Getting into the Christmas spirit [part 4]…

I started getting more into the Christmas spirit with my last post. I still had to find something negative to write about but I also wrote about turning that negative into a positive. Plus, I also got inspired with all the DIY ornament blogs. No time to do that this year but definitely on my radar for next year.

So since I’m feeling more festive, I think it’s time to talk about a Christmas song I love. My first post was about a bad version of “Jingle Bells” recorded by Barbra Streisand [if you feel you must listen to it, here’s the link]. I have now found a version of “Jingle Bells” that I absolutely love love love. Again, still unable to figure out embedding video, so please click here, sorry! It’s a Brooks Brothers commercial featuring adorable singing lambs. Obviously not real but obviously super adorable. Not only do they look cute but they are wrapped up in cozy scarves. Perhaps my favorite part is at the 0:21 mark when the middle lamb slowly walks up and sings his solo. Not only is this version easy to listen to but the video is so cute to watch!

Here’s an update on my grinch=ness level. As you can see, I am making progress. I am about 5 days ahead of schedule! I don’t think this would have been possible without the Brooks Brothers’ Singing Lambs. Thanks guys!


Getting into the Christmas spirit [part 3]…

Generally, Christmas ornaments and decorations go on sale after Christmas. I’m somehow not surprised though that these ornaments are already on sale:

Seriously, CB2? This is the best you can do? Toothpicks?! If these were at a holiday party, I think it could cause quite a bit of confusion. Do I use these to stab my pigs in the blanket or is this where the used toothpicks go? I mean, they couldn’t possibly be actual decoration, they’re toothpicks! I could see these being interesting as a design element if they were hanging on a garland against a wall that has an hors d’oeuvres table set up and people could grab these clearly-marked-as-unused-toothpicks to pick up their food where there would also be a clearly-marked-used-toothpick trash bin nearby. Being in an ornament, though, makes them less practical but CB2 has many hanging vases and candleholder options that will do the job. Here’s one example that could work:

Sadly, this isn’t CB2’s only Christmas decor offense. There are a few others but I will only talk about one more. I could almost understand this if it was categorized under decor, but this shows up when you click on their Christmas link. How do you all feel about insect inspired decor? You have your option of cockroaches or flies. Only the cockroach ones are on sale… for now. I appreciate that there is some kind of art, craft, or skill behind these, but I don’t know about you… I do not like the idea of cockroaches or flies on my dining table - real or fake.

I think CB2’s design team could use a little help. Year round, they always come up with interesting and cool designs but Christmas does not seem to suit them well. Here are some things they can fill their glass ornaments with next year. 

1. snowflake confetti

2. fake snow

3. tinsel

Yes, these ideas are simple and have probably been done before but I’m sure CB2 can figure out a way to make their version unique. Either way, it’ll be better than dealing with a warehouse full of toothpick ornaments at the end of the holiday season. Though, if they end up selling them for ridiculously cheap, not only will I get some toothpicks to use but ornaments to decorate for next year. I guess I’ll be keeping my eye out for them come December 26! And speaking of DIY, I stumbled upon these fun DIY projects for glass ornaments. So if you feel inspired, forget CB2 and toothpicks, and decorate your own!


Getting into the Christmas spirit [part 2]…

Continuing on in lowering my grinch level, another song I dislike is I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. I chose a John Cougar Mellencamp version [I know he’s dropped the “Cougar” but I can’t. It just doesn’t sound right without it.] This probably is the only version I can tolerate as it sounds like a rock song and not at all Christmas-y, until we get to 2:30 when it goes to a child singing the version we’re more accustomed to hearing.

Now here’s why I don’t like the song. I don’t know if I’m somehow interpreting the lyrics incorrectly but a child sneaks down the stairs, sees her mom kissing Santa Claus and tickling his beard, and all this child can think is “oh, what a laugh it would have been, if daddy had only seen”??? Are you kidding me? I mean, I know that Santa Claus IS daddy but the child in this song doesn’t. Then the child is going to go back to school after winter break. She and her classmates will catch up and talk about what they did, what gifts they got, etc.. and then she’ll tell them, “hey, kinda weird but I saw my mom kissing Santa Claus.” One classmate will chime in and say, “hey, my mom kissed Santa Claus too!” And then another. And another! Then, after awhile all these kids are gathered around wondering why Santa Claus can’t seem to keep his hands and lips to himself and what the heck is wrong with their mothers. I don’t even want to get into the long-term emotional issues this could cause, including trust and commitment issues in their own future relationships! I guess children will eventually learn that Santa Claus isn’t real and that it was their dad. But by then, they’ve probably spent many years resentful of their unfaithful mother and the fat guy in the red suit. Would they even like Santa Claus anymore by that point?


