Donkey and Goat’s skin fermented roussane is DREAM, liquid golden hay that smells like a guava apple cider. Roussane is typically a white wine but here they winemakers leave the grapes to ferment in their skinnies so it makes for a sunny, evocative wine with both chewy tannins (bitter parts of some) and fresh minerality. It goes really well with lazy laptop sessions and tastes like peach skin, ripe pear, and a Fiji apple. Happy SUNDAY!
As a child, I totally judged books by their covers.
How could I not?? It was a process that had proven success. I knew the sort of stories I was attracted to and I knew how to get them. My preferences at that age consisted of a specific genre, namely books with a female protagonist, a romantic setting, and at least a hint of magic. My hunting ground was the local library, or, if I was lucky, the late Borders. (RIP.)
Normally these books would come covered in a portraits of whimsical forests, or replicas of oil paintings where the girl was gazing listlessly along a creek. Some had night scenes in which the moon and landscape gave me the notion that the story would come beloved creepy undertones. Those ones always proved to be promising, and would serve as my October books when I was looking to be sPoOkeD!
And so I am not at all surprised that this activity has followed me into adulthood, but instead of books, it’s booze.
Thus, what brought me to Lenore, the 2014 Syrah named for Edgar Allan Poe’s sweet bae. I saw the label amidst a wall of Washington and Oregon wines lining an aisle in New Seasons. New Seasons is Oregon’s version of Whole Foods, except smaller and not evil. Being in their wine section is like being in Harry Potter’s department of mysteries; I want to read them all, but doing was so would trap me into a dark nest of intoxicated insanity.
Luckily, I used the good ol’ Judgey McJudgerson tactic and went with my visual instincts. There she sat. Lenore, prettier than the Mona Lisa (come at me art nerds) and hiding a shy but dirty secret. Here’s the secret folks: This wine was tannin-y AF!
Not that this was a bad thing. I like the occasional tannin-filled wine, so long as it’s not 100 percent dried out bitters. A good tannin-y wine will talk to you. It is sexy. It will say, “Teehee, I just threw a shock to your system. If you thought that was crazy, get a load of this…”
Which is totally what Lenore did. Not only does she have a secret, but homegirl is talkative. She begins with the aroma of pepper jam and blackberries, filling your nose with a misleading aroma of a summery cheese spread. But then you take a sip and your mouth is exploding with cloves, black pepper, dirt, and the burnt part of a marshmallow. Just as you become adjusted to the whammy that attacked your palate, Lenore softens. She melts into a dark chocolate, leaving a cozy and hot mouthfeel.
The entire experience reminded me of tea, specifically the chocolate chipotle chai I had just a few days ago at Tao Chai Te. I ordered it sans sweetener, and then added *just the littlest bit* of honey. Lenore was like this, with even less honey. (It also sort of reminded me of sex, but saying tea is classier. And look at Lenore! She's classy.)
Her wine is like those moments in life when something is so bold and passionate that you must have to hold onto it, hoping that one day to might reveal a sweeter said. But if it did, it wouldn’t BE itself, and therefore not nearly as good. So you let it be dark and sultry and complicated and experience that for what it is. (Can you tell that I’ve been up for 18 hours yet??! WEE!)
Lenore is a reference to two of Poe’s poems: Lenore and the Raven. The Raven is the more famous of the two, telling the story of a sad man who can’t decide whether he should forget about his bae or move on. Like many of us tend to do, he’s getting a slight twisted pleasure out of his loss. If that weren’t enough, a talking bird has popped in to utter a single catchphrase as if he were a parrot going through a Taking Back Sunday phase.
Regardless, it's a good poem! And good wines are so much like a good narrative. They allow you to press the pause button and focus on your senses and heart. As warm wine floods your system, or a painfully nostalgic moment creeps into your mind, you are reminded that by goddess, you are a human! You are alive and it is cool and okay to feel sad every now and then because if we didn't we wouldn't have shit like Lenore, and we sure as hell wouldn't have The Raven.
What I drank: The Corvidae 2014 Lenore Syrah. Corvidae is the Latin name for the family of birds that consists of the Raven, Crow, Magpie, and Jay. These four birds are flying all over the PNW, creating the already slightly-gloomy skies with magic.
Where it's from: The Yakima Valley in Washington. The climate here creates complex, dark fruit with lots of acidity, and the rolling foothills of the Cascade mountains put the grapes at a good angle for when sunlight stars to stream in. Merlot is the most popular out here, but Syrahs are on the rise.
Where I drank it: Mostly my back patio out in the garden. I'm currently living in an Airbnb , and we have a stupidly lovely back yard shrouded in oak trees and pine cones, with a nest of baby crows sitting high up in the branches. I'd be an idiot to drink it anywhere else.
What it tasted like: The darkest book with all sorts of dirty twists and turns and passionate love scenes that spell sex on the walls. Like Gone Girl but in the early 19th century. Jam and pepper on the nose, then handfuls of olive, herbs, allspice and smoke. Tannin party. Smooth Vanilla Coke to finish.
What to drink it with: Fat, stinky and soft cheeses. The high tannins of this wine waltz nicely with the mild earthiness of a triple-çréme Brie, or something else along that nature. Not a wine to pair with books; there is already so much going on that combining it with another narrative might be too much stimulation. Instead I recommend a blank page or a friend. The complexity of this dark beauty triggers creativity, and you'll want to talk about it. Or at the very least, write it down.
The first time I had watermelon wine was during a heat wave in Los Angeles circa summer 2015. It was nearing the end of summer, right in that crux of September when it certainly still feels like summer, but because the month ends in a “ber” you find yourself glaring up the sun, wondering what the hell it think it's doing beating down so damn hard in a month that rightfully belongs to autumn..
And while we were longing for the season of chai lattes and sweaters, we had to make do with what we had. My good friend and killer photographer Aminda was living with me, sleeping in our living room until I left for tour in early October. We had developed a collaborative relationship, and had just finished reporting and photographing a tea ceremony/meditation/dance party in Venice beach. It was around 10pm, there was still work to be done, and it was hot AF.
Our work station? The kitchen table. Our beverages of choice? Red wine. Now unfortunately, a glass of a red wine in a heat wave is the opposite of refreshing, and will send this girl straight to bed. Nah, man. We need something to chill it down, something refreshing and soothing. Our options were either A) Ice cubes or B) the cubed watermelon we had frozen in order to keep it from going bad. Not being total vino heathens, we opted for the later. The results were one deserving replication.
We drank our watermelon wine concoction again when I came to visit Aminda in the trendy oven that is Phoenix, Arizona about a month ago. Even when the sun disappears, an evening in Phoenix permeates with dry heat. Your hair begins to stick the back of your neck, sweat trickling in a sun goddess-esque glow across your chest, now brown from a mere morning of hiking. Perfect weather for red-wine lovers looking to chill out.
The watermelon, being the delicious sponge that it is, absorbs a good portion of wine, leaving behind a soft, boozy slice of a fruit at the bottom of your glass. Upon first bite you’re flooded with coolness, then greeted with the gentle wave of red wine. And while the idea of adding frozen watermelon to red wine may seem sinful to some, I’ve never been one to stick to an organized religion.
We drank with the breeze billowing through the screen door, coolness finding its way through the raging heat in both the form of wind and frozen fruit. With each sip, we transformed into sweaty and exhausted photographers into cool and laid-back lushes. (Imagine the sunglasses emoji, if you will.) Aminda's two cats peered into our glasses as we relished in the air conditioning and our cool drink. The good thing about a heat wave is that it makes the little trickles of refreshment fee like a dip in the Mediterranean.
For red watermelon wine, I recommend something that would use for Sangria, without it being too dry. You won’t have the added sweetness of any liqueurs, so you don’t want the wine to contrast the fruit too much. For this reason a California Zin, or an Italian Primitivo (they’re both made from the same grape), would be wonderful options. The Rancho Zabaco from Dancing Bull is $10 and great.
For white, I like a Viognier. It’s not as sweet as a Riesling and not as tart as Pinot Grigio, but rather smooth and slightly marmalade-y. I’ve already said that Viogniers tend to taste like fruit roll-ups, and a boozey watermelon flavored fruit rollup is my personal heaven.
The rest is simple. You cut up a watermelon, freeze the chunks, and toss them in.
