Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

This week has been very exhausting for me. I’ve lost two employees in the past two weeks, so I’ve been adjusting to that. (There are only 4 of us total so now I’m at half a staff.) I’ve hired some temporary help, but it’s still kind of exhausting to be doing basically everything. The jobs posted this week, so hopefully if all goes well, I can hire people by the middle of October, first of November by the latest.

So I’m happy that so far, today’s been a lazy day. We stayed up late last night after going to dinner with some friends and then going to the football game. So of course I ended up sleeping late too this morning. 

Crappiness at work means some crappiness in the home, so last week, I asked Taylor if we could each plan a date for this weekend. I planned Friday night after work…Hooters and go cart racing. This morning after I got up and got dressed, Taylor made us a picnic lunch and we went out to the riverfront and ate sandwiches and fed the (nasty) blackbirds the leftovers of our chips. It has been a great weekend, and I’ve still got the rest of the afternoon to enjoy alone, since Sunday’s are football days and Taylor goes to watch with his family.

So I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon catching up on some blogging for you…more Italy photos anyone? But in the mean time, I’ve thought of a few things I have really liked lately and wanted to share with you.

First. Buy this wine.


99% of the time I’m a cheap wine drinker, going for bottles in the $4-7 range. But I bought this one at my local Wally World and it ended up being really great. It’s a Petite Sirah (in case you can’t squint enough to make out the words on my shitty iPod photo) and I paid about $11. So, while I consider it in the pricier range, it definitely doesn’t break the bank. And it tastes really good. I brought it to a girls night and everyone kept asking where I got it and was really impressed. They also have Merlot and Chardonnay, but I haven’t tried those yet.

Second. Buy this album.

I first heard Grouplove about a year ago when they opened for Two Door Cinema Club at a concert I went to. (I love TDCC too, but this isn’t about them.)The songs Grouplove sang were just so energizing and fun. And then while Two Door Cinema Club was performing, the female singer, Hannah come out into the audience and was standing right next to me. She smiled and didn’t run away immediately when I shouted over the music that I liked their songs. After that, I immediately downloaded their EP album (just named Grouplove) and listened to the 5 songs over and over. Then when I heard their album was coming out, I marked the date on my calendar and downloaded it right away. So enough rambling, so I’ll try to wrap it up.

I think their songs are really good. Some are fun and upbeat but some really draw you into the song with emotional connection.  And one of the EP album songs is on a Chevrolet commercial (Don’t Say Oh Well). Colours and Naked Kids are both great songs and are on both the EP and the new album. Although I was happy they included some songs from the EP, I’m also glad it’s not the same old stuff with just a few other new songs. 

So anyway, that’s what’s up in my life right now. What’s going on with you? Any music, wine or other recommendations you’ve got for me?


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As the week wraps up, I’m sitting here sipping on a glass of Merlot. Although it is a “Bella Sera”, please be warned about buying wine from the convenience store. You might be a little disappointed with the taste and quality in comparison to the usual grocery store bottle of wine.

Anyhow, I thought I’d fill you in on what’s been going on.

  • Still waiting to find out if I have a job in a couple of weeks. Please send good vibes my way.
  • I’ve been reading the Twilight books (I somewhat shamefully admit). I’ve read all the Sookie Stackhouse books except for the last one, and completely love the show True Blood, but have resisted Twilight for a while. I’m on book 3 (Eclipse) and like the story so far, except as a psychology major, I find the Edward/Bella relationship a little too controlling/obsessive and a touch unhealthy.
  • Books read this year total 12 (Sookie and Twilight). I’m also halfway through Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and A Taste of True Blood. That’s more books than I’ve read in a couple of years combined.
  • I started tracking my food intake again. I’m trying to be more healthy, and I’ve found the best way I can do that is by tracking what I eat. I use the Livestrong.com MyPlate which has tons of different foods already listed, which makes it easy for me. I like that if we eat lunch at Jason’s Deli, Schlotsky’s, or Chick-fil-a, I don’t have to hunt down the nutrition counts.
  • I also am getting back on track with exercising. After I did the 5K in May, I kinda haven’t gotten back in the groove. I’ve gone walking /jogging three times this week, and plan to go at least once more this weekend. You gotta start somewhere.
  • And I bought a Nike SportBand. It comes with a sensor (my regular tennis shoes aren’t Nike+ so I also bought a little pouch that holds the sensor) and the watch, which you use on your walks/runs to track your speed, pace and calories burned. Then you can upload to your Nike+ account online, to track your miles and set goals if you want.
  • I’m also getting a hair cut. Don’t know exactly what style I’m going for, but I know I’m going a few inches shorter. Still, I want something fairly low maintenance. I’ll post pictures soon.

