Skip to main content

Drunken Shenanigans at Day 2 of the Taos Wine Festival

Before we get too far into this post, I need to clarify that the drunken shenanigans mentioned in the title have nothing to do with myself or my Sexy Nerd. I already told you exactly what I'm referring to in my previous Taos Wine Festival blog post. Oh, you thought I was joking? Well take a look at this:

funny chipmunk photo for a funny blog post
Party chipmunks, running amok all over the Taos Ski Valley. Just wait until the first snowfall. When they get on their little skis with their spiked hot chocolate, they're downright dangerous.

Gangs of drunken chipmunks placed all the focus of the Taos Wine Festival on drinking, stealing attention from the other joys on offer, such as hiking, yoga, and fine gourmet dining. Yours truly would never get carried away with her wine, even at a wine festival. They should call it the Taos Behaving Politely Festival, I thought, looking down on the rowdy rodents both figuratively and literally.

Although, I suppose it would be rude not to have at least one glass...

oversized bottle of wine - drinking humor
Fact: I don't remember much from after this photo was taken. Two hands!

When I told my friends and family I would be attending the 2017 Taos Summer Wine Festival, they all made a big deal about how envious they were and how much they wished they could go too. "It's not far from Albuquerque," I pointed out. "And the price is really reasonable. You should go!" No takers. I even got one "What's a Taos?" You're all a bunch of boring crumb-bums, I thought. Don't be like my friends and family.

Let's start with the negative. There were quite a few things we disliked about the festival. Sexy Nerd is the biggest crumb-bum of all, and sure enough, he was reluctant to join me. He really ticks me off sometimes, the party pooper. Oh, that reminds me. Happy birthday, my love! Don't read the sentences before this part.

Taos Wine Festival Problem #1
You have to drive forever to get there.

The Saturday morning activity we selected, Mushroom Foraging Hike with Turquoise Tours, began at 9 am, which meant my alarm went off in Albuquerque at 4 am so that we could be in the car by 5 am so that we could be in Taos just in time for our adventure. There was another activity I preferred which started an entire hour later. It was called Yoga Instruction Followed by Chokola (chocolate!) Seminar with Madeira Wine Tasting. That's right. Sexy Nerd chose fungus over wine and chocolate. You thought I was being mean earlier when I called him a crumb-bum on his 35th birthday, of all days, but now you surely see that it could not be avoided.

Mushrooms over chocolate and tipsy, wine-fueled yoga. They wouldn't have even made us scavenge for the chocolate ourselves. SMH.

a power nap
We arrived with a few minutes to spare before our hike and seized the opportunity for a power nap.

Sexy Nerd is quick to point out that he'd suggested driving up the night before to stay in a hotel, which would have solved this problem. He conveniently forgets that the festival actually started the night before but we couldn't attend what was surely an amazing dinner with wine and dancing because he had to work late. It would have only salted the wound to arrive just after dinner ended.

4 am me was none too happy about any of this. 

Taos Wine Festival Problem #2
Taos, NM and the Taos Ski Valley, NM are two different places.

taos ski valley, nm
This is the Taos Ski Valley.

Imagine my surprise to discover our centrally located Super 8 (we like to travel in style) was actually 45 minutes from the wine festival. Oops.

arroyo seco, nm
This is Taos. It is quirky and weird and full of hippies and is one of the gems of our state, but it did not host a wine festival last weekend.

Sexy Nerd just informed me that the above photo is actually Arroyo Seco, NM, not Taos. There is an entire city in between where I thought we were going and where we actually went!

Quick side note just in case anyone took offense to my hippie comment: In Taos, we overheard a shop owner giving advice to her friend. "It's so important that you be careful during the eclipse," she warned. "You can't eat, drink, or sleep during the eclipse or it will do harm to your soul." Her equally hippie friend nodded in agreement.

Taos Wine Festival Problem #3
Foraging for mushrooms is a romantic idea until it actually comes time to eat the mushrooms.

I'll go into the details of mushroom foraging a little later in this post. And actually, I'm going to gloss over the details right now as well because the details are disgusting. We did find edible mushrooms. We did take them home to eat. We did scream and shriek and we did wave our hands in the air in a panic and we did place our foraged mushrooms in the outside garbage can (the inside garbage can would have been too creepy), as they were absolutely crawling with maggots.

mushrooms held still
Frankly, I'm surprised these mushrooms held still long enough for me to take this photo.

Taos Wine Festival Problem #s 4-11
Life isn't perfect! Ack!

