Cheers! My Birthday Celebration with the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours

After losing my grandmother a few weeks before my birthday, I really needed to celebrate life. I know she would want me to do that. This year, I decided to ring in a new year of life in wine country. My soror traveled up from So Cal to visit. This would be her first time in Napa. I didn’t want to drive so instead, we bought bus tickets for the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours.

Let me tell you something, going on this bus tour was one of the BEST decisions I made. The Napa Valley Wine Country Tours bus isn’t just any bus. It’s a limo bus that looks like a VIP club lounge on wheels. We paid $119 for an 8-hour trip, visit to 4 wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties, continental breakfast and lunch. It was worth every penny. The tastings aren't covered in the bus fare, but they ran about $10-$25. Wineries won't charge you for tastings if you buy a bottle. I recommend this for tourists and any Bay Area locals who have folks visiting from out of town and want a short excursion to Nap…

What Carrie Fisher Meant to This Girl Nerd and Mental Health Advocate

Carrie Fisher
Source: Riccardo Ghilardi photographer via
WikiCommons
I woke up to these words from my alarm radio, "Actress Carrie Fisher has died."

I shed tears for Carrie Fisher, 60, throughout the day. I got into Star Wars when I was a teen in the '90s thanks to my religious teacher. We had to analyze the moral messages George Lucas was dropping in the series. Like so many girls and women, I appreciated Leia for being a badass princess. She was not sitting on a throne looking pretty. Leia fought evil, even into her later years when she became a general. Like someone pointed out on Twitter, in the last Star Wars movie you have a woman who lost her son, her ex-lover, her brother, her parents, her planet--but she still fought for goodness. She pressed on in adversity, just like the real Carrie Fisher.

Fisher also had to fight her own personal battles. She wrestled with addiction and was open about living with bipolar disorder. When I was wrestling with my own internalized stigma about being diagnosed with depression, I looked up famous people with mental health challenges and there she was. I read some of her personal stories and felt a bit more hopeful and normal.

She dealt with people judging her for not having the 19-year-old look and body from Star Wars decades ago. Isn't that silly?! She said when she was 105 lbs, she was asked to lose 10 more pounds. Anyone talk about Harrison Ford or Mark Hamill getting wrinkles and gaining weight? NO

She kept it real about aging, addiction and living with mental health problems. She lived openly to control how information about her came out to the public. Which was a smart idea. It doesn't work for everyone, but she made it work for her. And she often had a, "I don't have time for this bullsh*t" mentality.

I hoped she would pull through after having the heart attack. Her life and art touched me as a woman, Star Wars fan and mental health advocate. I love Princess Leia, but Carrie Fisher is my shero for her role in life as Carrie Fisher. She entertained us, made us laugh and gave a lot of people hope through her strength and realness.

Per her request, Carrie Fisher died being drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.

May she rest in power and may the force be with her.

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