Kool Things V

I’m a little light this week on recommendations because, well, I’ve been busy AF. I’m finishing the last bits of my grad school application, working full time, and committing to my Trivia host side-hustle. The WordPress drafts are getting out of hand! But here’s what I’ve been up to in my spare time.

Life in Pieces on CBS

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The first season of Life in Pieces  recently went up on Netflix, so I’ve been bingeing it, hard. Fig and I finished Breaking Bad and moved onto a 30 Rock rewatch, so I needed my own personal binge show for when our schedules don’t overlap (this is often). I’m trying to wean myself off of watching Gilmore Girls in an infinite loop, so when I saw LIP advertised on Netflix’s home page, I knew it would be a perfect fit. The cast of this show is bananas. Personal faves Zoe Lister-Jones (from Whitney) and Colin Hanks (from everything + being Tom Hanks’ son) join Betsey Brandt (from Breaking Bad), James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, and the stupidly handsome Thomas Sadoski in this light-hearted comedy told in 4 vignettes per episode.

The guest cast is insane—Martin Starr plays an exterminator, Jordan Peele makes frequent appearances as Colleen’s crazy ex, and apparently next season Mullally and Offerman have roles!

Life in Pieces is the perfect binge show for the lover of light-hearted comedies and accomplished casts. Highly recommend! Come for the famous actors, stay for the amazing kids! The kid who plays Sophia is the next Shailene Woodley or whatever, for real.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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The book, I mean. Everyone’s been pestering me for weeks to start watching the HBO miniseries, Big Little Lies, starring literally every famous actress. Until last week, I didn’t even know it was based on a book, but as soon as I saw it, I recognized its candy-colored cover. I’m a moderately strict book-before-movie person, so when offered the ebook for free, how could I refuse?

At first, I was a bit dubious of the quality of the writing—it’s certainly not the sort of thing I’d typically pick up at the bookstore. But within a few pages I was hooked. I think I’ve thrown off my circadian rhythm staying up way too late reading it. I was almost less interested in finding out who the murderer/murder victim is than I was of learning about Jane’s mysterious past or the inner-workings of primary school politics.

The book is very, very different from the HBO miniseries of the same name, but I truly can’t choose which is better! They both bring so much to the table! I highly recommend both, book-before-miniseries, of course.

I’ll follow up in the next Kool Things.

The Far Field, Future Islands

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It is no secret that I am f***ing obsessed with Future Islands. They are an amazing Baltimore-based synthpop band that brings me life. I first heard of them during college (Part I) when they put out their album In The Evening Air. All I had was a crap-quality (illegal) mp3 download of it, but I listened to it on repeat for months. I took to including “Long Flight” on every mix CD/playlist I made. Now that I am a grown-ass woman and pay for my music (thankyouverymuch), I’ve since remedied this earlier discretion and made sure to follow the band’s incredible career. 2014’s Singles was a revelation, and this year’s The Far Field is a fitting follow-up.

Lead singer Samuel Herring had one of the most unique and strange voices in all of music—he’s like the second coming of Mike Patton. He transitions from beautifully melodic and clean to heavy metal screaming with effortless ease. He’s also apparently a rapper (?!) which somehow I’m only just finding out about. You think I’d have such important info about my #mancrusheveryday.

This band is so ahead of the damn curve. They put out a sign language lyric video for “Cave”! “Shadows” even features actual icon/goddess Debbie Harry! The Far Field is the best use of your Hamilton ($10), trust. Future Islands is/are a big f***ing deal. Get into it.

Listen to “Ran” and “Cave” on Conan.

Bread & Butter Wines

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I always love trying out new wines, but as someone who hasn’t yet read Marissa A. Ross‘s forthcoming book yet, I’m often at a loss for where to begin as I peruse the racks at my local wine shop. I’m a bit of a white wine junkie (basic white bitch, party of one!), so I absolutely love a Chardonnay, and am always looking for one that tastes better than the well swill they’ll serve you at restaurants if you don’t specify.

I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but the older I get, the more I realize that that’s a bullshit adage. When it comes to products, the cover (or label) actually says quite a bit! Small businesses that really believe in their product tend to pay greater attention to aesthetic details, like graphic and web design. I was drawn to this particular bottle because of its clean, minimal label—the website is no different. Bread & Butter only produces two very highly-rated wines out of Napa, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (which, incidentally, are my go-to white and red).

