Thanksgiving Prep.

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Just an important reminder for your Thanksgiving Prep…

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The Price of Freedom

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Today we give thanks and celebrate all the men and women who have fought to protect our freedoms and our values–and it has been a very tough week for that.

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If you don’t mind, I’m going to do something I rarely do publicly and share my thoughts.  If you do mind, you should stop reading now because I can guarantee you that you’re probably not going to like what I have to say.  If you’re not sure, read on–I can assure you that while you may not agree with me, I’ve done my best to keep my thoughts respectful and if you’re going to weigh in, I ask you to do the same.

For the last year, I have watched people that I know and love spout some truly hateful things on social media and I let them because while the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution tends to get a lot of air time, it is the FIRST Amendment, which allows us freedom of speech.  We get to debate and argue and disagree openly.  We get to love, we get to hate and it is all okay because we are extremely lucky enough to be born in a place were we are allowed that privilege.

Yesterday someone I love said the following words: you lost, get over it.  And it made me so angry because he did not get it.  He did not understand why people are upset and protesting–and even more frustrating is that he did not make any attempt to understand.  All I wanted to do was reach through the phone and smack the shit out of him.  But I refrained, mostly because I couldn’t actually reach through the phone…

I didn’t lose.  I voted.  My voice was heard.  I can’t say that I’m shocked that the Republican Party won: political history usually shows that when a President serves for 8 years the next election usually goes to the other party.  It is what keeps our country moving forward.  It is how the other voices are heard and that is a good thing.  I truly believe that.

The Republicans pulled off a political upset that will be talked about for as long as America is a country, and maybe even longer than that.  What I am upset about is that it came at a very high price.  It came with whom they chose to be their leader, to be our next President.   I am not upset that the conservatives won, I am upset because they chose someone who openly makes fun of people who are different and promises to ban them from this country and/or punish them for being different.

I absolutely get that they did not want to vote for Hillary.  I absolutely get that they are extremely dissatisfied and distrustful with politicians and all the political bullshit that comes out of Washington.  I get that it would have been so hard to vote against their party, which they supported and believed in the majority of their lives.

I share these sentiments with them and I will happily discuss, debate, and brainstorm ideas to overcome the distrust and disenchantment with our current political system.

But I truly do not understand how anyone could support someone so hateful, so racist, and so misogynistic.  There were other options, but it was the person with the most amount of hate who won.  I do not understand that and I don’t know that I ever will.  I have always chosen to see the good in people and what this week has shown me is that a lot people in this country are not capable of doing the same.

You are entitled to your beliefs and your vote, as I am to mine.  But like you, I am also allowed to speak my mind and in the spirit of fairness, if you want me to listen to your side, you will listen to mine.  I am allowed to be upset; I am allowed to be angry; I am allowed to be worried for the direction where our country may be heading.

You cannot tell me that if your daughter, sister, mother, aunt, cousin, best friend came to you and said that a man grabbed her inappropriately (pussy is the word President-Elect Trump used), you would just let it go. And yet whether you meant for it to do so, if you voted for Trump that is what your vote has said.

America is a nation of immigrants.  If you are not 100% Native American or Native Hawaiian, then you are from a family of immigrants.  And ever since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, these shores have welcomed people seeking freedom from persecution, usually religious persecution because again our FIRST Amendment allows us the freedom to practice the religion that we want.  But if you voted for Trump, whether you meant for it to do so or not, your vote said that this no longer matters.

The second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence begins with:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

We have spent the last 200 hundred years moving in the direction that all men and women could and would be treated equally, regardless of whom they believe their Creator to be.

People are angry and protesting because as a country, we elected a new President who has openly stated that “all men” equals white, rich, straight, Christian men.  Not even white, rich, straight, Christian women get to be equal because our new President has said that it is okay to treat women like they are property and he will punish any woman who wants to control what happens to her body.

On Election Night–or rather at 1am the following morning–I was on the phone with my BFF and she asked in earnest “What are we going to do?”  I couldn’t give her a good answer because I was too saddened by the history that I was watching and the backsliding of our country 50, perhaps 60, years.

We have seen a lot of hate and we have seen a lot of violence and never once has it solved anything.  So, BFF and anyone else wondering, what we’re going to do is this:

We are going to continue to fight to protect our freedoms and our values that so many have fought and died protecting.

We are going to continue to standup for those being persecuted for their beliefs, their religion, whom they love, how they look, or any other reason that makes them a target.

We are going to respect the office of the Presidency and our new President, BUT we are also going to push Congress and remind the Supreme Court of their duties to moderate the Office of the President.

We are not going to abandon hope.

We are going to hold our new President accountable for the promises of unity that he made in his victory speech by consistently reminding him that we are a nation of immigrants and every last man, woman, and child matter–despite the color of their skin, whom they love, where they were born, and what their beliefs are.

That is how we all win.  That is how we all move forward.  That is how we all can truly make America great again.

Sunday Comics #58: Halloween Candy

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Just a bit of sage advice…and don’t forget the wine to keep your spirits up while handing out candy!

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Cheese Thief

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Did you know that labradors are never used as taste-test dogs?  That is because they will eat anything with the same amount of gusto:  good food, bad food, cookies, carrots, remote controls, whatever. Being true to the labrador lifestyle, Addy will eat just about anything (thankfully I curbed her non-food eating habits early on in life), but if it’s food–or anything vaguely resembling food (cough cough**Vaseline**cough cough)–Addy thinks it is fair game.

Being a svelte 83 pounds, Addy does not do sneaky or graceful well…unless food is involved.  When sneaking food is on the day’s agenda, my beloved pupcicle could teach ninjas a thing or two about stealth.

Picture it:  Ann (aka roommate) is working upstairs and has a nice plate of ham, cheese, and crackers for snacks.  She has one eye on her work and one eye on her plate because she knows not to leave the snack plate unattended lest Addy decide to help herself.  Ann’s biggest mistake, she admits later, was thinking that she would notice Addy trying to help herself to the snack plate.

Poor Ann did not know that for the entirety of her life, Addy has been perfecting the art of the walk-by-and-eat act.  This is where she will casually walk by a table and in one fluid sweeping motion licks up all the food within reach of her tongue.

And just like that–in plain view of Ann–Addy stole all her cheese.

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Adelaide Grace, Cheese Thief, strikes again!

 

MWWC #26: Solitude

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This month’s wine writing challenge is SOLITUDE, as selected by last month’s winner Beth of Traveling Wine Chick.  Honestly, I’ve been feeling a bit at a loss with this topic, as I’ve spent quite a few previous MWWCs talking about how wine is best paired with great friends.  But even the most extroverted extrovert needs to reset sometimes, so with George Thorogood playing in my head–click on his name if you need background music!–here goes:

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I think one of the best things about summer is sitting outside and drinking wine.  Sure it’s a lot of fun with others, but it is equally enjoyable by oneself–sitting on the porch reading a book or lounging on the beach listening to the breaking of the waves.   It gives you time to relax, to enjoy, and to appreciate everything around you, like the delightful syrah-viognier blend you randomly picked out a few weeks back.

The thing I enjoy most about drinking in solitude is that it is very decadent. Opening a bottle of wine simply because you love it–not having to think about catering to anyone else’s palette or worrying that the food pairing is not quite right.  Taking your time to really get to know the wine.  Trying new styles and tastes you might not dream of trying in front of others (I mean, I know very well that my friends drink merlot when I’m not around!).

Plus you get the whole bottle to yourself.  Not that I’m telling you to drink the whole bottle (for legal disclaimer purposes).  I’m sure you can look up on Pinterest 846 things to do with leftover wine.  Personally, I always thought “leftover wine” was a myth or a horror story told to oenophiles…but if it is really a thing feel free to share your “friend’s” leftover wine horror stories suggestions.

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If the thought of a bottle is too daunting, find a great little restaurant with a spectacular view and start with a glass.  Take your time to enjoy all the sensations of tasting the wine without expectations or boundaries and just allow yourself to enjoy.  Order food.  Enjoy it more.

Several years ago, I found myself with a free afternoon in Sydney.  In need of a bit of respite, I happened across a little cafe near the Opera House with a fantastic view of the Harbour Bridge.  Fresh oysters were the special and I just couldn’t resist (I never can!).  The waiter recommended a New Zealand sauvignon blanc and while I’m not a big fan of the ol’ sauv blanc, I decided to give it a go.  BEST. DECISION. EVER. (or at least at that moment in time).  The crisp apple finish of the wine enhanced the creaminess of the oysters; the lapping of the waves and the cool breeze coming off of the water provided the perfect setting for allowing myself to just relax and indulge.  While I don’t remember the name of the aforementioned New Zealand sauvignon blanc (I know, epic fail!),  I vividly remember wishing I could bend time and make that moment last forever.

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That is the beauty of drinking in solitude: making an experience and enjoying the moment…of you.  I think in this day and age of technology we expect–no, we demand–to be entertained 24/7, when in reality what we need is more unplugging and appreciating not only what is around you, but what is you.

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Do yourself a favor and try it–you might like it.  I’m not asking you to make it nightly habit (for legal disclaimer purposes), but as a treat for yourself.  If you want to be even more decadent and celebratory, pop the bubbly (trust me you won’t be disappointed!)!

