About the Blog
It all started with a closed door, isolation and a need to get creative…
I started Total W(h)ine in 2018 not long after I quit a job I loved in DC.
I made the move to be a stay-at-home-mom after finding out the hard way that working motherhood was just not what I was made for. But after making the switch, I found out that I also wasn’t made to only care for a child and a home. My extroverted self needed to find a way to engage with people while I had an infant with an ever-changing schedule.
Even though I knew I had made the right decision to stay home and wasn’t going to back track, I needed stimulation my baby just couldn’t provide me. I intended for this little blog to simply be an intellectual outlet, a space I could write and interact in a way that didn’t have the same time demands as the career I just left. I figured at best I’d be writing about motherhood and marriage and recipes, and eventually make money as an Amazon affiliate.
But then one day, I started talking about NFP the way I wish it had been pitched to me but wasn’t. I was so fed up with the sunshine and rainbows approach, especially since that wasn’t my reality, but I figured getting angry at the people who whitewashed the lifestyle wouldn’t do a whole lot of good. I decided instead I’d just be the person I wish I had, and say the things I needed to hear. I wrote and I wrote, and the response over and over to my amazement was “thank you” and “me too.”
Since then, the Total W(h)ine blog and Instagram page has become a place where Catholics can talk about the hard stuff of living out a faithful expression of sex and marriage, with straight up honesty, zero judgment, and a healthy dose of humor. The need for this conversation and tone is clear and overwhelming.
The story of Total W(h)ine is the story of one wild “yes” after another. In order to meet the demands I discovered in the NFP and fertility awareness conversation, I cofounded the nonprofit organization, FAbM Base in 2020, and started my fertility awareness coaching business in 2021. As of January 2023, Total Whine Consulting is now an limited liability company. Also in the same month, I launched my podcast and Substack.
God has opened doors beyond my wildest imagination, fed my heart with all I longed for through this space, and given me something I can continue to grow the gifts he’s given me in a way that’s best for me and my family.
A bit about the w(h)iner-in-chief by way of a bio
Emily Frase (rhymes with “crazy”) was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is very proud of her roots. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University in 2012 with a B.S. degree in Architectural Studies. Though she never went on to practice, she still loves to study and write about architectural theory as a hobby, and continues to draw on her understanding of design in her professional endeavors.
Following graduation, Emily moved to Washington, DC for an internship at a conservative nonprofit, where she went on to serve as the assistant to the executive vice president for almost five years. During that time, she gained extensive experience writing and editing various projects, including speeches, book forwards, op eds and letters. Most importantly, it was at this office where Emily met her husband Nicholas, a transplant from Wisconsin, and they married in March 2016 in Virginia, where they continue to live.
They welcomed their first child, Evelyn Grace, just shy of their one year anniversary in March 2017, and she was joined shortly after by Thomas Fulton in June 2018. Emily’s experience of repeat traumatic C sections, two failed methods of NFP and a lack of resources to navigate the difficulties she faced became the driving force behind her writing and work in the area of fertility awareness. Beginning in 2020, Emily experienced a short stint of secondary infertility, and while in the process of discovering the root cause, ended up with her third surprise pregnancy. The Frases welcomed Dominic Luke via a repeat C section in September 2022. By the grace of God, this birth experience was a deeply healing one. These experiences add deep dimensions to Emily’s voice and advocacy.
In October 2020, Emily cofounded the nonprofit FAbM Base, the fertility awareness database where science and real life intersect, where she serves as president. The website, www.fabmbase.org, launched in October 2021. Her cofounder, Mary Bruno, is a New Orleans native and resident, the founder of White Lotus Blooming, and Creighton practitioner. Together, Emily and Mary endeavor to make fertility awareness accessible for women of all fertility stages, faiths and backgrounds. Through their organization, they currently collaborate with Catholic diocese, other nonprofits and fertility awareness professionals to transform the landscape in fertility awareness education, access, and practical implementation.
In April 2021, Emily launched her coaching service in order to provide a safe, non-judgmental space for women to process the difficult realities many couples face through practicing NFP. She also helps women understand the basics of fertility awareness and empowers them to choose the method that would best suit their lifestyle and fertility needs. Since the launch, Emily has served dozens of women across all stages of life, and the demand for her services is exploding. She is currently taking a break from coaching due to pregnancy, but is serving as a consultant for a program to train and certify other fertility awareness coaches.
Emily is a cradle Catholic with a deep love for her faith that has been hard won through experiences of spiritual dryness and abandonment. She allows her experiences to inform her voice, seeking to share her faith in a manner that is truthful, charitable, and rooted in curiosity. She has a deep thirst for the truth about sex and marriage, and spends her free time reading Church documents, including Gaudium et Spes, Casti Connubii, Humanae Vitae, Mulieris Dignitatem, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Theology of the Body. As a result of her research, spiritual direction, and prayer, Emily is outspoken against incoherent ideologies such as providentialism and the offshoots of Jansenism, both of which attack the goodness, truth and beauty of the totality of Church teaching on human dignity, sex, marriage and family planning.
Emily has appeared on numerous podcasts and radio, as well as written for various outlets, discussing her work, Church teaching on sex and NFP, and her own story.
Enough of the serious stuff
My tagline does say I’m funny, so here’s some lagniappe (that’s Cajun for “a little something extra.”).
When my husband asked me to marry him, I didn’t say “yes”, I said, “Are you sure?” I’ve met me, so I felt it a fair question.
As for my wine preferences, I’m quite fond of South American or Australian reds. Carmenere, Malbec and Shiraz, oh my!
I’m also a big fan of scotch, Glenmorangie neat, if you please. Unless there’s drambouie available, in which case, I’ll happily sip on a Rusty Nail.
I am a hardcore sanguine with a pretty good sense of humor. My secondary personality fluctuates between choleric and phlegmatic, depending on how to balance the room. In practice, this means that I take charge only to make sure everyone has fun, but the minute things stop being fun, I tend to shut down.
Fr. Jacques Phillipe’s books have changed my life. If we’ve met and I haven’t recommended either Interior Freedom or Searching for and Maintaining Peace, just give it 5 minutes.
I have eclectic taste in movies and TV shows, happy to settle in for a BBC period mini-series just as much as Star Wars or something from the MCU or Ken Burns. However, the third installment of Lord of the Rings is the greatest film of all time.
St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, Pope St. John Paul II, and (the soon-to-be-Saint) Archbishop Fulton Sheen.
“…the nobler the woman, the nobler the world.” – Arch. Fulton Sheen
“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” – Galadriel