Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Life’s A Beach

Good morning! I hope everyone enjoyed my iPhone shots from Paris… and that they are enough to tide y’all over for about a week, because I am off to the British Virgin Islands today! It’s crazy, I know—I feel very lucky and spoiled, and I can’t wait for some warm weather and ocean water. In honor of my trip, I decided to feature this beach towel:

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{SPF 10K beach towel, $85}

This towel from Chance would actually be perfect for me because I really do not enjoy getting tan… I am going on this trip more for the warmth and company—you can rest assured that I will be rocking a big straw hat, cover ups, and a minimum of SPF 60 all over my body, with SPF 70+ on my face. I am totally paranoid about skin cancer, so it also makes sense that I will be bringing this item for touching up on the sun protection.

I’m sorry to have been such a lazy blogger lately… once I get back in a week, I should be much better. We will have absolutely no wireless or even cell phone reception on this little sailing trip, so I can’t even update from my phone. I appreciate your patience and hope that everyone has a great rest of the week and weekend. See you in seven days, at which point I will start the Father’s Day gift guide!

Image courtesy of www.chanceco.com

Another Paris Post

I am back in the US and am already missing Paris! I sat next to the most lovely Parisian couple on the plane, and we had such a nice conversation. They were visiting New York City for the first time and I gave them some restaurant and shopping recommendations from my eight years there. The wife was super cute and in SUCH amazing shape--I thought she was a college student with her older beau until she told me that she has two kids, one of whom is already six!

And four more Paris photos, for the cheap seats in the back... that last one is of an adorable old couple strolling through the Luxembourg Gardens. It was so charming to see them so affectionate with each other. And yes, I am a creep for sneaking behind them to capture this special moment on camera...

Parisian Walks

Absolutely loved strolling around the city and taking in the architecture. How amazing would it be to call this your apartment building?

Marie! The baguettes! Hurry up!

Had the most amazing four days in Paris! One of the highlights was that a baker let me stand in his kitchen and watch them prepare the bread before le boulangerie opened this morning. It was so interesting and such a cool, random experience.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Au Revoir

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3319/3475662329_5dd9d7b82b_z.jpg

Wow, I feel like I owe my readers a massive apology for being so MIA… and on top of that, I’m leaving for Paris in FIFTEEN MINUTES! My hope is that the hotel will have Wifi so that I can post photos from my visit to the City of Light. In the meantime… be well, enjoy life, and stay tuned for updates from Paris!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mother’s Day: Fluttering

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{J.Crew silk square scarf, $55}

I love this chic silk scarf, and Mom will, too. There’s still time to rush ship it from www.jcrew.com, or you can just pop by your local mall and get one in-person at the store. In fact… I’d probably pick up two; one for Mom and one for myself!

Image courtesy of www.jcrew.com

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Feelin' Country

Bluegrass night = awesome!

Mother’s Day: Sweet Scents

Mother’s Day is fast-approaching (this Sunday, to be exact) and you know what that means… it’s Amazon time! Thank God for speedy shipping, right? Last week, I posted some Vera Wang blooms… and today’s blog pick is a Vera Wang scent:

http://www.girlygifts.com.au/v/vspfiles/photos/AB1018-Vera-Wang-Perfume-Gift-2T.jpg

{Vera Wang Eau De Parfum Spray $44.11}

This romantic perfume has notes of mandarin, Calla lily, and iris. It’s subtle and appropriate for any occasion, day or night. Mom is sure to love it, and for all the daughters out there—you’ll probably end up wanting to borrow it!

Image courtesy of www.girlygifts.com.au

Monday, May 7, 2012

Interview: Grape Juice

Good morning, and happy Monday! I’m pleased to kick off the week with an amazing interview featuring Korbin of Korbin Kameron estate wines. Located in the beautiful Sonoma Valley of California, Korbin Kameron is a family-run operation that produces some really amazing vino. It’s a beautifully packaged, delicious, and unique wine that is perfect for any occasion—weddings, engagements, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, college graduations, housewarmings, you name it. The Present Perfect was fortunate enough to have Korbin take time out of his busy schedule to share his wisdom and tips about wine, California living, and gifting. If you are interested in purchasing some Korbin Kameron, you can visit their online store. Enjoy!

