Favorites: Treats for My Skin

Thursday, January 29, 2015 0 No tags 0

I’m going to start a new series on the blog and I’m calling it…Favorites. Duh. We know this because we can see with eyes and read the title of the post. So, every month I’ll list a few of my favorite things at the moment. It could be wine or booze related, fashion, design, travel accessories, music, etc. I always love sharing my finds with friends and figured I might as well do it here too! I’ve discovered a lot of great things from reading other blogs, so let’s pay it forward. First up are a few things that have been making my skin feel great lately. There’s also a candle, which I do not in fact pour onto my skin, but it sure does make me feel nice when lit.


1. Boscia Luminizing Black Mask – I was craving one of those peel-off masks I used to be obsessed with in middle school. Guess what? Still obsessed. They are just so damn fun. This is a more grown up version than the ones of yesteryear – it’s free from parabens/sulfates/petrochemicals and any funny stuff and really tightens my pores and clarifies my skin without drying it out. And it’s BLACK, like really black. Cue the selfies.

2. Everyone Lotion in Coconut + Lemon – Oh my god this stuff. I randomly purchased a bottle while at my local health food store because it was affordable and full of real ingredients. It’s hydrating without being greasy…and the scent. The scent! It’s perfection. A super fresh and clean version of coconut – nothing artificial or cloying about it.

3. PF Candle Co. Soy Candle in Sweet Grapefruit – I’ve been burning Pommes Frites candles in my house for the past year and can’t get enough. I’ve talked about my love for their Spruce candle, but I’m currently into the Sweet Grapefruit. I think refreshing citrus is a great winter scent, something uplifting to carry you into spring.

4. Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Grapefruit - I have searched high and low for a natural, aluminum and mineral oil-free deodorant. I’ve tried almost everything and nothing totally kept the BO at bay, until I found this. I love it. PS- the scent is a little baby powder-y, so if that’s not your thing you might not like it.

5. Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm – This has been getting me through the dry winter air and a lot of plane travel. It really coats the lips and feels so nourishing. You can even put it over a lip stain for a more glossy look.


Saturday, January 24, 2015 1 No tags 0


I forgot to share with you the delicious thing I sipped while ringing in the new year! It was the 2010 Ultramarine Heintz Vineyard Blanc de Blancs from Michael Cruse of Petaluma’s Cruse Wine Co. It ain’t cheap (around $50) but it’s really good and a hell of a lot better than a lot of actual Champagnes out there at that price point. I’ve never been too enchanted by California traditional method sparklers, but then there was this. 100% Chardonnay from Sonoma’s Heitz vineyard (an awesome site for the grape), it displayed a beautiful balance of toasty depth and mouth-watering brightness. I only wish I had another bottle to age for a bit to see where time can take it. I think it might be one of my favorite bottles of last year and I’m not alone – it was named one of SF Chronicles Top 100 Wines of 2014. Michael Cruse is someone to definitely keep your eye on.

Join the Ultramarine mailing list to get your hands on some of this fine juice. And read this more in-depth profile of Michael and his work by the one and only Hawk Wakawaka.  

Wine Label Design with David Rager

Monday, January 19, 2015 0 No tags 0
David Rager is a Californian graphic designer and art director who’s just moved back to his home state after living in Paris. He’s done everything from album covers for Best Coast and Fool’s Gold to branding for Paris smokehouse The Beast, and has recently ventured into the world of wine (and beer) label design.  David has done a handful of labels for my buddies at Club W and after seeing them I just had to know more about him and his work. He also happens to runs an interior design studio, Weekends, with his wife Cheri. David is quite the versatile talent and has a great sense of style, his work always seeming to effortlessly exude both modern California fun and laid-back Parisian cool.
When did you start designing wine labels? Was it a natural progression and extension of your design work, or did you always have a focus on wine?

My first wine label design was in 2013 for Domaine de Séailles. Josh Adler from Paris Wine Company, who I did some design work for, also had the idea to give the ticket a reboot after he started working with the domaine so we teamed up again. Designing wine labels felt pretty natural to me, I lived in Paris for 5 years and one of my best friends there is a big natural wine geek. So I had a lot of great adventures in that world with him and my design work and personal life tend to have a lot of overlap. Aside from graphic design, my wife and I work together and design bars and restaurants, often when we do a restaurant project we’ll also do the graphic identity, menus, napkins etc. and it’s fun to also occasionally have a product you designed inside of an environment we designed together.

Describe the process for designing a label. Do you get to taste the wine and let that influence your choices?
I wish it were that simple. In my case often the wine doesn’t exist yet. It’s the same thing as when I design an album for a band, they are usually in the middle of making it when they need the artwork done. I talk to the people making the wine, get a sense of their story and try to create something that is a sincere expression of who they are and what they are creating.

Dear Sherry

Friday, January 16, 2015 1 No tags 0


Dear sherry, one of my drinking resolutions for this year is to drink more of you. You’ve been on my mind a lot lately. My friend Talia wrote a fantastic book all about you, I’ve had some amazing cocktails with you as the star ingredient (the cobbler at Maison Premiere is especially divine), and I got to taste some of the best of your kind at Sherry Fest in San Francisco and back in LA at a stellar tasting of Equipo Navazos last year (pictured). You are often misunderstood and seemingly complicated. People think you’re made only for cooking or grandmas. But you are so much more than that. I love you. OK- bye.




So, let me break it down for a sec. Sherry comes from Spain. It’s fortified and aged in a solera system. It’s typically dry but there are some sweet styles. The main grape is palamino fino, with pedro ximenez and moscatel as supporting players that make the sweet versions. The dry styles of sherry are fino and manzanilla, amontillado, palo cortado, and oloroso – each with either a slightly different production method or coming from a different growing region in the “sherry triangle”. These are the essentials, but I’m just scratching the surface.


If you’re looking for a different kind of flavor profile and wine experience, look no further than sherry. It can be magical and ethereal, salty, nutty, full of umami and caramel – the list goes on. Good sherry lingers in your mouth for many minutes after a sip. It’s a flavor explosion but also so nuanced and delicate. And sherry pairs brilliantly with food – from seafood to jamon. Have I sold you yet?


If I’ve piqued your interest, definitely pick up Talia’s book. It really is such a good read and so informative, with beautiful photographs and great cocktail recipes. And buy some dang sherry! A few labels to look out for: Equipo Navazos’ La Bota series of course, Valdespino, Lustau, Fernando de Castilla and La Guita. Happy (sherry) drinking!