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Summer Memories August 10, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Feelings, life, memories, music, summer, thoughts.
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I’m gonna take you back to about 2003 or 2005. It was July 4th and we were out at the Waco 4th of July event. Besides the fireworks as the main event, country singer/songwriter Anthony Smith was performing. He has written hits for many country artists including George Straight and Trisha Yearwood.

Anyways, I was first in line after his performance at his bus to meet him. I watched the fireworks from there and not even 5 minutes after the fireworks ended, Anthony and his band members walked out of the bus. One member said “I can’t believe we missed them!”. Anthony walks up to me and asks my name. I told him my name and handed him a picture to sign. I ask him if I could take a picture with him (since I had already taken pictures with Blake Shelton, Cory Morrow, and Pat Green years before). He was so nice, he gave me another hug after the picture!

The next day, Monday, I received a check from Country Music Weekly for a survey I sent in. I cashed it and ended up buying his CD. I thought it was really weird that I received the check the day after I met him! Unfortunately, the picture of him and I are in a photo album that’s stashed somewhere so I can’t show you.

That was one of the coolest Summers I remember! Do you have a cool favorite Summer memory?

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CIJ: Favorite Songs July 31, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in blogs, Christmas, Christmas in July, family, Feelings, fun, holidays, life, music, Siblings, sisters, thoughts, twins.
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Thanks to Confetti Dreams, I thought I would end Christmas In July here at Texas Banter with some of my favorite songs. I know it seems like I am copying her, but c’mon! She’s my twin! She has some of the best ideas!

But it was VERY hard to choose my Top 10 all-time favorite Christmas songs. It’s like asking someone who loves chocolate to choose their favorite piece. It’s impossible! But here goes:

10. The Christmas Song by Luther Vandross – I consider Luther Vandross a legend when it comes to love songs. While “The Christmas Song” isn’t exactly a love song, it can sure turn into one. When I hear him sing it, I just want to sit by a fire with someone and cuddle. It’s always been a favorite of mine, even if it isn’t sung by Vandross. But his rendition will always remain a favorite of mine.

9. Christmas Cookies by George Strait – I am not afraid to say that I listen to country, especially George Strait. We own every Christmas album George has put out and know every song by heart. While “Frosty the Snowman”  and “All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth” are so greatly sung by this King of Country, I prefer “Christmas Cookies”. It’s hilarious and you can just feel the Christmas magic when you hear it. Sure he doesn’t talk about Christmas trees or decorations and it’s more about cookies, you know it’s Christmas.

8. Let It Snow ’98 by Brian McKnight – I absolutely love Brian McKnight. When he sings Christmas songs, you get the feeling of Christmas. It just feels a lot more like Christmas when you hear him crooning out songs that are filled with magic. And considering he sings it with Boyz II Men just makes it that much more wonderful!

7. O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night by Trans-Siberian OrchestraYou’re probably wondering why I didn’t choose “Wizards in Winter” from Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Well, it’s widely used and not a lot of people know about their other works, which are amazing. I have this CD and I have loved it ever since. I wish I could see them live.

6. Believe by Josh Groban – This is from “The Polar Express”, which is an amazing movie. But this song is so powerful and you can just feel what Groban is feeling. This song gives me chills every time I hear it. It will forever remain a favorite and one that I will play for years to come.

5. Heavy Metal Christmas (The Twelve Days of Christmas) by Twisted Sister -I am a metalhead through and through. But because I enjoy all kinds of music, this ranks #5 on my list. I love Twisted Sister’s Christmas album “Twisted Christmas” because its Christmas and it’s metal, what more could ya ask for? But this song is somewhat humorous. Instead of 5 golden rings and and 2 turtle doves, Twisted Sister gets 5 skull earrings and 2 pairs of spandex pants. It’s heavy metal the magic of Christmas! Oh yea!

4. This Christmas by Jagged Edge – Now you should already know that Jagged Edge would have been on the list somewhere. This isn’t the song you hear from Elliot Yamin or Chris Brown. This has different lyrics and a different feel, but one that I enjoy so much. Their harmony just brings out the song that no one can compete with. Once I play it on my iPod this Holiday season, there it will stay!