There wasn't enough dessert. The mountain roads made my ears pop. It was too hot. It was too cold. The traffic was sometimes a little bit congested on the way to and from the festival. I had to socialize with other people. There was a dog that we saw on Saturday and when I saw the exact same dog on Sunday, Sexy Nerd said I was wrong and that it was a different dog. (It was totally the same dog.)

Oh, and then there's this:
18,344 steps! Such a far cry
18,344 steps! Such a far cry from my usual 475. According to my FitBit, the Taos Wine Festival caused me to get way too much activity. Let's make that Festival Problem #12.

chevy volt drives to taos, nm
Problem #13: We were pelted with hail on our drive home. Thanks a lot, Taos Wine Festival. (Hey, we can't blame Obama anymore.)

The point of all this complaining, which I'm sure will come as a relief to event organizer Cecilia Cuff, who was kind enough to invite me to blog about the Taos Wine Festival and who I can only imagine has been mortified reading this post up until this point, is that we still had the best time ever. JUST GO! I expect to see all of you friends, family, and blog readers at next year's festival. You'll have an amazing time and you won't regret it. Just look at my always-serious Sexy Nerd, who didn't think he would have any fun:

the many faces of wine consumption

And it gets even better. Apparently, Sexy Nerd stole my camera after our "Wine & Swine" pig roast lunch, extra emphasis on the wine, and captured a few upside down selfies.

upside down selfies
Mechanical engineers don't wear their hat backward.

I never noticed the resemblance between my husband and Walter White until this moment.

Now, enjoy living vicariously through me for the remainder of this blog post.

Hunting for Shrooms in Taos, NM
No, not that kind of shrooms, although someone did actually find one of those and our guide called it an Alice in Wonderland mushroom and he told us not to eat it but then he didn't throw it away and I think he may have placed it in his pocket for later.

A hike was the perfect start to our day. In addition to mushrooms, there were gorgeous wildflowers everywhere.

color coordinate_chameleon
Can I color coordinate with an activity or what? Think of me as the chameleon of the hiking world.

poppies smells

Taos Wine Festival Problem
It made for a fun photo, but these poppies smelled like nothing.
Ooh, that can be Taos Wine Festival Problem #14!

Red color_attracts

mushroom foraging hike
The trees were spectacular. My favorite part of the mushroom foraging hike wasn't actually anything to do with mushrooms, but just being in nature. It's such a nice way to spend a Saturday morning. All my life, I've been told to stay on the trails when in the wilderness and I've never dreamt of doing otherwise. I was a model Girl Scout. Imagine my surprise being told we have to leave the trail in order to forage. I felt like such a rebel!

being in nature
Thank goodness I joined the hike. Who else would have held these two trees apart?

I hear you over there, wondering about the mushrooms. We found so many! There were lots of different kinds.

mushrooms every where
Yum, yum.

These are a delicacy.

Santa Fe Farmer's Market
I'm certain I've seen these guys at the Santa Fe Farmer's Market.

elusive mini mushroom
Behold, the ever elusive mini mushroom.

Bag full of mushrooms
Ta da! We filled an entire bag with mushrooms. We then showed our finds, triumphantly, to the tour guide, who kindly informed us that we'd picked an entire bag of poison.

mushroom thrown away
Even the most beautiful mushroom we'd found needed to be thrown away. It turns out it wasn't even a mushroom! To be fair, we had kinda suspected when we were unable to pick it from this log and had to resort to cutting it off with Sexy Nerd's pocket knife. When our guide saw it sitting in our mushroom bag, he all at once seemed surprised, amused, and to have lost a little faith in humanity.

Harmless mushrooms
Taking pity on us poor city folk, our guide helped us find some mushrooms that wouldn't kill us if consumed.

bag with edible boletes
Our bag was soon refilled with edible boletes. Hooray! Just ignore what I told you earlier in this blog post and you'll really enjoy the above photo. Don't they look yummy?

Wine & Swine Lunch
Oink, oink.

shuttle ride
After our hike, we rode a free shuttle to The Bavarian Restaurant. This was one of the highlights of the trip. No, not the lunch. The shuttle ride. It was like Disneyland! The driver apologized for the bumps, then sped up to hit them harder, sending all of the passengers flying into the air. Sexy Nerd said afterward that he feared for our lives. I think he just needed a little wine.

The Bavarian Restaurant
Much better.

needed a wine
This is the way I like my mushrooms.

Taos is big on hippies?
We were entertained by live music, which most of the crowd really enjoyed. Our tablemate called it "so zoney", which he meant as a compliment. I did mention that Taos is big on hippies, right?

Game time
There were games of corn hole and ample dog watching. Is it me or is the pup on the left very fancy and maybe a little stuck up?

chairlift rides
There were even chairlift rides for festivalgoers who didn't balk at the $18 per person charge.

$36 per couple to ride the ski lift. In August. With no snow and no skiing.


nature walk
We elected to continue our nature walk after lunch. 

 fun with a little wine
It was even more fun with a little wine in our systems. We were joking and meandering and Sexy Nerd told me to turn around because there was a deer, but even tipsy me is too clever to fall for that.

 turn around_deer

too clever to fall

stash of bolete mushrooms
Sexy Nerd added to his stash of bolete mushrooms and talked endlessly about all the delicious ways he was going to prepare them. (Tragic.)

fresh mountain air
And we took a few more photos, enjoying the fresh mountain air.

fresh mountain air


Love is love

natural beauty

Taos Summer Wine Festival

Taos chipmunks
The Taos chipmunks are actually very sweet when they're on their own, not anything like the furry, obnoxious frat boys they become in a group. That's peer pressure for you.

People really eat these things. I kid you not.

The Seattle Fish Company provided two different types of oysters for VIP guests in an all-you-can-eat pairing with Gruet champagne. Lounging on outdoor sofas and mingling with the who's who of the wine industry, it made for an unforgettable experience.

oysters for VIP

Unforgettably good for one of us. Unforgettably yucky for the other.

a trigger warning
I feel like I might need to go back and add a trigger warning to this photo after I publish this post. We'll see.

a dozen oysters
I think you can guess which of us ate a dozen oysters. He slurped them right from the shells, whole. It was awful.

I tried a bite
There. I tried a bite.

To be fair, I've only had two other experiences with oysters and neither was like this. Both were in 2017. Culinarily, this has been a big year for me! My first taste was Valentine's Day at a "fancy" restaurant (at an Albuquerque race track/casino - who are they kidding?) and the oysters were coated in flavored salts to mask, unsuccessfully, the fact that they were past their prime. Actually, I'm not sure they were ever in their prime.

The second experience was much more positive but ruined me on fresh oysters forever. We attended a beer-pairing dinner at Albuquerque's fancy (no quotations) restaurant, Seasons, and were served chicken fried oysters. Amazing! Now, I demand all my oysters be breaded and fried to a golden brown deliciousness. If I can tell it's an oyster, no thank you.

Side note: We ran into one of the beer reps from our dinner at Seasons at the Taos festival, along with a few other folks we recognized from wine tastings in Albuquerque. We're slowly getting to know the community, social anxiety and all. Huzzah!

Indulge: The Grand Tasting Event of the Taos Wine Festival
There was purple cheese. I didn't get any photos of it because I ate it all.

The Grand Tasting Event

If you're going to attend a food and wine festival, make it the one in Taos. All of the vendors were so friendly and there weren't any lines. When you found something you enjoyed, you could have as much as you wanted. Which actually was a bit of a problem - we left sooo full.

a food and wine festival

Here's a taste (hee, hee) of what you missed this year:

ceviche! I hate seafood
The very first thing I sampled was ceviche, not realizing what I was being handed until it was too late. I hate seafood! The blue corn tortilla chips and little cubes of avocado tricked me into thinking I was getting something good. Somehow, I managed to choke down this and two refills.

Yerba mate_energy drink
Energy drinks! We ate our food and drank our wine at top speed.

goat cheese and pinon-sprinkled hummus
You're seeing bacon-wrapped dates and pitas topped with goat cheese and pinon-sprinkled hummus. Suddenly the drive to Taos doesn't seem that far, does it?

 Zia Beverage
New Mexico's own Zia Beverage was present, providing samples of their unique, yucca-containing drinks. They were across from an empty table reserved for Coca Cola, who was a no show at the festival. Maybe Coke realized they couldn't compete?

Pulled pork sandwiches
Pulled pork sandwiches, anyone? Did I mention you could have as much as you wanted for three entire hours?

purple cheese, Shamrock Foods
The same folks who provided my beloved purple cheese, Shamrock Foods, had an endless supply of chocolates from Columbia. Every time I went back for more cheese, I'd grab two small chocolates and slip them into my purse for later. I may have gotten carried away.

pesky chipmunks
And, of course, you knew those pesky chipmunks would make another appearance at the grand tasting. They really overindulged. It was cute at first, but when they started running around, squeaking "Chip and Dale, beyotches!", enough was enough. I even saw a group of chipmunks lighting their farts on fire.

Actually, that part made me laugh. I'd had a lot to drink though.

A lot to drink though

About Kitty Deschanel

About Kitty Deschanel
I'm a freelance writer who believes in infusing all topics, from Jessner peels to chronic insomnia, with a dose of humor. Thanks to their endless shenanigans, my Sexy Nerd (SN) and our "children", Pica and Biscuit, make frequent appearances on my blog. I have written for major brands including Dove, Anheuser-Busch, and Jimmy Dean and my work has been featured on Huffington Post. Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram @KittyDeschanel.

Popular Posts from Kitty Deschanel:

Jessner Peel Photos: Before & After Guide to Chemical Peels

The Beauty Blogger's "Before & After" Guide to Chemical Peels - Updated 12/5/18
Since posting my Jessner peel photos, detailing the stages of the process, and writing my chemical peel blog review back in 2013, I've had quite a few Jessner peels (my favorite) and TCA peels. However, I've saved a ton of money over the past 6 months by doing my own chemical peels at home. At my last professional peel, I made a note of the product being used and did some research when I got home. I was able to buy the exact same one, Dermalure Jessner Solution Acid Peel 14%, from Amazon for less than the cost of a single peel. I also use Dermalure's AHA/BHA Acne Cleanser, which I apply before the Jessner. (Side note: There's currently a 1-star review for the at-home peel that complains "I had to deal with days upon days of gross peeling and flakey chunks of skin falling off my face (and I have super oily skin). If I happened to laugh really hard on a particular day or…

Amerisleep Mattress Reviews & Promo Code (Save $275)

Best Amerisleep Promo Code as of : $275 Off, plus free shipping both ways...not that you'll want to return it.
(Includes an additional $25 discount for this blog only - details at the end of this review)

This is the ultimate Amerisleep mattresses blog post, featuring unbiased reviews collected over more than 6 years of ownership, photos, videos, FAQs, and more. There's additional sleep and Amerisleep-related information if you click my How to Sleep Better tab above. As a chronic insomniac (yes, even as a baby - my family insists I was a nightmare), the struggle to improve my sleep night after night is my life.

Memory foam mattress in a box - the future is here!

These Amerisleep mattress reviews are NOT sponsored. Not in any way whatsoever. Unlike other "impartial" reviewers out there, I did NOT receive my Liberty Bed (AS3) for free. All of the opinions here are 100% my own. This is not a sponsored blog post and I have never been employed by Amerisleep. Unlike…

Dream Home Dreaming

We've finally broken ground on our mountain dream home! Can you believe it? Even more surprising, we actually managed to work a good chunk of this list into our actual design. See below for details.

*Another Update*
We've finished construction and are finally living in our mountain dream home and it's even better than I'd hoped! Here is a sneak-peak of our new kitchen and living room. Click the "Decorating" button above for more photos.

Believe it or not, our budget was meager. Really! My husband built the coffee table from an olive trunk and did the thin brick backsplash himself. Eventually, he's going to take the brick all the way to the top of the ceiling. He also created the three-tier chandeliers (three chandeliers total - yeah, he's pretty great!). 
I was responsible for all of the shopping and decorating decisions and design details and layout. We had the tongue-and-groove installed upside down (rough-side down) with Sherwin Williams H…

Instant Pot Explosion

While you're here, please be sure to check out my Instant Pot recipes: Creamy Enchilada Rice and Cranberry Oatmeal with Quinoa
We love our Instant Pot, the digital pressure cooker that seems to suddenly be in every home. You can't mess up - just throw in random ingredients and you'll get something yummy every time. It's foolproof. At least, that's how I used to feel about our Instant Pot, until the explosion...

Ack! We just moved in and look what I've already done to my brand new, all-white kitchen!
I tried to re-seal the vent but the pressure was too high to cooperate. I'm honestly not sure what went wrong with this batch of oatmeal. I've made it a million times. The Instant Pot was only about halfway full.

Here is the link to my extra-healthy Super Oatmeal Instant Pot recipe, in case you are curious or a fan of the delicious. It probably won't explode when you make it.
Oatmeal? More like a batch of tasty homemade glue.
 I was bummed that my quic…

A Nightmare Jessner Peel Side Effect

Almost as popular as my Amerisleep mattress reviews, the Jessner chemical peel post here on my blog has been a reader favorite for years. I'm still doing my own peels at home and still recommend this to anyone concerned about acne scars or wrinkles. However, last night I did have a Jessner peel scare.

As written before, timing is everything with a chemical peel. You don't want pieces of dead skin (yuck, right?) flaking off at work or at important social events. I've wanted to do one for months but things kept getting in the way, like extra days spent at work and our recent trip to California. Finally, last night I was able to treat myself to an at-home Jessner peel. (Using this product from Amazon, in case you want to try it for yourself.) I've done this so many times that the steps are automatic. I applied three layers of Jessner solution, brushed my teeth, and went to bed. Snuggled into our new mattress and a mountain of blankets, I fell into a deep sleep. I dreamed…

Family Size Bed (Because a King Mattress is Too Small)

Look! Up In The Sky! It's a Bird. It's a Plane. It's...

(cue suspenseful music)

What's bigger than a king-size Amerisleep mattress? An Amerisleep Superbed!

As you know, my nerdy engineer husband, SN, and I recently ordered two new twin XL mattresses from Amerisleep. The AS4 bed didn't work out for us (too soft and mushy for our taste) but we loved the extra-firm AS2 bed. It's perfect for people who sleep on their back (SN) and on their stomach (me). SN liked it even better than the AS3 bed we'd slept on since 2012 and I thought it was at least equal to that mattress, which is now making our relatives happy in the guest bedroom. The AS2 costs a little less than the AS3 and a lot less than the AS4. Who would have thought the less expensive option would be the better choice, right? Money really doesn't buy happiness.
(Okay, in all honesty, I think I prefer the AS3 just a hair over the AS2. Your first choice is usually the right choice.)

We loved our …

Now Accepting Paid Guest Blogging Submissions

Enjoy reading Kitty Deschanel? Now is your opportunity to write for one of your favorite blogs!

Guest Blogging Benefits

Make extra income. Unlike most websites that accept content from guest authors, allows one affiliate link per article. It's like placing your ad on my site, absolutely free.Gain backlinks to your website. You're on your way to the top (of Google), baby.Expand your audience and grow your brand awareness. Posts are shared with thousands through Twitter and Facebook. Content permitting, posts will also be shared via Pinterest and Instagram.Receive a "Featured On" badge for your portfolio.Guest Blogging Submission Guidelines Posts must be original, non-duplicated content. Don't tempt Google to penalize your site and mine with a rerun.You must have the rights to any photos, social share graphics, videos, infographics, etc. used in your post. Saving an image from Google does not make it yours. Stealing content from others and trying to…

Flooring Ideas

Ever since we purchased our 13.1 acre (gotta get credit for that extra 0.1 acre!) lot outside of Albuquerque last year, Sexy Nerd and I have devoted most of our free time to planning our mountain dream home.

We cannot make a decision about anything. At this point, it seems our best option would be to build a row of townhomes, each in a completely different style. On Monday, we would live in our colorful Victorian home, and later in the week we could switch things up in our ultra-contemporary, all concrete house.

Since I can't imagine our neighborhood HOA (or our budget) ever allowing such a thing, we really do need to narrow down our list of ideas.

Flooring is a tough choice. In our current home, we have premium laminate flooring. It stands up well against our rambunctious dogs, but is easily damaged if you unknowingly drip water onto it and let it sit, like by the dog's water bowl and the dishwasher. We also have real wood flooring on our stairs and our bedroom sitting area,…

5 Ways to Make Your Flu Recovery Faster and Easier

I have the flu, so this is going to be a short post. Never mind that I often skip blogging altogether when I am healthy. (Update: This turned out to be a pretty decent post. Yay sick me!)

I should be at work today and not at home witnessing how stupid our dogs are. Pica just yawned and the sound caused Biscuit to bark, which made Pica bark. Now they are both barking hysterically at the glass front door. (Yes, glass front door. It is super obvious that there is no one there.) (Update: UPS just dropped off 2 packages and neither dog had any idea.)

1. Water tastes gross.

You know you're supposed to stay hydrated when you have the flu. Staying hydrated is never a problem for me. I love water...except that when you have the flu, water tastes gross. Like, you can taste the sickness. The universe has a cruel sense of humor sometimes. If you're caring for someone with the flu (hint, hint, SN), bring them hot tea with honey, juice, a smoothie, water with those fizzy Emergen-C packets, so…

A Healthier New Year for Sexy Nerd

Sexy Nerd recently started a new program through work that requires a lot of traveling. He gets sick of all the time wasted at airports, but loves the many meals his company pays for. Fresh seafood in San Francisco. Prime rib in Seattle. Burnt ends in Kansas City. He's been living it up!

After his most recent, week-long trip away from home, I decided to play the role of pesky wife and insisted that he step on the scale.

Surely you knew there'd be consequences for eating out for every meal, didn't you, Sexy Nerd?
The men in Sexy Nerd's family have a history of heart attacks at a young age, so a couple extra pounds is nothing to play around with. I planned to get him back on track by cooking healthy meals when he was home. I was all set to make a scrumptious breakfast of oatmeal with chia seeds (really, it's delicious!) when Sexy Nerd walked in with a bag of groceries. In our almost 7 years as a couple, this was maybe the 2nd time he has ever done any grocery shoppi…