2014 “Unword” of the Year

unword of the year

I can’t believe it’s already coming to the end of January. There’s Valentines reminders in every store already, have you noticed? gah. In the twenty-one days this year has been alive, it’s not quite been what I expected. School has piled on way, WAY more work than I anticipated, and my ambition to get it all done has been much, MUCH lower than I hoped. So, needless to say, I’ve been absent from my VMMV baby far more frequently than I imagined. sighhhhhhhhh. 

I know I already did my “word of the year,” but some lovely ladies on some equally as lovely blogs came up with the idea of doing an “unword.” That is, a word you want to “undo” out of your vocabulary (and your life) this year. For some reason, getting rid of something is way easier than resolving to gain something, so the unword wagon is something I jumped on pretty fast. My word? “Unconfidence.” It’s slightly deceiving because I am very confident, it is more confidence and surety in decisions though that I’m going to stop being unconfident about and start being…well, confident about. Unapologetic I suppose—there’s one “un-word” that shouldn’t be gotten rid of and that’s what I’ll be doing in 2014:

  1. Confident that the days I work, and work, and…work, won’t last forever.
  2. Confident that the things I am working for will actually, eventually happen.
  3. Confident that I can only do so much and then letting the rest go
  4. Confident that when I don’t have time to blog, I simply don’t have time and readers may come and readers may go and that’s just how it’s going to be
  5. Confident that the things I have to let slip aren’t going away, just being set aside for a little while
  6. Confident that what I am doing is plenty
  7. Confident about the time I set aside to spend with the people I love is time well spent
  8. Confident about not being the best all the time is still absolutely wonderful
  9. Confident that my time-frame isn’t everyone else’s, and their’s isn’t mine and that’s ok
  10. And, of course, confident that this year will have some wonderful days and some horrible ones and somewhere in the middle there will be created a very special new year.

What’s your unword for this year? What do you want to stop doing? What have you resolved against? Check out all the other unwords here for a few ideas if you’re stuck!

– <3 A. 

Reel Women: If a Man Answers: re-new your relationship

if a man answers

giambattista tweed dress | coral necklace | obi wrap belt | coral pump

There’s lots of new year resolutions to meet someone new, start dating, finally ask that person out, perhaps break up with this person and “find yourself.” But, there are hardly any resolutions to make a current relationship better. “If a Man Answers” is a one of Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin’s more obscure duos, but it honestly has the best plotline for a new year and a resolution to make a special someone even more special.

After a swift relationship, Sandra Dee’s character (Chantal) falls in love with and marries Bobby Darin’s character (Eugene), a photographer. Soon after the honeymoon wears off though, Darin’s character quickly moves his attention off his wife and onto his next beautiful photography model. When Chantal goes to her mother with her husband problems, her mum gives her a dog training book, telling her to use the tips in the book about training a dog on her husband. Though Chantal is slightly horrified, when she comes home to Eugene falling all over himself over a roomful of photography models, she begins to use the “tricks” in an attempt to transform him. After a few weeks, Eugene is a completely changed man: he’s attentive, willingly goes with her shopping, is romantic, and suddenly back to his old, devoted self.

Chantal quickly realizes however that her mother gave her the book not to train Eugene like a dog, but to train Chantal to treat him as well as she would a pet and transform her view of her marriage. Chantal began to intentionally seek out what Eugene’s needs were, she paid attention to his desires, went out of her way to make him comfortable, asked first where he wanted to go before dragging him to every errand on her list. Made his favorite dinner, greeted him with a smile, and welcomed every conversation they had together. Of course it’s not a Darin/Dee movie unless there is some mix-up to the plot–you’ll have to actually watch it to figure that one out–but even in the 1960’s they hit something right on the head: often we treat our pets better than we do our significant others and then we wonder why they aren’t drooling over our every word, longing to spend every moment with us, and jumping for joy when we walk through the door. Perhaps if we started treating them like our most beloved pup they may just figure out how much we really love them…try it, and see if this year your right now relationship doesn’t need to be switched out, re-newed, or rejected, perhaps it just needs both of you thinking less of yourself and more of the other person as the best dog you ever had.

– <3 A. 

If Only: Graceful Resolutions

if onlyif only graceful resolutions

  1. How the Devil are YouKeep in touch
  2. Paperclip Dome: Keep it together
  3. Chalk PadKeep a list
  4. Pomdelion BouquetKeep a sense of humor
  5. Backwards in High HeelsKeep reading

I think that list could help 2014 be slightly more graceful even if not for the majority of it. Attempting to be as graceful as Grace Kelly is a slightly ambitious resolution for a new year, but if only this year I keep in touch instead of keeping too busy, keep it together when I do get busy, keep a list to manage all the busy, keep a sense of humor to keep the busy-ness from getting to me, and keep reading to keep the busy in perspective, this year might just be a very graceful 12 months…If only…

– <3 A. 

DIY Resolution Calendar

resolution calendarresolution calendarThank goodness I finished this project while still in 2013 because if I believed in luck, this little resolution calendar would have spelled some serious bad luck for my new year. For a project that should have taken about an hour, it turned into a December-long hunt for an acrylic frame that could stand up on its own little leg. If you live anywhere near an Ikea though, this frame would be absolutely perfect and you will avoid all of my toils and trials to show you this idea, but since I don’t live near enough to civilization and an Ikea, I had some serious issues: including hammering out a mirror, cracking things that shouldn’t have been cracked, and figuring out gorilla glue is not nearly as super as it says.

Anyway, ignoring my catastrophe, you will need some sort of frame that can stand up on its own, a binder clip, and scrapbook papers to create a resolution for each month of the year. I’m not a resolution-person, but I love the idea of creating a monthly resolution flipbook. Your resolutions are broken up into manageable things to be changed—one a month–and you could even plan out your resolutions for months that you know you will actually accomplish whatever you have in your head. For example, my January is going to be a hideous month packed full of too many things I do not care to do including returning to work and full-time studenthood all in one week. So, my resolution I tucked in my envelope for January is to read a novel of my own choosing, just for fun. It’s simple, not overly ambitious for a month I know I will have less than zero time for anything, yet it’s a little commitment to set aside time for my brain to enjoy a few pages of sheer pleasure. For February, I’m planning on at long last figuring out a few (extremely necessary) blog details I have been too busy lazy to figure out. If I told you all what I still need to figure out most bloggers would probably scream in terror at the fact that I still don’t know these things. I know. That’s why I’m not sharing that little tidbit about myself. It terrifies me that I don’t know it either. But in February? With my little resolution flipbook? I’m going to resolve all that…

– <3 A. 

For the New Year

vintage muse modern viewshappy new yearhappy new yearhappy new yearhappy new yearhappy new yearhappy new yearhappy new yearIn Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Jo and Meg are invited to a New Year’s Eve party and with “the united exertions of the entire [March] family,” the girls finally look elegant enough to go “even though Meg’s high-heeled slippers were very tight and hurt her, though she would not own it, and Jo’s nineteen hairpins all seemed stuck straight into her head, which was not exactly comfortable.” But of course, both girls are quick to remember that despite the tight shoes and the poky pins, they would “be elegant or die” before going to the party looking plain.

I took an unexpected hiatus this week from VMMV. I’ve been meaning to post these pictures since Monday, but a double butter-cream batch and three parties in just as many days means I haven’t had even a moment to get them up. My favorite little women had our annual Christmas party and it was, as usual, the most special of nights. Somehow we all grew up and got far, far too busy but right before a new year begins we all manage to get back together, dress up, and make another New Year’s resolution to be the most elegant little women we can be. It’s a resolution just vague enough to avoid certain failure and noble enough to be worthy of a fresh start. It’s a resolution for poise under any circumstance, for being simple yet graceful, and, according to Webster, being “pleasingly ingenious on any occasion.” So, in 2014, “let us be elegant or die!” The March sisters strived to be and that’s good enough a model for me.

– <3 A. 

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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