Easy and Simple Resolutions

happy new yearHappy New Year to all of my readers!  I hope 2016 is a fabulous year for everyone.  As a friend recently said to me “may you have many unforgettable stories in the coming year”.

The New Year always brings to ournew year house new resolutions, new goals, and a hope for a better self.  We are hoping to get healthier, smarter, and of course we want to get into better shape.  Never easy, always worthwhile.

One way to make any resolution easier is to make it within reach.  Baby steps.  We do not resolve to workout for an hour everyday in 2016.  Instead, we many resolutionske a promise to our self to workout more often (add one or two days to each week), for the month of January and February, then re-evaluate, add more time, another class, or another day, after that.

January always brings an abstinence of wine, beer and spirits to our house.  It is a tradition in our house to stop drinking alcohol in January.  Again, never easy, always worthwhile.  It is easier to accomplish this resolution if everyone in the house agrees to do this together.

We started the no-alcohol-in-January tradition many, many years new-year-resolution-cartoon-500x318ago.  The obvious benefits were weight loss, save money and give your body a break.  One surprise was how personal relationships were affected.  Drinking is a social thing, and some folks tend to get offended if you don’t or won’t join them in the imbibing of alcohol.  Some people take it personally and won’t invite you to the party if you are abstaining.  I found this interesting.  If you find you’re in a situation where your friends are grumpy because you’re not joining in with their drinking, you can do several things.  You can give the bartender some cash to only pour drinking_glass_00118club soda and lime, no matter what you order (if you’re going to do this, it is most effective if you order Vodka and Tonic), or, you can say you’re feeling a bit under the weather and simply order club soda and lime or lemon, or you can just ignore the grumpiness and go on with socializing with your friends.

Another surprise we experienced was the lack of tolerance to alcohol after we finished our 30 days of abstinence.  In December, we were accustomed to consuming a bottle of wine between the two of us per dinner.  We only had wine with dinner about three times ane resolution week, but we usually finished off the better part of a bottle.  In February, we found one-half of a bottle was more than enough, showing us our
tolerance was not what it once was.  This can be a good thing!  Just think – you only need to purchase half as much wine, and you only consume one-half of the calories.

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We also noticed we appreciated the subtle nuances of what we were drinking, and our nose was more sensitive to the delicate and more understated notes of the bouquet of the wine.  Another wonderful surprise.

So, if you’re going to make a New Year’s resolution, keep the goals realistic, keep the New-Year-Resolution-photopromise to yourself within reach.  Get a partner to help you along and to give support.  And, if you’re NOT giving up alcohol for January, check back in two weeks, I’ll be doing a recommendation for wine pairings with cold-climate stews.

What resolution(s) did you make for 2016?

Holiday Sparkle and Shine

sephora holiday

The holiday season is here and the next two weeks are the biggest celebration weeks of the year.  Now is the time to escalate your sparkle and shine (my favorite time of the year).  If you’re like me, you may think you just want to throw some glitter on your face  and that is all you need.  Hmm…well…not quite.  On the other hand, if you’re not careful and youglitter fallout don’t use the right products, you may end up with glitter all over your face, and, more than likely, that’s not the look you’re going for.

The eyelids are the most popholiday glitterular spot for maximum glitter and if you’re not careful, you may end up with a lot of fall-out.  Fall-out is when the pigment of the product you’re applying does not stay where you want it.  Instead, it goes all over your face where you don’t want it.  Glitter is exceptionally prone to fall-out, ending up under your eyes and on your cheeks, not on your eyelids.

The best way I have found to keep the glitter or sparkle where you want it mac painterlyis to make it stick.  You can use a sticky eyelid primer such as MAC’s Pro-Longwear Paint Pot.  I use the color “Painterly” most often, it blends with the color of my lids.  I use a lighter color (“Soft Ochre”) when I want to lighten things up, and a darker color (“Blackground”) when I’m going for a more smoky eye look.  Another cream shadow option is bobbi brown cream shadowBobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Cream Shadow, which comes in large selection of nudes and a rainbow of colors.  You can also use a gel liner for the base but a gel liner is more difficult to blend out and it dries faster.  I find it easier to work with a cream shadow or a eye primer.

