Sunday, November 23, 2014

Calling All Coffee Lovers - Nespresso Review & Sale

If you are a coffee lover, or know someone who is, you'll probably appreciate this post.  It's a review of the Nespresso VertuoLine and Aeroccino+ Milk Frother that I've been trying out for the past week or so, and I give it two thumbs up.  Those who know me know that I'm a huge coffee drinker.  I'm the type of person who, at night before bed, is already looking forward to that first cup of coffee in the morning.  It's bad I know, but it's truly a delight for me.  

I've tried lots of different kinds of coffee and coffee makers, so when I was asked to review the  Nespresso VertuoLine and Aeroccino+ Milk Frother, I was pretty excited, but I've become somewhat of a coffee snob, so I was prepared to give my honest feedback. A great cup of coffee is a thing to enjoy and savor, but a bad cup of coffee is so disappointing.  I've heard of Nespresso and have friends who love theirs - they rave about the pods and the convenience of the machine, but I'd never tried it for myself.  I didn't even really understand what the pods were or how they worked.  After trying out the Nespresso for myself, I can honestly say I love it! 

First of all, it's small and compact, fitting perfectly on our kitchen countertop, leaving lots of room for other things.  As a person for whom organization and kitchen decor is important, this little Nespresso machine fits our home perfectly.  It's actually a cute and sleek coffee maker.  

The Nespresso is a single-serve coffee and espresso maker that prepares the perfect serving at the touch of a button. The coffee and espresso comes in capsules (pods) and are color-coded to distinguish between the different flavors and caffeinated vs. decaf.  This machine uses Nespresso VertuoLine pods only- not the Nespresso OriginalLine pods.  I keep mine in a large bowl right next to the machine. 

So far, I like the blue pods the best (Odacio), but all of the flavors I've sampled are awesome.  Here's the variety they have to choose from: 

Nespresso offers 12 capsule varieties including 8 large cup coffees (8 oz.):
- Stormio – Rich and Strong
- Odacio – Bold and Lively 
- Melozio – Smooth and Balanced
- Elvazio – Delicate and Fruity
- Hazelino – Hazelnut Flavor
- Vanizio – Vanilla Flavor
- Decaffeinato – Round and Malty
- Half Caffeinato – Sweet and Velvety

And 4 espresso varieties (1.35 oz):
- Diavolito – Highly Intense
- Altissio – Full Bodied and Creamy
- Voltesso – Sweet and Light
- Decaffeinato Intenso – Dense Flavor

To purchase more pods, you can: 1) go to; 2) go to the retail finder page using your zip code; or 3) call the Nespresso Club customer service line at 800-562-1465. 

With this machine, it's nice that you can see exactly how much water you have in the unit before you make your coffee.  

And it couldn't be easier to use.  You just choose your coffee or espresso flavor, insert the pod, close the top and turn the lever to the left, then press start.  

When you open the lid, the pod will automatically eject into the capsule container. 

And the coffee tastes delicious!  Seriously!  Oh boy, come to mama!

Curling up with a magazine and cup of coffee on the weekends is blissful.

In the winter months especially, I also love to make a hot cocoa in the evenings.  You can use the Aeroccino+ Milk Frother not just for cappuccino and lattes, but for hot cocoa as well.  

You just pour the milk into the frother to the fill line inside, close the lid, and push the start button.  

For hot milk, it takes about two minutes to heat and froth.  But, you can also choose cold froth by holding the start button for two seconds.  I like the Private Selection brand cocoa powder for hot cocoa. 

When the Aeroccino+ Milk Frother is finished frothing the milk, I use a spoon to hold back the froth and pour the hot milk into the cup.  Then, mix in the cocoa powder and stir until it's all dissolved. 

Finally, top with the warm froth.  And you have a delicious, frothy hot cocoa. 

Just in time for the holidays!  I'm excited to have friends and family over because I love to offer coffee, but sometimes people decline if they feel like you'll be making an entire pot just for them.  This way, the pods make it so simple to brew someone a fresh cup of coffee or espresso with zero effort.  And you know it will be perfect every time.  


Nespresso machines are 25% off today (November 24).  Go here to take advantage of those savings. The machine I reviewed here, the Nespresso VertuoLine, retails for $299, but with the sale, it's $224.25.  If you know someone who's been really, really good this year, maybe tell Santa to put one of these under their tree.  

From November 28, 2014 - January 31, 2015, you will earn $100 credit when you purchase a machine valued at $199 or more.  Go here to learn more. 

Thank you to Nespresso for sponsoring today's post and for delightfully enabling my coffee addition. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Weekend Steals & Deals + Fall/Winter Outfits

A few girlfriends and I got together last night and were chatting about how some of us are Today Show girls, while others prefer Good Morning America.  Do you fall into one of those categories?  I'm a Today Show girl and have been watching it as long as I can remember.  I put it on each morning and listen to it while I'm getting ready.  I always pay close attention to Al's weather report and think about y'all as he shows how the U.S. is doing in terms of temperature.  It seems like most parts of the U.S. are feeling the cold lately.  Houston went from "I hope it gets cold soon" to "holy sh*t, it's cold!" in about two days.  Of course, we enjoy getting to bust out some of our cold weather clothes.  

This perfect v-neck tee comes in a ton of colors and ranges from only $5.50 - $9.  My 1969 GAP legging jean is a go-to I wear all the time.  Because I like them so much (they are stretchy and super comfy), I have them in two sizes (24 and 25) depending on if I've been eating too much ice-cream.  You know you like your jeans when you buy them in two sizes. ;)  These tall black boots are old from DSW (Audrey Brooke), but I think this pair is the most similar at the same price. 

Since I tend to wear plain tops, I like the pop of pattern this plaid scarf adds.  More plaid scarf options here and here and here.  The striped gloves are a steal from Old Navy at under $7, and help keep your hands warm.  I'm wearing the Kate Spade watch I was telling you last week finally went on sale (20% off!).  And the Renegade bracelet is holding up really well, even though I wear it all the time.  

My French Connection soft packable jacket isn't a steal at $165, but I wanted to show you what I wore to keep warm because it was so cold that day.  This jacket is a favorite of mine because it's slim, so you don't get the bulk that comes with many puffy jackets.  We're heading to NY next month and it will be great for packing, since it folds up to nothing.  

I feel like a lot of days I'm reaching for my leggings, but I need more long tunic-type tops to pair with them (that cover the rear), so I scouted a few on sale.   

Karen Kane Sweater Knit Top ($40,80, $68) comes in other colors. 

Lush Perfect Tunic Henley ($28.90, $44) comes in other colors.  

Trouve Drape Neck Sweater ($39.90, $68) other colors | Caslon Knit Tunic ($39.90, $68) regular and petite, other colors 

And for casual, on-the-go athletic style tops/jackets, here are some great deals in cheerful colors.

half-zip top ($38.40, $64

Zella Haute Jacket ($64.80, $108) | Zella Prism Too Jacket ($58.80, $98)

Finally, these reindeer sweaters aren't on sale, but they're only $39, and too adorable not to share.  The glasses are green sequins people!  I wanted to show you now because they are already down to medium and large only. 

ANN TAYLOR:  40% off full-price sweaters, dresses, skirts, shoes, and accessories. Use code PARTY40  FREE shipping on $175 or more & $8.95 flat rate shipping. Ends 11/22.

ANTHROPOLOGIE: Tops under $40.  Free shipping on orders over $150 with code FS150.

GAP:  40% off regular price styles.  Use code SHOP + card members get 50% off with code BFRIDAY  Ends 11/14.  Free shipping on orders over $50, free returns.  Ends 11/23.

J. CREW:  30% off winter wear + extra 30% off fall sale styles.  Use code SHOPNOW $5 flat rate shipping and FREE shipping on orders over $150.  Ends 11/23.

LOFT:  Earn two $25 Loft Cash Cards for every $50 you spend.  Redeem from 12/2 - 12/12.

NORDSTROM:  Always FREE shipping & FREE returns.

OLD NAVY:  Save 20% off your purchase, online only with code ONSAVENOW + up to 40% off all pants, sweaters, and shirts.  

SOLE SOCIETY:  Invite friends and earn $25.  Fast and free shipping.  

ZAPPOS:  Order before 1PM PST for FREE next business day shipping on all Clothing. 

*And for you coffee lovers out there (myself included), NESPRESSO machines are 25% off with FREE shipping!  


You can see my Holiday Gift Guide- Stocking Stuffers for Her Under $50 here.

have a great weekend!

affiliate links used
Ashley Brooks Photography 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide | Stocking Stuffers for Her Under $50

Although it could be argued that it's too soon for a holiday gift guide, I know some people like to get a head-start on their gift shopping (I'm one of those), and I'm especially fond of looking for presents for my girlfriends!  They are the easiest to shop for and you don't have to spend a lot to show you care with a little something special.  The only problem I foresee is perhaps the, "one for you, one for me" syndrome.  I'm completely guilty of this!  If fact, that iPhone case might have to be mine soon.  ;) 


1 |  Kate Spade Notepads, set of 2 ($12)  Who doesn't love a pretty notebook? I love that it comes in a set of two so you don't have to choose between the floral or stripe.  

2 |  Kate Spade Teardrop Earrings ($28.80)  These gorgeous earrings are 40% off and I'm afraid they'll sell out fast.  But, they also come in a gorgeous clear, black, or tortoise for $48.   

3 | Lolita Floral iPhone case ($35) This case is for the iPhone 6, but it also comes in 6+. I also love this gold scalloped iPhone case.

4 | Trio of Michael Kors Fragrances ($40)  Fragrances can be tough, but I've gotten lots of compliments on Michael Kors scents and with three in the package, your friend can switch them up for different occasions. 

5 |  Clarins Mineral Eye Shadow Palette ($42)  A lot of women won't splurge for department store makeup, but they really enjoy receiving it as a gift.  This palette is too good with the colors inside and shiny gold case.  

6 |  Essie Nail Polish, mini 4-pack ($17)  She'll wear these colors all year long and think of you fondly each time.  I received something similar from a Secret Santa years ago and still use it!

7 |  Super Pleated Infinity Scarf ($28)  This scarf looks so luxurious, but is a great price.  It also comes in black, grey, blue or red. 

8 |  Tech Earmuffs ($35)  How cool are these that you can listen to your iPod while out and about and staying warm?!  Perfect for the runner, dog walker, or traveler. 

9 |  North Face Reversible Beanie ($30) How adorable is this beanie?!  Pink and coral is one of my favorite color combos.  But it also comes in black. 

10 |  Mason Jar Candle "Just How Good Do I Have to Be?" ($16) A good candle is also something a lot of people won't buy for themselves, but will definitely enjoy as a gift.  This one is large enough to last a long time and comes in other cute, cheeky sayings. 

11 |  Cally Slipper ($38.95) I'm obsessed with wearing slippers around the house right now and trust me, aside from a long foot massage, this is the best thing you can get for a woman's feet.  

12 |  Michael Kors Fingerless Gloves ($48) Keep warm with the use of your fingers for your phone.  That gold detail keep the knit gloves from looking too frumpy. 

13 |  Juicy Tubes Lip Gloss Set ($30)  These are my favorite lip glosses.  I bought a set like this for myself last year and I'm still using them.  I wear them alone or over lipstick for some sheen. 

14 |  Butter Nail Lacquer Limited Edition Set ($39)  This set looks and feels very glamorous.  Perfect for the holidays, but she'll wear the gorgeous pink and grey throughout the year I'm sure.  

So tell me, are you cataloging gift ideas now, waiting until after Thanksgiving, or do you prefer the thrill of the last-minute hunt? 

*affiliate links used

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