Oh, hi, friends and Random Internet People. It’s that time of the month again! Well, honestly, it’s a little later in the month than I’d hoped, but it’s finally time to get your printable August 2017 calendar, available now as a free digital download. And even though I have a fancy new shitty printer, I’m keeping it black and white. Because all the printers are shitty. All of them. Even your nice one that cost way more than mine did. And, sure, I’ll admit it: I don’t want to use up all of that expensive color ink, and I bet you don’t, either. Plus, this month’s design — which is supposed to be eclipse-ish, but obviously it’s not an eclipse — works quite well in black and white.
Also, I finally figured out how to mine your data and shit! Well, sort of. If you’ve been downloading these free printable calendars since I started doing them in May, you’ll notice the process is a little different (and possibly — okay, definitely — more annoying) than before. Now, instead of just a one-click download, you need to “buy” the digital file from my store. But you don’t have to pay any money or give any credit card info or anything like that. Still, sorry. I promise I won’t sell your email address, or stalk you (unless you’re really cool), and you can even give me a fake phone number and mailing address if you want. I just need to start tracking downloads, and if I ever get my shit together enough to send a newsletter, you’ll be among the first to get it (yes, you detected that slight sarcasm correctly).
In exchange for this free item from my shop, the only thing I ask (other than giving every detail about your life) is that you follow me on Instagram. That’s not so hard, now is it? Really, it’s NOT hard. Here’s the link one more time in case you missed it, and now you may carry on with downloading your very own printable August 2017 calendar, Eclipse Edition!
And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. (We’re on the honor system here. Don’t be a dick.)
Remember white wine spritzers? For some reason, I’ve always thought of them as something old people with drinking problems have at lunch. (I mean, isn’t that what they are?) I can’t even remember any specific old person drinking them, or anyone ever consuming one at any lunch I’ve ever been a part of, but it’s just a general sense I got as a kid. Anyway, it turns out they’re really pretty good, and they’re definitely refreshing as fuck. And — despite the fact that I just got a giant tattoo on my right arm — there are surely kids out there who consider me an old person with a drinking problem. So it’s about damn time I create my own take on the white wine spritzer: the vinho verde wine spritzer.
Of course, this differs pretty significantly from the classic old person lunch cocktail. A basic white wine spritzer is made with just white wine, club soda, and a fruity garnish. This vhino verde wine spritzer starts out a bit like a julep (I muddle mint with simple syrup and lime juice), veers toward gin and tonic territory (um, I add some gin), then settles in nicely with the rest of the senior-preferred cocktails with wine, club soda, and a lime wheel for garnish. Except instead of the usual white wine, I use vinho verde — my summer love.
“Vinho verde” is Portuguese for “green wine,” and unlike most of the wines we’re used to, it isn’t made with any specific type of grape — just young (or “green”) grapes. While it comes in a variety of colors, my preferred vinho verde, Casal Garcia, is a white and it’s only $8 or $9 a bottle at my local grocery store (and even cheaper online). It’s bright, and a little tart, and not at all oaky or buttery. It’s perfect for a minty, boozy, summery spritzer.
Vinho Verde Wine Spritzer
6-8 fresh mint leaves
¾ ounce simple syrup
½ ounce (or 1 tablespoon — it’s the same damn measurement!) fresh-squeezed lime juice
1.5 ounces gin
4 ounces vinho verde
Lime wheel for garnish
Muddle the mint leaves with the simple syrup and lime juice (using the handle end of a wooden spoon) in the bottom of a large stemmed or stemless red wine glass (really, it needs to be big because of all the shit we’re going to put into it). Add the gin and vinho verde and stir, then add a handful of ice. Top off with the club soda, give it another quick stir, garnish with the lime wheel, and enjoy on a hot fucking day. Perhaps even over lunch. With your old friends.
NOTE: I played with the amount of simple syrup and because I don’t really like sweet drinks, landed on ¾ ounce as the best option. If you like a slightly sweeter drink, make it a full ounce.
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Hey, hey, hey! It’s Bastille Day, which commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the Storming of the Bastille in 1798. It’s a lot like our Fourth of July — so let’s celebrate with some goddamn drinks! In preparation for raising a glass to all the wonderful things France has to offer lately, I’ve whipped up a remix of the classic French 75 cocktail. It’s basically a ginger French 75 called the French 60 (I’ll get to that number thing in a minute).
Cocktail lore says the OG version was created at the New York Bar in Paris in 1915 and is named for a piece of French artillery. It’s made with gin, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, simple syrup, and Champagne. My take, the French 60, is made with ginger liqueur instead of gin (see what I did there?!?!), and I don’t add any simple syrup or sugar since the liqueur adds just enough sweetness. For this one, I used the perfectly spicy Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur. (Full disclosure, they sent me a bottle to play with after I gave them a shoutout in a post, but I’ve purchased it with my own damn money before so there.)
Speaking of spice, that’s where this cocktail gets its name. According to some dude on the internet, if ginger were to be ranked on the Scoville Scale (mostly used to measure the spiciness of peppers) “it would have a rough rating of 60,000 Scoville Heat Units.” Sure, dude. That sounds about right. We’ll go with that. But for the record, this drink isn’t spicy at all; it just has a hint of gingery sweetness.
The French 60 (A.K.A. Ginger French 75)
¾ ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice (I like to strain it for this one)
1 ounce ginger liqueur
Lemon twist (or candied ginger!) for garnish
Add the lemon juice and ginger liqueur to the bottom of a coupe, champagne or stemless wine glass. Top it off with champagne, garnish, and enjoy. À votre santé!
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Recently, I found myself without studio mates. I had two when I moved into my space in January, and they’re both good friends and wonderful people. But one got a full-time job, and the other moved her part-time photo editing operation into her recently renovated basement. It’s not at all terrible having the space to myself, but losing two sub-letters really hurts the old freelancer bank account. For a minute, I very half-assedly looked for new renters, then yesterday decided I could easily make up the loss in income by offering workshops in this big, beautiful, airy space. After all, people are always asking me to do more events, and even more than that, asking me for advice on their projects. You see, I’m an ideas person, and while I’d love to help all the people, I just don’t have time to let everyone’s best friend from college “pick my brain” over coffee. (Also, can we pretty please stop using the phrase “pick your brain?”) But all of those requests gave me an idea for the kind of event I’d like to do in here. And it’s exactly the kind of thing I’d want to attend: creative and professional women’s networking and idea workshopping, but way cooler — and with cocktails, of course.
Now, I use the terms “creative” and “professional” very loosely. If you make something, or want to make something, or make money at something, or are trying to make money at making something, or have an idea of how you might like to make money making something someday, that counts! Whether you’re looking for a little inspiration, have an idea that could use some feedback, or just want to spend an evening mingling and having a few drinks with some fabulous local females (sorry, dudes), this event series is for you! And it’s for me. I’m great at ideas and making shit, but terrible at business things and money.
If you think this could benefit you at all, I hope you’ll join me at my studio in Kansas City, MO the first Wednesday of every month for a creatively inspiring get-together with cocktails (made by me, of course). After a moderated Q&A with a badass, inspiring woman, we’ll chat about our own projects, brainstorm, and support each other in our creative and business endeavors. It’s part networking, part big-idea workshop, part cocktail party, and all sorts of women lifting up and inspiring other women.
For the inaugural event on Wednesday, August 2, I’m thrilled to have Robin Krause of Unbakery and Juicery as the featured speaker. I spend way too much money at Unbakery nearly every day (see? bad at money), so you know she’s doing something right. If you don’t already know Robin, you can read more about her in Her Life Kansas City and learn even more at this event. And when I invited her to speak, she asked me if she could bring snacks. Duh! Yes. BRING US SNACKS, ROBIN! (She’s bringing snacks.)There are only 20 tickets available so get yours now and I’ll see you at my studio on the 2nd!
Sidework Studio photo by Jennifer Wetzel Photography
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I love a good DIY as much as the next SUV-driving white mom in my 30s, but goddammit, I hate it when I click on a do-it-yourself project and realize I’m going to need a jigsaw, a sewing machine, a $500 roll of wallpaper, and my dad to get it done. That’s why I’m super excited to share this ridiculously easy DIY small wood bookshelf. In fact, I’m probably giving you way too many instructions, but I like to tell a fucking story with words and pretty pictures, okay?
Anyway, I spent the last few weeks looking everywhere for the perfect little shelf because my son’s book basket was literally bursting at the seams and we’re short on wall space around here. I wanted something simple, flush to the ground, and made of real wood — not some tacky-ass veneered shit. It’s hard to find something new that fits all three categories, and I wasn’t having any luck in the usual second-hand places either. I’d had the idea of putting two vintage crates together, but I wanted something really minimal (meaning no faded logos), and I didn’t necessarily want my kid to get tetanus every time he reached for Everyone Poops. At some point, I decided I would just DIY it. Last week, Target made it ridiculously easy for me.
And when I say “easy,” I mean EASY AS FUCK. Literally, I just glued two of these Pillowfort wood crates together, then secured them with some small nails. If you’re all “OMG, that’s brilliant!” and I’ve convinced you I’m the first person on the Internet to ever have this idea and you’d like some more detailed instructions than “glue some shit together,” keep reading. Otherwise, why don’t you just hop on over to Instagram and follow me?
DIY Small Wood Bookshelf
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
2 Pillowfort wood crates (or similar, as long as they’re the same size)
⅝-inch nails (or “brads,” whatever that means)
Optional: Some sort of clamp
HOW TO MAKE IT:
First, decide how you want to orient your crates/shelf, tall or wide. The crates I used were slightly rectangular, and while the wide set-up looked a little nicer, I decided to make it tall to accommodate my son’s biggest books.
Next, add a bunch of wood glue to the top of the bottom crate. I made this little design for absolutely no reason at all. The following step isn’t necessary, but you could use a clamp to hold the crates in place before you nail it together. They’re very lightweight and the glue will make them a little slippery.
Next, hammer in a bunch of nails around the perimeter of the bottom of the upper crate (the “middle shelf”) to secure it to the lower crate. I think I used about 30 nails total, and I’m sure that was overkill. (I’m the kind of person who uses so much tape it will take 10 minutes to open a present from me, so…)
Wipe off the excess glue, and — voila! — you’re done. You don’t really need to wait for the glue to dry since you’ve secured it with way too many nails. Just don’t fill the bottom with books then try to lift it from the top like a dumbass. You can paint it if you want, but I like the look of the raw wood. Next, you get to put some shit on it — books, records, tchotchkes, and definitely a plant. Before I put this pretty little Xanadu philodendron up there, I had a huge and heavy split-leaf philodendron on top and it held up just fine. This DIY small wood bookshelf is lightweight, but its sturdy AF.
See? I TOLD you. But, yeah, it kind of dwarfs the shelf.
Ultimately, this will become a bookshelf for my kiddo. But it sure was fun to style it all adult-like for a minute.Like what you see? Follow me on Instagram!