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Shadows of the Forest Cover Reveal

Shadows of the Forest
Emma Michaels
Publication date: November 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Everyone is dying to live in the Shadows of the Forest.
They gave me three rules to follow in exchange for my brother’s life:
1. Do not enter the West Wing;
2. Do not go outside after darkness falls; and
3. There is only one exit; The Gates.

This is what happened when I broke them…

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Author Bio:

Emma Michaels is the award winning author of the Society of Feathers series with over 15 publications under her belt. With a love for all things story-telling this bibliophile plans to take over the world one cup of coffee at a time. A rule breaker who isn’t afraid to have uncommon opinions she is an avid lover of mathematics and stand out fiction which transcends both its genre and format whether books, games, movies, or otherwise. A good story is a good story. When she isn’t online she is out dancing in the Washington rain or seeking new adventures.

Website / Facebook / Twitter

 

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An Announcement…

Be sure you watch this video aaaaaaaaaaall the way through. 

 

You watched the video, right?

With that announcement, comes the announcement that I’ll be needing a few guest bloggers to write about favorite wines between now and June.  I have several review notes ready myself to post, but it would be great to have others’ voices as well. If you’re interested, read my guest-posting guidelines and drop me a line with your ideas. 

Book Review: Do Your Om Thing

Do Your Om Thing cover

I definitely need to learn how to chill out more. When I saw that there was a call by TLC Book Tours for people to review Rebecca Pacheco’s new book, Do Your Om Thing, I was excited to volunteer.  The book, after all, promised to be a way for me to not only learn more about yoga, but also a way to learn more about how to meditate and retreat from the stresses of every day life.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for my review.  In addition to Pacheco including a lot of information about the practice of yoga and the practice of meditating, she has a lot of suggested exercises to help readers think more about their lives and about how yoga can be seen not just as something that is done for exercise but something that can help us stress less, reconnect with our bodies more, and get away from those pesky devices that keep wanting to pull us in. 

Pacheco starts off the book fairly early by talking about “the eight limbs of modern life.” These are:

  • Yamas: attitudes toward the world
  • Niyamas: attitudes toward self
  • Asanas: yoga postures
  • Pranayama: breathwork
  • Pratyhara: withdrawal of the senses or turning inward
  • Dharana: concentration
  • Dhyana: meditation
  • Samadhi: enlightenment (p. 14) 

For each of these limbs, Pacheco goes through and describes different yoga aspects and asks readers to consider some things. For example, questions asked after the section “Practice Kindness” include:

In what ways do my thoughts, words, and actions cause harm? […]

What’s one negative thought pattern (samskara) that I need to change to create more peace in my life and the world?

Instead of being a martyr/victim, how can I respectfully hiss to protect myself? (p. 21)

While at times, the book got a bit hippie-dippy for me, in all, I found it an interesting and well-thought out grounding in the philosophy behind yoga. Later in the book, she discusses yoga postures and practices to help readers become more spiritual. All of this provides the reader (in this case, me) with handy tools to help when stress strikes. 

About Do Your Om Thing

• Paperback: 288 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (September 6, 2016)

Sometimes an hour-long yoga class is the only chance we get to connect meaningfully with our bodies and our minds during an otherwise hectic week. For a brief moment we’re able to let our worries melt away and feel relaxed, centered, and fully ourselves. Have you ever wondered how it would feel to bring that experience out of the yoga studio and into your everyday life?

In Do Your Om Thing, master yoga teacher and creator of the popular blog OmGal.com Rebecca Pacheco shows us how to do just that. The true practice of yoga, she says, goes deeper than achieving the perfect headstand—it is about bringing awareness and intention to every part of our lives. In her warm, personal, and often hilarious prose, Rebecca translates yogic philosophy for its twenty-first-century devotees, making ancient principles feel accessible, relatable, and genuinely rooted in the world in which we live today.

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About Rebecca Pacheco

Rebecca Pacheco is an acclaimed yoga teacher, writer, speaker, and creator of the popular yoga blog OmGal.com. She has been practicing yoga for nearly two decades and began teaching while studying English Literature at the University of Richmond. Previously a master teacher at the Baptiste Power Yoga Institute, Rebecca now offers her signature Om Athlete and creative Vinyasa yoga classes. A longtime runner and Boston Marathon finisher, she is also the resident yoga expert for Runner’s Worldmagazine.

