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.
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.
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.
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,
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!
Back in February, after little deliberation, my boyfriend and I planned a trip to Washington state for June. I had one thing on my mind, and it was graduating college and immediately leaving for the trip the next day. It acted as my motivation for months. Turns out it wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had. The trip was great, the timing could have been better.
I am terrified of flying. I don’t have any reason to be, I’ve flown before with no issue, but in recent years the fear has escalated. So, I had to figure out a way to get to Washington (because I was not ready to face my fears) any way I could without flying in a plane. We chose to take the Amtrak Empire Builder from Chicago Union Station allllllll the way to Seattle, a 47-hour trip. This was not my boyfriend’s idea, he’s great for agreeing to it.
While planning, I thought of it as an adventure. NO. BIG. DEAL. We bought coach seats for around $300 roundtrip, about what we would have payed with roundtrip airfare, and, well, you can read my review of the train ride here.
We did survive the train ride. We had some awesome views to get us through it, but not until Montana. The food was overpriced and bad. Okay, I’m done.
The morning we finally arrived, Seattle graced us with its lovely grey glow and it was just what I imagined. We rushed to the rental car place to pick up what we thought was going to be a Hyundai Elantra, but ended up leaving with a CAMARO.. we weren’t complaining.
The first stop on our trip was Bellingham, WA, where we stayed in the best little Airbnb. Shoutout to Donna & Vincent for being so kind and helpful, letting us check in a little early. It was the perfect place for us and the BED WAS A 10/10… especially after “sleeping” in a coach seat for the previous two nights.
Bellingham is such a great town with adorable shops, amazing little food spots and of course, coffee shops. We are still raving about the crepes and coffee/tea from Magdalena’s Creperie. Fairhaven is right next to Bellingham and also has a great little downtown area, totally worth checking out. Mt. Baker is very close nearby to both these towns, so everywhere you look (when it isn’t cloudy) while driving around you are graced with gorgeous views.
We had three days in Bellingham, which was enough time for me to find Kombucha Town, a bar that served some delicious kombucha on tap. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t fully cooperate, but there were a few moments of sunshine. We went up to Mt. Baker wilderness and took a drive up until I started freaking out when we saw the ice capped mountains through the mist. It was truly beautiful though, I highly suggest going there at some point in your life.
As our time in Bellingham came to a close, we packed up the Camero, stopped at Whole Foods to grab some Kombucha Town cans and hit the road back towards downtown Seattle.
After such an amazing stay at our first Airbnb, we were a little bit disappointed with what awaited us at the Seattle place. It was fine, we can’t really complain for the price we payed per night, but it definitely could have been better. Each night I had to wonder whether there was a ghost standing next to me or not. Whenever we walked back in from outside, we were hit with the mixed odor of super old house and cat pee. It was fine, wouldn’t stay there again.
BUT WOW.. SEATTLE.. You’re great. It was such a great time getting to know the beautiful neighborhood of Wallingford, where the average home price seemed to be over a million dollars, and where we stayed. We took a nice stroll to Gas Works Park quite a few times during our trip, which is this awesome industrial park overlooking downtown Seattle.
We had to pack a lot into six days, so we didn’t get to do EVERYTHING in Seattle, but we did a decent amount. We walked all over Capitol Hill, stumbling upon a delicious Mexican restaurant called Fogón (where we definitely ate twice). We found our way to the Space Needle, but didn’t go up.. i.e. crippling fear of heights.
The historic Pikes Place Market really tickled my fancy with it’s gorgeous flower bouquets that were such a bargain. We saw the first Starbucks, but didn’t bother going in since it had about a mile long line. More on Starbucks soon.
We went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass, located right near the Space Needle, which was a great experience. Who would have thought that colored glass could evoke so much emotion? There are people there would you will think are trying to take your picture so you buy it at the end, but really they are free professional photos and who doesn’t like free photos? Take advantage if you ever go. Also, be sure to stay for the little movie clips they play of Chihuly talking about his process.
If you want a cool way to spend 30 seconds, take the Seattle Monorail. It will take you up to the equivalent of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile where you’ll find some shops and food. I think every city should get a monorail.
The Seattle Art Museum was a good time, filled with a lot of beautiful art, including a lot of indigenous and Native American artwork and clothing. There is a wonderfully huge deconstructed tree hanging from the ceiling to greet you. Admission cost is just a donation, we gave $5 each and it was most definitely worth it.
As a former Starbucks gold card member, I felt a deep obligation to check out the Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, and oh am I glad I did! While we didn’t get into the original Starbucks, this was *in my opinion* much better.
It had the class you would expect in a higher end Starbucks, with copper and wood detailing, coffee extraordinaires carefully brewing up some expensive concoctions (like a nitro cold brew float) and the roasters themselves, making sure the tourists get quite the show as the roasted beans make their journey from toasting to the bag.
It’s tough to get a seat since the place is so busy (we went twice and couldn’t get a seat either time), but even if you sit on the staircase like we did, it’s worth the trip. According to one of the workers, Chicago is getting their own 4-story Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room pretty soon.
I’m dating a huge baseball fanatic, so we did check out one of the Seattle Mariners games while in town and I thoroughly enjoyed myself (even though I don’t really care for baseball). The stadium was really clean and we even got to see it’s convertible ceiling in use as it started to rain. The game was complete with an extremely drunk 21-year-old kid slurring and getting into a fight with his girlfriend and getting disowned by his friends.
We did not see Mount Rainier until the end of our trip, since the cloud cover was pretty serious, but when we did it was so breathtaking. We took an Uber up to Kerry Park to sit with our fellow tourists and take in the views.
To get a little bit closer to nature, we ended our trip with a beautiful hike called Rattlesnake Ridge, which was over 2,000 feet ascending to the top (more than us flatlanders are used to). With the encouragement of several peppy pups who ran up the trail with their owners, we made it to the top and took in the beautiful views. Thank god for a good pair of hiking boots and socks.
We packed a lot into a week and a half in Washington, but I’m so glad we had such an incredible experience. This trip was truly one I will never forget. I have so much respect for the Pacific Northwest and hope to be back soon. If you have any more questions about our trip, just leave a comment below.
So I technically got some of these things on Christmas, but because I didn’t do a December favorites post.. here I am.
January has gone by incredibly fast for me. I started school on the 4th after taking a semester off and getting back into the swing of things has made it fly by. I’m heading into midterm week next week (I’m on trimesters so things move pretty quickly) which has taken up a lot of my time.
But, that hasn’t hindered my ability to still enjoy my new things that I’ve acquired over the last month or so.
iPhone 6s (regular, not plus)
This is the most recent item that I’ve gotten. I realize this iPhone isn’t like a brand new item, but it’s brand new to me and after having an android for a long time IT’S EXCITING! I’ve been finally able to get a lot of the apps I’ve been wanting to try on iOS.
I got mine in rose gold (of course) and I chose not to get the plus since I was so sick of how big my other phone was.
Since I have a Macbook, having this phone helps me connect easily to my iCloud and ultimately makes my life quite a bit easier in terms of photo sharing, etc.
It runs super quickly and is a beautiful upgrade. HAPPY WITH MY CHOICE.
Floral Birdy Makeup Bag
I am obsessed with this makeup bag for several reasons. First of all, it’s so adorable. I have an obsession with florals and woodland creatures; so really, this is a win-win for me. Secondly, my boyfriend’s mom got this for me for Christmas which is the sweetest thing ever because she picks out the most unique and personal gifts. Also, this thing is pretty big for a makeup bag, which is PERFECT for me.. because I have virtually no makeup storage.
I believe it is from Etsy, but I couldn’t find the particular shop since it was gifted.
These earrings are gorgeous and I am in love with them. My boyfriend Tom got these for me for Christmas and it was the sweetest thing to receive. At first glance, I thought they were just normal studs, but then I realized they were my birthstone and the fact that he thought of that is so cute to me. I’m terrified to lose them since they’re so nice, but I will be wearing them tonight at a wedding I’m going to!
Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bon Palette
Alright, this is an actual January purchase!
I had received some gift cards to Sephora for Christmas and couldn’t decide what I wanted to get. I looked at tons of palettes, read a lot of reviews, watched a lot of tutorials and landed upon this one: Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bon. I had heard amazing things about the OG Chocolate palette and I heard they actually smell LIKE CHOCOLATE. How could I say no to that?
From the few times I’ve used it, I really love it. The colors are beautiful.
UD Gwen Stefani Palette
This palette is my absolute favorite. I received this from my best friend Zac for Christmas (completely unexpectedly, he is the sweetest) and I was beyond ecstatic. I immediately began messing around and fell.. in…. LOVE.
I mean, you can’t really go wrong with an Urban Decay palette, can you? I would definitely suggest trying this palette out if you haven’t yet. The shade ‘Punk’ is literally too good.
Elizabeth and James – Nirvana Black Perfume
I feel like I just can’t ever escape Mary-Kate and Ashley. I was a super fan as a kid, and now I’m obsessing over this fragrance they created as an adult. This is probably my favorite perfume of all time. It has a vanilla, sandalwood and violet scent.
Apparently, it’s a unisex fragrance, and I had my boyfriend try this out to be sure. I think it 100% works for both sexes. If you’re into dark, sultry shades.. definitely go give this a sniff-sniff.
Available at Sephora
Book: Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl
I started reading this at the beginning of January and I am very into it. It’s written very nicely and if you’re into personal memoir books, this is one to check out. I love Carrie from Portlandia (one of my favorite shows) and still totally want her and Fred to date. I am not finished with this book yet, but so far it’s pretty great.
WoodWick – Marshmallow Fireside Candle
I received a jumbo size of this candle for Christmas after running out of my smaller sized one over the summer. If I was trapped in a room forever and could only have one candle to continuously burn, this would be it. It is my absolute favorite scent. It is calm, relaxing and subdued.
Also, WoodWick candles are super amazing. They last forever and they crackle when they burn, which adds to the relaxation factor (especially while reading a book).
I suggest trying out this specific candle or one by the same brand.
That’s all of my current favorites to feature for January. I hope you guys enjoyed.
Let me know down below what your favorite products, things and books have been this year so far.
I hope everyone is having a good Wednesday! We are half way to the weekend.. so that’s always good news.
(Scroll to the bottom for my Fall playlist..)
Today, Tom and I decided to go for brunch at our absolute favorite place nearby called Ari’s Kitchen. It’s owned by a super nice Greek guy who makes you feel completely at home. We got WAY too much food (Ari even warned us that we were ordering too much) but we didn’t care. We got chicken and dumpling soup for our appetizer… followed by breakfast foods. Weird.. I know. I got the best pumpkin pancakes known to man and Tom got some biscuits and gravy. It was a fantastically filling event.
On our ride back we saw the most photo-worthy fall trees that I just had to get out to photograph. I can’t resist the bright red trees!
After, we went to go package up some of the handmade shaving brushes that Tom sells. He does some amazing work.. check out his website http://www.manhandledwoodshop.com
Here’s one of his brushes he made…
We did some super cute packaging to match the quality of his work. It’s manly, but still classic. Here is how it turned out.. kinda hard to see the full effect in a picture..
The rest of the night will include resting and some American Horror Story! It’s nice to have an easy day now and then.
Here is my Fall Playlist for those of you looking for some new things to listen to:
If I Should Go Before You – City and Colour
Put A Flower In Your Pocket – The Arcs
I Won’t Lie – Go Radio
Killin The Vibe – Ducktails
Come Down – Sylvan Esso
Archie, Marry Me – Alvvays
Baby Blue – King Kruse
Leave You – Sir Sly
Prisoner – The Weeknd feat. Lana Del Rey
Ride – Twenty One Pilots
My Blood – Ellie Goulding
Goddess – Banks
Pink Matter – Frank Ocean
Thanks so much for reading and I hope you continue to have a great week!
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:
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)
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
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
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.
I should probably just get it tattooed on me at this point.. I’m obsessed with Fall. I’m going to share with you all what I’ve been loving so far into this season. I didn’t get a chance to do a “september favorites” post.. so here is my kinda september favorites and kinda october favorites collection of stuff:
Essie Nail Polishes
Until recently, I was a total ONLY O.P.I kinda girl. I really don’t have any reasoning behind that other than I thought they were the best and I liked how the color turnout was. But, I bought the purple polish in the shade ‘Bahama Mama’ back in September and really liked how it looked. Then, just a few days ago I purchased the coppery-gold shade ‘Leggy Legend’ and it is SO PERFECT for this time of year. It’s on my nails now and I’m very obsessed. Sorry for cheating on you O.P.I
PRICE: $8.50 each (I got mine at Ulta)
Midnight Romance by Ralph Lauren
I’m very picky when it comes to fragrances. I rarely like any and I have to smell the entire perfume section at Sephora to figure out which one I like. This one really INTRIGUED me. It has a almost fruity, sultry scent and I am into it. I would suggest it, but everyone has super different opinions on fragrance.
Also, the next fragrance I’m looking to buy is Elizabeth & James (aka Mary Kate + Ashley Olsen) Nirvana Black. It is suppper rich and almost manly.. just my kind of perfume.
PRICE (for Midnight Romance): $54.00 at Sephora
I have the driest skin known to mankind. My hands get absolutely awful the second the weather changes (but really I have problems in the summer too). Absolutely no other lotion works for my hands other than Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Hand Cream. This stuff is AMAZING. It isn’t greasy and gross like lots of other lotions and it absorbs super quick. This is my second container of it. Also, I have to have my Body Shop Lip Butter because these lips crack super easy. It hydrates your lips all day and tastes good as a bonus.
PRICE: Gold Bond – Around $5.00 at any drugstore
Body Shop Lip Butter – $7.00
All The Naked Palettes (almost)
The hype is true.. these are amazing. I’ve had the first Naked Palette for a super long time. I think I got it the Christmas after it came out. Since I sparingly use eyeshadows, all of my colors are still intact. I love each one separately and can’t pick a favorite. Here’s the simple way to identify them: Naked 1: Super Natural Tones 2. Smoky Eyes and Cool Tones 3. Pinky Tones
They are each around $54.00 which is kinda pricey compared to your average drugstore eyeshadows (obviously) but these are so worth it. I have yet to get the Naked Smoky palette because I rarely wear any super dark eye looks.
Lorac Pro, Naked Flushed and Dream BB
I got the Lorac Pro before last Christmas and didn’t really get around to using it much until Summer. These shadows have such good color payoff and are all really gorgeous. I usually mix the shades from this with shades from the Naked Palettes. It’s definitely one of my favorites that I own.
The Naked Flushed palette was given to me by my good friend (I know she’s so nice) and I have really been liking it. I am usually terrified of blushes because I always feel like I over-do it.. but the pink shade in here is really subtle and natural. I’m a fan. It also has a bronzer and highlighter inside. It’s a super nice little package.
I use the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream very often (like everyday often) because it’s super light and the coverage is perfect for me. I have like exceptionally clear skin for how bad I am at taking care of it, so I don’t need a whole lot of coverage. It also acts as a moisturizer and sunscreen which I really appreciate.
Lorac Pro: $42.00 on their website
Naked Flushed: $32.00 at Sephora
Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream: $6.29 at Target
These aren’t just any sunglasses.. They’re PRESCRIPTION sunglasses. When I found out about these cheap prescription sunglasses I was literally the happiest person ever. I have really bad vision (like so bad I can’t see anything but BLUR without my glasses on) and these allow me to finally see out of SUNGLASSES. I got them on Eyebuydirect.com. It’s one of those cheap glasses websites where you tell them your prescription and they make them for you. It’s a pretty great deal. They go with almost everything I wear too (I also have a different black pair).
Candles and More Candles
I worked at Bath and Body Works.. I worked at White Barn.. and I can officially say that I know my candles. There is nothing that brings me more joy than getting new candles. I am especially in love with every single fall scented candle that exists pretty much. I picked up Sweater Weather and Leaves from White Barn a few weeks ago and I can’t stop burning them. Also I had to include one of my all-time favorite candles Woodwick Campfire Marshmallow.. this one lasts forever (even though mine is almost gone) and smells so good. It also crackles while it burns!
Try to go to Bath and Body Works or White Barn during a sale like 2 for $24. They happen all the time so just check in once in a while. Otherwise they’re $22.50 each for a 3-wick which is just ridiculous.
There is no such thing as too many candles. GO CRAZY.
Thanks for reading everyone and welcome new followers!