• sincerelyseersucker

Updated: Dec 24, 2018

Christmas is almost here! Because of the way Christmas falls this year, you might have holiday parties and family gatherings all week long…. Even into New Years! I want to share some of my favorite wines with you because what better hostess gift than a really great bottle of wine. People are often intimidated by wines and the possible cost of what might be a good wine. I’m here to help! These wines are wines I first tasted in fine dining experiences with my family. However, when my I went to buy the wine at our local liquor store, they were very reasonably priced. My dad is very knowledgeable about wines. He likes to study the grapes and regions of really great wines. So, much of my knowledge regarding this topic comes from him.

One of my favorite red wine is Alamos Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina. My family discovered this wine while having dinner at St. Elmo’s Steak house in Indianapolis (Peyton Manning’s Steakhouse). We had ordered it for dinner and loved it so much that my dad went to Big Red Liquors to see if he could find it and sure enough, he did! He also discovered that it is only around $15 a bottle for a really great tasting red wine. This has become my family’s best go-to.

A favorite red wine of mine is CakebreadCabernet…. However, this wine is a true treat because it runs at about $60 a bottle. It is smooth, yet it has a robust flavor.

A favorite red Italian wine of mine is Zenato Valpolicella. It is a soft and supple version of the classic Italian Valpolicella wine. It runs at about $15 a bottle.

I am not a big white wine girl, but if I am going to drink it, bring me a glass of Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc, please! But if you are not a big red wine drinking, this is a nice year-round white wine. It is from the Napa Valley and it runs at about $35 a bottle. This Sauvignon Blanc is surpassingly smooth. It has the perfect amount of fruity flavor but not too sweet. This Sauvignon Blanc is my favorite with a dinner salad. It also pairs nicely with fish. I think your friends and family would be happy to receive a bottle of this from you.

Oh, another pro tip! If you are looking for a good white wine look for something from the Loire Valley. The Loire Valley is also known as the garden of France. This is where wine growing began, and it is a very prestigious area in France. The river is what makes the Loire Valley very vivacious. Because this is in the northern part of France the wines tend to have very acidic crisp flavor that can be very light and sometimes tangy. Often you can taste the flavor of the terroir (land and Rocky Mountains). You also get a salty refreshing taste of the sea air because of the soil of the coastal tidal flats where the river empties. This is a very well hydrated area in the Rocky portions of the mountains and the cliffs near the ocean. The bottom line is that the vines that have been in this valley forever take their flavor from the earth.

If you are looking for a rosé, go get a bottle of Whispering Angel rosé. It is made in Côtes de Provence, France by a winery that has reputedly become known for making the world's greatest rosé, Château d'Esclans. It runs at about $28 a bottle, but I promise… You will not be disappointed. This is perfect for a hot summer’s day, but so good you’ll drink it anytime of the year. I discovered this rosé this past summer at an event I was invited to attend by Vineyard Vines and Whispering Angel. Because I am not a big white wine girl, I was never into the rosés either, but this event turned me onto Whispering Angel rosé.

Put the wine in a cute wine bag or tie a big bow around it and you have the perfect hostess gift!

If you want to add something to your hostess gift here are some ideas that you might like to gift with the bottle of wine.

  • Cute dishtowels. No one can have enough decorative dish towels in my opinion. I have found some really cute ones at Anthropologie recently.

  • Wine bottle opener. My parents have the HOST lever corkscrew wine bottle opener and it is awesome! It has a nice price point of $39 and it is effective and easy to use.

If you want to spend more on the gift, go for the CORAVIN opener. It runs upwards of $299. It is a new wine system that allows you to enjoy a glass of wine without removing the cork. This allows you to preserve the quality, longevity and taste of the wine if you and your family and friends don’t plan on finish the wine in one sitting.

Merry Christmas to all!



  • sincerelyseersucker

Clearly I am an East Coast girl, but I am not going to lie... I love the West Coast too. Specifically, the Pacific Northwest Coast. This past May I took a trip to the PNW. I had just graduated from Indiana University and it was a little celebratory trip. I spent four days in the PNW and saw Seattle, Olympic National Park, Gig Harbor, and Victoria, B.C. This was not my first trip to the PNW. I took a trip out to Seattle, WA and Portland, OR the previous year. That trip I saw both of the cities as well as hiked Mt. Rainier, Olympic National Park, and The Columbia River Gorge. I would not say I am a PNW pro, but I am well travelled in the area.