The final few weeks of summer are calling! Go out, sweat, drink, be merry, and get those alkaloids.
Wine and camping go together like margaritas and your grandma’s beach house.
This is something I didn't start practicing until I was 20 and trekked out to Appalachia with my Von Trapp family-sized gaggle of roommates. Of course, then it was illegal, and we had to quite literally wash our mouths out with soap in fear that the park ranger would smell the fermented grapes on our breath. In days even earlier in that, camping cuisine was just as delightful; For breakfast my mother would make biscuits and gravy in a cast iron skillet over the fire, while our family friends scrambled up cheesy eggs on the propane stove. Our snacks consisted of homemade brownies, Trolli Apple Rings, and Kool Aid Jammers.
But now I’m older and **MATURE** and look for sustenance with A) protein B) No fake colors and C) an alcohol content. And I like to make things special. Which is why I stopped at a joint called Smokey Davis on my way out to Wallowa Lake, where I found cases of beef jerky, Idaho mustard, gem-colored jams and the Cinder Dry Viognier.
Viogniers (pronounced “Vee-own-yay”) are full-bodies whites that originated in the south of France. They’re often fruit forward, with creamy notes of vanilla honeysuckle and mango. I think they taste like tie-dye fruit rollups.
You know those small town/organic diners? The kinds that sell local honey, serve face-sized pancakes, and operate under a co-op of older women with names like Butterfly? Yup, this is this wine. Drinking the Cinder is like having breakfast at 7am alongside an elderly man who drinks his coffee black and a hippie family with a mom who stops to breastfeed her child. It’s orange jelly on white toast with a juiciness akin to chewing a yellow starburst. The minerality is so moist it could win a wet t-shirt contest.
I am Paddington Bear and this wine is my marmalade. And just like little Paddy, I want to dip my hands so far into the glass that I’m practically bathing. It’s outdoorsy yet cozy, like when you finish a hike and cuddle up in your camping chair with a solid four more hours of sunshine.
You could drink this wine alone, but I enjoyed with a plate of poor woman’s hors d'oeuvres consisting of Chex Mix, Idaho mustard, and beef jerky from a nearby general store. The sweet and mellow flavor of the Cinder stood up nicely to the salt and spice of my accoutrements, and I would have been pleased to snack solely on this and only this until that cracked-out Oregon took its demise.
What I drank: The 2015 Cinder Dry Viognier
Where it’s from: 40% of the grapes are from Washington vineyards and the other 60% are from the Snake River Valley in Idaho.
Where I drank it: Wallowa Lake in Eastern Oregon, alongside my tent, a fire, and a neighboring group of History Bee-winning high schoolers.
What it tasted like: Grapefruit and orange blossom on the nose, followed by the taste explosion of sweet, chewy candy. The mouthfeel is like you’ve just eaten a handfulof warm-colored Gushers all at once, and the whole thing is polished off by a babbling brook of minerality.
When/where to drink it: Everyday activities for when you want to add some flavor. Doing laundry, cleaning the apartment, or playing board games on the back porch with your sweetie-pie. It would also make for a great “5pm on the beach” wine.The lively aromas and acidity make it good for salty things, or briney seafoods. (Any excuse to eat oysters, am I right?)
What does the phrase "Reckless Love" trigger for you?
Perhaps it strings out memories of the time you made out with your TA in the anthropology section of the library (you both tasted like PB crackers), or when you stayed up until 6am in a Myrtle Beach lifeguard chair with an unexpectedly suave co-worker, an experience that left you hungover and with a bed full o' sand. OR maybe it's when you drove 500+ miles just to spend a few days in Super 8 with your lover, sustaining yourself off lobby coffee and vending machine Milanos. These are all hypothetical.
My buds over at Rebel Coast winery have bottled this feeling and put it into the kind of wine that makes you want to dance on a tabletop with your finger pointed at the bartender shouting, "MINE." It's sexy, smooth, and easy to drink—exactly the kind of thing when you need the confidence to spin the moves on someone who makes you feel as though butterflies are giving birth in your stomach.
