With so many lists of things to go do, see, and make this holiday season, we here at Bustle and Vim thought you might enjoy a more relaxing list. Instead of those New Year’s articles that seem to constantly scream, “You! Improve Yourself/Your Life/Your Home!!! Do it now!”, I’d like to second Bustle in my suggestion that you take this time and ENJOY it. We love you just the way you are. And in that spirit, I present: Things Worth Staying on the Couch For
(Can we just agree that the rule about not ending sentences with prepositions should be thrown out? To follow it, you have to really twist your words into some pretty tortured arrangements. Would you have liked “Things for which Staying on Your Couch are Worthwhile”? Doesn’t have a very natural ring to it, now does it?)
All hail the Age of Netflix (or Prime, or Hulu, or OnDemand, or HBOgo, or whatever). Finally, the powers that be have cottoned on to the way we want to watch our favorite stories - whenever we want, however we want, and as much as we want at any given time. So here are some of our best suggestions for your bingeing pleasure:
This sexy pirate period drama is produced by Michael Bay, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s just a lot of explosions and cleavage. This finely woven, and excellently acted tale combines pirates from actual history with fictionalized characters, and will have you addicted in no time – and doing a lot of unplanned pirate research on Wikipedia.
Flesh and Bone
I like to call this one “Creepy Ballet Show”. And that’s exactly what it is. Creepy, intriguing, a little melodramatic - but extremely enjoyable, either despite or because of the melodrama, I’m not sure. At first I decided it was guilty-pleasure watching, but as the story unfolds, the show gets more complicated and I was totally sucked in.
If you missed this unique pastiche of legendary horror characters Victor Frankenstein, Vampires, Witches, Werewolves and Dorian Gray, all revolving around a mysterious woman with a mysterious curse - this Showtime series is well worth your time. What will be the fate of Vanessa’s soul???!
I doubt I need to sell this stellar reboot of Sherlock Holmes starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. It’s everything you want. Everything. Cummmberrrrrbatch.
Again, too famous already to need any introduction from me, this excellent series is now in it’s 6th season and – no spoilers! – my dvd hasn’t yet arrived. Romance, intrigue, smartass duchesses and murderous valets, and ohhhh…the costumes - it’s delicious.
Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell
Set during the time of the Napoleonic Wars, Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell are magicians, rivals destined to become key figures in the return of English Magic. Think you like fairies? Well, you won’t in this gorgeously wrought adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s novel, because they are terrifying.
Slings and Arrows
This amazing series follows a theatre through 3 years, paralleling their experiences with the Shakespearean plays that dominate each season. You’ve got all your kooky theatre characters (the diva, the money-obsessed manager, the crazy director, the movie star guest artist) and hilarity definitely ensues, but also a deeply meaningful look what it means to suffer the triumphs and humiliations of this life – the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. *Totally still enjoyable if you’re not a theatre person.
Escapist Book Series:
Here are some super fun series to get lost in.
The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger
My favorite books are about intelligent, bossy Victorian lady detectives set in an alternate-reality, steam-punk Victorian era with supernatural powers. You’d be surprised how many of those are out there. But this series is the best. Bonus werewolves and vampires, plus a really original conceit on the nature of said supernatural powers. Also, cravats.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Take all the old fairy tale heroines and set them in a post-apocalyptic future with a mysterious plague on Earth, a lunar species with mind control powers, cyborgs, space travel, and of course, a battle for world domination. It totally works.
The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman
What if Hogwarts existed but it was more like college? What if there were people that could really do magic, but most of them were like the people you knew in college (i.e. emotional minefields)? What if Narnia was real and it was adorable, but also scary as hell? Here you go.
The Montmaray Journals by Michelle Cooper
An obscure royal family lives poorly but peacefully on a remote island off the coast Spain, but their uneventful lives change as they are drawn into the political strife leading into World War II, as well as their own, very unique family drama worthy of a Bronte novel. Sweet, melancholy and savvy historical fiction, if that's your thing.
Every year my hubby and I attend a Pajama themed Christmas party and it is the highlight of the season. Something about the gray and dreary weather of a Texas winter just makes me want to put on something comfy, and hibernate on the couch till spring. I'm not endorsing any specific pants, just the wearing of them in general. Here's a cute photo of me and my friend at the Jammie Party.
Hot Cocoa, mulled wine, spiced tea…so many yummy ways to get warm. I’m including here my recipe for my own Special Cocoa, as well as some favorites for those cold (or at least chilly) winter days and nights.
So, this is my rigged version of really good hot cocoa. I start with a boxed mix. It doesn’t really matter which one, but I lean toward Swiss Miss.
Half mug hot water
Half mug hot milk
One and ½ packages of hot cocoa mix
Shake of cinnamon
Pinch of Nutmeg
Pinch of Allspice
½ teaspoon of Mexican vanilla
4 chocolate chips
Marshmallows as needed
Or…if you don’t feel like going to that trouble, you can try this delightful mix. I find it a little sweeter and not as rich, but it is still delightful.
Abuelita Hot Chocolate Mix
Long have I searched for the perfect spicy, winter tea. Here it is.
Harney & Sons Cinnamon Sunset Tea
Plush Red Wine
This is my current favorite red wine. It’s a little sweet, bold and very jammy. Goes well with hearty stews, gingerbread cookies or just cheese and crackers. You can mull it with some spices and honey over the stove, or drink as is.
So there we are! So many reasons to relax, unwind, and enjoy the season in the coziest of ways!