Category Archives: Sparkling Wine

The Monthly Nine: December’s “It” List

FA LA LA LA LAAAA! I’m so in love with the holiday season…and it’s HERE! I’m finally  allowed to start practicing Christmas songs on my ukulele (much to our neighbors’ dismay). Sonoma and Napa Counties have been through a lot these past few months because of the raging wildfires, but there’s so much to be grateful for. We had an incredible “Thanksgivingmas” with my husband’s family in Chicago, and now we’re looking forward to our extended family reunion and subsequent “Hootenanny”. It’s not often that we can get our whole gang together in one place (my head has been photoshopped into our family holiday photos on multiple occasions), so it’s an extra special celebration.

In preparation for the Holidays: here are some of Lexy’s Toast Wines favorite gift ideas for December 2017!

1. Tom Ford Lipstick: For the Beauty Queen. I was gifted this lipstick for “Thanksgivingmas” with my husband’s family, and it is AMAZING! It’s creamy, moisturizing, and long-lasting, all the way through dinner (and dessert.)

2. The OG Bag: For your favorite Jetsetter. There’s a pocket for absolutely everything, and coming in at just under 2.5 lbs, it’s light enough to pack to the brim, waterproof, and slides onto your rolling suitcase. It’s on the pricey side, but Lo and Sons sometimes puts items on sale…and that time is right about NOW!

3. Stemless Wine Glasses: For the Hostess with the Mostess. These pretty wine glasses absolutely scream holiday cheer.

4. Champagne SHOES!: For the Champagne Lover. Ugh! How I wanted to buy these! (I produce Sparkling Wine after all!) Sadly, these just didn’t fit quite right…but maybe they’ll fit YOU! Or your BFF. Or Cinderella. Anyway, I hope someone gets to wear them.

5. Thank You Notes: For your Pen Pal. I’m a huge fan of old-fashioned thank you notes! Lately, I’ve been spoiled not having to buy cards since my Mother-in-law makes and sends me beautiful handmade (and unbelievably professional!) looking cards, but these would be a nice stocking stuffer for someone who loves to express gratitude the old-fashioned way.

6. 2018 Planner: For the Organizer. January is right around the bend, so let’s write down our New Year’s Resolutions, and start to plan the best year EVER!

7. To The Moon Trinket Dish: For the Teen in your life. What a sweet little dish for baubles, rings, and things!

8. Skull Cuff Links: For The Coolest Dude You Know. (This would be my husband.) He wore these on our wedding day, and I still think they are completely and utterly cool. (I still think he’s pretty cool too.)

9. Lexy’s Toast Brut Nature: For Everyone (over 21, that is)!! The holidays aren’t complete without BUBBLES! Our Lexy’s Toast Brut Nature is bone-dry (and I swear possesses a hint of Orange Creamsicle). Yum!

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Happy Gifting!

P.S. If you’ve anything left to spare during your holiday shopping sprees, Redwood Credit Union is taking donations. Fire relief efforts are still underway in Northern California, and RCU is donating 100% of the proceeds directly where they are needed.

P.P.S. On a personal note regarding the fires: check out my last blog post. #SonomaStrong: Ignited By Fire.

P.P.P.S. Except for our Sparkling Wine, we here at Lexy’s Toast are not affiliated with any products listed here; we just covet them. 😉 

Featured Image by Jon McPherson Photography.

Paper: The 1st Anniversary Challenge.

The Occasion: We made it all the way to our First Anniversary! A whole year! It was actually pretty darn easy. So far! Knock on wood…or paper?

The Challenge: To make each other something (meaningful-ish) utilizing paper.

The Budget: In lieu of pricey gifts (good lord…we are still recovering from our Wedding/Honeymoon, people!), I proposed a creative arts-and-crafts gift exchange, which had to involve the traditional 1st year anniversary gift: paper.

May the Most Creative Spouse Win! 

