T LOunge for December 20th, 2021

Posted on December 20, 2021

Café en Seine Bar and Restaurant – Dublin, Ireland


Here. Have a little slice of heaven for the day. The so-called real world is once again getting too stressful to deal with for extended periods of time and all we want to do is turn on the tree lights and shut everything out as much as possible. A long, lovely LOunge with plush seating, flattering lighting and great conversation spaces (not to mention books) sounds like just the thing for all the kittens today. We’re off to put together a few distractions and opinions on the trickle of current pop culture as we all slide head-on into Christmas, whatever form it may take for each of us.

So? How are you? If you had plans for the upcoming holidays, have they changed at all? We’re holding on tight to ours so far.


Mackenzie Davis Wakes From a Fever Dream
The actress was gearing up to film the pandemic saga Station Eleven when a real-life lockdown hit. Now, she’s coming to terms with what remains.

Station Eleven, the new HBO Max miniseries in which Davis stars, puts this quality to work, to mesmerizing effect. Based on the book of the same name by Emily St. John Mandel, the show is about a pandemic, though one much more destructive than the coronavirus. By the year 2040, the fictional Georgia Flu has wiped out 99 percent of humanity, leaving only small bands of survivors living in tents, rusted-out cars, and the hollowed bellies of Wal-Marts, gas stations, and, in one particularly intriguing case, the Severn City Airport. But unlike most dystopian futures, the world of Station Eleven is profuse with color and sound; its old world remains are not forgotten relics but reinvented tools. The characters dress in scavenged skirts; they play lovingly repaired instruments; they hitch horses to dusty hatchbacks.


The Infinite Universe of Lorna Simpson
The 61-year-old artist, an influential creative force since first emerging on the scene in the 1980s, was forced to rethink how she approached making art. “I noticed,” she says, “I just need to be real present in whatever I’m making.” What Simpson has made for Harper’s Bazaar is Floating Actuality, a group of collages that play with her personal archive of pinup photographs from old issues of Jet and Ebony magazines and brim with the possibilities of the cosmos, referencing both the art history of the female body and the vastness of the universe.


Was Natasha Ever Really the Villain of Sex and the City?
Bridget Moynahan doesn’t think so.

“This generation thinks differently than the generation that existed when the show was coming out,” Moynahan says. “At the time, and for few years afterwards, I heard comments from people and fans who were really protective of Carrie, even though she was the one having an affair with my husband. They didn’t really see it from that point of view. They didn’t see the wrong in that situation, because they liked Charlotte and Miranda and Carrie—they protected their girls no matter what.”


How Queen Mary Became the Royal Master of the Jewelry Makeover
The British royal wasn’t shy when it came to repurposing family heirlooms.

Queen Elizabeth can thank her grandmother Queen Mary for many of the most spectacular of royal jewels. Not only did Queen Mary amass legendary diamonds and gems during her husband’s reign, but the forward-thinking consort also repurposed jewels into contemporary new pieces. Nothing was too sentimental or historic for a refresh—not even a diamond wedding gift from her husband’s grandmother, the formidable Queen Victoria.
Queen Mary was a champion of repurposing jewels, and it’s worth taking a lesson from her playbook on how to gracefully transform important stones into timeless pieces. She had an eye for gemstones—and a vision for how to wear them creatively. She commissioned transformable jewels that could be worn in multiple ways, such as tiaras that became necklaces, and versatile designs that were set with interchangeable stones that are still worn by the Windsor women today.


Ashley Park on Season 2 of Emily in Paris, Asian American Representation Onscreen, and Being Number One on a Call Sheet
While everyone was quarantining last year, Ashley Park found herself having a breakout moment. Park, who garnered critical acclaim for her role as Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls on Broadway, was reaching a new audience as one of the stars of the addictive Darren Star dramedy Emily in Paris. “When our first season came out, it was the height of the pandemic, so we were all separated, didn’t get to celebrate together, and didn’t know if the second season was going to be able to happen,” Park says over the phone from Los Angeles. In tandem with the success of the Netflix series, she landed a recurring role in one of the most popular comedies of the year with Girls5eva as the late fifth member of the ‘90s girl group, Ashley. Park, it seemed, was primed for TV stardom.


How to Find the Plus-Size Wedding Dress of Your Dreams
Pop the bubbly, you’re engaged! Make those teary phone calls, change that Facebook relationship status and post the ring pic—now is the time to bask in that overly-in-love and the world needs to know glory. After a lifetime of messaging that insists only thin bodies deserve true love and that you’re statistically more likely to become a sea witch than a bride, revel in the truth that this sort of Ariel-and-Eric love belongs to bodies of every shape and size including your own. Besides, just as quickly as you can say “we’re engaged,” the reality will sink in: you’re going to have to find a plus-size wedding dress.


