Tag Archives: friends

Girl’s Night

Every so often, you just need a good night out with the girls. This past week, I took a little poll to see who would be up for checking out the new wine/tapas bar in town. And, without much convincing, I had gathered a very thirsty group. To One 19 North we would go.

I was very excited to hear about the happy hour special — $1.19 sangria until 7. 
And so I couldn’t help but kick off the night with one for myself.

And from there, the night went on…

and on…

and on…

About the place:
great atmosphere, friendly staff,
good tapas (in small portions, however) and lots of wine.

About the night
just what I was looking for. :)


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Filed under around town, this 'n that

Craving Mexico

Lucas and I are kind of like those retired people who go on a cruise like every 4 months. Only, for us (who are both in our 30’s, mind you), our “cruise” is Mexico.

That clear blue Caribbean water, those white sandy beaches, the quick and affordable flights direct to Cancun, and of course, those all-inclusive prices. It’s been enough to lure us to Mexico 5 times since we’ve been together (including our honeymoon). Lucas is a creature of habit, and in his eyes — “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

And when it comes to the Riviera Maya, it’s hard to disagree.

This week I’ve found myself craving a trip south of the border yet again. But I don’t know how soon it’s going to happen, since we’ve already used up a lot of our vacation days for the year. So, for a quick fix, I started to browse through some of our old pictures.

Can’t decide if it’s helped…or just made me want to go back that much more.

Isla Mujeres

The view from our balcony in Isla Mujeres.

Pier at Avalon Reef Club in Isla Mujeres. We happened to travel here about 2 days after Hurricane Ike went through. From what we heard, the water is usually like a crystal clear sheet of glass. We saw a glimpse of that the day we were leaving, but even without the “perfect” water, the place was still beautiful.

Isla Mujeres is actually an island off the coast of Cancun. It’s about a 20 minute ferry ride. Our hotel was on an island off the island, accessible by a narrow, wooden bridge.

The whole island is about 5 miles long. So the main mode of transportation is golf carts. You can rent them for the day and experience the entire island via one, gorgeous road.

One of the main attractions on the island is the turtle farm. It’s part of a major effort to enforce a new Mexico law stating turtles can’t be killed for meat, shells or eggs. The turtles are raised at the farm, and then school children set them free once they’re big enough to go out on their own. Very cool.

Dinner view.

Amazing hurricane-induced sunset.


Puerto Aventuras (honeymoon)

We spent our honeymoon at the same hotel we stayed in the first time we went to Mexico. It was renovated when we went back, and had become Dreams Puerto Aventuras. The picture above is at our favorite bar, right on the beach.

Deep sea fishing. Caught a Trigger Fish.

And a scary barracuda.

And no matter what, we always meet new people and make new friends. This picture was the result of the full, top-shelf bar on our floor. Funny how you think you’re done for the night…and then, well, that happens.


Puerto Morelos (group trip)

We’ve had so much fun visiting Mexico, that we felt it was only right to share the pleasure with our good friends. So last May we took a group trip down there. We liked to call it Spring Break 2010. We plan to make this adventure an annual tradition.

We all took a cool little jet ski/snorkel trip.

And, yes, the swim-up bar is always a nice attraction, too.



…Okay. I’m convinced. Time to book another trip…


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Filed under outside we go, this 'n that, travels

Book Club for Winos

I’ve found it surprisingly difficult to find a good, easy-to-ready blog about books –  specifically books that match the interests of my wine-motivated book club. I’m sure they’re out there, I just haven’t had the time or patience to look hard enough. If I had that extra time on my hands, I would love to devote my own blog to the compelling dynamics of our club, and the books we choose to devour (and by devour I mean read passionately, not read at all, read a little, skim and/or just give up and watch the movie…).

But, lo and behold…there aren’t enough hours in my day. So that time-consuming pipe dream will now be a recurring post on my blog. After all, what we choose to read – and whom we spend our nights drinking wine and chatting for hours with – really is a transparent piece of our own Living Rooms.

Now, to reword an annoyingly overused (and overly paraphrased) tagline, “What happens at book club, stays at book club.” Don’t get me wrong…us girls don’t do anything crazy. But we definitely get chatty (like I said, it’s a wine-motivated book club). And since the girls in the club aren’t sitting around writing blogs about me, I don’t think I should be writing about them.

I do, however, love a good book review. And I figured you might like one too. We try our best to read a book a month. But being a mix of hard-working teachers, sales-reps, writers, bartenders, wives, mothers and mothers-to-be, that doesn’t always happen.

So here are my thoughts – with a touch of my recollected feedback from my book club companions – about what we have read in the past 6 or so months…

1. Eat, Pray, Love

If you’re still in Italy, put  down the book and go to the theater…it doesn’t get any better. I likened the book to grabbing a drink with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while, and spending the entire night listening to her pout about how hard it was to spend three months eating great food, seeing beautiful places and meeting new men…and as she rambled away, all that my cynical mind could think was, “really you got divorced and when all your money ended up with your lawyers, you came up with a clever marketing scheme to get rich, and see the world. This pinot better be on you.”

