How to Set up your Home Bar: Bar Tools, Glassware, and Booze Essentials

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Last week I covered the first step to setting up your home bar: finding the perfect bar cart.  Now that you have a foundation, we can get into the bar tool accessories and essentials you need to be the best home bartender around!

Step 2: Home Bar Tool Essentials:
home bar tool essentials
1. cocktail shaker: for obvious reasons.
2. jigger: for precise measuring.
3. mixing glass: for when you want it stirred, not shaken.
4. muddler: sometimes you have to muddle.
5. hawthorne strainer: once you mix a cocktail you have to pour it.
6. opener: this one is cute and fun.
7. stirring spoon: you know, to stir.
8. cocktail picks: for your olive, cherry, or what have you.
9. large ice cube tray: so you can have it on a rock (and so your drink gets less watery).
10. mesh strainer: to keep the muddled stuff from getting in your drink.
11. y peeler: garnish anything you like. Bonus points for lighting your citrus zest on fire before rimming your glass to release the essential oils.
12. juicer: this is the mother of all juicers and will get every last ounce.

Bonus points for decanters, ice buckets, sphere ice molds, ice picks, pourers, and swizzle sticks.

Step 3: Home Bar Essential Glasses
Home bar essential glassware
1. old fashioned glass
2. coup
3. champagne flute
4. beer glass
5. wine glass (red and white)
6. martini
7. collins glass
8. shot glass

These glasses will get you by for entertaining guests in a heart beat.  If entertaining isn't really your forte, think about the drinks that you enjoy most.  Are you a beer connoisseur?  Then focus on your beer glasses.  Some of these are multi-purpose as well, you can serve a negroni or champagne in a coupe.  Don't be afraid to have a little fun with your glasses as well - these Sisters of Los Angeles rocks glasses are some of my favorites.  Etsy is also a great resource for vintage bar and glassware.
via Refinery29
Step 4: Spirits (the booze):
Vodka: I like Ketel One best.  Tito's is also a solid choice.  Try making a moscow mule or martini.
Gin: Gin is my favorite spirit, and I have a few favorites.  Blade, Amethyst, and Hendrick's are all solid choices.  Try a gin and tonic, tom collins, or east side.
Rum: We always have a bottle of Atlantico on hand.  Try a dark and stormy, it's one of my favorites!
Tequila: I like Espolon, and Casamingos is a great higher end tequila.  Try a margarita or paloma.
Whiskey: Buffalo Trace is a great every day bourbon whiskey.  I've even done infusions with it before - try figs or cinnamon, cloves, and orange zest; they make great gifts!  Try making a manhattan or sazerac.
via Design Sponge
Step 5: Liqueurs, Bitters, and Garnishes:
Triple Sec: Orange liqueur is an essential in many cocktails.  Cointreau is a great one.
St. Germain: This elderflower liqueur is great in gin and vodka cocktails, and even with champagne.
Vermouth: I don't have a favorite here, but you'll need dry for martinis and sweet for other cocktails.
Orgeat: St. Vincent's is a great quality almond syrup.  Stay away from the cheap stuff on this.  One of my favorite cocktails uses orgeat, it's called a trinidad sour.
Pimm's: For Pimm's Cups, of course!
Bitters: Start with the granddaddy of all bitters, Angostura.  If you like bitters, I'd recommend Orange, Peychaud, and Underberg.
Garnishes: Lemon, lime, orange, and Luxardo cherries should cover all your bases.
via Lonny
Step 6: Mixers:
Tonic: I swear by Jack Rudy small batch tonic.  It's a bit pricey, however, its a syrup, and therefore not carbonated so it lasts much longer.  To mix a drink you use the tonic and add your own seltzer water for the bubbles.  It's completely changed my gin and tonic game.
Seltzer: A must, we just buy it from Trader Joe's.
Ginger Beer: In my opinion, Bundaberg is the only way to go.

Now you should have everything you need to have a fully stocked bar at home!  Don't forget about the first essential piece in building your home bar: the bar cart.  For recipes, bar tools, bar inspiration, and more, visit my bar pinterest board.

