Bar Cart Basics | The Anatomy of Styling

Good evening lovelies and happy weekend!

It was such a wonderful past week for me because I just started a new career in my coveted marketing field and am absolutely loving it! I am working for a company with a special mission with a very friendly, fun and supportive marketing staff. In the midst of getting acclimated, I wanted to do a post this week but was far too pooped to get crackin’ on the blog until now.

This week, I wanted to highlight the art of bar cart styling. Why? Aside from the fact that I am obsessed with them, they truly add a unique component to your home. However, some people fear tackling the bar cart for a few reasons:

a. They cannot figure out what direction to go in (from an aesthetic and functionality stand point).
b. They may not know how to style one appropriately.

I am here to solve that problem! Alas, I am providing you with some Bar Cart Basics! Enjoy!

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First thing’s first: choose the style direction you wish to go in. I’ve decided to go with gilded neutrals and pops of color (in this case, a deep, rich blue). Overall, I personally like classic elegance – it’s chic, simple, and will never go out of style. Even if you purchase a few trendy pieces, you can always change them out as your taste changes.

1. Essential Element: Cocktail Glasses. What bar cart would be complete without some beautiful glasses? First and foremost, you need them. But more importantly, you can have a little fun and be as eclectic as you want to be. I like the idea of using touches of gold, particularly because it correlates with my overall look. Instead of choosing one type of glass, why not try several? Personally, I love rocks glasses and instead of using just one style, I’ve decided to mix and match with keeping my gilded theme in mind. Check out the Mingle Bar GlassLex Bar Glass (I own these bad boys) and the Greet Bar Glass – all $9.95 a piece from Crate & Barrel.

2. Design Element: Small Figurine. Of course the functionality of your bar cart is key, but you can add little touches to personalize it and make it fun! I have an affinity for pineapples (not to mention they symbolize warmth, welcome and wealth in a home). Add a small figurine to your bar cart such as this 9″ Brass Pineapple Candle Holder I discovered at Chairish.com for $185.

3. Design Element: Books. Much like coffee table books, they can be used for functionality and/or a way to accessorize. Have some drink recipe books that are relevant your bar cart? Throw them on there and use them to style it. Looking at it from more of an aesthetic stand point? Add some vintage books to tie in your pop of color or to provide it with some timeless elegance. Since blue is my pop of color, I found this eclectic Set of Five Vintage Books for $30 from Etsy.

4. Design Element: Flower Vase. If you’re a sucker for flowers like I am, try adding a vase of them on the top of your bar cart. It creates a soft, feminine feel while giving it a more polished look. If you enjoy grabbing some fresh flowers at the Farmers Market and like to change them out weekly, you can certainly go in that direction. However, if you are looking for something that requires a little less maintenance, purchase a vase of faux flowers that stay fresh forever. I really fell for this mercury glass vase full of Faux Peonies for $99 from One Kings Lane.

5. Design Element: Apothecary Jar. Another great design element to incorporate is the use of apothecary jars. Glass is a popular material used but I have grown a wild infatuation with chinoiserie inspired ceramics – particularly anything blue and white. It also happens to tie into my pop of color. Even if you want to go in the direction of a small bowl or ginger jar rather than apothecary, you can go to any antique shop and pick one up for a very reasonable price. I’ve found several for around $20-$30 a piece. However, I do love this Ming Lidded Apothecary Jar from Frontgate for $79.

6. Essential Element: Whiskey Decanter. This is another fundamental piece of a bar cart, especially if you are featuring rocks glasses like I am. You can find them just about anywhere but this Flamant Home Interiors Leona Decanter from Amara is a beauty and priced at $113.

7. Design Element: Straws. This may not be necessary, but it does add a fresh look to your bar cart. It’s an inexpensive way to add a touch of whimsy to the overall feel and ends up tying everything together quite nicely. These striped straws come in an array of different colors but I personally enjoy the classic black and white. You can pick up a 25 Count from Party Source for just $3.49!

