Winning the Haier Slogan Contest

Update 10/20 6:15 pm: Well I didn’t waste any time! My wine collection is all built out, and the fridge is full.

The whites The reds The Collection

 

Shannon Truax wins the Haier Slogan Contest

Lucky Duck cools off in his newest appliance — the Haier 12 bottle capacity Dual Zone Wine Cellar.

Back in June, I came across the Haier Smarter Life Better Planet blog and started reading about a chance to win a trip to China. To enter was easy; all I had to do was write a slogan for the company. I’m a writer! Why not?

My winning submission

It boiled down to four simple words: Reliability built right in.

My Haier submission

The great news

An email was sent to me this summer saying that I had won an honorable mention and could pick any Haier appliance I wanted, valued at $600! Could this really be true? Is it a joke? No, it’s also posted on the wire, on the likes of Yahoo! Finance. I was pretty sure that it was legit.

I thought long and hard, and I elicited the opinions of others. Should I mount a TV in my bedroom? Did I want to rethink my position on microwaves? The aha! moment came to me – a dual temperature wine fridge!! Now THAT is clearly something that I would use in New York City and has been something that I always wanted. I took a tape measure into my Chelsea kitchen and grabbed just the right dimensions that would fit next to my island on wheels and radiator.

My wine cellar arrives

I was in for most of the day yesterday and decided to get out in the evening for a couple of hours to go running at Equinox and pass through Chelsea Market to enjoy the Halloween decorations and get some dinner. When I got home a HUGE box was waiting for me at my front door!

After I pulled it in, I decided to take it back to my room to open it up via Fireside Chat #46.

Shannon Truax wins the Haier Slogan Contest Shannon Truax wins the Haier Slogan Contest

And I won the trip to China!

A couple of weeks after being notified of my honorable mention prize, I got another email asking if I would be available the week of July 27th to fly out to China to participate as a Haier Ambassador!! I actually made it to the final round!! Now, during this time, I was in the thick of it at my new job, so I had to decline, but WOW!!

Now it’s time to fill that cellar

I am so excited to go shopping across the street today at my neighborhood wine shop, so that I can fill this baby up. It may surprise some folks to hear that out of the 12 open slots, I could only organically fill two

… quite a shock for the gal who made it into the New York City Liquor Bible!

Some awesome mail lately

I’ve had a great run lately and feel like a loved Lucky Duck.

  1. A secret admirer sent a Keep Calm and Be a Princess mug, to make up for Mike tossing my lamp and Cinderella mug.
  2. Zevia sent 96 cans of soda and a tee shirt to celebrate my selection as their Certified Smart Person.
  3. Haier sent me a 12 bottle dual temp wine fridge.
  4. John Basedow emailed an invitation over to review another movie and attend Jacqueline Laurita’s Lasio event.
  5. David left a note and apples on my table at The Cosmopolitan to welcome me to Las Vegas.
  6. My Maine connection dropped a very thoughtful postcard in my bag on my way out.

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Woodinville, WA is a destination

Chateau Ste Michelle vines

Lucky Duck enjoys Washington wine country in Woodinville.

Every once in awhile, we like to pick a local spot to enjoy a staycation. For this Memorial Day, we got in the Mercedes and drove out to Woodinville, WA to stay at Willow’s Lodge, attend a car show, enjoy the outdoors, and taste some yummy wine & food.

I highly recommend the Willow’s Lodge stay

  • The location is fantastic. You can park for free and walk to Chateau Ste Michelle, many tasting rooms, and the Red Hook Brewery. We walked to Chateau Ste Michelle and enjoyed a picnic out on the grass. Because we didn’t plan ahead, we just purchased all of our picnic needs right there. But you can bring in whatever you want.
Picnic at Chateau Ste Michelle Picnic at Chateau Ste Michelle
  • You can rent a bike for $5.00/hour and pedal along the Sammamish River Trail.

Bike riding on the Sammamish River Trail, in Lululemon

  • Bathtubs fit for two occupy each room; ours had jets. They also offer the best mini bar I’ve ever seen at a hotel.
  • There’s a spa onsite, as well as absolutely amazing dining options. You can cross over to The Herb Farm or Barking Frog. We ate at Barking Frog, and I had the best Sea Scallops I’ve ever had in my life.
  • Fireside Cellars, in the lobby, is very romantic, yet a bit casual. The drinks are unreal, and you can order from a special menu created by Barking Frog. We enjoyed the Tiny Bubbles Flight before our dinner reservation at 9:00 pm.

Champagne Flight at Fireside Cellars at Willow's Lodge

Fireside Cellars Fireside Cellars

Apparently My Posse’s in Woodinville!

Sir Mix-a-Lot was in attendance at the car show at Chateau Ste Michelle, and he was great. When I asked him for a picture, he said, “I was just about to ask you for one!” Ha!

Shannon Harms and Sir Mix-a-Lot

I don’t know if I had more fun eyeing Sir Mix-a-Lot, the $2 Million Bugatti, the beautiful Ferraris (actually, they let me sit in the new white one!), the black Bentley, or the Lucky Duck themed Lamborghini.

Bugatti at the Chateau Ste Michelle Car Show

Shannon Harms in a Ferrari

Bentley at the Chateau Ste Michelle Car Show

lamborghini at the Chateau Ste Michelle Car Show

Noon checkout is pretty sweet

We woke up at 9 am this morning, threw on some clothes, and walked over to the Tully’s to read the paper and have a leisurely coffee. You can grab free coffee in the lobby, if you’d like, but we felt like getting out for a walk. With a noon check out – we had time!

After showering and packing it up, we sat at the bar at Village Wines for a light lunch and wine tasting. What a welcoming, wonderful environment. Can’t wait to go back there! Your wine tasting is $10 for 6 pours, but if you buy a bottle, you get $5 off. So we picked the Washington Sauvignon Blanc.

Nibbles at Village Wines Village Wines is a great place to grab food and wine

And then we did an outdoor tasting across the street at DeLILLE Cellars Carriage House. You grab a barrel, and friendly servers pour you five different wines for $15. (And if you check in on Facebook, which I totally did, you get an extra pour for free!)

DeLILLE Carriage House in Woodinville

If you buy two bottles of wine, you get the $15 back. So of course we did that and took home two of the new Rose that just launched yesterday.

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It’s fascinating to me that we could have so much fun, having only driven about 25 minutes from Seattle and only stayed for one night. Not to mention the fact that we only planned this one day in advance.

I highly recommend a Woodinville stay. Personally, I can’t wait to go back to Willow’s and have another amazing weekend.

Woodinville, WA is a tourist destination

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Windows Wino’s Club does Yakima wines

Yakima Windows Wino's club

Lucky Duck enjoys wine from Yakima, Washington.

This past Friday’s Windows Wino’s club meeting was an incredible spread, provided by Kaarin. (Thank you again, Kaarin!) Inspired by where her family is from, Kaarin brought in the five beautiful bottles of Yakima wine pictured above, an amazing spread of food (which included Washington apples!)…

Cheese, Salami, Apples, Apple chips, Crackers, Chocolates

… and a map of the Yakima valley, with “Grandma’s House” clearly labeled.

Yakima Valley wineries

One thing that I wanted to point out to the club was a little fact that Tom Douglas shared when he was visiting Microsoft. Here’s an excerpt from the blog post:

Let’s talk wine

Tom mentioned that he’s not the hugest beer drinker. For example, if he were to have a drink with the tasty tarts he made us (pictured below), he’d have a Scotch, a Bourbon, or a Muscat. In speaking of wine, Tom is a big fan of having wine with your meal, and he encourages us local folks to drink Washington wines. Apparently in CA, Californians drink up 44% of all the wine that California produces. Washingtonians… 22%. That number could be better.

The Windows Wino's club

I didn’t “pose” the shot, per se, but you can see the buzz at the meeting. Our lovely host, Kaarin, is sitting at the head of the table. From left to right: Kaarin, Jean, Jon, Caryn, Charlene is standing up, Jay, Eben, Kim, Anna, Erica.

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The Windows Winos do a blind taste test

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Lucky Duck picks his favorite wine during the blind taste test today.

Marty put together a very generous and exciting party tonight at The Windows Winos meeting. With the idea that price creates a perception, and that perception influences what wine you think is “Good” or “Not good,” Marty covered up all the labels and made us score and vote for what we liked best.

In the video below, watch Marty explain how this idea came together, as well as the twist.

 

 

As our club founder, Jon, made his way around the table with the pours, we snacked on some awesome treats. Who knew that you could get salami soaked in Chianti or Pinot Gris?

Windows Winos do a blind taste test

Marty’s selections represented California, France, and an “unknown,” but to be honest, I could not define any of the regions as I sipped pours 1 through 6. I knew that one of the three blancs was a Chardonnay, but that’s about as far as I could get. By the time we tried all six bottles, Marty called us all together to find out what we voted the best, by show of hands.

Here’s a video of the big reveal. We were all pretty surprised to hear that everything came from Trader Joe’s, that all the blancs were priced $6.49-$6.99, and that the rouges were priced $10.99-$12.99.

 

 

I was pretty surprised to see that the rouge and the blanc that I voted best were both what the majority voted. Also, they both were at the high end of their price categories. Cool. But I have to say that I was more surprised to find out that BOTH were the “Unknowns!” And our “Unknown” region …. AUSTRALIA!

The Windows Winos have been known to favor Australia in the past, when Jay hosted the Shiraz event. In fact, Jon tallied up our score sheets for 2011, and Jay’s Shiraz event was our overall winner. Watch the awards ceremony, and see what Jean of All Trades won, for hosting Windows Winos do Canada.

 

Here’s a look at everything we enjoyed:

  Whites   Price
Blanc 1 Revelation VDP Chardonnay France $6.49
Blanc 2 Alexander & Fitch   Chardonnay California $6.99
Blanc 3 Penfolds Rawson’s Retreat   Chardonnay Australia $6.99
       
  Reds    
Rouge 1 2009 Chateau de Seguin Bordeaux   Superieur France $10.99
Rouge 2 2009 Stonehedge Cabernet Napa   Reserve California $12.99
Rouge 3 2008 Greg Norman Cab/Merlot Australia $12.99

Thank you, Marty, for hosting such a fantastic event! And thank you, Everybody, for making it out tonight. It was a blast!

The Windows Winos who attended today's event

Pictured, from left to right: Marty, Jean, Brittany, Suchi, Jay, Caryn, Jon, Charlene, Erica, Ursula, Kaarin, Eben. Not pictured: Karena, Kim, and me.

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Edible Christmas gift ideas from Lucky Duck

Moonstruck Christmas Chocolate Truffles

Lucky Duck encourages Christmas gifts that you can eat.

It can be a challenge to buy gifts for co-workers, friends, your hair stylist – anyone you love but don’t know inside and out. Personally, I’m a huge fan of giving the gift of food and drink. I think that happiness and conversation happens around a sharing something special that you can taste.

Moments are one of the most precious things you can give a person

We remember moments and feelings much more than one-off material items. So, this Christmas, consider gifting a moment, through pretty, delicious things.

NOTE: Snacks and beverages are more affordable than going the route of show tickets, which can run $100 a piece and require you to pick an exact date and time. Also, they can make more sense than a gift card. I actually love getting gift cards, but for some, giving gift cards is kind of weird because they can be perceived an impersonal, and they also reveal how much money you spent, which can be uncomfortable.

The important thing to keep in mind is the theme of the moment you want to create, and use food and beverage as an opportunity to create an experience.

Some tips to consider before opening the wallet:

  • Remember that presentation is going to be key here, so pick things that are packaged in a very festive and attractive fashion.
  • Buy brands who do the product justice. For example, Kroger probably makes candy, but they also make q-tip cotton swabs. Kroger chocolate wouldn’t show up well, trust me.
  • If you know your recipient has been working out and telling you about their weight loss, don’t buy them desserts. Or, if your recipient doesn’t drink, or is preggers, forego the bottle of wine. It’s the thought that counts, and these choices, under these circumstances, honestly aren’t thoughtful. Show your friend that you’ve heard them and support them.
  • However, if you’re unsure if they do dessert or drink, don’t fret it, and just go with your gut. If they can’t personally enjoy your gift, they will appreciate your gesture and surely bring it to another holiday party to share with people they care about. And in that case, mission accomplished!
  • Pre-boxed edible food sets are totally fine (like what you’d find at Costco or Hickory Farms). And, they’re often cheaper. But it’s a little more thoughtful to put the gift together yourself and mix-and-match different brands and options.
  • When you choose things, try to pick non-perishable items. If your friend isn’t going home right after work, you don’t want the soft brie you picked out to go bad in the car. Instead, opt for a hard cheese that can be out a bit, and don’t include milk with the fancy hot chocolate mix you selected.

