A cocktail fit for a feast

I love a good cocktail, don’t you dear reader? A little special something as a nightcap, or a fun happy hour treat. There are so many excellent distilleries out there, and when you combine them with a little creativity, you can make a great cocktail in no time. With Feast Portland coming up, I wanted to combine two of my favorite things that will be making an appearance there-bourbon and tea-into a delicious drink.

Enter my cocktail, The Cloudlifter. It’s perfect for a chilly Seattle fall evening, but refreshing enough to handle the last days of summer as the weather changes from warm and sunny, to those late summer rains. It combines Steven Smith Teamaker’s bergamot tea with its citrusy, floral notes and adds Buffalo Trace bourbon‘s vanilla tones and perks it all up with a little kick of lemon. It’s sweet, smooth, and just right. Think iced tea, but for adults. It comes together quickly and you can make as much as you want, making it great for a quiet date night, a gathering with friends over barbecue, or my personal favorite: pairing with an epic toddler meltdown. You ready to put this together?

The Cloudlifter
3 ounces Buffalo Trace Bourbon, or your favorite bourbon
2 ounces Steven Smith Teamaker’s Lord Bergamot Tea Simple Syrup (directions below), chilled
Juice of one lemon
Splash of seltzer

For the simple syrup~
Make a strong batch of tea by boiling 4 cups of water. Turn off the heat and add two bags of Lord Bergamot tea, steeping for 5-7 minutes. This will the base for your simple syrup, which is easy to make: You combine equal parts sugar and liquid (in this case, your tea) and heat until combined. Pop it into the fridge to cool before using.

For the cocktail~
Combine all the ingredients over ice and enjoy!

Easy, right?  You won’t regret making this delicious drink. Now, go sit back in your garden and enjoy the last few days of summer!
cocktailYours in booze,

On the road to Vegas!

Vegas has always held a special place in my heart.  My grandparents lived there for decades and would regale me with stories of their dates. They’d save up their money as best they could and every weekend go down to Sam’s Town and have a special night out.  They loved their date nights and continued that tradition for years, until my Grandmother’s cancer finally took those nights away. Their love of their little city lives on with each trip I take as I discover new haunts or revisit old favorites.

I’ve always gone to Vegas with friends but I hadn’t been for work, or even by myself, so when the opportunity to go for The Vegas Food Expo came up, I couldn’t say no!  To top it off I turned it into a long girls weekend with my best friend Jen.  She and I hadn’t been on a girls trip since before we both got pregnant…almost 5 years ago, so we were more than due. I had been hearing about tThe Vegas Food Expo. It was slated to be an exciting event, with small scale vendors sharing their lovingly curated foods to connect with businesses, distributors, and bloggers like myself. Amazing food and I was going to be able to learn about and support small businesses? I was in.

I booked my room at the SLS hotel where Jen and I would eventually eat one of the most amazing meals of our lives (check that post out here). The room was bright, with a light up bed and couch, and a mirror placed above the bed, which screamed fun and Las Vegas. It was over the top, and clearly not meant for a single traveler, but it was affordable and had great customer service, a fully stocked mini bar and multiple bars and restaurants downstairs.  While off the strip a little, it was quick to get around. The room was a little small, and I would have liked more separation than a sliding door to my bathroom, but it’s not like folks spend a lot of time in their rooms in a city like Vegas.

I flew out on a Wednesday, met up with my cousin to catch up and get settled. We grabbed a bite at Umami Burger to grab a beer in the sun. After dealing with Seattle’s solid rain for the past 6 months, I was ready to soak up as much of the sun as possible.  For the rest of the night I walked around the SLS to see what all was there, ending up at the Center Bar for a French 75 and some menu planning before a nice sashimi meal at Katsuya (also at the SLS), which didn’t disappoint. I started out with the truffle and lobster “Chawan-mushi” which was a creamy steamed custard, with a light truffle broth, with lobster on top. It was such a nice appetizer, and at $8, it wasn’t a bank breaker. I moved to the Omakase Sashimi which was beautifully presented-the scallop was tender, the blue fin tuna was buttery, and the Ikura was salty and fresh. At $55, it was a good amount of food,  but next time I will likely look at some of their Wagyu options, like the  Waygu Filet with Foie Gras, a beautiful option that the person seated next to me enjoyed. .Living in Seattle, it’s hard to beat our sushi. Wednesday night, I crashed out early, spending an hour or two watching cooking shows in a bed without a toddler-it was glorious!

