Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm loving...

That people have asked if I'm going to start doing the "What I'm Loving Wednesday" link-up again. I got lazy about doing the link up late last year. If people are interested in linking up each week, I might start up again! :)

I'm loving...

Hard Eight BBQ. My friend B and I ate dinner there a few weeks ago. I'm getting hungry just looking at these pictures.

Why yes, I did eat EVERYTHING on my plate. Yes, that's a lot of cheese. I like a lot of cheese on my baked potato. :)
I'm loving...

My Sunday School class. We had a class picnic a few weeks ago at The Heritage Farmstead Museum. I am blessed to be a part of their group (and that they put up with me)! We had so much fun and got a private tour of this place!

I'm loving...

That I can cross Ohio off my "States to Visit" list. I had a business trip in Cincinnati a few weeks ago, taking me to Ohio for the first time. I didn't get to see a Reds game (my company really needs to schedule my trips during baseball season), so I'll have to go back to cross that ballpark off my list! 

The team I worked with in Cincinnati- they rocked!
This was from the 2015 All Star Game (so I saw something baseball related). Lol
They have a thing about flying pigs in Cincinnati...
I'm loving...

That I got to see some of my family last weekend for my momma's birthday and for Easter (this is only a small portion of my family). We missed everyone who couldn't make it!

Yes, I still get an Easter basket. Don't hate. Lol
I'm loving...

That my little great-nephew E is just as silly as his aunt. He loves SnapChat and always likes trying out the features. He also loves making Aunt Rachel take pictures BEFORE she has any makeup on (that kid!)

I'm loving...

When I meet new people. On my flight back from Cincinnati I sat next to the nicest gentleman. We talked the whole flight and are now Twitter friends. We had a great talk about books, our faith, and life in general. It made me forget I was on a plane (y'all know I don't fly well). God blessed me with a new friend!

I'm loving...

THAT MY TEXAS RANGERS OPENING DAY IS ON MONDAY! Sorry for shouting, I'm just that excited!! 

I'm loving...

Quantum Leap. I know, that's so 1989. I watched the show all the time when I was younger and last week I started watching some episodes on Netflix (although I found out that Hulu has ALL of them, unlike Netflix, which skips around in the seasons). Man, Scott Bakula was quite the looker back then (not that he ISN'T a looker now). He and Dean Stockwell were PERFECT together as Sam and Al. I really wish they had made a TV movie after it ended. 

I'm loving...

That I had dinner last week with two of my friends also named Rachel. We decided to officially become The Rachel Counsel! :)

I'm loving...

That I can finally add to my 101 in 1001 list (I'm so behind on it). I ate lunch at a place called Liberty Burger on Monday. I had never been there before so I can add one more to item #50: "Try out 10 restaurants that I've never been to before". This is number 9!


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Thursday 13: 13 Things that I'm OK About...

1. ...that after reading the book Pretty Little Liars last week, I am now on season two of the TV show on Netflix (yes, I am well aware that I have a binge watching problem). I found out after I started watching it that there are seven seasons of this silly show (and it's still on). SEVEN?! I can't stop watching now, I'm too invested. Good grief I need to find a life. Lol

2. send silly snaps on Snapchat. I don't use it on a regular basis, but feel free to follow me if you want. My handle is Averyfan 

3. ...that this is what I say to myself every morning when I look in the mirror

4. ....that I've had Chick Fil-A twice this week (STOP JUDGING ME!)

