Philly Favorites: Coffee Shops

philly-best-coffee-shopsI can’t live without coffee. Hot, iced, frothed, plain–I’ll drink it any way. I believe in supporting local businesses, and some of the best coffee I’ve tasted has been in local cafes. I always seek out new (& new-to-me) coffee joints in my travels, and have found some lovely spots along the way. Here are my favorite places in Philly for a caffeine fix.

la-colombeLa Colombe: My personal favorite. To me, this is the best coffee I’ve ever tasted. This warm, welcoming shop serves their own house blends, which range from mild to bold. Baristas expertly handcraft your beverages, and the large space of the 19th St. location is great for lingering. Iced coffee during hot weather is a must–it’s the best. (Image by David Maialetti, Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News)

  • 130 S. 19th Street (Rittenhouse Square)
  • 1414 S. Penn Square (Rittenhouse Square)
  • New location at 1135-49 Frankford Avenue (Fishtown) coming soon.

rival-brosRival Bros.: Fact: a coffee truck is better than a food truck. Rival Bros. serves a rotating selection of artisan house blends that will remind you what great coffee should taste like. (Image via Rival Bros.)

  • Coffee truck: 33rd & Arch Streets (University City)
  • Shop coming soon to 500 S. 24th Street (Fitler Square)

shot-towerShot Tower Coffee: This bright, airy space in Queen Village serves Counter Culture Coffee, and espressos made on a La Marzocco machine. They also offer a pretty extensive tea selection, too. It’s a comfortable, welcoming corner spot, and overall a nice place to sit back and enjoy a cup (or several). (Image via Shot Tower)
Location: 542 Christian Street (Queen Village)

ultimoUltimo Coffee: This place is serious about coffee. They get tend to get all technical in the descriptions of their menu and brewing techniques. If you’re into that, great! If you’re not, no problem; the staff is really friendly and won’t bore you to death with details when you just want to sit and enjoy a coffee. The Graduate Hospital location is beneath Philly’s Counter Culture training center, while the South Philly location shares space with Brew, a craft beer takeout. Coffee + beer = greatest idea ever.  (Image via Ultimo)

  • 2149 Catharine Street (Graduate Hospital)
  • 1900 S. 15th Street (Newbold/South Philly)

Click through to see the rest of my favorite coffeeshops.

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MAC Spring ’14: Playland

mac-playlandIf you’re not into color, this collection is not for you. This is saturated with vivid, bright colors that border on neon. Fun!mac-playland-promo

mac-playland-casual-colorCasual Color ($21): These new cream blush pots double as allover color (use it on your lips or lids, too). With their creamy formula, they blend easily while still providing saturated, vibrant color. From top: For Your Amusement (bright pastel pink), Hi Jinks! (bright coral), Young at Heart (bright pink).

mac-playland-lipglassLipglass ($15): Carousel (creamy pink), Bright Side (creamy yellow), Live It Up (creamy orange), Lots of Laughs (creamy peach), Pure Silliness (creamy purple).

mac-playland-lipstickLipstick ($16): Playland (frosted yellow gold; Frost), Happy-Go-Lucky (hot pink; Amplified), Head in the Clouds (pearly red; Frost), Red Balloon (hot fuschia; Amplified), Sweet Experience (bright pink; Amplified), Toying Around (hot coral pink; Amplified).

mac-playland-chromagraphicChromagraphic Pencil ($16): From top: Process Magenta (matte magenta), Genuine Orange (true orange), Black Black (pure black), Hi-Def Cyan (pure bright blue).

mac-playland-pigmentPigment ($21): Ever So Yellow (pearly yellow), Hi-Def Cyan (pure bright blue), Neo Orange (neon salmon), Garden Olive (frosted green-gold; permanent).

One thing to note: these shades are much more vivid in person. I would describe them as electric or neon. If you remember the Day-Glo of the ’90s, these shades are in that same vein. Like I said, not for those who don’t like color or the faint of heart!