Wife’s Project:

It started as a scrapbook from our Honeymoon, but soon began to feel extremely un-creative. I remembered that I had saved all the bottle caps from our Honeymoon in Champagne, so I decided to incorporate them into my project. I found some wine barrel staves and employed my Dad and our contractor friend Dave for some help (I’ve never wood-worked, people!). We glued the staves together, drew the shape of a wine bottle, and then Dave used his fancy saw to cut the edges and sand them. While originally intended to look like a Champagne bottle, it turned out looking a bit more like a Bordeaux, but hey! I still like it! Then my dad and I made circular holes for the Champagne caps with a drill press and a 1.25″ bit. And no one lost a finger!

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Okay, okay, so I realize this isn’t paper. BUT…paper IS made FROM wood… (So it counts. Right?)

Sort of.

Feeling like I had veered a little too far off the paper-course, I then had the idea to frame our original vows (paper!), so they would never be lost (blood, sweat, tear stains and all). So I took them (along with a photo of our impromptu after-vow-handshake) to Michaels. Never having framed anything, I had no idea how pricey framing can be.

Whoops. Non-existent budget=blown. Sorry honey!

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Husband’s Project:

The Husband decided to actually utilize paper (overachiever). He decided to create a 3-D map of our first “home” together in Sausalito.

Guest Blogger (My Husband):

I found a topographic map of the area I wanted to represent online. The elevation actually goes from sea level to over 1,100 feet in the small area I picked so I figured I would make 11 layers of elevation changes.  I printed the map in the size I needed (8×8 inches) and traced each 100-foot elevation line onto its own piece of tracing paper. I went to Michaels, found some thick paper board, cut it down into twelve 10×10 inch squares, and taped a piece of tracing paper to each. Then it was just a matter of using an X-acto knife to cut into the paper board by following the tracing paper. A few more passes to cut all the way through and clean up the edges before I could stack them in a deep frame. Cutting through dense paper board was definitely the worst part and I could really use a hand massage, but I’m super happy with how it all came out.

a.) My husband knows about MICHAELS? Who is this man?

b.) Ahhhh! We almost had a crafting run-in at Michaels! Holy CRAPFT!

c.) He also wanted to know why Michaels doesn’t use an apostrophe in their name. (We both do, actually.)

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The Anniversary Challenge Winner? The Husband (duh! for actually using paper, for being the most artistic, and for sticking to the non-existent budget).

The Prize? A hand massage! And another year of marriage. (To moi!)

Next year? Cotton…My brain’s already percolating.

 

 

 

 

There’s No Use Crying Over Spilled Champagne

Or is there?

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I are coming up on our first Anniversary, and so we’ve been doing some fond reminiscing on the particulars of our magical day: the good stuff, the funny stuff, and the slightly less funny stuff.

As our wedding day was rapidly approaching, I was driving a couple hours almost daily between our home in Sausalito and our venue in Glen Ellen, which also happened to be my parent’s home and winery. Plotting the wine selection for the wedding was highly important to this geekily-wine-obsessed-couple. The selection, however, was a no-brainer: we would be using my parents amazing array of GlenLyon Winery Estate Syrah, Chardonnay, Rosé, Viognier, and (my personal!) Brut Nature and Sparkling Rosé.

(A pretty incredible line up, if you ask me!)

We did, however, want to make sure we had some other special wines laced throughout the wedding events: a classic Veuve Cliquot immediately post-ceremony, a Louis Roederer Stark Brut Nature for the next morning’s brunch, and a magnum of Schramsberg 2007 Sparkling Rosé for the wedding party joining us at the head table.

Schramsberg Winery in Napa has always held a very sweet place in our hearts: after a tour and tasting there three years ago, my husband first told me he loved me! And I told him I loved him back! Then out of a slight panic I took it back the next day…but only for a week! We went back before the wedding for another tasting (this time, our “love declarations” staying put!) and purchased a magnum of Vintage Sparkling Rosé, with the intention of starting an annual tradition.

So, back to my daily treks between Sausalito and Glen Ellen. Among a huge load of wedding-related crafts/crap, I was transporting the magnum of Schramsberg to house it safely in my parents’ cellar. Not wanting the big bottle to get hot in the car, I put her in an ancient Playmate cooler I’d borrowed from my mom, and stacked some cold packs on top of her. When I arrived at my parents house, I was a bit late for a meeting, so I jumped out of my Rav4 to run inside, then realizing I’d better take the pink Schramsy out of the car, just in case she got overheated. As I hastily opened the back door to retrieve her, the Schramsy, ice packs, and Playmate slipped out the car door and cracked all over the pavement.

Having sworn on the white of my wedding dress I would be the most easygoing and unfazed bride on Earth, I hadn’t cried or moaned about anything wedding-related…yet. But as I watched the beautiful fizz wash over the hot pavement, shattered glass everywhere, my heart sank. Little hot tears gathered in the corners of my eyes. “Don’t do it, Fridell!” I warned myself. “Don’t you cry! It’s just…our wedding wine…” Our pricey, delicious, beautiful wedding wine, which now was sizzling and sticky on the hot asphalt.

I crouched down on the ground in dismay, gently picking up pieces of glass as if I could will the bottle back together. And out came some little whimpers. “No no no!” And then then floodgate of tears. “Noooooooooo!” I imagined how disappointed my soon-to-be-husband would be. I decided to blame the evil plastic ancient Playmate instead of my hasty butter-fingers so he wouldn’t divorce me before we even got married. (I attribute this to Warped Reality Bride-Brain Thoughts.)

Just then, my father came outside (he had probably heard the whimpering moans of defeat) and inquired after the streaks of tears. We picked up the rest of the glass together as I recounted the tale of bubbly woe. “Wait here”, he said, and ran back into the house. Moments later, out he came with the nicest possible remedy I could have dreamed of: a 1983 vintage bottle of Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc, signed by Mr. Jack Davies himself!

Well, the floodgates released full-force at the thought of such a thoughtful and special gift from my Father. As he tried to hand it to me, I immediately begged him to hold onto it tightly as I didn’t trust myself to do so. I couldn’t have another butter-finger accident on the same day…and this time with a much more precious bottle of wine.

ol’ Schramsy still sittin’ pretty

My husband (of course) couldn’t have been sweeter or kinder about the situation, which reinforced one of the things I already loved about him most: his calm and accepting attitude towards any life-induced-strife. Sometimes I like to think of our relationship in terms of a good glass of rosé: me being extremely high in acid, and my husband bringing the balance of sweetness that tempers the acid. (Please don’t barf and just go with me on this; we are wine geeks so I’m allowed to use terrible wine-related metaphors.)

In the end, we decided not to open ol’ Schramsy during the wedding, but to keep the bottle (safe) for a special occasion. Not that the wedding wasn’t one, but we both wanted to give that bottle of 1983 our full and undivided attention. And open it with my Dad and Mom. It may even be flat by now, but who cares? We’ll still be tasting a little bit of history.

And, regardless of when it’s popped, just opening that ol’ Schramsy with three people I love more than anything will turn that moment into the special occasion.

 

 

The Monthly 9: July’s “It-list”

Our first wedding Anniversary is right around the corner and we can’t believe this year has flown by so quickly! News update: We are still together (score!), still actually like each other (double score!), and have tons of sage advice for newlyweds. (Joking, joking!) As I scramble to come up with a fun DIY project as a gift involving paper for the hubby (shhhhh! don’t tell him!), I’ve come across some other delightful finds. It’s most definitely wedding season, so July’s “It-list” is filled with wedding related gifts.

Our wedding color was a bright, sunny yellow, and I’ll never regret it! (Though my sweet acquiescing bridesmaids might have…thanks for going with the flow, gals. You all looked stunningly radiant, and my pop of yellow wedding dreams came true!)

View More: http://lmdphoto.pass.us/lexy-and-graham-i-do

Below are my cheerful yellow picks for the month:

 

1. This gorgeous lemon flower arrangement was created by our amazing friends Kari and Ritamarie for our wedding. And while perfect for a wedding, it’s also a fabulous summery idea to decorate and brighten your home!

2. C’est La Vie Hat: “C’est La Vie” stitched in yellow on a wide brimmed straw hat: perfect for Honeymooning!

3. Best Toasts Book:  If you’re in need of a Toast to give: look no further! This little book has all the toasts you could possibly need, for any and all occasions.

4. Yellow and White Wedding Guest Dress: A sweet dress for an outdoor wedding or shower.

5. Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne: A fun bottle to pop right after a ceremony! We had five minutes to slam a quick glass, somewhat “collect ourselves”, and jump up and down and say “we’re marrrrrried!” We used my mom’s antique crystal to enjoy the bubbles out of.(Photo evidence below.) Thank goodness I didn’t accidentally drop it in my unbridled excitement.

 

6. Choose Happiness Candle: Citrus fruit scents bring happiness to your home in this cheerful little candle.

7. Le Creuset Whistling Tea Kettle: Look no further for the perfect gift than this sunny yellow teapot! I use her daily (I’m a huge tea fanatic) and get think of my bestie who gave us the kettle every time I look at it. And they come in many colors (if, gasp, yellow isn’t your thing!)

8. Lemon Serving Tray:  A friend gave us placemats and napkins with this adorable lemon pattern, and now Kate Spade carries a whole set of plates and serving platters to match!

9. Yellow Egg Crate: A cute crate to house a dozen eggs. Also, who doesn’t love a pop of color upon opening the fridge?

Let there be love, laughter, and sunshine in your upcoming July days! Happy wedding season whether you’re a bride or a guest!

View More: http://lmdphoto.pass.us/lexy-and-graham-i-do

(All wedding photos by Laura Marie Duncan Photography.)

Budgeting and Bubbly…aka Budgeting for Bubbly.

Every January 1st, I madly pledge allegiance to an overly lengthy and overly zealous list of New Year’s Resolutions.

This Year’s Top 3 Rezzies:

1) Letting Go of Something/Growing Something. (Besides my plant children.) I wrote down one thing I wanted release in 2016 and burned it in our lovely fireplace. (I scribbled this detestable word on a the back of a check belonging to a crummy bank that I would also like to “release” this year.) Then I wrote down an aspiration I wanted to cultivate in 2017 and buried it in a plant. I chose our Hearty Hydrangea, Harold. Side note: I could have “released” about 10,000 things, but I made myself choose ONE. Streamline 2017!

2) Master the “splits” (this has been a top New Year’s Resolution since I was eleven years old.) THIS IS GONNA BE THE YEAR, GUYS!

3) To finally implement a real-deal-adult-get-your-life-together-right-this-instant-BUDGET. i.e.: actually put money into the budget to purchase a useful online app that tracks every single little penny spent so even a seemingly tall weeny-teeny coconut milk latté from Starbucks doesn’t go unnoticed…a lotta my bucks go to the ‘bucks. Sigh. 

I mean…guys…it’s TIME. My husband and I are (somewhere) in our 30s. It’s time for the real-deal-adult-get-your-life-together-right-this-instant-Budget. And there’s no time like the present. And New Years day to kick you in the tush.

(Sob!)

The problems I’ve encountered attempting a so-called Budget in the past have been abundant. Examining your funds (or lack there of) forces you to confront life choices and past purchases you absolutely do not want to confront or remember. It’s pretty darn easy to eek by paycheck to paycheck, (or to not eek by but convince yourself you’re eeking by and believe it because it sure is easier than actually confronting the issue). And, guys! You can always leave it up to “next month” when you’ll have money again, right? (At least that’s what the money gods told me.) But when next month rolls around, that panicked feeling begins to creep up your spine, and once again, you scramble, scramble, scramble. And feel terrible that you didn’t really do any actual budgeting.

Budget ignorance is indeed budget bliss.

I’ve tried it all. There was MINT (which admittedly I only used once after finding it made me look a bit too closely into the money mirror, and, upon reflection, turned and ran away in horror.) And to top it off, the app provided no solution for fixing my issues, it just showed me what I did wrong. I’ve tried diligently writing everything I spent down (and then promptly lost the notebook). I’ve tried a good ol’ fashioned checkbook approach (but somehow the numbers always come out slightly…ok wayyyyy off). Each attempt to begin a budget at the beginning of a new year begins with such promise, diligence, and grit…and, like good ol’ buttoned up Frosty, has always melted into a puddle of muddy waters by Spring.

My husband and I sat down to dig into our Budget (he calls it invigorating; I call it tedious.) Because of the tedious budget, I deemed it be implemented over a Bottle of Something Absolutely Fabulous (the mere sight of numbers make me want to hide under a blanket as if I were watching The Shining.)

We chose a bottle of 2006 Launois Père & Fils Brut Blanc de Blancs “Spécial Club” Champagne. I was wary since we’ve tried some non-vintage bubbly from this producer that weren’t to my taste. But this vintage bottle was delicate, elegant, dry, light, playful on the tongue, not too citrus-y, crisp, complete with a touch of yeasty-ness without becoming a full yeast bomb. 11 fabulous years old, lithe, and in great balance (unlike myself at 11).

And an instantaneous reminder that drinking something so lovely needs to be a part of our ever so imminent budget.

We found a site called YOU NEED A BUDGET. (In fact, we really did.) The site has entertaining comics, videos, and a podcast, so I was sold immediately. Instead of admonishing you for your lack of funds, you start to look at what’s important in your future, and backtrack from there. Say we want to make sure we can afford a new couch in the next year…(ours propels us so far forward we end up sitting on the floor by the end of movie night). So we’ll allot small amounts each month to save for that. Then say we get hit by a large medical bill. That would take precedence, and we would move funds around to allot for THAT. It’s a constantly moving target.

Budgets can bring up a treasure trove of emotions and tough conversations. The past rears it’s ugly head in debts small and large (that stupid pair of way too pricey and uncomfortable shoes you bought, or taking out money to start a business). When you can implement a way to fight past debt in a meticulous manner, the present becomes so much brighter. For the near future, a honeymoon trip to Champagne (hopefully before our 1st anniversary) would be a great goal. And for the more distant future, an aim would be a home of our own one day (complete with a wine cellar of course!) to store our fabulous Sparkling Wines!

Approach that dreaded budget with a calm mind, a willingness to look deep into your habits, and a large glass of indulgent Bubbly. And here’s to glorious success in all your Rezzies this year! I’m off to practice my splits.

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Photo by Rebecca Call. Transcendence Theatre Company, 2015.

 

 

Champagne Jell-O shots (for adults.)

Being that I produce Bubbly, I’m always looking for fun things to do with bubbly (besides drink it, of course!)

So why not bring it back to a time we all wish we could go back to: college*. Only this time: classier. (Hopefully?)

Here’s a fun spin on the jello shot. Add sprinkles, gold flakes, and an (extra) glass of bubbly (or two)!

 

MIMOSA JELL-O SHOTS (pictured above):

1 packet sugar-free Orange Jell-O, Lemon Jell-O (or a mix!) or sugar-free Sparkling Mandarin Orange Jell-O (if you can find it!)

1 cup hot water

1 cup (chilled) Lexy’s Toast Brut Nature (or another delightful brut bubbly-your choice!

Boil the water, then mix in the Jell-O packet. Let cool. Add Lexy’s Toast (pour yourself a glass!). Pour into an ice cube tray or plastic cups and refrigerate 3-5 hrs. To serve, dip ice cube tray in hot water for 5 seconds and then run a knife around the outside of the Jell-O to release.

 

CHAMPAPAGNE JELL-O SHOTS:

1 cup hot water

1 unflavored gelatin packet

1/2 cup low or sugar-free cream soda

1/2 cup (chilled) Lexy’s Toast Brut Nature (or another delightful brut bubbly-your choice!)

Boil the water, then mix in two packets of unflavored gelatin. Let cool. Add cream soda and Champagne. Pour into an ice cube tray or plastic cups and refrigerate 3-5 hrs. To serve, dip ice cube tray in hot water for 5 seconds and then run a knife around the outside of the Jell-O to release.

 

 

SPARKLING ROSÉ JELL-O SHOTS:

1 packet Sparkling Berry Jell-O or Strawberry Jell-O (sugar-freeeeeee!)

1 cup hot water

1 cup (chilled) Lexy’s Toast Brut Rosé (or another Brut Rosé of your choosing!)

Boil the water, then mix in the Jell-O packet. Let cool. Add Lexy’s Toast Brut Rosé (pour yourself two glasses-you deserve it!). Pour into an ice cube tray or plastic cups and refrigerate 3-5 hrs. To serve, dip ice cube tray in hot water for 5 seconds and then run a knife around the outside of the Jell-O to release.

*Those who have seen the musical Avenue Q will get the reference.

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Date Night Proposition

The eve of “Date Night” was upon us. My husband and I decided to open a bottle of bubbly and get down to it.

Now, hang on…I know where your mind is going…SO DON’T GO THERE! Let’s be clear: this date wasn’t about anything untoward, so get your mind out of the gutter! It was actually a date to read through California’s 17 Propositions and discuss them.

Sexy, right?

Spread out before us on our kitchen table were our ballot tools: black Stabilo pens (husband’s favorite), our California Election Guide (slightly wrinkled from the rain last week), and my computer open to two websites. His choice: an NPR Station with brief snippets of information on each prop, and my choice: an emoji filled easy-to-understand-for-the-masses voter guide. Last but not least, some homemade crock-pot chicken noodle* soup (truly for our election-weary souls) and a bottle of Bubbly (of course). Which paired awfully well with the Proposition-studying if I might add (but maybe not so much with the chicken soup.)

I said it was sexy, yes?

We decided on an Iron Horse Russian Cuveé from 2007, which seemed fitting in that it has a long history with the White House, being served there through five consecutive  Presidential administrations (and was originally made for the meetings that ended the Cold War.) It was a rich and yeasty bubbly, with a nose veering on slightly stinky Red Hawk cheese, and I think in it’s age it lost some of it’s fizz. But it was a welcome and complimentary supplement to the night’s ballot activities.

Studiously, we went through each Prop, listening intently to the radio snippets, discussing and debating them, chuckling at the emoji’s (and the Porn Proposition…how is this even a thing we are voting on?), flipping between multiple sources of information to eventually arrive at our own conclusions. We stayed up past our adult bedtimes, laughing, talking, bellies full of the historically-styled Russian Cuveé…and all because we decided to make something pleasurable and fun out of what could have been just another ordinary evening.

And now here we are tonight, on the precipice of the election day that will surely change history. I’ll beg my husband one last time to whisper in my ear his nightly sweet nothings about how a certain slightly orange-hued man will not possibly be named President. Ask him to tell me we’ll go to bed Tuesday night with hope of inclusion and forward motion for this country.

That’s pretty sexy, too.

And lastly, she may not be perfect, but what an enormous thrill to fill in a certain Nasty Woman’s name on that Presidential ballot.

Let’s make history tomorrow. I’ll toast to that.

*Not noodles, quinoa. It’s a no-wheat thing. 

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