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Life Hack

The Art of the Tiny Purse

February 8, 2016

In the spirit of all the packing I have done in the past few week for my upcoming move, I’d like to discuss something I have recently become very proficient at..the tiny purse.  Often of the cross body variety, used for a night out on the town, the tiny purse can be a functional method for carrying all your crap, if you know how to pack it.  It’s like a super small game of Tetris or a one way puzzle.

My friends will tell you that I can be a bit of a hoarder and probably carry around way too much stuff on a day to day basis.  I’d like to say it’s so I’m prepared for literally anything that could happen.  Acid reflux? I have pills for those in my purse. Asthma attack. Inhaler on my person.  Break a nail? I’ve got a nail file. Hungry?  I probably have a snack or at least three clementines in my bag.  Need to fix something? Hold on, I have a roll of duct tape somewhere in here.  Stuck on the side of the road in the cold. I totally have an extra space blanket.  Fire? Wait, wait, I have a fire extinguisher! It’s Mary Poppins bad.  Anything and everything could come out of my purse at any given time.

Needless to say, downsizing to something that won’t hold a staple gun and a whole package of Oreos, gives me anxiety.  What happens if I need an alcohol wipe, or a hair brush, or an extra pair of socks?  Probably nothing.  Nothing, will happen to me if I find myself somewhere without nail glue or a box cutter.  Because on any given day I don’t use half of the things I’m carrying around with me in the event of an apocalyptic situation (unless of course that day happens to be the Apocalypse, then I’m screwed.)

So I’m mastering the art of the tiny purse. Whittling down to the bare necessities and forcing myself not to carry around anything with extra room to fit a bunch of junk.  Here’s are the essentials.

iPhone

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courtesy of Apple, Inc

In the days of big screens and phone-tablet hybrids, this is the first thing I check in determining how tiny of a purse I should use.  It needs to be able to fit my large phone and for the sake of being able to use it in the future, there should be some extra space for when I upgrade next year.

Lip Balm

courtesy of thecosmeticmarket.com

courtesy of thecosmeticmarket.com

So crucial. In the warmer months, but especially in the colder months, I never leave the house without chapstick.  Nothing is worse than chapped lips and having to borrow a friend’s and awkwardly dab it on with a finger. We have all talked about the Jack Black lip care line at one point here but it really is the best lip balm, and for my purposes, nice and compact.

Travel Size Hand Cream

courtesy of L'occitane

courtesy of L’occitane

In the winter my skin, but hands especially, gets so dry.  And going out at night, not wanting to carry around gloves or any extra outerwear, having lotion to slap on is important to me.  No one likes the feeling of cracked and chapped hands.  L’Occitane makes a tiny travel version of their Shea Butter Hand Cream (which is divine like most of their products).  If you don’t want to spring for the expensive stuff, the tiny hotel sized bottles of lotion would work just fine in a tiny purse.

Mints

courtesy of Wrigley

courtesy of Wrigley

No night out is complete without mints or gum or breath freshener of sorts.  Whether it’s because you are trying to make a good impression on the girl you have been hitting on all night or just did a shot of something gross and want the taste out of your mouth, I recommend always caring some kind of minty fix.  I prefer the regular Altoids to the Altoids Small (the regular ones are stronger) but the container they come in is way too big for the tiny purse.  Plus for one night out I don’t need all 50 of those little mints.  So, I recycled an Altoids Small container and just throw 10 regular sized Altoids into it.  Everyone wins.

Slim Wallet

courtesy of Fossil

courtesy of Fossil

A slim wallet that will only hold a credit card, driver’s license and a few other cards (insurance, extra credit card, Starbucks gold care, etc) and maybe some cash, is important to making the tiny purse work.  Change is unnecessary and a waste of your precious space.  You also don’t need pictures of your kids, gift cards to Amazon or any of those frequent buyer cards.  Fossil makes some great slim wallets that can be found in the men’s wallet section.  Chic, compact and will last a lifetime.  If you don’t want to upgrade your wallet, just tuck a debit card, your license and a twenty into that little purse and call it a night.

There is a whole myriad of other little tiny things I have packed into a small purse.  Sephora will give you a sample size of your favorite cologne or perfume.  You can buy teeny tiny nail files.  Save your airplane sized snacks. Oh, and those little Mini Emergency Kits  were the greatest idea for overly prepared freaks like myself.  If I’m carrying a slightly larger bag around I’ll just throw one of these into it to give myself piece of mind that I could indeed survive World War III.  I probably won’t use any of it but if it starts raining fire or locus you are gonna want me on you Apocalypse team.  Just saying’.

