IT’S HOLIDAY MUSIC TIME

YES. Time to play holiday music WITHOUT fear of judgement or hatorade from grinches all around. I won’t say this video describes me, but I also won’t say that it does not.

Here we go, the Spotify playlists from the song lists I provided last year, slightly modified. Essentially, I chose the versions of songs that are/came closest to what I hear in my head when I think of these songs. That means either the classic version (often a popularized one) or one that is stripped down to the essentials. (I get a bit annoyed when artists take too many liberties with their vocal add-ons to these songs. Not a fan of super jazzed up holiday songs.) I also tried to keep some variety with the performing artists in these playlists.

ALSO, I will admit this now: I prefer a rich baritone voice for my holiday songs. I know that most of my choices are men and not women, but I think that’s because yes, I grew up listening to Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra singing these songs so that’s how I have internalized them.

I had a hard time with many of these. Sometimes, I just couldn’t find THE perfect version. (Spotify also doesn’t have everything. Where’s the Bing Crosby+Davie Bowie doozy, Spotify?!) Maybe next year, I’ll make sure to have all the mp3s I want and put up an 8tracks list, as requested. Next week, I’ll recommend some of my favorite Christmas albums if you would prefer the homogenized listening experience of one artist. (I own a few of them, so I definitely understand if you want to wrap yourself up and listen to one voice serenade you.)

I also made several concessions to my cousin, with whom I share a love of holiday music (you should see us racing to name the artists’ rendition on the radio) but who loves Taylor Swift way more than I do so NO TAYLOR SWIFT ON THIS LIST SORRY CUZ.

Anyway, here’s the Spotify playlists:

“Snow & Bells”

Happy, cheerful holiday music that makes you smile and want to sing along to, these songs have a  bright tone that evokes the image of falling snow and jingling bells, going ice skating and sleigh rides. Includes most classic carols.

“Fireplaces & Cocoa”

Feel that? That’s these songs tugging at your heartstrings, making you tear up. But it feels like sipping a mug of hot cocoa while sitting in front of a fireplace while wrapped in a cozy blanket.

“Wordless Wonderland”

Wintry, holiday pieces that are a little tricky to sing along to, due to there being no lyrics, but somehow I still manage. These are good if you can’t help singing along but it is not convenient to do so, e.g. at work, etc. (Mostly Nutcracker, not gonna lie.)

“First Christmas”

These are the more religious songs. While I am not personally a Christian, I appreciate these songs that celebrate what the first Christmas was originally about. It wouldn’t quite be Christmas without these songs.

“Christmas is for Children”

This is a collection of songs that are really more geared for kids. I have a lot of fond memories singing these songs with my middle school choir for roaring audiences of elementary school kids. I didn’t want them in that first playlist because they’re a little TOO chipper.

Songs that I have purposefully excluded are:

  • “Feliz Navidad” – Got cut this year because the song is really repetitive and gets old after you hear the verse 3 times. Which is fewer times than you hear it in one playing of the song. Sorry!
  • “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” – Still doesn’t do it or me
  • “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” – Ugh.
  • “Grown-Up Christmas List” – SUPER UGH.
  • “Christmas Shoes” – As someone who enjoys crying to holiday music, this one makes me angry. UGH TO THE MAX.
  • “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” – Annoying.
  • “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” – Also annoying.
  • “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – I actually kind of like this but it’s pretty condescending towards Africa as a continent and the new Bandaid30 version is not really any better.

But hey, “Santa Baby” got promoted so there ya go. “Seven Feet of Snow” should be on my list but Spotify doesn’t have it so. :(


Lemme have it, what did I miss? What did I get totally wrong? (If you’re my cousin, you’re not allowed to tell me Taylor Swift.)

Friendsgiving 2014

Thanksgiving is the time of year that we gather our family ’round and feast a-plenty.

For your family away from family, there is Friendsgiving.

This year’s Friendsgiving was the best one yet! We really stepped up our food game this year:

Clockwise from top left: mac & cheese, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rotisserie chicken, gravy, cranberry sauce, salad, brussel sprouts

I accidentally ended up doing a lot of the food prep for our meal (oops) because I’m a bit of a control freak in the kitchen (ooooops). But I like to think it was practice for when I prepare a full-on Thanksgiving meal for my family + guests this week.

We also had a gorgeous veggie platter and some sparkling apple cider, hollaaaa~ (And my friends had wine XD)

We ran into a small SNAFU when the oven at Jen’s place refused to work, throwing off my plan to roast the brussel sprouts and bake the mac. So, in the end, I just sauteed the sprouts and left the mac unbaked. :( They still tasted great!

Awwwwwwww yeah.

I’m excited and also scared for my Thanksgiving at home, but I feel a renewed sense of confidence in my ability to cook. (Also, I’m trying not to think about the turkeys I’ve made in the past, which, as most turkeys end up being, were not properly browned and a bit dry.)

After helping ourselves to seconds and getting some pumpkin pie, we cuddled Jen’s cats and watched Love Actually, to kick off the holiday spirit with a classic Christmastime movie.


Best scene in the film because it’s one of the sweetest moments of the best relationship in the film

My friends and I may be scattered as we go off to school and new jobs and new things next year, but I hope we’re able to do Friendsgiving every year in spite of it!

Do you celebrate Friendsgiving?
What are you having for your Thanksgiving meal? What are you most looking forward to?

Also, stay tuned because, with any luck, I will have an actual holiday music playlist (or 5) ready for my Friday post! FRIDAY, the official day I may start blasting holiday music without fear of haters.

 

 

 

Spotlight: My Closet in Sketches

I just wanted to take a quick minute to publicly proclaim how much I adore this blog:

My Closet in Sketches

myclosetinsketches.com

My Closet in Sketches in run by Lauren Friedman, who sketches these great outfits.

presidentialblues

hotforteacher

I discovered her blog because she posts these great tips on how to/ways to wear ____:

I’m an extra big fan of hers because she’s also a DCer! I’ve definitely gotten a lot of style inspiration from her and I hope I get to see her around the District sometime soon!

All images from MyClosetinSketches.com

Stockholm

We only had 5 hours in Sweden’s capital. It was August 3, 2013 (haha ohmy how late these posts are) and it was easily one of THE nicest days we were able to enjoy, weather-wise. Essentially, we only had time to:

  • Take our necessary ho/ho tour (on a hop-on/hop-off bus)
  • Walk around town
  • Browse the Nobel museum
  • Eat Swedish meatballs

However, there were so many things that we didn’t get to do in that teeny amount of time, like:

  • Visit the ABBA museum
  • Check out the famous metro station art
  • Go to the giant flagship IKEA at the border of the city

But enough about what we missed out on. I still had a really good time during my 5 short hours in Stockholm!

Always pick up a free map or 2.

One of the reasons I was supremely sad at how short our stay was in Stockholm was the fact that the weather was absolutely perfect. It may have been the most perfect day of the entire trip, even.

Just look at how gorgeous it was! And there’s a VIKING LINE, come on.

We spent most of our time on the ho/ho bus, learning about Stockholm and taking in the sights, because our time was so limited. (Fun fact: Yo, Stockholm is a very wealthy city. There are some residents who pay 51% income tax. Officially, more of their income goes to the state than into their own pockets. And they still live like ballers.)

By the time we reached Stockholm, I really wanted to live by the water. A lot. Almost desperately.

Oh man, Stockholm was a beautiful city, it truly was. But let’s not forget those highlights! Like Swedish non-IKEA meatballs:

Verdict: Not really great, from this shop. Honestly, I prefer IKEA’s plates more but the IKEA has its own zipcode and was far away so.

I also got to visit the Nobel museum!

We weren’t able to stay long enough for a guided tour, but you know, all in all, I had a nice time in Stockholm. It was a beautiful city that  I cannot afford, but I’d love to spend a little longer there next time. (And see the ABBA museum!)

Friday Favorites (6)

Haven’t done a Friday Favorites in a while, so let’s just jump right in:

Hot Noodle Soups

We had a sudden drop in temperatures, from mid-60s to mid-30s, here in the DC area. And really, what satisfies you like a hot noodle soup? Specifically, I start to get very consistent cravings for pho, ramen, and jjampong.

Some of the pho and jjambbong I’ve had this past month

I also love going home to my parents’ house and eating bone soup with some rice noodles in them. (You know those big pork bones that you can just slurp the marrow out of? Yah, those are the ones.) There are so many comforting feelings that come with hot noodle soups: the smell coming up with steam, the first sensation as you take your first slurp of hot soup, the feeling as the hot soup goes down into your belly.

If you eat with me in the colder months and ask me what we should eat, there is a good chance I will suggest some form of hot noodle soup. I haven’t been able to have too many this week, but with another brutal winter up ahead, you can be sure I’ll have plenty.

Cooking Videos

Some of you may remember that I had a brief obsession with makeup tutorials a few years back. I never used any of them, but I felt like I was theoretically armed with the ability to create these stunning makeup looks. (I’m not.)

These days, I spend a lot more time watching cooking videos. Again, I’m not actually applying the stuff I’m watching, really, but I feel like I can apply this theory later on. This has been a lot more productive for me, as I do cook but I don’t wear makeup. Usually, I’ll end up watching Sorted Food or Gordon Ramsay. (I guess I just like watching British guys cook food? The accent makes it more compelling.)

Here’s one of my favorites by Sorted:

Warning: This chocolate cake looks sinfully good. You probably will drool watching.

And here’s the iconic video from Gordon Ramsay:

If you aren’t making eggs like this, apparently we’re wrong. Very wrong.

Big Hero 6 Easter Egg

I won’t spoil it for you, but, this is a Marvel film. And if you know Marvel movies, then you know Stan Lee shows up in [nearly] all of them in some way or another. (Since he didn’t have a hand in the Guardians of the Galaxy, he is not in that movie and likely will not be in any future GotG movies.)

So, with Marvel’s first animated feature, we do have a Stan Lee cameo! You might miss it for just a moment in the middle of the movie, but if you stick around after the credits, it’s a confirmed Generalissimo appearance.

Jasmine Tea

I don’t know why, but I put off buying new jasmine tea for a while. Partially because  I already have tea, partially because I could’ve sworn I had some at my parents’ house, partially because I’m lazy.

Finally got myself one of those yellow tins of looseleaf tea and I am so glad I finally did. Jasmine is maybe my favorite variety of tea because of the fragrance. (I love the smell of jasmine.) Drank maybe too many cups today but that’s all right, I have a bathroom, it’s all good.

National Museum of Natural History

After 8 years of living in Maryland, I haven’t been to a Smithsonian museum since the 3rd grade, when I lived in New Jersey. So, for Veteran’s Day/our anniversary, Ben and I went to the natural history museum. It was SO nice! Even though the dinosaur exhibit was closed for renovations, which really disappointed Ben. BUT BUT BUT the live butterfly room is free entry on Tuesdays and I got to just be enchanted by all these fluttering little butterflies. It’s so great, I love museums and the Smithsonians are cream of the crop. AND THEY’RE FREE.

Spending Time with Ben

This week had both our anniversary and Ben’s birthday, so I got to spend a lot of time with him and give him gifts! I feel like we got to spend some really quality time together and I am just really grateful to have him in my life. Spending time with my better half always makes me happy!


What have you been liking lately?
What do you crave in the cold months?
Any fun weekend plans?