Ringing out the old year and ringing in Happy New Year 2019 in style with a performance of Auld Lang Syne by the legendary Rod Stewart.
Talk about classic style!
Robert Burns’ Scottish poem written in 1788 and set to a Scots folk melody, Auld Lang Syne is the traditional musical ode to New Year recollecting events over the year, thoughts of old friendships, nostalgia, old times, and days gone by.
As seen in the video, the long standing Scottish tradition is to sing Auld Lang Syne just before the stroke of midnight with everyone sitting or standing in a circle holding hands, arms crossed so their left hand is holding the hand of the person on their right, and their right hand that of the person to their left.
Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians popularized Auld Lang Syne as it became the traditional song of New Year played immediately after the ball drop in Times Square.
My sister-in-law, a staunch New Year’s traditionalist, rings in the New Year with a Happy New Year phone call to us complete with Guy Lombardo’s version of Auld Lang Syne playing in the background.
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, and old lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
Dave and I wish each of you a very Happy New Year 2019!
May New Year 2019 bring you joy, health, blessings, happiness, good fortune, inspired projects, and beautiful surroundings.
Pretty pictures, ribbons, and busy days before Christmas puts the wonderful in it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Busy times bring happy holiday times, so let’s get this party cracking.
Is your Christmas list of things to do wrapped up with a big bow on it? Mine is not as there’s still things to do, presents to wrap (Merry Christmas, fellow present wrapping procrastinators), goodies to bake and box, gifts to deliver, and halls to deck.
I liken the last few days before Christmas to that of a fabulous performance, building to a crescendo of epic and joyous volume.
Music is an integral part of my daily routine, even more so when it comes to the holiday jingle all the way. Traditional tunes make the playlist, but discovering new holiday songs and new arrangements of old favorites is a gift all its own.
I’m streaming Smooth Jazz JJZ on iHeart radio, loving the holiday songs from Dave Koz, Luther Vandross, Tony Bennett, Joyce Cooling, Rick Braun, Boney James, Gerald Albright, John Tesh, Diana Krall, Mannheim Steamroller, and the incomparable music from my friend, Chris Botti.
I don’t believe I’ve ever shared with you all how my fan to friend relationship with Chris Botti began.
Dave the Builder and I were on our way to yes, you guessed it. Las Vegas.
Part of the fun is in the pre trip prep, so before our trips out to America’s Playground I would stream the Las Vegas smooth jazz station (changed format, no longer a listener) to set the mood and the tone.
I learned from listening that the station was sponsoring and promoting an evening of smooth jazz set to air air on the local Vegas PBS station and hosted by Chris Botti. I checked to see if we would be in town on the night it was set to air, and to my delight it was on arrival night.
Being a regular to Vegas coupled with the fact we would be in town eight nights, as my dad used to say, Vegas does not close. I knew I wanted to watch the special, so I told Dave I thought I would spend the first evening in, order room service, and take in the show.
Dave confirmed he was not expected to do the same, trying his best to hide his thank goodness glee.
We had a small, but unhurried layover at Bush Intercontinental Houston. Dave popped into a store for something or other, and I walked on down to the gate area. I was half looking over my shoulder, half checking out our fellow travelers, when I noticed a guy walking by carrying a soft instrument case over his shoulder.
You know how when at first you don’t recognize someone, but after a few minutes you realize hey, that’s _________. The hey, that’s ________ turned out to be Chris Botti.
When Dave strolled up to the boarding lounge, I asked him if he recognized the guy down at the end of the gate area.
No. Who is it?
It’s Chris Botti.
Are you sure?
Yes, I’m sure.
Is he on our flight?
It took me less than a second to process the situation and put two and two together. Smooth jazz American classic trumpeter extraordinaire, staunch supporter of PBS, hosting gig in Vegas this evening- yes, I do believe he is.
The boarding call for first class passengers goes out, and one Mr. Chris Botti heads that way. When the boarding call for coach passengers rows this through that is announced here we go.
Upon boarding I spot the jazz man sitting in back row left window in first class talking on his phone. Dave and I settle when fan to friend inspiration hits me. I retrieve my printed boarding pass from my briefcase, turn it over, and write a note to one Chris Botti. I spot the flight attendant and motion for him to come see.
