Tuesday, September 30, 2014

at the moment no. 9

At the moment I'm...

..loving how dark it stays in the morning.  The sun rising later and later, and when we fall back the light will be completely different at 6:18, but for now, it feels cozy to be in the dark while I drink my coffee.  

..completing a Seven Day Clean Eating Challenge.  My friend Sarah is holding this challenge and makes it a lot easier by posting tons of encouragement and substitutions and simple workouts.  I was a little overwhelmed when I was grocery shopping, wondering if I'd keep the momentum of all the prep and cooking.  Day 1 is down and I'm feeling pretty good.  I didn't stop drinking my coffee (sorry, Sarah!) but I went to one cup instead of two and replaced the second one with water.  I eat clean about 70% of the time already. but this is helping me with portion control and removing the option of snack food binge at 9pm on the couch.  I'll let you know how it turns out!

..planning Milo's birthday party.  We're just going to have a little party at our house with cupcakes and pumpkin painting, then start a bonfire and have the rest of our friends come and join us.  Despite it's size, we usually end up having one big party at our house per year.  I need to start gathering up extra chairs and pricing folding tables.  And firewood.  And festive cocktails.  

..thinking a lot about short stories and novels.  I've been picking at a few different plot lines for a few years, writing silly little scenes and daydreaming about dramatic twists in the shower.  Ben and I recently decided we were going to pick one night a week and set time aside to write.  I would love to share some of my fiction on the blog (Fiction Fridays?) but I'm not sure if I think that's too goofy.  I am excited for a writing date with Ben.  I've loved reading his screenplays since college.

..scheming all the new things I want to add to my birthday list when I turn 29 next week.  I love my birthday lists, but the last one before I turn 30 should be mildly epic.  So far I know I'm adding "buy new bras" and "learn how to check out library books on my Kindle."  I need help spicing this up.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Best Friends and Other Secret Weapons

My confidence and peace about who I am right now is my superpower, and a great deal of that is due to my friends.  I want to talk about how huge it is to find these magical unicorn friends who lift you up and know your body language from across the room and have your coffee order memorized, but I'm struggling with how to express just how incredible these relationships are.  I finally realized what was holding me back, and I have a confession to make.  I feel really icky about this, but here it is: for a long time, I've been a bad friend.

If I look back over my formative years, I notice patterns in my relationships that I'm not proud of.  I've been friendly with people all my life, but I've retained few true friends, even from high school and college, and I chalk most of that up to selfish behavior.  I was fickle and lazy. I would seek out fun and spend time with friends who were having a good time.  I liked hanging out in large groups. and didn't really get close to anyone.  I've had friends with whom I'd grow super close, then let the entire relationship go without putting up much fight.  I've made the mistake of taking advantage of people who would take care of me.  I've made the mistake of choosing so-so boyfriends over great ladies who loved me.  I've struggled to be there for friends who were having a hard time.  I've flaked out.  A lot.

I doubt I'm the only person who has regrets about the way they've treated people on their way through life, and even though it makes me squeamish to remember some of my misadventures, they're a part of my story and a part of my truth.  I often wonder how exactly to discuss with friends the unspoken reality that I was bad to them and I am sorry.  I don't have that answer yet.  Still, I want to fess up to these less-than-stellar behaviors to remind you that people screw up, and people can change. Right now, I'm becoming a better friend because I have good friends, and I'm unconsciously mirroring their behaviors.  I'm growing because people haven't given up on me.  It's easy to assume that friendships are easy, and think they might be "toxic" if they're not, but I disagree.  Another thing I've learned in the last decade is that nothing worth having is easy.  You have to work for it all.

For the first time in my life, I'm truly appreciating the handful of devoted friends who have stuck by me for the long haul (THANK YOU!), and forming healthy relationships with people I've met in the last few years. There aren't any easy bullet points on how to do this, but I have a few ideas.  I think it has something to do with choosing the right people to spend time with, using your voice for good, being there when a friend needs you, and feeling comfortable enough to ask for help.  There's no secret formula.  

I want to explore these ideas in a series of posts about adult friendships.  I'm not an expert, but I can share my stories, and I'd love to hear yours, too.  Right now, the friendships I have in my life are a huge source of comfort and strength, and I wish the same community for all the ladies who are doing the hard work of unapologetically finding and being themselves.  It helps to have people at your back.  

What are your biggest struggles around making and maintaining great friendships?  Any tips for being a fabulous friend?  Want to brag about your amazing bestie? Please leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.  Having awesome lady friends (or friends of any gender) can be a secret weapon.  Let's celebrate that together.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

The last 45 minutes before the sun is up

I banished Milo to the bedroom this morning. He woke up before my 5:15 alarm, bringing a crinkly, plastic wrapped library book into our room and asking to read it. Ben talked him into getting into bed with us instead, and I scrambled to hit my phone before the weird alarm beeping got loud enough to wake Elliott, too. 

I came out to the kitchen and decided to be a grown up about the leftover chili that crusted into the pan on the stove overnight. I set the pan to soak and gathered up milk cups from under the table and used up the last of my coffee to get a pot going, dreaming about tomorrow when I'd let myself get a takeout coffee from my favorite place. I haven't gone to any strange lengths to get one for myself yet this week. Things are better when you miss them a little. 

So I'm just finishing the kitchen tidy that every advice book tells me will increase my happiness if it actually happens at night, and I hear his little feet pattering, and I get that torn feeling that I get every single morning. He really is too precious with sleep still in his eyes and messy hair, asking if it's time for lunch yet before he's even stopped squinting against the light. But. Oh baby, go away. He snuggled up to me and I asked him our normal questions. Did you sleep well? (uh huh) What did you dream about? (Ella. This chick from daycare is huge at our house right now.) Then I tell him that I want him to go back and sleep with Daddy. 

"No! I want to do work on the picapucter [computer] with you!"

"This is my only time of day where I'm not with kids. I need to be alone right now."

"Then I'm watching Waddin [Aladdin]." 

"Aladdin a weekend movie. It's a school morning." 


Ben got him back in our bedroom and put on Mickey Christmas, a Netflix movie he's inexplicably obsessed with right now. I hear him making offhand comments about his stomach grumbling, but mostly, he's quiet and contained. Elliott has slept through the whole exchange. Ben tells me to go get my time in. 

I settle down with my coffee. I freeze. These are my 45 minutes, the precious ones that I fiercely protect. I'm starting to get uncomfortable with the idea of spending them idly on Facebook. I read a little from a few bloggers that get me fired up. I stare blankly at my blog page. I'm working on redesigning some of the elements, and I'm only halfway done. I can't figure out what is important enough to do during this time. I'm wasting it. 

I opened up this post and starting clacking away because I know that, for me, the answer is usually: just write. Write something, something dumb, and then my next step is usually to share, put it out there, in all it's dumbness, because that's what I love. Sharing something I wrote. "Real life," regular day-to-day work and appointments etc etc, it definitely mutes me a bit. When I do carve out time, I panic about how to spend it well. But I never regret just writing it all out, memorializing the way I felt for 45 minutes before the sun came up on September 25th, 2014. 

I feel silly, calling what I do my writing practice, but I need to get comfortable claiming this for myself.  I do write, and do it in different ways, and use it capture different feelings.  This blog is a huge outlet for me.  Writing makes me feel connected, helps me organize my thoughts, and gives me hope.  I daydream about using my words to make money for my family.  Until I'm ready to pour my energy into that  endeavor, writing here helps me practice.  It's worth waking up early, and worth banishing your kid from the living room until the sun is up.  He'll forgive me.

What is your outlet?  Do you have a hobby or a ritual that you repeat often?  How do you protect that time for yourself?  I hope you give yourself permission to guard an hour or so for yourself, however impossible it may seem.  Do weird things to give yourself that time.  You deserve it.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

weeknight playdate

It has been one of the marathon weeks the beginning of a new school year is famous for: late night meetings, solidifying old routines with new students, getting babysitters, packing lunches. It never takes long to get overwhelmed and feel burnt out.  While I'm at work, I'm Knope-ing it as much as possible and giving it my all, but when I'm home, I'm really cashing in on family connections to get me through.  Today, Laurel came to visit.

My sister Laurel is my best friend and one of my favorite people to spend time with.  My husband and boys love her, she compulsively does chores, we always get iced coffees, she seamlessly jumps in to the dinner/bath/bed routines, and we usually wrap up the evening by binge-watching Disappeared on Netflix.  Tonight was no exception.  We picked Laurel up at the train station and stopped at Gourmet Donuts on the way to the playground.  While the boys ran with Aunt Lulu, I called in a pizza order, and we picked up dinner on the way home once the sun was down.  Laurel's birthday was this week, so we put some candles in her slice.  We watched Sesame Street celebrity songs on my Kindle on the living room floor and took ridiculously late baths.  It was perfect.

