Tacky Retro Christmas Party Playlist

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My hubby, Nick, and I are big vintage fans! We started redecorating our entire apartment with mid-century decor and furniture as part of our New Year’s resolution last year. We also run a vintage shop on Etsy together called Tubular Retro, which I have to say has some pretty awesome items for sale! Then, a few weeks ago we flipped through our Betty Crocker cookbook from 1974 (originally published in 1965) and were laughing at the horrible sounding party foods like the party sandwich loaf and the cucumber relish mould when we both got the most brilliant idea at the same time:

Throw a tacky retro Christmas party!

We decided that since our apartment is already seriously retro, even many of our tree ornaments and even our tree skirt (from the 1960s) all we would need to do is serve some of these interesting retro party foods from our cookbook, put together a retro playlist and tell all of our guests to dress in their very tacky retro best!

So, tomorrow a large group of our friends are going to squeeze into our tiny apartment for what will probably become one of the coolest annual Christmas shit-shows we’ve ever seen!

christmas tree

Want to throw your own tacky retro party (Christmas or not) but not sure how?

No worries, I’ve got you covered! All you need to get started is a group of kick-ass friends, an open-mind and to take these suggestions into consideration:

1. FOOD

Grab a retro cookbook like the Betty Crocker’s Dinner in a Dish and select some of the strangest sounding recipes to give a try! Personally, a lot of our friends are vegans and vegetarians and so we’re going to try and make some of them free of animal products and byproducts like the banana and “ham” hollandaise. Don’t be afraid to switch up the ingredients if they’re a little too creepy for your taste.

Don’t be afraid to host a pot-luck! We wrote on our Facebook event page that guests are more than welcome to bring food to share and we got a pretty good response of generous people. Also, keep in mind that some people may have allergies. Since our party is child-friendly for the first half, my friends are bringing their little ones and one has a peanut allergy, which is always good to know beforehand and let the other guests know, too. This is one of the reasons I love using Facebook events for inviting my friends to any sort of party, we can all communicate easily.

2. TUNES

Put together a rockin’ playlist with music from your favourite decades. Awe your friends by pulling out some groovy dance moves to get the party started and throw a dance contest! Just make sure to clear a space for dancing first ;). We made a wicked Christmas playlist, which you can listen to below, on my GrooveShark account.

3. STYLE

Put a note on your invitations for your guests to dress their retro best! Then go to your local thrift shop with friends, or solo, and find something special and absolutely dazzling for yourself! Have fun with it, try everything and anything on! Check out this super sweet purple romper I discovered:

romper

I tried this on and danced around the change room area, and then I found a handmade, vintage, teal dress embroidered with a large, silver flower that I had to buy and I cannot wait to wear it!

Don’t forget to accessories and select a vintage hair style!

If you want to give your friends a little bit more encouragement to get dressed up, throw a best dressed contest! Then, randomly go around and let each person throw their vote into a bag and tally up the winner near the end of the night.

4. GAMES

Nick and I already have a wide selection of retro games in our closet, so we didn’t have to look far for inspiration, but if you’re not sure what to do once your guests arrive here’s a small list of some typical games enjoyed in years past:

I’ve noticed that games aren’t always necessary when having a large group of people over, but it’s a good idea to have some activities in mind in case things do get a little dull or if you know that some of your friends would enjoy it.

5. DRINKS

I’ll be honest with you, I’m not rich. I can’t afford to supply all of my guests with booze. There’s no shame in making your party BYOB.

However, I do like to supply a small amount for fun like a couple bottles of wine and a special cocktail. This year we decided to make Tom Collins. It’s simple, it’s retro and I like gin and lemon. We’re going to make it more festive by throwing in a couple cranberries instead of cherries. Plus, I’m really excited to use my new, vintage cocktail shaker ;). This photo on Pinterest gives a pretty good list of classic cocktails with recipes.

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M/y cousin Katie and my hubby Nick.

I can’t wait until tomorrow, and I hope this inspires you to throw your own vintage party! If you’re interested to find out how our party turns out I’ll be sharing pictures on Monday!

Do you have any games, recipes, drinks or songs you’d like to recommend?

Tacky Retro Christmas by Cole Nemeth on Grooveshark

Peace,
Cole

First photo is from the Betty Crocker’s Dinner in a Dish, all other photos are from my Instagram account! Follow me for more fun photos!

Forcing Creativity

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I always knew I wanted a creative career and all of my friends and classmates thought I’d for sure grow up to be an artist or an author, but my stubbornness has held me back.

The strange thing is, when I was a teenager (and even now at times) I would only draw, paint, colour, write or shoot photographs when I felt like it. Since I was so used to waiting for inspiration to strike before I whipped out my sketch book or camera I absolutely hated art class and never went.

What was worse was my fear of trying something new and it made it impossible to just play and have fun. I wanted every creation to be perfect and when it wasn’t I gave up on that particular creation and simply stuck with what I already knew.

