6 up-and-coming coffee shops around the country

Artisan brews, relaxed atmospheres, and specialty beans are some of the features of up and coming shops

Coffee is life to many people. With the popularity of chains like Starbucks, the environment of the coffee shop is just as important as the beverage selection. Some are willing to travel the country or the world looking for the best brews and the best coffee shop experience. Whether you're looking for a modern, sleek design or a down-to-earth rustic tone, you have plenty of options. Here are a few interesting shops to visit in the United States.

1. Madcap Coffee — Grand Rapids, Michigan

Andypiper/Flickr

Madcap Coffee was founded in 2008 by two close friends who have a passion for coffee. The shop roasts coffee in small batches. They also offer tasting flights, serve espresso in snifters to emphasize aromatics, and have implemented a zero waste policy. There are no trash cans in their shops. Instead, cups and mugs are placed in bus bins and all of the trash is sorted into recyclables or compost.

2. Cafe Du Monde — New Oreleans, Louisiana

vxla/Flickr

Hate the hipster vibe of modern coffee shops? Cafe Du Monde is much more down-to-earth. This landmark has been open since 1862 and is one of the oldest shops in America. It is so popular, you can usually expect at least a half-hour wait. Just head to the take out line to experience the Chicory flavoring and legendary beignets much faster.

3. Little Owl Coffee — Denver, Colorado

jpellgen/Flickr

Little Owl Coffee is as close as you can get to an authentic Italian coffee bar in Denver. They serve locally roasted, small-batch beans from Sweet Bloom and Commonwealth. Their espresso drips from a La Marzocco Strada MP machine. They also have more exotic pastry options than most shops, including ham and cheese quiche.

4. Eternity Coffee Roasters — Miami, Florida

Duncan C/Flickr

Many shops roast their own beans, but Eternity Coffee Roasters goes so far as to farm theirs. The founders of the shop had a "seed-to-cup" vision that began on their Colombian coffee farm 60 years ago. When they're not serving their Colombian beans, there are single-lot harvests from around the world that have been approved through a blind taste-testing process that ensure the same standards.

5. Saint Frank — San Francisco, California

Bex Walton/Flickr

Saint Frank is all about providing a calming coffee experience. It is designed for relaxation with blonde oak walls and skylights. You can also more easily see and interact with your barista because their Mod Bar espresso machines are sunk down into the countertop. The founder uses local roasters Ritual for every beverage sold in the shop.

6. Barista Parlor — Nashville, Tennessee

Sean Davis/Flickr

Barista Parlor features a wood-handled Slayer espresso machine and serves beans from three different roasters, including newer ones like Dogwood and established ones like Intelligentsia. The shop's vibe is completely artisan from uniforms to the furniture. They've also entered into a partnership to open a second location, which will feature a roasters encased in glass and framed with wooden beams reclaimed from the original George Dickel Distillery.

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Do Non-Melatonin Sleep Aids Really Work?

Objective makes a chocolate square.

I Can't Sleep.

I truly cannot remember the last time I had a good night's rest. Even before the stay-at-home orders, I was just a little ball of nerves.

But lately, it's been awful. I toss and turn, it's always too hot or even too cold, sometimes I make myself tea and read for a bit, but when I'm still up at 1 a.m., I reach for my phone and then I'm up until 3. My sister and I have a weekly call, and our small talk about our exhaustion turned into an hour long conversation about sleep.

I Thought I'd Tried Everything. Even Melatonin.

My sister asked why I hadn't gone for the old staple, melatonin and I reminded her about the time we traveled abroad, and it gave me the weirdest nightmares (the horrible kind where you wake up in your dream and you're still in a dream). Chamomile tea didn't work, nothing worked.

She said she had a friend who swore by something I definitely hadn't heard of.

They Were NOT Pills, Teas or Anything I'd Seen Before.

