Tag Archives: wine

Things That Inspire Me

You might guess that I’m inspired by wine, fit-like stuff and my children. You’d be right, but there’s a bit more to it than that. Recently when I was telling one of my clients how she might think about making a list of everything and everyone in her life that inspired her (in order to stay on-track with her health goals), she flipped the switch on me and asked what I find inspiring. While it was easy to superficially answer that question, I started making a list a week later and realized I was quite possibly going to run out of paper.

I think the point of making a list of what inspires us is to fully realize all we have going right for ourselves, even if we feel like we’ve stumbled off the beaten path, with a wine hangover and no H2O Fairy in sight. Not that I’ve been in that situation or anything…

So I’m just going to put this out there – my sources of inspiration – to practice what I preach and hopefully motivate others to do the same.

Things That Inspire Me

  • My kids – When they learn anything new about the world or themselves.
  • My family’s health history – Like many of you can relate, it’s a bit complicated. There’s Alzheimer’s and heart problems on the table and I’m just hoping I don’t take a whopping serving of either. Maybe having a healthy lifestyle matters in the long run, maybe it doesn’t, but in the end I want to say I did what I could.
  • The stairs – There are 3 flights of stairs at the studio and every morning I climb them with 30 pounds of crap attached to me because I am the Bag Lady. I did this throughout both pregnancies when I maxed out at 195 pounds just in bodyweight. I’m too stubborn to let these punks get to me.

Climbing Stairs

  • Writers – The ones I’ve read, the ones I’ve met, the ones I haven’t yet read or met. They’re an amazing breed.
  • Lone Survivor – Yes, the movie and yes, it has Mark Wahlberg in it. But that’s not actually why it inspires me, although it does help. This movie was just eye-opening for me in regard to what it means to persevere and fight for what you believe in.
  • A really good run – Like the kind of run where your mind just stays the **** out of it.
  • Good natured people – Yes, they do exist and when you find them you know instantly. I try to surround myself with them and let the others choke each other out.
  • The outdoors – Sometimes a good walk outside with my kids is what saves the day.
  • My mom – She’s always supportive, even when I tell her things she probably doesn’t want to hear.
  • My dad – The man’s work ethic is astounding. Plus, when you realize you have the same idiosyncrasies as one of your parents, you finally understand them better.
  • My brother – If I were telling him this to his face, the compliment would sound more like, “You’re kinda cool and I’ll admit for a second that I’m associated with you.” Truth be told, he’s awesome.
  • My husband – He’s a worker-bee and devoted father and partner. What’s more inspiring than that in a husband?
  • Really !@#$ hard workouts – The kind that make me realize I can suck wind AND survive it.
  • People who admit when they’re wrong – Please and thank you.
  • Elderly/Widows/Widowers – Those who are out there doing their thing anyway.
  • Open minded people – Except those who are so open minded I think their brain escaped.
  • Good friends – Like, REALLY good friends. You know who you are.
  • Moms who know how to style their kids’ hair – Which class did you take in school that I missed? I’m guessing it was offered the same time I was failing Math 025.
  • Anything super, super funny – Make me pee my pants and I will worship you.
  • Creative chefs – Those who spend so much time perfecting dishes all so we can figure out how to work them off later.
  • People who know their stuff – Even if they’re just a checker at the grocery store, I love it when they know it inside and out.
  • Drinking a glass of wine near a fire – Something about wine and the heat from a fire make me impressively thoughtful and incoherently exhausted.
  • The coast – I’m mostly talking about the West Coast simply because it’s where I’ve spent the most time and it’s remarkable. Every time.

Washington Coast

  • Trying new recipes – I screw them up just as much as I succeed at them. Either way it’s like crack for my soul.
  • Getting a list of things done – We list people can be so annoying. That is, unless we get our list of things accomplished. Then we are really fun to be around.
  • Other parents, who parent – Carry on, stay strong, and thank you for breeding.
  • Emergency service personnel – EMS, fire fighters, police officers, all of them. I’ve so much respect for what you see in a day and still come out the other side wanting to do it again tomorrow.
  • People who like my kids – I mean, I like them but I sorta have to like them. You liking them just makes me think I’m not crazy.
  • My clients – From 29 to 82 years old, they are all inspiring.
  • A warm cup of tea on a cold day – I feel like I should be doing something insanely profound. That may take a lot of tea.
  • Entrepreneurs – This stuff is tough! I don’t care if you own a food truck or Google, you’re taking risks and fueled by passion, faith, and adrenaline.
Shark Tank
“I think your idea is crap.” “Thank you, shark, I’ll show you.”


  • Memories of loved ones – They say we shouldn’t live in the past, but I have had in my life some incredible people who are the stokers of the fire that fuels me.
  • Being told no – It gets me every time. Maybe it’s a youngest child thing or maybe it’s just that I’m inherently a rebel, tell me no and I will do it again, but better.
  • Homemade anything – The crafts, the bread, the DIY garden boxes, the recycled wine bottle plant hangers, the tomato sauce…I love it all.
  • Winemakers – Captain Obvious over here. As a wife of a vintner, I’m inspired by the science behind it all and the glory of the end result. Amen.
  • A good book – The ones you just can’t shake. The ones you can’t put down. The ones you need a night off from reading because you’re still churning over last night’s pages and trying to catch up emotionally. The ones that make you think, “I will never write this good. Ever.”
  • People who don’t give up – Even if I don’t agree with you, I’m inspired by your tenacity. Unless the thing you won’t give up on is being annoying.




Exploring Washington (Coast) Wines

After spending a week vacationing in Westport, WA located on Gray’s Harbor, I think I can scratch a few things off my bucket list.

Rent a beach house on the Washington Coast, check.

Beach Arrival 1

Beach Arrival 2

The condos where we stayed.
The condos where we stayed.


Go clamming on the bay, check.

Turns out that although fun, this is a lot of work. I suppose that's why most people buy their clams.
Turns out that although fun, this is a lot of work. I suppose that’s why most people buy their clams.


Set crab traps off the pier and learn how to clean them properly before cooking, check.

Von and my mom checking our crab rings.
Von and my mom checking our crab rings.
My dad checking to make sure this crab is a legal size to keep (it was, and tasted great later).
My dad checking to make sure this crab is a legal size to keep (it was, and tasted great later).
These mean things are actually really easy to clean.
These mean things are actually really easy to clean.


Eat a geoduck clam, check (pronounced goey duck, which makes no sense to this grammar nerd).

Meet Geoduck, Jr.
Meet Geoduck, Jr.


Try wines produced in a coastal town, check.

To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting tremendous wines on the coast. I wasn’t sure about the grape-growing situation or the demand for turning those grapes into drinkable form. Not to generalize or anything, but Westport and the surrounding area is a fishing destination and a hot spot for clamming during open season. This may be pure speculation but I’m going to bet most fisher-people get off a boat after a day or two and reach for a shower and a beer.

Nevertheless, we were looking forward to checking it out once we arrived. We visited two wineries, both are located in Westport and both are large-production outfits, meaning they put our 300 – 400 cases a year to shame.

But are they any good, you ask?

First stop: Westport Winery

Westport Winery

This was a fun place because they had a small vineyard on-site that they built beautiful gardens around. After we each tasted our 5 complimentary wines we purchased a glass of our favorite and walked around the gardens while we drank and the kiddos ate popcorn (brilliant!). They even had a giant outdoor scrabble board and a putting green.

Happy kids, happy mom.
Happy kids, happy mom.

These guys make over 30 wines, which is a feat in itself considering all the label work that goes into each one, and boyyyy do Von and I know a little something about label work. Which brings me to point out another thing I liked about Westport Winery – their labels were a lot of fun.

Westport Winery 4

With names like Mermaid Merlot, Charterboat Chick, Jetty Cat, Peaches on the Beaches, and Nirvana, how can you not have fun with that?

(A quick tidbit about the ‘Nirvana’ reference: Kurt Cobain grew up in the area. Specifically he spent his childhood in Aberdeen, WA which is about 25 minutes away from Westport. There are Kurt Cobain memorials and tributes throughout the area.)

