Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Black Friday!!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! If you were out for Black Friday, I hope you got what you wanted and didn't get trampled.

Oh, and Black Friday means.... THE CHRISTMAS SEASON IS OFFICIALLY HERE!!! Woohoo! Merry Christmas! It feels so good to be able to say that :-)

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend and be careful hangin those lights ;-)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

On a Christmas Cloud Nine!

Friday, November 16, 2012

OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! Are you ready for this one?! Joy to the holy good world, 99.9 KEZ just kicked off their Christmas music!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! To say I am excited and overflowing with joy is a huge understatement!!!!! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! I AM SOOOO HAPPY!!!!! This is going to make for some terrible writing, but I just can't express myself enough if I don't use all caps, sound effects, and like one million exclamation points! So I apologize for this terribly written post, but I just can't help myself!!! It is so exciting!!!

Let's rewind a bit and I'll tell you how this all happened!

Earlier in the month, I had predicted a Friday November 16th 7:00 am start time for the Christmas music kick-off. I had been checking all month in November in case they started early, but to no avail. The week of the 16th comes. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday?! Nothing. Thursday?! Nothing. So Friday morning, I woke-up and looked at the clock. Shoot! 7:25. Did I miss it? I leaned over my bed and shuffled through my purse, scurried to grab my phone and immediately turned on the radio in anticipation for the magical sounds of the season. As much as I hoped the music had started, I also hoped that I hadn't missed the kick-off. That would be an epic Walking Holiday fail.

The radio tunes in, I hear Beth talking, is that Christmas music in the background? I listen intently to hear any hint of a jingling bell or a 'Ho Ho Ho' in the background. Nothing. Sigh. Relief and disappointment. It was now 7:30. Will they start today? Maybe I was wrong. I decided to stay tuned in while I was getting ready for work to listen just in case they started at 8:00. The minutes tick closer. My eye is twitching at this point from having to suffer through what is, in my opinion, some of the worst music this world has to offer. So tempting to turn it off. But for some reason, I decided to trudge through. Finally, 8:00! Next song comes on... oh bloody hell. Another awful 80's tune. Maybe I really should turn it off at this point at save my sanity. Something inside me tells me no, just keep listening. The song draws closer to an end. I hover over my phone as if being closer to it will somehow allow me to grasp what is going on faster. There is a pause. Excitement grows. Where is Beth? She should be talking again by now. I hear background noise, and not the muffled type you hear at the radio station, but a distant, echoing sound of hustle and bustle, like you hear in a crowd. GASP! Is she out and about somewhere?! Finally, she says "Am I on? Are we good, am I on?" YES!!!!!!!!!! SHE IS DEFINITELY OUT OF THE STATION SOMEWHERE TO KICK-OFF THE MUSIC!!! I just know it!!! "Ok," she says, "I'm here at Scotts-" she doesn't need to finish. I know where she is. Scottsdale Fashion Square. "Omg omg omg omg omg" rattles around in my mind over and over and over again. I am at a loss for words. She continues, "...-dale Fashion Square, and, well, I'm here to do something very special." At this point I am in tears. Stop it right now, Beth McDonald! Stop teasing me! As much as I know what is about to happen, that would really suck if she was there for a store's grand opening or something. Rest assured, the next words out of her mouth confirm what I have been thinking, "It's something we do every year, something you all have been asking about." I gasp for air, then immediately cover my mouth so I don't squeal in a fit of joy and miss something. "I'm here with Cory McClosky from Fox 10 News." Oh stop it, the news is there?!?!?! Hell YES! I scramble for the remote. I wait for the TV to start up and it feels like time is standing still. I immediately tune in to channel 10. Beth says, "If you're at home and can turn on channel 10, you can simulcast here with us." Perfect. You and I are on the same page, Beth. I see Fox 10 come back from break with a graphic that says "Happy Holidays". YES! This really must be happening! They send it over to Cory at Scottsdale Fashion with Beth. I am stomping my feet in place as I can't take the anticipation any longer. They are in front of the mall's giant Christmas tree, rambling on about this being something they do every year and they look forward it, but I can't really concentrate as I am still searching for clues to make sure this is really happening. To add to the whirlwind of craziness, there is a delay between the radio and the TV so my eyes and ears aren't quite sure what to tune in to. Beth looks into the camera and says, "I love this time of year, I am so glad we are going this. This is something you all have been asking about since Halloween. So Cory and I are going to go over here," they both walk over to a candy cane lever placed in front of the tree, "and this lever right here is what we pull to start off what we're doing today... THIS WILL START OFF THE CHRISTMAS MUSIC!!! So Cory, without any further delay as I know everyone is looking so forward to this, let's pull the lever!" They give it a tug and my head follows the movement of the brightly lit candy cane all the way down and BAM! "Here it is!" Beth exclaims. "What you've been waiting for!" It starts, the uplifting instruments, the timeless voice of Andy Williams, "It's the most, wonderful tiiiiime, of the yeeeear"! Beth and Cory grab on to each other and start dancing in the mall with giant grins on their faces, and I hysterically start jumping up and down in circles, partially singing along, partially just screaming and getting out my built-up excitement! YES! It happened! I didn't miss it!!! It WAS worth listening to all that horrible music prior to the kick-off! I didn't sleep through it! I made it, I heard the kick-off! Aaand I got to hear AND watch it LIVE!!!!! A Walking Holiday first! My prediction was only off by 1 hour and 11 minutes! Hallelujah!

