Wine tasting in Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara county is an up and coming region in Southern California producing some very good quality wines. I’ve been drinking several great wines from that county, but have never had the opportunity to visit. This past weekend on a trip to Paso Robles my fiancé and I stopped by and visited a few wineries on the way up.
Sunstone Vineyards & Winery:

Nice place, quiet location. They make a Rhone style blend that is well put together. Their Viognier is on the slightly sweeter side of wines, if you’re into that. Nice scenery, and a bocce ball area in the back where you can take your wine and relax in the sunshine.

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Buttonwood – Farm Winery & Vineyard:

Originally a peach farm, this winery makes some very good wines. The farm is still operational and is 100% organic (but not certified). They make a great blended wine “Trevin” (my favorite here) as well as a very good Cabernet Franc. Be sure and keep your wine glasses, they offer free tastings if you bring them back when you visit again.

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Making room in the Garden

Spent the MLK weekend working around the house. My girlfriend and I were actually planning to head up to Paso Robles this weekend, but she started to come down with the flu so we stayed home and I made here chicken noodle soup (still haven’t perfected that recipe yet, but that’s a different story).

One thing on my list of chores was to remove a tree that was blocking our garden area. We were hoping to start a garden this summer and we needed this tree removed to help the area get more sun.

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I was planning on taking the chainsaw to this thing and imagining I was a lumberjack, but I started looking at the height of it and how close it was to the house. I also started to factor in the fact that I had never cut down a tree before in my life. I took a more conservative method and chopped it down in about 6 foot sections. Then proceeded to cut those pieces up into smaller pieces until I was left with this:

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…and…

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Now our garden has some sunlight and hopefully these will grow up to be nice and strong:

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Go Cart Racing in Vegas

I was in Vegas this last weekend for a bachelor party. We had a great time (but I don’t want to get into too many details). One of the things we had scheduled was indoor go cart racing. I’ve been behind the wheel of a go cart three or four times before so I thought I had a pretty good idea what to expect…but I was wrong.

This is where we went: Pole Position – Las Vegas

They say that their cars go up to 45mph, and I can vouch for that.

We started out with a group of 11 guys for the first two races. This is where I started to get my bearings. I took 6th place in both of the races, middle of the pack. For the third race we had one drop out (feeling sick from partying hard the night before), and this race is where I found my groove. I took 1st place here with the fastest lap time by 0.2 seconds. For the last race we had one more drop out so we began with 9 racers. On the first lap there was a collision which brought out the black flag (race had to stop). Two people were disqualified, taking the field down to 7 racers. After 12 laps and a few more fender benders I arose victorious.

Awesome fun and something unique to do in Vegas (rather than betting then loosing money at a slot machine).

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IQ Test

Something that I’ve wanted to do for a while now.This was on my “To-Do” list last year but I never go around to it. Here are my results:

Dear Geoff,

Your general IQ score is: 134

 

If you’re interested, here is where I took my test:

  1. Go to http://www.iqtest.com/ and follow the instructions there. 
  2. After you hit submit it will ask for an email address to send the results.
  3. Fill out the form and look at you inbox for your IQ score.

 

NOTE: (I don’t know how official this is but wort taking a look at if your have 20 minutes of free time)

Malibu and Santa Monica

This morning Heidi and I took a trip to the beach. It was great weather, unseasonably warm for January. We had brunch in Malibu at a place called Geoffrey’s. Awesome view of paddle boards and snorkels on the ocean.

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After a delicious brunch we went to Santa Monica and played in the sand. Ended up just taking some pictures, reading, and catching an afternoon nap.

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As part of my New Years resolution (“Do at least one new thing each week”) Heidi and I watched the sunset on the beach. Great sight if you haven’t seen it before, the sun looks as if it were sinking into the ocean.

All in all not a bad way to spend a Sunday in Southern California.

