We've all had those days - your boss is in a horrible mood for no apparent reason, you walked to work in the rain, oh, or your make up decides to disappear between your home and the office.
Whatever the reason, we understand your pain. Having a bad day is the worst. But there are sure and impenetrable ways to lighten your mood. Maybe you have a failsafe way to get a smile on your face - a swipe to your favorite kitten-obsessed Instagram page, or a white chocolate Hersheys bar.
If perchance you are a person who really struggles to out of that funk, who sulks all day, we're here with ten remedies that might turn your day around, most of which can be done from your desk.
1. Inject 80's music into ears
If the company allows, pop those earphones in and what I'd personally recommend, is a little 80's disco. There is nothing better than Chic or Earth, Wind and Fire when you're pissed off. Why? Because instead of the buzz of the office or the slur of your agitating overlords, there's a whole lot of crazy fun going on in your head and there's nobody that can get in on that action. You've likely danced more than a few nights away to these songs, so relish in those memories and go back to work a happier you.
2. Google anything Tina Fey or Amy Poehler have ever said
We are positively obsessed with these ladies, because they have the ability to make us laugh every.single.time either decides to open her mouth. If there's a strict no-youtube policy on the office floor (we've heard tell such workday laws), they are quoted on innumerable websites that could be passed for research or stat-seeking. Go forth with confidence and a dose of hilarity.
Tina Fey in The Office
3. Apply some red lipstick
Red lipstick was invented to embolden women; to rouge a boring lip; to raise spirits. There is nothing better than that feeling: the one you experience after you've put your first layer on, because you look so good. It hasn't smudged yet, you can't see that snagged streak of red on your tooth, and you feel positively fabulous. We would recommend anything from Mac's Russian Red to Chanel's Coromandel. Because, honestly, how can you remain sullen? Red lips are made for smiling.
4. Scroll J.K Rowling's Twitter feed
Ah, your childhood, remember it? This woman certainly does, she provided a whole lump of what you remember of it: midnight queues for book releases, twilight showings of new movies. And she most certainly hasn't lost her charm, or her way with words. Her Twitter feed is a goldmine of sarcasm, humor, fantasy, and the occasional political rant. And, 12.3 million people seem to agree.
I can't say I consider myself a 'world leader' though. Maybe of worlds inside my head? In the real world I can barely lead my dog.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 4, 2014
5. Add a little sweetness to your coffee order
Is it a mocha day - or a caramel macchiato afternoon? We wouldn't advise going as wild as the uber-sugary Summer '17 hit the Unicorn Frappucino, but a little peppermint syrup, whipped cream or some foamy deliciousness added to your boring old drip coffee, can sometimes be the most wonderful change you so desperately need on a bad day.
6. Take a smokeless smoke break
No ladies, we are not advocating for a cheeky workday cig. Smoking is bad, but the "smoke break" retains certain benefits, despite the nicotine. And how is your boss to know you don't smoke? Maybe you spontaneously took it up because of all the work they've been giving you lately. Notify your overlords, and get out of the office for a few minutes, walk around the block, ring your mom, make use of the age-old getaway that was institutionalized during the Mad Men era and yet under-implanted by millennial everywhere.
7. Plan a getaway
This sounds a little funny, because it is a little funny. If you're having a shitty day because of a money problem, maybe skip to number 8. If however the only thing you can think of is getting the f out of the office - this is perfect for you. Look up a day trip out of town, even if it's just a weekender. Maybe you're in need of a Caribbean cruise or some zip lining in Saint Lucia? Whatever it is, get on Kayak, look up flight sales or Groupon weekend offers and just browse. What's the harm in searching? If you find some crazy deal, even better, if not, that's OK, at least you are reminded that a break from the office craziness around you is possible.
8. Have a (controlled) but completely gratuitous Amazon Prime spree
Amazon Prime was Jeff Bezos' way of helping all women in need of a quick fix to get it via two-day shipping and a world of stuff to choose from, well at least that's how we see it. Whether it's a $20 bathing suit, the shiny new coffee maker you've wanted for eternity, or a book you've been dying to read, just buy it. It will there in two days; you didn't have to go to the store for it; and it will make your day (as well as delivery day) infinitely brighter. And get pumped for Prime Wardrobe, which will enable you to Prime Spree without the guilt. You'll be able to order as many items of clothing as your heart desires to your home, without paying a single cent. Try them on in front of your bedroom mirror, and what you don't like, send back in the same box they came, for free. Amazon, you just get us.
9. Make reservations without reservation
If you visualize a martini, a martini will come. We promise. Get Opentable or Thrillist up on your screen and choose your watering hole for the evening. Food and drink can take a terrible day into greatness - from a glum Monday to a tough Friday. Call your girlfriend, set a night in motion and spend the rest of your day happily anticipating the revels of the evening ahead. Who knows where a bad day might take you.
10. Have a lollipop
Depending on your work environment, you might want to wait until you leave the office for this one. If not, suck it loud and proud. We don't exactly know why they make us feel better, but there's something so childishly wonderful about eating a lollipop as an adult that we can't deny its mood-altering qualities. If you're feeling exuberant, grab a whole bag of Blow Pops, and get to bubble making.
The first time I saw Sarah Jessica Parker sauntering across a New York City sidewalk in a tulle ballerina skirt, I was starstruck. It was something about the bounce in her step, the quirkiness of her outfit, and her fierce challenge of convention that spoke to me— and actually influenced my future choices. After inhaling season after season on an epic weekend binge, I knew two things:
1. I had to move to New York and 2. I wanted to be a writer. The show also chipped away at the dating process that had been instilled in me— meet a man, go steady, get married, procreate. I suddenly felt that it was OK, and even enviable, to find yourself single in your thirties. In many ways, Sex and The City took the pressure off, and reminded me to worry about me.
In the years after SATC, the themes covered in the show are now commonplace. Women are getting married later than ever (on average at age 27), earning more than ever (despite there still being a gender gap, which is a different article), and the female movement is raging intensely. For those young Gen Xs/mature millennials (pick your poison) like me, the impact made by our favorite show was a deep one. Even if it's maybe problematic these days... Thanks to an imperfect set of protagonists, provocative fashions, and relatable story lines inspired by the actual lives of female writers, women my age have been free to seek satisfaction through self development, careers and friendships, rather than relationships alone.
Dressing The Part
“SATC gave women a chance to openly express what they were going through and what they were thinking," says the show's illustrious fashion designer, Patricia Field, who famously paid only $5 for that opening credits tulle skirt. “It was liberating to achieve this. It was a show that put women on the center stage."
Field, the recipient of an Emmy (and no less than five additional nominations for multiple SATC episodes) and a number of Costume Designers Guild Awards for her work on the series, told SWAAY she did her best to use the distinctive personalities of the four main characters to imbue the series with a focus on the self.
“I wanted to communicate the idea that women can discover their own originality in the way they dress themselves," says Field. “Women identified with the four individual characters, and tended to pick up iconic cues from their styles. I continued to present edited ideas, always focusing on the character identity."
The show's focus on individualism was perhaps best illustrated through the protagonists themselves, each living a life so directional and differentiated that one could discern personality traits even from an outfit choice or apartment decor. When asked to describe the look of each main character in one word, Field laughs: “Not sure I can really stick to just one word, [but here goes:] Carrie - eclectic and original; Samantha - sexy and outspoken; Charlotte - the girl men take home to mother (7 words, haha); and Miranda - assertive." Bottom line, there was always a style, and a character, to relate to.
“As costume designer I like to look forward to look ahead. I think the SATC girls illustrated [what was happening in New York City fashion] in the most perfect way." -Patricia Field
Why We Love These Women
Fashion aside, the show's main characters were also intrinsically vulnerable. The character arcs were such that through the course of an episode we would see one of them on the highest of highs (say, a chance meeting with a handsome stranger) only to fall back to earth by the end of it (when you realize he's a compulsive book thief). Through the humor we learned to laugh at the absurdities of life and through Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte's imperfections, we learned to embrace our own.
Carrie, who asks a total of 92 questions throughout the series, is perhaps the one who draws us in the most. Covering everything from religion to social status to motherhood, these open-ended thought-starters echoed our own experiences and helped us prepare for what was to come.
"The monologues invite you in," says internet personality, Dan Clay, AKA Carrie Dragshaw, highlighting that the many questions of the series further make the show take hold. "They anchor in Carrie's specific experience, but quickly shift to the language of "we" and "some girls." They ask a lot of questions that force the audience to shake their heads. They rarely make statements, but end with 'maybes...' and force you to agree to complete the thought; they demand involvement. It requires your perspective. And your perspective might change through the years, so the episodes, in a way, do too."
Clay, who by day works in strategy and innovation consulting for financial firms, says he stumbled upon his Carrie Bradshaw moonlighting side gig after dressing as her for Halloween one year. "I posted a picture of my costume on Instagram, with no aspirations of Insta-fame, just expecting to make a few friends smile," says Clay, who has built a cult following of more than 70K through his head-turning side-by-side Carrie photos. "Somehow, someway, the picture went 'viral,' was reposted by a few Sex and the City fan sites, and a lot of people said really really nice things (including SJP!) [The account] seemed like a delightful way for me to push a little positivity into the world."
They are these four complicated characters grounded in simple archetypes: The cynical careerist, the unfiltered libertine, the in-love-with-love prude, and the fabulous romantic. You can reduce it all to, "Are you a Carrie / Charlotte / Miranda / Samantha?" That simplicity is huge to draw you in. - Dan Clay
Even 15 years after the show went off the air, Carrie and her posse are still capturing the imaginations of Gen Xers and Millennials alike. Instagram accounts like @everyoutfitonSATC and @sexandthecity_newyork entertain millions of women with modern day musings on the show's iconic fashion statements and little known factoids, while others like Clay focus on recreation. To nail each photo, Clay enlists a trusted group of friends who help him style and shoot his uncanny images, as a homage to the emotional impact he says was given to him by the series.
