Book Things

Book time! I have been reading a lot lately and I finished a lot of books over the last few months and I have been meaning to talk about them for ages. So this post will be book heavy, just a heads up. Another heads up, I kind of suck at book reviews.

Silver Star by Jeannette Walls <- Synopsis there

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I have to tell you that the Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is one of my favourite books of all time. I think maybe I have already told you. I have read it several times, have recommended it to probably everyone I know, and I find myself thinking about it randomly from time to time. Something about that story really resonated with me. I think it will stay with me forever.

This book I read back in June and when I was originally finding photos of the covers of the books for this post I completely forgot that I had read this. So I don’t think it will stay with me forever, however I did enjoy it while I was reading it. I LOVED Bean, the main character. I just want to read about all the adventures of Bean. Such a bright young whipper-snapper she is. In all of her books I think Jeannette is really good at writing likeable and relatable characters. Anyway, I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a quick light read with a good story.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn <- Synopsis there

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Gillian Flynn’s first novel. Not exactly a light read but it is pretty quick. I got through it in a day or two. And the opposite of likeable, relatable characters happening in this book. Everyone is messed up. Like completely messed up. I didn’t dislike the main character, but I can’t say that I really liked her either. The entire book had a dark and dreary feel to it, when I was reading it in my head I pictured everything in gray. Most of it made me wonder WTF I was reading and also feel seriously thankful for the life that I have. I did also find it kind of predictable…

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn <- Synopsis there

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I guess I was on a Gillian Flynn kick. That lady sure knows how to write a crazy story. I borrowed this from my bestie Lisa when she was visiting and she warned me that it was disturbing, and I have to agree. It is a disturbing book. It is quite gory, and some parts were very hard for me to read. But I felt compelled to read it! Again, I’m not sure I really liked any of the characters, but overall I enjoyed this book. When I wasn’t reading it I kept thinking about it. I even had dreams about it. Lisa and I both agreed that we didn’t enjoy the ending as much. Well, I didn’t mind half of the ending, but without getting into spoiler detail, the other half I thought was a cheap way out. An easy fix. You’ll see if you read it.

I can see why Dark Places and Sharp Objects are not quite as “mainstream” as Gone Girl. They are both just darker.

Speaking of disturbing…

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver 

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Synopsis (it’s a short one)

Eva never really wanted to be a mother – and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin’s horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.

I think we need to talk about how disturbing this book is. Fitting because I heard about this book in the GOMI book club forum about the most disturbing book you’ve ever read. Yep, this is up there for me. But it wasn’t hard to read in the same way that Dark Places was. I actually found this book fascinating. The book is in the form of letters Eva is writing to her estranged husband, but that honestly doesn’t take away from the story, and it reads like a novel. The writing in the book is kind of over the top descriptive, and in the beginning I found it annoying and I wondered if I would be able to finish it. But once the story got started I got really into it, and then I had trouble putting it down. I found it so interesting to read about someone who was so deeply disturbed, clearly from birth. Even if it is fiction, it got me. I don’t know why it is so fascinating to read about troubled people, but it is!

Looking For Alaska by John Green

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Synopsis:

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

I loved this book. I adored the main character, Miles (Pudge). He reminded me of my brother and his best friend. I loved the idea of the Great Perhaps. It’s young adult and a pretty quick and easy read, but it was well-written and I enjoyed the story quite a lot. It has a similar feel to his other book The Fault In Our Stars, and this book also got me in the feels… You’ll see. I think it is going to be a book that stays with me for a while. Now I am anxious to read John Green’s other books.

The Silent Wife by ASA Harrison

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Synopsis:

Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept. Expertly plotted and reminiscent of Gone Girl and These Things Hidden, The Silent Wife ensnares the reader from page one and does not let go.

