Wining Wife®

Because housework goes better with Malbec...

Month: February 2017

Book Review: Unbound by Steph Jagger

Sometimes, you work really, really hard for a really long time, and then you hit a wall. That wall may be one created due to burnout; it may be one that is created from trying to keep up with others; it may be one created when you realize you no longer care to live up to the expectations everyone else puts on you. 

That’s what happened to Steph Jagger, and she writes about it in Unbound. I can relate to her a lot. For a long time, in a male-dominated field (philosophy), I worked really hard to keep up with the guys around me. I was doing a great job! But, I wasn’t happy. Something was missing. Long hours, jumping through academic hoops, and the pressure to be “the best” and compete with others added up. Moreover, I was a single mom doing it all, and I felt like I was missing out on a TON when it came to my kid. So, I sought something else out. And now, here I am, 9 years after leaving grad school living a totally different life than I thought I’d be living right now (and that’s a good thing). 

Steph decided to head out and leave her job and her security and stability. Then, she decided to go and ski a bunch – four million vertical feet, in fact. 

“Who are you?” he asked, “and what kind of woman do you want to become?”

No one had ever asked me questions like that. I’d never thought about the who, what, and why questions. There hadn’t been room fort hose, not when I was so busy answering the where, when, and hows with my growing collection of shiny blue ribbons. (p. 151)

That’s the thing about chasing “success.” It becomes hard to know who you are when the spotlight isn’t on you. It becomes hard to know who you are or who you want to be. Instead, you get stuck in the mire of chasing one resume bullet point after another – without thinking much about why you’re doing it. And that’s why books like this are so important. It’s really easy to lose yourself when you think you’re on the path you’re “supposed to be on.” What’s harder is finding yourself on that same path and figuring out who it is you’re actually supposed to be. 

I think a lot of women go through this. I might be wrong. Especially those of us who grew up with the “girls can do anything” motto. It sometimes starts to feel like, “women should do everything” as opposed to an invitation to determine what course our lives should take. Add in entheusiastic mentors who push us and challenge us to fit into the success mold and lean in – and it can be easy to lose our way while on a paved road. So easy. 

I know I related a lot to Steph throughout the book. I think a lot of other women will as well. If you enjoyed Wild or Eat, Pray, Love, I can guarantee you’ll enjoy this book. If you’re like me, and haven’t read them yet, you’ll enjoy this book. I think the most important takeaway from Unbound is that sometimes you have to get out there and get away from what’s comfortable. Sometimes, you really do have to start over again. And you know what? That’s okay.

About Unbound

• Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (January 24, 2017)

A young woman follows winter across five continents on a physical and spiritual journey that tests her body and soul, in this transformative memoir, full of heart and courage, that speaks to the adventurousness in all of us.

Steph Jagger had always been a force of nature. Dissatisfied with the passive, limited roles she saw for women growing up, she emulated the men in her life—chasing success, climbing the corporate ladder, ticking the boxes, playing by the rules of a masculine ideal. She was accomplished. She was living “The Dream.” But it wasn’t her dream.

Then the universe caught her attention with a sign: Raise Restraining Device. Steph had seen this ski lift sign on countless occasions in the past, but the familiar words suddenly became a personal call to shake off the life she had built in a search for something different, something more.

Steph soon decided to walk away from the success and security she had worked long and hard to obtain. She quit her job, took a second mortgage on her house, sold everything except her ski equipment and her laptop, and bought a bundle of plane tickets. For the next year, she followed winter across North and South America, Asia, Europe, and New Zealand—and up and down the mountains of nine countries—on a mission to ski four million vertical feet in a year.

What hiking was for Cheryl Strayed, skiing became for Steph: a crucible in which to crack open her life and get to the very center of herself. But she would have to break herself down—first physically, then emotionally—before she could start to rebuild. And it was through this journey that she came to understand how to be a woman, how to love, and how to live authentically.

