Hot Mulled Wine – Perfect Snow Day Drink

I’m proud to say that I survived the Blizzard of 2015 in Boston. It wasn’t as bad as predicted, but as I write this, the snow has been falling steadily for over 24 hours and I’m so bored that I need some wine.

Thankfully, I had the ingredients in the house for one of my favorite winter drinks – mulled wine. Called Glühwein in its native German, mulled wine is a warm wine infused with mulling spices, similar to the hot cider that you get when you’re apple picking on an awkward third date in the fall, or the yummy scalding drink they hand out in paper shot glasses at Williams Sonoma.

Recipe for Mulled Wine (Glühwein)

10 mins, Easy

Ingredients:
Red Wine
1/2 c. Water
Mulling Spices
Cheese cloth
Honey or Sugar to taste
1/2 Orange or 1-2 Clementines
Brandy (optional)
Cinnamon Stick
Directions:
Put mulling spices into a cheese cloth. Peel zest from orange, omitting pith (white part).
Put spices, zest, water, and honey/sugar (to taste) into saucepan and simmer.
Squeeze orange into pot and stir.
Add wine and optional brandy until warm throughout.
Remove spices and pour into mugs with orange peels.
Garnish with cinnamon stick.

I had a bottle of one of my favorite wines, 90+ Cellars Big Red Blend. Mulled wine is usually my go-to for my not-so-favorite wines, as the mulling spices, brandy, and honey tend to mask anything I don’t like. But Boston liquor stores are still closed thanks to Snowmageddon 2015, so I sacrificed my yummy Big Red Blend to the Glühwein gods for the sake of something warm to drink.

mulled wine recipe 90 plus cellarsYou can make your own mulling spices out of cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon or pick them up at the store like a normal person.  I’m firmly in the “normal person” category and picked mine up at a supermarket. I’m also usually in the “add brandy” category when making this recipe but that’s up to you.

I also cheated and used clementines instead of oranges because I don’t like oranges. Also, I felt like the Incredible Hulk while squeezing the juice out of the clementines. The recipe isn’t exact with respect to time – I usually just wait until it’s steaming or I’m thirsty enough. Keep an eye on it though, as you’d hate to burn off the alcohol by letting it boil. Once it’s ready and smells good, pour it into a mug, garnish with a cinnamon stick, and enjoy – Cheers!

mulled wine recipe

Note: 90+ Cellars DID NOT pay me to write about this wine. I’m just a 90+ evangelist who loves their wine.

The Awkward Transparency of Writing a Blog

One of the most difficult things about writing a blog is being transparent.

By virtue of writing a blog, my life is on the internet. Stating the obvious, I know. But seriously, it’s weird and self absorbed.  I’m not that important that people actually care what’s going on in my life, yet I write anyway, pretending they do. Ok, according to Google Analytics there are some people who do – the rest are probably my mom and ex-boyfriends.

The part I struggle with the most is exactly how much of my life to put online. Ironically, I share enough on my social media accounts for someone to find out my full name, place of employment, and daily caloric intake. If someone cared enough, they could probably follow me around Boston – but shouldn’t because I carry pepper spray and have a super loud voice while screaming for help and that’s just weird.

When it comes to my blog though, I’m more reserved. I have friends who blog about depression and eating disorders and medical issues and I’m over here writing about choking on hard boiled eggs. This is my space for travel adventures and beer tours and funny stories about my life in Boston. You know, fluff.

While fluff is funny and self deprecation is endearing, it lacks personality. My actual self – my insecurities, my dating life, the fact that I will likely die with law school debt – isn’t on here. Possibly because my ex-husband who loved to censor my writing online. Months after our divorce I received a cease and desist letter from him for referring to him as a douchebag on a quasi-anonymous dating blog I wrote. Not the smartest moment but also not legally actionable since:

  1. Truth is a defense to defamation, and
  2. I never used his name.

I’ve been so worried about putting too much information about myself online that I never considered that the person I was showing was just a shell. When asked what I write about, I point to stories that show pieces of my life instead of a person with feelings who embraces you when you enter the site. And I don’t like that.

