Category Archives: Wine

The Monthly 9: August’s “it” List

Time to get in all your breezy summery white outfits before Labor Day! Although I must admit I am definitely one of those people that continues to don white no matter the season. Enjoy August’s white hot “it” list, paired perfectly with a crisp 2014 HDV Vineyards Chardonnay from Carneros.

Clockwise, from top:

  1. Champagne Spray…for your hair!: Damaged summer strands? Look no further than this new line of hair care. And yes…it’s made with real Champagne! This weightless formula conditions, protects, and strengthen’s hair with antioxidants. It’s sulfate-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, and cruelty-free. All the frees.  FYI…in a DIY version: pop some Bubbly, relax in a bath, sip, savor, and save a little to pour on your hair. You’ll be amazed at the shine! Not a joke…it really works! (It’s just hard to part with the Champagne.)

2. Off-the-shoulder-striped-blouse: I must admit, I’m still obsessing over the exposed shoulder fad. Carry this look into fall with longer sleeves and vertical stripes.

3. Do-it all Primer/Moisturizer This amazing little multi-use product primes, moisturizes, AND removes makeup in a pinch. I came across this gem in France, and came to find out they are now selling it at TARGET! Scoop this gal up…your face won’t regret it.

4. I have a new obsession with the company Madewell. They make a huge effort to Recycle Jeans. Bring in an old pair and get $20 off a new pair! Loving these Distressed white denim jeans that you’ll surely be able sneak into your fall wardrobe. (And maybe they’ll go on sale post Labor Day!)

5. Scratch and Sniff Wine Book: Scratch and Sniff fun for adults! I love this fun (and informative) wine book! A great gift idea for a wine lover.

6. Marble Notebook  What a pretty marble journal! Even though I’m not heading back to school anytime soon, I always love a fresh notebook to jot down ideas in. And check out this cute Marble Post-it Notes Cube while you’re at it!

7. Best Hair Towel Ever: Because it dries my hair in half the time! It also reduces frizz and protecting strands from breakage.

8. Stop and Smell the Rosé Wine Glass: For those last summer sips of rosé. (Also a sweet gift!)

9. Marble Terrariums: I spotted these chic little vase terrariums at World Market. We are always looking for homes for our little succulents (which you can propagate!).

 

Enjoy those last lazy days of summer before school is back in action. Hug your hot dog (make sure your pooches-and you-stay hydrated.) And don’t forget to order your protective glasses for the Solar Eclipse August 21st!

 

 

 

Disclosure: We here at Lexy’s Toast are not affiliated with any products listed here; we just covet them. 😉

 

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.)

The Monthly 9: Current Cravings for June

Hello Sweet Summer! Jump for joy, for June is here. In two days, my faerie-like Goddaughter will be turning 3 years old, Father’s Day will soon be upon us, wedding season is kicking off, and some of my best friend’s birthdays will be in need of celebrating!

Here’s my current cravings for June! While they are mostly gift suggestions…maybe you’ll spot a little something for yourself. And all are deliciously paired with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.

Enjoy!

 

 

1. Blue Quail Sauvignon Blanc: This crisp Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect treat at the end of a hot summer day. As I’m not a huge fan of overly grassy Sav Blancs, I enjoy the nicely balanced minerality of this one, which exhibits flavors of lychee fruit and honeydew melon. And you cannot beat the price!

2. Pacifica Sea Foam Face Wash: I received a sample of this face wash, and it smells exactly like an Island! 100% cruelty free and vegan, with sea algae extract and coconut, this takes the day off in the best sort of way.

3. Add-A-Pearl Necklace: My wonderful Godmother gave me a pearl each year on my Birthday, and to continue this sweet tradition, I’ll be gifting my Goddaughter the same.

4. Gold Champagne Stopper: We first came upon a stopper like this on our recent trip to France! This fancy AdHoc gold version one is a gorgeous gift idea for Champagne-popping newly weds…(though to be honest…how often do you need to save your Champagne? Just drink it.)

5. SOMA Mint Water Bottle: This dishwasher safe, 100% BPA-free, sustainably made, shatter-resistant glass water bottle is a no brainer for summer hydration! The company also makes a donation for every purchase to charitywater.org, a non-profit that brings clean drinking water to those without it.

6. Cork Dork: My sister-in-law gave this book to my husband for his birthday…and I promptly stole it! (I’ll give it back: I promise.) The true story of a journalist who decides to delve into the world of Sommelier-dome…a hilariously well-written book (and not just for the wine-obsessed!)

