Category Archives: wine

So I Don’t Own a Brewery Anymore

It’s been a little bit, hasn’t it?

Things have spun madly around in wonderful, intricate, and confusing spirals over the last three years. I helped open a brewery, bought into that brewery, ran that brewery for the entirety of two and a half years and then left at the end of last year. I know the few of you who didn’t delete this blog from your feed are probably dying (or just curious) to know what happened, and the truth is quite simple. I lost myself within that brewery.

I’m extremely good at completely immersing myself into the culture of a business, and when I OWN part of that business, I let it melt into me like it’s part of my entire being. I worked for 74 days without a break when we first opened the business. I devoted the majority of my time to that business, waking up at 3am to respond to notifications on Facebook, answer emails, just to get our name out there and show how involved we were. Waking up at 6am, heading into the brewhouse and then running the taproom and eventually the sales team until the very end of the day became natural to me. The first time I went outside after that 74 days in a row, the shining orb in the sky looked unfamiliar, and the lack of a concrete bar between me and the other people around threw me for a loop and almost inspired a panic attack.

Now – almost 9 months after I departed the brewery, I think I’m finally setting into plain and simple joy, happiness, and contentment.
I also found a new job – WINE! I’m now the proud manager/social media maven/event planner for Sweet Hearty Winery! Through this new venture, I’ve been able to sneak away every day to a vineyard which resides on a few acres, next to a river, with views of the mountains. Life is pretty danged good now.
I’ve been setting up TONS of sold out events! Wine Glass Painting… Fly Fishing Casting demos with the local business, Elkhorn Fly Shop
Cupcake and Wine Pairing with another local business, The Cupcake Gypsies
Yoga on the Lawn, where I got to meet one of my Insta-Friends in real life!
The oh-so-lovely Beer Yoga! And what have I been up to for the past few months prior?
Managing another brewery in Fort Collins for a bit…
Enjoying boat rides on Carter Lake with the family…
Hanging out with my friends…
Both human and canine…
Helping out at a local brewery farm in exchange for beer and wonderful friendships…
Accidentally falling in love with my best friend…
Going on brewery tours with some of the best people I know…
Drinking plenty of craft beer still, don’t worry!
And also some not-quite craft beer that isn’t owned by the big guys. Unofficial Street Team

With all honesty, I am beyond happy, and oh-so-blessed, to have ended up where I am today. Life is such a random roller coaster of an adventure and I’m thrilled, terrified, and excited to see what else God has for my path. I’d like to say a huge thank you to anyone who’s still tuning in here after such a long hiatus! Let’s see where we end up from here…

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Filed under beer, Daily Life, wine, work

Bernard’s Wine Gallery

My friend and cousin Allie came over for a day of wine tasting and food eating yesterday. I had a Groupon for wine tasting that I bought way back in December, and it was expiring in three days. We jumped in the car and headed over to Calabasas to Bernard’s Wine Gallery. Tip: Pull into the free parking lot to the left of the store and try to get parking there if you can. When we got there, no spots were left. We ended up driving down the street and valeting with some snobby, uppity guys who scoffed at us and begrudgingly agreed to valet after hearing where we were going.
As you can tell, I got really dressed up for the occasion…
We “splurged” and got the Petit Sirah tasting. The Groupon got us a wine tasting for two people for only $15, but the Sirah tasting was $3 extra per person. We figured we could spare the extra cash, even though we’d gone all fancy with valet.
Our favorite was the third one – Hunt Cellars Irresistable Paso Robles Petite Sirah from 2002. We jokingly asked for a refill and the wonderful gentleman who was serving us generously poured us another taste!
Allie is well-versed when it comes to wine. Seeing that this was my first wine tasting, I did a lot of nodding and agreeing with whatever she said. It all tasted good to me!