I don’t like that my personal brand, for lack of a better term, is merely a series of disjointed events pulled together by an affinity for carbohydrates peppered with complaints about the weather and my old career. So I’m changing that, to the best of my ability, while still maintaining a sense of propriety and protecting the privacy of others.

Divorce made me closed off from others. Ironic because I’m a chronic oversharer, but it made me vulnerable and afraid of these things called feelings. It’s been a while since I’ve really shared myself with people. My job as lawyer left me miserable and embarrassed about having stagnated my career for dreams of love and happiness that turned into a cold pile of crap. So I didn’t write about my feelings or deep thoughts or aspirations for the future. Not anymore.

The past year has been an awakening for me. A change of career and perspective has made me happy and motivated. I’ve even turned into a hugger. Ok, Startup Institute is really to blame for that – those team-building, feeling-cultivating, happiness-making, group-hugging people. They totally killed my tough guy street cred.

And so this is where I find myself now. In this awkward place on my blog, trying to figure out what to say to people who probably haven’t even read this far. If you have, thanks for letting me get that out. Come on, bring it in for a hug.

tinafey hug gif

The Metropolitans 1925 Party

“I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”

-Great Gatsby

On Saturday I attended The Metropolitans 1925 Party in Boston. Headed by the vivacious Julie Judson, the Metropolitans is a group of young professionals in Boston, based out of the Citi Center for Performing Arts with a focus on all things fabulous and artsy.

I first learned about The Metropolitans about over the summer when I was invited to attend their pre-party for the Jason Mraz concert. It was a fabulous event filled with food from the food startup Kitchensurfing, fun people (many of whom I knew professionally), and of course, an open bar. Having had a great time at that event, when I heard that The Metropolitans were having their big fancy 1925 Party, I was very excited.

I’m never one to miss out on a good party, but a party with an excuse to dress up in 1920s inspired attire, was a definite must do miss event. There was no doubt that Caitlin, my blogger partner in crime, and I would have an amazing night.

We got ready “sorority style” before the event, meaning Caitlin came over in sweatpants, I curled her hair, and popped a bottle of 90+ Cellars Prosecco while dancing to country music in a towel. Curled and twirled, we donned our most period appropriate dresses and tights, threw on shiny jewelry and hair accessories and headed out to the fête.

metropolitans 1925 partyJulie and The Metropolitans did not disappoint.

From the live music in the Parlor and the signature cocktails, to the “Hello, gorgeous!” greeting from Ms. Judson herself, the night was a blast! Outside of the Citi Center Parlor, the DJ was spinning modern beats in the lower level of the space, including some Taylor Swift during which every flapper in the house lost it, shaking themselves off like it was going out of style (see what I did there?). It’s a good thing that flappers weren’t known for their refinery.

When we weren’t dancing, Caitlin and I were stuffing our faces with cheese and crackers and passed apps once again catered by Kitchensurfing. Those boys know how to impress with their itty bitty steak gorgonzola bites.

As if the night wasn’t fun enough, Pretty Instant was there with the affable Jeremy Needham, a veritable sorcerer with the camera. How Mr. Needham manages to take the most amazing pictures is beyond me but he always manages make me feel like a million bucks…his Aussie accent isn’t bad either. Caitlin and I had a bit of fun throwing a dance party in front of the camera which does nothing to quash to the rumors that we’re dating. We’re not. Really. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just don’t date people who eat kale, or women.

Thanks Julie and The Metropolitans for the amazing night – I can’t wait for next year’s 1925 Party!

Yoga: the New Year’s Eve Party Alternative

This year I spent New Year’s Eve doing something that wasn’t going to leave me hungover in the morning. Instead of wrapping myself in cleavage-bearing sequins, overpaying for a cover at a nightclub, and throwing elbows through a crowd to get a drink, I rang in the New Year on my yoga mat.