If you want to use a primer, try Shadow Insurance by Too Faced (which comes in several shade options) or Nars eyelid primer.  I like both of these because they lay evenly, no clumping, and they do not crease.

One word of caution, when doing any type of smoky eye or a party look, I like to do all of my eye makeup first, this way if I need to clean up anything that may have landed in an area that I did not intend for it to land, I can easily clean it up without disrupting my face makeup. Or, you can dust a translucent powder under your eyes for easy cleanup. e552 brush

After you apply your sticky base, take a flat eye brush (one such as a
MAC’s 247 brush or the E55 brush by Sigma).  Lay your brush down onto the glitter and then lightly pat it onto your eyelid.  Do not brush it on.   You can also use a mixing medium to adhere the glitter.  MAC’s Fix + works well for this, just spray MAC Fix itonto your brush and then lay into the glitter. It is important you do not get glitter in your eye, please be careful and do not get glitter in your eyes!

If you want to have some sparkle on your eyes but not the full on effect of glitter, you can use a shimmery eye shadow or you can use a sparkly eye liner.  TSmashbox-Double-Exposure-Palettehe Smashbox Double Exposure is a lovely sparkly palette. Make Up For Ever (MUFE) makes a nice selection of individual glitter and sparkly eye shadows.

stila glitter eyelinerNYX, Stila and Urban Decay make excellent glitter eye liners.  Of these, I prefer Stila.   By using a shimmer eye shadow and a glitter eye liner, you can get a nice amount of sparkle and shine without feeling like a neon light in a room of darkness. glitter liner

But what if you want a matte eye look, but still want a bit of sparkle?  Go for a shimmery highlighter or a sparkly lip gloss.  Dior came out with a beautiful palette
this holiday, the ‘Couture Creations’ Palette.  Along with the four stunning shadows there is a Diorific Face Powder in #001 Rose d’Or.  This is a very sparkly highlighter.  If you’re applying this, use a fan brush – yes, there is a use fordior palette a fan brush!  I recommend this palette for people with light to medium skin tones.  For a less expensive sparkle on the tops of the cheekbones, over the brows and on the cupid bow, I suggest checking out Burberry’s single eye shadows, several work well as a highlighter.  If you’re in the Walnut Creek, California, Nordstrom, ask for Susie Dragoni, she is an expert when it comes to anything Burberry Cosmetics.

becca goldenIf you’re looking for a highlighter that shimmers and glows, instead of the sparkle, check out Becca.  This company makes several gorgeous highlighters which have shimmer, not sparkle.  The Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in “Golden Opal Pearl” has a cult following. It is that good.

Finally, for just a touch of sparkle, something for a daytime holiday party, look for a sparkly lip gloss.  Bobbi Brown makes my favorite shimmer lip gloss, “Pink Sequin”, bobbi brown shimmer lip gloss“Bellini” and “Pink Tulle” are gorgeous  You can keep the sparkle and shine off the eyes and cheeks, but still have a festive look with a shimmer lip gloss.

Please keep in mind that it is usually best to limit the sparkle to one area on your face.  If you add too much glitter or sparkle, it may clash and cause confusion to your look.

Happy Celebration Time!

Multi Colored Star Confetti

Bring on the Bubbles!

champagne 3December has arrived, it is time to bring out the bubbles.  I’m talking about Sparkling Wine, Cava, Prosecco and yes, Champagne.  I’m a firm believer in drinking bubbles all year, but especially in December.  December is a month of celebration and festivities.  It is a time to gather with friends and family.  There is no better way to celebrate the special times than to open a bottle of bubbles.

Now, how to decide what to purchase, what to serve and how toprosecco jj buckley store the  bubbles.  First, you need to determine how much sweetness you wish to have in your glass.  There are four levels of sugar in sparkling wine; Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry and Demi Sec.

