Perhaps you've heard - it's suuuuummmmmmeeeerrrr!!!! That means the evenings stretch out seemingly forever, and every dinnertime is an opportunity to get the grill going. I love it. But I got tired of trying to cook dinner for my family in a space that is, objectively speaking, not a kitchen. I mean, where am I supposed to set plates, cooking tools, and seasonings, fill pots, and chop veg and everything else I need to fashion a fantastic BBQ?
So I finally decided to go for it, and build my own outdoor cooking space, complete with a durable concrete countertop, lots of storage, and a convenient outdoor sink. Here's how I did it:
How to Drink Tequila Like a You Know What You're Doing: Unless You Live In Mexico, You're Probably Drinking It Wrong
We're wrapping up our series on tequila with a post that, arguably, should've been the first to go up: a discussion of the basics. This spring we teamed up (deliciously) with Olmeca Altos Tequila to talk about all things tequila: a spring cocktail + popcorn snacks, Cinco de Mayo (a Moscow Burro, we called it), a margarita smackdown (hint: make 'em right we'll come find you!), rules for a weekend getaway, and salsa-party hosting tips.
But what is tequila exactly? And where does it come from (Mexico, obviously, but, like, where ... in history)? Today I'll try to answer those questions. And since nothing goes better with newfound knowledge than newfound drink recipes, we threw in a few of those too.
Let's face it: hosting a party in your own space is intimidating. Especially if you haven't done a lot of entertaining before, or you don't feel like your space is really suited to it. But there are times in every man's life when it's his turn to host.
And when it's your turn, you're gonna have to feed people. So, to make it easy on yourself,
Getting out of town for the weekend makes a difference. It's not just a change of scenery from the rest of week, but there's also that subtle thrill of simply being away. Of going outside. Of spending time in a different location, seeing different sights, hearing different sounds.
Have you hit 90 degrees yet where you live? We have (yep - 92 on May 6 in Minneapolis, crazy), and I loved it. After months of snow and cold and slush and sweaters, I absolutely revel in the warmth. Maybe later in the summer I'll be crouched down inside next to the air conditioner, but not now. Right now, when it's warm out, I want to soak my bones in it.
The warm weather also means a change in the beverage seasons. Out with the heavy, comforting drinks of winter, and in with the light, bright, refreshing stuff. As part of our series of posts celebrating tequila (one, two), we've teamed up with Olmeca Altos to show you how to perfect the perfect drink for summer: the margarita.
Last time we talked tequila, we showed you how to make a Pasado de Moda, an orange-and-tequila infused take on the Old Fashioned. Today, it's time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a fresh and crazy flavorful cocktail, made with Olmeca Altos Reposado.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army's 1862 victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. It is not, as people often think, the Mexican Independence Day (that's Diez y Seiz de Septiembre). The holiday isn't really acknowledged in Mexico anyway, but any time there's an excuse to enjoy some tequila, we are most certainly a bordo.
But cross cultural mashups don't need a reason to exist
Regular ManMade readers know we love a good cocktail. Whether it's a simple highball, a classic gin and tonic, a bright and fresh French 75, or a smokey Swedish Flame, we think knowing how to make and enjoy a high-quality drink at home is part and parcel of the ManMade ethos. So when Olmeca Altos Tequila reached out to us to celebrate this awesome time of year — late spring and early summer — we were pretty excited about the chance to team up and create some tasty cocktail and food recipes.
A Second Chance for Secondhand: A Guide to Giving Used Furniture a Complete Makeover (with Help from Valspar)
Buying used furniture is a bit of an art. It takes a practiced eye to know what's well-built, has good lines, or simply isn't worth your time and money. But it feels pretty awesome to find a diamond in the rough and turn it into a polished gem.
This month we got inspired by Ace Hardware's 31 Days of Color and decided to bring you our Total Newbie's Getting-Started Guide to Fixing Up Old Furniture. We'll tell you what to look for in a used piece, how to spot something with great potential, and even walk you through the basics of a furniture makeover (including help choosing the right color).
Pi is a mathematical constant that ... wait ... are you telling you don't know what π is? Oh, ok, good. I was worried for a second.
Pi is awesome! It's a number that never ends, whose digits never show a pattern. The digits of π are random, but they're related to all kinds of distinctively non-random stuff, like the circumference of a perfect circle. And more! Like this:
Pi equals four times the sum 1 – 1/3 + 1/5 – 1/7 + 1/9 – 1/11 + ... The appearance of this formula alone is cause for celebration. It connects all odd numbers to pi, thereby also linking number theory to circles and geometry.
- Why Pi Matters, The New Yorker
We spent a
This post is sponsored by Tide. Thanks for supporting the brands that support ManMade.
So you had your big party, and everything went great (hopefully you prepped using our guide from last week). But, despite your best efforts, that brand new jersey had a run in with a chicken wing, your couch pillows got nacho-cheesed, and you have a pile of stained hand towels giving you the evil eye from across the room.
What's the next step? We tried our hand at erasing three typical party-day stains, and are happy to say the results were impressive. Read on to find out how we did it:
This post was published in partnership with Tide. Thanks for supporting the brands that support ManMade.
Here's the thing: if you're following along on ManMade you know we're not afraid to make some messes. Sawdust, bike grease, paint splatters, garden dirt, food spills ... they're all part of the handmade lifestyle. It just comes along with the territory.
Most of us start off January with healthy eating goals. Not diets, of course. Just smarter choices that counteract holiday excesses and get us back to feeling normal. And they work ... for about the first two weeks of the month.
But by the time we get this far into the year, the old temptations have started again. All this calorie counting and vegetable crunching leaves you hungry, and no matter what that magazine article said, one quarter of a grapefruit and a pickle slice just aren't cutting it.
Wrapping a gift isn't hard, unless you overcomplicate things. We say keep things simple and straightforward: avoid accessories, too many ribbon colors, and anything involving glitter or the word "raffia." We advocate a simple package, wrapped cleanly and correctly, with a little DIY customization to show you care.
Look, I'm about to admit a deep, dark secret, so if you're not into that, you may want to move along. I am terrible at giving gifts. Maybe it's because I didn't get a ton of them when I was growing up, or maybe I'm just a cheapskate at heart and don't want to admit it. But when faced with investing in a gift of truly high quality, somehow my brain falls back to, "Wouldn't you rather have three or four of these crappy, cheaper things?"
No. Nobody wants those crappy, cheap things. One hundred gifts from the dollar store might be good for a few laughs, but they are - at the end of the day - just a hundred little pieces of junk. So, here are some ideas for gifts you can give (or, if you're lucky, receive) that are timeless, extremely well-made, and will have an impact no quantity of worthless chotchkies could ever have.
There's no better way to say it: we're big fans of the Biolite stove technology. We like the wide variety of local, found fuel sources it can accept, and we really love the mission to bring efficient, clean combustion cooking options to homes in developing countries where smoky indoor fires are the norm. And, it can charge your portable electronics while boiling your water or grilling your dinner? Done!
Okay. It's official. The sugarplum fairies have struck, and once again, the holiday season is back. And I'm looking for ways to embrace the spirit.
We love a night out as much as anyone, but the truth is: you don't have to get dressed up to deal with noise and crowds and drop $12 plus a 20% tip to enjoy a great cocktail. Heck, you don't even technically have to be dressed at all to experience a balanced, well-presented drink. A sidecar tastes just as good in your hole-y PJs as it does with your shirt tucked in. No judgment here.
The truth is, the properly stocked home bar is part of our American tradition. It got lost a bit in the blended neon slushies and pitchers of the 70s, 80s, and 90s (we're looking at you, Baby Boomers), but from the original speakeasy cocktail days of the 1930s to the space-age swinging bachelor pad of the 50s and 60s, part of being a grown man meant asking "Can I get you something to drink?" and meaning it.
It's not quite time to start ManMade posts with " 'Tis the season to make stuff" but it'll be here plenty soon. Two weeks sounds about right.
Which is perfect, because exactly in two weeks, we're teaming up with
Grilling and barbecuing meals is one of modern life's true great privileges. Earlier communities cooked over the open flame out of necessity, but we choose to adds layers of smoke, fire, char, and salt because some foods just deserve it. To light a fire and cook your meal upon it is a ritual of gratitude that honors the ingredients, the technique, and the time it requires to make it work. It is, in every way, an opportunity to make food special again.
Around this time of year I often find myself in the basement, getting my backpacking gear ready for winter storage. It's a bittersweet ritual I go through as the season comes to a close. If you love the outdoors like I do, you probably get asked from time to time, "Why do you do it?" After all, mother nature can be a tough mistress. As I unrolled my packs and checked my tents for damage, here are some of the moments from the last year that help me answer that question: