Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Hurricane Sisters

I still remember the way I devoured Folly Beach after I picked it up from the used book sale at the library and decided that Dorothea Benton Frank and I needed to get together again.  And so I've now read quite a few of her books set in the Charleston area, including her newest, The Hurricane Sisters.

Ashley Waters is a 23 year old bored artist wasting away working at a gallery in her Charleston hometown.  Her roommate Mary Beth is right there with her subbing occasionally but mostly working for a caterer.  They both have horrible 23 year old taste in men and make some horribly awesome 23 year old choices.

Liz Waters is Ashley's mother and a bit misunderstood by the rest of her family.  She has a very important job working with abused women and children and deals with her adorably obnoxious mother and her jerk self-absorbed husband.

The book bounces between different narrators and sadly I found that they all seemed to sound like the same person.  There really weren't any unique personalities.  They lacked a depth that made you want to root for them.  Possibly Liz was my favorite character but I'm not sure I'd make the same family related choices she did.

We also hear from Liz's mother, her husband Clayton, and a little from her son Ivy.  There are llamas.  A ridiculously state senator and a lot of hilarity.

This book does a wonderful job of weaving minor details in to go back to the first chapter where it's hinted at trouble but I think it was missing something, which made me sad since I do enjoy escaping to her books now and then.  Don't get me wrong, it's still a great beach read but just a tad disappointing.

Have you read any books by Frank? Any books set in Charleston/Lowcountry? It is one of my favorite areas to read about.  I may have a South problem.  And I may have gotten a guilty pleasure show in Southern Charm started.  I may also have a problem..

I got this book from TLC tours but all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Break: Day 1

We sadly did not go anywhere warm for our spring break this year but we did travel around the lovely mitten state.  Thanks for Groupons popping up in my emails on a daily basis it gave me the idea to visit Saugatuck.  A few cold weekends later we decided to add a day on to our trip and check out Grand Haven as well.

We left our house early on Saturday morning and it took us just over an hour and a half to get to Perrin Brewing Company.  We meant to check this place out when we were down in the Grand Rapids area last December on our brewery tour but did not make it.  So it was our lunch stop on this trip.

I tried the Razzberry Blonde which I had already tried a few weeks ago at a bar here but it was delicious and I decided to start the day out with lighter stuff as to not fill up too early in our travels.  The husband had some bourbon thing I assume or something that sounded like a gut ache to me. ;)

We split the Black & Blue burger and it was delicious.  You could add on for fries or get homemade chips so we stuck with the chips and they were okay.  Isla got the grilled cheese which came with fries and they were just okay.

After we left Perrin we drove into Grand Haven and headed straight to the shopping/restaurant area.  We visited the Tri-Cities Historical Museum which was free with donations welcome.  We each picked out our own post card from there as a souvenir.  Then we walked around and looked at some of the shops and visited The Blueberry Store which had tons of blueberry products from local blueberries.  Then we decided to go find our hotel and get some beer at the store before we checked in.

We were slightly detoured when we saw a sign for Rays Drive In.  We decided we needed ice cream.  So we each got a small malt and split some onion petals. Yum and super cheap! Definitely recommend it.

Then we picked up some beer and headed back to the hotel.  We got the child down for a nap and we had a beer.  I read and the husband napped.  After nap we checked out the pool.  Oh my lord.  Here is where I am glad we had a groupon and where the cheapness started showing.  It was full of teenage boys being teenage boys.  And it was cold.  So we didn't hang out there long. I did enjoy the hot tub a bit but it was overrun by children as well. 

We headed back to get ready for dinner and we were going to check out Tip a Few Tavern for dinner but it was a Saturday night and the NCAA tourney was on.  It was packed and not a good idea with a 3.5 year old.  So we ended up at Joe's Wooden Nickel.  I had Oberon (yum!) and pork tacos.  Anthony had the brisket sandwich and the child had a chicken and cheese quesadilla.  It was all yummy! Loved the inside of the bar too.  Quick service and good for a quick dinner.

Then we headed back to the hotel where we had a quick tea party with cookies leftover from my birthday and then the child headed to bed while we read/watched basketball a bit and then we passed out too.

It was a great day to explore Grand Haven.  The only downfall was the hotel.  You HEARD everything.  Children were RUNNING in the halls and it was annoying.  And the double beds sucked.  Minus that we liked Grand Haven. ;)

Do you ever explore your state? What's your go to meal when you don't know what to order? Do you use Groupon?

Friday, April 3, 2015

March Workouts

I was motivated by Amber to record my workouts and then I kind of bombed the month, but it's a journey not a race!

Monday, March 2nd -  110 squats, 5 push ups, 10 seconds of punches, 10 bicep curls
2.53 miles on the treadmill
Tuesday, March 3rd - 20 squats, 15 seconds of punches, 15 bicep curls
1 mile express YouTube video
Wednesday. March 4th -  30 squats, 10 push ups, 20 seconds of punches, 20 bicep curls
2.1 miles on the treadmill
 Tuesday, March 10th - 20 squats, 30 bicep curls, 25 punches
1.22 miles
Wednesday, March 11th - 40 bicep curls, 30 second punches
5 minute warm up, 3 x 400 @ 6.0mph, ran 1 minute, walked 1, ran 30 seconds, walked 30 seconds (wasn't feeling well so I adapted what I was going to do..
1.51 miles
Thursday, March 12th - 50 bicep curls, 35 second punches, other arm stuff
2 mile walk away the pounds youtube...  (slightly disappointing because it cuts off about 5 minutes in the middle..)
Monday, March 16th
1.37 family walk (lame I know but it was a Monday ha)
Tuesday, March 17th
1.35 miles on the treadmill and I did strength training and squats but I erased it from my weekly doc before I recorded it)
And in full transparency this is when I stopped working out for the month of March.  I did plan for that next week but things got crazy and I just stopped.  I do have a great kickboxing YouTube video to try out and some other cardio options.  I'm trying to make sure I hit my 10,000 step goal for the rest of Spring Break and hitting the beginning of April strong again.  I'm also going to focus on my eating because I know I can do better there.  I have seen a different in my butt after doing so many squats so I want to continue that and my clothes are fitting better so I know I'm doing better, I just want to see numbers go down on the scale! So frustrating.  I hope that with the foundation I've started will help in the summer and I can get more workouts done in the morning and NOT have to wake up at the ass crack of dawn to do them since I am so not a morning person.
Embarrassing total of miles for March: 10.08 miles
According to my fiitbit I traveled: 127.4 miles. 
Was March a good workout month for you? What kind of salad dressing do you like? What are the recipes to some lunch salads you make? Or dinner sides that are healthy?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Big Little Lies

We read Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty for our March Books & Bars pick.  As soon as I started I had a hard time putting it down and even though I had a super busy late night filled weekend I stayed up late on a Sunday to finish!

My favorite part of the book was the input from the parents at the end of each chapter.  They were interviewed and asked bout the events that had occurred and the responses were hilarious.  They were so dead on for those that know suburbia parents! Plus, it gave some insight to the minor characters as they popped up through the book.  I also liked that it didn't include any comments from the 'main players' so to speak so that it gave more of a who is dead? who did it? urgency to finish.

We sadly hardly discussed this book at all at book club, but we have such a small group that when we get together the wine was flowing and our conversations were flying all over the place, which is still awesome for me since I loved the connection I have with those ladies.

Description: Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive

I think my favorite character was Celeste or Stephanie (one of those random parent comments that you never get to know but IS SO DEAD ON).  Madeline was a bit much for me.  Way too attention needy.

Have you read Big Little Lies? Have you read any other books by Liane Moriarty? I'm interested in reading The Husband's Secret.