Readers’ Advisory: Difficult Women. Roxane Gay


Quick Facts

Difficult Women

Author: Roxane Gay

Published 2017 Grove Press 978-0802125392

272 pages $25 US

Available in print and eBook

Short Stories

tl;dr: READ IT!

Why I Read It

I received Difficult Women through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Where do I begin? I first became familiar with Roxane Gay when I read Bad Feminist. I’m not usually a non-fiction reader, but I was going through a time in my life where I knew what feminism was and what it stood for, but I was looking for something or someone who did feminism the way I did feminism. That is to say, someone who saw flaws in the way we talk about feminism, and acknowledges that we are contradictory people. That said, I’d never read Gay’s previous novel An Untamed State. I had to put it down after reading the description, because it was going to be more emotionally taxing than I was ready for at the time. Picking up Difficult Women, though, was a no brainer. I can handle short pieces that can be read in one sitting, even if they are difficult or hard reads.
Here’s What I Think
The women in these stories are people you could meet in your everyday life. Why are they difficult? Technically, they aren’t. They would, however, be labeled as difficult by a society who believes that women should be quiet and docile. These are women who may or may not fit in, who are grieving, who are attached, who have had horrific things happen to them, who are real, whole human beings even in their brokenness. I had visceral reactions to several stories in the collection, including the title story “Difficult Women” and “I Will Follow You”. In fact, my reaction to “I Will Follow You” was so strong that I had to put it down for a few days.
Some of the stories in the middle are a bit forgettable. It definitely seems as though the collection was front loaded. That said, I did enjoy Difficult Women overall, and am happy to have read it. I am anxiously awaiting Hunger, and this collection has solidified Roxane Gay as an auto buy author for me.

What does it mean to grow up?

post finals deschanel

I’ve been feeling reflective lately. It’s probably a product of my being almost finished with grad school and getting ready to embark on the main course of my life. But I’ve been thinking about life, about relationships, about what it means to grow up, about what it means to make it. Is there a point in life where you think, “Yes. This is it. This is what I’ve been waiting for. This feeling. This moment”? For some people, I think this is a very tangible thing. I think they can look back at their life and pinpoint that exact moment where this thought, or a version of it, resided in their mind. I haven’t reached that point, but I imagine, I hope, that one day I will get to experience this. Until then, I sit and wonder. What does it mean to grow up? And, how do you know when it’s happened?

I can’t remember where I heard or saw the quote “Be gentle with your friends.” It’s probably something I made up or adapted from quote about being gentle with one’s parents, but still. It’s been on my mind. The other day, I’d intended to talk to my best friend about something important that happened to me. She was busy, as happens, so I told her we could talk later. Perfectly reasonable, right? Two days later, she asks if I still want to talk or if everything was ok. I told her, sure everything was fine. We’ve been friends for almost ten years, she knows when I’m lying. She asked if I was sure, and I said yes in that text tone that means drop it or this will end badly. Because by then, I didn’t want to talk about the thing anymore. It had made me mad, and I was not in the mood to retell the story again. I was still mad about it, but I was done talking about it. She made one more attempt to get me to talk, and I had to physically walk away from my phone for a while before I could answer. I dislike it when she continues after I’ve made it clear that we’re not discussing whatever it is.

In my time away from the phone, though, I started to think. I’m annoyed. Why? Because I wanted to talk to her and she was busy? That happens. That’s life. Deal. I’m annoyed. Why? Because I’m still pissed about the thing that happened? There’s nothing I can do about it now, and talking about it just pisses me off more. I’m annoyed. Why? Because I’ve had no interaction with a human who wasn’t a virtual stranger in over a week? Living alone, even temporarily sucks. I need meaningful interactions with people I care about and who care about me. I realize this, and not having this makes me cranky. It’s not her fault I’ve been alone for almost ten days. There was literally no reason to be so pissed at her.

