Holiday Wines Part I – The Chardonnay Line Up

Holiday Wines Part I – The Chardonnay Line Up

Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here! In addition to all I’m grateful for, this has me thinking about wine. And dinner. Our table usually numbers more than 30. We’ve been known to have three turkeys (roasted, grilled, and deep fried) and everyone contributes their favorite side dishes. Many wines pair nicely with turkey, but when it comes to Thanksgiving Dinner, there is so much more happening! A beautifully roasted bird may take center stage at the buffet table, but the meal itself is all about the sides. We tend to overload our plates with those beloved side dishes—crowding that sliced turkey into a hodge-podge patchwork of fabulous flavors, textures, and colors. That’s right where tradition slowly changes and grows for the better. I mean, before JoJo joined our Thanksgiving celebration, we didn’t have jalapeño-spiked cheesy corn at the table. Now her Texas influence is an integral part of our annual tradition. For me, pushing some spicy, creamy corn into the mashed potatoes and gravy was an obvious move, but when Uncle Fran’s bittersweet orange-cranberry chutney mingled in . . . a serendipitous flavor bomb! Chardonnay is definitely one of the go-to favorites for Thanksgiving Dinner. It’s versatile yet familiar. And Chardonnay is known to play well with others. Whether you’re serving dinner this year or you’d like a nice bottle to present to your hosts, here’s a guide to some of our favorite Chardonnay trios for 2020. Lighter Chardonnay Trios For milder fare, we suggest a lighter Chardonnay. Think classic turkey dinner with simply prepared vegetable dishes, ambrosia salad, and Parker House rolls. We think these Chardonnays...
Holiday Wines Part II – The Reds

Holiday Wines Part II – The Reds

Red is the color deeply entwined with some of our strongest feelings—passion, love, rage, danger. It even symbolizes good luck. What better wine to bring to you next family gathering? For many reasons, the holidays are a great time to stock up on wine—to enjoy, to gift, and to collect. Like the color itself, red wines offer a spectrum of bold and dazzling varieties to enjoy. The Cabs tend to work nicely with most red meats, lamb, and a flavorfully prepared ahi tuna. We love Pinot Noirs for their versatility—most are both smooth and bold enough to work well with lighter fare such as roasted salmon or game fowl and heavier, classic dinner fare like Beef Wellington. Speaking of Beef Wellington and family gatherings—this is one of my family’s traditions! Many years ago, I gave my husband The New Basics Cookbook by Silver Palate authors Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. We’ve had decades of fun exploring so many cuisines and cultures through the recipes and informative anecdotes. Once beyond the chicken-nugget rite of passage, our kids joined us on the journey. While we each have our distinct preferences, we all look forward to Beef Wellington as our Christmas Eve tradition. In fact, my oldest—now living on that other coast—has asked for the recipe so many times that she’s receiving her own copy of The New Basics as a gift this year. Based on how tattered that original paperback is, I’m even springing for the hardcover edition. You can find that hallowed Beef Wellington recipe below. And if you want to find some great red wines, here are a few...
How to Celebrate World Kindness Day – November 13th, 2019

How to Celebrate World Kindness Day – November 13th, 2019

Next week we recognize, World Kindness Day on Wednesday, November 13th. Although the world can be a harsh and ugly place at times, we can all help and make these little steps to show kindness to one another and ourselves. Remember the movie, Pay It Forward with Hailey Joel Osment? Remember crying your eyes out? Imagine if you paid it forward for just a day, maybe to start, and then practice that concept once a month; imagine the effect you could have on someone. It feels good to do good, so let’s start with some of these ideas to brighten someone’s day, especially on World Kindness Day! Here are a few of our favorites: 12 Ways to Celebrate World Kindness Day Send kind words in a letter, e-card, or Facebook post. Say thank you Volunteer – Consider planning a monthly (or weekly) volunteer shift. You might be surprised how much it can lift your spirits to help out with a cause that resonates with you. Check out some options at Volunteer Match. Foster or adopt a pet Donate Start an online fundraiser – If you’re short on cash for donating, you might want to start a fundraiser on social media. Remind your friends that its World Kindness Day to inspire them to give. Paste a sticky note – Write uplifting messages on sticky notes and leave them in various places. For example leave them on restroom or dressing room mirrors, lockers, someone’s computer screen or car window; or even the door to your office or apartment building. Send flowers Spread compliments Shop Amazon Smile – You pay the same prices...
Get Ready for Grandparent’s Day!

Get Ready for Grandparent’s Day!

Grandparents are awesome. They shower you with unconditional love, they’re patient listeners, and they give the best advice, since they’ve been around to see it all. Next Sunday, September 8th is Grandparent’s Day. If you’re lucky enough to still have your grandparents in your life, it’s a perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with them. And if not, your children can take time to honor their grandparents! No matter if they’re your grandparents or your child’s, celebrating Grandma and Grandpa is important. But they may live a fair distance away, so giving them a call, sending them a card or a gift is the next best thing! Here are some fun gift and flower ideas for Grandparent’s Day.   Grandparents Day Gift Ideas Personalize the lid with Grandma & Grandpa’s last name for free! As Rudy Giuliani puts it, “What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.”     Your Grandparents will burst into cheerful smiles when they receive this gorgeous and vibrant bouquet. Big yellow lilies are arranged with pale yellow and blushy pink roses, surrounded by sunny alstroemeria. It’s delivered in this ceramic keepsake vase they’ll adore.     With over 400 five-star reviews, this glowing keepsake candle is one of our bestsellers. The inspirational message around the candleholder’s sphere reads: “The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, and the memories we’ve made along the way.”     Two great bottles of wine from California and savory snacks to pair? It’s...
Warding Off Stress: Helpful Tips & Tricks

Warding Off Stress: Helpful Tips & Tricks

April is Stress Awareness Month. Stress – in one way or another, everyone on this little blue planet deals with it. Whether it’s in the workplace or the home, in our bodies or our minds, with family or among friendships, stress is a real factor that has a huge impact on our lives. It’s an every day battle, and unfortunately for some, it can be a lifelong war. The good news we can fight back! In this day and age, there is an arsenal of weapons to combat everyday stress. Relieve stress with some of these tips.   Three Healthful, Stress-Fighting Tips 1. Get Enough Sleep. It’s crucial to human function that we all get enough sleep. Sleep allows our bodies to rest and our brains to recharge. Studies show that not getting enough – or getting low quality – sleep can have a dramatic effect on mood, judgement, memory and more. Most people between the ages of 18-49 need around six to eight hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble sleeping, especially due to worry, develop a routine that helps you get relaxed and ready for bed. Some gentle yoga, a warm bath with epsom salts, aromatherapy or chamomile tea can all help. And avoid screens! The blue light from TVs, laptops, tablets or smart phones have a directly negative effect on sleep quality. 2. Eat Well. We all want to eat comfort foods when we’re stressed out, and it makes sense: your body is actually craving carbohydrates. Carbs produce serotonin, giving you those nice, happy feelings. But if you’re eating unhealthy carbs in the form of...
Why We Gift Wednesday (Grandparents Edition)

Why We Gift Wednesday (Grandparents Edition)

Welcome to Why We Gift Wednesday! Each week, we celebrate one of the thousands of reasons that we truly love giving. Whether it’s honoring the relationships that we have, feeling grateful for an occasion or a special time of year, or relishing life’s simple joys, Why We Gift Wednesday is all about giving and generosity – the expression of appreciation for life’s many happy moments. This Sunday September 9 is Grandparents Day! It’s a special day where we honor those who have contributed to the shape of our character and to show our gratitude to these role models for their immeasurable acts of love, care, and understanding. One happy GiftTree customer Cynthia had this to say about her experience with GiftTree. She sent a gift to her mom, a grandma of 8: “This wonderful basket was for my Mother’s 78th birthday. With all of her 6 kids, 8 grand kids, 8 great grands kids living in various states; we knew she would be feeling lonely. The basket was filled with a variety of her favorite snacks and she loved everything. Thank you GiftTree for putting such thought and love into your gift choices.“ Why not check out our collection of Grandparents Day gifts for yourself? You never know – you might find the perfect gift.   Comment Below What memory do you treasure the most about YOUR...