“Would you mind giving this note to the blond hair gentleman in the back row left window seat in first class?”
The flight attendant was happy to be a player in my flashback to grammar school note passing caper. I put in the note my plans to watch the special, and it would be among one of the more special dinner and a show-Welcome to Las Vegas evenings.
Not long after reaching cruising altitude, the flight attendant came by our row with a message.
“The gentleman said to tell you he would meet you in baggage claim at McCarran.”
Excited to say the least, I was looking forward to our impending face to face meeting. Somewhere between the four corners and the ending of the movie, Dave the Builder announces “here comes Chris Botti.”
Chris came back to meet and greet, and thank me for my support of PBS and the smooth jazz artist community.
We gabbed for several minutes, met again and gabbed some more in baggage claim at McCarran. Emails, conversations, and concert meetings find us here almost thirteen years later.
I hit the fan to friend jackpot for sure.
Now on to the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menu at Places In The Home portion of the show and tell..
Our Christmas Eve traditional come casual, come comfortable, come hungry get together is super laid-back. The menu is simple comfort food.
The no-fuss plan places me in the middle of the fun instead of in the kitchen all evening.
Been there, done that at Thanksgiving.
Who doesn’t love hamburgers cooked low and slow? This group surely does, and the requests to “make them like Reed & Bell” is one this cook aims for.
Reed & Bell Drive-In was a hometown hamburger and cold frosted root beer institution. Reed & Bell hamburger patties had a crisp edge, and the top of the buns were lightly brushed with hamburger grease.
Of course not, but see delicious.
Reading this post out loud to Dave, he reminds me Reed & Bell hamburgers ring super close to In-N-Out hamburgers.
They most certainly do, Dave.
Homemade potato salad is the side of choice accompanied by a platter of dills, gherkins, chips, bread and butters, assorted cheeses, red, green (Christmas colors), and sweet onions, sliced tomatoes, and fresh crisp lettuce.
Traditional Christmas Day fare is tradition. Sliced spiral ham, Southern sweet potato casserole with walnut brown sugar crunch topping, seasoned green beans, deviled eggs, cranberry sauce, and yeast rolls.
Traditional favorites of egg nog, fresh apple nut cake, walnut fudge, date nut roll, and almond peanut butter cookies round it out.
Christmas came early to me when I received this fabulous surprise present from my darling nephew and niece-in-law. Southern Living 50 Years: A Celebration of People, Places, and Culture promises to be a good read and a lovely addition to the coffee table library.
Local brick and mortar stores and the holiday sales they offer are calling my name. As much as I have come to love the convenience and world wide web selections, there is still reason to holiday shop for certain holiday gifts for home and hostess live and in person.
Call me old fashioned but it doesn’t feel like Christmas until I retail with several hundred of my fellow local shoppers. While I’m away from keyboard in pursuit of thoughtful and impressive gifts, allow me to share with you the holiday gifts for home and hostess currently in my online shopping cart.
‘Tis the season for hosting and attending holiday celebrations, and that means dressing for the occasion in holiday style. Deck the halls and then bedeck an ear, wrist, or neck in a little sparkle, shimmer, and shine.
Holiday decorating safety tips can come in holiday handy and gift you with peace of mind at this holiday decorating time of year. There is now a direct link between holiday decorating safety tips and year round electrical safety in general. We got a big lighting up the holidays shock last week which explains my radio silence last week.
Fire is the one thing I am deathly afraid of. Let me share with you several situations and events over my lifetime that have caused and stoked this dreaded fear.
When Places In The Home was being built, a group of delinquents neighborhood kids set the entire order of roofing shingles on fire. The sight, sound, and smell of the roaring pile of burning shingles scared me almost to death and scarred me for life. I was three years old, I remember the scene vividly to this day, and it’s this event that set a lifelong fear of fire into motion.
