Friday, December 11, 2009

"Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open."- John Barrymore

Do you know when I feel sexiest? When I'm happy. It's a stupidly simple formula-- when you feel good, you feel good. People tend to discount it because of the fact it is so simple, which is probably one of the worst mistakes you can make. I'm having a good day today; I got my monstrous paper for one of my classes finished last night and handed it in; it was sunny, even though it was ass-numbingly cold out; I'm looking forward to going out and catching up with a friend later; I got paid and so am out of over-draw in my bank account; I've got a lot of other things going well and making me happy right now. What can I say? I'm a lucky girl. And the best part is, is that I know it. I'm not taking anything for granted at the moment; I'm just living moment-to-moment, like a particularly felicitous hitch-hiker.

Though it's nearly impossible to whip yourself into a good mood, I've found a few things that never fail to work for me:

- One of the things that makes me feel happiest is to grab a good cup of coffee, get my new monthly issues of Cosmopolitan and Glamour, and read, sip, and relax to some good music. Indulge yourself harmlessly like this. It's my once-a-month date with myself. Spend time for yourself, by yourself. Your time is precious. You give it to other people. Now give that same gift to yourself.

- Make a playlist of songs that make you crack a smile every time you hear them. Music is one of the greatest mood-elevators of all. Just hearing a familiar song from someone else's headphones makes me grin. Today, I passed a guy blasting Beck's "Girl," which is one of my all-time favorite songs, let alone one of the ringtones in my phone I love to hear go off.
Here are a few I love:
"I'll Be Your Man"- The Black Keys
"Mama's Room"- Under The Influence Of Giants
"Girl"- Beck
"Love You Madly"- Cake
"Who Knows"- Marion Black
"Do What You Want"- OK Go

- Around this time of year, I love going for chilly strolls downtown to see the lights and decorations. Church Street is beautiful. Check out your own metropolitan area-- the lights and people-watching are superb. Make up stories about passer-bys over coffee or tea or hot chocolate for some free amusement. Bringing a friend along to see who can come up with the most creative or crazy story tops it all off.

- Spend some time with animals. (And no, your wild guy friends don't count.) Possibly the best gift I've been given this year is the chance to take my friend's dog home again for the holidays since she's away. If you don't have pets, spend some time with the ones of friends who do have them. Petting something has been proven to lower stress and blood pressure and raise your oxytocin levels, the same "love chemical" that gets released during sex. (Weird, but since it feels good both times, we're not going to discuss it.) And yes, if you can't get your hands on an animal, I'm sure a friend wouldn't mind having their hair petted, or a guy being caressed.

- If you're going to sit around and stare at your phone while waiting for it to ring, you might as well make good use of that time and pick it up and call a friend or family. (This is what "call waiting" was invented for.) No more wasted time pining when you could be keeping up with another, usually more important, relationship, missy!

- Give a sincere compliment. It makes someone else's day, and you always feel like a superstar afterward.

- Cook, or (if you're one of those people who burn water), go out for, a meal with your friends to say goodbye before you all scatter for the holidays. Hosting friends always brings out the most of your hospitable, polite, generous talents.

- And, of course, a great guy is just the icing on the cake. Find a guy who dials, not just texts. A welcome phone call can make a difference to any day or night. (Yeah, you're doing it right, so thank you. Yes, you. I know you read this; don't think I don't. I'm hip to your groove, sir. But thanks for keeping the silence at your end of the deal, anyway. You get bonus points for that.)

Speaking of giving, the economy sucks right now, if you didn't get that memo, and people's wallets are slim. (Like you keep trying to keep your waistline. But that's much harder. Unfortunately.) My roommates and I went all-out with the Christmas gifts last year, but this year, we've decided to give each other a much less expensive, yet much more touching, gift: we've all agreed to give each other the love we have in our hearts for Christmas. It sounds like a cop-out, but when a friend looks at you and says, "I love you so much; what would I ever do without you?" it honestly feels like you've just been given the best gift in the entire world. And who doesn't want love?

For those of you who are looking for ideas for the hubby for the holidays, here they are, from one of the Current's own writing men! I absolutely adored this article, and was so happy when Sean agreed to write it:

"All He Wants For Christmas
By Sean Conrad
Special from the Champlain Current.

Good evening, ladies. I’m sure that right now you’re asking yourself, “What am I going to get my boyfriend for Christmas?!” or one of the other myriad of gift-giving occasions this December. Well, there are plenty of options for different types of guys, as well as for all of your price ranges.
If you’re already stumped, you’ve probably considered gift cards. Does your guyfriend snowboard? Chances are he has a pass for his favorite slope, but does that slope offer gift cards for the ski lodge? Not needing to worry about having cash for a hot chocolate after flying down a cold mountain would put a smile on anyone’s face.

While unbelievably corny, a coupon book of favors can go a long way. And no, I don’t just mean sexual favors. One for going with him to Gilbane when he gets his car; one for sitting through an entire hockey game without asking how much longer it will be; one for a back rub; one for allowing him to burp whenever he wants for an entire day without being glared at. These are just a few examples. Barnes and Noble sells a few coupon books, but I would suggest writing some of your own— go crazy with it!

