The Loyal Bavarians, Episode 5

My nephews have cameos in "Breaking Brawt"! So fun. :)

It's really sad to see this series come to an end. It's been such a fun look back on the town that I love, and it is my sincerest wish that those who see it become as fond of it as I am. Enjoy:

  • The former Mayor of Leavenworth is in the shot where Dolph talks about Trude and The Royal Bavarians. "Lots of luck with that..." was an improvised line that cracks me up.
  • The way Jessie says, "My girl Ams," makes me melt. :)
  • Apparently, the crew had to be there by 4am in order to make the bratwurst! This is why I'm not an actor.
  • Those sausage-eating outtakes at the end.... another reason I'm not an actor.
  • "Say my name!" *snort laugh*
And that's it! I'm so proud of my brother for his creativity and work. Please share these videos with your friends and if you're ever in Washington, make sure to pay my hometown of Leavenworth a visit for me! :)


The Loyal Bavarians, Episode 4

"Wilda's Good Fortune" is the episode where the Lost Boys really grow on me! {I laugh at "par-cow!" every. time.} And Wilda's absurd, but devastating discovery is completely entertaining.

  • This episode is jam-packed with nostalgia! I remember when they first put up the Maypole; I've been to the Nutcracker Museum several times; and even the shot of the hanging flower baskets being watered makes me think of summer days on main street.
  • Wilda is handed a fortune cookie by our good family friend, Sister Bailey. Hi Mary Lou!!
  • Truffles the Bear sits outside of the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, which, until I was nearly 20 years old, I believed was exclusive to Leavenworth. He really is chained to the bench because people keep stealing him!
  • I love that the Lost Boys are shown in the gazebo, because that's exactly where the 'bad boys' always hang out! Ha!
  • If you're going to eat your feelings, Leavenworth is the place to do it. Pastries, chocolates, and sweets galore. I used to walk to the Taffy Shop after work and get a free sample of their latest flavor creation, and the Danish Bakery has the best cream horns. Yum.

The Loyal Bavarians, Episode 3

"Amsel's Day Out" is my favorite episode. I love how super sweet and innocent Amsel is, and the way she elevates Jessie as a result:

  • The lookout point that Jessie takes Amsel to is the top of Icicle Hill. I used to run that hill every day! I still miss the view.
  • "He looks like a stalker!" is a completely improvised line and makes me remember how common it felt to have adults of all ages invested in you and protective of you. That kind of community feeling is authentically Leavenworth.
  • I'm kind of sad that the Tattoo place didn't show up until after I moved away. It certainly adds a younger vibe.
  • In the outtakes, you get to see the alpenhorn being blown on top of the Enzian Inn, which has been a fixture of Leavenworth for as long as I can remember! Also, the Enzian has the most amazing breakfast buffets. Go. You'll thank me.
  • I am secretly in love with Klemens. 


The Loyal Bavarians, Episode 2

The second episode, "Baruch Wane", is one of my favorites! Having lived in Leavenworth myself, I can identify with Bennie being torn between the love of his 'Bavarian heritage' and his desire to usher in a more modern age.

When I was 16, we lived in a little house just off of the main street, which meant gingerbread trim, accordion music piped over outdoor speakers 24/7 and the smells of bratwurst and sauerkraut wafting through the air. For the most part, I had a fierce pride for my strange little hometown, but other times.... I longed to have a place where I could buy a t-shirt that didn't have a beer stein printed on the front.

  • I love that they're caught eating 'contraband' in the ally. Getting our first McDonalds in Leavenworth was quite the controversy-- it totally felt like you were a traitor if you were seen eating there!
  • Still, McDonalds was not where you went if you were craving American food. It was always the 59er Diner for burgers and shakes. It's the perfect BatCave for Bennie.
  • In actuality, The Castle Site is where all the city buses are parked-- but for years, my brother has wanted to build a real castle there. I love that he worked that into the script! {Take note, people! Leavenworth needs an IMAX theater and moat rides!}
  • "Gun ridden ally." *snort laugh*
BONUS! Episode 2.5!

Meet the Lost Boys of Leavenworth-- they claim to be the collateral damage of 'oppressive' theme towns. :)


The Loyal Bavarians, Episode 1

Growing up, my family moved at least every two years. By the time I left home at the age of 19, I'd already moved twenty-nine times! But the last six moves and five teenage years were spent in the town of Leavenworth, Washington-- a breathtakingly beautiful bavarian-themed tourist town that I unequivically think of as 'home'.

To be a local in a tourist town is a distinctly unique experience; one that can be difficult to describe. That's why I love the new web series "The Loyal Bavarians". It's humorous and absurd and yet a completely dead on homage to the place that I love. I'll be posting one episode each day this week, along with some brief annotations at the end.


  • The outfits that Amsel and Wilda are wearing? I wore those when I worked at Cafe Rumpelstilzchen as a waitress and baker. {No longer in business, but hi Theo and Elsa!}
  • Woody Goomsba is-- to my chagrin and horror-- completely real. It was a video that went viral and brought drunken college kids to Oktoberfest, but did IN NO WAY represent Leavenworth. RIP Woody. 
  • All the exterior shots make me terribly homesick.
  • I recognize the Reinhardt's house-- it's on Icicle Loop. Nearby is where "The Sound of Music" is performed every summer.


The Art of the Mocktail

As many of you know, The Academy Awards are a pretty big deal around here.  I've been watching and predicting winners annually for as long as I can remember!

This year, The Spanish Lady and I teamed up to put on a swank affair. I headed up the mocktail bar while she.... well, she did everything else. :) Check out her blog for all the details on the bite-sized, indulgent food, glittering decor and the movie-quote photo booth!

After you've oooh'd and ahhh'd over her mad skilz, let us take a moment to examine the sorely under-represented art of the mocktail. A mocktail is a cocktail without the alcohol, and unlike some unimaginative folk seem to think, it doesn't always have to be a Shirley Temple-- although my kids love those!

Having mixed mocktails for a few years now, I can say with certainty that there is something about the interactive busy-work of making a drink that gets a party flowing and keeps it well lubricated. It's creative, it's tasty, and it's fun!

Before we get started with a few of my favorite drinks, here are some quick tips:

Have a variety of glasses available. Champagne flutes, wine goblets, martini glasses, high ball, low ball, and shot glasses are all excellent choices. It might seem like overkill, but some drinks just seem better suited to certain glasses.

The better the ingredients, the better the drink. Now is not the time to stock up on Sprite and cranberry juice. Go get some exotic flavors and high-quality sodas. Try Trader Joe's, Whole Foods or World Market. You'll taste the difference.

More is more when it comes to garnishes. Seriously, you can't have too many. Slice copious amounts of lemons, limes, oranges, and cucumbers. Put out bowls of maraschino cherries, berries, spanish olives, capers, mint leaves, rosemary, syrups, and sugar for rimming glasses. Don't forget picks and swizzle straws!

The martini shaker is not for carbonated beverages!! You'll end up with your drink fizzing all over the place. When using carbonated beverages, forget 007 and take it stirred, not shaken.

All right, on to the drinks!

The Dean Martini is a staple. It's light, dry, and refreshing. The key to this drink is the Dry Cucumber Soda, so don't substitute anything else!

3 oz Dry Cucumber Soda {see photo below}
2 oz Pellegrino
Dash of Aromatic Bitters

Speaking of Cucumber Soda, here's a drink for all those Sherlock fans out there:

The Cu-Cumberbatch:

3 oz Dry Cucumber Soda
2 oz Joia brand Lime, Hibiscus & Clove Soda
Sliced Cucumber

The Grand Budapest is sweet without being cloying:

3 oz Joia brand Grapefruit, Chamomile & Cardamom Soda {see photo below}
2 oz Pellegrino
1 oz Blood Orange soda

As you can imagine, this next one came about when we decided to mix everything of one color in a glass:

The Green Room:

3 oz Pellegrino
2 oz Bartlett Pear Soda
Dash of Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice
Sliced Lime

Another favorite! The Spanish Lady introduced this one over Christmas and we're still obsessed:

The Mocking Gin:

3 oz Bruce Cost Unfiltered Ginger Ale
2 oz Pellegrino
Dash of Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice
Dash of Aromatic Bitters
Sprig of Rosemary

We knew the kids would like this one, but were surprised at how much we all ended up enjoying it:

The Big Hero 6: 

4 oz 7UP or Sprite
1 oz Lychee Drink {see photo below}
Maraschino Cherry(s)

And lastly, our signature drink of the night:

The Oscar:

3 oz Lorina's Pink Lemonade
1 oz Bartlett Pear soda
Gold Sugar rim

Cheers everyone!


Weekend Links

This weekend is long overdue! Here are some quick links to get you started:

A Behind-the-Scenes look at our latest Christmas Video. Rico has your back. ;)

Another music video shot by my brother for the band MoonHype. It's upbeat, catchy, and makes me smile all day long!

And lastly, this song is on repeat at my house for obvious reasons. My girl Meghan says it so well!

Have a great weekend, all!


Last Christmas

From the minute I tearfully declared my decision to divorce, my family has swarmed in to love, protect, nurture and sustain me.

They dropped everything. 

Half of them picked up and moved states to be near me. The other half has been helping financially and emotionally. All of them have been praying for me, talking with me, and giving the kind of empathetic, whole-hearted, essential support that brings to mind soldiers in the trenches together. I cannot imagine going through this without them. They've been indispensable. My soft place to land. My refuge.

We call it the Hansen Invasion, and I've never been so proud to be a Hansen.

Over the holiday break, we decided that it might be cathartic to make a Christmas Video after all.

Discovering who J really is has been the biggest disappointment of my life; but accepting who J really is has been biggest liberation of my life. I needed a song that encapsulated both the heartbreak and the resolve; the disgust and the freedom, the sorrow and the joy.

And that's how we decided to cover "Last Christmas" by Wham.

Enjoy it in all its 80's glory. :)

I have to mention that this was all shot in a single night after we'd put the kids {15 between us all} to bed. We filmed it using a half working Panasonic PK800 tube camera {like on Ghostbusters!} and a Nikon DSLR pointed at a TV. We wrapped up around 2am and none of us fully recall the events captured on film-- but it was a complete blast.

Every time I watch it, I gut-laugh and feel fiercely grateful for the abundance of good that the world still offers. My brothers and sisters are evidence of that.

Happy Christmas. ;)
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