October 31, 2014

Threads of Friday

1. It's Friday again already!  As you read this, I'm on my way down to St. Louis for a wedding... my cousin is getting married tomorrow, and it's going to be awesome.  She's marrying a great guy that fits perfectly into our crazy family, and I'm so happy for her.  It's going to be a beautiful day, followed by an epic night of dancing and partying.

2. Continuing the thread of partying, I have discovered that I (horror of horrors!) enjoy dancing to Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off."  What's worse, I listned to the preview of the songs from 1989 on Amazon and I LIKED THEM. Especially "Out of the Woods". Guys, I can't like Taylor Swift.  I mean, I used to like her, but then her music got 'eh' and her fans got ridiculously out of control and weirdly obsessive and were a major turn off.  The "swifties" more than anything where why I stopped listening to her.  But now I'm starting to like her again.  What is this madness?

3.  Continuing the thread of music, I listened to Carrie Underwood's Something in the Water.  I love it when country singer's release a song with a Christian theme to it.  It's never blatant in your face "HEY THIS IS A CHRISTIAN SONG", and I love that so many country artists have a faith that they aren't afraid to share with their fans.  It's a beautiful song, go listen to it.  I'm one of those crazy Catholics that actually likes Amazing Grace and gets super excited whenever I hear a new version/incorporated into a song, so I just love the ending of the song.

4. Continuing the thread of  jobs (because I was listening to that song at work), Day two of working two part time jobs and full time school is going well... so far.  I'm at job #2 writing this on Thursday, I've been here since 8 and get to leave at 2 to drive down to job #1 and work there from 3-11... so, we'll see how that goes.

5. Continuing the thread of jobs... Job #1 has an awesome tradition of doing a staff pumpkin carving contest.  Each department decorates a pumpkin - the only rule being that it has to light up - and then we let the guests vote for a week.  Based on guest conversation... I think the Front Desk is going to win with our "Haunted Hotel"

Yes, we put our managers' names on the tombstones...

6. Continuing the thread of traditions... Traditions really are the best.  And so are friends. And so is football.  So football traditions with one of my best friends totally rocks.  My friend attends the college that was the rival football team of my first school so of course every year we have to go to the epic battle for the rivalry trophy together.  I wear my school colors, she wears hers, we cheer on our own teams and rib the rival and it's awesome. Sadly, she won this year... but I guess that's okay.  My team is totally better and we won the last two years anyhow.

7. Continuing the thread of... traditions, and partying and Halloween... Happy Halloween!  I just came up with a costume last night, and I think I figured out a way to pop up wearing it every now and then throughout the day.  I'll snap a picture for you and put it in next Friday's post.

Happy Friday!

Ps. And going off of that thread, isn't this an amusing and intriguing graphic?

h/t Elenatintil, h/t huffingtonpost

October 27, 2014

Confessions of a GSA/Hospitality Student: An Inauguration

I'm in my second year as a double major in Hospitality Management and Meeting and Special Events at a junior college, and should be graduating next December.  Yay!  For six months now, I've been working as a Guest Service Agent, GSA at an awesome hotel and let me tell you, both things have been an adventure!

So consider this a trial run of an ongoing, sporadic series I'm thinking of starting up.  The hospitality industry is full of people and stories and adventures, and I'm thinking that I'll have a lot of things to share with you.  Not a single day is ever the same, and you can never predict what is going to happen - either in the workplace, or in my classroom!

Does this sound like something you, my dear readers, would be interested in?  If you have any questions, and curiosity about the world of hospitality feel free to ask me and I'll do my best to give you a blog post answering your questions.

While this is meant to be an inaugural post for my series, I feel like I should share at least something with you... so... my first confession.

Being a Hospitality major isn't a life long dream I've had, or even something I thought about doing prior to starting school.  After I had to leave my first college because of financial issues, I was pretty much done with school, and done with figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.  My parents let me flounder around for about a year and before they started pushing me to do something other than the little dead end part time job I had.

I resisted for a while, but the idea of going back to school grew on me and then it was two weeks before the start of the fall semester at my junior college when I found myself scurrying to apply and sign up for classes.

I needed to figure out what the heck I was going to be even studying, and none of the areas that I could think of off the top of my head were very appealing.  So I went to the junior college website and scrolled through their list of majors.  The one that struck my eye was the Hospitality Management and Meeting and Special Events Majors.  Hmm.... Meeting and Special Events sounded like it could be fun.  I checked out the required classes and liked what I saw, so I thought "Why not? Sounds more interesting than anything else I've checked out."  So I did. And I fell in love.

And that, dear readers, is how I became a Hospitality Student.

October 17, 2014

Finally Fall-day

1. It's fall out today!  There is sunshine that we haven't seen since Sunday, and the leaves are all starting to turn beautiful and brilliant colors.  This may call for a pumpkin spice latte on my way to work later today...

2. In other news, I just picked up a glass of water and dumped it into my lap because I didn't pay attention to wear my mouth was.

3.  My Knight came to visit for four days at the beginning of the week, and it was a short but wonderful visit.  We went to my siblings soccer and flag football games, attended a Byzantine Liturgy (I'm in love) and went out for brunch with my family, gave him a tour of my campus and introduced him to the relaxed, often off topic and fun learning style that is classes in the hospitality department, went to the pumpkin farm, fixed the faulty wiring on my car battery after it died and left us stranded in the rain, went to dinner at my favorite Irish pub and walked around my old college campus.  This weekend was the one year anniversary of my grandfather's death and it was very special to have my Knight with me for the mass and dinner with my family.  It was a beautiful time.

Without meaning to, we ended up picking out identical pumpkins

4. A Capella groups are pretty awesome.  I discovered the Home Free Vocal Band on YouTube, and their renditions of This is How We Roll and All About That Bass are pretty hilarious.  Then they joined up with Avi Kapalan from Pentatonix for a brilliant performance of Ring of Fire.  Check them out!

5. GuysintwoweeksI'mstartingupaninternshipwhichmeansI'llhavetwopart-timejobsandonefull-timeschoolandI'mkindafreakingoutalittle.

6. I finished my Katniss cowl!  It turned out lovely and I'm having so much fun wearing it.  Of course the first thing I did once it was finished was dress up and take a photoshoot...

7.  It's getting close to the time where we get to sign up for spring semester classes and I actually took the time to look at the course requirements and what I still need... and I only have six classes left!  Providing the classes line up properly in the fall, I'll be graduating with my associates in Meeting and Event Planning next December!  It would work out nicely to do three classes this Spring and three next Fall... but if I go full time two semesters in a row I get a discount on insurance, and so I'm contemplating the insanity of taking three 3-credit hour classes, one 2-credit hour class and a 1-credit vocal or guitar lesson to bring me up to full time, which makes a total of 5 classes plus two part time jobs.  We'll see.

Well, time for a full weekend of work!  Happy Friday!

October 16, 2014

Where Charity and... Foul Language Prevail?

I think anyone would agree that our world is a mess.  People seem like they keep getting crazier and doing more outrageous things, and we're all becoming more and more corrupt.  It's scary and it's frustrating, and I get that.  It's perfectly normal to be upset and even angry at the actions and choices of others that we don't agree with.  There is such a thing as righteous anger, and many times these days, righteous anger is what is called for.

But thanks to Facebook and social media, I've noticed something else on the rise along with the mess of the world, and it's that a lot of Catholics are getting just as nasty as everyone else out there.  Sadly, it's not hard to scroll through my newsfeed and see ranting statuses and comments from "Catholics" that are bashing the Pope, bashing the Bishops, bashing every form of the Mass and priests and bashing music and bashing everything - and more often than not, it's mixed with language that you'd expect from a sailor.

