Snake Juice: It’s real, y’all.

This weekend, the gods of time decided to

A) gift those childless members among us a Saturday Halloween AND THEN an extra hour of sleep; and

B) kick those who do have children in the metaphorical (and, maybe, literal) balls

Scrolling through my Facebook feed, I saw not one, not two, but three mom-friends of mine wailing things like “HOW IS IT ONLY 4:30?!?!?!?”

I feel for you, mom-friends and dad-friends. Really, I do. But I do not at all envy you. Last night, the ol’ uterus almost got the best of me. I was scrolling through my Facebook and Instagram feeds and saw all of your amazing babies dressed as wee dragons and little elephants and tiny, tiny Big Bad Wolves (AND, I’m happy to report, NOT ONE ELSA). That bastardly ol’ uterus of mine began that damned siren song of hers.

UTERUS: “Come on, loser, you totally want one of those.”

ME: “But I don’t think we’re quite ready for-”

UTERUS: “But tiny sheep costume.”

ME: “I don’t know. We’re still getting set-”

UTERUS: “But you could dress as Kanga and the baby could be Roo. You f*cking love Winnie the Pooh.”

ME: “Get behind me, Uterus!”

UTERUS: “…..I can’t.”

But then, after reading about the Daylight Savings Time toddler meltdowns, as I sprinkled tiny pellets into Ahab the Fear Fish’s tank (story forthcoming), I was like, “Nah. I’m good for now.” For now. Granted, Ahab swore at me and told me to try harder with myself because “Really, bitch? Can you ever do anything more than a ponytail everyday maybe?” But what can I say? My fish is an asshole.

So I had a nice, sleep-filled Daylight Savings, but my Adult Halloween was terribly uneventful. In Halloweens past, I stayed up way too late (generally dressed as a Harry Potter character) and drank way too much in terrible, unwise combinations (wine + margaritas + more wine + whiskey sours + hollah! = DIE).

As a result, my day-after-Halloween (or substituted day of adult Halloween observance) generally involved me clutching my body pillow with a large pile of crackers and a gatorade near my head as I binge-watched Arrested Development and made bargains with my maker.

This year, I was in bed at 10:30 and actually fell asleep in the middle of an episode of Futurama. I stand by this life choice.

I did, however, have a brush with near chaos. I briefly went to a Halloween party and was offered this:

 

My friends…. *sigh*

Do you remember that episode of Parks and Rec? With the Snake Juice?

Yeeeeeaa. Serpent’s Bite = Snake Juice. And for those of you who have ever wondered what Snake Juice tastes like, let me clear that up for you. For that is what I do here at The Nested Blog. I make questionable or bad life choices so that you don’t have to!

Snake Juice = Apple Juice + Kentucky Gentleman + Cherry Cough Syrup. (Is that the recipe for meth? I don’t know. I didn’t watch Breaking Bad. Too much scary. Not enough scantily clad, horse-riding men with swords. Or wizards.)

It is a most fortunate thing that I did not love this Snake Juice, friends. As it was, my Daylight Savings Day After Halloween morning was delightful, sleep-filled, and warm-as-a-drowsy-kitten. I slept for 10 hours and then my sweet mom made me coffee, biscuits, and bacon. And then I went and helped her buy a refrigerator. From Sears. Like such the f*cking adults we are!

If I had liked the Snork Jerce, however, it would have looked more like this:

….which is exactly how I looked the day after last Halloween. …and the one before that. …..and every Halloween in college. *sigh*

In other words, with Snake Juice, I would have been your toddler.

So what did we learn?

a) Snake Juice is never a good idea

b) Going to bed at 10:30 PM is always a good idea.

c) You really don’t need the third, standalone, external refrigerator drawer. I mean, honestly, how many times do you need to easily access sheet cakes? You don’t host that many parties, friend.

A Man for All Pixels

Full disclosure, I wanted to title this post “And you thought that Trapper Keeper was the tits back in the day.” Typical, I know. Carter, ever the sophisticate, prevailed.

