Friday, July 27, 2012

Follow Up

As a follow up to my very gloatsome last post, I did finish Amaranthine and I feel a little bad about criticizing it as harshly as I did. Don't get me wrong, it's not going to be a classic any time soon, and there was a Beauty and the Beast moment where we think he's dead and she's crying over his body and whispering "I love you" (called it!) however, it was not the end end, like I thought it would be. But anyways, the ending was actually not too bad, and had a very emotional familial goodbye scene that definitely got me choked up, because I don't handle goodbyes all that well, no matter what the context.So, my final judgment is that, for a first-time author, it was a good effort. The idea was creative (when not spoiled by amazon reviews), but could have been executed better. There were also a lot of YA cliches. But, it's not the book equivalent of the Vampire's Assistant (as in, it's not the absolute worst book there ever was. That would be Heart of Darkness) because it was a first-time effort, and it wasn't as if it was the 7th Harry Potter book and grossly disappointed me. It was exactly what it claimed to be: a cheesy YA book with a little mystery and a lot of unfortunate adolescent romance. I think she should get a refund from her editor because it obviously had some flaws, but an okay book if you are a 15-year-old girl. Okay, I'm done. Time to move on! Next up: The Solitary House. Or maybe Our Mutual Friend. Or Great Gatsby. I'll keep you posted.

(also, it's 4:05 on a Friday afternoon, I'm at work and not at my friend Tara's wedding, and I have to write a monstrous paper this weekend. Booooooo. On the bright side, it's Friday!!)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I WAS RIGHT!!! (Snob factor for this post: 9/10)

That's it, world, I'm quitting my life and becoming a detective. Here's why:

Last night at 10:30, knowing I had to work at 8 the next morning, I sidled into my room, brushed my teeth, did the pre-bed routine, and fully intended to be asleep by 11. Then I said, "Why, I should pick up Amaranthine for a minute or two so that I can finish it sometime this year." And then I did what has become my typical recourse for wholly terrible books: I skimmed. I couldn't handle the melodrama and senselessness anymore. After skimming a bit, I realized something very important: the big "twist" everyone is talking about, it's close. So close I can taste it. Because this is a poorly written novel and I can sense the author's plot techniques from a mile away. So I kept reading, skimming when necessary, until 1:30 rolled around and I had 9% left, and I decided it was time to go to sleep or perish the next day at work. And you know what? I WAS RIGHT. Remember my predictions from a few posts ago? I was 95% spot on. All I missed were a couple insignificant details that contribute to the pointlessness and incredulity of this story. Now, keep in mind, there is still 9% left. Things might change. I may stumble upon a literary minefield of genius just waiting to blast my smug self to astonished smithereens. But I doubt that. Actually, what I anticipate is a Beauty and the Beast ending, but that's more of a hunch than a researched hypothesis. If I'm wrong, don't let it cloud your admiration of my earlier accomplishment. Truthfully, I expect the ending to be somewhat like the rapids on the Provo River: promising enough, but actually so insignificant you don't realize it's happened until it's over. Also, I don't believe their love story.

So, once again, dear literary community at large, a plea: stop posting spoiler reviews and start writing better books.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

latest and greatest (or not): how i spend my time

Happy What-May-Be-My-Last-Pioneer-Day-Ever! It's been a good day: sleeping in, working out, swimming, cafe rio, and now lounging and blogging. my life really isn't too bad, is it?

So, remember last term, how I was so busy I nearly died? This term has been decidedly different. It still has it's moments, but for the most part it's been chill. Another big difference: I watch movies all the time. Some fun, some not so fun. And I read a lot (not abnormal). And watch TV shows online and listen to a little new music. It's basically a contemporary culture overload. And I'm going to tell you about it, because it seems like this is all I do lately, and not always by choice.


Mmkay, I still haven't finished Amaranthine, it's just soooo pointless. We did hit a plot...development? Something has changed. But I'm about 50% through the book and I Still Don't Know What It's About. There appears to be no purpose to this book. Not looking forward to finishing it. 

So far this term I have read: The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Richard III, Othello, King Lear, and now I'm starting A Winter's Tale. After that, I just have to read The Tempest and I'm done! The main things I have learned in this class are that a) Shakespeare was a genius and b) not all of his plays are created equal. I hate Taming; love Dream and Merchant, hate Richard, and can't really handle the other two tragedies. I find Othello to be terribly frustrating/stupid, and Lear really is just tragic. I don't hate it like Othello, but I don't enjoy it. 

I haven't started my two new novels, that honestly might not happen until Christmas break. I found out I have about 30 items on my Fall book list, which means so much reading. I'm really excited to get into classes about genres and time periods again rather than just one author, even if it is the Bard himself. I like seeing multiple viewpoints. And can I just say that, despite my occasional complaints, I LOVE being an English major? Literature is really just one of the most amazing things and studying it opens my mind and helps me to see the world in new ways.

