Tag Archives: book recommendation

Book Review: The Wine Lover’s Apprentice by Kathleen Bershad

The Wine Lover's Apprentice

As y’all may know, I am a self-professed WINERD. Of course I love drinking the stuff, but learning about wine can be just as pleasurable! Do you agree? When we were living in Miami, I even worked part-time on the occasional evening and weekend at a wine store in our neighborhood. I learned a tremendous amount about wine and the industry, and it was so much fun to interact with people from all sorts of walks of life who were so passionate about the subject.

But of course, any life-long learner will tell you there’s always room for more knowledge! Which is why, when I heard about The Wine Lover’s Apprentice: Words of Wisdom for Would-Be Oenophiles by Kathleen Bershad, I JUMPED at the chance to grab a copy.

This book decodes the world of wine so that when you encounter a wine review or a new bottle, or even a tableside aficionado, you’ll understand…and even feel enough in the know to offer your two cents!

Author Kathleen Bershad is a wonderful guide throughout. And no wonder, with over 15 years of experience in the food and wine biz, she really knows her stuff! She has worked as a food writer and restaurant reviewer and now runs her very own consulting practice – Fine Wine Concierge. She earned her Sommelier Certification from the American Sommelier Association.

The first part of the book delves into everything you need to know to consider yourself a true wine geek. Everything from tasting notes to storing to picking out the perfect bottle at a shop or restaurant.

The rest of the book is reserved for a tour of the world by way of wine regions. Starting with…

Which makes this book a perfect companion if you’re looking to expand your palate. Read up on a region, hit the wine store to stock up, and REPEAT.

What’s so wonderful about wine is that there is always a story behind each bottle. And where the wine comes from is a great starting place for that story! Before you know it, you’ll be busting out wine facts to your dinner guests like it’s nothing!

It’s Bershad’s hope that once you make it through her book, you’ll “become empowered to know what’s in a bottle, be able to make an educated guess about its flavors, and help change the culture to make drinking wine what it should be―relaxing and fun.” And I think she succeeds! Of course, I would add you should definitely make your way through the chapters with a glass of something in hand!

This book is perfect for anyone who loves trying new wines and wants to up their overall knowledge in an effort to become one step closer to a tried and true oenophile!

If that’s not you, perhaps you know someone you would classify as a WINERD. This book would make a wonderful gift! Pair it with a bottle, a beautiful stemware set, or even a lovely bottle stopper. Christmas is right around the corner!

Here’s the link one more time!

Are you a fan of wine? Do you like learning about it or just drinking it? (No judgement! haha)

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mid-week round-up

Well, here we are again, ladies and germs! Yesterday was Election Day here in the U.S. and I cast my first ballot in my new home-state of Alabama, watched a lot of news coverage, and gave major side-eye to some of the results. There were some beautiful victories last night but still so, so much work to be done. And on we fight. Hope the rest of your week looks promising, and here are some links for your enjoyment and entertainment…

A new book by one of my very favorite authors.

A newlywed nest in NYC.

How to work with friends and not make it weird.

Vegetarian pumpkin pot pie.

How to use up leftover Halloween candy.

You should probably be dressing your salad twice.

Sad animal facts.

Why this 33 year old mom pretended to be a high-school cheerleader.

Upon visiting the city that made her family refugees, Ana Barić encounters old wounds and alternate realities.

Royal family fandom.

[Related: Follow Elizabeth Holmes on Instagram.]

Easy weeknight dinner recipes from home cooks.

This Melissa McCarthy story just might cheer you up.

And a new episode of Uncovered the Podcast. (Which also might cheer you up, just sayin’!)

P.S. Plus, here are some Finding Delight links in case you still wanna keep reading stuff on the internet — World Cup Half Empty or Half Full and Cooking Up a Taste of Home.

P.P.S. Did these links offer you some much-needed entertainment? Consider buying me a coffee!

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week? Friday is my birthday!!! I’ve requested Cincinnati chili for dinner, and I think we’ll try to hit up an apple orchard/pumpkin patch situation this weekend. (Has anyone ever made a pumpkin pie with an actual pumpkin? Chet wants to give it a go but it seems rather daunting, lol.) Happy MY birthday to all of you, and here are a few links for your perusal…

Remember the ’80s, when men preferred Hanes and could legally rape their wives?

How to dress like a celebrity.

On my Christmas wishlist.

Are cities making animals smarter?

These would be cute in a kitchen or breakfast nook.

Learning to live small (in a dumpster).

Misty Copeland is pirouetting her way to Disney fame.

An off-the-grid London community is protesting Heathrow’s third runway.

Lost Appalachian burial customs.

A novel about a missing girl and a Serial-like podcast seeking answers.

The simple requests of the McDonald’s anti-sexual harassment protests.

The rise of Catherine de’ Medici.

and episode 5 of Uncovered the Podcast (featuring theories about Avril Lavigne’s clone and my favorite Elvis sightings!)

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Books To Read if You’re in Search of a History Lesson and Jacket Potatoes.

P.P.S. If you love my weekly links and would like to support my sweet blog (thank you!)–click HERE.

My Julie/Julia Theory

Have you ever read the book Julie and Julia: My Years of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell? Or seen the movie version starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep?

In it, the eponymous Julie embarks on a daring project. She vows to prepare ALL 524 recipes in Julia Childs’ landmark cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” She then sets up a blog to document her successes and failures along the way that becomes wildly popular as her audience becomes increasingly invested in the project.

It’s a great book (and a great movie!) and ever since reading it years ago…I’ve had this theory. My Julie/Julia Theory, if you will.

I believe EVERYONE has a Julie/Julia project inside of them. Some sort of challenge they could take on and be uniquely suited for. Some journey folks would follow and find fascinating.

What do you think? WHAT WOULD YOURS BE?

Would you snap a pic of every building on the historic register in your town? Knit 100 little projects? Read all the books on the Rory Gilmore reading list?

Kind of a fun thought exercise, huh? The possibilities are endless!

While your Julie/Julia challenge may never happen…figuring out what it would be is a fun way to help identify your passions, blog niche, or a hobby worth investing in. And, if nothing else, is a neat topic of conversation for a Friday afternoon! (Go ahead…go ask your friends/co-workers what they would do!!)

What would your Julie/Julia challenge be? Do you have any fun thought experiments or theories we could explore on this lovely afternoon? Spill the beans below! 

P.S. If you enjoyed this content and would like to support my sweet blog (thank you!)–click HERE.

mid-week round-up

finding delight mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week, babes? I’ve been riding the high of seeing a new project come to fruition! Our podcast went live on Sunday and it has been so fun to hear feedback. It has also been fun to feel my power season approaching. Down in mono-season South Florida, I had forgotten how much I LOVE early Fall. The other night we had stormy/chilly weather and I was practically giddy with candle lighting and chicken noodle soup eating. Hope you have a good Wednesday, and here are a few articles and links for you to peruse…

Hard words: Why aren’t kids being taught to read? 

I recently got an oil diffuser and have been loving geranium in my office and lavender for sleepy time…excited to learn more.

15 surprising things about parenting (50 children!) in Nepal.

Related: Here’s the nonprofit foundation in Nepal run by the supermom above!

Shaker cards! (Perfect addition to pocket letters.)

What’s going on with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce?

Fruits & vegetables as medicine.

One in five American teachers now works a second job.

Female janitors working the night shift take safety into their own hands.

What it was like to be a nurse and a woman of color in apartheid South Africa.

An oral history of the women who transformed Rolling Stone in the the mid-70s.

Vantablack aka the darkest color on earth.

Finally, EPISODE 1 of Uncovered the Podcast for your listening pleasure. 🙂

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Carol Rossetti’s Colorful Illustrations and 5 Ways to Make a Difference in Your Neighborhood.

mid-week round-up

We’ve made it to Wednesday, folks! If you’ve got a long weekend on the horizon you may find it a bit hard to focus these next few days. I hear ya! I’m hoping this weekend provides a lovely summer send-off. As for last weekend, we met our friend Chad in Nashville and attended a film festival. So fun! Do you have any end-of-summer plans coming up? Tell me below! xoxo

Forget sun signs. Your zodiac is whoever won best actress the year you were born.

The ghosts of St. Joseph’s Catholic orphanage.

5 things to do when you feel overwhelmed by your workload.

The distracted state of the union.

From successful criminal defense lawyer to…chocolatier?

Inside a radical experiment to transform the lives of incarcerated women.

Farmworkers are dying from extreme heat.

How Disney’s caricature-esque women came to define “the fairest of them all.”

The airport prank that has people understandably riled.

Related: Travel Tips for Airports

Puerto Rico’s year of fighting for power.

Pictures from an abandoned theater.

Related: Urban Exploration as a Cheap Hobby

Time to stock up on autumnal craft supplies.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — A Pocket Letter Inspired by Children’s Book Illustrations and Gift Ideas for Dudes.

mid-week round-up

Happy Wednesday!! How’s everyone’s week going? Although we had yucky weather all weekend (keeping us out of any water), we still managed to have a lovely time soaking up the last days of summer. We ate at a new restaurant, explored, hit up an arcade (I love a good pinball machine!), and watched this wacky movie (have you seen it?). Now it’s back to the grind with a productive week. But before I get tucked in with work, let’s link…

My name is Josie Totah–and I’m ready to be free.”

Paying the stereotype tax in poker.

The importance of Beyonce’s Vogue cover.

The royal family was really into horoscopes.

Carmen Sandiego and the importance of feminism in edutainment.

Chet says I would love this book. Have you read it?

The photo book that captured how the soviet regime made the truth disappear.

21 simple things to try when you are bored.

Related: 30 more boredom busters!

Can the woods fix what ails you?

Related: 8 necessities for long hiking treks!

How cops investigate the murders of transgender women adds insult to injury.

This trailer made me cry. (I loved the book so much!)