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{Just another day at the office for Korbin…}

So, for the novices in the room... what makes a good wine, and which types of wines would you consider the most "safe" to gift to someone?

This is a somewhat controversial question.  Some people say to drink what you like and good wine is whatever you enjoy.  But if I like a McDonald’s burger that uses low-quality ingredients over a black label burger made with grass fed beef, organic lettuce, and tomatoes, then would I be correct in saying that the McDonald’s burger is better? No, it just means you prefer McDonald's—which is perfectly fine.  A good wine has the same principles; it should be comprised of high quality components—great grapes with concentrated flavor coming from low-yield vineyards, great yeast, and great oak.

In my opinion, sparkling wine is the "safest" to gift somebody.  It seems to be held in higher regard in the US for some reason.  It almost has a celebratory status where people seem to only drink them during special occasions, even though in Europe, it is an everyday wine.  I guess it seems special and everybody likes sparkling wine, so there's no going wrong with it.

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{Manning the grounds at Korbin Kameron}

You split your time between Napa and San Francisco--that sounds pretty amazing. What do you love most about where you live?

Napa/Sonoma is great because of the open space and the non-claustrophobic aspects of it.  It is outdoorsy and peaceful.  There is a very relaxing lifestyle out here and no one is on a fast paced urban schedule.  God, this response makes us sound lazy, but I swear we get work done.  It has a more European vibe, and I believe that makes us even more productive.  Oh, if you haven't already heard, the food is AMAZING out here.

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{The beautifully-packaged wine}

What makes Korbin Kameron so special?

Hmmm… mainly two things.  I think our location separates us from the pack.  We are on the ridge of Mt. Veeder, so we are one of the few properties where the Napa/Sonoma county line runs through the vineyard.  Also, we are 2,200 ft. on top of the mountain which gives our vines great drainage, meaning the water drains quickly so the vines have to struggle and fight to find a water source.  This increases the depth and complexity of wines, whereas vineyards on the valley floor have poor drainage and the water pools up in the valley and the grapes get diluted. 

From a branding perspective, I think we offer a great family story and great packaging.  It's tough to appreciate wine with no identity and a brand won't succeed without a story to connect it to.  It gives the wines a soul, if you will.  Also our elegant and modern packaging really appeals to the millennial generation, which is the generation that currently purchases the most wines right now.

We really want to over-deliver for our price point.  For a new brand, if we're not doing that, then we're not doing our jobs.  I don't want somebody to pay $35 for a bottle of our wine and be satisfied with it; I want them to feel like they got more than they paid for.

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{The beautiful family behind Korbin Kameron wines}

Do you think that the product of small/family wineries are fundamentally different from larger ones?

Yes. Family wineries are all about the product, and larger ones are like corporations that are all about numbers and dollars.

What are your favorite wines? (besides Korbin Kameron, of course!)

My friend from the Central Coast (the  hottest area right now to grow Rhone varietals) has a great brand named Sans Liege (Without Allegiance).  He makes great wines and doesn't cater towards anybody except his own palate.  The industry has been headed toward a path where wines are created and doctored to appeal to certain critics’ palates so as to earn high ratings, which has led a lot of wines to taste similar.  Curt from Sans Liege couldn’t care less about that, and he has some very cool packaging.  Check out his wine called The Offering, which is a blend of Grenache, Mouvedre, & Syrah. 

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{Wine-in-progress at Korbin Kameron}

Now it's time for you to brag about your wines... tell us about the awards y'all have won!

