Heyyyo.

I suck. Really trying to think of an actual angle for this blog. I love writing, and I don’t get to do it enough outside of straight-to-the-point stuff. I’ve always enjoyed reading, and lately really enjoyed cooking… really, I love eating, so cooking has just become a must in my life unless I want to live off fast food and Ramen forever, and who wants that?

So this post is pointless. Just rambling to myself about where I might go with this… I hope it’s somewhere!

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Rocky Mountain high.

Phew! It’s been a week of vacation recovery for me as my boyfriend and I spent the 4th of July weekend in Denver. We went all out, right? This started out as a small getaway staying with his cousin and her family, and ended up turning into an amazing trip staying in downtown Denver. I’m a total summer girl and part of me was a bit teary-eyed that I wouldn’t be able to spend a classic summer holiday out in 100-degree Oklahoma heat and humidity, but we had a blast. We had about three and a half days in Denver and we did so much. It made me want to take more weekend trips like this to big cities – Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, etc. We trekked on for the 10-hour drive at about 4 a.m. on Thursday morning (yes, you read that right). As you can imagine, it totally messed with my schedule. We went to McDonald’s around 10, and my first thought was, “We’ve been up for six hours. Are they even still serving breakfast? Oh wait…” But leaving that early got us to Denver about 2:30 p.m., which gave us lots of extra time we wouldn’t have had otherwise. Overall, the trip was awesome. We ate tons of great food and had tons of great beer that unfortunately, we can’t get in good old Oklahoma (so of course we stocked up before heading home). I know you want to hear allllll about it! Continue reading

Vote for my kitty!

I’m not sure if anyone even reads my silly posts, but if you do – vote for my cat in a photo contest I entered him in. The Cat Video Festival is coming to downtown Oklahoma City this month, so they’re holding a cat photo contest in honor. And, in true cat lady fashion, I had to enter my Felix!

Vote here!

 

The One & Only

Alright, I just finished The One & Only by Emily Giffin, who is one of my absolute favorite authors. I read Something Borrowed and Something Blue long before the movie came out, and fell in love. I recently watched the movie on TV and forgot how much I love it and love the story. I’ve also read all of Giffin’s other books and love them. The writing and the characters are so real and relatable, so I was so excited for a new novel after it seemed like so long since she had released anything. Just a fair warning, there are some minor spoilers in this one.

Image from emilygiffin.com

 

Now, let me preface this by saying I still love Emily Giffin. However, I did not enjoy this book as much as I’ve enjoyed her others. With Something Borrowed and her other novels, I couldn’t put them down. The characters pulled me in and had me rooting for them. In The One & Only, I just didn’t feel that way because I was a little put off by the entire storyline. For those who don’t know, The One & Only is about a girl named Shea Rigsby who was born and raised in a Texas football town (being from Oklahoma, I can totally relate to growing up surrounded by football). Her best friend’s mother has recently passed away, and her best friend’s father is the famous college football coach in said football town. Shea works for the university and has always been very close with the coach and from the very beginning I thought, “It seems like this girl has a crush on her best friend’s dad who just died…ew. That’s weird. Maybe I’m wrong. Moving on…”

I wasn’t wrong. Basically, they fall in love, and of course there are many obstacles along the way for both of them, as there is in any chic-lit novel. Now, I have no problem with a young woman falling for an older man. That’s happened in plenty of books, movies, stories, etc. My long-time boyfriend is six and a half years older than me. I’m not one to judge, especially if this older man is a local celebrity, coaches a sport this girl has loved all her life, and is described as a sexy older man. I can totally roll with that. However, it gets a little weird when said older man happens to be her best friend’s father who just lost his wife of many years, and this older man basically helped raise this young woman because her father ran off and started another family. I liked the other elements of the story (moving on from jobs and relationships that you’re stuck in, dealing with difficult relationship, and NCAA scandals are always interesting to football fans), but I found the relationship between Shea and Coach Carr…icky, for lack of a better word. This man is pretty much described as a father figure to her during the entire book, and then all of a sudden they’re in love? It was too much for me.