When I was five years old, my precious great-grandmother lit her gas stove with a match. She thought she blew the match out, but she did not. Prior to lighting the stove, she had emptied a pot of melted hot grease into the garbage can. You can almost be guaranteed that when a lit match hits hot grease, flame and fire is close behind. With expert precision and quick hands to rival Drew Brees, Mama Two grabbed the flaming trash can, used her foot to kick open the back door, and ran with can in hand into the backyard where she extinguished the fire with a can lid. Mama Two innocently marked me for life.
In 1974, my grandmother’s house suffered severe extensive smoke damage throughout from a lightening strike to a television left in front of a window in her kitchen. The television burned up and through the floor. My grandmother was on vacation in Florida at the time of the strike. With no one home to notice, the television smoldered for several days. Every wall, surface, furnishing and floor was completely covered and caked in soot. The soot was so thick it measured close to one inch thick inside closed drawers. Determined to face my fear, I insisted on going with her and my parents to meet the insurance adjuster for the initial walk through. Horrible sight that only served to exacerbated my fear of fire.
My parents and I were at the original MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas on the day before the horrific fire in 1980 that killed 85 people and injured 650. We were visiting with family who were guests at the hotel. Thankfully, they all survived the fire. They have rarely discussed the tragic ordeal with anyone for understandable reasons. The details they have offered are as awful as one would imagine, and haunt me to this day. Dave and I have been back to the hotel (now Bally’s) several times since, but I absolutely refuse to stay at the hotel.
My parents were staying at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1981 when an arsonist set fire to the hotel killing 8 and injuring approximately 200. Tragic details with the less shared with me the better caveat.
Last week, our electrical panel-service-wiring placed a bulls eye right in the center of my fear of fire and plans for the holiday budget. Two weeks ago I discovered there was no power to the master bedroom sitting and dressing area. The A/C would come on (welcome to November in Louisiana) but the compressor would not kick on. I called the electrician, he came out and replaced a breaker in the original and antiquated electrical panel, and power was restored.
Two weeks to the day same problem arises. Call the electrician, he comes by that afternoon, and within thirty minutes three electricians, two city utilities supervisors, and one scared to death homeowner stood in our kitchen discussing how soon Dave the Builder and I could vacate the house.
The electricians and supervisors got straight to the point; “Ma’am, your house is in danger of burning to the ground in its present state. We are going to pull the electricity panel and the electrical service to your house is being disconnected immediately.”
I’m usually strong- the “I’m a willow, I can bend” one in the group however, this was not the case in this particular situation. I completely lost it in front of all parties present. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I cried worse than I did when my daddy died.
Straw, meet camel’s broken back.
I’ll spare you the details of shock, inconvenience, and scrambling to figure out how to pay for the unexpected heavy four figure expense (does anyone really have thousands of dollars stashed and saved for emergency home maintenance repairs). Dave the Builder is a maintenance master at much, but electrical is not his forte.
My fear is fire. His is being electrocuted.
I got it together, found the silver lining, peace of mind, and good will toward electrician men. The new service is in, and power is back up and running, and it’s time to get back to normal (our normal anyhow). All of this got me to thinking a post about holiday decorating safety tips may be as cathartic to me as it is useful to some.
Placement is key. Place a live Christmas tree at least three (3) feet away from any heat source such as fireplaces, space heaters, heat vents, radiators, or candles.
Water a real Christmas tree daily to prevent or at least slow the drying out process.
Use lights with the label of a recognized testing laboratory approved for indoor use. A green holographic UL label means indoor use only, whereas lights with a red holographic UL label mean the lights may be used indoors as well as outdoors.
The look is lovely, but never use lit candles to decorate a Christmas tree.
Replace lights that are worn, have broken cords, or loose bulb connections.
Do not overload strands connections. Use no more than three standard size sets of lights per single extension cord.
When we were kids, one of the neighborhood families left their outdoor decorations on while away. The way too old and unsafe big bulb Christmas lights decorating one of the Oak trees in their front yard snapped, crackled, popped, and caught fire.
The fire quickly spread and engulfed the entire home resulting in a total loss. Don’t second guess decorations or discount warnings. If your going to be away from home, turn off and unplug your outdoor and your indoor decorations. Always turn off Christmas tree lights before going to bed.
