It’s that time of year again, folks. ‘Tis the season to lock yourself in at home and avoid the bitter cold outside by making good on your promise to watch every Oscar-nominated movie before the awards air (in two weeks, by the way).
So how are you doing? I’m definitely slacking this year. Of all the Academy Award-nominated movies and performances, I’ve only seen The Grand Budapest Hotel and Gone Girl (with leading actress nominee Rosamund Pike, who was crazy scary in the movie, no?).
While I slacked at actually watching movies this year, I’ve been keeping up with the awards race, and getting to see little bits and pieces of 2014’s best films and actors. So, not to brag or anything, but I think I’ll be really great at the Fantasy Oscar Draft at this year’s party.
If you’re new to the game, here’s how it goes:
Sorry it’s been a minute since my last post. I’ve been a bit busy with a fun new project—redesigning this website! I’m putting together a new home for my blog, and I can’t wait to share it with you soon. Just so there aren’t any bumps in the transition, make sure you’re following me on Twitter or Facebook to stay up to date.
Rest assured, even though I haven’t been posting as much, I’m still doing all kinds of silly ridiculous things. And the most ridiculous thing lately is how excited I am for Lance Loves Michael: The Lance Bass Wedding.
You guys, this is legendary. Tomorrow marks not only the first televised gay wedding, but also the historic day when Lance Bass officially breaks millions of girls’ and guys’ hearts by taking himself off the market. Well, I guess the wedding happened a while ago, but tomorrow night is the night that all the grown-ass-lady ‘N Sync fangirls will laugh and cry and celebrate for Lance and his new husband, Michael Turchin. And we’ll need a little something to drown our sorrows at missing the boat to be Mrs. Bass.
So here it is: The Sparkling Orange Bourbon. Bourbon for Lance’s roots in Mississippi, mixed with orange liqueur and orange bitters to honor Michael’s home in South Florida. And it’s all topped with champagne, because what’s a wedding without a little bubbly?
It’s inspired by an Old Fashioned, but the champagne softens the typically hard drink. Still, you should definitely like the taste of bourbon to tilt this one back.
I love when girls share their favorite low-calorie cocktail recipes. It’s like we’re all a part of some sisterhood that shares secrets about how to stay fit and still have a good time. While tailgating an away football game last fall, one girl’s drink became the toast of the town. “Taryn, you have to try Jen’s cocktail… it’s amazing. And it’s only water.”
“Water, and vodka.”
Jen was a friend of a friend who, after having sold her soul to the devil apparently, devised a drink using only cucumber vodka and water. And it was delicious. I brought the idea home with me after that football game, and spread word of this almost zero-calorie cocktail to friends like it was the new gospel. Ladies, it’s true. The only calories in this refreshing beverage are in the vodka itself, usually 60 calories per ounce. It’s a small price to pay for getting buzzed off of water.
The cucumber vodka cocktail has seen a few variations since then, but this latest iteration is my favorite. Besides cucumber-infused vodka and ice water, I add mint for flavor and a little bit of Truvia simple syrup for a hint of sweetness. You probably know Truvia is a no-calorie sweetener for coffee or tea, but you can also make no-calorie simple syrup from it, too.
Skinny Cucumber Vodka Cocktail
- Cucumber-Flavored Vodka (Effen is my favorite)
- Truvia Simple Syrup (recipe here)
- Mint, Lime and Cucumber for Garnish
- Place some ice cubes into a highball glass. Then pour 2 ounces (or more, I won’t judge) of cucumber-infused vodka on the ice.
- Fill the glass with cold filtered water and add a splash of simple syrup.
- Garnish with cracked mint leaves, a light squeeze of lime and slices of cucumber.
- Stir well and enjoy cold!
I received products provided by Truvia to create this recipe. All opinions are my own. Products from affiliates and sponsors are screened to make sure I think they are a great fit for the site. Thank you for supporting the partners that keep Formal Fringe up and running!
If you live near one of Top Golf’s 10 U.S. locations (or one of the eight about to open), this is where you need to be spending your summer. Even for people who’ve never golfed before—that would be me, before my first visit a month ago—it’s a ridiculously fun way to spend a Saturday. Imagine a driving range that got all caught up in a one night stand after a bender night with a bowling alley.
You hit golf balls at huge targets and your score is tallied for you thanks to the micro chipped ball. You don’t ever need to leave your comfy bay (and thank goodness for that, because the beer is cold and the Craft-Beer-and-Roasted-Corn Queso is delicious).
Inspiration is like lighting. When it comes, it’s strong and bright. But you have to catch it at exactly the right moment. And hopefully funnel that inspiration into a brilliant and original project or recipe. The proverbial “lighting in a bottle.”
This is not one of those times. This time, my lighting actually came in a box. A box of Betty Crocker watermelon cupcake mix. I saw it on the shelf at Target and decided I had to make it. So I did. And it was delicious.
Before you ask, no, the Betty Crocker company has nothing to do with me writing this post. I just wanted to share my cupcake experiment to show that boxed cake can still look (and taste) impressive. Especially if you find ways to put your own spin on it. I made the cake as directed on the box, but I definitely wasn’t into the overly-artificial taste of the coordinating watermelon frosting (from a can of course). So I made a half-batch of my favorite buttercream recipe from Billy’s Bakery in NYC (leaving out the vanilla), then mixed it together in my stand mixer with the watermelon stuff.
I love how my little improvisation lightened the flavor of the frosting a bit, and made these boxed cakes my own. Plus it made the frosting go a little further (There’s never enough in one can, is there?). Friends said the frosting was the best pat of these cakes. And it totally smelled like Bubblicious watermelon bubble gum. A.K.A.: Amazing.
There’s one thing I can always count on when we get together with friends for a backyard barbecue: Beer can chicken. It’s a unique way of grilling a bird that produces the most moist and delicious chicken you’ve ever tasted.
You don’t need any tools or special ingredients, just a can of beer. Clean and season your bird as usual, but instead of throwing it on the grill, sit her down on a half-full can of beer (with a few holes poked around the top). Any brew will do, since the chicken doesn’t hang on to the flavor (or the booze–this is a kid-friendly recipe). But as the beer bubbles up on the grill, it infuses the tender chicken with moisture that rumbles together with the bird’s natural juices to create the most succulent and delicious backyard grill chicken in existence.
Here’s a recipe for beer can chicken from Real Simple with a killer spice rub, but you can substitute your favorite sauce or rub to make it your own.