In addition to teaching internationally, Rebecca has had the honor of leading the first-ever yoga class on the field at Fenway Park. She lives in Boston with her fiancé, Dan Fitzgerald.

Find out more about Rebecca at her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Book Review: A Cunning Plan by Astrid Arditi

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This week has been book-heavy, I know. I promise you, there will be some exciting news soon, and I’m planning on posting a fun fall craft tutorial for tomorrow. For now, I’d like to introduce you to A Cunning Plan by Astrid Arditi. I’m glad to be participating in the Masquerade Book Tours project again, because I get to encounter new authors and new books via their program. 

When I read the description for A Cunning Plan, I knew I had to participate in the tour for the book. It sounded like a lot of fun, and with all the seriousness going on in the world, something that would be fun and distracting was most welcome. 

Silly and light definitely describe this novel. It’s a very quick and entertaining read, and from the get go, you know something isn’t quite right with main character Sloan. Yup, I get that she would be angry with her husband’s (Tom’s) decision to leave her or another woman – but man this woman is…well…she stalks him. Of course, Kate (Tom’s new love interest) has attracted other attention – from an IRS agent who wants to investigate Kate’s boss. 

All of this gets crazy, messy, and hilarious really quickly. I think that Arditi does a good job of pacing the story so you get swept up in it. If you’re looking for a good book to distract you from all the sad stuff going on in the world right now, this one does a good job of it.

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A Cunning PlanTitles: A Cunning Plan

Author: Astrid Arditi

Publication Dates: June 8, 2016

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

Determined to put her family back together, Sloane Harper stalks her ex husband and his annoyingly stunning mistress, Kate Stappleton. But she’s not the only one.

 

Handsome IRS agent Ethan Cunning is surveying Kate too, but for entirely different reasons. He is attempting to nail Kate’s playboy boss.

 

Ethan and Sloane decide to help each other, which sends Sloane’s wobbly life spinning out of control. She’ll have to face danger, humiliation, and – scariest of all – the dating scene, to lure her daughters’ father home.

 

Losing control was the best thing to happen to Sloane…until it turned lethal.

 

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astrid-arditiAstrid Arditi was born from a French father and Swedish mother. She lived in Paris and Rome before moving to London with her husband and daughter back in 2013.

 

After dabbling in journalism, interning at Glamour magazine, and teaching kindergarten, Arditi returned to her first love: writing.

 

She now splits her time between raising her kids (a brand new baby boy just joined the family) and making up stories.

 

A Cunning Plan is Arditi’s first published work.

 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

 

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Giveaway:  There is a giveaway for this tour. Two (2) $25 Amazon G.C. Ends 9/30. Open Internationally. Void where Prohibited.

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Surrendered

The Surrendered
Case Maynard
Published by: Blaze Publishing
Publication date: September 20th 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult

After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.

Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.

Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.

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EXCERPT:

A sinking feeling washes over me. “We’re going to Meadowood.”

He responds without opening his eyes, “I want answers.”

I start to argue that this will be a fool’s errand, but in truth, I want the same answers he does. “Do you think the man who rescued Oliver was with the Southies?”

“I don’t know who else it could’ve been.” He sits up and stretches. “It must’ve been them, and I want to know why they changed the plan without informing us. The Master and his Regulators got to the rooftop very quickly after I fired that shot. I have to wonder if someone told them we were there.”

“You think the Southies took Oliver to get the combination and then set the Regulators on us? Why would they do that?”

He rubs his face. “It doesn’t make any sense. But something’s not adding up.”

I ponder this, thinking about my brother’s strange plea. “I know you think I’m insane, but I can’t help but feel like Oliver knew someone was going to take him; I swear it felt like he was speaking to me when he said not to interfere. But that doesn’t make any sense, either. He’s been behind the fence for years.”

Cason yawns and tries to shake off the effects of the Papaver. “I don’t think you’re crazy; his message did seem odd for someone who was about to hang for a crime he didn’t commit. I don’t know, but hopefully he’ll be at Meadowood and you can ask him yourself.”

My mood elevates as I realize I may only be hours away from a reunion with my brother. The pain in my arm forgotten, I try to concentrate only on this knowledge, confident we’ll have our answers soon enough. “I didn’t get a chance to thank you for earlier. You could’ve just turned me over to the Master and walked away, but you didn’t. I’m grateful for that.”

I feel a little embarrassed as soon as the words leave my mouth. Normally I’m not one to share my feelings, but the Papaver Flower makes me breathless and lightheaded and loosens my tongue.

He reaches for me, careful not to jostle my splinted wrist, and pulls my face to his. “I’m probably going to ruin that sentiment by telling you the Master would never have let me go anyway, but know this—” he runs the pad of his thumb along my lower lip and meets my eyes “—if everyone else in the entire world leaves you to fend for yourself, if your father, your mother, your brother disappoint you, if God himself decides you aren’t worthy . . . you’ll still be able to count on me. I’ve got your back, Vera.”

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Author Bio:

With over 20 years’ experience in the legal and medical fields, Case Maynard decided to trade in her briefs and reports to write the stories that have been floating around in her head since childhood. She lives with her two teenagers and husband in South Georgia, while maintaining a long-distance liaison with her oldest daughter and partner in crime in Alaska. When not writing, she enjoys reading as often as possible, binge watching anything good on Netflix, and all things NCAA football (Go Noles!). You can learn more about Case and her stories on her website.

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Dotz

Dots
Angie M. Brashears
Publication date: October 1st 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary

This is a story about two strangers with nothing but grief in common.

Mason is great at connecting dots in other people’s life’s, but not so much in his own. His website, The F#ck it List, is all about connecting sexual requests. Matching never have I ever’s like a pair of socks. Efficiently. All in an effort to raise money for charity. That’s all he wants, to give. Why is that so hard?

Chloe’s in denial, but that’s not going to make the cancer go away. When her doctor gives her an expiration date, she can’t deny it any longer. It’s time to break the news to family and her best friend. She thought she’d have more time. There’s things she needs to say. She needs to be heard, but not by her loved ones. They’ve got enough on their plates with the diagnosis.

Two Months? Not long enough to do anything except…dig the hole.

It’s time.

This is Chloe’s story and how she copes with the end.

Just as there is a song for every occasion, Chloe has a friend for every occasion.

A pity party friend.
A truth friend.
A fixer friend.
And an end friend. Mason.

Mason and Chloe have nothing in common but grief. Two dots, floating in a sea of sorrow.

He’s lost his mother. She’s losing the fight.

When the end is near, is it too late for a new friend?

One woman’s end journey. Even when it’s time to get your affairs in order, it’s never too late for an “end” friend. Someone that will listen? Share your burden, so the family doesn’t have to. Help with the mess she’s created by keeping secrets. Be there for her best friend, a shoulder to cry on when the time comes.

It’s one thing to donate money to a cause.

What about your time, heart and soul? How much should you be expected to give?

If a stranger asked, could you be an end friend?

Goodreads / Amazon / Angie M. Brashears Pre-Order Form

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Until October 1, 2016 50% or 5.00 from each print book goes to Avon Walk for Breast Cancer!

EXCERPT:

