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The Uncoupling.

When I got my library card last year, I pretty much threw myself a party (a quiet one inside the stacks), and I made a giant list of books and authors I wanted to read — The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, was one of them.

Well, one of the adventures that comes with a library is the risk: sometimes they’re not going to have the book you want. And while they didn’t have The Interestings, they did have The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer.

As the book jacket said:

When the elliptical new drama teacher at Stellar Plains High School chooses for the school play Lysistrata-the comedy by Aristophanes in which women stop having sex with men in order to end a war-a strange spell seems to be cast over the school. Or, at least, over the women. One by one throughout the high school community, perfectly healthy, normal women and teenage girls turn away from their husbands and boyfriends in the bedroom, for reasons they don’t really understand. As the women worry over their loss of passion, and the men become by turns unhappy, offended, and above all, confused, both sides are forced to look at their shared history, and at their sexual selves in a new light.

…Totally in!

I read this book in a flash. The idea doesn’t seem so original, since the plot is based off Lysistrata. However, as Jincy Willett points out in her New York Times’ book review, there are several differences between the texts. Mainly, there’s no war.

What I enjoyed most about The Uncoupling is its sense of magic. Wolitzer has an impeccable talent for telling stories, and even one about a sex strike has this sense of whimsy and magic — I love it! Plus, it was interesting to (mentally) travel back into the halls of high school.

Other books by Meg Wolitzer include Belzar (“…a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance”), The Wife (“A Husband. A Wife. Their Secret.”), This is My Life (“…a smart, witty and perceptive novel about the daughters of a female stand-up comic who watch as their mother struggles to balance her career with the needs of her children), The Ten-Year Nap (“takes a close look at the opt out generation”), Sleepwalking (“the story of the three notorious ‘death girls,’”), and The Position (“dead-on observations about sex, marriage, and the family ties that strangle and bind”), among others.



The Column: Dating in the ER.

Hey, hot doctor.

Hey, hot doctor.

I was about two months into dating this guy I met through some friends, when he started acting distant toward me. He stopped answering my calls, it took him longer to respond to text messages, and instead of multiple dates a week, we barely saw each other.

I called him out on it, and he sent me a text message saying he was “Not in good health” and that he had to have surgery the next morning.

Being me, I freaked out wondering what was wrong — did his appendix rupture? Was there a previous health issue I didn’t know about?

I called him, and he answered the phone, whispering. He told me he didn’t want to discuss it while he was at work, because it was something “disgusting.”

I was confused, and quite pissed. It’s never a good idea to tell someone you’re having surgery and then not tell them why, or any details.

Later that night, he told me he was having some sort of surgery on his ass. His roommate was going to drive him to the hospital in the morning.

I was suddenly in this sort of gray area — I didn’t know how much attention he wanted from me during his recovery.

Everything he said about the surgery and recovery was that it was gross and he didn’t want me to be a part of it, so I really wasn’t, aside from just telling him I hoped he felt better soon.

About a week after surgery, he invited me over to his place to watch a movie. I accepted the invite, but our visit was distant. No real flirting, no cuddling, and only a few innocent kisses.

I noticed he had his hospital bracelet on his bathroom counter.

“Are you keeping this for your scrapbook?” I asked him.

“It’s just a reminder to me that I was in the hospital and I need to take it easy,” he said.

From what he told me, the surgery was very minor — no organs were involved. So, I was even more confused. Was there something more serious he wasn’t telling me?

He continued to be distant, and frankly, it was getting on my nerves. So, a few days later I told him I was confused and didn’t know what to do about his attitude toward me.

He called me and simply said, “You’re right. Now is not a good time for me to be seeing someone.”

We hung up, and that was it. Over.

I was upset for about 10 minutes when I realized something: I’m continually getting stuck in patterns that force me to throw pity parties for the men I’m dating.

I’m not a party planner, and I’m done pretending to be one. I wish he would’ve told me sooner that he wasn’t interested, because I could’ve saved myself a few months and some feelings.

I hope he has a blast, hanging out by himself, ignoring those who care, and mending his ass wounds.

Fresh Friday: Nirvana (black).

Hobo-chic rulers, Mary Kate and Ashley.

Hobo-chic rulers, Mary Kate and Ashley.

