Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Release

Spring has officially sprung, and we're now entering one of my favorite times of year - winery spring release! This is when all the wineries release their newest wines to the public and hold fun events for trying and buying the wines.

The Washington State wine industry is absolutely booming right now, and many of the wineries have tasting rooms in Woodinville, which is in the Seattle area. (the grapes are grown in Eastern Washington, on the other side of the mountains).



Andy and I are avid wine drinkers and in the past year we've joined a few wine clubs. Most wineries have a wine club, and the perks are generally the same - free tastings, discounts on bottle purchases, special members-only events, and regular wine shipments throughout the year.

The three wineries of which we are members are:

Sparkman Cellars - We receive two shipments per year of three bottles each (reds and whites) for a total of six bottles per year. I love Sparkman for their bold reds. Their "Darkness" Syrah is my favorite! For local folks, Sparkman has two tasting rooms in Woodinville, one in the warehouse district, and one in the Hollywood Schoolhouse district.

Barrage Cellars - The environment at Barrage is what initially brought us in. Everyone who worked in the tasting room was so fun, and loved to talk about wine in a non-pretentious way. And their wines are fabulous! We receive two shipments per year of six bottles each (reds and whites) for a total of twelve bottles per year. Their Woodinville tasting room is in the warehouse district, next to Sparkman.

Columbia Winery - Washington State has two very large wineries, Chateau Ste Michelle, and Columbia Winery, which are likely familiar to anyone in the United States as both wineries distribute their wines across the country. We like Columbia because their every day wines are delicious and affordable, but they also have an excellent selection of reserve (smaller batch) wines that are amazing. The winery is also much bigger than most of the local tasting rooms, so they hold a lot of great events and the tasting room is really fun to visit. They recently re-branded for a fresher, more modern look (both the wine labels and the tasting room itself). We receive two shipments per year of three bottles each (all reds) for a total of six bottles per year.

We received our Columbia shipment a few weeks ago but we have our Sparkman and Barrage to look forward to in the coming weeks! Both wineries will be holding their spring release events, which include lots of wine tasting, tasty food, and live music. It'll be a fun way to ring in the spring and enjoy some tasty wine.



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ten

I tend to enjoy lists and short snippets when I'm reading blogs. So today I'm returning the favor by answering ten random questions. I saw Nilsa and Amber and I think a few others have posted these over the past several weeks or so. And like Nilsa, I can definitely appreciate how easy these questions generate blog content! So here we go:



1. Twitter or Facebook? 
For awhile now I've barely even opened Twitter on my phone or my laptop and have only been using Facebook. I miss Twitter, but I'm having a hard time jumping back in.
2. Morning person or night owl? 
Definitely a night owl. Occasionally I'll have a morning when I'll wake up early, refreshed, without an alarm, and enjoy those morning hours, but that's quite rare. I'm a much more productive person at night.
3. How do you drink coffee? 
I like my drip coffee or Americanos black or with half and half, but I also love a plain latte (no sugar or flavoring). And I prefer it in a giant mug.
4. It’s 9pm and you’ve got the house to yourself, what do you do? 
Depending on my mood, one of two things. Open a bottle of wine and watch some mindless TV, or make a pot of tea and lose myself in a book.
5. What’s on your nightstand right now? 
Chapstick, hand lotion, and my Kindle.
6. What smell do you love? 
The ocean has always been my favorite smell. I've always lived close to the ocean or salt water so it just reminds me of home. 
7. What smell do you hate? 
Cat pee. Especially when it's found in a pile of clean laundry (I should probably get better about folding and putting it away...)
8. Other than your current home, where would you most like to live? 
Orcas Island. Or perhaps my place of birth, Hawaii.
9. If you could eat only one nationality of food for the rest of your life, which one would it be? 
Ethiopian or Indian! Give me allllllll the spices.
10. When you were six years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
A marine biologist (still kinda do).

Friday, February 27, 2015

Moving Day!

This weekend we are moving into our new apartment and I could not be more excited. After 6 years of living on the east side, we will now be back in the city. It's a move we've been wanting to make for several years, but just didn't make sense financially or logistically. Now that we both work in Seattle and are bringing in a decent income, we decided it was time.

Our new neighborhood is fantastic. We can walk or take the bus anywhere and everywhere - a lifestyle that's really important to us. We'll be close to wonderful parks, restaurants, bars, shops, and best of all, many of our friends! The apartment itself is smaller, but the location can't be beat.

Life has been pretty hectic the last few weeks with boxes and packing paper everywhere (much to the cats' delight), but after this weekend we will be done! Our plan is to stay put for a few years in the new place, and hopefully buy a house or condo after that.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Clearing the Cobwebs, Wiping Off the Dust...

I haven't logged into this space in over a year! I've thought about it from time to time but I've been enjoying living "offline", so to speak, for the past year. I've still been reading my favorite blogs, but rarely commenting. I still scroll through my Twitter feed, but rarely post. I love seeing everyone's Instagram photos, but I don't post photos very often and when I do they're usually photos of my cats. It's been refreshing but lately I've been itching to get back into blogging because I miss the connections I've made.

And now, a few highlights from this past year:


  • Started a fantastic contract job last January that turned into a permanent gig in June. The company is a large, well known corporation that treats its employees like actual, real people and the perks and benefits are freaking fantastic. I've never loved my job so much. After struggling the last several years with trying to find permanent work, I feel so incredibly thankful that I landed where I did. It still seems almost unreal.
  • Andy started a new job in August - on our wedding anniversary! After working for the same company for over a decade, it was time for a change. He now works for a fairly new bio-tech company that's making great strides in genetic research, specifically breast and other types of cancers. He's loving the work and the location, and we commute together on the bus every morning. Awwwwww.
  • Andy and I have been fully enjoying our apartment that we've now lived in for over a year. It's a brand new unit and a wonderful building, but the neighborhood leaves quite a bit to be desired. So we're moving! Again! Our lease ends the beginning of March and we've already started looking. We want to be in the city instead of in the 'burbs where we've been for the last six years. We'll be closer to friends and can have a more walkable lifestyle, which we just can't get from our current neighborhood.
  • We took a trip to New York for my birthday in October. Andy's sister and her husband live in Brooklyn, and several of our friends live back there too. We spent six days wandering through Manhattan and Brooklyn, eating, drinking, catching some shows, and taking in the whole "New York experience."
  • We spent a few glorious weekends up in the islands, our favorite place in the world, celebrating a wedding, staying in our wedding venue from two years ago, and camping with some friends. 
  • Andy's mom moved up to Anacortes now that she's retired. She grew up there and her mom still lives up there, so she loves being back and we love visiting! She hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas in her new home and we all had a great time.
  • My brother, sister-in-law, nieces, and nephew spent two weeks out here in July. They are currently stationed in middle-of-nowhere Louisiana so they had a blast being back home in the gorgeous Pacific NW during one of the best summers on record. We went out to the coast for the fourth of July, played tourist in downtown Seattle, and celebrated my nephew's 5th birthday. I miss them every day!
It was a busy year and there is a lot to look forward to in 2015! 

I just realized this reads like a Christmas letter. 

What have you been up to? 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Vacation!




We're all moved in to our new place and it's wonderful! There's still a bit of chaos in random corners as we try to get everything organized, but the key pieces of furniture are in place and the kitchen is fully functional - what more do we need?

As of last Wednesday evening, I'm on a month long break from school and Andy and I both have all of next week off to enjoy the holidays. I have all sorts of plans to enjoy the festivities! Holiday parties to attend, spending time with family coming in from out of state, Christmas baking, a pile of books that I haven't been able to tackle while school was in session, and Home Alone and Christmas Vacation on repeat 24/7. There is even snow in the forecast for tonight!

The holidays this year have been a bit hectic so far with the move and school, but now that those are both behind me I'm ready to fully enjoy the season (what's left of it)!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Moving Out and Up


Today we put a deposit on an apartment, into which we'll move in two weeks! Our original plan was to stay here with the MIL through the holidays. We looked at this building a few weeks ago and loved it, but the upfront move-in cost was pretty steep so we decided to wait a bit longer. It's a newer building and the units are leasing quickly, so we decided to move forward in order to get into the type of unit we wanted. And we're SO READY to be in our own place again.

A few highlights of our new place:


  • Washer and dryer! In our unit! No more communal, coin-operated laundry machines! I've dreamed of this my whole adult life.
  • A bathtub. Our previous apartment had a stall shower only. Same with our bathroom here at the MIL's house. I see many baths in my future.
  • High ceilings
  • Big windows
  • Fitness center
  • Outdoor patio with firepit and barbecue (this is the building's, not our own private space)
It is a serious upgrade to our previous apartment complex, which had zero amenities. 

I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Nope. No Way. Never.


As I try to get back into blogging more regularly, I'm noticing that I appreciate the little memes going around the blogosphere much more than I used to. They can be great prompts if you're at a loss for what to write, and are also a fun way to connect with/meet new bloggers.

One of my most favorite bloggers, Sarah (who also happens to be a local gal), posted this fun one today so I thought I'd play along.

Never, Ever, Ever...

Will I give up my addiction to buying house plants. I don't where this obsession came from. We had a few house plants in my house when I was a kid, but I never paid much attention to them. As an adult I can't go to a nursery, IKEA, Fred Meyer, hell, even the crappy floral department at my local Safeway, without buying a new plant. Which also means I can't walk through a nursery, IKEA, Fred Meyer, hell, even the crappy floral department of my local Safeway, without buying bright, colorful, ceramic pots to go with my plants. Unless I have a Little Shop of Horrors situation on my hands, I don't see any of this changing.

Will I stop playing the flute. I've been playing since I was 10 and it has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I was in band all the way through high school and have played in community concert bands as an adult (though not currently). Lately, I've been itching to play more than usual. I may just have to join the band again. #bandnerdforever

Will I possess a Type A personality. It must derive from the fact that I was conceived, baked, and born in Hawaii where life is so much more laid back. For a long time I tried to change this, but I'm pretty sure it's in my blood. I refer to it as both my Type Z (opposite end of the alphabet) or Type I (for Island) personality.

Will I enjoy eating Nutella. Here's the thing: I love trying new foods and exploring new flavors. My tastes have changed drastically since I was a kid, and even since late adolescence/early adulthood. I think I might even like mayonnaise some day. But I still think hazelnuts possess one of the most disgusting flavors invented. So good news for you Nutella lovers - more for you!