Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Wine Spot

The Wine Spot Review: Our introduction to this new new wine and art hot spot in Cleveland Heights was a wine and craft beer tasting this past Friday. Upon entering we were impressed with the overall design and flow of the space. Owners Adam and Susan Fleischer successfully converted the location from a hardware store into a wine destination with a downtown loft feel. Multiple seating areas and a private room invite visitors to stay and relax. The industrial-finished walls feature artwork by local artists. Our group of friends is always looking for new places to go (see here) so I love that not only is this a new, hip venue, but their ongoing events will provide consistently new options for us to try out.

Wines Purchased:  I chose the 2011 Natura Chardonnay from the Casablanca Valley of Chile's Emiliana Organic Vineyards and made with organically grown grapes. Typically sold for $11.99, The Wine Spot had it on sale for $8.99 for the event. More importantly, it tastes amazing! Emiliana describes it as, "A clear, bright pale yellow in color, with refreshing citrus aromas of grapefruit and lime that intermingle with subtle tropical fruit aromas such as pineapple and a touch of herbs. Fresh and juicy, with citrus and tropical fruit notes on the palate, with good persistence and balance and a fruity, enjoyable finish."

The Mr. chose a 2009 Bodegas CastaƱo Monastrell (Red Wine) Yecla, Spain, an Eric Solomon European Cellars Selection. Sold for $9.99 at the event. As far as the taste, describes it as follows, "A dense ruby color is followed by a sweet, pure nose of blueberries, raspberries, and chocolate, loads of fruit, medium body, sweet tannin, and a long, ripe finish."

The 2011 Natura Chardonnay
Wine tasting display
I'm not a big beer fan,
but had to try at least one craft beer.
A sample of their craft beers
The space
If you're as obsessed with this wood-framed bar and overall decor as I am, you'll want to know that it was designed by Kevin Monroe of Monroe Constructs
View from private dining room looking out
Musical guest Old Boy in action
Upcoming Events: 
The Wine Spot is not a bar that sells drinks, rather they are a wine and beer store that holds periodic tasting events. Upcoming events include...

Bonjour Southern France
Saturday, January 28 from 4-7pm
Enjoy four beautiful wines from the South Of France.
$12 price includes cheeses and artisan breads.

Mead Tasting
Thursday, February 16 from 6 - 8 p.m.
Tentative Lineup: Midas Touch, Zombie Killer - B Nectar, Viking Blood, IQHILIKA Cape Fig. 
$12 with appetizers.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Droid Drop - Pics From The Past Few Weeks

Sunset over Lake Erie, Cleveland in the background
Frontier Log Cabin, Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, MT
My next art project (yes, I steal good ideas)
She LOVES sleeping on clothes we've left on the floor 
Decisions, decisions. Youngstown for work, NYC for fun?
WKBN-TV Youngstown (I made the responsible choice).
This building is retro inside and out, and so cool.
New Years Eve
Putting my new log candles to good use
Breck backed into my gorgeous glass cylinder candle holder,
the end result (although sad) turned into a pretty pic
A guilty conscience
D'Vine Wine Bar
Snowy Cleveland
Snowy Cleveland
Snowy Cleveland

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Dealership Worth Dealing With

I purchased my car four and half years ago from Fisher Auto in Boulder, Colorado. My dad was my co-signer and reveled in the fact that I was at his mercy and basically had to listen to all of his finance and loan advice the entire day. He was also reveling in the fact that my six-month, car-searching, indecisive fiasco was finally over! Since my car was used I also bought a four-year, fully refundable warranty. Meaning, if I didn't need to use the warranty in those four years I would receive a full refund on the price of that warranty. Sound too good to be true? Unfortunately, even though the warranty company had a positive 30-year reputation, it was. When those four years ended last September I called to find out how to proceed with getting my refund only to find their number had been disconnected. A quick Google search confirmed my suspicions that the company had gone under and declared bankruptcy.

Hayleigh the Highlander
The Mr. called his cousin who owns a dealership here in Ohio to find out what sort of rights I had as well as what obligations both the warranty company and the dealership I bought it from owed me. Basically, I could file paperwork for a lawsuit with the warranty company that I would probably never win and the car dealership had absolutely no obligation as it was a third party to the purchase.