The collection will be available on MAC’s website on April 15, and at North American MAC retail locations on April 17. International release: May 2014.

Images via MAC

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Three New Collections for MAC Spring ’14: Patent Polish, Studio Sculpt Shade and Line, & Tres Cheek

MAC is in the process of rolling out several new small collections for spring. Each of these mini collections have a focus, so your eyes, lips, and cheeks are all covered. Read below for release dates and details.

mac-patent-polishPatent Polish
Patent Polish Lip Pencil ($20) gives you the rich color of a lipstick and the high shine of a gloss, all with the ease of a pencil. One swipe and you’re fully loaded with color and shine. In shades: Innocent (nude), Revved Up (creamy peach), Go For Girlie (bright yellow-based pink), Kittenish (mauve pink), Pleasant (rosy pink), Patentpink (lilac), Fearless (deep blue-based pink), Hopelessly Devoted (fuschia), Teen Dream (bright coral orange), Berry Bold (orange red), Spontaneous (pearly plum), and Sultana (deep grape).

This collection is available now online and at North American MAC retail locations. International release: May 2014.

studio-sculpt-shade-lineStudio Sculpt Shade & Line ($21)
These three-in-one palettes feature two eyeshadows and a matte liner. The formula allows for three different textures: Matte, Sparkle and Metallic. When wet, they smooth on like liquid cream for a defined look with supersaturated color. Applied dry, the shadows apply with medium buildable coverage, so shades blend effortlessly. In shades: Ebony Blend (white frost/carbon black/dirty grey), Violet Blend (pale pink/deep violet/iridescent cool pink), Eggplant Blend (soft pink/deep plum/silver grey), Rose Blend (dirty pink/dirty blue-plum/bright gold), Apricot Blend (champagne/dirty berry brown/coral peach), Olive Blend (rose gold/deep olive green/deep dirty olive), Espresso Blend (rich copper/black/warm brown), Indigo Blend (soft blue/deep teal/plum).

Available now on MAC’s website, and April 10 at North American retail locations. International launch: May 2014.

Keep reading to see the Tres Cheek collection.

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The Prettiest Packaging

Sometimes, you can judge a book by its cover. I’ve been finding so many beautifully-packaged products lately on Pinterest; what’s inside has to be as good as the outside! Here are some products that are worth splurging on purely for aesthetics.]

lulu-marulaLulu & Marula: A collection of natural body products handcrafted in South Africa, all in bottles with crisp, feminine design.

paul-and-joePaul & Joe: This cosmetics line consistently gets dressed up in the best packaging. And, you know, they put cats on almost everything, so of course I’m a fan.

buroBüro: A UK-based men’s cosmetics line uses natural, sustainable ingredients in its products. Even if your guy isn’t into products, this still has major potential to be proudly displayed on a vanity or bathroom shelf.

mor-cosmeticsMOR Cosmetics: This Australian brand has several collections, all of which boast different yet equally charming packaging. Almost too pretty to use…almost.

slingshot-coffeeSlingshot Cold-Brew Coffee: This sleek bottle, with its cool label, begs to be reused after the coffee is gone.

cheekyCheeky: This UK-based body product line doesn’t just boast adorable packaging with clean lines; the products also bear fun names like “pimp my plume” and “bright as a button” with colorful graphics that correspond to each product.

koboKOBO: These pure soy candles are not cheap ($38), but they burn nicely and give off intoxicating fragrances. The beautiful packaging, which varies by scent and is stylized by collection, is an added bonus.

sulaSula Cosmetics: The creators of Paint & Peel nailpolish expanded their brand to include makeup, and they housed it in adorable packaging.

atwood-blendBalzac’s Coffee Roasters Atwood Blend: This Toronto-based coffeeshop packages its Atwood blend beans in these gorgeous bird-adorned bags. And they support a good cause: Balzac’s partnered with author and bird lover Margaret Atwood to help raise funds for Canada’s Pelee Island Bird Observatory.

