Columbus has No Shame

     No Shame is a part of an art underground here in Columbus, and what a shame I had never even heard of it. I have to give a thanks to @amanda_rad over on Instagram for making me hip to this event!

     No shame is basically a semi-latenight live art show that features the original works of 15 artists that are lucky enough to be the first to register. The art presented includes spoken word poetry, comedy, song and soliloquy- this is definitely for 18+ because some of it is definitely not for little ears. Signup starts at 10:00 pm with the show beginning at 10:30 pm, for the interested.

     They actually have a surprisingly long history, I’ll paste that below for the curious!

     The first No Shame started 28 years ago in the back of a pick-up in Iowa City, Iowa. Since then, branches have sprung up in New York, Miami, Chicago, Cleveland, Austin, Charlottesville and other cities. Well-known No Shame alumni include John Leguizamo (“Ice Age”), Camryn Manheim (“The Practice”) Rebecca Gilman (“Spinning into Butter”), Naomi Wallace (“Things of Dry Hours”), Rick Cleveland (“Six Feet Under”) and Jonathan Larson (“Rent”).

     In less than five years, the Springer’s weekly No Shame Theatre has become the most successful in the country, premiering more than 2,500 original acts with more than 170,000 people in attendance. (Read more HERE!)

No Shame Greeter
Not what I expected with “a lady bathed in strobe light”

     I arrived much earlier than either the signup for show starting time, at 8:30 due to just being around the area and having nothing better to do to kill time. As the time ticked nearer a gaggle of excited locals congregated at the door. The gathering crowd held debates and talked about societal issues, there wasn’t too much light conversation going on. At about 9:45 pm the volunteers brought out their “lady bathed in a strobe light”, which surprisingly wasn’t what I was expecting. I think my expectation was an actual lady hanging out in a spotlight, I guess I should have paid attention to their site. To be fair, I did want to go in as blind as possible. So mission accomplished?

     At promptly 10:30 pm with several debates being in full swing, the doors opened to let us in. I was one of the first through the doors, and declined participation in the performance. I do plan to attend at a later date and share my own writing, as a personal goal.

     There’s a bar at the back wall of the entryway, for those visitors who have a designated driver. I, unfortunately couldn’t since I was driving. The throng of people made their way to the auditorium, which was nothing like the auditorium I’ve seen. In the center of the room was a setup that was perfect for an introspective piece, and luckily one of the performers took advantage of the room’s existing atmosphere. 

No Shame Waterfall
The waterfall that held my attention for a while!

    My favorite thing about the props that were accenting the room was this well-made waterfall with faux-moonlight. I spent part of the time there just admiring the folds in the fabric. Maybe I’m just easily impressed, but I really think they did a phenomenal job. 

    I want to make a quick heads up to future attendees of No Shame Columbus. Despite the room being fairly sizable, the volume of people filling in and the cacophony of voices makes this a stressful place for those who have a hard time handling being around lots of people. Usually, I’m okay but honestly the noise combined with the number of people made even the large room feel so cramped. Warning aside, once the performers started and everyone was silent the room returned to its size.

     The spokesman took the stage at about 10:45 and I want to commend him on his charisma. He legitimately looked so at home in front of a nearly full house. He rang off the names of the performers with the help of the audience and called up any newcomers for a small initiation. I actually was able to convince myself to make my way up to participate, but did not have a partner for a rock-paper-scissors style game so I found myself seated quickly.

    The first couple performers were comedians. The first being stand-up while looking intentionally disheveled. some of his humor was definitely intended for 18+, so just another heads-up! My favorite part of his segment was his Three Rules of Tinder.

Be Attractive

Don’t be Unattractive

                                                                             Don’t say “Hi”

The third is definitely pretty solid advice, that I wonder if the second performer followed. He serenaded the audience with his tale of heartbreak and falling in love with no less than 3 different women having the same outcome. It was a tale of woe if ever there was one, to love someone who’s not capable of loving you because of orientation. Sadly, I can’t remember any lines from his piece, but it was quite good! At  the bottom of this post, I’ll put a slideshow of all of the performers so I don’t crowd the text or stretch the page!

     Acts 3 and 4 were a little more on the serious side. The first was a guy who stated he has only 1 or 2 more visits to No Shame before he’s gone. He gifted the audience with a thought provoking soliloquy about that which is hidden. His attire and the backdrop of tstage” was just perfect. He paced the stage and really drove a sense of urgency. He accomplished his goal wonderfully! Thankfully, I did manage to get a couple of decent pictures of him in (what I thought was) a prime location. I want to say this gentleman was my favorite act. When I go back, I’ll be saddened by his absence.

     Following him was my personal inspiration to resume poetry. A young poet that was writing imagery- she’s working on a book of poems about Columbus locations. When it comes out I plan to buy it. Her piece included two poems, one that perfectly described Fountain City, and the other that brought Kilwins to mind. She definitely inspired me to try my hand at capturing some of my favorite landmarks!

     Act 5 was there for his second time, and first time performing. Despite that, his taking the spotlight was met with a raucous barrage of cheers that was deafening. He was a comedic act, much like the earlier first 2 acts and his had a veneer of relatability. Again, this is something I don’t remember too much about, sadly. I will say that I do remember how well he composed himself, despite his nerves. I don’t know him, but I’m proud of him! Once he reclaimed his seat, a rapper made his way to the stage and was likewise charismatic. In a similar vein I can’t remember too much. But the picture I captured really shows his comfort!

 

No Shame in ending this here! 

     I don’t particularly want to make this a dauntingly long post, so I’ll cut this short here. I will say that I do recommend this for a fun night out on a Friday. At 5 dollars a head, it definitely not the most expensive thing you can do in Columbus, and it’s in the heart of our Downtown. Big thanks to the people of No Shame! Thank you for creating an environment where people feel safe to share their passions and try something new.

Fashionable Findings: Dear Stella

Welcome to another Fashionable Find here on my home turf! I discovered a somewhat new boutique down on Whittelsey- Dear Stella. Dear Stella has been around for 4 years, but they have been at their current location for only 2 years. (Fun fact: they may have opened shortly before or after I first moved here!) They have an impressive selection of clothes and all of them are stylish and modest! Which, is right up my alley. 

When I walked in, I was greeted with a friendly “Welcome!” and an offer for help. She was incredibly patient with me skulking around taking photos of the shop. She was absolutely lovely! So I would like to commend her for being so enthusiastic when I approached her. It really helped me feel comfortable.

They have some gorgeous jewelry displayed in front of the door, I had to force myself not to examine it too closely lest I tried to buy some. I really liked how the accessories on display were both artful and simple. Jewelry like this can literally go with just about anything. I need to return for some accessories one of these days.

They have seating by the entrance, I can picture my fiance’ camping there if I had brought him. And I can’t say I’d blame him, because the chairs look comfortable. I almost decided to take a seat, but decided against it. What if it’s too comfortable?

I think my favorite thing about Dear Stella was the dressing rooms. They had trendy wallpaper and were huge, compared to dressing rooms I’m familiar with. I had room to stretch and put my purse and original outfit under the bench for the sake of pictures. I got a picture to show you how cute they are- but it doesn’t exactly speak to the size of it. It was nice and spacious. I also want to note that the mirror was flattering! I always sort of balk when I have to take photos in dressing rooms, but not here. The lighting combined with the large mirror was altogether favorable. 

Moving on from my impressions of the store itself, I did try on 5 different outfits. Four of them worked, and one didn’t. Sadly, they didn’t have my size. But, I do want to give this dress an honorable mention because it’s adorable and I can see it working famously for someone!

           All dolled up- frontAll dolled up- back

Honestly, just look at that. It’s a gorgeous cream color, with a plunging back and that absolutely adorable bow. I would have loved to have found one that fit. Maybe one day! I’ll remain hopeful.

 

Moving on to the things that did fit, the moment I was in the dressing room I had to try this shirt. I’ve seen them all over Instagram and Pinterest, an I’m obsessed with the pastels and the little balls hanging from the fabric. Despite not being fitted the shirt does manage to be flattering. I love how the stripes do line up from the ruffle to the bodice. I hope to return to liberate this, especially. Because while I love all of the selections coming up, this shirt has a special place in my heart.

For a style with this, I can see it paired well with some 70’s bellbottoms and some fun chunky jewelry. I’m thinking really playing to the pastels and going with a slightly Harajuku aesthetic. I’d pair it with a pink bow in my hair and a pair of pastel platform sneakers. Really this shirt begs to have fun stylistically speaking. I get the urge to dress like a 12-year-old just looking at it!

The second item I tried on was this amazingly adorable two-piece checkered set. The moment I laid eyes on it I knew it was going to make it into this post for two reasons. The first of which being I loved the pop of color against the black and white. The second being that I’ve also seen so many of these two-piece sets on social p–media but never got occasion to try one on. I have to say, I understand the hype. They’re incredibly cute. Literally, my only gripe is that the fabric did seem a bit stiff right off the bat, but I can see a wash clearing up that issue.

To style this outfit, I’m picturing a playful hairstyle and some fairly simple jewelry to offset the pattern. I really like a choker with this, since the pattern is so loud you don’t want something disrupting that by dangling over it. I feel like some pink tassel earrings would complement this outfit nicely, too. And as far as the shoes go, I actually do like my converse with this. To be perfectly fair, I do kind of like my converse with everything. 

Dear Stella Dress

Number three was this adorable peach colored dress. This thing really gives me Nurse vibes. I honestly want to pair with it a white headband and some kneehigh socks. Maybe some pearl studs and a long pearl necklace to add a classical feeling. On that same aesthetic, this calls for white sneakers. I think this one may have been one size smaller than optimal for me, but it was still really cute. If I had brought it home with me, I’d have to hunt for a white cardigan, because the only thing I wasn’t feeling was the sleeves.

The fabric had very little give, but that only plays to the nurse vibes I get from it. This is one outfit that the converse just didn’t jive with… yet I didn’t take them off. Seriously, they may as well be apart of me by now. 

Dear Stella Dress

The final outfit I tried on today really feels like I ought to be on a cruise. It has to be intentional with the palm frond pattern. I can picture this billowing slightly in the sea breeze and I’m not going to lie to you, I almost tried to buy it. Unfortunately, I did decide to be responsible at the last minute, though. This is another thing my converse do not go with. This dress more calls for earthy toned leather sandals and gold jewelry. I found this amazing pair of palm tree hoops from forever 21 that I think would be fantastic when paired with this dress. While we’re accessorizing, I also actually really like this pendant, too. I almost want to say a ponytail with this, but I’m really on board with loose beachy waves. 

Apologies for not going into the makeup side, that’s something I’m taking some time to learn about at the moment and I would hate to give anyone some bad advice there. 

Closing Thoughts

 

Out of the 5 outfits I tried, the highest price was 68 dollars, if I recall correctly. This boutique has some wonderful stuff, though just a touch out of the price range that I try to stick in. The two-piece outfit was about 60 altogether, which is decent. I’d put Dear Stella at about a mid-range price point. Not unbelievably expensive, but not super cheap either. From the quality, I’d say it’s well worth it, honestly. 

I do recommend Dear Stella if you have some spending money that you can play with without guilt. You’ll find choices from staples to accent pieces with personality. They are definitely worth a look! 

Fashionable Findings: Lizard Thicket

 

Today’s Fashionable Finding is Lizard Thicket in Columbus GA. They’re a small-ish chain, mostly situated in the Atlanta area with a little web of outreach. They appear to specialize in a modest style, much to my pleasure. The whole aesthetic with the brickwork and the fairy lights, made me feel right at home. They had some decorative pieces here and there. But never too much- it was just enough to give me homey vibes. I was absolutely loving the warm tones and industrial feel- but then again, don’t I always love an industrial feel?

When I walked in, I was immediately greeted by one of the pretty cashiers, and if I may derail for a moment- her hair was amazing. She had this gorgeous half-crown braid that was just perfect. But, I degress, I wandered around the fairly large store and was honestly impressed by not only their selection of JJ approved choices, but also their fantastic service. They really felt like friends after being there for just a few moments, and I want to commend them highly on their interactions with some of the other. I was blown away by how sweet and encouraging they were. 

With their consent, I did snap some other pictures to show you guys some of their aesthetic. For the sake of page-stretchiness, I combined them in a collage for your viewing pleasure.

Literally, everything about Lizard Thicket felt so welcoming, definitely give them a visit if you’re in an area that has them.

 

Now that we have my take on their aesthetic and raved about their service, it’s time to move on to the good stuff! I tried on three outfits, three of which will be featured and one that’s an honorable mention. One that I desperately wanted to try on, I’ll go ahead and mention here. There was this ADORABLE black dress with stars (right up my alley, if you follow the blog on Instagram @java_and_jeans). My only gripe, if I had to have one, was that this one dress wasn’t available in my size.

Click this image to see this dress on their website

Isn’t that the cutest? For some reason, I’m on a star kick at the moment. And I always live for black clothes! This one looks perfect to pair with some… converse. 

 

Voted Number One For Picnics

Lizard Thicket Sumer Dress
In retrospect, I realize that I needed to tie it in the front. My mistake!

The first outfit I tried on today, was this adorable blue strapless dress. Due to my little bit of hip, I had to go with a Large size. Even with the attached tie in the back, the cinching wasn’t quite enough to make me feel secure about the bust. It did want to fall just a little, I’d recommend maybe some that sticky rubber tape, to make it stick to your chest if you’re like me. If you have a little more of a sizeable bust, I feel like this would be perfect. Also, before any comments come in about it, I did just realize that it should have been tied up front- that’s something I don’t encounter often. Next time, I’ll be ready.

I can see it paired with a cute summer ensemble. I’d definitely suggest something lighter in color, like a light gold, to complement the summer aesthetic. For your ears, hoops are timeless. You can never go wrong with a nice hoop, I personally like these with this dress. With a strapless dress, you need either a chunky necklace or layered. I can see a gorgeous sun hat and some wedges.

With the summer heat beginning to ramp up, I don’t know if I’d recommend makeup without a proper setting, but light makeup would be perfect with this. Just something to accent your perfect pout, like a light gloss. This dress, to me, feels like a modest, down-home picnic date or hanging out at a lake.

 

Choice For Date Night Threads

 

Lizard Thicket Wrap Dress
I loved this gorgeous and simple, yet elegant wrap dress!

My second find was this really cute floral wrap dress. It had that strange wrap that I’ve been noticing lately, where you pull the tug the tie through one of the holes from the inside and then tie it off. This one had much the same problem for me, even with my habit of cinching things tightly, it still felt loose in the bust. That gripe aside, it was really quite stunning.

I was living for those ruffles on the but that wrapped back around, and of course, it’s right in my wheelhouse. I adore dark clothes. The fabric was soft and not at all unpleasant. It fell in flattering drape and didn’t accentuate anything I didn’t want it to. Despite the sizing issues, I would love to have brought this home with me. It’s perfect for a vacation dinner with your other half, or even just a girl’s dinner date-night.

With the style of this dress, I was really feeling a high ponytail (hence the goofy pose). I like some strappy sandals with this dress, it would really ramp with the elegance. If strappy sandals aren’t your thing, definitely a simple anklet, to dress up your feet a little. This dress cries out for floral accessories to play with the summer vibes. I’m envisioning something like this– to give a little contrast. If you’re doing a ponytail, I feel like some cute flower studs would do amazing for your ears.

 

Cute an Low Effort

Lizard Thicket Stay Positive with Corduroy
My favorite outfit of today’s batch and what I definitely felt more at home in!

My final outfit was (surprise surprise) my favorite for the sheer simplicity of it. I really dig tanks and shorts, jeans, capris… They’re just such an incredibly versatile look, that I’m obsessed. The grey shirt, felt breathable and incredibly light. My one gripe with this is the necessity of a bralette, due to the draping of the fabric emphasizing anything beneath it. It was really quite comfortable, and honestly, I feel it as pajamas more than going out. The “Stay Postive” on the front could be like a personal affirmation when I don’t want to be an adult.

The shirt was paired with a pair of pink corduroy shorts that despite fitting a little too snug, felt quite comfortable. They had quite a lot of give in the fabric thankfully, that wasn’t over-bearing or too much. With this adorable and simple every-day outfit, I can see white sneakers. The best part about these sorts of ensembles is that you don’t have to feel pressured to do much of anything. If you absolutely wanted to, I can see some heart shades and a tassel necklace in white.

My overall consensus for Lizard Thicket is overwhelmingly positive. With the fantastic customer service, wonderfully modest selections and charming interior design, I definitely recommend you visit if you have one near you! I’m honestly a little offended that I’ve been here for 2 years and never even tried to go in.

Quickie: My Favorite Addiction

Hi everyone, my name is Jill and I have a problem. Since that first post on My Favorite Muffin, I’ve been back 4 or 5 times. It’s shaping up to be a real problem for my bank account. With all of the delicious treats, I can’t say that I’m too upset. Today I decided to camp out and have a couple cups of coffee and try on of their gourmet bagel sandwiches. I ordered one of their specialty coffees today, the Cafe Caramello alongside a Southern Tradition sandwich on a cheddar bagel. I’ve been eye-balling their sandwich menu since my first visit, so I’m excited to dig in!

 

 

The Cafe Caramello has a name that slightly intimidated me. Honestly, I was expecting something incredibly bitter and to get mowed down by a strong espresso flavor (and then not sleep for a few days). What I got instead was a mouthful of smooth refreshing coffee with a lovely sweet harmony of caramel chiming in. It feels quite delicately flavored. The balance is impeccable. 

It’s nicely light-bodied, and I’m very pleasantly surprised. This is definitely a coffee for those who prefer a more mild coffee drinking experience. If you’re just getting started on your coffee journey, give the Cafe Caramello a try!

This sandwich is fantastic- the basic nature of the filling is made more delicious by the cheddar bagel. The first flavor I get when digging in is a slight saltiness from the bagel, it offers a nice counterpoint to my coffee. Certainly don’t recommend taking a bite then a drink, the two flavors don’t go at all together- learn from my mistakes, guys. 

I just want to rave on their wonderful prices again, they are spectacularly fairly priced. My only gripe is that they do close on 4 all week, which doesn’t fare well for my need to drink coffee in the evening. 

Taste; /5

I don’t know if I feel like this is a 5/5, but it’s really close. I’m starting to get to where I’m preferring a little bite to my coffee, which this one lacks. But I stand by my recommendation for newbies to coffee!

 

 

Fashionable Findings: Sassy and Southern Boutique

 

Hi, everyone! This week we’re going to be featuring a local boutique that we just discovered! “Sassy and Southern” is a little hidden gem of a boutique with adorable and affordable fashion and accessories. Their selections are well organized and color coordinated, on top of this, there are two rooms to explore. The side room has various miscellaneous items like bags, bottles and graphic tees- there is also a fair selection of bottoms, like jeggings and jean shorts.

 

Upon walking in, the fashionable cashier was courteous and cooperative with us. We were met only with patience when we asked to feature them and take photographs. I do want to note her exceptional patience and really emphasize it, as it was raining quite heavily. We weren’t able to leave for at least an hour or more.
We tried on 2 outfits apiece, each cuter than the last!

 

Sassy and Southern off shoulder shirt
Jeans tried on this adorable outfit, with an off the shoulder shirt and rocked every second of it. The distressed jeggings were comfortable and she raved about them and eventually walked out with a pair to wear in the future. The cashier was lovely and allowed us to accessorize with the outfits. For this one, Jeans chose a gorgeous burgundy tassel, that complemented the whole outfit. We were both in love with the shoes, and they were very fairly priced at 35 dollars, which was a lovely surprise!

One of our favorite things about this little shop was that there were cute affirmations on the mirror that really gave the shop a kind of genuine charm.

Sassy and Southern cold shoulder dress

I tried this lovely cold-shoulder floral patterned dress with a similar shoe in the tan color. This dress was incredibly soft and felt breathable and perfect for a hot summer day. I accessorized with a multi-color beaded necklace, that I was decently in love with and had a nice weight.

 

Sassy and Southern romper

Miss Jean’s second outfit was a lovely, flattering, white floral romper. She paired it with the shoes from before, they’re really so versatile in that light blush color! The romper fit lovely with no apparent issues with the seams, and accentuated her gorgeous skin tone! She chose to pair it with a slight boho bracelet set that matches the shoes nicely.
I can picture this at a barbeque, just be careful with the sauce! It appears to light enough to be breathable and summery enough to pass for some casual party clothes.

Sassy and Southern fall outfit

My second outfit was a pair of the distressed jeggings, in black. Again, I with the same shoes as earlier because I was also very much in love with them! This particular outfit feels fairly versatile, perfect for the fall if you want a pop of color. The jeggings would be great, if you like the old layering trend, under a skirt. I didn’t choose any accessories with this outfit, because I’m not quite as inspired as Jeans in that department. I can really feel this for a fun night out, for a low maintenance outfit!

Sassy and southern floating on shirt

For her third choice, Jeans was absolutely in love with this adorable shirt. The happy little piggy brings a motivational sentiment that I think we can all agree with! This shirt really struck me as a potential bathing suit coverup, based on the color. It’s just so incredibly charming, and the happy little graphic makes me smile.

Sassy and Southern Boho Dress

I tried on this dress myself, as my third item. I didn’t think any of the pictures really did it (or myself) justice, so I’m just going to put this here. This little dress is so delightfully boho and the bright colors would be perfectly paired with- you guessed it- those very same tan shoes! I think a belt would also do it some good, just a simple brown or white belt to cinch in the waist with some wrap bracelets to further drive the aesthetic home. For your hair, I’d definitely recommend loose waves! Honestly, guys, I can’t recommend Sassy and Southern enough. We were totally blown away by the friendliness and patience of the worker, so go in and say hello!

The end of an Era… 

With wrapping up this post, this marks the end of a fairly short-lived era. As I’ve mentioned in social media, Jeans has decided to split off and do her own blog. I fully support her in this decision, and you can find her new blog by clicking here!

Most Wanted May Edition: A UniquExpression of admiration

This post comes a little after the end of May, but I would be remiss if I didn’t make note and share my pick for Most Wanted coffee in May! We went to a few different coffee shops, not as many as April, in all honesty. We did finally make it out to Pine Mountain, Georgia to revisit UniquExpressions. Finally.

I waited for what felt like forever to return there and try their delicious blends again. We brought Jeans (who has since left the blog to pursue her own), who absolutely raved about it. They are the coffee for people who do not like coffee. Their flavors are so fantastically harmonious and smooth that it’s difficult to find something bad to say. My personal favorite is the Prince Harry Iced Latte, because all of the flavors just mesh so well. I’m not sure what they do differently, but it makes the coffee out of this world

We’ll be revisiting Pine Mountain and the surrounding towns for content for the first leg of a rather large undertaking that my Fiance’ inspired me to attempt. I’ll be releasing information about that soon, so be on the lookout!

Coffee and their shoe selection
They have the cutest shoes alongside their amazing coffees!

They give you the coffee in a nicely portable cup- but I do want to note, that it’s not very sturdy. I definitely advise you drink the coffee fairly quickly because the cup will come apart. But, really, I don’t see too much risk of that because my coffee certainly didn’t last long enough for it to be a problem, neither did anyone else’s.

One of my favorite things about UniquExpressions is that they have their information right up front- such as where they acquire their beans and the intensity of the roast. You can view all of that in my previous post about UniquExpressions

I do want to put it out there for our readers that this little shop has more than just coffee. They have pizza, sandwiches and ice cream as well. When we go back to Pine Mountain I intend to give their other treats a try. If you find yourself in the area, or are lucky enough to do a coffee road trip, you don’t want to miss Pine Mountain’s (in my opinion) greatest treasure.

Congratulations, UniquExpressions for being my May’s Most Wanted! We’ll most definitely be back!

