Monday, February 29, 2016

Nashville Bachelorette Party:: #PermanentHickey



This past weekend was spent in Nashville for a girlfriend's bachelorette party and we had a blast! She is the happiest bride I have ever seen and was loving every second of her special weekend!

I took off work on Friday so we could head to the festivities, but not before attending a Blues game on Thursday night with Michael and a couple of our friends! The Blues lost, but our seats were perfect and we had a great time.


I was feeling a little under the weather Friday morning, so we had a delayed start to the day but finally got on the road around 9:00. Luckily, with the help of some cold medicine, I was feeling great a couple hours into our road trip. We took a pit stop in Metropolis and couldn't pass up this fun Superman photo op!


Traffic was rough, and our five-hour road trip quickly turned into six.  We were ecstatic when we finally arrived around 3:00 and were able to get checked into out hotel room. How cool is this view of the elevators at the Sheraton?!


After we got settled, it was time to meet up with the group at Honky Tonk! We walked in and things were already getting wild. The bride was up on stage dancing and having a great time! The band was fantastic and the people watching was on point. Definitely a great place to kick off our stay in Nashville!


After a couple hours at the bar, we went back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner and then headed back downtown. We grabbed a quick dinner at Bailey's before checking out Rippy's and enjoying a lot of live music and dancing. The night ended with a little chit chatting with the hotel security guard while making some easy mac...normal!


Saturday morning, we woke up and headed to a boozy brunch at Saint Anejo - such a neat place! We ate some Mexican food, sipped a few too many drinks, and the bride opened her beach-themed party gifts. I thought the basket Jess and I put together for her turned out adorable! 



After we finished up our boozy brunch, it was back to the bars for us. We bounced up and down Broadway, making pit stops at bars like Tootsies and The Second Fiddle. We laughed, we danced, we sang, and we loved every second of it! I even managed to get a hold of the Blue's hockey sticks for a bit back at the hotel. I know they were thankful they had me to carry them ha!
  


Sunday morning, we packed up early to head home. I spent the afternoon lounging around and exploring the farm with Michael. It was the perfect end to a fun weekend.




Sincerely,

Emily Ann

Monday, February 22, 2016

Garett Cole

Garett Cole
This past weekend was an extended one spent at home celebrating the birth of my new nephew, Garett Cole. He was born on Wednesday, February 17th and is absolutely perfect! I adore his blonde hair and can't wait for more baby snuggles.

I am one lucky Auntie!
Grandma and her boys!
One of my favorite pictures! Those boys sure are lucky to have such a great Pap!
GG got a little loving too!
One good looking family

Since Dani had a c-section, she had to stay at the hospital until Saturday, which meant that Mom, Dad, and I got to spend a lot of time with Gavin! He is just the cutest kid around. He started calling me "E" which I absolutely loved and kind of hope it sticks for a long time. I don't mind being Aunt E!

He wanted to wear my boots...they look better on him ;)
Such a ham!

The weather was BEAUTIFUL while I was home. It isn't often that you get 70 degree weather in the middle of February, so I took full advantage of it! Gavin and I played outside, I went for a couple runs, did a little shopping with Mom, squeezed in a little fishing, and even enjoyed a few hours on the Harley with Dad!

Helping Grandpa feed the cows!

We caught quite a few fish and even fried them up for dinner!

No ride is complete without a couple pit stops

Needless to say, coming back to work today was tough. I am already itching to go home and see my nephews again!

I hope you all had a great weekend too!

Sincerely,

Emily Ann

Friday, February 12, 2016

2016 Weekly Bits:: VI

Attended:: Bridal Shower
One of my friends from college is getting married in March and she had her bridal shower this past weekend. She is just too cute and made the whole shower so much fun! I'm eager for her bachelorette party in Nashville in a couple of weeks!


Tried:: 99 Hops House
After the shower last weekend, Jess and I headed out for a few drinks. One of our pit stops was at 99 Hops House in Hollywood Casino. Their beer options were endless! The bartender even offered up several samples for us to try!


Read:: After You
Last year, I read the book Me Before You by JoJo Moyes and have been patiently waiting for the movie to hit theaters on June 3rd ever since. I discovered that there is a sequel to Me Before You last week and couldn't wait to dive in. I'm hoping to finish it in the next week or two and I'll be sure to post a review!



Last Week's Steps:: 79,489
I lost my weekly competition with my friend, Heather, last week. She better look out because I'm going to beat her this week!




2016 Logged Miles:: 50
Knocked out another 27 miles last week bringing my 2016 total to 50 miles! I'm considering setting a goal of 1,000 logged miles in 2016. It'll be a hard goal to meet, but I think I will give it a try!


Sincerely,

Emily Ann

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Book vs. Movie:: The Choice


As I’ve mentioned before, I am a big fan of reading books before their movies are released. The first big book adaptation on my radar this year was The Choice. The latest film based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, The Choice centers around Travis Parker, a good-natured man living in small-town North Carolina, and Gabby Holland, his new next-door neighbor. In typical Sparks-fashion, the two quickly fall in love and their worlds are forever turned upside-down and they are confronted with a life-changing choice.

So, how does the movie stack up to the book?

Characters:: In the book, Travis is written to be this mild-mannered, down-home country boy. He is devoted to his friends and family, but he is still relatively reserved and likes to keep to himself. The movie version of Travis (played by Benjamin Walker) was basically the total opposite of this. He came off as quite arrogant and obnoxious, especially at first. When he first meets Gabby in the movie, he is convinced she is into him and it was pretty off-putting. He is constantly cracking jokes and never seems to take things seriously. Movie Travis was like a completely different character than the much more endearing version presented in the book.

While Gabby (played by Teresa Palmer) was a bit better represented than Travis, she still lacked a lot of the qualities that made book-Gabby a good character.  Most notable was her lack of development.  In the book, she was very mindful of the fact that she was cheating on her boyfriend with Travis, and felt a lot of guilt about it.  In the movie, there seemed to be none of that.  She never wrestled with her feelings and seemed to have her mind made up just like that. She, like Travis, also suffered from being a little too over-the-top and obnoxious on screen.  I wanted to like them and root for their relationship, but it just fell flat for me.

On the bright side, Travis' sister, Steph (Maggie Grace), was portrayed very well, and her character was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the film.  


Plot:: Similar to any Nicholas Sparks story, The Choice is about two characters who meet and, soon after, fall in love. Books are typically better at conveying this process and how it takes place over a period of time, and that was definitely the case here. The movie plot of Travis and Gabby falling in love felt so rushed. It seemed like it took just a couple of days and they were already completely in love, and she was all set to leave her long-time boyfriend with zero regrets. Conversely, the book did a much better job portraying how she struggled with her feelings for a while before ultimately making her choice.

Another aspect that differed quite a bit from the book was the inclusion of Travis' ex-girlfriend Monica (Alexandra Daddarrio).  In the book, she was only mentioned very briefly, but ended up playing a pretty big part in the movie.  I thought this was an odd choice, and only seemed to add more "Hollywood drama" that wasn't necessary.  Along those lines, Gabby's Boyfriend and Travis also had much more interaction in the movie than they did in the book which also seemed included in order to simply add more drama.

Setting:: Another staple of a Sparks story is the coastal North Carolina setting. Once again, The Choice follows this pattern – and the movie adapts it successfully. This was one of the aspects I enjoyed most about the movie. The scenery was gorgeous, and it really seemed to nail that small-town, coastal feeling. I got the impression that this was a tight-knight, "everyone knows everyone" type of community, just how it was in the book.


Winner::  Book
In the end, there was really no comparison.  As usual, the book comes out on top.  The characters in the movie felt way off, the plot was rushed, and I was just left ultimately disappointed when the credits rolled.  If you were a fan of the book, I would not recommend seeing this movie in theaters -  instead I would wait for Redbox or Netflix.

There are still a few more book adaptations coming out this year that I am looking forward to including Me Before You, and The Girl on the Train.  So far, everything I've seen from these movies has got me excited so hopefully they don't disappoint!  What book adaptations are you looking forward to seeing this year?

Sincerely,

Emily Ann

Monday, February 8, 2016

Bridal Shower:: #PermanentHickey



I attended a bridal shower for one of my friends from college this past weekend and had a lot of fun! Her maid of honor hosted it at her house which was so adorable. We sipped sangria, munched on delicious apps, and laughed a lot with the bride-to-be!




