Tag Archives: coffee

10 Holiday Gift DIY’s You Should Start Making Today!

Here are a few ideas to get you started if you plan on making holiday gifts this year. DIY gift giving is a great way to save some dough during the costliest time of year. Not to mention, there’s something so sweet and personal about receiving a gift made especially for you, don’t you think? The 10 DIY’s listed below range from “extremely simple” to “easy but time consuming.” All the supplies needed are readily available. (At second hand stores, Dollar Tree, or your local hardware/craft store.)

Please excuse how many involve jars…

gold-polka-dot-mugs

Gold Polka Dot Mugs

Make these for: Someone who loves to entertain. Think: Your best friend who hosts a monthly book-club or your sister who always offers to throw wedding showers.

The How-To: Find a few mis-matched white mugs at Dollar Tree or a second-hand shop. Decorate with different sizes of polka dots. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and let cool in the oven.

Pair with: A bag of Fair Trade coffee beans.

mason-jar-candles

Mason Jar Candles

Make these for: Anyone who spends a lot of time relaxing in the great outdoors. Think: An aunt who spends most every evening on her screened in porch or your sister-in-law who considers the ideal vacation something akin to a chapter from Little House on the Prairie.

The How-To: Instructions HERE.

Pair with: A historical fiction novel.

polka-dot-jeans

Polka Dot Jeans

Make these for: A jeans and t-shirt kinda gal. Think: Your art-obsessed daughter or a friend who always discovers enviable flea-market finds.

The How-To: Find some suitable denim and cut the legs to achieve a casual, cut-off’s vibe. Dip the tip of a pencil eraser into some white fabric paint and stamp the jeans to create a polka dot print.

Pair with: A clever tote bag.

colorful-braided-rug

Colorful Braided Rug

Make this for: A cuddly kid. Think: Your toddler son who is always on the floor surrounded by toy trucks or your sweet niece who would rather be curled up with a chapter book than anywhere else in the world.

The How-To: Instructions HERE.

Pair with: A lamp that makes ceilings look like the night sky.

love-you-jars

“Love You” Jars

Make these for: Someone who loves dainty decor. Think: Your little sis who is in need of decorations for her brand new apartment or your gal pal who matches mantelpiece decor with each approaching holiday.

The How-To: Attach a doilies and red paper hearts to glass jars. (You can glue, decoupage, or just tie the string tight enough to hold the paper pieces in place.) Wrap red and white bakers twine around the middle and tie so the knot is hidden in the back.

Pair with: Fairy lights.

homemade-taco-seasoning

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Make this for: Anyone who believes in Taco Tuesday. Think: Your brother who fancies himself somewhat of a celebrity chef or your co-worker who always posts her meals on Instagram but you don’t hate it.

The How-To: Follow the recipe for your favorite homemade taco spice blend. Package in whatever container you think most suitable.

Pair with: Taco holders that keep your hard-shelled tacos up-right.

eco-friendly-dryer-sheets

Eco-Friendly Dryer Sheets

Make this for: The people in your life who never forget their reusable bags when they go to the grocery. Think: Your Greenpeace donating Mom or your yoga instructor.

The How-To: Instructions HERE.

Pair with: A clothes hamper.

chai-tea-latte-mix

Chai Tea Latte Mix

Make this for: Someone who likes to start their day with a hot cuppa. Think: Your Starbucks-obsessed boss or the mom you share carpool duty with.

The How-To: Find a recipe for chai tea latte and mix it up. Add the mix to a jar and embellish with some twine and a pretty tag. (Great for bulk gift-giving!)

Pair with: A tumbler for drinking hot beverages on-the-go.

t-shirt-produce-bag

T-Shirt Produce Bag

Make this for: Anyone who frequents the Farmers Market. Think: Your green-thumbed boyfriend or your BFF who recently got really into juicing.

The How-To: Instructions HERE.

Pair with: Gift certificate to your local produce market or co-op.

flavored-syrups

Flavored Syrups

Make these for: Someone who fancies themselves a barista. Think: Your husband who wouldn’t be caught dead drinking plain, black coffee or your budget-savvy bestie who has sworn off her coffee shop habit as an upcoming New Year’s resolution.

The How-To: Recipes for vanilla, raspberry, coconut, and caramel syrups HERE. Add each syrup to a bottle with a pour spout. Package in a basket or tray so they’re kitchen counter ready!

Pair with: A coffee cookbook for added inspiration.

