The Drinking Club Has A Conversation. Maybe With Friends.

We really outdid ourselves this summer. Not only did we not read the book, we didn’t show up to the meeting. The Drinking Club traded the sticky sewage of NYC summer for beachy breezes and spiked seltzer, which is how MV found herself the sole attendee of our latest gathering, wine carafes forlornly decorating the table. After a stern talking-to from AM, we rescheduled for after Labor Day. The calendars were cleared, the wine procured, the pizza ordered.

But before any of that, we had a bookcase to move.

DD graciously hosted us at her new apartment, a spacious Brooklyn walk-up that she shares with a roommate and several oversized armoires. I wouldn’t be surprised if they started pining to be human again. Just before our gathering, DD sent out a call for an extra pair of hands–she had found a free bookcase in an apartment a few blocks away that would perfectly house her unpacked books. Yours truly responded. For the record: IKEA plastic wood is heavy. Especially when you’re hauling ass down the block, trying not to drop six feet of it across the sidewalk, as your phone keeps buzzing because your cheese pie and side salad are early.

We hefted the bookcase up the flight of stairs to find our deliveryman safeguarding our order until we arrived. He was not impressed. Which is fine, because we didn’t need his approval, or the assistance of the three bros on the street who assumed we couldn’t manage. We are woman, hear our muscles scream in protest.

The canned rose soothed our souls as we waited for the rest of the group to arrive. We busied ourselves with a question that has plagued the group for a while now: how do we feel about splitting the bill on a first date (or not splitting it)? I think this gem from Overheard New York says it all, but The Drinking Club is evenly split on this issue. Our philosophical differences did not stop us from making plans to try a Chelsea speakeasy for an upcoming meeting. Let’s hope we all show up.

What is magical about this group of women is that, no matter how much time has passed, the conversation effortlessly flows. On the docket this meeting: the shade of lipgloss we all now own because we turned MM’s tube into the communal club color (you can find it here, in case anyone cares #notsponsored); the ambitious New Year’s resolutions some of us made (DD has a dating quota she must fill come December 31); MM’s Theragun, which will soon become the Drinking Club’s Theragun; and that time DR ordered an Angel from TaskRabbit to assemble her IKEA haul. We also laid out some necessary ground rules for the Drinking Club. We are only allowed to miss a meeting for the following reasons:

  1. Husband
  2. House
  3. Baby
  4. Illness

“Well, none of those things are in my future, so I better get my ass to book club,” said DR. Girl, same. But we all knew I’m too much of a nerd to miss, on top of that.

What we did not converse about this meeting: our latest read, Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney. I only just got off the NYPL waitlist. I know you’re waiting with baited breath for my analysis. Thus far, I’m engrossed, even though Frances and Bobbi make me cringe. Whoever thinks teenagers are the worst blocked out their college years. I’m eager to see this foursome implode spectacularly. Hopefully, it will teach our anxious protagonist something. Literally anything.


Until then, I’m hoping to see more of the Drinking Club. As the conversations around us, the social, the political, devolve into doomsday scenarios, I’m finding the balm for this is conversations with friends.





The Happiest Hour 9/22/19

At the end of this post waits a mimosa and a nap after three conferences in two weeks. So let’s get to it.

Here’s what you missed this week:




The Happiest Hour – 8/30/19

Like your favorite fall show, we’ve returned from our summer hiatus and are back to our regular schedule (not that we had much of one to begin with). I took the last week off to decompress in the Adirondacks, where, with the help of copious amounts of rosé and fresh mountain air, I returned to the sludge of Manhattan feeling refreshed. Which is why I’m going to pretend today that summer is not over by soaking up the last remaining rays and Aperol spritzes.

Here’s what you missed this week:

  • Nearly 40% of women in the UK say they have been criticized for their taste in books. We see you, snobs. (The Bookseller)
  • Um, when are we all getting waterproof books? (Travel + Leisure)
  • Indulge in this delightful review of a book about books, and all the ways the printed book remains essential (for example, a cutting board). Also, there’s a mention of our girl Sylvie. (The New Yorker)
  • The Nervous Nellies of 1900 and I have very different ideas about what a Great Book Scare would be. If they were alive today, they’d be the people with a suite of Lysol products in their trunk. (
  • Did anyone else know celebrity bibliophile was a viable career path? (Town & Country)




The Club Goes to Another Book Club (The Horror!)

Before you get all worried or something, The Drinking Club is fine. More than fine. DR moved into her own apartment, because she is the most successful of all of us. MM kicked her toxic job to the curb. MV is killing it at her new job. LL is planning THE WEDDING of 2020. DD is constantly on the road, advocating for a cure for a debilitating disease. And AM is lounging in the Hamptons (at least we think. Powering up the helicopter to confirm).

And me? I’ve been knee deep in drayage paperwork and traveling to California to sell books to nerds (that last one was basically a work-sponsored vacation and the highlight of my year. DR is drafting the proposal to convince my manager to keep me out there permanently). I was in the cavernous halls of the San Diego Convention Center, contemplating the deodorant choices of certain members of the cosplay community, when the last meeting of The Drinking Club was held. It was a beautiful gathering; the wine carafes flowed, the baked mac & cheese was abundant. Though I can only guess. MV volunteered herself to write the latest recap (still waiting on it) after she scheduled the meeting when she knew I was out of town (still not bitter). I guess you’ll never know what everyone thought of Manhattan Beach.

Fear not, dear readers–I still attended a book club, so you’ll get your monthly dose of wine-infused literary analysis. This month’s reading adventure takes us to Midtown and the teal halls of TheSkimm. As a loyal subscriber (but terrible Skimm Squad member–my follow-through was abysmal), I received an invite to a trial book club event they were hosting. The book: The Farm by Joanne Ramos, an unsettling look at privilege and surrogacy told through the lens of the hosts carrying the fetuses of the world’s uber wealthy. The main event, a Q&A with Ramos at their office, seemed like a great way to kill two birds with one stone: feed my obsession with TheSkimm, and do some research for my day job (we host a similar annual event, however, the median age of our readers is around 75).

Joined by the best intern NYC has ever seen (and actual Skimmbassador), I settled into the plush couches at SkimmHQ with a very buttery glass of Chardonnay. The group assembled was intimate and eager to discuss, though not in an overbearing way. I was a bad sport and forgot to write a book recommendation on my name tag, but that didn’t prevent me from passing along a few recs of my own. There was a real sense of community, or at least a desire to build one from the like-minded ladies in the room.

Joanne Ramos was relatable and authentic; her responses weren’t canned, or overly crafted. The discussion that night covered whether we thought the ending of her novel was a happy one (no spoilers, but I was convinced it was going to end in a bloodbath); whether the likability of the characters mattered to us (Ramos said she had no interest in writing saints or villains); how Ramos’s immigrant experience and today’s political climate influence the protagonists; whether privilege prevents you from “doing good,” and where privilege comes from.

Probably the most interesting part of the discussion for me was the author’s bio, and the circuitous path she took to becoming a novelist. Without having grown up in the Midwest as a first generation immigrant, worked in finance, became a reporter, she said she wouldn’t have been able to write the story that she did. She shared an analogy a former boss had shared with her: while we might like our lives to be a series of choices that place us on a linear path, our choices are often resemble a patchwork quilt. Each experience is unique and colorful, and when added to others, creates a more interesting tableau that put you where you were meant to be. I think that’s a lesson that, while cheesy, we could all use in our hyper-competitive and Instagram-curated lives.

Another important takeaway: Gemma Chan, Saoirse Ronan, and Matthew McConaughey should keep their schedules open, because we want them for the movie. It’s been decided–they can’t back out now.

Until next time,



The Happiest Hour – 7/26/19

I feel like a winner after walking out with a bottle of wine from the office summer soiree. And by soiree, I mean pizza party. And no, I did not steal it.

Here’s what you missed this week:




The Club Texts When We Get Home

No one says goodbye anymore. At least, not women. No one is saying see you soon, catch ya later. No more so longs, farewells, or auf wiedersehen adieus. Instead, as they’re rounding the corner or taking the stairs down to the River Styx (more commonly known as the C train), they’re shouting “text me when you get home.” Because we live in a world where a woman’s safety is not a guarantee. Our send-offs have become pleas, because we know the danger in a quiet subway car, or a poorly lit street. We don’t want it to be the final goodbye.

You know another way to avoid the final goodbye? Instead of saying it, you hunt down canned wine and dollar slices. That gives you another hour and a half, at least.

Our last Drinking Club gathering ended over rose cans and garlic knots while MM, MV, and I enlightened DR and MM’s coworker with our stories of growing up in the place that spawned Teresa Giudice. The work friend said he felt right at home, having spent his childhood watching telenovelas. But unlike our latest read, our slice of suburbia was not terrorized by a phantom who stole entire communities’ peace of mind. And not one of us is as masterful a storyteller as the late Michelle McNamara. Her notes could win a Pulitzer.