Bread & Butter Chardonnay ran me about $11, which, imho, is just about right for an everyday wine. I can’t wait to try their Pinot Noir! I’ll definitely be buying this wine again!

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Well, those are the highlights of my week! What’s up with you? Any new fave wines or murder-mysteries to share? Sound off in the comments!

Dumb Easy Whiskey Sours & Inauguration Shit

Yeah, that’s right. It’s inauguration Day. The end is nigh. We’ll probably be dead by Monday. So, you deserve a drink tonight. And I’ve got the perfect thing.


I am a whiskey sour fanatic because I’m basic because I love me some citrus, but as I get older, I begin to adopt the Ron Swanson philosophy of drinking: “Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets.”

The major problema with whiskey sours, though, is the fact that sour mix grosses me out. And unless you’re in a hipster-y college town where the bartender makes his own bitters (I see you Ithaca, NY), I doubt that a whole lot of fresh-squeezed lemon is happening. Therefore, I never order these out, and they taste all the more special when I make my own.

[guys remember when Barack Obama was President and we all had faith in humanity remember that oh we were so young so naive and now we have to literally watch the apocalypse happen before our very eyes] 

Wow, sorry for the interruption. I’m having a hard day. ANYWAY, here is my foolproof recipe for perfect whiskey sours every damn time.

Dumb Easy Whiskey Sours

  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp organic maple syrup
  • 1 oz of your favorite bourbon (I’m using Bulleit)
  • splash of lemon, lime, or pure La Croix

Fill a rocks glass with ice. Pour maple syrup, lemon, and bourbon in and stir vigorously. (Alternately, shake these ingredients in a cocktail shaker, if you’re Bond-style). Add the La Croix as a float—this just determines how strong the drink will be. That’s literally it. Garnish with a lemon rind if you fancy. The interwebs suggests garnishing this with a Maraschino cherry, but that’s vile.

My Inaug Survival Kit: La Croix, Chimamanda, iPod playing Janelle Monae, and this cocktail. Notice how the glass is EMPTY ALREADY?

Speaking of Inauguration Survival Kit, a few suggestions for the new regime:

  • Read. Books. By. People. Of. Color. The nation’s highest office was just reclaimed by bigotry, by a racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, xenophobic administration, so it’s on us to make sure the voices and stories of the marginalized are heard. We should make Ta-Nehisi Coates a shitload of money this year.
  • Don’t let your family & friends that support this bullshit off the hook. By voting for this regime, they have proven that they don’t value your life. Or their own lives, in most cases. They’re not going to get woke on their own, clearly.
  • Donate your money or time (or both). The ACLU is going to save our asses for the next 4 years. The NAACP and SPLC too. Planned Parenthood is under attack yet again. These, among many other amazing organizations, are the bedrock of our democracy. They deserve your money, your time, or both. Become a monthly donor—$5 a month is enough. The number of individual donors is often as important as the dollar amount per donation. We need to show the regime that we care deeply about our values. Y’know, human rights and stuff.
  • Listen to a fuckload of Janelle Monae. This doesn’t seem like a real suggestion, but it is. It will heal you.
  • Use your money wisely. Any business praised by the regime should be boycotted. We can’t let Fearless Leader sell ad space on the flag (as one amazing Twitter-er observed poignantly). Only support businesses that espouse your values. You’ll find that a whole lot of them do.
  • Let yourself have a drink now and again, but don’t give in to despair. It’s so easy to not give a fuck anymore. The world is trash. But we have the power to get educated. To resist. Apply for that grad program or cool new job. Best case scenario: you get to be around like-minded individuals and fuck shit up. Worst case scenario: nuclear war kills us all and you never have to pay back your loans!

How are you resisting in 2017?

—DellaBites

 

Rosé All Day

It’s July, and I’m not sure if this is an official thing or not, but I’ve transitioned into a rosé-only diet. As in, I’m only drinking rosé right now. Girly pink wine, right?


Hell no. I think you’re thinking of white zinfandel, which is a literal abomination. It’s what high school Chelsea drank when she was first getting into wine, and it’s humbling every time I see a bottle to know that I was once so basic.

Rosé is the perfect middle ground if you’re like me and love the richness and flavor of red wine but love even more the drinkability & (literal) chill of white wine. It’s not like they mixed half a bottle of each and called it a day, but I don’t own or work at a vineyard, so I don’t know how they make it. Google it! Vast internet!

So, this is what I’m drinking right now. As in right now. The picture above with the strawberries? Half full at the moment.

Dark Horse Rosé (Limited Release!)

