1. This Music Video by Ingrid Michaelson (Featuring Zooey Deschanel) – I’ve always been obsessed with animated stop-motion films created with felt.
Here’s another short film I’ve watched about a half dozen times (it’s on Netflix). It’s called ‘Robin Robin’ and it’s a delightful holiday gem.
2. This SNL Monologue by John Malkovich – truly a national treasure.
3. This Tour of Fortnum & Mason (and also Harrods) at Christmas – My friends know this, but F&M is my mothership and it’s been calling to me for the past couple of years. For myself personally, not being able to get to London and Ireland to visit my friends there and do all the things I love to do in the UK is in the top five most difficult things about the pandemic.
4. This Christmas Short (which is actually a Christmas Advert)
5. This (Faux) Letter to Santa – gotta love a little historical humor.
6. This Collection of Eggnog Cartons – Called the “Eggnog Project“, graphic designer Madeleine Eiche has curated a museum-worthy selection of eggnog cartons that exhibit the variety of designs in American eggnog packaging.
[Found on ‘Messy Nessy Chic’]
7. These Letters from J.R.R. Tolkien to His Children – Can you imagine receiving something so incredible? Not only were the stories wonderful (which is no surprise) but the drawings are magnificent!!!
1. This Announcement that Pinterest Has Banned Weight-loss Ads – Pinterest is the first (and only) “major” social media network to ban weight-loss ads. Why is this a big deal? Not only does it end the constant promotion of the messed up theory that people (women primarily) can only be attractive if they are “thin.” But for people with eating disorders, it is removing a significant trigger that has lead them to have body dysmorphia. More social media networks need to follow suit.
In fact, the entire dieting industry should be investigated. Samantha Bee did a two-part story on her show a few weeks ago about how the weight lost industry is in overdrive now that the pandemic is being deemed “over,” focusing their ads on how people need to lose the weight gained over the past year and a half. As Samantha points out, we just survived a pandemic, that was STRESSFUL. If you happened to put on a few pounds and don’t look like you did in 2019 – so the fuck what?!?!
In part two she talks with a doctor who even says that dieting has been shown to do the opposite – it can cause people to put ON weight. I can attest to that. After a lifetime of chronic dieting all I’ve done is put on much more weight than I’ve lost. (If you haven’t heard about the ‘Set Point Theory‘ you should read about it.)
2. The New Statue Honoring Princess Diana – I think it’s lovely. But it’s being ripped to shreds by art critics and people who reported on Diana and basically, anyone who has a strong feeling and/or opinion about Diana.
I like what this woman tweeted…
3. This Woman, Kataluna Enriquez, Who is the First Openly Trans Miss USA Contestant – clearly she’s beautiful.
4. This Video Showing that the Problem at the USPS is NOT the Employees – I’ve always known this. Though I will say in MY neighborhood, it is the USPS delivery person who is also part of the problem. But that is a fluke.
5. This Early 19th Century Painting by Marie-Denise Villers – Originally thought to have been painted by David, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has rejected that attribution and determined it was painted by Villers. It looks like Marie, the model, is doing some sketching – I imagine she’s looking out the window. Do you think she’s drawing the couple across the way?
6. This Camera Man – Not only did he outrun all the sprinters but he did it carrying an 8-1/2 pound camera and dressed in street clothing. Here’s a video.
7. This SNL Skit – A friend of mine reminded me about this a few weeks ago (thanks Jeanne!) I laugh every time I watch it. And not just the ha ha kind of laughing but the belly laugh kind with a few snorts tossed in for good measure.
2. This New Show on HBOMax,Starstruck – It’s a good indicator when I binge-watch an entire series in a single evening that a show is good. When I keep thinking about it for days after and talk about it with multiple people, well, that’s a sign that it’s excellent and this series definitely falls into the “excellent” category!
Not only that, it could have been written especially for me – London, Indian leading man, sassy, hilarious, normal sized leading lady (though I’m sure they will refer to her as being “plus-sized” when they write about the show), did I mention LONDON!!! Swoon, swoon, and swoon!
3. This Podcast, ‘You’re Wrong About’ – The podcast has been around since May of 2018 so I’m a little late to the party (it was named one of the ten best podcasts by Time Magazine in 2019) but the topics they discuss are varied and most are historic (albeit more current history). Two journalists, Michael Hobbes, who writes for the Huffington Post, and Sarah Marshall, who is currently working on a book and whose work has appeared in Buzzfeed, The Believer, and The New Republic, review a specific media event and try to explain how the public was misled or came to misunderstand what really was happening/happened. For each podcast they bring in experts to include in their discussion on the topic.
A few episodes I’ve listened to so far – the Anti-vaccine movement, the Electoral College, O.J. Simpson, Tuskegee Syphilis Study and all five episodes they did on Princess Diana.