Electrifying, heartfelt, and full of humor, Unbound is Steph’s story—an odyssey of courage and self-discovery that, like Wild and Eat, Pray, Love, will inspire readers to remove their own restraining devices and pursue the life they are meant to lead.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Steph Jagger

Steph Jagger splits her time between Southern California and British Columbia where she dreams big dreams, writes her heart out, and runs an executive & life coaching practice. She holds a CEC (certified Executive Coach) degree from Royal Roads University and she believes courageous living doesn’t happen with one toe dangling in, but that we jump in, fully submerge, and sit in the juice. Think pickle, not cucumber.

You can find her at or on Instagram @stephjagger.

GUEST POST: 2017 Wines on a Budget

Budget Wines 2017

This guest post comes from Annabelle, who writes for Wunderlabel. She’s sharing her tips on finding the best bang for your buck when it comes to 2017 wines. (This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on a link and making a purchase helps to support what I do here at Wining Wife®.

Do you tend to drink a little more wine through the winter? I know I do. I have to keep an eye on my budget with all the meals to prepare. This includes my wine budget. I enjoy really nice wines, especially the ones that are gifted to me. But, I do need to plan for when my wallet feels slimmer. 

I look for good deals on wines that oenophiles and merchants report will be trending in 2017. I try to get my hands on a few bottles while the prices are still decent. Let’s take a look at some of the predictably good wine values you can stock up on for next year.

Hearty Red Wines

Cool winter nights are a perfect time to sink into the couch by the fire with a glass of rich, deep flavored wine. I am thinking chocolate and berries. Zinfandel is a wine that pairs well with comforting meals and desserts.

Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel is a bold, berry forward wine that has been aged in oak for one year. It is produced in Sonoma County, California. The 2008 and 2014 varieties are both available now. The 2008 can be found for around $10.00, while the 2014 is a couple of dollars more.

Dry, Fruity White Wine

In spring the air is damp and the grass is starting to grow. Everything smells a little fresher this time of year. I get that antsy feeling of wanting to be outside without a coat on. But, we aren’t quite there. This is the time of year you want to start bringing out the white wines that pair well with lighter meals that have plenty of spring vegetables. Chardonnay is what comes to mind.

Alamos Chardonnay, from Argentina, has crisp citrus notes and a buttery vanilla finish. The 2015 is available for $9.00 to $10.00 per bottle. It goes well with fish, chicken, and most vegetables. 

Dry Rosé Wine

I am a fan of dry pink wines in the summer that are blends of white and red grapes. They have enough body to hold up to barbecue fare, and are also fine for an afternoon backyard get-together with friends accompanied by a large bowl of fresh fruit. My favorites are from the south of France.

Bieler Pere et Fils Rosé is a complex wine from the Provence region of France. It has the flavors of summer berries and melons, and the lavender that is grown all over the region. It is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsaut and Cabernet grapes. The 2015 sells for between $11.00 and $12.00.

Medium Bodied Red Wine

As autumn approaches we see varieties of winter squashes, heirloom tomatoes, and plenty of apples at the farmers markets. This is a great time for platters of cheese, fruit, aged meats, and vegetables. It is also when you might be inclined to fill the house with the smell of spiced baked goods. This calls for a lighter red wine to share with friends. Pinot Noirs are perfect for this time of year.

HobNob Pinot Noir is a French variety that has softer tannins than some of the others. It smells faintly of violets and tastes of cherries laced with spices. It plays well with fennel, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The 2013 can be found for between $9.00 and $11.00.

December is a good time of year to look for holiday wine specials. Many merchants are willing to offer case discounts, even if the case includes a mix of wine varieties. You just need to ask. Stock up and enjoy.


Author Bio: Annabelle is a wine collector and appreciates handmade crafts. Apart from that she loves to write. In fact, she writes for Wunderlabel’s Italian site and their US website.

© 2017 Wining Wife®

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: