Category Archives: Other Stuff

Top 10 Local Restaurants in Monroe-West Monroe

Local Favorites Restaurant Guide see more at pamelapetrus.comOne of my favorite things to do is eat. Not kidding. I think heading out to a fun restaurant could even be considered a hobby of mine. When Matthew and I travel, we make it a point to only eat at restaurants that we don’t have at home, with the emphasis being placed on places local to the area. Since we’re so focused on the culinary experience, I thought I’d share some of our local favorites here in Monroe-West Monroe. These are the places that we’d recommend to friends from out of town and we hope you’ll give them a shot too! Be sure to tell them that I sent ya.

  1. Catfish Charlie’s. Let’s face it. Louisiana is all about that seafood. While you’ll get some different flavors here in North Louisiana than what you’ll find down south, seafood is still a necessity. Catfish Charlie’s is by far my favorite fish joint. The flavors are superb, and you won’t find anything else like it in town. Matthew and I would recommend the thin and crispy catfish (Ask for just one filet if you’re not a big eater.) and the fish tacos. Although, you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
  2. Avocados. This is one of my favorite Mexican joints. The food seems to be a bit fresher and the service there is great. My favorites there are the fajitas and the super nachos. Matthew loves the carne asada and I’d highly recommend the strawberry mojito.
  3. Cotton. If you’re looking for a bit of a nicer dinner, Cotton is a good spot to go. It’s owned by Chef Cory Bahr and gets a lot of traction because of his fame in the culinary industry. Definitely get the duck wraps. I’d also suggest the Mississippi Mule if you’re searching for a cocktail. Definitely don’t forget the duck wraps though.
  4. Genusa’s. Another nicer restaurant option is Genuasa’s. With primarily an Italian flair, they offer more upscale dishes and a large wine selection. You really can’t go wrong on the menu there, and usually the chicken dishes are my favorite.
  5.  The Fieldhouse. This local joint is near the college and offers your typical sports grill vibe. There are multiple tv’s showing a plethora of athletic events and even individual tv’s at some of the booths. For the menu, I definitely suggest the tossed chicken tenders (go with the BBQ) and the homemade potato chips. The sweet potato tots are also a fav. This is a great casual, fun option for lunch or dinner.
  6. Trapps. This is one of our newer restaurant options and it’s a favorite because it’s right on the Ouachita River. If there’s a patio to sit on (especially one with a view), I’m always game. At Trapps, I definitely prefer sitting outside to look over the water. Here, I’d recommend the seafood nachos which is enough for a sizable group of folks.
  7. River & Rail. I’d recommend this restaurant primarily for the atmosphere…it’s one of the best in town. With a large patio area, nice landscaping, and rustic vibe, River & Rail offers probably the best outdoor dining option in town. It also gives a great view of the river and I could sit out there for hours.
  8. Waterfront Grill. You guessed it…another waterfront option. This one lives on the bayou near the ULM campus. If you’re lucky, you can get a window seat to see the beautiful bayou and the turtles and birds that live there. Sometimes you can even catch a glimpse of the ULM ski team practicing. My favorites at Waterfront are the crawfish cheese dip and grilled pork chops…it’s literally what I get every time. Matthew loves the Catfish Desaird, which is another local fav. Again though, you really can’t go wrong on their menu.
  9. Johnny’s Pizza. I wouldn’t be a good local if didn’t suggest Johnny’s.  This local pizza joint started here in 1967 and has since spread all over the south. When people move away from North Louisiana, they always want Johnny’s as soon as they come back home. I can’t really explain the distinction without saying, “It’s just not like other pizza.” I usually opt for the classic pepperoni and cheese sticks. However, they’re pretty famous for the Sweep the Kitchen, which includes a bit of everything. Whether you pop in to a restaurant or get it to go, a trip to Monroe-West Monroe isn’t complete without a Johnny’s Pizza.
  10. Iron Cactus. This one is a little further out of town in Calhoun. However, it’s worth the drive. It’s a quaint little place offering delicious Tex Mex. (As you can tell, I eat a lot of chips and salsa.) I love the flavors here and the menu offers some variation from typical Mexican restaurant fare. I usually keep it simple with the fajita tacos, and I’ve heard great things about the cactus roll and margaritas.

These are my local favorites! If none of the above strike your fancy, you might consider RawZ, BBQ West, or Trios. Monroe-West Monroe is known for its large selection of local restaurants, so you really can’t go wrong with any choice. I must admit, it was quite difficult to come up with a list of favorites because so many are good! If you hit up any of these favorites, be sure to let me know what you think! If I’m in town, there’s a large chance that you’ll see me at one of these.