Summer Break (2 weeks) to-do reading list:

Finish Great Gatsby
Finish the awful Amaranthine
Maybe squeeze in one of my new novels
The Hobbit (actually never read it before)
(Prep for my upcoming Victorian Lit Capstone class)
Our Mutual Friend
The Moonstone
I think there's more, but I can't think of them at the moment. 


So, for every Shakespearean play I have been reading, I have been watching at least one adaptation. This is nice because his works really were intended to be performed, so it helps me to understand what I'm reading. And it gets me extra credit, which I can handle. (94% on my shakespeare midterm, woohoo!) One of my absolute favorites is this version of Midsummer Night's Dream. Star studded cast, visually beautiful, with a soundtrack that gives me chills and moves my soul. One of my new favorite movies period. The other main one I want to mention is "O," an adaptation of the awful, awful Othello. I hate this movie, don't ever watch it. The awfulness of Othello is only made worse by being set in a prep school among teenagers. Blech. Also, Ian McKellan is in every Shakespeare anything, ever.

I also saw SPIDER-MAN and it was sooo good! Andrew Garfield is seriously so cute and did a great job. It's hard to decide who I left the theater with a bigger crush for: Andrew Garfield or Emma Stone. Love them both! And the Lizard was the scariest Spiderman villain I've seen, they did a great job with that too! Great mix of funny, sweet, scary, emotional, and actiony, and much better than the other Spiderman movies!

And on Saturday I saw DARK NIGHT RISES!!!!! I feel like i really need to go see it again because I got so caught up in trying to figure out the story that I missed some of the experience, but it was sooo good! very satisfying conclusion to the three movies. Christian Bale is seriously so great, and even though it was a really heavy movie, there was still a lot of funny and touching moments, some even tear-worthy. I spent a lot of time with my hand over my mouth, being very stressed or shocked at what I was seeing. Some parts were hard to watch in light of the shooting in Colorado, and it was a little unsettling/sad being there and thinking about it. Also, something that was so scary about the movie is that, aside from a few stretches of imagination, it's fairly realistic. It was just bad people doing bad things, and good people sometimes intervening. And it makes you think...can the things they are doing really happen? Also, Bane is terrifying because he is just a person, but he is GIGANTIC and mean and scary and amoral. scary stuff, great movie! Batman is the greatest, even if you can't understand what he is saying.

I also watched Captain America in preparation for Avengers, which I still haven't watched. It was aight, mostly sad and kind of boring. I need to get to the theater and see Avengers before it's gone. But that gets hard to do when all I want to do is see Batman again. Also, everyone else in the world has already seen it.


I saw the top 20 episode of So You Think You Can Dance, and got really excited, and haven't gone back since. I think reality tv/dance competitions are more fun to watch live, on actual tv. Hulu doesn't really do it for me. It looks like a good season though!

I know I've gushed about this in my "What I'm Currently Obsessed With" section, but I rewatched Seasons 1 and 2 of Sherlock and I'm starting to think it might be the best show in the entire world. Words can't describe how much I love this show. I would happily sit down and rewatch it again right now if I didn't have other obligations (like writing a long pointless blog). I've also developed a massive crush on Martin Freeman:

I can't explain it: he's short, kinda goofy looking, and 16 years my senior. But there is just something so amazingly appealing about him, not to mention he's a fabulous actor. You may recognize him from this:
Yeah. If possible, The Hobbit just got cooler. Martin Freeman is adorable. And I am systematically hunting down everything he's ever done and watching it. This has included forays into the UK version of The Office, in which Freeman plays Tim, the show's Jim character, and I am loving watching him! The accents, vocab, and cultural references are so intensely British that I don't understand a solid 30-40% of what they say, and there are so many things that are identical to the American version (since the American version is based heavily on this) that it's been a weird experience so far, but he is just so cute, secretly pining over Dawn (Pam) and giving the camera these looks when David (Michael) and Gareth (Dwight) do outrageous things:
But i digress. Sherlock is the best show in the world and if you haven't seen it yet, shame on you. 

There is also something oddly sexy about Benedict Cumberpatch/Sherlock Holmes

Seriously, I laugh, I cry, I scream in fear, and then I laugh and cry some more. It's SO GOOD. And there is not much more that I love in life than a good mystery and a bro-mance, and this show has the best of both.


Me and my roommates stumbled upon these guys (from Provo) and have been off and on fangirling over them. They are playing in a battle of the bands this weekend so hopefully we get to go see them! This video is, watch it!

Also, my favorite folk group The Lower Lights, also based in Provo, came out with a new album! They take regular hymns and some spirituals and do a folk take on them, and every time I hear it all I can think is, "this is how religious music is SUPPOSED to sound!" what I love about folk is that the arrangements allow for some fun and some really beautiful harmonies that keep religious music entertaining, but at the same time is so down to earth that it just feels more reverent and genuine. You can listen to their new album at that link, but just for funsies, here is a live recording of one of my favorite slow jams from them (they have really upbeat ones as well). They obviously sound a tiny bit better on album, but this is pretty true to their recorded sound.

I loooove these guys, and listen to them all the time.

