Thursday, February 26, 2015

#tbt... Grammy's Birthday

Yesterday my Grammy turned 85 years young.  I say 85 years young because although she may be getting older, I still have so many found memories of her over the years and no matter how old she may get, she will always be that cool Grammy that I remember.  Growing up my Grammy was always up on the latest trends, wore jeans better than any other grandma I knew, and was always out there kicking the soccer ball or throwing a baseball or engaging in some sort of activity with my little brother and I.  She helped to instill in me my love of reading and my love of learning.  Grammy was the reason that until high school I was convinced that I was going to become a Kindergarten teacher just like she was.  My Grammy was loved by all of her students and to this day people will still tell anyone in my family how much they loved my grandma as a teacher, how much my grandma helped them as a student, how much my grandma helped their child in the classroom, etc.  There is nothing that makes me more proud than knowing that Grammy was able to touch so many lives.

As she has gotten older, Grammy has developed Alzheimer's and her memory isn't quite what it used to be.  I know it worries my mom that I will only have memories of Grammy the way she is now, but that is definitely not the case.  I have so many wonderful memories of Grammy from growing up that no matter how sick she ever gets, I will always remember that sharp, witty, playful Grammy that I grew up with for most of my life.

In honor of Grammy's 85th birthday, today I am going to throw it back to her birthdays over the past few years!!  I love you Grammy!!

Nothing like a snowy birthday in NJ for Grammy

Trendy new pocketbook for her 80th birthday!
Last year's birthday

What are some of your favorite memories with your grandparents?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Golden Vlog VI... All About Growing Up and Valentine's Day

Hi Friends!! Guess what, it is VLOG time again!! Of course I totally missed the link up (I know none of you are surprised by that), but that doesn't mean that I am going to give up on vlogging and deprive you all the opportunity of hearing my lovely voice for yet another month!!

The Golden Vlog series is a monthly series hosted by my good friend Elizabeth over at Elizabeth Loves, along with Faith at Life with Mrs. G & the Artist. Bex at butcher's niche, and Sarah at 12 Twenty Seven.  Every month they put together a series of questions for us to answer in a Vlog form... this way you get to know us as a person not only through our writing, but also through our spoken word.  Plus, I mean it is kind of cool to actually see and hear the bloggers you are following instead of just reading what they have to say.  Come on friends, you can't tell me that if you don't actually know me in real life that you don't kind of wonder what I sound like?? ;-)  Anyways, this month the prompt was all about where you are from, your childhood, and obviously Valentine's Day and this month's questions were:
one// Where did you grow up?
two// What state do you live in?
three// Do you have siblings?
four// Do you have a nickname?
five// Did you have a pet growing up? If so, what was it?
six// Do you have any favorite stories from childhood?
seven// What did you think your life would be like when you were older?
eight// What is your most embarrassing memory?
nine// Tell us your love story and what your plans are for this Valentine's Day.
ten// What is your favorite Valentine's Day memory?

Once again, YouTube for the win with another unflattering thumbnail image for my video... seriously, how do they always do this?!

What is your favorite childhood memory? Or any embarrassing stories you would like to share?

P.S. As always, don't forget to check out the blogs of the lovely ladies hosting this link up as well as some of the lovely ladies who actually linked up on time! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

#tbt... Ice Skating in NJ

Before I broke my ankle a million and one times I used to absolutely LOVE to ice skate.  I learned to ice skate as a young kid at the George Street Pond in Harrington Park, NJ.  My grandma, mom and aunt all used to love to ice skate too and it would always be a group outing to the pond.  Ice skating is something that I actually miss doing, but something I won't even attempt with my crazy ankles for fear that I will break one again. Since we finally got some snow this week (can't believe the weathermen actually got it right this time!!), I figured this week we would throw it back to ice skating in NJ!!

For good measure I was able to find an old picture of me ice skating on the George Street pond as a kid... don't I look like I was loving it?!
What are your thoughts on ice skating??

