Wednesday, October 12, 2011

book review: women of the vine

last night, i finished reading women of the vine: inside the world of women who make, taste, and enjoy wine. i got through the book very quickly because it was a combination of two of my favorite hobbies: reading and wine.

my mom brought my attention to this book after she attended an event with its author, deborah brenner. brenner is an alumna of university of delaware, the same college that alanna and i graduated from. she is also a "marketing executive-turned-wine label owner", which is a turn i would love my own career to take as well. 

the "women of the vine" in brennan's book are winemakers, vineyard owners, founders of magazines and wine groups, and wine writers. one is even a master sommelier (one of only fourteen female master sommeliers in the entire world)! her interviews with these women cover all angles of making and enjoying wine and are absolutely inspiring. 

wine spectator magazine hailed it "critical reading: the best new books of the year for any wine lover's library" and i definitely recommend it!  you can order the book (personalized to you and autographed by the author) by emailing

the author, deborah brennan. image via women of the vine

in addition to the book, deborah also founded a group by the same name.  women of the vine is "the first collaboration of sustainable family grape growers and women winemakers" (source).  the group has a partnership with farm aid which supports the mission of keeping america’s family farmers on the land.

you can learn more about deborah brenner, her book, and the women of the vine at

Thursday, October 6, 2011

one kings lane - blogger edition

one kings lane is one of my favorite online window-shop sites.  like rue la la or gilt, they are a website that offers deals and discounts on high-end merchandise, only to set them apart, they only focus on home goods.  i love this store but unfortunately can't afford a $1,000 table, rug, or bookshelf.  (one day! one day!) tonight though at 9pm they are hosting a sale curated by the top home design bloggers.  one of my favorites - jenny komeda from little green notebook is participating and i can't wait to see what she suggests.  my fingers are crossed that at least a few items are in my price range!

check out the sale here at 9pm tonight!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

superfoods for weightloss

today when i was perusing, i came across a slideshow of 20 superfoods that help with weightloss.  looking through the the slideshow, i started to get pretty excited and then wonder why i am not a size zero...these are all foods that i like to eat! there are not any huge surprises in this list of superfoods but i thought it was worth sharing as a reminder.  when i go grocery shopping tomorrow, i am going to make sure to bring this list with me so i can stock up and hopefully be a size zero in no time (i just shouldn't hold my breath for that one..)

1. beef - if you keep it organic and lean it can help you take off the lbs instead of put them on!
2. eggs
3. oats - steel cut oats are even healthier than instant oats!
4. lentils - apparently these are an excellent belly flattener...these will be going to the top of my grocery list tomorrow!
5. goji berries
6. wild salmon
7. apples - apparently if you eat an apple before eating a bowl of pasta, you will consume less calories! awesome!
8. buckwheat pasta
9. blueberries
10. almond butter
11. pomegranates
12. chiles - i hate spicy food but adding some to your diet can cause your body to burn calories for 20 minutes longer.  no wonder my college roommate who loved spicy foods is so skinny!
13. yogurt
14. quinoa
15. sardines - these kind of gross me out but are so healthy they are worth a shot!
16. kale
17. tarragon
18. parmesan
19. avocado - my favorite food!! another reason why i should eat guacamole every day.
20. olive oil

check out the whole slideshow here

Friday, September 30, 2011

fortune cookie

today, my boss took our team out to lunch to a delicious chinese restaurant in town.  i'm pretty sure everyone's favorite part of eating chinese is the fortune cookie at the end.  i had a particularly inspiring fortune today, so i wanted to share it with all of you:

it's true, and something important to keep in mind.  if i'm ever feeling inferior, i'm going to try to think about what role i might be playing in the whole situation.  what am i doing or thinking that is making me vulnerable and allowing me to feel inferior in the first place?  in other words, focusing on only controlling the things that i have control over. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

book review: the american heiress

in daisy goodwin's debut as a novelist, she tells the story of cora cash at the turn of 20th century in america and ultimately europe.  i'll admit this was different than the genre of reading i typically favor, and much different than the chick-lit stories i've been spending most of my time with lately.  so if you're like me, you may be slower to get into it.  but don't stop reading!  i promise you, if you give it time you will be hooked.  i finished the book on a cross-country flight which i had intended to sleep through, but by that point the story was just too juicy to put down.

at times, cora is a difficult protagonist to side with or like.  but as you witness her growth throughout the story, you ultimately find yourself rooting for her and hoping she finds true happiness.  to me, the most likeable character was bertha, cora's maid.  i wish the novel had been more of the separate stories of two women - cora and bertha - whose lives are intertwined yet whose experiences are drastically different.  it seemed like that might have been goodwin's intention, but in my opinion it didn't pan out and i was left with some questions about each character's fate.

goodwin does a great job of luring you to turn the page out of pure curiosity and not knowing what could happen next.  (see earlier comment about my intention to sleep on that flight but couldn't put the book down.)  however, for a book of its length, i thought it could have included more dramatic scenes in the place of some idle "filler".  it seemed as if the scenes i wanted more of were abruptly ended instead of fully playing out.  without giving too much away, let me just say that if you're looking for a true love story with a happy ending, you may be left disappointed.

overall, the book was well-written and the story was good, so i do recommend it, especially if you enjoy historical english society.  and keeping in mind that this is daisy goodwin's first novel, i am looking forward to what story she will tell next.

about the american heiress, from the publisher:
It is 1893, in Newport, Rhode Island, and no detail of Cora Cash's lavish masquerade ball has been left to chance.  Beautiful, spirited, and the richest heiress of her generation, Cora is the closest thing that American society has to a princess.  Her debut is the carefully orchestrated prelude to a campaign in which her mother will whisk her to Europe, where Mrs. Cash wants to acquire the one thing that money can't buy for her daughter in the States: a title.
Be careful what you wish for.  Cora makes a dazzling impression on English society - followed by a brilliant match - but finds that the chill in the air of magnificent ancestral homes comes from more than the lack of central heating.  As she gradually learns that old-world aristocrats are governed by obscure codes of conduct and loyalty that can betray even the most charming, accomplished outside, Cora must grow from a spoiled young rich girl into a woman of substance.   
for more information on daisy goodwin and her work, visit her website, check out her facebook page, or follow her on twitter.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

a healthy tip: vitamins

back in august, i attended the 2011 blogher conference in san diego, where i had the chance to meet with representatives from companies across many different industries and learn about their products. some of those companies have kept in touch with their new blogger friends, and they've shared some exciting news that i wanted to pass along to you, our readers.

since it's tuesday and we've promised to share a healthy recipe, tip, or fitness routine, here's a new product that can help you live a healthier lifestyle.  the makers of Centrum multivitamins launched ProNutrients, a line of supplements to help increase confidence in supplementing and help make nutrition possible.  (hint: click the ProNutrients link and you'll find a coupon to save $3)

ProNutrients Fruit & Veggie MinitabsProNutrients ProbioticProNutrients Omega-3 Triple Action Minigels

the new product kicked off backstage at the Emmys, where it was introduced to celebrities who were asked what they consider themselves a "pro" at.  check out Centrum's Facebook page for some of these very interesting tidbits!

in addition to the ProNutrients launch, Centrum debuted Centrum Specialist, a line of enhanced multivitamins that is aimed at specific health priorities adults want to target - like energy, heart, prenatal, and vision. with these new offerings, Centrum expands its commitment to providing a comprehensive portfolio to help people achieve health and wellness. 

vision  prenatal

i recently had laser vision correction surgery, and i'm not planning on having a baby anytime soon, so i would probably go with the energy product (maybe i wouldn't feel like i needed coffee anymore?) or the heart product, since heart disease runs in my family.  in all seriousness, i did actually start taking vitamins when i got back from the blogher conference, after hearing bob harper's advice.  i chose Centrum ultra-women's.


all images via and

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

the spinach swap

i just came across this interesting tip on how to cut some carbs from your life.  it's called the spinach swap.

let's do some math to see approximately how many calories the spinach swap will save you...

the serving size for whole grain penne pasta, for instance, is 2 oz.  that will run you 200 calories.  half a bag of baby spinach is only 20 calories!  in that example, substituting spinach for pasta reduces your calorie intake by a whopping 90%.  even when you take into account the olive oil that you saute the spinach in (80 calories for two teaspoons), you're still reducing your calorie intake for that meal by 50% by consuming 100 less calories than with the pasta.  plus, with spinach you're automatically upping the nutritional value of your meal with antioxidants, iron, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids.

