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Posted on Jul 23, 2012 in Dear Diary | 9 comments

Jenny’s 30th Birthday Wine Tour

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had fun and/or relaxing weekends. Mine definitely fell squarely in the former category! It started out Friday night with a late showing of The Dark Knight Rises on IMAX. The Air & Space Museum out in Chantilly has a real IMAX screen (in actual IMAX dimensions, as opposed to the IMAX screens that are usually installed in regular movie theatres, which is just bigger) and they show some of the big blockbusters there sometimes. Unfortunately there was a bit of a fiasco with the seating and even though Sean & I got there an hour and a half before the movie started, we still ended up in the 2nd row! Oof. We also had met up with a whole bunch of my friends, but we all ended up separated and spread out through the entire theatre. My neck wasn’t thanking me much afterward, but the movie was awesome so it ended up being okay.

Untitled

My opinion of the movie is that it was really great, although slightly less great than The Dark Knight. Definitely go see it! Also, I am generally flabbergasted as to how they made gorgeous, beautiful, hunkalicious Tom Hardy look so repulsive as Bane. Movie magic, I tell ya!

Saturday was the really big day of the weekend. My older sister is turning 30 on Thursday, but as some of you already know, she recently moved to Houston with her husband. Well lucky for us (but not so much for her), she’s still coming back to Baltimore occasionally for work, so we took advantage of her being nearby and celebrated her birthday a little early. How? Why, with a limo-chauffeured winery tour, of course!

I have a recently discovered appreciation for wineries and wine tastings, and it was a total blast to get chauffeured from one to the next. There were 10 of us total: Jenny, her husband Dan, our brother Ben, his fiancee Taylor, Jenny’s BFFs Anne and Lara, her friends Scott and Amy, and Sean & yours truly. We hit up three separate wineries out near Middleburg/Charlottesville area: Chrysalis, Piedmont, and Quattro Goomba (best winery name ever, btw).


Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great (drizzly and misting all day long), but it could have been way, way worse. I took about a zillion pictures and got fairly drunk, so I’d say it was a success overall! πŸ˜‰ Brace yourself for photo overload!


Jenny made sure the limo was stocked with snacks aplenty from our beloved Trader Joe’s, so we had all sorts of fun things to munch on during the car ride. Then before we knew it, we were at Chrysalis!







Taylor and I were the only ones stupid enough not to wear flats, haha. Our platform wedges looked pretty sweet, if I do say so myself, but they did not FEEL sweet on the rocky gravel that is apparently a requisite for all winery paths. Taylor ended up switching shoes with Anne about halfway through, the lucky duck. Unfortunately, nobody else in the van shared my sasquatch-sized 9.5s, hahaha. Oh well, at least I looked cute?


I also didn’t feel so bad being the photo-nut, since fellow blogger Anne was right there with me! She and my sister are besties from high school, and now she and I are friends in our own right through blogging. Just another reason why this li’l ol’ blogosphere rocks so much.




Siblings ahoy!

Yeah, that 2nd picture right there is why you don’t often find me in heels/platforms (though I’m getting better about embracing my Amazonianness!). Can’t you tell who the big sister and who the little sister is? Hahahahaha. Jenny’s also usually wearing much, much higher heels, to be fair. πŸ˜›


Piedmont was probably my least favorite of the three. They’re in the process of being sold to new owners right now, so they don’t have much Piedmont wine available. We only got to try two from Piedmont — the rest were all from other wineries. Hopefully they’ll still be open for wine tasting once the property changes hands though. Piedmont is apparently one of (if not the?) oldest vineyard in Virginia!




Quattro Goomba was probably my favorite. Chrysalis was very pretty (and the wine was very nice, especially their whites!), but Goomba was just so much FUN. They had live music, homemade pizza, and tons of people just hanging around, eating, drinking, and having fun. It was like a big party! I really dug the vibe.

And there you have it! One very fun, awesome, pretty unique way to celebrate my “big” sister turning the big 3-0. And for me to continue my wine education too, of course! I’m still working on softening myself to the reds (the only red I really like is pinot noir, hehe), but I’d say that I am officially a full white wine convert — even Chardonnay has grown on my palette.

Are you a white wine or a red wine drinker?

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Posted on Jan 16, 2012 in Dear Diary, Races | 16 comments

Will Walk for Wine

Yesterday, I participated in the race to end all races.

Starting Line

1K, 1 glass, dozens of wines to taste. I know, it’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

1K Wine Walk

At times, I didn’t think we’d be able to make it.

Will Walk For WineReema

But when the going got tough, we simply drank more wine, rallied, and were inevitably able to (drunkenly) cross that finish line! Huzzah!

The Longest Stretch

When Reema told me about the Washington Wine Academy’s 1K Wine Walk, I was almost too excited for words. Not only was it a wine tasting event, but it was structured like a race! Sign me up!

Prep

The premise, as you can imagine, was really cute. You signed up for a specific “heat”, got 20 (!) wine tasting tickets, a bib, t-shirt, and wine glass, then wound your way through the Shops at Crystal City (I was grateful that it was indoor!) to hit up the Wine Stations that had various samplings of vino and food.

