Live in excess like Jay Gatsby...or at least pretend to with these tips!
Like most of America, we first fell in the love with The Great Gatsby during our high school English class. From the glitz and glamour to the mysterious protagonist, Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel is pure box-office bait.
The Roaring Twenties tale has been translated to film five times, with the 1974 version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow being the most notable. From the looks of the over-the-top trailers, filmmaker Baz Luhrmann’s 3-D take promises to be a spectacular reinterpretation, à la his gutsy versions of Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge!
With sumptuous sets and costumes and a heavyweight cast — Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, and Joel Edgerton — the movie, which opens May 10, has us envious of the era’s lavish lifestyle. Just like Jay Gatsby, we’re vying to recreate the past. Travel back to the 1920s with us with these nine easy tips straight from Target’s very own entertaining and lifestyle expert, Sabrina Soto.
The opening of "The Great Gatsby" has brought a flurry of attention to the fun glamour of 1920s fashion, making it one of the hottest trends. It's gone from the movie to the runways to the street, and it's a look that anyone can emulate for many summer occasions. Here, Marie Claire fashion editor Zanna Roberts Rassi shows you how to get that Roaring '20s look with a modern twist.
Gatsby day look
Skirt: Zara, $80
Top: Topshop, $64
Shoes: Nine West/Great Gatsby collection, $99
This is the perfect look to frolic around in at a summer garden party. It’s a common misconception that 1920s dresses were all very short, when, in fact, many day outfits consisted of skirts and dresses that fall just below the knee.
This calf-length pleated skirt from Zara is on trend for spring, especially when worn with an embellished crop top that nods to the '20s while remaining modern. Another perk: The pleated skirt is forgiving and not fitted true to the '20s style. This skirt hits the natural waist, which is the smallest part of your body, and exposes the bottom half of the leg and ankle.
Pair the look with flatter heels, as shoes were lower in the '20s, and we are seeing a big resurgence in smaller heels in the fashion world.
Gatsby evening look
Dress: Macy's, $150
Headpiece: Forever 21, $7.50
Shoes: Nine West/Great Gatsby collection, $99
There is no such thing as too much bling. Dressing at this time was also a status symbol: the more decked out the dress, the higher spot you held in society. Much like today, dresses were adorned with layers of beading, sequins and metallic details.
We saw heavily embellished clothes all over the spring runways at Alberta Ferretti, Dolce & Gabanna and more. Get the look without breaking the bank by wearing this stunning deep-blue dress from Macy's with firework-like embroidery. It's the perfect option for any black-tie event you have this summer. It's super easy to wear and sexy whilst not being too revealing or form-fitting. This pattern would blend in at any "Gatsby" party, and the bottom of the dress is pleated for movement, so you can dance the night away in style.
Gatsby accessories style:
Dress: Abi Ferrin, Nordstrom
Jewelry: Forever 21, $3.80 and up
Jewelry: Nordstrom, $3.80 and up
Shoes: Nine West/Great Gatsby collection, $99
More is more! It wasn't enough to have a a dress draped with beads, feathers and sparkles women added layers of art deco jewelry, including rings, bracelets and necklaces. Diamonds and pearls were the gems of the day — the bigger, the better.
Perhaps a better name for headpieces in "The Great Gatsby" is headgear, because women practically wore helmets of pearls, feathers, lace and diamonds. And this is becoming a huge trend with brides this season. "Gatsby"-inspired headpieces are one of the most sought after items for brides, and they are going fast!
Our headpiece, which is less bridal and more youthful, is from Viva de Marina. But if you aren't comfortable going all the way with extravagant headgear, simple embellished headbands with pearls and rhinestones give off a "Gatsby" vibe as well. (And remember: Headbands go over the forehead, not on top of the actual head!)
Last but not least: shoes! Nine West has collaborated with the film, shrinking the size of its heels to 2 to 3 inches, and adding feathers, rhinestones and sparkles (all of the soles of the shoes are glittered).
Gatsby beauty styles
Dress: Abi Ferrin 'Jourdan', $300, AbiFerrin.com
Makeup: Mac, $15 and up
Makeup in the '20s was very defined. There are a few key aspects to the "Gatsby" look: a smoky eye, full, baby-doll lash, boldly-stained lip, defined brow and a flushed cheek.
M.A.C. makeup artists teamed up with "The Great Gatsby" movie so you can have the look at home. We used M.A.C. shadows and liner to create a smoky eye and then expanded lashes out with Benefit's BADgal mascara.
As for lips, the 1920s pout was all about the bold stain — no shiny glosses. We used Ruby Woo by M.A.C., which was used in the film. The movie's makeup artists first covered the actors lips in concealer and then drew on them with liner and lipstick. Don't go overboard with concealer that's too thick after applying the lip, blot with a tissue, apply again and blot once more. Voila — now you have a stained lip!
Back then, brows were well-groomed and bold. Test out brow pencils before applying your bold brow should look natural, not like you've painted it on. Apply with small strokes, not one long line, and put on a clear brow gel to hold everything in place.
Finally, we come to the natural, flushed rosy cheek of the '20s. Apply rouge upwards on the cheek bone, but hold off from adding color to your forehead or chin. A "Gatsby" glow is strictly for cheeks — no bronzer ladies!
As for hair, 1920s coifs have been trending on the red carpet this past awards season on stars like Naomi Watts, Amy Adams and Taylor Swift. Hair in the Jazz Age was sleek and shiny, often with an iconic pin curl crimp. Long hair was out, and the short chin bob was in.
The '20s bob was often sleeked to the cheek and flat, but if you don't have short hair — or don't feel like making a dramatic change to your cut — you can still create the look at home. Wash your hair as you normally would and give it a light blow-dry. Divide your hair into 1-inch sections, and wrap one section around your fingers tightly. Now secure the curl with a bobby pin or two. Then repeat with the rest of your hair and slip a shower cap over your 'do while you sleep. Take the pin curl out in the morning and groom with a small amount of serum for a sleek look.
A Great Gatsby Menu Worth the Hype
Whether you're looking to add a fun twist to your end-of-year celebration or are simply anticipating the upcoming film The Great Gatsby, look no further than this 1920s menu. Since we couldn't help but be inspired by the glitzy parties F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of, here are a few recipes, ranging from the fresh zing of a mint julep to pigs in a blanket, that are sure to please. Throw on your fringe and host a party with vintage charm: this menu is sure to be one for the books!
