In Case I Ever Get Famous And Suddenly Die…

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Okay, after seeing this BuzzFeed article on drunken authors and their favorite drinks I took it upon myself to do some research and found some inconsistencies and promptly became sad. I mean, they created some of the great works of our time and no one ever noticed what they drank? Not even the bartender? What a cruel and thoughtless world. I then realized that if I were ever to write a novel and suddenly keel over, this could happen to me. No one would be able to correctly name my poison.

Something needs to be done about this. I cannot bear to have any discrepancies. Truth be told, I’m a fickle Libra so brace yourself because we are going to cover all of the things! In true BuzzFeed fashion, I decided to make a list-format doo-dad for you, complete with nonsensical images. I’d give you a smattering of boozy famous quotes for good measure, but it appears some nice person already took care of that here. Yay! Less work for me!

Lady Sensory’s Last Booze and Testament:

Vodka:

Katy Perry John Mayer

My memories of vodka were not this pretty. Photo: Columbia/Sony Music

Once upon a time, the Grey Goose gimlet and I were best friends. Then one night, I rode a mechanical bull three times with a regional sales director. It got to the point where they had to tip the bull and shake us off.  I was conveniently wearing low-rise jeans at the time, so half of my rear end was hanging out. I like to think of it as visual karaoke…the worst karaoke you could ever imagine.  As a result, I just say no to vodka.

Scotch:

Scotchy, scotch, scotch! Photo: www.drinkinginamerica.com

Scotchy, scotch, scotch!
Photo: http://www.drinkinginamerica.com

Yes, I had a run on scotch shortly out of graduate school. I like to think that my nights of sipping single malt eventually led me to laser hair removal but sadly, that’s probably just genetics. I don’t drink it anymore and for no reason other than simply growing out of that phase. In fact, I avoid most brown liquor with the exception of an occasional hot beverage (Jameson in Irish Coffee or bourbon in hot apple cider).

Tequila:

I meant to do that. Photo: www.thenewsburner.com

I meant to do that.
Photo: http://www.thenewsburner.com

Remember how tequila made PeeWee Herman dance on a bar and knock over about 30 motorcycles? Let’s not even go there.

Champagne:

Don't act like naps haven't happened to you.

Don’t act like naps haven’t happened to you. Photo: http://www.funnyzela.com

Being a wine lover, I actually like champagne. Unfortunately, it doesn’t like me and I wind up taking naps in obscure places…or falling out of a chair in painting class.

So now that we’ve covered the avoidance list, here are a few of my favorite things:

Rum:

Dark 'n Stormy made with Gosling's and Barritt's...and a flamingo!

Dark ‘n Stormy made with Gosling’s and Barritt’s…and a flamingo!

In my college days, it was good old Captain Morgan Spiced Rum. I’ve since traveled to Bermuda a couple of times and my favorite is presently Gosling’s Black Seal. This is best served in a Dark & Stormy or Rum Swizzle, but it’s just fine for sipping on its own. Other rum friends include Appleton, Cruzan, and some Cuban stuff I tried in Aruba. I wish I could recall the name because it was delicious, but it would never make it past customs.

Gin:

Hendrick's Gin - photo directly from their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/hendricksgin so it will be easy for you to find it!

Hendrick’s Gin – photo directly from their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/hendricksgin

Gin has proven to be a strong favorite in recent years, with Hendrick’s topping the list. It’s good in a tonic, but I prefer it in a dry martini with olives instead of cucumbers. But if you give me both, hey, I’m not going to complain.

Liqueur:

St. Germain Cocktail

St. Germain Cocktail

There are quite a few that I enjoy but none compare to my beloved St. Germain, a liqueur made from elderflowers. It pairs very well with the aforementioned Hendrick’s gin and my favorite white wine, mentioned below.

