Thursday, December 7, 2017

What I'm Loving...Thursday!

I've been meaning to update my blog the past few weeks and each week something prevents me from posting (AKA my insanely busy schedule). I finally made time today to get a post up. I really wanted to post yesterday for What I'm Loving Wednesday but was (SURPRISE) too busy, so I give you, What I'm Loving...Thursday! :)

I'm loving...

That I had a great Thanksgiving with my family. We had a small crowd- only fifteen on Thanksgiving Day (that's small for my family), but I enjoyed spending time with everyone who could make it. 

My nephew Jonathan came in from Missouri and surprised us all! I hadn't see him in years! :)
My brother's adorable dog Scamp joined us for Thanksgiving (well, he had to stay outside because someone in my family- AKA my mother, doesn't allow animals in the house). I spent lots of time outside cuddling him!
I made my Bubba recreate (sorta) this photo from the early 80s. He nixed wearing the short shorts and high socks. Lol.
I'm loving...

That I ran (ahem..jogged/walked) my first 5K and didn't die!! It was on my 40 by 40 list, so that's something I can cross off! :) I actually had a lot of fun with my friends Jude and Christine (and my new friend Cathy). I might even do another one!

I liked this one because it was at night and I didn't have to get up at 5am to go run

I don't know if I've mentioned it or not, but Steve Avery (yes, THAT STEVE AVERY, the Avery behind the name Averyfan) is my friend on Facebook. He actually sent me a friend request, I did not stalk him (we have a mutual friend so he felt I was safe to "friend" on Facebook). He's very nice (I knew he would be). Anyway, my Facebook post before the 5K was that if I died, someone ask Steve Avery to give the eulogy at my funeral. I didn't tag him, but he saw my post and commented. :) I told him I survived but he could still say nice things about me. :)
I'm loving...

That I got to see my bestie Brandy TWICE last week. We go months without seeing each other but we went to the Fort Worth symphony last Thursday and then I went to her son's birthday party on Sunday. Weehoo!

I'm loving...

That I was invited to this cutie's 4th birthday party. I don't give up my Sunday afternoons and drive an hour for just anyone, but when I do, it's for him! :)

As always, thanks to his parents for giving me permission to use his photo on my blog
I'm loving...

That I went to my first Stars game of the season just before Thanksgiving. My nephew Danny came into down to go with me (he's three years younger than me and the person who got me interested in hockey). I ran into a few friends at the game. And the Stars won! :) Go Stars go!

Always good running into my friend Matt, he's a season ticket holder for the Stars.
My baby nephew (he hates when I call him that). Lol
 I'm loving...

My Christmas decorations at Casa de Rachel. I got a new tree this year (I gave my old one to my niece Lydia). The decorations make me happy! :) 

As my long time followers know, I'm a Nativity scene snob. Baby Jesus and the wise men are on separate sides of the room in my house. The wise men actually didn't show up until Jesus was about two. Technically baby Jesus shouldn't be in the manger until Christmas Day, but I bought my Nativity set at the Dollar Store, so baby Jesus is attached to the manger. Lol.
I'm loving...

Spending time with friends. My schedule is so busy lately but my friends and I have managed to work in time to see each other!

I saw A Christmas Story at the Alamo Drafthouse with my friend Monica last weekend. We got props! It was a lot of fun seeing it on the big screen!
I saw the movie The Man Who Invented Christmas this past week with my friends Ryan and Mel. It was a great movie- I highly recommend it!
My friend Allan (top left) and I have known each other since kindergarten. I went to his place for a party just before Thanksgiving and made some new friends! :) A fun time was had by all!

What are you loving??


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for...

...time spent with friends. Whether it be attending a college basketball game; playing Cards Against Humanity; a Girls Night Out; a company picnic at Six Flags; watching an awesome 80s movie at the theater; or even just meeting up for lunch at Whataburger, I am thankful for any time I get to spend with friends.

I'm thankful for... sweet maintenance man who came by after hours to kill the wasps that got into my apartment (and the ones living on my balcony). I'm highly allergic to them and he made sure he removed all of them. He sprayed outside on my balcony and around my front door too. He even left the wasp spray in case any came back (thankfully they haven't). I keep the spray nearby though, along with my Epipen.

I'm thankful for...

...our veterans. They sacrifice so much for our freedom and I feel they need to be thanked everyday, and not just on Veterans Day.

I'm thankful for...