4. This Artist’s Work – Anna Hoyle‘s work makes me happy. I was drawn to her work for obvious reasons, the faux book covers and piles of books are fantastic. Not surprisingly, Hoyle is Australian. People from Australasia (Australia, New Zealand and some of the surrounding islands) seem to have the greatest sense of humor! The details are what make it so marvelous.
5. This Street Art – I was in my hometown of Dubuque last weekend. Over the past five years there has been a surge of street murals popping up in the downtown. As you can see, they are quite remarkable.
6. This New Collaboration Between Diverse Dining and CityTins– For my fellow Menopause Broads and anyone else following me who lives in the Milwaukee area…
I have been a fan of CityTins for years. The female-owned company was co-founded by Christin Cilento and Tara Laatsch in 2009. They had the brilliant idea of using those wonderful bar coasters as a way to promote local restaurants. The way it works is you buy a tin full of at least 20 different coasters. Each coaster is worth $10 off from the place that the coaster advertises. Tins are worth minimally $200 but once you’ve used three coasters you’ve paid off the cost of the tin.
The benefit to the restaurants is that it gets people in the door and maybe even gets new customers. I know that when I buy a tin I tend to try all the places (admittedly, I go to my favorites or places I’ve been first.)
I hadn’t heard of Diverse Dining. It “creates a space for people of different backgrounds and cultures to come together to remove barriers, engage in meaningful conversation, and foster togetherness through food, fun, and friendship.” I can’t think of a better program for a time when we, as a country, need to work harder on diversity and anti-racism.
There are different themed tins for you to choose from. I’m definitely getting a Diversitin and a Milwaukee Tin. There are restaurant tins for Madison, Lake Country, and Fox Cities. There is also a special “Staycation” tin for Cedarburg. They make fabulous gifts!
7. This Toaster Museum – TOAST! People that know me will understand my excitement at finding out there is a toaster museum. You know how Tom Hanks is obsessed with typewriters? I think that is fairly common knowledge, right? Well, I’m about that obsessed over toast and toasters. (Though admittedly I don’t have the money or space to have dozens of antique toasters in my home.) Still, looking at this takes my breath away.
1. This Incredible Photo of Astronaut Bruce McCandless II – Honestly, when I first saw this I thought it must be photoshopped by the person who posted it sent me to this link on the NASA website.
The photo was taken on February 12, 1984. Are you surprised, I was! I actually thought it would have been more recent. According to the website, it was the first ever untethered space walk. “Astronaut Bruce McCandless, ventured further away from the confines and safety of his ship than any previous astronaut had ever been. This space first was made possible by a nitrogen jet propelled backpack, previously known at NASA as the Manned Manuevering Unit or MMU.”
The photo below, which I discovered on social media, is a little more photographic/dramatic than the one found on NASA. I’m not sure if that is because there was more than one camera taking photos and this took them at a higher resolution or if someone has tweaked the “original” version, either way, the photo is amazing.
Here’s a few more photos…
2. This Door that Converts into a Ping Pong Table – Genius, no? There’s only one eensy weensy problem. It costs nearly $15,000!!!
3. This AWESOME Tweet that Includes a Video of the Celebration that Ensued After the Ship Stuck in the Suez Canal Finally Started Moving – EPIC! It brings tears to my eyes.
4. THIS Seven-year-old Boy Who Dressed Up as Amanda Gorman for “Dress as Your Idol Day” – well done!
5. This SNL Video from this Past Weekend – People who actually think of themselves as the “greatest generation” are NOT the greatest generation. Just sayin’.
Man, Boomers suck! Please God, don’t let us turn into them! Too late, it’s already happening…
6. This Gorgeous Apartment in Covent Garden that you Can RENT – it’s about $900 per night but if you shared it with two other people it would be completely worth it!
1. This Short Film – anyone who knows me will tell you I have two obsessions: the UK/Ireland and all things India. This manages to combine both, it’s a short film about an Indian guy who lives in the UK. I’m pretty sure it’s London but it’s possible it could be someplace like Manchester or Leeds. The man works as a tech guy. He’s finally asked out this blonde, English girl in his office who his workmates clearly think is out of his league. He’s taking her out to an Indian restaurant in the hopes that he can impress her. Let’s just say, it doesn’t go as planned.
This a so well done. Very clever, funny, and for me, there were even a few “I’ve been there” (sort of) moments.
2. This 3-D Artist – I’m envious and completely in awe of artists. They must be able to visualize what they are going to draw, in every detail, before they actually draw it. Watching this guy’s process, you can see how that must be case.
3. This Dancer – he is marvelous. You should visit his Instagram and watch other videos. Truly talented.
4. This Seven-Year-Old Balalaika Player – Doesn’t this just tug at your heart strings? And how does balalaika music not make you think of Dr. Zhivago? Absolutely amazing! And she’s adorable!!! I could watch Anastasia Tiurina play all day! (By the way, she’s 9 years-old now and has her own YouTube channel.)
5. This Video of a Hummingbird Feeding her Chicks – what is most astonishing is the man whose hand is showing has obviously spend a long time working to earn her trust and she even allows him to touch her! Pet hummingbirds? Impossible!
6. This Gorgeous Coat Worn by the New First Lady on Inaugural Night – I had serious coat envy on Inauguration day. This one may have been my favorite. (I’m an embroidery junky.)
[Side note: though I must say Emma Emhoff’s embellished Miu Miu coat was a thing of beauty and there is a black version which is much better for my coloring! Course how many of us can afford the $5000 price tag? Living vicariously.]
If you would like to see more photos you can go to the Gabriela Hearst’s Instagram. She designed the entire outfit worn by the First Lady on inauguration night. There are fifty embroidered flowers all representing the flowers of the fifty states. And embroidered on the lining of the coat is a Benjamin Franklin quote. (Thanks KK for this info!) I wish we could find a photo of that. I put the quote in the “Quote of the Day” below.
1. This H&M Christmas Short Film directed by Wes Anderson – I’m a fanatic when it comes to anything Wes Anderson so it’s rather shocking that I missed this advert from 2016. (Though it is also very possible that I have simply forgotten it. Damned menopausal brain. Though on a bright note, if I did forget it, I am getting to enjoy it all over again.) Either way, it’s wonderful!
Another amazing Christmas advert (I LOVE THEM) – be sure to have some tissue nearby.
2. This Animated Video Series, Rollin’ Wild – What if animals were round? (Or more accurately, what if animals were inflated like balloons?) Makes me laugh every single time I watch them. There are more videos at their channel. Sadly they only made a handful of Rollin’ Wild videos. I wish they’d start making them again, they’re delightful!
And here’s a Christmas video…
3. This Video on Accepting Compliments – so this chap is the husband of a friend of mine. Hearing him talk about his wife is especially wonderful for that reason. But because of the personal connection and his storytelling skills (and marvelous accent) the message really resonated with me. May be some of the best advice I’ve ever received. I probably should have learned this 40 years ago! (And why do we teach our children not to accept compliments????)
4. This Series of Holiday Photos with Stormtroopers – to see all of them you’ll need to click on the date (it says 5 years ago) right below where it says Mr. Llama. HILARIOUS!
5. This A-Frame Cabin for Rent on airbnb – One word – COZY. Click on any of the photos to go to the airbnb site to see interior shots. Next year I’m going to be traveling a LOT.
6. This Iconic London Hotel attached to a Train Station – The St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel opened in 2011 and uses spaces that were once occupied by the Midland Grand Hotel (which officially closed in 1935) and the St. Pancras Chambers which were apartments used as railway offices.
I have stayed at the hotel several times, I LOVE it there. And I especially love it there during the holidays (I am DEFINITELY going to spend a week in London next November). Not only is it convenient to have one of the major train stations right outside the door (and the British Library across the street) but there is shopping in the train station too. I mean, in theory I could go here and not leave a the building except to walk across the street to go to the library. IN THEORY (there are too many other places I have to visit when I’m in London, like my friends most importantly, and Fortnum & Mason, which is my mothership, and the V&A Museum, and Broadway Books in Hackney and of course there may be a show playing that I cannot miss, and, and, and … well, the list is endless!
Well before the St. Pancras opened, even after Midland Grand had been closed to being used as offices, the Spice Girls filmed one of their most famous videos at this location.
There’s an interesting story behind the filming of the video.
One last thing, and I haven’t been able to able to verify this, but I was told a story about how, when the Midland Grand Hotel was first built back in the 1870s, the air was so thick with smog that architect Sir George Gilbert Scott decided to paint the vaulted ceiling above the grand staircase with a night sky since London residents weren’t actually able to see through the haze. Whether that is true or not, it does make sense. Here is more information on the grand staircase.
Happy New Year! I’m afraid I’m posting this one day late!
1. I will find a way to see this EPIC Alice In Wonderland exhibition at the V&A Museum in London, come hell or high water (or war or Brexit or the Queen of Tart’s army…)
2. This McSweeney’s article on a Jane Austen’s Heroine’s New Year’s Resolutions (I best begin sorting through my smelling salts, forthwith!)
3. This movie – have you seen “Lars and the Real Girl?” (I re-watched it on New Year’s day.)
4. This organization – Clean the World is super cool! I’ve always wondered about this… Now you know, if you stay at one of these hotels, you don’t have to feel so guilty about leaving behind partially used soap/toiletry products. And, don’t be a Ross!
5. This article from Smithsonian on the history of Tootsie Rolls (one of my favorite candies, because, besides being delicious, they remind me of my Gramps.)