Someday, Someday, Maybe, I’ll Visit San Francisco

Two months ago I moved into my sweet little condo and a couple weeks later I had friends over to celebrate. I am a HUGE fan of the band, Train, and one of my friends brought me a bottle of wine from their winery, Save Me San Francisco Wine Co. It happened to be one of my favorite types of wine, Sauvignon Blanc – Bulletproof Picasso Sauvignon Blanc, to be exact (named after their most recent album). I was ecstatic, so naturally I had to find a fun book to drink with my new wine!

As an avid fan of Gilmore Girls, I have been following the updates on the new season (coming to Netflix later this year) with the utmost fervor.  So when searching through my extensive “To Read” list to find a title to pair with my new wine, I instantly gravitated to Someday, Someday, Maybe by none other than Lauren Graham (aka Lorelai Gilmore)!

Both my book and wine choice incorporated my tastes in music and TV.  I love when that happens.  It promised to be a perfect combination.  And it was.

After struggling to finish a memoir that I had lost interest in (more on that in a later post), I decided to abandon the book and craved a fiction piece (and subsequent wine) that was light and would catch my attention immediately. Someday, Someday, Maybe was that book. And Bulletproof Picasso was that wine. Both did exactly what I wanted them to.  The combination got me out of my book funk and re-launched my love of reading with blazing intensity.

I say this often in my posts, but I enjoy characters that are relatable and could be someone you meet on the street.  But what I LOVE more, are relatable characters with wit, eccentricities, and big hearts. Lauren Graham’s main character, Franny, has all of those qualities and more. The book follows Franny, a struggling, young actress trying to keep it together and get ahead in her career.  Taking place in NYC, Graham focuses on following your dreams and allowing yourself to hope for “someday”.

It’s January 1995, and Franny Banks has just six months left of the three-year deadline she set for herself when she came to New York, dreaming of Broadway and doing “important” work. But all she has to show for her efforts so far is a part in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters, and a gig waiting tables at a comedy club. Her roommates―her best friend Jane, and Dan, an aspiring sci-fi writer―are supportive, yet Franny knows a two-person fan club doesn’t exactly count as success. Everyone tells her she needs a backup plan, and though she can almost picture moving back home and settling down with her perfectly nice ex-boyfriend, she’s not ready to give up on her goal of having a career like her idols Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep. Not just yet. But while she dreams of filling their shoes, in the meantime, she’d happily settle for a speaking part in almost anything—and finding a hair product combination that works.

Everything is riding on the upcoming showcase for her acting class, where she’ll finally have a chance to perform for people who could actually hire her. And she can’t let herself be distracted by James Franklin, a notorious flirt and the most successful actor in her class, even though he’s suddenly started paying attention. Meanwhile, her bank account is rapidly dwindling, her father wants her to come home, and her agent doesn’t return her calls. But for some reason, she keeps believing that she just might get what she came for.

Someday, Someday, Maybe is a story about hopes and dreams, being young in a city, and wanting something deeply, madly, desperately. It’s about finding love, finding yourself, and perhaps most difficult of all in New York City, finding an acting job.

-Penguin Random House

As for the wine, if you love a crisp, dry white.  This is definitely a bottle you need to pick up.  I am a huge fan of wine that is fermented in stainless steel barrels, versus Oak.  I love a good crisp, tart, dry wine. And Bulletproof Picasso has all three of my favorite wine characteristics.

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Both the wine and the book are fun, light, and refreshing.  Graham’s writing is charming, eloquent, and funny.  It’s perfectly matched with Bulletproof Picasso. If you are looking for a great book to read outside on a warm spring day while sipping a delightfully chilled glass of white wine, definitely check out Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham and Bulletproof Picasso Sauvignon Blanc from Save Me San Francisco Wine Co!

 

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When Reading Feels Like Coffee With a Friend…

Well it’s January 4th and I’ve already finished reading my first book of 2016.  I made a pledge on Good Reads to read 52 books this year (yikes…what was I thinking?!). You can follow my progress and reading list here!

Back in December, I took part in the 12 days of Love Letter Writing Campaign with a wonderful organization, The World Needs More Love Letters (MLL). If you ever need to know that there are good humans in the world, check out their website and the social media hashtag #moreloveletters.  It’s inspiring and will make you realize that the world isn’t such a bad place. Good exists.