What have you been up to? Any recommendations on reading material once I’m done with my current books?

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My friend Linsi rocks

My friend Linsi got me the best gift for my birthday…a 3 month subscription to a wine of the month club. I got my first shipment last week, and I was so excited.

While I thoroughly enjoy me some wine, I don’t particularly consider myself a connoisseur. My favorite wines usually cost me around $6 to $8. I’m a creature of habit, almost always picking a quality Australian wine (Black Opal or Black Swan are almost always on sale).

My first birthday shipment was one white and one red.

The white, a South African Sauvignon Blanc, was really interesting. The newsletter that came with my shipment described the wine as having a “mineraly green pepper nose” and after reading that I agreed. It was kind of pungent, but the flavor grew on me.

The red was as yummy as most of the reds I really like. It is a Spanish Rioja, made from Tempranillo. I’ll probably try to keep an eye out for this one at Spec’s when I go next time.

I’m so lucky to have such a thoughtful friend who picked out the perfect gift for me. I can’t wait until next month’s shipment comes.  

Thanks friend!!

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Nothing beats sipping a glass of yummy Texas Sangiovese in the afternoon. There’s beautiful weather, a half day off at work, no major plans for the weekend.

Life is good!

Enjoy your Easter weekend everyone!

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So what if it’s leftovers and cheap wine.

I’m sitting here eating a delicious dinner of roast, rice and gravy and sampling a new wine I found at the store on sale for $3.99. Originally the wine is $11.99, which is on the high end of wines I purchase for everyday consumption. Actually, who am I kidding, $11.99 is high for wines I purchase for special occasions. The exceptions I can think of are wines purchased at the winery where we had our wedding reception and from vineyards in California on our honeymoon. But I digress.

The wine is called Tiz Red. It’s a somewhat sweet blend of yummy reds. I’d probably buy it again if it were under $8, most definitely if it continued to be $3.99.

If you’re looking for an easy crockpot roast recipe, look no further. The ingredients list is short:

1 Roast
2 cans, cream of mushroom soup
2 packets, onion soup mix (like Lipton)

Here are the (probably too detailed) directions.

Take 1 roast of your liking, and almost any weight will do. I prefer beef, eye of round because it’s not as fatty as some other cuts.  And I think I usually get between a 1.5 and 2.5 pound roast. Think about the size of your crockpot, just to make sure everything will fit, but also not be too small.

Put the roast in the crockpot. (The roast can be frozen or thawed.) Dump the cream of mushroom soup on top and around the roast, and pour the seasoning packets on top of that. You don’t have to mix the cream of mushroom and the onion soup packets together but you can if you want. Pour in a couple cans of water to fill the crock pot up about halfway. Turn the crock pot on low, and set the timer for about 10 hours.

I’ll prepare everything the night before if I think about it, put it in the fridge and then just put the crock (?) in the warmer (is this the right terminology?) in the morning and set the timer. My crockpot has a timer built-in, so it automatically switches to warm after the time is up, but if yours doesn’t you might want to test everything out on a day you’ll be home, just to observe everything.

You could probably also do this on low heat on the stove all day if you don’t have a crock pot, and you’ll be home.

After 10 hours or so, the meat is super tender, and usually starting to fall apart. Fix a pot of rice, and voila…dinner is served. And this makes for good leftovers too!

(On a side note, anyone who is thinking of trying this, or I guess even if you aren’t…are my instructions too complicated, or do you think they explain what I mean sufficiently?)

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Going to New York City for New Year’s Eve has been one of the top things on my travel wish list for some time. Many would argue that it is too cold and too crowded to bother. Not me. And Taylor was nice enough to let me book a trip with my pal Linsi.

Oh, hey. Before we go any further, why don’t you take a minute to get you a drink, and maybe a snack, and settle in for the rest of the storythis may take a while…and to think, this is just the first of 3 parts.

