Thirsty Thursday: Book Lover’s Day

Today is National Book Lover’s Day! Since I usually do my libation-related posts on Thursdays, I thought I’d post about literary-themed cocktail books.

I have two that I can attest to:

  • Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle. I received this for Christmas and had a great time reading through it. Have I made any cocktails? No, I sure haven’t. But maybe I’ll start off with something simple (like Rye and Prejudice, made simply with grapefruit juice and a rye whiskey). Note to self: add more cocktail basics to the bar and stop buying glasses.
  • To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Philip Greene. Hemingway can be a contentious person to people. Despite who he was as a person (alcoholic and unable to really maintain relationships until his last and fourth wife), the work he produced was incredible and brought a new name to the forefront of American literature. But you can’t really talk about Hemingway without talking about his alcoholism, which brings us to this book. It is essentially a biography via cocktail recipes. It’s an unusual read, but good. One I’ll have to try out of this is an Irish Whisky Sour (Irish whisky, lime juice, and simple syrup).

When Miles and I got married, our signature drink was Felix Felicis (also known as Lucky potion from the Harry Potter Universe). There are tons of recipes for this, but this one involved champagne, ginger beer, simple syrup, and lemon juice. There are themed cocktails for everything out there, so it’s not surprising that there are a lot of literary ones. A quick search turns up 4.6 million results, including these from the top page:

I’ll be celebrating by reading some more of To Have and Have Another so I can determine the best cocktail to try.

Lit Tuesdays: Current State of Affairs

I’m keeping it short and sweet today! For some reason, it’s like getting this new Fitbit is helping me stay on track and motivated or something.

I mentioned last week that I was starting a Harry Potter reread. I finished up Sorcerer’s Stone last night and will probably start reading Chamber of Secrets tonight as I walk around the house to hit my 10k step goal. I have to bribe myself a lot to make sure I hit my numbers and audiobooks or actual books have been the best things for that so far. I still have other books I’m reading that I need to get caught up on in addition to my book club reading Siddhartha, so I’m staying busy on that front.

I have also finally given in to writing alternate universe (AU) prompts for a show I got into earlier this year. There’s a different prompt for each day of the month. I’m behind (since I started late) but I have managed to do three prompts in three days, so that’s a great start. I still have my other projects to work on, but I’m hoping that doing these prompts will help me return to working on those. (Though I do need to keep playing Tales of Symphonia so I can recover some more inspiration and world building for my story.)

The list of prompts I’m working on from the au-yeah-august blog on Tumblr. Thank them for this madness. The header image was snagged from pixabay.com.

Thirsty Friday: International Beer Day 2018

Today is International Beer Day! This glorious day is celebrated on the first Friday in August internationally. Go visit the site to see the purpose of the day, but really, the thing to know is that you’re celebrating beer with people across the world on this day.

I have a strong love of craft beer (a lot about craft beer is what I aspire to do in my life–keep it local, a strong sense of community, and flavorful things that will keep you coming back), but I have to admit I haven’t had too much in the way of international beers yet. Beers based out of England are leading the pack (with 14 check-ins) followed by Germany (10) and Mexico (9).

One thing I should do is look more at international beers when I go to taphouses, but the best thing, really, would be to go to the countries of origin. (Yup, just what I needed–an excuse to go overseas).

Either way, I’m wandering from my original topic. I don’t have anything planned for International Beer Day since my in-laws will be visiting us and we don’t typically set an itinerary when we all visit each other. I’ll be celebrating in my heart (and via the D9 shirt I bought while I was in Charlotte the other weekend).

Happy International Beer Day,  y’all!

Lit Tuesday: Harry Potter

One of the things that many people know about me is my love of Harry Potter. I grew up reading the series and the actors in the movies were the same age as me. Even to this day, my love for this series is evident (look at my tattoo, my dog’s name, and also the collection of Harry Potter things I’ve amassed in my room).

I’ll be among the first to admit that J.K. Rowling won’t win any prizes for her prose. But her imagination and creation of this universe has earned her a place in pop culture for a long time from now (like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, in my opinion).

Even if you’ve never read the books or watched the movies, you’re probably friends with enough people to know that July 31 is Harry Potter’s birthday. (It’s also J.K.Rowling’s birthday, so happy birthday to her and Harry!) July 31st is an important date in the Harry Potter universe for this reason, along with October 31st (the day Voldemort killed Harry’s parents) and May 2 (the day the Battle of Hogwarts was won and Voldemort defeated). You’re likely to hear more about the Harry Potter universe around these days.

For the longest time, I did an annual reread of the series. But with life and so many changes over the last few years, I haven’t done this. That changes starting today (well, okay, actually this past Sunday, the 29th). I’m starting my reread of the series. (To anyone who knows me personally, this means I’m liable to be useless as a functioning adult because all I want to do is read and not attend to actual adult responsibilities.) Either way, it will be a great adventure. I’m several chapters in at this point and the thing I’m enjoying is that, despite remembering what happened at major plot points, I’m relishing all the small details and paying more attention than I have in the past. It’s not quite like reading the series for the first time, but it’s close.

If you’re wanting to start a reread, do it. Put your wands in the air and reread with me! I’ll be working on this over the next couple of weeks.

Tonight, though, I’ll celebrate with my fellow Potterheads and attend a Wine and Design painting class with trivia. How are you celebrating?

(Photo taken by me of my original copy of Sorcerer’s Stone with my new copy I’m reading now.)

Lit Tuesday: On Writing

I finally finished On Writing! You might remember me moaning about it in another post (Books in Progress), but I finally finished it. I really enjoyed it, especially for it being a non-fiction book. I feel like I agree with a lot of points that Stephen King brought up (staying dedicated and consistent, building your toolbox of skills, reading a lot), but there were a few things that I wasn’t exactly sold on (and I can’t list them right now because the book is with my little sister, but I know there were a few things). And that’s okay. Because as he also says, what works for him doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. Everyone writes differently and finds inspiration differently because everyone is different.

One thing I really need to get back into doing is writing in the morning. I’m not entirely sure when I feel off the bandwagon with that, but it’s not too surprising, really. Whenever I have to flex hours and work longer hours at work, it throws me off my schedule. What I need to start doing is keeping at it, despite my mental exhaustion while being aware that breaks are okay once in a while. Everything is about balance (something something Thanos) and I’m still working on finding mine.

Until then, doing these blog posts kinda helps me stay true to writing on a schedule. Even if these updates are somewhat sporadic sometimes due to aforementioned hours at work.

Either way: if you’re a writer or want to be one and you’re looking for guidance or a potential way to grow, I’d recommend reading On Writing. Another one that was a fun read (from what I remember) that I just rediscovered (by looking on my bookshelf) was Pep Talks, Warnings, and Screeds by George Singleton.

I don’t remember it being especially mind-blowing, but it was a fun little read. I have other books I’d like to read, but my older sister over at The Beautiful Elements just finished Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and gave it to me to borrow, so I’ll probably start that next.

Inspiration for my stories continues to elude me, so I’m playing Tales of Symphonia again and doing my best to start getting Betelgeuse Chronicles on the computer. (I recently purchased a Chromebook to help me with this and now I’m more focused on getting notes and organized using Evernote. Whoops.)

(Cover image lifted from Goodreads.com.)

Thirsty Thursday: Daiquiri Day

Today is National Daiquiri Day! Am I drinking one right now? No. Sorry. I’m not traditionally a rum nor sugary drink fan (well, these days, anyways). Also, for some reason, daiquiris bring up the thought of pineapple, which I’m not the biggest fan of. According to this article from Liquor.com, though, a traditional daiquiri should only consist of light rum, lime juice, and a simple syrup.

Of course, having said all this, I was a fan of Wet Willie’s in Charleston until it closed down. It was one of the places that never ceased to amuse visiting guests (and also challenge how quickly they could drink something without getting brain freeze). They had some excellent concoctions there, but alas, they are no longer in Charleston. (The featured image is from one of those time I took some friends to Wet Willie’s, may it RIP in peace.)

