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Took me what, almost 10 years? But I finally figured it out. When I return home to visit family in Western New York for Christmas, I should stick around for about four nights.

Here was my issue in years past: I would only visit my parents back in Niagara Falls about three times a year. Also, I would usually end up with a ton of vacation to use before the end of the year otherwise it would be lost. So between not wanting to give up too much of my free days (I would inevitably lose some anyways) and falling victim to my mother’s guilt trip, I would stay home around Christmas for close to a week.

And by the sixth or seventh day, I would end up singing the same tune: next year, I can’t stay home for this long. I love my family but hanging out back in the house I grew up in just makes me a bit stir-crazy.

So this year I switched it up. First, I spread out my remaining vacation days over the final month-and-a-half of the year to ensure that I wouldn’t lose any. This also gave me a bunch of long weekends and quite frankly, one of my most enjoyable holiday seasons in recent memory. Then, I scheduled my trip to WNY around Christmas but made sure to just give myself enough time to see my family and attend an extra event or two, nothing more.

Mission accomplished. Saw all of my family plus a bunch of my friends, attended a few holiday parties, visited Orchard Park to watch my Bills lose to the Dolphins (don’t get me started) and drank a few Labatt Blue Lights in the process.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


Other food highlights included my favorite meal of the year: Christmas Eve’s Feast of the Seven Fishes and a final night pit-stop to GoodFellas’s in Niagara Falls for my favorite pizza and wings.

Of course the most important part of the trip was my time at home. Almost as enjoyable was leaving Niagara Falls and not thinking that next year I should spend any less time there.

Chatted with DJ Pauly D, Aubrey O’Day, Willis McGahee and Jessica White – all stars of the new E! reality show “Famously Single.” We had a bit of fun.

I have had a lot of great weekends as of late, as I’ve broken out the “#RalphieOTRA” hashtag and traveled to a number of different cities; many of which I visited for the first time in my life. This past weekend included one of those trips, along with a few experiences in the tri-state area that I won’t soon forget.

To get a proper feel for the three day stretch I had, we should probably rewind to Friday. The details are covered in this Facebook post, but here are some of the highlights courtesy of my Instagram and Twitter.

First – a quick recap via Twitter.


Let’s expand on a few things… THE DEVILS, A PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY TEAM, GAVE ME A JERSEY!


I hosted the Devils Opening Night Red Carpet at the team’s Fan Fest outside of Prudential Center. Big thanks to the Devils along with Kerry and the PruCenter PR Team for the invite and hospitality.

I also was invited by my friends at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and Lennon Bus to the “Imagine Party,” celebrating John’s 75th birthday. Here’s me, VP of U.S. Tours and Promotions Matthew Reich and his band, the Command Sisters.


Saturday – off to Garfield, N.J. for Mike Allan’s wedding!


Obviously the photo does not do these two justice.


We had the whole crew there. I’m not sure why Jesse, from our sister station NASH FM, was standing here.


How I made it to LaGuardia to take this selfie and catch my 8:20 am flight after that night is beyond me.


Albeit delayed, I made it to the game. Big thanks to Cumulus Nashville for a great first experience at Nissan Stadium. Bills won!

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


Things I tried in Nashville: A Bushwacker. It’s like a Wendy’s Frosty but with alcohol. So, it’s Heaven.


I also visited a ton of bars up and down Broadway. Lots of live music and libations, zero cover charges.


After about three hours of sleep, I hopped on a plane headed back to the greatest city in the world, but left with some fond memories of Nashville. Last #RalphieOTRA trip for a while is next weekend – Syracuse!

When I can get on cable news and work in both Buffalo Bills AND Syracuse University references, it’s a good day.

Here are some highlights of my appearance on HLN’s The Daily Share Monday. We also chatted about Sunday’s Miss America competition.

simply put, it’s a western new york thing.

when you grow up in or around buffalo, and leave for school or work, you take with you a number of strong convictions, vices, and believes.

the buffalo bills and sabres are your teams; wegmans is your supermarket; real chicken wings are not created equal; bison chip dip is the only chip dip; the goo goo dolls are the best rock band ever; jack kemp was a quarterback first, vice presidential candidate second.

and of course, tim russert was the pride of wny, and the authority on all things of which he spoke. western new yorkers essentially held russert in such high regards for the same reasons that most of america did: he embodied the blue collar mentality that his beloved father, “big russ”, taught him while growing up in south buffalo. russert exhibited this in a number of different fashions – his unparrelled preparation when analysing campaign results or grilling politicians on meet the press, the lack of “gimmick” when on camera – he kept it real and kept it simple.

also, it seems russert’s compassion and charity matched his intellect. you certainly know the type of legacy a man left behind when friends, foes, and collegues alike gather on national tv in the immediate aftermath of his death to credit not only russert the analyst, the journalist – but the father, son, and husband.

as a member of the media and a western new yorker, the passing of tim russert certainly struck a number of cords with me. last night when i took to the air here in northeast pa, i spoke briefly about the tragedy, but mentioned how it certainly put things in perspective – on personal and professional levels.

i have “formal training” in journalism – whatever that means these days to you. of course, i attended the newhouse school of public communications, and dual majored at syracuse university in broadcast journalism and marketing. so for me personally, to see a guy without a communications degree succeed to the level that russert did in television, is a sign that russert really, really knew his stuff. as we’ve learned within’ the past 24 hours, apparently no one did their homework as well as russert.

