Superbowl Commercials 2020

Every year we hang out at home to watch the Superbowl. Terry enjoys the football game, but I’m only in it for the commercials. Why do you tune in?

This year there was quite a few more serious themes in the commercials that were extremely important. The theme of female empowerment in the Olay commercials, the Secret commercial, and the Microsoft commercial was phenomenal.  Check out the article written by Nancy Armour for USA Today to read more.

Also I loved the mention of the UW Veterinary school that calls for donations to their groundbreaking research. UW is an excellent school for a lot of programs and anything that can support saving more animals is great in my book. Donate to the program here, or read more about this commercial here from Madison’s own NBC 15.

The running theme of “later” from Tide was very enjoyable. I love when companies continue a story in that way, particularly when they collaborate with other companies. That love of collaboration is part of why the Wednesday gift posts are so fun for me to write. With no further ado, in no particular order here are my favorite (funny) Superbowl commercials for 2020

For me this year’s Superbowl was much better than previous years. The halftime show was energetic and visually stunning, the commercials were funnier, and it was fun to hang out and watch all the commentary online. What did you think of this year’s commercials? Did you think the game was good? I don’t really follow sports so I can’t comment on that.

See you Wednesday! It’ll be a some fun last minute gifts for your sweetheart for Valentine’s day.

Stephanie

Legible Braille Glassware

Many years ago, right as we were beginning our journey as Mixing Spirits, I caught Kathy Lee and Hoda’s favorite things during the 4th hour of the Today Show. They were featuring the beautiful work of an artist named Sherri that incorporated legible braille. Her website shares a little about how she developed her braille designs. “One of the pieces I am most proud of is my braille series . This was completely inspired by my daughter she is blind. Many times she would sit by my side as I painted and ask many questions what am I painting? What color? Is it a tree? What are the shapes? so for the most part I would do my best to describe it to her. Which got me to thinking why does art have to be purely visual. I work with texture and shapes so much everyday how about concentrating more on how the piece feels.”

As I considered our new “sand carving” process (I’m fairly certain we were still using the rubbermaid tub my husband fashioned into a blast cabinet), I wondered if we could create enough texture for legible braille. Turns out we could. Our process has evolved over time through feedback from our customers, each evolution making the products better and more accessible to the visually impaired.

In the beginning stages of creating braille glassware I had no idea what I was doing. This glass was created using a free braille font from the internet, it mimicked another design we had at the time. If you can read braille by sight you’ll notice there’s no capital “I” in “I love you”, while it could have been a hipster style choice it was really just ignorance. I was really excited to use this new medium, but didn’t know where to begin researching how to do it properly.

In addition to using a horrific font that often spelled things incorrectly, the letters were etched. This meant the legibility was hindered by letters that were depressed into the glass rather than raised.

Over the last 4.5 years it’s been such an honor to work with you to create very unique gifts that allow you or your gift recipients to truly enjoy the gifts. We’ve made bridal party glasses, this beautiful apple, decanter sets, and so much more.

Our website is currently not as friendly as we would like for the visually impaired, but you can call (248) 631-4093 for help with ordering. If you’re more comfortable with email our general email is inquiries@mixingspirits.com and Jenn’s direct email is Jenn@mixingspirits.com All of those contact points are a great way to get ordering assistance as needed. 

The next big improvement in our braille glassware is a complete redesign in the etching process. We rely heavily on customer feedback for this product and want it to be as beautiful and functional as possible. We’re now etching a shape behind the writing to allow for a raised braille, this makes it significantly more legible.

Jenn found a phenomenal website for true braille translation a few years ago, and we use that tool to ensure the design is correct. She begins the designs in grade 1 braille for optimal legibility, but if you prefer grade 2 we can do that as well. Through her research she’s worked diligently to ensure correct spacing between letters, words, and each line of text.

If you have a fun project, a great gift idea, or suggestions for improving the braille line of glassware please reach out, we would love to expand this part of our business to be even more inclusive.

Kid’s Valentine’s Day Fun

Holidays are always more fun when kids are involved. These fun ideas are sure to make the kids in your life happy this Valentine’s Day and bring a smile to your face.

This fun maze valentine from Bean Sprout Design Co can be purchased as a single valentine or in a set for your kid’s whole class. This fun activity is sure to keep the kids in your life busy for hours!

You can follow Bean Sprout Design Co on Instagram and Facebook for other fun ideas.

This close to Valentine’s Day instant download printables are a great way to keep the kids occupied. This fun Flip It game from The MeckMom Shop on Etsy is awesome to keep the kids occupied all weekend! Take a few videos while you play to relive the fun for years to come.

The owner of MeckMom has 6 kids and lots of fun ideas to keep kids occupied for some quality down time (or more likely…cleaning, cooking, or other chores), and to keep kids on task for the day to day activities that need to happen running a busy house. Follow her on Instagram or Facebook for more ideas.

