Creative Craft Cocktail Recipes – Lavender Blackberry Limoncello-ade

Creative Craft Coctail Recipes: Lavender Blackberry LimoncelloADE

Summers spent sipping lemonade, well it doesn’t get much better than that. Or does it? Well if you’ve got some fresh berries and limoncello… um, it could. And the best part? You can have this sort of summer, all. year. long. 

I love creative craft cocktail recipes, but let’s face it those puppies can be complicated to shake up. It’s summer, I want to relax, have fun, and just groove. This is one of my favorite creative craft cocktail recipes. It’s bright, breezy and super easy – the trifecta of summer fun.

Lavender Blackberry LimoncelloADE
Serves 1
Lemons and lavender enhance the summery sweetness of fresh muddled black berries in this light and easy summer craft cocktail.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 oz Limoncello
  2. 2 oz Blackberry Vodka
  3. 1/4 cup Fresh Blackberries
  4. 2 drops Lavender Essential Oil
  5. 1 Cup Lemonade
  6. 4 Lemon Slices
  7. 1 Sprig Lavender (optional)
  8. Ice
Instructions
  1. Muddle blackberries with essential oil in a cocktail shaker. Add vodka, limoncello, and ice. Shake well. Place lemon slices and more ice in a mason jar. Pour cocktail over ice. Garnish with whole blackberries, lavender sprig, and lemon slice.
Notes
  1. This recipe is easy to double, or even kick it up to a batch big enough to put in a beverage service jar. Great for picnics and BBQs.
Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom http://chickennuggetsofwisdom.com/
 What are some of your favorite cocktails? Do you like them fruity and sweet, salty and tangy, or maybe just with a twist and a splash? I love welcoming the weekend by putting a fun new cocktail in a shaker and seeing how it shakes out.  If you dig a cocktail, you need to go check out Beautiful Booze.

I suspect the hubby secretly digs coming home, sitting on the sofa, and being handed a highball. He’s so old-school cool.

Could JORD Wood Watches Be the Perfect Gifts for Everyone? (a giveaway)

Could JORD wood watches be the perfect gifts for everyone?

I suffer from an affliction that impacts my entire family and wider circle of friends. I’ve spent years in vain attempting to shield others from my condition. Today, I’m coming clean in the hope of helping others. I suffer from Lousy Gifting Syndrome. If you too suffer, then this post may help.

My personal struggles with the gifting process started at a young age. While other children limited their macaroni art and picture frame bedazzling to Mother’s or Father’s Day gifting, mine were not. Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, Flag Day were all occasions that called for noodles, glitter, and glue. As I got older, it didn’t get much better. We’re talking socks-and-underwear level bad gifting.

The day the folks at JORD reached out to me and offered one of their unique wooden watches for this review post, I knew help and recovery may be within reach.

JORD Watch Giveaway

All kidding aside, I do struggle with gifting for some people on my list. Topping the list of tough folks to buy for is my husband. He knows what he likes and if he doesn’t like something, he lets you know.  The man is so picky that we draw straws to see who gets stuck shoe shopping with him, an ordeal that lasts hours. Giving him a gift is a process fraught with anxiety.

He does like watches though. In fact, he has a small collection of them ranging from super-fancy-lets-go-to-the-opera to rugged, I-have-been-camping-twice styles. That said, the collection of watches he has returned is much bigger. Understandably, I was a little nervous about the thought of gifting him with a wooden watch.

Because this post is a review of JORD, I let him help me pick his watch. Yes, I realize this is cheating, on the whole, getting creative with gifting recovery thing, but I’m taking one for the team here. He was impressed by several of the styles that included mixed woods, faces with unique features and even interchangeable options. The watch he settled on was a little more refined in look than I would have chosen for him. I guess that’s the upside to this story, he got what he wanted.

When this package arrived, I was already impressed.

The box alone was pretty epic. Bonus, who needs to wrap that? Hyde, Ebony & Iron is even more impressive than the box it came in. The wood is dark and rich. The face is sleek and stylish. The payoff … Mr. Pickypants, liked it!  

Things You Need to Know When Gifting a JORD Watch

Read the sizing guide! Mr. Man likes his watches a bit loose so he sort of phoned it in on this. The result will be a trip to the jeweler.