Life Hack

30th & Weldon Holiday Gift Guide

December 15, 2015

30th & Weldon brings you our holiday gift guide, a collection of gifts from local Baltimore business owners. In true millennial fashion, we haven’t finished our Christmas shopping yet (& bet you haven’t either). The gifts featured are all based in Baltimore and support our local economy & many can be purchased online as well. We hope you’ll be able to find some last minute gifts for everyone left on your list!

CLOSE CALL STUDIO

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WHO’S IT FOR: Close Call Studio gifts are best given to anyone that enjoys plants and other cute things. Friends, significant others, and kids love gifts from Close Call Studio.

GREAT GIFT ITEMS: The felt cacti are a big seller this year, perfect for plant enthusiasts and those with less than a green thumb. The produce ornaments are also perfect for the season and are a unique edition to a creative friend’s holiday decorations. The felt mushrooms and succulents are a 30th & Weldon favorite.

close call studio ornaments

HOW TO SHOP: You can buy directly from Close Call Studio’s Etsy. Local in Baltimore, you can shop at Trohv and Hunting Ground in Hampden.

BOTTLE OF BREAD

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WHO’S IT FOR: Lovers of vintage clothing, beautiful jewelry, and intricate housewares.

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GREAT GIFT ITEMS: Honestly, the entire Bottle of Bread shop is great for those in your life but some of shop-owner Mo’s favorites include: vintage t-shirts, Moon River Natural body products, vintage kilim rugs, leather wallets, & sterling silver and opal stud earrings. Our favorites include some of the vintage glassware and our friends in this guide (Ann Margaret Ceramics and Twigs & Wool).  image2

HOW TO SHOP: Bottle of Bread is best shopped via their brick and mortar location at 229 W Read Street in Mount Vernon.

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KELCI SMITH CREATIVE

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WHO’S IT FOR:  Kelci Smith Creative’s cards are perfect for ladies (and lady-lovin’ lads) who don’t take Christmas too seriously—there are enough cards with “lovely” things depicted on them. These cards are for the silly and snarky. For your best friend, your sister. and maybe even your mother-in-law (you know, depending on the relationship you two have).

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GREAT GIFT ITEM: Right now, everything is geared towards Christmas and gifting. All of the mildly inappropriate and silly cards are beautiful drawn and designed and are for those who appreciate art and a bit of humor. Our favorite cards include ‘Shy Girl‘ and ‘Christmas Cookies‘. We also love the ‘Friendship Card Giftbox Set‘ as something you could gift to someone else.   

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HOW TO SHOP: You can purchase these fantastic alternative Christmas cards directly from Kelci’s website. You should also follow her Instagram for future updates: she has big plans for Valentine’s Day cards, t-shirts, prints and pins.

TWIGS & WOOL

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WHO’S IT FOR: Twigs & Wool is perfect for everyone from your closest friend to your newest co-worker. Knitwear is extremely versatile and Twigs & Wool is one-size-fits-all, which makes your job as a gift giver all the simpler. Twigs & Wool strives to create versatile pieces that are cozy and functional that can be worn by men and women. Also, with your purchase, 1 piece is donated to the House of Ruth Maryland, an emergency domestic abuse shelter in Baltimore.

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GREAT GIFT ITEMS: The hats are great for the holidays, and best sellers this year are in cobalt and mustard. These hats have been so popular because they are a classic, slouchy beanie style that just about anyone can pull off. And one-size-fits-all is always ideal when shopping for someone else. The Cowl in Moss is also a 30th & Weldon favorite.

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HOW TO SHOP: The best way to buy from is from the Twigs & Wool directly. If you are local, Twigs & Wool will be vending at Charm City Flea at the 2640 Space on Saturday, December 19 from 10a-4p. Twigs & Wool is also sold at Bottle of Bread in Mount Vernon, Doubledutch Boutique in Hampden, and The Women’s Exchange in Downtown Baltimore.

PEARL SWIRL

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WHO’S IT FOR: Pearlswirl is unique, handmade jewels perfect for your girlfriend, mom, or any other lady in your life who appreciates a touch of vintage and sparkle.

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GREAT GIFT ITEMS: Anything Druzy is very popular this year. They sparkle and shimmer which is perfect for the season of parties but they’re not so seasonal that they only work at Christmas.
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HOW TO SHOP: Directly from Pearlswirl’s website. Available locally at Double Dutch Boutique in Hampden.

LOCAL COLOR FLOWERS

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WHO’S IT FOR: Gifts from Local Color Flowers are perfect for anyone who loves flowers, gardening or eco-friendly and sustainable gifts. Since all flowers are sourced from within 100 miles of Baltimore, LoCoFlo gifts are perfect for anyone who loves Baltimore and is committed to our community.

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GREAT GIFT ITEMS: Perfect holiday gift items are custom gift baskets featuring local products and flowers, a subscription to our flower CSA, a holiday arrangement (perfect to give as a hostess gift) or a gift certificate to one of our floral design classes.

HOW TO SHOP: Online or at the shop in Charles Village (just make an appointment).

ANN MARGARET CERAMICS

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WHO’S IT FOR: These ceramics are for a broad audience and are great for anyone who wants to decorate their home with unique handmade pottery.

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GREAT GIFT ITEMS: Mugs have proven to be a great universal holiday gift—we truly believe you can never have too many mugs for coffee or tea or mulled cider. We also love Ann Margaret’s unisex necklaces, which is a unique way of using pottery.

HOW TO SHOP: Shop directly from Ann Margaret Ceramics’ Etsy. Everything listed on Etsy can be hand delivered or arranged for pickup in Baltimore. Some wares are available at Bottle of Bread in Mount Vernon.

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ARTIFACT COFFEE / WOODBERRY KITCHEN / ETC. 

artifact coffee mug

WHO’S IT FOR: The food lover, the coffee lover, and the local-loving guru.

GREAT GIFT ITEMS: Pretty much the entire shop, but including: Snake Oil Hot Sauce (a Woodberry Kitchen classic), Artifact Coffee T-Shirt (featuring the iconic backwards mug), Artifact Coffee Keep Cup, and WK Pantry Jams and Jelly (perfect to put on our scones!).

HOW TO SHOP: You can purhcase various WK Pantry Items & gift cards for all WK restaurants (Woodberry Kitchen, Artifact, Parts & Labor, etc) at the Woodberry Kitchen Shop online. However for most Artifact Gifts it is best to visit Artifact Coffee at 1500 Union Avenue in Hampden.

THE WHIFF CO.

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WHO’S IT FOR: The Whiff Co., a modern gifting service, has created gorgeous & adorable hand-drawn cards this holiday season. These cards are for everyone and serve as the perfect companion to any gift purchased from the gift guide or elsewhere.

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GREAT GIFT ITEMS: For the holiday season, The Whiff Co. will focus exclusively on holiday cards. They’re working with Hugging Jems to create hand-designed and painted cards—and they are absolutely beautiful. These holiday cards are top picks for the season but The Whiff Co. will still have additional designs for sale.

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HOW TO SHOP: 

These cards have been made available for online preorder as of Monday, December 14th at 7:00 pm EST. Preorder lasts until Friday, December 18th at 11:59 pm PST. Anyone who preorders a card will have the option to add a custom, hand-written message & have their card sent directly to the recipient. After that pre-order ends you can still have a blank card shipped to you so you can add a personalized message before sending it off.

We hope your holiday is filled/has been filled with lots of love—that’s the poin right? Now, we have got a bunch of last minute Christmas shopping to attend to and bet you probably have a little bit too. 

Life Hack

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Up Cycled Flower Vases

November 7, 2015

In college it was common practice to use empty liquor bottles, beer bottles, empty boxes of Coors Light, what have you, as decoration whatever shitty apartment you happened to be living in that year.  Temporary, easily acquired, non sentimental (so it was easy to toss at the end of the semester), in addition to being a silent boast of what you drank and how much you drank. I’ve been out of college for over three years now and I’m proud to say I’m still decorating with my boozy empties, but with a twist.

I’ve been drying flowers and herbs for a few years – my roommates can attest to the outrageous amount of dried eucalyptus I own.  Somewhere along the way I realized I had an endless possibilities of ‘free’ vases for my dried plants in the numerous wine and liquor bottles I go through. It’s the perfect way to reuse and up-cycle my bottles. Plus I never need to buy another vase.  The variety of shapes and sizes you can get create an interesting and funky collection.  If you don’t drink alcohol you can reuse other glass bottles.  I have a kombucha bottle and a Frank’s Red Hot bottle!  The bottle necks are usually narrow and will only allow for one or two stems so you don’t need much (one dried bouquet will do). Plus if I am ever in a pinch for a housewarming or hospitality gift I can just grab one off the shelf – it’s unique, it smells good and has a practical function in every home.