The next day marked the start of the Vegas Food Expo and once I arrived I made my way through row after row of wonderful vendors, meeting confectioners, brewers, cider makers, and cured meat makers among so many other mom and pop shops. I loved the attention to detail and complete love each booth had for their product. I sat with the owner of Gluten Free Harvest, who talked about a real world need for small  batch, well tested GF projects – his son’s celiac disease diagnosis. I heard the heart behind so many brands, and why they ventured out to create their products. Most were born from identifying a need within their own lives and then seeing that others could benefit, they made the switch to getting their products into the hands of those who could enjoy them. I sipped wines from Barcelona, tasted honey from right outside Las Vegas, and nibbled on an amazing bone broth based beef stew that I found out I could get just up the street once I returned home!  It was lovely.

That night brought a Dune-level sandstorm which made for a hellish trip to an after party at the Lavo Casino Club at the Palazzo hotel and a 15 hour delay in Jen’s arrival.  Walking into the Lavo club, a fun bar and restaurant with multiple levels, I had great conversations, wonderful cocktails and delicious hand passed appetizers.  I would end up traipsing around with a few vendors I met at Lavo, having a wonderful second dinner of a beet salad with walnut, cara cara orange, ricotta salata and mint ($16) some of the most amazing garganelli with rabbit confit and hen of the woods mushrooms ($29) from B&B Ristorante (a Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich venture). I was even given a lesson on how to gamble-thank you Gordon!  Thinking that Jen was finally going to land, I headed back to my hotel…and waited…and waited some more.

Jen finally arrived…at 4 am, long after I had gone to bed after a series of failed flights, seat upgrades, and hotel check in issues, only to be woken up by me and a bottle of whiskey at noon. Poor gal was beat, but when in Vegas, you rally. We headed back to the Expo, meeting vendors and tasting some of the highlights from the previous day, mapping out what we were going to do before dinner.

That night, we would have the most amazing dinner at Bazaar Meat, then hit the strip for some people watching and adventure. We ended up at the Mirage in a failed attempt to find lions and dolphins at Jen’s request, and while I am still solidly convinced they didn’t exist, we did manage to find Starlight Tattoo. Whether it was the magic of Vegas, the full belly, or the few cocktails we had getting my first tattoo (and subsequent first freak out about said first tattoo) sounded like an amazing idea. We both created our designs-a bumblebee for me, and tiny mushrooms for Jen. All my fear had been for nothing-Tony Firmino, my amazing artist, walked me  through what would happen, what could hurt and how to relax (breathe) and 90 minutes later, just after midnight, my first tattoo was complete!  We ventured on with the intent of heading home when we found Toby Keith’s country bar. I happily drug Jen in to sing along to songs she sweetly tolerates for me, provided I picked up some of the tab. We would end up at one more club on the way home, dancing and chatting up strangers before hitting an wall of exhaustion and heading back to our quirky rooms for the night.

My last day was spent relaxing, and enjoying as much time as I could without any responsibility and lack of toddler feet in my back. We spent time at Umami Burger for last cocktails and snacks, before we hit the slots. I chose an Elvira themed slot, which ended up paying out $170 and with that we wrapped up our time with a hug and another shot before I hopped in a Lyft and headed to the airport.

I got home just after midnight, amazed at all the adventures I had, the memories I created and the food I had eaten and smiled happily at my sleeping baby girl who was so happy to snuggle me as she fell asleep in my arms.  I can’t think of a better way to have wrapped up that trip.

Here’s the recap in pictures!

What’s your favorite memory of Vegas?


Eating Las Vegas: Bazaar Meat

There are few times in my food career where I have been so full and so happy that I didn’t know what to do. Dear reader, I have been looking back at my Vegas trip and one of the best meals of my life with a mix of awe and wondering if it all happened. While I’ll write more on the trip as a whole, I wanted to take time out to write about my experience eating Las Vegas at Bazaar Meats.

Walking down the graffiti art decorated halls into the cavernous dining room, you’re transported to another world. Knives and art appear mixed with beautiful cuts of meat while the smells of fire and meat tell you that you’re in the right place for a relaxing night of eating. You’re greeted warmly and quickly brought to your seat. There were multiple dining areas, with seating quite well spaced out, so you feel like you’re able to have your own conversations, but still people and food watch.

