Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Vanessa Lachey Shares Why She And Nick Lachey Made All New Christmas Traditions Together


They'll melt your heart

Celebrities Visit Hallmark's 'Home & Family' celebrating 'Christmas In July'

Around this time of year we hear endless discussion about holiday traditions. Less frequently, though, do we talk about the fact that not everyone has them—and it's totally normal. When I chatted with HomeGoods' partner Vanessa Lachey about which traditions she and her husband Nick would pass down to their children, she reminded me of this—it's even a topic she says she might write a book about one day.
Growing up, both Vanessa and Nick (though both from loving families, she adds) never had traditions that were set in stone. "I was an air force brat," Vanessa told me, "So I traveled a lot, I went to eight different schools my first nine years in school." Because of this, and the fact that both of their parents were separated and they bounced to different homes during the holidays, they ended up creating their own traditions when they started dating. As their family grew, their traditions were changed and perfected.
"Some things the kids will hold onto when they’re older and say 'I remember this' or 'I remember that' and some things they won’t and I won’t hold it against them," she giggles. Whether little Camden, Brooklyn, or Phoenix Lachey pass them down to their kids one day or not, let me tell you, these classic family traditions could actually melt the coldest of hearts.

Nick Cherishes His Ornament Box From His Childhood.

"He actually has a whole box of ornaments from when he was younger that he made in school. You know, when people do like the clothes pin reindeer, or when they paint their hands on a plate, or all of these little things he had when growing up that his mom gave him when he left—we still have it."'

The Couple Watches Love Actually Every Year.

"When we got married one of our scenes was kind of like the movie in the scene where they sing 'All You Need Is Love.' That's a whole other story," she laughs. "There’s a time and place for us snuggling up and watching movies. I love the formal living room because there is no TV in that room. So when we go in there as a family, we’re talking, we’re playing, Nick and I will sit on the couch and the kids just run around us, they play, they dance, we put music on, we have hot cocoa and cookies, or Nick and I will have a holiday cocktail. And we can just sit there and hang out and really appreciate what the season is and take a minute."

They Decorate The Day After Thanksgiving.

"We decorate the day after Thanksgiving, which is a big tradition for us that we started literally our first year of dating. It’s all these little moments that we’re doing now that when we do it again the following year, I’m like 'I think this is now our tradition.' Nick gets into the attic, he gets the tree, and he puts it together. I love that he appreciates the season as much as I do, decorating as much as I do."

 Their Kids Count Down The Days With A Special Advent Calendar.
"We have an advent calendar to count down the days, it’s something that we started with Camden and now with the three kids it has evolved. I found this beautiful big wooden, 2 foot by 2 foot, advent calendar at HomeGoods for such a great value. The kids can touch the days and there will be anything from a little treat to a little toy for each day. It lets them really appreciate the time."

Their Kids Count Down The Days With A Special Advent Calendar.

"We have an advent calendar to count down the days, it’s something that we started with Camden and now with the three kids it has evolved. I found this beautiful big wooden, 2 foot by 2 foot, advent calendar at HomeGoods for such a great value. The kids can touch the days and there will be anything from a little treat to a little toy for each day. It lets them really appreciate the time."

They Have An Annual Christmas Breakfast Together.

"I have created a tradition of breakfast every Christmas morning—the same casserole dish that I still do now with the kids. We can all sit down and look forward to it on Christmas morning after we open our presents. For me, the breakfast casserole is kind of something Brooklyn and I can do in the kitchen. We prep it the night before because Christmas morning with kids is, as I’m sure you know even if you don’t have kids, is all about opening presents. When they’re little little we have to give them their morning bottle of milk in their room because once they come down it’s on. So we do that for a few hours and we pop it in the oven and it’s ready."

How 98 Degrees cleaned index cards out of Buffalo (and why it still means something)


98 Degrees returns for a concert at the Seneca Niagara Casino. (Courtesy of 98 Degrees)

There was a time nearly 20 years ago when you couldn’t buy an index card in Buffalo. You could try to hit up an office store, grocery, pharmacy or convenience shop, but in the spring of 1999, nearly all of them were wiped clean of 3x5 cards. 

