Posted in Book Reviews, Travel, Wine

Root Cause Book Review

book review

A world without wine would be a scary place, and Corvina Guerra is investigating who is trying to harm vineyards all over the world. That is what Root Cause by Steven Laine is about. An experienced traveling  winemaker and her passion for wine and finding out who is poisoning the vineyards all over the world.

I loved reading this book because I felt like I was right their with Corvina, tasting wine, traveling to different places and trying to figure out who was to blame for the Phylloxera outbreak. The book travels to many parts of the world from Italy, to London, Spain, Ontario Canada and more. It is a thrilling book for any wine lover or some one who just needs a good read. When Corvina discovered the Phylloxera  on vines in a vineyard in Italy her and her friend Brian were immediately on the job of finding out who caused this to happen. They want to put a stop to this to protect the vineyard and many others. And what a ride it was reading the book and watching the story unfold. The action in the book starts right away. You don’t have to get through 10 chapters to finally get to some of the parts that have action. This book will not disappoint.  This book has me wanting a sequel.

About the book:

“Can you imagine a world without wine?

Corvina Guerra is a flying winemaker who dreams of one day settling down in her native Italy on her family’s vineyard. On a visit to a vineyard in Italy, Corvina makes a startling discovery: Phylloxera, a menacing plant louse that devastated vineyards in Europe more than a hundred years ago, has infested the vines.

After reporting her findings to her company, Universal Wines, Corvina is charged with investigating the spread of the bug. Nicknamed Philomena by the media, the aphid is soon discovered in vineyards around the world. To aid in her investigation, Corvina recruits a wine expert in London, Brian Lawless. In pursuit of its origins, Corvina and Brian embark on a thrilling globetrot on which they uncover that Philomena is a genetically modified strain of Phylloxera and is being intentionally spread.

The deeper Corvina and Brian search, the more they become convinced that Universal Wines holds the answer to everything, and the harder they pursue their investigation the more surprises pile up for both of them.

In spite of devastating consequences, Corvina and Brian vow to continue their investigation and do what they can to contain the spread of the infestation – but time is running short and they always seem to be a step behind. Unless they can find a way to stop the Philomena – vineyards around the world will be ruined for decades; potentially causing the collapse of the wine industry. Can Corvina and Brian get to the root cause and save the international wine industry from ruin?”

 

About the Author Steven Laine:

Steven Laine is from Ontario, Canada and has dual Canadian and British citizenship. He has travelled the world working in luxury hotels for international brands including The Ritz, Hilton, Starwood, Marriott, Jumeirah and Pan Pacific. When he was Beverage Manager of a five star hotel in London, he learned all about wine and has since visited over one hundred vineyards and wineries in Napa, Sonoma, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Lebanon, Australia, and South Africa. As the only North American ever invited to be a Member of the Champagne Academy, he had the privilege to visit and learn from the major Champagne Houses in France. His circle of friends is made up of winemakers, Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers, restaurant managers, and wine lovers and distributors from all over the globe.

Steven’s debut novel, Root Cause, will be released on February 19, 2019, published by Turner Publishing. Steven currently lives in Singapore and is now working on his next novel Dragonvine.

book-reading-1.jpg

 

Bibliography:

Laine, Steven. “Root Cause.” Google Books, 2019, books.google.com/books/about/Root_Cause.html?id=3fjStwEACAAJ&source=kp_book_description.

 

Laine, Steven. “BIO.” Stevelaine 1, 2019, http://www.stevenlaine.com/bio.

Posted in food, Shopping, Subscription Boxes, Travel, Wine, Winery

Naked Winery Food and Wine Pairing

Diva 3

I am so happy to be bringing you this blog post of 2 of my favorite wines from Naked Winery. I paired them both with a meal you can make at home. This made my culinary soul so happy. I felt like I was back in school taking my cooking exams (I actually enjoyed that part of culinary school) and I think I passed this test with flying colors…. even though it wasn’t a test.

Naked Winery says it best as how to describe their company (About Naked Winery) They started in 2005. And what a community they have built. I visit Bend Oregon often and this is definitely one of the stops I have to make when I am in town. The staff at the location in the Old Mill District is so kind and fun to be around. I actually became friends with 2 of the girls who work their. So shout out to Kennedy and Jess for always making me feel right at home at the Bend location.

 

naked winery

I discovered Naked Winery 3 years ago on my 25th birthday. Naked Winery had already been apart of my life because their wine corks were in my center pieces at my wedding! (3 years ago Tuesday we will have been married!). My Aunt had shipped some of their wine corks to me when I was in need of a lot of corks for 12 center pieces for the wedding. I asked my husband if we could make a trip to Bend for my birthday because its my happy place. We were in the Old Mill on my birthday walking around and shopping when we decided to stop in because I had remembered their wine corks. We fell in love with the wine and the vibe of the winery/company. We signed up for our membership right then and their that day. And its been a beautiful love story ever since with Naked Winery.

Center piece

Naked Winery sent me the Diva Sangiovese and the Making Waves Albarino. The Diva is medium bodied wine, with aromas of pomegranate,  and cocoa. The tasting palette is of cranberry  with rich oak characteristics. I really enjoyed this Sangiovese as a summer red wine. I am normally very particular to whites and roses in the summer because I can’t handle the heaviness of a red wine in the middle of summer. But I personally did not think it was heavy at all. I really enjoyed it that night. I could have sat on my patio chatting with friends all night with a bottle of this. Summer campfire anyone? The Albarino makes me wish I was on a boat, on a lake just cruising around. It would be a great beach day wine. With aromas of coconut and pineapple. Flavors of ripe melon and juicy peach make it for a great summer wine.

I decided to pair the Sangiovese with zucchini lasagna rolls and the Albarino with a white fish in a wine, tomato basil sauce. Yum! Saturday night we started with the Zucchini Lasagna Rolls and they were so fun to make. I definitely recommend if you make these to make it a date night idea with you and your significant other because the rolling part of the Zucchini is a little time consuming. But I really enjoyed doing it together with my husband. Another way Naked Winery brings people together, good wine, and good food. So open your wine and get to rolling!

Opening 4

Dinner Prep

I prefer to decant my red wine and I have this super cute decanter that I found on Overstock. I also thought my dog mother wine lover t-shirt was fitting for this occasion as well. If you can spot my dog Brooke in the one picture she is there. She always likes to make an appearance. These zucchini lasagna rolls tasted so good! I always enjoy a lighter version of a pasta dish every so often. This Sangiovese would be great with a meat sauce as well. I made a loaf of garlic bread to go with the lasagna. All I do for garlic bread is cut a good loaf of Italian bread in half, thaw out some salted butter and add a couple of cloves of garlic to it and then spread it on. Heat your oven to 375 and bake for 20 minutes.

Bon Appetit

Bon Appetit 2

On Sunday I made the halibut in a white wine, tomato basil sauce. I was able to cook with the Albarino too because the recipe calls for a 1/4c of white wine. I only ever cook with wine that I would drink. This recipe is super easy, you make the sauce, and then pan fry the fish and finish it in the oven. I roasted some baby potatoes as a side dish. The recipe is for cod but I love halibut so I just switched the type of fish. This recipe also goes well with shrimp or scallop dishes. It is a great summer wine and this is a great summer dish.

wine

wine 2

Albarnino

I have been truly honored to work with Naked Winery and bring you this post. I am a huge fan of them and I hope you visit them if you are near anyone of their locations in Oregon. They are also opening a spot in Vancouver Washington next fall. I can’t wait to visit it! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Wine mentioned:

Diva Sangiovese

Making Waves Albarino

Recipes Mentioned:

Zucchini Lasagna Rolls

White fish in a White Wine tomato sauce

Other things mentioned:

Wine Decanter

Posted in Travel

My time in Texas + Texas Bucket list

I have been reflecting on my time in Texas since I have been in Washington for over a month. While I can say I am happy to be out of Texas because for me personally it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I felt very landlocked because I was so far away from sooo many cool things. I was 3 1/2 hours away from most of the major cities and then it was 6 hours to Houston. I was 4 1/2 hours away from family that I wish I could have spent more time with but I was thankful for having both of the holidays with them as well as some other fun activities. I just wish I could have been closer.

I had a very hard time adjusting to Texas life. Or I guess I should say moving away from home was very hard. I was in an area that I was not very happy about. For some reason I felt trapped and I felt like my time in Texas was going to take forever! It didn’t, it flew right by and I am oh so happy about that. I was so paranoid about Rattlesnakes, Scorpions and Tarantulas and I actually survived Texas with only seeing a baby Tarantula.  I wasted money on stupid traps for these spiders and Scorpions because I was so freaked out by them. Never used the traps once. I dealt with more black widows than anything else. As well as the weird cockroach like bugs that constantly got into the apartment. They were very strange looking and they would die right away pretty much because our apartment was sprayed. That also bugged the health nut in me. I had to have my apartment sprayed for bugs and scorpions once a month. That can’t be that healthy to have those chemicals in your home.

