Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Five: Movies and School and Baseball


I was feeling a little...well, uninspired today. But I was just reading Emmy Mom's post and thought, what the heck? Why not link up with her?

So, here I am.

Chris and I went to see The Breakfast Club last night for the 30th anniversary. He was talking about how he was in high school when it came out. I told him I was only 8. He told me to shut up. There really isn't a huge age difference between us, but there are times when it's a little more stark and I find it hilarious. Oh, and seeing The Breakfast Club in a theater full of people was a LOT of fun.


I made the decision this week that I'm going back to school to get a Master's Degree in Political Science so that I can teach college. I'm beyond excited about this and can't wait to get started!


My Disneyland Annual Pass runs out tomorrow and I can't afford to renew it right now. I'm really sad about this. Although I'm not going to have much time to go to Disneyland for the next two years, so I guess it's all good.


The Walking Dead season finale is this weekend and I'm both super excited and super nervous about it. I have a feeling someone major is going to die and if it's who I think it is, I'm really, REALLY dreading it.



 I have tickets for the home opener of Angels baseball two weeks from today and I'm so freaking excited I can hardly stand it!


What have you been up to this week?

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Around the Horn with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim


Kasey At The Bat

The boys are (almost) back in town.

Just fifteen days until the home opener of the Angels' 2015 season and I can tell you, this season is gonna ROCK.

There have been a couple of bummers in the pre-season, of course. Not the least of which is Josh Hamilton's relapse into drugs.

But Trout is healthy. Pujols is looking good. And two of our injured pitchers are coming back. Woohoo!

It's going to be a great season. I just know it.

The Angels are DEFINITELY going back to the playoffs this year. They could even be World Series bound. And the way the pre-season has been looking, I'm thinking this could just be the year that we finally have a Freeway World Series between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles.

"It could happen."
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Recent Reads, Volume 2

I've been a reading machine so far this year and it feels SO good.

A big part of why I've been reading so much is that I have given myself permission to stop. If a book doesn't grab me within the first few chapters, I can put it down and never pick it up again. And that's okay.

(Except for NetGalley books. I finish those.)

So here's what I've been reading lately:


Good Men by Jennifer Weiner. I really liked this short story/prequel to Good in Bed. I mean, it's not Shakespeare or anything, but it's a fun, quick little read and I liked it because I like Jennifer Weiner's writing style. I really need to read some more of her books. And I will. Just as soon as the NetGalley people stop approving my requests...Not that I'm complaining!


How to Make Money Blogging: How I Replaced My Day Job With My Blog by Bob Lotich. This is a super quick read, which I really appreciated! There aren't any big, surprising secrets in there, but it does have some really good and very helpful information about setting up ads, AdSense, and getting ownership of your blog. 


Premiere by Tracy Ewens. This was a NetGalley read. Let's just say it helped to restore my faith in indie books. SO many of the indie books I've read have been in such desperate need of good editing and a big, fat, red pen that I wanted to gouge my eyes out so that I couldn't continue. 

But Premiere is a cute, fun, and charming story about a girl and a guy who were best friends back in the day, separated for several years, and are reunited through a joint effort to save their beloved Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, California. The writing is fine, never amazing. And the story is fairly predictable, but then, what rom/com isn't at least somewhat predictable? The characters are good, well-rounded and avoid being annoying or irritating. I recommend this one if you're looking for a good beach read. AND it's only $2.99 on Kindle and Nook.


Stuffocation: Living More With Less by James Wallman. If you've read anything by Malcolm Gladwell (honestly, if you haven't you SHOULD), this is a non-fiction book that reads well, much like Tipping Point or Blink. While it's full of facts and research, it isn't boring, and is, in fact, quite entertaining at times.

James Wallman sets out to prove that we really don't need all the stuff we have. That we can live happy, fulfilled lives with less. But his goal isn't just to get us to give up our stuff and become minimalists. In fact, he goes to great lengths to talk about how that really doesn't work for everyone. Or even for most people. Instead, Wallman shows the reader how to give up the pursuit of stuff and embrace experience. 

