Our All-Time Favorite Holiday Drinks to Get the Party Started

We love the holidays. We love drinks. We love holiday drinks.

Reaching for all possible cocktail ingredients from your cupboard to please an exploding list of guests can be stressful – we’ve all been there. When it comes to wintertime beverages for the imbibing adults in your life, going for something far out and fancy doesn’t always need to be the case. There are a ton of amazing alcoholic beverage options you can throw together with what’s already at home, or available at the corner market. 

We turned to our own team of in-house experts (aka, all of us at Oliver + Sons) to find out what some of the best holiday cocktail recipes are.

Attiya’s Sangria De Cava

Who said Sangria was meant for a sunny day in Spain? Nobody I know, because the Spanish know how to convert their very own cold beverage into a taste wintery one. The best thing about this is that you probably have all the ingredients left from your Christmas shop, so why not make yourself a delish Sangria with Cava.

All you’re gonna need is the fruit before it gets made into a pie, another orange that didn’t make it into the turkey and the rosemary that exceed the amount you needed for your potatoes – not forgetting the red wine that’s generously stocked. That’s the basic batch, to add to your wholesome potion, try a little cider, apple or even pomegranate.

Get the recipe.

 

 

 

 

Ariel’s Spicy Cider

While I LOVE Hot Toddies, I strictly reserve them for when a seasonal cold is coming on (seriously, it works. Try it.). One of my other all-time favorite drinks for any other Wintertime event is Spiced Apple Cider.

You just throw some apple cider, an orange poked full of fresh cloves, and some cinnamon sticks into the slow cooker for a few hours, and you’ve got a delicious holiday drink ready to go. I’ll add some spiced Bourbon for a kick, too. Perfect to stock up on or brew for a party, and the flavors are marvelous!

Get the recipe.

 

 

 

 


Faye’s Slow Cooker Spiced Wine

My favourite winter cocktail is a slow cooker spiced wine. Unlike other cocktails, this drink can be made in hap-dash fashion with a disregard for the recipe, or quantity recommendations. You can seriously add a little bit of everything that you fancy.

I love chucking in pear cider, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg complete with the most expensive bottle of red vino I can get my hands on. This makes for the perfect get-together beverage too, as it can be sat mellowing on the stove as you go about hosting your Christmas party. Guests can freely help themselves without fuss and more fruit can be added as the night draws on to give it more of a zesty flavour.

Get the recipe.

 

 

 

Lily’s Raspberry Limoncello Prosecco

Hello, limoncello! This fruitful liquor will forever follow me. For the good reason that it slips into many drinks, and this one is my favorite. Although I don’t specifically drink it around Christmas, the compliment it provides prosecco is sensational, and introduced to a gathering sure helps guests feel the bubble energy.

Necessary with fresh raspberries, instead of frozen, to save yourself an extra unwanted chill after you put the crushed ice in. Now it’s down to you – add mint or another herb which you feel matches the mood.

Get the recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

Miguels’ White Russian

When I think of the holidays, I instantly thought of the White Russian. I haven’t had it for a while, but once I discovered it (which was a very, very, very long time ago) watching The Big Lebowski, I was hooked.

It got me curious and had it quite regularly back then. What I love, is the coffee liquor which really gets you going, making it hard to fall asleep – a dangerous choice. I love coffee anyway, so this was naturally an easy fit for me. I go with 50% Kahlua, a shot or two of Vodka and just a little bit of cream or milk. Ready to drink!

Get the recipe.

 

 

 

 

Ana’s Kalimotxo

While you try to wrap your head around the pronunciation (it’s cali-mocho BTW), I’m still trying to wrap my head around this strange tradition of two drinks we love in the Basque Country. But it is actually, a very refreshing drink, even for Christmas.

It’s a simple combination of coca-cola and red wine – which is probably the cheapest cocktails on the menu, everywhere. Tip in some orange, or maybe some blackberries but stay away from the ice because it’s way too cold for that.

Get the recipe.

 

 

 

 

A very Merry Christmas from all of us at Oliver + Sons!

Artists We’re Crushing On: Designer Appreciation Part 5

We have the utmost respect for the crafters, letter-makers, and inspiration shakers out there. In this ongoing visual series, we wanted to give due props to the artists, creators, and designers we’ve taken note of lately. Thanks for making stuff beautiful!

1. Chan Chau

Chan Chau hails from Minnesota and is an illustrator, designer, and cartoonist all-in-one. We can’t get over their beautiful, vibrant style, and portfolio of short comics and illustrations. They are a mysterious artist, as they only show their profile in sketch form, which makes us wonder that there’s still so much to find out about the person behind the stunning anime artwork and vibrant, storytelling posters. Check out their full website here: http://cargocollective.com/chanc

Update: We have edited a previous version of this article that inaccurately gendered Chan. 

2. Heidi Annalise

Heidi Annalise is someone that can look at something as small as a mint tin and see an opportunity. She paints beautiful, mini-masterpieces out in the world using just a few colors on-hand and an empty tin of mints as a canvas. Based in Colorado, much of her amazing works of art are based on the environments nearby, but maybe if you ask nicely she’ll paint something from your own world. Check out her full website here: http://www.heidiannaliseart.com/

3. Meghan Hildebrand

Contemporary painter Meghan Hildebrand is truly one-of-a-kind. Drawing inspiration from the vast and varying landscapes of Northern California, her dreamscape-like works of art are surreal, tranquil, and have an air of patchwork design that pieces together textures and patterns. She brushes through seasons and picturesque settings that involve compatible characters. Check out her full website here: http://meghanhildebrand.com

4. Gavin Worth

Working with wire sounds like a painful process, but metalworker artist Gavin Worth has shown us that it’s completely fascinating and beautiful. The accuracy of his work is impeccable, shaping designs of never before seen works of art like it. Been picked up by the likes of Tiffany & Co and Ralph Lauren, he’s one to catch your eye with these incredible pieces. Check out his full website here: https://www.gavinworth.com

5. Dina Brodsky

Artist Dina Brodsky began her craft at the young age of 19 years, letting her love of miniatures take hold. Using a unique method, she creates small oil paintings on two-inch Plexiglas circles that portray a variety of outdoor scenes: Rivers & Logs, Cloud Hands, and Giants. They are gorgeous, detailed, and adorably small. Check out her full website here: http://dinabrodsky.com

What artists, designers, or creatives are you into right now? Let us know in the comments below. You can also see all of our other designer shout-outs here!

Virtual Workspaces: A Chat With Our Junior Growth Hacker

Slack is the remote worker’s dream. Millennials, like myself, will remember the hours glued to the thrilling MSN messenger after school. Slack is MSN’s business-minded big sister, however infinitely more fun and heaps more useful.

Want to send an urgent message to a team member that will pop up on their desktop straight away? Slack lets you do that. Want to manage several projects at the same time with different sets of teams? Slack has multiple channels you can customize and nominate to each task, without getting yourself tangled up.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘What about Microsoft Teams?’, and you’re not wrong to be curious about most innovative group chat software to be associated with Microsoft since Skype. However, my answer to you is: don’t be fooled. There have been numerous times this year where Microsoft has been seen to put pressure on Slack, but the truth is Slack’s user base just ain’t leaving and Slack just keeps on getting sassier. 

I’d like to take some time to run you guys through just some of the reasons why I am a firm Slack fan. I’ll delve into personality, UX, functions and the overall effect as a virtual workspace for the modern day worker. All haters wanting an argie bargie on the subject, feel free to take this down to the comments later.

5 Reasons Why I’m A Slack Fan:

1. Slack are just majestic with their sassiness.

When word of Microsoft’s upcoming Slack competitor swooped on the scene, Slack was quick to respond in the best way they knew how. They took up a FULL 2 PAGE ad in the New York Times to welcome in the new competition. I love it so much that I’m going to include the final part for you to enjoy below:

If this isn’t them marking their virtual workspace territory and upping their sasspoints then I don’t know what is.