This frosty, tangy beverage is too good not to be enjoyed year-round. You can make a mint julep just like in the book by following this recipe. The sweet and potent drink is impressive yet easy to make, even for cocktail beginners.
Hors d'oeuvres like stuffed mushrooms are especially fitting for a 1920s fête with a glamorous air. This recipe incorporates a creamy spinach and artichoke filling, as well as a crunchy panko topping.
Keep reading for the rest of the 1920s party menu.
Oysters With Champagne Mignonette
Jay Gatsby had nothing but the best, which calls for what would've been a rare seafood treat like oysters served with Champagne mignonette. A classic mignonette, a vinegar-and-shallot-based condiment, nicely balances an oyster's brininess and can be thrown together in no time. Just place all ingredients in a jar, shake, and serve.
To conjure up a dish similar to the spiced baked party hams of The Great Gatsby, serve up a honey-bourbon glazed version. Looking for something more bite-size? Then try an update on the perennial party favorite of pigs in a blanket: all you need is puff pastry and sausage. Pair the dish with a spicy mustard for a no-fail appetizer.
One of Gatsby's attempts to woo Daisy Buchanan involves a tea with 12 lemon cakes. Serve your guests a sweet-tart lemon curd cake. It's a light dessert layered with a slightly sour lemon curd, then topped off with a simple zesty frosting — the perfect way to end your party.
5 Suggestions to Attract Young People to Church
I have never met a church which didn’t want to reach young people. Every church sees the value in younger people becoming a an active part of the church. They know the future life of the church depends upon it.
The problem is often the church doesn’t act like what they claim to value.
If a church is more interested in protecting traditions, for example, than it is in creating a future, then it will most likely fail to attract young people.
At least that’s been my experience.
If a church is interested in attracting young people, it must think strategically about doing so. And, let’s be honest- we are all figuring out this subject. I’m totally open to learning from you. These are just some things I’ve observed.
Here are 5 suggestions for attracting young people to church:
Value them and their ideas
Young people will want to do things differently. They see things differently. We must give them a voice and an access to authority. This doesn’t mean we have to change anything we believe or teach, but it does mean we have to listen to them and not dismiss what’s on their heart and minds. I’ve found I must make time in my schedule for the younger generation. I need to engage them regularly. They want to know me personally. But, when I do, it’s huge to them – and I have more credibility to speak into their life. (And, it fuels me personally.)
Give them a place to serve
Find ways to let young people assist others. It’s a huge value for them. For the newer generation, it appears service may be the new front door. They will care more about serving than they will about “membership”. They want to make a difference meeting real needs. I’ve discovered they like hands on experiences. And, they usually aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
Be genuine with them
Young people can spot phonies. Let them see you are real. Authentic and transparent have been admired cultural values all their life – so they will accept nothing else. Be honest with them – about your shortcomings, your flaws and your fears. Let them learn from your mistakes and the things you did right.
Young people want to sense they are loved – even when they mess up. In my experience, young people want a safe place to be transparent and they want you to love them even when they do things – and believe things – of which you wouldn’t approve. If you want an opportunity to speak into their life, they have to know you genuinely care for them.
Young people want direction and they want to learn from your experience. If you talk about the concept of mentoring – they are into it. If a more experienced person is willing to invest in them – they’ll listen. This is a huge opportunity for the church in reaching a newer generation.
These are a few of my observations. Feel free to add your own. There are so many things drawing our young people’s attention these days. The opportunities before them are unlimited. And, frankly, church is only one small option for most of them. We must be intentional and strategic if we want to reach them.
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Author Ron Edmondson
Join the discussion 44 Comments
I agree with you that churches should always value the ideas of the youth because that would be a important way to make them feel that their voice matter while the older people in the church try to guide them through their growth. My family will be moving to a suburban area later this year so it would take some time to adjust. Perhaps, finding a family friendly church can help us integrate better into the new community.
Awesome piece…… that place of loving them has touched me…. many times I have assumed that they are grown up and they should know what is right and wrong. You’ve challenged me to listen to them.
This is a great list to start with. Our minds often quickly go to the great tension between what our elderly want and what our youth want. There are older forms that honor our elderly and are more comfortable for them. Because our culture has been changing quickly in recent years there are new forms that resonate more readily with our youth.There is a sense in which we must embrace both. But it also makes it difficult for the elderly who have won the battle in their church and resisted the newer cultural forms subsequently losing the fellowship of the next generation and the opportunity to help them mature in the faith.
The thing that is difficult to understand is that the Gospel transcends human culture. This principle is one of the most important factors made it spread so quickly in the Roman empire early on. The empire was culturally pluralistic. The truth of the Gospel comes with a variety of biblical metaphors not to mention acceptable extra-biblical metaphors that are capable of making the Gospel understandable in any context. My mind always goes to Don Richardson's Peace Child, where he finally found the cultural explanation of the Gospel to the Sawi people in a most dramatic act of sacrificial peace-making.
In the same way, older generations of Christians must learn to pour the Gospel into younger generations of people in the forms that make the most sense to the younger people. This must be done in such a way as to not compromise the Gospel while calling younger people to that which transcends both the older culture and the younger culture so that they will learn to do the same when they grow old. The key is in using various cultures, not to be comfortable, but to communicate the Gospel in every way possible.
Great reflection as always
The problem is that Christians don't really know what Church is anymore. Nowhere in the Bible is it stated that it's a "place" you go rather Church is the Body of Christ (a "Who.") Children get pushed aside into Children's Church or other programs, but the NT Church was a Body of believers–regardless of age. Our children need to understand that being a Church is about being in a daily relationship not only with Jesus but also with fellow believers. I think we've missed that in our culture. http://www.calhounbelievers.com
[…] 5 Ways to Attract Young People to Church by Ron Edmondson […]
I agree with a poster above to some degree about not lumping all young people together. There are only a few other people around my age, and it seems like there is an expectation for us to band together or something. Just because someone is younger doesn't mean they only want to relate to people their age. In relation to the young couple at my Church I find that there are just other people in the congregation I connect with more on an interests and communicative level that are totally not even in the same age group as me. I think it may (at least in my case) be a matter of finding common ground with other members as in interests etc. Age can be a matter of common ground, but I think at the core most of us would define our essence and who we are more to do with inner attributes. Age can be a starting place, but it may not be a place of depth or where we find meaningful connection at.
