Gin is In

gin

“It’s cheap…It’s gross…It’s for old people…It’s too dry.” You guys have no idea how many times I have heard those statements about my beloved gin. Just ask the bartender at my favorite dive bar and she’ll tell you how near and dear to my heart gin is. While  whiskey and bourbons are all the rage right now, gin should be what you’re ordering at the bar. Unlike it’s fun cousin tequila, gin is a little trickier to drink. You can’t just take a shot and expect to have a good time  (well you can, but I wouldn’t advise it).

    • You can technically take shots of anything, but do not take shots of gin. Gin is meant to be mixed. Some purist gin hipsters might insist you sip on gin like you would a bourbon, but I’ll stick to my gin cocktails.
    • No two gins are alike. While the base of gin is the juniper berry, there are different botanicals added depending on the brand. For example, Hendrick’s will give you a cucumber and rose flavor, while Bombay Sapphire East will have hints of citrus and pepper. Knowing your gin will make for better cocktails.
    • Gin and tonics originated in the British Colonies. The quinine in tonic water helped combat malaria, and gin was added for flavoring and to help combat scurvy. Knowing it was used as “medicine” kind of makes me feel better about drinking 2 gin and tonics on a Wednesday.
    • Bathtub gin originated during prohibition, and that’s how gin gained its negative reputation. Bathtub gin could hardly be considered gin, containing mostly methanol, and consumption of bathtub gin sometimes lead to death and blindness.
    • Martinis are traditionally made with gin, however James Bond popularized the vodka martini.

Sugary drinks and beer make you bloat, this is common knowledge. I may be biased, but g&t’s never give me a hangover, and I hardly feel bloated when I drink (good) gin. This is perfect for a night out when you’re in that tight dress and don’t want to look beer bloated or for anyone on a diet.


My go-to gin cocktails to order at a bar:
– Tom Collins – Negroni – Gin Gimlet – Gin and Tonic – 

If you’ve been reluctant to order gin at a bar, my twist on the classic gin and tonic is the perfect drink to make at home. It’s simple to make, delicious and refreshing.

 Ingredients:
-Hendrick’s gin (Hendrick’s works best with the cucumber flavor)
-1 cucumber (peeled and sliced)

-tonic water  (Q tonic water is my personal favorite)
-lime wedges
-ice
Place a few cucumber slices in your glass and muddle with a muddle stick or spoon. Combine 1 part gin with 3 parts tonic water in a glass with ice cubes. Garnish with a slice of cucumber and a squeeze of lime juice.  Enjoy. 

Vodka is out, gin is in.

-M

Trip Off the Strip

Recently I was able to take a quick “vacation” with my best friend. I use quotations because our destination was Las Vegas, and Las Vegas hardly qualifies as a vacation. Anyone who has ever been to Las Vegas knows that it truly is the city that doesn’t sleep. The drive there took a few hours and we were soon pulling up to the pearly MGM Signature gates. Being a Vegas veteran, I was craving a different experience than your typical party/club scene. I text my good friend Kat and we were soon en route to Downtown Las Vegas.
I didn’t know much about Downtown Las Vegas except that it was where the old people went. I was wrong. Murals began to line the streets of Downtown, and despite the rain it was full of life. We didn’t get to explore as much of Downtown Las Vegas as I’d hoped due to the rain, but it was definitely one of the highlights out of all of my Vegas trips.

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Our first stop was a quaint little gastropub called Park On Fremont. From the exterior this place doesn’t look like much, but that’s what makes it so great. The interior is filled with bold prints and the area behind the inside bar is home to various taxidermy animals in odd positions. The back patio is just as whimsical as the interior with its mismatched furniture and cozy fireplace. If you look hard enough you might even find the entrance into a hidden area with a seesaw. Yes, I rode it in the rain. I ordered one of their specialty cocktails called Pillow Talk, which was delicious. Prices were reasonable and most definitely cheaper than any bar on the strip. Their brunch menu looked delicious and I will definitely be back next time I find myself in sin-city.

