And just like that, 2017 is halfway done. (Sorry, optimists. No way around this one.) A lot has happened in the last six months and the Ham Fam has some serious catching up to do. So let's not dawdle. Here's 207 days worth of What's Making Us Happy.
Sooo much has already happened this year! TAY HAM got a new HQ - it's blue and big enough to do cartwheels in! Our Tonya Harding-inspired card made it into the New York Times! And oh yeah, I had a baby and tortured everyone for nine months by not revealing the name 😬
Um, if you have been going around saying this is your year, please see yourself to the nearest exit ASAP because 2017 belongs to Celine Dion. Celine has always been my queen, my heart, my human soundtrack, and apparently now I have to share. If she wasn't already in your DIVA TOP 3, that changed the moment she touched that Sabrett's to her lips curbside during the Met Gala. A month later we saw her put all of our nudie GAP dressing room selfies to shame when she bared all in a post to Vogue's Instagram - just one in a series that highlighted her reign at Paris Fashion Week. However, the culmination of Dion's World Takeover Tour is probably this video showing peak Celine hat humping in baby's breath haute couture. Be still my heart.
This human is my favorite thing I've found in 2017, scratch that ... IN MY LIFETIME. She is all I need. She a light in dark times, she is my spirit animal, she is my everything. If I have a baby, and it doesn't come out as Ava Ryan, I'm sending it back.
The year: 2017. Technology has advanced. Drone delivery, driverless cars, and whatever new musical synth device that can make Chris Brown talented have all become acceptable realities. Unfortunately, the zero-gravity boots, suitcase space pods, and tube travel of the Jetsonian era are still just out of reach. But good news for all you Inspector Gadget fans - cyborgs are very real, and they are here in all of their part-human-part-machine glory walking, talking and GO-GO-GADGETING among us.
Our current favorite manbot is Catalan-raised, British-born, sweetest bowl cut-sporting, Neil Harbisson. The 33-year-old is best-known as the first person to have an antenna implanted in his skull, and for being officially recognized as a cyborg by a government.
Born with achromatopsia, Harbisson lived in a grayscale world until he received his antenna in 2004. Since then he has been hearing colors via a sensor that hangs, angler fish-like, over his brow. Using infrared and ultraviolet technologies, it sends signals to an implanted chip allowing him to hear and feel color through tone and bone vibrations. Once the color sensations became perception and feeling, he finally began to dream in color - an event he describes as becoming one with his mechanical components; a true cyborg.
Now Harbisson can actually feel the blue of Picasso’s Blue Period. Supermarkets, with their array of brightly colored produce, have become vibrating nightclubs. Dressing to feel good is on a whole 'nother level. An uber cool secondary effect of his cyborg appendage allows him to perceive normal sounds as color. Telephone rings sound green. The BBC beeps are turquoise. Mozart hums a vibrant yellow.
That's when he started to paint music and the frequencies of people’s voices. Pictured below is one of Mozart’s most famous arias “Queen of the Night", and the song that launched Justin Beiber into super stardom.
"Queen of the Night" composed by Mozart. Art by Neil Harbisson.
“Baby” Performed by Justin Beiber. Art by Neil Harbisson.
At an exhibition in 2012, Harbisson placed two works titled “No labels” side by side and asked viewers which they liked most. Both are color portraits of speeches - Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” and a Nazi parade address by Adolf Hitler. Which do you like most?
In 2010, Harbisson co-founded the Cyborg Foundation to help other humans become cyborgs. Created on the principle that enhanced senses lead to enhanced knowledge, the foundation aims to evolve the human senses through technology as we push towards an even more technological future - a future that will hopefully stop developing apps for our phones, and begin to develop them for ourselves.
And since April is National Letter Writing Month, what better way to celebrate than to rifle through the internet desks of some of the most famous letter senders ever? So without further ado, here's some of the most interesting personal stationery we could scrounge up from past and present.
Marilyn Monroe, 1958
Princess Diana, 1997
Marcel Marceau, 1994
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, 1961
Frank Lloyd Wright
Helen Gurley Brown, 1971
Muppets, Inc., 1963
The Church of Scientology, 1976
MTV Animation, 1995
Albert Einstein, 1932
Adolf Hitler, 1943-1945
J.K. Rowling, 2009
Back to the Future, 1985
"Because of them I can now live the dream. I am the seed of the free and I know it. I intend to bear great fruit."
A black abolitionist and women's rights activist in the 1800's - that took some major courage. She not only fought for universal suffrage and African American rights she also championed for many other causes including prison reform and property rights. She did this during a time when when being a woman made you a second class citizen and being black made it so, to some, you weren't even a citizen at all.
NBC/Tay Ham composite
"I like sitting close to windows."
