Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stinger


Another stealth tasty drink! The Stinger in my opinion is a non-sensical name. Apparently it's an upper crust type drink that was big with "flyboys back in the Big One". It is a pretty tasty drink, especially considering it's 100% booze (not terribly alcoholic booze...but still)

2 oz. brandy
3/4 oz. white creme de menthe

Mix in cocktail shaker with cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or on the rocks in an old fashioned glass.

I.... honestly don't have a lot more to say besides that I like the drink, and would totally drink it again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Last Wedding Post-Epic Picture Post

We finally got our pro-pics in, so I can do my post-wedding post!

Our wedding was July 31st, 2010 at the Long Tom Grange outside Junction City OR.

It was a semi-formal (Pacific Northwest Summer Formal, if such a thing exists?) with a loose nature/woodsy theme.

We had about 200 guests in attendance when all was said and done.

All in all the wedding went off swimingly, we had a few minor hitches:
*My husband forgot to get his pants hemmed before the wedding so our mothers were frantic trying to find needle and thread to tack them up
*I forgot my flat iron at home, and had to borrow one of my bridesmaids, generally I can flat iron and then curl my hair and it workes great, but using a different flat iron didn't work out so well so my curls fell flat. I still think the hair ended up looking ok, though not quite what I was going for.
*There was a longer break between the appetizers and dinner for some reason. Still not sure why, if there was a problem, or if it was a miscommunication, but only the people who knew the schedule ahead of time noticed, so it wasn't a big deal.

Other then that, I couldn't have asked for a better wedding. It ran like clockwork, and seemed be a lot of fun for everyone.


Invitations:
P1010007
P1010002

WE LOVED our invitations and received a lot of compliments on them for their creativity and attractiveness. Kristin from Twin Raven's Press was fabulous to work with, I highly recommend her. A+


Caterer-
Cornucopia Catering Company! They're a delicious bar and restaurant in our town.

Our Menu:
Appetizers:
*Baked Brie with Apples and Pears
*Fruit Basket/s with yogurt lime dipping sauce
Entrees:
*High Pasta – Spinach, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, roasted garlic, browned butter, parmesan cheese & hazelnut garnish.
*Chicken Pagonia – chicken breasts, fresh apples, portabello mushrooms,
tarragon, and shallots.
Sides:
*Gourmet Greens Salad w/ Edible Flower Garnish – Fresh greens accompanied by cucumber rounds, tomatoes, red onion and spinach. Served with two of our homemade dressings and homemade croutons.
*Green Bean Almondine Рfresh and local green beans, saut̩ed to perfection in butter and spices, topped with toasted almonds.
Desert:
*Fruit Tarts—homemade fruit tarts from our Bakers...the freshest fruits... Homemade crust

We had fabulous service for an excellent price, the staff was friendly, helpful, and I can't say enough good things about them. The only hicough was that there was this strange long break between the apetizer and the meal, but that may have been due to a miscommunication of some sort. Those who didn't know the schedule, hardly noticed, and it was only a problem because it meant that it was starting to get dark before we finished the toasts and we didn't have ton of lighting. Overall though, really happy. I will totally go with these caterers again in the future. A

We served cupcakes (home made by various family members and friends) as our wedding cake.

We served glasses of Three Buck Chuck Cabernet Sauvignon coupled with Sparkling Cider for toasting and to drink with dinner.

This seemed to go over great, people (as far as I could tell) enjoyed the wine, and if they minded that it was cheap wine, they kept it to themselves.

The head table had Sweet Life's Chocolate Orgasm Cake [Orange Scented Chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse and bavarian cream, topped with blood-orange-infused white chocolate butter cream and finished with ganache].

OMFG this was an amazing cake. It was so rich we barely were able to eat our slices. We had lots of extra which we ate most of and pawned off the rest before we took off on our honeymoon. The cake was amazing, a great value, beautiful and ready on time. A+

I carried a wildflower bouquet that I pick up from the local farmers market the morning of the wedding. This went amazingly. I arrived at the market right when the stalls were setting up so I told the man making my bouquet which flowers from his selection I preferred. I bought three bouquets at $5 each. One for me, and two that I broke apart and spread on the arbor/alter. This was an AWESOME idea, in my opinion.


The ceremony music is by my harper friend Noah Brenner. This was gorgeous and so pefect. Noah was of course amazing! :) A+

The reception music is DJ'd by my friend Steven Gott and his new DJ business Absolutely Entertaining. This also went off fabulously. He played a great mix of music and kept folks dancing (using those rented dance floors thank goodness!) all the way until we took off from the reception. His (brand new) equipment went great and in general I couldn't have been happier with the music. A+

Now for more pictures! Our photography was by Michael Brinkerhoff and Sean Hoffman of Start Your Forever Photography. Michael is an old theater friend of mine and I've always loved his photos of theater productions I've been in and head shots he's done. I was not disappointed by his wedding shots either. I was a bit of an idiot and wore comfortable, but not entirely flattering clothes to get ready in, but that's my own damn fault.

All our tables had centerpieces that were themed to something that was a part of our lives, past, present or future. Playmobil were some of my favorite toys.
Getting ready

Yup.
To be honest, I was getting sick of having pictures snapped while I was doing my hair, I thought this might disuade him. I was wrong.

I just love this because of how my BM's eyes came out!



Groom with NO PANTS!



Bridesmaids & me


Groomsmen & husband


Wedding party


The whole family, my grandparents, parents, brother, us, his parents, sister and grandmother.


Noah, my harper.

Looking towards the guests, from the alter


Groom and Minister (who was a childhood friend of groom), in case you couldn't tell ;)


Me and my dad (and his snazzy outfit, I loved what he ended up picking to wear, my dad's always had awesome and eclectic fashion taste!)






MOST AWKWARD WEDDING PICTURE EVER!!!!
I have no idea why we made stupid faces... we didn't get hardly any good 'presenting' pictures cuz we were making stupid faces in all of them.








We sort of rushed through cutting the cake since it was starting to get dark REALLY quick.

This picture is just SO me and my Gramma.

First Dance

Luke and his mother dancing.

Me and my dad

These kids had a blast dancing all night long, we ended up with so many pictures of them because they were just so much fun!

I HAD to put my hair up, it's nothing fancy but it kept it out of my way.



Our 'puzzle' themed table was a big hit! They stole the fire from the fire table in order to be able to see better!


WOOO!

There are 650 pro pics in all, it was hard to choose, I'll admit. If you're liking what you see, you can see all the pictures at www.startyourforever.com/langstraat/

Again if you're in Oregon and looking for a photographer, these guys were awesome, tell them Ruth sent you :)

Thanks for looking guys, some day I'll show a few of my 2000 plus honeymoon pictures? Maybe? Lol.

I'm glad to be married, the wedding was perfect (and just imperfect enough to feel REAL) and I'm happy to be married!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Old Fashioned


I'm told that this drink is a favorite of my friend Jessi's. I can't say I agree. Again, don't like whiskey. Although, somehow its a little better for me when it's not mixed.

Tonight is a bit special, my friend Sarah is here celebrating her birthday, as it's a Monday night, it's nothing to exciting, but I figured we could hit two birds with one stone and try a drink, both blogging and celebrating.

We substituted maraschino cherry syrup for the splash of simple syrup. Somehow, the bitters really takes the edge off the whiskey for me. This is much easier to drink then some of the other whiskey drink.

Sarah says she can't really taste anything but the whiskey. She prefers her whiskey with beer, and likes the malt taste, so the drink isn't ideal for her. As she drinks it down and gets closer to the cherry, she likes it a bit better.
2 oz. bourbon or blended whiskey
Splash of simple syrup
2 dashes bitters

Add ingredients to iced rocks glass and garnish with a cherry.
Perhaps I need to be a bit more brave and just drink my whiskeys straight up.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Everyone likes Candles, right?


Friday, before we went to the coast, I went to a Partylite party at my cousin's house. (If you're not familiar, Partylite is one of those party sales companies where the product is sold from a consultant, via parties, to customers, much like tupperware, CAbi, passionparties etc.) I've used Partylite candles for years, I honestly can't remember how I first go exposed to it. Maybe a friend from work? I've hosted parties myself, gone to friends, worked off and on with several different consultants. The candles are excellent, the candle holders nice enough, the scents are amazing. It's fun, and it's nice to always have some candles on hand. The prices for the candles are reasonable, comprable to what you'd pay for any brand name candle, and you absolutely get your money's worth. The candle holders are hit or miss. Some are priced well, others over priced, some are attractive, some don't appeal to me. But what do you expect?