I don’t want to pour cold water on the holiday parade, but water and electricity do not mix. Make sure to keep your hands dry and never, ever stand in water when touching holiday decorations or gadgets powered by electricity.
Do not cut corners with worn out extension cords or Christmas lights. Never run an extension cord under rugs, carpets, or furniture.
Vintage Christmas decorations bring back old memories, and more times than not come with the original wiring. Check for frayed cords which run a high risk of lighting up the holidays in the call 911, the house in on fire kind of way.
Do not burn evergreens, pine, gift boxes, or gift wrap in your fireplace. Dry greens and cardboard act like tender- burning hot and fast. The flames can quickly flare out of control, cause a flash fire, and send sparks out into a room and/or up the chimney igniting creosote deposits. Make sure to keep the screen before the fireplace while burning a fire.
Simple makes a tasty appetizer plate, and a make ahead recipe for a simple yet impressive appetizer is an absolute appetizer must. Thanksgiving day is a culinary marathon. I don’t want to gloss over a step or course, nor do I want to give up one precious minute to the tedious or the trying.
Use an insulated coffee carafe to keep the gravy hot and a burner ready to go for the next dish. Pre-warm the carafe by filling it with hot tap water allowing to sit for a couple of minutes. Empty out the hot water and add the gravy.
The closest my iPad gets to the kitchen is the accent table in the dining room. I’m still recovering from the great spill debacle of two years ago when Dave the Builder “cooked” my tablet with a spilled Dr. Pepper.
Thanksgiving day is stressful enough without the extra worry of liquid vs. tablet. Tuck your tablet into a Ziploc slider bag to protect it and worry no more.
A scent of the season scented candle is a holiday greet the guests essential. I don’t depend on pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to carry the weight of the waft throughout the house.
Presentation is key at the holidays. A vintage ironstone bowl filled with ice and topped with pinecones is natural styling for chilling wine.
I love the unique styling and look created with a vintage bowl filled with ice and topped with miniature pinecones.
We gather together holiday table ideas help to set an impressive Thanksgiving holiday table. Getting the look, style, balance, and theme suited to your holiday dining and entertaining scheme requires a certain amount of planning and prep, and that’s where these we gather together holiday table ideas come in.
Design inspiration is often the driving force of my blog content, and I’m amazed at where it comes from at times. Yesterday, somewhere between trying to locate what bedroom the cat was hiding out in and trying not to lose my religion over the cat and mouse game he loves to play with me, I stopped in the hallway to regroup. Looking down the hall into the foyer, dining room, and kitchen in more than a glimpse and less than a stare, it dawned on me I truly liked what I was seeing.
Isn’t that the point of the design and decorating grand scheme of things?
I sometimes forget to just stand back and take in the look. My vantage point allowed for a comprehensive viewing from foyer to dining room.
The vintage bamboo chandelier in the foyer.
The wallpaper selection.
The yet once again painted lantern pendant.
The decision to lighten up the dining room color palette.
The placement of artwork.
I like to try new things and new looks, but the traditional personal design style choices I come back to time and time again prove to be the ones I am most satisfied with.
Stay true to your personal style and design, decorate, and holiday table set accordingly is advice I not only give, but practice.
Create a backdrop with touches sure to resonate with the crowd. Sure, most of us try to emulate moms-grandmothers-aunties side dish or dessert recipe- that’s a given. I like to use decorative accents and tabletop pieces that make a shared memories, experiences, and regional commonalities connection with my guests.
Magnolias in glass cylinders cover the Southern aspect of our holiday table. Fresh flowers or an heirloom bowl filled with fall leaves native to your area set a home for the holidays tone.
Wooden turned candlesticks instantly become I remember these conversation pieces.
A handed down from generation to generation family recipe served in a handed down from generation to generation serving piece is wow factor certified and guaranteed to tug at the home is where the holiday heart is heartstrings.
The heirloom crystal water bottle makes it way from the china cabinet to the Thanksgiving table.
Cocktail glasses in a similar pattern as the ones my dad served holiday spirits in, and goblets in the style of the ones my grandmother used at holiday time to serve her famous orange fluff salad in become a must have addition to the we gather together holiday table.