All your weight, it falls on me. It brings me down.
Truer words have never been spoken. My family and their feelings, that’s the weight of my world on my shoulders right now. How am I supposed to tell my overprotective mother, who freaks out over a sniffle…that, I’m…dying? My brother, Ronny, out doing his job, protecting us, battling on the front lines. Is it fair to distract him from his task at hand? Maybe he gets killed, or maybe his buddy takes a bullet? Why, so I can feel better? What about dad? Thoughts of the man that stuffs a pink can of mace and rape whistle in my stocking every year, and my burden just got heavier. And last but not least, my best friend, Lola. We’ve been the odd couple since the tampon video in fourth grade. Neat as pin, she never has loose ends, never commits to anything, no tangles no mess. That’s where I come in. I’m a friggin mess. Everything I touch gets smudged. Or at least, I’ve been told that, since as far back as I can even remember leaving a mess. Possibly, Lola’s bored with her muted tones life, maybe that’s why she steps into my sunshine and rainbows. Cluttered with dust motes, dancing on sun rays, like spritely fairies. Could be. So, what happens when I tell her I’m taking the sun with me? Some days, I can’t get off this sagging futon. Between the pain, the isolation, the guilt, the secret… I just can’t. I look at the website again. The F#ck It List. A place to put your Never have I ever… and you’ll be matched with the right person for you. I’m not interested in the sexual stuff. I’m so over that, and besides, my boyfriend, well, not boyfriend, stops by twice a week and we’re compatible enough as it is. And he’s another one. I broke up with him, so I wouldn’t have to paste a smile on twice a week and pretend like my world’s not falling apart. I love him, but man, does he need a lot of coddling. I haven’t brought myself to click past the privacy screen. That’s not what I’m interested in. The thing my nurse keeps talking to me about. My chemo nurse, Courtney, whispered to me. “You need someone to talk to, get things off your chest. I know you don’t want to burden your family, Chloe, but who takes your burden?” I shrugged, not really caring one way or the other. “I’ll be dead soon, so who cares? They can bury it with me.” She smacked my hand, the one without the IV. She was the one who had to poke around for an hour to find it, so she was protecting it like gold. But her words were kind. “Just like that. Who do you get to say those things too? You’re too worried about acting normal for your chemo buddy over there.” Em’s on her phone. She hates needles. I do too. “You need someone to hear you and not your cancer, you got me?” Her eyes look so compassionate, so loving I nod. She rests her hand on top of mine. I didn’t realize I was crying. “It’s my first time, I’m still a rookie.” I blubber out. She produces a tissue box from thin air and rubs my hand. “I have a friend; grandson has a website.” She lowers her voice. “It’s like a sex something or other,” then she’s back to full volume, “but that’s just to raise money for charity. I know she said he’s always looking for people with illnesses to help. “I guess my face must look funny, because she feels the need to add, “not like murder or anything like that.” I laugh. “Honestly, I was just wondering when this nausea would start to go away.” She nods, and squeezes my hand. “It doesn’t.” Later, when I’m pumped full of poison, she presents me with a gift bag. It’s got Band-Aids and syringes all over it. “Wow, Courtney how’d you know it was my birthday?” She laughs, “Well it kind of is. It’s your Chemo-day. You’re very first. Congratulations, kiddo, you made it through. Enjoy. Inside is the softest, most luxurious cashmere blanket. Pink, with raised dots. “Very chic, Courtney. I love it!” She hugs me and wraps it around my shoulders. “For the chills,” she whispers in my ear and I nod. She reaches in the bag and takes out a box of masks. “Remember your nadir.” There’s hard candies to suck on, for when my mouths dry. And an oral bag! With a rainbow toothbrush. “Thanks so much, I would’ve never thought of any of this. On the very bottom, a free month membership to Netflix. “For when you can’t make it out, but still want to watch something.” “I’m touched, really.” I use my new blanket, to wipe away a tear. “But I’ll have to read up on the rules, I don’t know a thing about Netflix.” As I leave, in search of my chemo buddy, who I haven’t seen in the last thirty minutes, Courtney calls out to me. “Chloe, did you want me to check on that thing, Mason’s website?” I think about it. I’ve got nothing better to do. “Sure.” That was four months ago. I’ll never see her again, chemo’s done dude. I’ll miss her. But not in the add another brick to the pile way. No, I’ll miss having someone who listens with their whole self. Two dots, connected by Courtney.

 

Author Bio:

Angie M Brashears is a lover of everything books. When not writing, she’s reading anything she can get her hands on. She grew up in Southern California, and loves the mountains, hiking with her dogs, the beach, and of course, Disneyland! She loves music, and loves singing along to the radio, loud and off-key, performing for anyone unlucky enough to be in the passenger seat.

Angie loves dark and twisted, which she refers to as Dark Ever After books, but is known to read an occasional HEA story as well. When she’s not writing, she working, saving lives. A busy Trauma ER nurse for over twenty years, she gets enough reality in her life, and is always looking for a story to take her away from the harsh reality of Emergency Nursing.

If there’s football on, she sure to have a huge party going on to cheer her team on…Go Patriots!

As a new author, she’d love to hear from you!

Amazon / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Book Review: The Well-Tempered City

The I was born in 1952, when the world’s population was 2.6 billion. Since then it has almost tripled in size. In 1952, only 30 percent of the world’s people lived in cities, but now more than half do, and by the end of the twenty-first century, that number will grow to 85 percent. The quality and character of its cities will determine the temperament o human civilization. (p. 1)

I am participating in the TLC Book Tour for The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life by Jonathan F. P. Rose.  I received a review copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions herein are my own.

