Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Naked Grape -- Working my way through the label

Loving the lush of the grape, I've decided to take an analytical approach to new wines.

I'll simply call it: 'Working The Label'.

The goal is to pick a label and then try each of the different blends.

Tonight's selection was Naked Grape. I recently found this label, within the past few months (doesn't mean it hasn't been hanging around for longer in my area; just means I finally noticed it).

The plain white coloring appealed to me: not pretentious or austentious. Simple, basically bare. It would either work or not.

Branding considers the wine--dry. I agree. It's definitely a red meat wine.
Branding considers the wine--full-bodied. Here, I disagree. It's a bit of a light-weight to me. Perhaps more roast than medium rare T-bone.
Branding lists the Naked Grape wines from California and Argentina. Malbec grapes originated in France, but were more for blending than stand-alone wines. Leave it to the Argentina culture to take this grape, in their sun-drenched countryside, and produce something lovely.

The Naked Grape Malbec, due to its dry nature is quite nice against sweet fruits and tart cheeses: a nice combination.

On a scale of 1 to 10, this Malbec ranges mid-5.

Price wise, I paid less than $8.00 a bottle.

It also didn't cause the nasty morning-after temple twinge that can accompany many reds.

So for sipping with a blander red meat dinner or enjoying with sweet fruits after, this was worth the money.

Do drop by my back porch again. I'll be trying another blend and waiting for friends.

Romance With A Texas Twist.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Quick Plug for Review Books and More

Excellent work by a fellow writer, Andrea Geist. A new review website has been born, but with a bit of a twist. Andrea is bringing her special talent of 'crafts and more' to the page as well.

Review Books and More is a great place to stop by for the latest on books, publishers, authors and if you're feeling crafty, stick around. Andrea covers a lot of ground in small amount of space.

Thanks for dropping by my back porch. Be sure to visit Andrea's at Review Books and More.

Romance With A Texas Twist -- ebooks.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Work-Outs For All Types

For the past 11 months, I've trained my body. To become something better than it's been in a long time. Then it hit me. Why stop at that limit? Why not train to be better than I've ever been?

So, I hit the NRH Centre gym three to four times a week. I started at thirty to forty-five minutes and, by the end of each session, my face beamed such a splendid cherry red that folks stop to stare at the tomato (that would be me) using the work-out equipment.

Looking for actual muscles seemed to be an exercise in futility, but I kept going: three to four times a week. Week after week, I persevered because I had a secret weapon.
Experience: When I'd turned 40, I had learned to jog, a pretty fast jog (13 minute mile) for an older dame. Even ran in a 5K one year.

Now, I'm not 40 anymore. As matter of fact, I haven't been 40 in a number of years, but that experience (I ran for three years -- straight -- didn't miss a single day) taught me that I could keep working out at the gym and perhaps find that jogger again.

Being obsessed with the written word, it seemed most apropos (and necessary for my motivation) that I seek out and enlist solid words of wisdom. Strong medicine was essential if I planned to stay true to the goal and be better than ever.

The bottom line, to me, has always been: if I talk loud enough and long enough and use enough logic -- in my head -- then I can make myself believe anything.

Who brought me inspiration?

“If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” Eubie Blake, age 100 (who was Eubie Blake? James Hubert Blake, better known as Eubie Blake, was an American composer, lyricist, and pianist of ragtime, jazz, and popular music.) Simply put -- the man rocked the music world.

Who else inspired me?

"How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” Satchel Paige, often considered one of the greatest baseball pitchers to ever take the mound.

Now, it's 11 months later and have I accomplished my goal?

1) I've found that jogger again.
2) I have muscles, which I promise, I did NOT have when I was 18.
3) Each of my work-out routines is now 90 minutes in length.
3) Perhaps best of all. My daughter (the 19-year-old) and I were at the gym a month or so ago and working on the Roman Chair together. After I left for the next piece of equipment, a woman on a nearby exercise bike asked my daughter if I was one of the trainers. Okay, that was good. Then she ask if I'd turned 40. That was better.

So how old would I be if I didn't know how old I actually was? Pretty darn young.

To all those who whip the beast of age with exercise, balanced eating, and a healthy sense of humor: May you find that inner youth again and enjoy all those years one more time.

As always, thanks for stopping by the back porch.

Romance With A Texas Twist. Romantic ebooks!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Texas Roller Derby

Lots of friends were enjoying a class reunion this weekend. Me? I tried something a bit new. Texas Roller Derby.

