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    Cincinnati, DIY, Food

    Recipe: Japp’s “Summer Breeze”

    DSC_0281Sometimes, a good drink is just what I need to unwind after a long day. And if it involves grapefruit, mint, vanilla, vodka and a splash of soda for some added fizz, then put it in my hand. STAT.

    Japp’s, a popular bar in Cincinnati, is situated on Main Street. One of the bartenders told me that it used to be a wig shop. Pretty cool, right? It’s hands-down my favorite, and for good reason.

    The bar is known for its handcrafted cocktails that take mixology to an art form new level. I’m talking fire in your glass, frothy egg-whites and drinks garnished with twists. Sitting at the bar is truly an experience. And the drink you’ll receive is a million times better than that poorly-made vodka tonic you’re used to sipping on with your friends at that one night club you told yourself you wouldn’t go to anymore. You know the one.DSC_0268Molly Wellmann, renowned bartender and co-owner of Japp’s and other bars around town, came out with her own recipe book, “Handcrafted Cocktails: The Mixologist’s Guide to Classic Drinks for Morning, Noon & Night.” Let’s just say I snatched it up right away. It made the perfect gift for my boyfriend, who frequently pulls it out at parties and get-togethers. He made a drink one night called the “Summer Breeze.” The combination of tart grapefruit and earthy vanilla is like summer in a high ball glass.

    DSC_0276Here’s what you need:

    • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
    • 1 ounce grapefruit juice
    • 3/4 ounce vanilla simple syrup
    • 6 mint leaves
    • Soda to top

    For syrup:

    • 2 vanilla beans, split
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • 1 cup of water

    How-to make syrup: Toss water, sugar and vanilla beans in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat and bring to room temperature. The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

    How-to make drink: Put all ingredients except the soda in a mixing glass. Shake and strain into a highball glass (or in my case, a mason jar) filled with ice. Top with soda. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

    Cheers!

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    DIY

    DIY to Try: Glittered Bar Sign

    A bar cart used to seem like such an adult thing to have. In college, if you asked me where my bar cart was, I’d point to the cabinet under the sink that contained boxed wine and other inexpensive bottles. But now, I can actually say I’m the proud owner of a fancy bar cart, and have graduated from boxed wine to Charles Shaw (i.e. Two Buck Chuck). And you know what’s the best part about my new little addition? It was only $30 at Target (marked down from $140!!!). Move over cabinet under the kitchen sink filled with used grocery bags and cleaning supplies. This shiny little bar cart is here to stay.

    I’ll be honest, it sat empty in its newly-designated corner for a few weeks. I wanted to do something to make the area really pop (it is a bar, after all), but didn’t know what. I did some research and came across some inspiring projects, like this DIY wooden happy hour sign, and this adorable vintage-inspired liquor cabinet. Unfortunately, when you live alone, tackling larger-scale projects can be a bit of a challenge. The thought of me using a chop saw to make my own wooden letters is comical. And with how clumsy I am, pretty terrifying.

    Because those projects aren’t really in the cards for me (at least not yet), I put my creativity to use and thought of simple and inexpensive ways to spruce up my bar area. After all, my bar cart is the first thing people see when they walk through the door. So, in this post, I’ll show you how to make a glittered bar sign. And now I’ll stop rambling. Let’s get this party started.

    barHere’s what you’ll need:

    • Cardboard 3-D letters (I found mine at Michael’s)
    • Pencil
    • Gold glitter scrap book paper
    • Exacto knife
    • Ruler (I’d recommend a metal one)
    • Sponge brush/paint brush
    • Modge Podge
    • 3M photo strips (for hanging purposes)

    Step 1: Place the letters backwards on the scrapbook paper and trace with your pencil. bar2

    Step 2: After you trace your letters, use the exacto knife and ruler to carefully (very carefully) cut out the letters.bar3

    Step 3: Using your brush, apply the Modge Podge to the front of your cardboard letters.bar5

    Step 4: Apply the scrapbook paper and let dry.bar6

    Step 5: Apply the hanging strips and adhere the letters to the wall.IMG_4852

    Step 6: Hang and admire your new bar sign!DSCN4471 DSCN4476 DSCN4481

    So, what do you guys think?! This project was pretty simple overall, and can be customized to fit your taste. I’m loving floral letters lately, and already have another project idea in mind for my bedroom.

    Also, please ignore the fact that my little bar cart is relatively empty. Alcohol is expensive these days. And I’m told once you enter the real world, it isn’t acceptable to offer Kamchatka to guests.

    I’m currently accepting donations. Cheers!

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    DIY, Fashion

    DIY to Try: Neon Necklace

    Processed with MoldivI have an obsession with neon. Why is this worth mentioning? Well, coming from the girl who is attracted to all shades of white, black and gray, my attraction to neon is just weird. But lately, I’ve been really, really into color. And when it comes to color, go big or go home, right?

    I’ve scoured the internet for neon pieces, but at the end of the day, didn’t want to shell out the cash for something so trendy. Instead, I grabbed a bottle of spray paint and an old rhinestone necklace, and got to work. Here’s what you need to recreate the neon trend at home:

    • Rhinestone necklace (And yes, sadly a stone is missing. I have since fixed the issue, no worries!)
    • White spray paint (Optional, but I’ve found it makes the neon appear brighter)
    • Neon spray paint

    neon necklace2

    Step 1: Lay your necklace flat on a surface of your choice (I used a paper bag) and lightly spray your white spray paint until it’s evenly coated. Make sure you allow time to dry between coats (I am notoriously impatient, so this is always the hardest part for me). neon necklace3

    Step 2: After your coat of white paint has dried, lightly spray the neon spray paint until the necklace is evenly coated. Again, make sure you allow time to dry between coats.neon necklace4

    Step 3: Wear!DSC_0103This is a super simple DIY, so you should definitely try it. I’m even thinking of recreating these Baublebar earrings using white spray paint. Oh, the possibilities…

     

    Top images via here, here, here, here, & here

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    DIY

    DIY to try: coffee station

    Processed with VSCOcamThroughout college, I relied on my standard plug-in coffee maker to get me through countless late nights and early mornings, until it shattered in my driveway during the moving process (did I mention I’m graceful?).

    Then, one night I met the french press and everything changed. I was dining at Local 127, a farm-to-table restaurant on Vine Street. I can’t tell you what I ordered off the menu, but I can tell you I remember their coffee so vividly, it would seem like it’s sitting in front of me right now. It was that good.

    Our waiter placed the french press on the table with an accompanying tray of whipped cream, chocolate chips and sugar cubes. The way I drank coffee changed forever.

    Because of my love for french press coffee, it only seemed fitting to create a coffee station for my apartment. It was a simple project and adds a bit of personality to my dining room.

    Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Wooden tray (I bought mine at Michael’s for $5)
    • Small wooden letters (optional)
    • Super glue (if using wooden letters)
    • Craft paint
    • Paint brush
    • Coffee mugs (shout out to my girl Annie for the sweet gift)
    • French press
    • Container for coffee (I bought mine at IKEA)
    • Ground coffee (my absolute is Coffee Emporium‘s “Autumn Fest”)

    Step 1: Paint the tray your desired color and let dry completely before adding a second coat. I chose yellow, because it seemed like the perfect color to greet me in the mornings.

    Step 2: If using wooden letters, paint them before gluing to the tray. I chose to paint the letters half light green and half pale blue. I taped them to create clean lines. I originally had planned to spell “coffee” but conveniently had the letters “c” and “o” leftover. The result: Coffee Co was born. A special thanks to my sister for the idea. coffee3

    Step 3: Glue the letters to your tray and let dry completely.coffee4

    Step 4: Invite friends over for brunch and impress them with your fun new tray!

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    DIY, Fashion

    derby week: DIY red rose crown

    rose2The floral crown trend has really blown up lately. To be honest, I’d probably feel ridiculous wearing one on any given day, but special occasions are a different story. I’m going to the Kentucky Derby this weekend for the first time, and I’m counting down the days! I’ve been wanting to go for years.

    I always pictured myself wearing a cupcake-like sundress and dramatic floppy hat, while politely sipping on a Mint Julep among sophisticated, Vineyard Vines-wearing onlookers. The reality of the situation is quite different, however. I’ll arrive in a 36 passenger school bus, wearing some dress from the back of my closet, while unattractively guzzling one too many Mint Juleps. I don’t know about you, but the reality sounds so much better.

    I’ve known I’d be going to derby for months, but because I tend to procrastinate, I didn’t have time to find the floppy hat I envisioned, and to be honest, I didn’t want to spend the money to get one. So, I decided to do what I do best and improvise.

    Because the red rose is the official flower of the Kentucky Derby, wearing a red rose crown seemed fitting for the ocassion. It was actually pretty simple to make, so I give this the procrastinator’s stamp of approval.

    Items needed:

    Green floral wire

    Floral tape

    Faux red roses (I picked mine up at Michael’s)

    Wire cutters (or scissors)Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Instructions:

    1. Cut wire and wrap it around your head to measure. Connect the ends by twisting the opposite wires together until the headband is secure. It should now be one continuous circle. Next, take a smaller piece of wire and wrap it around the rose’s stem to secure it to the headband. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset 2. Continue adding roses using the method mentioned in step 1. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 preset 3. Next, take a piece of floral tape and wrap it around the wires to prevent them from causing any discomfort (i.e. poking you in the head)Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset4. Wear!Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetOutfit photography by Aline Tabet

     

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