Monday, January 31, 2011

Guest Post: Army of Two

Today we have Natalia from Army of Two. She is such an interesting person! I have a feeling that we would be friends in real life, if ever we met. She is about to embark upon a huge adventure and 2011 is going to be a big year for her. If you havent read about it, head on over to her blog now! I promise you'll thank me that you did. 

As American as a Lint Screen and High-Speed Internet

When I moved to New Zealand in 2008, I had lots of expectations.  I was so excited to be an ex-pat living in another country, experiencing a new culture and exploring the beautiful South Pacific.  However, I definitely didn't expect to miss American life so much.  But I did. A lot.

Hell, I would watch shows (on our huge, Soviet-era TV with 4 ft rabbit-ear antennas) that I would never watch back home (or at least admit to watching) just to hear the American accent, see American cities and landscapes, and laugh along to American humor.  It was like going home without the cost of a plane ticket!  Yeah, living in New Zealand is not as different as say, living in China or Kenya, but living so far from family, friend and a familiar way of life really teaches you to appreciate the little things and realize how good we have it here in the United States.

Take the clothes dryer for instance.

I didn't have one in New Zealand and it sucked.  And I'm embarrassed that it sucked.  Electricity is very expensive there so a lot of people save money by forgoing a dryer.  We hung our laundry on clothes lines in the backyard and on two huge drying racks in the living room.  This worked out great on warm, sunny days, but drying often took 3 days or more when it was cold and wet out, which was VERY often. On extremely sunny days you had to keep an eye on your clothes because the sun was so intense that it didn't take very long to sun-bleach colorful laundry.  Life without a dryer led to lots of stretched out, un-wearable T-shirts from the washer's turbo spin cycle and without a dryer’s lint screen, I was a walking ball of lint. Where does all that stuff come from anyway?

Of course hanging clothes out to dry isn’t that bad.  There are many worse things in life and I'm sure something like 80% of the world's population hang their clothes out to dry.  I probably sound like a whiny spoiled brat. But not having a dryer really put American life and our choices into perspective and made me appreciate our way of life a whole lot more.  You have no idea how excited I get what I clean out the dryer's lint screen.

Here are some other simple, daily things that I no longer take for granted:

Unlimited, high-speed internet access-In NZed you pay according to how much bandwidth you use, both downloading and uploading. If you go over your monthly limit, you are punished with dial-up speed. Say goodbye to podcasts, YouTube, Skype, Netflix and streaming radio. I think this actually might be a human rights violation.

Cheese-Unless you're Bill Gates or Oprah, cheese is a luxury. My choices were big bricks of Mild, Tasty, Edam, and Vintage. It was hard to contain my excitement.

A real good bagel-Oi

Pounds, Ounces, Gallons, Calories, Fahrenheits and Miles-Let's see, it's was often 14 degrees Celsius outside, I put 24 liters of petrol in the car, my ice cream bar contained 13025 kilojoules, I don't know how many kilograms I weighed, but I got to drive 100 kilometers an hour. Huh?

Hot water pressure-My pee has more pressure than my shower did in NZed. Sorry, probably TMI.

One faucet on the bathroom sink-You have no idea how amazing it is to have the hot and cold water come out of the same spigot together until you try to wash your face in New Zealand.

Mexican Food-I’m sorry, it’s just not Mexican food if broccoli or beets are involved.

That said, living in New Zealand was an incredible adventure. I traveled all over the South Island, saw some amazing animals, forests, beaches, rock formations, and rainbows, met some wonderful people, experienced new language, food, music, holidays and culture, lived outside my comfort zone and learned a lot about myself in the process.  New Zealand truly is a spectacular country and I look forward to traveling there again someday.

Funnily enough, when I came back to the Good Ol' U.S. of A, I experienced reverse culture-shock and I was overwhelmed by all the choices and mass consumerism.  Driving on an 8-lane highway (back on the right side of the road and left side of the car) and a trip to the grocery store was scary. The land of plenty had become the land of too much! But I quickly got used to it and settled in nicely with a new iPhone.  I just try to be thankful everyday for our freedoms and way of life and support those who dedicate their lives to protecting them.

If you’re interested in reading more about my adventures in New Zealand, check out my New Zealand Blog.

Kia Ora!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Guest Post: the annoyed army wife

Today marks the beginning of my guest bloggers! Im so excited to have each and every one of them. Their posts are awesome and I know you all will love them too. Up first we have the annoyed army wife. She is one of my favorite bloggers. She's sarcastic, sweet and crafty! She's also going through her first deployment, so be sure to stop by her blog and leave her some love. I promise, you'll be happy you did! 