If you paid attention in 6th grade English, those context clues should be telling you that our last read was I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. The thoughtfully and obsessively researched book is the result of McNamara’s fixation with the Golden State Killer, the serial rapist and murderer that stalked California in the 1970s and 1980s.


The flap copy calls this book an “atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history;” that couldn’t be more accurate. McNamara transports the reader to the subdivisions of Northern and Southern California, where unexplained footprints beneath bedroom windows and noises along the fence lines foreshadowed horrific violations. We get to observe the police bullpens and crime labs where gruff detectives and everyone’s favorite hunky criminalist (where my murderinos at) became consumed by the mystery of the man who committed 50 sexual assaults and 10 murders before vanishing.

McNamara does all of this with an unwavering sense of humanity, sharing only enough information to make your hair stand on edge, but never feel exploitative towards the victims. She exposes the dark corners of her own past that led her to her obsession with the East Area Rapist and Original Night Stalker, allowing you a glimpse of a mind that, in order to understand the darkness, plunges headfirst into it. McNamara passed away before completing the book, before the world knew who the Golden State Killer was. Her colleagues and family finished for her, impressively maintaining her voice while piecing together her notes and published work to create the final chapters.

McNamara’s writing, more than anything, captures the fear and despair that sent these families and communities spiraling. How do you fight the feeling that your worst nightmare is patiently waiting for you to close your eyes, that there’s nothing you can do to prevent it from striking again? How, as someone sworn to protect the community, do you live knowing you couldn’t do anything to stop him, let alone identify him? How do you also confront McNamara’s untimely passing, that your life could end in an instant?

You make plans. You YOLO. You live by the inspirational quotes on the tchotchkes your elderly aunt gets from the Hallmark store. You dance like no one’s watching, in the rain. Because the stark cold reality is that there is nothing we can do to prevent the monsters from coming after us. This makes us control freaks oh so comfortable. There’s no shortage of Type As in the Drinking Club. You should see the things some of us can do with a spreadsheet.

So what are we planning for? For starters, we’re prepping for the copious amounts of hurricanes and Sazeracs we’ll be drinking at LL’s nuptials next spring. The AirBNB hunt has commenced. DR is journeying to Southeast Asia and is currently accepting applications for a road trip through the Pacific Northwest (The Drinking Club Takes Portland, anyone?) MV is looking across the pond for fall adventures with her SO, while MM is planning some major career moves that make us all so proud. If the others decided to show up, I can brag about them too (what that subtle enough?)

What I’m walking away with after this book is to live fully and unapologetically. The only way to combat the shadows is to live in them, bringing the monsters into the light. So stay til last call. And text me when you get home.



The Club Gets Preppy

Before we get down to business, an important Corrections Corner:

It has come to my attention that some members (*cough* DR *cough*) feel recent posts have inaccurately portrayed them as “weird.” To which I reply: since when is that a bad thing? I revealed in the last post, dear reader, that I was enamored by a six-year-old’s story about talking animals that want to transform into breakfast items. Hardly what the grand dames would consider appropriate conversation material.

It amazes me how badass women, myself included, still give credence to what is considered “normal” and “weird.” Why, when confronted with a flawless Instagram story or a gaggle of women who seem to know the right thing to say, do we suddenly feel like the girl in middle school who isn’t wearing the right Abercrombie top?

Nothing could have induced this feeling more than our latest read, Prep. Curtis: you took me back to places I didn’t want to go. I’m not sure I’m happy about it. But here we are.

Sittenfeld’s first book received high praised, and you can see why: she manages to capture essential truths about our world, and ourselves, and place it alongside the putrid reality of high school seamlessly. Several of us had trouble getting into it, because these characters, especially Lee, can be so unlikable. But then–who actually likes teenagers?


Following Lee’s journey through Ault, the prep school she imagined would transform her life, stirred memories I was convinced I left in the Comb-Over (we called our high school’s renovated entryway The Comb-Over because it resembles a certain President’s hairstyle. If only we knew).  Lee’s desire to connect, most evident in her obsession with knowing the intimate details of her peers’ lives, is uncomfortable and understandable. She wants to see others, and be seen in return. As teenagers, we all wanted to be understood (cue eye rolls and door slamming). But at Ault, an insular world ruled by byzantine social codes, you have to conform to be seen.

How does high school pan out for Lee? Not so great, but she makes it out in one piece, which is all most of us can ask for. As she narrates her high school years to us from some distance in time, it’s clear that the issues she had developing connections at Ault translated into adulthood. As a narrator, she’s cool, and while she reveals much of her inner thoughts, you get the sense that these are shared with some resistance. There’s more to Lee Fiora than she’s willing to let on.