Which DIY from above is YOUR favorite? Do you plan on making any presents for the holidays this year? 

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How to make cold brew coffee.

Once upon a time, my little sister worked at Starbucks. It was a magical time due to the bevvy of comped beverages tossed my way. (Thanks Katie!) But it was also around this time when I took a pretty strong liking to iced coffee. Prior to that I’d been a hot coffee or iced chai sort of gal. Fast forward to this summer, Katie off being an actress full-time and I’m craving cold brew nearly every day. And compounding this craving with Chet’s similar affinity for the sweet siren‘s nectar? Let’s just say we were getting a little too cute and comfortable with our local baristas. Curious to see if we could copycat a Grande Venti just as delicious, we did our research and brewed a batch. I think blind taste tests would prove what we have since concluded…you can make Starbucks cold brew coffee at home!!! Your pocket books will thank you. (Do people still say pocket books? IDK.) Here’s how ya do it…

First things first, I recommend getting Starbucks Kenya blend coffee as this is the closest blend to what Starbucks uses for their cold brew in-store. And by “I recommend” I mean my sister recommends…but po-tay-to, po-TAH-to ya know. If you have a grinder, give the beans a course grind. If you don’t have a grinder, get a barista to do it in the store. They’ll probably be inwardly annoyed but OUTWARDLY very cheerful. : )

Next, grab some sort of a vessel that your coffee can hang out in for 8-12 hours. We used a plastic water jug. Scoop in 1/3 Lb. of your ground coffee. You can fashion a funnel out of paper if this process seems like a disaster waiting to happen (We did!). Then pour in a 1/2 gallon of water. I would recommend using filtered. Now you just have to wait.

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Not pretty but effective. Once your coffee is done hanging out you’ll have to strain out the grounds. Find something to keep the sweet nectar in–like a pitcher, drink dispenser or even a large tupperware. Set up a fine mesh strainer over top of the chosen container, line the strainer with a cheese cloth and get to pourin’.

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Make sure to pour EVERYTHING out–even all the grounds. You can use a big wooden spoon to SMOOSH the dregs down into the strainer and make sure you’re getting every last bit of liquid.

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Once you’ve gotten all the liquid into your container, put the top on and stow it in your fridge. Now you’re all set to pour it in your very own cup (with ice, almond milk and stevia if that’s your jam) and enjoy from the comfort of your own home or on the go!

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What have you done to save money this Summer? Have you ever tried cold brewing at home? 

Summer days/Summer nights.

Hey y’all, just wanted to share a few pictures and fun stuff from the last couple of weeks. No rhyme, nor reason…just a trip to Bowling Green, K.Y. and the ol’ fourth of juLY! Ok so maybe some rhyme.

Chet and I met in Bowling Green when he was getting his masters and I was working for the WKU forensics team so fueled by the promise of nostalgia and some beloved familiar faces we decided to load up the Subaru and swing down to Warren County for a couple of days. In true BG fashion we did a LOT of casual family dining at various restaurants new and old (thumbs up to 643, thumbs down to Novo Dolce and always and forever my ❤ belongs to the Ichibanians).

Hilariously, our friends Ben and Chad clued us in to a hidden secret: The best coffee in Bowling Green can be found at Olive Garden. Wacky, right? But I’ve gotta hand it to them…we went and tried it out and both agreed our cup(s) of joe were super on point. Just ask to sit in the bar area (there are cozy lil booths and the service is snappy) order up a carafe or two and get a round of tiny desserts. So random but surprisingly a decadent experience. Only in BG…HA!

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We also hit up a bunch of consignment stores. There seems to be one of these establishments on every block in the beege but unfortunately, the consignment game in Lexington is considerably lacking. We scored a red coat wrack with shiny silver hooks and a Mark Twain voodoo doll from Consignment Corner. The former is looking fantastic hung by my back door and the latter is resting happily atop a bookshelf. At Labold and Sons, Chet and I clocked this sweet print from Print Mafia as soon as we walked in the door.

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We took these lil babes home, along with a Polaroid camera that would, later in life, inspire the design for the Instagram logo.

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Chet found a recipe for some magical solution proclaiming to work wonders on whitening and brightening old electronics. I’d like to see if we can’t get this thing looking sparkly and new!

We had such a wonderful time catching up with our BG pals (and watching COPIOUS amounts of drag queen videos) that we needed a LOT of fuel to make it back to Lex…some more fuel than others.