YES, you can get them engraved. In fact, JORD will do that for you before it even ships. Be sure you know the return policy though.

Craftsmanship is key. JORD has this one down to an art. This watch is heirloom quality.

You’ll need to be sure you know how to care for a JORD watch. This may take some time but it isn’t going to be worth it.

YES, they can make you a band for your AppleWatch. This may be the thing that completes my suck-gift-giver recovery. Go check out how awesome their bands look with the AppleWatch face.

They offer FREE shipping nationwide.

Most of the models are perfectly suited to any occasion and lifestyle. This particular model in this review (Hyde, Ebony & Iron) is better suited for indoors than out as it is a little difficult to read in direct sunlight.

JORD watches run from around $130 to about $500.

If sustainability is important to the person you’re shopping for, take a look at the materials section of the JORD website. I was impressed with the depth of information they provide on each type of wood used.

In the end, I may not have completely reached a stage of remission in my lousy gifting. But, Mr. Nuggets does actually like his JORD watch, so I’m on the road to recovery.

If you’d like to gift a JORD to someone on your list, maybe enter their contest. One lucky winner will get $100 off the watch of their choosing, and everyone who enters will receive 10% off!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE CONTEST

 

If you’re shopping for me, I’ll take the Cora with Koa wood and rose gold. Just thought I’d add that and also remind you that though I did receive a free watch for a review in this post, my honest opnions are always included for free! 

Lessons from Dogs

It was a cold and dreary one along the Chesapeake Bay. The weather brought with it a bit of unease and melancholia. I often find that spending some time alone with my dog on days like these helps ease some of that grayness.

Just me and the pup, that day. The kids had slept late and my husband didn’t feel like going out in the rain.

While feeding the ducks from the red brick lined sidewalk, a man approached. He asked if he could pet my dog. Gordon loves that, little attention junkie that he is.

While the dog did all his cute moves to get more scratches behind the ear, the man shared how much he loved being around dogs.  “Dogs never think twice about being nice. They seem to know if they are good to you, you’ll be nice back. Sad that doesn’t always work out for them.”

He thanked me, rubbed Gordy’s head and walked away only to turn around and head back. Gordon responded with an earnest shimmy of his tiny tail-nub.

With a shyness in his eyes, he said he hated to ask but he was homeless and hungry and wondered if I had some change to spare. Without thinking twice I handed him the only cash I had with me, a twenty.

I tend to be very wary of panhandlers having seen more than one head off for a fix. He could have been intending to do the same thing but I realized in that moment it wasn’t my place to judge. I could do a nice thing because it was nice and leave it at that. I could remember the lessons from dogs… and not think twice about being nice.

A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his. ~ John Grogan

Heading back to the car I heard someone call, “Hey, Gordon’s mom!” I looked across the street and it was the same guy with a big bag full of sandwiches from a local shop down the street.

He beamed at me and said, “thanks for understanding.” Sometimes the lessons from dogs are the ones that teach us how to be better humans. 

how to make a starburst candy cocktail

Remember those cheesy 80’s ads for Reece’s peanut butter cups, “You got your peanut butter all over my chocolate!” Yuck, just nope. I may be alone in my loathing of that combination but I can certainly get behind the tagline for those ads, “Two great things that go great together,” if we’re talking vodka and starburst candies.  So the question now is, how to make a Starburst candy cocktail.

Time for a confession, the Starburst candy cocktail was an original idea of mine.  Oh sure, I’d love to take full credit for it but that rests with the little BBQ joint in suburban Maryland where my team, The Little Urban Achievers play (and by that I mean own) Pub Trivia.

While The Hideaway cocktail was tasty, it was just a tad too sour for me so I thought I’d take inspiration from their unique libation and give it my own twist. Of course, it will still be garnished with starburst – duh.

Starburst Candy Cocktail
Serves 1
Sweet, a little sour and perfect for happy hour!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1.5 oz Limoncello
  2. 1.5 oz Stolichnaya Wild Cherry Vodka
  3. 1 oz Tart Cherry Grenadine by Quince & Apple
  4. San Pellegrino Aranciata
  5. Starburst Candy
  6. Cocktail Skewers
  7. Ice
  8. Cocktail Shaker
Instructions
  1. Place ice, limoncello, vodka and grenadine in cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain into glass of your choice. Top with chilled Aranciata. Place several candies onto skewer and garnish.
Notes
  1. If using standard grenadine, add in some fresh squeezed lemon juice to balance the sweet and sour.
Adapted from The Hideway
Adapted from The Hideway
Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom http://chickennuggetsofwisdom.com/

Using that craft grenadine may be the key to the success of this cocktail. Quince & Apple really let the cherry shine in this simple syrup. Yes, it’s a bit pricey, but it doesn’t take much of it to impart that deep cherry flavor. Plus it doesn’t go bad. I may even give it a try as a flavoring for ice cream or pancake topping.

