Dona Chai – Review

I’m a dirty chai person.

This feels like a confession.

A few years ago a good friend of mine introduced me to what became my tried and true:

Iced. Venti. Double. Dirty. Chai.

It’s an iced chai latte with 2 shots of espresso.

Now I get 3. Some days..4. I can say triple dirty but after that I just say 4. The Galleria folks know me and when I walk up they just say “Hey Breann. 3 or 4 today?”

Making a dirty chai at home hasn’t been as satisfying.

Until recently…

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Dona Chai.   

Hot or iced this is the best at home chai I have found. I highly recommend it if you are a chai person. It’s not that hard on the wallet either.

Coffee gets me through until it’s wine time. Am I right?

-Bre

Easy like weekend living..

I don’t have a wine review for you… exactly.

I do have a photo of a very pretty cheeseboard, however.

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We almost didn’t have enough for our guests:

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Saturday night we had my friend Keri come from Scout & Cellar. She tasted about 4 or 5 wines with us. I liked the bubbles and this one cabernet was amazing. We ordered 6 bottles because… of course we did.

Sunday we enjoyed a pretty good weather day.

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What did you do over the weekend?

-Bre

Third wheel Valentine

Allow me to set the stage for you so you can envision our Valentines dinner…

Lee comes home with kabobs from Central Market.

While those are on the grill we steal a dance in the kitchen.

The song: Kiss the Girl from The Little Mermaid.

We sit down to eat with cloth napkins and our wine and enjoy our entertainment – Ursula getting stabbed in the gut by a surprisingly sturdy spear for having been underwater forever.

Our daughter announces she pooped.

I offered the option to clean the kitchen or change the diaper.

I won the diaper.

This is valentines 15 years and 2 kids down the line.

And it was fabulous.

(Our son was at church singing Ash Wednesday service).

While at the store, Lee picked up this:

This spurred a thought – when and why should you decant?

Usually the answer is because you are trying to be fancy.

The real reason is straightforward enough: let it breathe. Necessary when you have an older wine or when recommended by the wine maker. I also don’t prefer to leave a wine opened overnight. It either needs to be vacuum sealed or at least put a decanter stopper on top to prevent the wine from losing it’s punch.

We tend to decant French Wines since they seem to taste a little flat straight from the bottle. They aren’t always as fruit forward like New Age wine.

Understanding French Wine vs. American or other wines is a true process. Understanding New World vs. Old World is also a process.

I would being doing you a true disservice to not send you on to Leah Travels to read all you could want to know about Burgundy Wines.

My next endeavor will be trying to explain how we choose a french wine while standing in Central Market with a screaming child in the cart and the other one running laps. It’s as anxiety inducing as it sounds.

Here’s hoping you had a great V-Day!

-Bre

Underwood Pinot Noir – Review

Nothing floats my boat more than a “price conscious” wine. We call them daily drinkers. Aka – keeps us away from the pricey stuff in the back of the wine cellar.

I discovered Underwood when I found the cans last year. Needless to say I was stoked to see it in a bottle at the store. Bonus: it’s screw top.

This is yum. Black cherry – bright – baking spice – currant – fruit forward rather than alcohol forward.

In the glass you can tell by the color it’s a light drinker. Lighter in color. Pro-tip: tip your glass and the more clear liquid you see at the edge the higher in alcohol. This one? Not that high. Also if you swirl the glass and the liquid comes down in sheets rather that big fat drops, also a sign of lower alcohol. Now you see why us nerds are swirling.

Location found: Whole Foods (Post Oak Location).

Price Point: $18 ish

We paired this with …. “pre dinner.” Sundays we start a little earlier. Otherwise dinner was Pork Chops in a white wine cream sauce with mashed potatoes and roasted broccolini.

This guy is a little too easy to sip down.

Let me know if you find and and what you think!

-Bre

Valentines Wine – On a Budget

Let’s be real.

Valentines Day is..a day. Lee and I rarely do dinner out. Sometimes we catch lunch or just cook something special at home.

That being said, we can use this day as another excuse to drink wine.

As if we needed one.

(Hello… kids.)

While on an expedition to Target alone, I stopped down the wine aisle. I am pretty picky on wine but I was curious what I could find if I needed something in a pinch. Here are my top picks.