Panic set in as I dialed Fisher Auto to see what they recommended. I went from knowing full well I was screwed as the phone rang to secretly jumping up and down with excitement as I hung up. An employee from Fisher informed me that, although the owner Craig Fisher technically didn't owe me anything and had nothing to do with the warranty company's demise, Craig recognized that his reputation was on the line and customer loyalty in any economic market is crucial for continued success.

While Craig could only refund me a portion (about 25%) of the price of my warranty since he had many other customers who purchased this ill-fated warranty, I knew that it was more than he owed me and more than I would ever see from the warranty company. Another option was service discounts for the life of my car, but seeing as I'm now out of state that wasn't feasible. And even when Craig recognized that I lived out-of-state and may never be able to purchase another car from him, he still felt it was right to give me that partial refund. Amazing. Everyone knows of the negative reputation in the car sales industry and my circumstance is proof that not all dealerships operate with a cut-throat mentality.

So this is my personal testimonial. If you're in the Denver-Boulder area, or the Northern Colorado region in general, and are looking for a car, I would recommend stopping by Fisher Auto. Because the repercussions (both positive and negative) of buying a car, don't always end when you drive that vehicle off the lot.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wine Wednesday: Cantora

2009 Cantora Carmenere-Cabernet Sauvignon
Purchased for $9.99 at Whole Foods
Colchagua Valley, Chile

"This well-balanced wine is a blend of 50 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, which provides backbone, and 50 percent Chile's signature varietal, Carmenere, which adds spice. Full-bodied and well-structured, the wine's velvety tannins and elegant texture make it approachable, and it's a steal at 10 bucks. It offers aromas of dark fruit, spice and dried herbs, with hints of coffee and tobacco. On the palate, taste ripe cassis, plum and blackberry with mineral and earth notes. Drink it with grilled or roasted meats, hamburgers, barbecue, hearty stews and firm cheeses." - (Currently listed as Best Of New Orleans "Wine of the Week")
Our consensus. The Mr. really liked it. For me it wasn't quiet as smooth as last week's choice, but I definitely liked it. And for the price, you can't beat it. We paired this wine with wasabi-crusted salmon, green beans and mini-russet potatoes (probably not the best pairing for the wine though), all from Whole Foods. When I ask the Mr. to make me dinner, his go-to meals are always prepared dishes from WF. They taste great so I can't complain. However, he then tries to institute the "cook doesn't clean" rule, which doesn't fly with me.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Don't Be Offended - I'm Attached To My Phone

In an age where cell phones are like technological oxygen, there's still a misunderstood group of people who actually do follow proper etiquette. We aren't the type who survive by phone multitasking, whether it's while watching TV, driving, or even having a convo (ahem hubby). One time I was in a room full of friends who were all playing a game - with each other - on their phones. Leaving me to entertain myself. Ridiculous. I have a Smartphone, but I'm not that bad. But I'm here to tell you this new, misunderstood group, we're still attached to our cell phones, just for very different reasons.

We are a much smaller group who truly do "need" our phones. It is our lifeline. Our security blanket. God forbid I miss a phone call that could have made a difference in a life or death matter for someone I love. I would always wonder, if I'd just answered that call, what would have happened? I'd rather offend someone with the presence of my phone and have that peace of mind than worry myself into oblivion on a consistent basis. Sorry, but I'm not budging.

Maybe I should preface this with, I am an unnecessary worrier. Especially since my dad died, but even before that it was bad. It's hereditary, handed down from my mom's side of the family. A recent example. While we were heading out the door for our trip to Montana and I was tripple checking doors, light switches and stoves I saw a bottle of 409 sitting next to an electrical outlet. So this is where my mind goes: It's not touching the outlet, but what if the bottle is leaking chemical fumes and the fumes build up near the outlet over a few days and the outlet sparks and the spark lights the fumes on fire causing a mini-explosion and then the fire quickly spreads throughout the house using the liquid in the now melted bottle of 409 as fuel. Ridiculous to some, but not to me.

