While we’re at it, here are some Christmas features we’ve done in the past that may help you enjoy the holiday, particularly if you need some distractions from your crazy family . . . .
When people make lists of the best Christmas movies of all time, there’s usually a heated debate over “Die Hard,” a classic that most guys appreciate but hardly qualifies as a traditional holiday movie. With that in mind we created our Yippie Ki-Eggnog list of five unconventional Christmas movies you can enjoy.
Finding a gift that to make your special women happy this Christmas can be a difficult task. You need to go for something practical, useful and the gift should also suit her personality. Here are some gift ideas to consider this Christmas.
1. Stylish Jewelry box
If your daughter, sister, mother or wife love jewelry, and have a large collection, then a jewelry box can be a great gift. Try to think of the box as a place which should be as special to her as the jewelry itself. If you want to add a traditional touch, you can go for a handmade jewelry box, or even make one yourself. However, it would be best to go for a stylish one. Examples include Mele Rene Black Suede, Modern Espresso and Allison.
Giving her something comfortable is also an option. A warm set of Christmas PJs would also raise the spirit of the day, and she is going to be one happy lady. You can go with cashmere robes, or classic silk pajamas. Apart from PJs, you can also select from other sleepwear items such as slippers and bath robes. Christmas sleepwear for your women can be purchased from local stores. If you want to avoid the crowd, you can buy sleepwear online. You can browse your options from websites like www.crazyforbargains.com for more accessories and products.
Perfumes are a safe gift as most women love them. You’ll need to find about which scents appeal to her. You can get an idea by observing the aromas she uses already. Another way of making the right choice is by observing their lifestyle. If your women like to spend lots of time outdoors, then a perfume would a natural scent would be the right pick. If they spend most of the time domestically enjoying family life, then you can go for a robust amber fragrance. Some of the affordable options include Euphoria by Calvin Kelvin and Kenzo Amour by Kenzo.
4. Gift certificates for spa treatment/spa products
If you feel your women need love a chance to relax, then a gift certificate for a spa treatment would be a great Christmas gift. Alternatively, you can gift her spa products. Some examples of Spa products include body polish, lotions, sea salt soak and bubble baths. You can make a Christmas spa product basket and add a few decorations. However, this may not be necessary as manufacturers usually decorate these baskets at this time of the year. Some options include Pampering Cherry Blossom Spa Set and Perfect Petals Spa Set. If your women are close to nature and love organic items, you can go for the Go Green Spa Set.
You shouldn’t have a problem choosing the right present if you know your women well.
Last night at Manhattan’s posh Hotel on Rivington penthouse suite, HP and blogger Arjan Writes presented a special preview of “Halcyon,” the new album by British pop sensation Ellie Goulding. Best known in the United States for her monster hit, “Lights,” Goulding has gone on to great success stateside, appearing on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “Saturday Night Live,” as well as a special guest appearance at the White House last December, where she sang Christmas carols onstage with Barack Obama. For all of her enormous success in the last few years, though, Goulding is a very humble, down-to-earth and endearing personality.
The evening began with a bit of background on Goulding, who grew up in the small town of Hereford and got heavily into music early on. “My mum was cool with music,” she says. “She would buy every new thing that was out. We really had no money, but whatever we did have, she’d spend it on CDs and tapes.” Idolizing singers like Bjork, Joni Mitchell, Beyonce and Stevie Nicks, Goulding says she quit college because “something was pushing me into music.” Elaborating on what that something is, she also says, “Having people come together for the same cause is really important. The fact that I can do that with shows is really awesome.”
Delving into “Halcyon,” we heard samples of a few tracks, including the clearly Bjork-influenced “My Blood,” which shares thematic water imagery with other songs on the album. Goulding says, “I have a fascination with the ocean, being lost at sea. I kind of want to be a mermaid.” The title track, “Halcyon,” addresses another theme of the album in its plaintive chorus: “When it’s just us, you show me what it feels like to be lonely, you show me what it feels like to be lost.” “I write songs out of being alone,” Goulding says. “I’m around people all the time, but there’s a theme of loneliness on this album.”
