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Your Whims Wednesday #420 {And Features}

Time for another Your Whims Wednesday Party!

Here are some of my favorites from last weeks party:

Lemon Decorated Sugar Cookies by Birds Party
Lemon Decorated Sugar Cookies - easy recipe for a lemon shaped sweet treat that's perfect for a lemon themed wedding, birthday or summer party! by BirdsParty.com @birdsparty #cookies #lemoncookies #decoratedcookies #lmeonsugarcookies #sugar cookies #lemondecoratedcookies #lemonrecipes #lemonparty #lemonpartyfood

E-Reader Zippered Pouch by The Scrap Shoppe Blog
Carry your e-reader in style with this DIY stitchable cork and fabric zipper pouch!

Pineapple Vodka Cocktail by Home Cooking Memories
Make this Pinnacle® Pineapple Vodka Limeade recipe to enjoy this week. It's an refreshing, easy cocktail recipe that is perfect for summer.

Instant Pot Risotto Caprese by Pots and Planes
Risotto Caprese potsandplanes.com

Thanks to all who linked up! Grab a button if you were featured :)

Now... onto this weeks party!

Your Whims Wednesday #419 {And Features}

Time for another Your Whims Wednesday Party!

Here are some of my favorites from last weeks party:

How to Repurpose a Piano into a Bar Cabinet by Unique Creations by Anita
Recycle A Piano into a bar drinks cabinet

Ice Cream Garland by The Scrap Shoppe Blog
Foam Ice Cream Cone Garland using cones and fabric. So fun for an ice cream party! #MakeItFunCrafts

Easy Distressed Terracotta Potts by It All Started with Paint
Easy distressed terracotta pots - how to age flower paints with paint and sandpaper

Sheet Pan Gnocchi & Roasted Vegetables by Dancing Through The Rain 

Gnocchi, leeks, kale, mushrooms and seasoning on a sheet pan

Thanks to all who linked up! Grab a button if you were featured :)

Now... onto this weeks party!

My Girlish Whims Book Club #19

As I sit here to write up my 19th book review, I thought it was finally time to give you guys a little insight into how I became such a book worm.  I often get asked how I got into/reading how I make time for it: and the simple answer was I was FORCED to like reading! I grew up in a family full of readers, and so when I was learning to read, it just wasn't a question of whether or not I would "like" to read - I was just expected to!

I remember once when I was probably about 7 years old my parents would make me read a book to them every night before bed.  (I'm sorry mother now for the amount of times I forced you to read The Green Pocketbook) and me - being a typical 7 year old - started whining and complaining about how I didn't want to and I didn't like reading.  My mother looked me in the eyes and told me: "Rebecca: everyone in this family likes to read and YOU are going to like it too."

Well, that was the end of that question! Hah, in all honesty though, I was pretty easy enough for me to fall in love with reading, and I fell hard and fast.  I remember in my prime reading days back in 5th grade if I tried hard enough, I could finish one Nancy Drew novel a day! My summer baby-sitter would give book limits to all of the other kids when we went to the library (so they only checked out enough books that they had time to read over the 2 week time frame) but she always told me 'Oh - that doesn't apply to you" since she knew I could read more, lol.  Later in life, my Dad actually he told me he became slightly embarrassed to take me to the library because I would leave with such a HUGE towering stack of books.  Hah - that's what you get for forcing me into liking reading Dad :)

 The Grafton clan - united in our love for reading :) And you know, blood and family ties and all that other stuff

I'm so grateful now that my family slightly forced me to get into reading: it is one of my favorite hobbies now and I can't imagine life where I wasn't always in the middle of a book, or where my perfect idea of relaxing didn't include sitting on my butt on the beach for a few hours to catch up on my latest novel.  That is my plan for next week when I go away on vacation - I'll share more about that trip and the books I read there on my next post! Anyway, without further ado, here are my latest four books I've read since my last book review!

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City of Girls

By Elizabeth Gilbert. Synopsis from Amazon:

Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love.

In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves - and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.

Now eighty-nine years old and telling her story at last, Vivian recalls how the events of those years altered the course of her life - and the gusto and autonomy with which she approached it. "At some point in a woman's life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time," she muses. "After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is." Written with a powerful wisdom about human desire and connection, City of Girls is a love story like no other.

I was intrigued to read this book since it was written by the same author who wrote Eat Pray Love which I really enjoyed reading – but this was a fiction story versus non-fiction.  The style of writing reminded me a bit of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo which I reviewed in a prior blog post and really LOVED.  Overall, I enjoyed reading this book too.  The setting was in 1940s New York for most of the book and it was a fun era to be set in.  I enjoyed getting to know some of the quirky characters and following along the story of the little-old-theatre-that could.  I enjoyed the book the most during the portion where Vivian describes her first summer in New York: it was fun, upbeat, and exciting to follow along on Vivian’s coming of age story.  The book does follow Vivian all the way into her later years of life though, and at some points I felt it to be a little drug out.  I didn’t love this one as much as I loved Eat Pray Love, but if you want to read along to one girl’s scandalous summer and watch her character grow into herself throughout of the rest of the novel with some fun theatre, war, and New York storylines, this would still be a recommendation from me! 

All Day Finger Lakes Wine Tour

I left off on our most recent Finger Lakes trip documenting a pretty epic first day staying on Seneca Lake for the Fourth of July!  But we had a lot more of our trip ahead of us, so I wanted to share the rest of trip our trip to recommend some more fun places to visit in the Finger Lakes :)

Friday morning I woke up to a beautiful, sunny morning and IMMEDIATELY knew I needed to get out on the dock to enjoy the morning beauty on the lake.  I made some coffee from our Air BnB's Keurig, put on a baiting suit, and tip toed out the front door while bae was sleeping with my kindle and coffee to enjoy the morning on the lake.

This may not sound like a big deal - going out to relax a morning on vacation...but I have to be honest.  This is a pretty big deal for me.  For so long during my weight loss journey, I was very dedicated with working out almost every single day.  ESPECIALLY while on vacation while I was enjoying extra treats and food I felt like I NEEDED to workout in order to "earn" those extra indulgences.  I've learned though, FINALLY as I've found a greater balance in my weight loss journey that it is OK to be able to just live your life sometimes.  I still workout almost everyday during my "regular" day-to-day life, so it's been a refreshing feeling to be able to give myself enough grace to be able to take a vacation and actually *VACATION.* To feel no pressure to go out and run 5 miles, no pressure to choose the lowest calorie option on the menu for each meal since I was also having a few drinks, no pressure to do anything except LIVE! It may seem trivial to some...but honestly this was just a very freeing moment for myself to just enjoy having a relaxed, no effort required morning for me :)

Anywho.  Enough of that chat ;) We decided that for our first "full day" in the Finger Lakes we needed to take advantage of our favorite service in the area - hiring a driver for the day to take you around to all the local wineries!  On our last visit to the Finger Lakes we discovered "Main Street Drivers" where you could hire a driver to come and meet you at your home/hotel/airbnb who would drive your car around for the day! It's a lot cheaper than paying for a private car service...and a heck of a lot cheaper than a DUI too. We had so much fun with our driver Steve on our last trip that we knew that we needed to book him again to have a day where we hit up a bunch of wineries and didn't have to worry about the driving portion of things.

Another nice thing about hiring a driver - they are often local and know the area well and can give you some added discounts to places you visit! Steve took us to Boundary Breaks Winery on a whim our last trip to the Finger Lakes because he could get us free tastings there.  It was never on my "itinerary" of places to visit but we really enjoyed it on our last trip, and decided to start there on our first day out of this trip! I really, really like the Rieslings that they offer and they also have a beautiful large, open and airy tasting room.  One of the best parts - the VIEW from their backyard! Both times we have visited we have had a GREAT tasting experience here!

Your Whims Wednesday #418 {And Features}

Time for another Your Whims Wednesday Party!

Here are some of my favorites from last weeks party:

Garlic Chili Chicken Thighs by Cooking with Ewa
Garlic Chilli Chicken Thighs - baked, with lots of sauce. Big Asian flavors at home.
Magical Unicorn Bath Bombs by Busy Being Jennifer

Strawberry Cookie Cups by Family Cookie Recipes
Strawberry Cookie Cups are bite-sized treats made with the best buttercream strawberry frosting ever. Made with fresh strawberries, there just aren't better strawberry cookies than these!

DIY Paper Fans by White House Crafts

Thanks to all who linked up! Grab a button if you were featured :)

Now... onto this weeks party!