A few weeks ago, I told you all about Nirvana White by Elizabeth and James. Can’t have one without the other, right? In the perfume sampler pack I got for Christmas, there was also a bottle of Elizabeth and James’ Nirvana Black.

As described by Sephora, “Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black is an addictive blend of alluring violet, sensual sandalwood, and rich vanilla that strike the perfect balance between masculine and feminine.

Launched in 2007, Elizabeth and James embodies the duality of sophistication and feminine detail balanced with downtown edge and masculine tailoring. The fashion brand’s contemporary-yet-timeless aesthetic offers the modern girl clothing and accessories that make stylish everyday dressing effortless.

Ashley and Mary-Kate wanted the signature fragrance for Elizabeth and James to embody the same sense of duality inherent to their partnership and the brand. The result was not one, but two blends—distinctly different, but undeniably connected.”

From Teen Vogue:“This has been a labor of love,” said Ashley at an event for the launch. “We’ve been working on this for two years now. Black took about a year and a half to finalize, and to get to a place where we were happy.” White soon followed. The former is a woodsy blend that includes violet, sandalwood, and vanilla. The latter is a floral musk with sweet notes of peony. So you can pick which fragrance profile best matches your personality, or wear one for a day of classes and the other for a night on the town. 

While I like both scents, I definitely prefer White, though I’m surprised because you know I love a woodsy scent.

Back to it: Online dating.

Online and offline dating.

Online and offline dating.

I recently logged into my OK Cupid account after not touching it for two months, because 1. I was seeing someone that I thought would turn into something, and 2. The email account which I signed up with was definitely one I don’t have access to anymore since “the incident.” Oops!

I joined Ok Cupid several months ago, though it wasn’t my first stint with online dating — I gave a try when my ex and I broke up. I figured it was another way to put myself “out there” and if anything, it would be a good way to practice meeting people and going on dates.

But proved to be one expensive way to get rejected (read it all here), so I decided to give a free service a try. Within 48 hours of creating a profile, I had more than 50 messages. Way more than I’d ever gotten through Match.

Of course, most of them (the messages) are… interesting. As a writer, and an editor, I TRY not to be judgmental when it comes to the actual writing, spelling, or grammar (“Hey, you’re cute and you like too fish!!”) of the message. I know not everyone is decent at it (but there is a spellcheck within the app).

However, one thing that’s startling about online dating is how rude people are. I suppose, just like with anything else, people feel okay sitting behind their computer/phone screens and being mean to people they’ve never met.

But I’ve noticed guys get really, really pissed when you don’t respond to messages immediately. Here’s a few I’ve gotten:

  • I like that your main profile picture has the address of your your blog about what jackasses the guys you meet are 
  • Well I guess you are too good to speak to me. My apologies for bothering you. Have a nice life.
  • Haha it was whore I Catfished u I’m married bye loser hahah :)
  • How’s the luck here? Is the line long to get to know you or are you here just for chatting fun?

The funny thing about Ok Cupid is that you can see when someone logs in, what time they read your message (if they read it), and when they’re on- or offline. So, hey dudes, when I haven’t logged in for a day, or haven’t even read your message yet (!), how about picking up a hobby or two instead of staring at the computer screen waiting for chicks to reply?

Just a thought.

Nevertheless, I’m back online! In general, I’ve met up with maybe three guys from my adventures in online dating, and while none of them panned out to be relationships, they were all good experiences that I’ve learned from. Nothing wrong with that!

90’s beauty trends I totally tried.

Yep, wore Docs.

Yep, wore Docs.

Every decade has its own style — granted bits of it always come back around — but 90’s style holds a special place in my heart, as I was just coming into my own, getting a grasp on who I was, and I was obsessive over pop culture. While I’d never consider myself daring in the fashion sense, there’s a few trends I latched onto in the 90s.

Bright eyes.

Bright eyes.

Brightly colored eyeshadow — No color too bold; the 90s were about expressing your mood via eyeshadow hues in greens, blue, and purple. And framing the whole thing with shimmery, silver-white shadow (often sold as a loose powder). If you were super serious, you’d whip out the white eyeliner.

Hair, twisted and clipped — I was constantly trying new things with my hair, things that I thought looked super cool, and when I see pics now, I realize how terrible I looked and have NO idea how I had friends. I did lemon juice, hair gel, oversized hot rollers, and even used the scary “wave iron.” But when 90’s pop music icons started twisting their bangs back and clipping them, I did the same (though I always opted for glitter bobby pins over butterfly clips).

Peach lipgloss.

Peach lipgloss.

Peach lip gloss — I remember reading that Mandy Moore wore peach lipgloss, and because I loved Mandy Moore, I was constantly on The Hunt for peach lip gloss (oh, the struggle). I finally settled on a shimmery peach tube of Lipsmackers (with the sponge applicator) that I completely took for granted, because if I had it today, I’d totally rock that shit, DAILY.

Bold mascara.

Bold mascara.

Unnaturally colored mascara — I suppose this goes hand-in-hand with the brightly colored eyeshadow trend, but blue or green mascara is one of those things you think people aren’t going to notice and they totally do. Now that I think of it, bold nail polish colors were also a hit in the 90s. I completely blame Fiona Apple and Gwen Stefani for this, and I’m not mad about it whatsoever.

Slick hair meets the power pony — Yep, greasy-looking hair was so IN. I often went for the 10-Things-I-Hate-About-You look with the scrunched wet hair (with gel that was often green or blue) in a massive clip and the crispy hair would fall out of the clip in a waterfall-like look. It was terrible. Yet again, I thought it was completely cool.

Cheek stain.

Cheek stain.

Cheek stain — The 90s were all about extremes: bold makeup looks or completely natural looks. When I rocked the au naturale look, I pulled out the peach gloss and I often colored my cheeks with a red stick of gel. It was basically lip gloss that I put on my skin (and I wonder why I had acne). The only problem? Cheek stain doesn’t look great when you’re wearing foundation and/or powder.

Gap scents — Sometime in the mid-90s, GAP became the place to shop (apparently plain t-shirts were all the rave) and their scents for men and women were a must have. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the scents were mass-produced and essentially just a way for GAP to continue not to make a statement, while making a statement. There was Grass, Dream, Earth, Heaven, OM, and Day. If you’re really recalling the 90s now, check out this article I found on, “What Your GAP Fragrance Said About You.”

Britney's silver lids.

Britney’s silver lids.

Britney — I could not get enough of Britney Spears (and I still can’t). I loved her style; her clothes and hair, and I especially loved her dancing. I pretty much wanted to BE HER. If she wore turquoise tops, so did I, if she did 500 situps in a day, so did I (plus we had to wear midriff tops for dance team), and if she wore a Catholic school uniform, so did I (for Halloween).

Body glitter — I actually almost left this one off the list and then I realized that forgetting BODY GLITTER would be a mortal sin, given that I loved the stuff, had an embarrassing amount of it, and needed no excuse to wear it. There was scented glitter, colored glitter, glitter in giant jars of gel, glitter with hearts and stars! You could wear it on your eyes, temples, in your hair, on your chest, around your belly ring, whatever — shit was fly. When I went to Hangout Fest last year, body glitter was all the rave (basically it was just loose glitter sticking to sweat) and I found a glorious human with a CAN of silver glitter. She “glittered” me and I was as happy as I’ve ever been in my life. Seriously.

And there you have it. A lot of these trends are finding their way back as we speak, and I’ll tell you one thing: I’m not going to be sad about it. And just because I found it, here’s a mashup of some 90-00 influencers.

Fresh Friday: Reb’l Fleur.

Call me, rude boy.

Call me, rude boy.

Most of the time, I don’t believe that the celebrities who make perfumes and scents actually wear them — except maybe J-Lo (“Are you wearing Glo??!”), but I actually think Rihanna would wear her scent: Reb’l Fleur.

As described by Fragrantica, “‘Daring, sexy and truly memorable, Reb’l Fleur is as much in tune with Barbados-born Rihanna’s roots as it is with the glamour of her present life in New York City.’ The fragrance will be launched in 2011.

The fragrance is an intense and daring fruity chypre, composed of sophisticated floral notes: tuberose, violet and hibiscus, – with a splash of coconut water, – over the light and smooth base, the combination of the final notes evokes the impression of warm skin. The perfume was created by Caroline Sabas and Marypierre Julien of Givaudan.

The elegant bottle, which glows from within, is beautifully designed in the shape of a high heel. The bottle is adorned with silken ribbons and an golden ring on the stopper. Reb’l Fleur was launched in 2010.”

The fragrance is light and complex, all at once. It’s a very warm scent, with the amber tones, and is very long-lasting, even with just one spritz!