My background, as many of you will remember, is in social and political philosophy. When I had the chance to review a book tracing the history of the city and predicting what the future of living in urban settings holds, I jumped at it. Not only has the topic of city planning been of recent interest to me, but the ideas that we need a way to make our cities more sustainable and conducive to communal living has been one floating around in my head. I love the architecture and history of cities, and the idea that there’s a book out there that studies this really intrigued me. 

Reviewing The Well-Tempered City

Rose’s The Well Tempered City has twelve chapters broken into five parts: Coherence, Circularity, Resilience, Community, and Compassion. Rose really did his research for the book, and the details he presents are fascinating. He bases his book on Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, and like Bach did for music, Rose suggests that a new system replace the existing system for structuring cities. 

The foray into ancient architecture and city planning was fascinating to me. He even gets into the differences between Eastern and Western thought and the traditions’ impact upon city planning. He writes:

Western planning has long-struggled with balancing individual rights and freedom with collective responsibility, because it sees these as two forces in opposition. The Eastern world’s integrative world-view led to the development of city plans as maps of the forces of the universe. The result was a deeply pleasing order with little room for variation, lest the harmony it sought to maintain be disturbed. (pp. 76-77)

The western plan focused on making land profitable. While the Eastern plan had the palace at the center and the city around it, the Eastern model had a street grid to make lots capable of being bought and sold easily – as individual units. Naturally, there were strengths and weaknesses to both the approaches of the Greeks and the approaches of the Chinese. Rose continues to discuss the history of city planning and talks about the Islamic City as well as the uniqueness of the city of Amsterdam. Then, he discusses how all of these influences converged to influence contemporary city planning trends. 

Rose also treats the problem of subprime construction and urban sprawl, focusing especially during the 2000s. As a previous owner of a home built in 1998 by a builder who received a slap on the wrist (2 years in prison) for mortgage fraud, I found this section of note. In addition to talking about the harms done during this mad rush to build houses and get anyone into a house that could be approved for a loan – regardless of whether the individual could afford the loan payments or not, Rose also talks about the role that suburbs play, as a whole, in the well-being of the city and the rise of “New Urbanism,” which sought to correct the problems of suburban planning design and worked to create city centers that were more conducive to well-functioning centers for living.

There are many other topics covered in the book – water and cities, natural infrastructure of cities and the importance of urban parks, green buildings and affordable housing solutions, the problems of overcrowding, and the relationship between city design and general well-being. In all, his treatment of the city – past, present, and future – is thorough, well-written, and insightful.

The Well-Tempered City coverAbout The Well-Tempered City

• Hardcover: 480 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (September 13, 2016)

In the vein of Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities and Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the City, Jonathan F. P. Rose—a visionary in urban development and renewal—champions the role of cities in addressing the environmental, economic, and social challenges of the twenty-first century.

Cities are birthplaces of civilization; centers of culture, trade, and progress; cauldrons of opportunity—and by 2080 will be home to 80 percent of the world’s population. As the twenty-first century progresses, metropolitan areas will bear the brunt of global megatrends such as climate change, natural resource depletion, population growth, income inequality, mass migration, and education and health disparity, among many others.

In The Well-Tempered City, Jonathan F. P. Rose—the man who “repairs the fabric of cities”—distills a lifetime of interdisciplinary research and firsthand experience into a five-pronged model for designing and reshaping cities with the goal of equalizing their landscape of opportunity. Drawing from the musical concept of “temperament,” Rose argues that well-tempered cities can be infused with systems that bend the arc of their development toward equality, resilience, adaptability, and well-being, to achieve ever-unfolding harmony between civilization and nature. While these goals may never be fully attained, if we at least aspire to them, and approach every plan and constructive step with this intention, our cities will be richer and happier.

A celebration of the city and an impassioned argument for its role in addressing important issues in these volatile times, The Well-Tempered City is a well-reasoned, hopeful blueprint for a thriving metropolis—and the future.

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Photo by Peter Buckley

Photo by Peter Buckley

About Jonathan F. P. Rose

JONATHAN F. P. ROSE works with cities and not-for-profits to plan and build affordable and mixed-income housing and cultural, health, and educational centers. Recognized for creating communities that literally heal both residents and neighborhoods, Rose is one of the nation’s leading thinkers on the integration of environmental, social, and economic solutions to issues facing cities today.

