A Beginner’s Guide to Wine

I’m going to preface this post with a disclaimer…

Disclaimer: Don’t expect me to tell you how to get good wine for cheap- you get what you pay for. And, after you’ve had a few, taste doesn’t matter as much anyways… once you’re taste buds are drunk they probably can’t tell the difference between a bottle of Dal Forno Valpolicella (I dare you to pronounce that correctly) and a bottle of Barefoot Merlot.

Wine-FountainNow that we’ve got that out of the way, we can talk about what really matters- wine.

Saying that wine is your favorite way to drink your alcohol is the “classy” way of saying you like to have a good time- collegiate socialites are ALL about that classy drunk life. Having a long stemmed glass of wine makes thinking you’re better than everyone else a lot easier. Let’s be honest- believing in yourself is the first step to having everyone else believe it too.

We go to college to learn. Part of every college curriculum should be learning how to go from being a wine drinker to a knowledgeable wino.

Categorizing wine isn’t as easy as white or red- there is a whole spectrum of wine. In fact, there are hundreds of types of both red and white wine grapes (called varietals) contributing to the diversity of wines. Since this is a beginner’s guide, here are some general categories to help you impress your friends and show them you aren’t just a boozhee college bitch:

Sparkling: Sparkling wine ranges from very dry to very sweet, and generally contains less alcohol than other table wines (boring, right?!). You’ll usually find that sparkling wine is either white or rosé.

  • Pair with: Poultry or seafood, a creamy sauce, cheese, or enjoy on its own.
  • When to serve: Celebrations and parties

Betty White WineWhite: With white wine, grapes are separated from their skins and made into juice before fermentation. They’re not all light wines. They can be light-, medium- or full-bodied, which represents how thick they feel in your mouth. Sweet wines like Riesling tend to be on the lighter (thinner) end while Chardonnay is at the fuller end, with a higher alcohol content, and a rich, creamy flavor.

  • Pair with: Fish, salads, and meals with sour flavors like lemon, as well as desserts.
  • When to serve: Light whites for summer events, or fall for full-bodied whites

Rosé: If you’re looking for an in-between selection, Rosé is a good option.It is a versatile wine that can be paired with many dishes. It’s typically made from black grapes (red-wine grapes), giving it subtle color. Like white wine, it’s best served soon after its release for optimal flavor and aromas.

  • Pair with: Most cheeses, pasta dishes, as well as any spring or summer meal.
  • When to serve: Spring and summer events and parties

Red: Red wines have bold, complex flavors, but it’s hard to generalize them because they have so many flavors and aromas. These are most commonly paired with red meat. When choosing the type you want to pair with your meal, consider the meat you’ll be serving. The bolder the wine, the richer the meat should be.

  • When to serve: Great year-round, but should be your go-to for fall and winter dinner parties and gatherings.
  • Pair with: A main course that includes red meats, strong cheeses or salty foods

Dessert: Made from naturally sweet grapes, these wines are the sweetest. These always taste delicious alongside fruit, chocolate and other desserts. Remember that you want to serve one that’s sweeter than the dessert, so the food doesn’t take away or change the wine’s flavor.

  • When to serve: After the main course in any meal
  • Pair with: Other desserts, or salty foods

WINE TASTING TIP

Wine TastingThe key to successful wine tasting (and avoid looking foolish) is developing your palate (something I’m still working on). The easiest way to start is to begin with what you smell and taste – from there, you’ll unearth the many aromas and flavors that go into your first sip. Wine can have aromas ranging from fruit to herbs to smoky scents, and over time you’ll pick up on the different hints of each.

 

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9 Reasons it is Never Okay to Wear Sweats

Mean-Girl-Sweatpants

I have never really had any political ambitions. Other than my theory that pretty people are better leaders and should be elected over the ugly, my only other political ambitions are based on fashion atrocities that I think should be banned (i.e. white socks, scrunchies, untailored suits, etc…). But, the one article of clothing I never cease to question why it even exists is sweatpants- seriously, ew. Don’t, just don’t.

