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Uncommon Facts

The Uncommon Life

Slainte! The Surprising Story of Irish Whiskey & St. Patrick’s Day

March 7, 2019

The Shamrock GlassCelebrating St. Patrick’s Day

You might not feel particularly lively the morning after a festive St. Patrick’s Day celebration, but that doesn’t stop many from partaking in the “water of life” in honor of Ireland. In other words, the rivers of Irish Whiskey will flow on March 17.

This golden-brown beverage has a rich history, so we thought we’d share a little more about Irish Whiskey.

Yours, Mine, & Ours Decanter Det

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Uisce on the rocks, please.

Where did whiskey come from?

Actually, whiskey as we know it came to be in Ireland. In the 6th century monks used distilled grains as the base for medicines. They called it “Uisce Beatha,” in Goidelic, or “water of life,” thanks to its healing properties. (While some may argue that whiskey doesn’t have any healing properties, keep in mind that it is antiseptic and a pain killer.) Over time, the spirit became known as “whiskey,” a mispronunciation of “Uisce.”

 

Irish Spirit

Whiskey love spread across Europe over time. For example, to Scotland, where it developed in to Scotch. It’s said that Queen Elizabeth I enjoyed imbibing in the distilled drink, and Peter the Great once proclaimed, “of all the wines, the Irish spirit is the best.”

Irish Whiskey Shamrock Glass
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The Uncommon Life

What Pop Culture Staples Define Your Anniversary Year?

August 9, 2018

We compiled the top trends in food, film, TV, and music to help you celebrate in the style of your marriage year. Be prepared for a little nostalgia and a lot of great anniversary date/party ideas!

What year did you get married?

1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017

1968

   Popular Song   

“Hey Jude” by The Beatles

Originally written for John Lennon’s son, Julian, “Hey Jude” was the longest of any Beatles single, clocking in at over seven minutes. At the time it was the longest single to ever top the British charts and tied for the longest run at the top of the US charts.

See what else was popular »

Photo by ingen uppgift (Scanpix) via Wikimedia Commons

1968

1969

   Popular Food Trend   

Fondue

The trendiest thing to serve guests at a dinner party in 1969 was fondue. It could be cheesy or chocolate, but it always had to be seductive and delicious.

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Photo by 663highland from Wikimedia Commons

1969

1970

   Popular Movie   

Love Story

It is hard to put into words how touching this love story is. For anyone who has seen it, you can appreciate how valuable the principles of sacrifice and dedication are in this ever changing world of ours.

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1971

   Popular Song   

“Just My Imagination” by The Temptations

Soul music was in its golden era in 1971, centered around massive groups like The Temptations. Hearing the strings and backup harmonies of this track probably transports you to the listless summer days of youth, just as you were falling love together!

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1972

   Popular Song   

“Rocket Man” by Elton John

Elton John cemented himself at the top of the pop charts with this stellar hit. Ostensibly about an astronaut going out into space, it also describes being a gay man in a heterosexual world. Elton always had a way of giving his songs a double meaning.

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1973

   Popular Food Trend   

Granola

Granola. The hippie movement has contributed quite a bit to contemporary culture. Perhaps its most symbolic contribution is granola, a simple breakfast dish made by roasting oats in honey and adding fruit and nuts.

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Photo by Hail Merry via Wikimedia Commons

1973

1974

   Popular TV Show   

Good Times

A refreshing return to social realism on TV! Good Times was set in Chicago and depicted a charming African American family who always find a way to put food on the table and have some laughs.

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1975

   Popular Food Trend   

Sushi

A long time staple of upper class Japanese cuisine, sushi swept like wildfire across America in 1975. Part of the reason why it has stuck around is that sushi is actually a catch-all term for various types of rice and fish-based dishes (including nigiri, sashimi, California rolls, etc.).

See what else was popular »

Photo by Japan Sushifrom Wikimedia Commons

1975

1976

   Popular TV Show   

The Bionic Woman

Excitement about the future of technological advancement produced this sci-fi action series for popular consumption. Jaime Summers receives life-saving surgery from doctors who stitch her back up with bionic capabilities. Status as the world’s best undercover spy soon follows.

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1977

   Popular Food Trend   

Pasta Primavera

In Italian cooking, primavera means fresh vegetables. For increasingly health-conscious consumers, this lighter dish offered welcome respite from the heavier pasta dishes often associated with Italian cuisine.

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Photo by Stacy Spensley from San Diego via Wikimedia Commons

1977

1978

   Popular Movie   

Grease

If you were a young lady in 1978, you probably thought John Travolta was cute. Coming off the huge success of Saturday Night Fever, Travolta burst back into the spotlight as the leading man in the film adaptation of the musical, Grease. (We won’t ask if your husband looked like John Travolta at the time, though).

