Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Music For Weirdos!

I've hated holiday music for most of my life. One year I counted how many times I heard that stupid "Chestnuts roaaaaasting on an open fiiiiire" song in public between the day after Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas. I hit the triple digits swiftly.

A few years later, I ended up being a seasonal worker for a large lotion and body wash conglomerate most of us are familiar with. That cemented my ire. I worked the night stocking shift, and even though it was midnight, the mall was closed and there were no customers in the store, they wouldn't turn the holiday Muzak off.

This year, instead of being Grinchly, I decided I would create a resource for good holiday music. Not the same ten songs they play over and over at the mall. New things, handily categorized for how you feel about the holidays. 

Most of them are specific to the Baby Jesus market, for which I am sorry. We kind of view Christmas as a consumer/eating holiday over a religious one, anyway. Probably because we're heathens.

Do you love Funk and Soul? Are you more traditional, but bored of the standards? Wannabe cowboy or cowgirl? Very, very sad? Or a rocker until the day you die?
Chances are, you'll find something on this list you like, even if you detest December.

No Jingle Cats! No Nat King Cole! No Wham!!
This all you're getting for Christmas from us, Scuzz Town!! You better like it!
Check it out after the cut.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

last holidaze post: Part Two!

Holidaze: The Final Countdown to Bliss 
(During this Blitzed Out Season)

1. Listening to records with a big sweater on and a hot cup of toddy? Yes please.

My roommate recently asked me what the definition of a hipster was. It took me some stewing but I've finally come to a conclusion. A 'hipster' (in this day and age) is basically what boring, insecure people like to call a cocky, fashion-aware, art-world-monger, in depth conversation-able thrill seeker, shock addict, aloof waif, intensely sarcastic, passion-popper, etc. And usually 'hipsters' are associated with appreciating the past, dipping their toes back in time by collecting vinyl records and dressing like their grandparents (or their babysitters in the 80's).

Girls Club!

But you know what? Who cares about all that crap!? I certainly don't! And neither should YOU.
Records aren't only for "hipsters" or old fuddy duddies or weirdos that obsess over mint conditions and years of release.

How does this NOT look appealing?! Oh gawd.

I just love listening to records because there's magic there and what's more comforting than the sound of soft, sporadic crackling from an old piece of time? And when it's cold outside records are a wonderful source of entertainment!

Technology has made us all lazy. Nowadays we can just attach an iPod to the stereo, scroll down to a playlist and go on with our evening. But when you're entertaining (or lounging around solo), records require some serious attention and good DJ skills. What better way to impress your crush or coworkers or really popular new friends than to prepare some cocktails, offer snacks and keep the music in constant rotation?

Miming playing the uke while listening to real music? Totally happening.

PLUS: while you're doing other things you can suggest that your guests take turn picking out the music. That will surely keep them occupied for a good chunk of time. Not to mention, they'll be able to see how eclectic your collection is and make mental notes for future situations/musical discussions.

Don't be fooled. There is definitely vodka in that milk!

And the big sweater thing? Well, I'm a gazelle at heart and I love being warm to the point that a heat coma isn't far off. So naturally, over-sized knit items and nostalgic listening parties go hand in hand. Both are comforting. And both are even better with booze!

The above are some fantastic looking albums that you may stumble upon if you find yourself in a record store position. It's always fun to pretend you live in a time when being refined was the norm. When 'dressing up' was wearing a gown and long gloves. When dancing was PC and sweatpants didn't exist. They don't call em the Golden Oldies for nuthin, kid!

2. Burning incense makes sense again! (Not that you ever stopped...)

Cold weather just has that way about it, doesn't it? That way of making even the most innocent invalids become pyromaniacs. But there's a reason for it! Fire is hot and the air is cold so burning something that smells like a fantasy harem is the ultimate choice for this time of year. There's incense for those special instances when you actually manage bribe someone back home with you.

Speaking of taking someone home with you: Incense is a great aid in the game of Seduction. It lingers slow in the air like an upwardly cascading waterfall. And similar to a sexy snake, incense can pierce the senses and create passionate feelings where there are otherwise none. Also, if you aren't looking your best, the smoke from several incense sticks can alter your quest's perception and eventually lead to temporary blindness. Which is completely alright in these situations! Harmless, really!

Then there are candles and other such flamey things. Still perfect for the cold chill that smacks against your windows and shatters your soul. Get some, get many, get LIT!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Staying Off The Naughty List: How To Keep Your Bad Girl Status a Secret When Visting the Fam

Going home for the holidays is always an affair to remember. For some of us, it means unlimited indoor heat, laundry and showers for the first time in a while whilst our hosts kiss the tops of our heads every chance they get because they're just so gosh-darn happy to see us. For others, it can be a tense test of endurance involving much side-eye from relatives as an elder cheerfully reminds us "no more money in the holiday cards until you go back to school or get married or have a baby!". If you're a weirdo like us, it's a little bit of both.

One way to make your yearly pilgrimage more jingle bells and snowflakes than coal and tiny Grinch hearts is to show up well prepared and in fabulous armor. We don't mean chain mail. The loveliest thing about fashion is that you can use it to make people believe things about you that may not be quite true. Did you spend the last year kissing every boy in town, doing bong rips, creating an all female vigilante group and watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo? Not my daughter!

We can't be good all year. Some of us can't even be good most of the time. Still, family time can be easier when everyone thinks we're still the angelic baby they bought a pink and purple transistor radio in 1992 and not Bad Sandy at the end of Grease. Put the right coat of paint on that barn and nobody will know better! It's not lying; it's aspiration!

Been less sugar, more spice and not sure if you count as "nice"? We prepared a checklist to keep up your ruse through the New Year. Good girls are just bad girls that don't get caught.

Dressing the Part

 The Skater Dress
Back in the olden days people ice skated on actual frozen ponds in nature. Now, we have to do this at a mall or in Spanaway. Alas, one lovely remnant from that time has come back into fashion, and that is the Skater Dress.
They are girly, but not too girly. They make you look so sweet nobody could possibly believe you've been up to no good. The skirt is flouncy and perfect for twirling, but the top is simple. They are universally flattering. Got a lot of boob? They will look amazing. On the flatter side? Wear the right bra and the whole world is yours. They highlight the waist and everybody's hips look the same in them! If you have long legs this style will make you look like you just walked off America's Next Top Model. If you have short legs you can wear it with heels OR flats, without fear of Stumpy Syndrome, because Skater Dresses always hit above the knee.

Pretty much the only pattern discrepancy in Skater Dresses is the sleeves. You can get one with long sleeves, short sleeves or no sleeves. Other than that, they're pretty much all the same animal. An animal you can find in almost any color you fancy!  

Warm up the room and match the star on top of the tree in a yellow that's cheery enough to roast chestnuts over; match the tree itself in evergreen; hide your objectionable tattoos under lace in a festive red frock; look cool as a snow flake in seasonally appropriate icy blue; show your mom and dad you're a professional now in retro cobalt with a collar!
They're also great because they're so simple you can accessorize them with just about anything. Hair bow? Jaunty scarf? Pearls? Stacks of bracelets and rings on every finger?

We would wear it with fancy tights, a skirted jacket and, of course, ice skates and a muff! Maybe a hat with earflaps too. Rosy cheeks sold seperately!

Chunky Sweaters
Okay, so girly skirts aren't your thing. You're going to a cold climate and want to retain as much heat as possible. Meet our best friend, the fisherman sweater!
We love them because you can find them anywhere. You can drop your life savings, or you can get one at Goodwill or Value Village with a fiver. Shit, you can knit your own if you've got the skillz. Choose a tight one to show off your assets, or get a giant one to belt and wear as a dress.The more sweater you wear, the more you can conceal, whether it's a severed head, a handle of booze or a pregnancy.
You go caroling in it and stay warm long your lashes have frozen your eyes shut. You can fall asleep in it and it will snuggle you like a lover. You can wear it the next morning while you open presents and keep it on all day without anybody knowing you're still in your pajamas.
Should the cackle of relations become too much, you can drink whiskey in it and tell your family you're channeling Ernest Hemingway. Automatic excuse!

