Friday, July 30, 2010

My favorite (White) Wines

While I was on vacation last week I was able to attend the Wine Festival at Watkins Glenn.  I was so excited for this event because NY (Western) wines are my absolute favorites.  Whenever we go home (via car) we always pick up 6-10 bottles of NY wine to stock up.  I've also had the pleasure of visiting some of these wineries as well.  If you ever have a chance to go on a wine tour, I would definitely recommend it.  All of the wineries on Seneca Lake are off the same road.  When we did it, we visited 10 wineries in 1 day.  It was so much fun.  Here's a few of my favorites:

Fox Run Vineyards

Riesling (~$9.99)  No listings on their site but this is one of my favorites!

Semi-Dry Riesling ($14.99)
Dry-Riesling ($15.99)
Tony's White ($8.99)
Tony's Red ($8.99)

I also like most of the wines from the 'Redneck' Family here as well.

* All Images from respective wineries unless noted

All prices are approximate prices because it depends on where you purchase them.  Sometimes it can be different if you're in the winery, the liquor store or at the wine festival.

As you can tell I am definitely a Riesling girl.  They are my favorites.  When I was in school and started drinking I couldn't stand wine.  I thought it was all really dry and oaky/smokey.  Luckily my school had a Wines of the World and Food and Wine Pairings course that I was able to take my senior year (filler credits!) and I thoroughly enjoyed them.  I learned a lot about wine and what I liked and tasted many different types and sometimes still go back to my sheets/books from class for recommendations.  I am no wine snob that's for sure, but I do enjoy a good bottle of wine with dinner or a hanging out with friends.

The problem with the wines above is that they are all only sold in NY.  Shipping them here is expensive and we only drive up 1 maybe 2 times a year.  We fill up when we can but sometimes, the car is full after Christmas and we can't fit much more.  I've had to learn to adapt to what is sold generally and I've found a few that I like.

All below from Total Wine

These are my go-to wines.  There are 2 or 3 of each in my wine fridge at any given time.  I'm working on trying out new kinds all the time.  Anyone else a sweet wine person?  Like a certain kind that's just not available to you?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Name that TV Show Theme/80's-90s-00s Song

While I was on vacation I was hanging out with some new groups of people that I'd never hung out with before.  It was a rather large group of people and sometimes hard to get everyone involved and chatting, but we did come up with a great idea.  I have no idea how I came up with the idea, but I started searching YouTube for TV Theme Songs and found a bunch of medley's that someone had put together.  It was so much fun and we kept finding more after they were finished.  Here's some that we listened to:

Yes we broke out in the Fresh Prince Theme song after we were done and sang the whole thing!

I struggled much more when we got to the song portion:

It was so much fun and everyone got involved.  Thanks to YouTube for the medley's and iPhones for YouTube app we all had a blast.

Have you ever done anything like this?  How many songs did you get right?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Monday!

{1}  I had an awesome 10-day vacation!  It was so nice to get to hang out with my favorite people!  Thanks for sticking with me while I was out!

{2}  Now it's time to go into panic mode for the Luau shower that is less than 2 weeks away, it crept up on me quickly.  Any suggestions for decorating or food?

{3}  Playing name that 80's/90's/00's - TV Show Themes/Music is a great way to get everyone involved when you have a new 'group' of people together.  Everyone knows at least 1!  Thank you YouTube for pre-made mixes! 

{4}  I'd like to start making my first (baby) quilt for my cousin who is 12 weeks along with her first baby.  I'm really nervous, don't know which pattern to use for a beginner.

{5}  After this weekend's heat wave, I'm looking forward to September!  20 degrees cooler would be amazing.  I'd like to walk more than 2 steps outside without sweating.

{6}  I'm in need of a new blog design but I can't quite find any images that I like.  I'm obsessed with the teal/red combination right now!

Hope you all had a great week/weekend!  Head on over to lowercase letters and join in!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Happy Friday!

Hopefully by the time you are reading this, I will be (or on my way to be) sitting by the water and soaking up some sun and having fun.  I plan to spend most of my week off and on the water, and enjoying every minute of it, whether it be the lake, the pool or the river.

I will take a vacation from the blog next week and will return the week after!  I'm sure I will have plenty of stories to share!  I can't wait to spend time with family and friends!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

From a small town

I moved from a small town in Upstate NY to the South.  Recently I found out that our local newspaper was finally online (not sure what the hold-up has been over the last few years).  Reading through it, I started to laugh and it got me to to thinking. 

You know you're from a small town . . . . . . 
  • when the local newspaper has a Police Blotter in it (never seen one of these in the papers here - do you know what one is?  I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't)
  • you know who half the people are in the Police Blotter (or the Obituaries section) (Is it bad that I even check to see if I know people?)
  • you go to the grocery store or Wally with your mom while you're home and it's at least an hour trip because you or she will know at least 3 people in the store while you're there.
  • everything is a 5 minute drive.  Church is at 8, we leave at 7:55 and make it on time, party at 1, we leave at 12:55.  You can get everywhere in 5 minutes!
  • every class reunion is held the same week in the summer, when the local festival is going on in town, to make it easier for people to come.
  • the mall is a minimum of an hour drive.  I'm not kidding you, to get to a mall my mom has to drive an hour, though she usually just adds on another hour and goes to the better mall (2 hours away).
  • when the big news in town is that McDonald's is closing down for renovations and won't open for like 6-months.
To add to that a few more that are specific to my hometown, but I'm sure I'm not the only one:
  • There's a place for the Amish to park their horse and buggies at Wally.
  • You regularly yield for the horse and buggies while driving there.
  • Your teachers know you and all of your siblings/cousins (and sometimes call you their name)
  • When you say you're from New York, everyone immediately starts talking about NYC.
  • When you say no, you mean Upstate or Northern New York they say, oh so like Poughkeepsie/Albany.  Umm, no, there's like a whole state up there, trust me it's big.  NYC isn't the whole state, it's just that little part in the bottom right.

Moving to a 'big city' was a real eye-opener for me (and KC).  I love where we live now but I do miss my hometown some days.  A small town has it's perks, but mostly I miss my family that lives there, they're what makes it fun and a great place to visit.  Anyone else from a small town?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dream Job

While I was away at a Wedding in KC's family this weekend, I was admiring the photographer and realized how much fun she was having.  So I started thinking, if money, location and education were not a factor, what would your dream job be.  (I should say that this is nothing against my current job, which I do like, and I am so very happy to have a job!)

Only problem was, I couldn't come up with just one, so here are my top dream jobs (in no particular order).

  1. Photographer - I would love to be able to capture people, their feelings and their memories.  There are so many different things you can see in a photograph it's amazing.   When I read photography blogs I get goosebumps at the gorgeousness of their photos.
  2. Event/Wedding Planner - As I was trying to blog last night a friend was over at our place printing her envelopes for her wedding invitations (Outer, Inner & RSVP) and it made me think how much I enjoyed planning my own wedding.  With the Luau Shower not too far away, I'm working on planning out the food, decorations and everything that is going to happen.  I have a knack for paying attention to detail and keeping things organized (which is to my advantage for the most part).  I think this job would have endless possibilities and would never get boring.
  3. Invitation/Stationary Designer - I don't think that I have shown my invitations around here, but I absolutely loved them.  They set the tone for the wedding and everything was carried throughout the whole thing (remember that attention to detail I mentioned).  As my friend has been planning her own wedding I've been helping her to tell her designer what she wanted and how she could explain it to him, most of the time I just wanted to do it so she could send him an example.
  4. Website/Blog Designer - When I started my blog (on WordPress) I wanted to badly to make it my own, I decided to move to blogger for a bit more flexibility.  For now I'll be hanging around blogger because it allows me to customize things a bit more than WordPress and I'm not sure I want to commit to my own maintenance, etc.  I do like playing around with the look and would love to be able to create templates for bloggers to use.  (I say that and my own blog is someone else's template :-) )
  5. Special Needs Children's Teacher - This is something that I've wanted to do since I was young.  I remember helping out in the classrooms at school and being a 'lunch buddy' to a student once a week.  It was one of the most rewarding things I did in grade school.  I just wish I had stuck with it a bit more.

Looking back at my list, I'm surprised by a few things.  They are not related to my current job (like at all).  Many of them are 'art/design' oriented, did I mention that I can't draw a lick and my whole house is brown.

What I'm not surprised about is that, none of them are 'fame-oriented'.  While I would love to be a famous actress/athlete/singer, being the center of attention would get to me quickly.

I'm sure I'm not the only on that day-dream about other jobs!  What are your thoughts?

**  This picture makes me laugh because when things are crazy at work, a co-worker and I will just say to one another "I love my job".  Gets us through the day! **

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dear (Clothing) Stores

Dear (Clothing) Stores,

Hi, I'm Lauren, and I just wanted to let you know that I do like shopping at your stores.  To tell you a little bit about me, I don't pay full price and I'm a lot little picky.  I am not really a shorts person, so I tend to gravitate towards wearing capris for the summer.  Now to put it in a nutshell, I have big legs.  I work out and try to stay as fit as possible, but my legs don't seem to understand.

As I've shopped your stores recently, my calves seemed to have become a problem with the latest styles.  I have been able to find one pair of capris all summer that would allow my calves to fit in them.  The rest?  Well they're the skinny crops and I can't even get them over my calves enough to pull them all the way up.  And I'll tell you what, anyone with calves can attest that, not only does this style not fit, but it's not particularly flattering on our body leg type.  I can understand that this is what's in fashion right now.  I know that Skinny jeans don't work for me, but that's fine, I wear flare/boot-cut instead.  I also know that if I need to go up a size, then I will, it kinda sucks, but I get it.  Well I don't need to go up a size, I just need you to make the calves of your pants a little bit bigger.  It too hot to wear pants, and I'm not the biggest fan of my legs in shorts, so I need to have capri pants.  It would be nice if you carried some capris that a 'big-calved' girl like me can purchase so I'm not sweltering in jeans all summer!

In closing, I would appreciate if in the future you considered that I would like to wear capris too!

Big-calved girl that wants to wear capris

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dear (Shoe-Shopping) Stores

Dear (Shoe-Shopping) Stores,

We haven't formally met, but I'm Lauren.  To tell you a little bit about me, I don't pay full price and I'm a lot little picky.  I am a visual person and would prefer to go try things on in the store before I purchase them.  To speed up the process, I sometimes peruse your website to see what you have and if there's something that I might like.  Now, I am rather appreciative that you actually have a website that shares your merchandise, so please don't get my wrong there.

I have been perusing for a while today and came across some shoes which I love and MUST HAVE.  I was excited because my sister and I, we're going shopping tonight!  Then I see it, two ugly little words:  "Online Only".   But, but, but no, I want need them, I have to have them!!

I already went through this once with a different chain and I visited 3 of their stores (that's right 3 of them) to find the ever elusive sandals that were the object of my affection, but they didn't have a single pair, anywhere.  I loved these babies, but they were no where to be found.  I haven't gone back there since.

I'm not sure you understand what it's like for a flip-flop only kinda girl like me to finally find a pair of sandals that I want.  I know I'm picky, but I can't help it.  Can you please just help a girl out just one time.  I mean really, what did I ever do to you.

Please don't stop posting items to your site, but I would appreciate if you could have like an "Online Only" section so that I don't have to get my hopes up for my shopping trip (like Old Navy does).

shoe/online shopper at your store

Thursday, July 8, 2010

NYC Recap

Remember when I said I went to NYC, but didn't recap it yet, yeah I'm a little behind.  But it's a good day to play catch-up.  I thought I would do a recap.  It's definitely long and there are tons of photos (you've been warned)!

We got up Friday morning and headed to the Today show.  I was really excited but was rather disappointed when we got there.  I thought that we would be able to see the hosts, but we only saw Matt once.  Apparently everyone else was in different cities for the episode.  James Taylor and Carole King sang 2 songs for the summer concert series.


 Following the show, we stopped by Rockefellar center which is just across the street.  We went in the NBC store and they have some great shirts in there that we thought were funny.

 We headed down 5th Avenue to the Apple store and the FAO Schwartz where we enjoyed many of the displays that they had in there.  I could spend hours in there looking at everything.

(This guy is made out of M&M's!)

We then headed to Central Park.  We walked around and took lots of pictures and took everything in.  There were a couple of different areas where we saw people outside taping for something, not sure what.   We would walk for a while and then find a bench and sit down and just enjoy the weather and the surroundings.  It was warm but quite comfortable for the most part.

We got some great pictures of the NY skyline

Unfortunately this is the only picture I got of the 2 of us and it's really dark.  I haven't been able to lighten it up and make it look nice.  My photo skills need work!

 After we left Central Park, we stopped by St. Patrick's Cathedral, which reminds me a lot of the Cathedral where KC and I got married.  It was gorgeous!

 Afterwards we headed back to our hotel for a bit of a rest, but not before a walk through Times Square.  Our hotel was a block and a half away, so we walked through Times Square a lot!

