Tuesday, December 22, 2009

what is life, if not always an adventure?

Sorry I haven't written in the past week. I've been working like crazy, trying to make up for all the time I had to miss. Money's tight ... but then again, I'm sure it is for everybody, being Christmas and all. I haven't had wine in the past week because, honestly, haven't been able to afford it ;). But I'll be having tons of it for Christmas! And I'm working at Heller Estate today so I'll write a quick bit on some of their wines tonight. Hooray for required sampling!
The tiny pittance of money I did have went to the Charles Dickens Fair in San Francisco on Saturday ... and it was a blast! I made my costume myself! Can you imagine - me using a sewing machine? Let me be honest when I tell you ... uh, no. But here's proof!

But the costume looked great and I'm very proud of it. I went with Julien's mom, sister and our friend Nicki. We promenade in our fancy costumes, saw Scrooge with the Ghost of Christmas Past and had high tea like proper English ladies! It's a really cool event and I'd recommend it for anybody, especially fans of the Renaissance Faires. Here's a couple pics from the trip.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

atw - ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the show

Well, my last dance performance was today, and boy am I exhausted. It was a crazy fun week, with lots of jumps, spins and shaking hips. I got to dance in a tribute to Michael Jackson, which was fantastic. I also danced in two afro-brazilian pieces as well as a drum/singing piece that I wrote the lyrics and melody for. Here's a couple behind the scenes pics that I took while we were getting ready.

What sucks is I wasn't able to really dance on the last day because my previously sprained ankle decided to go all haywire on me and I could barely walk on it, let alone dance. But, seeing as it was still the last day, I decided to celebrate anyway and opened my specially saved and perfectly chilled bottle of 2008 Innocent Bystander Moscato from Victoria, Austrailia ($9, 375ml, Cost Plus). I'd tried this wine once as a dessert wine with strawberries and rhubarb and had adored it, so I decided to give it another go.
Well, I ended up finishing the bottle all by myself, so you can guess that means it was pretty darn good.
It's a light pink wine - it carries soft scents of rhubarb, cream and a little bit of rose (or rosewater, still on the fence on that one). The taste has a bit of spritz to it and has strong notes of floral (mainly rose) along with strawberry and ripened green apple. The finish is soft and lingering, it's just so easy to drink. It also only clocks in at 5.5% alcohol so, like me, you can enjoy the entire bottle without getting sloshed. It's a delicious wine that I would absolutely recommend for anyone to try, especially for the price. Plus, the label is just absolutely gorgeous.
I definitely plan on taking a dance class next semester, but more as a choreographer instead of a dancer for hire. I'm pretty stoked about that - I've already got the music and most of the choreography prepared already!
And I cannot stress this enough: TRY THIS WINE. It is delectable.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

OFFICIAL: new web site!

It's SUPER-DUPER-AWESOME OFFICIAL, everybody: I am now the proud owner of a Web site! Well, at least the domain, to start :). But until I learn how to use Flash and make a really cool site (taking a class next semester at college), the web address will automatically send you here. Here it is (da-da-da!):


Like it? I was originally gonna go with winorhino.net, but I really wanted a .com, for some reason. And since winorhino.com was taken (don't ask me why, I have no idea, it's not even being used ... i.e. someone's parking on it for some stupid reason), I put a 'the' in front and presto! Be sure to update your blog feed / link site / human memory!

Sorry I haven't done any wine posts this week. It's final rehearsal week for my dance performances at school so I haven't been drinking any alcohol. Trying to keep my body clean and healthy for the shows this weekend. I'll let you know how they go!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

the lights are twinkling

Every once in awhile I like to write about something other than wine - I know ... impossible, right? It's true, so here we go! Well, since it is currently the holiday season and (like many of you, I'm sure) the recession's hit more than just your local TV syndicate. I know it's certainly hit my wallet and, therefore, my Christmas budget. So I'm looking to save money this holiday season by making presents for my family and friends. And as I go through this adventure of making presents, I wanted to share my discoveries with you ... you know, if you're looking to shave off a few bucks on presents this year.
I've been making Christmas presents for the past few years. I do this for two reasons: 1) it's a lot cheaper than buying stuff, and 2) it's much more personal and meaningful, since you're putting more of yourself into the gifts. Here's a list of the things I made last year, and how you can make them yourself:

1. For the women in my family: charm bracelets. I made individualized old-fashioned charm bracelets using materials from Michaels. I also bought charms from Michaels, as well as Target and Claire's (at the mall). The charms I bought were individualized for each person in my family, and everybody got a huge kick out of them. The total cost: $10 for each bracelet, including gift-wrapping.

2. For other family and friends (i.e. the people you're required to give gifts to but have no idea what to give them, like work friends and such): 1) specialized wine presents. Yes, I did use wine last year to make my presents! Heller Estate, the winery I work at, was selling vintage bottles of Pinot Noir at $20 per bottle (with my 50% discount that amounted to $10). I gave them those wine bottles as presents, but that wasn't all! I found these amazing little glass toppers that you use to turn a wine bottle into an oil lamp. It had a wick and everything. So I presented those with the wine bottles so that, after they drank the wine, they could turn the bottle (which was super adorable) into an oil lamp! Those cost about $5 each and are from Winelight. Total cost? $15 per couple (I gave them as couple gifts), or $7.50 per person. And everybody loved them! Here's a Link to the Winelights Product Site for more information.


Now onto this year's selection of handmade gifts. Not sure yet what I'm going to do for my distant family and friends (probably something wine related again, any suggestions?). But for the women in my family and close friends I'm going to make chic headbands! They're all the rage this season and are so much better (and cheaper!) to make than they are to buy. Plus, my sisters look so cute in headbands :). I found this article online and loved the idea, which gave the inspiration to do it for Christmas. Here's the Link to the article: DIY Hair Accessories. Here's a couple pics of what I have in mind - feathers for my older sister, bows for my younger and then modifying them for all the other women in my life:

For the men in my family and friends, not quite sure yet. I know I'm making at least one of them a specialized mix CD (already in the works, will post song selection when it's finished) but not quite sure for the others. Any suggestions?
If you have anything special you're making (or buying) for your family and friends this holiday season, post a comment letting me know about them! I always love to hear people's fantastic ideas for holiday gifts. Hope you're having a Happy December!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

ebony and ivory - the elements of harmony

So let's say you've got yourself a dilemma: Napa or Sonoma? They're both excellent areas for wine, and you just can't choose between the two. Well now you don't have to, thanks to Artesa Winery! They've come up with the perfect solution ... simply combine the two!

The wine is called 2005 elements ($25), and yes, it's lowercase on purpose :). It's a red blend that puts together 65% Sonoma County and 35% Napa Valley in a mysterious combination true to the European style of winemaking, i.e. you have no idea what's in there but it's probably going to taste pretty good.
And yes, the result is, overall, pretty good. It was nothing outstanding but I did enjoy drinking it. The color is a deeper burgundy with a light fuschia halo. The nose has traces of pine, elderberry, fig and a bit of musk (almost like a stick of incense). The taste, though having few too many traces of balsamic, was actually quite pleasant. Again, there was lots of fig in it, as well as red cherry and vanilla bean.
I did enjoy drinking this wine, but I probably wouldn't actively search for it again.
On another note, I barely survived a huge wine glass spilling incident from aforementioned wine. Note to self (and all others out there): 1) DO NOT put your full wine glass (especially if it's a red) on the wood arm of your couch, because it probably will get knocked over, and 2) a combination of San Pelligrino, Spot Shot and gentle blotting with a bunch of paper towels DOES get the stain out, for the most part ... just make sure to do it right away.
Well, I'm off to go play some more Assassin's Creed II before finishing my paper that's due tomorrow! Thank heavens I have an excellent idea of what my teacher is looking for ... I've gotten A's (and super A's) on all my papers in his class and most of my papers have each been written in a day! Fantastique!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

i'm loving it

Just found the nicest looking Safeway wine section ever at their store in Seaside. Picked up a bottle of 2005 Elements red blend, which I will be reviewing soon. With all their deals on hand, I'm pretty sure I will be back.
On another note, I think the Safeway employees were either pissed or confused that I was taking photos of the wine section. Not sure which, they just stared and gave me weird faces. Oh well!

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