Archives For New Year’s Resolution

Phillip Phillips is just like you and me when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions.

“I love sweets,” the “American Idol” winner confessed to me. “I love chocolate. I love hot deserts. And so I’m trying to…”

Phillips cut himself off before he could finish the sentence.

“It’s hard to give up the sweets,” he finally admitted. “But I’m trying!”

In addition to his own admitted indiscretions, Phillips noted that his wife’s cooking is just too good to pass up.

“She makes them for other people, but I have to eat them,” he continued. “I make sure it’s not poisonous. I’d rather take my life than anyone else’s, you know what I mean?”

All kidding aside, Phillips’ wife Hannah is influencing more than his diet – she also played a role in the singer’s new album, “Collateral.”

“These songs came alongside a lot of struggle and also a lot of light and a lot of love with getting married,” Phillips explained after I asked about the title. Almost four years passed between his second and third LPs; part of that time can be attributed to a legal battle between the artist and 19 Entertainment, which produces “Idol.” The parties settled the dispute this past June, thus paving the way for new music.

“I just want them to have a connection with it,” the Georgia-native responded when I asked what he hopes listeners will take away from his latest body of work. “These songs I’ve had for, some of them for three years, some of them for a little less than that.”

While talking about the album, Phillips described its sound and content as both varying in genre and tempo. He mentioned one song in particular, “Dance With Me,” which Phillips wrote for his wife. It was released ahead of the full album and its cover art was a photo of the two’s first dance from the wedding. The idea to use it came from one of the couple’s friends.

As soon as Hannah relayed the suggestion to Phillip, he was on board and they selected a picture from the wedding photographer to use. No word on if the friend received one of Hannah’s confections in return.

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.