3. Here Comes Santa Claus by Gene Autry – Manders forgot about this one! It’s a classic and I love classics! I remember when I was little and our parents had an old record player and old Christmas records. Every time Christmas came, we would put that album on and turn it to this song because we just loved it. In 1946, he wrote the song because of a Christmas Parade in Los Angeles. Pretty cool, huh?

2. Winter Wonderland by George Strait – You can’t deny that George Strait is great! I love this song, especially when George sings it! He brings a fun vibe and it just feels like Christmas! I’m surprised Sissy forgot to add it to her list! But then again, she wouldn’t have to. She could just add every single Christmas album by the King of Country!

1.  Here We Come A-Wassailing – So many people sing this but I still love it! It’s a fun song and so much fun to sing! It’s joyful and so cheerful, that you can’t help but feel happiness when you sing it with friends. No one knows exactly when it was written or it’s exact origin, but to know that it is still sung through the centuries just to show that it’s such a great song!

I appreciate everyone joining all of us for our first Christmas in July event! It was so much fun that we have decided to do more events! We will have a Halloween event starting the first week of October, maybe a Thanksgiving event, but definitely Christmas will be our 3rd major event (considering Manders and I love Halloween and we plan to make it a major event as well). We hope you enjoyed everything and our memories!

Christmas in July: Dear Santa July 17, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in alpha inventions, Animals, Books, cats, Christmas, Christmas in July, dogs, family, Feelings, funny, holidays, life, Pets, random, Siblings, sisters, thoughts, twins.
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Note: I took the idea from Manders (aka Confetti Dreams).

 

Dear Santa:

It’s July. It’s hot, muggy, and no rain. I’m tired of it and wishing Fall would get here soon. So what does this have to do with you?

Everything! You grace us with your presence every year at Christmas, and getting through Fall just means you’ll visit us once again. But I must remind you: The cats are still sort of afraid of strangers. They are attached to their owners and don’t want attention from anyone unless he or she is part of the family. Of course, that doesn’t include that dog. They hate him. But then again, he loves to chase them. Speaking of the dog, he won’t bite. I promise that. His bark is a lot louder than his bite. Milk and Cookies are in the fridge. Pup likes cookies and kitties like milk. For the reindeer, since it’s going to be a long night, there is some soda in the fridge as well. They could probably use the caffeine.

So what do I want this year? Not much, really. Like my other half, a laptop would be REALLY nice. Then Mom wouldn’t get tired of hearing us argue about who has been on the longest or asking “When am I getting on?”. We wouldn’t have to argue either. True, sisters (especially twins) argue over inanimate objects like computers but after a while, it gets boring. We need something new to argue over! I’m pretty sure if I said more books or a nutcracker (which is on my “just-in-case” list), we wouldn’t have to argue over that and Christmas would end up boring. But of course I’ll take practically anything dealing with books, movies, music (heavy metal or Jagged Ege please), or nutcrackers.

Manders will take George Strait or Kahn (from Kamelot) under the tree this year. Forget any CDs or DVDs by these men. She’ll just take them as they are- in the flesh. She wants them only for a month, but I know her too well and she secretly wants them for more than a month. Please leave a note on how long she can keep them. Oh and if they come with any accessories (guitars, ya know), leave those as well. Mom could probably use a vacation. As far as where, that’s a conundrum. I have no clue! You’re better off asking her. I don’t know what you could get Daddy. You might want to ask him too.

Oh and if it isn’t too much trouble, please make sure that all pets are in the house. Smokie likes to escape. Give the Mrs my best.

CIJ: Stocking Stuffers July 16, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Beauty, Candles, candy, chocolate, Christmas, Christmas in July, Gift Ideas, gifts, holidays, shopping.
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I love Stocking Stuffers. To me, they are always useful in one way or another. Even if it’s for entertainment, I consder it well worth the heavy stocking.

In fact, one thing I love to receive in my stocking in candy. Every Christmas, Mom puts chocolate  in our stocking, which makes a great breakfast. If someone is allergic to chocolate in your family or (yikes!) doesn’t like chocolate, put in some of their favorite candies in their stocking and a few in the others so that they don’t feel left out because they can’t have/don’t want chocolate.

Books and CDs are another wonderful stocking stuffer. As a bookworm and music lover, any books by my favorite author or CD by my favorite band are always welcome. Books are a great stocking stuffer for children who are learning to read, and music is a great item for those who have a deep love for music. Either way, books and CDs should always be on a stocking stuffer list.

Hair accessories and beauty products will always be a wonderful Christmas gift, whether it’s under the tree or in a stocking. Women already know what it feels like to receive those items at Christmas, because we are always looking for ways to make our hair look better or our skin. Some women might be offended if given beauty products they don’t use or hair accessories that they don’t enjoy, but a lot of women accept them with open arms. I personally love hair accessories, but not so much beauty products. So ask them if they enjoy beauty products or hair accessories before taking that plunge- you don’t want to upset a woman on Christmas!

Believe it or not, a TickleMe Plant is probably one of the COOLEST gifts ANYONE could receive! If you don’t know what a TickleMe Plant is, it is a plant that closes its fronds when you touch it. I  am not lying! Go to TicklMe Plant.com, look for the I Love My TickleMe Plant video and watch it. I love the TickleMe Plant and have always wanted on! At the website, you can actually get party favors so you can get one for each kid or even get a few for your friend’s kids! Pretty cool, huh?

Of course, we can’t forget the scratch-off lottery tickets and gift cards. I know I am hard to shop for, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I got a gift card every Christmas. And with the lottery tickets, it just makes it that much more fun scratching the stuff off and realizing you’ve won $10- on Christmas morning! True, you’ll have to wait until Dec. 26th or later that evening to cash it in, but hey, that’s $10 you didn’t have before!

Candles and Incense are another great stocking stuffer. No, this isn’t a way of telling your friend her house stinks. It is the gift of light and smell, even for those who have no sense of smell (Anosmia). Most candles these days are beautiful to look at and incense just brings a calming  sensation over the person(s) within 5 feet of the scent. There are TONS of places to buy candles and incense, especially on the web.

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CIJ: Gift Ideas for Kids/Teens July 4, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in children, Christmas, Christmas in July, family, Gift Ideas, gifts, holidays, Movies, music, shopping, Toys.
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Even with children, they seem to be the easiest to shop for. They can be picky, but they also enjoy unwrapping gifts and squealing with delight as they realized that they got something off their Christmas list (even if it isn’t the exact Barbie doll they wanted). I have realized through tons of TV watching and Christmas shopping, Moms and Dads are going towards educational and personalized gifts to give their children. At Happy Kids Personalized, there are a lot of items to choose from, including personalized music CDs, children’s books, and even personalized T-Shirts. With Hannah Montana and Jonas Brother items on the rise, there should be no surprise that their products will end up on Christmas lists all around the world.

While action figures and dolls are envitable as they are synonmous with Christmas gifts, give them the gift of creativity with arts and crafts. At Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, you can usually find craft kits that includes painting, art sand, and even mosiacs. Letting them use their creative noodle not only keeps them occupied, they’ll use that same creativity and imagination later in life. Trust me- I was big on crafts when I was younger.

I know it’s wishful thinking, but I was hoping vintage toys would make a comeback. I remember getting a Furby for Christmas and a LiteBrite one year. While they aren’t what they used to be, they still sell the Mousetrap game and Simon games at Toys R Us.

But if you’re having problems figuring out what to get your teenager, DVDs of their favorite TV shows/artists and electronics are the way to go. As I went into my teens years, it got harder for Mom to shop for Manders and I because we weren’t particular in what we wanted. We were going through that stage so we had made it difficult. iPods, iPod decks, and even Guitar Hero video games seem to be what is currently popular with this age. If you do decide to get them Guitar Hero or Rock Band, I can say that it will pay for itself. As your teen continues playing, they will continue to keep getting better at it and there are other versions of them to buy so they they never have to play the same song month after month after month. If they’re friends receive a Guitar Hero guitar in the same platform, they can play against each other to see who has the highest score! You can also get the a gift card to iTunes so they can download their favorite music to place on an iPod they already have.

