Friday, February 23, 2018

Weekly Window Shopping

Club Monaco can be really hit or miss for me. A lot of the clothes they have are too trendy for my taste, but they're high quality, so when something is a hit, it's a direct hit. This dress caught my eye because of the color (navy is my absolute favorite clothing color) and kept my attention with the details. The pinstripe adds a bit of a classic menswear vibe, the the shape of the dress and waist sash keep it feminine. This dress could be worn with a pair of pearl earrings and nude pumps to the office, or with sandals and a fun bag out to brunch with friends or on a date in the spring.

I was sitting on my couch next to my friend, Mckenzie, scrolling through J. Crew's website when I saw these shoes and my immediate reaction was "oooh!" and Mckenzie pointed at the shoes at the same time and said "I like." The color of these penny loafers jumped out at me. It's the perfect shade of coral/pink for spring and summer. Penny loafers are such a timeless style, I own some in a few different colors, but I would love to add this shade of coral to my collection.

I don't always love Lilly Pulitzer's prints, sometimes they're a bit too busy for my taste, but this print is simple enough that I really like it, it also doesn't hurt that it's navy! This would be a great dress to just throw on in the summer with a simple pair of flip flops and go, without having to think about matching any additional pieces or accessories. The fish pattern is so cute and summery, I would love to wear this to the beach or out to a casual dinner.

I saw so many adorable capes this winter, especially plaid ones, and I absolutely love the look of them, but I wasn't expecting to see the style continue into spring. When I saw this cape in Brooks Brothers' new arrivals, I immediately wanted it. It's a gorgeous, rich navy shade that will go with almost anything (I wasn't kidding when I said that navy is my favorite color). This would make a stylish alternative to a light raincoat or trench coat on a rainy spring day.

Draper James just sucks me in with their adorable scallop details on everything. This is the perfect spring tote bag to hold all your stuff. I want to take this bag shopping at a local farmers market and carry fresh flowers home in it. The simple, yet elegant, design will compliment any outfit, and I could see this quickly becoming a favorite bag.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

2016 Matchlock Cabernet Sauvignon

This week I tried a Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, California. I got this wine from Winc, and it was the first Cabernet Sauvignon I've gotten from them in over two years. To be honest, Cabs are not my favorite. I'm from California, less than an hour away from Napa, and it pains me that I don't appreciate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons. California is so well knows for its big, bold, juicy Cabs, and they're known to be some of the best wines in the world (along with classic French wines). I generally prefer light to medium bodied reds, without too much oakiness and not too strong of tannins. Cabs tend to be strong on all the things that I prefer to be light or moderate in a red wine.

To be fair to Cabernet Sauvignons though, I haven't actually had one in about two years, when I was first getting into red wine. My tastes in red wine have matured over the past few years as I've tasted and sampled so many more wines and got a better understanding of my likes and dislikes when it comes to red wine. I've had a bit of a mental block with Cabs though, since I really didn't like the few that I tried those few years ago. I know that so many people love Cabs, that I don't want a glass of it to go to waste on someone who doesn't appreciate it. I also generally don't eat much of the kind of food that pairs well with Cabernet Sauvignon, I eat much more chicken and seafood than red meat, so I don't feel like I'm missing out on great pairing by not drinking it. But, this week, I decided to get over my mental block and try a Cab and see if my palate has changed enough that I like Cabernet Sauvignon now.

This Cabernet Sauvignon is not a Napa Valley Cab, but it is from California. It's from Paso Robles, which is a part of the Central Coast of California. Paso Robles has been home to winemaking since the late 1700's. The dry heat of the region is great for growing late-ripening grape varietals, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, and the dramatically cooler nights help maintain acidity levels in those grapes. This particular Cab is actually a blend of two Cabs from different sub-regions of Paso Robles. One is from the Highlands region and is more fruit-forward. The other is from the Willow Creek District, which has a cooler climate, and the Cabernet Sauvignon has stronger tannins and is more dense.