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1979

   Popular Song   

“Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson

The cute boy from the Jackson 5 had grown up, and he wanted to sing about the forces of attraction and desire. Not only did MJ sing like diva – he also danced better than all of his backup dancers, making his live show a once in a lifetime experience.

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1980

   Popular Song   

“Call Me” by Blondie

The singer of Blondie (Deborah Harry) was ready to set the tone for a new era of independent women just calling it like it is. And if it’s love your feeling, then embrace it.

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Photo by Private Stock Records via Wikimedia Commons

1980

1981

   Popular TV Show   

The Love Boat

By the early ‘80s, enough people had lived (or heard about) the wild life you can lead on cruise ships. The Love Boat justified some of these assertions, painting life on a boat as a one surprising interaction after another. You never know what will happen when you leave the shore!

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1982

   Popular TV Show   

Three’s Company

Most of us have found ourselves, at some point or another, living in unusual circumstances without a reliable income on the horizon. Three’s Company gives props to the absurd fun that can emerge in these transitional periods of life, foreshadowing the popularity of sitcoms like Seinfeld and Friends in the ‘90s.

See what else was popular »

Photo by ABC Television via Wikimedia Commons

1982

1983

   Popular Song   

“Every Breath You Take” by The Police

Before the release of this ballad the Police were known as a funk-punk trio. Fans of the raucous early days may not have seen this turn coming, but we like his foray into the softer side.

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1984

   Popular Song   

“When Doves Cry” by Prince

In this song Prince lays bare his deepest feelings about relationships and wraps it up in gorgeous symbolism. With a captivating video to boot, Prince was everywhere in this year.

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1985

   Popular Movie   

A Room with a View

Finding love in Edwardian times was a pretty limited affair. A Room with a View depicts the trials of looking outside your lot for love, and it is an engaging journey from start to finish.

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1986

   Popular Movie   

Top Gun

Tom Cruise made a strong impression in this romantic military action movie. The critics did not give rave reviews, but as is often the case with film, the general public loved every bit of it. A sequel is in the works for 2019!

See what else was popular »

Photo by LCDR DAVID BARANAK via Wikimedia Commons

1986

1987

   Popular Song   

“With Or Without You” by U2

Now this is a love song. Bono holds nothing back in his declaration of love for a women who makes him sleep on a bed of nails for her love. Sometimes it goes the other way and ladies need some time to be sure of a man before jumping headfirst into love.

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1988

   Popular TV Show   

The Wonder Years

What did we just say about coming-of-age stories? The top show in 1988 was The Wonders Years, which depicted the trials and tribulations of a suburban teenage boy in the 1960s. Not the most cutting-edge plot ever conceived, but like we said, if it’s about young people learning valuable lessons about the world we just lap it up!

See what else was popular »

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

1988

1989

   Popular Movie   

When Harry Met Sally

This instant classic arguably shed more light onto the complexities of a relationship than any other romantic comedy to date. The question of whether men and women can just be friends looms large – but in this case love wins out (as it always does!).

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1990

   Popular TV Show   

Seinfeld

This hilarious sitcom ran its first season in 1989, and by 1990 all the men were dressing like Kramer and all the ladies had lipstick like Elaine. Okay, maybe it was not that influential, but it definitely remains one of the most important shows in American television history.

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1991

   Popular Movie   

Beauty and the Beast

Here’s hoping this wonderful tale is retold to new generations for years to come. It is definitely an uncommon love between Belle and the Beast – who initially imprisons her, only realizing later that he actually loves her.

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1992

   Popular Song   

“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

Seriously, what is not to love about Whitney Houston? She has the vocal cords of a goddess, supermodel looks, and a heart big enough for every soul on the planet. With this song she instantly became the soundtrack to countless weddings across the country.

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Photo by PH2 Mark Kettenhofen via Wikimedia Commons

1992

1993

   Popular Movie   

Sleepless in Seattle

One of the most endearing films about love ever made, Sleepless in Seattle portrays the grief in losing a loved one and the angst in searching for love once again. A true classic for anyone fascinated by all the ways that love can change us.

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1994

   Popular TV Show   

Friends

Following the escapades of Rachel, Phoebe, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Ross was practically a full-time hobby. Each encapsulating a different stereotype of young adults, Friends gave a new generation something to compare themselves against. Let’s hope things never went as bad for you as they did for this endearing bunch!