After our four tastings, we roamed the adorable little shop for a bit, talked with some of the staff and finally went to retrieve my car from the snobby valets, who we tipped because I’m so very, very nice. It was around dinnertime, so we headed over to… LADYFACE!!!
Ahhh, this is MY kind of place!
I tried their oaked blueberry Trois Filles Tripel that had real wild blueberries in the glass. This beer was very mild, slightly sweet and very tasty, however I just cannot get used to drinking room temperature beer. I went with my current Ladyface favorite – Chesebro IPA.
We split the sweet potato fries with red ale ketchup – another one of my “regular” orders, along with the sausage plate.
BREAD PUDDING!!! We specifically requested a center piece of the bread pudding (I’ve found the corner pieces are dry and hard) and it was AMAZING! Notes of sweet cinnamon, rich caramel and nutmeg made for the best bread pudding I’ve ever tasted in my entire life – including mine! Okay, maybe not QUITE better than mine, but pretty close!

Ladyface Fridays.
It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

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Filed under beer tasting, Bread pudding, bread pudding makes me happy, Ladyface, Ladyface Ale Companie, Ladyface Alehouse and Brasserie, sweet potato fries, wine

Rapid Fire Blog!

     I just got back from an hour at the hotel gym. After a 12 hour day. After 5 hours of sleep. Needless to say, this blog will be quick, otherwise I may fall asleep on the keyboard.

BAM! Sunset on the drive out.
BAM! More sunset!
BAM! Desert at sunset!
Rat-a-tat-tat! Busy booth at the festival!
Sha-Bop! ART!
THWACK! Surrealist photography!
BOOM! Clothes made from plastic bottles!
Ka-pow! Paintings!
Ka-CHING! Wine glasses waiting for tastings!
BANG! Overpriced painted umbrellas!
THWOP! Carvings!
BARK! Dog on a jewelry counter, trying on a diamond-studded collar.
HONK! Hooters directly across from our booth!
HISS! Fire juggler!
Kaplooey! A map of the gigantic show!
Ole! TexMex restaurant we ate at for dinner tonight!
SIZZLE! Free skillet cornbread with whipped honey-butter!
CRUNCH! Grilled shrimp and avocado on mini-tostadas with chipotle sauce!
BAM! My head hitting the pillow.
G’night!

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Filed under Arizona, Arizona State, ASU, Hooters, recycled clothes, surrealism, Tempe, Tempe Festival of the Arts, University, wine, WoofWare, Z'Tejas

Back to Retail. Yay.

     Today I had to get back to the grind. It was extremely depressing to go back to retail after having nine days of pure bliss. I may have had a mini breakdown at lunch. Very mini…

     The day started off wonderfully! I had my first Monsta in DAYS and I needed it!

1/2 of a cup of soymilk, 5 cups of spinach, a handful of frozen strawberries and blueberries, 1/2 of a banana and 1/2 of a lemon and 1/2 of a lime. HELLO ENERGY!!!!
     My stomach has massively shrunk since beginning filming. I finished my Monsta, but it was a challenge. This baby kept me full until around 11:30am. I decided that I just hadn’t had enough veggies, so my roommate made us some Kitchen Sink Salads.
We were low on lettuce, so it was mostly warmed lentils, egg white salad and sauteed asparagus in Herbes de Provence. It was a perfect petite meal.
     And then came work. My friend Duck-Duck came to visit, which made it slightly more bearable. It was a pretty dead day, and I had to work in the women’s section. Utter hell. These women fight over sales and will bite you in order to get commission. I am most definitely NOT competitive when it comes to sales. If I ever feel the need to be competitive in my job, I will quit. This was meant to be temporary anyway, and this last week has put a hunger in me for the career I really want – acting.
     My mom came to visit me for lunch and helped calm me down after my mental breakdown. She helped me put together a plan for the next few weeks that involves lots of filmed auditions and focusing on the future instead of dreading my retail job. She helped so muchly. Thanks, mom!
Some Mini Spicy Tuna Roll with Brown Rice helped too. I asked for some avocado to up my healthy fat intake. I needed all the buffer I could get today.
     The day passed by very slowly. I met a new coworker and had some awesome conversations with her, and finally got to go home. I was greeted by this lovely sight:
A glowing glass of Merlot. I may actually be LIKING wine! Who woulda thunk?
     Tomorrow is a day off (already needed), so I’ll be filming some auditions, organizing my room and my life, and interning from home. OH! And I just remembered that it’s Thursday, so I’m going to try and hit up the farmers’ market too! It’s the little things in life :).
I survived my first day back at work. Barely. Time to join a gym and work off my anxiety!

