{ Rain } Rain, go away

I got a little ahead of myself this past weekend when the valley temperatures sky rocketed in the 90’s.  I was instantly reminded that Summer is finally around the corner and my hunt for the perfect bathing suit could officially begin...{too bad it’s raining today}! I probably buy a new bathing suit each summer and then recycle my favorites from seasons past so I try not to replicate anything that is too similar to what I already own.  Each of these would be a welcomed addition to my current collection. I am really into the color blue {especially Royal Blue} at the moment, and I love the way VIX swimsuits fit me so I’m leaning towards the blue and white vix bikini with side ties, {side ties= flattering}.  But,  at the same time, I love the neon contrast of the blue and green Victoria’s Secret one! The fringed L*Space monokini is super chic and sexy, although not ideal for tanning ... it's definitely fab for a pool party.  Just throw on some hoop earrings and gold bangles and you're all set. I'm also loving the muted colors and fringe - quite unexpected if you ask me. And the Beach Bunny one is just too hot not to post. Decisions, Decisions! –N.K.

{ Sexy Plunging Monokinis }
L*Space // Karla Colletto // Target // Karla Colletto

{ Feminine & Flirty Monokinis }
Zimmermann // Thayer // Kushcush // Zinkie

{ Bright Patterned Bikinis }
Vix // Zimmermann // Ondademar // Tibi

 { Chic Solid Bikinis }
Mara Hoffman // Victoria's Secret // L*Space // BeachBunny
What are some of your favorites listed here? Any recommendations for great places to buy swimsuits? 


{ Remember }

Today marks the 97th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.  We commemorate  the lives of those we lost, and will always continue to press on to fight for worldwide recognition of this horrible tragedy.  As Armenian women, with readers all over the world via Vogueandvino, we felt it necessary to take a second to educate our readers and remember our relatives and those who were massacred in the first genocide of the 20th century. No genocide or holocaust should ever be acceptable and in order for our world to ever progress into the future, we must acknowledge and honor the past, and stop these inhumane atrocities.  For more information on the Armenian Genocide, click here.

xx, the gals


{ How to }
Romantic Side French-braid

With Spring in the air, floral running wild on every fashion trend these days, and baby pink creeping back into my closet for the first time since third grade, things are feeling a bit romantic lately.  I can't think of a better hair-do than the side french-braid to infuse a bit of vintage romance to my "pastel-ly" ensemble these past few weeks.  Braiding certain sections of the hair not only adds a feminine touch, but if done correctly can be a stylish alternative to your normal hair style routine.  I love all the possibilities with this hairstyle: It can be wrapped around the crown of your head, or simply gathered into a loose romantic low bun, or ponytail.  In either style, this look is youthful, fresh and perfect for Spring.   Add some coral lips and blush and you're all ready to go. Just follow these simple steps to achieving a fun hair do, that really doesn't take much time.
  • Step 1: Part hair on the side and grab a two inch thick portion at the base of the part of your hair. Split into three sections.
  • Step 2: Cross the front/your right section over the middle section. Then take the left section and cross that over the 'new middle' section. Note: The "middle section" will continuously change as you gather hair into the braid.
  • Step 3: Gather a small strand of hair from the right part of your head, and add into the right section in your hand {giving you a thicker, wider strand} and combine into the middle section as you did in step 2. Continue on left side, but be sure that the left side strands that you gather will be small since it's only to secure the braid down on the left side of your head. Tighten braid.
  • Step 4: Repeat until you've incorporated as much hair you want into the braid, while still leaving hair half up half down. Finish by regularly braiding the remaining hair and either securing with a mini rubber-band to leave the braid down with the rest of your hair, or by securing with a bobbypin to wrap around your head, as pictured in step 4. For the final touch, take a curling iron wand and wrap sections of your hair for some beach waves. Leave your hair down, or tie it all up in a messy bun or pony tail, and voila, you did it!
Is this a look you would try? Instagram your effort and tag @Vogueandvino so we can see!


{ Wine Wednesday }
Wine Cask

Since moving to sunny Santa Barbara, I learned that this city has one of the highest amounts of restaurants per capita than any other West Coast city.  I can honestly say I am thrilled that 99% of those restaurants are not chains! Halleluja! There's nothing better than discovering a new eatery whose chef creates masterpieces that are unique and particular to that restaurant. With that being said, one of those unique restaurants is the Wine Cask.  Owned by prominent winemakers, Doug Margerum and Mitchell Sjervens, this chic restaurant has Intermezzo Bar & Cafe, for a more relaxed yet trendy wine lounge feel, or The Wine Cask for a fine dining experience.  After running a winery in Santa Ynez for 10 years, Doug Margerum, decided to bring his wines downtown with the Margerum wine tasting room. Adjacent to that tasting room, Jim Clendelen, one of the Central Coasts most respected winemakers, opened a tasting room featuring his wine, Au Bon Climat, that he has made for over 30 years. 
{ wine cask patio }