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Now, jumping ahead a week or so! I had to work on The Fourth of July which was sort of a huge bummer because it’s a favorite of mine. Luckily, I came home to a sparkler party! What a save!!!

sparklerparty

sparklerme   sparklerchet

Just serving some patriotic, Lady Liberty realness (did I mention we’ve been binge watching Rupaul’s Drag Race since returning from BG…that Ben…what an influence!)

sparklerselfie

So happy to spend my Fourth with this one. He’s pretty much the cutest…and takes all my requests for front-facing camera selfies in stride, even when they involve holding fire.

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Java Justice

make the switch collage

Today, I’d like to share a very special guest post written by my Mom. She has long been at the forefront in terms of compassionate eating and consumerism so I thought, who better to turn to for some knowledge on why we should all make the jump to Fair Trade coffee purchasing? I am lucky to have been raised by this people teachin’, vegan eatin’, social justice fightin’ lady who has now realized her passion for all 3 can coalesce into one powerful mission—

I love coffee. I love it hot or iced (and anywhere in between really), plain black or fancied up as a cappuccino or latte. I love it morning, noon and night and am ever so thankful that it doesn’t seem to keep me from sleeping. But what I don’t love is how much of the world’s supply of coffee comes at a HUGE humanitarian cost. And so, I drink Fair Trade coffee. Let me explain.juanvaldez

You see, the coffee industry is nothing like what’s portrayed in those iconic coffee commercials of the 1960s with Juan Valdez and his sweet little burro. Rather, most of the agriculture workers in the coffee business toil in what can only be described as “sweatshops in the fields.” The farmers themselves receive prices for their coffee beans that are less than what they were forced to spend to produce them, pushing them into a cycle of poverty and debt. Their workers are often children, youth and women earning subsistence wages. Grinding poverty and illiteracy are stamped all over the coffee beverages most Americans consume – whether they’re brewing their own, downing a steaming hot cup they just got at the drive-through, or sipping one of those specialty drinks made by a trained barista at their yuppified coffee shop.

Coffee is the world’s SECOND most valuable commodity after petroleum, and U.S. consumers drink one-quarter of the beans traded in the global market. That represents a LOT of coffee. A HUGE amount of coffee. And a very large percentage of that coffee is consumed at the expense of millions of hard-working people around the world who by no fault of their own lack access to the information, services and infrastructure they need to participate as equals in the global economy; to earn their FAIR share of the wealth created by international trade. There is another way though, and one I’ve embraced for several years now.

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Fair Trade offers a means for small farmers to receive fair prices. It cuts out the middle men (there’s usually more than one) and provides not just a market for coffee but education for growing great coffee in an ecologically responsible way. And Fair Trade builds relationships between farmers and Fair Trade coffee companies in the U.S. This is the only approach that guarantees coffee farmers a fair price and workers a fair wage. Plus, this way guarantees the consumer a great cup of joe. Imagine, less poverty, less illiteracy, less oppression, all by doing what you’re already doing – drinking coffee. Mind-boggling and yet so simple.

Like I said, I started purchasing Fair Trade certified coffee at my local cooperative grocery store several years ago. I realize now that they were on the cutting edge of this movement. Then, it seemed the right thing to do and they were the only place to get Fair Trade. Today, Fair Trade coffee is far more available. Many stores carry, at least, some Fair Trade. Yes, it costs a little more than your can of ground coffee from the chain grocery store. But isn’t it worth it? By buying Fair Trade you are supporting coffee farmers in developing countries. You are insuring that coffee workers receive a fair wage and safe working conditions. You are putting children, who would otherwise be harvesting coffee beans, in school. You are doing more for the environment than that little bit of recycling you do does. And…drum roll please…you are getting really, really great coffee. It always tastes better!

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Have I convinced you to go Fair Trade? Well, if not, stay tuned because I am sure to have more to offer in the near future. You see, I have been selected to attend specialized Fair Trade training in Baltimore, Maryland at the end of this month. I will then be a Fair Trade Ambassador. Perhaps Beth will have me back to talk about Fair Trade Chocolate and Fair Trade Tea and Fair Trade Olive Oil and Fair Trade Wine…you get the picture. Bottom line…we can make a difference in the world by what we consume – enjoy a cuppa Fair Trade coffee today and be the change you want to see in the world.

Thanks so much to my Mom, Pam Berger, for sharing! ❤ She’s gonna make such a rockstar Fair Trade Ambassador. And, what do you think, could you make the switch to going all Fair Trade for your cup of joe?