This idea of becoming an experientialist really hit home for me. I'm all about experiences over possessions. I mean, don't get me wrong. I like my books and my movies and my TV. But I would hand over everything I have to travel the world and see all the places I want to see. Experiencialism is something I wholeheartedly embrace and think everyone should want to. And what I really liked is that Wallman didn't just mean getting out and going places. He makes the point that your type of "experience" may well be sitting at home, reading a book, or watching the Big Game on TV. Everyone's experiences are different. But the point is to have them, rather than just working to accumulate more stuff to complain about. 

It's a good book and I recommend it. Even though it feels like it gets a *little* too preachy at times. But just a little. Check it out.



99 Keys to a Creative Life by Melissa Harris. I wanted to like this book and get all sorts of inspiration from it. And I did, for the first section. In fact, I was ready to just quit everything I was doing and write, write, write. So that was good. But it felt like this book was just too structured. It was as though Melissa Harris had committed to the number 99 and was determined to fill that number. Some of the "keys" felt kind of forced because of it.

Also, there is a lot of new age spiritualism in this book that I wasn't expecting. It's fine. I don't have a problem with it necessarily, but it kind of came across as an ulterior motive behind the book. Like, it wasn't just about helping the reader unlock their own creativity, but it was more like Harris was really trying to convince the reader to become more spiritual and "enlightened." Fitting some of it into the realm of creativity seemed like a stretch to me. But there are still some good things to glean from Harris's book.

Currently reading: At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen and A Feast for Crows by George R R Martin.
Up next: The Girl on the Train!

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Honduras: Free, Sovereign and Independent

I was looking through some old posts recently and, much to my shock and horror, I realized that I never really wrote much about the month I spent in Honduras over Christmas of 2013.

I don't know why I never did. I mean, I shared a couple of thoughts and posted a few times while I was there, thanks to a semi-reliable WiFi connection. But I never wrote about the places I saw, or the people I met, or the beauty of the place. So it seems high time to write about the majestic country of Honduras.

Now, I did share my feelings about the volunteer experience. Of which I spent a grand total of about four days out of 30 doing actual volunteer work and I wish that was an exaggeration. But it was what it was, and I used my time to see some really amazing things and places.

Beware. There are lots of gorgeous pictures ahead.

Cayos Cochinos


After the Vacation Activities Program let out for a two-week Christmas Break, the volunteers took off for the weekend to some gorgeous cays in the Caribbean Sea. Apparently the name translates to "Pig Cays" but we liked the Spanish name much better. 


All 12(?) of us had to take a very small boat to get there. Out on the open sea. In a small boat that was basically a really sturdy dinghy. Yikes.

Luckily, we survived.

The cays are beautiful. Simply amazing. I've never seen water that color before.

We stayed on a tiny little island with no electricity, which was actually kind of cool. The old couple who take care of the place live in a nice house, but, again, no electricity. Other than what they can get out of their generator, which they use sparingly.

We snorkled, and swam, and sat on the beach and built a bonfire and just relaxed like I've never relaxed before. It was amazing.

And doesn't this just look like something out of a movie?


It was amazing. I don't know if I've ever been to a place more peaceful. It was free from stress and worry and work and trouble. It was just a place to exist and enjoy.

One of the days, we went to another of the cays for lunch. It is a tiny place where about 200 Garifuna people live and we ate a delicious lunch of the freshest fish you can possibly imagine, fried plantains, and rice and beans. It was simple, but I have never forgotten how good that meal was.


The island was tiny and there wasn't a whole lot to do, so we were only there for two days. But the entire weekend, which consisted of taking a bus to the "port" on the side of a river, the boat to get to and from the island, plus island hopping both days, plus accommodations, plus meals was about $75. A screaming deal.

I found myself sort of envying the Garifuna people a little bit for the simple lifestyle they live. They really seemed to enjoy their day-to-day. They live in a truly spectacular place. They don't have to worry about traffic or getting to work or any of the hustly bustly things we deal with every day.

But I don't think I could live that close to 199 other people.

Utila


Christmas came and went and was lovely and weird. And then, we headed to Utila for New Years.