Jen and I knew early on we planned to go big for this meal, said goodbye to any sort of a budget, and knew we wanted to try as many things as possible. We quickly opted for two of the tasting menus, with a small wine pairing and the Chateaubriand. When we said we wanted to go big, we weren’t kidding. After all, this was our first girls trip in over 4 years and a combined three children between the two of us. We welcomed and relished in the amazing care and attention from the staff.

Course after course of beautiful food came out, each served with more flair and attention to presentation than the last. When your meal starts with cotton candy encased foie gras, moves immediately to jamon iberico de bellota with a spoonful of caviar topped with gold leaf, you know you’re in for a gastronomic adventure.  We had made our way through just over half of the 22 courses when then the Chateaubriand arrived. This gorgeous tenderloin was served with the most lovely truffle jus and decadent buttered potato puree (with extra butter, of course). The Chateaubriand was cooked perfectly and each tender bite melted lovingly in our mouths. Jen and I giggled with pure gluttonous glee with every bite until we just couldn’t eat any more. We nibbled and sipped our way through everything for over 2 hours.

What did we sip?  We started out with the Raventos i Blanc, Blanc de Nit Rose’, followed by a Pazo Senorans Albarino and ended with the Leviathan red blend (not my favorite wine).

What were the highlights? You really couldn’t go wrong with the tasting menu, especially as Chef Raymond’s team sent out a few extra dishes for us to try. The cotton candy encased foie gras was fun and a nice spin on a childhood treat; the steak tartar was buttery and flavorful; the Morcilla with uni was an unexpectedly perfect pairing-the richness of the blood sausage paired with the saltiness and creaminess of the uni made my heart happy. The suckling pig was presented whole and then sent back cut up, the skin crispy and golden giving gently to the warm, slightly fatty flesh.  This was not a meal for the weak!

What were the lows? I would have enjoyed a proper pre-planned wine pairing, especially as the Leviathan red wasn’t the best choice for some of the heartier items. The Delmonico, while wonderful and cheesy felt like overkill with the buttered potato puree.

What was the total?  $808 for the meal and wine, before tip. Would we do it again? Yes, yes, a million times yes.

A special thank you to Chef Raymond Pitts for all the wonderful dishes and the chat in the kitchen, as well as heartfelt thank you to the staff for the outstanding service, attention to detail, and answering all of my questions. Now, for the pictures! You can hover your mouse over each item to see what it is.

salad with suckling pig

We wanted a special meal, and Bazaar Meat did not disappoint! For more information, you can check out their website or make reservations here.

Are you ready to go?  What is the best place you’ve eaten that I should visit next?
Yours in full belly happiness,

Winter Remedies: Fire Cider

I don’t know about where you are dear reader, but here in Seattle flu season has been rough! You combine normal winter germs, an abundance of flu germs, and add in having a little one in preschool this year, you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Luckily, I also have a recipe to help combat germs, clear out the stuffiness and best part of it all? It’s tasty!  Meet one of my favorite winter remedies: Fire cider!

This little gem is savory, tangy, spicy and all around wonderful. It’s easy to make, stores for a year, and is the gift that keeps on giving. Added benefit? It’s AMAZING in Bloody Mary’s, so you can’t go wrong! Ready to get started?

fire cider

Fire Cider
1 quart canning jar
1 large bulb garlic, peeled
1.5 large onions, peeled
1 large hand of ginger, rough outer layer removed
2 large jalapeno peppers, do not remove seeds or membrane
1 TB whole peppercorn
1 TB powdered turmeric
1/2 TB dried oregano
1/2 TB dried rosemary
Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar – I use Bragg’s.

When you’re shopping for ingredients, fresh and organic is always best and be sure to wash them prior to chopping. I opted to use dried turmeric, oregano and rosemary as I had a ton of it on hand, but you can use whatever you have.

Wash your canning jar and boil in hot water to sterilize it (10 minutes is fine) and let cool while you chop.

Chop all of your ingredients into small pieces so that you have a lot of surface area. The idea behind this is that you’re going to increase the nutrients that steep into your vinegar, making a stronger, more flavorful final product.