Wine:

Yes, I’ve saved the best for last. This one is tricky because I’m an equal opportunity wino and like quite a few. To sum it up as concisely as possible by grape, Sauvignon Blanc is my white of choice (anything from New Zealand to Sancerre) and Pinot Noir is my red of choice (Washington/Oregon and those from the Burgundy region). Honorable mentions should include Riesling (hey, I live near the Finger Lakes, but it absolutely must be dry). And I will drink most any dry red, including dry rosé, but I do not like Merlot or Beaujolais. Also, I’m not a fan of Pinot Grigio and unfortunately, Chardonnay gives me a headache. And we all know friends don’t let friends drink white Zinfandel.

I purposely left craft beer off of this list because I’ve only recently become enamored with it and don’t drink it that often. Like wine, it would be challenging to keep it concise.

So in eighty years, when someone tries to tell you I loved Sex on the Beach, you’ll know they aren’t talking about the drink.  By the way, I also like coffee and drink more of that than anything else. It’s not always about the booze, you know!

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The Waiting Place

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Oh The Places You'll Go! Book Cover

Oh The Places You’ll Go! book cover

“Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.”  ~ Dr. Seuss

Can we get a show of hands from those who received Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go! upon graduating from either high school or college? My aunt got me my copy. Now, when’s the last time you picked it up as an adult? If you haven’t, you should revisit it sometime. It’s pretty eye-opening. Today’s Blog Every Day in November (#BEDN) post is supposed to be on one of my favorite topics: travel.  As we get a little closer to the end of 2013, I realize this will be the first time in five years that I will not be acquiring a new stamp on my passport. Yep. Insert sad face here. But don’t cry for me, Argentina (note to self: add the land of Malbec to the ‘Travel Bucket List’). I’m very grateful that I have been fortunate enough to have visited several exotic locales over the past few years.  I know that there will be more amazing destinations to come when the timing and financial situation is right. In the meantime, I’m kind of stuck in “The Waiting Place.”

One of the recommended suggestions for this topic was to post about a funny travel story. I’m not sure I can top what I have already done here and here, so please amuse yourself with those tidbits while I present the best of what “The Waiting Place” has to offer at this time of year: New York apples. I’ve told you about how I’ve been participating in the Good Food Collective CSA share. Throughout the fall season, I’ve been getting a variety of about 6-10 apples per pick-up and the crisper drawer was starting to overflow with fruit. With a slight nod to the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe (Ina Garten), I decided to thin out the numbers by making a pot of homemade applesauce.

Apples

Lady Sensory’s Don’t Worry, Don’t Stew Homemade Applesauce

16 medium-sized apples, peeled, cored and sliced. Reserve the peel of two red apples.

Juice and zest of 2 oranges

Juice and zest of 2 small lemons or 1 large lemon (my lemons were the size of limes so I went with 2!)

4 tbsp butter

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp salt

ApplesauceJuice and zest the oranges and lemons, then put the juice and zest in a large cast iron fancy pot (6 – 7 qt) on the stove. Add the butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and dried spices to the mixture. Warm the pot on low until butter just melts and turn off the heat. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit while peeling, coring, and slicing the apples.  I used a mix of red, yellow, and green apples. Don’t ask me what they were because I honestly do not have a clue. All were great for snacking and/or baking so choose accordingly. Reserve the peel of two red apples if you can. Mine was a hodge-podge of red apples because I suck at making fruit peels. You’ll eventually discard them, so don’t worry if they aren’t pretty or perfect. Combine your apple slices in the fancy pot with the citrus/spice mixture, cover with the lid, and place in the oven. You will be baking this for about 1.5 – 2 hours, until the apples are very tender. I cooked it for about 1 hour and 20 minutes and then turned the oven off, leaving the pot to sit in the oven for another half hour. Remove the pot from the oven and carefully remove the lid (a lot of steam will be released). With a potato masher or whisk, mash and stir the apples until the desired consistency is reached. This makes about 8-10 servings. It’s very tasty warm but it will also keep in the fridge for a few days in an airtight container. The brown sugar, maple, and vanilla give it a caramel/pie filling flavor that you will really enjoy and the citrus keeps it bright.

I hadn’t made applesauce since I visited an apple-picking farm with my parents as a kid. If you’ve never made it, it’s actually very easy. As a bonus, cooking it elicits the most delicious and natural fall home fragrance you could ever ask for. So when in doubt in the kitchen (or anywhere for that matter), you safely can rely on Dr. Seuss to give you that extra boost of confidence you need: “And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)” 

Dear Mr. Rochester

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This particular "Mr. Rochester" is my great-grandfather, Charles Ranson Carruth. He enjoyed taking the milk money to buy antiques and other collectibles. Some of his treasures can be found at the Memorial Art Gallery and Strong Museum of Play.

This particular “Mr. Rochester” is my great-grandfather, Charles Ranson Carruth. He enjoyed taking the milk money to buy antiques and other collectibles. Some of his treasures can be found at the Memorial Art Gallery and Strong Museum of Play. Now you know where I get my good looks from. Okay fine, Crazy Bob isn’t too shabby either.

Today’s Blog Every Day in November (#BEDN) post is on “My Hometown.” I’m an upstate New York gal and while I spent my school years growing up outside of Syracuse, I’ve spent my entire adult life in Rochester.  I decided to focus on the latter for this post. Recently, a new local blog was started called Rochester Love Notes (@RocLoveNotes on Twitter). It’s a great concept and the basic requirement for a submission is roughly 600 words describing what you love about Rochester. Since I couldn’t bear the thought of hindering my creative juices with a word count and my letter results from a love affair with Rochester that has been rather unrequited, I’ll be giving you my rendition here. Fellow literature geeks should appreciate the references.

Dear Mr. Rochester,

I can’t say that I never thought we’d reach this point. Alas, I think the moment is upon us.

I remember when we first met. I was just a child, but when visiting my grandmother, I recall the sense of dangerous attraction I felt overlooking High Falls from the revolving top of the First Federal Building in the early 1980s.  We would not meet again until I was 16 and in search of colleges.  In 1994 I arrived and began to make a life with you. Yes, Mr. Rochester, we’ve actually been together for nearly twenty years.

In my mid-twenties, my father warned me about your arrogance and your beautiful but damned existence. “I don’t know who these Rochester people think they are,” he said, forgetting he had married my born-Rochesterian mother. True to his Syracuse roots, I labeled him as resentful of the place that I thought could offer me more both culturally and economically.

You seduced me with your sophisticated and educated charm, Mr. Rochester. I fell hard for your proximity to water, your museums, and rich history. The trappings of high-end retailers, fine dining, country clubs with beautifully maintained golf courses, fundraisers, and personalities bigger than their britches certainly have provided a lot of social entertainment. There have been nights we’ve happily celebrated successes together and nights where you’ve managed to make a drunken fool of me. You’ve even dressed up as a woman for me on several occasions, but that was all in good fun.

I think that sometimes you forget that I’ve also seen your darker side, that flawed side of you that causes people to turn off the news at night.  I worked with the last of your Holocaust survivors drawing pictures of German soldiers. I walked door to door in neighborhoods ridden with poverty, filing missing person reports on your children. I’ve found razor blades lodged in my windshield wipers in said neighborhoods where, at the time, home tutors were being raped.  I’ve experienced “good-old-boy,” top-heavy, glass-ceiling management. I’ve seen your elders fall short of funds in senior housing communities only to be sent somewhere where medicaid payment is accepted but laden with state deficiencies and questionable care. I’ve had five car accidents here. I’ve been stalked, stolen from, yelled at, harassed, snowed in, and ice-stormed with no power for five days. Truth be told, I wouldn’t change any of it because you have made me stronger. In fact, you have made me who I am.

Despite all of the ties that bind us together, lately I’ve noticed we seem to be drifting apart.  I suppose I can’t blame you entirely.  We’ve had our share of indiscretions.  There was that time in 2003 when I contemplated leaving you for Arizona. Then again in 2006 when the vapid narcissism of southern California called my name. Neither could offer me the commitment I wanted and so I stayed out of loyalty and sadly, fear of the unknown.  I started to feed the urge to leave you by traveling halfway around the world and back, but ultimately you couldn’t fulfill the financial resources it would take for me to continue that hobby. Over the past few years I traveled less and tried to make a life worth living here. I became more involved in volunteerism and community service at organizations that I believe make a difference in your well-being but ultimately, I’m just not sure it’s enough. I suppose I could do even more for you. I could sport a myriad of apparel or accessories proclaiming my love and adoration for you.  But you and I both know I’ve never been one for public displays of affection; and I’m certainly not into something previously enjoyed by one of your other women.

I’ve questioned your fidelity because you’ve been reckless with me, Mr. Rochester. You’ve left me jobless three times now, and broken-hearted more times than I care to recall.  Thankfully, I’m resilient enough to wind up on both feet and better off each time, but I’m forced to wonder when my luck will run out. We’re both aware of my intelligence and talents; and I’m certainly more Cathertine Linton vs. plain Jane Eyre in the looks department.  And yet, sometimes you look right through me as if I don’t exist. At 37 years old I’m without a husband, children, or a career that fulfills me.  I’ve given you the best damn years of my life, Rochester. Why must you continue to deny me of the very basic needs that could keep me here forever?

I implore you to give me a reason to stay, Rochester. Now please forgive me as I throw your own words back in your face while I question the fate of our future together and know that this is not about hating you or falling out of love. It’s simply knowing when it’s time to let go: “Since happiness is irrevocably denied me, I have a right to get pleasure out of life: and I will get it, cost what it may.”

(Quote from Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë)

Blogging: My Two Cents

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2 CentsThe topic of the day for Blog Every Day in November (#BEDN) is (get ready for it): blogging. We all know I’m on a fixed income right now, but this is an area where I can afford to offer my two cents.

I started this blog almost two years ago after returning home from a trip to Nevis and St. Kitts with stories about a confiscated conch shell and a scorned ginger pilot.  I had been prompted by friends for some time to start a blog and thought it would be a good opportunity to put my anecdotes out there.  I was also writing all the time about work-related topics and felt like I needed a place of my own to test the literary waters.  I came up with the blog name and corresponding pen name from an experience during one of my ‘previous lives.’  I knew there were a variety of things I wanted to write about and couldn’t think of a descriptive metaphor more fitting than that weird sensory cart I used to push around a skilled nursing unit.

It quickly turned into something more like the cookie cart I had also pushed around the nursing home back in the day, with people requesting me to put recipes online for easier sharing.  I did so with mixed feelings. I’ve never been a recipe girl – most of the time I simply throw a little of this and a little of that together in the kitchen. However, it was a way to keep my dishes organized and a lot easier to share a link than trying to remember what I did and sending an email every time someone wanted to know how to make something. Plus, I could incorporate a funny story here and there.

Truth be told, I’ve had and still do have mixed reservations about this blog becoming just another food blog.  There are already so many cooking blogs. What would make mine different or special? How will I become the next Joy the Baker and do I really want that? Do I have enough time to devote to a blog in general? I eventually had to take a step back for both personal and work-related reasons. I was getting burned out and it was becoming more of a challenge to come up with good content.  As a marketing person by trade, I’m a believer in quality writing and staying on brand – whatever that brand, personal or otherwise, might be.  While it might work very successfully for others, I’m not an outfit-of-the-day (#OOTD) selfie-taker or makeup-tutorial kind of gal. And don’t get me wrong – just because I don’t particularly want to cover those topics,  it’s not to say they don’t provide value. I’m not walking around nude and I occasionally need to slap on the war paint.

I don’t have a lot to say about tips or lessons learned since I did take a break for a bit and lost track of what was driving traffic to the site.  I will say that I was a runner-up in a St. Germain cocktail recipe contest this past year which was kind of cool.  I will also add that it seems the more time you have to read and comment on other blogs and posts, the better. While I was working, I didn’t have as much time to devote to that. It’s something I’m trying to improve upon now in between perusing the job sites. I’m starting to view blogging as long-format social media, so the more engaging you are as a writer and engaged you are as a reader, the better. As a result, I’m also trying to have a little more fun with it. I can tell you what drives me bonkers about blogging: 1) weird spammers and 2) bloggers who don’t proofread their posts. I’m as guilty as anyone of a few typos in this lifetime, but there are people out there committing the ‘cardinal sins’ of grammar on the regular. Spellcheck and ‘preview post’ were invented for a reason, so use them to your advantage!

