Sunday, August 5, 2012

Opa! (Greek Night)

One night I decided that I was going to make Greek food, and the next moment I had invited my entire family over to enjoy the experience with me.

The initial idea soon got out of hand (as it usually does with me) and before you know it we had decided on a Toga Party, complete with prizes for best dressed, Spanakopita, Falafel, Tapas, and Tzatzikii. We also decided to watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding, because it just seemed like a good idea. The only thing we didn't have was a lamb roasting in the front yard.
The Three Princesses: Abigail posing like a Greek Goddess, Julianna (my little sister) and Charlie (who just had to have some lace on her Toga)
Little man and Charlie enjoying their costumes. 

My little man in his pillowcase Toga. I swear he might start wearing these full time cause it just broke my heart to look at him he was so dang cute!

My family who were troopers for dressing up! Special thanks to my brother, Cory, who wasn't thrilled to be wearing a dress. 

Thanks to my friend, Rachel Coleman, who incidentally introduced me to the Greek side of life in New York, I knew exactly what to make. Who cares that it took me the entire day and my brain power for the week. Everything turned out sooo good. My mom's spinach pies were especially good!
If you've seen the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding you KNOW we had to make a bundt cake. With a hole.  Thanks Amelia for making a good one! 

My little man LOVED the falafel. And I LOVED the night. 

P.S. If you're wondering why I didn't post my toga picture it is because I had a costume catastrophy last minute and ended up wearing something less Greek and more Hawaiian. The outfit wasn't worthy of this post. ;)    

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Imperfect Solution

I painted my nails for the first time EVER a few days ago. It was quite an exilarating experience! One that I had put off because I was scared of what would happen after a few days of doing dishes, scrubbing children, and washing my hands. I didn't want to have nasty looking fingernails. I wanted them to be perfect. So kept them clean and trimmed, but I never painted them. 

But a few weeks ago, after admiring a few of my friends' nails,  I decided that I was going to paint mine and I'd just deal with the consequences. As soon as the paint chipped, I'd take the polish off and be done with it. That was my plan. 

So I went to the store, choose a nice summer color and went to work. I had so much fun! And for about two days I stared at my perfectly painted nails with a newfound since of joy. Then the paint started to fade (as depicted in the picture above) and I began to panic. This is what I feared most. 

Then a thought struck me. Why was I so worried about having perfect nails? No one looks as closely at my nails as I do--I doubted that most people would even notice. So what was I so stressed out about? Who was I try to impress? Myself?

It took some soul searching but I've decided that I like painting my nails and that I'm not going to let perfection get in the way. My fingernail polish is slightly worn right now, but I've started to see some of the beauty in it. And I have to say, I'm a happier person with my imperfect solution.     

Friday, June 29, 2012

My View

It's no secret that I love watching The View on ABC. I'm a bit obsessed with it, actually. Usually I watch the show while I'm making dinner or mopping the floor but I have to admit, I rarely watch the show in its entirety. The part that I find joyfully entertaining is the beginning. It's the segment they've named Hot Topics, and I just eat it up.

I've heard from many people that they don't like the show, primarily because they can't stand to hear the views they disagree with. I always smile, because this is the reason I watch the show. I have never agreed with any of the ladies on every topic, but I find it fascinating to hear their different takes. Perhaps this is because I find it so hard to voice my own opinion on anything controversial in most situations, least I offend the people I love.

Monday morning my friends and I woke up bright and early (about 5:00 AM) and headed out, grabbing breakfast from a little cafe that kind of became a home away from home for us. Seriously, this place was perfect. They had everything from smoothies to breakfast wraps and they were really fast and friendly, not to mention their prices fit our budgets....

After snagging breakfast, we started making our way to the subway. On our way there, this guy decided to talk to us and because I was the only one of my friends who was stupid enough to try and be nice, he proceeded to ask how long I was in New York and if I was seeing anyone. I did tell him I was married, but he insisted on giving me this "business card" which I kept to show Brad.

I found the subway fascinating, and the fact that there was just as many people underground as above made my mind feel like exploding. Can I just say it again? I LOVE New York.

After a quick subway ride and a long walk, we finally made it to the building where they film The View. I may or may not have let out a gigantic squeal and jumped up and down. We didn’t have tickets, but we’d come to stand in the stand-by line and see if they would let us in (hence the reason we’d come so early)!

I have to say right now that my friends were TROOPERS. Neither one of them watches The View or really cares about it, but they not only woke up early and accompanied me there, they stood in the rain for hours in hopes that we could get tickets. This is true love people, because let me tell was freezing cold and very, very wet. Someday, I will find a way to repay them.

I'll skip the boring details of how we actually ended up getting tickets, but I will say that I wish I'd gotten a picture with the man who was manning the front desk because he was so dang sweet. When we finally were allowed in the building he said, "I was pray'in to the Lord Jesus that you three would get in! If anyone deserves to be here, it's you three!"

Hours earlier he'd given us a plastic bag to sit on so we wouldn't have to get our clothes dirty and reminded us not to drink any coffee because he couldn't let us in the building no matter how bad we had to pee! I think his image will forever be grafted in my mind, as will his kindness.

When the intern announced that there was enough seats for us stand-bys I nearly leapt out of my skin. I was actually going to be in the audience of my favorite daytime television show. Heaven couldn't have felt better. 

Here are my impressions of the show in real life:

1. The studio was smaller than I expected.
2. The staff was friendly than I expected. (They even handed out cookies and juice and let us keep our cameras!)
3. The energy during the show was amazing. (They have a comedian--whom I recognized from my television set--who leads the audience and keeps everyone happy and entertained.
4. It was harder to hear in the studio and the joyous arguing that goes on during the Hot Topics segment seemed less biting then it does when you watch the show on TV.
5. Joy Behar really does have the perfect feet. I looked.
6. Barbra Walters does come off as a bit of a snob, but I like to think of her as a sweet old woman.
7. Whoopi has perfected the raised eyebrow look.
8. Sherri is such a beautiful woman and so very funny, on and off camera.
9. Elizabeth really does have awesome hair.
10. The show felt like it flew by!   

The icing on the cake was that I actually got to stand next to Joy Behar in my rain soaked clothes and announce the next segment of the show during the commercial. Joy was very nice (I write her name like we're old friends) and said, "Oh, aren't you cute." when I stood next to her.  She also found it fascinating that I was from Utah and had to ask if I was "a Mormon." ;)

My line for the commercial was "Angie Harmon when The View returns to ABC!" I will never forget these words, and now I actually know who Angie Harmon is. Sort of. 



Friday, June 22, 2012

The Journey

We had a plan for Sunday. We were going to go to church and then head to the museums. The plan was a good one, but life doesn't always seem to go according to plan, does it?

The moment I woke up I knew something wasn't right. Prone to getting bladder infections, I am pretty familiar with the symptoms. I was hesitant to bring up my predicament to my friends because I didn't want to ruin the plan, but I also knew that no amount of cranberry juice, water, or any other home remedies were about to fix my problem. Thankfully I have friends who not only roll with the punches, but know how to get stuff done. Within minutes of me relaying my problem, we were headed to a doctor/pharmacy.

Who knew that New York has 24hour clinics/pharmacies about every other block? Seriously once you pay attention you will see a Duanereade drugstore more often than an LDS church in Utah Valley. I was seen, treated, and drugged within thirty minutes. It was a little bit terrifying (when the doctor threw up my dress to examine me) and also absolutely incredible that they were so efficient. Everything seems to happen much quicker in New York.

After our pharmacy trip we were able to swing by the LDS church, where I was able to use the restroom. I don't really remember a lot of that walk because the doctor had given me something to take the pain away, and the pill worked really, really well. Maybe too well.

After our short visit to church, we headed on to Central Park. This has to be one of my most favorite things about New York. It is like magic. One moment you are surrounded by head-tilting buildings, angry taxi-drivers, and endless streams of people and the next you are transported into a peaceful paradise where you can see the ages of the years played out in the daring trees and vast fields of greenery. I LOVE this park.

Beautifully maintained, it felt like one of the most human, heart warming spots in the city.

After touring Central Park, we headed toward the the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I had no idea this place would be as massive as it was. My friend Rachel is a talented artist on so many levels and was very interested in the museums, which was awesome for me because I'm not sure I would have gone without her there. One of the things that made our trip so amazing was that we each have different interests and therefore got to experience a variety of EVERYTHING! It was an amazing experience to step out of my box (and sometimes my comfort level) and try something new. I would highly recommend it. ;)

I think we stayed lost and highly interested in this building for a few hours but we could have easily spent the entire day. The one painting that I loved the most was this one.
Bohemia Lies by the Sea, 1996 

Poppies, the flowers of remembrance and forgetting.

This was one of the first large canvas paintings I saw and for some reason it stuck with me. I read the sign next to it first and realized that it was a vast field of poppies. I looked at it up close and couldn't see anything spectacular about it. Then I reached the other end of the room and looked back. All at once, I saw the little flowers bursting into life and having been thinking about perspective from the day before, I was immediately touched.

After the MET we decided to go home and got caught in the rain...and the Israeli Parade! It was a lot of fun and very, very cold. By the time we got back to our hotel, I was shivering incoherently and had to put on as many layers as I brought--which wasn't many because it was supposed to be summer.

That night, after a short recovery, we went out for Greek food.
It was my first taste of Greek and it was delicious. We ordered Topas, which is basically pita bread with a lot of amazing dips. My favorite was the red pepper dip. We also ordered a stinky cheese platter and all decided that we liked good old-fashioned cheddar cheese better.

After dinner, we strolled some more through the streets. Have I mentioned that we walked everywhere that day? When my friend tried to add it up on her GPS she said it was just over ten miles of walking. But I gotta say, it felt more like twenty.

As I went to bed that night, I couldn't stop thinking about the places I had seen and the people I had met and the thought struck me that it isn't about the's about the journey. It is about who we meet and what we learn that makes our lives mean something.

New York was wonderful. But it was the journey that made it priceless.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


My first night in New York was a like walking into a movie. I had seen the skyscrapers, admired the endless streams of yellow taxis, and had marveled over the fast-paced steps of New York's sidewalk commuters from from the big screen. Most of the time while watching very silly romantic comedies like The Proposal. But I had never inserted myself into the chaos.

My first impression of the city was that it was almost the same as seeing it on the screen...except that it wasn't. It was dirtier, louder, smellier, and bigger than I had ever imagined. Oh yes. And it was absolutely FAN-TASTIC!

This was a picture I took of my very first taxi ride which was very expensive and very bumpy. Also our driver was wearing a turban, a fact that I love and just have to mention. Please note that I do look slightly crazed in this photo. This could be because of two things. One, I'd been eating a lot of Skittles at the airport while my friend and I waited for our other friend to arrive. Or two, I tend to portray a crazed look in most of my pictures, which is why I relish the ones where I look normal.

After our taxi dropped us off at our hotel, we set about getting set up for the week. The first thing that we did when we got to our room was rip back our thick, soundproof curtains to get a look at our view.

We were pleasantly surprised and immediately set about to welcome our new neighbors. Umm...the ones that had a direct view into our temporary living quarters the moment we peeled back our curtains. Needless to say, they were not as eager as we were to meet their acquaintance... and we kept our curtains closed most of the time. 

After freshening up, we decided that the Skittles we had inhaled at the airport were not sufficient and decided to go out to eat. Who am I kidding? We were DYING to get out of that room and explore our new surroundings. The first night we decided on Italian, and I ordered the best lasagna I have ever eaten in my life. My mom went to Italy last year and said that she had the same experience, so I'm guessing that the man that made her lasagna moved to New York this year because let me tell you, it was the real deal. I only wish that I'd taken a picture of it. 

That first night I learned from my friends that all the restaurants in New York are given a grade by the Health Department and that they only recommend eating in places where the letter A rests proudly in the window, a small tidbit that we sadly forgot to check one night.

After eating at the restaurant, we stopped at a market and all got a gelato cone, which we proceeded to eat as we walked down street after street, admiring the nightlife of the city and soaking in the freedom that was ours. It immediately became clear to me that this was a strange and foreign land. And all too soon I realized that while New York was so much bigger than I had ever imagined, the television shows it hosts, like The Today Show, for example, are not. I quickly relearned the idea of perspective, and realized yet again that seeing the same thing from a different view can drastically change your opinion. 

I can't leave this post without posting my picture with the naked window man. You see my friend Danylle got a picture at BEA of her standing in a group of real handsome young men--who were wearing white beaters and tight jeans--from the erotica section of the book conference. And my other friend, Rachel got her own picture with a pair of half-naked, black-winged angel boys who were walking around promoting Becca Fitzpatrick's book, Hush Hush. (I'm making the conference sound more racier than it actually was.) Sadly, this window man is all have. But I'll post him proudly because I actually look normal and this picture just makes me smile.   

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New York, New York!

I always feel a certain amount of guilt when I click on the blogging tab. For me blogging is that like that messy office that you never have the time to clean. It's there staring you in the face and yet you will go weeks...or maybe even months and months... without cleaning it up. Regardless of my unpredictable blogging habits, I am here now so I might as well say a few things, right?

This past month has been insanely intense. The highest of the highs and some of the lowest of the lows. Sometimes I think life gives us the best and worst of both. At the same time. What a nice lady that life gal is, huh?

Example: having a new baby. Those little ones are so sweet and you are so in love with them, but at the same time you are mentally and physically exhausted and you don't fit a single thing in your closet. (or at least I didn't for a very long time...)

And how are we to appreciate the good without the bad? Isn't that what people always say? (I'm making a scrunchy face right now because I'm quite sure I could appreciate the good without anything bad happening to me at all if just given the chance!)

Still, that isn't how it works. Not by a long shot. And you know what? I think I'm okay with that. Because the good seems to always outweigh the bad every time.

At the beginning of this month I embarked on an adventure to which I invited myself and didn't take a lot of time to think through. When my friend Rachel said she was going with another friend to New York at the beginning of June to attend BEA, I literally begged her to take me. And because of my amazing friends and family who were able to help watch my children, I was able to go. It was right before my sister's wedding and it was really short notice for everyone involved. And yes, I freely admit... I was kind of running away.

But all of that craziness didn't seem to matter the moment I looked out the window of the plane and realized that the next week was mine. I had no one to worry about except myself for the next few days and I was going to enjoy every single minute of it. And I did.

Stay tuned if you want to hear the rest of my story. I fully intend to post all my thoughts and pictures--at least all the good looking ones--here. ;)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Some Little Facts About Me

            So I really hate those lame questionnaires that float around people's inboxes. They ask the same questions (Vanilla or Chocolate?) over and over. Who really cares if you like vanilla or chocolate or if you prefer summer to winter? Here are some facts about me... no questionnaire needed.  

1.                        I love brown sugar. Left unattended, I will eat it with a spoon and nothing else.

2.                        I am horrible at writing thank-you notes and sending out birthday cards. I’m sorry EVERYONE. Really, I am.

3.                        I am not crafty. So when my kindergartner is the spotlight student for the week and the teacher asks if I can think of an art project that I can then lead the class in, I literally start to cry.

4.                        I have a camera phobia. Whenever someone pulls out a camera, my insides writhe and I feel like I’m going to throw up. No joke. At times, I’ve managed to get a handle on this, but most of the time my pictures look something similar to this.

5.                        I am terrified of raising a boy. I do not think I am cut out for it. So far, it seems to be going well, but I have endless nightmares over how I am going to screw it up. (I tend to have nightmares about screwing up my children in general.)

6.                        I do not like candy bars. Any of them. Ever. End of story.

7.                        I’ve vowed to start waking up at five in the morning just so I can have some quiet time to myself.

8.                        I married Brad because he had no problems killing spiders, washing out trash cans, and helping me clean up after dinner.  And yes, those are the only reasons.

9.                        I refuse to watch movies about animals. The animals always get hurt and it is just too darn painful to watch.

10.                    I do the dishes right after I eat, without fail. I blame my mom.

11.                    I hate filling up the car with gas, and I avoid it as long as possible. The yellow light means I should probably start thinking about it. When I finally do fill up the car, I think, "This really isn't so bad.”

12.                    I don't need the answers. I'm okay with just asking the questions.

13.                    I watch ONE really dirty TV show. And, yes, I feel bad about it.

14.                    I love English swear words: Bloody Hell, Shite, Wanker, and especially… Arse. I think they are funny and I don’t know why.

15.                    I love to shop, but I HATE doing it alone.  

16.                    If I had a choice, I would move out of my current home and buy something like this.