Nissa Pierson

“Why I’m a Thirsty Girl: living life to the fullest, has been just simply a way of life for me.”

As the only girl in a family of all men (no mother) who lived in California, Central America, Minnesota, her life was anything but ordinary and I am quite sure that was a conscious effort. Her life of travel and culture has taken her to all parts of the world and her extreme thirst for experience and knowledge has kept her delving into all aspects of life.

Nissa’s love for cooking started out of necessity, in childhood her experience of living in Central America taught her everything about self learning, self teaching and self sufficiency, both in the kitchens and in life. The amount of fresh ingredients and people actually cooking what they ate and drank was engrained in her from an early age projecting into multiple phases of her life. From learning about organic sustainable agriculture, to herbs, to fair-trade produce.

Nissa’s work with organic and fair-trade produce world allows her to fulfill her travel bug, visiting such places as Israel, Peru, Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina, Holland and more. She’s an advocate of “doing good things for your planet” and its’ people by supporting the fair-trade organic food movement.

Her founding of Ger-Nis and the Ger-Nis Culinary and Herb Center was the next logical phase for her, a place where her community can come to learn about food. Her response, “How could I not offer this?”

“Take chances, live with passion, and try to see and experience as much as you can, that is truly what I believe in and truly what I live daily. I believe that is what makes me a Thirsty Girl, thirsty for the life both in my wine glass and in my life!”

Ger-Nis Culinary and Herb Center,
Nissa’s Profile,

Eleanor Prior

“I love wine tasting with my husband.” When she’s really stressed out or sad she grabs a bottle of wine and sits at her piano (also a closet pianist, lessons from the time she was 5!).

When her husband and her get a chance to take off and go wine tasting, they head to the central coast and stay in Cayucos at the Sunset Inn Bed and Breakfast enjoying the surrounding areas Cambria, and Paso Robles. Their favorite place to eat in Cambria is the Sea Chest Restaurant. People line up with lawn chairs and bottles of wine to enjoy the sound of the ocean while they wait for the doors to open. Her favorite winery there is Towbin James; she’s dying to get back this year, she can just taste it. Eleanor has a blended family, “Yours, Mine, and Ours,” so when they do get a trip it is rare.

Have I described the life a a Thirsty Girl or what? Unique, passionate, and drink in hand.

In 2008 Eleanor came across an up-and-coming profession, “Virtual Assistant.” She knew immediately she could succeed and still be home for her children. However, she didn’t want to be your typical administrative support VA and in her search she found VAClassroom.

Eleanor’s passions are Social Media, WordPress, and Virtual Events. As “Your Virtual Girl Friday” she loves introducing and training clients about the endless possibilities that await them when they join the conversation online. Her latest venture, Your Virtual Events Girl specializes in Webinars, PowerPoint Video Creation, Screencast Tutorial Videos and training.

Eleanor gets her social groove on with her alter ego “As The Las Vegas Tweetup”. One of her favorite things to do is craft tweets about what she’s passionately promoting (events, blog posts, or affiliate products), for example:  Join us for #TGTaste and have a little Sunlight poured into your glass…

Can you say Thursday Thirsty Girl! Thirsty for life. Passion for new opportunities. Embracing her chosen field and meeting so many wonderful people. Foodie. Loves the Vegas Foodtruck community. Favorites includes, her Ohana @SnOwONOShaveIce) created via social media. @GrouchyJohns a mobile gourmet coffee barista, @Tastybunz, @lulusonthemove, @bensbbq, @sincitywings ]and more…

“Being a Thirsty Girl has definitely been an adventure, one that I don’t intend on ending anytime soon.

One of my favorite wine quotes will sum it up perfectly…

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.”

So pour a little sunlight into her glass….—your-go-to-girl-for-all-your-virtual-needs—your-go-to-girl-for-all-your-virtual-events-needs

Farewell To Grape Vegas

In honor of our love affair with all things Vegas this week, former Thursday Thirsty Girl, guest blogger and Vegas TG, Jennifer Gaydeski, shares her farewell with Grape Vegas, a wine bar dedicated to “beautiful wines and delicious memories.”

Last week I closed the doors and said goodbye to a place that has been my home for over two years … Grape Vegas. I moved my life and my love across the country to run this cool little wine bar and I had no idea that it would become a virtual vortex, as we loved to say, attracting some of the most extraordinary, unique and genuine people I have had the privilege of knowing. Our demise was not the result of a business that just couldn’t make it in these tough times. We thrived, and grew a strong following who we know from day to day as our family. Our fate was simply circumstance and misfortune, which is neither here nor there. They say it is what it is right?

Wednesday morning, November 3rd, 2010 I walked out of Grape Vegas for the last time. Our staff & our family spent the last few days grieving with us, laughing, crying and celebrating what we had created. Then as I turned in my key, I took one last look, and in spite of the room seeming empty, I realized it was so full that it was bursting at the seams. This room isn’t just a vacant space in a shopping center. This is a place where people have created memories, many of which they will carry with them. Friendships were formed here. Connections were made. Loves were discovered. So many first dates happened here. Boy I could tell you stories, but the best ones ended in more dates, relationships, and recently a marriage proposal which had begun as a first date at our bar. It was awesome. Congratulations Andy and Kristin!

