Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Gifts

I was quite blessed with Christmas....
My wonderful Husband got me...

Vera Bradley Betsy Bag in Baroque

Apollo's Angels, a cultural history of the development of ballet.

Toaster Oven...we have been through several in the almost 5 years we've been married. This is the first we've really invest in, so I'm super excited.

Ceramic Take Out Coffee Cups (These are from World Market, but H got me 2 from Old Navy.)

Run, Toto, Run! Hallmark Ornament...The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie, so it meant a lot that the hubs got this for me.

From My Parents...

Initial House Flag, Garden Flag, and a new flag pole.

Now I have to admit I knew about these boots, but I was so excited to get them. They are all I've worn in the past two days.

Vera Bradley Twirly Bird Pink Ornament-so excited to put this on my tree next year!

Gold Canyon Pod Warmer with 5 different pods.

TomTom GPS-I have to share this with the hubs....
Victoria's Secret Dreamer Flannel PJ's...I love that they come in tall! I unfortunately do not quite look like this model.

Flip Ultra. As the hubs and I are both in the performing arts, we wanted a convienent video camera that could capture our performances. This will work nicely.

Technically this was for Sassy, our hound mix, but I was the one that wanted it: LLBean Embroidered Dog Collar She has had a habit of losing her tags, so this makes me feel better. And no, that's not her name or our phone number listed.

From the In Laws...
Express Rouched Front Sweater in Turquoise (not pictured). This is from H's entire family, but SIL works for Express, so we know who really picked it out.

Yankee Candle Buttercream Candle. This is a staple, and I love it!

Subscription to Real Simple Magazine. I'm so excited...I haven't had a subscription in a while!

Gift Card to Applebee's

We had a wonderful Christmas, and I'm not ready to let it go yet!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An Unexpected Christmas Surprise!

We live on the east area that rarely sees snow. This is an area that when an inch or two is forcasted, it's quite likely we'll be out of school for a day or two. The hubs and I were headed to my sister's house (local) for Christmas morning, and then off to his parents house (approximately 2 hours away) for the remainder of Christmas Day. From there, we were scheduled to head to his grandparents house in Pennsylvania (6 hours from his parents house, 8 from ours) through Thursday, Dec. 30. We were hoping to stop in Pittsburgh to go ice skating in Heinz Field, on the rink set up for the Winter Classic and stop off at Ikea as well. Unfortunately, our plans had to change  a little. Christmas Day brought a snow storm of epic proportions to our area.

Currently, we have two dogs. Sassy is our hound mix that we rescued 4 years ago, and we are currently keeping Willow, a Siberian Husky, that belongs to a friend of the hubs in the military. We are keeping him until he can take her to where he is (anticipated to be February or March). Sassy is staying with my parents, by Willow has some aggression issues and is quite active. We thought it would be better to keep the dogs separate in this strange situation, so we asked a friend to pet sit. We were already safely up at his parents when our pet sitter called with horrible news. She couldn't make it to our house. That was 8:30AM December 26. I told her to just try to get over there as soon as she could-she had last been over there at 8PM the previous night, thinking she'd be able to make it later that afternoon. Not ideal, but doable. Well, as of 6PM, she said there was no way she would be able to make it there and it was quite possible she could not make it out the next day.

I hated to do it, but I told the hubs we needed to head home. The interstate roads we traveled were not bad at all, but as soon as we got off of them, we entered treacherous territory. We were looking at a foot of snow on the ground in an area that shuts down after an inch of snow. It was frightening trying to drive home, and I was afraid our little Toyota Corolla wasn't going to make it. Gladly, we are safely home now. Willow was quite thirsty, and had made a minor a mess in her kennel, but was otherwise OK. I feel horrible about how stressed out she must have been while trapped, so she has been napping under the pool table all afternoon. After getting home, though, I understand why our pet sitter had difficulty getting from her house (10 minutes away) to our house.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Rene Barbier Mediterrean White

Wine: Rene Barbier Mediterrean White
Store:  Trader Joe's
Price: $4.99 (???)

" crisp , dry, and lightly refreshing. Serve chilled as an apertifi or as a wonderful complement to seafood, summer salads, pasta, poultry, or shellfish."

First of all, I know I promised I would back after marching season was over, but alas, I lied-inadvertently. I haven't done a lot of drinking lately and I've been sticking to a lot of wine that I already know. I thought I had previously blogged about this wine, but alas, I have not, so here we go...getting this thing started up again for the new year.

My memories of this wine are nicer than what I am actually experiencing. First of all, it is definitely more of a spring wine, and we are in the midst of a snow storm. What can I say. At first taste, this has a very fruity, citrus-y taste. The after taste, however, has quite an acidic bite. This wine would probably be best enjoyed with a light chicken, pork, or fish dish, but alas, I'm attempting to enjoy this as an evening prior to dinner drink. It's okay, but there are certainly other wines that would suffice better.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars...I'll reassess in the summer to see if I like it better with foods from the grill.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack

Marching Season is finally over!!!! Well, kind of. Our last competition was on Nov. 6, which was supposed to end our season. The football team, however, has had a great year, which means we had a (home) playoff game last night. And we won. So next weekend we'll be playing away, but thankfully, I don't have to go. So it really is over for me, just not for the rest of the staff. And I'm getting full swing into our ballet production right now, so I need some reprieve from marching band. At any rate, I'll be around much more from now on!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In preparation for the Holidays...

So it's been a while. I'm sorry for neglecting you, my lonely little blog, but it's my busy season. Today is the first Saturday I've had free since August, never mind all the Fridays and weeknights I've been busy as well. And unfortunately, there's no wine in this entry either, but rather a little bit of anticipation for the holidays.

Mom and I went stopped by a little local Christmas shop today, which happens to be run by an old high school friend of hers. Our intention was to look for a piece to go with my Fontanini Christmas Nativity set. (Ironically, the couple that runs this shop sent us a "starter" set that included the Holy Family, a stable, and an angel when we got married.) These pieces are not cheap, but they are beautiful, and I'm quite content to accrue pieces slowly over time. We went in and found Jeremiah, a piece I actually referenced last year on my Christmas list.

Then we found David, the innkeeper's nephew. My 14 month old nephew's name is David as well, and he is currently in the hospital, recovering from a difficult surgery. We decided that David needed to be a part of my set as well.

Of course, you can't go into a shop like that and not browse around a bit. That also meant that we ended up picking some ornaments for the tree, too. I'm an M&Ms fiend, so we couldn't help but pick up this ornament.

Being a dancer, I have plenty of ballerina ornaments that I absolutely love. My passion, though, is jazz dance. Rarely do you see jazz dancer ornaments, and usually they are ugly or skanky looking. We found this cute "jazzerina" ornament.

But I couldn't resist getting one more ballerina ornament, especially seeing as I'm doing two trees this year-one in gold with white lights and one with colorful lights and our "fun" ornaments. I can't wait to see it lit up with the lights. 

So now I'm ready for the Christmas season...or at least Thanksgiving so I can start decorating. And the hubs is currently watching Home Alone, so I guess he's feeling it, too.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Old Moon Zinfandel

Wine: Zinfandel
Store: Trader Joe's
Price: $4.99

I've always enjoyed this wine. Tonight the hubs was grilling steak, and while I typically prefer whites during the summer, you don't get much better with steak than this wine. The bouquet is quite floral, and almost fruity. It's a very dark red color, and the flavor is very dark and smoky. There are hints of fruit, particularly a bit of blackberry. Also, this may seem like a no-brainer, but there is  strong grape flavor in this wine. This wine is also getting me geared up and ready for fall. It's about time for sweatshirts and jeans.

Rating : 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Kent Winery White Merlot

Wine: New Kent Winery White Norton
Price: $15ish (I need to do a better job of remembering what I got.
Store: New Kent Winery

 This wine starts out very subtle. At first taste, it almost seems too light. The taste, though, develops much fuller in the mouth. It has a very floral taste...I almost feel like I am drinking roses, not a rose wine. A little sweet, but not overpower. It's nice; definitely a summer wine. 

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Winnefred Chardonnay

Wine: Winnefred Chardonnay
Price: $4.99 (I think)
Store:  Trader Joe's

"A stunning chardonnay! with notes of cinnamon toast, clementine orange, honey, and pistachio hint at future pie-eating titles! A Winnefred walks away with the gold, we'll relish this wine's citrus driven finish of ripe pear, fennel and lemon oil. Enjoy this Chardonnay with pizzas of ll kinds: three-cheese, Margherita, BBQ chicken, and pesto flatbread! Here's to Winnefred, our diamond in the rough!" ~back of the bottle

This is an extremely light wine. There are some citrus-y hints, but there is not much body at all in this wine. I did not pick up on the cinnamon toast flavor at all. That being said, I don't find it to be particularly flavorless. There is a slight acidity in the finish, giving this wine a bit more of a kick. I enjoyed this tonight with a light pasta and veggie dish. I would definitely enjoy this wine for the remainder of the summer, but when fall takes over, this wine will have to sit on the shelf.

Rating: 3 of out of 5 stars

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Forest Friends Baby Shower

My cousin and I have always been super close. We are 2 months, 5 days apart in age. Our mothers are identical twins and very close, so Joseph and I essentially grew up together. And to make things seem a little backwoods, redneck...we are technically half brother and sister, at least from a genetic point of view. As our mothers share the same DNA, it would genetically look like we have the same mother and different fathers.

He got married to his high school sweetheart 4 months before I got married, and I have always been friends with his wife. (She let me borrow her shoes in 5th grade when I had to go sing with the chorus...we had been sitting on the bleachers and I dropped my shoes off under the bleachers. Now that is a good friend.)

When they announced back in March that they were expecting a little one, we are all very excited for them. And being the hostess I am, I was super excited at any opportunity to host another event. The theme for the shower was inspired by their bedding set, Carter's Tree Tops. I perused and found these adorable invitations by Kim's Custom Creations. Don't they coordinate perfectly?

The shower was hosted at our local church at 2pm on Sunday, August 1. This was the first time I had hosted a shower at a venue, not a home, so I probably went a little overboard with trying to make sure every detail was perfectly planned.

My first task was to figure out how to set up the fellowship hall. When you're in  home, it's obvious how to arrange seating, but I felt like I was starting with a big, empty slate. The church only had 8' banquet tables...I wanted to avoid the cafeteria feel, but I did not have the resources (or feel the need) to rent round tables when there were perfectly good tables available to me. After much thought, I came up this floor plan.

The "U" shaped lay out really helped to facilitate conversion and everyone could see the Mom-to-be open gifts.

Now, I stated, the church had 8' banquet tables, as well as vinyl table cloths to cover them. Once again, I didn't see the need to rent fabric table cloths, but I did want to dress them up a bit. I took some basic cotton and made some 44" and 22" squares in a variety of colors that coordinated with our theme (light green, dark green, yellow, and pink). On the guest tables, I used 4" terra cotta pots adorned with ribbon and holding garden annuals in pink and yellow shades. The result was beautiful and organic.

The cake table consisted a beautiful cake made my the mom-to-be's sister.

The drink table consisted of my favorite strawberry-lemonade punch, several pitchers of water, and two other terra cotta arrangement.

On the food table, we used our own fabric table cloths with the square accents as well. The centerpiece of that table was the diaper cake I made earlier this summer. I also used some small forest stuffed animals to accent the table. (I searched all over for those things...finally found some at JoAnn's fabric, of all places!)

 Speaking of food, our menu looked something like this:
  • Chicken Salad on croissants
  • Fruit Platter
  • Spinach Artichoke Roll Ups
  • Veggie Tray
  • Cheese platter (cheddar, pepperjack,  swiss)
  • Goat Cheese with Sundried Tomato Spread with Pita Slices
  • Ham Biscuits
We used the front stage to put the gifts on. 
And boy, did she receive some gifts. 

We had a great afternoon-now we just need to wait about 6 more weeks to have a new little one in the family!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Spiral Wines Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2009

Wine: Spiral Wines Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2009
Price: $4.99
Store: Trader Joe's

"As humanity's oldest symbol the spiral represents eternal change, reminding us that life is not a straight line. It symbolizes new beginnings, renewal and hope for the future. Our wines are the celebration of our quest for growth and quest for life." ~back  of the bottle

I picked up this wine today on a whim, and I must say it was a pleasant surprise. It is a very light wine, which is particularly good for the summer. There are hints of fruit, but it's very subtle and not at all over powering. The after taste is much fuller and a bit oakier than the initial taste of the wine and leaves a pleasant taste in the mouth. Overall, very enjoyable.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sunday, July 11, 2010

La Ferme Julien 2009 Rose

Wine: La Ferme Julien 2009 Rose
Store: Trader Joe's
Price: :$4.99

"This dry rose wine is intensely fruity. It comes from the vines grown high on the slopes of Mont Ventoux, one of the best vineyards in the Rhone Valley, it has been meticulously selected and blended by the Perrin family who are known for producing some of the very best wines of the Rhone Valley. The delightful and distinctive character of La Ferme Julie Rose is the result of a judicious blend of Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah." ~Back of the bottle
This wine is an OK rose. It is fullbodied and robust, but seems to be lacking some flavor. There is a certain acidity to the after the taste, which is where the wine seems to be lacking in flavor. It certainly seems to be a very run of the mill rose.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Saturday, July 3, 2010

2008 Chariot VII Gypsy California Red Wine

Wine: 2008 Chariot VII Gypsy California Red Wine
Price: $4.99
Store: Trader Joe's

Not bad...very full bodied, with an intense, almost fruity aroma. It's a tannin-y, but overall quite enjoyable for the  price.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars