Heather's Hangout

Sharing the people, places & little moments that make a difference.

10 activities for a fun girls night in April 5, 2017

Filed under: Life Lessons — Heather @ 4:00 pm
Tags: , , , ,

GirlsNightIn_blogpost

I love my girlfriends. I love spending time with them, individually or as a group. I, of course, adore my guy friends too, yet there is something special about being surrounded with strong, funny, smart women. I’m fortunate to have many of these women in my life, women who build each other up, provide support, encouragement and love. These women cheer for me when things are going well, and hug me when things go south.

2

I have girlfriends from all walks of life. Some who I’ve known since childhood, others I met in college, and others entered my life in the past few years or even months. As I’ve aged, I’ve come to realize the importance of maintaining strong relationships with many of these friends, and also come to understand that some friendships fade over time and it’s okay to move on. I cherish each as they touch my heart and teach a lesson in their own way.

2

I’ve enjoyed many adventures with girlfriends over the years. From international getaways to road trips up north (northern Michigan, for you non-Michiganders!) to visits at the local coffee shops, there is laughter and fun to be found all over. And there’s also lots of fun to be had staying in for the evening. I recently enjoyed a fun night in with a small group of girlfriends, indulging in food, music, facials and girl talk. It was a wonderful night of connecting with friends and the much needed relaxation and laughter recharged my soul.

2

Staying in with friends is an easy, cheap opportunity to have fun and connect/catch up. There are so many activities to enjoy so I thought I’d share a few of my favorites. The biggest catch to a relaxing night in – ditch the technology. Leave your phone in your purse and instead tune into your friends. One of my favorite parts of my recent girls night in? Not one of us reached for our phone the entire night, ensuring that we were all tuned in and focused on connecting with each other.

  1. Cook new recipes. Sometimes the hostess will try a new dish or we each bring a dish to share.
  2. Choose a theme. Plan a spa party, fiesta night, ’80s theme. You can plan food, decorations, games and more around the theme.
  3. Wine tasting. Have everyone bring a bottle of wine to sample. You can even make it a theme, such as from certain locations (Michigan, Napa, etc.) or types (white,  Cabernet, Riesling, etc.).
  4. Facials. Who doesn’t love getting pampered??
  5. Games. There’s everything from cards to board games to video games and even ‘made up’ games (and drinking games if it’s that kind of night!).
  6. Movie night. There are some great girls’ movies! You can go ‘old school’ with movies like Dirty Dancing, 16 Candles, Breakfast Club or Pretty In Pink. We also like Sex in the City, any Melissa McCarthy movie, Love Actually or sappy romances such as The Notebook.
  7. Plan an activity. Make cards, a holiday craft or vision board.
  8. Dance party. You all know I’m a big fan of music and breaking into random dance at any moment while I’m at home (or anywhere).
  9. Girl talk! My favorite of girl time is catching up on everyone’s lives. It’s a great time to reconnect. We always touch on topics across the spectrum, from love to career to celebrity crushes to hair styles to family to laundry detergent to recipes to exercise to favorite travel spots to lingerie to…..well, I don’t need to spill it all. You get it. Any topic is up for conversation.
  10. Pillow fight. Okay, I’m just kidding. I know some men reading this are wondering about the pillow fights that girls supposedly have at all sleepovers or gatherings (how did this idea ever start??) so I had to throw it in.
 

5 Michigan white wines for summer tasting July 2, 2016

The warm, summer weather in Michigan makes it the perfect time to enjoy crisp, flavorful, refreshing wine. Thankfully, the mitten state is home to numerous wineries that produce delicious varieties of wine.

2

White wines are my favorite types of wine, even more so during the summer (so relaxing to sit on the deck in the evening with a cool glass of wine!), and I’m grateful that my home state wineries create many tasty bottles. Here are a few of  my favorites:

2

wineArcturos Late Harvest Riesling, Black Star Farms (Suttons Bay) – This long-time favorite is a light, sweet fruit-forward wine full of apple, peach and other fruit flavors.

2

Rustic White, Longview Winery (Cedar)  – Another long-time favorite, this semi-sweet wine is loaded with tropical fruit flavor, including pineapple and passion fruit. It’s a refreshing, easy wine that is always popular when served!

