Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thankful Thursday: In Pictures

I was cleaning pictures off my cell phone and noticed that most of the pictures I took were things that made me happy in the moment I took them.  So what better way to “save” these pictures than a Thankful Thursday, picture edition? 

Today, I am thankful for….

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  • Patio furniture, warm nights, dinner on the deck looking out into a huge backyard…. and thankful that no one has bought the lot behind us yet.
  • My wonderful Hubby, seen here in his Ninja scrubs, who has worked countless days in a row and is getting closer and closer to his well-earned vacation in May!

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  • Buddy, seen here as a burrito.  He is one hot mess of a dog, but he has most definitely found a permanent spot in our hearts.

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  • Annnnnd, on our bed.

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  • Meepcakes.  (Well, cupcakes of all varieties, I have a thing for cupcakes.)  These are my Twitter-friend Allison’s cupcakes that she sells at the Krankie’s Farmers Market.  They’re GF, but they’re also stinkin delicious.

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  • Smooshy faces.

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  • Two doglets, one car.  Way better than I ancipated.

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  • Boats, lakes, dogs.  (This may as well be TT, Dog Edition.)

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  • Little kid umbrellas.  Barely covered my head but SO cute.

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  • Jammin in the car.  Probably one of my favorite hobbies of all time.

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  • Libraries.  They make me feel 12.  (I snuck into the YA section.  I think I’ve read every book there.)  (This is an old pic.  I did not break my Reading Resolution and check more out!)

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  • My baby, my sweet, my lovely, my precious.  My sweet beautiful Rebel.

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  • Orla Kiely.  Specifically, Orla Kiely at Target.

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  • Wegmans.  Best darn grocery store in the WORLD. 

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  • The beach, where I will be spending my birthday in just 3 short weeks!

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  • Lazy Sunday afternoons.  My two favorite guys.

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  • My gorgeous bed that my Hubby built.

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  • Friday morning routine: chai tea latte + perfect oatmeal.  {Although slightly worried that I was greeted by name last week.}

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  • Online grocery shopping.  Not an exaggeration to say it has changed my life.

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  • Seeing my old car in traffic in Winston, at least once a month.

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  • My sister.  Who is, in fact, reading in a sports bar here while we watched a WFU football game.

Happy Weekend!  What are you thankful for?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Parents Weekend

I’m very fortunate that despite the fact that my parents live 700 miles away i still see them many times a year. Last week my parents went down to Hilton Head and on their way home, stopped at my house.  Friday afternoon Dad and I went for a run, taking little Buddy boy along.  Then we went and had an amazing dinner at a small southern bistro called Mozelle.  It sort of seemed like maybe it was Winston’s own little Chez Panisse – open kitchen, small atmosphere, obvious “regulars” and delicious and fresh seasonal foods on the menu. 

Saturday, Matt and Dad went golfing and Mom and I hit up the JL Rummage Sale.  I love when one woman's trash becomes my treasure!  I found two plates for food blogging or bunko parties and a number of paperbacks, all a quarter each.  This is the first time I’ve broken my reading resolution, but I think it was a good exception!  I read one (a chick lit book) in the span of 48 hours already.

Afterwards, we went home and picked up some groceries for dinner.  Once upon a time, my mom used to take me to the mall when she came to visit. Now she takes me to Harris Teeter.  Hmm.  Seems like my priorities have shifted.  (Reflected in the fact that my cooking has vastly improved since 2002, and my wardrobe largely remains stagnant since then.)  After that, my dad went for a run and my mom and I spent the afternoon sitting on the deck with a Kunde Gew├╝rztraminer from my Sonoma trip.  My mom and I often text each other “wish you were here, having coffee on the deck!” or “wish you were here, having a glass of wine on the porch!”  So, believe me the moments I actually get to do so, I savor every moment of it. 

Once my dad got home, I set to work cooking for them.  After 18 years of them cooking for me, it’s nice to return the favor. After dinner Dad put the hockey game on and Mom and I sat around and talked…so it was basically just like being at home, only it was my home.

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Returning the “Eat your Veggies” favor to my parents.

Today, they got on the road extra early.  Strange that when they leave my home, I still feel a little bit homesick.  You know you did something right in parenting if your kids are sad to see you go. 

(On an unrelated note, the fact that the only picture I have from spending 48 hours with my parents is a bowl of spinach is a sign that my food photography obsession has gone too far.)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Life is Good

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Simple, happy, quiet.  This is a good life.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Molly Paper

My sister got engaged!  Did I tell you that yet, blogworld?  I think I did, back in a Thankful Thursday.  Anyways… Katie and Dylan got engaged in February, and the moment I heard the happy news I knew what I wanted to give the love birds as an engagement gift. 

A beer coozie with the International Symbol of Marriage!!!!

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Ok, after I sent that to Dylan, I got to work ordering my real engagement gift.  My sister’s friend, Molly, is a super talented stationary designer and I have been WAITING for Katie to get engaged so I could order her some cute-as-can-be stationary.  Molly did the designs based on a few emails we sent back and forth with ideas, and integrated Katie’s wedding colors into the design. 

Kate loved the cards.  And she loved that I made her pose outside holding the cards and flashing her bling.  Ok, maybe that’s a stretch, but she looks cute anyways so I’ll post it. 

