I have quite a bit of Christmas music. I get more albums, more artists, more singles, every year. It ranges from classic carols by Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley, to originals from bands I've never heard of. This year, I will save you all the trouble I put myself through of searching through the hundreds of Christmas albums on iTunes, looking for just the right versions of just the right songs. I have compiled what I like to think of as the ultimate Christmas music list, divided into classics and originals.
(FYI: The song titles link to the song's Wikipedia page, so you can learn more about the original songs and all the covers. If you're interested in that kind of thing. I am.)
***Update: Grooveshark no longer exists, so there's no playlist to listen to here, but you can find all these songs on iTunes to listen to!
Santa Baby - Kylie Minogue
All I Want for Christmas Is You - Olivia Olson
Auld Lang Syne - Various Artists
Sleigh Ride - Karmin
Silent Night - Taylor Swift
Blue Christmas - Gift Horse
Feliz Navidad - Boney M
Carol of the Bells - The Bird and the Bee
Christmas Wrapping - Glee
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy - Jack Conte
Deck the Rooftop - Glee
Joy to the World - Train
Winter Wonderland - Jason Mraz
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Cole NeSmith
Happy XMas - Vanessa Carlton
Little Drummer Boy - Sumo Cyco
O Holy Night - Glee
White Christmas - Katy Perry
If you take away her crazy costumes and pop beats, this girl has such a beautiful, almost gritty voice. While this song can sometimes be upbeat, Katy slows it down. Without becoming boring.
I wanted to try to make a Christmas tree using the leaf tip. Yes, it took a long time. Yes, my hand started to hurt. But, I like how it looked with just the little silver balls. I like simple, minimalist when it comes to cakes.
red food coloring in oil // carved & iced // fondant on
icing mess // adding some blood // bloody hearts
photo shoot props // after holding one for photos // digging in
birthday dinner (2 + 3 = 23) // birthday dessert
My original idea involved a pencil skirt, which screams pin-up to me, but after not being able to find appropriate yellow fabric to make one, I remembered I had a yellow skirt (vintage square dancing skirt from Grandma) that would also work.
The "make" part of the costume was mostly the shirt. I bought a blue collared shirt from Value Village, glued white t-shirt fabric inside the collar, glued red t-shirt pieces on the sleeves and sewed (because the glue soaked through) yellow ribbon on the shortened sleeves. I also safety pinned tulle to a strip of fabric to make a sort of tutu, to give the skirt some "poof". From there, the details were all pin-up classics. Bandana, short bangs, big hair, red lips, cat eyes, mary jane pumps. The little heart on my cheek is Marina and the Diamonds inspired, just because.
I was having trouble thinking of a theme for November. I was thinking of how it's not quite full-on Christmas mode yet, or even full-on winter yet, but things are starting to get cold and cozy, which made me think of home. But, then thinking of home also made me think of "home is where your heart is" and sometimes traveling is home. While this time of year is starting to make me feel "homey" with all the warm and fuzzy Christmas traditions, it's also giving me cabin fever. I suddenly have the urge to move (across town or across the country), get out of the city, travel somewhere new. I guess I'll just have to get my fix of "anywhere but here" in my usual place: movies.
Watch: Human Planet
While you're looking around your warm and cozy home, possibly starting to fill up with Christmas decor, do you ever stop to think what other people all over the world are doing right this moment? What do their homes and lives look like? How do they spend their days? Well, lucky for you this show answers those questions. The series takes a look at the lives of varying groups of people all over the world and how they live, build their homes, feed their families, and have fun.
Read: In Spite of Killer Bees
Okay, okay. I know you're sick of me just recommending teenage girl novels every month. Frankly, that's 90% of my fiction. I think it's time for me to acquire some "grown-up" novels, not only for my self but for the sake of my blog. I promise this will be my last teen novel, if you promise to read it. It's a story of three sisters, all very different, coming together to live in a dead relatives home in a new town. The youngest sister is trying to make friends despite wearing the strangest outfits possible, the middle sister is the typical wild child, and the oldest sister is the mother figure. The dynamic sounds pretty formulaic, but the story is really interesting and takes a lot of crazy turns.
