Cheers! It's holiday cocktail time!

Well Hello there Joyflakes!

I trust that you all had an amazing Thanksgiving and got to spend plenty of time with family and friends! Mine was crammed full of food commas, basketball, and spending some much awaited quality time with my parents so of course it was fantasmastic :)

Since Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season here in good ol' 'merica, I've decided to let you in on some of my favorite holiday traditions.  The holidays are one of the busiest times of the year for me since I work in retail, and even though I feel like I've been hit by a Mac truck by the end of it, this really is my absolute favorite time of the year.  I love the decorations, the music, the fact that it happens during my favorite season (winter), and of course the food!  Because there are so very many things that I love about the holidays, once a week between now and new years, I will be posting a list of 5-10 things about the holidays that I love. Since today is Saturday, I thought I would post the top 5 holiday cocktails I want to try out this season and their recipes!

5. The Grinch

1. Follow the directions to make Jello: Boil water and add lime Jello mix. Stir until Jello is completely dissolved; this should take about 5 minutes. Be sure to scrape the bottom well so that you don’t miss any of the jello mix! (If you want, you could make these with vodka for a stronger drink/Jello shots!)

2. Pour Jello mixture into cup filled with straws and put a bowl or plate on top of the straws to keep them weighed down. Put this in your refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or over night.

3. Once Jello has set, put the bottom of the cup in HOT water for 2-3 minutes to release the straws. Twist as you pull to remove them from the glass.

4. Put a sieve into a bowl of WARM water. Break off about a dozen straws. Wave the straws back and forth in the warm water to loosen them. When one starts to slip out, quickly remove the straws, and empty the green, slimy contents into a large wine glass. Blow a little on the straws if needed, to help coax the ooze out.

5. Cover with COLD sparkling Moscato (or lemon-lime soda for a non alcoholic version) and serve.

4. Pomegranate Gin Fizz

I need to make something very clear to all of you.  Gin is my go to.  It is my favorite and always will be.

2 ounces gin
1 ounce PAMA, pomegranate liqueur
Club soda
In a glass full of ice, add the gin and PAMA. Stir to combine and top with club soda.

3. Winter Sea Breeze

         1 oz vodka (1/8 cup)
         1 oz grapefruit juice (1/8 cup)
         1/2 oz tonic syrup (2 tablespoons)
         2 oz soda water (1/4 cup)
         12 pomegranate seeds
         3 mint leaves (for garnish)

Fill your glass about 3/4 full with ice. A lowball glass is the perfect size.
Add the vodka, grapefruit juice, tonic syrup and stir. Pour in the soda water and garnish with the pomegranate seeds and mint leaves.

This recipe used Jack Rudy Tonic Syrup which can be found at Whole Foods. They recommend using a syrup because it's not too sweet and has a little more complexity of flavor. If you don't have tonic syrup, you can substitute 1/4 cup regular tonic for the soda water and syrup.
Yields 1 serving

2. Rosemary Bourbon Fizz:
First of all let me just tell you, I love this site.  It’s pretty amazing and all of you should take a look at it :)
Grab your shaker, put a little twig of fresh rosemary in it, squeeze half a lemon (less if you don’t like it sour), add 1 Tsp of sugar and muddle it good (until you can really smell the rosemary). If you don’t have a muddler, use the back of a wooden spoon. Kinda impractical, but it works. Once that’s done add a few ice cubes and 1 oz of Bourbon. Now shake it shake it like a polaroid picture.”
“Pour the mix (strain it using your shaker or use a regular strainer) into an old fashioned glass with a few extra ice cubes. Top up with Ginger Ale – totally recommend using the Santa Cruz Organic brand, it’s less sweet and tastes more natural. Garnish with a rosemary sprig and a lemon twist and ta-da!”

1. Champagne Jello Shots

You need:
1 3 oz box of jello
1 C chilled champagne
1 C boiling water
Making champagne jello is basically the same as making regular jello, except you’ll substitute chilled champagne where it calls for chilled water. These instructions are for a 3 oz box; if you use a different size box, just change the amount of champagne and boiling water you use based on the instructions on the back of the box.
1. Add 1 cup of boiling water to the gelatin mix and stir for about 2 minutes until the powder is completely dissolved.
2. Set the mixture aside and wait for it to cool down to room temperature.
(The champagne will go flat when you stir it into the jello mixture if it hasn’t cooled down enough. The champagne will also go flat if you stir too vigorously or pour too quickly, so go SLOW!)
3. Once the mixture cools to room temperature, slowly pour in 1 cup of chilled champagne, gently stirring as you go.
4. Slowly pour the mixture into a 9×9 pan and refrigerate for 4 hours, or until firm. I found it was best to wait about five hours to make sure the jello held its shape.
5. To get the jello out of the pan without breaking it, stick the bottom of the pan in warm water for about 5 seconds and then flip the pan over onto a plate; the jello will slide right out!
6. Sprinkle your jello shots with strawberry pop rocks for some extra fizz!
7. Cut into bite sized pieces and enjoy!