SPOILIES SPOILIES! Okay, not to sound like a broken record, but I drank this wine during (another) episode of Game of Thrones. I'll defend this by saying A) GoT can be EXTREMELY stressful, and having a bottle of wine to get you through the possible second death of Jon Snow can be a lifesaver, and B) In between Jaime and Cersei's incestuous relationship and Tommen's dumdum maneuvers for the sake of his hot wife, Reckless Love epitomizes the show.
Reckless Love is the shit we do when we stop caring about what other people think and go for what we want. And if we need a glass of wine to get there, then so be it. At least it tastes like the inside of a raspberry poptart.
On the nose, Reckless Love is gentle, akin to the smell of dark chocolate and red fruit. You take a sip, innocently thinking that you'll be in bed by 11pm. That's when it gets you; The medium bodied wine takes its top off and seduces your taste buds, combining the jammy flavors of your youth with the cranberry-flavored lust of puberty. And yet, it's so soft that you keep glugging away. You think, how can something so good be so bad??? Before you know it, you're sending a direct message via Instagram to your Venice Beach crush to let him know that you think he is a "hawtie" and maybe he'd like to "get tiki drinks, or something."
Reckless Love isn't Reckless Lust. It's emotionally-driven, heartfelt, and you're risking a painful morning. But IMHO, it's worth it.
What I drank: Reckless Love by Rebel Coast Winery. 50% Sonoma Cab and 50% Syrah.
Where it's from: The Sonoma Cab is from the Alexander Valley region, and the Syrah is from the seductive and sunny Paso Robles.
Where I drank it: First glass followed a bottle of Moscato with Lindsey on a hot summer night in Venice. Second glass came when we ventured out onto the beach to pair our vino with the crashing waves.
What it tasted like: A maroon, fleece blanket and raspberry fruit leather. Soft tannins, cranberry, and cherry on the palate, with a mellow finish.
When/Where to drink it: Ideal for evening picnics, backyard patios, and alongside cheese and meat plates. Great for small and casual gatherings with friends that you can see getting slightly out of hand. Maybe you're in cutoffs and you did it on purpose because you know _______ likes your legs. And you didn't shave because FUCK MALE STANDARDS. (w/e. you're reckless.)
Those of us who watch Game of Thrones are essentially in a cult.
Like a peanut butter and pickle sandwich (I'm serious), it's one of those things you don't understand until you try it. When someone tells me they don't watch Game of Thrones, I do my best to persuade them to give it a shot. Up until last October, I was one of you people. I get you. I had know idea Jon Snow was, nor did the phrase "Winter is Coming" mean diddly-squat to me. All I knew was that there was a crazy amount of boobies, some white-haired girl was riding dragons, and Peter Dinklage was apparently killing it.
But last October I was living in Cincinnati and had only a few friends (all of whom who were avid Game of Thrones fans), so I decided to give it a shot. It was goodbye world and hello reddit fan theories. Now my daydreams and search are history are flooded with facts about the white walkers and shirtless images of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. (You're welcome.)
On the plus side, having a routine TV show to look forward to instantly creates an excuse to drink a bottle of wine! GoT episodes are about an hour long, meaning you can easily split a bottle with a fellow nerd and have some time leftover to discuss everything you just saw in great, drunken detail.
For the most recent ep, I went with a Gamay, inspired by one of my role models and figures of inspiration, Marissa A. Ross. Like the Children of the Forest, the Gamay grapes are old as shit. They were first harvested around the 1360s in the Gamay region(obvi), which is a small village south of Beune in France. It got super popular around the time the Bubonic Plague started to fade out, so needless to say, the survivors needed a drink.
The Beaujolaius-Villages was my fist Gamay ever and boy oh boy was it easy to drink. It's tannic and tart on the front, and then zaps into a red starburst, dancing on the tastebuds like an artificial (albeit, kickass) fruit flavor. It then mellows into the fizz of cola, making the whole ordeal feel like a trip the movies. And if you're anything like me and watching GoT with the volume up and the lights off, you're basically replicating that sexy experience anyway. Since this wine apparently pairs well with cheese, I'd recommend throwing in some parmesan-dusted popcorn and calling it classed-up trip to the ArcLight.
What we drank: The 2014 Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Village. One hundred percent Gamay.
Where it came from: The Beaujolais-Village, which is a French Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC).
