Book Review: The Blue Bistro

I am officially declaring Elin Hilderbrand as one of my new favorite authors. Last year, I read Beautiful Day, thoroughly enjoyed it, and decided then that I would be reading more books by this author.

The Blue Bistro was a definite page turner for me, and the perfect beach read. I loved this book.

It’s a story that takes place one summer on Nantucket Island. The main character is a young woman named Adrienne Dealey. She’s lived a somewhat nomadic life up until this point, moving from one resort town to the next as a hotel worker, never putting down roots.

She finds herself on Nantucket Island flat broke. Acting on a tip from someone she met on the ferry ride over to the island, Adrienne goes to The Blue Bistro in search of a job. There she meets good-looking Thatcher Smith, co-owner of the restaurant, and is offered a position as the assistant manager for the restaurant’s final year.

There’s a bit of mystery going on with the Blue Bistro’s co-owner/chef, Fiona, who does not want to be photographed and rarely, if ever, comes out of the kitchen. The close relationship between Thatcher and Fiona is one that both intrigues and infuriates Adrienne, who finds herself more and more attracted to her new boss.

In no time, Adrienne learns the restaurant business, rubs elbows with the island’s rich and famous, and enjoys the work as well as the generous income the job provides. Over the course of the summer, she falls in love, questions are answered about the mysterious Fiona, and Adrienne comes to terms with the past that she’s been running from since childhood.

The Blue Bistro has everything I like in a beach read – interesting characters, a bit of glamour, a little romance, as well as humor and heartbreak, and it’s a book that I highly recommend.

What is your favorite Elin Hilderbrand book?

Long Time No See

My first post of 2015!

Yes, I have neglected this blog once again, but that has become part of my blogging style. There has been a reason for my longer than usual absence. Nothing earth shattering, mind you. I’ve just been doing some writing.

My version of writing would actually be categorized as not writing. It’s more like planning and outlining for weeks on end. Writing little bits here and there. Starting a scene, then abandoning it. Starting a writing project (in this case, a novel) and abandoning it for what sounds like a better one, then outlining the crap out of that idea.

When I get to the point where it’s time to stop planning and start writing, I cannot articulate into words (or the right words, anyway) the scene that’s going on in my head.

I choke.

What comes next is a downward spiral of despair where every hour of the day I ask myself why I bother. Remind myself that I suck. Who am I kidding? Yada yada yada. After about five or six days of that I come to my senses and realize this is part of the writing process.

Lack of experience, lack of discipline and lack of confidence are holding up my novel-writing progress, so I’ve decided to set it aside for the moment. I have a boatload of unfinished/abandoned writing pieces and only three completed short stories under my belt. Perhaps it’s too soon for me to dive into writing a novel.

The only way to gain experience or confidence is to put in some serious writing practice. And that’s exactly what I plan to do.

Photo Journal: Tis the Season

IMG_2930IMG_2943IMG_2936IMG_2951 - Copy_edited-1IMG_2999IMG_3017IMG_3028-001In my last post I mentioned that I’ve been reading Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin. Currently, I’m working my way through Chapter Two, which is about camera settings and modes. On Sunday, I practiced working on exposure – aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Exposure is something I really don’t have the hang of yet, so I took detailed notes, grabbed my camera and walked around the house taking random shots.

It was a gloomy, overcast day and very dark inside the house, which posed a challenge. To start off, I decided to set the camera mode to Aperture Priority and allow the camera to choose the shutter speed for me. In each situation, I took note of how the shutter speed changed based on the angle or lighting in the room, which helped me understand how exposure settings work.

I took about a hundred shots. The above pics are the best of the bunch. I think I’ll stick with learning about the camera settings and modes for the next few weeks before moving on to the next chapter. Maybe by then I’ll have a better handle on how everything works.

Yarn Along: UFOs and Photography

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The sweater project is on a temporary hold for now.

I completed two swatches for the sweater, one on size 9 straight needles and one on size 9 circulars. My gauge was perfect on the straight needles, however, they’re too short to knit a sweater. The circulars are a hair slimmer than the straight needles and my gauge was off a bit on that swatch, so I thought I’d try a swatch on size 10 circulars.

I went on a hunt for my size 10’s and found them with an abandoned project attached to them. The bag was a little too complex for me four or five years ago when I first started, and I’d ripped it apart at least three times and re-knit it, getting to about the same point each time and screwing up the pattern. It ended up stuffed in a plastic bag, which was then stuffed into a big tote bag with several other unfinished objects.

My plans of starting the sweater this weekend were completely shot when I discovered those other projects. One thing I found was the garter stitch scarf shown above. I started it long ago and never finished. It’s a big chunky design done on size US 35 needles. I finished it up on Sunday night. I’m not really sure why I bother with scarves. I live in South Florida and have never in over 30 years of living here used a scarf, but now I have another one to add to my small collection.

The question now is – Do I work on the bag or do I just remove those size 10 needles from that project and move on to the sweater? There was also a small lap blanket found in that stash of UFOs, which is also calling my name. Decisions, decisions…

On to books.

IMG_3004I’m still reading my mystery from last week and enjoying it. I’ve been itching to get in some photography practice, so this weekend I pulled out my copy of Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin. I’ve been a fan of her blog for years, mainly because I have an obsession with food photography. I have no particular interest in photographing food myself, but I admire Helene’s photography skill and I’d like to learn how to become a better photographer. Hence, the reason why I bought her book. It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for over a year, and I decided it’s about time I cracked it open.

I decided to go through the book slowly and start with the basics. Right now I’m re-learning about exposure. My plan is to experiment with different exposure settings until I really understand what I’m doing and somewhat master those basic ideas. Then, I’ll move onto the next section in the book.

Over the weekend, I took quite a few practice photos, which I’ll be posting some time this week. It’ll be interesting to see how I progress.

Linking with Ginny’s Yarn Along