I still so badly want a job where I can express myself and share it with the world but I’ve always refused to stick to any sort of schedule or force myself to work on my art or craft when I don’t want to. This mentality has resulted in a lot of missed classes (back in high school), wasted time and unfinished projects. I felt like it was just wrong to force myself to create when I was feeling less than inspired because I thought anything I came up with just wouldn’t be any good.

Even though I spent a lot of time expressing myself visually and verbally, my skills never really improved after a certain point. My refusal to stick to a schedule, to create every day, to try new things that felt unfamiliar and my obsession to be perfect stopped me from getting better.

The sad truth is, my lack of confidence in myself as an artist, a photographer and a writer, still holds me back on a daily basis.

I really want to become a successful writer and photographer but I’m stuck in this awful state of mind that I’ll never be any good, that no one will pay for my services or products and that there’s no point in putting myself out there because I’ll just get embarrassed by even trying. This often leads to me arguing with myself in my head with a back-and-forth battle of “you’re going to fail” against “you’ll never know if you don’t try.”

I’m sure we all know that both of those statements are true because if you never do anything about it, you’ve already failed and if you don’t try you’ll never know.

I would rather try than to already fail.

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Unfortunately, earlier this year I rushed to open my Etsy shop because I chose to at least try, but then the negative thoughts and self-doubt started to kick in. I started to feel self-conscious of my photographs and this paralyzed me. Instead of working on my shop to make it better and continue to take more pictures all I could think of was how stupid and untalented I am and why even bother. Clearly, even after you start you can still find yourself not wanting to try.

This is not the right way to think or feel.

Instead of feeling insecure and shy, I should be forcing myself to be creative and to continue my photography and writing journey because these are the things that light me up.

It can be a devastating feeling when you start to think that your work is not worthy, that you are not worthy.

This, of course, is not true.

We all have something valuable to offer and we should not be afraid to offer it.

This is a lesson I’m slowly and continiusly learning, but how do you get past that feeling of never being good enough so that you can continue your creative goals?

Well…You force yourself to.

You force yourself to be creative even when you think all of your work is crap.

You force yourself to write, even if you never show anyone.

You force yourself to draw, even if you want to burn it after you’re done.

You force yourself to paint, even if you gesso the canvas right after.

You force yourself to take pictures, even if you delete them all when the shoot is done.

You force your creativity because if you don’t, you will never get better and you will never continue your creative journey.

I feel the best way to accomplish this and to overcome your fears of failure as a creative soul is to continue forcing yourself to be creative everyday. Even if it’s something small, like doodling in your sketchbook, taking pictures with your iPhone or writing your creative block frustrations down in your journal.

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That’s what I plan to do.

Even though I’m still fighting with myself to work at my goals and skills every day, I have noticed a vast improvement.

For example, since I’m in college right now for journalism I often have to push through until my assignments are done on time, even when I don’t feel like it. Because I have to do this so often for school I’m noticing that it does get easier to work when I would rather not and not so surprisingly my writing and photography are getting better.

Now I just have to do this in my creative business.

After weeks of not being able to blog or take photographs I’ve finally realized that perhaps I just need to force myself to do it, even when I think it sucks.

Do you ever find yourself stuck behind a creativity block because you’re scared you’ll fail, or think your work is not good enough? How do you work your way through it?

Peace,
Cole

$75 Cash Giveaway

Today is the last of the #7DaysofFestivities Giveaway series. And we are going out with a BANG! We are giving away $75 in cold, hard cash! It’s always nice to have a little extra something in your wallet, especially after all the holiday shopping. Enter below and good luck!

Prize: $75 USD Paypal Cash

Organized by: La Vie en May

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Allowing Time to Process

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The last time I posted was almost an entire month ago. It was about finding my focus, but even as I wrote it I guess I didn’t realize how confused and frustrated I really am.

I’ve been doing so much thinking, too much thinking, and it’s paralyzed me. It’s killed my creativity; I can’t write, I can’t shoot, I can’t draw and my mind is just racing.

Sometimes when big events take place it takes me a while to find my balance again. After a crazy and somewhat horrible year I find myself feeling distraught. As much as I want to spill my heart out on to this screen and this blog I know that some things are too personal to share with the world. So, let’s just say that life got a little crazy for the past few months and my little family’s life got flipped upside down. Through all of the wacko shit that took place I kept my head up and forced myself to keep going: to get to class, to hand in assignments, to go to work and to try my best to keep up with family responsibilities. I pushed through it (with a few freak outs) while it was happening and when it ended I found myself crumpled up in bed and allowing myself to process what had taken place for the first time.

And I didn’t like it.

But the friendly part of me said that it was okay to take some time to do it. That I had to do it. That even though my blog was being a little neglected and my floors really needed to be mopped, it was okay to sit there and think for a while, as long as I kept up with school, work and family life.

So I did.

I sat in my living room and thought. I laid in bed and thought. I sat in the kitchen and thought. And I wrote a little bit in my journal, but mostly I just kept my thoughts to myself. When my thoughts had made me feel a little too crazy I shared them with Nick and a couple close friends. Then life carried on…

The truth is, I’m a very emotional and sensitive person. Sometimes I think I feel too much and it can make it even harder to just get through the day.