5. ...that I haven't worked on my novella/novel in almost two weeks. I do need to make time this weekend to write though

6. ...that this happened on my way home from the airport on Sunday

7. ...that I got a little giddy when my favorite Canadian actor liked a tweet of mine

8. ... that it has been one of THOSE days at work. That sound you hear is my head hitting my desk

9. ... that I'm feeling anti-social lately. I'm going to a Sunday School picnic on Saturday, but besides that, I would be perfectly okay staying home all weekend

10. ... that I love upsets during March Madness

11. ... that I have to remind myself of this from time to time

12. ... that I've had lengthy discussions with friends about brothers Rob and Chad Lowe and if they look alike or not. Some people spend hours talking about politics and how to solve the problems of the world- my friends and I discuss the Lowe brothers. Lol

There are times when I think they look similar (especially with their facial expressions) and then there are times when I don't think they look alike at all
13. ... that this has been my dinner more than once lately

What's OK with you today?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Book Review 2016: Catching Up On Book Reviews

**All reviews 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 Betrayed by Heather Graham

No, this was not written by the Heather Graham who is an actress. This is ANOTHER Heather Graham. I have read many of her novels (in fact, I've reviewed a few of them before here on my blog). I checked out the audio book version of this novel from the library last month when I took the road trip with my BFF (I wanted something for the long part of the trip when I would be driving by myself). Since I've always enjoyed books by Heather Graham, I chose this one. 

I've read several books in her Krewe of Hunters series. I haven't read them in order, but so far, that hasn't caused any big plot issues. Most of her books deal with mysteries and the paranormal (usually some character is able to see and/or communicate with ghosts). I don't know why, but I find that fascinating (ghosts, that is). I've always been a fan of ghost stories. 

The author does a great job of describing the locations in her novels. I'm not sure if Sleepy Hollow really looks the way she described it, but I have a great picture in my head of what she imagined it looked like. I didn't necessarily love the main characters, but I liked them enough that it didn't distract me too much from the story. My favorite character was probably Rollo (the dog). :)

Some of the story was predictable, but again it wasn't distracting. The narrator for this particular audio book was Luke Daniels and he did a fantastic job. 

Book summary:

I'm not going to call this a "must-read", but if you like mysteries, ghosts, and a little romance, you should check this book out.

The Night Is Watching by Heather Graham

Although I like Heather Graham and would have read this book because she wrote it, I honestly picked up the audio book version from the library a few weeks ago solely because I enjoyed Luke Daniels as the narrator in the last book.

This is my favorite book so far in the Krewe of Hunters series (granted, I've only read about five out of the fourteen, but still). 

I liked the characters of Jane and Sloan and felt they had great chemistry. Again, the author did a great job describing the scenes. I really felt like I was in this little western town and could visualize the shops, theater, and even the townspeople. It seemed like a "tourist place" that I would like to visit.

To me I felt the ghost story aspect was better in this novel than the last one I read by the author. I don't want to say it was more "realistic" (because I will not get into a debate if ghosts or real or not) but I thought it flowed better. I also like a lot of the minor characters in this book. Once again, Luke Daniels did a fantastic job with the narration.

Book summary:

If you unsure but think you want to check out a book in the Krewe of Hunters series, I recommend this one. So far I feel it's the best. And like I said in my last review, it doesn't seem to hurt to read the series out of order. 

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

I downloaded this book about a year or so ago on my Kindle app because it was free. I had never watched the TV series it was based on, but I had a little idea of what it was about. I flew to Ohio last week on business and decided to read this on the plane. It was a very easy read (I read the majority of it on my flight from Dallas to Cincinnati). 

A lot of it was predictable and some parts were a little unrealistic (don't even get me started on the whole Aria/Ezra story line), but I seem to be drawn to these YA fiction stories full of teen angst. It's a curse. Lol.

There were characters that I didn't particularly care for (and even disliked), but I think the author wrote them that way. Evidently this is a series of about sixteen books (I don't think I realized there were that many books in the series). This book was entertaining enough that I would read another book in the series if I came across it, but it's by no means at the top of my reading list.

If you don't mind teen angst and characters that make you want to reach through the pages (or iPad) and slap them, this is a book good for a rainy Saturday afternoon.

Book summary:

Dearest Daughter: Become Who You Were Created To Be by Jeremy Mark Lane

This is an emotional and well-written devotional book. It seemed no matter what day I read a passage, it was something I could relate to.

I tend to let life and the world consume me from time to time. There are days where I struggle and feel I am completely lost. I could turn to any random page in this book and would read a passage that lifted me up.

Regardless of your relationship status, age, or where you are in your walk with God, I recommend this devotional to all women. I truly believe it will be a blessing to you in one way or another.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thursday 13: Dealing With Negativity

I've mentioned it before but I'm so tired of all the negativity going on in the world today. Lately it seems there are more and more negative thoughts, attitudes, news stories, and social media posts out there. Maybe they have always been there and I have just been immune to them. I'm not talking about the occasional post where someone has had a bad day, I understand those happen and it's okay to vent from time to time (I know this all too well). I'm talking about straight up negative talk ALL OF THE TIME. There are ways to have opinions and not tear down the people who disagree with you. There are ways to be happy for your friend even if it's something you don't care about. There is good out there in the world, if you look hard enough, you will find it.

I try to be a positive and happy person but when I'm around negative attitudes for too long, I find myself taking the negative route as well. I have found some ways that help me escape that negativity when it starts to bring me down.

1. I listen to music. Lately I've rediscovered my appreciation for classical music. Amazon Prime has some great classical playlists and I listen to many of those. Third Day is one of my favorite Christian bands. When I feel life is just too overwhelming, I usually listen to their playlist on my phone. All of their songs have a great message.

2. I write. Since I have a blog, it's obvious that I like to write, it's definitely therapeutic for me. I'm trying to write a novel (maybe a novella, I'm not sure how long it will be). If I need a break from the world, I take myself into a world that I've created.

3. I surround myself with friends. When I'm having a bad day at work and feel myself getting agitated, I have a handful of friends I can text or call and I know they will meet me for a quick lunch. Just an hour away from the stress of work can do so much good (and getting hugs also help!)

My awesome friend Bob met me for lunch today!
4. I call my mom. Sometimes just talking to my momma is enough to make the bad world not seem as horrible.
I found some old pictures of my mom over Christmas, I compared pictures of the two of us to see how much I looked like her! :)

5. I treat myself to a Chick Fil-A milkshake. Okay, so life doesn't have to be negative for me to do this, but a milkshake does indeed cheer me up when I'm feeling down.

6. I get rid of things that are cluttering my life. This is usually material things, but sometimes it means unfollowing someone on social media who is bringing NOTHING but negativity into my life. 

7. I read. When I don't feel like writing, I let another writer take me into the world that they have created. Shameless plug, follow me on GoodReads to see all that I've read (or want to read).

8. I remind myself of everything that I do have. We all fall victim to the "woe is me" syndrome (I'm not pointing fingers, I'm so guilty of this). I don't have a nice car. I don't have enough time off work. I don't have enough time by myself (these are just examples, these aren't my personal thoughts). Remember there is always someone out there who would want your life. Don't like your car? There are some people out there who would love to have ANY car. Having a bad day at work? There are many unemployed people who would LOVE to have a bad day AT WORK. Tired of your spouse constantly hogging the television? There is a single person out there who would love to have your life.

9. I text my friends. Sometimes even a short text conversation with a friend is enough to make my day brighter.

10. I go for a walk or jog (light jog- I have bad knees and can't jog too fast). Sometimes just being outside helps clear my head. 

11. I watch reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show (are you really surprised)? I can't help it, the man makes me laugh. It's practically impossible for me not to be in a good mood while watching one of his shows.

12. I work on crafts. I scrapbook, cross stitch, and am trying to teach myself to knit. Sometimes focusing on things like that helps me escape the world.

13. I pray. I know, that is such a "Sunday School" response, but it's true. It's not my job to fix everything bad going on. It's not my job to even understand why bad things happen. It's my job to know He's in control. I feel people hear that I pray and expect that it's the sweet "Now I lay me down to sleep" prayer. My prayers aren't always like that. Sometimes I get mad. Sometimes I yell (yes, I yell at God, He can handle it). Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I'm at a loss for words (yes, that does happen with me- don't be shocked). He can handle whatever kind of prayer I send up to Him.