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April Favorites

april-favoritesSpring has sprung and I’m lightening up lately…in every way!

1. TAY Anti-Aging Eye Treatment with Apricot Kernel Oil ($78): I shelved my heavier (winter) eye moisturizer and rekindled my love affair with this cushiony natural cream. It’s thick and rich, yet feels so light on. I use it every night.

2. J.Crew Stacked Stones Necklace ($138): Although we are on the verge of warmer weather, jewelry is one thing I will never lighten up on. But I do love the airy femininity of this piece, and the unexpected mix of mint, pale pink, and burgundy–and the sparkle it gives off. Also adorable is the unique chain adorned with tiny triangles.

3. Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor ($90): I recently got serious about my wedding diet, and I’m on a quest to lose weight and tone up before my October nuptials. My Polar watch measures my heart rate to give me an accurate count of how many calories I burn during workouts–so crucial, since I have no idea what I burn during classes, and a lot of the calorie counters on machines are inaccurate.

4. My other key to success: MyFitnessPal. The free mobile app keeps me on track with food, and gives me a snapshot of my daily nutrition. It also helps me set goals by giving me projections of how much I’ll lose by a given date based on my daily diet.

5. Mistaken for Strangers: Although they are one of my favorite bands, you don’t have to be a fan of The National to appreciate this documentary about siblings and family.

6. Arrojo Moisturizing Shampoo & Conditioner ($14 each): My stylist recommended this combination to keep my highlighted locks healthy. I ditched the drugstore shampoo and am so happy! After two months of use, my hair is shinier, stronger, less prone to split ends, and easier to detangle post-shower.

What are you loving right now?


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NARS Summer ’14: Adult Swim

nars-adult-swimNARS Adult Swim is a plethora of color. Vibrant summer colors and a poolside vibe inspired a collection that is full of bright limes, icy lavenders, and vivid oranges.

Sleek bikinis, towering stilettos – a cosmopolitan catwalk. Dive into this sexy poolside setting with the NARS Summer 2014 Collection – powerfully provocative and daring.

Eyes pop with perfectly synchronized eyeshadows including neon lemon lime and icy lavender while smoky rose quartz and bronze add depth and definition. Feel the heat with a soft and sultry peach champagne for cheeks and a bold geranium for nails.

nars adult swimnars summer 14 glossLip Gloss ($26): The full line of lip gloss is getting reformulated & repackaged for a summer 2014 launch. Pictured above, from left: Orgasm, Salamanca, Priscilla, Turkish Delight, & Wonder.

nars hot sandIlluminator ($30) in Hot Sand (peachy champagne)

nars lost coastDuo Eyeshadow ($34) in Lost Coast (pewter/pale lilac)

More details and photos after the jump.

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BaubleBar at Nordstrom

There are few things in life I love more than jewelry. Specifically, statement jewelry. I am beyond obsessed with J.Crew jewelry, but let’s be honest: not everyone wants to spend tons of dough on such pricey pieces. Plus, it gets old waiting for items to hit the sale section and then scrambling to snag them.

I’ve ordered from Internet jewelry store BaubleBar a few times before, and their jewels are perfect for what they are: trendy pieces that are on point and won’t break the bank (so you won’t be disappointed next summer if that style you covet now is so last year.) Now BaubleBar is available at Nordstrom! They have a few in-store boutiques at select locations across the U.S., so you can get your fix fast. Here are some of my favorite pieces from the BaubleBar x Nordstrom collection.

baublebar-frontal-necklaceFrontal Necklace in Tortoise ($48; also available in white): For the classic or preppy girl who loves sparkle.baublebar-pendant-necklacePendant Necklace ($46; also available in white): For those who like ethnic touches.baublebar-dropsCluster Drop Earrings ($42): For those who prefer a dramatic earring.

baublebar-mint-collarEmbellished Collar Necklace in Mint ($46): For the trend maven.

karat-bar-studsKarat Bar Stud Earrings ($24): For the minimalist.coral-bracelet Smokey Dame Embellished Bracelet in Coral ($46): For the one who wears her bling on her sleeve.

