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The Uncommon Life

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Michael Guillette

December 29, 2015

Michael Guillette | UncommonGoodsMichael Guillette – UncommonGoods Operations Team Lead

My hometown…
Brooklyn, New York born and raised.

I’m inspired by…
Greatness being achieved around me. I have always been motivated by seeing someone else doing well.

The word or phrase that best describes me…
Driven.

The way to my heart is…
My stomach.

When I’m not working, I’m probably…
Working out or relaxing with friends.

My favorite place to eat in New York City is…
Good Stuff or Amy Ruth’s. They’re so good.

A song I love so much that I played it until I was sick of it…
Alive by POD and No Role Modelz by J.Cole.

The best gift I’ve ever given is…
A face scrubber from Sephora. I forgot what it was called but she loved it. And books for my mom.

An uncommon fact about me…
I write poetry and short stories.

The Uncommon Life

Get a little TEApsy with Sashee Chandran

December 23, 2015

Tea Drop Sampler - UncommonGoods

Photograph: Sweetlife Photography

I really enjoy traditional black, white, oolong, and green teas, but I’m also drawn to creative and novel interpretations of the tea experience. My fascination with blending tea with spices from around the world has led me to some delicious creations. I love the element of surprise in blending a traditional tea (like Earl Grey) with a complementary but unusual companion (like rose petals or raw cacao).

That’s probably why I so enjoy mixing Tea Drop blends with a variety of different spirits to create tea cocktails. Tea cocktails give a new spin on teatime, and would also be a unique addition to your upcoming holiday gatherings. They will greatly intrigue your guests, and lucky for you, they are simple to create.

I get so much inspiration from my traveling bartender friends Mint and Mirth from Portland, Oregon. They are a rad girl duo who come up with some of the most unique (and delicious!) cocktail creations. I often look to them for cocktail ideas. We even collaborated on a new tea-infused cocktail they introduced at a recent wedding, called Lady May Gimlet. It was a huge hit!

I wanted to share some of my favorite tea-infused cocktails for the holiday season. These are easy to prepare, general crowd pleasers, and are sure to make a sophisticated, boozy addition to any gathering. All of these recipes can be made using the Tea Drop Sampler. I hope you enjoy them while creating some unforgettable holiday memories! And please be sure to sip (and drop) responsibly.

Tea Drop Sampler - UncommonGoods

Photograph: Sweetlife Photography

Lady May Gimlet

Mint & Mirth share the cocktail recipe that incorporates Tea Drops’ popular Sweet Peppermint from the Tea Drop Sampler.

Ingredients:
● 2 oz Aria Portland Dry Gin or other dry gin
● 1 sweet peppermint Tea Drop
● 1/2 oz mixed berry juice
● dash of aromatic bitters

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a shaker over ice, shake well, then strain over ice and garnish with citrus.

Tea Drop Sampler - UncommonGoods

Photograph: Sweetlife Photography

Tea Drop Sampler - UncommonGoods

Photograph: Myles Katherine Wedding

Fresh Cut Cocktail

I was so inspired by Mint and Mirth’s original Fresh Cut cocktail and loved the mixture of gin, Chartreuse French liqueur, and lime. I felt that our Citrus Ginger Tea Drop would make a great addition for those who found the lime juice in the original recipe to be a bit tart. Below is my adapted version of Mint and Mirth’s original Fresh Cut cocktail.

Ingredients
● 1 ½ oz. Gin
● ¼ oz. green chartreuse French liqueur
● ¾ oz. of tea from the Citrus Ginger Tea Drop
● Dash rhubarb bitters from Brooklyn Bitters
● Optional: Splash of Tonic

Directions:
Prepare a Citrus Ginger Tea Drop, allow to cool and set aside. Shake ingredients over ice and strain into chilled coupe glass. Garnish with lemon and enjoy.

Tea Drop Sampler - UncommonGoods

Vanilla Tea Hot Toddy

Whenever I sip on this hot toddy, I’m instantly transported to sitting by a crackling fire wrapped in my wool blanket, catching up with some of my favorite people. If I could bottle up our Vanilla White Tea Toddy that describe it to people, that’s the mood/place I would describe. I love the blend of cinnamon, vanilla, and cream in Rumchata — it is incredibly delicious and comforting at the same time. Below is my favorite recipe for a winter toddy made with our popular Vanilla White Tea Drop, with a deelish Rumchata infusion.

Ingredients
● 1 Vanilla White Tea Drop
● 2 TB of Rumchata

Directions:
Prepare 1 Vanilla White Tea Drop using 6 oz of boiling water in your favorite mug. Add Rumchata and mix. Enjoy!

