Friday, December 26, 2014

Checking In...

Hello! I am working on my post from the road trip to Denver! Lots happened!

See you soon!

Xo,
*Dee*

Friday, December 19, 2014

Growing Up Catholic

As stated in my previous post, I was born, raised and baptized Catholic.

My mother's family is Catholic, except my Grandfather, who was a Freemason. My mom even remembers the First Vatican, and her Aunt, was a nun! I've got another family member that is a Priest...so I'm Catholic, Confirmed or not.

I was in Catholic schools from Kindergarten through high school. While I'm at odds with my religion, I am more than grateful for my private school education. By the time I made it to school, only a select few teachers had paddles, and there were only a handful of nuns working as teachers/principals. For that, I am grateful. (;

I was actively involved in my Church, going to Mass every weekend, and I was even a part of my Youth Group...until Confirmation. By the time I got to high school, I was going through a typical teenage phase. I started getting into Rock, Punk, Metal, etc. My clothes went from preppy to black. BUT I was still doing well in school, I had the same friends, I was still a Girl Scout, involved in sports, etc. I just liked the music. With the music came the outfits. My mother didn't care. She rode out that phase with me through high school and college, and now I've settled back into my MidWestern, Country roots. I was looking forward to becoming a confirmed Catholic. I remember almost being done with the process. There were classes, and retreats, to ensure that this is what you wanted (honestly though, we were in high school, and doing what our parents said). We had gotten a new Youth Minister. If I saw her today, I'd recognize her instantly, because she single handedly ruined my Confirmation experience. I remember one night, we were all in the basement watching music videos, and she asked to speak with me. I honestly thought it was to do something, take on more responsibility. I looked one way, but my heart and mind were still pure Dee.

The conversation is now a blur. I've come to terms that some people are just sick, and no help can help them. In a nutshell, I was told that being confirmed wasn't just a show for my parents (but Youth Group multiple times a week?), and that if I continued dressing the way I dressed and taking on these "demonic tendencies," I would not be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven. Like any good Catholic, I looked her square in the face, told her to go F**k herself, left crying and had my mom on my cell in minutes. I never looked backed. I should have been confirmed. I wanted it so badly. I did not want to be associated with people like her.

My second issue with Catholicism? The way my mother's family treated her after she left a 25 year physical, mental, emotional, financial abusive marriage. In short, they were judgmental and abandoned her. Not my Grandfather, the Freemason, but all the Catholics.

Oh, and when the new priest told my then 10 year old sister, that she would burn in Hell for the sins of her parents (divorce, even though the marriage was not recognized in the Catholic church as my dad is/was Atheist). Yeah, kind of had to leave the Catholic Church.

When I would go to Church, even after the Confirmation fiasco, I got dirty looks and rude stares because of my clothes. MY CLOTHES. So, I've spent the last decade bouncing around from church to church, all Christian. I even went to a Universalist Church in college. Now, I'm proud to call Emmanuel Christian Church my home...even though I now live in Kentucky. When I'm home, I go there. They are beyond accepting, and the demographics there are so varied. I feel welcomed. I haven't felt like that since Father Jerry was a St. Jude in Indianapolis.

Religion is always a touchy subject. I'm sure there are plenty more Catholics who would die for their religion. I still believe in the doctrine, but I can't go back to that Church. They hated me during my adolescent years, and I don't believe religion should ever be fueled by hate. EVER. Pope Francis is an absolute savior, and I am so thankful that I get to see him living, practicing and enforcing the Second Vatican, as it should.

I'm sure some will read this and be absolutely convinced that I'm going to burn for abandoning my Faith. I like to think that if God does exist, he's not vengeful or full of hate, but rather forgiving and full of understanding. I still strive to be a good person, to better myself, give back to others, and I make it to Church when I'm comfortable and it's right-not for show.

This probably won't be my most popular post. It's just personal experience. In no way, was this meant to bash the Catholic Church. I specifically put in how much I loved it growing up, for a reason.

