golf academy recap at the absolutely magnificent Pinehurst Resort – part II

golf academy recap at the absolutely magnificent Pinehurst Resort – part II

bump dayIt’s Wednesday! Around here, we call it “bump day.” Each and every Wednesday we’ll post a tip, trick, gadget, or something fun and random to get you through the rest of the week.  

We’re back with the second half of our golf academy recap at the fabulous Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina! If you haven’t read Part I, you can check it out here. Go ahead…we’ll wait for you…okay, back to our story:

day 3

Our first official day of the academy and our nerves definitely kicked in. We made our way to Pinehurst No. 8 and met up with the fellow students. There were 24 in all, and we were so excited to see that over half were women! Girl power! We were split into three separate groups, and given our itinerary. The one session we definitely did not want to do first off was full swing. And guess which session our group was given first? Yup…full swing. Yikes! Nothing like starting off the academy with a bang! 

Pinehurst Golf Academy Schedule

The main reason we didn’t want to do the full swing clinic first is the dreaded video taping of the swing. In hindsight, we’re so glad we got to do that first. Any bad habits in your full swing are actually carried throughout your entire game. Yup, even in your putting. So it was great to get started on fixing our game immediately.

We completed all three clinics and broke for lunch. After lunch we were grouped with two other students, and an instructor, and went onto Course No. 8 for seven holes of on-course training.  Thanks to some major changes in our swing, we were a mess. Ree played like she never picked up a golf club before! So frustrating. But that’s golf!

Course No. 8

After seven holes, we were encouraged to stay and complete a full round on our own, but we were exhausted. Our hands hurt, our feet hurt, and our egos were bruised. We ventured back to the hotel, did some work (a blogger’s work is never done), and headed back up to the clubhouse for a cocktail party. Now that was fun! It was great to chat with all of the players and compare war stories from our first day. After that, we changed for dinner and had a fabulous meal at The Carolina Dining Room. It was all we could do to stay awake through dinner, and we were both fast asleep by 10:00. Golfing is hard work!

day 4

Our second full day of the academy and now we had a good groove going on. We polished off another great breakfast and went back to No. 8. After three hours of clinics and lunch, we went to play a different course, this time No. 3, with more on-course instruction. It was redemption day! Changes to our swings started to click and our games were noticeably improving. After only one day! We will say that we noticed a pattern in our play. When Bre was doing well, Ree was not. And vice versa. Funny how that happens. At least one of us was always in a good mood, and able to give the other a much needed pep talk. 

Ready to go in our new Pinehurst gear!

Ready to go in our new Pinehurst gear!

This time we played a full round. We were paired up with two wonderful guys, whose wives were also in the academy. These guys were good. Clearly they had been golfing a long time! Even with such different games, however, we all had a really great time. We were able to compare notes, and what we were taught in the clinics. In order to save time, we played a scramble and it was so much fun! Ree did get a bit of a surprise when she took off her glove after the round. Her left hand was so swollen! It would seem that the change in her grip, as suggested by the instructors, was having a bit of an affect on her hand. It was so swollen, it looked like it belonged to the dough boy! You can bet that the “Doughy” jokes started after that, lol! (Okay, if you haven’t read Part I of our recap, that would totally be lost on you).

After our round, we enjoyed some drinks at the clubhouse, chatted about our game, and what brought us to Pinehurst. We even managed to snag some souvenir cups!

US Open CupsThen it was dinner at the amazing 1895 Grille. We ordered much needed drinks, enjoyed filets and lobster, and even saved room for dessert. Did we mention the food was amazing?

Dinner at 1895 Grille

Dinner at 1895 Grille

We went back to our hotel with full bellies, a slight buzz from the wine, and a bit of sadness that it would all end the next day.

day 5

Our last day at the academy. We were sad, but also super excited because we had a tee time to play Course No. 2 that afternoon!

Our day started off with a review of what we learned, clinics to reinforce our teachings, and another video taping of our swing. The pressure was on. We were so nervous that we wouldn’t see any change, but we were so wrong! Our swings changed dramatically over two days. It was incredible. After lunch, we said our sad goodbyes to everyone, and made our way to Course No. 2. 

Ree's Swing Screen Shot

Check out the difference in Ree’s swing! The red line is the plane that the club should follow on the downswing. What a difference in posture and downswing from Day 1 (left) v. Day 3 (right)!

Course No. 2 at Pinehurst is legendary. Several US Opens have already been played there, and this June, it’s hosting both the men and women’s US Open back-to-back. We’re talking professionals here people. So that means this course is tough! Our excitement was replaced with nerves, and arriving slightly late (thanks to missing the shuttle), we were rushed to the first tee and had to start immediately. Gah! Bre held up alright, but Ree crumbled under the pressure, lol! She hit one bad shot after another, and the fact that we were paired up with two total strangers for a foursome was even more pressure. And did we mention we had a caddy? Yup. That was a totally new experience! Our caddy, Josh, was awesome! He was patient, knowledgeable, and down right fun to be with. 

With our amazing caddy

With our amazing caddy!

Once the nerves settled, it was an incredible afternoon. The fairways were narrow, and the greens were ridiculous, but we did alright. The 18th hole ends at the clubhouse and by the time we arrived, there was quite a gallery. I don’t know how the pros do it. The pressure! After Ree missed a 2-foot putt, one of the spectators noted she lost him $20. Sorry buddy! I’m sure he made it up on the next group, lol!

Scenes from our day on Pinehurst No. 2

Clockwise from left to right: Selfie on No. 2!; One of the difficult greens; With a statue of Payne Stewart; An awesome garden ornament on one of the fairways.

Pinehurst Collage

Clockwise from left to right: The No. 2 flag; Having a quick rest on the 17th tee; the Pinehurst Putter Boy; Ree putting on the 18th; Bre putting on the 18th.

We ended the day with a few of our favorite things – wings and beer. Oh baby, they were good!

Day 6

Time to go home. Nooooooo! Neither of us wanted to leave. We had fallen in love with Pinehurst, and all of the amazing things North Carolina had to offer that we miss so much. Cooler weather, pine trees, tulips, birds, and all of the other sights, sounds, and smells of Spring. We grabbed a few real estate books to bring home with us, to convince the husbands that we need to invest in some real estate there=)

It's been a long time since we've seen tulips and pinecones!

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen tulips and pinecones!

Our flight from Raleigh to Miami was quiet enough. However, our flight from Miami to Barbados almost didn’t happen! After getting some food, buying our duty free goods, and settling in to work (we work too much), Ree casually glanced at her watch. Um….boarding happened 15 minutes ago! OMG! We were 15 gates away and made the maddest dash for a plane you’ve ever seen. Bre’s a great runner, but the flip flops seriously slowed her down! We just made it to the gate in time. Leave it to us to end our trip with some drama and of course, lots of laughter!

After a movie, catching up on some reality TV, and a browse through the Sky Mall catalogue (which has the most ridiculous things – Ree’s first time reading this infamous catalogue!), we were home. It was hot, humid, and certainly not North Carolina. We were super sad to have left Pinehurst, but super excited to hit the golf course and show off our new skills. LPGA here we come!

Ree could barely resist this Sky Mall buy!

Ree could barely resist this Sky Mall buy!

In the end, we had an absolutely fantastic time. It not only lived up to our expectations, it far surpassed them. We had so much fun, and we learned so much, that we’re already planning our return. 

Putter Boy at Pinehurst

Since it’s bump day, we couldn’t finish this post without offering a few tips and tricks. Here’s what we learned at golf school:

  • On-course training is more important than you think. Spending hours at the driving range won’t help your game, unless you’re taking those skills and applying them to real-life golf;
  • When you’re in a green side bunker, and your ball is sitting near the lip of the bunker, CLOSE your club face and swing through the side the bunker. Most people would open up their club face, but closing it actually does the trick;
  • It’s not about taking your back swing all the way behind you. The key is to stop just before your arm bends. For some, like Ree, this may mean a shorter backswing;
  • Change your focus from getting the ball into the hole, to just getting your ball onto the green. Mentally, it’s a lot less pressure;
  • If you’re close enough to putt, do it. It’s easier to mess up a chip shot, than a putt. Again, the aim at that point is to get the ball on the green, not necessarily in the hole.

Happy Golfing! 

 b & r

 


golf academy recap at the absolutely magnificent Pinehurst Resort – part I

golf academy recap at the absolutely magnificent Pinehurst Resort – part I

Pinehurst, North Carolina is home to one the most amazing golf course communities in the world, and we were so incredibly lucky to experience it last weekend. We met and befriended a wonderful couple during our visit who recently moved within blocks of the resort’s clubhouse and they described it perfectly. They said, “Pinehurst is magical.” Although we were there specifically to work on our golf game, we did so much more! We met the most amazing people, ate at fantastic restaurants, soaked up the gorgeous spring weather, and experienced a community worth returning for.

And because we had such a phenomenal time, we really wanted to share it with you. Here’s a look at the first part of our fabulous trip:

day one

Spicy chicken sandwiches at Miami airport were the perfect start to a ladies’ weekend. “Wendy’s, it’s been toooooo long!”

Wendys Sandwiches

Then we had to, just had to, get ourselves some margaritas!

Margaritas

So what was the craziest thing to happen on day one? When we arrived at Miami airport, the immigration officer after asking what we were planning to do in Pinehurst asked, “And your husbands are okay with you golfing?” Really?! Perhaps he was surprised our husbands even let us out of the house? Can you sense the sarcasm?

Anyway, it was a very long day traveling with waking up at 4am and not getting to the hotel until 9:30pm. Somehow we managed to survive (a few drinks later) and were soundly sleeping by 10:30.

day two

We woke up refreshed (actually more zombie-like from the day before) and ready to take on our first day in Pinehurst. Bre was able to get in a 5 mile run, which she described as “heavenly.” And then we began with a magnificent buffet breakfast in our hotel. Oh, the choices!!!! Real bacon, apple sausage, french toast, banana pancakes, real maple syrup, and never-ending coffee!!! We were in paradise already.

Pinehurst Breakfast

Apparently though after our glutinous breakfast our waiter gave Ree a subtle hint that maybe she went a bit overboard.  Our receipt said “Doughy” instead of “Doughty”! LMAO! Ree said, “perhaps I shouldn’t have had that last piece of french toast?” And, of course, Bre died laughing! Yes, “Doughy” came up several times during the trip!

Pinehurst

After breakfast we registered for the golf academy, met Sue (the academy organizer) who is so incredibly nice, and stopped by the pro shop. So it looks like a lot…okay, okay it is a lot, but insert #expatliving and you’ll completely understand why sometimes we tend to really go all out at the first sight of a proper store.

Pinehurst Golf Shop Buys

After we walked over to the Pinehurst Village and browsed around the beautiful boutique shops. Just stunning!

Boutique Shopping

And Bre found some of her favorite lotion by Love & Toast.

Love and ToastAfter a very exhausting morning shopping and exploring the village, we headed back to our room, rested our feet, and prepared for our first tee time.

Pinehurst Resort

Ree (left) and Bre (right)

Pinehurst has 8 golf courses. Yes, 8! So when we arrived at the clubhouse, we were a little intimidated and quite nervous. It’s like Disney World for golfers. Rows and rows of fairways, several practice areas, even more spectator areas, and lots and lots of people. However, once we teed off and got through the first hole, which is always the toughest, the nerves subsided and we were on our way!

Pinehurst No 5

Ree on Pinehurst No. 5

Pinehurst No 5

Bre on Pinehurst No. 5

It is a gorgeous course and we had an unbelievable time. Bre was even over the moon that they had Amstel Light – IN A CAN! There are three beers in Barbados, so the variety from the beverage cart simply made our day! The nice beverage cart woman even asked for ID and said she thought we were in our twenties! So sweet!

Pinehurst No 5

Needless to say, we had a wonderful first couple days on our trip. Be sure to check out Wednesday’s post for the second half of our trip. It was a blast!

Pinehurst Resort

How was your weekend and Easter?

b & r


spring travel attire

spring travel attire

fashion fridayIt’s Fashion Friday! Once a month we’ll highlight some of our favorite fashion finds. Whether it’s for golf, running, yoga, everyday errands, or even wishful thinking (Hermès bag anyone?), we want to share it with you.

It’s mid-April and we are most definitely well into spring. This weekend is Easter, spring breaks are in full swing, and travel is on everyone’s mind. And if you weren’t lucky enough to get away over the winter, hopefully you have some holiday plans up your sleeve!

Living on an island, we’re pretty much forced to hop on a plane if we want to go anywhere. Between the two of us, we’ve been separated from North America for over 10 years, and have visited 27 countries, so it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about being on an airplane! And what we’ve learned from all those miles traveled is to dress comfortably and be ready for any temperature.

Today, we’re sharing with you our favorite travel outfits for spring and summer. 

Ree:

spring travel attire

Ree Travel Attire

When I travel this time of year, I always wear a basic uniform of a white tank, comfortable jeans, and flats. I can wear this outfit at the Barbados airport without melting! Then I layer with accessories for interest, color, and warmth, because 99% of the time I’m going somewhere a lot cooler than where I live!

spring travel attire

A light, pretty scarf not only makes your outfit pop, but it can double as a blanket if the plane is freezing. Or you can use it to cover your nose and mouth if the inconsiderate oaf in the seat next to you sneezes in your direction. Seriously, sometimes the worst part of traveling is the travel! I always have a sweater handy as well. For spring, it’s usually something light that can ward off any chills, but doesn’t add any weight to my carry-on.

Ree Travel Attire

Speaking of carry-ons, I love the Raspail from Louis Vuitton. It’s a durable leather, and large enough to hold everything I need for a long flight (it’s almost 6 hours from Barbados to Toronto,) but small enough to fit under the seat in front of me. Plus…it’s super stylish! 

Ree Travel Attire

Shoes that are easy to remove at the security line are a must! But they also need to be comfortable for walking around the airport. Cute flats in a bright color are the answer!

what Ree’s wearing:

Old Navy tank (similar)

7 for all Mankind jeans

Tieks tangerine flats

H&M sweater (in hand) (similar)

Target scarf (similar)

Louis Vuitton Raspail MM bag

Burberry sunglasses (similar)

line

Bre:

spring travel attire 

Bre Travel Attire

Traveling can be completely chaotic, especially as a mom. When I prepare for a plane ride the last thing I want to worry about is the clothes I’m wearing, so I try to create outfits that are comfortable, easy to get around in, but at the same time don’t scream, “Look out! Mom with a toddler traveling!” If I look well and put together, then I feel happy, I’m less stressed, and usually life seems to go just a little smoother. Of course the things missing in these pictures are my Vera Bradley duffle, stroller, and the cutest little pig-tailed four year old!

Bre Travel Attire

I adore this dress because it’s incredibly comfortable, a gorgeous color, and doubles as a blanket. I love to curl up in the seat, throw on the socks I bring along, and wrap the dress around my legs. I do carry a blanket with me, but it almost always goes to the little one. 

Bre Travel Attire

I usually though only get cold once the plane has taken off, because I’m no longer carrying several things, folding a stroller, getting a child through security (which, by the way, start your child traveling early and by four he/she will be better at security than most of the people around you), or running from one concession to the next loading up on snacks, drinks, and the like. This jean jacket is perfect for layering because it’s not too hot for all those before and after plane moments, and it’s easily paired with the outfits I usually pack.

Bre Travel Attire

I really love this bag from Desigual as well because it’s cross-body, has the perfect sized pockets for a few passports and my phone, and is durable enough to be kicked and tossed around. I love Desigual’s designs because they are bold and eccentric and will add a gorgeous punch to your outfit. And, of course, I can’t forget the shoes. These sandals are comfortable and easy to pull on and off my feet. The jewels on the t-strap are really pretty, and they always make me happy when I wear them. They’re like jewelry for my feet!

what Bre’s wearing:

Old Navy color block maxi dress (similar)

Max Jeans denim jacket (similar)

Desigual London cross-body bag

Calvin Klein Catarina sandals

Express large hoop earrings

Oakley Caveat sunglasses 

What are your travel plans this spring and/or summer? Do you have any travel outfit staples? What’s the one thing you always bring on the plane with you?

 b & r


the best paleo chocolate chip cookies

the best paleo chocolate chip cookies

bump dayIt’s Wednesday! Around here, we call it “bump day.” Each and every Wednesday we’ll post a tip, trick, gadget, or something fun and random to get you through the rest of the week. 