The reason I bring this up is because every time I go to one of these parties, at least for the last few years, the consultant picks me out as the person they think the can convince (I mean...would be good at...) being a consultant. I even nearly tried it out with Arbonne, mostly because the woman who approached me about it is someone I have a lot of respect for, and I do LOVE make up. Arbonne didn't work out for me. I wasn't very committed to it, I didn't jump in 100%, and the make up is more expensive then most of my friends could afford. Plus, after using the products myself, they didn't seem to be much better then anything else, so they had only their business practices (as far as how the make up was made) going for them.

Well, I spent a fair amount of Friday's party thinking "I could do so much better then this woman". Not that she was bad. She wasn't. But I could do better. And once again, I was the person that she honed in on when it came to the part of the party where she talks about being consultant. Usually I play along and brush it off. But this time it was different, for a few reasons.

Last time, I was in graduate school, aiming for a career where I was confidant I'd find work. I had goals, and a regular job. I was busy as hell, and I loved what I was doing. I was financially stable, even if I was relying on my parents and loans.

Things are different now. I have a Masters degree with no prospect of a full time job. I have tons of free time on my hands. I have no specific career oriented goals as I'm stuck with whatever opportunities arise. I live paycheck to paycheck, supporting my husband (more or less), and I'm STILL relying somewhat on my parents.

So this time, I really thought about it. And I asked real questions, and thought about what it would mean to me.

Basically - There is no start up cost for your display 'kit'. There is a recommendation/expectation that you find 6-10 parties to host the first month. That's the part I'm the most worried about, but after that, you can do as many or as few as you like. Take home pay is 25% of the profit on your shows. Most shows are about $400 they say, although I'm not 100% sure I believe that. There is opportunity for greater income should I decide to join their 'leadership' program, although at this point I don't anticipate that being something I'd be interested in.

So what's holding me back?

Well, I'm afraid that I don't know enough people who would want to host parties.
Luke is suspicious and somewhat dismissive of 'jobs' that aren't part of a formal company. He doesn't approve of busking, he's afraid that all consultant sales programs are pyramid schemes (although in one of his business classes they spent a class period on Partylite so he's actually supportive of their business model), and he's not into spending money.
When I mentioned I'd been to a Partylite party around Luke's parents, they were also dismissive.
I haven't talked to my parents yet, so I don't know what their thoughts would be.
I'm afraid I'll fail.

Reasons to do it?
I could use the money.
I could use the focus, something to be excited about and make goals about.
I could use the non-project/sewing/knitting/SCA stuff to do during the day when I'm just sitting at home on my ass.
It might be fun.

So, reactions? Advice? Thoughts? Has anyone done anything like this before? If I was a consultant, would you host a party?

(And if you think it's a bad idea, I especially want to hear your opinion!)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rob Roy


Yet another Scotch drink. This one I like ok. It certainly warms the stomach, a nice thing on a cold rainy October night like tonight. The bitters really come through in this drink. The sweet vermouth merely serves to sweeten the drink, I can hardly taste the vermouth flavor.

A classic 19th Century drink that can vary from sweet, through perfect and on into dry, our version is sweet.

I'm also very excited because we just inherited a few actual cocktail glasses (pictured) in which to serve these, rather then the little tumblers I was using before. Since I have the glass to use, we chose to mix with ice, and strain into the cocktail glass instead of serving it on the rocks. A truly authentic experience?

1 1/2 oz Scotch
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
Dash of bitters

Serve over ice in a rocks glass or shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass garnish with a cherry.


For the record. Maraschino cherries are gross, and whoever invented them (who strangely enough is from my husbands home town, the nearby college town of Corvallis, OR) should be shot.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Name Change Trauma

I agree with the general consensus that the world seems to have that a family should share a family name. It gives a sense of coherence and it sends a message to the rest of the world that the family is a unit. So, my family should have a family name, which we all share.

Within the context of our society and culture (being that I am not myself a famous person, or someone who has an established professional identity associated with a particular name) I also accept the premise that if my name is different then my husband’s, or my eventual children's, there might be assumptions about the status of our marriage, or whether the kids are 'my kids' (which is silly because actual maternity is such a small part of relationship with children that gives that sense of ownership and responsibility). It will be easier, in my life, if my last name is the same as my husband, I accept that.

This is where things get tough. I accept that I live in a largely paternal society that recognizes the 'man' as the 'leader', and for that reason, the woman in typical relationships gives up her old family name, and takes her husband's name, symbolizing her leaving the house of her father, and entering the house of her husband (yea, riiight).

In my particular state and county there are two 'default' name changes options when you get your marriage certificate. One is to simply remove the maiden name, and add the husband's last name. So, rather then be Ruth Elizabeth Ames, I would become Ruth Elizabeth Langstraat. The second option (we're so forward thinking here) is to hyphenate both names, so I would be Ruth Elizabeth Ames-Langstraat, or Langstraat-Ames.

I personally think hyphenated names are silly, cumbersome and confusing. I understand that some people like them, but what happens when Ms. Splonskowski-McDonald marries Mr. Milenowitch-Martinelli? Mr. & Mrs. Splonskowski-Martinelli-McDonald-Milenowitch? We break into choruses of bad children's songs the loop indefinitely.

I am also gratuitously, substantially and irrevocably attached to my maiden name. So what's a girl to do?

Because we were travelling internationally immediately after our nuptials, and didn't want to deal with it, we chose (with little advisement) to forgo my name change at the time, and deal with it later, when I could choose an option that better suited my needs. I finally settled on adding Ames as a middle name. This is a common and even old fashioned choice, as evidenced by my conservative friend's Catholic mother, who did the very same thing. So I would be Ruth Elizabeth Ames Langstraat. Simple, right?

There is trauma associated with the change of name. I don't know that I could have stomached giving Ames up completely, had Luke pressed the issue, I may have freaked out, called the whole thing off. Despite the fact that getting married doesn't change nearly enough as the Wedding Industrial Complex, or the romance films would have you thing, changing your name, and essentially deleting an aspect of your name (the ultimate symbol of our identity) is like deleting an aspect of that identity. And to be less philosophical about it, I've been Ruth Ames for 25 years and I rather like her! (My husband adds, he likes her too, but he also likes Ruth Langstraat).

It was with this social injustice (or perhaps that's too strong a word, social unfairness?), and anticipated trauma that I approached the Lane County Circuit Court on Wednesday with the purpose of changing my name.

Can I just say, I understand why lawyers and judges dress up so much? Short of wearing a power suit and heels, I don't think anything could have overcome the overwhelming feeling of sleazy-ness and criminal disapproval that I felt going into the courthouse, the security took longer then it does at our local airport, the direction was confusing, I had to take off my shoes, and despite the fact that everyone there was polite and respectful, I couldn't help but feel as if they suspected me of some crime. They wouldn't even let me take my knitting into the courthouse!

We approached the front desk, only to be informed that they didn't sell the forms here, I had to go to a stationary store a few blocks away and purchase them. A mere five minutes after the haranguing experience through security we were out and walking down the street. At this point the mere apprehension of the process had escalated to alternating fury, frustration, fear and grief. I was neither polite, nor calm, though the walk to the store helped, marginally.

A few minutes later, $12.50 poorer, we returned to the court house, went through the same security protocol (this time, since we were pro's we expected it to be quicker, but the line was longer so it took it's good sweet time). We headed to information again, which directed us to a series of windows with glass there, to protect the clerks. After the woman helped walk me through the forms and watched me sign them, and took $150 of our dollars, we were informed that the forms need to be posted for 15 days, in case anyone objected. Then I could return to attend my hearing at 8:30 in the morning on a Friday, yes missing potential work, to verify that all was well, and then after paying yet another fee, perhaps then I could have my new name.

Talk about making me feel like a criminal for bucking the trend. I mean I wasn't changing my name to Captain Awesome (yes, that was an actual posting on the board!), or Sunshine Starfish, or Pearly Gates or Adolf Hitler or something weird, offensive or outlandish, I just want to keep my identity as part of my name! And yet, here that process was as effectively criminalized as if they'd put me in handcuffs.

Ok, I may be exaggerating on that one, but an already traumatic experience of letting go of an aspect of my identity was exacerbated into panic, and anger by a difficult and expensive process (not helped by the fact that the clerk thought I was a divorcee for some reason! "No," I said, "I'm going the other direction!")

After we were finished, and headed off to run other errands, a bit of psychological reverie also revealed to me that my husband’s excitement over my name change had also made things worse. He was so excited for us to share a name that he didn't realize that some of his excitement was translated into pressure from my perspective.

When all is said in done, it really isn't a big deal. And really, it should be difficult to change your name, the government has valid reasons to keep track of those things, and valid reasons to have those things reviewed by a judge, but the trauma I experienced indicates to me that the attitude about women changing their name, and the options that they are given is outdated. If I simply want to hold on to my old identity, while adding my new family name, I should be able to do that without going through the same difficult (and expensive) process that Ms. Flowers Rainbow Patchouli does. And I don't know if it's a feminist issue, for sure the assumption that the woman changes her name, not the man is. But with the relative common-ness of non-traditional name change practices, perhaps the process in Lane County deserves an update.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bellini


For the record. I really don't feel like doing this tonight. But, we opened the champagne yesterday, and if we don't drink it soon, it won't be much good, and the weekend it packed, so tonight it is, we tried the Bellini. This is the first drink that I knew for sure, I'd like. And sure enough I do. It's sweet and girly, and light, with just a hint of sour. But, it's also not terribly interesting. It's expected. However a nice shake up on the mimosa, and definitely a pick for a girly day at the spa or something similar.

1 1/2 oz peach juice
Champagne

Pour peach juice into a champagne flute, fill glass with champagne and garnish with a peach slice (we skipped the garnish)
For the record, my husband, who hates champagne actually really liked this drink! Approved by all of us, room mate included!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Black Velvet

I am shocked. We have two champagne cocktails right next to each other in the book, the first is this one, and at first glance, my immediate thought was EW. To be honest, I haven't had much opportunity to drink champagne when it wasn't first mixed with orange juice, (a clear first choice for ladies drinking before noon.) However, I was pleasantly surprised by this slightly sweet, full bodied, but light cocktail. The heaviness of the Guinness is well balanced and lightened, and I could definitely drink several of these. Safely the best of both worlds I think!

1 oz Guinnes or other stout
3 oz champagne

Pour Guinness carefully into chilled flute, without creating foam, top with champagne.

I totally fail at the floating thing, turns out you're supposed to let it slip, like a black and lace instead of black and tan. However, I think I still get the main experience. Interesting to note that this drink was invented in order to mourn the death of Prince Albert in the late 19th Century.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

American Beauty-almost


Finally, a drink I like! This one is named for it's color, which is a rosy pink when all is said and done. It's very sweet, I think in the future I'll make it with less grenadine. The one thing that makes this not quite so awesome is that in our book, the port isn't listed with the otheringredients, so when I did my liquor store trip last week, I didn't buy any.

So this is American Beauty, minus the port, which we'll have to get some of later, since I
definitely plan to have this drink again. At first I was a bit weirded out by the fact that this drink includes mint and orange juice, but the mint is such a tiny amount that the orange and mint blend and compliment each to give it a bit of tang, without being sour. No pucker lips here.

1/2 oz. brandy
1/2 oz. dry vermouth
1/4 tsp. white creme de menthe (flavor wise, green might work, but it would ruin the coloring)
1/2 oz. grenadine
1/2 oz fresh orange juice
dash of port (excluded this time)

Shake ingredients well with ice, strain into chilled glass. Finish with port.
I did some online browsing, and this drink can be garnished with a rose petal. I can't decide if I like that, or not, but in the mean time I do like this drink!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Algonquin


Ick. Can I just say, I still don't like whiskey. I tend to really like drinks made with pineapple juice so I thought maybe this would be different, but I was wrong.

It's not as bad as whiskey and tonic or some other awful things I've had (whiskey shots!) where the whiskey flavor is over bearing and just takes over your mouth, the pineapple does sweeten it, and vermouth takes the burn off. But in general, the overwhelming flavor is that of the whiskey, which I simply don't like.

Can I also say that I really hate maraschino cherries? Talk about overly processed and sickeningly sweet. With a drink like this I'm not entirely sure what the point of such garnish is anyways. Do you eat the cherry while taking a drink? Should the flavors mix? Is it like some type of chaser? We didn't have toothpicks, so my cherry is sitting at the bottom of my glass, knocking about until I finish the drink.

One thing I CAN say about this drink is it has a kick. If you like the taste of whiskey this drink would probably go down real smooth. The alcohol taste isn't real strong, though the flavor of the whiskey is. Even so, I'm already feeling the fuzzyness in my head, and I'm barely halfway through my glass.

2 oz. rye or blended whiskey
1 oz. dry vermouth
1 oz. pineapple juice

Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

I think it's also fair to say that the more I drink this, the more I like it. Now I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad sign.