Things I’ve learned from ‘Laguna Beach’

Trey is STILL fine.

Trey is STILL fine.

Oh, Laguna, how I love (yes, still do) thee. In late 2004, MTV capitalized on the popularity of The OC, making a reality show based at Laguna Beach High School — claiming it was the story of the REAL OC.

And hell, I don’t know how much of it was real, fake, scripted, or whatever, all I know is I love the stuff — the drama between Stephen, LC, and KCav (still love her). Who says you can’t learn a few lessons while watching your favorite television shows? Here’s what I’ve gained:

  1. Everyone looked fit in high school. Sure, there’s a lot of shirtless dudes and chicks in bikinis on this show, and they all look great. And while I’m feeling like a fat slob, sitting on my couch, then I remember, oh right — they’re in high school. We were all skinny then, and yet we still thought we were fat.
  2. Trey Phillips is an artsy hottie. Trey, if you recall, is the one that’s into fashion, surfing, skateboarding, and human rights. And he looks good doing all of it. He’s got that unconventional hottie thing going on and I love it.
  3. California is gorgeous. While I’ve been to Cali a handful of times, shows like Laguna Beach provide a view of the beaches we really can’t get anywhere else.
  4. My prom dress was probably overkill. While I was wearing foofy tutus for prom, the kids at Laguna High were wearing modest, slim-fitting gowns. Because…money. Nevertheless, I loved my senior prom dress (didn’t love my date).
  5. Tank tops and jeans are underrated. I don’t care what anyone says, the simplest outfit — jeans and a tank — will always be in style.
  6. Ex boyfriends are just…weird. That whole weirdness between KCav and Stephen when they’re broken up but still talking is completely relatable. Despite the annoyance that comes from exes, there’s always that little thing.
  7. Spring break was uber cliquey. Why did we all go on spring break together, and then hate each other? I remember who did what, and yes, I still have you blocked on Facebook for it. #Bitter
  8. Even losers can wine and dine. Remember when Jason picks LC up in a hot rod and takes her out for a fancy dinner? Yeah, well, even lame ass mother f*cks can do that — don’t be fooled, ladies!

Cocktail King.

Drinks, drinks, more drinks.

Drinks, drinks, more drinks.

Baton Rouge bartender and chef George Krause was waiting for the book to drop. At eight years old, a cocktail book fell from the “booze side” of the cabinet to the “game side.”

“It was now fair game to grab it and read it, and I did,” Krause said. “I enjoyed it.”

His parents found the book and wanted an explanation — via drink.

“The first drink I pulled out was the old fashion,” he said. “We had all the stuff to make it, so I followed the recipe, and tweaked it the way I thought it needed to be tweaked. The book said to dissolve sugar into water, and I ended up making simple syrup.” Read more…

Pic of the Week.

I work while I ride.

I work while I ride.

Okay, so one thing I’m working on is maintaining SOME sort of schedule. My hours at my retail jobs are sometimes as early as 7am, or sometimes as late as 6pm (working until 10pm).

I have other things going on — like freelance work, blogging, being social — so I’m trying really hard to still get up by 7 every morning no matter what, and get things done. So, I started making a to-do list each week, and when I have a few hours before or after a shift, or even on my days off, I can cross a few things off my list.

The only way I feel productive is if I have a full week. So, last week my to-do list consisted of:

  • Go to the gym and/or yoga
  • Take down Christmas tree and decor
  • Go to the grocery store
  • Write & turn in column
  • Edit magazine
  • Apply for freelance jobs
  • Apply for at least 7 full-time jobs
  • Go to the tanning bed
  • Email Penny about freelance work

Having this list made it much easier for me to get out of bed on time, even on a day off. I am proud to say I got everything on my list done (I even applied for 9 full-time jobs), except for the whole gym or yoga thing.

Hitting the gym is something that’s been important for me for the last few years. It helps me sleep, and I feel better about myself when I’ve gotten a few good sweat sessions in.

So, I made a new to-do list Sunday night, and I knew I would have time to spare this week to hit the gym. And Monday, before lunch, I did! Since it was my first day back in about a month, I took it easy and rode the bike for 40 minutes, but I felt a little sore when I went into work that evening.

I am on-call for jury duty this week, but on each day that I don’t have to report to court, I’m totally planning on hitting the gym.

