Monday, November 24, 2014

Pairing Wine & Movies: Part 3 - 2013 Alcalà Monastrell

Happy Monday! Welcome to the third installment of Wine & Movie Pairings! This week I had a very earthy red to pair from Spain. My palate isn't too fond of red wines yet but I tend to enjoy them when they are from Spain for some reason. I think it's because rather than being bitter, they lean towards earthy or spicy. I prefer that much more than bitterness. For the movie, I wanted something saucy. I was convinced to have a movie with Penelope Cruz. There was such a strong vision in my mind that a movie with Penelope would be perfect for this wine. Alas, but no. Unfortunately I do not own any movies with her except the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie and it didn't feel like a good fit. Then I was sold on Nine also with Penelope as well as Daniel Day Lewis, Sophia Lauren, Marion Cotillard and other great actresses. was only available on iTunes to buy for $13. Not happening. So I took a step back, looked at what was available to me easily and decided on a classic and one of my favorite movies of all time, Love Actually. The timing was just perfect and it felt right once the decision was made. Completely different from the direction I was originally going in but a great change nonetheless.

Time to talk wine now! The red wine I received was a 2013 Alcalà Monastrell from Alicante, Spain with a Dusty Orange Signature Scent. ClubW says, "Catalan for 'citadel,' Alcalà is the signifying fortress of Alicnate, shielding outsiders from disrupting their Moorish empire with it's walls of immaculate strength. With roots in this sovereign place, the Alcalà Monastrell will leave a lasting, daring and distinct impression on your palate. A strength of orange zest, earth, and strawberry flavors flow from this bold, beautiful wine. Why you'll love it: the rich Monastrell grape - or Mourvèdre as it's known in France - takes a spotlight in this all-natural wine while its fermentation in stainless steel adds a liveliness of orange zest to it's dense and jammy flavor (as opposed to the mellowing effects of oak). A perfect example of why Spanish wines are a fast growing trend among American wine drinkers, it's the perfect combo of ripe fruit flavors we're used to in the New World, plus a little funky edge provided by Spain."

I enjoyed this wine. I seemed to be the only one but I did. It had a somewhat sweet but zesty flavor on the tongue but left you with a spicy and earthy aftertaste. The flavor was very robust and it was a moderately tannic wine. The tannins in reds are another thing that normally get me but I also associate them with that bitterness. This wasn't the most tannic wine I've ever tasted but it leaned towards the heavier side. I would recommend drinking this alongside a nice steak or some kind of pasta or soup bursting with flavor. This is a very bold and robustic red so you want to pair it with something equally flavorful. 

I got my second ClubW box in the mail over the weekend so there will be a second installment of the Wine and Movie Pairing series in two weeks! Please let me know what you think of these posts. I really enjoy them but let me know if you have any ideas. Also, make sure to follow me on Instagram and like me on Facebook for a sneak peek of the wines coming up. I'd love to hear what you think I should pair these wines with. The best ideas will get a shout-out in my posts and I might even use your idea! 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

October Glossybox Review

Hey there! It's the weekend before Thanksgiving and all I can think of is all the Christmas shopping I have yet to do. Seriously, I've gotten none done and I don't even now where to start. Luckily, everyone and their uncle is coming out with a gift guide. I may have to pull some ideas. You know what a great gift for a beauty junkie is? Glossybox. This has become one of my favorite beauty box subscriptions. I definitely recommend a three month or six month subscription for a gift if you're stuck on a gift for someone like me. Now let's talk October's box!
Tarte Cosmetics Power Pigment in Awakening $24
What GB Says: Inspired by tarte's cheek stains, this rosy nude-hued lip tint features a slim, twist-up design for precise application. Part lip color, part lip treatment, the creamy formula is made up of vitamins, shea butter and a hint of mint. Best of all? No sharpener needed.

What I Say: I got complimented on this color. It was such a good shade for me. I say that with complete surprise and no narcissistic qualities at all. I really like this brand. Their products are really great quality and they don't disappoint. There are tons of other products they have I'd still like to try.

Proganix Anti-Fade Weightless Argan Oil + UV Protection $11.99
What GB Says: Spritz on this sweet-smelling blend of color-protecting argan oil, antioxidant-rich cherry blossom extract and UV filters for a dose of shine and solar protection.

What I Say: This product is amazing. I get really nervous with and oil product because I have oily skin and naturally can get an oily scalp if I don't be careful with the products I use. I can also make a blow-dry last two or three days so I hate when that time gets cut short. This spray really was weightless and it smoothed out my hair. It also left it a little shinier than normal which was a great plus.

Nails Inc. Westminister Bridge Matte Top Coat $10
What GB Says: Double your nail polish collection with this handy matte top coat from the fashion-forward British brand, which takes even the shiniest of lacquers into soft-touch territory. 

What I Say:  I wasn't too impressed with this product. I used it with an NYC Nail Polish so I'm not sure if it was one product more than the other but it didn't even last a day without chipping. It turned my nails matte within one coat which was nice. I'll probably give this another try with an Essie or Butter London polish too see if I have better results.

Vince Camuto Amore Eau de Parfum $78
What GB Says: Relive the feeling of falling in love with this limited-edition olfactive homage to romance. Starring the ephemeral scent of fresh-cut flowers and fragrant fruits atop a base of comforting cashmere, rich amber and earth sandalwood, this scent from the prolific fashion designer is both flirty and sensual.

What I Say: I love this scent. It's such a pretty, fresh scent and different than anything else I have in my fragrance collection right now. I'll definitely be using it in the future for special occasions. I don't want it to be my regular scent but something that is recognized for certain events and experiences.

Sesha Botanical Hydro Mask $9
What GB Says: Detox after a long day with this skin-calming one-time use sheet mask, which delivers extracts of moisturizing cucumber fruit, green tea and marigold, included for its anti-inflammatory benefits.

What I Say: This mask was amazing. It cracked my little cousin up while I had it applied but it did it's job. My face felt hydrated and soft and it had a nice glow that night and the next morning. I definitely want to use this again so I'll be purchasing a few more. This would be great to use the night before a big event or something that you know someone will be going around with the camera!

What did you think about the October Glossybox?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Coffee

Remember back in the day when I had a Friday Faves post every week just listing my favorite images I'd come across? Well, I've decided to bring it back but a tad different. With the exception of today, each Friday morning moving forward I'll post "Friday Coffee." This is going to be a compilation of content that I've come across in the last week: links, food, celebrity news, etc. I'll also include some events coming up in the next week that I think are fun and interesting. I've been thinking about doing something like this for a while so I'm really excited to officially kick it off. Grab a cup of coffee for that afternoon energy kick and read on!

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash from Heat Oven to 350
A Guide to Hashtags, Every Day of the Week from PopSugar
What to Splurge on in Europe from World of Wanderlust
5 Ways I've Increased My Blog Traffic from The Daily Tay
Thanksgiving Side Dish Round Up from Beneath the Chandelier
Christmas is in the Air Linkup Is Back from Southern Beauty Guide

Chicago: The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is this Saturday! I have a lot of memories from this event. It's the perfect way to kick off the holidays. The Tree Lighting Parade will be from 5:30pm - 7:30pm Saturday, 11/22 on Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to Wacker Drive.

ChicagoThe Chicago Italian Film Festival starts today and goes through Thanksgiving. Visit the website for pricing information and a schedule of screenings. Being the Italian I am, I'm planning on catching at least one of these films.

St. Charles, IL: The Harvest Restaurant at Pheasant Run Inn and Resort is hosting a Sparkling Wine Dinner every Thursday through December 18th. See the menu here. I was lucky enough to enjoy their beer pairing menu in October and I'm hoping to try and make it out for the Sparkling Wine Dinner as well. The dinner is a 4 course meal priced at $35 not including tax and tip. Please call to make a reservation: 800-4-PHEASANT

Celebs & Hollywood
Selena Gomez had two songs leak this week! Both are reportedly about Justin Bieber but I honestly don't see how that's a surprise since he's been such a huge part of your life. You can't help who you love. "Do It" is super processed and I'm not a huge fan but "My Dilemma 2.0 (For You)" is freaking amazing! Listen to the latter below:
Source: E! News

Britney Spears appeared in Part 8 of "Celebrities Read Mean Tweets" on Jimmy Kimmel and cracks up reading a pretty insulting tweet. I love her. This video is hilarious so I recommend letting yourself have a laugh.
Source; ABC News

The Pitch Perfect 2 Trailer is finally out and you should all be pumped!

If you have any "Happenings" that you'd like to be included in future Friday Faves, feel free to email me at lifewithasideofcoffee {at} gmail {dot} com for consideration.

Christmas Is In the Air With Southern Beauty Guide and Me!!

Happy Friday! If you've been following me for a while you know two things. I'm really good friend with Chelsee from Southern Beauty Guide and I love Christmas. You may have even participated in our link up last year. For those that are new, here is a bit of history on this linkup! This started last year due to our Christmas spirit, we texted back and forth and both fell in love with the idea of this linkup. I don't host a ton of link ups but I am so excited to bring it back for a second year. 

Starting next week, we are encouraging all of you to link up in four posts with special themes or topics. We decided to start this linkup a week early this year so that we would not have a linkup week that landed that closely to Christmas. Are you going to join?? I know we can't wait to read all of your posts!

Let's start with the themes and dates. The link up will begin on the date listed for that week (all are Wednesdays) but feel free to link up when you have a free day:

Week 1 - November 26th: Holiday Gift Guide. Whether it's your own personal wish list or ideas for people you'll be gifting to this year, put together a fun gift guide for this holiday season.

Week 2 - December 3rd: Holiday Movies. Share your favorite holiday movies. Include pictures, clips, whatever you'd like.

Week 3 - December 10th: A Foodie's Christmas. Share a recipe you'll be making for the holidays or share what a typical Christmas dinner looks like for you. 

Week 4 - December 17th: Christmas Beauty or Fashion. Share makeup and fashion that you will be wearing for Christmas.

And now for the rules:
1. Follow Life With A Side Of Coffee and Southern Beauty Guide
2. Write a post that goes along with the theme of the week and link up with us.
3. Visit a few other linked up posts. Share the love people!
4. Make a new friend. That's the best part of these anyway. This is more of a perk than a rule :)

So are you going to join Chelsee and I? Grab the button above to share in your posts. 
The link up starts next week! We hope to see all of you there!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fall TV Finale: State of Affairs

source: Google Images
source: Google Images - TVLine
A few weeks ago, I was going crazy with a Fall TV series. Premieres were debuting constantly and I could barely keep up with them to give reviews within just a few days. Monday marked the final show premiere. I can't believe fall is pretty much over! It was so much fun though and I can't wait to do it again next year. The final show I'll be recapping is State of Affairs with Katherine Heigl. I'm so glad to have her back on TV. Izzy leaving Grey's Anatomy was a low blow but it gave us a string of fun, romantic comedies that varied from sexy to downright cheesy. State of Affairs is a whole new role for her and she plays it well.

Charlie Tucker is an ex-CIA field agent who recently experienced a traumatic business trip gone wrong. Her finance, also the President's son, was murdered by a terrorist group when their convoy was brought under attack. We don't know all of the details of that night but we're beginning to learn. Charlie is now the daily briefer to the President and targets the most critical threats the country is facing each day. She has impeccable decision making skills. If there is a person who has this job in real life, I do not envy them their responsibility. In the year since the attack, Charlie has gained respect in her position at work but has also taken on irresponsible behaviors out of the office. To deal with the memories she's repressed, she drinks, parties and sleeps around to numb the pain. 
source: Google Images - TV Equals

It's safe to say that this season we will walk with Charlie through her destructive path, see her begin to recover from it all while kicking ass in the office. There will be ups and downs and a lot of drama and danger. She's getting text messages from someone who seems to know what happened the night of the attack and I'm interested to find out who it is and more importantly, what happened. She has a lot of connections and and a lot of people that come out of the woodwork. This is the only political show that I watch currently and I'm happy I chose this one to be it. Katherine Heigl is amazing as Charlie Tucker and Alfre Woodward is a hardballer as President of the United States. Two great women, one great show.

Are you watching State of Affairs? What do you think?

