The Accidental Astrologer

Grins and Giggles

Cancerians bring light and light-heartedness to the darkness

By Astrid Stellanova

A whole lot of July Star Children are born with a funny streak, and live for shenanigans. One is that high-larious actor Ken Jeong, the doctor and comedian who just so happens to be a Page High School alum. Recently he revisited his local roots to deliver the commencement at UNCG — and delivered the grads from taking themselves too seriously.

The fun and fabulous Sofia Vergara, Will Farrell and comic genius Robin Williams were born under the sign of Cancer. How ironic that the sign of the crab should produce so many big wits and comedians. Like the stars, they light the darkness.

Cancer (June 21–July 22)

That double-dang double-crosser who broke your trust will get theirs, and you won’t have to lift a pinky. Not to worry one second. Let’s put it this way: If you were a comic book hero, you’d be known for your super power of . . . judgey-ness. You have super powers you have never even explored. Like an incredible talent for sussing up a situation and knowing when to hightail it outta Dodge.

Leo (July 23–August 22)

While you were busy monkey-branching like you were Tarzan, you forgot to look down. If you had, you would have noticed some circling hyenas waiting for you to slip and fall. Those are some of the pack you used to run with, and now, Sugar, you need to outrun them. Put your past waay behind you.

Virgo (August 23–September 22)

This is classic you: not exactly inclined to give a rat’s you-know-what or a gnat’s little patootie for status or approval. And Honey, you get a lotta lovin’ for that! Next up: letting down the old guard and making yourself vulnerable. Trust ain’t just a banking term.

Libra (September 23–October 22)

You didn’t just lose touch with reality. Sugar, you broke the whole handle off things trying to get a grip. A new work opportunity is golden, but your domestic situation is suffering. Take care of those who tend to the hearth and home.

Scorpio (October 23–November 21)

The tee-nine-sy part of you that likes approval took over your whole world. If you want to win friends, Darling, let’s put your “I Know It All” merit badge away in a drawer. Sure you earned it. But it has not helped your sex life or friendships one bit.

Sagittarius (November 22–December 21)

The juice just ain’t worth the squeeze, Sugar. You have worked hard to make good on a promise to yourself and another. Now you have a significant situation that has escaped you and is calling your name. Time to squeeze and release.

Capricorn (December 22–January 19)

By the time you can say tickety-boo you let the cat out of the bag. Not your fault; a trickster you know so well made you spill. No worries. There is time to clean up the mess on Aisle Five before anybody’s the wiser.

Aquarius (January 20–February 18)

Rinse and repeat. Words to live by. Works real good for stains and also works good for self-love and redemption. Forgive yourself, Darling, for letting a situation get a little gray and a whole lot dingy. It will all come out in the wash.

Pisces (February 19–March 20)

Fireworks don’t have a place in your life except for Independence Day. Dial back emotions, and just recognize somebody set a tripwire for you because they are more volatile than a pig in a hailstorm. They only wish they had your self-control. 

Aries (March 21–April 19)

Looks like you stuck the baster in the wrong end of the chicken, Honey. You have been in such a dizzy place that you forgot your purpose and dang near lost your marbles. Recalibrate. Breathe. Meditate. Honey Bun, just do anything but knit your brows.

Taurus (April 20–May 20)

Pigs were flying when you (praise Jesus) decided to zip it and keep the peace just when your nemesis made a total jerk out of himself. Take a bow. You have just zoomed to the front of the astral line for having passed a major spiritual challenge.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Sometimes you open your mouth and your Mamma falls out. Life has been a little too boring for your tastes, so you decided to pull the plug on a very good idea and watch it all go right down the dang drain. It will not be boring to reconnoiter.  OH

For years, Astrid Stellanova owned and operated Curl Up and Dye Beauty Salon in the boondocks of North Carolina until arthritic fingers and her popular astrological readings provoked a new career path.

In the Spirit

The Bare Necessities

Keeping it simple keeps it delicious

By Tony Cross

Last month I confessed to being behind on a number of books that I had barely started or hadn’t opened at all. One of those books is Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. Yes, that’s right. It’s blasphemous to say that I adore the man, yet have not read his epic first book. Embarrassing, I know. Anyway, the book is amazing. One of the chapters, “How to Cook Like the Pros,” has Bourdain giving tips to those at home who want to cook well enough to amaze their next dinner party guests. Good stuff. He starts with tools: chef’s knife, other knives, plastic squeeze bottles, pots and pans, etc. He then moves on to ingredients: butter, stock, shallots and more. So, in this episode, I’m going to blatantly rip off Anthony. It’s OK, we share the same first name.

