Tuesday, August 23, 2016

I Have Never...

I pride myself on a few things I have never done.  It's just weird stuff, unimportant things, but for whatever reason, people seem a little shocked when they learn some of the things on my "I have never" list.

Most noteably:
I have never eaten a McDonald's hamburger.  I could even go so far as to say, "I've never eaten anything from McDonald's", but I feel like I might have eaten a fry or two from a kid I once babysat who was always eating Happy Meals.  I'm not really sure that's true, but it seems within the realm of possibility.  But FOR SURE, I've never eaten a McDonald's hamburger.  Growing up, my family rarely, if ever, ate fast food.  That's not to say we were super healthy eaters or anything, it's just I liked my Kraft mac and cheese made at home by Mom.  And my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches too.  Who needed fast food?

I've just never been a consumer of fast food in general.  Why do I want to get or eat my food so fast anyway? And why in the world would I want to go through a drive through or eat in the car? I'm a big believer in sitting down for a meal and taking my time.  So no McDonald's hamburger has ever touched my lips, and never will.  I can make that vow without any trepidation.

cute graphic!
Up until yesterday, although probably not as newsworthy, but still worth noting... I had never eaten anything from Chick fil A.  Nor did I even know how to spell it... I made a reference to my big adventure in going yesterday and texted a friend, telling her I had finally eaten at "Chick Filet." 

Anyway, for years, I've noticed big lines at the drive through of Chick fil A and always wondered, "What's this all about, Alfie?!" Also, I've seen those cute billboards with the cows over the years, and I do like those... so....
actually, it isn't- but i like this cow and want to support his cause!

My friend, Kathy, found out I had never eaten there and told me I might actually like it.  She knows me and my picky eating habits well, so I decided to give it a go last night for the big meal to be eaten during our weekly viewing of "Bachelor in Paradise"- Hey, junk food and junk tv sound like they would go together well!

I had heard people talk about the waffle fries- "Oh!! Get the waffle fries!"- I know what waffle fries are, people.  But okay, maybe Chick fil A's are especially delicious.  So I ordered waffle fries, obviously, and a few chicken tenders, as advised by Kathy.

We took our bag home and I warmed all of it up in the oven because I wanted to experience it all in it's best form... which I would assume is HOT.
fresh out of the oven, but back in boxes for the photo op
So, do I feel like all these years I've been missing out on the Fast Food Nation thing by not going to Chick fil A? Nope. Not at all.  No regrets.

I DO NOT get the love people almost obsessively have for Chick fil A. (Other than the cute commercials.)  The waffle fries don't even compare to the sweet potato waffle fries at GRUB here in Dallas. Mine didn't have barely any flavor, and were a little soggy. And the chicken tenders weren't that great either- They weren't crispy and there was nothing special about them at all.  Kathy told me they would be better if they had been fresh, and that some days are better than others- and I totally get that and am sure it's true.  But honestly, if it's hit or miss, I'm not trying again.

So although I can no longer say, "I've never been to Chick fil A", I can now say, "I ate there once, and only once." AND I will continue to uphold the "I have never eaten a McDonald hamburger" promise.





Monday, August 22, 2016

My Book Journal

Year after year, I resolve to keep a list of all the books I read. I've kept a scattered ongoing list in journals, and online at Goodreads, my Instagram account, on the Litsy app, and on my blog. But it's pretty disorganized because it is so scattered. And I lose track of what I've read. Sometimes, I can remember that I've read a book months after finishing it, but I can barely remember what it was about, or if I liked it and why or why not.

I want my reading to not only be interesting and fun in the moment, but meaningful in it's after effects.  So, I want to journal about my reading.  And not necessarily online.  Just for me.
I decided to buy a journal to motivate me do this in a more organized fashion.  Not just a blank journal, as I've tried that before, but one specifically for keeping and easy record of books I've read.

I asked a salesgirl at the counter of the Half Priced Books in my neighborhood if they had any book journals, "...for keeping track of the books I read." She looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "We have an entire section of blank journals."  We had a quick conversation about what I specifically was looking for, and she let me know that no, they didn't have something quite like that.

