fashion. wine. design... and my life.

Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

A rose by any other name…

In Uncategorized on December 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm

 “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet..”

Well known words taken from William Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet.  Words that speak to the concept of a name… words, that when interpreted, declare that the importance – what matters – is what something is, rather than what it is called.  Naturally I agree.  Haha – and had you been at my house last night, sippin’ on libations, you would have appreciated  the “is” rather than what it was called!

Nothing over the top… actually, my preferred low-key type of gathering.  Just a lively group of friends, a well-seasoned pot of chili, buttered cornbread, some “get the mood right” music and, of course… wine.

Yes sir – don’t forget the wine!  Over the course of the night, we managed to taste and critique 4 bottles.  One of which was an absolute rose.  Haha – and this rose, by any other name, would definitely smell as sweet!

The name:  booty.

Seriously, that’s what we thought it was called.  Each of us looking at the bottle, reading about this wine that stems from the Walla Walla Valley in Washington state and laughing hysterically because we think it’s called booty.  What do you think happened next?  Do I dare say?  Hmmm… well… as we sipped, we just played around with the word.  Bet you can’t even imagine how many jokes one can create with the word booty… trust me, we all had fun exercising our comedic talents!  “Mmmmm, I sure do like this booty.”  “Hey, can you come over here and give me some booty?”  “Next time you come over, make sure you bring me some more booty.”  “Humph, ain’t nothing like a glass full of booty!”  On and on… so much so that all of that laughing brought on a headache!  Grown folks, acting like children, eh?!

After we settled down, I was off to get my mac – gotta research this… because no one in their right mind is going to market booty in a bottle!  Think about it… would you rather have a glass of booty, or beauty?  You got it.  Our wine, Buty, is pronounced:  beauty.  The key when pronouncing – make sure you put extra emphasis on the “youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu” and you won’t look like a ninny when requesting it at your favorite restaurant or wine bar.

Thanks to www.butywinery.com and a savvy friend’s dissection of a red circle on the label, with a sculptural depiction of the letters b-u-t-y… we were saved.  Saved from our silliness!  But the truth… even when we assumed the pronunciation to be booty, the taste was just as sweet – just as delicious – as when we realized our mistake.

Call it what you may — Buty is a true beauty!  This blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon was rich, full-bodied, had a stop you in your tracks bouquet… and as my girl (who I deem to have an amazingly diverse palate) stated last night, no sticky-teethed tannins to get in the way.  Here is the real truth — we were all sad to see the bottle of booty, I mean Buty empty.  IT WAS THAT GOOD!

The debut of Buty on our table made for it very difficult for the other wines to stand out.  Haha – poor other bottles.  Buty was the super star!  The other wines… they were enjoyable, yet when compared to Buty, we all found them to be meager in their performance.  I was probably alone with this one, but the Ripasso Valpolicella was a very close second — that spicy black cherry treat immediately took me back to my summer visit to Italy.  If you enjoy anise – a licorice/clove flavor, this is definitely for you!

The other two – a Coppala Malbec and Maipe Malbac – not enough body and way too oaky.  Simply put — blah!

As always, I’m making it easy for you.  Wanna try them?  Just follow the links:

http://www.empirewine.com/wine/allegrini-corte-giara-ripasso-valpolicella-2009/

http://www.internetwines.com/gz2010515.html

http://www.allendalewine.com/?iVar=1134

And don’t forget to share your reviews as well!

Cheers!

-k

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BRAVO Breville! A juicers debut…

In Uncategorized on December 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm

My first attempt at juicing and I think I deserve a standing ovation!

Elated that what I had imaged to be easy, actually was.  Why I have waited this long to begin juicing is beyond me – but now that the gears have been set in motion, this chick is imagining all of the combinations that can be concocted!  Probably should introduce my leading lady, eh?  None other than the Juice Fountain Compact by Breville.

