Moet & Chandon’s Over-the-Top ‘Midnight Gold’

4 Nov
Yes, inanimate objects and living creatures can be blood relatives

Yes, inanimate objects and once living creatures can be blood relatives

I’m a huge fan of champagne… H U G E . What is there not to love about sparkles? It’s effervescent love, magic medicine, the definitive cure for what might ail ya… and yet, upon seeing Moet & Chandon’s ‘Midnight Gold’ my initial reaction was – G A S P … a vastly different reaction from my usual O o o o h and A a a a h s when encountering a chilled bottle of bubbly.

I came across this little gem of excess while perusing TheDieline.com and stumbling across this article, http://www.thedieline.com/blog/2008/10/good-grief.html . The headline says it all –  “Good Grief”… and you can’t help but say that to yourself when you read the description “made of lambskin covered with gold and decorated with hand-sewn swarovski crystals and gilded pearls”. Wow… not only is it covered in bling, it’s also mummified in dead animal skin but at $350 a pop I expect a little bit of blood shed and pain.

So what’s wrong with this bejeweled, bedazzled bottle of high quality champagne? Personally I see it as the alcoholic equivalent of the Porsche or Lamborghini mid-life crisis type purchase, ala “care to take a ride in my muscle car ladies” situation. It’s less about the quality of the drink and a lot more about making an impression, kind of like a silverback gorilla rolling around an oil drum in the jungle to impress his lady ape friends…

But it doesn’t take bling to get me excited about an awesome bottle of bubbly, rather it’s quality and cost. Being a frugal (aka CHEAP) Capricorn, I’m always looking out for fabulous deal. Two of my favorite low-cost bottles of sparkling wines include Cristalino Cava Brut which is made in Spain and usually runs under $10 and Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay Pinot Noir which is made in Australia and sells for under $15. Both offer an amazing value for their price point, so be sure to check them out!

So it doesn’t take a bling to make a bottle of bubbles sing, just kick ass quality at an affordable price. Hmmm… writing about champage and sparkling wines makes me thirsty… gotta go!

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For the love of scones!

28 Sep

I’m a lazy artist. Have I painted in the last two years? No. I know, it’s ridiculous. I’m still asking myself why I haven’t bothered to pick up a brush in such a long time and to this date, I still don’t have the answer.

What I have started recently is cooking. Really cooking – not just slappin some bread in the toaster and whippin up some scrambled eggs. For years I’ve been obsessed with cookbooks but never cooked. Now I’m finally in the trenches of my little kitchen and am really cookin up a storm!

I think there’s something about cooking that’s really akin to creating art. Contrast, texture, harmony… it’s all there. And, if the result turn out to your liking, you get that little buzz about creating something that you can share with others. I never thought a turkey roulade could make me as excited and proud as a painting but it has happened! Plus, you can’t exactly eat your painting or sculpture, so cooking brings a totally new dimension into the picture for a visual artist.

Mmmmm… who doesn’t love molding some dough (similar to clay), adding some nuts and/or berries (your found objects), firing it up in the oven (like a kiln) and then getting to nosh on it! It’s just like art but it’s edible. Yum. I may have dropped my paintbrush for now but the creative process continues. This time in the kitchen instead of in the studio…

A mid-life crisis and I’m not even halfway there!

18 Aug

I’d describe life as a collection unintentional slip-ups and blurry-eyed, topsy-turvey expeditions mixed in with temporary moments of convoluted clarity. Every once in a while clarity will present itself but for the most part it’s a journey through life’s foggy maze (think “The Shining”) with the hope of not getting lost halfway through the darn thing.

So why am I pondering life and all of its jacked up possibilities?

Lately I’ve been feeling (and please forgive this OVER USED cliche) like a bird in a cage. No, I’m not talking about the 1996 movie “The Birdcage” featuring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane (wasn’t it nice seeing Robin in all his unwaxed, furry glory), rather I’m referring to the strange feeling that I’ve reached a stopping point in my own topsy-turvey journey. Why is this happening? And why now? Is it possible that in today’s fastforward world the new mid-life crisis begins at 30-something? Was I soooo busy trying to get somewhere that I forgot where I was headed to begin with?

So back to my cliche… it’s a strange thing feeling trapped when you don’t really have anything holding you down. A little about my current situation – I’m single, no kiddos, financially independent, have worked on some really exciting projects, won awards, traveled, buy what I want to buy, do what I want to do… etc. etc. But even though I’ve lived a comfortable life, I feel like I’ve reached the end of this journey.

So how did I get here? After much pondering, I realized that 18 years ago I made the choice to live a comfortable life with a predictable future at the expense of having my freedom, creativity and adventure tamed and caged up. Okay… so maybe I’m over exaggerating a little but I’ll never forget an art professor’s response to telling him my level-headed career choice, “BAD IDEA, DON’T DO IT… YOU’LL NEVER PAINT AND BE BORED OUT OF YOUR MIND.”  Ergh, there’s a reason why they say you should always listen to your elders…

I should have taken out the school loans and gone to art school in New York or Chicago right out of high school, I should have studied fine art instead of graphic design, and I should have been far more adventurous and less timid in love! (Ah… love is always a bitch, huh?) I’ve always felt a bit out of place in my life, like I got off at the wrong stop and never bothered to get back on the bus. It’s always felt that way, with work, where I live, my profession, and at times even the people around me… a lot of it has never felt right.

I am sure my experience is not uncommon, just look at the pharmaceutical industry… Could this be one of the reasons why so many people end up convincing themselves they’re going crazy? And the exact reason why doctors overprescribe psych-meds? Unfortunately the depression stemming from the unescapeable predictablity of daily life has become the cause of a major medical condition (and record profits for the drug manufacturers).

So what am I going to do to prevent my own downward spiral into madness??? Lately I’ve been thinking about jumping the professional ship and hopping back onto the educational bandwagon toward graduate school (or dare I say cooking school). Or perhaps drop the whole design thing and start a business doing something completely different. Once again I am confronted with choices… continue down the same path or branch out somewhere completely different? Perhaps in my mid-30’s it’s time to take the heroic leap into the unknow. Is financial security worth the cost of total and complete mind-numbing boredom and predictablity? Not, it is not. Let’s hope it’s true when folks say, if you stay true to your heart and follow your passion everything will fall into place. And if they’re wrong, what’s the worst that can happen ? I’ll realize I had it right the first go around and be happy with being successfully bored… until my 3/4 life-crisis rolls around. 🙂

My new gooey friend – Camembert Cheese

27 Jul
Unpasturized goodness...

Unpasturized goodness...

I’d like to express my new found love for Camembert cheese. How I love you my gooey, unpasteurized friend. You might not be great for my waistline but your perfect for my soul…

I bought some Camembert recently mistaking it for Brie and what a wonderful mistake it was! Upon arriving at home I excitedly unwrapped the cheese and noticed the label. At first I was a bit suspicious because it looked just like Brie… aaah, but after the first bite I knew it was something new and definitely love. The flavor was similar to Brie but with a little extra nutty kick to it. It melted perfectly into my warmbread just like butta’. After that… I WAS HOOKED.

It turns out that Brie and Camembert are actually made the exact same way but in different parts of France which explains the similiar look and flavor. But there’s something about Camembert that just makes it a standout. Unfortunately I don’t have a super trained palette so I’m still trying to make the exact distinction between the flavor and texture of both cheeses. What I know for sure is that Camembert is absolutely fabulous!

Delicious on its own or with fresh, crunchy bread, I’m still interested in pairing it up with other flavors. I came across this recipe recently on www.epicurious.com and will definitely have to give it a try. It sounds like a wonderful mixture of flavors. Check it out:

Camembert with Blue Cheese, Figs and Port Sauce

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/CAMEMBERT-WITH-BLUE-CHEESE-FIGS-AND-PORT-SAUCE-5728

Sabotaged by paranoia…

3 Jul

Lately I’ve been wondering how many of us have sabotaged completely healthy relationships with our paranoia? How many of us have had loyal boyfriends whom we’ve suspected might be cheating on us? And how many of those loyal boyfriends were eventually driven to cheat because we drove them crazy with our constant questioning?

Now, I’m not dissing your gut instinct if something doesn’t feel right. Definitely follow your gut! If you ever get a weird vibe in your gut, it’s probably trying to tell you something like “Run, he’s an asshole!!!”… but it’s very important to make a distinct separation between your gut and your brain. Unfortunately our brains will dream up all sort of horrible scenarios that set us into a psychological tailspin… “What did that look on his face mean?” “Why didn’t he answer his phone immediately?” “Why did he mention his female co-worker’s name TWICE?… HE MUST BE CHEATING ON ME!!!!”… Sound familiar? Sometimes when a relationship is going too well (or even okay), we crave a disaster. We look for problems and fantasize about issues that don’t exist.

So how many of do this because we’ve been cheated on before? Or how many of us do this because we’re so convinced we’re not worthy of healthy and happy relationships? Bottom line ladies – it’s okay to be happy sometimes!

Deep in the Heart of Froofy…

16 Jun

Forgive me for a what I’m sure will come across as a negative and somewhat bi-polar introduction for this blog. I’m writing from where the Austin elite congregate… or rather, the female half of that population, Lake Austin Spa Resort. So what is a short hispanic gal from the hood doing in a place like this? 1) curiosity and 2) my love of froo-froo hotels and 3) Italy is too far away at the moment.

I admit that I’ve dreamed of coming to Lake Austin Spa Resort for years… ah… the website does such a great job selling it! Those nice, crisp, beautifully lit images can’t help but add fuel to the fantasies of pampered luxury burning in your mind. But what I hadn’t thought about was the cultural divide that might exist and that at this “modern” time in history you can still feel like a bit of an oddball when placed in a environment like this. Maybe I should have anticipated that I would feel this way since the brochure featured only thin, well groomed, fair skinned folks in their perfect yoga outfits…

Now I would like to state that I met a LOT of nice people during my stay BUT I couldn’t shake the feeling of the cultural divide… or perhaps it’s a socio-economic divide that’s leaving a wierd taste in my mouth… a parking lot full of Mercedes, one self-help class after another, an endless stream of over priced treatments, big Texas blonde hair, conversations of second homes and far away trips… ugh. So maybe you’re wondering, “Why is this bitch whining about a socio-economic divide if she can afford to get her ass over there in the first place?” It’s because I save and plan – not because my rich husband pays for me to leave the house so he can bang his secretary over the weekend. I’m the daughter of immigrants and no I don’t expect handouts, I work for my own shit – thank you.

BUT still…. I feel like an asshole for suggesting that all the women here had their sugar daddies, boyfriends, lovers and husbands pay for their tab. I met plenty of professional women whom I’m sure planned, saved and paid for their own stay… but still, even then, you can sense the divide. Or maybe I’m just an asshole? Or perhaps I’m insecure? Where are the other brown folks? Is it possible that gals who come from backgrounds similiar to mine aren’t stupid enough to blow their cash on froofy hotels and over priced spa treatments? Maybe their spending their money on fancy shoes instead… damn! Maybe I just should have bought a few pair of Ferragamo or Manolos instead… or better yet, just leave that money in the bank! :p