How To Make a Fernet Buck
Got any awesome plans (or cocktails) coming up?
If you remember from a post a few weeks ago, I tried a really awesome drink at the O Hotel's Bar+Kitchen in Downtown LA. The drink was so good, in fact, that I returned for one (but ended up having two. And french fries). Boy were those drinks pricey off the happy hour menu. So I decided to go home and try it out. If I do say so myself, I totally nailed it.
Fernet Branca was developed as a digestive aid in 1845 in Italy, and continues to be consumed in cocktails (the Italians sure seem to like medicinal inspired alcohols). Fernet is hard to describe, but is perhaps best done by Imbibe: " Most liqueurs are gentle, sweet and eager to please, like helpful Boy Scouts. Fernet Branca is no Boy Scout." It is reported to be a blend of around 40 herbs and spices, including things like myrrh, saffron, chamomile, but perhaps most noticeable are the aromas of menthol and eucalyptus. While made for sipping, I think Fernet Branca is much more pleasurable when mixed.
A true Fernet Buck is simply a mixture of the liqueur and ginger beer, but upon trying that, I found it lackluster in comparison to the cocktail that had inspired this foray into mixology. I remembered that the drink listing mentioned thyme, so I added the herb in syrup form to my round two attempt. Voila! That was what I had been looking for!
The thyme syrup is simple... simple syrup! Combine a half cup sugar and a half cup of water with 4 fresh thyme sprigs in a small saucepan over medium low heart. Bring to a boil and then let simmer, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture clouds, then clears. Bring off the heat and allow it to sit in the pot with the thyme until the mixture is room temperature. Then strain into a glass bottle, and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
I really like the nice golden hue that it comes out! I would come up with some other drinks to use it in, but for now I'm kinda stuck on the buck (hah).
How To Make a Fernet Buck
1 ounce Fernet Branca
5 ounces ginger beer (I used an alcoholic version, but you can use non-alcoholic as well)
2 teaspoons thyme syrup
Garnish: large lemon wedge
Add all ingredients to an iced filled glass a stir to mix, and squeeze that nice chunk of lemon on top!
I love the frothiness on this drink! If you prefer the ginger-y-ness of the beer to the herbal-y-ness of the Fernet Branca, add more beer. And don't forget the lemon and lots of ice, they're essential (this is not a good beverage to let sit... not as good at room temp)!
Happy Friday! And happy almost three day weekend!
Got any awesome plans (or cocktails) coming up?
May is National Get Caught Reading Month! As an avid lover of books and all things literate (thank your Mrs. Ball, my 1st grade teacher), there's a part of me that couldn't help but be totally gleeful at the thought of this holiday. To celebrate, I'm sharing a short list of some of my favorites in a few different categories!
Because you're never too old to be reading Young Adult fiction. Unless it's about vampires. Or werewolves.
Hope you get caught reading sometime soon!
With my nose in a book, Rachel
That's right, it's Hump Day, and I'm feeling pretty good! This week's inspiration post is full of things I've been loving over the past two weeks, and it's all unabashedly bright. Let's get (sorta) raucous, shall we?
1. These stairs! Can you just imagine the photo opportunities?!
2. I can't decide which I like more, the pink garden hose or the antler holder!
3. That star spangled get-up is a vintage circus costume, and I really really want to wear it basically everywhere I go.
4. That's right, and I'm damn proud, too. I think this Joy of Ex print should be in my future (separate from the rest of the house) kitchen, along with its "My Kitchen is for Dancing" counterpart.
5. I've been in such a mood lately to go to a Farmer's Market and wander around. I used to go a lot back in college when I had Fridays off, but apparently that's less of thing once you're employed.
1. Umm, want to have an entirely color coordinated picnic just like millayvintage.
2. So now annariflebond is making wallpaper? I'm going to need to buy a house ASAP and make every room floral themed.
3. I completely adore this outfit from georgiazogopoulos, especially the pairing of stripes and cheetah. I wish I new how to pattern mix, it scares me!
4. The "My thermos runneth over" backdrop featured on ruffledblog is so epic... combines my love of photo booths and vintage camping gear!
