Cocktail Conversations: July 30th, 2014

Dark 'N Stormy

So I might be sensitive to gluten, GROSS. I love to bake so this will be a major adjustment for me and I love whiskey, so whiskey gingers are no longer going to be my go-to for a cheap bar drink.  Nevertheless, I can keep my favorite drink of summer, or winter, or whenever my mother is in town, Dark ‘N Stormy.

The Dark N’ Stormy is so cool, it is even has two trademarks at the US Patent and Trademark Office. A Dark ‘N Stormy is only a Dark ‘N Stormy if Gosling’s Dark Rum is used.  It’s not an added bonus to use their spiced ginger beer (Don’t worry, it’s gluten free!). If a drink is cool enough to have it’s own patent law, it’s cool enough for me to order at a bar.

Plus, if you have the ginger beer base, the possibilities are endless, Moscow Mules, Presbyterians, Other Mules… the choices are endless.

Here are some tidbits to liven up your next cocktail conversation:

  1. Are you spending like the mellenials? Sometimes, I feel like I belong to this generation, other times, I think there isn’t a chance in the world that I do. Guess that’s what happens when you are on the border between two generations.
  2. The 50 Shades of Grey trailer premiered (in case you are living under a rock and don’t know), while some people love to hate it, I think this Jezebel article pretty much nails on the head how I feel about it.
  3. I love to read articles about making myself into a better person, I am always trying to be a perfectionist (Which is probably something I should see a therapist about, eventually).  7 habits to be more mentally tough has been my latest mantra, plus I am reading the Happiness Project.
  4. Color photography has been around for over a century and World War I was the first war to be documented in color. Seeing the photos of the men, tanks, and the land just somehow seems so much more real in color. The tank is probably the coolest thing.

Page 6: Monticello

Family Car Rides

My family is a three  five ring circus at the worst of times, a minor side show at the best of times. We always have a thousand things going at once. It’s a constant juggling act of everyone’s schedules, random events, and projects. In the summer, things only get crazier. Even though I am not living at home, I still somehow get mixed up with the craziness (somehow I feel out of sorts when I am not involved in a thousand things). Last week, my family came up to visit and the next day I flew home to Florida, because I had to start my visa process for Germany. Anyways, on Sunday, my father decides he has to go see Monticello the next day.


So hotel rooms were cancelled, cars were rented, and tours were booked. The next morning at some ungodly hour, off we trekked in a roller skate of a car to the 3+ hour drive to Monticello. I was not amused. Roller skate cars are all good and fine when you are in the front seat and everyone in your car is small. Roller skates are not fun when your 6’4 father is driving with the seat all the way back and your teenage (WHEN DID HE GET SO OLD?) brother is riding shotgun.  My mother and I were shoved rather un-ceremonially in the back seat, where we are delighted to notice we could hear the whole cacophony of noises from the surrounding areas and the car engine itself.


Luckily, I was elected car DJ, and took my job rather seriously.  How does one temper the desires of a “rap” influenced teenage boy (he doesn’t like good rap in my opinion), my ABBA loving mother, and my father, who can’t hear anything but has opinions on everything. Enter the song of the car trip: Rude. It wasn’t fast enough that my father couldn’t understand the words, it was hip enough that my brother felt cool listening to it, and the chorus was catchy enough for my mother. I swear we must have listened to the song at least 15 times, all of doing our best to sing (i.e. off-key).

Monticello Views

Lo and behold, Monticello was actually amazing. I had done a study of the house in college comparing his use of Vitruvius and Palladian techniques, but had completely forgotten about it. It was amazing. The tour was amazing, the garden was amazing but the best thing was the view. Words nor pictures can do the justice to the scenery. Breathtaking. Growing up in Florida, I don’t really understand mountain views, but this was spectacular. Seeing the ice-house (which kept things cool during the summer), the dummy waiter, and the coolest set of doors was amazing. Thomas Jefferson was ahead of the times in several aspects and he kept meticulous notes (like when each flower bloomed meticulous) so everything was exactly the way it was during his lifetime. If you find yourself with a spare day in the DC or Virginia area, I recommend the trip even if you drive a roller skate car.

Editorial: Friendship


Friendship is one of those funny things, when you are small your parent’s pick your friends. In elementary school, I learned to spell friend because my mother used to tell me “when FRIday ENDs, you can play with your friends”.  My friends were the people I saw on weekends. In middle school, my friends were the people who sat at my lunch table. In high school, my friends were the ones who liked the same things as me (MUN and playing volleyball on Fridays with our math teacher).  In college, friends are found in classes and clubs or at random parties.


But as you get older, you definitely get to pick who you are friends with more. It no longer matters if the whole group likes a person, you can be friends with a person individually. You can have everything in common or nothing. That’s not to say it doesn’t get trickier to meet people, there isn’t a lunch table to find. You have to carve out time to legitimately see people but by making an effort, your friendship grows deeper. It doesn’t matter if they are 3 years older, younger or exactly the same age, you can still be friends and it isn’t weird. The older you get, the less age really matters with friends. Friendships change with age just like you do and that’s okay. What you want out of friendship changes too, maybe you no longer need someone who wants to go on all the same adventures as you do, maybe you need a friend who calls out your crazy ideas as just those, crazy.


Last weekend, I had one of those friends come up to visit me. Originally, we weren’t friends, but tragedy brought us together and I feel silly now for not realizing how cool she was before.  Before, I didn’t know her and had no interest in knowing her (Boy, was I silly and pig-headed!)  But one day that all changed, I started to get to really know her. And guess what, the more I learned about her, the more I liked her!  When started being friends three years ago, she would come over to my apartment and study together. 45 minutes of reading, 15 minutes of breaks. We would watch trashy TV shows,  try new restaurants and she would try to keep both of my hands on the cart at TJ Maxx so I wouldn’t buy too much. As if that was actually feasible. Today, I am so lucky to have her as a friend and confident.


I have to admit, I was nervous about her coming up to visit, but we had a blast. (People visiting always makes me nervous because I want the visit to be perfect). Turns out she’s a bartender whisperer and an excellent corn hole player, she and I happily wore crazy headbands from my mother for the Fourth of July. It was a whirlwind of activity the whole weekend, and we were determined to check so many things off the DC bucket list.  It was the perfect weekend to cement our friendship and I know she will always be part of my life. It’s funny how sometimes you make friends in the strangest circumstances. Friendship as you grow older becomes much more meaningful, because you have more triumphs and tribulations to share with each other. Friendship is no longer something that starts Friday for me, it’s something that is with me not matter what the day.

Page 6: Degas and Cassatt


This past Sunday turned out to be the perfect day. Unexpected but perfect.  A friend called around 1pm with an unexpected brunch invitation. I am never one to turn down an invitation for brunch. After a delicious brunch at my soon-to-be-new-favorite spot, we headed to the National Gallery for the Degas-Cassatt exhibit. Did you know that Cassatt posed for Degas? I absolutely loved the sketches of her with an umbrella.


Strolling through the National Gallery, we played my favorite game: Which piece would you put in your living room? In each room, you have to pick a painting to put in your living room.  Sometimes the answer is easy, sometimes it’s hard and sometimes you just plain surprise each other with your picks.


After picking far too many paintings for my living room, I decided to walk home since the weather was semi-cooperating (i.e. humidity wasn’t horrible), on my stroll home I spotted a Barnes and Noble. Growing up, Barnes and Noble was my favorite store. Now, sadly, I buy most of my books on my ipad. There is nothing quite like the physical turning of page, and bookmarks are now so pretty, it’s sad not to use them all the time. I walked out with three books and felt instantly happier about my decision to walk home. I will keep you updated on my progress with the books, but all three look fascinating!