Where I drank it: On Lindsay's couch in Santa Monica while watching GoT. Palms trees in the dark, the mid-June breeze, and Trader Joe's InnerPeace were all solid accompaniments.
What it tasted like: The good (not cough syrupy) kind of artificial cherry flavor, like red popsicles and gummy candy. Tannic and tart, with notes of fat berries.
When/where to drink it: Like I mentioned, this bad boy is easssyyyyyy like Sunday morning, AKA perfect for pairing with complicated TV shows when you need to fOcUs. You could sneak it into a movie theatre and have a blast. Also a great table wine for when rando guests come over and you pull out some cheese and crackers to satisfy while sit cross-legged with your hand on your chin and catch up on who had the weirdest Tinder date.
Happy Earth Day!!! What do you love about the planet? I love strawberry patches, corn mazes, hot springs, forests that remind me of Decemberists songs, creeks that remind me of Tuck Everlasting, the redwoods, Outer Banks beaches, and all of the scenes from GOT.
This Earth Day is especially exciting because I'm back in Virginia for a few nights. Wednesday was my mom's birthday, yesterday was my parent's anniversary, and tomorrow two of my good friends are tying the knot. There's a lot of reasons to celebrate, and thus, lots of reasons to drink.
Last night my brother and I decided to make dinner for our parents. Both my mother and father work like crazy, and yet, growing up, they often managed to find time to squeeze in a family dinner or two. This is especially lovely in Virginia, where we feel the most extreme of each season, including the fall-iest of fall and the spring-iest of spring. In October we have cider and cinnamon waffles, wearing sweaters and drinking Bloody Mary's on the back porch as if we were attempting to imitate a J. Crew catalogue. Summer is all about shrimp tacos and margaritas, and in the winter we eat soups on the couch.
Right now we're swimming in the definition of spring, with some days rainy and cool and others breezy and demanding a 3'clock rosé. Last night we decided to make Branzino, a European seabass that looks like something out of a fisherman's storybook. I ate it once in Italy, buzzed off table wine, shamelessly flirting with the server, and halfheartedly trying to avoid the bones. It was poached in butter and layered in herbs. I didn't think it was possible for anyone who was not Italian to make.
But it is! It really is! We used this recipe from Food & Wine and paired it alongside roast fingerling potatoes with thyme, Himalayan rock salt, salt, pepper, and parmesan, roasted broccolini, and a salad topped with spring veggies and a homemade vinaigrette. The booze had to be a Sauvignon Blanc.
I currently have an affinity for New Zealand Sav Blanc's, which are often described as "cat pissy." Which I find a little weird, because I love this flavor, and it has me concerned that I have a taste for cat pee. Oh well. You can also say it's musky or grassy and then maybe people won't look at you like pee-drinker.
Branzino and Sav Blancs are best friends forever. For my purposes, I went to the wine shop and asked for something New Zealand-y, Sav Blanc-y, and please go well with my fish-y. My new wine friend Dana introduced me to Paddle Creek, which was basically an invitation to the grapefruit party. Let's get into it, shall we?
What I drank: Paddle Creek 2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Where it came from: The Marlborough wine region of New Zealand, which sits at the top of the South Island and is the country’s largest growing wine region. It’s known for their Sav Blanc’s (some of the best in the world, say those who know way more about wine than I do!), but they also apparently make a kickass Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinor Noir.
The weather in Marlborough sounds like a dream: low autumn rains and cool nights, which pretty much warrants the best Halloween season ever.
What it tasted like: This wine is essentially grapefruit, but you get a different grapefruit flavor throughout the entire experience. On the nose it's like peeling the fruit, or accidentally getting a bite of the bitter, white rind. There's also a hint of lime. When it hits the palate, it's a grapefruit wedge or grapefruit juice: crisp, acidic, and refreshing. The aftertaste is when it really got me. When you swallow this wine, it's like the juiciest, reddest grapefruit ever, the kind your PopPop would eat at the table on Sunday mornings before going off to church.
Where to drink it: I imagine this wine on a summer night when you don't feel like drinking red. Or as an accompaniment to a seafood meal, particularly if you're cracking shellfish and dipping the meat into melted butter.
Hello friends! Good morning to all of you. I haven't been outside yet, so I can't say whether it's frosty or not, but for the sake of my drive I'm crossing my half-painted fingers. This evening I will be jetting off in my little yellow bug as I head down to Memphis, Tennessee for the United Professional Theatre Auditions. Not one to deny myself some exploration, I have lengthened the trip by a few days, with plans to stop in Blacksburg, Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, and Tyler, Texas. It didn't really occur to me until I relayed my plans to loved ones exactly how far I was driving. When they asked about my audition, I replied "I'm driving, and taking a little road trip." Maybe because I'm not crossing or reaching an ocean it doesn't seem that far to me. (Although a pit-stop in the Gulf of Mexico doesn't sound too bad...Bud Light Lime on the Sarasota shore sounds quite divine...!!)
So when I took in the length of my trip, my mind went to one thing: food. And gas. And money. In the past, when I've traveled cross country, I've stopped at Mom and Pop dive-y restaurants, or sought out Anthony Bourdain's favorite dishes. In New Orleans, I had Alligator Sausage and Shrimp Cheesecake and a Watermelon Mojito. This, on top of two entrees I split with my boyfriend at the time, we also had an $80.00 bill. Worth it, but also not your everyday kinda meal.
Food is important to a traveler. It allows you to taste the scenery, examine the culture through another sense. This being said, I will be sure to nom upon several of the local (and thrifty) eats as I make my way southward, in addition to having my epic baby cooler full of amazing travel goodies.
1. Dry roasted almonds
If you've been reading my blog, you are already aware of the slightly-beyond-platonic relationship I am maintaining with almonds. I never thought I'd be one of those women in the opening montage of The Devil Wears Prada, the ones who wear La Perla and count almonds as a snack, but hell, here I am. They taste really good. I even bought dark chocolate covered ones yesterday, but I don't have a picture because I ate them all in the parking lot.
2. Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate
If I could have any job in the world, I'd want to be one of those kids on the chocolate cooking show sketch from All That. Do you remember it? They were called Randy and Mandy or Candy or Sandy or something rhyme-y and on the brink of stripperdom, and they attempted to make chocolate inspired recipes, but it always just ended up exploding into chocolate warfare. One time Chris Farley guest starred as a man who was addicted to ketchup. I miss the 90s.
Here I have regular dark, dark with raspberry (because ya gotta get a little crazy), and dark chocolate covered cacao nibs. If you've never had them, I highly recommend. They're crunchy and bitter, providing you with a slight endorphin kick and leaving your taste buds melting in rich bliss.
3. Luna Protein
One of my favorite things ever are things that are not cookie dough that taste like cookie dough. The raw real stuff will always win, but when it's not around, I find substitutions. Chocolate covered cookie dough bites, cookie dough pop-tarts, cookie dough truffles. I love them all. So when I found Luna Protein offered a "HEALTHY" option, I nearly punched the GNC lady in a fit of joy. For those mornings when I need to get on the road ASAP and have to skip a proper breakfast (silent tear will fall), these might just do the trick. And then I'll be eating cookies for breakfast, which I was never allowed to do, because Cookie Crisp, while it tasted like a brown unicorn, contained about 60 grams of sugar.
I also bought mint chocolate chip and lemon vanilla, and I'm surprised I stopped there.
4. Kombucha Multi-Green
YUM! Who doesn't love getting in their daily dose of Algae? This girl does. This is like drinking the cast of The Little Mermaid. There are all these weird green-bits dancing around the bottom, and if you don't think about it at all, then the stuff is amazing.
5. Red Wine
This is not for the road trip, rather the road trip unwind. One cannot travel without a way to properly say goodbye to the road each night. You need a comfy bed (or couch, or sleeping bag) and a glass of red. The first, Velvet Moon, is something Trader Joe Guy encouraged me to try. The second, Red Truck, is one of my favorite wines, rivaling the WalMart Lucky Ducky. Kate first introduced me to Red Truck when we ate cheese and dried apricots on the floor of our shared bedroom at the Renn Faire. I brought it to share with one of my good friends, Joshua, and he hadn't had it since college, when they drank it outside of trailers under the Texan stars. It's an easy-going, comforting red blend, that wraps you like a warm cheese and encourages you to sit down and snuggle into an afghan blanket.
6. Granny Smith Apples
Crunchy and tart, these are the highest one the sour apple scale, and I love them for that. They remind me of that scene in Sleepless in Seattle where Meg Ryan peels an entire apple in one long spiral. I love them for that even more.
7. Baby Carrots
Because what's a road trip WITHOUT Vitamin A?! Like the apples above, carrots provide a solid crunch. I wish I could say, "studies have shown...", but I heard this from word of mouth so who knows if it's true--crunchy foods relieve anxiety and energize you. Regardless, this bag will approximately last me one hour of this over-a-week-long-trip.
8. Bubble Tape
This had to come along for the ride, because sometimes, when you're on the road of some Tennessee Highway, and Jerry Lee Lewis starts playing, the one thing that will perfect the moment is blowing a bright pink bubble.
When I graduated college, I had to graduate more than just the university. I had to graduate a long list of things that one can only deem acceptable as a college student. These included triple helpings of cinnamon toast crunch for dinner, wearing mini-dresses in below freezing weather, and falling asleep fully dressed before your Jimmy Johns arrives. Part of this is because there are no Jimmy Johns that will deliver to my zip code, but the main reason is this: some things we must sadly pack into a cardboard box, label it college, and revisit it only on an alumni weekend or when we are in the middle of a mid-life crisis. Thursday night wine nights are not one of these things.
I loved Thursday night wine night more Jennifer Garner loves taking her kids to the park. I loved wearing my pajamas while clutching the stem of a plastic glass. I love the cackle of my roommate's drunken giggle as one of us reveals a secret. I even loved counting the bottles the next morning as they stood proudly on our coffee table; our trophies from the evening. Said wine night came about when I lived in "The Brothel" my sophomore year of college. The house was three stories tall, four if you included the scary-basement-we-always-avoided, and had eight bedrooms and three bathrooms. Eight of us lived there. Eight FEMALES. We named it, "The Brothel," under the circumstances that in Virginia over five women in a house is considered a "place of sexual business." Please, VA law, there was never any money exchanged. To my knowledge.
Last night, another Brothel lady and myself indulged in a long-overdue WINE NIGHT. The drink of choice was the same yesterday as it was four years ago: Walmart Brand Lucky Duck Cabernet Sauvignon.
"I don't know how they do it," Clarissa said as she sipped from her crystal glass. She wore a multi-colored sweater and a pair of shiny, spandex dance tights. (Both items were hand-me-downs, because Clarissa 'hates to buy her own clothes.') "It doesn't even taste like wine. It tastes like juice."
She took a longer sip, like a mermaid inhaling after being out of the ocean for too long. Then grimaced.
"That didn't taste like juice." And we laughed.
We got deliciously tipsy, our legs dancing over one another's as we talked about sex and our dreams. Clarissa had made molasses crinkle cut cookies that sparkled with sugar and tasted like a cinnamon blanket. The night was very similar to our college days TNWN, with the exception of the other seven beautiful ladies.
There was Stevie, who would often spend TNWN either with her own bottle, either putting off or writing a paper. Stevie now lives in Chicago, still roommates (lucky bitches), with the fiery-souled, Macki, who made me a green velvet cake on my 20th birthday, and then forced me to chug a 24-oz Smirnoff Ice. Macki and Clarissa were perhaps the most dedicated TNWN participants, so much that we labeled their constant togetherness a "bromance" and started to question their sexuality. Also in Chicago is Kristen, or K-Hanes, who currently lives with her boyfriend Chris Palmer, who is the closest thing to being a Brothel member with male genitalia. Even further across the United States is Kaitlyn, or K-benz, who is currently taking the Los Angeles world by storm. She, being the Brothel Lady that she is, recently discovered a way to open a wine bottle without (!!!) a wine key, a skill that unfortunately came after graduation. Then there was Catie, or C-Hatch, who is currently honeymooning with her recent life partner, Daniel, in Disneyworld . As they ride the spinning tea cups, I hope C-hatch temporarily envisions herself in a wine glass, spinning down a drunken memory lane of eating Chanello's and falling asleep on the couch. Michelle, our dear Shellster, kept us all semi-in-check by offering her ears and her wit. She was the Maid-of-Honor at Catie's wedding a few weeks ago, and had everyone simultaneously crying and laughing, which I thought was only possible when experiences second hand embarrassment after watching Girls. Finally, Sarah, or S-kys, is now teaching math to middle schoolers, but who once taught us all that you didn't need a bedroom to me a member of the Brothel.