  • Extra Brut is the sparkling wine with absolutely no sugar.  This is the driest of wines.
  • Brut is the most popular.  Most Champagnes are in the Brut style.  There is a small amount of sugar, lending itself to a hint of sweetness.
  • Extra Dry is slightly sweeter than Brut.  Most Proseccos are in the extra dry style.
  • Demi Sec is a sweet sparkler.  Serve this with dessert, there is noticeable sugar in a demi sec.

cavaNow you need to decide if you want a fruity type of sparkling wine or one that is drier and less fruity.  The Italian method of production, the Charmat-Martinotti method, produces a sparkling wine that has a fruiter taste, the Champagne method will give you a drier wine.  The Champagne method (fermented first in the tank, then again in the bottle), takes longer and is more expensive to make.

Speaking of cost, you will need to figure out what your budget will allow.  How many bottles will you need?  If you’re serving more than 10 people, my opinion is to head for a prosecco or cava.  Prosecco and cava wines are generally of fair quality for a good price (around $15.00 or less).  These wines are usually brut or extra dry and will pair beautifully with a variety of foods; appetizers such as cheese, nuts, or fresh vegetables, and entrees of chicken, turkey, and seafood, and of course anything Italian oDomaine Ste. Micheller Spanish of origin.

For a smaller crowd, you could go with a sparkling wine or champagne.  One of my favorite sparkling wines is Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut from Columbia Valley, Washington.  This wine is made from primarily the chardonnay grape, with a little pinot noir and pinot gris, and has a lovely crisp flavor, with pear and apple notes to it.  The Domaine Ste. Michelle comes in a brut rosé, and an extra dry version, as well as the brut.  frank sinatraMy favorite is the brut because it is always a perfect pairing with fish, poultry, pork and of course dancing to Frank Sinatra.  It is generally easy to find a bottle of the Domaine Ste. Michelle on the shelf at your favorite wine shop, and the price should be around $17.00.

If you’re willing and able to get a bit more luxurious, and you want Champagne, then check out Piper-Heidsieck Brut Cuvee.  The Piper-Heidsieck folks make a wonderful collection of wines; Cuvee Brut, Cuvee Sublime, and Rosé Sauvage are their three most popular wines.  Again, the Brut Cuvee is my pick, because this will work beautifully with most foods, and all festivities.  The Piper-Heidsieck Brut Cuvee is crisp, with a taste of toast, herbs and a little apricot.  The price averages around $39.00 and you should be able to find this Champagne in most wine shops.  If you’re looking for somethinpiperg a little sweeter, check out the Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage.  This is a spectacular rosé champagne, and will make a stunning appearance at your celebration.

The general rule for figuring how much wine you’ll need is four glasses per bottle.  The type and shape of glass you use is up to you.  There are no longer any hard and fast rules as to what glass you must use, it depends on your preference.  The narrower the glass, the longer the bubbles will stay in the glass (less surface for them to escape).  I personally prefer a white wine glass for any wine with bubbles.  It’s more comfortable to drink from and it’s still narrow enough to keep the bubbles in.

When serving a brut or extra dry wine, try adding one or two fresh champagne and raspberriesraspberries to the bottom of the glass before pouring the wine, it’s a very nice touch for a special occasion.  The raspberries will float to the top adding a bit of flavor and a beautiful spot of color.

Oh – and please be careful when opening a bottle of bubbles.  Always put a towel of some form over the top and hold the bottle away from you, away from any people, and away from all windows and glasses.  No swords or knives, just a dish towel or something to that effect.  I recommend opening the bottle outside in case open champagneit runs a bit over upon opening.  You don’t need an opener, just twist off the wire cage and gently pull up on the cork, and smile while you’re doing this, it helps.