Adulthood has a way of relieving some of the inhibitors that kept you pressed against the gymnasium wall at the school dance, because you quickly learn that no one care as much as you think they do. You learn how to spot your people, and allow those who bring you down to drift away.  I’m beyond lucky to know the members of The Drinking Club, who are some of the most generous women out there, with their time, energy, and love. They are all unabashedly themselves, and I love them more for it (but DR the most. Obvi).

And to demonstrate this, I thought I would share some of our “weird” quotes from our last gathering, because: a) they’re genius, and b) I don’t actually know how we made it from one subject to the next. But we covered a lot of ground.

  • “European men know what’s up with pants”: LL and AM vacationed in Iceland and Ireland and found a lot to admire in the scenery. Never underestimate the power of a well-constructed pocket.
  • “You just boil them alive”: The Donner Party we are not. MV instead has enlightened us to the art of cooking lobster after recent adventures with le boyfriend in California. And has maybe inspired a future Drinking Club activity?
  • “It’s either romantic, or where you plan a murder”: where else would this be, but Maine. DD traveled there for a half marathon and anticipated that she would be smitten with New England, as maybe a gorgeous fisherman. We’ll hand the second part of that statement over to Stephen King.
  • “I want to skin her and wear her–relax, it’s a Real Housewives quote”: I don’t know why LL shared this with us. I will say: you can’t go wrong adding a little Bethenny or Rinna into a conversation.


What else is new with The Drinking Club?

  • Wedding bells are ringing for LL, who has asked us to clear our calendars for spring nupitals in the South. Congrats!!!
  • Expect to see DR in the next Free Solo documentary, as she conquered the National Parks and did not fall off a cliff. (We’ll resist the I-Told-You-So. For now.)
  • MV is killing it at a new job, and will now be supplying us with bathing suits for life.
  • We thought we lost MM and AM there for a minute. But then MV and I found them on Independent Bookstore Day, when we ventured to Books Are Magic and learned just how long it takes to make a quiche.


Until next time,




The Club Plans for the End Of Days…and Swimsuit Season

Have you ever had one of those moments where someone looks at you like you’ve grown a second head? Eyes simultaneously widening and narrowing in your direction, a silence so cinematic you can count the beats between what you said and their reaction?

I was telling the Drinking Club, as we noshed on killer burrata in a tiny basement restaurant in the West Village, that I had spent the previous night volunteering with an organization that encourage students to discover a love of writing. I had hoped they would appreciate some of the creative short stories the students had written, particularly one about a shep (a magical sheep, in case you’re not up on your fantastic beasts lexicon) named Toasterhead who wants to be transformed…into a waffle. By a monkey witch doctor.

AM was deeply disturbed by this tale. What does it say about me that I was charmed by it?

It was clear, that evening exploring the inner workings of a first grader’s imagination, that the human mind is capable of both creating wonder that opens our minds, and horror that causes our palms to sweat. The latter applies to our latest read, which struck at our deepest fears so effectively that some of us couldn’t finish the book.


Emily St. John Mandel’s thrilling and freaky apocalyptic tale Station Eleven shows the reader what could happen to our humanity if the human race were to go extinct. Alternating timelines take us into the lives of an aging actor, his first wife, his best friend, a paparazzo-turned-paramedic, and a child actor before and after the deadly Georgian Flu outbreak. As they cope with personal and global fallout, each questions their past and what they’ve left behind, and what future they want to create for themselves. When a meglomaniac prophet begins wreaking havoc on the new world, those left must fight to preserve the fragile order that has been constructed. Although, I’m gonna say: regardless of whether 99% of the population has been killed by the worst cold, it is never okay for kids to start reading from the Book of Revelations. That’s some serious M. Night Shyamalan shit. Although I guess you could say the same thing about sheep becoming waffles.

All this talk of the world ending naturally led to a discussion of our own short time on this Earth. For reasons unknown, DR is convinced she’s getting offed first and has tasked each of us with very specific plans for her burial. This plan is complicated (think Viking funeral and you’re halfway here). I can think of no better way to celebrate her legacy.

But before we get there, we have to prepare ourselves for an equally dramatic event: swimsuit season. It’s been a brutal winter, I think we can all agree. And we’ve eaten a lot of mac and cheese to get through. It’s understandable. We don’t regret what we did. But because we live in a world where having a swimsuit body doesn’t mean having a body to put a swimsuit on, we need to figure out how to create a third stomach for mac and cheese (everyone knows you have a second stomach for dessert). Or burn down the patriarchy. We like Option 2 better.