When it comes to making drinks, people always ask me questions like: “What’s your favorite drink to make? Do you really like egg whites in cocktails? What’s a good recipe?” (I get that one a lot.) Or: “How do you make your old-fashioneds?” and “Do you really like mezcal?” I usually respond to the last one with “no” and a grin on my face. One time, a married woman (claiming to be newly separated) actually messaged me on social media late on a Saturday night to find out what my favorite rye is. It’s Rittenhouse, but that’s not all she asked.

The point is, you only need a few tools, and a few ingredients to make a ton of delicious cocktails. And in no particular order, so let’s go.

Angostura Bitters

There are a ton of bitters on the market. They’re everywhere. And by all means, experiment and check them out. But I’ve never lost it in my kitchen when I’ve run out of cardamom bitters. It’ll never happen. Angostura is the essential bitters that should always be stocked in your place. Plain and simple. Plus, it’s available everywhere, and it cures hiccups (doused on a lemon wedge). Just saying.

A Good Juicer

A durable, inexpensive, hand-held juicer is all you need when making drinks at home. I’ve talked to people who just “squeeze a little lime juice” into their shaker (I hope) when creating their own gimlets. Amazon has the Chef’n FreshForce model that is only $20, and durable as hell. Even if you’re hosting a 12-person cocktail party, this hand-held juicer is really convenient. Once you get the hang of it, you can juice 10 ounces in no time. Oh, and measure the stuff while you’re at it.


Use a jigger that has a few measurements on it. You know, 1/4 , 1/2, 3/4 of an ounce. I prefer the Japanese style, but whatever is easiest for you. Cocktail Kingdom has a lot of fancy plated ones; to each their own. I have the original stainless steel, and they’ve lasted me for years. If you’re not measuring, stop reading here.


If you’ve always got a half to a full cup of simple syrup in your fridge that hasn’t gone bad, good for you. You’re an alcoholic. Kidding. The rest of us probably have that “Oh, hell” moment when realizing that we’ve got everything for the drink ready except for said syrup. No worries, it only takes a minute to make, and that’s if you feel like making it. But syrup or no syrup, you should always have a small amount of demerara or cane sugar in the cabinet. It makes all the difference in the classics. Don’t believe me? Make a rich demerara syrup for your next daiquiri and tell me that the sugar doesn’t bring out the flavors in the top of the line rum you used. The color may not be Instagram-worthy, but who cares when you’ve made one of the best drinks in the world.


I can’t believe that almost every bar and restaurant in this town still has vermouth on the shelf. It’s rancid. Don’t be like most bars and restaurants in this town. Refrigerate, dammit. You’re only wasting your own hard-earned dollar and taste buds. Get a white and a red. You don’t need four of each, unless you’re using them before they spoil. Here, here! Dolin Dry for martinis and Carpano Antica for Manhattans. They’re also delicious over ice with a twist, too, ya know.


I see a lot of articles online that read something like this: “The 8 Gins You Should Have at Home!” Really? Eight? No thanks. How about two or three? Plymouth for martinis and Beefeater’s for gin and tonics. “Hey, Tony! I can’t imagine how many whiskies you have at home!” I can. Three or four? Maybe? I love rye, so I usually have Old Overholt, Rittenhouse and/or Wild Turkey Rye. Whatever bourbon I can get my hands on that’s halfway decent from the ABC. Oh, and a good bottle of Scotch. Yeah, that’s about it. Aaaaand for the rest:

Agave: If you are really just into margaritas, get a blanco; I particularly enjoy Herradura. If sipping is your thing, grab a nice anejo. A bottle of Del Maguey anything wouldn’t hurt either.

Rum: One white rum and one funky. For me, it’s Cana Brava and Smith & Cross. Actually, I’m lying. I have more. But I’m a rum-whore. Can’t help it. But the former is a good start.

Vodka: This is easily the most debated. Probably because most people who boast about what vodka they love are full of it. Tito’s, you say? Yeah, sure. I don’t care. For me, it’s always a vehicle to a destination. Just don’t let that ride be a Ford Pinto.

Brandy: Rémy Martin. Damn good cognac.   OH

Tony Cross is a bartender who runs cocktail catering company Reverie Cocktails in Southern Pines.