Fireside Reds

Taking care of yourself in 2018 means something different for each one of us. For me personally, I have decided to stop celebrating “being busy” and to start celebrating the quality moments that life so readily offers. It may be redundant every year promising to take more time for yourself, but with so much negativity in the world, not focusing on self-care allows for a continuous decline in our mental and physical well-being.

Yes, we know what we are supposed to eat, that we should exercise and manage our stress levels. But to truly embrace and care for ourselves, we have to actually promise to take more breaks, to enjoy some silence, and let our brains stop processing the screams and screens of the world. And then especially, to not feel guilty about those moments of rest, no matter how often, and no matter how long the respite.

Starting back in 2017, there were a lot of new practices in my life. I started exercising regularly, not for my appearance, but for my escape from the world. What I found is when I feel good, I naturally treat myself (and others) better. Seems obvious, right? But I had to feel it for myself. Now, the wonderful, vicious cycle of health has left me feeling better than ever, and it was all discovered for the sole purpose of some “me time” away from life’s many responsibilities. I also have read new books, took a new course on spirituality, have attempted to add meditation and some yoga into my life for added silence and balance, and in addition to all that, I sometimes make additional chill-out time for myself without feeling guilty. Some of these practices will stay for 2018, some will fall off, but I have loved experiencing them all.

So when is the last time you sat by yourself, without a TV, device, book, or even music? For me, to just sit in silence and listen to my own thoughts is excruciatingly hard. Some people describe it as boring, some as terrifying, but this simple thing can be eye-opening. You can ask your mind questions about why you are replaying that one scenario over and over. You can notice how you keep thinking about the same person or how you tell yourself the same story repeatedly. You can notice how you are feeling guilty or bored while just sitting there. And what does it mean anyway, that it is so hard to just sit there?

As I try to sit alone with my thoughts, sometimes I journal. Sometimes I stare at a candle or a cozy fire. Sometimes I enjoy a cold glass of water or even a nice glass of wine. We should celebrate these rare moments of silence that we take for ourselves. And if you are a lover of wine like me, you might wonder which wine is perfect for such moments. I call these wines my “fireside reds.” I enjoy these wines because, although delicious with food, their best accompaniment is simply deep-thinking. They all have that soft, velvet blanket feel as they wrap around you and keep you warm, and invite you to stay for awhile.

The three wines I recommend for fireside reds are Steele Stymie Founder’s Reserve Merlot, Spring Valley Nina Lee Syrah, and Neal Family Cabernet Sauvignon, all from California. The Steele is definitely the softest and most subtle of the three wines, but it also has beautiful, elegant layers and will continue to open from soft cherry notes, rosemary, mint, and black raspberry, to black cherry and vanilla. This wine, as reserved as it is, is my personal favorite of the three.

The Nina Lee Syrah has a bit more body to it, more fruit and toast, while still soft and smooth. It is robust and full-bodied, but round and easy to drink. Because it is so balanced, yet juicy, it is a crowd favorite.

The Neal Family Cabernet, has everything you want from a delicious California Cabernet, with a nice touch of terroir that gives the wine structure and interest. This wine is flawlessly soft and bold at the same time, and at such an affordable price, Cabernet lovers will adore it.

If it happens that your self-care involves one of these beautiful fireside reds, as well as a complementary snack, try any of these bites for a great food-wine pairing: meatballs with red sauce, assorted cheddar cheeses, prosciutto and salami, cooked tomato bruschetta, mushroom crostini, goat cheese-tomato-olive tart, or tempura veg with a soy based dipping sauce, to name a few.
I wish you a happy January and a great start to 2018. I hope you enjoy a fireside red along with those crisp, winter moments. As nature stills, it is a great reminder to all that we should stop, rest, enjoy, and take great care of ourselves.

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