5. This is a Frenchie named Alfie, and he was hanging out at the blushshop. The real question is, why isn't he hanging out at my house?
6. My love for sibylline_m's deliriously good art and my obsession with Twin Peaks combines in this dreamy piece. Please make prints (and draw the diner girls next!)!
1. This Australian yacht club wedding was adorable and quirky, but I so loved that the bride went with a traditional veil, but made it red to match the dress! Plus, the look on her face in this photo is priceless.
2. I'm seeing peonies all over the place now! Just in time, Mint Loves Social Club wrote a post all about how to make them last longer.
3. Totally obsessed with Jessica Harrison's tattooed porcelain figurines.
4. Been jamming to this track that Darling Magazine highlighted; it's called "Circles" by machineheart, and I can't wait to see where these guys are headed.
5. HOLY MOLY IT'S PAPER! Layers and layers of colorful cut paper make up Maud Vantours sculptures (sculptures? Not sure what else to call them!), and they're all definitely worth a look (or two, I can't stop).
It's Wednesday and I'm wearing pink, so really, what could go wrong?
This past weekend, my mom and I had a yard sale combining things that both of us were looking to pass along to a new home. The idea of this yard sale had been in the works for awhile, and there was a lot of stuff... just so much stuff... it made our heads spin!
This is what our whole driveway, plus garage, looked like! It was really easy to become overwhelmed and want to say forget it, but we ended up making over five hundred dollars, so I would say it was well worth the effort. Along the way, we figured out a few things which I'm going to share, just in case you're thinking about having your own sale this summer!
Tip #1: Advertise! If you want lots of people, you have to tell lots of people! Post an ad on Craigslist or in the PennySaver (or whatever local ad publication your neighborhood has) and put up signs that are all the same color, so people can easily find you. Check your city website to see if you need to have a permit to have a sale.
Tip #2: Set Goals. Are you hoping to get rid of a bunch of stuff and have some extra cash, or do you want to make good money on some nice items? We were really just looking to quickly get some stuff out of our lives and garage, so we priced cheap and donated everything that was left after our 2 day sale. If you're looking to make more serious money, you may want to take more time and individually listing things on Craigslist, Ebay, or Etsy.
Tip #3: Price Everything! I know you don't want to, and I know it's tedious, but people don't want to ask how much things are. If there are few things at the end that don't get priced, it's okay, since your other prices will give an idea of what to expect. We brought bins of stuff into the living room and priced in the evenings while binge watching episodes of Say Yes to the Dress. Even though you've set prices, always be willing to haggle with customers, or offer a deal if they're buying a lot!
Tip #4: Merchandise to tell a story. Group similar things together, since if someone is interested in one item, they will probably enjoy other items like that. Do you have lots of Christmas decorations? Group them all together! Lots of vintage items? Make a section! Take a moment to look how displays are set up when you go into stores, and see how they group items to get some ideas. While it seems like a good idea to multi-task and use any furniture you want to sell as display tables too, it doesn't work. If you want it to sell, leave it empty. We learned this the hard way!
Tip #5: "Nothing in your yard sale is ten cents." This is a direct quote from my aunt, as she was re-pricing all of our 10 cent items. She was right; if there's an item that you can't imagine selling for at least a quarter, throw it in the trash. By allowing junky items to sit among the nicer things, it brings everything down. So the only place your stained shirts, half missing boxes of crayons, chipped dishes, and gross flip flops should be going is the trash.
Tip #6: Watch your Money! Unfortunately, there are unsavory characters who drive around preying on yard sales that have left their cash boxes unattended! If you're having a checkout table, someone needs to be there all the time with the money. We chose to each wear aprons with pockets, and we kept the money ourselves. If you do this, don't take the aprons off and lay them down! Also, be wary of people who buy one small, easy to carry item but then ask for a bag. Sometimes this is a ploy to lose your attention, and then fill the bag with other items as they leave. We didn't offer bags, unless it was someone who purchased a lot of items and really did need help carrying them out.