What do I love about it? Well, this was originally intended as a literary outlet for my personal rants or as Virginia Woolf might put it, A Room of One’s Own. While it would be nice to garner paid advertisements (especially now), what I like most about it is that I have a place to speak my mind, use my authentic voice, and share my sense of humor. So whether I’m posting about my latest kitchen concoction or some ridiculous ornament I crafted, you’re getting the real, uncensored, non-PR-spun me. And I intend on keeping it that way.

Lady Sensory Has White Girl Problems

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Our book club has yet to discuss Fifty Shades of Grey simply because the “Book Club Officiant” is annoyed with the book and has yet to finish.  So the book discussion a.k.a. wine-guzzling has been postponed.  In the meantime, I have already finished the second book selection, White Girl Problems, by Babe Walker.  I found it to be a highly amusing and quick read.  I’d describe it as the literary equivalent of Conan O’Brien doing a “What if they mated?” segment with David Sedaris juxtaposed against Paris Hilton.

Babe Walker is not a real person, which is unfortunate, because she’s really entertaining and I bet she would give Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb a run for their money on a morning talk show.  She would have to be censored, of course, but it would be fun to count all the beeps.  Babe Walker was created by Lara Schoenhals, Tanner Cohen and David Oliver Cohen as some sort of book spin-off from a Twitter account.  Crazy, huh?  Hey, whatever works.  I’m not giving anything away when I tell you that my favorite chapter is the one where she has her mental breakdown and spends $246,893.50 in Barneys, which lands her in rehab for her shopping addiction.  I mean, if you have the financial means and you’re about to lose your mind, why not do it in a Barneys?  I would actually plan my breakdown by starting in the fragrance section.  I would begin with some Frederic Malle, then Serge Lutens, and eventually finish up at the L’Artisan counter.  What can I say?  I find big white florals therapeutic and the “aromatherapy” might offset the potential damage upon my arrival in handbags and clothing.

As I read this book, I became more attuned to my own White Girl Problems (WGPs).  For example, this past year I experienced an unfortunate meat delivery issue with UPS and called Williams-Sonoma.  I hysterically cried over my fancy Fermin pork purchase (grass and acorn-fed hogs) and informed them about how the mean UPS lady was going to let my beautiful pork sit at the dispatch and rot over the weekend instead of coming back out to attempt redelivery.  The Williams-Sonoma rep kindly refunded me and sent me a $75 gift card for my inconvenience.  When you sob like a baby over ridiculously expensive pork, you are clearly experiencing a WGP.

I believe my WGPs manifested at a young age.  I can recall a particular WGP incident with two girls who lived on my street.  I’m reluctant to call them friends because my mother once told me that they weren’t my friends, they were neighbors.  I promptly informed them of this and they cried.  I had no filter and didn’t realize this was not a nice thing to say.  Good times were not to be had for several weeks.  My mother told me not to repeat her statements outside of the house.  One day, Neighbor Girls and I were lamenting about our issues.  I think we might have been 7 or 8 at the time.  Here goes:

Neighbor Girl 1:  “I really wish my parents would stop smoking pot when they drink.  It’s really embarrassing.  The cops came the other night and my dad had to hide his stash.”

Baby Girl Sensory:  “Your parents smoke pot? Where do they smoke it? In the living room where all the spiders are?” (Again, something my mother had noticed that I repeated. Whoops!)

Neighbor Girl 2:  “I really hope my dad gets out of jail this year.  It’s been so long since I’ve seen him.”

Baby Girl Sensory:  “What’s he in jail for? Did he kill someone?”

Neighbor Girl 2:  “No, he stole stuff.”

Baby Girl Sensory:  “Oh.”

Struggling for a story to top these two, I worked up some crocodile tears and came up with the best tidbit that I could under my young White Girl Problem circumstances.