I cried so many times in the first few months of being there. I know it may sound pathetic but I am a routine girl and also a comfort girl. I like the things the way I had them in NY. I was having some family issues back home and then acclimating to this new area so it was just a bad combo for me. I was trying to deal with my vertigo as well. I have anxiety when it comes to change for sure. I think that’s what caused a lot of the upset. I missed my friends so much. I still do because I have been away from them for almost a year. I seriously have such a good group of friends back home. I can count on them for anything. They’re a big reason why I am drawn to moving back to NY and not moving to a different state like I would like to.

But I realized I came right out on top like I thought I would. I was dreading this change but something just told me this was going to make me grow as a person and boy did it do just that. I leaned on God a lot during this all. And it helped me so much. I met some really great people. I met Kam who became a really good friend of mine after just one hair appointment with her. I became friends with the woman that did my massages, Stacey. We always had a good time. The woman who would do my facials, Beverly, was amazing as well. She treated me so good. I miss them all so much.

While I didn’t complete everything on my bucket list for Texas I sure did see a lot. I am so so thankful for my time in Texas.

Here is what I completed on my bucket list! I think I did a pretty good job for where I was living and the work schedule we had. I had added a few to the list as I was there.

  1. Learn to Texas 2 step
  2. Try honey butter chicken biscuits from Whataburger
  3. Have Whataburger
  4. Have donuts from Shipley’s
  5. Visit 6th street in Austin
  6. Visit Fredricksburg for the wineries, shopping, Enchanted Rock, Pedernales State park and rattlers burgers.
  7. Visit Wimberly for shopping and eating as well as floating the Blanco river of San Marcos.
  8. Gruene and go to the pottery festival and check out Gruene Hall to see the professionals 2 step.
  9. Texas State Fair in Dallas
  10. Road trip to Buckee’s for Beef Jerky.
  11. Fort Worth for the Stockyards
  12. Dance at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth – didn’t dance but I visited!
  13. Fort Worth Zoo
  14. Shiner Brewery
  15. Float the Guadalupe River
  16. Messina Hoff Winery
  17. Aggie Football Game Gig’ em!
  18. Visit hippy hollows in  Austin
  19. Eat at Oasis in Austin
  20. The Alamo
  21. The River Walk
  22. Eat all the delicious BBQ and Mexican food
  23. Blue Bell Ice Cream
  24. Fixer upper! Do all the things in Waco. – this I am most sad about 😦 
  25. Babes doughnut co.
  26. Visit Houston
  27. Visit San Antonio 
  28. Visit Fort Worth

A few photos from Texas and photos of ones that were on the bucket list.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Cheers!!! 🙂

Posted in Travel

My Favorite Spots in San Angelo Texas

If you ever find yourself in San Angelo Texas I hope this post helps you out. I lived in San Angelo for about 9 months. I found a few restaurants I liked and a few other places outside of food. Spa anyone? I tried to get as many pictures as I could of the places.

Here are couple of my favorite places.

Restaurants:

Twisted Root Burger Co.

Twisted Root has some bomb burgers. Unique combinations for sure. They have awesome sweet potato chips, fried pickles and fries. I haven’t had a bad burger from there. And they have gourmet milkshakes as well as some boozy milk shakes. They are delicious!

Zero One Ale House

If you like craft beer this is the place for you. They have a great food of all varieties and really good craft beer. Texas in general has quite the arrangement of craft beer. I enjoyed it very much while I was in Texas.

Cork & Pig

This was my favorite place. I would eat here every night. I loved their wings, pizza, salads and steak. They had a great cocktail list, beer list and wine list. This is definitely my favorite spot in San Angelo.

 

The Grill

The Grill was so convenient for us. It was a minute down the road from our apartment. I liked there food and the cocktail menu. They had great happy hour specials for cocktails. They would also do seasonal cocktails. I wasn’t overly obsessed with there food but it wasn’t bad at all.

The Concho Pearl

The owner of this restaurant Kellye is a sweetheart. She actually catered a lot of our events at work and everything was always delicious. She has this restaurant as well. She knows how to throw down in the kitchen for sure.

Latest Scoop

I scream you scream we all scream for?….. ICE CREAM! Home made ice cream and different flavored waffle cones. It is all to die for!

Fiddlestrings

There were a few bars to go out and listen to music and drink. I really liked this bar because they had a great outdoor section. Definitely a good time.

Fiddlestrings

Christoval Vineyards

I saved the best for last. Oh my gosh… the grounds of this vineyard are straight out of Europe. They are beautiful. I couldn’t believe it when I was walking through. I felt like I traveled somewhere else and I wasn’t in west Texas. Even on their website it says “Come experience the Rhone Valley of France right here in West Texas.”

Secret Vineyard Day Spa

Secret Vineyard was my favorite place to go for a massage. I went to the same person while I was in San Angelo. Her name is Stacey and she does an awesome job. She reminded me a lot of the 2 people I saw back home in Buffalo. So she made me feel right at home.

The salon I was going to doesn’t have a website. But they do book through Vagaro if you use that app. Its called Burlap and Paisley. It’s such a cute place. The interior is very Texas like. Rustic and bright colors. It is located on 322 N Chadbourne St.

Secret Day Vineyard spa

Reflections Day Spa

I was getting facials once a month back home so I wanted to continue while I was in Texas. I started seeing a woman named Beverly. She always did such a great job when ever I saw her. She really helped me clear up my skin and she always took such good care of me. If you go, there are 2 buildings. When you pull in its the one on your right not your left. I made the mistake of going into the salon first and I sat there for a few minutes and no one could figure out where I was supposed to go until someone finally connected the dots.

Wild West Wax

I found a great place to get my eyebrows waxed. Lynda did my eyebrows once a month. She is very good at waxing. She also books through the Vagaro app as well. I think she was going through a name change as well. It may be under Sunset Strip now.

 

Nobilitea

Since I am a huge tea drinker, I was so excited when this place opened up. They have a huge variety of tea. They also had specialty drinks like the one pictured above. I hope more nobilitea stores open up around the country.

Tea

Those are my favorite spots in San Angelo! I hope you enjoyed this and it was helpful if you are ever in the area. Cheers!

Bibliography:

“Home Page.” Christovalvineyards, http://www.christovalvineyards.com/.

Posted in Travel, Wine

Rainier View Winery

If you take the drive to Mount Rainier you will pass the road to this gem of a place. We saw it on our drive out to Mount Rainier and I looked it up on yelp and saw the 4 stars and I told my husband we are stopping on our way back.

Rainier View

When we pulled up we saw the small building where the wine tasting is and the nurseries where you can buy your plants. It was so cute. There is an epic view of Mount Rainier from their property.

My husband and I shared a tasting and ill cut to the chase… we shipped 6 bottles home we liked it so much. I tried everything from dry to sweet. The one I really enjoyed was the Glacial Blend they make. Its blue wine!! I couldn’t believe that I found blue wine. I am not a Chardonnay fan but I tried their dry Chardonnay and I really didn’t mind it. It was one of the better Chardonnay’s that I have had. It had peach notes to it. Their fruit wines like the strawberry and marionberry tasted like a handful of that fruit. They were really good. I couldn’t get over the range of wines they had. Everything I tasted was great. The Riesling, Merlot and red blend. I think I tried more than that but I lost track because the owners wife was so kind and was sharing so much good information with us. She sat with us and explained each wine and we just had nice conversation. The server that was coming with the wines was actually from the Norfolk area in NY so it was even nice to talk to her about the vineyards out that way where she grew up.

At this point the owner himself had stopped and introduced himself. I can’t get over how kind, personable, and wonderful these owners were. They are husband and wife. The husband learned how to make wine in Germany when he was in the military and stationed over their. How cool is that? I would love to learn to make wine from Germans or Italians. He told us a story about how when he first created the Glacial Blend and was testing out how to make it blue. Well he used actual food dye at first and some girls stopped by and drank it and they went out with blue mouths and weren’t too happy about it haha. I wouldn’t be either but it makes for a good story!

The owner was kind enough to give me one of his boxes with the Styrofoam in it that could hold 12 bottles. As well as a wine opener since mine got confiscated at TSA because I was forgetful and didn’t realize I never took my wine opener out of my purse… I am sure TSA thought I was crazy. I bought 6 from Rainier view and then 3 more at a winery on Bainbridge Island in Seattle. So it worked out perfectly.

If you are ever in the Seattle area you need to go to this place. It is homey and beautiful. I felt so welcomed by this couple and just had a great time while we were there. They have live music and events during the week. Its a great spot to stop at.

Rainier View 6

Thanks for stopping by! Cheers!

\Rainier View Winery

 

Posted in Travel

Seattle Trip

This is well over due but I am finally getting around to our trip to Seattle. I love traveling and I love doing it with my husband because we have a really good time together. Traveling is definitely an important part of our relationship right now.

I just love the pacific northwest. It is probably one of my favorite areas. I immediately was thinking how similar Seattle is to Portland. Seattle does have its own quirks that sets it apart from Portland. Like the huge shipyard and the space needle. I would go back to Seattle in a heart beat just like I would go to Portland in a heart beat. I always say the people in the PNW are my people. I feel like I fit in so well there. If I could I would move to Oregon specifically Bend today.

