Follow:
Topics:
Browsing Category:

At Home

    At Home

    Covid Cocktails for a Summer Lockdown 2020

    Delicious and Fun Cocktails

    Covid Cocktails for Summer Lockdown 2020

    Lockdown is easing, but we still will be finding summer 2020 a bit of a lonely place; no summer concerts, parades, fairs and events. Many weddings postponed, graduations and parties done virtually. How will Fourth of July look? And our favorite restaurants and bars? They just won’t be the same for a while.

    Summer 2020 is gonna need some creative energy to pull us through and that is exactly what I have for you here today! I’ve been “researching” (ah-hem drinking daily) for this blog for two weeks and I think I am ready to share my Covid Cocktails for Summer Lockdown 2020. You can thank me later.

    The Social Distance

    Covid Cocktails The Social Distance
    The Social Distance

    (AKA Tequila Sunrise) Our version of this delicious and inspiring summer cocktail comes together easily but with rum instead of tequila. Combine 12 oz of orange juice and 3 oz of dark or light rum. Pour a third into one ice filled glass and a third into the second glass and set a third aside. Add two tablespoons of grenadine to the third you set aside and slowly pour over the top of the two glasses. Garnish with lime.

    The Quarantini

    Covid Cocktails The Quarantini
    The Quarantini

    (AKA Dilly Dirty Martini) I’m a sucker for a gin dirty martini, but this version tastes like summer using dilly beans and the juice from the dilly beans instead of olive juice. Add 6 oz gin to a martini shaker, 1 oz dilly juice, shake and pour. Garnish with dilly beans and olives.

    Covid Cocktails The Covid Colada
    The Covid Colada

    Covid Colada

    (AKA Pina Colada) This blended summer treat takes you away to a tropical island, with frozen chunks of pineapple and nutty coconut/almond milk. In a blender combine 4 oz of rum, a cup of frozen pineapple, 4 oz of coconut almond milk and a splash of pineapple juice. Add a cup of ice to the blender. Pour into two glasses and top with a tropical paper umbrella and forget your Covid troubles.

    The Fauci Fizz

    Covid Cocktails the Fauci Fizz
    The Fauci Fizz

    (AKA Gin Fizz) Make this one really taste like summer using your favorite herb such as rosemary, basil or mint. Make the simpe syrup on the stove top with half a cup water and half a cup sugar and herb of choice. Let cool then strain. In a martini shaker pour 2 oz of gin, juice of one fresh squeezed lemon, 4 oz of seltzer, one egg white and the strained simple syrup. Shake the hell out of it and get your Covid frustrations out. Pour into a pretty glass and garnish with herbs of choice and lemon wedge.

    The Orange Trump Crush

    Covid Cocktails The Orange Trump Crush
    The Orange Trump Crusgh

    (AKA Mimosa) More than a mimosa this is an Orange Trump Crush Mimosa!! Mix 1/4 cup of sugar and zest of one orange on a small plate. Use juice of the orange to wet the rim of your glasses then rim the glasses with the orange zest sugar mixture. Fill half the glass with orange flavored seltzer water, add champagne to about an inch from the top and finish with orange juice. Save the rest of the champagne for the next drink.

    The Pandemic Penguin

    Covid Cocktails The Pandemic Penguin
    The Pandemic Penguin

    (AKA Orange and Lemon Granita) Use the other half a bottle of champagne from The Orange Trump Crush. Pour into a shallow dish. Make a simple syrup of 1 cup water, the zest of one orange and one cup sugar. Let the syrup cool. Add the juice of one orange and the juice of half a lemon to the champagne then mix in the cooled simple syrup. Freeze for three hours, stirring occasionally. Scoop into pretty glasses and enjoy your Pandemic Penguin!

    What The Hell Day Is It?

    Covid Cocktails The What The Hell Day Is It?
    The What The Hell Day Is It?

    (AKA a Dark and Stormy) Ginger is healthy right? Boosts your immunity too! All good things during this virus summer! Get a good quality ginger beer 12 oz. In a blender add the ginger beer, one tablespoon of fresh ground ginger (must be fresh), juice of one lime and about 2 cups of ice. Blend. Pour into glasses and then pour a dark rum (about 2 oz per glass) over the top.