What do you pair this magical yarn beast with? If you're going the fitted route, a denim jacket over the top looks hip and keeps ya warmer than you'd think. Otherwise, tights and boots look put together but hardly require any effort. Baby, it's cold outside!

Decorations and Distractions

 Sure they're supposed to a girl's best friend, but if you're from the same economically depressed generation as we, you probably don't have any real ones. Who cares! The world is full of fabulous fakes.
Diamonds and "diamonds" are what classy ladies wear because they match everything. Especially the snow and icicles outside. Plus you can hold them in front of the lights on the Christmas tree for endlessly entertaining twinkle effects. Rapper inspired ear studs? A giant rock that would make Liz jealous? Clear rhinestones glued to everything you own? We approve.

Plus, if you want to play a little joke on your family, you can wear a fancy imitator and freak everybody out! "Oh, yes Grandma, I am engaged. We met at a Kmart. He's a Peruvian drug lord but I think we'll end up settling in Havana. His name is George...." (look around the room to find a suitable object) "...George Houseplant".
This can also be fun after the family activities have died down and you're at the bar with your friends from high school. "Oh, hello hot lab partner from senior year that didn't want to date me because I hadn't filled out yet. Fancy running into you! Don't mind that I'm enthusiastically scratching my face with my LEFT HAND".

 Some people hate glitter. We hate them.
Not really, but when it's dark all the time, we'll take all the extra light we can get. That's one of the best things about holiday time. Glitter for everybody! It's distracting!
 There is no such thing as too much sparkle during the holidaze. Wear it in your nail polish! Prance around like a reindeer in sparkly dresses! Coat your body in Mod Podge and roll around in glitter! That will certainly distract them from asking how school's going or why you're still taking public transit and living with roommates! (If you actually do this, PLEASE send us a picture. We will post it online and make you internet-famous!)
If the macho men complain because you shed a little sparkle and it ended up on their cheek, put coal in their stockings! (Or more glitter!) Hahahahaha!

How To Get Away With Drinking, Smoking and Murder*

When you live away from home for a while, you pick up habits that mummy and dadsy may not approve of. You don't have to take a Christmas vacation from your vices (though that might be the healthier choice). Just don't forget to bring the means to hide them.

Every lady's life is incomplete without a cute little flask to stow in her garter. When life gives you lemons, make a lemon drop! Is Aunt Harriet irritating or hilarious? After the sixth trip to the car or bathroom it gets hard to tell.
Flasks also make awesome gifts for all your secret bad girl friends.

Have a nasty nicotine habit that Grandpa doesn't need to know about? They put those secret pockets in the back of purses for a reason. Conceal, conceal, conceal!
Snuck out for a quick one and don't want to come back reeking? Here's how to get away with it: Run straight to the bathroom when you get back. If brushing your teeth isn't an option, a strong minty gum like Trident White will do. Wash your hands and put on lotion or freshen up your perfume. If it's in your hair, dust some baby powder into it and comb it out. It covers up stank, absorbs oil and creates volume. 
If you're in the company of ex-smokers, we can't guarantee this will work. Most of them can smell tobacco from mile away.

If you're going for the big leagues, there's always the good old book safe. You can buy them online or hollow one out on your own as a fun vacation craft project. "No mother, I am much too literate to be smoking anything".
When you've done away with all your secret trinkets, it would be a nice gesture to leave it to a younger sibling who still lives at home. Chances are, they're up to a lot worse than you are.

*Do not actually murder anyone. That is not Shop Girl approved.

This is all just speculation. Of course we know our gentle readers have no need for this information. You guys were good all year, weren't you?
We thought so. We were too. We never misbehave.
Happy Holidaze!
KT & Andrea

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Oh, The Holidaze... or Reasons Not to Go Insane This Season: Part Two

 That's right! It's Part TWO, peoples! If you haven't read the first part then please scroll down and get your fill. To everyone else that is smarter than you are, we enjoy spoiling you. And you're welcome. (Teehee!)

Reasons Not to Destroy Your Family (or Self) During the HOLIDAZE:

1. The insides of houses have no excuse NOT to smell good.

What better reason to come home than to treat your nostrils like the queens that they are. Dead pine trees standing up in the middle of living rooms, cookies constantly in baking rotation, cologne gifts being tried on over and over, hot apple cider getting stirred with a mini cinnamon stick, and all sorts of other things that love to delight your scent-finding schnozes. Not to mention, the rich aroma of laziness. Familiar bodies slumped over couches, legs tucked under coffee tables, full bellies below knitted afghans and the list goes on. Nothing smells better than a kitchen at Christmas. Except for maybe the inside of a popcorn maker but we have a feeling heads don't belong in there...

2. COOKIES?!?!

I got excited just TYPING that word. Cookies are the most darling and precious food on EARTH. I mean, think about it. They come in an infinite amount of flavors and styles and designs! You can also make them look like pretty much anything. A rollerskate, a snowman, a football, a NAKED PERSON! Whatever you want. Plus, the act of baking them is a ritual that many families hold sacred. I'm not really allowed in the kitchen when I go home but if I were, you can bet that I would enjoy creating such delicious delights.

P.S. Homemade cookies make excellent gifts! As long as that person isn't allergic to anything you've hidden inside of them. Try giving adorable cookie love this year. It's a pretty inexpensive way to show someone you care. About food!

3. One scarf for every day of the week? Heck yes!

As women, we are required to stay on top of fashion. Most of us like to keep our outer appearances interesting by not constantly wearing the same thing. And one day when we're rich and famous, we'll have a different outfit for everyday of the year! But until that fantastic future happens, we can stock up on accessories. Most notably scarves!

Why? Because they keep us warm, can be draped in several different poses and are also interchangeable. We can wear one or seven. We can wrap it around our shoulders, our heads, our necks, our waist or our handbags. We can make an outfit look more debonaire or funky or even more casual. They are a necessity during freezing months like the ones that are approaching and basically, what's not to love?!
Scarves: keeping things interesting.

4. Put that Netflix account to good use!

Hate to break it to you but humans cannot actually hibernate. It really isn't fair, we know. Grizzly bears and small rodents and other fuzzy wuzzies spend a great deal of their year gathering loads of food and necessities so that they can spend the coldest months safe and sound in the warmth of their hidden homes. Since we don't really have that luxury, we suggest having entertainment sent to your doorstep!

I, myself don't have the internet in my place of residence which is why receiving little DVD's of delight makes my life all the more fabulous! Now's your chance to catch up on entire seasons of television that your real cool friends have been talking about. Or you could make things real interesting and try one of these cool tricks:
1. Pick a word out of the dictionary and rent every film that has that word in its title.
2. Only rent films beginning with a certain letter.
3. Pick a year you're quite fond of and check out what was made during it.
4. You can pretend you're a francophone by only watching en francaise!
5. Check out some killer Best Of Lists and you'll be impressing peeps in no time!

Some more obscure films we recommend viewing during this gloomy time of year? Sure, we got lots of 'em! Check it out by genre below:
Fright: Suspiria, While She Was Out, Daybreakers, any episode of Game of Thrones
Psychological Thrills: We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lying, Melancholia, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Female Journeys: Somersault, Movern Caller, Wendy and Lucy, Swimmers, Sleeping Beauty (the new version), Margot at the Wedding
Laugh Attack: There's a Girl in My Soup, Scrooged, Where the Boys Are, If a Man Answers, But I'm a Cheerleader
Hot and Steamy: Henry & June, Unfaithful, Aimee and Jaguar, My Summer of Love, Nine Songs, Shortbus, Dreamers, Y Tu Mama Tambien

This one is beautiful, creepy and will definitely make any righteous woman PISSED OFF.

5. Save a pillow, spoon a person!

And maybe make a spork in the process?!