I bought this book because it was on sale at Walmart and I wasn’t crazy about the rest of their book selection. And it’s a Canadian author! The super sad thing is that the author of this book died of cancer before it was actually published. I found that out after I finished and it made me sad. It is a mystery/suspense type of book, and it wasn’t anything completely memorable, but I did enjoy the story and it had a few good twists. The twists can’t quite compare to Gone Girl though. It was just not on that level (it’s been compared to Gone Girl, which is why I bring that up). I absolutely hated the silent wife’s husband. I spent a lot of time wanting to punch him while I was reading. I thought their whole relationship dynamic was very weird and difficult for me to relate to. Another book that makes me thankful that I have the life and relationships I do.

I think that’s it! Have you read any good books lately? I am always adding to my to-read list. I am currently reading City of Thieves and loving every minute of it.

Mr. Bolter found his Forever Home

But sadly it is not with us… Spoiler though, this story has a very happy ending.

So here is the thing. We love Bolt.

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He is the perfect dog 99% of the time, but we knew going into taking him that he had behavioural problems. He is on prozac (well, fluoxetine, which is prozac), that his vet recommended and prescribed.

I always thought that his first owners ruined him because they didn’t train him, and did who knows what else to him (before he went to the rescue and Dawn and Mark got him and fixed him as much as they could), but now I wonder if there is something in his brain…a mental illness or a chemical imbalance. Like he’s not quite wired correctly. The bottom line is, he has anxiety and some fear aggression issues and living in a condo is not the best place for him.

I mentioned this before. He has a problem sometimes with other dogs (mainly dogs that are bigger than him) and some strangers (mainly loud men). But the bigger problem is that his triggers are unpredictable. Some you get to know, but some are a surprise, so every situation he is in you wonder how he’s going to react. Is he going to perceive that situation as a threat and lash out at someone? Or will he be calm? Because he usually is calm, but sometimes he’s not, and you just don’t know which it will be. At my Bestie Lisa’s parents for the weekend, for example, he was fine. Camping with Ian and Dorothy, he was fine.

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In an elevator with a screaming little girl who is very clearly afraid of him? Not fine.

Living in a condo with a dog with anxiety is an issue because of the strange people and the other dogs that you inevitably run into. Bolt will have certain days where he is more anxious than usual, and when he’s with us and other people he is used to, he’s totally fine. We could do anything to him and he would like it.

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(unless you wake him up when he’s sleeping and try to get him to move, he does not like that)

But with strangers…he can react without thinking. It is best to avoid strangers on those days, when he is more anxious. But living in a condo and avoiding strangers is impossible. Every time we took him outside for a walk we would run into someone or something that could potentially make him anxious (again, unpredictable, you don’t know what sort of situation he will react to). Evan brought Bolt back in from a particularly eventful walk once and was all “Can this building throw ANY MORE weird situations at Bolt?!”

For us we felt like we were walking on egg shells every time we got into a crowded elevator with him, or walked into the enclosed lobby with other dogs. And for Bolt, it was not the best environment for him because again, it increases his anxiety and makes him uncomfortable.

We felt a little uncomfortable leaving him with people also, which is unavoidable for us. When we went to the Bahamas my friend Hannah stayed here and watched him, but we worried. He was fine, but we don’t 100% trust him with strangers (not Hannah, he liked her, but when she took him outside).

If we were planning on moving in a year we would just get through it until we moved somewhere with a yard, because I tell you we truly, genuinely love him. He isn’t a bad dog! But I don’t know when we will be moving, and now doesn’t feel like the right time. It could be a few years from now. For Bolt to stay here, where every day was unpredictable for him, it was mostly unfair to him. He needs to live somewhere with a yard, where he feels safe and secure, with an owner who loves him, and where he is not running into all the strangers strangers and their dogs LITERALLY every time he goes anywhere.

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Evan and I made the final decision on this in mid-August, so we started contacting rescues to see if we could find him a home. None of the rescues were overly helpful, but their mandate is to save dogs that are in immediate trouble/danger and Bolt wasn’t. We said we would keep Bolt until we found a good home for him, however long that took. So I understand where they were coming from.

We heard nothing back, and when we got back from the Bahamas we wavered on our decision and thought maybe we would keep him because we couldn’t let him go to just anyone… And also that little coconut has weaselled his way into our hearts.