Ahh, yes! This time of year is truly my favorite. Why is the Christmas music on the radio such a big deal you ask? Bigger than everything else? For some reason, the music on the radio means that the Christmas season is here! It signifies the start of this whole holiday season. Every other Christmas milestone that happens is wonderful, but it's just not Christmas until the music is on the radio. There is something special about knowing there are other people out there listening to the same thing you are at the same time.
This event is more significant to me than some of the other "hints of Christmas" that start happening during the end of the year. I am always soooo excited when I see ornaments and sparkly things appearing in stores, red cups making their debut at Starbucks, Disneyland closing rides for holiday install, etc etc. but there is just something extra special about the day that the radio station starts its Christmas music. The music being on the radio means yes, the holidays truly are here! Alive and well! For me, once this happens, the Christmas season can begin as it finally feels complete. The only thing left after this is the finishing touch for it to be in full swing- the clock striking midnight on Black Friday!

I am so glad the music starts early, before Thanksgiving. This way I have some festive tunes to carol along with while I'm in the kitchen preparing my Thanksgiving desserts! Since Thanksgiving unfortunately has no music, I let it share with Christmas :-) This makes some people mad, but what would Christmas be without a few Scrooge's?? ;-)

If you don't live in Arizona, I'm curious to know if any of you have all-Christmas-all-the-time radio stations in your city and if they have started yet! I feel like this is such a special thing, I wish it could be shared with the world! I hope you all have something like this where you live!

I hope this got you in the mood to turn on the Christmas tunes! And such a perfect time since Thanksgiving is this week! I will be blogging about the parade and (hopefully) including pictures as well! Oh, and I may just go ahead and post the recipes for the Thanksgiving desserts I am making as well :-) I'll give you a hint: pumpkin!

OK, enjoy the Christmas music! If you don't have a radio station that does it, Pandora Holiday is up and running and Cox channel 933 has it until January. Happy caroling to you! Fa-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

In Case You Haven't Heard...

... only 2 weeks till we carve the bird! That's right! Today marks only TWO WEEKS until Thanksgiving!!! 

Thanksgiving is one of my absolute FAVORITE holidays! Actually, I think it is my favorite. It's basically Christmas, but instead of it being over, it's just beginning. The best holiday and time of year is ahead of you, not ending in a few hours, which is my only complaint about Christmas day. Once it starts, it's over shortly after. This is probably a plus for many people (you know, the ones who enthusiastically throw their trees in the garbage at 12 noon on Christmas day), but for me, it is a sad, sad time! Thankfully, I have New Year's, Valentine's Day and the spring holidays get me through my post-Christmas holiday blues. But Thanksgiving is the kick-off the holiday season! It's Christmas without the pressure of gifts and money! Just good food, family and cheer. And pumpkin. Lots and lots of pumpkin.

And of course, 2 weeks until Thanksgiving also means only 2 weeks until one of my favorite things of the entire year... the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!!! That event has to be top on my list of nationwide events that happen through the year. It is just so magical : ) After all, it is brought to you by the magic of Macy's!

Just a few hours after Thanksgiving dinner, once everyone wakes-up from their turkey coma, my other favorite nationwide event happens... Black Friday shopping!!! Parade, Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping... back-to-back awesomeness! There is no other event or time of year where people all across the country wake-up hours before the sun, bundle up, and wait in line at their favorite stores to grab some great deals on gifts for their loved ones (and if we're being honest, a few for themselves!). The energy is really pretty amazing. Even if I don't end up buying anything, I always enjoy going out and being among the festivities. I just love the atmosphere! This can be overwhelming for many people, but I think the hustle and bustle really adds to the holiday spirit. It is quite an incredible thing to be a part of and experience!

