Monthly Archives: January 2017

Where to Retire: US Edition

A friend sent me this helpful guide the other day. Author unknown.

You can retire to Phoenix, Arizona where…

1.  You are willing to park three blocks away from your house because you found shade.
2.  You’ve experienced condensation on your rear-end from the hot water in the toilet bowl.
3.  You can drive for four hours in one direction and never leave town.
4.  You have over 100 recipes for Mexican food.
5.  You know that “dry heat” is comparable to what hits you in the face when you open your oven door at 500 degrees.
6.  The four seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

OR

You can retire to California where…

1.  You make over $450,000 and you still can’t afford to buy a house.
2.  The fastest part of your commute is going down your driveway.
3.  You know how to eat an artichoke.
4.  When someone asks you how far something is, you tell them how long it will take to get there rather than how many miles away it is.
5.  The four seasons are:  Fire, Flood, Mud and Drought.

OR

You can retire to New York City where…

1   You say “the city” and expect everyone to know you mean Manhattan.
2.  You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Columbus Circle to Battery Park, but can’t find Wisconsin on a map.
3.  You think Central Park is “nature.”
4.  You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multilingual.
5.  You’ve worn out a car horn.  (IF you have a car.)
6.  You think eye contact is an act of aggression.

OR

You can retire to Minnesota where…

1.  You only have three spices:  salt, pepper and ketchup.
2.  Halloween costumes have to fit over parkas.
3.  You have seventeen recipes for casserole.
4.  Sexy lingerie is anything flannel with less than eight buttons.
5.  The four seasons are:  almost winter, winter, still winter, and road repair.
6.  The highest level of criticism is “He is different,”  “She is different,” or “It was different!”

OR

You can retire to The Deep South where…
1.  You can rent a movie and buy bait in the same store.
2  “Y’all” is singular and “all y’all” is plural.
3.  “He needed killin” is a valid defense.
4.  Everyone has two first names:  Billy Bob, Jimmy Bob, Joe Bob, Betty Jean, Mary Beth, etc.
5.  Everything is either:  “in yonder,”  “over yonder”  or “out yonder.”

6. You can say anything about anyone, as long as you say “Bless his heart” at the end.

OR

You can move to Colorado where…
1.  You carry your $3,000 mountain bike atop your $500 car.
2.  You tell your husband to pick up Granola on his way home, so he stops at the day care center.
3.  A pass does not involve a football or dating.
4.  The top of your head is bald, but you still have a ponytail.

OR

You can retire to Nebraska or Kansas where…
1.  You’ve never met any celebrities, but the mayor knows your name.
2.  Your idea of a traffic jam is three cars waiting to pass a tractor.
3.  You have had to switch from “heat” to “A/C” on the same day.
4.  You end sentences with a preposition: “Where’s my coat at?”

OR FINALLY

You can retire to Florida where…
1.  You eat dinner at 3:15 in the afternoon.
2.  All purchases include a coupon of some kind – even houses and cars.
3.  Everyone can recommend an excellent cardiologist, dermatologist, proctologist, podiatrist, or orthopedist.
4.  Road construction never ends anywhere in the state.
5.  Cars in front of you often appear to be driven by headless people.

 

 

 

Does This Font Make My Blog Look Fat?

Amid news reports that our new president claimed his inaugural crowd was much larger than it was (perhaps confusing “protesters” with “celebrants”), here are a few of my favorite fibs:

“No, you didn’t wake me.”

“The pasta’s perfect. Nobody really likes it al dente.”

“This old thing? I got it on sale.”

“I’m not dating anyone else.”

“The check is in the mail.” (Harder to pull off now that everything’s electronic.)

“Bald men are sexier.”

“Are you kidding? I LOVE your mother!”

“I haven’t had any work done, it’s just good genes and sunblock.”

” I wish I could, but I’m busy.”

“It’s exactly what I wanted!”

“Of course I remembered to pick up the (mail, dry cleaning, children).” – Usually spoken while executing a dangerous U-turn at breakneck speed.

“You were my first.”