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But then last week happened. One of the rescues added Bolt to Petfinder as a courtesy post and they included my phone number in his description. Early last week a man named Tony contacted me asking about him and he was very, very interested. He said he had the same breed of dog, an American Eskimo, for 17 years and she had just passed away a few months ago. So he knows about all the quirks with that breed. He was thinking about getting another dog but he said he wasn’t sure it was the right time…until he saw Bolt’s little face on that website. He said when he saw Bolt it felt like fate.

So he came over that evening and spent about an hour and a half with us, getting to know us and Bolt. It seemed too good to be true. Tony is in his early 40s, has a house with a big yard, and he and Bolt just seemed like a match made in heaven. I could tell by the way he talked about his other dog that he genuinely really loved her and that Bolt would be spoiled. He showed us pictures of her and had tears in his eyes. He works from home and is going to dote on Bolt, I can just tell. Bolt will be his world. That is another thing, Evan and I both work 9-5 and I know Bolt was okay with this but it wasn’t ideal.

We were very upfront with Tony about Bolt’s anxiety and issues, and he said he could deal and that he thought it would be better if Bolt was with him than someone else.

So Tony took Bolt home with him that night. Evan and I weren’t quite ready, it was so fast! But he drove an hour and a half to see Bolt so it would have been silly to make him come back. Letting Bolt go with him was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Evan and I walked them downstairs to say goodbye and when they drove away we could see Bolt’s little face peeking back at us through the car window… and we both lost it, we just hugged each other and cried in the parking lot. In the rain.

But it is for the best. For everyone. Tony has been sending us nearly daily photos and videos, starting the night he got Bolt.

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All Bolt wants is an owner that loves him, to chase squirrels in a back yard, and to be snuggled! That’s all he wants! It would appear he is getting it.

Tony said we can FaceTime with Bolt any time we want and can even come and visit him (which we are planning to do on an upcoming weekend).

I feel bad, guilty almost, that we couldn’t make it work out, and it is sad and we will miss him… But I know that this is best. For us, for Tony, but especially best for Bolt, and I think that is what makes the decision just a bit more bearable.

I will leave you with some more of my favourite pictures of Bolt from when we had him…

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Fingers (and paws) crossed that it continues to work out with Tony! But he said he is prepared to deal with anything so it’s looking pretty good.

Thanksgiving Weekend

This weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving! I have said it before, but I like when our Thanksgiving falls. There is ample time to recover from all the eating before we do it all over again at Christmas.

Evan and I picked up Brotherman and Kelly on Saturday morning and headed to Belleville to celebrate turkey day with their mom and nana. On the way we passed the Big Apple, which I now know is awesome since our stop there on the way to Emily’s bachelorette party in Montreal, so we decided to make a quick detour for pies. You cannot have Thanksgiving without pies. The Big Apple has quite the pie operation going on…

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Where the magic happens

So many pies!

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I wanted to get them all, but we just went with the traditional pumpkin and apple. And also a few apple fritters that we could eat immediately, which actually may have been the best apple fritter I have ever had.

No visit to the Big Apple is complete without a photo in front of said Big Apple. Brotherman and Kelly first…

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And then Evan and I. We had to take a couple before we got a nice one because Evan found a bulrush.

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And he proceeded to harass me with it.

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Until I snapped the end off.

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We also went over to the petting zoo area to see the animals, and this beautiful lama caught our eye.

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Those are quite the teeth. I thought she was cute though, in her own way.

Eventually we arrived at the Nana’s and had a happy reunion with the family. Evan’s mom’s friend brought a few witch hats for us to wear.

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I wonder if she is trying to tell us something…

Don’t worry, the guys weren’t left out of the Halloween hat party.

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We hung out for a few hours, chatting and watching the House Hunters International marathon (which makes me feel like I’m doing life wrong), and then it was time for Thanksgiving dinner. Which was amazing. Curry is the tradition at the Nana’s house (you may remember from last year), so she made us all lentils (which Evan also makes pretty often), meatball curry, yellow rice, curried potatoes, greens, ham, and cachumba (tomatoes and onions in vinegar, I think it is an Indian salad and it is very nice when accompanying curry).

