Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Everyone is Hammered: Bachelorette Recap Week 1

***taps mic repeatedly*** Is this thing on?
I'm going to be honest. It took me about 3 tries to log into this account considering I haven't been on since March 1, 2015. And I'm here for one reason and one reason only (for now). JoJo's season of the bachelorette is going to be worth blogging. 
I was not impressed by the head shots that ABC provided prior to the season, but 20 minutes into watching the first episode on Tuesday evening on Hulu (which will be my typical viewing night because the Arceneaux-Powell household doesn't get ABC), I texted my friend Carra. She is probably the biggest fan of my previous Bachelor/ette recaps and I need to test the reading waters. Once I discovered I'd have at least two readers (her and her mom), I was in. 
First, some ground rules. 

  1. As previously mentioned, I don't get to watch the Monday episodes so I'll be catching up on Tuesday evenings and hope to be posting a recap on Wednesday. Thursday at the latest. 
  2. I haven't done this blogging thing in almost 15 months. Bear with me. 
  3. Hold me accountable for seeing this through to the end of the season! I think it will be fun. 
Ready, set, RECAP!
JoJo is a unicorn. Literally. If you remember, she introduced herself to Ben last season wearing a unicorn mask. Also, she is probably the most gorgeous female in the continental United States and I have a serious girl crush. Remember that she was the one whispering to Ben on the bathroom floor in the final episode of his season. JoJo is a 90s baby--just barely. December 1990, which makes her 25 and makes me feel about 12. JoJo is ready to find love after being dumped by Ben on national television just a few short months prior. Her recovery is truly inspirational and probably fueled by copious amounts of champagne and jet rides compliments of ABC. 
She arrives at Bachelor Mansion in a shimmery gold dress and says "bring on the men!"
Chris Harrison does as he is told. 
Night 1 is always a blur of names and faces and weird costumes and I don't bother to remember them all because half of them don't stick around for much longer anyway. I would love to know how JoJo remembers names for Night 1 after introductions. Maybe she and Harrison do flashcards right up until the first limo arrives. 
Regardless, JoJo effortlessly greets each guy and welcomes them to the land of testosterone and free fireball. There's a guy in a kilt. A guy in a Santa suit. A guy with an acapella group. A guy on a motorcycle. And a guy who actually rides up to the mansion on a horse with a stick stuck to its head like a unicorn. 
Once inside, the cocktail party begins. Emphasis on the cock. 
Evan, former youth minister turned erectile dysfunction specialist (what????), spends most of the evening scoping out his competition. Watch out for that one at the urinal, fellas. Evan receives a rose. 
Daniel, from Canada, does not make the best impression. His introduction to JoJo begins with "daaaaaamn JoJo" in an effort to mimic the YouTube sensation "daaaaamn daniel." Unfortunately, JoJo doesn't Internet much and Daniel spends an awkward 5 minutes trying to explain it as she smiles politely and tries to remember where the hell Vancouver, Canada is on a map. Daniel gets increasingly drunk as the night wears on, and we overhear him listing off his libations to another guy. "Yeah, so 3 beers, 2 shots of fireball, ..." Canada goes hard? Under the influence, Daniel begins to get to know the other guys by poking them all in their belly buttons. Not kidding. Daniel spends the evening walking around poking grown men in the bellybutton. Everyone else wonders if this is a Canadian greeting. Daniel caps off his night by stripping down to his underwear and diving into the Bachelor pool. Somehow, Daniel receives a rose. 
James sings to JoJo when he steps out of the limo and makes a connection with her based on their Texas roots. She deems him a gentleman and suddenly develops a Texan accent every time they have a conversation. James Taylor receives a rose. 
Chad is an ass. Chad begins his conversation with JoJo by informing her that since he is now financially comfortable he is ready to pursue love. Translation: I have loads of money and use it in conversation because I am really insecure in my personality. Chad's ass receives a rose.  
Jordan Rodgers (former NFL player that neither I NOR Tanner has ever heard of) receives the first impression rose for his kissing skills. Instant chemistry, top contender in my book. But, as the astute Bachelor Superfan points out to the rest of the guys "Olivia got the first impression rose last season and got left on an island." Point for Superfan. 
Vinny stares down JoJo in the rose ceremony until she decides she doesn't want to die tonight and calls his name for a rose. 
The most dramatic part of the entire episode was when a stray limo pulled up to the mansion just before the Rose Ceremony. Jake Pavelka steps out and my jaw drops. How did he get past security? Where is Harrison? HOW IS THIS HAPPENING? The guys whisper amongst themselves and Bachelor Superfan fills them in on Jake the Snake's past. Everyone breathes a collective sigh of relief when it's discovered that Jake is there as a "big brother" to JoJo to give her advice as she takes on this role of Bachelorette. She listens and nods and then promptly forgets everything he says because he's still single so how did this work for him again? 
Notable people that did not receive a rose: a gentleman from a rival staffing firm in Chicago that will not be named but who I did most certainly look up on LinkedIn. A guy in a kilt that walks himself out of the mansion just as the sun is coming up. He says this really sucks. It probably sucks more since he wore a kilt. 

