DIY Outdoor Bar Cart + Styling Tips

how to style an outdoor bar cart It was quite by mistake that we ended up with an outdoor bar cart in our backyard, but now that we have one, I am convinced everyone that doesn’t have one is totally missing out (ummm, having a bar just inside your house is so yesterday, haven’t you heard?!). Before I reveal the 2nd part of our backyard makeover tomorrow, I thought I’d share one last snippet (I’m such a tease, I know) by revealing our little DIY outdoor bar cart. Also, it’s Thursday, which means it’s almost Friday, which means it’s basically the weekend, which means you’re totally going to need a bar cart of booze in your backyard. Oh, and I made you a video, because, well, I couldn’t make you a drink at my outdoor bar cart, so making you a video was the next best thing. Obvs!

outdoor bar cart styling To make the bar cart, you will need:

Ikea Kitchen Island
Wooden Stain (you want something that says waterproof or exterior use)
Paint Brush

1. Make sure the kitchen cart is nice and clean.

2. Add on a coat of wooden stain, then let it dry for at least 4 hours. Repeat. Let it dry overnight.

 

To style the bar cart, some of the things I like to have include:

A non-acolholic beverage (otherwise known as a mixer)
Liquor (served in a fancy decanter, preferably)
Glasses
Napkins
Fun straws
Fresh fruit
Mint
Toothpicks (for the fruit)
Votives (battery operated ones are best for outdoors)
Various trays, slate, wood pieces, etc (to add visual variety) 
Flowers

Proceed to style as you wish and watch the below handy dandy little video I made you for some styling inspiration.

Supplies Shown In Video (linked to either the same item or similar items):
Pitcher
Glasses
Mason Jars
Straws
Decanter
Slate Board
Flameless Votives
Galvanized Bucket (holding the white flower; also great to use as an ice bucket)

how to style a bar cart

outdoor entertaining ideas DIY outdoor bar cart paper straws how to style a bar cart bar cart styling

Happy Hour

tomato can flower pot {Old tomato can turned flower pot}

We kicked off last weekend by going on a double-date with one of my dear blogging friends and her husband, who were in the city for her birthday. We had such a blast hanging out with them and it reminded me of all the wonderful connections and friendships that blogging has brought to me. Connections to a new brand, a budding entrepreneur, to people who live right next door or on the other side of the country, people who love bacon and Chanel as much as me, to a girl who went to the same college as me, and most importantly, to people who have become truly wonderful friends. I know I (along with plenty of other bloggers) have said it before, but when I started blogging, I certainly had no idea so many connections could be made through this space. The relationships that have developed out of blogging are truly an unexpected blessing, and definitely one of those little things that makes me super happy!

I’d love to know, what makes you happiest about blogging? And if you’re not a blogger, what’s making you happiest this week?

outdoor lights {Enjoying a double-date rooftop pizza dinner overlooking lower Manhattan with one of my best blogging friends and her hubby}

chocolate and cherries {Chocolate + cherries = one sweet snacking combination}

Lobster ale {A beer I tried strictly on a name and looks basis….for the record, I didn’t like it, but I guess that’s what I get falling for something on looks alone}

shag carpet {Taking some more baby steps to get the apartment finished..finally got our living room rug down and have started organizing our coffee table tray}

Mr. Rogers quotes {This quote, from one of my favorite people growing up, seemed appropriate for today’s post; via}

 

Greek Appetizers + Bites

Greek Appetizer Plate Mr. RC and I always seem to be short on time, but we love cooking together so much that we don’t always want to eat out. Our solution has been creating themed appetizer plates, with mostly ready-made options for ease, but enough homemade parts to still get a little cooking time together. We’ve been doing these for quite some time now and have developed an array of themed app-dinners (as I like to call them) so I thought it would be fun to share them with you over the next several months. First up, our favorite Greek/Mediterranean themed app-dinner. We probably eat this at least once every couple weeks during the summer. The lighter fare and refreshing elements make it especially perfect for warm summer nights. Here’s what we like to include in our Greek appetizer spread:

  • Hummus (homemade)
  • Greek Yogurt Dip (homemade, recipe below)
  • Tahini Dip (store bought)
  • Stuffed Grape Leaves (we want to try making these but for now they are store bought…the canned ones sold at Trader Joe’s are really good)
  • Pita Pieces or Pita Chips (store bought; homemade recipe here)
  • Falafel (homemade; Trader Joe’s sells a good one too)
  • Olives (Trader Joe’s Greek Olive Mix or Fairway’s olive bar)
  • Feta and/or haloumi cheese
  • Cherry Tomatoes and Cucumber 
  • Roasted Red Pepper & Eggplant Dip (Trader Joe’s) or Roasted Veggie Dip (recipe here)

To make this into a bigger, slightly more complicated meal we’ll serve these appetizers alongside a Greek Salad or Spanakopita.