Love is just the beginning of the memories. Grape Vegas embraced local musicians in a beautiful way. Kevin Mahoney built an outstanding music calendar and fostered genuine relationships with a multitude of artists who became family. We had so many talented singers and musicians grace our small little nook of a stage and transport us to rock-n-roll heaven…or jazz heaven…or blues heaven! What a time to be remembered; to be talked about and sung about; to be recounted in stories of epic jam session proportions. If you were never there, you certainly missed something special. I wear a locket around my neck with an inscription that seems appropriate…“If music be the food of love, play on that strain again!” Cheers to that!

Music was a part of creating the vibe that came to define Grape Vegas, much like the artwork that filled our walls. From hyper-real nude paintings to thoughtful abstracts, and traditional canvases to metal grinding, the environment was one of a kind. Most recently, our new resident artist brought huge, bold splashes of color, that I wish we could have spent more time appreciating. What a pleasure to be surrounded every day by such beauty and creativity. Thank you Mike Wardle. And a very special thank you goes out to A.D and Kathy Cook. We could not have done it without you!

None of the music or the art would have mattered if Grape Vegas had not been filled with such a wonderful staff. Chef Scott made our little wine bar a destination for fabulous food. He was always experimenting with new recipes and ingredients, which my hips can bear witness to. He never cared if I was watching what I ate or trying to be healthy. He would just laugh and shove a spoonful of bleu cheese and candied bacon gelato in my mouth (still one of the single best bites of food I have ever had!). I will miss walking into the kitchen every day and wondering what delights he will present me with.

I could say thank you a thousand times and never express the gratitude I have for our kitchen crew and our front of the house staff, many who were with us when we opened our doors over two years ago. Their hard work, love, passion and loyalty are the reason why we became such a favorite spot for locals. Who wouldn’t want to spend their time hanging out with this beautiful group of people? I know that each of them will be missed by too many fans to name and number, but never more than they will be missed by me.

All of those fans I just mentioned are the ultimate reason why Grape Vegas was able to thrive and become the haven that it was for so many. Our family, comprised of regulars, vendors, and anyone who stumbled in late night and got to know us into the wee hours, made us who we were. In my whole career, I have never known such an endless bounty of loving and generous people. After a lifetime of moving around, they are the reason I call Vegas home and cannot imagine being anywhere else. I look forward to many opportunities in the future to connect again and again and keep these relationships vital and meaningful. We are starting with Thanksgiving, when we will come together for the second year to celebrate all that we are grateful for.

I am realizing, as these words and memories spill out of me, that life is not about the places where we settle down, but rather about the changes in between. This is certainly one of those times. Nothing lasts forever, not even Grape Vegas. Though I had hoped we would not end in this fashion, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the honor of being allowed to take the journey. Nothing has really ended anyway. We have only entered a time of new beginnings, for all of us. And I am confident in my heart that there are breathtaking views on the other side of this mountain and possibilities we have not even dreamed of. Thank you everyone…for everything. Now let’s go find another adventure! Cheers!

To visit Grape Vegaswhen you’re in town this weekend: 6599 las vegas blvd b150, across from Rave Motion Pictures, 702.220.4727.

Visiting Wineries and Tasting Rooms

From the Napa Valley to Sonoma, to Washington, Oregon, France and beyond, there is no shortage of wine tasting places to visit.

Share with other Thirsty Girls, your favorite wineries and tasting rooms to visit. What was your experience like and what are your recommendations for other places nearby to visit?

Is there a lunch or dinner there to die for?

Do you recommend a certain time of year? Call ahead?

We’ll start…

Visiting Sonoma Valley- The Sonoma Valley is truly a delight. It’s a little more laid back than the Napa Valley and it’s easy to drive up and down Highway 12 to visit wineries.

Here are some must see spots:

  • Sonoma Plaza which has a great playground for kids,
  • the vineyard tram tour at Benziger Family Winery
  • and a stop by the Sonoma Cheese Factory.

Tasting Room Etiquette:

  • Don’t be afraid to spit! Just try not to splash the person next to you.
  • Expect to pay a fee in most tasting rooms (though you often get to keep the glass).
  • Call ahead if you have kids as some spots are kid-friendly and others aren’t.
  • Many smaller wineries require an appointment, so make sure to check before dropping by.
  • Avoid the crowds by visiting on a weekday.
  • Assign a designated driver or hire a limo to take you around and split the cost among the group.

What are your favorite wineries to visit?

Leslie in New Zealand

Leslie and Nelson First Fifteen

Leslie Sbrocco, head Thirsty Girl, has been a fan of New Zealand wines for many years and has made numerous trips to the island nation.

This week and next (September 19-30, 2011), she’ll be sampling wines in the South Island’s Central Otago region then heading north to Nelson, the aromatic and artistic capitol of New Zealand. There she’ll be judging a unique wine competition dubbed the Nelson First Fifteen.

This 3-day event is dedicated to celebrating world-class examples of Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer from New Zealand, Italy and the United States. Why just those countries since we know France, Australia, Germany and more make benchmark bottlings, too? It’s the Rugby World Cup and during the time of the event the US is battling it out with Italy.

So, check back in on our site for Leslie’s dispatches from the road…and the rugby field.