Other than that, I have been doing a lot of editing for people, which has been a ton of fun! It's so fulfilling to help someone improve their writing, another thing that I truly love to do. I had midterms last week (94%, 92%, not too shabby) and am now just winding down the term and working on end-of-the-term stuff. I randomly decided to move next month, so now I need to try and sell my contract and get ready to pack. I'll be homeless for a couple weeks, but I'm also quitting my job so I won't be tied down to anything and I can wander and go visit home and hopefully some other places. We'll see. It will be sad to leave Special Collections, but with my editing internship in the fall and crazy cramming-as-much-as-possible-into-my-senior-year it seems like a good time to move on. I'm moving into a house in my old ward, my current roommates and some friends are also moving into that ward so I'm excited to go back to a place I loved, be near them, and have a nice clean start for this next year. But if you know anyone that would like a contract in my apartment building, PLEASE let me know!

So for now, I'm using up the last of my summer and looking forward to the newness and new adventures of fall semester, which is officially my last fall semester at BYU. It's been a long, winding, sometimes never-ending road, but I'm nearly there and it has definitely been a good ride so far!

Look at my long hair! Me with Kaiti (Far left) and roommates Jordan and Dana. Love these girls! Oh, yeah,
we went to a roller derby and it was so fun! Summer is great!

Friday, July 6, 2012

musings of a super bored person

So, I'm stuck at work on a friday afternoon, it's slow as death, and I'm bored out of my mind. I don't have a whole lot of things to say since I just posted a little while ago, but here we go.

We FINALLY got some rain, which was really pretty great. I've been strangely stressed about the Utah fire situation, and even more stressed that nobody else seems stressed and that the entire state has gone mad because they are still lighting fireworks every night. But as my roommate pointed out when I was venting my frustrations about the apathy I was witnessing, there's not a whole lot we can actively do about the situation. Good point. Still, people, if you can't handle yourselves, stop going outside, because you are burning down the state. 2/3 of the fire damage has been caused by humans. Ridiculous. See? I'm a little obsessed. But we got rain! And it also cooled down my apartment, which has been wonderful since our air conditioning has been broken for 3 days, I've been sleeping on someone else's floor, and it's been averaging 92 degrees in my apartment. So the rain was, as far as I'm concerned.

My Fourth of July was pretty low-key. We laid out/went swimming at the Spanish Fork reservoir, which is super gross but serves its purpose. I am pretty brown now, and even though I totes put on sunscreen, my back still burned. We (me, roomies, et al) also went and toured Provo center street which isn't as magical as I remember. My two goals of getting a henna tattoo and obtaining some ethnic jewelry were not reached, but it's probably all for the best money-wise. I'd still go for a tat though. Then a few of us who weren't going to stadium of fire went home and were sooo tired because we were burnt and had been walking in the heat all day and i passed out on a couch (not mine, because my apartment is a sauna) and slept through fireworks. pretty lame, right? but all in all I was very satisfied. I also had a crazy good taco from a mexican food stand that I can't complain about. The crazy thing is there is a 50/50 chance this was my last 4th in Provo eveeer. But I think that's more exciting than sad.

I just had a panic moment that i missed my dad's birthday, but it's definitely tomorrow. whew!

So I've been reading Amaranthine and it just keeps getting worse. If it weren't on my kindle, i would throw it against the wall repeatedly. I'm starting to catch some ominous hints about various characters, which makes me reeeaaalllllyyyyy excited that there is a point to this book. Based on the spoiler reviews i read and what i've seen so far, here are my predictions:

  • ireland (main girl) [or her entire family?] is actually dead and doesn't know it. they and everyone else in "vancouver" is actually in some sort of limbo state. orion is trying to steal her soul OR he is miscast and is trying to save her soul. Also, her dad hasn't been around since the accident, maybe he is alive and they are all dead? existing on two different planes?
  • Ireland is alive but shouldn't be, cheated death, orion is death, and we've got a meet joe black/final destination situation on our hands.
  • Orion has sold his soul to the devil or IS the devil, i don't know, and has to fill a quota of souls and ireland is in his sights. 

Okay folks, those are my predictions. My money's on the first one. I'll let you know what happens, because I don't think anyone should read this book, so I don't feel bad spoiling it for you.

I also just downloaded two new books that look a bit more promising (I think they came from the "grown up" more 16 year olds!) They are:

Thieftaker by DB Jackson and The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd. Both are historical and mysterious, two of my very favorite things. Thieftaker is set in Revolution-era America but involves the seedy underground and has a lil magic mixed in. The Solitary House is set in Victorian London (!) and pulls integrates Charles Dickens' Bleak House. Cool? You betcha. Both have the potential to be awful, but I'm staying optimistic. Also, both have great cover art. 