 8. The Bar Cart Itself. Speaking of bar carts, this post would not make much sense without the bar cart itself! Here’s the deal: there are numerous bar carts out there at different price points, styles, colors, materials…essentially, the world is your oyster here. Going for a more rustic look? Anthropologie has some beautiful wooden and metal ones, for example. However, I adore this one to tie into my gilded/classic theme. I also really love this bar cart because it is reasonably priced. There are bar carts out there in the thousands, but this Meredith Bar Cart from One Kings Lane is just $210!

9. Design Element: Monogram Letter. If you scour Pinterest like I do, I’m sure you’ve noticed the increased popularity in implementing the letter of your first name or last name in design. Being a newlywed and my last name starting with an “A”, I’ve been collecting “A’s” at every chance I get. Adding a monogram letter to your bar cart adds a little personality to it while also personalizing it. You can find them practically everywhere, particularly Etsy, which has some that even light up for a more retro feel. However, this Acid Etched Letter from Urban Outfitters priced at $14 is pretty inexpensive, vintage-inspired and well, gorgeous!

 10. Essential Element: Cocktail Shaker. For those of you who enjoy a good cocktail, a shaker is absolutely mandatory for your bar cart. I’ve seen some made of sleek brass or hammered metal and also some that are more simplistic. This Madison Collection Cocktail Shaker from Sur La Table is $50 and can be used for many years to come. I love that it is both European-inspired and timeless.

 11. Essential Element: Coasters. Trying to protect your wooden table? No one likes the dreaded ring left from a drink! Coasters are absolutely essential in regard to a bar cart. These beautiful coasters are made from natural agate and play into my neutral color palette. This Set of 4 Coasters by Shiraleah can be purchased from Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th for $57.70 (originally $71).

 12. Design Element: Prints. I’m a art enthusiast and lover of good prints. Adding a piece of art to your bar cart whether it be physically on the cart or hanging on the wall above it pulls everything together. The print you pick truly depends on your style – it’s a very personal thing. You could add your favorite artist’s work, something illustrated and funky, or a letterpress print that relates to the bar you are essentially creating. The Blue Pineapple Print I fell in love with ties into both my pop of color and pineapple trinket and is an instant download priced at just $5. The Gold Foil “Pop Fizz Clink” Print ties into the gold and metallics I’ve been using, directly relates to the bar cart and is priced at $25. Both were found on Etsy (one of my favorite places to shop of all time).

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Fall Favorites | Bucket List Edition

Happy Fall Y’all!

Last week, I decided to kick-off my “Fall Favorites” through the month of October (since it’s my favorite month and all). My previous post was the Style Edition which focused on cute kicks, scarves, hats and all of your autumn essentials! This week I wanted to focus more on my favorite part of Fall (I know…it’s surprising that clothes and accessories aren’t, right?). One word: activities. I mean, really…it would not truly be Fall without “autumn-esque” things to do. Now, please keep in mind that some of my suggestions are geared more toward the local, North Carolina-based crowd because I am providing specific examples, however, if you’re not in North Carolina, this may get your wheels turning as I’m sure you can find similar activities in your area! So without further adieu, enjoy my Fall Favorites – Bucket List Edition!

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1. Apple Picking / Hard Cider Drinking / Apple Pastry Tasting

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It’s not as cliche’ as you think, I promise. Grab your friends or your significant other, find a local apple orchard and make a day of it! The best part is that some of these orchards offer an array of different goods and activities beyond apple picking! Many of them even have hot, apple cider in addition to hard cider (when you’re craving an adult bev), as well as delicious apple donuts and pastries. There are a few I recommend in the Carolinas that are not far from all of you Charlotteans — Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill (in York, SC), Sky Top Orchard (in Flat Rock, NC) and Justus Orchard (in Hendersonville, NC).

2. Visit the Local Farmers Market

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Sure, you can do this practically any time of the year, but there is something very autumn about going to the Farmers Market to pick up some ingredients to make a delicious pie or strudel while grabbing a bunch of wildflowers to spruce up your cozy, little home. What a fun Saturday morning activity and a great way to kick-off your weekend! My absolute favorite Farmers Markets in Charlotte are: Atherton Mill, King’s Drive Farmer’s Market, & Charlotte Regional Farmers Market. I can say that I’ve been to all of them and they each offer something very special and unique – check it out if you haven’t already!

3. Visit the Biltmore & Watch the Leaves Change in Asheville, NC

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Asheville, NC is hands down one of my favorite cities in the U.S. It’s artsy, warm, quaint – but even more, as soon as autumn rolls around – the entire place transforms into a magical wonderland! I am absolutely convinced that there is no where else on this earth where the leaves change as beautifully as they do here. Plan a little weekend retreat in the beautiful North Carolina mountains, visit the largest privately owned home in the United States (the Biltmore Estate), and enjoy the scenic paradise that is Fall in Asheville.

4. Brewery Hop in Your Lovely City

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Who doesn’t enjoy a craft beer? Even more, a LOCAL craft beer? But even beyond that, a SEASONAL, local craft beer? I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. I’m a big fan of any type of Octoberfest type beer or a pumpkin beer – it’s pretty much my weakness. I am also a big fan of supporting local. So what better way to get into the Fall season than taking a little brewery hopping tour and checking out the craft beers each have to offer? It’s a great way to take in the autumn air, support your local businesses while enjoying a delicious beverage! My favorite local pumpkin beer is NoDa Brewing Company’s Gordgeous (and I may be just a tad biased because I love the people there). What are some other excellent breweries in the Charlotte area? Check out Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Triple C Brewing Company, Sugar Creek Brewing Company, Heist Brewery, Birdsong Brewing Company, The Unknown Brewing Company, Four Friends Brewing and more!

5. Pick a Pumpkin

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I know, I know. Traditional. But a classic. ‘Tis the season for pumpkin picking – and it never gets old!

6. Festivals, Festivals, Festivals!

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Autumn is the time for my favorite thing ever – FESTIVALS! Not even just music festivals…I’m talking legit festivals filled with activities and fun! It provides you with hours of enjoyment with your friends and loved ones – that’s a win in my book. Below are a list of my favorite local/North Carolina festivals that you should definitely add to your Fall Bucket List!

1. Carolina Balloon Fest

2. The Renaissance Festival

3. Uptown Charlotte BBQ & Blues Festival

4. Stechoa Valley Harvest Festival

5. North Carolina Oyster Festival

7. Create + Implement a Fall Tradition

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I am a HUGE fan of tradition and as a newly married couple (our 1 year is actually next weekend!), I want to create as many meaningful traditions as possible for us to carry with us our whole lives. My husband’s family’s tradition was making Cincinnati style chili and watching Halloween movies each October 31st while passing out candy to trick-or-treaters. Last year was the first year we adopted this same tradition because it was one that I want us (and our future family) to have. What traditions do you have or wish to have?

8. Go Camping / Eat S’mores / Sleep Under the Stars

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What is more satisfying on a crisp, Fall evening than sitting around a fire with some of your closest friends, making s’mores and sleeping under the stars? This was the first year I’ve ever gone camping in my almost 29 years on this planet – crazy, right!? And let me tell you, I had an absolute blast! Throw on the flannel shirt, grab a few pals and drive to the mountains or nearest campsite. Camping is a great activity for Autumn because it’s not too hot or too cold – enjoy the cool weather while it lasts!

9. Try Out Some New Fall Recipes

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What better way to embrace Autumn than utilizing the seasonal fruits and veggies available and implementing them in a meal? Below are a few of my favorite Fall recipes that you’ve got to check out!

Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts with a Maple Glaze

Root Vegetable Pan Roast with Chestnuts & Apples

Potato, Dried Apple & Chorizo Hand Pies

Bourbon Maple Apple Cider

Fall Browned Butter & Cinnamon Spiced Rice Krispie Treats

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

10. Snuggle Up with a Warm Throw + a Good Book

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As the weather gets cooler this season, take some time to yourself by snuggling up in a blanket on the couch while reading a good book – add a mug of hot chocolate and you have a recipe for pure bliss. There are so many incredible books out there that I’m dying to read this Fall. Below are the ones I have on my must-read list!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – I know, I’m a little late on this one because it’s already a movie but I REFUSE to see the movie until I’ve read the book – so I’ll probably knock this one out first.

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham – Sounds extremely intriguing – about all of the experiences that make up your path in this world such as falling in love, feeling alone and more.

The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki – A historical novel about Benedict Arnold’s wife.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – Sounds gripping and suspenseful – check out the description on Amazon!

Wild by Cheryl Strayed – I’ve heard great things and it sounds super powerful – definitely looking to give it a go.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – Takes place on the Italian coast…(#TBT take me back to our honeymoon in Positano, Italy). So reading this one.

Treat Yourself Tuesday | Summer Swag { Beach Bag Essentials Edition }

Happy Tuesday, y’all! So, I’ve promised you a very fun Treat Yourself Tuesday {Summer Swag} this week…and I was certainly not going to let you down! With Summer in full swing, it can only mean that frequent trips to the beach, pool and lake are probable. Actually, scratch that – it goes without saying! This week’s Treat Yourself Tuesday is an ode to saltwater drenched hair and beach waves, a sun-kissed face and bronzed skin. Below is what I like to call the Beach Bag Essentials. Let your hair down, soak up the sun and enjoy!

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1. Swooning hard over this adorable beach bag! {Kate Spade “Play Hooky” Terry Cloth Tote, $190 from Amazon}

2. When I say this stuff is AHHHmazing…I do mean that wholeheartedly. Protect your lips with this SPF 15 treatment. It makes your lips silky smooth without feeling sticky or greasy and has a fragrant yet subtle lemon scent. {Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment, $25 from Sephora}

3. Looking to snag an adorable floppy hat to shade your eyes from harmful rays? Try this straw one on for size! {Straw Floppy Hat, $28.58 from ASOS}

4. Protecting your skin is vital when you’re out in the sun. This sunscreen is light, airy and gets the job done while giving your skin a healthy glow. {Rayito Del Sol 2 in 1 Sport Bronzing Sunscreen SPF 30, $14.99 from Ulta}

5. You’ve been out in the sun and did your part by dousing your body in sunscreen and now have beautiful, tan skin. If you’re looking to maintain and protect that color, Maui Babe’s Tan Enhancer & Healer is the answer. This after sun lotion provides your skin with rich nutrients after being exposed to the sun and saltwater all day. It will keep your skin ultra moisturized and even help prevent peeling and flaking! {Maui Babe After Browning Lotion Tan Enhancer & Healer, $12.49 from Ulta}

6. Looking for perfect beach hair? Thanks to Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Spray, you can now have it! It adds texture and volume to your hair for a perfect casual/undone look. {Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray, $24 from Sephora}

7. No matter the setting, it’s never too casual for stylish feet! Oh how we love you, Tory Burch! {Miranda Flip-flop, $60 from Tory Burch}

8. What summer outing would be complete without music? This wireless, portable, bluetooth speaker is affordable, subtle and what you need for an overall amazing experience. {Etekcity Roverbeats T3 Wireless Speaker, $21.99 from Amazon}

9. If you are a hopeless romantic that appreciates a brilliant novel, then The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (A New York Time’s Best Seller), is a great beach read! {$7.99 from Barnes & Noble}

10. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is on my must-read list. I’ve heard people ranting and raving about it so I’m about to jump on board – and so should you! Think: a captivating book about a boy growing up in New York and the underworld of art. {$18.98 from Barnes & Noble}

11. You Don’t Know Me But You Don’t Like Me by Nathan Rabin is a book I am currently reading and it’s absolutely fascinating! If you love music (or have a particular affinity with Phish), pick up or download this book right now! It’s about a man who picks up and follows both Phish and Insane Clown Posse while immersing himself in the subcultures. Seriously, incredible. {$12.00 from Barnes & Noble}

12. A cute cover-up can definitely pull your beach ensemble together! I’m obsessed with this ombre’ kaftan! {Seafolly Byron Kaftan, $60 from House of Fraser}

13. This beach towel just absolutely nails it on so many levels! For all of your craft beer lovers out there – this is one you should probably own. {Brooklyn Brewery Summer Ale Beach Towel, $35 from Urban Outfitters}

14. Last but certainly not least – be sure to bring a pair of sunnies with you to shield your eyes from harmful rays. The options are infinite – but I’m always down for a classic pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers. I particularly love the ones that fold – super easy to pack away and transport! {Wayfarer Folding Classic, $155 from Ray-Ban}