All in all, if you’re an Emily Giffin fan, I’d read it. It’s not bad, it’s just a little strange and by no means does it live up to her other books. If you’ve never read an Emily Giffin book and are thinking of checking her out, please do not make this your first choice! I feel like it was highly anticipated and it really fell flat for me. Something Borrowed and Something Blue are both fantastic, and her I also enjoyed her most recent before this one, Where We Belong, and another favorite is Heart of the Matter. Really, this one just falls through the cracks for me and doesn’t compare to her others. I’m glad I read it, but it wasn’t my favorite.

Has anyone else given this a read yet? What do other Emily Giffin fans think? I feel super critical about one of my favorite others, but this one just didn’t do it for me.

Next up: This is Where I Leave You, by Jonathan Tropper, soon to be a movie starring Jason Bateman and Tina Fey. Yep, it’s going to be hilarious, so of course I had to check out the book!

Maggie’s book club, part two.

So even though I’ve made sure to get my reading time in as a post-college grad (you know…reading things besides textbooks and a class syllabus), reviewing them on this blog hasn’t been my strongest asset. But because of that, I have not one, but TWO books to review today. Yippee!

Lately, I’ve found books to read on Pinterest, Amazon wish lists or simply wandering Barnes & Noble until I find something that looks interesting. The first book I’m going to talk about, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, is 1 – nothing like it sounds, and 2 – a book I saw on a reading list on Pinterest. I added it to an online wish list and got it for Christmas from my parents. When my mom saw the title, she was utterly confused. But again, it’s not what it sounds like. Remember, I’m in PR, I’m into writing and reading and grammar and that kind of stuff, so physics (or any realm of science for that matter) – not my thing in the slightest. Moving on…

Image from pagepulp.com

I read this so long ago, I actually am not sure why the title has to do with calamity physics. Oops. Regardless, I LOVED this book. It was long and it was written in a strange way, but it was mysterious and dark and creepy and I couldn’t put it down. It’s about a girl named Blue van Meer who moves to a new town and somehow gets in with this group of friends who are (again) very mysterious. They hang out with one of their teachers, Hannah Schneider, and have a sort of club amongst them. Blue doesn’t really get the obsession with Hannah, and even senses something off about her (as does the reader), and I will say the ending is not at all what I expected, but it was still very good. This is a book that starts out, “The day Hannah Schneider died…” or something to that effect. Then you get to know Hannah and this mysterious group of high school students and finally it all unfolds before you.

As for the writing style, Blue’s dad is a professor who reads a ton and has passed that onto Blue. Throughout the entire novel, she’s quoting literature that she’s read. In the reviews on Amazon, there were some who didn’t like that, but I found it fascinating. I am a total bookworm, and certain quotes from books can stick with me for years. Blue applied these quotes to what was happening to her, and I loved it. All in all, it’s a long and somewhat tough read, but I was enveloped in the story, characters, all of it.

Next up is one that probably everyone and their dog had read…besides me, of course. However, the movie is coming out this week and I hate watching movies first if I want to read the book because it ruins the ending and makes the book so much less enjoyable. Drum roll please…

Photo from wikipedia.org

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but if you haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars yet – read it. It’s fabulous. I’m in my early 20s now, and I still skim the young adult/teen section at bookstores. The way I see it, we use these books and stories to teach young adults about the important things in life – the wins, the losses and everything in between. Just because I’m 23 now instead of 18 doesn’t mean I’ve already learned all that. I still love reading real, emotional stories, even if they are about children, like this one. As if you didn’t already know, this book is about a young girl, Hazel, who has cancer. She meets a boy named Augustus Waters in her support group and they fall in love. Although the main characters are so young, they’ve been forced to mature in a way that not everyone else does. They know they have limited time left together, and they take full advantage of it. This is a tragic but beautiful story that I’d recommend for readers of all ages. However, I don’t recommend reading it in your office on your lunch break like I did… you’ll be holding back tears all day.