I may not have children but I sure do speak from experience!

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Mother’s Day is afoot! April 30, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in birthday, family, Feelings, holidays, life, love, Moms, Mother's Day, motherhood, random, shopping, thoughts.
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And I am lost. I have no idea what to get or do for my Mother. And her birthday isn’t that too far off either.

This year, I strapped for cash. So big expensive presents will have to wait. I could do what I did one year- a mixed CD of sentimental songs that would make any mother cry. But I really don’t feel like making Mom cry. Or maybe I could make her feel good by burning a CD for her of songs from the year she was born. That might make her feel old. NO ONE wants to do that.

I could possibly make a CD of her favorite artists. Seeing as though I am not sure of those, it would take some swift snooping on my part. When you grow up with a twin, secret and snooping skills are honed to near perfection. It’s not something we’re particularly proud of. It’s just makes Holidays a lot more fun considering we can drop hints without giving it away and making the gift look like a nondescript box of what the actual present is. Snooping and secrets at Christmas are fun.

Or maybe I could just ask her about her music tastes. And buy a card. And maybe some chocolate. Mothers like chocolate, right?

Fads and Movies April 22, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Books, family, fun, funny, learning, life, music, Musicals, random, reading, thoughts, TV, twitter.
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Thanks to Manders, I am now following a fad. Oh you means, beside Twitter? I’m the one that started the fad within my family.

But I am currently reading the first book of the “Twilight” series. Manders wanted to read it to see what all the fuss was about. Now she knows. She eventually asked me to read it. I thought “Oh great, I am following a fad. I hate fads.” but to much of my surprise, the first book is so far good! Granted, I am only on Chapter 6. I would fall in love with Edward too! Something about being a Vampire and stealth is sexy to me. I checked out the 2nd book from the library as well so I can read it when I’m done with the first.

I also check out “Chicago” and “Now and Then” from the library. Both of them happen to be one of my favorite movies! I tend to lean towards musicals every once in a while (don’t act so shocked!) so I knew I would automatically love “Chicago”.  And Renee Zellwegger is one of my favorite actresses. Not to mention the soundtrack and music is just awesome! I even have some of the songs on the old iPod. Love iPods. I like “Now and Then” because I used to watch it when I was a teenager because Mom would watch it. It’s just a funny little movie where you can escape to another time and place.

Oh yea, and obviously, even though computer screens, people can tell we’re twins. Conley Isom, a meteorologist from KXXV (the place I went before. Remember from “My awesome memory!”?) is following both me and Manders on Twitter. I don’t know what my sister said, but Conley asked who her sister was. She said me. He replied with “I thought ya’ll were sisters!”. So me and the twin are either so memorable, we resemble each other. Or people can just tell no matter what. That was very cool!

I wish it wasn’t 90*. It’s too early to be too hot. I’m going to take a cold shower.

Yanni Voices April 20, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Classical Music, music, random, thoughts, Yanni.
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I usually don’t have you guys check out music on my blog because my taste may differ from everyone else but I found this CD so relaxing!

Saxon CD Review April 18, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Feelings, heavy metal, music, Product Reviews, Products, Progressive Metal, random, Reviews, thoughts.
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Once again, this CD is a win in a contest from House of Hair (hosted by Dee Snider). This review will be of their current album, “Into the Labyrinth”- which was actually recorded in Germany and released this year.

I love heavy metal and British band Saxon falls under that category with being progressive metal. From my POV, progressive metal is melodic melodies with lyrics rich in riddles and fantasiful undertones. Progressive metal bands include Kamelot, Epica, and Queensrÿche. But Saxon doesn’t stop there with songs like “Slow Lane Blues”, which are reminscient of ACDC. “Valley of the Kings”, which covers historical events, reminds you of Iron Maiden with modern guitar riffs and breaks (or solos.)

