Sweet Vineyard Wedding in Northern California

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With elegant features like lace and soft pastels, there wasn’t a single charming detail we didn’t love about Jenn & Jim’s sweet Fall vineyard wedding at our Northern California venue.

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Photos by This Love of Yours…Photography

We’re so happy Jenn & Jim found Holman Ranch because, when you hear their proposal story, it’s clear that the ranch & vineyard was truly the ideal spot for this wine-loving couple.
 
“Jim proposed…in Napa at V. Satuii. We enjoyed a romantic picnic and wine as he surprised me with the ring of my dreams. We love weekend trips to Napa for wine tasting and we make it a point to go a least once a year. He had planned the trip to Napa during the golf tournament so I thought it was for that. However, the trip was really for the proposal and I had no clue.”
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Q: How did you meet?
 
A: “We met at Cisco Systems where we both worked at 5 years ago. We were first introduced at our work off-site event at DnBs and immediately hit it off. I am still at Cisco, but Jim is now at Nintendo.”
 
 
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Q: Where did you go on your first date?
 
A: “We went to Cascal in Mountain View, which is a tapas restaurant where we enjoyed Spanish tapas and sipped on sangria. We went to catch a movie after our dinner date.”
 
 
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Q: What are the top 3 reasons you chose to have your wedding at Holman Ranch?
 
A: “1) I wanted an outdoor, rustic romantic setting 2) I wanted a venue with a barn/carriage house
3) Holman was the firts venue we visited and was also the last. It was love at first site as Holman had everything that I was looking for.”
 
Holman Ranch vineyard wedding
 Photos by This Love of Yours…Photography
 
Q: What family, cultural, or other traditions did you honor on your wedding day?
 
A: “My dad passed in April 2016. Although he was not physically there, we tried to include him in the wedding as much as possible. We had a memorial table for him and reserved a chair for him with his picture during the ceremony. He was mentioned in all the speeches, which was very touching for us.”
 
 Photos by This Love of Yours…Photography
 
Q: If there is one thing about your wedding day that you know you’ll never forget, what would it be?
 
A: “Just having all of our loved ones together in one place and being able to share our special moment with them and being able to host a party for them at such a gorgeous venue. Everyone couldn’t stop talking about how gorgeous the venue and wedding was.”
 
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Q: Is there something you would do differently that you can share with other couples?
 
A: “EVERYTHING was PERFECT! Beautiful Venue, beautiful weather, and wedding flowed seamlessly.  I only wished we could have ended the wedding at a later time. Ten o’clock was too early and everyone was sad that the party had to end!”
 
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Chic Fall Northern California Ranch Wedding at Holman Ranch

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With a little glittery gold, sparkly accessories and plenty of rich Autumn colors, this Northern California ranch wedding was the picture of rustic glamour and a showcase of how fabulous a Fall ranch wedding can be. But don’t let their impeccable style fool you, this beautiful couple is as down-to-earth as our ranch, as their story will reveal.
 
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Photos by Jaimi Lynn Photography 
 
Meeting through mutual friends on a party bus headed back home from a Tim McGraw concert, Lauren & Matthew’s first date was humble; Red Robin and a movie. Which, eventually, led to this sentimental proposal:
 
“It was perfect. We had just gotten back from a camping trip with both of our families. It was just us at home at 11pm at night. We were laying in bed talking about how wonderful it was that our families get along so well. Then he popped the question. I thought he was kidding so I said, “duh, of course I will.” He replied with, “I’m serious, the ring is on the nightstand.” He then got out of bed grabbed the ring off the night stand and got down on one knee and said a bunch of romantic sweet things that I cannot remember because I was in shock. I cried, he cried, I said of course! Then he went to sleep and I was up until dawn figuring out if I should call anyone at 11 o clock at night. It was perfect”
 
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Photos by Jaimi Lynn Photography 
 
Q: What are the top 3 reasons you chose to have your wedding at Holman Ranch?
 
A: 1) “Everything was in one location 2) That view!!!! 3) The option to pick out our own vendors.”
 
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Q: If there is one thing about your wedding day that you know you’ll never forget, what would it be?
 
A: “Oh it’s so hard to pick just one or a few things. They say was seriously perfect. There is nothing I would change. I will never forget our ceremony. It was 100% us. Our officiant made it so personal and intamint.”
 
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Q: Is there something you would do differently that you can share with other couples?
 
