Coffee Tour 2016

Good morning! Currently, it’s still rainy and cloudy here for the 367th day in a row, and not sure when we will see a complete clearing in the skies. So, how appropriate that we join in the celebration of National Coffee Day?! Whose a coffee drinker around here? I certainly am. I live for perfecting my morning coffee, brewed at home on most days. I’m trying to cut way back on buying coffee out; some weeks I probably spend as much as $10/week on coffee! I had a really good pair there going for a while. Ellwood Thompson’s own Dark Roast coffee with my new favorite nut milk, Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Almond Milk. This combo was so good, I looked forward to it every morning. Currently, I have Blanchard’s Dark as Dark on hand with Califia Farms sweetened Vanilla almond milk. Still delicious, but not quite as good.

I digress. This summer, I had a revolutionary idea of going on a Coffee Tour around Richmond. I asked my dear friend Susan to come along, and she gleefully accepted.

Our first stop was the artistic coffee corner at Quirk Hotel a.k.a Maple & Pine restaurant. Everything from their own blend, brewed by Richmond’s own Blanchard’s Coffee Roasting Co. , to the packaging was perfection. You just know the day is going to be great after grabbing a cup from Quirk. #fuelthelove

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My next stop is one that I actually went to on a whim, and didn’t give Susan enough notice  (sorry, Susan!). Over the summer, Blanchard’s poured hot or iced coffee for FREE if you brought your own cup. How awesome is that?! So, one balmy summer morning, I drove over to their location with my Tervis and said, “Iced coffee please.” Let me tell you. Their cold brew coffee is out of this world. I believe they use a nitro process, which means it is infused with nitrogen, and comes straight from a tap, resulting in a smooth sip, with just a little bite to it. If you can handle it, drink it up. Otherwise, I would recommend Blanchard’s cold brew on a day when you wish you had gotten more sleep, because it will perk you right up!

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Back with Susan, our next stop was Whisk. Whisk is nestled in the hustle and bustle of Church Hill, illuminated with Edison bulb pendants, painted crisp white, and serving up none other than Blanchard’s coffee! Again, summer mornings in Richmond begin as warm as 75 degrees, so iced coffees, or latte in Susan’s case is a must. Whisk is known for their gluten free and oh-so-decadent Macaroons. Made in house. We shared the PB one. We devoured it before taking any good photos, whoops!

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Sorry for the little tiny pics, ya’ll! I must have been on a delete-pics-to-make-more-room-for-storage-on-my-phone rampage and deleted the photos not documented in Instagram. So check out my Instagram for full versions.

Next up on tour was to Crossroads Coffee & Ice Cream. Hold the ice cream. At Crossroads, they serve Rostov’s coffee, which I believe pre-dates Blanchard’s. Rostov’s and Blanchard’s basically rule the Richmond coffee culture. We each got latte’s, mine with almond milk, Susan’s with cream, and they were dee-licious! Definitely lives up to their best seller status. Again, I apologize for the teeny, tiny photo.

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Our last stop on the tour was to Early Bird Biscuit Co. Early Bird has been all the rage this year, and I just had to try it for myself. Reco: the basic biscuit with any of their Blanchard’s coffees. The biscuits are amazing; so light, so soft, so warm, so delicious. I believe I paired my biscuit with an Americano. High fives for Early Bird Biscuit Co.!

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And that’s a wrap for the 2016 Coffee Tour! Susan and I were thinking of starting a Happy Hour tour next, so stay tuned! Until then, #rundontwalk to one of these delightful coffee shops. You’ll thank me when you do.

XO,

Ellen

Mood Board: Boho Glam

Happy Wednesday! We’re almost to the weekend, and you know what that means?! It means it’s time to introduce a new interior design series I will be starting here, with an oh-so original name, Mood Board! This series will post about twice a month, so get your eyes ready to see lots of color, patterns, and texture, and you might want to get your wallet ready too, because most of the items I will have on the boards is pretty affordable.

For this mood board, my goal was to achieve balance with color and weight, some of the keys to good design.

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  1. Modern Floral Series #2 by Angela Simeone- Minted
  1. Willoughby Sofa – Anthropologie

Unfortunately the velvet color is discontinued, but there are over 20 different colors in        their velvet fabrics to choose from!

 

  1. Table Tripod Lamp – Cherry Wood – NaturalGrain for Etsy

 

  1. Geranium Side Table in Rose Gold – Target

 

  1. Multi Pixel Woven Rug – West Elm

 

  1. Nura Pillows – John Robshaw

 

  1. Kuba Cloth Pillows – Restoration Hardware

I hope you liked the first Mood Board! Please give feedback or requests for my next Mood Board below! 

XO, 

Ellen

Charlottesville Wine Trip

Hello Monday/Real World/Work Week/Adulting, etc.

That’s how I feel like greeting this week after a glorious weekend full of great friends, great wine, and great food.

We planned this day over the summer and we were counting down the days for it to be here. And once it got here, we were blessed with perfect weather, and a wonderful driver. Pretty much like Christmas morning if you ask me.

On this trip, we decided to go a bit beyond the beaten wine trail and venture further into the mountains, tasting and indulging at Afton, Veritas, Flying Fox, and Pollak vineyards.

I’m not going to re-hash every little detail of our day, because, honestly, I was really trying to “live in the moment” and be a good listener to my friends, and breathe in the beautiful mountain air. In fact, if I could put the day into one word, it would be Haha and many LOL’s, because that’s basically what we did all day long. It was wonderful. But if you’re curious, I’ve listed the links to each vineyard below and wrote one thing I liked best about each one. I apologize in advance for the poor quality photos. That’s what Instagram is for, right? Hopefully upgrading the ol’ iPhone soon!

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Afton Mountain Vineyards

I loved how crisp and refreshing their Chardonnay was; could have pegged it for a Sauv. Blanc!

Veritas Winery

The tasting room with LOVE strung together with corks and our sommelier, Doug, who claimed their White Star wine is a great “porch pounder”; oh Doug, haha. There was really nothing I didn’t like about this winery.

Flying Fox Vineyard

This small, quaint winery was actually owned by Veritas. #RoseAllDay

Pollak Vineyards

The views from this vineyard comes in a close second to Veritas, and dare I say, their Rose was on fleek. Can’t believe I just said that. I don’t actually like that pop phrase, so I’m going to keep saying on point.

The entire day was on point for that matter.

If you are planning a trip to the Charlottesville wineries this Fall, I highly recommend all of these!

XO,

Ellen

 

The Power of a Walk

Because Mondays…I’m reflecting on yesterday afternoon today.

Yesterday, I started my day with a short walk/jog and miraculously made it to work ON TIME! Seriously ya’ll, it was a small miracle. In an effort to just start moving more; whether that be walking, jogging, or my personal favorite (yoga), I’m taking advantage of the light(ish) early mornings and late afternoons we have right now, before night ascends on us a.k.a  Daylight Savings (NOOOOOO).

Anyway, after work yesterday, I went to my parent’s house because I wanted a change of scenery for my afternoon power-walk. I changed clothes and my dad had just come in from work and asked if I was walking. Yes, I said. He asked if I wanted to walk with him, and I said sure! Growing up with a workaholic dad, moments together are few, so I thought, even if he power-walks my ass off, I’ve got to take him up on this.

So we started out on our walk and ended up doing the “Bridge Route”, which is walking across the historic Huguenot Bridge and back. Only this time, we made a pit stop at Starbucks so dad could throw away a large plastic bag that was lingering on the bridge’s shoulder.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos from our walk on the bridge, but it was a beautiful evening, watching the sun just beginning to set.

Walking that afternoon felt great. Although initially, I hadn’t planned to go as long or hard as we did, but I’m so glad I did.

When we were finished, we got cups of ice water and sat out on the front porch for a bit. Like my new balcony, I think the front porch at my parent’s has become their new favorite place to hang out. We gulped down our waters, and dad said “If you swirl the ice around, the water will be colder.” Very skeptical of this theory, I tried it, and smiled.

Have a wonderful Tuesday.

XO,

Ellen