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2014 Resolution/To-Do List

Resolutions:

Financial: Hidden for now (will update soon)

Fitness : Complete all aspects of an Iron Man Triathlon in 2014 : [0/3] 

  • 2.4-mile Swim
  • 112-mile Bicycle Ride
  • 26.2-mile Run

Mental Wellness : Do something new every week : [6/52] 

  1. Beach Sunset
  2. Go Cart Racing in Vegas
  3. Cut down a tree
  4. Relax in the backyard
  5. Wine tasting in Santa Barbara County
  6. Huntington Library

 

To-Do List for 2014:

  • Learn to ski
  • Go skiing, surfing and golfing in the same day
  • Take a vacation and just veg out. No plans…Just relax
  • Bike ride Mt Baldy
  • Learn French
  • Make Limoncello

To-Do Tasks completed from previous years:

  • IQ Test – Score 134

Links to previous years resolutions:

30 Things to See and Do Before 30

I must admit that I didn’t make this list, I read it on the Huffington Post. I thought it was a great article, so I’m going to use it as a mini-bucket list. Granted I’ve already seen and done some of the thing on the list, but I only have a year and a half to finish the rest :)

1. Jump off something.
Whether it be a tree by the river next to your childhood home or bungee jumping from the Victoria Falls Bridge in Zimbabwe. Take the leap.

2. See one of the Seven Wonders of the World. ✓
This is a tough one, because at 30, well, you still have the bank account of a 29-year-old. The good news here is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be one of the originals — go for the Golden Gate Bridge (modern world), the Grand Canyon (natural wonder), or the Mayan ruins in the Yucatán Peninsula (USA Today new wonder), an affordable flight from most U.S. cities.

3. Party in Las Vegas. 
No person should exit their 20s without doing something they regret in Sin City. The place was basically built for us.

4. Take a vacation that isn’t Spring Break. 
You had your opportunity to drink beer upside down and insist you don’t need sunscreen while in college. Besides, you don’t remember anything from those trips anyway.

5. Attend at least one large celebration.
Mardi Gras, Full Moon Party, Easter Mass — I don’t care, as long as you have to throw elbows to get to the bar, or the alter.

6. Hit up a nude beach.
If for no other reason, use the time to look around and remind yourself of how young you actually are.

7. Spend several days with only what will fit in a backpack.
If you can brush your teeth with river water and comb your hair with a tree branch, you can most certainly figure out how to stop turning all of your white clothes pink.

8. Swim in the ocean. 
This is a must.

9. Sleep somewhere where you have to light a fire to stay warm.
Kudos if you can do so without matches.

10. Do some sort of adrenaline sport.
Raft a Class five rapid; mountain bike Whistler in the summer; surf a wave larger than your torso — meaning: do something that scares you.

11. Hit up one of the Caribbean islands.
There are thousands to choose from. You’ll most likely visit more than one in your lifetime, get a good jump on it in your 20s.

12. Take one ultimate road trip.
It can be with buddies, it can be camping, it can be on Route 66, Route 1, or the Blue Ridge Parkway. Double points if you have a reliable car to get there.

13. Go somewhere alone. 
At 30 you should be confident and worldly enough to wake up in a foreign country and know how to get yourself home.

14. Take a train somewhere. ✓
There are no hidden innuendos here. It’s just nice to have the patience and maturity to sit still and watch the world go by.

15. Go to a music festival. 
Hit up one of the big ones (Coachella, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury) and spend the weekend listening to good music, dancing, and having random song lyrics make you contemplate what you’re doing with your life.

16. Have one iconic Americana experience.
Think Dollywood, Graceland, and Branson.

17. Go to at least one of the Smithsonian museums.
The world’s “largest museum and research complex” includes 19 museums, galleries, and parks — the majority of which are free.

18. Summit a mountain.
I’m not talking Everest, but you should by now have stood on a mountain peak high enough that you’re worried about getting back down.

19. Be able to name your top five dream vacations.
It’s OK if one of them is “home.”

20. See a game at a classic ballpark.
If Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, or Joe Dimaggio hasn’t played in it, it doesn’t count.

21. Visit a neighbor to our north or south. ✓
There’s a hall pass to be had for out of the continent, but by 30 you should have crossed at least one landlocked border.

22. Do something so adventurous that it requires a doctor’s visit. 
Whether it requires a series of preventative vaccines before or a cast/splint/cream after, the goal here is that the adventure at hand was so extreme that you need to seek the advice of a trained professional.

23. Save pennies to go somewhere you really want to go. 
It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but you should have to work for it.

24. Go to New York City.
Eat a slice of pizza, stand in the middle of Times Square, and ride the Subway to somewhere — anywhere. This trip is made even better if you can’t afford a decent hotel and book a hostel instead.

25. Sleep under the stars.
In your backyard, in a tent on safari in Kenya, or in the camping pit of an organized event — be extra proud if your experience was made significantly more successful by a can of bug spray.

26. Eat an iconic city meal.
Options include a cheesesteak in Philly, clam chowder in Boston, deep-dish pizza in Chicago, crabs in Baltimore, gumbo in New Orleans, BBQ in Memphis, and a beer in Milwaukee.

27. Know all of the best places to take tourists in your home city. ✓
Philly’s “Love” Park may be just a point of congestion to locals, but trust me, your mother will love it.

28. Have one close encounter with a wild animal. 
If this means you don a wetsuit and slip into a tank with dolphins, so be it. But let’s aim for something in the wild if at all possible.

29. Do something you can’t tell your parents about. 
Go ahead and make some bad decisions.

30. Know a dance well enough that you could keep up with the locals.
Tango with Argentinians, Salsa with Cubans, Kathak in India, do a jig with the Irish, or line dance in Kansas.

2013 Resolution/To-Do List

Resolutions:

Financial : Balance budget for all reoccurring bills. Only liabilities will be: mortgage and student loan. Have a positive Net Worth by the end of the year. ✓

Fitness : Complete all aspects of an Iron Man Triathlon: [1/3]

  • 2.4-mile Swim
  • 112-mile Bicycle Ride
  • 26.2-mile Run ✓

Mental Wellness : Stop cursing. Keep a record of all cursing through the year. ✓

To-Do List for 2013:

  • Finish a Golf Tournament in top 10%
  • Camping by plane
  • Visit NYC
  • Read the whole bible
  • Start reading Jesus Calling
  • Learn French
  • Learn ASL
  • Run 365 miles [225/365]
  • Take an IQ test
  • Create a budget ✓
  • Buy a new guitar
  • Buy a case for the telescope ✓
  • Build a new computer for Heidi and I
  • Attend a college lecture at USC or UCLA
  • Run a marathon ✓
  • Move to Redlands ✓
  • Visit Hawaii (if Mom goes)
  • Fix all websites ✓
  • Obtain at least 1300 ranking in chess ✓online chess

[last-modified]

UPDATE:

Another year down. I didn’t complete all of my resolutions for this year, but I thing I did a pretty good job. I have many “to-do’s” left, some are scheduled for this year (NYC, French). 2014 should be an awesome year!

2012 Resolution/To-Do List

Resolutions:

Financial: Pay off my Truck : $0 remaining ✓

Fitness : Compete in 6 athletic events (one being outside of California) [5/6]

Mental Wellness : Investigate and Participate in some type of Volunteer Work

To-Do List for 2012:

  • Sailing Lessons
  • Travel to 2 states I’ve never been to
  • Travel Internationally
  • Get Complex and High-Performance rating for my Pilot’s License
  • Begin my Instrument Rating for my Pilot’s License
  • Buy a new suit ✓
  • Buy a kayak ✓
  • Go fishing ✓
  • Make home made sushi
  • Take GRE/GMAT
  • Apply for Grad Schools ✓
  • Read 6 books [4/6]
  • Maintain a sub-90 handicap (Golf) ✓
  • Play at least 50 rounds of Golf [37/50]
  • Open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)
  • Become MCITP Certified (Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional)

UPDATE:

2012 was a tough year. Heidi and I both went through some serious life changing events. You can read more about it here: http://www.heidisheart.com/2012/11/the-cliff-notes-story/

I am looking forward to next year and what it has to bring. I will be keeping these resolutions and “to-do’s” in mind hope to incorporate them into next year list.