HOW TO EMBRACE RESPONSIBILITY WHILE STILL LIVING AN AWESOME LIFE

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Katherine Killeffer/Thrillist

Trading in your impulsive college years for a 9-5 job can be jarring, but adulting doesn’t have to be as traumatizing as TV makes it out to be. Contrary to popular belief, you can get your act together and still be awesome. In fact, getting your responsibilities in check will only make you more fun to be around, because you won’t drop the ball. Here’s how to make it happen without sacrificing the fun.

Stay organized

Successful people tend to be meticulous planners, so get organized. Opt for a planner that’s aesthetically striking so you want to use it, and keep it small to bring anywhere. The inside should consist of both calendar and a side page for notes. Mark important plans in the calendar section, then write details on the notes page.

Those who prefer digital can sync Google calendar with your phones to add dates mentioned in your Gmail chains to your calendar (Outlook and iOS perform a similar service). Most phones offer one-swipe previews of upcoming calendar items so no unexpected twists come your way. Then share your Google calendar with friends and family so they stop bugging you about their dog’s birthday party.

Automate your finances

Skip errands and paperwork with a little online planning. Add up your monthly bills (use the highest bill of the year as the benchmark) and keep that sum in your savings account, where it earns more interest. Automatically transfer the amount you’ll need to checking after the start of the month. Be sure to leave enough money in checking for unexpected costs. If you’re not exceeding your bank’s limit on savings transactions for the month, you can pay bills directly from there instead — through auto-payments, natch.

Use direct deposit if your company offers it. You can’t misplace it like a check, and many banks give bonuses to new checking accounts that use direct deposit. Multiple accounts will also keep you from spending too freely, since some of your cash is earning money out of sight, and thus out of mind.

Put your credit card to work

A credit card with a rewards program can be a huge advantage if used properly. You’re going to spend money anyway, so why not get a percentage of it back? The key to this is paying off the balance in full every month. Points back for travel or coupon and cash redemption are like free cash.

To stay within budget, try this: put spending money in one pocket of your wallet. Every time you use your card, move that money to a different pocket you’re not allowed to touch. Then deposit the “spent” money into a checking account dedicated solely to paying off the card. That way you’ll earn card rewards while never accruing more debt than your liquid funds.

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Katherine Killeffer/Thrillist

Health is wealth

Nothing says “adult” like actually taking care of yourself. The easiest way to do that? Get yourself a gym membership and freakin’ use it. According to a survey by Goldman Sachs, roughly 20% of millennials are dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle, but a separate study found that 60% of gym members never use their memberships. To make sure you stay out of the majority, opt for a program that holds you accountable. Classpass is offered in 29 major cities across the country — including New York, Austin, LA, Chicago, and Boston — and every time you try to bail on a class you registered for before realizing brunch is more fun than kickboxing, you get charged $15-$20.

Pact (formerly GymPact) operates with a similar incentive, charging you for workout sessions you miss while also financially rewarding you for ones you don’t. So not only can you finally get that six-pack you’ve been after, but you could end up with a higher bank account balance by the end of the week. Clearly it’s a win-win. And hey, that’s more money for brunch (even though you now think kickboxing’s more fun after all).

And since you’re such an automation expert now? Schedule your annual doctor’s appointments online. When 70% of adults across the US are being treated for diseases that could have been prevented, you’re gonna want to keep those checkups going. Refill prescriptions automatically online, and have medication mailed to you, or sign up for a text update from your local pharmacy when your scrip is ready for pickup.

Purge Your Social Media

Do you really need to know what everyone you went to middle school with is doing? No, and you really don’t need to compare your life to theirs either, so stop doing it.

Obsessively checking social media doesn’t just piss off your boss, it also takes a toll on your mental health. Aside from serving as a constant distraction, Psychology Today reported that becoming dependent on social media can lead to social anxiety, insecurity, and depression.

The solution? Purge your social accounts ASAP. Cut back on the 4,000 friends you’ve digitally acquired over the years and pare the herd down to only include your real friends. It’s a lot easier to compare your life to someone whom you know only posts their best-lit selfies.

For the more daring, take things a step further by deleting your accounts altogether. Be it temporary or permanent, undergoing a social cleanse is scientifically good for the soul (trust us, we have an MD). When you spend less time going through the 200 vacation photos your elementary school crush posted, your world gets a whole lot brighter.

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Katherine Killeffer/Thrillist

Stop eating out and learn how to cook

Seamless has been sustaining busy millennials since 1999, but when you spend your last $20 on a spicy tuna roll delivery, you need to admit that you have a problem. On the bright side, you’re not the only one. According to New York magazine, Americans spent $54.857 billion eating out in 2016 versus $52.503 billion spent on groceries. As if our collective inability to boil water wasn’t cringeworthy enough, Nation’s Restaurant News pointed out that restaurant prices rose an average of 2.7% that same year. So not only did we spend a ton of money on eating out, but we also overpaid.

On the other hand, grocery prices did the complete opposite. Federal data from 2016 showed that average price points for food declined 0.2% in January. In short: back away from the takeout app and head to the grocery store at least once a week to stock up on food. Say goodbye to spending $12 on a sad sandwich every day at work and teach yourself how to cook.

For those who are seriously lacking in the culinary department, services like Blue Apron and HelloFresh will help you out. Not only do they supply you with ingredients for five star meals, but they also send insanely clear directions on how to make them. Or save yourself even more money with a beginner’s cookbook or website that will teach you the same basic techniques without the monthly subscription cost. Use the extra cash for weekend splurging — you’ve earned it.

Update and backup your stuff

We get it, waiting out an iCloud update seems tedious when the time could be better spent swiping right on Tinder, but the service makes your life ten times easier. Apple’s online storage container allows you to find important files across all of your Apple products, meaning you’re instantly more organized (remember? From before? You’re doing it now with the literal push of a button.) as soon as you press “update.”

Android users can reap similar benefits. Updating your droid can fix major bugs and stop it from moving at a glacial pace. Plus you can make the update automatic, so you can exercise as little effort as possible. Regardless of which operating system you prefer, updating your software keeps your products running smoothly and thus retrieves the information you need quicker.

Don’t forget to also back up your files just in case of a technological meltdown — once your stuff evaporates in cyberspace, it’s not coming back.

Turn your apartment into a real apartment — and keep it clean

Welcome to the world of adulthood, where you have a real job, real bills, and a real salary. With that being said, it’s time to stop living like a freshman in college. Transform your space into an adult apartment by replacing your floor mattress with a legit bed (we’re talking the whole nine yards — bed frame, headboard, comforter, big fluffy pillows fit for a king), and make sure to keep things clean.

Studies have found that messy rooms often signify that their owner is a genius, but that doesn’t make the bacteria lurking in your duvet any less disgusting. Your sheets soak up roughly one liter of sweat a night and 8 hours worth of skin shedding, making them a breeding ground for allergy-inflaming fungi. If you don’t know how to do laundry, you’re going to want to learn stat and clean your bedding on a weekly basis.

Same goes for the rest of your apartment. Rolling around a vacuum for 10 minutes everyday and running a duster along tables and cabinets will do wonders for your social life. When you’re not living in squalor, people will actually want to come over and hang out.

Utilize your LinkedIn account & keep your resume fresh

Full disclosure: getting your dream job takes work. Get ahead by being aware of your resources and how to use them. A 2016 survey found that 85% of all jobs were filled via networking, meaning keeping your resume sharp and updated is a must. Always have it on hand – especially when out at a work event – and get your name out there. Make it stand out by highlighting your accomplishments rather than describing your daily workday, keeping your points direct and concise, and tailoring it to the job you’re looking for. Also, skip the irrelevant info — it’s cool that you worked at that pizza shop in college, but it’s time to let that go.

As a side, don’t forget about the digital space. In April of 2016, 6.5 million jobs were listed on LinkedIn, and according to company execs, keeping your page updated makes you 18 times more likely to be found by recruiters. Capture their attention with an engaging headline and by asking former employers for recommendations. The more clear it is that you do your job well, the better.

If you’re looking to be more proactive in finding your dream job, check out LinkedIn Groups, a place that provides job hunters a way to connect with professionals in the industry they’re looking to excel in. Not only will you find job postings specific to your field, but you can also get valuable career advice from people who are already working in it. Get an inside look at what recruiters in the industry are looking for, and take their advice to heart.

Read the original article on Thrillist.

VALENTINE’S DAY SURVIVAL GUIDE: WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FORGOT IT WAS V-DAY

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Thrillist/Jen Kahn

Let’s start with the bad news: 53% of women who don’t receive anything on Valentine’s are likely to break up with their significant other, according to a 2014 poll (and it’s doubtful things have changed that much in three years).

Now on to the good news: even though we already reminded you not once but TWICE that V-Day was on the way, we’re still going to help you get your act together with this last-minute guide.

Formally promise to make it up to them
No matter your arts and crafts skills, your S.O. is going to need some kind of effort right now, so try a gift that’s easy to pull off but heavy on personal touch. A jar of date ideas (because remember, there’s a 47% chance that they won’t break up with you) is a an easy DIY project for the creatively challenged. Plus it will cost you a minimal amount of money (for now at least), and won’t take up more than an hour of your time.

Brainstorm 50 different date ideas and write them out on strips of construction paper. Throw them all into a mason jar (less than $5 at any home goods store hip enough to know mason jars are totally hot right now) and put the lid on top. Make a label that reads “Date Night,” and commit to making their picks happen, as written, for however long it takes them to forgive you.

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Thrillist/Jen Kahn

Check out last-minute delivery services
Many companies offer same-day bouquet delivery, but considering that 51% of flower purchases are red roses, you’re probably too late for the flower of love. Pink roses are close enough though, and you’ll save an average of $20 per bunch. Or scrap the roses altogether and buy Peruvian lilies — which represent devotion. Make sure to drop that line in the delivery card.

After that, move onto the sweets. In 2015, 53.2% of people put some Valentine’s dollars towards their date’s sweet tooth. Most larger flower delivery services like Interflora and Fromyouflowers.com offer extras like chocolate and champagne, so get it all in a few clicks.

Alternatively, avoid premium pricing and odd delivery times by being the delivery, and showing up unannounced. Hit the supermarket or florist for a bouquet, and find your town’s artisanal chocolate store, like the epically named Dude, Sweet Chocolate in Dallas, and NYC’s century-old Li-lac Chocolates. For all they know, you planned this for weeks!

Make your own desserts
Show some real ingenuity by bringing your own creations. It’s also way simpler than you might think — chocolate-covered berries.

Start by lining a baking sheet with wax paper to prevent sticking. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for as many one-minute intervals as it takes, stirring after each until smooth. Drizzle the chocolate on top of the berries and let sit for 30 minutes until the chocolate becomes as solid as your relationship will become after this romantic rabbit-from-a-hat is unveiled.

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Thrillist/Jen Kahn

Prep your space
When restaurant reservations aren’t an option, pull off a romantic dinner at home. But before you invite your date over, make sure your place looks like your were expecting company. Like, really clean it.

