Wednesday , October 14, 2009
HOW TO LIVE: The nogoodforme Guide to Achieving Maximum Coziness
DEEP DOWN KAT IS REALLY A FUZZY STUFFED ANIMAL
I suppose I can begin this primer by invoking the Danish concept of hygge, which I discovered in my recent sojourn to spiritual Scandinavia. Hygge (which in my mind is pronounced very incorrectly yet amusingly like "hoogly" but is really said like hu-gah) is one of those little words that means a big thing, which is the mood of well-being you get when you take pleasure in the modest, ordinary details of life; words like coziness, security, familiarity, family and comfort are invoked when describing the overall feeling of hygge. I could also tell you that coziness is all about bringing lovely, warm, toasty feelings closer to you, about corralling warmth and creating a bubble of good cheer and comfort in a harsh, cruel world. I suppose it's also a gesture of intimacy and nurturing, of others and of yourself, and that's always a good thing, spiritually speaking. Perhaps ultimately coziness is about making the world around you feel like a giant hug, which makes me feel all happy and mushy. But really, for me, creating a little emotional nest of cuddly goodness is all about indulging in my alter ego. By day I'm a striving, super-active cultured professional smarty-pants and tale-spinner, dressed in black and boots and chains, listening to death metal on my headphones and doing my city lady thing. But in the privacy of my own home, I transform into a stuffed animal. I like color! And cute things! And brightness! And cuddling and tea and slippers and charming bed companions and pajamas and pretending I live near a harbor and am writing a novel! This is my favorite thing in the world, so this is why I am always so happy when it gets chilly and grey and rainy outside. I mean, I love stark, austere beauty, in nature and fashion and art and architecture. But there's something about going from that to COLORFUNTIMECOZYGOODNESS! that makes me love life so fucking much. (Kat)
COZINESS AND HOW TO GET IT:
(1) The key is happy, comfy, soft, fuzzy, want-to-roll-around-all-day-in-them textiles. It's also a plus if they're in colors and patterns that make you happy. Naturally, the Scandinavians are genius at this -- these textiles are all done by Swedish designer Lotta Kuhlhorn, which you can read about at Huset's blog.
(2) When you cocoon, you need good tunes. Bjork's Vespertine is my favorite warm-n-fuzzy soundtrack. It's her girliest, sweetest, gossamer-awesome record and my favorite of her entire discography 'cause it makes me feel gooey with love and affection. "Heirloom" is one of my favorite songs on it:
(3) You can't be cozy when your feet are cold! I love those knitted slipper boots; I have an unconscionable number of them in different patterns and colors, that's how seriously I take this. I like ones with pom-poms on them, just so I can go around and sing that Scout Niblett song that goes "Has anyone seen my pom-poms" or however it is.
(4) I like this Aviator Nation hoodie because it's all eco-, crafted in Cali and has lightning bolts, but really the most genius thing about Aviator Nation is how delectably SOFT AND BEAUTIFUL they feel when you wear them. It doesn't really matter what they look like, because they feel sooooooo gooooooood. Everything in the whole line feels wonderfully worn in and beloved; the price is totally worth it. You have to feel it for yourself.
(5) Happy colorful pajama bottoms! Old Navy is actually genius at them. I wanted to put something even more obnoxiously patterned, but I feared for the health of my photo montage.
(6) I'm such a nerd, I even have a fragrance that I like wearing only at home. Usually this is a very foodie, gourmand-y scent, like with vanilla and caramel and creme brulee. This always shocks people who know me, but I like Juicy Couture fragrances for this because they're sweet and the bottles are so pretty. This one smells like a watermelon cupcake, which is really weird, I admit, but somehow my skin loves it.
(7) What do you do when you are holed up and being cozy? You read books and watch movies (and write and knit and do a multiplicity of hobbylike activities.) I am always fond of all of Hayao Miyazaki's films -- they're beautifully animated, with a sense of wonder and charm, but yet deal with really profound themes of nature, love, family and the like. I think he's a genius, and his movies always leave me with a happy feeling at the end of them. This is from Ponyo, his most recent film, but I also love Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro.
(8) and (9) It's no secret that I'm a genuinely voracious reader; these novels by Elaine Dundy are kind of perfect for reading on chilly fall and winter moments. They're like reading fizzy martinis: they're charming and effervescent and fun, about young women in the 50s being soigne and madcap in European cities, but there's an undercurrent of something a bit more grave. I mean, really, do yourself a favor and read them...they're unexpectedly lovely. I will probably do a whole blog entry on Elaine Dundy soon; she was a very nogoodforme kind of lady.