Eventually, I calmed down enough to express myself in a way that wouldn’t punish her for trying to be a good friend, that wouldn’t push us into a fight, but that did make clear that I would not be discussing the thing at all and that I would get over it or not eventually. Is that growth? Is that a marker of being an adult, knowing when to engage? Knowing when you’re experiencing heightened emotions that may or may not have anything to do with the current situation and acting according to the situation rather than the emotion? Recognizing that ignoring the problem does not make it go away. I was tempted, seriously, to ignore her and not talk to her until the next time I had something to say/share/ask or she texted me for whatever reason. But that’s petty, and I knew I couldn’t do that to her. I kept thinking about the phrase “Be gentle with your friends.”

Someone once said that I am incapable of self-reflection. I beg to differ. Just having this blog is an exercise in self-reflection. That moment, though, when I stepped away from the phone and chose not to engage was also an exercise in self-reflection. I knew I wasn’t actually mad at her, because there was no reason to be mad at her. She hadn’t done a thing to me. I was experiencing my own problems, and she just happened to be there. A few days later, I got caught off guard by Mother Nature, and recognized why I’d been more peeved that usual.

However, that brings me back to my original question, “What does it mean to grow up and how do you know when it’s happened?” I recognized in that moment that I’d done something very adult. I was frustrated. I took a step back. I reflected. I responded. How often do we actually do this and recognize that it has happened? In that moment, I realized that I had become an adult. More than turning 18, more than turning 21, more than being able to vote, drive a car, get an apartment, plan a wedding, interact with disgruntled patrons. More than anything, I recognized in that moment that I could be, that I was an adult. I’ve had other moments that have made me question, realize, and come to terms with my adulthood, and I may talk about them, but this moment was profound.newgirl adult

What was the moment you realized you were an adult?

Ai Medo Blid Au

Ok. I’m in mourning. I am mourning fictional characters for the hundredth millionth time in my life. When Opie died on Sons of Anarchy, I couldn’t even get through the next episode. That happens in Season 4. I haven’t watched a full episode of SOA since. I did catch the last ten minutes of the series finale, though.

Now, though, I’m mourning my favorite minor character, Zoe Monroe, and my favorite recurring major character, Lexa kom Triku, Heda of the 13 clans.

I totally understand why Lexa died, even the way it happened. Why? Because we saw her fight. She’ll fight dirty if she has to, because as unafraid of death as she was, she was not about to welcome it without a fight if she had anything to do with it. An accidental bullet wound to the gut, though, is something she couldn’t predict, couldn’t guard against, couldn’t fight. I’m heartbroken by the death of this character, but I’m willing to see where the story goes because of it. There was a reason the writers agreed to let the character die. I’m sure we all can guess what it is, but I’ve been seeing a lot of hate from the Clexakru. I know we’re in mourning, but this wasn’t a case of the actor wanted out, so death was only option. (See McDreamy. I’m still mad, Shonda! I’m still mad about Lexi and Mark and Calzona, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about.) This was a case of plot and character development. Several characters are about to be devastated, and have to find a way to move past Lexa’s death and the consequences. Clarke already is. Octavia’s trust in Clarke is hanging on a very thin thread, and I would love to see the conversation or understanding that occurs when Clarke announces the death of Lexa as the reason she wasn’t where she’d planned to be. Indra was already feeling sorry for herself, feeling as though she’d put her trust in the wrong sky person, again. Lexa was of her clan. How long have they, Lexa and Indra, been together? How much do you want to bet that Indra trained Anya, who trained Lexa? Now, they’re both dead. What must that feel like? Kane and Abby, how will they react when they find out? Pike? I don’t give two shits about Pike, but he is currently still the Chancellor. Will he whoop with joy and use it as further fuel for his hatred? Lexa herself. We know where she is, even as her physical body is dead. ALIE 2 is the source of their “death is not the end” rhetoric, so she’s most likely in the City of Light. (Pause. Seriously?! Virtual fucking reality? I’m actually very interested to see how this plays out. Are the place ALIE calls the City of Light and the place Lexa is the same place? Does ALIE2 have a different version of the City of Light since that code is the upgrade/better version of ALIE for which ALIE searches?) But I digress. How will she feel, wherever she is? (That’s an existential question if ever there was one about life after death) I wonder if we’ll get to see Lexa wherever she is. I’ve seen spoiler photos on tumblr, so it will happen, but still. Will it be only in that episode or will she pop up again at some point before that? Even better question: How the eff does Clarke get there?!

