A Very Merry Playlist | Happy Holidays

547efda456f0eMerry Christmas Eve, friends!

It’s such a beautiful time of year — so many hearts are filled with love and joy this season. This is one of my favorite times of the year because I’ve had so many wistful memories during the holidays. Growing up, my parents, brother and I would drive up to New York to visit our family as most of them lived there. Of course, we would frequent Rockefeller Center to gaze at the gigantic, gleaming Christmas tree, people watch those who were ice skating in Time Square, and pay a visit to F.A.O. Schwartz to pick out a toy with my Uncle Don.

Each annual visit to New York, we would stay at my late grandmother’s place in Queens. I can picture it like it was just yesterday – stomping around in mounds of snow outside of her apartment complex in Kew Gardens, her warm, cozy home, walking around barefoot on the plush carpet, sneaking those little jelly Sunkist Fruit Gems out of her candy dish before dinner, admiring her sparkling Swarovski crystal figurines she collected and of course, listening to Frank Sinatra on the retro radio.

As many of you already know, I am music’s biggest fan. Okay, maybe not biggest but I can say with the utmost certainty that music plays a vital role in my life. It’s amazing when you hear a song and it immediately takes you to a place you once were or brings back feelings you once had. It may be the closest thing we have to time travel – there’s just something nostalgic about it. With that said, I’ve cultivated a Christmas Playlist below that will surely put you in the holiday spirit. It may even compel you to begin setting up your playlist on Spotify or iTunes — and do not fret, you’ll see that Mr. Sinatra made the list too. Cheers!

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  1. All I Want For Christmas Is You – Michael Bublé (his spin on Mariah Carey’s classic)
  2. Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
  3. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Sam Smith
  4. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
  5. Baby It’s Cold Outside – She & Him
  6. Peace – Norah Jones
  7. Sleigh Ride – Ella Fitzgerald
  8. O Tannenbaum – Andrea Bocelli
  9. White Christmas – Bing Crosby
  10. Little Drummer Boy – Johnny Cash
  11. Where Are You Christmas? – Faith Hill
  12. I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Frank Sinatra
  13. Winter Wonderland / Don’t Worry Be Happy – Pentatonix
  14. Deck The Halls – Manheim Steamroller
  15. The Christmas Waltz – She & Him
  16. O Holy Night – Tracy Chapman
  17. Joy to the World – Nat King Cole
  18. Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Rod Stewart
  19. Merry Christmas Baby – B.B. King
  20. Silver Bells – Tony Bennett
  21. Do You Hear What I Hear? – Bob Dylan
  22. Let it Snow – Dean Martin
  23. Winter Song – The Head And The Heart
  24. Someday at Christmas – Jack Johnson
  25. 7 O’clock News / Silent Night – Simon & Garfunkel
  26. White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
  27. Christmas Lights – Coldplay
  28. Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen
  29. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – Michael Bublé
  30. Ave Maria – Josh Groban
  31. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Harry Connick, Jr.
  32. This Christmas – Cee-Lo Green
  33. Christmas – Rogue Wave
  34. Wonderful Christmastime – The Shins
  35. Boots – The Killers
  36. Winter Wonderland – Jason Mraz
  37. Little Saint Nick – Beach Boys
  38. Winter Winds – Mumford & Sons
  39. Happy Christmas (War is Over) – Maroon 5
  40. I Thank God – The Avett Brothers
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Music Muse | Tunes I’m Feeling Right Now

I’ve always been a music junkie — I literally grew up on classic rock and oldies. My parents (particularly my father), played a significant role in regard to what I was exposed to as a child in the way of tunes. Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Simon & Garfunkel, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, James Taylor, The Doors, Tom Petty, The Grateful Dead…you name it, I probably listened to it. Of course, as I got older, I was able to develop and form my own musical taste. I think of expanding your taste in music in relation to picking flowers from a wild, boundless garden. Each song or artist offers something very unique, just like an individual flower. You pick each stem that you fall in love with to ultimately add to your collection, which results in a radiant and robust bouquet. The compilation of my favorite artists and songs partially comprises who I am as a person – I truly believe that the kind of music someone listens to says a lot about them.

I have a very strong appreciation for all genres – even if it is not necessarily my favorite. However, I am almost always up for something new and will change what I am listening to as often as I change my Fantasy Football lineup (and if you know me, you know how frequent that is). Below are 5 artists I’m currently digging right now (and stay tuned – more music inspiration coming to the blog soon).

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1. Taylor Swift’s { 1989 Album }

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I know – it’s probably all you’ve heard about for the last couple of weeks (especially if you are friends with me). I’m not usually one to lean toward the Pop genre on a regular basis, but I’ve been a fan of Taylor Swift since her first album dropped in 2006 when she was singing Country music. I’ve remained loyal to her because “Tim McGraw”, “Teardrops on My Guitar” and “Cold As You” once gave my life deep meaning back when I would drive around in my car with the windows down and the music blasting, desperately trying to get over an ex-boyfriend (come on, ladies – I know we’ve all been there before). I have to admit, I was extremely uneasy when I heard she wanted to go a different route and leave Country music behind, however, after reading reviews and hearing some opinions, I decided to bite the bullet and purchase her new album. Let me just tell you, I am now feeling a little guilty for ever questioning her (sorry, T-Swift). But in all seriousness, the album is fantastic! My favorite songs right now are: “Wildest Dreams”, “Blank Space”, “Wonderland”, “Clean”, and “Style”.

