Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review... Return to Tradd Street

For March's Beta Book Club meeting we chose to read Return to Tradd Street by Karen White.  This book was the 4th in the Tradd Street series and since our book club had read the previous three, we decided to give this one a go. The three previous books in the series were books that I really enjoyed so I was super excited to start reading this one!  I wish I hadn't been so excited about it, because well I was really disappointed in this one .

The Tradd Street Series follows the life of Melanie Middleton as she learns to embrace her "special powers" and use them for good in her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.  Each of the previous Tradd Street books had a mystery that Melanie had to use her powers to solve... sometimes with the help of her mother or some of the ghosts she encounters.  These books are usually full of mystery and intrigue and they leave you wanting more.  This time around the book just annoyed me.

In Return to Tradd Street, Melanie finds herself pregnant with her now ex-boyfriend's child.  Melanie who in the other books had seemed like such a strong female protagonist now finds herself being almost "bullied" by her mother, best friend, maid, etc. all because of her being pregnant.  They are dictating what she should eat, how hard she should work, etc. and Melanie never really seemed to stand up for herself.  That was not the Melanie Middleton that I had come to love in the previous books!  Melanie also seems to let Jack get his way too much in this book as well... I know that deep down she really loved him, but at times he was such a jerk to her and she did nothing to fight back.  I get that it was part of their relationship, or at least that was how Karen White wanted their relationship to look, but it really just made me mad.

There was also a lot of extra "fluff" in this book.  I felt as though some of the characters had no business being brought into this book because well they really did nothing for the story line.  Take Melanie's cousin Rebecca for instance... she was in a couple of the other books as she had a "power" like Melanie and she used her power to help Melanie out.  In this book Rebecca came off as a really snooty person who was there to just be mean to Melanie.... and there really was just no point to her character being around.  I really didn't understand the point of why she was there and I found myself angry that Rebecca even made an appearance.

I also did not enjoy the "mystery" part of this book.  In all of the books there has been a mystery that Melanie has had to solve in order to help the ghosts go into the light to be able to rest in peace.  This mystery was just lacking.  Sure they found another dead body in Melanie's house... but the suspense of the mystery just wasn't there.

Overall this was definitely my least favorite of the Tradd Street series, but I am glad that I read it.  I doubt that there will be any more books in the series as it seems like Karen White tied up all loose ends in this book, and I can't say that I will be upset if this series ends here.  I won't count Karen White out though as an author because I have read some other books by her that I have absolutely adored!

Can't wait for our next Beta Book Club meeting and to be able to discuss whatever book we end up reading next!!

Today I am thankful that I have a group of sorority sisters who love to read as much as I do.  I love that we can get together to discuss books in a constructive setting.  I love that despite our different opinions we have great conversations about the books that we read.  It is amazing to be able to get together with a bunch of women who are all in different stages of our lives and have a great time like we are all back in college getting together in the cafeteria to discuss our previous night out... only now we meet at bars and discuss books!

Friday, March 28, 2014

*Happies & Crappies* ... A Link Up

I can't believe that another week has gone by... seriously, where is the time going?! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was writing a Friday post recapping my week.  But once again, today I am linking up with Amber at Brunch with Amber & Stephanie at The Vintage Modern Wife for Happies and Crappies.

* I truly have some of the best friends in the entire world.  I wasn't having the best of days yesterday and their inspirational text messages definitely helped brighten my mood.
* I finally pulled the trigger and bought myself a "Wifey" sweatshirt from Hello Darling!  I was torn between the black with the white writing or the pink with the black writing... but ended up going for the black because well I think I will get the most wear out of that one.  I also love that when I posted the picture on Instagram and tagged Hello Darling in it I immediately got a comment saying that I will be able to rock this sweatshirt (I had expressed some doubt that I would look good in it) If that isn't great customer service then I don't know what is!

*Only 2 weeks until we are on our way to Williamsburg, VA to celebrate the marriage of one of my best friends/bridesmaids CS to JW.  I am sooooo incredibly excited to see both of them and to be a part of their special day!  I am also super excited that they were able to use our table numbers that I ordered and that arrived AFTER our wedding ceremony even though they were supposed to be there 3 days before!

*I also found out yesterday that one of my other best friends/bridesmaids is moving back to the East Coast from AZ.  I am soooooooo excited that I am going to be able to see her more often and that it will no longer be a twice a year kind of thing!  I can't wait to have my partner in crime back here at the end of next month!!!!!

* Remember that job interview that I talked about here... well I got my favorite e-mail in the world about it yesterday.  The "despite your impressive qualifications we decided to go with another applicant that better suited our needs" that ended with "we will keep your resume on file if any opportunities arise in the future".  I was so hoping and praying that I would get this job... but I guess it just isn't my time yet.  Keeping my fingers crossed that something else comes my way soon!  That is really my only crappy of the week but for whatever reason it has really gotten me down.  I have tried so hard to be positive during this whole job searching thing, but I truly am starting to feel defeated and like I am going to be stuck in the restaurant business forever. 

Today I am super thankful for my amazing girlfriends.  I am sure I have thanked them here before, but this week when I needed just a little extra love they were all there for me in a heartbeat offering words of encouragement and reminding me to never give up.  In life is is so important to have a few really good friends and I am so thankful that I have so many amazing women in my life who I know will always be there for me!  You girls are simply amazing!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

#tbt... My First House Party Weekend at Bucknell

This week's #tbt is to my first ever House Party Weekend at Bucknell.  House Party weekend is was a weekend at Bucknell where for an entire weekend the campus is transformed into one big party full of live bands playing outside, drinking beer, BBQing and overall just having a good time with friends.  I attended my first House Party weekend as a freshman in April of 2014, so with the 10th anniversary of my first House Party Weekend coming up what better time than now.

Unfortunately current Bucknellians will not get to participate in the gloriousness that is House Party weekend as the University decided to do away with it this year... and I can't say that I blame them.  House Party was a weekend full of so much fun, but in recent years it has turned into an excuse for students to get beyond wasted while the University turns a blind eye.  Too many students have gone to the hospital with alcohol poisoning, too many bad things have happened.  Sure not everyone gets like that, but the University needed to do something to get this weekend back to what it used to be... so if that means getting rid of it for a few year, then so be it.

Drunk eyed roomies

Freshman Year Friends at our first ever house party
With the girl who helped me become a Chi Omega

Drinking in bed and resting up for more festivities

Ladies enjoying drinks before heading out... boys photobombing
Drinking out of a blender is totally acceptable

I don't even know, but it was too funny to not include
Blurry but still cute
Best Roomie Ever

Today I am thankful that I was able to experience House Party Weekend.  Though it was still kind of a drunk fest of a weekend when I was there, it was still one of the best weekends ever.  It was so much fun to enjoy the nice weather with BBQs and bands outside of all the frat houses by day and then to dance the night away with DJs or live bands in the frat house basements.  I am thankful for the fun times I had with my friends over this weekend and I am so thankful that I got to participate in it during my time at Bucknell.  R.I.P. House Party Weekend... may future Bucknellians one day be able to bask in your glory again!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Liebster Award!!

Hello friends!! Today I am super excited to be writing this post because Lindsey from Bliss and Blunders of a Newlywed has nominated little ole me for the Liebster Award!! This award is given to a blogger by another blogger in order for us all to get to know each other better.  I am thrilled that Lindsey has nominated me and I am also excited to be able to nominate a few of my favorite bloggers for this award as well.  This is the award that keeps on giving... from one blogger to another. As a nominee I get to answer a series of questions that Lindsey has for me and then I get to come up with a list of questions for my nominees to answer.  It is definitely a win-win for all parties involved. So here goes...

My Questions from Lindsey

1. What inspired you to start blogging?  I honestly don't really remember what inspired me to start blogging.  I started my blog back in 2010 I think really as a place for me to write down my thoughts.  I used to keep a journal but was not always consistent about writing in it and I think I thought that having a blog would help make me a bit more consistent in my writing.  Of course that didn't happen and I didn't really make a commitment to making something of my blog until 2014.

2. Describe your "perfect day". A perfect day is pretty much any day that I get to spend with my husband.  We pretty much work opposite schedules and when we are both off I seem to be doing some much volunteer work in what little free time that I have that M and I barely see each other.  I think we saw each other for a total of 1 hour on Wednesday and we won't see each other until grocery shopping on Sunday morning.  Such is life... but I definitely miss spending time with my hubby. 

3. What are some goals that you have for your blog? I would like to make more of a commitment to blogging and to making something of my blog.  Prior to this year my blog had just been an afterthought... something that I didn't pay much attention to.  I would like to fix that.  I would like to keep writing posts... book reviews... sharing recipes... etc. in hopes that my blog becomes a place that people like to stop by and read posts or even try some of my recipes, read some new books, etc.  I want it to be a place that accurately shows me and my life.

4. What is your biggest fear?  Not turning out to be the wife and mother that I know I am capable of one day becoming.  Prior to meeting M I was convinced that I was never going to get married and that I was never going to have children.  I was going to be a partner in a huge NYC law firm by the time I was 35.  Those were my goals and dreams.  Then I started dating M and when things got serious my goals and dreams changed some.  Sure I still want to be a successful practicing lawyer, but I also want to be a good wife and some day I would like to have children with M and I want to be a good mother.  Because being a wife and mother were not in my original life place I am afraid that I don't always know what it takes to be one and that I will fail in this department.  I know it is a silly fear, but it is definitely something that I worry about from time to time. 

5. What is one of your favorite memories? The day I got accepted to Bucknell was probably one of the best days of my life. I was at Barnes & Noble with friends studying for my Physics midterm when I got a call from my parents.  They told me that I had gotten a big envelope from Bucknell and wanted to know if they should open it or not.  Of course I told them to go ahead and when they read me my acceptance letter it was one of the best moments of my life.  Of course I had to finish studying for my midterm, but when I got home my family had decorated our front door with congratulations signs and had gotten orange and blue balloons and I am pretty sure everyone cried because I was going to be going to the school that so many in my family had gone to before me. 

6. What is one thing you have always wanted to do?  The hubby will laugh when he reads the answer to this one and then he will probably yell at me, but I am going to write it down anyway.  I have always wanted to learn to drive a manual car.  The hubby has a manual and keeps volunteering to teach me how to drive it and I keep telling him no.  It isn't that I have no desire to learn it is just that I am so afraid that I will be so terrible at it that he will laugh at me and that I won't be able to learn.  I am so afraid that I am too uncoordinated to learn (I trip over my own feet sometimes), so I am just afraid that I won't be able to use two pedals at once and that I will end up ruining his car.  Who knows though, maybe one day I will learn.  

7. What is your favorite thing to do in your free time? In what little free time I have I enjoy getting to spend time with my hubby.  No matter what we do together I just enjoy getting to be in his company.  Whether it is out touring a brewery, running errands, or just sitting at home snuggling on the couch together I just can't get enough of being by his side.  I know he might say that I sometimes get agitated with him when we are spending time together, but sometimes I don't need to talk or anything, I just want to be by his side and enjoy being close to him.

8. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be? Spain. I will always love Spain and will never stop wanting to go back to visit.  I was in my glory when we were able to go there for part of our honeymoon and there is definitely a part of my heart that will always be in Spain.  

9. What is one thing that you would like to accomplish in your life?  I would like to put my law degree to use.  I graduated law school almost 4 years ago and have still yet to find a job in the legal field.  As much as I say that I will take a job doing anything, I really would like to get the opportunity to use my law degree.

10. What is your favorite Bible verse or inspirational quote? Why? My favorite Bible verse is probably a toss up between Luke 18:27 or Philippians 4:13... although they are both along the same vein. 
Luke 18:27: "Jesus replied, 'What is impossible with man is possible with God.'"
Philippians 4:13: "I can do all this through Him who gives me strength."
Through God and Christ all things are possible and this is something that I definitely try to remember when  I feel like life is getting me down.  God will not give me more than He thinks I can handle and so long as I believe in Him I can do anything that I put my mind to.

11. What is your favorite thing about blogging?  I love that I have a place to write down my thoughts for other people to see or for no one to see.  I love that no matter what I write I am writing it for me, although I do love reading comments from people and seeing who has the same thoughts as I do or who has different feelings.  I love the dialogue that I have with people through blogging.  I love that I have made friends that I know will last a lifetime.