Most of their songs have that present heaviness that metal is synonomous with and the heavy metal hand raised high.

I love this CD. Saxon rocks!

Track List

01. Battalions Of Steel
02. Live To Rock
03. Demon Sweeney Todd
04. The Letter
05. Valley Of The Kings
06. Slow Lane Blues
07. Crime Of Passion
08. Premonition in D Minor
09. Voice
10. Protect Yourselves
11. Hellcat
12. Come Rock Of Ages (The Circle Is Complete)
13. Coming Home (Bottleneck Version)

Songs and Argument April 11, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Animals, Birds, family, food, fun, funny, hilarious, humor, life, random, restaurants, thoughts.
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I don’t know if it’s because we will have severe thunderstorms heading our way after midnight or it’s because I have lost my mind.

Manders was entering a giveaway for an Outback Steakhouse gift card. And on our local menu, it had Kookaburra Wings as an appetizer. Now if anyone can remember back to their childhood, they would automatically remember the song “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree. Merry, merry king of the bush is he. Laugh, Kookaburra! Laugh, Kookaburra! Gay your life must be…”. Well, I obviously do. Once my sister had said what appetizers they offered and said the Kookaburra Wings, I started singing it without skipping a beat. I had forgotten the second verse but you can bet that I sang that first part! Me and Manders started laughing our butts off! It was random but funny! She said “I wouldn’t be proud to know that”. In a way, she’s right. I don’t even know how I remembered it!  Maybe I’m suppressing my childhood songs. But it’s still funny.

Kookaburra Bird

Kookaburra Bird

Has this ever happened to you? You make a comment about asking someone a question that you haven’t asked yet and the person who you’re talking about whom you’re going to ask the question to starts arguing about it? Okay, let me explain- I said to my Dad that I was gonna ask my Mom if Waco (my city) had any chances of flooding due to the weather we will have in the morning. My dad obviously either didn’t hear me correctly or wasn’t paying attention. So we started having a fun little argument over what I said instead of what I wanted to ask. He kept saying “What are you asking? You’re not asking a question.” and I kept repeating myself until I reworded it for him. But for 5 minutes, we kept bantering back and forth about what he thought I WASN’T asking over what I WAS asking. I thought I had made myself pretty clear. Guess I wasn’t.

Anyways, Happy Easter my friends!

15 Things About Me April 8, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Animals, birthday, Books, cats, Computers, Entertainment, Football, Foreign Languages, German, Horror Movies, life, Movies, music, Pets, random, thoughts.
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Since things are starting to look up for the family, I thought I would write a happy post. Sure I pretty much just put everything out there for the world to read on a daily basis- or do I? How much do you truly know about Texas Banter? Here are 15 things you would have never guessed:

1. I know every song by R&B group Jagged Edge by heart and love them to death. Name a song and I’ll give you the CD and track number.

2. I can only drink Dr Pepper or generic Dr Pepper. I refuse to drink any other soda unless its Sprite and I have the flu.

3. I used to be blonde for 8 years before a tragic breakup made me dye it.

4. I live for Subway and their tuna footlongs.

5. Football fanatic!

6. I started using computers when I was 15 but can’t build my own- go figure!

7. I am only 2 minutes older than Twin and take great pride in being the “big sister”.

8. I know a little Scottish Gaelic, German, and Spanish.

9. I like all kinds of music but mostly R&B and heavy metal (with country and other genres thrown in for good measure.)

10. I LOVE horror movies- I prefer those over action or suspense.

11. My cat, Smokie, has my nickname from high school as her name.

12. I share a birthday (Dec. 12th) with Frank Sinatra and Connie Francis.

13. I live for Spring and those hair-raising storms!

14. I try to read 2 books a week.

15. Bill Paxton and Tom Hanks are my favorite actors while Renee Zellwegger is my favorite actress.

Well now you know more about me- any questions?

Closer March 14, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in bands, fun, Guys, music, Popular, random, thoughts.
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A long ass time ago (pre-new computer), Manders signed up for One2One Network . If memory serves me right, it’s a place to join (with your blog URL in hand) and you can test products, review products, and sometimes hold a giveaway.

