January Round Up

Our third calendar year on the blog (wait…what?) is off to a good, if cold, start. We’ve been busy working and writing, and we’ve both been ailing — Scout with a killer cold and Zelda with a debilitating stomach bug — so we’re sorry if we haven’t been all that present this month. But still, despite our weary bodies, January has had its fun moments. Zelda celebrated her birthday (belatedly) and had a visit from one of her bestest pals. Scout killed it at Nerdeoke. Winter came, all of it in one twenty-four-hour period, in which we got all that snow we were missing back in December. We found ourselves housebound, the streets and sidewalks nigh impassable and public transit a mess. But snowstorms leave room for some of our favorite things: drinking, eating, and binge-watching, all of it with folks we love. Not bad, January. Not bad at all.

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What We’re Doing: We started the month, and the new year, off with some resolutions, as is traditional. Scout shared her (hopefully fun and manageable) checklist for 2016, and Zelda checked in on her 15 New Things for 2015, and added some new entries for the coming year. In other posts, we had the usual suspects: a playlist, an “Eat This, Drink, That,” and some inspiration tailored to help you find your voice and sing out (Louise). Plus Scout made a list of her must-see works of art in New York, and Zelda shared her winter beauty favorites.

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What We’re Listening To: January can often feel like the longest month — endless stretches of grey with nary a festivity to break up the monotony and the cold. Plus, there are all those pesky resolutions that seemed shiny and promising on the 1st, but by week two are hanging over your head like a personal thundercloud. So this month’s playlist was a musical pick-me-up, songs from the Great White Way (and slightly off it) to help pump you up and push you toward your goals. Really, all we want is for our lives to be a musical, and these songs help us find our inner Princeton, Pippin, Elder Price, Violet, Matilda, Annie Oakley, Velma Kelly, Elle Woods, Nancy, Vanessa, Miriam, Patsy, Perchik, Millie, Lola, newsie, hippie, A. Ham, and more (but we keep it all inside).

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What We’re Watching: Mr. Robot! Scout’s been in love with Rami Malek since he played Snafu in “The Pacific,” (also as the Pharaoh Ahkmenrah in “Night at the Museum”), so when she found out he was getting a starring role on a new USA show, she was sold without much convincing necessary. When that show was nominated for all the awards, it was pretty easy to get Zelda on board as well. Do yourself a favor and go watch it now: It’s keep-you-up-watching-until-four-in-the-morning engrossing and as well-written as it is well-acted. Snowstorm Jonas also brought on binge-watching. Scout finally queued up Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None,” which is goddamn delightful and wonderfully intelligent — a comedy that’s genuinely funny, realistically insightful, and not afraid to stray into commentary on issues such as racism and sexism, without feeling preachy and still staying funny. Seriously, all ten episodes were just so pleasing. Zelda finally got caught up on “Elementary” and dove into the wacky, wonderful, musical world of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”

We also love: Our boy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, reading Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech in the church where MLK originally spoke the words as part of the #MLKNow tribute. Our girl, Ingrid Nilsen, interviewing the mother-effing POTUS! These celebrities trying to pull off their best gender-swapped Scarlett O’Hara’s and Rhett Butler’s (Eddie Redmayne for Scarlett, seriously). Oh and THIS. THIS IS EVERYTHING.

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What We’re Reading: This profile of hilarious comedienne and Girl Raised In The South Leslie Jones (The New Yorker). This thoughtful essay by author and vlogbrother John Green about why people should stop underestimating or dismissing us young’uns, and why condescension is never as productive as dialogue (World Economic Forum). This ode to the quiet pleasures, and creative possibilities, of a sick day home in one’s bed (The New York Times Magazine). This (admittedly depressing) analysis of this year’s Oscar nominees and how they fared on the Bechdel Test (Wall Street Journal). This throwback to when David Bowie filled out the Proust Questionnaire, a reminder of how delightfully, inimitably individual the (space)man was, and of how lucky we were to have him for a spell (Vanity Fair). This delicious slice of reflection and wit, about the origins (factual, fiction, or otherwise) of gooey butter cake (The Offing). And every single awesome, insightful, entertaining entry in Vulture’s Hamilton Pages, a week-long celebration of the man and the musical, inspired by dear Alexander’s 261st birthday.

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What We’re Eating: This month saw a lot of food consumed in Scout’s abode; the cold just makes you want to stay in and gorge on comfort foods. Scout attempted a nostalgic recipe for this month’s “Eat this, Drink That,” harkening back to summers at the lake and the light fluffy angel food treat that Gaga used to cook up. It didn’t go exactly as planned, but it could have been worse. Our mini cakes tasted pretty good, as long as one applied a liberal amount of whipped topping and strawberries. Hopefully, Zelda’s pans have recovered. [Zelda’s Note: It took several days of soaking, three washes, and one ruined sponge, but they have been restored to functional status.] The snowstorm brought even more baked goods. Scout’s roommate, Claire, cooked up not one but two (gluten-free, even!) cakes in the twenty-four hours snowfall: a funfetti cake for Friday night, and a classier, heartier apple cake for Saturday afternoon. And back in the beginning of the month, Scout’s fourth and newest roommate, Brettlin, whipped up a classic Southern New Year’s feast of collards, black-eyed peas, a roast, yams, cornbread, and mac and cheese. Here’s to starting out the year with wishes of health, wealth, happiness, and many kitchen adventures.

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What We’re Drinking: For this month’s “Eat This, Drink That,” Zelda tackled the French 75, a classic cocktail of gin, lemon, simple syrup, and champagne. We were underwhelmed at first, until St. Germain entered the picture and reminded us why we want it in all of our drinks, always. And with the recent snowpocalypse that was Jonas, we found ourselves homebound and in need of a bit of boozy refreshment to pass the time. Zelda enjoyed an organic chocolate stout (Samuel Smith’s, to be precise), courtesy of her cousin. Scout and the roomies stuck to red wine (for the roomies) and bourbon (for Scout).

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What’s On Our Wishlist: Is it too repetitive to have our eyes on the #Hamiltome, i.e. the book chronicling both the creation of the musical and the man who inspired it? What can we say, we are obsessed, and we must have it. Scout would also love to somehow get tickets to BAM’s Richard II starring David Tennant and NYTW’s Othello starring Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo. It’s really important to one of her 2016 resolutions, okay? Zelda is longing for some tickets of her own, particularly to the new revival of her childhood favorite Fiddler on the Roof and the just-announced revival of Hello Dolly! starring the legendary Bette Midler herself.

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Photos Via VarietyThe Washington Post, ComicBookMovie, Vanity FairBAM, TheaterMania.

December Round Up

Goodness gracious, y’all. The calendar tells us there are a scant two days left in 2015, and we suppose it must be true. This year was hard and it was fun, filled with new beginnings and unknowns. We write to you one year older than on January 1st, and we hope perhaps a bit wiser, too. In all this topsy turvy madness of job searches and apartment searches and general identity crises of a quarter-life, existential nature, you, dear readers, have been a constant. And so we want to say thanks, and cheers. Let’s raise a glass of something bubbly to a year of recipes and playlists and GRITS and dance parties and books and movies and rants and raves and so much more. Here’s to you, top notch folks that you are, who were with us through it all. We can’t wait to see what 2016 has around the bend.

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What We’re Doing: We kind of live for the holidays here at Zelda and Scout, and this December was no different. Scout decked the halls, or at least the one hall in her apartment. Zelda told you all her favorite Christmas-y things to do in the city. The weather was warm, but we sought inspiration in snowy scenes and chilly words. Scout reflected on being an introvert and how spending Christmas alone was actually kind of awesome, and Zelda brought you her favorite holiday films. And it was all backed by our holiday-themed playlist. What can we say? We go hard at this time of year.

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What We’re Listening To: This month’s playlist, as is traditional, covered our holiday favorites: from classics to contemporaries, Elvis to Emmylou. Music makes our holidays brighter and fills them with comfort and joy, and we’re finding new classics every year. Some highlights from this year’s list: Stephen Colbert’s send up of the Christmas music industry, The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York,” Lenka’s “All My Bells are Ringing,” and Vienna Teng’s “Atheist Christmas Carol.”

We also love: Scout’s on a senior year of college flashback: Jason insisted she listen to Carly Rae Jepsen’s new album Emotion, and while Jepsen did provide her soundtrack to 2012, Scout was skeptical. After a few listens, she’s sold. There’s something to be said for fun, dancy pop music (her favorite is “Your Type”). And of course, we’re still all about the Hamilton. Our favorite song changes daily. Congrats on your Grammy nom, guys!   

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What We’re Watching: It has been established that we are both giant nerds, so of course we were excited for the new installment of Star Wars. Scout has managed to avoid seeing the prequels-that-shall-not-be-named and was anxious to maintain her Star Wars purity, but after consulting with the biggest fanboys and girls she knows, she and Zelda decided to make the trip to see the new film. And you guys, can we just say for a second how much we loved The Force Awakens?!? It’s a lot. We loved it a lot. J.J. Abrams did justice to a beloved franchise (plus he added a lot of diversity and girl power, which is always a plus) . We can’t wait to see more of Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, and BB-8.

We also love: Zelda commenced her annual (and more often than not unsuccessful) quest to see as many of the Oscar/Golden Globe/SAG/etc.-nominated films and performances of the year as possible with “Spotlight” and “Room,” both of which were amazing (in the true sense of the word) pieces of film filled with rich writing and riveting performances that left her both uplifted and utterly gutted. She also finally hopped on the “Master of None” bandwagon; it made her laugh out loud and also think, which is one of her favorite combos. Scout and her roommates continued their love affair with TNT’s “The Librarians.” And both of us conducted our Annual Christmas Movie Retrospective, from rom-coms to cartoons, stop motion to Muppets, Irving Berlin to Richard Curtis (for some of Zelda’s particular favorites, check out her most recent post).

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What We’re Reading: This delightfully accurate instruction manual for how to get home after a little too much fun out on the town (via The New Yorker). This profile of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s oh-so-talented (and oh-so-sexy) other half Javier Muñoz (via The New York Times). This beautiful essay by Jhumpa Lahiri about her struggles to learn Italian, and about language and our relationship to it (via The New Yorker). This review of the territory erstwhile-frothy-rom-com “The Mindy Project” is navigating this season, and the real (deep, dark) waters of relationships it is choosing to brave. This examination, by turns cheeky and personal and academic and heartfelt, of astrology, “our irrationality of choice” (via n+1). This oh-so-delicious “Hater’s Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalogue” (via Deadspin’s Adequate Man). This thoughtful essay from First Foray about the ways liberal arts educations and Panera sustain us, and may be ruining us for life (via Medium). This defense of the awesome (and Rowling-approved) casting of POC South African actress Noma Dumezweni in the upcoming Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, of which we whole-heartedly approve (via The New York Times). And this quiz, one of Buzzfeed’s best, which allows the reader to determine which T.S. Eliot Poem he/she is.

We also love: On a longer form note, Zelda finally read the oft-recommended The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro. It made her want to bawl on the subway, in the best way. And Scout can’t wait to dive into Sarah Vowell’s Lafayette in the Somewhat United States (the Hamilton mania never ceases) and Elizabeth Benedict’s Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty-Seven Women Untangle an Obsession, recommended by our forever fav Ingrid Nilsen and gifted to her for Christmukkah by Zelda.

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What We’re Eating: Scout conquered a Southern kitchen staple this month, with a little help from the pros. Her grandmother — the infamous, universally loved Gaga — was in town a couple weeks ago and helped us whip up a batch of crispy fried chicken, much to everyone’s satisfaction. We’ve also been neck deep in homemade treats as it is the holidays. Everything from cupcakes to candies have shown up somewhere: work, home, neighborhood bar. The Momma even sent us some personalized christmas cookies.

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What We’re Drinking:  Zelda’s contribution to this month’s Eat This, Drink That, Rosemary Gimlets, was a smashing success. These cocktails, courtesy of David Lebovitz, are delicious, potent, easy to assemble, and impressive to her guests. A++. And while most days the thermometer is decidedly un-December-like, we’ve embraced the holiday season full tilt with eggnog (bourbon optional but recommended), hot chocolate (peppermint schnapps optional but recommended), and lots and lots of prosecco.

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What’s On Our Wishlist: The holidays were good to us. We don’t need much in this life, so we’re wishing for a sweet new year, filled with good beer, great friends, sunshine (and maybe some snow, but not too much), kitchen dance parties, and another great year here at Zelda & Scout. Though…if someone wanted to throw some Hamilton tickets our way (ESPECIALLY Zelda’s since she has yet to see it), we wouldn’t complain.

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Photo Via: VANITY FAIR and THE NEW YORKER