I know this is part of my depression. I’ve been living with depression for almost ten years now, since I was a teenager, and it’s gotten pretty familiar but that doesn’t mean I like it. Whenever I sink into one of my depressive episodes I become frustrated with myself, which leads to negative thinking and just feeds the depression even more.

I get frustrated because for reasons I can’t explain I just cannot make myself do certain things: I can’t clean, I can’t do any work that isn’t mandatory, I can’t exercise or eat healthy, I can’t make myself care about my appearance and it leads into this vicious downward spiral.

But, with friendly comments and little pushes from loved ones in my life (and taking my anti-depressants), I’m slowly dragging myself out of it. And with my improving mood comes my creativity. This blog post is proof that I’m coming out of it because for weeks I couldn’t blog. I felt like I had nothing of value to say, just how miserable and confused I was. Eventually, I realized that admitting my sadness and confusion was of value and that perhaps just typing it out and sharing it on Peace and Chaos was exactly what I needed. Turns out it was because I’m already feeling a little bit better and I’m once again excited to continue this little thing called blogging.

Have you ever foundd yourself in a similar situation?

Peace,
Cole

Finding My Focus

 photo focus_zpsfdbfae7d.jpgPHOTO BY Nick Miller

If you read the The Weekly on Monday, you may know by now that I’ve been kind of distracted and all over the place with my blog. I’ve been having a difficult time finding the energy and motivation to write blog posts that truly inspire me and because of that my more recent posts seem to lack heart and soul; they lack character and they lack me.

It’s been really bothering me because the whole point of Peace and Chaos is to inspire, motivate and energize – “Learning to live, love and grow through creativity.” – I started this blog to share my experiences as a student, a parent, and someone who’s trying to lead a creative lifestyle full of lovely vintage wares, handmade treasures, vegan delicacies and awesome products that better peoples lives. But the thing is, I haven’t been doing that lately.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be exploring inside of myself through different courses and e-books I’ve purchased but haven’t had time to do. But more importantly, I’m hoping this self-exploration will help me get back in touch with myself and, as a result, the point of Peace and Chaos.

So, what can you expect to see on here over the next little while?

Well, I’ll tell you :)

1. MORE FOCUSED POSTS

The most obvious and important change will be more focused posts. As you can see across the top of my blog there are a list of topics I like to write about: business, creativity, love & family, health & beauty, home & garden and mind & spirit. I don’t want these posts to be rushed or sloppy, which also means I will be taking more time to write detailed, better quality posts that are much more enjoyable and helpful while still remaining honest and raw.

2. DESIGN

I’ll be honest with you right now; I suck at HTML and blog design! But I also don’t have it in my budget to pay a graphic designer. However, even with my lack of skill, I will be making some minor blog design changes. One of the important parts of creating a business is making your brand recognizable and I realize that mine isn’t. My personal style is very punk rock mixed with a little bit of hippie and I want that to shine through my blog design. As a result, I have chosen a select palette of colours to incorporate into my blog design. I also want to add some of my hand-drawn art into my design because I’ve always loved drawing and will even be adding some drawings into my Etsy shop!

3. NEW PRODUCTS

Some of you may have read that I wrote an e-book. It’s true! I did! And it has been sitting in a file on my computer waiting to be released into the world. I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how to much to charge for it and how to launch it for a long time. The good news is, I actually have a real plan now. For real! And I may even be able to launch it by December 1 as planned. I’ll keep you updated though. Deal? I’m also putting some new photos and drawings together to sell in my Etsy shop as digital downloads. I’m really excited to share my artwork with you guys and I hope that by offering them as digital downloads it will make it much easier and more affordable for more people to purchase. In fact, there are already a bunch of photos available in my shop right now. I also want to share other people’s products with you, too, but only products I 100% believe in myself, and will never push things on you guys to buy.

4. BETTER PHOTOS

It’s no secret that I love taking pictures. The unfortunate thing though, is that I haven’t been taking very many pictures lately and I’ve been using some not so great photos on my blog, and even at times no photos. I hate doing that so much, because I do love photography and I want to build a business around my artwork and photographs but how can I do that if I don’t take pictures, and if I have to share crappy photos just to add some visual elements to my blog? The truth is, I can’t. That’s why I’m committing myself to take more pictures and to have more fun with it! This includes more self-portraits.

5. EXCITING PROJECTS

I love working on myself, on my home, my finances and just all-around just bettering my life through courses, books and projects! Because I enjoy doing this so much I do it often. I want to share more of these projects with you guys, to let you know what works, what doesn’t, what the results are and how you can try it, too.

I hope that by re-focusing my blog on what really matters to me, you guys will benefit more from my posts and will enjoy yourselves while visiting Peace and Chaos. This space is supposed to be a space that inspires and motivates all of you guys to live out your best lives the way you want to, not the way society or anyone else tells you. We’re all unique and beautiful in our own ways. So, no matter what your dreams are, your tastes, your hobbies or your personal style, you’re awesome just the way you are and I hope I can help you remain true to yourself.

Stay awesome!

Peace,
Cole