The Uncommon Life

Mixtape Mixed Drinks: Butterbee Cocktail Recipe

September 9, 2013

We’re celebrating the drop of our Mixtape Glasses by mixing up our favorite cocktails and pumping up the volume on the songs that go best with them. First up–the Butterbee.

Butterbee Cocktail

The Butterbee is a yummy sweet grown-up treat.

The Drink:
Mix equal parts of Bailey’s Irish Cream and Butterscotch Schnapps
Top with whipped cream

The Playlist:
1. Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations
2. C.R.E.A.M. – Wu Tang Clan
3. Caramel – City High
4. Candyman – Christina Aguilera
5. Candy – Mandy Moore
6. Sugar, Sugar – The Archies

Gift Guides

Gift Lab: It’s Written in the Tea

February 27, 2013

I was always attracted to the world of mysticism and fortune-telling. I’ve had my Turkish Coffee Cup read and it was the most accurate “psychic reading” I’ve ever had— and I’ve had quite a few. The second I saw the Tea Leaf Reading Kit, I had to have it… immediately.

With the help of the instructions, I will be able to read the futures of my friends and co-workers.

The first step is finding a few victims test subjects. I found myself eyeing up friends and co-workers and wondering if they would think I was crazy or play along. Luckily for me, I found some who would!

Meet Lauren and Seneca, my two favorite Uncommon sisters.

Okay, so maybe they thought I was crazy, but they were willing to play along, which is really all that matters.

The kit comes with a mug, tea leaves, instructions and a symbol dictionary. All we needed to add was a spoon, some napkins, boiling water and somewhere to pour the excess liquid. It’s safer to use a bowl or a sink, as the instructions recommend. We used a cup. Don’t do this! We might have made a bit of a mess…

First up was Lauren.

We put in a half teaspoon of the tea leaves and just enough water to cover them.

The person who is getting their tea leaves read must then put their hand on top of the cup to infuse the leaves with their energy, making sure to focus on what they would like to know. Lauren did this while focusing on her future.

After a minute or two, that person then holds the handle of the mug, swirling it three times to pour out the excess water and line the sides of the cup with the tea leaves. This was the messy part! A piece of advice: have a nice amount of napkins readily available to you. You will need them.

Once the water is almost all poured out, flip the cup upside down on a napkin or paper towel for a few seconds. Then, spin the cup three times to seal the leaves into place, turn over, and start reading!

As you can see, all of Lauren’s leaves decided to band together to form one big animal. In person, this looked more like an owl. Here, however, it seems to be a cat.

Since at that point we saw an owl, we went with that description.

It looks like Lauren’s future is full of wisdom and reflection. I wasn’t entirely sure how to turn those two words into a cheesy reading speech, so I went with one sentence: “You will soon gain insight and wisdom from reflecting on your life and choices so far.”

Seems legit.

Seneca’s turn!

Seneca had quite a few shapes going on in there. It was pretty difficult to decipher them, but I found some winners. I didn’t take pictures because you would all think I was crazy and imagining them.

Don’t judge me.

After deciphering four different shapes, Seneca’s fortune turned out to be pretty promising: “You will receive some new, positive information that will result in a journey with a faithful companion.”

We took that as “Some really great news is coming that will send you and your guy on an adventure down a new path in life.”


This item is just as awesome as I expected it to be. Cheesy mysticism aside, the two “readings” seemed to coincide with their current life-events. Okay, so it could just be the Forer Effect. Please don’t ruin my moment.

Yay for the Tea Leaf Reading Kit and its fortune-telling abilities!

Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Jingle All the Way

December 8, 2011

Background Research:
Kim: When I first saw this item, I immediately remembered the recorder that I had when I was six. The only songs that I knew were ‘Hot Cross Buns’ and ‘There’s a Hole in the Bucket’, but I felt nostalgic nonetheless.

Kayla: I was so excited when Kim told me that we would playing the recorder for gift lab because in the fourth grade I had a recorder and even though I have no recent practice at all, I thought it would be a fun experience to live out childhood memories from a long time ago.


Kim: This could potentially be an epic failure, because I have no recollection of how to do this. I do, however, think it will be hilarious.

Kayla: The recorder appears to be a really simple instrument but I have no musical talent in my blood whatsoever and getting involved in this could mean huge embarrassment for me.

The Experiment:

Kim: Upon opening the item, I saw that there were no instructions on how to play the item. The one that I had as a child came with a book of songs and how to play them. I was starting to think that this might not be as easy as I had hoped. Thank goodness for Google.

Kayla: When we first opened the box together, I got even more nervous than I already was. I assumed that the item would come with a list of notes and how to achieve said notes, but the main idea of the project was actually centered on painting it. I was excited to find this out, but was still unsure of how I would ever learn the song ‘Jingle Bells’. At least Kim knew was she was doing.

Kim: Not entirely! The pictures of where to put your fingers for the notes are just different colored circles. Logically, the black circles are where your fingers go, but I wanted to be sure, so I consulted YouTube.

Kayla: But before we got to playing, we had to paint the recorder. We both enjoy pink, so we cheated and mixed the red and white… as it comes with white, red, and yellow. Our “pink” was more of a coral since we also needed white to pale our yellow – you know how picky girls are.

Kim: I was a little sad at first that the pink wasn’t the shade we were aiming for—a nice pastel—but the coral grew on me after a minute or so.

Kayla: We got done figuring out which paint colors would go where and went at it, too excited to sneak in a photo before we painted it. We were so focused on our video that we missed a lot of visuals. The recorder turned out to be very beautiful however, so we were doing okay in that department. Now the difficult part of the adventure…

Kim: The video was definitely the most difficult, but the most fun, as you can tell from our laughter. We weren’t entirely sure how we were going to make this a two-man job, so I grabbed a bell and my dog, Bebe, while Kayla practiced the song. We were hoping that the bell and the dog would deter people from our horrible playing.

Kayla: Thankfully, I picked up the song pretty quickly. It was a lot easier than I thought and I was really happy with the turnout. Yet, I was still embarrassed to play on film, as I am very self-conscious.

Kim: Personally, I think she was awesome. It was definitely better than my attempts. I’ll stick with my bell.


Kim: This was a really fun project. I had a great time doing it. I was also really inspired by some of videos on YouTube to learn newer, more modern songs. My only advice is to keep in mind that this is designed to be a one-person project, so it only comes with one paint brush.

Kayla: I had a blast with this as I love to paint and decorate things. Even learning to play one simple song was entertaining because it reminded me so much of being a kid again. This is a fun project for children or adults who want to act like children/remember childhood.

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