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I was insanely full after that but I went back for seconds of just the meatball curry because I couldn’t get enough of it.  I like this curry tradition.

The Nana made apple crisp for dessert, so no need to break out our pie. It was REALLY good and I was just dying of fullness afterwards. We all just lazed around and were in bed by 9pm. But it was a very fun evening with Evan’s family.

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I am sad his mom and nana are a two hour drive from us, because I would like to see them more often. They make me laugh.

On Sunday we all had breakfast together before heading to Evan’s dad’s place to celebrate with that side of their family. That is where the animals are, you may remember. So we spent the afternoon doing the animal visitation rounds.

Remember Peanut, the little piglet?

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Well, she has grown.

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I got her from all sides so you can fully appreciate her beauty.

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She is large and in charge. And she enjoys oinking constantly.

This is Phil.

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Phil is a turkey, but Phil is not for eating! He is a pet turkey. I don’t think I have ever taken a moment before to truly appreciate how interesting-looking turkeys are…

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So knobby and bumpy and weird looking. His brain looks like it is on the outside of his head.

Phil spends his time stalking the guineafowl. Or maybe it is the gang of guineas who stalk him…

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You will occasionally see the guineas running by if you are inside and happen to glance out the window, and then Phil will be lumbering after them like a big T Rex.

This is Raisin.

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She looks kind of grumpy (and like a muppet) but I think she just suffers from resting bitchface because she is actually a very cuddly chicken.

And then there is this chicken…

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Apparently. That’s what I was told it was.

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They also look angry but are quite nice. Those poor guys had their beaks clipped before they arrived at Evan’s dad and Loulou’s, to deter them from pecking other animals.

This is my favourite donkey Zeke!

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I just love him. He is so nice. We like to tell each other secrets.

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There are also two horses.

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She really wanted in a picture with us.

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After the animal fest it was dinner time. Another great Thanksgiving meal happening over here… All the turkey things!

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I always forget how much I love stuffing. It’s probably good I only eat it a few times a year though, because when it happens I really appreciate it.

I was again full to the point of bursting, so we went back outside for a while before dessert, which was homemade pumpkin pie.

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This was very good pumpkin pie. I don’t even usually like pumpkin pie. Well that’s not true, I like all pie but my order of pie preference is lemon merengue – banana cream – pecan – any kind of fruit – pumpkin. But that pie may have bumped pumpkin up to number two (nothing will ever, ever beat my mom’s lemon merengue pie).

We headed back Sunday night and were home just in time for the Walking Dead, which I was on the edge of my seat for the entire time. Perched on the back of my seat may be more accurate. It was awesome and I was happy with how everything turned out. Yesterday we did a bunch of cleaning and stuff around the house, Evan made ham and split pea soup from leftover ham (OMG so good!), and we actually went to the movies for the first time in about a year to see Gone Girl. I loved it. I thought they did such a good job keeping it close to the book, and the casting was even better than I imagined. Evan really liked it also.

So a very good long weekend. I feel very thankful for this guy:

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And these two:

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And their families for letting me crash their dinners. And all the animals (which I do enjoy visiting, but I have to admit I’m glad they’re not actually mine).

I hope you Canadians had a great weekend filled with all the family and all the food and all the friends! I hope you had that even if you are not Canadian.

I love eating holidays!

Sandals Bahamas: The Food

Alright, food time! Yeah, I’m really dragging this out. Last Bahamas post and I’m all done. Probably.

It must be said, the food was very good. When I was in Cuba I had this vague not-quite-right feeling every time after I ate, and everything just tasted a bit off from what we gluttonous North Americans are used to. It was fine, but it wasn’t GREAT. But not here. I felt fantastic after eating. On the other hand, the Sandals Royal Bahamian did not have quite as much variety as I experienced in Jamaica, but everything available was delicious. We were not there for very long so I tried to eat as many things as possible so I could report back on my findings.

I found the pizza stand on the beach immediately after we arrived. I went there even before checking out the ocean. I was hangry (but still happy) after our flight.

