Archive for beer

Wedding Ties That Don’t Suck

Posted in wedding with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2010 by Jessica Lada

Ivory with electric blue ink for the groom, electric blue with white pearl ink for the groomsmen.

The BLUE theme continues, this time for the groomsmen.  They aren’t wearing matching suits, but instead we got them matching ties.

My fiance’s groomsmen don’t wear ties often, so I thought if they HAVE to wear ties, at least it can be a tie they like.   Etsy strikes again, this time with Ties That Don’t Suck from the Cyberoptix Tie Lab.

Etsy.com  is rapidly becoming my favorite website ever.  I probably did a search for “awesome ties” or something like that.  At first I just saw the wheat at the top of the design and thought it was perfect.  It IS a Kansas wedding, after all.  But then I looked at the name of the design and discovered how perfect it really was.

THE BEER TIE (pictured above) has a design of wheat, barley, and hops.  Turns out, the three ingredients combine to make not only tasty beverages but also awesome tie designs.  In our chosen colors it looks a little bit like Wedgewood.

Cyberoptix got the microfiber swatches and ink samples to me in just a couple of days and they cut you a price break when you order ties in multiples for your wedding party.  Cyberoptix Tie Lab doesn’t silkscreen custom designs because the setup cost is too great.  But that’s no worry because they have enough designs to fit pretty much any customer or occasion, not to mention the more than 40 microfiber colors to choose from and virtually any color of ink you can imagine.  The possibilities are endless.

I’m On The Road Again…

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2010 by Jessica Lada

It’s remarkable that technology allows me to acces the internet on my phone, but it is less than convenient to blog on a miniscule keyboard and two inch screen. Who thought microsoft word would be a good idea on a phone?

For the second time, I’m on the road in an 18-wheeler. I enjoyed the first venture and wanted to give it another shot, but I hadn’t planned for it to be so soon.

My fiance, Will, and I had big plans for the weekend. It was Memorial Day, so there was an extra day to enjoy. Will’s family has a big cattle ranch in the Flint Hills and that’s where I headed Friday. That evening, some of Will’s friends were having a barn party. As soon as I arrived, Will wanted to hurry out the door. But first he just HAD to show me the WWI trench knife he’d just bought. The knife has a metal scabbard with a very small opening. Instead of shoving the knife back into its sheath, Will accidentally shoved the knife an inch into his hand.
battle wound on Twitpic
He put the knife down and I saw that it wasn’t in the sheath. Will looked like the cat who swallowed the canary. “Did you just cut yourself?” I asked.
“I think I might have.”
“How bad is it?”
“I haven’t looked yet.”
At this point I went into panic mode. Will’s mom is a nurse and I made Will show the wound to her (rather than just stick a bandaid on it like he wanted). After threats of emergency room, Will promised to be careful with his hand and we went on to the barn party.

Will’s mom had worried that the party wouldn’t be what I was expecting. I was expecting a bunch of people drinking in a barn and fortunately that’s exactly what it was. There were only about a dozen people there in the coolest barn I’d ever seen. It had a wooden floor and a bar built in and up in the loft was a stage, bleachers, and picnic tables.

Half the people there had guitars, plus a mandolin and a banjo, and they jammed out with every folksong and bluegrass tun they could remember. Everyone sang and if you didn’t know the words you just drank your beer and nodded along.

We closed down the party and in the morning when everyone was awake and sober, we showed Will’s hand to his dad (a doctor). Doctor Billy was somewhat appalled and we immediately drove 10 miles into town to get it stitched up.
Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
The shot to numb it is always the worst, so I hear. After it got all numbed up, Dr. Billy brought in the suture kit and handed me a bottle of Lidocane and a clean syringe. “What’s this for?”
“If we need extra, you’ll draw it up.”
“I don’t know how to do that.”
“You’ll learn.”
Fortunately I didn’t have to learn. Five stitches later and we were back to the ranch. But then came the question, how was Will supposed to steer while shifting gears, write his logbook, or open/close the tarp on his truck with his dominant hand out of commission? That’s where I came in.
FRANKENSTEIN HAND! on Twitpic
So I’m an honorary trucker and Will’s left hand for the week. With my fiance next to me, delicious onion rings in my belly, and the Kansas sunset on the other side of the bugsplatted windshield, life is good.Sunset through the bugsplattered windshield on Twitpic

St. Patrick’s Day Music Pick!

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2010 by Jessica Lada

What do you get when you cross a kilt-wearing bagpiper, some traditional Irish songs, Irish dancers, electric guitars, and a crowd full of jumping, screaming fans?  The Dropkick Murphys.  And in their latest CD/DVD LIVE ON LANSDOWNE, BOSTON MA, available today March 16th (just in time for St. Patrick’s day), the band is at their finest.  Studio recordings don’t manage to capture the full spirit of a band such as the Dropkick Murphys.  They feed off the energy in the crowd and pour that raucous enthusiasm into their music.

Their performance last year for St. Patrick’s day was not a performance for band and spectators, but an experience for all.  The fans are just as important in this experience as the band, shouting along the lyrics, clapping, pumping their fists in the air, and crowd surfing.  During their performance of the ever popular “Kiss Me, I’m S&!%faced”, the band even invites the ladies of the audience up onto the stage to sway and sing along.