(10) And finally: FOOD! Food is at the heart of being cozy, because it warms you from the inside and is nourishing and delicious and wonderful. I'm fond of soups galore for that ultimate cozy feeling, but other warm liquids do the trick. I have become super-fond of Roastaroma, which is coffeelike but is really a kind of chicory/barley thing with cinnamon, allspice and other goodness. It really smells like autumn in the most wonderful way: warm but just slightly sweet.
HOT CHOCOLATE WALKS ON PLANET HOTH
(L to R: Princess Leia on Planet Hoth, my furry-vest pic from Beautifully Worn; hot chocolate)
Obviously the first thing you should do to get cozy right now is read the thing I just posted about kicking apples and resisting The Carrie Bradshaw-ization Of The Self. It has cookies, kissing, Beatles, and other things that will snuggle your heart. It's good, I think.
Obviously the second thing you should do is move to Los Angeles, where it's warm enough that you can usually wander around outside in the middle of the night in winter and your bones won't freeze and shatter. Then you can go on lots of "Hot Chocolate Walks" (or, if you like fun with words, "Hot Choc Walks") instead of just hiding inside all season like a big fat bear*. Basically you just head out the door with your headphones/earbuds, preferably a few hours after nightfall, then walk to a place that sells hot chocolate. Then you buy yourself a hot chocolate, and then you drink it while walking around some more. So easy! So sweet! A few thoughts on optimizing the sweetness:
1) Put on some fuzzy and/or faux-furry clothes/accessories, like a knit hat or boots that look like animals. I used to have the most perfect Hot Choc Walk outfit; it was skinny slate-grey jeans tucked into my stupid now-dead baby-pink fake Uggs, black hoodie and pink knit scarf and my hair in two little Cinnabon-buns at either side of my head. I looked just like Princess Leia on Planet Hoth, but sadly I had to kill the fake Uggs and the whole thing just kinda fell apart. The furry vest above works good, but I'm sick of that thing now too. I so wish I'd bought that black hooded bomber jacket when I had the chance.
2) You need really dreamy songs. Like: The Dirt Of Luck by Helium, anything by White Magic, Vespertine by Bjork (which I totally typed here before realizing Kat had already written about it!). Or anything else that would probably sound perfect if you were half-asleep.
3) Cheapo instant hot chocolate beats the pants off the fancy stuff, IMHO. I'm especially fond of how Swiss Miss gets that layer of cocoa scuzz on top and there's those little granules of undissolved mix and sometimes the tiniest lamest marshmallows in all the world. But if you're gonna do it fancy, go to a place that makes its hot cocoa from milk instead of water, and get it with soymilk, and ask for marshmallows. Any cafe worth its salt should totes have marshmallows on hand during the cold months, I do believe. Or you could bring your own jar of Fluff.
You're on your own for the rest. If you're a sap like me, maybe you could wander over to the residential streets and go "ooh/ahh" at the Christmas lights wrapped around palm trees. If you're secretly a five-year-old, also like me, maybe you could make up your holiday wishlist in your head. And if you're someone who obsessively romanticizes everything that ever happens to her - not like me at all, WINK! - maybe you could mentally record every moment and then go back home and write in your notebook about stuff like the adorable pack of long-haired skater boys with black jeans and little-kid teeth hiding out behind the donut shack, smoking a joint you wish they'd share with you so your "muscles would melt into something ooey-gooey like hot caramel on a McDonald's sundae." Dreaming of hot caramel sundaes = coziest. (Liz)
*Not that we don't love big fat bears.
The Beastie Boys, "Do It"-
The statement "I prefer autumn to winter" is true about me, in the same way that "I'd rather get shot in the face than drown to death" is true about me too.
I have no interest in coziness. If I'm cozy, it means I'm cold. I wish I could just, like, quit being Canadian, move to LA or Savannah, stop fucking complaining, and enjoy life as the brass-skinned, sun-bleached, June-born brat I was born to be. Doesn't immigration law realize that I'm Baby Lemonade?!?! I live for the extroverted recklessness of the spring & summer months. If you want to hear about how rad it is to drink cocoa before an open fire while wrapped up in a polar-fleece blanket wearing a plaid flannel and snowflake-print long-johns, you're lookin' at the wrong member of the nogoodforme troika.
Life has thrown me a lot of curveballs this past while, and I hate it all like celery, like summer's end. According to my Pocket Oxford, "coziness" and "comfort" are synonymous. I derive little comfort from hot coffee, hoodies, leaf-crunch, bonfire-smell, and sweet potatoes. Nothing that used to work works anymore; I want everything to be different. I don't want to listen to the Beatles or the Kinks. This October, I want to listen to the Beastie Boys, because they are comforting to me. Low-pressure and upbeat.
