Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce

Tonight is the start of Mad Men's season 4. And to kick off the season I'm making a buffet of popular cocktails from the 1960's. Say hello to my little friends Old Fashioned, Vodka Gimlet, and Dirty Martini!

The Old Fashioned

• 2 dashes aromatic bitters
• ½ tsp sugar dissolved with a splash of water
• 1½ oz of bourbon whiskey (or brandy)
• 2 cherries
• 2 orange slices

Muttle cherry, orange slice, sugar, water and bitters at the bottom of the glass. Fill glass with ice. Pour in bourbon. Garnish with cherry and orange slice.

The Vodka Gimlet

• 1½ oz vodka
• ¾ oz lime juice
• ginger ale
• 3-4 lime slices

Pour vodka, lime juice, and a slash of ginger ale into shaker, shake and strain into glass. Add 3 to 4 slices of lime.

The Dirty Martini (my favorite)
• 2 oz vodka (or gin)
• 1 tbsp dry vermouth
• 2 tbsp olive juice
• 3 olives

Pour vodka, vermouth, and olive juice into shaker, shake and strain into martini glass. Garnish with olives.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dear Mom and Dad,

On behalf of myself and my four siblings (Anne, Cheryl, Kevin, and Matt), along with the numerous dogs, cats, birds, lizards, hamsters, gerbils, snakes, and fish. I wholeheartedly apologize for putting you through decades of chaos and destruction. Luckily, all children survived what is considered the most dangerous and, frankly, idiotic times of our lives...adolesence. Besides a few gray hairs, you both seemed to come out okay as well. However, the house, well that's another story. But in our defense, and considering all the parties and science experiments performed while you were away, the house is, after all, still standing. That in itself is an accomplishment!

Oh yes, remember the time Anne spilled the container of Seamonkeys down the back of the TV? I'm still amazed we didn't burn down the house. Or that one Easter when Seabear got into the box of Cadbury Eggs and left a number of large juicy bombs all over the house? Thankfully our great big dog survived. And the time when Kevin, Matt, and I got into the locked gun cabinet, pulled out the BB gun, and decided to pump a few rounds in our bedroom? Amazingly, no one shot their eye out. (I'm still not sure how we managed that feat, but take note all you parents out there, NOTHING is truly childproof. If there's a will, there's a way.) I could go on and on but I don't want to worry you with any more stories that you may not have known about (Ahhh, what BB gun???).

Again, what I want to say is sorry, from the bottom of our hearts. You did an amazing job raising us. The house on the other hand, has been left with more than just bruises (more like broken bones) and has seen better days. Now that we're all grown up and moved out you've finally been able to start investing back into the house. And I must say, the new roof, siding, side door, and bathroom look amazing! I can't wait to see how the kitchen turns out.

You deserve to treat yourselves for once, and the house will be as happy as the day I moved out. Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting us be kids back when it mattered...when we were actually kids!

Love to you (and the house)!


Paula, Anne, Cheryl, Kevin, Matt, and the jungle of animals you've taken in over the years.

Bathroom Before

Bathroom After

Travel to Aruba

My trip to Aruba was, well, GREAT! White sand beaches, snorkeling, Dutch/Spanish culture, gorgeous sunsets, off-roading, wild donkeys, butterflies, fresh seafood, and delicious pina coladas made with native coconut rum. There are many reasons to love Aruba but the best part was the ocean. It's a small island so no matter where you are, or in what direction you look, you'll probably see it. The water surrounding this Caribbean island is clear, warm and therapeutic. I could have floated in it all day. But don't take my word for it, instead take a look at these pictures and I dare you not to book your flight today!

(Click on images to enlarge.)
Amazing beaches surround the island, as well as an entertaining marina where fishermen, pelicans, iguanas, and crabs reside. I highly recommend renting a boat to fish the fertile waters. Even if you don't catch anything, although you will and it'll be a huge fish, it'll make for a peaceful cruise. The best part is you can keep a portion of your catch and bring it to a nearby restaurant to have it cooked up for you, and 20 of your friends since you're bound to leave with bags full of fresh fillets.

Find a relaxing spot on Eagle Beach, Palm Beach, or Baby Beach. Dig your toes in the soft sugar sand, crack open a can of Balashi beer (Aruba's very own award-winning microbrew), and lavish in the beauty of paradise.

Looking for adventure? Go on a Safari in this desert-like island. You'll be surprised at what you'll find both on land and in sea.

Aruba was originally settled by the Spanish but eventually ended up in the hands of the Dutch. There's a strong influence from both cultures evident in the beautiful and distinctive architecture (historic and modern).