Wednesday, August 31, 2016

ABC Reads: August Review

Today is the day to link up your ABC Reads!!   

Here's a refresher on the terms of the challenge in case you missed it previously:

What does the challenge entail?  Well, I'm glad you asked.  There are 26 letters of the alphabet and Mia and I challenge you, during the course of 2016, to read a book that starts with each letter.  For example, Atonement (A), The Bell Jar (B), Catching Fire (C), and so on.  Makes sense, right? You don't need to go in order - if you want to start with S, go for it.  On the last day of each month, we'll host a link-up for you to share your ABC Reads.  We will award one point for each letter you review AND a bonus point for linking up with us!  At the end of the year (or when the first participant reviews a book beginning with each of the 26 letters), the winner will be awarded a $30 Amazon gift card. Congrats to challenge winner, Jessica from Frikken Duckie!

I had high hopes for checking off a number of books this month, but time slipped away from me...again!  I did manage to finish one book, but only got half way through the second one so I'll have to save that review for next month.  At the beginning of the month, I only had nine books left to complete the challenge so now I'm down to eight.  I'll have to pick up the pace to ensure I stay on track to finish! This month, I completed the following letter: U.  Here are my thoughts...

The Unraveling of Mercy Louis by Keija Parssinen

I learned about this book from Amber over at Mr. Thomas and Me during her #collaboreads link up. I immediately marked it "to read" on my Goodreads account and then forgot about it until Mia and I began the ABC Reads challenge.  U was a bit of a tricky letter to find so I was thrilled when I saw this one in my queue.  The story takes place in a small Texas town full of scandal and religiosity. Mercy and Illa take turns narrating the eventful summer and early fall.  They are both seniors at the local high school with Mercy being the most talented basketball player on the team and Illa the team manager.  Both have mommy issues to keep things a bit vague.  The story is an exploration of love - both romantic and platonic.  It got a little weird toward the end for me, but I really enjoyed getting to know the characters - lots of unique personalities!  I'm not certain I would recommend it because I didn't feel like there was much resolution for the main problem put forth at the start of the story...and parts of the book were just plain bizarre.  I'm glad I gave it a shot, but probably wouldn't suggest it to others.

What have you been reading lately?

Andrea :)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Summer Getaway: Wilmington Inn & Look Park

After our stop at the Pez Factory, we ventured toward our weekend bed and breakfast spot in Vermont.  The Wilmington Inn is a beautiful place in a great location - just on the edge of town within walking distance of all the shops and restaurants.  We loved our experience there...especially the delicious blueberry pancakes each morning!!

We spent most of Saturday at Look Park roughly an hour away in Florence, Massachusetts.  When we were planning our little getaway we came across information regarding the Wine and Beer Festival taking place at the park and thought it would be interesting to attend.  We browsed around the festival checking out a number of local breweries and wineries before trying to win some exciting goodies in the raffle.  There were food vendors and a live band.  We enjoyed roaming around and taking in the atmosphere.

Upon leaving the festival, we found the mini golf course for a quick and competitive round!  I also managed to talk Chris into a pedal boat adventure!  We were one of the last boats to navigate the loop for the day. Chris had me steering so there were a couple of close calls with the embankment, but definitely made for a fun half hour together!

Our summer getaway with stops in Connecticut, Vermont, and Massachusetts proved a great way to cap off the hot and humid summer! Now, we're ready for some lower temps and fall fun!

Andrea :)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Summer Getaway: Pez Factory

Summer is the perfect time for a fun little road trip.  To close out July this year, Chris and I ventured up to Vermont for a long weekend. Along the way, we made a pit stop in Orange, Connecticut - to visit the Pez Factory!

While small in size, the factory was both educational and interactive. We had a great time checking out all the historic Pez dispensers and watching a video about how the candy is produced. There was also a fun scavenger hunt game that we both really enjoyed. We both selected Pez dispensers to take home since the price of admission for two adults gave us a $4 credit in the gift shop.  I selected a Christmas themed penguin while Chris opted for a Yankees dispenser.

Overall, the place was simply packed full of fun.  It is definitely worth the $5 price of admission if you ever find yourself in Orange, CT with nothing to do for the afternoon!

Andrea :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fun Home

One of my birthday presents from my wonderful husband was tickets to see Fun Home.  Since it won Best Musical in 2015, I had been interested in seeing it.  I knew the content might be a bit dark, but I wanted to give it a shot.

It definitely proved to be quite the dramedy, but I really enjoyed the perspective from child to young adult to grown woman that the story followed.  There were a couple of really fun songs along the way as well.  Overall, I enjoyed the performance.  I wish it had gone just a few ticks deeper into the father's story though I know the focus was intended to be on Alison.  While it didn't blow me away in the musical category, I thought it would have made a really intriguing play.

Do you enjoy the dramedy genre?

Andrea :)

Friday, August 19, 2016

The End of An Era

Around nine years ago, I began my professional career with my first full-time job at the League Office in New York City.  As I've recounted in the last five years on this blog, there have been some amazing adventures and experiences over that time.  A multitude of memories made and people met that I will cherish forever.  Definitely an exciting and unpredictable ride!  Today, I say goodbye.

Andrea :)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Our July Date Nights

And just like that it is the middle of August!  I've been a bit preoccupied, but I did want to share our July date nights with you before any more time slips away from me. We shared lots of laughs during a comedy night at Caroline's and enjoyed a high energy history lesson during Shuffle Along.

Chris discovered the Asperger's Are Us comedy troupe through a friend that knows one of the members.  All four members of the group have Asperger's Syndrome. Their style of comedy is unique and went over my head a few times, but Chris and I certainly enjoyed the show.  It was fantastic to see these individuals doing exactly what they love successfully!  The group is touring the US currently and even had a documentary film about them released at Austin's SXSW Film Festival in March - definitely worth checking them out!

Shuffle Along was my date night pick this month. Actually, it became a bit of a group date when the alumni coordinator at my alma mater reached out to NYC area alumni to get a group together to go see this star studded show since one of our own - JC Montgomery - was part of the cast!  Chris really loved the story and finding out more about the historical elements portrayed in this true Broadway tale.  I enjoyed the tap dancing and comical scenes, but had a bit of trouble following the story line at various points throughout.  It would have helped me to know a tad more about the show before we saw it, but the cast was amazing.  I was SO impressed that Audra McDonald was moving and shaking and tapping so well while visibly pregnant - truly phenomenal!

What has been your most fun summer date this year?

Andrea :)