But guess what?  Amazon does! 
The Book Lover's Journal.  Hey! That's ME! And this is MINE!
I read the reviews about this journal to make sure it was what I was looking for, since I couldn't see the inside of it.  A few reviewers complained that it only had enough pages for 70 books, because 2 whole pages were dedicated to each book.  Um... yes.  That's true, but why is that even a complaint?  Shouldn't it take at least 2 pages to jot down just a few highlights from a book that someone spent months and possibly years writing, and I spent hours reading? So that complaint didn't stop me from ordering this journal.

The layout inside the book journal. 
And I'm so glad it didn't, because I LOVE IT.  For each book, there's a spot to write the title, author, what type of book it is, and the number of pages.  Then, a little spot to fill in what was noteworthy, when/where I read it, and I discovered it in the first place. There's a little grid to rank the writing regarding different aspects like pace, plot development, etc.  Then you've got a whole page to jot down anything you want about the book-- the basic plot, how this book made me feel, important lines in the book, etc So it gives me just enough room to write a quick summation of my personal experience with the book, but not too much room that I feel overwhelmed by the blank space.
I've only read 3 books since getting this journal, but so far I'm 3 and 3 for recording what I read in this journal.  I am super excited to fill this thing up.  And to keep track of what I've read.  I'm expecting this to be the first of many "Book Lover's" journal.


Friday, August 19, 2016

My ATV Ride, and the Picture to Prove It

Recently, I took a trip to Pagosa Springs, Colorado with the fam.  Fermin and I drove (yes, we drove!) so Lucy and Ricky could join us.  We met up with my brother and his dog, and a few days later, my sister and her dog came up as well.  Hey, it's our dogs world, and we're just living in it!

It was great.  Seriously great.  The weather, the beauty of the the mountains, the fun outdoor things to do every day, ... all of that was such a nice break from Dallas. 

There was only one day that the weather put a damper on things. My brother, Fermin and I rented ATVs.  (Which I mistakenly kept referring to as ATFs, All Terrain Fehicals, and am just going to continue to do so.) We were going to rent them for 4 hours, but because of my blood sugars and my eating schedule, (I'm a little high maintenance due to my Type 1 Diabetes) I said I was only doing 2 hours.  The two of them sort of rolled their eyes at me, but also changed their reservations to 2 hours.  Which in the moment, totally sucked.  But, it ended up being a great thing.

Within 5 minutes of us leaving the rental place to head up the mountain in our ATFs, it started raining.  A lot.  And getting colder and colder.  After about 20 minutes, we had to pull over and get under some trees so this storm could pass.  We did see a few other people in cars, and even a few on  ATFs, but they were all coming down the mountain.  The three of us came up with a plan- rather than riding up the mountain, we decided to go down near the river.  It would probably be warmer there (makes sense, right?), and maybe it wouldn't even be raining by the time we got there.

No.  and No.

That ride back down to where we started was hellacious!  It was so miserably cold, I couldn't see out of my rain soaked, fogged up glasses, and the raindrops were so big they were actually painful.  At one point, I found myself screaming all sorts of phrases into my helmet that only I could hear.  Somehow, I think it made me feel slightly better.  And in between my expletives, I'd laugh at how ridiculous this stupid this ATF ride was.

Oh, did I mention this was my first ever ATF experience?

But this was the one picture we got from that misadventure. We only took one photo, at the very beginning of the ride, before everything went to shit.  Look, we look like we are just loving every minute of it.  It's such a misrepresentation.  And the perfect one to post on my Facebook account!
Fermin and I- on the ATFs pre-monsoon.  Fun for about 5 minutes.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Book Talk: The Good Girl

Over the last several days, I read The Good Girl by Mary Kubica.  It came out at the beginning of last year, but somehow, I missed it and only got around to reading it now. But the great thing about me being late to read it is--- it was easy to get at the library!  I didn't have to wait on it at all.
the book The Good Girl, pictured with my good girl, Lucy...

