Friday, October 16, 2009

I Heart Vino

It all began with a trip to the Biltmore Estate. Up until then, I didn't really care for wine and didn't understand the attraction. But Pmo and I visited that winery and we haven't stopped looking for tasting rooms since. We've been to wineries in North Carolina, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, and Kentucky. Maybe even more states but I can't think of them right now.

Visiting wineries and buying wine has really become sort of a hobby for us. But not every winery is created equal. I like a winery to be scenic, kind of set back from everything else. I don’t like junky ones that sit right off the interstate, but I'll still try them out. I think one of my favorites is Stone Hill in Missouri. It's on a hill, obviously, in this charming small town, almost village like. I also like Huber Winery in southern Indiana. Lots of farmland around it.

I started my drinking career with hard liquor. Screwdrivers were my drink of choice. It was college, so cheap vodka was the best I could do. I didn't like beer at the time. Then at some point, I ended up growing quite fond of beer. And I took a few shots of tequila here and there until I knew better. I was on the beer kick for quite awhile, but my tastes have now turned to the art of grapes.

I love learning about wine, talking about wine, and of course, tasting wine. Pmo and I gathered quite a collection from our trips this year, but now that supply is gone. I expect we'll stock up again soon. We have some standards at the local liquor store that are tasty. But half the fun of opening a bottle of wine from a trip is bringing back those memories and remembering why you liked it enough to buy it in the first place.

Every bottle of wine is different, and it has its own story. I don't think you can really say that about other alcoholic drinks. I love smelling a glass or bottle of wine, including the cork. I love to look at it in the glass and swish it around. I enjoy it. I experience it. I used to think it was a bit uppity to drink wine, but not anymore. I'd rather drink wine than any other alcohol at this point in my life.

The bad thing is wine knocks me on my butt pretty quick. I've learned Pmo and I can share a bottle and I'm good the next day. If we share two bottles, I'm probably going to have a headache. Three bottles or more, I'm headed for trouble. And if I'm drinking wine by myself? Oh, Lord, not a good move. But nevertheless, tonight, I'm looking forward to going home, sitting in my recliner, and drinking a bottle of great vino with my husband. In my opinion, it's the perfect way to end the work week.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Coupon Caper

My latest hobby is searching out deals. I scour the Sunday ads and the weekly circulars looking for ways to save. I usually don't travel from store to store just to buy a few items here and there that are on sale. I tend to stick to the deals offered by my local Wesselman's and Dollar General. It helps that they're right next door to each other. But this week, I found good deals on items we use every day that were spread out at several stores, so I decided to brave the rain today and make the trip around town. I went to 5 stores and spent about $25 at each store. But, I saved at least $25 in markdowns and coupons.

I've learned that I can cheat on my coupons a bit. It depends on the cashier, but sometimes you can slip some by that really shouldn't be used. I try to get in line where I see a young kid, preferably a boy, because something tells me he doesn't care if I have a coupon for High Fiber Progresso Soup when I only got the regular kind. By the way, I got 6 cans of Progresso Soup for $7 and some change today. Or when I have coupons for $1 off the purchase of two 12-packs of Diet Coke, but I use 1 coupon per pack instead. That day I got four 12-packs for $7.

I also enjoy buy 1 get one free sales, if I can use the items. Today, I decided against a buy 1 get 1 free today on cranberry juice, because it was a huge container that was $5.49 and I didn't think I could drink 2 of them. I try not to buy things I don't need just because they're on sale. But I've learned the art of watching for things to go on sale, THEN using my coupons. Which is tricky. You have to pay careful attention to the ads, mark things, and make a list. Otherwise, you'll forget what was on sale and what you wanted to get when you walk in the storer. Also, do lots of coupon clipping and be aware of what you have. Long expiration dates on those coupons are important so you can hold onto them and use them when the time is right. And of course, you have to have the patience and will to not need the item right away, and to wait it out. Then you can truly reap the benefits of sales and coupons.