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That did the trick. The pizza was so good! And so many varieties. You could order a whole pizza, or just by the slice. And the handiest thing, they had a little carousal filled with warm pizza slices that was replenished all day long, so it was very convenient to grab some walk-by pizza. I walked by and grabbed pizza several times, every day we were there.

The snack bar was right next to the pizza stand and you could also just run over and get snacks to bring on the beach.

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Again, handy-pandy.

Our first evening there we had a big group dinner at the Italian restaurant on the resort called Casanova.

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This would be the “kids” table

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I loved Casanova. We all thought the food was amazing. They had a nice antipasto and salad bar that I hit up…twice.

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I love that sort of thing. And I think everyone at our table ordered the same dish as our main. The steak.

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It was amazing. Really, really good. Melt in your mouth. And dessert:

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Also amazing, and I was skeptical. Also, for some reason I don’t seem to have the biggest sweet tooth on vacation. I just want salt. And all the meat and all the carbs and all the cheese.

We ate breakfast every morning in the one buffet, and nothing to really report there but they had lot of variety and everything was very good. I did not find long grisly hairs attached to the skin of my bacon, so that’s a win. I cannot say the same thing about the buffet at our resort in Cuba… Also, I highly recommend the omelette station. I had one of the best omelettes of my life on our last day.

Evan and I had a quick lunch in the buffet on day two, and there was a pretty good selection.

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Nothing too elaborate, but scalloped potatoes! It’s been so long! Not the best ones I’ve ever eaten, but not too shab-alicious. The chicken cordon bleu though, that was very good.

But no pasta bar! At least there wasn’t on the day that we were there. And on this resort there is actually no dinner buffet, only the a la carte restaurants, so no pasta bar for dinner either. I was very disappointed about this. I really love a good pasta bar.

We ate that before our massage and I didn’t want to eat a ton because I was going to be lying on my stomach while someone vigorously rubbed me for an hour. Being overly full for that did not sound like a good idea.

But I was kind of hungry afterwards, so we had a second lunch later. Or an early dinner. Whichever. We got room service, which is included at Sandals all-inclusive (of course it is).

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I had just gotten out of the shower when it arrived so yep, I ate it in my robe. That would be the jerk chicken wrap with plantain chips. Very good. And I loved the mini Heinz bottles. Definition of fancy right there. I wanted to steal them.

That evening we were on our own for dinner, so Evan and I made reservations for the French restaurant, Baccarat. I had read reviews that it was the best restaurant on the resort and it did not disappoint. I started with the escargot.

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Escargot, my car go, one sixty, swiftly

I don’t think I have ever had escargot before and I can’t say that I have ever really wanted to either…but when in the Bahamas. I actually really enjoyed those little snails. Or I maybe just enjoyed the garlic butter they were soaking in. Either way, j’adore. Evan got crab cakes and he really liked.

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My next course was mushroom soup and it was delicious but did not photograph well. Evan got the seafood bisque and said it was the best seafood bisque he’s ever had.

Next I went for the goat cheese salad, and, I cannot lie, it was a disappointment.

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I was under the impression that there would be goat cheese on my goat cheese salad, but the goat cheese was actually spread on the accompanying bun. I don’t know what Baccarat was playing at with that nonsense. More goat cheese less salad next time please.

And for my main I ordered lobster.

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Delicious. Just amazing. Could not get enough of that.

I am embarrassed to say that Evan and I were both too full for dessert, or maybe we were just antsy to get out of the restaurant and see everyone, because at that point we had been there for nearly two hours.

We were at the private island around lunchtime the next day, so for lunch we went to Stew Fish, the seafood restaurant.

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I started with the conch fritters.

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Delicious. So much better than I was expecting. Loved those.

My main was the pulled pork sliders.

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Ehh, ees okay. The buns were not the wonderful carby deliciousness that I had been anticipating. Something was weird about them. So it was only fine.

And because we hadn’t actually eaten at the snack bar yet, and it was Evan’s dream, we went over there for a double lunch when we got back to the island.

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I liked the salad bar.

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Particularly the feta. Makes it betta.

They also have REALLY good chips and salsa in the snack bar. Very good. So we got a pile of those. And for my second lunchtime main of the day, I ordered the grilled cheese.

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Pretty much what you would expect in a grilled cheese.

On our last evening together we had a group dinner off the resort. This was actually an accident as we had reservations at the French restaurant again that were dropped at the last minute because a wedding party wanted to have their reception there. Bitches. So took a couple of van cabs to the Poop Deck, an authentic Bahamian seafood restaurant in Nassau.

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The Poop Deck was an interesting place. Laid back but also a little fancy.

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I am not sure who it was catering to, locals or tourists, because it was very casual, but the prices were quite high (like at least $25 an entree). Our cab driver on the way home was saying that he didn’t think most locals who worked at the casino or were a cab driver, for example, would be able to afford it. I’m sure they get a lot of business from the resorts.

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Interesting selection of shots also…

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I regret not ordering a Nut Washer.

The Poop Deck definitely had a nautical, ship theme going on (would have been good for Emily’s bachelorette party!) and we all sat on the patio, which was open to the water.

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I ordered the Fisherman’s Plate: half a lobster tail, shrimp and grouper, with market vegetables and rice.

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It was very good. The lobster wasn’t QUITE as good as what I had on the resort, but still good. And that grouper was amazing.

It was such a fun and hilarious dinner. Actually, our whole trip was fun and hilarious. I really loved our group.

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I was so proud of organizing that photo until I realized that two of my closest coworkers were in the bathroom during it.

Anyway, that’s it! I am sure I will have many more eating adventures to tell you about next week because it is THANKSGIVING!!! Have a great long weekend my beautiful fellow Canadians! Eat lots!

Bahamian Shenanigans

I already briefly touched on most of our shenanigans in the Bahamas in this post, but I have just a couple more things before we get to the food stuff.

We arrived last Monday around noon and after checking out our rooms, most of us headed down to that beautiful beach.

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We had a quick kick-off meeting that my CEO led at 3:30, which was in a boardroom inside but no one really minded. We just showed up in our bathing suits, drank the booze that was in the room, and then all headed back down to the beach afterwards.

After a group dinner we decided it would be fun if we all went to the Atlantis Paradise Island casino, so we all met in the piano bar beforehand.

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This ended up being my favourite bar on the resort. I loved the staff there.

Of course, no piano bar is complete without a piano man.

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And no piano man singalong is complete without Billy Joel’s Piano Man. So of course I requested it.

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I know I look like I am yelling at the piano man in the above photo, but I am just singing “SING US A SONG, YOU’RE THE PIANO MAN!!!” and I was pretty into it. So was he. So was everyone! Singing along with our group I think was one of my favourite memories of the trip. Someone has a video of it, so that will be hilarious to watch.

Anyway, drinks happened with new friends…

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And then we all piled into a couple of van cabs and made our way to Atlantis. It is not a short ride, just a heads up. It’s at least 20 minutes. But we got there.

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This is the only picture I have from Atlantis. We walked into the casino area and everyone lost everyone immediately. It was impossible to find anyone in there and no one’s phone was working so we couldn’t call anyone to track them down. Evan and I had a hard enough time keeping track of just each other. After wandering around for a bit I set up shop at a blackjack table. I am not a fan of slots because I feel like I just put all my money in there and it never comes back to me, but with blackjack I feel like I have more control. I ended up winning $50 in about an hour, so I more than doubled our money! Evan and I took our winnings and used it to get back to our resort. I was pretty happy with my $50, but I found out later that my coworker won $200 on the penny slots! Maybe I need to rethink the slots…

It is my DREAM, my absolute dream, to go to the Atlantis water park one day, it just looks ridiculous. So obviously we are going to have to go back. We only saw the casino, but it was still a fun time.

Day 2 was breakfast – beach – snorkeling adventure – lunch – Scents of love couples massage – pool

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Shower + get ready – romantic dinner for 2 (more on this when I talk food) – party time.

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We found everyone in the piano bar and brought them over to the English Pub (called Crickets and they had the best mozzarella sticks ever) where quite the limbo competition was going on. This guy was pretty impressive.

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He lost there with that hand on the floor, but still he was very limber.

It was a fun night with the coworkers and their friends and (not pictured) lovers.

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And our boss.

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I don’t want to name drop here or give you the wrong impression that I am important, but there were a few VIP’s (on the business front) on this trip with us and it was pretty interesting to see them letting loose in vacation mode.

Eventually we made it outside since it was gorgeous out. And you tell me this pool doesn’t look inviting.

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We wanted in there. We talked about going back to our rooms and getting into our bathing suits, but if I went back to my room I wasn’t coming back out… and the girls agreed. I brought up going in as we were, in our clothes…and surprisingly the girls were in. So, when in the Bahamas…

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Just like our midnight swim in Jamaica. Only this time we didn’t get kicked out of the pool. No one seemed to care at all. We actually played volleyball for a while. And just sat around shooting the you know.

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Quite a time. The funniest thing about these photos is our boss is taking them. 

Day 3 we rolled out of bed and into our bathing suits, and then over to the buffet. After breakfast we hit up the private island where we swam in that amazing ocean for hours and hours.

One of my coworkers was being a paparazzi.

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We were frolicking.

It was such a beautiful day.

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We ate lunch on the island, came back to shore and at lunch again in the snack bar and then hit up the pool for the rest of the afternoon.

Our last night was a big group dinner with everyone off the resort. And that about sums up the activities. More to come on food stuff!

Sandals Royal Bahamian: Our Resort

As I mentioned, several times, we stayed at the beautiful Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau, Bahamas. I feel pretty lucky to have stayed there as I think a Sandals would typically be out of the ol’ price range over here.

Past resorts that I have stayed at and written about are the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton in Lucea, Jamaica, and also the Brisas Guardalavaca in Holguin, Cuba. I like to get detailed about the resort not only so that I can have a record of where I stayed, but also for other people who are thinking of staying there and are looking for info about it (a blog reader actually stayed at our resort in Jamaica after I wrote about it, and maybe she was humouring me but she did say it was because of my review).

Let me tell you I wish there was a blog post like this one when I was researching about the Royal Bahamian before we left. Sure, you can check out Trip Advisor, but I find the reviews on there are pretty hit or miss. You never know who the reviewer is, and some people just like to complain, ya know? I like to know what to expect.

Anyway, let’s get to it. It was pretty ridiculously beautiful. If you are into the whole sun, sand, and being pampered kind of thing.

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Which I am. And I feel like this is my climate.

This is apparently the oldest Sandals location and people in our group did say it was the most run down Sandals they had been to, and I also read that in some reviews. I am probably not the best person to ask about that because it looked friggin’ nice to me and I was impressed…but just keep in mind that it’s been around for a while. It seemed to me like they did a pretty good job with the upkeep, and most of it has been refurbished.

Our room was great.

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Just fabulous. I love a good four poster bed.

And I was quite a fan of this:

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This is my third all-inclusive and I have never had a bar in the room like this (in Jamaica there was beer in the fridge but that was about it). Evan saw this and was all “Whoa, we be gettin’ crunnnnnnked!” but in reality I think we had one glass of rum each. We barely spent any time in our room. Though I did have a few cans of beer from the fridge while I was getting ready for dinner activities in the evenings.

Here was the view from our balcony:

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So no complaints about that!

The resort had two main pools. The one our room looked onto, which we called the party pool because there always seemed to be a party happening in there…

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This picture was taken before 9am so the party pool wasn’t quite happening yet.

And the quiet pool.

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Pretty much the same as the party pool but…quieter.

Evan and I both preferred the quiet pool and spent two afternoons hanging around there with various coworkers of mine. Both pools had swim-up bars, which are very important in an all-inclusive resort pool (look at me talking like I’m a pro, about two years ago I had never even been away anywhere!)

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The service was great. All around, not just in the swim-up bars. The staff were fantastic.

Both pools had floating rafts which I actually had a little nap on one afternoon…

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And in the quiet pool area there was a waterfall and this angry god.

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Evan would be recreating this beautiful picture from Cuba…

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He likes to shower with random statues (who doesn’t).

We were in the Royal Windsor room complex, but some of the more private villas had private pools.

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For all the lovers, you know. And yes I felt like a supreme creeper in the bushes taking that photo…

But the most important part of any resort is the beach! The beach was very beautiful and the ocean was warm and lovely, but the beachfront was very small.

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The beach is separated by a big pier in the middle, and you can swim and leisure on either side, but it is still very small. Our resort was very contained and there were other resorts (one actually might have been a private residence) on either side of us.

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They do have all the fun water things you can rent, like kayaks, water trikes, sailboats, etc. We tried to rent a water trike one day (because they are hilarious and look like big tractors), but unfortunately it was too windy to take it out.

The other thing about the beach is sometimes when you were swimming in the water you could smell a strong sulphur scent. Evan had actually read about this before we left and was explaining the reason behind the sulphur smell…but still, even if there’s a good reason, sulphur smells like rotten eggs and it is not a dream scent while in paradise.

To make up for the small sulphur beach though, this resort has a private offshore island and a water taxi will take you there every hour (or you can rent a kayak). The private island has two insanely beautiful (and big) beaches. One that faces back to the resort…

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And one that looks out to the deep, blue sea of forever.

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This beach was my favourite. The water was so incredibly clear and the sand was nice and…sandy.

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Photobombed.

About 8 of us took the earliest water taxi over there on our last full day and spent hours there. It was a dream.

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In addition to the two beautiful beaches on the island, there was another pool with a swim-up bar and a seafood restaurant called Stew Fish (more on that in the food post).

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I didn’t go in this pool at all, but it looks pretty nice.

Evan and I also went snorkeling on our first full day. You can borrow masks, snorkels and fins from the main resort beach and they will take you in a boat about a kilometre off the island.

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Not THE BEST snorkeling, but not too shabby at all. We saw some pretty fishies, and that’s all that matters.

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The only annoying thing about the snorkelling was that you couldn’t borrow masks and snorkels from the offshore island, you had to get them from the main resort beach. But you also couldn’t borrow them and then take them over to the island by yourself, you had to go on the snorkel boat and do the snorkelling at a scheduled time (and our boat was full so my coworker friend and her husband weren’t able to come with us). I wish I had known this in advance because I honestly would have brought our own equipment. People who had their own equipment on the island saw an eel, a stringray, a lobster and a turtle just off the beach and I was jealous. I saw no such things.

Some other cool things around the resort… Many, many statues, and many fountains…

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And many gods…

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I originally thought that was Zeus, but since we’re near Atlantis Paradise Island I am going to say it is probably Poseidon. Either way, that statue was huge.

There were also little coal fires everywhere along the beach.

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Which were very nice at nighttime when they were lit and you could lounge around them.

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Tres romantique!

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That is actually a professional photo that a resort photographer took while we were chilling by the fire one night. They also offered to do a complimentary photoshoot with us around the resort, which was very nice, but unfortunately the timing didn’t work out for that. Apparently they offer it to all their guests, but no one in our group took them up on the offer.

The only thing about the Bahamas, or maybe just Nassau, the area we stayed, is that I don’t feel like I got an authentic island experience like I did in both Jamaica and Cuba. Off the resort is very Americanized. I’m sure it would still be fun to explore (we didn’t have much of a chance), but it’s difficult to picture the culture when just beyond the gates of your resort there is a Domino’s Pizza, a dentist and a Dairy Queen.

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I don’t feel like there was a ton to do at this resort aside from laying around on the beach, which don’t get me wrong, I enjoy…but I don’t think I could have done it for another day so we were there for the perfect amount of time. If I was going for a week I think I’d pick a different location so we could do some off resort adventuring and experience some culture.

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All in all though, it was very nice and we had a VERY fun time. I would definitely recommend the resort. It was very popular for young newlyweds, so if you didn’t just get married be prepared for everyone you meet to ask you if you are on your honeymoon.

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I know this is misleading but we are just on a trip with my coworkers.

And now you have a background of where we stayed and I can move onto the fun things :)