Also, if you’re interested in a full list of options, check the restaurant page of the Monroe-West Monroe Convention & Visitors Bureau. You can also find a list of things to do and a calendar of events there!

1 out of 19

The Courthouse. Read more at pamelapetrus.comAs anyone who’s read more than a few posts here will know, I write about my experiences. Some are good and some are not-so-good. Sometimes I write about lovely adventures and sometimes I write about harsh realities that I come to realize. Either way, most of my writing is grounded in experiences, whether it be good, bad, or simply insightful.

Today, I write while trapped in a small room with 19 others whom I’ve never met before. We sit here mostly in silence as we prepare to perform our civic duty and await instruction from those in charge. As I sit here in the corner, I observe those around me as I often do. I actually have somewhat of a tendency to infer things about those around me when I’m surrounded by new people. At restaurants, I piece together story lines about the relationships of those at nearby tables. When checking out in Target, I imagine what the person in front of me’s day has been like or where they might be headed next. I do not do this from a perspective of nosiness. Instead, I believe this tendency comes from an area of being simply fascinated with human behavior and people’s “stories.”

Today, as I sit in a room full of somewhat disgruntled strangers, there is so much to observe. Here are a couple of things that I noticed:

      1. Negativity spreads like wildfire. At first, everyone sat relatively quietly and what would seem like patiently. Suddenly though, when the first negative comment was made, madness ensued. Before, everyone was mild-mannered and polite. After just one reference to “them letting us die of thirst,” the mood changed. Suddenly, others began to complain. We heard stories of needing to be at work to make money, having to drive far in the rain, and recovering from the flu. Before, everyone seemed at peace. It was simply amazing at how quickly one bad mood spread throughout the room.
      2. We have the ability to transform someone’s perspective. Shortly after the negativity began to spread, I decided to do a little experiment. I made eye contact with a lady across the room and mouthed, “I love your pants,” with a smile. Her face lit up immediately. Only moments prior, you could see the negativity starting to creep up on her. However, with the kind word of a stranger, she successfully fought off the bad vibe and maintained joyful. Then, she spread a bit of joy to the person next to her and I saw the room starting to transform again.

After noticing this simple concept, I began to think about the affect we have on other people. Each day as we pass through our daily routines, we come in contact with various people, some regular acquaintances and some complete strangers. Most of the time though, I think we disregard the effect we have on these people. The fact is though, we have the ability to either enhance or dampen the days of those we come in contact with. Sometimes, something as simple as a smile can transform the day of a stranger. Sometimes, picking up a dropped item for someone in our office can encourage a sigh of relief. On the contrary, if we spread a funky mood throughout the world, it’s likely to take root too.

I sat there observing the room and felt amazed and encouraged that I was able to have a positive impact on a room of 19 strangers, with very little effort even. Then it dawned on me, if I can inspire the mood of a group of strangers, what capabilities do we have within our own small groups? What chances are we missing to encourage and teach positivity to our children? What would those we work with say of our overall demeanor? I think too often we forget to consider these things. We forget to consider that we’re capable of setting a mood…both in a positive manner and in a negative. We forget that people are constantly observing our actions and often repeating them. Rather than simply reacting today, I encourage you to choose your responses wisely. Consider that there’s a world of people watching you, both openly and in secret. Consider that YOU have the ability to encourage those around you and to transform the room. If we’re all a little more intentional with our actions today, maybe we can actually change the world.


Photo from

Three Years of Blogging

Three Years of Blogging! Read more at Pamelapetrus.comIt’s somewhat hard to remember a time before this blog. Today marks exactly 3 years since my very first post, and I’ve been writing here consistently for the last year. When I think back, I can distinctly remember the nervousness I felt when creating that first post (and those terrible photos that followed.) However, I don’t really remember a time before I was writing about my life. It’s such an integral part of my life now that it feels like brushing my teeth. Or sipping yummy coffee. Plus, I’ve created stories around my experiences in my head for years before having this blog. In the midst of every experience, I’ve always envisioned myself telling someone that story. That makes it seem like I’ve been doing this for even longer.

As I was thinking back on the beginning, I remember how the blog came to be in the first place. I remember stumbling upon my first lifestyle blog from Pinterest. Prior to seeing this, I was unfamiliar with the concept of a lifestyle blog…a place where someone wrote about their experiences and interests, even if they vary. I can distinctly remember staying up way too late and exploring every nook and cranny of Smile and Wave. I spent hours going back into the archives, amazed with every varying post topic and the realness of the conversation. It was upbeat, yet honest. I was immensely blown away by the opportunity to write about whatever one was experiencing…good or bad, varied interests, and different topics. I thought blogs had to be specific. You could have a food blog. Or technology blog. Or DIY blog. Who knew the concept of a blog about your life could exists?? I was hooked. To this day, I still follow Smile and Wave and each post brings with it a bit of nostalgia as you’d feel running in to an old friend.

