The WestBean Coffee Roasters – El Salvador La Granadilla

I really have to get through these coffee samples. It’s been about a month since they were roasted and I can actually tell the difference in flavour at this point!

Today, I sampled The WestBean Coffee Roasters’ La Granadilla from El Salvador.

WestBean Coffee Roasters La Granadilla

The little blurb in my MistoBox card says that there’s “subtle hints of apricot and lemon zest with a delightful acidity on the palate, transitioning to a mildly spiced, dark chocolate full body finish.” When I first took a sip without any sugar or milk, I could only taste the deep, dark chocolate and cocoa flavours and a TINY hint of the apricot.

After I added in a bit of sugar and milk (I can’t drink black coffee or else I gag horribly!), the acidity notes came out a bit better in contrast to my milk but I still couldn’t taste any of the lemon zest that was mentioned in the blurb. Of course, lemon zest and its flavours are extremely easy to lose to staleness in all forms, so I’m not too surprised.

When the coffee’s hot, it has a certain energy and depth to its flavour profile that is really enjoyable on its own without anything paired to it. For the lack of a better phrase, it’s what Starbucks coffee should taste like instead of what it is right now. But, once the cup cools, it loses a LOT of its strength and it turns into a pretty average cup of coffee.

That being said, the combination of dark chocolate and its dynamic strength is very, VERY delicious.

Verdict: Although I do really enjoy the cocoa notes in WestBean’s La Granadilla, I don’t think I’d buy it. It could very well be because it’s gone stale, but it’s not as flavourful as other coffee beans that I’ve tried from the box!

The WestBean Coffee Roasters don’t seem to carry La Granadilla anymore, but if you’re interested in getting a bag, grab one here at MistoBox.com!

xoxo,

B.elle

Air Plant Pup!

I have 3 air plants, one of which I featured in a previous post about an easy and cheap terrarium.

My other 2 air plants have made their home in a hanging glass orb. I don’t spray them right inside the orb because all the moisture gets trapped inside, so I carefully remove them and soak them for about an hour once a week. (Or week and a half if I forget, which happens more often than I’d like.)

But, this seems to work for my plants since I found out that my Tillandsia ionatha, aka Callisto, has a pup!

Air Plant Pup

It’s so ADORABLE!

I can’t wait to nurture it into a full grown T. ionatha! I only found it because I was testing some of the older outer leaves and a couple leaves just fell off and revealed that itty bitty little bud! It might look like just another leaf, but it’s got tiny mini leaves poking out of the edges already!

If you have an air plant, keep an eye out for any buds after flowering and keep up the routine you’ve got for them!

xoxo,

B.elle

Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co. – Honduras Jose Salomon Benitez

My June box came on June 14th and I’ve somehow managed to resist the temptation of beautiful coffee for a FULL WEEK! I don’t know how I did that, but I’ve instantly regretted it.

MistoBox June Anodyne

The first one I pulled out for this month is Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co.’s Jose Salomon Benitez. The card states that it’s a microlot of Finca El Bourboyon with the Catuai variety. Not too sure exactly what these details mean, but the beans look a lot smaller and rounder than the typical Colombian variety.

It also tastes a lot smoother and creamier with just a touch of milk! The mouthfeel of this particular blend is somehow a tad thicker and more pleasant than others, but without the use of a high fat creamer. (I use 2%, not coffee cream or table cream at home.)

The flavour itself does have hints of blackcurrants and honey, but it’s not as pronounced as the finishing tones nougat and almonds. These subtle flavours come out the best after adding a little sugar and milk for me, so it’s probably not too suited for black coffee drinkers who want the full experience.

Verdict:  The coffee as a whole actually reminds me of a really good nougat bar that you’d get in a cafe. I would actually drink this AS my dessert instead of WITH my dessert! It is such a great treat! That being said, I’d probably just buy a half bag since it would probably go stale before I get a chance to finish it all. 😦

Wanna try it out and share it with some friends? Pick up a whole pound here at Mistobox.com or here at Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co.‘s own website, which only ships within the US.

xoxo,

B.elle

Cover Girl NatureLuxe Gloss Balm – Peony

It’s summer!! The season of bright sunlight, warm weather, cute dresses, shorts, sandals aaaaaaaaand… completely not liking your face melting off!

I do like using lipsticks and balms in my everyday routine because I always feel like it gives you instant colour and life to your face. It only takes a few seconds to apply and they fit anywhere in your purse. The only downside is that layering on lip balm, liner and lipstick tends to get kind of heavy, especially in the hot, humid summer days.

I’ve heard of tinted lip balms and glosses like Maybelline’s Baby Lips, but I couldn’t bring myself to pick one up after I got my EOS. Today, I found a potential dupe from the one and only Cover Girl.

Cover Girl NatureLuxe Gloss Balm

This is Cover Girl’s gloss balm from their NatureLuxe line and it comes in 16 different shades. I got it on a price freeze for $4.79 at Shopper’s Drug Mart, but it should be available in other drugstores, Walmart and Target. When I got there, the shelf was almost clean but I found one in Peony (that I like a lot!) and hadn’t been tested!

Cover Girl NatureLuxe Gloss Balm in Peony

Once I got home and put it on, I found the gloss balm itself to be smooth, soft and smelling like raspberries. It feels super light and not sticky at all! It tastes kind of gross, but I don’t think they’re expecting many people to munch on a stick of lip gloss. On purpose, at least.

The gloss itself goes on really nicely and the tint isn’t too obvious, but it gives just enough colour to give my lips a little boost. Here’s a quick swap on my slightly tanned skin!

Solid swipe on the left, smudged swipe on the right

Solid swipe on the left, smudged swipe on the right

I would’ve liked this lip tint a lot better if the packaging was more solid. The balm sounded super loose in the tube as I twisted it up and the plastic feels really fragile! I’m actually a bit scared to put it in my purse because I’m worried it’ll break!

What do you think about Cover Girl’s NatureLuxe line? Which lip tint do you like to use?

xoxo,

B.elle

H&M Conscious Initiative / Donate Your Old Clothes!

I’ve recently purged my closet to free up some space and I donated it all to the Toronto branch of the Saint Vincent De Paul Organization (Toronto branch through here and Ontario branch through here) that works to help the poor and homeless with the donated items.

Growing up, I’ve never had a lot of expendable income and it’s only been recently at the ripe age of 25 that I’ve had more freedom to explore the more luxurious aspects of city life like stylish clothes and boutique cosmetics.

Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up conserving, reusing and recyling a lot of materials, but I’ve realized that the fashion industry wastes a LOT of textiles and plastics from packaging and simply not being able to sell their products. The amount of wasted energy and produced pollution just from making the clothes that go into a single store must be staggering!

Enter the H&M Conscious initiative.

H&M Conscious

For every full bag of used clothes you bring back to any H&M location, you’ll get a $5 voucher for your next $30 or over purchase. They’ll take ANY brand, ANY condition and in ANY quality! They’re aiming for zero waste in their production cycle and I think it’s a worthy cause for a big box retailer like them!

H&M Conscious

H&M Conscious

Admit it! You have a ton of clothes right now in your closet that you haven’t worn in a year but you simply can’t bear to toss them out because you kinda still like them and maybe, MAYBE they’ll come back in style in the future and MAYBE you’ll fit into that cute top you got a couple years ago if you can really stick to your diet and exercise regime this year!

Come on. Let it go. It’s cute, but it’s gathering dust and there’s that cute new summer dress you saw in the H&M window that you know you can wear this weekend. (I know, I bought one too!)

Gather up your old clothes and give it a second life! Donate them to a good cause whether it’s to H&M (find more info at hm.com/longlivefashion) or directly to your local shelter or homeless, in-need organization. Someone, something somewhere will be very grateful that you did.

xoxo,

B.elle

~~~

Note: I’m not paid by H&M or anyone to promote any organization or program. I just think it’s a great cause!

MistoBox – June 2013

May was a huge month for MistoBox with their appearance on Shark Tank on ABC (it’s like Dragon’s Den on CBC for all you fellow Canadians out there) and they’ve made a huge overhaul on their subscription service.

At $23USD per month for their Awesome Subscription, you can get a box of four 1.7oz bags of whole bean gourmet coffee shipped to your door once a month. But, they’ve added the option to get a second, different box shipped for $46USD per month! Two whole boxes of delicious coffee a month!

If you find that you’re going through your coffee too fast, you can upgrade to the More Awesome Subscription to get four 3.4oz bags of whole bean gourmet coffee at $35USD once per month OR $70USD for two boxes per month!

As always, the first boxes are at a discounted price ($5USD for Awesome, $10USD for More Awesome), so it’s a pretty neat deal if you wanna try it out!

Since I signed up just before the price hike, I get mine at $20USD per box and I don’t plan on letting it go anytime soon.

June MistoBox

June’s MistoBox contains:

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Kochere – Victrola Coffee Roasters // Seattle, Washington

Considered one of the most prized coffee regions of the world, Yirgacheffe produces some of the most distinctive coffees year after year. The coffees of the region are diverse while maintaining a flavor profile that is unmistakable: light, delicate, floral, sweet, and citrusy. This year’s crop from Kochere is aromatically intense with jasmine, rose, orange and sweet marzipan.

Honduras Jose Salomon Benitez – Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co. // Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This microlot of Finca El Bourboyon from Producer Jose Salomon Benitez is but one example of the unique profiles and quality potential found in Honduras coffees. The coffee benefits from a microclimate influenced by numerous rivers, shade trees, and mountains that encompass the Opoloca coffee growing region. This coffee is sweet like honey and nougat, with fruited notes of currants and a creamy, silky body.

Rwanda Mwasa – Ladro Coffee Roasting // Seattle, Washington

Mwasa washing station is privately owned by Alphonse Kayijuka, a farmer and business man born and raised near the current site of the station, with ten other farmers from the Nyamasheke area who all have shares in the business. This particular coffee has layers of flavor, unfolding first with blood orange acidity, opening up to dark fruit sweetness and finishing with a dark chocolate astringency.

El Salvador La Granadilla – The WestBean Coffee Roasters // San Diego, California

While Natural processing is popular in other parts of the coffee-producing world, it is a relatively new practice in El Salvador. This processing method enhances the fruit qualities in the coffee. On the front end of the cup, enjoy subtle hints of apricot and lemon zest with a delightful acidity on the palate, transitioning to a mildly spiced, dark chocolate full body finish.

I’m looking forward to trying out all the different coffees, but I have to say that the shipping time for my box was about 9-10 business days from the US. I wonder if that affects the coffee taste…

Want to try out a MistoBox? Check it out here at MistoBox.com and make sure to say that Betty Lau referred you! 🙂

Happy drinking!

xoxo,

B.elle

Smashbox Runway Ready Beauty Kit

I will tell you something right now: I usually don’t shop at Winners. I’m too much of a neat freak when it comes to retail businesses to really like going through random racks of clothing to find THE ONE piece to make the whole trip worthwhile.

But, I heard about a really good makeup find on a Facebook group I’m in and decided to make a detour into Winners at the mall I was at already to see if I could find anything.

Long story short: It was totally worth it! I found this whole kit by Smashbox for $25!

Smashbox Runway Ready Beauty Kit

The kit includes:

  • Travel Angled Blush Brush
  • Lip Enhancing Gloss in Crystal – Medium Size
  • Lip Enhancing Gloss in Illume – Medium Size (peachy shade)
  • Photo Finish Foundation Primer – Travel Size (15mL)
  • Fusion Eye & Cheek in On In 5
  • Eye Shadow Trio in Smashbox.com (Cool neutrals in a coppery beige, taupe, and dark brown)

Smashbox Runway Ready Beauty Kit

I’m not going to go into retail price vs what I got in the box, but I have to say that it’s a pretty damn good deal for the price! I’ve been wanting to try out their Photo Finish Foundation Primer (along with their other primers) for a while, but I always feel super awkward standing in front of a mirror at Sephora basically giving myself a makeover in the store for 20 minutes.

I had to use my own foundation (Cover Girl’s Look Clean Makeup), eye primer (Too Faced Shadow Insurance), concealer (Maybelline’s Coverstick Concealer) and mascara (Jelly Pong Pong’s Fairy Lashes), but here’s the final result!

With glasses

With glasses

Without glasses

Without glasses

You can’t tell the difference from my normal self in the pictures, but the products are very, very lovely and the primer feels like there’s nothing on my face! The brush was nice and soft and the eyeshadows went on really smoothly. The blush seems to be really, REALLY close to my natural skin tone, but it seems to be good as a subtle contouring powder.

Obviously, I can’t tell you how they lasted throughout a day yet, but I’m very pleased with the colour combos!

The only thing I’m not too pleased about is the lip gloss. It’s a bit too goopy for me, but that’s one of the reasons why I avoid lip glosses in general. I’ll try to use it more often, but we’ll see!

Overall, I really like this beauty kit! The shades are very natural, which is the look I much prefer.  But, since I’m far too lazy to do the whole regime on a regular basis, the value goes up and that’s always good in my books!

Do you like Smashbox? Do you shop at Winners often?

xoxo,

B.elle