Tip #7: Keep your sense of humor. When you've been sitting outside in the sun all day selling your possessions for less than a dollar, it's easy to get grumpy, but keeping up a nice attitude and sense of humor makes it more likely that your customers will stay and shop around. My aunt has been known to write tags on beat-up old hats and toasters with statements like "Never worn!" or "High-tech!". Even if those items don't sell, you're likely to sell more stuff, just because you've provided a fun atmosphere. I went with a hipster section on the second day, which most people didn't get, but it was worth it to see the laughs from younger customers! (Please note the 2 buck Chuck boxes. I think I'm hilarious.)
And lastly, if having a yard sale just seems like too much work and you're not looking for some extra cash, donating your items to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or Savers is a great way to support your community and you can also get a tax write off. There are also places that are in need of specialized items; donate used bedding to your local animal shelter, and youth programs are often in need of craft or office supplies.
Does anyone else have good yard sale tips to share?
For the first time, about a month ago, I wrote down my bucket list! I wanted to share a few of my dreams with you guys, so here goes!
This has been a big one for awhile now. It's really daunting to think about leaving my job (which I don't particularly love, but it provides me with a steady income and full medical benefits) and launching into the financially unknown of small business ownership, but I'm trying to save up money to make the leap a little less shaky.
I already have an exhaustive list of places I want to see, hostels to stay in, diners to eat in, flea markets to hit, and bizarre road side attractions to photograph. Now, I just need to save up the vacation time and gas money.
I mentioned this one in the post I wrote for Shakespeare's 450th birthday; it's 35 plays, and I've seen 11 so far. That post includes a hand written checklist, if you're interested in adding this one to your bucket list!
This seemed like an appropriate one with Mothers' Day this weekend! As much as I would like to be a perfect mom, I do realize that's impossible, so I'll settle for raising good kids (who hopefully will forgive me for my failings and like me at a few points along the way!).
I would really like to do this for someone besides myself; I'm interested in seeing how well I could produce someone else's vision! I think it would be challenging but also a fun process (depending on the bride, of course! Hah.).
I've kept this item, well, perhaps a touch vague? As much as I would like to write a novel (I have a couple started, just floundering about on my hard drive), I've decided that maybe I should have a few less ambitious publishing goals as well (just in case). With so many new ways to self-publish, I think something on this list should be attainable!
Every time that Death Cab for Cutie has played in Southern California in the past 5 years, I have either been in another state or on another continent. If they break up before I get to see them play live, the level of my despondency will be unrivaled. Next time, I'm cancelling my travel plans.
This is probably the longest running item on my bucket list. Don't care where it happens, it just has to happen!
While these things (and many more!) have been floating around in my brain for awhile now, it definitely seemed more definitive and motivating to physically write them down. One of the other things I wanted to achieve was to learn how to swing dance; since making the list, I've started taking classes (and I love it!). If you haven't taken the time to actually write down your bucket list, take the time this weekend, and see how it changes the way you approach your goals!
Happy weekend, with the best of luck and the best of dreams,
With work drama swirling about my office, I was definitely ready for some inspiration this week. It came in many forms, but there's a heavy dose of escapist whimsy and bright colors floating in my brain right now!
1. OOOH this black lacy fringey kimono-esque detailed jacket thingy is almost too wonderful for me to describe (clearly).
2. I adore the illustration on this vintage cake decorating book, that frumpy coconut cat is awesome.
3. The color of this door is perfection. I have an overwhelming desire to go to Paris and take pictures in front of all the pretty doors. All of them.
4. I'm not one for beauty tutorials, but this speaks to me. Plus, I'm in the market for a new concealer.
1. I want everything in pullya's flatlay, but especially that bralette with fluffy feather pom poms. Swoon. Definitely too sexy for a shirt.
2. I wanna go run around in a field with a mountain in a cool hat like britynndavis. Looks like a lot more fun than I'm having at my desk...
3. I'm obsessed with seperates, especially when it involves a pencil skirt and a crop top, and stylebyeldh has a SPARKLY one. Too good.
4. Dolly's #sadcinco was everything to me. She's clearly not a big fan of tequila.
1. Illustrator Gemma Green-Hope created a stop motion homage to her deceased grandmother using her possessions, resulting in a neurotically endearing mini movie.
2. Absolutely loved this hand-lettered envelope addressing tutorial from Ladyfingers Letterpress on Oh So Beautiful Paper. Great pen recommendations, too!
3. This whole Brooklyn wedding featured on Ruffled was gorgeous, but THIS SHOT. I melt. Please someone get me a pint of Ben & Jerry's ASAP.
4. I really enjoyed the post on A Beautiful Mess about was results you get from different prime lenses. I want an 85mm so bad it burns.
Bonus Material: An entire tumblr of cats that look like Pin-up illustrations. It's as good as it sounds (NSFW due to extreme kitty sexiness).
Hope this helps you over the hump!
With love, daydreams, and a great desire for it to be 5 o'clock already,
I love holidays. I'm fairly unabashed in my exuberance, and quite happy to be almost childlike in my non-jaded-ness of basically all celebrations (except Halloween, I'm kinda over that one). I think some of this comes from the fact that I really just love gift giving. I love shopping, I love creating, I love wrapping...the whole thing is right up my alley.
So for Mothers' Day, of course I was all over it. I mean, my mom did give me life, and she's been pretty rad along the way; plus, she likes awesome stuff and is really easy to shop for. So easy in fact, I actually started months ago collecting all sorts of fun tags, tapes, pens, paper straws, plastic bows, etc. I really loved all the goodies I had collected, but I wasn't really looking forward to wrapping up everything individually (yikes), nor did I relish the idea of dumping them all in a bag (seemed a little lackluster for the co-captain of Team Raise Rachel).
The solution came from an unlikely source: The Dollar Tree. Yes, you're reading that right, I went to the dollar store and decided to wrap my lovely mother's gift in a 99 cent tupperware container.
I didn't leave it in it's original form though, instead transforming it into a container of goodies inspired by bento boxes!
By far the most difficult part of this whole project is actually obtaining the tupperware. Why? Because The Dollar Tree has some dark magic voodoo that puts you into a buying frenzy fugue state as soon as you step through the door (IT'S ONLY A DOLLAR!!!). Many a time I have wandered into its dark clutches for one thing and emerged into the sunlight about twenty-five dollars poorer and not really certain what had taken place over the past 20 minutes. To help you avoid this pitfall, here's a handy guide of what to try to avoid while inside the belly of the whale:
1. First thing you're gonna see is holiday stuff. Right now, it's all 4th of July, my favorite holiday. Whelp. I had about 6 glitterly/metallic/fringed items in my hand before I even realized what I was doing. At this point, you need to embrace your holiday spirit but limit yourself to ONE ITEM ONLY. Trust me, seven firework taple top decorations are going to look a lot tackier in your home than you think.
2. By no means should you go into the party aisle. If you end up there by accident, and retreat is impossible, stay strong in your belief that you are a grown woman who doesn't need Lisa Frank stickers and notepads or a princess button. It's hard to grow up, but I have faith in you.
3. Do not buy the wrapping paper, it is thin and it will rip each and every time you try and wrap something. Do not buy the candles, they never burn properly. Do not buy the socks, they will not fit right and will be unrecognizable after the first wash. I know all this for a fact from very sad real world experiences (I really liked those socks. And that donut candle).
4. Do not buy any food you wouldn't normally buy at the grocery store (I'm looking at you, one dollar knock off Oreos). Always check the expiration dates.
Once you've emerged from the lions' den, it's time to embark on the far easier portion of this project. First step is to spray paint the bottom of your tupperware. I chose gold because gold is awesome, and that's also the only spray paint I own. Since spray paint can be a bit finicky with plastic, I recommend trying a small spray first to get a sense of how it covers. While that's drying, you can start on the lid.
Pick a container with a flat lid to make it easy to decorate. I used my fingernail to trace the size of my lid, and then cut it out and glued it on. The glue is really just to temporarily hold it in place while you cover the remainder of plastic lid with washi tape. Place long strips of washi tape along each side, leaving about an inch at each rounded corner. Use smaller pieces to cover the round parts, since it's much easier to handle. Repeat on the outer edge so the entire lip is covered, like this:
Next, it's time to make the dividers for the inside of the box. I found it best to get an idea of where your largest items need to be first, and then work in the smaller objects.