This wine so faaaancy it’s not even on their website! Just kidding, it cost me $6 at Wegman’s. And when I searched their “where to buy” with my zip code, they sell this rosé at the sketchy convenience store/liquor store down the street from my house! Finally, a reason to actually enter that building! All jokes aside, this is a tasty, tasty wine. I have no clue whether it earns a coveted 90+ points on the wine snobbery IQ test, but it tastes very good, and even more heavenly with the addition of chopped strawberries. My favorite summer thing is to put chopped fruit in wine. Watermelon in Chardonnay is a particular fave.

I appreciate that my wine tastes haven’t gotten too high-brow (I do have some limits though—I’m looking at you Charles Shaw), because it allows me to take occasional chances on cool-looking labels. You know I’ve had the Katy Perry song stuck in my head all afternoon…

Ruby Red Grapefruit Rosé

This wine. Oh my. This is the third bottle I’ve purchased. Yes, that’s right, I have spent $27 whole dollars on this stuff. My ex-boyfriend from high school Snapchatted me a bottle of this wine because that’s how hardcore I am about it. It suggests sweetness without actually being sweet! That’s my favorite taste! It is so grapefruit-y though. You have to be about grapefruit to like this. Sometimes I forget there’s even alcohol in it. It’s liquid summer. Literally if you comment on this post I will ship a bottle to your house if that’s even legal in these United States. Can’t wait to drink this with La Croix Pamplemousse when my best friend comes home IN THREE WEEKS.

I’m buying a case of it soon, because that beautiful Wegman’s display isn’t going to last forever. I might smuggle it into my wedding. I might drink a bottle of it at 10 am on my wedding day because holy shiiiiit you guys, I’m getting married.

I’m gushing…must be the 2 glasses of rosé I thirstily downed while listening to my new favorite podcast Stuff Mom Never Told You and doing housework/garden stuff.

What are you drinking this summer, and…can I join you?

—DellaBites

P.S. And yes, I used A Color Story‘s Rosé filter on the above pics. Of course.

P.P.S. Follow along with these shenanigans on Instagram with the hashtag #dblovesdranks!

Coffee Cocktails: Summer Edition

So, I realize typing this that there’s no “Coffee Cocktails: Winter Edition,” but everyone has had espresso martinis & coffee with Bailey’s! One thing I guarantee you haven’t tried? Vodka Mazagran! I was going to call this cocktail “Ghetto Four Loko” but I realized quickly that a. using the word “ghetto” to describe ratchet things is wicked offensive and b. this drink is actually way, way classier than Four Loko.

Those layers tho.

Mazagran is a drink that I discovered on my recent trip to Tallahassee, courtesy of Catalina Café. It’s lemonade over ice topped with cold brew. It sounds kind of weird and potentially gross, but it’s actually delicious. Not delicious in the way people say that kale is delicious—even a picky kid could get down with this drink.

Vodka Mazagran came to me while I was writing a paper for Philosophy of Law. I was drinking my afternoon cup and realized—this boring legal document would be a thousand times more interesting if I spiked my drink with vodka!

I’m a simple woman of simple desires.

So there you have it: a 3-ingredient cocktail that will make your summer. Seriously.

Vodka Mazagran

1/4 c. cold brew coffee

1 c. lemonade

1 shot of vodka (or 2, you do you)

1 tall glass filled with ice


The entry-level version of this cocktail just involves pouring these ingredients over ice, stirring, and sipping. The liquid measurements are relative to your glass size. Basically, you want more lemonade than coffee and more coffee than vodka (obviously).

If you’re not already making cold brew by the gallon every week (or like, three times a week) get on that.

Mazagran’s simplicity makes it a perfect platform for serious upgrades! Garnish it with a lemon wedge, and consider these options:

Fresh-squeezed lemonade sweetened with all-natural maple syrup

Rosemary (or rosemary-maple) infused simple syrup

Thyme-infused lemonade

Garnishing with sprigs of fresh herbs

Muddling raspberries into the sweetener

Shake these up and serve them in your best barware to dazzle your friends! Bonus points if you read up on mazagran’s Algerian origins…talk about cocktail party trivia!

Bon appétit…or rather, bonne soif!

—DellaBites

Author’s note: Please drink these babies responsibly! The mixture of coffee & vodka will result in a lessening of the obvious effects of intoxication, but trust me, they’re there! Also, who needs the calories? Savor, don’t chug!

*all photos taken with an iPhone 6 and edited with A Color Story