Thursday, December 8, 2011

A gentle and timeless Christmas message for all...

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

Editorial Page, New York Sun, 1897

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O'Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oh, the power of friends!

Did you feel it? How could you miss it? It was the sound of friends being made, of laughter and connection, of people doing the right thing and having a wonderful time giving, all while tasting new wines, and eating a ton of fantastic food. In fact, even the after-party was hoppin'! Colby Sherwood Bell rocked FABO, the silent auction winners were announced and oh, those delicious desserts and treats!

What am I talking about? Sip and Savour of course held on September 24th! The event was a HUGE success, our goals were exceeded, and everyone is talking about next year's event!

Want to be a part of it and other events? Include your name and email in our database by scrolling down the right side of our blog and completing the fields. As members of Networking, Women and Wine you are also eligible for other Sip and Savour discounts. Watch for future emails!

We look forward to having you join us for all of our events!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

An event that seeks to save our friends!

Who are We?

Your evening has been a pleasure for us to plan. We look forward to meeting you on the 24th!

From top left, clockwise: Camine Pappas, Founder Networking, Women and Wine, Allison Sprock, Allison Sprock Fine Art, Katie Bromley, organizer and beneficiary of Melissa's Voice for the Sip and Savour event, and Lynn Dreyer, founder of Melissa's Voice and creator of the Sip and Savour event which is dedicated to the memory of the sister she lost, Melissa.

Please RSVP to secure your spot on September 24th for our first annual Sip and Savour event! Click here to register now!

The peace of nature, the chaos of us! - WHAT IS BEAUTY?

When the rain ended yesterday afternoon, I opened the doors leading to my deck and breathed in the earthy and herbal scented air. The majesty of nature, her collection of colors and shapes, beautiful and exquisite in the evening light, had renewed me.

But the conscious moment of peace didn't last long. Why? Because soon after, I turned to go inside and finish primping for a dinner party and forgot everything I had just experienced.

As I looked in the mirror at myself, I frowned at a stubborn lock of hair and peered at the gray roots that were beginning to betray my age, shrugged my shoulders as I tried to straighten the bodice of my blouse that was clinging unforgivingly to a middle that was not flat or toned, and pursed my lips in disapproval as I applied one more coat of powder to cover uneven colors on my face. Hmmmph...still not perfect but it would have to do. I walked out of the room pronouncing the reflection I had just seen as a failure.

What are we thinking when after we remark at nature's wisdom, seeing every detail that is before us as perfect and designed with intention and love, to turn on ourselves with such venom and uncaring? Do we not know that we fit into the design of things with the same majesty as the tree that survives the summer storm? To whom are we hurting the most with our self deprecation and personal loathing?

The truth is we are our own worst enemy, struggling to conform to a look and shape that either we can never acheive or never keep, firmly owning an idea of beauty that is neither healthy or sustainable, and those ideals perpetuate and deny us the ability to love life or  love eachother.

Sip and Savour is about two things, finding friends and saving them. It is more than wonderful wine, beautiful and inspiring art, or lots of wonderful food. It's about a group of people that will gather for one night to celebrate how perfect and wonderful and beautiful we ALL are, RIGHT now, RIGHT here, and forever.

We hope you plan on joining us in our mission to help others feel the same.

See you there!
Camine Pappas
Networking, Women and Wine

Monday, August 29, 2011

4 Stars for SIP AND SAVOUR!

This weekend I visited one of my favorite Thai restaurants in North Carolina. I usually get the Pad Thai or Red Curry or even the whole fish, but this time I ordered Southern Charm fried rice, (yes, the menu does have some fun, regional twists but the food is totally authentic) and it blew my socks off. Moist, flavorful, fresh, and SPICY.

As we each ordered, the waitress asked politely 'how many stars?' Which, if you have eaten Asian food, means she's asking you to tell the chef how "hot" you want your fare. I'm pretty happy with 3 out of 4, and my husband never goes below 4. We know lots of people who think we're crazy for even inviting one star onto their plate, but that's the adventure.

I like it spicy. I like when your tongue is on the edge of begging you to put your spoon down, and your nasal passages are getting a four alarm workout. But as we know, the "heat" is good for us and the tingle is downright fun, so we forge ahead with water and napkin in hand.