Thousands of teenagers had bought them out, trying to win a radio station contest to have the boy band 98 Degrees perform in their school.
Following the rules of the contest, which was run by the pop station Kiss 98.5, the teens inscribed the cards with their name, age, school and phone number. The school that submitted the most cards would win. Back then, when phones weren’t smart and media wasn’t social, teens still saw the appeal in winning a private audience with a top pop group. 

Today, that type of show would be Instagram content and Snapchat fodder. Then, it was simply an experience — one that area teens wanted badly.
They bought index cards, and they scribbled away. They did it during study halls and after school. Probably in class, too. They held pizza parties and sleepovers and who-knows-what-else. Across Western New York, they filled out so many index cards that if you were to line them up end to end, they would stretch from Buffalo to Orlando.

 Then they delivered boxes of those cards to the offices of WKSE-FM — 14.9 million index cards in all.
When the members of 98 Degrees heard about the towering success of the contest, they were astounded. “Wow, they must really want us to come here!” Drew Lachey said. Speaking by phone from 98 Degrees’ current holiday tour, Lachey was trying to recapture the group’s reaction to this promotion from so long ago.

But that’s likely still still true.
Those teens are now in their 30s, and some of them will likely be in the audience this week, when 98 Degrees plays a Dec. 14 holiday show at the Seneca Niagara Casino Events Center in Niagara Falls. The four-member group is comprised of Ohio natives Jeff Timmons, Justin Jeffre and brothers Nick and Drew Lachey. That’s the same lineup as the mid-’90s to early 2000s, when 98 Degrees rose to fame with hits such as “Invisible Man,” “The Hardest Thing,” “Because of You,” “I Do” and “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche).”

By most measurements, 98 Degrees was the third-biggest boy band of its era, with the Backstreet Boys (who are also still performing) and the now-defunct ‘N Sync (which delivered Justin Timberlake to pop culture) filling the top two slots.
Though the guys of 98 Degrees possessed many of the requisite characteristics of a boy band (muscled biceps, boyish grins, the occasional set of frosted tips), their roots are different than most.

Unlike Backstreet, ‘N Sync and others, they weren’t created by a producer, but rather by Timmons. During his senior year of college in Ohio, Timmons gathered a different lineup of guys together at a party to sing to girls. That inspired him to quit school, move to Los Angeles, and start a serious vocal group styled after the harmonizes of Boyz II Men. The new lineup included Jeffre and Nick Lachey, who then talked his younger brother Drew, who was an EMT in New York, to essentially say, “Hey, we need another guy. Are you interested?”

He was. Nick went to New York to help his brother pack a car and drive across the country. The 98 Degrees lineup was complete. They scraped by at first, sharing a small Hollywood apartment, the brothers sleeping on a mattress pulled from the sidewalk, making pizzas and delivering Chinese food to get by. But their vocal abilities caught the attention of music executives and 98 Degrees ultimately signed a recording deal with Motown and, later, Universal Records.

Their first two albums landed the group on the charts and on the radio, creating the craze that crashed the index-card market in Buffalo. The runner-up, Lewiston-Porter High School, won a visit from the group after submitting 1.4 million cards. The winner, Kenmore West High School, won a concert for 1,400 students after sending a stunning 1.9 million cards to the radio station.

“We were just talking about that show the other day,” Drew Lachey said. “It was one of the moments where you’re starting to have success, you’re starting to rise, and you’re kind of caught up in this whirlwind.”

The reception at Lew-Port and concert at Kenmore West reinforced that 98 Degrees was carving its own spot in a teen pop industry that, at the time, was dominated by Backstreet and ‘N Sync, as well as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Destiny’s Child. 

“I have snapshot pictures of us pulling out of that performance, people running up against the fence and waving,” Lachey said. “That was one of our first wake-up calls to (realize), ‘Wow, this is really happening. People are starting to follow up and we’re starting to build up our own fan base.’ ”
Those fans followed 98 Degrees through two more albums – a Christmas record in 1999, and a studio album in 2000 – and apparently didn’t leave when the band took a hiatus in 2003. Though that break lasted a full decade, and each of the four members began working on his own projects, 98 Degrees fans were ready when the group launched a comeback in 2013. That year, they joined New Kids on the Block and Boyz II Men on an arena tour and released a new album. That was followed by another tour in 2016, a Christmas album in 2017, and more shows since.

