House of Cards: Cocktail + Drinking Game

Netflix knew what they were doing when they chose Valentine's Day to release the newest season of their hit show - House of Cards.  Who wants chocolate, wine and roses when you can have scandal, lies and manipulation?  

For those of you who have seen the show, you can relate to my addiction.  For me, there is nothing better than relaxing with a cocktail while watching the captivating performance of Kevin Spacey as ruthless politician, Frank Underwood.  He is both the protagonist and the antagonist.  Both the villian and the victor.  You know you should probably want him to fail, yet for some reason you are happy when he succeeds.  

If you haven't already spent the past 24 hours watching all twelve new episodes, then here is a specialty cocktail and drinking game to maximize your House of Cards experience.

If an old-fashioned decided to have a threesome with a mint julep and a glass of sweet tea, then you'd have a perfect House of Cards cocktail.  This creation is full of southern charm, but far from anything pure - just like Underwood himself.   

Sweet Tea Old-Fashioned
2 ounces of Bourbon Whiskey (4 Roses Small Batch was my choice)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Sweet Tea Simple Syrup (recipe below) 
Splash of Club Soda or Water
Ice Ball (link here, here, here and here for various molds)
Orange Peel
Old-Fashioned Glass

Place ice ball in an old fashioned glass then add the angostura bitters and bourbon.  Pour in sweet tea simple syrup to your liking (depending on how sweet you prefer you drinks).  Top with a splash of water or club soda (I prefer the fizz of club soda).  Garnish with an orange peel.

Sweet Tea Simple Syrup
5 1/2 cups water
1 heaping of loose leaf tea
3 1/2 cups of sugar, stevia or splenda

Place water in pot and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat once boiled and add the tea to hot water.  I used good old fashioned Lipton, since I did not want to have anything overly sweet or fruity to take away from the drink.  It is very important to not stir the water once the tea has been poured.  Just let the tea immerse itself and steep for 10 minutes.  In a measuring cup, pour in the sugar.  My choice was Splenda, since I prefer to limit my carb and sugar intake to things I can chew, like cake.  Once the tea has steeped, strain the tea infused water into the sugar.  Stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Strain the tea & sugar mixture, this time placing a coffee filter over the strainer.  This will remove any tea leaves or residue left in mix.  Chill before using in drinks.  This will make a large batch, but you can stored it in the fridge for up to one month.  I use Italian bottles for a pretty presentation and tight lid seal.

Take a Drink...
  • when Frank speaks directly to the camera
  • when a text communication is posted to the screen
  • when Frank taps his knuckles (or ring) on a desk, wall, etc.
  • every time Doug asks if Rachel will read to him
  • when Frank throws something
  • every time someone references the bible or you see one
  • every time Claire calls Frank "Francis"
  • every time you see someone taking a pill
  • when anyone mentions packing or is actually packing 
  • every time Doug is just sitting inside his car
  • whenever someone sings, even though there is no music playing
  • when Frank is eating ribs or drinking sweet tea (drink twice if having both) 
  • anytime Claire or Frank smoke (drink twice if they share the same cigarette)
  • anytime someone says something about a promise 
  • whenever you see blood
  • whenever you become distracted by the "hole" in Robin Wright's neck 

 Raise your glass to cheers...
  • whenever someone in the show is drinking booze

Finish your drink...
  • whenever someone is murdered or dies (including animals)
  • when there are three people present during a sex scene

Polish off the bottle...
  • if you watched season two, in its entirety, in one day
Anyone else counting down to season three?


Solution Found: Unique Jewlery Storage

My current home is small - this is no secret, as it has been mentioned in past blog posts and I tell pretty much everyone I know.  Basically, my bedroom closet is the size of an average coat closet.  That is about 75% smaller than the closet I had as a child.  Hell, it is even smaller than the closet I had in my studio apartment when I was living in Washington, DC.

Being that my closet barely holds my clothing, the problem when I moved in was finding a place to store my jewelry.  Since I fall into the "out of sight out of mind" category when it comes to my accessories, I knew that I would have to find a way to make everything easily accessible or risk never really wearing any of it again.

One option was to get an armoire that allows me to keep these things hidden yet seen when needed.  Since I refuse to get a smaller bed and storing my grandmother's bedside tables is never going to happen, there really is no room for aforementioned armoire.  I considered getting one of those standing jewelry pieces that is about the size of a small podium, but again, where would I put it.  Using dresser drawers was not really an option, since those are packed full of clothing that did not fit in the closet.  The only real conclusion was that my jewelry would need to be displayed out in the open, turning something I would wear into home decor.

Other than a few big furniture pieces, very little in my house is new or straight from the catalog.  Most things are vintage, custom made or somehow altered from it's original concept.  My approach to jewelry display would be no different:  vintage items with new purpose.

The letterpress drawer, which takes center stage on the wall, was purchased from etsy with hooks already in place for hanging jewelry.  You can find tons of these for sale, but I opted for an unpainted version with less hooks on the bottom.  I figured I could always add more hooks if I more necklace storage is required, but I prefer having ample space between each hook.  The look is less jumbled and allows my larger statement pieces to really standout.  By hanging a few similar style necklaces on one hook, I was also able to leave room to hang little momentos, like the little thumbprint owls my mom gave me a few years ago.

The slats, that in another lifetime housed actual letterpress pieces, hold my earrings and other small keepsakes.  I changed out a few of the black hooks that came with it for some brass teacup hooks from Home Depot.   Some of the hooks were odd for holding fish hook earrings (the majority of my earrings have fish hooks) and I like the contrast of having both black & brass hooks.

Some of the slats are larger than others, which left space for both earrings and little keepsakes.  Now my favorite Alex & Ani earrings can find a home next to some of the smurfs my father gave me way back in the day when he sold toys.

The top of my dresser is home to other organizationed jewelry storage....  

My grandmother's vanity tray is where I place my own fragrances, vintage perfume bottles gifted from my mother and an old champagne coupe that holds my brooches;  a vintage green depression glass candy dish keeps all my extra buttons;  a tiered brass stand from the flea market is where I put my rings; and my mom's old glass & brass box is where I put my bangles and watches.  Of course, I still keep my nicer stuff that is not worn on a regular basis in a jewelry box out of sight.  

Seeing all these things each day makes me happy, and it definitely is a conversation starter when people come over and want a tour of my humble little home.  I mean, who doesn't love Smurfs hanging out amongst a little bling-bling....

Don't you just love when a problem leads to a really fabulous solution?  
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