Other than that I've been indulging in marathons of Arrested Development and ER, both being fabulous shows (Younger George Clooney, anyone?). AAND tonight I'm going to see Spider-Man and tomorrow I'm going to a roller derby match and hopefully my roommates softball game. And on Sunday I'm making my world-famous chicken ranch pizza. and there may be a bollywood movie at some point. Awesome weekend in store? heck to the yes. I'm feeling a little burned out on school right now, so lots of playing and sunshine is doing me good. Although I don't know if anything is going to salvage my sociology grade. We have these weekly one-page write-ups that they have one answer that they want from them, but I'm used to seeing texts from multiple angles, so I'm struggling. The first one I got 7.5/10, and I thought I made all the corrections they wanted, and I got a 6.5/10 on the next one! GE's are the literal worst. Shakespeare is going quite well, though. Except I have to read Richard III over the weekend :\

Okay, I effectively used up my boring afternoon and need to close down the desk. Happy Friday!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Emily, what the heck have you been doing with your life lately?

Well friends, let me tell you! I know I haven't done a real post in a long time, but tomorrow is 4th of July and I have some fun stuff planned so maybe I'll have pictures and happy things to say about those pictures. In the mean time, here are some thing I have been doing:

-Considering and then deciding to go to grad school. That's right! I want to go to grad school! Shopping around for affordable programs with low standards, because I'm not that competitive of a candidate.

-Rethinking and then ultimately rejecting the decision to go to grad school at this time. It's expensive, and an MA in lit just doesn't get you the jobs it used to (ha ha, good one emily). But if I wind up in a job that wants me to get a masters or wind up fabulously wealthy with plenty of time on my hands, then I for sure will head back to school, because guess what? I love studying literature.

-Dusting off my desire to edit that I put on the shelf as I considered doing lit. I have an editing internship in the fall, and there is one in New York (Oxford University Press) that I could do next summer. It would combine my ability to edit and my love of academia. Win/win, right? Plus, I would be in NEW YORK! But applications aren't due until next May so it's definitely on the distant horizon.

-Reading/watching/listening to/breathing Shakespeare. I'm in a Shakespeare class right now, and it's sped up for summer term, and it's a little intense. Let me rephrase that: it's not that intense because it's pretty concentrated, but it's a lot of Shakespeare! In 3 weeks I will have read and studied 4 plays and seen 8 productions, read 4 critical articles, done 2 presentations, and written 4 thesis statements. But it's pretty fun. My teacher is a Shakespeare nut in a good way and I'm learning a lot.

-Occasionally attending my Sociology 111 class. I'm seriously trying so hard to care about this class but there's not much homework and it's not in my field and...yeah. Not my top priority. It's interesting though. And I was feeling pretty condescending toward all the freshman in my class, but they are actually kind of smart. Like, smarter than me when it comes to sociology.

-I did some babysitting for my brother and had a lovely time with his 3 kiddos. They are so fun! Especially Benjamin the 18-month-old. I just love ages 1-3 sooo much. Also, kids are hard.

-I watched "Shakespeare in Love" to get me primed for the Renaissance/Reformation setting and it might just be one of my favorite movies ever. Gwyneth Paltrow is Gwyneth Paltrow, but Joseph Fiennes is AMAZING! I just love how much he loves her. Plus a little poetry and well-placed facial hair go a long way. It's also really funny and emotional. Fast forward through a little nudity and you're good to go. Whoever did the trailer should be shot because it does no do it justice.

-I've also watched "The Town" and became a hardcore Ben Affleck fan for a week, but I am currently swooning over Chris Hemsworth after seeing "Thor." Chris>Liam. You may have caught on that I have more free time this term to waste my life watching movies, just the way it should be.
 -Reading wise I started "The Great Gatsby" with the intention of reading it with a friend of a friend, but he has since not gotten back to me. He is either a slow reader (no judgment!) or forgot. So I'm in Page 65 limbo. So far I haven't loved it, I don't care for the narration style, and I just watch this on repeat to keep me motivated that something interesting might happen. Whoever made this trailer should receive every award in the world!
I also stumbled across a book on my kindle that I forgot I had downloaded. It's called "Amaranthine" and I'm about 10-15% in and I can't believe how bad it is! Maybe I'm just over 16-year-old heroines. I don't know why I'm surprised, here's the synopsis:

Sixteen year-old Ireland Brady is sure she's losing her mind. After a horrific car accident leaves her barely clinging to life, she wakes from a coma with a renewed sense of gratitude to a world more surreal than she could have imagined, a world which includes Orion Alexander. Darkly handsome, Orion is cool and confident and has his sights set on her, something she's never experienced and she finds herself falling hopelessly in love. But when Orion's betrayal sends her straight into the arms of his rival, Damien, things go from bad to worse. Despite Orion's warnings, Ireland is attracted to Damien. He's strong and protective, and harbors an intense dislike for Orion, which makes him...perfect. But Damien is not one to be crossed. When all the secrets are revealed, will Ireland trust the boy who broke her heart? Or is she doomed to suffer a fate worse than death?

Yeah, so it's obviously a cheesy YA read, but here's the kicker:

"I had read this book on wattpad and I thought it was amazing. Definitely worth your time to read. Im going to order a copy of it today or tomorrow and make sure all my friends read it as well. This book is purely amazing. Unlike any other its original, funny, dramatic, suspenseful all in one. Good job Leah Crichton! Keep the writing coming. You truly are a amazing writer.:D "

"It's like I said, Brilliant! There's romance, mystery, betrayal... the perfect combination for a great read. And the twist completely blindsided me. When I finally got my jaw to stick shut, I practically inhaled the rest of the book. Trust me, you'll be so grateful you picked this one up."


Seriously??? Are we reading the same book?????? It's Twilight-circa crap! But now I have to keep reading to see if it gets better, when right now I have to stop myself halfway through a chapter and call Bri because I can't handle wading through this awful (I almost spelled that "offal" yikes!) writing on my own. So I'm mad. ALSO a little beef with reviewers on Amazon--use common sense in your reviews! Do not say "there is a mad twist half way through" "this is about life and death" and "a sixth sense type twist" all in the same review! Or any one of those when any of the others appear in reviews right below yours! All I have to do is apply a baby bit of logic and BOOM, my need to read this book is gone because you just revealed the plot to me!

And literary world in general: can we please see some love stories that involve just two people who face obstacles other than "this unlikeable girl is faced with the dilemma of choosing between two inhumanly beautiful men who inexplicably want her even though based on reality none of them should be happy together"? 

Okay, soap box vacated. But this will be my great project, to get through this book and see if it is really awful or simply a diamond in the rough. (sadly, i couldn't find the aladdin clip of the giant tiger head saying this) 

Anyways, that's about all that I have been up to in the recent past. I know I still need to blog sanfran. Maybe someday soon! Until then I hope you all enjoy your fourth of julying (i know i will, my roommate just informed me our AC is broken. woohoo!) and hopefully i will blog again before my 40th birthday!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I feel like I should do something to mend my image-killing ways. First off, campus is seriously glorious right now. It is green, it is quiet, and you can smell the delicious beds of flowers as you walk past them. The weather has been a dream: warm but not too hot, a mix of sunny and overcast days but no rain, cool breezes. If it was like this all the time in Provo I might stay here forever. 

That being said, I'm mounting a petition for a cease and desist order against EFY, which will be starting shortly and stamping my reverie under it's trendy, sing-songy, adolescent feet. I'm not sure when I became a curmudgeonly old person, but somewhere along the way it happened. 

Speaking of old people, I was taking a round-about stroll through the blocks south of campus on...Saturday? My weeks feel like months, I'm not sure of time anymore. But yes, I think it was Saturday. And I happened to stroll past a cute little house (there are a plethora of them in Provo, something I love about it) and I glance over and there is an older woman (I would say probably 70s) sitting in a chair on her back porch, listening to an oldies song, and sewing/doing some sort of craft that involved cloth and hands. The image of her plus the music plus the stunning afternoon just gave me such an impression of contentment. I almost walked up to her to chat and see who this lady was, but I needed to get to campus. And I'm a chicken, let's be honest. There just seemed to be something so lovely and pure about what I imagine to be a sweet lady who has lived a good life, sitting in the pleasant weather, listening to the songs she's loved since she was young, and doing something skillful and useful in her own quiet way. I don't know if that is what she is really like, but it's what I imagined and it's what I want for myself. To look back on my life and be content. To still be enjoying and creating things 50 years from now. Not such a bad goal to shoot for, is it?

So, in dedication to you, my new semi-fictional hero, a few of my personal favorite oldies:

Stardust, by Nat King Cole

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, by the Platters

The always-classic Unchained Melody, by the Righteous Brothers

And of course, Fools Rush In by the King himself, Elvis

I hope you all have a lovely night thinking about happy memories and beautiful music. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

i'm not proud of this

I just want to start off by saying, I know I'm pathetic. I know I know I know. But I just need to talk about Glee for a minute. I'll keep it short. So, I watched the 3rd and 2nd to last episodes of the season and *Spoiler Alert* WE WON NATIONALS!!!!!!!!!!!! It was the most perfect Glee performance I have ever seen (well, show choir style performance. Toxic might still be my favorite, just ignore the hormonal audience members and the disgusting display of midlife crisis). And then they sang to Mr. Shue and I had tears streaming down my face as I sat in the FOOD COURT at school and watched on my laptop. Here are their videos:

It was just so amazing to see their dreams come true after so long. I remember the first time I saw Glee, I was living at Glenwood and I just stumbled on it on TV I think, and I was like...what is this? So I found the first few episodes online and I was hooked. I remember Laurel was out at the complex pool and I went to go join her and I was I found some cool new shows. And now...this....

And now I'm sitting in my room crying watching this. I'm so sad! Next Wednesday is going to be rough. And this time I'm going to make sure I'm home so I can cry in the privacy of my apartment. 

Just think, they went from this....
to this:

Sorry the video is weirdly zoomed in. But I love them, I just can't help it! And also, notice a pattern with Mr. Shue sneaking up on the Glee club with tears in his eyes. Creeper? A little. Anyways, go ahead, judge me, I can take it. And I'll get to work on rebuilding your opinion of me. Just give me a little time to grieve first. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

stars align

I should be reading for Victorian lit right now, but it's not a big assignment and I feel like blogging instead. I'm becoming a little bit obsessed with my blog, especially once I discovered the "stats" button that tells you how many people view it, what countries are looking at your blog, etc. The competitive part of me tells me to do what I can to make those numbers go up. I'm not really sure how, but continuing to blog seems like a good start. And to my international viewers, welcome! I get excited when I see other countries highlighted on the viewership map. Although you probably ended up here as a mistake, so, sorry about that. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about how different my life might be if I had made different choices. And how seemingly small choices lead to such huge outcomes. And how a frightening amount of my choices are made on whims. Example:

Going to BYU instead of BYU-I: Whim
Living in the Waldron House 2 years ago: Whim
Studying French: Whim
Majoring in English: Yeah, definitely not a whim, more like years of painful process of elimination
Joining Yearbook in 8th grade: Whim
Applying for the job I have now: Whim
Applying for the UNC job that saved my life at the time: Whim

So many times my thought process is, "Well, why not?" or "Well, I don't have a strong opinion on anything, so I might as well..." And can I just say, I am one lucky girl? So many of these whims have turned into some of the best experiences of my life. 

  • Joining the yearbook staff in 8th grade in Wenatchee led to 4 years of Rexburg yearbook staff, some best friends, and exposure to the field that I ultimately ended up pursuing in higher education. 
  • The UNC job that I was completely unqualified for and almost didn't apply to, that ended up giving me incredible life experience, best friends, significant financial support when I was honestly destitute, and helped me grow so so so much and find strength in my personality that hadn't been there before. 
  • I can't even begin to think of all the ways my life would be different if I had stayed in Rexburg and gone to BYU-I. I think I wouldn't have made the same mistakes, but I wouldn't have learned the same lessons and grown in the same ways and met the same people who made such a difference in my life. 
  • When you move into a new place without knowing a soul, what are the odds that you would live with 5 other random, incredible people who all become your best friends and help shape who you become? After already having it happen once before with a different set of people? With a personality type that relies heavily on relationships with others, this has been such a huge blessing in my life. Not to mention I have wonderful roommates right now as well. I think once you hit 3 sets of cool roommates in a row, you are supposed to graduate. 
So, whether you believe in divine guidance (I know I do), chance, fate, luck, or chaos, I think it's safe to say that everything you do has a ripple effect for you and others. Maybe what you ate for lunch today is going to shape the way you look at life in five years. Maybe that casual conversation you had last week will make or break a relationship next week. There's no way to know. I don't really know where I'm going with this, other than to make an observation that it's crazy how everything is connected and that sometimes (not all the time), by not over-thinking the implications, you wind up at the happiest endings. And I'm very grateful for all of mine. 

One time, my good friend Laurel and I went on an adventure in Salt Lake, to see some off-beat, quirky, backstreet stuff the city had to offer. We wound up in a little music store and bought some used CDs that we ended up liking. While we were there, the store had a CD playing, and it was someone I had never heard before. I loved his voice and the simple but haunting style of his music. I jotted down some lyrics to look up later, which I did and discovered it was Elliott Smith. Had I not gone in there, I might never have discovered Mr. Smith, and now I love his music. I felt very indie about the whole thing. Another happy coincidence. 

Also, we ate at a little place called "Em's" (for obvious reasons) and it was a small fortune (to a poor student. Entrees around $18-25 range), but the food was AMAZING and organic as well, I believe. I had this: Free Range Chicken Breast stuffed with Goat's Cheese & Pine Nuts with Mashed Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables (from their website) and it was seriously some of the best food I've ever had. If you've got some money to burn and an even slightly more refined palate, you'll love it. But make reservations. They don't like it when you just walk in. They start to panic and stare at their seating arrangements for a while before they invite you to sit down. And everyone else around you has a reservation and is dressed nicely and brought a bottle of wine with them. So if you do all that, it'll be great. 

Anyone have any accidental happy endings they want to share? 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Catastrophe and Contraband Goldfish

Hi friends!
I have survived yet another crazy busy week of a 9-credit spring term. I'm still impossibly not caught up in any of my classes, but I'm closing the gap on at least two of them. A couple more hours of focused homework this weekend and I'll be able to breathe for a second or two (but not more than three, or I'll be behind again). As a treat for myself, I'm making brownies and I'm starting "The Vow," so I can indulge in some emotionally-charged romance. I'll let you know what I think later. On a side note, there was a preview for "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" and it looks really good! Love me some Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor, complete with what I believe to be their real accents. So, that has made it to my list of "would prefer to see"s. 

Another few fun things to mention: I got a new roommate! Tara inexplicably sold her contract, and my new friend Claire moved in this weekend. So far, my impression is that she is a darling, super sweet, super polite, nice, fun girl. I think we will get along just fine. 
Other cool thing: Allyson is back in America!!! We got to chat for a couple hours on the phone tonight, it was great! I'm so excited to have one of my best friends (top 10 at least! [that's for Allyson]) back within the limits of modern communication.

