Crystal Ball

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Cheers to another Spring Menu cocktail recipe! This one from You & Yours Distilling Co. can only be described as what would happen if Ken tried to make Barbie an Old Fashioned. It’s light and airy and feminine but gets straight to the point.

I love that it combines two trends I’m loving at the moment – “up, on a rock” and “a little extra on the side.” I’m into cocktails served up AND on a rock for a couple of reasons: I think the aesthetic is cool and unexpected and I like that using a coupe coupled with a touch of dilution from the ice makes a direct-style cocktail just a touch more delicate and approachable. On top of the ice/garnish situation, serving the drink with a little extra cocktail on the side – so you can top yourself up at your leisure – is genius IMO because it allows the drink to be presented in one way, yet you’re not missing out on enjoying a full cocktail. These two cocktail trends combined provide a lovely, sensuous and subtly drawn out imbibing experience. Scroll down to snag the recipe.

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Crystal Ball  |  Makes 1 cocktail.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Add all ingredients (except salt spray) to a mixing glass. Stir for 15 seconds and strain over a large ice sphere in a coupe and spritz a few times with salt spray. Garnish with a grapefruit peel placed around the inner rim. If there is leftover cocktail remaining in the mixing glass, serve it in a small tasting glass or snifter on the side, and refill the coupe at your leisure!

*Grapefruit cordial: Bring one part fresh grapefruit juice (strained) and one part white sugar to a boil. Let simmer for 15 minutes and cool. Keep mix refrigerated.

**Lemon oleo: Peel 2-3 lemons and combine peel and 1/2 c sugar in a container. Let rest 4+ hours overnight, then drain off lemon oil and store oil in a sealed container.

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Oh Snap! A Snap Pea & Sunday Gin Sour

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New cocktail menu tastings are DEFINITELY in the top five when it comes to things I get to do for my “job” at You & Yours Distilling Co. and our most recent spring menu tasting did not disappoint. In fact, I think this Snap Pea Sunday Gin Sour, the “Oh Snap!,” by our tasting room manager, April, might be one of my favorite cocktails ever presented at Y&Y.

Fresh juiced snap peas lend a gentle but invigorating jolt of grassiness that compliments our bright and citrusy Sunday Gin just flawlessly. And the frothiness from the egg white and bit of complexity from a dash or two of peach bitters and fresh mint send it totally over the top. I think it might even be the new Bunny Foo Foo! 😉#ifyouknowyouknow… keep scrolling for the recipe or better yet, sign up for one of our March Cocktail Classes to learn how to make it from April herself!

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Oh Snap! Makes 1 cocktail.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Sunday Gin
  • 1.5 oz snap pea + honey mix (see recipe below)
  • .75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 2-3 dashes peach bitters
  • 1 small sprig of mint
  • 1 egg white, separated

Directions:

Add all ingredients (tear mint before adding) to a cocktail shaker WITHOUT ICE and dry shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds. The longer you shake, the frothier the cocktail will be. Then add ice and shake a second time. Double strain directly into a short rocks glass and garnish with a single snap pea.

Snap pea + honey mix: Combine two parts fresh juiced snap peas with one part honey simple syrup (1:1 honey to water, heated gently until fully dissolved). Keep mix refrigerated.

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Review of the Week! Vol. 2: El Jardin’s El Conquistador G&T

Welcome back to a new series here on Distillerista! Each week I’ll be sharing a shorter format post reviewing one thing I tried over the previous week. It may be a cocktail, a non-alcoholic drink, a product, a spirit, or a recipe. Just a little something I enjoyed and wanted to share so you can too!

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This week is the first of what is sure to be many in a category of these reviews: a You & Yours Distilling Co. cocktail menu placement featuring one of our spirits! This week it’s a gorgeous Spanish-style Gin & Tonic featuring our Winter Gin, AKA my version of a London Dry style of gin.

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The ‘El Conquistador‘ at El Jardin in Liberty Station is everything a Gin & Tonic should be: gorgeous to the eye, intoxicating to the nose and perfectly bright and balanced on the palate. Complimenting our Winter Gin is Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water, then it’s all garnished with aromatic orange zest, eye-catching star anise pods and lemon balm and fennel fronds from the Chef’s own garden. As delicious as it is beautiful! Be sure to get to El Jardin to try one quick, as Bev Director Eliza and her team are about to overhaul the cocktail menu for spring and a new Sunday Gin cocktail will be taking the Conquistador’s place!