Aside from their large "on tap" wine selection, one of my favorite items on the Intermezzo menu has to be the cheese platter.  Served on a slab of granite, you choose three of their six selections of cheeses from various countries.  Honeycomb, large cranberries, candied walnuts, sliced green apples and perfectly toasted crackers come nestled next to generous portions of cheese. {We had the Taleggio from Italy, Fourme d'Ambert from France, and the Cabra al Romero from Spain}... De.light.ful.  Enjoy a glass of wine and that cheese platter among their quaint European-style courtyard with fountains and vines; or opt for a cozy night in near the fireplace.  Must try the Crispy Cauliflower, Thai Shrimp rolls, Spanish Mac & Cheese, Market flat-bread... and save room for dessert: Homemade pumpkin-cinnamon donuts with cinnamon ice cream, caramel sauce and candied walnuts. H E A V E N.  {Check out this instagrammed picture from a while back}.  Everything is very tasty on the menu, you truly can't go wrong.  Bon Apetit!

{ Intermezzo chalkboard menu }


{ Wine Wednesday }
La Crema Wine

Ahh, there is nothing better than sipping a glass of cold Chardonnay on a warm summer night.  The weather in Los Angeles has been satisfyingly warm during the day, and hints of Summer are beginning to show {till these April showers, of course}.  Sometimes, on the weekends one of my favorite things to do with my girlfriends is to sit outside, people watch {European style}, and sip on a glass of cold white wine.   I used to lean towards the lightness and crispness of Pinot Grigio, but have recently developed a taste for a buttery yet oaky Chardonnay.  People tend to shy away from the heaviness that Chardonnay's are known for, but when I stumbled across La Crema's Sonoma Coast 2009, which many of my Pinot Grigio drinking friends have converted to, it was love at first sip!  I'll add one ice cube {shocking!!} in to dilute it and make it a bit colder and the result is perfection. The description on the website reads  "The 2009 vintage of Sonoma Coast Chardonnay opens with an intriguing interplay of lively citrus and subtle toasted oak, laced with just a kiss of butterscotch. The palate is round and nutty, with flavors of yellow apple and orange adding lushness, while well-balanced acidity creates a lovely vibrancy. Hints of vanilla and caramel add richness and texture to a long, fresh finish." That makes me want a glass right about...now. 
What are YOUR favorite Chardonnay's??


{ winner, winner }

So after a very busy past few days sifting through your Coachella style contest submissions we narrowed them down to one stylish winner. Her look was feminine, boho-chic and fashion forward with the mid-calf maxi! Congrats Olivia!

And our two fashionable runners-up :

Thanks to all who submitted!  Until next time.....


And the winner is...
wait, first a note on hair

Wow, well with an overwhelming amount of submissions for our Coachella style giveaway, we decided to extend our contest one more day!  The winner will be announced tomorrow morning! Stay tuned...
And now, a little mention on hair:  I've always wanted to do something fun and unexpected with my hair.  It's probably the rebel inside of me dying to get out!  I've had ombre hair color  for the past two years, {thanks to George Papanikolas at the Andy LeCompte Salon}, and although I love it, I was recently telling my fabulous hairstylist, Jen Atkin, that I was bored and wanted to try something new.  Something that would add an extra touch of pizazz, but nothing too drastic.  She brilliantly suggested playing with color... a concept I hadn't really given much thought about in the past.  At once, I had an influx of ideas, maybe pink tips? Or one bright colored strand? If done correctly, this look can look chic and fashion forward.  Here are some inspirations found on Pinterest that are assisting in boosting my courage to try this new look! Some are quite drastic while others are more subdued. What do you think? We would love to hear your ideas or suggestions in the comments below.  Is this a look you would try?


Coachella { Style }

We are thrilled to announce our very first Vogue and Vino giveaway today: Send us a photo of you rocking your best Coachella outfit at Thegals@vogueandvino.com.  The winning look will be featured on our blog and Instagram on Monday! You will also win a stylish Coachella tote bag by Crime by Design that you can wear for the concert, next weekend.  Contest begins today and ends Sunday, April 8, 2012. Winner will be announced Monday morning.  Goodluck everyone! We are so excited to see your style!
{ Coachella Tote by Crime by Design; $60.00 value }


