A Squared: Life Lately

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Life Lately

Although it is a bit frigid this week, the sun is out and spring has arrived in Chicago. And with the arrival of spring, I'm ending my winter hibernation-- and suddenly there are so many fun things to take part in! I try not to pack my calendar with too many events, but a few things have come my way lately that I just couldn't pass up. Here's a glimpse into my life, lately..

I've attended many a wine tasting, but never one like the one recently hosted by Two Lands: It was a virtual wine tasting! I joined several other food and wine bloggers from around the country for a wine tasting hosted virtually by the founders of Two Lands from their Australia headquarters. I tasted my wines from the comfort of my home office, in my yoga pants, with my furry pal Clery by my side. So much fun!

Two Lands was founded by winemakers Ehren Jordan and Bernard Hickin with one simple goal in mind: to marry the fruits of Australian vineyards with the craftsmanship of California winemaking to create one new high quality line of wines that represent both regions. Get it? Two Lands?

They guided us through the tasting of their four new varieties and the thoughts among the tasters were pretty unanimous: we loved the crisp flavor of the Pinot Grigio, which is the perfect wine for sipping on a hot summer evening! And everyone raved about the smooth bold flavor of the Shiraz.

And great news for you: These wines are a great deal, retailing around $13/bottle and available at major retailers (like Binny's!).

For Christmas, I treated my friend Alexis (and myself) to a French cooking class. We finally cashed it in recently and showed up for an intensive course in French cooking. The class at Cook Au Vin was small and intimate and our chef was legitimately French (and even indulged us in a few bars of Le Poisson from The Little Mermaid) and guided us through creating a Bordeaux-inspired menu.

We learned how to make cheese gougeres, roasted salmon with beurre blanc, homemade fettucine, and chocolate souffle from scratch. And it was all delicious! French cooking is simple and complicated-- all at the same time.

Alexis and I were tasked with making the souffle batter-- talk about pressure! Happy to say that these rich little desserts turned out perfectly.

Alexis and I did a lot of eating that week! We also stopped by Weber Grill in River North to catch up with Kit and Lauren and sample their new spring menu offerings. I hadn't been to Weber Grill in forever, but the smell of a hot grill piques my interest every time I walk by.

The new cocktail menu features an Old School Daiquiri, which was surprisingly tart and only slightly sweet (in a good way) compared to the daiquiris I have had before. And it was simple: just rum, sugar, fresh lime, and garnished with a gorgeous fresh flower.

I have also been all about roasted veggies lately, so I was loving the Petite Mediterranean Grilled Vegetable Salad. There was a great variety of roasted vegetables in the salad combined with mixed greens, olives, feta, and toasty pita croutons.

There were a few entree options, but I decided that since I was at Weber Grill I needed to go big and ordered the BBQ Beef Brisket. It was slow smoked for 14 hours and served with their signature BBQ sauce for the perfect combo of smoky, sweet, and spicy. And it was served with a few small tastes of BBQ staples like moist cheesy cornbread, blue cheese pecan coleslaw, and bourbon baked beans.

And last but not least, I finally jumped on the Rocksbox bandwagon-- and I'm loving it! I may not be a style blogger, but I love some accessories so when Rocksbox reached out and asked me to try their services, I graciously accepted.

So, what is Rocksbox? Rocksbox selects three pieces of jewelery for you try out based on your style and preferences. They send them your way for you to wear out in real life, and then when you're done you can either keep the pieces or send them back for another Rocksbox.

I loved my first Rocksbox and I feel like they nailed my style right off the bat. I'm obsessed with these statement earrings and am pretty sold on keeping them around. I have worn them to work, to a conference, and for a night or two out as well. Want to try Rocksbox for yourself? Use code aasquaredxoxo to get your first month of Rocksbox free!

A Squared

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