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Cheers! And be sure to check out last week’s Review, a gorgeously creamy “Dirty” Ginger Turmeric Cappuccino.

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2019 Goals & Projects

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When I posted the photo above to my IG detailing one of my favorite big-picture productivity hacks, I asked if you guys would like a blog post detailing a bit more about all the You & Yours-related 2019 goals and projects we have on our plates this year. I got a couple of yes’s so I decided to put finger tips to keyboard and give you a little glimpse into what our team will be working on in 2019. I’m curious, which project are you most excited for?!

1. Y&Y KITCHEN… No secret here, we’ve been working on building a kitchen into our 1495 G Street space for quite a while now. We got dealt a super disappointing hand in late 2017 when we heard the landlord had rented out the space adjacent to the tasting room without consulting us first. I.e. where we had planned to put the kitchen, barrel storage and additional private event space. So we had to go back to the drawing board. Thankfully, 2018 brought us the warehouse (see #2!) we’re expanding into early this year, so we’re now able to move some things out of our jam-packed production floor in order to make room for a small kitchen. We hope to offer our small menu (which we’re working on with one of our favorite chefs! stay tuned!) of Southern-inspired small plates by early spring!

2. WAREHOUSE… If you’ve taken a distillery tour any time in the last year, you know our production floor is getting TIGHT. I mean, very, very, very crowded. Every morning our production manager has to pallet jack everything out into our two staff parking spaces in order to work in the distillery. Not ideal. Thankfully construction is well underway at 367 15th Street (just a few blocks from our original location) and we should be occupying the new headquarters by late March. In addition to acting as ground zero for all things canned cocktail production, this new warehouse location will be used for storage, spirit production overflow and private tastings. But perhaps my favorite part of the build out? Actual work space! Had to build myself a corner office, obviously! 😉 

3. DISTRO – ADDITIONAL STATES… 2019 is ALL. ABOUT. THE DISTRIBUTION for our team at You & Yours. We get inquiries every day asking for our product in other states and we’re beyond ready to expand outside of California. We’re working several angles and potential partnerships at the moment and hope to launch at least three additional states by the end of the year. We’ll keep you posted!

4. CANS – EAST COAST… Speaking of, if all goes well, East Coasters can sip on our canned cocktails in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts this summer! If you happen to live in those states, start hassling your local liquor store owners and grocers now! 

5. BEER GARDEN… If you saw our canned cocktail announcement you may have caught that we’re gluttons for punishment and have decided to build an outdoor beer & wine garden on the lot behind the new warehouse. Yeah, not like we have anything going on at all… but we love East Village and feel really passionate about continuing to improve the neighborhood, and therefore feel a concept of this kind would do a lot of good for the area. More details to come but we hope to welcome guests by late summer this year!

6 & 7. [REDACTED] Unfortunately I can’t share much about these projects just yet, but one may involve a game-changing partnership and the other mighttttttttt be our second tasting room location! The suspense!

8. BLOG MORE!… I say this every year but I want to deliver more consistent content here on Distillerista. I truly do love to sit down and write about spirits, distillers, hospitality, our travels, our plans and projects, and, of course, all things Y&Y. It’s just that at the end of the day, taking time to write blog posts doesn’t feel the most productive use of my time, considering all we want to accomplish this year. BUT it’s something I really enjoy and it actually relaxes me, so I’m hoping to bring you more blog posts this year, if only for those reasons alone! What you would like to read about or learn here on Distillerista this year? Your wish is my command.

Last but not least, what are YOUR 2019 goals? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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A Very Distillerista Gift Guide!

The Holidays are here, can you believe it?! Below are some of the things I’m gifting – and wishing for! – this year… whether you’re searching for something for the traveler, spirits enthusiast, aspiring distiller or ultimate host(ess) in your life, I’ve got you covered!

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For the traveler…

Away Suitcase (pictured) I SWEAR by my bigger carry on from AWAY. I love this thing so much, I bought one for my fiancé too. They hold SO MUCH (seriously, I packed for two+ weeks in New Zealand with just this one bag! And we know I don’t like to outfit repeat…) and they’re incredibly durable and easy to maneuver. Plus all the fun colors to choose from! You’ll never by another suitcase again.

