Local day out – Werk Force Brewing Co.

If you know me at all, you probably know that I rarely drink (I am also one of the biggest lightweights you will ever meet, but that’s a story for another time). But, Werk Force Brewing Co. in Plainfield, IL is a super hip, laid-back spot to grab a few unique brews that won’t break the bank, so when the opportunity to check out their new taproom presented itself, I took advantage.

Their menu is ever-changing with new varieties available as they come about. My boyfriend and I were sucked in from their Facebook post about a s’mores-infused brew (how could we not be?). So, we went in to try it and ended up staying for almost three hours.

The s’mores stout was called “Stupid Sticky Fingers” and it was every bit as magical as it sounds. Unfortunately, I think this one is now all tapped out.

As for the others, they are all worth a try with different seasonal flavors popping up throughout the year. It’s only $2.50 for a 5 oz. taster which allows you to figure out which ones you really enjoy before grabbing a full glass (or if you’re like us, just continue to buy the tasters so you can try a bunch of different ones).

The taproom is a mix of rustic and modern, with a few colorful pops to make the space bright and unique.

They host a bunch of different food truck events every week. So, make it a date with food and drinks.

Overall, the staff is super kind and helpful if you have any questions. You will probably run into at least one dog when you visit (bonus points). The beer is so delicious, perfectly chilled and there is definitely something for everyone (even that one friend who just HATES IPA). Definitely a local gem and worth checking out.


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Merrell Women’s Moab Hiking Boots Review

Small disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Just sharing what has worked for me.

I first started hiking on trails about 5 years ago and in the beginning I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I usually just wore my trusty pair of worn out gym shoes, which didn’t hold up well to the elements, but got the job done.

It wasn’t until I started planning my trip to Acadia National Park in late 2015 when I realized that some real hiking boots might come in handy. I found myself online completely confused and steered in a million different directions and in REI asking a billion questions.

I have extremely narrow feet, so finding a boot that would fit me comfortably and not slip off the whole time or require me to wear more than one pair of socks was the goal.

I eventually found the Merrell Women’s Moab hiking boots after months of looking. I have had these boots since early 2016 and used them quite a few times (complete with two big trips to Maine and Washington State) since then. They have held up incredibly well and I seriously can’t recommend them enough if you are looking for a good starter hiking boot.

Merrell Moab Women's Hiking Boots

They are waterproof, super comfortable and durable. I have only had blisters once while wearing them and that was after a 3,000 foot ascent and descent, otherwise no problems!

I know some people prefer trail runners vs. big traditional hiking boots. It is all really your preference. I suggest trying them on and seeing what works for you.

Here is a link if you wanted to check them out for yourself (they are much cheaper now than when I bought them… I believe I paid around $140 after tax): boots

I figured while I’m on the subject of footwear recommendations, I would also recommend my absolute favorite hiking socks. I can’t rave about these bad boys enough, I love them so much I wear them even for everyday use cause they are just so comfortable.

They’re by a brand called Darn Tough. All the products are made in Vermont and guaranteed for LIFE. But, so far, after having them over a year, it doesn’t look like they’re going to get ruined any time soon. These things are truly…darn tough.

Darn Tough hiking socks

This combination of boots and socks has kept my feet happy and healthy on the trails. I never go on a trip without them.

I hope that this has helped those of you looking for a pair of reliable hiking boots and socks.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all in my next post,

Emily


 

I recently created an Instagram page for Eloquently Emily where I post about all my travels and little things I’m doing/see where I live. If you want to follow it, click here!

My Kombucha Guide

I am not afraid to try anything when it comes to food, especially when said food has some pretty great health benefits. Kombucha, for those who don’t know, is a fermented tea drink. You may have seen it while browsing the grocery store and wondered about it, like “what the hell is this shit”, which is pretty much how my first experience with kombucha went.

I first tried it a few years ago when I was shopping at Whole Foods and decided to try a GT’s Trilogy Kombucha and to be honest I absolutely hated it at first try. I thought it tasted like bitter, sweet, carbonated vinegar, but for some reason after that first experience I kept coming back to it. Something about that strange combination intrigued me so much that I fell in love with the flavor. Be ready for your friends and family to judge (make fun of) your choice of drink if you become a regular drinker of kombucha (or is that just my crowd).

Be skeptical as you may, but kombucha does have quite a few positive health claims surrounding it. If you’re vegan, lactose intolerant or just looking to cut out dairy for a while, ‘bucha comes complete with probiotics which save you from a scoop of yogurt. There are plenty of other claims about it being heart healthy, having antioxidant properties, etc.

Kombucha is made during a fairly drawn out fermentation process, but it’s totally possible to make it at home. I haven’t yet tried, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t done my research. The first step is finding yourself a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Yeast and Bacteria), sounds delicious, right? They aren’t all that hard to find. I am on a member of a Facebook group with over 21,000 members who are all brewers or enjoyers of kombucha. If you can befriend a few people on this site, there is a good chance someone who lives near you may have an extra SCOBY to share. For the rest of the fermentation process, Wellness Mama did a great job breaking it all down for you if you’re interested in making your own. Just be sure to be safe, clean and smart while attempting home brewing.

But, if you just want to stick to the store-bought variety, which is totally A-OK, there are some fantastic options. Something to note is that not all kombucha’s are the same, you may hate one and absolutely love another (been there). Also, beware of sugar… some of them pack A LOT in that bottle.

Below are some short reviews of the kombucha’s I have gotten to know over the last few years. Prices will not be included since they vary depending on store and location, but generally they are between $3.50-$5.00. They are a bit pricey, but hey, so are all of your Starbucks drinks and I don’t see you stopping that habit anytime soon.

*I put the flavor that I have specifically tried or been a fan of in parenthesis*

GT’s Kombucha (Trilogy)

This is basically THE kombucha. You will find this brand probably the most widely available in stores. For a while, I only drank GT’s and I have nothing against it other than the fact that it is certainly one of the more “vinegary” tasting varieties. You can’t go wrong with it, but in my opinion there are better ones out there.

Flavor Profile: Raspberry, lemon and ginger.

Health-Ade Kombucha (Pink Lady Apple)

This brand is widely available, much like GT’s. I have seen this brand pop up at places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Based on my experience, this is my least favorite brand of kombucha. It has an incredibly vinegary/bitter taste that I just could not get past. It is the only one I have ever purchased that I disliked so much I could not finish it. However, I have friends who really, really enjoy this one and continually repurchase.

Flavor Profile: Apple

Brew Dr. Kombucha (Love)

Alright, get ready for me to fangirl over this one. This is my favorite brand of kombucha EVER, and I think for good reason. This brand is out of Portland, OR and I think what makes them so special is their lack of bitterness and that vinegary taste. They brew (at least the Love flavor) with green tea instead of the traditional black tea used in brewing and I think this really helps with that harsh taste. This is about a dollar cheaper than GT’s and completely worth every penny.

Flavor Profile: Lavender, chamomile and rose.

Kombucha Town (Blueberry White)

I found this brand while in Bellingham, WA and honestly I loved it. I had the chance to go to their Culture Cafe where their kombucha’s were fresh on tap. It’s a great kombucha with a lot of carbonation which is great when you’re wanting something like a pop. I do not think this is available nationally (I could be wrong), but it was in grocery stores throughout the Seattle area. If you have the opportunity, give this one a try… it was so good.

Flavor Profile: Blueberry


 

I hope you get the chance to try some kombucha, it really is such a special, bubbly drink that always lifts my mood. If you become a super fan like me, follow my twitter account @kombuchafanclub 

Did your favorite not make my list? Let me know which ones you are in love with in the comments.

As always, thanks for reading,

Emily

Shows I’ve Been Loving On Netflix

When the weather gets cooler, my TV watching rate hits an all-time high. Fall is the perfect time for binge watching seasons and seasons of shows. Grab some friends, throw a viewing party, watch solo or even Netflix and chill.

Here are some shows I love on Netflx:


Mad Men

MAD MEN

Despite years of hearing it nominated for awards at various award shows, I only got around to watching it earlier this year for the first time. No one I knew personally had watched it, but since I am VERY obsessed with the 1950’s and 1960’s I figured I just had to give it a go. I am currently 6 out of 7 seasons into it (so please don’t spoil anything if you’ve already finished) but already this is one of the most well-written, beautifully executed shows i’ve seen. For those of you who don’t know the plot, it’s about a 1960’s NYC advertising agency and all the people who work at it.. mainly focusing on Donald Draper (Jon Hamm). If you guys are looking for a show to fill your down time.. start watching this one immediately. You will be instantly in love with the girl power that Joan and Peggy rule the office with.

Seasons: 7 – Ended in 2014

My Rating✮✮✮✮✮


2. The Office (U.S)

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I’ve been watching this show since it’s premier in 2005 and I can never.. ever.. get enough of it. There has never been a more perfect comedic treasure on television than The Office. The timing, the expressions, the characters: everything is perfect. If you have yet to watch an episode, drop whatever you’re doing and start with season one, episode one right away. Michael Scott (Steve Carell) is potentially the most quotable character in history and he will make you laugh so hard you cry. From his love of Chili’s Awesome Blossom to his constant “that’s what she said” jokes, he keeps you on the edge of your seat. The rest of the cast works flawlessly together to make you feel like you’re actually an employee of Dunder Mifflin.

Seasons: 9 – Ended in 2013

My Rating: ✮ 


3. American Horror Story

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I don’t claim this to be an extraordinarily written show, but it’s really good if you’re looking for a decent story line and a little bit of a spooky/creepy vibe. The 5th season, American Horror Story: Hotel, just premiered last week and it was possibly one of the most gruesome yet. If you’re unfamiliar with the show.. each season is a whole new story: Murder House, Asylum, Coven and Freak Show. I still hold true to thinking that season 1 & 2 are the best yet, but with Lady Gaga taking the place of Jessica Lange this time around.. who knows what kind of surprises are in store. It’s the perfect time of year to binge watch this one.

Seasons: 5 – Currently Airing

My Rating: ✮ 1/2


4. Portlandia

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This is one of those shows you have to be kind of smart and quick to catch the humor, otherwise you probably just think it’s stupid. It’s basically an exaggeration of all the Portand, Oregon stereotypes, portrayed by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. There’s a series of reoccurring characters that you grow to love. This is one of the few shows that can make me laugh out loud. It’s worth a binge watch.

Seasons: 5

My Rating: 


FALL TRADER JOE’S HAUL

PUMPKIN PUMPKIN PUMPKIN PUMPKIN

We are in september now which means it is fully fall and what better place to celebrate the changing of seasons other than Trader Joe’s. This store is awesome in general, even more so if you’re vegan or have allergies.. they have a wide selection (neither apply to me), and they have so many yummy fall goodies. If you haven’t ever been here.. you need to go.

The cool thing about Trader Joe’s is that most of the store is “Trader Joe’s” brand. It’s like shopping at a ma-and-pa place with super cool employees who pretend to be your best friend.

So, Tom and Me decided to do yet another fall-related review. This time we chose some new food items the store put out for AUTUMN. Let’s begin:

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#1: THIS PUMPKIN WALKS INTO A BAR

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First of all, that packaging is adorable. These cereal bars are super delicious and Trader Joe’s has them in different flavors all year long (apple, blueberry, fig), but now they are here IN PUMPKIN.

REVIEW: Tastes like actual pumpkin pie without the cool-whip. It might say low-fat, but that does not in any way effect the flavor. The spices are perfect and we wanted to eat the whole box, but we settled on splitting one. They are soft, chewy and absolutely perfect for fall. You. Need. Them.

RATING: 8.5/10


#2: PUMPKIN PANCAKE & WAFFLE MIX

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Check out those perfect pancake making skills

How can you not want a pancake or waffle when the temperature is dropping. I want them all year, but I am a special breakfast-loving human. When I saw these in the store, I instantly fell in love without even tasting.

REVIEW: All the pancake texture with a subtle pumpkin flavor. If you are looking for a slap-you-in-the-face type of pumpkin taste, you probably won’t get it eating these, but they are pretty delicious. It’s everything you need to get your hot, buttery pumpkin fix. (PRO TIP: Add some homemade cinnamon butter on top)

RATING: 8/10


#3: McINTOSH APPLE JUICE

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I’m always in the mood for apple juice. I saw this one today while shopping and just had to get it. Okay, actually Tom saw it.

REVIEW: Honestly, the most crisp, refreshing apple juice we’ve ever had. It tastes like it’s fresh out of the orchard. It’s an amazing fall drink. BUY A FEW GALLONS. (PRO TIP: It would be an amazing apple juice to use to make a hot drink w/ caramel)

RATING: 9.5/10


#4: FIG BITES

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HOLY MOLY. I don’t know about you guys, but this tickled my fancy just with it’s name. It was an automatic throw-it-in-the-bag.

REVIEW: Are figs even fall related? I’m not 100% sure. But, I made them fall related, so here we are. If you are a fan of Fig Newtons, you need to get these amped up, more delicious FIG BITES. We were actually blown away and ate a ton. They are so light and fruity.

RATING: 9/10


#5: TRADER JOE’S PEANUT BUTTER (Creamy + Unsalted)

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If you’ve never heard anything about this peanut butter, then you better get in your car as soon as possible and go get some and try it.. now.

I mean unless you’re allergic, then please do not. **DO NOT CONDONE**

REVIEW: Technically not a fall item.. I know. But, when is PB ever a bad option? I love this peanut butter because the only ingredient is.. peanuts. How natural and refreshing. The taste is a classic, clean flavor that makes you feel good about eating it. I wanted to bathe in it, but Tom is scared of peanut butter. I would definitely suggest trying this.

RATING: 10/10 DUH.


I hope you guys get the chance to try some of these out!

VMA’S 2015 – SHOW RECAP

The time has come once again for MTV’s most prized possession: The Video Music Awards. Hosted by the wild Miley Cyrus, the night was a whirlwind of barely-there outfit changes and countless F-bombs. But, how can you not admire her confidence? She is who she is!

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 30: Host Miley Cyrus attends the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Nicki Minaj opened the show in an interesting red tribal outfit and during ‘The Night Is Still Young’, she was joined on stage by Taylor Swift (everyone oo’d and ahh’d as this happened, since their Twitter feud was just a few weeks ago). They acted like best friends for the moment (but I feel like it’s not that way once they get off stage).

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Miley opened the show with a wild flared-leg, sequined jumpsuit with flowers in her hair. She basically jumps out of a Lisa Frank coloring book (in terms of her looks) at all points during the show. She warned about MTV letting her host, saying they may never have anyone host again. Her outfits got crazier and crazier as the night went on; I loved them all.

The Weeknd performed his hit Can’t Feel My Face. The crowd seemed to love it, with T-Swift mouthing “that was amazing”. He danced inside of FIRE, guys (quite the symbol for how his career is taking off at the moment). I bet Drake is sitting back in a chair somewhere smiling.

Best Female Music Video took us all by storm. It was intense with Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift nominated. All these ladies deserve to win, honestly, but Taylor took it proudly. I know that Beyoncè fans everywhere were falling to the ground in agony while burning Swift’s albums, but that’s just how it goes.

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 30: Recording artist Taylor Swift attends the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

Demi perfomed ‘Cool For The Summer’ and fully KILLED IT, but then Iggy Azalea joined her on stage.. and honestly, I was upset. She really gave it her all, though.

Justin Bieber came out and owned the stage while performing ‘Where Are U Now’. He sang it perfectly and even through in a few riffs while owning every single dance move. I was impressed.

Tori Kelly brought a thing seldom seen at the VMA’s these days: A GUITAR. She did a PHENOMENAL job performing ‘Should’ve Been Us’ and looked LOVELY. Girl, I think you just made a name for yourself (more than before).

Kanye West won the Video Vanguard Award. Taylor Swift presented his award, sharing that his album College Dropout was the first one she bought on iTunes. She even pulled the ‘IMMA LET YOU FINISH’ card, and called him her FRIEND? I guess all is forgiven in the land of Swift and West.

kanye-west

But, then Kanye came on stage and everything broke loose. He apologized to Taylor Swift for his past actions, through a very dramatic monologue.

“You know how many times MTV replayed that again, cause that got them MORE RATINGS?” Kanye slammed MTV during his ‘apology’ (still talking about the incident with Taylor Swift). He also kept repeating “listen to the kids”, which I’m still confused about.

“I just wanted people to like me more,” said West about his actions.

HONESTLY HIS WHOLE SPEECH WAS A WHIRLWIND. You should probably go watch this on youtube.. AND HE’S RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT IN 2020 I GUESS.

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Can we expect any less from Mr. West?

Miley came on stage after saying “well we now know what happens to Kanye West after he smokes weed,” and then “TRUMP YOU HAD MY VOTE, BUT NOW KANYE WEST FOR PRESIDENT.”

After things calmed down, Twenty One Pilots and A$AP Rocky took the stage to perform. What I thought would be a kind of confusing performance turned out to be..um…okay? It was fine. Nothing special.

The Video of the Year award (and final award of the night) went to miss TAYLOR SWIFT for BAD BLOOD, again beating out Beyoncè. I think we all knew it was coming though, it was a big video.

Swift ended her speech with an inspirational quote, “I’m just glad in 2015 we live in a land where boys can play princesses and girls can play soldiers.”