I hope that these cocktails gave you all some ideas for your own holiday parties and family gatherings!  I can't wait to try them all out and promise to report back with my thoughts; who knows maybe you'll even get pictures or how to's!

Love and joyflakes!

The classic thanksgiving post

Happy Thanksgiving Joyflakes!

It's not really thanksgiving without a turkey note :)

I hope that you are all enjoying some wonderful family, food, and football today!  There are lots of things I have to be thankful for this year and although I would love to share them all with you, they would take me about a zillion years to write out.  Instead, I've decided to let you in on my favorite things about Thanksgiving.

1. Family (DUH!)

I have an amazing family.  There aren't a huge number of us, 17 including aunts, uncles, cousins, and significant others, but we are a very tight knit family.  Although we aren't able to all be in the same place for every holiday, were spread across 4 states ranging from CO to NY, it's a day that I get to talk to EVERYONE in my family and I love it.

My Immediate family at my parents wedding

The whole famn damily. The 17 of us clean up quite nicely!

2. Food (Double DUH!)

The Thanksgiving spread put on by the W family is unlike any other.  Actually, it's probably a lot like many families spreads but each of the elements has something special in it. We have my grandfathers special way of cooking our turkey that always ends up perfectly moist and juicy with a crispy golden skin, my great grandmothers zucchini bread, grandpas regular stuffing and oyster dressing, moms mashed potatoes, great grandmas orange jello salad, and my very own cranberry sauce.  I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

The Traditional Spread!

Perfection EVERY year!

3. Friends

We have been having Thanksgiving at my grandparents house since before I could remember.  With the exception of a few years that my brother was in college, we've rarely missed a thanksgiving at G&G's on forest road.  The thing about my grandparents house is that my siblings and I spent a LOT of time there growing up.  We went every summer since it was close to camp (and when we worked there we basically lived with them) and more weekends than I could even try to count while we were growing up since it's just an hour from my hometown.  Due to the above average amount of time I spent there growing up, I have a TON of very close friends in their town and the holidays are one time now that I can be sure that I'll get to see a majority of them.

4. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

I've always loved tradition and I love that this parade has welcomed the holiday season for so many years.  I have a great many fond memories of stirring bubbling and steaming pots, watching my grandmother prep an amazing meal, and watching thousands of people dance along while GIANT balloons of cartoon characters float along the streets of New York City.


This may sound a lot like #2 but it is truly one of the best parts about thanksgiving.  Having thick cut turkey breast and cranberry sauce sandwiches (they're better than they sound) and mashed potatoes at all hours of the day? Yes please!  Not to mention the fact that my grandmother makes turkey noodle casserole/hot dish from the leftovers and it's one of my absolute favorite meals.  I know that it can be made any time of year as long as you want to cook a turkey breast, but there's something special about having it the weekend after Thanksgiving that I absolutely love.

6. Tryptophan

Naps are one of my favorite things and there is something quite wonderful about a turkey induced nap time built into a holiday :)

7. Two Words


Enjoy the holiday everyone!!!

Love and Joyflakes,

"You're going to regret that later"

This is a sentenced that I hear very often, and I know that many other people my age hear it too.  It's not a reference to eating or drinking too much, although I'm sure that it could be, or dying our hair all of the colors of the rainbow.  It's about our tattoos.

My first response to this remark is something that I've never said out loud and due to the nature of it, I will continue to keep it to myself.  The second response is always "why?".  This response tends to take people somewhat by surprise and I choose to believe that it is because they see their world so clearly that they're incapable of seeing anything that does not fit into a perfect little box.  I ask them why because I really am curious.  Why do you, who doesn't have a single tattoo, know nothing about my tattoos, my life, or my beliefs, believe so strongly that I am going to regret them?
Happy Birthday to Me!!!!!  My First Tattoo!! Age 18

Throughout history people from all walks of life have been getting tattoos. Everyone from royalty to Tibetan monks have had tattoos.  It is an art form dating to the years before the bible and has a great deal of meaning to different cultures.  In many cultures, it is a rite of passage for young men and women.
My Second Tattoo Age 18 (sorry bout my bum)

Everyone gets tattoos for different reasons but I believe that all are commemorative.  They are meant to remind you of people, places, experiences, life choices, and each one is special.  I may not understand why you love that dragonfly tattoo you have on your ankle, but I'm guessing you don't love or understand why I have a horseshoe on my wrist that looks like a 5 year old drew it.  Tattoos are a form of self expression unlike any other.  It's not like art or writing that can be lost.  It's less expensive than jewelry and can never be stolen. It is with you forever, literally becoming a part of you.

