I really should put things here more often.

IMG_0145Urban beach party! This shit was the jam.

Well, here we are again. Months ago, I recounted the harrowing tale of my new life in Amsterdam. At this point, I’ve forgotten all about that crap. But at the time, it sucked. A whole fucking lot. (Ok, so I haven’t forgotten. The world and particularly the absurd Dutch bureaucracy spent many months telling me to pack up and go back to America. It was infuriating. I might still be a little bit angry.)

BUT. The point is, it’s over now. And guess what? THINGS ARE SO MUCH BETTER! In fact, I feel like I can basically live my life now and the Dutch government isn’t trying to make each day a living hell anymore! So that’s nice. (I’m not being sarcastic. It really is nice!)

But the REAL point is, I’ve been doing so many things and I haven’t written about any of them! It’s a total disaster. (Not the doing things part, just the failing to record it part.) I guess that’s what happens when you live a fast-paced, crazy, completely unreasonable lifestyle.

(I’ve gotta say, I really never expected to be living this kind of life. It’s a bit mad, really. But I love it, so who’s complaining?)

But here’s the kicker: there are two sides to every story. There’s the “my life is insane!” story (in a good way). On this side are some of the absurd things I’ve done over the past many months, such as:

  • Sledding down the side of a mountain in Switzerland while slightly tispy
  • Pouring honey rum into someone’s mouth from the top of a human pyramid 4m tall
  • Watching my father get hilariously hammered at a Gin Festival
  • Climbing on the roof of a building while very intoxicated against the advice of pretty much everybody
  • Drunkenly running around naked in a children’s playground in a London suburb at 3am
  • Falling off my bike while inebriated. Doing it again a month later.

(If you hadn’t noticed, I like synonyms. But also, I promise I’m not always drunk.)

But, you see, there’s also another side to this story. There are all the very sober, very real “my life is insane!” moments that seem to scare the shit out of my non-insane friends. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard “Um, you seriously need a vacation” or “WTF are you doing with your life?” or “You’re doing WAY more than one might consider normal” or the horrified stares I get when I say my next weekend at home isn’t for 2 months.

And to all those people, here’s what I have to say: you are right. This is totally unsustainable. I’m addicted to having a completely unreasonable schedule and I don’t know how to stop!

IMG_0029This is my “I am trying to be normal” face. Convincing, right?

But with all the bad comes the good, right? And lately, it feels like the good has been even better and more fun, so I don’t exactly want to stop, despite the fact that I am highly aware I might just drop dead from stress at any moment. But it’s worth it, damnit! #livingontheedge

[Cue: wine. I am drinking it now. Because why should I start being reasonable NOW? That would just be absurd.]

So, instead of listening to all the reasonable people in my life, I am doing EVERYTHING and loving it. Who needs sanity anyway? ALSO, I’ve realized I have a backlog of half-written posts about some of the aforementioned adventures, which I am planning to finish right now. Because, why not? Also, wine.

Get ready. The deluge is coming. And this time, I’m not fucking around.*

*She said for the millionth time.

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[Next time, on Christina’s totally unreasonable adventures: I’m about to spend a week in Belgium! Let’s see how much trouble I can get into there.]

A list of “sometimes” things.

Sometimes Sunday is the best day for drinking.

Sometimes one glass of wine makes you tipsy because you forgot to eat all day.

Sometimes you get drunk before dinner.

Sometimes you make stir-fry while drunk.

Sometimes you forget how to cut carrots.

Sometimes you’re drunk and you eat all the mushrooms before you cook them.

Sometimes you have to look at the recipe 4 times because you have drunk ADD.

Sometimes you tell yourself you’re only going to have half a bottle of wine tonight, but then you’re already two glasses in before dinner is ready.

Sometimes you think, “That’s cool, I can just have one more glass,” and then you laugh because that is totally ridiculous, why would you ever do that?

Sometimes you dance around your kitchen and then forget you’re cooking and then freak out because shit is burning.

Sometimes it’s not even 7pm and you’ve had nearly half a bottle of wine.

Sometimes your dinner is ready but all you want to do is have a dance party.

Sometimes you can’t remember whether it’s “your” or “you’re”.

Sometimes you manage to eat your dinner, but then you’re really drunk so you feel like dancing, so then you dance.

Sometimes you actually do your dishes, but in the process you feel like you’ve earned more wine, so you do that too.

Sometimes you’re on your 5th glass of wine and it’s Sunday night.

HAHA.

Sometimes you don’t care.

Sometimes you think, “I’m young and reckless!”

Sometimes you think it’s stupid to think those things.

Sometimes you think that’s why society thinks your generation is a bunch of lazy bums.

Sometimes you think society sucks.

Sometimes you dance around your living room to feel better.

Sometimes it works.

Sometimes you drink more wine.

Sometimes Sundays are super awesome.

AMSTERDAM!

Gosh, it’s been almost a month since I was in Amsterdam and I have yet to tell you all about it. I’M SORRY. 😦

Last time I posted, I had been so busy working that I didn’t have time to update you all (or do anything fun, really). This time, I’ve been so busy drinking that I haven’t had time to write about it! (HAHA my life is awesome.)

But seriously, time for some real talk.

Amsterdam is amazing.

Now don’t get the wrong idea. I don’t smoke. (I also don’t judge, I’m just not into it personally.) So when I say “Amsterdam is amazing,” I truly mean that the city is amazing. It’s beautiful, the people are super friendly, and they have some pretty awesome bars. NBD.

I was working pretty much the entire time I was in Amsterdam, so I didn’t get a ton of time to see the sights and drink the beers. I did drink a good bit of Heineken and Bavaria (SO much better over there than in the US…like, it’s actually good beer…and strong as hell). And I got to experience a really amazing beer bar, as well as an incredible Dutch restaurant.

