Category Archives: Sparkling Wine

Champange…Mangos!

There is absolutely nothing more mouth-watering in that Spring to Summer transition than a Champagne Mango. I tend to favor these pint-sized juicy golden gems over other types of mangos, not only because of the word “Champagne” in the title (I’m a bubbly enthusiast, after all), but because they are truly the most luscious and most flavorful of all the mango varieties. These kidney-shaped delights are absolutely the “Champagne” of Mangos, though the yield be small, the pit annoyingly cumbersome, and then there’s the conundrum of how to slice it, which can be quite complicated.

Generally, I will beg my husband to do the honor of slicing the mangos for us, mostly because he’s terrifically good at it (well, this is what happens when your spouse has taken a “knife skills” class…you tend to leave the sous chef-ing to their skilled hands and therefore reap the benefits). Fortunately, he enjoys chopping and dicing almost as much as I enjoy consuming his choppings and dicings.

Mangos have always held a special place in my fruit-loving heart. My Mom and I are definite “fruities” (by the way, the “fruitie” came before the genesis of the “foodie” – I swear). I don’t know how or why it started, but when I was growing up, we used plop down “Under the Sink” (well, not fully under with the cleaning supplies, mind you, but just below the sink, and yes, on the ground). We’d lean back against the cabinet, chat, and eat fruit together. She’d prepare a mango, or a papaya with lime, or a mixed berry salad, and we’d sit on the floor and giggle at our odd tradition.

When we had fights, we would make up by talking it out “Under the Sink.” It was a place to make a peace offering, a place to cry it out over heartache, and a place to be quizzed on Civil War facts. Though many fruits journeyed with us “Under the Sink”, mangos were always my absolute favorite; the fruit that sticks in my memory most. Mangos were special: they came into season once a year and tasted just like candy. (Well, they tasted like candy to to a very candy-deprived little girl. For example, “carob” was presented as an alternative to chocolate. Nice try, health-nut parents.)

I have been unable to eat fruit for the past three years because of a stomach problem, but I’ve slowly been able to add it back in in small amounts over the past few months. Nothing can beat the freshness of a piece of fruit when it’s perfectly in season, especially when you’re not used to consuming sweet things. And this year, upon that first bite into that Champagne Mango…I don’t think anything could have tasted better.

Since we’re here obsessing about all things mango, I wanted to include my husband’s instructions on cutting a mango (he really gets the most out of those juicy little guys).

Also, because I do still occasionally need to talk it out with my Mom “Under the Sink” (albeit with cushions under our less-cushiony-with-age-bottoms), we might treat ourselves with…an adult Champagne Mango Cocktail! (Directions below.)

HOW TO CUT A MANGO:

  1. Get a sharp knife! (Highly important in this household.)
  2. Hold the mango so that the long, skinny edge rests on the cutting board.
  3. Visualize that the pit is only about 1 cm thick in the center so find a spot on the skinny edge facing up about half that distance from the center.
  4. Cut vertically on that line. If you hit resistance halfway through, try angling the knife away from the center to try to cut “around” the wide part of the pit.
  5. Repeat on the other side of the mango. You should now have two kidney shaped halves and the center section with the flat pit in the middle.
  6. Score the flesh of the kidney sections into a grid, like you would an avocado, doing your best to keep the skin intact.
  7. Flip the kidneys over and invert them so that the flesh pops out like a turtle shell.
  8. One at a time, use your palm to press the kidney as flat as you can against a cutting board so that the skin is flush with the board’s surface.
  9. With the knife flat with the cutting board, run the knife through the fruit flesh as close to the skin as possible.
  10. Repeat with the second kidney section.
  11. Get a high-five from the soon-to-be-mango-eaters.
  12. Grab the remnants of the kidney sections and the center pit piece and selfishly scrape off anything you can get with your teeth (so that you can offer more of the “pretty” fruit for your mango-eating loved ones, of course). Avoid scraping the exterior skin though since it is crazy-bitter.
  13. Revel in the neat little squares of sweetness.