Listen: Ellie Goulding
Let's continue, shall we? This half of the list is filled with movies that are really some of my all-time favorites. I think that's because, at these older ages, I had more immediate access to movies, so the movies of these years I was actually watching in these years. As influential as some of the 90's movies were on my childhood, these movies were influential in a different way, as I was more aware of their influence. With the Internet and what-not, I was able to really embrace my movie obsessions with DVD extras, downloadable wallpapers, website extras, IMDb.com fun facts, movie posters, and other media. And then there's just the scientific fact that I can remember my teenage & recent years much more clearly than my childhood years, so I still have strong memories attached to each of these movies.
Before there were all those Nicholas Sparks movies to choose from, there was this, the ultimate teenage, ultimate romantic, ultimate chick-flick. I remember this being the best example of the perfect love story, the perfect romantic nice boy. So, when I found a boy that said he actually loved this movie, he seemed perfect, too. Of course, he wasn't. But when you're this young, it's nice to have too good to be true love stories to help your daydreams of a perfect boy out there somewhere....
This movie was a big part of my life story because it was one of the first movies I ever downloaded when I was 14. Which means that I watched it many, many, times because when I felt like watching a movie, I had a very small selection to choose from. Although I was a little older than 13 when I watched this, I related to it so much. Stuff I was going through currently, or had when I was much younger. The dynamic between the two girls was so familiar to me. I was also fascinated with the movie because it was "Indie", something I was just starting to learn about. Independent film. And this indie movie in particular was more interesting because I learned that one of the stars of the movie, Nikki Reed, had in fact co-written the script based on her own life. It doesn't get any more real than that.
This movie blew my mind. (Just like another 2004 movie,
The Butterfly Effect
, but I had to pick just one.) I'm sure it wasn't until after seeing it five times that I could make sense of it all. But I love movies that challenge my brain like that. Sure, it's nice to just sit back and enjoy a story going on in front of your face. But once in a while a movie comes along that really makes me think. That makes me watch it again and again. That makes me shell out the cash to actually buy the DVD so that I can see all the behind-the-scenes extras. Michel Gondry is a genius. You have to see the behind the scenes stuff of how he made so many of the movies effects live, right there, in front of the camera, not digitally in post. Amazing stuff.
This movie sparked my need to travel. A road trip around America is now in my life plans. This movie just makes me want to hit the road! And also be super confident and quirky like Kirsten Dunst. As usual. I think there's a pattern in my favorite movies from high school in that they all feature a female character that I wanted to be more like. I also loved their relationship in that they're getting to know each other, becoming close, and, sure there's some sexual tension, but really they're becoming friends. This movie is nostalgic, hilarious, romantic, strange, thoughtful... Just everything I was looking for.
For my 17th birthday, it was a choice between
to see in theatres. I think
won and I was delighted with the overall prettiness of the movie while all my friends were bored by the slow plot. But that didn't mean that I didn't see
as soon as I could get my hands on it, and immediately become obsessed with it, the fashion, Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol, the 60's, New York, everything about it. To this day, I still love Edie and everything 60's.
This movie is important to this time in my life partly just for the pop culture of it. So many jokes quoted amongst people, references and parodies in other media. I think this movie at this time is remembered by most people. I also have a very specific memory of the night I saw this movie in theatres. I was in college, just starting to make friends. A group of film students were all going to see it, so I went with my new BFF Jason as my "date". I remember we had really bad seats because the place was packed and that Jason kept joking that we should have a baby and rubbing my stomach to which I would swat him away and say "Ew!"