Shortly after finding Smile and Wave, I was exposed to A Beautiful Mess.  Their perfectly executed DIY projects and beautiful photos showed me the magnitude of possibilities with a blog. Right after I started following them, their business really took off and I learned just a few of the ways in which a blog can lead to business opportunities. It was through ABM that I found, Elise. Again, I saw the lifestyle format at work. I read Elise’s posts and felt like I was chatting with an old friend. They were real with a hint of humor…music to my ears. I wrote more about Elise’s influence on my blog last week.

Honestly, I think blogging is the most fascinating and wonderful thing. There’s nothing that you can’t find on the internet. No matter what your worry, fear, or struggle is, there’s someone out there sharing their journey. No matter what you’re hoping to create or make, there’s someone showing you how. It’s an amazing place, the internet. I’m happy to have been a part of the noise for 3 years now, and I feel even more honored that YOU read along. Thanks for joining me on this ride.

My blogging inspiration. Read more at!As I approach my 3 year blogging anniversary (!!), I’ve been thinking a bit about how I got started. Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite online spaces. After all, if you like reading my posts, you’ll most likely enjoy reading the posts that I like to read too. Plus, I think we should celebrate the work of others and support one another whenever we can.

I decided to finally share one of my favorites after reading a post by Elise on San Diego.  Even though I’m not planning a trip to San Diego just yet, this post opened my eyes to why I love this blog so much. The post was full of details, yet short, sweet, and to the point. (Go to these places because I think they’re cool. Eat the mashed potatoes.) Music to my ears! Much like Elise, I can write for days on things that I’m passionate about. However, I generally prefer things to be to the point. And funny. This is the foundation of why I read her blog.

Want more details on why I love this blog? Here are a few reasons, if you insist.

  1. She tells it like it is. I’ve never felt like any of Elise’s posts were sugarcoated or fictitiously positive. If she screwed something up, she tells you. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of reading something real.
  2. It’s funny. I like funny people, and I like to be funny. At the sake of sounding like a total fan girl, I think Elise and I could be BFF. We have such a similar sense of humor, and reading her witty posts makes my day. Tongue-in-cheek and slightly cheesy humor, it’s what my dreams are made of. Plus, Parks and Rec mentions. What more do you need??
  3. We have a similar writing style and interests. Lots of details sprinkled with one-liners and funny stories = A+.
  4. It’s real life. Working, being a mom and a wife, and dreaming big. There are so many of her posts that I can relate to, and the insight into her daily life makes me feel like we’re real friends. This is a goal of mine for my own blog, and I thank Elise for being such a great model to follow. She shares real life stories, but not in that awkward, over-sharing type way. This is a goal that I have for my own space…to share real-life struggles while still maintaining a positive atmosphere.

This is one of the blogs that I never miss a post from. I look forward to reading each and every post and really relate to most. Her posts on goal setting, blogging, and business always leave me wanting more. I was even captivated by her letters to sweet Ellerie, even though I’m not a mom. I loved the real, and sometimes heart-wrenching, look into what it looks like to be a new mom. I hope to do something similar with my children someday. I even look forward to her weekend links,  as strange as that sounds. (Most of the link posts you see are full of useless fluff.) I tweeted once that these posts are my main source of current event info, and I’m not even joking about that.

In addition to being one of my favorite reads, I give full credit to Elise for giving me the boost I needed to start my own lifestyle blog. I had been following along with several blogs for a bit, and I knew that I wanted to write. I just couldn’t decide what type of blog I wanted. I didn’t want it to be all DIY projects. Even though I have a fashion background, I didn’t want to have a fashion-centered blog. I’m not a mom, so mommy blogging was out. I certainly didn’t want a food blog. I couldn’t commit to any of the typical blog focuses, so I kept putting off writing that first post. Then, I stumbled upon Elise’s blog.

Elise was my first introduction into the world of lifestyle blogging. Shortly after finding her site (and binge-reading years of posts in one sitting!), I knew that a lifestyle blog was the route for me. I wanted to tell stories, but not just any story. I wanted to tell my story. This means that my blog could be about all sorts of things! It could be about whatever was going on in my life, which felt so immensely right. Here I am, just shy of 3 years later, still learning about what I want this place to be like and still developing my style and skills as a blogger. I credit Elise for the encouragement and inspiration to take this leap into internet land. Thank you for that, Elise! I’d likely still be lurking the internet and dreaming of having my own forum if I hadn’t found Elise’s blog.

Go check out If you like my online space, I can guarantee that you’ll like hers! Do you have any suggestions for other blogs I should follow? Sipping a cup and coffee and reading well-written blog posts is one of my favorite activities. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

*Photo from “September: Currently.” by Elise.

Week in the Life

Week in the Life with Pamela PetrusI’ve decided to participate in Ali Edwards’ Week in the Life project that kicks off today! Ali has been doing this for many years, and if you follow any popular blogs, you’ve probably seen the project before. I’m not very good at tracking my daily activities, so I know that this will be a bit of a challenge for me. However, I think a snapshot of what my life looks like right now would be great to have. Here are my main reasons for participating in this project:

  1. I want to do better at tracking the everyday life moments…not just the glamorous ones.
  2. We are in a bit of a transition period right now (projects galore!) and I think this would be a great time to document the here and now. Plus, it’s an exciting week…my new assistant starts today!
  3. I’d like to see if my actual activities match up with what I think my day looks like. Maybe I’ll learn a bit about how I use my time.
  4. I want to practice my photography, and this will force me to take photos that I otherwise wouldn’t…including photos of myself. (Yikes!)
  5. I want to be more intentional about how I use my time. Maybe this exercise will show me ways to be more efficient and how to fit in more personal time.

I already know that this is going to be a challenging project. I know that I’m going to be struggling by early afternoon today. I know that I’ll want to give up completely by Wednesday. Much like my 100 day project, I’ll realize how big of a commitment I made early on. It’s likely that I’m going to miss large of chunks of time when things get breathtakingly busy. Nonetheless, I’m going to do my very best. Even if I don’t document every single thing, I will most definitely document more than I would have otherwise.

I’ll be pushing myself a bit this week. If you’re interested in joining me, you can get tons of info, kits, and tips on Ali’s blog. You can also download this great (and free) printable. Even if you don’t participate fully, writing down your daily activities could still be fun and insightful. I’m sure I’ll share bits and pieces on Instagram, so feel free to follow along @pamelapetrus!

Ten Years!

Amanda 2008Amanda 2009Amanda 2010Amanda 2011Amanda 2012Amanda 2013Amanda 2014Amanda 2015It has officially been 10 years since I met my very best friend. (For the record, I have two best friends and I can call each of them my “very best friend” at any point. You have to keep up.) Amanda Quimby and I met at Old Navy. We were both part of the opening staff in Monroe, LA and spent many, grueling hours getting that store ready to open.

Since Old Navy, we’ve gone through what feels like a million different life stages together. We’ve done the good, the bad, and definitely the ugly. We’ve laughed and we’ve cried. We’ve became adults right alongside one another and pushed each other along when we didn’t want to “adult” anymore. I’m beyond thankful to have such a fantastic, loyal friend, and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years hold for each of us. I have a feeling it’s going to be awesome!

For the last several years, Amanda and I have celebrated our Frieniversary. (If you aren’t celebrating a Frieniversary, with your friends, you’re definitely missing out!) In honor of our 10 year milestone, I collected a photo of us from each year since 2008. We actually became friends in 2005. That was before cell phone cameras were a thing, so I’d have to dig a little deeper for those photos. (That definitely makes me feel old..) Happy 10 years, Amanda!

Photos are arranged in date order…2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015!


Sometimes I read.

Let’s be honest. I should really change the title of this post to, “I’ve read a few things.” As a child, I was a big reader. I loved Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High, Nancy Drew mysteries, and even RL Stine books. (My fellow almost-thirty-somethings are probably nodding in nostalgia to these book titles.) My mom would take me to the library where I’d check out several books at once, often finishing at least one by the end of that day. Somewhere along the line though, I decided that I “didn’t like to read” and avoided it at all costs for several years.

I think what happened though, was that I had changed. Rather than not liking to read anymore, my tastes were just different. At some point during the last two years when I’ve learned so much, I also learned that it’s not that I don’t like to read. Instead, I just have different preferences now. For example, I’ve learned that at this particular time, I’m not really a fiction kind of gal. As fabulously written as the Hunger Games or Harry Potter stories might have been, I don’t really enjoy having to follow along with a story that I know in the back of my mind is fake. (I completely understand that most will disagree with me here. No problem. As my friend, Amy Poehler says, “Good for you. Not for me.” — See what I did there??)