“You’re the best I’ve ever had.”

“It was already cracked.”

Have a wonderful week. And remember, you’re perfect just the way you are. Really! xoxoxo

Ode to scarves (particularly Hermès)

Wow, it’s been a year since I started this blog. Thanks to all of you who’ve taken the time to read it! I’m re-posting this for newer readers.

olderfatterhappierdotcom

With all due respect to the late, great Nora Ephron, why feel bad about your neck when you have the perfect excuse to cover it up?

Camouflage is one reason to indulge in all manner of gorgeous, glorious scarves. But here are some others:

  • A scarf Frenchifies any outfit, adding a touch of glamour
  • Adding a scarf to a basic outfit looks as though you care, even when you don’t
  • You get a lot of bang for not a lot of bucks, accessory speaking

Scarves add color to my otherwise totally drab closet of neutrals. Or, in fashion-speak, jeans + plain top + 36” square of silk = “high-low” dressing.

When I first started collecting Hermès scarves I had no idea of their history, I just thought they were beautiful. For the non-obsessives among you, here’s a very brief synopsis; after all, entire books have been written on this topic!

Although the…

View original post 300 more words

Bottling Their Passion

As I’ve written before, exploring Oregon’s vineyards is one of my favorite activities when we’re on the west coast. If I didn’t have other things to do, or a lurking fear of becoming a full-fledged alcoholic, I’d be out sampling wine every week!

For winemakers Scott and Lisa Neal, the owners of Coeur de Terre  (“Heart of the Earth”), winemaking is a year-round labor of love. Scott grew up on a farm in Minnesota and has always felt connected to the land. There are very few endeavors that allow for a product to be grown, made, and sold all by the same person. Even better, he’s able to see customers actually use his product—which they do with gusto.

Coeur de Terre (CdT) is one of the wineries we most enjoy visiting, and not just because the wines are excellent. It’s the particular charm of the venue, the owners, and Jacques, the tasting room master of ceremonies, that make this place a standout. Scott explains that they’ve opted not to have a tasting room in McMinnville, alongside so many other Oregon producers, because they’re interested in attracting a loyal, more serious clientele. This makes CdT a special destination unto itself, rather than something you’ll stumble upon. As Scott says, “We’re on the way to here.”

cdt_scott_lisa_neal_copyrightyunakaniwa-1

Scott and Lisa Neal at the winery

Scott and Lisa established the winery in 1998, starting with about 50 acres. Today, the serene hillside property totals 92 acres and the owners have planted all the vines on the estate. Sticklers for quality and consistency, the Neals make sure that CdT is farmed using organic and sustainable methods. Twenty-four acres are dedicated to Pinot Noir (each block having its own distinct character), along with small blocks of Syrah, Riesling and Gruner Veltliner.

fullsizerender

Future deliciousness!

In 2014, Scott and Lisa added fifteen more acres of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, which will see its first harvest this year. Current prices range from $19-$21 for Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Rosé to $36-$40 for heritage Pinot and Syrah, with single block Pinots and older library wines at $65+. There’s truly something for everyone, and joining their wine club produces some great savings, too.

I asked Scott to share some of his favorite memories.

This is a hard one to narrow down. Some of the outstanding memories I have are the times that Lisa and I would walk the land when we first came here and dream of what Coeur de Terre would look like. Now, 16 years later, we do that same walk and see that what we were thinking about is actually here. Other memories are the time my mom was able to visit the winery and see the block that was named after her before her passing. More memories are our first open house in the cellar of the current winery where we sold our first bottle of wine, and lastly, the memory of all the great friends we have made throughout our years at CdT.

Besides developing their newly acquired property, Scott and Lisa have expanded distribution to Scott’s home state of Minnesota and hope to expand into Texas and Colorado as well. (Living most of the year in Austin, I can’t wait for that to happen.) Looking ahead even further, they hope to instill their passion for land and place in their two young daughters. Since the 8-year-old already loves to ride the tractor, I foresee generations of the Neal family producing wine well into the future.