If you can’t already tell, I have a lot of feelings about Lexa, in particular, and the Ladies of The 100, in general. There is so much there, all the actors are amazing at conveying so much in so little screen time. Which leads me to Monroe. Oh, Monroe. From my first time seeing her French braid to the look of pure pain on her face as she died, I have wanted to know more about Zoe Monroe. How did she get into the Sky Box? Why was she so comfortable with a gun? I think the grand total of her screen time can’t be more than an hour. Katie Stuart must have put so much thought into who Monroe was and what made her tick, that she had a huge impact on the show and the fandom. I am pissed at Bellamy, for many reasons, but mainly for being the reason Monroe is dead. Yes, Monroe is grown and made her own choices, but think about it. Monroe would do anything for the remaining hundred. These are people she lived with and fought beside for longer than we know. They were her family. She willingly stood against Bellamy at first. She knew it was wrong to slaughter innocent people, but he convinced her somehow that it was for their own good. He was her general, and she couldn’t stand against him…or his warped logic. (Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK, BELLAMY?! Ugh, I have so many thoughts about him, even as I know that talk he had with Clarke had to happen the way it did, I am angry that he allowed Pike to prey on his insecurities and untreated trauma. He’s not back to “Whatever the hell we want”…he’s worse. But this is not about Bellamy. I’ll get to him whenever Octavia beats the shit out of him.)

I think I’m done…for now. I just really needed to get that out.

In peace may you leave this shore.

In love may you find the next.

Safe passage on your travels, until our final journey on the ground.

May we meet again, Monroe.

Yu gonplei ste odon, Lexa kom Trikru. Reshwe.

Photos from The 100 wiki.

Librarian in Training 9

Well, this semester has been a roller coaster. So much is happening and as happened, and I’m positive that my collection development class grade will suffer for it. But I’m glad it’s this semester and not next semester. Next semester is the last 5k in a marathon, the hardest, most heart pounding, please-let-me-finish, don’t-give-up-you’re-so-close part. Next semester is my last semester of grad school. Next May, I will graduate with a Masters in Library and Information Sciences, if all goes according to plan. But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. This post is about this semester.

In a fit of pique…nothing. Nothing happened, I’ve just always wanted to use that phrase. Don’t judge me.

My cataloguing class is going well. I’m only required to post in 12 of the 16 topics at any point in the semester. I think I’m up to 8 or 10. I haven’t checked today. That’s for tonight when I log on to complete the assignment that’s due on Tuesday and post some responses. I’m not super worried about this class. There is one adjustment I need to make in the grand scheme of things, but that won’t be hard. I do have to print and go through my lectures and my textbook

My collection development class, on the other hand, suffered the most during the dark days of September and the twilight days of October. So much of that class depends on discussion, and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I spent most of my energy on being a good group member to my policy group and getting up every day for work. I’ve been posting regularly since about mid-October, but that’s probably not enough to save that grade. Then there’s my first half of my reading log. We’re supposed to read 250 pages outside of homework. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I turned in a little less than a hundred pages for the first part of the log. Again, I just couldn’t do it. I could barely finish a book for fun from my favorite author, do you think I was going to read 125 pages of utterly boring yet useful research? I did the bare minimum to be informed for my policy group. That’s it. Can you sense a theme? I’m willing to let myself down. I have let myself down many times over this semester, but a portion of four other people’s grades depends on me getting my ass in gear, so I did what I could for them. They are an awesome group, the best group I’ve had since Tricia and Eliza, and I am not going to disappoint them. To make up for the utter disaster that was that assignment, I’ve created a schedule for the next half of the reading log. I will be finished by next Wednesday, if I stick to it. I don’t really have a choice, as the assignment is due on the 30th, along with a presentation, a final copy of my group’s policy manual (for which I have to do style corrections), and reflection paper, on top of the final discussions and comments. I’m going to try to recoup some of that grade since none of the discussions are closed. So yeah, the reading log needs to be done ASAP.

In work news, I am an official member of the social media committee! I’m still in charge of Twitter! I need to develop a strategy for our YA account. I’ve left it for too long sitting and wasting away while I focus on the main account. I have news that I’m really excited about, but I’m not sure I can post it widely just yet. But I get to go shopping for warm winter clothes, a coat, and new boots for a trip to Boston in January! I have so many more responsibilities at work, and I’ve only just realized that I was supposed to do something two weeks ago that I haven’t done yet.

So. That’s where we are. Not super fun or really detailed, but I’m still trying to get back into the swing of things. Sorry about the lack of Readers’ Advisory posts. I haven’t been finishing books. Sorry about the lack of Author Highlights and Lush Adventures and Thoughts&Musings. Sorry about the general lack of everything at this point. Now, it is time for coffee and collection development reading and notes.

Hello November

Forgive me, Internet, for I have sinned. It has been one month since my last post.

Ok, so one month isn’t the longest I’ve gone without posting, but it still felt weird. I’ve thought about posting for a while now. If only to come back and I say that I’m ok. I’ve worked through my downswing. I took care of business. I’m doing alright now. I’m caught up in my classes, though I know it will not be a stellar showing at the end of the semester. I’m ok with that. I had a bad semester. It is not the end of the world. I work full-time. I go to school full-time. It was bound to happen at some point. I’m just glad it was now and now next semester. Next semester is graduation semester. Next semester is e-port semester. Next semester is the graduate equivalent of senior thesis. I cannot afford to have this happen next semester.

But this was just a short one to say that I’m thinking about you, little blog and blog followers. Next post will be much more substantial.


The Struggle is REAL


I haven’t been able to write, really write, in three weeks. I haven’t really been able to do much of anything, homework included, for a month. The day I wrote the Mouthful of Forevers review was the day I got some really not great news. It hit me in the chest, put me on the ground, and I’ve been struggling to get back up again ever since. I live with, fight with, argue with, suffer from depression, and sometimes a bit of anxiety. In 2009, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, complicated by a bit of PTSD. Six years later, I’ve been downgraded from BPD to Unspecified Depressive Disorder. I’m depressed a lot. It doesn’t take much. Procrastinating, being overwhelmed and wanting the world to slow down so that I can catch up. Getting really bad news. Having to attend a surprise funeral. All of these things have happened in the past year, and when I think I’m over them or recovering from them, something else happens.

On that day in late August, I was called self-centered. I was called manipulative. I was called infantile. I was told that I have no coping mechanisms, that things that would normally not affect a mentally healthy/stable human would send me on a spiral into depression and suicidal ideation. I was called a lot of things, none of them positive.On top of that, I was said to be incapable of introspection and self-examination. Even worse, it was said that my choice of career, librarian, was a manifestation of my pathological need to be isolated, yet accepted. [Someone doesn’t know a thing about 21st century libraries.]

Already, I’d recognized that I was beginning to feel lower than normal, that I was becoming overwhelmed with my responsibilities, that I needed and was ready to go back to therapy and get my life in order again. I was setting plans in motion. Then this happened.

Six fucking years of work almost destroyed. Six years of getting up everyday, going to work everyday, going to school every day. Six years, off and on, of journaling when I felt extremely low. Six years of talking myself out of depression. Six years of self-realization, self-actualization. Six years of making attempts to talk to strangers in the hopes of making new friends, which I hate doing. Six years of going after things that terrify me, like grad school and a library job and a promotion. Six fucking years of trying to better than I was at 18 years old. I was shaking. I was angry. I was near tears. I wanted to lay down and not get up again. I wanted to crawl into a whole and never come out. I wanted to drink every bottle of wine in my house, and I have a lot of it.

Instead, I told my mom. Instead, I grabbed three bottles of water and drained the first one in ~45 seconds. Instead, I texted my best friends, one who knew me before, one who knew me after, and two I see on a regular basis. I read off all the traits, and asked them. Because I don’t think that I am any of those things above. I recognize that I have the capacity to be. I’m human, dammit. But I work, actively, at not being those things. I work at being an adult every fucking day. Then again, I am incapable of self-examination, so they said.

