My 5 Favorite Things – Alicia Ekeler-Valle
- 1) Yearly Planner: How lame could I possibly be to put my PLANNER on a list of favorite things? It’s lame, it’s true- but let me explain this one: My planner represents a blank slate of possibilities for all the days I have in a year’s time. If I get to decide how my year goes, why not plan some awesome things to look forward to? I’m also a recovering “say yes to everything” person and I have learned to pace my social and professional life in a realistic way that allows me to have one day a week to just, do nothing (and laundry). I am stuck in the pen-and-paper world when it comes to planning. I’ve tried the phone-calendar thing but seeing a month of non-descript dots does not give me the same joy that a calendar of notes does. Phone works great for grocery lists, though!
- 2) Music: Music has always been an integral part of my life. I started hoarding cassette tapes in elementary school and would play music in my room, or through headphones, at all times throughout my youth. I loved pursuing hobbies that revolved around music like dance and orchestra (It’s too bad I sucked at both.) I worked as a music venue planner and promoter for free just to get into all the great live shows. I even went so far as to choose my closest friends (and boyfriends) based almost exclusively on mutual music tastes. It turns out that’s not really a reasonable criteria for relationships in adulthood. My current rotation: Bjork, Radiohead, Fiona Apple, pretty much all 90’s alternative/grunge and hip hop (hip-hop bbq Pandora, anyone?), 80’s synth pop, Riri, and Queen Bey.
- 3) Cooking, Wine, & Hospitality: I wasn’t quite sure how to illustrate this so I used a few of my favorite publications. I have a hard time leaving a bookstore without a book, cookbook, or magazine on those topics . This is also another realm in which I prefer paper (I swear I am environmentally conscious!). I attended culinary school for two years and I couldn’t get enough- if it was free I would go back again every decade. I have an unyielding desire to keep learning about food, cooking, wine, hospitality and the culture around those topics. My favorite books are On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee, The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, and just about anything Ruth Reichl writes (but she hates honey which I find very questionable). I love watching No Reservations, and (most) of the food documentaries on Netflix on the reg. Everyone should read Tiffany’s Table Manners for Teenagers, watch Flow, and stop buying bottled water. I’m that person. It’s the worst, but probably for the best.
- 4) Traveling: I don’t think this one needs much explaining. I love my job for many reasons (see previous favorite thing) but one of the things that drew me to this company is how progressive and modern they are about time off. I have so much respect for companies that acknowledge the importance of rest for their employees, and in my case it allows me time to travel which is how I “reset”. Me and my family are from Peru, so I grew up going back and forth on holidays to visit all our relatives so travel has always been something I look forward to. I even like packing, which most people seem to hate. I enjoy being out of my comfort zone, feeling a little lost, and having to “figure it out”. Where I live is so laid-back and easy that I think I crave that challenge. There’s always something comforting about heading back home after an incredible trip. It’s never sad, it’s always satisfying and reflective. I always appreciate home way more after spending some time away in a foreign place.
- 5) Tote Bags: This is more of an admission than an explanation. I am a tote hoarder. How did it start? I hate plastic bags. They are terrible for the environment, they are ugly as hell, and I don’t even like the sound they make. When I watch someone double-bag less than five objects in the grocery store- I have to contain a whirlwind of emotions. Tote bags are cheap, and you can get ANYTHING you want printed on one! I’m also for some reason always schlepping so much crap around that they have become a basic necessity. This one is also a two-birds-one-stone thing because The Little Prince is my favorite book. If you become my close friend or invite me to your birthday party you’re probably gonna get a copy.
Alicia Ekeler-Valle, Director of Tasting Rooms