I have a sweet tooth. Probably not a shocker to most! And so when I first started following the paleo diet I thought I was going to go into some serious dessert withdrawal, but after a couple of months I discovered there was a paleo version to just about every dessert out there. Cupcakes, ice cream, cookies, cake, fudge, you name it, someone has attempted to make it paleo, or at the very least paleo-esque. So you can imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this chocolate chip cookie recipe from BakerGal. In fact, I was even more thrilled at the fact that she had done actual research to find the best chocolate chip cookies. What a job, right?! I need to start incorporating dessert-taste-testing research into my daily regime. What a great way to spend the day!

With the Easter holiday this weekend and tons of candy filling the home from school and family-arranged Easter egg hunts, I need a distraction (in the form of something sweet, that is). So instead of grabbing my daughter’s Starburst, which I love by the way, I’ll be grabbing one or four of these wondrous little treats. Actually though, because Gwyneth loves them just as much as me I’m almost positive she’ll be begging for a couple to eat all on her own. And well, since I’ve just baked a batch (with a few tweaks) I thought I’d share my candy-deterrent secret and pass along to you the absolute best paleo chocolate chip cookie recipe. They are so good, in fact, that I much prefer them to the original Tollhouse recipe I grew up with.

the best paleo chocolate chip cookies

paleo chocolate chip cookies
The best paleo chocolate chip cookies. Makes 2 dozen cookies.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
8 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
8 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cups finely ground almond flour
  2. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1/2 cup agave nectar
  5. 1/4 cup walnut oil (or other nut oil, not peanut)
  6. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  7. 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  8. 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (at least 60% cocoa)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 325F/163C.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together agave nectar, oil, and vanilla.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients, mixing on medium speed. It will be a thick batter.
  5. Add nuts and chocolate chips.
  6. Taking a small spoonful of batter, roll one-inch balls and space them about two inches apart on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet.
  7. Using parchment paper, press the cookies down flat with the palm of your hand, about a 1/4 inch thick.
  8. Bake 6-10 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies, oven calibration, and your desired doneness.
  9. Let cool on cooling rack.
Adapted from BakerGal
Adapted from BakerGal
bump & run http://bumpandrunchat.com/

My daughter absolutely loves helping me cook, which has been incredibly wonderful and I recommend it to all parents. Get the kids involved in cooking at a very young age and watch what they are willing to eat!

paleo chocolate chip cookies 2

Remember the batter should be thick enough to be able to roll into small balls. Then using parchment paper and the palm of your hand, press them down to a 1/4 inch thickness. They won’t flatten on their own in the oven, although it would be kind of cool to cook them as is, cookie balls!!!…Okay, I’ve said too much, moving on.

paleo chocolate chip cookies

 Let them cool, which in my family only lasts a minute or two before we dig in.

paleo chocolate chip cookies 3

These make the perfect dessert for anytime of day, anytime of year. We make them year round. So scrumptious! 

paleo chocolate chip cookies

Enjoy!

paleo chocolate chip cookies

What’s your favorite dessert? And have you tried the paleo version?

bre


scrapbook: pinehurst golf academy

scrapbook: pinehurst golf academy

Happy Tuesday! We know, we know. It’s not normally the day of the week that calls for celebration, but we’re still on a high from our trip! We spent our entire weekend at the Pinehurst Golf Academy in North Carolina and we had an amazing time! We were super excited to go, and it did not disappoint. We’ll have a full recap for you soon, but for now, here are some pictures from our incredible trip!

In front of The Carolina Hotel and our first day on the course!

Pinehurst Hotel

The infamous Centennial Course No. 8 where the golf academy took place. It is a gorgeous course!

Pinehurst Resort

Bre teeing off.

Pinehurst Resort

Ree teeing off.

Pinehurst Resort

Much needed drinks after playing 7 hours of golf each day.

Drinks FrameOur last day on Course No. 2 where this year’s US Open will take place. It was an unforgettable experience.

Pinehurst Resort

One of the things they taught and emphasized this week was the importance of on-course training. So with callused hands and exhausted feet, we’re back at the ladies’ clinic today and already have a scheduled tee time this week. Practice, practice, practice!

How was your weekend? 

b & r