I realized that I did actually like to read biographies and self-help type books. At first I couldn’t understand this. I “don’t like to read,” remember? Finally, I noticed the issue. I don’t mind reading someone’s story. I also don’t mind reading something that gives me strategies for living a better life or makes me more self-aware. Those things interest me, and I can get behind them. It’s not that I no longer like to read…I just had to focus on reading things that interested me instead of reading mainstream fiction.

Since I’m back on the reading bandwagon, I’ve read a few books. Go ahead…you can clap for me if you’d like. A few of these books have been great ones, so I thought I’d share. I posted about finishing The Nesting Place, my first book to actually finish since I could remember. Here’s a quick look at the other books I’ve read lately. (That even feels weird typing it out.)

Yes Please by Amy PoehlerYes Please by Amy Poehler

If it’s not obvious by the joke above, I’m a pretty big fan of Amy Poehler. When I heard that my dear friend, Amy, was coming out with a book, I knew that I’d have to get back on the reading bandwagon. This is actually what clued me in to the fact that I like biographies. To say that I loved this book, would be an understatement. Maybe it’s because I secretly think Amy and I are friends. Maybe it’s because I laughed out loud while reading on my couch. Maybe it’s because funny is my love language. Whatever the reason, I’ll likely read this one again at some point. If you even remotely like Amy, comedy, or laughing, you should read it.

I highlighted several parts of the book and came away with several “life lessons.” As mentioned above, I’ve taken on “Good for you. Not for me.” as a bit of a personal mantra. When feeling like I “should” do something or be better at something, I think about this line. It’s what prompted some of my thoughts in this post. We don’t have to do everything. Instead, let’s just do what we want to and what we’re good at.

I was also thoroughly impressed with the amount of grace and professionalism with which Amy spoke of her divorce. It wasn’t sugarcoated or romanticized. It was straightforward and honest, yet respectful. Two thumbs up from me for handling an undoubtedly sensitive topic with such poise.

Seriously, go read this book. You’ll thank me later. And if you don’t like it, then you and I probably can’t be friends.

Bossypants by Tina FeyBossypants by Tina Fey

Even though Tina’s book came out before Amy’s, I hadn’t read it. Amy referred to Bossypants throughout her book, so after successfully finishing it, I moved on to this one. It was actually a gift from my sweet cousin. I wouldn’t say that I was quite as engaged as I was through Yes Please, yet it was still an enjoyable read.

My friend Amanda and I have decided that we’re a Tina/Amy duo. She’s Tina and I’m Amy. I’m more likely to burst into a crowd and do something outrageous to get a laugh. I’m going to air on the obnoxious side and demand a bit more attention, much like Amy. Amanda on the other hand, will subtly make a hilarious joke that you didn’t see coming. She’s going to be a bit more reserved and quiet, yet will surprise you with her wit and confidence, much like Tina. I believe this is the reason that she preferred Bossypants and I preferred Yes Please. I also think that this is the reason that the four of us should hang out soon. Call me, Amy!

Regardless of which comedic heroin you prefer, I’d recommend both books. I learned a lot about the comedy industry and the behind-the-scenes of both Tina and Amy’s lives, and I loved that.

#GirlBoss by Sophia AmorusoGirl Boss by Sophia Amoruso

This book wins all of the awards in my book. (“In my book”….in a blog post about books…) It’s possible that I loved this book so much because of my own experience in the retail world. I loved Sophia’s no-nonsense writing style and her make-it-happen approach to business. I also felt a connection to her desire to be different and defy the odds. Probably because I love a good from-the-ground-up story, I really enjoyed reading about how she built her business from a small, garage operation to the huge success that it is today. I started this one on the flight to Alaska and finished it before heading back. The timing for this one was perfect, and I highly recommend it to anyone who’s business minded or relates to powerful, determined women.

“Being mean won’t make you cool, being rich won’t make you cool, and having the right clothes, while it may help, won’t make you cool. It’s cool to be kind. It’s cool to be weird. It’s cool to be honest and to be secure with yourself. Cool is the girl at the party who strikes up a conversation with you when she notices you don’t seem to know many people there.” -Sophia Amoruso

There have been a few more books that I’ve started and not finished. I think it’s safe to say that you have to get me invested early on, or I’ll likely not pick it back up once I’ve put it down. I also have to relate somewhat. If I don’t feel somewhat of a connection to the writer, it’s hard for me to keep going. Nonetheless, I’m happy to be back on the book-reading circuit, and I’m thrilled to have learned something else about myself.

What sort of books do you like to read? If you have any biography/documentary types or personal growth options to recommend, I’m all ears! Right now I’m working on Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Wish me luck!