If you’ve never picked up a duster in your life, search out local cleaning services like Same Day Maids to do the job for you. Have them arrive as early as possible, so you have enough time to get yourself in presentable shape too. Last thing, warm it all up with scented candles (preferably vanilla and sandalwood — which are both aphrodisiacs).

Try out a staycation
In 2015, it was reported that 35.1% of consumers spent a total of $3.6 billion on travel and entertainment plans alone. Translation? A large number of people in your area are taking their baes away for the weekend.

Fake an elaborate getaway by booking a stay at a hotel in your area and take advantage of the perks that come with hotel living. If that last-minute restaurant reservation didn’t work out, room service is a suitably decadent alternative. Afterwards, make like a tourist in your own town and explore everything you typically overlook while rushing to and from work.

Plan an unconventional Valentine’s Day date
Forgetting the usual dinner reservations and flower delivery can be turned to your advantage if you have an unconventional, and ultimately more personal, plan in mind. So use the fact that almost everyone else is going the traditional route to pull off some left-of-field reservations or walk-ins.

Where do you turn first? If your date is into athletics, strap on your protective gear and opt for laser tag, a day at the batting cages or indoor skydiving. Each will provide an adrenaline rush you can’t get at a hotel bar. More interested in entertainment? Host a horror movie marathon with takeout, or head to an art museum after dark. Neither are typically associated with V-Day, which makes them all the more awesome.

There’s always next weekend
As 82% of people say they’d like an experiential Valentine’s Day gift, planning a future weekend getaway is the “whoops it’s the 14th!” solution to please everybody. Not only will your date be happy, but you’ll also buy yourself time to plan, and that includes finding the perfect gift to give them when you arrive. Once you figure out a destination, move swiftly onto the grand reveal. You didn’t think you were actually going to get out of dinner, did you?

Read the original article on Thrillist. 

VALENTINE’S DAY SURVIVAL GUIDE: WHAT TO DO ONE WEEK BEFORE V-DAY

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Thrillist/Jen Kahn

Look, we tried to warn you already: Valentine’s Day is imminent. Whether you’ve already laid some of the groundwork, or the appearance of hearts and cherubic figures in shop windows has you in panic mode, here’s how to be a hero.

Sort yourself out
Yes, this is about you too. This week should feature haircuts, beard trims, waxes and whatever else you need to be your most smokin’ self by the 14th. According to Uni K Wax, a hair removal chain in New York City, this is a solid call: demand for waxing services increases by 40 percent in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, and sales in this period grew (ha!) from $250K in 2014 to $460K in 2015.

For those who prefer the DIY route to smooth, use this week to recover from razor burn, accidental nicks, and ingrown hairs. Prevent the latter by exfoliating first and applying a serum after, so your skin will look extra fresh by February 14.

If you’re a dude looking for more of a rugged 5 o’clock shadow, shave two days before to achieve the perfect amount of scruff. When it comes to haircuts, get that trim you’ve been putting off one week before, but don’t overdo it and try an entirely new style. Remember that school photo?

Do your chores
The devil is in the details, so in these last seven days, make a list of mundane tasks you need to check off day-by-day, and give yourself no excuses to skip them.

For example, figure out what you want to wear (because you should know where you’re going by now). Make sure to drop your stuff off at least seven days in advance or you’ll be stuck wearing your gym clothes to dinner, or, possibly worse, at the mall. If you’re driving anywhere, pencil in a car wash the day before. Same goes for the extensive apartment clean; save it for the final days so your space will be in peak condition — and you’ll be peak chill — come the big day.

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Thrillist/Jen Kahn

Work on a killer playlist
Get inspiration by checking out your date’s own playlists on Apple Music and Spotify. If they’re not public, check out Facebook, where Spotify songs also come up when your date is logged into the service. If all else fails, stick to the classics — Frank Sinatra was pretty good at this.

Incidentally, a 2015 Spotify study found that Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever” scored highest among the 700,000 playlists created for the holiday. If your date doesn’t like it, hit them with that fact and hope they’re attracted to your nerdiness.

Two words: chocolate delivery
A heart-shaped box filled with chocolate has become the ultimate Valentine’s Day cliche for a reason. Because everybody loves them. In 2015, it was reported that $1.7 billion was spent on buying candy, with consumers ordering a grand total of 58 million pounds of chocolate and 36 million heart-shaped boxes for Valentine’s Day. So yeah, if there’s one thing you shouldn’t forget to do, it’s this.

Lock in a chocolate delivery seven days in advance. There are tons of options at different price points, but expect to pay around $15 for a basic box of twelve fine chocolates and up to… whatever you’ve got once you add in extras like flowers and champagne. If you’re still not convinced that this is important, let us remind you that chocolate is also an aphrodisiac. Enough said.

Learn how to give a decent massage
To prep for a sensual V-Day rubdown, start things off by making your own massage oil. Use three parts unscented baby oil mixed with one part unscented baby gel and store in a container for safe keeping. Add scents like lavender and lemon to take things up a notch. Make sure to heat the oil up before use and always put it on your hands first.

As for the actual massage, experts say you should always use an equal amount of pressure to make the recipient comfortable.

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Thrillist/Jen Kahn

Check in on your restaurant reservation
If you followed our advice and made reservations at the two week mark, confirm that your reservation and any accommodations are on track. Valentine’s Day is like the Super Bowl of the restaurant industry (covers are up an average 520% from the same day the previous week), so things can easily go awry.

