Celebration Etiquette

So exactly what is the proper way to celebrate when one goes to Old Navy to buy some jeans--the first time in a full year--and discovers that one has dropped 2 jean sizes? I don't know about you but I head to my local European-style bakery and get a lovely horn pastry with a cream caramel filling.


2-Year-Old Death Threat

Last night when I went up to bed it became immediately clear to me that my 2 year old niece Ellie had made an unauthorized and unaccompanied visit to my bedroom.

My first clue: All my little random decorations that sit on my bookcases were rearranged throughout the room.

My second clue: When I pulled back my bed covers I found a baby doll head--just the head.

I've never actually seen The Godfather movies but I vaguely understand that finding a horse's head in your bed is a very bad thing. So what does it mean when a two year old puts a doll head in your bed? Do I need to start sleeping with 1 eye open? Do I owe "the family" a great debt? When she tries to tickle me under my chin is she really trying to choke me with her cute little fingers? All really important questions when you suspect a two year old might be contemplating your murder.


Iron Man

I saw Iron Man over the weekend and loved it. Initially I hadn't planned on seeing it--I mean really when I heard he:

was to be the lead role in a super hero movie I though "I'll pass." But then hearing from several female sources that he did a great job and the movie was good I thought I would give it a try and I would agree with these women he did do a great job and the movie was rather nice. (Okay so by nice I mean that he was actually pretty sexy in it--and funny too.) Now the role of Pepper Potts I could have strangled--I mean it was a bit annoying to watch a woman billed as the most capable of women turn into a blubbering fool channeling her inner Hugh Grant whenever emotions and danger come into the picture. But all in all I enjoyed it and would recommend it for a bit of weekend fun.


The Pretty

I have two new items in my life (they both arrived yesterday) that I haven't yet let get out of my sight (unless you count when I was sleeping but even then they were only an arms length away from me).

First: My pretty, pretty new camera which oddly I can't find a picture of to post here but you can go to the link to see how pretty it is. You'll just have to trust me though when I tell you it is a really fun and good camera. I love the features I learned about so far and can't wait to learn more about how to use my fun new gadget. I got it just in time too as I am leaving for my vacation in Boston in just 2 weeks!

Second: My subscription to The New Yorker has arrived! I've just started reading it (after browsing through to check out the cartoons) and the articles all look really good this month.

Add these two things to my list of projects and you can see that I am a very busy girl right now (I am hoping to be able to show of my completed baby afghan very soon--I am totally addicted to crocheting right now suddenly it all makes sense!)


I Heart IKEA

Did you know that IKEA sells fabric?

Did you know their fabric is pretty cool and reasonably priced (especially when you hit it on sale)?

Did you know that I'm learning how to sew?

Did you think, while reading this post, that I am in way over my head? (You would probably be right. The last time I attempted to learn how to sew I was in 7th grade and needed to make a pair of shorts. I failed miserably at the project and transferred into shop class. For my first project this time around I am sewing a simple square pillow sham--wish me luck!)



after months and months of complaining about it being too cold, is it too soon to say it is too hot?

Time to Panic

Have you ever hear anyone complain that some holidays (like Valentine's Day or Mother's Day for example) are just manufactured by candy makers and card manufacturers? Well, I have often thought this to be true (but never complained too much as I am often on the receiving end of a nice box of chocolates) but just this morning I have had a bit of an epiphany: It is not true. If it were true we would not currently be in a candy-giving drought (a drought that is currently projected to last until October 31st). I for one am quite disappointed. Obviously the love and respect I have given candy makers and card manufacturers everywhere has been handed over too lightly. I ask you, exactly what is becoming of the America I love?



They are back. Can you believe it? The New Kids on the Block are back and they are going on tour. Their reasoning for coming back is that they are giving their fans what they want. I didn't even know I wanted that so it is good that the guys are looking out for me. I kind of feel duty bound--like I owe it to my 15 year old self who thought life would cease to exist if I didn't get tickets to their concert the last time they came to town (thanks Mom)--to buy tickets and go to to their concert when they hit Salt Lake City later this Fall. I don't really know how that will go though since my taste in music has changed sooooo much since I was 15, but for the sake of nostalgia I think I'm up for it. I wonder if I kept any of my old posters. I'll have to check. To see if they are coming to a town near you, visit their site here.


