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Swank Serving Ideas For Your Summer Cocktails

By  July 31, 2014

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For your next summer celebration, deliver delight in the details by serving sippers in interesting, unconventional ways. Guests will appreciate the creativity—and your party will get an instant upgrade in the chic and swank department.

1. Mason Jars
For a shabby-chic aesthetic, make drinks in individual sealed mason jars and have your friends and family grab their premade refreshments from an ice bucket.
Home Essentials “Chalk It Up” 16 oz. mason jars, set of 4, available at Casa.com for $18.99

2. Tin Buckets
If you go the mason jar route or offer bottled beverages such as Smirnoff Ice and/or beer, a swanky presentation via a tin bucket is always a success. Extra points if you style the cool container on a bar cart like the one we found.
Galvanized metal rolling wagon party bucket, available at Pottery Barn for $199

3. Garnishes
Offer guests garnish options on a tray near the drinks. Invest in a bar tool to peel citrus fruit on the spot for its aromatic zest.
Microplane® stainless-steel citrus bar tool, available at Williams-Sonoma for $19.95

4. Dispensers
A bar lined with glass dispensers is a convenient as well as classy way to serve drinks, especially mixed cocktails. Just make sure to label each container.
Pour Delight drink dispenser, available at Modcloth.com for $34.99

Tips for a Perfect Road Trip

By  July 31, 2014

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Quick, before summer runs out–it’s not too late to participate in a timeless American tradition.

Road tripping across the USA is a popular pastime for good reason. What’s more fun than cranking up the tunes and discovering amazing sights and local favorite places to eat and shop? Not much! I’m speaking from experience as a regular road tripper.

My longest road trip was from Miami, all the way across the south to New Orleans, San Antonio, El Paso, Phoenix, Los Angeles and finally up to San Francisco and back!  Most summers my husband and I take to the open road, and by now we’ve got things down to a science. Let me share my top road trip tips so you’ll have the best road trip ever!

  • Print your route. Yes, there’s modern technology. But all of the best map apps won’t do you much good when you’re out in the middle of Nowhere, USA with absolutely zero reception on your phone. The smartest thing you can do is map out your route ahead of time and print the step by step instructions on how to get there. That way when your helpful navigation device’s voice fades away you won’t feel panicked and lost.
  • Download your playlist. The same rules for maps will apply to your music. You can put together a sick road trip playlist and 45 minutes outside of the city be stuck listening to crackly, unfamiliar FM radio. Choose your favorite road trip soundtracks and download them to your device. That way you’ll have continuous tunes throughout.
  • Fill your car with healthy snacks. Think carrots, celery sticks, cashews or peanuts, fat free popcorn, and spears of fresh pre-packaged fruit. Think of mini cheese platters and pre-sliced salami to go with crackers. You want food that you can eat in the front seat while in motion, and you want food that won’t make you feel weighed down and sleepy. Gum is a great way to keep the snacking to a minimum on those long stretches of open road. Road food is pretty much all fast food, so packing items to make sandwiches along the way is wise.
  • Pack and position your cooler.  Two-person road trips are the best, because while one person drives the other can be DJ and photographer and head chef. Pack your cooler wisely – drinks to the front, food items you don’t need often towards the back, healthy snacks within reach, ice all over to keep it chilled. Position your cooler in the middle of the backseat so you can easily reach back and get what you need. That way you can keep rolling without having to stop too often.
  • Get your car together. Make sure you have a spare tire, jumper cables and a flashlight. Get an oil change. Fill your gas tank. Don’t roll out until your car is completely road ready. Having AAA is always a wise move on a road trip.
  • Get a good night’s rest the night before. There’s been so much in the news about driving while tired–it can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving. Don’t push yourself to the absolute limit when road tripping. When in doubt, pull over to rest your eyes for a power nap. If you’re considering driving all night, think better of that and get yourself a safe hotel for the evening to recharge. Remember, late at night you’re more likely to encounter other tired drivers so it’s best to have sharp sensibilities when sharing the road with all the SUV’s and semi trucks. 

Contributing Editor, Patrice Grell Yursik is the creator of Afrobella.com, one of the first blogs to celebrate the beauty of natural hair and ladies of all skin tones and sizes. Affectionately called the Godmother of Brown Beauty Blogging, Patrice takes her readers inside unique beauty, fashion and cultural experiences.

Editor's Pick: Elizabeth Mayville's "Top Knot" Series

By  July 31, 2014

Discover your next obsession with our Editor’s Pick series, must-have products for your home, wardrobe, makeup bag, and office curated by Glam editors.

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My first self-purchased piece of original artwork sits above my bed as a conversation piece for anyone who first visits my room. “Is that you,” they ask, looking at the brunette in the painting, and then back at the messy brown bun sitting a top my own head. “No, but it could be,” I reply.

That’s what brought me to purchase the 8×10 piece by Grand Rapids based artist, Elizabeth Mayville. From the striped tee to the ombre highlights, the girl who inspired the painting now sitting in my bedroom could have very well been me. Take a look through Mayville’s collection of still lifes and portraits, especially her series of oil and gouache “hair paintings” which feature the back of deconstructed top knots, beautiful braids, and ballerina buns, and you’re sure to find your look-a-like too. Adorable and affordable, with originals being sold on her Etsy page in the hundreds and prints under $30, Elizabeth Mayville is the perfect artist for the modern girl who is just starting to add pieces to her first apartment.

8×10 ‘hair painting,’ $175

In Season: 6 Sweet Summer Cool-Downs With Smirnoff Ice

By  July 30, 2014

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The guest list is confirmed, the menu is set, the decor’s been determined, and, naturally, your party outfit is already hanging behind the door. The last step toward readying your swanky-chic summer bash and arguably the most important touch: Stock the bar, with cool cocktail creations in mind.

Provide party guests with something smooth and refreshing to sip all evening. Summer and Smirnoff Ice go hand in hand, especially for a get-together where there may be myriad beverage preferences. Versatile, crisp, and perfect for the season, Smirnoff Ice can be served alone, as a citrus taste treat, or, for something different, combined into a creative concoction. Try out these recipes for your bash!

Stripey Shandy (2 servings)
1 (11.2 oz.) bottle Smirnoff Ice Original
1 (11.2 oz.) bottle Red Stripe beer
Lemon wheel
Into a pint glass, pour chilled beer, then Smirnoff Ice, and top with a lemon wheel.

Smirnoff Ice Original Sangria (10 servings)
2 cups Smirnoff Ice Original
2 cups Butterfly Kiss Chardonnay
Fruit for garnish: oranges, blueberries, limes, lemons, raspberries, apples, peaches
Soak fruit in wine.
Pour into a punch bowl and stir in Smirnoff Ice Original.
Serve with fruit.

Smirnoff Ice Preparada
Into a pint glass, add ice and fresh fruit such as oranges, pineapple, apples, limes, strawberries, cherries, lemons, and limes.
Pour Chamoy and Chili Lime seasoning to your liking over fruit.
Stir in Smirnoff Ice Original.

Smirnoff Ice Bellini Sangria (10 servings)
2 cups Smirnoff Ice Peach Bellini
2 cups Butterfly Kiss Moscato
Fruit for garnish: peaches, cherries, raspberries

 

A Look at H&M’s Fall/Winter 2014 Home Collection

By  July 29, 2014

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A little under a year ago, H&M launched its highly awaited e-commerce site with a new addition: home! Now, we’re excited to share our favorite looks from the Swedish retailer’s fall/holiday offering. One word: gorgeous. The products are everything you could need to perfect your #shelfie. Think velvet cushion covers, faux fur throws, and floral bedsets–talk about looking forward to home for the holidays. Click through to see the best looks.

Instagram Diary: Hitting the High Seas with Canyon Ranch

By  July 25, 2014

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There’s a certain decadence associated with cruises: beautiful destinations, lengthy voyages, and endless buffets. It’s easy to overindulge in certain aspects, but spa authority Canyon Ranch has partnered with Celebrity Cruises to bring everything into balance. Luckily, they also brought me along for the ride.

Scott Campbell's SAVED Wines Save The Arts

By  July 25, 2014

SAVEDWinesSave the arts by drinking wine? Sounds good to us. Contemporary artist Scott Campbell and California winemaker Clay Brock, founders of SAVED wines, have released a special limited edition gift set that benefits Free Arts NYC. A group of 100 screen printed black lacquer boxes with original artwork by Scott Campbell will hold newly released vintages of SAVED Red Wine and SAVED “Magic Maker” Rosé.

The artwork on the boxes was inspired by the wine labels and projects Campbell’s belief in the power of symbolism and its ability to set positive wellbeing in motion. The box is available for $100 at SAVEDWines.com. All proceeds will benefit the charity and be used for arts programming in schools.

6 Cocktails to Shake Up for National Tequila Day

By  July 24, 2014

As if we needed another reason to raise a glass on Thirsty Thursday, it’s National Tequila Day! While we love a frosty margarita when the heat is on, the agave-derived spirit works in plenty of other delectable drinks or–let’s be honest–straight up with salt and a lime wedge. We found a few fun cocktails to order at your favorite watering hole or serve up for a slew of friends. Regardless on how you shake up the unofficial holiday, remember to drink up; it’s good for you!

 

Pineapple Serrano Margarita

Pineapple-Serrano-Margarita

2 oz. Herradura Silver
3 cubic inches of pineapple diced
¾ oz. lime juice
½ oz. simple syrup
3 slices of Serrano chili with seeds.

Crush pineapple and chili slices in the base of a shaker with a muddler. Add cubed ice and remaining ingredients; shake hard and strain over ice in an old fashioned glass. Garnish with a chili and a star Anise pod.

Sandia Frescao

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1 ½ oz. Tres Agaves Blanco Tequila
¼ oz. Cointreau
2 oz. fresh-pressed watermelon juice (or 1 oz. of a good-quality bottled puree)
½ oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
½ oz. ginger syrup*

Build in a mixing glass, then shake & pour over fresh ice in a Collins glass.  Garnish with a watermelon wedge, if desired.

*For the Ginger Syrup: In a medium saucepan, combine ½ pound fresh ginger and ½ liter Tres Agave Nectar over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a very light boil, stirring occasionally. Strain & allow the mixture to cool for 25 minutes.

Cucumber Margarita courtesy of Whiskey Blue

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1 ½ oz. Casamigos Blanco
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. Cointreau
½  oz. simple syrup
5 cucumber wheels

Muddle cucumber with the simple and lime juice. Combine all ingredients to iced mixing glass. Shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with cucumber slice on a bamboo pic.

Honey Ginger Sauza-Rita

Honey-Ginger-Sauza-rita

1 oz. Sauza Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
1 oz. lemonade
1 oz. ginger beer
1 oz. water
½ tsp. honey
Lemon slices

Combine lemonade, ginger beer, tequila, water, lemon slices and ½ teaspoon of honey in a glass filled with ice. Stir well to combine.

Este Lado by Ben Scorah and Marshall Altier

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1 ½ oz. Tequila Don Julio Blanco
½ oz. Fresh Lime Juice
½ oz. Simple Syrup*
Slice of English Cucumber
Mint Sprig
Mint and Cucumber Wheel Garnish

Muddle English Cucumber and mint sprig in simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add Tequila Don Julio Blanco, fresh lime juice over ice, and shake well. Strain contents over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with mint sprig and cucumber wheel.

For the simple syrup: Bring ½ cup of water to a boil and dissolve 1 cup of sugar into boiling water. Once the sugar is dissolved completely, remove the pan from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool completely. Can be prepared one day ahead.

Papaya Smash

Papaya-Smash

1 ¼ oz. Avión Añejo
Slice of Fresh Papaya
¼ oz. Agave Nectar
½ oz. Aperol
½ oz. Orange Juice
¾ oz. Fresh Lime Juice
Fresh Papaya for garnish

Add a slice of fresh papaya and agave nectar to a mixing glass. Muddle to release the papaya flavor. Add Avión Añejo, Aperol, and orange juice. Then, top off with fresh lime juice. Add ice and give it a good shake. Strain the mixture over ice and garnish with a fresh slice of papaya.

Sriracha Strawberry Margarita

sriracha-strawberry-margarita

2 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped
½ cup Tequila
¼ cup Cointreau (or other orange flavored liquor)
1 tbsp. agave nectar
½ tsp. Lee Kum Kee Sriracha Chili
2 cups ice
*Serves 2 generously

Add all ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth. Pour into a sugar rimmed margarita glass.

Bethany Mota Wants to Brighten Up Your Bedroom

By  July 24, 2014

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Bethany Mota is taking her eye for style from your closet to the rest of your space.

We envied at how pretty her home looks in all of her video clips, and the YouTube sensation is giving every decorating diva a hand by expanding her Aeropostale partnership with a collection of home décor. Paisley printed bedding, bejeweled throw pillows, ruffled curtains, motivating wall decals, and a sparkling chandelier comprise the boho home collection with a few owls thrown in for good measure.

As if the eclectic look wasn’t enticing enough, all of the pretty pieces are priced at under $150, perfect for anyone looking to spice up their “shelfies.” There’s no need to wait either as they’re all available now on Aeropostale.com.

First Look: Marimekko x Paperless Post

By  July 23, 2014

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The most influential Finnish design house has all of your invitation needs covered this summer. Throwing a barbeque? Check. Sending your child off to college? Check. Are you, perhaps, planning a summer bridal shower? Check. And if you’ve been looking for the perfect stationary to customize, you’ll want to see this. Enter Marimekko’s collaboration with Paperless Post.

Starting today, all 40 designs are available to send online or on flat-printed cardstock. The collection is massive but we were able to scaled down our favorites to 20. Click through the photo above to see our choices, you just may find yourself looking for an excuse to send out these offerings.

Shop here.