How To Set Up a Home Bar

full barI have always loved to be prepared for visitors. I like to have something cool to offer when people come over. Having a fully stocked bar isn’t something most people do at home, and maybe that’s why I think it’s so fun. Plus, you know, I like drinking 🙂

This is what my bar looks like. I couldn’t find an actual bar that I really liked, plus they all looked kind of lame and didn’t fit in our great room. I had been begging for one for ages, and J and I finally agreed on this sideboard from Dania. It works well because I just keep everything on top, and use the cabinets for extra dishes and cookbooks. However, you can use anything. In my old studio apartment I used a cool wine rack/cart (similar) that I got off craigslist for $20. You could also use a shelf in your kitchen, the counter top, and old dresser- anything!

starting a barWhen you’re starting out, just go basic. Liquor and supplies are really expensive! I drank cheap liquor until I was about 25, and then I started feeling really hungover from it. Apparently when you get old you need that extra filtering! If you’re young, you can probably get away with it 🙂

This is a basic starter kit idea. You’ll need glasses of some sort. I’ve seen cool glasses at the Dollar Store for $.50 each. The most important are rocks glasses, shot glasses, and martini glasses (add wine glasses if you drink wine). I added a shaker because they are so useful for so many drinks, a wine/bottle opener for obvious reasons, and straws. Having straws takes your drinks up a notch!

Pictured here are vodka, light rum, whiskey, and a specialty liquour. Start with what you like to drink, and then expand by watching what your friends drink or what looks cool on drink menus. With vodka, rum, and whiskey you can make a lot of stuff. A specialty liquour just makes things more fun. You can get fruity flavored things like peach schnapps, or something creamy like Bailey’s Irish Cream (I personally buy cheaper Irish cream because I think they all taste the same).

Let me know if you decide to stock your bar! It’s also a really cool idea to have a “stock the bar” housewarming party. Just have everyone bring their favorite bottle and mixer, then you keep what’s left over. Happy mixing!

What’s your favorite cocktail recipe?

Jillian

Am I the Only One Addicted to Magazines?

Magazine AddictionOnce upon a time, there was a preteen girl that wasn’t allowed to read magazines. They were a waste of money. Even if they were free, they were usually not appropriate for a preteen girl. A few years later that girl grew up and had her own money.

For a while, the magazines still seemed like a waste of money. $4.95?! You have to be kidding. That doesn’t even make sense! It takes an hour to read the thing and then I pass it on to a friend! Absurd.

________________________________________________________________

Eventually I figured out that subscriptions are much less expensive. I started with just one subscription. I loved reading Cosmopolitan every month (by the way, this was in my 20s. I now completely see why my mom didn’t want me reading this stuff as a kid. Some of it is shocking!). Reading magazines feels decadent to me. This may be because they were such a novelty growing up, but I think part of it is how much I value the written word. I read every article, cover to cover. I dream over the fashion, pretty make-up, sculpted bodies, and general gorgeousness. I dream of living in a big city and writing for a magazine. I picture glamour, but I’m sure it’s really all the Devil Wears Prada style grunt work.

Here’s where it got me in trouble. With sites like Groupon, I can get a subscription for a year for $5. Somehow magazines are just a trigger point for me. Every time I see a deal on one, I want to buy it. One time I figured out I had 13 magazine subscriptions! This year I meant to cut down to three, but somehow I still have everything pictured above coming to my house. I can’t completely figure out why I love them so much, but I do. I do know that part of it is holding them in my hands. I had a subscription on my iPad once and never once read it. I worry that the physical written word is going away. Newspapers and magazines are disappearing. Even textbooks are going digital. That makes it all the more precious to me.

My current breakdown:

  1. Women’s Running– best running magazine ever. For women by women, so empowering and inspirational. I decided to only renew one of my running magazines, and it was this one.
  2. Runner’s World– great articles and advice. I wanted both running magazines when I was training for a marathon (that I never ran- another post for another time). Side note, I have tried Running Times and found it so dry and more for coaches. Does anyone else feel the same way?
  3. O– I think Oprah is the best for general interest. She’s so relatable, and has great content on budgeting, fashion, beauty, current events, etc. It’s always something new. This has been a keeper for me for many years.
  4. Marie Claire– I didn’t renew this one, but then a friend gifted me with a subscription. I actually had missed it, so I am glad she’s an enabler! I like their fashion spreads and columns.
  5. Vegetarian Times– this was a killer deal. I love to read their recipes, and it makes me happy that they are catering to vegetarians. However, I’ve only actually made one recipe, so I probably shouldn’t renew?
  6. House Beautiful– this was another $5 subscription. We just moved and I thought it would be really fun to look through these, but I have two and actually haven’t looked at one yet.
  7. Lucky– I was planning on Lucky being my only fashion magazine this year. I’ve loved it in the past because they actually feature affordable pieces, but I’m finding this isn’t as true as it used to be (I just subscribed after not reading for a few years). Is this my imagination? I still like it, but I think I should only have one fashion subscription. Can I have two?

I am terrible at minimalism when it comes to magazines. I don’t keep them when I’m done with them. I do my best to give them to someone else to read, or recycle them. Still, it’s definitely consumption. Can anyone help me narrow it down? What is a reasonable amount? What are your favorites?

Jillian