The name of this restaurant? Thai Spice in Hendersonville and they know how to do the flavors right. How do I know this? Well, personal opinion aside, I lived in Seattle for 7 years, which is the mecca for good Pacific Rim cuisine. Still, how do I know it's fantastic? I'm also a pretty good cook, and taster, according to friends and the occasional foe alike who usually aren't disappointed in my recommendations. Still not convinced? Well, you will have to take my word for it.

But then, isn't it that way with so many things? We inquire about the excellence of a restaurant, the selection of gifts and clothing at a certain store, the validity of a coupon offer, even the likability of a movie, all by taking the "word" of the person we trust.

So here's my point. Our next event in September is going to be HOT, and it will give you a TINGLE, and the VALUE is INSANELY affordable (only $25 for all the food, all the wine and all the fun!!). So, if you've enjoyed any of our events, or enjoyed our messages, or even thought about attending at least once, or felt like it was time to become a part of Networking, Women and Wine, SIP AND SAVOUR is  THE CAN'T MISS EVENT in Charlotte.

Take my word for it. It will be four alarm fun!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

The most important thing...

Just a short treatise, on "the most important thing..." to remember today, which is of course YOU.

Now I'm not diminishing anything noble or omniscient, certainly not downgrading love, hope and charity. I'm just sharing the idea that I'm pretty certain that we are the wizards of self deprecation and sorcerers of criticism, and we're putting ourselves at the bottom of the list -- the bottom of every list -- every day.

You were created for a reason. You were!! Do you hear that? All things rest on the amazingness of you, the potential of you, the energy and life-force and beauty of you.

If you needed a nudge or perhaps a large and heavy-handed shove, this is it. REMEMBER the most important thing to care for, to respect, to nurture and to celebrate is the fabulous-ness of YOU.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Half Empty OR All Empty?

A friend of mine inquired about my state of mind towards a potential catastrophic issue I'm dealing with.You know the type of issue I'm referring to:  No light at the end of the tunnel and probably no tracks either. And there's a good bet there's no bottom to the tunnel.

So, I pondered about her question, asking me if I can see the silver lining and look past it to the lesson therein. "You mean do I see it as half full or half empty?" I asked?  That was, she confirmed, her question.

Of course, since rising that day I had been holding back screams, and part of me was aggressively looking for an abandoned Buick that I could throw through a plate glass window to adequately display my frantic state. Alas, no sedans were lying by the side of the road so I gathered my courage, put on cute shoes and headed out with my happy face to greet the world. When I finally answered her I was actually surprised at my lucid response, happy at least that there was a modicum of composure left in which to couch my opinion.

"Trying to find the silver lining in this is simply a waste of time. To be honest I don't see it as half empty or half full. I see it as all empty." She looked at me like she hoped her car was parked far enough away that I couldn't get to it.

"You see, there is nothing redeeming about this problem. We're dealing with people who are not willing to be honest, an outcome that won't give anyone relief, and a process that will do nothing but drain our energy. We are a pawn dealing with due process. So....Here's what I think. The key here, is to look to another glass completely. The lesson; to realize that I cannot control this, so I shouldn't let it control me. If I do, then all the many wonderful things all around me won't be visible or available. Given that, I choose to stay open and not give any of this my energy."

Hmmm. I felt better already, and saying it made me feel a little more in control. But what you don't know is that for the 40 minutes leading up to that question we had mentioned over and over again how wonderful it always felt to get together to share inspiration and uplift each other, and that trying to muster courage and strength without reaching out to others is simply not possible. The 'girlfriend' lunch had shored me up and restored me.

I share this with you because although you look composed, (yes, I pay attention to what's in your eyes when I meet you...) and you talk like everything is fine, I suspect we are all looking for something large and heavy to throw or whack or punch at from time to time. What we should be looking for is connection with others to help us nurture the inspiration needed to reinvent. Or at least a good look at what's in the glass.

I invite you to join us for our August event, and SEEK TO BE INSPIRED!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Heat Waves and Wisdom

I don't know where to start. Seems that the commitment to Reinvent for 2011 is meeting some resistance something that feels like the unleasing of cosmic speed bumps at every turn. Gas prices keep jumping. New business wanes. Friends and family continue to face new challenges and to top it off, a cool spring was unceremoniously dismissed into oblivion with temperatures in the 90's consuming the last days of May.

