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I became a Nina this month

Carlos Martin
Carlos Martin

So about two weeks ago I officially became a Nina (Godmother) for the first time. My best friend Krystal who I’ve known since high school had a son back in January (her second child), and asked me and our friend Bryan to be the Godparents. Krystal and I go way back (crazy considering we still feel like teenagers sometimes), we met in class and both thought to ourselves “wow she’s really cool I want to be her friend” and so we became friends pretty much like that! Krystal has become part of my family since then, even living with me and my family for a summer before she permanently moved back to Hanford, or Hantucky as we call it. We jokingly call each other “Seesta,” even. Growing up and apart really sucks because I don’t get to see my close friends like her as much anymore but we have one of those close friendships that is timeless and we just pick right back up where we left off every time we are reunited.

Anyway when she asked me to be Carlos Martin’s godmother I couldn’t say no, plus it gave me a excuse to get down to Hantucky and visit more. Bryan, the Nino is a really good friend of Vic, Krystals husband, and they met in the Navy through Krystal’s late cousin Martin whom Bryan was really close with. I feel especially honored to be Carlos’ Nina partially because he is named after Martin. Martin and Krystal were extremely close, he was like her cool older brother always protecting her but still having that close friendship that is so special. Martin passed away unexpectedly and tragically in 2007, leaving a huge hole in everyone’s heart who knew him, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever witnessed my Seesta go through. But because life is just so crazy and ironic, that tragedy brought all of us closer together and Krystal and Vic ended up together and married a year later and now have a beautiful family. Emery, their daughter is 3 and is seriously a wizz-kid and my smiley goof-troop godson Carlos Martin is a manbaby who is only 9 months but looks like a one year old. That beautiful family is living proof that even the darkest clouds have silver linings. I love them so much and I’m so glad that we are officially family now. I can’t wait to see what Krystals kids grow up to be like and I can’t wait to be that old crazy nina getting drunk and dancing at their weddings with their parents!

I love you Carlos Martin and I’m so excited that I get to be a part of leading your spiritual life. 


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Summer 2011 Wine&Cheese Night

my wonderful wine vases!

So last weekend I held my 3rd Wine & Cheese party here in my tiny little studio. Really, its just an excuse to bring all my friends out and snack on food while getting our wine on. I feel like with every party they get better, this time I feel like I really outdid myself, I’m pretty proud!

rocked my late grandma's accessories with my LBD for good hostess luck!

Prepare for bragging/virgo moment. This time instead of trying to cram everything on my kitchen table I actually invested in (totally not ecofriendly) paper plates and re-purposed some empty old wine bottles I have saved (cause they were super special/delicious wines) into vases and lined my windowsill. I also managed to expand my seating area by rearranging my apartment (again), and borrowing an ottoman and drink/food tray from my momma, and voila an extra seat plus somewhere to set your drink while you sit on the bed! I even classed it up a notch and borrowed some crystal serve ware from mom of course.

Usually I buy a veggie tray but instead I made my own this time and replaced the usual celery that they come with, with some sliced up cucumbers and hummus instead of ranch. It was pretty tasty. My friend/neighbor even brought us some chocolate covered strawberries, talk about yum.

Our cheese selections for the night ended up being an herb & garlic goat cheese (think spreadable deliciousness), low moisture mozzarella rolled with basil and prosciutto, garlic jack (from my personal favorite brand Sonoma Jack),  and some fresh cheese from Tomales Bay, I can’t remember what kind of cheese it was but it reminded me of fresh goat cheese which tastes lighter and fresher than mozzarella.

Anyway, earlier that day I was texting a friend about what kind of wine to bring and he jokingly said “wouldn’t that be funny if everyone showed up with the same wine?” and lo and behold, EVERYONE except like two brought cabernet, and the exceptions were still red wines. Who am I to complain though, I love wine. We started off with a bottle of the crisp Polka Dot Riesling (my new go-to ries since Barefoot discontinued my favorite), which ended up being the only white wine we had that night, and then started into our cabernets. Our official lineup went like this…lets see if I can remember the order we drank them!

  1. 2008 Polka Dot Crisp Riesling [if you like crisp, dry, and sweet this is the wine for you, this is my new go-to alternative to the old version of Barefoot Riesling]
  2. 2009 Cycles Gladiator Cabernet Sauvignon [everything gladiator is delicious, and this is just another wine they do well]
  3. 2009 GEN5 Cabernet Sauvignon [a little acidic, a little sweet and delicious, made by 5 generations of the same family]
  4. 2008 Honeywell & Todd Cabernet Sauvignon [I can’t remember anything that stood out about this brand besides it going down way too easily lol]
  5. 2009 REDS Red Wine a blend of zin, carignane, petit sirah [by this bottle I was pretty drunk but I do remember that it reminded me of the delicious house red that Hot Italian uses- yum, plus I love zins]
  6. 2008 Noceto Sangiovese [I’ve never tasted Sangiovese before but this was really tasty, smooth, and medium bodied]
  7. 2007 Louis M Martini Cabernet Sauvignon [I saved this one for last, I had drank an aged bottle of their 97 zin and fell in love with their wine but since then they have stopped producing zin so I was hoping for another delicious wine and it lived up, really smooth, and I’m betting that it would age well like the zin I had before]

To my knowledge all the bottles we drank were under 20 bucks, almost all were under 15 for sure. I like to drink my wine on a budget since I am practically a poor person lol. I definitely recommend all these wines we had at the party for a party of your own, you won’t be disappointed.

Yes, that is a sippy cup. She's a spiller!
My blurry & wonderful friends. (not pictured: Liz)

And on a photo-related note, after going through the pictures from that night, I realized how badly I need a digital camera that isn’t a crappy point and shoot. My pictures of my friends came out blurry!!! Grr, stupid autofocus and flash. I think a DSLR upgrade is in my future, yes. I really just said that. Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. I, Valerie Figueroa, admit that I want a DSLR camera, but I also never plan on giving up my film habit.  :)