After working at Sanford House for a little over a year I decided to listen to the clinicians’ advice and try some meditation. Their whole philosophy is about helping clients find the place from which they draw strength. Meditation, specifically yoga, is a great way to start some serious self discovery and it’s mixed in with major health benefits.
So to start my journey I found a Groupon for a hot yoga place down the street and decided to put my overpriced Lululemon leggings to use. Only a few classes in and I was hooked.
Now I’m no Instagram yogi, but the improvement I’ve made in the past few months in astounding to me. While I have “mastered” crow pose and my chaturanga isn’t too shabby, I still have to master the quiet mind.
If you’ve done any form of meditation you know what I am talking about. The one time of the day where my mind is supposed to be at rest it seems the most active. So see if you can relate to 8 things that run through my mind during meditation…
1. Prays I Remembered Deodorant
The feeling of forgetting to put on deodorant before hot yoga is something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy…Okay maybe I would. You got me there. But it’s horrible, it’s like thinking you left the oven on, or forgetting to lock your car at a concert. It’s every social fear crashing down at once, and it’s all you can think about.
2. Should I Open or Close My Eyes?
The real “To Be or Not To Be” of meditation am I right? I never know what to do, so most times I just close my eyes and go with the fake it ’til ya make strategy. I also think that if I have my eyes closed the instructor will think I’m deep in thought and won’t come over and push me deeper in a pose.
While I most certainly do not know everything, I feel like I know more than the average 21-year-old about vino, so I wrote this beginner's wine appreciate course to help YOU navigate the wine world and drink like a pro.
A lot of people our age (21-25) don't really drink wine because they want to appreciate it, they drink it to get "f*cked up" in a "classy" way.
***Reality check: if you're still blacking out every time you drink, it's not classy OR healthy***
So if you're reading this article, this probably means you want to learn to appreciate wine a little bit more, or learn a few new facts that you can whip out in front of your Barefoot chugging friends (I like Barefoot), or maybe you're just looking to feel more comfortable going into a winery's tasting room. It can be intimidating when your server is whipping out terms like "oak-aged" or "tartrate crystals."
I started working at a winery recently, and my employers have really taken me into the industry fold. I'm going to be learning and doing everything: from tasting room, to harvesting, to making, filtering, sampling (yes, that's right ;)) and so on. I had always known that wineries work hard to make their product, but I'm only just learning that creating the right taste practically a science.
While I most certainly do not know everything, I feel like I know more than the average 21-year-old about vino, so I wrote this article to help YOU navigate the wine world!
Part I of IV: advice for when you first start going out to wineries.
1. Figure out what kind of wine drinker you might be. If you haven't ever been to a winery, and the most experience you have drinking it is at parties or Grandma's for holiday dinner, you should start your wine journey by figuring out what kind of wine you *might* gravitate to. But Alexis, isn't the point of going to a winery to experience new wines? Well, yes. But you can probably narrow down what kind of flight you would want to try if you know what kind of drinks you like: do you have a sweet tooth? Are you more of a dirty martini kind of person? If you like sweet drinks, tell your server that. Not a fan of sugar? They'll set up dry tasting. Not sure about about either? Most wineries offer middle-of-the-road wine styles that may be a little sweet, but not too dry either. We call them off-dry.
2. Pick a place based on your choices. Part of the reason I suggested you contemplate what kind of wine drinker you might be is because based on what your taste profile may be, you will want to start off with a winery that will match your palate. I live in Maryland, and my state has the wonderful nickname of "America in miniature." We have a lot of little microclimates, which change what kind of grapes work best in what region. The winery where I work currently has a strong showing of sweet wines, whereas some of the other wineries in the neighboring county have a better dry wine production.
NOTE: It is important to know that just because a winery may have a reputation for making good sweet reds or good dry whites does not mean they don't have good wines in general. What another person hates, you might love and vice versa!
3. Go with friends! That's just because it's more fun! And a lot or wineries will have an amazing atmosphere, especially if the tasting room is on the property where the grapes are grown. It makes a great little getaway. Also, you may or may not need a DD.
4. Trust the server. Odds are the person who is running your tasting knows a little bit about wine and has served plenty of people with all kinds of palates. Don't be afraid to tell them that you aren't sure what your taste profile might be, and that you have some idea. They'll guide you along based on that particular winery's offerings. Some wineries offer a dry flight and a sweet flight, or a make your won flight for a set price. The ones with make your own can be hard to navigate, because there are often lots of choices! But again, ask questions! Your server can help you find something you'll like.
NOTE: Some wineries have a set list of tastings for the day, but if something that they offer in the bottle piques your interest, ask to try it! The worst thing they can say is no.
5. Let yourself experiment! The greatest thing about going to a winery is that you get to try new things. You might find that you really like oak-aged dry whites and sweet reds. You might also be pleasantly surprised that you like something you thought you would hate.
6. Buy the wines you like at the winery. It's cheaper to buy a local wine at the winery itself because you don't have to pay the up-charge a liquor store would charge so they can make a profit. Plus, you can share a bottle that you picked yourself from the winery with your friends and family. (It always feels cool to be able to say that you picked it out!) That being said, sometimes price does NOT indicate the quality of a wine! I love some $100 wines, but I love some of my $10 wines just as much. What is important is that YOU find a wine YOU like!
Okay, so now that you've had a crash course of going to wineries, you're hooked!
You can, of course, continue going to wineries and buying your bottles there, but you'll still want to try other styles and brands. That's when you get to go to the liquor store and be intimidated once more, this time by the variety of selection you'll have. So what do you do when you don't get a chance to try a wine before you buy it? Take a leap of faith, yes, but you can still take an educated guess!
1. Remember what you like. Based on your previous experience, you should look at the labels of bottles and read the blurbs liquor stores have written/printed about the wine and try to find a wine you're willing to try.
2. Ask for help. Some liquor stores that have a large selection of wine probably have a staff that can answer a few questions, one of them being "what sweet/dry/white/red wines do you have?"
3. Google is #bae. You should absolutely use Google if you can't find anything written about the wine on or around the bottle. If it is something that really intrigues you, look up the winery that produced it because usually their website will tell you about the wine's flavor. NOTE: Do NOT look up the variety/blend of wine that it is and ask Google if such-and-such is a sweet/dry wine, because not everyone makes their varietal/blended wine the same (i.e. Winery A might make their Riesling more sweet than Winery B). Avoid the problem by going to the Winery's website.
Odds are you're still in school if you're reading this article, so I'm not expecting you to know be dropping the bucks to be pairing a different wine with every course you eat at a restaurant. But I'm going breeze over some helpful tips I've gotten to help demystify the wine menu at a restaurant.
1. Unless otherwise stated, most wine menus go White Wines, Red Wines, Dessert Wines with the top of each category being the driest, and the bottom being the sweetest. Some menus will go by region, and others (menus that are very small) will just go dry to sweet, regardless of color.
2. The first number is the glass price, the second is the bottle price. So if you see this: Alexis B's VWinery 2009 Merlot, Maryland........... 7/20 You know that the glass price is $7 and the bottle price is $20.
3. Ask your server for a pairing. Depending on the restaurant, some serving staff may be very good with pairings, or know their menu well enough to tell you what you should pair with what.
NOTE: The old adage "white wines go with white meats, red wines go with red meats" is pretty true, but I've had some fabulous white pairings with red meats before.
4. Ask your friends what they like, and buy a bottle. It will be so much cheaper if you can all agree on one wine and buy the bottle rather than buying by the glass. This also holds true for buying glasses v bottles at wineries.
Congratulations! You have survived my crash course Wine Appreciation 101! That wasn;'t so hard, was it? It's easy to feel overwhelmed, but just remember: every person who know a lot about wine started out knowing absolutely nothing and making some terrible pairings.
Now go and experience some great wine, show off your knowledge, and be sure to grab a glass for me ;)
Germany’s take on the dessert is a spin on a dish of spaghetti: vanilla ice cream is run through a pasta maker to mimic spaghetti, strawberry sauce is drizzled on top to mimic tomato sauce and coconut flakes, shredded almonds or white chocolate is used to mimic the Parmesan cheese.
Although it sounds like it, the Filipino dessert is not sorbet. It is cheese-flavored ice cream made with coconut milk and served in a bread bun.
13. Malaysia: Ais Kacang
The ice cream variety found in Malaysia and Singapore is actually shaved ice topped with cooked red beans and evaporated milk.
14. South Korea: J-Cone
The cone, made with crushed corn, resembles a churro, and ice cream is served on both ends of the J-shaped cone.
15. United States: Everything
The U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand have everything that you can imagine. Just think of all the varieties we have: the typical hard ice cream, frozen yogurt, Dippin’ Dots, soft serve, sorbet, Italian ice, custard ice cream, sherbet, snow cones, ice pops, milkshakes, ice cream cookie sandwiches and those skinny ice pop things in the plastic that you have to cut and no one knows the name of it, but you know exactly what I’m talking about.
As any other person on this planet, it sometimes can be hard to find the good in things. However, as I have always tried my hardest to find happiness in any and every moment and just generally always try to find the best in every situation, I have realized that your own happiness is much more important than people often think. Finding the good in any situation can help you to find happiness in some of the simplest and unexpected places.
Many people often think that happiness can be found by creating the largest social media pool, trying to be someone that they are not in order to be accepted or even having the nicest car or the biggest house. But happiness does not come from these material or “fake” things. It comes from strong connections with people you love, having gratitude and consideration for the people around you and finding happiness in the most unexpected and often overlooked places.
Constantly reminding yourself that your happiness is one of the most important things and sometimes having to put your happiness first is something that should be happening every day. Personally, my happiness comes from thousands of things ranging from reading a book all the way to vacationing to the ocean and everything in between. Also, I find happiness in the happiness of others and seeing others in content, but this also sometimes means that I do not put my happiness first.
Everyone has their flaws and many people are like me—forgetting to put their happiness before others. Therefore, in order to give you just a simple idea of how easy it is to find happiness in the smallest of places, here are 100 reminders of happiness that surround you each and every day. This list also purposes for each of you to think of your own reminders that make you happy and to tell yourself that your happiness is important and that you should always find happiness in every situation in the most unexpected places.
It’s everyone’s favorite time of year. Christmastime is a celebration, but have we forgotten what we are supposed to be celebrating? There is a reason the holiday is called Christmas. Not presentmas. Not Santamas. Not Swiftmas. Christmas.
What many people forget is that there is no Christmas without Christ. Not only is this a time to spend with your family and loved ones, it is a time to reflect on the blessings we have gotten from Jesus. After all, it is His birthday.
The whole point of presents is not to be about receiving, it is about giving. Giving to those we love to put a smile on their face. But in today's society, it has become all about the materialistic receiving of gifts. People scoff at a homemade gift, and long for a PlayStation or another expensive purse that they don't really need. We live in an age where 3 year olds have iPads, and teenagers stare more at a screen than their actual surroundings. We are constantly entertained, and therefore forget to acknowledge the reason this holiday was created to begin with. Gifts tend to be exchanged rather than given and expected rather than hoped for. We need to be reminded that a gift is a privilege and a blessing, not a right. Jesus gave his life without expecting anything in return, so why can't we give a coffee mug without expectations of receiving a present in return?
Recently, Taylor Swift tried to trademark the term “Swiftmas.” Don’t get me wrong, I love Taylor Swift as much as the next girl, but she is no Jesus Christ. Taking the Christ out of Christmas takes the meaning out of the holiday. I understand that she is using the term for her giving presents to some of her fans, but that makes her Santa, not Jesus. Her generosity is admirable, but she is making it about herself, rather than the giving spirit.
It is sad to me that people feel that something as menial as a Starbucks cup represents Christmas, and the religious, the Christian, part of Christmas is completely disregarded. No holiday should be about a coffee cup, and if it is to you, you might want to reevaluate your morals. Who cares if the cup doesn't say "Merry Christmas?" December 25th will still come, you will still see the Chreasters (people who only go to church at Christmas and Easter) at the Christmas Eve service, and you will still be able to celebrate a wonderful holiday with your wonderful family.
Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore my dog. I am constantly talking about my love for her. I attribute many of my dog's amazing qualities to her breed. She is a purebred Golden Retriever, and because of this I am a self-proclaimed expert on why these are the best pets a family could have. Here are 11 reasons why Goldens are the undisputed best dog breed in the world.
If you don't know a thing about Goldens, you at least know how beautiful they are. Their shiny, long-haired coat is a distinct trait that ranges from a very white, cream color all the way to deep red. Their dark noses, fluffy ears, and deep brown eyes make them a sight to fall in love with.
2. They are extremely gentle.
woman in black t-shirt and brown shorts sitting on brown grass field with white dogPhoto by Helena Lopes on Unsplash
It is a true fact that a Golden Retriever can hold an egg in its mouth without breaking it. Their nurturing nature and calm demeanor is a very comforting quality that makes Goldens a joy to be around.
While they may be stubborn dogs, they are incredibly easy to train. This is mostly because they are people pleasers at heart! (And they'll do anything to earn themselves a little treat for being a good doggy!)
This may come as a shock to Goldens, but they are not lap dogs. While they may like to think its okay to lay on their human's lap and cuddle, they don't realize that eighty pounds of pure fluff can be a little harder to cuddle with. Even if they can be huge, cuddling with Goldens is worth the pain.
Golden Retriever's make the best family pet. They are very patient and loving with babies and kids, and their love knows no bounds. Every person in the house is apt to adore their Golden, and their Golden is just as likely to love their family as well.
Because they carry a heavy coat, the summer heat can be hard on Goldens. As a result, they are quite the swimmers. They love to play around in the water and feel the cool sensation on their long hair, as well as dropping all their toys in the pool and making you dive to the deep end to get them.
Any time is play time! Goldens are professional fetchers. Whether it's a lacrosse ball, tennis ball, field hockey ball, soccer ball, or bowling ball-a golden will try to play with it. Except, sticks, leaves and other animals serve as great distractions to the great game of fetch.
9. There is no argument that they are the CUTEST puppies.
Golden Retriever puppies are essentially balls of fluff with big brown eyes that scream "hug me". The little rascals will get into anything, but its SO hard to say no with that little puppy dog face!
10. Golden are extremely loyal.
man standing near Golden Labrador retriever viewing bridge and high-rise buildingsPhoto by Pontus Wellgraf on Unsplash
Goldens will lay by your side when you're sick in bed, they'll bark when a strange car pulls into your driveway, they'll even cry when you arrive home from the grocery store. No other dog shows so much affection and loyalty as a Golden.
11. A Golden Retriever will always love you more than you love them!
To any Golden Retriever, you are their whole life, their whole world. They live for when you come home from work/school, and they grieve when you leave. Golden's are a gift sent from God as a reminder that there is good in the world-in the form of your dog.