I love the idea of gathering around warm cups of coffee and sweet treats during the afternoon as a break from the day. If only my busy schedule at work allowed for such luxuries! I'm lucky to squeeze in a few cups of green tea between afternoon meetings.

I've been dying to visit Turkey where they have elaborate tea and coffee services complete with all sorts of sweets. I always find making candy fascinating. How simple sugar and water can form all sorts of amazing treats always interested me. My love of all things rose-flavored and desire to challenge myself a little in the kitchen, lead me to make these rose Turkish delights. If you haven't had a Turkish delight before it is a soft gummy candy with nuts (according to Wikipedia, it inspired the jelly bean) They have been around for centuries and are popular in Greece, Romania and right here in the U.S.

I tried this recipe and, while challenging, it was definitely do-able. Next time I might venture for a more universally popular flavor since rose seems to be a little polarizing. They did turn out tasty though and the perfect companion for the coffee.

Now on to the coffee. Starbucks sent me three single origin coffees to try out and I thought that they would be the perfect pairing for my Turkish delight. I love the idea of single origin because it really makes you realize what impact the environment has on the bean itself. One of my favorite things to do at a winery is taste test wines from different vintages, altitudes or locations. All three of these things make such a profound difference on the taste of the wine, not unlike coffee.

These three coffees come from all over the globe: Rwanda, Timor (in Indonesia) and Guatemala. The different farming methods, altitudes and soil conditions shift the flavor of the beans so each of these three bags is distinctly different. I'm partial to the richness of the Guatemalan beans. It makes the perfect companion for the sweet, floral Turkish delights.

Now back to our lovely afternoon coffee break...

This post was done in partnership with Starbucks. Thank you for supporting the brands featured on this blog. 



I'm so excited to share this installment of Real Girl Beauty with you. It seems like it has been forever since I shared my recent beauty finds and tips! I have some really great finds for you so let's get started.

Smashbox - Always Sharp Kohl Liner in Violetta

I love this liner because of the little cap which sharpens each time you screw it back on. Also this stuff does not budge all day. It stays put through work and in your workout afterwards. This purple color is the perfect compliment for brown or hazel eyes. I'm surprised about how many compliments I get each time I wear it.

Kat Von D - Metal Crush Eye Shadow in Static Edge

This super soft eye shadow is super pigmented so you only need a little. I like it because you can wear it softly with a eye liner or with a heavier hand for a more dramatic look. I also looks great in the corner of eyes to brighten them up.

Marc Jacobs - Enamored High-Shine Lip Lacquer in Boom 

I will be the first to tell you that I don't like lipgloss. Like not at all. This lipgloss has made me a convert. It's not sticky at all and had just the right amount of plummy color to be the perfect compliment for Fall. It also looks good layered with other lipsticks.

Laura Mercier - Primer Radiance 

With dewy skin being all the rage these days, it can be tough finding a product that you like that doesn't turn you into a disco ball. This primer gives you a very subtle healthy glow without all of that sparkle. It also makes foundation last longer which is a plus for those more-than-8-hour workdays.

Too Faced - La Creme in Pink Chocolate

This super easy to wear lipstick has lots of hydrating ingredients that leave lips soft. I wear a lot of matte lipsticks which can be high maintenance. It is nice to have a lipstick that is pigmented but you dont have to worry a lot about. I'm a big fan of this very easy to wear dark mauve shade because its the perfect compliment to a more dramatic smokey eye.

Stila - Aqua Glow Perfecting Primer

Another primer, I know! This one is very different than Laura Mericer because it is cooling. A few weeks ago when we were having a brief heat spell, this primer felt incredible on those hot days. It helps smooth and revitalize tired-looking skin. Perfect for a mid-week pick-me-up.

Atelier Cologne - Orange Sanguine

While I only have a little sample of this fragrance, it is quickly becoming my go-to happy scent. It smells like freshly peeled oranges with a little bit of musky-ness from the sandalwood. It nice to try such a large sample for a few weeks before deciding to purchase. This will definitely become a go-to come spring.

Those are my new beauty picks. Did I miss anything?



You guys ready for fall yet? Eeek, me neither. Well luckily the new arrivals in stores have me looking forward to the season. I want everything on this page (especially that bag, those shoes!!) I love the mix of causal, distressed and glam ladylike. It makes for the perfect pairing! What are you coveting for fall?

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I'm so excited to share this treat with you today. It involves cheese and wine--how could we go wrong? First off, I love entertaining people and I'm a firm believer that no matter how small your space, you can still throw a fabulous gathering. Just use what you've got!

Les Dauphins wines sent me three of their signature wines to try (just look at those beautiful labels!) and I thought it was the perfect excuse to throw a little shindig (key word being little since I live in a studio). Since they sent me three kinds of wines, I wanted to try each of them with the perfect cheese, fruit and meat pairing. In my mind all cheese goes with all wine (good + good = good) but having the right pairings really does bring out the best flavors in each of the wines.

I bought these itty bitty tasting glasses at Cost Plus because I thought they would be perfect for our tasting (and would make great little dessert dishes later on down the road) Then I set to work pairing the perfect foods with each of the wine. I like the idea of this tasting because guests can try different types of wine and create their own mini-wine flight.

What resulted was a crazy amazing spread with of every kind of cheese imaginable, delicious meats and fresh fruit. Here are some pairing recommendations so you can recreate on your own...

Les Dauphins - Rose
deliciously ripe strawberry aroma, full body with refreshing flavors of red cherries and strawberries
Cheeses: Goat cheese, Roquefort, Manchego
Charcuterie:  pork or duck rillettes, lamb terrine
Accompaniment: Strawberry, spinach and goat cheese salad

Les Dauphins - White
a fresh, floral nose, good minerality, bright acidity and citrus flavors on the palate
Cheeses: Brie, Camembert, Tallegio,
Charcuterie:  Jamon Serrano/Iberico, Chorizo
Accompaniment: Cashews

Les Dauphins - Red 
violet and earth aromas, soft palate with rich blackcurrant and spice flavors
Cheeses: Pecorino, Gouda,  Fontina
Charcuterie: salami, Bresaola,
Accompaniment: Smoked almonds

My last piece of advice is keep it super casual with how you serve everything. Use rosemary to add a little green and help separate the different areas. I also love the idea of using Weck jars with a votive for a little ambiance. 

Make sure to turn on some tunes. I always love some Bluegrass to set the mood. 

Never forget the flowers. These reminded me of the shades of the wine.

Create little markers denoting which cheeses go with what wines.

If you're guests are laughing and smiling then you've done your job. 

Create mini-flights with the tasting glasses. 

Finish it off with a nice piece of chocolate and a mini-glass of red. 

This post was done in collaboration with Les Dauphins Wines. Thank you for supporting the brands featured on the blog!  



Let me tell you I am SOOOO sick of hearing the term "pop of color" To me it was like one of those songs on the radio that you first absolutely love. Like the song really captures everything you are feeling and you are jamming to it all of the time. Then the radio plays it too much and you get totally sick of it and it loses its magic.

Well, the reason I bring it up is because I absolutely love a bright couch (a "pop of color" if you will). You can keep the room pretty simple and give it so much personality with a vibrant couch. For those that are a little scared of this trend, I suggest you go with deep navy but if you really want to take it up a notch think about pink or kelly green. Simple clean lines work best with a bright couch so there isn't too much going on. I saw the navy one at West Elm and couldn't get over how perfect it was. What do you think? Could you commit to a bright couch?

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This weekend we had higher-than-normal temps in San Francisco. It is so funny because people in SF always complain that it's too cold then temperatures rise and they complain it's too hot. I mean come on people, enjoy the sunshine.

It was crazy warm and all I wanted to do was consume as many iced drinks as possible. These handy Starbucks Via Iced Coffees were perfect. All you have to do is add the packet to cold water and, almost like magic, ice coffee is created. I added a little milk and I was enjoying a tasty, refreshing treat in no time. I love how easy and portable they are. Imagine if you are running around and just pick up a bottle of water and add one of these? The perfect cold treat!

To pair with the ice coffee I wanted something that was tropical and refreshing as a dessert/snack/breakfast. I love how simple it is to make chia seed pudding. The texture is a bit like tapioca pudding but you get all of the nutrients (including lots of omega 3s) from the chia seeds. I like to top my pudding with some fresh fruit and coconut chips for a little crunch. These are the perfect warm weather treats because you can store in the fridge and they dont require any heat.

All you have to do for the chia seed pudding is mix together one can of coconut milk (lite or regular, it's your choice) with a 1/2 cup of chia seeds and three tbsp of honey or maple syrup. Then let sit overnight and serve the next day. Add fruit on top or chopped nuts or coconut pieces. The possibilities are endless.

Ice coffee glasses are from Not Neutral. Chia pudding glasses are from Cost Plus.

This post was done in collaboration with Starbucks. Thank you for supporting the brands featured on the blog!



Every once in a while, I get the urge to switch things up. Maybe it's the changing of the seasons, maybe I've just been in my apartment for a while but it's always good to add a little life into your living space.

I re-imagined my bed with a few new changes. First off, I just discovered Biscuit Home. It is the cutest home store. Biscuit is filled with bright quirky patterns and beautiful accessories. While it is a little on the pricer side, the distinctive pieces will make your bedroom feel unique and special.

I paired their vibrant kelly green Euro shams with sophisticated dotty pillow cases and a pop of leopard. To counteract the girly bedding choices, I would recommend a bed frame with strong, modern lines like this one from Room and Board. The finishing touches are a beautiful photo that reminds me of mornings in Europe, serious pendant lights with a splash of gold and a textured rug for coziness. Overall, I think the combination is sophisticated but still approachable and modern.

Bed, art, sheets, rug, lights