A New Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes Benz C250This past weekend Matthew and I made a big, huge step in our grown up lives. We bought a Mercedes. We had been casually shopping for a new vehicle for months and months, yet hadn’t really committed to buying anything. This weekend though, things suddenly got serious.

This story begins as “that time I almost bought a Mustang.” Friday night we brought home one of the new, oh-so-fine Mustang GTs and planned to go back and sign papers on Saturday morning. We wanted something fast and fun while we were still young and didn’t need to make room for car seats and soccer equipment. I’ve never been a Mustang fan, yet this new redesign is simply gorgeous. We decided to buy it. However, after driving it home over the weekend, we realized the ride was just too rough and noisy for my daily life. After all, I’m in my car most of the day. While it would be fun to drive, it wouldn’t be as comfortable as other options or conducive to my business.

Saddened by the thought of not coming home with this fancy Mustang, we decided to drive to Shreveport and test drive four or five other vehicles that Matthew had found. We really had no intention of buying a vehicle at this point. I was coming off of a migraine from the previous evening and felt tired and foggy. Matthew had the day off though, and this seemed like a great way to spend some time together.

Mercedes Benz C250 frontWe pulled up at the Mercedes dealership first, and I just wandered around a bit while Matthew talked to the salesman. I chose two cars right away that I liked and ruled out all of the others. We drove them both and chatted with the salesman. If I were being honest with myself, I’d say that I knew right away that this black Mercedes C250 was mine. It just felt right. There were so many things I loved about the car, and I felt so much more comfortable there than in any of the other vehicles I had driven. Nonetheless, it took me hours to commit to the idea of buying a Mercedes.

Here’s why:
1. It was the most expensive vehicle either of us had ever bought. That’s a bit scary. There’s something a tad frightening about doubling your car shopping budget, even if the money is there. For me, I was making a mental list of all of the other things I could (and maybe should) do with that extra money.

2. I was genuinely afraid of what people would say. This is probably the hardest one to admit and the most prevalent. I’ve only had the car for a few days now and I’ve already heard things like, “keeping up with the Jones'” and “that’s too expensive for me to ride in.” I didn’t want to suddenly be considered a snob, just because I bought a nice car.

If I were being brave, I’d admit that this was one of the main hesitations that I’ve had with buying a new car. When I was added to the Associate Leadership Council at my office, we talked about this very thing at our initial retreat. I hadn’t bought a nice car (even though I’ve worked very hard for it and spend most of my time there) because I didn’t want people to see me differently. All of these thoughts are simply holding me back and things that I have to deal with on a personal level. I took the first step though…I bought the car. Now, I’ll just hope that people will be happy for me instead of judgmental.

3. I’m deathly afraid that someone is going to hit/scratch/dent it. My last car was banged and bruised to no avail and not one person ever stopped to apologize or offer remedy. It feels like a scratch or dent is going to hurt much more in this car. Guess I’ll be that person parking at the back of the lot…

Mercedes Benz C250Mercedes Benz at nightAll in all, I am thrilled to be the owner of this new car. I can’t wait to drive it and take it on trips with Matthew. As simple as it is, my favorite features are the illuminated “Mercedes-Benz” on the door sill when you open it, the adorable blue stitching on the seats, the awesome sound system, and the light-up emblem on the front. (It’s almost always all about the details for me.) The safety features are mind boggling also, and I love how well everything is finished. I can’t wait to get the windows tinted and drive from one appointment to the next.

Let’s talk for a bit about the service we received at Holmes Mercedes. Matthew and I both have bought and sold several vehicles. This was by far one of our best experiences yet. As a matter of fact, it was even enjoyable! Most of the pleasantness can be attributed to our salesman, Kenn Posey. Kenn was the polar opposite of your stereotypical car salesman, and so much more pleasant to work with than anyone at any of the other dealerships…and we’d been to a lot. He knew everything we could possibly want know about the car and was not in the least bit pushy. It was almost like we’d brought a friend along for the experience, not a salesman. We were at Holmes Mercedes for several hours and at no point were we frustrated or rushing to leave. If you’re even remotely considering a Mercedes purchase, I recommend that you talk to Kenn first. I throughly look forward to working with them in the future.

Mercedes Benz C250There are two lessons to be learned from this story. The first is to always trust your gut, especially on larger purchases. I tried really, really hard to make that Mustang work. However, something told me that it wasn’t the right fit for us. Second, don’t make a decision for you or your family based upon fear of what someone else will think. All too often we let what friends, family, or even strangers, will think or say stand in the way of doing things that will make us happy. Buy that car. Make that move. Quit that crappy job. Dye your hair blue. Do whatever it is that will make you happy, without worrying about what others will think. They likely won’t remember in the end, yet you certainly will. Life is short and you only get one shot, so make it a good one!