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Random Things You Should Know if We Are Going to be BFFs... Part 4

Every few months as I continue on this journey of blogging I feel like it is fun to share with all of my readers some random facts about myself.  In case you missed it, here is where you can catch up on... Part 1Part 2, and Part 3.

one// Even though Fall is my absolute favorite season, I love everything there is about Christmas.... the decorations, the lights, cutting down the tree, to spending time with family and friends.  Christmas is just such a fun time of the year!!

two// I used to be fluent in Spanish.  Although I may have lost some of it over the years, it still comes back to me when  I need it... case in point, when we were in Mexico last time and the elevator was broken I managed to tell them about it completely in Spanish.

Pictures from my adventures around Spain
three// I have broken both my ankles multiple times, yet still wear heels.

This was the last time I broke my ankle this past August
four// I can barely whistle.

five// For a female I am abnormally obsessed with sports, but one would definitely not call me a tomboy.

Flyers, Phillies, Bucknell basketball and the NY Giants... just some of my favorite teams
six// One day I really hope to be able to adopt a child.

seven// I once closed my eyes and took my hands off the wheel when I skidded driving in the snow. And this is why my husband loves when I drive in the snow.

eight// I am clumsy by nature, but when I have been drinking I really like to fall down the stairs.

nine// I LOVE tomatoes, bu pretty much can't stand tomato sauce (except on pizza)

ten// I was a vegetarian for a very long time, because of my health teacher freshman yet at PV.  I didn't start eating meat again until junior year of college when I was in Spain and my senora "tricked" me into eating it.  And by tricking me, I mean she just gave me meat to eat.

This is Pepita... she was the cutest Spanish lady EVER!
What are some random things I should know about you if we are going to be BFFs?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Feeling the Love

Although I may be a sap and a romantic at heart, I never totally understood Valentine's Day.  I never understood why we needed one day to let those that we love know that we love them... shouldn't we be doing that every day of the year?!  That being said, this year was the first year that Mark and I have spent together on the actual Valentine's Day and it seriously couldn't have been a more perfect day!!

Friday night was a rough night at work but I wasn't going to let that stop us from having a decent Saturday together.  One of the best things about Valentine's Day this year was that Mark and I actually had NOTHING planned. For once in our lives we had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING going on.  Some of you might find that strange, but if you know us, you know that we are pretty much ALWAYS on the go... most Saturdays are filled with so many activities that I almost forget what it is like to have a day to do nothing.  Valentine's Day was one of those days.  I got up at a fairly reasonable hour and after getting ready Mark and I exchanged our Valentine's Day gifts. Though I got Mark a bunch of different things, I am pretty sure that his Fitbit Charge HR was his favorite gift of all as he immediately tried to set it up and we had to take the portable charger with us when we went out so that he could charge it enough to use it.

I may have gone a little overboard on the presents for the hubby this year... Whoops
Mark got me a bunch of different things... feeding pretty much all of my addictions. He got me a gorgeous bouquet of roses,  some jewelry (what girl doesn't love jewelry), a new "Wifey" sweatshirt (which should be here tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!), and a new winter jacket (for the sub zero temperatures we are having here in Philly this week)!!

Gorgeous Roses
A traditional "funny" card and a picture of my new sweatshirt!
A more serious card and a picture of a potential winter jacket!
Snowman necklace... because I love my season themed jewelry
Owl jewelry set... feeding my owl addiction one thing at a time!
After spending the day shopping for a jacket, Mark and I had a nice lunch a Mesa Fresh and then came home to relax and then cook dinner together.

Mmmmmm surf & turf!

I seriously couldn't have asked for a better Valentine's Day.  What meant the most to me was definitely just getting to spend some quality time with Mark.  Due to our opposite work schedules it is very rare that we get to spend so much time together, much less an entire day just the two of us.  I love my husband every day of the year, and I try to always show him how much I love him, but it was definitely nice to show him just a little extra love on our first Valentine's Day spent together!!

What did you do for Valentine's Day?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Blogger 2 Blogger Book Club... I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

January was the 2nd month that I participated in the #Blog2BlogBC hosted by Kelly over at Kelly's Kinda Crazy, but this is the first month that I am participating in the link up, albeit a tad late and by a tad late I mean like almost 2 weeks late... but hey, 2 weeks late is better than not posting at all like I did last month, right?! The Blogger 2 Blogger Book Club is just that... a book club in blog land for those of us bloggers who love to read just a little bit more than most.

For January, Kelly's co-host, Sarah over at Seriously, Sarah? picked the book I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.  Sarah first read this book in high school and said it has been one of her favorites and something that she re-reads often, so she wanted to be sure to share it with the rest of us gals.

I Capture the Castle tells the story of Cassandra Mortmain and her family though the words of Cassandra's journal.  Cassandra is an aspiring author who takes to journaling to perfect her skills at speed writing during the long days that she spends at home, a home which is a ruined English castle.  Cassandra takes us through what it is like to grow up as a daughter to an eccentric author, step-daughter to a what some might call model, as someone who grows up with everything and then is reduced to poverty, as someone who is "in love" with her sister's fiance, as someone who has strong views and will do what it takes to accomplish her goals.  Though Cassandra is but a teenager in this book, she seems to be wise beyond her years.

Cassandra is very close with her sister Rose and undertakes to help Rose find a husband in Simon, but as it turns out while Rose wanted to love Simon in order to change the Mortmain's financial situation, she really is in love with someone else.  Cassandra meanwhile has fallen for Simon and feels wickedly that she wanted for the relationship between Rose and Simon to fail.  The relationships in this book take a lot of twists and turns, but in the end it seems as though everyone ends up where and with who they are supposed to be with.

This book was really hard for me to get into reading, and even as I went along reading it I still had trouble getting into it.  Although at times it was interesting, there was never really a point while reading it where I thought to myself, "Omg, I just have to read one more chapter!" I had a really easy time putting the book down and a not so easy time picking it back up again.  While I feel as though the book was really well written and I loved the fact that it was written from the point of view of Cassandra's journal, overall it just really wasn't the book for me.  And that is ok... the whole point of book clubs is reading books that you would not normally read and discovering which types of books you do and don't like.  For me this is definitely not a book I would recommend to others, but that being said, I can see why people would like to read this book if that makes any sense.

Now... for the #Blog2BlogBC portion of this post.  This is where I answer a few (3-5 according to the book club rules) discussion questions from this list here.

one// I Capture the Castle is told through Cassandra's entries in her journals, an exercise she has undertaken in order to teach herself how to write.  Why do you think Dodie Smith chose the form of the diary to tell the story of Cassandra and the Mortmain Family?

In retrospect I don't think there was any other way that Dodie Smith could have written this novel in order for it to make sense but that may be just because I really enjoyed the style in which is was written.  In order to get the full picture of the Mortmain and Cotton families the story needed to be told from a singular perspective and what better perspective than that of a teenage girl who is learning what it is like to become a woman?  Cassandra was already going through so many changes in her life it was only natural that she would keep a diary and be able to document the happenings of her eccentric family.  I also felt like it gave the reader more to think about because through only getting Cassandra's perspective on things, it leaves you to wonder what was actually going on... if Cassandra's perception of reality was dead on or if perhaps there were more to the stories than she actually fact in conversations at various points in the book you do learn that Cassandra's perception of things was not exactly what was going on, but in fact there was much more than she had realized. 

two// Cassandra is fascinated by the Cottons and their American mannerisms, traditions and expressions, just as the Cottons are fascinated by the Mortmains and their English mannerisms, traditions and expressions.  What does I Capture the Castle say about English preconceptions of Americans and America and vice versa?

Through the story it is evident that the English and Americans do not really know what life is truly like in each other's worlds.  Cassandra seems to feel like the American Cottons are crash, while the Cottons find the Mortmains for lack of a better word quaint or perhaps antiquated is the word I am looking for.  The Cottons are fascinated by Mr. Mortmain as he wrote the book Jacob Wrestling which made him famous in both England and the United States, and upon meeting him at the castle they don't seem to quite understand the life he leads and how his "genuis" had changed so much since writing his first and only book.  I feel as though the Cottons saw themselves as more intellectual than their English friends, even Mr. Mortmain, whom they considered to be a genius.  While Cassandra loves her home in England, it seems as though she is a tad jealous of the Cottons' worldliness and wants to learn as much as she can about America and what the Cottons did while there.  She also doesn't understand how the Cottons, Neil especially, could not love England as much as she does.  For Cassandra it is almost as though the world outside England, while most fascinating, does not exist.  The English and Americans seem to live mutually exclusive lives at this point in time and the novel while trying to bring them together and eventually succeeding in bringing some of them together only showcases many of their differences.   

three// How does I Capture the Castle reflect society's changing views toward women during the first half of the century?  How do the women in the novel view the roles and opportunities open to them both in the family and in the world at large differently.  Consider Cassandra, Rose, Topaz, Mrs. Cotton, and Mrs. Fox-Cotton.