A couple of weeks ago, Apple had an event. I know. You’re welcome for this news break. I apologize for its tardiness. It wasn’t at all well publicized or talked about.

In addition to announcing the release of the Apple Pencil (call me when there’s an Apple Spatula) and the new iPhone 6s (In rose gold! Now we can be pretentious in 4 colors!), the people of Apple announced the release of a new iPad. This new iPad has roughly the same footprint of a 1990’s trapper keeper but is thinner than 3 stacked slices of American cheese.

I’m paraphrasing because I’m hungry.

Guess who wants one. Guess.

Yep. My dearest love.

I don’t fault him wanting the new iPad. He works really hard and has been Scrooging away his birthday and extra budget money to buy one. He really really wants this. This is all well and good.

I like to remind him, however, that when the first iPad was announced, 3,000 years ago, that he was the person who said to his dad, “Pops, why would you want an iPad? They’re just dumb. It’s like 9 iPhones chained together. It’ll never catch on.”

….And then, approximately 3,000 years before that, when we first started dating and our young hero had but a humble flip phone with 12 pixels per screen camera, that I couldn’t even get him to text. “Babe, texting is dumb. It’ll never catch on.” When I would text him, because we lived IN THE FUTURE in 2008, he would immediately call me, hyperventilating that his parents didn’t have texting and why don’t I ever listen and who the hell needs to text anyways.

I couldn’t even get him to ask for texting.

This is definitely one of those age-old toddler-grows-into-a-man stories. You know how you get a baby a really nice gift and all they want to do is play with the f*cking box? And then all of a sudden they realize that there’s a sweet-ass Ninja Turtle My Little Pony in the box and that, well, those are pretty damned sweet-ass, too. And then you get to the point where you don’t even want people to wrap your presents in boxes? You just want them to hand them to you or wrap them in bags or, better yet, just give you a check so that you can go to the store and pull all of the Ninja Turtle My Little Pony boxes off the shelf to get to the one in the very back because nobody else has ever touched it or dropped it and you know your sweet grandma isn’t going to that kind of effort when selecting your present.

Well, Carter in 2008 C.E. was a mere technology infant. Texting was the present and his shitty effing camera phone was the box. And guess what, kittens – he didn’t even use the camera.

Then, Carter is faced with a first generation iPad. But he had an iPhone. He had texting. He had Angry Birds. He was good. He didn’t need your stupid “9 iPhones chained together.”

And now, my sweet love asked for nothing for his birthday but money so that he could go out and buy an even bigger iPad, an iPad that’s like 12 iPhones chained together. Because evolution. Because football season. Because men get Netflix in the bathroom now.

Fry iPhone Meme

That’s growth, kittens.

And, if we’re being perfectly honest, I’m not gonna give him too much shit about this one, for a couple of reasons.

  1. It’s not meth.
  2. He’s such a prince and has been so patient.
  3. When he finally has it in hand, I’ll only have a few more days of having to hear about its specs constantly.
  4. I’ll get the TV, which as we all know is like 40+ iPhones chained together.

I win.

Happy Monday, kittens.

Does it smell like Davey Jones’ Locker in here?

It’s been a while and I don’t really remember how to start one of these gracefully, so I’m just gonna dive in and knock some of the rust off. I’ll get better.

I hope.

Here are some facts about me:

1. I’m in school.

2. While I’m in school, I’m working as a server and bartender.

3. I’m really hungry right now.

 

Here are some facts about where I work:

1. We serve a lot of golfers.

2. Golfers apparently like to eat fish and chips.

3. Fish and chips (Category: American) are typically served with tartar sauce.

4. I am a clumsy, awkward sort of human.

This isn’t really an interesting story at all in terms of suspense or build-up. I was removing the tartar sauce from the reach-in refrigerator. The wrong lid was on the container. I dropped the container. 4 cups of tartar sauce splashed and spilled down my front and into my shoes.

