Resolve

holiday inn irving berlinI usually don’t do New Years resolutions, I’d really rather not set myself up for failure…and that’s not self-deprecation, that’s just me being happily realistic. But this year I’m resolving on a few things, not really goals or achievements, but more like mental sticky notes. We watched Irving Berlin’s 1942 film Holiday Inn for New Year’s Eve. It doesn’t get the hype like White Christmas does, but I honestly think I love it even more. Perhaps because I’m entering this year with new creative eyes since beginning the blog, but this time around watching it, the movie inspired me in ways it never has. If you haven’t seen it, Holiday Inn follows Bing Crosby as he leaves his upscale, New York City showbiz life to live on a farm and seek a quieter life. When he realizes farm-life isn’t as “slow” as he imagined it to be, he gets the bright idea to bring New York life to the country and open the Holiday Inn, an inn that offers performances only on holidays. A love-triangle, some Fred Astaire dance numbers, and a few Irving Berlin song debuts sung, of course, by Bing, pretty much sums up the movie.

This year, I identified with Bing’s character Jim Hardy: not because we share similar life-paths, although I did abandon my job to pursue something a little off the beaten path much like he did, though I have nothing like his success of opening an Inn to boast about. Instead, I think the things he learned on the way to his successes are something that I should keep in mind while pursuing whatever path I choose to go down in 2013.

holiday inn 1942 film

Resolutions

Don’t be afraid of abandoning dreams. Bing’s dream when he left show business was to live quietly in the country. He dreamt of an ideal pastoral life as a farmer, far away from the stress and shallowness of city life on the stage. When he discovered farming was so NOT the ideal he imagined it to be, he wasn’t afraid to admit failure, and not give up, but drastically rethink his initial dream. Mental Sticky Note #1:  I’m pretty stubborn about my dreams. When I latch onto an idea I usually try whatever is necessary to make it work. Sometimes though, letting go of dreams opens up the possibility to dream of something new that you never would have seen while you were doggedly driving after something that couldn’t work.

Don’t give up too soon. Even after Bing gave up his farm for the Holiday Inn, he struggled to make his new vision a productive reality. Sticky Note #2: I’m forever expecting instant assurance a decision was the right one or an unavoidable red flag to tell me to turn back. But, sometimes, being patient and trusting is all you can do while you wait to see where a decision has led.

Contentedness is rare no matter where you are. Disgruntled in show business, disgusted with farm life, and often distressed by the Holiday Inn, Bing is forever searching for something he doesn’t have.

holiday inn 1942

Sticky Note #3: Be careful where you expect to gain your happiness, more often than not like Bing discovered, what you’re working on won’t give you much back. What will give back though are the people you’re working for. If they’re happy, you’ll be happy, and you’ll know it and everything will be worth while.

 Holiday Inn 1942

Independence shouldn’t bring solitude. When Bing attempts to keep his creative ambitions to himself and resist the encroachment of the entertainment world he fled from, he finds himself not just independent in rural Connecticut, but quite, quite alone. Sticky Note #4: Doing things for yourself are all well and good, but putting those things ahead of the people who will love you with or without success is never a good idea.

Holiday Inn is always a must-watch for my holiday, but this is the first year I watched it on New Year’s Eve and I think I’m going to keep it that way. It’s a nice reminder of things to look forward to in the coming year, and brush a little of the post-holiday blues away. Happy New Year everyone! I wanted to especially thank all of you who have been regularly visiting VMMV. Your readership keeps me motivated to keep writing, and I love each and every bit of feedback I get. I have mixed feelings of excitement and trepidation about 2013, the unknown is always a bit foreboding but I’ve got a few mental sticky notes stuck pretty tight in my mind to help me face the new year and hopefully make it a grand one.

– <3 A.

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Stylin’ it “White Christmas”

white christmas irving berlin

December isn’t December, and Christmas isn’t Christmas without watching “White Christmas.” I’m always envious of how absolutely picture-perfect their holiday is: an adorable inn set in the woods of Vermont, snow, some Irving Berlin tunes, and hot milk and sandwiches eaten by an open fire.

Probably my favorite part of the movie though isn’t really Christmas-ey at all, it’s the Haynes sisters’ chic wardrobe: perfectly tailored and unfailingly classy, their sweater sets, pumps, gowns, and even robes just scream “feminine.”

white christmas haynes sisters

white christmas haynes sisters

Regardless of where you’re spending your Christmas, even if it’s not the ideal, snowy woods of the East Coast, you probably (or, rather, hopefully) have a few holiday parties on your calendar: perhaps a coffee date, a meet the parents night (eek!), the looming office-Christmas-bash, or an evening at the Nutcracker. If you’re fretting about what to wear, channel a little Haynes sisters this year and go for a modern view on some classic, feminine chic:

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1. J. Crew “Sara” dress | 2. Modcloth Tracy Reese Orchestral Arrangement Dress | 3. J. Crew “Heidi” gown

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4. Modcloth A Lady and a Collar Top | 5. Etched Stretch Bracelet | 6. Scalloped Teardrop Princess Earrings

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7. Rosemary Pumps in Wine | 8. Modcloth Back to classic Skirt | 9. Modcloth Lace Your Love Grosgrain Cardigan

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10. Modcloth Just Teal a Story Dress | 11. Over the Moon Heels | 12. Modcloth My own Rendition earrings in Mint

Shopping isn’t really one of my favorite things, but with a little vintage musing, it’s so much easier to brave the stores in search of a modern version of the picture-perfect image in my head. I think with a little help from the Haynes sisters, this year’s round of holiday meet-and-greets will be such a breeze, hope you’re inspired!

– <3 A. 

The #1 Problem in America

Did you guess at what problem I would choose? There’s a lot to choose from. The #1 problem I’m talking about though isn’t a political, social, or even an economical one. Although, at the end of this post you might disagree with me. The problem I’m talking about is this:

billboard top 100

The number one pop song in America right now according to Billboard music charts is Maroon 5’s “One More Night.” I don’t like Maroon 5, I usually don’t like most of the top 100, and I usually don’t even try to listen to the radio. I guess a whole lot of people disagree with me though because enough listeners in America made DJ’s all across the country play this song enough for it to hit #1. Have you heard the song? Have you listened to the lyrics?

“You and I get so…dysfunctional we stopped keeping score
You and I get sick, yah I know that we can’t do this no more

But baby there you again, there you again making me love you
Yeah I stopped using my head, using my head let it all go
Got you stuck on my body, on my body like a tattoo
And now i’m feeling stupid, feeling stupid crawling back to you
So I cross my heart, and I hope to die, that I’ll only stay with you one more night
And I know I said it a million times
But i’ll only stay with you one more night”

The song is, I guess, about love. A pretty crazy sort of love. A love that says even though this relationship is so NOT working, if I can get one more night then that’s good enough. And, apparently, the girl is ok with it. And, apparently, enough people identify with this relationship-catastrophe that they love to listen to it–over, and over, and over again.

Because I was curious, I looked up what the #1 hit was in America in 1940. The song was “Only Forever” by Bing Crosby. If the lyrics are any clue, I’d take it that love in the 1940’s was a little bit different:

“Do I want to be with you
As the years come and go?
Only forever
If you care to know.
Would I grant all your wishes
And be proud of the task
Only forever
If someone should ask.
How long would it take me
To be near if you beckon?
Off hand I would figure
Less than a second.
Do you think I’ll remember
How you looked when you smile?
Only forever
That’s puttin’ it mild”

So, if a fella’ sang one of those songs to you, which would you press repeat for? “I’ll only stay with you one more night,” or “Do I want to be with you/As the years come and go?/Only forever/If you care to know.” I think I’ve made my decision.

Bing Crosby

If pop culture is any reflection of the culture at large, and, by its definition, it is, then America has a serious problem. For some reason, we like to listen to men who overtly declare they will only be sticking around for one more night. We love lyrics about bad love, and we idolize guys who tell us they are “feeling stupid crawling back to you” instead of boasting of taking “less than a second…to be near if you beckon.”

You may consider the 1940’s archaic; sweet perhaps, but not the raw realism of today’s culture. Whatever it is though, I’d much rather listen to and be loved “Only Forever.”

 – <3 A.