I also love the quote that keeps being used in one of the movie trailers – “I fell in love with him like you fall asleep…slowly, and then all at once.” I think that is a perfect description of falling in love, and it just gets to me.

I just started Emily Giffin‘s new book (author of Something Borrowed, Something Blue and other wonderful fiction novels), The One and Only, so that will be my next review if I ever get around to it. So far, from what I’ve heard and the little bit I’ve read, it seems to be Friday Night Lights-esque. It takes place in a football town in Texas and that’s about all I know so far. I’ll keep you posted!

 

#WeAreThunder

Yikes. I’m slacking. If I say that every time, does that mean I’m just a slacker? Because I promise I’m not in real life…

Anyhoo, I have read a couple books recently that I’ll post about (loved them both…I know the suspense is killing you), but this post is dedicated to my wonderful Oklahoma City Thunder (yes, the team is mine).

Photo from nydailynews.com

That picture is not only a great photo, but also a pretty good representation of what Thunder fans were going through…oh, these entire first two series of NBA playoffs. I know I lost some confidence when our first round with the Memphis Grizzlies went seven games, but I thought we were sure to come in and kick some Clipper butt. I was wrong… Chris Paul broke his personal record for three-pointers and they beat us by 17 points. All in all, the series was a bit crazy. In Games 4 and 5, each team lost huge leads in the last few minutes of the game. I was at Game 5 in Oklahoma City when we miraculously came out with a win after being down 13 with four minutes to go, and down 7 with 49 seconds to go (and playing like crap the whole time, mind you).

At the end of the game, Russell Westbrook was fouled on a three-point shot. Those free throws put us ahead and won us the game. The picture above shows Kevin Durant with his back to Westbrook…he couldn’t bear to watch. I was also at the game in 2012 when we won the Western Conference title against the San Antonio Spurs, and that was the loudest I’d ever heard the arena…I have to say Tuesday evening was a close second. When Westbrook made those free throws, the crowd erupted. When Serge Ibaka held onto that ball from Chris Paul, the crowd EXPLODED. The entire crowd (those who hadn’t left anyway) remained for a good five minutes cheering and jumping and screaming and crying tears of joy on the inside.

I saw this story on Twitter yesterday and it talks about how Durant wasn’t the only one who missed those free throws… people in the stands and people at home had given up.

And to be honest, I don’t blame them. At that 49-second mark, I texted my boyfriend and said, “Well I think we’re done.” I am a Thunder believer, and we never leave games early. My dad wouldn’t stand for it. But we were playing terribly prior to this last minute, the Clippers were on fire and we were in a three-possession game. But that feeling with 49 seconds to go only made the feeling when the clock hit zero even better.

Introducing: my own personal book club.

I’ve decided I’m going to introduce a new segment to this blog: my love of reading. I’ve loved reading ever since I was a little girl. I want to say that my parents have said I was reading before I even started kindergarten, but I might be a little overzealous on that one. Regardless, one of the best things for me about being done with school is that I can now read for pleasure. Anyone who loves to read can vouch that during school, it’s nearly impossible to find time to read something for your own enjoyment rather than a textbook or study guide.

I’m going to start reviewing books as I read them, so I’ll start with my most recent read: The Dinner, by Herman Koch.

Image from npr.org

I want to say I saw this book in a magazine, maybe Cosmo, and the mysterious synopsis sparked my interest. In short, it’s about two couples, two brothers and their wives to be exact, who meet for dinner (shocking, I know) to discuss something horrible their children have done that has warranted a police investigation and could change their lives forever. I’m a sucker for vague mysteries like this (self-proclaimed SVU addict here), so when I saw it at my local Target, I had to buy.

This is a hard one to review without ruining the ending and what the kids did, but overall, I’d probably give it 3.5/5 stars (my own scale there). It was a good read, but I wasn’t blown away. It was a bit slow at times and there were parts that seemed irrelevant to me. There was lots of buildup to finding out what the children had done, and for me, the outcome lacked the excitement I was hoping for. It’s a very interesting read as far as dysfunctional family relationships go, both between the adult brothers and their children as cousins, as well as in the couples’ respective marriages. It was an easy read and worth my time, so if you have all the time in the world to read whatever you want (as a new graduate should!), I’d say go for it.