What are your favorite pieces from the BaubleBar x Nordstrom collection?

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Lupita Nyong’o: the New Face of Lancome

lupita-lancomeLancome announced today that Lupita Nyong’o is the new face of their brand. This lovely lady will be appearing in print ads for the cosmetics giant starting this summer.

Notice a trend here? Lupita is the first black woman to be a spokesperson for the brand. She follows in the footsteps of actresses Kate Winslet, Julia Roberts, Penelope Cruz, and Lilly Collins, who have all served as spokeswomen for Lancome.

Image via Bellasugar

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Tarte Summer ’14: Golden Days & Sultry Nights

tarte-golden-days-sultry-nightsTarte’s summer 2014 collection, Golden Days & Sultry Nights, is a mix of neutrals with pops of summery color that can be worn sheer for day and layered on heavier for night. Lots of bronzey tones here, with products that will help make your makeup last in heat and humidity, and nix shine to keep you glowing–not greasy–through the season.

golden-days-sultry-nights-paletteGolden Days & Sultry Nights Amazonian Clay Collector’s Shadow Palette ($36, LE): Five new Amazonian Clay eyeshadows in one pretty palette. Includes Toes in the Sand (matte ivory), Espadrilles (matte taupe), Caipirinha Cocktails (shimmery gold), Oceanview (shimmery turquoise), & Tropical Sunset (shimmery bronze).

tarte-lipsurgence-glossLipSurgence Lip Gloss ($19): Everything you love about LipSurgence lipcolors (high shine, rich pigment), now in antioxidant-rich gloss form. A new ergonomic wand glides smoothly across the curves of lips. Available in Flush (berry rose), Natural Beauty (sheer shimmering red), Tipsy (sheer coral), Fearless (shimmery pink coral), Blushing Bride (mauve pink), True Love (watermelon), Exposed (nude rose), & Blissful (warm peach).

park-ave-princess-glossLipSurgence Lip Gloss in Park Ave Princess ($19): Tarte’s most popular bronzer shade — for your lips.

braziliance-tanning-towelettesBrazilliance Skin Rejuvenating Maracuja Self-Tanning Face Towelettes($21 for set of 10): Tarte’s best-selling self-tanner gets convenient, portable packaging in new single-use towelettes.

tarte-pressed-finishing-powderSmooth Operator Amazonian Clay Pressed Finishing Powder ($34): I swear by Tarte’s original Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder to set my makeup. But it’s loose powder, so I find it messy. Now it’s comes in a compact in pressed form! It’s a personal preference, but I am really happy that Tarte has made this.

The rest of the collection is after the jump.

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Spring Sandal Guide

springsandals2014I can’t believe I’m writing this as {more} snow is predicted in our forecast. Sandal weather is just around the corner (I can feel it!). While I hold out hope and wait for warmer days, here are a few sandal styles I am loving for spring. Get a pedicure and get ready to show some skin again (finally!).

1. J.Crew “Camden” Calf-Hair Sandals ($198): A black sandal with a pop of print.
2. Sam Edelman “Genette” Sandal ($99.95): A gladiator style gets sharp with metallic pebbled leather accents.
3. Franco Sarto “Grip” Sandal ($79.95): Woven leather is a nod to the ’70s.
4. Madewell D’Orsay Flat in Spot Dot ($108): The perfect in-between shoe for when it’s still too cold out to wear sandals, yet you want to start straying away from flats.
5. DV by Dolce Vita “Deah” Sandal ($68.95): I like the pop of neon yellow, but these come in a range of neutrals, too.
6. DV by Dolce Vita ‘Alvyn’ Sandal ($58.95): Crisp white is perfect for summer, and a slight heel gives you a little boost.
7. J.Crew “Lillian” Metallic Wedges ($198): Pure perfection.
8. Vince Camuto “Joslyn” Toe Loop Flat Sandal ($88.95): Gold plates give these sandals some shine.

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