We went to Seattle for a 30th birthday party actually. One of my husbands college friends lives in Seattle and we took the opportunity to have a quick trip and I am so glad we did. We flew in late at night on April 25th. The next day we had a gorgeous 75 degree day and it was sunny and beautiful. Which is very unlike Seattle at that time of the year. We made the trip out to Mt. Rainier. I am glad we did because the rest of our trip was over cast and we couldn’t even see the Olympic mountains from Bainbridge Island. The drive was so nice. It took about 2 hours to get there and 2 hours back. We really wanted to make it to to Reflection Pond to get some awesome pictures. Go google it now and be amazed! It is beautiful. But there was still a lot of snow so we could only make it to where the lodge is where people go to snowshoe and ski.

We pulled over at a few spots that you are able to to get some pictures and take in the natural beauty of Mount Rainier. I have only ever seen Mount Rainier from an airplane so seeing it in person I was awe struck. I love nature, mountain’s and exploring them and the history about them. When we got to the top, well as far as we could go there was so much snow still and they actually didn’t have the rest of the road opened. So we couldn’t make it to reflections pond. Mount Rainier is an active volcano. It is at rest right now. Hopefully it doesn’t erupt any time soon…. On our way back down the mountain we were looking for a souvenir shop of some sort or gift shop. I grab an ornament anywhere we visit to add to our Christmas tree each year. So our Christmas tree is filled with the spots we have traveled too. It is pretty cool to reminisce when you hang the ornaments on the tree. We also saw this huge tree trunk that had all these dates of world events and how old the tree was. It was really cool! We stopped at On our way back to our hotel we stopped at a winery we drove by and I still can’t believe how amazing it was. I want to make a whole separate post about it because thats how good it was and I was super impressed by the winery and the owners. I tried blue wine for the first time! 😳. I have seen blue wine on instagram before and facebook but I have never stumbled across some to actually have.

Rainier View 3

We actually went out for Indian food that night after our long day because that was what sounded good. It was actually really good Indian food I enjoyed it! The 2nd day we ventured to the city finally. Gosh it is a beautiful city. I fell in love with Seattle and I would visit again in a heartbeat. We did Pike’s Place Market first and that was so cool. I was admiring all the flower arrangements the florists were making. They were seriously super stunning. Pike’s Place is something like no other. I love the vibe and all the shopping you could do. It was a short walk to some great food, and breweries from there as well as the aquarium.

Pikes Place was mobbed even for a Friday. We first went and walked through Pikes Place and I bought some local lavender products from a vendor. It was so cool to walk around there and look at everything. The flowers were absolutely stunning and we were able to see the iconic fish throwing. I was able to stop at the first ever Starbucks. That was a cool experience because the menu is very old school and it even seemed how they made coffee and the drinks was old school as well. After we walked around for a bit and enjoyed our matcha’s from Starbucks we went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch. We sat outside and shortly after us someone sat down with a Corgi and he was adorable. lunch was delicious. We then ventured to the aquarium. I eagerly kept hoping I would see an Orca come into the bay but no such luck. We went to a brewery after our shopping day because we were waiting to meet friends for dinner. My husband was super excited to see a Genny sign and he was wearing his Genny shirt. We hit up 2 different breweries and then a restaurant. The first brewery was Old Stove. I had a sour beer. It was a cool little spot. You can see right out to the water. We really liked there beer. The second brewery we stopped at was Cloudburst. This cool little spot was basically a run down garage. It’s not very glamorous but the edgy vibe it had was cool. Its dog friendly too. There was a huge dog that kept putting its front paws up on the bar. We went to dinner at Steelhead Diner. I liked this place because you could go cheap or go super expensive. I had a delicious salad and a glass of rosé. We had such a great dinner with friends.

The restaurant/breweries we went to in Seattle that day were:

El Borracho

Old Stove

Cloudburst Brewing

Steelhead Diner

On our third day we were headed to Bainbridge island for my husbands friends 30th birthday party. We stopped at a recommended pizzeria from my pizza loving friend Megan. Oh my gosh this place was amazing! It’s called Rocco’s . This pizza was huge. We took most of it with us because the pie was so massive and the slices were huge. We were able to meet the owner and he waited on us. He even put together a gin cocktail for me because they didn’t have a gin cocktail on the menu. It was delicious. It was cucumber based and that’s one of my favorite ways to have gin. After we had lunch on a rainy day in Seattle we headed to the Ferry to take to Bainbridge island. That was such a cool experience. We were staying the night in Bainbridge for my husbands friends birthday party. Before we got to their house we went to A distillery and a wine tasting. We did a tasting at Bainbridge Organic distillers. It was really cool (Bainbridge Organic Distillers.) At the time they didn’t charge for the tasting because they are so new. They are a small batch distiller. I enjoyed the tasting we had. In the same plaza there was a brewery and winery. We went to the winery for a tasting and brought home a couple of bottles. The name of the winery is Fletcher Bay Winery . I love the location of both places and both places had great staff. Everyone was nice and helpful. I definitely recommend both places. When we go back I want to go to the brewery. That night we hung out at my husbands friends house and had a nice evening meeting new people, drinking good wine or beer and just hanging out.