    The Working From Home

    Covid Cocktails The Working From Home
    The Working From Home

    (AKA Coffee with a kick) Use a French Press to brew a very dark rich coffee. Add 1 oz of good whiskey and 2 oz of almond milk. It will make those zoom meeting way more fun.

    The Lemon Lockdown

    Covid Cocktails The Lemon Lockdown
    The Lemons Lockdown

    (AKA Blueberry Lemon Margarita) Squeeze one and half lemons or enough for one cup of fresh lemon juice. Add half a cup of water and two tablespoons of sugar. Set aside. On the stove top make a simple syrup of 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of water, zest of one lime and 1/2 a cup of blueberries. Let cool and then strain. Use two chilled glasses and rub a fresh lemon on the rim. Dip the rim into a mixture of salt and sugar on a plate. Add ice cubes to about half way up the glass. Pour in 2 oz of tequila into each glass and 1 oz of triple sec into each glass. Add half the fresh lemon juice mixture to each glass and then top with the cooled blueberry simple syrup. Garnish with blueberries and a lemon wedge. Lockdown never tested so good.

    Bra? What Bra?

    Covid Cocktails The Bra? What Bra?
    The Bra? What Bra?

    (AKA Spicy Bloody Mary) Super simple. Super delicious. Buy premixed Bloody Mary mix. Mix with Vodka. Garnish with Celery stalk, dilly bean, olives…whatever you want. Remove bra before consuming. Unless you haven’t had a bra on for two months.

    The Mask-a-rita

    Covid Cocktails Mask-a-rita
    The Mask-a-rita

    (AKA Pineapple Margarita) Chill two glasses and then rub a quarter of lime around the rim, then dip in salt. To each glass add 2 oz of tequila, 1 oz triple sec, 4 oz of pineapple juice and a squeeze of fresh lime. You can shake it in your martini shaker if you like it a bit frothy. Garnish with a pineapple wedge or lime wedge. You’re gonna need to remove your mask before you can drink it!

    Virus Breakfast of Champions

    Virus Breakfast of Champions

    (AKA Gin & Tonic) Duh. The best summer drink ever so you know I had to add it here. Choose your favorite gin (we usually use less expensive gin like Gordons for this and save the good stuff for the martinis), your favorite tonic (we like Schweppes), lime is mandatory. Over ice pour 2 oz gin, fill glass with tonic, squeeze of lime, garnish with lime. Drink!

    My Corona

    My Corona

    (AKA Beer) Chill. Drink.

    So there you have it. My Covid Cocktails for Summer Lockdown 2020. Enjoy a few of these in the months ahead, for some fun and sane entertainment as we navigate our way through Pandemic 2020.

    Be well everyone. Love you all.

    We appreciate it when you share our blog.

    See our top performing pin this week here.

    At Home  --  Everything Else Fabulous

    Running on Empty – Hal Higdon’s Training Program

    Hal Higdon's training program

    This week I started training for a half marathon, using Hal Higdon’s training program. Ouch. I feel like I’m running on empty, as I still am settling back into my new chapter here in the Pacific Northwest.

    Even though I run regularly, it’s been about six years, maybe more, since I ran a half-marathon. Back then I was running one or two half-marathons a year, and finding it a great way to stay fit and healthy, and clear my mind.

    Hal Higdon's Half Marathon training program
    Finish of the Seattle Rock and Roll Half Marathon

    But when traveling, finding time to run long distances, or even to run at all, has been difficult. But now here we are back home, waiting to see when and if we can travel again, so there are no more excuses. Time to train and get back in shape.

    My husband used Hal Higdon’s training program when he was running marathons. He has run 7 or 8 marathons, so when I was ready to try a half, he set me up with the program.

    Higdon, a life-long runner, accomplished marathoner and Olympic Trial alum currently is a contributing editor to Runners World Magazine. He developed his training programs to help both novice and experienced runners reach their training peak at the optimal time to be successful in a distance run.

    Hal Higdon's Training Program
    Finish of the Gig Harbor Race for a Soldier

    I’ve used this training program multiple times and have always felt prepared when the big day finally arrived. The training is a 12-week plan, and starts with a 3 mile run.