And I really loved it.  It was advertised as "for fans of Gone Girl"- but I'm not sure why.  However, I was a fan of Gone Girl, and I am a fan of this one, so maybe whoever wrote that knew what they were talking about.  But really, the two books are nothing alike. 

This book is about a girl named Mia that gets kidnapped by a man she meets in a bar one night- But then he changes his mind on the kidnapping, and takes her to a secret cabin in the woods, during the winter, in a very cold area of the country.The narration of the book switches back and forth between several of the characters in the story, and it goes back and forth in the timeline as well.  Sometimes this back and forth in time thing can annoy me, but in this book, it worked and didn't get in the way of the story at all.

I liked the way there was both good and bad in most of the characters of the story.  I actually found myself pulling for the "bad guy".  I figure that's a hard thing for an author to pull off, and I love it when it's done well.  The best example EVER was Walter White, played so brilliantly by Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad... That was the best layered character there ever was,in my opinion. Breaking Bad made me realize how much I love it when I see all sides of a character and they challenge my moral standing on things. I liked that this book did that too.

Before reading The Good Girl, I had read there would be some big twist. It's probably never helpful for me to hear that before I dive into reading a book because it makes me overthink what's coming next.  And then, the "big twist" usually feels anti-climatic.  There was a gradual twist in The Good Girl, that I really liked (but I'm trying to avoid spoilers here...), but the other "twist" that came out in the epilogue of the book just sort of bothered me, in that it made me have to rethink everything about the main character that I thought I understood. For me, it was a better story without that epilogue.  (Again, trying not to spoil, but I SO want to talk about it and this is difficult...)

I would give this book an 8 out of 10- I would have given it a 9 if it had not had that final chapter.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

My New HairCut

Getting a haircut is a big deal for me.
When I'm changing it, rather than just getting a trim, it's a big event.  I am excited but also slightly anxious in the days that lead up to it.

I show up with pictures of examples of how I hope my hair will look by the end of the appointment.  Although, it's usually not just the hair I want, but the whole face of the person in pictures I bring in for show. But I DO understand, a hair stylist only deals with hair...

I've had a few traumatizing haircut experiences in my past... and really, who hasn't?
The first one that I remember, was when I was in 8th grade and I chopped off my shoulder length hair to mid-neck length.  My boyfriend (whatever that means when you're 13 years old) actually broke up with me because he didn't think I was as pretty with shorter hair.  Nice.

Another time, I went to a new stylist and she cut my bangs so short that they wouldn't even lay flat on my forehead, they just stayed in a spiked position.  I wore weird headbands for a few weeks until things calmed (and flattened) down.
my bangs looked something like this after that bad haircut
But these days, I know Fermin isn't going to leave me over a haircut.  And I'm not letting anyone cut my bangs so short that it looks like a 3 year old got a hold of some scissors.  So the excitement of a new look far outweighs the anxiety and fear.

I LOVE going to a salon.  Why does it feel so much better when someone else shampoos my hair?  I also love the sound of the scissors snipping away, and seeing all the hair that falls to the floor.  I don't look in the mirror until it's all over...  And then the blow-dry, which again, like the shampoo, feels like a massage when someone else is doing it for me.  Once it's time for the big reveal, and the stylist turns me around in front of the mirror so I can see my hair from all angles, I always say, "I love it!  Oh, that looks so much better!" And usually, I mean it.  But even if I don't, it's just hair.  And hair grows!  And I look pretty decent in a hat if it takes a while to look reasonable again.  So really,... not that big of a deal, I realize.

Earlier today I got a new haircut! By a new person! At a new salon!  A great haircut these days doesn't come cheap.  In fact, the hourly rate feels like they should be giving me legal advice while they're cutting away.  But it's such a great luxury and I really love it.  And I definitely needed a little pick me up right about now.  And I love this haircut!

Although I didn't take a "before", because lately, I've just been putting it up in a pony tail everyday anyway because it's so hot.... I did, however, have Fermin snap a couple pics for the blog. 
The back...


from the side...
No need for a weird scarf, and as I assumed, Fermin's sticking with me.  So it's a good day around here!