Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Metapost: T-Minus 10 days...

Ack, two metaposts in a row! Sorry about that.

The countdown I'm referring to is the move to my new office in Decatur. Yes, I get to be a Decatur business owner starting in October. It also means I'm stuck in detail hell right now, so I don't have much time for blogging, although there's always time for drinking wine! The good news is that once I make my move, I should get about eight to ten hours back per week, and I plan to use many of those for writing. I also anticipate having more energy in the evenings, which will help a lot.

I do want to make a brief mention of a cool new wine shop in Avondale Estates, The Little Wine Shop. Their grand opening is September 30, but Hubby and I got to go to a sneak peek event. I'll do a full review on it this weekend.

I hope everyone's having a great week!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Metapost: Why I didn't apply for the AJC freelance reviewer job

This past month has been a time of big decisions for me, and I feel like I have a lot of balls in the air. I also fear that there are a few up there that will surprise me and bonk me on the head if I don't catch them soon enough. One of the balls I decided not to juggle was the Atlanta Journal-Constitution freelance food reviewer position (view the announcement here).

At first, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity: review one restaurant per week for the AJC working under John Kessler, whom I admire. I took his workshop at last year's Decatur Book Festival and learned a lot about food writing in those two hours (hint: it's a lot like narrative nonfiction writing). I felt like I could have competed well for the job with my wine knowledge, blog experience, and writing samples from this blog and Decatur News Online.

Openness to "OTP" restaurants was a must. This wasn't a problem, as Hubby and I enjoy exploring Buford Highway, and we lived in Lawrenceville for a while and still have favorites up there. Another excuse to meet up with friends in Roswell and Alpharetta would have been great, too.

There comes a time, however, when priorities have to be defined. As I've mentioned before, I'm in the middle of moving my office closer to home, and the picky little details are driving me crazy. One of the reasons I'm making this move is to be able to expand my business, which is going to take a lot of time as well as mental and emotional energy. Having a weekly deadline, even if it means I get a meal out comped (and I actually don't know what the financial arrangements were going to be), would add more stress than I need at this point. Hell, I can barely keep up with this blog and my Random Writings.

Also, there's a psychological principle that a behavior that is internally motivated (e.g., restaurant reviewing) will cease to be rewarding once it is externally motivated (e.g., by being paid for it). I like eating out. It's one of those things that Hubby and I can do to relax after a stressful day or week. I'm afraid that, by doing it for someone else for pay and adding deadlines to it, I wouldn't enjoy it as much, and it would become just another job.

So, good luck to those who are vying for the coveted spots, either as the freelancer or as one of John Kessler's brigade of bloggers! I'll enjoy reading your reviews. Meanwhile, I'll keep eating and writing on my own schedule.

Part of the chaos from my last office move & bookshelf rearrangement:

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tasting Notes: Cleavage Creek

First, my apologies to Cleavage Creek for taking so long to write this review. As I mentioned to them soon after we got the wines, Hubby's mom is a breast cancer survivor, so we wanted to share them with her. She broke her leg last August (unrelated to the cancer, which she seems to be clear of), and it's been quite the ordeal requiring two surgeries, so we didn't get the chance to taste the wines with them until a couple of weeks ago.

For those who aren't familiar with the Cleavage Creek story, founder Budge Brown lost his wife of 48 years to breast cancer and decided to turn his grief and anger into action. For him, this meant purchasing the Cleavage Creek label, and he now donates 10% of gross wine sales to breast cancer research. Yep, gross profits. That's the money they make before expenses are taken out. Each bottle has a picture of a breast cancer survivor on it. You can see their stories on the web site. I've summarized them below, but I encourage everyone to go read them. They're incredibly inspiring, and each gave me a good dose of much-needed perspective.

I'll admit that Hubby and I got into the 2007 Merlot-Shiraz before going to see his parents. It opens with Pumpernickel bread spiciness and mellows out to bright fruit. Susan, the woman on the label, has survived breast cancer twice and now is very involved in breast cancer activism and volunteer work.

The 2008 Tracy Hills Reserve Chardonnay is a beautiful straw color. I drank this one as I assembled a peach pie at my in-laws' house and found it perfect for the summer afternoon. It has a light oak nose. The palate opens to melon, mandarin orange, and vanilla palate and has nice acidity and balance between fruit and oak. Label model Terrie was all too familiar with breast cancer from the medical and personal side when an intuitive radiologist picked up on something suspicious. She sought support and fought back aggressively, and she continues to be proactive.

Finally, we drank the 2007 Tracy Hills Secret Red with lasagna for Sunday dinner with Hubby's parents. All agreed that this well-balanced red complimented the food and stood well on its own. Plummy and smooth, it opens up to ripe fruit and has a great finish. The smile on model Jennifer's face demonstrates the courage and humor she's shown in a difficult and tragic battle.

We and my in-laws thank Cleavage Creek for the opportunity to taste their fantastic wines! Thank you as well for the support and hope you give to women who have breast cancer and those who have survived it. Wine that saves boobies? I'll drink to that!

Disclosure: These wines were sent to us free of charge for sampling purposes.