Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What I'm Loving!

I'm loving...
THAT BASEBALL SEASON IS FIVE DAYS AWAY!!! CAN YOU TELL HOW EXCITED I AM?? Lol. On Monday I'll be at the Ballpark in Arlington (don't make me call it Globe Life Park) watching my Rangers play! **happy dance**

I'm loving...
That I can cross another state off my list of states to visit. I had to fly to Pennsylvania last week on a business trip (I ended up in Lancaster, to be more specific). For those who have missed the map at the bottom of my blog (and on the sidebar), here is an update on the states I have visited.

We flew out of Dallas to Philadelphia, where we caught a connecting flight to Harrisburg, PA. THIS WAS THE PLANE I HAD TO GET ON IN PHILLY (I'm not a good flyer). It was so small that I thought that Tim Daly was flying it (bonus points if you caught that Wings reference).

There was still snow on the ground from the blizzard two weeks ago
The first night we were so tired we opted to stay in our rooms (we each had our own room) and order room service. The chicken on this Caesar salad was amazing. The dressing wasn't that great, but the ice cream made up for the whole meal. Lol. Oh, and I tried sparkling water for the first time. Not a fan, reminds me too much of Alka Seltzer.

Despite having to work hard the majority of the trip, I did have fun. I enjoyed the team that I worked with, and I met some new friends (even though we all work for the same company, we are in different departments, and some of us even different building locations), so this gives us a chance to meet and work together. We got together twice for a team dinner.

My awesome team!
Me and my friend Jan. We actually met on a business trip last year. She lives in Delaware so it had been a year since we had seen each other.
After our conference one night, we went out for karaoke and I made new friends there (yes, I make friends wherever I go). Lol. It was a great little pub. I would totally go there all the time if I lived in Lancaster. Oh, and I should mention that they were showing the Texas Rangers spring training game on the TV (granted it was on ESPN, but still). Lol.

New friend Tony 
New friend Ed

I'm loving...
That even while I'm out of state on business, I find time to find SOMETHING historical in the town I'm visiting. We had about two hours to walk around Lancaster before our meeting on Wednesday so I did the best that I could. Despite being in "Amish Country" I didn't see ONE Amish person or buggy. I was kind of disappointed. Lol. 

This Methodist church was built in 1890
This is the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Penn Square in Lancaster. It was originally dedicated on July 4, 1874 to pay tribute to soldiers killed during the Civil War. But today it also represents those who have served in subsequent American military conflicts
It was FREEZING on Wednesday (like 25 degrees). And it was super windy. We visited a few of the shops (just to get out of the cold) and also had an amazing cup of hot chocolate at some place called Cafe Onions, which was a Korean and American food cafe. We didn't try the food, but I'm serious that the hot chocolate was on point. We had lunch at a little French restaurant. The food was great. And for dessert they had these donut hole type pastries sprinkled with cinnamon. And it came with chocolate or raspberry dipping sauce. It. Was. AMAZING.

I'm loving...
Flight delays. Okay, I'm SO NOT loving those. On Sunday morning we had JUST sat down on the plane to leave when the pilot told us there was a mechanical issue so we had to get back off the plane. I ended up having a SEVEN HOUR flight delay in Pennsylvania. We all couldn't get on the same flight, so we were divided up. I ended up being the only one on the latest flight out. My flight was supposed to have left at 9am and I didn't leave until 3:15pm. I had a connecting flight in Charlotte (I had 20 minutes to get off the plane from Harrisburg and two terminals over to catch my flight to Dallas). As we were getting on THAT plane, we were told of bad weather in the Dallas area and to be prepared for a possible delay. Can I just say that flying during a thunderstorm was NOT SOMETHING I wanted to cross off my bucket list. Not long after my flight finally landed in Dallas (at 8pm) DFW airport was shut down for almost an hour due to horrible storms. I'm SO glad we landed when we did. 

Ho-hum. Flight delays.
Flying into the storm over Dallas. There was a lot of lightning, but of course, I couldn't get a picture of it. The flight got bumpy about this point and my prayer life increased. Lol.
I'm loving...
Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett. Last week I sent out a tweet asking people to take a picture wishing my mom a happy birthday (she turned 80 on Sunday). He responded with this picture. He is the GOAT.

I'm loving...
My new bathroom sink. Hey- little things make me happy. My old one was chipped and looking a little rusty. Now it's all pretty. :) 

I'm loving...
That I was able to read a book and a half on my plane rides to and from Pennsylvania. Book reviews to come shortly! :)


What are YOU loving??

Thursday, March 9, 2017

It's OK!

It's OK...

...that I possibly watch Rangers Spring Training games on my phone while I'm at work. Unless my boss is reading this- then that is NOT OK and I would NEVER do that. (Please- she knows me too well, she knows it's probably true). Lol. I'm the queen of multi-tasking.

...that Tony Romo is leaving the Cowboys. Okay, that is NOT OKAY. I refuse to listen to Romo haters, I'm an unapologetic Romo supporter. Granted, we've had issues in our relationship, but all relationships hit rocky moments. Lol. I wish him the best of luck in whatever he does next (whether it be that he plays for another team or he retires).