Hummus Greek Olives falafel Greek dips Mediterranean Appetizers Feta Greek yogurt Dip Greek Yogurt Dip Mediterranean appetizer plate

Feta Greek Yogurt Dip
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups Greek yogurt
  2. 1/3 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
  3. The juice of 1 lemon
  4. 2-3 tablespoons of Za'atar (depending on flavor preferences)
  5. 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  6. A large dash of garlic powder
  7. A dash of cumin
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir until well-combined and serve. Store leftovers, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to a week.
Notes
  1. This does taste better after it has sat in the fridge for several hours, so if you can I highly recommend making this ahead.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

Denim Does It

loose top, jean shorts, Converse sneakers When it comes to jean cut-offs, I’m more of an easy-does-it-on-the-holes-and-rips kind of girl. But these shorts have me saying “denim does it”, and by ‘it’ I mean as many rips and holes as these babies can possibly hold. I’ve had these denim cut-offs for close to 8 years now, and before that I had them as jeans for 5-6 years. They are several sizes too big, they have more holes than a piece of swiss cheese, and I’ve tried to make myself get rid of them at least a dozen times. And yet here they are. Despite the many other pairs of denim shorts that have come and gone in my closet, these have remained faithfully comfortable, soft, and perfectly worn in, and I have yet to find a pair of shorts that compare. So in my closet they shall stay…

Mexican Style Shirt denim cut-offs outfit Southwestern Style casual summer outfit Old Navy white bucket bag jean short cut-offs simple summer outfit H&M Hat (similar) // Alternative Apparel Shirt thrifted via Crossroads Trading// DIY Jean Cut-Off’s from Buckle Jeans (similar) // Converse Shoes // Old Navy Bag

Shop My Look + Similar Items Below 

Brooklyn Backyard Reveal, Part 1

urban gardening It’s finally time for the big backyard reveal! I know, I know, it’s already halfway through summer and I’m just getting this up here. I blame…..the fact that we’ve been enjoying the yard so much, I almost forgot to take pictures??! Does that work as a valid excuse? Excuses or not, the backyard pictures (part one) are finally here!

I wanted to start by first sharing our garden and all the veggies we’ve been busy growing (yup, we’re #28goingon60). One of the biggest reasons why Mr. RC and I wanted outdoor space was specifically so we could have some home-grown produce. I grew up in a family of gardeners and home-grown produce was a part of every summer meal. Of course, when I was younger, the only reason you would find me in the garden was by force (weeding was on my chore list) or because I was sneaking a veggie snack. Of course, now that I’m older (and wiser) I realize how much I missed the simplicity of fresh picked tomatoes and lettuce for a supper salad, or picking a few green beans to snack on, so, despite everyone telling us that a garden in Brooklyn would never work, we decided we would make it work (we’re such #gardennerds). Currently we have 4 types of tomatoes, 4 types of peppers, peas, beans, swiss chard, radishes, carrots, beets, lettuce, chives, parsley, basil, sage, dill, rosemary, cucumbers, yellow and green summer squash, and a grape plant. Below are a few pictures of our plants plus a few tips for “urban gardening” (mostly courtesy of my 13 year-old brother who spends his spare time working on a farm and is quite the little gardening whiz). Stay tuned next week for part 2 of the Brooklyn backyard makeover reveal.

herb plants squash blossoms Brooklyn Backyard Reveal, Part 1 || Runway Chef urban garden tips vegetable plants grape plant mini grapes Brooklyn Backyard Reveal, Part 1 || Runway Chef tomatoes green beans Small Gardening Tips

Know when to start something by seed and when to buy a plant already started

  • Seeds are great for things like lettuce, herbs, spinach, peas and beans as well as things that grown into the ground (i.e. beets, carrots, onions)
  • Buy starter plants for things that take longer to germinate, so tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplant, and cucumbers are all good examples

Use pots to make your space go further

  • Anything that grows up and not out is great for a pot, i.e. things like tomatoes and peppers.
  • Herbs are also great in pots. While some of them do spread out, we tend to use herbs enough in our cooking that the plants are always getting trimmed back.
  • Of course, keep the shape of your plant in mind when picking out pots. Tomatoes will need something very large, herbs mostly work well in smaller, round pots, and things like thyme or mint spread out so I would recommend using rectangular shaped planters.
  • Don’t be afraid to try growing something less traditional in a pot. We have both cucumbers and squash in planters, and while the squash have yet to produce fruit, both plants are doing really well. In a way, the pot replaces the mound of dirt traditionally needed to plant things like squash so I think that’s why it works so well. Just make sure you have room to let the vines spread out.

Combine plants to maximize your gardening space

  • Coordinate your plants based on how they grow to get the most gardening space out of your planters. What I mean by this, is place plants that grow up with plants that stay low or grow out. So for example, peppers grow up and squash spreads out, so in one box we have the peppers in the middle (along with some dill) and then the cucumbers are on the edge growing down over the sides of the box. Thyme is another plant that grows low and does well on the edge of a flower pot. If you have a wall or trellis, put things like peas and beans next to that and then put something low growing beneath them.

Make sure you consistently water, weed, and fertilize

  • I know this kind of goes without saying, but the biggest key to a successful garden (big, small, or just in pots), is making sure you keep things cleaned up and weeded, water consistently, and fertilize (or use soil that has fertilizer added to it).

Do you have a garden? If so, I’d  love to know what you are growing.