Feast of the Seven Fishes: 16 Seafood Recipes for Christmas Eve
To celebrate the Italian-American tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, you’ll need plenty of seafood, of course. These 16 recipes have you covered, from traditional dishes like seafood stew to a fun and fancy (yes, fancy!) clam dip. Fry up a batch of extra-crunchy calamari to serve with your favorite marinara sauce and a few lemon wedges. Or try your hand at tomato-based baccalà, which pairs beautifully with a mascarpone-enriched polenta and briny olives. No matter which recipe (or recipes) you choose, you’re in for a wonderful feast.


A son’s brutally honest, yet loving, obituary went viral after calling out his mom for her affairs, love of weed, and trash-talking
An uncharacteristically honest obituary of a mother written spread across social media and garnered widespread praise.
An obituary for Renay Mandel Corren, who died at the age of 84 on December 11, was published in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the same day.
But unlike most newspaper obituaries, which typically focus on the positives, her son Andy Corren held nothing back in describing her many faults.


This Tower of Doughnuts Is the Perfect Centerpiece for Your Holiday Table
We are celebrating the season with two special holiday episodes of Pastries with Paola before season two launches in the spring. First up is Paola’s holiday showstopper, the Old Fashioned Doughnut Croquembouche. Here, Paola riffs on the croquembouche, a classic French celebration dessert, by swapping out traditional choux pastry for crispy and fluffy old fashioned doughnuts flavored with toasty browned butter and warming cinnamon. This tower of doughnuts is held together with amber caramel and adorned with spun sugar and gold leaf– the perfect finishes for this wow-worthy dessert.


Martha Stewart shows off the nativity set she handcrafted while in prison
Martha Stewart revealed a Christmas nativity set she handcrafted while serving time in prison during the 2000s.
The lifestyle mogul recently shared a series of holiday-themed videos to her TikTok account, including one video that showed off her nativity scene on Friday. Stewart captioned the video, “You’ll never guess where I made this nativity scene … Get ready for a storytime.”


A Photographer Revisits the Book That Taught Her About Dying
Inspired by an antique photo collection called “Wisconsin Death Trip,” Alessandra Sanguinetti went in search of her own American gothic.

When the photographer Alessandra Sanguinetti was growing up in Argentina during the nineteen-seventies, her mother kept on the coffee table a copy of “Wisconsin Death Trip,” a collection of photographs taken between 1890 and 1910 by Charles Van Schaick. Made in the Wisconsin city of Black River Falls, they included studio portraits of elderly residents with worn faces and worn boots, images of large families outside small clapboard houses, and several postmortem portrayals of infants laid out in their coffins. “It was my first encounter with mortality—I remember thinking, I am going to die,” Sanguinetti recalled recently. “The book also introduced me to the idea that history is subjective. I had never seen history this way before. It had always been facts. It had always been dates. It had never been a mood, a feeling.”


Oreo Drops 2 New Cookie Flavors to Make the New Year a Little Sweeter
Ultimate Chocolate Oreos and Toffee Crunch Oreos hit store shelves in January.

Oreo is always experimenting with not-so-classic flavors — and the newest cookie twists will have dessert fanatics delighted.
Ultimate Chocolate Oreos and Toffee Crunch Oreos are the latest additions to the Oreo family and will be available nationwide following the Jan. 3 launch.


45 Festive Christmas Cupcakes to Add to Your Holiday Baking List
Move over, cookies — these creative Christmas cupcakes make for the perfect holiday dessert.

Why should Christmas cookies get to have all the fun? When it comes to the best Christmas desserts to bake for the holidays, Christmas cupcakes are one of the most overlooked — and most underrated — treats of all. Sure, they may be outshined by an ambitious Bûche de Noël or an epic gingerbread house, but the best cupcakes offer plenty of festive flavors and holiday cheer — not to mention so many creative decorating ideas, from fun toppers to decadent frosting, candy snowflakes and more.
To help inspire your creative holiday baking session, we rounded up the best Christmas cupcake ideas to try out this season, from gingerbread cupcakes to festive cupcake wreaths. Making these delicious Christmas treats is as easy as starting out with a base flavor, which can come in irresistible seasonal choices like gingerbread or eggnog. Once you’ve got the base set, get ready to go crazy: Donut holes and marshmallows can become snowmen. Red frosting can make Santa hats. Plus, just about anything can become a Christmas tree, from an upside-down ice cream cone to expertly shaped melting chocolate. Now, why doesn’t Santa ask for these to be left out instead of cookies?


