Jaunty Little January

P2690493 Just look at sweet Gunner hogging both dog beds in the living room. Naughty kitten!

How are we all feeling about it already being Valentine's Day tomorrow, hm? No sooner had January flown by when it hit me that February was fast following suit. I did pretty well tackling the January Cure, finished reading J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy (is anyone interested in a review of that?), dashed back to San Francisco for a spell, got a new bike and rolled up my sleeves to play bartender for a night at a fun party with friends in Somerville. I'll just breeze through some highlights in this post.

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In the photo above I'm just lounging around in a kimono robe from The Webster for Target collection from May last year. What started out as a Best In Show joke between M & I has become a full-fledged addiction, and now I can't stop collecting beautiful robes (and taking a handful of them on trips, of course).

Have I ever told the story of the kimono that was made from pieces of a WWII parachute at a beautiful little vintage dress shop in Oakland? It was stunning. I can't describe it but I loved it on sight, before the shopkeeper even told me its incredible story. I found it in 2005 or 2006, and I still sometimes kind of hate myself for not buying it then and there. Oh, well.

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Way back in November we were told that M's Yves Gomes from Rivendell would be ready before my Pashley Roadster 26 arrived, but the opposite ended up being true so we went to fetch it one drizzly afternoon last month. That's when we took these photos! I adore it. It's not the kind of babe you can just throw over your shoulder, but I like that, and anyway how tough will I get hauling this up and down the stairs to bring it in until we get some sort of bike shed? It's terribly unoriginal, but I've been calling her Pash and don't know if I'll be able to rename her properly!

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I chose to outfit it with a Brooks Flyer saddle in brown, with matching leather grips. I passed on the one it came with (the B72 - a bit pricier and an exact replica of a 1935 saddle) to M, so now it's on her Yves. I just love the contrast of the black and brown on both our bikes! I also picked up the Brooks D-Shaped Tool Bag in Brown Leather (but need to switch it out for a black one) and the black Millbrook Leather Holdall, but I'm not entirely sure I won't be switching them around and seeing what that looks like instead. At some point I might want to add more cargo space (panniers or maybe I'll just spray paint a tiny crate all Mad Max and attach it to my rear rack), but for now, this is more or less it!

Pashley

Anyway, it's been a pleasure to ride. In fact, after we picked it up I rode it home the 3+ miles from the shop, in the rain. And then again in the early stages of the blizzard and just after, scoping things out in our neighborhood. If it's that much fun in inclement weather, I honestly can't wait for spring. I really desperately need to pick up a helmet somewhere, but the options (and trust me, I've seen them all) are just so lacking in style. I know, I know. I'll regret saying that if I crack my head open, but I'm not zooming across Mass Ave anytime soon, either.

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So, cocktails! I improvised a really delicious bourbon slush recipe for this Cocktail Battle party based on the two ingredients we were required to use in the competition: agave limeade and Bulleit bourbon. I took some creative liberties and decided to blend an Earl Grey-infused agave nectar simple syrup with fresh lime juice and water to make the limeade, and then I added the bourbon, a little bit more water, and fresh basil leaves as garnish. It took a bit of tinkering, but they were perfect.

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For the limeade, take a cup each of water and light agave nectar and bring to a boil for the simple syrup, then toss in four black tea bags and remove from heat. I used Tazo's Full Leaf Earl Grey, which is heavy on the lavender and so, so good. I let it brew a nice, long time to really steep it in for a taste strong enough to compete with all that citrus and bourbon. Juice about 5-6 limes (add one or two more if they're tiny little runts), which should yield around 3/4 to one cup of lime juice. Add a nice, healthy cup of bourbon to that. Mix it together with the Earl Grey-infused agave simple syrup you made earlier and stir gently. Give it a little taste and slowly add water (a cup at a time, you don't want to dilute it too much) until it's just right. I had to batch enough to wet the whistles of 30 (and made enough for 36), but a single batch should give you enough for 6-8 drinks.

Now, there are two paths one can take to get to the slushy part. The impatient way and the patient way. The patient way yields tastier, boozier results, but I won't blame you if you spring for the former. (If you do, skip that last step about adding a bit of water to taste.) The patient way requires you to transfer the liquid into a container or several smaller containers (heavy-duty Ziploc bags will do if you haven't got lidded jars or bottles lying around) and toss them into the freezer (preferably overnight, so plan in advance). Make sure you use your noggin and leave room for the mixture to expand. The next day you take them out, set them out for a bit if they need a little thawing, and then enjoy. They should be a perfect slushy consistency. When I was at the party, all I had to do was give the jars a good shake, take the lid off, add a fresh basil leaf and a straw and voila. In the summer when you pack up your coolers and go to the beach (or Dolores Park, etc.), make these the night before and BYOB!

The impatient way should be obvious. Toss some of the mix into a blender with some ice and go to town. Easy! A little less awesome, but still quite good. You're very welcome!

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Some gratuitous good hair day shots, because good hair days should always get a nice little pat on the back!

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Happy Valentine's Day to all my sweet readers out there! You're the best.

XOXO,

FFAF