2. Slack is a product, Microsoft Teams is a feature.

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Source: The Verge

This is an interesting way to look at Slack and Microsoft Teams together and it truly makes all the difference. Being named ‘the office messaging app that may finally sink email’ in the New York Times, Slack may only have one use but it is far more than a contemporary add-on.

3. Slack is free.

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Source: Business Insider

Let’s consider the fact that anyone who’s anyone can have a Slack account. Slack boasts 4 million active daily users, and of those 1 million are paying customers. Pretty neat, considering they don’t force their premium version upon their users at every login. They have made themselves universal and there’s no doubt these guys certainly know how to growth hack their way to the top.

4. Slack is VERY user-friendly.

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Have you seen their interface recently? It’s pretty cool for a virtual workspace. You have to remember that most Slack users use the software for long hours at a time and this hasn’t gone unnoticed. They’ve taken it as their green card to go all out with exuberant copywriting, and I really enjoy reading their quirky little greeting messages each morning. Slack has focused on the small details and their work really has paid off. They’ve created a really pleasant and exciting user experience.

5. You can add external people into your Slack teams.

Slack prides itself on the awesome feature of adding people from outside your team into your Slack channel. That’s one of the best features right?

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How many times have you been at a meeting and have heard the words ‘I’ll add you into the slack channel now, it’s just easier than the back and forth of email.’ And voila! You can start to engage with your colleagues right then and there, sharing Google docs and Excel sheets at the flick of some rather cool, funky slack buttons. This is a feature that Microsoft Teams just hasn’t got going yet, and it’s potentially one of the main reasons that Slack members are staying for loyal to the software. If they aren’t such firm fans like me already, of course.

So what do you think? Is Slack is here to stay or do you think you will make the move over?

Let us know your thoughts on Twitter!

10 Bizarre Brain Foods – A Survival Kit For Computer Work

brain food

You are what you eat, but your productivity is also what makes you who you are.

There are certain compounds within foods which are bypassed because you probably just don’t think about the value of them. Who does? It’s fascinating how much food impacts the productivity within your daily regime. Allow these bizarre goodies enlighten your diet to get your typing speed soaring!

Brain Food #1: Sage

With a long reputation of improved concentration and memory, Sage can be used as an oil or a sprinkle of flavor. It contains compounds that prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine. It’s worth adding to your diet, as the Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior found young adults who took sage-oil extract (.05 ml) before cognitive tests performed better than those given a placebo.

Image result for sage

Source: Growing Sage

Brain Food #2: Grass Fed Beef

“The difference between grain fed and grass-fed animal products is dramatic.”

– American Grass Fed Beef

It boils down to the nutrition that the cow gets. Grass-fed products tend to be much lower in total fat than grain-fed products and will always be lower in calories. Consuming grass-fed products means extra Omega-3s, and means a healthier iron level. With higher levels of iron, you can perform better and faster on mental tasks. Iron helps transport oxygen throughout the body and to the brain.

Brain Food #3: Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Widely believed to be the healthiest way to eat in the Mediterranean diet. Extra Virgin Olive Oil has monounsaturated fats that help improve memory and other cognitive functions. Containing over 30 phenolic compounds that are potent antioxidants, this olive oil contributes to higher levels of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

Image result for extra virgin oil

Source: USA Today

Brain Food #4: Rosemary

Similar to sage, you have the oil option, or sprinkled as an ingredient. Carrying carnosic acid, rosemary helps protect your brain from neurodegeneration, Alzheimer’s, strokes or natural aging of the brain. 

Image result for rosemary

Source: Mother Nature Network

Brain Food #5: Yerba Mate

It’s said that Yerba Mate has the “strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate” all in one beverage. Yerba Mate can enhance short-term brain power – likely due to its strength and health benefits. The people of the rainforests find tremendous invigoration, focus, and nourishment in Yerba Mate, we’re positive it’ll work behind the computer.

Brain Food #6: Wild Salmon

Specifically Wild Salmon and Deep-water Fish are rich in omega-3, which are essential fatty acids and essential for brain power. Reason being for its “cleanliness.” It’s one of the most nutritious, brain food-friendly foods around, hence why you might see it so much.

Image result for wildsalmon

Source: Fine Cooking

Brain Food #7: Pomegranate Juice

With the seeds, the fruit itself isn’t the most convenient and appetizing around and you still get all the right antioxidant benefits from the juice. This protects the brain from damage from free radicals when the brain is the most sensitive. A recommended 2 ounces a day, diluted with spring water or seltzer will be the perfect amount of fuel.

Image result for pomegranate juice

Source: Dr. Axe

Brain Food #8: Sea Veg

Mainly in the West, but the people of Okinawa, Japan seem to be the ones benefiting health and longevity due to their consumption of sea vegetables. They contain all 56 minerals, iodine, tyrosine and so much more that are seen to be rare across other vegetables that are essential to human health. All of which clear brain fog, poor memory, depression, and fatigue.

Image result for sea vegetables

Source: Passionately Raw!

Brain Food #9: Bee Pollen

Bee Pollen is one full of nutrients, making it the perfect energizer. It contains about 40% of protein, and rich in folic acid, free amino acids and plenty of B-complex all of which will help you fight your day. You’ll be battling that fatigue and enhancing your brain’s stamina all with just a teaspoon added to your drink.

Brain Food #10: Bone Broth

The minor effects of Bone Broth have been shown to improve your sleep and memory. The most important to highlight are the effects on your bones, cells, ligaments, and brain. Its simply, a stock made of animal bones, but when ingested it feeds your body with collagen which builds these parts of your body, reduces intestinal inflammation and heals amino acids. Not suitable for vegetarians.

Image result for bone broth

Source: Paleo on the Go

Need more? Or do you require some research? Get in touch! We’re up for anything.

Virtual Workspaces: A Chat with Our Content Creator

dapulse

A popular communication and collaboration solution for teams and our morning go-to for all things Oliver + Sons, dapulse is what keeps our agency sharp. If you didn’t know before, we are currently a team of five operating remotely from all corners of the globe (Barcelona, London, and San Francisco!). As a work lifestyle, it sounds pretty awesome. And, it is, thanks to this awesome business tool.

We cannot stress enough the sheer amount of organization needed to always be crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s of tasked work in agency life. We needed a business tool that kept up with us; one that allowed us to be scrupulous with our planning and communicate effectively across different time zones.

Dapulse (DP) gives us all of this and more. I caught up with our content creator Lily to see what aspects she looks for in a virtual workspace, and why it satisfies those needs:

Let’s have a further look into why we choose to use dapulse over its competitors by examining the best features of the toolkit itself:

  • An execution board with a big screen display for easy view of all tasks for that week. 

dapulse has its own idiolect to describe its stack rows called pulses, which can be categorized and separated to suit your business’ desired needs. The app is totally customizable as it tracks each change in the status of the task and can be easily updated at any given time. This is great for us to monitor our weekly progress and additionally, allows for tracking of who carried out each particular task.

  • A visual display of progress which, as Lily comments, really increases the motivation to complete tasked work.

With each pulse, there is the option to customize the drop-down menu allowing you to input titles to your specific business needs and requirements. Our Oliver + Sons labels reflect our needs as a remote digital marketing agency.

Our action items are clearly highlighted with color and progress marker lexis for the attention of other remote team members. This feature particularly works well for us, as we are an agency that works within different time zones. As I prepare to sign off for the day, I know that another co-worker can easily begin where I left off and has access to a visual representation of my workload. Awesome!

  • Easy communication that allows you to simply tag people which you wish to include or poke on a specific task.

To collaborate which another member of your team, you simply need to click on the relevant pulse. This then opens up a notes feed where you can send files, tag other members for their attention and discuss matters relating to that set task.

We use this feature at Oliver + Sons to extrapolate more information on a client’s history, the task set, or even for including useful resources which the person tasked may find useful. This feature works similarly to Intercom and is a great way for us to be quickly notified of comments related to a specific task. Email notifications can also be set up to be automatically sent with every change.

Are you using dapulse or have another virtual workspace which you’d like to rave about? Let us know below!