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I’m a member of MLL’s love letter alert and have participated in quite a few campaigns and letter requests over the last few years. It’s an organization where I find a lot of meaning and purpose. Plus I’m a sucker for good stationary and helping others find encouragement even in the smallest of ways.

In January of 2012, I was introduced to Hannah Brencher by wonderful people whom I consider my second family, the Shatsoffs. Hannah and I had a common friend in Nate.

Circumstances beyond anyone’s control lead us to meet at a Relentless Against Cancer bowling event in North Haven, CT shortly after Nate’s passing. It seemed pretty serendipitous to me, since Hannah and I are both writers – I was in the process of self-publishing my first novel and Hannah was creating The World Needs More Love Letters. Although we didn’t stay in close contact after the event, we maintained an acquaintance. I followed her blog and her MLL mission and was ecstatic for her when her first novel, If You Find This Letter, was published last year.

I felt strongly that this needed to be my first read of 2016 and I’m so glad it was. However, it’s a little weird reading a book by someone you’ve met, before she was famous, about her life that includes people you know. It’s a weird feeling, but it’s so cool!

As a self-appointed book sommelier, I can pair a wine with any book. However, reading Hannah’s memoir felt more like sitting down with an old friend to drink a big cup of coffee. So in the 15 hours or so that it took me to read it (since I was drawn in pretty quickly), I drank coffee with Peppermint Mocha creamer. It was quite the perfect pairing.

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If You Find This Letter has a unique rhythm.  There is a steady beat as you read. It’s almost like you can feel the city breathing underneath the story. It’s honest, truthful, and completely raw.  I admire writers who can literally hold their guts in their hands for you to read. It’s brave. Hannah is not afraid to show readers her soul.

Her journey of faith and love is one that anyone can relate to.  While reading, I felt like I was exposing my own truths and learning to have faith in myself as a person and as a writer. When I finished reading, I silently closed the book and took my large cup of coffee in both hands and breathed. I wanted to soak up every piece of the story and let it settle.  I sat in quiet for about an hour, just being. I love when books affect me like that.  That’s why I am so in love with reading. Stories – fiction or nonfiction – pull you into a world where you are capable of learning amazing things about yourself, if you only let the words affect you.

Bigger than this, is the only way to describe this book.

 

2016, you got me by the pen.

Happy New Year, friends!

As New Year’s Eve approached, I started to think a lot about resolutions.  I decided that this year I would prefer to focus on goals in relation to my writing.

As 2015 came to a close, I realized that my writing had taken a backseat throughout the year.  And I was not OK with that.  No wonder the year had been a difficult one! I felt like I had turned by back on what I love most. This revelation broke my heart and made me realize that my writing must come first.

Tonight I dedicated my evening to working for myself to plan out my 2016 writing goals.  I decided the on 7 goals (7 is my favorite number).

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Every Monday, like clock work, Pour Me Another Novel will publish new content.  That means a lot of great books and great wine are coming your way!

January’s menu has been planned out and focuses on non-fiction, so take a closer look at what is coming up this month!

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This is my happy place. I’m looking forward to all of the words I will be both reading and writing this year!

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Cheers!

 

 

Life, Lemons, and Italy

I have been extremely negligent with my blog posting.  I could come up with a million excuses as to why I haven’t posted.  But my readers (and I) deserve the truth. The truth is that the last couple of months have been hard and I haven’t felt like myself.

Writing words and posting them online for people to openly reject is a difficult concept to grasp at times. Mix that with anxiety and depression, as well as feeling like nothing I do or write or say is ever enough, and your doubts will start to control you. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m good enough. Sometimes I feel like I have failed as a writer, before I’ve even begun. Fear paralyzes you into losing sight of your dreams and not realizing your true potential.

Honestly, I’ve had enough of letting fear and anxiety control my life.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I’m not ashamed of suffering from anxiety and depression. It needs to be talked about and I will talk about it until I’m blue in the face because the silent power it has over me has been weighing me down for years. And I am tired of it. I am tired of letting fear and self-doubt control my every move, my every decision. My ah-ha moment came to me this weekend. I’ve spent so much time feeling alone, but the truth is, I am not.