have you ever heard of or tried the spinach swap?  if so, what did you think of it?  does it really act as a yummy substitute for pasta?  i will have to try it for myself!

p.s. - one of the comments on lauren's post mentioned using spaghetti squash as another alternative to pasta.  a cup of spaghetti squash only has about 40-45 calories.  i've personally tried this and can attest that it makes for a super tasty meal.  even for a self-proclaimed lover of carbohydrates like me, i didn't feel like i was missing out on anything! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

fall nail polish

for several reasons this weekend was a wake-up call when i realized fall was finally here.  it was the first weekend i didn't go to the beach or attempt to get tan in any way actually. it also was the first time i smelled burned leaves, had to wear jeans during the day, and went to bed in a hoodie...crazy! with fall so obviously in my face, i realized that i meant fall nail polish!

so today when i was expertly procrastinating studying for my GMATs, i decided to give my nails their first fall treatment.  i went to a favorite from last year - hot coco.  i love the richness of the brown but that it is not too dark or too brown (i do not need it to look like i have fecal matter on my hands oddly enough). 

this is false advertising and looks a lot darker than it actually is.
giving my nails their first fall coat made me excited for a whole new slew of fall colors.  i decided to diligently procrastinate studying more and found these great colors that i can't wait to try!

 both of these essie colors are great neutrals - i love how the grey is light so it won't make my fingers look too pale with no harsh contrast. 

scotch is my latest nail polish find - i can't wait to try these out.  the biggest issue i am having is figuring out which one to get.  at $14/bottle, i will need a big promotion to get multiple. 

i think i love these names the most - tramp stamp on the left and saucy jack on the right. how can you not want to wear these colors with those names? then i can have a not-trashy tramp stamp. who thought that was possible?

what about you? what are your favorite nail polish colors for the fall??

Friday, September 16, 2011

see what happens when, in life, you walk instead of run

a couple of weeks ago, i took a walk through a neighborhood close by, along a route that i normally run.  what was really interesting about this was how new it started to feel to me the deeper into the neighborhood i got.  i've run this particular route probably close to 50 times, but clearly i had never paid much attention to my surroundings.  sure, i took it all in from a general standpoint so that i knew i was on the right path and knew how to complete the route back home.  and i had thought this was enough.  but it was incredible to realize how much i had missed, and how little i really did know this place that i had spent a good amount of time at.  there were at least two instances during the walk in which a sense of panic overcame me and i thought that i was lost because all of a sudden none of the houses, cars, mailboxes, or even the cracks in the sidewalk looked like i had remembered them!  i had to hurry up to the next corner to double check the street signs, and only then was i reassured that i was, in fact, exactly where i was supposed to be.

like a lot of people, i usually run with an ipod, but i didn't use it that day for my walk.  not surprisingly, without the distraction of sound, i was able to better focus on my own senses - the sounds, sights, smells of what was around me.  it was very literally and ear-and-eye-opening experience.

i saw this as sort of a metaphor for life.  in this case, during my runs i was literally going too fast to really appreciate everything happening around me.  and i'm sure a lot of us feel that way about life: it can go so fast, and you just want to slow down and take it all in.  so i hope you find some time this weekend for your own inspiration; to get outside in this first hint of crisp fall weather and take in all that nature has to offer. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

dog eared jewelry

in the "pay day" spirit of it being the middle of the month and almost friday, i thought i'd suggest something to spend some of that hard-earned cash on!  we sweet snippets ladies just treated ourselves to a small piece of jewelry from dog eared, and got 10% off our purchase with the promo code "summer 2011".

alanna was looking for a pretty pair of "every day" studs.  these karma diamond gold dipped stud earrings fit the description perfectly!

i have a silver chain with a pendant diamond from my late grandmother's engagement ring that i currently wear every day.  it will likely continue to be my go-to necklace because of its meaning, but i was looking for a gold alternative.  when i came across this gold dipped new beginnings lotus disc necklace, i knew it was the perfect combination of simple, pretty, and inspirational.

what's the new beginning that i'm embracing and celebrating, you ask?  well, there are a few specific things...but really, every single day is a sort of new beginning.  here is a closer look at the lotus charm and the new beginnings description:

all images via