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!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 1

Happy December, everybody!!!

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(Original source unknown.)

Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving however you spent it.  I started mine in the usual way-by watching the parade.  I was absolutely thrilled to see Snoopy the Astronaut as the first balloon!!!  What an honor!!!

So now that we are officially in the Christmas season (and it really feels that way today here in New England because we are getting our first snowfall of the year…….YAY!!!) it is time for my 25 Days of Christmas music countdown!!!

Let’s begin with a classic by a classic.  Other than “White Christmas”, no other song defines the season like this one.  And this man’s version is the quintessential one at that.  He actually recorded this song a few times (1946, 1953) before, but the stereo version from 1961 is the one most of us know and love.  For a singer who began his career in jazz, it was his pop songs that turned him into a massive success that led to him starring in his own TV show beginning in 1956.

Nat King Cole.jpg Nat King Cole circa 1950’s (original source unknown).

Nat King Cole:  “The Christmas Song” (1961, written by Robert Wells & Mel Torme in 1945).

For an outstanding female take on this song, my pick is by a woman who became famous during the big band era.  Her smooth velvet-like voice was simply gorgeous and her take on the standards was like no one before her or since.  She recorded several Christmas classics, but this one is just magic to me.  And the fact that she is related to George Clooney only makes her more lovable (not to mention unbelievably lucky!!!)

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Rosemary Clooney circa 1950’s & in 1994 with nephew George Clooney on the set of ER. 
(KOBAL/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK; ALAMY)

Rosemary Clooney:  “The Christmas Song” (1978 and 1996, written by Robert Wells & Mel Torme in 1945).

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 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!!!

 

Fall Kinds Of Fun: The Garlic & Harvest Festival

Hello, Vixens!!!  How are all of you enjoying this beautiful fall season???  You know I am loving it which is why I have not had the time to blog.  But I indulged in a Connecticut fall tradition that was so fantastic I wanted to share it with you:  The Garlic & Harvest Festival.

Held every year in the scenic little town of Bethlehem, CT this autumnal feast celebrates all things garlic and more varieties of garlic than even an Italian American woman like me could imagine (Please forgive the quality of the pictures-they were taken on my iPhone and the weather was overcast, so some of the pictures are a little hazy).

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These pictures are only a taste (sorry, had to!) of the many different varieties of garlic that were showcased.  But there was so much more to do…and see…and buy…and  EAT!!!  Like…..

Wall climbing for the kiddos and some brave adults (i.e. not me!!!   🙂

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Seasonal ceramic shopping…..

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Country life shopping…..

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Time travel shopping back to the 1970’s courtesy of macrame crafts…..

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Or all natural hand-made soap shopping.

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If shopping for food was what you wanted, there was plenty to choose from like……

Smoked pork (the poor little thing…..it still has its curly Q tail!!!)…..

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Or cupcakes.  I asked if the whole truck was for sale.  For some reason, they looked at me funny…..

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or stuffed bread.  I sampled the potato & onion version because if you are a carb addict like me, two are ALWAYS better than one!!!  (Later in the day I had roasted corn on the cob followed by cider donuts.  I was so overloaded on carbs I forgot to take pictures but they were the best tasting part of my day!!!!!)

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And of course, you need something to was it all down with, right?  My choice……….

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This is mere glimpse of what this festival had to offer.  There was live music, food sampling galore, carnival rides, cooking demonstrations and so much more.  It was really a lot of fun.   I enjoyed it so much I was planning to go back on the second day, but the rain stopped me.  And if the festival was not enough of a joy in and of itself, I got to explore the charm of another adorable small town in CT while I indulged in the beauty of this season:

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And saw more pumpkins than even Linus, the Great Pumpkin believer himself, could imagine……

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Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into a great New England fall festival.

And don’t forget, “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” turns 50 this year (the first time we heard that pitiful sigh, “I got a rock” was on October 27, 1966) so don’t forget to wish this Peanuts classic a happy golden anniversary while watching Sally swoon over her Sweet Baboo, Linus!!!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Wanderings

Hello, vixens!!!  How are all of you?  Are you as happy to say goodbye to summer & welcome fall as I am?!?!?!  This is truly my most wonderful time of year!!!  I am so happy to be going from seeing displays like this:

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To this:

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So we all know that over the last several years the back to school sales include many new items for fall.  I have come across several interesting ones.  I am not sure if Kellogg’s does this every year but this is the first time I noticed my favorite flavor of my favorite treat has been updated for fall:

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Or if you are a pumpkin pie fan, there is also this one:

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Isn’t the skeleton Snoopy a scream???  I promise it has two eyes, but my iPhone just did not pick it up.  As this year marks the 50th anniversary of “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown“, I have come across a lot of Peanuts items that celebrate that milestone & the season of fall/Halloween itself, like these adorable window clings I saw in the supermarket:

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I also loved these old school Halloween decorations.  They remind me of the ones my mother hung on our door for the holiday when I was a kid:

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Have you noticed that it starts to get dark around 7:30 pm now???  Yeah!!!  The other thing I have noticed since I have been in Connecticut is that even if the temperature during the day is still in the 80’s this month, overnight the temp drops town to the 60’s or 50’s.  Wonderful sleeping weather, as they say.  Speaking of CT, I have been up here an entire year now.  It’s hard to believe but I am happy and finally getting settled.  And this time of year makes everything better, right?  🙂

Nothing herein is sponsored, just sharing my weekend finds with you.

So how was your weekend???

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

 

Christmas Song Of The Day #2

Hello, Vixens!!!  How are all of you today?  Frazzled?  Harried?  Weary?  Well, I hope not!!!  ‘Tis the season, remember?  Take a moment for you.  Put your feet up, close your eyes and indulge in a great Christmas song.

Have you seen the Peanuts movie yet?  If not and you are a fan, go now!!!  The tagline for the movie-“The friends you grew up with but never outgrew”-describes my relationship with the gang perfectly.  They were my best friends when I was a kid, and decades later I am proud to say I still cherish each and every one of them.  And what would this season be without watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas”?

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                                                    Source:  A Charlie Brown Christmas

Well this year, our favorite holiday special turns the big 5-0.  That’s right, 50!!!  Fifty years of “I never thought it was such a bad little tree”, of Charlie Brown’s disdain over the commercialism of the holiday, of the dance, of Linus telling us the meaning of Christmas, of the gang decorating the little tree, wishing Charlie Brown a Merry Christmas and singing an adorable version of “Hark The Herald Angels Sing”.

But my favorite song from this iconic special?  “Christmastime Is Here“.  Nothing defines Christmas for me like this special and this song.  Thank you, Charles M. Schulz, Vince Guaraldi and Lee Mendelson for this gem of a special.

Enjoy!!!

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             Source:  A Charlie Brown Christmas