Style + Happy Hour

Happy Hour: Welcome 2021!

Every time I think about the totality of 2020, I instinctively take a deep breath.  So much of what we all hoped for at the end of 2019 did not materialize.  Very few of us made it to the end of this year without significant losses (my sincerest condolences to anyone who lost a job, a home, or a loved one to this awful disease).  But on the last day of 2020, I’m trying to feel hopeful.

Yesterday, I was informed by my doctor that I need to give up caffeine and alcohol.

I start a new job as Chief of Staff for the President of the Montana State Senate on Monday.  And I’m going to be expected to handle that level of stress at 6:45AM without tea, coffee or cola.  Then, get through the really hard days without the promise of a Dirty Martini.

I’m sure this is going to be great.

So let’s get an early start with a New Year’s Eve mocktail.  Candace Read publishes a new mocktail recipe to her Instagram every Monday.  This Monday, she featured this delightful Champagne Punch.

She used an alcohol-removed sparkling wine (who knew such a thing existed?), but you can also use a sparkling cider or real Champagne.  The combination of the citrus flavors with the raspberry and rosemary is really nice.  It was a little sweet the first time I made it, so I bought low sugar orange juice the second time, and it was much better.

None of us know how this year is going to go.  So instead of making big resolutions for the length of the year, I’ve decided to make 12 small achievable one each month and one bigger quarterly one.

My quarterly one for this spring is to pay down some lingering debt from the home remodel.  My small goal for January is to start painting my nails again.

Deborah Lippmann’s Gel Lab Pro base and top coat is a great product.  I get a full week before chipping (typically).  So I can easily rock the same manicure Sunday-to-Saturday.

For work, I bought her nail polishes in Venus in Furs (berry-wine), Been Around the World (beige-mauve), and Fade to Black.  Yes, black is a little edgy for government work, but I think it’s considered more modern than goth in 2021.

Need a tutorial for an at-home manicure?  I still think Cupcakes and Cashmere has the best one.  The trick is the tiny brush to remove the excess polish.

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  1. K says:

    You have a lot of change coming up, with the new job and making changes to caffeine and alcohol. I wish you well with it. FWIW, I have cut back on a lot of alcohol in the last year and along the way found that it wasn’t so much “gin and tonic” that I really like in the summer time as it is tonic water. There are a lot of different flavors and styles, and it still feels like a treat to end the day for me. If you go that route a fair number of the ones that advertise as “light” compared to the regular version have only minimal less calories, say 10 (I’m looking at you Fever Tree). There’s a kind called HoneyBuzz that is rather sweet, but only has about 13 calories so not a bad way to end the day without the calories.


    December 31, 2020/Reply
    • Lynn says:

      Same for me! A tonic with a slice of lemon, lime or cucumber is (nearly) just as nice.

      I always have slices frozen, ready to jazz up a tonic or water.

      and once you’re liberated from the urge to drink coffee, it’ll be very nice as well. I didn’t use to drink coffee, and was always suprised how my friends were getting desperate if they hadnt had coffee before uni started. Now i do drink coffee, but try to stick to 1 latte a day.

      Best of luck with the new job!

      January 1, 2021/Reply
    • A says:

      One more trick if you like the gin and tonics, Seedlip makes non-alcoholic gin that tastes like the real thing. You’d use similar ratio of Seedlip to tonic as you would for regular gin and it tastes great.

      January 5, 2021/Reply
  2. J says:

    I gave up caffeine about 6.5 years ago and haven’t looked back. A few tips: lots of Motrin in the beginning. You will feel sick – not just a headache, but all over body aches. Days 2-4 are the hardest. Motrin will take the edge off, but it won’t take it all away. A big part of caffeine (for me anyway) is psychological. I love taking that deep breath with my first sip of coffee. So I still drink a lot of decaf. I’d recommend finding something to replace your caffeine ritual with something that will bring you joy. Herbal tea, decaf coffee, sparkling water, whatever. Good luck!

    December 31, 2020/Reply
    • Erin says:

      The best product I’ve found for replacing coffee (either fully, or to gradually replace regular coffee grounds) is Teeccino. It’s an herbal beverage which you brew just like coffee (I think they also make tea bag version), and it still has some “heft” that other coffee subs don’t. You can get it online at their site, on Amazon, and I think they also sell it at Whole Foods and health food stores.

      December 31, 2020/Reply
      • Connie says:

        I second the Teeccino! I gave up caffeine (mostly) a few years back, and now drink half decaf/half Teeccino in the mornings to replace my coffee. I think the Teeccino tastes a little weird on its own, so I mix it with the decaf, and I get my coffee fix without the caffeine.

        January 5, 2021/Reply
  3. Aileen says:

    I have to give up caffeine every now and then on doctor’s orders, and I like to replace coffee or black tea with Rooibos — it’s got a strong dark tea flavor that helps me feel like I am not giving up my hearty breakfast drink along with the caffeine. And it is great on its own or with milk. Good luck with it! After my initial and very unpleasant detox (4 day caffeine headache, basically), I found that it didn’t seem to influence my wakefulness much at all.