Have you ever interacted really closely (And I mean closely) with tartar sauce? Let me illustrate some points for you. Tartar sauce is chunky, thick, and smells really strongly of pickles. In short, tartar sauce somewhat resembles the stuff that your body refuses to house anymore after a long night of frat house drinking after a dinner of tuna salad with extra pickle relish.

I KNOW! It IS gross! I can’t believe I said that either! However did I come up with such a perfect analogy?!?

It was like time stopped.

…I saw the tartar sauce tub falling but was powerless to stop it.

 

…And then I saw it all down the front of my shirt and skirt.

 

….And then… I took a step backward… and felt the squish.

Imagine that this happens to you at the beginning of your work day. This means that you have to go through the rest of your day smelling like tartar sauce, which makes people come up with all kinds of theories about your personal hygiene routine.

Yep. And you know that’s what they picture, too.

Meanwhile, my “inner goddess” (to pilfer from the 50 Shades of Grey hellscape) was all

I mean, normally she’s drunk and covered in cheeto dust but she looked magnificent that day and I had to say, “You know what, bitch? You’re right.”

Meanwhile, every single person who had watched this unfold started trying to hand me paper napkins. To which I eloquently laughcryshouted, “Thank you, fellow humans! I will clean up this culinary cesspool into which I have fallen with cocktail napkins which are not at all flimsy and playing-card sized and are therefore perfectly suitable for such a task!”

When inside, that ol’ cheeto covered goddess was all,

“I’ll just use every single towel in this establishment plus ALL the soda water to clean myself up a bit even though we all know I’m about to smell like food poisoning and Long John Silver’s for the rest of the day.” Which is the same as saying, “I’m about to smell like Long John Silver’s for the rest of the day!”

To add insult to injury, I had to mop it up off the floor, too.

It has been oft’ said that there are no life lessons learned quite as dearly as those learned at the end of a mop. It has also oft’ been said that the hardest learned life lessons are those learned with wet socks. And, perhaps most oft’est of all, it has been said that I am the reason we cannot have nice things. Or tartar sauce apparently. Is it Friday yet?

 

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A story…

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Once upon a time, there was this lady. She wasn’t a particularly special lady, more just your run-of-the-mill kind of lady with a day job and a family and a hostile uterus and a Labradoodle that is, as a friend put it, “clearly a person in a dog suit.”

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This lady had a blog. This lady LOVED her blog. And other people seemed to like the lady’s blog, too. Lots of people read it. Lots of people told the lady that they liked it. The lady was very proud.

Then, one day, the lady went to a blogging conference. She was told all of the things her blog wasn’t. She was told all of the things it needed to be if she ever wanted it to be a book. She was told everything her blog needed to become and all the things it needed to be to make money and be successful.

This was weird for the lady because she didn’t start the blog to make money. She started it to make people happy. But she forgot this. She listened to those people from the blogging conference and started posting different sorts of things. The blog changed a lot.

And people stopped reading.

Lots of people stopped reading.

In fact, so many people stopped reading so suddenly that the lady’s analytics data graph looked like a steep cliff…. over which her blog had fallen.

That wasn’t the people’s fault. They had read the lady’s blog because, for some reason or another, it made them happy. Or, at the very least, it made them say, “Well, at least I didn’t do that,”  which is often just as good as being happy.

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In any case, the people stopped reading and, so, the lady stopped writing. She didn’t want to disappoint people. She convinced herself that the blog was never that good anyway. She told herself that it wasn’t as much fun as it really had been. She made herself believe that she should shut it down and remove it for good.

But she didn’t. And as months went by, she realized that she missed the blog. She missed it a lot. This, however, required some soul-searching. What did she miss about it? And how could she find her way back to it?

When the blog was best, and most fun, the lady decided, was when it was honest and funny and un-curated. In other words, the blog was best and most fun when the blog was like the lady pictured herself.

So the lady made a decision to go back. She thinks she knows the way back. She’s at least going to try.

There will undoubtedly be some U-turns.

There will be more discussion of uteruses. (Uteri?)

There will be labradoodle photos.