Did the wines we sampled blow our hair back? Not really, but they were decent. All three of us chose the Nirvana, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, as our favorite. Von and I both purchased a glass of the Surfer, a Syrah, but my mom had purchased a glass of Nirvana and we definitely preferred hers. When she went to inquire about the price of a bottle she found out it was $49. It was good, but we weren’t feeling it was $49 good. So there ya go.

I would have liked to sample more wines but we couldn’t have possibly tried all 30 (At least not with small children in tow. “You want to play with that glass decanter? Suuuure!“). Plus, many of them were sweeter blends and the sweet side isn’t really my cup of vino. They also have a hard cider, sparkling wine, and raspberry chocolate wine that sound like fun (okay, so maybe the raspberry chocolate sounds not-so-good to me, but I’m sure lots of people love it). Overall this was a neat place and we were definitely glad we stopped.

Second stop: Cranberry Road Winery & Bog Water Brewing Co.

Cranberry Road 1

So here’s the deal: These guys don’t use any grapes for their cranberry wine, which makes sense but it also painted this tart and sweet picture that I was prepared to dislike. Still, we were really curious and we love seeing other people doing fun and different things with wine like we are. They also brew beer and, if I was a beer girl, I think I would have really liked their Rye IPA. As it was, I somewhat enjoyed two sips and went back to what fits like a glove to my hand – my wine glass.

They have two cranberry wines: Straight-up Cranberry and a Cinnamon Cranberry. Both were surprisingly good and not near as tart or syrupy sweet as we had pre-conceived. As we were sampling, the owner (a really friendly woman) began telling us how they drink these wines. The Cranberry wine is apparently terrific as a sangria, so she gave us the delicious-sounding recipe for that. Alternatively, the Cinnamon Cranberry makes a really yummy mulled wine which I loved the sound of, especially as we enter the Fall months. Mulled wine and Halloween go together for me like…grapes and yeast.

Cranberry Road 2

The three of us were happy with this fun find and we bought a couple bottles of each to try out the recipes. Talking to this woman reminded me of how we talk to people at the market when they try our jalapeno wines. We start with a conversation about wine and pretty soon we’re talking recipes, then food, then experiences. It’s a really cool way to make wine enjoyable on more levels.

At the end of the day, we went back to our beach house, watched the sunset, and poured a glass of Pinot Noir from Santa Barbera County my mom had brought along on her drive because it was so aptly named SeaGlass. It wasn’t Washington Coast wine, but it was perfect.

Westport Sunset

The Story Behind Wine Workouts and Whippersnappers

I’m going to do us all a big favor here and just cut to the chase in telling you why this blog exists: We are all busy. Busy, busy, busy. If you’re a parent, you’re busy. If you’re a business owner, you’re busy. If you’re a student, you’re busy. If you’re a parent and a student who works…you’re amazing. At least in my sense of the word. But my point is we’re all so busy that I’m actually bored of hearing the word ‘busy’ all the time! (Did you see that? I just used the words ‘busy’ and ‘bored’ in the same sentence.) So that’s why I’m here, essentially. I’m busy, just like you. And rather than keep all the areas of my busy-ness separate from each other I feel I’m in a phase in my life where it makes sense to consolidate – all while doing something I truly love, which is writing.

Here’s a little background about me, summed up in 10 sentences:

Girl grows up in a tiny Idaho farm town. Girl wants to get away and leaves for the Big Apple. Girl gives it a good run but hauls butt back to a medium-sized Idaho town to settle down. Girl graduates with Journalism degree. At this point girl safely calls herself a woman and embarks on her first career in event planning and marketing. Woman hates it, leaves it, becomes a personal trainer and starts her own business. Woman marries man (you’ll meet him) and gains a step-son (he’s a cool cat). Man becomes wine-maker, woman becomes pregnant…twice. Woman and man keep each of their jobs, open a winery and raise two small humans. Woman and man never have a clean house or bathroom privacy…AGAIN.

Lila (at 2 yrs), Luke (at 5 months)
Lila (at 2 yrs), Luke (at 5 months)

Now that you know who you’re dealing with, you may still be wondering why I would start a blog that blends the subjects of wine, fitness, and kids. Here’s my one-word answer: Balance. As a personal trainer who’s been in the industry long enough to know and have seen a few things, I’m probably one out of a small bunch of fitness professionals that are sick of the all-or-nothing mentality. I don’t like fitness fads, I loathe diets and highly marketed “health” foods and meal replacements shakes, I rarely do the same workout more than twice, I tire of superficiality QUICK, and I truly believe moderation is the ONLY key to a healthy life. Instead of going into a tirade about my entire outlook on the fitness industry, you can just check out my fitness philosophy post here.

With that said, I do honestly love working out, eating healthy food and discovering yummy recipes. And I enjoy finding ways to do all that while riding the crazy train of life. If that’s something you’re into as well then pull up a chair!

So back to balance. I love wine. Wait, scratch that. I am lost without wine. And believe me, you don’t want to be with me if I am ever found lost and without wine. Was my husband a winemaker when we met? Nope, and that’s why I think that in another life I must have been some kind of saint who did saintly things so that karmic forces caused me to meet this man in this life.  But he’ll tell you I was a wino who turned him into a wino and things just escalated. Believe what you will. Or you can read this post about our humble little winery.

What's halftime at a football game without wine in a Styrofoam cup?
What’s halftime at a football game without wine in a Styrofoam cup?

With all this wine loving going on, I think it’s important to note that we are not wine snobs. In fact, if you’ve googled us at all you know by now that we make some pretty crazy wines. And don’t think we haven’t been snubbed somewhat by the wine industry for doing so. But that’s okay, we’re not worried about it. So since I love wine and I love writing, I figured I could give you all the perspective of winery ownership (and drinker…ship?) from a non-wine snob point of view. The kind of perspective where you’ve gone to work all day, possibly spent the entirety of it on your feet, you’ve picked up the kids, you’ve managed a healthy dinner (or maybe just dinner), your house is a mess, there’s so much crap to do yet, it’s bath time and bed time and laundry time and The Voice time and tomorrow’s to-do list-making time…but all you want is a glass of !@#$% wine. Maybe it’s our wine, maybe it’s not. Either way, this blog presents a story about how the wine in your wine glass or red solo cup may have gotten there and what winemakers and winery owners like us do behind the scenes (here’s a teaser: We drink a LOT of wine).

So, balance. Now here’s where we throw that notion out the window: We have two children 20 months apart in age. Of course I think they are beautiful, smart, funny and perfect. I also think they are wild and demanding sanity-crushers who can make Lindsay Lohan’s meltdowns look few and far between in comparison. I am home with these beautiful tornadoes two days a week during the work week and I know you stay-at-home-moms are saying “seriously, Crystal? Big flippin’ deal.” Well I applaud you. Really, I do. I chose to take my studio hours down to two days a week so that I could be home with my crazies and I love my days with them. But I am not enough for them the other days so that’s why they go to this amazing place called day care and they love it and I love it and they learn so much more than I think I could teach them in the same number of hours. But on those days that I am with them I try to make our time together count. So this is also a blog about those days and what we do. I hope it will help some of you parents out there who run out of ideas or just need to know that your kid is not the only kid who does that weird thing with their face while looking in the mirror…

Yes, she could do this all day
Yes, she could do this all day

…Which leads me to one last thing that I think is definitely worth mentioning and will probably be mentioned repeatedly throughout the blog: I want your feedback! It often takes a village to pull things off at the Potter House. It takes grandparents, nieces, brothers, sister-in-laws, friends, fellow business owners and a world of winemakers to help us accomplish what we end up accomplishing. Same goes for this blog – please let me know what YOU want to know about, what you want to learn and your own experiences with any or all of the above topics. I welcome fellow bloggers, winos, parents, winemakers, writers, personal trainers, fitness lovers, etc. to leave comments and contact me any time! I will always do my best to respond to every comment and email. You can email me at crystalthomas@poisefitness.net, find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!