2

Naked Chardonnay, Chateau Aeronautique (Jackson) – This chardonnay captures ripe fruit flavors such as apple, orange, peach and more to produce a light, crisp flavor and easy finish.

2

2014 Chardonnay, Peninsula Cellars (Traverse City) – A lightly sweet wine packed with hints of pineapple, tropical fruit and green apples.

2

Missing Spire Riesling, Left Foot Charley (Traverse City) – I usually indulge in this winery’s Cinnamon Girl hard cider so it was a nice surprise to taste this deliciously, crisp, sweet wine, which brings together a blend of the winery’s late harvest Riesling vineyards.

2
2

What wine(s) do you like to drink during the warm summer months?

 

Tips for chilling your wine April 16, 2016

temperature guageYou open a bottle of your favorite white wine ready to enjoy the delicious flavor. You take a deep breath to smell the full aroma. What do you smell? It depends how you chilled the wine, according to a recent workshop that I attended at Michigan By The Bottle tasting room. My sister and I recently attended the “Chill or Not to Chill” wine workshop at the Royal Oak wine-tasting room to learn about the proper temps and ways to chill a bottle of wine (read about the last wine workshop I attended there). Mostly, I learned that I’ve been chilling my wine wrong for ages!

2

I learned that winemakers of course intend to get the most aroma and flavor out of their wines, which means they intend to serve at the proper temp to encourage these two things to occur. If you chill a white wine too much, for example, the aroma and flavor are muted.

2

For this workshop, we were provided two variations of three different types of wines – one glass was chilled in a regular refrigerator and the other glass was chilled in a wine refrigerator (typically a warmer temperature than a household refrigerator). Note that a wine refrigerator is different than a beer refrigerator, which is a colder temperature too. I could not believe the difference in these wines! The aroma was much fuller and the taste so much stronger when chilled at the proper temperature. I was especially struck by the difference in the white wines, such as a Rieslig and Pinot blanc. Having side by side samples of a glass of refrigerator chilled wine and a glass of wine refrigerator chilled wine was so noticeable. Nothing was distinct on the refrigerator chilled wine, while the aroma and flavors popped on the other wine. I can’t believe I never noticed these differences before now!

2

Red wines should be served at room temperature. However, if you really prefer to drink all of your wine at a cool temp, then store your red wines in the basement or put in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before serving. You can chill the remainder of the red in the refrigerator to slow the oxidation process, which will extend the life of the wine (bring it to room temp before serving). You can also store the bottle on the counter for typically one or two days.

2

winebottlesA suggested temperature for a light-bodied white wine (Pinot blanc) is 45-50 degrees, full-bodied white (chardonnay) is 50-55 degrees and a sweet white (sweet Riesling, Moscato) is 43-47 degrees. A medium-bodied red can be served around 55 degrees, light-bodied red (Pinot noir) is 50-55 degrees and full-bodied red (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz) is 60 degrees.

2

For those of you who might use an ice cube to chill your wine faster (ahem, Mom), it was highly recommended not to do as it dilutes the wine’s flavor, body, aroma, and overall intent. A guest at the workshop said he uses an ice bucket with half ice and half cold water to chill his bottle of wine in a few hours. Heck, we’ve stuck bottles in the snow during January for a quick cool down and it worked great!

2

I love myself a good fruit wine, such as Chateau Fontaine’s cherry wine or Black Star Farms‘ pear wine. These wines can be chilled.

2

Most wines are meant to be drank within a year. Reds, such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, age better, and Rieslings age very well (frankly, my Riesling bottles usually don’t last long in my house, let alone a year!).

2

I love my stemless wine glasses. But these type of glasses make you hold the glass filled with wine, where the warmth of your hands can start to warm the wine more or less than you want. Duh, I never thought of that!

2

Overall I learned that it doesn’t hurt to chill wines, it just depends what process you use to do this. You don’t have to run out to buy a special wine refrigerator (right…yes, I keep telling myself this!). There are several viable options for cooling your bottle, as I listed here. Do you have other suggestions?

2

I ended up finding another good, new wine during the workshop – Chateau de Leelanau’s Cherry Wine. Delicious!

2

Another great learning experience! I definitely will head back to this local wine resource in the future.

 

*This is not a paid endorsement for Michigan By The Bottle. I went and purchased on my own. I enjoyed the event so want to share with my readers.

 

 
%d bloggers like this: