Thursday, July 31, 2014

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.


Overview: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

Review: Wow, I am so glad I was able to read this without coming across any spoilers. I think I would have been so heartbroken if someone told me the twist before I had the chance to finish it. So thank you, I will not do the same and spoil it for you.

Originally I didn't even want to read this. I picked it up at B&N and thought, jeez, maybe this is just a tad too dark for me. But then I went to the movies and saw the Gone Girl  movie trailer starring Ben Affleck.

The trailer made me want to read it and I'm so glad I did. The layers of complexity in the characters was great. The two POV's worked well for me. I like being in the head of the wife and husband. My only complaint was the ending. I just thought it fell kind of flat and I wanted some sort of justice to be exercised. Nonetheless, it's a book I would recommend if you're into crime and thriller novels.

Can't wait to watch the movie!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Walla Walla Series: Our Wine Haul and Saffron

So by mid afternoon, we're still at it! Wine tasting galore! 

We went to Gramercy and then Long Shadows where we got some nice Riesling. In the below photo you can see their chihuly art.

But I think this was the point where the wine started to hit us.  Michael was getting weary and I was so hungry.

So after Longshadows we went to get a sandwich, but by the time we were done we were only able to hit up one more winery before the tasting rooms closed. We ended up choosing Sleight of Hand that had this cool record player and tons of records along the walls. It was by far the most eccentric winery I've ever seen.

Returning back to the inn Michael and I observed our wine haul. 13 bottles!

For our last night we went to Saffron for dinner. This place is also a must if you ever go to Walla Walla.

The great thing about Walla Walla is the surrounding farms, meaning all ingredients were organic, picked at peak season, and weren't sprayed with pesticides. The tomatoes in the salad were so ripe and juicy!

Then we had some calamari which was seasoned very well and super tender.

This one's hard to see, but it's fried potatoes in a sweet and spicy sauce. It was so good. My favorite appetizer out of the three.

Michael had the steak for dinner and I had the duck ragu.

My favorite part of any meal, hands down, is the dessert! This panacotta was beyond heavenly.

Then we finished it off with some port wine and expresso.

Before we knew it, our Walla Walla trip was over!

The rest of the Walla Walla series:

Tranche, a Maurice, Walla Walla Vintners

L'Ecole, Woodward Canyon, Reininger, Brasserie Four

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Walla Walla Series: Tranche, a Maurice, Walla Walla Vintners

So yesterday I posted about the first day in Walla Walla (see post here), today I'll be posting about the morning after (this past Saturday). Well, the first half of that day anyway. Saturday turned out to be super busy. So much wine to taste, but so little time!

We started with the eastside by hitting up Tranche first. This winery was pretty neat because we were able to drive through the vineyard. I mean, look at that! Isn't that gorgeous?

The wine tasting was also held in the same room where they stored their wine.

After tasting, we ended up driving through the vineyard for more photo ops.

Then on our way out we came across this galloping deer. I pointed at it, "Look michael isn't it so cute?" It seriously stared at us before squatting, taking a shit, then running in front of the car. Not so cute, anymore.

After we went to A Maurice, which turned out to be my favorite winery there. There whole driveway going up to it was filled with lavender and dancing butterflies. It smelled so heavenly and was just such a beautiful welcome that I knew this would be a winner.

The wine below was my absolute favorite on the whole trip (and not just because the label was adorable).

Next we went across the street to Walla Walla Wintners. This one turned out to be Michael's favorite on the trip.

Michael was so cute he buckled up the wine box just so they wouldn't tip over.

Now off to more wineries that I'll post tomorrow!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Walla Walla Series: L'Ecole, Woodward Canyon, Reininger, Brasserie Four

The past weekend in Walla Walla was one to remember! Since I took so many photos, I'm going to have to do a series of posts like I did for NYC.

A similar interest that Michael and I have is wine. We both love it. It's a part of our lives and something we always enjoy. So for our summer romantic getaway, we decided to hit the road to Eastern Washington's wine country in Walla Walla. It's about a 4-5 hour drive from Seattle, but it's worth it. The contrast from west to east (port city to high dessert) was startling. Slowly the scenery changed from emerald green to dusty yellow. We didn't mind though. In some ways, it reminded me of California.

On our way in to town we did three tastings before getting to our bed and breakfast at Fat Duck Inn.

The first was L'Ecole:

The staff here was so knowledgeable and helpful, giving us so many recommendations during our stay. Not to mention, they had delicious wine that we ended up buying two bottles.

The second was Woodward Canyon:

The great thing about this place was their selection of whites. Since Walla Walla has more of the 'big reds,' this was a special treat. From Woodward we got a nice riesling.

Our third tasting was Reininger:

This was such a cute place! We even came across a rooster on our way in. The owner of the place was so gracious as he introduced himself to us. We got a red blend and a red peppery tasting rose.

For dinner, we miraculously got a reservation at 7 p.m. at Brasserie Four. I say miraculously became this French Restaurant was phenomenal and we were only lucky because their was a cancellation. If you ever head into Walla Walla, make a reservation before hand! Michael and I lucked out this time around, but we know we won't be as lucky next time.

To Michael's glee, the restaurant had this rose:

This is supposed to be the best rose, or at least that's what we've been hearing, so Michael was dying to try it. Turns out, it is the best damn rose ever. More please?
Michael and I started off with escargot (snails) and instead of being just buttery in flavor as you would expect, it tasted earthy and grassy (in a good way). We couldn't figure out what it was seasoned with, but it was delicious!

The last time I had escargot was almost two years ago in Paris, so right away I knew this meal would be memorable. If someone ever wants to take me back to Paris, I would be extremely delighted!

Alright, next appetizer? Tartare!

This tartare was unique because it was made with sockeye salmon (one of Michael's absolute faves). It was so well-balanced I could eat it forever and not tire of it.

For entrees Michael had the bouillabaisse filled with mussles, clam, scallops, and fish :

He said it was the best bouillabaisse he's ever had. I had the classic moules frites (mussles and fries):

It did not dissappoint! I just wish I had a bigger stomach to finish it!

Here's a photo of Micahel and I. Very blurry, but I think it's a great depiction of the moment: wine drunk. Just kidding! The lighting was just too dark to take a good photo.

To finish off, Micahel had an expresso and we shared a creme brulee.

Such a wonderful meal! As you can tell, wine isn't the only thing Michael and I have an interest in! Food is just as important!

Since our inn was only half a mile away and the weather warm. Michael and I had decided to walk instead of drive. Big mistake! We ended up being followed by a sketchy character who later gave up. Lesson learned. Never walk around at night in a town you haven't been to before.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Beta Reading, Synopsis, and Rain

It's Thursday which equals my Friday! Hallelujah!

Michael and I will be going on a getaway trip tomorrow to Walla Walla in Eastern Washington! I seriously cannot wait, this has been one of the longest weeks ever so I am pumped to get out of the city and do some wine tasting.

This week I sent my manuscript to four beta readers. I dowloaded it on my kindle too, but I think I should probably stay away from it awhile to gain some perspective.

M2 seriously drove me bonkers over the weekend, I thought I was going insane. The below comic explains it perfectly.
Though none of my betas are done reading, I've gotten some good comments which makes me sigh with relief (so it wasn't a complete shit show, excuse my language), but I am anxious for the bad comments that will eventually come. It's necessary though, contructive criticism will only make M2 stronger, which is what I want.

In the meantime I've been working on my synopsis and query (you'd be surprised how long it takes to write one letter and a 1-page summary). I've also been doodling ideas for a contemporary romance in case M2 doesn't work out. Though M2 has series potential, I don't want to invest the time in it yet without knowing if  it'll be published or not (though rest-assured, I do have brief arc of the whole series in mind).

Oh and lastly, there was a thunderstorn and downpour yesterday and it's raining today! I guess you can't exscape rain in Seattle, even if it is Summer.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Recap: Michael's 27th Birthday

I'm going to keep this short and sweet and let the photos recap last night at Daniel's Broiler in Bellevue for Michael's Birthday.
Birthday boy making a wish (photo cred: Cristine)

From L to R: Michael's Dad, me, Michael, his Mom, his sister Cristine, and her husband.

Tasted more like a brownie than a cake ;]
Michael was very excited about this Bandol wine!
Photo cred: Cristine

Presents from Cristine and Tim

Wine I got for Michael

His new gold clubs from his parents!