{ Wine Wednesday }
Proper terminology

What better way to truly learn about the art of wine tasting than by studying the basic terminology.  Here is our very own vogueandvino wine dictionary:
  1. Acidity - The tart taste in wines; too much can make the wine taste sour. 
  2. Aroma - The smell of a young wine. Aroma is the smell that comes from the grapes, while bouquet (below) is the smell that comes from finished wine. 
  3. Balance - A wine is classified as balanced when nothing else overwhelms the wine; the overall impression is pleasing. 
  4. Blush Wine -A term that is sometimes used to indicate a wine made in a white wine style from red wine grapes. "Blush" is actually a registered trademark. They are also called "Rose" wines. 
  5. Body - The overall mouth feel/weight of a wine.
  6. Bordeaux - One of the largest cities in France, and a generic term for the sea of wine that is made around the region. With over 215,000 acres planted to vineyards, and an average 35 million cases produced annually, Bordeaux is one of the leading wine regions in the world in quality and quantity. The Principal grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for reds and Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon for whites.
  7. Bouquet - A term used to indicate how a wine smells after proper bottle ageing. 
  8. Burgundy - One of the most important wine regions in France. The red grape is Pinot Noir and the white grape is chiefly Chardonnay.
  9. Champagne - This region in France is famous for its sparkling wines, and the method to make them, "methode champenoise." 
  10. Chardonnay - One of the most popular and important white grapes in the world. Located within the Burgundy region of France, when first aged in oak, Chardonnay is one of the few white wines that improve with bottle aging.
  11. Cloying - A wine that is overly sweet, to the point of tasting off.  Proper wine will be a fine balance of the sweet flavors with the sour flavors of the acids.
  12. Crisp - A wine tasting term used to imply that a white wine has a refreshing acid balance. 
  13. Decant - To transfer wine from a bottle into a crystal or glass container (a Decanter). This is primarily done with older red wines and Port which have developed sediment. The careful transfer of the wine into a fresh container allows the sediment to be left in the original bottle resulting in clearer wine.
  14. Earthy - A wine tasting term referring to a slight taste of soil found in the wine.
  15. Enology - The science of wine production.
  16. Enophile - A wine lover.
  17. Extra Dry - A sparkling wine that is slightly sweet. This term often leads to confusion since dry means without sweetness, but extra dry for some reason means slightly sweet.
  18. Fruit - Wine basically has three components: fruit, acidity and tannin. All three must be in balance to make a decent wine. The fruit encompasses all the tastes and smells that that are not sour (acid) or bitter (tannin). 
  19. Legs - Refers to the streams that are seen on the side of the glass after swirling, which is function of the alcohol and has no bearing on the quality of wine. 
  20. Malbec - One of the red wine grapes of Bordeaux, France. Argentina is the new champion of Malbec, where it is one of the most important grapes planted.
  21. Merlot - One of the best known red wine grapes. Often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon. It ages quicker than Cabernet Sauvignon, because it is lighter in tannins.
  22. New World wines - These are wines produced outside the traditional wine regions of Europe and the Middle East; but from countries like Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and the US.  
  23. Nutty - A wine tasting term for a wine that exhibits flavors reminiscent of nuts, especially hazelnut.  
  24. Old World wines - Refers primarily to wine made in Europe and the Mediterranean region.  
  25. Pinot Noir - One of the most important red wine grapes in the World. Mainly from Burgundy, France and throughout the New World, some of the best in California are from the Santa Barbara region.  Pinot Noir tends to be high in acid, and low in tannin, which makes it easier to enjoy in its youth, and one of the best wines to enjoy with food. Pinot Noir is a very hard grape to grow and a hard wine to make. 
  26. Riesling  - One of the greatest white wine grapes, found originally in Germany, and still the most important quality grape there, it has now made its way around the world. Riesling makes wines that are fruity, but well balanced with acidity. This makes for long lived white wines, and some of the best sweet wines in the world.
  27. Shiraz - The Australian name for the grape Syrah. Most of the vines planted in Australia (where Shiraz is one of the most planted red wine grapes) can trace their ancestry back to France, via South Africa. It's a long story how the wine left from France and ended up in Australia {google it if interested} but in it's own way Shiraz may be a distinct clone of the Syrah grape, yet entitled to its own name.
  28. Tannin - These are the tastes responsible for the bitter tastes found in wines. The butter tastes are primarily found in the skin and seeds of the grapes, and since white wines have little to no contact to those parts of the grape, the have little tannin. Tannin is required for aging red wine. 
  29. Zymurgy - The science and study of fermentation.
What are some other wine terms you use? 


Guilt/Sugar Free { Cookies }

With Easter around the corner and all these sweets {Cadbury creme eggs, chocolate bunnies, choreg; an Armenian sweet treat made around this time} all over the place, it was easy to say yes to making these cookies when I found the recipe from Jorge Cruise's, The Belly Fat Cure.  And although they're not gluten free {as the trend has been these days}, they're sugar-free, flour-free and practically guilt free!  I used Xylitol instead of real sugar, sugar-free semi-sweet chocolate chips, and Vanilla whey protein powder.  But the most interesting ingredient I used instead of flour was Almond flour, which tasted exactly the same but with many health benefits.  
Preheat oven to 350 degree before starting and enjoy!
{Ingredients} 2 eggs // 2/3 cup xylitol // 2 sticks of butter softened //1 tsp. vanilla extract // 1 cup almond flour // 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder // 1 cup whey protein powder // 1 tsp. baking powder // 1/2 tsp. salt // 4 oz. dark chocolate or sugar free semi sweet chocolate chips // 1 cup chopped walnuts
{Beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy; add eggs in one at a time. Whisk together all dry ingredients and add to butter mixture. Add walnuts and chocolates into batter. Line on cookie sheet and bake for 10 min}
{Store in an air tight container as these cookies are so healthy they crumble easily}