Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What I'm Loving Wednesday

One of these weeks I'm going to have a post for every day, and not just Wednesday. Thanks again for stopping by for another week of What I'm Loving Wednesday. We are so thankful for all of you who link up every week (or almost every week). Please continue to link up, it totally makes our day! :)

I'm loving...
This awesome bracelet that my wonderful friend (and WILW co-host) Jodi got me as an early birthday present (for those who are curious- it's May 23). I'm sure you all know what a big Audrey Hepburn fan I am, so this is perfect for me!! I love it!

I'm loving...
That I spent the weekend cleaning my apartment (a few hours on Friday and roughly about 10 hours on Saturday). I even organized my hall closets (so if a tornado hits, I now have a "safe place" to hide out in). I didn't get a lot of "before" pictures (it would have been too embarrassing). I did get a before picture of the chair by my laundry room. I have the habit of taking clothes out of the dryer and placing them on the chair. I usually hang them up within a couple of days. I possible went one week two weeks three weeks, okay four weeks without hanging up clothes. Yeah, I know. I'm so lazy.

I also got a new shower head for my bathtub (the old one had practically no pressure). Thanks to my friend B for braving the storms and making the drive over on Friday night to install it. I also got a shower caddy to organize my bathtub. It's amazing how the little things in life make me happy. Lol.

I also bought some new decorations for my apartment. I love these quotes.

I'm loving...
This picture of my great-nephew J. I haven't seen him in so long. I keep telling my niece to show him my picture so he won't forget me! :)

I'm loving...
Baseball season. Yes, I know, the Rangers aren't having the best year (to put it crassly, we suck). It's okay though, I still love baseball. And no, I don't know how I feel about the whole Josh Hamilton coming back to the Rangers. People keep asking me about that. This is the best way I can explain it: I feel like an ex-boyfriend has come back to me after dumping me for my worst enemy (AKA the Angels). I remember the good times, but I also remember when he left and he was a jerk. We shall see how this pans out. Maybe I'll get my feelings sorted out here soon. Lol. The season can't get any worse for the Rangers (can it?) I've also been to a couple of Frisco RoughRider games (the Rangers AA team).

I went last week to a RoughRider game with my buddy Will. It was a fun time! We hadn't seen each other in almost a year, so it was good catching up!

Last night I went to the Ballpark to see my Rangers. I wish I could say that the outcome of the game was a win, but sadly, I cannot. I did end up with a somewhat scary looking Derek Holland garden gnome. I've added it to the collection in my sports room. It was unusually cool for late April in Texas, and I was glad I was smart and brought my Rangers blanket with me! Shout out to my friend Harry for texting me in the second inning and letting me know there were empty seats by him. My friends and I got an upgrade!

I'm loving...
That I have such awesome friends who make me laugh (and vice versa). One of my friends and I were texting the other day and he made the comment that he was sure there were a lot of guys who wanted to ask me out. I sent him this text. 

He did ask what I would have done if someone had been standing at my door. I told him I would have screamed and slammed the door. I was still in my PJs. Lol.

I'm loving...
That I have no shame in admitting that I bought these books solely for me. We had a book fair at work last week and I had to grab these (yes, we have a book fair at work, twice a year). The Berenstain Bears were my favorite books when I was a kid. Okay, I still love them even today! :)

What are you loving this week?


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Grab the button on the sidebar and link up for What I'm Loving Wednesday!! :)

I'm loving...
That I got to have dinner with my sweet Twitter friends Rachel and Kelsey last week. Well, we've met in person now, so we are no longer just Twitter friends. I'm so glad they were in town visiting! :) It was a lot of fun hanging out with them!

I'm loving...
The Girls Weekend I had with my nieces Alice and Stephanie last weekend (Stephanie's husband Kevin was an honorary invitee to some of the weekend events). We had a lot of fun (despite the fact the weather did NOT want to cooperate for some of it). 

So the picture in the bottom right corner is one I took as we were being driven home from dinner on Friday (thank you Uber for your wonderful service). It was raining so hard that the streets were flooding. Yeah, the water was almost at the same level as the car window. SO thankful we didn't get stuck. Or washed away.
My nieces and I went to Galveston for some girl time on Saturday. We ate at this wonderful place called the Mosquito Cafe. If you go to Galveston, you must stop there. The picture at the bottom right shows where the water level was after Hurricane Ike flooded Galveston in 2008. I'm about 5'8 and that line was a good six to seven inches higher than me. 
I'm loving...
That I got to see my nieces compete in the Run Like A Diva 5K in Galveston on Sunday. I'm so proud of them! Maybe next time I'll run with them. Maybe. I'm not a runner. Lol.

I'm loving...
That even though we only got to put our feet in the water, we still had a nice time at the Galveston beach on Sunday. And I'm loving that the sun was actually out. When we were there on Saturday it was cloudy and rainy most of the time. There is something so peaceful about the ocean. If I lived closer, I would go there to "de-stress" after a rough week.

I met a cute Corgi who was experiencing her first beach trip. She was a little nervous about the water and the waves.
I'm loving...
That I get to update my 101 in 1001 list! (2. Visit 7 places in Texas that I have never been to before). On our way back from Galveston, we made a quick side trip to the San Jacinto Monument and Memorial in La Porte. This is the location where Texas won its independence from Mexico. You can read more about it in my post here. We were only there for a little bit so I definitely want to go back when I can spend more time exploring the battle ground. We only visited the monument and museum portion (thank you Kevin for riding the elevator to the top of the monument with me). 

You can't tell, but in the picture on the top left, I'm standing in front of the monument. Lol. I'm the dot in front of the steps. :) 
I'm loving...
This picture I took at the beach. We walked for a while in our bare feet and the picture made me think of this poem. It was just a little reminder to me that even though I'm struggling with different issues right now, God is walking beside me.

I'm loving...
That I get to have dinner with three different friends this week (on three different nights). I love being able to get some one-on-one time with friends to just catch up on life. 

What are YOU loving today??


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Remembering Gilbert...

Growing up I was a huge fan of the Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea movies. The movies were made in Canada, and the Disney Channel aired them in the mid-late 80s all the time. The movies were based on a book series by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I remember when I was about nine or ten, my parents bought me the entire book series (I still have them today).

I always thought the movies were fantastic. I couldn't even begin to tell you how many times I watched them as a child. Obviously the main character is a girl named Anne (played by Megan Follows, who is an amazing actress). Another main character throughout the books and movie is a boy named Gilbert Blythe. He was probably my favorite character (at least in the movies). 

The actor who portrayed Gilbert in the movies was named Jonathan Crombie. Sadly last week, the actor passed away at age 48 from a brain hemorrhage. It wasn't until I posted something on social media that I realized I knew so many people who also loved the movies (and Gilbert). 

I was lucky enough to meet Jonathan after his performance in the Broadway show The Drowsy Chaperone (it came to Dallas in 2008). He was happy to talk to all his fans, and signed tons of Anne of Green Gables memorabilia. He seemed very proud that people still recognized him as being Gilbert.

I thought today I would post some of my favorite Gilbert moments from the movies. Obviously there are spoilers in these videos and GIFs, but the movies are 30 years old, I don't think I have to put *spoiler alert* ahead of it. :) The GIF are courtesy of this article here, which is worth checking out if you are fan of Gilbert or the movies

R.I.P. Jonathan...

And now I have to have an Anne of Green Gables marathon sometime soon! :)


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

It's time once again for What I'm Loving Wednesday! Thank you to everyone who links up every week (or almost every week). We appreciate your support!! :) Please tell your friends to link up next week! We love to read new blogs!

I'm loving...
That two of my nieces and I are FINALLY having our Girls Weekend that we've been talking about for like six years. I can't wait to spend time with them. We aren't that far apart in age, so we are all close. They are definitely more like sisters than nieces. :)

I'm loving...
That my Instagram photo with Sean Lee at the RoughRiders game made the minor league baseball app! :) (Thank you to my friend Beks for letting me know). :)

I'm loving...
The text conversations I had with some of my nieces and one of my nephews yesterday. They make me smile. I love my family. :)

I'm loving...
That I was able to find a "non Harry Potter" book by J.K. Rowling (she wrote it under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith) at the library yesterday. I'm interested to see how it goes, I do like crime novels. I might even do a review of it, eventually. Lol.

I'm loving...
That Blue Bell ice cream is making its way back onto the shelves of local grocery stores. :) The crisis is over!! :)

I'm loving...
That I got to have dinner with some of my cousins last night. They only live about an hour from me, but we never really get together. We promised that we will get together more often! I'm trying to convince them to go to a baseball game with me this summer. :)

My cousin in the top right corner is going to be taller than me soon. He's grown so much since I last saw him!
What are YOU loving today?


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book Review 2015: The Harry Potter Series

I know, I've been talking about reviewing Harry Potter for a while now. It only took me five years to read the series (okay, more like 7 months). It was not the fault of the books, I just got in a reading funk and had Netflix other thinks consume my life.

There are seven books in the series, but we all know how long it takes me to write just ONE review, so I decided to combine all the books in the series into one review. It's gonna be a long review, but it's better this way.

**All reviews published on Randomness With Rachel are done on a five-star rating system. The reviews are solely my opinion and no one else's. Randomness With Rachel does not receive any incentives or compensations for reviews.**

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few decades, I'm sure you've heard of the Harry Potter books (or at least the movies). Up until last September (or maybe it was October), I had never read the books or seen any of the movies. I feel I have to put a disclaimer up before I continue. It wasn't that I felt anything was wrong with the series or that I felt it went against my religious beliefs. I have been asked those questions many times. There are a LOT of books that I haven't read and it's not because I don't think they are any good, or that I feel something is wrong with them. There are books you read and books you don't read. I just never felt any desire to read these books.  

I joke with one of my best friends that I only read this series because he threatened to end our friendship (okay, there is a lot of little truth in that). Lol, But I'm glad I read them and stuck with them, despite it taking me over half a year to finish them.

First of all, J.K. Rowling is a great author and an amazing storyteller. I was really impressed with her writing in these books. These books are not "quick reads" by any means. I think the shortest book was maybe 400 pages and the longest one was well over 900 pages. I'm gonna be honest (and please don't hate me die-hard Harry Potter fans), I struggled with the first book- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It wasn't that it was bad, I just couldn't get into it. It may have a lot to do with the fact that I'm not a "fantasy book" fan (mysteries and thrillers are my "go-to" genre). I've never believed in magic (yeah, I was that kid), so it was hard for me to get into the story. Again, it was not the book's fault, it was mine. I will say that I have friends who love the series who agree with me about the first one being hard to read. Book 2, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, seemed better to me, but it was probably book 3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, before I really got into the story. I would text my friend for spoilers, and of course, he wouldn't give any. 

The author had a lot of lovable characters (and some that were not so lovable). One of my favorite characters was Nearly Headless Nick. I don't know why, but I really liked him. And he wasn't even a main character. I would say after book 4, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the series really got exciting (to me at least). People say that is when the series turned a little "dark", but maybe I prefer reading "darker" stories. Lol.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (book 5) might be my favorite of the series. It was the first one I got emotionally invested in. For the last two books of the series, Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I listened to the audio version of the stories. I have to say, I love audio books (that is, if the narrator is any good). I did a lot of driving when I was reading (listening) to those stories, and the narrator (Jim Dale) did a fantastic job. It seems someone has uploaded these audio books onto YouTube, here is the first book being read by Mr. Dale.

I noticed that the author's writing got better with each book. Not that it was ever bad, it just seemed like she got more comfortable with the characters and her writing just improved. There were parts of the story that I predicted would happen (I won't post spoilers, you can message me if you want to know), and there were some that totally surprised/angered/saddened me.   

I would be very interested to read another book by J.K. Rowling, just to see her tackle another genre. I saw on her website she wrote a crime novel, so I plan on checking that out soon! That kind of book is right up my reading alley.

If you have been putting off reading this series (like me), I say give it a try, even if it's not the type of stories you normally read. You might be surprised and like it. 

Another thing about finishing the Harry Potter series is that I can cross it off my "50 Banned Books" list on my 101 in 1001 challenge! I'm going to get to more books on that list eventually!


Monday, April 13, 2015

It's Just Another Manic Monday...

I know, I know, I didn't get to my Harry Potter book review. After you see my weekend recap, you'll understand why I didn't have time. Tomorrow, I promise.

My weekend was full of watching baseball and hanging out with friends (and getting HUGS!)- just what I needed after a horrible week. Sadly I only saw one win out of the four games I went to, but still, even a day spent watching a loss is still a day watching baseball live and in person. 

On Thursday I met up with some of my fellow writers from Shutdown Inning (the sports blog I write for- please check it out here) at the Frisco RoughRider Opening Night game. As much as I love going to a Rangers game, going to a minor league baseball game is so much fun! I had a blast.

Part of the Shutdown Inning crew...
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee threw out the first pitch. He was walking around the ballpark taking pictures with fans and signing autographs before the game. He insisted on taking his picture with me, and of course, I couldn't disappoint him.*

Sean throwing out the first pitch...
Me and Sean Lee. * Okay perhaps I'm the one who wanted the picture. But I'm sure if he had seen me first, he would have insisted on taking one. :)

I was able to meet up with some other friends while I was at the game. Despite the loss by the RoughRiders, it was still a fun evening, and it ended with fireworks. I don't care how old I get, I still love fireworks. :)

Friday was the Rangers Home Opening Day. As you know, this is a yearly tradition for me. This was my 10th consecutive Rangers home opener. Tailgating, friends, baseball- it was perfect (well, it would have been perfect if the Rangers had won, but like I said, watching baseball live is still watching baseball). :)

Tailgating with friends. This was my Bubba and nephew Peter's first home opener (top right).
Opening Day is always a great time to meet up with friends at the Ballpark. So many of my friends were there. :)
So glad I saw my sweet friend Misti (we seem to always see each other at baseball games). I also made my bestie Chance (top right) take our yearly picture together. And this is the debut of my friend Davis on my blog. Lol. I told him his life was going to change forever now. :) I like to think my blog is a bigger deal than it really is. :)
More sweet friends! My friend Trish has a blog you should check out here. My former pastor and his wife are at a lot of games as well, so it's always nice to see them. And my friend Eric has joined me and my friend Monica with a season ticket plan, so he will be forced to hang out with us all season (we all sit by each other). :)
Like I said, the Rangers sadly didn't win, but the field looked beautiful, and the opening ceremonies were great! 

The Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland left the game after the first inning. Pretty much everyone in my section was on Twitter trying to find out the latest news after we noticed a new pitcher come in. At first we were told he would miss about 4 weeks due to a shoulder injury. We found out later he will be out at least 60 days. This was my reaction to the news...

Okay, I really didn't flip a table. But I thought about it.
Saturday I met up with my friend Rich, who was in town. We had lunch at our favorite place- Whataburger! I thanked his wife for letting me have a lunch date with him (she wasn't able to make the trip this time).

Saturday night I was back at the Ballpark and actually saw the Rangers win! It's going to be a rough season seeing that everyone is getting injured. Derek wasn't the only one who left the game on Friday. We had another player leave due to back spasms and another guy sprained his ankle. I don't know who broke my Rangers, but I want a word with them. It won't be a nice word!

The man in the top right picture was a WWII veteran celebrating his 90th birthday at the Ballpark. He got a standing ovation. :) Oh, and there were post game fireworks. But we've already discussed my love of fireworks. :)
Three guesses where I spent my Sunday afternoon. We got there early to guarantee the giveaway item (a Rangers cap). Sundays are usually $1 ice cream days, but thanks to the great Blue Bell Recall of 2015 (I can't even talk about it, Google it if you don't know about it), we didn't have any ice cream. :(

I did talk to a worker who told me they were ordering a new shipment (from the Brenham plant- where ALL Blue Bell should come from anyways), and by the next $1 ice cream Sunday, they will once again have Blue Bell (and all will be right in my world). Lol.
My baseball partners in crime this season!
The game went to extra innings (14 to be exact). And no, the Rangers didn't win. I did discover that after almost 7 hours of taking pictures and updating social media, my iPhone will have about 15% battery life left. Lol. But on the bright side, we did sneak down closer after the 11th inning. 

I could get used to these seats. :)
So, now you see why I didn't have time to write a book review. I'll work on it tonight. Hope everyone had a great weekend!! Thanks for taking the time to read my post!!