They say to never work with kids or dogs, but our resident 6 year old paleontology expert has some great design ideas! We have both 9 ounce juice glasses and 11 ounce stemless wine glasses, but his favorite glass type is the 11 ounce rocks glass. He insists that it’s a kid’s glass because it’s short just like him. Contact us to create your child experts favorite glass for Valentine’s Day. We’re still accepting Valentine’s orders on the website until February 7th 2020.

One of the most fun things to do with kids is mess-free painting. I’m a big ball of anxiety whenever a massive mess is immanent. If you’re like me these painting cookie kits are perfect for your art lover. These are made by A Specialty Cookie Shop on Etsy and Valentine’s orders need to be placed no later than February 3, 2020.

If you love a beautifully decorated cookie you can follow Elizabeth’s work on Instagram and Facebook

Our resident paleontologist and all of his friends all love holidays. Their favorite parts are always getting presents and creating beautiful masterpieces that can be displayed for the holiday. Make memories with your kids that will last a lifetime this Valentine’s Day!

Stephanie

Giveaway Winner!

G and T(ea) still shot for the coffee mug giveaway

Lettie D won our January mug giveaway! Congrats Lettie! We have a fun nerdy themed giveaway scheduled for February. Sign up for the Mega Mixers newsletter to be the first to know about upcoming giveaways!

This week I’ll be featuring some fun Valentine’s ideas for kids on Wednesday. See you soon!

Stephanie

Hand & Footprint Glasses

Those tiny baby feet and hands are so precious, wouldn’t it be nice to hang on to them forever? With our hand and foot print design you can! These make such a wonderful memory for a push present using the hospital pictures, or a fun grandparent gift for the holidays or a first birthday. We get a lot of questions about the best way to get the prints to us. Most of these glasses are ordered in our Etsy shop or the website store and it can feel overwhelming to get these prints at home. 

The most important thing to remember is that it’s not worth stressing out over. Likely you’re a new parent, or a friend or family member sneaking around to get this print. We’ve heard all kinds of stories about the lengths people go to to make these prints 100% perfect. While perfect can seem a worthy goal, please keep in mind that babies are a tough crowd to work with, they just don’t have a care in the world and this print means nothing to them. Most people have the best results either sending the hospital prints with a ruler next to them, or creating this glass when the baby is a few months old and easily distracted by their favorite toy. Keep in mind that, while a clean print works best, it’s the little smudges that make it truly your memory.

Now that you’re no longer looking for perfection how do you transfer the child’s hand or foot to paper? Carefully. Non toxic paint works best, in a contrasting color with the paper. Some parents have construction paper laying around, they tend to use white paint on blue or black paper. If you have white printer paper a black paint works best. Because kids tend to put their hands and feet in their mouths every chance they get I recommend having the “print station” set up ahead of time. A paint brush works really well to get a clear print because you have more control over how much paint is on the hand or foot. Also keep baby wipes handy and wipe off the paint as soon as you’re done to prevent any paint poo.

Once you have your perfectly imperfect print how should you send it? Our editing software handles almost all file types. The preferred file is a high resolution jpeg or AI file with the print next to a ruler.

Sidenote: If you have ordered a shot glass or an ornament the small space available means there’s no need for a ruler. The wine glasses, pint glasses, and (sometimes) rocks glasses allow the print to be actual size. If the ruler is there we can make sure we really have the correct measurements. 

It helps if the ruler is set slightly to the side, because we are able to use that ruler within our editing software as we rotate the image to fit your baby’s name next to the print.

For high resolution images, most camera phones now have wonderful resolution. The most important thing is to make sure there are no shadows from your phone covering the awesome details of your unique print.

Once you have your photograph of the print next to the ruler you can send the the image through email for website orders or the Etsy messaging system for Etsy orders. We’ll send a final proof for you to approve before etching your glasses, and you’ll be all set!

Galentine’s Day Fun

Galentine’s Day may have started on Parks and Rec, but the girl powered holiday has gained a lot of traction over the last few years. Here’s some fun addtions to your celebration!

Galentine’s Day is all about spending time with your favorite girls, what happens if you don’t live near each other? Facebook offers some really phenomenal options for watch parties, messenger video chats, or even just spending time in the same group together. Erin Denton from Desert Coastal Studios has a super fun wine based Facebook group called The Joyful Wino where she does live wine tasting videos. It’s a fun hangout chat where we all talk about the wine picked for that month and she makes a wine based cocktail or party drink every month as well. It’s a great time and a phenomenal way to spend some time with the girls.

If you’re fortunate enough to have your girl tribe around on Galentine’s Day this Badass Ladies game from Favors and Stuff is a great addition to any party. The best part is this is a digital download so you won’t need to wait for shipping!

This girl date container from Clara and Macy is a super fun idea to continue your galentine’s day celebration throughout the year. This is perfect for the small crowd of gals that love getting together and like some spontaneity in their lives. 

If your gal pals are DIY experts DIY Bath and Body Shop has some amazing recipes. My favorite are the fruit smoothie lip scrubs. The recipe book is a digital download and there’s even a Facebook group for showing off your creations and asking Sandra and Angie questions. 

Are your gals creative, but not really into the whole bath and body thing? Check out these custom painting party kits from Schleuter Sketch Studios. Genevieve provides a pre-sketched canvas to make the painting as fun as possible, along with a brush and some different paint colors. Make sure to contact her ahead of time for parties of more than 12, creating a cool party like this can take time if you’re using a custom image!

Whether you’re single, married, or somewhere in between time with your girlfriends is precious and should be treasured. While many of us don’t need a special day to tell our friends how much we love them, it is always fun to get together and have some great gal time. Hopefully these ideas have set a plan in motion for you to enjoy Leslie Knope’s favorite day of the year!

Stephanie

LFG Royal Oak

LFG Royal Oak opened in June 2019 and is the ideal location to hang out for gaming with your friends while being social. I had a chance to hang out with Nick for a few minutes and ask him a few questions about LFG and gaming in general.

Why did you open LFG?

I’ve seen the idea a couple places before, growing up this would have been an ideal place to spend time. Kids between the ages of 16-21 have very few options for going out, unless they want to hang out at their friends houses or in each other’s dorm rooms. I wanted to create a place that was available for that age to be social and hang out. Things fell into place to make the location a reality so I went for it.

Who works at LFG?

Jenn & Jay run the front end for me. When working I’m usually in the kitchen.

How does LFG work?

We have a few different options, walk-in play time is available when there isn’t a tournament. Game play costs $8 an hour to rent the system for walk-in players. We also have a monthly subscription option that includes unlimited play for $20 a month.

There are two tournaments every week, people are also welcome to participate in those. You can find tournament information on our website.

In addition to walk-in play time and tournaments we offer party options. We host birthday parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and corporate parties. Stop in, call or email to schedule your event. We often host private parties on days when we’re closed.

In addition to gaming time we have a full food menu, as well as coffee and smoothies. 

What’s your dream for the future of LFG?

A place where people love to hang out, and where my employees make a liveable wage. I’d love to host more events, more tournaments, and continuing to create a fun atmosphere where my employees love coming to work.

What’s your favorite gaming system?

Depends on the game. The Nintendo Switch is super innovative and versatile with a huge library. It was a really smart move for them to secure a huge variety of games from all kinds of systems.  PS4 is the best console for high intensity graphics, like with Monster Hunter, and it has lots of RPGs available. It seems to be the default system for fighting games.

I spend most of my time playing on the PC. The PC platform has more indie games, amazing graphics, and better control. Also it allows for doing other things at the same time like using Discord, Twitch or Youtube.

Xbox is mostly big for sports games, racing games and shooters, I don’t spend a lot of time on that console.

What’s your favorite game?

That’s impossible, give me a genre! MMORPG is Final Fantasy 14, JRPG is Final Fantasy 7, my favorite shooter is Halo Reach, Western RPG Dark Souls… Interestingly, Dark Souls is made by a Japanese company. There’s a lot of beautiful games out there. I play Monster Hunter a lot, and Smash. Breath of the Wild is a fantastic game. I play a lot of indie games as well.

 

What’s the most popular game at LFG?

Super smash brothers, it’s an easy, casual game & the Nintendo Switch is the most popular console. They have the most easy party games with no need to save or make a profile. It results in a situation where gamers and non-gamers alike can enjoy time together.

PS4 and Xbox require an account which makes it more difficult to play together. Split screen is hard now because they make these beautiful graphics that require more processing power. Split screen play requires rendering the game twice which makes it more difficult to maintain the graphics.

LFG is located at 617 S Washington in Royal Oak and is innovating the social gaming world in the area. If you’re a gamer they’re a fun location for your next birthday party or to have a team building party with your coworkers. The owner and staff are super knowledgeable about games and the food is delicious. They don’t offer alcohol as part of their normal menu, which allows them to hit their target age of 16-21, but it’s a great place to hang out with your friends no matter what your age. Next time you’re in the area make sure to check out LFG Royal Oak, and keep up with their events on Facebook, their websiteTwitch, and Twitter.

Love is in the air! Coffee mug giveaway

Welcome back to the giveaways! We’re starting off easy this year with a really simple warm throat hug of a drink that will make the cold nights a little more bearable. Gin is one of my favorite liquors, it’s delightful botanical experience is perfect for cold weather. This drink pairs extremely well with lemon, and a splash of honey would be a delicious addition if you’ve been caught with one of this year’s terrible colds.