Alright, I'm off to get a fabulous Caramel Brulee Latte! All this Thanksgiving talk got me craving one :)  Get your gobblers ready, Thanksgiving is on its way! Can't wait!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Christmas Music on Pandora!!!

Attention all Pandora users: Christmas music is officially HERE! Christmas stations are now available from the "Browse Genre Stations" page! Woohoo! You can find it by browsing by genre and selecting "Holiday". There, you will find an assortment of Christmas tunes that everyone is sure to love! The stations they have built are as follows:

Christian Contemporary
Classical Christmas
Country Christmas
Family Christmas
Indie Holidays
Jazz Holidays
Navidad Latina
Peaceful Holidays
R&B and Pop Holidays
Rockin' Holidays
Swingin' Christmas
Today's Christmas

Which ones will you be listening to?

Speaking of places that have Christmas music... Bath & Body Works started playing their Christmas music on Monday, November 5th!!! I took it as an early birthday gift for me on my Birthday Eve :-) It's so festive in there! If you haven't been this week, pop on over and get an early fill of holiday cheer!

Hope you enjoy rockin out with some Christmas tunes a little early! Just another sign that the holidays are upon us :-) This is truly the best time of year! Enjoy it!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rekindle, Rejoice... RED CUPS!!!

You heard right- the beloved red cups are back at Starbucks!!! I would say you have no idea how much joy this brings me, but I think you have an idea how much joy this brings me. A sleighful might be an understatement : )

What a way to ring in the season and start November off right! For my first red cup drink of the season, I kicked it off with a Soy Caramel Brulee Latte, which, if you haven't tried one before, now is a good time to scoot your boots into a Starbucks near you and grab a cup! If you aren't famil with what it is, it's basically what I consider the perfect Thanksgiving drink. And, being November, I think it's necessary to celebrate all things Thanksgiving in full force while sprinkling in Christmas along the way until Black Friday. By the way, in case you haven't looked at a calendar lately, Thanksgiving is only 3 weeks from TODAY. Huh?? Is it always so soon after Halloween? To answer my own question, and if any of you are still listening at home, no, it isn't usually this soon lol! It varies based on when the month starts/October ends (which is Halloween), and I believe we generally have 3.5 weeks in between, sometimes four. I may be wrong, but I think this is the shortest time in between Halloween and Thanksgiving that we can have! This is all fine by me. Keeps me on my toes : ) Next year we will have 4 weeks in between, which means 1 more week for Thanksgiving, but 1 less week for Christmas. A little holiday give and take!

Anywho, I have deviated from my original thoughts quite a bit. Back to red cups! I am really liking this handwritten cursive-y type of font that I'm seeing used by Bath & Body and now Starbucks for Christmas. The Starbucks sleeve has the word "Rekindle" written on it (hence the title of my post) and it is in this ribbon-like festive font. BBW is also using that on their nostalgic Christmas candle collection. I'm a fan. I really don't like simple block letters that have been used so much for the past few holidays- it's just too boring and ordinary, and this season is nothing but! "Rekindle the season", I very much like the sound of that!

Alright, here is my drink breakdown for the holidays, in case you needed some guidance on what drink to get when ; ) Ahem: I think the perfect drinks for fall and Halloween are the Pumpkin Spice Latte and Salted Caramel Mocha. As I stated for Thanksgiving, I like the Caramel Brulee best! It's festive, still fall-ish and doesn't scream Christmas to me like the others do. My all-time fave holiday/Christmas drink might be the Gingerbread Latte... mmm. It is soo good! That one borders with Thanksgiving and Christmas, I think it can be versatile. I'm not a fan of the Eggnog Latte, it just is too bland for me. Maybe I haven't had it made right! And if I'm really in the Christmas spirit, nothing beats the Peppermint White Mocha... nothing. O.M.G. Plan on wearing sweatpants for the rest of the day if you get it though- that thing is loaded with calories, lol! And of course, the original Peppermint Mocha (not white) is a great drink if you want the cool peppermint flavor but a few less calories : ) Or, you can get a PWM with 1/2 the normal pumps of the white mocha sauce. That will actually make a big difference in calorie reduction! So there you have it, my Starbucks holiday drink breakdown. You're welcome!

