T LOunge for December 22nd, 2021

Posted on December 22, 2021

Múzsa Cocktail Bar – Budapest, Hungary


Plant your heinie and shut out the world in fabulous virtual surroundings, darlings! Call it avoidance, call it a coping mechanism, call it procrastination, just don’t call it late for happy hour!

So (they purred, changing the subject), how have your plans changed, if at all? We were going to have a houseguest from many states away for a few days this coming week, but we all decided it was probably best not to plan any extended visits or long trips. We have both dinner reservations and dinner party plans in the weeks ahead and we’re not sure what we’re doing about any of that. Still! We have seen more family and friends in the last two weeks than in most of the first six months of the year, which puts us in a better spot than we were this time last year. Glass half full over here!


The Queen of Christmas’s Next Act
Mariah Carey has a new song, new projects, and holiday cheer to spare

The holiday season would seem like a vocalist’s dream and a songwriter’s nightmare, with so many classics for artists to make their own and so little room to wedge in an original composition worth revisiting. Mariah is a rarity—a singer-songwriter and producer whose works define the season. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the twinkling opening of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” inaugurates winter better than the last falling leaf.


Are We Living in the Golden Age of Panettone?
The sweet Italian bread is available in more flavors and distributed more widely than ever before, and a festival devoted to it recently launched in New York City.

“They thought I was certifiably crazy.”
That was the reaction pastry chef Roy Shvartzapel says he got six years ago when he told colleagues and friends he was starting an online-only panettone business.
“People said, what are you thinking? This will never work. No one in America knows what panettone is, much less enough people to buy enough of it to warrant a business,” the Bay Area resident says. But Shvartzapel, who had worked with top chefs including Pierre Hermé, Ferran Adrià, Thomas Keller, and learned to make panettone from Iginio Massari—a man considered to be the godfather of Italian pastry chefs—knew he was onto something.


Why the Fashion World Still Looks to Princess Diana
Nearly 25 years after her death, Diana’s style endures, onscreen and on the runway. What’s behind the fascination?

Princess Diana wore many different coats—her style shape-shifting as she moved from young bride to mother to empowered divorcée—and we’re seeing them all this year. Fresh on the heels of the biopic Spencer, starring a Chanel-clad Kristen Stewart, and the Broadway version of Diana: The Musical, in late 2022 we’ll see Elizabeth Debicki portray Diana in the fifth season of The Crown. Each project represents a new chance to interpret her style, including iconic looks that have been echoed on recent runways. Nearly a quarter century after her death, why are we still trying to dress like the Queen of Hearts?


The Best Songs of 2021
Featuring Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo, Adele, and more.

After a yearlong pause on events, concerts, and festivals, and the switch to virtual award ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year we were finally able to not just hear the latest from our favorite artists, but also see them again. The best songs of the year varied across all genres, of course—whether it was the pop-punk perfection served up by Olivia Rodrigo, the lovesick anthems from Adele, or Lil Nas X simply preparing for chart domination. Ahead, and in no particular order, are our favorites from the year.


10 Espresso Martini Recipes for Your Next Soirée
Also known as: How to create this year’s buzziest cocktail at home.

It’s impossible to miss the resurgence of the espresso martini at bars nationwide, but what if you want to make them at home? Whether you’re looking for late ’90s nostalgia or an energizing digestif for your next soirée, this cocktail has got you covered with its creamy texture and decadent coffee flavor. In celebration of the classic caffeinated cocktail, here are espresso martini recipes sure to get you buzzing.


The Best Bed Pillows for a Long, Luxurious Night’s Rest
Finding the best pillow can take many restless nights (or years!) of testing and maybe even an achy neck here and there. Perhaps one of the more personal items to shop for, a good pillow can completely transform your sleep routine and overall well-being. But there’s an often forgotten rule of thumb that must be heeded: every year or so, one should replace their pillow.


8 best Christmas films that will melt the hearts of Scrooges
The festive movies to tick off this Christmas

What makes a good Christmas film? Magic, a touch of sentimentality and an obstacle that must be overcome with the help of friends and family. The most memorable festive movies often present challenges to its lead characters, whether emotional or physical, and it’s Christmas that saves them – or at least reminds them of what’s important. Here, we present our favourites of the genre.


Delicious Kwanzaa Recipes to Make This Year
Kwanzaa is an ever-evolving celebration of Black American heritage and culture that links African traditions with African American customs. Observed December 26 through January 1, it culminates with a feast called karamu. The meal usually takes place on the final night of Kwanzaa as an alternative to New Years Eve celebrations. Traditionally, the karamu might include dishes from across the African diaspora, such as Jollof Rice from West Africa, Jamaican Jerk Chicken from the Caribbean, or other traditional offerings from the American South. Scroll through for those and more delicious recipes to celebrate the holiday.


Sally Ann Howes, ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ Star, Dies at 91
Sally Ann Howes, who began her acting career as a child and was best known for starring in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” opposite Dick Van Dyke, died on Jan. 19. She was 91.
Her death was confirmed by her nephew, Toby Howes, who tweeted: “I can also confirm the passing of my beloved Aunty Sally Ann Howes who died peacefully in her sleep yesterday. My brother & I thought Sally Ann might hold on until the Christmas screening of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ as this would have greatly appealed to her mischievous side.”
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” is often broadcast on Christmas Day in the U.K.


The Greatest Christmas Shoots In Vogue Through The Years
For more than a century, Vogue has celebrated Christmas with optimism and originality. Robin Muir looks back through the decades at the images that have captured the joy.


Meet Chris Wolston and His
Curvy, Handsy Furniture

While the rest of the world was going up in flames, Chris Wolston was creating magic: “In the midst of the pandemic, there was this gravitation towards [my sculptures],” the artist and designer told Interview, “I think it’s because they made people happy.” Inspired by the mountainscapes of New Hampshire and Medellín, and the painterly abstractions of Joan Miró, Wolston crafts sculptures that double as furniture, rippling joyfully in a manner that alludes to the movement of the body. His latest collection, Temperature’s Rising, is currently on view in the Los Angeles gallery Casa Perfect through January 2022.


When I Stopped Caring About My Kids’ Grades, Everything Changed for the Better
Students pick up on their parents’ feelings about school performance, and experts say it doesn’t help them in the long run.

According to 16 studies of grading reliability summarized by Thomas Guskey, professor emeritus in the College of Education at the University of Kentucky, many factors beyond a student’s individual performance can influence grades, including: teacher severity or leniency, varying evaluation criteria and teacher error. But when we’re desperate to measure our children’s competencies using the alphabets on their assignments, we often fail to account for influencers like these and many others that have no bearing or reflection of children’s true abilities or skills.
Most parents drink from the same well when it comes to report cards: Grades mean everything. They determine everything from screen-time privileges to allowance allocations. With this concerted focus on academic achievement, are we missing the mark elsewhere? Turns out we might be.


The year of garbage internet trends
Most viral fads are meaningless, as explained by sea shanties.

Sea shanties are the framework with which I view a great many things that happened in 2021, because so many of them were entirely meaningless fads: blips on the radar lasting only for a moment but just long enough to obscure some larger, more important picture. It is fascinating to trace the origins of these glitches of nothingness: inconsequential tweets that turned into inconsequential TikToks that turned into inconsequential news articles that somehow, suddenly seemed more consequential than anything else that day.


The case for following fads
The pandemic stole our sense of connectedness. In their own way, viral trends help us regain it.

Something odd is happening: People you may have thought were chic and hip are falling into fads, drinking the popular drink that’s all over Instagram, reading the novel a celebrity promoted in their book club, or wearing that overpriced shoe everyone has — and people you thought were dorky may now be trendsetters, pioneering viral recipes from their mom’s kitchens on TikTok. It’s all strange in this moment, and even I, who might scoff if one of my friends ordered an espresso martini, understand it.


A Holiday Feast, Cooked in the Cab of a Truck
Long-haul drivers are under intense pressure this season, but many will carve out the time (and the onboard space) to make steaks, turkeys and charcuterie boards.

Dina McKinney’s kitchen looks like something straight out of a home-goods catalog. The spices are neatly organized in glass jars. The countertop is made of a thick walnut Boos block. The backsplash is white-tiled and shiny. The dish towels are seasonally appropriate, adorned with Santas this time of year.
Checking out all the details, you might forget that Ms. McKinney lives in a 14,000-pound semi truck. Her kitchen, crammed into a space behind the front seats of her cab, is all of seven feet long; her combination microwave oven and air fryer is just an arm’s length from the steering wheel.
“I want to feel human,” said Ms. McKinney, 56, who lives full time in the truck. “I don’t want to feel deprived of simple pleasures in life.”


As Well as Bows, This Santa Ties Knots
Frank Pascuzzi, who legally changed his name to Santa Claus in 2012, has officiated many weddings dressed as the jolly old elf.

In 1995, Frank Pascuzzi’s sister-in-law asked if he would dress up as Santa Claus for several hours at her Christmas party.
“She knew I was a Christmas fanatic who always wanted to play Santa,” he said. “I didn’t look like Santa back then, but I was 6 feet tall, around 250 pounds and had a deep laugh. I sprayed my black hair with white paint and rented the suit.”
The experience, he added, was both enjoyable and enlightening. “I didn’t realize how wonderful it would make me feel or that I had something special to offer. Suddenly Christmas meant something again. As an adult you lose that magic. That night it came back.”





[Photo Credit: muzsa.com, fourseasons.com]

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