Happy National Coffee Day and my Cupping Experience at Cameron’s Coffee

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cameron’s Coffee. All opinions are my own.
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National Coffee Day is one of my favorite days of all! This year I am especially excited to be celebrating it in partnership with Cameron’s Coffee. Cameron’s Coffee is a Wisconsin founded and now Twin Cities based company that focuses on delivering the best coffee to those of us who enjoy making coffee at home and getting it tasting just right.

When I was in Minneapolis earlier this month, I got a chance to visit Cameron’s Coffee offices and be a part of the cupping experience they arrange for all of their new employees to learn more about coffee. I can only compare this experience to wine tasting, but better. The real purpose of cupping is to taste the different coffees and make sure they are up to our standards, as well as look for any imperfections or irregularities in the batch.

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Below is a detailed description of my experience, and while it can get pretty technical, I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves coffee. I also learned that I have absolutely no talent when it comes to defining coffee flavors.

The best part of the experience was meeting Patrick, Cameron’s Roastmaster, who walked me through the cupping experience. We cupped 4 flavors total:

  • Mexico – light
  • Brazil – sugary
  • Colombian – solid, balanced, sweet
  • Sumatra – earthy, big bodied

And while I am letting you know what each blend is supposed to taste like, I went into this completely unknowing what was going to happen.

Cupping happens around a table which resembles a huge lazy susan, that way you can spin the table and don’t have to walk around. There were 12 ceramic cups (you can also use tempered glass), 3 for each coffee flavor. All cups must be identical in measurements and come from the same manufacturer. You will also need a cupping spoon, which is a special kind of spoon with a large bowl. It works best if the spoon is silver or silver plated.

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To get a little bit more into details all beans are roasted within 24hours of the cupping, and can rest for 6-8 hours. Samples are ground immediately before cupping and grinds are coarser than what is normally used for paper drip. And finally, a few important numbers you should know: the coffee to water ratio for a cupping is 8.25 gm to 150 ml.

The cupping process step by step:

  • First, you smell the ground sample
  • Then you add water to the coffee sample, the water should be freshly drawn and approximate 200 degrees F
  • Make sure to let the coffee steep for 4 min
  • Ensure the coffee is plenty cooled off before drinking, you don’t want to burn your tongue or mouth and ruin your palate for the day
  • Once the coffee is cooled off break the crust that forms on the surface by lightly pressing with the spoon (no more than 3 times), get your nose up to the cup so you can smell the aroma after the coffee is broken
  • Remove the rest of the stuff that doesn’t go to the bottom after breaking
  • Let cool for a few more minutes, usually 8 to 12.
  • Tasting the coffee, using a spoon with a large bowl. Fill the bowl of the spoon, slurp the coffee while aspirating the coffee to cover your entire palate.  Then either drink the coffee or spit it out. Rinse your spoon and repeat at next cup. This was my favorite part, because I got to slurp in an office environment J

Should you ever get an opportunity to participate in cupping, here are a few tips for you:

  • Before you cup, try your best not to eat anything or drink anything potent. You don’t want to already affect your senses before trying coffee.
  • It’s also best if you don’t wear any perfume!
  • Cameron’s Coffee CEO even suggested smelling your own skin in between smelling in each coffee so your “palate gets cleansed”

Make sure to follow Cameron’s Coffee on social media Instagram, FacebookTwitter and stay tuned for some upcoming holiday giveaways! Love my Cameron’s Coffee mug and Tee? These are going to be available on the website soon!happy-national-coffee-day

This post includes photos by Say Hello, Story

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Cameron’s Coffee Perfect Summer Cold Brew Recipe

Dsiclosure: This post is sponsored by Cameron’s Coffee. All opinions are my own.
Cold Brew Recipe Camerons CoffeeCold Brew Recipe Camerons Coffee

Cold Brew Recipe Camerons Coffee

Cold Brew Recipe Camerons Coffee

I love coffee in all shapes and forms, but in the summertime cold brew is my favorite. I remember first learning about it through a Facebook post that one of my artsy friends did. He made it sound like an incredibly complicated process like at home beer brewing. So, for a couple of years I simply ordered my cold brew at local coffee shops and carried on. Thanks to my collaboration with Cameron’s Coffee I learned that I can make my very own delicious cold brew at home. There is a very handy blog post on their website with detailed instructions that are simple and easy to follow.

You can make cold brew using a French press, any glass container, or a mason jar. I chose to go with a mason jar just because I have a lot of those in my kitchen and they do look cool in the photos. There is also a cold brew system that you can purchase like this one.

For my coldbrew I used 8 oz of Roastmaster’s Blend, 8 oz of water and 1 tsp of spices. Now spices are optional, but I wanted to play around with some flavors. This specific spice mix includes ginger, cinnamon, star anise and nutmeg. I combined all the above in a mason jar and left in my fridge overnight. It’s best to let your coffee to sit for at least 12 hours. Then I ran it through a coffee filter, added some ice and milk and stayed caffeinated for the rest of the day.

If you like your coffee strong, then you can go ahead and drink the cold brew as is, or mix it with water, 50/50 is usually a pretty good ration. Since I add ice and milk, I tend not to, but that’s again up to you.

I hope you enjoyed this post and it encourages you to try making your own cold brew at home! Please make sure to share with me if you do.

I highly recommend following Cameron’s Coffee on social media as well! They are always posting helpful tips and share their coffee knowledge.

Cameron’s coffe Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. Check them out and give them a like or a follow 🙂

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What’s in my gym bag? – Beauty Brunch Link Up

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As promised #BeautyBrunch is now a weekly weekend Link Up! Today I wanted to talk about one of the biggest parts of my life and how it impacts my beauty routine – working out at the gym.

Since moving to Milwaukee and starting my job at Kohl’s I’ve been going to the gym at least 8 times a month. I go to the WAC which is a wonderful facility and has so many locations! I love it.  During the week I mostly do cardio like running on the treadmill, elliptical or stair master. On the weekends I take a strength class and do yoga. I have also recently started to use Kayla Itsine’s Bikiny Body Guides and these are the 28 minute workouts I do at home 2-3 days a week. I know this seems like a lot, but it’s much needed because I work in the office.

There are a few other things you should know about my workout routines. I always work out at night during the week, weekend workouts are the only morning ones due to class schedule. That will explain my product choices.

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Let’s start with hair care, because that’s the biggest part of my gym beauty routine. As you can see there are 2 sets of shampoo/conditioner. One is Clairol Shimmer Lights, aka the purple shampoo. I use it once a week to brighten up my balayage. I always think this product is going to stain my apartment shower, and use it only at the gym. If you have bleach blonde hair I highly recommend this set. I got it at Sally’s Beauty Supply a couple years ago, and since I only use it once a week, it’s lasted me a very long time. Do you have a favorite purple shampoo? Do tell, because I am always up for trying new things!

The other shampoo and conditioner set is OGX Biotin and Collagen series. It’s essentially the thickening series filled with high performance blend of powerful ProVitamin B7, collagen, and hydrolyzed wheat proteins. I love the smell of these products and how my hair feels after.

But a shampoo and conditioner duo are only as good as the leave-in treatments I use after. I have two as well. Once again my obsession with having two of almost everything is surfacing. Don’t worry, I also think it’s weird 😉

The first one that I use is Argan Oil of Morocco Creamy Hair Butter by OGX. The cool thing about this product is that it can be either left in or rinsed out. If you choose to rinse it out, then it acts like a mask. Otherwise you can use it as a leave in treatment, which I prefer to be completely honest. I feel like my hair has been extremely weakened by all the bleaching that’s why I like to use this as a leave in. This product contains argan oil, silk amino acids, soybean oil, coconut oil, and shea butter extract. Plus OGX is an extremely affordable brand.

When I choose to rinse out the OGX hair butter, I follow up with Nexxus Humectress Luxe Lightweight Conditioning Mist. I have written a very detailed blog post about this Nexxus series before, so if you are interested in reading it, you can check it out here. This product contains Vitamin E, Coconut Oil, and Honey Extract. Once again it aims to strengthen your hair and reduce breakage. I spray it on towel dry hair and comb through. Easy 🙂

Now that I am done walking you through my hair care, let’s talk about skin care. I use Exposed Skincare Microderm Scrub. I have to admit I use it as a face wash and feel like it gets the job done.

Next I apply Pevonia Power Repair Hydrating Toner. It’s a spray so no need to pack cotton rounds for the gym!

Lastly I use Brevena Restore and Hydrate Overnight Cream. This skincare line is made in Minnesota, and I have been using this moisturizer for a while now. Sometimes I use it as a day time cream. Breaking all the skincare rules over here, I know. This lotion contains Macro B Complex®, Hyaluronic Acid, Jojoba Oil and Vitamins C and E.

Well there you have it, the contents of my gym bag 😉 What skincare products do you use? Would you be interested in a more detailed post about my workouts?

Make sure to link up your latest beauty posts! I can’t wait to see what products you have been trying out:

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Monday Mode Link Up is Back – March 27

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Happy Monday! Rachel, Jewel and I are back with Monday Mode Link Up! I hope you are as excited as we are 🙂

From New York to Minneapolis, to finally coming back to Milwaukee, I can’t wait to get back to my routine. I never thought I would say that, but I am really excited to go to my regular gym classes, dive into work and start cooking healthy meals again! What are you excited for this week?

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Brown & Greene Floral

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Brown & Greene Floral Brown & Greene Floral

Last week I got the most beautiful and fragrant delivery from Brown & Greene Floral right on time for my Birthday. This beautiful bouquet combined my favorite roses and peonies with sweet-smelling mint in a beautiful vase that I will definitely be taking to our new apartment with us.

Brown & Greene Floral Market is the most adorable little corner store in Southwest Minneapolis on the corner of 44th Street and Beard Ave South. They produce such gorgeous florals, you will fall in love. I had so much fun integrating my bouquet into the interior of the house. From simply setting it on my night stand to using it as a centerpiece for dinner, to making it the center of the living room, these flowers immediately became a family favorite. I’ve never enjoyed a bouquet of flowers as much as I’ve enjoyed this one before.

This July they are celebrating their 15th anniversary with a number of events {European flea market, floral design class, a vase drive and a huge soiree at the end of the month}.

Country Financial Contest

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Having just recently graduated from college, I know all about the cost of education and how expensive it can get! Two years ago when I went back to school, I had a goal in mind – a goal to get a new degree, get a job, and go on adventures all over the world. I am excited to report that I’ve successfully accomplished the first two, and the next one is in the works, because I am about to get my passport next week!

Setting personal goals is important, but so is education. The two go hand in hand, and if it wasn’t for my degree, I wouldn’t be where I am now. A lot of my friends have young kids and I want those kids to someday be able to look back and say they feel accomplished.

That’s why today I partnered up with Country Financial to spread the word about “Own Your Future” Challenge, a challenge where you can win $10k ($5K for you and another $5K for your school).

Not every parent can grant their child’s every wish, but they can provide the right opportunities at school and in life! I want to encourage you to participate in the “Own Your Future” video challenge. All you need to do is visit Country Financial’s Future Booth 7/11-7/24 and enter the Own Your Future Challenge! Record a quick video inside the Future Booth aAnswering two questions:

  1. If you won $5,000, how would you use it to own your family’s future?
  2. If you won $5,000 for a local school, how would you want them to spend it?

Then you’re entered to win $10,000. Can’t attend an event? Get out your phone and record your own video. You can still enter the contest here. Submit a video by 7/24 to start owning you future!

The contest is open for parents with school-aged children residing in the Minneapolis region.

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Country Financial. All opinions are my own. #FutureFocused #OwnYourFuture 

Summer Sailing with Hawaiian Tropic

Disclosure: “This post was sponsored by Hawaiian Tropic as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.”

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Sailing is my absolute summer favorite! We usually go out once or twice a weekend to spend some time on Lake Minnetonka, soaking up the sun, and enjoying the water. Last Saturday we took my friend Kaitlyn on the boat with us! Thank you for all the photos, lady! I appreciate it! Sailing is also when I need to be on top of my beauty routine and the products I put on my skin. I’ve been using Hawaiian Tropic for a while now (I always make Sam use it too, so his skin gets that glow too), but this year they came out with new Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Weightless Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30 and Sheer Touch Ultra Radiance After Sun Moisturizer that I had to get my hands on! Because there can never be too much sunscreen or vitamin D!

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Weightless Lotion Sunscreen broad spectrum UVA and UVB SPF 30 ($9.99) contains hydrating ribbons of silk protein and Shea Butter, the breathable formula delivers a weightless, airlift texture, and is easily dispensed from the pump. It doesn’t feel like you are putting sunscreen on at all! 