For his work as founder of the investment, development, and urban planning firm Jonathan Rose Companies, he has received awards from the Urban Land Institute, the American Institute of Architects, the American Planning Association, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, among many others. With Diana Calthorpe Rose, he is cofounder of the Garrison Institute and the creator of its Climate Mind and Behavior program.

Find out more about Rose and The Well-Tempered City at www.welltemperedcity.com

Tour Stops

Tuesday, September 13th: Laura’s Reviews

 

Monday, September 19th: Antiplanner

Tuesday, September 20th: Wining Wife

Wednesday, September 21st: Andrew Alexander Price

Monday, September 26th: Tina Says…

Tuesday, September 27th: 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Thursday, September 29th: Ronald Rovers

Monday, October 3rd: The Plaza Perspective

Tuesday, October 4th: Joe Urban

Wednesday, October 5th: Goodspeed Update

Thursday, October 6th: myurbanist

Thursday, October 6th: Market Urbanism

Monday, October 10th: The Corner Side Yard

TBD: Rebuiliding Place in the Urban Space

TBD: west north

Guest Post: Autumn Brunch Pairings

Fall Brunch Wine Pairings

Today, we have a guest post provided by Jeriann Watkins, blogger at dairyairhead.com. She’s talking about how to offer fall brunch wine pairings that will please all of your guests.

Summer gets a good reputation for social eating: picnics, baseball games, family reunions – these are all food-centric events that happen mostly in the summer. But fall is a wonderful time to enjoy delicious food and drinks with those you love. And what better way to do so than with brunch?

I’ve been hosting monthly brunches with several of my friends. We all take turns hosting and everyone brings tasty goodies to share. Below are some ideas for fall-themed brunches, complete with wine pairing recommendations!

Setting a Fall Tone

Fall is probably the easiest seasonal theme. The colors of the outdoors are the colors you can bring to your table, and conveniently, the seasonal produce matches the oranges and reds of the leaves on the trees. You can even dry leaves to use as decor. Mod-Podge leaves to the bottom of glass plates for some seasonal dishware that’s sure to impress. Be sure to use a thick lacquer and not to wash these dishes in the dishwasher though! My friend Rachel went above and beyond and got a wine barrel tasting table, which not only brings to mind bobbing for apples, but also provides a nice prep area for drinks!

Hearty Vegetables Make for Great Fall Brunch Wine Pairings

Autumn is not only when hearty squash and root vegetables are in season, but it’s when they taste the best. Personally, I think it’s because the best cooking methods for these vegetables involve prolonged amounts of heat, and they absorb that heat so well. Cutting into s steaming-hot sweet potato just isn’t as satisfying on a 90 degree day. Here are some of my favorite veggie-centric brunch dishes:

Autumn Hash with Sweet Potatoes and Peppers – This tasty dish goes great with a crisp white wine. That will enhance the heat from the peppers as well as contrast the sweetness of the sweet potatoes.
Brussels Sprout and Purple Potato Hash – I love Brussels Sprouts! I can’t think of a wine that wouldn’t go great with this, but I lean away from the sweeter ones here. A drier wine will highlight the saltiness and starchiness of the veggies. Gardener’s bonus: Here’s how to plant Brussels Sprouts and other veggies that pair with them for optimal autumn harvest!
Breakfast Burrito Bowl with Spiced Butternut Squash – This dish was made for sparkling wine, which in turn, was made for brunch. Whether you’re drinking it on it’s own or mixed with fruit juice, the carbonation of the sparkling wine will enhance the spices on your butternut squash. Yum!

Warm Wine?

It’s the time of year when a slight chill feels brisker than the full-on cold will in 3 months. Putting cold beverages in your body just may not seem appealing. There are great warm breakfast drinks like coffee and hot chocolate, which can be spiked with a liquor of your choice, and of course there are hot toddies, which are wonderful in the chilly weather. But what about warm wine cocktails? While it may sound strange, drinking mulled wine, which is really just spiced wine, warm is pretty traditional. Go ahead and give it a shot! Best thing is, if you don’t like it warm, this same recipe can be consumed chilled as well.

These are just a few ideas for autumn-themed brunches. Have some fall favorites of your own? Share in the comments!