En Route Passport Holder (pictured) A cute passport cover makes a great stocking stuffer for your wanderlust-ing bestie.

Carry On Cocktail Kit (pictured) I – honestly – never fly without one, and neither should you! Or anyone you love. I’m all about elevating your imbibing experience, and that means when you’re flying too.

Silk Eye Mask (pictured) Nothing like a chic silk eye mask to make coach feel a little more luxurious!

Hydrating Sheet mask… I love embarrassing my fiancé on long flights and throwing on a sheet mask (bonus points if you do it WITH the eye mask!) What better time to multi-task than on a long flight, self-care included!

 

For the spirits enthusiast or aspiring distiller… 

Gin Making Kit (pictured) Have a budding distiller on your hands? Get them an at-home gin making kit!

Sunday Gin (pictured) It wouldn’t be a Distillerista gift guide if I didn’t include a bottle of Sunday Gin! I may be a little biased, but that aside, it’s a lovely entry point enter the world of gin for a friend who may need a little coaxing over to the good side! Check out our website for where to buy (shipping options included), or pop by the tasting room to pick up a bottle.

Cocktail Class (pictured) If your gift recipient is local to San Diego, consider purchasing them two tickets to one of our cocktail classes! Such a great way to learn – or brush up – on the basics of cocktail making and a fun date night idea to boot.

Large format ice molds (pictured) No better way to enjoy your favorite spirits than over a large format ice cube. They provide the bit of chill you’re looking for plus slow dilution.

Table Top Distilling Book For the more studious spirits enthusiast, a wealth of knowledge on small-scale at-home distilling lies in this wonderful book!

 

For the ultimate host or hostess in your life… or anyone really!

Seasonal Candle with Cloche (pictured) No one was ever mad about receiving a candle! And this glass cloche provides an extra bit of elegance.

Chic Corkcicle cooler tote (pictured) Such a game changer! No more lugging around a sad styrofoam box. Throw a few bottles of wine (or better yet, canned cocktails!) into this cooler bag and head to the park incognito!

Large marble + brass serving stand Bonus points if you gift it with treats already nestled on top!

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You & Yours Canned Cocktails are Here!

It has been a year+ long labor of love but our canned, ready-to-drink cocktails are finally here! 

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Ever since we started talking about opening You & Yours Distilling Co., we’ve always known that a canned cocktail was in our future. Seeing as we’re a very cocktail culture-minded brand and company, canned cocktails felt like a natural progression for our product line. Not to mention the sector is due to explode any minute and you know we wanted a piece of that!

If you’ve been to You & Yours before, then hopefully you’ve seen for yourself the amount of intention and effort we put into our in-house cocktail program. If so, you know we lent the same love and effort when formulating our canned cocktails. We worked with a “beverage architect” firm to help us get the products exactly how we wanted them and are SO happy with how they turned out.

A little bit about the formulation process… first, we sent the “beverage architects” the spirits that we planned to use in each of the canned cocktails so that their team could formulate each round of samples with the actual liquor that would be used to produce them. Let me tell you, shipping a five gallon bucket of vodka across the country is a lot more difficult than you’d think! Hah! 

Then we sent over a (in my case, very, veryyyy detailed) description of the flavor profiles we were looking for for each product, as well as any other existing products that we’d like to try to emulate. For example, we sent them some Cran-Raspberry Lacroix as inspiration for a jumping off point when formulating our canned Vodka Soda, Splash of Cranberry. And for our Gin & Tonic, we sent some of our favorite tonic water (East Imperial, of course). Not because we necessarily wanted to copy the flavor of either, but because we wanted the team at the formulation firm to be able to taste the products so they could have a point of reference when we referred to the respective flavor profiles in our descriptions and feedback.

Once the team at the beverage architect firm had everything they need to get started, then the fun began! They took what we told them and sent them and created the first round of sample cans and shipped them to us to taste and give feedback! The first couple of rounds were a bit underwhelming, as you’re really just trying to nail down sweetness level and alcohol percentage. Fun fact: it took us all the way until the final couple of rounds to nail the ABV of our Mule can! I fought for it to be higher in alcohol than the other two because it had so much more going on, flavor-wise. I felt it needed a bit more punch to cut through the heartier ginger and lime notes – but more on that later! 