Why her?  Perhaps fate… especially when there are so many choices – thank goodness for the web and user reviews.  A multitude of 4 star and 5 star ratings sealed the deal and just after one use, I would soundly concur!  In my life, gadgets have to be easy.  No lengthy instruction manuals or complicated set-up.  Just easy.  I’d be lying if I said that I thoroughly read my Breville manual.  Only a quick flip of the pages.  Haha – I prefer illustrated instructions.  Way to go Breville for keeping my attention.  Your step-by-step pictures kept it short and sweet… already a plus in my book!

Now the big test… the family.

Ultimately, they were the driving force behind this purchase.  The goal:  I desire fresher and healthier juice alternatives.  I want to boost our energy levels while providing our bodies with beneficial vitamins… and, since we are juice drinkers with preconditioned taste-buds, I want the juices to be delicious with the hopes that they (my children… 13 & 11) enjoy juicing and continue juicing well into adulthood.

In the spirit of the holiday, what better day than Christmas than to give my family the gift of a healthy drink.  My pick, a fusion of several recipes that I discovered online… I call it Kisha’s Green Juice.

Here is how it went down:

My ingredients gathered.  Side note – because of my allergies, all vegetables are organic and purchased at my local Whole Foods store.  4 leaves of kale.  2 celery stalks.  2 carrots.  1 cucumber.  1 green apple.  1 red apple.  1 pear.  1 thumb-sized peeled piece of ginger.

Rinse and slice cucumber, apples and pear.

Add to juicer.  What a delightful noise it makes.  The juicer sounds like this… “zzzzzzzzzzzz”  “zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz” “zzzzzzzzzzzzz-zzzz-zzzz-zzzzzzzzzz”  The types of ingredients added alter the rhythm.  Kinda like juice music, eh?!

What is produced is a peculiar yet attractive green frothy drink – minus the pulp.

This batch of ingredients yielded about 4 cups.

I invited the family to come and grab a cup — unsure of the potential reaction, I gave the kids much less added their excess to my cup and my husband’s cup.

We toasted and sipped.

Haha – my son took his sip, gagged, swiftly  put his cup down on the counter, shook his head and walked away.  My daughter, who was processing her brother’s reaction, cautiously sipped her juice.  A mini/microscopic sip I should add… you guessed it, she was unimpressed.  Well, I am blaming their reaction on their age for my husband and I enjoyed AND finished our drink.  But I’ll add, he said next time I should reduce the amount of kale.  Nonetheless, I’m taking it all in and proclaiming success on the first try!

Kisha’s Green Juice evolved with each sip — or perhaps I was analyzing it too much — with each sip, trying to distinguish “what” I tasted.  Not too shabby and with a few tweaks, it will be presented to the kids again – I’m thinking more pear and ginger?

As quick as it was to make, the Breville was just as easy to clean.  A twist, dismantle a few parts, scrape and clean with the brush and whaaa-laaaah… you’re done!

Hmmmmm… wonder if I could find something creative to do with the left-over pulp?

At any rate… looks like there is fun to be had!  On the prowl for juicing recipes.  Especially with beets…. yummy!

Wish me well and keep an eye out — trust me, I will be sharing my discoveries!

Oh… and check out my juicer at  www.breville.com

Cheers!

-k

Closet Combat… will I ever reign the victor?

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2011 at 9:04 pm

As it stands, I am waving the white flag.

This battle – better yet, war – will it ever cease?  I am weary… completely exhausted from the fight.  My arsenal depleted.  All creative tactics and maneuvers outsmarted.  Damn you closet!  When will you let me win?  All I want… SERIOUSLY, all I want is a little organization!

Embarrassed to admit this… but my closet is out of control.

Not because I have an abundance of garments and accessories, but because I have yet to master a system of organization that suits my needs, style and personality.  Sigh… it’s a shame, eh?!  Sad and humorous, right?  Haha – me – a self-proclaimed fashionista, I have absolutely no fashion sense when it comes to maintaining my compact 72″ x 60″  walk-in closet.  Hands in the air… I need some help!

Don’t get me wrong, I have had scattered moments of triumph.  Very short stints, usually achieved by soliciting (or bribing) a partner in crime.  As a matter of fact, a few months before my sister moved to Alaska, she helped.  I know when she sees this current picture of my closet, she is going to shake her head in disgust.  Faint traces of our… ok, her work remain.  Hey… I try.

Come on now… I am a designer.  I possess the basic fundamentals and smarts necessary to accomplish this task.  My strategy, my closet 1, 2, 3’s?  I group like items together.  Within the groups, I categorize by color.  And  for aesthetics, you know, a nice visual effect (mainly to pacify the “Mommy Dearest” in me) I only use wooden hangers.  Apparently, my system isn’t working.  Since I am tired of the piles of shoes on the floor, the stacks of bunched sweaters, jeans in toppled piles and accessories leaking from every shelf… I’m thinking that it is about time for a revamp – maybe even add the 4, 5 and 6?

Hmmm,  I don’t mind being a charity case.  I am open for volunteers with outstanding organizational skills.  Hey now, those that assist never walk away empty-handed.  Trust me, you will be gifted.  In my closet, there  is always something that I am willing to part with… you know the adage about one man’s trash?!

Honestly, I think I need professional help.  Something like AA for closest junkies?  “Hi, my name is Kisha and I’m a closet-holic.”  Or maybe my cutie pie and one of Oprah’s favorites, Nate Berkus?  Perhaps he will swoop in, give my disheveled closet a swift karate chop, wave his magic wand and “poof”… closet utopia!  Pffftt… a pipe dream, eh?  Surely no one wants to tackle this monster… I know I don’t.

So what’s a girl to do?

Probably a more realistic approach:  me, just sucking it up.  I need to roll up my sleeves, pull myself up by the bootstraps and simply jump in.  Or… call and partner with the real pros!  This is where I rely on my BFF – Google!  Do you know how many results the words “closet organization” yield?  Enough to make your head spin!  Easy Closets, Closet factory, Closets by Design, Closet Maid, California Closets, The Container Store… AHHHHHHHHHH!  HELP!

Ok… ok… ok.  I can do this.  Let’s put it in perspective – I mean I have delivered two babies – this closet thing should be a breeze.  I am going to mend my wounds, polish off my battle armor and go back in with a new plan of attack.  Resolve.  Determination.  Game plan:  rally the troops and find some help.  Victory in numbers, eh?  Let the research commence, for one of those website will be utilized!  From my initial research, many offer a free consultation — whew, that’s a start in the right direction!

Surely, someone out there in my blog world must have a similar war story.  Closet combat tales must be shared.

Well… wish me luck as I take on the beast.

In battle position and taking a very deep breath…

I’m going in.  I’m going in!

Cheers!

-k

True or false… Redheads stop traffic?

In Uncategorized on December 22, 2011 at 12:16 am

Indulge me for a moment, for anything is possible.

Redheads… stopping traffic?

The thought is especially entertaining, considering that I sport red hair.  Not even a secret – I have absolutely no shame in stating that the intensity of my color is 100% compliments of a box!  Sadly, the remnants of my natural, childhood reddish-brown color have long faded.  Besides a high-school experiment with that awful/should be banned Sun-In product and a very short jaunt with do-it-yourself blonde highlighting kits, red has been “my thing” for nearly a decade.  I think it has turned into an addiction.  Hmmmm, something about that color…

Red tresses.  Of course you don’t really stop traffic, but it definitely allows you to stand out in a crowd!  Who can miss that fire radiating from your head?  Not to mention, if you get separated from your party, the hair color serves as a built-in tracking system… without a doubt, you will be quickly located (haha – truth here; this has happened to me countless times, including a huge crowd that swallowed me outside of the Coliseum in Rome.  Like I said… something about that color.)

Bottom line, I like it.  Especially since I spend money to capture this color, I better like it, eh?  For as long as I have been coloring, I feel as if I should wear an honorary “ask for help” badge, as to identify me to those who are curious about coloring their hair — especially going red.  Lots of successes and probably more fails, I have used almost everything… brands for both ethnic and non-ethnic hair, rinses, semi-permanent and permanent color.  Once again, I get sucked in by labels, marketing and images — jeeeze, if the model on the box is attractive and the name of the color is gripping – I am buying it!

Note to self; just remember to avoid the box that turned your hair, as my daughter dubbed it, “Bratz doll” raspberry — ewwwwww!

One day into to my latest coloring, Feria by L’Oreal, color called Ruby Rush, I am reminded of why I am so fond of this particular  product.  It is easy to apply.  Gloves that fit securely… come on fellow colorers, the gloves are a big deal.  The box comes with an ample amount of “after the color” conditioner and, most important, results that are beyond striking!  Their patented multi-faceted, 3X highlights color is never a disappointment.  Yes, I sound like an infomercial!  Well… in that case, let me just say that if red isn’t your thing, Feria is available in 37 colors — a shade for everyone.  I am pretty certain that blondes and brunettes alike will be just as pleased as I!

For me, red hair has become one of my favorite forms of expression.  I find the color to be glamorous, sultry, mysterious, ..even fun and animated.  The color pairs well with my design profession.  Aside from assisting clients with color schemes for their home…do you know how much fun it is to select my daily wardrobe based on my hair color?  Haha – could that be the underlying reason as to why green has always been my favorite color?

Soooo…

Since the verdict is still out on stopping traffic, I’ll share my three quick tips that will stop you from making mistakes with your color:

1.  If you are going to color your hair, make the color last longer by using a shampoo and conditioner suited for that color.  Reds fade so quickly – with this color especially – it is imperative that you use products that don’t encourage the color to be stripped.  (Pssst… I think John Frieda products are on point!)

2.  Haha – I have fallen guilty of this one more times than I care to admit.  If you are going to color… stick with it.  Roots are just ugly!

Finally…

3.  Study your complexion and undertones.  Color according to what enhances not detracts from your natural beauty.

Easy, eh?

For those that color their hair, I know you share my sentiments regarding your color of choice.  I’m thinking that maybe… just maybe it is possible and true.  Not just reds, but shades of all color stop traffic.

Better believe that I’m working on it!

Cheers!

-k

The truth is… we all have a story.

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I know that I certainly have one.

Each detail unique and specific to me, eh?  My story… as would be your story.  So imagine this:  4 individuals, establishing an unconventional book club with one goal in mind – to write your story.

9 months ago, it happened to me.  I was one of the 4, a motivated and committed participant, ready… eager… longing to release the story I held within.  Haha – probably better stated as anxious!  I was antsy… just like a child waiting for Santa.

The first meeting was held at my home.  As I scurried about, trying to ensure that all was set… the doorbell rings.  Dish towel in hand, I sprint downstairs to open the door.  A poised, attractive, salt and peppered man greets me.  Notepad in one hand, the other hand extended, he confidently says, “Hi I’m James Hackely.  I’m here for the book club.”

The rest, as they say is history…  well, let’s just say history in the making.

Out of the 4 participants, Mr. Hackley would be considered the most accomplished.  He joined our group further along in the process.  His story practically documented… an unedited manuscript awaiting the finishing touches.  So while the 3 of us were beginning our race, actually doing the preliminary warm-up stretches, Mr. Hackley was nearing the finish line.

Initially, it would seem that all but Mr. Hackley would benefit from this book club.  With his apt as a writer and thousands of words already written, we definitely deemed him as our resident expert.  Our resource.  Our wordsmith!  Trust me, we solicited his advice.  But, as time passed, each member, including Mr. Hackley found wealth in the union.  An eclectic creative exchange, an alliance and, as Mr. Hackley would say… a fellowship.  The time spent together was fruitful.  The late night discussions, the tweaking of our concepts and written words… even the countless laughs shared while dining were not in vain.  Each of us – the 4 members of this extraordinary book club – are celebrating successes.

Fast forward to last night…

Our determined and hard-working Mr. Hackley is now several months along on his journey as being a published author.  As a token of our admiration and appreciation, we gathered to celebrate him.  Nothing extravagant… like Mr. Hackley, a modest and humble event to acknowledge his accomplishments.  A book club book signing, eh?  Exactly!  An intimate affair with hors d’oeuvres, mango-lemonade, wine, and a loving-tattered box filled with his precious cargo… his book; Body, Mind & Spirit:  The Awakening.  A cozy and memorable event filled with family and friends.  A night dedicated to introducing a new audience to Mr. Hackely while offering him a forum… a stage to acquaint you with his words — his story.

My turn…

Our book club gave birth to many epiphanies.  Some shifted gears with their literary direction and others found confirmation that their initial direction was precise.  For me, I gave birth to a blog.  Haha – my book… still in the making.  But for now, it is my turn to pay homage to a friend.  Without a formal prelude, I encourage you to discover for yourself, something that I most definitely know to be true.  Mr. James Hackley has a magnetic spirit, an engaging presence and a message that will benefit and enlighten us all.  Throughout the book club we were offered snippets of his book… last night, I received my signed copy.

As I begin my journey and open the pages of Body, Mind & Spirit:  The Awakening,  I would love for you to join.  His website, jameshackley.com will make all of the appropriate introductions and enable you to order a copy for yourself.  At the minimum, if this post brings him another reader – I am pleased.

Respecting your spirit Mr. Hackley, for I know that you refrain from drinking – – but today, I raise my glass to you.  As you continue along your journey, know that I am a fan.  May you have an abundance of happiness and continued success!

Cheers!

-k

From me, to you – GHOST PINES.

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2011 at 7:25 am

Pinus sabiniana.

Hope you have better luck than I, for I struggled with the pronunciation.

Second try – with some assistance from my favorite site, Wikipedia – Pinus sabiniana, the scientific botanical name for a sparsely needled tree native to California woodlands, that reaches heights from an impressive 35 feet to a stunning 105 feet.  Pinus sabiniana has several common names that are offer a much easier pronunciation – gray pine, foothill pine, digger pine and my favorite, ghost pine.

Striking, eh?  I would think… especially since tall, towering trees generally do capture our attention.  Am I alone?  Haven’t you ever stood or laid down under a tree and stared up into the branches?  Gazing… getting lost in thought?  Surely you have – it’s the perfect spot. I find it hypnotizing.  An ideal location for relaxing, daydreaming and achieving what comedian Martin Lawrence calls “woosah” when trying to find that inner peace!

Backtracking now… thinking about a busy Saturday at work.  The day consisted of me scurrying from one designer to the next, helping with clients, closing presentations and even covering the front desk for the receptionist’s lunch break.  Whew… at the end of the day, exhausted!  What’s a girl to do?  Haha – stop by the wine shop on the way home from work!

That night, in the mood for a red.  Could have grabbed an ol’ fav but a tall, slender bottle with an eerie label caught my eye.  Barren branches on two tall trees, one in the foreground, the other slightly fading in the distance (I was even attracted to the placement of the trees, intentionally off-center)… the haze of the sky, the darkness of the hills, the crisp font and the name… GHOST PINES.  After reading the descriptive notes on bottle, I was a sure and easy sale!

Naturally, I am eager to uncork.  Even more of an adrenaline rush… my husband, who is wedded to his imported beer and cognac, decided to join me for a glass.  So, here I go… uncork, pour through my aerator (blog on that forthcoming), inhale and sip.  Woooooooosaaaaaah!  And not just me – my husband as well!  Kudos to Michael Eddy, the winemaker and visionary behind this innovative blend — GHOST PINES Cabernet Sauvignon steps outside of the box and is absolutely marvelous!

www.ghostpines.com is your official resource, but let me just break it down for you…

Simply put, Micheal Eddy decided to be unconventional and integrate grapes grown in different winegrowing regions (his term – appellations) to create a diverse and notable blend.  GHOST PINES is the name of a historic vineyard where they find the grapes for their Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot – the website also gives a nod to the ghost pine tree, listing the unique characteristics of the tree to pay homage its namesake.

My take…

GHOST PINES Cabernet Sauvignon is overflowing with substance and bite.  I prefer full-bodied reds and this one doesn’t let me down.  Filled with noticeable flavors of black fruit, nuts and pepper… this wine leaves your mouth craving — better yet, YEARNING for the next sip!  It is a meaty, chewy, rich treat that entices every taste-bud on your tongue — basically, the wine is packed with tang!

Needlees to say, we finished the bottle.  Haha – believe it or not, he was drinking it faster than I!  We both found the wine to be amazing – and with each sip, we continued to be satisfied and surprised.  The taste of GHOST PINES just kept getting better and better.  Most definitely the perfect ending to such a hectic day.

Your turn to try… and at a price point of $15, this one will not even brake the bank!

Pssst… since it is the season of giving, this wine make the best hostess gift – especially if you are visiting me!  I’m just saying…

Cheers!

-k

S-W-A-double G-E-R…

In Uncategorized on December 3, 2011 at 7:27 am

Confused?

Spell it out… S-W-A-G-G-E-R.

Swagger.  What a word, eh?  Unintentionally, this word seems to make a daily appearance in my conversations and my internal thoughts.  A few in my circle often debate the term – attempting to establish a definition and clarify examples of the “who” and “what” that encompasses swagger.  Subconsciously, I even find myself being a critic – evaluating individuals and their actions… secretly grading them and tucking away my rankings of who does and does not possess that enigmatic swagger.  An innocent activity that may appear strange to you, but it does manage to pacify my curiosity.  Ultimately, I am on the prowl for examples.  The term is incredibly subjective and my mission is to simply keep discovering… “what is swagger?”

Haha… in his latest song “Otis”, rapper Jay-Z says that he invented it.  His proof — a clever flaunt of a lyric from a song written some 10 years prior.  Brazen?  Perhaps… but even with knowing that he speaks figuratively, his wit and confidence makes me inclined to believe his claim.  The makings of swagger, eh?

By definition, swagger means to walk or behave in a very confident and typically arrogant or aggressive way.  It is also defined as a confident gait, boastful or conceited expression.  For me, I have sifted the definition and use the word when referring to men and women who have presence and display confidence… actually, they spew confidence… and be it an oxymoron, it is a subtle spew.

Trust me… I know.  The word is definitely debatable.  Many, many… MANY glasses of wine have been consumed discussing its implementation.  It makes for a fantastic “dinner with friends” conversation and when you start to dissect what others characterize as swagger, the word just becomes even more fascinating.

Hmmm… am I obsessed?  Yes.  Yes I am.  I am intrigued by the word and those that I deem to have swagger.  Blame it on me being a people watcher – I easily become engrossed in watching how people present themselves – with their appearance, actions and especially their vocabulary.  Surely, I am not alone?  I think it is simple human nature to watch others… observe, take notes and discreetly evaluate our findings.

So…

What is it about swagger?  Is it just me or do you too find it attractive?  What about sexy?  Does having swagger make one more appealing, interesting… more magnetic?  Is swagger energy?  Is it attitude, posture, stride, or merely attention to detail?  Is swagger innate or learned?  I’m thinking that it is a combination of all of the above… and much much more!

In my opinion, swagger is a brilliant  7 letter word that is used as a calibrator.  A gauge for allure and sometimes a gauge for tempt.  I would say that you are fibbing if you say that you don’t desire a bit of swag.  Haha – to quote my brother, “it is a beautiful thang!”  Being honest, we all know that the unfortunate truth is not everyone has swagger — but  for those that do possess it, a covert exhibition is just as enticing as the expected overt display.

If I didn’t think it would bore you, I’d list some of the swagger criteria on my gauge.  Better believe that I have an index – one that is filled with staples but always open for tweaks and additions.  Swagger makes me raise an eyebrow.  I love it when women and men are in tune with themselves… when it radiates — you know, they get it!  Back to one of my favorite terms… it’s just spicy!!!!

On a keeping it real note – my criteria is not solely superficial… there is something to be said for a man or woman who is genuinely kind, has an unselfish heart and a strong love of family and friends — now that too is swagger, eh?!

Leaving you with this, because I have no qualm sharing  – and who knows, you just might be wondering…

The answer is yes.

When critiquing myself, I side with Jay-Z…

I might not have invented it… but I do believe that I definitely have swagger!  (wink wink)

Do tell… what about you?

Cheers!

-k