Look for Less: Make it or Fake it #15

Monday, December 1, 2014

Make it with this Caravan Pacific Alberta Table Lamp for $500
or fake it with this Target Threshold Ceramic Table Lamp $44.99
Be sure to check out other make it or fake it posts here for more affordable home decor options.

How to Set Up Your Home Bar: Round Up: The Best Bar Carts

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

In order to build a great home bar, you'll need a place to house all your bar paraphernalia.  A really great bar cart is the perfect first piece in building a home bar.  They're versatile pieces that are great for both storage and entertaining, and can be used for a variety of purposes: as a night stand, end table, kitchen cart, etc.  If you're into making cocktails or mixology, showcase your bar tools and booze with pride!
image via Lonny Mag
Some features to look for in a bar cart are multiple shelving to maximize storage space and wheels for easy maneuvering.  Here are a few of my favorite bar carts in a variety of styles and prices:

Do you have a bar cart at home?  Stay tuned for a post about how to build your very own bar.  For recipes, bar tools, bar inspiration and more, be sure to visit my pinterest board here.  Stay tuned for step two of building your own home bar, with all the essentials you need to make the best cocktails at home.

Style Steal #6: Tropical Eclectic Dining Room

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fashion stylist Jenny Kaplan knows how to make a statement.  I absolutely love her quirky, tropical dining room featured on Rue Daily.  The pair of bamboo chairs with funky pillows spices up an otherwise white dining area.  She mixes styles seamlessly, a mid century credenza, industrial cage lamps, a modern globe mirror pendant lamp, beachy chairs...and yet it all comes together in such cohesive way, like everything is intentional.  It's my belief that when decorating you can't worry too much about whether or not something 'goes', because if you really love it, it will work.  In the end, your space and decor is a reflection of yourself!  So you can't go wrong decorating with pieces you absolutely love.  See how to steal Jenny's style below, and check out the full home tour over on Apartment Therapy.
image via Rue Daily
Get the look: blue abstract art // navy chevron pillows // white bamboo dining chairs // silver globe pendant light // industrial cage table lamp // turtle shells // white dining table // credenza

Be sure to check out other style steal posts here to get the look of some killer rooms.  What do you think of Jenny's style?

Holiday Gift Guide for Women

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

So last week I posted the holiday gift guide for men, and this week I'm covering your bases for all the women in your life.  If you're stumped on what to get, the key really is just to listen.  Chances are she'll mention at least one thing she wants daily, and probably even has a wish list somewhere outlining exactly everything she wants.  But don't worry, I did all the work for you already.  Here are 30 gift ideas for your best friend, girlfriend, co-worker, etc. that won't disappoint.  For even more gift ideas for women check out my pinterest board here, or for more gift ideas for men check this pinterest board.
1. j.crew camp socks: the perfect in between sock for chillier days - not quite wool but not too thin either.
2. madewell bendbright studs: these simple gold studs will become a quick staple.
3. anthropologie monogram mug: monogram mugs are perfect for the office, no confusion!
4. triple c amplifier egg: perfect for when you need to bump up the volume.
5. madewell arrow hair pins: upping the bobby pin game in a serious way.
6. ban.do hot stuff thermal mug: maybe the best travel mug ever.  I mean, really, ever.
7. sugar paper wall calendar: a new year means a new calendar.
8. h&m makeup bag: girls can never have enough makeup bags.
9. anthropologie pretzel bottle opener: this one is pretty enough to keep out on display.
10. rifle paper co floral coasters: beautiful floral patterns make these coasters a must-have.
1. triple c power card: so you never run out of juice.
2. cat bird big mouth dish: an excessive amount of trinkets requires the best trinket dishes.
3. herkimer diamond earrings: an easy everyday wear, these earrings are tough with a rough cut.
4. champagne pouch: again, girls always need more things to put their things in.
5. j.crew classic leather belt: you can't go wrong with a great leather belt.
6. s'well bottle: keeps your drinks hot for 12 hours, and cold for 24.  And the best part?  The 32 oz fits an entire bottle of wine!
7. madewell mountain shadow scarf: this over-sized scarf can double as a wrap and will keep you toasty.
8. toc leather bowl: a leather and gold thing to put your things in.
9. aesop hand soap: this luxe soap smells like a dream.
10. kate spade saturday initial candle: nothing says personal like monograms.
1. marc by marc jacobs pouch: perfect to hold cards, etc. when you don't want to bring your whole wallet.
2. giles & brother railroad spike cuff: edgy and pretty spiked cuff in gorgeous rose gold.
3. madewell cashmere beanie: because you can't go wrong with cashmere.  Or grey.
4. lululemon wunder under pant: every girl loves lululemon. Trust me.  These fold over pants are beyond comfortable and are great for the gym or relaxing at home.
5. ll bean fisherman sweater: a classic basic every girl (and guy) should have.
6. jo malone cologne: this luxe cologne lasts and has a scent for everyone.
7. baggu weekend bag: perfect to stash your stuff for a quick getaway.
8. ll bean wicked good moccasins: keep your feet toasty warm in these sheepskin moccasins.
9. j.crew flannel pjs: a pj set is beyond cute and comfortable.
10. gap leather satchel: this all season leather bag is great for any occasion.