On our last day in Seattle we stayed in Bainbridge to explore. We walked down to the bay and looked at the cute shops. We also stopped at a bakery and I never got a picture of my doughnut I had. It was fabulous! We then headed to a cool brewery called Slippery Pig Brewery for some awesome bloody marys. After we walked along the bay we walked back to get in the car and head to a farm and cidery called Finnriver . This was such a cool spot. Family friendly for sure! They had corn hole outside and a place to for kids to just run. They also had a food. The arrangement of ciders was phenomenal. I had the pear cider. I tried someone else’s of the habanero that they had. That was even really good. I just love the pacific north west. I belong on the west coast. I hope I can move there one day. Oregon is the dream. It was a quick trip but absolutely fantastic. I had a blast. I wanted to stay longer. The only thing I didn’t get to do was a whale watch to see an Orca. That is my dream! Next time for sure!

Thanks for stopping by!

Cheers!

Posted in Travel, Uncategorized

Texas Bucket List!!

We leave for Texas Tuesday and I really wanted to put together a bucket list of things I wanted to do and see. I am going to embrace my time in Texas as much as possible. This is my first time away from NY. I am excited for this adventure with my husband. My cousins wives helped me with my bucket list so here it is!

  1. Learn to Texas 2 step
  2. Try honey butter chicken biscuits from Whataburger
  3. Have Whataburger
  4. Have donuts from Shipley’s
  5. Visit 6th street in Austin
  6. Visit Fredricksburg for the wineries, shopping, Enchanted Rock, Pedernales State park and rattlers burgers.
  7. Visit Wimberly for shopping and eating as well as floating the Blanco river of San Marcos.
  8. Gruene and go to the pottery festival and check out Gruene Hall to see the professionals 2 step.
  9. Texas State Fair in Dallas
  10. Road trip to Buckee’s for Beef Jerky.
  11. Fort Worth for the Stockyards
  12. Dance at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth
  13. Fort Worth Zoo
  14. Shiner Brewery
  15. Float the Guadalupe River
  16. Messina Hoff Winery
  17. Aggie Football Game Gig’ em!
  18. Visit hippy hollows in  Austin
  19. Eat at Oasis in Austin
  20. The Alamo
  21. The River Walk
  22. Eat all the delicious BBQ and Mexican food
  23. Blue Bell Ice Cream
  24. Fixer upper! Do all the things in Waco.
  25. Babes doughnut co.

There is so much to do and I am hoping to get to do all of what is on my list. 🙏🏻

If anyone is from Texas and has more ideas I would love to hear them! I can’t wait to start checking these things off the list.

Cheers!

Posted in Travel

Epic Europe Trip March 2018

I can’t believe it’s already been 2 months since my husband and I took our epic trip to Europe. We traveled to London, Paris , Rome, Alberobello and Berlin. 4 countries in 14 days. Originally it was supposed to be 17 days but we came home early because it was a lot to take in and accomplish. But we had a blast and I am so grateful I was able to experience these 4 countries with my husband. We started our trip on March 6th and traveled from Buffalo NY with a rental car to Toronto Ontario. We found that it was much cheaper to do it this way rather than leaving from Buffalo and flying to JFK then to London. We left Toronto at around 8:30 at night and arrived in London the next day in the morning so we had the whole day to explore. We packed hiking back packs and it worked for some parts but other parts I wish I had a regular suit case because I could barely carry mine so my husband was carrying both and I would have the carry on’s most of the time. We made it work and we ended up buying a small carry on in Rome to use to get wine and olive oil home. That’s where my priorities were when I was in Italy.

First stop London.

We spent the day in London and made a lot of ground. I had to have fish and chips for lunch we went to Richoux and then stopped at a local bakery. There is way more things to see in London than I realized so we missed a lot of good stuff. We did well considering we had 24 hours pretty much and we had to deal with jet lag. Big Ben was unfortunately under construction of course. We still saw it since we were right near the Palace of Westminster. We walked so much that day.  We rode the London Eye and that was a great experience. I am not a height person so at one point I had to sit down and play with my phone so I wouldn’t look up at how high I was. It freaked me out! It was absolutely amazing though. I do not regret it. I am actually glad I forced myself to go and I know my husband really enjoy it especially since I couldn’t make it to the top of the Eiffel Tower…

I so badly wish we had more time in London. I think it is an amazing city and I love the people there. They were so nice and welcoming. I love the royal history behind it all. It is so fascinating. We saw Buckingham Palace and were able to experience the change of guards. Some how my phone video tapped it upside down so I am so mad because apparently you can’t rotate videos on iPhone…. My husband and I ended up having Italian food for dinner that night at Hai Cenato. I know totally not the typical food we should have experienced but it was really good. We stayed at the Rydges Hotel for our first night. It was a cute small hotel. We noticed that all of Europe likes to sleep with high heat at night during the winter months.Which makes sense but I am talking 23 degrees Celsius which is 74 degrees Fahrenheit. This made for some restless nights.

