Wine Tasting In El Dorado

One of my favorite parts about living in Sacramento is when I want to get out for a weekend adventure I don’t have to travel very far. Within in an hour driving distance of my house there are all kinds of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Recently I was introduced to El Dorado wine country for their 2016 Passport Weekend. I know when most people think of Northern California wine it conjures up images of Napa or Sonoma, but I was excited to find what other amazing wines existed outside of these regions. My official photographer, I mean husband, and I braved grey skies and rain sprinkles to taste new wines and take in beautiful views, we were not disappointed.

 

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2016 Passport Weekend

We spent the most amount of our time at C.G. di Arie Vineyard and Winery where we tasted our way through the property. First stop was the patio where we met Elisheva, co-owner of C.G di Arie, and she gave us a brief explanation of the history and types of wines they produce. We were excited to learn they regularly host open house events for wine releases and vineyard tours. I mean, with this view how could we not plan on coming back?

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View From the Patio

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Why is my glass empty?

After taking in the views we headed inside to meet the winemaker Chaim, who also happens to be the husband of Elisheva. We were challenged to put our palates to the test and identify which eight wines made up their soon-to-be released Onstage Act II blend. Always up for a good challenge my husband and I tasted, chatted with the winemaker (we couldn’t pry any hints about the blend makeup out of him), and submitted our best guesses. People who correctly identify the makeup of the blend win a case, so keep your fingers crossed and if you’re lucky we might share.

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Decoding the OnStage Act II Blend
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Meeting the maker.
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Casting the ballot, may I have one more taste just to be sure?
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Barrels of fun at G.G. di Arie

We really enjoyed out experience at Passport Weekend and can’t wait to come back, on our visit we will definitely plan on staying overnight so we can experience more. Haven’t been yet? Plan your getaway here. Have a favorite winery, restaurant, or hotel we should try next time? Let me know in the comments!

Why I (Sometimes) Enjoy When My Husband Travels For Work

Airplane

My husband travels a fair amount for work and, when I’m able, I usually tag along on trips with him, one of the perks of self-employment. While I love seeing new cities,  food,  and cultures I have a confession – I also sometimes love when I get the house to myself for a few days. As a freelancer I spend most of my working hours at home or in a coffice (cafe + office) so  I am used to being solo. While “me” time is great, what I really love are these perks:

Optional showering
My husband is currently gone for three days and two nights, if it wasn’t for professional meetings I have scheduled I likely wouldn’t shower until before I left to pick him up from the airport. You know who would care, or remind me to care? Nobody. Also we are still in a drought so I would justify my actions by convincing myself and others that I’m saving the entire state of California by abstaining from showering.

All of the terrible television
I won’t out myself with all of the incredibly terrible shows I watch when I am left to my own devices, but you should know I enjoy every second of it. Sometimes I don’t even realize I have been watching Hoarders for three hours, you know why? Because no one is around to tell me to change the channel. Now excuse me while I purge every item in all of our closets.

Sweatpant couture
So we have established that showering is optional, well so is putting on any article of clothing that does not have an elastic waistband. If I am really honest this isn’t much different than what I wear when I work from home, but when my husband is around I usually try to put in a little effort…like something with a button and zipper.

Eating whatever I want, whenever I want
Ice cream for breakfast? Yes. Pretzel sticks dipped in peanut butter for lunch? Yes. Cheese quesadilla and Lucky Charms for dinner? Yes. Every meal is like a mini-episode of Chopped where I pull random ingredients out of the refrigerator and try to create some sort of culinary masterpiece but then settle for something that is simply edible.

Taking up the entire bed and all the blankets
I have heard some people say that when their significant other is not at home they still sleep on  their designated side of the bed. I say, screw that. When my husband is out of town I sleep in the starfish position, yes it is exactly what it sounds like. I take up as much of the bed as possible, and if I get cold I cocoon myself in blankets, because no one is going to fight me for them (my husband might argue that my sleeping habits are not much different when he is home).

Missing Him
Time apart gives me a chance to reflect on how lucky I am to be married to a pretty spectacular man. I have all those silly romantic things happen, like butterflies in my stomach when I know he is on his flight home and feeling my heart beat a little faster when I receive the “ I miss you/I love you” texts. I am a big believer that the healthiest relationships consist of two people who support and love each other, but also have their own lives and interests. Part of my husband’s life is he travels for work, and those days I Spend alone give me the opportunity to remember why I love waking up next to him every day.

What do you appreciate about time away from your significant other ?

Hey Girl Top Five: National Donut Day Edition

photo and bag by Semi Sweet Press
photo and bag by Semi Sweet Press

 

This year the stars and the calendar aligned for National Donut Day because it happens to fall ON MY BIRTHDAY! I am obviously using this as an excuse to eat as many donuts as I want without any regret (because normally I would never do that, hahahaha).

First of all let’s settle the doughnut vs. donut debate. According to The Grammarist “The dictionary-approved spelling for the ring-shaped cake made of dough and fried in fat is doughnut. The shortened donut has been around since the late 1800s, but it wasn’t popularized until the late 20th century, when the successful American doughnut chain Dunkin’ Donuts made it ubiquitous.” What does this mean? Spell it however the heck you want to, just get out and eat one (or six) today.

I have been fortunate enough to travel a bit the last few years and you better believe I am always on the lookout for a good donut spot in every city I visit. My friends and I lovingly refer to these donut trips as “research” and you would not believe how much research you need to do on a donut place before you can decide if it is delicious or not. It might take me 3 or 4 trips in one vacation! So in honor of my favorite holiday and birthday both landing on June 5th I am counting down my top 5 donut “research” experiences.

I also have a small gift for you, from one donut lover to another, the Donuteum Deliciosus tote pictured above, and all other donut themed merchandise, is 20% off today over at the Semi Sweet Press website when you use the code DONUTDAY

Hey Girl Top 5 Donuts (so far)

 

5. Top Pot Doughnuts Seattle, WA

Top Pot

I was in Seattle in April for a conference and  was thrilled to find that Top Pot was within walking distance of my hotel. Top Pot is a wonderful mix of the classic donut shop  feel but with better coffee and interior design. Their donuts are “hand forged” which I am now sure is a synonym for “addicting.” On my last day in Seattle I spent a quiet morning in Top Pot with a blueberry glazed cake donut and coffee writing out post cards to my niece and nephew. With the grey skies and drizzle happening outside it was a wonder I ever left that day.

4. M + M Donuts Anaheim, CA

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There are a few things you should know if you decide to make a stop at M + M Donuts next time you are near Anaheim. First, they don’t open for business until 9:00pm. Second, you should be prepared to wait. Third, you only need to order the blueberry donuts. At times the wait for M + M has been as long as two hours, but trust me when I say it is worth every minute. The blueberry donuts are made fresh to order and you should eat them while they are still warm. It feels like the donut is hugging you, and who wouldn’t love a donut hug?

 3. Marie’s Donuts Sacramento, CA

sprinkles

This is my hometown donut shop that is dangerously close to my house. Marie’s is a pretty no frills operation. There is no drive through, or even seating area, instead there is a parking lot with 4 spaces and a walk up window where you order. They do an amazing job at the classic flavors  but my personal favorite is the blueberry cake donut. Hey Girl Tip: Marie’s opens for business at 11pm most nights, perfect for midnight snacks.

2. Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee

    Costa Mesa, CA

sidecar

My best friend took me here a couple years ago when she lived in Irvine and now I try to stop in for a fix anytime I am in the LA area. Their featured flavors for June are apricots with soured cream, blueberry cheesecake, raspberry, chocolate malt, apple fritter, and lemon yellow.  If that wasn’t enough to get you in the door they also donate a percentage of their sales from a featured monthly donut  to a local organization, for June it is the 4Life Animal Rescue. So basically the more donuts you eat the more you help, so it is probably best to start with a dozen.

1. District: Donuts.Sliders.Brew

     New Orleans, LA

Today's donuts! #districtdonuts #Nola

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I legitimately stumbled upon this place while staying in the Garden District of New Orleans a few years ago.  I was looking for the sandwich and bottle shop that is located right next door (also delicious, but this is not a sandwich countdown) and popped in the second I saw the word donut on the sign. I could not even comprehend the flavor combinations I was reading off the menu. The next morning I dragged my husband with me to stuff our faces. I had a Mexican hot chocolate donut that forever changed my life, it was sweet at the first bite but then left you with a tiny bit of heat once you had finished chewing. If you go here just do yourself a favor and order everything, seriously. We came back the next day for lunch and the sliders were equally as delicious as the donuts. I always tell people that I can’t wait to get back to NOLA for the people and the culture, but it might also be for the donuts!

 

Got a place I should add to my “research” list? leave it in the comments. Happy Donut Day!