Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving...

That my Rangers are AL West Champions for the second year in a row. They (finally) clinched the division on Friday night. And yes, I went out and bought a shirt the next day. One can never have too many Rangers shirts. I will not confirm or deny that I changed in the parking lot. 

I'm loving...

That I was able to give Santa my wish list a little early this year, I ran into him at a Rangers game last week.

He laughed when I told him I had been a good girl this year- I wonder if I should be worried?
I'm loving...

That I discovered a new place to eat- Sweet Tomatoes. A few coworkers and I went there last week (and then again yesterday). The food is good and actually pretty healthy. If you know me, you know I'm not a big soup person, BUT I discovered two soups that I actually enjoyed- potato and broccoli and a 7 vegetable soup. My friends were shocked that I branched out of my food comfort zone. Lol.

Proof that I tried the soup. :)
I'm loving...

That I'm trying out new recipes at home. With the exception of eating out for lunch yesterday, I've been bringing my lunch and cooking supper at home. I tried out a recipe for cauliflower rice and it's a new favorite of mine. I've made it twice this week. I use a cheese grater (that I just bought) against the cauliflower and then cook it in a frying pan (with some olive oil). It is so good (I'm a big fan of cauliflower). 

The cauliflower rice (before I cooked it)
I'm loving...

THAT I GOT MY PASSPORT!! FINALLY! I'm free to move about the world!

I'm loving...

That I'm making time to read again. I FINALLY finished The Girl on The Train. It was good (I'll review it soon), I just didn't have time didn't make time to read over the past few months. I started a paperback mystery this week. I'm almost done with it. 

Reading Murder Ties the Knot during my lunch break
What are YOU loving today?


Monday, September 26, 2016

Book Review 2016: The Uninvited

**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 Uninvited by Heather Graham

I listened to the audio version of this book several months ago (yes, I'm behind on my reviews). Narrator Luke Daniels gave another great performance- he has become one of my favorites when it comes to listening to audio books.

This is another book in the Krewe of Hunters series. Like I've mentioned before, I've read them out of order and it hasn't been a huge problem. I like the American history portion of this novel (some of it was factual and some was made up by the author), but she was very thorough even with the fictional historical characters. I'm a history nerd, so I enjoyed that.

I didn't really like the main character, Allison Leigh, too much at first, but she eventually grew on me. I do like the character of Tyler Montague (he's been a character in other Krewe of Hunters books). If you aren't a huge history buff, parts of this book might not interest you as much since she does talk about history-related stuff, but it shouldn't be too distracting. I actually found it kind of interesting!

Like most of the books in this series, there is a mystery, ghosts, and romance, but the plots and characters are different enough that it doesn't get tiresome to read (or listen to). I normally finish these books pretty quick (unless my schedule is just very hectic). They are a great weekend or vacation read. And if you have a long commute to work, check out the audio version to listen to while you drive. Like I said before, Luke Daniels does a great job! This isn't my favorite in the Krewe of Hunters series, but it was an enjoyable read. 

Book summary:

I always highly recommend Heather Graham, she is easily one of my top five favorite authors. I'm never sorry that I read one of her books.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm loving...

That my bestie Brandy and I got some much needed girl time last weekend. Her wonderful husband John watched their son overnight and she I were able to just hang out and talk (and watch the Rangers game on TV) all night. Well, until about 10:30 pm when we crashed (ah, gone are the days of staying up until 2 am at slumber parties. Lol.) The next day we went shopping and had lunch together (just the two of us- which doesn't happen much these days). It was great!

I'm loving...

My Twitter family. We had a tailgate before the Rangers game on Saturday night. I love these crazy people dearly- we call each other "framily" (friends + family). I will be forever grateful that Twitter and the Texas Rangers brought them into my life.

I'm loving...

My new Rangers shirt. I wore it last night to the game and the security guard at the gate called me "his queen." Lol.

I'm loving...

This updated version of Alanis Morissette's song Ironic. I saw it on my Facebook feed and it made me laugh.

What are YOU loving today?


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving...

That I was able to go to the Cowboys game on Sunday (even though they lost). The ticket was a late birthday gift from my bestie Zach (we usually celebrate my birthday in September at a Cowboys game). :) I've been a Cowboys fan for so long that a loss doesn't even hurt anymore, I'm kind of numb to the pain. Lol.

The bestie- he has put up with me for 24 years
The Cowboys gave out American flags
Obligatory selfie at the Cowboys game
A view from our seats
I'm loving...

That I attended the opening of the exhibit, The Nature of Things: Daphne Prairie, at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas over in Fort Worth. I was able to meet the artist Deborah Paris as well as the gentleman who owns the land in Daphne's Prairie, BF Hicks. The paintings were beautiful. Mr. Hicks even gave me a book that has photos of all the paintings (and the artist signed it for me). 

The artist, Deborah Paris 
Me and Zach with BF Hicks (Mr. Hicks is a good friend of Zach's family)
This was one of my favorite paintings from the exhibit
I'm loving...

That I had a much needed night out with friends on Saturday night. I've had a rough few weeks and it was nice to be out with friends who love me no matter what and who make me laugh. A great time was had by all.

I'm loving...

That I've been dog-sitting for my neighbor's sweet dog the past week. Miss Holly and I have had fun, but I think she's ready for her momma to be back tonight. 

I'm loving...

When I'm able to have dinner with friends I haven't seen in a while. My friend Julie and I have both been busy all summer and finally had dinner together on Friday night!

What are YOU loving today??

Monday, September 12, 2016

My Kind of Town...Chicago (Part 3)

Okay, finally, my LAST recap of my trip to Chicago. And it didn't take me a whole month this time! :) In case you missed any of my recaps, please see below.

I didn't get a chance to post these pictures from around Chicago (they are mainly from walking around town on day two and three), so here they are first!

After being on various parts of Route 66 last summer and this summer, I finally saw where it started!

We stopped by (but didn't go in) Tribune Tower, which is home to the newspaper the Chicago Tribune. It seems before this building was built, correspondents for the newspaper would bring back rocks or stones from historic and important sites all over the world. They have been incorporated into the lowest levels of the building, and are labeled with their location of origin. They keep adding stones because last year bricks from Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park were added (why it took them so long to get stones from places in Chicago, I don't know). 

Of course I would take my picture by the stone from the Alamo

No big deal, just touching a piece of the Great Pyramid

This as a pretty awesome candy store!
My first night we were able to see a fireworks show at the Navy Pier from Harrie's pool deck. It was a beautiful night for them!

My last day in Chicago was really just over a half day, because my flight left about 3:30 pm and I headed to the airport about one. We met one of Harrie's friends (and now my new friend) MaryAnne for breakfast early-ish that morning at a place called Toast.

I liked this place (and not just because it had an Audrey Hepburn poster in the back). :)
We had plans to go to the Lincoln Park Zoo, but it started pouring down rain while we were at breakfast, so we decided to check out the Chicago History Museum instead. I think I actually enjoyed it more than I would have the zoo. I love history and this place was wonderful! I learned so much, including that the name Chicago comes from the word Native American name "shikaakwa" or "checagou" (which is the French version), which means stinky onion. That made me laugh. 

If you answer a question, they put your name up on the board for the day
We only had about two hours to spend there, but I could have easily stayed an additional two hours. I decided when I go back to Chicago, I want to check out more about the gangsters of Chicago (there was a small exhibit about them in this museum). Oh, and it was also cool to see an actual scorecard from the last World Series the Cubs won. I also discovered an exhibit of photographs from Vivian Maier. She took thousand of photographs but none of them were actually published (or even developed) until after her death. It's a fascinating story, you can read more here.

Of course they had a lot about the Great Chicago Fire (including some artifacts that survived, or partially survived), and some artifacts from the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. They also had an exhibit with a cane once owned by Charlie Chaplin.

Charlie Chaplin's cane is bottom left
From the exhibit about Women's Suffrage in Chicago
My "summer of Lincoln" ended in the Chicago History Museum, where they have the bed on which he died. There was a very nice museum employee named Michael and he said they actually have the sheets on which he died, but they are bloody, and they didn't feel it was appropriate to have them on display (which I understand, although the morbid side of me kind of wants to see them). I know, I have issues. Lol.

Lincoln's death bed
After the museum, we headed back to Harrie's so I could pack. I actually took a Lyft car to the airport (my first time using the service). It wasn't bad- it was reasonably priced (especially since Harrie lives a good way from the airport). MUCH cheaper than a taxi. The bad weather earlier in the day caused some flight delays so my flight was almost two hours late taking off. I finally boarded the plane and enjoyed an Audrey Hepburn movie on my flight home (thanks to the free movie streaming service on United Airlines).

It was a fantastic trip. Thanks again to my awesome friend Harrie for being such a wonderful hostess!! I can't wait for my next trip!


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm loving...
That my bestie Zach is coming up to see me this weekend. We are going to an art gallery opening on Saturday and the Cowboys home opener on Sunday! We are SO cultured. :)

At a minor league game with Zach earlier this summer
I'm loving...
That I went to so many Rangers games over the past two weeks. It was exhuasting, but fun! Out of the ten games I saw, I saw eight wins. And it's always so great to see friends (and family) when I'm at the Ballpark!

I won tickets to my company's suite one night- we had a lot of fun!!
Got to see former Rangers player David Murphy last Saturday at the Ballpark
I'm loving...
The new additions to my bobblehead collection.

I'm loving...
That I finally got to try out the Lazy River at the the Frisco RoughRider ballpark- some friends and I went last Thursday night. I highly recommend trying it out next year (since their season is now over). The ticket includes all you can eat/drink (soda). It's very relaxing to float in the water while watching baseball. Just keep a heads up for a home run ball!

I'm loving...
That the State Fair of Texas starts at the end of this month. I went to the RoughRider game again on Friday night and the first 500 fans got a free ticket to the Fair. I can't wait to go. I also met the voice of Big Tex himself!

A "mini" Big Tex.
Howdy folks...

I'm loving...
When I meet Twitter peeps at the Ballpark!

My Twitter friend Chris and his family just happened to be sitting behind me at the game on Saturday! It was so random! My friend bought the tickets, so I wasn't even in my usual seat. 
This new Twitter friend and I actually met while waiting to meet David Murphy. We decided to start following each other on Twitter- you can never have too many Rangers friends!
I'm loving...
Unexpected gifts from friends! They make me feel so loved!

My friend Monica (2.0) gave me this as a late birthday present (I hadn't really seen her since my birthday in May).
My sweet Twitter friend Peter sent me this from San Antonio
I'm loving...
That J.K. Rowling "liked" another tweet of mine. I think we are best friends now. I should probably invite her to supper. :)

I'm loving...
This shirt my cousin Kristen gave me. I wore it to the game on Sunday- no luck though, no guy proposed to me. Lol. Maybe next time.

I'm loving...
That I'm slowly working on my scrapbooks again. My living room looks like Michael's and Hobby Lobby threw up, but oh well. Lol.

What are YOU loving today? Be sure to comment below (or leave a message on Twitter or Facebook).