I was pleasantly surprised when I went to smell and taste this wine. With my first sniff, I got dark cherry and blackberry on the nose, with a licorice and pepper finish. The pepper kind of burned my nasal cavity a little bit, but not in an entirely unpleasant way. When I tasted the wine, I definitely got the fruit forward flavor from the Highlands region with the dark cherry and blackberry joined by raspberry and pomegranate. The pepper and licorice aftertaste was joined by a medium level of oakiness and a pleasant vanilla note that balanced out the pepper well. The wine had a moderate level of tannins, which I was pleased with, I don't like to feel like I can chew my wine, and overall it was complex and well-balanced. It was spicier and oakier than most red wines that I generally reach for, but I still really enjoyed it and now I'm willing to branch out and try more Cabernet Sauvignons. This would be a great starter Cab for someone who is just beginning to get into red wine and doesn't want to be overwhelmed by the boldness of a traditional Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

As I mentioned earlier, I don't eat red meat very often, and I did pair this Cab with beef, which is the most common food to pair a Cabernet Sauvignon with. Instead I paired it with an acorn squash stuffed with Italian chicken sausage, roasted apple, spinach, and caramelized onion. I think the squash and chicken sausage were hearty enough that they held their own agains the Cab. I was pleased with the pairing, and I could also see myself pairing this wine with a simple spaghetti in marinara sauce.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Game Night

This past weekend one of my friends hosted a game night at her and her boyfriend's place. This was a pretty casual night in at their place, so I went with an outfit that was comfortable and cute, but relatively simple since we were staying in. I wore a chambray shirt, comfortable and versatile black pants, black loafers with gold embroidered pineapples, and my wine and dine watch.

A little over a year ago I accidentally punctured a hole through the bottom hem of my chambray shirt with a particularly long and pointy nail. Ever since, I've been casually looking for a replacement chambray shirt. I haven't tried on or ordered every chambray shirt that I saw, but if I was already placing an online order and the store had a chambray shirt that looked well-fitted and structured, I would add it to my cart just to see. I probably tried or 3 or 4 chambray shirts before I happened upon this one from J. Crew Factory. It's comfortable and soft, without being thin, and it's fitted for a woman's shape so that the buttons over the bust don't awkwardly gape. Sometimes the quality from J. Crew Factory can be hit or miss, but this shirt feels like the same quality of a regular J. Crew retail shirt. I highly recommend this shirt if you're looking for a simple, basic chambray shirt.

I've featured these pants in previous posts, but in different colors. I love these pants so much that I have them in black, navy, and burgundy; and if J. Crew releases them in other colors in the future, I will definitely purchase those as well. They're a nicer pant than jeans, but they have a bit of stretch to the material so they're also more comfortable than jeans. The pockets are located more in the front of the thigh instead of on the side of the hips, so if you actually use them they don't make your hips look larger. The pockets are also big enough to hold most smartphones and they zip close, so I often actually use them, which is not something that I can say about most of my pants. I'm 5'4" and I got the pants in petite, so that they would be ankle pants, and I love the look of wearing them with ballet flats or loafers. These pants are so versatile, I wore them to the office for work over the summer, and they can easily be dressed down enough for casual wear.

Since my outfit was pretty simple and basic, I could have more fun with my shoes and watch. My shoes are on sale from Jack Rogers, and they're so much fun. Sometimes I forget that Jack Rogers sells shoes other than sandals, but they have a lot of really cute embroidered loafers. When I bought these I was deciding between them and a pair with embroidered artichokes. The pineapples won out because they're fun and sassy, but also somewhat elegant at the same time. These are very comfortable loafers that fit true to size. Sometimes I have an issue with my feet sweating in loafers, but that was not an issue at all with these.

My Kate Spade watch also had fun details. The strap of the watch is wine colored, it says "wine and dine" across the face of the watch, and there's a glass of red wine in place of the 8 o'clock marker. I wouldn't wear this watch to class or to work, but it is so much fun for the weekends and evening events. I always get compliments on this watch, and I love that it perfectly blends my love of Kate Spade with my passion for wine.

Shirt: J. Crew Factory.

Pants: J. Crew.

Watch: Kate Spade

Shoes: Jack Rogers.