It's enough to make you drink a glass of wine.

Well, actually, that's not a bad thing. There is quiet wisdom in a glass of wine. The patience needed to grow, nurture, harvest and blend wine is something that takes place whether or not there are scuffles in the sky over Dulles, controversial Idol winners or even the emergence of an extra chin. Although I'm not directly advising you to go out and throw a few back, I do continue to find that the "wisdom of the vine" can be one of the centering metaphors in our lives.

The good news is that on June 21st, at Cru Wine Bar in Ballantyne we can all gather and find humor, love and connection in an authentic gathering with real stories, real women and real opportunity. We can celebrate this liquid metaphor and talk again about our courage to reinvent.

Don't know about you, but I could use a hug with that Cabernet...

See you on the 21st!

Friday, March 11, 2011

"If I can stop one heart from breaking..."; reflections on tragedy (Japan and the Tsunami)

In every corner of our world, and at every moment, there are tragedies occuring. We dont' always know about their scope or size because they are scattered around the globe like so many shards of a bomb exploded to remind us of our mortality.

Sometimes, through an awful door left ajar, a catalyst of sorrow steps in and lumps all the tragedy together and creates an enormous, tearful and devastating tragedy that we all witness at once. It captures us and stops us in our tracks, causing us to reflect upon the last word we uttered, the last smile we shared and the last complaint we invoked lest the next stroke of bad luck cross our paths.

In the midst of the devastation of Japan's earthquake ravaged landscape lies the present site of this cluster of concurrent tragedies.

'What can I do?' I ask myself. I will pray but I must do more. What I can control is to make sure that at each moment I am available to help another, so that when the time comes that someone does allow me to cross a threshold and reach out to lift another out of hurt of suffering, I am there with my heart and mind open to being immersed in service.

Each of us, if we simply cared for one person, could change the world. We might not be able to anticipate, or fix, or even fathom collective tragedies like the one in Japan, but we can still be ready when all that may be needed is just exactly what we can do -- serve.

One of my favorite poems by Emily Dickenson says it best:

If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in vain ;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Women, Wine...and Inspiration!

Left: Gallery Owner Debbie Campbell is joined by Intertwined Creator Camine Pappas and Intertwined Artist Cynthia Howard. Middle: Event goers enjoy a display of each of the Intertwined verses.
Descending down the stairs into Providence Fine Art Gallery in Charlotte, NC, this week was like entering a different world. The popular gallery, owned by Debbie Campbell was humming with conversation, laughter, the sound of wine being uncorked and poured, and the soft whisper of paint brushes gliding across gleaming, white canvases.
It all centered around the very special event on the 22nd and 23rd of February held by Networking, Women and Wine, a Charlotte based networking group formed in 2008 by Camine Pappas. The event heralded the beginning of a new way to "say it with the vine in mind!" as Camine (creator and author of Intertwined) and artist Cynthia Howard celebrated the unveiling of the "Intertwined" gift card series.

What is so different about wine, a greeting card line and women? Plenty. The card line, which offers powerful sentiments set against a background of beautiful paintings of grape clusters and vines, was launched with eight, inspiring messages. Aptly and poignantly themed with titles such as, "Bursting With Promise," "Peace Will Return," and "I Choose To Forgive," the greetings articulate the words of encouragement and wisdom that women love to share. The twist is that each message is said as though the vine itself is speaking from deep within her viniferous soul.

Why? By blending the timeless beauty and wisdom of the vine with the strength, diversity and journey of women, fans of the vineyard can share their sentiments through powerful poetry and art and literally, "say it with the vine in mind™." The hope is that women will attach themselves to this universal metaphor and see that our collective experiences are mirrored by the vine through graceful, powerful and triumphant words, to find the possibility and potential built into each one of us.

Joining in the event were wine sponsors Tryon Distributing and Mutual Distributing  who poured, respectively, the popular Women of the Vine wines on Tuesday, and the whimsical Middle Sister Wines on Wednesday. The wine was provided by D'Vine Wine Cafe in Ballantyne, multiple winner of the City Search Best of Charlotte "Best Wine List" award, and managed by Justin Boudrie.
However, it was the musings of the attendees that most aptly described the theme of the evening. "I see myself in these words!" shared one woman who brought three of her friends to enjoy the festivities.