A: “Nope. There is not one thing I would do differently. The only advice I would give to other couples would be it is your day. You will not be able to make everyone happy so do the things that you want. If you want to do a first look but your mom doesn’t want you to, do it anyways. Make sure your weddibg shows the personality of the people that are getting married. And don’t sweat the small stuff on the day of. No one is going to know except you. And just enjoy the day. It goes by so fast.”
 
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Photos by Jaimi Lynn Photography 

Pebble Beach Food and Wine Fest: Things to Do in Monterey After the Festival

Pebble Beach Food and Wine Fest - Things to do in Monterey

 

Searching for things to do before or after the Pebble Beach Food And Wine fest?

Monterey County is a destination rich with history, culture, food, wine and family-friendly activities that will not disappoint.

Whether your trip begins a few days before the festival or ends a few days afterward, we’ve got several fantastic ideas of what you can do with your extra time in the area.

What to Expect at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Fest

The Pebble Beach Food And Wine is a 4-day long festival scheduled to take place from April 20th to 23rd at the very picturesque Pebble Beach in Monterey County, California.

This festival is mainly known for the culinary experience that it offers to its visitors.

With more than 250 wineries and 100 celebrity chefs serving their finest selections, this festival is meant for those who live by the motto ‘ eat, drink and be merry.’

Guests can enjoy some of the most scrumptious lunches, dinners and wine tastings as well as educational opportunities through live cooking demonstrations and wine seminars. Add on golf tournaments and Marquee events like the El Burro Borracho Taco Fiesta hosted by Guy Fieri. and the opening night celebration, it’s an event you won’t regret attending.

What’s Missing from the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival

Holman Ranch vineyard and winery tours

Yet, with so much more to offer than just the Pebble Beach Food And Wine fest, it would be a pity if you left Monterey County without experiencing at least some of it, such as our Carmel Valley vineyard.

While the festival itself is sure to be a phenomenal experience, it won’t give you the full cultural, historical and geographical experience available in Monterey County, one of the richest, most scenic destinations for traveling Americans.

Here are a number of tips for what to do in Monterey before or after the Pebble Beach Wine & Food festival.

Winery & Vineyard Tour at Holman Ranch

Holman Ranch winery tour

If tasting those fine wines at the festival has left you eager for more, venture a few minutes east to the rolling hills of Carmel Valley for a winery and vineyard tour at Holman Ranch.

Our scenic vineyard produces some of the most delicious, award-winning estate-grown wines in the country, such as the 2012 Holman Ranch Estate Pinot Noir, which was awarded Silver in the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Wine tastings & winery tours in MontereyWhile you’re here, you’ll climb aboard a six passenger ATV (all terrain vehicle) for an exhilarating one of a kind vineyard tour that lets you soak in the breathtaking vistas from every angle.

Then, step into our underground wine caves for a first-hand look at how our wines are made and enjoy tasting our limited production wines and certified extra virgin estate olive oil with local French bread.

Book your Carmel winery and vineyard tour here.

Leash-Free Dog Walking at Carmel Valley Community Park

Not far from Holman Ranch is the Carmel Valley Community Park. If you’re brought your canine companion with you on your Pebble Beach trip, this may be his or her favorite part of your trip.

Known for it’s leash-free flexibility and open spaces, your dog will have plenty of room to burn off some energy while you relax in the sun or refuel with a cozy picnic amidst gorgeous mountain views..

Some of the amenities you’ll find at the park include well-maintained lawns, barbecue pits, park benches, a horseshow pit and sand volleyball court.

Kid-Friendly Entertainment at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Have kids with you? Or just love sea creatures?

Pay a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, regarded as one of the best aquariums in the country.

Keep the kids (and yourself) enthralled for hours watching the sea otters, sharks, jellyfish, sea turtles, seals and sting rays gracefully glide through the water.

With various tours in the aquarium, giant kelp forests and open sea galleries that let you experience the marine world and its 600 species of plants and animals, there won’t be a dull moment all day.

Walk or Bike the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail

Speaking of the Aquarium, it happens to be the starting point of the glorious Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, featuring waterfront walking and biking paths.

The City of Pacific Grove says that the trail “extends for about one mile from the Monterey Bay Aquarium to Lovers Point.”

Feel the breeze against your skin and breathe the misty air as you enjoy the coastline by foot or bicycle, keeping your eyes peeled for seals and seabirds.

Wine Tastings & Live Music at Jarman Tasting Room & Lounge

Wine tasting in Monterey at Jarman

If wine is what drew you to Pebble Beach Food and Wine Fest, then your trip to Monterey won’t be complete without a stop at Jarman Tasting Lounge & Patio.

Award-winning Monterey Wine - Jarman Pinot NoirEnjoy premium estate-grown wine, including the Jarman 2014 Pinot Noir Double Gold winner in the largest competition of American wines, in an open-air patio setting.

Love music? The Lounge often hosts a variety of acoustic-style live music on Saturdays that are a must-see.

Be sure to plan your visit in advance. The Jarman Tasting Lounge & Patio is open Saturday & Sunday from Noon – 5pm and offers weekday wine tastings by appointment.

Shop at the Farmers Market at Old Monterey Marketplace

The Farmers Market at Old Monterey Marketplace has been in existence for more than two decades showcases local produce from all across California and draws artisan vendors from all over the world.

If you’ve got a weak spot for handcrafted items, like jewelry, crafts, blankets and hats, this is a marketplace you’ll want to make time for. With a wide variety of artisan products to choose from, you’re sure to find a few extra special souvenirs for friends and family back home.

Golf at Pebble Beach Golf Links 

Golf in Monterey County

Did you miss out on the Pebble Beach Food & Wine golf tournament?

No worries, you can book a round of golf at Pebble Beach Golf Links, host of five U.S. Opens. It is open to the public and was named #1 in Golf Digest’s 2015/2016 list of America’s Greatest Public Courses.

Known worldwide for its majestic views of turquoise blue waters and prestigious annual tournament, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, it definitely qualifies as something to check off your bucket list.

Guided Tours at the Historic Cannery Row

Looking for something to do in Monterey that has a little bit of everything…history, food, wine and overnight accommodations?

Then consider a stroll around Cannery Row.

What used to be the site for the canning industry once upon a time is now a great place to unwind. With restaurants, hotels and a number of historic attractions scattered here and there, a tour led by a professional guide will entertain you with historical stories and surprising facts.

Western Saloon Style Dining at Will’s Fargo Restaurant & Bar

Dining in Monterey at Will's Fargo Restaurant

 

Will's Fargo Restaurant & Bar in Carmel ValleyCertainly you’ll have access to a plethora of savory bites and dishes at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine fest, but if you want a real taste of rich western history, then plan at least one dinner at the locally famous Will’s Fargo Restaurant + Bar.

Located in the heart of Carmel Valley, this western-themed restaurant is known for its rustic décor and delectable steaks. Walls mounted with wild boar heads and animal horns, paintings of the Victorian era and a menu of cowboy-sized steaks will ensure that your dining venture becomes a memorable one.

Pet Menu at Will's Fargo RestaurantThe restaurant is located in a century-old building, which was meant to be a tea room. After opening its doors in 1959, this place has been popular among food enthusiasts for lip-smacking tavern menus and other mouthwatering classics. 

Have a furry companion with you? One of the most unique offerings at Will’s Fargo is a Pet Menu created especially for four-legged friends.

View Masterpieces at the Monterey Museum of Art

If you are an art enthusiast, you cannot leave Monterey without stopping by the Monterey Museum of Art.

With more than 14,000 exhibits from different genres, this museum will let you behold some of the finest works of art from Americana and Asian culture.

You will get the chance of a lifetime to see masterpieces from great artists like Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Armin Hansen. The museum opened its doors in 1959 and operates out of two different facilities, taking up to a full day to soak it all in if you are an ardent admirer of art. 

Explore Historical Buildings the Monterey State Historic Park

During your stay in Monterey County, you’ll find no shortage of history and culture and the Monterey State Historic Park is no exception.

If you are one of those history buffs who’s favorite pastime is discovering historical buildings, this might be a destination to add to your trip itinerary for before or after the Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival.

The park includes a collection of old buildings built in the 1800s, such as the Custom House and the Pacific House, some of which are the oldest ones in the state of California. The buildings would remind you of the bygone era when the Spanish had first landed on American soil at Monterey in 1602.

The park is open daily, and you can book any of its many tours to view the inside of these heritage buildings and take a trip back in time.

Savor Seafood at Old Fisherman’s Wharf

Seafood in Monterey at Fisherman's Wharf

Packed with boutique restaurants that serve some of the finest clam chowder and seafood around, the Old Fisherman’s Wharf is no longer the smelly marketplace it was in 1960s.

Today you’ll find dining, shopping, entertainment and ocean activities in this fun destination.

If you have gone there with a full tummy, you will still not be disheartened, thanks to the sunbathing seals that can be found in plenty on the nearby buoys and rocks. 

Family Play Date at the Monterey County Youth Museum

Describing itself as a “playground for the mind”, the Monterey County Youth Museum is at the cross-section of fun and education.

Designed for kids and adults to experience together, there various interactive and hands-on exhibits that not only provide entertainment for your little ones but simultaneously teach scientific, biological and artistic concepts.

Cruise the 17-Mile Drive

The 17-mile Drive is a beautiful road that stretches along the coastline of Monterey and passes many attractions along the way.

A casual car ride on this road will let you see some of the famous attractions of Monterey, including Bird Rock, the famous Lone Cypress, the iconic golf courses, the Del Monte Forest, the picturesque homes of multimillionaires and the breathtaking views of the ocean.

Perfect for a short family trip or romantic escape.

There’s More to Do in Monterey After the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival

Although the Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival may be the reason for your trip, the fun doesn’t have to end there.

Come early or stay late and experience all that Monterey County has to offer; from Holman Ranch vineyard tours and local tasting rooms for the wine-lovers in your party to historical sites, family-friendly destinations and fabulous food.

To get started, book your Holman Ranch Vineyard & Winery Tour here.


What Wine Goes With Chocolate?

What wine goes with chocolate

So you find yourself with a tempting brick of dark chocolate in one hand, the other aimlessly gliding across a full wine rack, unsure of which bottle to pull.

 What wine goes best with chocolate?

As one of only a few Carmel Valley wineries who hosts visiting wine lovers from all over the country, we have learned that pairing wine with chocolate can be a tricky endeavor, even the devoted wine enthusiast. Due to its sweetness, as well as the various types available, the wrong combination can produce an unpleasant and often bitter tasting experience.

That’s why we’ve created an in-depth guide to help you select the ideal glass of wine for whatever type of chocolate treat you find yourself enjoying and bring out the delicious and complex flavors of both items.

The Basics of Wine Pairing

In order to begin pairing, there are a few helpful rules that can make selecting an appropriate wine much easier.

  1. Find the balance: with wine, there are several important characteristics that apply to taste and composition.  These include:
  • Acidity
  • Fat
  • Bitterness
  • Salt
  • Sweets
  • Alcohol

Balancing these flavors with similar or oppositional tasting foods creates a more complex experience.  Mixing and matching these flavors together also opens up many different pairing possibilities that you can experiment with.  For example, if you’re trying to pair a sweet white chocolate, go for an equally sweet Ice Wine.

  1. Wine first: when tasting pairings together, it is recommended that you sip the selected wine first.  This is especially true when tasting chocolate and wine, as chocolate is typically a much sweeter taste.  

Potential Wine & Chocolate Pairings

Because of the number of different chocolate flavors, it is important to look at chocolate and wine pairings in categories.  

While a rich Cabernet may go wonderfully with extra dark chocolate, it would be far too bitter for a white chocolate. Because of this diversity in flavor, our guide is organized by chocolate category to bring you unique and well-balanced pairings.  

The Classics

Pinot Noir and Dark Chocolate pairingRanked by the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate from the highest (dark chocolate) to the lowest (milk or white chocolate), we start with the classics.

Dark Chocolate: Generally chocolate is defined as ‘dark’ if it contains more than about 40% cocoa, but there are is a considerable range of products available from 35% to 99%.

  • Smooth Dark chocolate, containing around 54% or less of cocoa, is typically the most popular type of dark chocolate as it balances the amount of sweetness with more bitter natural cocoa.  
  • Medium Dark chocolate contains around 60% cocoa and as opposed to smooth dark, goes best with drier reds such as:
  • Extra Dark chocolate pairs similarly to medium dark chocolate because of their relatively high percentages of cocoa.  For chocolate that is above 70% cocoa, dry wines are an excellent selection, including:
    • Cabernet sauvignon (15)
    • Zinfandel (15)

Milk Chocolate typically contains less than 35% cocoa and is a creamier, sweeter variety, making it a better match for slightly sweeter reds, such as:

  • Creamy Sherry
  • Aged Vintage Port
  • Rose

 Sauvignon Blanc and White Chocolate pairingWhite Chocolate exchanges cocoa butter for cocoa powder, giving it a unique taste compared to other traditional chocolates. This sugary delight is complimented best by sweeter wines and may bring out the more subtle fruity or nutty notes in them. These might include:

  • Our Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Sweet Love, is a Sauterne inspired dessert wine that is the perfect blend of sweet & tart.
  • Ice Wine(13)
  • Champagne (2)

Fan Favorites

Wine not only tastes spectacular with solid chocolate, it can also enhance flavored chocolates.  

The key with flavored chocolates is finding wines that pair well with the flavor within the chocolate first, then looking at the type of chocolate itself.

Classic Caramel & Dark Chocolate is a perfect match for our late-harvest Pinot Noir, like our warm and robust Big Daddy with prominent dark chocolate notes, has a subtle sweetness to it that strikes a pleasant balance between the more sugary caramel and the slightly bitter dark chocolate. (3)

Pinot Noir and Chocolate covered nuts pairingNut-Infused Chocolate or Chocolate Covered Nuts do best with a wine that will emphasize the already present nutty flavors.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon with dark chocolate covered almonds (11)
  • Marie Claire suggests Pinot Noir with Snickers! Given how well this delicious wine compliments caramel and chocolate, it’s not a big surprise. Try our 2011 Hunter’s Cuvee Pinot Noir with this snack.

Mint & Dark Chocolate is one of the more sophisticated types of chocolates to pair with. Try with Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel. (12)

Fudge is typically much richer and sweeter than traditional chocolate. A Michigan fudge maker recommends Tawny Port for milk chocolate fudge and Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvigon, Bordeaux, Merlot, and Zinfandel for darker chocolate fudges.

Peanut Butter & Milk Chocolate pair best with wines that will bring out the natural nuttiness. Some have found that Peanut Butter Cups pair especially well with wines such as Riesling (10)

Salted Carmel & Milk Chocolate plays on the ever popular pairing of sweet and salty.  For an excellent wine pairing, the wine should be congruent with the chocolate and balance out the salt.  Some options include:

  • Moscato d’Asti (9)
  • Lambrusco (9)

Chocolate Covered Fruits

Pairing with both fruit and chocolate simultaneously could leave any casual wine drinker guessing. These tips will help you find the right fit.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries, is there anyone who doesn’t adore them? This fruit fusion pairs well with wines that bring out the strawberry flavor, such as:

  • Chardonnay (1)
  • Red Zinfandel (8)
  • Rose Champagne (8)

Chardonnay and Chocolate Fruits pairingOrange-Infused Dark Chocolate is complimented best by white wines with citrus notes, according to She Knows.

Chocolate blueberries pair wonderfully with Merlot, which can help to bring out the sweetness of the blueberry flavor. (17) 

Raspberry & Dark Chocolate or Raspberry Truffles are incredibly rich and sweet. Because of this, they can pair well with lighter, sweet whites or full-bodied reds with fruit flavors, such as:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon (1)
  • Sparkling Brachetto (7)

Cordial Cherries produce triple the sweetness with milk chocolate, syrup center and sweet cherries. Pairs with red varietals that can bring out the unique cherry flavor.  These blends include:

  • Port (4)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon (5)
  • Syrah (5)

The Unexpected Twist

Chocolate Covered Bacon has grown in popularity in recent years. With the flavors of salty & sweet playing off each other, possible pairings include:

  • Riesling (6)
  • Chardonnay (6)

Dark Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans work well with Shiraz due its natural mocha flavors. (16 & 17)

#HolmanRanchWine – Share Your Favorite Chocolate & Wine Pairings with Us

While they are certainly some helpful guidelines for discovering what wine goes with chocolate, you may find that the answer depends heavily on your own personal preferences, not to mention the unique type of chocolate you’re enjoying.

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and experiment with combinations you suspect will have a nice finish.

When you uncover your winning wine and chocolate pairing, tells us about it in the comments below or share on Instagram with hashtag #HolmanRanchWine.

 


From Chocolate, To Wine, To A Long Kiss — There Are Fun Ways To Beat Back Deadly Stress

Ever stop and measure the stress in your life? You should. The amount of stress — and how you deal with it — can cause serious illness and shorten your life.

Most people don’t really understand the power of stress and what it can do to our bodies. Instead they trivialize and ignore it. Doctors call stress a weapon of mass destruction and never doubt its lethality. Fact: Stress is responsible for 75 percent to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians.

Perhaps you’re dealing with a demanding career, or maybe financial woes have you down? It could be a failed marriage, or a certain presidential race? Stress is simply a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium. In other words, it’s an omnipresent part of life.

Here are some easy — and fun — counters to stress. Pick one, or all, and make them a part of your daily routine. Your body will thank you.

 

 Image result for red wine chocolate

 

Chocolate meditation

This may seem frivolous and self-indulgent, but go with it. Everyone has a chocolate moment, but rather than gobbling it down, savoring it helps you reconnect with your senses, which is vital in this fast-paced world.

Choose dark chocolate (it’s high in antioxidants, improves circulation and lowers blood pressure). Open the package and, with your eyes closed, inhale the aroma. Breathe. Break off a piece and put it in your mouth. See if it’s possible to hold it on your tongue to melt. Don’t let your mind wander. Instead focus on the intense flavor and the indulgence of it all. After the chocolate has completely melted, swallow it very slowly and deliberately. Open your eyes, and get back to your life.

Drink a glass of red wine

This wouldn’t be responsible to try at work, but perhaps the moment after you arrive home. As long as we drink it responsibly, wine is an excellent stress reducer. On top of that, a single glass of red wine has several additional health benefits. Wine helps to reduce stress because it has sedative qualities and acts as a central nervous system depressant. Doctors suggest that having a single glass of wine can have a calming effect. However, if you consume too much alcohol too close to bedtime, it can actually interfere with your body’s natural circadian rhythms and have an adverse effect on relaxation.

Connect with nature

Just looking out your window can have a relaxing effect. In a study the University of Washington in Seattle, participants in an office were shown one of three views: a natural setting, a digital display of the same scene, and no view. When stress levels were artificially increased, those looking at the real natural scene returned to their normal heart rate more quickly. Those who looked at the digital display did no better than those looking at a blank wall. It seems we do best mentally and physically when we’re connected to nature.

Pucker up for 10 seconds

A kiss (or four) a day can keep the stress away. You’ll feel less isolated, which is a common source of anxiety. According to Laura Berman, a professor of psychiatry at Northwestern University, women in particular respond to locking lips by releasing endorphins. She recommends at least one 10-second kiss a day—deep and emotional, but not necessarily sexually arousing. It’s important to just enjoy the physical connection.


When It Comes To Thanksgiving Wine, Buy Early, Buy Often, And Don’t Forget The Bubbly!

Red, white, pink, dry, sweet or fizzy, there are many acceptable colors and flavors to uncork for your Thanksgiving feast.

  While there are a few ideal wines to pair with the prized bird, there’s more to consider than the turkey when choosing bottles for Thanksgiving dinner. In fact there is much to consider:

  • You may want to begin the festivities with light appetizers.
  • Dinner also includes yams, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and other varied foods.
  • Your guest list probably includes some finicky wine drinkers (the only-Chardonnay crowd or the big, bold Cabernet crowd).
  • You may be on a tight budget after buying all the food.
  • Ideally, you’ll be drinking all day, so buy enough for the marathon.

 

Image result for holman ranch wine turkey

 

A few hard and fast rules

  • It’s always nice to start the day with a glass of bubbly. Whether it’s Champagne, Prosecco or Cava, it all helps create a festive mood. And a glass of bubbly prepares the palate for all the food to come.
  • Don’t break out the expensive stuff. Odds are good the majority of your guests will not appreciate your vintage Barolo, so save it for another occasion.
  • Choose low-alcohol wines because through the family squabbles, football games, post-dinner naps and turkey sandwiches, it’s always a long day.
  • Plan on one bottle of wine per person, which is more than enough, but will save you from a late-day wine run. And remember, there are many fine bottles at wine shops for $15 or less.

Best wine to pair with the bird Roast turkey works well with many types of wine. It’s the flavors of the gravy, stuffing, and side dishes that have a greater impact on the palate. Here are some options:

  • Zinfandel is America’s sweetheart, and is an ideal wine with turkey because its lower tannins help moisten even the driest turkey. And its secondary flavors of cinnamon, clove and vanilla work well in this season.
  • Often people assume red wine should be served with the Thanksgiving meal but don’t overlook light, refreshing whites. Just try new varietals, such as a Chenin Blanc from South Africa. They are light-bodied, but have nice acidity and are under-valued.
  • A dry Riesling is another versatile choice. Bright acidity cuts through all the fat in the gravy, stuffing, potatoes, yams and the richness of spice in cranberry sauce. Every sip feels like hitting the reset button on your palate.

Best wine with pumpkin pie

  • The best wine to pair with dessert isn’t a wine at all. A Belgian-style beer (with its essence of coriander, natural creaminess and lots of tiny bubbles) is a light option to lead into the evening’s end.

What Do You Really Know About The Traditions And Lore Of Thanksgiving?

