Holidannys

FINALE FRIDAY: CHRISTMAS

It’s here! It’s here! Christmas is here. And as happy as we all are, I know that we’re all desperately sad that Holidannys 2015™ has come to an end. I know that you’ll miss me posting every day, but take heart in knowing that, like, I’m not dying and you need to back off and not be so smothering. God.

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This Holidannys has really tested my strength, my beauty, my resolve, and my blog-writing abilities. Obviously I did amazingly, but I’m glad that it’s completed. Now we can go back to our regularly scheduled blog posts.

However, there are going to be a few changes. Or at least one that I can think of; I think I’ll continue doing Celebrity Sundays. They’re fun as fuck to write, and don’t really require a lot of additional willpower. So, if it’s okay with you guys—just joking, you have no opinion in the matter—I’ll up the number of posts to three times a week. For right now, I’ll still do my Monday and Thursday posts, but if I decide that I hate writing posts Sunday and Monday, then I might #ShakeItUp.

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Me accepting your praise for finishing Holidannys.

But moving away from the boring logistical stuff. CHRISTMAS IS HERE. As I’m typing this, I’m sitting in my Christmas pajamas, listening to slightly oppressive Christmas choir music with a mug of tea and an already-consumed gingerbread man.

I hope that everyone—regardless of if you celebrate the holiday or not—have a nice day today. Even though it’s kind of hot today, it’s still Christmas and I’ll still be dressing like it’s cold because I have a very specific #holigay outfit planned and I have no time for adjusting for global warming.

I hope that if you hate the holidays, this regular Friday is cool and fun and nice. And if you love the holidays, then congrats—this is your Olympics. And if your family doesn’t “get” you this holiday season, know that I get you. We’re two peas in a pod, but maybe two pods? Idk, one pod just seems very cramped. No, it’s not because you smell. Why would you say that? I mean, now that you brought it up…

I want to wish a very Merry Christmas to all of my friends—home friends, study abroad friends, college friends—and my family—extended family, my sisters and parents, my secret Canadian mistress and our kids—and to you guys, my fans. No, no, no—don’t say anything. You’re my fans. Let me have this holiday fantasy.

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I’ll be sad to see Holidannys go, but she was a fun ole bitch and I know that I haven’t seen the last of her. She’ll rise from her grave like the Ghost of Christmas Past and I’m Scrooge but young and hot. So, from Holidannys and I, have a nice Christmas and see you next year!

HAPPY HOLIDANNYS!

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Holidannys

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: CHRISTMAS BREAK BINGEING

First thought: you would think that the participial tense of “binge” would be “binging” but that’s its own word—I think—so I think I’ll stick with “bingeing,” even though that looks as wrong as me in spray-on denim—unflattering on all the wrong places and very misleading.

Bingeing is an entirely 21st century phenomenon, and it’s amazing. If you live under a rock—why?—bingeing is watching a television series from beginning to end—or whatever is on Netflix—in a short, tense, showerless amount of time. Christmas break is the perfect time to really settle in for a good binge.

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But what are the criteria for an excellent television binge? Let’s discuss each criterion (this sentence wasn’t really necessary, but I just wanted to write out “criterion.” Such a fun word! All right, on with the blog!)

A good binge should be a show with a continuous plotline throughout the series. Give me a The Office or a The Vampire Diaries over a It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia or The Simpsons. I think that non-plot-driven shows, your run of the mill picaresque production, are not binge-worthy for one very simple reason. No plot means no character development, and no character development means that you can’t become fully invested. No one wonders about what Homer Simpson will do next. He’ll keep being Homer Simpson. But watching Elena Gilbert turn from boring good-girl to amoral vampire is interesting; it’s compelling.

So Criterion Numero Uno: Plot-driven.

I think a good binge should be either completely fun-filled—your Parks and Recreation—or very intense and dramatic—your Broadchurch or How To Get Away With Murder. Anything in between—a The Good Wife or Vikings—are good for week-to-week entertainment, but I need to be titillated and enthralled if I’m going to move out of my cocoon to press “yes” on the “Still Watching?” button in Netflix. Netflix, side note—assume I’m always still watching.

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So Criterion Numero Dos: Titillating television.

Ideally, an excellent binge is something that has finished its series run. Nothing is more unfortunate than finishing all the seasons on Netflix and having to wait for a few months to then watch week-by-week. Bingeing shows are so hard to switch to a weekly watch. It’s like getting your teeth pulled. You’re used to the sweet, addictive softness of anesthesia; now you’re using a local anesthetic that hasn’t quite kicked in yet.

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Criterion Numbah Three: Your show must be finito; finished; donezo.

And lastly, your binge should be something you’re going into with fresh eyes. Yeah, someone might have told you that it’s a good show, but go in with no preconceived notions. I started bingeing Game of Thrones because someone told me there was a ton of titties and man-butts, but it actually has a very enthralling plotline. Who knew? Part of the fun of an amazing binge is the “Oh my god, what’s going to happen next?” That feeling, that “I’m clutching my blanket in anticipation” feeling? Yeah that goes away when you Wikipedia the plotline to season four. So don’t do that. Give yourself that treat.

Criterion Nummy-Nums Quartet: Now you see me, now you don’t—aka don’t Google it, idiot.

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So there you have it. We have discussed, dissected, and debated bingeing. Just kidding—we didn’t do any of that. You just read this blog. It was good though, right?

Another fun binge: reading through all of Holidannys™ (Maybe? Idk?) and then bingeing all of my blogs ever. There’s almost one hundred of them, so it should take you about twenty minutes. Total.

HAPPY HOLIDANNYS!

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Celebrity Sunday, Holidannys

CELEBRITY SUNDAY: SAINT, SELENA, SNL, AND HILLARY

This week has been chockfull of exciting celebrity news! News sounds a lot like “nudes,” doesn’t it? And also “cruise.” Interesting. I hope you enjoy the second installment of “Celebrity Sunday!” Now dive in!

Starting off, we’ve got:

1). Selena Gomez and Niall Horan were apparently kissing at Jenna Dewan-Tatum’s birthday party:

This one is alternatively titled “Selena Gomez just became Number 1 on my hit list.” Okay, so Selena has since denied that anything is going on between her and the only non-tattooed member of One Direction, the blonde Irish hunk Niall Horan. They were seen having dinner together last month, and apparently they were getting the PDA on at the birthday party. But now, in an interview with Entertainment Tonight at Billboard’s 10th Annual Women in Music event in New York City, the 23-year-old former witch said that is a definite PD-nay. I guess I should be happy that my Irish prince isn’t with Selena Gomez, but I’m also offended that she would be in such deep de-Niall about how hot he is.

2). SAINT WEST:

If I literally hear another person say “Uh, Kim and Kanye think they’re gods, so of course they named their kid Saint,” I will flip a shit. Obviously Kim and Kanye don’t think like that, because no one other than Kim Davis thinks like that, and can we just appreciate the name for the name? It’s a cute name, and as long as they don’t pronounce it as “san”—the French way—I’ll be fine. Also it’s probably much more a reference to Saint-Laurent and high fashion in general. Bottom line, it’s a chic name, and truly, what were we expecting? That they would name their kid “Ricky?” Like, we all thought it would be South or Easton. And if you can’t handle him at his “South,” you don’t deserve him at his “Saint.”

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3). I Am Jazz is renewed for a second season:

I Am Jazz, the TLC show following the life of Jazz Jennings, a transgender teenager, got renewed for a second season. Okay, why is this important? Omg I’m so glad you asked. It’s important because any amount of positive representation of the transgender community is massively, hugely, sensationally important. Especially when shows like I Am Jazz shine a light on a different story. Obviously I Am Cait is amazing, but that portrays a very narrow focus on an adult, white, privileged, traditionally beautiful transgender woman. So whenever representation falls upon different people, it’s a positive. Because Caitlyn Jenner, while she is currently the most prominent transgender person on the screen right now, is not the only. Also check out Benton Sorensen and Kat Blaque if you’re interested in other representations of trans youth!

4). The Saturday Night Live Alien Abduction skit:

So I think this might technically have been last week, but we all know that no one actually watches SNL on the day; we all just see various clips throughout the week on Facebook. And oftentimes—and I’m by no means a “comedy writer” so take my opinion with a grain of salt—SNL kind of disappoints me. But I love when the actors break while they’re doing a skit, and this just took the cake. Also I think the idea of aliens doing some serious titty-bouncing is hilarious and very likely. Do you believe in aliens? Comment down below!

5). Kris Jenner is trying to trademark #proudmama:

Kris Jenner is a literal g0ddess but also crazy, so this doesn’t surprise me. The 60-year-old Yzma lookalike uses #proudmama on her Instagram regularly, and is trying to trademark it for “marketing purposes.” In May 2015, she also filed a legal bid to trademark “momager.” I can understand the “momager” thing, but “proud mama” just seems like a stretch. But she is an incredibly shrewd businesswoman, so maybe she’s just giggling/cackling at all this promo all the way to the bank in her Yeezy sneakers.

6). Hillary Clinton says that Donald Trump is no longer funny:

The future President of the United States appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers and said that she is no longer amused by Donald Trump. And everyone in the entire world answers with a resounding, “Yeah, same. Duh.” Before his inflammatory comments about barring Muslims from entering the US, he was an “equal-opportunity insulter.” But his comments are dangerous now, Hillary says, because it gives ammunition to terrorists for spreading their propaganda. Isolating and alienating Muslim-Americans only perpetuates this dumb idea that they can’t be trusted. And then it becomes this downward spiral. The interview also came a few days after Arianna Huffington wrote that they would no longer be covering Trump in the “Entertainment” section. They refused to recognize the legitimacy of his candidacy, but he is no longer funny. “We are no longer entertained.”

7). The trailer for Tarzan came out:

Alexander Skarsgard is so hot, and I’m going to be so real, that’s the only reason this movie A) appears on my Celebrity Sunday list, B) is relevant, and C) was even made. Like, I don’t know how necessary a Tarzan movie was. But seeing Alexander Skarsgard shirtless with abs ripping through the screen is totally necessary.

8). Rihanna raises over $3 million at the Diamond Ball 2015—and also looks amazing in Dior:

Rihanna hosted her second annual Diamond Ball for her Clara Lionel foundation. She raised over $3 million to “improve the quality of life for communities globally in areas of health, education, arts, and culture.” Kylie Jenner attended the Ball, as did Will and Jada Smith, and Lionel Richie. Most importantly, she looks amazing in a diaphanous cream silk dress and matching coat by Dior.

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9). Hillary Clinton is going to guest-star on Broad City:

This is very important because three of my favorite people are going to be in the same space together. The future President of the United States will appear in the upcoming third season of the Comedy Central hit. It isn’t known yet how/what capacity Hillary will feature in the Amy Poehler-produced show, but it’s obviously going to be amazing, yasqueen? The trio posted a pic on Twitter, collectively shattering my pelvis and the Internet.

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10). The trailer for Chelsea Handler’s new Netflix series is out:

Everyone’s favorite late-night comedian and the “coslopus” queen, Chelsea Handler, has a new Netflix show. The four-part docuseries is entitled Chelsea Does and will follow Chelsea as she dives into the respective worlds of marriage, Silicon Valley, racism, and drugs. Originally it was thought that Handler, after leaving her E! talk show to partner with Netflix, was going to produce a streaming, current show. However, it looks like that has morphed into the docuseries. The series will drop in January. I’m really excited about this show because Chelsea has often, and loudly, talked about how she doesn’t really enjoy dissecting celebrity culture. And as a self-proclaimed pop culture journalist, I can totally relate to how dangerous it can be to fall into that honey trap. This series follows Chelsea as she dissects and discusses actual, thoughtful, real issues, while maintaining her humor and psychosis.

I’m going to put Celebrity Sunday to bed, because this bitch is a lot to handle. But don’t worry, we’ll be back next week. I mean, I’ll be back tomorrow. But the duo—me and the amorphous (omg, that doesn’t mean “fat!” Stop, CS! Don’t be crazy!) Celebrity Sunday—are going to go underground, do our research, and reemerge as stunning Dior butterflies this time next week!

HAPPY HOLIDANNYS!

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Holidannys

SEASONAL SATURDAYS: TOP TEN THINGS I’VE DONE TO GET INTO THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

Number One: sacrifice a pure-white goat on a mahogany altar to the Dark Lord. Just kidding! But, I have to say, what an introduction!

But, actually:

1). Obviously I made my Christmas playlist, but I’ve whored that thing out so much that I’m not even going to link it anymore. We all know I have one—let’s move on. But Sebastien told me about the “Merry Christmas: Jazz” Spotify playlist. I don’t know why I never really considered a jazz Christmas, but it’s really good and feels very Frank Sinatra-y and pulls to mind images of crackling fires and smooth eggnog. Even though eggnog is kind of gnarly; and not in the good, Californian way.

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2). Watching Home Alone really sealed the deal for me, Christmas-movie-wise. I think it’s because I’ve never actually sat down and watched the full thing all the way through. Probably like most people, I’ve caught glimpses and bits from the ABC Family “25 Days of Christmas.” But actually sitting down, watching Home Alone and drinking hot cocoa made me A) feel sad that Macauley Culkin is kinda cracked out now, B) wonder what he and Mila Kunis used to talk about, and C) get that cozy, “It’s Christmas” feeling. I love ABC Family’s Christmas traditions, and since I’m not currently in America at the moment, I’ve missed out a little on the Norman Rockwell holiday overload. So yeah, watch Home Alone. Also wonder why Catherine O’Hara didn’t just sock that kid in the face. Set him straight.

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3). On Friday—yesterday, I suppose—I went with Jenna to St. Paul’s Cathedral. We wandered amongst the sepulchral beauty—and it really is beautiful. I think Westminster Abbey is stunning, but St. Paul’s has this amazing grandeur that I think I prefer. Anyway, after climbing to the top of the dome, taking a few selfies, and wheezing our way down the stairs, we got back to the main floor and stumbled onto a Christmas choir. They were amazing, and their voices melded together and echoed against the dome. It was just a practice, so they were kind of #donewithit but I wish I was a good singer, so I find actual good singers fascinating. Plus, the Christmas trees on either side of the altar were decked out in fairy lights, and the glowiness of the whole moment made me feel warm and toasty and Norman Rockwell-y.

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4). Watch holiday episodes of TV shows. Okay, so I’ll be honest—I overloaded myself on the Christmas movies. Also, I generally don’t watch movies. I know that every cinema nerd is gasping right now, but I don’t have the attention span. I don’t like sitting down and being expected to sit down for longer than an hour. However, I will be watching Mockingjay Part 2 when I get back. So to avoid the Christmas marathons, I decided to watch holiday episodes of my favorite TV shows. My current pleasures are 30 Rock and Parks & Recreation. I’m convinced that 30 Rock is the only show—ever—to incorporate blackface into a holiday episode and have it not be really weird. And I wish I could get Leslie Knope as a Christmas present because she’s amazing, and those holiday episodes are killer.

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5). Sweaters. Ironically—or not, ironically?—I sweat a lot, so I don’t generally just wear sweaters. I put a button-down underneath, to create some sort of levy against the hurricanic body moisture. But the other day, I wore this really cute camel sweater, and earlier in the week, I finally wore the chunky, off-white sweater I bought in the Aran Islands. And wearing sweaters and being all snuggly makes you feel like a glamorous ski-bunny.

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6). So I fucking detest nutmeg. I’m generally not a huge spice person, so Marco Polo would have totally hated me. So I don’t often indulge in holiday drinks at Starbucks. I’ll get a Pumpkin Spice Latte because—hello—white, and I like Peppermint Mochas, but—and I’m not trying to start drama—England doesn’t really do Peppermint Mochas. They do, like, “toffee” and other freaky flavors. But I’m literally not trying to start any fights. I just find it a little aggressive. So when I go to Starbucks to get a coffee—a venti caffe latte, aka hot milk—I put a little blend of chocolate-cinnamon powder. I know that cinnamon isn’t a super Christmas-y spice—is it more for Thanksgiving?—but it makes me feel nice.

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7). I swear, I was in a street market a week ago, and they were selling Christmas trees, and I lowkey might have sniffed the branches like a cocaine addict snorts a line of that sweet white gold—I don’t know drug references. I was discussing this with a friend—the real versus fake debate—and one of the reasons I love real Christmas trees is the smell. I hate the pine needles detritus, and I think fake Christmas trees in unrealistic shades of gold, pink, and blue are chic in a “Beverly Hills plastic surgery” kind of way. But you can’t replace that authentic pine tree smell, the one that fills the entire house.

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8). Looked at cards of pugs in Christmas hats. Why isn’t this a thing year-round? Is it because I can’t be trusted to be productive if I know that, at any given moment during the entire year, that a pug might be wearing a little elf hat? Because I get that. But I love when animals get dressed up for the holidays. It brings me such joy.

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9). Change all of my social media accounts to holiday-themed goodness. This is so “millennial” of me, but I secretly love it and it’s actually kind of the most fun thing ever. Scrolling through Tumblr looking for that perfect, hilarious Christmas photo to put as the header of your Facebook. Thinking of ways to incorporate “Santa Claus” or the names of his reindeer into your Twitter handle. It takes a little bit of effort, which I’m sure my parents would say could be going towards “working on my resume” or “finding an internship” so I don’t “die on the streets,” but I want to go into pop culture and social media, so this is basically me beefing up my credentials. That’s what I’ll tell myself when I’m homeless. I did a really good job about changing my accounts for the various changes in the seasons, and I’ll be frank, I’m worried for January. Once Christmas is over, there aren’t really a lot of good, juicy holidays to sink into. Valentine’s Day is depressing, St. Patrick’s Day makes me want to punch non-Irish people, and no one takes Arbor Day seriously anymore. So I’ll enjoy the good seasonal social media while it lasts.

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10). This last one is weird-ish (?) and I’m not doing that thing where I say that I’m so quirky and you can’t possibly relate. I really love keeping the window open when it’s chilly. In England—I live in England; it’s, like, whatever. I mean, I’m leaving in four days, so I’m milking it while I can—it’s chilly but not frigid, so keeping the window open gives the room that fresh, crisp wintry air. Nothing makes me feel more Christmasy than snuggling up with fuzzy socks and a sweatshirt and watching a movie while a little frosty breeze gives my cheeks some nips. This is something that can’t really be done for that long, so I’m enjoying it while it lasts, because A) I think my roommate is about to kill me for it, and B) eventually it stops being “snuggly” cold and start being “Cut open the tauntaun” cold.

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What are your favorite ways to get into the spirit? Don’t comment or anything. Just say it aloud to yourself. I’ll know if you don’t, so you better do it. Is there a particular Christmas movie you always watch? I find that you can tell a lot about people from the Christmas movies they watch. There are some people who are serial monogamists and only watch certain ones, and there are others who settle down in front of the TV and marathon whatever’s on. I’m not sure which category I fall into. But that’s so binary of me.

May your cheeks be rosy, your hearts full of joy, your hands full of candy, and your mouth full of liquor!

HAPPY HOLIDANNYS!

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Holidannys

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: BUYING CHRISTMAS PRESENTS

The Kardashian-Jenner sisters released their holiday gift guides for this Christmas, and as per usual, the items on their lists are reasonably priced, spare necessities. The lists contained a healthy amount of product placement—Khloé’s book was on the list, as were a $1000 duffel bag from Kanye’s Adidas line and Rob’s socks from his Arthur George line. But it reminded me that I need to buy Christmas presents. It also reminded me that I’m terrible at buying Christmas presents.

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I have good intentions—I don’t know who deliberately going into the present-buying process with bad intentions, unless you have your nemesis as your Secret Santa, which begets other questions such as “What are you going to get him?” and “Why are you in a friend circle with a nemesis?” and “Was there a cash limit?”—but I’m just not good at buying presents. I can’t do that, “Get them something they want, but wouldn’t buy for themselves” rule. I do the “I want to get this for them because it’s what I would want” rule, which ends with me just buying a present I want and leaving clawmarks on the wrapping paper when I give it to the recipient.

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Usually—to be frank—I don’t buy Christmas presents. I usually just chip in on a bigger gift, or bully someone into helping me. But this year, partially because I got into the holiday season so early, I actually want to get presents for people. But it’s so difficult to put yourself in the mindset of someone else, and separate your wants for them from their actual wants. It seems like it’s very selfless, and I’m very selfish.

Also, I find it interesting the whole process of picking out your own presents. When I was a kid, I would give detailed descriptions of what kinds of various thermal shirts I wanted that year, or which particular shade of khakis I needed. Now, I just send links. Is that shady to just send links of what I want? Should I leave more mystery? I feel like giving a plethora of options via link is nice, because it takes the pressure off, and also allows the giver to get you something you’re guaranteed to like, and it’s not as impersonal as a gift card.

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What was on your Christmas list for this holiday season? Are you one of those people who just wants “quality time” with their family? Or even worse, you “don’t want presents?” That’s a lie. We all know that that’s a lie. Everyone wants something; even if it’s a bobble-head. One year, I got a set of dinosaur toys. But I was, like, twelve, so it’s very unclear as to what my parents though I would do with those dinosaur toys.

And Christmas is when I got an iPod Nano, which was the beginning of me accidentally putting my sister’s music on my music library. And then I upgraded to the iPod Classic, which I just used as a miniature TV and purchased approximately 90% of the episodes of The Office.

Omg, this has been not amazing, but I promise I’ll actually put in effort for my posts. I’m going to say, “It’s just hard because it’s finals week and I’m trying to eke out the rest of my London experience,” but we all know it’s because I was watching holiday episodes of 30 Rock and took a three-hour-long nap. So let’s not lie to each other. Let’s not do this.

HAPPY HOLIDANNYS!

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Holidannys

SEASONAL SATURDAY: A HOLIDAY RECIPE FOR FUN TIMES

So, misleadingly, this is not going to contain an actual, food-making cooking recipe. I understand that my use of the term “recipe” implies some sort of physical food consumption and previous preparation, but I promise this will be Chicken Noodle Soup for the Holiday Soul. Also, misleadingly, I never read any Chicken Noodle Soup books, despite my vast amounts of angst.

Instead, this is a recipe that I have been following to get into the Holiday Spirit (which would be a great name for an alcohol brand! Like, “Holiday Spirit: Make Getting Through the Holidays A Little Easier”):

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One-part sweaters:

So Christmas sweaters—or “jumpers” as we call them in the UK because I’m oh-so-assimilated—are the fucking bomb and I adore them. I went to Primark—essentially an H&M-Target hybrid on crack cocaine—and bought two Christmas sweaters, upping my entire collection to three sweaters. That’s almost half a week! But I really enjoy wearing them because it means you don’t have to put a lot of effort into the rest of your outfit because everyone will either be captivated by the ugly sweater, or be so repelled by the ugliness that they can’t even bear to look at you.

One-part Christmas movies:

So far, I’ve watched Home Alone and The Santa Clause, and I intend on watching Elf, A Christmas Story, the Christmas List, It’s A Wonderful Life (against my own free will), and maybe others. I have to willingly suspend my disbelief and sink back into the mindset of child-me, who was so fucking gullible, and just let the holiday magic wash over me like a warm bath.

One-part baking:

I made cookies to go along with the hot cocoa we drank as Charlie—you finally got another mention, you troll—and I watched Home Alone. And, like, I made it from a pre-packaged bag and just added butter and an egg, and still managed somehow to kind of fuck it up. I didn’t realize that there are goddamn algorithms for what kind of cookie density, mass and volume you want, and so I ended up with liquid-y, flat, not very dense sugar cookies that were delicious, but because they’re pure sugar, but had that daring edge of possible salmonella.

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One-part Christmas music:

I already wrote about my Christmas playlist, so I’m not gonna rehash everything (I’ll include a link here to my Spotify Christmas playlist) but I just have one thing to say. Kylie Minogue is great at Christmas albums. Actually, I have multiple things to say: I need Adele to make a Christmas album. And have you ever heard Lady Gaga sing “White Christmas”? It’s actually, like, so good, and I want her to make an entire Christmas album. Also Cheek To Cheek isn’t bad. There—I said it.

One-part Christmas socks:

Not much to say. Just buy them. Just do it. Shia LeBouf Just Do It. Also, wait, should Nike sue Shia for copyright infringement for saying their catchphrase? Let me know.

One-part red and green:

So today I wore fluffy, red and green Christmas socks, but tucked away behind my jeans and boots, so you didn’t see them. But I did wear a very muted forest-green flannel and a oxblood-burgundy-maroon-red-ish scarf—a blanket scarf, omg it’s so fucking big I’m obsessed—and I walked around a little sneaky Christmas elf because I was sneakily wearing Christmas colors without looking like a douchebag or a Duggar. Nailed it!

Stir thoroughly, bake at 350° F, let cool for 12 minutes, cut and serve immediately with familial passive-aggressiveness, inane questions from relatives, an itchy sweater, and a pine tree allergy.

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Interestingly enough, getting myself into the holiday spirit has made me want to get more into the giving spirit. This year, for probably the first year ever, I actually plan on getting each of my family members a gift—not just my Secret Santa—instead of just giving them the gift of “laughter” and my “presence” which they always try to return for cash-back. They have no appreciation for my humor, and it’s frankly tragic.

I hope that if you’re into the holiday season, you’re enjoying it, and if you’re not, that you’re having a nice Saturday!

HAPPY HOLIDANNYS!

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Holidannys

HOW TO TUESDAY: GET IN THE FESTIVE MOOD

The holiday season is upon us, whether we like it or not. Actually the holiday season started on September 1st, as soon as the pools closed and I decided that it was time to put away my sunscreen.

And normally I’m not a holiday person. I find the whole “dressing in red and green, Christmas lights for earrings, making a holiday playlist” thing kind of weird. Like, no one should be that happy to celebrate the fact that my nipples are freezing other than parka companies and nipple enthusiasts.

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But I’m a pessimist and a cynic and a cyclist and a mother, teacher, artist, dancer, singer. Sorry, I got off track. I’m tired of hate-scrolling through the Instagrams of people who drink eggnog and purposefully buy Christmas-themed drinks at Starbucks. I’m tired of hating people who love nutmeg. I mean, I hate nutmeg, but I appreciate the sentiment.

And while I don’t want to be one of those people who casually does a “throwing leaves in the air and then editing the shit out of those photos” photoshoot just for “funsies,” I think that there can be a happy medium between complete Grinch and complete Cindy Lou Who.