Baby Girl Sensory:  “Well, you know what? It’s really sad but I don’t think I’m getting a Koosa (those Cabbage Patch Kid animal things) this year for Christmas and I don’t know what to do about it. I mean, my kids (Cabbage Patch) really want a pet.” 

Seriously. Someone just slap me.

I did get that Koosa, by the way. If you are interested, I found some here.  I think mine was the orange tabby cat.  Upon closer scrutiny, Koosas now remind me of Ben Vereen in that godawful Zoobilee Zoo show.

You’re totally going to have nightmares about Koosas and Ben Vereen now. Yes, those would be classified as White Girl Sleeping Problems.

And the Beet Goes on…

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No, that’s not a typo. I know my Sonny and Cher songs.  Remember how much I loved that Cher workout video in high school?  Well, here comes another piece of Lady Sensory high school trivia: when prompted to choose an autobiography to read in tenth grade, I picked Sonny Bono’s book, And the Beat Goes on.  I ended up liking it but had originally selected it to irritate the teacher.  I was trying to avoid advanced placement English and was establishing quite the habit of picking sub-par novels for book reports.  She even called me out on it and suggested I pick better authors after I presented her with my next selection, Bret Easton Ellis’s novel, Less than Zero.  What can I say?  If I were in tenth grade today, I could be making intelligent book selections like the Fifty Shades trilogy.  I digress. Let’s stop talking about English class and get back to the beets.

When people tell me that they hate beets it makes me sad.  I feel like they are depriving themselves of such a tasty treat.  Most likely, they were exposed to canned beets as children and that is just not the best flavor representation of a beet.  I get hella-excited when I can find golden beets or the heirloom beets (white with the appearance of candy-cane stripes) at the market.  In my opinion, the best preparation would be to roast them.  Roasted beets are like sweet, delicious and earthy jewels that sit atop your salad.  Let’s make some, shall we?

Lady Sensory’s Roasted Beet and Asparagus Salad with Pistachio Crusted Goat Cheese

This salad requires a lot of preparation but it’s a great way to enjoy seasonal produce.  You will need:

2 bunches fresh beets (preferably one bunch of red and one bunch of golden if you can find them)

1 bunch fresh asparagus

4 oz package of goat cheese

1/2-3/4 cup shelled pistachios, crushed (you can also use pecans, walnuts or almonds)

Baby spinach or mesclun (mixed baby field greens)

1/2 cup golden raisins

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp olive oil

Balsamic vinegar & additional olive oil (for salad dressing)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the root and the greens off of each beet and wash thoroughly.  Cutting the greens should give you a level surface to stand the beet upright on the cookie sheet.  Cover a cookie sheet with foil.  Place washed beets in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and cracked black pepper, then drizzle with olive oil. Massage the oil, salt & pepper onto the surface and stand the beets upright on the cookie sheet.  Place in the oven and allow to roast from 1 hour to 1.5 hrs until tender, depending on the size of the beets. While the beets are cooking, take the shelled pistachios (or preferred nut) and crush them.  Remove the goat cheese from the package and cut into 4 chunks.  With damp hands, form the chunks into balls. Roll the balls in the crushed pistachios to form a nice crust around the ball.  Place on a small piece of foil.  You will be warming the cheese in the oven when the beets are done.  Check on your beets – the skin will look dark and slightly puffy when ready. Remove beets from the oven and reduce the heat to around 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow beets to rest on cookie sheet until cool enough to handle.  This takes anywhere from 15-20 minutes.  While you are waiting for the beets to cool, take a medium-sized pot and fill with water and allow to come to a boil on the stove.  You will be using this to blanche the asparagus. Remove the foil sheet with beets still on it and place under a cool running faucet and begin to peel the skin from the beets. Yes. It’s messy. Yes. Your hands are turning red. So what?  It washes off. Wear plastic gloves if you are that fussy.

The beet skin should peel off pretty easily.  Cut the beets into slices and place in a container with a small amount of water and sprinkle very lightly with salt. This way, if you have any leftovers, you can enjoy your beets the next day.  When the oven temperature hits 250 degrees, warm the goat cheese on the small piece of foil for about 10-15 minutes.  The balls should be removed when they soften and slightly lose their shape (not as round) and the nuts are slightly golden and fragrant. The water should be boiling on the stove, so place washed and trimmed asparagus into the water for approximately 3 minutes or until very bright green.  Remove with kitchen tongs and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the asparagus from cooking and keep them a bit crisp.  Chop into smaller pieces (about 2 inches) for salad.

On a large plate, arrange greens, sliced beets, asparagus, golden raisins and any stray pistachios.  Place two goat cheese balls on top and drizzle with a mixture of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Get creative with the dressing if you like. I used the Autumn Cinnamon Pear vinegar and Blood Orange oil from F. Oliver’s, a local specialty store for oil and vinegar.  This will make enough to serve two.  You can share with a vertically challenged man while you sing, “I Got You Babe,” or you can simply hoard the tasty beet salad all to yourself while you read a trashy novel. It’s your choice.  This is a judgment-free zone.

50 Shades of Sensory: Let’s Tie One On

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So one of Lady Sensory’s friends (her blog is over here) decided to start a book club this past week.  We are more excited than Rebecca Black on a Friday about our summer reading.  The first book selected for the club was Fifty Shades of Grey, by E L James. I picked it up on Monday and finished it Wednesday night.  I basically read it in two nights because I don’t count the one where I fell asleep reading it. Yes. I am one of the few women on the planet falling in the age demographic for “mommy porn” who did not enjoy this book.  As I suspected, this book annoyed the crap out of my inner feminist.  Or perhaps I should refer to her as my “inner goddess?”

Now, don’t get me wrong, my annoyance is not with the kinky BDSM sex scenes in the book.  In fact, those scenes are probably the most entertaining (bordering on comical) parts.  Despite that the book is a New York Times #1 bestseller, it’s just not very well-written.  I worry that it also sends the wrong message: that a woman (Anastasia Steele) could possibly change a psychologically damaging, abusive, controlling, dangerous man (Christian Grey) by loving him.  However, she’s equally to blame because in her delusional world, she thinks she is “special enough” to change him. When I think of the women who will stay in bad relationships because of this kind of fantasy, it makes me a little sick to my stomach.  And yet, I suppose the fantasy is what people like about it.  I guess if this alleged “mommy porn” spices up someone’s sex life, then so be it.  So in the famous words of Devo, “Whip it good!”

Enough with my rant. I’ve got a better idea for you if you get suckered into reading this book, or worse, all three in the trilogy.  It’s a Fifty Shades of Grey inspired game, starring my new favorite wine:

Apropos, no? If you are not into delicious Cabernet Sauvignon, then please feel free to select your beverage of choice. But if you like a good steak on the grill in the summer, you may want to give this Freakshow a whirl.

50 Shades of Grey Goose: The Drinking Game

Put the following words/phrases on slips of paper and put them in a hat. True to spirit, I’d recommend one with Viking horns because I imagine Christian Grey would find something useful to do with them.  Select two or three chapters of the book to read aloud and pick someone with dramatic flair who also can keep straight face while reading.  I’m willing to bet that all words on this list are covered within a randomized selection of three chapters. Collect everyone’s keys to add suspense. They’ll think they’re at some kind of swinger/swap party but the reality is: they are likely to get really drunk playing this and may need to sleep over.  If you’re not into booze you can make this a pathetic and creepy attempt at a scavenger hunt. Good luck with that.

Dominant – this one is mandatory because whoever draws this word gets to determine everyone else’s drinking “punishment” when their word is read.

“Inner Goddess”

“My sex”

Biting lip

Sir

Climax

Erection

Jeez

Sub or Submissive – I recommend this person acquire sub sandwiches if this is a scavenger hunt. Just reading about all this sex made me hungry.

Clitoris

Breath hitching – any reference

Flushing

Laters, baby

Spank

Groan

Foil or foil packet

Fifty shades – or any numerical reference to shades

Convulse (or some variant)

Tie

Tongue

Moan

Erection

Genital clamps – yeah, the poor bastard who draws this one gets a free pass for the whole game. Seriously.

Now, was it good for you?