You are right. It's impossible to put everyone into one category. Sociologist continue to categorize generations, and it helps us understand them, but everyone is unique
I'm sorry you had this experience. We've advertised for exchange students several times in our church. Maybe you've been trying the wrong church.
Can we print your article in our church bulletin ? Thank you
Yes. Absolutely. Just please list where it's from. God bless.
I can't speak for other people. But church has nothing to offer me. What would I want a church to be? I would want a supportive community where I can have friends and where I could contribute the things that I can and where people would care about me.
But instead, all I have found at churches is a bunch of narrow minded, judgmental, self righteous, uptight, people who are turned inward toward their little community. They don't have open hearts or open minds.
Here is an example, I was trying to find host families for only two weeks for a few exchange students. I contacted local churches to see if any members would be willing to host a student for two weeks (from a country that has few christians so it is an opportunity to introduce children to christianity) and the churches did not just refuse to have anything to do with hosting, the churches refused to even post information or put the word out so that their members could decide whether they wanted to host or not. They just said that their members were too busy with their own lives to be put out by having a guest in their home. Well, how giving and charitable of them. How dedicated to spreading the word of God.
Christianity is no longer a warm and caring religion with the spirit to bring in new converts. Modern American christians seem to be mostly cold and nasty hearted, selfish people who only think about themselves and their small group. Ugly, ugly, ugly. It was a big reminder to me of why I don't go to church.
Why would I want to go to church? I can pray on my own. Why would I want to go to services and be surrounded by mean, stuck up people? Of course, they think they are wonderful people if they do say so themselves. That is part of their belief system–that they are so wonderful and kind and righteous. But they aren't. Their actions speak for themselves. If they were any of the things they think they are, then young people wouldn't be leaving church in droves.
In ten years, most of the current white hairs will be in their graves, and who will be in the pews? My guess is many churches are going to be empty. It is easy to see why people aren't going to church. I fail to see why anyone would bother.
The houses of ‘Gatsby’: Q&A with production designer Catherine Martin
The 21st century soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s splashy remake of “The Great Gatsby” may be a head-scratcher, but design fans can’t quibble with the period sets created by production designer Catherine Martin.
“The phone has been ringing off the hook,” said Frank Pollaro, a custom furniture maker renowned for reproductions of Jazz Age designs. “People are falling in love with Art Deco again.”
Pollaro, who wasn’t involved in the film’s production, isn’t the only one noting how much excitement the film’s period design has managed to generate. The look of the film’s set is rooted in Martin’s extensive historical research, which took her through old Long Island mansions and beyond, not to mention the pages of the 1925 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Martin, who won two Oscars for the production design and costume design of “Moulin Rouge,” talked with L.A. at Home about the homes in “Gatsby”: what was real, what was imagined and where she got those fabulous furnishings and floral arrangements.
Gatsby’s place looks like a Disneyland castle. What’s the story?
It’s actually St. Patrick’s, an old seminary in Sydney [Australia]. We put faux ivory on the first two stories and digitally enhanced the turrets. There were palm trees in front that had to be taken out and replanted, and we built a fountain.
The interiors certainly have a money-is-no-object glamour.
I looked at a lot of early 20th century mansions on the north shore of Long Island for inspiration. We installed a grand staircase that was based on the one in La Selva, an Italian villa built in the teens. And we made and milled all of the floors including a marquetry Gatsby monogram in different wood veneers. In the dining room of the Buchanan house, we had custom paper made from DeGournay. It was hand painted on silk dupioni and took three weeks to create. If you go to old houses on Long Island you will see painted Chinese wallpaper, which was big in the 18th century. Throughout history, notable, established families have always tried to link to the 18th century.
The film has not only antique rugs but also Art Deco rugs that seem enormous. Were they custom?
Absolutely. I created a Deco collection for Designer Rugs in Australia, and luckily for me, they were able to make very large versions in a very short time. The oval ones in the Buchanan dining room and salon, inspired by Chinese phoenix motifs and pearl jewelry, were 290 square feet each. They can also be ordered in standard and custom sizes and shipped around the world.
How did you arrive at Gatsby’s two-story master bedroom design?
The rest of the house has old-money furniture with new-money Art Deco touches. This room is totally of-the-moment modern. The references for the furniture are Emile Jacques Ruhlmann, who pioneered Art Deco in France. The walls are a nod to Philippe Starck’s lobby design at the Delano Hotel in Miami.
What was the inspiration for those outrageous floral sprays in Gatsby’s house?
I looked at interiors done by Elsie de Wolfe, but the main influence was Constance Spry, probably the most famous florist in London in the 1930s and a favorite of the duchess of Windsor. For her time, she was extremely wild and surrealist, adding cabbage leaves and unexpected country garden things to arrangements. We chose to put a ludicrous number of flowers, particularly orchids, because that would’ve required hothouses and would represent Gatsby’s extraordinary wealth. Constance Spry was one of the first people to put flowers in urns and ceramic swans and other unusual containers, but her arrangements tended to be a little less full. I chose to override her style a little bit and fill the arrangements out. The modern eye wouldn’t understand such a deliberate period look.
The Harlem apartment of Tom Buchanan’s mistress also has a giddy gaudiness. How did you achieve that?
I worked with Karman Grech, who has original wallpaper sample books from the 1920s and had a floral with lots of red and pink reproduced. In the Fitzgerald book it says the couch is upholstered in something that looked like the 18th century painting of a girl in a swing by Fragonard. So we had that digitally printed onto the upholstery fabric. That was a hard one to describe to Baz, but when he saw the fabric and wallpaper, he said, “I’m totally on board.”
The Great Gatsby Recipe Guide: 10 Party Foods Inspired by the Roaring Twenties
The roaring twenties will no doubt be a theme of many a summer party this year as The Great Gatsby film release has everyone reconnecting with this classic novel that embodies one of the most fabulous periods in our history. When most people think of the 1920s in the U.S. they think of the flappers, Prohibition, gangsters, and jazz. What people often overlook are the great advancements in home cooking and recipe development during this period. A comprehensive listing of the top rated diet plans can be seen when you click the link here.
