Drunk in Costume

There’s a sociological concept called ethnocentrism. My prof introduced this by telling the class a story about a community in Central America. They’ve basically made a neighbourhood in a dump. There’s apparently even a school. Since there aren’t many options after graduation the people who are born there tend to die there. Every single nose in that classroom did the thing where one nostril just gets twitchy and rides up slowly. The prof noted that we were all judging based on our standard of culture. It can be as real as landfill living, or as random as Italians turning off the wifi when it rains. It’s unavoidable, we all do it. Part of the amazing thing about travelling is seeing what’s universal and what’s not. If you’re aware enough of your ethnocentrism to realize it and tuck it away, you can end up with some pretty cool habits. Also, if you’ve been doing it all along you can now tie it to actual sociology and use it as a stepping point to learn more about sociology because it’s awesome and not enough people study it.

Basically, that was a really, really heavy intro for a not heavy topic. What I’m going to be blithering on about for a while is my biggest point of ethnocentrism. The one thing I refuse to check because honestly, while Thanksgiving is the best North American holiday (the real one in October. November is too close to Christmas, like do you even finish your leftovers before you make another turkey?!) , the most fun has got to be Halloween. ¬†While I do admire that other cultures may have more kind of random dress up parties, these seem few and far between after one leaves college. Halloween is a beautiful time when everyone’s just like, “yeah, let’s wear a costume and have some drinks and eat some sugar.” It’s fantastic really.

If you do end up celebrating Halloween, or any fancy dress occasion on the road because well, hostels try, you end up in a weird spot. You’ve packed light. What do you wear for a costume? I

What do you even want to be? I have some basic guidelines:

  1. Don’t be an asshole. Seriously. Don’t. Don’t make jokes about other people’s culture. Do not, for the love of all that is good and holy, attempt to change your skin tone. If you even have the thought of, “hey, is this going to make me an asshole?” Then abandon the idea because it probably will.

Actually, that’s it. That’s one basic guideline. I feel it’s sadly not as observed as it should be.

Most of the ones I’m showing here don’t involve much- I’m trying to keep them without really any sewing. If you want to see my costumes that I’m making hardcore for this year, my friend and I have a sewing blog. I’m posting a few tutorials within the next week. They’re simple this year, and would be achievable while on the road… but I’ve learnt that while everyone carries a sewing kit, very few know how to use one.

Bank Robber

I’m actually doing this one this year, so it mayyyyy be a bit of a cop out, but it’s a good costume. Basically all you need is a striped shirt, and a pair of black pants or leggings. A black tuque and black gloves would be great to complete it, but not 100% necessary. If you have an old black t shirt, you could even make the mask.

Literally any animal

Claire’s is pretty multinational, but look for anywhere with jewelry for kids. You can usually find some sort of ear headband. Wear whatever colour top matches with jeans. It’s a bit of a cop out, but always works in a pinch.

Roman God or Goddess

White sheets and safety pins work wonders.

A Kid

Wear PJ’s and put some eyeliner or washable marker freckles on your face. If your hair is long enough pop in some pigtails, if not give yourself some bedhead.

 

Sports Fan

I have a thing where I try to buy a rugby jersey for every country I go to. If you have, or are carrying some stuff from your hometown, deck it all at once. The thing that makes it costume-y? Pop some face paint on. Having “GO SPORTS TEAM!” on your cheek makes it.

Tacky Tourist

Just being yourself tbh. Wear that camera on its neck strap and some socks with those sandals.

Lumberjack

Flannels are everything and you should pack tons of them. Pop one on with some jeans, a tuque if you have it, and sing some Monty Python for full effect.

Laundry Bag

This one take a bit of effort. Wear a comfy outfit, and safety pin a bunch of your other clothes to you.

Beach Goer

Wear a swimsuit. If you want to put some effort in, 60’s hair and makeup always looks cute with this.

A Mirror

This is the costume that proves you can never be too lazy to dress up. I also had to think of all the other costumes above so I could write about this, which is why some of them are super weak. (actually, upon my pre post reread, I’ve determined they’re all pretty good.) Procure a cosmetic mirror on a handle with a hole (easily found in any grocery store) and some string (dental floss works well.). Thread a length of string that fits well over your head through the mirror hole, and get yourself a necklace. When someone asks what you are, say what they are. Note that a LOT of the time people won’t get this right away, but will come back and tell you you’re a genius.

Any dress up party is only as fun as the enthusiasm you put into it. You know who isn’t having a good time?

Sulky McSulkertan in the corner who is trying to be cool.

I make sure to pack a few things I could incorporate into a costume just in case, and I’ve never regretted it. Look at all the things you can do with basic suitcase stuff. Imagine how creative you’d get if you raided the school supply section of the supermarket. Put the effort in, feel the passion, have the fun.

What are you being for halloween?

Besides a person having a shot for me ūüėČ

Drunk in Costume

Say Yes To Cheese

One of my favourite parts of travel is eating.

Actually, it’s probably my favourite. Specifically, eating cheese. This is Adam’s favourite too, and is one of the many reasons we work well as a couple. Seriously though, cheese and charcuterie are our things. If we’re eating at a restaurant that has a charcuterie platter, we automatically get it. If we don’t know what to cook, we make a charcuterie and cheese platter. So, when shopping for his birthday present I got him none other than:

A home cured bacon kit! 

We started it yesterday, and I haven’t tried the bacon yet, but it looks amazing.¬†It’s pretty easy so far- you put the included Prague¬†salt in with a pound of salt and a pound of sugar and then dredge 0.9kg of pork belly in it. It sits for a week, then you infuse it with liquid smoke. The amount of the base cure- the salt/sugar mix- that you get out of this is actually hella impressive. We have enough to make many a slab of bacon. We made this one plain without additives and we’re using the liquid smoke, then we’re going to make another additive free one in the smoker. After we compare that, we’ll get fancy with recipes from one of the books I got him…..

 

0393240053

Charcuterie!¬†¬†Literally just a book with recipes for meat, salt, and accompaniments to them. We were looking through it and are super excited. On the book front I also got him…

 

Artisan Cheesemaking at Home. I’m not going to lie, I really don’t think we’ll be able to pull of the level of beauty in this book. I mean, there’s burrata recipes in here. BURRATA! If you’ve never had it, it’s literally a ball of mozzarella hiding a delicious, creamy centre. Also, it might be the most delicious thing in the world. The biggest problem is that one ball costs $16 at Whole Foods.¬†I first encountered it while working in Taranto. My host family took me to this restaurant that was literally just all about mozarella. There were knots of it, balls of it… anything imaginable. But the star was burrata. I’ll keep you updated on my experiments. Speaking of experiments….

I also got him a 4 Cheese Making Kit!¬†¬†Honestly, I think if you don’t know what to get someone, get them a cheesemaking kit. I’m going to start with a quarter review of this- it makes ricotta, paneer, chevre, and cream cheese. Since it was Adam’s birthday, we had a bunch of people over. We created a simple menu. We wanted to keep it delicious, easy and cheap since we had 9 people. Homemade pasta with a simple marinara, garlic bread, and homemade ricotta. We started with the sauce. I didn’t want a super fancy sauce because I wanted to really focus on the ricotta as the special area. So, I put in a stick of butter, 2 cans of tomatoes, and a quartered onion. I used one can of crushed tomato and one can of diced. There’s really no reason for it either, it’s just what I had. All the big bits broke down pretty well, so I think it’d even work with whole tomatoes.

This is it bubbling away after a few hours. It’s seriously as easy as bringing it to a boil and letting it simmer. I added a little salt and pepper at the end.

Then we started on the ricotta. Apparently it’s SO easy to make. You literally just heat the milk….

