My Home Bar: Bourbon Sidecars

I am always on the quest for more and more recipes that call for bourbon, or in a wider degree, whiskey. It’s my favorite spirit, so the more ways I can find to imbibe it, the better. I know I have had sidecars before, but they usually call for a sweet liqueur like brandy or cognac. Using inspiration from Emma at A Beautiful Mess, this one’s all bourbon!

Ingredients (for one serving):

♠ 3/4 oz triple sec

♠ 3/4 oz bourbon

♠ 1/2 sweetened lime juice (MIY or use Rose’s)

♠ lime wedge for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a small mason jar (or cocktail shaker), seal, shake and pour over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge and stripey straw

Jess variations:

I like to put the ice in when I shake, because I don’t like to wait for my drink to get cold by pouring over ice. Secondly, I doubled my recipe and warning if go any further than that – it is strong! Also, I might try using real lime juice and putting a small amount of powdered sugar (gimlet-style) instead of the sweetened lime juice, to see if it makes a difference.

Links Here, Get Your Links!


I had to start this week’s links with these amazing Campbell’s Soup cans that will be on sale beginning this Sunday at Target. Obviously Warhol-inspired, I cannot wait to turn them into cliché vases and piggy banks!

Now, onto more good stuff:

♠ Hope Larson’s graphic novel version of A Wrinkle in Time is available for pre-order! Unfortunately it won’t be available to ship until after Banned Book Week, but I still might order it, because my copy of AWIT has mysteriously gone missing…

♠ I found this blog called “Forgotten Bookmarks.” An antique bookseller posts bookmarks, letters and more found between the pages of old books. I find things like this fascinating. Trinkets from another life!

♠ Here is a list of full moons, whose names and origins are interesting and more rare than today’s Blue Moon.

♠ In these months before the election we all get over-saturated with political media, but the only candidate I can ever fully back is one who enjoys happy accidents.


♠ My friends over at This Cinematic Life had a post this week about fictional movie bands called Cinepalooza, and although they got some great ones, I am always ready to talk Bill & Ted references. Wyld Stallyns always tops my fictional band list. They brought a peaceful, utopian future to the world! Which bands would you add to the roster?

Real Simple is a go-to for me for many, many things (recipes, cleaning help, etc.) but this is a surprisingly helpful place for figuring and decoding anger styles. Who knew?

disney-canvas-and-ears♠ One more – one of my closest friends is running the Disney 1/2 Marathon this Sunday, and I couldn’t be more proud of her. I cannot wait to see all her photos from the race and what better way to have a Labor Day Weekend than running a 1/2 marathon at Disneyland? Think of all the churros you could eat after!!

Any other good things this week?

International Bat Day

Did you know that August 27th is International Bat Day? Well, if you enjoy bats as much as I did, you would!

I have been a part of Bat Conservation International for several years now…I think over 6! I have long loved bats for their Gothic qualities, but I also adore them for how cute they are. Yes, they have wings, but have you ever seen baby bats?



Anyway, last Friday I was lucky enough to reserve a spot on Bat Night at the Hassayampa River Preserve, just outside of the Phoenix Metro Area.

The Beau and I drove up there and the immediately how it was almost 25° cooler there. It’s only 40 minutes from our house!

Anyway, we walked over to their picnic area, where a bunch of wiener kids were Cub Scout-ing it up, and listened for a while as the “Bat Lady,” a Game & Fish worker, educated everyone on bats.

Finally, the sun started to set.

We saw bats!!

I got a cool video of them flying around, but I’m still trying to figure how to set the “Batman” theme to it…

I have seen bats hanging around sporting events and mall parking lots, because bugs flying around lights = bats, but seeing so many of them, in a small grove, in the wild, was marvelous. The Bat Lady also had a machine, called a frequency division bat detector. It picks up all the little echolocating “click-clicks” a bat sends around it, so it can find bugs and not crash into other bats and trees. It was so thrilling to be able to hear them too!

We were supposed to be able to see them up close and identify them, thanks to these very fine “mist nets” they have at the preserve (for cataloging birds & bats), but the only thing that got caught was an ornery junebug.

Some of the kids had black lights and were shining them off the trails and the night took a turn for the unsettling. They shined the light on a log, just off the trail, and there were scorpions glowing all over it. It felt like there were fifty of them, but it was probably only three or four. I tried to keep my cool, but it was pretty unsettling. Not too long after that we left, but it was still a lot of fun.

Happy Bat Day, everyone!

My Home Bar: Summer Edition Part Two


The Best Margaritas You’ll Ever Have (according to Cup of Jo)

(Text and Variations from Cup of Jo)

You’ll need:
♠ Kosher salt or ground sea salt
♠ 2 ounces (1/4 cup) tequila
♠ 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) fresh lime juice
♠ 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) fresh orange juice
♠ 1 teaspoon light agave nectar
♠ 1 lime wedge or round, for garnish

Pour a layer of salt onto a small plate (preferably one just slightly larger than the top of your margarita glass). Slice off a small piece of lime and run the wet edge of the slice along half of the rim of your glass. Dip the top of the glass into the salt at a 45-degree angle and roll it from side to side to catch the salt. Add ice cubes to your glass and set it aside.

Fill a small cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the tequila, freshly squeezed lime and orange juice and agave nectar. Put on the lid and shake for 30 seconds. Strain the liquid into your glass and garnish with a slice of lime.

(Keep in mind that since the fruit contributes liquid and sweetness, you might want to reduce the amount of orange juice and/or agave nectar in the original recipe):
♠Muddle a few pieces of juicy fruit like strawberries, peaches, watermelon or mango at the bottom of your shaker before adding ice and the other ingredients. You can muddle up fresh herbs, like a couple of basil or cilantro leaves, for garden-fresh flavor or add a skinny slice of serrano or jalapeño pepper for heat.
♠ Add a splash of fruit juice to your shaker. Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice is one of my favorites because it cuts through the flavor of the tequila. Pomegranate or cranberry juice would be festive during the holidays.
♠For a frozen, fruity margarita, blend the basic margarita ingredients in a blender along with 1/2 cup frozen fruit (blueberries are perfect, but also try raspberry, pineapple or more) and a few ice cubes. Serve over a couple of ice cubes to slow the melting.
♠ Have fun with your rim salt. Mix in raw sugar or spices, like ground cinnamon or chili powder, to add an extra layer of complexity to your drink.

A few Jess notes:

I used sugar for mine, since I don’t really like alternative sugars, so I just used less.

While talking ingredient swaps,

When you shake that margarita in a shaker, SHAKE LIKE THE DICKENS! It helps cool the ingredients, take out any pulp from limes, and just blends it perfectly.

The Week Links

(photo credits: Farm Chicks, MarsCuriosity twitter, Meags Fitzgerald, Penny Collector, FilmDrunk)

It’s week’s end, here is some good stuff the internet gave to me that I thought I should share:

♠ I am beyond excited to get supplies to make my very own clouds in my house, c/o The Farm Chicks. I may even have to make some to leave at people’s doorsteps, just because I’m weird like that.

♠ I can’t even explain how many tears immediately came to my cheeks when I read this, from yesterday’s Washington Post article: “On what today would have been Bradbury’s 92nd birthday, said Michael Meyer, NASA’s lead scientists for the Mars Exploration Program, ‘In his honor, we declared the place that Curiosity touched down to be forever known as Bradbury Landing.’  ”

♠ This is Meags Fitzgerald. She just finished a trans-Atlantic photobooth expedition. She draws, she makes mail art, she has adorable glasses. I wish I could be her BFF.

♠ I just found out that despite having two folder full of squished pennies, I have a LOT to go. 🙂 (NERD ALERT)

♠ I have been trying to figure this out for a while, maybe this will help: How to Add Clickable Images to Blog Sidebars

♠ These are posters of romantic comedies, with the faces swapped. Some of them are truly alarming, but dang, Sandra Bullock looks cute with Ryan Reynolds’ hair, no?

♠ Did you know such a science went into beach towel design?

♠ What is the fastest way to learn a foreign language? Shadowing and scriptorium worked pretty well when I learned French.

♠ You can now view all of the voters nominations for Greatest Films, including Quentin Tarantino’s. I absolutely agree with Bad News Bears and His Girl Friday.

♠ The Art of Manliness (seems like every week  link to them) has a great article about the Art of Small Talk. While I am not usually fond of making small talk, as someone who deals with strangers, visitors, and tourists daily, it’s something I need to be constantly working on.

Well, that’s it for today. All I can think about is how I get to go mingle with some bats this evening! (more on this Monday, I swear.) Stay tuned for My Home Bar, where I explain how I had to make two margaritas because I *forgot* to photograph the first one.

Reliving the Weekend

Saturday I had a surprise day off (had some water flooding at work Wednesday, they had to access damage without human foot traffic in the building)!

As someone who has regularly worked Saturdays since she was 16, Saturday day offs are pretty special. So rather than doing a bunch of chores, the only thing I had to do was go to the gym. After that, free day!

Pictured above: Doesn’t the sky seem bluer on a really good day?; I picked up Tortilla and headed over to my parents house so he could play with Elke, their German Shepherd. She is pretty much the only other dog Tortilla doesn’t try to attack/fight. I can tell she just wants to play with him, but he gets intimidated by her size and feels he has to protect himself. It’s cute. Lastly, I made a margarita last weekend for My Home Bar but by some ridiculous oversight I didn’t take pictures of the end product. So I had to make a new one. Oh what a life, indeed.