Now, most people that have "been to" Honduras have visited the popular cruise port on Roatan. Utila is a bit smaller, but is a popular spot for diving. In fact, it is one of the least expensive places to get SCUBA certified in the world. So there are dive shops galore.

The other thing they have a lot of on Utila?

Bars.

You know how much this Mormon girls LOVES to drink!

So I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to do during the several days we'd be there since I don't drink and had no intention of diving.

Turns out, not much. BUT! There was MORE RELAXING. Which I was starting to get pretty good at by now.

Our Project Manager, Tarché, had lived on/in Utila a few years before and had some friends that were still around. One of her friends runs a bar that also has a very interesting art garden that we HAD to check out.


It was...interesting. And a little strange. And I loved it.

And then, New Years' Eve happened.

I'm not going to use this post to tell the whole story of how my New Years Eve started at an amazing breakfast in the morning, and had me cleaning vomit out of someone's sheets before midnight even happened.

Let's just say, there was drinking involved. A lot of it.

My Pepsi was delicious, thankyouverymuch.

But for EVERYONE else in our group, they were sticking mostly to the rum. And oh man was there ever a LOT of rum. After all, it's the Caribbean.


The rum was gone because they drank it all.

During a rowdy game of King's Cup.


While most of the group took off for another local bar to ring in the New Year, I escorted our nearly-passed out Project Manager back to our room and whispered Happy New Year to myself in the dark while she slept it off.

It wasn't one of my better celebrations.

But also? Surprisingly, not the worst.

The next morning, I got up and decided to take myself for a walk around town. I discovered some new places and found that it's actually quite charming. When you ignore the catcalling pirates (yes, real Pirates of the Caribbean).


I was disappointed because I wanted to go to church that Sunday morning and gave myself an hour to walk there, but I never did find it. I love visiting other Mormon churches when I'm on vacation and I thought I had figured out just where to go, but nope. I spent two hours looking for it before resigning myself to the fact that it might not even exist.

Copan


We left Utila and headed straight for the polar opposite type of environment, in the mountains of Copan.

Not having had the greatest time in Utila, I had NO idea what to expect. There were only five of us continuing on to Copan. The rest of the group went back to our "home" in El Porvenir. Traveling with the smaller group was less chaotic, but we quickly missed some of those crazy party animals when they were gone.

The bus ride to Copan was, like, three hours, and that was after the 90 minute van ride from the dock in La Ceiba (we literally went to Copan from Utila) to the bus terminal in San Pedro Sula.

So by the time we arrived in Copan, we were tired. And starving. We dropped our stuff at our hostel (the awesome and VERY clean and orderly Blue Iguana in case you're ever looking for a good hostel in Santa Rosa de Copan) and took off in search of sustenance.

The town was lovely, with cobble stoned streets and colorful buildings and the biggest hills you can imagine. Walking around was exhausting. But beautiful. And much sleepier than Utila. I loved Copan immediately.


The next morning, we got up and took off for the Ruinas Copan. They are Mayan ruins that are very old and very, very cool. And running around on them is totally acceptable.




So there you have it. Honduras in a nutshell. The excursion parts, at least.

There were a lot of places I didn't see. Like, when the group took off to Jungle River the morning after I arrived when I was still VERY exhausted from the adventure the day before.

But I felt like I got a really good experience and really got to see a lot of what the country has to offer. And it has stayed with me, because I think about my time there often and have contemplated how I could go back and spend some more time. I'm pretty sure I left a little piece of my heart behind.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Around the Horn with American League MVP Mike Trout

So, it might have escaped your notice that I'm kinda into baseball.

Okay, okay, it probably hasn't, but I am. Like, a lot. Like, a LOT, a lot.

Which is why I'm totally digging this Around the Horn link up with Jessa and Kacey.

This week's topic: Your favorite baseball player.

And, well, no surprise, mine is from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

None other than the American League's Most Valuable Player of 2014: Mike Trout!


Mike Trout burst onto the scene in his Major League debut two years ago as a rookie outfielder for the Angels. It didn't take long for this kid to put up some seriously impressive statistics and start selling the crap out of T-shirts and jerseys.

