A letter to my younger self….

A letter to my younger self….

Hey Loves,

Happy Hump Day!  I really do hope you all are enjoying the amazing weather we have been having the last couple of weeks.  Even though people are never happy though right.

It’s too hot! It’s too cold! We’ve had too much snow!  We’ve had too much rain! not enough rain! Too humid! and on and on!  For me, I love it. Our summers are way too short as it is so I will take each and every hot, humid, mosquito ridden, dehydrated day with love and grace!

Anyway, I didn’t jump on here to talk about the weather. I came on because I recently watched Michelle Obama read her letter to her younger self  https://youtu.be/IgP7Ss2qlBE (if you haven’t watched please drop everything – After reading my blog of course and go watch).  Anyway, I was compelled to write one to myself. I thought it was such a great way to self reflect on my life up until now. A little anyways.

So today I decided to write a letter to my younger self, my 16 year old self. Not sure why I chose 16 except that I was going through a lot of emotional turmoil at the time (as most teens)- mostly self inflicted but turmoil none the less.

So…here goes.

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You – just turned 16! Couldn’t find a pic of me at 16 LOL This was closest.

Dear Jenny,

I am writing this letter to you because I am compelled to give you a little bit of insight into what your future holds up until now.  I know how much you have been fighting against, let’s say, “the ties that bind.”  Your mom, our mom, being a single immigrant Catholic mom raising three kids and caring for her mom in a foreign country is beset by what seems a most obsessive need to protect you.

Your dad will be MIA because of his struggles with addiction but eventually he gets it together.  I promise and you will adore him and he will adore you.

For a long time it will seem that you are not being allowed to live your life or allowed to do any of the things your friends are doing remember these two very important things:

  1. Most of your friends are probably embellishing (lying) about the things they are allowed to do (like go to movies, stay out late, have boyfriends).
  2. Your mom, our mom, was doing the best she could with what she knew at the time. Primarily trying to protect you.

At 16, you are a sophomore in high school.  You have not been able to participate in any extracurricular activities, you are not allowed to date, you can’t wear makeup, you can’t go to the movies or mall.

You went to one high school dance, because your best friend at the time and her mom begged your mom to let you go.  Your uncle walked you there and waited for you outside.  Embarrassing much?  After that you never asked again.

By your senior year you begged your mom to let you go to boarding school- a christian boarding school – because you followed your brother into a Christian faith.  Not because you were religious but because you were looking for a place of belonging AND a place away from home.

You will have your first crush who will break your heart and you will have your first fight.  BUT here in this place you do gain some sense of independence.

You are going to begin to express your teen angst through poetry.  You love it and it is an outlet though at times you may be a little dramatic.  Books will be a huge escape for you as you love to live in a fantasy world and this is about the time you begin to experience some depression and anxiety but those are words not familiar to an immigrant Dominican parent.

At 18, finally,  you will begin to rebel and try to spread your wings and your mother’s words to you after a few months is “I hope you got this out of your system.” Ha! If she only knew.

Not knowing much about dating and relationships you get your heart broken several times because you wear your heart on your sleeves. But these too shall pass.

By 23, you will get pregnant and get married and though it won’t work out, you chose wisely.  You chose a man who loved you to no end and he will give you two beautiful baby girls who he will parent and protect well.

Yes, you will experience a divorce and also a long period of dating, searching for love yet giving yourself to men who will only use you.  You will spend a lot of time looking for love and finding it very difficult to find. Often sending you into spirals of depression and sadness. Again not something you even knew how to discuss.

And then you find school. At 30 you will meet an employer who ‘believes in you’ and you will embark on, OMG, like 10 years of schooling.  Getting two masters and various certificates in education, all in the search of self worth and recognition.

You will struggle.  But baby girl, you will always, always figure things out because grow12
you are more resilient than you know.

Just when you think your heart can not be broken any worse, someone will come along who will smash your heart to smithereens. Smithereens I tell you!

And guess what? You will surpass that too! It will take some time, but you will. Because like I’ve said before you have built an arsenal of self protection that is hard to penetrate.  Some time a good thing, some times not;.

Men will find you difficult to love because of your wanderlust spirit.  They will want to love you and control you, but will not and can not understand you and what grow10drives you.

And that’s okay.  Not everyone is meant to be understood and you are too strong and intelligent and beautiful for many. Men say they want strong independent women, but often hate what they wish for.

The good news is that none of this will break you.  Each and every time you come out a little stronger, even if just for a little while.

The best part of you will be having two beautiful kids and later two even more beautiful grandchildren who will fill you with so much love and light that it makes the darkness so hard to get in, though it slips in at times.

You will become a professional in education and you will do well in it, until of course that restlessness finds you again.

You will start to narrow down your circle because you will finally begin to learn that its about quality not quantity.

And guess what- after all this- you make it to your 50s!!! Yay!

Your late 40s and 50s will be a time of renewal.  You will continue on your personal growth journey.  You will know yourself more and you will be closer to coming into your own.

Your resilience gets stronger and you will find that though you will continue to stumble and fail in relationships, parenting, finances, and your career- it will get easier to get back up and start and try again. Over and over again. growing3

That is life.  You, however, are not a quitter.  By far.

You will have a family who adores you, friends who value you, jobs which at times are fulfilling – getting you closer to your calling.

Always remember that you are worthy of everything  good in this world.  And things will get easier.

My advice to you is stick to your guns, stick to your goals, become more consistent and never settle.  Ever.

Your 50s will be off to a great start and things will only get better.

To you I say this keep going.  Keep getting to know yourself.  Keep evolving.  Keep trying.  Keep going. Keep growing.

Because at 50 the best is yet to come.  Believe that girl! Believe it with your heart and soul.

Know you are loved and valued.  I have high hopes for you and I am your BIGGEST cheerleader.

I can’t wait to see what the next 50 years brings for you!!!

Love always,

Your 50 year old self.

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You today!

Thank you for stopping by!  Remember to like, comment, share and maybe write a letter to your younger self as well!

LolaUncorked♥

 

 

 

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50 Things I Want To Do In My 50s

old-ageHi, My Loves∼

So as you all know I am turning 50 in about a week.  That’s a big one. It actually seems surreal.

You know how people often say, “Oh you don’t look like you’re 30, 40 or 50!” Like what exactly does any age look like? I am not sure what 50 should look or feel like.  I guess it feels exactly how I feel right now.

And I feel pretty awesome.  In a great place.  I love my job.  I have an amazing family.  A nice circle of friends.  I have health most importantly, but I feel like, and maybe some of you guy feel same- I feel like there are so many things I haven’t done. So I have compiled a list of things I want to do this year, experiences I want to have, places I want to go.

I’ve been really thinking about things I’ve always wanted to do and have not done yet. So in commemoration of my blogs one year anniversary – here is my list of  50 things I want to do in my 50s. (And these are not in any particular order of importance.)

  1. Do more yoga. Like aside from the physical I would like to know yoga with my yogaspirit.
  2. Go to Maine and eat lobster.
  3. Move to a nicer, bigger place. Maybe even become a homeowner.
  4. Skydive, though I don’t know if I’ll actually do it.
  5. Go to Europe, I’ve never been.
  6. Blog more.  At least once a week. Really grow my blog and hopefully do some influencing.
  7. Write. Start writing that book. About what? I’m not sure yet.
  8. Probably take some writing lessons in order to write that book.
  9. Run a marathon.
  10. Sell at least 5 homes this year.
  11. Go visit Graceland. I am a huge Elvis fan.
  12. Become debt free.
  13. Go on a family vacation with my girls and grandkids – something as simple as the shore.
  14. Volunteer more.
  15. Take a road trip cross country.
  16. Meditate more.
  17. Create a meditating space at home.
  18. Find a Buddhist temple near me and engage in some learning.
  19. Read more books- hard copies!
  20. Spend more time with my mom. Create some kind of a tradition/ritual with her.
  21. Journal EVERYDAY.
  22. Write a letter to Oprah. Don’t ask. Hopefully get a response.

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    Self-care is most important in my 50s.
  23. More self-care things like monthly massages and/or facials.
  24. Grow my hair and possibly let it gray naturally.
  25. Declutter. Really live minimally.
  26. See my dad more often.
  27. Learn some basic photography.
  28. Start a Vlog
  29. Send birthday cards to people instead of a social media post.
  30. Work out at least 5 times a week
  31. Move away from Facebook.
  32. Speak more Spanish to my grandbabies.
  33. Maybe learn another language – I love Portuguese, BUT I know some Italian, sooo maybe.
  34. Apply to be on a game show – I’ve done this several times (never made it) – the freaking application for Wheel of Fortune is insane.
  35. Play in the rain/mud.
  36. Spend more time down the shore
  37. Live a healthier lifestyle overall
  38. Learn how to swim finally!
  39. Quit drinking alcohol.
  40. Go parasailing.
  41. Take tango lessons.
  42. Create a daily practice of journaling, meditating, exercising, and eating healthy.
  43. Be kinder to people – smile more (guilty of RBF). LOL!
  44. Build my family tree (I did my DNA and it was sooo interesting).
  45. Go ziplining again – IT was amazing.
  46. Visit an ashram.
  47. Visit more bookstores.
  48. Celebrate NYE on an island somewhere.

Isn’t this list amazing?  Now listen, clearly I can’t do all of this in ONE year, but you best believe I am starting.

I will reflect on this list throughout this year and make sure I am making moves to check off these 50 items off my bucket list in my 50s.

What’s on your list of things to do?  You don’t have to wait until your 30, 40 or 50 to start your list and to start checking off those things that stir your soul.

Life is so short and in my almost 50 years, I’ve seen how quickly a life is snuffed out whether to disease or accident.  I have been blessed thus far and I’ve done a lot, but there is more I want to do and plan to do!

Someone I knew once said, “Don’t wait for another day or another hour or another time.  Go and Do It. Now” – Kyrzayda –

So just watch me guys!  Here’s to 50!

Happy birthday to me!

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Cheers to me!

Thanks for stopping by and reading.  Make sure to like, comment, share and follow!

LolaUncorked♥

 

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Thinking of Kyrzayda…

Hi, My Loves ∼So you may all ask why am I blogging about Kyrzayda  when I didn’t go to the wake. Well I have my reasons and my story.

I met Kyrzayda in 2009.  The Riverside Manor.  Paterson, NJ.  What I most remember is her perkiness and positive energy.   She always complimented me on my style. Ha!  I was ten years older and I dressed well but I wasn’t styled.  Not like her. 

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This is about the time that I met K.!

But we connected.  I remember one of the first conversations we had was about her wanting a boutique.  She loved fashion.  She loved clothes. She wanted to go places.  She wanted to do things. 

She was this petite bundle of energy with a beautiful smile and BIG, BIG, BIG dreams.  Now let me back track by saying that we were in the hood and this was way before fashion blogging and social media were anything familiar to many of us here, at least me.

Anyway, eventually I became a bartender at the Riverside and it was always refreshing to run into K (as I heard she was lovingly called by many).  She eventually started working at Once Upon A Skirt and she helped me choose outfits a few times.

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This is how I want to remember you!

Always had an eye and was always honest with me about what worked and didn’t. We talked about life and boys and fitness while I tried on outfit after outfit.

So, being a non-fashionista-wanting-to-have-my-own-boutique kind of person, when Kyrz started blowing up my FB thread with image after image of her fitness and fashion journey I unfollowed her.

For no other reason except that it would take me 3-5 minutes to get to any posts of family or other friends. Seriously.  (Not understanding that this is part of the business, right?) Building your brand.  

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Even while dealing with her health issues, she continued her hustle. One of my favorites!

Fast forward to last year when I believe it was that I saw www.liverpooljeans.com post something about her that I started following her again and learned of her diagnosis.

I began to follow her journey which now included cancer.

Some people may have loved her and some may not, but there is a lot to be learned from her journey.

I recently watched a Super Soul Sunday with Oprah featuring Dr. BJ Miller https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0TAs_QQKHM.  (If you guys haven’t heard his story, you should head over there and watch it.)

In a freak accident Dr. Miller lost both his legs below the knee and his arm.  Instead of feeling defeated, he decided to embark on a career in palliative care (caring for people who are dying) and now works with the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco.

That is neither here nor there.  What I want to share is that he says this of death: We view death as an occurrence separate from life, when in reality death is a part of living. Because we are all going to die at some point.

When we hear that someone is dying from some incurable disease, such as cancer, we automatically start viewing or treating that person as if they are already dead, when in reality, they are living to the moment of their last breath.

Kyrz was the epitome of this theory.  I mean a week before she passed she was “deciding” whether or not she would go to NY Fashion week and had her outfits laid out. 

This was a woman who was in so much pain, but still kept her faith and believed she would be there.  No she didn’t attend, but that’s beside the point folks.  Imagine the joy she felt just believing and imagining herself there.   

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Grace under fire…

The morning before I learned she had passed I watched an episode of Dr. Oz and his guest speaker, Dr. Sam Parnia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHcZc-JJEFw who conducted a research study on what happens when a person dies. Guys! It sounds morbid, but let me tell you, what a refreshing eye opener.

We fear death so much.  And we worry so much about the pain and suffering.  But this speaker explained what happens physiologically to our bodies right before we die.  The first thing is we start losing oxygen, when this happens we fall into a deep sleep – a coma.  He describes it as going under (anesthesia). 

He then said that of course your heart fails.  This is when doctors record a time of death.  BUT! you’re not yet done.  Your cells can take a few hours to shut down.

So it is in this space when your cells are still alive that near-death experiences occur. This is the time when people who have had this experience and come back describe a very blissful existence, they see the doctors working on them from above or a removed space, they see a flashback of their life.  They oftentimes don’t want to come back because it is such a beautiful feeling.

I know, I know ! Kyrz didn’t come back but what a relief to know that she was in this space of bliss and joy and comfort.

Listen, I lost touch with Kyrz however her journey touched me too.  I kept thinking and I have often said this to people like “we” could be her.  What happened to her can happen to any one of us.

As humans we question like “why?”.  “Why” .  She was in her prime.  Her blogging career was taking off.  “Why?”

We can be angry at God for taking her.  But I am a firm believer that though she served her “fashion and blogging” purpose here on earth, her death is meant to serve an even greater purpose.

That purpose is that she and her journey will hopefully teach people how to live! Now! because folks as we all know and say – “Life is entirely too short.”  And our time of death is pre-written and set in stone. But we forget quickly.

Kyrzayda’s journey left an indelible imprint on me.  I found myself constantly sending prayers for her, I started reading the bible in her name even bargaining with God to give her more time.  Lord, I’ll quit drinking, I’ll go to church, I’ll volunteer with the needy.  Anything to gain her more time.

It broke my heart to hear she passed, but it also cheered me (after hearing these podcasts) that her transition was easy, and pain-free and joyous.

I chose not to go to the wake because #1 I am way too emotional and didn’t want to be that person in hysterics and #2 I wanted to hold with me the memory of Kyrzayda as I knew her back in 2009.

AND #3 I had a dream with her the night she passed.   Random, right?

I dreamt we were in this outdoor space like a vineyard or some kind of outdoor courtyard.  We were talking and laughing and she had on this flowered two piece flowy pant suit.  She kept saying she wanted to go down to beach and so she went.

I didn’t follow because I felt like she was happy and she was joyous and ok.  So she went down this staircase filled with flowers and gone. 

I woke with this sense of “Oh! She’s fine!”  Kyrzayda is good.

Kyrzayda did what most people wouldn’t dare do and even if some do not agree with her decisions or her way of living – who fucking cares?!?!

What we should be focusing on is how we are going to live.

We shouldn’t be questioning God or the Universe or whoever we believe in “Why her?” or “Why did this happen?”

We should be asking, “What have we learned?” What has she taught us?” “How are we going to live OUR lives NOW?”

Hey we could even ask: WWKD? “What would Kyrzayda do?” 

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Continued to work, blog, shop, post..

I am not concerned with K now and where she is because I know she is fantastically and amazingly and joyously existing in another space. Happy, pain-free, resting.

I just ask the Universe to comfort her mother, her family and her friends in this difficult time.

And more importantly, I pray that we figure out “Why?” not for Kyrzayda but for ourselves and how is having known Kyrzayda going to fundamentally push us to not be left with the question “Why?” at the end of our lives.

Kyrzayda, may you rest in eternal peace and may the Lord grant your mother and family the most comfort at this time.

It was a pleasure knowing you doll! 

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She did more than most … without fear!

LolaUncorked♥

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I committed 19 crimes…. not really but it got your attention…

Hi guys!  Haven’t featured a wine in some time and I have tasted several since last time.

But I watched a movie last night about prohibition and gangsters and it reminded me of this week’s Wine of the Week!  19 CRIMES.  http://19crimes.com/

Absolutely delish.  I really thought it referred to Bonnie and Clyde or something like that because of the label.  And we know how I love Bonnie and Clyde (see previous post).  But upon doing some research the term “19 Crimes” refers to individuals from Britain who upon committing one of 19 specific crimes were shipped off to Australia and basically rehabilitated.  Pretty cool right?

* Upon conviction, British rogues guilty of a least one of the 19 crimes were sentenced to live in Australia, rather than death. This punishment by “transportation” began in 1783 and many of the lawless died at sea. For the rough-hewn prisoners who made it to shore, a new world awaited. As pioneers in a frontier penal colony, they forged a new country and new lives, brick by brick. This wine celebrates the rules they broke and the culture they built.   http://www.marketwired.com/

They became productive members society!  Imagine doing that today! Hey! we are not sending you to jail for robbery, we’re going to banish you off to some uncolonized or underdeveloped region to sweat and toil.  Hmm.  Maybe not a bad idea. 19crimesstory

The labels feature some of these real-life criminals. 

Anyway, so let me talk about the wine and then I’ll give you a little bonus at the end!!

So the Australian label carries 8 wines – 7 reds (Red Blend, Cabernet Sauvignon, The Banished -Dark Red Blend, The Warden -Red Blend, Uprising Red and Shiraz) and one white (Hard Chard – Chardonnay). 

 

I’ve only tasted 3 of the 7 reds.  Can you believe that?!?! But that’s because my local liquor store doesn’t carry them all.  So far I love them all. I  may even step out of my red zone and try the white as well since the reds are so delicious!

I have had the pleasure of imbibing in the Red Blend, Cab and the Uprising!  Let me tell you what I love about these.  They are all so bold, yet so smooth.  I tend to enjoy spicy wines that burst in my mouth, so I was surprised that I liked these as much as I did. 

Even though they have a smooth finish, the flavor is so full in your mouth and caresses every part of your tongue and mouth – the back, the front, the sides, the roof!!!  And the finish lingers for a while after. In all of them. To different degrees!19crimes3

The Red Blend is medium bodied but flavorful.  Has some hints of berries.  Dark full berries. The Cabernet has a little sweetness, very slight but great for you guys who enjoy red but want something on the sweeter side.  The Banished Red Blend is a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet and Grenache, but definitely leans more towards a Shiraz (which if you have had any my favorites come from South Africa and Australia).  Definitely the boldest of the three I’ve tried.  Tastes really dark in your mouth like dark chocolate.  

I am not a wine expert (by far).  Sometimes I think I taste a certain flavor in a wine, but am unsure, so I’ll ask someone else’s opinion or go on the wine’s website to check it out. 

This is great for those of us who are trying to become wine connoisseurs. Of course wine tastings are great too!  And you can find those locally and pretty inexpensive. 

Just Grapes Lounge in Elmwood Park, NJ host a few throughout the year.  (I used to work there).  Check out their website https://www.justgrapeslounge.com/ and sign up on their Facebook for upcoming events.

These bottles are super well priced for the taste.  They range from $8 to $10 a bottle locally, except for The Warden (which I am dying to try) which goes for about $20.

So this is your bonus!!!

Go check out:  https://www.livingwinelabels.com/.

This is definitely a fun adult app that brings the criminals on the wine labels to life. They tell you their history.  How cool is that? And creepy actually.

Check out my video playing with the app at home.  Love it! 

Anyway, I hope you guys all go out and try a bottle tonight and come back and give me some feedback!!!

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CHEERS!

♥LolaUncorked

 

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Why Rosé?

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Hi, guys! The wine or wines of the week are Rosés.  I’ve been a red wine drinker for many, many years.  Anything full, dark and spicy just sets my tongue a tingling.  But as I started to experience those good, ole hot flashes (thanks to aging), it was no longer enjoyable drinking too much red wine.  Especially in the summertime.

I had to come up with an alternative.  Beers are great in the summer, but I can only have so many before I start feeling bloated.  I am not a sweet wine drinker, so White Zinfandel or Moscato were not an option.  I still wanted something dry, but light and crisp.  I tried adding ice to my red and well, ugh.  No judgement here guys!  But that did not work for me.

So I embarked on a journey to find the perfect Rosé.  And I’ve tried many, but recently for Easter Sunday I had one of the best ones up until now.  “Pink wine, or rosé, happily spans the colorspace between red and white wine, in a way, rosé is more like a state of mind.” –http://winefolly.com/review/what-is-rose-wine/  Rosés to me are reminiscent of picnics, a drive along the countryside, or sitting outside at a cafe.

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Rosé by the beach!

Anyway, do you guys remember Francis Ford Coppola?  Yes, the screenwriter and director.  Did you know he owns a famous winery in Napa Valley?  I had no idea.  I won’t bore you with all the details, but you can read all about it here:  https://www.winemag.com/2012/08/06/francis-ford-coppola-from-feature-films-to-fine-wine/

In the meantime, let me tell you about the wine.  I picked up a bottle of Sofia Rosé.  Definitely one of my favorites right now.  The bottle averages about $14.99, but its flavor is worth more than the price.  sofia31.jpg

Sofia Rosé hits your mouth with a burst of berries that might appeal to those of you who like a tinge of sweetness.  But, it also has a perfectly balanced dryness. Sofia has a lot of body for being a Rosé which reminded me of some reds that I enjoy.   Because of its crispness you can pair this with chicken or fish, but it’s body also make it great with steak (if you’re into that).

I just tried it, but I definitely will be drinking this poolside this summer, even though I don’t have a pool.  But hey if you guys invite me I will definitely bring you a bottle…or two.

But seriously, great wine, great price, can pair with meals or drink alone.  By the way, ShopRite in Little Falls, those of you who are local, have an abundance of Rosés to choose from.  Can be a little overwhelming, but I suggest, picking one from a region you are already familiar with.  For example, if you love California Reds, try a Rosé from California.  If you like reds from Argentina, try a Rosé from argentinian grapes.  You can start there.

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This is just one of the racks of Rosés at Little Falls ShopRite.

Some of my other favorite Rosés so far are:

  1. Dark Horse- averages about $10 has a lovely finish.
  2. Whispering Angel- a little pricier, but one of the first ones I tried and pairs lovely with cheese. Yum! Yum!  Averages about $22
  3. White Girl Rosé – nice and crisp- averages $15 a bottle and apparently launched by an IG star (fun fact).
  4. Barefoot Bubbly makes a brut Rose which my sister in laws and I love.  Averages about $10 a bottle and perfect for  bridal showers or brunch.
  5. Luc Belair Rosé is ABSOLUTELY fantastic.  Averages about $30 a bottle.  I got TWO for my birthday last year…and guess what I drank both alone.  Too delish to share!!!

I hope this inspires you to go try a rosé if you haven’t already.  If you have I would love to hear what your favorite is.  Click on the comment link and leave me some suggestions!

Is it too early to rosé ?

♥LolaUncorked