Food + Innovation: Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls

Food and innovation are two of my favorite things. Being a hungry person working in the tech field, I’m always excited to learn about new food and new technology. So when I heard about the innovative new Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls, I was excited to try them out. The yogurt pearls are balls of frozen yogurt wrapped in an edible fruit-flavored skin. These delicious frozen balls of magic are the product of a collaboration between Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt and WikiPearl Science.

stonyfield frozen yogurt pearls

A sucker for anything that tastes good, I try to keep sweets out of my house. Leave me at home with some dessert and you’ll find me scraping the bottom of the container with a spoon and a brain freeze in 10 minutes. For someone like me with no self-control, the spoon-free portion-controlled packaging of the Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls was perfect. And, at around 30 calories a pop, these tasty treats were good for satisfying my sweet tooth.

The philosophy behind the product is simple – a sustainable food packaged in its own skin, like how nature packages fruits. The result is a mess-free snack that can be eaten on the go, or in bed watching a movie with a glass of wine. I’ll let you decide how I ate mine. The chocolate filled coconut pearls were my favorite flavor of the four, but the chocolate filled strawberry ones paired better with the hypothetical red wine.

stonyfield frozen yogurt pearls

Image courtesy of Stonyfield

Aside from being yummy, Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls are certified organic and Kosher. Want to get your hands on your own Frozen Yogurt Pearls? You can find them at Whole Foods! But before you go, make sure to print out this coupon, then let me know what you think!

Note: This is a sponsored post, but all opinions and sassiness are my own.

Lumberjack Chic: What to Wear With LL Bean Boots

Winters are rough for fashion in Boston. From sweaters to snow boots, fashion choices are bulky and limited when you’re trudging through an arctic tundra. The LL Bean boots are the “it” boot in New England, but let’s face it, they’re not the easiest accessory to dress around. Put commuting to work via public transit into the equation and you’re left with either changing shoes every time you need to go outside or being lazy and rocking your LL Bean boots all day.

I’m obviously lazy and choose to rock my boots all day every day at work. I work at a startup where I have the flexibility to wear what I want (read: anything goes) but it was still important for me to be fashionable.

And so I faced a dilemma – how to make LL Bean Boots look good with casual work outfits.

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Doable, right? But it wasn’t that easy. Here’s the story. At first I had fun trying to make my popular and seemingly fashionable Bean boots look cute. I scoured Pinterest for outfit ideas and emulated them to the best of my ability. But as the days progressed into weeks, I realized that I needed to go off script if I was going to keep my feet warm and my ass from falling on ice.

back bay boston snow

I started experimenting, pairing different looks with my LL Bean boots hoping that I would find outfits that were more lumberjack chic than snow Yeti.

I paired LL Bean boots with layered Oxfords shirts, sweaters, and classic necklaces for a preppy look. This was my signature lumberjack chic look this winter. What you can’t see in the picture is the matching long underwear shirt and pants that made me feel all sexy warm underneath. I’m at least 5 pounds lighter than these pictures make me look thanks to long underwear layers.

oxford shirt sweater ll bean boots

I rocked the LL Bean boots with chambray shirts with cardigans and statement necklaces. When my jeans started falling down thanks to the silky long underwear, I broke down and bought some fleece lined leggings. I generally don’t wear leggings, but these were perfect for days when the comfort food proved to be too much for skinny jeans.

chambray cardigan ll bean boots outfitMost of my office worked from home on blizzard days, but I chose to brave the storm with my LL Bean boots, comfy boyfriend sweaters and cardigans, and long necklaces. These were the days I usually let my hair go wild for that sexy-windblown-by-a-blizzard look. I paired my fancy hair with my thickest wool socks and an extra friendly smile because I’m one of those freaks who gets excited by blizzards. Yes, really.

comfy sweaters and ll bean boots outfit

But the days came when I got sick of wearing boots and yearned for fun winter layers that would look cute with booties. On those days I threw caution to the literal wind and experimented with pattern mixing, pretending that I was wearing anything other than the clod-hopping Yeti-sized LL Bean boots. Desperate for any day other than winter, I even did my hair and makeup, hoping for some semblance of normalcy in spite of the feet of snow on the ground.

pattern mixing ll bean boot outfit

Warmer days, when the temperatures heated up to a balmy 20-something degrees, called for something flowy and spring-like. I mixed it up a bit, adding chiffon tops to the repertoire of valiant attempts to not dress like a lumberjack.

chiffon shirt ll bean boot outfit

At a certain point, I just gave up and embraced the insanity of winter. I even went so far as to pair lace tops and sweaters with my Bean Boots. I hoped that the dudes in jeans and hoodies at work wouldn’t notice the horrendous failure of mixing delicate lace with rubber-soled tumbled-leather boots meant for the Iditarod. If they did, they were nice enough not say anything. Thanks, guys.

lace shirt ll bean boot outfit

Today is another snowy day in the frozen tundra and another attempt at styling an outfit with my LL Bean boots. Do you have any favorite outfits with your Bean boots? Please share – I’m desperate for new ideas!

Boston Wine Expo 2015: Valentine’s Day

Last weekend was Valentine’s Day, which, in my world, can be spent in no better place than with the ones you love and with plenty of booze. This year I had the opportunity to attend the Boston Wine Expo  with my boyfriend for a wonderful Valentine’s Day of love, wine, and fun.boston wine expo 2015

The Boston Wine Expo is hosted Valentine’s Day weekend in Boston. This year we were expecting a blizzard of epic proportions – estimated to have the strength of a Category 2 hurricane. I had been biting my nails all week, praying that my boyfriend would be able to fly in from Los Angeles and that the Boston Wine Expo would still go on.

boston wine expo valentines dayThis was our first Valentine’s Day together (aww!) and I was hoping that the plans I made for us wouldn’t be ruined. Someone must have been listening because my Valentine flew in on time Friday night and by Saturday afternoon we were trudging through the blizzard to the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center. Despite Sunday’s Grand Tasting cancellation because of the storm, Saturday’s event was great!

Neither myself nor my boyfriend had ever attended the Boston Wine Expo so we were excited to experience it together. The Expo did not disappoint! A big supporter of small businesses and startups, I was happy to see a number of small wineries and local Boston companies as well as small businesses from different parts of the country…and wine, of course.

The World Trade Center is huge and between the food demonstrations, wine-inspired shops, and tastings, there was a lot to see! Sectioned with rows of wines on the inside and food and companies on the perimeter, the Expo was surprisingly easy to navigate despite its size. I enjoyed the New York and Florida wine sections – two states overlooked for their production in the wine industry. There were 25 wineries from New York present and it was the first time that NY wineries took part in the Boston Wine Expo.

new york wineries boston wine expoOn the Boston front, my fan-girl favorite Boston wine company, 90+ Cellars was holding court in the center of the room. They had 4 pallet tables set up for tasting both 90+ Cellars and Ironside Cellars wines. I had been meaning to try Ironside wines and was happy to get to taste their Cabernet Sauvignon.

ironside cellars boston wine expo

But in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I was on the hunt for something pink and fun to drink. Not that I need any excuse for rosé, but nothing says Valentine’s Day like pink wine. The good folks at 90+ Cellars sent me over to Gerard Bertrand for some of their Crémant Rosé and Gris Blanc. Monsieur Bertrand was on point with his delicate bubbles and crystalline rosé. gerard bertrand gris blanc

Wine app and local Boston startup, Drync, was a sponsor of the event. The Drync app, which allows you to scan, rate, find, and buy wine you love, was keeping track of the most popular wines.

drync app boston wine expo

Throughout the day, the Drync team rushed from table to table awarding the “trending” wines on their app with a flag. This not only made the Expo exciting and tied to social media, but it also allowed for attendees to easily follow the user-rated best wines of the day. I’m not exactly a wine connoisseur, so I appreciated being able to rely on the taste buds of Drync users who probably know more than I do about wine.

Once we were tasted-out, the shopping began. Second Glass, the company behind Wine Riot and wine inspired t-shirts, had a table set up at the event. I had seen their shirts before and jumped at the chance to grab one at a reduced Expo price. There’s nothing like shopping after drinking wine, am I right?

second glass drink wicked local tank topMy boyfriend and I snagged matching “Drink Wicked Local” shirts in Boston colors, purely by coincidence and not at all because I’m a weirdo who wanted matching shirts. He got the t-shirt and I got the tank top so we’re arguably not really matching. I love the tank top – cute and soft and perfect for anywhere, including the yoga studio where I prefer to sweat out the alcohol I consume.

Despite the weather dumping buckets of snow upon Boston, everyone was in good spirits. One of the things I loved about the Boston Wine Expo was that the crowd of attendees was a mix of different ages. Boston is a young city, which lends itself to bars full of a relatively homogeneous group of young professionals and college students. But the Expo drew people of varying ages and relationships – from couples to friends and groups of singles – just looking to have a fun Valentine’s Day.

90 plus cellars orange sunglasses

I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to attend The 2015 Boston Wine Expo. We spent a snowy day drinking and learning about wine, patronizing small businesses, and having fun – a perfect first Valentine’s Day event in Boston!

Note: I received two free press passes to the Boston Wine Expo, but all opinions and sassiness are my own.

4 Day Food Tour of Los Angeles

Recently I found myself on a trip to Los Angeles thanks to a professional obligation and some personal stuff. Since it was a long weekend on account of Martin Luther King Day, I made the most of having to be out in the sunny California weather for business and got myself there Thursday night to front-load my weekend with fun.

Due to a set of strange but appropriate-for-me circumstances, involving a non-lethal stabbing and health-related family obligations, I’ve found myself in a long distance relationship with a man who is currently living in Santa Monica. This seemingly frustrating situation works out surprisingly well for two people who haven’t done the whole relationship thing in a while and who are secretly trying not to freak out about liking someone while contemporaneously really liking each other. Ain’t love grand?

Anyway, my time in Los Angeles was nice reprieve from the cold Boston weather and looking back from the snow covered tundra called Boston, a huge tease. I spent the weekend doing everything that is physically impossible to do in Boston during the winter, which mostly meant eating without wearing a sweater and three pairs of socks and being outside. Here is my food journey through La La Land.

“People who love to eat are always the best people.”

-Julia Child

Breakfast & Brunch

TACOS POR FAVOR – My first breakfast in the LA area was at a strip club in Santa Monica. Ok, not exactly, but close enough. Tacos Pour Favor, a storefront Mexican place, is adjacent to a gentleman’s club and home to my favorite breakfast burrito of the weekend (yes, there was more than one). My only regret with these breakfast burritos was that I didn’t have room for more in my stomach. Boston is severely lacking in good Mexican food, nevermind breakfast foods, so these breakfast burritos were my jam.

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IMG_1957

BRICK + MORTAR – We found ourselves at Brick & Mortar on a Saturday in Santa Monica. It was the perfect spot for brunch and people watching. The restaurant offers bottomless mimosas and a Bloody Mary bar stocked with more toppings than you can fit into your glass. The mimosas hit the spot and quelled any insecurity I was feeling being the only non-dolled up woman in the joint. Santa Monica is a breezy fun beach town but I had underestimated the LA vibe that would be present.

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brunch brick and mortar LA

In the crowd of fedora-wearing tan people, I chowed down on the egg sandwich on a pretzel croissant. It was huge. Like, can’t eat this all, why didn’t we split something, huge. However, I like to think I was doing my part for the carbohydrate food group, as it was getting little love from the other tipsy brunchers. While the couple next to us split a bowl of fruit, my man friend ordered the chicken and waffles – this is why we get along so well.

brunch brick and mortar santa monicaAROMA COFFEE & TEA – In the true “do it all” spirit of my trip to LA, we ventured out to the Valley where we brunched at Aroma Coffee & Tea. The line was out the door when we arrived, provided some quality time for me to chat with his mother and brother who had joined us for brunch (wait, whaaaat? spoiler: it was great). Aroma is in an old house set on a cute street in the Tujunga Village area of Studio City.

My huevos rancheros were amazing, and once again, too much food. I’m starting to think that chefs in LA get excited when someone orders carbs and pile enough food to feed 5 people. I subbed garlic fries for the breakfast potatoes which was probably the best decision of the day. There were plenty to share, which made me happy that I wasn’t the only one keeping the vampires away with my breath. I wasn’t brazen enough to take a picture of my food in front of the boyfriend’s family – they can find out later how weird I am.

Dinner

IN-N-OUT – The first thing I did upon arriving in the land of fame excess was to get my greasy carb loving self to In-N-Out. Apparently I’m not alone, as the In-N-Out closest to LAX was packed, but the drive through went faster than expected.

in-n-out sign

It had been over a year since my last experience and I could not have been more excited. I opted for a cheeseburger, animal style, with fries, secretly eyeing my bearded companion’s Double Double. It took massive amounts of self control to actually take the picture of the food before devouring the greasy goodness in 2 minutes flat.

in-n-out LA

THE CHURCH KEY - Hailed as West Hollywood’s best new date spot and featured on this season’s Best New Restaurant, The Church Key did not disappoint. The American Dim Sum style restaurant nailed it with both cocktails and food. We sipped on the Yoda’s Staff and Fashioned Chai, which was recommended by the server.

the church key LA

A chronic sufferer of cocktail indecision, I’m was appreciative of the help – it was a toss up between the Chai and the Alfred, the Butler. My favorite dishes were the Mediterranean style Ahi Tuna Tartar (with pomegranate arils, Greek yogurt, and pistachios) and the Angus Beef “Shabu Shabu”. We also got the Crispy Pork Belly, which was good, but not something I’d order again. Pork belly is one of those things that I want to love but can’t – it’s just too fatty for me.