Top contenders: 

  1. Jordan
  2. Luke
  3. James
Questions I have going into next week:

  1.  How bad was Daniel's hangover?
  2. Is the acapella group going to stay for the entire season?
  3. What happened to the horse/unicorn?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Adulting Milestone

After much procrastination, I finally christened my kitchen repertoire with a venture into the world of crockpot cooking. I cook nearly every week night after a long day at work and I've been fascinated with the idea of coming home to a meal that has cooked ITSELF during the day and is ready to eat when I walk into the door. Before investing in a crockpot of my own, I borrowed Shari's to see what I thought of the size. That was nearly a month ago. That sucker sat on a shelf taunting me with every passing day. 
I'll admit, I was intimidated by the crockpot. I'm familiar with pots and pans and cookie sheets, but crockpots are a total mystery. It's size alone was enough to send me scurrying for a frozen pizza instead of prepping for a warm meal. In addition to the size of the instrument, crockpot recipes tend to be very ingredient heavy. I'm not an ingredient grocery shopper. I grocery shop once a month (or once every two months if I can get away with it) and buy the staples. Pasta, chicken breasts, ground turkey, spaghetti sauce, Kraft macaroni and cheese, frozen vegetables grace my pantry and refrigerator shelves. I haven't yet mastered the art of weekly meal planning (probably because since I'm only cooking for one and this one doesn't care enough to make every meal exciting) and every Pinterest crockpot recipe I have come across called for fresh vegetables and things like corn starch. Who buys corn starch? What even is corn starch? 
I found a recipe on Sunday during a Pinterest binge that promised "easy crock pot sweet garlic chicken." They had me at easy and garlic, honestly. I had frozen chicken breasts in my freezer and garlic powder in the pantry so I assumed I was set. 
When I got home Sunday afternoon I finally clicked the link to see how to assemble my ingredients. I was met with a plethora of added ingredients that suddenly made this easy recipe seem difficult.
Here's how my crockpot meal prep went: 

  1. 4-6 chicken breasts. Duh. CHECK. 
  2. 1 cup brown sugar. huh. I think so. Let me check Kirsten's sugar stash. Oh, it's all frozen solid. I'll bang it on the counter until it loosens. It's not working, I'll just sprinkle in as much as I can. 
  3. 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar. I don't even have regular vinegar. Red's Apple Ale it is. I'll take a sip or two. Sunday Funday. 
  4. 1/4 cup lemon-lime soda. Definitely don't have that. Oh! Here's some lemon juice. I'll squirt a few drops into the mix. 
  5. 2-3 tbsp minced garlic. Garlic powder works the same, right? 
  6. 2 tbsp soy sauce. CHECK. 
  7. 1 tsp fresh ground pepper. CHECK.
  8. 2 tbsp corn starch. WHAT THE HELL IS CORN STARCH? I'm skipping this one. Probably not that important.
  9. 2 tbsp water. CHECK. Thank you City of Norman. 
Needless to say, when I turned that four hour switch on, I was nervous. But after an hour or so I started to smell delicious smells coming from the kitchen. All due to the garlic, of course. Why is it that garlic smells so wonderful when it's coming from food, but when it's coming from someone's mouth it's horrid? Something to ponder. 
Finally, 4 hours later, I sat down to an "easy crock pot sweet garlic chicken" breast. And it was AMAZING. None of my improvisations had ruined it! I skipped a few steps at the end because lack of corn starch which probably would have improved the intensity of flavor, but overall I'm feeling like A Very Lucky Chef and have overcome my fear of crockpots. #adultwin

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Snow Day Story

It's 2:08 pm on a Monday afternoon. I would usually be in appointments with potential students or calling new leads, but instead I'm sitting in bed with Netflix and a frozen pizza. How did I get here?
It's a snow day. But it didn't begin that way.
My alarm went off at 7:58 as usual and I began my morning. I saw a dusting of snow outside, but I hadn't heard from my boss about whether was campus was open or closed so I showered, ate breakfast, and left for my commute with plenty of time for cautious driving. 
On my way to work I fought the internal battle of wanting to go. It's a daily struggle to get up and go to a place where there is a high probability of facing rejection. Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I love that I have the opportunity to change lives everyday. But it does get hard. It can be hard to pick up the phone and call a potential student who has hung up on me 5 times that week already. But the job requires that kind of persistence and tenacity.
Which is why every workday morning finds me in the car giving myself a pep talk to keep driving. It usually involves inspirational music and the promise of an adult beverage when I return home that evening. This morning was similar, but as I made a slippery turn and thought "why are we even going in today, no one is going to show up for appointments," my brain countered with "there's someone who needs you today. Or someone that you need today." It is absolutely true. Everyday is a chance for an exchange of inspiration, either there is someone who I am supposed to inspire or there is someone who is going to inspire me to be a better representative or a better person in general.
We've been talking about our vision for the admissions department in meetings lately and part of what I suggested to the team is working on our integrity. We often meet students who are very unhappy with their current jobs and I tell them that they deserve to go to a job that they don't dread everyday. Our admissions team deserves the same thing, so I need to make the choice to be happy with my environment daily, no matter what the circumstances are!
As I made that slippery turn into the school this morning after my epiphany, I was actually excited to walk in those doors.
And then the school director met me at the door with "Oh, I was just about to call you." *facepalm*
Since I was already there, I figured I may as well be useful and spent a few hours rescheduling our Monday appointments and even enrolled a walk-in. She is why I do my job. She wanted to go to school so badly that she drove on a snowy, freezing day to find out more about her options. She was the reason that I didn't get the snow day phone call before I got to work. I was meant to be in the office for a few hours today to get to meet her. 
Snow seems to suspend the world in a magical shroud of mystery. I don't know yet what tomorrow holds. I could be snowed in with F.R.I.E.N.D.S. for company. But if I'm not, A Very Lucky Girl will find the reason why. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Free-est Free Time

Not having homework is probably one of the weirdest feelings I have ever experienced. When I was school I felt that free time came at a cost, so it never actually felt free. More often than not I would wind up feeling guilty that I was not doing something for school, because there was always a paper to write or studying to be done. Free time rarely seemed to exist.
But now a whole new world of legitimate stretches of unfilled time lies before me and I am still figuring out what exactly to do with it.
I really hate sitting and doing nothing and I like to feel productive. I might need a regular hobby, but until then let me elaborate on what I've been doing outside of my work weeks so far.

  1. Although I am not a big TV watcher, I can binge watch Netflix television episodes with ease. And even though I own the entire Friends collection on DVD, the addition of the seasons to Netflix makes the transition between episodes so much smoother. Yes, next. Yes, I am still watching.
  2. I slacked off on my foreign correspondence during my last semester at university, so in the evenings while I watch Friends, I try to catch up with letter writing. My friends should consider themselves lucky if a Friends quote or two drops into the message on accident. 
  3. I recently began putting together a scrapbook of my study abroad journey and other adventures. Right now it is mainly just pictures and ticket stubs, but I will go back through and write my memories of the places and people in the margins. 
  4. I pinterest a lot. Pinterest always makes me feel productive, even though I know making a tshirt quilt is way beyond my sewing skill level. And then Pinterest leads me to Etsy and before you know it I just bought a graphic skyline of Edinburgh for the low, low cost of $18 plus shipping. How did I get here again!?
  5. I apartment hunt. The lease to the little grey house is up in May and I will move from Norman to Oklahoma City. I'm looking at one bedroom apartments all over so I spend spare time comparing floor plans and the prices per square foot. I have to make sure that Gable and I will be happy in our new abode! Yesterday afternoon I visited four different apartment communities and found a winner based on pet deposit, the presence of an in unit washer and dryer, and a monthly rent I can afford. Side note, why does being an adult cost so much? 
  6. I visit vintage and antique stores and find treasures. The Feathered Nest and The Rink Gallery are my new favorite places to shop. I bought a turquoise coffee table last weekend (and added some perfect coasters from Anthropologie) for the bargain price of $68. Everyone should expect all future gifts from me to come from such a store. 
  7. I cook. A lot. Not only is it budget friendly, but leftovers make great office lunches. Last weekend I made spaghetti one evening and the same meal fed me four days in a row at the office. I am currently exploring slow cooker options and plan on testing out Shari's crockpot to see what size I should invest in. 
January has been a transitional month. Monday marks week four of working for Heritage College and I can hardly believe I've almost spent an entire month with this school. Payday on Friday made it fairly real. On the hard days at work, when everyone seems to be hanging up on me when I've barely said hello, I think of the students I have been able to help. Like the young man who told me he had been living out of his car recently or the young woman who repeatedly told me she knew this vocational path was her calling. I can't imagine being A Luckier Girl anywhere else. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Post Grad Profession

I have completed an entire week of full-time work at Heritage College and I can honestly say that I love it. The week was not without a few bumps and bruises, but ultimately I am excited about the career I am beginning! 
The things I have learned in the past 7 days include:
  1. I was incredibly excited to wake up on Monday morning and get ready for work! Tuesday was a far less perky story. Which leads me to...
  2. Coffee. Coffee is cool. Commuting is not cool in the least. Although said coffee makes the commute slightly cooler.
  3. I am still learning at what time I need to leave the house in order to get to work on time. I either cut it really close or got there 30 minutes early, there was no in-between. 
  4. I need to keep plastic forks in my desk because there is no guarantee that there will be any in the break room. I ate my lunch with an ice cream scoop twice. 
  5. I have SO much support! Thankful for sweet friends and encouraging calls and texts as I transition to this new time in my life. 
  6. Tanner listens. I texted him Tuesday during the day from hell and mentioned I desperately needed a shot. When I went to his house for dinner that evening he met me at the door with a drink. 
  7. All of my coworkers are fantastic and I really cannot see myself ever dreading going to work!
  8. Landlines are confusing and I accidentally called the front desk about 8 times. They love me. 
  9. I am absolutely going to get tired of talking, but I am looking forward to all of the different students I will get to interact with daily. 
  10. I truly believe in the mission of this school and that will make my job so much easier. 
Week two begins tomorrow and I am anxious to start making calls and meeting with potential students. I'm equally excited to make my office mine with some personal touches!  I never saw any of this happening, but it feels right to A Very Lucky Girl. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Turn the Page