If by chance you have a bottle of bubbles that has not been totally consumed, please use a wine vacuum to remove the oxygen from the bottle, and then store the bottle in the refrigerator.  Your sparkling wine should stay reasonably well for one or perhaps two days.  I do not recommend re-vacuuming the wine a second time, but it will work at least once.  If you have bottles that are not opened, please store them in a cool, dry place, away from light.  You can safely keep an unopened bottle of bubbles for a year in a cool, dark place.  If you want to keep your wine vacuumunopened bottle of bubbles longer than a year, you need to check with your wine shop about this.  The amount of time you can store an unopened bottle of bubbles depends on the vintage, type of wine, and location of storage.

What wine will you be serving at your next gathering?




Organize Your Stuff!

giftThe gifting season is about to begin. What a lovely time of year. Although, looking around my house, I can see where there may be a problem finding a place for anything new.

Through the years, I have accumulated a lot of stuff. Having two kids did not help, it seems I’ve now accumulated their stuff. They get organizedmoved out of the house, their stuff did not. To compound the issue, I live in a small house, with even smaller closets. What to do?  How to keep it all organized and tidy?

First thing is to clear out all items that have expired. Next, clear out anything no longer used, you don’t like, don’t want. If it is something that someone else can use, give it away trashor sell it. If, you’re like me, and there are items you don’t use, but for whatever reason you can’t let it go, store it in a container that is completely opaque. Put this container in a dry, dark spot. Visit your container every six months to see if you still feel the need to keep these items.storage boxes

Now you’re ready to organize what is left. My number one stop for organizational and storage containers is the office products shop, such as Staples, Office Depot or even Amazon (Office Product section). Look for the storage and organization category. If you’re looking to add storage to your bathroom, plastic storagechild’s room, sewing or hobby room, look at the plastic rolling carts at Staples. I recommend the plastic style over the wooden style for the bathroom, it’s easier to maintain with all of the steam and damp heat that collects in the bathroom.

Go to the Container Store website for items that will give you options for your cosmetics and skin care products. I like to keep my everyday, twice a day, necessaries handy. The acrylic section of acrylic container 2makeup organizers should have an option that will fit in your bathroom. If you sign up for the e-mail option, you will get periodic e-mails with discount coupons. Or, you may find similar items at Amazon.

While we’re in the bathroom, if you’re like me, there’s a bit too much “stuff” in your shower. I can never decide which shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, facial cleanser, etc., that I want. simplehuman So, I tend to keep a lot of options in the shower. This can get a bit dicey and scary (picture items falling off the little sides of the tub and dancing around my feet while showering). I have found a safer and better alternative to storing my shower goodies on the little (too little) sides of the tub. I found the Simplehuman Shower Caddy. These come in several options, big, bigger and biggest. I love the Simplehuman brand, very clean lines, very functional brand.wooden rolling cart

Moving into the kitchen, if you’re looking for something to store your kitchen items in, look for a rolling wooden cart. You may want deeper drawers for the kitchen to hold those appliances that need a home away from your counter top. Appliances such as the electric hand mixer, coffee bean grinder, food scale, juicer, need a place away from the counter to clear the clutter and to keep them clean. I like the rolling carts, they are effortless to move which makes cleaning easier. kitchen caddyWhile you are in the office store, look at the acrylic containers for holding your small kitchen items (long handled spoons, whisks, spatulas, clips, pins, etc.). You will find these items in the desk top organizer section.

Are you ready to tackle the garage, basement, cellar, attic or your storage unit? First rule: get it off the floor! Depending on the weight of your stuff, whitmorget some metal shelving that you can stack your possessions on. I like Whitmor Shelving. You can find these at Amazon. Each shelf holds 350 pounds, and these shelves have a ten year warranty. And, I have found the Sterilite 106 Qt. Latch Box (sold at Home Depot) fits perfectly on the Whitmor 4 or 3 shelf unit. Using a plastic box sterliteto store your belongings will protect them from water, rodents, insects and any other little nasties that you find in garages, basements, attics, or storage units. These Sterilite boxes are semi-transparent making it possible to see what is inside. However, I also color-code labels on the outside, making it easier for trouble-free retrieval. I color code each box according to season (for clothing), purpose (holiday, cleaning, yard) or person. Each garage storageson and daughter-in-law has a color assigned to him or her. I use different colored index cards to simplify this task.

Last stop is the home office. This is a very important room to organize. The best way to get rid of paper clutter is to scan any paper you will need to access in the future. This makes it super simple to locate documents. You need to set up file folders on your computer first. Then, as you scan the documents, save each one to the assigned file folder on your computer. If you don’t have a scanner, I highly recommend getting one. Most printers come with a form of a scanner, but if you don’t want to get a new printer, a hand-held scanner is an option. Even if you have a scanner in your printer, you may want to invest in a hand-held scscanneranner for those items that do not fit on a printer scanner. You can, and should, also scan all of your photos that you want to keep forever. Again, set up several file folders on your computer, and as you scan the photos, save them in the assigned file folder for effortless retrieval in the future.  Be sure to name the documents and photos with a name you can easily remember for searching purposes.  I always save my photos with the name(s) of the individuals or the location of the picture as part of the file name, dates are helpful too. shred

The next thing to do in your home office is to shred any documents which you no longer need. If in doubt, scan the documents first. Please note:  If you have original estate planning documents, please put these into a fireproof box for safe keeping. Never shred original legal documents, keep these in a safe, fireproof box.

For all of your important papers that you need to keep, and need easy access to, you will need fireproof boxa file cabinet. File cabinets come in all sizes and materials. If you do not have a lot of papers, you can get away with a file box. If you’re further along in your life experience, think file boxabout getting two, three or two-drawer file cabinets. If you purchase two of the same units, you can lay an acrylic or wood top over the two file cabinets and make a desk. Determine how high you want your desk and get two file cabinets that will work accordingly. The file cabinets will provide you with drawers and the top will give you a home officesurface to work on. One more rolling cart for your home office to store your small bits and pieces and you should be all set.

Now that you’re all set to organize your space, why not get everything in place beforerunning the gifting begins?

Hmm…sounds good to me.

****runs off to clean up kitchen clutter****

Wines to Enjoy with your Thanksgiving Meal

thanksgiving wineFor my readers in the U.S.A., Thanksgiving will soon be upon us.  Next week!   This means a feast of turkey or ham, or perhaps shellfish (the Northeastern Indians incorporated clam chowder into their diet long before the albarino-wine-0810-mPilgrims landed).   Turkey, Ham, Fish – sounds like white wine to me – right?  Not exactly.  While there are no hard and fast rules about which wine to drink with what food, it is a beautiful thing when the wine and food complement each other to bring out the best in your meal.

There are many lovely white wines out there, and yes, they go beautifully with Turkey, Ham and Fish, but when enjoying a day like Thanksgiving, fennel and citrus saladdon’t limit yourself to white wine.  Definitely start with white.  Start with a Prosecco or sparkling white.  Enjoy your deviled eggs, baked brie or iced shrimp while sipping an Albariño or Pinot Grigio.  Enhance your Fennel and Citrus Salad with a Grüner Veltliner, Vermentino, or Vinho Verde.  Yes, these are all white wines and they pair beautifully with your apps and saladssyrah.  Now, when moving onto the main course, think red.  Instead of a Pinot Noir, think about serving a light-bodied Syrah, one grown in a cooler climate such as Washington or Northern Rhône.   I recently enjoyed a lovely Syrah; a 2014 Les Vignes d’ à Côté from Yves Cuilleron.  If you are unsure of the region where your Syrah comes from (no information on the bottle), check the alcohol level.  The lighter syrahs will be under 14% ABV.

