Saturday, January 19, 2008

sipping and judging in nor cal wine country

I'm not a big wine drinker, but my visit to Napa this afternoon made me wish I was. I've visited wineries all over the world (notably in wine rivals Italy and France) so I wasn't expecting to be WOWed by the Northern Cali version of what Europe does best. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. First, it was an absolutely gorgeous sunny winter day, so everything looked amazing. The vineyards were lush and green, the air was crisp and slightly cold, and everyone seemed in a cheerful mood---a perfect combination for a great day of wine tasting.

DO NOT skip the visitor's center on 101 Antonina Avenue in American Canyon for all kinds of brochures and suggestions on how to best spend you day. If you're lucky, they'll probably even have some coupons to use at a number of popular wineries which comes in handy when you're visiting several. Two thumbs up for V. Sattui Winery which was the busiest (and tastiest) winery we visited, and only $5 for 6 different wine samples! Their dessert wines are very sweet and a must-try in my opinion. If you choose to have a picnic rather than eat at a restaurant for lunch, V. Sattui is the place to do it. They have a full deli on the grounds of the winery and everything is competitively priced (read: bringing your own from Safeway won't be any cheaper).

Driving along Highway 29, tummy rumbling, eyes scanning for a place to eat, I spotted Rutherford Grill which I was immediately attracted to since Noelle works for their company. It was 2 in the afternoon but there was still a 45 minute wait, a clear indicator of how good the restaurant is. Luckily we were in WINE COUNTRY and the nearest winery was just a short walk from the restaurant, so the 45 minutes went by rather quickly as we sipped on Beaulieu Vineyard's reserve selection.

I should have tried something new, but the veggie burger sounded SO good that I just had to get it again (I had it at Houston's when I visited Noelle in KC). It was, of course, SO good and I'm glad I got it. I was looking forward to having squash as a side dish, but the only veggie available was carrots which I didn't want...but they ended up being rather tasty. SCANDAL OF ALL SCANDALS: Rutherford Grill does not, I repeat DOES NOT, have French fries of any shape, size, or flavor. This is great if you're Noelle (she's sworn off fries for 2008, read about it on, but for me, I love anything French or fried, especially if it's both. So yes, that was disappointing. BF got enchiladas which were super good, and his broccoli was purple which was fun. I had a whiskey sour to drink with my meal and I swear to G it was the best whiskey sour I have ever consumed in my life. The bartender used fresh squeezed juice that was so naturally sweet it was hard to even taste the alcohol (which there was plenty of, I watched her pour it). Finally, we got total VIP treatment because of our family connection to the restaurant, and our super nice waiter Lance comped us a side of kettle chips, a drink, and a banana cream pie which, and I'll deny ever saying this, was better than my grandmother's famous version of the dessert. THANK YOU RUTHERFORD FOR A DELISH LUNCH!

Veggie Burger


Sex on a plate, aka Rutherford's Banana Cream Pie

Friday, January 18, 2008

there's nothing wrong with being obsessive, right?

Okay so I am totally obsessed with I don't know WHY I've only recently found this website, but it has so many awesome things I don't need...I could spend all day every day buying useless products from their site! Many, many things have caught my eye on FF, but one of the most intriguing things for me is their heart-shaped egg mold ( Call me a romantic, but I find anything that molds food into a heart to be completely irresistible. And with Valentine's Day less than a month away, this is the perfect February on-line purchase! Don't eat eggs? Who cares! I'm sure there's a million other things you can use the mold for, like, um, pancakes...and, well, there's plenty more, I'm sure.

You could probably use a heart-shaped cookie cutter that you already own to do the exact same thing, but why miss an opportunity to spend $7 on a kitchen utensil you'll use once and then forget you own? I'm being serious about that, the item just reeks of being one of those "must-have" things you buy on a whim then put into a drawer never to be seen again until you move to a new place five years down the line. But I'm still buying it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

and i said softly, slowly

Well, I've changed my layout a little. I've been trying to find the right balance of information/personal stuff for my "about me" as well as for the headline under my blog title...right now I'm pretty satisfied with it but it will probably be something that continually evolves. Also, I've created an animated version of me in lieu of having an actual photo of myself on the main page (I'll still keep putting them in entries every once in a while). I like the cartoon because it's a perfect representation of me: French beret, passport out and ready to be stamped, and Tater Tot in hand, ready to be cute and fabulous at a moment's notice.

Also taking some "re-shaping," if you will, is my bod. As most people for their New Year's Resolution, I vowed to lose weight and get in shape. Thankfully, I'm already at the thinnest that I've been in years, so if I don't meet my goal it won't be an utter travesty. However, I do think it's important to work out regularly, and that is something I have mos def been slacking on. My overall goal is to lose 15 pounds by graduation (I've already lost 4, oh dang) and to work out at least four days a week. Purely by coincidence, our gym on campus has totally re-vamped their cardio section with all new machines...some even have their own personal TV screen, NICE!

I am a firm believer in food journaling and even though I haven't been on a strict diet since I lost a lot of weight last year, I still try to write down what I eat as a means of staying on track. You could always just buy a blank Mead notebook and write everything down in there but that's so disorganized. For my food journaling needs I adore Diet Minder brand notebooks found on Simply search "Diet Minder" and the journals will pop up in the many varieties available--fitness, personal food and diet, etc. I love so many things about these journals but a few of my faves are 1. it's spiral bound which makes it super easy to flip through the pages 2. it has a section to take a before pic and then compare to an after pic (love tracking progress!) 3. the pages are completely itemized by calorie, fat content, and so on and separate days into meals/snacks and 4. there is an area to record your vitmain intake which is SO helpful because I always forget...unless I write it down!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

scribble away in style

I am a firm believer in sending hand written notes to people. In this techno-savvy world, you're far more likely to get a dozen e-mails a day than you are to get one hand written letter a week. Personally, I completely freak out when I get snail mail. Knowing that the person spent the time to write me an actual tangible letter makes me feel so special. By turn, I try to write people as often as possible, and I ALWAYS send thank you notes.

Sending thank you notes can be fun, not only because you get to let a person know how much their generosity affected you, but also because you get to use cute stationery (my fave part!). I have a plethora of stationery to choose from (I'm slightly obsessed), but my all time favorite is the stationery I designed myself at Here, you get to design an "e-doll" version of yourself and put it on whatever kind of paper product your littler heart desires. There is a designhergal for EVERYONE. I can't stress enough how many different options there are for hair, skin types, clothing, and accessories. If you can't manage to make a designhergal that resembles what you look like, I'm pretty sure you are a figment of your own imagination, because it's literally impossible not to find a girl that looks like you.

Not only do you get to create your own little version of yourself, but the stationery design is 100% customizable. The site provides dozens of pre-made layouts, but they can all be altered to fit whatever design you have in mind. Note pads run 4 for $45..and the more you buy, the less it is per note pad! Flat note cards are available 25 for $45. True, this stationery is a little pricier than a box set you could find in a store some where, but it is SO worth the extra bucks. I have one set of personalized note pad paper and I LOVELOVELOVE it! I get so many "OMG! CUTE!"s every time I hand someone a note on it. Mugs and bags (if you're into that sort of thing) are $17.50 and $29.95, respectively. Personally, I wouldn't want to walk around with a mini-version of myself on a coffee cup, but to each their own.

Here's a few I made today, the first is me and my boyfriend, the second is me and Tater Tot, and the third is my twin sister Noelle with her psycho cats. These pics don't really do justice to the cuteness of designhergals...they don't want you to just print them out yourself, so the quality of just saving a jpeg of your gal is low.

These all took me less than half an hour to create combined...but BE WARNED, it is easy to become addicted to designhergals.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

dear diary, mood: apathetic

There are many things that suck about being an RA. There are a lot of things that make the job worth it...but those are all boring and no one wants to hear about them. One of the biggest drawbacks to being an RA is that residents start thinking of you as ONLY "the RA" and forget completely that you are indeed a "person," too.

Also, I hate being called "the RA." I have a name, douches, and it's written a million times on my door. Keep in mind that you only have to remember ONE name, whereas I have to remember 32 of ya'lls.

But I digress. EARLY this morning I received a call on the duty phone (4:40 AM), waking me from an amazing dream featuring hunkie Anthony Bourdain. On the other end of the line was a guy saying he was locked out downstairs. Great. SO I reluctantly get out of bed, go downstairs, grab the master key, and walk to the person's room. There was a girl standing outside in a robe waiting for me. This is what happened:
Me: "Didn't a guy call?"
Her: "Yeah I had him call because my cell phone is inside."
I don't really get why she couldn't have used his phone herself, but whatever.
Me: "Oh, okay." *unlocks apartment door*
Her: *walks in* "Okay, thanks."
Me: "Wait, don't you need into your room?"
Her: "No."
Me: "UHHHH, aren't your roommates here?"
Her: "Yeah..."
Me: "Well, did you knock on the door before you called me?"
Her: "No, they're sleeping and I didn't want to wake them up."
Me: "WELL what do you think I was doing when you called me?"
Her: *looks at me sheepishly*
Me: "Right. Next time you get locked out at 4:45 in the morning you need to knock on your door before you call and wake up the RA at 5AM to let you in, because we like to sleep, too."

Besides the fact that I think it's EXTREMELY inconsiderate to wake a stranger up to let you into your room because you're too irresponsible to remember your keys (and then not even say "I'm sorry" or "thank you"), what are these people going to do when they live in a REAL apartment? You can't call up your landlord at 3AM because you went outside and forgot your key to get back into the building. And would you call your property manager to ask them what you should do if your smoke detector won't stop beeping every 10 seconds? No. You'd figure it out on your own, not call me to figure it out so you don't have to use your brain.

When all else fails and school work or RA stuff has me down, I look on the internet for Tater Tot-esque products. Pomeranians aren't a very popular breed to put on merchandise (in contrast to, say, Scottie dogs or pugs) but luckily they look exactly like a fox, so anything fox-y is an easy Tater substitute. Check out this friggin ADORABLE bookmark (on sale for $8 for two) from, sadly it comes with a stupid bear bookmark, but you could always regift that one:

I KNOW, RIGHT? I want, like, 12 of them. I can have a whole Tot family.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

feliz año nuevo!

And I'm back from my Pink Review hiatus! I spent the holidays in Mexico (best decision of my life--who wants to deal with rain and fog when you can frolic on the beach in a skirt and tank top?) and then went immediately back to school for RA (Resident Assistant) training. YAWN. No matter how long you've been an RA, you still need to be trained every semester...mostly because people with careers in student life love to talk and having a captive audience of 60 RAs makes it that much easier for them.

Well, the new year is finally upon us and I'm having a difficult time remembering to write "2008" instead of "2007" on all my RA paperwork. New Year's Eve is such a weird quasi-holiday to me. I don't really understand why we celebrate it, I guess mostly so people can have a day off work to recover from their party hang-overs. This NYE was a lot of fun for me, but it was sad not having our annual Matthews Twin Drunktastic Celebration. While the twin was off making snowmen in Kansas City, I was sipping Mai Tais poolside in Cabo San Lucas, psshaw!

To celebrate the new year we went to dinner at Mi Casa, which is the coolest place in Cabo hands down. It's funky and eclectic and always busy which I LOVE when I'm in the mood to party hardy. The seating area is huge and extends back the length of several buildings. It also has a super cute little gift shop at the restaurant's entrance. We had reservations so we got in right away but if you have to wait, browsing the shop is a great way to pass the time. The images below are taken from

I had such an amazing time at Mi Casa and I can't wait to come here again (spring break, anyone?). The prices are way reasonable considering the attentive and kind service, the one of a kind atmosphere, and the delicious food. Me and the BF ordered several appetizers ($5-$9) instead of an entree ($13-$30) which is now my favorite thing to do when I go out. OH & to top things off, Mi Casa prepares their tortillas fresh (of course) and has a woman making them all Chevy's only by hand and much yummier. Here's me and dad posing while she's hard at work:

At the end of the day (hahaha), NYE was a complete success all around. I got to eat Mexican food which is the best type of food ever, drank lots of bubbly, and looked totally fab doing it all! Not to mention that despite--or perhaps because of--my many glasses of champagne, I managed to learn how to say "Happy New Year" in farsi. I don't really know how to spell it, but it's something like: solah notoon mobarack boshe, or something.