When I was in Charlotte, I eye-spied that Sarah’s mom left a book there from her previous visit. Sarah was so kind to let me take it with me.
I’m no stranger to Jennifer Weiner books: In Her Shoes, Good In Bed, Certain Girls, Goodnight Nobody
With Jennifer Weiner books, you have a consistent theme: strong female characters, little time spent on the males, set in Philadelphia, jaded about/wronged by men, a coming together of female relatives.
Goodnight Nobody is a stray in that it was Jennifer Weiner’s attempt to write a mystery. Yeah, don’t do that again, Jennifer, thanks. Goodnight Nobody is my least favorite book of hers. BUT it does hold a special place in my heart as it was the FIRST book club selection when I helped form a book club in Charlotte years ago.
Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner
In reading a few reviews online, Fly Away Home didn’t seem to be a crowd pleaser. However, I really liked this book!!! Jennifer Weiner did jump on the current events bandwagon for the plot though. Fly Away Home is the story of Sylvie Woodruff, wife to a Senator and mother to two daughters. It follows Sylvie after the story breaks on the news that her Senator husband had an affair. Hellooooooo John Edwards, Anthony Weiner, etc etc etc.
I was much more drawn to the stories of the two daughters and not to Sylvie. Each chapter either follows Sylvie or one of the daughters: Lizzie & Diana. Lizzie is a classic screw-up, fresh out of rehab, trying to get her life straight. Diana is an overachieving doctor who seems to have it altogether on the surface.
Although Diana isn’t the most likeable character, I enjoyed her story/dilemma the best. And I enjoyed the rawness when describing her marriage to a husband that she no longer even LIKES.
“So the sex wasn’t great, she thought as they kissed, bumping noses and teeth as sweat dribbled from his forehead onto her breasts. ‘Sorry!’ he’d cried, wiping her off with a pillowcase.”
“She forced herself out of the empty bed. Gary had actually gotten up before her and was in the bathroom, where he’d be shedding wet towels and whiskers and leaving a crush of toothpaste and shaving cream in the sink.”
I found those scenes so true! When in a wrong relationship, those types of things annoy the CRAP out of people.
So, in all, I believe that this is my 2nd favorite Jennifer Weiner (1st place still going to Good In Bed). It was a great read to make those flights across the country go by faster!
Fly Away Home: 4 out of 5 stars
Can we all agree to LOVE Justin Timberlake? He can do no wrong.
I like the JT/Jimmy Fallon History of Rap 2 even better than one. I still have that episode of Jimmy Fallon on my DVR.
Can also we all agree to LOVE Andie on Can You Stay For Dinner? too? Her food blog is beautiful. She recently did a series on healthy foods that she loves. One of the items was frozen pineapple. I immediately went and bought some!
Pineapple Vanilla Green Monster Smoothie
6 ounces non-fat plain Greek Yogurt
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (I use Spiru-Tein, but whatever floats your boat!)
1/3 cup Almond milk
about a handful of frozen pineapple cubes
about a tsp of Chia seeds
2 handfuls of spinach
2 handfuls of crushed ice
It’s a smoothie…just eyeball the ingredients. There’s no precision to my smoothie makin’. Combine in your mixer or as always with me…my immersion blender!
Hey I’m only 2 weeks and 2 days overdue in finishing up my trip to Charlotte! Glad to know I’m a procrastinator in every facet of my life.
My last night in Charlotte, Sarah & I met our friend, Laura, for dinner at Paco’s Tacos & Tequila.
Paco’s Tacos was my best dinner in Charlotte and also my worst night in Charlotte.
I was in love with their salsa verde. And I usually hate green salsa. But this salsa was SO good. I had to force myself to stop eating it to save room for dinner.
It was also half-price margarita night, ole! Now, I went with the top shelf (that’s how I roll), so it was still $8. Yikes! But this margarita was very tasty. I loved the orange and I love that they don’t use salt either. I’ve learned to go with a higher price tequila at a restaurant because I’ve had too many hangovers thanks to cheap-o tequila.
For my entree, I went with 2 Shake Down Shrimp tacos. I rattled off a few options to the waitress (who was great, by the way) and she quickly confirmed to go with the shrimp tacos. Delicious!! I loved everything here.
I would love to go back to try the Ambushed Shrimp too. Except that I don’t live in Charlotte….and except that after dinner, we came out to find the back passenger side window of Sarah’s SUV busted out. So that’s how the best dinner turned into the worst night.
We spent the night 1-2 hours giving a report to the security guard and then to the police once they came. The security guard (who was well-meaning but annoying) kept telling Sarah that this hadn’t happened in 7 years. Yeah, that’s super comforting. I really did believe it hadn’t happened in 7 years since he had to go get his manual to research how to take the report.
The only upside was watching and chatting up the very cute CSI police officer that came to dust for fingerprints. Hello Officer Eye Candy!! I tried to slyly take a picture of him, but my cell phone battery was dead!
Thanks again to Sarah for being my host and so sorry again for wanting tacos! :/
Happy Saturday! It’s only noon and I’ve already:
–cleaned the kitchen
–cleaned the bathrooms
–mopped the floors
–changed the sheets on the bed
–done 4 loads of laundry
I can attribute my burst of energy to another round of iced coffee.
Last night, I was at one of my FAVORITE stores……Bed, Bath, & Beyond! Do you ever find yourself at B3 to get one thing and end up with 10 things? Yeah, me too! I went to B3 to get a new strainer. I left mine on the stovetop last week and the heat from oven was enough to melt a hole in it. Oops.
Check out my new strainer though! Cute!
I finally remembered when I was at B3 that I wanted to buy an ice cube tray. I heard on The Sporkful podcast months ago about using iced coffee cubes in your iced coffee.
With the iced coffee cubes, your iced coffee doesn’t get diluted as the ice melt. Genius! A must have for a coffee addict like myself!!!
I highly recommend you get an iced cube tray with a cover on it. You don’t want to spill coffee in your freezer. I also recommend brewing your coffee the night before and putting in the refrigerator overnight. I’ve made it both ways and really enjoy the coffee that’s cooled overnight much better.
The iced coffee cubes are a bit messy to touch, but really liked the added strength to the coffee!!
Holy fights! Big Brother finally got good tonight!!! It takes a bit of time for the house guests to stop being nice to each other. But the show gets GOOD when the gloves come off.
I’m almost done with my restaurant recaps from Charlotte. I really need to stick to a better blogging schedule! I have 2 more restaurants and at least 3 recipes that I’ve yet to blog about. Don’t you hate when real life gets in the way of your blogging!?
While in Charlotte, NC, I had lunch with my friend, Kelly. Kelly and her husband, John, are expecting their 1st baby (a boy!!) in December. Kelly started IM’ing me around 11 am about lunch. I kept saying 5 more minutes. Finally around 11:40 am, Kelly IM’ed me with a THE BABY IS HUNGRY! message. Oops. Okay, let’s do it.
For lunch, we went to Frankie’s, which is in the Gateway Village area of Charlotte. The restaurant was called Town when I lived there. It changed to Pie Town shortly after I moved away. And NOW, it’s called Frankie’s! Geez!! I think it’s always remained within the same restaurant group, so not sure what’s with the revolving door of concepts.
Frankie’s is a good location area for lunch for people working in the area. I venture to guess that they keep changing concepts since it’s not a happening area at night/weekends.
I started out with an iced tea. Having forgotten that I was in the South (technically, I suppose), I about gagged when I took a swig of sweet tea. Ick. I do NOT like sweet tea. In the Midwest, sweet tea is not the norm. I quickly ordered a Diet Coke (old faithful) instead.
For lunch, I went with the Italian Chicken Dip. I’m not an Au Jus person, but the roasted peppers were calling my name.
The sandwich was just okay. The bread was kind of dry. It was more tasty just eating the chicken sans bread.
Kelly is a fan of their steak fries.
I think they just shook some powdered Parmesan cheese on these fries. I didn’t even eat very many of them. So sad! I foresee another restaurant concept change in Frankie’s future.