I'm not a Twi-hard, or anything close, but I have read the books and seen the movies and for a while I was a bit caught up in the hype. I saw the first
with my friend for her birthday, without knowing anything about it, and we both came out swooning over Robert Pattinson for the rest of the night. I went on the read the books, which I enjoyed, and have kept up with the movies, but not rushing to see them in theatres. But this Twilight makes the list because, yes, for a while this was my go-to romance movie, my Hollywood crush, and I still have fond memories of that fun birthday night with Kim.
This is one of those movies, like
, that I like to watch just to be immersed in the visuals of the world, the vibe, the fashion, the characters, just the overall feeling it gives me. Yes, it gets dark with all the weird time travel stuff, and I do like that, but it's also the dreamy lightness of other parts of the movie. The girls driving across the dessert, best friends, their aloofness with strangers, the long flowing hair, the pretty dresses, the freedom of it all... And then there's the fun of trying to wrap my head around all the tiny details, and trying to fit the multiple time traveling story together. It's another movie that makes me want to jump in the car and just drive.
I immediately loved the style of this movie. They managed to combine a movie, a comic and a video game into one delightful masterpiece. It's hilarious, it's
al, it's bad ass. The characters are all so distinct in their personality and their appearance. You can really tell that it was adapted from a comic book if you notice how every character has a very specific style, shape, silhouette. It was also really fun to watch because it is set & filmed in Toronto, where some of my friends live. Scott is so adorkably loveable, Romana is so badass, and the rest, I just want to be friends with. After seeing the movie, I wanted to read the comics and I love them even more. The story actually extends over a couple years and includes the mundane life stuff juxtaposed with the video game style battles every so often. It's such a fun world to dive into.
I was looking forward to this movie for at least a year before it came out. The actresses, the concept, the imagery, I was addicted from the beginning. And it did not disappoint. I also got to see it in one of the new fancy theatres with comfy seats and amazing surround sound. (That was actually a bit too much sometimes. I didn't really need to feel the vibrations of the giant warriors stomping.) This movie is just exactly my definition of bad ass. The girls are sexy, but standing up for themselves, there's action and adventure and some kick ass tunes. I love escaping in this world(s). I heard a lot of people thought it was silly and stupid, but I think it's brilliant.
We'll have to wait and see...
Writing about all of these movies has brought back so many memories of my life attached to these movies. I can really look back on my life match movies to times in my life. I can remember watching certain movies with certain people at certain times. Things like who introduced me to that movie, the songs that I got from that movie, the boy I was hanging out with while I watched that movie, what movies I watched at my birthday parties, at friend's houses, which ones I saw in theatres, rented, borrowed, downloaded, bought, how many times I've watched them, things I noticed upon second and third viewings, things I learned from the IMDb trivia or DVD extras. Basically, movies have defined my life, at least since I was about 13 and really started acquiring movies, learning more about them, and getting attached to visual themes, characters, stories, directors, genres. My life is defined by the movies I watch. Maybe in another 23 years, I'll look back and see what movies defined those years of my life...
Remember that time on Gilmore Girls, when Lane made a playlist for Lorelei's birthday party featuring a song for every year she was alive? Of course you do. I thought I would attempt something like that, but since I'm not much of a music fanatic, I'm going to do My Life in Movies!
I chose movies that are some of my favorites, of course, and if there was more than one good movie for a year (1995, 1999, 2005 & 2006 were particularly full of options!) I chose the movie that was the biggest part of my life at the time, since this is the movies of my life!
Well, despite when it was released, The Little Mermaid (and Ariel's red hair) has been one of my favorites throughout the years. After analyzing my favorite Disney princess movies later in life, I came to the conclusion that the reason my favorites (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast) were my favorites were because they had more of a story between our heroine and her true love. The early movies (Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty) only had a brief meeting of the two at the beginning and then he just shows up at the end to kiss her and live happily ever after. I mean, really? Is that what little girls were taught to think true love means? Disney finally got its act together and started giving their lovers more time to get to know each other before "true love's first kiss", which gives the movies a much more entertaining story than a girl living alone in the woods.
1990: Edward Scissorhands
I wasn't introduced to Edward Scissorhands, and Tim Burton in general, until friends exposed me to it in high school. I particularly loved this Tim Burton movie for the contrast of dark, creepy Edward in the pastel, sunny, suburban neighborhood and people. It's one thing to make an overall creepy movie, but I think sticking a horror movie creature in this happy, well-lit, perfectly groomed world is what makes Edward Scissorhands stand out.
1991: The Addams Family
Wednesday Addams, you're my soul sister. I feel you, girl. Wednesday's deadpan attitude and little goth girl wardrobe made her a bit of a role model. I can remember absolutely delighting in the Addams family's weirdness. They liked things that everyone else thought were scary, disgusting, or just plain wrong. Since I was a kid, I've reveled in liking things that no one else liked. (I still love to stroll through cemeteries.) I loved catching an Addams Family movie on TV and watching The New Addams Family TV show all day. Weird is just right up my ally.
1992: Sister Act
I haven't seen this movie in a really long time, guys. But I remember that I loved it. Whoopi Goldberg gettin' all spirited and jammin' with the nuns. It's musical, it's funny. Good times. (I really need to watch it again soon.)
1993: Hocus Pocus
I just watched this movie, of course, as it is that magical time of year! Everyone has seen this movie, right? I assume that all these old movies that I remember from my childhood must have been played on TV a lot otherwise I wouldn't have seen them. I guessing some channel would play this every year around Halloween. I watch it every year and I never get sick of it. I love their witch outfits, the cute story, the fun adventure. It's just not Halloween without a little Hocus Pocus, right?
1994: Only You
A friend put on this movie once at her house and I went "Oh my god, I know this movie!". I guess I must have seen it on TV once upon a time. Since then, I've enjoyed this movie for it's beautiful Italian views, a young Robert Downey Jr., and the classic they-hate-each-other-until-they-realize-they-love-each-other love story. Oh, and to cringe at the horrible 90's fashions. Eek.
I think Clueless was an important movie for every girl in the 90's. Whether you were a kid, like I was, looking up to teenagers because they were just so cool and you couldn't wait to be one or you were a teenager idolizing the Beverly Hills lifestyle, Cher and Dion became our new role models. Clueless was pretty influential on my young mind, mostly just the fashion. But I think it's important that I point out that I wanted to coordinate dresses with my BFF only for about a month, and then I was over it- back to being weird Tish.
1996: The Craft
Another 90's teen movie that I remember influencing me as a kid. But this one stuck with me more as I became more obsessed with it when I was in grade 9 and wanted to wear all black and white and be a badass bitch like Nancy walking down the school halls. It's aesthetically the opposite of Clueless, and yet the same in many ways. The group of girls accepting the new girl and giving her a "makeover", the girl power, the mistakes and lessons....
1997: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
I came across several other movies I could have chosen for this year, but I stuck with Austin Powers because as far as "movies of my life", this one was the most significant (of this year). I can forever blame Mike Meyers for giving me the sense of humor of an immature boy laughing at poop and penis jokes because of this movie. This is really the only big comedy movie I remember seeing at quite a young age, and I think it truly formed my sense of what to find funny. Because I still think Mike Meyers' stupid gags are funny. Even though I know they're stupid...
1998: Practical Magic
Another witchy movie that I clinged to growing up, and on into teenagerdom. I was so jealous of these girls who got to grow up with magic, cast spells, and have powers. As with a lot of movies with two opposite main characters, I identified more with one, but wished I was more like the other. Of course, I'm more like boring Sally with her brown hair and her "normal" life, but I wanted to be adventurous and wild like Jilly. She traveled, met interesting people, shacked up with hot men, partied all day- what a life! I also envied their deep sister bond. I think growing up, I was always looking for that one true BFF-soul-sister that I could always count on like this.
If you ask me to name just one favorite movie, this title comes to mind first. For my formative years, this movie was my ultimate guide to life, inspiration, every thing I wanted to be. Ya, basically for a long time I thought a mental institution was the way to go. You get to just hang out and be as weird as you want and not have a job or any responsibilities. Seemed like a sweet deal. I also really identified with the main character, Susanna, who was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. And, at the same time, I wished I was more like sociopath Lisa. This movie started my interest in psychology, mental disorders, and convincing myself I had some sort of personality disorder. I also got the book that this movie was based on, and delved even further into the real life story of Susanna's time in the loony bin. While the movie tells a good story, and gives us a look into each character's mind, the book gives a good explanation of what it was really like inside her head while she was dealing with her "craziness". I've watched this movie so many times that I have it completely memorized and can't watch it anymore. :(
2000: Dude, Where's My Car?
This is an example of my low standard of comedy in my younger days. I can remember watching a lot of "guy-funny" movies when I was younger that I now despise. (ie. American Pie, Road Trip, etc.) But this one I still find pretty funny. "Zoltan!"
2001: Moulin Rouge!
Oh, my goodness. One of my favorite movies ever. One of the best movies ever. Epic. Beautiful. Magical. Sigh... I want to watch it right now just thinking about it! I can remember "discovering" this movie in high school and making everyone watch it when they would come over because I thought it was just the most amazing thing ever. The closing credits song "Bolero" is 8 minutes of glorious musical magic, that I've listened to countless times. One of my favorite songs ever. An epic masterpiece. The movie. The music. Sigh...
This seems like a good place to stop. Half way through life so far and also the year that my family moved across the province and I had to make new friends to watch movies with.
Click here for Part 2 of my life in movies in which I really begin my movie obsession, learn how to download movies, and discover some of my favorite filmmakers.
All That's Left of Him
a) I saw her in Pitch Perfect. She played a very quiet Asian girl who has some of the funniest lines.
b) When I found her on IMDb, her photo was this:
It's that very special time of year, folks. But, before we get to the straight-up Halloween movies, let's ease into the theme of the holiday with some magical movies.
Now, I've had a thing for movies and TV shows to do with magic and witches since I was a wee youngin'. I suppose it was just one type of the wider fantasy genre that I latched onto. I was always dreaming about finding an ancient spellbook or amulet in the attic that would give me my magical powers. I think most of that comes from wanting to be special. (Woah, Tish. Calm down, this isn't therapy.) My friends and I even pretended to be witches for while and when I was older, my love of
led me to discovering
, and I was actually really into that for a while.
My witchy childhood aside, magic in movies is usually reserved for us girls. Once upon a time, we were just the evil witches ruining the Disney princesses' lives, but over the years, and particularly during the girl power revolution of the 90's, we started to see more female-starring movies, including magical movies. Witches no longer had to be old hags. They were beautiful young women- teenagers, even. And magic didn't have to be evil, it was used for good- even fun! Unfortunately, I'm long past those formative teenage years when girls get the "You're a witch!" notice. But, it's fun to watch some witchy movies and daydream that it's still not too late for me to discover some ancient token that will finally give me my powers...
What movie could have been better for my young, impressionable mind but a witch-romance combo? Well, probably a lot of things, but I fell in love with Nicole Kidman's flowing orange hair and goth-boho style, Sandra Bullock's hair, too, actually, the sister-sister bond, the occult style, the beautiful Victorian house in the idyllic coastal town, and "midnight margaritas!" Although, I kind of hate Sally for rejecting her inner witch and going on and on about wanting to be "normal". Why would you want to be normal when you can be magical?! I think she just has really low self-esteem and the childhood taunts of "Witch! Witch! You're a bitch!" really broke her spirits. While some magical movies are focused on the magic, this movie really just uses it as a tool to tell a story of sisters, family, and tolerance.
Now this one is definitely, maybe a movie that was not so good for my impressionable young mind. I became just slightly obsessed with it in grade 9. I started dressing in all black and white, pleated skirts, collared shirts like they do. (Ya, my somewhat-goth phase.) Nancy (Fairuza Balk) was of course my favorite. I mean, yes, she goes crazy and evil, but I identified with her so much. Not the evil crazy thing, but because she was way more into this stuff than the rest of them. She wanted to complete the circle, she taught them everything, she was the leader. And she looked so badass while doing it, amiright?
Ah, 90's high school movies. There's nothing like 'em, right? I feel like this story is almost the opposite of another 90's high school movie,
. Here, we are with the losers of the school, instead of the popular kids. Sabrina just wants to fit in at her school, and then suddenly she finds out she's even more of an outsider than she thought. (Who else was hoping for that news on your 16th birthday? Anyone?) Poor, naive teenagers always wanting to fit in. Again- Why be normal when you can be magical?! Fortunately, for all of us, Sabrina learns to appreciate and love being a witch. So much that she continues to use (or misuse) her magic for 7 seasons of the following TV series!
Yes, I'm going to talk about the recent movie, not the original series. This is Movie Marathon, okay? Also, I haven't seen the series. I'm sure I caught bits of episodes here and there, but I'm no expert. Each witch movie has its own witch rules. In
they fight demons, Sabrina points her finger, some witches are old school with spells and potions, but in
world, it's a nose twitch (or an ear tug). It also appears that witches live in their own world where they use their magic freely and only a crazy witch would want to live in the mortal world where she has to hide her magic and do crazy stuff like get a job. (Does she really, though? I mean, she just magicked up herself a house, a car, home furnishings, and anything else she needed first.) This is definitely a magic-lite movie. None of the negative aspects of a magical life. It's all sunshine and lollipops and Will Ferrell.
This is one of the rare times that I will include a movie in a Movie Marathon that is actually just bad.
The Worst Witch
is one of the worst movies. But in a delightful, 80's, bad special effects, Tim Curry kind of way. Which means it's actually worth a watch. See, bad movies can be bad in a boring, forgetful way or a "This is so bad! Look at that! That's so awful! And now they're doing what?! Oh my god, I can't believe someone was allowed to make this movie!" way. At the very least you have to check out the best worst part of the movie. Tim Curry aka The Grand Wizard is introduced to the students in this horrifying, trippy
. It's also clearly where J.K. Rowling got her idea of a school of witchcraft and wizardry. While I didn't discover the movie until much later, I watched the TV show growing up. And consequently dreamed of a witchcraft boarding school with cute uniforms, broomstick riding lessons, and mandatory pet cats.
I only discovered Hayao Miyazaki's movies a few years ago, so I'm always jealous when someone says they grew up watching his movies, including this magical delight. I can only imagine how seeing this movie as a child would have led to even more daydreams about being sent off at age thirteen to begin my witch training. I mean, I was already in love with the idea of black cats, spellbooks, and secret worlds. This story of a young witch somehow manages to be magical and yet mundane in that she uses her magical powers, not for fun as any 13 girl would be expected to, but to start her own business. I mean, when I was thirteen I wanted to start my own occult shop online, but it never happened. Maybe if I had a talking cat and a broomstick, my entrepreneurial dreams would have come true a lot sooner.
October, to me, is always the excitement of my impending birthday, seeing fun Halloween decorations, costumes and items in stores, watching the leaves change colors, that distinct smell of a chilly Autumn night, pumpkins, scarecrows and other Autumn decorations. Halloween is the one day of the year that everyone tries to be an outsider, but I'm a Halloween baby, and I was born this way. ;)
Listen: Marina and the Diamonds
Read: Alice, I Think
Looking Forward to...
Paisley Confetti Cake
Polka Dot Cake
Wilton Display Board Cakes
How to make a cupcake bouquet! I love this one that looks like hydrangeas.
Course 1: Decorating Basics
Ribbon rose, swirled drop flower and leaves.
Course 2: Flowers & Cake Design
Wilton rose, primrose, apple blossom and leaves.
Course 3: Gum Paste & Fondant
Rose, calla lily.
Course 4: Advanced Gum Paste Flowers
Lily, sweet pea, and stephanotis.