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!!!

 

 

 

Advertisements

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.

Little Farmstead.jpg

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.

peanuts-2

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 2018: Day 1

Hello, everybody!!!

Thanksgiving is behind us (great parade as always, especially the Peanuts and Santa floats) and so is the fall finale of “This Is Us” (if you have not watched it yet, I have three words for you-ERIS BAKER.  WOW.).  So that brings us to that magical time of year again:  my 25 Days of Christmas music countdown.  Yay!!!

christmas music day 1

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

I am just starting to decorate my place, and I will not get my tree until next week, so I will start sharing pictures of my decor then.  But I am definitely getting into the holiday spirit by listening to all-Christmas-music-all-the-time radio stations as well as researching holiday songs on YouTube.  How about you?  What is getting you in the holiday spirit?

To start us off, I went with the man I have loved and adored since I was 12 years old.  He has been all over the news this last week for a few reasons.  First, because the new issue of Esquire came out.  Say it with me:  SAAAAAA-WOOOOOOON.

springsteen-esquire    ESQ120118_073

Second, his Netflix special is set to air on Sunday, December 16 (see the trailer here), the day after his historic Tony award-winning Broadway show comes to an end after 15 months.  If you were not lucky enough to see this show live (like I was, thank you God) or you need to see it again to savor every word, every note, every emotion  (again, like me), then this is your chance.  To me, the show was like his song “Jungleland”:  so beautiful it hurt.  And if you do not like my words, here are some from the NY Times (“There may never be anything as real and beautiful on Broadway” ) and Rolling Stone (“An intimate triumph”, “Compelling and profound”).  Or choose your own words when you watch it for yourself.

Three, his Esquire interview dives deeper into his battle with depression and how his father’s late in life diagnosis as a paranoid schizophrenic made this legend have a conversation with his own three children about what is in their DNA.  I have said this many times before, but it bears repeating:  I love Bruce Springsteen for a multitude of reasons:  His music, his poetry, his heart, his empathy.  But his openness about his and his father’s struggles with mental illness have given this awful, debilitating and unbelievably scary disease a name and a face to be reckoned with.  It has given it more attention, more conversation and more validity when in the past it was viewed as a weakness instead of an illness.  Springsteen’s courage and forthrightness should (hopefully) bring to an end the fallacy and misunderstanding that this illness can be beat if only we were “stronger”.  Wrong.  Strong has no more effect on mental illness than placebos have on cancer.  A disease must be treated, not simply willed away.  So thank you, Bossman, for once again giving us exactly what we need with your carefully chosen and profound words.  It is a debt no honest man can pay, to quote you.

bruce santa

So let’s celebrate this man and this season with his two contributions to holiday playlists everywhere.

Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town

Merry Christmas, Baby

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.

img_17631

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.

peanuts

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 Day 5

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

truck-with-wreath

Today’s song has the ability to transport me back to the warmest part of my childhood with the very first note.  And that is no easy feat.  I grew up much faster than I should have because that was my road to walk, but once you see happily ever after end in a horribly final way, you never believe in fairy tales again.

But these childhood friends of mine were my safe place, where I was kept out of harm’s way in a world with kids who did not see me differently because I no longer had the innocence of a child.  In fact, they did not even seem to notice.  They kept me in their world, no questions asked.  That was the part of my childhood I needed to hold on to most of all.  You do not forget friends like that.

peanuts-2

Copyright:  Charles M. Schultz

My friends, the Peanuts, already recorded this song to perfection.  But many other singers have covered this song since then, and this artist’s version is by far the solid second.  Between the combination of her beautiful voice and Diana Krall’s sublime piano accompaniment, this cover is absolutely gorgeous.

Sarah McLachlan:  Christmas Time Is Here.

PS:  Anita Baker’s jazzy, soulful version is also a worthy contender.  It definitely deserves a listen.

PSS:  The first song of the countdown was Joni Mitchell’s “River” (read that here) with an honorable mention to Sarah Mclachlan’s version.  Michael commented on that post that Robert Downey, Jr. did a “hauntingly beautiful” version of River when he was on “Ally McBeal”.   I love Robert Downey, Jr. and thought I saw every single “AB” episode when he was on it, but somehow that episode eluded me.  I listened to RDJ’s version today and Michael described it perfectly. It is hauntingly beautiful.  So, of course, I could not keep a gem like that to myself.  You can listen to it here.

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

Courtesy of:  Captainwalt.com

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).

img_14591

img_14571

img_14731

img_14791

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!!!   🙂

img_14481

Seasonal ceramic shopping…..

img_14861

Country life shopping…..

img_14451

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

img_14941

Or all natural hand-made soap shopping.

img_14901

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!!!)…..

img_14701

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

img_14511

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!!!!!)

img_14681

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

img_14651

img_14661

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:

img_14271

img_15021

img_15131

img_14401

img_14131

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

img_15211

img_15271

img_15171

img_15301

img_13761

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!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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”?

images[2]

                                                    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!!!

charlie-brown-christmas-wallpaper-desktop-6[1]

             Source:  A Charlie Brown Christmas