I take into consideration the cornucopia of styles among my decorista friends, family and readers when offering holiday table ideas. Modern tiered layers of clear acrylic complemented by alternating negative spaces make up the ultra chic Collins Acrylic and Metal Taper Holder from Williams-Sonoma Home.
An impressive holiday tablescape does not have to be expensive or difficult to achieve. Place the focus on folk, food, fresh, flavor, and fun.
My comical husband suggested I call this hosting tip “f” the holidays.
Holiday hosting humor is a fabulous stress buster. Dave is in charge of levity, and is brilliant at it.
We’ve still got the December holidays to decorate, entertain, and tablescape to and the holiday budget to manage. Items that pull double duty justify the initial price of admission to the holiday tablescape party. This is the exact reason I go with white plates with gold rims and serving pieces in November to December holiday friendly colors and patterns.
Three bedroom, 2 full bath lodge with fireplace, satellite television, cellphone and WiFi service second to none, scavenger hunts, hiking trails, midnight runs to spot deer, owl and raccoons, stay up and sleep in as late as you want boring.
Not exactly what I would call roughing it.
Striving to keep things new, fresh, and in the holiday spirit, I came up with the hot cocoa and hat draw holiday kick off. The moms would make hot cocoa, and the dads would light up the fire ring late Thanksgiving day afternoon. While we were enjoying hot cocoa and getting back to nature, we would pass a hat around with each of our names in it. Each of us drew a name from the hat, and the planning began. Friday when we drove into the neighboring towns to antique and Black Friday shop, each of us would buy a kick off the holidays gift for the person whose name we drew from the hat.
We set a $5.00 limit, and the rule was the gift had to be something the recipient talked about on Thanksgiving day or night. Part of the fun was seeing how attentive and creative we could get with our gift selections. A quick stop at the dollar store for a small Christmas tree, gift bags, and reindeer bells to ring round the campfire completed the process.
The kids loved it, and the big kids got into it as well. Our kick off the holidays hot cocoa and hat draw gifted each us with a great memory.
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
– Dr. Seuss
I’ve tweaked the tradition a bit, and now it’s the We Wish Family and Friends a Feast of a Happy Holidays Season favor gift give.
Home is where the Holiday heart is, and ours beats strong here at Places In The Home. Our holiday celebrations are all about honoring traditions old and new, making meaningful memories, sharing the holiday love with family, friends, and readers, and offering holiday table ideas, holiday decor finds, suggestions, stories, and sources. Join me throughout the holiday season for all things house that make a holiday home.
This post contains links to Paperless Post. I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions expressed are completely my own based on my experience.
Places In The Home is in full-on this is not a drill, the holiday season is here mode. When a shopping network host announced Christmas is less than two months away, it brought it all home. This end of October-beginning of November week kicks off the whole let’s holiday plan and prep shebang, and I’m inviting and celebrating family and friends, thankful feasts and fêtes, seasoned and Seasons Greetings, ’tis the season of soirees and open houses, New Year’s Day supper, and happy birthday greetings with a little help from my friends at Paperless Post.
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Pheasant Plumage – John Derian
An invitation to gather together with friends to eat, drink, celebrate, and be grateful for one another on the third Thursday of November is but a custom design and email list away.
Gourd Times – Crate & Barrel
Holiday time is open house time, y’all!
A customized invitation to join you to celebrate not only fits the occasion, but reflects your personal style.
The Lady It’s Cold Outside invitation is decked out in faux fur holiday finery for a festive evening of holiday spirits, decorating, and dancing.
So sipping cocktails-Dino on the hi-fi-Cherries Jubilee-1960s throwback swanky.
The Peas on Earth invitation is perfect for our Creole black-eyed peas and Southern buttermilk cornbread Peas on Earth, Good Eats for Luck New Year’s Day supper.
Peas on Earth
A Louisiana birthday celebration deserves a snazzy and snappy birthday card.
Snappy Birthday (Nicholas John Frith) – Red Cap Cards
Design, create, greet, announce, invite, and impress friends, family, and clients with custom digital invitations, cards, and stationery from Paperless Post. The design and send experience is as easy as email, the design result as elegant as it is exceptional.