And lest you think I'm singling out one particular "side", oh no, it's the "Traditional Catholics" just as much as the "Liberal Catholics" - and sometimes, sadly, it's even more so.  Actually, I just decided as I was typing this that those are the people I'm going to call out.  It is sad and horrible at the manner in which many people who claim to love the Church and God conduct themselves.  Guys, there is some serious attitude adjustment that needs to be happening.  I'll take on the "liberal Catholics" some other day.

I love the Latin Mass and the traditions of the Church, I think they are beautiful and a special part. I also love many parts about praying in English and more modern hymns.  I think both have a place.  yes sometimes I'm a little uncomfortable with changes - either in the liturgy or in declarations from the Pope and the Bishops -  but I try to stop and ask myself if I'm uncomfortable because I don't like change or because something is amiss?  I subscribe to the school of though that acknowledges that things change, things can change and sometimes things should change.

God directs our paths and just because the interpretation of Vatican II got screwed up doesn't mean everything since then is from the devil and the Pope is some liberal nut who is taking us to hell in a handbasket.  For crying out loud, if you love and trust Pope Benedict so much more than Pope Francis then why don't you stop your swearing about the things he's doing for a moment and think about the fact that no body forced Pope Benedict to resign, he did it out of prayer and discernment.  Don't you think he knew what he was doing? Don't you think that God knew what he was doing?  Don't you think God directed Vatican II and the changes that where made?   How can you call yourself a Catholic and call the "Novus Order" a load of BS and talk about the F**** Bishops all in the same breath?  Really?  That's how good traditional Catholics act now?

And then there is the manner in which people talk about homosexuals and politicians and sinners and any other group or even people who they think should wear a little more clothing.  Whether or not these groups are doing anything wrong or sinning is irrelevant at the moment.  It doesn't matter what someone is doing, or how they are living their lives.  As a Catholic you are called to love and mercy.  I'm not saying to be afraid to call a sin a sin, but there are far better ways to do it than referring to a woman with skimpy clothing a whore or talking in a vile manner to any other group of people.  Who are you to point out the splinter in someones eye, often while spewing hate and profanity, when there's a giant log in your own?

I suppose I'm writing this because I have gotten fed up with the hypocrisy of people I know who call themselves Traditional Catholics and go around labeling everyone and professing to be better than the rest.  I've read one to many profanity laced conversations on Facebook to not say anything.  Who are you going to win over with actions and words like that?  What hearts will you open up to the love and the tenderness of the church when all your actions scream harshness and hatred?  Last time I checked, that song was "Where Charity and Love Prevail", not "Where Hatred and Swearing".

We are Catholics, we are called to a higher path and a higher behavior.  If you truly want to make the world Catholic then stop.  Just, stop.  Stop hating the Pope, stop criticizing every single move the Church makes. You are not God. You are not the Pope. You are not the Holy Spirit.  You have no position to look at the first article from Huffington Post you see and cry "See! I told you! Corruption and scandal!"  Yes the world is messed up, and yes there is sin, and yes the world needs to know that what they are doing is wrong, but living a perpetual witch hunt and looking for new ways to bash and shame people is not going to fix a thing.

Stop giving Catholics a bad name.  Stop giving people a reason to call the Church heartless and hateful.  Start being the followers of Christ that He is calling us to be.

October 14, 2014

Sweeter With Time

Nearly three and a half years ago, I started dating this really great guy, and at the time, I thought I was in love.  We knew each other as well as really close friends who've really only met over the internet can... and we are both very good communicators with writing, so we knew each other pretty well.  Saying yes to his "will you be my girlfriend?" letter started of a whirlwind adventure that has challenged us, changed us and brought us closer together than 19 year old me could ever have thought was possible.

We were in love then, most definitely.  It was a new love, an exciting time of butterflies and caterpillars and staying up until 1 in the morning just talking and talking and texting each other constantly and the thrill of uncharted waters.  We learned so much about each other in that first year and with each visit navigated through relationship landmarks and grew more and more comfortable with each other.

As time has gone on, we've fallen deeper in love with each visit.  We've fallen more in love with ever day.  With every celebration, with every little thing that makes us go "Gosh, I love you".   With every argument, with every tear filled night of trying to fall asleep while we're hurting.  We were in love before, but as we've grown... something has changed, as recently as just a few months ago.  

We're not in that honeymoon stage of love anymore, or of our relationship.  As we've grown and matured, our love for each other has too.  Being together is the most natural, most comfortable thing in the world.  When we're together, we don't feel like two separate people in a relationship, we feel like one unit and there is a deep sense of comfort and knowing that we just belong together.  It's as if no time has passed since we said good-bye and we are a whole person.  

Wine gets sweeter and stronger as it ages, and love is the same way.  We may have more bad days now than when we first did at the start of our relationship, but that's okay because we've learned and are learning how to get through them, and we know that if we just sit tight and wait it out, there are so many more good days on the other side.

He's the perfect man for me, I can't imagine anyone who could compliment me or challenge me or complete me better than he does.  And I know that our journey together is still very much in the early stages, but this year we've moved on to that next place in our lives together.   It's so beautiful to look back over the years and see the ways in which we've shaped each other and how we've come so close. I don't know how we could possibly love each other more, but if our time together has taught me one thing, it's that we can. 

October 8, 2014

Mein Liebster

Dear Iris over at The Starving Inspired nominated me for the Liebster Award!  I forget exactly what this award is, but I know it means that you have to answer questions given to you by your nominator, and then nominate people and ask them questions.  So here it goes!

1. What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Hmm, this is a really tough one.... one piece of advice that stands out at me is a bit of relationship advice that I got from a dear friend, that can really be applied to any relationship you have.  When someone is really down, or upset, having a bad day, and they aren't ready to talk about it, it's okay to step back and let them have their space.  Let them know from time to time that you're there when they are ready. 
2. What was the best book you read in 2014?
Ooh... that's another good question.  I think I'm going to have to go with What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.  Allegient (of the Divergent trilogy) was awesome, but just too frustrating and sad.  What Alice Forgot was a brilliant piece of writing and an incredibly engaging story.  
3. What is your first memory of being really happy/excited about something?
Is it weird to say that I can't remember my first memory?  Hmm.  I remember when Sister T was born... but all I remember of that was getting orange juice from the cafeteria. So that doesn't really count.  I have vague memories of being really excited to get the new Beanie babies when they came out... I collected a ton of those, haha.  It's all bits and pieces but nothing that stands out from a very early age.  
4. If you could walk into a book and make a permanent home there, what would it be? It doesn't necessarily have to exist in the real world.
How can I choose just one place????  Well, I think I would like to live in Pride and Prejudice, somewhere close to Pemberly.  Or even just at Pemberly. And then I'm going to cheat a little on this question and say that I would like a vacation home in Rohan, and before marrying and settling down at Pemberly, I'd like to live in 221B Baker Street with a good friend of mine who is much prettier than I am ;-) And we'd plan celebrations and stuff to celebrate Sherlock Holmes exploits and triumphs. 
5. What is a food you have read about but never eaten that you have since wanted to try? This one doesn't have to necessarily exist in the real world either.
Pretty much anything that is described in the Redwall books.  There was one plum dessert that was always particularly tantalizing... gosh, that guy had a magnificent and tormenting knack for describing food.
6. What do you love most about your life?
My family.  We don't always get along, but I love being part of a big family.  People look at me cross-eyed when I say I'm the oldest of seven kids and make remarks along the lines of "Wow, glad that's not me!" but it is so much fun, and I honestly feel a little sad for people who don't have large families that all get along and have a great time together.  It's very rare that someone in the house isn't laughing and you're never without someone to text or call over and be like "OH MY GOSH DID YOU HEAR/SEE THIS/GUESS WHAT!"
7. The Doctor has invited you to travel with him in the TARDIS. The whole of time and space is available to you. Where would you go, and why?
Oh my... hmm.  I think I'd like to go back to the Civil War and visit the Confederates, in particular Robert E. Lee. He's always been one of my heroes and I would just love to sit down and just talk for a few hours.  And then after that I'd beg the Doctor to let me visit Tolkien as well, and spy in on a meeting of the Inklings.  Now that would be amazing.
8. Of all the wild species of birds and animals you have yet to see, which one  would you like to encounter? As in, not in a zoo.
Hmm... as slightly terrified as I think I might be, I'd love to come across a wolf.  They are such elegant, beautiful animals and the howls of a wolf are a pretty incredible sound, in a spine chilling way.  I can only imagine what it'd be like to hear it out in the wild.
9. What are your plans for Thanksgiving?
Traditionally we go to mass in the morning, breakfast with one side of the family and then dinner with the other side.  I can't recall which side is which this time.
10. Make up a question and answer it. 
My made up question: If you had a sitcom based on your life, what would it be called? Sunny with a Chance of Mood Swings.  Honestly, that's the first thing I came up with.... I kinda like it though.  I want Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone to co-star in it with me, with guest appearances by Mindy Kaling.

And I now nominate:

Megan at Be Brave
Victoria at The Kitchen Sink

As for your questions... *drumroll*

1. If you had a sitcombased on your life, what would it be called?
2. What food is on the top of your list of things you will never, ever, in a million years eat, and why?
3. It's your wedding and your maid-of-honor got appendicitis at the last minute and can't fill in.  Who would you pick to replace her?  (Does not have to be a real person)
4. A fairy pops up and says that you will be cursed to live in a musical for the rest of your life.  She's nice though, and allows you to choose which musical.  What one would you pick?
5. If you go trick-or-treating/go to a Halloween party this year, who are you going to dress up as?
6. You're at a concert, and your favorite singer ever pulls you up on stage for a duet. What concert are you at and what song do you sing?
7. What currently running TV show would you love to be a guest star in? What would your character be?
8. What was your favorite song to sing/listen to when you were little? (as in, younger than 10)
9. What is the homeschooling stereotype that you hate the most?
10. Where do you like to sing more, in the shower or driving in the car?

October 7, 2014

We're In A Library!

I was wearing my Amy Pond inspired outfit, and I was in a library.  I know, I know, two different seasons... but how could I resist?

This is my "You want weapons? We're in a library! Books are the best weapon in the world!" pose

Sweater: Khols
Jeans: Khols
Boots: Payless Shoe Source
Earrings: Claire's
Necklace: My lovely friend Elizabeth! (Borrowing it from Sister R)

I had the idea for this photoshoot while I was driving into school yesterday morning, so I quickly texted my sister back at home to bring my camera with her when she came in for her classes.  We meet up in the mornings to work out or do homework together, so I very handily had a photographer.  The school library is a little small, but it has some nice nooks and corners where no one really goes, so it was perfect for shooting without disrupting anyone!

We call this the Amy Pond sweater, since it looks very much like the one she wore in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.  And I just so happen to have red hair, which makes it even better!  The TARDIS necklace was a perfect addition, and then I decided to wear my hair up so it was more of an Amy Pond inspired outfit, rather than walking around school in an Amy Pond cosplay.  One of my classmates did pick up on the fandom nod... she took one look at me and gave an excited "I KNEW you were a Doctor Who fan!"  Haha, it was kind of awesome.

As for what books I'm holding?  I think one was a very old book about tea, or teapots, I'm not entirely sure, and the other was an extremely thick biography of some philosopher.  Many thanks to the books for participating in my fashion shoot!

October 3, 2014

And it's Finally Friday

1. I've been having a real difficulty in focusing on homework this semester.  It didn't help that for the first four weeks I only ended up having one day of classes instead of the scheduled two days of classes per week... it didn't feel like I was in school.  Now that I'm getting used to two days of classes, I must be adjusting to having four classes instead of the two or three I had the last two semesters.  Then I was in "Work, and then school on the side" and that worked out well.  Now I'm in the position of "work and school both at the same time OH and get ready to add on a second job in a few weeks!" and instead of working hard at balancing both, I procrastinate until I realize that, oh shoot, it's Sunday night again and nothing is done.

2. So I really should be working on a menu or reading a few chapters about Hospitality instead of blogging.  And I will.  I just needed a moment to... procrastinate with a home brewed chai tea latte and my caramel pumpkin swirl candle.

3. Catholicism and film/literary character connections have been popping up this week!  Laura from Catholic Cravings wrote this beautiful comparison of Eowyn and St. Therese and made me look at two of my favorite girls in a way I never had before. Then from Jack & Bobby, we have an inspiring look at the Catholicity of Captain America.  Cap is my favorite Avenger, and this post made me giggle in glee.

4. I'm super psyched for the release of the new Piano Guy's album Wonders... coming out in just a few more days!  And I got in my inbox today a special offer to pre-order an AUTOGRAPHED EDITION OF THE CD.  My siblings talked me into getting one that will say "The Dominick Kids", but I am sorely tempted to buy another one with just my name on it.  I really am...

5.  I mentioned last week on Friday that I was headed off to St. Louis for my cousin's bachelorette party (my first ever!)  It was a lot of fun, and we had a great time.  St. Louis is such a neat city, and I absolutely love Ballpark Village.  We went to Howl at the Moon (SO COOL YOU MUST GO TO ONE SOMEDAY), and tried to get into PBR (country bar) next door but couldn't because the Eli Young band was playing there!!!!!  Guys, I was right next door to Eli Young and I walked past their trailer.  Almost as good as actually getting to see them.

6.  I'm not becoming a caterer.  Or at least, I'm not going to be the person who comes up with the menu.  I suppose when you're actually making the food and you know the cost and time it's easier to price things but I'm terrible at estimating costs and there are seriously no catering menus online with the level of quality that I'm looking for that actually has their prices listed so I can get a better idea.  #hospitalitystudentproblems.


8. I've discovered recently that I have a knack for mixing and blending spices and dressings.  Nothing too crazy or adventurous, but I enjoy coming up with new combinations for grilled chicken marinades and seasonings for our Friday salmon fillets.  My favorite so far has been my ranch dressing/Parmesan cheese/Summer Shandy marinade for grilled chicken (sprinkle a little lemon pepper on the chicken breasts before grilling).  Today I experimented with a ginger/lemon pepper rub and coconut crusted salmon.  A bit spicy, but the sweetness of the coconut balanced it out nicely.

Have a happy Friday! <3

October 2, 2014

Today, I...

Today, I had the day off.  I didn't do much in the way of homework (read, nothing, except the menu I'm sort of reviewing now), but that's okay, because was doing other things.  Like life.

Today, I re-payed my sister for borrowing her camera when I traveled East for my Knight's graduation by taking her out to lunch.  We went to Chipotle and it was amazing, as usual.

Today, I stopped by Barnes and Noble afterwards with her and ended up buying two new books because I can't go into a bookstore without getting something.  I got Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling, and If I Stay by Gail Forman.

Today, I went to my guitar lesson, and felt like I am actually starting to accomplish something and get somewhere.

Today, I realized how glad I am to be Catholic, and how deeply I treasure my faith.  I thought about how people leave the faith, and how incomprehensible that is to me.  I can't imagine not praying the Rosary, I can't imagine not having the Saints to turn to and ask favors of. I can't imagine not looking at the Eucharist and not just believing, but knowing, that Christ is there.

Today, I had a friend over and got to use the beautiful tea set that I received for my birthday for the very first time. It was so nice to catch up, relax for a little bit and talk about what's going on in our lives.

Tonight, I am enjoying the quiet and the occasional soft patter of the rain outside.  I have a Hazelnut Latte candle lit on the table beside me, because I recently got over my fear of matches and got in touch with my inner pyromaniac and now light candles all the time.

Tonight, I am thinking of working on a menu I am planning for my catering class.  Except planning menus makes me hungry, and we don't have anything good to snack on.

Tonight, I am contemplating starting the Gilmore Girls, a show I have heard much about, and never watched, and that is now so conveniently on Netflix.

Today, and tonight, have been a good day.