Weekly Wind Down: Dark Batch Sour, Whiskey Sour Recipe

Each week I receive new and original cocktail recipes to share with you! While I have received pitches for these, I am in no way compensated…these are just my favorite picks!

This weeks recipe comes courtesy of Alberta Rye Dark Batch Whisky: an award-winning, super-premium rye whisky from the highly acclaimed Alberta Distillers. The liquid is known for its bold, complex flavor profile and rich, dark color — it is a front finishing whisky best enjoyed in a variety of cocktails that highlight its unique flavor and is perfect for the whisky lover looking to try something new.

Dark Batch Sour Rye Whiskey Sour Recipe - Handmade Brooklyn

Dark Batch Sour (Whiskey Sour Recipe)

2 parts Alberta® Rye Dark Batch™ Whisky
3/4 part lemon juice
1/2 part pear liqueur
1/2 part simple syrup
1/4 part allspice liqueur
Add all ingredients to shaker with ice. Shake, serve up or on the rocks and garnish with a lemon peel.
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6 successful entrepreneurs who bootstrapped their businesses

6 entrepreneurs that bootstrapped their businesses - Handmade Brooklyn

Some times I think it gets really hard for entrepreneurs like us to see the big picture. So often we’re stuck in the trenches, working hard every day, that we lose sight of the fact that we’re not alone in our journey. I’ wrote this post about a year ago and never published it until today…during a time when I need to check myself to remember that there are others who have done what I’m doing and have succeeded. I hope this is inspiring for you!

The Top 6 Successful Entrepreneurs that Bootstrapped

seanparkerSelf-made billionaire Sean Parker, an experienced hacker who had already been arrested by the FBI by the age of 16 for his hacking abilities, started the Napster website from the comfort of his own home. He’d decided to skip college so that he could focus more on his personal, profitable programming projects, and he mo ved to California to pursue his vision. He was only 19 years old when he reached the spotlight with his Napster partner Shawn Fanning. After Napster, Sean went on to work with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as Facebook’s first president by the age of 24; he often slept on the floor of the Facebook founders’ home in Palo Alto before Facebook took off. Sean continues to network with some of the greatest minds in business, and his latest start-up project is Airtime.


jackdorsey Jack Dorsey, another self-made billionaire, started writing open source dispatch software at 15 years old. Dropping out of college, he moved to California and focused on selling his software online. He pitched the idea to create Twitter to the Odeo company in 2006, and two of Odeo’s executives began the project with him that has now made him famous. Jack was the first CEO of Twitter, and later he became a head chairman of the board. He’s gone on to create other notable projects like Square, which is a new credit card reader system that’s currently in use among restaurants and stores of New York City and elsewhere.


nicholaswoodmanThe founder of GoPro cameras, Nicholas Woodman started his entrepreneur campaign while often sleeping in a 1971 Volkswagen bus in 2002. His first passion was surfing, and he dreamed of being able to capture the exciting moments of his surfing triumphs on film to share with the world. He began selling 35 millimeter film cameras that he created by hand to capture unprecedented photographs and videos of surfing from the wrist of the surfer, and he launched his first model at a trade show in 2004. His parents helped fund his project initially, and after the first year, he sold a total of $150,000 dollars’ worth of products. In the following years, his profits doubled and tripled as he continued to develop and expand his business to include a wide range of internationally popular cameras, and now he’s a happy billionaire.


ryankavanaughRyan Kavanaugh became a billionaire in 2013 due to the success of Relativity Media, which he founded in 2003. His first venture capital firm had flopped, but he never gave up his dreams and went on to work as a consultant before pursuing his dream of connecting efficient financing plans with movie projects that had a high probability of success. Relativity studios have produced hits like the “Iron Man” series and “Safe Haven;” he’s expanding the company to include a TV branch, music department and sports management.




Larry Page and Sergey Brin created Google together in a friend’s garage in Menlo Park, California after they received the initial investment they needed to begin the company in 1998. Google was the improvement of their first search engine, originally called “BackRub,” that they’d developed at Stanford University. They partnered with Yahoo and became the world’s largest search engine by the year 2000, expanding the number of languages users can search in each year. In 2001, they opened their first international office in Tokyo. By 2002, they also partnered with AOL as a way to offer enhanced Google search options and sponsored links to an even larger audience. In 2004, the digital mapping company Keyhole became part of Google to start the foundations of Google Earth, and the web page content index of Google reached eight billion pages. Google Talk came in 2005 to rival Skype as a free chat service with video chat and text message options, and around the same time, Gmail became popular. In 2013, both of the Google founders now have assets of more than $20 billion dollars each due to their innovations in software, web browsers, mobile applications, and more.

Weekly Wind down: Basil Haydens Bourbon Bloody Mary

Each week I receive new and original cocktail recipes to share with you! While I have received pitches for these, I am in no way compensated…these are just my favorite picks!

Bourbon Bloody Mary Cocktail Recipe - Handmade BrooklynBasil Hayden’s® Bourbon Bloody Mary

Created by Alexander J. Hamilton (Austin, TX)

2 parts Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon
¼ part Jalapeño Juice
½ part Homemade Bloody Mary Mix* (or pre-bottled Bloody Mary Mix of your choice)
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
2 dashes Celery Bitters
2 dashes Tabasco® Pepper Sauce
Cracked Black Pepper
Black Sea Salt (for rim of glass)
Bacon (for garnish)
Basil Leaf (for garnish)
Lemon Wedge (for garnish)

1. Add Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon, jalapeño juice, homemade Bloody Mary mix, lemon juice, celery bitters, Tabasco®, cracked black pepper and ice to a cocktail shaker.
2. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with black sea salt.
3. Garnish with a slice of cooked bacon, clapped basil leaf and lemon wedge.

*Homemade Bloody Mary Mix:
¼ part Tomato Juice
¼ part Beef Stock
½ tsp. Horseradish

Add tomato juice, beef stock and horseradish into a mixing glass and stir well.

Weekly Deals: 7/24 – 7/31

Weekly Deals - Handmade Brooklyn

Each week my affiliates send me exclusive deals to share with you.

Like I said last week, I’m still working these out so if you’re looking for a particular type of category or business, let me know and I’ll reach out to see what discounts I can get for you!

This Week’s Deals

Best Buy is having their Black Friday in July sale until 7/25

DayTimer –
Take 20% Off Planner Covers at Day-Timer! Enter code COVERS20 at checkout. Offer valid 7.27 – 8.7.15.

Extended Summer Savings: 15% Off Sitewide with code SAVE15JULY at checkout. Offer valid through 7.31.15.

Get Free Shipping when You Spend $40 or More! Enter code JULY40 at checkout. Offer valid 7.1 – 7.31.15.

HP – Save an additional 5% on select clearance PCs with coupon code EXTRA5% at HP.com. Exclusions apply. Valid 7/19 – 7/25.

Udemy – Keep cool this summer with over 10,000+ online courses for only $10! Promotion ends 7/30 at midnight.

Blogging for Profit book reviews

Blogging for Profit Book Reviews

I tried Kindle direct for free for a month and downloaded a crazy amount of books to read in a month. As you’ll see in the list below, I had decided to cover as much as I could in the “blogging for profit” sphere. While most of these books do deserve their own dedicated posts, I figured that it might be better to just list what I liked and how I rank them as compared to the other books I downloaded.

Blogging for Profit Book Reviews


The 15 Success Traits of Pro Bloggers: A Proven Roadmap to Becoming A Full Time Blogger – Jonathan Milligan
Jonathan offered useful tips and actual tools for growing your platform, particularly if you’re interested in building an income through doing webinars, courses, and coaching. It was full of quotes from successful people, and was written in such a way that Jonathan seemed to be very relatable. I also really loved this quote, which gave me a “what-am-I-doing-with-my-life?” punch in the face:

I mean, COME ON. I work late at night, and often avoid waking up right when my alarm goes off, which is so silly. I’m going to try to be a more productive morning person now.

How to Make Money Blogging: How I Replaced My Day Job With My Blog – Bob Lotich
This was probably the predecessor to the next book mentioned, as it was a quick read. The book covered a lot, A LOT, of great info and it got me really interested in what else Bob had to offer.

Pro-Blogging Secrets: Strategies, Tips, and Answers You Need to Grow Your Blog and Earn More Money – Bob Lotich
Okay, this book was amazing. I took a bunch of different excerpts and screenshots from this book because it was chocked full of really great info and resources I had never heard of. It was really thorough and I’d recommend it as one of the the first books you should get as a blogger.


How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul – Ruth Soukup
I think that this book is pretty famous as a go-to source for how to build a successful blogging business. Ruth also spearheads the Elite Blog Academy, which if you’ve ever googled, you’ll see it has more praisers than critics. However, the EBA can be spendy, so many advise to hit up this book first. I will say that it is an easy read and is full of good theory, but some of it seemed to be a little…how to put it…Okay. There was this one section that discussed how signing up for group pin boards on Pinterest can really boost your followers and your blog views. But as for how to find these group pin boards, it was a little vague. To me, just searching for group pinboards that you might be a fit on feels pretty overwhelming, so I would’ve liked some more information on where we should be looking. HOWEVER, I did find some pretty cool resources that do this for you I’ll share in another post.

Pinterest Savvy: Strategies, Plans, and Tips to Grow Your Business with Pinterest – Melissa Taylor
This was alright, it was a very “Pinterest 101″ sort of book.


Make Money Online – John Chow
I will give him credit that English is not his first language, but the more articles where John discusses the need for proper grammar, the worse his became, to the point that I don’t really think he put any effort into creating this collection of old blog posts. This e-book is a collection of his posts on how he makes money online and how you can, too. I will save you the time of reading it and tell you his secret: Text Link Ads. More than half of the articles in the book include something about Text Link Ads or TLA. That’s where he makes his money, that’s where he thinks you can make money, as well. You’re welcome.

My Blog Traffic Sucks! 8 Simple Steps to Get 100,000 Blog Visitors without Working 8 Days a Week – Steve Scott
I don’t know, the book wasn’t awful per say, but it just felt like a quick way for Steve to get publicity for his own blog. I didn’t really find the information there useful or original.

Episode 002: Building a Health and Fitness Business with Jackie Damp

How to Be a Health Coach With Jackie Damp

In my first interview ever(!!!) I had the pleasure of talking with Jackie Damp, fitness buff, wellness guru, and now Mom to two boys! She began her fitness and coaching empire by joining a network marketing brand (BeachBody) and became one of the most successful ambassadors for the brand in Pittsburgh.

Jackie eventually realized that to establish a better connection with her clients, she would have to go off and build her own empire, which now includes personal health coaching, as well as teaching group fitness all around Pittsburgh, PA. I’ve known Jackie for over 10 years now, but I learned so many new things about her business and how to be a health coach just from this interview! I hope it inspires those out there who are looking to get into health coaching and wellness.

In this episode you will learn:

  • How to move from Network Marketing to your own brand
  • How Jackie has built her business on her own terms
  • The best tips for balancing life as a mom and a mom-preneur

Mentioned in this episode:

Jackie Damp Fitness
Jackie on Facebook
The Chalene Show podcast

Book Recommendations from This Episode

Crush It! by Gary Vanyerchuk
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vanyerchuk
Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness by Jeff Olson
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz

e-commerce resources guide

E-commerce resources guide - Handmade Brooklyn

My first e-commerce site was a self-hosted site that had Mal’s e-commerce, which was essentially like a stripped down Paypal commerce tool. It was bare bones but there was a freedom in that; I could make it whatever I wanted. However, I was the one responsible for updates and tech support.

Today, you can keep your site self-hosted, or you can head over to a fully hosted e-commerce site for not very much money, which is super awesome. But what is the best option for you? Check out my e-commerce resources guide to decide where you should put your money and why.

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive a small commission that helps me keep running Handmade Brooklyn, and it’s no extra cost to you!

Self Hosted

What it is: You host your e-commerce site on your own domain.

Pros: Absolute freedom when it comes to design, products, hosting…the world is yours! To be entirely honest, this is my favorite option. MSC is self-hosted and it’s backend is WooCommerce, which is a WordPress plugin. I had a variety of hosted sites before, but I wanted to customize my website in ways that it was hard to do without doing it on my own. And actually, all of my blogs are hosted under MSC’s hosting plan, so I get to keep all of my domains under one place.

What’s most important is that you rely on nothing to generate your sales. If Etsy went down and that was your only platform, you’d be S.O.L. When you’re self-hosted, you aren’t beholden to any other website.

Cons: Depending on how you want to accept payments, you’ll probably need to add an SSL certificate (which adds the “s” in https://) to make sure you’re adhering to PCI compliance. PCI compliance are the rules and regulations for accepting credit cards online. Luckily, you can usually get around this by having your payment options hosted at third parties like PayPal.

Also, you’ll be responsible for upkeep and IT support if the website does down

E-Commerce Resources:


BlueHost is the leader in e-commerce websites. They’re incredibly fast servers leave little downtime (in my experience) and they’ve got baller customer service.

A Small Orange is really good for dipping your toes in the water. Their plans are fairly cheap and they’re a good way to get started without a lot of investment.


WooCommerce is a plugin designed for WordPress, so you need to have WordPress installed first. It’s beautiful in its simplicity, but it comes with only the barest of bones. Now, there are a TON of free plug-ins that help make WooCommerce more robust, but some of them you really need to pay for to make the site functional (shipping profiles, for example). I had to add a bunch of plugins that all-totaled would not have been very cost effective had I not used a subscription service like WooGPL to assist with the cost. (NOTE: I know that isn’t the best way to go about getting plugins, but in the interest of being transparent with you guys I don’t want to lie and pretend I dropped $1200 on plugins, when really I only dropped $40).

PrestaShop I used for years. I felt fancy telling people that they had never heard of it because it was French, but really, I should’ve told them they never heard of it for a reason. Granted, I haven’t used this in many years, but my PrestaShop site was so full of bugs that it wouldn’t allow customers to checkout during Black Friday weekend. :( Kind of an important weekend for e-commerce. No matter how many times I did fresh installs it never seemed to work…if you’ve used PrestaShop recently leave a comment and let me know how it’s improved!

ZenCart really takes me back. It’s a totally free shopping cart system that is probably built into your hosting Cpanel (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s okay). It wouldn’t be considered a lovely system nowadays, but it was a workhorse shopping cart that did what you needed when you needed.

Magento is a cart I tried and totally gave up on. Now, I’ve been coding websites since (WARNING: Nerd moment) I was 15 and geocities was the place to be, but Magento was so un-intuitive and hard to work with, I gave up after a week.

Ones I’ve never used so can’t vouch for: OpenCart, X-Cart, osCommerce, UberCart

Design Options

ThemeForest has themes for all of those platforms (even ZenCart!) and also has really awesome plugins and add-ons for cheap. My current theme for MSC is from there and I love that it’s elegant, customizable, and most importantly, has amazing support.

99 Designs is when you want a totally customized design experience. I’ve used 99 Designs before for packaging (as I talked about in Episode 001), and the design contests are really easy to do. It does cost a little more than using a pre-made template, but having something 100% yours is pretty cool, too.

WordPress Theme Site also has free themes that are easy to customize, as long as you’ve got a little HTML knowledge

Hosted Websites

What it is: You pay a 3rd party to host and run your e-commerce site.

Pros: Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. No worrying about downtime, SSL, PCI compliance, these companies take care of all of that for you. You can even buy your own domain and have it point to your site on there.

Cons: Design options are limited to their themes only. Some things you may want to add may be additional costs or not available at all (like, if you want a wholesale option for your site in addition to retail). If they go down, (which, to be fair, is unlikely) they can take your entire site with them. It can also be cost-prohibitive if you’re on a tight budget.

E-Commerce Resources:


Etsy I think is the first stop for trying out a new product or service idea. There are shops on there that are service-based, but Etsy is mainly a marketplace for products. They’ve become fairly saturated over the years, but I still keep up my Etsy site so that I can add another platform and reach more eyeballs. There are also concerns about their future since it seems to be in a constant state of change.

BigCartel is a platform that many take as a baby step off of Etsy. It’s fairly easy to use, isn’t too spendy, and you can get up and running pretty fast. It doesn’t allow for a lot of customization, though, and I think you’re stuck with only accepting PayPal. Also, the shipping solutions aren’t exactly elegant if you’re dealing with multiple product sizes and weights.

Wix is another step off of Etsy and I think a great platform for working out how to run a small product business. They’ve got lots of tools and apps that can help you get your products into your customers’ hands.

BigCommerce is the platform I used for a year and had very few issues with. Their customer service was top notch and I rarely had any downtime. I left because I wanted more control on my themes, but I really had no complaints on how my site was treated there.

Squarespace is another platform that many use, but mostly for blogs and service-based websites, as they only have 1 payment gateway available, which I feel limits your ability to provide the most value to your customers. However, their websites are easy to setup so they can be a good source if you’re in a bind, but again, I think they’re better as a blog platform than an e-commerce site.

Shopify is, I think, the most famous and with good reason. Many of the bigger Etsy sellers skipped over BigCartel and went straight to Shopify. It’s a great platform that is incredibly stable. Their app integrations are really cool. It can be spendy, but I think they’re worth it if you want to go all in for your e-commerce site. I used Shopify after BigCommerce and it was super easy to set up (and they’ll import your products from Etsy!)

Payment Gateways:

PayPal is famous (or infamous) for a reason. It’s easy to set up and easy to accept payments with. Some have had issues with PayPal freezing funds, so it’s always best to use a backup in addition to PayPal.

Stripe is a credit card processing company that integrates with WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, and others.

I use Simplify Commerce by Mastercard on MSC, which does the same stuff as Stripe, but I liked their interface more.

Weekly Wind Down: Platinum Pina

Each week, I’ll be introducing a new cocktail to try out over the weekend.

While I have received pitches for these, I am not being compensated in any way…these are just my favorite picks!

Platinum Pina
Platinum Pina

Agave and spice is a match made in heaven, especially when paired with sweet tropical pineapple in the Platinum Piña. The experience of this modern cocktail begins with the fresh pieces of pineapple and lime, imparting  a rich mouthfeel that complements the smooth agave and subtle coconut notes of the DeLeón Platinum tequila and finishes with subtle heat from the jalapeño. The result is a nuanced tropical cocktail with a kick that allows DeLeón Platinum’s delicate complexity to shine.

Recipe: Read more

Weekly Deals: 7/17 – 7/23

Weekly Deals - Handmade Brooklyn

Each week my affiliates send me exclusive deals to share with you.

Like I said last week, I’m still working these out so if you’re looking for a particular type of category or business, let me know and I’ll reach out to see what discounts I can get for you!

AT-A-GLANCE – Shop the AT-A-GLANCE Collection and Get Free Shipping & Handling when you Spend $40 or More with code JULY40 (til 7/19)

Day Timer – Take 20% Off Handbags, Briefcases, and Wallets at Day-Timer! Enter code BAGS20 at checkout. (til 7/22)

HP.com – $150 off the HP Pavilion 15t Laptop (SKU: K9F71AV)! (til 7/18)

TeesForAll.com – 20% Off Select Summer Clearance Merchandise with Code BEACH20 (til 7/29)


5 questions with Krista DeJoseph, co-owner of Tooth and Nail Trading Co.

Interview with Krista DeJoseph, co-owner of Tooth and Nail Trading Co. - Handmade Brooklyn

I first met Krista DeJoseph, as I meet many people, at a bad craft show. The two day holiday market we were at was slow and, being next to each other, we had a lot of time to get to know one another (the champagne we brought out for Day 2 didn’t hurt either). Krista’s brand, Queens Metal, was (in my opinion), one of the first real jewelry brands that started out at the markets to make it big. Krista has been going at it non stop for close to a decade now, and she doesn’t look like she’s stopping any time soon.

A few years ago, Krista left NYC for New Orleans and discovered her new calling in life: shop owner! She and her partner launched Tooth and Nail Trading Co. and have been cultivating a fan base not only from local residents, but T&N has now become a tourist destination for those looking for unique souvenirs or gifts.

Check out Krista’s interview below and don’t forget to head to her shop which is located on historic Magazine Street in New Orleans, LA, because Tooth and Nail Trading Co carries handmade work by more than two dozen independent artists.

What made you decide that you needed to create Tooth and Nail Trading Co?

I decided to pursue opening a retail space because I wanted a more permanent home for my jewelry collection (Queens Metal). I was getting burnt out with relying so much on art markets for my income. Art markets are a wonderful thing, but you have to deal with weather, shoppers trying to haggle with you on prices and the limitations of a display that needs to be set up and then packed away every day. Also, I simply love the process of curating objects and I knew that I would really enjoy seeking out other artists and lines to carry in Tooth & Nail.

When did you think to yourself “okay, this is definitely viable?”

Well, we’ve only been in business for a year, so although we’re pleased with the success we’ve had thus far, we’re really still in our infancy. However, I had the thought that, “Wow, this is actually working” when I saw the amount of foot traffic Tooth & Nail had during the holiday season. I knew that there was big potential in what we were doing.

What’s a surprising challenge that you didn’t know you’d encounter along the way?

Figuring out what kind of customer we want to bring into the store, and then sourcing the inventory that appeals to them. We initially thought that most of our shoppers would be coming from the neighborhood. In fact, we get a lot more tourist traffic than we expected. We love the out-of-town shoppers, but are working to constantly have fresh, new products to keep our local customers returning again and again.

How important was social media in your success? Do you think you would have been as successful without the advent of social media?

The potential of social media is really staggering. If you’re good at online self-promotion, it WILL translate into sales. My business partner is much better than I am at remembering to keep our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram updated. She’ll post a photo of a new product or something shes making, and we’ll usually be contacted by someone who is interested in purchasing it. However, I find the process of constantly updating and keeping posts interesting to be really overwhelming!!

Interview with Krista DeJoseph, co-owner of Tooth and Nail Trading Co - Handmade Brooklyn

What is something someone outside of your industry might not realize about the work you do?

It’s so much more involved than it sounds! For myself and my partner, not only do we own the store, but we make all the jewelry we sell. So it’s making, selling, promoting, sourcing materials and products, lining up photo shoots for new products, pitching stories to the media, updating the look of the store, doing the accounting…. and manning the shop. Thank God for my business partner, Holly Williams. We’re a perfect compliment to each other and work really well together!!