Hobby Time With the annoyed army wife

I’m so excited to be guest blogging on one of my favorite blogs, Uncork and Unwined.  For those of you who don’t know me I’m an army wife supporting my physician husband, OccDoc, during his first deployment to Afghanistan.  My little slice of the interwebs is the annoyed army wife

I learned how to sew before I learned to read.  I made my own skirt to wear in first grade from a pillow case.  It was my ‘butterfly skirt’ and I loved that thing!  My mom was a custom dressmaker that taught me just about all I know about sewing.  Through the years she mentored me in my 4H days and eventually I helped her in ‘the sewing room’ on her professional projects which included ice skating outfits for a semi-pro skater, random tailoring, prom dressesbridesmaids dresseswedding dresses, and a whole host of other projects.  In high school and college I started pulling away from sewing to pursue other interests, namely boys.  I spent a few years away from the sewing machine, until recently.  I got a sewing machine for Christmas in ’09 and have been busy whipping up home decorations like pillows, curtains, table runners, aprons, etc.  Now I want to get back to clothing construction, but I kind of need a refresher.  Enter my latest pursuit keeping me busy while my husband is deployed. 

A couple weeks ago I signed up for a t-shirt sewing class, aka Knits for Beginners.  I was a bit nervous about it, since lots of time has passed since I’d put a needle to a garment.  I found a great local sewing shop that offers fun classes.  The classes are super small; this one only had two students, me and another girl.  During my class, I realized a kindred spirit, a funny, sarcastic, giggly girl my age, shared the sewing table with me.  Our poor teacher, who is the cutest 22 year old with an old soul, tried in vain to silence the giggles of her two 30 year old students.  With comments like “I think a drunk monkey would have stitched a straighter line” she was hard pressed to keep us quiet.  We all had so much fun that by the end of the first class, we agreed to sign up for the next class, Intermediate Knits: Dress Making, at the month.  Here’s my shirt.

What kinds of new or resurrected hobbies have you gotten into while your husband is away?  And how did you keep up with your hobbies when he came home, or did you drop your new interests?

The Annoyed Army Wife 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Blizzard Blog Hop

Household6Diva is hosting a Blizzard Blog Hop! 
Not sure what that is? Head over to her blog to find out!


Ill keep this short and sweet (like me, ha!).

My name is K. Im a twenty-something year old nurse practitioner. I started this blog nine months ago to document our love of wine and our newest adventure: moving to Germany. Since then, it has evolved into so much more. Traveling, wine and coffee are my favorite topics, but I also frequently post recipes and have recently started doing book reviews.

My husband J is in the AF. He and I have been married for just over two years. We met at a Cinco de Mayo rooftop party almost five years ago and have been inseparable ever since. No kiddos yet, but we're looking forward to having some soon. We do have one minpin named Reese. We moved from the States to Germany last June and love it here. We have been traveling as much as possible and soaking up the local culture. And of course, we are always looking forward to our next adventure!

I hope you like what you see and stay awhile! =)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Book Review- Water for Elephants

This book was one that I had seen many times, but never bought.
I didn't think it sounded like something I would like.
Friends had told me it was a must-read, but I
wasnt convinced.

One day a couple of weeks ago, I saw that it
was only $5 on Amazon for the Kindle.
So I thought, why not, it's only $5.

I am so glad that I spent that $5! This was a very
good book! It was interesting, sad, intriguing,
poignant and eventually,

I typically do not like sad books. Or sad movies for that
matter. But despite the sad parts, this was a book
that I enjoyed.

I felt like I really got to know the characters and became a part
of their world.When they experienced triumphs, I felt proud.
When they were hurting, I was hurting.

One thing I simply can not stand and did not like about the
book was it's portrayal of animal abuse. That is one of the
lowliest actions and most evil cruel things in this world,
in my opinion, so it broke my heart to even read about
fictional animal abuse.

Other than that, it was a wonderful book and I would
definitely recommend it.

Rating: ****

Rating Scale
*****: Amazing, wonderful, MUST-read, loved it!
****: Really liked it, would recommend, great book!
***: Liked it, enjoyable, but not the greatest book ever written. 
**: Not so great, some good parts, but overall, it was just ok.
 *: Didnt like it, wouldnt recommend it, bad book all around. 

Not my photo
It's being made into a movie and I cant wait to see it this Spring!
Reese Witherspoon is one of my favorite actresses and is in it. 
Robert Pattinson is also in it, in the lead role. Im not the biggest fan 
of his and certainly would not have chosen him for this role, 
though I do love his hair! I hope he surprises me and 
does this role justice.
Perhaps the actor that I am most excited about is Christoph Waltz.
He was in Inglorious Bastards and won an Oscar for his role. 
I think he will be perfect for the character August. 

I think most people would say that when a book is made 
into a movie, they like the book better.
I agree most of the time, although I will admit that 
whichever Ido first- read the book or see the movie, 
I usually end up liking more. 
I think it may be because I form opinions and ideas based on 
that first "meeting" of the characters. If the other version is
different, it just doesnt fit with my idea of what it's 
supposed to be like. 

If you've read the book, what did you think? 
Are you going to see the movie? 

Monday, January 24, 2011

On Pause, Push Play

I've been a bit MIA from blogging lately. No real reason except that I just havent felt like it. I feel as if Im in the in-between. The hubs is away on a TDY (and has been for 3 weeks) and I am going to be leaving on a trip soon. I feel like I'm in an apathetic pause. Does anyone else feel like this when your significant other is away? Maybe it's just because he's been away for three weeks and Ive finally reached my boredom limit. I know that I have things that I need to do, things that need to be done. I just cant summon the motivation to do them. This is how Ive felt for the past five days, but today was much better and turned out to be a very productive day.

Interesting things have been happening in the Uncorked household. I promise soon Ill be able to share with you. I can tell you that we have a resolution to the infamous tire saga, as of today, yay! But now we have a whole new awful car problem in its place. Ill blog about it soon. Maybe not before I leave, but soon. The rest will have to wait until Im back from my trip.

Starting this Friday I will host a series of guest bloggers. Please dont be shy and leave them some love. They were all so sweet to guest post for me while Im away and their postings are awesome. I hope yall enjoy them as much as I did!

Until next time, Happy Monday!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Review- Happily Ever After

Most of you know by now that I am a HUGE reader. I love books. I have loved to read since I was a child, starting with the R.L. Stine books (I loved Goosebumps!). My Mom is the same way and we both read very fast. This allows me to read a lot of books in a short amount of time. I read seven (!) books on our 8 day cruise in November. We did a lot of relaxing and we had plenty of down time in the airports.

This year I've decided to keep up with how many books I read. I havent ever done this before, but Id wager that I read close to 100 or so every year, if not more. Since I read so many, I wanted to start a little section on here for book reviews. I like a good mix of chick lit, mystery & fiction. If you guys ever have a recommendation for me, please let me know! I am so excited about all the ones you gave me during my giveaway last week.

The first book that Ill be reviewing is the first book that I read this year: 
Happily Ever After, by Nora Roberts

Not my photo
This was the fourth and final book in the Bride Quartet series. 
I have enjoyed all of the books in this series, 
though the second and third ones were my favorite. 
This is an easy read that doesnt challenge you in any way. 
It has a nice, expected conclusion to the series.
Very much a happily ever after kind of story. 
Like most of the other books, it lacked any real conflict or drama; there
wasnt much of a "turning point". 
I expected this, so I wasnt disappointed. 
Rating: ***

Rating Scale
*****: Amazing, wonderful, MUST-read, loved it!
****: Really liked it, would recommend, great book!
***: Liked it, enjoyable, but not the greatest book ever written. 
**: Not so great, some good parts, but overall, it was just ok. 
*: Didnt like it, wouldnt recommend it, bad book all around. 

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Two Things in Blogland that Make Me Sad


I love getting comments. Love it. And I love responding to those comments individually to the people who send them, but it makes me sad when I go to respond to a comment and see this instead of an email address. I understand if you dont want to use your real email address or name. It's easy and free to create a new email address that you can use for blogging. I want to respond to comments from so many of my favorite bloggers, but can not because there isnt an email address connected to your account. I feel like Im being rude by not replying to some comments, but it's because I cant, not because I dont want to.

#2: Word Verification for comments

As much as I love to receive comments, I also love to leave comments. I'll admit though, there are times when I wont comment on a blog if I know they have word verification set up. Sometimes Im in a bit of a rush and just dont want to take the time to do it. I understand having this step if you get a lot of spam. But honestly, do you get a lot of spam comments? It may seem like a little thing, but when you're catching up on reading and have 20, 30, 50 blogs to go through, it's hard to stop and comment on those that are going to take up even more time.

When I started my blog, I had this function turned on. Then I read a post like this on another bloggers site and thought, huh, why do I need this? I thought she made a good point and I got rid of it that day and havent used it since.

(I still love reading your blogs and will continue to comment on them, even if you fit into one of these two categories! =)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Recipe of the Week

This week's recipe is one of my childhood favorites. My Mom & I used to make them for bake sales. They have always been one of my favorite cookies, but I have rarely made them in my adulthood. When I saw the recipe pop up on another blog, I knew I had to made them. They were delicious, though J thought they were too chocolatey sweet. Psshh- what do men know about chocolate? ;) 

No Bake Cookies
Courtesy of: Wife of a Sailor

4 oz. butter
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
3 T. cocoa
1/2 c. peanut butter
3 c. quick cooking oats
1-2 tsp. vanilla

1. Combine the milk, butter, sugar & cocoa in a medium pot. 
2. Cook for 1-2 minutes and bring to a boil. 

3. Once smooth and boiling, remove from heat. 

4. Add in the oats, 

peanut butter and vanilla. 

5. Stir well. 

6. Drop by the spoonful onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. 

 7. Enjoy! 

 Happy Tuesday! 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Saga Continues....

This afternoon, I hitched up my BGP's (big girl panties) and drove to the post office on base, tires in the back seat, address in hand. I was worried about being able to get the tires out of the car and into the post office. It's a bit of a walk from the parking lot, plus you have to go down stairs. Usually it's not a big deal at all, but today I had two 50 lb. packages with me. For those of you who know me, you know my arms are about as big as a a can of beans. Even on a good day, there is no way Id be able to haul those tires inside by myself.

Several people that I'd talked to prior to going had said that most likely, the post office staff would help me if I asked. Those several people would be wrong. I walked in and went to the custom service desk. A girl and a guy were there. I explained my predicament to them and asked for help as sweetly as possible. The guy seriously pointed over to the right and said, "There's the dolly." Clearly he doesnt have a chivalrous bone in his body. I explained that even with the dolly there was no way I would be able to get them out of the car and in here. He instructed me to go to the pick up window and see if anyone there would be willing to help me. Total jerk douche bag. =(

The line for the pick up window was crazy long, so I decided to start calling my friend's husbands to see if any of them could help me. It was lunchtime, so I was hoping to snag someone while they were on their break. Luckily, our great friend Dave was on lunch and offered to help me. He came to the post office, hauled the tires inside and saved this damsel in distress. He will be the recipient of a nice bottle of wine very soon.

So I waited in line and when it was my turn, I rolled the tires over to the window. The jerk clerk behind the counter stupidly asked, "Uh, can you lift those up here?" Knowing very well that I couldnt, I told him that I would try. Thankfully, a very nice gentleman in line behind me came to my rescue and lifted both sets up on the counter for me. I thanked him profusely while I glared at the clerk. Sixty-one dollars later and I was out of there. The wrong tires have been mailed back! I also emailed the shipping receipt to the company and my refunds have been set up.

Sooo, the saga has hit a happy note. Now we just have to wait for the new (and hopefully correct) tires to arrive. Until then....

I was given an award by Angie from Oh, How Delightful!
Thank you Angie! 
This means a lot to me and I really do appreciate it. 
I always feel a little bit like a rock star when 
gifted with one of these. =)

Im terribly at playing by official rules, so instead of telling 
you 7 things about myself and giving this to 15 people, 
Im just going to pass it along to a few of the newish blogs
that Im following. 

how i met your father
It's a Dog Tag Wife Life
Life's a Dance
Newly Mrs. Cravinho

Happy Saturday!

Friday, January 14, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-in #26

Milspouse Friiday Fill-ins are back! Head over to Wife of a Sailor to participate!

*What are you looking forward to most in 2011? from Jessica Lynn Writes
So many things! We have several friends and family coming to visit, friends moving here, tons of traveling to do, plus some things that we are working towards. Oh, and hopefully and job for me!     
*What is something random you do on a boring night when your significant other is away? from Lovin Ma Soldier   I usually read, watch a chick flick or get caught up on the few TV shows that I watch without J. Nothing too crazy, but a glass of red wine is usually involved. 

*What has been your greatest adventure as a MilSpouse? from Misadventures of An Army Momma
Moving overseas, hands down. We're currently on one of the greatest adventures of our lives! 

