Monday, February 23, 2015

Blue French Tips with Dots

Sally Hansen: Gem-Stone
Sally Hansen: Celeb City

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Grape + Bean

Hi Everyone! I was lucky enough to be traveling again last weekend. While in the DC area, I ended up visiting a chic spot called Grape + Bean with Alan. This cute little restaurant / wine bar / cafe was right in the heart of Old Town Alexandria in NoVa (Northern Virginia).
Grape + Bean was first opened in 2008 by a local husband and wife team who were inspired from their many travels, their years living in San Francisco and their desire to open a comfortable, warm and welcoming place that served high quality products.

This spot focuses on smaller, more independent producers who make hand crafted wines and other products. Each wine is heavily researched and hand selected in order to offer a unique, interesting and good value wine which you can either buy to take home, or enjoy at the Wine Bar. You can also uncork the secrets of wine (pun intended) during their many wine tasting classes and events.

Interestingly enough, Grape + Bean didn't serve any espresso or espresso based drinks. They only served drip coffee - but definitely not to be mistaken as boring coffee. I had a cup of San Francisco Blue Bottle and Alan had an Ethiopian Honey Suckle and Berry blend. My coffee was absolutely amazing, so fresh and perfectly balanced. I was really interested when I read about their story online. I tried a sip of Alan's coffee, and it was a bit bolder than I'm used to - but still really good. Opening with a hint of berries, the Ethiopian blend had a nutty finish.


The vibe here definitely leaned more towards a restaurant than a cafe. Most people were tasting wines and pairing them with different charcuterie plates but we were happy with our afternoon coffee, which was amazing. As you can imagine, the menu looked amazing so we gave into temptation and got some Roman Artichoke Crostini to snack on as well.

Apparently pairing wine and coffee is the new thing. Why wine and coffee you may ask? Well their website laid it out so nicely:

  • Wine and coffee are both handcraft agricultural products and share many similarities from the influence of terroir to their seasonality to the farmers who work in the fields.
  • Those who like wine often like coffee and vice versa. (Start your day with one, end your day with the other!)

They call coffee and wine the liquids of life, and I can't disagree with them! This is a great spot for foodies, coffee lovers and wine connoisseurs. There's something for everyone here!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Heart of Gold

Lord & Taylor: Pink (No Name)
OPI: Mrs. O'Leary's Barbecue
Quo by ORLY: Glittering Gold

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Do Perfumes Expire?

I've moved a grand total of five times in the past five years. As frustrating as it can be, moving is a great way to rediscover a lot of old items you may have forgotten about. I recently rediscovered my very first perfume which I received as a gift when around 15 - Baby Phat Goddess, by Kimora Lee Simmons.

I was absolutely obsessed with this fragrance when I received it. I loved everything about it - the beautiful  shape of the bottle, the pink colour, the gorgeous faux diamond ring and of course the light and fresh, floral scent.

Baby Phat Goddess is composed of gardenia and white rosebud notes on the top; blue lily, hyacinth and black pepper in the middle; and woodsy, musk base notes on the bottom. It's delicate and floral yet spicy and sophisticated.

Since I've had this fragrance for many years, I couldn't help but wonder if perfumes expire. After some research I learned that sealed perfumes last up to five years, but once opened, a perfume generally lasts a year or longer if stored properly. Fragrances with higher amounts of essential oils have a longer shelf life.

Over time, the colour and odour of a perfume will change but it doesn't necessarily expire unless it emits an unpleasant odour. A "bad" fragrance may appear much darker than the original. Despite this, some perfume bloggers claim that fragrances, like wine, get better with age.

The most useful tip I read was to store your fragrances in a cool, dark place with constant temperatures and away from direct sunlight. This means, that the bathroom is the worst place to keep perfumes since it can get very hot and steamy, and the temperatures are constantly changing.

My bottle of Baby Phat Goddess, has changed colour, but the scent is still beautiful. Every time I spritz it on, teenage memories come flooding back. I'm very impressed by the longevity of this fragrance and since it still has a very pleasant smell, I plan to use it until the bottle is completely empty!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Colour Blocking Nails

Sally Hansen: Rock Bottom (Purple)
Sally Hansen: Gem Stone (Blue)
Sally Hansen: Celeb City (Silver)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cafe Névé

My amazing friend J took me out for a celebratory coffee this weekend since I just finished a bunch of work-related exams! It had been a long time since the two of us gals had seen each other, so we thought what better place to chit chat than at a cafe?! This week's spot was Cafe Névé in the heart of the Portuguese neighbourhood in the Plateau.

As soon as we entered we realized that maybe this wasn't exactly the kind of atmosphere we needed. Cafe Névé was filled with students and their books. Everyone seemed to be either furiously typing away at their laptops or frantically highlighting every inch of their textbook. I couldn't help but feel a tiny bit of nostalgia, which was quickly replaced by joy since I've finally passed that stage of my life.

We were lucky enough to find an empty couch as soon as we walked in. Since we had both had our caffeine fix for the day, I ordered a chai latte and J got a pot of mint tea. I loved the mason jar that my latte was served in - very hipster, and the teapot was made of cast iron.

The cafe itself was a little rough around the edges in my opinion. Milk crates were used to hold up some of the benches, the bathroom door was tagged with graffiti and the counters seemed like they needed refinishing...but that's exactly why it was so charming. All in all, this was a cool, hipster, study spot but not exactly what we had in mind. We were more interested in finding a relaxing place to lounge.

Despite all this, the decor was not at all a reflection of the coffee quality. The cafe was packed and many more people came in for to-go coffees. We really enjoyed our drinks! This is definitely a place to take your books if you're a student. I'm positive you will feed off everyone else's study vibes and ace those exams!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Matte Geometric Stripes

Sally Hansen: Party Hard-y
Lord & Taylor: Red (No-Name)
Formula X: Mind over Matter

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Making Tea Lattes at Home

I am guilty of subscribing to many different newsletters...and never actually reading them. It was by chance that I actually clicked and opened my Davids Tea Newsletter last week. I came across a great little blurb on making tea lattes at home - so of course, I had to try it!

All you need for this is your favourite loose leaf tea, a steeper, milk and something to shake the milk in (I used a mason jar with a lid that I bought from the dollar store).

I started by steeping Organic Hot Lips tea in my little teapot. While the tea was infusing, I poured a bit of milk into the mason jar and shook it for about 30 seconds. (I'm so glad this mason jar had a handle). Then, I removed the lid and microwaved the milk for another 30 seconds. There was actually foam on top of the milk when I took it out!! The milk wasn't super hot, but it balanced out the steaming hot tea. I poured both into a mug with about a 50-50 ratio and voila!

Now at first, it tasted completely like milk so I added a teaspoon of sugar and then another. As I kept taking sips, I kept adding more and more tea to balance the taste but the proportions were still off. Then realized that maybe the flavour was a bit weak because I tried it with a light green tea.

I'm not giving up and I plan to try this again with a different kind of black tea - maybe a chai. I'm still so surprised that I was able to steam milk without a fancy machine!

Have you tried making a latte at home with a machine? I'm curious what kind of results you got!