On Black Friday, we had a Girls' Day at the new Pioneer Woman Mercantile. I loaded up in the family van with my mom, little sisters, & my great aunt Connie, & we headed to Pawhuska.
The Mercantile opened on Halloween, & we knew it would be a lengthy wait. When we arrived, we could already see a long line. Upon further investigation, we were informed that there were two entrances: One was for the deli-style restaurant, which had an hour-long wait, & one was for everything else - the general store, bakery, coffee shop, & candy counter - & had a 20-minute wait. Since we were just stopping in for brunch & shopping, we decided to go the quicker route & head for the short line.
Mercantile employees were so friendly, & kept everyone informed about wait times. There were also heat lamps set up around both lines, so everyone could huddle around & keep warm, despite being stuck outside! The employee at the front of our line was kind enough to offer to take our photo as well.
Once we got inside, we did some shopping! The general store is somewhat like a nicer, more feminine version of Cracker Barrel's general store. There were many things from the Pioneer Woman Walmart line, but so much more, too! You could find all of the Pioneer Woman cookbooks, lots of local Oklahoma-made goods, clothes & jewelry that fit Ree Drummond's style, & tons of home goods. At one point, my sisters & I all collectively gasped & said, "OH MY GOSH," over some adorable mugs. For the guys, there was a little section of goods, including a gun-shaped bottle-opener & some bacon-themed items (I'd be more specific, but I didn't pay much attention, honestly - too many other fun, pretty things to look at!). & for the kids (or me), there were cute stuffed animals, the children's book Ree wrote about Charlie the Ranch Dog (& lots of Charlie items!), & other toys.
The bakery, coffee shop, & candy counter area were upstairs. I opted for a lavender latte, although I was tempted by the Cowgirl Coffee: one of the house specialties, which includes sarsaparilla. Most of us grabbed danishes as well, & I can honestly say, that fruit danish was the best danish I have ever had! So soft, sweet, & amazing. I also snagged a few chocolates to bring home & share with Laker, including a Reeses Pieces-covered pretzel, a Tiramisu chocolate ball, & some cookies & cream fudge. There were so many pastry & candy options, it was difficult to choose! But that just gives me something to look forward to when we go back!
One thing I found very impressive were all of the details that were put into making the experience enjoyable. The coffee cups had the cutest floral sleeves, & the plates for the bakery were simple, but nice. The plastic silverware was actually silver, & the paper napkins were thick & soft, not thin & papery like most restaurants. The bakery & candy displays were clean & neat, & the seating area was upstairs, away from the loudness of the store. Seating was arranged in small table areas, with some pretty floral couches added in. The displays in the general store were colorful & fun, & all of the items seemed to fit into the theme. Nothing seemed like it was there by accident.
Here are a few final photos of our time at the Mercantile! We also got a photo of the Drummond Ranch on the way out of town. We had a really fun experience, & I'm already thinking about taking my in-laws next time they're in the area! Hopefully next time, we'll get to check out the deli as well!
Everyone is talking about the Gilmore Girls Revival, & I'm seeing lots of mixed feelings. Instead of continuing to spew my lengthy opinions on each person's individual status, I decided to just write a blog post. But to push it a little further, I'm re-watching the revival & live-blogging it. While consuming coffee & foreign food. & pie for good measure.
SPOILER ALERT: THIS WILL INCLUDE A MILLION SPOILERS.
OTHER SPOILER ALERT: I'm not full of warm fuzzy feelings about this revival, so there will be a good deal of ranting (although there are some warm fuzzies too).
To start, I'll say that I have seen the entire original series, most of it multiple times. I started watching in high school, & re-started shortly after Laker & I got married. So I've had strong feelings about the show & it's plot lines for a long time (Just call me Katniss NeverDean).
Going into the revival, I wasn't expecting perfection. I assumed a few things from the start. First, after all of the "Don't spoil the last four words!" propaganda, I had a feeling it would end on a cliffhanger. Second, I figured that Rory would either end up alone, or with Jess. MAYBE Logan. Definitely not with a new guy, & probably not with Dean. I assumed we'd see lots of fun interactions between the three Gilmore Girls - & I say three, because I feel like after the original seasons, Emily became a big part of their lives, & would still be a big part ten years later, especially after the loss of her husband. I assumed we'd see some fun interactions with the Stars Hollow townsfolk.
We did see some of those things happen, but my overall complaint with the whole revival (this is the "tldr" part, for those of you who want to bow out now) is that it seemed like the creators got too excited, which ended up with too many people getting involved. There were so many needless cameos that filled up time, & even some of the returnee scenes were just awkward & forced. It seemed like everyone was so busy trying to squeeze in the 10,000 people participating that at times, they forgot what the story line was, or even how the original characters were supposed to act. Some people are blaming this on aging, grief, or the quirkiness of the show, but there were so many instances of this that I can't get past them all.
& so we begin our rant. A lot of snark & sarcasm (snarkasm?) lie ahead, but I'll try to validate my opinions. I've said this before, but in a world of girls trying to decide if they're more Rory or Lorelai, I am a Michel.
The cheat notes, for those who aren't fluent in Gilmore:
ASP = Amy Sherman-Palladino
GG = Gilmore Girls (or Gossip Girl, in some social contexts, but always Gilmore in this blog post)
Milo = actor who plays Jess
Rorelai = Rory & Lorelai
We start off with a cute Rorelai scene, which ends with Rory rushing off rudely with one of her three phones (why?) & Lorelai dealing with an entertaining new Kirk business shenanigan. After Rory (again, rudely) brushes off Lane for her phone, she meets back up with Lorelai, & they get to enjoy some fresh snow as the town troubadour sings. Snow is a good beginning for the show, as it symbolizes so much for Lorelai.
We get home, &... Paul Anka is still alive? You go, Paul Anka! Wait, why is there a giant bow on the fridge? Rory moved home & now Paul is here. I already hate this whole Paul situation. I assumed Paul would last 5 more minutes, but oh, no...
Luke & Lorelai are great though. & he's a cute proud dad. But why is Rory tap dancing? There's that giant fridge bow again. Also, how is Lorelai confused about why she's having dirty bathroom dreams? Taylor is putting up sewer signs everywhere & talking to everyone about septic tank disasters. I'd be having poop dreams too.
Forgetting Paul at Luke's after just discussing Paul was the only funny part of his entire life. Cut. It. Out.
"Hold this baby. What do you feel?" "Well, now there's spittle on my suit, so... Rage." I am Michel talking about babies.
First pointless cameo of the series: Roy Choi. Unless we're counting Paul. But I'm trying to forget about him (ba-dum tss).
Lorelai using Ooober. Kirk is quirky (Kirky?) but I love him. Venting the floors, singing the Carpenters song, & the car breaking down so he gets to come to dinner... all great.
Anyone notice Berta is actually Gypsy? It's also a little stereotypical to have a maid who may or may not speak Spanish, with a big involved family, kids constantly around, & a handyman husband.
The painting scene was funny. Emily would totally play it off like that. It especially looks hilarious next to the tiny family portrait hanging next to it. I can't, however, get over the funeral scene. Lorelai had a bad relationship with her dad during her childhood. But Richard had been a part of her life, & Rory's, for the past 16 years. She couldn't think of one good thing to say about him? Everyone keeps blaming grief, but in my experience, grief makes you nostalgic. At the funeral, Lorelai smiles at the wedding photo of Emily & Richard. She hangs back & cries with Rory. She doesn't seem angry. So she somehow forgot later in the day about Richard helping to pay for Chilton, or helping with Rory's school projects, or helping with insurance at the Dragonfly? I'm not buying that.
Digger is here, though. That's nice. I've seen people complain about this, but he worked with Richard, so it's fitting, I think. Although I did like Max better.
Back to dinner. Luke hugging Emily is so awkward. Kirk playing soccer is the best.
I find Luke & Lorelai talking about kids to be weird. They've been together for 10 years, & dated before that off & on, but never discussed it? They also both have daughters, & Luke mentions going to Rory's graduation, but not April's. That seems odd. We saw him go to Rory's on the show, but that doesn't mean April's didn't exist. I also feel like they HAVE discussed kids, specifically in the Twickham house episodes (beginning of season 6), which Lorelai references a little but kind of blows off. Luke almost bought an entire house specifically so they'd have room for kids, then helped Lorelai expand her house so they'd have room for a family. He gives a whole speech about wanting kids, & Lorelai says kids would be good. Granted, that was before they broke up, she married & divorced Christopher, & then got back with Luke, but still. You'd think it would come up at least once in the following decade.
In related news, Paris looks awesome. I can't imagine her in this kind of job, but we'll go with it. I wish Lorelai hadn't shrugged off how much of a relationship she had with Paris though. Throughout the series, Paris always ran to Rorelai for help. Rory was her best friend, even when they didn't get along, & she looked to Lorelai as a motherly figure on multiple occasions.
Rory in London: The book thing seems fun. But then there's Logan. I will say... I have a soft spot for Logan. I think they could be good together, although he's probably not my first choice. But I don't like that, again, it seems like a break from Rory's character. Rory has already learned the issues that cheating can cause. She tried to cheat on Logan with Jess, & couldn't due to guilt. But now she's cheating on Paul, her boyfriend of two years, with Logan - enough so that there seems to be a relationship going, & enough for her to send boxes to his place. But he's also with someone else. Plus, she turned down his proposal at the end of the series. It seems unusual to be having an affair after something so serious.
Luke passive-aggressively giving out fake wifi passwords is the best character representation in the entire series.
Sister Troubadour: Unnecessary.
