Blogger Brunch at The Explorer’s Club

{by alicia}–It’s been an interesting summer for us at Wander & Whine. Alexis has been on the prowl for her first house, started a new job, and I’ve left seven years in educational publishing to do the same. My new gig involves marketing at a local mobile app startup, and it’s awesome. Not only do I get to promote a product that I am excited about, but I get to connect with bloggers–something I’ve always enjoyed doing here.

This past weekend, we kicked off our beta phase with a blogger brunch at The Explorer’s Club. It was different being on the other side of a blogger meetup (usually, I’m just an attendee), so I had a lot of fun with the planning. Picking the venue was a no brainer.

Bike rack at Explorer's Club, Columbus Ohio

I’ve always been a fan of Explorer’s Club. Their mission to introduce diners to new flavors and its unique menu offerings (like mofongo! What the what!) have won me over again and again. So when my co-worker Amanda (A2) exclaimed “EXPLORER’S CLUB HAS MAC ‘N CHEESE FOR BREAKFAST,” we were sold–another perk of my job is working closely with someone who is just as insane as I am.

We were working on a short timeline, so we lucked out when the restaurant was able to reserve its private room for us.

Explorer's Club, Columbus, OH

Another thing that sold us? A PATIO CAT. A2 and I are obsessed (half of our conversations involve cats and/or Chris Pratt), so when we found out the private room opened out to a patio, where said resident cat lived, we were all over it. Actually, we were all over the cat, who we accosted from the get go.

The patio cat at Explorer's Club. The patio cat at Explorer's Club. The patio cat at Explorer's Club.Unfortunately, we couldn’t play with our little friend all morning despite how cute. There were bloggers to talk to and mimosas to drink–a fair trade off, however!

Mimosa from Explorer's Club

After some introductions, mimosas, and chatting, we struggled over what to order–everything sounded SO GOOD. I am partial to Explorer’s Club’s huevos rancheros and Cuban French toast, but there were some other stunners catching my eye (mango beignets with salty caramel and whipped cream, I’M TALKING ABOUT YOU). I ended up with one my usuals, but split a side order of the morning mac with someone else. I’m pretty sure 95% of us had mac ‘n cheese to some degree.

Breakfast at Explorer's Club starring morning mac and veggie burrito.While eating, A2 and I did a quick presentation about the app and what we hope to achieve with it. If you’re interested, it’s a mobile savings app that will combine all of your coupons, loyalty cards, gift cards, etc. in one convenient place–I’m for anything that reduces clutter and saves me money, so I hope everyone else feels the same!

We couldn’t be happier with the way the morning went. The staff at Explorer’s Club went above and beyond to take care of us, the food was delicious, and our first event went swimmingly! I’ve also got to thank the bloggers/vloggers who were in attendance:

Front row, left to right: Morgan, Sophia and Kathy, me, Cherise, and Brittany. Back row: Jessie, Liz, Erin, Tiffany, and Lauren. Big thanks to everyone involved!

If you are interested in trying out the beta version of our app, feel free to sign up (currently only available on iPhone). Plus, the first 100 users to sign up and complete the exit survey will receive a $5 Starbucks e-gift card as our thanks. Please remember that the Shoply app is still in beta, so there will definitely be some kinks, but that is where your valuable feedback will come in! Feel free to message me with any questions!

Advertisements

Three Nights with Blue Apron

{by alexis}–I would not say that cooking is my strong suit, but I am definitely not afraid of trying new things. Last week, a good friend hooked up me up with a free trial of Blue Apron (thanks, B!), and I’d figure I share with you my impressions, and of course a few pictures.

Blue Apron is a service that ships the ingredients and directions for three meals for two people. The cost is $60/week. So, that’s 6 meals a week for $60, and works out to $10/dinner per person. It seems like a lot, when you consider that you’re doing all the work, but I easily spend more than $60 a week at the grocery store planning for three meals. Yes, I realize — you have more ingredients left over than the Blue Apron ingredients, which are pre-measured. The meals are low-ish in calories, and are more than enough for the two people they aim to feed.