Wine Station

The event was on both Saturday and Sunday, with heats starting every half-hour throughout the entire day. We had chosen a thoroughly un-busy 4:30 heat, which made getting to the starting and t-shirt area a little bit confusing at first. Once we figured things out, however, it was nice not having to deal with tons of people (I’m sure Saturday was much crazier — which can also be tons of fun though!)

Duck Pond

All of the “wine stations” were set up in various empty shop spaces, so they were out of the way of the main walkway. Most of the Crystal City Shops seemed to be closed on Sunday (not sure if they’re closed on the weekends in general?) so there weren’t too many pedestrians being mowed over by thirsty winos, haha. I found quite a few wines that were really delightful, and enjoyed sampling them. My only complaint is that a lot of the wine stations seemed to have run out of several of their wines, which seemed a little unfair since we signed up for our heat times in advance. I still got sufficiently tipsy though, so I guess that all’s well that ends well, haha.

Tapa

A few of the stations were sponsored by restaurants so there was a small spread of food available too. I was admittedly a little disappointed that there wasn’t more available though (most of the stations just had big bowls of white baguette slices). One of the sponsoring restaurants was Jaleo, so I did get to try a little egg tostada type thing from there (delicious!) and there was also a station set-up by Cabot Cheese, which you know I destroyed.

The SpreadLibations

While the food and wine on the actual “race” course may not have been plentiful, the final wine station that you got to once you crossed the finish line was hopping with both. There were 10 wine tasting stations there, as well as a buffet line of cheese, grapes, nuts, and candy. There was also a DJ pumping out tunes (Party ROCK!) and lots of red-faced “racers” getting down on the dance floor. A really fun way to end the event!

Champeen!Jump for Vino!

Despite having a few complaints, I still really loved this event. It was a fun, creative spin on a traditional wine tasting, and given my love for wine and my, er, masochistic interest in racing, it felt like it was made specifically for me! The $40 entry fee seemed a little high at first, but given that I received a t-shirt, wine glass, and TWENTY wine tasting tickets (I definitely wasn’t able to use all of them), I’d say it was well worth it. I would definitely do this event again, although next time I’d probably want to pick an earlier and more popular/bustling heat, and go on Saturday instead of Sunday.

Have any of you ever participated in an event like this? They are also doing a 1K Beer Walk this coming weekend (the 21st and 22nd) if you’re interested!

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Posted on Sep 25, 2010 in Food | 2 comments

My First Monster

I made a green monster this morning! And it was delicious! Okay, okay, okay, so this isn’t really my FIRST green monster smoothie. But it IS my first successful green monster, and so I think it’s really the only one that matters (to recount the debacle of my first attempt, click here.)

This smoothie included:

2 bananas
a handful of spinach
1 cup of skim milk
a few ice cubes
too much ground flaxseed

I actually ended up blending a TON up, because I had bananas that fell out of the skin as I picked them up and had to use them. So this particular recipe probably isn’t one you’ll want to try unless you’re making smoothies for 2 people… or 3… I also used too much flaxseed so it was a little grainy. I only drank half of the smoothie because it was so thick, but like I said, a success nonetheless! And hey – I’m still learning.

For the rest of breakfast, I made an egg scramble.

That’s got eggs (duh), spinach, mushrooms, tomato, red onion, and a little feta. Mmm! I squirted some organic ketchup on top, and yum-o!

Again, I’m sorry for having been so lacking and boring in the blogging department as of late. I’m inΒ Stella & Dot turbo-mode right now! Today I met with Kelly, my stylist sponsor / upline (their lingo) and we went through what was basically a new stylist task list! So if you got an email announcing my debut as stylist cluttering up your inbox, I apologize! Just trying to get the word out. If you’re feeling generous, hit me up with some fan-love at my new Facebook page. I need all the help I can get! πŸ™‚

Speaking of which, I decided on the date for my launch party!! It’s going to be a happy hour on Friday, October 8th, starting at 6. If anyone in the area is able to, please stop by! You can just swing by after work for 10 minutes to grab a drink and some food, or spend a little time trying on jewelry and chatting with me – whatever you have time for! Contact me for my address/directions at powellgh (at) gmail (dot) com, or grab that info from my e-boutique site: http://stelladot.com/gretchenpowell.

The earrings that I got for Jenny (my sister) at the party last weekend were a resounding success, by the way! She really loves them, and I think they look pretty rad, too! I’m glad I snatched those up for her – probably will have to get another pair to add to the sample pile so other people can try ’em out too!

So all in all, today was pretty nice. I actually got to sleep in (!!!), and then drove up with the pups to Columbia to visit Jenny & her hubster. My parents were already there, and we all had dinner together. I’m actually still up there as I type this, haha! Tomorrow I’m going to Potomac Point Winery with Steve and some friends. Not sure how much wine tasting I’ll actually be participating in since it’s not necessarily diet-conducive, but should still be fun! Hopefully the weather will cooperate, and it’ll just be nice to spend some time with friends I haven’t seen in a while.

How has everyone’s weekend gone? Anyone have some successful green monster recipes for me to try? Does anybody out there in the DC metro area think they’ll be able to stop by my launch party? I’d love to meet up if we can (make this newfangled blogging thingamajigger seem real!)

I hope everyone’s had an amazing weekend so far! Until next time (and I promise that the posts will get back on health-track in short order.)

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