Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Naked Wines and Carmen Stevens

Naked Wines

On Thursday, May 14, 2015, your Ms. Brown attended a wine tasting, naked. Oh! My mistake! I attended a wine tasting presented by Naked Wines. What is Naked Wines?, To give you a clear picture of Naked Wines, I must begin with a little background on it's founder Rowan Gormley. Rowan Gormley is a South African entrepreneur. He went to work for Richard Branson of Virgin Group in 1994. Later,  while working for Branson ,he set up a business with two business partners. This business was  dubbed Orgasmic Wines. Orgasmic Wines became Virgin Wines in 2000, when Richard Branson bought into the business. Then, in 2005, Virgin Wines was purchased by Direct Wines, although it retained the Virgin Wines brand name. We all know that there is often collateral damage in the cut throat world of mergers and acquisitions. As such, by 2008, Rowan Gormley was fired and in need of a job.He decided to start yet another business. Now, economic times were tough during this season. People were extremely prudent with their money. This compelled Gormley and his business partners to be  bold and innovative. They started something completely different and profoundly better than what was already being done. Their idea was a crowd sourcing model to sell wines. Consumers pay money for wines by wine makers they're unfamiliar with and try wines that they otherwise would have never tasted. A model such as this requires transparency and from the need for transparency, the name Naked Wines was born.

So, how does it work in the real world? Basically, "Angels" ( what investors are called in the Naked Wines World), pay a monthly fee against future purchases of wine offered at lower prices. In the United States it's $40.00. Angels can spend the money on wines whenever they choose. or, if they choose not to purchase wine, or discontinue the relationship, any money remaining in the Naked Piggy Bank is fully refunded. Period. ( There is no shortage of investors. In fact, there is a waiting list.) The pool of money is then funneled to talented wine makers who need capital to start up their brand or expand. Naked Wines 600 plus selections are exclusively for  Angels. You won't find them in wine stores, bars or restaurants. You can get more information on how you can become a Naked Wines Angel at www.nakedwines.com..

Carmen Stevens

 Wine professional Carmen Stevens  ( pictured with me at the top of the article.) is one of the beneficiaries of Naked Wines advanced funding model. Carmen is the first black woman in South Africa to graduate with a degree in wine making. As you can imagine, the road to her degree was not an easy one.When Stevens entered University and throughout her schooling, she was challenged on many occasions. She got a lot of aggressive in your face questioning about her chosen career path, an issue that  she really struggled with . She even wondered if she was making the right decision getting into the wine industry.Would she ultimately be happy with her chosen career path? However, from the first day that she started meeting  with the wine makers of South Africa, she states," I was totally and  completely amazed at being a female, being from a completely different background, not being a white person, I was respected for what I was trying to get into my life. I have never been to a winery where people asked me ' what are you doing'...Nothing like that. As a matter of fact, I only get the opposite. I am welcomed. "  She now works for a premium American owned award winning winery in South Africa and is recognized as one of South Africa's most exciting wine making talents. She also makes her own private label which can be purchased through Naked Wines.

I was able to sample sample some of the fruits of Steven's labor at the wine tasting, while naked. (Oops, there's my dyslexia again. I mean the Naked Wines Wine tasting.) And, each one that I tried was in my opinion, excellent. I also sampled some very tasty selections from wine maker Luis Vieira of Portugal .However, I must say that every wine that I sampled ( and I sampled a lot) was outstanding. Now, let me begin with my disclaimer. I am in no way an expert on wines. My knowledge on the subject is extremely limited and I do not profess to be a wine connosseuir. In fact, I haven't been wine tasting in six months! I am attaching a photo at the end of the post from the last time that I went wine tasting. It's a shot of me in the wine caves at Mumm Champagne in Reims ( the Champagne Region) France.( Yes, seriously.) So, take my novice opinion on wines for what it's worth. Well, looks like that's all the time that I have for today! As always...

