I’m a Joiner…or Not.

I admit that I typically love New Year’s resolutions. I’m not a naysayer of the tradition. There’s something innately beautiful in the idea of renewal with every new year. Hell, just the fact that you’ve lived to see another New Year is pretty awesome. I know I have a bit of a panglossian view of what’s possible, but you can guess how many fucks I give about that.

I don’t love the “new year new you” articles that are the diverticuli in the colon of periodicals this month, but I love the idea of improvement. With the exception of reading Poor Folk by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, which I 100% did not read in 2014, I achieved a goodly number of the goals I set for 2014. (I did, however, read Notes From the Underground, which was like getting kicked in the ovaries by despair. It was quite good.)

This year, I am making some achievable goals that I feel good about.

  1. Read Poor Folk by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I am confident this will be on my list next year.
  2. Support National Adjunct Walkout Day in any way I can. (I make good tea!)
  3. Do more yoga. Get Yoga ass. Name it Brigitte. *or some variation
  4. Read 150 new books. Make sure at least 50% aren’t romance novels.
  5. Adopt a puppy/dog. (Or steal the Highlander’s new rottie. I’m sure he’d not notice.)
  6. Volunteer more. Perhaps Girls Write Now or Girls on the Run
  7. Apart from milk in my tea or coffee, go vegan before 5-6pm, unless I’m out.
  8. Donate more of my kids’ toys. Don’t let them keep so many. It’s gluttony.
  9. Read the Hobbit series with the Captain. (boy loves a dwarf.)
  10. Spend more time with people who aren’t family/my wolfpack. I’m extra-insular.
  11. Hold no fewer than six dinner parties. That’s bi-monthly. I can do that.
  12. Finish novel WIP. Edit. Start another.
  13. Memorize at least 4 poems and at least 10 sonnets. (Petrarch, Donne, Shakespeare.) It’s excellent for memory.
  14. Learn to either knit or crochet. Maybe attend a group function for this.
  15. Drink more water.

These are all simple, I know. Hell, people who want to give up smoking, and that’s their ONLY resolution, have it harder–I know this from experience. I still feel really hopeful and warm and gooey about my list. Granted, 1 & 15 are going to be an absolute bitch, but I know that the bestie from another teste, Jenn will chew my ass out about the water thing. Not unlike the past three years. Girl can pound some water….and she LIKES it. So weird.

Before I give you the recipe, I’ll give you the first sonnet I plan on memorizing. It’s Petrarch. (translation by Higginson)


Soleasi Nel Mio Cor

She ruled in beauty o’er this heart of mine,
A noble lady in a humble home,
And now her time for heavenly bliss has come,
Tis I am mortal proved, and she divine.
The soul that all its blessings must resign,
And love whose light no more on earth finds room,
Might rend the rocks with pity for their doom,
Yet none their sorrows can in words enshrine;
They weep within my heart; and ears are deafSave mine alone,
and I am crushed with care,
And naught remains to me save mournful breath.
Assuredly but dust and shade we are,
Assuredly desire is blind and brief,
Assuredly its hope but ends in death.

And nowwwww….So you have several partial bottles of champagne that are beginning to go flat. What do you do? Do you drink it all in one morning, ostensibly regretting this life decision and also texting your high school boyfriend that his love of Pulp Fiction doesn’t automatically make him cool? No. You do not. You make this.

Champagne Custard French Toast.

champagne custard french toast champagne custard french toast champagne custard french toast champagne custard french toast

Champagne Custard French Toast

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: fry appetizer bread breakfast dessert

Ingredients (a loaf’s worth of french)

  • 1 cup champagne (any, but a sweeter variety is best.)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 loaf of day-old French bread
  • a lot of butter to fry it in
  • orange wedges and strawberry slices for serving
  • butter for serving


in a saucepan, combine champagne, cream, milk, and sugar

bring to a slow boil

let simmer for 5 minutes

stir in zest

slice french bread in 1″ slices

place in a big baking dish in a single layer and pour custard over it

let sit 5 minutes and flip

let sit 2 more minutes

heat a skillet to medium and add a dollop of butter

fry the toast for 2 minutes on either side

top with strawberry slices, a bit of butter, and squeeze orange wedges over the toast.

serve with more champagne.

