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I don’t even know where to start with this past weekend, so let’s try the beginning. Here are five things I was thankful for.

– My go-to when booking hotels is Hotwire. Most of the time if I’m traveling for work the hotel is booked for me; but when I’m on my own I use that website for hotel deals. Hotwire has never led me astray and so when I decided late Friday night that I was going to travel to Detroit this past Sunday, I knew how to book my hotel. I ended up at The Westin Downtown and when I told some friends in The D my rate, they were stunned at how inexpensive it was.

– I wrapped up what felt like a month of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day by partaking in a beverage at Blarney Stone, followed by a few more beverages and some food at Mustang Harry’s. A big thanks to Marzi, Sarah and the crew at Mustang’s for the hospitality. It was a beautiful day weather-wise and a lot of fun to hang with some old and new friends while watching the tournament games.

– To say I’m thankful for Syracuse Orange basketball would be an understatement. To quickly rewind: I had a thought in the back of my mind heading in to Friday night’s game that if we won, I might try to fly to Detroit for Sunday’s Round-of-32 match. Once we completed the victory against TCU, I started looking at flights. Less than an hour later, my plans were set. To see that game, from those seats, amongst that squad was a memory I will tell my grandkids about (carriage before the horse there but you get the idea). I get to experience a lot of “once-in-a-lifetime” moments and I never take them for granted. On to the Sweet 16!


– I received a few odd looks like I was some-type-of-crazy when I told people this weekend that I was heading to Detroit. I think part of that was they couldn’t believe I booked a trip on Friday night for Sunday. But surely the other part was that they were skeptical of why I’d be so eager to travel to the Motor City. After Sunday’s initial visit, I’m already planning a return trip. Downtown Detroit is beautiful, the new Little Caesars Arena is gorgeous, there is plenty to experience and perhaps most importantly – the people are amazing. I was in dive bars and hotel bars, pizzerias and Coney shops, Ubers and shuttle buses. And I need to return because I only visited one spot in Greektown, I need to catch a game at Comerica and I never made it to a single casino. Thank you, Detroit.

– Last but certainly not least… I am beyond thankful for my friends. I got to day-drink with my roommate Rafael on Saturday. Marzi came through clutch with the invite to Mustang Harry’s. JAG scooped me from the airport in Detroit Sunday, showed me around and grabbed brunch. My buddy Ed snagged me that amazing seat for Sunday’s game. I had the chance to see Matt and meet his wife. My colleague Robby picked up a nice dinner on Sunday evening. And countless others checked in via text and social media throughout the weekend. I love you all.

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To be honest, it took my body a few days to recover from one of the more hectic weekends in recent memory. Nonetheless, my busy schedule offered me plenty of reasons to be thankful throughout my travels. Here are five of them.

– I’m thankful for Daylight Saving Time. Like pretty much everything these days, it’s become a bit of a lightening rod as to whether we should participate in it or not. Naturally, the state of Florida has its own idea on this as well. But regardless, I enjoy the extra hour of daylight, especially considering I now live on the east side amongst high rises and the sun isn’t as plentiful as my old neighborhood.

– Wow, Morristown, New Jersey – I am thankful for you! My colleagues at 95.5 PLJ and I had a great time at the Morris County St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday. The hospitality was as fantastic as the company. I still have no idea why Vegas-style showgirls were dancing at Horseshoe Tavern but perhaps some things in life just shouldn’t be questioned. Our dinner at Urban Table was pretty fantastic and I really enjoyed hanging with my buddy Kerry, who I hadn’t seen in a while. She took me to a neighborhood spot in Bayonne for a quick nightcap before I Uber’d back to the city. Hopefully I’ll be in Morristown sooner rather than later (I keep hearing rave reviews of Jockey Hollow).

– I was awake super-early on Sunday morning so I could rent a car and drive to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. A big thank you to everyone in NEPA who showed love, along with my co-workers at 97.1/95.7 BHT, during the city’s St. Patty’s Parade. The 570 is probably best-known for Scranton’s parade but I always enjoyed WB’s more (I also hear Pittston’s the weekend prior has become quite the scene).

– By the way, the parade didn’t start until 2 pm, but I had a 5K to run in Wilkes-Barre at 10 am, thus the early alarm. A longtime colleague of mine in Pennsylvania, Barry Brown, is battling kidney cancer. The 5K was The Renal Race, which aims to raise funds and awareness for kidney disease. I really loved seeing everyone at Cumulus Wilkes-Barre rally around one of our own.

– The weekend ended with a drive down 80 that I’m all-too-familiar with… that is, until I took a detour to Wegmans in Hanover, New Jersey. It was the perfect pit-stop to not only stock-up on groceries but also celebrate my Syracuse Orange getting in to the NCAA Tournament. ‘Cuse!

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Hailee Steinfeld performed Wednesday night on Long Island at a vigil for a 16 year-old that died last week in a terrible accident. Leah Kuczinski was a student at New Hyde Park Memorial High School and was a huge fan of Steinfeld’s; she even had tickets and meet-and-greet passes to see the artist later this year.

So as the school planned out Wednesday night’s vigil, Tiffany Salcedo decided to start an online campaign in an attempt to get Steinfeld to attend it. The Spanish teacher’s tweet went viral. Students at the school followed suit by taking to social media and flooding the Academy Award-nominated actress’ accounts with mentions, in addition to imploring for the help of others in the music industry.

Those gathered at the school’s football field didn’t suspect anything regarding Steinfeld when a guitar began to play during the vigil. It was the opening notes of “Starving,” Steinfeld’s hit that she collaborated on with Zedd and Grey. Hailee performed an acoustic version of the song before meeting with Salcedo and a few of Leah’s closest friends.

Coincidentally enough, Steinfeld told me last May that the origin of that song can be traced back to social media; a fan tweeted her and suggested she and Zedd collaborate on a song. The final result went three times platinum in the U.S., top 10 in five different countries and cracked the top 5 at pop radio.

But perhaps most importantly, it brought a smile and a few tears of joy to a grieving community on Wednesday evening in a gesture of class and kindness that surely no one will ever forget.

I never thought this piece would end up seeing the light of day. There’s a long story as to why, and for now I will spare you, but nonetheless we have a brand new “2 Slices And A Story.” Basically I used the made-up holiday of “National Pizza Day” as an excuse to finally release this in an otherwise untimely manner; it was originally filmed back in November and features two Radio City Rockettes.

So “2 Slices And A Story” but with three people and three slices? We almost had a fix to that right from the start…

If you’re wondering whether artists who were once tour mates of singer Ed Sheeran’s have congratulated him on his pending nuptials, the answer is yes, at least in one instance.

“I did actually congratulate him,” Lauv told me on Tuesday before performing in front of a live audience at Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17. “It’s crazy. I remember him saying like, ‘I think I have the one, for real.’

“And then to see that they’re actually engaged now is beautiful.”

Sheeran popped the question to long-time girlfriend Cherry Seaborn before the New Year and then announced the engagement shortly after the first on his Instagram.

Lauv supported the “Shape of You” artist on the leg of his “Divide Tour” that stopped in Asia this past fall. He played HMH Stage 17 as the single “I Like Me Better” becomes a global hit, charting in a handful of countries and already cracking the top 10 in Australia and Germany. The singer, nee Ari Leff, has written all of his songs thus far about the four years he lived in New York City while attending New York University. Following graduation, Lauv moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of his dream.

“The weather is beautiful,” he remarked, noting that it is a cliché description of moving west to LA. “But I just feel like New York is a kind of a more ‘real’ place, if that makes sense?”

And for Lauv, that’s a good thing, as he always loves returning to the Big Apple. He’ll be back again next month as a part of his “I Met You When I Was 18 World Tour” – the first Lauv has ever embarked on as a headliner.

When I first started at 95.5 PLJ in October of 2012, I was the new kid on a block of people who mostly had resided in the neighborhood for quite some time. You factor in the heritage of this legendary radio station with moving to a new city with a new job in a new living situation and yes, at times it was overwhelming.

