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Summer reading

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
It’s summer! Time for flip flops, sunshine, Rosé, and summer reading lists! I love getting caught up in a good book on the patio, or on a long summer road trip. I would happily welcome your suggestions to get my summer reading list going – here’s what I’ve been reading lately, too.

The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Lifefrom a Wedding Reporter’s Notebook by Ellen McCarthy

Remember the wedding reporter in 21 Dresses? Yeah, people really have this job in real life. And lucky for us, they eventually write a book about their experiences. Ellen McCarthy was named The Washington Post’s wedding reporter on the same day that her boyfriend of many years broke up for her. Rough, right? Through hundreds and hundreds of weddings, Ellen describes what she’s learned about marriage, love, and ‘the real thing.’ It’s funny, heartfelt, sad, and oh so true. One of the chapters entitled, “You’re going to be miserable” made me laugh so hard, because yes, marriage is not always a honeymoon. This book reminds us of what marriage is really about – it’s about the lives that go beyond the wedding day. Whether you’re single, a newlywed, or married for 50 years, this book is worth picking up.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

If you’re cool, trendy, and not adamant about checking out books from the library, this book is SO LAST YEAR. I know. But I have this thing about paying $20 for a book at Barnes and Noble, when I can support my local library and get it for free. Thus, I just recently was able to find an available copy at my library. It was so worth the wait though! Reviews described this book as a Hitchcock-like thriller, so I knew I’d be hooked. I read this on our vacation to Sanibel and just became completely sucked in by this one. It’s definitely dark, and a bit graphic, but it’s a page turner that will keep you up reading all night. I can’t wait to see the movie in October.

Nobody’s Cuter than You by Melanie Shankle

Now that I’ve finished Melanie Shankle’s third book, all I can think is, “She needs to write another book!” Reading one of Melanie’s books is like going out for margaritas with your best friend. She’s hilarious, honest, no frills, heartfelt, and very conversational. Nobody’s Cuter than You is about friendship, particularly with her best friend Gulley. While my favorite of Melanie’s is definitely The Antelope in the Living Room, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. If you want a quick read that will make you literally LOL, check out any of Melanie’s books this summer.

Just this week I picked up Arianna Huffington’s new book The Sleep Revolution, and I’m finding it fascinating so far. I also sadly realize I really need to get to bed earlier. I also checked out TheFlower Chef by Carly Cylinder, which I’m excited about.  What are you reading? What do I need to add to my list this summer?

Happy summer reading everyone!

Sanibel Marina

Friday, May 6, 2016

On our last evening on Sanibel we went to the Sanibel Marina for a cruise around the island. When I think of a marina I think of my familiar spot on El Dorado lake, or Lovewell, the lake I grew up around. This marina is a bit more….grand. We’re talking beautiful landscaping, fancy yachts, and a great little restaurant with a view of all the gorgeous boats. Just don’t look at the price tag! It was so pretty there, and I’m so glad we decided to do the cruise.

The highlight of our hour and a half cruise was definitely the playful dolphins we saw all throughout our time on the water. Evidently they usually play in the boat’s wake, but on that evening they were more interested in feeding. I wasn’t disappointed though! We were able to see lots of fins dip in and out of the water – many of them quite close to us! 

It was really great to be out on the water. It made me ready for lake season here and to get our boat out. What is it about being out on the water that is so calming? Besides the dolphins we were able to get great views of the causeway, the lighthouse, and Pine Island to the north.

The restaurant at the marina, Gramma Dot’s, is supposed to have really great food, and I love that  you can sit outside right on the dock. It was on my list of places to eat on the trip, but we just ran out of meals and days. So, it’s a must for my next visit! 

Sanibel-inspired read

Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote her well-known book, Gift from the Sea, on Captiva island which is just directly north of Sanibel. It's a collection of her thoughts on youth, aging, and being a wife and a mother, so understandably when I read it in high school it did nothing for me. I read it last summer and totally connected with it. It is definitely one of my favorites now, and makes me love Sanibel and Captiva even more.  I can totally see why she was inspired to write the book on those islands.

A view like this definitely inspires.

It's such a beautifully written little book! This is one of my favorite quotes from the book:

"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures not only shows impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless, as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea."

I'm tempted to read Gift from the Sea again this summer, fresh off my Sanibel visit. If you haven't read it, add it to your summer book list. It's definitely a beach read!

One of my favorite shells I found on Sanibel was actually the tiniest!


Sunday, May 1, 2016
Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream is not for the faint of heart, or the lactose-intolerant for that matter. When you go to Pinocchio’s you either go big or go home. Mike and I knew this going into it, so we had a filling lunch and decided that Wednesday evening on Sanibel was going to be an ice-cream-for-dinner kind of night. (Please don’t judge our future parenting skills on our incredibly nutritious dinner.) 

Pincocchio’s has been a Sanibel tradition for more than 33 years. They have an array of mouthwatering flavors of homemade ice cream and gelatos to choose from, and they’ll offer you as many free tastings as you’d like! Their signature flavors are the Sanibel Krunch, vanilla ice cream with coconut, chocolate and mixed nuts; Dirty Sand Dollar, vanilla ice cream with caramel, malted milk balls, and chocolate chunks; and Wedding Bells, an Italian wedding cake flavor with slivered almonds, which was one of my favorites that I sampled.  I went with a scoop of the Sanibel Krunch and Pistachio. The Pistachio was very good, but I should’ve gone with Wedding Bells! Mike also chose Sanibel Krunch, and then did a scoop of their Butterfinger. 

We knew the scoops were going to be huge, but we didn’t expect the massive amount of ice cream she would hand over to us. But hey, there are worse problems, right? Each treat is topped with their signature animal cracker. 

The place is bright, colorful, and filled with the sweet scent of homemade ice cream. You can enjoy your ice cream on one of the colorful chairs on the porch outside and watch the line grow as the evening crowd shows up on foot and bike.

Pinocchio’s was a delightful stop for a cool treat on a hot Sanibel day. If you love ice cream (who doesn’t?) definitely save room for a big scoop. 

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