SewLong Summer Blog Tour: Lauren Shirt and Pirate Pencil Skirt

14355625_10207856316267281_7056113396085708276_n14324452_10103669379216739_5365708588806097386_oI am pleased to announce my participation in the SewLong Summer Blog Tour.  There are many very talented seamstresses on this tour, and I’m proud to be participating in it.  

For the tour, I made two pieces that are transitional. Because it’s still pretty warm here in Wichita, I wanted something I could wear now and wear later. I originally picked out the Gnomes on the Bus fabric from Mabel Madison because I thought it would be cute to wear an outfit made with it to a local brewery with (literally) the best beer I’ve ever had, Hopping Gnome Brewing Company.  That plan changed upon making the outfit for reasons I’ll get to soon. 

I decided to go with the Made for Mermaids Mama Lauren pintuck shirt and the Patterns for Pirates Pirate Pencil Skirt.  (Affiliate Links) I paired the outfit with brown boots I purchased from Maurice’s. It’s one of the few stores, I’ve found, that carry size 12 women’s shoes – though more and more stores are making that move all the time. As it gets colder, I’ll add a pair of tights made with The Wolf and The Tree’s Gazelle Ladies Footed Tights and my trusty red Seamwork Oslo cardigan I made last fall.

P4P Pirate Pencil Skirt

I started with the skirt. This is actually the third Pirate Pencil Skirt I’ve made. It takes less time to sew it than it does to cut it out. I used Stenzo jersey knit. It turned out really great, I think – only it’s a little loose on me. I lost some inches around my waist and hips between cutting this and the shirt and sewing them up.  Let this be a lesson to you! I’m still happy with how it turned out, and it’s bright, and probably a lot louder than most things I normally wear. 

M4M Lauren Shirt

When I was talking with Melissa of Tales of a Tester, she totally sold me on this pattern. It’s cute, it’s an easier sew with just enough details to make it interesting, but not so many that it wouldn’t work with a busy print like the Gnomes on the Bus. The pintucks are all about being able to sew a very straight line and press well. The keyhole binding takes patience (and a good press as well). I wasn’t sure about it until I got the whole neckband on and put it on. Once it was on, and I tucked it in, I was in love. I think it will go great with jeans and it will be nice with leggings and a belt. I kind of felt like I was swimming in it as well, but that’s not a bad thing. 

Photos of my finished garments (keep reading to the end for a giveaway and discount codes.)

Be sure to check out today’s posts from the tour:

Sewing by Ti, Musings of a Seamstress, Tales of a Tester, Almost a hippy, At Margareta’s Haus, Sewing A La Carte, Birds Of A Kettle

 
Our awesome bloggers 

Sept. 12th Sewing by Ti, Cindy Parrett, Sewing Vortex, Renata Laura, Couturious, Nina Makes

Sept. 13th mahlicadesigns, Musings of a Seamstress, Rainy Day Sewing, Sprouting Jube Jube, Sewing A La Carte, Anne-Mari Sews

Sept. 14th AppleGreen Cottage, mahlicadesigns, Kaleidothought, PrettiModesti, Olive Ashby, Sewing Bee Fabrics

Sept. 15th Lulu & Celeste, Diane Cullum of Two Chicklets, Adventures With Bubba and Bug, Wining Wife, The Pumpkin Room, Sewing A La Carte, Anne-Mari sews

Sept. 16th Sewing by Ti, Musings of a Seamstress, Tales of a Tester, Almost a hippy, At Margareta’s Haus, Sewing A La Carte, Birds Of A Kettle

Rafflecopter Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fun discounts and coupon codes from our sponsors:Sponsor Collage Final

Zierstoff Patterns 20% off patterns Code: zierstoffpatterns20 Ends 9/17/16

Blue Dot Patterns 25% off patterns Code: SewLongSummer Ends 9/17/16

On the Cutting Floor 50% off patterns Code: SEWLONG Ends 9/17/16

 

Back to School Tour: First Day of Preschool Edition (And Giveaway)

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Wining WifeIs it already that time? Little Miss is beginning preschool (at home). I can’t believe how quickly they grow up. Tiger Boy has started his senior year of high school at the local public school, and we spent a good part of the summer talking about college options, and ended the summer with a couple of college visits. It doesn’t seem like it was so long ago that he was learning his alphabet and looking forward to attending preschool himself. 

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