Normally, a Wednesday night with a late meeting would have been a blur- too many episodes of Daniel Tiger, throw together lunches, space out and then fall behind the routine during bathtime, hassle the kids into bed, maybe fall asleep on the couch.  Having Laurel come out this even was a total breath of fresh air.  It was amazing to watch the boys' faces as the commuter rail train thundered in and be on the playground at sunset.  I love my routines; I firmly blieve they add to the quality of life and take a ton of stress out of day-to-day life.  But I'm also reminding myself that a gentle break can be a huge relief.  Do something out of the ordinary and you won't regret it.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Coffee and Blogs No. 11

It's getting actually, properly, deliciously cold at night and in the early morning.  The chill burns off, but I'm jumping on the train of getting pumped for my autumn.  I call it mine the way that insane dude called Ireland "my island" in Braveheart.  I get batty about this time of year.  Tons of family birthdays, apple picking, pumpkin carving, etc, etc, etc.  I'm probably the 453rd lady you've heard enthusing about FALL!  I know how typical it is and I still can't turn it off.  Sorry I'm not sorry.

While I've salivating over here about pumpkin-scented scarf parties, the world spins madly on. I spent a weekend playing single mom, and while I had a great time with my boys, that ish is hard.  Hats off.  I'm going to take the boys to a diner later just to tempt fate (two toddlers, restaurant, no extra hands?  That's how much I love omelettes.) but first, let's let the internet entertain and inform us.  Here are some weekend links!

 A Facebook friend posted this list of 25 Things All Basic White Girls Do in the Fall.  I admitted that I've choked down pumpkin spice lattes every autumn for five years, and finally realized I don't like them.  Drinking them is a part of my culture, so I understand my confusion.

Much love for this short list of books on being productive and organized.  I also love when other people admit that September is as much of a "fresh start" as January is.  I really want to read the one about the daily routines of creative people.  I am super nosy and obsessed about the details of peoples' day-to-day.

I went on a Sesame Street watching kick the other night, with one YouTube video leading to another until I was a writhing, sobbing mess.  I get wildly emotional about simple stuff.  Janelle Monae is singing and dancing about The Power of Yet (Milo said "This is crazy!") and this is The Pentatonix singing a medley of classic songs beautifully.  We have the book Five People in My Family and it makes me want to have one more kid.

The news about Ray Rice being cut from the NFL after a video was released of him violently abusing his wife has dominated over the past few weeks.   While plenty of people use the opportunity to share opinions, the hashtags #whyistayed and #whyileft have been an chance for people to tell stories.  My only new development from all of this: I continue to be amazed at my own capacity for judgement and reminded that love is the only, only, only response for almost anything that happens

Hermione Granger has never been a role model for me, but I still love her dearly.  I'm happy to see that she's still inspiring young girls, years after the initial fury for the series has passed.

This article about truly understanding self-care was a powerful read for me.  I tend to think of self-care as letting myself off the hook ("Rest, sweetheart, the gym will be there tomorrow") but personally, the stricter I can be, the better I feel.  Just like I tell my first graders, it's not about everyone getting the same thing, but everyone getting what they need. 

In the same strong, self-loving vein, my sister sent me this article.  The author shares the message she wants to send to her daughters about the real motivations to work out.  Spoiler alert: it's not to look great on the beach or squeeze into a smaller dress size.

Before we drop the topic, this article about being unable to relate to skinny people and wishing you could body swap really made me think.  Tentatively, I'm celebrating, because I didn't really relate to the author, despite being fat for most of my life.  I think I am so full of self love right now that my weight is not much of a hang up for me, which is amazing growth, and I'm also at a point where I realize that no matter what I looked like, there would be something I would want to change.  I'm more confident now than I was 50 pounds ago, and I feel sexier and happier most days than I ever did when I was in much better shape.

I think I might actually try National Novel Writing Month this year.  It happens in November, and there is a daily word count goal.  I'm also thinking of scheduling at least one simple road race to run for the last few months of 2014.  Goals help me get shit done.

What did I miss?  Point me to some good stuff!  Happy reading, dears.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

oh, hello.

Part of being your own lady is being honest, and honestly, I miss some of the diary-style entries I used to post on the regular.  I love Be Your Own Lady, and I love sourcing interesting content, but I feel like I'm holding back a little.  I'm also noticing that I have less interaction with readers when I write about Twitter feeds or share interviews than when I'm free associating about family life (poop on the train table?) or my own self esteem (Leslie Knope for President!). I don't care as much about the number of readers- I'm very proud of my content and I love putting together weekly link pages, even if no one reads them- but I do miss the connection.  I want to tell you about Milo's new habit of muttering "Oh. my. gosh." in a drastic voice 254 times a day, and all the words Elliott is copying, and how our "Move" year is going, and how my blood sugar is back on track as of August.  And so I will.  

1. Ben and I set ourselves a health goal for the month of September.  We agreed to cut out sweets of any kind to reduce our sugar intake.  We went to Kimballs and ate clams while the boys had ice cream, we went to a wedding and politely declined the cake (no one noticed, I was hoping for a scene that would possibly shame us into nibbling).  Honestly, it's not the hard, and we get to pick out some sort of reward if we make it all 30 days.  I'm thinking a new band for my Fitbit, or a cute shirt from Modcloth.  I've also been using my Planet Fitness membership 2-3 times a week.  

2. School started with a vengance and I slipped back into the routine so quickly.  I credit an awesome daycare provider, boys who LOVE going to daycare, and being on a really great teaching team.  We're in the third week and I'm finding that going in super early is really refreshing, even if it means giving up some of my morning reading&writing time.  The hours before school when it's quiet are amazing, and starting the day annoyingly prepared makes my day 254 times better than if I settle for "basically ready."

3. This fall is full of things to look forward to, and plenty of trips that have seemed like they were 254 years away until now.  Ben is going away for a few days and I'm actually excited to have one-on-one time with the boys for awhile.  I have a little surprise planned that I'd like to accomplish, and I'll probably order some very bizarre takeout and watch bad TV.  Then, a few weeks later, I'm going to Chicago to watch my sister run the Chicago Marathon!  A lot of my family will be meeting up to cheer her on, and I'll see my baby nephew, and I'll be in a city I've never visited before, and the whole thing is dreamy.  I can't wait.

4. I've finished a bunch of good books, and am planning to take the boys back to the library today to get another set.  I like to read on the elliptical (I'm aware this probably means I'm not working out hard enough but you can hush it) and spent 25 minutes after my workout had completed because I was sucked into a good plot last week.  Books for the win!

That felt good.  I have to go and get into work super early.  Book recommendations, Chicago must-sees, and general encouragement are welcome.  Have a lovely day!

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Six Social Media Accounts to Keep You Inspired and Informed

People knock Facebook and Twitter, and they'll keep doing it until those formats are obsolete (How long do we have?  Two more years?) but I'm here to remind you that there's still some good in the world wide web.  Hopefully, you've gone through your accounts and removed or at least hid all the friends and pages that leave you with an icky feeling.  Your next step is to add in some kick ass material that will keep you informed and inspired.  Here are some of the accounts that make it worth it for me:

A picture and a little story about people walking on the street.  It is almost always powerful and personal and completely lovely.  Kind of like microstorytelling.  Right now, the person behind HONY is traveling with the UN in places in Africa and Eastern Europe, taking pictures and talking to people in conflict there.  While this can be painful to read, it is incredibly important.  It reminds me of my blessed and wonderful life, and puts real faces to the stories on the news.

This is a website geared towards kids and teens, and I follow them on Facebook.  They daily share an inspirational female and always include background information and resources if you'd like to learn  more.  I've learned a lot from their historical facts about powerful women, and they also suggest books for ages 3-18 for kids on topics like self esteem, advocating for yourself and others, female engineers and scientists, and other empowering subjects. They've also shared articles about how to build self esteem, positive body image, and mutual respect in even the youngest children, which has really helped solidify my teaching and parenting language. 

"Amy Poehler's Smart Girls is all about the encouragement to be yourself in a world that needs to be encouraged about that."  Shares from this account include uplifting stories about people helping each other, cool art projects, and people doing interesting things.  There are features on "Smart Girls" who are changing the world with the things that make them special.  It's like a voice popping up every day to say "Keep it up, you're part of a club of ladies who are all refusing to laugh at rape jokes and insisting that red carpet interviewers ask about more than dress designers.  You're the smart girl at this party!"