A little while ago MBC was commenting on the use of the word "random" by Utahns. Well, her post got me reminiscing about Northern Ireland and their use of the word "situation." It is used a lot in Northern Ireland and it doesn't even necessarily need to make any sense. Here is a little clip that talks about this strange phenomenon.

If you don't understand what the trolls are saying you will understand how I felt my first 2 weeks living in Belfast--early in my studies there I decided to stop in and get a bite to eat in town but knowing that I was having a difficult time with the language I thought I would go somewhere relatively safe: McDonalds. I figured I could walk up to the counter and say Big Mac Meal with a Coke and hand over some colorful money and all would be good. Well, the girl assisting me apparently didn't hear me say "with a Coke" and asked me at least 4 times what I wanted to drink but I couldn't understand a single word. It got better though and now I can understand really thick and horrible accents (I attempted to find an example on the Internet but I couldn't find one that didn't have rampant swear--a problem in Belfast--so you will just have to pretend to be impressed with my interpretation of tongues skills.)

I Don't Know What Is Wrong With Me...

I am usually much better at posting on my blog, but this week I just haven't been feeling it--It is Thursday and this is just my second post of the week! To try to get me kick started I thought I would do a bit of a tag to let you in on what I have been doing instead of blogging:

Project of the week: I went to my crochet group last night and we started a baby blanket. It will probably take me all summer to finish it and when I do it probably won't be worth giving away but I'm excited about it. The real bonus to attending my group this week was that I seem to finally be able to read a pattern (mostly).

Gripe of the week: I got to go to Relief Society on Sunday (the men took over all the church callings for Mother's Day so I got the day off from nursery--this is not the gripe) and a woman stood up during the announcement phase and read an email that she had received telling her that 10 years ago President Hinckley prophesied that there would be 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famine and that puts us in the middle of the 7 years of famine and so to prepare ourselves we should join her in buying a food dehydrator. Hrrg! Now I am all for being prepared and having a food storage but why do we have to go all crazy and scary about it. (Let's not even get started into the whole rice shortage thing that isn't real--The US is not in a rice shortage other parts of the world are but we are not and the only reason that there is a limit on the amount of rice you can buy in certain stores is that people are panicking creating a rice shortage at that store not in the country) So could we all start paying better attention and try to be a little smarter? Probably not, but can you at least keep your craziness out of my Relief Society meetings?

What I spent the morning thinking about: I love museums. I was thinking about how much I love visiting them and that the best museums are the smaller ones that concentrate on 1 artist or 1 type of art. For example, while I love the Louvre it is huge and leaves me feeling completely confused and overwhelmed. But when I visited the Rijksmeusme in Amsterdam I left with a good grasp on what Dutch art is all about and can now recognize Dutch paintings without reading the tag.

What I'm really excited about: It is almost Friday!!!! I don't have any real plans for the weekend, but it will be the weekend and I will be happy that it is the weekend.

Book I'm reading: Gilead. As far as I can tell right now it is just one long letter from an old man to his son and I'm just not really into it. I need a climax! Is there going to be a climax?

After reading this post you probably understand just a little bit better why I haven't posted. I think tweaking a common saying just a little suits my situation quite well: If you don't have anything interesting to post don't post anything at all.

Sorry, will try to more interesting in the future.


Man-Candy Tuesday

Yesterday I spent nearly the entire work day at a horrible meeting where I picked up some great knowledge such as "you can use a calendar to figure out what day it is" (I kid you not). I hate meeting to begin with but when the meeting has next to no point and drags on hours longer than it should it makes me cranky and sucks my brain dry. Under such conditions I can hardly be expected to post, right? Even today I feel that I haven't completely recovered and so I am begging of with a fairly lame excuse of a post: Man-Candy Tuesday.

Over the weekend I saw P.S. I Love You which I quite enjoyed. I read the book about 1 1/2 years ago which is the perfect amount of distance between a book and a movie. While my sisters and mother hated it for straying from the book I thought it was very good and stayed with the overall feel of the book--and really what more can you ask from a movie that is based on a 300 page book? If you feel the need for a good cry let me recommend this one to you. I cried through the entire thing--I lost count after I broke down for the 5th time--one of the deleted scenes even made me cry.

Anyway, on to the man candy. I am thinking about adding someone to my five (which currently stands at just 4) and here are a couple of contenders from the movie:

Gerard Butler:

And Jeffrey Dean Morgan:

Gerard is of course rather nice to look at but I'm not completely sold because he seems a bit swarmy (what's the spelling I'm looking for her) and his character from the movie kept calling his wife "baby" and I just can't tolerate that. Jeffery is also nice to look at and his character from the movie was rather charming, but I don't know much else about him.

--did you notice they actually look a bit alike. I guess I have a type and it is clear now that James McAvoy never really had a chance at making the cut: he is all yours Nemesis.


Food! Glorious Food!

This week I have busily (and happily) been trying out some new recipes that I have been discovering on various blogs and so far they have all worked out beautifully. Here is the rundown (sorry no pictures--I need a better camera and prettier plates):

This Salmon dish via Martha Stewart but found over at Stephmodo. I tend to shy away from cooking fish--its so scary, with meat you can simply follow the pink=done rule, but with fish they tell you to cook it until it is flaky but how flaky is done and how long does that take?--but this one was so easy and cooked up so nice. Plus the mustard and panko acted as a sort of shield so that when I did over cook it just a bit it didn't dry out. Also, I am now a huge fan on panko.

2. This Broccoli Rigatoni from Emily Style. Again so easy and yummy. Plus it was great later in the week as a cold side salad.

3. This Cilantro Chimichurri from Nomad (Science Teacher Mommy) which is my new favorite and must now be made and put on every hamburger I make. As per other suggestions from STM I did burgers with roasted red peppers, Irish white cheddar cheese (she suggested Australian but I couldn't find any but the Irish was so go that I must now only have Irish white cheddar cheese on my cheeseburgers) and various other typical hamburger toppings. It was incredible. I kept looking at my hamburger while I was eating it thinking this tastes too good to be just a hamburger.

4. This found over at Rolling with Laughter one hasn't been made yet (it is tonight's recipe) but when small children make comments like: "Mom, these pancakes aren't good. They're delicious!" and "I don't like these pancakes. I LOVE them! I like them! I love them! I want some more of them!" you know they are going to be good. Plus, I love pancakes and I love sweet potatoes so really it is a match made in heaven.

I love finding so many great recipes on these blogs. It is great because you know if someone is taking the time to blog about them they are going to be good and because these women who are writing about them are busy women you know they aren't going to be too complicated. Sometimes when I watch the Food Channel or say Martha Stewart I feel like they should be scrolling "Do Not Try This at Home" across the bottom of the screen. Not here, though. This is good food that you can make up quickly and then get back to the business of living.


Love my Library

I have a new reason to love my local library (sorry about the 2 library posts in a row thing but lately I'm lovin' my library): They have British TV series! I can't believe that I didn't know this (or that my mother who works at said library never told me). The news came about when my dad after returning from a visit to Boston mentioned that he had been watching a British series and an Irish series and that we might get those from the library (he had already checked to see if the local one had them) for some family fun. My immediate question was: "Do they have the Vicar of Dibley?" My mother didn't know but said they have lots of fun British stuff that no one knows about. Well I finally got around to checking the library catalogue and she is right they do have lots of fun stuff! I still can't believe I didn't know this and that no one told me.

They have: The Vicar of Dibley; As Time Goes By; Doctor Who (the new one with David Tennant); Monarch of the Glen; and Father Ted. All are favorites of mine. They sadly don't yet have My Family or My Hero but I have hope that the brilliant person who purchased the above series will no doubt be getting to these. I'm sure I'm forgetting some other great British Series. Any reminders from the audience would be appreciated.

For a little bit of fun, here a two clips from The Vicar of Dibley. The first is an end of show joke (they do one for each episode). Here you will get a bit of an introduction to Alice (my favorite character)--she's the one who doesn't get it. The second is a short piece done for charity.