Measure for the length and the depth of the container. Double the depth and add an inch, so when folded it will make strong divider with little stabilizer feet. Use cardstock since it will be firm enough to hold everything in place.
My container was 2.5 inches deep with about an 8 inch length, so I cut an 8 x 6 piece of cardstock and folded it lengthwise. Then I folded a half inch up on each side for the stabilizer feet. As you continue to sub-divide, tape the dividers together so they stand up.
Arrange all of your cute gifts in there and boom! You have one really fun looking gift! This is great for giving crafty things, since your wrapping becomes a nice storage container.
All that's left to do is put a bow on it and add a nice note! You could wrap it up traditionally or stick on one of those fun already made curly-q bows (or this one, upcycled from vintage story books!); I chose this amazing Scout + Whistle "You are the Bee's Knees" prize ribbon and an Oh! Hello Friend card
Happy gift giving!
With mucho love, Rachel
Hola! Como estas?! I hope very well, since it is a holiday and all! While it may not be one you're getting off of work (bummer), I am all about celebrating whenever you get the chance. I'll be eating tacos and drinking margaritas with my family tonight, but today I'm talking about 2 easy, everyday "recipes" that I enjoy all the time: Cafe de Olla and chips with hot sauce! These are both things that I ate during my vacation to Puerto Vallarta and started making at home afterwards because they were simple, yummy, and made me think of my hotel room on the beach (and all the great food we ate).
Cafe de Olla
Cafe de Olla, or "coffee from the pot", is named for the traditional clay vessels that the beverage was originally made in. The coffee grounds are boiled with cinnamon and piloncillo, which makes it a great beverage to have while in Mexico, but also easy to make at home. Piloncillo is the rawest form of sugar cane; it comes in a little cone shape and can be found in Mexican food stores in the baking aisle. You can also use brown sugar, but piloncillo has a richer, earthier flavor that gives Cafe de Olla its trademark warmth and deliciousness.
To make 2 servings you will need:
Heat your water; once it is at a rolling boil, lower to a simmer and add coffee, piloncillo, and cinnamon. Let simmer, uncovered, for five minutes and then turn off the heat. Give it a few stirs and then cover the pot and allow it to sit for another five minutes. Pour through a cheesecloth or fine strainer to serve.
This recipe is easy to size up and make for a large group, so it's a great option to serve at brunch! I love to have this with scrambled eggs and chorizo (but what I'd really love to have it with is bread pudding).
Chips & Hot Sauce
In Mexico, it's expected that you'll find potato or corn chips sold with a packet of hot sauce in the convenience stores. While in Puerto Vallarta, I got in quite a habit of consuming a bag with a cold beer during our siesta back at the hotel. Now, it's my go-to after work snack; it's easy to throw together while I'm preparing my real meal (though I'll admit I've just eaten chips and hot sauce for dinner on an embarrassing amount of occasions. I won't attempt to quantify.)
At it's most basic, it's simply chips, citrus, and hot sauce, but there is a lot of room to get fancy and personalize your favorite combination. I like enough lime juice to make the chips soggy (is that weird?), Cholula hot sauce, and a sprinkling of garlic salt over corn chips. My mom prefers baked potato chips instead; if I'm out of limes I'll use lemons, and I have some Tapatio hot sauce on hand as well.
It may be basic, but there's a reason why it's so popular (hint: because it's great).
Is anyone else celebrating this evening with some festive food and drinks? What are you making?
For May Day, a holiday heralding in the fullness of spring, Creme Yvette has to be the most perfect liqueur since it is made from a distillation of berries, cassis, orange peel, vanilla, and most importantly, the petals of parma violets. Creme Yvette was first produced in Connecticut around 1890, and became very popular throughout the world. However, the popularity of cocktails dwindled during prohibition and subsequently many once popular drinks that used Creme Yvette, like The Aviation, fell out of fashion (and the recipe lost for a time). Several brands ultimately went defunct for reasons like this, with Creme Yvette among them in 1969.