The availability of “sliced bread,” refrigerators, and other convenience foods that are dogged today helped (mostly) women spend 44 hours each week in their kitchens preparing meals. By 1965, women were only spending 25.7 hours per week cooking, and research in 2021 revealed women today spend only 13 hours each week on all household chores.
If you plan on hosting a Great Gatsby party this summer, you’ll want to dress the part of course, but the food can play a major role in pulling together the theme. If healthy is your goal, stick to the recipes we’re sharing. But if authenticity is most important, you’ll appreciate the homemade, healthified versions of many of these processed foods that are still popular today.
Alcohol was banned for much of the 1920s during a period known as Prohibition, but that didn’t keep the booze from flowing. The Old Fashion, a tart whiskey-based cocktail, was a creation of this decade that we still raise a glass to today. Guests will easily celebrate with this jazzed up version with fresh blueberries and a Truvia simple syrup. See what diets were rated as the best when you follow the link here.
Said to be a creation of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel during the roaring twenties, this rich cake is having a bit of a modern day renaissance in popularity. This lighter recipe calls for food coloring, but you could use beet juice just as they did during World War II rations a few years later. Cream cheese was wildly popular during the twenties, too, so be sure to make the frosting! To read a list of the very best diet plans click the link here.
Speaking of the Waldorf, one of the most famous salads to date is the Waldorf Salad. The original, created in the late 1800s, had mayo, apples and celery. Then, in the 1920s, no doubt thanks to the greater availability of fresh produce, nuts and grapes were added. You could take or leave the chicken in our modernized version.
The advent of canned food items, like tuna, allowed for greater availability of more exotic foods to the average housewife. Combine that with the popularity of finger sandwiches during the twenties you had a recipe for success. Your Gatsby’d guests will certainly appreciate lighter fare like this as they dance the night away. A comprehensive listing of the best diet plans can be read about in the link here.
Canned food meant tins full of fruit, too, which meant pineapple was more readily available than ever. The pineapple upside down cake became a 20’s favorite. Healthy-Delicious.com created a miniature version, making this dessert party- and portion-control perfect.
Another throwback to the popularity of finger foods during this time, the deviled egg was a get-together staple. Now reserved for family BBQs and picnics, this new way to enjoy the egg was considered quite proper at the time, sometimes even dressed up with caviar. See what diets were rated as the best when you follow the link here.
The Baby Ruth and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups candy bars were invented in the 1920s, and are still one of the sweetest treats around. We love that Chocolate Covered Katie whipped up a homemade version that has 55 calories and zero grams of sugar (compared to 180 calories and 16 grams of sugar).
The Hostess Cupcake company started boxing up pastries in the late 1920s, and still today those little snack cakes are an American favorite. Consider making our version of the oatmeal cream sandwich cookies as a parting gift for your guests. You don’t have to tell them it’s vegan because they’ll never taste the difference. See what diets were rated as the best when you follow the link here.
Kool-Aid was for cool kids almost 100 years ago when this nostalgic drink mix became available. Today it’s a rather toxic mix of dyes that combine with more processed sugar for a drink no one really needs. If you want a non-alcoholic thirst quencher reminiscent of the times, give our fruit-infused waters a try, this version available at Fit Bottomed Eats. A comprehensive listing of the best diet plans can be read about in the link here.
Kids everywhere should celebrate 1923 and 1928 for the introduction of Welch’s Grape Jelly and Peter Pan Peanut Butter, respectively. Combine these two comfort foods in to one crazy-good cookie by Marisa Churchill for a guilt-free party indulgence. For even more information about diets, click the link here to see which were rated as the best.
Mercuria, the Golden Heaven, second layer of Mount Celestia
I see you've climbed the first layer of Mount Celestia, Lunia, and passed the trial of the Warden Archon guarding the Silver Gate. Welcome to Mercuria, the Golden Heaven, the second layer of Mount Celestia! I'm sure you have many questions about how to climb further, and where to rest now.
My players spent about one session on this layer, which is shorter than it deserves, but they were trying to flee from Bahamut's gaze. Nevertheless, here is a lot more information than they found.
Mercuria is the second layer of the lawful good plane of Mount Celestia. The plane assumes that anyone there is attempting to climb to the topmost layer, where supreme bliss reigns. Each layer challenges climbers in a different way, and has different expectations. Mercuria is full of history: statues, memorials, scriptures, etc., and expects climbers to study and learn from those who came before them. Through these, the layer aims to impress humility, and the desire to bravely emulate great heroes, on the climbers. Like all of Mount Celestia, it is governed by, and mainly occupied by, the Archons, but unlike the rest of the plant, it is also watched over by Bahamut, the god of metallic dragons, and his host of Radiant Dragons.
Mercuria has a lot in common with Lunia. As you likely remember from your climb up Lunia, the entire layer is a mountain, ascending into the clouds. Regardless of where you are on the plane, the shining peak of the mountain pierces the clouds, showing you the ultimate goal of the plane, the target of all the climbing, though it take years and years to reach. Since Mercuria is higher up than Lunia, the light shines more clearly. While Lunia was dim, giving the surrounding ocean a silver glow, in Mercuria, it bathes everything in a golden glow like a sunrise. That, and the sheer amount of gold on the layer gives Mercuria its title.
Unlike Lunia, which is actually relatively barren, Mercuria shows signs of natural life. The slopes are still steep and rocky, but broken up by trees, shrubs, and grassy valleys. Small animals skitter across the paths, while birds chirp at flying archons overhead.
The truly noteworthy aspect of the landscape aren't natural features, but the many golden statues, memorials, mausoleums, and monasteries. Flying far overhead is Bahamut's Palace, a golden masterpiece of art and home to the Platinum Dragon himself.
As with Lunia, the ultimate goal of Mercuria is to climb, but climbers on this layer take their time, finding their own leisurely path between the memorials to the peak. It is possible to make a dash for the top, but you may find your path slowed and interrupted by statues depicting lessons to be learned before the climb is complete, and the journey will appear to take much longer than a direct route would appear. Those who rush also draw attention from Bahamut's dragon minions, who casually watch over the layer in conjunction with Domiel, who is described in further detail below.