Then add lemon and strain. Why do we buy this stuff?! The kit came with cheesecloth, some cultures that I guess are for the cream cheese and chevre, and a cheese mold.

Yeah. We made this cheese. Like made it. Making cheese is seriously magical. When the curd separates it just looks… bewildering. I can’t wait to make the rest of this kit. So far, it’s a 10/10 would definitely buy again.

One of the best parts of cheesemaking? Whey. I read somewhere you could cook pasta in it, and man was this stuff amazing. It added a whole layer of flavour too it.

I forgot to take a picture of my first plate which would have been better and less pasta on a dirty plate, but man… I totally forgot because I got so into how amazing this pasta was.

Now fingers crossed that next time I’ll be making homemade carbonara with some amazing home-cured bacon….

Say Yes To Cheese

Are You Kidding Me?!

I love to knit. I started when I was about seven. All knitting is basically made up of two stitches: knit and purl. I learned to knit from my Grandma and to purl from my Nonna and I caught on to it like a house on fire. I recently started the new project that’s all the rage- The Beekeepers Quilt¬†by Tiny Owl Knits. It consists of making little hexagons, stuffing them, and sewing them together.

My hexipuffs so far!

I got the pattern in my Knit Crate Newbies subscriptions (this is linked to my referral code.), which is an amazing way to learn the ways to combine knit and purl. The quilt concept is amazing, and as it’s super popular I’ve spent more than a little time looking at what other people have made. Both because people have done some amazing things with it and because I need proof that it is, in fact, possible to finish one of these in my lifetime.

As I was doing that, I came across this post on pinterest. If you don’t want to waste your time with her blithering, the summarization is that no one should charge for a pdf and $5.50 is ridiculous for a pattern. She then posts a free version of the pattern that isn’t the same, but very similar. She basically says that because people are modifying the cast on/bind off and such that it wasn’t even worth paying for the idea.

This killed me. I actually cringed while reading it. I don’t know what compelled me to, but a scroll through the comments ¬†showed that people were thanking- thanking!-¬†this… human for blatantly ripping off a designer.¬†

Stephanie Dosen, the designer at Tiny Owl Knits, is amazing. She does quality, well written patterns. The beekeepers quilt pattern has pictures. PICTURES! The pattern is well written and includes charts. Her other patterns are¬†beyond adorable. She has a thing on her ravelry group where you can refresh like mad on fridays and the first person to respond to her post saying go gets a free pattern. This girl isn’t out to screw us, the knitters. She’s trying to make a living as a creative person and she deserves to be paid¬†her work. I sometimes get stuck deciding which stitches to use on a basic scarf so yeah, making¬†patterns is hard. Let alone writing them in a clear and amazing way.

I get a lot of offers to write “for the exposure” and if the site fits my brand and I think I have something that will merge¬†then I’m happy to do it. Being a creative freelancer means not being rich. Flat out. I still spend 5 days a week sitting in an office and I’ll probably be doing that for a very long time. But, if I was offered to be paid for something and the payment never comes then that’s a problem and my friends would be outraged that this reputable publication doesn’t actually pay people. How is posting a knockoff of someone’s work not the exact same thing? Dosen deserves to be paid for her intellectual property. If this Charm Hour person is that outraged at paying $5.50 and has a thing about all patterns being free I’d like to see her make up some stuff and post it for free. Ripping off someone else is not okay.

Rant over.

But still bugging me inside because seriously, so many people are posting this on pinterest being like “this is amazing!” “knitting patterns are a rip off!”

Just, no.

Are You Kidding Me?!

George Washington’s Eggnog

A long, long time ago I saw a recipe in Mental Floss for eggnog. George Washington eggnog. Super boozey eggnog.

What more do you need?

This year I decided to finally take the plunge and make some of my own. I don’t have any pictures- didn’t get a camera for Christmas, but is eggnog really that photogenic anyway?

No. It looks like eggnog.

Delicious Eggnog.

After some googling, I got the recipe from the Farmers Almanac website:

“One quart cream, one quart milk, one dozen tablespoons sugar, one pint brandy, 1/2 pint rye whiskey, 1/2 pint Jamaica rum, 1/4 pint sherry‚ÄĒmix liquor first, then separate yolks and whites of eggs, add sugar to beaten yolks, mix well. Add milk and cream, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture. Let set in cool place for several days. Taste frequently.”

One problem: it doesn’t say how many eggs. I found a lot more recipes that all claim it’s a dozen. I halved it. While my family enjoys a glass of eggnog, most don’t have the nog love that I do.

Seriously, I love this stuff.

So, it was easy enough to make. I made it on the 20th with the intent to serve it on my family’s yearly drinkdwist: Christmas Eve.

After putting it all together I gave it a little taste and I was worried. It was all booze. Not that I minded, but I didn’t intend to drink this entire batch.

Well, I knew I couldn’t drink the entire batch. Whatever.

I used this as an opportunity to clear out the liquor cabinet. I used a sherry that may or may not be older than me- I think we most likely brought it home when we lived in Spain. When I was born, so…. I used Canadian Club 12 year for the rye, St. Remy for the brandy – it was between that and what I think is a Slovenian brandy. I’m guessing Slovenian? This is a really weird booze cabinet. And, finally, for the rum I used Havana Club 7 year. I know it’s bad to use a nice rum, but it’s what I had, and we have tons of it from trips to Cuba.

Now, I did some spoonfuls because, well, I follow recipes. I got progressively less worried the more it sat. Christmas Eve came, and it was a HIT. And not just because everyone was tipsy enough to sing after like, half a glass.

Though that helps!

I came home from work and had the first sip of this amazing drink… just, perfection. I’m having a glass as I write this in the interest of research.

Yeah, research.

Whatever, it’s Christmas day.

So, the first thing that hits ya is the booze. It definitely has that, “oh hey, there’s a lot of alcohol in here” feel, but the burn subsides super quickly when the eggnog goodness hits.

This stuff is, quite literally, indescribably good. If you’ve never made your own eggnog, now is the time. It’s still Christmas until January 12th, so get your ‘nog on.

As for me, I’ll be posting a bit of a Christmas haul (because I’m one of those girls…) as well as reviews for some awesome gifts- Dior brushes!!! I also bought a Beauty Blender, and I’m signing up for a bunch of subscription services- one that I’m all ready to go with, I just need photos! My bestie Alex and I also have a fun idea… and a trip might be in the works! ¬†So, keeeeeep reading ūüôā

Happy (boozey, eggnoggy) Holidays Everyone!

George Washington’s Eggnog

SandyDrank, SandyPrettied: It was a night

Hello All!

When a friend shows up with wine, well, that’s a friend worth keeping.

This weekend was… boring. So. Much. Schoolwork.

I figured out I can do an event management certificate that earns me credits for my degrees, so there was a ton of phone time for school, and I worked. Also, the mother wanted to put up Christmas decorations (that SandyDrank post is to come because the wine I got is WOW!), and we have to get something for the father. Adam also sent me a gorgeous package with something that was on the customs form as a necklace, but I don’t know details. Saturday night would’ve been great for so many alcohol review possibilities, but alas, everything tasted good that night- whoops.

The point of tonight is a sort of review of the amazingness that is Villa Teresa wine, and part just an update.

Tonight I had the pinot grigio, but my main Villa Teresa experience is with the prosecco, which is amazing. It’s a prosecco that’s not to dry, not to sweet. Just like the pinot grigio. If you have a mix of sweet and dry lovers, these are amaze, and ORGANIC! WHOO!

So, super informal tonight, but I have some nail polish, hair dye, some (real) wine, some beer, jeans, and a pants diy that will change your life.  Also, subscription services.

And more wine. Because wine.

SandyDrank, SandyPrettied: It was a night