Wine Review – Kistler Dutton Ranch

Last May Lee and I made our first trip to wine country. While we figured we would join a few wine clubs, we did the novice thing and got drunk tipsy and joined every winery we stopped at, more or less.

This included Kistler.

IMG_2398.jpg
Taken with my iphone with a glass of wine in my hand… 

BEAUTIFUL property, first of all. Even if the wine had been so-so the visit would have been worth it for this view.

Trust me – the wine is magnificent.

Until this visit I was giving up on Chardonnay. I find that the $20-$30 bottle I grab at the store tastes quite “manufactured.” Artificial. And then I end up with a headache the next day because of whatever was done to the wine to make it “taste oaky.”

Bring in Kistler and their bright wonderful Chardonnay.

IMG_4410.jpg
Dutton Ranch – One of many varietals

Acidic, citrus, honey, and even a little toast on the end. Just amazing.

-Breann

Natural Skin Care

I have always had sensitive skin with a tendency to be a little red. Usually this is because my introvert-self is being asked to speak in front of people, but otherwise it’s just my skin.

Strangely, when I entered my 30’s I started breaking out. It’s like the high school acne waited to show up when I am not supposed to be so awkward anymore! I tried many products and I did finally get it under control with R+F Unblemish. Still, I was red.

Enter Hello Aglow.

IMG_5105.jpg

Wow.

First it is natural. This feeds the hippy in me who has thrown out all the plastic dishes, uses essential oils, and makes my own cleaning products for the house.

Second, the rose water/oil element has calmed the redness down a lot. I have even gone makeup free on the weekends for running regular errands!

Third, it smells WONDERFUL.

I am happy to have found something that not only has toned down the redness but fights breakouts and is all natural. What an awesome trifecta!

-Breann

I am not famous enough for anyone to pay me to endorse anything. All reviews on my site are my opinion!

Going Plastic Free (ish)

Lately the news has provided us with more and more articles regarding how just going simply “BPA-free” isn’t the answer when addressing plastic and toxins. While you can use yee-ole-Google and find many for yourself, here are a few I found interesting and helpful:

Plastic is not Fantastic

How and why to go Plastic Free

I started slowly going through these efforts at home starting with baby bottles. Eleanor went onto glass baby bottles at about 6 months of age. I simply added a silicone sleeve so I wouldn’t drop them and they were just as easy to clean as plastic. Bonus: No warping in the dishwasher!

I would say the last 3 months I have made a larger effort to get us as close to plastic free as possible.

First step was storage containers. When I get home from the store I transfer as much as I can from plastic containers to these glass storage containers:

81BNhVE4QsL._SL1500_.jpg Snapware (Amazon)

I discovered quickly that the food stayed fresh much longer. This includes pre-peeled garlic, bacon, etc.

Next I went to work on the kids dishes. They primarily eat off of silicone or metal plates.

IMG_5132.jpg

I also focused on what they drink out of since that one concerns me the most. Kleen Kanteen has been a real winner around here for water bottles and I love that they make a toddler spout!

IMG_5131.jpg

I also use these neat silicone slip overs on metal cups as a sippy. Amazing.

The next tricky part was food storage. I found that the cloth re-usable snack bags didn’t keep crackers from going stale. I always keep a stash of graham crackers for my daughter so this was a big deal for me to solve.

Thanks to an instagram ad (i am such a sucker) I ordered a few of these silicone baggies.

IMG_5130.jpg

Stasher Bags

I LOVE THESE. They seal and keep food fresh and are soft and easy to throw in my purse or weekend bag.

All my plastic mixing bowls and spoons are gone and we now only have glass or ceramic bowls and silicone or wood cooking utensils.

Changes I am working on include actually taking the mesh veggie bags to the store or remembering to transfer to them once we are home.

I am digging for a glass ventilated produce keeper for strawberries as well.

My husband loves his Tervis so I didn’t get rid of those. Otherwise we drink out of Yeti’s or glasses.

The only pain I have found is heating up food for the kids – I can’t just throw their food in the microwave on a metal plate! So I heat it up on a glass plate and transfer it. My son is old enough at 6 1/2 to eat off breakable plates so I mainly do this for our energetic toddler!

What are your thoughts or ideas on plastic free?

-Breann

P.S. These are all my opinions as I try different products. None of these companies paid me for endorsements!

Impromptu Date Night

When you have children, Date Night is usually something planned in advance, at least a week, with much thought to when and where.

Friday my husband emailed me that one of the wine clubs we belong to, Gary Farrell, was hosting a wine dinner Tuesday night of the next week. A weeknight date is very unheard of for us so I was really excited to have this planned.

The location was at Max’s Wine Dive where we were sat at a long table, a bit squeezed in. Upon arriving Lee told me another couple was joining us which made this date night even more unique! This couple was with us at our tour of the winery last May as well.

The menu looked quite fun for sure:

IMG_5112.jpg

Of the evening, I would say we all enjoyed the 4th course wine the most and even ordered a bottle to split before we left.

IMG_5113.jpg

One of the things that made this experience special was that not only the winery manager was there (and sat with us several times to chat) but also the wine maker! The wine maker is the one who is tasting all the vintages to decide what get’s single vineyard (like the above) or what barrels will work best in a blend. Then she sits and figures out what % of each barrel finally works for the perfect bottle of wine. Wouldn’t that be a cool experience?

This was a great impromptu evening that I enjoyed very much.

Even though it was very hard to get up the next morning…

-Breann

Wine Review – La Vielle Ferme

An ongoing tradition in our home is Sunday Night Dinner. Over the years, we have had mostly the same faces each Sunday evening, with and addition here or there. Most Sundays it is my sister-in-law, Kelly. Sometimes we add my best friend Donald and his husband, Jamie to the table.

One thing remains the same each and every Sunday:

Wine.

Lately I have been really interested in learning about Rose′. I believe the day came when I was at a dinner party and they were serving Miraval.

miravalcotesdeprovencerose14-w-2.jpg

When I asked what this was, every woman there looked at me like I was nuts. I also just found out while googling a photo it’s owned by the former Jolie-Pitts.

I don’t get out much.

Since that day, I have been studying up onRose′. With Spring arriving in Houston, every store has a huge display of Rose′ wines from all over the world. I took my chance to dive in.

Finally arriving at my point, I was shocked to see this little gem on the very very bottom shelf at Central Market: La Vieille Ferme

IMG_5102.jpg
Hello, Sunday Night!

I want to make two very important points here:

1 – This was lush.

2 – This cost me $7.99. Yes. Really.

Bright, light, highly drinkable in the way that it has a super simple bouquet. Citrus. Strawberry somewhere hiding in the end. Not what I expect when something is hiding pretty much on the floor. And it’s screw top.

This one will be something I buy by the case and keep at the ready. (I do hope my husband reads this.)

Side Note: I have been told to grab any and all wines by this maker when you see them. The site shows they offer a Rouge and a Ferme Blanc.

Let me know if you pick this up and enjoy it (or not).

-Breann

P.s. I wasn’t paid to review this wine. I just love wine and want to share my findings with you!

Thoughts on a Sunday Afternoon

I suppose I should introduce myself to those who do not know me. I blogged (loosely towards the end) for about 6 years over at http://breivesnash.blogspot.com/ also known as Life and Love of a Parrothead.

A lot happened in those years including 2 children, three pets, and moving to a new house.

This morning I was thinking, over my morning few cups of coffee, that I don’t really identify with that persona anymore. Don’t get me wrong – I am still an avid lover of Jimmy Buffett music. I always will be. However, I feel like I don’t want to continue to pigeon hole myself into the “mommy blogger.”

That is why I decided to leave that blog behind and move on to what I hope to be an informative blog on what I am passionate about.

These things include (but aren’t limited to):

  • wine
  • coffee
  • wine
  • essential oils (yes, really)
  • plastic free
  • healthy living
  • yoga
  • wine

My husband and I have been dabbling in wine for a few years but a recent trip to Sonoma really got us in debt into trying all types and honing in on what we really enjoy. Mostly that is Pinot Noir and Cabernet. Lately I have felt quite basic and gotten into Rose. I suppose I am working to shake off the feeling I am drinking from a box of White Zen out of my grandmother’s fridge in the 80’s.

In the end, I hope to have visitors who are ready to read about nonsense on some days and something I hope to educate about on other days. I love to cook, drink wine, and play in the sunshine with my family.

I do hope you will join me.

-Breann