The end of a year brings on the making of many a list: lists of things to try in the new year; lists of things to do or not to do, to be or not to be; lists of books from the ending year that you should have read, or movies that you should have seen. But my favorite are the lists of the music that you should have rocked your socks to in the last twelve months.
Now, I am a huge music fan. HUGE. And I'm not immune to putting on an air of music snobbery and becoming enamoured of the best band you've never heard. But, I also love ABBA. So, without further ado, and in a somewhat haphazard order, these are the albums that rocked my socks in 2010:
And while those listens may have been enjoyed with no particular order, there was a definite and very clear top two, and a most definite number one:
The bulk of the year's listening, from road trips, beach days, city days, and days around the house, were soundtracked by Charlotte Gainsbourg and She & Him. But hands down, my socks were rocked the hardest by Arcade Fire.
Wishing you good songs and happy ears in 2011, dear readers!
On Sunday, after all of the presents had been opened, relatives had been visited with, meals had been eaten, and yuletide cocktails drunk, a fluffy blanket of white fell across the entire Philadelphia area.
The bulk of the day was spent inside, wrapped up in blankets, reading Vogue and watching the snow fall.
On Monday, I pulled on my boots, my scarf, and my gloves, gathered up my camera, and took a very cold walk through the city.
Christmas is in three days!!! There is one thing, one twinkling, sparkling constant that can bring me to my happy place when out amidst all of the hustle and bustle, or faced with the mountain of tasks that always seems so insurmountable at this time of year. One sweet little melody that lulls me into a state of holiday bliss, and sets me right again. And it would be this:
There's a chance of snow this weekend. A tiny chance, but it's there nonetheless. With much dashing to and fro, presents and ingredients to be bought, people are in a panic. And understandably so. Last year when there was a chance of snow the weekend before Christmas, we wound up with nearly two feet on the ground.
I've adopted a "what will be, will be" attitude. It's not so much about the presents or other things that can be bought. It's all about the spirit, the mood of the season. And I can't think of anything much merrier than a bit of white outside the windows. Have a cozy weekend, dear readers!
Last year, I spent the entire month leading up to Christmas dealing with a no good situation by doing a bit of stress baking. And by a bit, I mean that I filled two 20 gallon plastic tubs with various and assorted cookies, cakes, candies, and other tasty treats. At first, friends and loved ones were thrilled to be receiving yummy little home made treats. But by the third week or so, the daily gift of baked goods began wearing a bit thin.
The funny thing about the baking thing is that it is really only a recently discovered talent. I don't cook. At all. But one day, something possessed me to bake an orange cake. And it was Uh. Mazing. So, I made some cookies. Equally amazing. And so it went. And I discovered that the only time I can really shut off my brain is while baking. I can get it pretty close to shut off in yoga class, but baking provides the complete and total absence of any thought not pertaining to what I am doing. And I've discovered other joys along the way, such as what the 10,000 or so songs in my ipod sound like all shuffled together, and how many fabulously fast-talking old black and white movies Netflix has available for instant watching. I've also discovered that I have quite the inquisitive palate when it comes to tasty baked treats.
So, armed with my music, a stack of interesting recipes (ginger chips, anyone?) a pretty apron, and the ability to watch Auntie Mame on my laptop! In my kitchen! I am setting off, deliberately later this year, to fill the bellies of those I love with some fresh baked Christmas cheer. Now, if I could only convince someone to come and wash all of these dishes...
Found and purchased: The world's tiniest Christmas tree. It's not a shiny aluminum tree, and it's definitely not painted pink. Just a good old-fashioned wooden tree, waiting to be decked out with twinkling lights and sparkly baubles.
So, last week, when I was all sick and stuff, I spent the bulk of my time wrapped up in my Snuggie. Yes, I said Snuggie. What of it? It's a blanket. With sleeves. And let me tell you ,those sleeves are convenient. Also convenient? The two large pockets across the front. They're perfect for holding things like tissues and snacks. While convenient, though, the Snuggie does not look particularly attractive. For instance: mine is blue, and I look like a giant melting Smurf. It's something you need to hide should there be an unexpected knock at the door. However, this offering from Urban Outfitters? I'd stick a flask in the pocket and wear it to the movies.
I have a rather tight-knit circle of family and friends to whom I'm pretty close. And we share things, this little circle and I. Things like sweaters, books, cds, the occasional recipe. Sometimes, we share other things. Rather unsavory things, like germs. And lately, we've been doing a lot of that unsavory sort of sharing. 'Tis the season for giving (and re-gifting), and we've all been getting right into that spirit with this nasty little cold we've been passing around since Thanksgiving, rendering most of last week completely useless.
I've decided to rid myself of this little "gift" at any cost. Juice, sleep, and Tylenol didn't seem to be doing the trick, so a nice brisk walk through the city seemed worth a shot. It was one of those cold early winter days, where the sun is bright, but not too bright, and the blast of cold shooting through the air made even center city Philadelphia seem clean and smog-free. I have to say, it seemed to help. I mean, it at least knocked the cold out of my head. Unfortunately, it landed in my chest.
So, after a completely useless week, and a weekend spent bundled up inside watching old movies and playing a bit of catch-up, I'm happy to be back on track on this fine Monday morning. I have a desk full of pretties waiting for their finishing touches, and little Etsy shelves waiting to be filled. Armed with my iPod and enough orange juice to fill a bathtub, I'm setting off for my creative space and a happy day full of making pretties. Welcome to a new week.
Today is a rather warm, windy, pelting rain kind of day. A seemingly ugly day. But not to me. After November ended in a whirlwind, December is finally here! You see, when my sister and I were little, Christmas merriment wasn't allowed to begin until December 1st. Otherwise, our mom would've had the two of us bouncing off the walls for entirely too long a period of time. Once December got here, though, we could start talking Santa and trees and presents, and sing carols 'til our hearts were content. This, like so many of the things instilled upon us by our parents during childhood, is a rule by which I still very loosely abide.
But today is the day. December is here, and the decorations are coming out. Antique glass balls are being oh-so-carefully unwrapped, garlands are being hung, and vintage nesting Santas are being un-nested. Cheesesy old black and white movies are playing in the background (think "The Bishop's Wife" and "Miracle On 34th Street"). I'm pretending that the weather outside, while frightful, isn't so much balmy and wet as it is cold and snowy. The cozy comforts of home are being transformed into a magical winter wonderland. And you can rest assured that tonight, when I go to sleep, visions of sugar plums will most definitely be dancing in my head.