Saturday, February 23, 2013

caffe vero, albany.

Caffe Vero is definitely one of my favorite cafes in Albany. It is also one of the cafes that I frequent most often. The location is great, on Lark Street, and the coffee is even better. In my opinion, their coffee is some of the best in the area. Although the space is on the smaller side, there are many little tables at which you are almost always able to find a spot. In addition, there are some prime people-watching seating options along the front windows!

When I come to Caffe Vero, I usually get a cup of their freshly brewed coffee or a cappuccino. The baristas at this cafe specialize in latte art and they are all uniquely gifted. If you stop by, make sure you pick up a punch card! After ten (I think) drinks, you get one free! This is usually when I splurge for a cappuccino. In the summer, their iced coffee is delicious and if you're looking for something a little sweeter, their iced jasmine tea was pretty tasty when I tried it this past summer. During the warmer months, this is a great place to stop by for you caffeine fix before wandering around Washington Park. On an ideal summer day off, I like to stroll down to Dove & Hudson for a browse and then read for a bit in Caffe Vero's cozy atmosphere.

I also have to give Caffe Vero some props for their display of local artists' photography. I appreciate cafes that provide a space for locals to showcase their work.

Caffe Vero's Hours:
Monday - Thursday: 7am-8pm
Friday: 7am-9pm
Saturday: 8am-9pm
Sunday: 8:30am-7pm

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

5 things I love Wednesday.

1. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins.
image from
image from
I think I first started listening to Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins' album "Rabbit Fur Coat" in high school or early college. Relatively recently, one of the songs off the album came up on my iPod while it was on shuffle and I decided to listen to the whole album again. I find it just as amazing as I used to. Jenny Lewis's voice is so unique and so sincere. If you're into singer-songwriter, folksy kind of stuff, you should definitely check this album out! Some of my favorite tracks are "Rise Up With Fists!," "You Are What You Love," and "The Big Guns."

2. leopard flats from Target!

I actually bought two pairs of these shoes, the leopard pair and also a black pair. It was love at first sight when I saw the studs on the back. When looking for shoes that I can wear casually as well as to work, I like comfortable flats with a little classiness to them. While I definitely would not wear the leopard pair of shoes to work, I would and have worn the black pair. Also, because there is black and brown in the leopard pattern, they go with almost anything!

3. Status Updates on Hulu
screenshot of Status Updates on Hulu.
Brigitte Dale, the creator of Status Updates is one of my favorite Youtubers. She is hilarious and adorable and quirky. She was MIA for a while and then turned back up on Youtube with a video explaining that she collaborated with MTV to create Status Updates, a web series on Hulu. The show is so light-hearted and very funny. I don't usually laugh out loud at TV shows or movies, but I found myself giggling a lot while marathoning through the first season of this show. The thing is, the episodes are only about seven minutes long, so you can really go through a season quite quickly. I am really hoping they'll come out with a second season!

4. Root: 1 red wine!

Okay, so maybe this should be more like a favorite for 2012! Root: 1 is probably my favorite red wine at the moment, although I recently tasted Sharecropper's red wine from Oregon at the Charles Lucas Confectionery and it may become a new favorite. One of the greatest aspects about Root: 1 is that we can find it around here at wine shops for about 8 bucks! I also love the graphic design on the bottle.

5. the VSCO CAM iPhone app.

Okay, so I have a new favorite photography iPhone app! VSCO CAM blows just about every other photography app I've used out of the water, other than Snapseed. Somehow, VSCO CAM makes your iPhone photos look like they are better quality than they really are. I also love the fact that they give your photos the look of film. The graininess adjustment really lends to this.

I hope you enjoyed this week's rendition of 5 Thing I Love!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day outfit!

Happy Valentine's Day! xoxo

Today has been so hectic... scurrying around, finishing presents, and getting dolled up. Not to forget class... which was rudely not cancelled!

I thought I'd share the outfit I wore out to dinner with the boo.

top - H&M; shorts - Forever 21; flats - Target. earrings - Forever 21.

coat - Gap.
I was so happy that I found the Gap coat I bought last year (I think?) and couldn't find anywhere for the past few months. Cleaning out my room is like a mini Christmas, rediscovering old treasures you had almost forgotten all about.

ring - Forever 21.
Happy love day, loves!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

my 5 favorite instagrammers!

Alice Gao
Instagram name: alice_gao
images from Alice Gao's Instagram page.
I've written about Alice Gao's blog and photography in a previous post. I love the simplicity and clean lines of her photos. I'm also a sucker for breakfast and coffee/tea photography. She is probably my #1 favorite Instagrammer.

Gabriel Flores
Instagram name: gabrielflores
images from Gabriel Flores's Instagram page.
I began following Gabriel Flores recently. He has some of the most photographically exquisite images on Instagram. I love his use of shadow and reflection. A majority of his photos are taken in New York City.

Bonnie Tsang
Instagram name: bonnietsang
images from Bonnie Tsang's Instagram page.
Bonnie Tsang's Instagram is a true combination of fun and skill. Many of her photos bring a little smile to my face. She frequently posts images of her adorable daughter. She also posts many cafe images, which I love.

