March 17th, 2020: Not in the Mood

All!

The challenge fatigue is really starting to set in today. I am really not feeling this whatsoever. I do know this apathy is attributed to what is happening in the world. This feeling of uncertainty and sensationalized news stories are setting me over the edge. I cannot seem to bare it. I am really not in the mood.

Sorry, that’s all for today.

March 16th, 2020: An to Ode Myrts…

You were frail yet strong

You were tiny yet colossal

You were wiry yet soft

You were a sister

You were a lifeline

You were a comfort

You were spirited

You were light

You were deep

You were consistent

Oh Mrytle, you have left a pawprint on all of our hearts. I will never forget your warm eyes and your wet beard that covered your underbite after you lapped up all the water in the dish. I will miss your obnoxious bark, the way you tried to eat everything except your dog food, and the manner in which you would take your paw and scratch my face indicating that you needed more attention.

You appreciated every interaction and loved being around everyone.

Myrts, you were magical. I know you’re up above galavanting with your sister Winnie.

I know I will never say these words again, “Where are the girls?”

Miss you already.

March 15th, 2020: You Truly Can Die from a ūüíĒ .

RIP Myrtle.

People have always said that you can die from a broken heart. I never knew the true gravity of that statement until I received a phone call early this morning.

I saw that my sister was calling. It was probably 8:00 AM. I ignored her call, for I was ignoring what news I knew I was going to receive. Instead of calling my sister, before I could do anything, my dad called. It sounded like the phone was shaking on the other end. My mother and father were in hysterics. “Myrtle is being put down this morning,” they sobbed into the phone.

It was exactly a week ago today that our beloved Winnie passed. It felt surreal, repetitive, like an old home movie on replay that freezes in the exact same spot. Myrtle and Winnie were sisters. Although they looked very different, they shared the same blood, and were born of the same mother.

Once Winnie passed, it was only a matter of time. In the short seven days since Winnie’s passing, Myrtle stopped eating and grew very ill very quickly. Myrtle would only look out the window, catatonic, just waiting for her companion to come home. Once there were two leashes hanging, then there was one, and now there is none.

Myrtle left this world today to join her sister Winnie. Myrtle was a delicate and amazing creature and loved by everyone who had the chance to meet her.

Tomorrow I will write a poem in Myrtle’s honor. For now, we grieve and we celebrate. What a life she lived…

March 14th 2020: before & after

I’d like to take time out of this craziness to share a new batch of floral arrangements of which I am extremely proud. Big K Floral for the win!

I went to 14th street floral located in NW, DC. Two men own the shoppe and are extremely knowledgeable and friendly. When I walked in I felt warm. I stepped into a world full of color and vibrant scents. The fresh flowers lined the walls, delicately placed in silver bins, while the roses chilled out in the fridge towards the back. I thoughtfully chose my color scheme. I wanted to go with a monochromatic theme. I also wanted to hit my arrangements with pop of color. I decided to choose green, for green reminds me of health, freshness, and rebirth. Below you will see my before and after pictures of my flowers.

March 13th, 2020: excuse me for the interruption

Well, everything is canceled. I was supposed to be at a bachelorette party this weekend, instead I am sitting on the coach figuring out how I am going to teach all of my students from home. I was supposed to be in Florida in two weeks, but those plans have changed as well. This time of uncertainty is unsettling. Clearly my problems cannot compare to what others are going through during this pandemic, so I want to send my thoughts and prayers to families and people who have been negatively impacted by Covid-19. Nevertheless, hard is hard.

I am staring down a future that is hazy. I cannot really seem to see, but in time hopefully light will shine through. I need to change my perspective and begin the process of adapting. It is not going to be easy.

And tomorrow I will be back and present in full.

Thanks.

March 12th, 2020: The #theCHAMPAGNEseries: Varietals continued…

Champagne¬†Ros√©. Here is what you need to know…

Rose champagne has grown in popularity over the years. You can thank instagram, reality television, and various celebrities for making this type of champagne particularly popular. It has a welcoming pink hue and a crisp, sweet taste that is unmatched to other beverages of its similarity.

Why is it pink?

Rose champagne is made with white and red wine, which gives it the recognizable color. Did you know that Champagne, France is the only region where you can legally blend white and red wine to make rose? If you are drinking a bottle of “sparkling rose,” and it’s not from France, you guessed right, you’re not drinking rose champagne. Again, be mindful and check the label as well as the producer.

Flavor Profiles or aptly put, How can I describe this wine?

Rose champagne is usually crisp, dry, and tannic. The wine carries many fruit undertones. Some roses can taste peachy and others are berry forward mixed with spice. Most rose champagne have a berry-like taste, such as blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries.

Recommended bottle:

In 1764, Ruinart created the first rosé champagne. It is MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. $89.99

Now, as you can see from the picture above $89.99 for a bottle is pretty steep for most. Keep in mind you get what you pay for. Most high quality rose champagne will run anywhere from $70.00 to upwards of $500-$1,000 per bottle depending on the vintage. Here’s a tip! Most producers just upcharge only because the bottle says rose, so do you want my advice? If you’re pinching pennies, don’t get rose, just get a delicious bottle of regular champagne. Trust me! You will still have an amazing experience without breaking the bank.

March 11th, 2020: The #theCHAMPAGNEseries: Varietals…Brut

Before we begin…FUN FACT: Opening a bottle of Champagne 101

  • take off the foil wrapping
  • then you will see a metal cage, to take the cage off (6 turns should take it off)
  • take your dominant hand to begin the loosening of the cork
  • take your other hand to hold the bottle in a secure position
  • keep your hand over the top
  • THERE SHOULD BE NO SOUND! NO POP! NO NOTHING!!!!!! (everyone thinks that when you open champagne there should be an explosion and then the inevitable cork goes flying) NO. NO. NO. THIS IS THE WRONG WAY. When you open champagne in this manner, the CO2 releases from the bottle. CO2 is what makes champagne bubbly and effervescent.
  • Whenever you see a cork go flying in the air, you’re looking at an amature.
  • NO SOUND = fizzy bliss
  • Now you know how to “pop a bottle” CORRECTLY.

Anyway, rant over.

Yesterday, I wrote about region and what defines champagne. For the next 3 entries, I am going to discuss varietals. There are many kinds, so I will go over a few (three here).

Champagne Brut Millésimé: There are different subsets of brut. First we have your classic brut champagne, typically this champagne has less than 15 grams of sugar in a bottle. Then, we have extra brut where there is less than 6 grams of sugar. Both varieties are dry to bone dry. Brut is my absolute favorite, for I prefer to sip dry wine in my daily life. You can ensure your bottle is dry by looking at the alcohol content on the bottle. Typically you can locate the alcohol content on the back of the label in tiny print. The average alcohol content on a bottle is around 12%. I prefer an even higher alcohol content, but the 12-13% range is typical. The greater the alcohol content (high percentage) the dryer the finish will be on your palate.

Everyone has different tastes, so keep that in mind when choosing a bottle. When you see a lower percentage of alcohol on the label’s bottle just know you would be sipping on a rather sweet champagne. If you prefer sweet, check the alcohol content and make sure it’s lower than 12%. Tomorrow I will cover Champagne¬†Ros√©. and then the third day I will write about Champagne¬†Blanc de Blancs.

March 10th, 2020: The #theCHAMPAGNEseries: Region

Yes! There is a DIFFERENCE between sparkling wine, Cava, Prosecco, and…CHAMPAGNE.

This past summer I have decided to study and learn more about wine, in particular, Champagne. Over the next few blog posts titled #theCHAMPAGNEseries I am going to share some of the things I have learned throughout my studies. When you finish reading my blog posts, hopefully you will know a thing or two to impress your family, lover, and friends.

You’re welcome by the way.

Regions:

Cava comes from Spain.

Prosecco comes from Italy.

Champagne comes from France. It can only be called Champagne if it comes from France. If you order Champagne at a bar or restaurant, make sure to check the menu to ensure the bottle was made in France. You can also ask the server to show you the bottle to verify. If you’re purchasing a bottle in the store, it’s up to you to check the label and identify the region (MAKE SURE IT SAYS FRANCE!). If what you order on a menu reads sparkling wine from California, Cava from Spain, or doesn’t provide a region in France, you’re getting bamboozled or overcharged for a product you didn’t even order. You wanted champagne right? You didn’t order sparkling wine! You did NOT order Cava! It really grinds my gears when I order champagne and someone brings me Prosecco. It’s not the same thing whatsoever!

I know I may sound like a snob, but it’s important to know the difference. You want to get what you pay for, correct? Really, I am just trying to help you navigate what could be a possibly intimidating situation. Never again will you confuse the difference between these wines. The more you know…

You’re welcome by the way, again ūüėČ

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog where I will discuss flavor profiles and varietals.

March 9th 2020: Big K Floral

my latest floral arrangements

Big K Floral

Vision:

I would like to start a business that caters to the creative. Big K Floral would be a flower arranging service. I would like to host private parties at clients’ homes where individuals learn how to make “the arrangement of the day.” Additionally, clients could explore Big K’s flower bar to build their own arrangement to take home (I took the idea from a candy bar or a dessert bar one would find at a wedding or special event).

What would it look like:

There would be a flower bar in the back of the room of which the party is being held. There, one would find antique vases, funky vessels to hold flowers, ribbon, trimming tools, and a plethora of fresh flowers of which to choose. There would be a bouquet or arrangement of the day for those who need or require more direction that would following the theme of the party. Big K would model the arrangement of the day and lead clients through the process. During that time, clients could make their own floral arrangements or follow along with me, while sipping wine and eating appetizers with their friends.

Add ons:

There would be levels or packages depending on the party. For instance, there could be custom cocktails or particular party favors to celebrate various occasions, such as a baby shower or bachelorette. Big K could partner with other business to provide other ancillary services such as massage, catering, manicures, etc.

Audience:

This could be for people who celebrate birthdays, holidays, wedding parties, baby showers, and religious holidays, or people who’d like to do something outside of the box.

Next Steps:

I am going to test this out with a small group of women. I will let you know how this goes…

March 8th, 2020: Farewell, Winnie.

Winnie Maitland

Winnie “Windsor” Maitland left this world on March 8th, 2020 around time 8:00 AM eastern time. She was beloved by many.

My mom called me this morning. I ignored her call. I wanted to sleep more. My sister then called 20 minutes later. I ignored her call too. Following both calls both of which I so selfishly unanswered, my phone buzzed, indicating that I had received a text message from my sister Courtney. It read, Can you talk?

As soon as I read that message I knew. I had been waiting for this call for the past few months. Even though I had been waiting, I was not prepared for the news I would receive.

“Winnie died today. You need to call mom.”

I began to cry. I cried for her pain. I cried for my family. I cried mostly for my dad.

Before I moved to D.C., Winnie was my dog. I had raised her. I taught her how to potty train, slept with her at night (always fearful I’d roll over and squish her, she was so small!!!), and took her for early morning walks when the dew covered the grass.

When I left home, my dad, Randy, assumed the role of Winnie’s caretaker. They were inseparable. Wherever my dad went, Winnie was there. Thick as thieves was they were. When I’d return home for the holidays, Winnie acted like she didn’t know me. Sticking to my father’s side, it left me with a sense of sadness wrapped in relief, for I knew she had found someone who would love and take care of her like I did and would have.

On this day, the 8th of March, Winnie was sent to Whiskers. Whiskers was a dreaded place for Winnie. She hated getting groomed, but on this morning she went without as much as a whimper. My dad dropped her off to only immediately turn back around. They said she was shaking and it looked bad. My dad returned and saw Winnie standing on the table, surrounded by four walls adorned with framed pictures of smiling, agile dogs. It was such a juxtaposition.

My dad grabbed Winnie and ran to his already running car in the parking lot. On the way to the E.R., Winnie’s soft body became lifeless on Randy’s lap. She had waited to die in my dad’s arms, the one who loved her most, and was there with her every step of the way, in life and in death.

Dogs are sure remarkable creatures aren’t they? We will miss you dearly Winnie. You’re an angel now. Rest in peace.