What You Need:

Dried flowers and plants
Empty wine, liquor, misc. glass bottles
Steel wool
A bowl of warm water
Goo Gone

I recommend flowers that dry pretty and keep their original shape. Bonus points if they smell really good even after being dried too. For example, lavender dries beautifully – it looks basically the same, fresh or dried and smells amazing either way.  Roses on the other hand tend to look a lot darker and sadder when dried.  I have a few roses I keep for sentimental reasons but I prefer something that keeps some of its integrity.  Wrap twine around the base of your fresh bouquet and hang upside down until completely dry.  The time frame will be different based on the moisture in your environment but I find it normally takes a week to two weeks for my flowers to dry out completely.

In the mean time, peel off as much of the label from the bottles as possible. I like the Millstone bottles the way they are so I tend to leave the labels on mine. Soak them in warm water for a few minutes and then try to peel off more of the label.  Anything you can’t get off with the soak you can scrub off with steel wool.  The label off my Lambic bottle came off just by soaking versus the Knob Creek bottle needing to be scrubbed multiple times.  As a last resort I used a dab of Goo Gone. I try to avoid using chemicals (anything that melts away adhesive and says ‘fatal if swallowed’ on the bottle naturally makes me a little cautious) but the sticky reside from the label just wouldn’t budge.

Once your flowers have dried you can fill your new up cycled vases!  Confession: most of mine are filled with eucalyptus.  Don’t have any empty bottles sitting around? Better start drinking….

 

 

 

Life Hack

Easy Halloween Decor

October 30, 2015



It’s no secret to my peoples (friends, family, twitter followers, etc) that I love Halloween – it’s my all time favorite holiday. I’m a little notorious amongst previous roommates for decorating for it ASAP – like, September 1st. What I don’t love? Spending a ton of money to make my house the spooky witch haven of my dreams. So today I’ve got a few quick and cheap DIYs for spooky Halloween decor for your home.

You only need a few supplies – most of which cost a couple of buckaroos or less – and you might even have most of them laying around the house.

First up, these cool vases. I just perused my local thrift store for vases with interesting shapes, color / design doesn’t really matter here. If they are varnished you may want to use a spray primer, but otherwise grab your trusty black spray paint and spray from about 6-10″ away. You can also use a spray sealant, but I kind of like if they chip a little. Add some dried roses or baby’s breath for a creepy bouquet fit for the haunted mansion.

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Before

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After!

Next the candles we used at our last sacrifice ceremony – kidding! But these bloody candles certainly look like someone has been doing a blood pact a little too close…IMG_1912

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To get these drippy candles, take a white (or black!) pillar candle of any height and place on a safe surface, such as a tin-foil wrapped plate. I burned mine a bit first so I could tell where to place the drips better. Then, take an unwrapped crayon (I used brick red here) and another flame, such as a long taper candle and hold the flame close enough to the crayon so it drips over the pillar candle. The secret to getting longer drips? Stay in the same place. As the first drop cools, the second drip will follow and extend from the same place. You can add as much or as little “blood” as you want.

The last DIY is these super easy lanterns. I think these would look amazing on the front steps to your house! Start with the big, wide mouth mason jars (32 oz.) I got mine at the thrift store as well for $2 a piece. Using the same black spray paint as before, but from much further away so the spray just barely coats the jars but is not opaque. Once they dry, use patterned tulle – such as my blood spattered tulle from Michaels (which I bought on clearance because its close to the holiday) and gently wrap the jar in a single layer and secure with a little hot glue. Pro tip – don’t press down where the hot glue is to secure it but gently pull the tulle on either side of the glue drop. Or don’t – if you plan on committing a major crime this Halloween and want to burn off your fingerprints. Either way. Add a votive candle and done!

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Spray painting in progress

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That’s it! Super easy, cheap, decor that will definitely make your house a little more ~spooky~.

I know you’re probably thinking dang, why did she just give me these great ideas and Halloween is about to be over? Fear not mi amigos, swap out anything I used black for with gold or silver and you’ve got some festive shit ready for the holidays! I’ll be sure to show you mine on our Instagram.

Check out all of these decor items and more as we transform Blue Pit BBQ into Hampden’s own haunted mansion at our Halloween Party – see you there!