Holiday Gift Guide for Men

Thursday, November 13, 2014

If there's one thing I've learned about men, it's that they never need anything.  Not in the same way that women do.  Women need a Marc Jacobs bag the same way they need shampoo.  Men are the complete opposite, they need useful things like toothpaste and new sneakers because theirs have holes in them or the sole is gone.  And the tricky thing about men is that when they need something, they go out and get it.  I mean, like, immediately.  This makes them difficult people to buy gifts for.  For the most part, I've found that men like to receive gifts that are useful and functional.  Things that have a purpose.  Recently for a friends birthday, we bought him tons of socks.  I know it sounds weird, but you know what?  He LOVED them.  They were fun, and something he can use every day.  The trick is to get them things they need, but don't know they need them.  I know, it sounds crazy, but look, I did it for you.  For even more gift ideas check out my pinterest board here, and if you're looking for gift ideas for the ladies, check out this gift guide here.

Here are a bunch of man gifts the man in your life needs but didn't even know he needed, at several different price points.
He didn't know he needed:
1. workboard darts: because who doesn't need to blow off a little steam at the office?
2. triplec oval amplifier: great for on the go or traveling, this mini sound amplifier works in a pinch.
3. crux stache wax: for the mustached man.
4. gentleman's deck playing cards: this deck of cards has tips on how to be the perfect gentleman.
5. luggage scale: no more embarrassing math skills needed to find the difference of your weight and the weight of your luggage. 
6. the best craft cocktails: because all men love booze.  
7. crate & barrel forged corkscrew: because men should open wine with something manly.
8. minimergency kit for him: this inconspicuous tin will ensure he's prepared for anything. 
9. uppercut deluxe shave cream: luxe with great packaging, he'll always need shave cream.
10. moscow mule mug: so that you can enjoy moscow mules at home, the right way.
He didn't know he needed:
1. izola nested shot glasses: so that he can toast like a Spaniard.
2. bkr bottle: a cool glass water bottle protected with a silicone cover to prevent breaking.
3. brooklyn eagles ball cap: a fun throwback baseball cap for those bad hair days.
4. swiss army huntsman: always handy with a cool wood handle.
5. mixology glasses: so that he's never confused about what he's drinking.
6. triplec green budz: retractable ear buds with manly wood accents keep these from tangling.
7. timex weekender watch: a good classic watch face is all he needs; straps interchangeable.
8. il bussetto leather card holder: a minimalist thinner wallet in gorgeous leather.
9. stanley flask: so that he can always drink, especially on the go. 
10. domino box set: they're not just for old people anymore!
He didn't know he needed:
1. komono crafted sunglasses: lighter tortoiseshell in McQueen-esque frames are way stylish.
2. jack spade bones money clip: you know, so he can always use his bones.
3. triplec bluboom portable speaker: wood is just awesome and manly, and this speaker is no exception.
4. nespresso inissia: who doesn't want espresso without the mess?
5. filson travel kit: this brand makes the most durable products around.
6. valet tray: so his keys/phone/wallet are always accessible.  There's even a notch for a charger.
7. the north face mason duffel bag: so he can jet set or road trip whenever.
8. fitbit: because wearables are 'in'.
9. henley brands folding barware: when in doubt, just give him booze related items.
10. vans leather sneakers: so he can up his cool factor several levels.

Now go forth and shop with confidence for the men in your life!

Style Steal #5: Boho Living Room

Monday, August 25, 2014

Stylist and art director Paige Morse's Dallas home is full of gorgeous eclectic furniture and accents with a distinct bohemian vibe.  I'm over the moon for her dhurrie kilim love seat and beaded chandelier.  See how to steal her style below:
Be sure to check out my other style steal posts here.

Style Steal #4: Vintage Eclectic Bedroom

Monday, August 18, 2014

Creative director Nathalie Bouchard and stylist Annie Horth are the duo behind Creative Flats, a company offering jazzed up and gorgeously styled residential rental properties in Montreal.  The below bedroom from one of their lofts in a historic telegraph building has an eclectic mix of vintage accents and a stand out fashion print by photographer Malina Corpadean.  See how to steal the style below:   
Be sure to check out my other style steal posts here.

Best of Ikea: Storage

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Let's face it.  Decorating your home can wind up being an expensive endeavor.  When I was first furnishing my apartment, I was on a tight budget (and still am).  I scoured flea markets, craigslist, and hit Ikea to get the things I needed at a decent price.  The great thing about places like Ikea (and let's face it, there is no other place like it) is that if you chose carefully, no one need know that you're harboring inexpensive MDF furniture.  The trick to decorating with Ikea is to choose pieces that are simple and classic, and blend them in with vintage and other unique furniture and decor.  To make it easy on you, I've rounded up my favorite Ikea pieces, and will be sharing them with you throughout the coming weeks.  First up is the best of Ikea storage pieces:
1. Malm chest - this versatile chest of drawers can be used as a dresser or nightstand, and comes in a variety of colors.  I'm a fan of the peacock blue.  Jazz it up by adding DIY leather drawer pulls or other hardware.
2. Sveio chest - the mid century lines and clean white hue make this dresser a stylish addition to any room.
3. Vittsjo shelf - open shelving that comes in several sizes.  Check out these ikea hacks for the shelf.  My favorite is the white spray paint with wood shelves.
4. Stenstorp kitchen cart - great storage for your kitchen.  Keep a variety of things on these shelves like extra pots and pans, serving pieces, baking supplies, etc., and use the surface for extra cooking space.
5. Stockholm cabinet - I love the bright color of this modern cabinet; it's a great piece for a dining room or bar.
6. Fabrikor cabinet - A ready-made cabinet that echoes the structure of vintage medical cabinets makes great storage for a bathroom or kitchen.
7. Fjalkinge shelf - Another clean white classic that works just as well in a living room as it does in the kitchen.
8. Stockholm sideboard - With mid-century lines and a white and wood combo, you can't go wrong with this as a buffet or TV console.

Style Steal 3: Mid Century Living Room

Monday, August 11, 2014

Blogger Sarah Sherman Samuel of Smitten Studio routinely shares progress on her beautiful home renovation project.  See how to get the look of this cute mid century corner in her home below:
Be sure to check out my other style steal posts here.