Every answer came back, “Uhm…no. Where is this coming from? Are you ok?” In that moment, I wasn’t. I was not ok. I was barely safe. I was hanging on by strength of will alone. It was a long night and even longer day after, because I went to work. My entire world had been rocked, but I went to work the next day. I have been going to work every day.

I am actually really proud of myself, because six years ago, I would not have been able to write this in public. I would not have recognized that I was on a downswing. I would not have reached out for help. I would not have had emergency triage with four friends on three different sets of text messages simultaneously. I would not have recognized so soon that I was letting these words rule my life and ruin my self-perception.

Even now, I’m struggling. My participation in class is slipping. My dedication to my job is fading. But I will not be that girl anymore. I have wallowed in this trench of self-loathing for a month. I have given this process, this person, entirely too much power over my life. I have had enough. I love being a librarian. I love learning and I love the 3.9 GPA that comes with it. I have coping mechanisms, including coloring, going to the gym, reading, journaling, and web-surfing. I recognize that I have the capacity for a whole host of negative emotions and traits, yet I work at not giving in to them. It’s not easy. I lean, heavily at times, on outside support. But I am determined to be better, always and in all ways, than I was at 18 years old.

Thanks for listening. Until next time

BookRiot Round-Up

On 9/21/2015, BookRiot participated in #BlackOutDay by running articles by black writers. I took a moment to round-up the books and authors mentioned in these posts. The books run the gamut from fiction to nonfiction, kid lit to adult, and straight and queer. There are classics and award-winners alongside more popular and genre titles. Take a look, then head out to your local library or bookstore!




Nnedi Okorafor
N.K. Jemisin
Alaya Dawn Johnson
Colson Whitehead
Tobias Buckell
Bill Campbell
Amy Tan
Alice Walker
Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
Zora Neale Hurston
Octavia Butler
Jason Reynolds
Beverly Jenkins
Susana Fraser
Pema Donyo
Jennifer Roberson
K.J. Charles
Mineko Iwasaki
Cindy Pon
Meg Medina
Nicola Yoon
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Margo Jefferson
Toni Morrison
Jacqueline Woodson
Janet Mock
Justin Simien
Baratunde Thurston
Kehinde Wiley
Saeed Jones
ZZ Packer
Sharon M. Draper
Jeff Hobbs
Jesmyn Ward
James McBride
Mary Hoffman
Victor Sejour
Martin Delany
Pauline Hopkins
W.E.B. DuBois
Frances E.W. Harper
Samuel Delany
Sheree Renee Thomas
Walidah Imarisha
Daniel Jose Older
Tananarive Due
Sofia Samatar
Andrea Hairston
Nisi Shawl
Steven Barnes
​Ayize Jama-Everett
Jennifer Marie Brissett​


I couldn’t resist adding these last two 🙂




Readers’ Advisory: Mouthful of Forevers. Clementine von Radics

Quick Facts

Author: Clementine von Radics

Published 2015 Andrews McMeel Publishing 9781449470791

112 pages $16.99US, $19.99CAN

Available in print and eBook


Why I Read It

During my end of fiscal year shopping spree at my library earlier in the summer, I asked my friends what they thought a library needed. One thing mentioned was more and diverse poetry. I went through our poetry collection, and while it is not sparse by any means, it did need some updating and retrofitting. I bought all the poetry that looked good, and even some that didn’t look good, because who am I to decide what someone will like or not like. I bought African poets, African-American poets, white poets, celebrity poets, former sex worker poets, tumblr poets, Asian poets, and many others. As a lover of poetry, I couldn’t resist trying to read all of this new poetry I bought for the library.

TLL’s Tag

Love and life are the strangest things.

The Rundown

A collection of poems chronicling the life, loves, and heartbreak of one woman.

Here’s what I think

It usually takes me a day, one sitting even, to read a book of poetry. As much as I can, I try not to stop too often to reflect on each individual poem, because I would rather examine my feelings to the piece as a whole first, then go back and choose my favorites. I couldn’t do that with Mouthful of Forevers. Every poem felt real in a visceral way, and I could not casually go on to the next as if my life had not just shifted a bit at the reading. I should not have started reading this at work, because I was in tears. I was completely and utterly destroyed in ways that I’m not sure I can describe right now. In 112 pages, and though I cannot relate to everything von Radics writes about, it felt as if my life had been mined to fuel someone else’ creative genius.

I have some favorite poems from this  collection. One of them is the most famous titular poem. I can see why it has inspired wedding vows and tattoos. It, like all of von Radics’ poems, is powerful.

Final decision

Prepare to be completely destroyed.


Links to the Author, Interviews, and Reviews

Author tumblr:

tongue tied magazine review & interview:

hooligan magazine interview, page 16:

Tattooed Librarian: Baby Kraken

I got a new tattoo. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you’ve seen this cute baby already.  Now, you get to see it again! Two weeks ago, I was off on a Saturday. I made plans in my head weeks and weeks before this that I was going to get a tattoo that day. Why? Because even though a fresh tattoo should stay out of direct sunlight, I wanted to be able to wear sleeveless shirts while the tattoo healed. I didn’t want to have to immediately cover it up, because it was too cold. The weather has been a bit confusing lately, though. The breezes have had more of a September feel that an August feel, more chill, less heat. Anyway. After deciding the day, I had to find the shop. I’ve been researching tattoo shops and artists off and on for a while now, discovering techniques that cool and whatnot. I finally decided that I was going to go to Tattoo Paradise.

At that point, it was a decision between which shop to go to. Do I go to their flagship shop in DC? Do I go to Rockville? Do I go to Wheaton? I didn’t know. I ended up in Rockville, mainly because I hate driving in DC alone, and I hate parking in Adams Morgan even more. Why drive when there is the metro, you ask? The closest metro station to Adams Morgan is almost a mile away. I’d be alone, in the city, walking a mile. I’d rather not do that. If I’d had friends with me, I would have done it, because I believe in the buddy system. So, I hopped in my car and drove up to Rockville. There was an hour wait, because I didn’t make an appointment. So, I waited at the Starbucks in the Safeway down the street. Got some tattoo aftercare supplies. My artist was Carly Corpse, a wonderful dude. He did mention, as all artists do when I want color, that it might be better to just do a black and gray tattoo. I politely told him no. This tattoo needed to be in color.

I found this little guy on Pinterest, maybe, two years ago. I knew then that he needed to be permanently inked into my skin. However, I did not draw him. I did not ask anyone to draw him for me. He’s just a cute picture I found on the internet that makes me happy. For two years, I would look at him and smile and laugh. I would bring him up when I was feeling down. I even brought him to work this month. Did you know that August is Happiness Happens month? Our branch manager asked us to bring in photos of what makes us happy. I brought him. He has since made everybody else happy too. 🙂

Welcome, little buddy. Tattoo number eight. Artist: Carly Corpse. Shop:  Tattoo Paradise


Isn’t he just adorable?!?!?!

Lush Adventures


This summer I celebrated a milestone birthday. I turned 25 years old on July 13th. It was fabulous. I spent the entire week from the 10-15 doing anything and everything I wanted, because it’s my birthday. I took time off work. I read a book. Ok, that one isn’t anything new, but I actually finished that book. I slept a lot. I also went on adventures. My first adventure was with my best friend, Chelsea. We don’t see each other very often. We live in different states, and have work responsibilities and family stuff that keep us from meeting on a regular basis. We talk every day, but it’s not the same. We made a plan in college that we would try to go on one trip every year. This does not count “Hey, I’m free this weekend, are you? Wanna drive down/Can I drive up?” No. These are planned trips to places neither of us have ever been where it’s just us. We reconnect and have fun.

This year, that trip fell on the weekend before my birthday. I wanted to go to the beach. We didn’t really have time to plan to go somewhere far away, like Miami or Savannah. But neither of us have ever been to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. It is a two-hour drive from both of our houses, so we would be meeting in the middle and neither of us would be driving farther than the other. Perfect. The trip was nice. It was totally worth it. I only got to the beach for an hour, and it was cloudy and crowded. Like really crowded. An hour was perfectly fine. The sun did come out that day, and we spent the sunny time lounging by the pool, taking naps and reading books.