"You have said what we are all thinking and never had the words to say.." was another powerful quote.

All in all, over 130 attendees found themselves sipping wine, making new friends, and becoming Intertwined in a very special way. If you want to become a part of Networking, Women and Wine, FRIEND us on Facebook and learn more about how to "BeIntertwined." You will receive updates, invitations and more connection through the best vine of all, the friendship of like-minded women.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fidgeting About the Feminine Mystique (and Musings on My Favorite Things)

I love buying dishes. Micky spoke to me at Target.
 I couldn't sleep last night. I imagine it was due to several reasons not the least of which are my changing hormonal signals. Add to that all of the things I'm having to juggle today plus the anticipated opening and unveiling of my new card line tomorrow and Wednesday. It's enough to give a girl adult acne. --  Ahhhh, it's so fun to be a girl. (?)

But then again, maybe it is? For all the complaining we seem to so easily channel aren't there some pretty exciting reasons to be happy about being a woman no matter what the REM patterns?

First of all, there are the esoteric reasons. I love lipstick, shoes and handbags. And, it is so fun to buy dishes. Really, I absolutely love shopping for dishes. I could feed the YMCA in one, mis-matched sitting, but still. They're all so cute! And then there is this uncontrollable urge to shriek when I see a group of more than 3 girlfriends. I'm not fond of sitting next to those cackling groups of overly excited, estrogen charged parties, but when I'm in the circle? I make noises like a music box on speed.

The real reasons I love being a women are much more varied. I like the fact that both sides of my brain can work together when I'm dealing with an issue. I love how it feels to nurture and care for others in a maternal way. I enjoy the fact that people rely on you to share whatever is in your pocketbook whether it be lip gloss, or change for a 5 dollar bill. But most of all I love that we are so complex and varied. Each of us has a story, a struggle, and that ever present question that bobbles around in our head's 24-7. We play with those same problems forever and yet when a friend comes to us for advice, our concise wisdom spews out in even, measured words that must be heeded.

One of the reasons I created the verses in the Intertwined line is a celebration of those traits, but with a twist. For all our femininity and its similarities with the vine, we must look more closely at how much we resist the change we despise, the aging we dread, and the trials we are surrounded by.

The grape? When faced with these issues it simply adapts and does so happily. And the result is often a wine with more complexity, awe and enjoyment. I like how that sounds.

Yeah, I couldn't sleep last night. But I did see a beautiful moon and watched a deer cross through my yard in the morning light while I was rearranging my sock drawer. Girl-issues? Bring 'em on.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A picture is worth a thousands sips!

I was perusing the other day, a royalty free site for downloading stock photos, looking for images to help market my new line of wine gift items called Intertwined and to specifically feature women in the wine business. I put the words, women and wine in the search terms. Hmmm. Lots of returns, but all the women are at a party. Then I tried by searching with the terms, wine makers and women. Oh yeah. You're right. Nothing.

I was amazed! Could it be that the world of the female and the wonderful, organic journey of the vine are so mutually exclusive in our commercial culture that there are no photos of women wine makers on a huge database of photos like iStock?

The sad answer is yes. And my friend Deborah Brenner, author of "Women of the Vine" would most likely reveal a sly grin when hearing these words since she has been one of the first pioneers in the wine industry to bring this shortcoming to the forefront.

This narrow window of women in wine portrays little variety other than young women wearing halters and giddily balancing a half glass of merlot between perfectly manicured fingertips. Isn't it obvious how we compliment each other so well? Shouldn't there be a more artful way to "say it with the vine in mind?"TM

I think there is a better way. One of my missions with Networking, Women and Wine, and certainly Intertwined is to show the elegant, albeit obvious relationship between these two important topics. I want women to see how this ancient symbol of prosperity, prose, and wisdom is overflowing with gender-specific metaphors.

And so I am happy to introduce the Elevage Series of greeting cards for Intertwined. Each is a poetic journey celebrating the journey of women as seen through the exquisite lens of the wine grape. Equally exciting is the fact that the unveiling of the inaugural card line for Intertwined will occur February 22 and 23rd at the Providence Art Gallery in Charlotte at 7 p.m..
I want every women who loves wine, who appreciates the important of her own femininity, who cherishes the friendship of women, and who loves art is invited to come to our event. It's FREE, it's accessible, it's un-missable!

We will see you there!