Where were we….So, just a few days after Christmas (December 28th), I hopped on a plane to Washington, D.C. (actually with Linsi and actually to Arlington where she lives) and our adventure started. Since she had to work, I had good intentions of getting out and exploring the DC area in winter. But her couch and celebrity magazines lulled me into a lovely afternoon nap, and before I knew it she was off work, so we went to the mall instead. We had a delicious dinner of spaghetti, some wine, and a couple episodes of “I didn’t know I was pregnant,” then decided to call it a night since the next evening we’d be taking the train to New York.

I got up the next morning and met Linsi’s longtime pal, Nolan, who had never flown before, at the airport. I love traveling with a newbie. It’s so fun to be with others who are experiencing new things, and showing them the ropes. Over the course of our whole trip we took practically every form of transportation available, Metro/subway, taxi, train, bus, plane, feet (the best way to see stuff).

When Linsi got off work, we gathered the last of our stuff and headed for the metro station…next stop Union Station! We were taking the Amtrak to New York City.

I’ll just say, taking the Amtrak to NYC was AWESOME! There is about 2.5 times as much leg room as on an airplane and they may or may not sell beer in the concessions car (wink!) Nolan’s seatmate left pretty quickly after the ride started.

Once we got to New York City, we checked into our hotel, the Hotel Chelsea. It was built in 1883 and was first opened as an apartment building and there are actually a few people who still have apartments in the building (and I think we saw some of them). Many famous artists and musicians have stayed at Hotel Chelsea throughout the years.

The lobby was decorated for Christmas and the whole place showcased tons of artwork. When we arrived it was already dark and we got heckled by the club goers waiting to get into the club next door.

We crammed into the tiny elevator and were escorted to our room by the bellman. Room 720 was our home for the next two nights. It was small and especially cozy after we added a cot.

We were warned that there was not much we could do about the heat, so we turned on the ceiling fan and propped open the window with a coat hanger almost immediately. We tried the tray first, but found that the coat hanger was sturdier.

I did not take a picture of the sketchy, nasty SHARED bathroom. Think, mildewed, peeling paint on the walls, shower curtain from 1973 and large portion of the porcelain worn off the old cast iron tub that looked like it could have been a puddle of blood around the drain. Yeah, we shared with a few other people in the hallway. Luckily, I think we only ran into a conflict once or twice. Our second morning there (after New Year’s Eve) we all elected to not to shower just to not have to get back in that tub. Thank goodness for my college experience with community showers…I brought flip flops.

I did my best to ignore the rumors of hauntings at the hotel, but late at night it’s hard to fall asleep when you hear every.little.creak. Trust me, if you have trouble falling asleep at home, it’s easy to creep yourself out in a foreign place.

Also, there were these little shutter doors just outside of the door to our room. One time, someone opened the door to leave, and the shutters were closed. We all accused one another of playing tricks, and likely it was another person in the hallway who closed them when we were inside, but it was still creepy. Thankfully, I slept more soundly the second night (New Year’s Eve) thanks to the relaxing effects of a few beers.

Anyhow, like I said before, there were tons of different art pieces displayed all over the hotel, especially the stairwells. It honestly was pretty cool.

Our first night, after checking in, we didn’t plan to go too far from the hotel to find something to eat. We ended up finding Seven Bar & Grill after wandering around for a little bit. The three of us split 7 tapas items, thinking they were regular (small) tapas. We looked like we were super starved and barely had enough room on the table once everything came. We tried quesadillas, pizza, dumplings, calamari, tuna and salmon tartar, goat cheese and tomato fondue, cajun shrimp. I almost didn’t try the tuna and salmon tartar, but got bold and went for it. I don’t think I would order it on my own, but I am proud that I tried something new. Here’s our full table.

Linsi and I split a bottle of Periquita Portuguese wine, which was delicious.

After dinner we continued to walk down to Times Square, where we thought we saw the Rockefeller Center Tree and Ice Skating Rink.

We were pretty much done walking around the area when I recognized that I didn’t think we were at Rockefeller Center. (We were in fact at the Bryant Park rink.) After that we started to get cold, and since we hadn’t planned on being out too long, we decided to head back to the hotel for the night.

To be continued…

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