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Michael Stokes

December 22, 2015

Michael Stokes | UncommonGoodsMichael Stokes, UncommonGoods Customer Service Team Lead

My hometown…
Technically Brooklyn NY, (Brownsville) by birth, but I spent the bulk of my formative years in Elizabeth NJ. (That’s right, I’m a JerseyBoi.)

I’m passionate about…
I love to cook, and event planning. I love seeing small details come together to make an event a huge success.

When I’m not working, I’m probably…
Relaxing on my porch with a homemade margarita, or in my room playing video games.

Something that always makes me laugh…
Anything that Stewie on Family Guy says

My spirit animal is…
That all depends on which religion and/or cultural reference we are looking at this from. Native American – I am the deer. I am a horse in some tribes. And I am a Spider Monkey some African practices such as Yoruba.

My relationship with Mother Nature is…
Not very good. I hate to get dirty, and Mother Nature has a lot of dirt. So I try my best to avoid her.

My favorite place to eat in New York City is…
Caliente Cab on 7th and Bleeker

If I could throw the perfect party…
I’d rent a modern glass house that had a huge pool and a great view. The house would be divided into 3 areas one that is comfortable for sitting and holding conversation with seating for people to eat. The pool area, and another large room for dancing with a healthy mix of reggae and R&B music.

An uncommon fact about me…
I have a twin sister. She is my polar opposite in every way. (We do not get along at all.)

The Uncommon Life

Instagram Challenge: IT’S A WRAP

December 17, 2015

Instagram Challenge | It's A Wrap

The next Instagram Challenge theme is IT’S A WRAP. As you may have learned from our creative gift wrapping tips, we think that wrapping gifts can feel just as great as giving gifts. After all, the gifting experience starts as soon as your giftee sees your colorful gift box, flawlessly wrapped package, or nifty reusable gift bag. (Which is why we’re so excited for the chance to offer you free downloadable gift tags!) Whether it’s a gift you’re giving or receiving, we want to wrap up the season by celebrating the extra TLC that goes into thoughtful present presentation. While sharing your festive photos, be sure to use the hashtag #UGInstaFun to be in the running for a $50 gift card. Visit here to see the creative entries we’ve received so far.

From all of us at UncommonGoods, we wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season!

 

 

Congratulations to @inspiredtoshare for winning our Holiday Hacks Instagram Challenge with her holiday hack: “put a bow on it.” She decorated her Christmas wreath with a beautiful bow that she saved from last year! 

Instagram Challenge Winner | Holiday Hacks | #UGInstaFun

The Uncommon Life

Three Tips to Achieving a More Holistic Lifestyle

December 15, 2015

Editor’s note: Laura Benko is the maker behind our collection of aromatherapy sets. In this guest post, Laura shares three holistic lifestyle tips from her upcoming book The Holistic Home: Feng Shui For Mind, Body, Spirit, Space, available everywhere books are sold starting January 2016.

The Holistic Home | Laura Benko

In my upcoming book The Holistic Home: Feng Shui For Mind, Body, Spirit, SpaceI update ancient Feng Shui myths while keeping some principles that are still relevant and blend them with my own holistic lifestyle concepts of connecting the mind, body, and spirit to your space.  I include over a decade of my clients transformative stories along with my own personal narrative woven throughout.

I’ve learned that when emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects are addressed as a whole for each individual in their home, the effects of transformation can be quite profound. It’s about connecting the dots between the challenges in your life and how they are physically manifesting in your space. My three tips below will help you to experience a great change within your space and yourself.

1.) A Holistic Home is Not a Magazine Showplace
Guaranteed, you will shine and excel more in a home that bears the traces of real life than one that covers it up. A perfectly designed home where everything has been meticulously curated and placed–however awe-inspiring it may be–creates a subconscious feeling for visitors and occupants of unease. Over time, anxiety, angst, and nervousness will thrive when you are not innately comfortable where you dwell. It doesn’t mean living in a dirty, disorganized mess where a sense of neglect resides. At best, it means having a meaningful, comfortable, clean, relaxed home that supports your goals.

Holistic Home | Laura Benko | Featured Image

This home has soul and warmth. It’s clean and beautiful, filled with meaningful items that are all being used, yet nothing is too precious. “It’s the heart of my home, where everyone gathers,” says homeowner Regina Weishiet.

Start with this: Put systems in place for organizing the basics (recycling, mail, paperwork, keys, kids backpacks, etc.) then choose your high traffic décor items carefully. Pick pillows, duvets and couch cushion covers that can easily zip off and be thrown in the wash because when life happens and throw up, wine, or blood land there, you don’t panic. Put your money into items like artwork or light fixtures that can go up on the walls and not in precious rugs that take a daily pounding of dirt and spills. Surround yourself with items that uplift, inspire, and delight – just be smart about how you are going to use them and how effortlessly you can clean them. Leave the dishes if that means you have more one-on-one time with your kids. Don’t stress about the smudged fingerprints on the white walls when company comes. The bottom line is, a looser, relaxed, more forgiving environment is what makes a house a home and truly supports the best to happen for you and your family. And that is priceless.

2.) Your Fears are Showing Up Very Clearly in Your Home
Fear is the most transparent emotion that I can see clearly manifested in the home. A fear of commitment shows up in unpacked boxes, indifference in decorating and procrastination on big-ticket purchases. A fear of success or low self-esteem is found in artwork or mirrors that are unintentionally hung too high, leaving you subconsciously feeling like you can never measure up. Piles of procrastination and avoidance show up in the form of paper work, clothes, odds and ends or unfinished to-do lists, exposing a fear of failure. An overly-ordered home where anxiety lurks with even the slightest possibility of chaos, disorder or violated house rules reveals a fear of losing control. Stock piling and hoarding display a fear of uncertainty. The first step is to try to identify your own fears and take small steps to counteract it. For example, if you have a tendency to live in the past, haven’t updated your décor in eons, and you realize that your fear of change is holding you back, start small by updating accessories like a welcome mat or throw pillows. Then, move to medium tasks like moving your bed or desk. A new, physical perspective can often kick start a fresh outlook and help you metaphorically see things differently. As you make your adjustments and feel the positive effects of these changes, take a moment to revel in the feeling of progress of tackling your fears and know that you are creating an environment that is truly supportive and empowering.

3.) Mind, Body, Spirit, Space. It’s All Connected.
My life’s work has inspired me to launch a business that creates handmade, luxury products that holistically encourage the support of goals, desires and positivity for the individual user. The key to an effective, long lasting transformation and richer, more meaningful experiences are by uniting all planes of action – physical, mental, spiritual and emotional – together in your space.

The “Mind” portion covers the psychology of how you dwell. For example, if you have trouble sleeping, take a closer look at your bedroom. Is your bedside table stacked with unread books or unfinished to-do lists? Fast moving imagery of crashing waves should be replaced with serene waters and exercise equipment should be removed. Unresolved energy or jarring images can be unknowingly unsettling to the psyche. Besides the symbolism, tackling insomnia on another angle led me to create a “Sleep” spray to be used on your face and sheets at bedtime. The combination of lavender, chamomile and sandalwood are a potent slumbering elixir that UncommonGoods sells in a gift set with three other sprays.

Aromatherapy Deluxe Gift Set | UncommonGoods

The “Body” portion relates to all things physical. It’s the aesthetics of design, positioning of furniture, levels of organization, sustainability, décor choices, the health of your home and the efficiency of the layout. In Feng Shui, a basic tenant of empowerment is to situate yourself in the best possible commanding way. If your desk is positioned so that you cannot see who is entering, it automatically puts you at a disadvantage of being in a vulnerable state because you can’t see what is coming. Make sure that your desk is facing the door but not in direct alignment of it. If that’s impossible, put a mirror in front of you so you can easily look up and see behind you. You will subconsciously feel more empowered and in command. My “Revive” spray helps give you an edge by honing your focus and boosting alertness. It’s the perfect mid-afternoon antidote at your desk for waning energy.

Revive | Aromatherapy Spray Set | UncommonGoods

The “Spirit” covers the soul of the home, the atmosphere and the invisible energies. The prevailing energy that resides there has a significant impact on those who live there. Whether that’s anger and illness or laughter and love (or a mix of both) its crucial that just as you would physically clean your home, you need to spiritually clean it too. This is not some new aged hocus-pocus. It’s a custom that has been around for centuries in nearly every culture and religion and has recently become so mainstream that you can find packets of sage to cleanse the energy of your space at virtually any organic health food and wellness store.

After cleaning your home, open up the windows and light one end of the sage stick. Blow it out and let the smoke waft around as you walk throughout the home. Visualize that you are releasing anything negative that does not serve you well. Pay attention to any pockets of energy where arguments, bad dreams or self doubts occurred and spend some time releasing it all and letting it go out the window. My “Good Juju” aromatherapy spray is made from essential oils of sage, Palo Santo and Frankincense and was created for this reason.

Good Juju | Aromatherapy Spray Set | UncommonGoods

This mighty trifecta of energy shifters helps clear out stale energy and negativity.

As with all actions you do – whether its removing clutter, spraying “Good Juju” or using the salt scrub below – visualize that you are releasing specific emotions or attributes that don’t serve you well and you are envisioning a positive outcome.

Deluxe Aromatherapy Scrub Set | UncommonGoods

While using the “Revive” sea salt scrub in my shower this morning, I also “scrubbed away” some excessive worry I’ve been carrying around. By dovetailing three planes of action together while setting a positive intention, your results can be much more effective and long lasting.

Wishing you all things good for your mind, body, spirit and space!
xo
Laura