Here is a recap of all the premieres I reviewed this fall:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Nick Jonas' Self-Titled Album Review

source: Google Images - Wikipedia
I'm going to completely fangirl out today. Remember like seven years ago when the Jonas Brothers were "the" band and everyone was head over heels in love with them? Well, I was one of those girls and still am. I just love their music and they're super cute. There's nothing else to it sadly. A few years ago, Joe Jonas came out with his solo album and recently Nick Jonas followed suit. He's been heavily promoting this baby for a while and I have been ever so patiently awaiting. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been enjoying the promo photos of him either. If he never puts a shirt on again, I'm sure every girl will be happy. I want to quickly take you through the album. It's actually really, really good.

When Joe Jonas released Fastlife, it was similar to the music he recorded with his brothers but it had an edgier feel to it. It was pop rock and a great album even if it didn't get a ton of attention. Several of the songs are on my workout playlists and a I had a few on Chill playlists too. To be honest, I was expecting the same thing from Nick. I was pleasantly surprised to discover his album was much more soulful. I would still call it pop but with a very heavy lean towards R&B especially songs like "Chains" and "Numb." I love that he went out of the box with the gospel version of "Jealous" too. That's not on the album but you have to watch the video. The original song is upbeat, catchy and a great song for a workout playlist.

Other more upbeat songs that I enjoy are "Teacher" which has a somewhat classic feel to it. It sounds something from the 80s or early 90s which is really interesting. "Wilderness" is really catchy and had a great beat. "I Want You" is the typical, upbeat love song on the album and "Take Over" is perfect for a girls' night playlist. It's a great dance song and it shows off his falsetto. I would say this is a great radio song too. Summer 2015! The ballads on the album are "Warning," "Push," "Avalanche," "Nothing Would Be Better," "Santa Barbara" and "Closer." I love the refrain on "Warning." The song is about breaking some one's walls down to get inside and be open. "Push" is a little less easy-going. It's heartfelt but subtly angry. You can feel the frustration in his voice. "Nothing Would Be Better" is about broken love and has a great climactic ending. Most of the song is pretty soft so the ending gives you goosebumps. "Santa Barbara" is super laid back and sounds almost fully acoustic. It's very simple and stripped which I love and admire. I wish more artists would do songs like this. Last but not least, "Avalanche." This is my absolute favorite song off the album. It's a duet with Demi Lovato who I am also a huge fan of. Their voices together are pure gold. This song leans more towards the pop spectrum compared to the rest of the album but their voices are crystal clear. It gives me butterflies in my stomach just talking about this song.

Have you heard Nick Jonas' new self-titled album? What do you think? Any albums dropping soon that you're excited for?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pairing Wine & Movies: Part 2 - 2013 Relevé Rosé

*This post contains referral links
Last week, I introduced you guys to a new series that I'm doing, Movie and Wine Pairings! This has become, by far, one of my most favorite projects in blogging history. I love blending pop culture with anything I can think of and what better than wine? This week I drank the second bottle in my first ClubW box, a rosé. I immediately felt that a blush wine should be paired with a romantic comedy but the question was, which one. There are so many really great romcoms out there. My Zia Tia suggested Something's Gotta Give which was going to be the winner until I found Crazy Stupid Love under my bed. There was no going back from there. This was a match made in heaven.
Let's talk about the wine now. The rosé I received was a 2013 Relevé Rosé from Costières de Nîmes, France with a Strawberry Signature Scent. ClubW says, "If there's one thing the French have mastered, it's the delicious pink drink that is Rosé - and this bottle is the epitome of their chic style. Graceful and refined, Relevé Rosé will rise to any daytime occasion and offer up a taste of Costières de Nîmes' classic Grenache-Syrah blend in lovely peony pink. Take Relevé for a pirouette around the glass and experience a beautiful blend of strawberry, white cranberry and bubblegum flavors while admiring as she gracefully balances with juicy, full-flavored texture with the characteristically bone-dry French finale. Why you'll love it: While the est of France was witnessing the weather's destruction of their 2013 Grenache harvest (a very important grape for Southern Rhône wines), Costières de Nîmes was favored with perfect growing conditions. This is a classic French-style rosé made out of a classic Southern French blend of grapes.

I liked this wine a lot better than the Sauvignon Blanc from last week. It was a bit sweeter with a clean finish. To be fair though, I've been on a rosé kick lately. It's been my wine of choice. Anyway, this was very well-balanced. There was a very strong flavor from the white cranberries and a subtle finish with the strawberry. I don't see where they get bubblegum flavors but they were dead on with the other two. It was very smooth and paired really well with a chocolate brownie. I couldn't resist a treat. This was a great drink for a lazy Sunday afternoon while it was freezing outside and snowing. It paired perfectly with the movie, just as I predicted. I have a feeling that anytime I watch a romcom from now on, I'll be drinking a glass of rosé. What about you?