The show in Niagara Falls comes at the tail end of a tour that began Nov. 1. The group set an ambitious calendar, often playing four or five shows on consecutive nights, then taking a few days off to go home and see their families. It’s a grueling schedule, but far more controlled than the one 98 Degrees kept back in the day of index-card mania.

“It was a whirlwind back then — I mean, it was like a frenzy,” said Jeff Timmons in a recent phone interview. Back in the ‘90s and early 2000s, he said, the group’s schedule was dominated by interviews, radio and television spots, in-store appearances, and loads of travel. (Example: On the May 1999 morning of the show at Kenmore West, the guys woke up in Minneapolis and flew through a rainstorm to make it to Buffalo on time.)

“The least amount of time you get to spend is onstage,” said Timmons, adding that while the guys knew they were lucky back then, the realize the “joy” of it more now. When people meet them today, the 98 Degrees members hear stories of how those fans associate specific songs or moments from the band’s career with pivotal points in their own lives.

“As you get older, and you experience a lot more life, you realize what a joy and luxury it is to get up on stage and see people who have followed your music for 20-plus years taking every note – every word – in,” Timmons said. “And the effect it has on them is a lot more profound than you think it is when you’re doing it the first time around.”

The 98 Degrees lineup

Jeff Timmons
Age: 45
Outside claim to fame: Timmons is a well-known host and producer in Las Vegas, where he served as an emcee for Chippendales and created his own revue, Men of the Strip. As a music producer and mentor, he is currently working with a 16-year-old singer from New England named Nicole Michelle. He also created a boy band tribute group, Overnight.
Justin Jeffre
Age: 45
Outside claim to fame: During 98 Degrees’ hiatus, Jeffre became involved in politics in Cincinnati, even running – unsuccessfully – for mayor in 2005. He has worked as an editor, and occasionally engaged in community movements, including Occupy Cincinnati in 2011.
Nick Lachey
Age: 45
Outside claim to fame: Lachey’s then-marriage to singer Jessica Simpson seized plenty of attention, especially when the couple launched a reality show, “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica.” Lachey is well-known as a television personality and occasional actor.
Drew Lachey
Age: 42
Outside claim to fame: Drew Lachey has appeared on Broadway, won “Dancing with the Stars” with pro dance partner Cheryl Burke, and runs a summer performing arts camp in Cincinnati with his wife, Lea. They are also promoting their show and film called “label•less,” which promotes acceptance.

98 Degrees’ Justin Jeffre on changes in music industry, holiday tour, and how they’re having more fun than ever

Logan White

 98 Degrees Jeffre98 Degrees Jeffre98 Degrees Jeffre98 Degrees Jeffre 
The music industry in the ’90s was a much different animal than it is now, and it had a little bit of everything. From the actual music side of things, the ’90s allowed just about every genre to have its own moment of glory: nu-metal, grunge, hip-hop, alternative-rock, and even post-grunge got to shine towards the end of the decade. Of course, the genre that never truly fades got its turn: pop.

The biggest thing with pop music in the ’90s was inarguably the arrival of boy bands and how inescapable they were. That’s where this story begins, as it was at the peak of boy band mania that Jeff Timmons sang at a college party, got a positive reaction, and decided to fly out to Los Angeles. Nick Lachey followed, having been introduced to Timmons through a friend from school. Justin Jeffre joined, as well, from the recommendation of Lachey who ultimately brought along his younger brother, Drew.

98 Degrees was always different amongst the other crowd of boy bands, where instead of focusing on big poppy choruses, the group elected to highlight their R&B and soul influences. This is something evident from the very beginning, their first single being the slow-burning “Invisible Man” through “I Do (Cherish You)” to their Mariah Carey-duet “Thank God I Found You” and their late career hit “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)’

Following an almost decade long hiatus from 2003-2012, 98 Degrees reunited for what was originally expected to be a one-off performance at the Summer Mixtape Festival in 2012. “I think we’ve always been fortunate that we’ve gotten along really well and everyone has really good work ethic: we work hard at it, we’re passionate, and we respect each other,” Jeffre tells Substream in November in relation to why they stayed together more than originally planned.

