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Summer Wine Adventure

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(Me in the tasting room on Memorial Day weekend, 2014)

In April I had the opportunity to start working in a tasting room pouring wine.  My experience with wine went as far as, “I drink wine”.  That’s it.  Growing up in the Central Valley of California, the only vineyards I saw were used for drying out raisins in the summer because it gets extremely hot there. I checked the weather for my hometown today and it is supposed to be 108 degrees!!  If you know me, you know that I am a seeker.  I am always seeking something… whether it be knowledge, or travel, or new clothes I am never stationary and rarely satisfied.  Working in the tasting room is my chance to gain knowledge about the wine industry and about wine itself.  In an earlier post, I talked about Sonoma County and the art and culture behind wine and the way of living there.  Who knows if I will settle in Sonoma County so I hope to learn as much as I can while I am here.

In my interview with the wine owners, I embarrassingly confessed that before moving to Sonoma County, I thought Zinfandel was a white wine.  Of course, through going wine tasting and exploring our area I have tried wines I’ve never heard of and have educated myself more about wine and wine etiquette.  I was able to redeem myself with my small amount of wine knowledge and my eagerness to learn more.  Thankfully, they accepted me into their wine family and have really shown me the ropes!!

My first weekend pouring, I was literally thrown right in.  It was a busy weekend and I was running around like a crazy person.  I had studied the history of the family, which is extensive and amazing to say the least, and was fascinated with everything I learned.  It made it so easy for me to memorize the facts: like how they’ve been growing grapes since 1956, how the third generation is taking over and work in the tasting room every week, or how 40% of their chardonnay grapes were sold to Chateau Montelena, who made a chardonnay that went on to win the Judgement of Paris in 1976, and put Sonoma and Napa Counties on the map as reputable wine countries.  Knowing the history of the winery is one thing but I still needed to learn more about the wine.  Lucky for me, our vineyard only grows four varietals and doesn’t blend any wine which means I didn’t need to learn about 20+ different wines like some other tasting rooms.  The more I spoke to people and listened to the experience pourers speak about the wine, the more I realized how lucky I am to have stumbled upon this particular family and their vineyard.  Everyone is not only incredibly well versed on wine and the process of making wine, but seriously the nicest people you will ever meet.  

I am still a major rookie after two months in the tasting room but each time I work, I feel more confident and learn something new.  It’s okay that sometimes the customers that come in teach me more than I knew before.  It’s okay that sometimes I say our zinfandel is less jammy due to our cooler climate appalachian only to hear a woman turn to her husband and tell him how jammy the zin is.  I enjoy chatting to people both tourist and local and watching their faces light up when they taste our amazing wine.  I can’t wait to continue my wine journey and become more involved in the industry by attending events and tasting around Sonoma County with my newfound knowledge and palette to guide me!


Dirty Thirty

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As a kid, every birthday is a monumental occasion.  Rollerskating parties, water park parties, cake, presents, balloons, and everything else that goes with kid parties.  The whole thing feels like a special holiday in which everyone you know celebrates the fact you were born and they’ve had the pleasure to meet you.  As you get older, it seems as though the glitz and glamour wears off and it can even feel painful to turn another year older.  Adults even lie about their age to be younger.  For me, turning 24 was one of the most fun nights of my life.  Since then I have just continued to tell every one I am 24 as I hold up the fingers in between to add up to my actual age.  From my teen years to now, it seems like so much is always going on that birthdays don’t feel as special anymore.  You have prom, sports, learning to drive, graduations, engagements, weddings etc.  There’s no time to make birthdays feel special because there are so many other special things happening!  Your 20’s are such a whirlwind!  The last monumental birthday was turning 21 because drinking is finally legal.  That just opens the door for years of forgotten birthdays due to alcohol consumption.  

Last week my husband made his 30th journey around the sun.  Since I am only 24 (as I hold up 4 fingers), it made me realize that my 20’s are almost over!  I am married to a 30 year old!  This seemed like a good time as any to have a monumental birthday like when we were kids.  The trend I am seeing when it comes to turning 30, is to have a Dirty 30 party, especially for men.  The interpretation of Dirty is very subjective.  I have been to a “Dirty Thirty Stache Bash” where men were asked to grow out their facial hair and the dirtiest stache won.  Dirty thirty for single men might mean strippers or whatever other dirty things single men do.  There are endless possibilities for a dirty thirty theme!

While brainstorming thoughts for my husband’s party I thought about revisiting the stache bash, something with woodworking (my husband’s a woodworker), but living in the bay area, one idea just kept coming back to me… hobo, transient, homeless.  If you’ve ever been to the bay area, you understand.  The theme for my husband’s party would be a Dirty Thirty Hobo Bash!

The party turned out great!  Complete with a hobo camp photo booth, 40oz beers in paper bags, canned food cooked over a fire, and witty panhandling signs.  Guests left with red bandanas folded up with trail mix and bellies full of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Getting older doesn’t mean we have to be boring and throwing this super fun themed party reminded me of that.  We had a blast and all got really into the theme dressing up and taking silly photos.  I hope that my husband felt like his birthday was monumental again!  When I finally turn 30, or 24 with six fingers held up, I will go with a different theme… I’m thinking of taking a tip from my favorite movie and being Thirty, Flirty, and Striving!  Maybe I will have so much fun, that I will even admit to being my actual age!  

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One Year Anniversary/Reception Party

Today is our one year anniversary!!  Like I mentioned in the photo booth entry below, Andrew and I did not have a wedding where we invited guests.  We eloped on the beach with our photographer and officiant one year ago today.  In order to celebrate with our family and friends we had a party last weekend with some of the traditions one would have at a wedding.  We cut a heart shaped cheesecake, had our first dances, and heard some warm speeches.  All in all, our party and our wedding were absolutely perfect!


First Anniversary

My husband Andrew and I eloped on October 2, 2010 and with me going to grad school and Andrew in between professions, we really never had enough time or money to plan a reception soon after.  When the glow of our elopement started to die down I had a lot of people anxious for a delayed reception.  The vision in my head was going to take some time to plan so we decided to wait for our one year anniversary to celebrate our marriage complete with the first dances, speeches, and cutting the (cheese) cake!

One of my favorite things about our party was the photo booth we set up.  For a while I’ve had this picture in my head of setting up a living room set outside.  So we did just that!  I borrowed a yellow couch from a friend, Andrew made a beautiful coffee table, I painted on an old suitcase, and we bought a lovely antique lamp from a thrift store.  I set up my camera on a tripod with a 10 sec timer so our guests could take their photos when ever they felt comfortable and with the help of our photographers we set up lights as well.  It turned out exactly as I had imagined!

Here are some photos of our amazing photo booth:


Garden Update

It has been a while since I posted about my garden… or about anything at all!  Our garden has grown quite a bit!  Some plants have definitely grown more than I even imagined and they have been a lesson to us in spacing for our garden next time!

Calle Lilly #1

 Watermelons

Herb Box which has become all green onions and basil

Flower Box

These are my grape/squash/pepper plants… I was originally growing grapes on this lattice that Andrew and I made but I had some left over soil from plant seeds that never grew so I through the extra soil onto the grape plant.  A few days later a squash and pepper plant started growing!  I guess the seeds just needed some more sun!

Heirloom & Bell Shaped Tomatoes

Summer Squash


Swiss chard

Eggplant

Peppers

Jalapeno & Habanero Peppers

Butternut Squash

Cherry tomatoes, carrots, & onions

Broccoli

I think these are beets but they may be just more swiss chard

Our newest flower box made by Andrew

We have been eating squash, tomatoes, herbs and peppers like crazy!  I am so excited for eggplant!  Growing our own garden has been so much fun and I have such peace of mind knowing where our food is coming from!


Ladies Camping Trip

This past weekend a group of beautiful intelligent ladies went on an amazing camping trip in the Santa Ynez Mountains.  It was an eclectic group but each with their own unique personality to add to the experience and most importantly the many insightful and witty conversations.  Looking back on the camping trip, I really love and appreciate how each person was so different, yet we came together and had a good time.  It was so nice to put life on hold for two nights and venture out into the wilderness without any men and just relax.

I majorly slacked on taking photos, but I did get a few to document our time at Fremont Campground.

Fache & Christine at Paradise Store, Amazing Food near our Campsite

It’s a man.

My Travel Buddy & Tent Mate Lynsi

Walking to the “swimming hole” as we called it that weekend

This is what we found.


Making Friends with the Locals

Lynsi striking a pose

Girls being Girls


GeoCaching

Wikipedia definition of “Geocaching”:

Geocaching is an outdoor sporting activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device[2] and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, anywhere in theworld. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook where the geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (tupperware or similar) orammo boxes can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little value. Geocaching is often described as a “game of high-tech hide and seek,” sharing many aspects with benchmarkingtrigpointingorienteeringtreasure-hunting,letterboxing, and waymarking.

Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica.[3] After 10 years of activity there are over 1.3 million active geocaches published on various websites. There are over 5 million geocachers worldwide.

How have I not heard of this before?!  I love treasure hunting and I love hiking around so why not combine the two?  Genius!  Recently, my friend Kim and I decided that while we were in Shaver we would see if there were any geocaches near us.  We were surprised to find that there were a ton!  Some from .3 miles away from our cabin!  We spent a good portion of our time searching for these hidden gems and determined to find a “trackable” which is an item that literally tracks where it is moved to!  Even my husband Andrew joined in on the fun!

My first coin!

Another cache!

Searching for caches brought us to beautiful parts of Shaver Lake that we had never been to!

Kim was an instant pro!

Some were very hidden

We almost gave up on this one!  It was literally buried!

Signing the logs

Micro Cache

Following my compass

I feel like this fun fad gives lazy people like me a reason to push through long hard hikes.  I can’t wait to find more neat caches and although we didn’t find a trackable this time, I am determined to find one!  Look out Pasadena and Pismo, I am coming your way next weekend and I will definitely be searching for more caches!

If you are interested in becoming a part of this awesome hobby then visit http://www.geocaching.com and learn more about how you can download the app on your phone and get started with geo caching!

PS.  Yes, there are even some in Visalia!