We traveled to Paris on day 2 and when we landed and rode in our uber to our hotel Hotel Les Theatres. Our uber driver was nice but very aggressive when it came to driving. I was actually concerned for our safety because he was very upset with someone who kept cutting him off and he would speed up and try to make sure this guy couldn’t get in front of him it was honestly a little obnoxious. I just wanted to get to our hotel safely. I was just shocked at how aggressive he was. The couple of ubers we did take they were all very aggressive and kind of mean. When we arrived to our hotel it was very small but super cute. Lots of red and black details. The receptionist was so kind and she knew some english which was helpful. I so enjoyed listening to her talk though in french. It was beautiful. After we got settled in we made our way to a restaurant for our first crepes. If you are in Paris you definetly need to check this place out. It is cash only but it was delicious. The name of the place was Creperie Saint Eustache. They don’t have a website so I linked trip advisor and there’s a picture of the outside of it. It is so quaint. The crepes were phenomenal. After we had crepes we checked out the Musee du Louvre. It is a popular art museum. You could spend a whole day in that place there is so much to see. It was amazing. We did catcha glimpse of the Effile tower outside which was cool because thats what I really wanted to see and I had to take advantage of a cute picture with my husband as well. See pictures below of our time in Paris.

We had mexican for dinner in Paris and you may say “What the heck?” “Why mexican?” A coworker of my husbands recommended it because they came across it when they were in Paris traveling. If you didn’t know about it you would totally walk by it. I totally recommend you check this place out too. They had minimal seating but they had a bar in the back that had a really cool vibe to it. If I hadn’t had 2 margaritas already I would have totally stayed for another drink but what ever tequila they use or however much they use it was strong! The name of this place was Candelaria. I tried beef tongue for the first time after having a pork taco. I couldn’t believe that it was some of the best mexican food I have ever had. This owner was so kind and talented. I was so impressed. I asked her how to say phenomenal in French because we loved it so much. We walked to Catedral de Notre Dame Paris after. This church is stunning outside and inside. I made a donation so I could light a candle in honor of a few of my family members that have passed away.

On our last day in Paris we went to the Eiffel Tower the statue of liberty and a wine museum. The Eiffel tower is more stunning in person and at night. I am so grateful I was able to experience both versions. During the day and night. We only made it to the first level even after I had a glass of champagne to hopefully calm me down since I do not like heights. I definitely needed 2 or 3 glasses if I wanted to grow the gumption to go all the way to the top. It was amazing the little bit we did see. From there we walked to the Statue of Liberty. It was pretty cool but definetly thought it was going to be a little more exciting. It is small and its on such a high pedestal that you couldn’t get a decent picture. After this we walked to the wine museum. Musee du Vin Paris it was a neat spot. It felt like we were in a cave which I guess we were kind of since it was built into the side of the hill. We had a wine tasting after of a white wine that was delicious. I was hoping there was going to be more to the tasting aspect of it like 2 to 3 tastings. They didn’t have a lot of the information through out in the museum in english. I wish they would have because it would have been consistent with the rest of the tour since some of  the information had English versions to read. It was fascinating to learn about how far back wine went. After the museum we ate our weight in crepes again. Thats all I would go back to Paris for honestly. I wasn’t impressed by the people and their hospitality. I felt like it was this terrible thing because we didn’t know how to speak their exact language. This crepe place was so good though. I had a cappucino and a savory and sweet crepe. Framboise Passy Trocadero was the name of the crepe place. It seemed to be the place for kids to come after school to hang out and have a crepe. I miss the crepes. We ended our last day in Paris by touring the Arc de Triomphe and we climbed to the top to look at the amazing views. It was absolutely stunning.

