many people I follow on Instagram who feel the same way, like Mayra who posted her beautiful mantle.

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(Courtesy of @cupcakecountrygirl)

But there are just as many pictures of Christmas decorations in my feed which I like, too, for ideas and inspiration.  Just like this gorgeous tiered tray by Crystal.

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(Courtesy of @crystaltara).

But I cannot start Christmas decorating at the expense of Thanksgiving!!!  I just can’t!!!

Some people let the seasons collide, sort of like at the retail stores where this time of year you can find Halloween clearance, Thanksgiving decor and Christmas items on display together.  This was evident during a recent trip to one of my favorite places on earth, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (not sponsored).  They are promoting their delicious menu for Thanksgiving along with their beautiful Christmas decor items.

The ambiance in the restaurant is very much all autumn:

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CB bounty

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And the General Store is well stocked with fall items, too:

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CB kitchen towel

CB grit and grace pillow

But Christmas is in full swing at the Store as well:

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cb snowman

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I just L-O-V-E this tree topper hat!!!

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And these two are my favorites of all their pretty ornaments.

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Even though Halloween is over, Cracker Barrel still has plenty of mega-sized candy available that could be a great gift for a difficult person on your list who may have a sweet tooth:

cb kit kat

cb mallo cup

cb rice krispie treats

So, what season is it for you right now?  What does your decor look like this time of year?

Now for a song.

This summer we lost a singer who was a sentimental favorite of mine.  Not just because he had a great husky voice with a blue-eyed soul thing going on, but because he was also family.  Community family.  He grew up in the same town I did and graduated from the same high school I went to.  And he put us on the map for a good reason after a lot of bad publicity stemming from an extraordinarily mortifying book banning incident.

He initially tried to join the family business as a cop in the NYC Police Department like his grandfather, dad & brother did before him.  However, he soon realized his heart was really in music, so he headed west to begin his career.  His debut album was released in 1977 and he was off.  He had more hits in the 1980’s & 1990’s, but his first one has always been my favorite.  In today’s social media driven world where many struggle to be  thankful for what they have vs. what they see, the lyrics are as relevant as ever:

“Don’t be thinkin’ ’bout what’s not enough, now baby
Just be thinkin’ ’bout what we got
Think of all my love, now
I’m gonna give you all I got.”  

Eddie Money    Eddie Money 2010

  Eddie Money’s 1977 album cover & in 2010 at the LI Music HOF ceremony (original sources unknown).  

I had the chance to meet him in 2010 at the Long Island Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Huntington, NY.  He was sweet, kind and gracious and reminisced with me about our junior high vice principal.  It was a great thrill for me to meet him and a fantastic night of music to be a part of.  He was also a quiet champion for our veterans.  Rest in peace,  Edward Joseph Mahoney.  And thank you from all of us in your Levittown and Island Trees families.  You made us unbelievably proud.

Baby Hold On” – Eddie Money (1977, written by Eddie Money & Jimmy Lyon).

I do not own the rights to anything in this post.  I just enjoy sharing what I love with you.

Until next time, happy listening!!!

 

 

 

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 20

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

I follow a lot of unbelievably talented & creative women on Instagram, and since their pictures are so beautiful, I wanted to share a few with you.

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Courtesy of Julie @ Little Farmstead 

If you like simple rustic farmhouse elegance, then you need to visit Julie’s Instagram page, @littlefarmstead.  Her neutral palette is punctuated with natural elements and lots of texture.  She also shares life on her farm with her beautiful family.  If all that were not enough, this year they added a few baby doll sheep to all the fun.  And yes, they are as adorable as they sound.  Visit her IG page to see them & the rest of her pretty pictures.  Thanks, Julie, for letting me share your picture!!!

Now to today’s song.

Remember when we were kids and we had to wait ALL YEAR to watch the Christmas specials-Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town and my all time favorite, A Charlie Brown Christmas?  Once a year was never enough for me.  I hummed the music all year long, danced the same dance as all the characters did when no one was looking and replayed the ice skating scene over and over again in my head in the middle of the summer when winter seemed years away.

