With Christmas just around the corner, you may be feeling overwhelmed and out of ideas when it comes to some great things to put in the stockings this year. After spending days hunting for the perfect gifts for all your loved ones, stocking stuffers may be at the very bottom of your list of things to focus on. Sure, the holidays really aren’t about material things but sometimes we do want to wow our loved ones with some truly fantastic items. For anyone short on time and wanting some inspiration to up their stocking stuffer game, here are some of the best inexpensive stocking stuffer ideas!
Reusable Drinking Straws
These straws are not only inexpensive and small, they also are great for the environment and will encourage your loved when to go green in the new year. There are many different colors and styles to choose from, making them easy to personalize as well. Perfect for all your on-the-go family friends who want to help the world and be healthy in the new year.
For anyone feeling a bit stressed out from 2020, this head massager is an ideal stocking stuffer. It will help them relax and unwind after all the chaos of the holidays, and the year in general. You may even want to buy one for yourself while you’re at it!
If you’ve got a game-lover in need of a stocking stuffer, this mini UNO set is perfect. It can fit into any bag or purse and is wonderful for vacations, car trips, or boring nights at home. At less than $7, there’s no need to look any further for the best gift for that gamer in your life.
Good Days Start With Gratitude Journal
This little journal is perfect for any one of your friends or family this year. Small and inexpensive, it is a great way to help anyone to focus on their blessings this holiday season. We could all use a little help being more grateful. This journal provides the space to explore and reflect on our lives.
Colored Pencil Set
If you’ve got an artist in yourself constantly sketching away, consider this colored pencil set as the perfect addition to their stocking. With 80 good-quality colors, this is the ideal item for any age. Help their creativity flow this holiday season!
Squishy Cat Set
The perfect stocking stuffer for kids and adults alike, these versatile cats are an adorable gift. They can be used as a toy or a stress ball depending on your needs (and age). Not to mention the fact that they are ridiculously cute. They are the gift you didn’t know you needed this holiday season!
At just 16, actress and singer Ruby Jay has already broken into the industry and landed a role as the star of Hulu’s hit television series Holly Hobbie (2018). Jay plays Holly, who much like herself has a passion for music and helping save the world. Jay’s character navigates being a teenager and dreaming big – she doesn’t let her age limit herself or her dreams. Jay is also featured in CBS’s The Unicorn (2019) as Grace – the eldest daughter of her widowed father. Both Ruby and her characters show the importance of having confidence in yourself. When Jay is not acting, she is working on her music. She recently released a Christmas single, “My Favorite Christmas.” In this interview, Ruby Jay discusses what she’s learned from her characters, what makes her a Unicorn, and what she hopes to accomplish in the future.
Q. Like you, your character Holly in Holly Hobbie also makes music – What lessons have you learned from your character?
A. Holly has taught me how to be more connected to my music, and let my emotions be heard through the lyrics I write. Watching her process of writing inspired me to try and write in the same way, and I’ve gotta say, it worked!
Q. Hopefully you’ll be shooting season 3 of Holly Hobbie soon! How would you like your character to develop over the season?
A. Well, we don’t have a confirmed third season yet, but hopefully we will see that news soon! At the end of season two we’re left with a cliff-hanger; Holly is trying to decide whether she wants to go on tour with a famous singer or stay home with her family. Either way the story goes I would be so excited to see how it all plays out!
Q. You just released your song “My Favorite Christmas” – What is your favorite Christmas memory?
A. I have so many Christmas memories because it’s my favorite holiday. I’ve got to say that one of my favorite parts is a family tradition of baking and setting out orange rolls instead of cookies for Santa. Making the orange rolls with the family is always so much fun. Marveling at the tree while eating the rolls before we go to sleep on Christmas eve is always so magical.
Q. Who are your favorite fashion designers? Have you had a chance to work with any of them?
A. My favorite fashion designer is obviously my sister, Pearl. I love being able to work with her and be her personal model as she works on some incredible pieces. Quarantine has given her a chance to be creative with her fashion and it’s so much fun to watch her work go from the sketch in her book to a dress on the mannequin.
Q. If you could only use 3 makeup products for the rest of your life, what would they be?
A. Well… I only use 3 makeup products in real life, so I guess it would just be my normal routine! Mascara, clear eyebrow gel and tinted Chapstick.
Q. I understand one of your interests in crocheting – Did you crochet anything special over quarantine?
A. Quarantine has given me so much time to just sit and crochet and I have been absolutely loving it! I’ve made a few tops, a cardigan, and even some stuffed toys for fun. I’ve loved being able to also expand my knowledge of crochet techniques and putting them to the test.
Q. What makes you a “Unicorn” – Unique or Special?
A. Well, my mom thinks I’m cool.
Q. You have accomplished so much at such a young age – What new goals do you have?
A. One of my lifetime goals has and always will be to be on Broadway. If I had the opportunity to work on a Broadway show, my life would be complete. I would be that happiest girl in the world.
Q. Where do you get your confidence from? What advice can you give to your fans to be confident?
A. The key to being confident is loving yourself and being comfortable in your own skin. You only get one body, mind, and soul in a lifetime so you might as well work with what you got and make the most of the beautiful body protecting and encasing your soul.
Be sure to check out Ruby Jay’s Instagram and Youtube to keep up with her ongoing and upcoming projects!
Today we want to share with you the 7 best flower combinations for Christmas. If you’re like many of the moms searching for ways to keep your kids entertained as the pandemic rages on, you’ve likely taken to frequent outdoor walks. Perhaps you’ve found that all that time in nature has been uplifting for your little ones (and yourself). That’s no surprise; science has proven time and time again that being outdoors, and more specifically, around plants and flowers, makes you feel better.
So with Christmas fast approaching, maybe you’re reconsidering your holiday design this year. Colorful stockings, red and green string lights and Elf on the Shelf might still be your holiday fixtures, but what about incorporating some Christmas floral combinations, too? It might be exactly what everyone needs to muster some celebratory energy after such a hard year. We get the best flowers from Bouqs delivery service for decorating our homes, and these are some of our favorite combinations.
1. Red Roses and Hypericum Berries
We like red roses for a floral arrangement because they do double duty: they’re richly-colored and sophisticated enough for the adults to appreciate, and simultaneously cheery and Rudolph’s-nose enough for the kids to get on board with too. We like adding hypericum berries (also known as St. John’s wort) to most of our Christmas arrangements because it reminds us of a vase-friendly version of mistletoe.
2. White Roses and Hypericum Berries
If your family is more into the color of snow than Santa’s favorite reindeer, then switch out the red roses for white and be prepared for “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” to play in your head on repeat.
3. Red Tulips and Evergreen Leaves
There’s something about tulips that is so quintessentially sweet. Any floral combination that involves these blooms is bound to make you smile. And though you may think of them as a springtime floral, red ones paired with evergreen leaves make a surprisingly festive combination.
Okay, this one might not be “floral,” but it is fun. A few pine cones combined with greenery (think cedar and myrtle) look surprisingly stunning together.
5. Red Anthurium and Greenery
If you live somewhere tropical, or wish you did, get your hands on a combination of red anthurium (sometimes called the flamingo flower) and greenery. You’ll be singing Mele Kalikimaka before you know it.
6. Sunflowers and Hypericum Berries
Nothing about this year has been traditional, so why should your Christmas bouquet be? Take some vibrant sunflowers and pair them with hypericum berries for a cheery, laid-back holiday look the kids will love.
7. Wreath with Pine cones
If florals aren’t your thing or you have an accident-prone kid at home, a tall vase of buds may not be your first choice. A wreath is a great, harder to knock down alternative and looks extra cute with pine cones tucked in.
