Advent Calendar Brilliance!

Wine and cheese!

Wine Advent Calendar from Lidl

This year we were lucky enough to snag one of these wine advent calendars from Lidl. They fly off the shelf just as soon as then become available. At around $60.00 for the box, we hoped for the best. So far, so good.

There are 24 mini wine bottles behind each snowflake!
Cheese Advent Calendar from Lidl

Also a Lidl best seller is the clever Ilchester cheese advent calendar and what better to go with wine? The cheese advent calendar (in the refrigerator section of course) costs around $14.00.

December 1st:

Tonight’s pairing was a mini bottle of Chardonnay (equal to one large glass or two small ones for sharing) and a lovely English sharp cheddar. I would really like to know more about this wine and the cheese because both were terrific and fabulous together! The wine was just as the mini label stated, buttery, pear, Meyer lemon and vanilla.

Cheers to twenty-three more days of wonderful surprises to come!

Happy Advent all!

Ten Beautiful Things Part 2

Flowers!
Hibiscus “bruise” in full bloom
A Nature Visitor!
Autumn Sunsets!
Hummingbirds!
Cheese!!!
Waterfalls!
photo by Katherine Slovak
Rainbows!
Freedom of Speech
Road Trips!

Finding beauty is not difficult, beauty is all around us. Noticing, and appreciating beauty when we discover it is the hard part.

Have a blessed and beautiful day!

Turkey Day Wine!

Looking for a great bottle to pair with the bird? Really anything goes, but for this very American meal, I like European wine best.

The traditional rich flavors of the Thanksgiving feast need a high acidity wine for balance. Try French, German, or Italian white wines or even lighter reds for a better pairing. This makes perfect sense if you think about the liberal use of butter and cream in French, German and Northern Italian food.

If you’re undecided, sparkling is an excellent choice and the bubbles will help aid with digestion.

We began the day with a Cremant De Bourgogne, or what I like to call affordable French champagne.

For more options, let me take you to the cellar!

German Riesling

German Riesling is fruity and often sweet but not always. Look for a dry variety if you prefer less sweetness. Riesling also has a little fizz, and is an excellent option for guests who are not big wine drinkers but like to have a glass on special occasions.

Pinot Grigio from Italy
Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand

In my house we serve the turkey with a sausage stuffing, so light reds, or rose also pair well.

Rose from the Loire Valley
Pinot Noir from France

If you are strictly a red wine drinker, I can’t think of a better meal to enjoy with Pinot Noir. I usually prefer rich reds like an Old Vine Zinfandel or a Merlot, just not today. The wine should not compete with the main event: turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin, or pecan pie, and all of the fixings.

Pecan Pie

Have a Happy Thanksgiving all, and I hope you are enjoying yours with family and friends this year!

Loki’s Feeling Low

Loki Pokey photo by Katherine Slovak

We suffered a major setback when shortly after joining our ranks, Loki showed signs of major dysentery. The veterinarian gave us a plethora of things to try like medication, special food, and probiotics. He’s hanging in there, but it’s been a rough few weeks. I’m hopeful all of this will work.

Loki Cat Napping

He’s still playful, and sweet, and has even convinced Licorice that he’s not so bad.

Double Cat Nap
Licorice & Loki helping us unpack from a trip. Photo by Katherine Slovak
Kitty Video Games photo by Katherine Slovak

We’re hoping and praying it’s not serious, but it’s hard to know. The vet does not seem entirely sure what’s going on with the little guy which is frustrating.

Cozy Cat

You would never know he’s suffering by looking at him, right? Hoping for a better week this week!

Happy #Caturday All!

Gotta Love Google!

Funny story…well only if you’re not me!

Soooo in the early 2000’s I left my executive position in manufacturing firm to raise a family.

I had this 401(k) money to rollover. I did some research and I asked my husband for some advice. I decide to invest some of the money in mutual funds and I picked a few stocks that I thought were interesting…this was 2004…and I picked Starbucks and Google.

At the time I had a fair amount to invest. I wasn’t planning to invest all of the money in one stock, but I planned on investing about $5,000 in one of these stocks.

My husband said “this Google seems very risky, Starbucks seems to more reliable”.

I bought $5,000 worth of Starbucks shares. It was under $20 per share and is valued today at $113 per share.

Starbucks did okay. The stock split. The earnings were good. Solid. Reliable. My husband was right about that.

Now let’s just pretend I put the money in Google. In 2004 it was valued at $85 a a share. The stock had just gone public. Google is currently valued at around $3k per share, then there are stock splits and incremental gains to consider. But just doing basic math, I would have purchased about 59 shares. Those shares would be worth around $177K today.

I guess the moral of this post is…listen to your gut! If there is one thing that has always been true and has never steered me wrong it is this.

Now maybe being wealthy is simply not my fate. I’ve had many a ‘brush’ with wealth and fame only to land smack on the other side broke and without recognition. So I think this is true. It simply was not in the cards for me.

But Google has brought me some karmic gifts. I write these wine posts and miraculously Google loves my top ten wine posts!

Google Buttery Chardonnay under $20 and my post from 2014 is still well ranked.

In the Google search “Buttery Chardonnay under $15” the same post pops up!

My new post “Buttery Chardonnay for under $10” is making Google headway.

In these Google searches my ‘top ten’ wine posts are often top ten in the search engine so that’s something isn’t it? Who needs $180K, right???

Finally, I was getting ready to update my wine bottle photos from the 2014 Buttery Chardonnay under $20 post because the photo current photo quality with the new phones is far superior, but Google images searches show these photos are ranking so now I don’t dare!

How do you measure success? This remains the eternal question. Whatsoever your definition, I hope you find it!

Loki’s First Week

Loki’s 1st day!

We adopted a new kitty last week named Loki. He’s about six months old, very sweet, and pretty fearless. He was nervous at first. I think he was missing his family who are moving, and sadly could not bring Loki with them.

Loki’s 1st day!
Loki’s hiding out!

Loki brought so many toys, and tunnels and fun things to play with that we hoped Licorice would soon accept his company.

Loki: “Anyone want to play?”
Licorice: “Wait, what? Who’s the kid? And why wasn’t I asked first?”

It was pretty tense at first. There was a considerable amount of growling, and hissing, and some paws were thrown.

To make matters worse, Loki just seemed to instinctively know where all of Licorice’s favorite spots were, and he sat in all of them. The nerve!

Loki in sunbeam central the purrfect napping spot! Photo by Katherine Slovak

Then we had a few hopeful close encounters.

Loki and Licorice sharing the bed at a safe distance. Photo by Katherine Slovak

After a few days the growling and hissing subsided and gave way to some interesting cat noises, like squeaks and chirps.

Loki was exhausted from all the fuss. It’s hard making friends! Photo by Katherine Slovak

As a growing boy, Loki gets very excited about food! He growls when he eats and he likes to eat Licorice’s leftover food.

Luckily, Licorice is not a big eater. But when she catches him at her food dish, she pops Loki with her paw just in case he forgets who’s the boss around here.

Queen of the clean laundry!

Licorice has been the solo queen for several years, ever since her companion, Lily, passed away. As I recall, Lily was not thrilled when we brought Licorice home either but she adapted.

This was Lily. She was a sweet girl who sadly had thyroid disease.

Maybe Licorice remembers this experience, it’s hard to know. Luckily, Loki has decided he’s fine with Licorice being the queen.

I can’t believe it’s been a week already! I wonder what that feels like in cat time?

Sharing a sunbeam! Photo by Katherine Slovak

I think it all comes down sharing a sunbeam, because what’s better than that?

Time will tell, but I believe they are very close to playing together, and becoming best friends.

Happy #Caturday!

Qupe White Wine Review

Enjoying a pleasant Saturday lunch at Vino Bistro

Qupe Chardonnay

Last Saturday my husband and I discovered a new place which is always fun. New to us, I mean. It’s called Vino Bistro which is located in Leesburg, VA. If you live in Northern Virginia you should check it out. It has extensive outdoor space complete with a fire pit and festive lighting. If you are far, far away from Virginia, I highly recommend finding a wine bar or vineyard near you for a short weekend escape. You deserve it!

Vino Bistro in Leesburg, VA https://www.vinobistroonline.com

It was extremely quiet for a Saturday, partly due to the residual effects of COVID19 which have left this fairly new shopping center with several empty retail spaces. We have also had some recent bomb threats in Northern Virginia targeted at shopping and strip malls in the area.

So what were we doing out? My post COVID attitude is that life is for living, and that means not living in fear. We had the whole place to ourselves and felt like celebrities! When my number is called, I hope I have a glass of wine in my hand!

The Bar at Vino Bistro

I was particularly impressed by this expansive wall of wine!

Wow! A wall of wine!

Our server recommend a few wines based on our taste and we selected Qupe (pronounced kyoo-pay) 2018 from Santa Barbara County at $45.00. I did some quick research and you can purchase this wine at various wine wholesale or retail outlets for between $18.00 and $28.00.

It has a pale, golden color, and is light, with medium body, and a clean finish. I tasted oak, lemon, almond, and crisp green apple. It paired well with the fabulous cheese plate we ordered.

Cheese plate from Vino Bistro: Sweet Hill, Camembert, La Caseria Carpenado, Point Reyes, Bleu Cheese, and Grafton, Clothbound
Cheers!

If you try Qupe please share your thoughts. Happy weekend all and I hope you live life fearlessly!