Wining Wife®

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Month: October 2016

Book Review: Girl Unbroken

Sometimes, it helps to understand what someone else may have been through; sometimes, it helps to read about someone who has survived in the most dire of circumstances.  In Girl Unbroken by Regina Calcaterra and Rosie Maloney, we follow the lives of five siblings with five different fathers and an alcoholic mother through their abusive upbringing. There are parts of this book that made me angry, and there are parts of this book that really warmed my heart. The hardest part is when the siblings are separated and Rosie’s fate becomes much darker and scarier. The book celebrates strength – emotional and physical, and it celebrates continuing to fight to get through the violence and abuse to come out the other side stronger, and unbroken.

This is another book I recommend without reservation. You won’t be able to put it down. 


About Girl Unbroken

• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 18, 2016)

In the highly anticipated sequel to her New York Times bestseller Etched in Sand, Regina Calcaterra pairs with her youngest sister Rosie to tell Rosie’s harrowing, yet ultimately triumphant, story of childhood abuse and survival.

They were five kids with five different fathers and an alcoholic mother who left them to fend for themselves for weeks at a time. Yet through it all they had each other. Rosie, the youngest, is fawned over and shielded by her older sister, Regina. Their mother, Cookie, blows in and out of their lives “like a hurricane, blind and uncaring to everything in her path.”

But when Regina discloses the truth about her abusive mother to her social worker, she is separated from her younger siblings Norman and Rosie. And as Rosie discovers after Cookie kidnaps her from foster care, the one thing worse than being abandoned by her mother is living in Cookie’s presence. Beaten physically, abused emotionally, and forced to labor at the farm where Cookie settles in Idaho, Rosie refuses to give in. Like her sister Regina, Rosie has an unfathomable strength in the face of unimaginable hardship—enough to propel her out of Idaho and out of a nightmare.

Filled with maturity and grace, Rosie’s memoir continues the compelling story begun in Etched in Sand—a shocking yet profoundly moving testament to sisterhood and indomitable courage.

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Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Regina CalcaterraAbout Regina Calcaterra

Regina Calcaterra, Esq. is the bestselling author of Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island, which has been integrated into academic curriculums nationwide. She is a partner at Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz and is a passionate advocate for children in foster care.

Find out more about Regina at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Book Review: Carry On


Sometimes, you want to read a book that knocks you on your feet with the story it tells. When I agreed to review Carry On, I was excited because the story sounded so good. I’ve always been a big fan of books and films that let you get to know someone – either fiction or biography – to the point where you feel that you know that person. Lisa Finn’s Carry On is one of those books. 

The only constant was the black canvas duffel bag Dartanyon carried with him, large enough to fit a child. Having worked as a detention officer in the juvenile justice system, McKinney knew what that bag meant. ‘Nobody needs to carry a bag that big unless they are carrying everything they own, to a destination unknown,’ McKinney said. Dartanyon was transient.

Kerry McKinney was a wrestling coach who wound up in one of Ohio’s most impoverished schools. When he came into the gymnasium, he learned that most of the kids were barefoot and that the team only had two pairs of shoes for seven kids. He recruited Dartanyon to be on the wrestling team due to his size, and noted his skill for learning the wrestling moves. He moved smoothly…and then…McKinney learned Dartanyon was blind.  

From the first pages, Carry On draws you in. From Torry Robinson taking over the team and meeting Leroy Sutton, a “Lower-extremity double amputee” to the piecing together of a family born of love rather than blood, this book is beautiful in its storytelling as well as the story itself. Fenn does a majestic job of showing these two phenomenal athletes and telling their stories. 

strongly recommend this book. It’s possibly the best I’ve read thus far this year.


Carry On coverAbout Carry On

• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (August 16, 2016)

In the spirit of The Blind Side comes a deeply moving memoir about the unexpected bonds that would transform three lives.

Lisa Fenn produced human-interest features for ESPN for over a decade, but one particular story came into her life and never left. After seeing a newspaper image of two young wrestlers from one of Cleveland’s tougher public high schools, Lisa followed a hunch and flew back to her hometown to meet the boys that very day. What she found caused her spirit both to sink and to soar.

Leroy Sutton, who lost his legs in a childhood train accident, could often be found riding on the back of Dartanyon Crockett, who was legally blind and had no permanent place to call home. Initially drawn together by their handicaps, the boys soon developed a brother-like bond. When one wrestled, the other sat on the edge of the mat, and their cheerful friendship was a source of inspiration throughout the halls of their high school.

As Lisa filmed her feature about this remarkable friendship for ESPN, she grew to understand the suffering Leroy and Dartanyon had endured, and she fought for their trust and their confidence. The three formed a surprising and meaningful connection—and once the television story ended, Lisa realized she couldn’t just walk away.

Though Leroy’s and Dartanyon’s futures were limited by abject poverty, Lisa resolved to give them the chance she knew they deserved. She worked tirelessly to see them through school and athletic pursuits, broken hearts, phantom limbs, and the bewildering obstacles that, at every turn, tested their individual strengths even while strengthening the bonds between them.

More than a story of two underdogs overcoming innumerable hardships, Carry On is a touching tale of an unlikely family forged through barriers of race, class, and disability. It is a powerful memoir about grit, love, hope, and faith—and the courage to carry on, even in the most extraordinary circumstances.

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HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by ESPN

Photo by ESPN

About Lisa Fenn

A three-time winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award and a six-time Emmy Award—winning feature producer with ESPN for thirteen years, LISA FENN interviewed every big name in sports. Today she is a sought-after public presenter, speaking on leadership, poverty, and trans-racial adoption, in addition to her Christian faith and its relevance in both her media career and her daily life. Lisa received her BA in communications from Cornell University. Her work has been featured on ESPN,Good Morning America, and World News Tonight. She continues to produce sports stories and write about the redemptive power of love. Lisa resides in Boston with her husband and two young children.

Connect with Lisa on Facebook.

#DrinkPink with OneHope Wines

#DrinkPink OneHope Wines

It’s October. That means it’s time to start thinking about breast cancer awareness, but it’s also time to start thinking about the holidays. What if I told you that you can stock up on great wine while also helping breast cancer research? You can, by purchasing OneHope Wines #DrinkPink campaign wines and products. In addition to supporting various causes, when you make a purchase from OneHope, you’re also supporting an entrepreneur looking to build her business. 

Be sure to read through to the end, where you’ll find a giveaway for a Drink Pink water bottle (worth $33, and big enough to hold an entire bottle of wine – not that I advocate that kind of thing – wink). 

What Are OneHope Wines?

shareable_miniglitterbrutcasesThe OneHope vineyard is in the Rutherford AVA in Napa Valley. There are plans for developing an on-site winery with a tasting room. The company was founded by eight individuals who wanted to allow people to enjoy wine while also helping their communities. They consult w,ith Rob Mondavi, son of wine mogul Michael Mondavi, to make their quality wines. 

With each sale of OneHope Wines, donations are made to various causes. According the about page on their website:

“To date we have made more than $2 million* in donations, providing over 2,600* clinical trials for cancer patients, 13,000* forever homes for shelter animals, 1.1* million meals for children, 33,000 life-saving vaccines and much more.”

That’s a lot of really good things being helped along through the sales of wines. When I spoke with representative Christine Kinney, and I learned about both the variety of wines available and OneHope’s mission, I knew I had to share information about this company with my readers. You can learn more about the wines by watching this video.

ONEHOPE Wine Brand Video from Billy Kostka on Vimeo.

What Types of Products Are Available?

giftingshare2OneHope offers a variety of wines from a 2011 Reserve Pinot Noir to a 2015 Lodi Symphony wine (I have notes on another Symphony wine that I need to share with you soon). Sales of two bottles of the 2013 Pink Glitter Edition California Chardonnay go to fund a clinical trial for one woman who has breast cancer. This wine has aromas of apple and pear pie, butterscotch, vanilla, and toffee, making it a wonderful white wine for fall. The glitter bottle makes it a festive addition to a girls’ night. 

enter-to-winIn addition to wines, OneHope offers coffee and gift products.  OneHope coffee proceeds go to help small businesses in developing countries (in fact, the sale of one of the gift boxes available, the Good Karma Gift Box), funds a microloan. Other products include aprons and oven mitts, bestie wine glasses, and dog bowls. All product sales support various causes. It’s a pretty neat company. I’m looking for Baby 4’s arrival in May for many reasons, but I’ll  be able to taste some of their wines then. 

Enter to win a #DrinkPink Water Bottle

Enter to win a water bottle that can hold an entire bottle of wine – er – water! Meanwhile, if you’re able to, support this great effort to combine two things I love – wine and philanthropy. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway



This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

GUEST POST: The 6 Best Oktoberfest Celebrations in America

Oktoberfest Celebrations

Please enjoy this guest post courtesy of Harry Parsons from Arcadia Publishing.

Germany isn’t the only country that looks forward to Oktoberfest every year. It’s just as popular here in America, and it’s not hard to see why. To begin with, many Americans are of German descent themselves. Also, what red-blooded American doesn’t love a good reason to eat fantastic food, drink delicious brews of all kinds, and celebrate life in excellent company?