Ok, so I was lying about not showing any cleavage (thanks, Lululemon). But this year, like last year, I counted down to midnight calm and relaxed…at a yoga studio. I attended the New Year’s Eve Yoga Party at South Boston Yoga. The 10pm to midnight party is taught by David Vendetti and Todd Skoglund, the co-owners of South Boston Yoga, and for the past two years, has been my chosen way of celebrating New Year’s Eve.

According to David, the legend of the New Year’s Even Yoga Party started around 10 years ago when he was teaching at Back Bay Yoga. Long before he was named as the Best of Boston yoga instructor, Vendetti pitched the yoga party idea to BBY founder Lynne Begier. As many geniuses often hear, Begier reportedly told Vendetti that he was crazy, but to go for it. And he did. Vendetti hosted the first of his New Year’s Eve Yoga parties that year and the fun hasn’t stopped since.

Why New Year’s Eve Yoga?

Aside from the obvious answer, “Why not?” New Year’s Eve yoga is a great alternative to other parties. New Year’s Eve can be a difficult night. For those seeking to start or continue living a healthy holistic lifestyle, a party of heavy drinking and food isn’t the right fit. For those in recovery, a night of debauchery with drunk friends can be wrought with discomfort and temptation. For those seeking to forget and move on from the previous year, or simply have a low-key night, movies and pizza at home is decidedly anticlimactic.

New Year’s Eve Yoga is the perfect alternative to going out in the typical New Year’s fashion. Since Vendetti’s inception of it in Boston, other local studios have caught onto the idea, including North End Yoga and JP Centre Yoga. But Boston isn’t alone in these parties – from New York to Philadelphia to Denver, yogis around the country are celebrating New Year’s Eve in savasana.

What about South Boston Yoga?

In short, Vendetti’s class is amazing. I’ve taken his class only twice – once last New Year’s Eve (photo at right) and then again this year. I cannot speak to his regular classes, but I have no doubt that they’re equally amazing.

Vendetti’s love of teaching and helping others shines through in his instruction. But his sense of humor – a must in yoga practice – and killer playlist make the New Year’s Yoga Party fabulous. From his telling of the Legend of New Year’s Yoga Party (that may or may not be 100% true) and the disco ball (it is a party, after all) to rising out of savasana with gentle group singing accompanied by his miniature piano, Vendetti’s class is unforgettable. And for just $30 ($35 at the door), New Year’s Eve at South Boston Yoga is one Boston’s least expensive New Year’s Eve parties around.

What’s the big deal?

This was my second year at Vendetti’s New Year’s Yoga class and the one-year anniversary of my love of yoga. Coincidence? I think not.

What started as an alternative New Year’s Eve idea thrown out by a friend, turned into one of the best decisions in my life. For real. In case you’re wondering, the other best decisions I ever made were to file for divorce, move to Boston, stop dying my hair, and change my career. That’s how much yoga has changed me, but I digress…

Although awesome, it wasn’t Vendetti’s class so much as my decision to do something different for New Year’s Eve, that made New Year’s Yoga such a great event in my life. Two hours of yoga at the end of 2013 spurred a year of personal growth and development for me. When the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2014, I had already accomplished something in the new year. How many other New Year’s Eve celebrations can provide that?

I woke up that morning well rested and calm. Two days later I was sore but happy. So I tried another class, this time at Back Bay Yoga, then another and another. I quit the florescent lit meat market of a gym and joined a yoga studio. A self-described balls-to-the-wall type of person, I accepted the label of yogi, and resigned myself to being the butt of patchouli jokes from friends.

What I found in yoga was much more than I had envisioned. My days and weeks, and later my body and mind, were shaped by hour and a half sweat sessions of strength and power. I learned to bring mindfulness not only to my mat, but also to my life and relationships. Yoga brought a self awareness that I didn’t think possible. I guess that’s what happens when you have to remind yourself to breathe.

