Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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White Sandy Beaches

Since I took a hiatus from the blog, I want to go back and cover some things that happened during that hiatus. Our wedding was a major part of the time which could cover many, many posts. Those posts are TBD. But the honeymoon was definitely the best part of my hiatus (besides the vows of course, honey) and I definitely want to share that.

My husband planned the honeymoon with a little help from Jennifer at Epperly Travel. Regardless, it was one thing I did not have to think about at all and yes, I completely trusted him with this planning. And he actually succeeded in keeping it a surprise! Jennifer was very helpful with the details and it was nice to know there was someone there to handle any last minute details or unforeseen disasters. He had some parameters we discussed together – beach, all-inclusive, and not somewhere that took a lot of travel time (have to maximize that vacation time). I definitely recommend going the travel agent route for your honeymoon and Epperly Travel was fantastic.

We ended up at Sandals Emerald Bay Resort in Great Exuma, Bahamas. I won’t lie – when I heard we were going to the Bahamas, I was a little underwhelmed. When I think Bahamas, the only thing I picture is Atlantis and super water slides and tourists. But that image could not have been further from the truth. Great Exuma is further south than Grand Bahama, Nassau, and the better-known parts of the Bahamas. It was a 2 hour non-stop flight from Atlanta (perfect) to the quaint little airport in Georgetown then we were shuttled the mere 20 minutes to the resort.

My next recommendation for an all-inclusive trip is to splurge at least once for the butler service. It just makes your trip feel that more special and personal. Our butlers made our dinner and spa reservations, claimed beach chairs for us every day, brought drinks and snacks to the beach, brought dinner to the room if we wanted to dine in, and just made sure we had everything we needed at all times.

So how was it?! The beach was beautiful and about a mile long, private just to the resort guest. The weather was perfect – not too hot and I think I wore a sweater one evening while we were there. April is a great time to go. Two pools – the party pool and the quiet pool gave good options depending on your mood. The food was delicious. There are 11 restaurants and we ate at 10 of them. One is just coffee and desserts and some are just for lunch. Our favorite was definitely La Parisienne, the French restaurant. It was so nice to not have to worry  about paying for anything.

There are also plenty of activities included if you are not the lay and do nothing on the beach type. We do enjoy laying doing nothing (at the beach at least), especially after the wedding, but we made sure to try out a couple activities. There is a cruise-ship type schedule of activities every day (corn hole tournament, karaoke, etc.) if that’s your thing. There are water sports included. We went out on a hobie cat (like a sailboat) and took a kayak out one day. There are also swings and hammocks along the beach which was a nice change of pace from the lounge chairs. This resort also has golf if that’s your thing!

I realize this post is getting long so I am going to save our excursion for a separate post because there is plenty to say about that as well. It really is like a cruise on land! We also hit up the spa for a couples massage and it was wonderful and relaxing. You have to treat yo’self on your honeymoon!

This was my first all-inclusive and my first Sandals experience and I really have nothing but good things to say about it. Sandals Emerald Bay was perfect for us. We have a list of others we would like to visit because we will definitely be repeat Sandals customers.

I leave you with a little video I made. It was fun to have a Go Pro on the trip to get some extra memories and water pictures and video. Look for the excursion post to come – it was definitely the icing on the cake.

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New Year – Renew Blog

I took a little break from my blog but I’ve been wanting to start again. And what better time to start than the first day of a new year?! 2018 was a fabulous one. I got married to the man of my dreams. We traveled. We cook and try new restaurants. And I read a lot of books. 32 to be exact. Which is where I’ll restart my blog for the year. My blog will still be mostly what it was – books, food, travels, and random thoughts.

2018 was a good year in books for me. I plowed though my Goodreads challenge of 25 books with a whopping 32 books. I love stats so thank you, Goodreads, for providing me some for my reading – my rankings of books, longest book read, etc.

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I had a decent mix of fiction and nonfiction. Though most of my nonfiction was Bachelor related – apparently I got on a kick and some of the fiction was based on true events. I also had a number of stories that took place during different wars. I still need to watch The Zookeeper’s Wife movie. And let’s not forget the marriage books – The Most Important Year, written by my previous boss and his wife, my husband and I read together (half the book is for women and the other half for men) and the other recently read with our first married couples small group through church.

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Fiction is still my favorite and I definitely have reading patterns. Jojo Moyes is still one of my favorite authors and I still have a lot of her books to read. My other favorite is mystery/thriller – especially in the vein of Criminal Minds/behavioral analysis.