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All in all, it took us about 8 months and 12 rounds of samples (2-3 samples of each SKU are included in each round) to solidify all three formulations! The three canned cocktails we just launched are a Gin & Tonic (obviously), a Vodka Mule and a Vodka Soda, splash of Cranberry. Read on to hear a little more about each one!

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G&T – Being a gin-focussed distillery, we knew we wanted to do a Gin & Tonic right out of the gate. Another fun fact: this was also the one it took longest for me to nail down the formulation. By the end of the process I was so burnt out and kept wanting to tweak and tweak and tweak but ultimately let go and just went with the one we knew was amazing. I’m so happy I did because I probably could have kept driving myself crazy perfecting for another ten rounds but the final product we have today is so freaking good. It’s a gorgeous mix of our flagship American-style Sunday Gin with a nice mellow grapefruit and lime-scented tonic water. So refreshing.

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Vodka Mule – Everybody and their mother loves a good Moscow Mule so it was a no-brainer for us to create one for our initial launch. However, creating a canned version of a cocktail that has SUCH strong – not to mention differing – opinions amongst it’s fans (if you’ve never had an argument with a mule fanatic over the correct type of ginger beer to use, consider yourself spared) is no easy task. My approach? Go outside the box while staying true to our in-house cocktail program. Something really fun we do at the tasting room is add a few dashes of peach bitters to our ‘Prized Pony’, which we make with fresh juiced ginger syrup, fresh lime juice and sparkling water instead of pre-made ginger beer. It makes such a difference, resulting in a light, fresh and vibrant Mule-style cocktail and so we wanted to hold true to that as much as possible in our canned version. If you savor intently enough, you should get a nice juicy peach note when sipping on our canned Vodka Mule!

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Vodka Soda, Splash of Cran – This one was designed to be an elevated, slightly more sophisticated version of your classic call out drink – a vodka soda with a splash of cranberry juice. We made it a little more special with notes of tart cherry and pomegranate and kept the sweetness level very low (less than 3 grams per the entire can) so that you could enjoy several without any cloying aftertaste or feeling too saccharine after a few sips. I have to say, I think this one may be my favorite of the three! Shhh, don’t tell the G&T.

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Each four-pack of our canned cocktails retails for $14.99 and can be found for sale at our tasting room, as well as our local retail partners like Lazy Acres, Bristol Farms, Baron’s, Total Wine and several other wonderful independent liquor stores!

If you’re a retailer and are interested in stocking our spirits or canned cocktails, contact our Head of Sales at tom@YouAndYours.com!

Scroll on for a few more fun moments throughout the process…

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{ our first canning run at the distillery! }

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{ so happy! finally sipping the final product out on the water! }

Distillerista-YAYDC-Canned-Cocktails-1{ my bff Erin sipping a G&T on a camping trip to Joshua Tree! }

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{ release day! }

Distillerista-YAYDC-Canned-Cocktails-11{ our designer, John, picking up his first four-pack at his local liquor store! }

Distillerista-YAYDC-Canned-Cocktails-6{ bottling in the parking lot during a canning run }

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{ celebratory promo photo shoot!* }

*First & final images by Arielle Levy :)

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Podcast Episode: How Starting My Blog Led to Opening You & Yours Distilling Co.

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I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on my friend and fellow blogger, Nihan‘s podcast: The Secret Life of Bloggers. We chat all things You & Yours, Distillerista, and specifically how starting this blog (when I had ZERO idea how to break into the spirits industry) really helped clear a path to where I am today.

Listen to the episode here! Episode 11: Creating An Instagrammable Business, and be sure to follow Nihan over here!

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CUPCAKES-CASHMERE-YOU-YOURS-DRINK { gorgeous iridescent coupes accented our cocktail perfectly! photo cred }

One of the most exciting opportunities we’ve had this year was to create and serve a specialty cocktail at Cupcakes + Cashmere‘s Ten Year Anniversary Party! As a longtime Cupcakes + Cashmere reader, it was such a treat and honor to be involved in the milestone celebration. I started reading Emily’s blog when I was a freshman in college after immediately being drawn to her easy breezy entertaining ideas, approachable style, and love for great food & cocktails. When they reached out about providing a cocktail for the evening, I jumped at the chance!