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Crawl in Your Hidey-Hole, Drink, and Read.

Ahhhhh, another book post!! HUZZAH!

This was actually a *really* tough list. If you take a look at my Goodreads list, you can see I read an epic fornicationton of series books this past year. In fact, I read far more books in–or beginning a series than not.

I like my books like I like my men….always keeping me guessing. (You thought I was going to say “long-lasting,” didn’t you? You’re filthy. Get thy head out of the gutter!)

I really enjoy the scandent nature of a serial narrative. Because I read so quickly, I like knowing there’s more to enjoy. Yes, there is something to be said about a phenomenal standalone novel, (and a book post with the best of those to come) but I love being involved in the long-term metamorphosis of a character. Sometimes, a character turns into a butterfly over seven or ten books. Sometimes? Well, sometimes they turn into assholes. (I’m looking at you, Sookie Stackhouse!–I still love you, though. Let’s do imaginary lunch, k?)

Don’t look at me like I’m crazy. I don’t need verification. I’m already in academia.

Let’s get this list going, shall we? It’s lengthy…you know, just how I like my…..

scrabble games.

(as per usual, the picture is a link!)

First up! A book series I ALWAYS buy on both audible and kindle/physical book…

The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. Narrated by Luke Daniels. Not only was this book ohholyfuckingtacossogood, it surpassed previous books in the series. That is damn HUGE for a long-lived series. The narration is incredible–like, my three year old not waking at five am–incredible. Bonus to the narration? I CAN’T FUCKING READ OR PRONOUNCE IRISH GAELIC. Luke Daniels says the words out loud, so the names in the book make sense. “Siodhachan o Suileabhain?” ummm, in my head that looks like “no fucking way not even gonna try–let’s call him ‘Steve.'” Or Atticus, whatever.

The storyline also gave me my favorite line of the entire year…


The book also contains another favorite quote…



Ohhhh, Merit. You may believe (wrongly) that pizza can be four-inches deep and stuffed full of meat, 😉 but I love you. If you were as real in life as you are on the pages, I would correct you of this notion. You’ve apparently been misinformed. (Didn’t you go to NYU?!?! For SHAME!)

This is the TENTH book in the series. That means, if you start now, you could have your reading dance card punched THROUGH THE NEW YEAR. (Or, at least NYE.) Is it Urban Fantasy? Is it romance? IS IT A HOT SWEDISH GUY ROLLING AROUND WITH A FIERCE AND SMART BRUNETTE DANCER? It is all of these things. More importantly, I just re-read this one, (Ok, it was read to me) and it’s even better the second time.

All good things must come to an end, but I WASN’T READY. I’m secretly figuring out how to make supernatural stuff real so that I can bewitch Deborah Harkness into creating another book in this world–revolving around Gallowglass and his own lady. HE DESERVES HIS OWN LADY!! *because, he is, of course, 100% real and not the figment of Deborah Harkness’ imagination.* This book held me in an iron fist and didn’t let up until I closed it. Obviously, Gallowglass still has one arm around my waist. I don’t mind.

The depths to which I love Mercy Thompson cannot be overstated. Let’s also Bechdel/race test this book, shall we? 1) Mercy is Native American/Bi-racial. 2) She COMPLETELY kicks all of the ass. 3)She’s just one of many non-white people, or women, or non-white women who kick ALL OF THE ASS in these novels. 4)Her closest friend is a gay werewolf. 5) She is college-educated but works in a blue-collar, male-dominated field. 6) Her cat is named Medea. (Ok, that’s not Bechdel-y per se, but still kick ass.) She also rocks some serious ink. (like many awesome ladies I know.)

These books are a wild ride, let me tell you. They are funny, fast, intense reads that grip you by the ovaries/brovaries and twist. Trust me, that only sounds like an unpleasant experience. Honest to Pete, you never are quite sure how things are going to turn out. Oddly, though, it’s the dialogue that I like the best.

“Desandra shrugged her shoulders. “Hey, Kate? Have you thought of walking up to Hugh and telling him that he’s got the biggest dick ever?” She spread her arms to the size of a baseball bat.
“No, you think it would work?” I asked.
“It’s worth a try. May be he’ll be so happy you noticed his pork sword, he’ll forget all about trying to kill us.”
Pork sword. Kill me now. “I’ll think about it.”
Ascanio began patting his clothes.
“What?” Derek growled.
“Looking for something to take notes with.”
Ilona Andrews, Magic Breaks

If I were to ever be with the son of Satan, I’d want him to be just like Reyes Farrow. I’d want quippy Gilmore Girls-esque dialogue with our friends. However, don’t ever expect me to be responsible in the apocalypse. If zombies ever take over, I’m sure to be the first to die. The only thing I have going for me is a lot of tech knowledge and the ability to run 26 or more miles without stopping. Thank heavens Charley Davidson is almost-could-be-maybe ready to battle for us. Darynda Jones is one of those authors you think, “damn, she’d be so much fun to play Uno with and get drunk together.” This book was pee-your-pants funny, and stick-in-your-filling sweet. I loved it.

This is book #14(!!!!) in the series Immortals After Dark. The title of the series, and shirtless state of the man on the book should give you some content clues about this book. Kresley Cole is EASILY my favorite author of books I’d rather my mother not know I read. (prepare for a hella run-on) She turns your crank and then makes you laugh so hard you forgot your crank was turned and your husband looks at you like you’re nuts because you were absent-mindedly stroking his thigh and then you smack him while laughing with tears running down your face. So you should probably read these.


Two from Elizabeth Hunter. She had a rather prodigious year–as did the next and last author on the list–Penny Reid. I waited for what seemed like ten elephant pregnancies for Desert Bound to be released. Thank all of the gods it lived up to every expectation I had for it. I have gifted this series no fewer than SIX times. SIX. I’m like the Oprah of Elizabeth Hunter books.

The Irin Chronicles series is so different from most of the PNR/fantasy books I’ve read that I just keep coming back to read bits and pieces of it. When I closed The Singer, I thought, “Damn, now isn’t that just something else!” Granted, Elizabeth Hunter hasn’t written anything I’ve not loved, but that’s true of several authors.*winks at Kurt Vonnegut* That doesn’t mean I’m going to stump for them on my blog. Incidentally, Irin was just released on audible, and they’re MINE MINE ALLMINE!

This book. OMG, romance is NOT dead, guys!! This book wrapped me in a haven-y blanket of hot man-bun/beard action, and then sang to my soul with the sweet, and not-at-all-awkward, guitar playing, poetry writing dude. Not to mention, it takes place deep in the heart of the mountains, which just reminds me of family. I don’t think there’s a “Cletus” in my clan, but there’s a Cline…and a Clinton…Elza…Gaynor…This book requires three things: tissues, Tempranillo, and time. It’s not that long, but there’s a lot of time spent gasping. (by the reader, not the author.)

NOW?!?! booze. Because? 1300 words for a blog post. Time to drank.

Also, Amy and My awesome bookclub deserves a cocktail of the month. Join us. We’re reading Atwood.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Pattitini

It’s as if a candy cane joe-joe had a love-child with your future hangover.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Pattitini Dark Chocolate Peppermint Pattitini Dark Chocolate Peppermint Pattitini

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Pattitini

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Keywords: beverage dessert


  • 2 oz dark chocolate Godiva liqueur
  • 1 oz peppermint vodka (or just fill a glass with vodka and about 15 peppermints and let it sit overnight in the fridge, use an ounce of that)
  • 1 tsp dark chocolate syrup


  • melted dark chocolate, ground oreo cookies, and crushed mints for the rim


shake liqueurs and syrup with ice

rim glass with first, melted dark chocolate, and then roll in a cookie crumb and peppermint mix

pour neat.

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Warm Ginger Butterbeer

It’s been roughly a year or more since I’ve done a Sunday Sweet. Typically, the format was that I’d write a quick post, wish you well, and give you a recipe to satisfy your sweet tooth. As it’s now the holiday season, I thought it as good a time as any to bring back Sunday … Read more…

I Need a Cocktail. Now.

I’m in a pissy mood. I’m sick. Trick-or-treating is tonight and I somehow have to, you know, do THAT–sober–and I’m fairly certain I’m about to run out of Sriracha. HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN!?!?

Sadly, though, these aren’t even the reasons that my mood has soured so totally. Why has it? Let’s see.