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1995

   Popular Food Trend   

Molten Lava Cake

This soft-centered chocolate mouthful was first introduced in New York City in 1995. Though it’s creation was a mistake, our taste buds never lie, and within a year it was popping up on the desert menu at high-end restaurants.

See what else was popular »

Photo by Vegan Feast Catering via Wikimedia Commons

1995

1996

   Popular Movie   

Jerry Maguire

Tom Cruise does a fine job making the life of a sports management agent look exhilarating. However, the crux of the film revolves around his inability to keep a stable marriage going with the loving Dorothy, who is ready to sacrifice her happiness for the marriage.

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1997

   Popular Movie   

Titanic

We all knew the story of the Titanic before it was made into a movie. But we’re sure no one thought the tragic story could be portrayed with such romance.

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1998

   Popular Food Trend   

The Cosmopolitan

What drink did you have on the first date with your soulmate? If you were following the trends it was probably a Cosmopolitan, a drink made with vodka, triple sec, cranberry, and lime juice. Granted, it could have been another specialty drink of the moment, as the Cosmopolitan embodied the best of an emergent craft cocktail culture that has since become the norm.

See what else was popular »

Photo by Jon Sullivan via Wikimedia Commons

1998

1999

   Popular Song   

“No Scrubs” by TLC

The ladies in TLC were never going to settle for just an ordinary partner. And you weren’t either.

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2000

   Popular Food Trend   

Smoothies

Do you remember the smoothie craze? Business popped up left, right and center offering low-cal, nutrient-rich drinks full of fresh fruit and added protein supplements. You can see why they were so popular when initially introduced!

See what else was popular »

Photo by Stephanie from Austin TX via Wikimedia Commons

2000

2001

   Popular Movie   

Amelie

The French have always indulged in the surreal, and Amelie is a romantic comedy depicted in this heightened style. The interior design of the Parisian cafe is wonderful, and the entire film is a whimsical feast for the eyes.

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2002

   Popular Movie   

Sweet Home Alabama

Reese Witherspoon plays a lovable fashion designer from the South trying to make a new life in the uncompromising metropolis of New York. A romantic comedy on the surface, but also a vivid portrayal of the culture differences between the North and the South.

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2003

   Popular Food Trend   

Pumpkin Spiced Latte

Trick-or-treating or giving out candy on Halloween was a lot of fun with a pumpkin spiced latte in hand. We still like this creamy hot beverage because, well, it tastes pretty close to pumpkin pie.

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2004

   Popular Movie   

The Notebook

The Notebook offers a peek into the engrossing romance of South Carolina in the 1940s. Abandoned homes, fiery young love, and a brutal war that tore so many relationships apart. Heart wrenching cinema that leaves you wanting to live in Charleston circa 1950.

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2005

   Popular TV Show   

Grey’s Anatomy

Perhaps the success of Scrubs induced ABC to make a hospital drama of their own. Grey’s Anatomy had little humor about it, focusing more on the minutia of the doctor’s craft and detailing the personal sacrifice required to make it in the medical field.

See what else was popular »

Photo by Hunterfk88 from Wikimedia Commons

2005

2006

   Popular Food Trend   

Ramen

This Japanese noodle soup is a relatively recent creation, but it feels like it’s been around forever. Packed noodle soups definitely had a role to play in popularizing ramen soup across America, a status it has retained every year since.

See what else was popular »

Photo by Kyoww from Wikimedia Commons

2006

2007

   Popular TV Show   

The Big Bang Theory

It’s not true that all scientists are socially awkward. However, it is true that all three scientists in the Big Bang Theory do suffer from a lack of social graces. Not for lack of trying, mind you.

See what else was popular »

2008

   Popular TV Show   

Breaking Bad

The first season of Breaking Bad aired in 2008, a show that had millions of us captivated for the entirety of its five season run. We always found the best way to watch Breaking Bad was together with someone (like your future groom?) who was just as committed to watching every episode.

See what else was popular »

2009

   Popular Song   

“I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas

If there was ever a song that defined your first months of marriage, it was probably this one. Every time the song comes on you probably get transported back to the places and things you did as a couple – with this song as your soundtrack.

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2010

   Popular Song   

“Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars

Like all the most gifted songwriters, Bruno Mars has an incredible ability to send a simple message about one of the most important aspects of a relationship. We all want to reach for the stars in life, but we also want to be with someone who loves us for who we are, inside and out.

See what else was popular »

Photo by Brothers Le [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

2010

2011

   Popular TV Show   

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones captured the imagination of the nation when it first came out in 2011. A whole fantastical universe was created for us to indulge in, even if it did involve violence and incest. If your like us, you skipped over the violent parts and paid extra close attention to the immaculate set design.

See what else was popular »

2012

   Popular Food Trend   

Rainbow Cake

Any birthdays you attended in 2012 (including your own) probably included rainbow cake. Usually sectioned off into bite sized quarters, rainbow cake was yet another confectionary creation designed to delight the eyes as much as the tongue.

See what else was popular »

Photo by Mervat from Wikimedia Commons

2012

2013

   Popular Movie   

The Great Gatsby

The Great American novel was turned into a film (once again), and this time it portrays the roaring twenties to a younger audience who can only imagine the glitz and glamor of the time. Plenty of relationship intrigue abounds, making The Great Gatsby more than just a gorgeous cinematic experience.

See what else was popular »

Photo By Nelatti [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

2014

   Popular Movie   

The Fault in Our Stars

The blockbuster of 2014 was a tragic romantic comedy that really pulled at the heartstrings. Portraying the burgeoning love between terminally ill cancer patients makes you want to grip on to your loved one and cherish every single moment you have together.

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2015

   Popular Song   

“Hello” by Adele

The Queen of the charts returned in 2015 with a track full of nostalgia for old friends you never see anymore. The video for the song was directed by Xavier Dolan and set the Vevo record with over 27.7 million views within a 24-hour span.

See what else was popular »

Photo by marcen27 from Glasgow, UK via Wikimedia Commons

2015

2016

   Popular Food Trend   

Avocado Toast

If you have ever experimented with avocado at home (like, when all you have at home is an avocado and a loaf of bread) you will know it can stand alone on a piece of multi-grain. It is the ideal healthy-yet-slightly indulgent snack. Restaurateurs took notice, and 2016 became the year of avocado toast.

See what else was popular »

Photo by Takeaway from Wikimedia Commons

2016

2017

   Popular Song   

“Passionfruit” by Drake

Although Drake is not married, he clearly understands some of the challenges of a long-term relationship. Commitment is one thing, but helping each other overcome interpersonal barriers? That’s a whole other level of devotion.

See what else was popular »

Photo by The Come Up Show from Canada (Jorja Smith & Drake) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

2017
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The Uncommon Life

She’s Something Fierce: Our Favorite Moms of the Animal Kingdom

May 9, 2018

Bird Art Portrait | UncommonGoods

Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching, and here at UncommonGoods, we’d like to give a toast to all moms—not just the moms we know. In fact, we’re not even confining our celebration to the human moms out there this year. We’ve taken a deep dive into the internet underground in search of the animal kingdom’s most dedicated mamas, and today, we’re raising a glass to their efforts to bring up their young in some of nature’s toughest conditions. Read on for our favorites—plus, fuzzy babies below!

 

The Weddell Seal

A Weddell seal mom and baby share a smooch | Image by William A Link, USGS

Weddell seals are remarkable animals. Natives of Antarctica, they spend much of their time swimming around beneath sheets of ice, sometimes diving as far as 2,000 feet below the surface and staying there for up to 45 minutes at a time.

Weddell seal moms are even more remarkable. Each year, they raise a pup of their own following an 11-month pregnancy (yikes), and they do it all by themselves. When their pups are only two weeks old, these roly-poly mamas teach them to swim for the first time, providing invaluable instruction on how best to navigate the frigid Antarctic waters they inhabit. Other important lessons: how to keep air holes in the ice from freezing over; how to punch new holes into ice sheets using only their teeth. (Hey, seals don’t have hands.)

Eventually, of course, these pups need to fend for themselves… no matter how much they fuss. But at least that fussing makes for cute videos, right?

 

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The Uncommon Life

Birthstones By Month: What Do they Mean?

February 14, 2018

Birthstone meanings by month:

MonthBirthstoneMeaning
JanuaryGarnet Protection
FebruaryAmethyst Wisdom
MarchAquamarine Serenity
AprilQuartz or DiamondStrength
MayEmerald Hope
June Pearl or AlexandriteLove
JulyRuby Vitality
AugustPeridot Beauty
SeptemberSapphire Truth
OctoberTourmaline Healing
NovemberCitrine Joy
DecemberTurquoise Friendship

What is a birthstone?

Birthstones are gems that are associated with a birth month, each stone has a unique meaning and significance. Like horoscope signs, when you ask someone “what is your birthstone?” they almost always know the answer. Today you’ll commonly see birthstones in jewelry pieces, like necklaces, bracelets, rings, or earrings as reminders to celebrate your birth month all year long. Besides jewelry, birthstones or the colors symbolizing the stones show up in many other types of gifts and keepsakes making birthday shopping easy and fun. Birthstones are a part of modern society and since ancient times it is widely believed that wearing your birthstone is a symbol of wellness and good fortune. See which birthstone is meant for you.

