Concrete Victories and Easy Recipes

It’s been another week full of bruising stories, but in the midst, we had an election day that showed some promise for change.

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It’s not our usual gif, but it feels right to open with this picture of Danica Roem, the first openly transgender woman ever elected to a U.S. statehouse position, falling to her knees as news that she had won her election (against an incumbent of long standing who called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe”) sunk in. A process that included a congratulatory phone call from Joe Biden.

Thank you to the people who organized and phone banked and donated and called senators and engaged in any of their political processes this past week.The results of so many races, big and small, were much-needed balm for our weary hearts.


Livetweet Announcement: Join us for ROGUE ONE on Sunday, December 10th

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Get ready to get DEEP in your feelings with us your Dames as we screen last year’s installment in the Star Wars series, a gutting movie about change and sacrifice and hope, a prequel that stands largely alone from the series as a whole.

WHEN: 7:30 PM Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, December 10th, 2017
HOW: Streaming on Netflix or by DVD-- whichever suits your fancy.
WHERE: On Twitter, with the hashtag #RogueDames


Ask TBD: Pre-Holiday Advice Editionits-a-wonderful-life.gifIf we could, you know we would, loves.We included a bunch of your excellent questions in the Managing the Holidays Advice episode of our quarterly podcast & will be releasing that in the next couple of weeks, but we had a bunch of other questions come into our handy-dandy Google form after recording, so here are some extra questions & answers.giphy.gifNigella knows what’s up.
What dish should I cook for my relatives when visiting over the holidays that's impressive looking enough but secretly easy enough to not take my whole day to make? - KatrinaDear Katrina,Impressive (and secretly easy) dishes are my absolute favorite. Here are a couple of great vegetarian/side dish options and several desserts. I hope one of these tickles your fancy - please do let me know how you get on!I favor roasted vegetable dishes because they are really a matter of prepping & walking away: you chop things up, maybe toss them with some marinade, and sling them in the oven. No sauteeing, no basting, lots of flavor. How about a Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette? You could make this with any squash available at your supermarket. (A word to the wise: If you want to make it with pre-cut squash, make sure you buy & roast it on the same day; I find pre-cut, fresh squash can go inedibly bad within 24 hours of purchase.) If you make the vinaigrette before popping the squash in the oven to roast, you can hop in the shower (or finish reading this newsletter, whatever, that’s your business!) while it cooks.

Roasted veggies mixed together in a bowl of lemony, crunchy goodness? Featuring a pun-based name? Sign me right up for a Fall-toush Salad. It’s another dish that should travel well if that’s a consideration for you, and though I haven’t made it yet, I definitely will.Chocolate gingerbread is my go-to cold weather dessert, because it’s easy to make, can be transported in the dish you bake it in and then assembled just before eating, into a pleasingly ramshackle tower of spicy, chocolatey deliciousness. It’s the kind of dessert that is visually unintimidating but makes people go “mmmmfffff this is so good!”, as they bite into it, which is hard to beat.Lastly, is there any dessert that causes more hand-wringing than pie? A so-so cake can always be revived with a good glaze or accompanying hot beverage. A not-great pie is a disappointment to the eater and a rebuke of its creator (they invested so much time! And for what, a runny filling & flavorless crust?!) Enter the cranberry almond crostata, which features a very forgiving, richly nutty crust and an easy-as-pie filling. I recommend making the dough the night before you plan to bake it. It will travel well in the footwell of your car or wrapped up/covered on your lap on the subway (if you have one of those covered pie dishes, great; if not, just cover it carefully w/foil).

Bon appetit!
Dame S.static.gifDon't suffer as this poor pup does!Hello Dames,

I'm in need of a bit of winter fashion assistance. As someone who prefers to wear dresses year-round, now that it's cold again, I have to wear leggings under them to keep from freezing to death. However, I'm perpetually unsticking my dress from my leggings - either it's gotten very staticky or cotton is just latching to cotton and wadding up as I walk. Do you have any suggestions? Brands of leggings that do this less? An anti-static spray? Some other magical solution? Please help me stay cute and comfortable in the winter! Thank you! -- CaseyHi, Casey -Ugh, static! We feel your pain. Dame Sophie usually keeps an unscented dryer sheet in a ziploc in her purse for the express purpose of de-stactic-ing her legs whenever necessary. You can also buy cans of Static Guard - keep one at your desk at work or school, one at home, and maybe a travel sized one in your bag. This Lady MacGuyver post from Jezebel includes a variety of other solutions, including using wire hangers to ground your clothes and a light application of hand lotion to your tights. We wish you a reduced-static winter!

Skate away, skate away, skate away!Dames, how do you split holidays with in-laws? My husband and I have been together for 8 years, married for 2, and every year is a struggle to decide where we'll end up for Christmas. We have more fun with my side of the family, but his mom loves Christmas more than anyone I know. The one year we spent Christmas eve and day with my family (then went to my MIL's on December 26th for pancakes and presents) she was deeply upset.

We've tried taking her out for ice skating, "It's a wonderful life" screenings and cookie baking, but these activities are all supplemental to the BIG DAY in her mind, not a substitute. It's only November 5, and I already wish I had a river I could skate away on!Dear Skater Gal,I, Dame Sophie, solved this issue for myself by marrying a foreigner raised outside of my natal faith. I mean, that was not my primary GOAL in marrying a non-Jewish Englishman, but it turned out to be a really handy side benefit. In spite of my relative inexperience in splitting holidays, I have a few options for your consideration:Start a new tradition by hosting Christmas at your place. You could invite both sets of in-laws over for a low-key potluck & gift-opening on Christmas Eve or Morning and then be free to spend the rest of the holiday together or in some permutation of partial togetherness that you all enjoy.Decide & cheerfully announce that starting in 2018, you’re going to rotate where you observe Christmas and Thanksgiving, and give your mother-in-law first choice as to which you celebrate with her. If 2018 is her year for Christmas, you’ll spend Christmas 2019 with your folks and Thanksgiving with her. She’ll have time to complain about this and have some hurt feelings, and may try to convince you to drop it, but you’ll also have time to stick to your talking points, such as “we can’t wait to celebrate Christmas with you this year and Thanksgiving with you next year!” and then change the subject or leave the room as necessary. I’m troubled by her being “deeply upset” at the one time you celebrated Christmas with her the next day; perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but that behavior seems like emotional blackmail, and in any case, spending just one Christmas with your family, out of 8 years as a couple, is a real and unfair imbalance.If your parents are less tied to observing Christmas on December 25 than your MIL is, you could also go in the opposite direction and let her own Actual Christmas, and celebrate an Auxiliary Christmas on another day with your family. I had a coworker a few years back who always celebrated Thanksgiving on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, precisely because she had a large family of adult kids in couples, and she wanted them to be able to travel for the holiday to see their in-laws, and didn’t want anyone to feel extra pressure about it. She felt it was a win for her on several levels, and I’m inclined to agree.If none of these will work for you & you’d like to create your own path forward, I suggest checking out Coffee & Eggnog, a service my friend Magda is running at a couple of price points to help you devise a plan for getting through the holidays that will work for you. Good luck & happy holidays!  One-Link Willison Shares Like TECHNICALLY Two Links tumblr_n0n458FkqI1r6iq8mo1_500.gifDID YOU KNOW THAT KATE MCKINNON AND AIDY BRYANT ARE SET BESTIES? If not, I guess it IS worth reading the NY Mag Profile Linked Below.For this Dame, it has been a BIT OF A DAY, so I’m going to be sharing only one tiny thing: this very adorable video of Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant telling the story of her boyfriend proposing to her on Late Night with Seth Meyers. I came to this video from New York Magazine’s profile of Bryant, which is worth reading, but not life-changing. That is technically two links, but of the two, I’m ONLY insisting you watch the video, which for whatever reason made me laugh and smile so much.The Video For Kiwi Is An Utterly Bananas Extravaganza / Rushmore Homagetumblr_oz3rmm8h6t1v1bblqo2_250.gifOh, hey, L’il Baby Jyn Erso,
where are you going with those cupcakes that match your suit?
It’s quite likely that Harry Styles walked into the pitch meeting for the video for his song “Kiwi” and said something like “I quite enjoyed acting in Dunkirk, what if we recreated a battle scene but as a food fight? With schoolchildren? And they’re all wearing...Gucci outfits!tumblr_oz3rmm8h6t1v1bblqo1_250.giftumblr_oz3rmm8h6t1v1bblqo3_250.gif“Hey, can we use the pile of baked goods/ammo as both a critique of conspicuous consumption and my undying love of the Great British Bake-Off?”tumblr_oz3rmm8h6t1v1bblqo7_250.gif“Also, we need puppies. Ok, make it work, all the love!”I feel confident that all of this happened. I also very firmly believe that the video for Kiwi is, above all else, Harry’s love letter to Wes Anderson’s 1998 film Rushmore. This video is littered with references. First of all, think of the great cupcake fight of 2017 and then compare it with Max Fischer’s final theatrical magnum opus. Substitute Halloween costumes for all the Gucci fairisle & velvet, and acorns for the cupcakes, and you’ve got this scene. And who could forget Rushmore’s final scene (in which Max wears a lush velvet suit of his own), as it switches to slow-mo?  I also love that this video is another clever way to shift the conversation about this song. Let’s be honest, “Kiwi” is a very fun piece of sexist trash that also allows Harry to strut across the stage every night, shouting “IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!”, a thing he probably has never & will never say in public in any other circumstances, often while holding a queer pride or trans pride flag aloft. I love when cultural icons throw a bunch of personally relevant cultural signifiers in the blender and make something delicious and new. “Kiwi” is 3 minutes of pure, nutty joy and I hope you have as much fun watching it as I did.tumblr_oz3rmm8h6t1v1bblqo5_250.gifYou know what you did.