Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Year's Resolutions:

I've never been into New Year's resolutions. I've always looked at them as cliché. Why would you make a list of things you want to change/accomplish only once a year? For the most part I have always felt that people write down a list to make themselves feel better, then forget about it until the next year, only to realize they didn't accomplish any of the resolutions they set their heart on achieving in the first place. And thus, the cycle continues, year after year. Resolutions have always appeared to me as words, never actions. Yet, I've grown up a bit. The older I become the harder it seems to focus on my life goals. With age comes more responsibilities and more distractions, both good and bad. Hence, the realization for constant reminders that inform my daily decisions and prompt me to push forward towards my goals have become more appealing. 

During Katie and my last trip to Europe in the summer of 2012, I used much of the time for contemplation and “list making.” Katie and I had just left our home in Portland, OR, to move back to California so we could be closer to our family. We knew that a life, once we arrived back from Europe, would change immensely – a new stage. So I wrote. I filled pages of my Moleskine with lists and goals for myself. I wanted to start fresh as it were. I made resolutions to work harder, avoid laziness, be a better husband, prepare to be a father, and lastly, I made a declaration to pursue life to its fullest. From goals of learning a new skill, reading particular books, setting weekly time aside for solitude, to learning how to cook new foods, the list has evolved. It's a constant and ever changing tide of hopes and dreams that keep my priorities grounded on the right foundation.

So here we are, January 2014, and I am making a New Year's Resolution. This is a much shorter version of my actual list, but maybe these few goals will encourage you to make your own declaration of change for the year to come. These resolutions are broadly written, but be specific with yourself. Set dates and times. Set real goals so you can make them happen. Make them varied, and practical.

1. Solitude: Solitude was much more easily obtained when I was in college. My lifestyle flowed in a way where I could actually find times of rest and peace each week away from the noise of the daily grind. This is something I need more than ever. Time away from work, blogging, and all distractions. Meditation.

2. Cooking: Since we have moved back to California cooking has not been a huge priority. Don't get me wrong, Katie and I cook almost every night. But up in Portland we really pushed ourselves to grow as cooks. I need to push myself to be more intentional about meal planning. Less “easy meals.”

3. Cycling: I want to ride more. I don't ride every day to work, but I want to make it more of a priority. It's good for me. I should make this happen.

4. Whiskey Education: Yes, this is a goal of mine. I am always learning, but I could push myself much harder in this area. Tasting needs to be a larger priority. This year has been a big one for me, but I need to step up my game and get to be a real expert.

5. Date Night: Katie and I talk about the importance of this a lot. One should never stop dating their spouse or partner. Even when times get busy, or going out becomes financially tougher, it should NEVER stop. With the baby on the way, this is of great importance. This is a reminder to always make time.

6. The Blog: I want this blog to succeed beyond a simple hobby. It's a complete joy to work on, but I'm not pursuing it for my leisure anymore. I want to create something genuinely useful and enjoyable. This year will be its success and its beginning. That said, I know the posts have been far and few between. I am working on some exciting improvements which shall be unveiled soon, so be ready for reviews, and more, in abundance.

To this next year! Try new things, work harder, and be safe!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Ardbeg 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review:

As reviewed first through my instagram: @lifeofawhiskeydrinker

Ardbeg 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review:

Price: Around $50.00 for a 750ml bottle.

Packaging/Labeling: Iconic, with a craft presentation stating it is non-chill filtered.

Alcoholic Content: 46% abv, 92 proof.

Nose: The nose is a peat and iodine bomb. Winter notes of briny pepper, citrus, and vanilla. Reminds one of cold walks through the neighborhood when you can smell all the chimney smoke.

Palate: The palate is a blast of eucalyptus and peat. Wonderfully balanced. Salt and sea. Peppermint tea with lemon. A long finish with salted caramel and smoke.

Conclusion: For those winter days where you need the cold knocked out of you, this non-chill filtered Islay classic is the perfect choice.

Rating: Excellent/Highly Recommended