After such a rough year, make holiday decorating simple for yourself this year. A few artfully-placed Christmas floral combinations can have a surprising impact. And all the time you save on decorating is perfect for lounging with a glass of wine and those cookies left out for Santa.
Calling all bath enthusiasts and holiday lovers! For anyone who loves bath and body products and can’t get enough holiday fun, read on! We are here to provide a list of some of the best (smelling) holiday products to spice up your pampering this holiday season. Here are the best holiday bath products to try this season!
Oh Christmas Tree Bath Bomb Set
What says the holidays like six fantastic bath bombs wrapped in fun, festive packaging? This set of bath bombs is guaranteed to get you in the spirit of the season. Each bomb is themed for the holidays, with scents like Snow Fairy and Butterball. This is the perfect item for anyone wanting to up their bath bomb game for the holiday season!
Under the Mistletoe Bath and Body Gift Set
Start the holiday season off right with this set from philosophy. The set includes body lotion and shower gel to help you care for your skin this winter. The scent is based on mistletoe (with notes of violet, jasmine, and lily) making it a fun and unique holiday scent to don this season. It will leave you feeling, and smelling, great!
Peppermint Bubble Bath
This peppermint bubble bath not only smells heavenly, it also comes in an adorable champagne bottle, giving it that extra boost of fun. Perfect as a gift or simply something to treat yourself with, Ulta beauty knew what they were doing making this bubble bath. Give it a try and add that classic wintery mint smell to your next relaxation bath.
Home for the Holidays: Nutmeg and Sweet Cream Shower Gel and Bubble Bath
Doubling as a body wash and bubble bath, this product is both versatile and good quality. With notes of nutmeg, sweet cream, vanilla, chai, and pumpkin, this wash will leave you feeling refreshed and smelling like the holidays! This product is ideal for anyone wanting to add a holiday kick to their bath products this season.
Apple Sugar Bath and Body Set
This set of four is the perfect holiday treat! Treat yourself, or a friend, to this wonderfully smelling apple sugar package that includes body wash, hand cream, body lotion, and body mist. Full of all the essentials, this is the perfect product for anyone who loves smelling fantastic and festive on a budget!
With the holiday season fast approaching, it can be tempting to stick with your tried and true go-to recipes. The classics are always great, but it can be just as fun to mix up your usual repertoire and add some new recipes into your traditions. For some holiday baking fun, here are some of the best holiday baking ideas!
Christmas Tree Cookie Stacks
These adorable Christmas tree cookie stacks are ideal for anyone who loves both delicious and adorable bakes. They only take 30 minutes and yield between 16-18 tasty trees the whole family will love. Combining two favorite holiday activities, baking and tree decorating, this recipe is perfect for children and families this holiday season!
Peppermint Mocha Lava Cakes
Chocolate lovers will adore these peppermint mocha lava cakes. This indulgent chocolatey dessert is both traditional and festive with the extra peppermint kick. Not only does it look delicious, it also takes less than an hour to make and prepare! What better way to end a holiday meal than with the classic combo of chocolate and peppermint goodness?
Santa Hat Cupcakes
Another adorably delicious idea for any holiday party, these Santa hat cupcakes only need six ingredients. You can be as creative as you want decorating each hat or stick with the traditional red and white look. It’s up to you! Your bake will be the star of the day and brighten any room with holiday cheer.
This classic British bake will not only wow your friends and family, it will also taste fantastic! It takes a little over an hour to make, but the results are more than worth it. Get inspired from across the pond and try baking mincemeat pies this season. You’ll see what all the fuss is about soon enough.
A real showstopper to get you in the holiday spirit, nothing says Christmas like a Yule Log centerpiece. Yule Logs can be many flavors, but this classic recipe features focuses heavily on chocolate and whipped cream filling. It takes almost two hours to create, but nothing will get you in the mood for the holiday more than putting the finishing touches on that delicious log!
When you think about Christmas movies, a film about a mysterious creature on a killing spree shouldn’t be the first that comes to mind. But yet, that’s the exact film that people spent their Christmas holiday watching, thanks to Netflix and Sandra Bullock! Here’s how Bird Box became the official Christmas movie of 2018!
Bird Box premiered on Netflix on December 21st. It’s no surprise that many people off from work stumbled upon this film while looking to unwind and jumpstart their vacations. By Christmas day, if you happened to scroll through social media it seems as though everyone was simultaneously watching Bird Box and posting about it. The release of Bird Box was ideal timing. Within seven days of its release, Netflix announced that 45 million people streamed the film during the holiday week. It quickly became the most successful film Netflix has launched. Every successful film needs an eager audience and Netflix’s audience was already indoors looking for some entertainment. Whether you were extremely bored or excited to watch anything with your family, Bird Box became Netflix’s Christmas gift to you!
One simply cannot talk about Bird Box without mentioning the memes that took over social media after it’s release. Almost overnight, you could not scroll through Instagram, Twitter or Facebook without a meme referencing it. And if you didn’t catch Bird Box by the time the first wave of memes hit (like me!) you definitely put it on your to-do list after seeing them.
Combined, the ideal timing and memes had us flocking to press play. But there was one more component that worked in Netflix’s favor: The FOMO. The “Fear Of Missing Out” drove us all too quickly to watch the film during our holiday break. We wanted to: A) be able to laugh at the memes along with everyone else and B) join the world in posting our own thoughts about the film. The era of social media and the new unorthodox way of watching films online make it effortless for us to insert ourselves into the conversations about “what’s trending?” in one simple click.
We’ve made a list and checked it twice and we are leaving the office in the North Pole to deliver 5 Favorite Christmas Movies of All Time. All of these movies have brought cheerfulness and happiness to all of our lives throughout the holiday seasons. Christmas represents different things to people over the years, and these movies reflect that in every way. These seasonal movies bring back what Christmas is truly all about. As the holidays comes to an end, spend time with your families and enjoy these all time favorite Christmas movies.
The Polar Express
When a young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him the wonder of life never goes away for those who believe. This movie is a magical adventure for all ages filled with heart-warming and feel-good moments.
Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister must protect his house from two burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation. Home Alone shows the funny side of a little kid wanting to have fun on Christmas without his family. The way Kevin outsmarts the burglars is classic and laugh-out loud hilarious.
Will Ferrell’s character Buddy was unknowingly brought to the North Pole as a baby and raised by one of Santa’s elves. Entering adulthood, he decides to travel to New York to search for his real father. This movie is a spirited, laugh-out loud, and great family comedy for all ages. Will Ferrell performance is charming and funny as Santa’s biggest helpers.
Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas
The Grinch decides to rob Whoville during Christmas, but his heart is melted into kindness once he hears the Whos singing and realizes that Christmas is about more than the decorations and presents. This movie honors a classic holiday story and becomes a tradition of its own.
Mickey’s Christmas Carol
A retelling of classic Dickens tale with Disney’s classic characters. Disney characters bring warmth and fun to the story. One of the best Mickey Mouse movies, faithful to the original story and charming with a lot of Disney magic. It timeless and still is remembered after a few decades.
A good Christmas DIY is something light, fun, and relatively inexpensive. When I want to decorate my apartment I do not aim to be spending $100 + on 400 vintage Christmas light bulbs and a wire hanger just to spend four hours making a mediocre wreath. The key to cute, festive decorations is simplicity, they don’t have to look like a modern art exhibit on ice. Here are some wonderful DIYs I’ve discovered that are cheap, adorable, and incredibly festive.
Snow covered pine cones: I love the aesthetic of a good pine tree on Christmas, the smell, the colors, even the pine needles all over the carpet. It’s all part of the Christmas spirit. The perfect decoration that’s easy to do and brightens up your tree are snow covered pine cones. I would not recommend grabbing some from outside, those usually aren’t preserved and will rot away when next year comes around. Buy your pine cones for 79 cents a piece at your nearest craft store, some white paint, and a little bit of fake snow. Paint the edges of your pine cone and roll it around in the fake snow. Wait for it to dry, then tie a string to it and hang it from your tree. Or, if you live in an apartment like me that doesn’t allow Christmas trees, hang them all around the room. They are so pretty and give off the feeling of a nice snowy day without the cold water or wind burn.
Snowman Tea Lights: Tea lights are no longer those weird electric candles your grandma leaves around her house. With just a set of markers, you can turn those uncanny things into adorable little snowmen faces. Leaving these cuties around the apartment have made my friends laugh so much, although they’re simple they get quite a bit of attention. Plus, since they’re electric they’ll be glowing and not melting the faces away.
Glitter Candles: It wouldn’t be Christmas if there wasn’t any glitter. Christmas glitter candles are very easy to make, all it requires are glue, thick white candles, and red, green, and/or gold glitter. Cover the bottom half of your candle with glue, then roll into whatever color(s) you like. Wait for them to dry, then display them around your apartment. I found that clusters of three are the most gorgeous, and of course once they’re lit they just bring in the whole aura of Christmas.
A bad Christmas DIY is something that can add on to the stress of the holidays, which is a big no go in my book, and will not only lead to mediocre decorations but downright tacky ones. Anything that will demand your attention for hours while making your credit card cry is just not worth it, especially if it’s bringing nothing but cringiness to the table. Here are some examples of DIYs you should avoid this year.
Tree branch centerpiece: A DIY craft I saw while scrolling through Pinterest that just made me think, “Ah yes, I love all this dead wood you’ve put onto your kitchen table, are your ornaments also made of garbage?” was the tree branch centerpiece. Now hold your fire, I know some of us have pine tree branch decor around the house and usually those are very fun. What I’m talking about is bare, dry as a bone, branches that were probably picked up while walking the dog. No matter how many ornaments or ribbons you tie on it, that’s just a piece of dead wood.
The Light Disco Ball: Upon watching a 5 Minute Crafts’ video, this monstrosity popped up. I don’t know how this got labelled as a 5 minute craft, there’s no way in Krampus’ hell this can take 5 minutes to make. This craft requires you to punch hole in and stable together a ton of clear plastic cups into two dome shapes. Then take a cluster of Christmas lights and carefully put each little light through the hole. Then put both domes together to make a Christmas disco ball. Honestly, when I saw this it gave me a massive headache. The idea seems cool, but the execution and the outcome is so not worth it. Unless I wanted to really piss somebody off this Christmas, I would never attempt this.
Once the month of November hits, most of us start to panic about holiday shopping. December comes fast and whether you’re a college student or a full-time employee, the amount of money we shell out during this time of year can make for high stress. Most of us aren’t rolling in dough, but that’s okay. There are plenty of cheaper options out there to make the holidays less stressful and easier on your wallet. We’ve got some holiday shopping tips to relieve some of that headache.
Holiday Shopping Tips: Surf Websites Like Ebay, Etsy, and Amazon
Yes, this is sometimes a little too obvious, but if you prefer to do your shopping in-store rather than online, you’re probably missing out on some great gift opportunities. Shopping online is one of the best holiday shopping tips, because it opens up a lot more options than simply going to a shopping mall. If you have a best friend who loves collectables, art and craft items, or unique and personalized gifts, you can find just about anything under the sun on eBay, Etsy, and Amazon.
Ebay Auctions Can Make Your Gift
If you hit the auctions on eBay, you could get lucky and score a mint condition, sealed vinyl that’s hard to find at a record store. A lot of vinyl records on eBay start on auction for cheap. I’ve found some pretty obscure ones for well under $20. There are so many unique things on eBay if you give your search a lot of thought. If you can think it, you can probably find it. Plus, eBay has their own deals section that can really helpful. Keep in mind that a lot of e-commerce deals are limited, so keep your eyes out for the good ones you can’t pass up!
Etsy Is Perfect For Unique Presents, So Long As You Search For The Cheaper Items
Photo Credit: Etsy
Etsy has just about anything in the vein of creative gifts. Got a boyfriend obsessed with Star Wars? There’s a personalized gift for that. Maybe your best friend is a pop culture freak and a huge coffee drinker. There’s a mug for that. And pins? There are plenty of unique pin sets that you probably won’t find anywhere else. It’s all about being smart with Etsy, though. Sometimes the items can get a little pricey based on the seller. Always keep your eye out for the cheaper deals, as well as the shipping costs. Some sellers offer a discount if you purchase more than one item from them, as well as a combined shipping so you don’t have to pay multiple shipping fees.
Amazon Can Be Way Cheap, Especially If You Sign Up For A Prime Trial
I’m pretty sure most of you already shop on Amazon. If you’ve already got an Amazon Prime membership, even better. If you don’t, you can sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime at no cost and cancel before you get billed. It makes shopping on Amazon a lot easier, since a lot of items are eligible for Prime free two-day shipping. Find a niche item that your friends or family members will love. For instance, if you know a book-lover who doesn’t mind a lightly used copy of a novel, go for it. Know a cat lover? They have some hilarious adult coloring books for just about any subject you can think of.
Want To Give Someone a Cool Outing? Check Out the ‘Things to Do’ Section on Groupon
Groupon is a site that may be slightly overlooked if you haven’t used it a lot. But during this time of year, they have some really good sales, even on events. The ‘Things to Do’ section will show you Groupon deals in your area. If you take the time to sift through what offers they have, you can score a cheap price for local events and fun outings.
Do You Have Old Gift Cards From Last Christmas You Haven’t Used?
Extra gift cards? Use them to buy gifts for the holidays. Photo Credit: LaniElderts / Flickr CC By 2.0
This is something some of us may not think about, but how long has that gift card been sitting in your desk drawer or wallet, unused? How much longer do you think you’ll take to spend it? If you aren’t against the idea of using it, it’s technically free shopping money. If you’ve got a gift card you haven’t used for any retail store, now is a good time to shop the incoming sales, especially online. And the best part is, if you use a gift card, you may pay little to nothing for someone’s gift. Sort of a win-win, right?
Are You Crafty? Create Some Beautiful Handmade Gifts for Your Loved Ones
If you’re an avid crafter or artist, a great gift idea can be easily achieved if you consider a way to make a personalized gift for someone. A photo memory book for a long-time best friend, a unique piece of jewellery, a painting of their favorite comic book character, organic bath bombs—the list goes on. If you’re up to the task of creating a gift for someone, rather than buying one, it can save you a ton of money—plus, it’ll mean a lot to the person you’re gifting it to.
Whether his music is being played during some of television’s most popular reality shows or inspiring people in the aftermath of Boston’s worst terrorist attack, singer-songwriter and pianist Jeff Michaels has been entertaining fans with thought-provoking lyrics examining today’s biggest social and political issues while infusing them with his unique brand of humor. Jeff’s dedication to the independent music scene has been a lifelong cause and several of his songs have been licensed to over a dozen television shows, appearing in episodes of The Real World and Teen Moms (MTV) and the T.O. Show (VH1). Jeff was also a member of pop band Luce, whose music appeared on major motion picture soundtracks for How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days (Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey) and 13 Going on 30 (Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Andy Serkis)!
I introduced him to California native and Florida resident Ten Two, former frontman of the alt-rock band Still the Sky’s Limit, who is now embarking on his debut solo journey. With so much in common, and yet so incredibly different, these two artists got to talking for our latest installment of Bands Interviewing Bands.
Jeff Michaels: I always like finding similarities with other artists who, at first glance, might seem completely different. The first thing that struck me was that a large part of your bio talks about your name, Ten Two. I love that you came up with a cool way of using your initials from Johnny B, as being the tenth and second letters in the alphabet. How long did it take you to come up this, and did know you it was going to be your new name the moment you did?
