Archive for December, 2011


My Favorite Christmas Songs…The Friends Version Vol. XX

Just 5 days away! Today’s song was suggested by Brenda Nixon (@BrendaNixon). The song is “Good King Wenceslas“. Here’s why Brenda says this is her favorite song:

“The song reminds us of the “good King” – which could be Jesus Christ – who braved the wicked weather (our world) to feed the poor (us). “Page and monarch forth, they went Forth they went together, Through the rude wind’s wild lament And the bitter weather…”

and last verse reminds me of my need to follow Christ’s example to love and help the poor:
“In his master’s steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing”

Thanks for sharing this song, Brenda!



My Favorite Christmas Songs…The Friends Version Vol. XIX

6 days until Christmas!!! Can you believe it! Is anyone holding out for a White Christmas? I certainly am! The local weather forecast is calling for some some rain and snow on Christmas Eve.

Today’s song was suggested by Karen Martin. The girl to the right was the singer of today’s song. She’s an Oklahoma City native. Can anyone name her?

Her name is Gayla Peevey and she sang the 1953 Christmas song, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas“. As it turns out, Peevey actually received a hippopotamus for Christmas that year and donated it to the Oklahoma City Zoo. The hippo went to to live for 50 years.

Enjoy your Monday!


A Tasty TweetUp! 12 Flavors of Ice Cream at Velvet Ice Cream

Thursday night I was able to attend the 2nd Licking County TweetUp (#LCTweetUp) at Velvet Ice Cream in Utica, OH. You can connect with Velvet Ice Cream online via Twitter and Facebook.

It was a great night of great ice cream flavors. We taste tested 12 different flavors of ice cream! I’ve included the list to the right. Velvet actually makes 4 different flavors of vanilla ice cream. Who knew? Each creamy version was amazingly unique and different. The Vanilla Bean flavor actually has bits of ground up vanilla beans in it. Simply delicious. The 4 vanilla flavors, combined, account for about 38% of Velvet’s sales. But they’re not all about vanilla. Do you like Carrot Cake or Root Beer Floats? Yep, they’ve got those flavors, too!

As we moved through each smooth mixture, we came to Viva el Chocolate! You can never go wrong with chocolate, right? Joe Dager, the Chairman of Velvet shared that anything with chocolate sells well. No surprises there! Viva el Chocolate! delivered with slight bite of chocolate cinnamon brownie. This was followed up by Buckeye Classic-my favorite. Chocolate + peanut butter=pure happiness. Buckeye Classic is the lone best seller (apart from the 4 vanilla flavors), accounting for 20% of their sales.

We finished the night with Peppermint Stick. Based in the original vanilla flavor ice cream, they add ground up peppermint disks which naturally color the ice cream. You’ll find little chunks of peppermint throughout your bowl.

While the ice cream and the company was great, the group was fortunate enough to be joined by Velvet Ice Cream President, Luconda Dager, her father, Joe Dager, who serves as the Chairman of Velvet and Nathan Arnold, Velvet’s Marketing Coordinator. The company is a privately owned family business with a 95 year history. As we enjoyed the flavors throughout the night, Luconda talked about the company’s take on how they approach ice cream and told some great stories about their successes. We got to listen as Joe, spoke candidly and with pride about the great products his family’s company has produced over the years. As they both shared their stories and reminisced, you could tell that they took great pride in the product. This was more than just ice cream for them. This, was their life. As you can imagine, they taste test ice cream routinely. As a matter of quality control, they personally taste test each batch of ice cream that is produced everyday. You could tell that they found fulfillment, not only in the success the business has had, but also in knowing that their product brings joy to others, as well. This was a great experience, I will remember for some time.

A few of my friends that attended this event have blogged about the experience, as well. You can check out Cheri’s take on the event here. Sean Carpenter also wrote a spectacular post on his blog. Sean’s post includes some video of Joe Dager speaking about some of his experiences in the ice cream business. A must see.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank my co-hosts for the evening, Cheri, Ellie, and Brad for coordinating this great event. Thanks to all who also showed up and tweeted about the night.


Today’s Favorite Christmas Song…The Friends Version Vol. XVII

I need to start today’s post by mentioning that I’m starting to feel like Casey Kasem doing this blog series! Just sayin’. But it’s fun. Anyway, moving on…

Christmas is a time for friends and family. It can also be a time of romance and new love. Today’s song actually focuses on lost love. I also think that today’s song is the only one in the list that comes from the ’80’s, so ’80’s fans, get your fix today.

Today’s song comes from the ’80’s duo, Wham!(George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley). The song? If you’re a die hard ’80’s fan, you’ve probably guessed it and can sing it-“Last Christmas”. The song was suggested by Ellie Hempleman (@elliehempleman).

When Ellie emailed me to choose this song, here is what she shared:

“I honestly can’t pinpoint exactly why I love this song this year, but when I heard it yesterday, I cranked up the radio and sang it at the top of my lungs. Seriously. I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s striking a chord with me (like that pun?!) because I’ve had my heart broken recently. Granted, it wasn’t last Christmas, but none the less, I gave away my heart to someone who was careless with it. The lyrics have a good lesson in them if you really pay attention. It’s all about guarding yourself and being smart with who you entrust with your heart – you’re going to give it away to someone special, not any ole joe. And, it has a super fun beat, and you just can’t go wrong with that! :)”

Ellie, thanks for suggesting this song and why you chose it. Unfortunately, video footage of Ellie singing the song in the car was not made available, so a link to the video on YouTube will have to do.


My Favorite Christmas Songs…The Friends Version Vol. XV

Today’s song will be familiar to everyone, but do you know the story behind the song? My good buddy, Brent Stark, told me that this was his favorite song. Today’s song of the day is “Christmas in Sarajevo”. When he told me this, I knew the song immediately, and admittedly, like the song too. But as I began to research the song, I had no idea of the meaningful story behind it.

Paul O’Neill, one of the composers of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra explained the story behind the song in an interview in magazine,  Christianity Today:

“… We heard about this cello player born in Sarajevo many years ago who left when he was fairly young to go on to become a well-respected musician, playing with various symphonies throughout Europe. Many decades later, he returned to Sarajevo as an elderly man—at the height of the Bosnian War, only to find his city in complete ruins.

I think what most broke this man’s heart was that the destruction was not done by some outside invader or natural disaster—it was done by his own people. At that time, Serbs were shelling Sarajevo every night. Rather than head for the bomb shelters like his family and neighbors, this man went to the town square, climbed onto a pile of rubble that had once been the fountain, took out his cello, and played Mozart and Beethoven as the city was bombed.

He came every night and began playing Christmas carols from that same spot. It was just such a powerful image—a white-haired man silhouetted against the cannon fire, playing timeless melodies to both sides of the conflict amid the rubble and devastation of the city he loves. Some time later, a reporter traced him down to ask why he did this insanely stupid thing. The old man said that it was his way of proving that despite all evidence to the contrary, the spirit of humanity was still alive in that place.

The song basically wrapped itself around him. We used some of the oldest Christmas melodies we could find, like “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Carol of the Bells” (which is from Ukraine, near that region). The orchestra represents one side, the rock band the other, and single cello represents that single individual, that spark of hope.”

Wow! What a great story! Did you know about this story? Now the song has much more meaning for me, as I hope it does for you.

Thanks, Brent for sharing this song!



My Favorite Christmas Songs…The Friends Version Vol. XIV

After a day of sketchy internet availability…I’m back and so is this blog. 🙂 Today’s song comes from Monica Farnsworth.

Monica’s favorite song comes from the movie, “Meet me in St. Louis”. In this movie about the year leading up to the 1904 World’s Fair, Judy Garland sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. This is today’s song.

Thanks, Monica for selecting this song!





My Favorite Christmas Songs…The Friends Version Vol. XII

Today’s song comes from a famous rock star that was born in 1935 in Tupelo, MS. Any guesses? He’s still pretty popular today, and you can visit his house in Memphis, TN. I’m sure you know it by now.

Today’s song is “Blue Christmas”, sang by Elvis Presley. Julie Stacey requested this song! You can’t make it through the Christmas season without a little Elvis, right?

The song was originally recorded in 1948 by Doye O’Dell, but wasn’t popularized until 2 years later, when 3 different artists did the song. Elvis didn’t release his song until 1957 on his Elvis’ Christmas Album. He later released it as a single in 1964.

So, here’s a little Blue Christmas for ya! Enjoy “The King” as he sings Blue Christmas. And, thank you Julie for requesting this great song!

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