The Mortmain women are all about marrying for stature or money, while the Cotton women seem to be more about themselves and their own lives without being overly dedicated to their husbands.   When looking for a husband, although Rose said that she wanted to marry for love, she ultimately denied her feelings for Neil and accepted a marriage proposal from Simon because marrying Simon meant that her family would no longer live in poverty.  While Rose was all about marrying to change her family's stature, Cassandra still had the idea that she would marry for love which is more of what I think the "modern" woman is all about.  Although in today's society some women do still marry for the money, most women marry for love.  When it comes to the Cotton women it seems as they represent more of the modern woman.  Although Mrs. Cotton has some traditional views, especially when it came to Rose's marriage to Simon, Mrs. Cotton comes across as a highly educated, intelligent and independent woman.  Mrs. Fox-Cotton is definitely the definition of what the modern woman was becoming at the time the novel was written.  Mrs. Fox-Cotton has her own photography thing going on and is a very "take-charge" sort of woman.  She doesn't like to accept no for an answer and strikes me as someone who will do whatever it takes to get what she wants.  Topaz is kind of the anomaly for me  within the novel because it seems as though she should be a strong, independent woman, yet she is constantly seeking the approval of her husband.  It is almost as though Topaz is stuck in limbo between what the modern woman was trying to become along with keeping traditional values.

Have you ever read I Capture the Castle? What did you think of it? 
Are you reading anything good right now?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Currently... in February

Today I am linking up with Becky over at Choose Happy for her "Currently" Series!  Becky started this series as a way for us bloggers to share what we are currently up to and to support each other along our life's journey!

This week we are talking about what we are currently... //finishing //pinning //watching //planning //loving.

//finishing... I am finally getting around to finishing the book I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith which was the January book for the Blogger 2 Blogger Book Club.  Yup, once again I am super late to the game, but I PROMISE I will get my review up soon AND that I will finish February's book on time and get my review up ON TIME!! Or maybe I should promise that I will try to do my best to get everything done on time because life just seems to be getting away from me these days!!

//pinning... TONS of recipes.  I feel like the hubby and I have been in a recipe rut recently so I have been looking for new ones to try.  In fact he is even having a newly pinned recipe for dinner tonight!!

// watching... Gilmore Girls!  I don't think I will EVER get tired of this show and love that it is on ABC Family during the day and that we are on Season 1 again!! Plus every time I watch the show it makes me think of my girl Elizabeth over at Elizabeth Loves and makes me feel like she isn't living all the way in Hawaii while I am here in PA! 

//planning... our trip to Mexico for my BFF JG's wedding!! Super excited for another trip to Mexico for a wedding and especially excited to be a part of JG's special day as I am one of her bridesmaids!!

// loving... that I am actually off on Saturday for Valentine's Day!! It is the first Valentine's Day I have been off in I don't know how many years and I am super excited to be spending it with my husband doing absolutely nothing except enjoying each other's company!! 

Can't wait to spend an entire day with this stud!

What is currently going on in your life?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

#tbt... Hershey Park Zoo

My husband has absolutely no fear of driving in bad weather... never has and probably never will.  So when he suggests we take a trip out to Hershey Park the day after having a pretty substantial snow storm, I say, "Sure, why not?!"  Since we have been having a ton of snow these past couple of weeks, ok maybe not a ton...because it really isn't sticking... but it sure has snowed on a bunch of different days... I figured today would be a good day to #tbt to that one time we drove to the Hershey Park Zoo after a snow storm. 

Obviously we had to get a picture with the Bison because what kind of Bucknellians would we be if we didn't take a picture with every Bison possible?!?!

Have you ever gone on a snow day adventure?