As my 29th birthday approaches, I may not be where I thought I’d be at this age. But through all the ups and downs, the bad dates and failed relationships, the battles with depression and anxiety, my family and friends have been there through it all. I may be single, but I’m not alone. There are amazing people in my life that I’ve been truly blessed with every second of every day. They’ve made me realize that I am loved and cared for. For that I am forever grateful and blessed. I’m not going to lie; the last year especially has been hard, but it’s a journey and it’s a moment along the path I’m taking. For the first time in a long time, I feel this fresh, new beginning that’s longing to start. And after a while in the dark, I’m ready to embrace it. Everything I’ve gone through has made me a better person. I’m stronger, smarter, and more loving because of it. I am me. And I will never apologize for that. I finally love who I am and I’m blessed with so many people who care about and love me for me. That’s what’s most important. I can finally see that clearly and honestly, I’ve never felt happier or more hopeful.

So after my revelation, I picked up my pen again and resumed work on my second novel and I picked up my Kindle again and resumed reading. The book I chose couldn’t have been more perfect for the struggles I’ve been having. That’s the thing about books; they show up when you need them most.

The book I read, and literally just finished last night, was Italian for Beginners by Kristin Harmel. I’ve read two other books by Kristin Harmel (blog posts pending) that I have adored and shook me to my very core. I still think about the stories and how they’ve affected my life. Books affect me. I think that’s magical.

Aside from my strong desire to visit Italy, Italian for Beginners appealed to me in so many ways. The main character, Cat Connolly, is 34 and single. She is incapable of maintaining a healthy and loving relationship (hey, I know someone like that!). She seems to be in a rut when the reader meets her, however Cat doesn’t really see it yet. She reminisces about the summer she spent in Rome while in college and recalls how much she loved it and felt at peace there. At the suggestion of her father, sister, and work BFF, she plans to travel to Rome alone for one month. Through a series of unfortunate events, she ends up befriending a native Roman, Karina. Karina helps her see that she has been living so cautiously that she has never truly lived. Cat begins to follow her passion for photography, reconnects with estranged family, and meets amazing people who change her perception on what it truly means to live. By the end of the book, she has done a complete transformation into a woman who is confident, passionate, and loves herself for who she is.

I was able to relate to Cat on many levels. This relation was confirmed through a family member’s advice during my recent struggles, “You need to get out of your comfort zone and take a chance”. It’s true; I do. So did Cat. As she followed her passion for photography, I thought about my pen and how long my journals, notebooks, and computer screen have sat empty because I was too afraid. But I’m not afraid anymore.

Lately I’ve been super into lemons, which seems appropriate, since life has indeed handed me my fair share of lemons. But this time, I drank wine instead of lemonade, a delicious Sauvignon Blanc called Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. It was the perfect pair to Italian for Beginners (even though the wine is made in New Zealand and not Italy). I made sure it was chilled prior to drinking it which made all the difference. It’s an excellent summer wine that I ordered through my Club W wine club. I will definitely be ordering a few more bottles this summer.

Cat and I both learned that life will always hand you lemons. But lemons aren’t always a bad thing. It’s what you do with those lemons that count. Personally, I like mine in wine form.

Need a little “Sneak Taste”?!

I’m back and ready to read and drink!  Need a “sneak taste” of what I’ve been reading and sipping?

Here’s what’s on tap for Pour Me Another Novel over for the next few weeks!

Once Upon a Vine wine and the Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling

Independent Chenin Blanc and Autumn in the Vineyard by Marina Adair

Redux Sauvignon Blanc and The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

Sequin Pinot Grigio and Taking the Lead by Derek Hough

The Light Grape White Blend and What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman

The Proper Etiquette of Wine Tasting with Your Own Winery

Demarest Farms Wine Festival and the fabulous Auburn Road Winery

Online Wine Clubs: Club W Profile

Yoga in the Vineyard at Cava Winery

The Grand Harvest Wine Festival in Morristown

Dandy Chardonnay and The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel

Under the Harvest Moon (wine), This is Where I Leave You

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I recently read This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. FYI, This is Where I Leave You is coming to a movie theater near you this fall. Check out the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fH0cEP0mvlU

After watching the trailer and learning that it had been based on Tropper’s book, I was intrigued and had to read it. The book took place in the fall so what better wine to drink with it than Harvest Moon from the Warwick Valley Winery, deep in the heart of the black dirt region of New York state. Harvest Moon is one of my absolute favorite wines. It’s a white wine with subtle peach and apricot flavors. It’s semi dry and semi-sweet. The incredibly refreshing taste is perfect served chilled or on ice.

While I was enjoying the wine, I was not enjoying the book. I was very disappointed. From viewing the trailer and reading the book synopsis and reviews, I was expecting something very different. I don’t consider myself to be a person who is offended by language or vulgar jokes. However, the language was very vulgar and every chapter had to do with sex. I felt like the vulgarity and language really took away from the plot. But, hey, everyone has their own taste in books. This book was not mine.

I’ll definitely be taking the wine with me, but I’m sorry Johnathan Tropper, this is where I leave you.

Interested in checking out This is Where I Leave You for yourself? Click here!

And check out Warwick Valley Winery and all of their amazing wines!

Getting Lost with Lost Lake and Ceci Bella Wine

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Recently I read Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen.  She is one of my favorite authors.

Because of Allen’s magical ability to let her readers taste the food and drinks she writes about, I knew I had to find a flavorful wine to pair with her latest novel.  Picking a wine for this book was an easy decision.  I knew I had to drink Ceci Bella Acai Raspberry Cabernet Sauvignon by Cava Winery, a local New Jersey winery.

Usually I am not a red wine enthusiast, but I absolutely ADORE Ceci Bella Acai Raspberry Cabernet Sauvignon.  I think I may even go as far as to say that this is my favorite wine. Ever.  That’s how delicious it is.  The taste is smooth, fruity, a little tart, and full of amazing, sweet, robust flavors.  I like to drink my Ceci Bella cold (unlike most red wine).

It was the perfect wine to drink with Lost Lake, because the wine is quirky and different, much like Allen’s characters.  I have read every one of her books, and each has an absolute mystical quality.  It’s easy to relate to her characters, but they usually have some strange magical quality, which I find intriguing.  What I loved most about Lost Lake was its focus on each character becoming stronger within their own self.  It was a search for meaning and a life lesson that it’s OK to be lost sometimes.

I thought it was appropriate that I finished Lost Lake on the beach of Lake George over Memorial Day weekend!

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This is the perfect summer read.  So chill your favorite fruity wine, and grab Lost Lake because you’re not going to want to put the book or your glass down!

Check out Lost Lake here!

Chardonnay and Pride & Prejudice

Happy belated Easter to all those who celebrate!  I hope everyone enjoyed a wine filled weekend!  

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Photo credit to Auburn Road Vineyard and Winery’s Facebook page.

I still have a little under 40% left in Pride & Prejudice (or so my Kindle says!).  I will be finishing it this week.  But like a good wine, I’m really enjoying savoring my favorite (thus far) Jane Austen novel.  

This past week I’ve paired my novel reading with Cupcake Vineyards Chardonnay.  I’ve tasted quite a few variations of Chardonnay, but this one is my particular favorite.  I mean, just the website’s description of its flavor will make you salivate! 

When I think of a classy glass of wine, I think of Chardonnay.  What better type of book to pair it with, than a classic by Jane Austen! There are many things that I enjoy about Pride & Prejudice.  The drama and gossip between the sisters is like a soap opera.  I find it so fun and humorous at times, yet extremely poignant and brilliant.  Elizabeth Bennet is the crowning jewel.  She is such a strong female character.  I find myself admiring her wit, energy, and determination.  She stands above the other the female characters in Austen’s novel.  She’s poised, yet incredibly stubborn.  And so is Darcy.  Even though he’s arrogant, he’s multidimensional.  I love complex characters.  Austen does an amazing job unfolding this complicated, yet lovingly honest relationship between Darcy and Bennet.  All relationships are complicated. Most of the time, couples don’t fall in love immediately.  It’s a journey.  Much like finding a favorite wine!

One of the reasons I love Chardonnay is because your taste buds experience a variety of flavors, very much like Pride & Prejudice. It’s dry, yet sweet, rich, yet light, with a hint of citrus sourness.  I like it best chilled.  I find that the citrus really pulls through when the wine is cold.

It was the perfect treat while reading about Elizabeth’s travels through London and her run-ins with Mr. Darcy. 

I think Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet would definitely share a glass of Chardonnay on the grounds of Pemberley, don’t you?

 

Download and read Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.