Summer water. That is an affectionate nickname for rose and I really do love a glass on a hot summer afternoon. But wine and I really don’t mix well. We’ve learned how to make our relationship work, though. Thank goodness. That would have been a tough break up. Who would I have turned to? Moonshine?
So I like wine. And I’ve decided to start sharing some faves on Wine Wednesdays. It won’t be every Wednesday. Honestly, I don’t drink THAT much wine. So I’m going to share when I have something to share. I started a wine club with some gals from my neighborhood. You know, like a book club but without the pesky reading. Bleck. Who has time for that?! I thought it would also be a fun way to try different wines and expand my palette. I know I love a Sauvignon Blanc. I know that I don’t love Chardonnay. But what else do I fancy? I’m going to find out! Instead of just heading to the store and choosing a random bottle off the shelf, I decided to check out a wine club called Club W. After spending only a few seconds on their site I knew it was the perfect place for me to buy wine. First off, the labels are super cute. In the past I found what was behind the cute labels was not so great wine. What I love about Club W is that they post videos, by drinking professionals (not an industry term), about the wines. They share tasting notes and flavor profiles. So not only are the videos a great way to figure out if you might like the wine, you are also learning more about how to taste wines too. I’m halfway through my first box so far and have loved everything so far. My second box has been delivered and I’ve already have some wines in my “box” for my August shipment. I need to get drinking!! Club W was super easy to sign up for. Most of the bottles are $13-$14. The app is super easy to use and is the quickest way to skip a month if you decided that you are stocked up on wine for the time being. If you scan the bar code of the bottle you are drinking with the app, it will take you right to the video so you can hear their tasting notes and taste along with them! That is so cool!
They also send a tasting card with each bottle which also includes a recipe that would pair well with it. Their customer service is FANTASTIC! They are super knowledgable and can suggest options if something you are looking for is sold out. And my wines arrive super fast. I’m a BIG fan! To get started, I decided to stick with what I know I like, a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. This one called, Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy, was cute and delicious. I’m sure there are wine snobs totally rolling their eyes at me right now but it just makes sense that wines should be cuter. Duh.
This was not sweet, but really fruity. It had a lot of minerality like most Savvy’s do (Club W’s tasting card mentioned that local Kiwi’s call Sauvignon Blanc “Savvy” and I’m totally stealing that!) While I generally drink my wine in the evening, this would be perfect for day drinking. It was nice and crisp and delicious. And SO cute!
I will not be sharing only wines from Club W but I will share a lot of them because that is where most of my wine is coming from. And Trader Joe’s and sometimes Bev Mo. And my price points will remain under $20 since I don’t think that good wine has to cost a lot of money. Really, wine just has to taste good to you. Even if it’s White Zinfandel, mom. No judgement.
Use my Club W referral and Grab a bottle on the house!!!
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There is nothing better than travel during the summer. This year I am SO excited to share a place with my kids that my family vacationed every year growing up. Which is also where my dad vacationed as a boy! It is going to be so special. And I CAN’T wait! I’m sure we will also end up in Palm Springs (a few times) and who knows where else! Today I’m sharing some of my summer travel essentials. Be warned. I am not a light packer. You may be able to do without these things, but I know what I need to have a good time. I hate forgetting things at home. And I like to be prepared for just about every possible scenario. I never leave home without a good sun hat. This one, from Goorin Bros. (similar style) (remember it from Mexico) is awesome because it packs really well. I have to wear a hat in the pool or on a boat or anywhere where there is too much sun. And it’s cute. I also have to bring along a good portable speaker. On a girl’s trip, it is essential for getting ready and setting the tone for the evening. And with my family, music and instantly change moods (thank you, Uptown Funk!!) I never leave home without one.
I always have a tote bag with me on a trip. I pack it full of magazines, snacks, water, whatever I think I’ll need depending on the days activity. It’s perfect for a car trip and then the contents change from day to day. It has to be larger than a purse, like this one from RVCA, but smaller than an overnight bag. And I like it to be a darker color so that it doesn’t show the inevitable dirt.
When I am away from my kids, I really like to have pictures of them handy for when I miss them. I just made this Yoshirt custom phone case and it is awesome. Since you always have your phone with you, you can see your kids adorable faces the entire time you are away. And of course I am going to leave it on my phone all the time. I also recently found my favorite perfume in a travel size and it has changed everything. Years ago I had it in a travel size and then it leaked on a trip and I stopped taking any kind of perfume with me. But I realized that it helps me feel put together for dinner out. I found a site that has some harder to find travel sized perfumes and ordered my signature scent. I have taken it with me on my last few trips and it’s made me really happy. I can’t believe I traveled for so long without any perfume!
You guys, I’m totally not a wine-o. I promise. But you know how expensive a glass of wine can be at a resort. I’m in love with this XO,G pinot grigio. The packaging is darling, they are super easy to pack and you can just have a glass at a time. You don’t need a wine opener, or a glass. These are perfect for the hotel room as you are relaxing in the evening or to take with you on a tropical excursion (where allowed, of course – drink responsibly…) And you can bring home whatever you don’t drink, which you totally can’t do with a bottle. And of course you need a darling swimsuit like this one from Amuse Society. I’m in love with this adorable pattern.