While climbing Mercuria, you'll find the landscape dotted with statues and memorials to the great heroes of the past. Most are not especially ostentatious, built as they are mostly of white stone and marble, but the golden glisten of the sun on this layer makes them appear to be made of gold. At the base of each statue, and at the front of each memorial and mausoleum, is a plaque that shows the name and deeds of the hero being remembered. Around the base, a more detailed life story is displayed. It is typical for climbing pilgrims to stop at each one, read the story, and meditate on the lessons that can be learned by it. Some pilgrims have favorites they return to frequently, dedicating a hero as a role model for their spiritual growth.
Most monuments are dedicated to beings who demonstrated great heroism, bravery, and mercy, but not all of them made it to Mount Celestia. In fact, the fates of the plane will steer the spirits of heroes away from their own monuments, should they have one, so no one is tempted by the pride of one's accomplishments so represented. This is one of the only times this layer of the plane will rearrange itself for an individual.
Some adventurers will come to Mercuria just to seek out a specific memorial if they need to research the deeds of ancient heroes, such as needing to locate an item that hero once used, or to try to identify the weakness of a monster long ago bound but never destroyed. The easiest way to locate a specific monument out of the thousands across the layer would probably be to stop by one of the monasteries on the layer.
On Mercuria, there are no major towns or cities full of local color. Instead, travelers and locals gather in monasteries, which serve the same purpose. Each complex contains free dormitories, open to any, with common areas to store personal belongings, dispensaries for necessities, and, dominating most of the space, large libraries full of tomes and scrolls, both new and ancient, but primarily focusing on religious and philosophical matters. Here, travelers who don't want to travel across the landscape to learn from their ancestors instead congregate to read and debate. If you enjoy a good debate, or a thoughtful read, these libraries are the places for you. If you're trying to research arcane matters, or to learn profane secrets, you might want to ask around Sigil instead.
Now, I say that there are no major towns or cities, but I'm of course neglecting Bahamut's palace. Somehow visible from anywhere on the layer, it flies far overhead and glitters like a cloud of gold and platinum. It is said that Bahamut and his radiant dragon attendants watch down on Mercuria as proxy defenders, should any evil creatures make it past the Warden Archons guarding the passage up. But, while the Archons form a physical guard against the forces of evil, the mere sight of Bahamut's realm above often reminds those considering evil that they are being watched, and can quell unsavory urges early.
Travelers up the slopes of Mercuria should also be warned that it is common to take one's time climbing, seeing the sights and learning the lessons. Anyone spotted bee-lining it to the top will draw the attention of the radiant dragons, who may stop by to interview these rapid climbers. Surely, anyone with that much drive is either up to something nefarious, or has a truly urgent mission. Either way, the radiant dragons will be interested.
Don't worry, I'll introduce you to the radiant dragons more formally in a moment.
Before moving on to the next layer, Venya, travelers must prove themselves to a Warden Archon, an armor-wearing bipedal bear angel, as they must to progress through any layer. All Warden Archons have their own trials for travelers, but in Mercuria, they are all themed after the lessons travelers are expected to learn from the monuments, and aimed to prevent people who would interrupt the peace of Venya from progressing. As such, many of the trials require travelers to show that they have learned lessons from the ancestors, and that they respect that others have their own stories to tell.
As I've mentioned while describing Lunia, most of the inhabitants of Mount Celestia are either Archons or other planar climbers seeking apotheosis, especially aasimar, or sometimes even a tiefling or repentant devil. Most of the Archons in Mercuria are Hound Archons, but a few Lantern Archons, who primarily reside in Lunia, make it up to Mercuria before being promoted to Hounds. Flying Archons, like Sword or Trumpet Archons, will sometimes travel to Bahamut's palace to consort with the radiant dragons, but they don't often touch down, unless to deliver messages to the Throne Archons who mostly operate the various monasteries across the slopes.
Hound Archons represent some of the greatest growth potential for an Archon. They have matured to a physical form after being a Lantern, and in that form they can grow strong and train more diligently than even a dedicated human could. Once they are promoted, their physical growth tends to stagnate, as they will gain duties which occupy their time, like the guard duty of a Warden Archon. So if you meet a Hound Archon on the road up Mercuria, or meditating at a shrine or monument, don't look down on them as a lesser Archon, but consider them as angelic forms of the most wise and respected human Monk or Cleric. You have no idea how long they have been learning and training here, and what stage they are on in their personal growth and their climb.
Archons must develop their righteousness to be promoted from one form to another, starting at Lantern, then to Hound, then either to Warden or Sword, then Trumpet, and Throne. Climbers, whether Archons or not, must prove that they’ve learned the lessons of the layer, for each layer, so there are Archons of almost every type in every layer. In particular, Throne Archons - giant gold-skinned angels with gold swords, almost as adorned in floating scrolls as they are in the Archon-typical shining plate armor - act as the governors of all of Celestia’s towns, cities, and in the case of Mercuria, monasteries. Dolmiel, the Mercy-Bringer - second of the Hebdomad which governs the entire plane - rules the entire layer, enforcing a quiet, meditative atmosphere, an.
If Mercuria is your final goal, you’re either here for some ancient lore, or you're probably here to visit Bahamut's palace.
Bahamut's divine realm consists of his massive flying palace, staffed by his Radiant Dragons, the ultimate angelic form of the metallic dragons who worshipped him in life. Though it spends most of its time in the skies of Mercuria, it travels freely between the first three layers of Mount Celestia.
The palace lives up to Bahamut's title as the Platinum Dragon. The walls, floor, and ceilings are all forged from the silver, gold, and platinum which his servants dedicated to him in their lifetimes. The walls are all draped with the most gorgeous, priceless tapestries and gold-rimmed paintings. It is said that the only treasure hoard that contests Bahamut's is, obviously, Tiamat's. While Tiamat keeps all of her wealth in her own inner sanctum, and guards it personally, Bahamut uses his to decorate his palace, and shares it equally with his draconic attendants.
The visual glory of Bahamut’s palace even extends to his draconic host, the Radiant Dragons. All worthy dragon souls join Bahamut as radiant dragons, regardless of their original metal, though they may retain their previous personalities, which are typically related. Radiant dragons are fearsome watchers, surveying the travelers of Mercuria from the skies and Bahamut’s palace, but they rarely interfere. You might think a gold or silver dragon’s scales glitter in light like tiny stars, but radiant dragons themselves emit light, as their name implies. In the endless day of Mount Celestia, it may be hard to see this radiance, but none of the vaulted chambers, pseudo-lairs for radiant dragons, need light, since their occupants provide all the light necessary.