We’re already in the middle of Valentine’s day prep (see Wednesday’s blog post if you need a few gift ideas). It feels super early, but if you’re looking for custom handmade items it’s almost too late!

In the meantime, enjoy your throat hugging tea and enter to win this one of a kind coffee mug here.

G and T(ea)

Add hot water to glass and steep tea for 3-5 minutes. We added two tea bags of Twinings Earl Grey for a stronger flavor.

Add gin to taste. We used 3 ounces of Aviation American Gin for a stiff drink.

Squeeze lemon to taste, we used 1/4 of a fresh lemon, but you could substitute lemon juice instead.

 
 
G and T(ea) still shot for the coffee mug giveaway

Valentine’s Day Gifts

It feels like the holiday’s just happened, but Valentine’s Day is only a month away. When ordering custom handmade gifts it’s best to plan early! Here’s a few ideas for the perfect gift.

If your sweetheart is a hopeless romantic this is such an adorable gift. This would be perfect for a first Valentine’s day or a gift for a younger girlfriend.

Magic WoOod specializes in these adorable boxes that are just as cute with the lights on, as they are sentimental with the lights off. You can find these beautiful wooden gifts on their website (linked above) and Etsy, and follow them on Instagram and Facebook for their latest updates. 

If you’re more a DIY gifter, and truly enjoy giving something from the heart, VintageLeeCrafted on Etsy has you covered. They offer DIY candle labels and wine bottle labels that are absolutely gorgeous and commemorate all of life’s best memories.

Follow Vintage Lee Crafted on Instagram for all their new products!

It’s no surprise to people that know us that we don’t celebrate Valentine’s day or Sweetest Day. The truth is my birthday is on February 7 and I’ve claimed the whole month to be about me. It works out because Terry’s birthday is October 16 so Sweetest Day just turns into his birthday celebration as well. If we were going to give Valentine’s presents they would absolutely be snarky or sarcastic like this fun flask.

Keep an eye on the blog on Friday, our first giveaway of the year is this design on a one of a kind clear coffee mug!

If Valentine’s Day is your jam and you feel like you need a little more spice The Silver Diva has you covered. She offers these fun naughty pocket tokens in her Etsy shop, as well as a variety of the more romantic, sentimental hand stamped silver items. Check out her Instagram to keep up with her newest creations!

If you’d like to spice up your relationship this year, but you’re not quite up to the naughty pocket coins, a date night box can be the perfect fit. Little Bird Designs has the sweetest box for all ages to enjoy with the option to upgrade to personalized dates.

Follow Little Bird Designs on Instagram to keep up with their newest items.

Hopefully this post gives you some inspiration for your perfect Valentine’s day, no matter where you’re at in your relationship. Next week we’ll focus on Galentine’s and the perfect gifts for the girls you call family.

Stephanie

Nana – Chicago

This week was spent preparing for Friday’s giveaway, so there wasn’t much chance to prepare a “local feature” for today. No worries though, I have a feature in my back pocket from Chicago.

On Sunday morning our plans had fallen through and we were driving towards Marz to pick up some beer on our way home. Unfortunately they don’t open until noon, because not everyone drinks like a Wisconsin native in our country, so we had a couple hours to kill. I hopped on Google maps to find “breakfast near Marz Brewing”. One of the diners suggested was Nana’s. The pictures didn’t do it justice and we decided to go because “eh, it looked alright enough for some eggs”.

As we parked down the street on the cloudy, gross, rainy morning the weather did not improve my first impression. It’s obvious the building has been there a while, and the awning looked kind of tired in the mid-morning weather. When we walked in it was obvious we were severely underdressed in my moccasin slippers and Terry’s pink graphic t-shirt.

The waiter was phenomenally kind and knowledgeable, recommending some crowd favorites. That was about the time that we realized it wasn’t a typical American diner, but had a traditional Mexican spin. We ordered the avocado fries as an appetizer, and I fell in love. They were the perfect amount of crispy and melty, with a gorgeous chipotle-lime aioli. It was the perfect beginning to the best brunch I’ve ever had in my life. (Image from Nana’s Google page. My photo did no justice to the beautiful dish.)

For the main course I ordered the Nanadict (image on the left) and Terry ordered the huevos rancheros (image on the right). Both of these dishes were better than anything I’d eaten in ages.

Edgar is the most picky of the three of us, being six he gets a little leeway with food. He opted for the egg in the nest and was very cautious about trying it. Once he took the first bite the rest was gone so fast there is no picture of his meal. He loved it so much we’ve been working to recreate the dish at home. So far Edgar’s assessment is they’re good but not anything like Nana’s.

If you’re ever in the Bridgeport district of Chicago looking for an amazing meal, I highly recommend Nana’s. Next time we’re in the area we’re definitely planning to head their way, dressed more appropriately and better prepared for the delicious explosion of flavor.