I’ve recently fell in love with garment bags. This lightweight Cinda B bag in Noir is perfect for quick trips. I wouldn’t check this on a plane for a weekend away, it is fantastic. I love that I can store my clothes, keeping them from getting as wrinkled as they might be in my suitcase, and look chic doing it. There is something kind of fancy about a garment bag, isn’t there? And a small hard shell suitcase with wheels keeps everything super easy.
If you know my history with skin cancer, then you know that I can’t really worship the sun any more. This Coolibar travel umbrella is a must for me when I travel. It easily fits in a tote bag so I can take it with me and I know I am protected no matter where I end up. It’s light and has a vent so that air can move through it making it perfect for a breezy day. It is hard to tell from this picture but the exterior is sort of a metallic silver so it is pretty neutral to match whatever you may be wearing. It feels really sturdy, for being made for travel, so this will last for tons of trips.
And you always need a good pair of comfy pants on vacation. What I love about this pair from Coolibar is that it provides sun protection as well. These can be used to work out in, or just lounge. Did you know the tops of the knees are a really common place to get skin cancer? Think of sitting outside in the sun all day at an 8 hour baseball game. Having some protective pants is key. These would be perfect for time on a boat but are just as perfect for wine time. See there I go with the wine again.
What are your travel essentials?
*This post may contain affiliate links. Read more about my editorial policies here. Some items have been supplied by the brands noted above (where noted “c/o”). As always, all opinions are mine and are truthful and based on my personal experience.
Some years I feel like decorating with untraditional colors. But right now, I’m totally into the classic red and green. Although I am not planning on having any holiday parties this year, I’m sure something will pop up more last-minute. With just a little greenery and hints of gold, I’m going to be ready for any guests that turn up. This post was created to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau. Have you ever had it?
Aside from having good food for your holiday guests, it’s always good to have some delicious beverages as well. And I always love when there is something a little extra exciting that you can share with your guests that they may not have experienced before. If you don’t know, every year, under French law, at 12:01 on the third Thursday in November, Beaujolais Nouveau wine is released. The first time I heard about this was almost 15 years ago. I wasn’t even a wine drinker back then. But when I heard that you couldn’t get the wine until that third Thursday, which often coincides with Thanksgiving, I knew I had to track down a bottle. It seemed so extraordinary. I called around to ask who would carry it and headed out, to pick up a bottle for our Thanksgiving meal. The fruity, easy-to-drink wine’s light fermentation means that both red and white wine lovers should enjoy it. Which makes it just right for holiday celebrations. And you drink it slightly chilled (just 15 minutes in the fridge prior to drinking), which makes it a little more unusual for a red wine. It was exciting to get to try something that had just been released! Most of your guests will probably not know about this celebratory wine. So you can be the first to share it with them and be part of that memory.
Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is all about experiencing life’s simple pleasures and nature’s seasonal gifts. I decided to pair festive, berry-like branches with calla lillies and pine branches to create easy flower arrangements. They were easy to put together but really helped the table to feel more holiday festive. Something I am trying to be better about is keeping fresh flowers around. By mixing flowers bought at the market and plants from around your yard, you can create really easy centerpieces for unexpected or last-minute guests.
My place settings include just a colorful napkin and an extra piece of greenery to add a special touch. I added candles to the table to create a glow and the table came together really fast. There is no need to get stressed out during the holidays. Now is not the time to go all out and impress everyone with your mad hosting skills. To me, now is the time to really enjoy, and be present, with your friends and family. Who cares if your silverware (stainless steel) doesn’t match the gold hues of the other accents of your table (I was totally bothered at first, I’ll be honest)? Or that your table-cloth may have a few wrinkles. If your guests feel loved in your home, you’ve done your job.
Of course having plenty of wine doesn’t hurt either. One of my favorite things to do when putting together a last-minute spread is to set out candy. For this table, I pulled out a great glass and brass display box and filled it with candies that played up the reds in the table. People love candy. And even if you don’t have time to pull together a fantastic appetizer spread, your guests will have something to munch on.
I recently reorganized my garage and now can find all my favorite serving pieces easily. I suggest you take a moment and pull your favorite pieces together so you can easily grab them when you need to. I keep things super causal for my family and our nightly meals. But come Christmas morning, my table looks GOOD. A footed bowl can make even store-bought crackers instantly feel more special (special crackers, you say? Yes, crackers can feel special.)
Georges Duboeuf is the #1 seller of Beaujolais Nouveau and since this year’s harvest has just been released, I think this is the perfect time to invite friends over to try this delicious wine. Don’t you?
*Thank your for supporting the brands that let me be creative, drink a little wine and celebrate with my friends.
I usually work on blog stuff in the mornings. Even the weekend. So it was a really nice change of pace when my son found our mini donut baker in the garage and all but demanded we make them immediately. So we did. And they loved them. And it was really fun to make something for breakfast and take a little more time with them instead of being on the computer. I guess sometimes you have to stop and smell the mini donuts.
I die for food magazines. I rarely make anything from them, but I have to read them each month. Over the last year or so I’ve been falling in love with Bon Appetit and their styling. They just get me. It’s all I can do to wait patiently for the new issue to arrive each month. The creative direction is SO GOOD. Like, I want to rip out these pages and decoupage them on my dresser like I did with bands in high school.
This didn’t happen in October but I didn’t download the photo until now so it missed last month’s ‘Things I Love.” My dear friend, Erika, was an extra on Brooklyn 99, one of my fave shows. So of course we had to have a viewing party at her house and experience it together. It was the Halloween episode. She nailed it. I love watching her explore this new path in her life and think she is awesome. See her on Cougar Town here.
You guys. I’ve only been wine tasting twice now but both times I really felt like I needed to wear this vintage grape necklace that my grandma gave me. Do you really need to have a good luck charm for wine tasting? Because I think this is mine. My grandma wasn’t in to wine per se although she always ordered a Chablis when we ate at the pizzeria. One of the funniest conversations I ever had with my grandparents was them making fun of pretentious wine tasters and the adjectives they use to describe the wine. I will never forget it. I love this necklace. And this shirt. I will die if anything happens to it. It’s Erin Wasson for RVCA and it is my all time fave. If we’ve hung out in person you have certainly seen me in it. And I love my new necklace from Shop Serene Sky. I won it at a blogger event and it’s totally my style! So glad I didn’t win the free month of exercise.
Dearest fried green bean, how did I not know about you until now? I saw someone post about these on their instagram account and later that day went to try them. I adore green beans. It’s the world’s best vegetable. And fried?! Yum. This was my first time at The Habit, although it is in the same parking lot as my Joann’s so you know I’ve passed it and smelled it like a gazillion times. The burger was also amazing! Can’t wait to go back and try out more things! I also love that they put a gummy hamburger in the kids meals! Nice touch.
You know I love Nerds, right? They are my fave. But if Nerds and green beans got in to a fight, I’m not sure whose earrings I would hold. That’s not true. I would mean mug the green beans and back my Nerds. And then eat the green beans and then the Nerds. So when Geeky Hostess posted this it made my heart sing. Candy against bullying. Now that is a cause I can get behind. Well done Wonka.
YOU GUYS! I’m sorry to shout at you but these pants changed my life. So I’m pretty cheap about my denim. I used to buy pricey pants, and they really did fit and wear well. But it just isn’t the right time for me to spend a lot on good denim. So I’ve been hitting the cheapy stores for my pants. These stores usually go for a younger audience so the pants are all low-rise and terrible whiskering. Well, I finally came across that was high-waisted (but not in a Jessica Simpson high-waisted pants debacle, high waist) jeans and they are awesome! The whiskering and details are still not something I would typically go for, but the fact that my muffin top is fully ensconced in these pants is amazing! I instantly felt pounds lighter. Shirts lay nicer. And I don’t constantly have to hitch them up. Because they sit above my hip bones, they don’t slip down much to create saggy butt. Life changing. So now I wear them every day. I apologize in advance.
This one is also from last month. My husband has a friend who is an artist and he created some custom pieces for a show at the Long Beach Museum of Art. One of the pieces is a sort of team photo from a made up sport and my husband is one of the players. So of course we had to go see my husband hanging on a museum wall. We took the kids and they were so much fun to have there. My oldest dressed like he was going for an art heist (here he is missing the beanie and hood up). And my youngest was super in to the receptions happening outside including dancing like a spaz to the band and sucking down Sprite from the bar. And, of course, we had to get them on the red carpet. The docents only had to talk to the boys a dozen times to remind them not to touch anything.
I have new favorite wines! I fell in love with Trio from Lorimar Winery on my first visit (a red with notes of coconut, yum). But this last visit I was lucky enough to get to taste even more of their wines. Their sparkling wine is my fave sparkling! SO delicious! And the Grenache Blanc is where it’s at. I can’t wait to crack that baby open! Looks like I’ve got my holiday drinking game plan set.
I was invited to attend a Tillamook cheese event a few weeks ago and it was amazing. Tillamook partners with chefs from all over the country and has them create sensational dishes using Tillamook product. This event was in conjunction with the Chef’s of Haven Gastro Pub and Provisions Market in Orange. The servers strolled around with platters of beer and cheese beignets and other delightful cheesey dishes. There was a fantastic cheese tasting spread set out complete with beer pairings and then there was this Mac and Cheese. Best. Ever. For this recipe they used the Extra Sharp White Cheddar and added bacon and other yummy goodness. The event was awesome but my favorite part is that they are sharing all the recipes! I want to make everything! Here is the White Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese. I fell in love with the Black Pepper White Cheddar and can’t wait to find that again in a grocery store. Mmmmmm.