Life Hack

A Millennial’s Guide to Kitchen Knives

October 3, 2015

Owning a knife-set is a beautiful thing and is a step towards the path to #Adult. There are always knives to use that can cut most of what needs to be cut in a kitchen. I know a good knife is really important and I’ve always had these awesome knife-sets around but it wasn’t until recently that I realized I have NO idea how to properly use them—I have no idea which knife to use in various situations and I guess I’ve been using the wrong knives while cooking for all these years. NOTE: I also am not very good at actually using knives. There was the time this year I went to the emergency room to get stitches in my hand because I cut it while trying to get the pit out of an avocado. And then there was the time I ***accidentally*** stabbed Danielle in the arm. That’s a story for another day though. I’ll often use one or maybe two knives throughout cooking a meal and Devlin is constantly schooling me on proper knife use. Apparently, the knife you use to cut chicken is different than the one you use to chop garlic is different than the one you use to slice bread. And those scissors aren’t there to cut the tags off a new dress. WHO KNEW?! Apparently chefs and other people did but not me.

I’ve decided to go ahead and so some research and find out what the hell all these knives should be used for. Given my track record, take this information with a grain of salt. Photos below link to some suggestions for a specific knife in each category.

The Chef’s Knife

  

This is probably the one we are all most familiar with. If you have one knife, it should be a chef’s knife. But you should really have more than one knife. The chef’s knife is best for chopping and dicing but can also be used for slicing and deboning meat—the large blade makes it versatile and this knife is often called a multi-purpose knife. My go-to knife for slicing vegetables, the large blade allows me to be quick and efficient.

The Slicing & Carving Knives

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These knives are more delicate than your chef’s knife and they are intended for, well, slicing and carving—they’re best for slicing and carving meat. This is the one I also sometimes use for slicing cheese. Not sure if that is right, the internet was kinda conflicted on this one. This long, slim blade is great for getting thin & precise cuts of ham, roasts, and prime rib (for example).

The Boning Knife

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This knife should be used for boning meat, fish or poultry and can handle the smallest sardine to the whole Thanksgiving turkey. The sharp point and narrow blade make this knife ideal for maneuvering your way around bones and cutting through tough cartilage. If you are a vegetarian, you probably don’t need a boning knife. A boning knife does not need to be expensive: so long as it’s sturdy you’re ready to roll.

The Paring Knife

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This little baby (3-4 inches!) knife is actually quite useful. It’s great for doing intricate tasks that your chef’s knife is just too big for—like peeling fruits and vegetables, de-veining shrimp, and removing the seeds from a jalapeño. Honestly, I had no idea what the fuck a paring knife was used for but now it makes sense.

The Santoku Knife

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Honestly, I still have no idea what this one is for really. It’s kind of like a chef’s knife but kind of not. I’ve done a lot of research on this one and what I’ve gathered is that it’s versatile like a chef’s knife but lighter and smaller (usually around 5-7 inches) so a little easier to handle. The big difference is that the Santoku Knife features dimples on the blade which help release sticky foods when chopping (think garlic). I grab this one mainly when my chef’s knives (our set has two) are unavailable.

The Bread Knife

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This one I knew! This one is for bread! Duh? These knives are serrated and resemble a saw. In addition to cutting bread, they can be used for cutting through cake and fruits and vegetabels with hard-to-breach skin.

The Steak Knives

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Many knife sets come with steak knives. These are used while you’re eating steaks, chops, roasts, and chicken breasts but can also be used for slicing meat before serving.

The Kitchen Shears

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Kitchen scissors are great for cutting herbs, de-rooting vegetables, trimming fat off meat, de-scaling a fish, and even cutting small vegetables (like a little cherry tomato). Can also assist in non-food related tasks, like cutting string when wrapping food and for food packaging. It is best to let your kitchen shears handle kitchen-related tasks and get some office scissors for other uses.

These are just some of the most basic knives you may find in your knife set but every one’s block is different—ours has two sizing of chef’s knives and a paring/Santoku hybrid knife and didn’t come with a boning knife. Hopefully, this makes meal prep a little bit easier for you all. Please remember to keep your knives sharp and practice kitchen safety and don’t stab your friends. Pass the knife in the kitchen blade down and just overall be aware. I think I need that disclaimer more than you do.

Have a use for a knife I didn’t mention? I’m still learning so let me know in the comments below. Also, I’d love to hear your great knife stories. Has anyone else stabbed a friend? No? Yeah, I figured…