...that I've found yet another silly teen drama to watch- Riverdale (stop judging me). Yes, it's cheesy, but I enjoy mindless TV. Are you officially old when heartthrobs from your childhood are playing parents of teenagers? Both Luke Perry and Skeet Ulrich are in this show. I must say Skeet has improved with age. Hmm....

...that I haven't read in the past two weeks. I did so good a few weeks ago and read like three books in a week. I am going to make time this weekend and read at least one book. Maybe two. I don't want to get behind on my reading challenge. take time off work but not tell anyone because you specifically took the time off to sit at home and do nothing.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm loving...
That I got to meet a former president of the United States. Last Saturday I was able to meet President George W. Bush at a book signing. Unfortunately I couldn't get a picture with him, but he did shake my hand and told me he liked my Texas Rangers "Queen of the Diamond" shirt. He was signing a lot of books so there was no time to personalize it, but that's okay. 

**Disclaimer: If you know me at all, you know I don't talk politics, so please keep any political comments off this post. I know some people are very passionate about it, and while I respect everyone's beliefs, I don't want arguments started on my blog (because it's bound to happen). Lol. Much love to all, thanks in advance. XOXO!**

I'm loving...
That I got to spend last Saturday with friends. I went to the book signing and then the George W. Bush Presidential Library with my friends Misti and Larry. We then ate at Norma's Cafe for lunch (I know, you are shocked). Then Saturday evening I had dinner and saw the Lego Batman Movie with some other friends. It was a great day! It was just what I needed after a "challenging week" last week.

Some of President Bush's paintings
Making presidential decisions- it seems so easy!
Doing the Lord's work and introducing more friends to Norma's Cafe (there are four locations in Dallas- check it out)

I'm loving...
That this instant rice company felt the need to put "remove from microwave" on their instructions. What kind of genius made this a necessary step? Lol.

I'm loving...
That the start of baseball season is three and a half weeks away! For the first time in the 12 years that I've been attending Rangers Opening Day, it will be a night game (so I guess technically it's Opening Night). Usually the game starts at 1pm or 3pm- this year it will start at 6pm. Regardless, I will be tailgating with friends before we go to the game!

My happy place

**The website I use for the WILW link up is having issues right now, so I can't provide it today. Please leave a comment with your blog link if you are participating in What I'm Loving Wednesday!


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Book Reviews 2017: A Study In Charlotte

**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.**

A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

I really loved this book. I'll be honest- I haven't read any of the Sherlock Holmes novels and I've only see the Robert Downey, Jr movie versions, so I'm by no means a Sherlock expert (so I have no clues how Holmes and Watson act toward each other in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books, but I assume they are good friends).

This book is a modern-telling of Sherlock Holmes, with the main characters as descendants of the original Holmes and Watson. The Sherlock novels in this book were written as actual accounts of the adventures of the detective and his friend.

In this story the Holmes and Watson characters are a teenage girl and a teenage boy. They both end up at the same boarding school together and ultimately cross paths on campus. This book is a journey of their friendship as well as murder and mystery (I won't go into a lot of detail because I don't want to spoil anything).

I loved the characters and the plot development- the book is just a well-written YA novel. I read the majority of it in a day because I couldn't put it down. I'm excited to see there is another book in the series, I look forward to see what lies ahead for Charlotte and Jamie. (I just saw on GoodReads that the author plans to make it a trilogy). :)

Book summary:


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Book Reviews 2017: More 2017 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.**

I promised myself I would be better about posting book reviews on my blog. I've read eight books so far this year, I already posted a review of one of them (here). At some point I'll get back to doing a post per book, but not today. :)

I loved Veggie Tales so I enjoyed hearing the back story how Bob, Larry, and the whole crew were created. I enjoyed the author's humor, which he used throughout the book. I felt the middle part of the book dragged a little too much for me, but the author finished the book strong and with some great advice. 

My favorite part was when Mr. Vischer talked about how college students were responsible for making Veggie Tales popular in the mid-90s. I first heard about Veggie Tales my freshman year of college (1996) so I take that as a shout out. Lol.

Another part I liked was when he said he realized that the stars of the show "Veggie" tales were actually fruit (a tomato and cucumber). I actually came to that realization a few years ago and it made me laugh.

This was written in 2006 so I look forward to Mr. Vischer perhaps writing a follow up to his latest adventures. 

Book summary:

Deadly Fate by Heather Graham

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know I read a lot of Heather Graham books. And as always I put this disclaimer: this is NOT the actress Heather Graham. :)

I'm giving this a generous three stars. I love Heather Graham and the Krewe of Hunters series, but this one wasn't as captivating as the others that I've read/listened to. As the saying goes, you can't win them all. I will definitely keep reading the series and other books by Ms. Graham though, but I don't find myself re-reading this novel at any point.

