Book Club: More than a Book

What started out as a few of us girls sharing a love for reading, has honestly turned into such a beautiful thing!!  Last year a few of us talked about starting a ‘no stress book club.’  One where we didn’t even necessarily have to read the same book, but just get together, out of the house, away from the kids and chat about books, life, marriage, whatever!

What started out as 4 of us has grown into this:

You may have caught my posts about the wine bar book club.  We realized that it was a little more fun to all have read the same book!  These ladies are all so sweet and we are all at different stages of life.  Some are working moms, some are grandmas, some stay home, some of our husbands work together, some I’ve met because of my kids.  But somehow, we all bonded over words written on pages, a few drinks and tons of laughs.

Do you know what’s hard? Life.  Mothering.  Thinking that you’re alone, struggling or failing at this beautiful thing called motherhood.  Hearing each other’s struggles, triumphs, complete fails and utter disappointments has helped lift each other up and truly see what matters most in life.  Friendships, companionship, relationships…women are such different creatures.  While I LOVE being home and do consider myself a bit of an introvert, get me around the RIGHT group of girls and I feel so alive.  I hope these girls had as much fun as I did!

We had a fantastic dinner at Edibles downtown Rochester and I’m a bad blogger who forgot to take a photo of my scallops & brussels sprouts!  The Truffle tots were to die for as well.  Not to mention the brut champs…

The book that was chosen for February was this one:

It wasn’t beautifully written, so if you’re looking for a great piece of literature, this most likely isn’t for you. It was however, very gripping and kept me turning the page literally — this was the book where I was on page 77 and then couldn’t put it down until I finished at 1am.

It’s about a girl who stops at a rest stop due to some extreme bad weather.  She is trying to race the clock, as her mother is dying in a hospital bed.  She pulls off at a truck stop and ends up seeing a little girl kidnapped in the back of the van.  There are only a few people there, so she has to figure out who she can trust and whom she cannot, as the life of this little girl is in her hands.

I won’t lie, there were parts when I literally had to skim through…I can’t handle blood, guts and gore very well.  Nor did I like the awful situations mentioned, but they were brief and overall I enjoyed the book.

I’d give it 3/5 stars.

Oh and as for going out on a Tuesday night?  I most likely did not need the very last drink, “In da Club,” but it was so worth it.  Next time it’s a Thursday evening, so that won’t hurt so bad in the morning!

Bliss: Wine Bar

Last week I had a big night out–I went to a book club/wine night!  For some it may sound super dorky, but I honestly was looking forward to it so much and it was way better than I had even anticipated.

I have lots of gals who love to read in my life and one who lives local started a little “Book Therapy” Facebook Group.  We don’t have to read the same books, but when we do read, we share the books we love and can chat about them etc.

A new swanky little wine and dessert bar opened recently, and the owners are SO sweet, down to earth and just adorable.  I could tell they put so much time, effort, energy and thought into all of the details of Bliss.  (It helps that I love the name, since it was my maiden name!!)

The wife came up with the idea to have a little book club at the bar, and this was their second meet-up.  She asks trivia questions and there are even prizes to be won!!

I had literally just bought my copy of this book, Elin Hilderbrand’s The Perfect Couple, so it was simply meant to be.  The book, in my opinion, was an excellent Summer read!! It had mystery, love, and lots of characters to help you get lost in the story line.  I won’t give away anything, but if you love a good chick lit mixed with a “who done it” vibe, grab yourself a copy and enjoy!

I reached out to a few my girls and a good book & some wine were all we needed to hear!  I realized as I was driving there, how little of this kind of thing I do for myself.  I’ll workout, I’ll go on date nights with Joe, I will do my hair/nails etc.  However, I do not spend nearly any time hanging out with other mamas/women and talking about something I love so much–reading!

For $25 we got to choose a glass of wine, (I went with the rosé), a small plate (I did the pizza) and a dessert (chocolate all the way!)  How fun is this?!

The cauliflower crust was something I wanted to try, as it’s all the rage, and it was SO good.  I love pizza and this legit curbed my craving. Artichokes, broccoli, herbs…amazing!  I was hungry so I actually finished the whole thing! It very much reminded me of a thin crust pizza.

The desserts both looked to die for– I had a hard time choosing which to indulge in, but I went with the chocolate.  I could barely eat half, I was so stuffed from dinner!

The atmosphere is so chic and cozy!  Dark walls, funky light fixtures and cool sculptures create such a cool vibe.  I think it will make an excellent retreat come Winter months! I can totally see myself and my hubby curling up in a corner booth with some red wine, or even meeting some girlfriends out for some snacks and drinks.

I can’t wait until the next “Book Club” meeting! Not only was the place itself fabulous, but allowing all of us readers to indulge in ‘dorky’ conversation about all the books we have read, plus one particular book was so fun.  We all had our phones out taking notes and taking screen shots of what we should read next, where to find the best deals/free books and how some books are just so whacky!

