Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My 50th Birthday Party

When I turn 50, I hope to have my dear friends and family celebrate the occasion with a big party and lots of wine. I hope that I'll be able to look back on some terrific accomplishments and look forward to many more.

Why all this talk about the future? My boyfriend and I recently had the pleasure of attending a friend's 50th b-day party and to me, it was the ideal scenario. We celebrated at a local yacht club in Redondo Beach and the evening included lots of delicious food, drinks and even a live band.

The birthday boy also happens to own Castle Rock Vineyards in CA so we were each given a tasty bottle of Pino Noir. The labels were designed for the special occasion and his birthdate was cleverly noted as the vintage year. Even the back of the bottle was inscribed with the a description of how the vintage had pleasantly matured through the years. :-)

Anyway, I guess it's something fun to think about - much better than thinking about whether or not I'll still have a job in the next two weeks. Oh well.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Art Center College of Design Portfolio Review

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending Art Center College of Design's portfolio review. I've been attending the reviews for the past couple years and it's been such an honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to check out work from some very talented, emerging photographers. Each semester brings a new group of fresh talent, eager to get their feet wet in the commercial and fine art photography industry. It's always really uplifting to see photographers at this point in their careers because they've got a raw energy that seems boundless. And I get excited b/c I look forward to seeing how their work will progress in the years to come!

I only hope that my insight was encouraging and useful! :-)

One of the students recently emailed to thank me and let me know about an interview that a few of them participated in on The Candid Frame: A Photography Podcast. The Candid Frame's host, Ibarionex R. Perello, interviewed a handful of the students to get their perspective on their new careers.

If you want to check out the interview and the 16 sweet photography websites, here are links to the podcast and their websites below. You may just find your next favorite photographer! - Go to the Candid Frame #78 entry.

Mary Amor -

Maurice Salazar -

Joe Euihyun Kim -

Anthony Cobos -

Jordana Sheara -

Clement Jolin -

Stephanie Kay -

Andrew Richard Hara -

Joseph Escamilla -

Kathryna Hancock -

Amber Gress -

David Holden Smith -

Adrianne Techasith -

Cecilia Gavia -

Marco Walker -

Teresa Lojacono -

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Visiting California Wine Country

My boyfriend and I recently took a trip to the Russian River Valley/Dry Creek Valley to explore the wine country and cheer for our friend who was competing in the "Vine-man", which is regional-speak for Ironman. We stayed at a lovely house/cabin right on the river and the weather couldn't have been better.

If you have a chance to visit the area, specifically the charming town of Healdsburg, I recommend eating lunch at the Healdsburg Bar & Grill. No, it's not your ordinary bar and grill b/c their menu includes ingredients like shaved fennel, fiscalini cheddar, housemade pickles, local rock cod, etc. synonymous with the area's passion for sustainable farming. The BBQ pulled-pork sandwich is fantastic and so are the sweet potato fries with chipotle aioli.

If you're looking to picnic at one of the vineyards or are want to purchase some unique sundries, check out the Dry Creek General Store. It's an old-timey kind of store chock full of artisanal snacks, preserves, desserts, salads, beer/wine, and sandwiches made-to-order. Kick back on one of the rocking chairs outside while you enjoy a local micro-brew and toasted panini.

And of course, a trip to wine country wouldn't be complete without visiting the wineries. Listed below are a bunch of vineyards we visited. Only one of these vineyards happen to be on our itinerary - the rest we just stumbled upon which I thought was a really fun way to discover some new wines, most of which were small, family-owned establishments.

Dry Creek General Store

Healdsburg Bar & Grill


Tasting cost around $10 I believe and we were offered about 6-7 wines. The man who poured our wine was actually the owner which added a nice touch. He was a jovial sort of fella who told us a salacious story about the annual grape stomp. We brought home one of the Zinfandels and are looking forward to enjoying it with something hearty.

Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves

$15 got you 6 tastings w/ two food pairings. We started with a Rose that was paired with 2 Fanny Bay oysters (served with a tasty minionette). We then ventured over to the wine cave where we had the opportunity to browse the cave and taste a few Zinfandels and a Syrah intended to be paired with the paella that was simmering outside. Lastly, we enjoyed a Late-Harvest Zinfandel, a dessert wine and perfect accompaniment to vanilla ice cream.

Zichichi Family Vineyards

Another small family-owned and operated vineyard in Dry Creek Valley. I believe tastings cost $5-10. The thing that I liked about this place was that they offered a barrel tasting which I had never done. We tasted two futures from the barrel and enjoyed a Petite Sirah and a few Zinfandels in the tasting. My favorite was the Petite Syrah which we bought and plan to enjoy with a beef stew or pot roast.

Peterson Winery

A $5 wine tasting got us about 8 tastings, one of which even included a 1989 Cabernet. My favorite was the Bradford Mountain Vineyard Zinfandel. Loved the pepper and berry flavors. We ended up buying a few different bottles. Service was really friendly and it had a family-owned vibe to it. They're into the time-honored wine-growing traditions (as in their philosophy of Zero Manipulation) and practice sustainable farming.

Mauriston Vineyards

Complimentary tasting that includes about 4-5 wines. Surprisingly, my favorite wine was the 2007 Chardonnay and I'm not usually a fan of Chardonnay. It wasn't very oaky but was rich and buttery with pear/apple flavors and a bit of citrus. This vineyard also takes advantage of one of the newest appellations in CA, called Rockpile which has proven to produce some fine Zinfandels.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Post It Note

Just a quick note that I will resume posting again this week. My recent travels took me to Vegas and the Russian River Valley and I got backed up on downloading and touching up images. Stay tuned for more.....