I know many of you are probably working on resolutions that involve getting healthy and fit. And to you, I say, keep at it! I know those goals are tough, but they really are worth it. Just taking an hour (or 30 minutes) out of your day for yourself, you’re really going to feel much better!

Argh! Dating pet peeves.

I feel her pain.

I feel her pain.

As a singleton still in the dating game, I am constantly given unsolicited advice from couples. What I often gather is that couples seem to think dating is just SO fun! Newsflash: it ain’t. Actually, most of the time, it’s pretty annoying.

So, I’ve put together a list of MY dating pet peeves (some of them annoy me so much, they’re deal breakers), but I’d love to hear yours, too — don’t be afraid to leave them in the comments.

  1. Being late. This is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves. Being late isn’t just about the fact that I’m either waiting on a guy I hardly know or sitting at a bar alone, it’s more about the fact that it’s completely disrespectful of my time. Instead of waiting on a man, I could be making bank getting some writing done, or at least watching The Bachelor.
  2. Bad kiss. Here’s a deal breaker. When I was 16, I could forgive a less-than-perfect kiss. But now that I’m approaching 30, you should have kissed enough people to nail the whole breathing-sucking-timing thing. If the kiss is bad, then I immediately know the sex is going to be bad, and if I don’t have a desire to sleep with you, then I don’t even know why we’re on a date.
  3. Bad breath. This goes hand-in-hand with a bad kiss. If I smell your disgusting breath when we are talking, then there DEFINITELY won’t be any kissing. And if we’re not kissing, then, well, read #2 again to see what that means.
  4. Big ego. If you’re ego can’t fit through the restaurant door, then we’ve got issues. I like dudes who work hard, and stay humble. Unless you’re Justin Bieber, then let’s get to the kissing.
  5. Gets hammered. All the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love to have a drink (or three), but since I dated an alcoholic, I’m very weary of how much and how often a guy I’m talking to is getting drunk. It’s nothing personal, I just don’t want to be in that situation, ever. Ever.
  6. Ignores manners and etiquette. Listen, I cuss, I drink, and I write about sex I’ve had. But I still appreciate having the door opened for me, being in the company of a man who treats the waitstaff with respect, and who knows that cellphones do not belong on our date at any time.
  7. Aggressive about sex. I like sex, but I need to be ready for it before I start hearing about it. Don’t hint at or suggest that we have sex, or “go somewhere private” on the first date. Because I’ll never talk to you again.
  8. No ambition. It’s okay if you’re not into your dream job — Lord knows I’m not. But have some goals on the horizon, or else what’s the point? If you’re living in your parent’s house with no plan to get out, then let’s get the check and consider this date a bust.
  9. Too serious. I have a serious side, but I also like to joke around. If my date can’t, then we’ve got big problems. Laugh a little!
  10. Close-minded. This also includes: being a racist, sexist, or any “ist” that is negative. Basically, if you’re a republican, then we shouldn’t be dating.

4/50 Shades: Spun Sugar.

Spun Sugar is on the far right.

Spun Sugar is on the far right.

Not sure when, but some time ago, Sally Hansen created a lip gloss known as Moisture Twist, which is said to have moisture, plus shine and color, as well as serve as a primer for the color. Wow!

When I bought a tube of Moisture Twist, in Spun Sugar, I had never tried any Sally Hansen lip products — I was excited!

After using it several times, I will say that it does provide moisture and color. However, the Spun Sugar hue is pretty light. It’s more of just a gloss for me, but it’s nice to add on top of a bold lipstick.

One other downer? There’s no flavor. The name “Spun Sugar” had me dreaming of cotton candy lips… not so much.

The Column: Sleeping W/Someone New.

New person, new bed.

New person, new bed.

A few days after a great first date, I joined a guy named Justin for a second date. We met through mutual friends, and bonded over weird relationship stories.

For our second date, he invited me to his house for a casual night in.

While I’m a fan of a relaxing night at home, I was nervous. I’m noticing a pattern of men inviting me over to “hang out,” which results in me having to refuse sex.

Don’t get me wrong, I love sex, but I also want a serious relationship that’s based on more than physicality. Read more…

Paper Towns.

Great quote from Paper Towns by John Green.

Great quote from Paper Towns by John Green.

Shocker: another fantastic book by John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns is addicting. No, seriously, I read it in one day.