We came home on Saturday afternoon and found a great big box on the doorstep. Unpacking it was a bit of a pain, there’s a TON of stuff inside, but they label everything so clearly that you don’t have to wonder what goes with what recipe.

They suggest you cook the fish or shellfish recipes first, so I started with the salmon. Here’s the recipe card that you use to prepare your meal.

blue apron

I was not excited about the salmon dish. I will attempt to eat almost ANYTHING (I’ve got nine million pictures from Italy that prove this), but seafood doesn’t really ring my bell. Unless it’s fried. Plus, this thing came with a giant bulb of fennel. You guys, fennel is like licorice, which usually makes me want to jump out a window. But! I am trying new things! I laid out all of my ingredients.

blue apron

Look at those beautiful potatoes! They are all the colors. I wasn’t the only one in the house interested in how this would go. Indiana Bones REALLY wanted to help.

IMG_20140825_195359

You guys, he was CRYING at these ingredients, he wanted them so badly. So anyway. I got cooking. The directions were really easy to follow: I prepared the fennel properly for once in my life, and sliced it into tiny slivers. I was terrified of the salmon, but I dove in. Guess what? It came out beautifully!

blue apron

Does this not look like something that came out of some fancy chef’s kitchen in some big city? IT DIDN’T. I MADE IT. Look at that crispy salmon! That artfully plated fennel, and those colorful potatoes! Honestly, this dish is gorgeous. Definitely the most the most visibly appealing, it was also the easiest. And, to my surprise, the fennel was the bomb. It was crisp, light, and not overwhelming. The potatoes were cooked through, and the whole grain mustard was just right. This was a total and complete success.

The next dish was beef-and-rice stuffed poblano peppers. I wasn’t excited about preparing the rice. It takes forever to cook, and I always do it wrong. It comes out crunchy, despite my best efforts. I was excited about these deep green peppers, though.

blue apronAnd that Mexican Crema! What is that?! And pepitas? Currants? What was I making!

I got to cooking again. For some reason, this time the rice was easy. It took exactly as long as it said it would, and even without other flavoring it was super good. And look at that big garlic bulb. I have only recently discovered fresh garlic. It’s kind of a bummer to peel, but once you do, the fragrance is like magic. Maybe I don’t wash my hands as thoroughly as I should (JUST KIDDING MOM), but that garlic scent hangs out on my fingertips for like, a day, and I LOVE IT. More garlic, please.

I don’t think I roasted the peppers properly, but they were hot as all hades when I got them out of the oven. Slicing and emptying the inside was a nuisance. Once I mixed all the filling together with the rice and the meat, though, I was in love. The currants and pepitas (I have learned that these are delicious crunchy things) were so unexpected in the filling. The crunch and sweetness added another level of taste to my cooking. That’s one thing I really did love about Blue Apron — I would NEVER have thought to throw dried fruit in a dish like this (because fruit, gross), but it was so right, and so different! Look! I’m expanding my cooking horizons! (Not my eating horizons though; those are pretty well expanded.)

This dish was NOT the most beautiful. Heaps of beef don’t exactly photograph artistically, so sorry. But I know you want to see!

blue apron

 

That Mexican crema was mixed together with lime juice to make a tangy sort of sour cream. I love peppers, but these were kind of bland. The crunch was a happy addition, but they didn’t provide much in the way of flavor. Though good, this was probably our least favorite of the three meals.

The third night was chicken sate with peanut sauce and green tomato salad. YOU READ THAT RIGHT. Green tomatoes. Look at this delightful crop of ingredients.

blue apron

Those are not green apples, you guys, those are TOMATOES. Firm, tart, and basically put on this earth to bring me joy. And that peanut butter was straight out of Whole Foods, I swear. High quality butter here, folks. This recipe also called for (and came with) a few sprigs of cilantro, which I ignored because cilantro is over-rated. Yeah, you heard me.