Everyday Essentials: How to Style your Entryway

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Liv Tyler via One Kings Lane
There are a few components necessary to achieve a well-styled entryway that's both functional and welcoming.  Depending on your style and habits, different formulas may work best for you, but these are my go to essentials for creating a stylish entryway in your home.
via Chatterfox Blog
1) Surface.  Notice I didn't say 'table'.  Not every entryway can accommodate a table - get creative and use a wall shelf or a plant stand for narrow spaces.  If you've got the space, a console works great, or even a bench or dresser.  Focus on finding a piece that fits your needs; ie. a dresser with drawers if you need extra storage.
via Style by Emily Henderson
2) Lighting.  Your entryway is where you throw down keys, phone, mail, etc.  You need to be able to see when you get in the door.  If you don't have space for a table lamp, think about a wall sconce.
via Show and Tell
3) Hooks.  If you're ditching your coat, bag, scarfs, etc. at the door, you'll need a place to hang them.  If you're short on space, add hooks to the back of the door.
4) Door mat or rug.  For smaller spaces, a door mat will be your best option.  If you have room though, a larger runner can help to define the space and create a proper entryway.
via Lonny Mag
5) Catch all bowl.  Get in the habit of leaving your keys, phone, etc. at the door so you won't go crazy looking for them.
via Style by Emily Henderson
6) Letter organizer.  This is a personal problem for me - I often come in and throw mail anywhere and wind up not opening important letters.  Don't let your mail get the best of you.  Rather than leaving mail all over the place, make a station for yourself in your entry.  Keep envelopes, stamps, and your check book so you can easily take care of bills in one slot, any mail you're not ready to deal with in another, and outgoing mail in your last slot.  I also like to keep a basket for recycling junk mail on the spot.
via Chatterfox Blog
7) Tray.  Corral your mail station, catch all bowl, sunglasses, etc. in a tray to stay organized.  I'm of the opinion that you can never have too many trays - they are beyond useful and a quick way to make accessories and general "stuff" look intentional.
via Smitten Studio
8) Mirror.  While not necessarily a true 'essential', if you have the room, mirrors are great for last minute touch ups as you're heading out the door.  They have the added bonus of making rooms appear larger and also reflect light to brighten up your space.

Other great additions are plants, artwork, baskets, stools, decor accessories like books, candles, jars, and other miscellany.  How do you style your entryway?

Inspiring Spaces: The Dining Room

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Let's talk about dining rooms.  While not everyone may have a proper dining room, you certainly have a dining nook if nothing else.  I do wind up eating more meals at my coffee table, but I've vowed to change that habit and put my dining nook to proper use.  Below are some beautiful dining rooms that have me feeling inspired:

This bright and airy space was designed by Orlando Soria, Creative Director at Homepolish and blogger of Hommemaker, for Fashion Toast's Rumi Neely.  My favorite elements of this room are the modern chairs and beautiful framed textile from St. Frank.  The light wood tones and furry throws make this dining space warm and inviting, and contrast well with the deeply saturated cowhide rug.
via Hommemaker
This dramatic space has one spectacular element - the arctic pear chandelier by Ochre.  An eye-catching chandelier is essential in any dining space, and particularly useful in open floor plans to help define the space, as in this kitchen/dining room.  The beauty of the live edge wood dining table and rich caramel leather eiffel chairs contrast and warm the 'colder' materials of cement, glass, brick, and tile that are a prominent feature in the room.
via Kitchenware Area
 Less is more in this open plan dining space of Athena Calderon, designer and blogger behind Eye Swoon.  Bold black accents in the mid century chairs, medieval chandelier, modern sconce, and beautiful antique credenza are prominent yet not overpowering, creating a cohesive, relaxed rustic feel.
via House to Home
The design of this rustic modern space is enhanced with the raw elements of the room: hardwood floors and an exposed ceiling.  I love the mix of styles in this room as well: the farmhouse plank table, mid century Paul McCobb chairs, and modern Patrick Townsend Orbit chandelier.
via Anne Street Studio
 While the gilded mirror and china display aren't really my cup of tea, those beautiful brass Cidue Vicenca cantilever chairs, kilim rug, and farmhouse table are something out of my wildest design dreams.  It's really those brass chairs that get me.  I am officially on the hunt for these babies.
via Design Sponge

Trend Watch: Tassels

Thursday, July 24, 2014


source
I'm loving the plethora of tassel embellishments lately on everything from home decor to clothing.  See how to incorporate the trend into your home or wardrobe in a subtle or major way below:
1. amber interiors llama pom pillow // 2. etsy beaded bracelet //
3. 
etsy turkish towel // 4. jcrew embroidered tassel top // 5. jcrew chain tassel earrings //
6. 
anthropologie tassel stitch table runner // 7. clare vivier tassel keychain //
8. 
etsy moroccan wool blanket // 9. kate spade saturday tassel heels // 10. crochet short tassels dress
I'm dying to get my hands on that pillow!  What do you think of the trend?  Can you handle it?

