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20 Jul

We’ve covered the wines of Left Coast Cellars several times in the past, and today we’re taking a spin through some of the more warm weather wines of this Oregon winery, including a seasonal sparkler.

2017 Left Coast Cellars Queen Bee Bubbly Honey Tirage Sparkling Wine Willamette Valley – 100% pinot noir, for secondary fermentation the winery uses estate honey instead of other sources of sugar. The result is a pale pink sparkler, the use of honey coming through with surprising clarity. To be honest, that honey tends to overpower the delicate wine underneath, making for a somewhat earthy experience at times, masking the gooseberry and lemon notes underneath. The finish ends up a bit on the sour side. B / $36

2018 Left Coast Cellars Estate Rose Willamette Valley – This annually produced wine is a field blend of sorts, its composition changing year to year. For 2018 I don’t have any varietal specifics (yet), but the finished product is rather muddy, a blend of brown butter, guava nectar, grapefruit peel, and mixed white flowers — flavors that don’t always work well together. While modestly appealing as a summer sipper, there’s a fairly heavy, coconut-driven sweetness on the finish that makes for a somewhat cloying experience. B- / $24

2017 Left Coast Cellars Pinot Gris The Orchard Willamette Valley – Quite dry at first, with ample notes of lemon, grapefruit, and a bit of pineapple to add some sweetness. Lots of florals on the back end give the wine a rather perfumed character, with hints of coconut on the finish. B+ / $24

2018 Left Coast Cellars White Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – Astringent and tight, this volatile wine makes a rough first impression with notes of vinegar and and cooked lemon juice prominent. Greenery notes develop as the palate builds, which the tough, woody finish does few favors for. A miss for me. C- / $24

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2017 Left Coast Cellars Queen Bee Bubbly Honey Tirage Sparkling Wine Willamette Valley


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20 Jul


Melt Cosmetics Lynx Blushlight ($22.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a light-medium, peachy brown with warm undertones and a golden shimmer throughout that gave it a luminous finish. The blush had a soft, smooth texture that was a smidgen powdery in the pan, but it was easy to apply and blended out nicely on my skin. The finish appeared a bit more frosted when initially swatched, but it blended out to a more luminous one on my cheeks–glowing but not at all into metallic territory. The pigmentation was the “downside,” as the product had opaque color coverage in a single layer, when it was supposed to buildable, so depending on your preference for pigmentation levels, that may or may not be a deal-breaker. On me, the blush stayed on well for eight hours before showing signs of fading.

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20 Jul

While Pinhook is based on young MGP distillate, it’s expanding fairly dramatically as it positions itself as an inexpensive alternative on the premius shelf. Its 90.5-proof “Bourbon Country” bottling is becoming popular, and now Pinhook has released its first cask strength version of the whiskey. Will it pull ahead of the competition? Let’s taste and find out.

Bourbon Country Cask Strength features a light but pleasing nose of cinnamon candy, candy corn, licorice, vanilla and a touch of orange. It’s pleasant, but it lacks much depth. Unfortunately, even when diluted the alcohol comes through too strongly, masking the aroma and singeing the nose. On the palate the whiskey feels neither syrupy nor thin but it leaves me wanting for more flavor. The orange, vanilla and sweet candy are there, yet the flavor is overpowered by alcoholic heat which prickles the palate well into the finish. Now, this isn’t a bad whiskey by any means. The distillate is good but when I taste it I can only imagine the improvement more time in barrel could have brought. Decent, but hard to recommend over other excellent cask-strength bourbons such as Elijah Craig and Booker’s.

115.3 proof.


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Pinhook Bourbon Country Cask Strength Bourbon (Crop 2018)


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19 Jul

Tres Chic

Laura Mercier Tres Chic Cheek Palette ($52.00 for 0.42 oz.) includes two blushes, two highlighters, and two bronzers. Both the blush and highlighter formulas were described as buildable, and the blush in particular was described as sheer and buildable. The texture of most shades was on the dustier side–thin, drier, and dusty–and my experience over time has shown thinner powder products tend to harder to apply and blend, which was true with some of the shades in the palette. The pigmentation was more medium to semi-opaque and buildable for most shades; only Peach was truly sheer. The wear was seven to eight hours, though the blush formula is marketed as having 10-hour wear.