Keep it hot and sweet,
Ms. Brown

Monday, May 18, 2015

Vintage Clothing Faire, Antiques Faire, and Rock Wall Wine Company

Vintage Clothing Faire

On Saturday, May 16, your Ms. Brown attended a Vintage Fashion Faire at Michaan’s Auction House in Alameda (Michaan’s is located on the old Alameda Naval  Air Base). I have always liked fashion from different eras. As a child I used sneak and watch old movies just to look at the clothes. I say sneak and watch because if my siblings had caught me looking at something that, dare I say it, old, I would have been relentlessly teased. (By the way, Lucille Ball may have acted crazy, but she was the sharpest chick in town on I Love Lucy.) Now, this Faire was no disappointment.  I felt as though I was stepping into a living time capsule! There were over fifty vendors present, selling a vast array of items; mink coats, funky seventies ponchos, and even a feather muffler from 1890. Seriously, both women’s and men’s clothing was available , couture, jewelry, accessories, vintage textiles, McCall’s patterns, and fine linens. I was also pleased to find that there was something there to fit every budget and clothing size.  Ms. Brown is a voluptuous woman ala’ Jane Mansfield, Pam Grier, or America’s Next Top Model contestant Toccara, (prior to her sell out weight loss of course....I’m not bitter.) Sorry, just had to get that little passive aggressive dig in.  Many of the items looked brand new even though they were clearly vintage. (I’m a fashion expert. I can tell the difference between a vintage item and a new item designed to mirror a vintage item. Don’t get it twisted.) There were also a few extra perks that made the Vintage Fashion Faire much more enjoyable. Namely, the free very large Vintage Fashion Faire reusable clothing bag, the wine and champagne bar, (shopping and mimosas, what’s bad?), and the Vintage Costume Contest. Although there were prizes for all entries, the Grand prize was a $100 dollar voucher, good for any booth at the Faire. Some of the ensembles were outstanding.  You will see them pictured below. So, let’s talk about  price. The cost was $5.00 dollars at the door or $2.50 on Goldstar ( what I paid).   Children sixteen and under get in free with a paid adult admission.  Oh, and parking is free! The event only  happens twice a year and the next one will be October 16 &17, 2015.  You can get more information on the Vintage Fashion Faire here. I will be attending and I plan to enter the costume contest. ( I would tell you what I’m wearing but I don’t want the competition
 to get a leg up. )

 Alameda Point Antiques Faire

Now, if you can’t wait until October to attend the Vintage Fashion Faire, but adore all things vintage, let me suggest that  you go antiquing. Michaan’s Auction House presents an Alameda Point Antiques Faire on the first Sunday of Every Month. The Alameda Point Antiques Faire is the largest antiques show in Northern California. It boasts over eight hundred dealer booths and all items for sale are twenty years or older. You can shop for vintage and antique home decorations, clothing, furniture, jewelry, art, pottery, books, and collectibles. There is no admission fee and both free parking and shuttles are available. Also, the event is family friendly.  The next Antique Faire is Sunday June 7, 2015. You can find more information here. Now, if you think that Antiques are out of your budget, Michaans holds regular auctions, I checked the selling prices for their last event on May 9, 2015. The least expensive item sold for $153 while the most expensive sold for in excess of $7,000.  Michaans has sold items for prices far in excess of $7,000 dollars. But, I counted fifteen items in their last auction event that sold for under $200 dollars. My only point is that I believe there is something there to fit every budget. Let’s say that you have an item that you  want appraised and the Antiques Road Show on PBS isn’t coming to the Bay Area any time soon. Michaan’s  offers  free verbal appraisals for up to five items every Wednesday, from 10am to 1pm. If an item is too large, you are welcome to bring a photograph. You never know, you may have a vintage treasure in your home sitting in plain view.  

Rock Wall Wine Company

  Speaking of vintage, after antiquing, let me suggest that you  mosey a few feet down the way to the Rock Wall Wine Company Tasting Room and have a sip or two. The tasting fee is $15.00 but is waved with the purchase of a bottle of $25.00 or more per guest. Brought your kids? No worries. The Rock Wall Wine Company tasting room is family friendly: They have games, coloring, and beverages just for the kids. My only suggestion is  that you go antiquing before going wine tasting. ( I had wine before my tour of the Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum and it was…well, I won’t go into specifics, let's just say that  it was no bueno.) Wow, looks like I've given you all the makings of a lovely Sunday afternoon. ( you're welcome.)  That's all the time I have for today. Talk to you soon!

As always, keep it hot and sweet,

Ms. Brown

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

"A mother is not a person to lean upon, but a person to make leaning unnecessary. "

Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Happy Mother's Day
from Coffy Brown

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Upcoming Event Alert : Rock Wall Wine Company presents Food Truck Frenzy: Mother Trucker

Tomorrow night, I will be attending Food Truck Frenzy: Mother Trucker. What is that you ask?

It's an evening of wine tasting, gourmet street food, and dancing set against the San Francisco Skyline! The event takes place in Alameda and admission includes a souvenir wine glass. However, beverages and food must be purchased separately. ( They had me at the complimentary wine glass.)

This is a family event that is open to all ages. Children age five and under are free but must be supervised at all times. You must be twenty-one or over to purchase wine. ( Whew! I'm glad that I just turned twenty-one last week!) Age will be verified at admission. No dogs allowed. The event also features a Mother's Only Lounge where Moms can kick back, relax and enjoy complementary massages, mini makeovers, and skin consultations. Now, although your Ms. Brown is not technically a mother, she will be availing herself of the Mothers' lounge and I don't foresee anyone challenging her on the issue.  ( I wish a Mother Trucker would.)

Wine by the glass, flights and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for an additional charge at their Wine Bars and flight tables. ( a flight is selection of wine usually between three and eight glasses presented for the purpose of sampling and comparison. Ms Brown has class.) Non- Alcoholic beverages are also available.  Food can be purchased directly from the trucks.

The cost is $6.00 per person in advance or $12.00 at the door. You can get address and location information along with advance tickets  here.

The following is a list of all the food trucks that will be participating in the event. If you can't make it to Mother Trucker but would like to sample some of the food, I have included links to each of the vendors.

So, you now have all of the information that you need to attend Food Truck Frenzy: Mother Trucker. If you decide to attend and see me there, please take a moment to say hello! If you can't attend, you know where to come to hear about it!

Keep it hot and sweet,
Ms. Brown

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Summer of Love , How Weird Street Faire 2015, and Orgasmic Meditation

Summer of Love

noun1.(especially in the 1960s) a person of unconventional appearance, typically having long hair and wearing beads, associated with a subculture involving a rejection of conventional values and the taking of hallucinogenic drugs.

The Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that happened in San Francisco during the summer of 1967. As many as 100,000 people converged on the Haigh- Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. The city became even more of  a melting pot of politics, music, drugs creativity, and the total lack of sexual and social inhibition than it already was. As the hippie counterculture movement came farther and farther forward into public awareness, the activities occurring  became a defining moment of the 1960s, causing copious numbers of  'ordinary citizens' to begin questioning everything and anything about them and their environment. 

This unprecedented gathering of young people is often considered to have been a social experiment because of all the alternative lifestyles which became more common and accepted such as gender equality, communal living and free love. Many of these types of social changes reverberated on into the early 1970s, and effects echo throughout modern society. The hippies sometimes called flower children were and eclectic group. Many were suspicious of government, rejected consumerist values, and generally opposed the Vietnam War. A few were interested in politics; others focused on  art ( music , painting and poetry in particular) or religious or meditative movements. All were eager to integrate new ideas and insights into their daily life, both public and private.