A light-bodied Syrah will allow the flavors of the turkey or ham to come through and will not overwhelm any seafood you are serving.  Another light bodied red to consider serving to your guest would be a Côtes du Rhône.

cote-du-rhone-winesThere is a lot to learn about a Côtes du Rhône wine.  I’m not going to expand on it now, but I will tell you these are the basic wines of the Rhône region.  They come in a red, white, and rosé variety.  I’m talking about the red right now.  The reds contain a blend of Grenache noir, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignane, Counoise and Mourvèdre grapes varieties.  Not all reds will have all varieties, but they will all have Grenache in the blend.   Look for a Southern Rhône, one that is medium to light in color.  You can pair this wine without worry.  This wine will not upstage anything you’re serving to your guests for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner; turkey, goose, ham, pork roast.

If you really want a white wine to go with your turkey, then try to find a roussaneRoussanne.  Roussanne is a white wine grape grown in the Rhône region of France, typically used as a blending grape, this grape makes a fabulous wine all on its own.  You will also find this grape in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  This grape is also found growing in California, Washington as well as Australia, Italy and Spain.  My favorite Roussanne wines come from France.   With honey and pear notes, together with a light acidity, you will find a French Roussanne is the wonderful complement to your turkey.

Of course you will be serving much more than just the protein.   You will certainly have potatoes, perhaps both mashed and sweet, and a thanksgiving dinnergreen vegetable, possibly a green-bean casserole or asparagus with parmesan cheese.  If you’re not serving sweet potatoes, you’re sure to have butternut squash.  Carrots may make their way to your table, along with corn and onions.  And, if you’re serving turkey, don’t forget the stuffing (I make mine with apples and sausage), and cranberry sauce.  For those of you serving ham, you’ll need to add some bourbon-orange glaze to this list.  Now, just how well will a Roussanne, Syrah or Côtes du Rhône wine go with all of this?  Perfectly!

Has anyone mentioned pie lately?  For dessert, you will want to sherrybring out a different style of wine.  If you’re serving pumpkin pie (yum, my favorite), try to steer clear of the sweet dessert wines, look for something with a little raisin and hazelnut flavor to it.  Something along the line of Amontillado style of Sherry.  Yes, Sherry.  This will bring out the cinnamon/nutmeg goodness of your pumpkin pie.

pie and wineFor apple pie, one leaning towards the tart side, I would suggest a rich white dessert wine, perhaps a German Riesling or Sauterne.   Pecan pie calls for Madeira.

If you are completely stuffed and cannot eat one more bite, end your festivaties with Iced Wine.   I particularly like the Ice Wine that comes from the Finger Lakes area of  Up State New York or the Quebec region of Canada.  Okay, so you may want iced wine and cheesea slice of aged cheddar or Vermont Plymouth Blue Cheese to go with this, go ahead, it’s Thanksgiving.


bon appetite





Purchasing a Used Car Should not be Painful

used car salespersonThis is off my usual topics of makeup or wine, but I felt it necessary to share my recent experience of trying to purchase a use (new to me) car.

First I have to say, money is not readily available in my house.  Spending any money, but more than $500, is a lot for  us.  This said, spending $18,000.00 is A LOT OF MONEY!  So, I think it would be nice if the people at the lot of moneycar dealers would respect anyone coming in to purchase a car.  I have to say, I get better service at the local convenience shops than I did at the first Car Dealer that we went to.  Basically everyone should be given a fair amount of respect if they are clean and neat in appearance, courteous and have a modicum of social skills.

model tWe did all of the research to find the car(s) which we felt would fit our needs.  I found several car dealerships that had the cars we were considering.  My husband is a certified journeyman mechanic which helps when buying a used car.  I found a car we were interested in and made an appointment to come down (1 hour drive away from our house) to drive the car.  The price of the car seemed too good to be true.  I had e-mailed the saleswoman and requested any information about the car, such as “what is wrong with it?”  I get a response “nothing is wrong with the car, we have too many on the lot and need to move the cars”.  We get to the dealership and find the person we made the appointment with was not in and the car was not ready.  Sedrivingems someone left a light on in the car and they had to charge it.  Now, I’m thinking;  just put a new battery in it.  But no.  Okay, this particular dealership had two other cars we were interested in, so we test drove those cars while the one I had an appointment to drive was made ready.  Long story short, we tested the two other cars, did not like them and finally tested the car I had an appointment to drive.  We finally find out what is wrong with the car.  It has an odd rumble in the middle of the undercarriage when the heater/air conditioner is turned on (which is not correct), and it has a lot of odd wind noise when it is going more than 5 miles per hour down the road.  I put the window down and it was quieter with the window down than with the window up.

used car saleswomanSo, we go back inside to the woman that has spent about 15 minutes with us and tell her we did not like any of the cars, and we are going to leave.  She jumps up from behind her desk and tells us we have to meet the manager before we can leave.  I said “no, we don’t”, and start to leave.  I get a snippy remark from the sales woman that she has “spent all day with us”.  El Hub thinks we need to be more courteous than anyone at the Dealership has been so we wait for the manager.  And we wait.  And we wait.  Finally, Mr. Smarmy Manager appears and asked us what was wrong with the car.  El Hub tells him there is too much wind noise, there’s an odd rumble in the middle of the undercarriage, especially when the heater/air conditioner is on and there appears to be an exhaust leak, but he could not be sure because we were told to NOT turn off the car because of the battery.  Mr. Smarmy Manager tells us there is no extra charge for that.  What?   Because we could not turn this car off, El Hub could not crawl under it and find out what the problem is – Oh, wait!  Perhaps that is why no new battery!  That would allow El Hub to crawl under the car and he may get too much information.  Very smart of the Dealership to not put in a new battery.  Now I get it.  Silly me, I tused car salesmanold the Dealership El Hub would find out what is wrong with the car, but they figured out a way to keep him from getting under the car.  Not really a problem, there were too many issues with the car, Hubby did not want to crawl under it, no need to do this.  Well, Mr. Manager wants to know what is wrong with the car.  We tell him and he finally tells us  everything that is wrong with the car can be fixed.  Great!  Then fix it.  And we leave.  We do not want to spend money on a car that needs to be fixed.  We figure this particular car was put together all wrong in the first place.  It might have been a Friday car.  You do not want to buy a car that was put together on a Friday or a Monday.  Shift happens on those days.

We checked the internet for another dealership that had a vehicle we were interested in.  Found one about 20 minutes away.  We go to the second dealership only to find the one car we were interested in “just sold”.  Out we goused car dealership!  Of course we had to give an e-mail address and listen to a spiel about how the car we want is all wrong and the cars they are selling are much better.  Sorry.  I’ve done a lot of research as to what we need and it’s not what they are selling.

On to the third dealership.   Another 12 minutes and we are at the third stop.  We were very fortunate to get a young man who was not into the typical used-car chatter.  We gave him the information as to what we were looking for.  He looked at his inventory sheet and found several cars.  We agreed on three of the cars, and took those for a test drive.  We did find one car that we really liked but of cooverpricedurse the price was too high.  We gave our offer, said thank you and left.

We have since visited two other dealerships, no luck in finding a used car that we like that is in our price range.  However, we have the internet and all of the tools we need to find our car.  We  will prevail.  We will try to find an honest car dealership, one that will give us a fair value (Kelly Blue Book Value would be nice), and sell us a car without problems.

toyotaAfter testing 12 cars, we finally found a very nice woman at a dealership that allowed us to take the car home, and the next day, drive it to where El Hub works.  He put it up on the lift and checked it out.  All looked well.  We went back to the Dealership and put an offer on the car.  We negotiated back and forth a little and came to an amicable conclusion.  This saleswoman was forthright, and did her best to get us the best possible price for a decent car.

What this little chapter in my life has taught me is;  persevere with my conviction and stay true to my belief that I can find a vehicle that will suit what my family needs and be the right price.  This took many hours of research on the internet to get an accurate price for the on liftvehicle of my choice.  It took the test driving of 12 cars, and traveling over 150 miles to find the right car.  During this process, I did find the prices of the comparable vehicles change depending on the average income of the local community.   We didn’t purchase our car from an affluent area.

My advice:  determine your needs, research the car(s) you think you want to purchase.  Figure out your budget and what you can afford.  Stick to what you can afford.  You’re going to hear a lot of sales talk about how you can lower your monthly payment by extending your payments to 72 months – or more!  Really?  72 months?  Test as many vehicles as you can.  Stay true to yourself.  Don’t listen to “We’ve had a lot of people looking at this car, it may not be here very long”, or  “you purchaseshould put a deposit down to keep the car”.   You’ll make a better deal at the end of the month.  If you can’t negotiate the price you want, try to get something added into the negotiations that you need, such as tires, new brakes,  whatever you think you may need with the car.  Carfax is good, try to get that, it will help you get a sense of the history of the vehicle.  Take your time, look around and make a reasonable, logical decision.  A decision  you can live with for at least five years.  Five years is how long your car should last if you’re able to buy a car that is in fairly good condition and you take care of it.  Don’t purchase with your emotions, purchase with your brain.    If you do this, you may just end up with a good, sound, car that will serve you well.

Fall Into Wine

hello octoberThis is a wonderful time of year.  Autumn.  I love the colors and the weather.  Living in New England is a fabulous experience during the Autumnal months.  Figuring out what wine to drink is not as wonderful.  One day the weather is 70 or higher, the next day the temps are in the 30’s.  Sunday dinner is Barbeque Ribs, Tuesday we’re eating Chicken Stew.  How do you know what to drink with this up-down thing?

With the onset of the cooler temperatures, I’m tempted to put decoyaway most of my whites and dry Rosés.  This seems reasonable and logical but it is perhaps not the best course of action.  If you’re in a colder climate, you can definitely put away the Vino Verde and the Albarino wines, these should be consumed when the weather is hot and they are chilled.  The Sauvignon Blancs and rounded Chardonnays that you have from the Northern Hemisphere will still be something to enjoy.

zucchini pastaYou can pull those Northern Hemi Sauvs and Chardonnays out when you’re serving a white based pasta dinner such as Chicken Alfredo or Zucchini Pasta II, or anything with mild seasonings.  Add a White Burgundy to your Roast Chicken dinner, it will pair beautifully. Just because the temps are getting cooler, doesn’t mean you need to put all of the white wines away.

However, if you’re like me, and turn to fall winethe comfort food when the weather starts to chill, then you’ll need to stock up on the reds.  Not the Big Bad Boys (Chianti, Barolo, Super Tuscan), more along the line of the gentle, kinder reds.  Reds such as Gamay (Beaujolais), roasted pork Grenache, Pinot Noir and Malbec.  Other than the Pinot Noir, these are reds that are not in the usual rotation of red wines, but they are fabulous for the foods we’re cookingiced pumpkin cookies during the Fall season.  Think of these reds when you’re serving a Herb Roasted Pork with a Tangy Glaze, yum.  The Pinot Noir would be the obvious choice but the Grenache would be my choice.  Save the Big Bad Boys for January, when you’re cooking robust stews and Baked Ziti.

For a super Fall FoliagCotes-du-Rhonee Dinner, serve an Autumn Pork Roast, complete with Butternut Squash and Applesauce, add some roasted new potatoes.  For desert, try Iced Pumpkin Cookies.  I would open a  Côtes du Rhône  with this dinner.   Now is the time to bring out the root vegetables (carrots, snowpotatoes, onions, parsnips) served roasted with rosemary. you can dish up this group of veggies with any braised or slow cooked meat.  Open a Cru Beaujolais, you’ll be glad you did.

Although many say October is the time for “Pumpkin Everything”, I would rather say October is the time for a “Well Balanced Wine with Anything”.

And don’t forget – November 7th is International Merlot Day – yes – November is the perfect month for drinking Merlot.

November 7th International Merlot Day
November 7th
International Merlot Day