*What is the ugliest fashion trend you ever bought into (I'd like to make fun of you, so can you please provide a picture as well)?from More Than An Army Wife
Ugh, there are so many from childhood/my teenage years: A perm, cowboy boots (ropers), puff paint tshirts tied on the side, doc martens, overalls, flannel shirts.... I could go on.

*What was the high point of last month?
Spending 10 days in a row at home with J over Christmas. We couldnt go anywhere with him on Bravo, but it was so nice to have home time alone with him! 

Blogger Oops....

Blogger is acting crazy on me today as I try and set up some scheduled posts for the coming weeks. Excuse my mess while I work on this....

Thanks! =)

Thursday, January 13, 2011


On this Thursday, I wanted to do a 
happy, light hearted post. 
With that in mind, 
here is a photo montage of my pup Reese. 
She's a ham. 
Territorial, sweet and so damn cute. 

(Mom, this one's for you! 
My Mom bought her a bunch of clothes for 
Christmas and has been wanting me to show 
her the photos.)

World Class Traveler
Fierce guard dog
Yes, that is a doggie snuggie, and no, she doesnt ever wear it. 
Such a great snuggler
Likes to help pack = great military dog
Loves to swim, hates baths.
She kicks up the water and tries to bite it.
Hilarious to watch.
Likes to take naps
Stops to smell the roses
Enjoys having her picture taken
Has climbed mountains, all the way to the top
Eats in restaurants
Rocks the sweater
Rain/Winter coat
New coat from Grandma
It's reversible!
And a new harness
and best of all, a new summer dress! LOL! 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Congrats to....

#15 Samantha from Life's a Dance! 

Congratulations on winning the $45 CSN Stores Giveaway! Samantha, just send me your email address so I can get you your prize!

Thank you to everyone who entered. This was my most successful giveaway yet! Ill be traveling again soon and will be looking for the next prize for a future giveaway, so stay tuned.

So, did anyone notice that today is 1/11/11? Isnt that cool? January first was 1/1/11 and we'll have the same thing again in November. Hope you all have a great day!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Brugge Conclusion

My giveaway ends tomorrow! 
Enter here. 

After the ice festival, we headed to the middle of town
to check out the two Christmas markets, 
have lunch and sightsee. 
It was a short walk, but it was so cold there! 

Restaurants like this lined the main street downtown. Most 
are hotel restaurants and the best places to eat.
We ate at three different ones and loved
them all. They were cozy and fully
decorated for the season. 
Plus, the food was delicious and the staff spoke English!

Since it was Belgium, chocolate stores were everywhere!
This was one of our favorites. They had some very interesting things, like:

Chocolate globes and ornaments

Chocolate Lipstick

And the weirdest thing of all:
Chocolate shooters. 
And by shooter, I mean sniffer. 
And by sniffer, I mean snorter. 
That's right folks, you actually snort the cocoa.
They provide you with very detailed instructions and 
pictures, so you know you'll get it right. 
(Um, what? Crazy right?) 

At one of the Christmas markets
The famous building seen in the movie "In Bruges".
It was a really good movie, by the way.

The center of town and another Christmas market.
I loved the way the buildings here looked. 
Mmm, sweet biscuits and chocolate covered almonds. 
The red building in the middle is where we stopped for hot chocolate and to warm up.
Hot chocolate here isnt just a drink.
It's an experience. 
It was exquisite. Definitely the best that
I've ever had. It even tops Angelina's, 
the famous hot chocolate of Paris. 
Brugge's hot chocolate was more milk chocolatey tasting 
and not as rich or dense. 
The real cream was a perfect topper. 

Trying to thaw out and very, very happy!
J LOVES churros! Every time we go back to his hometown by the beach in California,
we have to have a churro. We couldnt believe they were making and selling them here.

Wall O' Beer
Belgium is not only know for their chocolate, but for their beer as well.
These beer shops were everywhere and had more beer than you can imagine.
We were in Heaven in this store because they had beer AND chocolate!

One of the many canals
Gorgeous Winter scene
It started snowing HARD that night
 This trip was Reese's first time in a restaurant. She did
remarkably well. She either sat in my lap or the chair beside me
the entire time and didnt bother me while I was eating.
It didnt hurt that Id brought along some treats for her. 
This was my MAGNIFICENT meal! Lamb chops, salad and croquettes.
Croquettes are fried mashed potato sticks. YUM!
The restaurant we had dinner at that night
This is what the parking lot and our car looked like when we were ready to
leave the next day. It had snowed several inches since our arrival.
Reese is sporting one of her winter coats!

We loved Brugge and cant wait to go back. 
In warm weather next time. =)