Summertime Happenings

by Jenn (eating bender) on July 31, 2014

It’s hard to believe that we’re only a little more than a month into summer. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m currently editing magazine articles about pumpkins and fall foliage (my favorites). Luckily I need only walk outside for Arizona to remind me of exactly where we are on the calendar. Nothing screams ’tis the season more than cookies baked in the oven sun at 114 degrees.

Still, it’s a dry heat. 😉 Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

We’ve been keeping busy whether there’s sunshine, monsoon rains or dust storms. A few weeks ago, my friend Lauren came to visit, which is always a lot of fun. (I also got my ears lowered!)


We celebrated the Fourth of July with my family and patriotic Dutch babies for breakfast.


Lauren also joined us on the links, all of us festively dressed in red, white and blue.


And Papa Bender made us a yummy dinner: crab legs, corn and veggies.


The next day, Lauren, Bobby and I took a road trip to Prescott to check out Watson Lake.


It was gorgeous, although kind of crazy how low the water line is this year!


Although we didn’t do any kayaking, I think it would be fun to go back and try it sometime.


On the way home, we stopped at Scoopz for some ice cream and checkers “strategery.”


The rest of the trip consisted of a lot of relaxing and Dawson’s Creek. Thanks for coming, Laur!


The following weekend I hosted a “day in Paris.” It was an idea my friend Sheena came up with after we expressed our mutual love for Marie Antoinette. I mentioned that I hadn’t seen the movie with Kirsten Dunst, and so Sheena, Nicole and I decided to make a day of it. We started with Sunday brunch at Petite Maison. All of us decided to order the croque “mistress,” a sandwich with shaved ham, petit basque cheese, smoked bacon and a fried egg. It was a bit strong on the Dijon mustard, but overall really good!


After brunch we headed back to my house, where together we created quite the dessert feast. I picked up a variety of macarons and some French bread from Whole Foods, while they brought a delicious assortment of pastries and drinks from AJ’s. We spent the afternoon sipping and savoring while watching Marie Antoinette and Moulin Rouge. Loved them both.


The next weekend, it was time for another meeting of Reading Between the Wines!


This month’s book club pick was We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Like most of the other reviews I’ve read about this book, mine will be short and sweet. You can’t fully understand the mystery behind We Were Liars until the ending is revealed, so it’s best not to give much away before that. Some people may see it coming, but I had no clue – and it made for a big shock! This was a fast read and I really liked the author’s writing style. I think the Goodreads summary describes it best:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

If you’re intrigued, check it out and let me know what you think! A few of my favorite quotes:

“Do not accept an evil you can change.” 

“He was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. I could have looked at him forever.” 

“Someone once wrote that a novel should deliver a series of small astonishments. I get the same thing spending an hour with you.  Also, here is a green toothbrush tied in a ribbon. It expresses my feelings inadequately.”

My contribution to this month’s book club was a pasta salad, which turned out pretty tasty.


July is nearly over, and I’m proud to say that I have now read 30 books and more than 9,300 pages. I’m hoping this means my goal of 15,000 pages for the year is within reach!

Goodreads - July copy

There have been some really good reads lately, and I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you on those soon. For now, I’d love to know what you’ve been up to this summer.

What new things are going on in your life?



1 Erica July 31, 2014 at 6:59 pm

I’ve missed your posts! Hair looks fantastic. I always say this, but I want to eat at your parents house. I always forget how beautiful Arizona is. What a fun party! I always enjoy a good pasta salad. Tomorrow is Kay’s birthday!

2 Jenn (eating bender) July 31, 2014 at 8:00 pm

I miss you, too!! Thank you. :) And yes, Arizona is beautiful, which is why you need to come visit soon…hehe. Happy early birthday to Kay! Can’t wait to see pictures!

3 katie July 31, 2014 at 11:40 pm

We were Liars is on my to-read list and I’m on the waiting list at the library. I’m really excited for it, even though I didn’t love the other book I just read by lockhart.

Great job on the goodreads book/page challenge!

4 Cara (Twinthusiast) August 1, 2014 at 10:05 am

Those pics of Watson Lake are stunning! I love those Marie Antoinette movies — did you ever read Abundance? Also, I don’t think I’ve ever had a Dutch baby and that needs to change.
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5 Jenn (eating bender) August 9, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Yes! You actually are the reason I read it — and that book is what sparked the Marie Antoinette conversation. I loved it. :) We’ll have to make Dutch babies someday soon.

6 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner August 1, 2014 at 10:42 am

Love the hair! It is so fun seeing pictures of Arizona. It is so beautiful and in such a different way than Wisconsin. I would love to go kayaking on that lake.

Also, thanks for the new book recommendation! I keep adding books to my wish list on Amazon, and then I have a nice way to bring a list with me to the library. :)
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7 Jenn (eating bender) August 9, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Thanks, Chelsea! You should come visit AZ sometime soon. :) I love the idea of adding books to your wish list on Amazon…genius!

8 Monica August 8, 2014 at 12:56 am

Looks like you are perfecting your scenery shots.. they look amazing!! As do those Dutch baby pancakes.. would love to try making them sometime :)

Also can’t wait to hear about your latest reads! I’m still in catch-up mode.. just finished Gone Girl (I know, so 2012).
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9 Jenn (eating bender) August 9, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Thanks, Monica! You should definitely make Dutch babies sometime. :) I just finished another book from Gillian Flynn – Sharp Objects. It was as creepy as Gone Girl, but with a much more resolved ending (in my opinion)!

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