    I know you think you could never run a half-marathon – I thought that too. But with the right training, just about anyone can do it. In all the races I have run since I started running about 12 years ago, I have always crossed the finish line. And the finish line is my only goal. I don’t agonize over my time, I don’t chastise myself if I need to stop, stretch or walk for awhile. I set my sights on finishing the race. And that is what Hal Higdon’s training program has done for me.

    So for the next eleven and a half weeks, I’ll be running with Hal. Want to join me? Here is how you too can get started. Let’s spend our lockdown summer running and getting in shape! You will be amazed what it does for both your body and your mind and we all need that right now don’t we?

    I’d love to hear from you if you want encouragement or to run virtually with me this summer.

    We love it when you share our blog.

    See this week’s top performing pin here.

    Hal Higdon's Half Marathon training program
    Hal Higdon's Half Marathon training program
    At Home  --  Inspire

    What Can We Do? Be Kind.

    Location: At Home

    Day Four of our latest lockdown. Combining all our lock down days we are now at Day 55.  What can we do? Be kind.

    Shit is getting real here. Thankful I have my husband and kids. 

    I just watched a video that I can’t share because it’s just too heartbreaking about a young teen who committed suicide because he couldn’t take it anymore. What can we do?

    People are frustrated. Sad. Hopeless. People are angry towards Federal, State and local government. Why?  This is their job to protect you. It’s not Governor Inslee’s fault anymore than it’s mine. Or the fault of that lovely young man who is gone.  Dead. 

    What can we do?  

    Kindness
    #BeKind

    Anger is a powerful emotion. But so is compassion. For me, I’m trying hard to channel my anger and despair to something positive. I don’t show that angry part of me on social media – but I have it just like you. And I work hard to show another side of me, my compassionate side. Because no matter how this turns out, no matter how much you want to point a finger and place blame, there is no one to blame. The only blame will be how you respond. How you treat others who are just as vulnerable as you; mentally, economically, physically, emotionally. 

    Some people will respond to this post with anger. Because that’s what anger does – it drives you to action. But to what point?  Other than to hurt someone in an effort to soothe your own emotions and sensibilities. Can it be channeled differently? Can it be put to good use? Can you lighten someone’s load who might be silently on the brink by moving your energy to compassion? 

    What can we do?  Each person can do this one thing – find your compassionate energy.  It might be buried but it’s there – well in most people it’s there.


    Set aside the politics real or imagined and turn your anger to compassion. Message me if I can help you or call you and chat. Love you all.
    Laureen

    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-8255

    https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org


    Be Kind
    #BeKind

    At Home

    Finding Family Unexpectedly

    How DNA Brought Me A Brother From Another Mother

    Location: Port Orchard Washington

    Where do I begin? Well perhaps at the beginning – except the details are sparse. Most everyone who knows the facts has died. And my Dad, well, his health is poor and memory is gone.

    So where do I begin? Well here are the details as I know them. I have another brother – unknown to us throughout my life – now here he is.

    Me with my cousin, and siblings old and new

    Dennis has been looking for his family his entire life. Wondering who his father was. Never knowing. Having a poor excuse of a step-father, and after the death of his mother when he was only seven years old, he struggled to make sense of all the loss in his life. Spending his childhood bouncing from family to foster care. Determined not to become the juvenile delinquent everyone in the “system” assumed was his fate.

    Until at age 63, DNA came knocking. Dennis has been on Ancestry for several years. I have been on Ancestry for several years, but I had never taken the DNA test. I bought a test for my Dad years ago, but he never took it, and the test was misplaced when we moved my Dad out of his big house.

    Me and Dennis

    But Dennis took the test, and my cousin took the test and BAM! First cousins found each other…meaning Dennis was much closer to finding his father…meaning it could only be my uncle (who has passed) or my own father.

    Wow. This information all came together last spring and my cousin, brother, sister and I welcomed Dennis, whether he was cousin or brother, and met him for dinner one evening in June.

    And he looked just like my Dad. Mind blown.

    After our meeting, I felt a huge obligation to Dennis to get the answer, and so I did a DNA test and I got my Dad to do one. Three weeks later, the results showed 100% Dennis is my half sibling, my father’s child.

    Dennis is happy to know. He was emotional and excited and relieved. Our family is happy for him. Happy to welcome him. Wishing my Dad wasn’t so far gone into Alzeheimers that we could get more answers. But we are all, including Dennis, in agreement my Dad should not be told who Dennis is due to Dad’s precarious health. For now anyway.

    But Dennis has now met my Dad (our Dad). And we will make it possible for Dennis to meet him again, and again. And we will welcome Dennis into our crazy wired family, and probably scare him off with all the craziness we seem to produce – Dennis hasn’t had a family like this. Between my sister, brother and I there are a total of 9 children with 5 spouses and 10 grand children.

    Our belief right now is that my Dad never knew Dennis was out there. We firmly believe he would never have shirked that responsibility – it’s not the kind of man he was. My father would have been 22 years old when Dennis was conceived in 1955…he married my mother in 1957 and my sister was born in 1958…I came along two years later, my brother a year after that.

    And so here we are. So many questions that may never be resolved, but the biggest question of all for Dennis has been answered. I am glad.

    The development of DNA is an amazing thing, providing forensics and families an opportunity to learn things that generations in the past could not even have dreamed of. It must be used responsibly, and not all DNA results and findings turn out positive for families…some people are hurt , embarrassed, angry and unable to cope with information DNA might bring to light. Our family however, views it as a fascinating development and we all are pleased with the unexpected news.

    You may have read my book review Inheritance, a book I read shortly before this all happened to my family. In the book a women learns her biological father was a sperm donor – not the man she grew up believing was her Dad. Her search for the sperm donor created lots of questions; what are his rights as an anonymous donor; what are her rights to know who her biological father is; what about genetic diseases; what about unknown siblings and the potential of inter-genetic marriages; should there be more control over DNA and results?

    Life was different in the 1950’s and women who got pregnant so often were shamed and hidden. But in the 1950’s and long before, men often carried no responsibility and or knowledge of pregnancies they may have had a hand in – creating many little humans who never knew the truth.

    But today, with the continuing advancement of DNA, there are no longer any secrets…lots of men may be wondering…lots of families may be affected. It’s only going to grow.

    For me, and this situation in my own family I just feel we must embrace it and move forward. What more can we do? We can’t deny or walk away and why would we? We have found a buried treasure, something we didn’t know was lost. My siblings who I have known all my life and my new sibling who we just met, will now go forward and tread lightly and see what happens next. I’m just sorry it took so long.

    Note I am aware of at least ten people I know who have had similar developments in their families. If you are so inclined, and have a story of your own, feel free to share in the comments below.

    Please pin or share our blog. We thank you.

    At Home

    A Summer Remodel

    Eight Weeks and Done

    Location: Port Orchard Washington USA

    We hit the ground running (as usual) when we arrived in Washington State on May 9th. Back in the USA for a four month visit with our family and friends before heading off again for another year of travel.

    Living room when we arrived on May 9th (see cover photo for living room now)

    In addition to spending time with our aging parents and our adult children, we set out to tackle a remodel of the “villa” (condo) we bought last fall sight unseen. Four months seemed like it would be a lot of time to enjoy all the things we wanted to do and get the remodel done. Not so much. Wow, time moves faster than it used to.

    Fireplace before

    Our goal was to get the remodel done by July 1st. We worked tirelessly for weeks, eating dust and sleeping on the floor as we tore into the dated condo to make it more modern and to fit our personal style.

    Fireplace after

    We just missed the mark of July 1st. We officially wrapped up the project on July 2nd…with a tiny hand full of tweaks left to do here and there over the next two months.

    Laundry room
    Guest bedroom

    Here is what we did in just under an 8-week period;

    • Removed a wall and moved the wiring
    • Painted the kitchen cabinets, utility cabinets and guest bath cabinets
    • Removed wallpaper from guest bath
    • Added cabinet hardware
    • Painted the entire interior
    • New washer, dryer, refrigerator, range, microwave and dishwasher
    • Brought gas into the kitchen
    • New luxury vinyl wood look floors throughout the house
    • New floor trim
    • Painted all the trim and doors
    • Replaced all the interior and exterior door hardware
    • Updated the fireplace with new surround and hearth
    • New kitchen counters
    • New kitchen backsplash
    • Replaced five light fixtures inside and three outside
    • Unpacked dozens of boxes
    • Got new-to-us and brand-new furniture
    • Painted new-to-us furniture
    • New curtains
    • Decorated
    • Organized the garage and attic
    • Removed outdoor dead plants and replaced with new
    • Kicked back and had a gin and tonic
    Bedroom when we arrived in May

    We left one project for next summer – a full master bathroom remodel. That will be a big undertaking for when we return to the USA again next June.