A company called Objective makes Fast Asleep, a sleep solution delivered as chocolatey treats. They're created with saffron and GABA. If going to sleep was as easy as eating a piece of these chocolatey, minty delights every night, I'd be sold.

What Exactly Was In It?

Cocoa contains caffeine, so I didn't know how this would help me sleep. After talking with my sister, I went online and saw that the calming, sleep-supporting ingredients cancel out any of the very little caffeine content.

Saffron, the spice, is apparently known to help with staying asleep, and their GABA is a fermented version of the neurotransmitter that's known to help you relax and fall asleep faster. In a study, 100% of customers saw improvement in their sleep quality thanks to saffron. One hundred percent!

Do I Try It?

A bag of 30 pieces was only $40, and they had a money-back guarantee.

They're keto-friendly and only 30 calories a piece, so not too decadent before bedtime.

They were chocolatey-minty, which is my favorite flavor, so I was sold. I ordered a bag to try.

The First Night, I Wasn't Impressed.

I took one piece (super yummy!) - 30-60 minutes before bedtime is recommended - but when I climbed in, I didn't notice a difference. I was worried I'd wasted my money.

However, once I fell asleep, I stayed asleep until my alarm went off, which hasn't always been the case for me.

I checked the site again, and noticed that many people didn't notice a real difference until the third or fourth night - it builds up in your system over time, so I decided to keep an open mind the rest of the week.

The Second Night Was Completely Different

Without doing anything differently from the first night, my second night was amazing. I felt calm and sleepy as I was getting ready for bed, and once I hit the pillow, I was out the whole night.

It had to be these sweet treats. The next day, I even felt more balanced and relaxed - Fast Asleep helps boost serotonin levels and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone), and I definitely noticed a difference in my overall mood and alertness.

I Already Ordered More.

Just In Case! There's nothing habit-forming about this product, so it's completely safe to take every night, and I honestly always want to keep it in the house. I'd also love to offer it to anyone staying over in the guest room, whenever we have guests again.

Now that I'm getting a healthy 8 hours of sleep every night, I feel more equipped during the day to tackle the things I need to do and deal with some of my daytime stressors. I finally had the energy to clean the kitchen, which had been bothering me so much for the past few weeks.

With Objective's Fast Asleep, I get real sleep and balance my levels, so I don't have to feel tired during my waking hours. Sleep in the form of chocolate squares sounds so weird, but oh my goodness, do they work.

Our partners at Objective Wellness are currently offering a 25% discount if you use the coupon code STAYHOME. Check them out here!

Food & Drink

The Best Apps for Craft Beer Delivery

Try beers from all over the world–from your phone.

With breweries and distilleries out of business for the foreseeable future, your favorite beer may feel particularly out of reach this time of year, especially with the weather changing. But don't let quarantine suck all the fun out of summer. Luckily, thanks to technology, a lot of craft beer is now deliverable straight to your door step. Here are a few of the best apps to help make sure you stay up to date on the latest trendy brews.

Tavour

Tavour

Simplistic and elegant, Tavour allows users to easily fill up a box of beer over a period of time before shipping. The app offers more than 650 different breweries both local and national and is perfect for those who like to experiment. It's easy to use, and their menu rotates regularly so you and your beer never grow stale.

TapRM

TapRM

TapRM offers a wide range of both craft beers and hard seltzers. While based almost exclusively in New York City, the app offers fast, same day delivery from some of the best beer brands in the world. They also provide a unique selection of beers to help you find your new favorite. All you need to do is download the app and place your order!

Drizly

Offering a stark variety of craft beer, Drizly allows its users to mix and match 12-packs, sixers or by the bottle. Their guarantee is that they can have whatever you order delivered to your house in less than an hour. You can even schedule your delivery for a specific time, with each delivery taking around 20-40 minutes.

Saucey

Saucey takes delivery very seriously. When you order with them they guarantee that they'll deliver in 30-minutes or less, or they guarantee two day shipping. Also, beer aside, their entire liquor cabinet is also up for grabs. From tequila and whiksey, to vodka and wine, nothing is off the table for Saucey.