It was a performance that took some time to pull off, as everyone in the group has gotten a little older, but once they got on stage, Jeffre highlights how natural the whole thing felt at Summer Mixtape that year. “It was such an intense thing,” he mentions, before pivoting to explain what made it hard getting back together, “We lived on the road for years and I think everyone needed to rest and people were starting to get married and have kids. The next thing a decade has flown by and we’re like man where has the time gone? And that made it a little more complicated to get everyone’s schedule together to try something.”

The decade flying by has its positives. Certainly each member was able to get out and live life in the way that they wanted. Getting the group back together after a decade, though, provides a different atmosphere at their show: one that rings of nostalgia for them and most everyone in attendance. “You know, we were in our early to mid 20s and singing to teenagers [in the beginning] and now they’re able to have some drinks and it’s a party for them going down memory lane. It seems like everyone is having more fun, we’re all kind of reminiscing together,” Jeffre shares.

He highlights the idea of their shows being more fun for everyone involved, and when asked about what exactly makes them more fun for them as performers, Jeffre notes “The biggest difference between then and now is I think we’re having more fun now because we feel less pressure [and] we’re more experienced performers and singers. We also know each other so well and appreciate and respect each other more than we used to. So, I think that’s what makes this formula really work well for us. We’re really having a blast doing what we do.”

The music industry has been an ever-evolving monster for many years to come: from physical copies of music evolving to more portable and easier to carry on, to physical copies almost being non-existent for the average music listener due to digital access, and ultimately purchasing individual releases through the rise of streaming services. For most – especially consumers – this has been the biggest thing to notice that has changed. However, to Jeffre, it’s something different – one that they’re still working through. “I think probably what I’d say the biggest change is the model for making music,” he begins. “Record companies aren’t really relevant in the way they used to be and that’s really changing the way people are doing it. Instead of recording it, and maybe it’s an EP with a couple of songs or a single or releasing it digitally for free, there’s a lot of different models and we’re still navigating those and seeing what works for us. We were happy to [2013’s 2.0], but as far as moving forward we’re open to trying new models and different things.’

This change in how music is made, while it may be something they are still working through collectively. 98 Degrees released an all-original album in 2013, and followed that with their second holiday album in 2017, Let It Snow.  When speaking on recording Let It Snow, Jeffre talks about how they worked with a new producer, the Grammy-nominated Adam Anders (Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Backstreet Boys). While Anders was new for 98 Degrees – he did previously work with Lachey as a solo artist – the band has always worked with different producers. However, Jeffre again shares how different things have been recording these albums, due to technology evolving so much. “When we first started recording, we were using a tape and then we worked with a producer who got into doing things digitally,” he shares

“We were able to do the recording process a lot faster because they had already sort of mapped out the arrangements and they have a singer that they sort of work with do largely the background parts and the harmonies, they were already worked out,” Jeffre begins explaining how exactly technology has made things faster, while also adding that demos essentially have become so close to the final product that it makes it a seamless, easy process to polish them off. “We of course added some things and change some things, and it sort of grew, but it was nice to come in with sort of a road map and knock out song after song,” he finishes.

At the time of our conversation with Jeffre, 98 Degrees were five shows into their winter holiday tour, in which they play their own songs, but focus more on classic holiday songs. This is the second rendition of this tour, and it was an easy decision following the success of their 2017 run. There were some changes in the show from previous year, including new holiday songs, more theatrical sides to the show, all in order to keep things exciting and new for fans returning from the previous year.
While the tour runs through December 21st, 98 Degrees don’t have anything announced following or for 2019 – tour wise or plans for new music. When we spoke, Jeffre talks about how they have received more offers in relation to holiday tours, and the possibility of doing something in the summertime. Additionally, the group did a club show in Miami recently, and even performed some shows at Disney that they are considering. While Jeffre thinks it’ll wind up being a combination of all three, he highlights that there are personal things understandably taken into consideration. “I think it’s just a question of, you know, families and kids, what makes the most sense. Maybe a summer time thing is good because the kids are not in school, we’re trying to find that right mix and we’re still looking at it. Of course a lot of things have to do with people that ask you to come here and do this or that,” he explains.
 98 Degrees Jeffre98 Degrees Jeffre98 Degrees Jeffre98 Degrees Jeffre

'I try to block those memories': Talking '90s fashion, wildest fan stories with 98 Degrees