Getting into the Christmas spirit [part 1]…

I’m kind of a bah-humbug scroogey mcgrinch about Christmas. I’m not really sure when this started but it’s grown considerably over the years. My level of grinch-ness is usually directly proportional to how early decorations are stocked on shelves and how early Christmas music begins playing on the radio. I mean, is as early as September really necessary? I’m talking to you, Costco! It slowly trickles in and then Christmas really makes it appearance the day after Halloween. My annual tradition of buying Halloween candy for half off on November 1st is losing its appeal as I see more and more red and green out of the corner of my eye year after year. And what about Thanksgiving? I mean, we spend all of October displaying carved pumpkins and other spooky Halloween decorations and then at least all of December with Christmas decorations. Why can’t all of November have Thanksgiving decorations? Cornucopias, ears of corn, and handprint turkeys!

This is dangerously turning into a rant so I’m going to rein myself in and get back to the topic. So, I faced a dilemma the other day as I walked around the holiday shops at Bryant Park. [Yes, I do realize that Bryant Park this time of year is perhaps the epitome of Christmas. But despite being a scrooge, I do still need to do Christmas shopping and as we are in December now, it’s not so much the Christmas decorations but the crowds that make me scroogey. I would say my grinch-ness level peaks at November 30 and each day of December slowly chips away at my grinch-ness until I’m finally happy about Christmas on Christmas day. The graph* at the bottom illustrates this in case my rambling has turned incoherent.] Continuing on.. as I make my way through the shops, I hear Christmas carolers ahead of me. Since we’re only a few days into December, my grinch-ness level is still relatively high and that means hearing or seeing carolers does not make me happy. But I know better. I know I shouldn’t be pouty when these carolers are only trying to bring on Christmas cheer while happily standing in the cold with their joyful smiles. And this conflict of my heart versus my brain was my dilemma. I wanted to be bah-humbug but instead I flashed them the best fake smile I could. And having to force a smile about something that should be so easy to be happy about made me feel disappointed in myself.

So, I decided I really wanted to make an effort to get into the Christmas spirit before Christmas day. In order to do that though, I need to lower my grinch-ness level, which usually involves a lot of criticizing Christmas decorations and songs. Bear with me, Christmas lovers. I’ll get there.

My first victim is perhaps my least favorite Christmas song - Barbra Streisand’s version of “Jingle Bells.” [I’m a moron and can’t figure out the proper way to embed the video. I tried their code but it didn’t work, so you’ll have to click the link, sorry!]

This song makes me feel like I’m running late for something. She is a New Yorker, so it is possible that maybe she was late for something when she was recording and decided, “aw screw it, I gawta put da kibosh on dis n go!” Whatever the reason, I’m definitely getting anxiety.

Well, I think that was quite effective in lowering my grinch level, even if it’s just a couple points. I think I’ll add a new line to my graph* so we chart my progress!

Yum! Did someone say, “dinner party?”

GIVEAWAY: The Meatball Shop Cookbook

Up for grabs: The Meatball Shop Cookbook, with over 100 delicious recipes from one of our favorite NYC haunts.
*Re-blog for a chance to win! We’ll draw a winner on 11/17.

Yum! Did someone say, “dinner party?”


GIVEAWAY: The Meatball Shop Cookbook

Up for grabs: The Meatball Shop Cookbook, with over 100 delicious recipes from one of our favorite NYC haunts.

*Re-blog for a chance to win! We’ll draw a winner on 11/17.

Twigs sticking out of the water and their reflectionsAmbergris Caye, Belize

Twigs sticking out of the water and their reflections
Ambergris Caye, Belize

This photo looks so warm and ethereal!  I love how it looks like these bee balms are reaching to the sky.

Bee Balm in Berkeley

This photo looks so warm and ethereal!  I love how it looks like these bee balms are reaching to the sky.


Bee Balm in Berkeley


Penguins in sweaters…

[Photo credit: Toby Zerna/Newspix/Rex USA)

I’m sure this has been circulating around so it may be old news to some.  But for those that are finding out about this for the first time [as I just did], read the full article here.

To summarize, earlier this month there was an oil spill around New Zealand.  Skeinz, a local yarn store, is asking people that know how to knit to make sweaters for their local penguin population.  These sweaters are supposed to prevent them from consuming the oil when they preen their feathers before they are able to get scrubbed down and cleaned.  For anyone that knows how to knit, Skeinz has provided instructions.  It’s a great cause and c’mon, how adorable do these penguins look in their sweaters??  Now imagine them waddling in those sweaters.  That alone will cure any bad day blues.

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