Sandra Juto
Instagram name: sandra juto
images from Sandra Juto's Instagram page.
I'm not sure how I stumbled upon Sandra Juto's Instagram, but I'm so glad that I did. Her photos make me long for Europe and most of them seem to have a vintage quality which is very aesthetically pleasing.

Steph Goralnick
Instagram name: sgoralnick
images from Steph Goralnick's Instagram page.
Steph Goralnick's Instagram photos are breathtaking. She posts many photos of New York City, but she also travels around a fair bit. Recently, she's even posted some photos that are taken from the airplane looking down over the earth.

I hope you enjoyed viewing these talented Instagrammers' beautiful images. If you'd like to follow me on Instagram, my username is amourbrillant!


Thursday, February 7, 2013

5 Things I love Tuesday (Thursday)?

1. Crisan Bakery on Lark Street.

I've been a fan of Crisan Bakery for quite some time, but before last week I hadn't been there in months. The atmosphere in this bakery is so beautiful and kitsch. Considering how beautiful these pastries are, they are very moderately priced. I highly recommend their nutella croissants and cappuccinos!

2. Spirited Away.
(All images below are screen-shots from Spirited Away.)

Spirited Away is a Japanese anime film directed by Hayao Miyazaki, who also directed My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service. In fact, Kiki's Delivery Service is one of my favorite movies of all time. The painterly quality of these movies really suck you into the dream. I do enjoy watching anime films every once in a while because I love the imagination of them. Why do we put limits on what we believe is feasible? Maybe if we allowed something beyond the scientific to enter our worlds, we'd realize that "logic" encapsulates so much more than we would have ever thought... logical.
The fact is, we create our own reality. We only exist in our worlds from our personal viewpoints and we will never, ever be able to have an objective perspective on anything outside of ourselves, so why not allow our minds to live in the world we desire, that we build for ourselves?
Miyazaki's films remind me of Murakami's novels because both incorporate the surreal and fantastical in a way that is still somewhat believable and in a way that we almost want to believe can be true. /rant

3. Sephora by OPI nail polish in Caffeine Fix.
Caffeine Fix used to be my favorite nail polish years ago before I got really into pastels. Lately, I've been really enjoying the recent vampy trend. Case and point, my bold lipstick obsession. Caffeine Fix is a very deep, very dark maroon color that almost appears black in some lighting. This is great because I love the look of black nails, but I think it looks so stark on my ├╝ber paleness, so Caffeine Fix is a great compromise.

4. Almond Milk.
image from Ninja Fitness.
I realize more and more each year that my body does not react all that well to dairy products. We'll leave it at that. BUT I can't seem to give up many dairy foods, like cheese and ice cream. However, I am willing to make a concession when it comes to milk. I've not been a huge milk drinker, anyways. Almond milk is not that delicious on its own, but it's very low in calories and generally only has 1 or 2 carbs per 8 oz. glass! It's great for blending in smoothies and I like it in my cereal in the morning! So far, I think the coconut unsweetened flavor is my favorite.

5. J'adore by Dior perfume.
Those who know me well know that J'adore is my scent. It is a floral and sensual scent. Most girls have a perfume that they feel really encompasses their unique femininity. J'adore does just that for me, although I find it to be more of a nighttime scent and I am on the look-out for a more day-friendly scent!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

unseasonal weather.

I might try to do more fashion-related posts now. These are some of my favorite posts on fellow bloggers' sites, so I figured why not give it a shot myself? The weather here has been rather erratic, but mainly warm for this time of year. This allows for more tights and dresses and less form-swallowing eskimo coats.

coat - Forever 21 ($12!); dress - Old Navy; button-up shirt - Salvation Army; shoes - J. C. Penney.
It's always quite awkward for me to take photos of myself, but if it's for the sake of fashion, who am I to let my discomfort get in the way? From what I've heard from other bloggers, the process gets less awkward in time.

Thanks for reading! Let me know how you feel about outfit/fashion posts, please.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

keeping those new year's resolutions in mind...

February is here at last and I'm willing to bet many of us have pretty much completely forgotten about our New Year's resolutions. Attendance at the gym is dwindling and there are fewer people to be found in the super market health food aisle. I wanted to create a visual reminder to keep my resolutions on my mind.

What you'll need:
1 picture frame (I got mine at the Salvation Army)
1 sheet of thick paper
some Sharpies and colored pencils
1 scissors

Remove the back of your picture frame and use it to trace out a piece of paper that will fit perfectly into the frame.

Now, get creative! You'll want to create something aesthetically pleasing so that you'll want to have it in a prominent space in your house or bedroom.

I like to keep mine next to my bed, on my bedside table.

Here's to setting goals and keeping them. If you find that you've been letting your goals slip out of your thoughts in the chaos of daily life, don't get discouraged and remember that you can pick them back up whenever and you'll be better for it! Also, I believe that people shouldn't put all of their focus on setting goals for the new year. If you want to see a change in your life, start as soon as you get the urge!

Thanks for reading!


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