#AtoZChallenge | Jazzy art deco labels for my husband’s homemade shrubs

Early in the pandemic, one of our home projects was putting up a bar. I promise the bar was unrelated to the pandemic. It was a long overdue project. We had been storing our liquor bottles on top of a tall bookcase in our living room. It wasn’t a great aesthetic and it was awkward to get the bottles up and down from that spot. 

After looking at various pieces of furniture we went in a different direction. I saw some shelves at Ballard Design that were the perfect fit for the space I was trying to transform into our bar area. 

Of course, being me, I did some custom modifications. I wanted to be able to store glassware and wine bottles too. I found some under the cabinet wine glass holders that fit the bottom of the shelves perfectly. I spray painted them gold to match the shelves. Since the shelves are metal and do not have a solid base, I couldn’t just screw the holders easily onto the bottom. After copious amounts of gorilla glue, I attached a wooden piece inside the metal base to provide a solid surface. I also pre-drilled holes around the outside metal edge and between those two modifications was able to securely attach my wine glass holder to the base of my shelves. 

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Taste Testing Two Spirit Sipper Infusions from Vena’s Fizz House

I drink wine, craft beer, especially sours, and the occasional margarita but otherwise liqueur or cocktails are a rarity for me although my husband hasn’t given up hope that I’ll expand my repertoire.  When we met, my go to alcoholic drink was Miller Lite. It was almost a deal breaker for him, but fortunately he was able to look past that particular character flaw.

After years of effort and the consistent refrain of “here try this”, my go to beer is now Allagash White and we often enjoy local craft sours together.  While he’s pleased with my progress, his work is not done. He’s still nudging me towards porters, stouts and the real stretch drink experience for me: cocktails.

Fortunately, he has some support in this endeavor. Vena’s Fizz House in Portland is a wonderful, inventive cocktail bar. My first experience tasting bitters was at Vena’s during a Micro Maine Trolley Tour.  Before that visit, I would have said definitively that I don’t like bitters. But, now I know that statement is untrue. Bitters done right can really elevate a cocktail.

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Looking for something fun to do? Check out a local Trivia Night.

Our first home had an extra bedroom that we turned into an office where we setup our brand new desk top computer.  We spent many evenings as newlyweds huddled in front of the computer, drinking wine while we playing trivia on the internet. I honestly don’t remember which site hosted the games although my husband thinks it was on AOL. He’s probably right. It was 1995 and we were connecting via a dial-up modem. The horror.

I also don’t remember if we won or lost but know that we always had fun. While much has changed in twenty eight years our love of a good trivia match has not. And, we are not alone.

There’s a reason Jeopardy has been on longer than I’ve been alive. People like trivia games. I read an article recently about how the HQ Trivia App is a huge phenomenon drawing millions of people to their live digital trivia games. For more information on this latest craze check out this article from Time Magazine Inside HQ Trivia’s Intense Question-Writing Process.

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Having Lunch at Tomaso’s Canteen in Portland while Shopping Local

One dollar jello shots and three dollar craft cans were on special to celebrate the first anniversary of Tomaso’s Canteen in Portland this past Saturday. But, it wasn’t the bargain pricing that I noticed, but rather the eclectic mix of beverages on the menu generating both a dive bar and more upscale neighborhood hangout feel all at the same time.

I was out shopping for Small Business Saturday, and only stopped in for a quick bite between local shopping destinations, so I didn’t get the full bar experience but was able to scope things out for future outings. It’s a cozy, narrow space with a long bar running the length of one side and a single row of table seating along the other.

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A Hot Night at the Portland Lobster Company

There are about three nights during the summer that are stifling hot. I don’t have air conditioning at my house which is by choice. While there are many warm summer days, I have an abundance of windows which usually provide a nice breeze and, along with a few fans, is enough to keep me relatively cool and happy. But, there are those few random days each summer when I feel like I’m going to melt. On a recent Friday, when after doing something as simple as washing the dishes I was sweating as if I had dug a six foot trench, I knew we’d hit one of those days. I was drenched and desperately looking for a way to cool off.

What to do on such a hot day? Head into Portland and grab dinner at one of their many outside venues, and hope for an encounter with a lovely ocean side breeze. We hadn’t been to the Portland Lobster Company yet this season, and a hot night seemed like the perfect time to enjoy this fun summer outside destination. It’s one of my favorites, but things have been hectic and the timing hadn’t worked before now.

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