I’m in academia. This is not a position one chooses on a whim. It’s not like most kids in primary school think to themselves, “you know what sounds fun? Hours debating Chantal Chawaf and Michel Foucault and their theories on the unconscious mind!! After which, I’ll get to write twenty pages on said debate. Then, I’ll get to try to explain to twenty or more eighteen year olds why this is still relevant to today’s society!!! HIGH FIVE ON THAT ONE, AMIRITE???”

To put it more succinctly, you don’t go into academia if education and the love of knowledge is not a huge part of who you are. You need to live and breathe it.

That being said, it’s easily one of the most frustratingly patriarchal careers you can endeavor to make your own. This point was made even more evident this week by a few recent articles. The first was this lovely piece on the fairly scrubbish sartorial style of academia. Apparently, only dudes are in academia, because the author really doesn’t mention how women in academia dress themselves. That article triggered this response piece.

That’s the article that got me.

Every single day, in every aspect of my life, be it in fitness, writing, acting, or academia, I am forced to make ridiculous decisions because of my gender.

“I just bought this beautiful kilt, can I wear it to teach, or is it too girly?” (never mind the fact that kilts were worn solely by men until the 20th c.)

“The director is a man, should I dress more provocatively?” *Here’s one that really gets me, because “provocative” dress isn’t even a thing, it’s the label we put on a specific style of wardrobing.

“Did I say ‘fuck’ too many times in that article? Because I know that’s going to get me called ‘unladylike.'” No really, people who write that, fuck you.

“Can I go to the 6am Crossfit WOD, because it’s basically the Brolympics.”

“Will my dedication to Crossfit peg me as ‘manly?'”


I am TIRED of explaining why I’m a feminist.

I’m tired of being told that being a feminist makes me less-desirable to men. Which men? Misogynists? BFD.

I was raised in a religious household and educated in fundamentalist religious schools. While I still have some wonderful friends from this time in my life, when I was in their school, I was made to feel LESS.

Less because I was a woman. I was made from a man’s bone, born to love and support this man, made to submit to his authority over me as a woman. I was meant to be the mother, the carrier of the future, but also inextricably linked to archaic views from the past.

I cannot abide by any religion that tells me that I am to dress differently because the way in which I robe myself could be tantalizing to the opposite sex. That my hair is nothing more than a sheet, waving femininity from my head like a flag of pheromone-laden man trap. To do so would imply that my creator made faulty creatures incapable of containing their own base urges, and that an entire gender was created to suffer the consequences.

I’d rather believe in the loving G-d as seen though acts of charity and good will.

I cannot deal with men at institutions who size me up by the height of my heels.

I will not be worried out of my own fitness by “bros” whom act as though I’m merely a pretty magnet for their lustful gazes.

I will not raise my son to think and to know that men and women are anything less than complete equals in every area.

No, I can’t deadlift three-hundred pounds, but I can MAKE A CHILD AND SHOVE THAT LIFE OUT OF MY LADYFLOWER LIKE A FUCKING BOSS.  I have a statistically higher-pain tolerance. I will probably live longer, my heart stronger. I am less-likely to develop diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease. All things that I think more than make up for the fact that I may ask you to open a godsdamned jar for me.

I am by no means a misandrist, but all this crap makes me want to start a jungle (urban jungly) colony of women and children somewhere far, far away. Like District 13. Oz. A separate silo. IDGAF!!  Just, SOMEWHERE.

Maybe I can go as a misandrist for Halloween. What would that even look like?


Two of my favorite feminists.

Well that was fun.

How about Halloween booze?

Yes? Yes.

Lychee Saketini or Shojutini.

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Lychee Saketini

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Keywords: beverage


  • 2 oz sake or shoju
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 2 tbsp lychee juice (from can is fine)
  • squeeze of lemon
  • cherry syrup as blood–optional
  • tinned lychees stuffed with green maraschino cherries as eyeballs/ice cubes–optional


shake liquors with ice

strain over frozen lychee eyeballs

drizzle rim with cherry syrup.

to make eyeballs

using CANNED lychees, choose a good one, stuff with a green maraschino cherry or blueberry, place on silpat-lined sheet and freeze.

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