Tattoo Number Three! Age 19

Tattoo Number Four!  This is by far my favorite tattoo memory :)

Personally I have 5 tattoos (number 5 is not pictured because I don't have a photo...) and I have 4 more planned out for the future.  I have no intentions of changing these plans and absolutely nothing anyone says could ever change my mind. Each of my tattoos, no matter what my original reason of getting them, is a memory and a story that makes up the person I am today.  I love them and for that reason, I know that I will never regret them. My health may deteriorate, and I may become so old that I cannot wipe my own bum, but I will always be able to look down at my tattoos and know that at one point in my life, I did things for myself and I was happy.

Love and joyflakes my dears!


Whole Hog Blogging

Hello joyflakes!!!

Since that last post, I think it's kind of apparent that I've decided to jump into blogging head first and want to be as open and honest as I can about my life.  This decision was a tough one for me to make because putting my life on blast for the ENTIRE internet is basically one of the most terrifying things I can think.  It is all a part of my resolution to take chances in my quest for joy in life.

I've recently been going through some pretty unexpected and giant life changes.  I broke up with someone who I thought was going to play a HUGE part in my future, and decided to move 2 hours away from where I've been for the last 4 years, and head home to accept a job that I'm insanely excited about.  These are things that had anyone asked me last year, I would have said would never happen and I am incredibly happy that I've decided to take the plunge into taking risks and making changes.

My sister always says that every girl needs at least six months to get to know themselves and I feel like this is perfect timing with all of the other changes I've been making, and the new year coming up so soon.  In order to do this, I'm doing my best to say "yes" to things that I would have previously said "no" to.  I know that new years resolutions are meant for the beginning of a new year, but I feel like I'm at a new place in my life and this feels like as good a time as any.

So here is my challenge to all of you out there in the blogosphere; say yes and try new things.  You never know where a new experience can  take you.  No matter how scary or out of your comfort zone a new thing may be, I guarantee you'll feel better for having tried something new, and you'll learn a hell of a lot about yourself in the process.

Good luck with your adventures joyflakes! I want to hear all about them, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Love and Joyflakes,

The best friend pact

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS INFORMATION THAT FAIMLY MAY FIND UNCOMFORTABLE (Sister informed me that it's a little much for the people who raised me)

Hello my little joyflakes!  I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend and didn't wake up this morning with a case of the "Mondays".  I had a very relaxing weekend and am very much looking forward to the next one.  I'll be back in my hometown again and cannot wait to spend some quality time with old friends and family.  For today's post I had some trouble deciding just what exactly I would write about.  So far I've shared with you some of my favorite things, an organization that is extremely important to me, and let you in on some of the very important lessons I've learned throughout my 23 years of life but I just couldn't decide what I wanted to write about next.  

This all changed when I got to work today.  My very good friend Haley and I work together at a local cookie shop and today's shift was especially slow.  We had very few customers and plenty of time to talk.  With so much time to chat, we of course ended up having a heart to heart about the gentlemen in our lives, both past and present.  We are both currently single and learning just how exactly to put ourselves first in each and every way.  This may sound wonderful but it is truthfully one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  I’m the girl who has ALWAYS had a boyfriend and learning how to be single and happy about it is a big step for me. 

Throughout our heart to heart, we both came to the realization that one aspect of our love lives needed to be put on hold completely for a while so that we could clear our hearts and heads for whoever we decided was worthy of our time.  Yes folks, I’m talking about sex.  Although I won’t share with you specifics, I will share with you my beliefs about this very controversial topic.  I have always believed that sex is not something to be ashamed of.  As long as you are truly happy with the decisions you’re making and are COMFORTABLE, sex can be a very wonderful thing.   I don’t think one night stands are a terrible thing, I think that sometimes sex can just be sex, and I don’t think that you should ever be ashamed of it.  I know that sex can complicate relationships and that it is not something to be taken lightly, but I also know that sex can be fun.  I feel that I should clarify that this belief does not mean that I have a lot of sex.  I would say that I have a very average sex life for someone of my age.

All of hat being said, I feel like sex and I just need to take a break from each other, and Haley agrees with me.  This realization lead to us making a VERY serious pact.  We have both decided that for one month, we will be celibate.  Some of you may be thinking “one month!? That’s easy!” but making the commitment to say no to people we may have normally said yes to is not that easy!  So together we wrote up our pact, decided on a punishment for breaking it and a reward for making it, and signed it in blood (I’m serious; this is a blood oath).  We have also decided that it can be extended for another month if either or both of us wants to keep going/feels the other one needs to keep going.  I feel like the next month is going to teach us both a lot about ourselves and our views on life, love, and relationships and I strangely couldn’t be more excited for a month of celibacy.

Love and Joyflakes dolls!