 

2. The Head and the Heart

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Aside from classic rock, I’d say my favorite genre of music is Folk and Indie Folk. This is where my love for The Head and the Heart comes into play. I discovered this band from Seattle, Washington while listening to the Mumford & Sons Pandora station at work…and my oh my is it amazing. If you enjoy this type of music, I would highly recommend giving them a listen. My absolute favorite song by them is “Down in the Valley”.

 

3. Gregory Alan Isakov 

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I heard about this singer/songwriter from my dear friend, Ashley (who has excellent taste in music, might I add). Gregory Alan Isakov has a very soothing sound. His music is quite mellow and will put your chaotic life at ease. Try listening to “The Stable Song” first, and see how much you enjoy him. I am really feeling his vibe!

 

4. Paolo Nutini

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Okay, I’ve been listening to him for a couple of years now – but it’s an artist I do not feel gains enough traction and attention that he so deserves. Looking at him, you would never expect the ridiculous voice that comes out – very Ray LaMontagne-esque. He’s a Scottish singer/songwriter and has one of the most soulful voices I’ve ever heard. I’ve enjoyed him so much, I put one of his songs on our CD wedding favor (“Growing Up Beside You”) – which in itself, was a tough decision to make because we were so limited with song selection. Some of my other favorites of his are “Last Request”, “New Shoes”, “Rewind”, “Jenny Don’t Be Hasty”, “These Streets” and “Coming Up Easy”. Oh and you’re welcome.

 

5. The Dirty Heads

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Oh my goodness do I love this band! I’ve been fortunate enough to see them live twice and they sound just like they do in the studio. The Dirty Heads are from Huntington Beach, California and definitely bring that west coast feeling to the table. They are a blend of Reggae, Hip Hop and Rock – a very uncommon combination. If I had to compare them to other artists, I would say they have some Sublime and Matisyahu influences. I really enjoyed their Cabin By The Sea album but the newest one that was released in July, Sound of Change, offers something very different – very acoustic. Absolutely loving this one!

#FestivalDreaming

Flower crowns, long dresses, crop tops, ankle booties, big sunglasses, warm weather, incredible jams…it means only one thing: festival season. I have to admit, seeing all of the Coachella posts on Instagram have made me incredibly envious! It’s one of those things that has been on my bucket list for quite a few years now. In fact, going to any music festival has been a top priority. I couldn’t tell you why I haven’t yet (being the music junkie that I am). Maybe it’s because the genres of music I listen to vary so drastically and I just cannot make a decision and commit! I remember vividly in high school and in my early years of college wanting to go to Bonnaroo in Tennessee and then it became Floyd Fest in Virginia and then Moog Fest in Asheville and then Coachella in California and then Hang Out in Alabama and then Forecastle in Louisville and most recently, Outside Lands in San Fran. Even still, the list goes on as there are so many music festivals out there that I am dying to attend. See my dilemma?

I’ve been to more concerts and shows than I can count but I promised myself that by sometime next year: a music festival (or two) is a must! So since I have no plans as of yet to attend one, I would like to dedicate this post to #FestivalDreaming – because that is currently my state of mind. What does this entail? Accessories and apparel that could make great signature pieces in your festival wardrobe, a pretty sweet playlist full of artists playing at the various shows this summer and if you’re just as indecisive as I am – a little 411 on a few of the festivals that I’ve had my eye on. Enjoy!

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Festival Dreaming

1. Heart Sunglasses, $14 {from Threadsence}  2. Folklore Print Shift Dress, $78 {from TopShop}  3. Aztec Print Crop Top, $60 {from TopShop}  4. Festival Coin Headband, $28.22 {from ASOS}  5. New Look Rose Hair Garland, $11.27 {from ASOS}  6. Light Brown Tassel Trim Ankle Boots, $90 {from River Island}  7. Black Trim Western Ankle Boots, $90 {from River Island}  8. Braided Flat-Sole Sandal, $59.90 {from Zara}  9. Fortunate Lace Pants in Sand, $62 {from Spool72}  10. Rock On Word Cuff, $32.50 {from Threadsence}  11. Rising Sun Native Shorts, $42 {from Spool72}  12. Black Jersey Pleat Maxi Skirt, $70 {from TopShop}  13. River Island Black Leather Chain Detail Fringe Bag, $75.26 {from ASOS}  14. Folk Embroidered Bralet, $40 {from TopShop} 15. Straw Fedora Hat, $28.22 {from ASOS}

 

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