This is like getting that clip from Mr. Rogers where you get a factory view of something being made popping up in your Twitter feed every few days.  It's a newer account with only 37 tweets so far, but I'm impressed with the variety and the quality of the videos.

This is specific to my geographic location, but I encourage you to seek out someone tweeting in the largest city near you and get personal information about whats happening in your own backyard.  The man behind this Twitter account tweets about traffic issues, festivals and street fairs, special menus at local bars, the symbolic reasons behind the changing colorful lights on our Prudential building, and much more.  I live 30 miles from Boston, but I love knowing whats happening and following along with news stories.  I also get great ideas for day trips.  Find someone who tweets about an area near you and follow along- even if you live in the suburbs, you're going to look very knowledgeable when you hang out with cool city friends.

I discovered this magazine when I was stocking up on travel reading material, and I fell in love.  It is literally mental floss- I'm talking amazing facts, obscure vocabulary words, digging deep into random topics like how are crossword puzzles made, and information about real life murder mysteries.  My favorite articles are 11 Amazing Thank You Notes From Famous People and Back to the Future Co-Creator Bob Gale Explains How Marty and Doc Became Friends.  There is a TON more where that came from.  You should probably just follow them.

There's my go-to list for inspiration and smarts.  Anything I missed?  What are your internet must haves?


Monday, September 1, 2014

tina is her own lady

Tina is fun to have a drink with, but she's got more than good party etiquette; she brews her own beer!  Her knowledge and enthusiasm around craft beers is contagious, and she's generous enough to school us on how to start drinking the good stuff.  Pay attention, and you might even end up brewing your own!

Tell us a little about yourself. 
 My name is Tina, I’m 26 years old and live in Somerville, MA. I went to UMASS Amherst and am currently working at Tufts University in education administration. I am very close with my family and love spending time with them, especially with my 4 year old niece, Elyssa! I also have a great group of friends that I am very lucky to have in my life. In my free time, I love knitting, baking, jogging, reading, cheering on the Boston Celtics, and of course, drinking beer!

Have you always been into beer?  What kinds do you prefer?
I credit my brother-in-law, Matt, for getting me into craft beer. In college, I drank whatever beer was cheapest and didn’t really have any preferences. After I turned 21, Matt and my sister, Lori, took me to Cambridge Brewing Company in Kendall Square and I tried their Spring Training IPA, which I LOVED. The idea that beer could be that interesting and delicious really changed things for me. After that, I started to buy craft beers and started visiting breweries. The first brewery I went to was Berkshire Brewing Company in South Deerfield while I was at UMASS. From then, I just started trying lots of new beers and visiting breweries as much as I could. It also helped that I moved to Somerville after college, which has a great craft beer scene with lots of local craft breweries and events going on.

My favorite style is the India Pale Ale (IPA). I am a big fan of hoppy beers and there are so many different variations on the style which make it very interesting. What I’m drinking also varies by season. During the summer, I drink wheat ales or hefeweizens and in the Winter I drink porters and stouts. There are so many great styles, I love to try everything!

When did you start getting interested in brewing your own beer?
 My interest in brewing my own beer was a natural progression from loving beer and visiting breweries to wanting to try it out! Brewing started out as a couples’ project, but even though the relationship has ended, I continued to love beer and brewing.

What kinds of beer have you brewed?  How did you pick them?
 I’ve brewed a variety of beer styles including porters, stouts, pale ales, IPAs, wheat ales, and pumpkin ales to name a few. Some of my favorites were a strawberry/raspberry wheat ale, a coffee porter, and a milk chocolate stout. I like to brew styles I enjoy, but also like to add a twist and try new things. I would get an idea, then do some research online and come up with a recipe. Adding something new to make the beer special was always something fun to do, like the raspberry/strawberry wheat ale (which was delicious!).

How long a process is brewing?  What special equipment do you need?
 It takes about 4-6 weeks to brew a beer, but a lot of that time is just waiting for the beer to be ready! After brewing the beer, you wait for the beer to ferment, which is the process of the yeast and sugars interacting to make beer. Once the beer has finished fermenting and you are happy with the result, you then have to bottle the beer, which needs to sit for at least two weeks (sometimes longer) for the beer to carbonate. It’s a long process, but totally worth it!  

