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Thursday was a big day for the Junior League of C’ville (JLC).  I started out the evening at our first new member interest event of the new League year.   I love meeting all the potential applicants!  Each year, I’m re-amazed at the smart, energetic women who are drawn to the JLC, and this year is no exception.

JLC13.618This is my favorite photo from the evening.  I had to borrow it from Facebook as most of  the photos I took had condensation on the lens.  The venue was a little warm; it was a very hot day and the AC was having trouble keeping up with all of us.

I’m on the right, with two board member-friends.  One of the things I love about the League is even when we’re hard at work, we usually manage to have fun!

I scooted out of that event early to make it to our first fundraiser of the year at Trump Winery’s Third Thursday Music Series.

(Yes, THAT Trump.  Mr. Trump bought the old Kluge Winery and this was my first visit since it became Trump.)

The tasting room is a lovely building with an incredible view.   From the first event of the night, I had to drive past Monticello and Ash Lawn-Highland (home of James Monroe, whom one local history buff insists held the original land grant for my property as well) to get to the winery.  I love living in history that people from around the world come to visit, but I don’t take it for granted.

I was soon sipping their incredible Sauvignon Blanc.  I confess… a bottle came home with me.  I didn’t know what I’d been handed, but when I described it to the winery employee as “clean and not too sweet” she nailed it – and granted me a taste to confirm.  (Their chardonnay isn’t bad either; I had a taste of that to rule it out, as those were the two whites they were serving by the glass.)

It was a little hot and humid for hanging out on the patio with friends, but we did it anyway.  I regret that I don’t have photos to share… or not.  Did I mention it was hot and humid?  We were all a little soggy and droopy, but it was great to chat with League members I didn’t know as well as I should!

JLCI did pause on my way home to take a photo.  I regret that I didn’t have my big, good camera with its zoom lens for this one.  The sunset was an incredible PANK.  You can see a hint of the pink in the middle of the photo, where the mountains meet the trees, but the intense colors got lost in transition.  It was a just about perfect evening to have to be two places at once, even with the sweat running down my back.

I wish the events hadn’t been on the same night so that “everyone” could have experienced both of them, but we fell into the Trump opportunity after the invitations had gone out for the interest event.   I kinda’ glossed over my thankfuls yesterday, but I am so very grateful for my past president friend who represented at Trump, and for the darlin’ Membership VP (far left, top photo) who not only represented  at the interest event so I was free to leave, but took photos… so the past president could stay at the winery and avoid my double-duty.

Confused?  Well…  said past president is doing a double placement this year.  She’s both past president and League historian, so she quickly agreed to stay at the winery if we’d take lots of photos for her at the other event.  We really have some devoted, dedicated leaders in the JLC, and I’m so glad they’re also friends.

What simple joys have you overlooked today?


Well, yesterday I told you what I’d done a week ago, so I guess I’m making progress given that today, I’m prepared to share what I did Saturday.

UntitledI was hoping to stop at a League member’s garden that was open for a special tour on our way to the Horton Pig Roast, but as is our norm on weekends, we were running late.  Luckily, some people get their acts together better than we do, and the Knight’s cousin poured me a glass of Freedom as soon as we arrived.

You can’t tell from the photo, despite my efforts of putting the wine glasses in the floor and using the white ‘fridge as a backdrop, but my glass (left) has PANK printing, and the Knight’s (right) has red.  Mine has a cat on it, which I want to ask Mrs. Horton about; I happen to know she is a dog lady, but I suppose she could like cats too…  The Knight’s features a Lincoln quote, with a nod to the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The wine, like many of Horton’s whites, is a little sweet and fruity.  I tried to get more information from their vintner, but ever the company man, he basically just recited what is written on the price sheet:

Freedom –  (Sweet Tropical Wine) – Fruity wine shows aromas and flavors of granny smith apples, peaches, and mangos. Serve chilled with hot spicy food.  Nickname: Porch wine

What’s funny is I am not big on peach or mango, but I *ADORE* this wine and bought several bottles, along with more of their sparkling Viognier, which might well be my favorite libation EVER.  (Nickname: Dom Virginion – need I  say more?!)  The Knight and the vintner know to send more of both my way every time the Knight works at the winery.


I am biased.   I don’t care whether you like sweet, fruity whites or not…  How can you NOT give a shout-out to a local vineyard that not only celebrates our history, but asks its customers to pause and “remember those who have fought and died for our freedom”?

And yes, I suppose in an effort to be transparent, I should note that we do business with the Hortons quite regularly, but this is not a paid endorsement.  I’ll also note that my BIL and the Knight’s cousins drink reds and have found offerings they buy regularly at Horton’s too.  They are an award-winning winery in many categories, year after year.

After a very pleasant afternoon in the shade with the Knight’s cousin, his wife, my brother inlaw and his girlfriend and some grape pie, we still did dinner at Bavarian Chef at the original, Madison location.   We didn’t take advantage of the restaurant week menu.  I ordered the same things I order almost every time and it was outstanding as always.   Is there a support group for men with a cream corn problem?  If so, I’m signing the Knight and his brother up. 

I should have gotten a photo of the grape pie.  Big, fat, red grapes, whole, with some VERY purple gelatinous stuff to hold it together.  The Knight’s cousin made me eat a bite after he tired of my unintentional game of 20 questions.  It wasn’t bad, but not being a fan of grape jam, jelly or even Kool-Aid, that one bite was plenty.  (I couldn’t find an image that was close enough… no top crust, and really… the gel was more of a dark lilac than the rich blue-red-purples I see in the online images that came up in my search…)

Have you tried anything new lately?

Grape skins

Muscat grape, courtesy of Wikipedia

You’re wondering, “How much more random can she get?!”  Trust me, I can do random.  After all, one of my favorite books is James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist…     (If you don’t get that, click on the link, click on “first pages” and read just the first five sentences.)

 It’s not quite as random as it might seem.  I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned my sensitivity to tannins and the problem it causes with red wine consumption.  However, we’re moving into new territory now.  I learned two things at dinner Saturday night.

  1. Moscato can be red.
  2. I’ve kicked my “sensitivity” up a notch.  I don’t care what some experts say; when a food/beverage causes a systemic reaction, it is an allergy, not a “sensitivity to…”

And thankfully, I have smart, foodie friends.  I was sharing my less than optimal Saturday night experience with friends, and one immediately informed me that I should not eat grapes or raisins either.  Hmmm…  Oddly, I’ve ALWAYS preferred white grapes and golden raisins.  Good thing, eh? 

I’m still curious about those black grapes though.  I like those more than reds, and according to Wiki’s article on tannins, red grapes are the “source”…  I don’t think I’m curious enough to experiment though.

Here.  Let me distract myself with this really cute outfit inspiration from those rockin’ BonBon Rose Girls.   I think I might need it, almost as presented. 

Shoes?  Yes.  (Old Navy… evidently, my fall flats wardrobe can be had from their stock.)

Pants?  I didn’t think I needed colored denim, but then I saw these Hollister jeggings.  Yes please?  (I’m not familiar with Hollister.  Anyone?)

I’ll skip the bag, even though I love me some cobalt blue, and since I have finally accepted that the boatneck isn’t my friend, I’ll look for a similar top with a scoop neck.

And once I find it, I’ll sip something cool and white while wearing it.  White wine doesn’t stain.  There’s a silver lining…  Now… who wants my Horton Xoco (Rojo only…  I can still drink the Blanco!)?  And that was a joke, unless you’re local, because it’s illegal to ship wine.

Ryka Trail Exodus

Courtesy of 6pm

Friday and Sunday, I tried out another pair of trail shoes… the Ryka Trail Exodus.   If I wasn’t so in love with the Brooks Cascadia, I’d say these are good trail shoes. 

BUT I am truly, deeply, madly smitten with the Cascadia, so instead, I’ll say that if the Cascadia’s pricetag gives you pause, or if you know you really don’t like a responsive, supportive but cushioned shoe, try the Ryka Trail Exodus for your off-road fitness adventures.

My only real complaint is probably unique to my feet.  While I have narrow heels for most of my… foot, they are very much medium, average or whatever you want to call it on the sole/bottom of my foot.  So…  I had some minor pressure in the heel, particularly in the left shoe, just where the heel “cup” meets the sole of the shoe. 

The Trail Exodus is neither as cushioned nor as flexible as the Cascadia, but it didn’t irritate any of my pre-existing issues – shin splints in both legs since high school, prone to blisters at the top of both heels, jarring in my hips/back…   And it took it through its paces yesterday on a very long, all-terrain, fast-paced walk, so it passed the test, although not with flying colors, thanks to the new, very high standards set by the Cascadia.

I hate a black athletic shoe, but I do need to note that what appears to be a flame-orange on the shoe is really a VERY PANK color.   Gretchen says that makes them okay.  I say they’re an adequate give the Cascadia time to dry out option.  

However, both my beloveds and the also-ran RTE had rather epic fails in the “through dew-laden tall grass” department.   Saturday was ridiculously wet, but I can therefore say that even SOAKED, my feet were very stable within the Cascadia and there were no odd blisters, because there was no slipping and sliding inside the shoe.  Yesterday, the field wasn’t AS wet, but the trade-off for breathable mesh on a trail shoe means that it lets water in too.  Oh well.  I pretended it was refreshing, then deconstructed the shoes when we got home so they could thoroughly dry out.

THAT my friends, is why I ALWAYS rotate between at least two pairs of shoes.  Thankfully, the Under Armour fitness shoes the Knight got me this spring work really well on the elliptical, so…  Three workouts, three pairs of shoes. 

And naked toes.  I don’t know if it’s the new compression socks, the high mileage with wet feet, or what, but my pedicure had an epic fail yesterday too.  I know when I slipped my feet in my sandals before heading to King Family Vineyards for some polo (and a glass of their Loreley Late Harvest), my toes were all covered with polish.  When I next paid attention to them at home (after changing out of my stuck-to-me-dress), one was completely bare, so I had to remove all the polish before we went to dinner…

About that polo event…  I can’t say enough about the really relaxed “family” atmosphere at Roseland Polo at King Family Vineyards.   Hospitality carts made frequent rounds, and a cute “hostess” all but demanded that we let her take our trash, rather than tossing it in the back of a vehicle to take home as friends had already prepared to do.  If I wasn’t the only local living in ignorance… maybe I’ll see you there soon.

How was your weekend?

Wine Whine

This weekend was jammed full!  Over on the girls’ blog, we did manage to get a Blog the Change post up yesterday.   Yesterday was also National Ice Cream Day, and after our first Bloop experience Saturday night, we celebrated by having Bloop for dinner last night.

Why yes, I am serious.  We’re adults, and we had a late lunch, so when the Knight announced around 7pm that he wanted Bloop for dinner… we went. 

I was a little shocked that the Knight was an instant fan, but I think the super-fresh, sweet strawberries won him over.  Their blackberries are also some of the nicest I’ve ever had.  Doesn’t hurt that there’s real Godiva chocolate in their chocolate variety either.

Anyway.  About the title of this post…  Saturday, we met up with the Knight’s brother and his family and the cousin who grew up next door and his wife at the Horton Vineyards Pig Roast.   No pig visuals were involved… just ribs and pulled pork on the buffet. 

Full disclosure…  The Hortons are both friends and customers and we did receive VIP tickets, but this is my account of the event and their wines.  We did pay full event prices for everything purchased.

We were the last of our party to arrive (and yes, the ones living the closest to the winery), and the Knight’s cousin is such a great guy…  It wasn’t long before he slipped over to the nearest pouring table and came back with a chilled bottle of Niagra, one of my go-to favorites.  (All wines mentioned in this post found HERE.)  It’s a sweet, fruity white, but not a true FRUIT wine or a dessert wine per se.

After ribs, slaw, three-bean salad and more, we retreated to the cool comfort of the barrel room, where said cousin tasted reds.  I don’t do reds because of a tannin allergy, so we moved on upstairs to the gift shop and tasting rooms, where a bottle of their very sweet Blanco XOCO (white wine with chocolate essence) was had after some tastings.

Courtesy of Total Wine

While I do keep Blanco XOCO, Niagra and others on hand, this time, I required their Sparkling Viognier.   Those who know me “in real life” know I love me some bubbly, and being able to buy it from a friend makes it that much … happier.

One of the things we love best about the Hortons is their great sense of humor.  The complementary wine glasses for the pig roast each year give you some insight into their personalities, but my favorite part of the shopping experience is reading the little tag lines or nicknames for each variety. 

The sparkling viognier is Dom Virginion.  Isn’t that a hoot? 

I love that wine is STILL a growing Virginia enterprise.  Local lore has it that Thomas Jefferson was the first to play vintner in these parts. 

What did you do this weekend?


Big Easy

Have you been to New Orleans?  If not, hop a plane now before the next storm closes your airport and go.  Yeah, I think it’s raining there now, but trust me… it won’t dampen your spirits.


My daylight view of NoLa

I didn’t get to see it at all during daylight hours, except from our room window.   I was there on League business, and the days were LONG, deep and productive.   We didn’t get to any of the great restaurants y’all suggested, but we had FINE dining experiences just the same. 

We stayed on Canal Street, and Friday night, we were too tired to even take a cab uptown.  We just asked the concierge for recommendations.  We landed at GW Fins.   I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever had a better meal.  I started with Conundrum, which is my new favorite wine.  (Be still my heart… the wine shop on my way home carries it.  Sissy, dinner will be late because Mama needs new wine.)


Doesn't Sissy need this wreath?!

Saturday, our nearby recommendations failed us.  My travel companion is a loyal Yelper, and Yelp didn’t paint the right pictures of the places we were sent.  One looked awesome, but neither Yelp nor the concierge told us we needed reservations.  We weren’t willing to wait two hours.  So, we’d passed The Pelican Club both nights and we thought it looked nice… it was.   The moral of this story is that when in NoLa, if it’s good enough for dinner, call ahead for reservations.  That’s probably obvious to most of you, but such is the curse of living in podunk.  Even the places that require reservations around here will work you in pretty quickly in most cases.

I can also say I’ve never been in a friendlier city.  From the doorman to the NoLa League president and everyone in between, they couldn’t stop telling us how happy they were to have us in their city.  Now, I do suppose that the locals still there now are the ones who are very passionate about their hometown, but still… it was delightful to be their guest.

I do have to mention one cause our Friday lunchtime speaker champions.  If you went to a theater last weekend, you might have seen the Women of the Storm public service announcement.  Regardless, I hope you’ll take a moment to click over and watch the video or just cut to the chase and sign the petition.

Since most of my readers are women, I’m going to take a moment to remind you that we are powerful.  As a collective force, there’s almost nothing we can’t do.  What are you passionate about?

Wine-ing again

I am sooooo not high maintenance.  It takes precious little to turn my frowns upside down.  A little retail therapy, some TLC from the fur-girls, the Knight and some of you, and I was feeling better, despite the continued rain.  (And more of the same today, but I really think we’ve crossed a threshold; I don’t care anymore.  My hair will wave, no matter what, but I’ll wear my happy turquoise raincoat and smile, smile, smile…)

prod_sp_2004_largeWhat brought this on?  I’m going to call it my happy juice.  Oh, how I love living in Virgina’s wine country!  Practically grown in Uncle’s back yard, Kluge Estate SP Blanc de Blanc has my heart, my tastebuds and if the Knight will build me a wine cellar, my yarn budget.   Paired with some cheeses from Kluge’s cheese shop, I was in heaven.  (For those who love great cheese, a French Brie, US Montgomery Cheddar and a French Chaource.) 

I met my new friend at a private tasting, but rest assured, the wines and cheeses I mention can be found at Kluge’s tasting room too.  The next pairing included SP Rose.  Nice gal – er, wine – but since I have a rather serious problem with tannins, I try to stay away from all but whites.  (But yes, being a polite guest, I did drink all of Rose.  It wasn’t hard to do.)  Rose was served with some fine North Carolina shrimp, cucumbers and avocado. 

prod_cru_bothLastly came NV Kluge Estate Cru.   Our tasting was served with a curl of orange peel within.   If you like dessert wines, you’ll love this.  While I adore a good wine, rarely can I taste the notes the descriptions insist I should, but in this finely crafted blend, I could indeed savor the vanilla, peach, citrus, pear, almond and licorice.  It was served with a tasty apple tart with apricot glaze – the perfect finish to an absolutely delightful evening! 

I’m almost positive my hosts and the other guests don’t read my blog, but I can’t thank them enough for a truly lovely evening.  It was the perfect end to a truly great year together.  (And on the off chance…  Happy Birthday, hostess and pastry chef!)

Z1378i 4 wraps cardis coats.inddKnitting?  Oh, I think about knitting.  I printed off the pattern for the Textured Circle Shrug just a few minutes ago.   I’m just not sure about the garter ridges though.  Nor am I inclined to knit a wool shrug right now.  I mean, at the moment I’d love to have a big wad of worsted weight wool in my lap, across my shoulders and even around my bare ankles, but eventually the rain and gray skies will move on, and then it will suddenly be 90 and humid, and knitting anything not fingering weight or lighter will require that said project is small enough not to touch my legs or lap while I knit…

Suggestions?  Someone on Ravelry is doing it in Cotton Ease.  That’s still a lot of yarn in my lap, but…  maybe?

Well, since I’ve been working on this post in between REALLY working, I think I’ll call this the end and wish you a nice Wednesday.