Well, she was able to review the Ballas Hough Band’s- what looks to be- debut album. Now keep in mind that I am a self-proclaimed metal head. If this got out to my metal buddies (besides Darren, who is a lead singer for a thrash metal band in Tennessee but listens to The Temptations and whom I have known for almost 5 years), they would think I was crazy. But I loved it1

They reminded me of my teenage years with Westlife, BackStreet Boys, and BBMak. It was in a bad way. Considering how rap how taken over the country, it was nice to see a true love song that wasn’t about you-know-what and that didn’t sound manufactured. Not to mention those guys are hot!

I don’t know what genre you would place them, but I just found my new favorite CD!

TRACK LIST

1. Do You Love Me

2. Devastated

3. Closer

4. She Was The One

5. Longing For

6. Birthday

7. Fall

8. Do It For You

9. Break Through

10. Together Faraway

11. Underwater

I feel old… January 14, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in bands, Internet, learning, life, memories, music, Popular, random, thoughts.
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And I feel old as hell!

I was listening to LaunchCast on Yahoo! Messenger when a song came on that took me to my teenage years. Now, keep in mind I am 24 and I was 16 only 8 years ago. If you remember about 8 years ago, boy bands and bubblegum pop roamed the earth. Yes, I was a huge fan of the BackStreet Boys. I still listen to their earlier songs every now and then when I feel nostalgic.

Manders walks in while I’m listening to the song and we start talking about what other songs the band had that we loved when we were 16. So, I went to CDNOW.com in search of other songs from the era. I started clicking on albums and songs, and by the time I was finished, we had relived our whole teenage music life.

I leave you this little gem in memory of a lost (thankfully!) era:

Puppy Rides January 10, 2009

Posted by texasheartland in Animals, dogs, family, learning, Pets, random, thoughts.
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I think I have found THE most effective way to tame a dog from Hell! My family has a very high-strung puppy that hasn’t even hit 7 months yet. He bites, chews, runs, chases the cats (that still won’t let him know who’s boss), and just causes havoc. Oh, his name is Zeus.

Me and Manders went out to do some errands yesterday and decided to take Zeus for a ride just to get him out of the house and some fresh air. We were out a good hour and he did excellent for sitting in the back seat alone. Well, except for the time he puked. Eww. When we got home and got him in, he laid down and was pretty quiet the rest of the night.

Same thing today. We had a few more things to do and took him with us. He didn’t bark or bite. He did do a cute thing though. I had an R&B song playing and when my song stopped mid-song, he kind of grunted and looked at me. We think he may like R&B. We got him home and he wasn’t as rambunctious as he usually is. Granted, he’s still a puppy and has caused chaos all evening but he’s a puppy.

I am thinking that whenever we have some errands to do (when not all passengers have to get out of the car), take him with us. Maybe he’ll be more sociable and a happy puppy.

Otherwise, I’m calling The Dog Whisperer.

It’s here! December 9, 2008

Posted by texasheartland in birthday, Christmas, family, holidays, music, random, thoughts, twins.
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Ah, the feeling of Christmas has finally arrived! As I sit here, I am listening to Brian McKnight’s “The First Noel” and the lights all aglow. It just feels like Christmas, ya know? Maybe it’s because R&B Christmas music is just so soulful and heart-warming, it gives it that extra little magic. I don’t know.

But I do rememer that last year, it didn’t even feel like Christmas. It just didn’t have that magic Christmas is supposed to have. Maybe because I didn’t let the magic grow. Maybe because after everything I’ve been through these past 6 months, I am able to enjoy the Holidays a little more.

Yes! The countdown to Birthday 24 finally begins! I know, I know. I know I’ve already mentioned my birthday but I’ve always been excited about my birthday. Still don’t have a gift for sissy. But I plan to get it on Thursday. KNwoing me, I will most likely need all day to pick up just 1 present. I know she’s not picky but I am. One Christmas, I spent an hour deciding on what to get her.

Hopefully the birthday card will be easier to choose.