Monday, July 26, 2010

Soul Survivor - The Letter

A Letter to Mr. Right*

* (also known as The One, I Thought You Were The One, My Soulmate, and other known aliases)

I am writing this letter in somewhat of a desperate state. You see, I have tried to approach and communicate with you on several occasions, but you never respond. I am beginning to wonder if I have offended you in any way, or done something to turn you away from me. Perhaps when I explained that all I wanted to do was love you, nurture you, and care for you, you took this as some sort of threat. Of course, I understand that is a natural reaction: to feel afraid or even angry when something that is offered to you so easily is challenging in the same right. Maybe you think that this is an empty promise, but I assure you, I have every intention of showing you in addition to telling you. Because of course...actions speak louder than words.

I feel that some history may be of help here. When I was younger, I was taught by society to believe that a woman had two driving characteristics to chose to live their lives by: to be loving, or to be strong.

To be strong meant that you had the ability to hold everything together, including your family, your friends and your community. You would be admired and respected by everyone around you. People would love you. The downside? People would love who you represent to them. No one would ever fall in love with you. They would be afraid that your greatness would overshadow them, and in their own insecurity, be afraid that they would have nothing to offer such a strong, great woman.

To be loving meant that you would be loved by mostly everyone. Your capacity to love, care for, nourish, and protect makes you a great mother, wife, sister and friend. Your warm tears, be them of joy or sorrow, will move the souls of many. The downfall? That's all you're good for. You will always be loved...and never respected. You are seen as the complete opposite of strong: weak. You will always be a subordinate to your male counterpart, and you will never even attempt to do great and courageous things. If you do, people will start to question your capacity to love.

I learned much later in life that these teachings were a little off; it seemed as if people did not understand the difference between love of power and the power of love.

By the time I realized this confusion, some damage had already been done. I wanted so badly to love you, that I did not love myself. Ridiculous, right? How can I produce love from within, if it isn't there? It wasn't my fault. I fed myself the toxins of society, even after I was old enough to know better. But I now know I can't place blame; that doesn't solve anything. When I offered you love, you may have somehow thought it was easy. But love is the biggest act of courage there is. Maybe you don't know the kind of love I offer because you haven't experienced it. People are often afraid of things outside their bubble of knowledge. Maybe I was too image and personality driven to really understand the power of what I was actually offering you myself. But such is not true anymore.

I am not angry with you for rejecting my love. In my own way, I rejected it at one point. I didn't want to love, I was tired of being loving. My mind was poisoned. We all know that it is a great African-American tradition to be forgiving and compassionate; when we forget that, we suffer inside. When you reject love, do you suffer too? Maybe you think that by my offering to love you, I want to take something away from you. Freedom, perhaps? But if you look deep inside yourself, you will realize that my desires are a direct reflection of yours, just in different packaging.

The last thing I ever wanted you to do is fear me if I stand up to my own greatness. I'm not afraid of your greatness; I celebrate it. I am not afraid of you even though I am taught to believe that your only mission is to use me and hurt me. I have faith in you, even though I am told not to trust you with things of even the smallest value, much less my feelings.

What happened to you? When you were my father, you were the strongest, most courageous man alive to me. When you were a pillar in my community, you were the most respectable man I knew. When you were my friend, you were one of the people I trusted the most. No one is perfect, I know that. But I have heard awful rumors about you as of late. That you would turn on me the minute I trusted you and let you in. That you only want me for superficial things that benefit you. That you are no longer interested in growing with me mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.

Even with all of the evidence thrown in my face, they are still just ugly untruths to me. Some would even call me a fool for believing that you could ever love me the way I want you to. You don't seem to be afraid to love your mother, your sister or your friend. So why me? Maybe I am asking the impossible. In this letter, I only request one thing. Prove them wrong. Prove society wrong. Prove me right. If I have mistaken you for Mr. Right, and you are actually Mr. Right Now, let's learn from each other. So that when you find the one that is worth it, with my help, you'll want to prove them wrong for her.


P.S. If you're not Mr. Right, don't worry; I will be worth it for someone.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Naps, Mishaps and Product Caps - KCCM Natural Hair Meet-Up!

Myself and JenellyBean, The Hostess with the Mostess!