but added to his accomplishments in television are his contributions to family life in america. his two best selling books certainly brought a new dimension and definition to the father-son relationship in this country. it brings about more sorrow that russert died right before father’s day, after celebrating his son luke’s graduation from boston college.

then again, maybe that’s the way the man above planned it – so we could all remember and celebrate the legacy of tim russert throughout this father’s day weekend. although i know my fellow western new yorkers and many more throughout the country will remember russert for a long time to come, whether we are sharing a special moment with dad or tuning in to political coverage of an election.

or maybe for us buffalonians, cheering on our beloved bills – hoping that tim is talking to the big man about maybe delivering a big win.

simply put, it’s a western new york thing.

when you grow up in or around buffalo, and leave for school or work, you take with you a number of strong convictions, vices, and believes.

the buffalo bills and sabres are your teams; wegmans is your supermarket; real chicken wings are not created equal; bison chip dip is the only chip dip; the goo goo dolls are the best rock band ever; jack kemp was a quarterback first, vice presidential candidate second.

and of course, tim russert was the pride of wny, and the authority on all things of which he spoke. western new yorkers essentially held russert in such high regards for the same reasons that most of america did: he embodied the blue collar mentality that his beloved father, “big russ”, taught him while growing up in south buffalo. russert exhibited this in a number of different fashions – his unparrelled preparation when analysing campaign results or grilling politicians on meet the press, the lack of “gimmick” when on camera – he kept it real and kept it simple.

also, it seems russert’s compassion and charity matched his intellect. you certainly know the type of legacy a man left behind when friends, foes, and collegues alike gather on national tv in the immediate aftermath of his death to credit not only russert the analyst, the journalist – but the father, son, and husband.

as a member of the media and a western new yorker, the passing of tim russert certainly struck a number of cords with me. last night when i took to the air here in northeast pa, i spoke briefly about the tragedy, but mentioned how it certainly put things in perspective – on personal and professional levels.

i have “formal training” in journalism – whatever that means these days to you. of course, i attended the newhouse school of public communications, and dual majored at syracuse university in broadcast journalism and marketing. so for me personally, to see a guy without a communications degree succeed to the level that russert did in television, is a sign that russert really, really knew his stuff. as we’ve learned within’ the past 24 hours, apparently no one did their homework as well as russert.

but added to his accomplishments in television are his contributions to family life in america. his two best selling books certainly brought a new dimension and definition to the father-son relationship in this country. it brings about more sorrow that russert died right before father’s day, after celebrating his son luke’s graduation from boston college.

then again, maybe that’s the way the man above planned it – so we could all remember and celebrate the legacy of tim russert throughout this father’s day weekend. although i know my fellow western new yorkers and many more throughout the country will remember russert for a long time to come, whether we are sharing a special moment with dad or tuning in to political coverage of an election.

or maybe for us buffalonians, cheering on our beloved bills – hoping that tim is talking to the big man about maybe delivering a big win.

no, the title isn’t a new breakfast sandwich at sheetz, although my schmagel this morning was deelish. just feels like a really lazy monday here in the nepa.

i went to bed a little after 6 am this morning, and woke up before 4 pm. weird doesn’t even begin to explain my internal clock and sleeping patterns. but despite the amount of sleep i received, i still feel a little groggy at 6:52. a lack of caffeine could be the issue, and i’ll fix that during my first hour of the show with a trip to the coffee machine outside the studio.

of course, many believe monday is simply an extension of the weekend. the past couple days have been spent eating in, drinking out, and napping throughout the day. the gf came to wilkes barre to visit – and after the week each of us had – we decided to just take it easy and enjoy the finer things in life… rest, light beer, red robin burgers, januzzi’s pizza, and a mix of boston college, yankees, and bills games on the television.

speaking of which – how amazing was this last night?

what? you missed it because you wanted to see ryan seacrest host the emmy’s? boo.

and speaking of the emmy’s, how funny was this?

anywho, lots of fun stuff to give away on tonight’s show. off i go, with more updates to come throughout the night.

no, the title isn’t a new breakfast sandwich at sheetz, although my schmagel this morning was deelish. just feels like a really lazy monday here in the nepa.

i went to bed a little after 6 am this morning, and woke up before 4 pm. weird doesn’t even begin to explain my internal clock and sleeping patterns. but despite the amount of sleep i received, i still feel a little groggy at 6:52. a lack of caffeine could be the issue, and i’ll fix that during my first hour of the show with a trip to the coffee machine outside the studio.

of course, many believe monday is simply an extension of the weekend. the past couple days have been spent eating in, drinking out, and napping throughout the day. the gf came to wilkes barre to visit – and after the week each of us had – we decided to just take it easy and enjoy the finer things in life… rest, light beer, red robin burgers, januzzi’s pizza, and a mix of boston college, yankees, and bills games on the television.

speaking of which – how amazing was this last night?

what? you missed it because you wanted to see ryan seacrest host the emmy’s? boo.

and speaking of the emmy’s, how funny was this?

anywho, lots of fun stuff to give away on tonight’s show. off i go, with more updates to come throughout the night.