Let me know what your suggestions are for a Spanish Red Wine next week! I have a few ideas but I want to see what all of you think. I'll be giving shout-outs to my favorite ideas! Join ClubW today to get a box of really great wines like I do.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Love With Food October Review: Monster Mash

I am literally writing this little intro and running. We're about to go out for a family brunch. Anyway, last month's Love With Food Box was interesting to say the least. I have no idea what the title of the box has to do with the actual snacks but hey, I'm not complaining. there was only one snack in last month's box that I didn't like and that was no surprise considering I can't stand jelly beans. Bravo Love With Food! This is definitely one of your best boxes yet. What did you guys think of October's box? 
Organic Jelly Beans by Surf Sweets @SurfSweets
What LVF Says: Trick or Treat! These jelly beans are packed with Vitamin C and real fruit flavor. (Gluten Free, Non-GMO, Organic) 

What I Say: To be honest, I don't like jelly beans. Everything from the super sweetness to the texture grosses me out. I tried each color in this bag but I only thought one was decent. 

Honey Almond Nut Butter by Justin's @Justins
What LVF Says: Any witch's brew that includes the protein packed Justin's Honey Almond Butter is bound to make even Dracula smile! (Gluten Free, Organic)

What I Say: I love Justin's. Their butters are fresh, packed with flavor and made with only good ingredients. I like being able to eat their peanut butter out of the jar without having to be conscious about the calories and preservatives.

Cinnamon and Sugar Bananinha Banana Bar by Nutryvitta
What LVF Says: Trick or treat...Go bananas with this banana, cinnamon and sugar bar. We think it tastes better than candy! (Non-GMO, Organic)
What I Say: I didn't like this snack at all. I don't typically like banana anything unless it's a straight up banana. This was no exception. The actual bar was pretty bland with a sweet aftertaste. It was weird. I wasn't a fan.

Organic Original Falafel Chips by Flamous @FlamousBrands
What LVF Says: We hear that the blend of tumeric, onion, garlic, spinach, carrot, red pepper, tomato and green bell pepper in these falafel chips will ward off any vampire! (Gluten Free, Organic, Non-GMO)

What I Say: I really enjoyed these! I wasn't sure I would because falafel chips don't exactly sound appetizing but they were delicious. They tasted almost exactly like a falafel, only crunchy. I'd love to have these again and maybe try them with some hummus.

Buttery Shortbread Squares by Clairesquares @clairesquares
What LVF Says: These rich buttery, Irish shortbread squares are great solo - or pipe on an icing design of your favorite monster for a Halloween twist. 

What I Say: I love shortbread cookies. They're so delicious and buttery and just melt in your mouth. I love the simpleness of them. These were no different. I want more!

Chocolate Almond Nut Butter by Justin's @Justins
What LVF Says: With 3g of Fiber and 5g of Protein, this Chocolage Almond Butter is a graveyard smash! (Gluten Free, Organic)

What I Say: This is a great alternative to Nutella and so much more healthy. Don't get me wrong, I love Nutella but snacking on one of Justin's chocolate nut butters is so much more guilt-free.

Original Cheese Straws by J&M 
What LVF Says: If the full moon is made of cheese, we hope it is as tasty as the real cheese with a hint of cayenne found in these cheese straws! (Non-GMO)

What I Say: These were delicious! I loved them. I was really surprised to find the straws dense like crackers and not puffs. It was a welcome surprise because they ended up being a very satisfying snack. The cayenne pepper was a nice twist too because it added a little kick but very subtle.

Snapea Crisps by Calbee @HarvestSnaps
What LVF Says: These Snapea Crisps are so tasty. Be careful you may want to to the mash...the monster mash! (Non-GMO)

What I Say: I was not expecting to like these at all. I mean, crunchy snapea crisps? Who would've thought? I did like them though. I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed them. The snapeas are a bit sweet which was the perfect combination with the saltiness. Get what I'm saying?