Two moments to create:

Moment #1:

Stay in for dessert, and cuddle up by the fire

The mood: Romantic, cozy, and sweet
What you’ll need: Chocolates, strawberries, hot chocolate, peppermint stir sticks, Peppermint Schnapps, festive mugs (I love Lolita glasses)
Specific ideas:
  • In the main photo above, I selected snow-themed truffles by my favorite chocolatier, Moonstruck Chocolates. This particular brand is all natural, and I love the unique flavors and adorable shapes of their candies.
  • The fruit adds a little something fresh and healthy.
  • Peppermint stir sticks are a nice touch for hot cocoa, and these are usually something a person wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves, which makes them fun.
  • Peppermint Schnapps is festive; so is Bailey’s. You get the idea!
  • A festive glass can really add to the mood, like decorations enhance a party.
Images: Moonstruck Winter Trufflesstrawberrieshot cocoa Peppermint StirrersPeppermint Schnapps       Lolita Christmas coffee cup


Moment #2:

A pre-funk to your main course

The mood: Lively, fun, and savory
What you’ll need: Crackers, hard cheese, salami, clementines, wine, festive wine glasses (I love Lolita glasses)
Specific ideas:
  • Raincoast crisps offer two boxes that shouldn’t be missed. (They’re pictured below. Click to enlarge.). One is green with a Christmas tree-like twig; the other is red with a cranberry!
  • The fruit adds a little something fresh and healthy.
  • If you buy a bottle of wine at Christmas, have fun with it and pick a bottle that has a holiday theme, like Kestrel’s Lady in Red (who wears a fuzzy white boa over her red dress), Electric Reindeer, or Duplin’s Christmas wine (which you can click to enlarge below; it’s cute!).
  • A festive glass can really add to the mood, like decorations enhance a party.
Images: Raincoast CrispsHard cheeseSalumi salamiclementines Christmas wineLolitta Christmas wine glass

Above all, remember that giving gifts is FUN! Have a great time shopping, and let me know if I can help with anything.

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The Windows Winos do Canada

Windows Winos do Canada

Lucky Duck drinks Canadian wine at the Windows Winos club.

Canadian wine, eh? Jean of All Trades is from Canada, so it was quite fitting that she hosted tonight’s club with true Canadian flair. Her spread and wine selection impressed. Jean of All Trades knows how to throw a fun party.

Here’s a quick video of Jean introducing the event:

 

Four bottles of great wine

Jean very generously treated us to four bottles from Mission Hill Winery in the Okanogan Valley. We tasted them in the following order: Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Syrah, then Riesling Ice Wine.

In the Windows Winos, we provide scores for each bottle, for things like aroma, finish, taste, texture, and color. I’m not sure what number I gave each bottle, but my favorite, in order: Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling Ice Wine, Syrah, then Merlot.

Mission Hill Winery cork, by Jean of All Trades

 

Snacks, straight from Canada

Straight from Canadian Favourites, to be more specific. Jean picked all the favourites: Hickory Sticks, Ruffles Spicy Ketchup chips, Bits and Bites, and Laura Secord chocolate.

Snacks from Canadian Favourites

Canadian Favourites really went out of their way to make our event special. They were so nice and gave us the banner, Canadian flag toothpicks, and Canadian napkins when they found out Jean was hosting a Canadian-themed party.

About half way through the event, Jean brought out some maple cookies. Lucky Duck made up a plate. Notice who’s in the picture with Lucky Duck? The nurse who he met at the doctor’s office. At the rate the Windows Winos are going, he thought it would be a good idea to invite her along.

Lucky Duck eats Canadian Favourites snacks

The crew

The Windows Winos

From left to right: Jay, Cheryl, Ursula, me, Marty, Elly, Jon, Jean, Karena, Brittany, Kaarin, Kim. Not pictured (they came later): Charlene and Erica. Photo by Suchitra.

The outfit

Shannon Harms at Windows Winos

I’m sure the first thing you’ll notice are the GUNNAR glasses on my face. This frame is the Anime frame in limited edition gold. Now on the opposite end, my new Mark + James Dallas booties are on my feet. Also, I’m wearing ten of the bangles that Mike bought me in India. And my top is by Conception, the same artist who made the black top that I wore to the Zebra Club fashion show.

Here’s a close up of the glasses and bracelets (and new cell phone case), in this behind-the-scenes photo by Jay. See more of Jay’s event photos.

Behind the scenes

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Lucky Duck does a blind taste test while Jay hosts the Windows Winos

Windows Winos

Lucky Duck enjoys a good game of guess.

The Windows Winos was a lot of fun tonight. It was Jay’s turn to host, and he really went all out to create a fantastic meeting. Jay bought four bottles and served them up as a blind taste test! And, he provided some delicious (and generous) snacks!

Snacks

You probably remember that Jay gifted me a bottle of Lucky Duck Shiraz at the last meeting. Today’s meeting piggy-backed on that same idea. Jay’s four bottles of wine were all a Shiraz/Syrah.

One of them was the Jay blend (pictured below on the right), one was a $35.00 reserve from Chateau St. Michelle (pictured on the left), and the other two were more common $8.00 bottles.

So what bottle do you think came out on top?

The wine

I bet you’re right. THE JAY BLEND! The Jay blend was the yellow one, which I gave a perfect 30. The Chateau St. Michelle bottle came in second. Here’s a video of Jay enjoying his victory and sharing a little bit about his strategy:

 

Thanks again, Jay! And congratulations! The meeting was a lot of fun, and we really appreciate your hospitality.

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A behind the scenes DUCKumentary of the Windows Winos wine tasting

A behind the scenes DUCKumentary on the wine tasting

Lucky Duck is carefully put into position.

Yesterday, I shared a synopsis of the Windows Wino’s wine tasting adventure in Woodinville. And today, I want to take you behind the scenes and give you a duck’s-eye-view of some of the photographs.

Remember this one from Covington Cellars?

Covington Cellars

And now, behind the scenes:

A behind the scenes DUCKumentary

Here’s the one from Tefft Cellars. It was the main image in the post:

Tefft Cellars Here’s a duck’s eye view:

Woodinville Winery Tour

Here’s another from Tefft Cellars:

Tefft Cellars

And this is what it looked like behind the lens:

Woodinville Winery Tour

The oversized bottles at Page Cellars were definitely very cool to check out, so I grabbed a photo to show the beautiful artwork.

Jumbo wine at Page Cellars

And of course, Caryn was capturing the behind the scenes shot.

Woodinville Winery Tour

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Lucky Duck gets a custom bottle of wine at the Windows Wino’s club

Custom Lucky Duck wine

Lucky Duck is an official wino!

Today, Lucky Duck and I hosted the Windows Wino’s club, and it was a blast! I brought in fruits, cheeses, crackers, chocolate, and three bottles of duck themed wine. Of course I remembered to bring the Lucky Duck Malbec from Marty (it’s in the middle below).

Duck themed wine

 So, where did the actual Lucky Duck wine come from? Well, see for yourself in this video:

I pointed Jay out in the photo below. You might also remember him for creating a Lucky Duck inspired image of my favorite car – the Mercedes Roadster. Jay not only made the special label, but he also made the Shiraz!

The Windows Winos

In this video, Jay describes how he created the Lucky Duck wine.

As we moved on to our fourth bottle of wine, we started joking about how dirty Lucky Duck is. He’s filthy. We started talking about “safe ducking,” other things made of rubber, shooting ranges and firemen. It was hilarious.

Lucky Duck wine
I asked the winos to stack rank each bottle. Unanimously, we all agreed that the real Lucky Duck wine from Jay was the best. The #2 spot was a toss up. For those who prefer red, the Lucky Duck Malbec from Marty got #2. Those who love Sauvignon Blanc really enjoyed Decoy. We did, however, all agree that the Decoy label felt stuffy. Oh, and the back read, “An everyday wine for the well informed.” At $22.00 a bottle, we all had a good laugh. Every day? Maybe for the well paid… And in third was Duck Pond, which was still really good!

I love my friends. And I love being a part of the Windows Wino’s club!

Lucky Duck wine and Shannon

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International travel today! And a Lucky Duck Malbec to celebrate…

Lucky Duck is a Malbec! Thanks, Marty!

Lucky Duck is a Malbec!

I’m in the office for half of the day today, and I’m so glad I came in. When I got to my desk, this hilarious and very cool bottle of Lucky Duck Malbec was waiting for me by my keyboard. I knew that it was from none other than Marty, my good pal at work and fellow Windows Wino.

Windows Wino's

In speaking of the Windows Wino’s Club, I am missing a tasting today because I’ll be battling the TSA security line. Thank goodness Lucky Duck likes to travel with mini products; otherwise, they might pull me aside for a special bag inspection. I’m pretty bummed to miss a meeting. I love our meetings, and I love wine. I offered to save this bottle of Lucky Duck Malbec on my shelf for the next Wino’s meeting.

Lucky Duck Malbec

I think I might suggest that I host the next one and have a duck-themed wine label event! I already have this bottle, and I know that Pete’s sells several other duck bottles as well. I wonder if the club would be up for it?

Duck Wine

As soon as I am offered a beverage by British Airways, I’m going to get a glass of wine. And after reading a couple of gossip magazines, I’ll probably take some Benedryl to zonk out. Next stop – London! Pip pip cheerio!

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