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.

cupcake IG post

(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.

Crystal

(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:

CB hearth

CB bounty

CB menu

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

cb harvest truck pillow

CB kitchen towel

CB grit and grace pillow

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

cb Christmas display

cb snowman

Peanuts tin.jpg

cb tree

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

cb hat tree topper

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

cb gingerbread house ornament      cb barn ornament

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 25

Merry Christmas, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

church

Beautiful winter holiday scene found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

This woman, hailed as the Matriarch of R&B, had her roots in gospel before branching out into blues, jazz, soul and rock & roll.  She was one of the pillars of Chess Records in the 1950’s & 1960’s and is best known by her signature song “At Last”.  It took almost her whole lifetime for her to be recognized for her impeccable voice, but there is no mistaking her talent once you hear her sing the first note of any of her songs.  And there is not a better one to celebrate the meaning of Christmas Day than this one.

Etta

Etta James:  “Joy To The World” (1998).

And for the new year, my hope and wish is the same:  peace in the new year.  Here’s to 2019!!!

Amy Vince Michael

Michael McDonald,  Amy Grant, Vince Gill & Chet Atkins:  “Let There Be Peace On Earth” (1993-Christmas with Vince Gill in Tulsa, OK).

Thank you all for your support & for following along with me this year!!!  I truly appreciate each and every one of you!!!  I wish you all the best in the new year!!!

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 2018: Day 24

Merry Christmas Eve, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

day 24

Pretty tree found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

For today’s song I am sharing three versions with you because I think they are all too beautiful for words.  The first version is from an R&B/Soul Rock & Roll Hall of Fame legend who still performs (this year he recorded his own version of the 1975 Freddy Fender country classic “Before The Next Teardrop Falls”) but calls the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church home for his weekly sermons.

The second version is by an Italian tenor who has been called the greatest singer in the world by record producer David Foster, and has a voice that makes me swoon.  The third is by a Puerto Rican singer & composer who has sung his own songs as well as recorded classic interpretations of other musician’s work.  I did not hear his version of this Christmas classic until this year and I fell head over heels in love with it.

Al Green

Bocelli

 

Jose

Al Green:  “Silent Night” (1983).

Andrea Bocelli:  “Silent Night” (2009).

Jose Feliciano:  “Silent Night” (1970).

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 2018: Day 19

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.

Little Brags

Courtesy of Christine @ Little Brags

Today’s picture is from Christine Vandormolen @littlebrags.  She calls her style “boho” but I just call it pretty.  I love how she uses natural elements to create her designs, and her simple. easy approach to decorating combined with her impeccable eye for detail makes for a great room, or porch, as is the case with the picture above.  Her IG page is filled with other pictures like this, and some of her cuddly little rabbit, too.  Thank you for letting me use your picture, Christine!!!

Now to today’s song.

If “White Christmas” is the premiere holiday song, the today’s pick has to be a solid second.  Written in 1945 by Mel Torme (lyrics & music) & Bob Wells (music) and recorded by a slew of performers over the last 60 years, but my favorite is by the man Frank Sinatra called “the best in the business” followed very closely by the most popular version of the song and the one by the songwriter himself.

Tony.jpg

Anthony Dominick Benedetto a/k/a Tony Bennett:  “The Christmas Song” (1968).

Nat King Cole:  “The Christmas Song” (1961)

Mel Torme:  “The Christmas Song” (1954, 1961).

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 2018: Day 18

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.

Debra Vintage Crushin.jpeg

Courtesy of Debra @vintagecrushin

Today’s picture comes from Debra @vintagecrushin who shares my affinity for white Ironstone among her many loves.  She creates such pretty vignettes in her home (like the one above) and is so creative she celebrated Thanksgiving in her garage which was decorated in classic vintage style (with an assist from her equally talented sister) complete with mismatched china, old silver and glass goblets.  All the pictures are up on her page for your enjoyment!!!  And my thanks to Debra for letting me share her beautiful picture!!!

Today’s song was a suggestion to me in 2016 by a reader (thank you, Michael!!!) and I have been addicted to it ever since.  It was written by Joni Mitchell in 1971 for her album “Blue” and quoted by Meg Ryan’s character Kathleen Kelly in “You’ve Got Mail” ( “It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees. Do you know that Joni Mitchell song? ‘I wish I had a river I could skate away on?’ It’s such a sad song, and not really about Christmas at all, but I was thinking about it tonight as I was decorating my Christmas tree and unwrapping funky ornaments made of Popsicle sticks, and missing my mother so much I almost couldn’t breathe”).  I do love a good pop culture reference  🙂

This song has been covered by such diverse artists as Sarah McLachlan, Barry Manilow, James Taylor and Sam Smith.  But this version is my absolute favorite and something this good needs to be shared.  And it is from of one of my favorite shows ever, Ally McBeal,  when this actor/singer/hottie played Attorney Larry Paul.

ally_mcbeal_robert_downey_jr_calista_flockhart_free_big_fixed_big

Robert Downey Jr. & Calista Flockhart from “Ally McBeal” circa 2000 (original source unknown).  

Robert Downey Jr. “River” (2000)

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 2018: Day 17

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.

real simple pic.JPG Photo courtesy of Debi @realsimplestyle

This one is from Debi Cook Rosin @realsimplestyle.   It may be simple to use her description, but I love the rustic elegance of it.  It is true authentic farmhouse style, not the staged type you can buy at a store.  That look is fine if that is what you want, but I prefer the real thing.  And Debi’s style reflects it so beautifully.  Her IG feed is lovely, so if you like this type of decor, give her page a look.  And thank you, Debi, for letting me share your beautiful photo!!!

Today’s song is by another New Jersey legend.  This one did it all.  He sang, wrote songs, acted, was a Las Vegas showman and went on to become and remain an iconic figure in American pop culture.  One critic labeled him the greatest singer of the 20th century.  I imagine all that led to him becoming Chairman of the Board.

He co-wrote today’s song  with his longtime musical associate Hank Sanicola & Dok Stanford in 1957.  Francis Albert Sinatra, we lost you 20 years ago, but we still miss you.  Ti vogliamo bene.  Buon Natale.

Sinatra

Frank Sinatra:  “Mistletoe and Holly” (1957).

The link above is to a live version showing Frank singing a shorter version of the song.  For the entire song, here is the full studio version.

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 2018: Day 16

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

day 16

Adorable shadow box DIY Christmas craft found on Pinterest (original source unknown). 

From the first time I heard “Mandy”, I was in entranced by this singer.  Then came “Weekend in New England”, “Trying To Get The Feeling Again”, “Could It Be Magic”, and a slew of others.  He also wrote the “American Bandstand” theme for Dick Clark.  He was the premier voice of pop music throughout the 70’s & 80’s.  Some call liking his music as a guilty pleasure, but I don’t.  I am a Fanilow and proud of it.  His take on this Christmas classic is fun, festive and has an old school swing sound.  It’s the grown-up version of the song we all sang as kids.  And I just adore it.

Barry manilow

Barry Manilow:  “Jingle Bells” (1990).

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!!!