Introduced by some members of the trans community, including Gigi Gorgeous, Miley closed the show with a performance (full of glam drag queens) of a new song?! Her vocals were lovely and the song was all about LOVE. The Happy Hippie gave us something to remember with confetti blowing out of her crotch.

AND SHE DROPPED A NEW ALBUM FOR FREE:

MILEYCYRUSANDHERDEADPETZ.COM

Congrats to all the winners of the night.

Overall, the night was pretty entertaining compared to some previous VMA’s.

What was your favorite VMA Moment of the night?

My Need-To-Have Fall Lipsticks

Lipstick is essential to me in my makeup routine. I could wear ONLY lipstick and i’d be satisfied. When Fall rolls around, I get super excited that I can wear my dark shades day or night.

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Lipstick is universal. Every woman can find a shade that works for them (or that is a total disaster).. and almost everyone has a go-to shade. I definitely have my tight, trusty crew of colors that work for every outfit.

Here are some of my favorite FALL shades that I can’t wait to start using again:


Before you apply any lipstick or stain, be sure to lather your lips with a moisturizer or lip balm!

My favorite moisturizer is The Body Shop’s Lip Butter ($7.00). It’s a miracle worker.

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Lipstick #1: Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in the shade Bauhau5

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(Fun fact: That little nub of a stick is all that is left. I have used and abused this lipstick)

This is MY lipstick. It’s described as a matte deep raspberry. This shade virtually has nothing wrong with it. It is good for day or night, not only during fall.. I wear this all year, and it stays on. When it does start to fade, it leaves behind a beautiful berry kiss. The formula is lush and smooth. I’m very pale, but this shade looks good on every skin tone. Once I run out, and I’ve had this a long time, I will definitely have to get another. This is one YOU NEED TO TRY.

PRICE: $21.00 (available at Sephora)

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Lipstick #2: MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in the shade Ruby Woo

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(Just like Bauhau5, I’ve used this one down to a small, little nub)

It’s no secret that MAC owns the lipstick game. I only own two of them (Ruby Woo and Diva) and they’ve completely met my expectations. The pigmentation in Ruby Woo is ridiculous. When people say they’re looking for that “perfect red”, IT’S RUBY WOO. This shade lasts allllll day. It’s such a classically beautiful look and will stand through fashion seasons to come. The formula is very comfortable and soft; it never flakes. I think every girl should own this (unless you hate red).

PRICE: $17.00 (available on MAC Cosmetics website)

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Lipstick #3: Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in the shade MÖtorhead

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(This is a smaller size lipstick from a variety pack I got for Christmas)

Yet, another Kat Von D shade. I’m a big fan of her lipsticks and have you seen that packaging? Black studs.. how can you not. This shade is obviously QUITE dark, and it’s definitely not an everyday shade (unless you want to, then work it girl). It gives every look an edgy, badass twist. For me, the only time I would even dare to wear this is nighttime during Autumn. The application is a little tough since this shade is crazy dark; if you miss, it stains your face. But, it’s all worth it to turn into a grunge princess.

Price: $21.00 (for a full size, available at Sephora)

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Lipstick #4: NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in the shade Copenhagen 

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(Soft tip applicator, not a typical lipstick tube)

If you haven’t heard great things about these yet, I’m gonna blow a little more sunshine up its tube. These are fantastic lipsticks. They stay on all day, barely flake until you go crazy eating something and have an insane pigmentation. Copenhagen is a burnt cherry/burgundy shade.. which SCREAMS Fall. It’s soft as butter and makes your lips feel amazing. Try this one and them all.

PRICE: $5.99 (Available at ULTA) — you really can’t beat this price.

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(It looks lighter in the second pic, not sure why, it’s accurate to the first picture)


Lipstick #5: Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in the shade Lovecraft

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Can you tell I adore Kat’s lipsticks yet?

This is an awesome shade if you’re looking for a taupe-nude. I normally steer away from these kinds of shades since I am so pale, but this one is actually wearable! I really like the color because it has a slightly pinky undertone. If I can feel comfortable in this shade, anyone can (seriously). It’s very nice for daytime during fall and can basically match anything you’re wearing (maybe unless you’re wearing taupe). Quality is just like the other Studded Kiss Lipsticks I mentioned.

PRICE: $21.00 (Available at Sephora)

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I hope this was helpful in your journey for some great fall shades!

Comment below with your favorite shade (even if it’s not listed here).

Thanks so much for reading

-Emily