I pick Parker Posey. She might not be the most obvious choice for an influential woman, but I find myself needing a dose of Posey when I'm feeling a certain kind of way. She is someone who I think values authenticity and embraces both the highs and lows it can bring into your life. My favorite roles of hers are the ones where she gets to improvise the dialogue and help sculpt the character. Plus, she always makes me laugh. I like that. - TAYLOR
“At some point, you have to make a decision. Boundaries don’t keep other people out. They fence you in. Life is messy. That’s how we’re made. So, you can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them.”
SHONDA RHIMES! I think she's a really very powerful and relevant woman in today's society. She writes such strong female characters for her TV shows. With as much of an impact that media plays in our lives, I think it's really important that little girls grow up seeing bad ass female characters that they can relate to and look up to. My boy Riz Ahmed just gave a really awesome speech about diversity and representation in the media, and he said that by including diverse voices and stories, creative industries have the opportunity to humanize and unite people, which I think Shonda fully understands and strives for in her shows. - SUZY
Democracy Underground/Tay Ham composite
"You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
Besides being a champion for peace and equality, she was such a brave and amazing lady! I love her so much, I named my cat after her. - JESS
Want more AWESOME WOMEN? Shop TAY HAM's Women's Month selections HERE.
For the shortest month of the year, February sure is a savage: The Northern Hemisphere is pelted with winter blizzards and a general dreariness takes up residence above our heads, zero foods are in season (be sure to tip your hat to the previous sentence), and depending on your current relationship status, Valentine’s Day is always up for debate. Idk, Feb. Maybe you’re overcompensating for something? Or are you just upset that we’ve misspelled your name for forever?
In better news, the second month is generally good for the greeting card industry. Right now the Tay Ham office is buzzing with activity. A steady rapping of fingers on keyboards, the crinkle of cellophane sleeves, and the tween pheromone drunken howls of “I Don’t Want to Live Forever” by Zayn Malik and Taylor Swift (45% office approved btw) fill the air daily with a mostly pleasurable cacophony of sounds and motivating feels. Smiling faces and the regular flashing of bicuspids make up our current fashion trend and we’re definitely ok with it. It’s for those reasons and more that we’re happy this week. And because we want February to lighten up a little, we each put 2 things in the pot this round: 1 general and 1 love-related. We hope you enjoy.
🍗 : Having an ice cream sundae for dessert every night this week is making me very happy. Rewatching this Power Rangers video I found this past summer was pretty fun too. Good times.
❤️ : I love conversation hearts. The candy corn of winter.
💛 : I'm currently really loving these super pretty vintage inspired tins full of fancy little chocolates! The tins alone make it worth the purchase and they're perfect for Valentine's Day gifts (way cooler than drugstore hearts of chocolate)!
🍗 : The podcast, My Dad Wrote A Porno is making me happy this week. This one is hitting it right - sex, laughter, and some of the most anal-ytical banter and criticism. Jamie's dad wrote an erotic novel, Belinda Blinks, and each week he and his 2 best friends read a chapter pausing often to laugh, gasp, gag, and question if this was in fact a good idea to read your dad's dirty thoughts.
💙 : This week I'm really loving Kehlani's, Sweet Sexy Savage. Think TLC, Brandi and Rihanna. The album title says "get a girl that can do all three" and she did just that. Connecting it all is an IDGAF attitude to conformity, being vulnerable and foregoing being cool to say what needs to be said laced over throwback sounds and electronic beats.
🍗 : Elizabeth Warren being a total badass is making me the happiest this week! Mitch McConnell unknowingly coining the new feminist battle cry was the best backfire, too!
💜 : I just discovered cold brew old fashioneds. Cheers to 2017!
🍗 : I just fell into a Netflix pit for the first time in a hot second and I’m really happy about it! My new show is The Magicians. It’s a SyFy Channel original (which is why I didn’t give it a fair shot at first) based on a trilogy of books (which I devoured) by Lev Grossman. The typical C+ AT BEST grade I give SyFy shows has been curved to an impressive A- thanks to a higher budget, better acting and complex finger movements needed to conjure amazing spells even Harry Potter couldn’t muster.
🙏 👐 👏 👉 👈 ✌️🤞🤜 💨✨💠🤥
💚 : My heart strings were significantly plucked when I ran across one of those surprise proposal stories yesterday. First, I’m really jealous this couple broke into my iPhone Notes app and stole item 14 on my bucket list. But second, Celine Dion seemed super kooky/happy about the whole thing so I guess it’s ok.
🍗 : Not gonna lie, this granola is making me really happy this week! It is kind of expensive but so totally worth it. The sea salt in it is perfect and I love it for a late night sweet treat.
💗 : I love to cook and generally don't like to be out with lots of other people, so I always cook for Valentine's Day. I'm getting excited to work up a delicious menu this week for this years feast. It usually involves some sort of steak and delicious sides and of course a chocolate dessert.
Are you feeling the love yet? Here, THESE might help.