Nassau Valley Vineyards. Lewes, DE
Nassau Valley Vineyards. Lewes, DE

Between the beach and the pool, though, we did other things. One other thing that I wanted to do this year was to go to a vineyard. We went to Nassau Valley Vineyards in Lewes, DE, and did a tasting. Now, what’s fun is that even though we were together, it was an individual tasting of six wines. She got six and I got six. If you’re doing the math, we got to have twelve different wines that day. We both fell in love with their Peach Ambrosia, Indian River Red Blend, and Naked Chardonnay. Peach Ambrosia has no grapes in it. It is made only with peaches. Y’all. When I tell you, it was the best. It really was. It pairs amazingly with ginger snaps. The peach really pops. Indian River Red is a fruity red blend that goes down really smooth. We tried two Chardonnays. One was a traditional Chardonnay barreled in oak. The other, naked Chardonnay was barreled in stainless steel. It was much brighter and cleaner than the traditional.

We had a great conversation with the guy who led our wine tasting. If I remember correctly, he was the husband half of the husband-and-wife team who operate the vineyard. Such a good guy. We talked about wine, chocolate, beer, bartending in New York. It was great. When we told him that we also like to drink beer, he mentioned that Dogfish Head Brewery wasn’t too far away, and we should visit. Sounded like a great plan to me, so off we went.

Dogfish Head Milton, DE
Dogfish Head Milton, DE

We originally wanted to do the Brewery tour and the tasting, but the tours were full. Like, completely full. There were so many people hanging out, playing bocce ball, and drinking at Dogfish Head. It was a relaxed and fun atmosphere. I would go back in a heartbeat. We did the tasting. Four beers each, but only two choices. On the tasting card, everybody got to taste the summer brews of Festina Peche and Namaste. Of those two, I preferred Namaste. It had a bit more body than that Festina Peche. Festina Peche was way too light for me in taste. Of the two choices, I went with Midas Touch and Birra Estrusca. She tasted Theobroma and an Indian Brown Ale. We both hated the Indian Brown. Too dark. Too weird tasting. Not good. Birra Etrusca was ok. It was a bit bitter for me, but she thought it was ok. Theobroma and Midas Touch were clear winners. Midas Touch has a such a crisp taste, slightly sweet, but a good heaviness. Theobroma, we expected something different. Theobroma is an ancient sweet alcoholic drink. Think dark chocolate. So, naturally, we expected something dark, bittersweet, hints of coffee and  chocolate. It was a nice amber color, definite hints of chocolate, some nuttyness, but no coffee.

We rounded out our trip with various foodstuffs and bingewatching Disney Channel, just like our college days.


The day of my birthday,  I spent with my other best friend, Jessica. We got together and drove out to Haymarket, VA for a wine tasting at The Winery at La Grange. This was a six wine tasting, but you only got six choices. They are a smaller operation than Nassau Valley, but they also have a wine club. So, there are wines that are only available to wine club members. If you’re wondering, yes, I am now a wine club member. I couldn’t help myself. They let us taste their 2012 Tannat and a 2013 Tempranillo. Tempranillo has been my favorite grape for about a year now. It comes from Spain, and it is just so good. It’s warm and earthy. Think dark berries. I love it. The Tannat is the same way, but a bit different. There is a heaviness there that I really enjoy. The other wine that really stood out for both of us was the 2013 Cuvee Blanc. There is a spicyness to it that made it perfect. Our tasting was led by a so sweet southern guy. His parents are from Louisiana and Alabama, and you can really hear it in his voice. We went back recently for a wine club party, and got to try their in-house sangria. They make a white and a red. The red tastes like mulled wine, which isn’t bad at all, but more a winter and hot drink taste than a summer/cold drink taste. The white is amazing. We also took ourselves on a little walk beside the vineyard, and got some photos of the 2015 grapes. Those should make for some excellent wines. It has been a very hot summer.

Delicious white sangria from Winery at La Grange
Delicious white sangria from Winery at La Grange
The Vineyard at Winery at La Grange
The Vineyard at Winery at La Grange