After a short rest it was time to head to the ballpark.  Yankees and Mets were playing at 7:05!!   The new stadium was great, but the Yanks lost.  :-(  We decided to grab some dinner here  We did see some interesting fights in the outfield where we were sitting.  Of course they won when we weren't there.  Oh well, such is life.

After a fun-filled day we were exhausted and headed home to bed. 

We were tired from the night before (we got up early to go to the show too), so we slept in a little bit later than anticipated, but who cares, we were on vacation!

We started off the day with some pizza and watching some soccer at a place near Times Square.

We took a walk to the Macy's on 34th.  We visited every floor (but bought nothing).  It was fun and would be awesome to see when it's all decorated for Christmas I think.

Afterwards we started walking to the Chelsea market.  Checking out stores and places along the way.

We walked around the Chelsea Marketplace, checked out some of the stores and got a delicious Oreo cupcake!
(I love this picture of KC, cracks me up!)

After the Marketplace we headed down to the WTC site.

The financial district where everyone wanted their picture with the bull,

We walked by the Empire State building and the soccer player Jack Dempsey's bar.

Then we headed to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty.  We decided not go on a ferry ride though because we were meeting up with my cousin and her husband for dinner.

 We enjoyed dinner at a great sushi place called Amber Sushi in the Upper East side with my cousin and her husband.  We went down the street a little and sat at a nice little bar and had a few bars.  It was great to catch up with them.

We got up and headed to Times Square to wait in the TKTS line for tickets to a show.  I was hoping to see The Lion King but those tickets never go on sale, so we decided that there were plenty of others we wanted to see anyways.  I waited in line while KC went to the McDonalds to grab us a quick breakfast.  While he was inside and covered, I stood outside and go soaked by the rain shower that rolled through briefly.  We got tickets to see Rock of Ages. 

We wandered around Times Square some more, taking pictures.

Headed into the M&M store where we got some M&Ms.  Including the pretzel ones, which were awesome!

 Then we headed to the Toys R Us and walked around.  You'd think we were kids or something but the toy stores were so much fun to walk through.

 After the stores we headed to the show.  We saw Rock of Ages with Constantine, the guy from American Idol.  We had so much fun.  Unfortunately no pictures in the theatre, but it was a great stage.  They were walking down the aisles selling beer in the middle of the show.  Lots of 80's music and fake 'lighters' to wave in the air during some songs, but for a fun afternoon.  I would recommend it to anyone who goes.  We sat about 9 rows back for about $140 total give you an idea of the benefit of the TKTS booth, vs. regular price.

After the show we headed down the Intrepid and through the Hell's Kitchen district.  Once there we sat at a table and just enjoyed the weather and then River.  It was quite nice.

Afterwards, we walked back through Hells Kitchen and found a restaurant through the Yelp App called Becco.  It was a super cute little restaurant and we almost walked right by it.  It is definitely on my list of places to go to if/when we go back to NYC.  The food and the service was great!

We got up and packed our bags.  Checked out and dropped our bags at the concierge service.  We had a few hours before our flight (or so we thought) so we were going to go to Top of the Rock.  We sat in the park and enjoyed breakfast and figured out my mistake.  Then we headed to Top of the Rock and enjoyed it, it was really cool.  The view was fantastic!
Central Park

Empire State Building

Times Square

Statue of Liberty

All around the city!

 KC wanted to see the Brooklyn Bridge so we decided to head there and to the South Seaport area.  Unfortunately I had been planning for an afternoon in an airport/on the plane so I was wearing jeans and that was not comfortable for all the walking.  We wanted to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge but I knew that it was just too hot for me.  We walked around and checked out a few shops and the seaport as well.

After walking around we decided to go sit in one of the restaurants for a drink and a snack and to watch one of the World Cup games. 

We decided to head back to the hotel a little earlier then needed before our flight but at that point we were exhausted.  We made it to the hotel to get our bags and then went to the airport. 

For transportation around the city we either walked or hit up the Subway.  Once we finally found a map it was a breeze.  We were quite successful navigating the subway with only one mistake (we went in a stairwell for a train that went one way and we wanted to go the other).  It was easy to get from the airport to the hotel and back which I was very nervous about.  And if you have an iPhone, there's an App called HopStop that will help you get where ever you want to go, walking, subway or bus.

Besides my flight blunder, it was a great trip and we enjoyed every minute of it.  The summer is so busy for us that sometimes it feels like we don't spend much time just the two of us, so this was a good trip to start the summer off for us.