Thursday, June 5, 2014

Organic Wines from Costco

An April 2014 trip to Costco resulted in two organic wines: one table red and one Chardonnay. At $6.49 they were definitely a deal. However, I'm shopping for wedding wines and am hoping for something even cheaper. To spend $6.49 a piece for my wedding wines I'd have to be pretty impressed. Both of these wines were pretty good and worth purchasing individually. I probably won't buy them for my wedding though. 

Pacific Redwood Organic Red Table Wine

This wine was very appropriately woodsy. I wanted to like this wine because I'm from the Redwoods and wanted to represent where I am for my wedding - especially to my fiance's East Coast family and friends. However, the first notes come on too strong and it is a bit overwhelming in the woodsy flavors. The flavors do mellow out as the wine opens up. The description on the back reads blackberry and plum, but this seems to be overshadowed by the smokiness. I had a friend try it and she liked it but felt it was unremarkable. 
We rated it as a 3 out of 5 - the interpretation being it's at least good enough to drink for free. 

Badger Mountain Certified Organic Chardonnay 2013

This wine definitely has a little something special to it - a complex melange of crisp, tart, dry, and fruity. With a slightly sweet start, the wine actually ends up dry and would make a nice table wine for rich cuisines of all variety. This would definitely be a great wine to take to a party. 
We rated it somewhere between "I'd drink it for free" and "I like it!" Landing this Chardonnay a 3.5 out of 5. 

Overall, I am not terribly impressed with Costco's organic wine selections. These were the only two and they were not impressive. I would buy the Chardonnay again but not sure if I will shell out $6.49 a bottle for my wedding. I like the Green Fin organic Chardonnay for $3.99 at Trader Joe's just as much if not better. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Book Review: Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

A Review of Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

When times are hard, escape into a good book, another world, is something that I relish. With the ups and downs of attempting healing diets and medications, I’ve been on and off the roller coaster of hope and disappointment. Alexandra Duncan’s new book Salvage took me across space and time, transporting me away from my worries and pains of my earthly body.

Who wouldn’t be intrigued by a Sci Fi futuristic tribe of Mormon-ish people? I was hooked from the beginning of this story! This is a fascinating novel, albeit a little bit contrived at times, especially in the beginning, as the stage is set. We are introduced to the customs and language of a tribe and their spaceship through a day in the life of Parastrata Ava. This is no ordinary day – it is the day she is to be wed during a trade agreement with another tribe.

Duncan created a dystopian future in which a young woman, seemingly bound to a destiny, is ultimately liberated by what starts out as her demise. Ava is the daughter of a captain of what is described as a “trans-celestial merchant tribe.” A misunderstanding sets Ava onto another course, Earthside. It is then that we learn more about why the tribes are spaceside.

Through her journey to the futuristic Mumbai in search of her aunt, Ava slowly awakens to her true destiny. She is aided by a young girl who teaches her to read and the girl’s mother, who teaches her to fly a small mail carrier. Finally, as the ending draws near, and the anticipation of what I both wanted and didn’t want to happen builds, I found myself wondering how the book could conclude in a way that felt right. Two final twists at the end left me completely satisfied and simultaneously sad that the book ended. Here’s hoping for a sequel.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Writing to Heal: A workshop with Deborah from Heal Write in SF

Long before I started eating to heal my gut, I was drowning in depression. I felt as if I was reaching out to grasp reality but I was weighed down by a fog that kept me confused and exhausted. This was before my gut pain started , when I was around fourteen years old. It was around when I was 11 when my first journal entries show tendencies towards depression: melancholic reflections on my and the world's failings. In my teens and 20's doctors attempted to treat me with anti-depressants and anti-psychotics before I started hearing anything about the gut-brain connection. Finally, ending my twenties, I started exploring how food was affecting my health. Upon the removal of gluten and dairy I felt 10 times better! But I still have a ways to go towards experiencing what would be called a "normal" level of health for my age.

When I first heard of Heal Write workshops, I thought, "Perfect!" I love to write and I am working on healing. Writing has been an integral part of my emotional and physical health management since I was, well 11! But, lately I've been wanting more guidance. After I signed up for a workshop I started to wonder if it would actually be good. Now, after the experience, I can say I agree with other reviewers of Heal Write on Yelp that Deborah creates a safe setting to explore creative writing through wonderful prompts!

In the two hour workshop we had four writing exercises. The last exercise was prompted by a lovely poem about the life a daffodil, breaking free from the ground and into the harsh extremes of the weather. Deborah then asked us to write about an experiencing breaking free. This is what I wrote:

Freeing my mind
from the think pea soup of fog,
lifting a molecule,
a lie,
away at a time.
But the lies lay
on axioms that
I can't yet see
through the murky green.

A molecule,
a thought at a time
gets you no where.
pulls more in.

And the movement
starts a churning

What is true,
what is real?
it doesn't matter.
I am
My own normal.
stop the spinning
defining my own

is where
IT is.
is where
I stand.
Throw all the pea soup at me
that you like.
I'll eat it up
Spit it out.