Christmas Music FaLaLa Faves

Since the day after Thanksgiving, my Pandora has been stuck on Christmas stations. Yep, you read that right. There is more than one station. This photo doesn’t even include all of them. LOL

pandora christmas

I am obsessed with Christmas music. It’s not even abnormal to hear me humming/singing a Christmas carol any time of the year. I’m sure that annoys people around me, especially those Scrooges/Grinches of the world, but I frankly don’t care. These songs make my heart happy. They bring sweetness to my spirit.

So, here are a few of my favorite songs, albums and just overall holiday delights:

Favorite Holiday Commercials:

Ok, so I’m not going to lie. I have several faves in this category, which is fine because it’s my list.  hehe!

  1. Walmart Carol of the Bells-Not even lying to you when I say that when i first saw this, I shed a tear. Why? Because I feel like it actually humanized a big-box brand. The commercial concluded with saying that there were going to be more registers open during the holiday season to accommodate a projected increase in traffic, but made you feel not only you mattered to Wal-Mart. When does that ever happen? Advertising at its finest.
  2. Hershey’s Kisses-each year I sear this commecial, I know the holidays have arrived! As a former musician, I can appreciate the effort it takes these little Hershey’s kisses to achieve this song. The best part is the little kiss at the end with the big solo!
  3. Target India Arie w/Stevie Wonder-Again, this is just a beautiful commercial. Steve Wonder and India are such talented individuals. There are actually from the 2002 Holiday campaign. In my opinion, it’s one of the best ones Target has done.

Favorite Holiday Songs:

  1. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays by ‘NSYNC-Isn’t this everyone’s fave song? I still believe that i’m going to marry Justin Timberlake. Jessica Biel better watch out. hehe!
  2. Simply having a wonderful Christmas Time by The Beatles–this song is kind of cheeky and cute, but always make me happy! I worked at Old Navy when I was like 16-18 years old, and it came on like every 10 minutes. Still love it though.
  3. Oh holy night–love this song, but Kelly Clarkson and Christina Aguilera sing two of the best renditions!

Favorite Holiday Albums:

All of these albums I originally heard on Pandora, but after hearing nearly every track, I decided to contribute to these artists’ income and buy the album. No illegal downloads for me. hehe! These albums can be purchased on iTunes or Amazon as well!

  1. My Kind of Christmas by Christina Aguilera christina aguilera
  2. Merry Christmas by Mariah Careymariah carey
  3. Glee Cast Holiday glee cast
  4. 8 Days of Christmas by Destiny’s Childdestiny's child

My absolute favorite this holiday season is…Straight No Chaser.

straight no chaser

First of all, I love the name. Second of all, they have real talent! Straight No Chaser is a professional a cappella group. The group itself was founded in 1996 in Indiana University in Bloomington. (Go Hoosiers!) Ten guys got together and decided to bust a tune. Of course, like most artists these days, they were found on YouTube….

12 Days of Christmas-Performed in 1998

Fifteen million views later, they have a record deal with Atlantic Records and the rest is music history.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, isn’t a cappella the big deal these days. True, but I personally never watched one episode of Glee. I did however see Pitch Perfect, which was hilariously wonderful. I intend on purchasing the DVD.

Every time one of SNC songs comes on, it just makes my day. Their harmonies are just that, harmonious. I think Pandora has played nearly all of the tracks from their holiday album. I love every song.

Don’t take my word for it though, go to iTunes yourself and check out the little samples.

All of these songs and holiday items really do make the season bright.

Happy Singing!

Did I miss any good ones? What are your favorite Christmas tunes? Do you annoy people with Christmas Pandora?

Meso Maya & Mentors

Good Morning!

Happy Friday Everyone! This week has absolutely flown by! Guess the world isn’t coming to an end after all. I never believed that Oscar Mayer bologna anyways. But I do like the idea of people “getting their lives” together to prepare for that. Whatever. Either way, it didn’t happen. If you ask me, I stick to my original hypothesis, the Mayans simply ran out of stone/paper. lol

mayans

Can I just say that I am feeling better already after the last few posts. I know it got a little bit somber for a while now, but I am on the path to a new me. I’m excited about this progression too.

Yesterday, I went to lunch with one of my PR mentors to Meso Maya. Now, you know me, there’s a story to everything I do.

A few weeks ago, a NEW Meso Maya opened in the Downtown Dallas/Uptown area. It’s located right next to El Fenix, a HUGE Dallas Tex-Mex staple, which is kind of weird because I don’t think it’s that tasty. Yep, I said it.

Anywho, I read several blog posts about it. These foodies were raving about the new spot closer to Downtown saying it was a little bit better than the original one. Wait, where is the original one, I thought to myself? Well I’ll be, it’s located like 10 minutes from my home/job! I’m all about trying new spots, but I did want to be able to compare the two.

So, when my mentor asked me where I wanted to eat for lunch, I remembered these articles and suggested it. She was all for it!

My mentor and I get together probably every couple of months for lunch and chit chat! She is an absolutely fabulous PR professional with like 20+ years of experience. She always gives me great advice for my career and personal life. We’ve become good friends and colleagues over the past 5 years.

The “old” Meso Maya is located at Preston and Forest in what some may call North Dallas. Dramatic Dallas people. It’s in one of those strips of boutiques, random places and of course Starbucks. Their food is bold, fresh and earthy flavors of authentic interior Mexican cuisine. Yep, stole that right from the menu.

The atmosphere of the restaurant was very pleasant. It was quiet enough so that Tanya and I didn’t have to yell at each other, which apparently is a lot different than the new Uptown Meso Maya.

Since, I’m trying to watch what I eat and I just devoured a whole bunch of chips at Pepe’s & Mitos, I didn’t want to divulge too much in the complimentary appetizer. I wasn’t a fan of the salsa though. It was a little warm (temperature). Hot salsa kind of disgusts me.

Usually, I order a salad at lunch, but I’m not going to lie, lettuce gets old. So, I perused the menu for a somewhat healthier option and came across the Polle con Mole or Chicken with Mole sauce. Yum! I love Mole sauce. The dish was an adobo chicken breast with Oaxcan mole rojo, sweet plantains, same seeds and white rice. i substituted the white rice for sauteed veggies. Is this there anything better than sweet plantain?! YUM, YUM, YUM!

You guys already know that I LOVE food from the Latin countries. My mouth was watering when I ordered and I couldn’t wait to get my food.

I was excited. The food arrived. It was pretty on the plate. I was still excited. I took a bite and the enthusiasm left. Bummer! It was kind of good, but very underseasoned. To make it worse, there was no salt on our table. Weird. I still ate every bite hoping it would get better, and it kind of did, but it still wasn’t amazing. Such a bummer.

meso maya

Now, I have never complained about food before, but I also don’t like lying to people. So, when server asked me how my food was, I told him the truth. He was very apologetic and hoped I would return to have a better experience. I told him I would, and that’s the truth.

I’m not the kind of foodie that dismisses a restaurant after one bad experience. I understand that chef and prep cooks may have a bad moment. I also know that adding salt to food is often times considered an insult to some chefs/cooks. I also get that too much salt is bad for us and some people have health conditions so restaurants are trying to cut back. All of that considered, I will definitely revisit this Meso Maya again and give it another shot.

Life Lesson #1–Sometimes, things don’t turn out the way we want them to. Our enthusiasm is quickly deflated when the outcome is less than desired. It’s important to have individuals like mentors or close friends who may be a little older who can speak wisdom into our lives. The job we think is going to be the “dream job” could be just that, but may be accompanied by a challenging supervisor making each day difficult. Or the person we are dating could be wonderful, but it may just not work out for whatever reason. We can’t stop working, dating or living when these things occur. I’m so thankful for Tanya who has always encouraged me to keep going when I didn’t want to, reminded me of who I was when I forgot and of course showed me that in the end, I have to trust the Lord.
Life Lesson #2-Don’t be afraid to ask for anything or speak up. I’m sure my meal would have been really delicious had I just asked for salt.

Hate to run, but lots of work to do. I’m super excited about my lunch plans for today though! I’ll give you a hint: It involves a holiday buffet (oh boy) at a very famous Downtown Dallas-based luxury retailer. 🙂

Vicky D

Questions: Do you have mentors? Do you mind asking for salt at restaurants?

Life’s Choices and Dallas Food Nerd

Goooooodd Morning!!!

I am in particularly good mood this morning!! Not exactly sure why…hehe! Is it because Christmas is almost here? hmmm..maybe. Is it because I have all of next week off? No, because I only have Christmas Day off next week. Womp Womp! Is it because the weather is warm in Dallas? Nope, it’s all of a sudden freakishly cold here AGAIN.

So, what is it? I’m choosing to be happy! I’ve realized that life really could be A LOT worse than I think. I have so much to be thankful for and frankly complaining is becoming annoying ot everyone around me.

Yesterday, I met up with Clare at Paradise Bakery for a little going away lunch. Clare is one of the first people I met in the blogging world. Ironically, I met her before I even had a blog. She basically commented on another blog that I read (or something like that), and I figured out she was moving from St.Louis to Dallas. I wanted to show her some good ‘ol Dallas hospitality. I hope I achieved that. that was nearly 1.5 years ago. Anywho, Clare has decided to move back home and go back to school. While I will miss her so, I can’t help but be proud of her for leaving her life and family behind to move to a city that she had only flown through. I can’t help but be inspired by the way she handled all of life’s situations with a good attitude. She might not have always been happy, but she always found a way to find the positive aspects of life.

If you read her blog, you will see that transitioning to Dallas and a new phase of life wasn’t an easy process, but she did it. It’s hard to balance everything and everyone. Heck, her blog is called Fitting It All In. I always admired the fact that she was transparent about her life. She entertained her readers (friends), but also educated them and made them think a little bit. I’m going to miss her, but hey, that’s why there are planes, trains and wait, St. Louis is far, so probably no automobiles. hehe!

Life is all about choices. We choose to be sad. We choose to be angry. We choose to be happy. Trust me when I say this is NOT easy to do. In the last 6 months, I have experienced some difficult situations, and it was even more challenging to not fall into a despondent state. It was a constant, daily struggle. I found myself wanting to commiserate over life’s whoas. Stop it, Vicky D. I overcame it. Praise the Lord.

The “Whoa Is Me” complex is really unproductive. I’m over it. I’m too old for it now honestly.

Now, I continue on my original mission, to find the good in all of life’s little delights, like the cookie display at the front entrance of Paradise Bakery near the Galleria. Puts you in the Christmas spirit and includes a complimentary tasty treat.

paradise entry way

Or there’s my little friend, Bob, who I bought at the Dollar Store for $4 four years ago. He only comes out during the holidays, but it makes me happy.

bobOf course, there’s always my favorite delight, FOOD. Yesterday, I ate a BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad and Sonoma Chicken Stew at Paradise. Now, I saw them put cheese in my salad, and I’m 100% sure that my soup had cream in it. Thankfully, I didn’t get sick. There’s nothing better than sharing tasty food with good company. (I didn’t take a pic of Clare because she was sweaty. i knew better.)

paradise lunchI chose to enjoy the sweet and sour moments of life. Granted, I’ve had a lot of sour moments lately, but as someone recently told me, sometimes you have to put up with a whole bunch of sh&^ to get the sweet stuff.

Oh, I almost forgot…my very first article on Dallas Food Nerd was published yesterday! Yaaaay!!! Super excited!!! The Boy and I tried out Pepe’s & Mitos on Saturday night. I originally was going to write a review for this blog, but since I’m a new contributor to DNF, I decided to share the love with them. Go check out my post AND the restaurant!

Have a great day and as my mom used to say, make good choices!

Vicky D

I Wish Life Came with a TI-86 Calculator

If you know me, like in real life, you know that I am always sick. Now, I don’t mean to jinx myself, but historically speaking, I do tend to get sick quite a bit. No idea why. Well, yeah, I do know why.  It’s simple equation. The fact that I’m extremely prone to allergies combined with the fact that my sleeping pattern isn’t always consistent equals sickness.

Which is exactly where I am today, sitting at home on the couch SICK. I’ve actually been sick since Tuesday and have been working from home on and off since then. Ugh. So annoying. But, if I want to get better, than I need to rest.

The question you’re probably asking yourself is: if I know that equation, than why don’t I change one of the variables.

Twiddling fingers wondering if I should even type what I’m about to say, but I pride myself on being truthful and honest, so here goes.

I desire to have a perfect life. In turn, I end up living a false life, one in which I sometimes have no true concept of reality.

The ironic component of this mentality is that I have experienced so many trials the last four months that one would think I would have outgrown that very childish way of thinking. However, that’s not the case.

I never sleep because I’m always working. I’m always working because I want more money. I want more money so that I can live a fabulous life. I want a fabulous life because I have honestly watched way too many episodes of Sex & the City and Girlfriends.

Surely, I’m not the only late 20-something year old gal who doesn’t struggle with this cycle. Surely, I’m not the only woman who doesn’t compare the current reflection of our life with some unrealistic fairytale.

I recently moved into my own 1BD/1 Bath apartment…by myself. From my hip, urban, chic and near downtown apartment with two other girls to an older, near North Dallas apartment by myself.

Depressing.

Friends and family come over and ask me what I think of my new place. My immediate response, “I hate it.”

Now, I am grateful to the Lord above for providing me an awesome cost-efficient apartment literally 24 hours before I am supposed to move. I am even more thankful to have a job where I can afford to pay for expenses all by MYSELF!

But, I really don’t like living alone. Why? It forces me to accept my reality.

Every day I walk in my door, I remember that it’s just me. No one greets me. No one asks me how my day was or what exciting things happened. No one prepares a delicious healthy dinner. It’s only me.

It’s lonely.

So, to avoid dealing with that, I sometimes just avoid going home. I spend countless hours at the gym. (Working out can’t be that bad for me as I have big health goals ahead) I go to the mall or local department stores (my favorite is T.J. Maxx) to window shop or see if I can snag any good deals. I participate in countless happy hours and networking events. I avoid the feeling.

Talk about being childish. There’s no worse way to live than to avoid life.

Five years ago, life was so simple, like algebra. Five months ago, life complexities appeared with all their various variables. In high school, I hated calculus; in college and grad school, statistics made me want to vomit. But in both cases, I had my trusty T.I. 86 calculator, the ever-loved course curve and amazing friends to get me through it.

Today, there is not a calculator smart enough (or programmable) to give me the answers to life’s questions. There’s no index with the answers in the back. And unfortunately, the only curves I’ve experienced witnessed are on my hips.

But I still have friends and family to at least help me figure out. I still possess the determination to keep trying when I have no idea where to start; and luckily, S.C. Johnson still makes Kleenex for when I don’t know what else to do, but cry.

Life is a not a poly or a quadratic equation. Variables are exponential and sometimes never reveal the answers for years. I sure as hell can’t keep running from something that I will inevitably have to face, like coming home and growing up. That is no way to live. My apartment may be older, but it has beautiful crown molding, my modern couch fits perfectly and slowly, but surely, I am adding little pieces of décor that just scream “Vicky D.”

“Running the streets” every day and weekend is not good for my bank account or my belly. Emotionally running away is worse. Sometimes, it’s important just to sit, reflect and listen to my own thoughts. Perhaps, if I did that when I was well, I wouldn’t be forced to do that when I’m sick.

Hmm…Maybe I just solved one of my equations.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some recovering to do in my beautiful apartment and “He’s Just Not That Into You” came on.

It’s the little things.