Haha, well we've won a lot of gold medals and best-of-varietal awards early on.  With our first vintage, we really wanted to get our bearings straight and see where we stacked up with everyone else.  Once we saw a good pattern emerge, we stopped entering wine competitions because they ultimately don't offer much in return.  Believe it or not, entering competitions can be expensive!  Our Merlot gathered the highest accolades overall.  It's great because it's our best seller even though some crappy movie *cough*Sideways*cough* decided to bash the varietal and now everybody thinks they shouldn't like Merlot.  Fortunately for us, this stigma is finally wearing off.

[Editor’s note: click here for a full list of their accolades.]

Bringing wine as a gift is a pretty standard gesture. Do you have any tips for housewarming/hostess gifts that complement a bottle of wine?

Definitely.  There are so many cool gadgets out there for wine. Laguiole makes cool, fancy wine openers if you're into that. Every home should have a decanter to help aerate certain wines, but I think glassware is the most important.  Lead-free crystal, to be exact.  Don't get caught up with the brands, because they are all the same as long as it's lead-free.  Check out Schott Zweisel ones, their pricing is very competitive and great quality.

Wine-related or not, what's the best gift you've ever received?

My father gave me a bottle of wine from my birth year.  I really think it's the coolest wine gift for a significant birthday.  My father loves Vintage Ports and Madeiras, so on his 50th birthday I got him a bottle of port from his birth year.  You can use wine-searcher.com to search for wine by vintage and price so you can find something that doesn't really break the bank.

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And on that note, what's the best gift you've ever given?

Besides what I mentioned above, one year I got my father a sparkling wine saber.  It's used to slice off the top of the bottle and it's cool to save the tops with the cork and glass intact.

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{Korbin’s nightly view at the vineyard}

What is the most interesting thing you've learned from running the show over at Korbin Kameron?

The most important thing I learned was to trust my own palate.  Don't ever let somebody tell you what you should like.  If you like a certain wine's flavor profile, then great; to each his own. Go with what you like. I guarantee you that you can find a well-made wine at a reasonable price.

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{Korbin’s sweeping panoramic view of Napa and Sonoma}

Thanks so much for your thoughts, Korbin! I have had a fair share of Korbin Kameron wines, and they definitely don’t disappoint. They make an excellent gift for any occasion, so please don’t forget to check out their online store. You will not regret it!

Images courtesy of www.korbinkameron.com and www.blog.vintuba.com

Sunday, May 6, 2012

SF Brunch

What wouldn't I give for a breakfast nook like this one! At the SF Decorator Showcase and am just so impressed with all of the amazing talent!

Friday, May 4, 2012

California

Out West for a quick weekend trip. Gotta love the produce out here!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Temptation

At the airport, waiting for my delayed flight to board. I picked up the special edition of Domino (!!!) at the newsstand... but I have so much homework that needs to be done. I told myself I couldn't open the magazine until I caught up on my reading assignments, but this is just killing me! Domino, you saucy minx, you...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mother’s Day: In Full Bloom

While flowers certainly aren’t the most original gift for Mother’s Day, they are still an excellent choice. Vera Wang has already established herself as queen bee of all things bridal, but she’s now expanded her artistic eye into the realm of flowers—check out these beauties:

Vera Wang Pink Sapphire Orchid Bouquet - 10 Stems - VASE INCLUDED

{Pink Sapphire Orchid Bouquet, $60}

This gorgeous arrangement is normally $79.99, but FTD is having a little sale just in time for Mother’s Day! Mom is sure to love these blooms. It’s a nice option for those of us who live far away but still want to show our mamas that we care!

Image courtesy of www.ftd.com

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mother’s Day: Golden Circles

{Nunu gold triple circle earrings, $125}

For those of you still on the hunt for the perfect Mother’s Day gift, consider these handcrafted, dangly earrings. They consist of wire-wrapped golden circles that are great for anything from a day at the office to a dressed-up evening affair. Understated yet elegant, these are a great present that Mom can cherish for years to come.

I also tagged this as a “For the Girlfriend” item because they definitely fit the bill for that, too!

Image courtesy of www.greenwichjewelers.com

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