making “me” time

And just like that, it’s the first day of Spring!

Growing up I learned that Spring was all about rebirth; plants and animals coming out of hibernation as the frost melted away into sunshine and warmer weather.

blooms at Lake Elsinore

And while warmer weather might not be there for everyone (just come visit Southern California to get your dose!) there are hints of Springtime popping up everywhere:

ps loving the portrait feature on the iPhone 7!

…Like poppies! Popping up (can’t help myself!) throughout the parks in California. Known as a “super bloom”, the wildflowers are extra happy and vibrant this year because of all the rain we got during winter–see we really did have seasons this year!

..We also “sprung forward” so the days are feeling longer and the nighttime slump comes later.

…There are lots of “spring cleaning” ads. Having been in my new space for a little over a month, I’m taking the time to clear the clutter and get rid of excess stuff I haven’t touched in months.

…It’s March Madness! My Dad is in his, damn I can’t even remember how long he’s run it, but he’s the ring leader (call him the “commish”) of a big NCAA basketball tournament pool. His emails bring me joy everyday. It also helps that my alma mater, UNC, is still in the running and Villanova (last year’s champs who beat us) are already out. YES!

…Pastel colors are everywhere! Stores are gearing up for Easter (hello Reese’s and Cadbury chocolate eggs!) and flowers are blooming.

wildflower cluster

So back to flowers and “me time”. Over the weekend, I decided to drive out solo to Lake Elsinore and see the colorful blooms. Man, did I feel like I was in Oz (not just how colorful, but lotssss of other people had the same idea).

cactus meet flowers

Wanting some time with little human interaction to reflect, soak up the sun and take some pics, I took a slightly steeper path, made it to the top and spread out my things.

alllll by myself (and loving it!)

I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS. For everyone!!!! Making time for yourself-even if it’s just 15 minutes and at your kitchen table- it is so vital to staying grounded. For re-centering, rebirth (hey, hey, Spring connection) and refocusing on you. What brings you happiness and what you need to let go. I’ll write more on this later in the week and the steps I take, so look out.

sunny selfies

In the mean time, on the first day of Spring. I dare you to take some time for yourself. JUST FOR YOU. Because at the end of the day- even with girlfriends, boyfriends, moms, dads, spouses, family, coworkers, etc. If you aren’t making yourself whole and happy it’s going to make it damn challenging for the rest of your circle to bring you that fullness. Find it in yourself. I promise it’s there.

You can start small and:

…buy yourself flowers

…get whipped cream on your coffee

…read the comics AND the sports section from a real newspaper

…sit an extra 5 minutes in your car to listen to your favorite song (again)

…take a walk around your block during your lunch break, or when you’re home from work

…smile

…stay longer post workout to stretch a little deeper or dip into the sauna if that’s available.

Whatever you choose do it for you!

Wishing everyone a great start to their week. Let me know how you take your “me time” in the comments.

xo N

whiskey wednesday: irish coffee

It’s almost the DAY!!! And there’s truly no better way to kick off your weekend/Friday/St. Patrick’s Day than with an Irish Coffee.

So maybe lose the booze before work…save it for 5PM and you need a pick me up…but if you’re lucky and have the day to celebrate here’s how you should make yours:

IRISH COFFEE (Serves 1)

4-5oz brewed hot coffee

1-2oz Irish Whiskey

dash of sugar

splash Bailey’s (optional)

1oz whipping cream

splash of maple syrup (more if you wanted sweeter whipped cream)

Place 2 metal bartending tins in your freezer (this can be omitted if not adding whipped cream). Brew your coffee any which way you please. Add coffee to a mug and sprinkle a dash of sugar. Pour 1-2 oz of your Irish Whiskey and stir. If you’re adding Bailey’s, do so now. In the meantime, take 2 bartender tins and pour your whipping cream and maple syrup in, toss in a protein mixer, close tins and shake shake shake. Top fresh whip cream onto coffee. ENJOY! (do a jig!)

PS if you want to add DONUTS to the equation, use this recipe!

PPS definitely add the donuts

PPS that is all!

whiskey wednesday: women and whiskey

Dearest Friends,

Happy International Women’s Day!

Although I celebrate the ladies in my life on the reg, I think it’s important to take a day and honor all the smart, caring, hilarious, gregarious, loving and nasty women in our lives. Call them, sing them a song, mail them a good old fashioned letter (loooove me some snail mail), hug them dearly-maybe even buy them a drink! Because liiiitle known fact, women were at the helm of distilling spirits back in the day.

Yep you read that right. Before the industrial revolution (about 1760-1840), distilling spirits was considered women’s work because it was all about following a recipe while at home. Like mama was distilling whiskey while churning butter, while cradling her 5th kid. Well done ma’am.

Anywho, it’s really the ladies who should be championed while you sip your whiskey, namely Catherine Spears Frye Carpenter. Her invention of the “sour mash” in 1818 has helped keep alllll the whiskies consistent. What she realized was, if you keep a quarter of the previous fermented batch and add it to the yet-to-be fermented batch, it helps create natural yeast and keeps bacterial contamination at bay. Therefore, consistent final product achieved. YAS! CDFC, you are a goddess. (Read more on this HERE)

So to all my ladies out there, I raise a pickleback shot to you! You are a badass, your stories deserve an audience, you have a right to equal pay–equal everything for that matter. And I need you- your love, support, and friendship. You uplift me everyday. Truly, I don’t know what I’d do without all the strong/compassionate/witty/passionate/creative women in my life. You are the TITS (literally).

Cheers to you all!

xoxo N

 

wine wednesday: birthday bubbles

Happy 2017!!! It has been off to a busy start, filled with road trips, a surprise visit from my best friend in New York and of course drinking wine to celebrate.

And since today happens to be my birthday, I figured why not make a fun birthday cocktail!

what you’ll need:

1 bottle of bubbles (mini Moët encouraged)

sprinkles

chocolate chips (semi-sweet or bust!)

2 bowls

1 coup or champagne flute

To make your birthday bubbles, simply add chocolate chips to one bowl and melt your chocolate- I used the microwave heating it in 30 second increments at 50% power until it was melted #burntchocolateistheworst Then, in a separate bowl, pour desired sprinkles. Next, dip coup or flute in chocolate followed by sprinkles. Pop your bubbly and add to festive glass.

Enjoy! And repeat on every birthday (and days you want it to feel like your birthday!)

 

wine wednesday: champagne, france

Break out your bottles of bubbly because IT’S GAME 7 OF THE WORLD SERIES AND I’M SO EXCITED/ANXIOUS/NERVOUS/INTERNET SHOUTING BECAUSE I CAN’T CONTAIN MY EMOTIONS. GO CUBS GO!!!!

Phew…glad I got that out, thank you. It’s been a roller coaster of a ride this season, and you better believe that bottles are going to be popped tonight #FlytheW

Moving back to the topic du jour, Champagne is a region AND a sparkling wine from said region. It was rumored to be created by Monk Dom Pérignon in the 1600s when he added yeast and sugar to his bottle of wine causing a second fermentation in the bottle. Though that’s not 100% true, it’s a fun story to roll out for trivia.

the process

how-champagne-is-made-infographic

As you can see, making one bottle of Champagne is no walk in the park. It’s a labor of love to keep all of the non-vintage (NV) bottles tasting the same year to year. Think about it, isn’t it pretty incredible that all bottles of Veuve Clicquot/Perrier Jouet/Moët et Chandon taste the same year to year???

Champagne houses can also release “vintages” dedicated to a specific year and must be aged a minimum of three years before their release. These are typically nuttier, creamier with notes of honey due to aging. More expensive too!

buying tips

Expect to spend around $40 for your baseline Champagne!

If you are going to buy a vintage of Champagne the years: 1996, 2002, 2004 and 2008 are “good years”

CHAmpagne picks

$$-Moët & Chandon: Available at most grocery stores, you won’t be hard pressed to find a bottle from the largest Champagne house.

$$$-Ruinart: Oldest Champagne house and makes kickass Blanc de Blancs and Rose Champagnes in addition to the traditional stuff.

$$$$-Krug: This is liquid gold, so many different notes in their NV and if I ever get my hands on a “Grand Cuvée” I may or may not share.

GO CUBS!!! Let’s pop some bottles tonight.