(Fun fact: Chris knows me SO WELL that he got me a Mike Trout jersey for Christmas and I LOVE IT.)

Anyway, this kid is only 22 and he's already got a $100+ million contract and the Angels have signed him on for 6 years. I'm sure they'll try to keep him for the duration of his long and sure-to-be-impressive career. I mean, he's already as good as he is and is STILL talking about improving his game. Other teams should be very afraid!

Even if you aren't into baseball, you really should know the name Mike Trout. He's pretty much the next Derek Jeter. And those big marquee players only come around every so often.

And he's all ours!


Kasey At The Bat

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Confession Wednesday: SorryNotSorry, Pop Culture Style

I used to always have themes for my Confession Wednesdays and would just share one story related to that theme. I like that and have been thinking about going back to it.

But I saw this #SorryNotSorry post on Le Haute Jaz and decided I would use it as my transition into a more themed Confession Wednesday.




• I'm not sorry that I'm not super into music. I don't know the name of the drummer for Maroon 5. In fact, I only know Adam Levine and probably wouldn't even remember his name if it wasn't for The Voice. I don't know the names of bands/albums/songs and I don't really care.

• I'm not sorry that I AM super into movies. I love movies and movie stars and awards shows and I never want that to change.

• Along with movies and movies stars, I am not sorry that I love Tom Cruise. He's cute. He's a pretty good actor. And he saves peoples' lives.

• I am not sorry that I love watching Jeopardy. It's a fun show and makes me feel smart when I get a lot of answers right. It's one of my dreams to appear on that show.

• I'm not sorry that the season finale of The Bachelor annoyed me last week. I didn't think Chris should pick either of the final two ladies. And I'm not sorry that I keep checking the gossip sites to see if Chris and Whitney have broken up yet.

• I am not sorry that I still love and watch Friends re-runs all the time. This show never gets old.



What are you NOT sorry about?

Or, just have something to confess? Link up below! OR, share your confessions anonymously in the comments!




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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

More Reasons Why I Unfollowed Your Blog

A while back, I shared two big reasons why I stop following blogs. I thought those two reasons pretty well summed up my thoughts on the subject.

But I have been adding a lot of new blogs to the mix and taking some out of the rotation, so to speak, and I realized that I do have a couple of additional reasons why I stopped reading some of the blogs that I used to love.


So, continuing my list...

3. You haven't posted anything in ages.
I mean, this should be pretty self-explanatory, but if you haven't written anything in a good couple of months, I'm left to assume your blog has been abandoned and I'm going to remove it from my lengthy list of blogs I follow. I usually give people a REALLY long time to come back, though. Just the other day I finally unfollowed a blog that hasn't been updated in TWO YEARS. So, you know, I'm not just talking a couple of weeks here.

4. Your content kind of sucks now.
Okay, that sounds super harsh. But what I'm referring to is this: you only post giveaways and/or sponsored posts. I get it. You want to make some cash. Don't we all? I'm FINE with sponsored posts. I write them occasionally myself. But when that is all you write these days? I'm out.

5. I'm just not that into you.
I know. This one really IS harsh. But I don't mean it that way. It's just that sometimes I'll find myself reading a blog that just doesn't interest me all that much. It's NOT your fault. It's NOT a reflection of you. It's just that somewhere along the way, I started reading your blog, but I've come to realize that it really isn't for me. This is probably the one that gives me the most guilt and anxiety because I KNOW people take it personally and I don't mean for it to be.

6. Your blog has some annoying feature that I got really sick of trying to navigate.
You probably already know what I mean. I'm going to say it anyway. You've added one of those pop-up functions that asks people to subscribe to your mailing list. Not a little widget down in the corner, though. No, you added the kind that takes up your whole blog and forces me to click the little X before I can continue reading your post. The first time was okay-ish. But the 87th time I've had to click that stupid X I get really annoyed and then decide that I'd really rather move on to the 200+ other blogs I am following.

So there you go. What are some more of YOUR reasons for unfollowing a blog?

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