Thursday, April 30, 2015

Blogger 2 Blogger Book Club: A League of Her Own by Karen Rock

Guess what guys?! I am actually finished with the Blogger 2 Blogger Book Club book ON TIME this month and am actually linking up ON TIME this month.  See, miracles in blogging do happen!! With all that has been going on in life recently, the one thing I have been continuously trying to do is make sure that I have time for reading.  I read a bunch while we were in Mexico for the wedding and I know that getting lost in a good book really relaxes me... so that means I definitely have to try to make the time for it as my schedule gets ready to get crazy again.

This month the Blogger 2 Blogger Book Club read A League of Her Own by Karen Rock.  One of the cool things about this month's book was that our discussion questions were provided to us by the author herself AND she did an author Q & A session PLUS a giveaway!! How awesome is Karen Rock? So today I am linking up with Kelly at Love, Kelly Lorene for April's edition of the #Blog2BlogBC

A League of Her Own tells the story of Heather Gadway and her struggle to find herself and her place in life.  Heather was the child of a drug addict mother and a father who is obsessed with the Falcons, the minor league baseball team that he owns.  Wounded by the scars from her past, Heather feels like nothing she does is ever good enough for her father and like she will never be able to make him proud of her.  So when her father suffers a heart attack and she comes home to Holly Springs she decides that she is going to take on the newly vacant position of team manager for the Falcons.  Heather is determined to prove to her father that she is worthy of praise and vows to help the Falcons have a winning season.

Heather begins her journey as manager and is immediately attracted to one of the players, pitcher Garrett Wolf. The only problem with Wolf is that he is a recovering alcoholic and Heather just doesn't believe that she can trust him.  While Garret works to have Heather gain his trust, Heather is working to be the best (and first) female manager the Minor Leagues has to offer, Mr. Gadway suffers another heart attack and dies.  After his death Heather's mother is back in the picture and not only does Heather have to deal with her trust issues involved Garrett, but now her mother is back and she needs to learn how to forgive her mother and move on with life.

This book is all about love, forgiveness and learning to move forward with your life despite circumstances that might try to hold you back.  This was definitely a very uplifting and feel good book that really makes you realize that being able to forgive people and move on with your life is something that is very important.  This book was also definitely a really and enjoyable read that I would recommend to anyone looking for something to read on the beach or during a relaxing weekend!

Now for the #Blog2BlogBC portion of this review.  This is where I answer a few discussion questions (3-5 according to the book club rules) about A League of Her Own.

one// Forgiveness plays a large role in this book.  Which characters in the book need to forgive themselves and/or others? Is this important? Why or why not?

So many of the characters in this book need to forgive both themselves and others, but that is part of what made this book so interesting to me.  First off you have Heather who needed to learn to forgive her parents... not just her mother, but both of her parents.  Heather needed to forgive her father for not telling her how proud he was of her and to forgive her mother for putting her through all the pain that comes with having an addict as a parent.  While Heather's mom may have gotten clean, I also think that she needed to find a way to forgive herself for all that happened in the past, which Heather did not make easy for her to do at any point in the novel.  It wasn't until Heather decided that she could forgive everyone for all that they had done, that others were also able to move forward to give their forgiveness.  Garrett also needed to learn how to forgive himself for what happened to his fellow foster kid, Manny.  Garrett carried the weight of Manny's death with him for so many years that I think it was hard for him to see past what happened to Manny and to see how he could use Manny's death as something to grow from and as something to use as a learning experience.  Without Garrett being able to forgive himself it also made it hard for Heather to trust him and to forgive him for the few transgressions he committed during their "relationship" together.  This book really hits on how forgiveness is important and how it is necessary for all of us to try to forgive in order to move on with our lives.  Harboring all those feelings and emotions and being unable to forgive can really weigh a person down, and that is something none of us want in our lives.

two// Heather and Garrett have a bumpy road to finding love together.  What holds them back from finding love and what finally brings them together?

Heather and Garrett are unable to find love with each other at first because they are both unwilling to trust in one another.  Heather can't trust Garrett because he is a recovering alcoholic and based on everything she went through with her mother as a child she is afraid to let Garrett in.  Garret can't trust himself enough to let Heather in as he is afraid that letting someone in will cause him to go back to drinking and send him down a bad path again.  After all is said and done, once both characters learned to forgive themselves and others they realized that they are better together and that if they both want it to work they will be able to make it happen.  They finally decided to trust one another and to put their faith in one another... two things that are essential to making any relationship work.

three// Heather loses someone important in this book.  How did that impact her growth as a character? What did she gain from this loss that she needed?

When Heather lost her father she was absolutely devastated.  She believed that she hadn't lived up to her father's expectations and that she was continuously failing him as a daughter and as a coach.  However, after Dave Gadway's death, Heather found a scrapbook in his bedroom that chronicled all of the milestones and accomplishments throughout her life.  She finally realized how proud her dad was of her and it helped her to realize that she could turn the Falcons' season around and turn them into a championship team.  In his death her father gave her the confidence that she needed to succeed in life.

four// Will Garrett and Heather's happily ever after continue long after the last page? Why or why not? 

I sincerely hope that Garrett and Heather's happily ever after continue long after the last page.  I would also like to see them adopt Levi at some point in time.  I think that if the two of them keep working at it, trust each other and have faith in each other that they could have a long relationship together.  Do I think it will be easy for them, no.  But I do think that they have the potential for something special.

Have you ever read A League of Her Own? If so, what did you think about it? 
Are you reading anything amazing now? Care to share any book recommendations?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

#MarryingaMariotti Part 3... JG & DM's Mexican Wedding Adventure

It has been about 2 weeks since getting back from Mexico and I have to say, I still really wish that I was there!  Besides the fact that I was there to see one of my best friends ever get married, being there for 5 days was so relaxing and exactly what I needed because of my crazy work schedule.

Before leaving for Mexico I worked for 7 days straight and let's just say that working that many days in a row at a restaurant is enough to make you question your sanity!  By the time Thursday morning rolled around I was ready to leave for Mexico!

Excited to finally be on the plane heading to Mexico!!
Goodbye dreary Philly!!
Hello Sunny Mexico!!
We had a pretty smooth flight and an easy ride to the resort, so I was definitely in a good mood when we got there.  JG and DM had picked Secrets the Vine Cancun as the spot for their wedding and I don't think we could have been more pleased with our stay there! Upon our arrival we were greeting with glasses of champagne and a personal butler who would take us to our room.  When we booked our trip we booked a preferred club honeymoon suite because it gave us access to a bunch of different things... a separate pool, an additional bar... as well as some other discounts for the resort and let me say it was definitely worth the money to do so.  One of the really nice things was that we checked in on our floor... we didn't have to wait in a check in line or anything... we got our champagne, got in the elevator to the 26th floor and there was someone there waiting to check us in.

Our room seriously did not disappoint.  On one side of our balcony we had a fantastic view of the ocean and on the other side we had a great view of the lagoon.  I was so excited because I knew we would be able to have a beautiful sunset dinner out on our balcony one of the nights we were there!! And I mean, what better way to have dinner than a sunset room service dinner with your husband??

Our fabulous room... and yup, first thing we did was pop open the coronas!

After getting settled we headed down to the pool to meet up with those who were already there and to relax a little bit before the rehearsal.  It was so nice to lounge around in the sun and to of course enjoy a margarita or 2 before getting ready for the rehearsal.

I have to say that the rehearsal scared me a bit as it didn't seem like they knew what they were doing and I was very nervous about how things were going to go for the wedding.  I am pretty sure JG felt the same way, but she did a really good job of remaining calm and in control of it all.  After the rehearsal we all headed to the sushi restaurant for a fun dinner and then over to the piano bar to hang out.  Mark and I headed to bed fairly early as it had been a long day of traveling and traveling really takes its toll on me.

Friday morning we were up bright and early to head to the beach.  Mark and I got some great beach chairs, but OMG was it hot on the beach.  We went down to the water to cool off, but there was so much seaweed that I really didn't want to go in, so after about an hour on the beach we decided to check out one of the other pools that the resort had to offer.

While relaxing by the pool with our margaritas (yes we were drinking margaritas at 9am) we discovered a giant chess board behind us, so of course when EO came to find us we decided that a game of chess was in order. After a riviting game of chess we headed to the other pool to hang out with the wedding party until lunch and it being time for me to start getting ready for the wedding.

Ladies chilling by the pool

Original 3 does Mexico :-)
Seriously some of the best friends a girl could ask for!!
We all headed to JG's room to get ready for the wedding around 3pm.  AH, one of the MOHs, did all of our hair and it looked absolutely FABULOUS!! I was originally planning on just curling my hair, but AH convinced me that I should wear it up since it was going to be windy and this way I wouldn't have to worry about things at all.  I am so glad I listened to her!! It was fun just hanging with the girls and getting ready.  Also, you had to love that the bride was doing AH's makeup with AH was doing someone's hair.  Multitasking at its finest!  Of course we weren't ready on time, but it wouldn't have been JG if we were on time!

The wedding was absolutely beautiful!! The ceremony went perfectly and I was so excited to see my best friend marry the love of her life.  It is so amazing when you see the two of them because just in the way they look at each other it is so evident how much love they have for each other.  Love like theirs doesn't come around often and I am so glad that they found each other!!

The day after the wedding we all needed some time to recover, but instead we all pretty much spent the day drinking.  Mark and I hung out in a cabana for most of the day because he had gotten so sunburned on Friday that he didn't want to be out in the sun.  But just because we had a cabana didn't mean that we didn't drink and enjoy ourselves.

Comedy Show

Sunday was the day that Mark and I decided to take just for ourselves.  We knew that we would be spending a lot of time with friends and the wedding party while we were there, but we also knew that since we had barely seen each other in weeks that we wanted a day to be just us.  So Sunday we got up early, had breakfast and headed to the preferred club pool for the day.  We spent the day just lounging by the pool and overall getting to enjoy each others company.  It was exactly what we needed!! Sunday night we had our sunset room service dinner on the balcony and it couldn't have been more perfect.  It was so amazing to just get to spend an entire day spending quality time with my husband with nothing else to worry about.  I can't remember the last time we had a day like that and who knows when we will have a day like that again.

Monday came too soon and it was time for us to head back to Philly.  I was so sad to see our vacation end, but so grateful for the amazing time that we had.  2 weeks later and I am seriously so ready to hop on a plane and head back!! Who's with me?!?!?!

Have you ever gone on a vacation where you just didn't want to come home? And then even after you did come home all you could think about was going back??

Monday, April 27, 2015

I'm Aliveeeeeeeee!!!

Hello friends, remember me? You know, that girl that used to blog ALL the time.  But then she kind of disappeared for about a month? Well, yeah, that's me.  But no worries, I am BACK! The last time I posted was right after one of my besties' bridal showers and lets just say a lot has happened since them.

The weekend after the bridal shower was initiation weekend for the Iota Lambda Chapter of Chi Omega at Villanova University.  As their initiation advisor I was there for them for the ceremonies to a) make sure everything was done correctly and to b) help them out with whatever they needed.  I have to say I was super proud of them and we welcomes 48 incredible women into the Iota Lambda chapter!!

All the new sisters with the New Member Educator
After initiation followed by a crazy week at work, I was lucky enough to be able to celebrate my friend ZK's 30th birthday with her!  Z and I have recently become better friends through work and I was so happy that I was able to help her celebrate her 30th!!
Z with all her birthday goodies
Celebrating Z's bday after a rough night at work 

Sushi & Champagne for Z's birthday
After a long work week and celebrating Z's birthday at work, it was time to head to good old New Jersey to attend a surprise 30th birthday party for one of my best friends in the entire world.  AW and I have been friends since we were in first grade together and have shared so many wonderful memories.

Photobooth fun at the surprise party
First Grade Friends
AW's surprise party was the perfect end to the month of March and as Mark and I headed into April I had no idea how many changes the month would bring.  The first major change came on April 1st when Mark and I decided to make an offer on a house we had gone to look at a couple of times and could actually see ourselves living it.  I am pretty sure friends and family thought that we were pulling some sort of April Fool's joke on them... especially since I told everyone it took me over a bottle of wine before I was comfortable making the offer.

This is the house we put an offer in on
Champagne to Celebrate finally putting in an offer
Unfortunately we still haven't heard back about the house.  It is a short sale.  So although our offer was accepted by the seller's agent and the sellers themselves, we still have to wait for the bank who owns the mortgage to accept the offer.  They have had it for a couple of weeks now, so keep your fingers crossed that we hear something back soon.  I am having major anxiety issues over this because I hate the uncertainty.  I just want to know.  Will I be disappointed if the bank doesn't accept our offer? Absolutely.  But I just want to know!

After making an offer on the house it was time to head to Mexico for JG and DM's wedding!! Let me just say that we had a fabulous time and it was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL wedding!! So beautiful in fact that it deserves its own post and I will not be spoiling things for you in this little life recap of mine.

We came back from Mexico to me working 9 days straight with a bridal shower and bachelorette party for my G-little thrown into the mix.  BE is my little sister's little sister in Chi Omega and I was so thrilled to be there to help her celebrate her upcoming wedding!! BE is marrying another Bucknellian in June and Mark and I are so excited that we are going to be able to be there to celebrate with them!!

Bucknell Ladies at BE's bridal shower
My G-little... the beautiful bride to be

All of the fabulous ladies at BE's bachelorette!
On my last day of my 9 days straight of work I found out that it is official that I am getting promoted to management.  As many of you know I went to law school and have been unable to find a job as an attorney.  To help get myself through law school I started working at the TGI Friday's across the street from my school and until recently had been employed as a bartender.  Well I got my official offer letter today and this Friday, May 1st will be my last official bartending shift.  While this is bittersweet because I will miss my fellow bartenders, I do know that this is the right step for me.  Though working in the restaurant business is not what I want to do for the rest of my life, I feel as though moving into management is definitely a step in the right direction for me.

This past Thursday, on my first day off I spent the night chaperoning the Iota Lambda ladies at their spring formals at Adventure Aquarium in Camden.  Not exactly how I wanted to spend my one day off, but for the first time in forever the girls (and their dates) were so very well behaved that I actually was able to enjoy myself and to snap a few pictures!!

Shark Selfie!!
So ladies and gentlemen, that is what has been going on in the wonderful world of Elizabeth this past month and why I have been so M.I.A.  Life definitely doesn't seem like it will be slowing down for us any time soon, but I think I need to get back into the swing of blogging in order to keep all my emotions in check.  Blogging has always been such a relaxation for me and a way for me to express myself.  I have missed it.  And with my anxiety being at an all time high with all these major life changes, I think I definitely need a little stress relief in my life!

Did you miss me? (Be honest) What has been going on in your life recently?

PS, Today I am linking up with Krista at The Quinntessential Mommy for her "Meet Up Monday" link up! If you have time you should head over to her blog and check out some of the others who have linked up today as well!!