Next on my list, which I just started yesterday, is Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl. Funny story regarding the title: I put this on my Amazon wish list for Christmas, and my mom told me when she came across it, she was completely confused. I’m not a science gal, and she thought I was asking for a book about actual calamity physics. While I did take AP Physics in high school (toot toot), I haven’t the slightest idea what calamity physics are or if that is even an actual scientific term. So disclaimer: the book isn’t what it sounds like…at least I hope it’s not!

If you have any book recommendations, please comment and let me know some of your favorites! I really love anything…from Harry Potter to Pretty Little Liars (judge me) to mysteries to classics like To Kill a Mockingbird (perhaps my favorite of all time), so don’t hesitate to suggest anything!

A post-grad problem turned blessing.

Phew. I’ve been slacking.

I believe I mentioned in passing in a previous post that I had a great post-grad blog coming up. And here it is…I know so many readers have been anxiously awaiting. But it really is a story I want to share, but one that I couldn’t share right away.

Brief summary of the past year-ish of my life: I graduated from Oklahoma State University (go Pokes!) in December of 2012 with a degree in strategic communications. Although it wasn’t a full-time job, I was lucky enough to have an internship lined up for January – May of 2013. The internship was with Schnake Turnbo Frank, a PR and management consulting firm with offices in downtown Tulsa and Oklahoma City. I was super excited as I was pretty interested in working for an agency. I like variety and a fast-paced environment and from what I’d heard, that is what PR agencies had to offer. Unfortunately, at the close of my internship in May, the firm wasn’t hiring. I’d heard so many “my internship turned into a job!” stories that I couldn’t help be disappointed. From there, the job hunt began.

While I was looking, I waited tables at a restaurant I’d worked at on and off since high school. Finally, in September, I was offered a marketing coordinator job with a company that produced a liquid nutritional supplement. I wasn’t familiar with the product, but I’m into exercise and trying to eat somewhat healthy (I don’t always succeed), so it was interesting to me. I decided to stay on at the restaurant working Friday nights only for some extra cash, and because if I’m being honest, I was pretty attached to my management team and co-workers there. It was a tough goodbye.

Not two days after I accepted the marketing job, I got a call from…you guessed it, the PR firm. “We’re hiring an account coordinator!” Sigh. I had such mixed feelings. My initial thought was, Wow, that would have been great, but I found a job that I think I’ll like. I’ll pass. But as the days went on, the agency job stuck in the back of my mind. I started with the nutritional company and I liked it, but I didn’t love it. From the moment I accepted it, I accepted it with the stance of, “This is my first full-time job out of school. It might not be exactly what I want, but it’s a job.” The thing was, what I did want was a very likely possibility. I hated the thought of skipping out on a job within weeks of starting, but after consulting with friends, family, old classmates and other young professionals, I applied for the account coordinator position. I think a great piece of my advice my mom gave me was assuring me that throughout the entire application process, I’d have multiple opportunities to turn the job down if I wanted to stay where I was, so why not at least put my name in the hat?

Long story short, I got the job and it’s the position I’m at now. I love it, and I’m so glad I put my potential guilt aside and went for what I wanted. I am definitely a people-pleaser, and I was terrified to put my notice in at my previous job. I had every worst case scenario in my head. Would they tell me to leave right then and there? Would my boss freak out on me? None of the above happened. As everyone had assured me, my boss was completely understanding.

So today’s inevitable and obvious life lesson is: You have to do what’s best for you. I knew that from the beginning, but as usual, going through with it was the hard part. I’m a people-pleaser, and I hate upsetting people. Having said that, I am so happy at my current job, and I know if I had stayed at my previous job, I’d be going in every day wondering, What if I’d applied for that job like I wanted to? I’m so glad I did. I get the opportunity to meet all kinds of people in the hometown that I love, I learn every single day, and I know I’ll foster connections that will last a life time.