Occasionally, a climber, whether an Archon or a mortal, will draw attention to themselves. The only requirement to entering Mercuria is to be able to pass the trial to leave from Lunia, which typically only eliminates individuals who would rather cut down others to help themselves. While Lunia challenges climbers to show certain Lawful Good traits, the radiant dragons challenge climbers to take their time and show dedication. Climbers who show disdain for the monuments that fill Mercuria, typically by rushing past them to reach the next layer, draw the attention of the radiant dragons.
Radiant dragons are much more diplomatic than material dragons, and when they approach climbers, their radiant forms are almost as imposing as their dialogue. Though they have no official bearing in the hierarchy of the Archons, or the governance of the Hebdomad, they still feel responsible for judging climbers who catch their attention, typically by an interview to determine if they have good reason for ignoring the lessons Mercuria has to teach. Should it come down to it, their breath, unlike the elemental forms of material dragons, is pure light, either blinding or immobilizing instead of damaging, so that they can continue their inquiry.
Radiant dragons have famously good memories, so they will ignore fast climbers who have climbed before. Travelers to Mercuria often seek lost knowledge from the memorials, but it may take time to find them. Clever travelers might seek out the wisdom and memory of the radiant dragons to help them locate the proper memorial or monastery. Ambitious travelers might try to travel up to Bahamut’s palace to consult with the radiant dragons in their home, or even to have an audience with an avatar of Bahamut, but such ambitious travelers are rarely successful, unless they can convince a radiant dragon of the necessity of their mission.
Bahamut himself is sometimes considered the god who most often interacts with mortals on the material plane, appearing as an old man with seven tamed canaries. In his home, however, those tamed canaries are his seven closest Radiant Dragons, who conduct most of the affairs of his divine realm. Though, in his guise as an old man, he interacts freely with the populace of the material plane, in his home, where his divine form truly lives, he is much more isolated and unapproachable. Nevertheless, followers, clerics, and petitioners of his make the attempt to ascend to the Palace to gain his favor.
First of all, I have included stats for Archons in 5e in my post on Lunia
If the players’ goal lies beyond Mercuria, on a higher layer, then this layer will probably seem like a pass-through area. To add weight to the layer, the radiant dragons will attempt to prevent travelers from completely ignoring it. This could be an interesting opportunity for a social encounter, even a type of skill challenge, or at least an opportunity for the players to prove to you that they understand the plot and can convince an npc of the urgency of their quest.
Should you need the statistics for a Radiant Dragon, use the statistics for an appropriate-aged Silver dragon, with +1 AC, exchanging Stealth proficiency with Insight, Cold immunity for Radiant immunity, and without the cold breath attack. The mechanism of paralyzation for the paralyzing breath is a radiant shockwave which also blinds, but is otherwise the same as the silver dragon’s.
The angelic planes tend not to be as immediately inspiring for DMs as the hellish ones, but there are plenty of reasons to want to come to Mercuria:
A weapon or tool of great importance has been lost to time, but its famous crafter/wielder has a monument in Mercuria, which reveals its history and last known resting place.
An Item of Legacy has been found by the players, though it is somewhat inscrutable. By learning its history, one can unlock greater powers. Either a memorial, or the radiant dragons knows about the history of it. (Items of Legacy are items which grow in power with the players, but require something to unlock, typically knowledge of its history and powers, taken from the 3.5 edition book Weapons of Legacy, also like the Vestiges of Divergence from Critical Role)
A cult has released an evil being from a millennium of imprisonment, and only a certain ritual from an ancient counter-cult or religious group can re-imprison it. The ritual is inscribed in a religious tome which has been lost to time. Luckily, the monasteries of Mercuria are a repository of lost religious tomes, and the Archons who reside in them are adept at interpreting the ancient languages, though they would rather study and debate the true meanings of the texts than the practical applications.
A metallic dragon has gone missing, causing all kinds of local problems, and as they say “The Lord only knows where it went,” so they players must to go the dragon’s Lord and ask Bahamut, or his radiant dragons, where it went.
A war is brewing. An alliance of chromatic dragons threatens the world/nation/city. Who better to help defeat whatever trouble Tiamat has been brewing than Bahamut. But if Bahamut himself comes to help in this time of trouble, that might just be the opportunity Tiamat has been looking for to take over his platinum palace. The players must gain Bahamut’s boons to challenge the dragons and put them in their place, possibly on radiant draconic mounts! A magical item or ritual requires the glowing scales from a radiant dragon. Seek one out, kill it or steal some scales some other way, and get out quickly! You may be blacklisted by Bahamut’s followers, but certain characters may not mind.
Most of these have the players seeking out information or boons that they could conceivably find elsewhere, at least from a DM’s perspective. Why have the lore be in an angelic library when it could be in a dangerous dungeon? Well, of course, traveling to a heaven has a very different feel than dungeon delving, with very different expectations. Only heroes of great fame and distinction can make it into heaven before their time, and the information there is guaranteed to be the best. An angelic adventure will have a more epic feel, with more mythical worldbuilding, but also encounters will tend to be on the social side. There are always opportunities for combat, of course.
I have found that, to show the ideals of a celestial plane or layer, it can be most effective to use the negative space of the layer, i.e. to introduce something that doesn’t belong, or is clearly opposite to the ideals.
Here are some possible encounters:
A debate has risen among two camps of Hound Archons arguing for different interpretations of an obtuse religious text. To make it worse, it has the risk of rising to violence, which is unacceptable, and will surely be a blot on their righteousness. The other monks are worried on their behalf, so they ask the players to step in and moderate or offer their own ideas. They have a few lines quoted at them, then are asked their opinion. It’s up to you if a serious answer will quell the debate, or rile it up, requiring a physical intervention. A sarcastic answers might be taken as serious, or they might demand a challenge of an intelligence check to make it sound feasible. They may need to find the Throne Archon who governs the monastery to intervene.
An ascetic Hound Archon is meditating at a statue. It sighs as the players leave, or when someone comes to join it or look over its shoulder, and rises to address them. The story told by the plaques around the statue tell of a great, noble warrior. The hound archon would like to duel one (or all) of the players to try to emulate the distinctive style adapted by this ancient hero. After the battle, it may come out that the person in the statue was the Archon in life, or the Archon’s old teacher in life. For this, perhaps use some unusual techniques, maybe giving it the monk’s Patient Defense or some kind of “controlled” rage.
As mentioned above, if the players rush through the layer, they will be stopped by a radiant dragon who wants to know what the rush is about. They will have to convince it, flee, or even defeat it, though that would counter the purpose of Mount Celestia.
As above, but possibly another climber is rushing up, and the players meet them just as a radiant dragon comes to interrogate them.
Something is happening somewhere else, of a dangerous or chaotic nature. A Throne Archon is in a rush, but needs a message delivered, and stops by the players to deliver it for them. Any opportunity to introduce the players to a Throne Archon is impressive. Up until now, they will probably just have seen the lower tiers of Archon. The Archon can emphasize that doing a favor for them carries significant weight in Celestia. Alternatively, a lower Archon wants a message delivered to a nearby Throne Archon, or needs reinforcements from one to stop a violent outburst from an unworthy climber or group of such.
I found coming up with the details of memorials on the spot surprisingly hard after the first or second. I would recommend coming up with some inspiration beforehand. Rather than listing plaques, here are some sources for inspiration:
If there is something the players want, or aren’t sure is possible, you can describe someone who got or did the thing, with some description of how, so they know where to start if they want to do it themselves. For example, if they want an airship, you can describe how someone assaulted and captured an airship pirate crew and took the airship for themselves or their government. If there is a devil who has been a recurring thorn in their sides, maybe there is a story about a similar one being lured out and captured or defeated.
You can use stories from fantasy books, movies, or games, and describe in brief the accolades of the protagonist.
You can come up with an item, then describe how its use in defeating evil shaped its nature and gave it power.
You can describe how an honorable person somehow converted an evil being or item, or somehow sacrificed themselves to do so.
You can narrate the conversion of an evil being, and how it used its power for good once it renounced its evil ways
In a pinch, you could even theme memorials to fast food icons, for a lighter themed game: A thief who regularly stole food (hamburgers), but a friendly bard (clown) showed them friendship and help him change his ways. Someone who discovered a new technique that provided healthy meals in long sandwiches, and did his best to spread the knowledge and improve the health of his society. A Colonel who used his sword to stop a swarm of axe beaks, then fried their remains to feed the farmers whose crops had been ruined by the invaders.
Lastly, if the players wish to progress, they will have to pass the test of a Warden Archon to enter the Golden Gate. Here are some possible trials to go with the theme of Mercuria. For more, check out my entry from Lunia, the first layer:
The warden archon wants a recitation of someone who inspired each player, possibly from the memorials in the plane. Then, they are given a vision of themselves in a similar crisis to one from their hero’s history, and they must react in a similarly Good way.
They must present their weapons, and asked about their histories. Each player can either narrate its history from before it was wielded by that player, or must describe what mark they have made with their weapons, and how it helped the world. If they have done evil deeds with them, they must perform some act of restitution to redeem their weapons’ histories.
The party must duel each other, or perform some other competitive feat, with the goal of making each other appear worthy. No one is allowed to prove their own worth to progress, yet those who adequately make someone else appear worthy are the ones allowed to pass.
Join us in writing more entries for the Atlas of the Planes project, or check out the other entries for more planar lore and ideas!
4 Ways to Recreate Classic Hollywood Makeup Looks
After all, what's old is always new again eventually.
The leading ladies of classic Hollywood films have held our fascination decade after decade &mdash and though their styles change as time passes, some beauty is just eternal. If you're looking for a little classic glamour, here is how to recreate some definitive looks from the 1920s through the 1950s.
Channel the flapper flair of the 1920s with this smoky makeup tutorial that's straight from the pages of The Great Gatsby. Add an easy headband updo plus several strands of shimmering necklaces to maximize your look.
While thick and natural brows are the most popular style these days, everyone in the 1930s sought dark, ultra thin ones like Marlene Dietrich's. This sleepy-eyed look oozes sexiness, especially when accompanied by a glossy blood red lip.
Who isn't still totally in love with the gorgeously defined makeup of the 1940s? This look is all about exaggerating your features so the eyes look big and the lips look even bigger. A satiny scarlet mouth, cut crease eyeshadow, and large false lashes take this look to next level glamour. All you need is a beauty mark!
There's never a time when radiant, glowing skin isn't on trend. While much of the 1950s was characterized by similarly heavy makeup to the 1940s, stars like Dorothy Dandridge brought a little more modernity to their makeup routines, focusing on a soft complexion, defined brows, and a gentle smoky eye.
The Great Gatsby, Prohibition, and Fitzgerald
On her website ToriAvey.com, Tori Avey explores the story behind the food why we eat what we eat, how the recipes of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterdays recipes can inspire us in the kitchen today. Learn more about Tori and The History Kitchen.
F. Scott Fitzgerald circa 1920
The Roaring Twenties, the Jazz Age, and what F. Scott Fitzgerald would later describe as the greatest, gaudiest spree in history have all come to describe America under the influence of Prohibition. In Fitzgeralds novel The Great Gatsby, we are introduced to the opulent lives of wealthy east coasters during one of the rowdiest periods in American history. How accurate is this portrait of Prohibition America, and what influences led our country into an era of drunken excess?
In the early 1920s World War I had just come to an end. A new generation flocked from small towns to big cities in search of excitement, opportunity, and a modern way of living. Electronics like radios became more common, particularly in metropolitan households. Flashy new car designs rolled down city streets. Women had finally earned the right to vote, and their hard-fought equality and independence was reflected in their fashion– shorter haircuts, higher hemlines, less curvy silhouettes. Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin were creating names for themselves on the big screen. It was an era of changeand that change was not welcomed by all. Alcohol flowed like water in homes across the country, and drunkards filled Americas prisons and poorhouses. A powerful group of activists made it their mission to eradicate liquor in an effort to help the country return to simpler times. The movement, known as Prohibition, may well go down as one of the biggest legislative backfires in American history.
Alcohol dependence was a growing problem in the U.S. for over a century before Prohibition came into law. In 1830, American boys and men aged 15 and older drank an average of 88 bottles of whiskey per year, 3 times what Americans drinks today. Drinking wasnt a new thing alcohol had been an important part of the American food culture since Colonial times. Americans routinely drank at every meal– breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the early 1700s, the most common drinks were weak beer and cider, which were only mildly intoxicating (around 2% alcohol content, compared to todays beers which average between 4-6%). By the 1800s, as American farmers began cultivating more grains, increasingly potent forms of distilled liquor became available, including rum and whiskey. Americans replaced weaker ciders and beers with these more potent distilled liquors. Before long, alcohol dependence became a widespread epidemic. Men lost their jobs and neglected their families, under the spell of demon liquor. Societies dedicated to sober living formed in several major cities. A movement began, and the groundwork was put in place for outlawing alcohol at the national level. A constitutional amendment to ban alcohol sales and production became law in 1920.
A Hooch Hound, a dog trained to detect liquor, sniffs at a flask in the back pocket of man fishing on the Potomac River.
While Prohibition was meant to eradicate the temptation of liquor, it had the unintended effect of turning many law-abiding citizens into criminals. By barring liquor from the masses, the government unwittingly made it more desirable, more fashionable, and something eager consumers had to get their hands on. Prohibition gave birth to bathtub gin, cocktails, finger food and the elusive speakeasy. If you were able to provide your guests with an endless stream of libations, your popularity was assured. Better yet, if you were brave enough to invest in the illegal bootlegging business, your fortune might very well be sealed as long as you didnt lose your life in the process.
As the demand for illegal liquor increased, so did the methods for masking its production and consumption. Cocktails gained popularityheavily flavored concoctions assembled to disguise the taste of potent bathtub gin with juices, herbs, sweeteners and syrups. Finger food became fashionable, which helped to increase liquor tolerance by ensuring that party-goers werent drinking on an empty stomach. Bootleggers, forced to produce liquor in secret, used questionable methods to ferment gin and other types of alcohol in their homes. Often poisonous ingredients, such as methanol (wood alcohol), were used. A government report from 1927 stated that nearly all of the 480,000 gallons of liquor confiscated in New York that year contained some type of poison. Jamaica ginger extract, also known as Jake, was sold in pharmacies as a headache remedy. It didnt taste great, but it did contain high amounts of alcohol. Over time, more toxic ingredients were added that could result in paralysis, a condition often referred to as Jake Leg.
Confiscated barrel and bottles of whiskey circa 1921.
Despite the reality of the situation, overall it seemed like Americans were having a lot of fun during Prohibition. No book captures this wild and carefree time period quite like Fitzgeralds novel The Great Gatsby. The character of millionaire Jay Gatsby represents the extremes of 1920s wealth and decadence. Gatsby devotes his life to accumulating riches in order to attract the attention of his romantic obsession, the lovely but spoiled Daisy Buchanan. Gatsbys fortune is evident in the raucous parties he throws from his mansion on Long Islands north shore. These decadent bashes, free flowing with food and liquor, represent the indulgent excesses of the flapper period:
At least once a fortnight a corps of caterers came down with several hundred feet of canvas and enough colored lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsbys enormous garden. On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors doeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold. In the main hall a bar with a real brass rail was set up, and stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten that most of his female guests were too young to know one from the other.
Gatsby character represents new money hes a seemingly overnight success with no known ties to family wealth. It is heavily inferred that Gatsby earned his fortune, at least in part, through bootlegging. How else could he afford his lavish parties with bottomless cocktails to spare? Daisys husband Tom gives voice to these suspicions during a heated argument, when he accuses Gatsby and his business partner Meyer Wolfsheim of illegally selling liquor through the drug stores they own. This fictional subplot is based in fact. For a small fee, doctors would prescribe their patients whiskey for just about any ailment, and sometimes no ailment at all. Crooked pharmacists would even sell forged prescriptions to their customers. As for Gatsbys partner Meyer Wolfsheim, a character described as the man behind fixing the 1919 World Series, he was clearly influenced by a real gangster named Arnold Rothstein. The novel, at least in part, provides a reflection of the social issues and attitudes of the time period.
In honor of Gatsby, Fitzgerald and Prohibition, I decided to whip up a cocktail reminiscent of the time period. Gin is said to have been Fitzgeralds drink of choice he was under the impression that its scent could not be detected on his breath. This concoction was born during the years of Prohibition, when most liquor was low-quality bathtub gin that needed plenty of masking with other flavors. The cocktail is called The Bee’s Knees, a cute name and a popular phrase during the 1920s. To call something the bee’s knees is to say that its top notch and grand. The etymology of the phrase is unclear it may be in reference to bees carrying pollen near the middle of their legs, or it could just be an idiom for business, since calling something the business was a similar compliment during that time period. Either way, the name represents this cocktail well, since it relies on the sweet flavor of honey to overpower the gin.
This recipe comes from a reprint of a 1934 book of cocktails called Boothbys World Drinks and How to Mix Them. The original recipe calls for honey, which Ive made into a syrup so that it will mix into the drink more efficiently. The Boothbys recipe calls for 1 spoon of honey, but Ive doubled the amount due to the fact that my honey simple syrup is diluted to half the sweetness of plain honey. Todays gin is much smoother and tastier than bathtub gin, so feel free to cut the honey syrup in halfit will still be drinkable and the sweetness wont be quite so overpowering.
As you sip this flapper cocktail, raise a glass to F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby, two American classics.
Gatsby’s dreams of winning Daisy for himself end in failure, just as America’s era of prosperity would come to a screeching halt with the stock market crash of 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression. By 1930, 4 million Americans were unemployed that number would reach 15 million by 1933, the Depression’s lowest point.
By 1924, when Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby, he seems to have already foreseen the lasting consequences of America’s heady romance with capitalism and materialism. Through his novel, Fitzgerald foreshadows the inevitability that the decadence of the 1920s—what he would later call “the most expensive orgy in history” would end in disappointment and disillusionment.
“This novel is really a snapshot of a moment when in Fitzgerald&aposs view, America had hit a point of no return,” Churchwell says. “It was losing its ideals rapidly, and he&aposs capturing the moment when America was turning towards the country that we&aposve inherited.”