Friday, May 31, 2019

All About Book Clubs (and Our Latest Picks)

All book clubs are different. Including whether you meet in someone's home or a public space, serve dinner, snacks or dessert and coffee or even if wine is part of the evening.  I have been in three different book clubs, in three different states (New Jersey, Michigan and now Florida) and none have been the same.  But, each has built wonderful friendships and connections based around my love of books.

Perhaps the biggest difference, is how books are chosen.  Some groups rely on best seller lists, some have the hostess pick and some pretty much wing it from month to month, with no set plan.  In my experience, it is better to have a plan in advance or the most well read of the group will end up having more of a say in the picks.  I prefer more diversity, because then I read books I either didn't know about, or more importantly, would have never given a try.

My current book club chooses our books ahead of time and our reading year begins when the snow birds return to Florida in October.  We all submit up to six choices, then vote for our top five on the list of submissions.  A lot of the members like this because they can read in advance, if they choose.  We also can volunteer to lead a discussion for a book that we are the most interested in. ( I'm leading for The Last Romantics)  We meet on the first Thursday of every month, in our clubhouse and bring wine and snacks to share.  In January, we go out to dinner as a group and do not hold a book discussion.

You can see our list for next season is quite eclectic and I am looking forward to reading every one of them.  I thought perhaps you might be interested in reading them as well.

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Out and About on Memorial Day

As we celebrate our two year anniversary of living in Florida, we have come to the realization that there is still so much more to see and do.  And the summer is the best time to explore, because the snow birds and tourists are gone.  It's pretty quiet and most of the time you can walk right in the restaurants and tiki bars that would be a 1-2 hour wait during season.  Of course it is hot, but we are used to it now and you would be surprised how comfortable it is in the shade, even on a 90 degree day, when you are near the water.

On Memorial Day, we took our pup to a waterfront park in Sarasota that we have driven by a million times.  It was a really nice walk along Sarasota Bay with lots of pretty boats to look at.  There is a tiki bar there, but it was too hot in the area you could sit with dogs, so we passed on that.  Maybe another cooler day.

We headed back to Venice to a downtown restaurant restaurant that I knew was a great spot to sit with a pet on a hot day and it was perfect.  We enjoyed Margaritas, a delicious, casual lunch and cool breezes from the ceiling fans.  After lunch, we walked across the street to take a selfie in front of the newly painted mural, designed just for Instragram pics and Venice hashtags.

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Greek Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

When your husband tells you that you have made one of your best dinners yet, you know you have found a good recipe.  I can always count on Skinnytaste for healthy meals, but more importantly, I always find that the recipes have so much flavor.  We all want to eat as healthy as possible, but who wants to eat bland food that tastes like cardboard?

This sheet pan meal was so easy too!  Everything was basically mixed in a big bowl and then spread on a sheet pan for baking.  After it comes out of the oven, you squeeze on more lemon juice and sprinkle with feta cheese, for a finishing touch.  The oregano is really the star and while the recipe calls for fresh, I used dried and it was delicious.  The skinless chicken thighs (which I rarely use) were very juicy and perfect for the cooking time required with this dish.  Served with a side of sautéed aspargus, it made a light and flavorful Sunday night dinner, without a lot of fuss or cleanup.

One note: I only used one sheet pan, spreading everything out carefully, and it was fine.

Happy Tuesday!


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Life Lately (Beach and Books)

Life lately or at least this week, has consisted of beaches and books.  We have entered the summer rainy season (a little early) in tropical southwest Florida and while we still have beautiful, sunny beach days, we also get periods of rain quite often, perfect for reading.

Mother's Day was hot and sunny and since I wasn't with my girls, I chose to spend the day at the beach; always a mood lifter.  Siesta Key beach was perfect as usual, but with a little more wild surf than normal and it's so relaxing listening to the waves crash.  We tried a new to us Mexican restaurant and though the food was good, the margaritas were not and since I'm always on the search for the perfect margarita, I don't think we will be back.

Tuesday night, after being rained out for golf in the afternoon,  I wanted some exercise and fresh air, so I went to sunset yoga on the beach.  It was cloudy and windy, so not much of a sunset, but the waves were really crashing and I loved it.  It's such a peaceful option at the end of the day and it makes me happy that I can jump in the car and be at the beach in minutes.

The two book covers shown are books that I have read lately and loved.  And, both were books that I did not expect to enjoy so much.  The Lost For Words Bookshop is quirky, dark, surprising and filled with literary references.  One Day in December is more of a chick lit book, but it has a lot of heart and the story keeps you guessing on how the inevitable outcome with occur.

Happy Thursday!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Friends Here and There

I'm a lucky girl in the friend department.  Example number one; when I was in Michigan, even though I was busy with family obligations, my friends still showed up on the one night I was free to get together.  Instead of going to a restaurant where it is hard to talk to everyone, one of my friends offered to host us at her home and it was perfect.  I could mingle, give lots of hugs and left to fly back to Florida feeling very loved.  I think that this particular group of friends has learned to hold on tight to each other, because we have history together.  These kinds of friendships take years to build and nurture and there is a shorthand when we see each other.  They know and love my kids and I know and love theirs.  We are there for each other; both in the good times and bad.  I may live miles away, but it really doesn't matter in the least.

Then there are the new friendships I have made here in Florida.  There are some wonderful women in my neighborhood who are fun, welcoming and supportive.  I have become close to many and look forward to our fledging friendships growing over the years.  We also have been so fortunate to have some good friends from Michigan, living here in Venice and they have introduced us to their circle of friends as well.

You wonder as an empty nester how easy it will be to make new friends without the element of children and schools in the mix.  I have found it to be possible, as long as you are willing to put yourself out there a bit.  Empty nesters are in the same stage of life and looking for like minded people, going through all the same life changes.  Change is what keeps us young and while I cling to old friendships, it is the new friendships and experiences that help make life interesting.

Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Still in Michigan

My trip to Michigan is coming to an end and tonight I will be getting together with fifteen of my closest friends for a last bit of fun.  It has been a whirlwind and I am completely exhausted, but so thankful I was able to be here.

 The primary reason I came was to help clean out my childhood home and get it ready to be put on the market by this summer.  My parents moved to an assisted living facility last January and we decided to take some time to ease the transition for them.  But, it's overdue now.  It's been a huge job and there is still a lot to do, but I can fly back to Florida confident that I did my part.

I was also able to spend some time with Melissa before she flew out of town on another business trip and that made me so happy.  She has a new boyfriend (who I met for the first time) and I loved hearing all her happy and busy life news.  They took me out in Detroit on Saturday night and we had a lot of fun. We enjoyed a delicious sushi dinner, followed by a bit of bar hopping.  When I say Detroit has undergone a transformation, believe it.

Happy Wednesday and happy May!

Michigan ➡️ Florida
family, books, gardening, palm trees, the beach, golf, up north, msu football, detroit tigers, walking with my dog, trying new recipes, musicals, BBC, martinis, yoga, lilly

Search This Blog

Follow on Bloglovin

about me (12) BBC (25) blog (34) books (171) christmas (90) cocktails (48) Diabetes (68) DIY (100) downsizing (22) empty nest (97) entertaining (68) faith (28) family (162) florida (126) florida house tour (12) food (291) friends (131) gardening (80) health and beauty (13) home (143) Let’s Cook Together (3) life (535) movies (11) my daughters (195) nana time (6) nature (50) pinterest (120) pinterest success (68) puppy (28) quarantine (18) reality tv (37) recipe redo (13) repurpose (2) sewing (4) shopping (23) sports (74) tv and movies (89) walking (50) wedding (27) yoga (14)


Designed by Munchkin Land Designs • Copyright 2012 • All Rights Reserved