Christian Louboutin said it best. “I hate the whole concept of comfort,” he says. “It’s like when people say, ‘Well, we’re not really in love, but we’re in a comfortable relationship.’ You’re abandoning a lot of ideas when you are too into comfort. ‘Comfy’- that’s one of the worst words! I just picture a woman feeling bad, with a big bottle of alcohol, really puffy.”

Jimmy Fallon Thumbs DownI’m not sure who thought it would be good idea to create a pant out of thick cotton material, bind the bottom with elastic, and share them with the world. What idiot would create such an ugly concoction and then think it was a good idea to sell it? Whoever they are, I want their name, number and address stat because we’ve got some shit to talk about.

For those of you who disagree with me, and think that being comfortable outweighs the benefits of being an upstanding member of society, here are 9 logical reasons you should boycott sweatpants right this second and to the end of time:

  1. People will automatically label you as “the poor girl who just got dumped and who is comforting herself with Nicholas Sparks movies and a few pints of chunky monkey.” It doesn’t matter if it’s true, just don’t have them thinking it is.
  2. Nobody believes you are going to work out. Everyone wears track pants, running shorts or yoga pants now- people stopped wearing sweatpants to the gym in the 90s.
  3. Your wrinkled dress at the bottom of your laundry hamper, with the mustard stain down the front of it, STILL looks better than a pair of sweat pants.
  4. There is nothing that you can pair with sweatpants to make them look even kind-0f stylish and not like you just rolled out of bed (which you probably did).
  5. Everyone will probably assume that you’ve been gaining weight and none of your other clothes fit. It’s a awful thing to think, but it is true.
  6. Mean-Girls-Cant-Sit-With-Us-GIFMean Girls taught us that wearing sweatpants in the wrong situation, will make you lose all your friends.
  7. You probably don’t remember the last time they were washed, and you couldn’t care less about your shitty pair of sweats.
  8. Other people wear proper pants; pants with buttons and zippers, so you should too. It’s only fair to them and the rest of society.
  9. You are not Justin Bieber. If you wear them hanging halfway down your rear (even if it is accidentally) people will think that you’re a huge douchebag.

Do everyone a favor and forget about the sweatpants- they aren’t worth the trouble.

How to Save Money at Starbucks

Coffee optionA large cup of coffee has been one of the most consistent fashion accessories for years. How can it not be when celebrities and high class socialites are constantly being photographed with them. When you carry a cup of coffee with you, you carry the nectar of the gods. It makes the statement that you are strong, powerful and have a lot of important shit to get done.

Starbucks is my go to place to receive my daily dose- you could say I have an addiction. If you, like me, have the need to feed your inner white girl with a latte, macchiato or frap then your credit card probably lets out a small whimper every time you enter the store or drive through. Well, tell that little bitch to shut up- I have some great tips to cut down on how much you spend on each cup (which just means you can get multiple doses each day now)!

Order basic menu items and get creative: While Starbucks baristas will whip up nearly any combination of flavors at your request, by understanding what goes into many drinks you can get creative and save a lot. It’s all about ordering a basic (and cheaper) menu item and adding free ingredients such as creamer, milk or vanilla flavoring to get it closer to your favorite but high-cost drink. This will significantly cut what you pay while getting you essentially the same beverage. Here are two easy examples of substitutions that are much cheaper.

Order an espresso with room instead of a latte: The basic ingredients of a latte are espresso and steamed milk, while an Americano contains espresso and water. By opting for an Americano with extra room in the cup, you can add your own milk at the store for free. An Americano is priced similarly to drip coffee, so this Starbucks menu hack represents meaningful savings relative to a latte.

This substitution makes even more sense in the summer when you’re ordering your drink on ice. An iced latte is just espresso and cold milk (not steamed), so order an iced Americano or a double-shot espresso on ice and add milk yourself to get essentially the same end result for a fraction of the price.

Order a chai tea instead of a chai latte: This is a similar idea to the substitution suggestion above: Opt for a chai tea with plenty of room in the cup and add your own milk. You can save significantly because the cost of hot tea is dramatically less than the cost of a chai latte. In this case, the drink has some other differences from the original chai latte and won’t taste exactly the same, but it’s close enough and the savings are worth it.

Join the My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program: Starbucks has done a great job of making its loyalty program both easy to use and a helpful, money-saving tool. You can easily sign up through the Starbucks site and get a membership card, and manage your rewards account through the My Starbucks Rewards app. The app includes features that allow you to order ahead of time, pay electronically at the store, quickly reload gift card balances and more.

Most importantly, your My Starbucks Rewards membership will qualify you for plenty of free giveaways. For example, you get a free espresso drink on your birthday, plus you will receive regular offers for discounts and other giveaways. You’ll also get freebies if you’re a frequent Starbucks customer. After you have made 30 purchases in a year, you qualify to receive a free purchase for every 12 items you buy. If you follow Starbucks on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, you can be alerted to coupons, free drink certificates and other promotions.

Find Starbucks deals online: Similar to the offers you can find on social media sites, Groupon is often a great way to save money at Starbucks and its online store that sells its signature brand of coffee and related items. While these deals are not always available, when they do show up they can lead to significant savings.

Know Starbucks policies: Starbucks offers a few simple ways to save money, but only to those who know to ask for them. For example, if you bring your own mug, you save 10 cents on your drink order. By using your own mug, you can do something for the environment and save a few cents along the way. If you are a Starbucks regular, this can add up to real savings over time.

Another policy that is not widely broadcast is Starbucks’ refill policy. If you are drinking drip coffee and want a refill during the same visit to the store, you will be charged only 50 cents (unless you’re a Starbucks gold member- then refills are free). This couples well with the free Wi-Fi, making Starbucks a great place to settle down and get some work done.

10 Tips for Getting Free Drinks- For Women

You don’t have to look like Blake Lively, have ASS-ets like Beyonce or be funny like Amy Schumer to get drinks bought for you when you go out (it does help though). As a college student, going out to the bar is tough because we can make drinks at home for a fraction of the price. But- if you’re like me and enjoy meeting new people, dancing to big bass and flirting with strangers, going out is the best way to have a great weekend.

I want all the alcohol-gifAs the title would suggest, this post is for my ladies out there; the same tricks that work for straight women aren’t necessarily going to work for men (whether they’re gay or straight). Without further ado, here are the top 10 tips I have for getting free drinks at bars and nightclubs:

  1. Don’t travel in packs. It’s a lot less intimidating when there are less of you. Pick a cute friend to be your partner in crime the rest of the night. This is a good trick because even if the guy is interested in your friend and not you, odds are he’ll buy you both a drink- it’s the decent thing to do.
  2. Look hot but innocent! Know what your best characteristics are, and show them off in something sexy. Flipping your hair, popping the booty and flashing a flirty smile worked for your mom- it’ll work for you too. Don’t forget the cleavage.
  3. If you’re sitting down and chatting with a friend and a guy comes over to talk to you, just smile and say, “Aren’t you going to buy me a drink before you start hitting on me?” He will take this as you flirting with him and he will always agree.
  4. Pretend it’s your birthday. If you’re brave enough, wear a crown. You will probably get a drink on the house from the bartender, and several of the guys around the room will also offer.
  5. When you arrive, situate yourself in an area with lots of guys. As an attractive girl, you’ll be noticed immediately and it won’t be long before you’ll be sipping on margaritas the rest of the night.
  6. FLIRT! Don’t forget about what your mojo can get you. Flirting is by far the easiest way to get people to buy you drinks, and it’s amazing what a good 5 minute conversation can get you.
  7. Become a regular. It’s much easier for regulars to receive free drinks because the staff and customers are all potential buyers. Focus your efforts on one or two places and you’ll be more likely to reap quick rewards.
  8. Befriend an older man at the bar. Um, hello… old fashioned manners. He’ll have to offer and it would be rude not to accept.
  9. Don’t be afraid to initiate conversation. Being strong and independent is seen as flirty and sexy. Trust yourself, you’ll immediately go up a couple of points on the hotness scale.
  10. Always go out with your gay friend. They will do most of the flirting for you. You will always get free drinks AND he’ll make sure you get home safe (I know this from personal experience because I do this all the time- works like a charm).