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Empire Records

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Rex Manning

Image Credit: Empire Records, 1995

Every year, April 8th rolls around and I kick myself for not having come up with a celebratory cocktail. What is April 8th, you ask? None other than REX MANNING DAY!!!!! I’m posting this a few days in advance to give you time to dust off your Gin Blossoms CDs and prepare yourself for a sugary cocktail. Maybe take the day off work, banish yourself to the couch. Or just the cushion.

Growing up in the 90’s, Empire Records (DVD/Download) was the movie of my people. You know the types- the weird kids from your art class who watched John Waters films and listened to bands nobody’s ever heard of? They may or may not have worn pleated skirts, combat boots, and/or vintage t-shirts. They probably didn’t have a body like Liv Tyler, but then again, nobody did. This little gem of a movie about one day at a suburban record store quickly became my compass for everything cool. Vintage furniture, quarters glued to the floor, funky buttons with weird slogans- I was obsessed. Featuring a who’s who of future stars like Renee Zellweger, Liv Tyler, Robin Tunney, and Ethan Embry, Empire Records was like an alt-rock version of Dazed and Confused, with the added bonus of fading pop star Rex Manning and his ooo-la-la. In a word- superb.

Renee Zellweger got a lot of press for singing in the musical Chicago, but clearly people forgot her triumphant rooftop performance in this film seven years earlier. Sugar plays a big part in fueling the teen drama, so my cocktail this week is on the sweet side. Plus, I’m still in the throes of leftover Easter candy.  While watching Empire Records, I recommend drinking a SugarHigh.


2 oz Svedka Strawberry-Lemonade vodka

3/4 oz lemon juice

3/4 oz simple syrup

3/4 oz pineapple juice

2 oz Prosecco

Lemon sugar

To prepare glass, wet the rim then dip in lemon sugar.  In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine vodka, lemon juice, pineapple juice, and simple syrup.  Shake vigorously, then strain into prepared glass.  Top with Prosecco.

sugar high

Even now, any time I get stressed out with work/blogging/writing/managing a household, I still remind myself of that famous Corey line from this film, “There are 24 usable hours in every day.” Granted, she was chowing down speed to keep up with her calculus homework and cupcake baking, but still, it’s true. And like Corey, sometimes you just have to let go of all that control and give in to having fun. With that, I shall say no more, mon amor. Cheers!

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Image credit Miramax Films, 2001, Bridget Jones's Diary

Image credit Miramax Films, 2001, Bridget Jones’s Diary

Last weekend I was invited to an ugly sweater Christmas party, and to get inspiration for my costume, I decided to watch a film featuring the ugliest of Christmas sweaters, Bridget Jones’s Diary (DVD/Download). While Bridget Jones isn’t totally a Christmas movie throughout, it does feature Colin Firth in some very festive holiday sweaters and ties. Plus, a movie starring Colin Firth AND Hugh Grant- well, Merry Christmas to me!

Bridget Jones’s Diary was adapted from the entertaining book by Helen Fielding, which loosely borrows the plot from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. This was the novel that launched a thousand Chick Lit ships (my own book included), wherein smart but insecure 30-something women live in a city, date inappropriate men, go out drinking with their friends, have fabulous careers, and worry about dieting and finally finding “the one”. I have to say, this is one of the better books (and films) in the genre, and although there was a great deal of outcry over American Renee Zellweger playing beloved Londoner Bridget Jones, I think she did a great job. Plus, she’s never looked better than she did in this film, causing me to wonder what other stick-figure actresses would look like with a little meat on their bones. Probably, greatly improved.

One of my favorite scenes in the film is when Colin Firth and Hugh Grant get into a fist fight outside Bridget’s apartment. Thus my cocktail this week is inspired by Colin Firth’s fists-o-fury, and is a great addition to any holiday party. While watching Bridget Jones’s Diary, I recommend drinking Darcy’s Milk Punch.

Darcy’s Milk Punch

1 oz brandy

1 oz dark rum

½ oz simple syrup

4 oz whole milk

Dash of vanilla extract

Whipped Cream

Grated Nutmeg

Combine brandy, rum, simple syrup, milk, and vanilla extract in a glass with ice.  Stir to combine, and top with whipped cream and nutmeg.


I love to watch this movie around the holidays because, like Bridget, it’s around this time of year that I tend to take stock of my life and figure out what my resolutions should be for the New Year. Like her, my list usually includes dropping a few pounds and cutting back on alcohol units. At least I don’t have to worry about pressure to find a nice, sensible boyfriend- I already have a nice, sensible husband to sport that tacky Christmas tie I’m making him wear. Cheers!