Set in Orlando, Florida, Paper Towns is the story of Quentin Jacobsen — a less-than-popular high school senior, who has spent a majority of his life being obsessed with his next-door neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman (the legend).

“Margo Roth Spiegelman, whose six-syllable name was often spoken in its entirety with a kind of quiet reverence. Margo Roth Spiegelman, whose stories of epic adventures would blow through school like a summer storm…”

Quentin has only admired her from afar, until she steps into his room one night in need of his help with a revenge mission. He’s as close to her as he’s ever been, but before his ultimate dreams come to fruition, she’s off on one of her adventures, leaving the town wondering where she went.

But just like before, she leaves clues behind. Quentin and his friends go in search of her clues, heading on a man hunt across the country to find their six-syllable, legendary classmate.

Favorite Quotes from Paper Towns:

And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one.

Chuck Parson did not participate in organized sports, because to do so would distract from the larger goal of his life: to one day be convicted of homicide. ‘Hey, faggots,’ he called.

She had the kind of fingers you want to interlace with your own.

We bring the fucking rain, Q. Not the scattered showers.

Here, at night, it looked like a real place — but for the first time, a place I could see.

…The pleasure was in seeing our strings cross and separate and then come back together.

RHAPAW ran not on gasoline, but on the inexhaustible fuel of human hope.

It is so hard to leave — until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.

It is easy to forget how full the world is of people, full to bursting, and each of them imaginable and consistently misimagined.

The book is set to be released as a movie on June 5th of this year (let the countdown begin!), starring Nat Wolff as Quentin, and Cara Delevingne as Margo.

The funny thing is, I ran across an FAQ on John Green’s website, where he said he didn’t think the book would ever become a movie: “The people who worked at the studio that optioned Paper Towns and paid me to write the screenplay were not particularly pleased with my first draft, and they really hated my revision. They felt the first draft was ‘literary,’ which is an insult in the world of filmmaking, I guess, and my attempts to address their concern watered down everything they’d initially liked about the script, and after that, I was pretty pissed off at the head of the studio and it’s safe to say that he was very pissed off at me.”

You just never know what’s going to happen!

Happy New Year!

Party hardy.

Party hardy.

YASH! I made it to 2015! I swear, there were times when I didn’t think this day would ever come — I have never been so excited for a new year, in hopes that it will bring new opportunities, new memories, perhaps new places, and new people. I am so excited!

Last year, I mentioned I was going to try and shake this blog up by being more open and personal, and by also offering a bunch of new posts, such as the Celeb Crush, Single Girl Recipe, Boyfriend Recipe, Woman You Should Know profiles, Survival Guides, and a Pic of the Week.

Not to toot my own horn, but I think I did just that!

This year, I am going to keep all of those features — because they are so fun to write — and of course, continue my promise to always be open and honest. Aside from possibly adopting a new blog design, I’m not planning on shaking things up too much, but I do want to up my YouTube game and offer a video companion to The Bitter Lemon.

So, why not start now? Introducing The Bitter Lemon: The Vlog!

Check out the video to hear all about my goals and resolutions for 2015. And with that, I’ll just leave you with this: I hope you have a happy and safe new year. Make some goals that are worth working for, and I look forward to celebrating your successes (and sharing mine) this year!

Let’s do this, 2015!

Bubbly basics.



Ah bubbly, champs, champers, pop bottles, sparkling… whatever you call the stuff, it’s delicious. And while most people reserve the fizz for special occasions and New Year’s Eve, I’ve come to enjoy it all year ’round, just when I’m in the mood for something fantastic.

So, I’m taking it upon myself to share what I know, in hopes that you can find yourself a fabulous bottle of bubbly, whether it’s to celebrate 2015, or just to enjoy whenever — because this is a treat for the masses.

The titles: Champagne, Prosecco, & sparkling wine — what’s the difference? 

Champagne comes from grapes in the Champagne region of France — this is strict. It cannot be called Champagne if it didn’t come from Champagne! Because of the strict rules, Champagne is considered to be high brow, above all other sparkling wines.

Prosecco comes from the Northeast region of Italy (Venice, Verona). Prosecco is one of the main DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) wines in Italy, meaning their labels must state their zone of origins and those wines must meet a certain standard when it comes to planting, cultivation, fertilizing, and even production.