I Heart Magazines

As per my challenge of last week, I spent about 2 1/2 hours at my local library last week perusing their excellent magazine collection (a new weekly habit I hope--maybe not 2 1/2 hours). I started off with The New Yorker which of course is fabulous (am strongly considering subscribing) before moving on to Psychology Today. I was drawn in by its cover but quickly found the articles inside to be fascinating and easily accessible to me--a non-psychologist. In fact I loved it so much that I took 3 pages of notes on one of the articles that I was reading about being authentic. So fascinating. Here are a few of my thoughts and notes:
  • One of the questions asked/debated in the article is "Do we invent this authentic self or do we discover it?" As an LDS person I found this to be a rather interesting question on the one hand I think that we discover it--in short, we existed as intelligent beings before we came here where our minds were wiped clean of the knowledge that we had. Therefore, we are (or should be) daily trying to rediscover who we really are: our authentic self. But then on the other hand, our knowledge and memory of ourselves were wiped clean so that we could come down to Earth to learn and grow. So we are daily inventing ourselves into a new authentic self as we learn, discover, and experience new things. In the end it really has to be both (not that that was an option given by the psychologists). We are both discovering and inventing who we truly are.
  • Here are 8 Acts of Authenticity given by the article (8 ways in which a person who is authentic lives their life): 1. Read novels (this lets us get inside the head of another which helps us to distinguish our own identity) 2. Meditate (this helps us to create moments of happiness not contingent on outcomes or external factors--from here we can learn how to create real fulfillment) 3. Be Deliberate (be aware that you have choices and consciously choose what you do--this so reminds me of Elder Bednar's conference address that states other's can't offend us we choose for ourselves whether to be offended or not) 4. But not too deliberate (People often make better decisions when they don't think about it--go with your gut) 5. Cultivate solitude (quiet time for self) 6. But stay connected (Community is an outlook toward life in which you define yourself in relation to the world around you) 7. Play Hard (doing something you really enjoy expresses who you really are) 8) Be willing to lose (if you are willing to lead a full life you are going to fail some every day (besides we tend to flourish under the most challenging circumstances anyway so it is time to be okay with failing--maybe even grateful for it)
  • A great quote on being the true eudaimonic you: "Eudaimonia refers to a state of well-being and full functioning that derives from a sense of living in accordance with one's deeply held values--in other words, from a sense of authenticity."
  • Okay, one last quote: "Authenticity is not for the faint of heart--It can feel better to be embraced as an impostor than dumped for the person you really are." (I'm so bad at this--I can't tell you how often I just smile and nod rather than say what I really think)
  • I wish you were all right here in the room with me so that we could really have a proper discussion--I just can't seem to find the words for all the thoughts flowing through my head right now. Also, I'm thinking this falls into the category of inner poise that I am trying to work on as a New Year's resolution so I'll be thinking about this some more this month.

After finishing up this article I browsed Architectural Digest for their pretty, pretty pictures. It was such an inspiring time. Yay, for libraries!


So When Are We Going?

The Beehive Bazaar takes place this Friday and Saturday--the gist is that it is a craft show with a bit of an edge. For more information on this event visit their website here. Here are a couple of things that have already caught my eye:

(product will be provided by Fall Down Tree)

(product will be provided by My Dear Lizzie)
Have you heard about the city being built in Abu Dhabi that hopes to be the world's first carbon-neutral city. It sounds really interesting. In fact, it sounds like I place I would like to live or at least visit. For more on this go here. I especially like the idea of "pod" travel Jetson's style (albeit under ground and not through the air). No more traffic: I like that.

Resolution Report: April

Let's see how I did last month:
  • Will not be lazy: Ok, so if you measure it by the amount of tv watched (one of the ways I would measure it) I am doing really well. But now that I am not wasting so much time watching tv I think I need to start examining whether or not what I am doing now still falls into the "lazy" category. I read a lot more now than I did a couple months ago which is not a bad thing, but I do think I need to be DOING a bit more.
  • Will stay in control of mail in-box: Still going well
  • Will not get annoyed with family: Did pretty good on this front last month
  • Will not get upset over men: Excellent
  • Will be positive about everyone: Still a problem, but doing better. Reading The Peacegiver has been a huge help.
  • Will develop inner poise: I worked on becoming a better conversationalist (which I think is key to feeling your inner poise--I think being able to talk about what you think without throwing your drink on someone fits into inner poise. Also, I think being able to talk with conficence that you have something interesting to say rather than with fear that you have nothing to say is another good part of feeling your inner poise.)
  • Will lose 10 pounds: Lost 2 more pounds bringing my total to 8 pounds this year!
  • Will purge flat of extraneous matter: I'm still feeling very organized.
  • Will give away horrible clothes: Purged again!
  • Will improve career: Finished my courses and got an A in both. Now I need to start applying for some jobs while I look to see what courses I will be taking in the Fall.
  • Will read books: Love, Love, Love this goal.
  • Will listen to classical music: I increased my time listening to classical music last month. Yay!
  • Will go to the gym: This was a bit hit and miss. Need to do better.
  • Will make music mood mixes: Probably time to do some new mixes.
  • Will read Book of Mormon: Finished.
    Will read Joseph Smith lessons: Caught up!!!
  • Will read from Preach My Gospel: This one is a bit hit and miss--which is bad since that talk I gave last month encouraged everyone to be studying this study guide. Must do better.
  • Will write in journal: This one has been hit and miss as well.
  • Will do Family History work: Worked on this a couple of times this month and am learing Danish to help with my Danish line.
Well, there are some areas that still need some work, but I'm feeling pretty happy about where I am right now. I think the focuses for this month will be: writing in my journal, making some mood mixes, and developing inner poise.


New Challenge: Spread the Love

I'm going to hold off until tomorrow (or until I have a bit more time) to do a wrap up of my last challenge but I thought I would go ahead and introduce this weeks challenge now.

Compliments are some of the nicest things to get and they can really stick with you. For example, back in December someone complimented my boots as I was walking into a building and that compliment still makes me happy several months later. So this week is going to be a week of handing out compliments to others and to ourselves.

Spread the Love
  1. Notice one thing a day about someone you don't know and compliment her (or possibly him) on it. Be sincere. If you like her bag, her hair, the book she's reading, tell her!
  2. We can be our own worst critics, so start looking for positive things in the mirror! Find something awesome, something you like, and compliment yourself every day.
  3. Write down your experience - the compliments you give others and yourself. Did anyone's face light up? What did they say? How do you feel about yourself?
  4. At the end of the week, grab some quiet time and read through your journal. Look back at what you've done, and the changes you've made.

Weekend Round Up

Another really nice weekend is in the books. Sadly, like so many weekends, it went by way too fast. I kicked it off Friday evening by saving a few bees with my purchase of a pint of Häagen-Dazs ice cream. I was really impressed with all the flavor options and can't wait to try some more. This time I tried the cinnamon dulce de leche which was absolutely to die for (I think next time it will be pomegranate chip--doesn't that sound divine?). Trying out all the new flavors is a really great tradition in the making. When I was picking up my ice cream I also grabbed a copy of the movie Juno which I found interesting. A couple parts made me cringe a bit but the one-liners in the movie were great. I also really liked the soundtrack--I'd heard the soundtrack before and hated it but now in context of the movie I quite fancy several of the songs. After the movie I went to bed with my current book: Touching Darkness which was scary enough to require my sleeping with my bedside lamp on for much of the night (I know I"m a wuss but the dark seriously scares me and I unfortunately stopped reading for the night in a rather intense part of the book wherein "things" come in the night to attack. During the daylight hours I have no trouble seeing through this fear as silly but at night in the dark it is a whole different story--really I blame my fear on having spent the first 5 years of my life in the town that is supposed to be the most haunted town in America: Gettysburg. Plus the first 3 years of my life were actually spent living in a home reported to be haunted: the Humelbaugh House. Obviously I'm still scarred.)

Saturday started off really, really nicely with a couple of other new traditions. After getting up and getting ready for the day I walked over to my local grocery store bought some orange juice and a chocolate filled croissant (it was so good the it still makes me smile)--I figured if I walked to the store and back I deserved to be a little naughty with my breakfast meal. After finishing up breakfast and reading a couple chapters from Hungry Planet, I hit the library to read from a few general interest magazines (part of my become a better conversationalist goal). I really enjoyed my time there and was impressed and surprised by the magazines I picked up (but that is for a different post). After a bit of time at the library, I ran errands (why do these take so long?), did some reading (because obviously I can't handle reading at night right now), and then spent a lovely evening hanging out with one of my nieces.

Sunday involved sleeping in, looking over my nursery lesson one last time, doing some last minute work on our nursery craft and then heading off to church. My lesson went really quite well (considering they are 2 year olds) and for the most part all 10 of them sat through my 5 minute lesson--that felt like 20 minutes. The singing time person failed to show which forced me to lead the songs which consisted of "Itsy, Bitsy Spider," "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam," "5 Little Ducks," "Once there Was a Snowman," and "The Hokey Pokey." Obviously, I need to work on my 2-year old song repertoire. The evening was spent cooking and hanging out with family before going to bed with a book and some NPR Jazz.


Save the Honey Bee

Since I started off the day with a post on food I thought I would continue that theme just a little bit longer. Did you know that the honey bees are dying and that this is a real problem since about 30% of our food is dependent on honey bee pollination. Thanks Nem for alerting me to the problem (read here for what she said). Since reading Nem's post I have been hearing about the plight of the bees everywhere. First on KSL radio, then in 2 seperate magazines, and lastly at this website: http://www.helpthehoneybees.com/ (although I went there knowing I would be hearing about the problem). So here is what I have resolved to do to help:

  1. Plant sunflowers
  2. Buy some local honey
  3. Buy some Häagen-Dazs icecream because they are funding some research to help save the honey bees--plus icecream is good.

Hungry Planet

Back in January I did this post about the weekly food expenditures of various families around the world. The pictures came from a book called Hungry Planet: What the World Eats which ever since doing my post I had intended on checking out from the library. I kept putting it off in favor of some novels that had been recommended to me, but then I decided that I could just check it out and look at the pictures--I didn't actually have to read it. So I checked it out and I am so totally reading this book. So far I've just read the introduction and about the first two families--still, I am so entirely hooked. The pictures are so incredible and reading about what the families say about food and their consumption of it has been so fascinating. Back in January when I did my first post on this I mentioned how embarrassed I was about the food eaten by the Americans and hoped that my weekly food wouldn't look quite like that (I also resolved to eat more fruits and veggies which I am doing but now I feel the need to do even more). I am happy to report to you, though, that at least one of the American families who participated was equally embarrassed and now has the picture hanging in their house as a reminder of what and how they no longer want to eat. One of the interesting things brought up in the introduction of the book is how there are now 2 major health concerns when it comes to food consumption: 1) that some people don't have enough and 2) that some people eat way too much. Anyway, I highly recommend the book and hope that it helps you to make some healthier food choices (I really need to start making more from scratch so as to avoid all those nasty preservatives).


Book Club

It has been a while since I have been a part of a book club and I didn't even realize until last night how much I have missed that kind of membership. Last night was my first time attending my ward's Relief Society book club and it was really nice. We read a book called Peace like a River which is a wonderful book that I probably never would have picked up--that is one of the joys of book clubs isn't it? reading something or some genre that you normally wouldn't. It is really a very nice book to get to discuss with a group of religious individuals as there were several different parallels to be made to Christ and lots of good topics such as mercy and turning the other cheek. Besides those good qualities, though, the book is incredibly well written. The language and the structure of the writing is very smooth and comfortable.

One of the best/funniest parts of the book club was when we were discussing what books to read in the coming month it was proposed that we read something by Shakespeare. At this mention one of the ladies pulled out her Utah Shakespearean Festival collectors edition brochure (the club meets at her house so she had it handy) and proceeded to pass it around so that we could all ooh and aah over how cute Michael Sharon is. Really, I kid you not. That is the reason it was passed around. Do you remember when I told you about the Relief Society crochet group? And how they are--well let's just say they are quite a bit older than me. Well this group (actually made of several of the same women) is of the same demographics. So there we were a group of women my mother's age and older and me getting a bit of man candy. It was priceless!

MBC, I hope you don't mind my mentioning to them that I know someone who hangs out with Michael in London and DC--you are so cool.