That is not to say the album is relentlessly downbeat or somber, however, as Goulding is quick to point out that “I like making things that give people hope, I suppose, in the least cheesy way possible.” Ellie Goulding’s career certainly seems to show a lot of hope, with unreleased collaborations with the likes of Skrillex and Swedish House Mafia possibly on the way “in the next couple of years,” proving her mantra that anything could happen.
Derek Waters’ “Drunk History” is one of the strangest, funniest, most absurd concepts in web series history. Playing on the inherent comedy of drunken incompetence and memory loss, each of the series’ six episodes takes a different comedic actor or writer, puts way too much booze in them, and then follows their muddled, profane accounts of important historical events. The episodes then cut between these slurred, rambling monologues and dramatic reenactments of the events, featuring famous actors such as Jack Black, Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel. The genius of these reenactments is how closely the actors follow the exact words of the inebriated nonsense that forms the basis of their script, lip-syncing the dialogue perfectly right down to the inadvertent sniffles and hiccups of the actual speaker.
The first episode features Mark Gagliardi recounting the story of Alexander Hamilton’s famous duel with Aaron Burr after drinking a bottle of Scotch. Though it is unclear how large the bottle was, it was clearly quite a bit of liquor, as he spends most of his segment reclined on a couch with a bucket nearby, just in case. Hamilton is played by a suitably innocent-looking Michael Cera in the reenactment, but the real show-stealer is Jake Johnson in a brilliantly shifty-eyed performance as the loathsome Aaron Burr. In episode 2, Eric Falconer takes on the famous story of Benjamin Franklin‘s discovery of electricity, expounding upon his theory that it was actually Franklin’s “bastard son,” William (Clark Duke), who actually flew the legendary kite with the key tied to it. This is also the series’ first instance of vomiting in the midst of the storytelling, but not its last, so be warned that the series is not for the weak-stomached. Jack Black portrays Franklin again in a special volume 2.5 episode, in which Falconer tells a hilarious tale of Franklin’s sexual deviance.
These are the only official episodes of the series (plus a very special Christmas episode included below), so beware of the unofficial knockoffs, most of which are pretty terrible. In fact, the one I linked to there is pretty much the only one that’s watchable, and it’s still nowhere near as good as the real thing. In addition to the recognizable stars, look for Waters’ name and also that of series director Jeremy Konner to avoid being duped.
I have a confession to make. Despite my enormous love of all things sweet and milk fatty, I was fully prepared to bale on what has to be the ultimate seasonal drink. I have to admit there were concerns for my waistline — you guys have no idea how much weight I gained as a child knocking back the carton based non-alcoholic stuff. Also, as I grew older, I usually was disappointed by the spiked nog I’d had at parties. Somehow, the booze always seemed to destroy the cheap and creamy charm of the store bought nog. It was like putting vodka in chocolate milk. (I’d rather have a shot and choco-moo chaser, thank you.)
Still, the real reason I was going to go AWOL on eggnog was that I was simply intimidated. I imagined fresh eggnog to be a very complicated drink to make; a drink that might even force me to break my no-blenders rule, classic drink though it be. The online recipes telling me that I had to start with a 6 or more eggs, separate the yolks from the whites and perform various operations on them only reinforced that assumption.
Then, however, I started Googling “eggnog for one” and a great revelation came to me. Really, all this drink is a raw egg — provisos and disclaimers to come — milk, sugar, vanilla flavor, and booze. I have to say that, even if I have a sentimental attachment for the gooey store bought stuff, this shockingly easy, if slightly messy, home made version beats that all to heck.
So, here goes, the drink recipe I never thought I’d post.
1.5 ounces of your choice of cognac/brandy, bourbon, Canadian whiskey, or rum
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 ounce heavy cream (optional)
2 ounces full fat milk if not using heavy cream; with cream use 1.5 ounces
4-5 teaspoons superfine or powdered sugar
Ground nutmeg (garnish)
1 cinnamon stick (optional garnish)