church key LA review
church key LA review

Drinks

HIGH ROOFTOP LOUNGE – On a beautifully clear night we found ourselves at the High Rooftop Lounge at the Erwin Hotel in Venice Beach at sunset. It’s the only rooftop lounge in Venice Beach, making it a prime spot for both people and sunset watching.

high rooftop lounge venice beach

 

EVELEIGH – We checked out Eveleigh, a restaurant and bar in a residence sitting on an orchard in Los Angeles. Totally normal. It was packed, as it was a Friday night, but we managed to squeeze in at the bar on the outdoor patio to grab some drinks. Both the front and back of the restaurant have outdoor patios that, despite having ample seating, have an intimate feel.

eveleigh

photo via Eveleigh website

AREAL – On the same day that we brunched at Brick + Mortar, we also went to Areal for an evening cocktail before heading out for the night. Areal was yet another California restaurant and bar with ridiculously inviting outdoor seating that made me cringe at the thought of going back to snow-covered Boston. When we got there the temperatures had dropped to a “frigid” 50something so we imbibed at the bar. My drink was great, a whisky one, and kept warm in the low temps (ha, ha, haha).

areal santa monica

GOLDEN ROAD BREWERY – No trip of mine is complete without beer and my trip to LA was no exception. I took the opportunity to maximize my time in LA by inviting friends I wanted to see to the brewery. Both friends have adorable pugs and thanks to Golden Road Brewery’s outdoor area, I was able to enjoy beer while playing with dogs – it doesn’t get better than that! We got two flights, one regular, one IPA, which were yummy and will be reviewed in another post.

The best thing about Golden Road Brewery was the outdoor dog-friendly area. The area is large, spanning the front of the Brewery and Pub and wrapping around on one side. It’s covered on top to protect beer drinkers from the sun – a must in LA. Both the beer and the company made it a great visit.

golden road brewery LA dog patio

With only 4 days in the Los Angeles area, I ate and drank more than most do in a week. This was by no means a complete food tour of LA and only left me wanting more. I have no doubt that I’ll be back in the Spring to continue stuffing my face in front of the pretty people California. In the meantime, I will be dreaming of patio dining, while eating chili and enduring the long Boston winter.

Hot Mulled Wine – Perfect Snow Day Drink

I’m proud to say that I survived the Blizzard of 2015 in Boston. It wasn’t as bad as predicted, but as I write this, the snow has been falling steadily for over 24 hours and I’m so bored that I need some wine.

Thankfully, I had the ingredients in the house for one of my favorite winter drinks – mulled wine. Called Glühwein in its native German, mulled wine is a warm wine infused with mulling spices, similar to the hot cider that you get when you’re apple picking on an awkward third date in the fall, or the yummy scalding drink they hand out in paper shot glasses at Williams Sonoma.

Recipe for Mulled Wine (Glühwein)

10 mins, Easy

Ingredients:
Red Wine
1/2 c. Water
Mulling Spices
Cheese cloth
Honey or Sugar to taste
1/2 Orange or 1-2 Clementines
Brandy (optional)
Cinnamon Stick
Directions:
Put mulling spices into a cheese cloth. Peel zest from orange, omitting pith (white part).
Put spices, zest, water, and honey/sugar (to taste) into saucepan and simmer.
Squeeze orange into pot and stir.
Add wine and optional brandy until warm throughout.
Remove spices and pour into mugs with orange peels.
Garnish with cinnamon stick.

I had a bottle of one of my favorite wines, 90+ Cellars Big Red Blend. Mulled wine is usually my go-to for my not-so-favorite wines, as the mulling spices, brandy, and honey tend to mask anything I don’t like. But Boston liquor stores are still closed thanks to Snowmageddon 2015, so I sacrificed my yummy Big Red Blend to the Glühwein gods for the sake of something warm to drink.

mulled wine recipe 90 plus cellarsYou can make your own mulling spices out of cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon or pick them up at the store like a normal person.  I’m firmly in the “normal person” category and picked mine up at a supermarket. I’m also usually in the “add brandy” category when making this recipe but that’s up to you.

I also cheated and used clementines instead of oranges because I don’t like oranges. Also, I felt like the Incredible Hulk while squeezing the juice out of the clementines. The recipe isn’t exact with respect to time – I usually just wait until it’s steaming or I’m thirsty enough. Keep an eye on it though, as you’d hate to burn off the alcohol by letting it boil. Once it’s ready and smells good, pour it into a mug, garnish with a cinnamon stick, and enjoy – Cheers!

mulled wine recipe

Note: 90+ Cellars DID NOT pay me to write about this wine. I’m just a 90+ evangelist who loves their wine.