Until next time!

xo,
*Dee*

Now Watching: Haven

Christmas (Holiday?) Traditions

I celebrate Christmas. Born, raised & baptized Catholic. So, sue me. (;

I remember frilly Christmas dresses that we would go to Mass in, every Christmas Eve. I ALWAYS wanted to be a narrator for the Christmas pageant. Duh, I love to read! I truly believed Santa was real until 5th grade because never in a million years did I think my parents would buy me all of THAT! (Seriously, we grew up, upper middle class, but I had to earn my allowance and save up for toys/games in between birthdays & Christmas. Toys R Us? Only saw the catalog.) We went out for Chinese every Christmas Eve after Mass & I could not wait to get home & open the one present we were allowed on Christmas Eve. My siblings and I always picked the CD. Hahaha, easy to distinguish even when wrapped.
On Christmas morning, we always woke each other up to run downstairs, look at the pile of presents & rip into our stockings while we waited on Mom & Dad to wake up. We'd eat breakfast, go to my Grandfather's & repeat! My mom's father (Gpa W) looooved Christmas. I miss him terribly this time of year. My father is a police officer, and many have side security contracts with various businesses. So, my Dad always picked up the Christmas shift, and we would stay downtown in one of THE COOLEST hotels. It was icing on the cake.



My sister & I; I'm the taller blonde 

Fast foward to 2014, and Christmas has quieted down quite a bit for my family. My parents are now divorced, and I have, at best, a strained relationship with my Dad. Now that my sister and I are grown, with full time jobs, it makes it hard to have all the glitz we used to as kids, but we have our own adult traditions. This year, we're having to cram all of our traditions in on Christmas Eve. My mother is in healthcare, and my sister works retail-two of the worst jobs to have around the holidays. LOL. Oh, and obviously, there's no more Santa. Saddest day of my life. So, we'll go for Chinese (that hasn't changed), and unwrap ALL of our presents on Christmas Eve. The past probably 10 or so years, my mom and I have been to the movies on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. It used to be SO empty, but I think the general public has caught on haha. Not sure if we'll be able to do that this year, just because of work schedules. My mom and I put our Christmas tree up about a week and half ago.
Excuse the Halloween Pumpkins
We pranked my Mom haha

I try to make it to my Dad's Mother's house a few days after Christmas. She's a whopping 98 years old! She lives about 45 minutes away from me now. So, it's hard to get up to see her, but I go as often as I can, and definitely every year around Christmas.

Why are holiday traditions so important though? I think spending time with family is what makes it so important. Traditions give you an idea of what to expect, and makes the memories unique to your family. It gives you something to look forward to. The holidays are often stressful, but when they all accumulate on that one day, you KNOW it was worth it. On top of that, traditions are never changing, for the most part. Even my family and I have the staples from childhood that we stick too. If my sister and I had kids, I'm sure our holidays would be more like when we were children. We don't go to Mass ever anymore. So, definitely not one of those hypocrites (ya, I said it) that only go on Christmas and Easter. The falling out with our Church happened post divorce (hmm, another blog topic?). I think holiday traditions in a way, make the holidays easier. You know your part/role, You know where you're supposed to be at a given hour on a specific day. With all the stress, it helps to know that at least on that "one day," (whichever holiday you may celebrating), everything is in a way taken care of. No last minute plans, or changing plans. Don't have traditions? It's not hard to start your own!

Tomorrow, I leave for Denver. My boyfriend found a truck (stay tuned for posts about our relationship and that road trip)-he's been truck hunting for about 6 months now. So, we'll drive out there, pick up the truck, and that will put me home with my family hopefully a few days before Christmas Eve. I shamefully still have wrapping to do! Usually I'm done by now, but it's been a hectic month for some reason...

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! And I hope 2015 brings everyone only the BEST!

xo,
*Dee*

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Barhopping in Indy: Part I

Traveling to Indy? Just live there? I decided to do a piece on some of the bars in Indianapolis that I have been to. This list is not exclusive. Let's not go back to my college years of barhopping (do I even remember those anyways?). Also, this is Part I! I will definitely be adding to this list, especially now that I have reviewing in mind. Hopefully, this will give you a feel of the people at the bar, prices, atmosphere, etc.

Wild Beaver (Downtown Indianapolis)
My new favorite place to be! My sister and I discovered this gem on her birthday this past summer. We've been back a handful of times since, but only on "Thirsty Thursday," as they have 8oz "Beaver Beer," on special, and let me tell you...I have no idea what it is (other than a light beer,) but it is delicious. And can anyone beat 50 cent beer? I didn't think so.
Thursday's are also karaoke night (ugh, I think I'm the only person in the world that HATES karaoke).
It's got a country feel to it. Lot's of camo and boots, which is a-okay with me, as I'm a country girl myself. We have found that it starts to get packed between 9p-11p.
The beaverette's (s/p?) get up on the bar and "dance," but I'm not sure if that's nightly or just a Thursday thing. We've been invited to get up on the bar, but I would hate for those poor girls to lose their jobs (; Maybe one night when "I'm feelin 22..."

8 Seconds Saloon (West Indianapolis)
THE ONLY COUNTRY BAR IN INDIANAPOLIS. Do not be fooled by imitations. 8 Seconds is truly the ONLY bar that is pure country. Wednesdays, ladies get in free, and they offer free line dancing lessons. I've been dying to learn, but it's never worked for me to go out on a Wednesday. That's what YouTube is for, right?
Drinks are always reasonably priced. Mixed drinks run an average of  $5/drink. I'm a Jack & Diet girl, and they mix them up JUST RIGHT.
Let's not forget concerts! I have attended 85% of the concerts at 8 Seconds. If you regularly attend, you have the chance to snag discount tickets, that you can bring in the day of the show (no up front costs). I have shamelessly stopped in throughout the week, just to grab some if I know I'm going to be going to a show. On concert nights, bud light buckets are $18, and there are SIX in the bucket. (I hate places that only give you 5. How do you share 5 beers?). 8 Seconds also has pool tables, a full dance floor (biggest in Indy I've seen), games, several bars, shot girls walking around, and plenty of seating. I've rarely had to stand for a show.
I've also been fortunate enough to do some Meet and Greet's. Some of the shows I've seen: Colt Ford, Randy Houser, Dustin Lynch, Thompson Square, Joe Diffie, Jason Michael Carol, Love and Theft, The Cadillac 3, LoCash Cowboys, Chris Cagle, Keith Anderson, Neil McCoy, and there are plenty more. Sometimes, the performers will do signings after the show, which is how I met Jon Pardi!
8 Seconds is and always will be my favorite hometown bar.
Many people know of 8 Seconds because of a tried (and failed?) hip hop club that used to be in the back, Tremors. Well, that has been replaced by MarX, which is a sports bar. Since it's opening, my sister and I go straight back there, have a seat and get into our first bucket before the show starts. There's always open seating, the games are on, there's an additional dance floor, as well as pool tables.

Saddle Up (Castleton)
Um, ew. Advertised as a country bar, and so far from it. I've been a handful of times, as my best friend literally lives around the corner. We HATE it. You'll hear hip hop then country, then pop & repeat. I guess this is for a younger crowd that enjoys music, and likes to occasionally listen to country. There's a cover (ew) and the drinks are pricey (ew). I've been wanting to take my sister, as I think it's more her scene-younger & twerking on the dance floor, but for us, it is a bit of a drive, and quite frankly, not worth it to make the effort. Plus, IT'S IN A BAD NEIGHBORHOOD. Or rather, on the outskirts of it, but still. I've had issues in the parking lot (I'm not the girl you wanna holla at at 2am, trust and believe LOL).

Howl at the Moon (Downtown Indianapolis)
Seems to be a good bar, always lined up out the door, always packed. Not my scene. Full of college kids. (Was I that annoying at bars in college. College self apologizes!) They do have good drink specials, just check before you go. The cover is SEVEN DOLLARS? Am I cheap, or just used to get in for free?

Kilroys (Downtown Indianapolis)
The menu at Kilroy's is amazing. They have an extensive list of long island iced teas, shooters and shots. Try them all! I used to go regularly for their half priced long islands, but they did away with, which in my opinion was a pretty awful business move. I've been to lunch/dinner in Broad Ripple, but that's it. They do seem to have better service in Broad Ripple! IF YOU ARE A FEMALE CUSTOMER AT KILROYS IN DOWNTOWN INDIANAPOLIS, DO NOT EXPECT EVEN SUB AVERAGE SERVICE. Order multiple things at once. It's truly ridiculous. It's the one pitfall to Kilroys-their female wait staff is just so awful. I have never been ignored, and I always tip 20% or more! I have walked out of Kilroy's without tipping, except a life tip on the receipt. If I'm out for a drink, I don't want to sit at my table for 30 minutes with an empty glass.