Thankfully, I’m surrounded by a lot of great colleagues and coworkers. Plus, I’m living in the greatest city in the world. So it’s all gravy.

That said, when I was first starting out here, I would find myself asking at least one question every evening: “What’s for dinner?” And usually, there was only one person at the station when I asked it: our Creative Services Director, Dan Kelly, who works a similar schedule to mine.

Nightly, we’d order takeout from Seamless (which I introduced him to five years ago) or one of his other go-to spots. Dan has been at the station for well over 10 years now so naturally, he has a go-to taco and Chinese spot.

But then in the spring of 2014, I started eating much healthier: more salads, cold-pressed juices and a lot of greenery. By that summer, I experimented with veganism, trying it out for a month and a half. It was a life-changing experience; I saw what meat, fish and especially dairy were doing to the appearance of my body, specifically the complexion of my skin.

While I’m not a vegan, I do eat vegan cuisine quite a bit (usually breaking from it on special occasions/holidays and/or the weekend). And for my dinner partner, he is not only the exact opposite of vegan but will usually scoff at the mere notion of trying something classified as such.

Last week, a light-bulb went off: this could make for a perfect Facebook Live experiment.

I hopped on Seamless and ordered from a local vegan fast-food joint, Blossom du Jour. On our “tour de vegan” were three dishes: a “bacon, egg and cheese” sandwich, “mac and cheese” and Buffalo cauliflower.

What did Dan think? Check his reactions below.

Nick Jonas spent 2017 releasing music, starring in films and traveling to spend downtime with friends.

It looks like 2018 might have all of the above in store for the artist again.

“Well, I already have a body of work that’s done,” Jonas told me in his Times Square green room before performing on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” “I think with ‘Chaos Walking,’ the film I finished up a little while ago, and then straight in to ‘Jumanji’ promo, we felt like, ‘Let’s give that music the attention it deserves and push it til next year.’

“So it’ll come out at some point this next year and I’m really excited to get it out there.”

Speaking of “Jumanji,” Jonas looked back on the movie’s promo run, which featured both Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart, quite fondly.

“They’re like two brothers arguing all the time,” he explained. “So I was kind of the mediator in the press run that we did, but it was a great time. The payoff is that people love the film, and I’m thrilled.”

No final confirmation if “Remember I Told You” featuring Anne Marie and Mike Posner or “Find You” will make Jonas’ final track listing. The entertainer also released “Home” last year, which was for the animated movie “Madagascar” and earned Jonas a Golden Globe nomination. The album will almost certainly not be released in the year’s first two quarters, as according to IMDB “Chaos Walking” is slated to hit theaters on March 1.

So it took a rather ambitious travel schedule over the first weekend of 2018 for me to finally realize what my New Year’s Resolution should be.

Here’s a recap of my Saturday and Sunday: I took a 9 am train to Kingston, Rhode Island. From there, I Uber’d 20 minutes over to Newport. A coffee and four mile run later, I met some co-workers at an Irish pub around the corner from our hotel. After drinking two Bloody Marys and watching a horrendous Syracuse basketball loss to Notre Dame, I returned to my room and showered before pre-gaming and heading downstairs to our holiday party.

I hadn’t slept much on Thursday or Friday night and this combined with my early wake-up call on Sunday prompted me to retire from the festivities before midnight. But I was up at 6:30 am the following morning to pack, change and hail another Uber en route to the train station. This Amtrak left at 7:40 am and was supposed to arrive in Philadelphia at 12:30.

The train ran 50 minutes late; by the time I checked my bags at the station, called another Uber and arrived at Wells Fargo Center it was the first intermission. My colleague Dan and his son Justin are diehard Flyers fans and I had never been to a game in Philly. The Sabres were in town and it was a Sunday so we figured this was the perfect opportunity. Dan bought seats three rows from the ice; easily the closest I’ve ever sat for a NHL game. The vantage point definitely gives you a new appreciation for the sport. And the atmosphere in the arena along with the amenities of the venue really made for a cool experience. That said, I would probably only return on one condition.