I'm a big believer that it does not have to be a new year for me to start something new. But coincidentally, 2014 and 2015 have both begun with changes on the horizon. Last year, 2014, I began an international journey. On January 3rd I left my comfortable American zone and traveled to Dundee, Scotland. Over the course of the six months I was there, Dundee became my new comfort zone and I was terrified to return to America after all of the changes that had taken place in me overseas. But I did it. I settled back into a routine in America and received my Bachelor's degree in December. 
I thought I had a job, a clear direction for life post-graduation, but I was mistaken. The DHS position that had been offered to me in November, pending my completed transcript in December, was yanked away in an email that I received a few minutes before one of my finals. It informed me that they had found another candidate for the job. Needless to say, I was furious and frustrated and probably dripped a few tears onto my final exam. Nobody enjoys rejection and I was even more concerned that I had not been actively searching for a job in the previous 3 weeks because I thought I had one. 
So I graduated with no guarantees for my future career. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to remain in Oklahoma for the time being. The Monday after graduation I sent an email with my resume to a job posting I found on the OU Career Services website. I got a phone call three minutes later and she set me up with an interview the following morning. I was cautiously overjoyed. I did not want to get too attached to this position if it was going to be taken away like the previous one. 
The interview was nerve-wracking. There were three candidates all interviewing at once for the same position (though there were several openings in the department), and I could tell that I was the youngest and least experienced of the three. I answered the questions as best I could and left the building with medium to high hopes. I met with another lady two days before Christmas, this time one on one. We chatted comfortably and I really began to see myself beginning a career in those halls. 
The final step was an online assessment and I feared the worst, especially after bumbling through the two math sections. I waited and waited, phone alerts on loud, for a call after Christmas and finally got one on Monday, December 29th. The voice on the line told me the best possible news. She offered me a job. Starting the following Monday. With a starting salary far above what I would have made working for DHS. We worked out the details of when I would come sign some papers and make everything official and as soon as I ended the call I burst into tears. Happy and excited ones this time around. 
Tomorrow I begin a career in the admissions department at Heritage College in Oklahoma City. Heritage College offers technical certification for personal training, esthetics, emergency medical personnel, etc. and my responsibilities will include working with students who have expressed interest in the school, walking them through the admissions process, and discussing any reservations they may have about the programs. I am most excited to be working with students, because working in Gateway is what I enjoyed the most during my years at OU. I value education highly and hope to encourage the students I interact with to pursue their dreams for a better future. 
I'm not naive enough to think that it's going to be all sunshine and butterflies. There will be students who are difficult to work with, or who will simply give up. My new boss has already told me that I will most likely cry during my first week on the job. But she also told me that my first week falls on Spirit Week. Which means my first day of working as an adult is pajama day. Which means the professional attire I bought at Loft does not matter for another seven days. 
A Very Lucky Girl is attacking Monday and a new chapter in life in cupcake pajama pants. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

O Christmas Tree(s)

Christmas is my very favorite time of the year. I love shopping for gifts for the people in my life and decorating trees with those very same people. And this year was the mecca of tree-decorating for me. I participated in not one, not two, but FOUR tree trimmings.
In my world it is perfectly acceptable to erect a tree immediately following Halloween. Fuel up on candy corn and march off to the attic to lug down the yearly accoutrement. So I texted Kirsten, one of my housemates, in the beginning of November, asking when we could decorate the tree for the little grey house. I was met with a flurry of texts about "IT'S NOT EVEN THANKSGIVING YET" and "I LOVE CHRISTMAS BUT WE MUST NOT TAINT THANKSGIVING." I personally believe that a Christmas tree only enhances the beauty of the thankful season, but I acquiesced to Kirsten's request to wait until after Thanksgiving. 
Lucky for me, Leeanna also conforms to the same Christmas/Thanksgiving meshing together that I do, so the fam tree (more about the fam in later posts I promise) was my first one to decorate this year! One Friday night we all gathered at home, fluffed the branches, and trimmed the hell out of that tree. It was beautiful. White lights intertwined with sparkling ornaments and a burlap bow on top with cascading ribbons down the sides. It was a masterpiece, but even more beautiful to me than the tree, was the way Leeanna and Joe made sure we all could set aside time to be there to participate in the activity as a family. They gave me a coffee mug this year on Christmas morning that reads "Friends become our chosen Family" and that fam of mine is the absolute embodiment of that. 
The second Christmas tree I decorated was at Shari's house. Megan, Marshall, Tanner, Isaac, and I went over there to partake in crab pasta and fluff branches. I did not participate in any holiday cheer with Shari last year so it was definitely a new different. I think a pretty tree came out of the evening though. 
The third tree was the one at the little grey house. We don't quite have all the same decorations and fancy trimmings that the other three trees had, but I've collected ornaments from all of my traveling so we put those on the tree and even though it looked a little naked, it's still my first tree ever in a home of my own. 
And finally, the fourth tree resides at Tanner's home. I was honored to be invited to participate in their family gathering and loved cramming ornaments on the branches until there was no more space left. We strung extra lights and beads until every inch of that tree sparkled. 
Christmas trees represent the center of love to me during the holiday season. It's where a family gathers on Christmas Day to show love through the language of giving. It's where my eyes always stray when I see one in a room. I'm drawn by the lights and the care with which each ornament was placed. To be invited to decorate the center of love in so many homes was to be A Very Lucky Girl.