Last night I had the pleasure of mingling with some of the hottest naturalistas in NYC! Our hostess had the most adorable icebreaker that helped us get to know each other and our hair status and practices. We chatted about hair, life, careers, hair, music...and did I mention hair? :-)

There were lots of different hair styles in the building - and no two were alike!

As you can see,  a great time was had by all. Seeing all of these beautiful naturalistas was so inspiring! I am already calculating what my next style is! Of course when I try it, I'll blog it! So stay tuned.

Click here for more pics from the Natural Hair Meet-Up

And check out the fabulous blogs of my natural sisters that attended the event:


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tales of a Foodie - Boozy Baking

I used to run a business called South in the City - Southern baked goods with a city flair. You might ask, what exactly does it mean to give a dessert a city flair? One of the ways I do this is to add a little something to my desserts that everyone in the city loves - LIQUOR! I was recently gifted a cookbook called The Boozy Baker which inspired me to share some of my favorite boozy dessert recipes. And don't worry, non-drinkers...for some of the recipes, the alcohol content cooks down or away in the heat. Here are 3 of my favorites:

Amaretto Pound Cake
*this yummy cake gets gooey pieces in the middle from poking holes in the cake and pouring an Amaretto glaze over the cake. After bringing the glaze to a boil, about 75% of the alcohol will remain. Mmmmm....

3 sticks of butter, softened
1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
3 cups of sugar
6 eggs
1 tsp of almond extract
3 cups of flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy; about 3 min. Add sugar to the creamed mixture, one cup at a time. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each one. Add almond extract and mix until batter is fluffy. Add flour to mixture, blending between each cup. Pour batter into a Bundt pan, and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

For the glaze:
1 stick of butter
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup Amaretto liqueur
1/4 cup evaporated milk

Bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring constantly. As soon as you begin to see tiny bubbles in the mixture, remove from heat. After the cake has completely cooled, invert onto a serving plate. With a butter knife, poke holes into the cake. Pour hot glaze over the cake. Let sit for about an hour before serving.

Southern Buttermilk Pie
*Nothing says "Southern Comfort" like adding a bit of it to this deliciously easy pie! After baking, this pie will retain about 25% of the alcohol content.

1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Bisquick
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbs Southern Comfort
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a pie pan with cooking spray. Combine sugar, buttermilk, Bisquick, butter, vanilla, Southern Comfort and eggs in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into pie plate and bake till brown and still slightly jiggly in the middle; about 30-40 min. Let cool 10 min before slicing. Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Cabernet Granita
*this is a perfect dessert to beat the summer heat, but be careful; it retains the full amount of alcohol used!

1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of sugar
3/4 cup Cabernet Sauvignon (*or your favorite full-bodied red)
3/4 cup white grape juice
1/3 cup lemon juice
red grapes and mint for garnish

Combine the water, sugar, and wine in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes; cool. Add the grape juice and lemon juice. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Pour into divided ice cube tray. Freeze until solid (about 4 hours). Place cubes, one at a time, in a food processor. Process until slushy. Serve in sherbet dishes garnished with grapes and mint. Serves 2-3 people.

I hope you enjoy these boozy baked goods as much as I do! Cheers!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Naps, Mishaps and Product Caps - Hair Rules Product Review

 So a friend of mine tried the Hair Rules system and wasn't very happy with it. She gave it to me to try, figuring since we had a different curl pattern, it might work well with my hair (She's about a 4a or 4b and I'm a 3c. Check out this curly hair site to find out what your curl pattern is). So I tried it, and I'm reviewing it here! Here is what I used from the Hair Rules system - Daily Cleansing Cream Moisturizing No Suds Shampoo, Quench Ultra Rich Conditioner and Kinky Curling Cream.

Daily Cleansing Cream Moisturizing No Suds Shampoo (Rickys, $22.00)

What it's supposed to do: gently cleans & moisturizes dry, coarse, over-processed, color-treated and heat-styled hair. packed with honey, awapuhi, & hops, to promote the health, condition and luster of your hair.

What it did: it was a bit strange "washing" my hair with something that didn't lather, but I didn't feel that awful squeaky clean you feeling your hair gets when it has been stripped of it's natural oils. However it did feel like I had successfully gotten all of the product residue out. And it smells lovely!

Quench Ultra Rich Conditioner (Ricky's, $24.00)

What it's supposed to do: this luxurious daily conditioner uses shea butter, honey, glycerin, coconut and olive oils, to keep parched, spongy & frizzy hair hydrated and lustrous.

What it did: it was a great conditioner; my hair instantly felt soft and silky literally minutes after I put it in. It smells really sweet, almost like cotton candy. I was a little concerned with the specific direction after applying to "rinse until hair feels soft, then stop". It was reminiscent of Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding, the early edition, where they recommended you keep half the conditioner in your hair. Hair Rules does give you the option of rinsing it out in 5 minutes or leaving in it in for up to 20 minutes (I left mine in for about 10 minutes). I followed the instructions accordingly, and my hair felt slippery and soft. But I was afraid to rinse more than I should!

Kinky Curling Cream (Ricky's, $20.00)

What it's supposed to do: olive oil and honey help transform tight 'fros into bouncy, silky spirals, free from frizz and shrinkage, use for styling coarse, kinky hair, texturizers, silkeners, twists, locks & braids for wash-n-go results.

What it did: I'll start by saying the directions for this part of the system were very specific, and I followed them almost to a tee. It said to apply to soaking wet hair, saturate hair with product, in sections, while smoothing & stretching with fingers or a wide-tooth comb (I used a wide-tooth comb). It then said to lightly re-wet hair (I'm still not sure why, since it was already soaking wet) and that "what you see [after this process is done] is what you'll get". It then said to air dry or set wet curls under a hood dryer (I dried for a few minutes with a diffuser, then air dried it the rest of the way; mostly air dried). It was thick and silky feeling, and even though my hair was still dripping, it felt silky and my curls were well-defined. It smelled yummy, like candy. Below are some result pics:

This was immediately after finishing the curling process.

This was about an hour later.

These were taken much later that night; like, six hours after styling.

And these pics were taken the day after styling.

Final Review: Keeping in mind that it is extremely humid and rainy in NYC, my hair held up quite nicely. As you can see, my curls were springy and bouncy as promised, and there was hardly any frizz, even with the immense amount of humidity and rain outside. The styling cream suggested I use their Hydrating Cream after styling, but I didn't need it. On the third day I'll put a moisturizing cream in it, but one of my cheapie-but-goodies.

This was a great product for my hair texture, and I was pleased with the look. However, if I had purchased these products on my own, I would have spent over $60. With the amount of product I had to use, I would be buying it all over again after about 4 washes. I predict that this style won't last my hair more than three days, see where I'm going with this - this is an expensive styling system! But it does indeed work. If you're willing to pay the money for it and you have the right hair texture, it's worth it.

For more info on Hair Rules, including video tutorials, hair type description, and all of  their other products, visit

Monday, July 12, 2010

Soul Survivor - What I Know For Sure...

Ok, so I totally stole this saying from Oprah. But as midnight hit on July 8th, 2010, I realized that what I know for sure at 30 years old far exceeds what I knew for sure at 25. I feel so blessed to have made it this far without losing my complete mind. I've been 30 for 4 days now, and here's what I know for sure so far:

1. I'm officially a grown ass woman. If you didn't know, you better ask somebody!

2. I am SO much better at not sweating the small stuff. And actually...not sweating the big stuff either. *shrugs at life*

3. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having levels of friendships. Whatever works....

4. ...that being said, I have little patience for people stuck on extremes. As a former absolute nazi, I now realize that there can be a middle or gray area sometimes. And it makes dealing with stuff SO much easier.

5. You may not know everything about your loved ones, but you can ALWAYS know more than you do...never stop learning people.

6. There really is something good in everyone. Just may not be good for you.

7. Patience really is virtuous.

8. As a bonafide adult, when I speak, certain things should just be taken at face value. I don't have the energy for hidden messages and convoluted dialogue anymore. For example, if I call someone crazy...I don't mean they are funny in a quirky way. I mean said person is really crazy.

9. To stay in touch with someone can mean just that...a touch. And it still counts. When the foundation is there, distance can't break it and proximity isn't necessary to keep it strong. Shout out to all the wonderful people in my life who understand this concept.

10. I like who I am; working on the loving part. Soon come.

11. The concept of support can never be defined to do the action justice. It is SO relevant.

12. I love to read....but I admit to loving magazines because of the instant gratification and the beautiful, glossy pictures.

13. Loneliness and solitude can be interchangeable at times. And that's ok.

14. I am grateful for ALL of my exes, because revelation is truly a gift from God.

15. I am more apprehensive about meeting new people than I was when I was younger...and I think it is because I fear I don't have room in my life to foster new relationships while simultaneously being present in the existing ones.

16. The things I love to do the most brings me the least amount of financial gain. And yet I still do them and will probably never stop.

17. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice...and it may take me a little longer to realize that we're allowed more than one mistake in life and time to figure that out. Thank God for mercy and grace.

18. There is a fine line between giving up and knowing when to quit...I'm not quite sure of where that line is yet....

19. ...and no one can truly define that line for you but YOU.

20. Every lesson you learn in life is not for your benefit, but maybe someone else's.

21. Reading a book recommended by a friend has rarely steered me wrong.

22. Listening doesn't mean waiting for the other person to finish speaking so you can get your turn to talk.

23. I don't care what anyone says, I still have "natural hair" even if I dye it! No lye till the day I die!!!!

24. Crushes are fun, even if nothing ever comes of it. Gives you something to daydream about.

25. Hate is toxic, but a little anger is healthy, as long as its temporary. Just helps you snatch those rose-glasses off your face.

26. Creativity is relative; everybody has it.

27. Music is defined as someone singing or playing thoughts that are too powerful to comprehended by merely speaking them.

28. There is a difference between venting and complaining - venting is a release; when it's done, you move forward. Complaining is being comfortable in a vent and not moving.

29. Good food will almost always put me in a good mood no matter what.

30. God is in charge. Of everything.

Above are pics of me almost 10 years ago. Here's to another year of life - I'm grateful!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Kiss My Glass - Recipe for the BEST Iced Coffee

As I was walking around this morning in NYC's beautiful 103 degree weather, all I could think about was how nice a great, big iced coffee would be. Drinking hot coffee in this weather is almost offensive! But so is the price of iced coffee - in case you haven't noticed, iced coffee costs a bit more than regular coffee. Why, I don't know. It's the same thing as regular coffee, only iced, right? Wrong.

Iced coffee is brewed a little stronger to withstand colder temperatures and more mix-ins; people generally don't drink iced coffee black (real coffee drinkers wouldn't be caught dead drinking a fancy iced coffee). It also has to be made in batches so that it can be prepped and refrigerated the night before. Businesses can't just keep brewing a fresh pot once it's all gone. Ever try to ice hot coffee on your own? Most of the time you just end up with watery, lukewarm/cool coffee. And adding sugar to cold coffee just leaves you with partially sweetened coffee for most of your drink, and mouthful of gritty sugary sips at the end - ugh! Here's the recipe I use to enjoy iced coffee in the summer right in my own home.

Sugar Water T's Iced Coffee

Cold water - fill the coffee carafe to the 8 cup line

4 1/2 heaping Tbs of your favorite coffee (It's usually 1 Tbs per 2 cups of water, but the extra 1/2 Tbs is specifically brew it to be iced)

Simple Syrup (recipe to follow)

milk, creamer of your choice


**To make Simple Syrup - mix equal parts water to sugar and bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved. For example, 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water. You can put this in a container and keep refrigerated for up to 6 months.

Make coffee according to directions. Once coffee stops brewing, remove from coffee maker base and place on top of a potholder (it will keep brewing slowly if you leave it on the base). After about 10 minutes, put into a pitcher or container and put in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight. When you're ready for your iced coffee, fill a glass with ice and add coffee. Leave room for your favorite creamer or milk, and pour in simple syrup to taste. Stir and enjoy!


*For a fun martini, try 3/4 cup of the cold coffee, 3 Tbs of vodka, 2 Tbs of amaretto, Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) or Baileys, and a few drops of simple syrup. Add more or less to taste. Shake over ice and serve in a martini glass, or serve over ice. ;-)

Naps, Mishaps and Product Caps - The LottaBody Experience

So after seeing my friend Danielle's beautifully set waves, I decided to try her regimen. As mentioned in my previous post,  I was going to use LottaBody Setting Lotion, cornrow my hair with the setting lotion (and my hair was still damp) and let it dry. Then the next day, take them out and rock the waves. Then my soror informed me that LottaBody had another product that might work a little better on my thirsty curls.

LottaBody with Olive Oil! So I followed the directions and mixed it one part setting lotion with two parts water (the setting lotion is concentrated). Then Danielle gelled the front back with a protein gel, sprayed each section and cornrowed my hair.