There will probably even be another post comparing the lady’s period to Lord of the Rings.

She hopes you’ll be okay with that.

She hopes you’ll come along for the ride.

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Bourbon and Sugar and Mint Leaves, oh my! (Get your julep on.)

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Like most Kentucky girls, I have opinions about bourbon. Strong, numerous opinions.

Out of the many, however, one stands out as being most important. There is a difference between drinking bourbon and sipping bourbon. Your sipping bourbons live on the tippy-top shelf of the bar/cabinet/world. You have two options when it comes to sippin’ bourbon – neat or on the rocks. Don’t argue with me.

Drinking bourbon, on the other hand, gives you some more flexibility. This is not to say that drinking bourbon can’t be good quality (it can), but that, rather, you won’t be defiling a rather delicious gift from God if you choose to make a cocktail with it. There is, of course, also something we call “swill,” but we won’t even acknowledge that here.

Allow me to elaborate. Old Forrester or Maker’s Mark are good, solid, delicious drinking bourbons. A 20 year old Pappy Van Winkle is a good, solid, delicious sipping bourbon. This is an important distinction this time of year. Why?

Because you don’t make a julep with 20 year old Pappy. You just don’t.

If you ever see someone do that or order a (shudder) mixed drink of any kind with a 20 year old Pappy or 17 year old Eagle Rare, I want you to do me a favor and slap them. Hard. And maybe scream “Snap out of it!”

And while you’re at it, channel Olympia Dukakis:

Because, letsbehonest, if you’re pouring sugar water into a fine bourbon like that, your life is, most certainly, going down the toilet.

Where it will join your taste.

I kid. I kid.

About the last part. Not the slapping or the sacrilege bit. So help me, don’t try it.

This post isn’t about my rage, however. This post is in celebration of Kentucky Christmas, i.e. the Kentucky Derby. It is, therefore, about Mint Juleps.

Because I love you, I did a bit of day-drinking yesterday to test these recipes for you. Sipping recipe after recipe after recipe until I got them just right. If that doesn’t show how much I care, well, I don’t know what will. I started the tests as a fresh-faced, optimistic thing and, in the end, looked like this:

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Oh, well. C’est la vie, right?

Before we touch the hooch, however, we need to do some prep. Namely, we need to make our mint simple syrup.

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You’ll need to do this the night before your soiree or, at the very least, the night before you plan to do the julep drinking. Do NOT – I repeat, DO NOT – buy the pre-made julep mixes. They’re okay, I guess, but so not the same. If making your own simple syrup was difficult, I wouldn’t require it of you. But it’s not, so I am. Do it. You’ll thank me.

Just take equal parts water and sugar and put them in a saucepan. I made a lot, so 2 cups of each.

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Put the pot on the stove and heat until the sugar is melted/dissolved and the liquid looks clear. We’re not making caramel or candy here, so you don’t need to cook the sugar. Once it’s completely dissolved, pull it off the stove and let it cool. This is simple syrup.

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You can use this to sweeten literally everything. For those of you worried about the glycemic index in any capacity, I also made a simple syrup with coconut sugar. While it’s completely dark in color and has an almost molasses-y sort of flavor, it was delicious and works well too. We’re not done yet, though.

Once the syrup is cool, transfer it to an airtight container and add a bunch of fresh mint leaves. Make sure you take the stems off.

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Put the lid on and let it sit in the fridge overnight. This will infuse the syrup with amazing minty flavor. I usually let it stay in for closer to 24 hours. After all, this part isn’t exactly labor intensive. After that, just strain the mint leaves out and store the syrup in an airtight container until you’re ready to make juleps.

Fun fact: This also makes amazing mint lemonade. Squeeze a lemon into a glass, add some mint simple syrup, add ice, and fill the glass to the top with water. Stir and enjoy. 

Are you ready to make some juleps? I’ve got options for you. Options are always good. Options are especially good when you’re having a party. Which you should be. Not everyone likes a straight-up julep. Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. I’ll hold your hand and we’ll get through this together. Are you ready?