 

Quickie: Starbucks Did Something Right

Hey everyone! I’ve been trying to find something rave on from Starbucks (Aside from my old usual mocha frappe), and I found it, in an unlikely place on their menu. I’ve previously, only had the Black and White Mocha, White Chocolate Mocha with caramel and that… cinnamon thing, I had before. 

 

Seriously, the Coconut Milk Vanilla (iced) Latte was fantastic. I’ve never cared too much for coconut milk, and I’ve surely never had it in my coffee. Thi drink was a surprise and a half, after the first taste, I was hooked. It had a very harmonious flavor with the coconut and vanilla mixing, and left me feeling very zen. 

Without a doubt, this is a great vacation drink. If you enjoy coffee that tastes a little stronger, with a very down-to-earth sweetness, this is the drink for you! 

I see you Starbucks, good job!

 

Taste; 

Coffee Abroad; Revisiting Good Memories with UniquExpressions

On February 17th of this year, my boyfriend and I visited the charming town of Pine Mountain, Georgia and visited the coffee shop UniquExpressions. My partner isn’t a fan of coffee for the most part, and gets turned off by an espresso flavor so finding coffee for him is a challenge. Honestly, we were very surprised by this little shop and fell in love with it. Afterward, he surprised me with my engagement ring, so needless to say we have some good associations with this place.

 

We have not shut up about it since then and I’ve been itching to take Jeans there with us. Today, I got my wish. We made a day trip to Pine Mountain and treated ourselves to the most AMAZING burger I’ve seen in a small town from Eatz on the Corner. Seriously, it was phenomenal, seasoned so well and cooked perfectly. Look at this beautiful thing. 

 

For dessert, as is our custom, we hoofed it across main street and to the main attraction. UniquExpressions- we couldn’t wait.

We have done nothing but talk it up since February, and finally got the chance to bring her. The inside of the shop is incredibly homey and feels a little Boho to me, with the soft mismatched seating. It feels welcoming and comfortable and I had to fight the urge to retrieve my laptop and geek out.

 

 

There was also the cutest decor above the large window that I would love to take home- you can view it above. The idea is so inspired! I loved the coffee cups hanging with the fairy lights. 

Coffee and their shoe selection
Shoes and Coffee- a match made in heaven!

We sat down to enjoy our drinks- Jeans and I got one of their signature drinks, the Prince Harry iced latte. The drink is a made from a dark roast with Chocolate, Caramel, and English Toffee flavors. Their beans are a locally sourced proprietary blend that they have posted by the register for the curious.

UniquExpresions Blend info
UniquExpressions was kind enough to display their blend information at the register

The coffee was as fantastic as I remember- the flavors are incredibly smooth and balanced without a hint of bitterness. The toffee was the predominant flavor and followed nicely by the rich mocha and caramel. There is espresso in it, but the flavor is so subtle and sweet that it even my coffee-ambivalent partner was enamored. I did try a second one from them today, since we were there for a while and the prices are so fair.

The second drink I got was the Nobel Prize Latte which was English Toffee and Vanilla- honestly, it was quite similar to the Prince Harry, while delicious, I didn’t taste the vanilla under the toffee, save but for a whisper.  You really can’t go wrong with any option here- because although I couldn’t taste the secondary flavor, it was delectable. When I go back, I’m going to be more adventurous. There are so many options to choose from!

Honestly, this place has some of the best coffee I’ve had so far- it’s sweet, flavorful, smooth and has just a little bit of a nutty flavor that makes it all pop. So far, this town has a lot going for it. Gorgeous views, wonderful burgers and incredible coffee. If you find yourself anywhere near the area, I highly recommend a visit to Pine Mountain. 

 

Instagrameter; /5

Taste; /5

 

    Pine Mountain gets my first 5/5 on both counts- for the wonderful atmosphere, service and flavors!

 

 

 

Panera Two-fer: Two reviews for the price of one!

Hi guys! So, I have to confess something to you, and you may laugh, but here goes… I forgot Panera bread existed. I definitely forgot that it was in my town. Since Panera is a fairly sizeable chain, I won’t be adding it to Hometown Cravings. I may make another post category for large chains.

 

Now, guys, I know Wheely’s is a chain. But it’s not a HUGE one like, say, Panera, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and the like. So that one can maintain it’s HC position.

 

This is a lazy Sunday if there ever was one, I woke up and checked our networks then decided I was going to head out and be lazy somewhere else. That laziness snuck into my speech at Panera, as I forgot to specify which Caffe Mocha I wanted, and got the wrong one. I did get it corrected, but I want it to be known that it was 110% my fault for not saying. But, since they can’t take a drink back after they do the handoff, I can review both the hot and iced versions of Panera’s Caffe Mocha. I also got myself a cheese danish for breakfast, but I don’t expect anything much out of myself as far reviewing that goes…. aside from me being happy it’s cream cheese.

My breakfast for this Sunday. Am I instagram famous yet?

 

 

For the first order of business, I’ll talk about my feelings on the Iced Mocha. Honestly, not the biggest fan. It’s not particularly strong in the tastes-like-coffee category, and it has a slight thickness in texture that strikes me as strange. It’s almost reminiscent of chocolate jello, in flavor. It’s not overbearingly sweet, and though the menu seems to say it has espresso, I’m not tasting it. After becoming acclimated to the flavor, it fades into blandness and after a few moments, I stop tasting anything at all.

 

Since I hit a wall with the iced one, I’ll go ahead and move on to the regular, hot Caffe Mocha. My first thought was that I wasn’t very big on this one either. It tastes more like coffee than its iced counterpart, but the mocha flavor is so invisible. I feel like the coffee taste (as light as it is) totally overpowers the mocha. It’s not bitter, and on a lazy Sunday when you don’t know what you feel like doing, it’ll just suffice. I mean it’s better than bottled coffees you can find at gas stations, even though it has a quality that reminds me of Keurig coffee

 

The best part of my Panera visit is the one I knew I would like. The Cheese Danish is just as good as I was thinking it would be. I can’t really recommend you get the coffee, but if you like cream cheese pastries, you’ll like this one. This experience makes me want to find something here that I want to rave about, but that’s for another time. 

 

Time for a disclaimer, I think, I know it might look like I go into chains, order coffee and then complain about it. But I really go into this trying to find something good that I can wholeheartedly recommend. I’m not going to lie to you guys or advertise something I don’t believe in- this isn’t a sales blog, and it’s not run by a business.

My rating for this coffee will be combined, in the spirit of charity.

INSTAGRAMETER; /5

If you’ve seen one Panera, you’ve seen them all. It maintains a rating of 2 because I liked the few pieces of art and the lighting. Definitely won’t bring you instafame, but it’ll show that you leave the house.

 

Panera Cat is the piece of art that cemented my rating, btw

All hail Panera cat, the bringer of adequate ratings!

 

TASTE; /5

TASTE; /5

 

Featured Fashions: The Blushing Brunette Boutique

Hey Y’all,

  Today’s “Featured Fashions” post is going to be very…interesting to say the least. Recently, Java Jill and I visited The Blushing Brunette Boutique in Columbus, Ga.

As we walked in, we were promptly greeted by the owner of the boutique. She asked if she could assist us and we politely declined. She informed us know that she would be around if we needed anything. After browsing around and pulling some different options, we were finally ready for a fitting room. The owner pulled us each a pair of sandals from the stock room, and we began trying on our outfits.

For my first outfit, I chose this adorable two-piece set. Two things really drew my attention to this outfit, the floral print the color. The tropical vibe of the floral print really complimented the soft, sunny, yellow color of the set. At first, I was a bit skeptical of the way the outfit would look and fit on my body. I typically range between a medium and large in tops and bottoms. They did have a size medium in stock, however,  judging by how the garments appeared on the hangers, I was worried that both pieces would run small.  When I tried it on the bottoms, I was pleasantly surprised! The medium fit like a glove, despite the fact I was not wearing the correct undergarments. While I was impressed by the quality of the shorts, I wasn’t as fond of the top.

 

Blushing Brunette tropical two piece

The elastic band at the neckline caused the off the shoulder top to bunch up. Now, I understand that many off the shoulder tops use elastic to enable the top stretch over the shoulders. However, I couldn’t move my arms without it riding up. I love off the shoulder tops, but that is so frustrating! It might seem like I’m being a bit nit-picky, but that’s just my personal opinion. I did like that the top covered more skin than I had originally thought it would. As a curvy girl, I love wearing crop tops that show just a sliver of skin. That way, I get to enjoy the look of a crop top without highlighting parts of my body that I am trying to camouflage.

Despite the drawback of the top, I would probably purchase this outfit. I feel like it would be perfect for a summer getaway to a tropical destination, although, I’d add a bralette, and some cute accessories the complete the look. I did like the look of the metallic sandal with the outfit for a more casual outing. If you are looking to dress it up for a dinner or a night out, I suggest swapping out the sandal for a wedge heel.

Let’s move on to JJ’s outfit of choice. JJ chose a beyond adorable, all black, lace romper. We both really loved this romper, and as soon as we saw it we knew one of us needed to try it on. The lace detailing covering the entire romper really made it stand out. Also, despite the lace, the romper was not itchy and did not rub against her skin or make her uncomfortable. JJ raved about how flattering it was on her body and the quality of the fabric. JJ mentioned that she would probably wear pantyhose to make it a bit more modest.

Speaking of modesty, although the romper had a plunging neckline, the overall feel of the romper is cute rather than sexy. JJ looked stunning in the romper and I know she probably would have purchased it if…well, we touch on later. If you’re looking to purchase this romper for a special event, I would suggest adding a layered choker, a pair of heels (wedge, platform, chunky, take your pick) and a cute clutch. If you’re going for a more casual vibe, a slightly dressy sandal or a heeled ankle boot, statement earrings (hoops or dangles), and a cross body will dress down the romper.

 

Blushing Brunette Black lace romper

My next outfit veered more on the causal side. When I saw the leopard print top hanging up on display, I immediately went to look for it. Once I found it, I knew I’d be pulling it to try on. I grabbed a size medium because the top seemed to have a relaxed oversized feel to it. I also grab a bralette to peek out from under the top, and a pair of black denim jeans to match.

Starting with the bralette, the fit was disappointing. I grabbed a size medium/large and it fit like a small/medium! Not only was it too small, the bralette itself had little to no stretch. To be fair, I am a busty girl and they did have “plus sized” bralette options so I could have sized up. However, for a boutique carrying sizes small to triple X, I’m not sold on the fact that the plus-sized bralettes would really fit a truly plus sized lady. I’m curious to find out how the bralettes work at other body types because they are a hard pass for me.

Although I hit a snag with the bralette, I was impressed with the t-shirt. Although I’m not sure what kind of fabric was used to make the shirt, it was super soft and really comfortable. I loved the color contrast of the terracotta and black spot against the white t-shirt. The tie in the front also added that extra little trendy touch to the top. I am currently obsessed with the “tie up” look (it a great trick to make an oversized top or tank appear more flattering) so it’s not surprising that I loved that top. I just wished that I liked the shorts as much as the top.

At first glance, the cuffed black denim shorts seemed like they were going to work out. When I got to the dressing room, I realized that I might have needed to size up. Although, If I had grabbed an X-Large, it probably would have gaped in the back, so that would have solved one problem but created another one. Even though the shorts were a bit tight, the overall look of them was ok. If I had a body shaping underwear on, I would have been able to fix the issue.

Out of the three clothing pieces included in the outfit, I would purchase the top and the shorts. T-shirt was comfy, and the shorts were cute. Since this outfit is casual, I’d switch out the sandals for sneakers, and add super simple accessories like a dainty necklace and studs.

The Blushing Brunette logo

By now you might be wondering what I was talking about when I mentioned that this was going to be an “interesting” post. Well, this is where things took a turn for the worst. As we were in the process of shooting pictures of my second outfit, the boutique owners husband made a comment that had us both raising an eyebrow. As we were standing by the jewelry display, he asked us what we were shopping for. With big smiles on our faces, we told him that we were fashion bloggers that feature local business. With a smirk and nasty tone, he replied: “You two are fashion bloggers?”.

It took a second to sink in before I realized he meant it in a rude way. We continued to snap pictures of my outfits, and when I went to the front to ask the owner’s husband for permission to take pictures with the store logo, I was cut off by him saying “We need the dressing rooms for other customers!” There were two other groups of people in the store, however, only one girl besides JJ and myself were trying on clothes.

The boutique is relativity small, and there are only three dressing rooms. However, if I learned anything from working in retail, I know to NEVER RUSH A CUSTOMER OUT OF THE DRESSING ROOM! This automatically turns off customers and makes them feel unwelcome. Up to this point in our experience, the boutique owner had been nice. All of a sudden she jumped in and backed her husband asking if we were “about finished up”. We weren’t. We had two more outfits to photograph for y’all, and I try my hardest to show a little bit of everything the boutiques have to offer. When your being pressured by the owners to free up their dressing room, that’s impossible to do. So in the end, we just left. As we walked to the car I asked JJ if she felt the same as I, and she did.

I like to make note of a few things as well. First, while she welcoming in the beginning, the owner seemed to be more interested in other customers that she might consider to be her “target demographic”. This can make other customers feel isolated and unwelcome. Second, we waited until the store was empty to start trying on clothes so we wouldn’t inconvenience other customers. Third, JJ and I are regular people and in no way expect business to bend over backward for us. This blog is our outlet to shed light on small businesses, not to trash them. Finally, we weren’t upset because the owner’s husband attempted to diss us ( I say attempted because you can’t diss those who won’t accept your negativity), we were upset because we treated their business with utmost respect and did not receive the same respect in return.

Men like the boutique owners husband are one of the reasons we started this blog. Fashion shouldn’t have a set look. Fashion is a about expressing your personal taste, and letting your personality shine. Maybe we aren’t what some people consider fashion bloggers…but that’s what makes us stand out from the rest. So a special thanks to you sir for trying to bring down two girls just trying to get their blog off the ground. You just made us want to stick around longer, to shut people like you down.

Well, my darlings that’s about it for this post, like I said, this one was interesting. The Blushing Brunette Boutique is another quintessential hotspot for college girls and housewives that we will probably never return to. The clothes are cute, the aesthetic of the boutique is adorable, but the service just left a bad taste in our mouth. As for the prices, they were what you’d expect from any boutique, not affordable but not super pricey either. I’ve got another “Featured Fashions” post coming up soon, so be on the lookout for that!

 

Until next time y’all!