Beer Menus

BeerMenus

For those who enjoy strictly local beers, BeerMenus features a tap list from local bars and a broader stock list from your neighborhood beer store. With that, you can make sure to create a list of your favorite beers in your neighborhood, so that when they're in stock you can be ready to go.

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Do Function Of Beauty's Products Really Work?

I tried their natural shampoo & conditioner for a month

When my social life suddenly dried up one weekend, I spent it with myself, and that meant I finally had more time to play with my hair.

I usually just throw it up in a ponytail, but I was French braiding, blow-drying, and having so much fun with it. It also meant I got to really study my strands, and I noticed they seemed drier and less shiny than they used to.

My cousin is a hairstylist, so I asked for her honest rec's, and she told me a lot of her clients have switched to the customized Function of Beauty haircare line, especially since it gets delivered to your door.

The packaging looked beautiful, and they had everything I needed to repair my hair. I decided to sign up and document my process to see if their stuff actually made a difference. Here's how my first month went:

Week One

The Quiz: Function of Beauty starts with a quiz. They ask for information on your hair type and your top 5 hair goals, so they can customize. For example, I wanted to cut down on frizz, so my shampoo and conditioner contained tamarind extract + argan oil.

The Basics: For scent, I chose the limited edition "strike a (r)ose" fragrance in strong, and for color, I went with a pink shade for both, but you can mix and match if you like.

The Rest: I also got the custom hair serum for styling, the weekly hair mask, and the leave-in conditioner.

When everything arrived, the colors were prettier in person, and everything smelled amazing. They at least looked high quality! I was excited to see if they would really help my hair.

Pink Function Of Beauty Shapoo Bottle

Week Two

I figured I'd forget to use some of my products some days, but everything smelled so good, I was really looking forward to my self-care hair routine!

The S & C: So, because I chose the strong scent for my shampoo and conditioner, every time I shower, I get to smell the rosiness in my hair for hours! That's a really nice touch.

The Serum: I'm using the hair serum now before I blow-dry my hair, and it definitely makes a difference - I notice my hair gets more volume without looking so dry and looks much glossier.

The Mask: The weekly hair mask was super goopy in a good way - it'll definitely last a while, even with medium-long hair. I don't know if I noticed a difference afterward, though.

The Leave-In: The leave-in conditioner isn't greasy at all, which is fantastic, and sooo much better than the last one I used, that would also leave me looking a lil' greazy.

Week Three

I was doing the mask when video chatting my friend in a different state, and she thought I was dying my hair blue. Since my hair is looking healthier, it gave me the idea that maybe I could dye it lighter soon, and not turn it into a pile of straw.

Oh, my Function of Beauty package also came with stickers, so I spent a night putting them on all the bottles.

Week Four

Ok, my hair definitely looks healthier.

This guy I was talking to on a dating app asked to FaceTime me the other day, and I was super nervous - what if we had no chemistry? Or literally, anything to talk about?

I did a fun blowout just to calm my nerves, but we ended up having a weirdly huge amount of things in common, like breaking the same 2 bones - so weird!! We're making plans to meet up sometime in the future.

After four weeks of taking care of my hair with Function of Beauty products, I can't imagine using anything else - even if my hair changes (like, if I do dye it blonde), I can easily change my formula for special purple shampoo or change my hair goals, to keep it healthy.

I really like all the products and their scents, and it's so convenient getting everything shipped to my door every 3 months (you can also choose every month, every six months, or a one-time purchase).

Since the packaging is so cute, I'm probably going to gift this to my best friend for her birthday! We can do hair masks together online, while she walks me through my upcoming date. 😂

UPDATE: Function of Beauty is offering our readers a special offer! Get 20% OFF your first order. Follow this link and start the hair profile quiz!