7. Ice Blue KitchenAid Mixer: My parents are in the middle of renovating their kitchen after 30 years! Hopefully they can set aside a little bit of the budget for some new cooking appliances. We were gifted one of these for our wedding…and I’m beyond obsessed. Oh the things it can do! I’ve not only made incredible baked goods with this do-it-all mixer, but incredible spiralized veggies for pastas or salads. Plus…it would look so pretty in their new blue and white kitchen!

8. Le Petit Marseillais Body Wash: We found this amazing body wash in France after we discovered our Airbnb didn’t provide soap…and promptly fell in love. I bought two bottles to smuggle home…and little did I know, Amazon carries it…along with Target! It’s more pricey in the states, so I still support my over-zealous purchase in France.

9. Multi-Use Tool: If you’ve got a dad that likes to fix things…here’s the perfect little Father’s Day gift: a do it all tool complete with a knife, can opener, screwdriver, ruler, bottle opener, and more. And it’s the size of a credit card!

Cheers! Here’s a toast to summer’s kick off month!

 

Disclosure: We’re not affiliated with any of the products listed here; we just covet them. 😉 

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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When The World Gets Your Goat…

Well, here we are. This month has been a blur of Election-fatigue and Turkey-fatigue. I think my husband and I have gone through the five stages of Election results grief multiple times by now, and have just entered mild acceptance/recovery mode. This means a lot of bubble baths, long hugs, comfort food (our version: slow-cooker tortilla soup, abundant gluten-free/sugar-free zucchini muffins, olive oil popcorn, cheese) and WINE.

It also means a lot of DIY projects, including:

  1. Learning to play LET IT GO on my Uke (fitting, eh?)
  2. Distressing my jeans (voila! trendy new jeans!)
  3. Making bath bombs (pretty crumbly and not very fizzy at the moment)
  4. Building terrariums (reading directions AFTER making them is not exactly useful)
  5. Cleaning like Marie Kondo (which I tend to do incessantly in times of stress or overwhelm)

 

On the Friday of election week, I moped about the apartment, between bouts of anxiety and sniffles, wondering what to do. Besides what I had been doing. First I posted articles incessantly on Facebook (only to denounce the platform moments later). Then I called our congress people and the DOJ (yes, you can do that). And then donated (more) to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. And posted more on Facebook. But it still felt like I wasn’t doing enough.

To channel my frustrations, I started researching things to physically do in our (new-ish) community in the Bay Area. Small actions that I could take to direct my angst somewhere besides Facebook. After much internet searching, I found a great website called Hands On Bay Area that provides a calendar of volunteer opportunities, with multiple activities ranging from meal prep for the homeless, to gardening, to sorting clothes to help low-income people find jobs.

My husband got home from work, and over our dinner prep, he mentioned (completely independently and in the midst of his own frustration that day) he had also been looking for local volunteer opportunities (and had found an awesome program to help African-American girls ages 7-17 learn to code*!)

Heart=melt.

We ended up finding a night that week we were both free and signed up to volunteer at the SF AIDS Society. DATE NIGHT! Woo! We weren’t exactly sure what we’d be doing, but we were happy to help in whatever way was deemed useful. We ended up packing containers of clean needles while learning about the people that might need them. We then rolled balls of copper Brillo Pads that looked a bit like Christmas ornaments, which help filter crack cocaine. (Also-new DIY rose-gold tree adornment ideas? DONE.)

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Our fearless leader, Kristin, hair full of the most awesome range of aqua colors I’ve ever seen, filled us in on stories of people she’s helped, and her day picking up dirty needles around the city dressed as a Hazardous Waste Bin (can I have that job, please?). She informed us her mom had been a drug abuser during her youth, leading to her involvement in helping other addicts after college. We met an inspiring young gal from Indiana who was taking a gap year before college, traveling with a group of students who are volunteering daily all over the US and India, who wants to join the Peace Corps.

That’s what hope looks like.

We came home with a new perspective on drug addiction, grateful to know that the containers we packed could potentially save a life. Or help prevent the spread of HIV or Hepatitis C.

Small actions. And Empathy. Which is really the word of the hour.

The night ended in takeout Thai and my husband staying up till 1am coding (it’s all Greek to me!), but we still managed to enjoy a bottle of our favorite “cheap” wine which we fondly call “Goat Wine,” delightfully priced at $4.99. We are big-time supporters of many local wine clubs, but we are also young and attempting to save money (and want to go on a Honeymoon before we’re 60). So sometimes a $4.99 bottle from Trader Joes wins! We’ve tried and failed to find another bottle as decent for the price. Read about Goat Wine here.

Our “Goat Wine” was a perfect way to end the evening. I fell asleep feeling utterly grateful next to my (already snoozing) husband. Small actions and Empathy. That’s all we can do, for now. And to look forward to the next opportunity to do something for small for others, again, together. Cumulating in Goat Wine.

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*my husband codes for a living. (And also for fun.)