Do you like sweet tea???
Also, I moved my blogroll from my homepage and add a separate Links I Love page. Check it out!
Books I read in 2006:
1. Love Me, Loves Me Not–Libby Malin
2. The Devil Wears Prada–Lauren Weisberger
3. The Life of Pi–Yann Martel
4. My Sister’s Keeper–Jodi Picoult My favorite Jodi Picoult book to date.
5. The Friendship Test–Elizabeth Noble
6. Atonement–Ian McEwan
7. The King of Torts–John Grisham
8. The Brethren–John Grisham
9. Angels & Demons–Dan Brown It was no The Da Vinci Code.
10. Vanishing Acts–Jodi Picoult
11. In Her Shoes–Jennifer Weiner
12. Almost French–Sarah Turnbull
13. PS I Love You–Ceceila Ahren
Books I read in 2007:
1. Bookends–Jane Green
2. The Other Woman–Jane Green
3. Resistance–Anita Shreve
4. A Long Way Down–Nick Nornby
5. Goodnight Nobody–Jennifer Weiner (book club selection)
6. Fighting Ruben Wolfe–Markus Zusak
7. Jemima J–Jane Green
8. Never Have Your Dog Stuffed–Alan Alda (book club selection)
9. The Kite Runner–Khaled Hosseini
10. Mr. Maybe–Jane Green
11. Getting the Girl–Markus Zusak
12. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter–Kim Edwards (book club selection)
13. A Mighty Heart–Marianne Pearl
14. How the Garcia Girls Got Their Groove Back–Julia Alvarez (book club selection)
15. Where Is He Now?–Jennifer Greene
16. Something Borrowed–Emily Giffin (book club selection)
17. Dress You Up In My Love–Diane Stingley
18. Swapping Lives–Jane Green
19. Something Blue–Emily Giffin
20. Babyville–Jane Green (book club selection) I obviously read a lot of Jane Green in 2007! Love her!
21. You Have to Kiss a Lot of Frogs–Laurie Graff
22. Eat Pray Love–Elizabeth Gilbert (book club selection)
Books I read in 2008:
1. The Other Boleyn Girl–Phillippa Gregory–I LOVED this book! I tried to get it chosen for book club. But the girls were scared by how long it was.
2. The Choice, Nicholas Sparks–This book was a Christmas present. It was my least favorite Nicholas Sparks book to date.
3. The Pact–Jodi Piccoult–I keep hoping that she’ll Wow me again. But it hasn’t happened since My Sister’s Keeper.
4. The Friday Night Knitting Club–Kate Jacobs (book club selection)
5. The Undomestic Goddess–Sophie Kinsella (book club selection)
6. The Late Bloomer’s Revolution–Amy Cohen
7. All That Matters–Jan Goldstein (book club selection)
8. Breakfast With Tiffany00Edwin John Wintle Really liked this book.
9. Night of Rain and Stars–Maeve Binchy
10. Belle de Jour: Diary of an Unlikely Call Girl–Anonymous Ha, don’t judge.
11. My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands–Chelsea Handler
12. Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea–Chelsea Handler
13. Nights in Rodanthe–Nicholas Sparks (book club selection) Boring!
14. Straight Talking–Jane Green
15. Baby Proof–Emily Giffin
16. The Godmother–Carrie Adams
Books read in 2009:
I was having lunch with my friend, Chris, today and he asked me if I was watching some of the new/newer summer shows on USA and other cable networks. I said no.
Do I watch White Collar?
No, but I’ve heard it’s good and that guy is hot.
Do I watch Royal Pains?
No, but I like that guy too. He was in that movie with Penelope Cruz.
Do I watch Franklin & Bash?
No, I already got into Zach Morris‘ last show on TNT (Raising the Bar) only to have it get canceled!
Well what do I watch? Ummm reality TV.
Here’s another list for you of Reality TV shows I have watched in the past. (We’re going way back on some of these gems!) Now these are ones that I watched for a whole season. You can’t just add it if you randomly watched one episode. We need commitment here, people.
The Celebrity Apprentice
The Simple Life
The Good Life
The Real World–I’m too old for this one now!
Road Rules–whatever happened to just regular ol’ Road Rules!
Making the Band
The Real Gilligan’s Island
The Gastineau Girls
Filthy Rich Cattle Drive
Mr Romance–do you remember this one? Winner got to be on the cover of a romance novel!
The Biggest Loser
Newlyweds–oh poor Nick & Jessica
The Ashlee Simpson Show
America’s Next Top Model
Real Housewives of NYC–I don’t watch this now that Bethenny is gone.
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills**
Real Housewives of Orange County**
My Life on the D List**
Real Housewives of New Jersey–there was TOO much fighting on her. It literally made me feel sick to my stomach.
Real Housewives of Atlanta**
Rock of Love with Bret Michaels
Last Comic Standing
Dancing With The Stars
Blow Out–I’d totally still watch this if it was still on. I remember going to buy Jonathan Antin hair products at Sephora because I loved the show.
Bethenny Ever After**
The Next Food Network Star**
Now before you gasp at my list, I only still watch the ones I starred! And if you want to gasp at yourself, check out the list of past & present reality TV shows. You may surprise yourself with how many you have watched too!
What’s your favorite reality TV show??
Oh and since this is still a food blog…..I ate at The Burger Co. with Sarah when I was in Charlotte. Sarah’s mentioned The Burger Co. to me several times. Sadly, it opened after I moved away. All I knew about it was it was yum and they have specials on Bay Breeze drinks on the weekend. Oh I love me a Bay Breeze in the summer. (Side note to myself: make & blog about Bay Breezes.)
The Burger Co. has a large selection of burgers (shocking, I know) to choice from on the menu. My eyes said go with a stuffed burger. But my head said no no no. It was down to the pesto burger or the Reuben burger.
Hello swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and sauerkraut. Oh it was good!
The star of the show was the sweet potato tater tots though….not with ketchup, oh no….but with cinnamon butter to dip them into! YES! Good call, Sarah, good call.
Now I’m off to get ready to watch Big Brother!
I made this salad several weeks ago for my Dad’s birthday.
I wasn’t going to blog about it after my nephew asked why there were weeds on his plate. Ha!
He gets a free pass since he’s cute though.
(This was one of the few & far between moments that Haley will sit still when there are lots of people over at my Mom & Dad’s house.)
But then my brother asked if there was Feta in the salad. I said yes. He said OOOOhhh I love Feta!
I felt a little redeemed.
Summer + salads = great idea.
Strawberry Summer Feta Salad
Feta cheese crumbles
chopped red onion
You can really just eyeball it and use whatever salad ingredients you love! I used a light vinaigriette for the dressing. I made a different strawberry salad last month too. This salad with the Feta wins though!
Side note: I misspell “vinagriette” EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. I try to type it out. When will I stop having to look up how to spell that darn word????
Is there a word that you always have trouble spelling??? Please don’t tell me you misuse your/you’re or their/there/they’re. I’ll have to call the grammar police on those mistakes!
I had no intentions of cooking tonight. I was going to eat the last of my mac & cheese. I had it for breakfast instead. Oops!
I also had a box of panko sitting out. I have plans to make something else with it. But then the maple pecan chicken recipe on the back of the box caught my eye.
Maple Pecan Chicken
Recipe from Progresso
1/4 cup Dark Amber maple syrup (This is the same syrup I used to make ribs.)
2 tbl mayo
3/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup panko
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless (or you can use chicken tenderloins)
Preheat oven to 400.
Mix maple syrup, mayo and salt into a small dish.
Mix panko and pecans into a separate small dish.
Dip the chicken into the syrup mixture. Then dip chicken into the crumb mixture.
Place dipped chicken onto a greased cookie sheet. Spray the top of chicken with cooking spray as well.
Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken over. Bake for 10 more minutes.
The chicken smells so good while baking too!!! The syrup and pecans cooking….YUM!!! I really enjoyed this chicken too. Often when I bake chicken, it turns out dry. Not with this recipe…..moist & delicious! Eat up!!