Sincerely,

Emily Ann

Friday, February 5, 2016

2016 Weekly Bits: V



Enjoyed:: Warm weather!
Gosh, we had some perfect weather at the beginning of the week! I can't believe it was over 60 degrees in February. I took advantage of it and got in a couple of runs at the park!

Dined:: Highway 40 Brews
Michael and I had a date night last Friday night and tried out Highway 40 Brews. I was under the impression that it was a regular restaurant, but it was definitely more of a bar atmosphere. Oh well, the food was still delicious, the beer options were endless, and I had good company!

Read:: The Choice
I've had this book for a while and was looking for an easy read to knock out this week so I figured I'd give it a shot since the movie was coming out. I'm a sucker for a good romance book and while this one was pretty cheesy, I did knock it in time to go see the movie. Stay tuned for a full review.

Watched:: The Finest Hours and The Choice
I just realized that I've gone to see two movies in the past week. That's a lot for me. As I mentioned earlier, Michael and I had a date night last Friday and went to dinner and a movie. We saw The Finest Hours and I thought it was pretty good. It's based off the true story of the largest small-boat rescue in Coast Guard history and was pretty unbelievable!

I'm also a big fan of reading books and then watching the movie so I had to go see The Choice when it came out. I will say I was pretty disappointed in the movie. The majority of the details didn't match the book and the characters were much more genuine in the book than the movie. To be honest, I found the movie versions to be just a bit obnoxious. Anyways, once again, the book was much better than the movie!

Last Week's Steps:: 76,433
I thought I'd start posting my weekly steps to help keep myself accountable. Since purchasing my FitBit, I have been much more motivated to get my workouts in and have even managed to run every day this week. My friend and I have had a weekly challenge going on the past couple weeks and I barely pulled off a win last week. I'm slightly behind her this week so hopefully I can catch up!

2016 Mile Log:: 23 
I also thought it would be fun to start keeping a log of my miles for 2016. It will be a combination of miles walked and ran throughout the week. Last week I got in 23 miles by walking during my lunch and squeezing in a few runs after work. Think I can beat that this week?!


Sincerely,

Emily Ann

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Super Bowl Snacks

The Super Bowl is Sunday and I have been seeing so many delicious snack recommendations floating around social media. We will be attending a party with some of Michael's friends so I am trying to narrow down what appetizer to bring. Here are some of the options I've had my eye on:

1. Bacon Cheddar Crackers

2. Party Pizzas

3. No Bake Cake Pops


4. Brown Sugar Smokies


5. Cheesy Bacon Ranch Potatoes



Personally, I'm not too big of a sports person, so I will be attending the party for the snacks, commercials, and mingling! What are your Super Bowl plans?

Sincerely,

Emily Ann

P. S. My personal favorite snack is buffalo chicken dip, but I'm sure someone else will be providing that since it is a go-to appetizer around here!

Monday, February 1, 2016

February Lineup


February is shaping up to be a really good month!  Here's a look at what I currently have on the schedule:

Blues Game
  • As I've mentioned before, I'm not a huge hockey (or any sports for that matter) fan but I do love going to the games when the tickets are free! I'm looking forward to a little hockey, a couple beers, and some good company.
Bridal Shower
  • A Saturday afternoon bridal shower must lead to a girls' night out, right?! That's what I'm hoping for, anyways! I am definitely excited to catch up with friends and celebrate the upcoming wedding.
Baby McKinney
  • My second nephew will be here February 17th and I couldn't be more excited! I am taking a couple days off work to head to my hometown and spend some time with the family. My sister is keeping the baby's name a secret until he is born and let me tell you it is driving me nuts! I seriously cannot wait to meet the little guy. My sister is going to have her hands full with all of these boys!
Nashville
  • Guys, I've been trying to get myself down to Nashville for years, and every trip I have planned has fallen through. Well, not this one! My friend from college is getting married in March and we will be celebrating her bachelorette party in Nashville this month!  I can't wait to finally see everything the city has to offer!

Sincerely,

Emily Ann
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