Oh, Zack. Lane was right. He does look like his dad. & I've never even seen his dad. Maybe this is payback for not wanting to let Gil in the band because he looked old. Everyone gets older eventually. Does Brian still live with them? & Paris asking Lane personal questions about who "did her work" on the kids, who gets the house in the split, & if the band is serious... so funny. She just gets better with age. Watching Zack is a little sad & confusing. Why is he facing backwards when he sings? I don't understand.
Emily de-cluttering is something I can get behind. That seems like something a grief-stricken person would do. Discussing dying with dignity & body-shipping cash & good locations to die. Definitely believable. Emily wearing jeans. Yes. Lorelai telling her that nothing will bring her joy right now. For sure. This is the part where they're supposed to forgive each other for the ridiculous funeral scene & start grieving together. But instead, we get the beginning of the "Luke is your roommate," & "you want me to go to therapy," business.
I also loved Emily sort of tricking Lorelai into going to therapy, while Luke urgently tried to tell her not to go. It shows that Lorelai is still susceptible to Emily's manipulation & flattery, but also that Luke, by this time, has learned how to play into the game.
I'll stop here & do the other three episodes later since this is getting so long. After initially watching this episode, I was hopeful that the three Gilmore Girls would reunite & start building better relationships. Hopeful the Logan affair would end, & we'd see some Jess interactions soon. Hopeful for more relevant story-lines (Bye, Paul). Next is Spring...
Last month, we visited the World War I Museum in Kansas City. In one of the exhibits, there was a video & show that had a quote saying (excuse me if this is slightly wrong, but I believe it's nearly verbatim), "Peace is war held under control."
With all of the election chaos in our country lately, this may seem to be true. Last night, I found myself thinking of possible, horrible outcomes - regardless of who won. There doesn't seem to be a good option. I could sit here & try to persuade you of who I think the better option is, but if you're reading this, you likely already know who you're voting for. If my opinion matched yours, you could feel reaffirmed, & I could validate some of your reasons for voting for that person. If my opinion disagreed with yours, it wouldn't change your mind about casting your vote. Best case scenario, we'd both vote our convictions & move along. Worst case, it might change your opinion of me & my morals/beliefs/politics. It might cause an argument that wouldn't lead to either of us changing sides. It could lead to hurt feelings or a changed relationship. All because of fighting over two people who - in all likelihood - neither of us really like, but each of us are choosing to support because we agree with one a little more.
There will be upset & hurt feelings after this election is over. No matter the outcome, people will be outraged.
In the midst of the madness, there can be peace. & I don't just mean "war held under control."
Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. & the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts & your minds in Christ Jesus."
I sincerely hope all of you have been praying for guidance in how best to vote in this election. There are so many issues at stake - Please do not vote based on a single issue. Education, refugees, abortion, equality for minorities & women, immigration, who best will represent our country in foreign & domestic situations, who will appoint the best Supreme Court judges, etc, etc... There is likely not one candidate who agrees with you on every issue, but I hope you have prayerfully considered who best represents your beliefs on the majority.
Prayer will help grant you guidance & peace. After that, all you can do is give it to God. Do not throw insults at others who voted on the opposite side. Do not let your friendships, family, or church be divided by politics. Do not lean into worry & anxiety.
In this world, we will have war. & God is in control. In that sense, the above quote is true. In election times, people like to quote Romans 13:1-2, which says, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, & those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, & those who resist will incur judgment."
I don't read Relevant Magazine, but I recently found this article, & pieces of it are important to remember in this moment.
"Simply because something occurs under God’s providence does not mean that He approves of it or desires that it happens. For example, Scripture tells us that we are all sinners, but we know that God neither approves of our sin, nor does He desire for us to continue sinning... Fast forward to today. Is God sovereign? Yes. Do we have choices in the course of human events? Yes. Are we held responsible for the choices we make? Yes. Does God’s sovereignty give us license to make poor decisions? No it does not... So as election 2016 proceeds, take comfort in knowing that God stands in control amidst all this chaos. But remember, we are called not merely to rest in His control, but to actively display His character in the choices we make. Leaders may rise under His providence, but as long as we choose them, we will be held accountable for whether they meet with His approval." (Read the full article here.)
We have a responsibility to vote our beliefs. This does not mean that the most God-fearing, Biblical Christian will win, or even run for office. This also does not mean, though, that we get to be hateful & disrespectful when our candidate does not win - or when they do. Think about how you are representing Christ, win or lose. If you are voting for someone because of your Christ-like convictions, then stand by those Christ-like convictions throughout the voting process, & the term of the winner, whether you voted for them or not. God is still in control, even if our president is not following Him.
Christ. Laker. Lily. Padfoot. Puns. Polar Bears. Travel. Tea. Tattoos. Tigers. Books. Belle. Buffaloes. Wonderland. Creativity.