Warning! This Blog Post is picture heavy! The trip I took this past May was 6 days long. However, I only had 4 days to see and do all that was on my list. I packed A LOT into 4 short days, but in my opinion that is the best way to travel/site see. I arrived on a Tuesday evening. The nice thing about flying West from Indiana is that because of the travel time and time change it basically works out that you get there the same time you left. Long story short I met my mom in Seattle. We stayed at a close family friend's house the first night. They picked me up from the airport and we grabbed dinner and then got some rest because I had plans to hit the ground running the next morning.

Day 1. Wednesday morning we made our way to British Columbia. We took the ferry from Seattle to Victoria. It was about at three hour ferry ride and we passed the San Juan Islands and Friday Harbor. One day I would love to visit both of these places. I have heard nothing but lovely things about them. Our first strop when we arrived on BC soil was The Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia which is located near Victoria on Vancouver Island. Y'all have probably caught on to how much I love flowers if you have been following me for awhile. I think it is because both my mom and my grandmother are florists. The Butchart Gardens were B-E-A-UTIFUL!!!! Like unreal. I highly recommend seeing them if you are in the area.

Then we drove to downtown Victoria to see The Fairmont Empress and the beautiful British Columbia Parliament Buildings. The Renaissance, Romanesque, and Baroque architecture is exquisite. There is no fee to tour the Parliament Buildings. I love history and learning about other country's government systems so I found this interesting.

On our way to our hotel we stopped and saw Fisgard Lighthouse and a castle that were both on my list of things to see. Fisgard Lighthouse was the first lighthouse on the West Coast of Canada and was first lit in 1860. It is a part of a national historic site located on Fisgard Island at the mouth of Esquimalt Harbour in Colwood, British Columbia. Y'all have probably figured out I also love lighthouses. If I am being honest the castle was something I saw on Pinterest and itself was beautiful but there was nothing to see on the inside. In fact, it was is building on the campus of a university and the doors were locked. Hindsight's 20/20 as we left downtown Victoria, we were wishing we had booked a room at the Empress, but our hotel ended up being such a treat. We stayed at the Bear Mountain hotel for the night. However, I could have easily stayed six, haha. When we got to our hotel at Bear Mountain we had dinner and a cocktail at the restaurant at the resort. It did not disappoint.

Day 2 and 3. We spent these two days in Olympic National Park. In the morning on Thursday we took a different ferry from Victoria that dropped us off closer to Olympic National Park at Port Angeles. Olympic is one of my favorite National Parks and I have seen a lot of the National Parks. I enjoy this one because there are a lot of different things to see in it (beaches, waterfalls, rainforests, mountains, etc.). We stayed at the Lake Crescent Lodge which is an upscale, waterfront lodge just off Route 101. It was a charming place. A perfect place to unwind. I honestly felt like I was in a dream. It is on Lake Crescent and you can rent kayaks and paddle boards, go fishing, and swim in the lake. There are also a number of hikes/trailheads that are easily accessible from the lodge. A good short hike is to Mereymere Falls. It is a fairly flat and easy 0.9 miles (each way). Some more challenging hikes that I have done are Mt. Storm King (4.5 miles total) and Pyramid Peak (7 miles total). On Friday we drove west to the beaches. We hit Ruby Beach and Kalaloch Beach. These beaches are not your typical beaches. They are windy and cool, but beautiful. The waves are huge. I have always wanted to see the Kalaloch Tree Root Cave, so we found that and I hung my hammock in the cave for a while. Before making our way back towards Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge and eventually Seattle, we stopped at the Kalaloch Lodge at Olympic National Park for a late lunch. It was delicious. I highly recommend stopping (or even staying the night) here if you plan to go to the beaches. After lunch we made our way inland. We drove up to Hurricane Ridge, a mountainous area in Olympic National Park open year-round to hiking, skiing and snowboarding. Hurrincane ridge was our last stop before taking the ferry back to Seattle.

As we approached Seattle on the ferry, it was night time and we had a beautiful view of the city-scape as the ship was coming in.

My mom and I spotted the Seattle ferris wheel and could not turn down the opportunity, so we took a ride on the Ferris wheel while enjoying a cocktail. Yes! Cocktails on the Ferris wheel... how fun!

