Falling And Laughing: Adventures In Wine Country

It’s fair to say that I love wine.  Though I’m by no means a wine snob and my palate rarely detects the “subtle notes of cherry/hickory/peach/etc,” I do enjoy celebrating the return of the weekend with a bottle.  Or two.  Whether it be a pinot grigio on a warm afternoon or a cabernet sauvignon on a stormy night, those fermented grapes are darn delicious and have been an integral part of many a fun night or heartfelt chat.  And more than one game of Guitar Hero has been played with my mom while sipping vino.

When coming up with my 30-before-30 list, I knew I wanted to incorporate some time in wine country.  Luckily, California has quite a few wine countries to choose from.  I toyed with the idea of going up to Napa or Sonoma, but those proved to be too far away for a weekend.  I briefly entertained the idea of going to Temecula or Paso Robles, but neither panned out.  So I ended up revisiting the old standby: Santa Ynez Valley.  Though I didn’t spend a complete weekend there, I figure one overnight plus another full day more than count for checking the item off my list.

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Of Course I Can Speak Whale

One of the great things about living off the coast of California, aside from the impeccable year-round weather and proximity to the Happiest Place on Earth, is the annual migration of gray whales as they make their way down to the breeding grounds in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula.  For years, I’ve been wanting to witness these mammals in their natural habitat and a few weeks ago, thanks to a Living Social deal and a willing friend, I made it happen.

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The Increasing Appeal Of Domesticity

The Ultimate Career

In college, I once took a class all about the 1950’s.  It was a fascinating time in America.  Communism was the “C” word and we faced increasing tensions with Russia and Korea.  Many people associate this decade with such things as the birth of rock and roll and the Golden Age of television.  Others with a sexualization we were just beginning to uncover with the advent of Playboy Magazine and the most famous blonde to ever grace the Silver Screen: Marilyn Monroe.

For me, I associate this time with a different type of woman: the homemaker.
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When In Doubt, Add More Bacon

Remember last year when I proved to you all that I am a silent auction queen?  Of course you don’t and I wouldn’t expect you to.  It was a long time ago and so much has happened since then.  A quick recap: I won a silent auction at a 5K I ran.  The culinary themed gift basket was full of cooking utensils, fancy salt and pepper shakers, kitchen towels, and a gift certificate for a Let’s Get Cookin’ class at the Westlake Culinary Institute.

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The Deafening Sound Of Purring

Three weeks into the new year and what a crazy time it has been!  I must apologize for my absence in the blogosphere, but life once again got in the way.  My mind has been a super highway lately and I have so many new ideas that I want to explore on the blog.  You may have already noticed the new layout.  I’ve been plugging away at #18 on my 30-Before-30 list.  I’ve got an appointment to check off #16 next month and plans in the works for #5, 17, and 23.

And then there’s my personal life.

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Wrapping Up 2014 With Leather

First off, it’s hard to believe that 2014 is just a few hours from being a thing of the past.  It was a truly remarkable year full of lots of unexpected surprises, delights, and some sad news.  I watched blogging friends welcome babies, buy a home, complete a triathlon, live the wild and cancer-free life, travel to the Last Frontier, explore everything that New York City has to offer, and showcase the most delicious meals and gorgeous photographs.

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Burgers, Lights, And Tim Allen: A Christmas Eve Tradition

Christmas Eve

Tradition has always been very important to me.  I stubbornly abide by traditions each and every year.  To me, they are something to be relied on and something to look forward to.  You know exactly what to expect and disappointment usually only comes when plans change.  I am a stickler for upholding holiday traditions, much to the annoyance of my family who like to mix it up from time to time.  The night before Christmas has always been dear to my heart, probably moreso than the actual holiday (and you know how much I love that).

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There’ll Be Parties For Hosting

One of the selling points when I bought my condo was the large kitchen with ample countertop space.  I pictured myself playing hostess to friends for dinner parties, festive get-togethers, and celebrations of all seasons.  I imagined yummy foods and delicious drinks atop every available surface.  Happy faces would be everywhere and laughter would be the soundtrack of the evening.

I just knew I had to have a party before the year was up.

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Christmas Confessions

This is my time of year.  I love Christmas!  It’s the season of giving and everyone seems a little jollier.  You’ve got the great Christmas classics on TV and the radio.  Houses and shops are festively decorated.  Packages arrive at the house almost daily and cards are delivered with joyful wishes and season’s greetings.  And let’s not forget about the eggnog!  It’s a happy time to be a happy person.  Though this year, the holidays seem rushed and have come out of nowhere, I am getting into the spirit and helping others get into it as well.  Baxter has his stocking hung by the fireplace and I am hosting our family’s Christmas get-together next weekend.  As much as I love this time, I have some holiday confessions I need to get off my chest.

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Things That I Believe To Be True

What do you believe in?  What beliefs make you you?

A personal philosophy is something that everyone should have.  I’m not talking about religion.  No, personal philosophies are much more complex than that.  Not that religion isn’t important, but this isn’t a post about religion in the traditional sense.  While philosophy and religion can go hand in hand, one greatly influencing the other, there is much more to a person than religion and that is what I want to discuss.  Our experiences not only make us who we are, but inspire how we perceive situations and how we react to what happens to us.  While some beliefs may be silly, others are much stronger in molding our character and ourselves into the kind of people we want to be.

And with that said, these are some of the things that I wholeheartedly believe in. Continue reading