Then we blow-dried it a little to make sure that when I took them out the next morning, it would be completely dry. (That's Danielle drying - isn't her hair gorgeous?)

When I first took the cornrows out, I loved the way the waves were set. But I could feel that my hair was already a little dry; I should have put a leave-in conditioning moisturizer in my hair before putting the setting lotion on. Below is Day 1.

The second day I had to put some moisturizing cream and oil in it, but the shape held up nicely. Below is Day 2. (Please forgive me for looking like I hate life, lol)
What I really liked about the LottaBody is that it set the lengthening I got by cornrowing my hair. I also liked that my waves/curls were consistent all over; no straight pieces! I washed and cornrowed on a Thursday. It was done for by Monday, so it's basically a 3-4 day hairstyle. With my usual regimen, the length varies; sometimes it will draw up more, depending on the weather and humidity, and how long it's been since my last wash/co-wash. Below are two examples of what my hair looks like after my normal regimen - do you see the difference?

Tonight I tried it again, only this time before putting the LottaBody setting lotion in, I put in a leave-in conditioner and BioSilk Silk Therapy. I'm hoping this will give me length as it did this time, plus a little more definition, shine and moisture. Still not convinced that this style will be a regular, but I'm not giving up yet! Follow up to come!

 Do you have a special part of your regimen to lengthen your curls? Do you twist set, braid or cornrow to set your waves/curls? Let me know if you have tried a similar experience with your natural do.

Also, stay tuned...I'm going to testing pure coconut oil as a conditioner and a cinnamon gloss to lighten/dye my hair!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Long Weekend

Soul Survivor

In the United States, Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the national day of the United States. (Wikipedia)

As Americans, it's important to know our history of such commemorative holidays. Individually, this observance can mean different things for everybody. We should never lose sight of what this holiday is really about. This year, I encourage you to dig a little deeper for yourself: why not think about what independence and freedom mean for you? What have you freed yourself from this year; what liberated you? How have you grown in your own independence? For some its the decision to go natural; for others it's getting rid of physical and emotional baggage. Sometimes it could mean finally getting rid of the junk and clutter in your living space. Take some small (or big) part of the day to applaud your own freedom and make new goals for liberation and/or independence.

Black Girl's Think Tank

If you're planning a party, BBQ or get-together, you're gonna need some theme music! A mix of house, r&b, neo-soul, pop, and smooth jazz, this mix is sure to fit in perfectly at any gathering. In honor of Independence Day, I've compiled some of my favorite independence/freedom themed songs for a ready-made playlist!

Freedom (Make It Funky)  Black Magic 10 Years of Strictly Rhythm: 1989-1999

Freedom (Theme From Panther) (The Black Bag Mix) Various Artists Panther (The original motion picture soundtrack)
Free  Deneice Williams

Someday We'll All Be Free  Donny Hathaway

Free Your Mind  En Vogue Funky Divas

Free-Prelude  Jill Scott Experience: Jill Scott 826+ [Live] (Disc 2)

Set You Free  Kem Album II

Soul Free  Rahsaan Patterson

Miss Independent  Ne-Yo

Independent Women Part 1  Destiny's Child #1's

Naps, Mishaps and Product Caps

If you became a naturalista this year, celebrate your independence from the creamy crack! I heard that this year's natural girl theme is "Afro Independence Day". There is an official logo (above) and everything! Check out my girl L. Michelle's blog for more info. I'll be rocking my HUGE afro and I'm gonna try to rock the shirt as well! You can make your own using the logo! Let the whole world know that you are free and your hair shows it this Sunday!

Tales of a Foodie

Planning a picnic in the park? Here are a couple of recipes that will keep well in a ice-packed cooler and light on the food-drama scale.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches (serves 4)

- A small rotisserie chicken, skinned and shredded into pieces OR
3 to 4 boneless chicken breasts, cooked (preferably boiled to retain moisture)
- 1 cup of mayonnaise or plain yogurt (I prefer mayonnaise, but it's not the healthier choice)
- 3/4 cup of pecans
- 1 cup of chopped celery
- 3/4 cup of golden raisins
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 seven-grain wheat bread slices

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until just mixed. Add more mayonnaise or yogurt if you'd like a creamier salad. You can make sandwiches ahead of time, or pack the chicken salad in a container and tightly wrap the bread slices for constructing them on site.

4th of July Shortcake

- a already made or store-bought pound cake, cut into thin slices
- 1 half pint of heavy cream
- 1 tsp. almond extract or Amaretto liqueur
- 1 cup each of raspberries and blueberries
- 2 Tbs butter, room temperature

Lightly butter the pound cake slices. In a small skillet or griddle, lightly brown the pound cake slices over medium heat. (*doing this will help the pound cake hold up better to travel and hold toppings). Wrap cake slices in wax or parchment paper. In a small bowl, pour the heavy cream in and add the extract. Whip with an electric mixer until thick and creamy, but not stiff. Transfer to a container with a lid for travelling. Rinse the berries and blot them with a paper towel, then transfer to a container with a lid. Pack everything in the cooler. When ready to eat, layer the cake slice with fresh whipped cream and berries. Double the layers if you like!

Kiss My Glass

As delicious as watermelon is in the summer, it can get very messy. Here's an idea to get the great flavor to drink instead.

Watermelon Nectar

Cut the flesh of seedless watermelon into chunks, and puree' in batches in a blender. Strain the fruit through a sieve; chill before serving. A 12 lb watermelon yields about 5 1/2 quarts of juice that will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

If you're having a party and serving a punch, why not give it "fireworks" with fancy ice. Try this:

Fruity Ice

Thinly slice lemons, limes and oranges; remove seeds, and layer slices in the cups of a muffin tin.

Fill each cup halfway with water, fruit juice, or non-alcoholic punch, and freeze.

Prepare punch in a serving bowl, leaving enough room at the top to accommodate the ice. Just before serving, remove ice from muffin cups, and set afloat in the bowl.

And one last tip: Instead of placing room temperature bottles into an ice bucket and waiting an hour or so for it to chill properly, fill the bucket partially with cold water and ice before adding the bottles. This will speed up the chilling process to about 20 minutes because more surface area gets covered.

I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Kiss My Glass - White Wine: If You Like That, Try This...

I'd like to consider myself a bit of a wineuax. But I absolutely LOVE being introduced to new wines I haven't had before. If you are an avid wine drinker, you probably have a few go-to wines when you want a nice glass. For this post, I'm gonna focus on the white wines that you love to drink...and the wonderful ones you may be missing out on in comparison.

If you like White Zinfandel....try Torrontes

Torrontes is Native to Galicia, Spain, but has spread to Argentina where it has trademarked itself as the premier white grape of the region. A study has shown that it is an offspring of Muscat of Alexandria (think cousin of Moscato). This makes sense, because the big, delicious smelling nose on these wines is what beckons people back for another sip. It gives sweet and more sophisticated notes than White Zinfandel, but for around the same price.

I recommend Crios Torrontes. Its a dry, crisp wine with hints of peach pit, white pear, flowers, and orange citrus fruit. It's intensely flavored and fresh with light acidity. Made by one of the few female winemakers in Argentina (or anywhere) this wine goes for around $12.99 a bottle.

If you like Riesling...try Viognier.
Viognier is a grape that is mostly used for blending with Syrrah, a red grape. Because this wine is difficult to grow, it is meant to be consumed while it is relatively young, so you won't find too many aged varieties.
I recommend Alamos Viognier. Intensely aromatic and full-bodied, this Viognier is prized for its aromas and flavors of stone fruits, d'Anjou pears and white flowers. It has a natural acidity and is velvety smooth. This goes for about $10.99 a bottle.
If you like Moscato...try Albarino. One of Spain's most popular white wines, this small, sweet, thick-skinned grape is usually used for blending. But on it's own, it has an "astringent" quality because it's so cleansing on the palate. It's distinctive aroma often lends itself to peach and apricot aroma.
I recommend Martin Codax Albarino. This wine is crisp and fragrant, with a melange of flavors and aromas: melon, pear, peach, tropical fruit, flowers and a little grapefruit. Fresh and clean, with bright acidity (think of wanting to spread your mouth wide once the acidity hits your tastebuds)

These are just a few of my recommendations for the summer. Nothing like a crisp, cold glass of white wine to cool you off and make you feel refreshed! Remember these are in no way twin wine recommendations; these alternatives just hit some of the same points in taste, in my opinion. Be open to the slight variations from what you know and are used to, and I promise you'll have found yourself a new wine to love! Happy Sips!