Even so, not all Oktoberfest celebrations are necessarily created equally, and you don’t need to shell out the cash for a plane ticket to Munich to experience a great one. The following are just a few of the most epic Oktoberfest celebrations that take place every year right here in the United States of America. Some might say they’re so exceptional that they are worth traveling for! Consider adding one or more to your end-of-summer to-do list if you’re still deciding where and how to celebrate this year.

1. Wurstfest (November 4th – 13th)

If you live in the Austin, Texas area (or are planning to be there this November), you really might want to consider giving Wurstfest a gander. This is no modest weekend celebration, by any means. It’s a full 10-day festival that celebrates Bavarian culture in all the best ways. Family friendly activities include multiple carnival rides, a polka competition, and plenty of live music. Sample Bavarian fare to please any palate, and drink your fill of plenty of different beers as well.

Also, you should know that the entire town of New Braunfels magically transforms into a different place during those ten days, so don’t just limit yourself to the festival grounds. Enjoy special wurst-themed comedy performances at the Circle Arts Theatre. Check out Kunstalle as well, which is a seasonal arts and crafts market that sets up shop right next to Wurstfest itself.

2. St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest (September 23rd – 25th)

Chicago is already well known for its long-standing ties to beer, brewing, and all things German, thanks to the high numbers of German-American citizens who have called it home over the years. That said, it’s probably not surprising to learn that it’s also home to more than 25 different Oktoberfest celebrations over the months of September and October.

However, the St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest really stands out for taking place in and around the historic Lakeview church for which it’s named. Are you a craft brew enthusiast? You won’t want to miss Craft Beer Night, a golden opportunity to meet and greet more than 20 regional brewers, as well as sample their very best beers. Planning on bringing the little ones with you? You’ll love Kinderfest, a family friendly event complete with face painting, dance parties, and plenty of delicious German food that’s sure to please younger palates, as well as adult ones.

3. Oktoberfest Zinzinnati (September 16th – 18th)

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati isn’t just one of the most famous American Oktoberfest celebrations. Over half a million people attend each and every year, so it’s also the largest one in the entire United States. Naturally, it’s the place to be if you feel Oktoberfest is all about the food. Enjoy best loved staples like real German bratwurst, sauerkraut balls, potato pancakes, strudel, pretzels, and – of course – a wide array of German and domestic beers.

The entertainment is also top-notch here. Take in some live music at any one of the seven stages you’ll find set up within the festival grounds. Watch a beer stein race featuring traditional German waitresses. Check out a real live barrel roll as well.

Best Oktoberfest Celebrations

4. Oktoberfest by the Bay (September 23rd – 25th)

If you’re located on the west coast, then you’ll definitely want to consider making a trip to beautiful San Francisco for Oktoberfest by the Bay. It’s well known for its Old World ambiance and traditional feel. Plus, what could possibly make a cold beer and a perfectly salted pretzel taste better than a gorgeous ocean view from Pier 48?

Join an eclectic mix of festival goers from all walks of life in a toast to all things Bavarian. Enjoy the stylings of the locally based, 21-piece Chico Bavarian Band. Indulge in second helpings of all your favorite German dishes – everything from soft pretzels, to juicy sausages, to strudel. Don’t forget to join in the non-stop singing and dancing as well!

5. Oktoberfest Denver (September 23rd – 25th and September 30th – October 2nd)

Oktoberfest Denver isn’t quite the biggest celebration in the country, but it certainly comes close, with more than 350,000 people in attendance every year. Denver is also nothing if not a completely unique city with its own special vibe, so you can rest assured that their approach to Oktoberfest stands out as well.

For instance, there’s a variety of unique activities to be enjoyed. They include the incredible Stein Hoisting Competition, the Keg Bowling National Championship, and the Long Dog Derby (yes, an actual wiener dog race). That’s in addition to an abundance of cheerful traditional music, concerts from award-winning artists, mouth-watering German cuisine, and as much delicious beer as you could possibly hope for.

6. Leavenworth Oktoberfest (September 30th – October 1st, October 7th – 8th, and October 14th – 15th)

If you’re the type of person who wants your Oktoberfest experience to be as authentic as possible, then look no further than Washington’s Leavenworth Oktoberfest. Those who list it among their favorite celebrations describe it as the next best thing to celebrating in Munich itself.

Enjoy an impressively expansive selection of traditional German foods, a large collection of beers from around the world, and non-stop live music of all kinds (including traditional music from German bands flown in from the motherland). For those who can’t picture Oktoberfest without a good parade, there’s a wonderful one through the town each Saturday. Don’t forget to stick around for the mayor’s Keg Tapping Ceremony! It happens just after the parade and marks the official start to each weekend of the festival.

Of course, these are just a few of the many incredible Oktoberfest celebrations taking place all across the United States throughout the late summer and fall. Consider adding a few to your own itinerary or Oktoberfest bucket list!

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