Typically, when you start out with homebrewing, you are doing what is called “extract brewing.” This simplifies the process that professional brewers use and makes it more accessible for homebrewers (here is a graphic that explains a little of the science). You’ll need some basic equipment to get started, including a stove, a brew pot, a fermenter, and beer bottles, along with the ingredients for brewing the beer. You will also need to clean and sanitize EVERYTHING to avoid contamination, so a big sink is also really great although not required.

What is the next brewing project you’d like to try? 
I actually haven’t been brewing for the last couple of years since I moved into a smaller apartment, but really want to get back into it. Since I'm in a small apartment, I have been looking into doing smaller batches of beer, like 1 gallon batches. This is great because it saves A LOT of space and you don't need as much stuff. I have been thinking about brewing a pumpkin ale for the fall. Pumpkin ales can be tricky because you don’t want the spices to be overpowering and you need the flavors to be balanced. So it will be a fun beer to brew!

What advice do you have for people who want to branch out and try microbrew or even just non-mainstream beers?
I recommend to start local. We are so lucky to be in New England with SO many amazing craft breweries in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine. Grab a mixed 12 pack of Sam Adams or Harpoon to start. See what you like from that and try that style in a different brewery. Or better yet, take a trip to a local brewery and sample the beers they have. Or go out to a local brew pub and order a flight of beer, they’ll start with the lighter styles and get darker, so you can really explore the spectrum. Another suggestion would be to check out a beer festival where you can sample lots of different beers and talk to the brewery employees about their beers. Drink Craft Beer is a great organization that has lots of beer festivals year round! (http://drinkcraftbeer.com/).

My main advice is to not be discouraged if you don’t love every beer at first! Odds are you’re not going to suddenly love barrel-aged bourbon stouts right off the bat, you need to really work your way up there. Keep an open mind and try as many styles as you can, you might think you don’t like beer, but you might just not like hoppy beers and prefer lighter styles. There is a style for everyone!

Some examples of breweries I love::
     Mayflower Brewing Company, Plymouth, MA: This brewery has some solid year-round offerings and amazing seasonals! It’s worth taking a trip to visit them in Plymouth and grabbing a growler of whatever is on tap.
     Jack’s Abby Brewing, Framingham, MA: This is probably my favorite brewery! They only make lagers, which are known to be a bit boring, but not their lagers. Try Hopponius Union or Mass Rising.
     Baxter Brewing Company, Lewiston, ME: I love all of their beers, especially the Pamola Xtra Pale Ale for an easy drinking beer. All of their beers come in cans, which I love. Canned beers are becoming very popular and make a lot of sense for craft beers.Cans block out all light, keeping the beer fresh, and are better environmentally. And technology is much more advanced so the can won’t leave any bad taste in the beer.
     Tröeg’s Brewing Company, Hershey, PA: They have one of my favorite beers, Nugget Nectar. Try it when it’s out in February!
     Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, Somerville, MA: This couple brews some great experimental beers and are really cool people! Try their flagship beer, Jack D’or, you won’t be disappointed.

What advice do you have for people who want to try brewing their own beer?
 If you are thinking about brewing beer but want to learn more, you can do some research online
(http://byo.com is a great place to start) or pick up The Complete Joy of Homebrewing by Charlie Papazian, which is a wonderful and informative book on homebrewing. To learn more about the brewing process, check out a local brewery, which gives you a visual representation of how the process works.

If you have decided to go ahead and get started, I recommend making a trip to your local homebrew shop and picking up a brewing kit. You can typically get started for about $100, give or take. And once you have all of the equipment, you will just need to buy ingredients for the beer, which ranges from $30-50 depending on the beer style you are brewing. I love Homebrew Emporium, which has multiple locations. They have very knowledgeable staff and won’t try to sell you anything you don’t need (http://beerbrew.com). You can also buy kits online with everything you need, but I recommend going into the store if you’re a new brewer since they can give you great advice.

Most of all, remember to have fun and relax! Brewing beer is a great hobby to pick up and learn about. Don’t be intimidated by the process!

Other useful links:
http://byo.com/newbrew/your-first-home-brew: Great information on how to homebrew
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/: Information on brewing and forums with tips & recipes
http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html: A very informative website with a ton of information on brewing

Are you dying for a beer?  I want to drop everything and order a tasting flight.  And maybe even take notes on the different flavors.  This is how geeked out this awesome info makes me.  How about you?  Have you tried homebrewing?  Any favorite beers or breweries?  Drink safely, ladies and gentlemen!

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