Side bar: If I ever had the chance to produce a show about an optimistic person who communes with the dead, you know that I would call it The Happy Medium. You just know that I would do that.

So to officially inaugurate the start of Happy Holidannys, my Christmas Spectacular, is the very first How To Tuesdays!

1). Make a Christmas playlist: as you all know, because you all religiously read my blog and memorize it, I made a Christmas playlist approximately halfway through November. And it’s the first time I’ve actually done anything more than just halfheartedly click on the “Holiday Music” option in iTunes Radio or just listened to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” on repeat. So I made a Christmas playlist on Spotify (sponsor me for this promo) and I made it as weird and eclectic (and mildly attractive from medium-far away) as I am. And it’s probably the first time that Frank Sinatra and Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 have shared the proverbial music stage.

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2). Wear scarves: Not just for utility. Get a large, patterned scarf—my current fave is green plaid—and wrap it around your neck and face and snuggle deep. Not only does it act as a cough barrier for the inevitable winter cold, but it really pulls together any outfit you wear and makes it seem like you put a lot more effort into your clothes than you did. Plus there’s something luxurious about having a blanket twined around your neck, just for your personal comfort. Just stick clear of ascots, you Fred Jones fake.

3). Try to be grateful: Okay, I’m gonna get real-real here and be all mushy-shushy-gushy for a second. It’s nice to be all like “YAS CHRISTMAS” or “SHALOM HANUKKAH,” etc., but it’s also nice to be nice and be grateful. The holiday season can kind of suck for some people, if they have to deal with ignorant family members, or monetary stresses, or if they just hate the holidays. It’s easy to be bitter, but for the holiday season, try to see the positives and while you don’t have to be like blind to your troubles—pls keep paying your bills—try to find some holiday happiness and treat yourself.

Which leads me to…

4). Treat yourself: This is not license to go out and buy yourself a mink stole. Refrain from that because a) Minks are endangered and b) You’re not a dictator’s wife or a starlet from the 30s. But feel free to splurge on yourself a little. Buy a cozy drink instead of making it at home. Buy that evergreen sweater that complements your eyes. Buy that book that you’ve been hearing about. Stay in, wrap yourself in your vintage mink stole—I mean, your blanket—and watch Love Actually instead of traipsing out into the cold and standing in a sticky bar talking to a boy with a dead tooth.

5). Get a Christmas sweater: I was half-against this, half-for this before I actually bit the bullet and bought one. On one hand, I think that they’re an excuse for hot people do to that thing where they’re like “Oh look at how funny it is for us to wear unflattering clothing” but on the other hand, I actually love ugly sweaters because I’m a literal potato. But I actually bought a Christmas sweater—with white reindeer and neon-green snowflakes—and I actually love wearing it. It’s festive, cheerful, loud but not ostentatious, and it just reminds me to be a little bit more holiday-y.

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I think it’s easy to be cynical as a semi-adult—I prefer the term “teenotanymoreger”, which is a little long but gets the point across—in the holiday season. The Christmas magic has disappated a little bit. We know that Santa isn’t real. The decorating of a tree, the buying of gifts, can be a little arduous. The magic isn’t made for us. Our parents aren’t orchestrating massive celebrations. Everything seems smaller, a little more dinghy. But you can still make the holiday season special. Even if you don’t follow the holidays, even if you think Christmas is bullshit, you can still make it a season of giving. You can make it a season of self-care and soft blankets, hot cocoa and movie nights, chilled breath pluming in front of your face and pink ears.

It’s harder to make the season effortless and cozy and sweet. It’s easy to be jaded and look at the price tag, and make fun of those people who do spontaneous—that we know were planned out—photoshoots and posting the shiny, over-edited evidence on our social media. But that doesn’t feel nice. And whether you subscribe to it or not, the holiday season is a time to feel nice. So try to feel nice, however you interpret that, however you carry that out.

Because it’s nice to be nice, and it’s nice to feel nice. Happy start to 25 days of Holidannys!

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