You might get a breakthrough case of Covid-19 this winter. Here’s how to prepare.
If you’re hoping for the best but still want to plan for the worst, there are things you can do now.

As case numbers increase in the US and a new variant of concern circulates, it’s hard to feel optimistic about our upcoming Covid-19 season. Among people who are vaccinated and who have been fairly cautious thus far, a dark feeling of inevitability may be beginning to settle in — a sense that even if you’ve avoided the coronavirus until now, that might not hold through the winter.
While it can be anxiety-inducing to see a cluster of storm clouds gathering and know there’s a very good chance you’re in their direct path, there is still time to do a bit of weatherproofing, so to speak — or at least put on a raincoat and grab an umbrella, so that you’re not caught totally off guard when it starts to pour.


Bonsai and the delicate art of feeling better
My trees need me and, in truth, I need them.

Bonsai is about science as much as living art. Beyond aesthetic principles, like how to develop a tapering trunk with a wide root base to communicate a sense of age, you also have to bone up on biochemistry to keep your tree alive. In nature, trees benefit from all kinds of symbiotic relationships with fungi, bacteria, and even neighboring trees as they exchange carbon and other nutrients. Ripped from its natural environment, a bonsai relies on the person who cares for it. If you want your tree to thrive, you must become its forest, recreating through artificial means what nature does by design.


Christmas Day etiquette: how to keep friends and not alienate in-laws and family members
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and here is how you ought to behave

Christmas Day – like any big family occasion – is formed of traditions. Many of which will be inherited – and therefore any traditions which differ to your own are likely to be deemed incorrect. Take stockings; should they be opened before breakfast in bed, after lunch with the family or even after dinner by the fire (with the presents from under the tree)? And, then, what do you do with the wrapping paper? These days, it’s probably best to recycle. Presents are small fry of course compared to the hot topic – literally – of the lunch. Gen Z cooks are trying to side-step the big issue of turkey and, even worse, do without Christmas pudding. Forget Ottolenghi, what would Mrs Beeton say? She’d be turning in her grave, that’s what.
Here are the rules to maintain best etiquette on Christmas Day for intergenerational success, with siblings and in-laws alike.


Remembering Hollywood icon Eve Babitz, in her own words
The writer, who chronicled the California of the 1960s and 70s in novels such as Slow Days, Fast Company, has passed away at the age of 78

Babitz was born in Hollywood, California, in 1943, to classical violinist Sol Babitz and artist Mae Babitz, and was immediately surrounded by prominent figures working in and around the film industry. After striking up a friendship with her parents, famed composer Igor Stravinsky became her godfather, and she also attended Hollywood High alongside several movie stars.
Her writing – including essay collections, memoir, and novels such as Eve’s Hollywood and Sex and Rage – often revolved around this scene as it developed through the 60s and 70s, tapping into its larger themes and celebrating the minutiae of its decadent culture. Babitz herself was, quite literally, at the centre of it all, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Joan Didion, Jack Nicholson, and Andy Warhol, but also injecting her sharp wit into every line.


What Can Radical Protest Look Like?
Inside the archive of activist-photographer Charles Brittin

On a warm Saturday in the spring of 1963, more than 6,000 men, women, and children congregated in downtown Los Angeles—a historic turnout for any kind of public demonstration taking place in Los Angeles in the 1960s—and marched from Pershing Square to the Los Angeles Federal Building.
On that afternoon, just days after the infamous “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, the peaceful demonstration at the Federal Building devolved into a brutal clash between police officers and protestors, who were demanding a response from city officials to the violence in Selma. Though local civil rights organizations had been staging demonstrations for years, the struggle for racial justice in Los Angeles had reached a fever pitch.
While most news photographs from that day seem to show either bird’s eye views of crowds or sensationalized stand-offs between protestors and police officers, the images of activist-photographer Charles Brittin emerged from a radically different angle.


How ‘Lord of the Rings’ Became ‘Star Wars’ for Millennial Women
With tender male relationships and fearless female characters, the trilogy drew in tween girls who still hold the films dear in their 20s and 30s.

For a certain subset of Millennial women, the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy occupies the same role that “Star Wars” might for those who grew up from the late ’70s into the ’80s: It’s become a treasured part of the comfort-watch genre for women in their late 20s and 30s.
In the years after the films came out, rewatching them felt like a ritual only my sister and I observed. (My parents saw them with us in theaters, then never watched them again.) Through college, I met the occasional “Lord of the Rings” girl — a few friends in graduate school, and strangers on drunken nights out. And, of course, there were the memes and the accompanying meme accounts.





[Photo Credit: cafeenseine.ie, millimetredesign.com]

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