Hello, I’m V.

The founder of GRIT & GLAMOUR, a professional web content developer by day, and a die-hard Southerner. I’m a dog-person; a total hedonist and foodie; and when I’m not cooking or scrolling Instagram, you can find me relaxing with my Aussie husband and a dirty martini…bleu cheese olives required.

  • Non-Alcoholic Wines That Don’t Suck

    It’s been five months since I’ve had an alcoholic drink. FIVE MONTHS, people! I kind of can’t believe it, and yet thinking about drinking has (finally) taken a backseat in my mind. Unfortunately, my silent reflux is not really improving by leaps and bounds, so I continue to try to eat and live as alkaline as possible. Alcohol just cannot be part of that equation.

    Photo by andres chaparro from Pexels

    Since I’ve had to abstain from alcohol, I have missed it, craved it, and lamented its absence. A lot in the beginning, especially — not gonna lie. But now that the “habit” of drinking in the evening and on weekends has subsided, I still like to occasionally pretend like I’m kicking back with a glass of wine on a Friday night. And that has fueled my pursuit of palatable, non-alcoholic beverages that look and taste like alcoholic ones.

    While my primary reason for giving up alcohol is mainly due to reflux, there are myriad reasons why people might be interested in finding a good alcohol-free wine. For some, it’s prescription medications that can’t be mixed with alcohol; then there are the pregnant ladies; there are those who want to sip on something socially without worrying about how they’ll get home later; still others who need to avoid intoxication and hangovers due to career obligations or to maintain optimum health.

    Benefits of alcohol-free wine

    • It’s cheap. Most bottles are $8 – $14.
    • Fewer calories than real wine.
    • No hangovers! Better sleep!
    • Two glasses is enough.
    • No explanation required at social gatherings…no one is the wiser.

    Whatever your reasons for not imbibing, if you were someone who once did, and enjoyed it, this post is for you.

    I’ve tried a few non-alcoholic wines at this point. Some were meh, some like drinking apple juice — but in between the failures I discovered a few that sort of hit the spot. And here they are…

    St. Regis Non-Alcoholic Shiraz Rosé

    Not too sweet with the tiniest hint of bubbles. This one is my go-to for flavor, price, and convenience. Even better with a couple ice cubes thrown in. Perfect for the coming spring and summer months.

    Available at Total Wine for $7.99

    60 calories/250ml (compared to 110 calories for an alcoholic version)

    St. Regis Non-Alcoholic Brut

    A teeny bit on the sweet side, but not in a bad way. I promise you’ll think you’re actually drinking the real thing. Also ideal for alcohol-free Mimosas. Pop, fizz, clink!

    Available at Total Wine for $10.99

    100 calories/250ml (compared to 190 calories for an alcoholic version)

    Vintense Brut Rosé

    This bubbly brut rosé has “hints of ripe red currants, and fresh juicy strawberries…and an aftertaste leaves you wanting more.” And it does. It is delightful, and the only reason it’s not my number one non-alcoholic wine is the expense and inconvenience involved in obtaining it from Canada.

    Available via Hill Street Beverage Co. for $13.99

    35 calories/150ml (5 oz.)

    Ariel Cabernet

    If you’re a red lover, this oak-aged Cabernet is a stand-in, with a mouth feel that is similar to a hearty red. It probably wouldn’t fool anyone in a blind taste test, but it’s still palatable enough.

    Available at Total Wine for $8.99

    37 calories/ 4 oz. (compared to 100 calories for alcoholic version)

    Have you tried any of these? Planning to? Let me know what you think in the comments if you do. Cheers!

  • What will they say about you?

    Hollywood and Beverly Hills, 90210, fans are reeling after the shocking sudden death of Luke Perry yesterday. Perry, as most of you probably already know, became famous for his role as teen heartthrob Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210 back in the early 1990s. He was my fave on the show; I was always the Luke type, rather than the Brandon type. Still.

    What you may not know is that Perry was a consummate nice guy, despite the good looks, and early fame and fortune. Stories describing Luke Perry’s “quiet kindness” are surfacing all over social media. He was a great neighbor, a humanitarian and animal lover, and a man who managed to traverse the incredible highs of fame with his humility and sanity still in tact. Reading all the wonderful things people who knew or met Perry wrote prompted me to think: What will people say about me when I’m gone?

    I’m sure it won’t all be good. Although I try very hard to treat others the way I would like to be treated, when someone I trust hurts me repeatedly, I find it very hard to forgive over and over again. I’m working on that. I tend to forgive but excommunicate people from my life, more out of self-protection than anything else. I’m still working on redirecting negativity or pain in a way that isn’t injurious to others. Or to myself.

    At the end of the day, at the end of our lives, when we strip away job titles, material possessions, looks, and bank account balances, all we have is our actions and our word. I’m realizing this more and more in my middle age — that all these things we think we need and want are actually the most insignificant aspects of our human existence in this life. All that really matters is how well we prevail over the tribulations of life — with patience and love.

    Every day is a chance to write your life story. To turn a catastrophe into a catalyst. To help, to be a friend, to be kind to people and animals. You may think that small gestures go unnoticed, but they do not. People see, but more important, they feel. Your intentions are always being broadcast, without a word spoken.

    So I ask: What will they say about you when you are gone?

  • Weekend Reading | 3.1.2019

    Hey, y’all, happy March! Little bit of this and that for this week’s roundup. Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

    I can’t wait to see A Star is Born – Encore this weekend with my mom. We saw the original movie together when it was released in October last year, so we’re excited to see the extended version. This version, which is only in theaters for one week starting today, includes 12 more minutes of footage and new music, plus an extended version of Black Eyes, which is one of my faves on the soundtrack.

    warner brothers/youtube

    And hey, in case you missed it, I posted this a couple days ago: What Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper Can Teach Us About Love and Friendship

    Last weekend I made Zoe’s Flan and it was not only totally easy to make, it was absolutely divine. Mind you, I’m a cooker, not a baker. Seriously — my motto is if it requires a mixer, I’m out. So for me to attempt a flan, with success, is saying something! Be sure to watch her Flan Instagram story on how to make the caramel if you decide to tackle this recipe.

    Just in case you haven’t heard (yeah, right) Shopbop’s spring sale is on through tomorrow.

    For the career-minded ladies, there are some excellent tips in this one: 4 Things Successful Women Do in Every Meeting

    Are you a dog mom or dad? If so, please take note: I saw this on Instagram, but it was also in People: Terminally Ill Girl with Rare Brain Tumor Wants Love Letters From Dogs for Comfort.

    Terminally ill seven-year-old Emma wants comfort in the form of letters from dogs. If you’re a dog parent, will you take the time to write and send her a letter from your dog? Snail mail or emails with photo/video are super.

    Here’s her contact info:

    PO Box 230
    Hartland, WI 53029


    Don’t Know Your Design Style? These Are the 5 Most Popular. What is yours? I think mine is transitional/eclectic? Depends on the room?!

    I read Verity this week, and it wasn’t bad.

    Would you use a shampoo bar instead of liquid shampoo? This article on shampoo bars (like soap) has me pondering the switch, especially since bars require no plastics, and they are inherently methylisothiazolinone-free. That in itself is a win. Wonder if they will come up with a purple one for the grey and blonde-haired folks?

    My husband and I recently started watching Ray Donovan and I’m obsessed. I know, I know…there are already six seasons out. But it’s new to me, and it’s awesome to have something to watch until some of my other faves return — and who knew Liev was so sex-ay? If you’re looking for something new and haven’t yet discovered Ray…you’re welcome. 😉

    Header image of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper by Peter Lindberg, via Showtime.
    This post contains affiliate links.

  • What Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper Can Teach Us About Love and Friendship

    I loved Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in A Star is Born. I loved their duet in Vegas. I only watched The Oscars to see their performance of Shallow, and promptly turned off the TV after Gaga’s acceptance speech for the Oscar for Music (Original Song).

    I’ve seen Gaga in concert and she is dynamite…a legit talent who doesn’t really need anything but her own voice to entertain and seduce you. So when it comes to picking a team — Gaga or Irina — you can probably figure out where I stand. (No offense, Irina). Which is why as I was scrolling through post-Oscar coverage online, Dana Karlson’s article, Why Do We Want Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper to Be in Love So Badly? caught my eye.

    Embed from Getty Images

    From where I sit, it looks like Gaga has it bad for Bradley. The way she looks at him, the amount of gushing praise she has heaped upon him, and the fact that she is beholden to him for casting her in his movie and catapulting her even further into stardom — and he’s pretty damn easy on the eyes — who wouldn’t crush hard, at the minimum?

    But what I thought was a one-way street may indeed be two. The way he looks at her, all the press junket hand holding…there is deep and genuine affection there. On both sides. I think all 100 people in the room can see it. Just look.

    Of course, the love lives of others (even those in the public eye), are none of our business. So why are we so mesmerized by this seemingly unrequited love? Why do so many of us want to see a Bradley/Gaga hookup IRL? The man is taken, in a committed relationship with the mother of his little girl. He seems happy. Or at least most of the time. But it still feels like there is something amiss, doesn’t it? Like an engagement ring, at least? I mean, he put a ring on Jennifer Esposito back in 2006, even though they pulled the plug on that marriage five months later.

    Maybe that’s it. Fear of commitment…fear of another failed marriage? Yet he has been in a relationship with Irina for years now. So why not marry the mother of your child if you’ve done it before? And Gaga just broke it off with another fiancé (um, the body language was a key predictor of that one). So while they are not with each other, they aren’t fully committed to anyone else at this point. At least not on paper.

    Aside from off-the-charts chemistry, complementary musical notes, and similarities in upbringing, work, and talent between Gaga and Cooper, what else has so many of us hoping for a Gaga/Cooper fairy tale ending?

    “What makes us wish so hard for the undying passion and happiness of two people we don’t actually know?” Karlson asks. “According to psychologist Andrea Goeglein, PhD, it’s not about them at all. ‘It’s not that people are rooting for Cooper and Gaga—they’re rooting for themselves,’ she says. ‘They are projecting what they want in their own lives, what they may be missing. The Gaga-Cooper dynamic just reminds many what chemistry looks like so they have fun building that into something deeper.’”

    So there you have it. What we wish for in watching the Gaga/Cooper dynamic is what we wish for ourselves.

    And I’m not talking about that first rush of infatuation. The newness. The hotness. The spine-tingling, synapse-exploding physical and mental attraction — all the things you feel before you start sharing a bathroom and a mortgage. Sure, we all crave the kind of relationship that smolders, there is no doubt about it. But only on the surface.

    Embed from Getty Images

    What we really want is the best friend quotient that Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper so obviously have. That ride-or-die commitment. Supporting one another to and through the pursuit of dreams. Believing in each other, when the other 98 people in the room don’t. That’s what we really want, isn’t it? To know there is always someone there to help straighten a strap before an event, to bounce ideas off of, to be bold and barefaced with, without fear. Your own personal cheerleader.

    That is the spark we see between these two, that we don’t witness when observing them with their love partners. It’s friendship that we detect and crave, the kind of connection that sustains romantic relationships for 50 years.

    As any of you who’ve been in a relationship know, the fire that burns so hot at the beginning eventually reduces to embers. But if you are truly friends, after the first few layers of infatuation and novelty are stripped away (as they inevitably are), there are still many more layers of simpatico to sustain you. There is a deeper, unspoken soul-love that remains and transcends the physical. It bonds you together, through the proverbial thick and thin.

    So while I still wish we’d see a Gaga/Cooper romantic coupling, I know it’s probably not going to happen (sigh). But that’s OK. Because even as “just friends,” they are a force to be reckoned with, and a stellar example of the power of friendship in the form of philia, true fondness and affection for another human being. Simply wanting the very best for them, no strings attached. And that is something we can all learn from.

  • 5G cometh, and it’s not good. What you NEED to know…

    I recently listened to a podcast that scared the s*** out of me, and not in a good way. Don’t get me wrong…the podcast is great. It just makes me feel like the already blighted world we live in is 1000% doomed. And us, right along with it.

    I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, and I try to keep it light here as much as I can. But you know that saying, better the devil you know? As such with 5G. This may not be of interest to you, at least not yet. But humor me, because you need to read/listen to this.

    I’ve embedded the podcast below…you can listen to it the way you usually listen to podcasts (search for The Life Stylist), or by clicking play below.

    The 5G EMF apocalypse and why health food won't save you -- Luke Storey with guest Dr. Jack Kruse

    The Life Stylist Podcast #191
    Listen to Luke Storey and Dr. Jack Kruse discuss 5G EMF and what it means for our environment and our health.

    NOTE: NSFW or kids. And if swearing bothers you, this is not the podcast for you!


    What the eff is 5G?

    Maybe we should start there.

    5G is fifth generation wireless, and “…the latest generation of cellular mobile communications. It succeeds the 4G, 3G and 2G systems. 5G performance targets high data rate, reduced latency, energy saving, cost reduction, higher system capacity, and massive device connectivity.”1

    Why should I care about 5G?

    In a word — or a couple — radiofrequency radiation (RFR). Why does a little more manmade RFR matter in this age of microwaves, cell phones, wifi, and security scanners? It matters, because 5G is going to exponentially increase the amount of RFR in our environment.

    In Frightening Frequencies: The Dangers of 5G and What You Can Do About Them, (which is a superb article on 5G dangers and issues, PLEASE READ IT), author Jody McCutcheon notes “that in 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified RFR as a potential 2B carcinogen,” which means possibly carcinogenic to humans.

    Carcinogenic = potential to cause cancer, people. THE C WORD. Have you ever wondered why there is so much cancer in the world? We all know someone, or many people, who have been affected by cancer. We’re already poisoning ourselves with vegetable oil (more about that one day), GMO foods, stress, and industrial toxins. Add increasing radiation to that and where do you think we’ll end up?

    You’ve probably heard the cell-phones-cause-brain-cancer hypothesis over the years (namely RFR from wireless phones), but the majority of us — myself included — continue to keep our heads firmly buried in the sand about it because most studies don’t show a “dose-response relationship,” due to variation in contributing factors such as use over time, phone model, proximity to cell towers, and more.2

    That doesn’t mean we aren’t experiencing any negative health effects from our phones (um, hello blue light), or that we aren’t currently swirling in the perfect storm of factors to eventuate a cancer diagnosis. Only time will tell. (Of course I hope none of us become the statistic). But if we move to 5G and radically increase RFR, my unfortunate guess is that we’re going to have a definite dose-response relationship in the near future.

    cell phone tower disguised as a tree
    A cell phone tower disguised as a tree. Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images via vox.com

    Why is 5G so bad?

    Are you still with me? I know this is reading like a science journal, but stay with me, because this is the important part. McCutcheon explained the perils of 5G perfectly:

    “…5G technology utilizes higher-frequency MMW [millimeter wave] bands, which give off the same dose of radiation as airport scanners. The effects of this radiation on public health have yet to undergo the rigours of long-term testing. Adoption of 5G will mean more signals carrying more energy through the high-frequency spectrum, with more transmitters located closer to people’s homes and workplaces–basically a lot more (and more potent) RFR flying around us. “

    Here’s what’s really scary about more RFR flying around: “Over ninety percent of microwave radiation is absorbed by the epidermis and dermis layers,” McCutcheon notes, “so human skin basically acts as an absorbing sponge for microwave radiation.”

    You read that right. Your SKIN absorbs microwave radiation, and that’s not the only part of you that could be affected by 5G. According to University of California, Berkeley public health professor Dr. Joel Moskowitz, “5G will use high-band frequencies, or millimeter waves, that may affect the eyes, the testes, the skin, the peripheral nervous system, and sweat glands.”3 And the insidious part of this alphabet soup is that MMWs and RFR are completely invisible. You will have no idea when or how much exposure you are getting.

    More radiation doesn’t just affect humans, either. It negatively affects everything in its wake, from plants to animals to insects, right on up to the atmosphere. McCutcheon made no bones about it: “It bears repeating: 5G is bad news for all living creatures and the planet we share.

    Moskowitz likens 5G to “a massive experiment on the health of all species.”3 I don’t know about you, but this is an experiment I do not want to be a part of.

    Is 5GHz the same as 5G?

    It’s a good question…so many of us now have 2.4Ghz and 5GHz options on our wifi routers. Relax! It’s not the same thing. (Whew.)

    In 5G vs. 5G E vs. 5GHz: What’s the Difference?, Sascha Segan of PC Mag explains that the 5GHz option you see on your home network is a five-gigahertz radio band that has been around since 1999. It’s not 5G, or fifth generation cellular.

    “Wi-Fi primarily uses two frequency bands, 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Because the 2.4GHz band is the default for most devices, only has three available clear channels, and is shared by Bluetooth, remote controls, and microwave ovens, the 2.4GHz band can get very crowded and speeds can become very low,” he notes. “5GHz Wi-Fi has more available channels and can typically run much faster, but it has somewhat shorter range than 2.4GHz.” Hence the need for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.

    So don’t worry, you haven’t been unknowingly exposed to 5G radiation in your home. There is EMF (electromagnetic field) exposure, but it’s not the same. That said, it is recommended that you keep a distance of 40 feet — 10 feet minimum — between your wifi router and your body. This is especially important for children, because they are more vulnerable to EMFs.4 And why they really shouldn’t have phones at all. But that’s another nasty can of worms.

    You don’t actually need 5G, and you must replace everything to have it.

    Just because there are faster devices/speeds coming, doesn’t mean you actually need them! We are so conditioned to think faster/better/stronger, that we rarely stop to appreciate where we are. We can already do virtually anything with our phones and networks. Today. Right now. How much more do we really need?

    Todd Haselton of CNBC.com makes a great point: “…there aren’t many compelling reasons to buy a 5G phone yet. The 4G LTE enabled things we now take for granted include high-quality video chat, the ability to stream movies pretty much anywhere and much faster download speeds.”5

    Casting the potential health risks of 5G aside, there is another big, glaring issue at hand: NONE of our current devices are equipped to handle it. None of them. Which is a good thing because it might just slow down the widespread implementation of 5G. One can hope.

    In Do we even need 5G at all?, Jeremy Kaplan (thank you, Jeremy) puts the reality of 5G out there in blessed-black-and-white:

    “Oh yeah, one more thing: In order to get 5G, you’ll need to upgrade. Your current phone can’t just be ‘turned on’ to the new tech, nor can all of the IoT devices you currently own that networking companies want to interconnect with it. It may be simpler some day to use, but to capitalize you’ll have to replace everything. Every smart doorbell, every connected cooker, every thermostat. That’s not smart. That just sounds wasteful.”

    Wasteful is right. We are already live in a plasticized, single-use, throwaway world. How much more can our planet take? Where will all these obsolete devices go? The thought of it terrifies me. And makes me kind of glad I will expire before the space in which to put our trash does.

    What can I do about 5G?

    Whether you personally upgrade to a 5G device or not (please don’t), the cellular RFR will still be out there. Start by using a cell tower locator to see what’s in your area, and any towers that are planned for the future.

    McCutcheon shared a fantastic list of ways you can protect yourself against the negative effects of 5G. I’m sharing the link to that article again below because it is extremely informative and you need to read it!

    Via Jody McCutcheon in Frightening Frequencies: The Dangers of 5G and What You Can Do About Them:

    • Understand EMFs and their behaviours. Get a good quality radiation detector to know whether or not you’re near high levels of EMFs.
    • Protect yourself with an EMF Shield to mark and protect you from hotspots. Try a patented product that neutralizes the harmful effects of mobile phones and other EMF emitting devices on humans.
    • Whenever possible, limit your exposure: use an anti-radiation headset or speaker mode while talking on a cellphone.
    • Refuse to use 5G phones and devices. Full stop. And discourage those you know from doing so.
    • Refuse to buy anything ‘smart’ – ‘smart’ appliances, ‘smart’ heaters, etc.
    • Some believe that carrying shungite crystals can offer some protection from radiation.
    • No matter what, do NOT get a smart meter – these put high levels of 5G radiation right in your home.
    • Join the growing numbers of dissenters. Get active with them here.
    • Do as the Hawaiians have done and threaten smart meter and 5G tech installers with liability. You canlearn how to do that here.
    • Spread the word! Please share this article with everyone you know.

    In summary:


    1 https://g.co/kgs/Co8GMv
    2 https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/radiation-exposure/cellular-phones.html
    3 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5784487/The-roll-5G-wireless-service-massive-health-experiment-public-health-expert-warns-a.html
    4 https://www.nontoxicliving.tips/blog/wifi-router-emf-exposure-what-s-a-safe-distance
    5 https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/04/5g-phones-are-coming-next-year-heres-what-that-means-for-you.html