Bartinis (Downtown Indianapolis)
Bartinis was a college frequent, but I've still popped in over the years. However, the last few times I've been in, it hasn't been busy...hardly at all. Once was on a Friday. I guess they are jam packed on Saturday nights though. So, give that a go.
It's really only good on the weekend, feel like it's dropped off since I was in college

Peppers (Greenwood)
Honestly, I think this is a gem. It's lowkey. DOES have a dance floor...They have karaoke, pool tourneys. I've been in on a few holidays, and they decorate, have special drinks. I always get good service. The drinks are definitely reasonably priced. I've also never had them make a drink incorrectly. It does get pretty packed on the weekends. I guess it's kind of hit or miss. The kitchen stays open til midnight (unless that's changed). I was popping in here through the week, and just have not been able to go recently, but I've been going to Peppers for about 4 years now. It's a good little in town bar.

Robby's Pub (SW Indianapolis)
I've only been here once, but their fried pickles are absolute perfection, and I'm a connoisseur of fried pickles. hahahaha! They have different beers on tap special every night of the week. Just a nice, south side bar. I definitely look forward to going back. It was a cheap night out with some friends. The food was good, it wasn't too terribly busy the night we went (we got a booth), and we drank the beer that was on tap special that night. Service was very good. I had kind of been leery, as I live close by. So, driving by, I would always see a ton of people congregated right out front smoking (of course due to the smoking ban), but I guess it just kind of made me avoid the place of "the loud outside drunks," totally the opposite though. Worth a looksy.

That's just about all I've been too, in recent months. I'll probably definitely add to this list and check more places out in the future now though.

Wishlist:
Downtown Indianapolis
Tilted Kilt
Broad Ripple
Wild Beaver Saloon
Landsharks
Mass Ave

xo,
*Dee*

Currently Watching: Real World: Skeletons

Why do people hate blondes so much?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bahama Mama Adventures

Flying in...


I was recently fortunate enough to travel to Nassau, Bahamas in my former position as a Household Manager. Their oldest daughter got married AND IT WAS GORGEOUS.

Selfie from my patio, with ocean & palm trees in background
We stayed at The One and Only Ocean Club, which overlooked the beautiful Caribbean. Here is a snippet from their website: "The secret escape of the world's elite, this island resort exemplifies tropical colonial elegance, reflecting the refined qualities of an elegant estate. The terraced steps of the Versailles Gardens with 12th-century Augustinian cloisters, lead down to the finest beach in the Bahamas, Ocean-view dining and all manner of water play." The resort map is beyond useful, especially as my travel adventures have only just began: 
 
 I had traveled in my youth, with my parents. Then I went to college, I was living with a boyfriend, and with finances, traveling just was not an option. So, this was my first adventure as a full fledged adult. On the map, my room was in the Hartford Wing (23). I frequented Dune Bar (4), and my beach access (; was 9. 
The Hartford Wing was gorgeous. Of course there are villas and private residences, but can anything beat hearing the ocean through your door at night, and waking up to the sounds of waves hitting the shores? I don't think so! The following are pictures taken from The One and Only Website: 
The bathroom was perfect. Of course, complimentary toiletries. There was a seperate (doored off) area for the toilet and bidet. Double sinks, robes and slippers & the tub was perfect to soak in. 

Yup, this was my view. In addition to the table seen above, there were two lounge chairs on the balcony. I ate a few dinners out here, and the view just could not be beat. 

The bedroom! Obviously huge, comfortable bed, small sitting area. There was also a wet bar, restocked daily, or as requested. Flat screen television and a full closet with hangers, and several suitcase racks. Double sliding doors for balcony/patio entrance. 

Here are some pictures from my personal collection of The One and Only private beach. They gracioualy kept the mimosas and margaritas coming (; 




In addition to room service, I ate several of my meals at Dune Bar to eat where I endulged in breakfast, drinks, and lunch/dinner. Being a resort that caters to the upper class, breakfast (with my roommate) ran about $100. I keep it simply with eggs and turkey bacon (nom! turkey bacon!). I also found out that I greatly enjoy mimosas, and have been drinking them since I came back stateside. I believe my margaritas were in the $6-10 range. Lunch and dinner, I'm not entire sure what that ran, but I would guess approximately $150. I must stress that these prices for breakfast, lunch and dinner, are all for TWO PEOPLE with 15% included gratuity. I always tipped more, as the staff was SO INCREDIBLY ATTENTIVE.

What should you try on the menu? 
The "Jerk Chicken Sandwich," with avocado, watercress and sauteed mushrooms, and of course I took a picture of my favorite meal: 
Jerk Chicken Sandwich and Margarita

The following are pictures from the One and Only of Dune Bar:





A few from my camera roll of the view of the beach from Dune:




I also got to play at Atlantis! The group I was with had a cabana most of the time we were there. The service was exceptional. At the time we were in the cabana, I was technically on the clock. So, no drinking for me, more just observing, helping to keep track of the group. The service was exceptional though! I did get to go the casino. I only gambled once, but I did double my bet as a first time Blackjack player! A few nights in, my roommate and I went back to the casino. The original plan was to gamble, but then I ran into my friend Rosemary, who is a travel journalist. Her and I had actually met on the plan from Charlotte to Nassau! Since that double chance encounter, we have remained friends! Rosemary and I ended up going off on our own, and my roommate went off with some of her friends from home (Indianapolis). Rosemary knew a group of women who had VIP at Aura Nightclub! IT WAS AMAZING! Bottle service! Champagne and Strawberries! Dancing! It was by far my most exciting night. I met some amazing people from all over the world, and got to dance the night away with my new friend Rosemary. (: On my last night in the Bahamas, I went back to the casino to cash out my chips (blackjack winner!!!), and hung out at the Mesa Grill Bar, where I continued to indulge in my new found love for margaritas. 

Obviously, it was a five star trip, and I would go back in a heart beat if I could! The "brief" details above do not even encompass the trip. There were so many activities due the wedding, but that would probably triple this "snippet" that I have tried to write. I had already began my Traveling Bucket List, but this trip only fueled the thirst to travel more more more more!!!! 

Until my next adventure...

xo,
*Dee*

Currently Watching: Are You The One, Season 2 Reunion

Conga line dancer, pre wedding entertainment
One and Only Resort

Flying out of Miami, on my way home! 

SELFIE! <3
One and Only Resort


My Beautiful Bengal Boy, Jeter

So, I have a few things that I would like to talk about concerning my beautiful Bengal cat Jeter. First, I'll introduce you to him. Then, I'll do some "Bengal Education," and lastly, I'll discuss  the Great Lakes Bengal Rescue, which I am actively involved in.

Owning a bnegal is definitely not for the faint of heart. Jeter, named after the infamous and now retired Yankees short stop, Derek Jeter, is actually on his first trip to Kentucky with me to visit my boyfriend. Jeter resides with myself and two roommates back home in Indianapolis. I have had Jeter for 3 months now. He has settled in perfectly...he actually settled in within the first hour, ha! It CAN take more time for cats to settle in. So, I got lucky on that front. He has a six foot tall cat tree that he scratches the heck out of. He's an avid catnip user and is completely enamored with his laser light.


After about a month, he started sleeping with me, above the blankets, but always snuggled up against my legs, belly or back. Before it got too cold out, he spent his days watching birds and cars go by from my screened in patio, and he also enjoyed the occasional car ride as I ran errands.

 



The six months before Jeter came to be a part of my family, he had a tumultuous life.  He went from his original owner to a shelter in Illinois, and then Great Lakes Bengal Rescue was notified of him, and he was then fostered in South Bend, Indiana. So, there was a lot of moving, and a lot of vet visits (typical for a cat incoming to any shelter/home/new owner setting), but let me tell you, it made OUR first vet visit...quite the event. Bengals are very curious by nature, needing to know EXACTLY where their surroundings are. Well, of course, the vet tech had to corral him on the examining table for the Vet to do a thorough examination, and he wanted none of it. I am hoping our next visit (just yearly, as he had a clean bill of health, yay!!) will go much more smoothly. I think I'll give some of the "calming" cat products a try. If anyone has any suggestions on that front, I'd gladly take them! Jeter is also on a diet of Natural Balance pet foods. This is the food that the foster at GLBR used, and I decided to keep it the same. It is high quality, natural, with no by products. I use chewy.com. THEY ARE AMAZING. The prices are unbeatable, shipping is beyond reasonable and their customer service is TOP NOTCH. I am now paying HALF for his food. I highly recommend Chewy!!! One night Jeter somehow managed to drag his FroliCat Laser Light through my living room and then knocked it down the stairs. Chewy replaced it absolutely FREE, and in less than 3 days!!!


He's a chatterbox! Always talking to you, or just generally making his presence known. I feed him wet food for "dinner," and he waits for it everyday. He has taken over both my house and heart. Here are a few more candid pictures of my furchild:
 

Some Bengal Education...
I operate the Instagram and Twitter for the Great Lakes Bengal Rescue. Our handle is @GLBengalRescue. There, I post weekly "Bengal Facts," to help educate about the breed, and of course, I highlight our fosters that up for adoption. Adoption fees range from $100-300, ballpark. It varies on age, special needs, etc. More on GLBR at the end...
I get all of my "Bengal Facts," from www.GreatLakesBengalRescue.com. So, please, please, please reference them for more info, and know that the following is from their website! (: First off, bengals are a hybrid between a domestic house cat and an Asian Leopard Cat, which is a small tree cat.

They are NOT:
  • ferocious
  • extremely large (Jeter only weighs 10lbs)
  • related to Bengal tigers
  • have litterbox problems 
They DO:
  • open closets, doors, cabinets
  • talk, howl, chirp, growl, and make both unique bengal noises as well as "normal" cat noises
  • like table scraps, or to at least know what you are eating
  • like water, whether it be from the shower, their bowl, fountain, sink
  • dig to China in their litterbox (Jeter uses a Rubbermaid container to help contain his litter)
  • have bursts of energy and will run wild through the house
  • (sometimes, depending on the cat) like to go outside on a leash
  • LOVE their playtime! 
If you watch Cats 101 or My Cat From Hell on Animal Planet, then you know playtime is a MUST for bengals to help burn off their energy so that they do not destroy your house or develop other bad behaviors. This is NOT a cat that can just sit in your house all day. They THRIVE on their human interaction. 


The Great Lakes Bengal Rescue is a 501c3 non profit. They rescue bengals either from shelters or through owner surrender in the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Adoption fees are dependent on age and any special needs, again, running from $100-300. GLBR helps you through the adoption process to ensure that you find the perfect match for you, your family, home and lifestyle. I always encourage for readers/followers to ask me any questions! I can either answer them, find you an answer OR connect you with the right person at GLBR.

I love Jeter, and wouldn't trade him for any other cat. I have thoroughly enjoyed being owned by Bengal, and definitely look forward to the day when I can add another one to my family.

xo,
*Dee* & Jeter


Currently Watching: Kingdom of Heaven



Because I was Inspired...

I have a new friend, that I was beyond fortunate enough to meet on a recent trip to the Bahamas, and she is an avid blogger. Due to being in between jobs, and since I have been playing with the idea already...I thought I'd give blogging a go. I have a lot to say, on a variety of topics.

What is the topic of this blog?
My life.

I plan on just blogging about everything that interests me or I am involved in.

I'm a blonde that loves to kick in her cowgirl boots. I have strong political convictions. I have recently made it my mission in life to see every part of the world that I can. I have a slight (shared) addiction to "the worst" reality TV (with my sister). I am *currently* in a long distance relationship. I still aspire to attend grad school. I own one bengal, who is crazy as Hell. I also plan to add some reviews of places I visit, or just venues I attend for a variety of purposes. I just want to express myself, meet some fellow bloggers along the way, and HAVE FUN!

So, I hope you look forward to taking a ride with me on crazy, fun, sometimes dramatic life. (-:

xo,
*Dee*

Currently Watching: Haven