Add all of the chopped up ingredients to your cooled mason jar and top with vinegar. It should be well packed, but not too tightly; you want your ingredients to move around a little. Add a lid and sit back and wait.  You’ll let this bad boy steep for 2-4 weeks, shaking it gently every day or two. You can let it go longer, but I hate waiting.

Strain all of that goodness with cheese cloth over a sterilized bowl and wring out as much liquid as you’re able to get from the pulp. Pour the strained liquid into a sterilized pop-top bottle and you’re good to go! You can add 2-3 TB honey at this point to sweeten it up, or leave as is.

I drink 1-2 TB a day when I start to feel sick, or if I’ve been around sick people; and 4 TB (1 TB every few hours) a day when sick. As it’s spicy and tart, I don’t drink it on an empty stomach.

If adding to your Bloody Mary mix, use 1/2 to a full shot glass worth which will spice it up nicely.

Next batch, I think I’ll add nettles for its benefits on inflammation and allergies.

As always, with any change or addition to your diet, or using herbal remedies, consult a doctor before trying anything out.

What are your go to remedies to stave off germs?
Yours in herbal goodness,


And then there were more!

If you’ve followed this blog long enough, you know one of my dreams is to have a big plot of land with a farm. That is still a work in progress, and will likely be for some time, so we have been making due with  city critters. We have chickens, which are amazing, but they are totally a gateway animal! After years of trying to find the right space and justify getting rabbits, my dream came true!  Enter: Hazel and Fresa (Strawberry). We adopted them from a local family whose daughter was too allergic to them to keep them. Rabbits woman and bunnies hungry bunny bunnies eating cute bunny chicken and bunny nature bunny bunny and bunny baby

We were told that they were both boys and were just shy of a year old. We played with them daily, snuggling them and feeding them treats. Izzy would squeal with joy to see Hazel greet her each morning and afternoon in anticipation of treats. We were feeling amazing about our decision to have two bunnies. Forward to 10 days after we brought them home-I came out to find this:

baby bunny

and then this:

more bunny babies

8 babies in all, in three spots. I was floored. While I was ready for two bunnies, I hadn’t planned on what to do with 10 total. I quickly posted to Facebook, looking for advice from friends who had been raising rabbits for years. In addition to laughter, I received good advice to let momma do her thing and to keep an eye on everyone. They would be fine and if not, I could either let nature run its’ course, or intervene and bring to a vet or find a donor momma (yes, that’s apparently a thing!).

I checked on them constantly the first few days, convinced that something would go wrong. After a week, I found that one had died, and we would eventually lose two more. The rest grew quickly, one more than the other, and one runt continued to thrive (we have hand fed him to help him keep up with the siblings). They quickly left their nest, venturing to the rest of their hutch, nibbling on the greens we give, or chewing on the timothy hay we lay daily, or jumping over to mom for a quick nurse. As you’ll see, one of these guys clearly had nursing down and was a big boy!

growing bunnies baby meet momma hand feeding bunny

Izzy bunny

We are smitten with them in all their furry cuteness. At some point, we’ll raise rabbits for meat, but this group won’t be for that. We’ll adopt out the babies, and then see how things go in the future. For now, Izzy and I are enjoying watching them grow and play.

People have asked what is next. For now, these guys and our chickens are all we have time, space and energy for; plus all these guys love to eat my crops, so I think I am full up on critters for now.

What would you love to have on your farm, or yard?

Yours in fuzzy cuteness,

On the road to Feast Portland

I’m heading to Portland, y’all and I couldn’t be happier. 4 days solo, eating and drinking my way through Feast Portland, and visiting with friends. I can’t think of a better way to spend some hard-earned time off. I’ve been waiting for feast for months and can’t wait to drive down to Portland to enjoy all it has to offer. Not sure what Feast is?  Oh, dear reader…you’re in for a treat!

Imagine a place where you can eat and drink amazing treats prepared expertly with passion for days on end, selecting events that appeal to you.  Whether it’s classes on wine pairing, or cooking salmon perfectly, and even cooking competitions, Feast has you covered.  You have to prepare early, tickets to the events sell out quickly and are well worth the light price tag!

I know you’re curious! What will I be doing, and what should you do next time you’re in Portland? Read on!

First, off I’ll be staying in an Air BnB, close to downtown, so I don’t miss a thing. For less than a hotel, I have a full house with a kitchen and a yard to relax and entertain fellow foodies. The idea of having a true home away from home is perfect. I also get to have my car, so I don’t have to stay locked in to one area if I don’t want to (but Lyft and Uber accounts on the ready should I be drinking). I’ll be flying solo, and the idea of sleeping in a king bed without a toddler’s feet in my back sounds amazing. Mom’s, are you feeling me on this one??  Let Feast be your next get away!  Since Thursday is my most open day, I’ll be hitting Powell’s Books to grab a few new reads before chatting with friends over dinner. I’ll likely call it an early night, reading in front of the fireplace.

Friday, I’ll start my day over at Gracie’s at Hotel DeLuxe for a quick breakfast, and spend a few hours exploring downtown without an agenda. What I love about Portland, is that you’re close to so much, and it’s a pedestrian friendly city. Each block has a treasure and a new shop to explore.

I’ll be attending a few events, focusing on the Grand Tastings on Friday and Saturday, where I’ll be fawning over cheeses from Rogue Creamery, sipping amazing brews from one of my favorite’s Base Camp Brewing, and even sampling some wines from Andrew Will and others. I’m ready to chat with familiar chefs and to taste their exciting offerings, but also so excited find some new favorites. Feast is like that, you can meander through tasting as you go with this event, not having to stick to one thing!

When I am not at the Grand Tastings, I’ll be hitting various happy hours and even attending one of the Drink Tank events-witnessing chefs, distillers and brewers pair off for challenges and tastings? Yes, please!

Sunday will also have me stopping by the Brunch Village, hosted by Whole Foods Market. I’m hoping for a French 75 combo with gin from Aria Portland Dry Gin and champagne from Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, which would be a wonderful addition to any brunch.

So many suggestions and so many stops to make as part of Feast. Get your tickets, get a place to stay and enjoy all that feast has to offer. Need more reasons to attend Feast? Check out their Instagram feed for delicious inspiration and motivation to come join me!

If you’re attending Feast Portland, what are you most excited for?

~Yours in culinary delights~





Make, Mend, GO!

This week I am turning Make, Mend, Grow into Make, Mend, GO!  I spent 10 days on the road with the family driving through Yellowstone, as well as taking side trips into Montana, Idaho, and other areas of Wyoming. We took our time driving to explore, do some critter watching and to eat some amazing food. Kiddo and I went on hikes, swam, and relaxed and it was a great trip over all. My car, which I bought two months ago, now has over 4,000 miles and I think it’s safe to say it’s officially broken in.

The weather was all over the map-sunny and warm, raining, hailing, sleeting and snowing often changing within 15 minutes. I am always in awe of Wyoming and Montana, how big the sky is and how far you can see, which makes for impressive storm watching opportunities. While we were waiting for Old Faithful, we watched a storm roll in-the weather changed from sunny and warm, to a light rain, and to snow, all in the short time we were there. I was quickly reminded that layers were my pal on this trip!

This wasn’t my first time to Yellowstone. Last time we were here, I was newly pregnant with Izzy and was just starting navigate the hunger, tiredness and uncertainty of what I should and shouldn’t eat on vacation.  It will always hold a special place in my heart, as it was one of our last big trips as a couple and just the two of us, but this time was by far the most special trip I have had to Yellowstone. Being able to see the park through Izzy’s eyes was amazing. We walked slowly on the boardwalks, looking at every crack and fissure in the ground around the pools, every bison had to be named, and every tiny chipmunk had to be talked to. We had to see if the snow in Yellowstone was different than the snow in Seattle (yes), and if the puddles were more puddley and jump-worthy than at home (jury is still out). Having her with me, being forced to slow down and be more mindful made me appreciate the trip so much more. I noticed so many tiny details and had more conversations about why things were the way they were, turning the trip into an educational opportunity since she was so fascinated. This kiddo, she makes every adventure so much more exciting.

I can’t wait to go back and see the park through her eyes as she gets older, but for now, I’ll cherish this trip and all of the memories we had! What is YOUR favorite part of Yellowstone?

Bison Yellowstone National Park Bison herd Yellowstone National Park Isabella Yellowstone National Park Elk Yellowstone National Park bull elk Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park chipmunk waterfall thermal pool, steam, Yellowstone National Park Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park IMG_1491 IMG_1493 bear bear wolf wolf Grand Tetons Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park Geyser Basin Yellowstone National Park hiking Yellowstone National Park chipmunk bear homestead barn

A glimpse

airforce dad

Driving home from work Wednesday, I caught a glimpse of a man who I swore was my dad. Same salt and peppered wild and coarse hair, unkempt and growing out from his usual military haircut covered slightly by a fisherman’s cap.  The same clothes too big, on a small and too-tired frame, wild-eyed and wandering with a slightly medicated walk. I slowed and came to a stop, staring. It wasn’t my dad, of course. He’s been gone 4 years later this month, but for a few seconds I found myself resisting the urge to park and run after this stranger, just to make sure.

That’s the thing with loss, especially tragic loss, years later it still doesn’t seem real.

My light turned green, and the Dad lookalike moved on, swallowed by a sea of people, heading home from their jobs or to wherever they were headed. I thought about it on the way home-was it really that he looked like my dad? Sure, there were similarities, or was it that haunting stare of mental illness that shadowed his face that made me think of my Dad? As much as I try to keep the good memories in front, the sad and dark ones creep in. Memories of pain and terror in my Dad’s face, his muscles strained, as he tried to make sense of the flashbacks that were haunting him as I tried to help him understand that it wasn’t real, that he was in his hallway at home and that I was there. Feelings of complete helplessness as he spiraled further down into mental illness, unwilling to accept help, until the very end.

I kept thinking about that man; did he have someone who was there for him? Was there a daughter like me, tired but wanting to try, expecting to finally get that call that he was gone, after so many attempts at ending his life? How was she holding up?

4 years and logically I get that he ‘s gone, but emotionally it’s still hard to accept. This time of year is hard for me. I dive into work, keep myself busy with friends and events, but it still creeps in and hits me like a punch to the gut: he’s gone and he won’t be back. I get in a good cry or two and move on, the waves of sadness coming and going. There’s nothing that makes the feelings go away, but I did learn the hard way that shoving the anger, the grief, the sorrow deep down is a recipe for disaster, coming out in the form of reflux, sleepless nights, and the inevitable crying. So I sit with my grief and think about my Dad, cherishing the good times, reconciling the bad and waiting for this to pass.  Here’s to the memory of my Dad, gone too soon; and that man, whoever he was, and him getting to where he was going.

How do you deal with grief?
Yours in love


P.S. Totally confused? You can read about that time in my life here in the lower posts on that page.

Taste Washington – A recap

I. Love. Wine. If you follow my Instagram, or have ever come to my house, you’ll see that I do not have a shortage of wine.  It’s a nice way to wind down a long day, it’s always perfect for a celebration, or a girls night.

Recently I attended the Taste Washington event held yearly here in Seattle and hopefully you did too! Wait, you didn’t?!  Let me show you quickly why you need to plan ahead and attend this event next year.
Taste Washingtoncured meat platedessertstacopearl and stone wine coB. Leighton

That’s just a quick glance, too! Taste Washington 2016 was held at the Century Link Event Center March 31st through April 3rd, and boasted 225 wineries, 65 restaurants, and various food businesses. Each row was filled with groups sampling their best products. It was a perfect opportunity to stroll through the event, learn about the wineries, meet the vintners, chefs, and taste to your hearts content. I saw old favorites, and found some new wines as well. So what did I love?

Let’s start with the old favorites:

Bartholomew Winery

In addition to being an all around nice guy, Bart Fawbush makes some wines that are solid too. Located in the old Rainier Brewery Building, the husband and wife team have an intimate tasting room where you can enjoy a tasting or a glass (or two). I love their Carmenere and the Aligote, and they even make a lovely Rose. The prices range from $17-$38 a bottle, and you won’t be disappointed.

Cave B

Cave B will always have a place in my heart, not just for the wine, but for the resort. I stayed there years ago, pre-baby and had one of the best vacations in recent memory. Located in the Columbia Valley, the winery boasts a wonderful restaurant, amazing grounds, and stellar Cliffehouses. The wine is wonderful as well, particularly the Semillion and the Barbera. The wines, like the grounds can be pricey, but I love them so it’s worth it. You’re looking at between $18-$50 a bottle.


