Fitter. Happier. (?)

I’ve been remiss about updating this blog, partly because I’ve been busy wrapping up grad work (thanks, Newhouse, for your parting blow: a 30-page, 20-live-source professional paper. Love you, but sometimes feel like re-titling “winewithramen” with the more wordy “$25,000 in debt and all I got was a prestigious resume topper… and this ill-maintained wine blog”).

As some of you know, there have been more professional reasons for my absence, as well: for about two months now, I’ve been working as a tasting room intern at Wine Enthusiast magazine.

The job (and the people) are amazing, but I do not, in fact, get to sit around tasting wine all day. Instead, my work mostly consists of entering the wines we receive as samples for tasting, cellaring them, and then selecting wines to be reviewed by our esteemed team of tasting professionals.

It’s a lot of box-lugging and backaches, but the perks are nothing to sneeze at. Wines reviewed are given away at the end of the day, sans the ounce or two tasted by our editors.

It’s great news for poor amateur connoisseurs (me!),and bad news for my (not so wine-loving) liver.

After a few weeks of trucking home three delicious bottles every night, and imbibing with the dedication of a true wine lover (or, um, alcoholic), I found the bottom of a bottle of Excedrin I’d been nursing since undergrad, went through three cases of blue Gatorade, and rediscovered the old trick of using two types of concealer to hide the undereye circles were growing faster than rings around a Douglas Fir. It needed to stop.

So I took a hiatus from the red stuff, resolutely switching from nightly glass(es) of luscious Malbec, Rioja, and even Barolo in favor of sparkling water, juices and green teas. The elixir of life, man. And boy, DID I FEEL BETTER.

And, lo and behold, this “feeling better” led to other (!) healthy-lifestyle choices. I finally found my way to the gym, enjoyed a different type of (muscular!) soreness, ate a lot of vegetables, even drank some gooey probiotic supplement stuff from the giveaway table at work. Visions of healthiness danced in my head. Yoga! Pilates! Gyrotonics! Taut muscles and the ability to run a 10K? Completely within my reach. Alcohol, gluttony, late nights? Dark remnants of a hedonistic past. I would be a veritable health nut. I would feel EVEN BETTER. And life would be great.


Sure, I felt better. I felt better in the “I just broke up with my asshole boyfriend and I’m going to tell all my girlfriends how GREAT I feel because maybe that will somehow ameliorate the big empty hole in my heart” way. I felt better in the “I just said I’ll not have any cake, even though it’s chocolate almond and that’s my absolute favorite combination, and now everyone is mmming and aaahhing and I’m left sitting alone stewing in my self-righteousness” great.

So, last Saturday night, I fell off the wagon. Happily. The features editor at Enthusiast passed along a press invite to the opening of SD26, a schwank restaurant event co-hosted by the men of Esquire magazine. Fabulous food (pesto-walnut-snap-pea pasta, hello?), wonderfully well-dressed men, and delicious – delicious dirty martinis.


Waking up with half my face crushed against the chartreuse sequined top I wore the night before, I realized something: I’ll never live a life of perfect moderation. The best I can hope for is a semi-even flailing between extremes, as I stumble from one to another and back again like a seasick passenger on deck in a storm.  No matter how far I swing from center, there’s too much at stake for me to go overboard. That knowledge is a comfort.

And you know what? So are those martinis.



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3 responses to “Fitter. Happier. (?)

  1. Haha, what a cute story. I guess “everything in moderation” is the slogan to live by. There are many temptations in this industry but over time you learn when to indulge and when to drink those elixirs.

  2. nickroberts19

    Hey Brenna,

    I really dig the blog. Sorry I haven’t been in touch lately. I also wanted to let you know that you’re not the only one who struggles with moderation. It would seem I have an addictive personality (so it’s probably a good thing I have never tried narcotics). As Oscar Wilde said, “I can resist everything except temptation.”

  3. Feride

    I fucking love your writing. That is all I’m going to say.

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