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From Paris we traveled to Rome. I was in heaven. I love Italy. I have traveled to northern Italy before when I was in college I did a 10 day culinary tour. Rome and visiting Alberobello in Italy were my favorite part of the trip. Rome had more of a romantic vibe to me rather than Paris and Paris is the city of love. On our first day we went to a place for pizza. Unfortunately I didn’t write down the name nor did I tag it in a Facebook post and I am so mad I didn’t do it because it was the best pizza I have ever had. Even with having been in Italy before. We tried to see the Colosseum the first night but they close at 4. So we wandered around after lunch. We had dinner at a restaurant that we went back to a second time the next night it was so good. I loved the owner she was so sweet and bubbly. I asked both nights for recommendation on wine and we even bought a bottle from her to take home. The name of the restaurant is L’ Archetto di Cavour . I am actually shocked at the negative reviews on yelp about this restaurant. My husband and I had a totally different experience and I am so glad we had a great experience and enjoyed the food. The owner makes a lot of the food by hand. On our second night at the restaurant she offered us complimentary house made limoncello and I was so happy because that’s one of my favorite things. The hotel we stayed in was good but the website pictures did not match what the rooms actually looked like. It really wasn’t too bad at Hotel Nord Nuova Rom they offered a complimentary breakfast as well. The last full day in Rome we stopped by the Trevi Fountain. That is really stunning in person. For some reason in my head I thought it was in a bigger area. Definitely crowded with rude people because everyone is trying to get the perfect picture and the perfect picture of throwing a coin in the fountain. I highly suggest if you want this type of picture that you go early in the morning and maybe even possibly late at night before the sun goes down. This is also a good spot for pick pocketers which is a problem in general in Italy and Paris. After that we went to our 4 hour tour of the Colosseum. Oh my gosh that was phenomenal. The tour guide we had was so descriptive. He was really nice too. He really knew his history about the Roman Empire. He pointed out the spot where Julius Caesar was murdered and where his wife cleaned his body. Which is so crazy to me to have been right next to the spot where this all happened and went down in history. We had to buy carry on bag and I was able to buy a nice leather purse while we were in Rome. I can’t wait to go back to Rome again one day with my husband. It is absolutely beautiful. 

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From Rome we traveled to a town called Alberobello. I wanted to visit this town because this is where my family is from in Italy. I am so grateful I was able to have 2 nights in this town. It is small but absolutely beautiful with all the trulli houses covering it. Alberobello is 45 minutes from Bari Italy and is in the heal of the boot of Italy. Alberobello is known for the trulli houses because of the cone shaped roofs and white washed stone. We stayed in one of the trulli houses. Besides my pictures I posted definitely google Alberobello and check out the pictures of the town and the Puglia area. Definitely not as many people who speak English but that’s totally ok. We navigated pretty well but I definitely had a culture shock once we got there because the credit card machine wasn’t working at check in and we were low on euros so my anxiety was going through the roof. Luckily we still had a nice time and the credit card machine was working at check out. We ate local food and wine and tried to adventure around the small town as much as possible. We stayed at Trulli E Puglia Vacanze. On our first night my travel anxiety really set in and what brought me comfort was actually seeing double rainbows. We were checking out the gift shops and it randomly started to rain and it didn’t last long and when we walked out of the gift shop there were 2 rainbows next to each other and I just got so emotional because I never see double rainbows unless it’s something important and I just knew it was my grandma and aunt saying hi and welcome to our home. It was amazing.

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From Alberobello we had a night in Rome that was quick and not that eventful and we just had dinner at our hotel and then we traveled to Berlin Germany the next day. Berlin Germany was very cool. I am sorry if my description of places is the same each time I am trying to branch out with my vocabulary but sometimes I can’t think of a word to describe it besides cool. I found Germany a little depressing feeling because of the horrific history attached to it. I didn’t exactly want to start this section with “Germany is depressing!” but that’s the vibe my husband and I both got. I mean it is a great city but every where you turn you are reminded of what happened. The reason for this trip was for a wedding we were invited to in Berlin so we made it a big trip to travel to other countries besides just Germany.  It was a unique experience to be apart of a German wedding. Yes we didn’t understand everything but it was still a beautiful day. We stayed at the ibis Berlin City Potsdamer Platz. The local food was so good as well as the wine. I prominently had Rieslings. One of the restaurants we went to was Stone Brewing. This location is absolutely stunning how they have it decorated. I couldn’t believe how woodsy it felt and looked. I ate my weight in sausage and sauerkraut in Germany. We visited a memorial for the Jews that were killed in the holocaust which was really moving. We also saw victory tower.

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We were supposed to have one more evening in London but our flight from Berlin to London was delayed and we didn’t get in till 10 and we ended up ordering pizza in. I was so bummed because I was looking forward to one last night but we were leaving the next day. The hotel we stayed in was beautiful. Actually one of the better ones we stayed in.

I can’t wait to experience another trip to Europe. My husband and I love to travel so I wonder where we will head to next! I am off to Oregon this week to visit friends and family.

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave comments about your experiences in these cities or questions.