coffee cup, laptop, phone, notebook and pen neatly on a desk

Wine for Being Organized

Those who know me well know that I’m extremely organized. At home and at work, I’m usually the one with all her ducks in a row. I truly believe this is the only way I can juggle being a wife, mom, manager, professor, friend and colleague. Since the New Year is really right around the corner, I’m reminded that for many, it’s a time to renew commitments to being organized. For others, it’s a time to make positive changes and sometimes that means figuring out how those changes integrate into daily life. This post will lay out some of the many things I do to keep myself organized day to day.

  1. Google/Outlook Calendars – I use both. Google is my personal calendar, which I share with my husband. It’s color coded by family member to help easily see what’s what. The minute an event or deadline or appointment is set, it goes on the calendar. This way, it reduces the chances of it getting missed. Outlook is the one I use at work. I put all my meetings on it, as well as time out of the office, plus my class times are included. I am careful always to mark down my busy time so people can’t schedule meetings during those times.
  2. Daily Planner – I have a daily planner where I keep lists of all that needs to get done. There are four main sections – workouts, personal items and appointments and work task list. In 2018, I used the Catholic Daily Planner and I enjoyed the layout so much that I ordered another, larger size for 2019. Some people use bullet journals, while others just keep lists. Whatever works for you, I highly encourage. For me, the workouts help me not only keep track of the days I lift but also how much I’m lifting so I continue to progress. I don’t keep track of my nutrition here since I use MyFitnessPal for that but there’s just something about writing down the workouts! I also love the calendar feature that allows me to list all the important activities for the week. I mostly end up putting the personal stuff on there just to keep me sane on that front! I include piano, swim, cheer, field hockey, even Mass on there!
  3. Meal Planning – I do my grocery shopping every Saturday morning. Friday night or Saturday morning, I plan out dinners for the week and write down all that I need to buy. I try to go through the freezer and pantry to use what we have as much as possible but, I admit, I sometimes fall down there! But, planning it all out helps save money and time. If the recipes are online, the links go right into our shared Google Calendar, otherwise the book and page number are listed. I post the dinner menu on the fridge so everyone knows that to expect.
  4. Nighttime Routine – Every evening, I take the time to plan for the next morning. I fill my shaker bottles and set up my gym bag and clothes, set out my clothes for the next morning, get my work bag packed and set out anything else that needs to be ready to go. I make the kids lunches and put the cold stuff in the fridge for them. They assemble them on their own each morning. I lay out Christopher’s clothes for him and he dresses himself. I try to set things up so the kids can be responsible individually for their own stuff to the extent they can. Having everything ready like that is a huge help in the morning and the only way I can get out the door timely.
  5. Do things the minute you think of them or write it down – I try to just handle things as they come to me or write it down immediately so I can’t forget. If I remember I need to write a check for the piano teacher, I stop and do it, or I make a note or set an alarm. I look at mail the minute it comes in or I get home and review it. I write things down at work as I think of things I need to do.
  6. Neat and tidy – I am as neat as I can be. I have a few spots in the house that are not as neat and organized (my closet, for one), but for the most part everything has a place and I try to keep things organized. It’s helpful for me to know where things are and to be surrounding by neat rather than chaos. Sure, sometimes things get away from me but our house and my office are generally tidy with things put away or stacked neatly. Now that I have two weeks off between Christmas and New Year’s, I use the time to clean out closets and the kids’ rooms, etc. in preparation for the new year. Spring/summer is another key clean out time. Other than that, we just try to keep up throughout the year.

When I’m cleaning my house, I love to sip wine. Something easy drinking that can stand on its own works best since I am likely not also snacking or dining while cleaning! One can only multitask so much! I would recommend a fruity Cabernet, semi-dry Riesling or even a sparkly Cava or Prosecco to celebrate your newfound organization skills! Cheers!