As a long time reader, I knew the founder of Cupcakes + Cashmere, Emily Schuman, was both a gin and a martini fan, so we started there. The C+C team had featured our Sunday Gin in a previous post so we tapped our flagship gin for the job. From there, I wanted to stay as on brand for the blog as possible (soft pinks, floral elements, feminine style) so we did a bit of a riff on a martini-style cocktail while incorporating some additional elements (rose petal tea cordial for flavor and color), lemon oil (to balance the sweetness of the rose yet still remain a stirred and direct cocktail), Peychaud’s Bitters (for color and depth) and festive floral garnishes. See the full cocktail recipe below!

CUPCAKES { Y&Y Tasting Room Manager, April, who helped develop the recipe!photo cred }

CUPCAKES-CASHMERE-EMILY-COCKTAIL { C+C Blogger, Emily, and a friend enjoying their first drinks :) photo cred }

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Stir with ice in a mixing glass & ​s​train into a coupe-style glass. Garnish: micro flowers floated on top

Lemon Oleo*
  • 2-3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Peel lemons and combine peel and sugar in a container with a tight fitting lid. Let rest 4+ hours or overnight. Occasionally shake container. Drain off lemon oil and keep in a sealed container.
Rose Petal Cordial**
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 24g Rose Petal Tea
Bring water to a boil, add sugar. After sugar dissolves, add tea and turn off heat. Let sit for 15 minutes, occasionally stir and finely strain. Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks.
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A Day in the Life of a Distillery Owner

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A sample day in a life of a distillery owner! If you’re not already familiar, in addition to writing this blog, I own and operate California’s first urban destination distillery, You & Yours Distilling Co., in San Diego. 

I wrote down everything I did on a random Monday to give you a peek into what a typical day is like… since I know you’re just dying to know. 😉 Although I’m sure no one cares about the contents of this post apart from perhaps my mom, I always love reading posts like this from bloggers I love, so I thought I’d do one too!

7 am On Mondays I try to kick start the week off right so I have fewer excuses to make bad decisions later in the week… the first thing I do to set the tone for the week is work out with my trainer every Monday morning at 7:15 am. We meet at the gym in my building, which is pretty convenient, i.e. minimizing the potential for excuses not to fit it in. It’s not always fun waking up early right after the weekend but I always feel better for it and thanks to Kim, have a ton of fun getting in some exercise!

8:30 am Once I’m back at home, I dive into my morning routine, which you can read more about here but the gist is this: make & eat breakfast (usually a scramble of some sort) then have a coffee while I schedule out my day into segmented blocks of time for meetings, emails and calls. If I’m not working out in the morning, I do this right when I wake up. Then it’s straight into emails before I shower and get ready for the day.

10 am I head to the distillery for our weekly 10 am Production Meeting. My distillery manager and I go over project updates, any logistical issues or pending needs and today we happen to be doing a bit of R&D for Old Tom Gin! I taste 6 un-proofed versions of our new gin, each based on a recipe I put together. Based on my notes from these 6 recipes, I create two more, narrowing it down to my target of between 6-8 botanicals.

11 am After my production meeting, I meet our Tasting Room Manager and Events Manager for our weekly catch up. We go over the previous week’s numbers and events, and discuss the upcoming week’s events, as well as any upcoming partnerships, speaking engagements or other special off-site events You & Yours has committed to having a presence at.

12 pm After we’ve gone over upcoming events, I have my weekly call with our PR firm. I like to schedule it directly after the Events meeting, so any outreach or social media needs are fresh in my mind. Our PR team handles all media and influencer outreach, as well as all of our social media.

1 pm I typically try to squeeze in lunch while I’m on the PR call… If I’m on top of it, I’ll pack some leftovers, and if not, I’ll PostMates something healthy like Tender Greens to scarf after I get off the phone. My go-to is their salmon plate with butter lettuce salad and veggies.

2 pm Every other Monday, I have a call with our CPA, who provides CFO-like services. We go over the previous month’s financials, payroll, etc. and chat about any adjustments that need to be made. If I don’t have this call, I usually take a mental break and scroll through Instagram, read my favorite blogs or watch a couple of Youtube videos.

3 pm Quick walk to get some fresh air and meet my partner, Luke for coffee. It’s important that Luke and I stay on the page with everything we have going on… We both tend to run a mile a minute and as such, feel that stopping mid-momentum to update the other on random shit is counter-productive, so we commit to one meeting a week where we talk through all of our current projects and goals for the year. It’s basically a big picture meeting where we lay out and cross off action steps for the week ahead. Quite often our Sales Manager will join us too to recap the previous week’s distribution sales and progress.

4:30ish I like to go grocery shopping on Mondays instead of Sundays… Sundays are my favorite day of the week and since we’re so non-stop during the work week, I like to soak up every last minute of the weekend doing whatever it is we feel like, not fitting in errands. It’s also a nice treat to save for a Monday, seeing as I loooooove grocery shopping! When I get home I put the groceries away, which oddly I also love doing, then take a few minutes to catch up on emails since I basically spent the whole day in meetings or on calls.

6:30 pm Luke gets home around this time and we catch up on anything that materialized since we left the coffee shop, then pop down to the the Jacuzzi in our building for a bit to relax before we cook dinner and settle in for a movie or a couple episodes.

10 – 10:30 pm… I don’t have much of a nighttime routine, although I know I need/would probably benefit from one. Since the day was so jam-packed, I’m pretty exhausted by this time and fall asleep almost as soon as I hit the pillow.

Side note: I like to schedule my Mondays like this because I then start the week off feeling ULTRA productive, which in turn, sets the tone for the days ahead. Although it’s A LOT to fit in, I feel so much more confident rolling into the days following, knowing that I’ve laid the foundation for a productive and progress-making week.

…It also allows me to keep a practice I’m obsessed with – never scheduling ANYTHING on Wednesdays. Hump day is my day to catch up on whatever I want: running personal errands, work on blog posts, do random shit around the house, or anything else I WANT to do. It’s my day to relax and be creative and in turn,  almooooost feels like a mini-weekend in itself. It’s been a game changer for me.

What about you? How do you schedule your workdays and weeks? I’d love to know any tricks or best practices you swear by!

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My Three Best Career Decisions of 2017

2017 was a big year. We finally opened the business and I proceeded to get a crash course in running a small business, ready or not! What ensued was sheer joy and a looooot of learning experiences. Speaking of, below are the three most impactful career-minded decisions I made last year…

1. Working with a Business Coach… I’d met with a business coach a couple of times during a particularly rough patch of the Y&Y build out, not having had a particularly wonderful experience. And although I knew they could be game changing for business owners, I never pursued one again after that early less-than-stellar experience. It wasn’t until I attended a small meet up of like-minded business owners and met Megan that I opened up to the idea again. I immediately felt a connection with Megan, an ease. I felt instantly, almost too-good-to-be-true, comfortable with her. I decided to do a free consult session to talk about what types of things I wanted to work on and was hooked right away. I’ve just finished my first six-month stint with her and cannot say enough good things.

My main reason for wanting to work with her was, on a high level, wanting to be the best possible boss/leader/manager/business owner I could be. I know in every fiber of my being that I know what’s best for the direction of You & Yours …but all the other stuff that comes along with running a customer-facing business, I’m still learning. Managing a team of eight employees, all of which are older than you, several of which have far more industry experience than you, is hyperrrrrrr intimidating and challenging. At the time Megan and I met, this is what I was struggling with the most, and now, six months later, I feel so much more confident and capable in managing and leading my team.

I also found it incredibly beneficial just to have someone to vent to. Now most of us probably vent about work to our spouse or roommate or significant other, but when all three of those people happen to be your business partner too, it doesn’t always work out so well! #Lollll. And on a related note, I don’t always want to go to my partner with every little thing that’s bothering me. He runs his own business too, on top of being involved with me on Y&Y, and taking his time away from those two things to bitch about some random annoyance just doesn’t always feel right. SO, spoiler alert, I found myself occasionally venting to or unloading on the wrong people… namely my employees, and that’s just never a good idea.

Working with Megan allowed to funnel all of those annoyances, all of those fears and struggles and random little chips on my shoulder into one neutral, safe space where not only was I being heard, but actively coached on how to deal with them AND recognize them next time so they don’t keep being a thing. This, my friends, is HUGE. Imagine zero workplace drama, silky smooth employee-manager-boss relationships, and a massive uptick in energy and motivation. That is what working with Megan has created for me and I guarantee you can also have all those things too! And if you need help getting there, I suggest you give her a call!