And of course, no post about Starbucks red cups being back would be complete without proof, so without further ado, here they are! In all their festive glory!

Well hello there, snowman! ; > D

Rekindle the red cup

Caramel Brulee sprinkles... mmmmm!

Doesn't the black & white make this look super cold?
Brr, winter chill in the air!
I love this time of year. I talk about transitions a lot, but I almost enjoy them more than the actual events themselves. Being November 1st, I feel like I can celebrate the holidays in my own way a little earlier than everyone else does. It's totally appropriate to celebrate Thanksgiving and gear up for Christmas, but people aren't as outward about this on November 1st as they are in the middle to end of the month... I get to have my own secret holiday club. While everyone else is dreading this time of year, I'm having my own party 24/7 until the New Year rolls through, haha! Maybe it's selfish, but I really like this time where I can have the holidays to myself and anticipate things to come! While we're on the topic of changes and new things, I thought I'd share one more picture. These leaves capture the transition from Halloween spooks and thrills, to a wintry forecast of magical things to come:

Twinkling leaves over a glowing sea of enchanting lights
signify a seasonal change is on its way
I just love the myriad of colors in this photo. Alright, that's it! Thanks for reading! Have a festive day!

Happy November!!!

Well hello! And happy November to you!

Life has been a whirlwind of mostly overwhelming crappy events the past 7 weeks or so (and I don't say this to complain- life is good and I am very, very blessed!), so I haven't been able to write and I've missed it so much! In my personal life, I was celebrating each holiday milestone and countdown, from the first day of fall (which was awesome!), to October 1st, to Oktoberfest music being on the music channel, to all-Halloween-all-the-time on the music channel, to "only 2 weeks until Halloween!", to "only 1 week until November!", to "just 1 week until my awesome Election Day birthday!", to "Starbucks red cups have shipped to stores!", to "Omg, less than 1 week until all-Christmas-all-the-time on the music channel!", to Halloween last night (which was simply amazing), and now to November! Here we are!

Ay yi yi, how is it that we only have 2 months between us and the new year?! I know, I know, time flies, gets faster as you get older, yadda yadda, but I swear, no matter how much I prepare for all of this stuff it still leaves me in disbelief once it's here!

Halloween last night was really, just.. magical. I had very low expectations going in to it since everything leading up to the day had just been crazy, but somehow it all worked out once the bewitching hour was upon us. We got a record number of trick-or-treaters, which was a really nice surprise! Even though the holiday (and really entire fall season) has been very rushed, everyone seemed so festive and in the Halloween spirit. There was a chill in the air, chili in the Crockpot, a wood fire outside, the warm, ambient glow of candles burning sweet and spicy smells of fall, orange and purple lights shining bright, jack-o-lanterns lit on porches, and plenty of Halloween hits coming from the Walking Holiday household :-) Kids seemed to get so excited when they looked across the street and saw our house lit up- our windows open just enough to peer in and get a glimpse of the festivities inside, with the promise of candy to reward their trick-or-treating skills! One little trick-or-treater even stuck her head inside to peek around at our Halloween house! I was so flattered. After our last trick-or-treater (Ketchup) around 9:00, we turned all the lights off, leaving only our Halloween lights on and watched Hocus Pocus with a little Pumpkin Pie Spice coffee nightcap :-) It was perfect. We wrapped things up just before midnight, where I walked outside and said goodnight to Halloween, and thank you for the magically spooktacular evening. As it turned midnight, I welcomed the cool, crisp November air with its harvest tidings ahead.

As I sit here now, I'm anticipating all the warmth and joy of the season ahead, and also my trip to Starbucks in a few minutes for my first red cup of the season :-D  Yay! Must. Be. Patient..... OK, I think I've waited long enough- off to Starbucks I go! Pictures to follow, I'm sure!

Have a fabulous November and don't forget, it you are in AZ with Cox Cable, channel 933 will be playing the last of the Halloween music today and Christmas will start tomorrow!!! Tune in! Have a hollie day!

Also, props to my future hubby for making things so extra special yesterday. It would not have been Halloween without everything you did- from making what I think is the best chili I have ever tasted, to going out and getting a fire pit for the backyard and lighting a real wood fire, and turning on all the Halloween lights and lighting all the Halloween candles, I could not have asked or dreamed of anything better. I am so lucky to have you! Thanks my dear! Next Halloween, we'll be married!

Spooooooooky trees


Is this not the coolest train you have ever seen??