+to do lists and crossing everything off
+cupcakes & free frosting shots, and a white daisy for “being cute”
+decorating a sparse tree with silver aluminum shaped into hearts
+hot chocolate cooked for strangers in the park
+walking across the williamsburg bridge in the freezing cold
+layering with cashmere
+new clothes: the perfect little tuxedo bra, a poofy red dress, a velvet blazer with a big bow in the back, a silk betsey johnson dress with gold daisy buttons
+last days of classes and nearly finishing finals
+gold white Christmas lights wrapped around trees that line the streets
+stepping into a warm apartment after the biting cold
+the subway tea party, of course, and the sweet folks who attended it
+Christmas songs as the perfect soundtrack to getting anywhere in the jolliest of spirits
+expected snow this weekend! Flying home on Monday!
Despite everything that has not been going well lately, it’s these little things that remind me to smile and appreciate the season. And besides, it’s almost 2010! I can’t wait for so many things…in the meantime, New York near Christmas time is remarkable. I’m going to miss it, even for the short while (relatively) I’ll be gone.
But enough about me, what has you happy and giddy a week from Christmas?
+Listen to Christmas music-let go of your cynicism, pessimism, sense of superiority, self important apathy and way-too-hip-for-this bias for just one moment and let yourself enjoy Christmas songs for what they are. So okay, maybe you despise the cheap, plastic sounding modern pop versions you hear in every store you walk into, but look for Christmas classics and originals and don’t fight the sense of jolly spirit that seizes you. If you really can’t bring yourself to listen to anything without a Pitchfork approved label on top, there are plenty of marvelous indie musicians with their modern versions of classics that you won’t be embarrassed to add to your iPod. (Check out this exhaustive round up of Christmas mp3s/mixes/playlists for options). And trust me, it will get you all jolly and smiling and proper minded. Now skip down that snow lined street singing your favorite version of “Jingle Bells” with non-ironic delight.
Dress festive! Even if you lack the glamorous Christmas party department stores would lead you to believe everyone is throwing, you know, the ones where you wear extravagant red dresses and gold glitter heels and pose against various luxury furnishings with a thin, champagne glass in hand looking as seductive and holiday vixen as can be, you can still dress the part and make believe.
Even if you’re not willing to go all out, at least incorporate bits and pieces of that holiday glamor into your outfits from now until New Year’s. Try sparkling accessories like crystal necklaces and luscious big bows, party frocks and stockings and heels, or something as simple as an oversized brooch on a gray cardigan. Wear sexy lingerie beneath your everyday clothes and slink about your room in a silk robe and slippers. Feel like a starlet in red lips and black dresses for a simple gathering of friends. Work gold, silver, or red into any outfit–play it up, and don’t feel guilty about looking as darling as you do. Read more…
Is it possible to travel back in history 700 years for just two dollars and twenty five cents? Just ask the attendees of Levys’ Family’s (NY’s first family tour guides, apparently) (not officially sanctioned) vintage tea party they threw on a 1930s V train. Given the wicker chairs, whirling ceiling fans, jerking slow speed and flickering lights of the train plus the old time live jazz band that played, and the ever so well dressed (in various mashes of decades and eras and to various degrees of elaborate) riders, the atmosphere was nearly authentic.
As riders struggled with balancing cameras, plates of cookies and tea and gripping railings, delighted in the stares of unsuspecting normal train riders unaware of the time traveling shenanigans, as usual, I marvel at the adventures of New York and the romance of bow ties and top hats. Then, as the train lurches forward and I nearly spill my tea and drop my precious DSLR in my air constraining corset and with the discomfort of garter straps cutting into my thighs, I’m somewhat glad this sort of time traveling is temporary make believe. Really, really, wonderful make believe.
In NYU’s infamous Writing the Essay class Freshman year, I wrote my final paper on the genius that is David Foster Wallace . I don’t remember much of the paper, only that it was over eight pages and received quite a good grade–especially for the class. I remember, mostly, the all nighters I pulled scrambling to stitch together each writing assignment, rubbing teary eyes sunken with exhaustion beneath a cheap fluorescent lamp, taking five minute naps with my head on my arms in front of the laptop, watching the hours slip away until I simply could not stay awake for another second. Alarms set for forsaken hours before the sun rose to finish assignments, and the brief but exquisite relief after turning in each assignment.
It was hardly ideal conditions for reading, especially of the sort of long, involved essays that David Foster Wallace wrote, with the weighing in of linguistic Descriptivists vs. Prescriptivists and sections and subsections dissecting the English language. I won’t attempt to explain the complicated essay (but I’d encourage you to read the essay in its entirety for funny, eloquent and provoking insight in to the English language/grammar/usage/politics/general DFW brilliance), but the point is that I never did read the whole essay (even as I took out sections and footnotes that seemed relevant to fit into my paper). But today I returned to it without the delirium of sleep deprivation and the pressure of a deadline, to learn that I could appreciate Wallace’s arguments and writing far, far better (and wish I could have turned back time to rewrite that particular essay, even if the end result was good).
But instead of discussing the essay, my thoughts circle back to me, myself, and I. Not that I have anything of relevance to add to the subject matter, but it was the glimpse into the fiercely academic, intellectual and critical world that Wallace offered that so seduced me. Read more…
+corsets (seriously I have brought three in the past few days, only one of which is around, but every time I put it on I feel ridiculously hot and it’s just so fantastic)
+this bizarre out of season warm (but windy) day—makes walking that much more lovely
+because somehow I really needed to hear it, “you can’t be dumb if you tried.”
+and on that note, compliments and reaffirmation and accomplishments in classes from professors
+out of nowhere long & fun if procrastination fueled conversations with my normally not-so-friendly roomies
+writing inspired bursts of ‘poetry’
+it’s the smallest thing but, spending time in coffee shops, even eavesdropping sometimes make the loveliest of evenings
+how did I almost forget this CAMERA OBSCURA CAMERA OBSCURA CAMERA OBSCURA (who were infinitely better this time live than the previous times combined)
+unbelievable cheap and unbelievably delicious literal hole-in-the-wall restaurants
+shopping as recreation—even when not buying anything
+it’s still early but, Christmas music and holiday decorations going up everywhere. ❤
I know, everything sounds so materialistic, but really well 1. I spent last week being sick and in bed and now I can’t help it if all I can think about is dressing up in delightful lingerie and poofy skirts and high heels and big coats to strut down Fifth Ave and wander into department stores I can’t afford, gawking at window displays…
The quintessential New York Christmas—even though I won’t be in New York for Christmas. I’m rambling, but what has you happy and delighted this week?
photo: mum, i am gay!
1. Jenny Owen Youngs-First Person
2. God Help The Girl-God Help The Girl
3. The Magnetic Fields-The Nun’s Litany
4. Pink Martini-Je Ne Veux Pas
5. The Pipettes-Dirty Mind
6. Ida Maria-Queen of the World
7. Thao with the Get Down Stay Down-When We Swam
8. Lykke Li-Dance Dance Dance
9. Bobby Baby-Bye Bye Snow
10. Dirty Projectors-Two Doves
11. Camera Obscura-French Navy
12. Asobi Seksu-Transparence
13. Annie-I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me
14. The Blow-Hock It
15. La Roux-Tigerlily
16. Friendly Fires-Paris (Aeroplane Remix Feat. Au Revoir Simone)
I know what you are thinking, but this is not that sort of mix. “Pretty” does not mean all pastels and soft edges, girls with big brown doe eyes in vintage floral dresses. “Pretty” does not mean writhing hands and writing love letters, hopeless optimism and sentimentality. This is not easy and simple and sugar sweet. And it is most definitely not harmless.
No. This is about a girl with complexities and aspirations you can hardly imagine. One who takes risks and smiles at the consequences. One who is at once in charge of her independence and sexuality as she is vulnerable. Shy yet aggressive. Subtle but bold. One who seeks the thrill of tottering at the edge between this and that. A girl who stays up all night waiting for a phone call and dismisses it when it does come, a hopeless romantic with a filthy mind. One with a sardonic wit and a tender sweetness. One who goes after what she wants and dismisses anything in her way. A feminist with a heart that can be melted with a single glance, a prototype with impossible to classify tendencies.
As God Help the Girl put it: you have been warned, I’m born to be contrary. And she demands your attention, in dancing bright acoustic verses and shouted choruses that stay in your head, in soft delicate cooing or catchy sassy riffs that you can dance to nonstop. In songs about desires and moments and boys and girls, with broken hearts or a pounding anticipation. In pop and beauty and dreaming of a future that hovers just ever so slightly out of reach.
As always, if you download this, please do let me know what you think.
+acoustic indie karaoke: realizing my life long dream of singing “Stars of Track and Field” (and getting compliments from strangers on it!)
+buying darling lingerie (with ruffles and bows and garters, oh my!) on lunch break
+unlikely beautiful fall weather–and my favorite past time, reading in parks and petting puppies
+croissants & earl gray
+field trips and adventures (esp. when they’re under the excuse of ‘work’)
+staying in bed on cold cold mornings
+making mixes (don’t worry I’m making it for you too!)
+unexpected emails from people I rather like a lot
+revelations after painful obsessions
+grapes. (I know. Always.)
+chai, vodka milk cocktail (seriously best thing I’ve ever had.)
Oh I know, I haven’t done one of these in far too long, but don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten. And you shouldn’t either! What makes you want to dance and sing and love this week?