Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Final Day in Punta Cana, 4 Book Reviews, Back to Life

Thanks for following me on my trip guys!! I promise i'll be back to semi-regular posting/commenting soon! :)

So backing up... Monday I got up not. wanting. to. leave. Sad! We quickly packed up, hit the breakfast buffet for the first time (and wished we'd done it sooner - amazing!) then got on our transfer, hit the airport and flew back to Atlanta, reading and sleeping the whole way! We landed around 6, customs was quick, took the marta to the car, picked up the sushi and got home to little Reuben!! (he had been in a doggy daycare while we were gone but Austin's aunt Sharon picked him up and had him there so he didn't have to stay another night!). Our little family quickly unpacked, got clothes in the laundry and got in bed to REST. We were all beat! LOL Here's the last pics of our trip!!

Last days pics at Punta Cana's Iberostar Grand Bavaro Hotel
Loved this board walk to the 'bar boat'
Still couldn't get over how pretty everything was in the lobby and atrium
This was towards the front - not sure where the flamingos had gone!
This is walking towards to the hotel from the boat
Ah - the boat - good times!
The outside of the surf & turf restaurant!
Outside of the Japanese restaurant
Ah - the fabulous entrance
A shot of one of many seating areas
Last pic there while we were waiting on our transfer to the airport
One of the sides of the hotel (it was shaped like a U with the pool/boat/etc. in the middle - this was the right side of the front part of the U).
The driving entrance - our van is behind that bush waiting for me to get in it to go to the airport!
Speaking of the airport - isn't it adorable?!
The Delta area was so nice!
Boarding the plane - gotta love walking on, and the fact that we boarded and deboarded from the front and the back. Made for a quick getaway!
Last picture of Punta Cana taken right before I entered the cabin

Now, as promised, it's Book Review Time!

So my trip to the library turned out to be a success! I have read 4 of the books so far – giving all between a 4 and a 4.5! Here are the reviews.

Book Review #1: Nicholas Sparks’ The Last Song
So I knew nothing about going into this book – which I think made me like it more. It was basically a story about a New York teenage daughter and her little brother whose parents got divorced. They were going to spend the summer with their father at the beach. Lots of interesting characters come out, a few surprises and ultimately a nice lesson about forgiveness. I really enjoyed the book and even cried. I give it a 4.5/5. All that would have made it better is if the past – what made that girl so surly – had been a bit more developed. It was hard to care about her for a while as she was SUCH a pill!

Book Review #2: Sophie Kinsella’s Twenties Girl
Again – knew nothing! It was a book about a girl who was having problems. Boy problems. Work problems. You name it. And she was kind of in denial. Then all of a sudden at her great aunt’s funeral she begins seeing a ghost – a ghost of her aunt at age 80. Hilarity ensues, as well as mystery. At first I was like are you kidding me? A ghost? Lame. But it was really good and I enjoyed the ways that her and her aunt were able to help each other and have fun doing it. A very cute book (if you’re okay with suspending reality)! I gave it a 4/5. It would have gotten a 5 if it had been a little less with the fantasy (I mean come on – the ghost can control peeps?) and a little shorter (if you’re going to do fantasy keep it to 300 pages).

Book Review #3: Leslie Meier’s Mother’s Day Murder (a Lucy Stone Mystery)
This was a new author for me. The book was on the short side but it turned out to be just long enough. The story opens with a full-time mother and worker just trying to enjoy life and keep her kids on the right track. Then she stumbles on a body. And then finds some issues with one of her daughters as the murder unfolds. It was a sweet, cute story and again – to the point which I liked. I was definitely surprised at the end and enjoyed it! I give it a 4/5 – probably would have given it a 5 if it had been a bit more involved. It was definitely a surface-level light read which was nice, but it was a little too light to me without much wrap up. I will try another one of her books though – maybe go back and read them in order!

Book Review #4: Nicholas Sparks’ Dear John
I knew a bit more about this book going into it, and had seen the movie on the plane ride over. Dislike the movie, liked the book a lot more. It was a story of a guy on R&R who meets the girl of his dreams. They fall in love after two weeks, and quickly become pen pals writing each other to stay connected while he’s off in the army and she’s in school. The story follows them as fate keeps them apart, and there are lots of layers to the story including his father and her friend Ted. I enjoyed it, although it was very, very sad. And the ending was super depressing to me, too. I gave it a 4.5/5 – would have been better if it had ended the way I wanted it to!! Haha And in all truth, I was annoyed at him for staying gone so long…

I am now reading my first Joanne Fluke book, a Hannah Swenson Mystery, called The Fudge Cupcake Murder! It's really cute so far.

On to my Tuesday (AKA day back at work).
  • 2 hour meeting including 1/2 bagel, 1 tbsp cream cheese, pineapple, strawberry and a slice of cheese.
  • fat-free hot chocolate during 1-hour meeting.
  • 4 mile walk with Stacy during lunch- great to catch up!
  • lunch of chicken fried rice (I had frozen it before we left). It wasn't amazing but it worked!
  • snack of popcorn, more work, more meetings
  • back to the gym for a 2-mile walk
  • back to the house to hang with Austin and Reuben. Austin had done laundry and worked on his new office - yay! (more on that to come!)
  • we made two casseroles, ate beef enchilada casserole for dinner and worked on Austin's office more
  • I ended the night at 10:30, ending up at 1,589 calories, 189 carbs, 34 fat grams and 93 protein grams. Here's what I ate.
Do you have a favorite airport? I know that's random - but so far mine is this one in Punta Cana! Love that was it was in a hut! LOL

Any hotel/resorts you're a fan of/would go back to in a heartbeat? So far this is my #1 favorite. I'm still working on my review for Trip Advisor/you guys!!


homecookedem said...

That airport is so adorable!! What an amazing and unforgettable trip for you 2! So glad you were able to have such an awesome trip and that you made it home safely.

I loved both of the ritz carlton resorts my family stayed in when we went to san juan and st. thomas! So nice and luxurious!! :)

Hope you're enjoying being back with your sweet Reuben boy!! :)

Shelli Ryan said...

We went to Punta Cana on our honeymoon and I loved the airport too!! I loved walking to the plane and boarding from the back!

Gabriela said...

Glad you enjoyed your trip so much!! I went to the Club Med Punta Cana several times as a kid (15 years ago, I'm starting to feel old!), and back then the airport was even more quaint....just a single thatched roof, and you watched as they took all your stuff out of the plane and claimed it on the tarmac. Times definitely have changed!!

Last May I went to Antigua for my cousin's wedding, and we stayed in one of the most beautiful resorts I've ever seen. I'd love to go back, but considering the price tag on that trip, I don't think my dad would be down for it :)

Amanda@SenseiTalks said...

You guys look like you really enjoyed the trip!! That airport is so effing adorable, I can't wait to get there :-)

I am a huge fan of Sophie Kinsella books. Will have to check this one you read out..Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The pics are absolutely amazing - no wonder you didn't want to leave!!

Glad you guys got back safe and sound!

I hardly ever fly - I don't go anywhere! :(

Kacy said...

I'm always so sad on the last day of vacation. I get really bummed out. That hotel is seriously so beautiful! I'm impressed.

Sunny said...

wow, even the airport looks amazing! looks like you had a wonderful time, must have been such a bummer to have to come back home after a vacation in paradise.

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

What a fun vacation. You look so cute in your sundress! Thanks for sharing all those pictures.

I've never been in an airport that cute!

Melissa said...

I know that sad feeling when you have to go home from a fabulous vacataion. I always get that way!:(

Lindsay said...

AWESOME pictures! Looks like your having a great trip!!!

Erica said...

Glad ya'll had fun!!! Its so hard to end/leave a vaca! I would go back to Secrets in Mexico where we went on our honeymoon ANY TIME!

Tyler said...

Looks like a blast! I think the hubs and I need to book a honeymoon/vacation STAT! But unfortunately, he deploys soon and that just won't be happening. GRRRR!

GraceP said...

When I visited Negril Jamaica about 12 years ago we took a puddle jumper from Montego Bay to Negril. The airport in Negril was literally a shack. And the runway was built for a designer's show with models -- not airplanes! It was cute and scary all at the same time. I love ALL airports to be honest - they are the doors to your adventure!

Your trip looked amazing - we are heading to Mexico this fall and I can't wait. The worst part of vacation is that last day. I usually cry.

Anonymous said...

I love all of your pictures! I am glad you had so much time. What books would you recommend for Nicholas Sparks book lovers? I love his books but can't find similar ones -- love, drama, etc.

Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly said...

The Kona airport in Hawaii is pretty cute!

Pam said...

I am glad you had such a nice trip...your hotel looked amazing and the airport was really cute.

I am not sure if I should read Dear John...I hate a sad ending.

Anonymous said...

Jason's really big into tropical vacations so I might suggest this Punta Cana and this hotel to him for next year. We went to Cancun last Fall and our hotel was kind of awful.

kelly pearce said...

I love the Kona airport in Hawaii. My favorite hotel by far is the Grand Hyatt in Kauai. It was truly paradise! I would go back there tomorrow and possibly retire!
Your trip looked amazing, trying to talk Ryan into taking a vaca...

Anonymous said...

Okay, your dress in these photos is heartbreakingly adorable! Want it. Also, the airport looks so quaint. As long as the plane I get on is large (and does not feature propellers) I'm good to go. :)

Last Song made me cry too! I read it on our honeymoon sitting by the pool. My husband thought I was crazy crying in Jamaica. Even though you kinda know what's coming it's sad!

We made your ranch chicken in the slowcooker on Monday. DELISH! Looking forward to making it again.

Oh, and I'm totally from ATL also. Spent the first 22 years of my life there. Small world!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

What a great trip! But I'm glad you are reunited with Reuben! All your photos are amazing, and I love your dress!

Thanks for the book reviews. I really hope I'll find/make some time in the summer to read more, and I'll use your book list for inspiration; I know there a few books on it I really want to read...

Mica said...

Ha, I get freaked out at airports like that because I somehow think they are less reliable. (I am pretty afraid of flying.) My LEAST favorite airport is probably Detroit, ugh!

Glad you had a nice trip and a safe return. You packed a lot in during your vacation; I bet it's hard to be back. (Yay, back to running at least!)

Anne Marie said...

I'm so glad you had a great time!!

Anonymous said...

Looks like SUCH a beautiful spot.
Just found your blog and I love your style! I really enjoy quick + to the point book reviews too. So, I'll be baaaack! xoxo

Joey said...

We stayed at the IberoStar right next to that last March & we were able to tour the one you just stayed at but it wasn't quite done. I showed my husband the link from your first day & he even said, "I hope they've made some improvements since we were there" so we're thrilled to hear you loved it! Looking forward to reading your full review - it would be somewhere we would consider going in the future!

Kacy said...

I'm always so sad on the last day of vacation. I get really bummed out. That hotel is seriously so beautiful! I'm impressed.