Now I want to share a story with you, that I feel sums up the sort of luck I have. (Another side note...I can't handle the level of cuteness (the good kind of cute) exuding from Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum right now! Oh, and she just lost her memory and my heart just broke in half.) 

So, I have 2 goldfish that I inherited from a roommate who inherited them from someone else. I love these little guys, I've had them for about 8 months now. I don't know exactly how legal they are according to my housing contract so I try to stow them away whenever management comes around. Saturday I had tucked them away in a little cupboard while they came and did a run-through to make sure Tara had cleared out for the new girl. Afterward, I was in the kitchen with my roommate Jordan, and she was making dinner. I remembered my hiding fish and went to grab them. They were on the top shelf in this little cabinet thing, and as I lifted their tank/bowl thing out, the shelf started falling down in the front! It's the kind of shelf that sits on little pegs, and one of the front pegs had fallen off. This would not have been a problem except I was standing there with a heavy tank in my hands halfway on, halfway off of the shelf, in bare feet, and everything else on the cupboard was sliding off. Including a glass vase. Which proceeded to fall at my feet, somewhat landing on my foot, and shattering. 

So I'm crouched at this little cupboard, unable to move because if I keep pulling the tank off the shelf, it will completely fall (and it had a can of paint and other items on it. It's a random cupboard), and if I put it back, it might fall with the tank (and my poor fish!). So I'm yelling "Help me, Help me! Jordan, help!" But she has her hands covered in something so she has to take a second and then comes over midst glass everywhere, and helps prop the shelf so I can move the fish. We take the heavy stuff off the shelf and it balances back. I notice a little cut on my second toe on my right foot, but don't think too much of it. I move to find some shoes so I can pick up the glass, look down, and my toe is gushing blood. I'm leaving trails of blood on the floor. So then I grab a paper towel, fold it up a bunch of times, and wrap my toe up so I can find some shoes, which had all disappeared for some reason. (Claire was moving in at this point so I'm trying to stay out of her way as well). I find someone else's sandals and slide them on so I can help clean up, and I look at my foot and the wadded up paper towel is soaked in blood. How much can one little toe bleed? I mean, really? The cut is maybe 3 centimeters long, maybe even just two. So I decide, heck with it, I'm going to take care of my toe before I bleed to death and let Jordan clean up the glass. Which I did. She was a trooper.

One Band-aid later and all was well. I finished sweeping up, moved the fish to their rightful home on the end table in the living room, and went on with my day. Moral of the story? Breaking the rules can cause stress and heartache. But sometimes it's worth it:
My buddies 

Fun fact: After I left to go chat with my friend Cami an hour or so later, Jordan was reaching on a high shelf for some Tupperware and knocked off a two-cup glass measuring cup. Which shattered. And she got a little cut on her finger which bled a lot. So, if you come over to our apartment in the next few days, make sure to wear shoes in the kitchen. 

To send you off, here is a picture of two other guys that I just adore:
Twin nephews Nathan and Caleb. Look at their expressive little faces!!
They are moving to the other side of the country soon, and I am very sad :(

I'll get a blog about my trip to Cali soon. Until then, Au revoir!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

VIVA LAS VEGAS! (the first in a series of some very long posts)

Sooo on President's Day weekend 2012 four bright-eyed, sick-of-Provo girls ventured on their own to the roaring big-time town of Las Vegas Nevada! I was feeling pretty good with a little tax return cash in my pocket and just needed a change of scene. So before the sun was up, we were off to Sin City!
Looking a bit haggard (I am, Tara looks perfect) None of us got much sleep the night before. Ali was getting her endowments out this weekend, so she couldn't be there. We definitely missed her!
We rolled into town at 11 am their time, and we were STARVING for lunch because we had been on the road since 6 and it was 12 our time. We finally agreed upon Olive Garden, but it wasn't open yet. So we sat outside until they opened and then, decked out in PJs, got the lunch special and some funny looks. Let me tell you, though--in Vegas, when you are the first person in this restaurant, they treat you like royalty!! And it was a nice establishment in general. 

We dropped our stuff off at the house we were staying at (suuuuper nice people that are somehow related to Cami) and went to a park to play around a bit. The weather was PERFECT! Then, after getting nice and sweaty, we went and got professional massages. Oh. My. Gosh. That experience is now in my top 10 best of my life. I had been dealing with tension headaches for about 3 weeks at that point, and they were getting pretty severe. But my awesome masseuse just went to town on my neck and shoulders and I walked out of there pain-free for the first time in a while. We all had fun comparing our different experiences and while I felt like I was drenched in oil the rest of the day, it was a seriously wonderful time. 

From there, we hit the town! And by that I mean we hit Fashion Show Mall and spent a long time walking around looking at different stores. We even caught a fashion show and held a few of our own.
I loved these glasses, but they were supes pricey so I had to say no :(

We were feeling a bit like this until we got some food and caffeine in us

From there we hit up the strip, walking through a few casinos and ultimately hit up some of the biggies: 

Caesar's Palace

Tara in front of the impressive Greek architecture. The sky is really cool in person.

 Tiffany's and the Elton John Store for Bri (sorry about the weird alignment, blogger is being dumb)

The truly terrible animatronics show about the sinking of Atlantis. The fire was really hot and scary though
Cam and Pam were being troopers as I dragged them up and down Caesar's Palace. They were exhausted.
Luck was not a Lady that night. Calm down, I only did it once!
We stopped for a picture in front of the fake Eiffel Tower. I LOVE The Paris!

 The Bellagio has THE BEST chocolate shop!! With the coolest fountain (that Tara is pretending to drink from) and it turns out they also have amazing gelato as well.

The Bellagio always has a tricked out display, and this time it was an Asian themed garden thing but there were tons of displays made entirely out of flowers! 
And no Las Vegas trip would be complete without stopping 4 or 5 times to see the Bellagio Fountains! I could watch these all night. At some point in the trip we even got to see the "Time to Say Goodbye" number which is my all-time favorite!
 At this point in the night it was only about 9 o'clock but Cam and Pam were wiped out and our car was at the other end of the strip. So, they volunteered to walk down and get the car while Tara and I looked around some more and then they would pick us up. 5 minutes after they left, we realized we had made a HUGE mistake. What happens at 9 o'clock on a Saturday night? People come to party. The family groups disappeared and people looking for a good time took their place. We popped into Planet Hollywood to see if we could find a present for Cam's B-day (Sunday) and amidst the peep shows and large numbers of somewhat intoxicated, scantily clad young adults we found ourselves in way over our heads. Vegas is not scary in a group of four girls, but in a group of two we felt tired, vulnerable, and ready to get out. So we called Pam and Cam and told them to get there ASAP, and went down a little side street, huddled on a rock, and waited while an exotic dancer got her groove on on the roof of the building across from us. They finally found us and we made our way to the house for a night of much-needed sleep.

The next day we slept in (Tara and I were staying in the CUTEST little girl room on the comfiest beds I've ever seen) and played with the cute family dog. Cam and Pam got a little rough with her, and she hid under a chair and refused to come out. When she finally did emerge, she went downstairs and laid on a chair like this
I was almost positive they had killed her. But she revived once her family got home from church.
 We hit up Sacrament at a single's ward by the LV temple and then walked the temple grounds to give ourselves a little uplift after the long day we had had on the strip.
The four of us. It was crazy windy that day.

Pam and I taking some "we match" pictures. In this one
I'm carrying her with my throat.
Palm tree!

After that we headed back to the strip to catch the places we had missed the day before. We actually walked through the Paris and then went down the other side of the strip to see the MGM lions (which weren't there...HUGE bummer) and go to the M&M store. This was definitely the ghetto part of the strip.

 One unforeseen problem I had with day 2 of the strip was that I had packed light--one black undershirt, one pair of jeans, etc. What I failed to take into account was that the strip has a certain smell to it, and after you spend a few hours there, YOU have that certain smell as well. The smell of dirt and cigarette smoke and lots of people in one place and chemicals. And there is a fine layer of grime on your clothing as well. And I got to re-wear some of my clothes the second day and smelled like that. Yuck.

By day 2 the shine of Las Vegas was starting to wear off. We did more walking and pausing than going in and exploring, and definitely didn't take as many pictures. I was starting to rely solely on Dr. Pepper for any energy whatsoever, the billboards and flyers were starting to get to me, and the excessive amounts of down escalators were making me sick (vertigo). It was freezing that day, and while we were still enjoying our vacation, our enthusiasm had definitely hit its peak and was waning. Cami's parents were incredibly kind and gave her money to take us all out to dinner for her birthday, so we settled on Serendipity 3, a really cute, fancy, girly little restaurant right by Caesar's Palace. We made our way back to it, catching some Bellagio Fountain shows on our way. Tara and I opted to wait on our reservation for an hour while Cam and Pam went and explored The Venetian. Then we got some yummy dinner!

Super fun giant menus. It was seriously such a cute place. The waiter was a tad neurotic though.

Frozen Hot Chocolate, yum! Happy Birthday Cam!

We made a point of being off the strip by 9:30, although the Sunday evening crowd was definitely much tamer than the Saturday night one. I slept one last beautiful time in that crazy comfy bed. The next morning we headed home so TBird could go to work that afternoon.

Pam was seriously awesome and drove the ENTIRE trip. 
Headed home looking a little rougher than we started! (Me and Tara, Pam and Cam look fine)

So, all in all we had a great time! We were safe, we all got along just great, we saw lots of cool things, and felt like we'd had a mini vacation from school. And while I consider Vegas to be a place that I only like to go to every few years, and I'm always really ready to leave once I've been there for a little while, it was great to soak up some sun and hang out with my friends. I also always come away impressed by the insanely cool architecture and artwork on the strip. The hotels are HUGE but are constructed perfectly to fit their theme and are often quite beautiful. I was so happy we got to do this trip, and I'll always remember the fun we had!