Still not convinced that drinking in solitude is for you?  Before I go open that blanc de blancs chilling in the fridge for a special occasion (you know, like Monday night), I leave you with this final thought:

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Cheers!

Sunday Comics #57 Happy &%*$^# Father’s Day…

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Have Wine? Will Travel!

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This month’s wine writing challenge is TRAVEL, as selected by last month’s winner: the hilarious and enlightening Loie of Cheap Wine Curious.

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Of course, my first thought was to write about Napa, the first place I traveled for wine–but then I remembered I’ve already written about my trip and since I haven’t had the chance to go back, there’s nothing new to report.

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Then I thought about allllllll the places in France and Italy I passed through many, many moons (aka decades) ago that I’d love to go back and visit now that I have a true appreciation for the beauty and intricacies of champagnes and burgundies and amarones (ohmy!)–but then I realized that this post may never end.

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So then I thought about all the amazing Texas Hill Country wineries around where I grew up, which seemed apropos since I’m traveling (see what I did there?) down there at the end of the week–but then I realized that I should wait and do a bit of exploring of all the new wineries that have popped up since the last time I visited.

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Then I thought about cleverly describing how going to the wine store is like traveling around the world–but about the same moment that idea popped into my head, so did another:

Hawaiian Mead.

I know, I know you’re probably thinking “no, no…go back to writing about the wine store/traveling the world idea!”  But nope!  Hang on to your hats, we’re traveling to Hawaii!

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If you know me in real life or follow me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook (shameless plug!), you will know that last September I went to Hawaii with some amazing friends.  While on the stunningly picturesque island of Kauai, we stumbled across the Koloa Rum Company.  By stumble, I mean April quickly learned she was traveling with lushes people who enjoyed sampling local adult beverages and she was trying to keep us appeased.

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But of course, this writing challenge is about wine, not rum (although THAT would be awesome!).  Having had a great time at Koloa, we (aka April, who was quicker with her google-searching fingers since she was giving away her rum samples) looked for other local places that made adult beverages.

While on the Big Island we visited the Kona Brewing Company, and so despite having not seen a grape growing anywhere in Hawaii’s lush and volcanic landscape, we were hopeful that we could find a winery.

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Alas, no grape winery…but BINGO! we found Nani Moon Meadery!  Now I will confess that I’ve never been a huge fan of mead, however, when in Rome…

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Nani Moon is in the back of a shopping center in Kapa’a.  We pull up, walk in, and, well, started tasting!  It seemed pointless not to try the full line-up, so we did.

For those of you out there who are unaware, mead is wine (although it can also be beer) made from honey instead of grapes.  It’s been around since…forever (and I’m pretty sure that’s an accurate timeframe!).  Much more sustainable, when you’re smack dab in the middle of the Pacific ocean and you have access to local apiaries.

As Stephanie (the owner) took us through each wine, she paired it with an appropriate snack and talked about where she sourced the honey (they weren’t all the same!).  I think my favorite was the Laka’s Nectar, which was the driest and most crisp of the wines.  While a little too sweet for me, the Cacao Moon was a big hit–understandable, given its chocolate undertones and velvety chocolate finish.  Stephanie definitely got bonus points for her Deviant Beehavior, which packs a kick as it is not only made from honey, but also chili!

We finished the tasting with some of the local honeys that she used, which was great–not only because they were delicious, but because you could really taste how much the nuances in the honey affected the taste of the wine.

If you’re interested in learning more, visiting, or throwing caution to the wind and just buying a bottle, contact Stephanie and tell her what you like.  I’m quite confident she will find you something you’ll truly enjoy and give you suggestions on pairings to help you enjoy it more!  She even has a cocktail section that encourages you to “bee inspired and mix it up!”

It was a great way to spend a couple of hours–and I think that if you find yourself smack dab in the middle of the Pacific on a tiny island named Kauai, you should go visit Stephanie and try her meads.  I’m not going to say that meads are now my favorite type of wine, but I did walk away with a better appreciation for just how versatile a wine made from honey can be.  And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Aloha!

Sunday Comics: #56 Easter Chocolate

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I know this has been around for a long time, but it still makes me laugh…every.single.time.

Happy Easter! -xoxo-

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Btw, if you’re looking to up your Easter chocolate game, check out this recipe the BFF found on FB for Drunken Bunnies from delish.com  you’re welcome.  I meant, enjoy*!!

 

*totally meant you’re welcome

Sunday Comics #55: Brackets

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Here’s to everyone out there who is actually still in it…

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Pot of Gold

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In honor of St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Thirsty/Throwback Thursday, I thought it only appropriate to re-share this lovely gem….because let’s just be honest, your pot of gold is much better when filled with Guinness!

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!🙂

The Epicurious Texan

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now THAT is a true pot of gold😉

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