Sunday, August 29, 2010


Amelia now has her own Facebook page. She'll post pictures that didn't make it into the blog, some pictures from the past, as well as some other surprises. Feel free to look her up on Facebook-Amelia Ratkins!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

America's Grape Country Wine Festival

Last weekend I traveled to the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds in Dunkirk, NY for America's Grape Country Wine Festival. What a wonderful event!

The sounds of the Boneshakers Blues Band welcomed me to the event.

 Look at all of these wonderful sauces. Burning Asphalt Sauces include hot sauces, BBQ sauces, ketchups, mustards, marinades, rubs, and more. I loved the Burning Asphalt Peach Bourbon BBQ sauce!

The Brick Village Gourmet is a chef run company that makes delicious dressings, jams, salsas, seasonings, and more. Here I am with the Chef himself and his helpful assistant.

In addition to sampling these wonderful foods, they also had food vendors. Wow! Now these are some curly fries!!!  I actually got to see them cut the fresh potatoes. Delicious!
They had so many different vendors here. There were grape seed oil lotions from Van Buren Bay Cosmetics, photography vendors-there was even a cigar company! I got to watch this man roll cigars for the Santiago Cigar Factory. I thought that was pretty neat.

Of course, the primary reason for the festival is the wine. So many wonderful wineries were in attendance-from all over New York! Here I am with Craig who shared great information as well as the wonderful wines from the Thousand Islands Winery.

I also attended 3 wine seminars: Wine and Cheese from the Empire State (that's New York, of course), Heirloom Grape Varieties of New York, and Sensory Perception, where I learned about how my senses interplay with wines. I learned so much...and had lots more great wine.

Now that's a big spit bucket!

They're all good!

I had a wonderful day. I discovered new wines, even new grapes, had great food, and made new friends. Who could ask for anything more?

Got wine?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Orlando, Florida

After exploring Austin, Texas I was invited to join a lovely family for their trip to Disney World. Here I am with my new friends-Florida here we come!

We're waiting for the bus headed to Hollywood Studios. Imagine-there's a Hollywood in Florida too!

Here I am with my host, standing in front of a backdrop of San Francisco. Hmmm I think I'll have to visit the real San Francisco and get my picture taken there too!

Don't I look cool in these shades. Ha Ha. We're actually watching a movie in 3D!

Here we are at Epcot Center.

The Magic Kingdom-Disney World here I am!

I got to meet my famous cousin. It's my host, me, and Mickey Mouse!

I really appreciate being welcomed on this family trip. I had a fantastic time. I'll miss these wonderful people, but more adventures are waiting.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Author, Author!

I love to read, so I was thrilled when I heard that Lorna Barrett was having a book signing for her latest book in the Booktown Mystery series, Chapter and Hearse. I love this series-books, food, and murder in New England-what's not to love?!? Actually, Lorna Barrett is Lorraine Bartlett. Lorraine writes a few series. She writes the Booktown Mysteries as Lorna Barrett. She writes the Jeff Resnick Series under the name L.L. Bartlett and the upcoming Victoria Square Mysteries as Lorraine Bartlett. Lorraine, or Lorna, was kind enough to have her picture taken with me-look, she's even letting me help her sign!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Design a Tea

Today I went to the Brockport Summer Arts Festival and met Jen and Brian, the wonderful folks behind Design a Tea. I adore tea (remember I was born in the UK!) and these folks let you create your own blends! First you pick a tea base-Black, Oolong, Rooibos, or Green. Then comes the hard part-choosing one or two flavors. Oh the choices! They have fruity flavors (apple, apricot, passion fruit and more), nutty flavors (almond, pecan, and more), spicy flavors (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and more), and other fantastic flavors (chocolate, caramel, maple, and more). Notice the theme with "and more"! I decided to use a black base with caramel and pecan! You can also choose some custom blends that they've created themselves such as Tropical Holiday Snowflake (coconut and rum with a Black or Rooibos base) or China Seduction (chocolate and rose). While it's great to meet and talk with Jen & Brain at summer festivals, don't worry if you're not in the area...or it's can order online! I'm home now and sipping my custom blend, which I made into iced tea. It's delicious! Thanks for the wonderful brew!