Monday, January 30, 2012

"Normal" Weekends

Wow... What a weekend off! I have LOVED it... Starting this weekend I have Saturday AND Sunday's off now... If you know anything about the restaurant industry, then you know that is unheard of, and I couldn't be any happier about this. AJ has "normal" weekends off too so we got to enjoy two full days off together, and it was wonderful.

Yesterday, we went to the pig show (first one I'd ever been to) to watch my brothers and 3 year old nephew (well technically he's my cousin, but my family's kinda special so don't ask me to put the family tree together... just trust me he's more like a nephew because his momma is one of my dearest friends). They did their pig showing things--still not sure how it all works, but I was supportive and pretended I had a clue. I also had an excuse to wear my cowboy boots so I was excited.

This is what my super cute boots look like. LOVE them--bought them for a George Strait concert in 2008 and have only worn them like 10-15 times since so I get pretty excited for any chance I get to wear them. I had so much fun watching them show their pigs--they did so good in my untrained clueless eyes, and I couldn't be any more proud of them...

Then went for a "night on the town" with AJ and one of my bestest friends in the whole world. That was a blast--but one of those "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" kinda nights, so, that's all the details I can give you. Then this morning woke up much too early for a Sunday off of work, and went to a yummy breakfast, took a big ol wonderful Sunday afternoon nap that can't feel nearly as good on any other day of the week, and then some good friends came over for dinner. I made roasted pork loin, rolls, salad with homemade ranch dressing, corn, and roasted/fried potatoes. These potatoes were my demise tonight. I am normally a pretty decent cook and have people over for dinner almost every Sunday night--it's my favorite time of the whole week. I have made roasted red potatoes with butter, salt, pepper, and vegetable seasoning a million times, and they are usually pretty fail-proof. I seemed to forget how long they take in the oven, and it seemed like they would NEVER be finished. The pork loin was done to perfection and waiting on the potatoes (guess I should've started them before the meat instead of the other way around). So, being impatient and surrounded by hungry people, I poured the potatoes in a pan on the stove, cranked the heat up to high, and fried those bad boys in aforementioned butter until they were golden and wonderful (I mean, what wouldn't be wonderful after frying in butter?).

Moral of the story: If all else fails, fry it. Oh, and don't forget that roasting potatoes in the oven takes a very long time so you should probably start cooking them before 8pm!

Hope ya'll have a great week and enjoyed your weekends as much as I did!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Feeling Adventurous

It seems right now all I keep doing is going "down new paths." Starting this blog a week ago has been incredibly exciting and has helped me learn more about myself/get back to enjoying things that I love--I mean, a girl can't just work, eat, watch TV and sleep; there has to be more. Don't get me wrong--I love my life. I am very happy, but writing is something that I enjoy but have not been keeping up with much now that I am no longer in school. This blog has been a great way to move forward with my life like "an adult." Sometimes I forget that I am one of those, but I am. I turned 25 last September. I will be getting married in the next year or two, and being a "grown-up" now, I would like to share some life experiences before I forget about them--I will be old and senile before I know it. HAHA ok maybe it's not THAT bad, but it seems this most recent birthday has hit me harder than the previous ones. I feel like I need to accomplish more. I feel like I haven't accomplished as much as I thought I would at this age. I feel like I need to remember what it's like to dream and work toward acheiving goals--rather than getting stuck in the "day to day" monotony.

Well, my newest adventure I'm wanting to embark on is becoming a sales consultant for Pampered Chef! I am so very excited. I sat down with a very nice lady that also sells it in this area, and after that conversation, I was even more sure that this is something I want to and can do. I feel like it is attainable and although I work around 50 hours/week at the restuarant I think it is something I can work into my schedule enough to make some extra money on the side. Who doesn't like extra money afterall? It will take some effort to get up and running and to keep it going, but I know that I have lots of friends and family that will LOVE to have the opportunity to purchase such amazing kitchen gadgets, accessories, and spices. Not to mention, I am incredibly excited about the good deals I will be able to take advantage of.

I am looking forward to what the future holds, and I cannot wait to see how great this adventure will be in my life to help better support AJ and myself. I love him so very much for giving me the opportunity to follow whatever makes me happy whether it be a blog, selling pampered chef, wanting donuts in the middle of the night, or going on a vacation. His goal is to make me happy no matter what and I know how blessed I am to have that/him in my life. I hope that all of you can be so lucky to find a man (or woman) that would drop everything just to make you smile, and if you are that lucky, don't take it for granted and show him the same in return. Hope you all have a blessed weekend.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Addiction--Pinterest

One of my biggest "addictions" right now is Pinterest--if you haven't heard of it or been on there, you are really missing out. It is the greatest site I've ever been on in my life, but it's also my biggest downfall. As with any other addiction in life--it may feel really good, but it can also get in the way of having a normal life. (It really made me laugh out loud to type that.) I warn everyone that I tell about the site, "You will be forever changed. This will consume your life now. You'd better be prepared to spend lots of time on Pinterest--You will love it." It is true; I could spend hours on there planning my home decor, future wedding, and dinners that I will cook someday.

With that being said, I would like to share with you the first project that I created based on an idea I got from Pinterest. It is so easy and has so many possibilities.

 I made these cute canvas quote signs for my living room.

To give credit where credit is due, this is the inspiration for my project: ORIGINAL POST

Side note: The walls in my living room are NOT the color of mustard as they appear in this picture. Yes, they are yellow but a much more mellow yellow than they look in the picture so please don't judge me on the outrageous color it seems to be.

Now that is out of way, and we can get started on the "how to" for this project.

What you will need to complete canvas quote project:
  • 1 canvas (I used 8x10 and 5x7 and made 4)
  • Enough fabric to cover the canvas (I purchased 1/2 yard of 4 different fabrics because I wasn't sure what I'd want to use, but print fabric will work better than solid colors)
  • Can of spray adhesive
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks or Staple Gun
  • Scrapbook stickers* (enough packages of different sizes/fonts to have all the letters you need to spell out your quote and color doesn't matter or need to match fabric)
  • Black acrylic paint

First, you start with a blank canvas like this:

Second, you cover it with a fabric of your choice. I measured the fabric and cut it to size--it needs to be enough to cover the front and sides as well as having enough wrapped around the back to be able to be attached. Then, I sprayed the front of the canvas with spray adhesive. Next, I hot glued it to the back, but it could also be stapled and it would look like this:

 Third, you need to stick the stickers on the fabric to "write out" the quote you want to put on your sign.
*The thicker scrapbook stickers are a little more expensive but much easier to pull off after painting and do not slip in the wet paint when trying to paint over them. They are worth the investment for this project.

Fourth, after you like the way the words look on your canvas, start painting over the canvas. I didn't paint the sides because I wanted to let the pattern of the fabric show, but you could definitely paint the sides as well. I applied two coats of paint and let it dry. It looked like this:

Lastly, once the paint is dry you pull off all the letters. Now, the fabric shows through where the letters once were making a reverse stencil. After the letters are pulled off, the project is complete and ready to hang.

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Home Away From Home

As many of us did, I grew up watching Disney movies, watching the Disney Channel, and going to Walt Disney World with my family on vacation. We went to WDW as a family twice (and Disneyland once when I was too young to remember), and both times it was an experience I will never forget--even after all these years. My dad went for the first time when he was about the age I am now (the Disneyland trip I can't remember outside of pictures and a few blurry memories). He still talks about how much it meant to him to go--how awestruck he was with all the "magic". I formed some of my greatest childhood memories at WDW with my family and reliving the trip through pictures and stories over the years. All my dad and I could talk about was how much we wanted to go back. Actually, to this day my dad can say to me "I wanna go back", and I know exactly where he wants to go, and I agree I also want to go back to truly the "Happiest Place on Earth."

So when I was 21 years young and the opportunity presented itself, I applied for an internship to "go back" and work at the magical place that I hold so dear to my heart. Through some miracle I was accepted among the thousands that applied and January 2008 I loaded up my Pontiac Sunfire, and we (my Dad, stepmom, and sister Perri) hauled my car behind my brother's truck the 1155 miles from small town Oklahoma all the way to big ol Orlando, Florida where I would live, alone for the first time in my life, for the next seven months. Just being there was the greatest dream come true and most overwhelming feeling of my entire life. I couldn't believe I would be working where Mickey Mouse works. Even now it is humbling to think I was a part of something so big. I was in part the reason some families had a "magical" vacation rather than a mediocre one.

The day I moved into my Florida apartment (four years ago yesterday) was so exciting and scary at the same time. I lived with five other girls in a three bedroom/two bathroom apartment--yes, we got to know each other very well, very fast. I made some of my very best friends in that short seven months. To this day there are people that I met at Disney (some still live there), that I can call up, and they'll be there for me any time of day no matter what--which ironically is more than I can say about most of the people I am "friends" with here. I look back at that time in my life and realize how much it taught me about myself, my independence, and my ability to "make it." I grew up a lot while I was gone. It was a great opportunity for me to "find myself" and learn enough about what makes me happy (rather than trying to make everyone else happy).

The day I "graduated" from the Disney College Program--August 2008

Strangely, being that far away I also grew closer to my family--I guess it's true that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Then, I moved back home to Oklahoma, and it was bittersweet. I sure did miss my family and the stars in the big Oklahoma sky; however, it was so hard to say good-bye--I left a piece of my heart in Orlando the day I left. I will never be the same as I was before I left home in January; I am forever changed...for the better I believe. My heart stays with my friends and the happiness I hadn't felt in awhile before that wonderful experience. I owe so much gratitude to Orlando and Disney for helping me become "me." So that when I came home, I am now a happier person and more confident in the woman I have become. It's amazing how seven months and nearly 1200 miles can change so much in a person's life. They say home is where the heart and most of mine is here in Oklahoma with my family and AJ, but a piece will forever remain at Disney--my home away from home.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Order In

I must first start with telling you that I love my job. I love what I do--the busy, fast-paced work is exactly what I enjoy. It's not very monotonous, and I get to work with people, which I love. I believe that everyone should do what they enjoy--makes life a lot easier to bear when you are doing something you like especially considering how many hours/week you spend doing it. With that being said, I think that EVERYONE should be required to work in a restaurant for at least 6 months in their lives. You learn to be more patient, understanding, and the importance of alcohol--ok maybe not alcohol but the importance of having time to relax. It's the type of business that you work hard so you reward yourself with playing harder (with or without alcohol depending on your preference).

I have had some of the best times of my life while working in restaurants (I got in the business when I was 19 as a server and couldn't imagine doing anything different in my life right now). I have also learned some of the biggest lessons in life while doing this job. The greatest of all these lessons is to treat others with respect. Outward appearances are a "big deal" in today's society, but I'm here to assure you that some of the "best dressed" have been the most down-right awful people I've ever met. On the other hand, some of the people that may not have dressed/presented themselves as "high class" have been some of the most generous and nice people I have had the pleasure of serving--this is not true in all cases but it does happen so it proves that appearance isn't everything.

 Also, the most obvious thing it has taught me is the importance of tipping. In Oklahoma, servers make $2.13/hr plus tips. I know that it's not THAT low in every state because it's based on cost of living and minimum wage, but almost always servers make a lower than minimum wage rate of pay to offset the fact that they are also making tips. That means if you leave no tip (or practically no tip) for a server they are having to use that $2.13/hr to pay bills, feed their children, and buy gas to come back and forth to work for you to just come back the next week and not tip again. Can you imagine your boss walking up to you and saying "I'm sorry I'm too cheap to pay you today..." or "I'm sorry you weren't 'up to par' today so I'm not paying you rather than letting you know what you've done wrong". If either of those things happened you would be raising hell until you got the money owed to you for the job you had done--you're doing the same thing every single time you don't tip appropriately (at least 15-20% of the total is acceptable in case you were wondering).

Now that I've got that off my chest, I will step down from my soapbox and get back to my original point. I was certain when I started this blog that there would be plenty of stories about my colorful staff and the many adventures that happen at the restaurant day in and day out. They are an entertaining bunch to say the least. Tonight was a typical busy Saturday night and as some of the staff were getting off work they started sitting down at a table in the back of the dining room to eat and relax. There were several tables still eating. I realized I really had to pee (sorry for the overshare but I hadn't been all night and it was around midnight at this point) so I ran to the bathroom and about the time I sit down I hear laughter/screaming coming from the dining room just outside the bathroom door, and I think to myself, "If that's my employees out there making all that noise, just wait until I get ahold of them, it won't be pretty." So I finish my business and walk out of the stall as two of my servers come rushing in the door and frantically scream, "There's boobs on the tv! Like Girls Gone Wild! You can see everything! Hurry fix it!" And now I understand all the laughter I've been hearing for the last 90 seconds or so... I have just exposed the entire restaurant to full frontal nudity on the big screens. I'm mortified and frantically rushing to the AV tower (did I mention it's a restaurant/sports bar with approximately 50 tvs including 8 big screens and over half of them are showing scenes straight from a XXX site?). I hurry to change it and apologize to a few tables as I rush by them--thank goodness it was so late that there weren't young children around and my customers were still laughing about it, but I am embarrassed and may never live this down among the staff. I can hear it now "Do you remember that time you went to the bathroom and there were boobs on the tvs and we couldnt find you anywhere to get you to change the tvs because none of us knew how to change them?" Ahhh yes... I may hear about this forever....

Friday, January 20, 2012

Getting Started

Well, I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while now but wasn't quite sure how to do it, what to write about, or if I had anything to say. After much thought (because I tend to overthink everything), I decided that I would finally do it. I would finally start sharing my thoughts with "the world"--at this point the world is just the laptop in front of me and myself, but I believe that this can become a bigger deal and create quite a following. My goals for this blog are to share my experiences with you, to give you a little inside insight into the service industry, and to capture memories for my family and the future. I don't know about you, but I am awfully excited about this and the possibility of greatness--and fun.

So, when I got more serious about writing this blog, I turned to the greatest way to share/get advice on the internet--Facebook. I asked a series of questions that I was curious about regarding blogs, but most importantly I wanted to know HOW... How do I know what to share? How do I start? How do I get a following? How do I know if what I'm writing is what people want to read? How do I know what I'm doing is right?

After much advice from such great women that shared their blogs with me, that shared what has worked for them, and that shared what they think I should do, it was very clear that everyone agreed that I should just share what's important to me and not worry about the future details. They think I should share whatever's on my mind, whatever's important at the time,  and whatever I think I want to share. What great advice! Why didn't I think of that?

So I guess now I will do a little introduction of myself (maybe I should've started there...but oh well). My name is Kristen. I'm a 25 year old Southern woman from a little town in Oklahoma. My boyfriend is A.J. (a.k.a. the most wonderful man in the world) and we have been together for almost three years. I couldn't ask for a better partner for me. We own our own house. He provides for me. He would do anything in the whole world for me... Guess it's true love then huh? It is for me. Now, just waiting on that "rock". I know it's happening soon and trust me--It WILL be updated on here as soon as it happens!
Here's a picture of the happy couple...
Aww aren't we cute?!?

A little more about me--I'm a manager of a restuarant. It is an interesting line of work, but I love it. There's never a dull moment. I'm sure there will be plenty of stories that will come up on here about it--I know you can't wait to hear them lol. Also, I'm an aunt of the greatest, most adorable 7 1/2 month old nephew in the world--love him so very much, and I'm not sure how I survived the first 24 years of my life without him. I'm also the oldest of 5 kids (I have 3 brothers and 1 sister) and the greatest mom, dad, and step-mom ever. I'm so very blessed to have the best family a girl could ask for. I can't wait to share more of my life with you, but that will have to be saved for another day and another time.

Thank you so very much for reading my first post. I hope you liked it, and hopefully you will enjoy the rest of my posts as well.