Now, I have heard a lot of people say they liked it. And I did like the idea of the book. But, I feel like it lacked depth. I can see how the movie would be much, much better (a rarity), as so much is based on the beauty of these three cultures (Italy, India and Indonesia). And of course, it’s been a while since we’ve gotten to see Julia Roberts shine her pearly whites.

The book wasn’t for me. The overall response from book club — “eh.”


  2. The Glass Castle


Now this is a memoir worth reading!  I so, so, sooo loved this book! My favorite book-club choice by far.

Just imagine the most self-absorbed, nonsensical, outrageous couple you know…and give them 4 children. The world these kids were brought up in is almost too outrageous to believe, but that’s what makes the story so spectacular. Seriously, you couldn’t make this stuff up. It not only dips deep into your imagination, but makes you stop and think about nature vs. nurture along with what goes on among some aspect of our nation’s homeless population (I’m not in any way saying that all those in poverty live this way).  The book is written by one of the 4 kids in the family, and I thought she was brilliant.

I highly recommend this read. The overall response from book club — “wow.”*

*…”wow” is from what  I recall. One or two might have thought it was just, “okay.”


3. The Help

Interesting premise. Kept my attention. It wasn’t the greatest book I’ve ever read, but everyone else in book club really, really enjoyed it.

Set in the 60’s, it’s a very clever story told from three points of view — one, a wealthy, white southern girl; the other two, the hired “help.” It definitely felt inspirational, and had some great historical relevance that helps people from my generation get a glimpse about how much our parents and grandparents have seen and overcome. The dialect was a little tricky for me at first, and I felt like some of the parts were just left hanging, but I still think it’s worth the read. I can see my own children having to read this for a literature class some day.

I say check it out. The overall response from book club — “a must read!”


4. The Other Boleyn Girl

Deception, romance, royalty…I was so engrossed in this book.

I’ve never really known much about this family, so, to me, this book was an absolute page-turner.  However, since a lot of the girls in my book club had either watched The Tudors or seen The Other Boleyn Girl movie, they found the book to be long and slow. So if you know what happens, it’s probably not worth picking up. But, if you’re like me, and this is all new to you, definitely read it.

I say if you’re curious, read it. The overall response from book club — “we knew what happened.”


Have you read any of these books and agree/disagree? Let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 Have any ideas on what we should read next? We’re always looking for something new, so let me know if you have any suggestions!

Our next book club is around the corner. We read The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe. I thought it was fantastic, but I’ll wait till I’m with the girls to give a review.

Happy reading!

– Emily

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Filed under book club for winos, this 'n that

Our Living Room

This blog first began via my growing interest in sprucing up our home, all while imagining future possibilities, should we ever move to another…i.e. I get to start from scratch. ;)

Yet, I am far from saying that my talent in my home serves as an ability to host a blog purely on “interior design.” There are many, many other women out there who already put both my taste and my executions to shame (they also happen to always give me fresh, new ideas on what to do next). Inspiration for my home is drawn from visiting the houses of friends and family, browsing etsy.com, checking out blogs of true interior designers…and of course walking the aisles of Target and paging through my growing stack of Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel catalogs.


The world of clever, never-ending inspiration

The decision to call my blog “Living Room” started by thinking that I’d love to share updates when I do something new or fun to my home. It evolved when I started to think about what “Living Room” really means.  By definition, living room is: a room in a house for general and informal everyday use. But I began thinking about it in a broader sense, and, without getting too philosophical, thought about the idea of what is our own personal “Living Room?” It’s not just a place…

It’s about making room in your life to live and laugh, a little more.

And it’s about discovering the things that can cause it. It could be traveling, firing up a new grill,  hanging a fresh piece of art, planting beautiful hydrangeas or seeing my dog’s ears perk up out of sheer, rub-your-nose-in-the-dirt happiness…


Tito relaxing on the shores of the Current River

I’d say that right now my husband’s “living room” is his garden. He’s transformed our everyday, suburban fenced-in backyard into his own pride and joy – a pumpkin patch.  He’s out there every night tending to those pumpkins, and it fuels him. He constantly works to make it bigger and better.

The Pumpkin Patch

The early stages of Lucas' pumpkin patch

Another example – I recently went to dinner at my friend, Laura’s, home. Her literal living room is absolutely beautiful, and definitely inspiring. She has two young children, and you would never, ever guess they live there…it is spotless.  While my other friend’s and I gawked over how clean it was, she simply said, “I recycle their toys.” Her method is easy ­– her kids play with their toys for two weeks, she puts them in storage, she pulls out a “new” round of toys for the next two weeks. She claims the kids get just as excited as if it was a brand new toy from the store. To me, that’s part of her “living room” (and something worth sharing on a blog once this thing gets up and running!)

To make a long story short…my goal is to post anything from friends, websites, shops and travels that, well, inspire me!



Filed under pumpkin patch, this 'n that