What’s a perfect day of sailing?

by fourteenergirl on July 9, 2014

in Sailing

It’s a trick question – it’s one where nothing goes wrong!

I promise that we have been certified, that we have experience, and that we are constantly striving to be better sailors. Have I told you that we have ‘knot nights’ where we practice knots and quiz each other. We’re big loads of fun I tell ‘ya. Amid the folded laundry and two kitties, we’re tying knots and trying not to screw them up. When we do it in bed, we hope that the neighbors – who are ever so close in these tiny lots – don’t happen to look over and see us in bed with ropes strung everywhere. Could send an interesting message, don’t you think?

So, here’s my little bit of complaining: no matter how experienced I think I am, I can always do something stupid.

Last time we went sailing, we had 4 guests and Steve was backing out the boat – we had conferred, agreed upon our strategy for leaving the dock correctly. There was the big catamaran parked in a bad location for a smooth departure, so we were going to have to do a little expert maneuvering and what did I do? I left one of the stern bow lines attached to the dock.

No kidding.

Smoothest departure I’ve ever managed, no lines fouling the prop, nothing tangled, I didn’t fall overboard or get dragged off the dock hanging on to the safety lines … but I left us hooked to the dock.

Ergh! One of these days, I need to get the dock guys drunk and have them tell me all their worst stories and hope like hell one of them isn’t me. I think that would help – hearing about the other mistakes people make.

So, what happened this time?

We could not find the damn main halyard. That’s the line that hooks to the top of the sail and raises it. Without it, the sail doesn’t go up.

Even worse, we could find the secondary halyard, but it was badly tangled and wouldn’t work.

We finally located the main halyard and got it hooked up and had a glorious day. We had one lovely couple of friends on board and they were superbly patient as we worked out this latest issue.

perfect sailing day

Who said that mistakes are the best teaching instruments? Not sure, but boy are we making the use of our mistakes.

Still, it was a great sail. Nearly perfect wind and sun and not too hot. Amazing.

perfect sailing day


On the Summer Wine Pass tour last weekend, we ran into a total gem of a winery – the Cimarone and 3CV wine tasting room in Los Olivos. These wines are so superb we were speechless. The owners don’t like dry wines (neither do I) and they specialize in Bordeaux-style wines. They have only one white but it was amazing. Honestly, it blew away the Brander Sauvignon Blanc and may very well be my new favorite white.

cimarone winery

Our rule for visitors is that they get to pick one winery on the wine trail and then we always end up at one we know well. In the past this has always been Gainey, but I think that 3CV may now have replace that. We were blown away by these wines and, of course, they only do small batches and their wine club typically drinks it all up so you’ll never find this outside the valley.

3CV wines

The wines were so good we became members on the spot and bought about 8 bottles.

We highly recommend that if you’re in Los Olivos, you try this wine and if you’re visiting us, we’ll take you there. Lovely little tasting room. They have a back area where you can picnic and we will definitely be coming back.

Of course, what’s even better than just wine? Wine and cupcakes, of course!

wine and cupcakes



Further update on the summer wine pass tour.

Wineries tasted = 3

More wineries to go = 12

End of tour is August 31, will we make it?

So, we started at Brander. They have a Sauvignon Blanc that I have enjoyed at restaurants in Santa Barbara, so it seemed like a good opportunity to try their other wines.

summer wine passes

Nice entry way … the owner was born in Argentina and raised in Sweden, hence the multitude of flags.


Out in the courtyard, there were kitties.

brander kitties

This one was initially shy.

shy kitty

Until Steve went to get a drink of water and she decided to come and have some.

kitty water

When we went inside to taste wines, one of the servers had a small kitty over her shoulder. She had just adopted her and named her Pinot, but didn’t want to leave her home alone so she brought her to work. She let me hold her baby.

baby grey kitty

The wines were good. We bought a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc and a red. More to come … we found an absolute gem of a winery to share with you. Our new favorite.




Bathroom reno progress – Tub versus Sledgehammer

by fourteenergirl on July 6, 2014

in Home

So, the tile is gone, the electrical is moved and now it’s time to remove the tub. We’re replacing it with a shower stall (who really uses the smaller tubs for baths anyway?). bathroom reno Except, it wouldn’t come out. Steve removed more drywall, lifted and tugged to no avail. Damn thing was really in there. So, we pulled out my grandfather’s sledgehammer. smash the tub Yes, you will notice my safety conscious hubby is wearing eye protection and sandals. I stayed safely around the corner. sledgehammer versus tub Shards everywhere. cracking the tub Finally, it broke in to two large pieces and Steve was able to carry them out. broken tub Big empty space now. Not sure what’s next but you can bet I’ll post about it.


Wine Tasting in Celebration of Summer

by fourteenergirl on June 29, 2014

in Just Stuff, Traveling

After the disaster of a bike tour, we went wine tasting. We have these summer passes – $40 gets you tastings at 15 wineries until August 31st. We had to get a move on!

We tried the Daniel Gehrs tasting room first …

daniel gehrs wines

Because this one was the official greeter.


And these lovely ladies admitted they put Chloe out on the bench to lure people into the wine room.

daniel gehrs wines

Worked for us!

They also have a lovely backyard patio, so I recommend coming to this place with a lunch and sitting out there.

wine tasting

The wines were pretty yummy and we got a few bottles. We liked their Chardonnay and their Cab is delightful. Plus some lovely port for my sister and brother-in-law as a bribe to send us some Colorado whiskey Mr. Man loves.

Then, it was on to Gainey where they were having a summer celebration.

You gotta love a place that greets you with a goodie bag and a loaf of fresh bread. Man that cheese was awesome!

gainey summer party

The cupcakes lasted about 2 seconds.


We got in line for a jeep tour and they gave us more wine!

more wine!

Steve came back and waited with me.

waiting for the jeep tour

We got to hear about growing grapes from the head grower.
head grower

Anyone recognize this barn from a famous movie?

barn on gainey property

The jeep ride was super windy!


After that, it was off to the place where they make the stuff.

bottling wine

After that, we were super hungry and we stopped at this place – Cold Spring Tavern. It’s in the Sideways movie and it’s a big local hangout.

cold spring tavern

Lots of bikers here mixed with people in fashionable clothes. While there is a restaurant in this ramshackle-looking building, everyone gets their tri-tip sandwiches outside from this guy.

tr-tip sandwich

I didn’t get his name. He wasn’t chatty or even smile-y. I thought it best not to press the issue.

tri-tip sandwich

This is your basic sandwich – meat, bread, sauce. No veggies to screw it up. Good thing I’m not a practicing vegetarian right now.

So, that was our blast of a Sunday.



Dropped my Camera after a 40-Mile Ride

by fourteenergirl on June 28, 2014

in Healthy living

Ouch, without a camera, I’m useless as a blogger. So a week ago, I was in a bike tour that went wonky and I was so tired at the end of it – and late for volunteering at the Botanic Gardens – I put my camera on the bumper of the truck and drove away without it.

My poor baby.

It started like this.

bike ride

Up  in the Santa Ynez valley through the beautiful wine country. Now, I’m what you might call ‘navigationally challenged’ and by that I mean without my Garmin, I’m lost. So, I was nervous about getting lost on this bike ride, but I had a map. I hooked up with two lovely ladies about my age (thinking they wouldn’t leave me behind too quick). They had done this ride before, so I thought all was good.



They took me TWICE down different wrong roads.

I did 18 miles before I even got to the start of the ride! I have never met two people more navigationally challenged than me, and why oh why did I have to meet them both together on this ride?


Even worse – They were faster than me. I go about 12-13 miles per hour and they were clearly clocking faster speeds – especially uphill. So, once I finally got on the right path, they left me in the dust. Sheesh!


There were no signs at the corners where you were supposed to turn like they do on Santa Barbara bike rides.

The map and directions were also wrong – I ran into many people who went all the wrong ways, some even had the smartphone app thing and they were off path.


In short, it was a disaster, but a pretty ride and what more can you ask for really?

They found my camera and because I had left a message with the race founder asking about lost cameras, my camera and I are reunited.

What did I learn?

Have your OWN map – don’t trust their maps.

Don’t ride on the two-lane roads – just felt too dangerous.




We don’t have air conditioning – thank the lord. I despise air conditioning because it is so damned necessary and I’ve been so, so lucky for the last two decades to live in places where I didn’t have to lock up my house and close off the windows and crouch in the dark trying to stay cool enough not to explode.

Can you tell I don’t like being hot? I don’t, but I like air conditioning even less.

I don’t mind air conditioning occasionally, like when we were on our honeymoon in Turks and Caicos – it was super hot there. I don’t mind it in hotels – it cools things off in the winter so I can sleep when everyone else is blasting their heat, but I don’t stay in hotels often.

Still, it occasionally gets warm here – warm enough that it’s hot at dusk and I worry about getting to sleep. This is when Steve gets to go to bed with a peppermint candy cane.

If you’ve never been introduced to Peppermint Oil, you’re in for a treat. Peppermint oil has a natural cooling effect on the skin and I mix it with my lotion at bed-time to chill down.

Start with any lotion – the peppermint smell will take over, so using a scented lotion is useless. Do not skip the lotion step. Peppermint oil applied directly is too much – it can be painful.

bedtime lotion

Then, shake a few drops of the oil onto the lotion, rub your hands together and apply on your legs, your arms, shoulders, neck and stomach. Skip the face and chest … in a few minutes you’ll know why.


Some words of caution:

  • If you wear contacts, take them out BEFORE applying the oil and lotion – you do not want this in your eyes.
  • Do not put the lotion/oil combo in any sensitive places (I’ll let you figure out what that means).
  • If you have any arthritis, the peppermint can ease that stiffness so use it in those places.

The effect is quick and it can be a bit of a surprise until you get used to it, so I recommend starting off slowly. The lotion helps you spread around the oil and keeps the effect from being too intense.

Still, you will feel chilled and cool. If you have a fan on in your room, the effect is even colder.

Bonus? Your house always smells fresh!


All I Want is Pretty, Strong Nails

by fourteenergirl on June 11, 2014

in Just Stuff

When I was younger, my nails were super strong, hardly ever broke and were really easy to maintain. Deep nail beds and tough as … well, nails.

Then, I turned 40 and it seemed that my nails got more and more brittle – easily chipped and peeled – all those things I didn’t have to worry about before. And nothing worked to make them stronger, so I clipped them short and looked more granola-girl for a few years until I discovered gel polish.

Now, let me tell you – this stuff is AMAZING. It’s super strong, stays shiny and chip-free for WEEKs on end until it grows out so far you have to take it off and re-do the job. I’ve taken my gel polish rock climbing, I’ve replaced windows, cleared landscaping, everything and it doesn’t break or chip.

Love this stuff.

So, what’s the problem?

I miss my nail tech in Colorado.

She was funny, down-to-earth, and friendly. She and I would chat about little things, my kids, her pets, my pets, our significant others and whoosh, my nails were done. You wouldn’t think it would be so hard to find a suitable replacement, but boy have I had every kind of trouble with this you can imagine. Let me take you on my journey.

Asian nail place #1

So, this nail place was nice. I took the girls here when they visited but they didn’t speak English too well. The decor was outdated and when we bought this house, it was a tad far away.

Next stop, Ulta

Now, Ulta is where I buy the makeup I don’t buy at Drugstore.com – they’re very cool. They take stuff back if you hate it, even if you opened it and used it. They have a nice rewards system and they have the big bottles of conditioner on sale once a year so I stock up.

They only use OPI gel polish and while I love OPI colors and have a bucket of my favorites it has to be applied exactly correctly or it will chip. I usually talk them into 3 layers and that seems to do the trick at keeping the chipping at bay.

Other problem? The nail tech I always get is the chattiest 20-something I’ve ever known and I just can’t relate. I do not want to talk all the time, but wow she can chat through the entire hour without batting an eye.

Asian nail place #2

Now, this place is very close and everyone is entirely friendly there, but they all seemed to be named Lily or Anna. I don’t know why but when I ask their name, they all say Lily or Anna. I’ve counted them and there are plenty of Lily’s and Anna’s in there. They do a very good job. Speedy and thorough and the price is good.

The products, I’m not so sure about because they don’t have typical labels and that makes me a tad nervous but so far, so good. Still, it’s annoying that they speak their language the entire time after getting me settled and greeting me, so I feel a little invisible. That’s fine when you have a friend along and you want to chat, but it reminds me of that scene in ‘Because I Said So‘ where the girls and their mom visit a Korean massage place and they are all talking but the massage therapists are having their own discussion at the same time … you know what I mean.

So, products I like and a nail tech that talks me to death or invisibility and products I’m a little unsure of, which would you choose?

gel nail polish

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June Gloom Settles In

by fourteenergirl on June 10, 2014

in Healthy living, Just Stuff

By now, you know I don’t handle clouds and gloom well. I want to curl up in bed with a book and a cup of tea or glass of wine and wait for it to get sunny again. I dislike gloomy weather intensely. It brings my mood down and makes me feel solemn and sad.

Even with the June gloom settled in, I must ride my bike because 1. I need to stay healthy and, 2. I’m preparing for a 50-mile ride later this month. So, gloom or no gloom I rode 20 miles on Saturday.

june gloom

I’ll ride another 30 later during the week. Perhaps in the afternoon, when this marine layer wears off.


Even the beach-goers were few and far between. Yech!



First Bathroom Reno has Begun

by fourteenergirl on June 9, 2014

in Home

A couple of weeks ago, I posted ‘guess what this means‘ and this weekend, we started the demolition effort. This time, demolition meant renting a jackhammer-like thing and boy was this fun!

After removing the ugly vanity, we had plain boring tile on the floor …

boring tile

and Mr. Man rented this thing to smash the grout lines and break the tile up (yep, that’s an even uglier linoleum underneath).


After he got started, I took a whack at it and boy is that noisy dirty fun! It was heavy too. It made short work out of getting rid of the tile – all the way to the concrete.

no tile

We got a start on the tile along the walls, but will finish that later.

shower tile

The electrician comes this week. Both of the tiny bathrooms were on the same circuit. If two hair dryers were going at the same time, we’d have had a mess.

Once the noise and dust cleared Max came to investigate and found it all rather boring.


Down to one toilet and back in construction hell. I don’t mind. After this, we start on the outdoor patio room and I’m super excited about that!