Did you also notice the difference in my skin color in one of the photos above? This sunscreen makes my skin look and feel so much better. I didn’t notice the difference until after I was looking through the photos. But who wouldn’t want to have radiant soft skin at the beach or on a lake? I sure do! It’s all thanks to the Signature hydrating ribbons of luxurious silk protein and shea butter that provide up to 12 hours of moisturization leaving skin feeling hydrated and pampered like no other sunscreen can. Seriously though, my skin looks golden after applying this sunscreen! 

Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Ultra Radiance After Sun ($7.99) is a new product I’ve never tried before, and didn’t know existed. It’s also one of the first after sun lotions that soothes, softens and leaves skin radiant. For those of us who struggle with applying moisturizer, this is a great product. It serves as a reminder to me to use it when I come in after being out in the sun. I think the simple fact of it being the same brand as my sunscreen helps me remember to use it. This moisturizer contains Shea butter and mango extract to leave skin feeling pampered, noticeably soft and luminous. There are also special light reflecting pigments to help skin appear beautiful, radiant and glowing. And I am all about that! 
There was barely any wind on Saturday when we went out sailing, but we still went up and down the east part of lake. I love spending time on Minnetonka with my friends, showing them my favorite houses, looking at other boats, enjoying the breeze. So I was really excited I could share that with Katelyn. We are thinking about taking the boat to Lake Michigan next year! Wouldn’t that be fun?
For more info on Hawaiian Tropic products follow them on Facebook and Instagram!

Thrift Style Thursday Link Up // June 22 // Crossing Bridges

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Thrift Style Thursday Link Up

Thrift Style Thursday Link Up

Between sponsored posts, photoshoots and accounting classes, I try and find some downtime. I have always loved this bridge connecting Sculpture Garden and Loring Park. And while Sculpture Garden lays there, demolished, sculptures removed, trees cut down, waiting for its reopening next June, Loring Park is still there. A little green oasis in the middle of the Hennepin/Lyndale construction mess. I find this comparison to be a strange yet applicable allegory to my life. I’m moving from Minneapolis where I’ve lived for the past 5 years. The move is exciting, stressful. I tend to worry, question my decisions, look for signs. But then I remember that I need to take ownership, stick to my guts, and keep going. It’s time to move on, and I will be doing just that!

I’ve been dying to wear this olive skirt for a while now. Sometimes I wonder if it’s too short for me, but today it was just right! The elephant print top has been my go to during hot and humid summer days, it has an open back, and is so breezy, I’m so close to being a covergirl 😉

And now for the link up – share your looks, whether they are thrifted or not, and make sure to help spread the word about this link-up through social media if you have a chance! Thank you, can’t wait to see your looks!

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Copper Dress + Vigil for Orlando

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We spent all weekend moving from our house, to Sam’s parents’ basement. I woke up Sunday morning and told him how happy I felt. He replied – that’s because when you lived in New York you lived on the ground floor. He was right. Sometimes it still surprises me how well my husband knows me. I will talk about home ownership, and our house more later this week. But I am so happy in this ground floor “apartment” of ours for the time being.

Last night we took a walk through downtown, all the way to Stone Arch Bridge and around, it was beautiful. We ended it at the vigil for Orlando victims in Loring Park. So much sadness, but so much love at the same time. And love is the greatest of them all, remember it this week.

This copper dress is a little something I found at Target recently, it’s a WhoWhatWear line, I own the same one in black. It has spaghetti straps, but last night was chilly, so I threw this Francesca’s crop top over it. Sometimes a crop top makes all the difference. And of course my new favorite TOMS 😉

Happy Monday!

We will not give in to hate, we will not give in to fear. We never have and we won’t start ?

A photo posted by Zhenya Hutson || MPLS (@beingzhenya) on

So much love tonight!

A photo posted by Zhenya Hutson || MPLS (@beingzhenya) on

Black Jumpsuit


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Last night my friend McCall and I went to a Clothing Collective fundraiser at Aria that in collaboration with Wipe Every Tear is committed to ending the sex trade in the Philippines. You could shop donated clothes, listen to live music, grab bites to eat, and be social.

McCall wore an amazing jumpsuit that reminded me of a similar black one I got from The Mint Julep Boutique, and wore to Chan’s party a couple weeks ago. So I am sharing both on the blog today!

We ended our night getting beer with Sam at Inbound Brew Co!

I hope you have a Happy Friday! Here is to friends, black jumpsuits, beer and $12 worth of cheese that I ate last night 😉