If you’re still scrambling, it’s worth checking in for last-minute cancellations. With 43% of people booking their tables one week before the holiday, you could get lucky. The easiest way to keep tabs? Download Resy, a restaurant reservation app currently available in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington DC, and San Francisco that tracks open tables in your area. If you’re not located in a major city, OpenTable could also help get you the res you’re looking for. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

Build anticipation
If you plan on letting your date in on your Valentine’s Day plans early, don’t be part of the 52% of people who settle for a measly card; get the romance started early with a romantic scavenger hunt that reveals what you’re doing.

Brainstorm 10-15 riddles (extra points if they’re cheesy sayings that also rhyme), and have each printed on heart-shaped cutouts. After hiding each card in their corresponding locations, buy a bouquet of roses and have the rose petals lead to the first card. Tie the final note to a bottle of champagne detailing what you do will be doing on the big day. Once the reveal is complete, pop the bottle early to celebrate; you really can’t mess up now.

Read the original article on Thrillist.

VALENTINE’S DAY SURVIVAL GUIDE: WHAT TO DO TWO WEEKS BEFORE V-DAY

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Thrillist/Jen Kahn

Editor’s Note: While expressing undying love, or at least “we just met, but I’m digging it,” may not come naturally to everyone, try telling that to your date. Valentine’s Day matters. So to make sure this year’s goes off with the right kind of fireworks, we’ve put together a three-part guide to staying on track. First up: you have two whole weeks left, let’s do this.

Valentine’s Day may seem pretty far away still, but don’t be fooled: you’d better get a game plan. If you’re the type who just took down the holiday decorations, don’t panic! From drawing up a game plan and perfecting the necessary skills, to finding the perfect gift (of course), and making sure your wallet doesn’t burst into flames, we’ve got your back.

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Thrillist/Jen Kahn

1. Start putting money aside
In 2016, the National Retail Foundation reported that the 55% of Americans who celebrated Valentine’s Day spent $19.7 billion, with nearly $12 billion going towards gifts, $1.7 billion towards sweets, and $4.5 billion towards romantic dinners. Each individual shelled out an average of $146.84 last year, and under-35s splurged an average of $185. It’s not exactly chump change, which is why it’s a good idea to start saving now before you have to throw it around like a Rockefeller in two weeks.

For those who can’t say “no” to Seamless coupons or after-work happy hours, money saving apps like Digit and Unsplurge will do it for you. Digit is an automated savings account that monitors your income and spending habits, and socks away about 5.5 percent of users’ income on average. In two to three days, Digit takes anything from $2 to $17 and puts it in a separate savings account you control. If you request to withdraw $13.22 daily, you’ll hit $185 in 14 days. Save $20 a day and you’ll have a nice cushion to spend over if needed.

Unlike the automatic savings account, Unsplurge sets actual monetary goals. By setting a goal of saving $100 per week, you’ll have an additional $15 to spend on chocolate by the end of week two. Get encouragement from the app’s community coined “the Town” to help reach your goal quicker. Who knew peer pressure could be so lucrative?

2. Creep, a little, on your S.O.’s social media
If you just started dating, we strongly advise that you keep your social media stalking light; you don’t want your V-Day to turn into an upcoming episode of Law & Order: SVU. But even if you’ve been together for a year, remember that falling into a routine is equally as hazardous as not having anything planned at all — so do due social media diligence.

Lots of outdoorsy photos and shared travel articles? Opt for something more original than making reservations at a restaurant, like a romantic picnic in the park or a day trip. If your date’s Instagram feed is filled with food porn and perfectly-lit brunch photos, find yourself an eccentric restaurant that offers a tasting menu so they can try a little bit of everything. If their Snap story is just one, long night out, plan a romantic night at a cocktail lounge with a dress code.

3. Make restaurant reservations — stat
According to the restaurant app Reserve, 25% of Americans celebrate V-Day by going out to eat, meaning reservations at fancy schmancy restaurants are already hard to come by two weeks out. According to Google Trends data from 2010 to 2015, Italian restaurants are the most popular choice amongst couples, with French and Spanish coming a close second and third. Moral of the story? If you’re already behind on reservations, this top three will be tough, so have a backup plan.

If you can’t get a reservation at your first choice, research apps and sites like… the one you are reading now (!) for spots that opened within the last three months; they’re more likely to have open tables and Valentine’s Day specials to get you in the door. Regardless of where, keep one super important thing in mind: if you want a special accommodation, make sure to mention it when placing your reservation so the staff has time to adequately prepare.

4. Test run your romantic homemade meal
Whether rustling up your date’s favorite romantic dishes or unchartered culinary territory, have a tried-and-tested game plan. If you’re lacking basics like a decent pan, large knife, and eating utensils that aren’t plastic, head to a home goods store — now is the time to stop living like a caveman. When you’re all set, start cooking it up, and take notes along the way so you can make any necessary adjustments come V-Day.

For those who think dumping out your Seamless order onto real plates is the equivalent of a home-cooked meal, fake some culinary skills with meal delivery services like Blue Apron or HelloFresh, which provide simple step-by-step recipe, complete with photos, for personalized meals.

5. Learn how to make a legit cocktail
While a bottle of wine is sure to set the mood, impress with some newfound bar skills first. Pencil in a mixology course two weeks before Valentine’s Day. Classes are often sold at discounted rates on Groupon and Living Social, and will make you an impressive party host ever after.

For further inspiration, head to your favorite cocktail lounge or bar on off hours (early afternoon tends to be the best time) and have a candid conversation with the bartender over a drink. Any tips on simple cocktail recipes, complimentary flavors, and presentation will help you in the long run.

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Thrillist/Jen Kahn

6. Book with a florist
In 2014, an estimated 257 million roses were grown specifically for Valentine’s Day. To put that astronomical number into perspective, if you aligned each rose tip to tip, they would circle the Earth approximately four times. So yeah, buying roses on V-Day isn’t going out of style anytime soon.

However, it’s also not helping your wallet. A dozen red roses cost about $20 more than any other color, and a bouquet on Valentine’s Day is often priced twice as high as on any non-romantic day. While you could save a few bucks by heading to the grocery store, chances are the bouquets aren’t as fresh and thus won’t live as long, making them a waste of money in the long run.

While red roses are always on point, nonconformists can buck the trend with red tulips. Not only are they cheaper (you can probably grab a bunch for as little as $10), but according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, they’re also a declaration of love. You’re not being a cheapskate, you’re being symbolic.

7. Check shipping times
If you decide to purchase your gift online — as 27.9% of consumers did last year — keep pesky shipping times and costs in mind. Free shipping means the product could arrive anywhere from four to 12 days after purchase, and even expedited shipping gets risky: not only do the rates get higher (you can pay as low as $7 for 2-3 day shipping or as high as $25 for next day), but if there’s any service issues, there’s no way you’re getting that delivery before V-Day. Our advice? Start looking — and buying — now.

It’s also important to keep in mind that while one-of-a-kind pieces are thoughtful, they also sell out quicker than products bought at a department store. Assume that anything you see now will be long gone next week. If you’re going way fancy, and looking to get something engraved, make sure the proprietor has at least two weeks to finish the job. Trust us — you’d never live that one down.

Read the original article on Thrillist.

10 OF THE MOST AUTHENTIC PROHIBITION-STYLE BARS ACROSS THE US

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Bible Club

The 18th Amendment was passed in 1919, providing the entire nation with what should have been a 13-year killjoy, but nothing could have stopped the Roaring Twenties from being defined by glamour and booze. In fact, despite not being legally able to produce, import, transport or sell alcohol, the era was known for literally the opposite, with partygoers sipping on gin in secret speakeasies and others housing an ungodly amount of alcohol in their homes. While Millennials clearly missed out on the historical event, modern-day nightlife pros have managed to bring back the Prohibition-era with hidden bars you can only get into with a password, and elaborate cocktail menus that even Al Capone would find satisfying.

The 10 bars below certainly have this era covered in spades, serving up some of the best Prohibition-style drinks and drama in the US. Both with authentic (and in some cases award-winning) cocktails, bartenders that embrace the grace and spirit of the times, and decor that will make you think you’ve taken a ride in a time machine. Oh, and if you are into the secrecy thing, many of these spots take the speakeasy tradition to the next level, complete with passwords, trap doors, and hidden signals for patrons to decode. So, step back in time by visiting any of these bars.

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Joe Starkey

 Bourbon & Branch
San Francisco, CA
Vibe: Walking through the doors of Bourbon & Branch will make you feel like you’re hanging out with Jay Gatsby himself. Complete with five separate rooms each with their own passwords, entrances and various cocktails, this San Francisco speakeasy is one of the few that forbids patrons from taking photos or using their cell phones inside. So, sorry, your Instagram brag will have to wait until you’re back outside the bar.

Best kept secret: Head back to 1925 and take a seat at The Ipswitch, the bar’s incredibly exclusive and super-secret basement room that can only be accessed through a trap door in the floor. Named after the actual speakeasy that took over the space during Prohibition, the only way to gain entry is through sheer luck. Your best shot at getting in is to book a large event at Bourbon & Branch and hope you made a good impression with the hostess.

What to order: The tasting menu, which comes with an apéritif, a main, and a digestif, available at The Wilson (one of the five rooms the bar has to offer).

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Neil Santos

The Franklin Bar
Philadelphia, PA
Vibe: Found in the basement of the former Philadelphia Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company, the Franklin Bar exhibits a Prohibition lore that’s enticing even to those who don’t care about speakeasies. Initially home to one of the country’s largest rum-running rings, the space now exudes a dark and alluring ambiance that gives off a swanky edge similar to that of the Roaring Twenties.

Why you should go: Not only are the cocktails complex — most of the drinks are either frothing with egg whites or boasting a flamed peel — but they’re also made with hard-to-find spirits in order to provide drinkers with a truly one-of-a-kind taste. If you’re looking for something less bougie, head to the upstairs bar, where the atmosphere is more lax, divey and full of fruity cocktails.

What to order: Queen’s Gambit — Decker and Brian Letizia grapefruit bitters, bonal, blanc vermouth, Maurin Quina, dry vermouth and Old Tom gin.

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The Owl Bar & Merkle Photography

The Owl Bar
Baltimore, MD
Vibe: Hotel bars tend to have questionable reputations, but Baltimore’s Owl Bar is doing a solid job of demolishing the stereotype. Located inside the historic Belvedere Hotel, the Owl Bar sets the tone with stained glass panels, antique chandeliers, and intricate murals. The décor is enough reason to stop by for a drink, but for those really looking for 1920’s authenticity, take solace in knowing that F. Scott Fitzgerald and President Hoover were once guests at the Belvedere and presumably visited the bar you’re sipping your gin in.

Best kept secret: Originally opening in 1903 and formally known as just “the bar room,” the Owl Bar (which reportedly got its official name after World War II), used ornamental owls to tell patrons when liquor was available. If the owls’ eyes were blinking, it meant that the shipment arrived and the coast was clear. When the feds were around, the eyes stared straight ahead.

What to order: Prohibition Punch — E&J VS Brandy, Jamaican Rum, Peach Brandy, black tea, lemon juice, all-spice dram, Angostura bitters and blood orange bitters.

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Violet Hour

 The Violet Hour
Chicago, IL
Vibe: Modeled after the bootlegging hubs of the 1920’s, Chicago’s Violet Hour is an alluring retreat chock full of dimly lit chandeliers, plush velvet drapes and jazz tunes that will instantly transport you back nine decades. The city’s first go-to for craft cocktails, the Violet Hour — which is hidden behind a mural-covered door — keeps up their ace reputation by requesting that visitors only bring guests they’d also bring to their mother’s house for Sunday brunch. In other words, leave the Hemingway of your friend group at the bro bar down the street.

Why you should go: Getting its name from a stanza in T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land” and Bernard Devoto’s The Hour, the Violet Hour won a James Beard Award in 2015 for its outstanding bar program, meaning it demonstrated excellence in cocktails, spirits and beer service. Clearly this is the place to be if you’re looking for a really, really good drink that puts a sophisticated spin on old classics.

What to order: Rangoon Fizz — Beefeater gin, lime, house ginger, mint, and Angostura Bitters.

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Yelp/Sean K.

Williams & Graham
Denver, CO
Vibe: While Williams & Graham initially used its bookstore façade to keep its real identity under wraps, national accolades have brought in partygoers from around the country who are looking to experience a true-to-form Prohibition-style speakeasy. The main entranceway is a secret passageway in the form of a swinging bookshelf, which then leads you to a dimly lit, wood-paneled bar encased by stamped tin ceilings, red walls, and high-backed booths.

Why you should go: Aside from getting to go through a real-life trapdoor, Williams & Graham’s cocktails are award-winning and served up by suspender-wearing bartenders who take pride in their craft. The menu is also constantly changing, though every concoction (regardless of the season) is guaranteed to please. Did we mention you get to go through a trap door?

What to order: Mahogany Botany — St. George Botanivore gin, Leopold Bros. Apertivo, cinnamon syrup, blood orange juice, lemon juice and soda water.

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Farrah Sheiky

The Gibson
Washington, DC
Vibe: With a strict cap of less than 50 visitors inside at a time and a no-standing policy, the Gibson offers a space all Prohibition-enthusiasts can admire: an embossed leather bar, cozy seating, and flickering candles at every table. Located in Washington’s U Street corridor, the Gibson is easy to miss with its nondescript plain black door, but the nearby call box suggests there’s something more exciting behind it. Once inside you’ll find dim lighting, hidden booths, and a seductive feel that’s practically begging for a real-life flapper to take a stool at the bar.

Why you should go: The Gibson’s ever-changing cocktail list will have you coming back for a different taste every season. But don’t feel obligated to stick to the menu — bartenders are more than willing to concoct something original based on your tastes. Their modern take on vintage drinks also means that there will never be liquid nitrogen clouding your whiskey glass. (Translation: more room for booze.)

What to order: The Cat’s Meow — Red Wine, Cruzan Black Strap Rum, vanilla, lime and champagne.

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Midnight Cowboy

Midnight Cowboy
Austin, TX
Vibe: This downtown Austin bar is easy to overlook with its drab brown exterior, but the single red light bulb marking its presence sticks out. After buzzing “Harry Craddock” on the call box, you’ll be escorted into a long, narrow, dark bar that boasts lavish black leather booths and floral wallpaper that gives way to sections of exposed brick. Despite being in the middle of Austin’s rowdy 6th Street, Midnight Cowboy strives to create a more relaxed atmosphere with its house rules, including no phone calls, laptops, or loud conversation. While guests are encouraged to flirt with staff, they’re also asked to refrain from excessive displays of affection. Some rules are meant to be broken, but not these — unless you’re into spending your night on the street.

Best kept secret: While the cocktail lounge is now quite upscale and fancy, with its low lighting, vintage bar, and three private rooms — it was formerly home to a brothel in Austin’s red light district. Similar to its current state, the original space was concealed as a massage parlor and operated for more than 30 years. That’s a lot of happy endings.

What to order: Rattlesnake — rye whiskey, lemon juice, Turbinado syrup, egg white, absinthe rinse, and Angostura bitters.

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Emilie Baltz

Employees Only
New York, NY
Vibe: This 12-year-old cocktail bar nestled in NYC’s West Village is masked behind a neon psychic sign, but unlike other speakeasies, the bar’s cover is actually legitimate; when walking through the door, you’ll notice an actual psychic sitting in the small vestibule. Once you’re told your future and how you’ll never have to worry about money again, you can proceed to the bar area, where you’ll feel less antsy about burning a hole in your pocket from trying every cocktail on the menu. Bartenders in slick white chef coats cater to a diverse crowd looking to feel like they’re decades away from modern-day New York. The feeling is easily achieved thanks to the bar’s dark lighting and occasional bar-top burlesque show.

Why you should go: New York may be coined “the city that never sleeps,” but sadly bar kitchens tend to close early, even on weekends. Employees Only is an exception, especially for anyone who feels like sticking around until it closes at 4 am. Cooks offer those hardcore stragglers chicken soup as a parting gift for staying late.

What to order: Billionaire Cocktail — Baker’s bourbon shaken with fresh lemon juice, EO grenadine, and absinthe bitters.

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The Bible Club

The Bible Club
Portland, OR
Vibe: From the outside, the Bible Club looks like any ordinary suburban house, but a single green light in the upstairs window hints otherwise. As soon as visitors turn the doorknob (which dates back to the 1800’s), they’re transported back to the Jazz Age. The intimate space was originally built in 1922 and is filled to the brim with vintage chairs, wooden bar stools, and American flags with only 48 stars, before Alaska and Hawaii were recognized as states.

Best kept secret: Since the era predated the glass and tin Boston Shaker, bartenders use only hand-pounded metal three-piece shakers when making cocktails. On top of that, the majority of bar equipment and room décor is American-made before 1930 and sourced by the bar’s owner from auctions and estate sales.

What to order: The Zombie — Wray and Nephew Overproof Rum, El Dorado 5 Year Rum, cherry heering, BC grenadine, lime and orange.

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Bathtub Gin

Bathtub Gin & Co.
Seattle, WA
Vibe: This old-school speakeasy is conspicuously tucked in an alleyway that patrons could easily walk past without a second glance. But take a closer look and they’d find a worn-down plaque that reads “Bathtub Gin & Co.”, a posh, Prohibition-style drinking lounge that embodies the era’s candid swankiness. Its cozy downstairs area boasts an actual antique bathtub in the middle of the floor (hence the name), while intimate nooks, lamps made out of Hendrick’s bottles, and old-school books give it the old-school charm of the Hemingway era.

Why you should go: If you’re looking to sip on a skillfully-made cocktail while having quiet conversation, make sure to drop by the bar early. If you’d rather party like Gatsby, head to the cozy space on the weekends, where workers say unexpected friendships are commonly formed due to the tight space. Aside from its drool-worthy twists on the era’s classic cocktails, Bathtub Gin & Co. also offers an extensive list of international gins that would make F. Scott Fitzgerald jealous.

What to order: Singapore Sling — London Dry Gin, Cherry Heering Liqueur, cointreau, benedictine, Angostura bitters, grenadine and lime juice.

Read the original article on Thrillist.

If You’re Looking For Dating Advice, Look No Further Than Chad Johnson

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Instagram

If you’re a Bachelorette fan, you know exactly who Chad Johnson is. Given the name “Bad Chad” by fans and “villain” by the press, you’d expect him to be a complete ass in nearly every situation he’s in, but when talking to him about his dating life, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the reality star actually has a heart of gold — he just has a really big mouth.

“The fact of the matter is, all of the hatred in the house… Everything all snowballed from me initially calling the other guys out on the fact that they each walked in the door already pretending to be in love with a girl that they knew absolutely nothing about,” he explained, referring to his time on The Bachelorette. “People just have to realize that when cameras are around, none of these people are themselves, they have nothing to talk about, and the only way for them to make themselves seem good is to demonize someone else.”

Thus, Bad Chad was born.

“At first I thought [the nickname] was pretty cool until I realized that some people actually thought I was a terrible person,” he said. “I mean when you have 25 guys who all absolutely hate you, and are trying to ruin your relationship with a potential significant other and get you kicked off of a TV show that could lead to other opportunities, I’d like to think any smart person would want to fight back.”

True that, Chad. So how has his dating life been since the show?

“The one thing I have to deal with now is trying to figure out whether girls like me for what they saw on TV or simply because I was on TV,” he explained. “But I’m currently still living in Oklahoma so I already know everyone here and my dating life hasn’t really been that affected.”

The good news? Johnson is still on the market and knows his way around the dating world. We asked him his thoughts about sex on the first date, f*ckboys and various other situations us singletons face on a daily basis and he certainly delivered. Check it out — and maybe take some notes.


First Dates
“My ideal first date is something simple like appetizers and a couple drinks… If things are going well, I would follow that up with something relaxing like wine on the beach or under the stars. Conversation is very important to me on a first date and I don’t like to bring a lot of activities into the scenario that take away from the whole reason we’re here, which is to have fun and to really get to know each other. On first dates I typically don’t ask a lot of questions about the person’s past, future, goals, or family. I try to pretend that I’m already in a relationship with this person — I just try to find out whether or not I generally like spending time with them.”


Sex on the First Date
“I’m fine with sex on the first date. I think all guys like to feel like the girl wouldn’t have sex on the first date with anyone else and that we’re just so special that she made an exception. One thing for me is, I don’t like it when a girl specifically makes it a point to not have sex until a certain time when I can tell that she wants to have sex already. When you want to have sex, you should just have sex.”


What He Looks For in a Girlfriend
“I look for a girl who’s positive and likes to have fun. I want someone who can wake up everyday and try to make it the best day possible. Obviously someone who is beautiful, and, being that I take care of myself and my body, I also respect a woman who can maintain her health and image.”


F*ckboys
“I find that I’m constantly having to deal with the damage these guys have caused women. I guess that’s why on The Bachelorette I said, ‘Stay away from the nice guys.’ It’s always the guy who says exactly what they think you want to hear and act like the friendliest, best guy in the world, who have the worst intentions. I may come off like a jerk sometimes and I may be a straight shooter, but in the end, I’m the type of guy who’s not going to string you along and lie to you. I will tell you straight-up what I want out of the relationship and I will never cheat because if I felt the urge to, then I would just end the relationship.”


Online Dating
“I’ve done online dating and I know quite a few people who have as well. I have met a few girls online that although I am no longer dating, I still remain close friends with. Online dating can work, but you have to read between the lines. Look closely at who they hang with; Are they with family? How are they dressed? What’s their demeanor? A person’s pictures will always tell you far more about them than their bio.”


Biggest Turn-Offs and Turn-Ons
“My biggest turn-offs are a girl who doesn’t smile, someone who’s really negative, someone who can’t carry a conversation, and someone who takes everything too seriously… I mean we’re talking brains covered in skin suits standing on a carbon sphere spinning around a fireball. Biggest turn-on is a confident, positive girl with a great sense of humor… but honestly, a great smile and beautiful eyes does it for me.”


