Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wine fun in Washington!

Since moving to Washington State I've learned that I live in the second largest wine making state in the country!  Those stats don't lie, there are wineries EVERYWHERE! It's amazing.  Even though I moved here before RoB, I checked out a few wineries on my own (which can be awkward, depending on the place, for example, Hamilton was great about it).  But I did get to try a LOT of local wineries during the spring barrel weekend. Some of my coworkers decided to get a limo for the occasion (for one day) and for other two days of the weekend a couple of us hard-core tasters checked out some others.

Spring Barrel is a special weekend in the spring when wineries let you try some of the samples straight form the barrels (as well as regular tasting, obviously).  Many of the wineries are on a passport that we bought.  These magical passes meant we didn't have to pay tasting fees for any wineries in the passport (not that it's a big deal since most wineries will refund a tasting fee if you buy a bottle) and if you get stamps from at least six wineries you get a commemorative glass!

For the best recap I will link to all of my yelp reviews for the wineries we went to!  We started at Airfield (even though it was bigger, still fun!), then went to Thurston Wolfe (great), and Gamache (meh).  These three were all walking distance from each other and there were a lot more within walking, but they weren't on our passports so we saved them for another time.  Next we headed north to Barrel Springs (a bit off the beaten path but beautiful and very friendly) and we ate lunch there because it was so nice!  Last stop in Prosser was Kestral (a bit snooty for my taste).  The limo made a final stop in Benton City at Chandler Reach before taking us back the starting point which was conveniently enough in the parking lot for our final winery of the day, Thomas O'Neil.

That was only day one of the weekend, the next day we went to Kitzke (a bit uppity), Goose Ridge (great wine, big estate), and Kiona (love!).  Then, on day three we went to JBell Cellars, Two Mountain, Wineglass Cellars, and had dinner out in Yakima.  We could decide which place to go since there were a couple listed in our wine passport so we just had appetizers at two places, 5 North and Second Street Grill.

I'm glad I got to taste so much over the weekend, but in general these special weekends aren't the best to go tasting.  For most people they are just out to drink, not out to try some good wine and learn about it. In general I wouldn't say the weekend passport is worth buying since almost all wineries refund your tasting fee with a purchase and I tend to purchase wine almost everywhere I taste.  I also prefer to go when the wineries can pay more attention to each individual person.  I have already checked out many other wineries and hope to share some of my favorites soon!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


First, lets check in with my monthly blog goals:
  • Reviewed 2 (here and here) of my unreviewed 12 books (I need to step up)
  • Sent 1 review to Jagged Edge (I need to contribute more)
  • Completed 1 link up with (Characters)
  • Still need to complete my personal posts (I have 3 of them)
And now onto some fun things.  This is a weekly link-up with siddathornton, and I thought it would add some fun to this post!  I am currently:

reading: The Maze Runner and loving it, I'm only about a quarter of the way through but I have a hard time putting it down every night.
writing: Lots of yelp reviews, those will be included in an upcoming post!
listening: To the upcoming soccer match, GO USA!!
thinking: About all the fun things I will do when my parents come to visit.
smelling: The dinner RoB is cooking, I come home to deliciousness every day (I don't know what I'll do when he gets a job)
wishing: I was better at volleyball (we played in a pick up game last night and I was one of the worst out there)
hoping: The weather will be perfect for the weekend...
wearing: Boots and a raincoat. I was told it didn't rain in the desert but someone lied to me.
loving: That I got to play volleyball last night and soccer tonight!
wanting: The USA to beat Honduras tonight.
needing: A library card
feeling: Cold, the rain plus the strong AC at work has kept me chilled all day :(
clicking: A new way to read my blogs, since google reader will be going away very soon, I haven't found one that I love yet...any suggestions?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Review - Hera, Queen of Gods by TD Thomas

Why did I read this book?
I was contacted by the author for a copy of this book if I would provide my review in return.   This was  another one I read on my kindle!  The topic sounded interesting and I thought a fantasy book involving Greek gods might be kinda cool.

First Lines:
"Life is about one thing and one thing only. Power." (Thomas 1)

What is it about?
A group of Gods has come to earth and taken over the bodies of some high schoolers to rescue the missing fates.  As soon as they come to earth they are under attack by many different dark creatures.  They also meet up with some witches and a couple mortals who become very helpful in their journey.

Why you should read it!
Well, I'm going to back pedal a bit here, I didn't really like this book.  I don't know a lot about mythology and that might've made me more interested (given me a back story) but most of the other reason I didn't like it don't have to do with the topic.  As soon as the story started they were under attack and it just kept coming, one bad creature after another.  I felt like this didn't give enough time for a story to develop, they were always running and fighting.  I also felt like there was no regard for the lives of anyone they were dealing with.  The human bodies they took over were disposable, everyone who helped them wanted nothing more than to die for them, I find this unbelievable and very unrelatable.  The love story was also very weak and half hearted I think part of the problem were that the characters had no depth.  This book didn't work for me and I can't honestly recommend it to anyone.

Reviews from around the blogosphere:
Zigzag Timeline
City of Books

Did you read this book and review it on your blog? Let me know in the comments and I'll add your link!

Sunday, June 16, 2013 Characters

One of my goals for this month was linking up more with sweet green tangerine and her weekly link up,

The topic for this week is one that I’m having a hard time relating to (ha!).  It’s about characters that you relate well to.  I was hoping something would come to me quickly and that instantly I would know the most recent character I read that I really related to, but nothing came to mind.  I do remember many characters I don’t relate to: Amy from Gone Girl, Tris from Divergent, Bella from Twilight, Katniss from the Hunger Games, Annajane from Spring Fever, just to name a few. 
So then I started thinking that maybe I seek out books where I don’t relate to the character.  Aren’t books suppose to give you an escape? Take you to others worlds?  Maybe that’s more just my taste.  I don’t think I’d want to read about book about something similar to my life, and I think that translates to not wanting to  read about characters that are similar to me or that I can relate to.  One other thought I had was that I actually find ways in my mind to not relate myself to characters.  Whatever it is, I can think of a character in recent memory that I really relate to and I don't see that as being a bad thing!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Audio book review - Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

Why did I read this book?
I picked up the audio book at the library to help along my 45 minute commute while I was still in Kentucky.  Meg Cabot is usually associated with young adult books (she wrote the Princess Diaries!) so to see one by her in the "grown-up" section caught my attention, and the cover was cute so I grabbed it!

First Lines:
"I can't believe this. I can't believe I don't remember what he looks like!" (Cabot 2)

What is it about?
Lizzie is heading off to England to meet with her long distance boyfriend.  As soon as she shows up everything starts going wrong.  Her boyfriend lives with his parents, he isn't as cute as she remembers, and he's in some money trouble.  Realizing she's made a huge mistake traveling all the way to England and not wanting to spend the money to go home early she boards a train to France to meet up with a friends who is working at a french chateau for the summer.  But trouble seems to follow her there and she keeps opening her mouth at the wrong time.

Why you should read it!
This is serious chick-lit, and I loved every minute of it.  I listened to it on audio and the reader was great!  As a person, Lizzie got on my nerves but her adventurous spirit was very fun.  One thing I didn't expect from this book were the vivid settings.  When she gets to the french chateau and vineyard I really felt like I wanted to be there too!  It made for a nice change in your usual setting for a chick-lit novel.  This book was an easy listen and I would recommend it to anyone who likes this genre or just wants a fun summer read!

Reviews from around the blogosphere:

The Book Lady's Blog
The Book Scoop
Quinn's Book Nook

Did you read this book and review it on your blog? Let me know in the comments and I'll add your link!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

When did June get here?

So I tried to do the blog everyday in May challenge and I think I blogged exactly two days...oops.  Well moving forward let's hope June will be better!  I have some good blog and personal goals for this month and I figure if I lay them out here maybe I can hold myself accountable for them.

Let's start with blog goals.  As of today I have 12 books that I've read that are yet to be reviewed, to deal with this back log all I need to do is three a week, I hope I can do that! I'm reviewing over at Jagged Edge again (and they are still looking for other reviewers if any book lovers aout there are interested in helping), so if I can get at least half of those over to them that would help out over there.  I would also like to do at least one link-up with the book chat (she does one a week, so I should be able to catch onto one of those).  Also, I have a couple personal posts I'd like to get up before June is over.  At least one on local wine and at least two on our road trip across the country.

This is what our apartment is looking like these days...

As for some personal goals, I want to be totally moved into our new apartment by the end of June.  I would like to start practicing my flute more (in hopes of a fall audition), I'll start with a goal of 2 times a week and move to 3 times a week halfway through the month.  Last personal goal is to be ready fo a 5k in July, so that means running more, ugh.  I have a 5k training plan (that I adapted to my schedule from Hal Higdon's) and realistically hope to stick to 5 out of the 7 days each week.

With all these goals I hope to do a weekly wrap up on the blog (and maybe take some other ideas from these sunday currently posts on siddathorton) to keep myself on track!