Bubbles: 

Korbel Brute Rose´.

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We visited the Korbel Winery in Sonoma and the location is gorgeous. We were able to taste several offerings and I really liked the Brute Rose. It’s affordable and easy to drink on it’s own. Other Korbel tends to be better in a mixer. This one is a great, not too sweet, bubbly fun wine. I put one in my basket after taking this picture.

White:

I realized a few years ago that certain Chardonnay’s that are made to “taste oaky” give me a horrible headache even after one glass. When at a store with limited selection, I look for different methods of aging. Silver is an old favorite we discovered years ago that’s a great option for crisp white without that “butter” taste.

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Reds:

This one is tough as most reds I saw on the shelf here are going to be sweet. I usually compare these to the Dimatapp we had as kids.

I started with Pinot Noir – which is a favorite varietal in our home.

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Oregon is prime Pinot country and A to Z has been a great go to.

If you are feeling extra generous, grab that bottle of The Prisoner. Great hostess gift as well ! (Hint: are you visiting me soon?)

Cabernet was my next stop. Valentines day or “Date Night” meals tend to include a steak and most of the time Cab is the best pairing.

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Chateau Smith is a fun one. It is a little sweet but if the steak/meal has a fair amount of peppery spice it will be a nice pairing.

These of course our my opinions. Everyone has a favorite style. Some people enjoy the sweeter wine and others prefer dry. It really is preference.

If you happen to grab one of the above and want to let me know how you liked it, or if you have go-to’s you think I should put on my list, let me know in the comments! I’m always open to new findings.

Happy excuse to drink wine Valentines Day!

-B

Winter Winter Go Away

Oy. Texas Winter.

More specifically, Houston Winter.

One day – 70 degrees and sunny and breezy and you squint and pretend you are in California. You dream of one of those houses with the doors that open all the way across the back of the house so you walk inside and out without transition.

Next day (literally the VERY next day) it’s 30 and gross and raining. There’s ICEPACOLYPSE for 2 days and you are stuck in the house. Your kids forgot how zippers on coats work and you have to re-orient yourself to the seat warmer button in the car.

Next day – 70 and muggy and you can’t breathe.

Needless to say, we are over it. Done. Kaput. Stop the PMSing weather mood swings and at least give us a week or 2 of consistent nice-ish weather. Can we stop getting sore throats and unexplained nasal drainage?

October – January snuck away much like the summer. I still blame Harvey and “Public School Blues.” I also blame my favorite scapegoat – anxiety.

  • Anxious about how my son is adjusting in a bigger school. (uh. still adjusting? rough.)
  • Anxious about balancing work and home life. (not 50/50.)
  • Anxious about making sure my daughter is really just terrible two’s and the attitude won’t stick (Lord Jesus pray.)
  • Anxious about the new swimsuit still sitting in the bag because I really really really like food and no so much self control.
  • Anxious about the 6am alarm clock and 7:45am tardy bell. (Note – I am a morning monster.)
  • Anxious about.. well… just turn on the news.

So I tend to “hermit.” Go inside the shell. Try to deal. Poke my head out and see if there is a shadow.

Also enter Holidays. After Thanksgiving we went on a Disney Cruise. Fun… but expensive. We also all got some version of stomach bug while on the boat. GLORIOUS.

Then Christmas and the 2 week break from school after we had kind of gotten our footing.

Then currently, the footing being lost completely with little explanation and my daily stress of waiting on the text from the teacher.

Today.  TODAY was a GOOD DAMN DAY folks. Good day at school. Good days at work. HAPPY KIDS. HAPPY PARENTS.

Maybe it’s the Olympics? Maybe it’s the much needed weekend? Maybe it’s just a GOOD DAMN DAY?

It certainly was NOT the weather.

I’ll take whatever caused it because this family needed the boost.

Hope to see you soon.

-B

Book Review – Of Mess and Moxie

Since I had oodles of time to read (*ahem* football season *ahem*) I downloaded this book after a recommendation from a friend.images.jpeg

Jen Hatmaker – Of Mess and Moxie.

Oh ladies. This book. It was/is exactly what I needed to be reading. I’ve been down in the dumps the last few months (symptom: not blogging) and this book really puts motherhood in focus for real life. Breaking it down into fact like all kids are crazy, all families are busy, and expectations for mothers these days are insane.

I’m looking at you, Pinterest. 

There is a lot in here about how faith plays into things – and even if you aren’t into that sort of thing – you will love her perspective on family and friendships.

My major MAJOR takeaway is that I don’t have a mom tribe. Living in a larger city, and also not in a neighborhood any of our friends live in, makes having that mom that lives 3 doors down and watches your kids so you can breathe or nap or just stare into space impossible. Don’t get me wrong – I have many lovely mom friends in the city (and from afar!) but when she talks about that “second mom” – the one that your kids saw as much as you and vice versa – it struck a cord. I had a few “second moms” as I grew up in my small town.

Thankfully, we can find a modern way to Mom Tribe through social media and checking in on one another through text. Who’s with me?!

-B

Product Reviews from Sephora

*not a sponsored post*

Saturday I stole an hour to myself. During this hour I was able to grocery shop alone (tiny victory) and also made a quick stop at Sephora.

The first Item I was looking for:

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer – Color Correcting Adjust IMG_6215.jpg

I had grabbed a sample size while standing in line (it’s worse than the dollar section at Target!) and loved it from day one. I tend to be a little red and using this has allowed me to just used powder to even out my skin tone after this little miracle has calmed down any red.

I also needed mascara. The ones I was using ALWAYS clump. This one – the Sephora brand Lash Craft Length and Volume is amazing. Not one single clump. It didn’t feel heavy either. New favorite for sure.

Lastly, I had my hair done last week and I left with some waves thanks to my amazing hair dresser, Joel (Q The Salon). He told me I need to texture my hair to get the curls to hold. I picked up this small can of Drybar Triple Sec. Again- LOVE. I have very very fine hair and I don’t like it feeling full of product and it didn’t all. Bonus – it smells great. Downside, I seem to not be coordinated to actually curl my hair so it ended up just being a nice tousled look.

I will have to keep trying on the curling iron front. The struggle is real.

What are some of your go-to products?

-B

Oh, Hello there.

Oops. Look at that. 3 months went by.

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Sorry about that.

True to form our summer was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it summer. Yet…. we didn’t DO anything big. No large vacation. No big events. We just – well we lived our lives!

One notable thing Lee and I did was head to Oregon for a long weekend for wine tasting. IMG_5974.jpgIMG_0627.jpgIMG_5975.jpg

We had a great time and joined a few clubs. Shocker, I know.

We have spent the summer drinking wine, swimming in the pool, and enjoying our little family of 4.

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Then we had Harvey visit.

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Harvey was like that annoying college friend that comes to visit, overstays his welcome in a major way, and wrecks your house. Also, NOT invited back.

Thankfully our house did NOT flood but we were pretty nervous. This was our street:

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Currently we are in what I have decided is HELL WEEK. or The First Week of School.

We are beyond able to deal at this point. Getting up early (It’s. Still. Dark. Outside) and getting 4 people dressed, fed, and out the door for a 7:45am tardy bell. Rough.

Lucky the school is literally 1/2 a mile away.

Our kids did this really annoying thing this summer.

They got bigger.

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She insists on turning 2 in like 2 weeks.

This guy even had the nerve to start First Grade.

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Here we are. Navigating this new Public School chapter and enjoying our little family bubble.

I do hope to make a more regular appearance.

Until next time…

 

-B

Wine Review – Walt Rose′

More Rose′ because… Summer! Summer really seems to have brought out a taste of Rose′ for us. It’s light and easy to drink and honestly has low commitment. It is pretty hard to mess this stuff up!

One of the wineries we are members of put on Instagram their Rose′ and I logged in and snagged a few bottles.

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We are HUGE Walt fans in this house and this did not disappoint. A little strawberry here and a little citrus there with a bright finish. Super delish.

I have found some of Walt’s Pinot Noirs in large wine stores (Spec’s here locally) and at Central Market – but I am not sure how widely they distributed the Rose′. I will be a pretty happy camper if I see this on the shelf during my next excursion.

Learn more about Walt here – WALT

-Bre