Over the years I bought the corresponding book, the DVD and the music CD.  I probably watch the special on average once a month and I never tire of it.  When I am having a bad day and cannot adult another second more, I climb into bed, get under my covers and escape into that beautiful world of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus and the rest of the gang.  And after 30 minutes in the safest most perfect world I have ever known, all becomes a little easier in the one I have to live in.  And I make no apologies for that.

Here is my favorite song from this heartfelt special along with a few covers that deserve honorable mentions.

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The Peanuts by way of the Vince Guaraldi Trio:  “Christmastime Is Here” (1965).

Anita Baker:  “Christmas Time Is Here” (2005).

Shawn Colvin:  “Christmastime Is Here” (1998).

Diana Krall:  “Christmastime Is Here” (2005).

Kenny Loggins:  “Christmastime Is Here” (1998).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 11

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

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My tree from 2016.  Charlie Brown is with me every year.

Do you remember the 1988 book “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum?  Great sentiment about how life really never changes, just our reactions to  it.  Well, Charles M. Schulz taught me about the people I would encounter in my life:  the mean one (Lucy), the smart philosopher (Linus), the everyday, insecure person hoping to get noticed (Charlie Brown), the sloppy one (Pig Pen), the musician (Schroeder), the one who follows the beat of her own drum (Peppermint Patty), the who who is always letting his imagination run away from him (Snoopy) and the ones who always need a little extra help (Woodstock, Sally).

I must admit it took a while for me to understand these personalities represented real life, but I am so happy I grew up with these characters.   To this day they comfort my soul, make my heart happy and make me feel safe.  It does not feel like Christmas to me until I watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and hear the gang sing these two Christmas songs.

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Courtesy Charles M. Schulz

The Peanuts:  “Christmas Time Is Here

The Peanuts “Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing”

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

 

Christmas Song Countdown #18

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

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Courtesy of Pinterest (original source unknown)

Today’s song is by one of my all-time heroes, a man I love, adore and admire and the man I will eventually marry soon if his wife would stop hogging him already.  I mean, she has had over 30 years with him-now she is just being greedy.  I will let her visit the Oscar whenever she wants if that is what she is worried about.

Seriously, how refreshing that a man is so dedicated and protective of his music that he does not mess up that gift with drugs, or by letting some big box store use it in a campaign (that they hope will boost their sales in an effort to get the public to forget how bad they treat their employees, the environment or every small business in the free world) or even let even let the President of the United States get away with using his copyrighted music without his permission.

This year alone he was awarded the Medal of Freedom, he & the E Street Band had the #1 highest-grossing tour for the first half of 2016 according to Forbes Magazine, outdid his own extended show length and broke the record for the longest U.S. concert this year (4 hours, 3 minutes and 43 seconds).

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President Obama presenting Bruce Springsteen with the Medal of Honor last month

               (Original source unknown)

What was the other thing he did this year???

It is on the tip of my tongue…..

Come on, Michele, think……..

Oh, right…..

HE WROTE A BEST SELLING AUTOBIOGRAPHY!!!

bruce-auto

Courtesy:  Simon & Schuster

It debuted in the #1 spot on the NY Times Best Sellers list, was one of their top picks for 2016 and their critic Dwight Garner wrote:  “Mr. Springsteen’s memoir is big, loose, rangy and intensely satisfying. It has not been utterly sanitized for anyone’s protection, and it is closely observed from end to end, especially on subjects like sex, art and social class. The Boss could have phoned this book in. He didn’t.”

Amen.

Garner’s review also included this gem:

“Bruce Springsteen’s song lyrics have injected more drama and mystery into the myths of the American road than any figure since Jack Kerouac.”

Ah, two of my favorite men in one sentence!!!!!

“Both an entertaining account of Springsteen’s marathon race to the top and a reminder that the one thing you can’t run away from is yourself.”Entertainment Weekly

How true.

And the best gift of all, IMHO:  

“He must be conceded a magic with words: He can spin not only a yarn but often an extended analysis, too…. His disclosures here are rich, deep, and useful to help destigmatize mental illness.”Slate

I have written this before, but it bears repeating:  

I love Bruce Springsteen for so many things.  

But for that most of all.

And Jungleland, of course.

bruce-merrychristmasbaby

Courtesy:  Eric Meola

Merry Christmas, Boss Man.  Thank you for everything & congratulations on another incredible year.

Bruce Springsteen:  Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

P.S.  An honorable mention to James Taylor’s cover, a jazzy-bluesy-piano-infused version that reminded me of Vince Guaraldi’s style from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

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Courtesy of:  me!!!  Foxboro Stadium, MA.  9/14/16

Weekend Wanderings

Hello, Vixens!!!  Happy Monday!!!  Did you enjoy your weekend?

Do you know how empty the stores are the weekend before Black Friday, not including the grocery stores?  I spent the weekend running errands and picking up supplies for my apartment and I was amazed at how quickly I was in and out of the stores.  I guess everyone is waiting for the Black Friday sales.

When I was at one of the home improvement stores on Saturday, I was overwhelmed by the variety of Christmas items they had not just for the outside of the home as expected, but for inside as well.  For example, how adorable is this nativity scene???

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Or these Nemo-themed ornaments?

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I buy myself one new ornament a year and yes, it is usually a Peanuts themed one.  Below is this year’s winner:

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This was adorable, too, but I do not need it & my wallet does not need the almost $100 price tag.  But it is cute nonetheless:

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I also loved these resin statues:

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And Elvis was in the house, too!!! (Well, in the home improvement store actually……)

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I am not a fur/leopard print person, but I did find it surprising on hats!!!

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And I am not a “Star Wars” person, but how adorable are these Yoda lights?!?!

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Or this giant Yoda and his friends???  Buddy the Elf is my favorite!!!

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Then when I was at the grocery store, I saw this adorable display:

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I spotted these too cute for words giant Woodstock & Charlie Brown greeters at CVS:

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Are you guys into the Black Friday sales?  I must admit after shopping flea markets, antiques stores, the outlets and online shopping, I have really lost my taste for the malls.  I will only do it in an emergency or if a friend asks me to help her choose a dress for a special occasion.  During my last few years in NY I wanted to go to the outlets at midnight on Black Friday, but somehow talked myself out of it when they released an estimate of expecting over five thousand shoppers.  Crazy, right?  And the only way I could get to the 5 am or 6 am sales was if I stayed up all night, and that was rather impossible after a meal of tryptophan packed turkey.  And later in the day I cringed when I drove by the stores and saw how packed they were.  Ugh.

I am, however, all about the day after Christmas sales.  Like most frugal minded people, I pick up next year’s cards, tree lights and other items needed for the following holiday season.  I do try to keep it simple and green because there is so much waste this time of year it makes me feel guilty about my carbon footprint.  And since my feet are a size 11, I have more than most to make up for   🙂

Also, if you are looking for a great read this holiday season or a fabulous gift for the music lover on your list, then you MUST pick up a copy of the greatest book ever written…………

At least this year……………………………………………………………………

Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography “Born To Run”.  (BONUS:  The audio book comes out December 6 and it is narrated by The Boss himself!!!  Yes, please!!!)

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Despite pre-ordering my copy online, it took much longer to receive than I anticipated. Thank goodness for my local library!!!  This is a GREAT read, and I do not just say that as his most dedicated fan (Kathy Bates has forever prohibited anyone from using the phrase “biggest fan” LOL!!!)  I say it because it is true.  Springsteen’s talent for writing is not just limited to his songs.  His words are brutally honest, reflective,  happy, sad, true and unbelievably powerful.  They are also healing as he discusses his bout with depression.  It has generally been considered a woman’s disease by society so, therefore, not given the proper attention it deserves.  But when someone like The Boss comes forward and admits he has suffered from it, people listen.  And that is what mental illness needs:  a voice.

As someone who has suffered with depression most of my life, Springsteen’s admission of the disease validated every symptom I have ever had, from not being able to get myself out of bed for days at a time or not being able to function in general day to day activities.  I love Bruce Springsteen for a multitude of things, but for this most of all.  His being so forthright with this information takes away the stigma that still sadly exists about this disease and mental illness in general.  Mere words will never be adequate enough to thank this man for what he has done for the world of music, let alone me.  But it is all I have to give so, thank you Bruce, for everything.

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy digging!!!

***(Nothing in this post is sponsored.  I am just sharing some of my favorite things with you.)

It’s A Wonderful House

I know it is almost Easter, but I have been thinking a lot about a Christmas movie lately:  “It’s A Wonderful Life“***.   The one scene in particular I replay over and over in my  head is the one where George and Mary are walking home from the dance and they throw rocks in the window of the old house that Mary wishes will become her home to share with George one day in the future.

On my recent travels, I drove passed a house that I dream of owning.  It’s old, not in the best of shape, and I am not even sure if it has been occupied recently as there are never any people or cars around it.  The house sits on about an acre of land with a beautiful lake behind it.

This is the front street view of the house.  Please forgive the quality of the pictures as I was using my iPhone.  My SLR camera is not working at all.

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And this is the side view.IMG_0619[1]

I am in love with this house.  I love the wrap around porch, the charm it exudes and all the beautiful trees on the property.  I have yet to see the inside, but I imagine there are fireplaces in every room, more than one bathroom featuring a claw foot tub and a kitchen right out of the 1940’s or 1950’s.  Sa-woon.

Of course, none of that may be true, but since the outside still retains its charm, I am hopeful that the inside loveliness has been preserved as well.  I will be crushed it it turns out the kitchen contains 1970’s Formica or that the living room has bright orange shag carpeting, but for now I will hold onto my dreams.

When I picture my life in the future, I see myself living in a home like this, one that my future husband & I have lovingly restored and now live in with our two pugs, Starsky & Hutch.  We plant a vegetable garden, some lilac and hydrangeas bushes and perhaps get a few chickens so we can have fresh eggs every day.  We host lavish clam bakes in the summer & cozy Christmas Eve dinners every December with our guests helping us trim our 10 foot tree while we drink eggnog and watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas“*** over and over until it is time to eat.  I have had this dream forever.

This is the view as I drove down the drive way towards the side entrance.

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But now that dream is not so easy to have.  Ever since I sold my small house (which was only 811 square feet) and downsized to a studio half that size, I have come to really appreciate living smaller rather than larger.  I know I am not alone, as the tiny house movement has become a real cause and purpose for many people looking to live a more minimalistic life.  I made the choice to live smaller simply because I realized I was basically living in only one room of my house-the bedroom-so I did not see the sense in spending money on a multiple room apartment or paying to furnish those rooms when I was very content having everything I needed in one room.

I want a simple life.  Someone to love, a couple of dogs to rescue, several road trips throughout the year and a freedom from not having any house maintenance work to worry about.  But then I picture life in that big old house, and as idyllic as it seems, I get bogged down in the guilt of the amount of energy a house that size uses, or the carbon footprint it has on the environment, or the fact that two people and two dogs really do not need a house that big. And I love road trips and spending the weekends going to estate sales, antiques stores and flea markets. Houses of any size require regular maintenance, and an old big house requires that much more.  We may need a place to live, but it does not have to be such a big place.  Sometimes I hate having a conscience!!!

The views from the back of the property.  How great would it be to look out on a lake every day???

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Do any of you get bogged down in that kind of thinking?  Or do you just push forward to make your dreams come true? I would really love to know.

***The starred links are my affiliate links.  I only share what I truly love & I am grateful for the support 🙂

I hope all of you who celebrate the holiday have a very happy Easter!!!

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy digging!!!