Wine Makes Everything Better

Wine Makes Everything Better

There is this misconception that I enjoy cleaning. I guess it is because I am always cleaning my house and do my very best to keep it clean. But the truth is: I HATE CLEANING! I do, however, enjoy a clean house. Therefore, I do what it takes to keep it clean.  I could go through all of the nuances and explain what I don’t like about each task but it will just boil down to the fact that I just don’t like it. I don’t like anything about it except being done. I even more hate the fact that I have to keep cleaning it.

Anyway, one day I was watching a vlogger on YouTube do one of her “Clean with Me” episodes. Why? I guess for inspiration, I truly don’t know.  But I realized that this particular person was playing music in the background. She may have even lit a candle. Not really sure but my mind began to drift as I thought about how relaxed she looked while she cleaned. So I thought to myself: “How can I change the circumstance of my cleaning to make it more enjoyable?” Well, “I love Jazz music!, I thought. It relaxes me and puts me in a very happy space. So the next time I clean, I will play some jazz!” A day later, it occurred to me: why not pour yourself a glass of wine as well. I shared this with someone else and they got so excited that I ended up going straight home and trying it for myself. I tell you, this was the best cleaning experience I have ever had. Adding the glass of wine made it all better. I have played jazz before but usually while washing dishes and not for long because I don’t want to ruin my love for jazz by associating it with cleaning. But this time, including wine and jazz made my experience all the better. Now, I don’t sweat the small tasks nor dread the big ones.

So Smileys, if there is anything that you dread doing or thinking about, take a deep breath and think of a way to turn it into an enjoyable experience. For me it was a glass of wine. For you it can be a piece of chocolate, a cup of tea or an audio book. The list is limitless but life is too short not to enjoy it or the things you have. Praise God I have a home to clean and the ability to clean it myself. For this I am grateful.

XOXO, Smiling Danny


Mother’s Day at English Newsom Cellars

Mother’s Day at English Newsom Cellars

This Mother’s Day, I had the privilege of visiting English Newsom Cellars in Lubbock, Tx. Formerly known as Caprock Winery, English Newsom has made its own mark with wines produced there on the Estate and sourced from Hockley County. I truly loved my visit as the Sommelier’s, Production Manager, Wine Maker and English Family made me feel like a QUEEN. It was my very first visit and I wasn’t even a club member but they made me feel just as special.

I ended up doing a six taste wine tasting and hubby did also. We both got six different wines that way we could try twelve. After I requested the six taste, I immediately regretted it remembering that the last time I did that all the wines began tasting alike and my body felt awful. I didn’t say anything to the Sommelier because she already began our pour. What really impressed me with this tasting is that my body didn’t feel awful at all and I was able to pick up the notes on each individual wine. I was so surprised! I also enjoyed that these wines were not heavy on the Oak; I think that’s what usually makes my body feel crummy when doing more than four. I mentioned to the staff how I usually can’t taste more than four wines at a time but here I was able to pick up the notes on all twelve. They were so happy that I mentioned that because they work very hard to make sure that the Oak does not overpower the grape.

My two favorite wines were:

  • Flirt: This is a Blush Table Wine rated Double Gold Best of Class by the San Francisco Chronicle. It has notes of Cotton Candy and Strawberry Sour Punch Straws.
  • Spider Rock: This is a Cabernet aged in a bourbon barrel for five years. It’s a Port with Notes of German Chocolate Cake ( and I mean EVERY SINGLE LAYER- From the Coconut to the Chocolate, Pecans and Sweet Buttered Milk Icing (not buttermilk). It also has Notes of Raisin, Whisky and Bourbon.

**Both of these are Fan Favorites. Also Google Spider Rock Treasure, Haskell County.**

As you can see, I had a great time at English Newsom Cellars and of the twelve wines that we tasted, I can’t say that there was one that I didn’t enjoy and that is very rare. So, if you are ever in Lubbock, Texas stop by and tell’ em Smiling Danny sent you and shoot me a note sharing with me your experience.

Happy Mother’s Day, XOXO, Smiling Danny

Using an Aerator

Using an Aerator

Hi Smileys,

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. This month I am excited to share with you my tasting notes on the wine: Chloe, before and after using an aerator.

Wine: Chloe Red No. 249

Vintage: 2015

Region: North Coast California

Notes (without an aerator):

  • Sight: Beautiful legs, Deep Burgundy
  • Smell: Spice, Dark Berry, Raisin, Alcohol
  • Taste: Heavy Spice, Subtle Cobbler- maybe blackberry, Gradual Tannins and a building of coffee notes after several sips.
  • Pairing: Baked Chicken Parmesan, Artichokes and Cauliflower. The wine paired with the mozzarella very nicely drawing out the flavor of the cheese.
  • Overall: Truly enjoyed the wine. Paired nicely with my dinner and this wine could easily be enjoyed before bed.

Notes after using an Aerator:

  • Sight: Beautiful legs, Deep Burgundy
  • Smell: Floral
  • Taste: Sweet cobbler upfront, followed by spice. However, the spice wasn’t as strong after aeration. Heavy ending of Dark Chocolate; such as 90% Cocoa.
  • Pairing: Paired with the same dish but after aeration the wine seemed to be too rich for the dish. This wine would pair better with red meat. Full Bodied.
  • Overall: Still enjoyed the wine but not with my meal. Also, after aeration, the wine seemed to have a heavier alcohol content (versus smelling the alcohol, I felt the alcohol).

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes:

  • Bouquet: Dark Fruit Flavors
  • Taste: Rich Espresso and Spice. Soft integrated Tannins. Full Bodied.

After aerating the wine, the alcohol note was eliminated, the spice notes were more leveled out and the finish of the wine was more luxurious.

Have you used an aerator? Did it change the profile of your wine? Aerators mix air with the wine, allowing it to breathe more quickly than just letting it sit. Swirling your glass of wine also adds air to the wine and will open the profile of the wine before the taste.

I hope that you liked this article on wine aeration and learned a little bit about how letting the wine breathe enhances your experience of the taste.

Salud, XOXO, Smiling Danny

Key Traits to have in order to Reach Your Financial Goals.

Key Traits to have in order to Reach Your Financial Goals.

Happy Belated Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of My Smileys! This past month has been a cherished time for me. I got to spend time with family and friends and am truly blessed to have had and have certain people in my life. Of course, I did not forget my Smileys and I want to end and begin the year encouraging you to press forward and don’t give up in regards to your goals.  This month, I have four traits that are essential to reaching your financial goals. However, these traits are beneficial in regards to any goal that you have set for yourself. They are:

  1. Diligence
  2. Persistence
  3. Discipline
  4. Don’t Quit (A Never Give Up Attitude)


  • Stay the course and keep working at your budget. Even if you did not successfully follow the budget that month, continue to create a budget and keep that budget at the forefront of your mind.


  • Be active and proactive about creating a budget, clipping coupons, finding sales and deals.


  • Say NO: to yourself and others. Stay away from places that cause you to unnecessarily spend your money.
  • Always have a budget: whether weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Set aside the necessary time that you need to create your budget.

DON’T QUIT: A Never Give Up Attitude

  • This one is my favorite because many times we get stuck or give up when we didn’t successfully follow our budget and it is easy to say: “forget it!”. But there is nothing wrong with trying again. You didn’t successfully stay within $200.00 for the groceries last month. That’s OK!!! Try again next month! Don’t throw away all of your hard work because of one shortfall.  Being successful in regards to your financial goals is going to take time, hard work and a lot of starting over again. So….


  • You will reach your goals, Just take your time, stay the course, stay disciplined and don’t give up.

Hope you find these tips helpful and encouraging. Have a Safe and Happy Holiday. Most of All, Remember JESUS is the Reason for the Season.

XOXO, Happy Saving, Smiling Danny



Hi Smileys!

Thank you so much for your support this past year. It has been such a joy sharing some of my passions with you. Whether it be cooking, wine, or tips to financial peace you have been here and I truly appreciate it. Family and friends have wanted me to start a blog for years and I wasn’t really interested. I took a stab at it by starting on YouTube first but  eventually added the blog. I enjoy sharing on both avenues but what I love most is that I have been able to have a central place where everyone can go when they have a question for me in regards to a recipe, wine or finance.

I look forward to many more posts and I hope that you are enriched each time you visit.

Keep Smiling, XOXO Danny


Happy Anniversary in Hye, TX

Happy Anniversary in Hye, TX

Hello Smileys!

I hope that you had a wonderful month last month, I sure did as hubby and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. As part of our anniversary festivities, we took a trip to Hye, TX and visited William Chris Vineyards. We had such a wonderful time!

Once we arrived at William Chris we were welcomed with a glass of their Pe’tillant  Nature’l. This was a nice refreshing glass of Rose’. It had notes of grapefruit that wasn’t overbearing and had a nice effervescence that cooled us off in the Texas heat. Next, we were escorted to the tasting room where we were able to taste six of their wines.

This month, I thought I would share with you notes on three of the wines that I enjoyed during the tasting. Yes, only three, that way, when you go you will have your own fresh experience.

  • 2017 Mary Ruth: This is a blend of Malvasia Bianca, Muscat Blanc and Blanc du Bois. You can enjoy it as an apertif or with a good book. Mary Ruth is a light, dry white wine with an aroma and notes of peach. She has a hint of sweetness but finishes with a subtle acidity.
  • 2017 Roussanne: Bouquet- Crisp, Light, Hint of Raisin and Cobbler. Taste- Sweet, Butter, Prune with a nice acidity.
  • 2017 Malbec Rose’: This wine is special because it was aged in concrete. The Rose’ can also be enjoyed as an apertif with notes of strawberry and cherry and very little acidity.

I truly enjoyed my time at this Vineyard. There is so much history associated with the wines, the vineyard and even the uniqueness of the wine label. I encourage you to visit and tell ’em Smiling Danny sent ya! (not sponsored).

It was our goal to visit several wineries while in Hye but I recommend that you visit one winery at a time that way you can truly experience the wine and pick up on the distinct notes of each one.

Happy Tasting, XOXO Smiling Danny


Danny! Please Help!

Danny! Please Help!

Recently, someone reached out to me on Instagram and shared that they enjoy wine but have a hard time picking and choosing new ones. So, I thought that this month I would share some tips on picking wines and share some of my experiences with trying new ones.

It all started back in 2007, it was my first glass of wine, and I shared with my now hubby that I had not had any wine before. This was exciting news for him, he knew that I loved juice so he figured that a sweet wine would be right up my alley. After doing some research and reaching out to a cousin of his, they determined that a Riesling would be the best wine for me to try. Long story short, I DID NOT LIKE THAT WINE! And haven’t had a glass of Riesling since then! But recently, hubby and I went out on a date night and the waiter recommended a glass of Riesling that he was sure I was going to love. We decided to try it and low and behold I DID!!! It was crisp, had a light effervescence, with notes of peach and green apple. It was a 2016 Dr. Loosen Riesling and I paired it with a clam chowder. Deeelicious!! So it took 11 years for me to discover that I did indeed enjoy Riesling.

Another interesting experience I have had with trying a new wine occurred one day when hubby and I were taking a Texas Wine Trail tour. At this point in my wine journey I had really enjoyed Cabernets and Zinfandels. They are full bodied, dry wines with hints of berry and earth. Sometimes you will find some with hints of oak but usually they are not heavy on the oak, at least the ones that I have had thus far.  I wasn’t too fond of Merlots and I explained this to the Sommelier but he insisted that I tried this particular Merlot. Unfortunately, I do not remember the name of the wine as I had not started my wine journal at that point in my life but I remember the scenery of the vineyard. Anyway, the Sommelier insisted that I try this wine and was very offended when I told him that I did not like Merlots. His response was: “Have you had every Merlot that was ever made?” No, I responded. “Then you shouldn’t say that you do not like Merlots. Instead, you didn’t like that particular Merlot.” He was right! I did enjoy that glass of wine. Now, it could have been that I had a couple of tastings prior. It could have been that I was more open minded but I’m sure he was right because I did a blind wine taste with hubby, Velvet Devil was the wine, and I enjoyed the wine and it had Merlot in the blend.

I shared these experiences with you just to encourage you to be adventurous when exploring wines and know that just because you had a Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir or Chardonnay and didn’t like it, doesn’t mean that you don’t like that particular grape varietal or that you don’t like wine in general. So, Tip #1: Be Adventurous and Don’t Give Up when trying New Wines.

 Tip #2: Attend Wine Tastings, Wine Dinners, and Sample Wines while at the Grocer or Beverage Center. Usually, the distributors, definitely the Sommeliers, and those handing out the wine samples are skilled in their field. Feel free to ask questions, take advantage of the free sample and see if you like the wine before buying it. Also, by going to wineries, you will gain a vast range of knowledge about wine and wine pairings. Also, the Sommeliers are highly trained and love giving recommendations, use that opportunity to tap into their brains. They will help you find a wine that you might enjoy.

Tip #3: Ask Questions. Anytime I go out to eat and before I order a glass of wine with my meal, I ask the Server a few questions:

  • What wine would you recommend with this dish?
  • What is your favorite wine on the menu?
  • Which wine is popular here?
  • I am looking at getting this glass of wine, have you tried it? Sometimes, they will give you a sample before you order the glass.
  • I don’t particularly care for heavy oak notes, so I will ask if the wine is heavy in oak (for Red Wines). Feel free to share notes you like or don’t like and the Server should be able to direct you.

 Tip #4: Pair the Wine with Food or Let it stand alone. There have been several times when I tasted a wine and did not like it but when my meal came the wine suddenly was exquisite. Sometimes, food, whether it be a whole meal or a light snack such as cheese, crackers, olives or cured meats will really open up the profile of the wine.  This works in the reverse as well. Sometimes, the wine is bettered enjoyed on its own and food will just detract from its beauty. These wines are bettered enjoyed as an aperitif (before the meal) or by itself for relaxation, good conversation or deep thought. Such as a Port, these are a good after dinner treat.

Tip #5 Let the Wine Breathe.  There also have been times when I sipped some wine and just did not like it or couldn’t pick up any notes but after letting it sit for about 30 mins the sip was much more pleasant.  After letting the wine breathe, I was also able to pick up on the notes that I had not been able to 30 minutes prior.

Well Smileys, I hope that you find these tips helpful and that this opens your mind and hearts to new adventures in your Wine Journey.

Salúd! XOXO, Smiling Danny