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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.  :)

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inspiration comes from within

I have this board that I’ve had for a while now, some number of years, I’ve gradually added to it. It started out as something to remind me of who I am (I don’t know why I thought I needed reminding, my personality is pretty strong lol) but has quickly turned into a board of things past, good and bad, but the past none the less. I recently rediscovered this beautiful journal I used to keep, with a polaroid and a journal entry, but all its filled with is stories of my pain and how I’ve tried to overcome it. The truth is I never got over any of the pain written down in there until way after, until I stopped writing about it.

first thing you see in the journal, my favorite spot at Loon Lake

Looking back now I cant imagine why I’d ever want to write it down, to memorialize all the heartache I’ve endured over my short 25 years. I already lived it, why write it down? Its not like I’ll ever forget what I lived through, its ingrained in my memory forever and so are the lessons I’ve learned.

written when I thought I had hit rock bottom, oh boy was I wrong! lol

Lately I’ve really been struggling to go the next step in my life. I have a general idea of where I want to go but I’ve been stuck in the same place for a couple months now, and I don’t like it. Sure I’ve taken baby steps and have been trying new things, but its not enough for me. I need to think bigger, dream bigger. I want to redirect my old journals filled with horrible times in my life I went through and fill those pages with everything I want to do, my hopes, my dreams, and my plans to help get me to them. I want to look into the future, not reflect on the past. I think that’s whats been holding me back for so long, honestly.

The board has got to go. I used to think it was an inspiration board but its the exact opposite. I want to fill it with the things I want to accomplish, motivational things to help me keep at it. Tonight (last night by the time you read this) I started on the board, taking things down and sorting them into 2 piles: Trash the Past and Inspiration.

this is known as back to square one

Now that I’m starting out with a pretty much blank slate, I have to ask myself, what now? Where do I go from here? And how am I going to get there? We shall see. All I know for sure is today, I’m leaving the past where it is and not looking back anymore, its only holding me back.

time to fill the pages of my life with happiness