Archives For christmas

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.

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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.

Keeping with tradition, I stayed in the city for Thanksgiving and worked, however I took a lengthy vacation around Christmas. By lengthy, we’re talking nine days. Almost a week-and-a-half. I love my family, but it was a bit much.

Nonetheless, it is always nice to return back to Niagara Falls and visit with family and friends that still live in Western New York. I flew out on Sunday the 20 and snapped this shot as the sun was rising over the RFK Bridge.


Rarely does returning back to WNY solely consist of resting, especially around the holidays. But it’s nice when I’m home for events that normally I would have to see on Instagram or hear about after the fact. Example: My very talented niece Taylor had an art showing at a local wine bar in Niagara Falls the night I landed. She is ridiculously talented (you’ll see later) and the place was packed. It was great to be able to not only join family there but support her.


On Monday we had a family dinner with my Mom’s side and on Tuesday my Dad’s favorite bar, DeFazio’s Stadium Grill, had its annual Christmas Party. Here’s me and my cousin Mike.


Yeah, it was a good night! Attending with my Dad has turned in to an annual tradition that hope doesn’t end anytime soon.


Had a chance to spend some quality time with my cousin Anthony on Wednesday. I ran a few errands with him and we grabbed lunch in Lockport – home of course of the Erie Canal.

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V ARTSY as the kids say. Thursday was Christmas Eve aka my favorite meal of the year: The Feast of the Seven Fishes. It’s an Italian thing, and I love it because I want all of the seafood.


Then Santa stopped by. We opened gifts as a family on Friday and then went to my brother’s house for brunch. That’s where my niece, the aforementioned Taylor, gave me this!


How amazing is that?! Her and I both share a love for Coldplay. All-in-all, Santa treated me well.

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It was just great to be able to hang with all of my nieces and nephews.


Saturday was a blur of a day, spent mostly visiting with friends from high school and grade school. Then on Sunday, I headed off to the Carrier Dome to see Syracuse play Texas Southern.


‘Cuse won and I got to see one of my old college roommates and my family that lives there, so it was a solid trip back to Central New York. I kept with the sports scene Monday night, heading to Buffalo to see my Sabres play the Caps. Sadly they lost but it was still nice to get back to the First Niagara Center and see all of the great development happening in downtown Buffalo.


Of course it’s not a trip back to Western New York in December if you don’t have inclement weather.


But soon enough I was back in the air and en route to the city.


Definitely a trip home for the books and a solid way to end my 2015 travels.

Backstreet’s back… again… and apparently, so is Christmas too. Tis the season!

It’s not too late to enjoy Mariah Carey’s latest holiday album this season – and you can do so for a price that won’t break the holiday shopping budget. AmazonMP3 is currently offering Merry Christmas II You for the slim price of $2.99. Happy Holidays!

This is the band’s first original holiday song – with proceeds from sales of the track going to a U.K. charity that assists with the homeless.

We The Kings found out first hand that there are many benefits to rock stardom. Apparently one of those is that if you’re in the band, you’re never stuck with the bill… even if you ruin bed sheets in a New York hotel for three consecutive nights.

“It was crazy, we kept waking up and there were smiley faces everywhere,” explained front man Travis Clark – who referred to the new tattoos that each band member got – the smiley face that graces the cover of WTK’s latest LP, Smile Kid. The ink was fresh, and the boys from Bradenton, Florida found themselves in the Big Apple promoting the new album. Even Clark became a little skeptical of how the situation would play out with the hotel.

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“I was just like, ‘Dude, they’re not gonna give us any more sheets,’ because we’ve literally ruined every one of them,” admitted the lead singer. “We probably ruined four beds (worth of sheets)… three nights in a row.”

But according to Clark – the mishap didn’t cost the band a dime. He admitted that usually a check or tab is the one thing WTK does not have to worry about.

We The Kings chatted with The Ralphie Radio Show before year’s end – the band’s fourth appearance on The RRS this year, leading all other artists. Chris Daughtry placed second with three guest spots.

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Would love to post links/photos… but I don’t think my bosses would appreciate that… if you listen to the interview, you can find out where to snag more info on “Pornaments.” Google searches always work too…

The good people at WYOU-TV (CBS) invited me back to their 11 PM Newscast for the “WYOU Interactive” segment, where I spoke on the “war” between the greetings, “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays.”


You can read more here. Good luck with that.

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Relationship expert Barbara Purcell, who’s appeared with Martha Stewart and Tyra Banks – talked with Ralphie about why there’s so much stress during the holiday season, and how it can be relieved…



Barbara owns Urban Rapture NYC.