What is the origin of birthstones?

Christian scholars in the 5th century made the connection between the twelve gems in the Breastplate of Aaron, twelve months of the year, and twelve signs of the zodiac. They theorized that each gem was connected to a certain month or astrological alignment and that they would receive therapeutic benefits for wearing one during that time.

To receive the full benefit, people took to wearing one stone for each month of the year and attributed a different meaning and value to them. Eventually this practice was modified so that a person would only wear the stone for the month they were born in (hence the term birthstone). There was a great amount of disagreement over which stone should represent a calendar month until 1912 when Sears published an “official” list of all the birthstones and the months they represented. Since then there have been a few modifications here and there but the list remains largely unchanged.

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The Uncommon Life

14 Uncommon (& Surprising) Valentine’s Day Facts

February 9, 2018

Crimson Heart Umbrella
Crimson Heart Umbrella – $32 Buy Now »

 

Valentine’s day is a pretty special day.

Whether you’re lucky in love, celebrate with single friends, or share the day with family members, you likely have something planned for February 14.

But why is the occasion so important? Here are a few fun facts about St. Valentine’s Day.

Beating Heart Bottle Sculpture
Beating Heart in a Bottle Sculpture – $100 Buy Now »

 

Who is this St. Valentine guy, anyway?

Today, the Catholic church actually recognizes three saints by the name of Valentine or Valentinus. Each St. Valentine was martyred.

So, which one is the St. Valentine of St. Valentine’s Day?

Legend has it that the St. Valentine was a priest in Rome during the third century. The emperor at the time, Claudius II, decided that single men made better soldiers, not having their hearts promised to special someones and all. So ol’ Claud outlawed Marriage. Valentine didn’t agree with the emperor’s rule and went around marrying folks anyway. Eventually, Valentine got caught and Claudius sentenced him to death for his defiance.

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The Uncommon Life

37 Enchantingly Uncommon Facts about Unicorns

November 7, 2017

Ever wondered what a Unicorn’s horn is called? Are unicorns real, or is the mighty beast just a myth? How do you catch a unicorn? We rounded up 37 enchanting facts about everyone’s favorite elusive horned horse to make it easy to find everything you’ve ever wanted to know about unicorns in one magical article.

1
The gleaming, magical horn that’s captured our hearts is officially called an alicorn.

2
Alicorn isn’t just the name for a unicorn’s horn. It’s also the name for a horse with wings and one horn.

 

3
While Nessie may still be the Highlands’ most notable mythical creature, the Unicorn is the national animal of Scotland.

 

4
Scots celebrate the majestic equine on National Unicorn Day each April 9.

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The Uncommon Life

Vintage Wisdom: 10 Uncommon Facts About Wine

May 25, 2016

Wine is bottled poetry ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food. ~ W. C. Fields

Whether you’re a sophisticated sommelier or just enjoy a nice glass of vino with friends and a good meal, wine is a storied substance with a fascinating history. It can be daunting to uncork the subject, so to begin, may we suggest this vintage collection of ten uncommon facts?

Wine has a Long History

Wine production began in the Ancient Mediterranean around 6,000 BCE. The mood-altering properties of the alcohol in wine were soon associated with mysticism and religion, from the hedonistic rites of Dionysus and Bacchus to the sacraments of Christianity. But the fermented grape products of the ancient world left something to be desired. Wine as we know it today was born circa 1091 CE with the Cistercian order in Burgundy. They planted grapes at Clos de Vougeot and are credited with organizing vineyard parcels based on how the wine tasted, the modern mode of vintages followed to this day.

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The Uncommon Life

Waves of Wisdom:
9 Uncommon Facts About Sea Glass

April 4, 2016

Imagine that you’re walking along the beach on a gorgeous sunny day when something shimmery in the wet sand catches your eye. At first you think it might be a rock, still glistening from the tide that washed it in. But as you get closer, you see that it’s really more of a gem. Not a gem in the precious stone sense, but in that “Wow, I just found something really special!” way. It’s sea glass–the smooth, frosty product of broken glass left to tumble in the waves.

Collectors scavenge the shores to find these tiny treasures, and some creative beachcombers even turn bits of found sea glass into beautiful jewelry pieces. Since we recently expanded our own collection of sea and beach glass designs, we decided to learn a little more about the glass “gems” at the center of these wearable works of art. Read on for a few of the uncommon facts we found about sea glass.

 

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