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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New Years Table-scape and DIY Twineballs

Ok, I gave up, New Years is happening so I decided to give it a nod and put up something festive.

new years tablescape

Twine-balls are everywhere, I’ve seen them decking weddings, parties, baby showers, and now, you’ll be seeing them at your New Years party if you feel like kicking off 2013 with a little arts and crafts. It took me about an hour and a half to make these guys (not counting drying time) and they make quite the impact I think when hung over whatever table-scape you’re planning.

Twine-balls:

new years decorating ideas

  • Mix the corn starch, water, and glue together until the mixture is starting to thicken. You might have to play around with the proportions a bit to get the consistency right. I had to make this mixture twice in order to coat enough twine for four, rather large balloons. (**confession: I wanted to make the twine-balls gold so I tried pouring gold paint in with the mixture but it ended up making a murky grey color so, don’t try and skip a step, just make the twine-balls and then spray-paint them whatever color you want later. I ended up deciding to paint them a chic black anyway.)
  • Place a rod between two chairs so you have something to tie the balloons on while you’re working.
  • Blow up the balloons to the size you want and tie them to the rod with some twine.

diy twineballs

  • Coat the twine in the glue mixture and then just start winding the twine around    the balloons until you have as much twine as you want coating the balloon. It’s a bit messy so put some paper down to protect your floor and it’s also a good idea to have an extra set of hands to help hold the balloon steady while you are applying the glue-soaked twine:

diy new years craft

diy twineballs

**A note on drying time: this really depends on the weather, how warm your house is, how much glue you have on the twine etc. You should be able to tell if it’s dry by touching the balloons to see if the twine has made a hardened shell.

  • After the twine feels dry, spray paint the balloons whatever color you desire. I’ve done this project before and just left them white and I thought they turned out beautiful. For New Years though, I wanted something a bit more dramatic so I went for the black. (**if you want to hang these outside, don’t forget to also add a protective coat of clear spray-paint, otherwise if the twine gets wet the balls will deflate. Trust me, I forgot to do that step before and I was left with strange, soggy, limp twine.)

diy twineballs

  • After the paint dries, just cut a tiny hole in the balloon to let the air out SLOWLY. The balloon will separate itself from the twine and then you’re left with a pretty impressive globe:

new years decorations

DSC_0285-001

diy twineballs new years decorations

I think these twineballs are so fun because they’re so versatile:  you could hang them around a light bulb for a chandelier effect, make miniature ones to place over twinkle-light strands, hang outside for a garden party, or even over a crib for a mobile. I paired the balls with some vintage decanters I just discovered at Salvation Army. I got the entire tray of decanters plus the champagne glasses seen in yesterday’s post for a whopping $18! Pretty nifty, yes? Hope this inspires you and (almost) Happy New Year!

– <3 A. 

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Mango and Mint Ice Bellinis and Homemade Ice Bowl

Over the Christmas holiday I made a trip to Anthropologie and stumbled across this pretty fantastic find:

vintage tea party

It’s pretty much like a blog in a book. Complete with gorgeous pictures, DIY ideas, recipes, party ideas, style tips and tricks, and, in the authoress Angel Adoree‘s own words, “expect glamour, roses, rabbits, headscarves, foxes, teapots, parlour games, cakestands” and everything that is beautiful about vintage. You definitely will be seeing more peeks into this gem, but I wanted to share this drink recipe in case you’re hunting for a super classy way to ring in the New Year.

Mango and Mint Ice Bellinis

vintage new years drink recipe

new years eve drink recipe

new years drink ideas

I marked this right away while I was flipping through the pages of my new love. I’m not much of a drinker of the alcoholic beverages but you simply canNOT have a New Year’s Eve without just a splash of champagne. Plus, these looked so simple yet oh so fancy, I had to give them a try.

new years eve drink recipe

Mango and Mint Ice Cubes:

  • The recipe says you could use juice or fresh mangoes. I went the easy route and just poured mango juice into an ice tray. If you don’t like mangoes, any sort of juice would be delicious, I think raspberry might be in my next attempt at this.
  • Let the juice-cubes freeze for about 45 minutes to an hour and then place a mint leaf in the center of each cube and let them freeze completely.

ice bowl:

  • Place a small metal or plastic bowl into a larger bowl and place something heavy inside the smaller bowl so it doesn’t float completely.
  • Pour water into the space between the bowls. You can play around with this depending on how big you want the hole to be in your bowl. I think it would be fun to do a square or other shapes too.
  • Let the bowl freeze completely and then remove the ice carefully. Angel says if you have trouble (and I did) taking the ice bowl out of the metal, run a little lukewarm water over the outside of the metal bowl to loosen it.
  • Pop some cubes into the champagne glasses, place the rest in the ice bowl, and enjoy!

new years drink recipe

new years eve drink recipe

vintage new years eve drink recipe

Doesn’t it look so fancy!? I was impressed by how it turned out and it really was super simple. Give yourself enough time to let the ice bowl freeze otherwise it will melt before your guests have a chance to gush about your party-skills, and trust me, they will gush!

– <3 A. 

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