    Bedroom now

    We were assisted in this project by Gordy Lund, my brother-in-law, who always does such nice work, Valona Painting, Precision Countertops, and Affordable Interiors and Flooring.

    Kitchen before – note wall on right that we removed
    Kitchen after – note the colored tiles we bought in Portugal and incorporated randomly in the backsplash

    We were so happy to get it done. And it looks absolutely beautiful. I love the layout of this one-level villa. I love the neighborhood. I love the landscaping. Most of all I love how peaceful it is. We have beautiful wooded trails; flat, safe running and cycling; and a golf course to boot. Guess I’m gonna have to take up golf next summer!

    Reading Room

    So from July 3rd through the rest of the summer we will be entertaining family and friends and just enjoying our new home. I am particularly enjoying having all my things around me again, after these being in storage for more than three years. It feels good.

    Office and Sewing Room
    Welcome to our new home Villa de Verano (Summer House)

    But we still plan to continue to travel. We have a house-sitter in place to care for our home between September and June as we continue on our Grand Adventure. We look forward to coming “home” again next June and staying through Christmas.

    I call this the museum – a place for all our special travel mementoes

    I feel really blessed to have the best of both worlds; a beautiful place to call home, and a life of full-time travel. Lucky, fabulous me.

    New floors going in

    Please pin or share our blog!

    At Home  --  North America Travel

    Review of McMenamins Elks Temple, Tacoma WA

    Summer in Washington State

    McMenains Tacoma

    Location: Tacoma Washington USA

    My Fab Fifties Life is enjoying a summer in Washington State, USA, where I was born and raised.  As much as I love my life of full-time travel, coming home to familiar ground where my family is brings a sense of stability to our nomad world.

    When we return to the USA most summers, my focus is always family, but we also get out at least once a week and play tourists in our own backyard.  And that is what we did this past weekend in celebration of both Father’s Day and my husband’s birthday.

    McMenamins Elks Lodge

    McMenamins Elks Lodge Tacoma

    Growing up in the Pacific Northwest the blue-collar town of Tacoma always had a bit of a “smelly” reputation because of the pulp and paper mill that cast an odor over the town for several generations.  Today however Tacoma has become a renaissance town, with gorgeous views, multiple incredible museums, beautiful parks, and delicious dining.

    And the newest little gem to open in Tacoma is the McMenamins franchise masterpiece in the historic and beautifully restored Elks Temple in downtown Tacoma.

    If you aren’t from around these parts you might not be familiar with the vision of Mike and Brian McMenamin, Oregon brothers who have built a legendary business of turning historic and dilapidated properties into spectacularly quirky and fun hotels, restaurants, breweries, distilleries,

    Many pubs at McMenamins

    Elks Lodge Pub & Restaurant

    and event venues. For the past 20 years my husband and I, (on many occasions with our kids in tow), have made one of the dozens of McMenamins properties a destination weekend.

    The latest addition to the McMenamins dynasty is the opening of the Tacoma Elks Temple after several years of extensive restoration. The building had sat abandoned for thirty-five years, and time, weather and graffiti all had taken a toll.

    And yet, this is what McMenamins does best – breathe life into old structures all while digging deep into the silent history of a building to awaken both the known and unknown stories of the people and events that were there.  The Elks Temple does just that.

    Reflecting Tacoma's history

    Art everywhere you look

    Built in 1916 for the Fraternal Order of Elks, the building was home to one of the nation’s largest Elks organizations until the 1960’s.  It was then used as an event venue and, unlike the all-white Elks organization, the building welcomed anyone of any race and held many of the local African-American Rose Cotillion Balls for several years.  But times changed and so did the building as it fell into disrepair for 33 years until the visionary McMenamins saw its potential.

    We arrived in the afternoon on a very crowded Father’s Day and proceeded to taste our way through all of the properties five bars.  Each bar named appropriately, decorated with fun and interesting relics including menu’s that reflect the individual personality of each bar.  For instance in

    Tacoma's Spanish Steps

    Hand crafted beer and tapas at the Spanish Steps Bar

    the Spanish Steps bar (named for Tacoma’s beautiful Spanish Steps that run along the south edge of the building) Tapas are featured on the menu, while in The Old Hangout, a throwback to Trader Vic’s style 1950’s Tiki Bar serves everything from Mai Tai to Singapore Sling, grilled Pineapple Sundae or Salt and Pepper Squid.u

    True to the McMenamins model, guests must try to find the “hidden” bar called The Vault. We found it, actually cheated a little because someone was coming out…and I don’t think we would have found it otherwise.  Cleverly disguised. That’s all I’m gonna say.

    We had both dinner and breakfast in the Elks Pub and Restaurant where we enjoyed pizza, salad and soup for dinner with more McMenamin

    McMenamins Bars

    The Old Hang Out Bar throwback to old style Tiki

    hand-crafted beer.  For breakfast I had an amazing Eggs Benedict that included artichoke hearts and spinach and included cheese jalapeño grits.  Wow.

    The Elks Lodge now has 45 rooms, each and every one named for a person or group of persons who had something to do with the building or the surrounding area.  Everyone from Robert Cray (musician) to Bill Baarsma (former mayor) to Hattie Lund (no relation to me but a long-time Tacoma philanthropist) to the Puyallup Native American Tribe.

    I have two small complaints about our visit.  Our room which opened to

    McMenamins Elks Lodge

    Our room

    an atrium and did not have an outside window, was a bit stuffy and I wished for a window.  If I return I’ll pay a little more for a room on the perimeter of the building.  My other complaint is that although the wifi worked great throughout the building in bars and public spaces, it was non-existent in our room.

    Rooms start around $140 per night.  Food and beverage is very reasonably priced.  If you come, allow plenty of time to just explore…it’s like a museum of both art and history as well as a wonderful place to people watch Tacoma’s eclectic and proud residents.  So much fun.  We will be back.

    Learn more at McMenamins Tacoma Elks Temple

     

    Please pin or share our blog!  We love you for it! 

     

     

     

    At Home  --  Inspire

    Charmed – Collecting Charms Around the World

    The World Traveling Charm Bracelet

    Location: USA

    Palm Tree Charm

    Palm Tree Dominican Republic

    I’ve had a lot of people asking about my world traveling charm bracelet lately because it’s been a long time since I have mentioned anything about it on my blog or social media.  So I thought today I would share a bit about this fascinating and growing collection of beauty, history and culture that I wear around my wrist.

    Kayak Charm

    Kayak Belize

    For those of you who may not know, I had the idea, just weeks before we headed out on the Grand Adventure for the first time in June 2016, to begin a travel charm bracelet.  I purchased a bracelet here in the USA and added my very first charm, an “L” for my first and last name (Laureen Lund).  Then we began our travels with our first stop in Hawaii where I added a silver sea turtle.

    Three years and dozens and dozens of countries and charms later, my charming souvenir is very precious to me with 56 charms.

    Collecting Charms Around the World

    Christ the Redeemer Brazil

    My preference is to buy a charm while in the country, but in Central America I really struggled to find any charms for sale anywhere.  I had purchased a Christ the Redeemer charm in Brazil and a lizard charm in Costa Rica and then after that the trail went cold.

    I was never able to find a charm in Panama, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala or Dominican Republic.

    So, before we returned to the USA I contacted my jeweler here in Gig

    El Salvador Charm

    Yoga symbol El Salvador

    Harbor and ordered charms that for me represented those countries I had visited. I had him add the charms to my bracelet after I arrived in the USA. Also, just like last summer, he took all the new charms from my past year of travel and soldered each to the bracelet so I won’t lose any.

    Collecting Charms Around the World

    Lizard Costa Rica

    I love this piece of jewelry that has so much meaning for me. In fact I love it so much I’ve decided to leave it here when we depart again in September.  I know I would be devastated if it were lost or stolen, so on round three of the Grand Adventure I will leave it behind, collecting the charms and adding them to the bracelet when I return.

    If you struggle to think of memorable, small and meaningful souvenirs to buy when you travel, consider collecting charms around the world.  I’m so glad a did.  It’s so charming.

    Thanks for your interest.  I hope to share the bracelet in person with some of you in the future.

     

    Please share our blog or pin it if you like what we offer here at My Fab Fifties Life.  Thank you for your support.