Peach is a light-medium, pinky-coral with warm, golden pearl. It had sheer, buildable coverage (as described) paired with a thin, dry, lightly chalky texture that was hard to apply and blend out as it just stuck to my skin wherever initially was applied. I had to barely pat it in a gentle “line” across my cheek and then really buff it in because spreading it out wasn’t an option. This shade stayed on nicely for seven and a half hours on me before starting to fade.

Gold Radiance

Gold Radiance is a pale gold with stronger, warm undertones and a barely-there sheen. It appeared shinier when I initially swatched it on my arm, but I couldn’t get that level of glow on my cheekbones–it ended up having more of a satin-level shine on me. It had more opaque pigmentation with a lightly dusty texture that felt drier and almost chalky to me. The color wore well for seven and a half hours on me before fading visibly.


Luxe is a medium gold with strong, warm undertones and a soft sheen. It had nearly opaque pigmentation in a single pass, though the drier, dustier texture made it easier to apply less for sheerer, more buildable coverage. The product applied fairly evenly and wasn’t too much effort to diffuse and blend out. It lasted well for seven and a half hours on me before I noticed signs of wear.


Rose is a medium-dark pink with moderat,e warmer undertones and a matte finish. The texture was smooth to the touch, almost silky, but it was thinner and somewhat dusty in the pan. I had a lot of trouble applying and blending out this shade, as it always looked somewhat uneven and splotchy (despite trying a few different application methods/tools). It had medium, buildable pigmentation that stayed on well for seven and a half hours on me.

A La Mode

A La Mode is a medium gold with warm undertones and a sparkling sheen. It had medium color coverage that was buildable to semi-opaque. The texture was lightly dusty, drier, and thin, though it applied evenly and blended out without difficulty. It wore well for eight hours on me before fading noticeably.

Tres Modern

Tres Modern is a very light, golden brown with a satin sheen. The bronzer had medium color payoff that was buildable to mostly opaque coverage on my skin, though for reference, it barely showed up on my coloring (and I’m light to light-medium) even when applied more heavily. The texture was thin, soft to the touch, but on the drier side and could have been more blendable on my skin. It lasted nicely for seven and a half hours on me before fading visibly.

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19 Jul

Washington, D.C.-based Jos. A Magnus Distillery is best known for its whiskey. We’ve reviewed most of its offerings (see here and here), and even helped pick a private barrel for our friends at Bourbon Pursuit. But like most craft distilleries, there’s almost always a few clear spirits in the portfolio. We recently received samples of Magnus’s gins, both the standard Vigilant District Dry and the Vigilant Navy Strength. Both are the creation of Magnus distiller Nicole Hassoun, and each is made from a base distillate of 100% corn although the particular botanicals and proof differ in each. Let’s dig in!

Joseph Magnus Vigilant District Dry Gin– This gin is steeped in and distilled with a pretty unique blend of botanicals including sesame, sumac, tarragon, marionberry, and cubeb (a tropical shrub also used to flavor cigarettes). From those ingredients, it’s no wonder the nose shows plenty of berry and herbs. It’s a bit weird but intriguing, like savory blackberry pie filling with a piney crust. On the palate, more classic citrus and juniper notes are initially noticeable, alongside a gently warming heat. But that changes on the mid-palate when a bit of Italian seasoning and sweet haliva arrive. Somehow these things work together, creating a gin that is borderline amari. Tonic changes the profile considerably, elevating the grapefruit and bergamot orange in the recipe and subduing some of the more unique elements. For full effect, I’d drink this in a martini. 84 proof. A- / $32

Joseph Magnus Vigilant Navy Strength Gin – Instead of just kicking up the proof for the Navy Strength offering, Magnus changed the recipe entirely with an equally unique combination of botanicals including harissa, figs, hops, and hibiscus. Like the District Dry, the juniper is somewhat hard to find on the nose. Instead, there’s raisin, licorice, wildflowers and fresh lemon zest. Only after some digging does a bit of pine forest emerge, but it’s sweet and subdued. While the nose is good, the palate is simply remarkable. I never knew a gin could be rich in texture, but this is definitely a rich gin with a big, creamy body full of candied lemon peel, tropical fruits, tangy red pepper, and Fig Newtons. The juniper, which was hand foraged in Oregon, is beautifully balanced with no bite but plenty of sappy, earthy sweetness. The finish lingers like a fine whisky with notes of black licorice and shortbread cookies. It almost seems a shame to put this in a cocktail, but at this proof, it can easily stand up in one. 114 proof. A / $56

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Joseph Magnus Vigilant Navy Strength Gin


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19 Jul
NARS Hot Tropic 4-Piece Lip Gloss Set
NARS Hot Tropic 4-Piece Lip Gloss Set
NARS Hot Tropic 4-Piece Lip Gloss Set
NARS Hot Tropic 4-Piece Lip Gloss Set
NARS Hot Tropic 4-Piece Lip Gloss Set
NARS Hot Tropic 4-Piece Lip Gloss Set
NARS Hot Tropic 4-Piece Lip Gloss Set
NARS Hot Tropic 4-Piece Lip Gloss Set

Hot Tropic

NARS Hot Tropic 4-Piece Lip Gloss Set ($39.00 for 0.72 oz.) includes four, full-sized glosses with three being more cream-like in finish and one having moderate pearl. All four were sheerer in coverage, applied decently, and were comfortable to wear, though they tended to wear two to three hours. NARS’ gloss formula is supposed to have a “sheer intensity,” so the sheerness was as expected.

Tua Motu

Tua Motu is light-medium, rosy beige with subtle, warm undertones and warmer, fine gold pearl. It had sheer pigmentation in a single layer, which applied evenly and didn’t emphasize my lip lines. The pearl distributed somewhat evenly, but it could have spread out better overall. The consistency was smooth, lightweight, and comfortable to wear over the two hours it lasted for, though it was lightly moisturizing while worn.


Marquesas is a soft, light-medium pink with warm undertones and a cream finish. It had semi-sheer color payoff that applied somewhat evenly, but there was noticeable product that sank into my lip lines. The milkier quality of the color and finish made it prone to accentuating any unevenness of my natural lip color, too. The texture was spreadable, lightweight, and just a touch tacky. It stayed on well for two and a half hours and felt lightly moisturizing over time.


Huahine is a medium coral-red with a cream finish. It had semi-sheer color coverage that applied fairly evenly but did seem to “spider” across my lip lines/lip texture a bit. The consistency was lightweight, thin, and spreadable, though the applicator pulls less product than the average doe-foot applicator, which can make it necessary to get two or three pulls to cover my lips entirely. It wore well for three hours and was lightly hydrating.


Tetiaroa is a light-medium, bubblegum pink with cool, blue undertones and a cream finish. The texture was lightweight, smooth, and spreadable without being too tacky. It had sheer to semi-sheer pigmentation that applied unevenly, and there was slight product that gathered in my lip lines. This shade lasted nicely for two and a half hours on me but felt hydrating while worn.

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18 Jul

Champagne Pop

Becca Champagne Pop Glow Dust Highlighter ($42.00 for 0.53 oz.) is a light-medium, peachy gold with warm undertones and a luminous sheen. It’s pretty much a dead ringer for the original, pressed version of Champagne Pop, so if you have that, this would be very redundant; the biggest difference is that the loose version ended up being a bit more buildable in coverage and level of glow. The loose powder felt finely-milled, silky, and applied evenly and blended out easily. It had a moderate glow that was noticeable but didn’t emphasize my skin’s natural texture. It wore well for eight hours on me before fading slightly.

Per the brand, the formula is supposed to be “liquid-like and velvety soft” with a “hyper-reflective glow.” The powder was finely-milled enough that I think the texture is as described–silky and smooth more than liquid per se–while the glow itself was more moderate and buildable but not “hyper-reflective” out of the box (pot).

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18 Jul

Etude is based in Napa, but it sources grapes from all over California for various wines — with a focus on pinot noir and chardonnay. Today we look at two summery roses, both made from pinot noir (or mostly pinot noir), with very different heritages.

2018 Etude Rose Santa Barbara County – (White label.) A blend of grapes, primarily pinot noir. Estate grown at North Canyon Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley. Fresh and fruit-forward, with lots of strawberry notes and a lingering orange peel character that recalls an Aperol Spritz. The finish is lightly infused with cinnamon and a touch of fresh green herbs. Worthwhile. B+ / $22

2018 Etude Rose of Pinot Noir Carneros – (Black label.) A blend of estate and other local fruit from Carneros; 100% pinot noir. Immediately delightful — a true rarity in the world of rose. A light sweetness lets the wine’s fruit shine clearly up front — crisp apples blended with a bit of strawberry jam — to create a perfectly summery rose. A slight cinnamon edge (again) informs the finish, making this a perfect pairing with chocolate and other desserts. Stock up for the warm weather ahead. A / $22

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2018 Etude Rose of Pinot Noir Carneros


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18 Jul

It’s time for a trilogy of new releases from Port Askaig — the negociant bottler of Islay single malt whiskies from various distilleries on the island — including the company’s oldest release yet, a 45 year old expression. We got (small) samples of each. Let’s give ’em a try.

Port Askaig 10th Anniversary 10 Years Old – A blend of sherry and bourbon casks distilled in 2008 at Caol Ila, bottled to celebrate Port Askaig’s 10 years in business. Despite its overproof alcohol level, this is a surprisingly gentle Caol Ila. The nose is barbecue-smoky but easily approachable even if you’re not a peat freak, the sherry tempering things with an orange peel note. On the palate, immediate sharp citrus leads to a melange of fruit salad notes, melding beautifully with the salty seaweed character underneath. It’s classically constructed and largely traditional in approach, and perfectly restrained. Nothing not to like here. 111.7 proof. A- / $100

Port Askaig 25 Years Old – Distillery undisclosed, as is the aging regimen, though it appears to be an all-bourbon cask bottling. A nose of shortbread cookies and a touch of lemony furniture polish kicks things off. The peat here has been dialed down to a low simmer, smoldering in the nostrils as you dig into the palate. Here, tons of fruit — again, lots of lemon — come to the fore immediately. A strong peach note also emerges alongside notes of nougat and a slightly piney character. The finish is clean and refreshing, just barely emblematic of Islay, but exotic and beautiful all the same. 91.6 proof. A / $400

Port Askaig 45 Years Old – Distilled in 1968, whereabouts undisclosed; drawn from 5 sherry casks. Here we see whiskey after it’s simply gone too far. The deep mahogany color cues you into what’s coming, and it’s not subtle. On the nose: Heavy furniture polish notes, over-roasted nuts, oily red fruits, and a significant balsamic character. The palate kicks in with much of the same, a tough, leathery nut that adds in some black pepper and molasses notes. Though slightly sweet at times, with a touch of brown sugar here and there, it’s invariably overblown and redolent with notes of petrol and polish, a whisky that’s simply getting pretty well past its prime. 91.6 proof. B / $2000

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Port Askaig 45 Years Old


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18 Jul

Interactio is a mobile app that serves multilingual events by facilitating simultaneous translation without the need for specialized headsets or on-site interpreter booths. 

Here is our review:

Interactio: What is it?

Interactio is a mobile app that leverages the latest communications technology to update the way simultaneous translations are coordinated. The app does not replace the interpreters themselves; attendees hear a real human interpreter, not some form of AI-enabled automatic translation.

It is not so much about replacing the human voice itself, but about transforming the way that voice is transmitted from speaker to listener.

With Interactio, attendees can tune into the interpreter’s audio stream through their phones and personal headphones, and interpreters can connect to the event remotely. This means that event planners no longer have to rent expensive hardware like specialized headsets, nor will they have to cover the cost of flying out-of-town interpreters into the event. This remote feature allows you to recruit interpreters anywhere in the world.

Interactio can coordinate your interpretation services for you using their trusted network of partner organizations, but you also have the option to use your own preferred interpretation services. Additionally, the app can accommodate any language–as long as there’s an interpreter available for the language you need, the app will work.

Let’s take a closer look at how Interactio works.


The Main Categories of Features Are:

Multiple Network Options. Attendees can connect to the app’s audio stream using WiFi or data. Interactio recommends a 3G or 4G network connection. If you anticipate a large number of attendees without smartphones, there is even the option to set up a designated telephone line that allows users to dial in to their language of choice.

Multiple Device Options. The app has both a mobile and a web version, so attendees can use their smartphones, tablets, or computers to access the interpreter’s audio stream. If the event chooses to set up the telephone line option, even a flip phone will work.

Remote Simultaneous Interpretation. As long as your interpreters have a secure internet connection, a computer, and a microphone, they can log in from anywhere in the world. Even if you are using local interpreters, remote connectivity can reduce your expenses. Rather than paying for noise-cancelling interpretation booths, you can simply place interpreters in separate rooms.

Remote Access. Just as interpreters can log in remotely, so can attendees. As long as attendees have installed the app and remain connected to WiFi or data, they can listen to the audio stream.

Live Statistics and Feedback. Interactio allows you to track engagement levels in real time. The app also incorporates a rating system that prompts attendees to provide immediate feedback on their sessions.

Integration. While Interactio can function as a stand-alone app, it is also designed for seamless integration with most event app platforms. The company has an in-house team of developers to ensure the integration runs smoothly.

App Customization. You can customize the Interactio app to include your company logo, explanatory or informational content, and a tailored agenda.

Rapid Signal Transmission. The Interactio app takes advantage of “adaptive latency,” a feature that minimizes the amount of lag time between the point at which the audio signal is sent and when it is received. With a high-speed connection, the delay can be as low as 50 milliseconds.

Recording. The app can provide recordings of all audio streams for re-use later.

Technical Support. The Interactio app includes 24/7 online support, and the company has 6 in-house developers to help troubleshoot any issues that might come up. For an additional fee, Interactio can also provide an on-site technician to ensure that all the technical aspects of the service run smoothly.



The main advantages offered by this app are cost savings and convenience. The service can be adapted to meet a variety of needs.

Traditionally, simultaneous translation has been performed in two ways: on-site with interpreters using sound-proof booths and listeners wearing specialized headsets, or on-site with interpreters sitting within earshot of their listeners so that they can whisper the translation. Given the level of wireless connectivity most of us currently enjoy, these methods seem like a relic from a bygone era.

Interactio has stepped in to bridge the gap between traditional interpretation services and modern communications technologies.

When guests sign into the app, they will see a list of languages. They can select their language of choice with the simple touch of a button, and they can listen using their own headphones.


Who Is It For?

The service can be adapted to a variety of event sizes and types. It can be used for small gatherings with only a handful of attendees requiring translation services, and it can also be used for large-scale events with over 50,000 guests.

While the app was designed to facilitate simultaneous interpretation between languages, it can also be used for silent conferences. Instead of choosing which language they want to hear, attendees can choose from among a number of different presentation options. This format allows multiple speakers to present simultaneously on different stages, giving listeners the freedom to jump between sessions without shifting their chairs.

Additionally, if you anticipate an overflow audience at your event, the Interactio app provides a convenient way to offer live audio-streaming for those unable to fit in the presentation room.

Some enterprising tour-guide operators are even taking advantage of the service by using portable routers for their internet connection and tablets for their tour guides.

Technical Requirements to Consider

Because a secure internet connection is crucial to the success of this service, it’s important to consider your bandwidth requirements from the outset. Interactio will provide you with a “Network Form” questionnaire to share with the IT department at your venue. Using the answers provided on the questionnaire, Interactio will consult with you to determine if additional WiFi coverage will need to be arranged.

The bandwidth requirements will vary significantly depending on your needs. For events that have fewer than 20 attendees planning to use the Interactio service, a mobile phone hotspot connection may even suffice. For events with several thousand delegates, a large bandwidth with a secure connection is imperative. The chart below outlines the approximate bandwidth usage per person. (The “Interactio Broadcaster” refers to the interpreter.)

Interactio Bandwidth Guidelines

Internet Bandwidth (up to):+ Local Network bandwidth (up to)Comments:
Interatio Broadcaster (1 Audio Stream)1 mbps2 mbps16 kbps (per WiFi listener)128 kbps (per WiFi listener)
Interactio Listener*16 kbps16 kbps*128 kbps16 kbps*If audio download is done from local broadcasting computer
Interactio Listener144 kbps32 kbpsIf audio download is done through Interactio servers

*Additionally each listener will need up to 20 megabytes of data for initial mobile application download.

*Be aware that people have more than one mobile device.


If attendees plan to log into the service using their own mobile data, they should expect to consume approximately 60 MB per hour. It will also drain about 5% to 8% of mobile device battery power per hour.

Of course, your attendees’ data plans won’t cover the interpreters. To ensure that your interpreters remain securely connected throughout the event, Interactio recommends that translators hook up to the internet using a LAN line. Interactio also advises having two interpreters available per language to offer each translator some back-up.

To help you set up your event for success, Interactio offers 24/7 online technical support and training.

Pros and Cons


Cost efficiency is one of Interactio’s main goals. By allowing event planners to minimize the costs associated with specialized simultaneous translation equipment, Interactio can reduce hardware expenditures by as much as 50%.

Interactio also offers flexible plans that meet different price points and needs. For example, you can choose to source your own interpreters, or let Interactio arrange your translation services for an additional fee. Similarly, you can manage the technical set-up with the help of their complimentary remote support, or you can accept an additional charge for the added security of an on-site technician.

Still, their customer model may not be the right fit for every organization. Interactio’s core pricing system is designed around an annual license arrangement, so it is best suited to long-term partnerships.

Case Study: Mary Kay

For their 50th annual conference, Mary Kay used Interactio to provide simultaneous real-time interpretation to attendees without requiring the distribution of additional devices. The international conference meant thousands of international attendees: 14,000 people from different countries around the globe attended the week-long conference, and 150 of them needed translation services on a daily basis. Interactio allowed Mary Kay to translate their annual grand seminar into multiple foreign languages in a cost-efficient way.


We live in an era of global travel and international corporations, and the need for simultaneous translation services is only going to increase with time.

AI still doesn’t offer a perfectly reliable translation service, but there are many other ways to update the process of simultaneous translation. Gone are the days when an interpreter had to be on-site to send and receive audio signals. Apps like Interactio are helping us catch up with the latest technology.

Interactio allows interpreters to browse the app along with attendees, as well as to watch a video stream of the event. This flexibility allows interpreters to translate question and answer sessions, even when they involve digital polls and other app-specific features.

Although Interactio demands a secure, high-speed WiFi connection for large events, this level of bandwidth capacity is quickly becoming an industry standard.

If you’d like to learn more about the services offered by Interactio, you can request a free demo and get a quote through this link.


Disclaimer: Reviews are paid for placements. While Event Manager Blog receives a fee to extensively look at the tool and review it in detail, the content of the review is independent and by no means influenced by the company. If you have any questions please use the contact us section.


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