Everything else is usually called sparkling wine — doesn’t mean it’s any less tasty, it was just grown in a different region of the world.

The prices: Is all bubbly going to break the bank?

Heck no! Champagne tends to be expensive (at least $30 per bottle) just because of its high standards. But, as I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t have to be Champagne. You can absolutely find a fantastic bottle of sparkling wine for $12.

I wouldn’t recommend going much cheaper though. While it may taste great, or be good for mixing a cocktail, you (or your guests) are going to suffer the following day. Cheap bubbles (which usually equals more sugar) lead to killer hangovers.

The pairing: What should I enjoy with my champers? 

Perfect pairing.

Perfect pairing.

This part is kind of up to you. Many “experts” say bubbly should only be enjoyed with delicate foods, but hell with it — there’s way more food to be enjoyed next to a glass of fizz.

Modern wine enthusiasts say buttery, rich foods that are high in fat are really what we should be eating with our bubbly. Don’t mind if I do! Here are some ideas:

— Rich greens: avocado, asparagus, mint

— Seafood: scallops, clams, oysters, smoked salmon

— Berries: fresh, cakes, pies, tarts

— Nuts & cheese (includes fried mozzarella)

— Game: duck, rabbit

— Salty snacks: potato chips, fries, popcorn

The pop: What’s the right way to open a bottle? 

A majority of the sparkling wines you’ll encounter will have a cork, along with a wire cage and a foil cover. Start by removing the foil and carefully removing the wire.

Next, point the bottle away from everyone and any valuables (you never know!), and hold the cork in place while twisting the bottle. I’ve heard that it helps to have your other thumb under the bottle in the center’s groove.

Remove the cork with ease. Contrary to popular belief, there should be no pop — a pop sends a shock throughout the wine, and often ruins the bubbles! If possible, let the air out by tilting the cork to one side.

Serving & storing: How do I get the best out of my bottle(s)? 

Serve sparkling wine in a wine glass or a flute. If you don’t have a flute, go for the standard wine glass. Store it away from light, in a climate-controlled fridge, if possible, or just the fridge. Hold the glass from the stem as to not warm the wine with your hands.

Don’t purchase bottles that have been displayed near a window (even 30 minutes of sunlight can turn a sweet rose into a garlic buffet, seriously).

If, and this is a big IF, there is any wine leftover, store it using a spring-loaded cap to keep the bubbles in-tact.

Recommendations: What should I look for? 

Popular & delish!

Popular & delish!

Of course, we’re going to have differences in taste when it comes to wine and bubbly, but I’ll share some of my favorites. Perhaps my all time favorite is from Ponte Winery in Temecula, California (which I had the pleasure of visiting).

It’s their Moscato, which has very light bubbles and refreshing flavors of apple, and even a hint of lemon. A real treat!

I also love the Almond Sparkling Wine from Wilson Creek Winery (another one I’ve visited) — though it’s rich, and sweet, so it is meant to be enjoyed in small amounts.

Any Prosecco I usually love. Zardetto is actually one of the first companies to distribute Prosecco in Italy and has really smashed the market. You’ll probably recognize the bottle and would be able to find it in your local liquor store for under $15.

If you’ve got a good wine shop nearby, keep your eyes open for a bottle of Passione Brachetto d’Acqui — sounds fancy, runs for about $28/bottle. Completely delicious.

I was lucky enough to taste this in a wine class I took years ago, and it turned out to be one of the recommended wines of 2009 by the Washington Post. It is a red wine, but still features fizz, and although it has a berry flavor, it is spiced with nutmeg and clove. Yum!

If you’re looking for a bubbly that meets the expectation of any occasion, look for etoile Rose ($45/bottle). It’s basically a sparkling wine with a hint of pinot noir added in — hence the name. A very good, exclusive wine that’s definitely worth the extra cash.

And for my final recommendation, it’s got to be the Royal Cuvee by Gloria Ferrer ($27/bottle). It has a unique, crisp mix of berries and apple, which results in a long, delicious finish.

…Well, that does it for my Bubbly Basics! I know it was a long read, but I hope you learned something about one of my favorite varietals. May you have a year full of fizz and fun! Cheers!

Do you know what Dom Perignon said after inventing champagne? He called out to his fellow monks, ‘Come quickly: I am tasting the stars.’

—The Fault in Our Stars 


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