SPARKLING MANGO MINT COCKTAILS (serves 6):

*1/4 cup crushed mint leaves

*3 cups Mango juice

*1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice

*Add Sparkling Wine to taste (or fizzy water make it a virgin cocktail!) Our choice? Lexy’s Toast Brut Nature!

DIRECTIONS:

Crush mint leaves and lime juice until bruised. Place mint and lime in a container with the mango juice and leave to sit in the refrigerator for an hour. Remove, strain the mint leaves, and pour. Top with Sparkling Wine (to taste!), and add a wedge of real mango, mint leaves, or cucumber.

And ENJOY! “Under the Sink”, of course.

CHEERS!

 

How to Saber a Champagne Bottle Without Simultaneously Sabering your Partner, Dog, or Dinner Guest.

“In victory, you deserve Champagne; in defeat, you need it.”

— Napoleon Bonaparte….(possibly)

The iconic quote above is often attributed to Napoleon, but we are not exactly sure who said it. It sure sounds like something he’d say, so let’s go with it. And as with all Champagne lore…there’s a goodly amount of myth surrounding who said or did what. Contrary to popular belief, Dom Pérignion, a French monk, did not actually “invent” Champagne (despite all the hullabaloo surrounding his “Come quickly, I’m tasting the stars” quote). And was the coupe really designed after Marie Antoinette’s breast? Who knows? Hey – it’s possible! Regardless, lore, myth, and majesty are part of Champagne’s irresistible charm: I do believe bubbles really are magic.

Even the act of opening a bottle of Champagne can carry quite a bit of flair. You can pop the cork like a cannon, signaling celebration, or you can follow a more demure act of opening the bottle, touted by those in the ‘biz’. In this fashion, it’s highly preferred to pop the cork in such a manner that could be described (most enchantingly) as a “nun’s fart”. Regardless, that pop (be it deafening or quiet) is a delightful pre-curser to what’s sure to be a fabulous evening. And to begin your celebration with even MORE panache…why not SABER your bottle open?!?

Sabering is the theatrical art of opening a Champagne bottle by a long knife/sword/saber. If done well, upon contact to the bottle rim, the cork will zoom through the air and out will fly a bit of Champagne, along a clean break in the glass (all three of these things hopefully missing someone’s eyeball in the process).

I had never personally sabered (is that a verb?) a bottle, but made a resolution to learn on as good a time as any for resolution-making: New Year’s Eve. We were given a beautiful French Laguiole saber for our wedding and I was determined to figure out how to use it. After watching countless YouTube videos, I felt like I understood the gist of it, and decided it was high time to try the damn thing. That was the first attempt, off our front porch into the bushes. It went pretty well, and I went to sleep proudly having accomplished a New Year’s resolution before New Year’s Day had even hit.

The second attempt was in front of 60 party guests. GULP.

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I’d like to proudly report that no one was killed, lost an eye, or was doused in Champagne (although someone may have welcomed the latter), so I figured my two time success deserved heaps of praise. As I proudly sent a slo-mo video of my saber-feat to my girlfriends, one asked “so what’s up with this saber tradition, anyway? Don’t you lose a lot of the wine? What’s the point if you lose a bunch of wine?”

I had to admit; I had no idea about the tradition surrounding the saber. So I looked it up.

Apparently (hey, Champagne myths!) after winning the French Revolution, as Napoleon galloped home victoriously with his fleet of men, the townsfolk, in their excitement, tossed bottles of Champagne to him and his army. Being it was quite difficult to open the bottles while riding, the men quickly sabered them with their swords. (I’m not totally sure how that’s easier, but okay, it’s lore).

According to his quote, Napoleon drank Champagne regardless of victory or defeat, but I highly doubt anyone tossed him a bottle after his defeat at Waterloo. I’m sure when he got home from that bummer of a job, he probably did open a bottle to nurse his wounds. However I’m pretty sure he didn’t open that bottle with an extravagant pop, but probably with that gentle sound of a nun’s fart.

Since then, there’s a bit of pomp and circumstance surrounding the act of sabering. Yes you lose a little wine…but you gain some street cred. (I like to tell myself this).

And so, lastly (so you can gain some street cred), here’s what I promised you:

How to Saber a Champagne Bottle:

  1. Procure a saber and a bottle of sparkler (I’d err on the side of inexpensive here).
  2. Remove the foil completely and take the wire cage off the bottle (and make SURE the bottle is pointing AWAY from anyone you love, or even like) as sometimes corks like to “pop” on their own before the time is right). There’s a lot of pressure in that bottle – six atmospheres to be exact!
  3. Turn the bottle until you locate a “seam”, a vertical line running from the bottom all the way to the top. It’s faint, but it’s there. Place your non-dominant hand under the bottle, holding it horizontally so the seam is facing up.
  4. With the bottle slightly tilted up, guide the saber along the seam. I like to do this a few times to “practice” before hitting the rim of the bottle. (Also, look around…this is a good time to make sure no one has wandered into your safe space.)
  5. Take a breath. You got this, Champ!
  6. On your last slide down the bottle with the saber, give it a little extra “oomph”. (This is a technical term). The saber will hit the lip of the bottle, create a clean break in the neck, and the pressure will send any glass, the cork, and a bit of the sparkler out of the bottle.
  7. Celebrate! Pour everyone you love (or like) some bubbly! Be careful, as the spout of the bottle could be sharp from where the clean break happened!

P.S. In case of a sobering, saber defeat: choose your bottle wisely. I’d recommend practicing on a Sparkler under $20. Do NOT choose a bottle of $2,000 Billecart-Salmon, as did the sommelier of the famed French Laundry in Napa. Big-time. Epic. Fail.

To witness this face palming occurrence, check out the video below.

DO NOT DO THIS!  🤦‍♀️

Cheers! 

 

 

 

 

The Monthly Nine: December’s “It” List

FA LA LA LA LAAAA! I’m so in love with the holiday season…and it’s HERE! I’m finally  allowed to start practicing Christmas songs on my ukulele (much to our neighbors’ dismay). Sonoma and Napa Counties have been through a lot these past few months because of the raging wildfires, but there’s so much to be grateful for. We had an incredible “Thanksgivingmas” with my husband’s family in Chicago, and now we’re looking forward to our extended family reunion and subsequent “Hootenanny”. It’s not often that we can get our whole gang together in one place (my head has been photoshopped into our family holiday photos on multiple occasions), so it’s an extra special celebration.

In preparation for the Holidays: here are some of Lexy’s Toast Wines favorite gift ideas for December 2017!

1. Tom Ford Lipstick: For the Beauty Queen. I was gifted this lipstick for “Thanksgivingmas” with my husband’s family, and it is AMAZING! It’s creamy, moisturizing, and long-lasting, all the way through dinner (and dessert.)

2. The OG Bag: For your favorite Jetsetter. There’s a pocket for absolutely everything, and coming in at just under 2.5 lbs, it’s light enough to pack to the brim, waterproof, and slides onto your rolling suitcase. It’s on the pricey side, but Lo and Sons sometimes puts items on sale…and that time is right about NOW!

3. Stemless Wine Glasses: For the Hostess with the Mostess. These pretty wine glasses absolutely scream holiday cheer.

4. Champagne SHOES!: For the Champagne Lover. Ugh! How I wanted to buy these! (I produce Sparkling Wine after all!) Sadly, these just didn’t fit quite right…but maybe they’ll fit YOU! Or your BFF. Or Cinderella. Anyway, I hope someone gets to wear them.

5. Thank You Notes: For your Pen Pal. I’m a huge fan of old-fashioned thank you notes! Lately, I’ve been spoiled not having to buy cards since my Mother-in-law makes and sends me beautiful handmade (and unbelievably professional!) looking cards, but these would be a nice stocking stuffer for someone who loves to express gratitude the old-fashioned way.

6. 2018 Planner: For the Organizer. January is right around the bend, so let’s write down our New Year’s Resolutions, and start to plan the best year EVER!