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Traditionally, mint juleps are served in julep cups. These are silver and super spendy. I am not in possession of any julep cups. Besides, it’s hard to photograph through them – solid, metal surface and all. So we’re serving in a variety of hodge-podge glassware from my kitchen. I’m a purist in all ways other than servingware, I assure you. And if anyone wants to mail me some julep cups, let me know. I’m not above receiving gifts.

Some people use crushed ice. Some people don’t. I’m a big fan of the giant ice cube. Take your glass or cup and fill with your preferred sort of ice. Now, we can have fun. The mix is:

3 oz. good, Kentucky bourbon

1 oz mint simple syrup

sprig of mint

It really is as simple as that. It’s boozy, I’m warning you, but it’s Derby. Derby requires boozy. If you like it sweeter, add more syrup. If you like it less, well, add less. I’m not here to tell you how to drink.

Oh. Right.

This is the base of the rest of the fun we’ll be having today. If you want all the booze, but are looking for something a little lighter, you’ll love this next one. I call it a Mint Julep Spritzer.

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Fill a taller glass with ice. Add your 3 ounces of bourbon, 1 ounce of syrup, and mint leaves. Then, fill it to the top with soda water. I’d say put a straw in it, but that could get dangerous. This is one smooth beverage, my friends, and it drinks quickly.

For something a little more exotic for your Derby party, try my Blackberry Mint Julep.

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Take five or six washed blackberries and muddle them in the bottom of a glass. In laymen’s terms, jut squish them around. Put your ice cubes on top and then pour your standard julep over top. As a refresher, that’s:

3 oz. good, Kentucky bourbon

1 oz mint simple syrup

sprig of mint

5-7 blackberries

If blackberries aren’t your thing, you could try my Lemon Mint Julep.

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Put your ice in a glass. Squeeze half a lemon into it. Then proceed as usual.

3 oz. good, Kentucky bourbon

1 oz mint simple syrup

sprig of mint

In case you haven’t caught it by now, juleps are a crazy easy drink to make and modify.

If you’re not into the bourbon part of the julep, definitely follow my earlier suggestion and make a mint lemonade. It’s sweet, refreshing, and sure to please even your pickiest teetotaling guests. 🙂

We’re not done, folks. Before Derby Day, we have The Kentucky Oaks. Oaks is basically the same shindig, but with a lot more pink. At the track (and licensed vendors), you can purchase a drink called The Lily. It’s a Grey Goose thing. Depending on which stand at the track serves you, they range from being really sweet to really, really, ridiculously sweet.

I’ve come up with my own variation. It’s based on the same basic principles, but with a twist. Since I can’t call it The Lily (and it’s not really a Lily anyway), I call it The Lola.

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2 oz your favorite vodka

2 oz good quality or homemade sweet and sour mix

3 oz cranberry juice

splash of Triple Sec

orange twist

blackberries

Pour all liquid ingredients and orange peel into a shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a glass. At the Oaks, these are served in commemorative glasses, but you could use a stemless wine glass or a martini glass just as easily. Drop the orange twist from the shaker into the drink along with a blackberry or two.

You should know that the sweetness of this drink depends largely on the juice you use. If you use 100% cranberry, this drink will be more tart. To sweeten it, add a little powdered sugar to the shaker. Or, you could use a cranberry juice cocktail, which would make it much sweeter on its own. The 100% cranberry juice is what gives it that really gorgeous color, however, and I like it. Just add the powdered sugar or some simple syrup or, if you’re “watching it,” stevia.

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I hope you’ll try one (or all) of these. I know that the Kentucky Derby is hardly a big deal at all to anyone but horse folks and Kentuckians, but I hope that, at the very least, you’ll try one of these drinks on for size. They’re incredibly refreshing and not just suitable for the first Saturday in May. In fact, I make Lolas for my mom all year long.

Does anyone have a favorite Derby tradition? I’d love to hear it!

‘Til next time, get your julep on, kittens. xoxo