I felt the romance between Thor and Clara was forced (this is not a spoiler, it's very obvious from the beginning they will get together). I know that each book in this series has a little bit of mystery, a ghost or two, and romance, but I would be okay if there wasn't romance in EVERY book. Since it's a series, it would be okay to let a relationship grow between characters instead of rushing them together before the end of the book. I liked the Thor character, but I didn't particularly like Clara. She was a supporting character in another Krewe book, but I didn't feel she was main character worthy, at least not at this point.

I listened to the audio version and once again, Luke Daniels did a fantastic job with it. I find myself specially look for books he has narrated.

I do look forward to the next book in the Krewe of Hunters series (I've read them out of order, but that doesn't take away from the series too much). 

Book summary:

Yolo by Lauren Myracle

I realize this is the 4th book of a the series, but it's the first one I've read. I actually really enjoyed this book. It's a fun and easy read. It can totally be read in one day. This book is written in text message form (so it feels like you are scrolling through a bunch of text messages). 

I'm a big texter, my BFF and I text every day. Even though we are definitely not college aged (like the girls in the novel), I could relate to being hundreds of miles from your best friend and relying on texting to stay in touch.

I laughed so much at the teen drama mainly because I could remember a time when I was going through it. There was one part (not a spoiler) where one of the girls was texting that she was at the ER and she had something sticking out of her foot (she had stepped on something metal). Her friend told her that was gross and then immediately asked for a picture of it. No lie- that is something that my BFF and I would say. Lol. I might have to check out the other books in this series. It's a VERY easy read. 

Book summary:

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

I seem to be on a YA (Young Adult) fiction kick lately. Yes, this book first caught my eye at the libary because the cover was "Tiffany blue" and the title had Audrey in it (I love Audrey Hepburn, what can I say). After I realized it was NOT about Audrey Hepburn, I saw it was written by Sophie Kinsella. She wrote all the Shopaholic books. I adore her. She is a fun author to read. I didn't know she had written a YA book, so I decided to check it out.

After I finished the book, I read some other reviews of it. I saw that some people felt the author was making light of those with anxiety disorders. I didn't feel that at all. I thought it was a well done story. It didn't get down to the nitty gritty of anxiety, but it's also a YA novel. There is humor throughout the book (something Ms. Kinsella is great at), but I don't feel it was making fun of anxiety disorders at all. I personally have dealt with anxiety and not once did I feel it was written in poor taste. 

This story is told from the POV of a young teenage girl. I feel the characters are described in a way that a teenage girl would describe them. Audrey's mother seems overbearing and over the top because to most teenage girls, their mother is overbearing and overreacts to little things. And the dad comes off as a dork, because let's face it, most teenagers feel their fathers are dorks. Linus seems like the perfect boy to Audrey because if you remember when you were a young teenager, you feel like you are in love every five minutes. This is a perfect read for a vacation or lazy Saturday afternoon. If you are a fan of good YA and/or Sophie Kinsella, I would recommend this one.

Book summary:


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What I'm Loving Wednesday!!

I'm loving...
When I get to hang out with a friend on her birthday. My beautiful and wonderful friend Beks' birthday was yesterday and she had a birthday celebration at the Dallas Stars hockey game. The Stars won 3-2 (that was their gift to her.) Beks and I have been friends since 2004. We met when a mutual friend introduced us and said "You two like baseball, you should become friends." And we did. Lol. Love this chick!

I enjoyed hanging out with her and some other friends at the game last night. I love watching sports but it's so much more fun when you are spending time with friends while watching the game. We also had all you could eat food. I will not confirm or deny that I had nachos, hot dogs, popcorn, and more Dr Pepper than one person should consume in a two hour span. I regret nothing.
A picture with the birthday girl!!

My friend Misti and I asked her teenage daughter if this was how the cool kids posed. Evidently it's not cool when we do it.
I'm loving...
That I got to see Bon Jovi in concert last week. My friend Monica and I got last minute tickets. They were behind the stage but they were actually pretty good seats. We were like four rows back. It was my first time seeing them, it was an amazing concert! 

Concerts are for meeting new friends- our new friend Adam!
I was bummed Bon Jovi wasn't selling magnets (I collect them), so I bought some collector pins and put magnets on the back. Boom. I kinda feel like a genius. Lol.

I'm loving...
That I got to meet author Bret Baier (again). Last Saturday he was signing copies of his newest book Three Days in January at the flagship Half Price Books in Dallas. My friends Misti and Larry just happened to be near there and when I mentioned he was signing, they joined me. He's super nice and remembered me from the last time he did a book signing in Dallas. I got a copy of his book signed for my dad too. 

The book he signed for my dad. No, I didn't tell him to put that. :)
I'm loving...
My new doormat. A friend got me a gift card for Rally House Texas for Christmas and I finally used it last week.

I'm loving...
That it is March- mainly because I like the picture for March on my Supernatural calendar. Stop judging me. (Happy birthday Jensen).

I'm loving...
That my friend let me borrow her Garmin Vivofit (she got a new one, so I took her old one). I've been debating what kind I want to get (Vivofit, Fitbit etc). This one monitors how many steps I've taken, how many miles I've walked, and how much I've slept. Last night I went to bed late because of the Stars game, so I got less than 6 hours of sleep. This is actually not too uncommon for me.

What are YOU loving today?