The album’s 20-song set list (including “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya”, “Fields of Athenry”, “Tessie”, “The Dirty Glass,” and “(F)lannigan’s Ball”) is completely different from DKM’s 2002 album Live On St. Patrick’s Day From Boston MA but follows the same tradition.  This album includes a special guest appearance by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones on DKM’s platinum-selling single “Shipping Up to Boston.”

Tomorrow wraps up DKM’s seven shows in six days at Boston’s House of Blues.  In April they continue their tour in the UK, and then return to the US for the Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, TN this June and the Vans Warped Tour in August.  If you can’t make it to any of the live dates and will miss out on the fun in person, this album is the next best thing.  This is a group of talented musicians who seamlessly blend Celtic and punk genres and traditions into one of the most unique sounds you’ll ever hear.  Their energy is absolutely infectious.  It isn’t something you can listen to in the background as you wash the dishes and file your toenails.  Live on Lansdowne shoves itself to the forefront and demands not only to be heard but to be experienced.  You’ll want to paint yourself green, shoot some whiskey, and jump around with your fist in the air.

If you’re already a DKM fan, you’ll want this for your collection.  If you aren’t a fan yet, this is the perfect album to get you properly introduced to this group of Celtic punk stars.  Even if you’ve never heard the Dropkick Murphys before, you’ll still find familiar tunes on the album.  You’ll find yourself singing along before the album has played all the way through even once.  Irish or not, do yourself a St. Patty’s day favor and pick up The Dropkick Murphys Live on Lansdowne, Boston, MA , raise a pint, and enjoy.

originally posted at blogcritics.org

Juicing My Way to a Balanced Diet

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , , on February 24, 2010 by Jessica Lada

I have a confession: I always have been and I probably always will be a picky eater.  And to make matters worse, I have a ton of food allergies.  So between my eternal pickiness and my loathsome allergies, it’s difficult for me to have a well-balanced diet.  I may have a novelty tee with the food pyramid on it, but it’s for decoration only.

Pretty much every meal I eat is an act of defiance against my allergies.  It’s a game of Russian roulette.  How many of these foods can I eat before I start to itch or cough?  As an example: I like to eat Kung Pao chicken at some Asian restaurants.  It generally contains snow peas, carrots, rice, peanuts, and chicken (with some yummy soy-chili type sauce).  I’m allergic to peas, carrots, rice, and peanuts.  That’s everything but the chicken.  Except technically I’m allergic to feathers, so even the chicken is questionable.  So, you say, perhaps I should order a beer with dinner?  Fantastic!  How about a nice unfiltered wheat beer?  It’s made with wheat, oats, and yeast.  Guess how many of those things I’m allergic to.  If you said “every damn one of them,” you’re correct!  And how about strawberry shortcake for dessert?  Only if I want to turn into a giant strawberry-colored hive.

Allergies aside, when I say I’m picky I don’t just mean a little bit.  Let’s use green as an example.  In almost all cases, green is bad.  It tastes like heartburn.

I will eat spinach raw or sautéed, occasionally in queso, but never creamed.  Dark greens like arugula, watercress, or romaine lettuce are good, but never iceberg lettuce.  I’d rather eat a sock.  Avocados and limes are tasty (especially together with some garlic and cilantro—also allowed) but don’t really count because they’re fruits.  Green beans are tolerable when sautéed with bacon and lots of garlic, but only then.  Zucchini is only good in two recipes, but unfortunately I don’t know either of them.  Leeks are fine in the form of leek and potato soup.  Cucumbers are okay only in the form of tzatziki sauce when eating authentic Greek food.   Green tomatillos in the form of salsa verde are pretty tasty.  Those are the only green exceptions.   Green bell peppers are never okay.  Not even a tiny sliver on the opposite side of a huge pizza.  For your information, NO, I can’t just take a slice without green peppers on it.  One piece anywhere in the vicinity taints the entire pizza and renders it inedible.

I’m well aware this is a lot to process and to deal with, especially at mealtime.  (Did I mention I eat every three hours?  I either have a hollow leg or a tapeworm.)    But my fiancé and I have struck a deal.  I will taste any food once, as long as I’m not allergic to it, and in return he will not be offended if I don’t like it, never eat it again, and complain loudly whenever it gets mentioned.

Recently he brought home Jack LaLanne’s JLSS Power Juicer Deluxe Stainless-Steel Electric Juicer and as I made my fresh orange+apple juice, convinced me to add a carrot.  Just for fun.


Carrots aren’t on the no-fly list, so I agreed.  Shockingly, it was good.  I enjoyed the orange+apple+carrot juice so much that I made a second glass later that evening.  In one evening I consumed four oranges, three apples, and two carrots.  Normally I’d be lucky if I had that many fruits and veggies over the span of two or three weeks.  It’s incredible.  I’ve been on the juice so much this week, the citric acid has actually made the inside of my mouth a little sore.

I feel healthier, I have more energy, and it’s not even costing me $6 per 20 oz. corn syrup laden smoothie, either.  I’m starting to think those dietary guidelines aren’t just a load of BS after all.  Together with his buddy Jack LaLanne, my fiancé managed to do what my mother couldn’t in 24 years.  For the first time in my life, I’m eating right.  Screw you, Allergies!  I’m making juice.

Left: two small apples, two oranges, two carrots, a handful of grapes.

Right: three carrots, two stalks of celery, two handfuls of grapes, one small apple.

–Originally posted at blogcritics.org