Look for Less: Make it or Fake it #14

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Make it with this Amber Interiors Shoppe otomi pillow for $130
 or fake it with this etsy otomi pillow for $99
Be sure to check out other make it or fake it posts here.

Style Steal 2: Cozy Cottage

Friday, July 18, 2014

I fell in love with Jenny Li and Hans Gissinger's three-story home in Brooklyn featured on Domino.  Their home may be three stories, but the decor in their family room gives off a quintessential cozy cottage vibe.  White floors, walls, and ceiling create a bright and inviting space, accentuated by the absence of window treatments.  Wood accents in different tones and worn in linen are relaxed and family friendly.  Be sure to check out the rest of the tour, and see how to get the look below:
// console // louis xvi accent chair // sofa // image via Domino
Who knew Brooklyn could look so good?  Be sure to check out my other style steal posts here.

Look for Less: Make it or Fake it #13

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Make it with this Restoration Hardware Cabinet for $4,595
or fake it with this Cost Plus World Market Cabinet for $899.99
Be sure to check out other make it or fake it posts here for more affordable home decor options.

Everyday Essentials for Women and Men

Monday, July 14, 2014

A good guy friend of mine (and loyal reader) recently asked me if I might post more things geared towards men.  Well, ask and you shall receive.  But seriously, if you want to read more about a particular topic, feel free to comment or message me with reader requests!  In any case, I thought I'd outline a few practical essentials for women and men today that are great for everyday use.
Gap denim jacket - I live in my denim jacket year round - it's the perfect weight for those cool California mornings and evenings.

Kiehl's micro-blur skin perfector - This is the first and last primer I'll ever use.  I can't count how many compliments I've gotten on my skin every time I wear it; it does magical things to your complexion - filling in fine lines and making your skin feel silky smooth.

S'well bottle - I'm constantly thirsty, but hate drinking luke-warm beverages.  S'well bottles keep your drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12.  Once you try one, I promise, you'll never look at another water bottle the same way.

Madewell leather tote - I'm all about classics, and you can't ever go wrong with a simple leather tote.  This is my carryall for work, travel, and play.

Kindle paperwhite - I can't go a day without reading, and devour books a week or two at a time.  I love the feeling of a real book in my hands, but at my rate I ran out of space for books long ago.  Now I buy e-books and read them on my kindle - with no glare, it's great for reading outdoors, and it's super light-weight as well.
Persol sunglasses - If Steve McQueen wore them, you know they've got to be an everyday essential.  These sunglasses are a classic shape, and fold up for easy storing.

Redwing boots - For the adventurer, these rugged boots go with anything and will take you from a casual cool dinner to a sunset motorcycle ride.

Apolis waterproof journal - this pocket-sized notepad is great when you need to jot down a little something, but with a huge added bonus: it's waterproof.  You never know what sort of crazy situations men will get themselves into!

Filson bag - Filson uses extra durable canvas and bridle leather handles for bags built to last.  I bought this bag for my boyfriend four years ago, and its only gotten better with age and every day use.

Whiskey after shave - This all natural vegan aftershave is the perfect thing to soothe your skin after a shave.  If whiskey hangovers smelled good, they'd smell like this.

Speaking of essentials, I recently came across a newer company that embraces those everyday essentials by creating crates full of survival items.  Man Crates makes great gifts for the men in your life, and saves you the legwork of curating items.  And yes, they come in an actual crate.  Man Crates thoughtfully supplies a crowbar with each order as well - I mean, what fun is a gift if you can't pry it open using your man strength and a man tool?  Check out some of their crates here.  I'm a fan of the clean shave crategrill master, and whiskey cocktail.  What are some of your everyday essentials?
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