This is one of those wineries that has been like coming back to an old friend-reliable, fun, not dramatic. I had a chance to try their Sauvage Savignon Blanc and instantly thought of pairing it with seafood. So light and fun. Prices here will run you $25-$60.


Oh, Kestral, you remind me of so many trips to Leavenworth with friends, and nights out on Capitol Hill. I love their port, their Signature Series Petit Verdot, and their Raptor House Syrah. It’s easy drinking backyard barbecue wine, that you can pick up at any local grocer, and the price point is also easy: $13-$60, with most coming in at or under $20 a bottle.

I could go on about old favorites (Owen Roe, Scarborough, Nota Bene), but how about something new?

Charles Smith

A recent addition to Georgetown, over by Sisters and Brothers restaurant, is a funky tasting room offering multiple wines. My favorites were the B. Leighton Petit Verdot and the Gratitude. The Secco Pinot Noir Rose was fun and fizzy, and the prices range from an easy to swallow $12 to a totally worth it $45. Some of the labels (Kung Fu Girl, for example), can also be found at your local grocer, but why not stop by their Jet City tasting room?

Pearl and Stone

Last up was a new (to me) winery that was one of the last of the night. Passionate about their wines, and excited to share, the Pearl and Stone team were a joy to hang out with. I tasted their Unemployment Beach (a rose) and Wandering (a tasty red blend). Both were nice easy to drink wines that would pair perfectly with friends and a fire on the beach. The prices were easy too, coming in at $18-$30.

There you have it! I highly recommend attending next year and making a weekend of it. You won’t be disappointed.

What Washington wineries are your favorite?

~Yours in wine~




On holding back

This is one of those posts that don’t really fall into a category, it’s about me and my thoughts and giving you, dear reader, a little glimpse into mommahood over here at MMG.

True story: I hold back. I don’t always jump in with both feet. Sure, I make some shit show decisions, but lately…there’s a block. There’s a wall, and seriously, I don’t even know what to do with it. I don’t even know if I would have realized it, had it not been pointed out to me by a friend lately and there was even a perfect descriptor: Tentative.

And it’s true. And weird. When the hell did I become shy; so unsure? When did I start holding back and stop doing what I know makes me happy? When did I start second guessing things in my personal life?

Work? Pfft. I’ve got that. I’m pretty darned confident in my decisions and requests. You need something researched, handled, coordinated? I’m on it. Process or program changes? I’m your gal. That kinda stuff is my strong suit-it’s not about me which really makes it easier. It’s about getting things done and improvements made. It has a start and end. The crazy and flux doesn’t get to me as I know I can handle or control it and happily, the buck often stops with me.

I clock out, and it’s like a light switches off. Call it decision fatigue, being tired from being “on”, or whatever, but I just start questioning everything. I leave work, come home and the house that was just clean is destroyed (as in toddler level warfare went on while I was out). Being a mom is tough, and stressful and I second guess everything and worry that I am not doing enough (who doesn’t!?). Kiddo has been in a phase (ummm…since birth) where I am her favorite person, which means constant snuggles, games, dancing, and at the risk of sounding like a kid myself-constant touching. She’s an awesome side kick, but holy crap, when can a gal pee by herself??

You combine all that with very little “me” time and shit yes, I am tentative. At the end of the day, I have no energy left for decision making as I am in mom survival mode and I am tired.

So. Damn. Tired.

I’ll own it. I don’t need to volunteer for multiple organizations and blog in addition to being mom and corporate job lady. I don’t need to pack my calendar full, but you know what? I do. That cocktail with friends? I am pretty sure that’s keeping me sane. The class I co-teach weekly? I can bring kiddo and she gets to play with other kids. Writing? I keep that around to get this all out of my head.

So where does that leave me? Well…I…huh. I have no idea, but something has to give. I’m starting to bring it back to the way I handle work: delegate, coping skills, and write it down to get it done.

I made the decision that I’m getting a maid-my spare time and sanity are worth the cost. I’m restocking my wine fridge, too.  Those things I want that make me happy, or provide a reprieve from the crazy? Add those to list as I’m doing those too. Is this going to make me less tentative? Maybe not in all scenarios, but something has to give, and dammit. It can’t be me again.

So bring on the wine, the momma’s night out, date nights…it’s time for a change. Oh, and new maid? I’m sorry in advance.

How do you find balance when you have to be “on” all the time?

~Yours in momma craziness~