Friday, May 29, 2015

A Nice Little Place on the North Side

For this month's Blogging for Books read, I was sent George Will's A Nice Little Place on the North Side.  The book is all about Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cub's beloved ballpark.  As a baseball fan myself, I learned a lot from Will's stories and legends of the past 100 years of Wrigley history and was very impressed with Will's knowledge.  However, there were a couple aspects of the book that just didn't do it for me: the incessant metaphors and the unclear audience.

This book had more references and metaphors than anything I've ever read in my life.  Yes, Will eventually connected most of them to Wrigley, but it took a few pages.  There were an entire two pages comparing Wrigley Field to Miss Havisham as well as a half-page excerpt from Great Expectations.  Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby made an appearance with another excerpt and some commentary as well as many definitions from The Oxford English Dictionary.

I feel like the best example of this book-A.D.D. is Will's first sentence after inserting a lengthy poem about three turn-of-the-century Chicago Cubs.  "The poem was written by a reporter with a presidential name, Franklin Pierce Adams, whose editor needed something to fill space."
      A. This is a history book, not a novel, why do I care that he has a presidential name?
      B. Who is the one really trying to fill space here?

I chose this book to learn more about the Cubs and baseball.  In my parents' home, we actually have seats from Wrigley, taken from the field when they replaced the seating in the 1980s.  We've also had two cats named after Cubbies greats: Ernie (Banks) and Fergie (Jenkins).
Ernie sitting in our Wrigley Field seats /// Fergie and his brother Stan Musial (yes, real Fergie even signed it)

The reason I mention these things is to note that I know a bit about baseball and the Cubs.  While reading Will's book, I just honestly don't know for what audience it was written.  He goes so in depth with much of the history, but then he spends a whole page telling me who Ernie Banks is and how he is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  In my opinion, if you know nothing about Wrigley or the Cubs and need to learn everything there is to know in one book, then this one is for you.  However, for new baseball fans looking for an introduction to Cubbies' history, I think this book would be too much too fast.  Lastly, for fairly-educated fans like me, I felt that a lot of space was taken up with information most fans would already know.

So, yes, I learned a lot from this book, but I also found myself rolling my eyes on multiple occasions, trying to figure out how Will was possibly going to connect Wrigley's history to Shakespeare's Henry IV or Thomas Jefferson making his own beer at Monticello.  Will is incredibly knowledgeable about Wrigley Field, and okay, I do understand the Great Expectations reference.  Now a few days removed from finishing the book, I would read it again to pick up some of the details I missed, but knowing that it isn't 100% baseball would be a good warning for any future reader.

Venus Trapped in Mars

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pin to Present: Copycat Panda Express

I'm so excited to link up with Anne today.  Ever since I saw Jillian share her Pin to Present, I've been wanting to share my own most recent Pinterest meal.  Well, let's be honest, when I say "my" meal, I mean Mike's.  He made 99% of this recipe, and I was in charge of dropping the chicken in the deep fryer (I'm really good at deep frying things).  I had pinned this recipe well over a year ago, and this was one of those weekends when I sent Mike my "Recipes I Need To Try" board and told him to choose dinner.  I honestly think this orange chicken came out really well and tasted a ton like Panda Express.  The only downside was batter was a bit thin, so those dark spots on my chicken are places where the chicken wasn't fully coated a burned a little in the oil.  I swear, those spots don't taste any different than the rest of the chicken.  We will definitely be making this again.

Panda Express Orange Chicken Copycat from This Pin

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Honeymoon Resort Recap

Happy Wedding Wednesday, and I’ve got a special one today: our honeymoon recap!

I cannot even begin to describe how perfect Sandals EmeraldBay was for our honeymoon.  If you know Mike and me in real life, you know that we’re very easy-going people who love: warm weather, drinking, golfing, being outdoors, games, food, and relaxing.  It had all of those things and more: our suite was beautiful, all of the staff were courteous and helpful, and jeesh, we even had a butler!

While each day varied a little depending on if we golfed or did something special (like the water safari or a massage), here's a typical day:

Breakfast on the patio

Morning at the quiet pool (and start drinking by 10 am)

After lunch golf or games (shuffleboard, croquet, giant chess, bocce)

Head back to the room to change back into pool clothes to go to the main pool for more drinks and music

Another outfit change before dinner

Nighttime activities: tennis, live music, drinks at the bar, and more lawn games

I had heard a lot of mixed things about Sandals resorts before going (but we still really wanted to try and all-inclusive and this one with golf was incredible for us), and we seriously had a perfect experience.  The food was all really good, the drinks were always flowing (and delicious), the golf course was beautiful with 6 holes right along the ocean, and everyone was so relaxed.  The only reasons I can see not liking this resort is if you’re looking for a wild nightlife.  We enjoy listening to music and casually drinking at night, but for those of you party people, there was not really a nightclub at the resort. 

I cannot recommend Emerald Bay enough for a honeymoon destination!  Come back next week to see my recap of our off-resort excursion with Exuma Water Sports!

Besides our Wedding Wednesday link up (share you own engagement/ wedding/ honeymoon/ anniversary post with me and Macy below), I'll be linking up for June's Wanderlust Wednesdays with Kate, Kerri, and Emily!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Long Weekend Goodness

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  Well, at least the downside of being back at work is that we only have 4 days until another weekend.  I hope y'all had a great one - we certainly did.  Mike's best man and his girlfriend are here for the week, so we got to do lots of our favorite touristy things.  Farmer's Market (and bought tons of fresh pasta), and the three Charleston Distilleries (but this time without the Charleston Culinary Tour - big kudos to Mike for driving our drunk faces around, and yeah, I was sitting on the floor with the resident dog at Striped Pig #drunkmeg) on Saturday, pool day on Sunday, a Charleston Pirate Tour and lots more pool, grilling, and cupcakes on Monday!  They're here for two more days, and we're certainly in for more pool, cards, and pool.
  • Did you have a great weekend?  Do anything special?

Linking up for: Weekend Recap, Weekending, and Monday Madness!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Five On Friday: Stripes and Stripes

Happy Friday, everyone!
We got a new fish. Some of you might remember that our amazing Betta, Alpha, (who made it 15 hours in a moving truck cup holder last summer) died before our honeymoon. We picked up this beautiful Half Moon this week and named his Bravo!

We won our third straight kickball game this week: 3-0 baby! And how awesome are our pink shirts?

Is anyone else swooning over the JCrew and LOFT sales this weekend? Mike's best man and his girlfriend are here for the week, so when Shay and I send the boys out fishing one day, we might have to head to the outlets. How cute is this and this? (And, yes, they count as 3 and 4 because I was struggling for 5 this week...)

And, of course and most importantly, thank you to all of the service women and men who gave their lives for our amazing country. I hope we all take a moment to say thank you and remember why we have this long weekend.
  • Anyone planning anything special this weekend?
  • Are you braving the beach or lake? I think we're sticking to the pool; 95 degrees and traffic do not sound like a fun combo.

Linking up for Five On FridayThat Friday Blog Hop, and Oh Hey, Friday!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Outfit of the Month: Honeymoon Style

When we were in The Bahamas, our typical day went like this: breakfast on the patio, quiet pool (and start drinking), lunch, afternoon activity (golfing, safari tour, shuffleboard, snorkeling, beach, tennis), main pool (and make sure not let your buzz wear off), dinner, and possibly more pool time or an night-time activity.  So, I think it's fair to say that I lived in this month's OOTM for a solid week.  I cannot even tell you how comfortable these bathing suit tops are (Mike actually picked them out - he rocks), and now I want to go back to Target and get one in every color.  The Lilly cover-up was perfect to walk around the resort and for meals, and that headscarf might be my new favorite thing ever.

Do you have a favorite go-to bathing suit or cover-up?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Our Wedding Feature Film

I am so so so excited to share this today.  I know I said earlier in the week that today would be all about the honeymoon, but when our videographer sent me this link on Sunday night, not only did it top T.Swift for best video of the night, but I also got a bit distracted (watch it 3 times and there goes an hour of your life!).  I do not blame you one bit if you don't want to spend 19 minutes of your own life watching it, but I still wanted to share.  I know I haven't gotten all the way through our wedding recap posts yet, so I am jumping the gun a bit, but I am just so excited to have it.  It really displays every part of our day so perfectly, and I couldn't be happier with the finished product.

Now it's your turn: share a wedding-inspired post with us!  Use the button, if you'd like, and please link back to my or Macy's blog so that others can join in Wedding Wednesday, too!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Back In The States

Hi everyone!  Well, I’m back.  I hope y’all had a great week, and I can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to.  Mike and I got back from our honeymoon on Saturday, and it was the absolute trip of a lifetime.  We were at Sandals Emerald Bay on Great Exuma in The Bahamas.  It was the perfect resort for us because there was unlimited golf included in our package.  I promise not to go too crazy with recap posts, so right now, I plan for there will be two (well, three if you count this month’s ootm): one for the resort and one for an awesome water safari trip we did.  Hopefully I’ll get my act together (and our underwater photos developed - who knew it takes a week or two nowadays to get film back?), maybe in time to do the first one with my weekly Wedding Wednesday linkup.

In the meantime, today is the last day to enter my giveaway with Love Garlands for a $50 shop credit – who can’t use something pretty in their life??

Even though we got back on Saturday, we decided to tell ourselves that we were still on vacation and spent Sunday at the pool.  I finished my second book of the trip: Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan.  My first was Ellen Degeneres's Seriously...I'm Kidding (thanks, Megan!), and both were the perfect, funny vacation reads.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with one photo from my favorite hole on the Emerald Bay Golf Club – a beautiful par 3 right along the water.

Have a great Monday!

Linking up for: Weekend Recap, Weekending, and Monday Madness!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Charleston Life: Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

A couple of weeks ago, while Mike's sister and her boyfriend fiancĂ©e (they got engaged on Saturday!) were in town, we spent a day at Magnolia Plantation.  We got there early in the day and spent much of the morning walking along the Ashley River, through the oldest public gardens in America.  Also included in our admission were the horticultural maze and petting zoo; both were recommended by Ericka and were a lot of fun.  We chose not to do any of the add-on tours like the house tour or the nature train, but our half-day trip definitely could have been made into a full day one with just a couple of those as well as a lunch break at the Peacock Cafe.  Here are my favorite photos from the day:
If you want to go to Magnolia Plantation, I suggest you get there early.  We got there about an hour after it opened, and there were maybe 5 other cars there.  By the time we left at 11:30 or so, there were over 80 cars and the petting zoo (our last stop) was getting pretty crowded.  We also went on a weekday, so I can only imagine how busy it would be mid-day on a Saturday!  In my personal opinion, the day at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens far outweighed Boone Hall Plantation.  Both have beautiful homes on the property and many additional tours available, but the gardens and petting zoo both included in the general cost of admission were some of my favorite spots in Charleston so far.
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