I loved wine nights, not because I loved wine (though this did contribute nicely), but because it was a guaranteed time and place to be with a group of women who genuinely loved one another. We wore red snuggies and fell on the floor, we watched the cat dance across the wicker shelves and we kissed under the mistletoe. College roommates like that aren't just college roommates. They're your bridesmaids and they're the ones who ink your address onto your wrist. They will hold your hand and slap your ass.
Cheers, to the ladies of 1373.
Good afternoon, friends. How's your day been? So far I have... 1. Made peanut butter and jelly oatmeal.
2. Gone to yoga and only fell twice.
3. Gotten super psyched multiple times because Kate Rozycki is coming in two hours. (!!!)
I like fall holidays because I like opposites. Hot vs. cold. Wet vs. dry. The chill of a Virginia day in late November vs. the warm interior of my mother’s kitchen. Yesterday, for example, I spent thirty minutes out by a creek (gloveless, and therefore making me feel pretty earthy for whatever reason) collecting twigs and sticks to create little nameplates for our Thanksgiving dinner table settings. I strive for all of my interiors to look like an Anthropologie ad. Though my fingers were red and the bottoms of my yoga pants were soaked, I was content knowing that I would soon be able to walk into my warm, cuddly house. Coziness is totally worth the initial, swearword-inducing cold. In fact, I think the chill only heightens the warmth.
…Speaking of which, you know what else heightens the warmth? Wine.
Wine reminds me of my sophomore year of college. I lived in a disintegrating, though loved, three-story house with seven other girls. We called it “The Brothel.” On Thursday nights, we joined together in our onesies and with a few bottles of Walmart’s finest red (it’s called Lucky Duck, and amazing) and parked ourselves on the couch to watch Anchorman. Or Rock-a-Doodle. Or Shaft. It was an open door policy on these “Thirsty Thursdays,” and while it would occasionally turn into a small party, the night usually ended with one of us crying and the rest asleep in a flannel lump.
Wine also reminds me of my most recent trip to Portugal, where every day Alex and I drank approximately a bottle and a half each. (Sorry, Liver.) One night, we decided to give ourselves a “break” and polished off a bottle in the hotel room. The evening peaked when I sang a rendition of Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” to the bidet. I’d type out the lyrics for you, but they were rated-R and I’m pretty sure I don’t remember them correctly.
So it’s more than safe to say that wine holds a special place in my heart. It’s my preferred drink, and one that connects me to a plethora of fond memories. Wine is celebratory, casual, and fancy all at once. It’s the perfect beverage for these cold-yet-warm holidays. However, this year I thought I’d bring out wine’s Spanish side and make some Autumnal Sangria.
Did you know such a thing existed? I didn’t until I randomly stumbled upon a recipe while scrolling through Food Gawker. And since Mish (my mother) put me in charge of providing the mixed drinks for the big day tomorrow, I decided to add Pomegranate-Pinot Noir Sangria and Spiced Apple Sangria to the menu. The Pomegranate sangria I got from Josie, over at Pink Parsley. The Spiced Apple will be a Cozy Caravan original, so we’ll see how that turns out. The concoction includes:
-Cold apple cider
-Brinley's Spiced Rum
-Cinnamon, cloves, allspice
I don't think there's much that can go wrong with this combination. If something does, I'll just polish it off myself in a failed-mixologist shame. Kidding. Kinda.
I’ll give you a little sneak peak of our typical holiday. It is, like Brothel Wine Night, an open door policy, so whoever needs a place is invited. This draws in quite the eclectic crowd, so we end up with a dining room full of opposites. (Ehh? See what I did there?) Once Kate arrives, we'll don our aprons and get to work. I’m making the drinks a day in advance so there’s time for the flavors to dance. And with a low of 23 in the forecast, I predict these cocktails to enrich and enliven this already delicious day.
Who knows? We might even throw on our onesies.