A good fallback for a college male these days would be a video game, but don’t just go out and buy him Barbie Horse Adventure; he might not appreciate it as much as you hope. I would also shy away from the ‘hot’ new games, like Modern Warfare 2, Assassin’s Creed 2, Uncharted 2, and for consistency’s sake, Left 4 Dead 2. Go back a few months into the release schedule and think about Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, Battlefield 1943, Infamous, Batman, and Borderlands; just don’t forget to make sure he doesn’t already have it!

Last, I must digress. Take him out on a date. Don’t go for anything exceptionally fancy or proper, just a nice relaxing evening at his favorite restaurant on your tab. I would advise against a ‘new’ restaurant, since there should be no worrying about whether or not the menu has something desirable. Even if you usually split checks or take turns paying, this would take all of the pressure off of him, and give him a chance to just think about how lucky he is to be eating out.

What’s that you say? This list is too short? Well the problem is, you think you don’t know what to get him, but he’s been telling you for a year! “My car’s sound system sucks!”, “I wish my hard drive was bigger”, “Your mom looked really hot in that”, “My keyboard’s keys keep falling off”, “This jacket can’t keep the cold out”, and so on and so forth. Some items you can’t get outright, and might not know exactly what to get, but a gift card to one of those places where he wants to get something really expensive would give him the chance to finally make one of those upgrades. I know you’ve been listening, so go forth and conquer. And if all else fails, get naked."

See, wasn't that good? I have such a great staff...(insert bragging here.)

As I'm a writer, I've always been a big fan of the slightly personal. Some of the best things I've ever given people were written. Write something down for someone, if you're good with words. A poem or a letter can last forever, and guaranteed, it won't just be thrown away. ISpys in the Seven Days newspaper between couples are always fun, touching while not overly sickeningly sweet, and like an inside joke or secret. Plus, they're relatively cheap.

Lastly, on a slightly more shallow, yet still practical note, when you look good, you feel good. It can be remarkably hard to look cute in the winter, the time of year to bundle and layer. If you're of the mindset that looking like a yeti's wife or an Eskimo's cousin isn't the hottest deal, I've got some tips for you from the frozen tundra that is Vermont. (For the geographically challenged, we're located in the north-east, in New England. In other words, it's cold. REAL cold.)

- I love wearing
oversize men's sweaters with skinny jeans and boots. (Generally, my tall Uggs-- they may be ugly as all hell, but they are the warmest things I have ever worn, and you can't get me out of them in the winter.) Warm, functional, and cute.

- Plaid, flannel, men's clothing, and gender-neutral clothing are all big right now. To make sure you don't spend your day feeling frumpy, lazy, or awkwardly butch or gender-confused, accessorize with girly pieces! I love big cocktail rings, bangle bracelets, and blinged-out headbands. In fact, I'm wearing all three today.

- The snowbunny look I love:
Bright sweater-dresses over black or gray leggings. You can belt them for that tiny-waisted, hourglass shape.

- Long graphic tees over leggings with a cardigan in a fun color is a great way to layer and keep warm.

- If you can afford it, cashmere is the best, most snuggly, luxurious, warm thing you can give yourself. A sweater will keep you so comfortable you'll never want to get out of it. Lord knows I've slept in mine during a few cold nights. Look for some deals on cashmere after Christmas time; that's usually the best time to buy. Buying cashmere/something else combinations is usually cheaper, but just as nice, as well.

- Get thee some
cute flannel pajamas for around the house, dorm, or apartment!
- Always remember: "Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important."- Janet Lane. Spread the happy.

- Lastly, not a clothing item to keep you warm, but an important fashion note: girl's jeans are tight. Bulges in pockets from cell phones are so unsightly. I like to keep mine in my boot. Roll up and fold your jeans to tuck them into your boots, and keep your phone in the little pocket that your pant legs make so you don't lose it under your foot when walking. Plus, it's always surprising when it goes off and people watch you reach into your boot; it's novel.

That's it for now, loves. I hope I gave you something to chew over, whether it's a way to be happier, a good new song, or the solution to Christmas presents you've been stressing over. In the spirit of the day and upcoming holidays, and because I'll be busy with exams for awhile, I want to thank each and every one of you for reading. EACH and EVERY one of you, whether you are a long-time reader, someone who just stumbled upon this blog, or if you're having a good laugh at my expense-- you all keep me going. For those of you who comment, motivate me, compliment me, stretch me and press me to grow, challenge me, or believe in me, I thank you thousand-fold. And that's one of the best things you could ever give me.



  1. Awww Carissa you are so darn cute. I love this article. Although - I hate that it gives suggestions to boyfriends - what if we don't have one? :( Tear! Haha.. that guy's article was still pretty awesome. If I had a boyfriend, I'd definitely use it :).

    How about suggestions to get a boyfriend over the holidays? I'm curious to see what your wisdom will give me in this area..

  2. I love this.. And the boot thing I've done all winter and everyone is so amazed by it!