Tag Archives: food

Book Review: Flash and Dazzle by Lou Aronica


Flash and Dazzle
by Lou Aronica
This book was provided to me free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Finish time: 3 nights.  And just to toot my own horn (as this probably is not a big deal, but makes me feel cool!), this book isn’t released until November 5th, 2013!  I feel so “in-the-know” lately, as I also got to preview THIS AMAZING ALBUM before it was released to the public too!

I really enjoyed this author’s writing style.  If I wrote a book, I would imagine it would be similar to this style (although that will never happen as I lack the creative juices to do so.)  I’m not sure if this fits into the genre of “chick-lit”, but I’m considering passing it along to my husband to fact-check as I was surprised by the amount of detail it went into marketing/advertising agencies (as this is how he began his career!).  Not bad, but just put me off at first and I had to look back at the description because that didn’t sound like a book I would choose.  But it built up the story and the history and current positions of the characters.  And from what Steven (my husband) has told me, it actually appears to be pretty accurate!  Which is a good thing as I’ve been frustrated in books before about the lack of research on simple subjects!

The story follows Rich and Eric, who early in their advertising career were dubbed “Flash & Dazzle.”  The book explores the highs and lows of their friendship and careers (as they happen to be business partners too.)  And then the ultimate low for one of the friends.  On a side note – it also made my mouth water with the vivid descriptions of their meals each night from various Manhattan restaurants!

I love this excerpt from the description:

What happens when everything you thought was true changes all at once? What happens when each relationship that means anything to you suddenly becomes far more real than you ever thought it would be? What happens when every moment becomes invaluable as all of them pass far too quickly?

An unlikely story, of two guys nonetheless, to really warm your heart, maybe hold some people a little closer, and live each moment to the fullest.  Check it out – you’ll be glad you did!

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Book Review: Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist (plus WIN THIS BOOK!)

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table With Recipes (click book for description)
by Shauna Niequist
BookSneeze® has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book

Despite my long break of book reviews, I have been reading, and actually finished this book in just a few nights.  I loved it.  I will admit – it took me awhile to open up.  But as soon as I did, I didn’t want to put it down.  It is a glimpse into the life of the author, so vividly described that I felt as if I were a guest at her table and could taste and smell the recipes she prepared.  I will be copying most of these recipes too before someone pries (I mean wins) this book from me!  Or I may just need to pick up my own copy!

So many things I loved about this book.  One is that the author is not a trained chef, she simply enjoys cooking and enjoys having a full table.  Many of the recipes are also modified for her husband, who is gluten-free, so many of the recipes are also clean (yay!)  She is a Christian and I actually expected the book to have more references to the Bible, but I think she found the right mix.  She mentions that she finds God through food and asks the reader where they find God?  Even if not through food, this book will motivate you to find God in what you love doing! I love the introduction where she mentions to role of food in our lives and the role of food in the Bible (bread and wine anyone?)  And also poses the question – what you would serve/eat at your last supper?

Each chapter is a different story/time in her life.  Some fun, some tough, some will make your heart hurt, while others will make your heart smile.  She has fun telling stories and sharing where each recipe came from and even gives the reader ideas of an easy dinner party, a meal for a new baby, or for a grieving friend.  I love when she points out that we all go to food to show care.

winnie the pooh quotes what is for breakfast

This book challenged me to look at food and the act of eating together in a new light.  “The table is where time stops.  It’s where we look people in the eye, were we tell the truth about how hard it is, where we make space to listen to the whole story, not the textable sound bite.”

I really liked this book.  Just flipping through looking at the recipes, they look good, but didn’t really stand out and make me want to cook them until I read the text to go with them.  Now I will be copying most of them and trying them out soon!  Maybe for some of you – as I’m also more motivated to open up our table to friends and family often (and it doesn’t hurt that I enjoy cooking too!)

You can win this beautiful hardcover book!
Simply enter your name, email, and “Giveaway” in the comments!
Contest closes at noon (EST) on 8/1/13 and winner will be announced on the blog and notified via email.
Thanks and good luck!

Thanks for all the entries!  Congrats to Casey H. for winning!

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Filed under Celebrations, Chapters, Clean Eating

Hilton Head Island Fun!

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School’s out, vacation time!  I cannot think of a better way to kick off summer than a week at the beach!  After much research (seriously for me to commit to a place is a LONG process) we decided on Hilton Head Island, SC.  I know most GA people swear by the Gulf Coast beaches.  Maybe the Atlantic isn’t as pretty as the Gulf, but let me tell you, I am sold on Hilton Head and plan on returning next year!  Thanks to Sarah (over at Small Town Love) and her hubby Ike – our fur babies were taken care of too – which is always a big plus knowing they are in good hands!

Once the location was picked, accommodations was the next challenge.  After even more research, we decided on a 2-bedroom villa in Harbour Town in the Sea Pines Plantation.  Due to a little bit of last-minute booking, this may not have been my first choice as it was a bottom floor unit with no view.  But the location was great and other than some loud upstairs neighbors and an uncooperative A/C unit, it suited our family well.  I seriously am thinking about looking for next year’s digs very soon!  Amenities of the area included a playground (which the kids loved), pool, fitness center, tennis courts, and a trolley to the beach.

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When I made our reservations, the booking agent asked if we wanted to reserve bikes.  Apparently that is the preferred method of transportation on the island.  I went ahead, still a bit skeptical, but after our first day there, that was a suggestion I am glad we took.  We rented 2 bikes, and Steven’s pulled a kiddie cart, which the kids loved!  The bike paths were very easily accessible and we took them every chance we had to meals, activities, and even just for fun/exercise.  And how did I almost forget the best part – the island is so FLAT – that even someone out-of-shape can manage a few mile bike ride without too much struggle!  It doesn’t hurt that the paths, like the streets, are all lined with big trees and Spanish moss (shaded and beautiful).IMG_3030

The island seems to boast a bunch of little “towns” or harbors, each with their own set of shops, restaurants, and activities.  As mentioned, we stayed in Harbour Town, home to the famous Harbour Town Lighthouse (which we all, even LL, walked 114 steps to the top).  While there we ate at The Crazy Crab, Harbour Town Grill, Lowcountry Produce, Guiseppi’s Pizza, and Harbour Town Bakery & Deli.  We also took an afternoon Dolphin Cruise on the Vagabond.  (Which I was SO excited there was a Living Social Deal for at the time we were there – saved us 50%!)  I also spent a nap-time or two wandering the many shops of Harbour Town and admiring the boats and view!

052213 (40)Aboard the Vagabond

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Top of the Lighthouse

South Beach Marina Village is another little town.  It was a 3.7 mile bike ride down.  Home of The Salty Dog Cafe.  We went down there twice.  The first night we were there, they had a Low Country Boil, live music, face painting, and a special appearance by Jake the Salty Dog, all to celebrate his 25th birthday!   Then we went back later in the week to buy our shirts (I think I saw somewhere this was required – haha!), presents for our pups, and to eat in the actual restaurant.

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The next little “town” we visited was Shelter Cove Harbor, home to Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort.  I had looked into this for lodging for a few minutes before moving along due to price (seriously like $500/night), I know LL would have loved it, as even seeing the Mickey logo brought a huge smile to her face.  Maybe someday…but this had another group of restaurants and shops and was home to the big Neptune statue.  We ate at Scott’s Fish Market, which was probably my favorite meal of the week.  It had an open-air patio on the harbor and had a guy with a guitar playing many enjoyable classics that had us all dancing and singing along!  As Steven pointed out – it was very fitting that the name was Scott’s (like my father) as the music came straight from his record collection, a nice little reminder/message to discover.

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I cannot forget to mention the beach!  We spent 4 mornings playing on the beach.  It was nice and flat and hard (perfect for riding bikes – which we’ll do next time), and had little shallow wading areas that were perfect for the kids to play in without waves.  Steven got the kite out and the kids really just had a blast digging, building, catching hermit crabs and various sea creatures (ok – maybe that one was me!), and watching for birds and dolphins.

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A few more activities to note were mini-golf.  Maybe not the best idea with a 1 & 3-year-old, as we had to throw our competitiveness out the window, but at least we tried!  The Sandbox: An Interactive Kid’s Museum, cute for the little ones with various sensory activities.  And Lawton Stables, where they had many animals to pet (goats, sheep, pigs, deer, llamas) and LL got to take a pony ride on Romeo the blue-eyed pony!

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We even made it to church on Sunday.  And I have to point out that they have a Publix there, which really makes shopping a pleasure in an unknown place as it feels like home to me!  Sounds silly, but with trying to eat breakfast and lunches in, I like to know and be comfortable with what I am buying and eating!  Speaking of eating, this week was a bit of a break from clean eating, but I am looking forward to jumping back in as I really have felt much better!

So overall – a wonderful week, now back to reality (not without posting a recap and some pictures first though!)  Next year, the dogs are coming along (or at least a few of them).  My research neglected to uncover just how dog-friendly the island is.  But we’ll check this off as a scouting trip and make next year’s even better!

052413 (15)LL bringing the dogs their presents!

Happy Memorial Day weekend and may you have a GREAT summer filled with special memories like ours!

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Filed under Celebrations, Children