...a day off work to go see a movie by myself (even if the power did go out halfway through and I had to go to another theater to finally see the whole movie, but whatever). :) 

Yes, I smuggled in Chick Fil-A in my purse, I'm not ashamed. Lol
I'm thankful for...

...all of you who put up with my randomness and silliness. Yes, I have my serious moments, but most of the times, I'm just a goofball. I'm sure it's interesting being friends with someone like me. I don't filter my thoughts and just say whatever is on my mind (this can be a good or bad thing). And yes, I'm probably gonna ask you to take a picture whenever I see you. I can't help it, I love photos and I love my friends. I'm learning to love myself and to actually take care of myself, and I don't care if you think my selfies are dumb, I don't take them for you, I take them for me. Haters gonna hate. Lol. I've come a long way over the last five years and I feel I'm in such a better place than I've been in a long time. Love y'all!

What are YOU thankful for??


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Book Reviews 2017: Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman

**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.**

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson

Who doesn't love Audrey Hepburn? A friend gave me this book because Audrey is my favorite actress of all time and I adore the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's. I've read Truman Capote's book, so I knew his Holly Golightly and the Holly Golightly of the movie were NOT the same. I also knew about all the other differences between the book and the movie. I did find some of the history about the creation of the book and the making of the movie fascinating. It was interesting to see who else they wanted to star in the movie.

Also (I don't think this is really a "spoiler" so I don't think I need to warn you), I was a little sad to hear that Audrey didn't really care for George Peppard (he wasn't a popular person on set with really anyone). It was interesting to hear how the movie could have been so different. The author talked about scenes that were cut or re-written. I wish the alternate ending was somewhere on film (the author said no one knows for sure if the film survived from the cutting room floor). Although in my opinion, I like the actual ending of the movie better. No, I won't tell you what the alternate ending was going to be, you have to read the book. :) 

I didn't realize that Audrey had as many miscarriages as she did. He doesn't go too much into detail about Audrey's personal life (sadly), but he does provide tidbits here and there. He did write a little bit about her slightly troubled marriage to Mel Ferrer.

At the end the author talks about why he wrote the book. Why do people love this movie? It got me wondering why I love it- my answer is because of Audrey. I don't think the movie would have worked with anyone else. Is it the best love story out there? No, not at all. But no matter what, I will always find time to watch it when I'm wanting to have an Audrey marathon.

Oh, at the end of the book after all of the author's notes and references, he talks about his personal conversation with actress Patricia Neal- well worth the read. She seems like she was a hoot! :)

I finished this book on September 15, so it goes towards my 40 by 40 challenge.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm Loving...

That my church's Trunk or Treat event was a great success! My Sunday School class and the kids loved my Dr. Seuss decorations, I was so pleased how well they turned out. I found a cute Cat in the Hat headpiece, so I wore that and made my own costume to go with it (although for a while the sweater and fur boots were very warm since the temperatures decided to climb into the mid-80s on Sunday). Two ladies from my class wore Thing One and Thing Two costumes they bought online. The photo frame prop I made was a huge hit, everyone loved it, including the adults! I think I might make one for my class' Christmas party next month. :)

With Thing One and Thing Two
Even dogs loved getting their photos taken!
I'm Loving...

My new hairdo. I got my hair highlighted last weekend (for the first time in over 10 years). I have an awesome hair stylist named Afsana and she did a fantastic job. She curled it (just to show off the highlights), but sadly I can never get my hair to look as good as she does when I try to curl it. But I still thing it looks good even when it's not curled.

I know, I look glamorous... Lol
A before and after of the back of my hair
For one day at least, my hair looked super cute. I loved how she blended the highlights
Afsana is the best!
I think it still looks good even when it's straight. I love it!
I'm Loving...

Girls Night Out. Some friends and I met up for a Girls Night Out last Friday night. We were supposed to go an outdoor showing of the movie Hocus Pocus but it was insanely cold and we didn't want to sit out for over 2 hours in the cold wind, so we just had a long dinner instead. These ladies are awesome, so glad we got to hang out!

While we waited for our food, we played around on Snapchat (mainly sending the snaps to each other- we are nerds). Lol.
Once I got home, I threw an extra blanket on my bed and watched TV the rest of the night.

I love my weather app, it's called Weather Pup. It shows a different dog each time you open it. :)
I'm Loving...

This new photo filter app I downloaded called Deep Art Effects- it has super cool effects. These are just a few of them....

 What are YOU loving today?


Monday, October 30, 2017

Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day!

