Grape Expectations- Making Our Own Wine

I have wanted to make my own wine for years.  
Living in the desert and not having a basement makes it difficult.  Plus there is the added issue of having to invest in all the equipment and potentially messing up a batch (or few) of wine.
In comes Grape Expectations- this company facilitates making your own batches of wine.
Together with a few other people from Dr J's office we gathered over two Sunday afternoons to make our own wine. 
First we waited for the call that our grapes were ready and delivered.
We are making a Merlot and Chardonnay-
The grapes are all hand-picked and from northern California.

The grapes were small with a bitter taste-
It takes about 750 lbs of grapes to make one barrel of wine. 
Crate by crate they were dumped into this machine which de-seeded and de-stemmed the grapes

Watch your fingers! This is the crushing process. 
Check out those stems

This is my youngest watching the grapes flow into the bin

Then comes the science lesson- there is a four part process of adding yeast  and other ingredients
I didn't write these down which is a pity. 

Wine education

Mr. KJ gave the instructions and two very eager volunteers assisted

The ingredients were whisked and added to our bin of grapes
Fast forward one week- the end of the primary fermentation-
our grapes have been resting in the bin- they are stirred daily (a volunteer from our group went daily to stir it) the grapes at this point are (in the words of Mr. KJ) a very expensive grape juice. They are fragrant and give off warmth. 

Mesh baskets are used to separate the juice from the pulp and a vacuum is used to siphon up the liquid
Once we get as much juice as we can out the pulp is placed into this presser

All the remaining juice is siphoned out and added to the barrel 

Here is my youngest pumping

And here it will sit until May when it will be filtered into stainless steel containers and eventually bottles to take home. 

The whole process was so much fun- they have party areas where various groups gathered and everyone brings food and drinks wine.  
The wine will be stirred and barrel tasting is encouraged. 
Once a year Grape Expectations hosts the Bacchus Awards and you get to taste other peoples wines and enter to win the gold- 
I look forward to tasting our wine next summer- We are now in the creative process of talking about our label design.
I'm thinking: Lady Of The Arts?!

What would you name your personal wine?


Red Rock- Pine Creek Canyon

Hiking is a passion of ours- We have hiked in Red Rock many times but just did this hike for the first time- It took us about six hours round trip but had a great waterfall at the end which made everything worth it.  Near the begining there was an original homestead foundation which the monkeys thought was pretty cool. 

Homestead Foundation
Goofy kid with fallen tree
Spike in the water

Caves to explore


all the moments

My grandmother died on Monday.
I am so grateful that my monkeys are old enough that they will always remember her.
Looking through photos reminded me that it is about all the moments.


Clutch- By Guy Latulippe

I don't often have the opportunity to use the handful of clutches that I own.  
Even when I could use a clutch, I generally opt to give my ID and lip gloss to Dr. J.  
Truth be told I find clutches cumbersome to carry.
When I saw these elegant clutches made by Toronto designer Guy Latulippe I thought he is nothing short of a design genius. 

It is a functional bracelet and clutch sure to make anyone look twice.
Alleviating the problem of having to hold onto the clutch this one provides a secure grasping handle and gives the illusion of a cool leather cuff accessory as well. 
The genius does not end there- 
From his website:
The clutch has an outer flap back pocket intended to carry phone, cards, keys, cash, and when the flap is open, there is a secondary zipper pocket that reveals the compartment for a slim pair of flip-flops to be discretely tucked away into. Of course, this compartment can be used for any number of things, but there you have it.

A flip-flop carrier! Monsieur Latulippe seems to have thought of everything-

He also designs men's accessories:

And I am also loving this bag of his: 

CLICK to check out his shop
or purchase at 
Fresh Collective   
401 Roncesvalles Avenue   
(647) 352-7123   


First Friday

Like a lot of big cities, ours has a great outdoor art event, the first Friday of every month, called First Friday. 
It is a great time for artists to showcase their creativity in many forms.  
My monkeys love the street performers, Dr. J loves the live music, I love the visual arts and we all love the culinary arts.
Because yesterday was the first Friday before Halloween, there was definitely a underlining theme in the way people dressed and the art on show.
Here are some of my favorite photos of the art work we saw. 
Giovanni Morales

Giovanni Morales

Giovanni Morales

Ryan Grey

Dusty Davis

Graffiti Street Art
Because it is a big event and takes place after dark I didn't focus on getting the names of all the artists or titles of their works down, as thoroughly as I would have liked to- 
Not losing my monkeys among zombies was a top priority for the night- so in that case it was a success. 


this moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember


Home Education-

This week has flown by- I had great intentions of posting on both Lady Of The Arts and
Making Men Out Of Monkeys
but it is just not happening this week.
I have reoccurring carpal tunnel syndrome and my therapist made me promise not to use the computer…Shh- 
If your are interested, please check out my posts over at
Making Men Out Of Monkeys
- where we did this project:


Film: Garden State

Zach Braff and Natalie Portman are two of my favorite actors.  I saw this 2004 film a few years ago. 
It was part of the official selection of the Sundance Festival and Zach won New Break Out Director at the Hollywood Film Festival.
It is written, directed and stars Zach Braff- He also created the sound track which won a Grammy.

Zach plays a depressed waiter, Andrew, who returns to 'Garden State' aka New Jersey, after a phone call from his father telling him that his mother is dead.  Andrew meets Sam at a doctors office, where she seeks treatment for her epileptic seizures.  Add to that, Sam is a colorful pathological liar.  

Zach Braff describes the film as a story about: love, for lack of a better term. He goes on to say that: it's a movie about awakening. It's a movie about taking action. It's a movie about how life is short, go for it now. My character says, 'I'm 26 years old, and I've spent my whole life waiting for something else to start. Now I realize that this is all there is, and I'm going to try to live my life like that'

The film underlines the theme that as soon as we are able to let go of all of our preconceived notions of what limits us, we become limitless.   
I ordered this film to watch it again.  It is definitely one of those works that can be seen through different eyes as time passes.

What films do you think are worth watching more than once? 

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