Thanks, Molly, for your talent and thoughtfulness!  You do great work.  Ya’ll go check out her stuff here

IMG_3494 Katie, Her Cards, and a half-hearted “show me your bling” effort.

IMG_3488 Lovebird Cards.

Hey, FTC regulations require me to tell you that MollyPaper did not pay me to endorse her lovely stuff.  In fact, I paid her for the cards.  Just so we’re clear on that and I don’t get sued.  Good?  Good.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Winos Do Wine Country: Day 3

The only thing better than spending an entire day touring Sonoma vineyards… is doing it twice in a row.

Thursday dawned, and we were awake (again) to see it.  Although I think we slept in til seven this time.  By the time DJ, our driver, had backed the Suburban up the long, windy driveway we were ready and waiting for our second day of tours to start. 

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Breakfast of Champions

We started off at Benzinger, which included a tram tour.  Personally, I had a bit of a rough day – criss-crossing the rough terrain of northern California in the back of an SUV left me car sick for the first time in my entire life!  When we pulled up to Benzinger, the only thing I wanted to drink was a Sprite out of the vending machine.  Unfortunately, the car sickness stuck with me through the next 3 places so I can’t tell you much about the wine, just about the vineyards.

Benzinger was awesome, and definitely a place to go if you ever go out to Sonoma.  The tram tour was educational without being boring.  We got a tour of the grounds, and they explained their biodynamic garden philosophies which were really incredible – it’s obvious they’ve put a lot effort and money into making their vineyards a sustainable place and I think their success speaks to the idea that you reap what you sow  And they sow some yummy grapes.  While I didn’t try any that day, fortunately I found a bottle of Benzinger Chardonnay at my local Total Wine when I got back and it was every bit as yummy as my friends had promised.

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I’ve always bought wines based on the label (and the price), but understanding where wine comes from and how it grows, and how things like soil, or climate or lifespan affect the grape and thus the wine appeals to me in the same way that understanding where food comes from and how it grows. I don’t fancy myself ever becoming a wine snob (although I do catch myself swirling and sniffing on a regular basis now….) but I like understanding things, and knowing why I like what I like and why I don’t what I don’t.  I like understanding what maloactic fermentation is, and that a peachy fume blanc doesn’t really have peach in it.

After Benzinger, we went on to Chateau St Jean which was one of my least favorites of the day – it was more your typical chateau-y looking vineyard.  Then our driver asked us if we would be okay going to a really unique place that was a reds only… and I was ready to take a breather (since I’m not a reds only kinda gal), so we went on to Kaz.  Kaz was an experience.  According to the red drinkers, it was not the best wine they had all week, but the experience was totally unique, in that the wine came straight out of a barrel into your glass or bottle. 

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After Kaz, we went on to a place called Family Vineyards.  Pam and I had actually taken this off our list, because it looked like it was just a house on the road that represented five or six vineyards  – and no actual vineyards there.  I ended up being very glad our driver had put it back on the list.  First of all, our pourer Stephanie was hilarious… she entertained us to no end.    I had made a spontaneous recovery from my car sickness and was ready to taste again.  Lucky me, because Family Vineyards ended up being home of the Sparkling. I love me some sparkly stuff, ya’ll.  Since we were the only ones there, Stephanie tailored the tasting to us – mixing and matching from what she had on hand, diverting from the actual tasting menu – I had three white sand three sparkling, while some of the other girls had more reds, roses and just a few sparklings.  I had two sparklings there I had never had – a raspberry flavored Framboise and an almond flavored Almonide.  I bought them both to bring home, they were that good . Stephanie also had us do a few “experiments” – drinking a Zin, eating a piece of dark chocolate and trying the Zin again to see how it tasted, and then repeating that with a Late Harvest.  Listen, any place that’s going to combine chocolate in its tasting experience gets two pinkies up from this girl.

After Stephanie declared that she was all out of experiments, we headed down the street to Kunde.  I liked Kunde, but like Chateau St Jean, it felt more commercialized and our pourer gave us the hard sell on the wine club.  This was the first place out of anywhere we went to where we felt like were being “sold” to (and consequently, we didn’t end up buying anything…)

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All of us at Kunde

After Kunde, our driver sat in the parking lot deliberating something… then pulled out his cell phone and made a quick call.  “Ok, we’re in” he said, explaining that the next place we were visiting was rather picky about large groups and often turned down drivers with groups.  When we got to VJB Cellars, I couldn’t help but feeling like The Godfather himself had waved us into his home.  VJB was owned by a sweet little Italian gentleman who regaled us with stories of Italy, wine and “the familia.”  Even though I’m not a huge fan of reds, I drank every single taste he poured… I’m not sure if it was out of respect or fear!  I ended up buying his Primitivo to bring home to Matt.  We stayed there until the sun set and until our lovely host, Vittorio, had run out of stories.

Dinner on Thursday night was shrimp and salmon on the grill by Emily, fried goat cheese salad by me and molten lava cakes by Jenny.  We did not hurt for calories that evening, let’s just say that.  We had a bottle of Prosecco from VJB Cellars to go along with our dinner. 

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We sat around the table, reminiscing about stories from the ten years we’ve known each other, finishing each other’s sentences and laughing in anticipation as someone would begin rehashing a story we had heard before.   There’s no better way to end a day than laughing so hard your stomach hurts and Prosecco nearly comes out your nose (ow) with your best friends. 

Thank you, Sonoma, for another beautiful day.