In many ways, Thanksgiving incorporates the very history of America. But there are many myths surrounding the holiday and the first feast held by the Pilgrims in 1621:

 

Image result for thanksgiving turkey

 

  • The pilgrims started Thanksgiving: Settlers in the New World survived a horrific first winter, saved only by Native Americans who befriended them, gave them with food and taught them to cultivate corn. They decided to celebrate the next harvest with a grand feast, but recorded history does not include the word “thanksgiving.”
  • The first feast included all Pilgrims: History says it wasn’t just a dinner. It lasted three days, and only about 50 Pilgrims came — all men. There were almost twice as many Wampanoag Indians in attendance (also all men). It was considered a political gathering, with the two sides cementing a military alliance. The women undoubtedly did the cooking, and the feast was held outdoors to accommodate a large crowd.
  • The guests ate turkey: Historians don’t believe so. Most accounts say the Native Americans brought five deer with them, while the settlers brought fowl, but probably ducks and geese, which were plentiful in autumn.
  • They ate pumpkin pie for dessert: There most certainly were cooked pumpkins on the menu, but not pies. Those sweet desserts would not show up for another generation at least.
  • It was a dry first Thanksgiving: On the contrary, that first feast included copious amounts of beer and wine, which was much safer to drink than the local water.
  • The feast included cranberries: Cranberries may have been served but not as a sweet sauce or relish. Sweet cranberries need maple syrup, an ingredient that wasn’t plentiful till 60 years later.
  • The modern Thanksgiving was President Abraham Lincoln’s idea: Actually, author and magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale led a 40-year campaign to start Thanksgiving. She wrote many editorials championing her cause in her Ladies’ Magazine. Hale’s campaign became a reality when, in 1863, Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving.
  • Americans have always eaten turkey for Thanksgiving: Again we have Hale to thank for the modern Thanksgiving experience. She read about the 1621 feast and decided to use it as a model for an annual holiday. She published in the popular “Godey’s Lady’s Book” recipes for turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie, starting traditions that had nothing to do with the colonists.
  • Lincoln started the presidential pardon of a turkey: The tradition dates back to 1989, when president George H.W. Bush officially pardoned the first one. According to legend, Lincoln’s 10-year-old son Tad supposedly became fond of a turkey given to the family for a holiday feast, and begged his father to save it. Lincoln did. The only problem with that as a Thanksgiving story is that Tad’s plea was to save the Christmas turkey!

Forget The Negative Myths: You Can Have That Perfect Winter Wedding

We’ve all heard of a white wedding, but the expression can take on a whole new meaning when a couple chooses the winter season for their nuptials.

Believe it or not, winter is becoming more popular for weddings — and with good reason. White mountaintops and snow-covered scenery set a spectacular backdrop, but even no-snow locations can lend a magical and mystical atmosphere to any ceremony.

 

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 Despite this evidence, several myths still surround winter wedding dates:

  • Most couples believe that they cannot have an outdoor ceremony. While winter weather can be tricky, if your heart is set on creating a matrimonial winter wonderland, heat lamps and tents can help warm things up. Just keep the ceremony on the shorter side, and advise your guests to dress appropriately. Then you can all head inside for a reception toast of hot toddies.
  • Regarding the dress. Don’t automatically believe that long-sleeves are the only option. You probably won’t be outside for too long, so be brave and go sleeveless or strapless, and cover up with a warm shawl or a winter coat (and turn it into your “something blue.”) Also, consider adding white gloves, warm tights, and even fuzzy ear muffs. As for the groom, it would be a shame for him to have to cover up his slick tux.Instead, he can wear a formal black coat to coordinate with his attire. For an added punch of color, have him pick out a cool scarf that goes along with your wedding colors and style.
  • When it comes to flowers, of course, the cold season naturally limits a bride’s options. Some flowers, such as peonies, are available year-round, but it will cost you. But don’t think rows of poinsettias are your only option. Flowers such as roses, daisies and tulips are available all year from the right florist, and their price won’t break the bank.
  • As far as transportation goes, consider valet parking so that guests don’t have to walk far from their cars to the entrance. And have the number of a car service on hand at the reception just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.
  • At the reception, have a place for all your guests to put their coats and scarves. For parties of 50 or more, you’ll most likely need to hire a coat-check attendant to take care of your guests as they enter and exit the festivities. And make sure the entrance has a proper all-weather mat for guests to wipe their shoes to avoid slipping. If you’re having a tented wedding, definitely make sure you order heat lamps. Place them around the room, 1 lamp per 10 guests should be sufficient.

In the end, a winter wedding may not be bathed in warm sunlight, and adorned with the best fragrant blossoms, but there is beauty and meaning in a cold winter. Much like a marriage, there is a new beginning just ahead.

 


Lay Off Those Expensive Beauty Treatments And Turn To All-Natural Olive Oil

From the days of Cleopatra, olive oil has been a sacred element of a woman’s beauty regimen.

The last active pharaoh of Egypt used it on her skin, her hair and her nails. Centuries later, another legendary beauty, Italy’s Sophia Loren, raved about her olive oil baths. Truth be told, women all over the Mediterranean have passed down olive oil beauty secrets for centuries.