Read more:
Our first car purchase. 
When we bought a house. 
And mattresses….the most riveting of the grown up decisions.

It’s My Birthday!

Bread PuddingLast week (January 9), I turned a whopping 29 years old. This post is somewhat of a recap of my birthday festivities. I’m a huuuuge birthday person. I proudly celebrate birthday weeks (sometimes months), and I take them very seriously.

Funny story: Once upon a time, my best friend gave an ex boyfriend a copy of The Breakup for Christmas. Attached was a note that read, “This is Pamela’s favorite movie. Also, here’s a tip…her birthday is a huge deal. Don’t forget that or you’ll most certainly ‘break up.'” I thought it was so clever and simply hilarious. He didn’t….which is probably why we broke up.

Birthday Eve Ice CreamThis year, however, was different. I wasn’t as excited as usual about my birthday, and it took quite a bit to get me in the mood. I attribute some of this to not feeling well and being incredibly tired. I also think that I’m so pumped about my 30th birthday, that this one feels a little blah. (I’m totally expecting my 30s to rock…not dreading that birthday at all!) Nonetheless, I finally got excited as the day rolled around. On Thursday, Matthew and I finished up work a little early, so we got ice cream, ran a few errands, and did a bit of shopping. I counted this as my birthday eve celebration, and it definitely helped me get in the mood.

It's My Birthday!

Social Bites CupcakeOn Friday, I woke up to tons of messages and facebook posts and that made me so excited! (Seriously, if you took time to message me, I totally appreciate it!) I headed over to Ruston and had lunch at one of my favorites, Beau Vines. That lemon cake is amazing! Amanda surprised me with my first Social Bites cupcake! After lunch I went for a quick massage, and then met a few folks for dinner at Cascio’s Tavern.  (The parmesan chicken and blackened chicken pasta are my favs there.)

Possibly the highlight of my birthday weekend is that my long term best friend, Naomi, got to come for a visit. I most definitely don’t get to see her enough and was thrilled that she got to come spend a few days with me for my birthday. Saturday, I had to work for a bit and then Naomi and I did some shopping. (I bought some Minnetokas from Salt & Pepper that I’m soooo excited about.)

Birthday CakePajama Party CrewBirthday Cake Saturday night, a few friends came over for a pajama party at my house. I had a million plans for this pajama party but didn’t really get to implement many. Instead, I decided that my birthday reward to myself would be to invite people over to a less-than-perfectly-clean home that still has Christmas decor up and not stress over that. I didn’t get to do many of the cutesy things I had planned, but I did get to take a breather and spend some time catching up with friends and watching girly movies. For the record, adult pajama parties are the way to go. We’ll be doing this again soon!

I’ll tell the next portion of my birthday story, solelyto make you feel good about yourself. Seriously, if you’re feeling a little down today, you should read on. It’s bound to lift your spirits. I’d like to say that we wrapped up my birthday weekend by arriving on time and perfectly dressed to my family birthday dinner on Sunday. Not quite. Instead, we arrived to family birthday dinner (hosted for me by Matthew’s parents) 40 minutes late with me rocking greasy hair and no makeup. Why is that, you ask? I put it on my calendar for the following Sunday. If I were being completely honest, I’d tell you that Matthew and I considered wrecking our car on the way over, just so the family might feel sorry for us and forget about the fact that we totally screwed up. I tell this story in a joking manner, but I felt absolutely horrible. I guess if there’s any party that it’s ok to show up late to, it would be your own birthday party. Lesson learned. I’ll be keeping a closer eye on my schedule from now on.

The celebrating even stretched into Monday, as I had lunch with my real estate team at Waterfront Grill (and ate that amazing bread pudding shown above). Speaking of my real estate team, I stopped by the office to find 20+ of these “Happy Birthday Pam” signs spread throughout the office. On the front door…the coke machine…strategically placed on the top of the trash can…you name it.  However, my name isn’t Pam. It’s Pamela – all day, every day. I enjoyed searching for the signs, but if anyone starts calling me Pam from these signs, I might have to murder a coworker. (Thanks for thinking of me, Shane.)

All in all, I had a good weekend. I enjoyed time with friends and family and felt so thankful to have so many show that they cared. I didn’t do this birthday in my usual birthday style, but it’ll still go down on the books as a success. Thanks to everyone who contributed!

Christmas 2014 Recap

Team Christmas Party

I simply can’t believe that the Christmas season has already come and gone. They say that time flies when you’re having fun, and that’s totally a reality here in my neck of the woods. The holiday season is always a blur for Matthew and I. I thought I’d take a moment to recap what our Christmas season was like this year.

Ernest's ( Black Velvet Dress Outfit )Ernest's Group Picture
We began the month with our annual trip to Ernest’s in Shreveport with Matthew’s grandmother and cousins. This is a tradition that she’s held for several years and everyone always looks forward to the event. We dress up, ride over, and eat lots (Seriously….lots.) of fantastic food. This year, I wore a black, velvet dress and a gold, vintage belt that I hadn’t had a chance to wear yet. Velvet is one of my favs, so I was pumped about the outfit. We were missing a few cousins this year, but we definitely had a blast catching up with the ones who were able to make it. (Holly, I’m still laughing at Tanner’s plunger stories…too funny!)

Next up on the Christmas agenda was Amanda‘s birthday. We went to Cotton for her birthday dinner and ate all of the duck wraps. Then, that weekend we had a small game night/marshmallow roasting party at our house for her. I was blown away that Amanda and I have been friends since 2006 and I had no idea that she has a SERIOUS love for toasted marshmallows. You learn something new every day!

Christmas Recap (3)
The weekend before Christmas turned out to be quite a busy one for the Petruses. (Side note: I just learned that this is the correct way to spell our last name in this context. Maybe December was the month for learning new things!) Friday night we attended the Keller Williams Parishwide Partners Christmas party at a new downtown venue that I hadn’t been to yet. I’m now considering it for possible location for my 30th birthday party…more on that later. Matthew and I enjoyed the party. It’s always great to get together with colleagues in a non-work environment. I also starting working on some of my 2015 work goals while at the party, which made me happy.

Saturday night, we had our real estate team Christmas party at the new Doe’s Steakhouse in downtown Monroe. I work closely with 9 or so agents at Keller Williams through the Shane Wooten team (plus several assistants), so this was our chance to celebrate a successful year together. I prepped centerpieces and little bags of peppermints for each guest. My mom is great with flower arrangements, but it’s never been a prominent skill of mine. I think these turned out pretty well for how quickly I threw them together though! It was a lot of fun getting together with everyone and recapping memories from the past year. Plus, the food was outstanding!

Sunday brought along two more Christmas events for Matthew and I. For lunch, we gathered at our house with Matthew’s mom, step-dad, little brothers, and grandparents. Matthew made a delicious roast and the most amazing mashed potatoes I’ve ever had. We enjoyed catching up with family that we don’t see often. Then, we took a quick (and much needed) nap, and headed over to my father-in-law’s for dinner. We had a great dinner there and then watched the kids open a few gifts. (Jordan and Roxie, you were missed!) I just realized that we didn’t get any pictures from dinner here, which is a bummer. By this time next year, this side of our family will have grown and that’s exciting! Our newest niece or nephew will be making his/her debut next month!

After a fun-filled and crazy weekend, Matthew and I spent Tuesday night opening a few gifts for each other and looking at Christmas lights. I’m excited to see what next year will be like without Matthew working retail AND being in nursing school. We both worked retail our first Christmas together, and it was exhausting. I’m excited to see what next year looks like for us, even though I’m quite nervous about our daily routine changing completely.

Christmas Eve we hosted my side of the family at our house. Hosting gatherings is one of my favorite things to do, so I was excited to have everyone at our new home for Christmas. I also baked my first turkey, and it turned out edible…I’ll take that as a win! Basically, the night was filled with lots of jokes and candy-eating. What more could you want??

Christmas Pup
After my family left, we headed out for Texas. We arrived a little after midnight and spent Christmas Day opening presents there and playing board games. We got to spend some time with Matthew’s step-sister, Jenna, that we don’t see often. We had a blast learning to play Killer Bunnies (Such an appropriate game for Christmas, right?!) and having an easy day with family.

All in all, this Christmas season was a success. Matthew and I were really busy towards the end of the season, but I think we still enjoyed the hustle and bustle and made some great holidays memories. (I also got lots of pictures of us in front of our Christmas tree, which makes me happy!) In case you missed it, you can see some of our Christmas decor here  and details about our Christmas card here.

I’m sort of sad to wrap up the 2014 holiday season, but I’m definitely excited about 2015. I have a gigantic list of goals and plans for the year, and I’m expecting big things to happen. I hope you’re wrapping up 2014 with lots of great memories and equally great plans for this next year. Here’s to 2015 being a fantastic one!