Sex and the City Was More Than Just A Show
“I was in the closet during the original airing of Sex and the City," Clay tells SWAAY. "Because the show is so glittery and fashion-based and classically feminine, I never really allowed myself to like it. So when I did come around to it, simply the act of enjoying Sex and the City felt like a minor expression of self-love. It also reminded me to focus as much on my friends as I do on my love life."
For Clay, who admits he watches episodes "the way an MFA student analyzes Eugene O'Neill," one of the biggest draws towards the Carrie Bradshaw persona is the fact that in many ways she is an anti-hero, and her mistakes make us say "Same." Among Clay's most cringe-worthy Carrie blunders is the moment Carrie interrupts Natasha's lunch to apologize for her affair with Big. "She is so so self-centered in this interaction, she even steals Natasha's water," says Clay. "It's uncomfortable, but it's what makes Carrie not just relatable but interesting."
"Sure, she has some great things to say about friendship, and self-love, and embracing imperfection, and moving on, but she has a lot of very human flaws: the neediness, the self-centeredness," says Clay. "She's not always a great friend, she's certainly not always a great girlfriend, and in a sometimes uncomfortable way that causes you to question your connection to her. That, to me, is what makes her a fascinating character. She's wrestling with love's biggest questions, and not always responding in an admirable way. Human flaws in fabulous shoes."
The Power Of Sex And The City
So, on a larger scale, how far does Carrie's reach actually go? According to Antonia Hall, MA., psychologist, relationship expert and author of the Sexy Little Guide books and The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life, Carrie, like That Girl's Marlo Thomas, Murphy Brown's Candice Bergen (also a Sex and The City star) and The Mary Tyler Moore Show's eponymous main character, effectively pushes boundaries via an honest relationship with the viewer. Although none of these game-changing protagonists were perfect, they served as personifications of safe space, and we sympathized enough to come back to them by the end of each episode.
“One show can definitely have an impact on a generation," says Hall, naming The Mary Tyler Moore Show as revolutionary when it came out in 1970, as it showcased a woman in the workplace, and addressed issues like abortion and birth control pills.
"More women entering the workplace saw Mary as a role model, envying her cozy apartment and vibrant friendships," wrote Hope Reese in The Atlantic. "The show moved away from the domestic sphere, featuring a woman in an office."
Thanks to Mary, womankind would never be the same. And thanks to Carrie, the torch was passed on.
My favorite moments in Sex and the City are when the characters express their independence, and demonstrate that you can be perfectly happy and fulfilled even when you're single. (When Samantha says, 'I love you. But I love me more.') - Dan Clay
A compelling protagonist is not the only thing The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Sex And The City have in common. Perhaps the most notable commonality is the fact that there were actual women behind the scenes crafting episodes based on their personal experiences. For MTM's part, 25 of the show's 75 writers were women (a progressive ratio at the time), while at Sex And The City, a rotating team of writers (comprised heavily of women) interpreted Candice Bushnell's best-selling tome via the lens of their own lives.
"There were so many subjects explored that really hit home, many of them still so relevant," says Jasmine Lobe, the writer who "inherited" Carrie's column AKA Bushnell's sex column at The Observer which she called "The J-Spot." "The column and the show certainly impacted my life in a very big way. It was quite intimidating at first, so I really had to make it my own."
Lobe, who worked as an actor before stepping into Carrie's proverbial Manolos, says that although she was was hesitant to talk about sex and dating on the record, she eventually found the process cathartic, and empowering. "[The show] paved the way for writers like me to explore sex, relationships and social satire without it being taboo," says Lobe. "I was able to take more chances because of it. And while it is never easy to write about one's own sex life publicly, it was more of a personal challenge for me than societal. My readers are receptive and often very supportive so that made it easier to really put myself out there, and in part, that's because of Candace Bushnell and also Lena Dunham."Covering topics that range from matchmaking to egg donation to dating while feminist, Lobe is dedicated to using her voice to bring important issues to light, and facilitate conversation among women. And, while there may be some conflicting views on whether bedding 94 men in a 94-episode series is egregious or empowering, for Lobe, an avid crusader for women's rights, open dialogue about sex frees women, and ultimately uplifts them.
I think overall [the show] helped the women's movement because when women come together, that's a powerful thing," she says. "That's how great change is made. Look at what's happening right now with the sexual harassment stories. It's women banding together, and speaking their truth that's creating such waves. These harassment stories have shown how very toxic patriarchy can be. Although it's a painful moment in history, I think ultimately, we will all be so much healthier for it, as men and women come together in more loving and empowered ways.
Each of the women was trying to find fulfillment in life and the bedroom in their own ways, which is very relatable - Antonia Hall
Would the Women's Movement have charged on without Ms. Bradshaw? Yes. But, we cannot deny that Carrie and her three soulmates helped push once unacceptable conversation topics out of the shadows and into the forefront. Thanks to episodes that explored modern life from the lens of a woman's satisfaction with it, the world saw that women more than passive images of sexuality. Instead, we seek lives that fulfill us on a deep level, and we embrace the ability to condemn or walk way from anything that displeases us. When I look back on my college-age decision to follow in the footsteps of the fashionable columnist, I can't help but wonder: "Is there a little Carrie in all of us?"
This piece was originally published on December 3, 2017.