Olive oil is redolent in vitamins, minerals and natural fatty acids, and is perfect for sensitive skin. Olive oil has long been a powerful anti-aging ingredient in skin care products. Rich in antioxidants, it staves off skin aging, the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, while it also nourishes, rejuvenates and protects the skin.

Olive oil hydrates the skin, helps it maintain elasticity and softness, and actually aids in skin-cell regeneration.

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Following are some easy suggestions to use olive oil in your daily beauty treatments:

  • Get scrubbing: In her book “The Passionate Olive,” Carol Firenze recommends using extra virgin olive oil as an exfoliator for dry, flaky skin. She suggests mixing olive oil and sea salt so as to make a scrub and massaging it into the skin with the fingertips.
  • For nail care: To ensure that your cuticles stay moist, rub some extra virgin olive oil on and around the dry nails to help give them a healthy sheen.
  • Pre-shampoo hair treatment: Thank Cleopatra for this tip, because olive oil has been used as a hair treatment since ancient Egyptian times. First, warm the olive oil in the microwave or in hot water. Then apply it generously to the ends of hair and scalp. Leave it in for up to 10 to 20 minutes, before shampooing it out.
  • Lip balm: Combine coarse sugar with a teaspoon of olive oil for a chapped-lip fix. You can also add a splash of lemon juice for added flavor and acidic exfoliating properties.
  • Eye-makeup remover: It’s counter-intuitive, but slathering olive oil all over your face will not clog pores. In actuality, the oil grabs onto other oil-based products, making it a great pre-cleansing step to remove stubborn eye makeup. It is also said to smoothen out lines and wrinkles.
  • For shaving legs: Run out of expensive shaving cream? Head to the kitchen and slather legs with olive oil before applying the blade. You’ll ward off razor burn and bumps with the help of a natural lubricant.
  • Earwax remedy: If you suffer from earwax buildup, use olive oil to flush out the excess. For 3-4 nights, put a few drops in your ears before bed and it will do wonders.

So forget those expensive treatments, fancy moisturisers and other beauty aids. If you want that glow on your skin, look no further than your kitchen. Grab a bottle of olive oil and go natural.


It’s Your Honeymoon — So Why Take The Same Tried-And-True Beach Vacation?

Couples who plan on tying the knot naturally start thinking about the honeymoon. It used to be that their first inclination would be to plan for a stay at a luxury hotel on a beach. But this is now a world where many couples have already traveled extensively, and they are beginning to search for something with a little more substance, and definitely something that fits their combined personality.

Here’s a thoughtful list to consider:

  • Cooking classes: Thanks to the Internet, getting comfortable in the kitchen has never been easier — and more popular. These days, honeymooners are feeding body and soul with cooking classes in destinations from Mexico to Thailand. Sessions often include market tours and tastings — and many incorporate wine.
  • Locavore: The concept of consuming within, say, 100 miles of your home sweet home, originated in restaurants. The idea is to source food, ingredients and experiences as close to the earth and local surroundings as possible. In addition to eateries, locavore is also a major trend at spas. Bonus: It is green living at its best.
  • Volunteer vacations: Tour operators are now offering packages that help honeymooners who want to give back in profound ways. The adventures can include monitoring dolphins, helping hatch leatherback turtles or planting trees in the Amazon.
  • Minimoons: With vacation time in the U.S. at a low (especially compared to European countries), these quickie getaways offer ample romance over a long weekend. Add a day on each side of a weekend and travel regionally to preserve prime vacation time.
  • Eco-tours: Whether it’s making a minimal impact on the surroundings, serving local fare in their restaurants or using solar power to run their electricity, eco-friendly resorts have proven that going green can still be totally luxurious. Modern couples love this approach, and seeding out “off-the-grid” resorts have a genuine, feel-good moments built in.
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  • Adventure-moons: With less emphasis on conventional fly-and-flop honeymoons, more and more couples are looking for a more adventurous and fulfilling way to start off married life. Couples start married life by ticking off bucket list items such as trekking to Machu Picchu in Peru, exploring once-prohibited Cuba or riding a Harley across the USA.
  • Unusual destinations: Rather than picking conventional spots, some couples opt for less obvious alternatives. For example, Montenegro or Malta rather than the Amalfi coast. Finding new parts of old-favorite countries is a growing trend, and gets you off the beaten path.

In the end, no couple wants something run-of-the-mill for their honeymoon. So get off the beach and the lounge chair, think outside the box and make profound memories.