Proeflokaal Arendsnest (meaning “The Eagle’s Nest Bar”) is a beer bar specializing in local microbrews. Europe isn’t nearly as into the microwbrew scene as the US, but there are some out there and they are really good. I ended up trying 3 or 4 different beers at this place and thoroughly enjoyed every single one. From the IPA to the German Dark Ale to the I-don’t-remember-what-the-last-one-was, they were all absolutely incredible. In some cases better than similar beers I’ve had here. They would definitely stand up to the Seattle beer scene, and that’s saying a lot.

proeflokaal-arendsnest_s345x230

The second amazing part of my Amsterdam adventures was Moeders (or “Mothers”), a Dutch restaurant. I knew absolutely nothing about Dutch food before I entered the place, but I’ve basically decided I love it. This restaurant was INCREDIBLE.

credit to Mark Earley for this photo :)

credit to Mark Earley for this photo 🙂

First of all, none of the tables/tablecloths/plates/cutlery matches, which is just adorable and endearing. Second of all, the walls are completely covered with photos of patrons’ mothers. Yes, just photos of moms. How awesome is that?

And then, of course, there was the food. They had a good variety of Dutch dishes on the menu, including the famous Hotchpotch, which is basically potatoes with some sort of sauce/gravy and some sort of meat. It really is a hotchpotch of food, and it is delicious.

I, however, opted for the pheasant. It’s been a life goal of mine to eat pheasant (yeah, I’m weird), so I did it and it was AMAZING. Duck is basically my favorite fowl, and possibly one of my favorite foods altogether, but this pheasant was like duck on CRACK. (You know, the good kind.) I don’t know how else to describe it.

Also, I drank some more Heineken.

So yeah, basically shit was awesome. To be honest, the best part of my trip was the part where I was at the tournament where I worked all week, but most of that is completely unrelated to food and beer (except for all of the beer I drank…i.e. all of it) and more related to partying. A story for a different time, my friends…

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[Next time on drunk adventures…COPENHAGEN! Holy shit.]

Drink #12: Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Peppermint hot chocolate is truly a holiday staple. While it is not inherently an alcoholic beverage, us drinkers figured out right quick how to fix that problem. SCHNAPPS!

This drink is rich and minty, so it’s not something I choose particularly often. When I do, I make sure to use my favorite PHC recipe:

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

What you’ll need:

  • Milk
  • Cocoa powder (preferably Ghirardelli Double Chocolate hot cocoa powder)
  • Peppermint schnapps
  • Whipped cream
  • Sprinkles and crushed up candy canes (for effect)

How to make it:

Heat the milk. Stir in the hot cocoa. Add a generous amount of peppermint schnapps (but not too generous or it’ll be too minty). Top with whipped cream. Garnish with sprinkles and crushed candy canes.

And voila! You’ve got yourself a mighty fine beverage.

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Contemplating cocktails; or, how Christina learned her true calling.

I’ve had a breakthrough. I finally know why I’ve been neglecting my writing. I haven’t been drinking enough!

No, but in all serious, I feel most at home writing about bars and drinking. Perhaps this is a sign. (Likely a bad one.) My point is, a few days ago I started thinking about mixology, and it just got me excited. I want to write about alcohol! All the time!

This is a problem for several reasons. The main one being that in order to write about alcohol all the time, I will have to drink alcohol. All the time. Ok, I exaggerate. But still. It’s a dangerous endeavor. I’m going to need all the (liquid) courage I can get.

HAHA.

Ok, I’m not actually as drunk as I probably sound. I’m only on my second beverage of the evening, albeit the one I’m drinking right now is straight from the bottle… WINE. I SWEAR IT’S ONLY WINE. Why dirty up a glass when there’s so little left?

This whole “omg I need to write about alcohol constantly” thing started this past weekend when my parents were visiting. Now don’t get the wrong idea, I don’t feel the need to drink more when my parents are around. They’re super cool people. We actually talked at length about all kinds of liquor one night, resulting in my Dad convincing me that vodka CAN, in fact, be delicious, and vowing to prove it to me when I went home for Christmas. I. Am. So. Excited.

The point is, when we were out at a super cute independent bookstore, my mom bought me an early Christmas present. It’s a book on mixology. It reminded me why I started this blog in the first place, and suddenly my life made sense again.

Clearly (if it weren’t obvious), I’m being dramatic. But whatever, I want to tell you a story. It’s about, you guessed it, alcohol! Like this!

In the summer of 2008, I was unemployed in Chicago with no job prospects, and all my attempts at finding work were failing miserably. Broke and frustrated, I decided the best answer to my problems would be to drop $800 on bartending classes and learn about the stuff that made my nights (and, let’s face it, days) more exciting.

The experience literally changed my life. Yeah yeah, super cliche, blah blah. But I’m not kidding. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. Because, for the first time, alcohol became more than a tool for getting drunk. It became something new to learn about, something to appreciate, something to teach my friends about.

And the best part, of course, was that I was suddenly SO MUCH COOLER to all of my friends. I’m sure this makes me sound super lame, but that’s because I kind of am and have to get people drunk in order for them to like me.

JUST KIDDING. (sort of…)

My point is, I now go out and drink fancy cocktails and actually stop to think about what I’m drinking. A good cocktail is a terrible thing to waste. No chugging. One must contemplate each sip. Yummm…

I look forward to a time when I can afford all the fancy ingredients necessary to make delicious and creative cocktails. For now, I must stick to hot toddies and gin martinis. But hey, nothing wrong with perfecting the simple drinks. Someone’s gotta do it.

And this time, dear readers, I am finally back. I finally remembered why I started doing this in the first place, and this time you can’t get rid of me.

And now, to quote Jon Stewart, “your moment of zen:”