However, in late 2009 the brand was purchased by the owner of St. Germaine and was reproduced using new vendors (since the original providers had long since gone out of business as well). The outcome was a delightful liqueur, welcomed warmly back into the cocktail community, despite its more reddish hue (hence why your Blue Moon doesn't seem very blue!).
After reading this history, I just had to try it. At forty dollars a bottle, it's not an everyday kind of beverage, but I would definitely say its worth the investment. Its similar enough that you could use it in place of Chambord in a sparkling wine, but Creme Yvette's flavor profile is much richer and more complex (not to mention, almost double the proof).
Here are two ways to enjoy Creme Yvette!
How to Make a Blue Moon
1 1/2 ounces Dry Gin (I only had Hendrick's, so I used that)
3/4 ounce Creme Yvette
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
Glass: cocktail or coupe
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain.
This Blue Moon recipe is a variation of the version that was printed on the Creme Yvette bottle in the 1940s. Imagine how pretty it was when it was a little bit blue! But whatever the color, it tastes delightful!
How to Make a Bitter Bike
This petite drink is a perfect digestif, a little something to serve after dinner or dessert. Something like port or brandy is more traditional, but no one can deny that a Bitter Bike is a fine way to end an evening.
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) St. Germaine
1/4 ounce (1/2 tablespoon) Creme Yvette
1/4 ounce (1/2 tablespoon) Angostura Bitters
For this cocktail, you will need a bent spoon so you can layer the alcohols. If you don't want to bend one of your good spoons, head to the local thrift shop and find a nice pliable one. A bent spoon is handy to have around for other drinks as well, like a black and tan!
Add the St. Germaine first, then add the layer of Creme Yvette by pouring it onto the spoon, which should be held just over the St. Germaine. The idea is that the liquid is gently added, so that it doesn't plop in and start mixing. Add the bitters the same way.
The elderflower sweetness of the St. Germaine is counterbalanced by the bold Angostura, while the Creme Yvette provides a floral, berry bite.
Let me know how you like these if you try them out. I think they're perfect for a special occasion...
(like, hmm, Mothers' Day perhaps? I think she's worth it!)
Love and cheers! Rachel
We've made it to Wednesday! Since it's Hairstyle Appreciation Day, it seemed only appropriate to be inspired by some stellar hair today! Here's my favorites from Pinterest, Instagram, and blogs!
1. This is just example one of my obsession with flower bedecked tresses; prepare yourself.
2. I don't know how this is possible, but messy buns are just so... pretty.
3. Flowers AND butterflies! If I could get a way with such a whimsical look at the office, you best believe I would.
4. I could, however, probably go with a statement ponytail.
5. This little cutie is so awesome, and she definitely can rock a killer pompadour (yes, I am having hair envy over a seven year old).
1. Thanks to flowergirllosangeles, I'm now having flower crown envy over a seven year old #thestruggleisreal
2. Randomactsofpastel recreates Marie Antoinette in a way that's so evocative of the Sophia Coppola film, all the while seeming totally wearable.
3. I love this wildfoxcouture illustration with that bubble gum pink hair! Such lovely watercolor work.
4. Annariflebond's new haircut is so darling! Could she be any cuter?
5. Gotta keep those locks in check! This "Get It Together" comb from izolanyc is just the ticket!
6. More pink hair... lateafternoon's spontaneous color change has me wishing that I could go pastel (has anyone tried hair chalk??)
1. Love the blocky texture of this painted hair by Erin Fitzpatrick, shared on The Jealous Curator.
2. The sparkly, dewy look of this bun paired with fresh greenery brings such freshness to a more wintery look.
3. Design Love Fest posted a great tutorial for a textured look, featuring a fishtail braid, and hair chalk... (I feel like this is a sign for me to try hair chalk. The cosmos want this.)
4. The tiny lavender bow bedecked ponytails in the newest For Love & Lemons lookbook have me wanting to try out this hairstyle (not to mention the clothes, but don't even get me started on that).
5. More lookbook love, this time for the luscious curls featured in the Wildfox Couture "Royal Romance" shoot.
Hope you're inspired to try something new with your hair...
but maybe not so inspired that you run out and buy hair chalk on your lunch break. Talking to myself, sorry.
With (imaginary) flowers in my hair, Rachel