2. Hiring an Admin… There was a time last year when I was spending, no joke, 60-70% of my time fielding event and partnership inquires. What felt like ALL of my free time was spent on correspondence/logistical back and forth with clients, event planners and potential brands or organizations that wanted to partner up. While I’m incredibly grateful for every email and inquiry that comes our way, managing this side of the business was not and is not my strong suit. I was doing work that I was not really that qualified to do, nor was I particularly passionate about. Working with a business coach helped me realize that if I found the right person to take over this area of our business, I would be free to direct my time towards A. work that is more productive given my strengths, and B. work that actually lit me up instead of drained me.

The main thing that kept me from hiring an administrative role (besides our payroll budget) was the fact that it it felt too self-important. I felt guilty for wanting to pass off these (what felt to me like the. most. soul-crushing) tasks and not just putting in the work myself. Not to sound like a broken record here, but Megan (see decision #1) helped me nip that dumb thought train in the bud real quick. 

Not only did I end up hiring an ‘Events & Admin Manager’, but I hit the actual jackpot with who filled the position. She’s a rock solid, organized gem of an event planner who just so happens to live close to the distillery AND has a very fitting design and marketing background. Does is get any better?! And since adding her to our team, I feel like the freakin’ Queen of strategic delegating. I’m almost too good at it now, seriously. Not only am I free to work on what I want to work on, but the other stuff is getting executed to a WHOLE other level I would have never been able to provide myself. Game. Changer. 

3. Working with a Stylist… This might sound a bit over the top but hands down one of the best career-minded decisions I made last year was working with a stylist, specifically local wardrobe stylist Conni Jespersen.

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{ Conni, helping me pick out an outfit for an upcoming panel! }

A while ago, before I fell in love with distilling, there was a time where I thought a career in fashion might be fun! I’ve always loved to sew and modify patterns and even took a special career-focussed track in high school to study fashion design and merchandising. This is all to say that I looooove getting dressed. I LOVE putting looks together, styling things and perhaps most of all – dressing my friends. Ask anyone who knew me in high school – half my closet was perpetually “out on loan” amongst my besties. Putting the perfect outfit together for an outing or celebration makes me giddy. But once I started the business, time to leisurely put looks together and get dressed at my own pace were things of the past.

Along with this sharp degradation of my free time came a rapid uptick in mandated professional “appearances,” let’s call them. Important meetings where I needed to impress, speaking engagements, photoshoots, on-camera interviews, sales appointments, meeting with other industry professionals, attending industry functions, and so on and so forth. Where my closet used to only have two jobs: “probably working from my dining room table” and “date night,” my wardrobe as a whole now had seemingly endless functions it needed to satisfy.

After attending a few of these aforementioned work things feeling less than dressed-to-impress, I decided to bite the bullet and reach out to Conni. I’d met Connie through my old boss, Cecelia (owner and proprietress of my favorite SD shopping spot – Vocabulary Boutique!) and had been following her journey on Instagram for years. What ensued was such. a. cool. experience.

First we went through my ENTIRE closet and got rid of anything that didn’t fit, flatter, make me happy to wear, or appear to be in good condition. Through that process, we identified pieces or staples I lacked, pieces I wanted to replace with higher quality or updated versions, and pieces I may not naturally gravitate towards but could probably benefit from having.

Then Conni started doing what – in my opinion – Conni does best… STYLING STUFF I ALREADY HAD IN NEW, TOTALLY F-ING COOL WAYS I WOULD NEVER THINK OF BUT STILL FELT LIKE ME! Seriously, it was like I threw out half my stuff but suddenly had an entirely new wardrobe. WTF. MAGIC! Then she’d photograph those looks and put them in a BINDER for me to reference later! I’m blissfully unaware of the severe airplane turbulence I’m experiencing right now drafting this post just thinking about that blessed binder.

But perhaps my favorite perk of all you get with working with Conni was – speaking of airplanes – her help PACKING FOR TRIPS!. Y’all. I legit went to New Zealand for 9 days with nothing but a f’ing CARRY ON thanks to her. She also put together every single look I wore on the vacation I ended up getting engaged on and for that I will always be especially grateful, lol. Packing is now so soooo easy and best of all, I NEVER overpack. It’s such an underrated game changer for someone like me who looooooves to travel, often plans trips last minute, and wants to look put together no matter what, whether the trip be mostly work or mostly play.

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{ ^^ another perk: Conni helping Luke & I coordinate our engagement shoot looks! }

Phewww! Now that this post is officially a mile long, what about you!? What are the best career decisions you’ve made in the last year? I’d love to know!

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