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I do not absolutely love every book I read. Some are harder to get through than others. Arcadia was very slow and The Handmaid’s Tale was actually very disappointing after watching the tv show. That might be the second time I’ve ever said a show/movie was better than a book.

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I reread my favorite book of all time – Redeeming Love. I found a great new author – Tana French. Dark Matter was a surprisingly good science fiction novel.

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I’m excited for another great year in books. I’ve set my Goodreads Challenge to read 34 books so send all the recommendations. I’ll be writing actual reviews for individual books again but I thought this overview was a good way to kick off the new year. Happy reading and happy blogging again!


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The Girls

The Girls by Emma Cline was a nice diversion from the types of books I’ve been reading lately. The main character is a woman who is reflecting back on when she was a girl and the group she became involved with the summer before high school. A group that ended up doing a very horrible thing. It’s interesting and captivating. My only complaint is that there are not really any details about how this has affected her as an adult and that she seems completely fine and normal, which is possible, but not likely considering the memories she is living with and seemingly reliving on a regular basis. It’s also hard to believe that she was never, at all, brought into the aftermath of this horrible event.

The book was still a good read and was hard to put down at the end. Enjoy!

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The Nest

Goodreads is telling me I am 10 books behind schedule to win my 2017 reading challenge. I was maybe a little ambitious this year. But I’m not going to let it bother me. I’m also trying to intersperse some podcasts in between books, so I’m not going to feel bad when I don’t read 35 books this year.

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney was a quick read but was a great narrative on family relations and dealing with hardships. Although the Plumb family is not what I would call a typical representation of the American family, what they deal with is the same as what many families deal with. The difference, to me, is how they deal with it. Or at least try to deal with it at first by trying to solve every problem with money. But in the end they learn some lessons.

I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads – ‘really liked it’ – so grab it from your local bookstore or library and enjoy!

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Small Great Things

I’ve read many Jodi Picoult books and consider her to be a great writer of fictional, take-to-the-beach type books. So when I saw she had a new novel out, I didn’t even read the synopsis before grabbing a copy.

Small Great Things was probably the most personally challenging book I have ever read. Depending on who you are, it will make you uncomfortable, make you relate, and/or make you question yourself and the world around you. It is a detailed story of race and privilege. Even if you are not (or believe you are not) racist, there are inevitable prejudices we all have due to our society. This story broadcasts such prejudices, whether slight or extreme, into a spotlight.

My only complaint is the end still wraps everything up in a nice neat bow and I think it was a little unrealistic. Although most characters were based on people Picoult interviewed, so I guess it’s not completely out of the question. I also enjoyed reading, after the end of story, her thoughts about writing this story and the journey it took.

This is not a happy story but it is an important one that I appreciate her writing. Enjoy!

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Eligible

Don’t worry, the title of this post isn’t describing me. Still engaged 😉

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld may be my favorite book this year. A modern Pride & Prejudice, which I obviously love (original book, movies, you name it). But this is not just a similar story. The characters are the same and have the same issues and personalities, but with a 21st century twist. Liz is a writer for a major magazine, Jane is a yoga instructor, and all the younger sisters still live at home mooching off their parents. The best part is that one of two main men, Chip Bingley, is a reality show star (Eligible = The Bachelor).

This was such an entertaining read. I’m not sure if it’s because I love the original story so much, but if you do, you’ll love this. If you’re not familiar with it, I’m not sure it’s as entertaining but I still think it would be! Enjoy this great end of summer read!

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Opening Belle

Although I am way behind on meeting my reading goal for this year, I’m just going to keep enjoying my books and not really try to catch up. I’ve also been slacking on posting my reads. I finished Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry a couple weeks ago.

It was a good read but not great. In my opinion there were too many storylines. They were semi-related storylines, but it was just too much going on. The main character is a woman trying to have it all – work in a man-filled world of finance and keep a house and two children. She’s also trying to work out some kinks in her marriage while being thrown into a working relationship with an ex. Although I appreciate this story and the details of gross inequality in the working world, the main character was a little disappointing to me. Although she was doing her best, which I can appreciate, she’s a little flaky at times.

Overall, this is a great, easy, and empowering read. For once I actually think the movie – that Reese Witherspoon is working on – might catch me more than the book did. Enjoy!

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