See, I was rooting for the visiting team and of course I was dressed in full Buffalo gear: my Bills sideline knit hat (don’t get me started) and my Jack Eichel Sabres sweater. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that every single person, starting with the security at the entrance, busted my stones. There were bartenders who half-jokingly refused to serve me, dirty looks from fans and even one guy who went as far as to run in to me while I was walking along the concourse, knocking my Bloody Mary on to the floor in the process.

The game didn’t go much better; the Sabres took an early 1-0 lead but eventually lost 4-1. We returned to Dan’s car with enough time to listen to the end of the Bills playoff game (surprise, another loss!) and then drove to South Street. It was there that I ate my sorrows away with a Jim’s peppersteak while also taking a trip down memory lane, fondly recalling all of the shows I covered at TLA.

I was back in my apartment by around 8 pm and I have to say, despite all of the terrible outcomes with my sports teams, I was in a great mood. I saw the beautiful coastline in Newport and the skyline of Philadelphia and New York, not to mention the spectacular sunrise and sunset witnessed in Southern New England. I ate lobster rolls in Rhode Island and cheesesteaks in Philly. I was surrounded by awesome friends the entire weekend.

I need more weekends like that. The goal for 2018, on a personal level, is to worry less about possessions and focus more on experiences. I truly believe if I can surround myself with great people and eat some fantastic food along the way, I’m in store for an unforgettable year.

And yunno what? If a Bloody Mary or two gets spilled along the way, so be it.

Andy Grammer had a pretty fantastic 2017. The “Honey, I’m Good” singer welcomed a baby daughter, Louisiana, with wife Aijia in July. Then in December, Grammer released his third studio album, “The Good Parts.”

Just before the year wrapped, Grammer’s personal and professional world collided when Louisiana took in her first show: Dad’s performance at the halftime of the Orange Bowl in Miami.

“We put the little headphones on her,” Grammer described to me the following night, backstage at Hard Rock Café in Times Square. The singer, who was raised near New York City in Chester, performed in Times Square as a part of the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop.

“It was cool man! Its like, ‘Aw man, I’ve been playing shows forever. But this is the first show that I’m playing with my daughter here.’ But it was great, it’s amazing.”

Despite the frigid temperatures, Grammer was in a very upbeat mood. He told me that in addition to parenting duties, he’s excited to tour behind and promote the LP in the New Year.

“It’s a personal album,” Grammer explained. “It’s my favorite of what I’ve done so far so, to get to go out and play these songs every night has been so, so sweet.”

“The Good Parts Tour” kicks off March 14 in San Francisco and wraps up on April 15 in Philadelphia at the venerable TLA. The previous night, Grammer will headline New York’s Irving Plaza.

I’ll never forget one particular time when I was walking up an emergency path in Times Square towards 47th Street. I saw two bottles, a regular water and a Vitamin Water, at the feet of a reveler. I asked if they were his and he nodded. I then looked closer and realized that they were both frozen solid – that was a first.

It was my fourth consecutive time ringing in the New Year while standing in the Crossroads of the World and there were a couple of firsts throughout the evening. In addition to the frozen beverages, I finally interviewed a bystander who at least said that he wore diapers to the ball drop in case he had to go to the bathroom; I had heard for years that people did this but no one ever admitted it to me.

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The reveler took it a step further and offered to show me; I took him for his word.

This was also the first year I ended up inside a bar on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. A big thanks to O’Donoghues Pub on 44th, right next to the ABC studios, for allowing me to pop-in during the final hour of our broadcast for a bit and interview some of the patrons on the air.

Most important, thanks to Vic on site, Scotty Bones back in the studio, dick clark productions for providing us with access to and space in the aforementioned ABC studios and the great folks at Times Square Alliance for credentialing us to be there.

I tell people all the time – my job is comprised of many “once-in-a-lifetime” events that I have the chance to experience on an annual basis, and this is one of them. I hope you get the chance to do the same one year. Have a safe and successful 2018 and check out my chats with Nick Jonas, Andy Grammer and some of those revelers below.