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Filed under green monster, kitchen sink salad, Merlot, sushi, wine, work

Death by Cheese!

     Our neighbor took a trip to Reno, Nevada, and brought back a gift last night for watching over her house.

Cheese bread. Our neighbor is evil… and so wonderful!
     I seriously ate about 1/3 of the entire loaf, then spent the rest of the night feeling like I was going to hurl. After practicing portion control all week, this was massive overload on my stomach. I woke up this morning with a greasy-cheesy-carbalicious hangover. Blah!
     Breakfast was a cleansing Monsta that made me feel all better, and then I headed to work. Coffee was desperately needed, so I headed to Nordstrom’s E-Bar to get a coffee. They have begun listing calories next to their drinks – my usual latte is 210 calories!!! Instead, I got a small brewed coffee with a little soymilk stirred in, and a Luna bar to tide me over until lunch.
“Nutz Over Chocolate” – not too sweet, with a little salty bite. Perfect for the five hour wait before lunch.
     I changed it up for lunch… well, kinda… I didn’t have sushi, does that count?
6-inch on wheat with turkey, extra spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, pepper jack cheese, a little mayo and mustard. A lot of the bread was discarded – the loaves are way too thick! Hooray for healthy Subway!
     When I got home, I poured a glass of “red wine” (Seriously, the bottle doesn’t say Zinfandel or Syrah, it just says “red wine”) from Trader Joe’s and had a KSS.
This KSS just had 1/3 of a bag of chopped baby greens, 1/3 of a chopped bell pepper, 1/3 of a container of egg white salad and a little dressing.
     It was a very healthy day! That is until…
Crap. Apparently overdosing on cheese bread last night didn’t kill my appetite for cheese and carbs. I had two slices of ham, caramelized onions and gruyere cheese tart. 
     Ah well, you can’t win them all! I don’t feel overstuffed, if that’s any consolation. Tomorrey is my day off, so I’ll be hanging with my cousin and friend Allie and doing some shopping, some eating of good foods (in controlled portions) and possibly facial-ing! We’re looking for some cheaper places in the area.

     Side note – my friend Heather has started a Green Monster mission! Heather, blog about it so we can cheer you on :)!

How do you spend your days off?

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Filed under cheese bread, coffee, green monster, kitchen sink salad, Luna bar, Subway, wine

Trailer Trumped

     Here’s a tip: DO NOT go see Charlie St. Cloud. It was long, it was slow, it was PAINFULLY cheesy, and there were way too many violins trying to tell me to feel sad. Don’t get me wrong, this definitely had its tear-jerking moments, and Zac Efron is a great crier with an even better bod, but it wasn’t worth the money paid. My favorite part of the movie was the trailer. Honestly, the trailer definitely trumped the movie, and I wish I’d just watched that and obsessed over how wonderful the movie COULD have been without actually seeing it. Those amazing trailer editors got me!

     Before the whole movie debacle, my parental unit took me out for an amazing lunch at the local Indian restaurant. We split two dishes, and a side of naan.

A slice of naan, chicken tikka masala, and saag. Sorry for the awful plating – I was focusing on my portion-control. I had another half piece of naan after this, as well as a little more tikka masala sauce and a small spoonful of saag. I left satisfied, on the edge of full.
The restaurant has this beautiful courtyard outside.
A little slice of paradise :).
     My mom and I released my dad from our girly-movie grips and headed to the theatre on our own. We were half an hour early, so we each got a child size gelato and sat outside to enjoy the fresh air before heading into the theatre. An hour and a half later, we walked out dazed and chuckling at the complete absurdity that we’d just endured.
     We swung by Trader Joe’s to pick up a few key ingredients for dinner, then headed home and put together this amazing setup:
We all split a plate of Multigrain and Flaxseed water crackers from TJ’s with some smoked gouda cheese, and had big KSSs. Each KSS had 1 chopped and sauteed zucchini with HdP, 1/2 of a cup of warmed lentils, 1/3 of the egg white salad, 1/3 of a diced orange pepper and 1 bag of chopped baby romaine lettuce. The wine of the night was Murphy-Goode’s 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon – I had one glass and was content :).
     After a leisurely dinner out back, I heated up three chunks of the frozen Summertime Cherry, Banana, Coconut-Butter bread, and made a big mug of tea. The night so far has consisted of good food, good wine, and a LOT of ridiculing of Mr. St. Cloud. It is WONDERFUL to be home, indeed.
What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen? When In Rome gets my vote – I have no idea what possessed me to watch that one!

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Filed under Charlie St. Cloud, Cherry-Banana-Coconut-Butter Bread, courtyard, Indian Food, kitchen sink salad, Murphy-Goode, wine

On Set: Day Two!

     Here’s what today consisted of: Monster, work, granola bar, work, Subway, work, home, leftovers.

     Now that we’re over the boring part, let’s just pretend today didn’t happen. I’m gonna tell you about yesterday, my second and final day on set!

     Started the day off with, of course, a Monster.

My roommate made this GM: 3 cups of spinach, 1/2 a banana, 3/4 a cup of unsweetened soymilk, a crapload of frozen cherries and lemon juice. Thanks, roomie!
     We were filming in Pacific Palisades yesterday, and had to park on the ocean. It was rough sitting there waiting for the shuttle to come get me as the waves crashed on the shore and the salty breeze whispered through my hair. Poetic, no?
     When I got to location, I had to take pictures. This house was beautiful, and the view was even better.
The back of the house with Mr. Director.
View of the trail that leads to the ocean.
      I got hungry, as I do every few minutes, and the craft service table was hollering at me. I grabbed a hot cup of coffee (It was a nice chilly 65F when I got to set), and a big piece of buttery, sweet blueberry pound cake. 
No idea why the time-code showed up. I’m not totally saavy with the camera yet…
     My co-star Matt finally arrived in the shuttle and Mr. Director walked us through our first scene, then we were sent off to wardrobe and makeup.
Getting my makeup done makes me hungry.
When kissing scenes are involved, I make the guys WISP!
     We shot a few scenes that took about 4 hours including all the wardrobe changes – SO MANY WARDROBE CHANGES, then went to my favorite part of the day: LUNCH!
I love catering! I had a burger made with sundried tomatoes and bleu cheese, a big salad with a drizzle of french dressing, and two 4-cheese raviolis. HAPPY!
     After lunch came more makeup. My poor face. The lovely makeup artist had some fun with wardrobe.
Beautiful, dahling!
     The sun had finally set so we were able to move on to the most important scene.
Whaaaaa? What is this???
     Some scenes were filmed, drama occurred, and I got to get some cool shots of the set that the art department did an AMAZING job designing!
This is how I want my dinner parties to be! LOVE candles! And fake wine :).
     I took some pictures from the balcony to get some of the action. I had to use manual mode so the flash wouldn’t go off and destroy the scene, that’s why it’s blurry.
Cameraman and Mr. D with the monitor.
     We wrapped the day around 10:45pm. That would be a 12 hour shoot, folks. I was in heaven! I wish it hadn’t been my final day. I could do this forever! Love love love love love it! Love the exhaustion, love the pain, love the friendships that are created so quickly, LOVE IT! All my teetering on the fence is over. Acting is definitely my main passion, but I feel like I’m finally able to balance it with everything else in my life. I’m a happy girl!
     I had a beautiful, but long, late night drive up the PCH and got to see the moonset. Anyone ever seen a moonset? Me neither until yesterday, but it was awesome! The red crescent kept getting lower and lower until it disappeared into the ocean. The air was scented with salt and campfire, and the upbeat CD that my DJ friend gave me kept me alert and awake. When I got home, I showered off all the makeup and hairspray that had accumulated throughout the day, and CRASHED.
     This show will be airing mid-August. Once I get the official date and time, and I’m finally allowed to tell you what the project is, you’ll be the first to know. I’m going to go sit out back and enjoy my freedom and the sweet summer air for now. 
Wonderful day to be alive :).

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Filed under Acting, bride, catering, director, granola, green monster, love, wine

Quinoa, finally!

Happy Memorial Day to all my fellow Americans! Today is traditionally a day to remember those who fell in honor and defense of our country, and also a day that Americans use as an excuse to sit on their butts, drink lots of beer, and eat massive amounts of food – not that there’s ANYTHING wrong with that once in a while.