Being a former English teacher, I was right in my element and had so much fun discussing literary elements, character development and basic plot summaries.

More than the book discussion though, it was the female bonding time.  I know, I know I probably sound super cheesy, but seriously!  All of us feel like, “The worst mom ever.”  We all are so hard on ourselves and live in our own little bubbles…but here, we can air out our frustrations of motherhood and this beautifully crazy thing called parenting!  We lifted each other up and gave support, we shared how sometimes we give cereal for lunch or pull the takeout card too often, and inspired one another to maybe give a little bit more.  Isn’t that what it’s about?  It was also so crazy to hear how a mom of a 15 year old girl feels, vs the current state of being a mom to littles.  I know that all too soon, it won’t be cool to sit outside with me by a campfire, so I’ll take the ‘being pecked to death by chickens’ as much as I can for now. (with some more breaks like going to Bliss mixed in!)

If you are in or near Rochester, certainly take the time and check out Bliss!!  I will be retuning for the Cava bubbly–one of my FAVES!  Oh, and I will definitely be utilizing UBER so I can enjoy more than one glass of these amazing wines.

Cheers!

Meeting The Real Housewives

Saturday night my friend got us tickets to go see some of the Real Housewives at a nearby casino.  We were going to make it a real “Girls Night” and stay in the hotel, have a nice dinner, enjoy the show and SLEEP IN the following morning.  However, #momlife called and Brooke had dance pictures scheduled for 8:30 the next morning. #Awesome.  It’s all good though we made it work!  My amazing husband arranged to get out of work early so that he could drive me (it’s a bit of a drive and I didn’t want to drive home late alone). We had a couples dinner and he played some Blackjack, (and won!) while Ann and I were watching the show. In all honesty, the TV series itself doesn’t do much for me any more…and I can only tolerate it in small amounts, BUT I have always loved me some Teresa Guidice and I may or may not have read/own most of her books!

I decided to bust out the Loubs for this special occasion!

This girl and I have been friends since Freshmen year of college–straight up first day of school we met!  1999…we majored in the same field, Secondary Education English.  She may have taught me how to party and to rock confidence like no other.  I was her maid of honor 13 years ago, and she was mine 8 years this July. We live 2.5 hours apart and between jobs, kids, and life, we rarely get to see each other!! But when we catch up, watch out world!

Ann and her husband Brennan

My sweet hubby!!

Aside from the delicious bottle of Rosé bubbly we shared, and oysters, this dish was outstanding! Lobster, shrimp & scallops in a scampi sauce over asparagus.  I died! I will be recreating this dish in the future!

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We sat 2nd row, yes SECOND row!! She hooked us up with these seats!  The stage was set up much like Live with Andy Cohen and the whole bit was a Q&A sesh with our questions! One of Ann’s questions was picked!

It was pretty entertaining and the crowd was fun.  Teresa, Ashley & Brandi were really down to earth! Ashely is hysterical and Brandi is a bit of a #hotmess but hey, aren’t we all? She is definitely more on the raw/raunchy side.  Teresa was really quite calm and really cool.  She did mention “camp” which I giggled at because, girl, I love ya but jail is jail.  She did say however, she often wonders if she should have done the show or not.  I can’t imagine putting my life on display like that for all to see…it takes guts I tell ya!

We decided right before we went in to do the “meet and greet” which just meant getting a few hugs and photos.  The cost supposedly went to a charity, but when do we ever do stuff like this? Never.  I am not mad about paying a little extra for this experience!

Ann was the first in line to get her photo op!

I can’t remember exactly what we were all laughing at but I could have stood up there and talked to them for awhile!

I really wanted to hug T and I totally #fangirled and told her how I have all her cookbooks and that she’s totally my favorite. As I went to walk away after photos, I did tell her good luck and that she’s a great mom.  Lord knows us mommas always need extra support. With her husband in jail, and just losing her mom, I can’t imagine how hard it must be raising 4 girls on her own.

They were all so nice!  The only bad part was how quick it went! I could have curled up with another glass of bubbly or two…

I think it was Brandi who said something first, but the next thing I knew, they were all complimenting me on my hair! LOL

The all wanted to know who does it and how does it look so healthy! I about died.  I get my hair inspiration FROM The Real Housewives so it made my night.

As I turned to leave Teresa asked, ‘hey what’s your name?!’ I replied, “Jenn!” And they all said, “Bye Jenn!! Thanks for coming!” It was totally cool, I can’t lie!

Thanks again B for an unbelievable night!! I don’t know if we could top this one…but I’m willing to try!

PS we totally went back and forth months on what to wear!! Ann went with a hot little Express lace jumpsuit & red moto jacket & and did my black moto jacket & leggings from Express and Banana Republic top.

Accessories: Stella & Dot baby!

Curling wands = big hair!