Now you can guess where my mind goes when I miss a call from my mom. I hyperventilate during Yoga when I have to leave my phone in a locker. Relaxing, right? During the movies I keep it on vibrate in my lap. Never do I ever turn it off. It sits on my bedside table at night on loud, in case she should call. If I forget it at home, my whole day is a worried mess. I take it with me everywhere!

The point I'm trying to make: think about why someone's attached to their phone before you automatically peg them as "addicted" and "rude". If you're having dinner with me I can guarantee you my phone will be the third party at the table, parked somewhere between my silverware and glass of water. This doesn't mean I'll answer it, or even look at it. But because my phone is with me I will be 100% in the moment with you.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Showing Her Broncos Pride

Ornamental Highlights

Before we sadly take down our tree (it's about time), I wanted to share with you my fave ornaments this year...

I promote an interfaith tree (see why here)...
Irish Cross
Our Ornukkah (Hanukkah/Jewish ornament)
In honor of my dad
Gotta have my shoes!

A fierce rivalry... 
Denver Broncos
Cleveland Browns

Friday, January 6, 2012

"Beautiful Inside And Out"

A gorgeous new model has emerged, 6-year-old Ryan. But unlike most models today, he has Down Syndrome. Ryan's been hired by two retailers, Target and Nordstroms, to appear in their advertising. There are two important things about these ads that most people probably overlook, but that shouldn't go unnoticed. Not only do I love how they've chosen to include him in group photos rather than featured in solo shots, solidfying that they get it, he is an equal, but I also love how neither retail made a huge fuss about it. They just placed the ads, knowing there's no need to single him out. While the ads are just ordinary, that's the beauty of them.

According to his mother, Ryan loves his new job. "The whole process of modeling is an extreme confidence booster for him. He received so much warmth and caring from the Nordstrom crew that he thought they were there just for him! We are honored that Ryan is making the Down Syndrome community proud. He is a beautiful boy inside and out. He makes us better parents, and a better family."

There's nothing like a heartwarming story to close out your week.

Photo: Target
Photo: Nordstrom


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Postcard Diaries

Photo courtesy of 'I Do' It Yourself
Forget about sending postcards to friends and family. Have you ever thought of sending one to yourself instead? It's a unique way of documenting your trip without having to bring along a journal. Think about it, you have a professional photo of where you've been, a brief description of the trip's highlights, and a foreign (or stateside) stamp and postmark to verify the origins of your journal entry. After a few trips you'll have a very unique, personal journal of your treks across the globe.

Photo Courtesy of Males In Early Childhood

As far as what to write about, skip the greetings and small talk and go straight to brief descriptions of the trip's details. The people you were with,  dates of the trip, excursions you took, the hotel and room number that you stayed in, restaurants you enjoyed, your favorite dishes, etc. etc.

My most recent entry from our trip to Montana

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wine Wednesday: Cloudline

In an effort to drink more wine because I'm a woman and I should like it, I'm starting Wine Wednesday. Today's pick is a fave I tried about a year ago and re-tried yesterday for Homemade Pizza Night after I randomly found it at the store.

Cloudline Oregon Pinot Noir 2008, Cloudline Cellars
Typically runs around $15.99 to $19.99/bottle
Purchased for $17.99 at Heinen's
International Wine Cellar describes it as "Bright red. Smoky red berries and cherry on the nose, with a hint of anise that gains strength with air." My review is a little less sophisticated. I like anything that doesn't have that overwhelmingly harsh wine taste and Cloudline goes down smoothly.

Not Your Mother's Red

When I wear red lipstick I look like I'm five and I'm playing dress up with my mother's makeup. Same goes for red nail polish. There's something about that harsh vibrant red that is so outdated. Don't get me wrong, some women can pull off the retro hue, but not this Irish/Czechoslovakian/Yugoslavian mix. These deeper shades work much better for me.

Photo: Eyeshadow Lipstick
Photo: Eyeshadow Lipstick
Cheryl Cole
Jessica Alba
Jessica - Unleashed

Deborah Lippmann - Single Ladies
Avon Nailwear Pro - Wicked, Photo: Pampered and Polished
OPI - Romeo and Joliet, Photo: Makeup Alley
OPI - Hollywood and Wine, Photo: Polish Mayhem