It doesn't take a genius to know that body heat is contagious. And so we suggest taking advantage of that fantastic little fact and putting your limbs to good use! Sure, you can wrap your sweet self around the unfeeling torso of a pillow but what has that pillow ever done for YOU? Besides offer nice neck support and comfort...

No bath salts here. We promise.

We shopgirls think that it is perfectly acceptable to feed off of someone else's warmth. Especially when you're both very into each other. And you don't have previous obligations. And you are not using this opportunity only to make someone else jealous or cause harm to an innocent bystander. We certainly aren't going to judge you if you do but we feel that in order to promote Constant Cuddling, we've gotta follow such suggestion with the appropriate cautions.

This is a still from the film about Henry Miller and Anais Nin (Henry & June). Oh so ravenous!

Basically karma is a bitch and we wouldn't want anyone to get slapped this Holidaze season!

"Karma? What karma? Who's THAT!?"

6. Indoor activities never looked so good!!!

If you are fond of puzzle building, now's your chance! Have you been hankering for an opportunity to yodel? Well, belt it out then! Curious about the rules of spin the bottle? What better time to learn than during the coldest days of the year! And don't stop there. We've got some suggestions that should keep your indoor calender full til the flowers come home!

"Oh crud. I dropped that stitch again!"

Learn how to knit/sew/crochet. Gather several books on one subject from the library and become an expert on it. Set a goal for yourself to write that novel! Learn and memorize how to mix all of your favorite cocktails. Paint the walls in an interesting shade or add bright stripes to a previously shaded space. Figure out how to win at gin rummy.

7. That gym account can finally be put to action.

Because the summer goes by so quick in this part of the world, it's hard to commit yourself to a life of indoor workout routines especially when the sun decides to poke its weary head. Since the upcoming months are bound to be dreary, we recommend revisiting the gym you used to frequent. And if you're new to the game, what perfect time to sign your evenings away!

Add this one to your queue, babies!

You'd be surprised at the energy you've been secretly hoarding for so long. And pumping iron is known to help shake you out of the doldrums. Especially when surrounded by others working just as hard as you are. So dust those shoulders off, whip those sneakers out, get that spandex on and let the sweat roll down, baby!

Don't you wish this shot was Scratch N' Sniff?! Yummy.

Added bonus: Working out warms your body up. So you can face the cold air without fear. Plus walking around with that hot musky scent is known to attract others. So don't be surprised if you end up catching a wink or two...

Plus when else do you get to dress this sexy cool?!

8. And speaking of which... Dancing warms the body and feeds the soul!

Yes, we pretty much addressed this activity in the previous wintry suggestion but we feel that dancing is not something to be taken for granted! It can make you smile, keep your spirits up and gives you an excuse to put on that Rick James record. It can work out your bod, shine that hardwood floor and help you practice your moves for future public possibilities.

Maybe Prince Charles should've done some side-stepping on his downtime, eh?

We have definitely talked about dancing on this blog before. At great length, actually. So we won't dive too deep right now except to say that... There is no reason for you ever to be bored when you can... DANCE!!!


9. Time to Cut That Record

It isn't rare that musicians use this time of year to create their masterpieces. You've got loneliness stewing in a pot full of melancholy, cold toes and wishful thinking. Despite all the cheer going on, there are still some of us that call this season... Depressing.

But if you play your cards right, such dour emotions can be harbored, stored and used in brilliant ways! Like creating things from the deepest, most darkest parts of your soul! Some say that happiness breaks up bands. And that joy kills the artist. (Actually I made those things up but it makes perfect sense.) Without the sad, we can never fully appreciate delight.

And so, if you've got yourself a guitar or a triangle or even just a whistle; now may be the absolute best time for you to let your heart do the talking and express yourself through music. If you can afford to hide away in someone's cabin, do that also! We can't wait to hear what your crazy little hands can do!

Alright! More reasons not to spit on the Holidaze are coming up! Hopefully you've managed to get some useful days out of the ones mentioned thus far.

Until next time, keep your cute heads up, your lovely hands busy and yourself looking fantastic.

Andrea and KT