They'll forever be known as a boy band, but 98 Degrees is not a boy band. 
The foursome of brothers Nick and Drew Lachey, Jeff Timmons and Justin Jeffre — who 20 years ago found massive success, selling 10 million records and a scoring a No. 1 hit — are more accurately a man band. (And also a dad band.)
Decades removed from boyhood, Timmons still shows a little resistance to the label affixed to their late '90s and early '00s heyday, when groups of handsome hunks like Backstreet Boys, ’N Sync, LFO, O-Town and, of course, 98 Degrees were singing, dancing, crouching and clutching their hands over their hearts on MTV (and just about everywhere else). 
"Back in the day we were heavily influenced by Boyz II Men and Take 6 and the doo-wop groups of the '50s and '60s and rock groups that stack harmonies like Journey and Boston and the Eagles," Timmons said by phone as the 98 Degrees tour bus moved from Los Angeles to Modesto, California in mid-November. "We all play instruments and know how to work the studio and are engineers, you know? We're really into the musical element of things. I think fans that really know us ... they know those things. But I think the general public doesn't."

While the "Total Request Live" era of the boy band pretty much ran its course a few years into the new millennium and 98 Degrees spent the better part of a decade on ice, the reunited team of 40-somethings are on their second year of touring for the holidays. They'll bring their "98 Degrees at Christmas" show to the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton on Dec. 21. 
"There's a misconception that we were put together and we were sort of in this factory of boy band groups," Timmons continued. "Certainly we rejected that in the beginning, but when you're lumped in with groups like Backstreet and ’N Sync and you're part of that phenomenon, that fan base allows you to travel the world and experience things that most people don't, you definitely don't shy away from it anymore. We grew to embrace the term.

 With more than two decades separating today and their self-titled debut, the distinctions drawn between smooth-singing R&B groups and bubblegum pop stars have in some sense melted away. When 98 Degrees reconvened in 2013, it was for the Package Tour with Boyz II Men and New Kids on the Block — one group that inspired them, another that set the mold in the '80s for what would come a decade later.

They've toured a handful of times since, with this Christmas tour being their second in as many years. Going out during the fall and winter means they're all able to be home with their families during the summer — an ideal dad band setup. 
As you might guess, there's a lot less madness on the road these days. A lot less shirtlessness, too. But Timmons said there's still a comfortable and worthwhile place for groups like his. After all, those girls who once screamed in hysteria at the whiff of a Lachey have grown up, too, and are more than willing to take a seat in a theater or performing arts center for a night of piled-up harmonies and some nostalgia. They also might have children capable of being wooed by "I Do (Cherish You)," "This Gift" and the like. 
We caught up with Timmons to talk tour, fan hysteria and fashion regrets.

How's the tour going?
Fantastic so far. I couldn't be happier with it. Better turnout than last year (and) last year it was a really nice response. We're having a lot of fun. We get to go to the Midwest a lot more this year. We're all from there so we're excited about that part of it too.

Are you seeing a second generation of 98 Degrees fans now?
Yeah, it's interesting just because we had some very, very young fans back in the day because we did tons of stuff with Nickelodeon and Disney. So, some of them are still in their mid-20s. We have some fans up into their mid-40s and yes, they're bringing their kids. Even when we did stuff with New Kids, they have a slightly older fan base. We gained some of those fans, they're bringing their kids. 

How different are the shows now compared to 15 or 20 years ago? 
I think we're a lot more comfortable on stage, believe it or not. Certainly we had a blast of popularity in the late '90s and early 2000s and did really big shows, but I think since then we've had 20 years to go on our own and not be able to lean on each other on stage and hide our flaws. You need to go out there on your own sometimes to figure out how to work the stage, how to become a better artist, how to be a better performer and singer and I think if anything we've gotten better as individual performers and I think that sort of helps us when we get back as a group with timing and everything from mic technique to the way you perform to interaction with the crowd. Those things are all better than they used to be, I think.

Was it hard to get your chemistry back after the long hiatus?
You know, that's what a lot of people ask and it wasn't. It was very interesting — the very first time myself, Justin and Nick got together, it was before Drew had gotten with us — we sang together and there was instant chemistry there. And, of course, Drew was that missing element. When you're in a group like this, you've grown up doing so many things together. We started out singing a cappella together. We didn't have money for instruments, we could only rely on our voices to get our message across and spent a lot of time doing intricate arrangements on these four-part, five-part songs and it's like riding a bike, you get back together, you fall into where you were harmonically and with balance and dynamics. And that part was easy for us. 

Looking at all of the videos and photo shoots that you took part in in the late '90s, is there one outfit you look back at and wish you could erase from history?
You're killing me. You're killing me. All of them. I go back and, with the exception of some nice tailored suits, if I could burn pictures — unfortunately the internet has made them live for eternity — I would. 
We had firemen outfits, we wore silver shiny jumpsuits, we had the overalls, of course, which are coming back in style. The clothes were like 10 sizes too big, super huge baggy pants, baggy shirts. I could go on and on if you wanted me to. Someone tailored me in a dress shirt made of plastic once. I try to block those memories out. 

Do you have one go-to story that encapsulates how crazy some of your fans were back in the heyday? 
There's not one go-to because there were plenty of crazy ones. I think the main one we all talk about that seems pretty crazy is one time we got room service and there was a girl hidden under the cart. We got some breakfast wheeled into the room and some girl popped out after the hotel delivery guy left food there. So that was pretty crazy.
We've had people camp out on our tour bus without us knowing it until we get to the next city. We've had crazy — I don't want to say crazy, I want to say excited, loyal fans — follow us sometimes for 10 cities in a row. There was one lady who had a kid with her forever, which made me wonder about the child's well-being. 
... We had a fan who posed as a news reporter one time in our dressing room, but she had no film in her camera. Her camera man had no film. Our security guy caught that one. The list could go on and on. All that does is tell us that we were having success and we certainly embraced fun times like that and certainly it was a safer time so you didn't have to deal with too many dangerous situations — but there were many crazy ones. 

Vanessa Lachey Reveals Her and Husband Nick Lachey's 'Dream Gift' for the Holidays

 By Anna Rumer

With the holiday season coming to a close, Vanessa Lachey and her husband Nick are feeling blessed—and maybe in need of a bit of a lie in.
Vanessa opened up to about Christmas at the Lachey household in a recent interview, revealing that it's all about their kiddos around this time of year—Camden, 6, Brooklyn, 3, and Pheonix, 2.

 "Nick and I feel especially grateful this time of year, and at this point, it’s about the kids!" she told PopCulture. "Our dream 'gift' would be a mommy and daddy day where could sleep in and catch up around the house—that sounds perfect!"

Vanessa Lachey
For the model, the holidays are "all about traditions," she continued. "It’s important to continue them or create a new one with your friends and family each year!"
The couple's longest-standing Christmas tradition is making Vanessa's famous breakfast casserole on the big day, a mainstay of their holidays since her and Nick's first Christmas together 12 years ago.
"The recipe has evolved over time, but I love switching out the baking dish I make it in," she said, adding, "This year, I found a beautiful white ceramic casserole dish at HomeGoods that says 'Deck the Halls' on it."

It's not just family members that benefit from Vanessa's Christmas shopping spree.
0comments"At my house, the party starts as soon as you step in the door!" she said of entertaining over the holidays. "I love to wow my guests with a show-stopping entryway because it sets the tone for the entire space. I found a life-size Santa Claus at HomeGoods – perfect for party photo opps - that was such a great price, I didn’t have to limit my holiday fun. I also got a giant sleigh to match that I plan fill with party favors for guests to grab on their way out. I also love to set up a food and bar stations to make it easy for guests and me as the host, so I
can mingle!"

Vanessa Lachey shares her favorite family Christmas traditions

 By Brittany Loggins

Vanessa Lachey shared photos of her home's Christmas decorations, as well as her family's favorite ways to spend the holidays.

Vanessa Lachey Christmas Decor

Vanessa Lachey is celebrating her favorite time of year with gorgeous home decor — and sharing the results!
Lachey has found sentimental ways to make the holidays special for her entire family with treasured traditions. She shared with TODAY Home how she keeps up with husband Nick Lachey when he's on the road with 98 Degrees, what her kids' favorite holiday activities are and even some of her family's annual Christmas traditions. Lachey spoke with TODAY Home as part of her partnership with HomeGoods, who provided all of the decorations for her home.

Vanessa Lachey Christmas Decor 

"I love the holiday season — the day after Thanksgiving we start decorating," Vanessa Lachey told TODAY Home. "I found this really cool buffalo check pillow, and then just found all these other great little pieces to complement it."
Lachey says that her decorations have expanded throughout the house over the years, but that's not the only change. Lachey points out that it's totally obvious from the moment someone walks in the door that they have children: Camden, 6, Brooklyn, 3, and Phoenix, 1.

Vanessa Lachey"You know it’s Christmas when you come in my house, but you know it’s Christmas in a house with kids because we have a whole little kids' station with this little Advent calendar, as well as a little Santa mailbox," said Lachey. "Camden checks it daily to see if the letters are taken out, so I try daily to remember to take them out."

Vanessa Lachey HomeGoods 
But the items in the Lachey's house act as are more than just decor, they're becoming tradition. Lachey says her kids love a little wooden Advent calendar as well as the large Santa in the entryway that holds a chalk board sign. Lachey says that every day she changes the messages on Santa's sign, as well as the treats inside the Advent calendar.

Vanessa Lachey HomeGoods Christmas"We have an Advent calendar cause it really helps the kids understand the countdown," said Lachey. "It’s a cool concept and tradition that we’ve had that I also think kind of teaches them patience."

Vanessa Lachey HomeGoods Christmas Decor 
 During the past two years, Santa hasn't been the only one in the Lachey household receiving letters — the kids write to Nick while he's out on tour as well.

 "We Skype with him, but we also write him letters and cards," said Lachey. "Camden’s now 6, so he’s really big into phonetics and sounding words out and making pop-up cards, believe it or not."

Vanessa Lachey HomeGoods Christmas decor
And while the letters are comforting, Lachey says that Nick's favorite thing is getting to come home to his family and a home that's perfectly ready for Christmas.
"For us, not to sound cheesy and cliché, but decorating really just embodies the whole spirit of the season," said Lachey. "Nick's like, 'I love coming home, but I especially love coming home during the holidays.'"

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Boy band 98° gets the boot from Norwalk parking lot

By Thane Grauel

Two large couch buses with darkened windows outside Stop & Shop on Main Avenue in Norwalk turned out to be carrying the '90s boy band 98Ëš. Photo: Thane Grauel / Hearst Connecticut Media / Connecticut Post
Two large couch buses with darkened windows outside Stop & Shop on Main Avenue in Norwalk turned out to be carrying the '90s boy band 98Ëš.

Two large couch buses with darkened windows outside Stop & Shop on Main Avenue in Norwalk turned out to be carrying the '90s boy band 98Ëš.
<p>98 Degrees, whose <span style="font-size: 1em;">couch buses were parked outside Stop & Shop on Main Avenue in Norwalk</span><span style="font-size: 1em;"> </span></p>

NORWALK — Sometimes it’s not easy being a boy band from the ’90s.
98° — known for the hits “I Do (Cherish You),” “Because of You” and “What Christmas Means to Me” — got the boot from the Stop & Shop parking lot on Main Avenue Tuesday afternoon.
The band's two huge black tour buses, with tinted windows and one towing a black equipment trailer, had been idling overnight. Some people wondered what they were there for, and who the passengers might be. The outside of the coaches gave no clues, just Tennessee plates, an orange "violation" sticker on a door window, and a smiley face license plate.
Lauren De Bruijn, 49, of Westport, was one of the people puzzled by the rumbling vehicles. She was shopping at the market and surprised to still see the buses outside when she was done. She called the store and said the manager told her they’d been trying to get them to move.
“The buses look nefarious and the whole thing is so mysterious and weird,” she told Hearst Connecticut Media.One of the bus drivers said the passengers were the band 98˚, and that the hotel, Zero Degrees, across the street didn't have room for their vehicles.
"They're making us leave now," he said after starting his bus about 2 p.m. Tuesday.
The band is brothers Nick and Drew Lachey, Justin Jeffre, and Jeff Timmons, and is playing Wednesday night at the Ridgefield Playhouse. According to the venue’s website, just 16 tickets were left Tuesday afternoon for the 8 p.m. Wednesday event, “98˚ at Christmas 2018 Tour.”

Saturday, December 1, 2018

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