7. To The Moon Trinket Dish: For the Teen in your life. What a sweet little dish for baubles, rings, and things!

8. Skull Cuff Links: For The Coolest Dude You Know. (This would be my husband.) He wore these on our wedding day, and I still think they are completely and utterly cool. (I still think he’s pretty cool too.)

9. Lexy’s Toast Brut Nature: For Everyone (over 21, that is)!! The holidays aren’t complete without BUBBLES! Our Lexy’s Toast Brut Nature is bone-dry (and I swear possesses a hint of Orange Creamsicle). Yum!

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Happy Gifting!

P.S. If you’ve anything left to spare during your holiday shopping sprees, Redwood Credit Union is taking donations. Fire relief efforts are still underway in Northern California, and RCU is donating 100% of the proceeds directly where they are needed.

P.P.S. On a personal note regarding the fires: check out my last blog post. #SonomaStrong: Ignited By Fire.

P.P.P.S. Except for our Sparkling Wine, we here at Lexy’s Toast are not affiliated with any products listed here; we just covet them. 😉 

Featured Image by Jon McPherson Photography.

Paper: The 1st Anniversary Challenge.

The Occasion: We made it all the way to our First Anniversary! A whole year! It was actually pretty darn easy. So far! Knock on wood…or paper?

The Challenge: To make each other something (meaningful-ish) utilizing paper.

The Budget: In lieu of pricey gifts (good lord…we are still recovering from our Wedding/Honeymoon, people!), I proposed a creative arts-and-crafts gift exchange, which had to involve the traditional 1st year anniversary gift: paper.

May the Most Creative Spouse Win! 

Wife’s Project:

It started as a scrapbook from our Honeymoon, but soon began to feel extremely un-creative. I remembered that I had saved all the bottle caps from our Honeymoon in Champagne, so I decided to incorporate them into my project. I found some wine barrel staves and employed my Dad and our contractor friend Dave for some help (I’ve never wood-worked, people!). We glued the staves together, drew the shape of a wine bottle, and then Dave used his fancy saw to cut the edges and sand them. While originally intended to look like a Champagne bottle, it turned out looking a bit more like a Bordeaux, but hey! I still like it! Then my dad and I made circular holes for the Champagne caps with a drill press and a 1.25″ bit. And no one lost a finger!

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Okay, okay, so I realize this isn’t paper. BUT…paper IS made FROM wood… (So it counts. Right?)

Sort of.

Feeling like I had veered a little too far off the paper-course, I then had the idea to frame our original vows (paper!), so they would never be lost (blood, sweat, tear stains and all). So I took them (along with a photo of our impromptu after-vow-handshake) to Michaels. Never having framed anything, I had no idea how pricey framing can be.

Whoops. Non-existent budget=blown. Sorry honey!

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Husband’s Project:

The Husband decided to actually utilize paper (overachiever). He decided to create a 3-D map of our first “home” together in Sausalito.

Guest Blogger (My Husband):

I found a topographic map of the area I wanted to represent online. The elevation actually goes from sea level to over 1,100 feet in the small area I picked so I figured I would make 11 layers of elevation changes.  I printed the map in the size I needed (8×8 inches) and traced each 100-foot elevation line onto its own piece of tracing paper. I went to Michaels, found some thick paper board, cut it down into twelve 10×10 inch squares, and taped a piece of tracing paper to each. Then it was just a matter of using an X-acto knife to cut into the paper board by following the tracing paper. A few more passes to cut all the way through and clean up the edges before I could stack them in a deep frame. Cutting through dense paper board was definitely the worst part and I could really use a hand massage, but I’m super happy with how it all came out.

a.) My husband knows about MICHAELS? Who is this man?

b.) Ahhhh! We almost had a crafting run-in at Michaels! Holy CRAPFT!

c.) He also wanted to know why Michaels doesn’t use an apostrophe in their name. (We both do, actually.)

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The Anniversary Challenge Winner? The Husband (duh! for actually using paper, for being the most artistic, and for sticking to the non-existent budget).

The Prize? A hand massage! And another year of marriage. (To moi!)

Next year? Cotton…My brain’s already percolating.

 

 

 

 

There’s No Use Crying Over Spilled Champagne

Or is there?

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I are coming up on our first Anniversary, and so we’ve been doing some fond reminiscing on the particulars of our magical day: the good stuff, the funny stuff, and the slightly less funny stuff.

As our wedding day was rapidly approaching, I was driving a couple hours almost daily between our home in Sausalito and our venue in Glen Ellen, which also happened to be my parent’s home and winery. Plotting the wine selection for the wedding was highly important to this geekily-wine-obsessed-couple. The selection, however, was a no-brainer: we would be using my parents amazing array of GlenLyon Winery Estate Syrah, Chardonnay, Rosé, Viognier, and (my personal!) Brut Nature and Sparkling Rosé.

(A pretty incredible line up, if you ask me!)

We did, however, want to make sure we had some other special wines laced throughout the wedding events: a classic Veuve Cliquot immediately post-ceremony, a Louis Roederer Stark Brut Nature for the next morning’s brunch, and a magnum of Schramsberg 2007 Sparkling Rosé for the wedding party joining us at the head table.

Schramsberg Winery in Napa has always held a very sweet place in our hearts: after a tour and tasting there three years ago, my husband first told me he loved me! And I told him I loved him back! Then out of a slight panic I took it back the next day…but only for a week! We went back before the wedding for another tasting (this time, our “love declarations” staying put!) and purchased a magnum of Vintage Sparkling Rosé, with the intention of starting an annual tradition.

So, back to my daily treks between Sausalito and Glen Ellen. Among a huge load of wedding-related crafts/crap, I was transporting the magnum of Schramsberg to house it safely in my parents’ cellar. Not wanting the big bottle to get hot in the car, I put her in an ancient Playmate cooler I’d borrowed from my mom, and stacked some cold packs on top of her. When I arrived at my parents house, I was a bit late for a meeting, so I jumped out of my Rav4 to run inside, then realizing I’d better take the pink Schramsy out of the car, just in case she got overheated. As I hastily opened the back door to retrieve her, the Schramsy, ice packs, and Playmate slipped out the car door and cracked all over the pavement.

Having sworn on the white of my wedding dress I would be the most easygoing and unfazed bride on Earth, I hadn’t cried or moaned about anything wedding-related…yet. But as I watched the beautiful fizz wash over the hot pavement, shattered glass everywhere, my heart sank. Little hot tears gathered in the corners of my eyes. “Don’t do it, Fridell!” I warned myself. “Don’t you cry! It’s just…our wedding wine…” Our pricey, delicious, beautiful wedding wine, which now was sizzling and sticky on the hot asphalt.

I crouched down on the ground in dismay, gently picking up pieces of glass as if I could will the bottle back together. And out came some little whimpers. “No no no!” And then then floodgate of tears. “Noooooooooo!” I imagined how disappointed my soon-to-be-husband would be. I decided to blame the evil plastic ancient Playmate instead of my hasty butter-fingers so he wouldn’t divorce me before we even got married. (I attribute this to Warped Reality Bride-Brain Thoughts.)

Just then, my father came outside (he had probably heard the whimpering moans of defeat) and inquired after the streaks of tears. We picked up the rest of the glass together as I recounted the tale of bubbly woe. “Wait here”, he said, and ran back into the house. Moments later, out he came with the nicest possible remedy I could have dreamed of: a 1983 vintage bottle of Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc, signed by Mr. Jack Davies himself!

Well, the floodgates released full-force at the thought of such a thoughtful and special gift from my Father. As he tried to hand it to me, I immediately begged him to hold onto it tightly as I didn’t trust myself to do so. I couldn’t have another butter-finger accident on the same day…and this time with a much more precious bottle of wine.

ol’ Schramsy still sittin’ pretty

My husband (of course) couldn’t have been sweeter or kinder about the situation, which reinforced one of the things I already loved about him most: his calm and accepting attitude towards any life-induced-strife. Sometimes I like to think of our relationship in terms of a good glass of rosé: me being extremely high in acid, and my husband bringing the balance of sweetness that tempers the acid. (Please don’t barf and just go with me on this; we are wine geeks so I’m allowed to use terrible wine-related metaphors.)