Though not YET tested, I suspect this would be great in the summer over crushed ice! Do you have a favorite candy? Think it might make for a tasty cocktail? Let me know. I’m always looking for new ways to mix things up. Mixology.. mix.. get it. Okay, maybe I’d better lay off the taste-testing for a bit.

so your kid wants to play the violin… now what?

Your kid came home with a gleam in their eye, rumpled paper in hand, informing you that they’d be taking up an instrument. So did mine. In fact, all four of my kids have come home with that same gleam at some point! Each time they did there was the accompanying dread. What instrument would they choose? Please, no drums! How quickly would they lose interest?  Once they settled on something, say the violin, how does one even go about choosing a violin for a kid? In other words, my kid picked a violin? Now now what?!

Let’s start this little chat out by saying that I come from a very musical family. My formative years were filled with my dad’s music. He was in a band when I came along. In retirement, he’s back in a band. Both my brothers play, the older one is rather gifted. Me… we’ll if you give me a sack I could carry a tune in it. The only instrument I play to any level of aptitude is the radio.  

That said, I always wanted to play. Longed to, in fact. I love music, I just wasn’t suited to playing it myself. I got my mom’s word gene, the music one skipped me. Though I can share that when it comes to playing the theme song from MASH on a clarinet, I totally channel Glenn Miller. 

When the music gene that missed me started to show up in my kids, I was so proud. My amazing humans could do this music thing! We made it through each of them taking up with recorder, most of our hearing intact. Then came the violin and some struggles.

When the folks from Yamaha reached out to ask if I’d be interested in helping parents learn more about choosing a violin, I was totally up for that. Yes, this is a sponsored piece but it is also something I really wish had been out there when we were learning all the things… the hard way! 

Things to Know About Choosing a Violin

Choosing a violin is not the same thing as choosing a violin shaped object

Trust me, I love finding a great deal. When we found a $45 violin on Amazon it was a thrill. The rental place wanted that much a month! What we received certainly looked like a violin. Did it play like one? No. In fact it was so difficult to tune, string and even play that in the end we ended up with a rental contract and out more than that $45. Lesson learned; beware the violin shaped object!

Renting doesn’t make as much sense as you think

When the oldest came home with that gleam the rumpled paper in is hand was a rental agreement. Our school system doesn’t supply instruments. We figured he’d lose interest in a month or so, which made renting seem to be the sensible choice. 

What we ended up with was a contract that got us a more than gently used instrument. The violin is a delicate thing, keeping it in good shape makes a big difference in how it plays. How it plays makes a difference in the level of joy your child may get from learning to play. 

Buying can seem a steep price to pay at first. For us, we had three more kids who might take it up at some point, so the cost savings was clear. I’d say that if you buy and have just one kiddo, see if they shop you purchase from has a buy-back program. This could make both budget and musical sense. 

Enlist expert help 

I can not stress this point enough… when choosing a violin for your kiddo, expert help is key! I’m not saying you have to spend four hours in a showroom with a guy who works on commission but certainly don’t try to go it alone. Yamaha has a great tool on their website specifically designed for families. 

The Violin Finder can help you with everything from fit and sound to the brand that will work best with your child’s skill set. Our youngest son is 6 years into playing and as he has grown so has his violin. I had zero clue that we’d need to level-up as he grew up. Yamaha has helped us figure these things out. 

Let it be fun

Yes, they’re going to need to practice and sometimes that means butting heads. Two of my four didn’t really stick with playing music because practice just wasn’t their thing. The other two found fun in not just choosing a violin but exploring their musical gifts. Honestly, I think fun is the deciding factor. Let them enjoy the process, even if that means noise cancelling headphones for you. 

 

 

 

Travel. Eat. Drink. Write. REPEAT