This time next week, my girls will be back to school. I’m usually quite ready for this, but this time I’m a bit anxious. I cannot say why exactly, but I just don’t feel prepared. It has certainly been a busy summer, and that may be part of it, but other factors may be at play too.
Neither of my girls really required much back to school preparation this year. Sure, we’ve done some shopping, but nothing like when they were little and we’d fill a shopping cart at Target with every imaginable office supply known to man. Of course, the summer began late with end of school happening later than ever. I’m excited that blizzard bags have been instituted for this upcoming year ensuring a much earlier summer release. And of course there’s that little milestone that my oldest, Julia, will be experiencing in May – high school graduation. Oh my, don’t even get me started! And then there’s my baby, Ally, who finished driver’s ed this summer and will soon be getting her permit. How can this be?
It’s going to be a big year. One that I am excited for, but a little apprehensive about too. As I write this, I’m thinking that invoking #MartiniMonday, as detailed in last week’s post, would be a good idea. It’s still summer after all!
On the bright side of things, I welcome the fall weather, more of a routine and more exciting things for Musing Mediterranean.
Speaking of which. Musing Mediterranean is currently on a virtual blog tour. I am posting like mad about it and hope you will check out some of the great book blogs out there that have been kind enough to host me. Here is a list and if you follow me on other social media platforms, you are sure to see more about each blog stop there.
Please join me on Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm at Bookery Manchester. This cool, indie bookstore and café is a great spot to talk travel and Musing Mediterranean. Hope to see you there.
3 Olives & a Twist
When you hear 3 Olives & a Twist you may think I’m talking about my blog. Often I am, however today I’m talking about my signature cocktail.
Somehow a martini with 3 olives & a twist of lemon became my go-to drink, and this blog’s namesake. It still tops my order list today, however my preferred concoction was something I only ordered at bars or restaurants until recently. I tried making it at home, but it was never quite right.
On a girls’ trip back in June, I visited my friend Sue who kindly stocked up on all the accoutrement I’d need for my signature martini. I was thrilled and equally perplexed. I didn’t really know how to make my favorite cocktail. At this time I’d like to thank Sue, Suzie and Karla for helping me finally bring 3 Olives & a Twist home!
Never to back down from a challenge, my lady friends and I approached the mission with as much cluelessness as you might expect from four suburban housewives.
Much to my pleasure, and everyone’s surprise, the end result was a perfectly smooth and delicious martini that I vowed to replicate at home.
Here’s what I learned when making my first successful 3 Olives & a Twist martini.
You need a good martini shaker! Sue had one and it allowed the vigorous shake that my former, at-home martinis lacked. The strainer allowed just the right amount of ice shards to slip through and add an even greater finish to the pour. Lucky for me, Julia and Ally got me a really nice shaker for my birthday and I absolutely love it. It makes making my martini so much easier and more delicious.
Crushed ice! Since I don’t have an ice crusher in my fridge, I had previously used cubed ice in my makeshift shaker (2 glasses locked together)-simply not the same. The result was a glass full of vodka with a bite the likes of a rattlesnake. Crushed ice made all the difference in superbly cooling the cocktail and lightening its load by incorporating a bit of air into each sip.
If you use vermouth at all, add just a drop or two. Too much vermouth equals a drink too bitter to swallow. Interestingly, I’ve learned from several bartenders, who have served me premium martinis, that they don’t use vermouth at all.
I like them plain, queen-sized and in triplicate. When you purchase, be careful to notice if they are labeled tipsy. If they are, they are soaked in vermouth and that will alter the taste of your final product.
However you cut it, use your lemon twist to flavor your rim. Rub the pith of the rind all around the glass’s edge and give it a strong squeeze over your glass allowing a touch of lemon essence to infuse the vodka.
No matter what the trend might be, it’s a stem glass only for me. I don’t want my nicely chilled martini being warmed as I hold a stemless glass in my heated hand. Speaking of chilled, while you prepare your martini, be sure to chill your glass. Add ice and water and let it sit on the counter or place in freezer. The colder the better!
There you have it! My 3 Olives & a Twist at home. As I write this, it’s Monday night and I have officially instituted Martini Mondays.
I am really excited for tonight’s Musing Mediterranean book talk at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, NH. Gibson’s is the largest independent bookstore in Northern New England and they are incredibly passionate about books, authors and the wonderful readers who come through their doors.
More than a signing or a reading, tonight’s event is a book talk. I’m looking forward to sharing all sorts of fun facts about how Musing Mediterranean came to be. There will be time for questions and answers, signings and perusing Gibson’s stacked shelves of great reading selections. Personally, I can’t wait!
If you are in the Concord, NH area, stop in. I’d love to see you there.
45 Main St.
On-street parking is scarce: Gibson’s strongly suggests using the Capital Commons parking garage at 75 Storrs Street, which is one street east (or downhill) from South Main Street and Gibson’s Bookstore. The 2nd floor of the parking garage stairwell and elevator exits directly onto South Main Street, one and a half blocks away from Gibson’s (heading left, away from the lighted 4-way intersection). Parking is newly enforced until 7pm, and is cheaper in the garages than on the street.”
If you have a rising high school senior, now is the time to be thinking about high school senior portraits.
In North Andover, a little controversy has arisen over this topic. The high school has mandated that yearbook photos be taken by a school sanctioned photographer. This has many parents up in arms and, truthfully, I’m not thrilled either. But the yearbook is just one thing. I’ve known the photographer I want to take Julia’s high school senior portraits for years. I’m thrilled to have Emily O’Brien capture this moment in time for Julia.
Emily O’Brien Photography
I feel so lucky to know Emily O’Brien of Emily O’Brien Photography. Not only is she talented, but I knew she’d be the perfect person to make Julia feel comfortable and fully engaged in her photo session.
What I love about Emily is that she’s young, with a current sense of style. Hailing from Boston’s South End she brings a sophistication and coolness to her high school senior portraits that I simply adore.
Whether your senior wants portraits on the beach, in a garden, or among the fall leaves, Emily creates a personalized and memorable experience.
Check out all of Emily’s options here, including Bestie Sessions!
Julia’s High School Senior Portraits
Julia wanted her photos to reflect how she’s see her future and that’s in the heart of a big city. She and Emily (and Julia’s good friend Sophie) met at a charismatic location in Boston. Julia loved the opportunity to express her individuality while collaborating with Emily on looks, locations and poses.
“Working with Emily changed my experience having photos taken,” says Julia. “She made me feel so comfortable and at ease while posing in a busy public setting, when normally I’d fear embarrassment or judgement. Not only did Emily help set up poses, but her fun persona kept me laughing and looking natural throughout the experience. I’d absolutely recommend Emily to anyone looking to have photos done. It’s completely worth it to be comfortable and happy with the end product.”
Here’s just one more from Julia’s session. Her sweet smile says it all!
Also, check out another gorgeous senior session as shown on Emily’s blog.
Senior Representative Team
As part of Emily’s senior rep team, Julia was lucky enough to join six other soon to be high school seniors for a fabulous group photo shoot. This unique program brings this team together for a true modeling experience complete with hair, makeup, art direction and more. Any one of these beautiful ladies can tell you just how amazing it is to work with Emily. Contact Emily to find out more about this opportunity for the senior class of 2020. This is a great example of how Emily goes above and beyond when it comes to senior portraits.
Phone: 508.667.3520 Studio Address: 60 Island Street, 3rd Floor, Lawrence, MA Mailing Address: 725 Harrison Avenue E201, Boston, MA 02118 Email: Emily@emilyobrienphoto.com