Goals Update: Week 2

Let’s see how well I did with week 2…

1. Loose some weiht: I gained a pound… holiday season is over tonight

2. Exercise: the pain in my wrist/hand is gettig worse so I will need to get that looked at

3. Eat more whole foods: I’ve had a lot of rice and beans this week… and ate out at local resteraunts instead of fast food

4. Pay off some debt: With the help of my bonus next week I will be well on my way!

5. Finish 6 quilts: I am halfway through the topper on quilt #1 I will do a post later to show the process

6. Host 4 dinner parties: 1/4

7. Try 12 new recipes: 1/12

8. Read 12 non-fiction books: 1/12

9. Write at least 100 words a day on my maybe novel… that would be at least 36,500 by the end of the year: 6.27% to 36,500 words

10. Go to Ireland… again: no date set

11. Try 12 new wines: Black Box Wines – Cabernet Sauvginon

12. Learn some basic phrases in German: Learned how to say “I love you.” Notice I did not say write… I said say.

13. Go to Saint Augustine or New York City: not yet

14. Switch banks: not yet

15. Participate in 6 WDC review raids: none yet

16. Find a new place to live and move: not yet

17. Attend couples cooking class: not yet

18. Join a meet-up group: not yet

19. See 6 movies in movie theaters: not yet

20. Visit 3 new wineries: not yet

21. Get rid of 100 things: none yet

22. Make cleaning schedule and stick to it: not yet

23. Yoga!: not  really with all of the pain in my hand

24. Stay on budget: not too bad this week

25. Take vitamins on regular basis: fail

26. Date night out at least once a month preferably somewhere new: not yet

50 more weeks to go.



The New Year Approaches

I do not believe I have ever been so ready for a new year.

2011 The Good

  • I married Mr. Wonderful
  • We traveled through Italy
  • We spent awhile in Frankfurt, Germany’s airport
  • We traveled through Costa Rica
  • We moved to a bigger place

2011 The Bad

  • Loss of Mom
  • Loss of Aunt Bell
  • Loss of Auntie
  • Loss of Grandpa Massari
2011 The Both
  • Aunt Carol found cancer and was treated
  • Uncle Glen found a tumor and is currently recovering from treatment
  • Earthquake in Virginia
  • Loss of Milo
  • Great Grandma was moved to a nursing home
  • Hurricane Irene
  • Uncle Jimmy was in a terrible accident and is currently recovering


I would like a more adventurous happy year filled with good surprises, laughter and family.


Product Review: Black Box Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon

Mr. Wonderful came home with a surprise for me the other day… a box of wine… wine… in a box?

Yes, Mr. Wonderful bought me a boxed wine. In all honesty we had been doing some research on the subject and while it does seem like the more environmentally friend, easier to open, stays fresh in between glasses, etc… there are not a lot of options out there in our area.

Benefits of a boxed wine:

  • Easier to ship
  • Less likely to break
  • Easier to open than corked wine
  • Easier to store in fridge (yes, I do like to fridge my reds… because I’m odd like that)
  • There’s quite a bit of wine in that small of a box (4 bottles in this box)
  • The pour spout is adorable and keeps air out so the rest of the wine stays fresh until you’re ready for it

Other notes:

  • Does not have the cool uncorking sound
  • Is it corked? Can you call it corked if there’s no cork? I’ll look into that
  • It looks cheaper, even if it’s not
  • Hard to impress your friends with your collection of boxes
  • Does not fit on wine rack, though wine rack does fit on it

What about this wine in particular?

This Cab Sauv is actually a varietal blend(83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Syrah, 2# Merlot, 2% Petit Sirah, 1% Sangiovese, 8% Dry Red) and pulls their grapes from several different vineyards in Northern California. I’m usually against varietals so I was a little concerned, but it is on the dry side for a Cab Sauv and still maintains a beautiful berry flavor with lighter a lighter tannin flavor. The tasting notes say blackberries and chocolate, but I’m not getting the chocolate or a particular berry.

What should you eat it with?

It pairs well with a glass. I guess you could listen to the tasting notes and enjoy it with “filet mignon and roast duck as well as wild mushroom ravioli.” Personally, I can see homemade ground tofu and veggie pasta sauce over bow-tie pasta and homemade bread, but that could just be me. It completely overpowered the Thai peanut chicken I made last night, but went well with the glass the night before.

We will most likely get this again. It is relatively inexpensive at Sam’s Club. Mr. Wonderful usually prefers crunch or crackle bars to a glass of wine at night and I do not like to open a bottle for myself. Good job Black Boxed Wines… good job.


Product Review: Shellac Nails


Yeah, it’s a really weird topic that has flown through a few blogs that I read frequently, though they never go back and re-review.

Shellac or Gel polish is supposed to last perfectly up to 14 days. 14! That’s like 13 days and 23.5 hours longer than mine usually do. There is no chipping, scratching, drying time or smudging.

Apparently there are some DIY kits, but I do not have a UV light and I have very shaky hands so this will work against my saving money plan.

The first application took about 20 minutes (all the various coats and the usual manicure procedures)  lasted 15 days and then I somehow managed to lose 1/3 of the polish off of only one nail. Otherwise, I would have kept them longer, even though my nails were growing out and you could see that line between the polish and the finger nails. My nails felt stronger and I was not worried about them breaking or chipping. It is amazing how relaxing it is to not have to worry about chipping or smudging just painted nails.

The removal? I was afraid… very afraid… how can this amazing stuff come off. Let me tell you, it will not come off with ordinary nail polish. It will not loose its gleam and it will not break down with the usual rubbing with a nail polish remover coated cotton ball. How then? Straight acetone. You soak your nail tips in straight acetone for 10-15 minutes and then it pushes right off just like pulling off cling wrap from a microwaved bowl. It feels rather odd. This and the reapplication took about 45 minutes total with the removal, manicure and various coats of new polish. My nails feel a bit weird today, but they are not used to so much attention and this could be why.

I forgot to take a disembodied hand post last time and last night… but here you go. I will give updates at one week and two weeks… any more than that and the disembodied hands would be super weird.


Review: Swedenburg Estate Vineyard


Swedenburg is not a new vineyard to me. My first visit was last year at this time and the whole Wonderful clan and I enjoyed greatly their Mulled Wine. The location was not as green as it is in the picture above… it’s dreadfully cold here this time of year. They had renovated the tasting room in between our visits, though the wine has not changed. For Virginia wine this is really one of my favorite vineyards. Their wine tends to be more on the dry side which I prefer. They also take great pride in their estate vineyards and are more than willing to share the history of their vineyards and the people behind the wine. We have not really visited in the summer, though they might make a good sangria… we really enjoy their mulled wine the best.

A review is not any good without pointing out what is missing…

Those that led the tasting did not provide any specific cuisines or food dishes that the wine would pair well with… no mention or provision of cheeses or crackers during the tasting. The white wine would go well with chicken or fish. The red wines would go well with more tomato based dishes. You know… white meat with white wine and red meat with red wine? I prefer to mix it up myself sometimes. It was one of the more hurried tastings I had been to. Let’s go through our wines and then you can buy or whatever…

Also: sell me on your vineyard, make me want more than just your mulled wine (which is incredible), make me come back (in the spring and summer we have performers outside and fabulous homemade sangria… or something) and make me want to stay longer in the cold months (we have some fresh baguettes and a variety of cheese trays you can enjoy while relaxing here with a bottle of wine.

All this said… I love Swedenburg and we do go every year around the holidays to buy a bottle of mulled wine. It is a tradition that we will be keeping. I just want to learn more when I go other than we grow our own grapes… here is our wine.


Product Review: Dogfish Head’s Chicory Stout

Dogfish Head

Chicory Stout

Mr. Wonderful and I enjoy Dogfish Head Brewery’s various brews. They are always coming up with something new or trying to remake something ancient. They are different and proud to be so. We also enjoy supporting the little guys… the small businesses that take on the big guys head to head.

Chicory Stout does not disappoint. It combines chicory and coffee together to brew an amazingly pleasant stout. I am not usually a fan of stouts and there are very few that I enjoy and would buy again. This is one of them and ours had not had the chance to get super cold yet… there might be something wrong with our fridge.

There is a nice mix of chocolate and coffee taste while you drink and a pleasant coffee aftertaste that does not linger very long.

Way to go Dogfish Head… you are good people.


Product Review: Todoist.com

Todoist … I am in love with you. Every day you tell me all the things that I told you I had to get done on that day. All I have to do is tell you to remember to remind me about something on a certain day… time even… priority even… and you remember.

That is way better than what I can do. I’m lucky if I remember to do the things I do every day. Enter Todoist.

I did not believe it would be this incredible. I found the app through chrome’s app store and took off from there entering a very basic list of things to remember. Then I had to plan parties and you let me set up separate categories. Then you said you would work on my phone and my tablet… heaven.

This is a subscription I pay for now. I upgraded. I have several different categories I ask it to keep track of (including my 26 goals) and it manages everything. I try to add priorities to things… but that doesn’t always happen for me. If I say it has to be done on a certain day… it probably has to. It can send emails to my outlook (which I usually ignore them right now since I get so many emails). It is a wonderful program and one of the few websites that I check daily.