Up until they closed down, I would have sent you there to get a daiquiri (if only for the experience). Now, though, I’m not certain where a great place is in Charleston for one! Maybe Coconut Joe’s? (Admittedly, this is one of my favorite places to go for the rooftop bar alone.) Daiquiris don’t seem to be a big hit in Charleston (which is all the more tragic considering Charleston’s traditional liquor of choice was rum, thanks to all the trade from sugar cane back when it was all still on the peninsula).

There are so many recipes out there to try, too. Starting with the classic recipe from Liquor.com is one option. If you want some flavored varieties to try, though, I think these sound awesome:

Goodness. Now I have a whole list of recipes to try. I should stop doing this to myself.

Lit Tuesday: Tattoos and Hemingway

Last Monday was something of a milestone for me: I got my first tattoo.  My little sister and I got them as birthday presents to each other (just, y’know, five months late since that was the earliest we could get a session with the tattoo artist we picked out–also yes, “birthday” because we have the same birthday but five years apart).

Since we’re both writers, we decided to do something with quills. My tattoo is actually something I’ve had in mind since my junior year of college (when the original Pottermore came out). I’ve loved the design for the Magical Quill since I first saw it and it was too perfect to pair it with “All was well.” (That’s the last sentence in the Harry Potter series.) My little sister’s mirrors the quote and quill, but her quote is more inspired by her love of storms and an original story she’s been working on (but she can tell you more about that on her Tumblr blog).

If you follow me on Instagram, I posted a picture for viewing. And if you aren’t, then follow me or just check out the sidebar on my home page here.

Now, for those who aren’t aware, it’s the start of Hemingway Days in Key West! This year marks the 38th anniversary of the celebration of the author. He spent a lot of time in Key West and wrote several of his novels there (indeed, To Have and Have Not is partially set there and you can read more about my thoughts on it in my post, To Have and Have Not). We went to Key West for our anniversary and one of my favorite things about that trip was seeing the Hemingway Home with all the six-toed cats. I even have a print in my writing room of part of the house.

I want to go back to the Keys for many reasons, but I have to admit going and seeing Hemingway Days in person would be a lot of fun. Alas, the never-ending list of places to go and events to participate in grows yet again.

Thirsty Thursday: Mojito Day

Mojito day was actually yesterday, but I figured I’d write about it today. Mojitos are one of my favorite summertime drinks, but I haven’t actually made a whole lot of them  (or had them too much). Doesn’t make sense for the most part other than the fact that they are loaded with sugar (which I try to avoid). Sugar and I don’t really get along.

Having said that, I did actually make a mojito recently. My mom’s birthday was on July 1st and she had a mojito recipe she wanted to try out. The recipe came with her bottle of Domaine de Canton that she recently bought, so we tried it out! The full recipe is found on the Domaine de Canton website (it’s the Ginger Mojito). It came out with some excellent flavor, but the mouthfeel was a little on the syrupy side for me. The end result is pictured in the featured image. (I tried to be fancy with placing the mint leaf on top of the drinks.)

Somehow I didn’t take a picture, but Nippitaty Distillery does an awesome English Mojito (which is a mojito made with gin instead of rum). Their distillery is worth visiting for that alone. They also have a classic gin and tonic and some sort of a delicious gin and lemonade drink.

I haven’t heard much about places with to-die-for mojitos in Charleston, but I wouldn’t mind going back to HoM (yuzu mojito), the Rooftop at Vendue (which hasn’t steered us wrong yet), and Cane Rhum (which I haven’t been to yet). The thing about Charleston is that there’s no shortage of places to find drinks.

If you have an awesome recipe for a mojito, I’d love to hear it! I have a mint plant that’s pretty happy right now and I fully anticipate trying my hand at making some more of these later this summer (though maybe with some low-carb alternatives). You’ll hear about these if I do.

Funky Friday: Funk Collective 2018

Last Saturday, I went to the Funk Collective sour/wild beer festival with my friend. It was hosted by Revelry Brewing at their brewery in partnership with Birds Fly South Ale Project. According to this article from Charleston City Paper, the Funk Collective got its start after Wicked Weed sold to InBev last May (has it really been a year already?). Wicked Weed hosted the original sour beer festival for the Southeast called the Funkatorium Invitational.

When they sold to InBev, it angered many of the craft beer community because the company has some pretty sketchy practices, including cornering the South African hop market (which is supposedly one reason Wicked Weed sold to them–to get access to these hops), purposefully trying to make Dutch people import their beers, and bribery to officials in India to increase sales there. I know I’ve read before about how they will bribe bar owners to use all InBev taps (here’s a list of their brands and you’ll see how easy it is to fill a bar with only InBev brands), but can’t find the article at the moment.

Anyways, I’m digressing. I’m here to talk about the Funk Collective, but it’s hard not to talk about how the festival (now in its second year) came about. The festival rotates between Birds Fly South (located in Greenville, SC) and Revelry (located here in Charleston, SC). I think, other than Brewvival (RIP), this is the first “exclusive” beer festival with limited tickets that I’ve been to. I always enjoy going to the Festival of Beers held at Joe Riley Stadium, but it’s not a limited ticket event. Funk Collective wasn’t crowded (just crazy hot, but that’s the weather here) and there were over 40 different breweries there, plus the Coastal Showcase of breweries in the Lowcountry and on the coast up on the rooftop deck (which we didn’t even get to). I think I sampled around 40 beers for one simple reason: the people pouring did not fill up our glasses all the way. For this reason alone, I think this is my new favorite festival.

So, I’m a terrible blogger and didn’t take pictures or anything. But I did take notes on my favorite beers and entered them all in Untappd. (I’m getting close to breaking 1,000 unique beers! I’ve been using Untappd since February 2014, so I’m taking my time and enjoying it.) I have 10 beers that I rated at 4 stars or higher (obviously, I really enjoyed them).

If you get a chance to check out any of those, do it! There were so many good beers at Funk Collective, but these really stood out to me. I might have to go again next year. That would at least give me an excuse to go to Greenville.

Lit Tuesday: Akata Witch

Life strikes again. What can you do? Just come back to it and try to keep on keeping on.

So, I finally got around to finishing one of the books out of my Books in Progress post (even if it wasn’t officially in the list): Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor. I wound up really enjoying this (African mythology is fascinating!) and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.

Sunny is an albino child born in the US to two Nigerian (Igbo, specifically) parents who, after living in the US, decided to return to where they came from. As the book opens, the narrator reveals how Sunny is struggling with being picked on by her classmates, suffering abuse at the hands of her father, and having a hard time adapting to life in her new village–and that’s after she stared into a flame and saw the ending of the world in the dancing light. She has one friend who sticks with her–Orlu. He begins hanging out with her and standing up for her when other children pick on her. He eventually introduces her to Chichi, a child who doesn’t attend their school, but lives in their village. One afternoon, while visiting with Chichi and Orlu, the two work some juju and throw Sunny headfirst into the world of Leopard people. Sunny begins discovering her powers, her destiny, and her ancestry when she and her friends (plus another American who joins their group) are called upon to find and stop notorious Black Hat Otokoto, who has been ritually murdering children under the age of 12.

I admit it took me a little longer to adjust to the narrator style. It evokes a strong sense of oral storytelling, but on paper, which made it a little hard for me to focus on the story at first. But once I adapted to it, I really came to enjoy the story and the growth of the characters as the plot progressed. The different cultures, the different names, the different myths that came up–it was all so awesome and a look into a really under-represented part of the world in general media consumption. I think this is a great book to read if you’re looking for something a little different from the usual Greek/Roman/Western mythology stories out there.

(Featured image lifted from Goodreads since my copy is on my Kindle.)