And so it seemed natural to celebrate the end of 2014 the way it began, alone on the mat, ready to begin a new year with clarity. Happy New Year and Namaste.

2014 Year in Review

2014 was a year of big change for me. I thought I was finished with change after my relocation to Boston in 2013 but I had no idea what I was in for in 2014. Here’s a wrap up of my year:

30th Birthday

I turned 30 in 2014 which was not as scared as previously anticipated. While I didn’t manage to check everything off my 30 by 30 list, I had a lot of fun, made some good decisions, and generally have it together…which is good enough for me.

Career Changenew job champs

In 2014 I changed my career. After practicing law for the past 5 years, I threw caution to the wind and decided the potential for failure was worth more than wondering “what if”. I enrolled in a startup school called Startup Institute and in just 10 weeks went from working in an unfulfilling in a legal career to being challenged and valued as a content marketing specialist at a small technology startup. I now create content to help small business owners with their marketing so that they can grow their business.

Side HustleTIME article emily weisberg

My writing career took off in 2014. While I’ve always been a writer (philosophy, law, blog ramblings) my career change has enabled me to write content for my company. I also got the chance to write for a website, Levo League, which focuses on womens’ professional development. I wrote an article on startup schools for this site which was picked up by Fast Company. I geeked out. Hard. Then the article was picked up by TIME and I geeked out again. Harder. And so my side hustle, writing on random things like New Years Resolutions and really cool things like startups, was born.

startup institute yogaYoga Love

I’m ringing in 2015 the same way I rang in 2014–on the yoga mat. Last New Year’s Eve I found myself slightly buzzed after some New Year’s cocktails with a friend and barefoot on a yoga mat for two hours with another friend. This seemingly insane and almost-literally out of body experience kicked off my love of yoga, which I have been practicing as much as I can. I have almost successfully turned myself into a pretzel while managing to zen out enough not go completely crazy at my very stressful last job. This summer I even wrangled some friends at Startup Institute to join me in morning yoga, combining my love of yoga, startups, and making people look like idiots in quasi-public.

Familyfamily

I got to spend time with family during 2014, which is always a good time. My niece and nephew have reached the ages when they realize how awesome I am, fully solidifying my position in “cool aunt” territory. I was able to travel to New Jersey a few time during the year for squeezes and cuddles and teaching the little ones how to take selfies.

 

friends and wine

New Friends

This year was a year for new friends. Between networking in the startup scene, blogging, and Twitter, I met more people than I thought possible. Some of those people turned out to be really great friends, some I even considered dating some of them but didn’t, and most of them were genuinely awesome people. #internetfriendsrule

 

 

Dating Stuff

hipster

I managed to stay single for most of 2014 but I did have my longest post-divorce relationship. That didn’t work out but it was a milestone for me. I dated a bit as well which always makes for funny stories, including the time one man accidentally stabbed me in the foot with a dart. For real, he didn’t mean it, but there’s nothing like a little blood to kill the mood.

 

 

parish cafe mugFood & Drinks

If there was a year of food and drinks, 2014 would win. I managed to eat and drink by way through the city of Boston AND lose 10 pounds this year–double win! Check out my Instagram for a daily account of my caloric intake. If I created a word cloud of 2014, bacon, lobster, beer, and bourbon would be largely displayed. I also joined the exclusive Mug Club at Parish Cafe. The 125 beers I drank in 6 months (and caused me to gain the 10 pounds I lost) earned me a fancy 25 oz. mug with the words, “WILDLY INAPPROPRIATE” etched into them. My mother is so proud.

Boston Boston Bostonzac brown band fenway

I barely traveled this past year, something that I will be changing in 2015. I spent most of my time in Boston and the surrounding areas including New Hampshire, Martha’s Vineyard, and Cape Cod. Boston and I became well acquainted through concerts, Red Sox games, the Pride Parade, and self-guided Boston beer tours.

 

2014 had its downs as well, but I’m choosing to highlight the good and start 2015 on a positive note!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!