Ten Two: You know, I can’t remember the exact moment I came up with the moniker Ten Two, but what I do remember thinking is that I want this project to be as personal as possible, and I also didn’t want a long band name. I knew it was going to only be me and my acoustic guitar (at least to begin with). When it did hit me, I knew it was the name I was going to go with. My previous band, Still The Sky’s Limit, had actually begun as a solo project as well, but I expected that to grow into a full band, so it was a bit of a different mindset going in.
Ten Two: I’m very intrigued by how the relationship with your songwriting partner, Chris Teffner, came about. Being that you two are almost completely across the country from one another, how did that collaborative effort begin?
Jeff Michaels: Completely across country, and nearly complete opposites in musical styles when we first met, it truly is a wonder! Chris is a native of Vermont and we met when I was looking for a guitarist for my band in Boston. He grew up on heavy metal cover bands and I had my doubts he would like my mild piano rock, but he stepped into rehearsal and the moment we met him, we knew he was something special. I was bummed when he moved away, but we’ve actually done more working back and forth than we managed to accomplish when he lived nearby!
Jeff Michaels: Similar to myself, you’ve moved from California to the East Coast. Have you been in the music scene down in Florida long enough to say how it compares to the scene in Orange County, CA?
Ten Two: For me, growing up in Orange County, California, there was absolutely zero music scene in terms of my style of music. I grew up adoring the sounds of New Jersey and New York for the most part, centered really in the feel of bands like Taking Back Sunday and The Early November. Sprinkle in Dashboard Confessional and that about sums up my adolescent music enlightenment.
Orange County is (or at least was) extremely centered in the Hardcore scene; which just isn’t my go-to style of music. We’d have to drive to San Diego, which is about an hour and a half south from where we grew up, to find a scene somewhat conducive to our tastes. But what happened is we were given the opportunity to tour across the country, and when we arrived in Orlando we found that there were quite a few bands similar in style to us, and a ton of producers that specialized in the very same. So, when I was offered the opportunity to move to Orlando, my immediate thought was it would be a perfect location to finally have a true shot at jumping into a music scene that is what I’ve grown up enjoying. Definitely two drastically different focuses in Orlando, Florida and Orange County, California.
Ten Two: You make a new holiday single every year. Was that a conscious effort, did you know you would continue releasing one each subsequent year from the start, or did it just happen organically and built upon itself?
Jeff Michaels: Not at all. This was actually an idea my dad had years ago, and I struggled for many years to write a holiday song. They aren’t easy, if you’ve ever tried! There is so much clichéd holiday music, and I wanted to try and write something really cool, like “Father Christmas” by the Kinks. The first holiday song I released was “Too Cold for Santa,” in 2012, which I thought was great, yet my wife told me was far too depressing for the holidays. I managed to write a new one each of the last few years, and think I’ve finally gotten the one I wanted in this year’s release, “It’s Been a Long Time, Christmas.”
Jeff Michaels: In deciding to start your new project, Ten Two, you mention the decision involved an “end of days in the realm of performing music.” Why is this? Did you not think you would ever front a band with your new project?
Ten Two: The decision was really to either put music behind me or continue moving forward. I had played a very long time in bands that never had any sort of traction, granted Still The Sky’s Limit was by far the best and closest to gaining traction. The decision to continue on was a very easy choice to make, because I just love writing, performing, recording, sharing, and experiencing everything there is within the realm of music and creative expression. I just knew it would once again be a great challenge, but I also knew I was more than ready for it.
Ten Two: I can see the Dave Matthews influence in your former pop band Luce. What was the catalyst that saw you branch off from the band?
Jeff Michaels: Man, that’s a great question for many reasons! Luce was my first professional gig as a keyboardist, and I always thought they could’ve gone into even more of a DMB sound. They ended up replacing me after our very first cross-country tour with a trumpet player who also played keyboards, so it was really an economy of scale. I was also working on my own material at the time, so it was a natural progression which lead to forming my own band.
Jeff Michaels: Your new album Forth is coming out January 5th. Can we expect a tour and more from Ten Two in 2018?
Ten Two: There will be at least four different music videos to accompany the album. One is ready so far, just waiting for a proper release of it, and the three others will be filmed at the end of December. I would love to tour; it’s my favorite thing to do in the world. I just have to figure out the logistics of it, but definitely will be playing shows locally until I can figure out the touring.
Ten Two: it’s been a great pleasure learning about your musical journey, Jeff. I’m definitely going to be keeping up with all that comes from your neck of the woods going forward! What’s next for you?
Jeff Michaels: I’ve written a new album that I am just starting production on shortly that will hopefully be out next spring. As mentioned, I’m getting away from my band sound and really peeling back the layers to see what I can accomplish with songwriting when it’s naked and raw and right there in front of you. I’m hoping this album leads to some new performing opportunities. I’d love to tour Europe and play house concerts, so if anyone is reading this and interested, hit us up!
For the past five years, Boston-based singer-songwriter Jeff Michaels has released a holiday single and accompanying video. Each has been a unique look at Christmas, from “Too Cold for Santa” in 2012 to “Hey Santa (Bring Me Some Lovin’),” an effort to do no more than spread holiday cheer. This year, Michaels has released “It’s Been a Long Time, Christmas,” a simple call for the return of Christmas and the brighter days we all need.
“This song was a gift,” says Michaels. “I was working on several ideas, but nothing was grabbing me. I scrapped everything, closed my eyes, and hit record. This flowed out, start to finish.”
In a year filled with tragedies and natural disasters that have devastated so many, Michaels knew he had something special. He immediately sent his guitar and vocal demo off to his producer and songwriting partner, Chris Teffner, mentioning that he felt the song had a bit of a retro, John Lennon feel. Teffner immediately grasped the concept, and the next day Michaels dashed off to purchase a special microphone to capture the Lennonesq sound. Two days later the song—and self-produced video, was done.
“The thing that always amazes me is how fast these come about,” says Michaels. “I have to believe that projects like this are simply meant to be.”
Michaels and Teffner are no strangers to working quickly. Time and again they have produced complete songs in just a few days’ time, sending tracks back and forth between their home studios in Boston, MA and Scottsdale, AZ. Along with co-writing Michaels’s last record, Townie Paradise, the pair has built up a substantial catalog and are actively working on writing for film and TV projects. Past placements for Michaels have included songs on The Real World and Teen Mom (MTV), The T.O. Show (VH1), and CBS Sports Spectacular.
The neighborhoods are filled with soft lights and bright lawn ornaments, peppermint is added into everything, and holiday classics are playing on the radio. We say it every year, but we’ll say it again: my, how fast the holidays have come. As we fill our handbags with shopping lists, try to score the best deals out there, and decorate our homes in time for our family visits, it’s quite incredible how we even manage to get gift shopping done. If you’re not an early bird who gets everything crossed off their list by the end of November (guilty as charged), don’t stress yourself out over it. We completely understand how nerve-wracking this time of year can be, but remember it is also the most wonderful time of year. Keep your holiday cheer in full motion—even as you’re fighting your way to grab that last limited edition lipstick set on sale—with our holiday beauty gift guide for every makeup lover, junkie, shopaholic, or whichever term of endearment you call them, in your life. Whether it’s this season’s most sought out perfume or the must-have metallic shadow to wear on New Year’s Eve, we’ll help make every beauty babe you love be giddy with joy when she opens up your gift. Just be sure to tell her it’s from you to them and from us to you. *Wink, wink*
Skincare, hair products, cosmetics, and perfumes aren’t the only thing you can gift a lover of beauty. This book by makeup legend Kevyn Aucoin is something we’ll treasure as much as our favorite highlighter.