And now, my nominations for the Liebster Award are:

Jane at My Squeaky Sneakers

And here are my questions for these lovely ladies:
1. What made you decide to start a blog?
2. Where do you see your blog in the future?
3. What is your favorite book? Why?
4. What is your favorite season?
5. What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
6. Describe a moment in time that you will never forget.
7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
8. Where is your favorite place that you have ever visited?
9. If you could have a meal with one person from history who would it be and what would you eat?
10. Who is your celebrity crush?
11. What is your favorite thing about having a blog?

Ladies, looking forward to reading your answers to these questions and to seeing who you all nominate for the Liebster Award because yes it is now your turn to nominate 6 people who have 200 or less followers (on GFC, bloglovin' or wherever) for their blog and ask them some questions so that we can all get to know them better!

Today I am thankful for the friends that I am met through the blogging community.  I am thankful that Lindsey nominated me for this award so that I can meet some other amazing bloggers out there and so that I can have the opportunity to nominate some of my other favorite bloggers to give them some recognition! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

*Happies & Crappies* ... A Link Up

I can't believe that another week has gone by... seriously, where is the time going?! So, today I am linking up with Amber at Brunch with Amber & Stephanie at The Vintage Modern Wife for Happies and Crappies.

* I chaperoned my first event this week where we didn't have to send anyone home.  If that isn't winning then I don't know what is.
* Although not that many people showed up I had a great time with a few of my Beta Book Club ladies discussing the book The Return to Tradd Street (look for a book review post coming soon!)
* It is officially SPRING!! Here's hoping for warmer weather soon!!
* We were able to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a few of our favorite people on Monday... complete with car bombs & a traditional corned beef & cabbage dinner!

* Last night was the first Thursday since I don't know when that I didn't leave work feeling like I wanted to quit my job.

* I barely got to spend any time with my hubby this week.  Between working opposite schedules plus all the stuff I seem to do volunteer wise we haven't gotten much time together at all, and it doesn't look like we will for a few more days.
* Once again they shut the water off in our apartment in order to do work and once again they gave us less than 24 hours notice.... so much for sleeping in today so that I am not exhausted for tomorrow.
* Still haven't heard back from the company that I interviewed with.....

Today I am thankful for my Beta Book Club ladies.  I love that I have a group of Chi Omega sisters who love to read as much as I do and who love to meet for drinks to discuss the books that we have read.  It is so nice to have that outlet and to be able to read books that are outside of my comfort zone.  I also love that we all feel free to share our opinions openly and listen to each other regardless of whether or not we agree or disagree with what the person is saying.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

#tbt... Spring Break Edition

Happy First Day of Spring!! In honor of today being the first day of hopefully warmer weather, we are going to #tbt to Spring Break!  I only went on Spring Break trips twice when I was in college.. I always worked over spring break, but the two I went on were pretty amazing.  Sophomore year to Ft. Lauderdale, FL and Junior year to Italy!

Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Spring Break 2005

Spring Break 2006- Italy

Today I am thankful that I had the opportunity to travel on Spring Break with some amazing girls.  I may not still keep in touch with all of them, but the memories we made on these trips were simply amazing.  I will never forget the good times that we had and I will forever treasure the time that we spent together! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Top 10 Things I "Love" that Customers Say to Me as Bartender

As much as I want a job using my college & law school degrees, being a bartender definitely has its moments where it just makes me shake my head and laugh.  Today I decided to compile a list of my "Top 10" things that I love (and by "love" I mean hate) that customers say to us on a fairly consistent basis.... plus of course what  I am thinking when the customer says this and of course what I actually say in response (*Note: my thoughts and responses to customers do not always go like this... depends on how I am feeling in the moment what exactly I think/say when these situations arise).  These also may not be my "Top 10", but these are the things that have been said the past few shifts that just happen to stick out to me at this point.

(In no particular order)

10. "Do you know how to make a Long Island?"

  • What I am thinking: Are you kidding me?! What kind of bartender doesn't know how to make a Long Island?! That is probably one of the first drinks they teach you.
  • What I actually say: Absolutely I can make you a Long Island.

9. "What do you mean I need to show you my I.D., don't I look over 21?!" or "What do you mean I need to show you my I.D., I'm a bartender." or "What do you mean I need to show you my I.D., I'm a server.", etc.
  • What I am thinking: It doesn't matter if you look over 21. I could lose my job if I don't card you and honestly, I would rather keep my job than worry about upsetting you because I asked you for your I.D. Also, being a bartender or a server means that you should know better and you should know that I need to see your I.D. in order to serve you.
  • What I actually say: I still need to see a valid form of I.D. if you would like to sit at the bar.

8. "Let me get a 'Strong Island'."

  • What I am thinking: You seriously sound like an idiot.  Are you really going to come in the bar and ask for a "Strong Island"?!
  • What I actually say: All of our drinks are made to recipe, so I can make you a Long Island

7. "What does it matter that my I.D. has expired?!"

  • What I am thinking: Your I.D. expired months ago, how have you been driving around with it?!
  • What I actually say: It is against the law for me to serve you without a valid government issued I.D. The fact that your I.D. has expired means that it is invalid.

6. "Can I get a margarita with extra vodka in it?"

  • What I am thinking: Who really thinks vodka comes in a margarita?! You obviously have NO clue what you are talking about if you are asking for extra vodka in your margarita.
  • What I actually say: You mean extra tequila?

5.  "I can't taste the alcohol in my {insert name of frozen drink here}."

  • What I am thinking: Of course you can't, that is the point of a blended drink.  
  • What I actually say: You aren't supposed to be able to taste the alcohol in a frozen drink.  When you think about it, you are drinking all the ice that you wouldn't normally drink if the drink hadn't been blended. 

4.  "What do you mean I need to give you a card to start a tab?!"

  • What I am thinking: You are sitting at a bar... you need to give me a card to start a tab.  What bars do you go to where they don't ask you for something to hold your tab open? I know I always have to give a card when I sit at the bar. Especially on a busy night.
  • What I actually say: If you don't want to give me a card that is fine, I just need you to cash out now.

3.  "What do you have on draft?" I list all the draft beers. "So you mean you don't have {insert beer we don't have here} on draft?"

  • What I am thinking: You just heard me go through all of our draft beers... did you hear me say X beer?! No. So if I didn't say it then obviously we don't have it on draft.
  • What I actually say: No I'm sorry we don't have that beer on draft.

2. "Can I get {insert drink name here} without {insert juice here}?" I make drink and hand it to the customer and get "Why isn't my glass full?"

  • What I am thinking: Of course it isn't full. You took half of the juices out of it.  Do you really think that getting less juice will mean that you get more alcohol? No, it just means you get less juice.
  • What I actually say: Well you asked for none of x juice and y juice so that is why the glass isn't full.

1. "You are here to serve me."

  • What I am thinking: That is probably the rudest thing I have ever heard.  
  • What I actually say: No, I am here to serve you responsibly and that is why you cannot have another drink.
For as much as I say that I hate my job at times, it definitely gives me many good stories to tell.  Stories that I will be able to tell for years to come.

As always, today I am thankful for customers who give me these stories to tell.  I am thankful that although my job drives me crazy I have those days where I can just laugh at all the idiotic excuses people give and the things that they say.  As much as my job drives me crazy there are definitely good days where I don't mind it and where I can laugh my way through a shift with a smile on my face. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

#tbt... High School Edition

I can't remember which blog I saw it on, but someone did a throw back post last Thursday and I thought to myself, that I something I think I would love to do.  You all know I LOVE posting my pictures... and since I am trying to let everyone get to know me a bit better posting some throw backs seems like a perfect thing to do.  I always do my #tbt (Throw Back Thursday) pictures on Instagrm, so why not share a bunch on this little old blog of mine?!

So for my first edition of #tbt I am going to theme it "High School Edition".  Now I don't have that many high school pictures to share with you because well, digital cameras weren't that popular when I was in high school so I don't have a ton of photographic evidence as most pictures were actual prints that are somewhere in my parents' house.  But here goes... a look at my high school life....

As always, today I am thankful that I grew out of my awkward teenage self.  As much as high school was a blast at times, there were times where I hated it.  It was tough being a cheerleader while also being in all honors and AP classes... I felt like I never really fit in.  I am so thankful though that I stuck it out with everything because being smart yet also being a cheerleader helped to make me who I am today.  I am thankful that my parents never let me give up and that they always encouraged me to do my best even when I felt like I could not have the best of both worlds.