Monday, July 9, 2012

Sara & Robbie's Wedding

A few days after my parents were here for Father's Day, Leslie and Paul drove up to Atlanta, and then we all piled in the car together for a sibling (plus Bo) road trip to Knoxville, TN for our cousin Sara's wedding.

Robbie's grandmother hosted a beautiful bridal luncheon on Friday at the Cherokee Country Club. It was right along the river and was such a nice way to kick off the weekend!

me and the bride-to-be!

Mother / daughters

Mom, Aunt Liz (MOB), and Aunt Barb

me & my Godmother

Later that evening, we walked over to the Sunsphere - such a cool location! - for the rehearsal dinner.  We had a great time meeting Robbie's family (even if they are all Tennessee Volunteers...), watched the sun set, and enjoyed the view of the whole city.


We've all been to Knoxville several times, so we took a riverboat lunch cruise to do something a little different. We escaped the heat that day since it was so much cooler on the water. The homes were just gorgeous and we had a great time.


Saturday night was the main event!! Sara and Robbie were married at 2nd Presbyterian Church and the reception was held at the Knoxville Museum of Art.

Uncle Dave & Aunt Liz - proud parents before the ceremony!

Mom and her siblings - Aunt Liz, Uncle Don, Uncle Alan, and Aunt Barb

Sara with Robbie, her Dad, and her brother Kyle

The Peanut Gallery - my cousin Kyle, Bo, and my brother Paul

me and Valery, Kyle's wife (not pictured, their baby boy due in a few weeks!)

my Dad always has to get a dance in with the bride :)


Just a few days after Sara & Robbie were engaged, they went to a wedding and the bride presented her bouquet to Sara. So instead of the traditional bouquet toss, Sara presented her bouquet to Leslie - she's next!!

Congratulations, Sara & Robbie!! We love you guys!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Recent Reads

Bo has been out of town for the majority of the past few months, so I've gotten a lot of reading done during the weeknights. I'm not much of a TV watcher - in fact, most of the time he will come home and the TV will still be on the same channel he was watching before he left! I was not a fan of the 50 Shades series (plus, it was kind of a waste to read it while Bo was out of town...!) but made up for it with two great borrowed books from mom. I am curious to see if anyone felt the same way about 50 Shades as me or if I'm in the minority here.

You can find me on GoodReads at for additional books and ratings. And as always I love all the book recommendations I get from these posts!

50 Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
Rating: 2 stars

Ughh. I went against my typical trend-hating standard, and gave in to read this book with our book club. I had heard "it's supposed to be really good!" from so many people and online sources - however not from anyone I knew who had actually read it. I really didn't have any clue what it was about. When I saw "Erotic Romance" on the back all I could think was, What have I gotten myself into?!  Bo gave me a very strange look and asked "WHY are you reading porn?" I thought he was being funny, but as it turns out that is pretty much how I felt about this book. Ana is a very naive girl who is graduating from college and has her first real crush - on none other than Christian Grey, who is a very handsome billionaire and sexual "dominant". I eventually got over the fact that it was extremely sexually graphic - which is essentially the extent of the plot. But the writing! Oh, the writing. It was awful. Grammar errors, repetitive words and sentences, typos...the works. I really hope my high school English teacher did not read this book because she would have had a field day with her red pen.

50 Shades Darker, by E.L. James
Rating: 2.5 stars

At our book club meeting for the first book in the series, a few of the girls had read the next two already. I did not really like the first book, but was told that the second book is much better and answers a lot of questions that are left open in the first book.  Since the first book ended on a cliffhanger, I suckered myself into the next two. I thought the second book clarified a lot of things from the first book, and had just barely a little more plot which I did enjoy.  A word of warning: I was also told that you could read the second book except for the very last page, and be fine with it. Or you can read the last page, and everything changes so you are suckered into the third book. I would agree with that to a certain extent - I only read the third book because I ordered it with the second book (and because I like to read entire series to know how they end). But either way, I highly doubt you will lose any sleep if you read the first two and skip out on the third.

50 Shades Freed, by E.L. James
Rating: 2.5 stars

This series is a prime example of why I do not like doing things just because they are trendy and everyone else is, since I find my opinion typically differs from that of the general public. I still don't get all the hype. In all honesty, the last book was pretty awful. You can skip all the way until about the last four chapters to find out how it ends, and you won't really miss anything at all. I actually felt like this trilogy could have been easily condensed into one book, but these kind of series are so popular right now that it almost seemed like she just dragged it out to make a third book for the sake of having a trilogy. My rating for this book would have been much lower, but I did like how it ended so it didn't seem like such a complete waste of time reading them.

Moloka'i, by Alan Brennert
Rating: 5 stars

I *loved* this book. It was sooo good!! Thank you, Mom, for suggesting this one to me. The story begins with Rachel, a young girl on the big island of Hawaii, set in the late 1800s. Rachel is your average, typical child with a normal life and two loving parents, until her mom suspects she has leprocy. Her sister rats her out during one of their many arguments at school, which forces the authorities to inspect Rachel. They ship her off to the isolation island of Moloka'i when it is confirmed that she does in fact have leprocy. Her family is devastated and they are only comforted by the fact that her Uncle Pono, who also has leprocy, will be there waiting for her. She spends the majority of her life on this island, and though her story is mostly sad, there are glimmers of happiness throughout - trying to make the best of the crappy cards she was dealt in life. I cried at several points throughout the book (talk about an awkward plane ride!) but I couldn't help myself. It was just that good.

Nineteen Minutes, by Jodi Picoult
Rating: 4.5 stars

 Another great borrowed book from mom. This was the first book I've read by Jodi Picoult and I really liked it. It started off somewhat horrifying and sad, with a small-town high school shooting, and the rest of the story details both the events leading up to the shooting as well as the aftermath. The thing I liked most about this book was that it gives the perspective of the shooting from so many viewpoints - the gunman and parents, his classmates, the victims and their parents, the detective in charge of the investigation, and the judge presiding over the case. Each character provided something different to consider and throughout the book there were several twists that kept changing my outlook on Peter (the shooter) and how I thought it should end. I could not put it down!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Father's Day

A few weekends ago, I was lucky enough to spend Father's Day with my parents. They were driving up to Tennessee and stopped here along the way, and the timing was perfect! My dad is usually off fishing somewhere in the Bahamas this time of the year, so it's a rare occasion that any of his children actually see him on Father's Day (though I'm starting to wonder if he does that on purpose...!). On a more serious note, a few of my friends have lost their dads recently and it has really made me appreciate mine even more than I could realize. To be alive and well here on earth, and on top of that to actually enjoy hanging out with each other, is definitely not something to be taken for granted. All that to say, I was really excited to spend the weekend celebrating my dad! And you too, mom - since you played no small role in making him my dad :)

Mom and Dad got in Saturday night and we took them to Sidebar, which is one of the Atlanta Gator bars, to watch the college baseball world series. Our Gators lost that night and they were eliminated from the tournament two days later. Nothing a few beers couldn't make a little less painful.

The next day we went to the Braves game, and... you guessed it... another loss. Thankfully it was a gorgeous (though blazing hot) day and we had great company to make up for the score :)

best dad in the world!


We ended the weekend with a delicious dinner at our current favorite sushi spot, Sushi Avenue, in Decatur.

It was such a great weekend celebrating the best father a girl could ask for. I love you, Dad!