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Park on Fremont
506 Fremont St
Las Vegas, NV 

The second place we went to was Gold Spike. I immediately started screeching on sight upon entry. There was a lounge area with literal giant silk beds in lieu of chairs and tables (typical Vegas). There was also a good size bar area inside, but Kat led us to the back patio. I have to say, this back patio, or backyard as they call it, was a literal adult playground. Supersize all of your favorite childhood games and add alcohol and you end up with the Gold Spike backyard. There was a fenced in area with beer pong tables, giant Jenga, giant chess, and trash pong. The place was relatively empty when we went, but we still enjoyed a round of trash pong in the rain with a bridal party from some irrelevant midwest state. They have live music on weekends on their badass little vintage trailer stage and Gold Spike is also home to The Real World 31. Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in Downtown Las Vegas.

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Who left their weave?

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Kat, our DTLV guide. Follow Kat’s rad IG @kat_longlastname.

Gold Spike
217 N Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV

Before we left we stopped by Container Park and explored until the rain had us running back to the car. Container Park is a cute little area with an adult-friendly jungle gym, chalk wall, shops, bars, and restaurants. They also have a stage which features local acts and musicians. Container Park is also home to the praying mantis pictured below. It was originally created for Burning Man by an aerospace engineer and artist. And if it weren’t already badass, it also shoots 65 ft flames at night.

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I wish it hadn’t been raining so much because I would have loved to explore Downtown Las Vegas  some more. The strip gets old and tiring, and Downtown Las Vegas is the perfect solution for this. As for the rest of my trip well, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

-M

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The Hangover

MAMAKSMALSMALet’s be real. Once you reach your mid-twenties your body just doesn’t bounce back after a wild night out. By wild night out I mean three gin and tonics, and a greasy burrito at 1:45 am. I used to laugh when people brought up hangovers because I was blessed with the miracle of being 21. Now that I’m about to turn 24, I have come to the conclusion that 23 was the year of the hangover for me. I had an alcohol hangover, relationship hangover, school hangover, job hangover. I’ve become a professional at tackling these hangovers, but one in particular I’ve made my bitch (sorry mom).

You have to prepare for a hangover. This means you need to have these staples in your kitchen and medicine cabinet before you even think about which scandalous outfit you are going to wear that night. This is my recipe for a hangover free, productive day after a night of ratchet activity.

-Coconut water (Vita Coco and Whole Foods 365 brand are my go to.)
-Advil/Aleve/Tylenol 
-Bananas (frozen and sliced)
-PB&J ingredients
-Bottle of water
-b12 pills

Before the madness:Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 12.34.00 PM
I don’t care how skin tight your dress is, EAT! That’s why spanx were created. I made the mistake of not eating before a night in Vegas and I nearly died. I did get this cool photo though.Too bad yours truly can’t remember anything after that point. Eat something that will carry you over to the next day, but nothing so heavy that you want to vomit after one shot. I also make it a point to drink at least one glass of water during dinner/pre drink. This is crucial, set a bottle of water, and a tylenol (or whatever) pill next to your bedside.

During the actual drinking:
gt
There are two types of people in the world. People who take shots, and people who don’t. I’m talking about tequila/vodka/whatever shots. Shots are great because 1. you’re not getting the extra calories that come with mixed drinks, 2. you’re not getting the added sugar that comes with most mixed drinks. Avoid drinks that aren’t clear. Those drinks usually are filled with syrups and sugars which make your hangovers that much worse. Stick to a vodka soda or a gin and tonic with a fresh squeezed lime. After a drink or two I like to order water just to even things out. Alcohol dehydrates you and you want to stay a step ahead of it.

When you get home:
As soon as you get home, and before you crawl into bed, force yourself to take the tylenol, b12 pill. Drink the whole bottle of water. This step is KEY.

When you wake up feeling like a hot mess:
As soon as you wake up drag yourself to the kitchen and whip out those frozen Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 12.30.43 PMbananas. I like to slice fresh bananas and keep them in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Put a handful of frozen bananas and a slash of coconut water into your blender. While it’s blending start sipping on that coconut water. I like coconut water for the fact that it’s easier to get down than water, it’s insanely hydrating, and it’s packed with potassium. Next, eat your frozen banana puree. This will get something into your stomach, give you some energy, and again, more potassium. Potassium is key for hangovers because it’s an electrolyte, which is one of the main things your body needs after drinking.

Take the next hour to nap. 

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The final step:
Once you’ve showered and taken a power nap, get back in the kitchen and make a pb&J. The protein from the peanut butter will help you get through the rest of your day, and the coconut water will keep you hydrated. By this time you should be getting texts from your friends wondering if you’re alive and asking to meet you for brunch. Proceed with caution.

-M

July Favorites

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July was a crazy month for me. I felt like I was all over the place, and slept a total of 20 hours all month. Between running around Santa Monica, running late to work, and gallivanting through Vegas, these were my July favs.

Felix Cartal Weekend Workout
I have been on a fitness kick all month-long, surprisingly. I am trying to get back to my goal weight, change my eating habits, and workout more. I do a lot of cardio, and I’m on the treadmill for up to an hour or more. Being the clutz that I am, I avoid messing with my phone as much as I can. My trying to tweet or search songs on Spotify always results in my phone falling and flying 7 feet into the row behind me. I like to have a gym playlist ready, but I get so sick of the same songs week after week. Felix Cartal’s Weekend Workout is the perfect length and vibe for my morning or late night gym sessions. Nine times out of ten, the latest mix is playing on my phone, and it always puts me in the best mood. This is also a great way to discover some dope tracks. His Weekend Workout is available for listening/download via his soundcloud.


Starbucks Iced Coffee: Lightly Sweetened 
I absolutely do NOT have the time to sit in a 15 minute drive-thru for Starbucks before work. I have absolutely NO desire to put on pants and go to Starbucks on a hung over Wednesday Saturday morning. Always running late, per usual, Starbucks pre made Iced Coffee (lightly sweetened) is a lifesaver. This isn’t for the coffee purist. This is for the 20-30 something in a rush with a need for a caffeine fix. I like mine with plenty of ice and a splash of unsweetened coconut milk. It’s not too sweet, and a container will last me about 5 days. The average price I’ve paid is about $4.99. This is actually a steal considering a venti iced coffee usually runs around $3.00.


Mirrored Metal-Frame Sunglasses Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 8.58.00 PM
You have no idea how many compliments I have received on these sunglasses. I’ve grown so fond of them that I have 3 backup pairs. These aren’t the best quality, obvi Forever 21, but they look great. I was drawn to these immediately because they reminded me of a pair I had remembered seeing in Alberta Ferretti Spring/Summer 2014 (pictured to the right). The blue-tinted lens is completely opaque, which is perfect to hide my late night/early morning eye bags. These are especially great for Vegas pool parties. Wear them worry free to Encore Beach Club without the fear of losing your favorite designer pair. They wear comfortably for hours, and for the price, you’d be crazy not to buy a pair…or three.


Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation Moisturizer
Ole Henriksen is one of my favorite skin care lines, and this moisturizer doesn’t disappoint. Some things I’ve noticed after using this moisturizer the whole month of July are a visibly brighter skin tone and a more even complexion.The texture is similar to Clinique’s Dramatically Different moisturizer without the oily feel of the Clinique DDM. My sensitive skin reacted perfectly to this moisturizer, and I have had no problems with any breakouts all of July. One of my favorite things about the Ole Henriksen line is the availability of different sizes for all of their products. I hate spending $40 plus on a product and hating it. While Sephora has a great return policy, it’s just a pain in the a$$ having to return anything. For $14 you can the .5 ounce size moisturizer and see how it works for you. I 100% plan to integrate this product into my regular skin care regimen.


Honorable Mention: Gel Manicure. Honestly, who has the time to sit and paint their nails, and let them dry? Not me. I’m rough on my hands, and not having to worry about chipped nail polish for 10-14 days for under $20 is ideal. Where have you been all of my life gel manis?

-M

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