Relationship Rules To Live By
“Most importantly, I always look for a girl who has spent a significant portion of her life being single and spending time with herself. Getting into a relationship with someone who is hopping from one guy to the next is a big no-no and in doing so, you will never know whether she wanted you, or just wanted someone. In order to love someone, you have to first love yourself. I spend a lot of time going to dinner, the movies and the gym by myself because I enjoy spending time with myself. If I choose to bring a girl into my life, it’s because I want — not need — her in my life.”

Read the original article on College Candy. 

Cassey Ho Talks Living A Healthier Lifestyle & How To Get Motivated

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Instagram

Cassey Ho has made herself into an empire. Getting her start as a healthy college student with an enthusiasm for Pilates, Ho quickly transformed her passion into a career when she started Blogilates, a YouTube channel dedicated to fast and easy workouts guaranteed to transform your body. From there, things took off.

Now she is the leader of her own fitness revolution and millions of health enthusiasts are following her lead, including Taylor Swift. But she’s no run-of-the-mill trainer looking to make a quick buck on your body insecurities. The 28-year-old has made a name for herself encouraging women to reach their goals while spreading a body-positive message, a hard feat to conquer considering the unrealistic expectations we’re are forced to stomach every day. So how the hell did she do it?

Below, the Blogilates creator spills her secrets about living a healthier lifestyle, how to get the motivation to workout and the food she just can’t resist.


How did you first get into the fitness world? 
I actually started doing Pilates when I was 16 to prepare for a pageant. I loved it and it toned up my body like crazy! So when I got to college, I was a Pilates enthusiast. I even encouraged my friends to do small sessions with me in the dorm lounge. Pilates is what de-stressed me from school. Soon, I got a job at a local gym teaching Pilates. This is when I truly realized that I loved teaching. I would walk in exhausted from school but leave feeling energized and happy.

What initial challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
At the time, my dad wasn’t happy that I was teaching Pilates during college. He wanted me to focus on studying. He said it wouldn’t help me in life, but I rebelled and started teaching more.

And clearly you made the right choice! Let’s talk about oGorgeous and Blogilates. What was your inspiration?
Blogilates began when I created a farewell workout video for my students. I uploaded it to YouTube not really expecting anything to happen. Soon, views and comments flooded in and I was inspired to continue to make workout videos for people all over the world! That is how the Blogilates YouTube channel became the #1 most subscribed female fitness channel now with over three million subscribers.

Since I was a little girl I loved fashion design. I had a natural talent for sketching fashion figures and clothing. One day I got a text from my sister that one of my yoga bags was featured in Shape magazine! That’s when it all started. I quit my corporate job to pursue my love for fashion design.

What goes on at Blogilates HQ when I'm gone… #mannequinchallenge

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Amazing! How did POPFLEX develop from there?
After my first line, BODYPOP, I took a break to really think about what I wanted to design to suit the needs of my POPsters (Blogilates fans). I took into consideration all of the feedback from my first clothing line to create high-quality activewear that is affordable, comfortable, stylish and sustainable. My POPsters truly inspired POPFLEX and they still do to this day! My goal is for you to feel unstoppable, confident and beautiful in my designs.

How would you describe your personal workout style?
Short, intense, but effective! Between running my business, traveling and all other parts of life, it’s not always easy to find time to workout. But I make it a priority and I workout efficiently. I usually do my PIIT28 workouts because they are only 28 minutes but they burn fat and build muscle like crazy. My body has transformed from doing PIIT28.

What’s your favorite workout move?
Classic Pilates moves like the double leg lift and roll-up are my favorites because they are simple but effective!

What’s the most valuable health tip you’ve ever received?
If health and fitness doesn’t make you happy, then you’re doing something wrong. Living a healthy lifestyle should ENHANCE your life. It should make you more motivated in all aspects of life, not just workouts. When you start to hate your workouts and the food you’re eating, then you need to make a change. There are many healthy ways to live, you just need to find the one that works for you.

I know you guys have been asking me where my new sneakers are from and they are @reebok! I'm actually giving away my entire outfit (new set obvi) on http://reebk.co/CasseyHoGiveaway Good luck! Now let's talk splits. I've been working on my flexibility everyday. Right leg split is getting lower and lower but my left hamstring is still injured. It's frustrating because I've been slowly and carefully stretching it for over a year now, but it STILL feels super tight. Pushing harder will not be the solution here. Taking it slow and knowing my limits is the key. But it's ok. We're not all symmetrical and we're not all perfect. All we can do is keep trying. #BeMoreHuman #PerfectNever Thanks @Reebokwomen for my outfit. #reeboksponsored

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What health tips do you have for the “lazy girl”? How do you get the initial motivation to workout/start a healthier lifestyle?
Make fitness a priority. Mark it in your schedule. Think of it like a very important meeting you have with yourself. And know that you don’t have to workout for hours and hours a day. Even a 30-minute workout will make you healthier and happier!

When it comes to workouts, what are some simple moves you can do wherever, whenever?
POP Pilates! POP moves can be done anywhere because you don’t need any equipment (just a mat!). You don’t even need shoes! Same with PIIT28, the workout program I created that combines POP Pilates with high-intensity interval training. You do need shoes for this, but you can do it in the comfort of your own home or dorm room!

When it comes to diet, what’s your guilty pleasure?
Matcha (green tea) milkshakes!

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to college students looking to up their fitness routine and transition into a healthier lifestyle?
Have fun with it! Health and fitness doesn’t have to be boring. Find workouts you love and you’ll always look forward to them. And don’t be afraid to try new things. Pilates, cardio, weight lifting, dance – there are so many ways to stay motivated and stay in shape.

Read the original article on College Candy