Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Decking the Halls

Finals are over! Christmas is here! I'm thrilled. I love everything about this time of year - the crowded malls, the bursts of red and green glitter and lights everywhere, the scents of peppermint and gingerbread, the air cold with the promise of snow, and the feeling that everyone wants to be a little bit better, this time of year. A little cheerier, a little kinder, a little warmer.
I was super excited to decorate the tree this year, since last year I was so sick with mono I could barely take part in any yuletide festivities before I'd need to go lie down for a nap. But this year I insisted on watching Elf and eating Christmas cookies while we trimmed the tree (just me and my parents, as my brother currently lives in New York).
My Christmas tree has a definite theme - New York Giants ornaments for my dad, ballet ornaments for me, and lots of Disney ornaments, since my whole family loves Disney! Of course, we all have our favorites, like the Pinocchio ornament from one of our trips to Disney (my mom adores Pinocchio!) and the Power Rangers ornament that's been on our tree since my brother way a toddler.

Also, this skirt. Can I just talk about how I've been looking for a nice plaid skirt since August? I wanted something I could style through the fall and winter, something without pleats so I didn't look like a schoolgirl, and something in a more muted color so I didn't look like I was trying to revive the red plaid, Avril Lavigne-esque look of the early 2000s. Then I found this gem at Forever 21, took the plunge, brought it to the register, and found out it was on sale for $13. Crazy, right? I've already planned so many outfits with it in my head, and I love this wintery look (even though today I had to add tights for warmth!).
Are you super excited for the holidays, like I am?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Happy Birthday, Miss Swift!

This is a picture of me headed to my second Taylor Swift concert - only 16 years old here!
I remember when I was in middle school, headed to my first Taylor Swift concert. I was wearing a sundress, cowgirl boots and, of course, I had painted a 13 on the back of my hand. Every true Taylor Swift fan knows, of course, that 13 is her lucky number! Today, on her birthday, December 13, I want to celebrate my reentry into the Taylor Swift fandom by wishing the superstar a happy birthday and counting down my top ten favorite Taylor songs (you know, the ones that don't always get music videos or make it to the radio - the underdog songs).

10. Crazier (The Hannah Montana Movie Soundtrack) - Because it was such a pretty, sweet, slow song and I adored the Hannah Montana movie on its own, but throw in my favorite singer making a cameo as herself? I was hooked.
9. Clean (1989) - Because there's nothing quite as difficult or refreshing as getting over your ex, and Taylor proudly celebrates that in this pretty melody.
8. Sparks Fly (Speak Now) - Because when I was a sophomore in high school, my crush had green eyes, and that made this catchy, upbeat song super relatable.
7. I'd Lie (Taylor Swift) - Because this was the first song I'd heard by Taylor and, subsequently, the first song I taught myself to play on the guitar (back when I knew I was going to be the next Taylor Swift).
6. Change (Fearless) - Because it's often forgotten in the wake of her countless hits, but nonetheless inspiring (especially to hear as a middle school girl, which is one of life's most difficult phases).

5. Haunted (Speak Now) - Because there's a version with just piano as the background and it's hauntingly (no pun intended) beautiful.
4. Treacherous (Red) - Because I heard this song when I was on the brink of my first relationship, and nothing captures those early butterflies like this song.
3. Style (1989) - Because it's totally different from her early works, and it's so blatantly written about Harry Styles, and Taylor is unashamed to name a song after her ex, and it's so darn catchy.
2. The Last Time (Red) - I might claim that Red is my least favorite Taylor Swift album, but the few songs I do like really resonate with me. The passion and power in this melancholy song make it truly unforgettable, and Gary Lightbody is truly phenomenal.
1. All Too Well (Red) - One of my favorite songs (of all time!?), this song is soft and sad until it builds to its powerful, aching bridge. This is the poetry that makes me love Taylor Swift, people. These lyrics ("You call me up again just to break me like a promise") are what I'm here for.

Of course, as an artist with a repertoire as enormous as Taylor's (at only 25!), it's impossible to pick just ten favorite songs. Other notable tracks include Long Live (which is probably number 11 on my top 10 list), The Other Side of the Door, Invisible, Last Kiss, Dear John, Wildest Dreams, Mary's get the idea. I could have a top 20 list and still not name all my favorite songs, especially since my musical choices really depend on my mood. Luckily, there's a Taylor Swift song for every occasion!

Would do you think of her new album? Are you a fan of her former country tunes? Do you love her transformation from country princess to pop queen? Are you thrilled that there's now a Taylor Swift song for just about every genre you could think of? I know I am!

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Now that classes are winding down and I have some time to breathe (and maybe even write some more posts! What a concept!), December is going to be the month of "how many overused Christmas lyrics can I recycle into post titles?" I can feel it.

Early in November I caught one of the earliest Christmas commercials on Youtube completely by accident. I was listening to a playlist when suddenly an advertisement came up, and the song was so beautiful I didn't even  realize I was listening to a commercial! Eventually I learned it was the Burberry commercial, "From London With Love," starring the adorable Romeo Beckham. The song accompanies a fantastical winter wonderland filled with stunning ballgowns, beautiful choreography, and of course the classic Burberry scarves. It's such a classy brand with a classy commercial to match, but let me stop talking about Burberry and show you the actual video I'm talking about:
Christmas has unfortunately become a time of commercialism, of course, but a lot of advertisements for merchandise are actually bringing with them a wake-up call about the real values of the holiday season. This iPhone commercial, for instance, always made me tear up when I saw it last year:
How beautiful was that? Am I the only one who gets a little choked up when I watch it? I know a lot of advertising during the holiday season is just directed at getting people to buy products, but it's nice to see a commercial that actually shows the important things about this time of year, like family.