The rice was similarly simple for this recipe, though I preferred the other’s basmati rice due to the flavor. The worst part about this one was threading strips of raw chicken onto wooden skewers. Raw poultry kind of skeeves me out (meaning I’m very helpful at Thanksgiving), but I powered through. The other tough part was that, because you can’t really thread them uniformly, they don’t sit in the pan evenly, and they didn’t cook as evenly as I would have liked. I probably overdid them because I was afraid of poisoning my husband, who is generally not a fan of salmonella.

I marinated and seasoned the green tomatoes, and sliced up pungent red onions as part of the salad. The salad was actually not my favorite part. The best part about green tomatoes is their firmness, which is why we fry them: they hold up so well to the batter and the oil. Without that preparation, they were actually kind of tough, though tart and WONDERFUL. Here’s the completed dish.

IMG_20140825_194921

A satisfying, and delightful dinner! The peanut butter dipping sauce was combined a few of those other pictured potions, and I served it in on the side.

Altogether, I liked the Blue Apron meals. They were just challenging enough: they helped me to cook new things in new ways, but they weren’t so hard I that I wanted to throw my wine glass at the stove. I don’t believe we would use this every week, but I can definitely appreciate the convenience of having my week’s groceries dropped at my door. Try it if you’re looking to learn something new, and eat well while you’re at it. It’s good stuff!

Eating in Charleston

{by alicia}–Ohh, you guys. I had this carefully crafted post all written and ready to go, and then my computer decided to crash and ruin everything. So here we are, for the second time, to recap all of the glorious things I consumed in Charleston. Forgive me if I come across grumpy and/or concise, but my rage meter is beyond measure. SO LET’S GET STARTED.

Since we drove into Charleston bright and early, our first stop was at Black Tap Coffee. I couldn’t help but fall in love from the moment I walked in–the interior was all minimalistic with clean lines and full of natural light. Plus, my coffee was on point. This doesn’t strike me as the type of place that would franchise, but I wish they would.

Iced Coffee from Black Tap Charleston, SC

The simple syrup was genius. I hate the gritty residue sugar leaves behind, so it was amazing being able to seamlessly blend in this sweet, magical elixir. Such a simple (ha) concept, and it was all over Charleston. Why don’t I ever see this in Columbus? Am I going to the wrong coffee houses?

You know what else is genius: coffee + booze. There’s this great place off King Street called Kudu Coffee & Craft Beer, and though I can’t vouch for the beer (twas too early for me), I can recommend their other type of brew.

Kudu

While waiting for my drink, I noticed a little courtyard–isn’t this picturesque? And there’s that creeping fig again. I wish we had the time to sit back and enjoy the scene, but we had to hit the pavement to our next stop.

Kudu

A stop that happened to be Sugar Bakeshop. I guess I wasn’t too heartbroken.

Sugar Bake Shop

You know what goes well with coffee? Cupcakes.

Sugar Bake Shop

We walked away with caramel, coconut, and of course, vanilla (because that is the flavor I measure all bakeries against, plus I’m boring, shhh). But it’s okay! I made up for it when we went to Kaminsky’s. This dessert bar is a tourist hotspot–like lines wrapped around the building hotspot. I think we waited 30+ minutes for a table, but I assure you, it was BEYOND WORTH IT.

Kaminsky's menu, Charleston, SC

A shot of the menu. They have all sorts of drinks and ice cream treats on it.

There isn’t a printed bakery menu as the offerings depend on whatever is in the display case, and it’s ever changing. The case was jammed full of temptation–some of the cakes were massive. And though this was an insanely difficult decision, we ended up snagging the last slice of coconut cream cake and a massive hunk of chocolate brownie cake (with vanilla bean ice cream). This was the perfect night cap. It’s lucky we don’t live here, or our health and bank account would hate us.

Coconut Cream Cake from Kaminsky'sChocolate Brownie Cake from Kaminsky'sBesides top notch coffee and sweets, the general food scene was impressive. Our first meal was at S.N.O.B. (Slightly North of Broad), which I highly recommend. The food is bistro-style lowcountry fare, and everything we ate was so delicious. Thom’s burger and chips were some of the best I’ve ever had–the house made chips were tossed in cayenne, sugar, and maybe paprika? Oh man, so good.
SNOB, Charleston, SC

In contrast, our last meal was at The Rarebit (also eclectic comfort food. I detect a theme). He had the hot chicken, and I went all out on country-fried steak with the most delicious (aka carby) sides.

Rarebit

I was all over my plate, but not so much husband’s food. I have to say I was disappointed by the lack of hot in the “hot” chicken. It wasn’t that long ago I tried the real deal in Nashville (and burned my face off in the process), so perhaps my standards were too high? At any rate, he liked it.

We’ve covered food, coffee, and dessert, so let’s talk about booze–namely the two bars that really did it for me. The first is The Blind Tiger. It’s old, historic (the building was erected in 1803), and I just loved the vibe. Plus they had cider on tap (it is the summer of cider after all), so it wasn’t that difficult to win me over.

The Blind Tiger

“Where did you pinch the hooch rummy? Is some blind tiger jerking suds on the side?”

The second place is the Rooftop at the Vendue. Um, guys, I wish I knew this hotel existed when I was booking our room. The concept is “experiencing art out of the frame,” so the interior was just beautiful and jammed with sculptures, painting, and modern art. We were entranced by everything during the short walk from the entrance to the rooftop elevator. I don’t know about the rooms, but it’s in a great area, is beautiful, and has a rooftop bar–stay here!

IMG_1414The rooftop bar was a lot of fun, and would be perfect if you have a big crowd. There are all sorts of nooks and crannies to hang out in.IMG_1483 IMG_1482The drinks are a tad pricy, but it’s vacation, right? 
Rooftop

We only had two days to cram all sorts of amazing things into our faces, but I think we did okay, considering there are only three meals in a day (a travesty).

Other places you should try:
Hominy Grill: You WILL need a reservation at dinner (as I learned the hard way), but if all else fails, grab some carryout from the window.
Husk: This establishment has won all sorts of awards for their amazing cuisine. Make sure to get a reservation here as well.
Poe’s Tavern: It’s Poe-themed (I’m already sold) and the menu is nothing but booze and burgers (still sold). Only catch is that it’s on Sullivan Island (20 minute drive). Plan a beach day and grab some lunch here.

Pittie Party with Peace for Paws and Devoted Ohio

{by alexis}–I have written to you all many times before about how much I love our canine friends and the joys of pet adoption or rescue. So, it was a no-brainer when Devoted asked if I would be in a few photos at their pet adoption event last Saturday. They teamed up with Peace for Paws, a rescue group here in central Ohio, and held a lively event in the Gateway Alley outside their store, with live music, local vendors, and oodles of pitties!

The Devoted team always runs great events. In addition to Peace for Paws, they teamed up with some exceptionally talented photographers. Amy Clark Studios was there snapping the pups, as well as Jaclyn from Coley & Co Photography. Jaclyn worked with husband and I as we goofed off with the dogs. Look at these gorgeous photos she took!

coley & co photography

snuggles

coley & co photography

snuggles

coley & co photography

snuggles

coley & co photography

emma

coley & co photography

emma

And look at those dogs! These were two of our favorites. So well-behaved, so friendly, and so mellow. Indiana Bones is many things, but I’m not sure anyone would describe him as MELLOW.

Oh, and do you love our shirts? We are wearing designs from Sugar Pie Tees. These Ohio-centric tees are available for all members of the family, from infant to adult, and are oh-so-soft. They will be PERFECT for tail-gates (yes, football starts again in just a few short weeks!). I wasn’t allowed to wear the Made In Ohio shirt, given that whole my-being-from-Michigan thing, but I found the heart-in-Ohio shirt to be quite appropriate! These shirts, as well as a whole truckload of others, are available at Devoted.

Once were done with the modeling portion of the event, we wandered around making new friends with all the adoptable pups. WHAT DOLLS.

snuggles

snuggles

snuggles

snuggles

Snuggles was a very special puppy. She was so calm, engaged, and just good-hearted. She let us, strangers, lead her around, pick her up, and was generous with the kisses. What is better than a patient and affectionate puppy! And did you see her manicure?

snuggles

snuggles

Ugh, that NOSE! She was so sweet. We milled around for a while, but always found ourselves back at Snuggles’ side. Basically, I want to keep her.

And then we met Layla. She and I had a pretty quick and natural connection. Another calm puppy, she was full of love.

IMG_20140817_192630

layla

She investigated me for a little while, then I guess she made up her mind.

layla

layla

layla

layla

We were pretty fast friends. Can I we just take a moment to acknowledge WHAT A FUN DAY THIS IS? There’s more!

Brawny was a more reserved, shy pup. I tried to woo him, but he only had eyes for my husband. The only time I could get a good picture of his face was when he nestled up to husband’s legs.

brawny

brawny

Look at that face! And that bow-tie (this dapper look brought to you by CollarDoos). I love this; it’s so sweet, and is a great illustration of the natural, automatic bond between dogs and people. They just want to be close to us. And who wouldn’t want to snuggle that sweet face. I will always remember one visit to the Franklin County Dog Shelter while we were looking for Indy: Some of the dogs in the stalls would press their entire bodies up to the doors, just so you could pet them. That’s how much they crave human touch and attention!

Some dogs were really just basking in all the attention. Check out Tyson: he looks like a centerfold!

tyson

tyson

He’s loving the sun and all the “good boy”s!

Before we headed out, we got another picture of Emma. This one is a pretty good representation of her sweet disposition and happy attitude.

emma

emma

I mean, only good dogs put up with this! There were more dogs than just these we featured here, but you can blame my photography for any omissions.

We had so much fun talking with the fosters and getting to know the pups themselves. Rescue groups are always full of such fundamentally good people. You’ve got to tip your hat to folks who open their homes to dogs in need, and donate their time to help find forever  homes. Truly, we were thrilled we could help give these darlings the exposure, and I hope one or two of you readers is looking to adopt. You couldn’t go wrong with any of these dogs.

Catching up at Local Cantina


{alexis}

Thursdays are perfect for mini-celebrations: the majority of the work week is behind you, and the weekend is almost within reach. This is why last Thursday, Wander & Whine got together with one of our closest friends (blog favorite Megan returns), and shared some Mexican deliciousness at Local Cantina in Grandview.

We came straight from work and piled into a table by the door. We immediately began poring over the beer menu, thanks to their great happy hour specials: $3 drafts and cheapo margaritas.

local cantina

Once we placed our orders, Alicia and I sidled up to the chips and salsa bar. Yes! A bar! We filled bowls with salsa (yes, one was hot and one more mild), and I dutifully counted my chips (I have to at least PRETEND to watch what I’m eating), and we dug in.

Megan tried to foil my diet plan with the following shared dish of jalepeno poppers. They were HOT (in temperature) so use caution!

 local cantinaThey were full of molten cheese, and an entire jalepeno. The more peppers, the better, in my book. Before long, our food came. Alicia went with the fajitas.

local cantina

The best thing about Mexican food is how bright and colorful the dishes wind up! The veggies look crisp and fresh, and for whatever it’s worth, Alicia didn’t do a whole lot of talking after this was served (a rarity, indeed).

Both Megan and I went for tacos. She chose the cantina fish, the avocado BLT, and another superstar that I never wrote down.

local cantina

Her favorite was the fish, which shouldn’t be surprising, given that the fish tacos are their specialty! I also got a trio of tacos.

IMG_20140813_030917

On the far left, you’ll see the grilled fish, the middle is the veggie, and the right is the grilled chicken. I was big into both the fish and the veggie. The fish was light, and the jalepeno slaw was crunchy and tart. The veggie was also pretty great, but any taco with a filling base of guacamole is a clear winner.

It was a lovely evening of toasts, laughs, and, of course, a bit of whining. But that’s what girlfriends are for, no? I would definitely recommend Local Cantina as a casual place to throw back a few beers and linger for a while over a few bowls of salsa. Don’t forget to invite me!

Local Cantina is located at 1423b Grandview Ave. Mon-Fri, 4pm-2:30am; Sat-Sun 11am-2:30am.

Sightseeing in Charleston

{alicia}

I know, will I ever shut up about my vacation? That would be a negative. In fact, there was so much to say about my trip to Charleston, SC that I had to break it up into two posts. Today we’re going to focus on things you must see, and later we will talk about the food.

I should also warn you that this is going to be a photo-heavy post. This actually breaks my heart a bit because there were so many more pictures I wanted to include. But enough about that, let’s start with one of the loveliest moments from the trip (one of MANY): The Battery.

The Battery, Charleston, SC

Isn’t this ridiculously scenic? The Battery was named after the defense artillery that shacked up there during the Civil War. There were even cannons posted along White Point Garden (the nearby park). As if there wasn’t enough to gawp at, there were also these insane antebellum houses that lined the street.

The Battery, Charleston, South Carolina

I found Barbie’s dream house.

The Battery, Charleston, SC

Umm, I’d like to move in please. K, thx.

If you head north on East Battery, it will turn into East Bay, which will bring you to our next point of interest. Rainbow Row reminds me of the South’s version of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco. The pastel-colored houses run from 79 to 107 E. Bay and are a huge draw for tourists and photographers.

Rainbow Row, Charleston, SC

A bit obscured, but you get the gist.

I can’t even hate on the hordes of snap-happy people because I was probably the worst. I was taking pictures of everything–this includes brass door knockers in the shape of pineapples, and streets I found quaint.

Charleston, SC

I mean, look at the road and palm trees!

The problem was everything was quaint! Oh, stairs covered in creeping fig? LET’S TAKE A PICTURE.

Charleston, South Carolina

Don’t be too impressed. I only know this is creeping fig because a tour guide told me so. Apparently, English ivy causes damage to homes because of the tendrils that work its way into every little crack–who knew?

Charleston is highly walkable (the farthest we walked to any given location was 25 minutes), so if you enjoy this sort of thing, I’d advise you to hoof it through the neighborhoods. You are bound to stumble upon all sorts of eye-pleasing sights. The houses here are so charming!

Charleston, SC

Charleston, SC

Charleston, SC

This was actually the entryway to a church.

Another church! This time the French Huguenot Church.

Another church! This time the French Huguenot Church. See that rain? The weather was perfect except for this moment.

Charleston, SC

This epitomizes Charleston to me.

I even came across a garden with my namesake, which is funny because I spent the whole vacation whining about not being able to find a “Share a Coke” bottle with my name. This sort of counts.

My garden!

Mine!

I haven’t been able to find any information on who Alicia actually is (my guess is that it might have something to do with Alicia Rhett?). If anyone knows, please share!

If you’re looking for something a bit unique (and possibly sacrilegious), check out the Unitarian Graveyard–allegedly haunted by Poe’s Annabel Lee. We didn’t stay long because I have a tendency to creep myself out.

It was many and many a year ago/In a kingdom by the sea/That a maiden there lived whom you may know/ By the name of  Annabel Lee.

It was many and many a year ago/In a kingdom by the sea/That a maiden there lived whom you may know/ By the name of Annabel Lee.

If you’d rather rest your feet for awhile, there’s also the possibility of taking a carriage tour. Many companies depart from the City Market, so head there to get your ticket (around $20 per person), and reserve a time and carriage. Just ask one of the operators sitting at the carriages or in the kiosks.

Charleston, SC

For people who are leery because of animal treatment concerns (I was one of those people), our guide assured us that Charleston has strict regulations to protect the horses and mules. While this was comforting, I still felt conflicted about it, and I’m not sure I’d do it again. Don’t get me wrong, Palmetto Carriage Works was great; I’m just having a moral dilemma here.

Since the city is so small, and traffic gets out of control, the tours are divided by zones. The route you take will depend on the luck of the draw. We ended up in the Battery and Museum districts. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and had all sorts of nuggets of information–this is the guy who taught me about creeping fig! He also pointed out St. Philip’s leaning steeple:

St. Philip's Church, Charleston, SC

I guess I can sort of see it? An earthquake caused it to tip.

We only had two days in this wonderful city, so I’m sure I missed a lot. Feel free to comment and tell me where I should go next time!

Honorable mentions:
Philadelphia Alley
King Street
Sullivan Island (technically a 20-minute drive from Charleston)

Blogger Party at the Blowdry Cafe

{alexis}

One of the best parts of blogging is getting to know the rest of the local community, and last weekend, Wander & Whine had the pleasure of attending a blogger party at the Blowdry Cafe, hosted by Sofia of Caviar & Quarters.

The invite was brief and to the point — brunch, bubbly, and blow-outs — and I was in. Alicia and I turned up Sunday morning ready to go. Thanks to a run-in I had with a salad dressing the night before (I advise you to double- and triple-check the bottle is closed before giving a good shake), my hair was a grease-bomb, the likes of which I had never seen.

But before I could feel too self-conscious about the state of my scalp, the owners whisked us away to picture-worthy brunch. The scones and cupcakes below are from Sassafras Bakery, and they were good.

sassafras bakery

Bloggers are funny: we hovered around the table, taking photos from different angles, but no one took a bite, not for a while! Later, when Alicia and I split a muffin half, we wished we’d started earlier. Our eyes widened in unison, and we started yelling about all the sugar we were ingesting. Delicious, donut-muffin sugar.

And there was also a toast, because, mimosas. My favorite!

mimosasAfter much toasting and making friends, they showed me to a chair and began their hard work. We decided to go for a wave that would relax throughout the day and leave me with a beachy wave the next morning. Here I am, all ready to go!

alexis wander and whinePlease pretend I look better than I do.

I got a great wash in the reclining seat, complete with two shampoos. Kristy took pity on my dressing-soaked hair and did a clarifying rinse first to get it well and truly clean. Then it was time for the blow-dry. Once that was done, I was thrilled about the smooth volume I was left with.

IMG_20140811_081825Bright, light, and swingy! And Kristy wasn’t even done with her magic yet. She started in with the curling wand, and kept my back to the mirror, so the reveal was a big surprise.

IMG_20140811_124134

Look at all them waves! If I didn’t know myself, I would say that this girl wasn’t born with hair as straight as uncooked spaghetti. And the back!

IMG_1697

Relaxed, and soft, just like I like it! The curls hung around all day, and even lasted till Monday morning. Alas, Monday’s rain and wind gave me another blow-out of sorts, and by the time I reached my office, my hair was about as straight as it’s ever been. I’m sure if the weather had been more cooperative, it would have lasted all through that day, too.

Would you believe I wasn’t the only girl there getting my hair did? No! Alicia too had a turn in the chair, but she opted for a braid rather than a blow-out. Here she is, getting all dolled up!

blowdry cafe

She’s got the perfect hair for this: Long, straight, and gorgeous. Let’s all take a moment to stifle our jealousy before moving on… So her braid wrapped around that cute little head and into a fishtail braid on the other side, that was wrapped up into a boho bun.

IMG_20140811_083641 IMG_20140811_083721

Isn’t that cute?! Once she unraveled the bun, she was left with the long, fishtail braid down the front.

Amidst all this fun, we got to chat with some of our old friends, and make some new ones, too! We caught up with Erin of Planning for Paris, and Mrs. Ladylike herself, and met Lauren, from Girl About Town, Meghan from Launch Business Consulting, Nijima Darwish from Born and Bread (yay food puns!), Tonya from Promoting University, Allison from the Wonder Jam, and Erin, from House of Earnest (whose blog I will be frequenting once this damn house hunt comes to a close).

It was a lovely Sunday afternoon, getting pampered, sharing stories, adding a few more blogs to the reading list, and of course, enjoying those mimosas. Many thanks to Sofia for organizing, and to the Blowdry Cafe for hosting!

If you would like to check out the Blowdry Cafe yourself, make sure to mention the blog and use promo code “Blowdrycafe” for 15% all products and services.

The Blowdry Cafe is located at 4740 Reed Road. M, closed; Tues, 10am-6pm; Weds, 7am-7pm; Thurs, 10am-7pm; Fri 7am-8pm; Sat 9am-8pm; Sun, Noon-5pm.