Day 4. Saturday was our last day in Washington before heading home. We have some dear family friends that have a boat docked in Gig Harbor and they were so kind to invite us out for a day at sea with them! We took the boat out in the Puget Sound and even stopped at Blake Island Marine State Park for a 5 mile hike before lunch on the boat. Our family friends are originally from the south so their cooking is out of this world delicious. We had smoked salmon, pimento cheese, and toasted bread for an appetizer and for lunch we had shrimp tacos. Let's just say we were well fed that day! This day at sea concluded our trip. It was the icing on the cake to a wonderful time in the PNW.

I look forward to visiting again soon! There is so much to do and see out in the Pacific Northwest. I haven't even made a dent!




  • sincerelyseersucker

In my opinion, lipstick is always a good idea. I have touched a little bit on this before, but I don’t wear makeup… but I do wear lipstick. Every day, in fact. Sometimes you might even see me out running or riding my bike with my signature red lip. I just can’t leave the house without it. However, it has taken me years to find the most perfect lipstick. When buying a lipstick, go for quality, know the types (formulas), and the most important thing... choose the right shade. Know what you like, what looks best on you and BE CONFIDENT in that. I am telling you, what looks good on you likely is not the perfect shade for your best friend and vice versa. I suggest you purchase lipstick in the store and not online, so you know exactly what you are buying.

Go for quality. Don’t be scared to spend a little bit more for a good lipstick. Poor quality can mean that it doesn’t wear well. Meaning, it looks cakey and not smooth, or in regard to lip stain… it will crack. Know the types and formulas. There are lipsticks, lip stains, lip glosses, matte, crème, shimmer. The list goes on. I stick to the long wear lipsticks. Emphasis on “long wear”. If I am running errands or working around the house I will wear a sheer lipstick because of the moisturizing properties. Choose the shade right for YOU. It is simple as that. Do not buy a lipstick that you haven’t at least seen in person and I highly recommend you try multiple shades on or swatch your wrist.

Three important qualities of the best long wear lipstick are that it doesn’t crack, it doesn’t burn the lips, and it does indeed stay on for a long period of time. Things I look for in a sheer lipstick are ultra-moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, jojoba esters and carnauba wax. I also try to stick to safe beauty products. Meaning, chemical, paraben, and fragrance-free ingredients lists. My reasoning for sticking to safe beauty products is because if you wear lipstick, you may be swallowing traces of toxic metals in the lipstick.

My favorite brands of lipstick two buy are first Chanel and then Beautycounter. I think most people would agree that everything Chanel is beautiful… even her lipsticks. Chanel lipstick is not chemical free and for this reason I do not wear it all of the time, but it does remain my favorite Two formulas I wear from Chanel are Le Rouge Duo Ultra Tenue (Ultra Wear Lip Color) and Rouge Coco Shine. The Rouge Coco Shine is probably THE most beautiful lipstick I have ever owned. However, it does not stay on extremely well and it is definitely not a “kissing lipstick”. It is a lightweight, hydrating, sheer lipstick. I love #84 Dialogue, #54 Boy, #87 Rendezvous, and #55 Romance. The Ultra Wear Lip Color formula is a perfect long wear lipstick.

It doesn’t crack, burn, feather, or dry out the lips. It does deliver full-coverage, longwearing color, provide hydration and shine. It goes on smoothly and dries quickly. It does not come off! I can go almost an entire day at work or evening out without reapplying. So, you girls out there who are with Audrey Hepburn and believe in pink and lots of kissing, this is the lipstick for you. I am clearly a red lipstick wearing girl. My favorite colors in the Le Rouge Duo Ultra Tenue (Ultra Wear Lip Color) formula are #54 Strawberry Red and #104 Bright Raspberry.

Beautycounter is my other favorite brand of lipstick to wear because I know it is safe and chemical, paraben and fragrance free, and I know it is formulated so beautifully. This is definitely a lipstick that is high quality and looks it too. I like wearing the Sheer Lipstick in the colors Terra and Current. The Sheer Lipstick is similar to the Chanel Rouge Coco Shine formula. It does not stay on like a long-wear formula does. Expect lipstick marks on your coffee cup. I also really like the Color Intense Lipstick which is Beautycounter’s long wear lipstick. In the Color Intense formula, I wear Girls Night Out and Little Black Dress.

Left to right. Little Black Dress, Girls Night Out, Current, Terra




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