MEET JACQUES

Another asset for Coeur de Terre is their charming direct sales manager, Jacques Rendu. The 2017 harvest will mark his 10th year anniversary working in the wine industry in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and his fifth year at CdT.

cdt_jacques_rendu_dsc_1003_copyrightcarolynwellskramer

Tasting Room maestro Jacques Rendu

The Oregon wine industry is a relatively small world where 2/3 to 3/4 of the wineries are family estates. A close-knit community where everyone is very supportive of each other, Jacques has built connections with his peers through volunteering with the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC), Oregon Pinot Camp and his work as a Board member for some of the industry’s non-profit organizations. Interestingly, Jacques says, “France gave me my palate education but it is Oregon that provided my technical winemaking and oenology training. Both are great assets when interacting with visitors or Oregon wine aficionados.”

img_1371

What a cozy place to enjoy a glass or two!

One of Jacques’ most memorable experiences was hosting a catered IPNC seminar at CdT with French and American winemakers and attendees from all over the world. For a family winery with a small staff, this event was not only a great honor but also a logistical challenge. Only at the end did they discover that one of the guests was the wine buyer for the White House. He had served under the last three Presidents at the time and after tasting Scott and Lisa’s wine told them he wanted to order one to be featured at the White House. Impressive.

PLANTING THE SEEDS OF FRIENDSHIP

Jacques’ enthusiasm and knowledge are as contagious as his smile. We always learn something new – such as when a particular wine will be at its peak – and get menu inspiration for what food to serve with whatever we’re buying. Jacques has hosted guests from as far away as Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany, Africa, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and, most recently, Japan. He says, “Wine is an amazing ‘cultural’ exchange vehicle.” Forget that old Coke jingle… imagine if the world could just sit down and have a glass of wine together!

Some of these simple tastings have resulted in long-lasting relationships. Total strangers the first time, visitors often leave with something more than a few bottles; they leave with great memories and a fondness for a special winery.

img_1370

Scott explains the fine points of Pinot

SIDE NOTE FOR TEXANS

Coeur de Terre will be part of next week’s Pinot in The City events with other Willamette Valley wineries taking place January 24, 2017 in Dallas and January 26 in Austin. Scott will be there.

Cheers, Alisa

[Not a sponsored post. Attributed photos courtesy of Coeur de Terre.]

Resolutions for 2017

Happy New Year, dear readers! I’m back after a non-vacation “vacation” spent doing errands and waiting for the weather to improve so more could get done. Hopefully your holidays were restful and relaxing, and I hope 2017 brings you peace, happiness, good health and prosperity. (And good riddance, 2016 – you were crap.)

Right now, the TV is full of ads for self-improvement (diet, fitness, financial etc.) to make us all feel guilty about the holiday season’s excesses. In the spirit of making New Year’s Resolutions — an activity I generally resist — here are some of mine:

SPEND MORE time with my favorite people

EAT MORE whole grains and fish

WORRY MORE about things I can actually do something about, and ignore the rest

PAY LESS ATTENTION to crazies on the news

EXERCISE LESS anxiety over issues that are out of my control

COMPLAIN only to people who can fix the problem

SIT ON MY BUTT and watch more sunsets

scale-403585_640

Seriously, though, I do want to share that I’ve lucked into a weight loss program (through my husband’s employer) that actually works: Naturally Slim. If you’d like to lose a few pounds or kilos, or have ever dieted with only short-term success , I wholeheartedly recommend their approach.

Naturally Slim is not a diet, there are no special foods or potions to buy, and there are no group weigh-ins or mass flagellations. You simply log on weekly and watch a series of videos that help educate you about different topics to ultimately change your behavior and attitudes toward food. It is remarkably simple, smart and easy.

I’ve lost 17 pounds since mid-September and can tell you enthusiastically that I have never once “dieted”, felt deprived, or found it difficult to stay with the program. I can eat “fattening” foods like pizza or grilled cheese and still lose weight because of when and how I’m eating them. Miraculous! Happy to share more details if anyone’s interested.

Cheers, Alisa

(As always, this is not a sponsored post– I wish it were!)