I’ve been to California several times–five times in fact. And only during this last trip did I have the chance to go check out California wine country. Took me long enough…
For an East Coast girl, visiting the West Coast, particularly California is slightly like visiting another country.
Let me explain.
Of course we’re all Americans–it’s nothing like that (though Cali does have it’s own unique vibe). But when you come from a coast that is made of many states, including the 13 original colonies, and then go to the other side, where it’s 3 states that take up the whole of the other coast, you don’t realize how far away things can be, even within the same state.
So while I was recently out in LA visiting my friend Melissa, we decided to take advantage of the great weather on Saturday and road trip it north. Originally that plan included Big Sur, with its epic views of the coast. Me with my east coast mindset and Melissa not being a Cali native both thought this was a good idea…until we realized what we thought was a fairly quick road trip was actually going to take us about 6 hours one way. Ha! Time for Plan B…
I’ve just moved in with some friends of mine. (And, yes, for those who know me, I did just move only a few weeks ago, and then a little over a year before that. For those who don’t know me, it’s a bit of a long story.) This is a bit of a transitional moment for me. I’m turning 30 in November. I’ve had many adventures in my 20s–traveling around the US and abroad, participating in some really nerdy things like movie premieres and conventions, made so many new friends, had cool job opportunities, and I got to be a New Yorker for a little while. And now I’m just trying to figure out what that next adventure will be. My sweet Nana, who I think about and miss all the time, once wrote in a birthday card that I was her “little free spirit” and that’s always stuck with me. I like that title, and I think I’m going to try to continue to embrace it.
It’s really funny how a number makes you have feelings. Being 29 going on 30 feels like something HUGE. If you had asked me when I was graduating college back in 2007 where I thought I’d be at 30, that answer would’ve been way different than what actually happened. And I don’t see that as a bad thing at all, but I’m only just realizing now in my last year of my 20s that there’s a big difference between dreams and expectations. I think I’ve made some decisions based on expectations as opposed to just living in the moment. I really don’t have regrets about it, but now I know better. In the last year, I’ve had some serious “ah ha” moments where I’ve realized I should embrace my incoming 30s, that it’s never too late for anything. And there’s nothing wrong with not quite knowing what I want next. That’s life, and mine can’t be the same as everyone else’s or then what’s the point?
So that takes me back to the here and now. I wanted to take a moment to recognize all of the dear friends who have been there for me while I’ve been reassessing what is next for myself, saving money, and working on a game plan. I’m one of those people who tries not to worry about what others think, but to be honest, I do. But these ladies have been so helpful and supportive, even as I’ve been a pseudo gypsy during the last month or so.
I’m very thankful for all of my friends for so many reasons particularly as a support system, and while I can’t name them all, I do want to give a big thank you to a handful who have really helped a sister out lately, lending an ear when I needed it, putting a roof over my head, and just being an all-around pal. So a big thank you to Megan, Debra, Ashley, and (yes, she’s my friend, too!) Mom.
I want to give a toast with a new wine called Sweet Bitch to all of my Sweet Bitches, and these four in particular, because the last couple of months could’ve gone a lot differently if they weren’t there for me!
Let me start by saying this wedding was for my one and only sibling–my little brother. It was a great day full of friends, family, and lots of love (plus some tears). I’m proud of him and I know he and his new bride are very happy…
…I also know he tried to make it so there was alcohol at the reception, but that didn’t work out so here’s where my little story fits in.
This story begins and ends with a glass (or 2) of red wine. (Yes, I’m finishing the wedding contraband as I type this.)
I’ve been to my share of weddings. In fact, this particular wedding was the 6th one in which I was a bridesmaid (number 7 happens next year). Most of those weddings were overflowing with an assortment of beverages, but there’s always the odd wedding that doesn’t, for whatever reason. And no, I don’t think you need alcohol to have a good time. Anyone who knows me knows this. However, let’s all be honest here, it never hurts to have a little [insert your favorite alcoholic beverage here]. (It also helps to get people out on the dance floor. The Electric Slide is wayyy better after a glass or 2.)
So when my brother broke the news to my mom, who broke the news to me that there would be no alcohol served at the wedding, it was time for Plan B, or in our case, Plan V (for vino, of course).
Friends asked me what my game plan was, and it was simple: Get a favorite red wine of mine (so I didn’t have to worry about keeping it cold) and sneak it into the reception. I did contemplate more stealthy methods of executing Plan V including but not limited to a wine bra (not working with a strapless dress, but check them out on Amazon!), a flask (with the option of going prohibition-style with a guarder), and the wine that comes in the mini bottles (not available for my favorite wine). While the bra and guarder options would’ve made for a great story, they didn’t work for my purposes.
So I decided on the simplest form of sneaking my wine in–stick it in a bag and hide it under the table.
Did I mention I had an accomplice? That would be my Mom. She also brought her own bottle in a similar style. Mom dashed off to the dark, empty bar to crack open her wine and add ice (and this is why I chose red instead of white). I, on the other hand, chose to set up shop at the table, crouched down with my Trader Joe’s wine opener and empty cup in hand.
We also brought a few family members to the dark side. When I went to ask one of my aunts if she’d like to partake in a little vino, her response–in a very sassy tone–was, “Is it Saturday?” and actually, yes it was, so I said so. My aunt replied with “Well, okay then.”
And so the bridesmaid turned into a bartender and off I went to the sad, lonely bar with my 2 bottles of wine, pouring a few extra glasses on the sly as if I could be busted at any moment.
Truth be told, I don’t really think anyone cared–or was I just THAT good?
Either way, I was completely ready for the Cha-Cha Slide, The Electric Slide, The Wobble, AND The Cupid Shuffle (which, by the way, I had been calling The Cuban Shuffle for way to long with no one correcting me). Completely makes sense that it wasn’t actually The Cuban Shuffle–I had always wondered what was so Cuban about it.
So, kids, the moral of this story is that if you’re invited to a dry wedding and want to sneak wine in, first, be aware of your options in how to do it (someone please get that wine bra and try it out!), and, second, as long as you’re somewhat discreet, most people aren’t even going to notice. Also, make sure your sassy aunt gets a glass.
And, finally, if you’re a family member/member of the bridal party, you can kind of do what you want anyway, right?
It’s less than 3 days until I move out of my little 1 bedroom apartment. I should be packing as I write this, but wanted to take a moment to raise my wine glass in a toast to Apt 825.
…the first apartment I’ve ever lived in by myself–and the most expensive. To being able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted without worrying about bothering a roommate. To Netflix and book series binges while hiding away in my little nest. To finding some delicious takeout and ordering from the comfort of my couch. To a year of ups and downs, and still figuring things out. To way too many online dates. To laughter and tears in the privacy of my little home…
And now? Now it’s time to save a little money and stay with friends for a bit. I turn 30 at the end of this year and want to make some big things happen. Even I don’t know exactly what that’ll be yet, but saving money for this next adventure is definitely the first step.