I decided to start the holiday off in a different way. After a leisurely morning at home with yet another spicy breakfast scramble, I headed back to the park for hiking. The heat was ridiculous today and the flies were out in full force. When I say flies, I don’t mean the pesky little ones that buzz around your ears, I mean the ones that thirst for blood and attack! I endured an hour of biting, buzzing, sweating, crowd-fighting misery before getting back into the blissfully air-conditioned car.
Up next were errands that had to be dealt with: picking up cat food from the pet store. Could there be anything more thrilling? The dog joined us on the trip, and since we were out and there just happened to be a new self-serve frozen yogurt place nearby, we had to enjoy a lunch of cake batter fro-yo outside in the blissful summer air.
Back home, a big stomach ache ensued. I may have forgotten to mention, but I seem to be lactose intolerant… I’m really good at sticking to soy substitutes, except when it comes to ice cream/gelato/frozen yogurt and cheese. Goat cheese has become my new favorite for those times I just can’t go without a cheesy, spinach omelette in the mornings. I decided to make some sun-dried tomato hummus from scratch to help ease my tummy.

Sun-dried Tomato Hummus: Makes 2 cups (Recipe from allrecipes.com)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt (I normally leave this out. I don’t want anymore sodium added to my diet than I take in already)
1.5 tbsp tahini paste (Also known as sesame seed paste, can be found in Albertson’s in the asian food or kosher aisle)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 (15.5 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil (Again, I use a bit less than this and add water to thin out my hummus)
2 tbsp finely shredded fresh basil (or 1-2 tsp of the dried stuff)
1. Place garlic, salt, tahini and lemon juice into a food processor; process until smooth. Pour in the garbanzo beans and 1/4 cup of olive oil; process until smooth, scraping sides as needed. Once smooth, add the sun-dried tomatoes and process until they’ve been chopped to very small pieces and have made the hummus a pink color. Finally, add the basil and pulse a few times until mixed in.
2. Pack hummus into airtight container and refrigerate for at least one hour. When serving, I like to add a little lemon zest to the top to give it even more color and zing 🙂

(It tastes much better than it looks)

Of course, I wasn’t able to eat this right away since it needs to refrigerate, so I decided to finally get working on the quinoa that I meant to start a few days ago. We ran out of zucchini and onions, but I found some shallots bought for a recipe I meant to make last week, so I thought that I would take a risotto recipe I learned from the amazing Giada De Laurentiis when I was obsessed with the Food Network and substitute quinoa instead. (Original recipe here) I also removed all traces of cheese and butter, but feel free to add some into yours! I might try some soy cream cheese substitute in mine next time.

Lemony Quinoa:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large shallots, diced
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/4-1/2 cup good white wine (something you would like to drink)
1.5 cups of reduced-sodium vegetable broth
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1. In a saucepan, heat olive oil, add diced shallots and saute until translucent.
2. Add rinsed quinoa and mix with shallots and olive oil to toast.
3. Pour in white wine and stir until absorbed.
4. Slowly add the vegetable broth, 1/2 cup at a time until absorbed by quinoa.
5. Once quinoa is cooked (the little tail-looking thingy appears and the quinoa is tender but still has a little pop to the bite – very scientific, eh?) stir in the lemon zest and juice, and fluff with a fork.

Quinoa before

Quinoa After

For 1/4 cup of quinoa there are 160 calories, 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. These little grains pack a punch, plus, in the lemony quinoa recipe, you’re also getting healthy fats from the olive oil. I think when I reheat this for lunch tomorrow, I’ll get some zucchini and butternut squash to saute and add in for some veggie-power.

And now, while everyone else relaxes and enjoys their barbeques with friends and family, I’m off to a pointless 3 hour shift at work where I’ll spend my time holding up a counter and watching the dust bunnies roll across the tile while the minutes drag by. Who wants to sit at home eating bratwurst and drinking good beer when you can work a night at retail?

Oh wait… I do.




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Filed under barbeque, basil, beer, frozen yogurt, hike, hummus, Memorial Day, Quinoa, shallots, wine