Month: January 2015

The Perfect Wine and Cheese Pairings

Title Photo

Now that we’ve discussed how to construct the perfect cheese plate, it’s only natural to follow that up with the perfect wine and cheese pairings. First and foremost, wine and cheese pairings are always a personal preference, and I often play with different pairings just to see if I can find a better one than the last. With that said, be creative. For this post, I wanted to provide you with some general guidelines and a quick reference sheet for easy shopping. Feel free to print each of these charts, or choose the composite at the bottom to print all of them on one sheet.

Next, the general rule is that the bigger and stinkier the cheese, the bolder (and sometimes sweeter) the wine selection. On the other hand, the lighter the cheese, the lighter the wine. Nearly every single cheese pairs well with champagne, so if you are ever uncertain, that’s a great fall back plan.

Without any more chatter, let’s get started!

Melville Wine and Cheese
A demolished cheese plate my bestie and I devoured at Melville Winery in Santa Barbara, CA. We chose one of the Melville Chardonnays for this light-hearted cheese plate.

 

The Fresh Cheeses

This category encompasses the following cheeses: alouette, goat cheese (chevre), mozzarella, feta, burrata, etc. They are light and delicate, and as such, deserve a similar compliment. These fresh cheeses are quite versatile with pairings, so here is a quick reference guide for you. My favorite of these pairings is goat cheese with Chablis.

Fresh Cheese

The Soft-Ripened Cheeses

This category includes brie, camembert, triple creams, etc. The really yummy ones! These can range in flavor from buttery to nutty or earthy, so again, there’s a lot of versatility here in the pairings. Of these, my absolute favorite pairing is a triple creme with Provence Rose.

Soft Ripened Cheese

The Semi-Hard to Hard Cheese

This category includes gouda, cheddar, asiago, manchego, gruyere, etc. These have such a large range of flavor from soft and earthy to super hard and nutty. I love manchego with Alicante and/or Malbec!

Semi Hard Cheese

The Blue Cheeses

Blues always pair well with super sweet wines because they are a striking balance of powerfully sweet and powerfully strong (and sometimes stinky). I love a sweet wine with blue cheese because it really tastes like berries and cream on the palette, it’s that great of a pairing. Of these, I’d have to say my favorite is Danish Blue with late harvest Gewurztraminer.

Blue Cheese

I hope this has been helpful for you. If you want to print all of these in one document, see below.

Cheese Cheat Sheet Composite

Please let me know what your favorite pairing is! And if you try any on these sheets, please do tag me on instagram @BitterGlitterBlog or tweet me @_Bitter_Glitter!

Stay Glittery, Winos!

xoxo,

Candice

 

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Constructing the Perfect Cheese Plate

constructing the perfect cheese plate

We all love a good cheese plate, and I make them often for dinner parties or when guests come to visit. Here are some tips on constructing the perfect cheese plate! First, determine how many people you will be serving and whether your cheese plate will be an appetizer or an addition with after-dinner aperitifs. If its an appetizer, you’ll need about 1 oz. of cheese per person/couple. If the latter, then you can go a lighter on the amount because people will have eaten.

cheese and wine
Saint Andre Brie, Cabot Cheddar, Blue cheese, Soppressata, and wafers.

 

Types of Cheese:

Now, you want to pick anywhere from 3-5 cheeses. Do not overdo it. You really don’t need as much as you think, so keep each cheese at around the 1 oz./person level. Next, these 3-5 cheeses should be diverse. And by diverse, I mean that the plate should include any of the following: fresh, semi-soft, soft-ripened, surface-ripened, semi-hard, hard, blue, and/or washed-rind. For those of you that now think I’m speaking a whole different language, I’m going to break it down.

  • Fresh, well it’s fresh, and will include the likes of cheeses that are ready to eat and require zero aging.
  • Semi-soft generally includes cheeses that are slightly aged.
  • Soft-ripened is where you are probably going to recognize what you’re looking for: this includes Brie, Camembert, and triple creams! (*!yummy!*).
  • Surface-ripened refers to the dryness or flakiness of the interior, and the molds are usually specific for aging.
  • Semi-hard cheeses are aged, but can range from hard to somewhat soft; think Gouda or Cheddar here.
  • Hard, is, of course, hard. This category is where you will get your grainy cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano; i.e. grate-able cheeses.
  • Blue, well, that’s self explanatory.
  • And, last, washed-rind has a visibly darker rind and a lighter interior. This category includes things like Muenster.

So now, that you know what your categorical choices are, let’s look at accompaniments.

cheeseplate
A cheese plate my friend Emily constructed for a girls night in included olive oil with herbs, bread, crackers, prosciutto, and an assortment of cheeses.

 

Accompaniments

Accompaniments are where you can really play and get creative. This, for me, is the fun part. Bring in any of the following:

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You can also make little cheese hors d’oeurves or amuse bouches to accompany your cheese plate.

 

  •  fig jam
  • quince
  • honey
  • pesto
  • almonds
  • walnuts
  • pears
  • grapes
  • baguettes
  • raisin bread
  • crackers (different sizes, shapes, and grains)
  • vegetables/fresh herbs (basil, rosemary, and arugula are great here)
  • prosciutto and/or soppressata (or any charcuterie of your choosing)

If you’re worried, try your pairings at home first, and if you like them, then it’s game on! Pairing things, especially cheese, accompaniments, and wine, is something that should be fun and exploratory. Do not let anyone tell you that there are rigid rules. If they do, give them a big smile and respectfully disagree, or just hand them a cracker and tell them to eat. They will figure it out at some point (we hope!). For example, I stumbled upon a sample of artichoke pesto with fresh mozzarella on cracker at the grocery store, and loved it! The mozzarella helps to cut a little bit of the garlic in the pesto. Here’s where you can find that artichoke pesto, locally made in Louisiana by Geaux Gourmet, if you’re interested.

Here’s how my favorite cheese plate tends to look:

  1. Delice de Bourgogne – France, cow’s milk, triple cream, buttery, nutty, milky (Delicious with grapes! Also pairs great with fig jam, green apples, and almonds)
  2. Chevre – goat’s milk, creamy, and a little tart (pairs great with the fig jam, pears, and honey)
  3. Cheddar – English aged cheddar (nothing fancy, just some good cheddar)
  4. Manchego – Spain, sheep’s milk; slight hint of creaminess; nutty (pairs amazingly with quince)

Constructing the Plate:

You always want to situate your cheeses clockwise from mildest to softest. This means you would have a soft at 12 o’clock, semi-soft at 3 o’clock, hard at 6 o’clock, blue at 9 o’clock…you get the point. This makes for an easy progression on the palate.

cheese plate with labels

Sometimes you aren’t using a lazy-susan or a round plate, so in that case, get creative! You can use small decorative bowls to hold the accompaniments, and label them for the guests. Put flags on each cheese so your guests will know what they are choosing. On each flag, I usually suggest an accompaniment. For example, the Manchego flag usually says “Manchego: Spain. Pair me with Quince Sauce,” and with the Chevre, the flag says “Chevre: France. I love Fig Jam and Pears.” This way, you give your guests instructions, encourage them to try new things, and it’s a fun and interactive eating experience.

Afterall, dinner parties and similar gatherings all about trying new things, enjoying the food, and relishing in the company!

Bon Appetit! Be on the lookout for my next post where we pair wine with the cheeses featured in this post!

Here are a few additional resources, and are those which I consulted for this post:

http://laurawerlin.com/about-semi-soft-cheeses

http://www.foodandwine.com/creating-the-perfect-cheese-plate

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/food/perfect-cheese-platter-10000001580273/index.html

What are your favorite cheeses? Let’s chat about it!

Stay Glittery,

xoxo,

Candice

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Battle of the Cleansing Waters

IMG_5394[1]

To my knowledge, cleansing waters are somewhat new to the beauty market. Basically, they are just a fancier term for “makeup remover.” They aren’t intended to replace your cleanser; it’s just a good way to take off the day. Don’t get me wrong, some are far superior than others, and they’re worth having in your skincare routine. So, today, I’m going to compare the top three cleansing waters currently hyped in the beauty blogosphere. There’s one up-and-comer that’s new to the market, and we will address that one too. For the most part, these are great for any skin type, including sensitive skin.

First, you should know that many of these are called “micellar” or “micellaire” waters because of the micelle molecule. It’s an aggregate of molecules that, when in a water-based solution, behaves more like an oil than a water molecule. So, what does that mean in skincare? It basically means that these waters absorb the makeup on your skin rather then smearing it off onto that cotton pad. How cool is that little bit of science? Who wants to rub their makeup off? I don’t.

Third Place — CAUDALIE EAU MICELLAIRE DEMAQUILLANTE

Available at Sephora.
Available at Sephora.

Caudalie is a French skincare company with a very fascinating story! All of their products are derived from grapevines and grape seeds, which produce some of the world’s foremost skincare ingredients like Reservatrol. Interesting fact: Caudalie was one of the leading companies to remove parabens from their all of their products in 2006.

I absolutely love that this smells of chamomile; it’s not too fragrant, but it smells fresh and calming. I love keeping a small one in my everyday makeup bag for touch-ups or to clean mess-ups, and due to its size, it’s the one I usually travel with. It removes face makeup just fine, but is not great at removing eye makeup. Nonetheless, I have emptied several of these over the last year, and have more to say about them here and here.

Second Place — BIODERMA CREALINE H20 SOLUTION MICELLAIRE

Available at Amazon.com. Prices vary based on sizes.
Available at Amazon.com. Prices vary based on sizes.

Bioderma is a French company founded on the biology of dermatology. All of their products are formulated with a pharmaceutical, medical, and cosmetic approach. The Bioderma Crealine H20 Solution Micellaire removes ALL makeup including eyemakeup. It’s gentle, good for sensitive skin, and does not have a fragrance. It removes eye makeup far easier and gentler than the Caudalie, and has considerably less fragrance than the Caudalie. It is super smooth on the skin and leaves it feeling fesh.

Winner — KOH GEN DO CLEANSING SPA WATER

Available at Sephora.
Available at Sephora.

Koh Gen Do is a Japanese company that began because an actress wanted to create products to care for her over-stressed skin. They do not test on animals and use plant-based ingredients for their products. This cleansing water, is so lovely! It smells lightly of lavender, rosemary, sage, and ginger root. I feel like this one takes off eye makeup the best due to the oils in the formula. It feels a tad softer on the skin, and leaves my face feeling like it just took its first breath. I have recently been traveling, and I opted for this one over the Caudalie (with which I usually travel), and am nearly out as you can tell from the photo.

The Up and Comer — SEPHORA TRIPLE ACTION CLEANSING WATER

This one is getting a lot of hype right now from the blogosphere, and many are saying that it is better than Bioderma. I have tried it in a sample size, and found that it is on par with Bioderma but can sting sensitive eyes. I’ll try it again soon and update this post to see if my thoughts have changed.

Have you tried any of these? Which is your favorite? Are there other ones out there that I should try? Let me know in the comments!

Stay Glittery, Beauties!

xoxo,

Candice

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Are You Looking for the Right Person? Or Spinning Your Wheels?

IMG_5227
I recently had brunch with a good friend who instructed me on the ways of the chart. We were discussing dating, and how it seems an endless sea of Mr. Wrongs. (She is happily married.) So, she posed the question, “Are you looking for the right guy for you? Or Mr. Right Now? Do you even know the difference? Or are you spinning your wheels?” Well, to be honest, I don’t know. Perhaps that’s why I make such generally crappy choices in men — I’m asking Mr. Right Now to play Mr. Right, a role for which he is not, nor will he ever be, suited.

IMG_5225

This came up again in conversation with another set of friends, where they asked if the Chart Method was on my blog, and if it wasn’t, it should be. (Shout out to Joe from Boston!) So, here it is. It’s a basic list with four columns

  • Your Ideal Candidate
  • Things You Are Willing to Negotiate
  • Absolute Deal Breakers
  • Honest Assessment
  • Past Relationships (optional)

Each chart should address Emotional, Mental, Physical, and General (as a catchall). You can also add a column to describe the typical person you date, or a combination of all the qualities of those of your past. The goal is to see it all on paper, and compare whether YOU are actually suited for your Ideal Person. If the lists don’t match up, then you’ve got to start rethinking your choices or your list. Are you searching for someone who will never make you happy? For someone who doesn’t provide you balance? For someone that would send you into a toxic spiral? For someone who doesn’t exist? On the other hand, use that list as a measuring stick next time a man/woman enters your life romantically. It’s a lot easier to enforce boundaries and stick to your guns when you have articulated them and seen them written down.

IMG_5232

For me personally, I don’t believe I’m unreasonable, but I can now see that I am looking for someone who is likely only in 3% of the general dating pool. Add in that amorphous thing we call chemistry, and it’s probably only 0.5 – 1%. Yay me. This will be interesting. Nonetheless, I hope the Chart Method helps you to assess your dating goals, desires, and realities. I’ve found a lot of wisdom in this exercise.

emotional chart

What do you think about the Chart Method? Have you ever used it? If so, what did you learn from it? I’d love to hear your experiences!

IMG_5229

Stay Glittery, Daters!

xoxo,

Candice

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Younique Moonstruck 3D Fiber Lashes Review

 

Younique packaging better

A good friend recently gave me the Younique Moonstruck 3D Fiber Lashes as a Christmas gift. I’ve been wanting to try this product, but in all honesty, I found it a bit gimmick-y after watching YouTube reviews. So, suffice it to say, I was skeptical but excited!

What Are 3D Fiber Lashes?

This system is a dual product system using a transplanting gel that looks similar to any high volume mascara and a small wand of fibers. The fibers are made from green tea and are 100% natural. They do not harm natural lashes and wash off easily with cleanser or eye makeup remover. It comes in the quilted eye-glasses style case (shown above), which is pretty sturdy. Inside, you’ll find both the transplanting gel and the fibers. (shown below).

inside packaging 5 close up

packaging plus brushes
Fibers on the left and transplanting gel on the right.