 

barbells

Wine for a Workout Video

Last month I had the pleasure of being asked to create a video to illustrate my workout supplement regimen. Lyzabeth Lopez, an internationally known trainer who created the Hourglass Workout, asked if I would please explain all the vitamins and supplements I use to help build curves. As a “hard gainer,” it’s long been a struggle for me to put on muscle and weight and I have finally gotten the formula right, thanks to her guidance.

So, I set up my countertop and propped up my iPhone 7 to create the selfie video. I don’t do videos and so I was pretty certain it was going to come out awful! But, I did five takes and the first one ended up being chosen! Who knew I was a one take wonder? There are some things I would have done differently. Perhaps, I would have moved my husband’s nearly empty Diet Coke bottle off the table, for example. But, overall I’m not totally embarrassed by the performance! Lopez used the video in a blog post all about curve building supplements and I’m happy to be able to help other women find their perfect formulas, too.

If you’re interested in watching the video, I’ve inserted it below. You also can read more about my journey. As for the wine supplement? Well, as you know, I enjoy a glass or two most evenings although when I’m in a building phase, as I am now, I limit to only on Wednesdays (it’s #WineWednesday every week!) and weekends. I believe I enjoyed a lovely Prosecco after I filmed this video as a treat to myself for having the courage to do it in the first place! Cheers!

cross stitch

Wine for Celebration

We celebrated over the weekend, just a tiny bit. What did we celebrate? Well, for starters, there was a royal wedding! Well, maybe we didn’t quite celebrate that but we did watch; hard not to get absorbed in all the pageantry of the event. Even Christopher enjoyed the soldiers and white horses! No, we celebrated the fact that we’re finally making some progress on things around the house and the busiest of days are behind us.

remnants of a tree branch felled in the backyardOn Friday, a tree company came to take down a large tree branch that had been precariously hanging since last fall’s terrible storm brought down a section of it. It took four experts mere minutes to take care of something we never could have done ourselves but to save money, a huge mess was left behind. I arrived home to see everyone in the back yard picking up leaves and branches. I decided right then and there that we should have sparkling wine!

I bought a Ruffino prosecco from the corner liquor store, nothing fancy. But while there I spotted two more wines that looked interesting. So, I picked up a Pinot Noir from Liberty School wines on the Central Coast of California, and a rose of Malbec, too. After drinking the rose with dinner, we didn’t actually pop the cork on the Ruffino. We saved that until Saturday night and pretended to toast the royal couple instead!

Although a tree branch down is not a huge cause for most people to celebrate, I also felt like celebrating because most of the major events of spring are over, meaning I have time to reorganize, reenergize and clean out! I spent hours Sunday cleaning out my craft room. In hindsight I should have taken a “before” picture because it was pretty bad! The “after” picture is a thing of beauty, if I do say so myself!

I love making things look neat and love purging even more. Sometimes I think I hoard just so I can have the pleasure of getting rid of stuff later. Actually, I’m not too much of a hoarder because the things that get saved are useful. My issue is that I forget I have said things and end up buying more! But, between what I have and what I recently inherited in the way of craft supplies, it all needed to be organized and straightened up.

I am of the believe that you don’t need as much space as you think you need because if you have the space you will fill it. I think being a little bit squeezed is a good thing because it forces you to be strategic about what you acquire and keep. I didn’t think I had the space for all the new stuff but when it came right down to it, I had plenty of room.

Sunday night, we capped off the weekend with Hawkes Cabernet Sauvignon, a glorious, full-bodied red that has a dry, but not too dry finish. Ready to hit the next spring cleaning project next weekend! Cheers!

maria, lucia and christopher smiling and eating ice cream

Wine for “Almost” Spring/Summer

I’m on a roll now! The weather turned gorgeous this week. I’m feeling a bit more like myself. In this post, a short one for #WineWednesday, I wanted to share my top 5 spring/summer wine choices. Cheers!

  1. Sauvignon Blanc – I enjoy those from New Zealand, although I have enjoyed a few from other regions, as well.
  2. Chablis – I seldom write about this one because it’s rare that I find a good bottle but when I do, wow! I forget how much I love it. My favorite pairing for Chablis is sushi.
  3. White merlot – This one is often overlooked but very enjoyable particularly if you have guests who are not used to drinking wine. It’s essentially a blush, which has wider appeal.
  4. Riesling – Of all the whites, this one is my favorite. I love the German Rieslings and those inspired by that region, particularly the Mosel/Saar River area. Try Hermann J. Weimer from the Finger Lakes region in New York state..
  5. Red blend – Red blends tend to be easy-drinking and often fruit forward, making them ideal for nights by the campfire. You can find inexpensive ones at most local liquor stores, including Lucas Vineyards Tugboat Red and Red Truck wine. Any red blend will do!
  6. BONUS: Champagne/Prosecco – Who doesn’t love a good bottle of bubbly? It makes any ordinary day/evening a real treat!

What are some of your favorite summer wines? Comment below! I love new ideas!

workout-wear

Wine for Workout Friends

As I have mentioned, I belong to a private Facebook group of women who are all on the same workout journey. Train with Lyzabeth’s program comes with exclusive access to this group. At first, I didn’t think I’d participate in it at all. Boy, was I wrong! I think the primary reason I’m still active on Facebook today is my involvement and interaction with this terrific group of women.

First of all, they come from all. over. the. world. Seriously! And, they all have different jobs, backgrounds and lives! Some are going to school, while working and raising families. Some are entrepreneurs, such as one of the group’s superstars, Alicia Mayi, who owns Ali of all Trades.

She recently created a bunch of tanks and tee shirts for the girls in the TWL group to wear at the gym. We’re all from the same tribe even though we’re from all over the world! I purchased a few tanks, as well as a fun t-shirt for my husband. Alicia added a fun surprise to my shipment, as well; a decal of a wine glass that says Wine for All Times!

This is a great example of her thoughtfulness and is illustrative of all the girls in the TWL community. They are supportive, understanding, caring individuals. I’m so glad to have virtually connected with them and look forward to perhaps meeting them someday soon!

When we do, we definitely have to have sparkling wine. I mean, what’s a girl party without bubbly! We could toast our commitment to our own health and whatever else our hearts desire. Some of my favorite sparkling wines are Italian Proseccos and I love a good Cava from Spain, as well.

In fact, writing this reminds me that I want to try some more sparkling wines in the future. I recently read a blog post about Austrian sparkling wine. Hmmm. Maybe my next review? Cheers!

Champagne for New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve wouldn’t be complete without a bubbly champagne! As promised, below are some choices for champagne or sparkling wine selections. By the way, true champagne comes from the French region and is normally pretty pricey but most stores carry sparkling wines in the champagne tradition. Or you can always choose a Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) or a Cava (Spanish sparkling wine). When choosing a sparkling wine of any kind, remember brut is dry and normally not as sweet. Keeping that in mind, here are a few of my picks:

  1. Pick a sparkling wine that uses grapes with which you are familiar. Most of the Finger Lakes wineries carry sparkling versions that use the Cayuga white grape, for example. They are affordable and yummy! Just locate the New York section at your local wine or liquor store and you should be able to find some selections. A few I’ve had include Swedish Hill and Dr. Frank’s.
  2. If you would like an Italian version of Prosecco, check out Cupcake Vineyards’ version, which is highly rated even by Rachel Ray!
  3. Cava is a delicious sparkling wine from Spain. It’s not as well-known but it is usually priced right and has a delightful sweetness to it. Check out Wine Folly’s full description on Cava and dare to try one for your celebration!

BONUS: If you have kiddos this holiday, make sure you serve up some bubbly for them, too. I’m planning to make this simple mock champagne recipe from Chef Mom this year. I found all the ingredients at Wegmans, including the unbreakable champagne “glasses” from their seasonal isle!

No matter what you drink this New Year’s, enjoy the moment and reflect on 2016. Remember, a new year is chance to start over and a way to make a fresh start. Make a resolution that you can truly keep. And if you need some inspiration on that front, why not resolve to read more A Wine for All Times? Kidding… Happy New Year, everyone!