    December 31, 2020/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I bought an herbal peach and a rooibos, we’ll see how it goes.

      December 31, 2020/Reply
  4. Sheryl says:

    Just came out of several months of no caffeine/no alcohol (pregnancy with terrible heartburn). I found gradually weaning the caffeine to be most helpful (coffee to black tea to green tea) for the withdrawal, and continuing to have hot beverages in the morning. I never found a good non alcoholic wine or spirit, but enjoyed bitters and club soda, tonic and lime, good ginger ale, and athletic brewing non alcoholic beers (most others are really watery). Good luck!

    December 31, 2020/Reply
    • Abbie says:

      Huge Athletic Brewing fan. Hopefully they start selling in more local stores soon! Until then, we will continue to have them shipped.

      December 31, 2020/Reply
  5. BN says:

    I love the idea of small, realistic goal setting! Wishing you a happy and successful 2021 (even if you can’t enjoy your favorite beverages 🙁 ).

    December 31, 2020/Reply
  6. Ral says:

    Congrats on your new job! Wishing you much success and happiness in the new year.

    December 31, 2020/Reply
  7. Nadine says:

    Best of luck with the new session. When my mental health is bad I need to give up (or cut down on) caffeine, alcohol and sugar. It sucks, but it helps.

    December 31, 2020/Reply
  8. Anon says:

    I had to give up alcohol the first year of my PhD, then caffeine a few years later, as I entered the dissertation phase. Not easy but it can be done and I promise you can still be a functional human being. Once I got over the emotional side of not drinking (the expectation is everywhere) I realized that instead of relieving my stress and anxiety, it actually made them worse. Case in point, I splurged last night because damn it, I deserved a half glass of bubbly after the year we have had. Woke up in the middle of the night with a racing heart and tight chest of an incipient panic attack. Goodluck in the transition – definitely taper the coffee over a week or so to avoid the worst of the withdrawal.

    January 1, 2021/Reply
  9. Lidia says:

    Wishing you happiness and much success for 2021. Moving, new job and new goals! This is your year. All the best to you and Kyle.

    January 1, 2021/Reply
  10. Liz says:

    I love lemon lime bitters. I make it a bit different. Easy drink with bitters, sparkling water, and fresh squeeze of lime. This will be my January drink.

    January 1, 2021/Reply
  11. Emily says:

    A wine shop in DC started carrying these non-alcoholic “wine alternative” this month:

    They’re sold out now, but the folks at the shop said they were fantastic and they sound delicious. I think it’s the ritual of pouring a drink at the end of the day that I’ve missed when taking some time off alcohol, so things like this could help make that transition easier!

    January 2, 2021/Reply
  12. SLG says:

    My doctor told me I had to give up caffeine and alcohol a few years ago. Reader, I cried.

    If you (like me) like the ritual and smell of coffee in the morning, Swiss water process coffee actually has no caffeine in it, unlike regular decaf.

    As an alcohol substitute, Food52 sells two favors of shrubs (vinegar-based mocktails) that are truly delicious.

    For what it’s worth, I did find that after getting over the caffeine withdrawal symptoms, I generally felt better. I also learned to respect my body in ways I hadn’t realized I needed to – for instance, taking sleepiness not as a “drink coffee!” signal but instead as “hmm, maybe I need to move my body or go to bed early tonight. My body’s telling me it needs something.”

    January 4, 2021/Reply
  13. Siri says:

    I gave up caffeine for over a year, and found it had a tremendous impact on my mood after the initial caffeine withdrawal – it really helped with anxiety. I definitely missed the ritual, so started drinking tea or even just warm water.

    For “grown-up” tasting, non-alcoholic beverages, Töst is really lovely and I preferred it to anything sold as a sparkly non-alcoholic “wine”/cider — I found it at Whole Foods. If you want something that feels more like a cocktail, there are some great bitters options. My favorite (also at Whole Foods) is the Bitters & Soda line by Hella Cocktails, though probably easy to make your own.

    January 5, 2021/Reply
  14. Elle says:

    Congrats on the new job! That sounds awesome, but super difficult especially without caffeine. I tried for 5 years and the caffeine was way more difficult that the alcohol particularly when you are overworked. (I actually turned to baths with candles and a book to relax).
    I also ended up using all clean skincare and supplementing vitamin D – I know there’s a lot of controversy about “clean” skincare not being worth it -but after 5 years of nothing working I gave it a shot and ended up getting the results I wanted.

    January 6, 2021/Reply
  15. NEENS says:

    I’m not sure about the caffeine content but the non-alcoholic option of this Sparkling Tea might be worth looking into 🙂

    January 8, 2021/Reply