Never been? This event was at Blue Line Center in N. Richland Hills. 4 teams -- leagues -- skated. Two separate matches. This was at the beginning of the match and the National Anthem. Doesn't appear to matter what the sport in the good ole'USA. Before a match, everyone hits their feet for the National Anthem. The singer -- sorry, I didn't catch his name, but he's opened for a couple of local bands -- did a great job.

And then the crowds, friends, family and I'm assuming spectators simply lined the skating surface to hoot and holler for the upcoming matches. It's a feisty crowd, so if you plan to attend make sure to bring your loudest voice.

A bit hard to tell, but these aren't kids. Well, they're all kids to someone my age. But many of these are women with a little meat on their bones and a bit of true maturity in their smiles. Several of the skaters from the first match, merged into the crowd seated on the risers, and mingled with friends and families. Quite a few had their kids with them. It was awesome to watch these women skate all out, jamming through (there is a Jammer, a skater who must push through the block of bodies, and actually score the points), skidding onto the floor, bouncing hard against each other and still going after the win.

Want to see a match? Visit: Dallas Derby Devils for the next team times. Generally, once a month and on a Saturday night. Tickets were $13.00 in advance, $15.00 at the door, or you can buy a ticket directly from one of the skaters.

Programs were free with the purchase of a ticket. This warning tidbit was inside the front cover. It explains the mood and the general fun enjoyed by most at the Derby.

And most of all . . . welcome back to my porch. I've been on a long sabbatical. It's great to be back in land of Texas and Romance With a Texas Twist.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New York, New York

I'm sure there will be just short of a gazillion pics floating on blogs as the RWAers get back from conference and upload or download their cameras.

I didn't visit the Big Apple this year with the writing world, but instead toured it in March -- a bit damp -- with a group of HS students. Choir HS students. Let me start by saying, 'It's never quiet when you're with 16, 17 and 18 year-old singers. That old 'burst into spontaneous song' really does happen. Anywhere. Anytime. That aside, they were quite amazing. Unbelievably careful with each other considering how little sleep was really to be gained during the whirl-wind trip. Four days, three nights and no, we didn't stop. The first day started at 4am (time to meet the bus for departure to the airport) and ended around 11pm. Many of the little darlings hadn't slept in front of the 4am bus departure. We, supervising parents, had, however been to bed to fortify ourselves for the upcoming marathon. The choir directors were nothing short of miraculous. They not only kept going, like Energizer Bunnies, but managed to herd 39 teenagers all in the same direction. I marveled at the Herculean effort and again was reminded why my stint at substitute teaching lasted only a scant two years. It's simply exhausting.

This was my first trip alone with my youngest child, who was just short of her 17th BD at the time of our excursion. It was a wonderful adventure.

Best day . . .

Definitely the day we had 5 hours to ourselves. For those familiar with the streets of NY, we started our walk-about at the Donald Trump Tower, around 54th or 55th and came down 5th Avenue, window shopped at ridiculously expensive jewelry stores, stopped in a chic clothing store or two, enjoyed the dog-walkers and their broods and nannies a-plenty with more broods, past the NY Library, onto Macy's and it's wonderful wooden escalator, past the most decadent cheesecake known to a woman's hips and finally hit 32nd. A good stretch of the legs and we found Madison Square Garden. BTY: we were in town during March Madness, and with our lovely luck there was a game that night. Spawning Salmon have nothing on my attempt to head back uptown and to Time's Square against the surge of New Yorkers and out of towners that evening. With the subway rumbling beneath the streets and the stamp of New Yorkers by the tens of thousands, my daughter and I swam in the ambience that is New York.

Go again? You bet.

For those who enjoyed the fun of New York during the writer's conference, here's hoping your time amongst the skyscrapers was every bit as poignant as mine.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Meanderings . . .

Did I watch the big O?

For awhile. The glam of the gowns, the terrific yumminess of men in tux, watching to see if anyone falls -- those heels are killers, the dazzling drip of diamonds (thanks Kate Winslet for making my eyes pop out), but the speeches do get redundant for me, even understanding that the Shinning Star of the moment needs to thank all those folks who've made them famous. Bottom line: I, like most of America, don't recognize the names of the 'thanked' so the name dropping is useless. Now, if the Shinning Star were to give me a hint as to why the 'thanked' are mentioned, it might be an interesting speech.

Oh, wait, Sandra Bullock did that.
And I did love her speech.

Happy Monday to all.
Drop by the porch later. I'll have some grammar tips to add.
Until then,

Care about who was at the parties? Visit A-list.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fine Living magazine cocktail quiz

On a long car trip, you're listening to:
1)Pop hits on the radio
2)'80s hair metal
3)Spanish language tapes
4)Smooth singers like Frank Sinatra
**I'm a Pop Hits sorta gal.

On Saturday night, you can be found:
1)Pushing my way to the front of the crowd at a rock show
2)Getting down in the center of the dance floor at a club
3)At the opera house watching La Boehme
4)Enjoying classic movies on a blanket in the park.
**Well, Saturday nights are not normally night this exciting for me. HOWEVER, I'd be the enjoying classic movies, WITH hubby, on a blanket in the park, if we could combat the mosquitoes and keep each other awake.

Your favorite dish is:
1)Chocolate mousse with whipped cream on top
2)A spicy bowl of chili
3)Homemade macaroni and cheese
4)Pad Thai noodles
**I cheated on this one because I've already revealed my favorite sin in white chocolate, Macadamia nut cookies, but if a gal must decide then I'll go with homemade mac and cheese.

If you could be a movie star, you would be:
1)Salma Hayek
2)Jennifer Aniston
3)James Dean
4)Fred Astaire
**Definitely, Fred Astaire. Hey, don't anyone tell my hubby that I'm channeling a man. Really I want to channel his dancing shoes. I would love to be able to move with rhythm and style.

Your dream vacation would be:
1)Visiting Cape Cod for a tour of famous lighthouses
2)Relaxing on the deck on an all-inclusive Caribbean cruise
3)Hopping on a motorcycle for a cross-country ride
4)Traveling to Japan to experience
**Okay, this one is easy. Ever seen my house? Some have and it's drenched in lighthouses. I love them, and taking a tour to visit lighthouses would be complete up my alley.

The clothing item you can't live without is:
1)A pair of yellow kitten heels
2)A leather bomber jacket
3)The perfect merino wool sweater
4)A flowing silk scarf
**Where's sweat pants on this list? All right, maybe they didn't intend writers or moms or women who want to be comfortable to take this test. Whatever . . . I'll go way with the flowing silk scarf. Goes better with my Fred Astaire impersonation. It would certainly look great in the lighthouse pictures.

What did you dress up as last Halloween?
1)A pirate
2)A cowgirl (or cowboy)
3)A belly dancer
4)A flapper (or gangster)
**This would have to be none of the above. However, I did go as a Fallen Angel (all in black and no halo) once, which would put me somewhere between belly dancer and flapper.

Your dream house is:
1)A mansion in Hollywood Hills
2)An apartment in the East Village
3)A low-slung midcentury-modern home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
4)An adobe casa in the Southwest
**Definitely the adobe casa in the Southwest.

If you won the lottery, you would:
1)Buy a custom-designed wardrobe
2)Head up the fan club for your favorite band
3)Fill your garage with vintage cars
4)Spend a year backpacking across Europe
**Oh, let's be real. How about pay for my kids' college tuition? Or re carpet my house? This one is some far beyond my realm of reality, I just pushed a button.

Of these inventions, which do you find the most exciting?
1)Hair extensions
2)Frequent flier miles
3)Crossword puzzles
4)Guitar Hero
**There must be something twisted in this personality quiz. Of all the 21st century inventions, these are the choices? In the end, I had to go with Crossword puzzles. Too much of a word smith not to appreciate that choice.

So what's my favorite cocktail?
Vodka Gimlet

The phrase "don't change a good thing" was practically invented for you. You love the classics, like movies, cars and, of course, cocktails. Our Vodka Gimlet is made with high-quality vodka and lime juice, shaken in a cocktail shaker just like they've always been.

Well, I've never had a Vodka Gimlet, but I do like Gray Goose vodka, so I'll try this out next time.

Want to take the quiz on your own?

Head over to Fine Living for a bit of entertainment. Do share your results.

Have a lovely Saturday and drop by my back porch again.
Until then,
~Watch your step! Cacti, tumbleweeds, and an occasional armadillo might be ahead.

~Welcome to the land of tar-bubbling summers, gas-guzzling pickup trucks, standard Stetson headgear, and mile-high hair.

~Welcome to the Lone Star State, and Romance With A Texas Twist!



Quote of the Day

HARM'S WAY book-signing!

It was another SELL-OUT!

THANKS! to all of you who turned out for my first two book-signings.

**A 3rd book-signing is in the planning stages. I have personally ordered a direct shipment of HARM'S WAY books from the publisher and will have PLENTY of books on hand for this signing.**

Please don't order on-line or even special order from a bookstore. I'll have enough books at this signing. Feel free to email sandraferguson@sbcglobal.net and let me know to hold your copy.