Get Pinterest-perfect designs with PicMonkey.

P.S. Plus a few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Wedding Planning with Mason Jars and Movie Recommendation: Woman in Gold.

P.P.S. Do you have a Twitter? I’d love to follow ya! This is me.

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this Wednesday? Is it feeling like a classic “hump day” to you too? (Certainly not helping anything that it’s storming where I am!) Oh weekend, where ARE you already? Anywho, hope the rest of your week flies by, and in case you feel like sneaking in some cheeky reading when you *should* be working…I got ya covered…

Ido Portal teaches famous athletes how to use their bodies in entirely new ways. But is it all snake oil?

Here’s what it looks like when you write a book as if it’s a TV show.

Related: Binge-Worthy TV Shows

17 real-life would-you-rathers.

On repeat. (Also, very into the choreography in the video.)

Peace, love and photo editing. Get your pics groovin’ in no time with PicMonkey.

How people in 50 different countries find their zen.

Related: The Power of Self-Care

This soap is freaking adorable!

These planners are the hit if you’re headed back to school soon.

Related: A fun planner hack!

This story made my jaw drop…

…then I listened to this podcast, which told a similar tale, and was like WHAT THE WHAT?

Why must we force female superheroes to wear terrible red wigs?

Page-turner alert!

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Coffee Date! and What’s Your Favorite Podcast?

Book Review: Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub

Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures 
by Emma Straub

When Elsa Emerson, the youngest of three sisters, is cast in one of her father’s plays at their family’s Cherry County Playhouse in Wisconsin, she is given her first taste of the limelight. This sets into motion her life’s trajectory — shooting like a rocket out of Wisconsin and into the warm allure of Hollywood. Here, she begins her transformation from small-town blonde to a sultry brunette named Laura Lamont — an Academy award-winning movie star.

What I loved most about this book was how authentic it felt. Elsa/Laura was largely fictitious (based loosely on this actress), her story an invention of Straub’s mind and careful historical research. However, having recently read a few memoirs of Hollywood starlets from this same era (Katharine Hepburn’s “Me: Stories of My Life” a couple years ago and Esther Williams “Million Dollar Mermaid” a couple months ago), I felt as though Miss Lamont could have been shooting on a sound stage just down the hall from either of these real-life ladies!

An interesting similarity I found in reading about Hepburn and Williams was the loss of a beloved sibling early in their lives. Both women experienced the death of a brother and in turn felt a heightened sense of responsibility and drive. Esther Williams explains in her book how her brother was the one who was supposed to “make it” in life and in Hollywood. After his death, she felt as though she was two people in one body — her brother Stanton and herself. Hepburn threw herself into her studies after losing her brother and even celebrated her brother’s birthday as her own.

Similarly, the eponymous Lamont loses the sister she deems to be the most talented and beautiful of the Emerson brood. I think this is a fascinating look at the sacrifice and loss that sometimes sits lurking behind a person’s fame and success. How many of Hollywood’s elite might point to a dark cloud they used to buoy themselves? How many have a tragedy that compelled them to succeed in place of, because of, or in spite of this missing piece?

The book also delves into intergenerational mental illness and suicidality as multiple branches sprouting from Laura’s family tree find themselves facing loss and depression. It’s no secret that mental illness, addiction, and all sorts of family problems (divorce, death, MONEY) have gone hand in hand with Hollywood since film started rolling. But looking at these issues over the course of an entire life, and within multiple generations of a family, is a more fitting lens for exploring the effects of our favorite tabloid fodder.

Who should read this book – Anyone interested in The Golden Age of Hollywood, film making during the studio system era, and intergenerational mental illness.

Add to your list if you loved – Any memoirs of Hollywood stars; like Me: Stories of My Life  by Katharine Hepburn and Million Dollar Mermaid by Esther Williams.

Other books by Emma Straub – Modern Lovers and Vacationers !

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week? We are making some serious progress on packing up the apartment as we prepare for our impending move to Alabama. Hoping that we can get far enough ahead that we’ll have time for a beach trip next week. Gotta soak in those ocean view’s while it is still in our “backyard,” ya know? We also gained a new little niece at the end of last week and are waiting on a nephew to make an appearance some time soon, too. Ahhh, so many sweet babies bein’ born! Hope all is well in your neck of the woods, and here are some thing’s to entertain ya…

Foods to boost your mood when you’re feeling low.

Ummm…is this shoe for real???

An oral history of a water-park in rural New Jersey.

A great way to start building up your wine collection.

Check out this 1950’s gas station that was converted into a home.

Why do books have dust jackets?

An American woman quits smiling.

In the midst of a national crisis, mothers addicted to drugs struggle to get off them — for their babies’ sake, and their own.

Leesa Cross-Smith’s debut novel sounds right up my alley.

Homeless Warrior’s fans live in the shadow of team’s headquarters.

The reasons why food tastes better in a bowl than on a plate.

A sweet little breakfast nook makeover on a budget.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — My Three Favorite Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes and An Easter Adventure in the Bluegrass.