In the end, we decided not to open ol’ Schramsy during the wedding, but to keep the bottle (safe) for a special occasion. Not that the wedding wasn’t one, but we both wanted to give that bottle of 1983 our full and undivided attention. And open it with my Dad and Mom. It may even be flat by now, but who cares? We’ll still be tasting a little bit of history.

And, regardless of when it’s popped, just opening that ol’ Schramsy with three people I love more than anything will turn that moment into the special occasion.

 

 

The Monthly 9: July’s “It-list”

Our first wedding Anniversary is right around the corner and we can’t believe this year has flown by so quickly! News update: We are still together (score!), still actually like each other (double score!), and have tons of sage advice for newlyweds. (Joking, joking!) As I scramble to come up with a fun DIY project as a gift involving paper for the hubby (shhhhh! don’t tell him!), I’ve come across some other delightful finds. It’s most definitely wedding season, so July’s “It-list” is filled with wedding related gifts.

Our wedding color was a bright, sunny yellow, and I’ll never regret it! (Though my sweet acquiescing bridesmaids might have…thanks for going with the flow, gals. You all looked stunningly radiant, and my pop of yellow wedding dreams came true!)

View More: http://lmdphoto.pass.us/lexy-and-graham-i-do

Below are my cheerful yellow picks for the month:

 

1. This gorgeous lemon flower arrangement was created by our amazing friends Kari and Ritamarie for our wedding. And while perfect for a wedding, it’s also a fabulous summery idea to decorate and brighten your home!

2. C’est La Vie Hat: “C’est La Vie” stitched in yellow on a wide brimmed straw hat: perfect for Honeymooning!

3. Best Toasts Book:  If you’re in need of a Toast to give: look no further! This little book has all the toasts you could possibly need, for any and all occasions.

4. Yellow and White Wedding Guest Dress: A sweet dress for an outdoor wedding or shower.

5. Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne: A fun bottle to pop right after a ceremony! We had five minutes to slam a quick glass, somewhat “collect ourselves”, and jump up and down and say “we’re marrrrrried!” We used my mom’s antique crystal to enjoy the bubbles out of.(Photo evidence below.) Thank goodness I didn’t accidentally drop it in my unbridled excitement.

 

6. Choose Happiness Candle: Citrus fruit scents bring happiness to your home in this cheerful little candle.

7. Le Creuset Whistling Tea Kettle: Look no further for the perfect gift than this sunny yellow teapot! I use her daily (I’m a huge tea fanatic) and get think of my bestie who gave us the kettle every time I look at it. And they come in many colors (if, gasp, yellow isn’t your thing!)

8. Lemon Serving Tray:  A friend gave us placemats and napkins with this adorable lemon pattern, and now Kate Spade carries a whole set of plates and serving platters to match!

9. Yellow Egg Crate: A cute crate to house a dozen eggs. Also, who doesn’t love a pop of color upon opening the fridge?

Let there be love, laughter, and sunshine in your upcoming July days! Happy wedding season whether you’re a bride or a guest!

View More: http://lmdphoto.pass.us/lexy-and-graham-i-do

(All wedding photos by Laura Marie Duncan Photography.)

Budgeting and Bubbly…aka Budgeting for Bubbly.

Every January 1st, I madly pledge allegiance to an overly lengthy and overly zealous list of New Year’s Resolutions.

This Year’s Top 3 Rezzies:

1) Letting Go of Something/Growing Something. (Besides my plant children.) I wrote down one thing I wanted release in 2016 and burned it in our lovely fireplace. (I scribbled this detestable word on a the back of a check belonging to a crummy bank that I would also like to “release” this year.) Then I wrote down an aspiration I wanted to cultivate in 2017 and buried it in a plant. I chose our Hearty Hydrangea, Harold. Side note: I could have “released” about 10,000 things, but I made myself choose ONE. Streamline 2017!

2) Master the “splits” (this has been a top New Year’s Resolution since I was eleven years old.) THIS IS GONNA BE THE YEAR, GUYS!

3) To finally implement a real-deal-adult-get-your-life-together-right-this-instant-BUDGET. i.e.: actually put money into the budget to purchase a useful online app that tracks every single little penny spent so even a seemingly tall weeny-teeny coconut milk latté from Starbucks doesn’t go unnoticed…a lotta my bucks go to the ‘bucks. Sigh. 

I mean…guys…it’s TIME. My husband and I are (somewhere) in our 30s. It’s time for the real-deal-adult-get-your-life-together-right-this-instant-Budget. And there’s no time like the present. And New Years day to kick you in the tush.

(Sob!)

The problems I’ve encountered attempting a so-called Budget in the past have been abundant. Examining your funds (or lack there of) forces you to confront life choices and past purchases you absolutely do not want to confront or remember. It’s pretty darn easy to eek by paycheck to paycheck, (or to not eek by but convince yourself you’re eeking by and believe it because it sure is easier than actually confronting the issue). And, guys! You can always leave it up to “next month” when you’ll have money again, right? (At least that’s what the money gods told me.) But when next month rolls around, that panicked feeling begins to creep up your spine, and once again, you scramble, scramble, scramble. And feel terrible that you didn’t really do any actual budgeting.

Budget ignorance is indeed budget bliss.

I’ve tried it all. There was MINT (which admittedly I only used once after finding it made me look a bit too closely into the money mirror, and, upon reflection, turned and ran away in horror.) And to top it off, the app provided no solution for fixing my issues, it just showed me what I did wrong. I’ve tried diligently writing everything I spent down (and then promptly lost the notebook). I’ve tried a good ol’ fashioned checkbook approach (but somehow the numbers always come out slightly…ok wayyyyy off). Each attempt to begin a budget at the beginning of a new year begins with such promise, diligence, and grit…and, like good ol’ buttoned up Frosty, has always melted into a puddle of muddy waters by Spring.

My husband and I sat down to dig into our Budget (he calls it invigorating; I call it tedious.) Because of the tedious budget, I deemed it be implemented over a Bottle of Something Absolutely Fabulous (the mere sight of numbers make me want to hide under a blanket as if I were watching The Shining.)

We chose a bottle of 2006 Launois Père & Fils Brut Blanc de Blancs “Spécial Club” Champagne. I was wary since we’ve tried some non-vintage bubbly from this producer that weren’t to my taste. But this vintage bottle was delicate, elegant, dry, light, playful on the tongue, not too citrus-y, crisp, complete with a touch of yeasty-ness without becoming a full yeast bomb. 11 fabulous years old, lithe, and in great balance (unlike myself at 11).

And an instantaneous reminder that drinking something so lovely needs to be a part of our ever so imminent budget.

We found a site called YOU NEED A BUDGET. (In fact, we really did.) The site has entertaining comics, videos, and a podcast, so I was sold immediately. Instead of admonishing you for your lack of funds, you start to look at what’s important in your future, and backtrack from there. Say we want to make sure we can afford a new couch in the next year…(ours propels us so far forward we end up sitting on the floor by the end of movie night). So we’ll allot small amounts each month to save for that. Then say we get hit by a large medical bill. That would take precedence, and we would move funds around to allot for THAT. It’s a constantly moving target.

Budgets can bring up a treasure trove of emotions and tough conversations. The past rears it’s ugly head in debts small and large (that stupid pair of way too pricey and uncomfortable shoes you bought, or taking out money to start a business). When you can implement a way to fight past debt in a meticulous manner, the present becomes so much brighter. For the near future, a honeymoon trip to Champagne (hopefully before our 1st anniversary) would be a great goal. And for the more distant future, an aim would be a home of our own one day (complete with a wine cellar of course!) to store our fabulous Sparkling Wines!

Approach that dreaded budget with a calm mind, a willingness to look deep into your habits, and a large glass of indulgent Bubbly. And here’s to glorious success in all your Rezzies this year! I’m off to practice my splits.

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Photo by Rebecca Call. Transcendence Theatre Company, 2015.