How Weird Street Faire

Although I didn't attend the original Summer of Love, I had the privilege of experiencing it through the  How Weird Street Faire in San Francisco which  took place on Sunday, April 26, 2015.  How Weird is a menagerie of attractions, including a world renowned music festival featuring ten stages of different styles of music, an open air art festival filling an expanded Art Alley, a unique market of interesting vendors and delicious food, and a platform for performers of every type. The Faire is one day only and runs from noon to 8pm. my best description would be a combination the Summer of Love  with a little S&M on the side. I saw people of all shapes and sizes in all manners of dress  ( and undress. )

The How Weird Street Faire is an annual project of the educational non-profit World Peace Through Technology Organization. The Faire, like the non-profit, seeks  to inspire peace through music, art, ideas, raising consciousness, and the benevolent uses of technology. It  is a musical and visual sensory feast.  The Faire is also a place of peace, filled with thousands of people accepting and appreciating each other, connecting with each other, and forming one fabulous community.  Groovy right? 

 There were far too many artisans, vendors and booths for me to get to.  The Faire lasts from 11am to 8pm, but fret not, there are plenty of reasonably priced food vendors. And, if you're vegan or vegetarian,  because  you equate eating or wearing animal products with enslavement  and raising cattle produces methane that contributes to Global warming, there were numerous non- meat or non-animal product options. You say you prefer to eat foods that are a naturally occurring , holistic, part of your environment? There's a guy named "freeway" walking around disguised as a tree who sells salads where the greens were culled from cracks in the sidewalk. Now for me personally, my root chakra was not in spiritual alignment with the vegetarian or vegan options ( because I'm a CARNIVORE! If God didn't want us to eat meat, He wouldn't have created bacon.) so I had a steak sandwich. Now, let's get to the cost. The How Weird Street Faire is an annual event and tickets can be purchased months in advance at discounted prices. The early bird ticket is $12.00  (what I paid) on Eventbrite and can be purchased using Credit or Debit Cards. Or, if you feel that electronic money is yet another mind f**k unilaterally imposed on us by the power elite with the sole purpose of creating a paper trail for " The Man", tickets can be purchased for $20.00 dollars at the door. The non-advance ticket line is extremely long. But, on the bright side, there's this really cool old naked dude walking down the line handing out free brownies.

Orgasmic Meditation

By far, the booth that I found to be the most interesting was www.onetaste.us. As I stated earlier, many of the flower children focused on  religious or meditative movements like yoga. One Taste  teaches Orgasmic Meditation. Orgasmic Mediation is a wellness practice( like yoga or pilates) that is designed for singles or couples to experience more connection, vitality, pleasure and meaning in every aspect of their lives.The practice is simple, specific, and repeatable, focusing on the female center for power, a specific part of the female anatomy ( the slang name rhymes with sit.) and pleasure. One Taste offers Orgasmic Medication Workshops. They are arranged so  that the participants can stop thinking, and instead follow the feeling, listen to their bodies and be present.  Since you can't attend the How Weird Street Faire until 2016, you will be pleased to know that a one day workshop in Orgasmic Meditation can be yours for a mere $149.00. ( remember, Mother's Day is coming up. Gift Cards are available.)

The following is an example of the one-day syllabus for the course:
  • The beginning philosophy behind OM
  • Introduction of a new definition of Orgasm — the difference between Climax and Orgasm
  • Exploration of OneTaste principles: Attention, Simplicity & Desire and how they relate to your OM practice
  • The benefits of an OM practice
  • The 4 Laws of Orgasm and how they relate to OM and life
  • Live demonstration!
  • Introduction to the 1 o’clock spot
  • Step-by step clothes-on demonstration of OM
  • Basic Stroking Technique

If your Mom isn't into the formalized workshop sort of thing, she may like one of these shirts instead!

Mother's Day Gift Option I

Mother's Day Gift Option II

Mother's Day Gift Option III

Geez, look at the time. I've got to run! I'm meeting my new friend Crimson Rainbow down in the Haight to pick up some of his special recipe cookies. He doesn't sell out of traditional stores because he's been off the grid and a little paranoid since he had a bad LSD trip in '69. Talk to you soon!

As always, keep it hot, sweet, and groovy!

Ms. Brown