What else is new with the Drinking Club, aside from finalizing our wills and stocking up on nonperishables?

  • AM got a promotion (finally) and MV found new employment (yaaaas).
  • I’m convinced it would be easier to find Carmen Sandiego than figure out where in the 50 states DD and MM are currently working, kicking ass and taking names.
  • AM and LL are heading to Iceland and Ireland this month. Here’s hoping they bring back Ryan Merriman.
  • DR will be exploring the beauty of the National Parks soon, and she’ll come back refreshed and tanned because of course she’s not going to die on a hike, like she keeps saying she will.


And now, we’re going to continue with our lives and not imagine the world ending when someone sneezes.

Until next time,


The Club Takes A Vow Of Silence

I have a newfound appreciation for the monks who take a vow of silence. They understand what is essential to spiritual well-being. Especially the ones that brew beer.

Let me back up a bit.

A few weeks ago, I was answering work emails in a bland New Mexico hotel room when the text below came in from AM:

“Can we also set up a date where we just read and make tea and hot chocolate and don’t even have to speak but just existing in reading in the same room? This is my dream.”

Same, AM. Same.

As any self-respecting millennial would do, we let the plan sit, like that pad thai from lunch two weeks ago that we thought we would eat later. Then we thought we would be fancy and rent one of those igloos planted in the winter wonderland of Bryant Park, until we realized we’re not fancy at all. Then we discovered the Silent Book Club. Two hours of reading in quiet companionship, with minimal socializing? How had we not heard of this before?

The next meetup would take place at Jadis, which you may recall from a previous post (we won’t remind you of what has happened on those wine bar couches). We met outside the bar shortly after the start of the event, afraid to enter the Den of the Introverts alone. After acquiring our Cotes du Rhone, we made our way to the back lounge, where a few groups were already congregated. Our only clue to which group we belonged were the stray paperbacks on the glass coffee table.

After standing behind them like two dopes, trying to make eye contact with someone, we awkwardly introduced ourselves and squeezed in on the wooden bench (not nearly as comfortable, but probably safer than the couch). And then: we read. For 60 uninterrupted minutes.

When was the last time you had 60 uninterrupted minutes to read? Where you weren’t drawn away from the page by the beguiling ding of a Snapchat notification, or the voice of your mother in your head, reminding you of all the responsibilities you’re avoiding by reading? This was bliss. We sat, enjoying our reads (AM with Catch-22, me with the next Martha Hall Kelly book), savoring our wine, embracing the time we had, knowing real life was but minutes away. I have to agree with AM–the bench was not the ideal reading spot–but the experience was emotionally restorative. Even if we were both momentarily distracted by the reader sitting next to us, arguing with the server about the bar’s credit card minimum.

We’re both eager to attend again, and we just might be on time to get a good seat.




The Club Reminisces on 2018…and Cringes

With only a couple of weeks left to 2018, everyone is looking back at what the universe dished up in the past 350-ish days. The Winter Olympics feel like a lifetime ago. We have more gray hairs than we care to admit after reading the news each day. And our future children will mock us when they see that we slung fanny packs over our shoulders like Jansports. Woof.

We might sending 2018 off with a “boy, bye” instead of a stirring rendition of Auld Lang Syne, but that doesn’t mean we won’t look back fondly on some parts of this year. There was a royal wedding. A selfie kid at the Super Bowl. Probably some other stuff we will remember years later in therapy. What we will remember from this year: the amazing things we read.

Not ones to be left out of a good fad, we present to you our Best of 2018 list. And because it’s us, we have to share with you our Worst of 2018 list as well. Note: unlike The New York Times and any other reputable outlets, not all the items presented here have been published this year. We just read them this year. Better late than never, right?

We’ve also shared our favorite drinks from the past year as a pairing with our favorite reads, because we love you.


DD: “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York“. Pair with: a perfectly chilled Veuve Cliquot.

LL: Beneath A Scarlet Sky. Pair with: a cucumber mint vodka cocktail.

DR: Manhattan Beach. Pair with: a Tom Collins.

AM: Beartown. Pair with: Justice (better than any drink out there).

MM: Sharp Objects. Pair with: a glass of Valpolicella Ripasso. MM also recommends noshing on some Trader Joe’s cheese with the purple rind. You know the one.

MV: Look Alive Out There. Pair with: Sauvignon Blanc and a LED floodlight for all the Jared’s in our lives.

EV: The Tokyo Zodiac Murders. Pair with: Pinot Noir.



DR: Swing Time

MM: The Nest

AM: That article about the auction of Sylvie’s stuff. We’re still a little salty about that one.

MV: Alias Grace