Last week I was honored to once again join Norma's Cafe on their Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day tour. If you remember, I was asked to go last year and had a blast (see that post here). Basically, we rode around on a bus and stopped at different places to eat chicken fried steak all day. ALL DAY. Yes, all day. Have I said all day yet? Lol.

If you are a regular visitor of my blog, you know I LOVE Norma's Cafe. If you live in the DFW area (or come to visit), you must check out one of their five locations. This year proceeds from Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day at Norma's Cafe benefited the Dallas Stars Foundation (click here for more info on them)

Our day started early at the Norma's location in Frisco where we had our first chicken fried steak of the day along with other yummy breakfast entrees. After last year I learned to pace myself early, so I only had one piece of bacon and some eggs along with my chicken fried steak. From there we headed just down the road and made a stop at Dr Pepper Arena, which is the practice location of our hockey team, the Dallas Stars. We were given a private behind the scenes tour by former Stars great Bob Bassen. Although the arena is open to the public to watch the team practice on the ice, not just anyone gets to see the locker room, workout room, and video room. There was a member of the Dallas Stars Foundation on the tour and he said in the eight years he's worked for them, he's only been back there twice. It was very cool!

We got to see their entertainment room, which has a ping pong table- it was folded up against the wall when we were there. There is also a kitchen area where a private chef cooks for the team and there is a long table for the team to enjoy a meal together. They have a theater room where they can watch film from previous games (we were told depending on how well the game went, that yelling can be heard while they are watching game tapes). Lol. We also go to see the training room.
It was so cool to be able to go into the locker room. We were told that the locker room in the American Airlines Center (where the team plays their games) is about the same size as the one at the practice arena. FYI- it's not that big. We were able to see where they store their equipment, and yes, I had permission to pick up a hockey stick, I didn't break any rules. :) Also, it is bad luck to step on the star logo on the floor. There were several so we were all walking around like it was hot lava. Lol.
In the workout room
Bob Bassen- super nice guy!
We made three stops along the tour for chicken fried steak: Cartwright's Ranch House in Denton, Bono's Chophouse and Saloon in Decatur, and Ranchman's in Ponder. 

Everyone has been asking for my reviews of the tour, so here you go. Not counting Norma's, the best chicken fried steak of the day was at Cartwright's. Hands down. It was so good. And I really liked the atmosphere there. It's located right across from the Denton County Courthouse. The square around the courthouse seems to have some nice shops, I should go back and check them out! Bono's Chophouse had the best sides, including homemade cream corn which was AMAZING. They have something called Armadillo Toes which is jalapenos stuffed with cheddar cheese and wrapped in bacon (they had me at wrapped in bacon). Delicious (and I'm not usually a fan of jalapenos). They also had the best bread pudding I have ever tasted. I was sad we only had a little sample of it. Ranchman's served us chicken fried steak tenders (which honestly was nice since it was towards the end of the day and I'm not sure I could have handled another whole chicken fried steak). Their tenders were very good. They also had cobbler, which I didn't try, but everyone else said it was great. I would recommend trying out any of those locations if you are nearby. Our day ended back at Norma's where they sent us home with chicken fried steak sliders (our FIFTH meal of the day). I didn't eat it that night though. I didn't eat anything until late in the day on Friday because I was so full. Lol.
My chicken fried steak meals. Top (l-r) Bono's, Norma's. Bottom (l-r) Cartwright's, Norma's, Ranchman's (this is not my plate though, I only managed to eat two tenders). Lol.
Ranchman's in Ponder is next door to the Ponder State Bank, which according to local legend, was once held up by Bonnie and Clyde. They tried to get into the safe by coming through the back of the vault. They got in but were unable to open the safe. There was a man named Bill who was inside renovating the bank. We just wanted pictures outside but he opened the door and said we could come and take a look inside if we wanted to. He was so nice. Evidently he was on an episode of American Pickers recently. He is working to restore the bank to how it looked when Bonnie and Clyde were there. Everything there is original (some of it has been in storage for many years). He even let us going inside the vault to see the safe. They are going to open it up as a tourist attraction at some point. I would like to go back once they are done to see it again.

Just like last year, I had so much fun on the tour. It's nice to meet new people and go new places. I had never been to Decatur or Ponder before, despite not living too far from them. It's also fun to try new places to eat. I'm so thankful for my friends at Norma's for inviting me along! 

Bill and Ed crack me up!
My tour group!

Along with dinner, Norma's sent us all home with a goodies bag. I also won a wireless waterproof speaker and free pie for three months as part of the bus tour raffle. :)