Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things (aka The Spooky Vegan's Get Happy List)

It’s been a rough couple of weeks…and it looks like things aren’t getting better anytime soon. Personal stuff just keeps mounting up and I’m beyond stressed and on edge.

 Yeah, that's kinda how I feel!!!!

I know I’ll make it through, but it’s times like these when I like to make a list of things of my favorite things! Things that put a smile on my face and make me happy. Recounting all the beautiful things in life that I’m thankful for tends to put everything in perspective for me and reminds me that I’m not alone.

So, after having another one of “those days”, I needed to zen out a bit so I decided to write down all the things I love that make me happy.

I decided to share the list I made with you, my fierce fiends, as a cathartic exercise. I figure if I share what makes me joyful, hopefully that joy that's been missing from my life lately will come back to me. Feel free to share your own lists – this is such a calming exercise when I’m stressed out and might help you out as well. Not to sound hokey, but don’t underestimate the power of positive thought!

Without further ado, here is my list (in no particular order), abridged of course (if I made an all-inclusive list it would just go on and on and on and on!!):

  • The smell of freshly cut grass - Mmmmm…even thinking about it soothes my soul!
  • Dark, gothic fashion – I could look at it all day long (as long as it’s cruelty-free!)
  • Pretty much anything Halloween related – I love the holiday oh so much!
  • Goofing off with my boyfriend and being able to be myself around him, knowing he loves me no matter what and loving him no matter what
  • Girls Nights - Gossip, good food and great company: what more could I ask for?
  • Being completely silly, which I often am :)
  • Disneyland, cuz I'm a kid at heart. Favorite ride? The Haunted Mansion, of course!
  • Pumpkins – these orange gourds make me all giddy since they usually signal Halloween time and are just so festive! How can you not love pumpkins?! And I absolutely LOVE going to the pumpkin patch come October. It's a treasured tradition around here, yo!
  • Singing while driving alone - especially when I pop in my Lady Gaga CD (guilty pleasure alert!)
  • Early morning sunshine - the world just seems so much fresher and peaceful in the morning
  • The colors orange, black and purple - again, Halloween (and they also look fab on me!)
  • Bulldogs - I adore a lot of dogs, but I hold a special place in my heart for bulldogs! They are just too adorable! Maybe someday when I have a bigger place I can adopt one! 
  • However, I am a cat person and I lovvvve kitties!
  • Cuddling with my spooky cat, Havoc, even though he is a bit anti-social! I’ve raised this pound kitty for almost 5 years now! Isn't he adorable:
 My pretty kitty Havoc!
  • Tiger lilies and irises - my fave flowers (orange and purple again!)
  • It goes without saying, but horror movies. I can get lost in one and forget all about my troubles, or think, “well, my life isn't THAT bad. At least I’m not being haunted by a violent ghost or stalked by a serial killer!”
  • Parasols - don't ask me why, they just make me happy!
  • The exhilarating feel after a long workout - Feel the burn! Also, the relaxing feeling I get after yoga...OMMMMMM
  • Iced coffee - I used to down these on a regular basis, but now they are just a weekend treat
  • Florence, Italy - My birthplace. I still feel at home when I go back. Just looking at pictures often cheers me up!    
Beautiful Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy
  • Sunsets – It's a cliché, I know, but there is just something so majestic about sunsets…I always feel like I should be holding my breath when I watch one
  • Dancing with friends - it's like Bowie sang, "dance the blues away"!
  • The smells of basil, rosemary, lavender because not only are they soothing, but they take me back to my childhood!
  • Nature – I live by the beach, but I hardly ever go. I’m realizing I much prefer the woods, like where I grew up in NorCal. However, I will take nature where I can get it in SoCal (if anyone knows WHERE I can find it, besides the beach, I would love suggestions)
  • Photography - I'm no "professional" (and hardly even an amateur), but I love snapping photos and documenting my life
  • Writing
  • Vintage Halloween photographs, postcards, cards, etc. – I already like retro stuff, but combine that with Halloween and I’m in love!
I love vintage Halloween pinups!
  • Old medical texts and curios, especially from the Victorian period
  • Spending the weekend in PJ’s and not having to leave the house
  • Urban Decay makeup – Since this company is cruelty free, local and many of their products are vegan, I use their makeup a lot! And I just love all their crazy, bright colors!
  • Musicals - Ok, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Sweeney Todd, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog and even Moulin Rouge rock my world! I love the costumes, the set-pieces, the songs, the drama and the fun of musicals (and love 'em even more if they have a darker aesthetic)! 
  • Biting into a fresh, sun-ripened peach, strawberry or other delicious fruit
  • Going crazy at a good concert and dancing/singing along - such a fun release! 
  • Popsicles or Tofutti Cuties on a hot day
  • Cute goth boys - or just cute boys in general. I have a major crush on Alexander Skarsgard from True Blood!  
  • Bubble baths with LUSH products – I feel like a queen!
  • Taking walks in the rain (as long as I have an umbrella and my hair doesn’t get wet!)
  • Inspiring women - these would include Chef Tanya of Native Foods, Juliette Lewis (cuz she rocks and isn't afraid to be herself), Masuimi Max and Megan Fox (two of the most gorgeous women on the planet!), Carol Clover (author of Men, Women and Chainsaws, which examines gender in horror films), women in horror (including Shannon Lark of The Chainsaw Mafia and Viscera Awards, Heidi Martinuzzi of Pretty/Scary, Hannah Neurotica of Ax Wound Zine and many, many more!), and, most importantly, my own mom, who taught me to always try and have a positive attitude and my Nonna, who taught me strength and standing up for your beliefs
The gorgeous Masuimi Max!
  • Bats - they are just so darn cute and amazing creatures! I would love to live somewhere where I could observe them in their natural habitat, somewhere with caves. If I had to pick an animal that symbolized the Spooky Vegan, bats would definitely be my mascots!
  • My family - My dad, mom and sister always make me feel better with their unconditional love!
  • Gardening – yes, even though I have a black thumb I love plants and spending time planting and taking care of them, even on my stamp-sized apartment patio
  • The Victorian time period - I love the dramatic and beautiful clothing, mourning fashion and the different outlook on life and death during this amazing historical time  
 Victorian ad for mourning clothes
  • My Italian heritage - Forza Italia!
  • Ice cold lavender lemonade from Native Foods
  • Actually, pretty much anything from Native Foods (or Veggie Grill)!
  • ...and any GOOD vegan food! NOM NOM NOM NOM!
  • Plant nurseries – since nature is hard to come by in SoCal, at least without driving far into the mountains or desert, I love visiting nurseries and just walking around (sheesh, I sound old!!).
  • Art - I love all kinds of art, from the Renaissance masters to modern artists like Camille Rose Garcia and Basil Gogos

  • Museums - especially ones that feature art mentioned above, but I also love ones that feature artifacts from ancient Egypt and other old civilizations 
  • Getting VegNews in the mail
  • Burlesque - if I had any sense of rhythm I would soooooo do this!
  • Vegan sweets – I have a huge sweet tooth, so I am down for vegan candy bars, vegan cookies and (especially) vegan cupcakes! YUM!
  • Getting letters in the mail from friends - It's old school, but it makes me feel special! 
  • Finding stuff that's "accidentally" vegan (Apple Jacks, Fritos, Sour Patch Kids, and sooooooooooo many more...PETA has a nice list here)
  • Foggy mornings
I wish I lived here!
  • Curling up with a great book - I love reading horror fiction, books about Halloween, gender studies in horror films, Sylvia Plath poetry, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and of course vegan/animal rights books. I absolutely love Vegan Freak!
  • Animals of all shapes and sizes, though I have a special place in my heart for turtles and tigers! I would love to visit a farm sanctuary or help rescue animals one day.
  • Visiting old cemeteries - My favorite one so far is in Napa Valley, where my parents live. I know it sounds morbid and über-goth, but I think cemeteries are beautiful and relaxing places. I love photographing them.  
 St. Helena Cemetery - Photo by The Spooky Vegan
  • Road trips – just the drive to a destination is exciting, and I’ve always loved loading up the car with snacks, drinks, games, etc, taking off and stopping at the weird truck stops/towns/tourist traps along the way!
  • Killer music – speaking of road trips, they wouldn’t be complete without music! Of course, my life wouldn’t be complete without it either! I love goth, industrial, EBM, and so on.
  • Letting my imagination run wild, especially right before bedtime with hopes I have cool dreams
  • Being vegan – doing something good that not only benefits my health but also the animals AND the planet is the one thing I can be happy about and proud of every second of every day! 
Well, I could keep going on FOREVER, but that's my list!

Now it's your turn! What are your favorite things and what makes you happy when you're feeling down?

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