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Tags: Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, Alex Trebek, bears, Bjork, boots that look like animals, Canadiana, Christmas, coziness, doing it fancy, fall, Hayao Miyazaki, Helium, hot chocolate, Jeopardy, L.A. rules, Laura Hates Fall, Laura Hates Winter, Mai Tais, McDonald's sundaes, Princess Leia, skaters, tea, The Beastie Boys, walking, winter, writing
Tuesday , August 25, 2009
HOW TO LIVE: How to Know if You're in Love with Him, by Laura Jane & Jackadory
Hi! My name is "Hungover Laura." I suck, and want to die. There is no amount of coffee that can fix me. Welcome to the most pointless day of my life!
Last night was cool. I hung out with my friend "Jackadory." Like myself, Jackadory is single. Also like myself, Jackadory is the type of person who thinks Zac Efron is mind-blowingly hot. Triply like myself, Jackadory loves gettin' all good and wasted on a Monday night. As such, we decided it would be really intelligent of us to get drunked and have a "Single Gals' Night In," dedicated to camping out in my bedroom and watching 17 Again, starring Zac Efron and Chandler Bing. My initial intention was to review 17 Again hilariously for nogoodforme.com. This didn't really work out, because here is my review of 17 Again:
"NOTES ON 17 AGAIN," BY LAURA JANE FAULDS:
"Zac Efron is insanely hot. I hope he wasn't born after 1990. Either way, I really want to make out with Zac Efron. "17 Again" is the most depressing movie I've ever seen. It really rubs the whole "You're not making out with Zac Efron" aspect of your life in your face, cruelly. If you are single, and want to make out with Zac Efron, this film might make you want to commit suicide."
In the cases of both Jackadory and myself: it made us want to commit suicide. We decided to deal with our probably-negative suicidal energy by going out to this one bar we always go out to, where, we claim, "the hot dudes go." I think it's time we stop claiming this, because we have yet to see one single hot dude at this bar. It's depressing. Good thing good old alcohol is so awesomely good for numbing out one's depression! Sometimes. Last night, it just made us slurry and weird. I was bummed out because Ray Davies doesn't know who I am, and Zac Efron doesn't know who I am either, probably. Jackadory was bummed out because she is obsessed with a dude who lives in another country, and can't figure out if she is in love with him, or just obsessed with him. "Am I, or am I not, in love with him?" wondered Jackadory.
Good thing I am a very helpful friend! To aid Jackadory in figuring out whether or not she is in love with this dude, I came up with this simple and convenient set of questions (off the top of my head, no less!) to help her, or you, or anybody, figure out if you are in love with him.*
* There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, except for a couple, which I will point out. "How to Know if You're in Love with Him" is sort of like the I Ching. More than anything, it's a GUIDE, to help GUIDE you towards the TRUTH.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU'RE IN LOVE WITH HIM, by Laura Jane Faulds
1. What do his eyebrows look like?
2. Picture him sleeping. Are you kissing him in his sleep?
3. He is your boyfriend, and was recently transferred to the place in the world you would least like to live. In my case, this would be "Antarctica," or, "Siberia," or, "The North Pole." Do you go with him?
4. If you were eating a really delicious chocolate bar, would you offer him a piece of it, even if you didn't want to give it up? At all?
5. How do you feel about his "shoe choices"?
6. If given the opportunity, would you increase/decrease his general "jeans bagginess level"?
7. How would you react if you found out he was "bad in bed"?
8. Is he worse than you? Better than you? Equal to you? (This is one of the ones with a "right answer," which is "equal to you." If he's "better than you," you are merely obsessed with him. If he's "worse than you," you're desperate, and need to give it up)
9. He gets the worst haircut you have ever seen a dude get. How does this make you feel?
10. Does he know who The Kinks are?
11. As of this exact second, he is paralyzed for life. Do you stay, or do you go?
12. Would you say the word "boner" in front of him? (I'm iffy about this one. But it seems like, if you were in love with him, you probably wouldn't. Because you don't want to seem slutty, or give him one.)
13. It is 3:32 PM on a Tuesday. You are hungover, aren't wearing mascara, and your hair is wet. You are presently sporting ten-year-old sweat shorts and a Snoopy t-shirt, which is stained with egg yolk, and something else. You are drinking instant coffee out of a plastic cup. He knocks on your door. You open it. How do you feel about yourself?
14. You find out he has a girlfriend, or is "seeing someone," or maybe you just saw him talking to a girl once and are freaking out about it. Do you obsessively stalk her Facebook profile? (This is an important one. It seems like, if you were in love with him, you would. But things aren't always as they seem! If you are in love with him, you don't obsessively stalk her Facebook profile, because it's just too goddamned self-destructive, and it forces you to think, "Imagine if he knew I was doing this right now?", which is humiliating.) .
15. Would you make out with him over Zac Efron? (This question does not apply if you are wondering if you are in love with Zac Efron. "Would you make out with Zac Efron over Zac Efron?" makes no sense. The answer to that question can only be, "I want to make out with Zac Efron." And don't we all.)
THE CONCLUSIONS WE REACHED:
1) Laura Jane is in love with Zac Efron.
2) Jackadory isn't in love with Dude, though she may be "sub- in love with him," which means something, apparently.
3) Laura Jane is smart about dudes.
Okay! Cool! There. I blogged. Awesome. I am now going to try and motivate myself to walk to Blockbuster and return 17 Again.
Tags: 17 Again, Chandler Bing, drunkedness, dudes, hangovers, HOW TO LIVE, Hungover Laura, Jackadory, Laura Jane, love, obsession, paralysis, singletonism, Snoopy, suicidal depression, The Kinks Faulds, the reality of my life, Zac Efron
Monday , July 13, 2009
HOW TO LIVE: The Laura Jane Guide to "Anti-Accessorizing"
Existence is existence because of atoms and bones and blood; life is life because of alarm clocks and diary entries and boyfriends. But life is life because of the magically intangible strangenesses that salt & pepper everyday experience. Things like how taking but one sip of Orangina in a glass bottle is enough to momentarily convince my inner self that I am twelve years old, standing in a Metro station outside Paris. Or like how if you hear a Beatles song outside the album you're used to hearing it on, you sing the opening notes of the track that comes next on the record in your head.
The screwy novelty of eating dinner at other people's Thai places. How that dude has one jeans cuff rolled up and not the other, maybe because he was fidgeting with them earlier. How, sometimes, it all adds up to be right: the weather, your hair, the song you're listening to. The street, your drink, the memory of that morning. It is all the same as ever, but also, as never. I am obsessed with being connected to the beauty and significance of why that is.
I wanted a green juice so bad, and I got one.
The green juice was the Odwalla kind, called "Life Food." I was standing in line at Kensington's waiting to buy it and I laughed out loud at the absurdity of anorexia, what nonsense I ruined my life in pursuit of. Every cell of me controlled by something so pointless and misguided- misguiding- that I would have perceived drinking a beverage named Life Food to be disgusting- to be bad for me.
I left Kensington's and jammed in my headphones. My iPod shuffle was making a huge deal out of how I should be listening to Holy Ghost Language School by Matthew Friedberger, so I took its word for it. As per usual, my iPod shuffle perfectly intuited the exact right music. The green juice tasted so good, went straight into my veins. It turned into sunshine and hung around me like an aura; it was. I walked through chaotic, buzzing Chinatown, stepping on latticed Fuji apple wrappers and lychee shells. Holy Ghost Language School was wonky and badass. It sounded so punk rock. I was really stoked in my head about how punk rock it suddenly sounded! I felt very punk rock myself. As an entity. It all counted. It ruled, and now Holy Ghost Language School makes me want green juice like nothing else. Craziness.
I have absolutely no idea what I was wearing that afternoon. What I am positing in this article is that accessories make you look good, but anti-accessories make you look cool. They make you look like you; they highlight your own intangible weirdnesses; it all comes together. Anti-accessories are things like green juice, Holy Ghost Language School, the dog you are walking, the screwy face you absently make when you remember something lame you did a few days ago, or the address scrawled in ballpoint on the hand you don't write with. And the best part is, actual accessories can be anti-accessories too!
I am interested in fashion because I am interested in the psychology of how people dress themselves. This essay will take the notion of using clothing as a legitimate means of self-representation and/or -expression a couple hundred steps further. Choosing the exact perfect outfit (and grinning and swaggering because of it) is one of the greatest feelings in the world, but that feeling is so not limited to clothes! You can get the same rush from drinking the right drink at the right bar on the right day of the week, or from the way your t-shirt compliments your dinner. How your eyes are happy, so everybody knows.
And on the days your Kinks song matches your shoes.
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Tags: Abbey Road, anti-accessorizing, Damn the Man, Denmark Street, eating disorder recovery, enthusiastic eating, French from France, Holy Ghost Language School, HOW TO LIVE, intangible weirdnesses, Iron Maiden Vans, John Lennon, John Lennon Cat, Laura loves the Kinks, my parents rule, Sienna Miller, spirit animals, Strongbow, Toronto