Do what YOU want, not what you think others will want. The chick flick-loving girl in me can’t help but leave you with, from The Notebook, “What do YOU want? What do you WANT?!” *crying* Here’s a video if you’d like to witness the beauty of Ryan Gosling (and who doesn’t?):

 

The opinion heard ’round the world.

Photo from college-football.si.com

Phew. I’m sure I’m not the only one whose Facebook and Twitter feeds have been FULL of crap about Duck Dynasty and Phil Robertson this week. I wanted to scream. In case you’ve been living under a rock and/or away from social media, Phil Robertson said in a GQ article that homosexuality was a sin and in a way compared it to bestiality. A&E then suspended him from the show and the family was upset, blah blah blah.

I’ve never even seen a full episode of the show, but I know the family is very religious and conservative, so is anyone surprised the 70-year-old redneck grandfather was against gay marriage? Is this really the opinion that needs to be taken seriously on the subject? In no way do I agree with his comments, but WHO CARES what he has to say in the realm of gay rights? Not me.

I live in Oklahoma, right smack dab in the middle of the Bible belt, so I’m curious as to what Facebook news feeds looked like throughout the country, but mine was full of people who were outraged because A&E suspended Robertson because he was simply exercising his right to free speech. Sigh. No one was arresting him, mistreating him or throwing him in prison because of his comments. He had a right to make the comments; A&E had a right to suspend him because they didn’t agree. The end. No constitutional rights were infringed.

News broke recently that – SHOCKER – A&E has decided to resume the show with the entire family. The same people who were furious about Robertson’s right to free speech being violated are now screaming “I told you so” on Facebook. I have a communications degree so I know I have a different view of this but…people should realize that A&E probably had this planned all along (to a certain degree). The network had to please both sides in some way or another, and I think it was as successful as it could’ve been. By publicly disagreeing with Robertson’s comments and suspending him from the show, the more liberal, pro-equality folks were pleased. Then Robertson is brought back onto the show, so all those in support of his comments rejoiced that his right to free speech was regained and the beloved reality show is back in action. A&E looks socially responsible but doesn’t lose tons of money from canceling one of its most successful shows. Boom. Win win.

What are your thoughts on the situation? Are you a fan of the show? Do you think A&E made the right decision…both times?

We are all practicing.

I’m pretty into working out and trying to stay fit (mostly so I can feel less guilty when I stuff my face with unhealthy foods later), and in the past year or so I’ve gotten really into hot yoga. It can be relaxing yet you still sweat…a lot. I always love how I feel afterward and it makes my body feel so strong. When you do downward dog, just look at all those leg muscles. It’s a good ego boost.

Image from the-yoga-connection.com

I recently bought a Groupon for a month’s membership at a yoga studio called Hidden Dragon in downtown Oklahoma City. It’s fairly close to where I work, so my goal is to go to a couple evening classes a week. This past Tuesday night, I was in a class and the instructor said something that has really stuck with me. We were doing all some difficult poses that I know I was no expert at, but I’m always down to try and see how far my body can go. As with anything else, failure can get tiring and frustrating, and the instructor saw that in many of the people in the class. She stopped us and asked, “OK, how many of you can do a bind and hold it for five seconds?” (not being too specific here because let’s be honest, I can’t remember the names of all these crazy poses) and to my surprise, no one raised their hand. There were people in the class who were obviously good friends with the owner and had been practicing yoga for a long time. Then she said, “No one. And that’s OK. We are all practicing.”

I thought this was really important. It happens in a lot of fitness classes and boot camps that I’ve attended and even at the gym sometimes – if you can’t do what the instructor tells you to, you get a little (or a lot) down on yourself. But she made us realize that no one is perfect and no one can do everything exactly right in classes like this, or in anything. We are all practicing – at everything we do, really. Don’t get down on yourself because it’s not perfect. Just keep practicing.