Thursday, May 31, 2012

Green Fin Cabernet Sauvignon

Photo: Did I mention there is a recital this week?

Wine: Green Fin California Cabernet Sauvignon
Store: Trader Joe's
Price: $3.99

"Made entirely with organically grown grapes, our 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon is rich with complex aromas such as a bouquet of black cherries and plus. With its brilliant red hue, rich chocolate and raspberry flavors, it is balanced with a hint of vanilla and spice to help provide a soft, lingering finish. Relax and enjoy the flower of this organically grown Cabernet Sauvignon with family and friends." ~back of the bottle

At first sip, I wasn't a fan of this wine. It is a pretty full bodied wine, but not full of flavor. The more you drink, the more less offensive it is. I'm not sure if it's because my palette is drunk enough to not know the difference (although, I'm still on small glass #1 and don't anticipate a second) or if I've just gotten more accustomed to the taste. I think it could be OK in the winter with a heavy, meaty meal, but I personally do not anticipate buying it again.

Rating: 2 out of 5 starts

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Williamsburg Winery Susan Constant Red

The Williamsburg Winery Susan Constant Red
Photo Credit: Williamsburg Winery

Wine: Williamsburg Winery Susan Constant Red
Store: Total Wine (although available almost everywhere down here)
Price $6.99??? (I've seen prices all over the place, but Total Wine has prices even better than the winery)

"The Susan Constant Red is similar in style to the rich wines of the Rhone Valley, noted by its beautiful garnet color and upfront fruit character.  There is an abundance of red fruit characterized by raspberry, strawberry, cherry and cranberry.  Behind the fruit is a soft creamy vanilla note and just a hint of red candied beets.  There is an additional mineral layer which enhances the herbal, chalky character.  the finish of the wine is clean and very fruit forward.  This wine will pair well with many different foods."'s been a while since I've had an actual wine post. It's not that I haven't been drinking-it's just I've been sticking to the familiar. And this isn't actually a new wine for me, I just realized I haven't blogged about it before. This is a pretty good middle of the road, please just about anyone red. It's a nice red table wine. The fruit flavors are present, as described above, but they do not over power the wine. It is not a sweet, dessert wine, but it is a very easy drinking red, perfect for summer steaks or even a red sangria. It goes down very smoothly with very little after taste.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Middle schoolers are weird. They do bizarre things, they think the stupidest things are funny, and, to the outside world, they are simply ridiculous. When I was in middle school, my friend, Martin, created T.O.A.S.T.  For the life of me, I cannot remember what T.O.A.S.T. stood for, but there was a very complex hierarchy. King, princess, dutchess...we all had a role. Well, I didn't at first. I was on a different "team" in 6th grade, so I wasn't part of this from the beginning. In 7th grade, while still on another team, I somehow became the "secretary" of T.O.A.S.T. while Martin was the president. (How or why it transitioned from a monarchy to a democracy, I have no clue.) Our prominent positions in T.O.A.S.T. gave us lots of opportunities to write notes about nothing and pass them in between classes (oh, the days before text messages), and a crush developed.

Martin asked me to "go out" with him in December. We passed notes more notes about T.O.A.S.T. I was invited to the movies (along with all of our friends) to see a sci-fi movie (in retrospect and a with a little help from Google, I suspect it was Star Trek: Generations) for Martin's 13th birthday. I could not attend (dance rehearsal, no doubt). We went on a drama club field trip together (also, along with all of our friends), where we were pressured to hold hands and sit together on the bus. We were both embarrassed, and broke up just days later. We went out a total of 2 1/2 weeks and did not actually speak to each other the entire time.

Martin and I remained friends throughout high school, and even some of college. We were both in marching band (I on color guard, him on drumline) and had an interest in drama (although his petered out in high school). I believe he and another friend conned me into going to see one of the Jurassic Park movies in high school when I refused to go with my then boyfriend. In college, I went to see his band play several times during summer break. There was a mild flirtation there, but it seemed we were never available/interested at the same time. We lost touch for a while, but when his mother passed back in March, he hugged me like there was no lost time. I offered to get coffee, a drink, or lunch sometime soon, and he nodded.

Last Thursday, Martin died. We still don't know the circumstances surrounding his death, and probably never will. His father found him sitting a his desk, dead. A few weeks prior, he had some tests run for a possible aneurism, and even though an autopsy was performed, we still don't know anything. He was heart broken after his mother's death-I've never seen anyone look so rough-so I'm content to believe he died of a broken heart. Nothing else seems plausible.

Martin was a free spirit. A creative and fun loving soul. He loved life, laughter, and music, and he spread this to all who were around him. Even though we have been out of touch for so long, there is a huge hole in my heart knowing there is no more Martin in the world. It seems so unreal. I met up with some old high school friends at the visitation tonight, and we kept commenting on how we expected it to be a joke, and Martin to sit up at any moment. As sick and twisted as that would be, it never happened.

The world has lost one of it's brightest lights. Martin, I hope you are enjoying being reunited with your mother. We all miss you both. 

And tomorrow morning, I shall dine on toast alone for breakfast.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tarra's Bridal Shower

***DISCLAIMER: This post is littered with pictures, but the day of the shower, my camera was MIA. All these were taken with my iPhone. I sincerely apologize for the craptastic quality.***

I am blessed that, being in the arts, most of the people I meet are also in the arts. Tarra, a good friend of mine, is an art teacher at the school I teach at, and her fiance is a glass blower. They are super awesome and interesting people. They are getting married at the end of June up in Maine, but we had a bridal shower down here to celebrate their upcoming union. My first thought was to do a nautical theme in keeping with location of the wedding, and I quickly went to work gathering ideas on Pinterest. The first invitations I wanted were these, but they weren't available when I went to order them.

Alana Grosse Designs-Etsy

I decided that I'd rather go with something a little less overt, so I went with these:

Party Darlin Designs - Etsy
Side Note: This etsy shop was fabulous to deal with...She was efficient, professional, and over all fantastic.

Most bridal (and baby, for that matter) showers that I have done in the past have been mid-afternoon and had just heavy apps. Since we had so many people traveling great distances for this shower, we opted for a 1PM lunch menu. The hubs has really taken to smoking his own pork BBQ, so I capitalized on his skills. (His pork took rave reviews-many people said it was just as good if not better than a local highly regarded BBQ joint.) The rest of our menu consisted of:

Appetizers: Cheese platter (Colby Jack, Cheddar, Marinated Mozzarella, and Pepper Jack), Veggie Platter (Carrots, Red and Green Peppers, Broccoli, Sugar Snap Peas, Radishes and Celery), and Spinach Dip with Crackers

Meal: Pork BBQ, Baked Beans, Macaroni and Cheese, Deviled Eggs, Caprese Salad, Cole Slaw
Dessert: Cupcakes!!! (White with Lemon Icing, White with White Icing and Strawberry Filling, White with Chocolate Icing and Filling, White with White Icing), Life Preserver Cookies, Yellow and Blue Jelly Bellies and M&Ms
 Drinks: Water, Tea (sweetener and lemon available), White Wine (Williamsburg Winery Governor's White-a local favorite) and Red (Williamsburg Winery Susan Constant Red). Since people have become notoriously bad about RSVPing, I had no idea how many people to expect. We had about 50 people invited, and about 25-30 showed up. The wine calculator I used said I would need 15-20 bottles of wine, but that seemed excessive. I ended up getting 3 bottles of red and 4 different 1L bottles of the white. We drank 1 bottle of red and 1 1/2 bottles of the white.

For Decorations, I stuck with the yellow and navy theme, with a few beachy accents. I already had a gold table runner for the dessert table, and used this as an excuse to buy a new navy blue table cloth for our dining room table. I stopped at Trader Joe's the day before the shower to pick up yellow flowers-my first thought was all daffodils, but they didn't have too many in stock, so I branched out to tulips and alstroemeria. While I love yellow roses, I didn't want anything quite that formal.

I also picked up a basket of beach shells and a few sand dollars from a craft store. I found these sailboat tea light holders (food table) and beach inspired lanterns (dessert table) online, and just had to have them. I could have done without them, but I really loved them.

You may have noticed I have a dining room table in front of my TV...I decided to do a drastic amount of re-arranging for this shower. The front living room and dining room were used for gift opening and socializing, while the family room served as the food and drink service. I just switched our (new) couch and the dining room table and things worked out perfectly.

 Overall, the shower was a fabulous success. I am so excited for Tarra and Sam's new life together, and I cannot wait to take the trip up to the northeast witness their wedding.