So, how do these work?

Apply your makeup as you normally would.

For this eye look, I used the Naked 3 palette.
For this eye look, I used the Naked 3 palette.

First, you apply one coat of regular mascara as if it were any other day. For this, I used my favorite every day mascara, the L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess, which I have reviewed here.

For the regular mascara, I used my every day drugstore favorite, L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess

Next, apply one coat of the transplanting gel. This feels like any other high volume mascara, and very much like Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. It can be a tad messy, and be forewarned, it stains clothing. However, I feel like you could wear this as a regular mascara. It contains collagen (for plumping), nylon (for thickening), and beeswax (anti-inflammatory). In addition, the transplanting gel also contains carnauba (Brazilian Palm Glue) as its adhesive for the fibers.

transplanting gelBefore the transplanting gel dries completely, apply the fibers. They aren’t super noticeable as you put them on, but they may fall onto your cheeks a bit as you apply. Don’t worry, they brush off easily and do not contain pigment that will leave traces on your makeup or your clothing. After you have applied the fibers, follow up with one coat of transplanting gel to seal the fibers onto the natural lashes.

fiber wandAnd when you are done, this is your final result – Long Massively Voluminous Lashes!

With Younique

While this stuff is awesome, I would not wear it every day. It’s a bit dramatic for an every day look, and it does take a few extra minutes of time. If you’re like me — always running late or running out of time in the mornings — this feels like a bit of a faff or hassle. However, for a night out or special occasion, I love it! One thing I was worried about was removal. This is just as simple and easy to remove as any regular mascara, and it doesn’t pull your regular lashes out. Just to give you some extra visuals, here are a few comparison photos.

Before and After

Regular and Younique 2

Have you tried the Younique Moonstruck 3D Fiber Lashes? If so, what do you think? If not, do you want try it?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Stay Glittery, Beauties!

xoxo,

Candice

 

 

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Goo Gone Wine Out: Does It Work on Deep Set Red Wine Stains??

Wine Out Before
Photo Credit JessieCate Photography

In my Christmas stocking this year, Santa left me this little bottle of GooGone Wine Out. Challenge Accepted, Santa! So, I poured a glass of red wine on an Old Navy tank that was pretty much done. I didn’t care if it worked or not, because this thing is so stretched out, I was ready to throw it away.

The GooGone Wine Out directions state, “Apply directly to stain, allow to penetrate. Blot stain and let set for 5 minutes before laundering clothing. For carpet, place absorbent towel over treated area and apply pressure. For stubborn stains, repeat.”

Let me first say that I let this stain sit in for three days. I wanted to really test the product as if I hadn’t noticed the stain until a few days later. Because…life happens!

I did exactly as the directions stated, and here is the result:

1. Pour GooGone Wine Out directly on stain. I used nearly the whole 2 oz bottle on this stain. (But, at $1, who cares?!) Notice how it turns blue! I was not expecting that!

Photo Credit JessieCate Photography
Photo Credit JessieCate Photography

2. Let stain sit for 5 minutes.

Photo Credit JessieCate Photography
Photo Credit JessieCate Photography

3. Then, after setting for 5 minutes, I put it in the regular wash cycle on hot/cold with normal Target brand detergent. Here’s the result after laundering. I was surprised that the stain was gone, though not completely! You could still see the faint outline of the stain. Color me happy on this product!! We all made the bet that it would NOT work! They proved us wrong!

Photo Credit JessieCate Photography
Photo Credit JessieCate Photography

4. So, I decided to drop it into the wash again (on hot/cold) with 1 cup of bleach, and let it soak for 15 minutes before letting the washer run full cycle. Let me say that bleach alone will NOT remove a wine stain from light or white clothing! Plus, it’s not safe to use bleach on colors. I’ve tried many methods thus far, and I promise that bleach alone isn’t the answer. But, this process — GooGone + Bleach is a miracle worker. (*Note: we took the following photo in indoor lighting. There is no difference in the quality of the photo with respect to the stain as a result of the change in lighting.)

Photo Credit JessieCate Photography
Photo Credit JessieCate Photography

Given that I allowed this stain to set in well for three days, my bet would be that the GooGone Wine Out works very well on fresh stains. I’m amazed that it worked this well on a deep-set stain!! I will definitely use this again, as it is only $1 for 2 oz. It’s so much faster and easier than my previous method: toothbrush + hydrogen peroxide + baking soda = paste + scrub + launder + launder with bleach/color safe bleach (if possible) or repeat hydrogen peroxide paste scrub + launder. While my old method works, it looks like this will be the new standard because it is so much faster!

Thanks, GooGone Wine Out! Have any of you heard of this? Tried it? Share your favorite wine stain removal method in the comments! I’ll try them all!

xoxo,

Candice

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