Wednesday, October 31, 2012

thoughts on wednesday

first of all, is it seriously only wednesday? it feels like it should be thursday at least. i keep thinking tonight is institute. sheesh.
in other news:
--i'm trying to revamp my life and be 1)more productive and 2)more healthy. i feel pretty good about my productivity this week, but the myriad sugar cookies i've eaten probably aren't doing much for my fitness goals.
--on a related note, i have a renewed interest in going to the library and doing work, which is haven't had in, oh, say, two years? so that's pretty awesome.
--also on a related note, the provo library is about to become my office away from my office.
--today is halloween, which is typically my favorite day on byu campus. notable costumes: a giant snowman, the tenth doctor, katniss everdeen, gumby and pokey, and several avengers. none of these topped the awesome tetris piece i saw a few years ago, or even the sexy sax man whose dulcet tones filled campus last year. i think i like byu on halloween so much because it brings people together. i always ask my students what good costumes they've seen and it's always funny when we've seen the same ones.
--and...i thought i had more thoughts, but we're on our way to dinner, not to chipotle for $2 burritos as originally planned, but rather to some other destination. and what a way to end this post :)

how to throw an awesome dance party

(in no particular order)
1. play a variety of music. top 40 is okay, but only if you intersperse it with other cool dance music. dubstep is fun to dance to for like one minute. more than one dubstep song=bad idea. also not really that fun to dance to for longer than a couple minutes: rap. but, there are a lot of options. throwback is fun, songs everyone know can be fun. playing music not a lot of people know is cool IF it's good to dance to still.
2. NEVER have seating available in the dance room. if there is a couch or chairs, people will sit there and ruin the vibe of the dance party. if you want to give people a place to lounge, put furniture in another room or, weather permitting, outside where guests can take a break from all of that energetic dancing they've been doing.
3. make sure it's not too light. a dance party with too much light is too much like a stake dance. and, not that stake dances don't have a very important role to play in mormon culture (like helping us to understand how awkward, but also strangely invigorating, slow dancing can be), we typically want to avoid comparisons to a stake dance. maybe you've been wary of turning out the lights in the past--sometimes bad things happen in the dark. but, a darkened dance floor doesn't of necessity lead to heightened promiscuity. but it does lead to heightened dance-ability, AM I RIGHT? (that one's for meredith and jesse:))
4. bump that music! dance parties are meant to be loud! if you can hear the person next to you talking at a normal volume, or rather, in his or her "indoor voice", the music needs to be louder. it doesn't have to be "the-neighbors-are-going-to-call-the-cops-on-you" loud, but you've got to give people a chance to drown out the stress and worry of their day. isn't that what dance parties are for, to forget about real life and just dance like no one is watching??

those are my tips, based on simple observation and not any sort of expertise. but i hope to attend many fun dance parties in the future!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

halloween-type things...

i've done this year
pumpkin patch+haunted hay ride+corn maze
made and eaten a lot of pumpkin/halloween food, including lots of spooky cookies
halloween pandora station, which was a little bit of a letdown

i haven't done this year
worn a costume/planned a costume
gone to any sort of halloween shindig
carved a pumpkin
watched a scary movie (i'm putting my foot down this year)
gone to a haunted house. which will probably never happen.

i'm not sure what the deal is. usually i'm a little more enthusiastic about halloween, but this year i just have no desire to participate. i'll help the others get ready for their party and i'll gladly eat pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, but i don't care at all about missing the season for scary movies or about not dressing up.

maybe i am getting too old for some of this stuff? i'm also not in the mood for the crazy late night adventures like i have been in the past. i told meredith one night that i wasn't feeling up to going out on the town, and she said, if you're too old for this, it's time you got out of provo. which i thought was a little harsh, but maybe almost true.

oh well. halloween is fun; this ended up being more melancholy than i thought it would or even than i actually feel. life is still good! i'm just not really celebrating halloween, which is still okay, right?

Monday, October 29, 2012

what is my problem.

this morning, i had to wake up a little early to complete a short writing assignment for my new testament class. i needed to write at least 150 words on a question about the reading we did for today. i didn't think it would take me all that long to complete, and i was right.

i wrote almost 200 words in less than ten minutes.

why is this thesis thing so stupid then?

i know that writing an opinion-based response is much different than writing a long research paper (or research-based argument, as we might say in writing 150.) but still, i can write. i can do this thing. i can write 200 words in under ten minutes, for goodness sake!

why i like fall: reason #14

hot chocolate.

to be honest, i don't think about hot chocolate in the warmer months. during that time, i'm drinking a lot of chocolate milk, though. so, when it gets a little chilly, i start to get that hankering for a nice, warm, chocolatey beverage. which is why i've been to the cocoa bean for just such a concoction twice in the last week.

mmmmm...the more whipped cream goodness on top the better. also, this picture comes from lindt, so you know that stuff is delicious.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

why i like fall: reason #35

wearing cords.

yes, i love my summer skirts and dresses, but cords are so cozy! they make me want to curl up under a warm blanket with a book. though, if i'm being honest, there are actually a lot of things that make me want to do that.

but anyway, here's to cords. did you know that the 11th of every month is cord-wearing day? that's because the wales (the little ridges) of corduroy look like an 11. awesome, right? that also means that 11.11.11 was the ultimate day for wearing cords. too bad that will never happen again in my lifetime :)

listen to this: RED

ever since taylor swift announced her new album (and i really debated putting the actual video on here, since it's awesome and taylor videochats with people and it's hilarious, but you can link to it on your own), my sisters and i have been counting down the days to october 22. our love for t-swift is well documented, so our excitement levels for the past few weeks have been pretty high. we've had several taylor sing-a-longs, had video-watching marathons, and scoured the internet religiously for news of the new album and the songstress herself.

finally, yesterday, the long-awaited date arrived. we decided to make buying the album an adventure since, hey, we're crazy college kids, and we went to the orem wal-mart at midnight on sunday night to snatch up our copies. even more awesome, we weren't the only group of girls who thought of that same plan--we met a few other taylor enthusiasts during that midnight trip.

then, because, again, we're crazy college kids (though i'm thinking i might be getting a little too old for this...), we went to denny's for breakfast at midnight. bottomless hot chocolate, a new taylor swift album, lovely ladies, chicken fried steak--what could be better?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

where are the good guys?

i don't profess to know everything about dating or to be any kind of an expert, but i have observed a lot in my dating years. after being in provo almost seven years, it would be almost impossible to not observe a whole bunch of dating shenanigans.

one of the things i have wondered through the years is whether there really are awesome guys out there, guys who know what they want to do or who know how to treat women or who understand what is really important in life. there are so many men around who don't seem to know that, like the ones who are more concerned about making a friendship weird than trying to cultivate what could be a real relationship. or the ones who just go around having random hook-ups and call it "dating." this is not to say that there aren't also girls who don't really seem to know what it's all about. and. another disclaimer, i know not everyone is so focused on dating and marriage. some people are super focused on school, which isn't bad. but there comes a time, maybe when you're in your mid-20s or so, when you should probably start thinking seriously about settling down and acting/being spouse-worthy.

last week, one of my friends shared something with me that showed me, once again (he actually does this fairly often), that there are good guys in this world. i hope they really aren't as much of the exception to the rule as i sometimes think, because we need some great guys these days, for a whole host of reasons. anyway, so this friend was at the aforementioned stake dance. he, like most people, went mostly for social reasons: to scope out the cute girls. he realized, though, as he noticed several girls sitting on the sidelines all night, not getting asked to dance, that this was a somewhat misguided purpose. he realized that, as a good Christian man, he could be doing more. he resolved to ask those girls to dance and rethink his reasons for going to activities. clearly, going to a stake dance to meet people and have fun is not a bad thing. but is it the best thing? my friend saw that there were some needs that he could help fill. as a girl who has been there, has been the one who doesn't get asked to dance, this feels especially important.

i guess my point is that my faith in guys has been restored. sometimes it feels like there are no jim halperts out there, no really good guys who do things the right way and know what they want and treat people right. but i know there are. and as someone who's trying to be a good girl, i know there's a good guy out there for me.

bonus picture of john krasinski as jim. isn't that just a good-guy face?

huh? october's almost over?

goodness, what happened to me over the past week? i told a friend that i hadn't blogged in over a week and he said, "that's probably good for you." i'm not sure what that's supposed to mean.

but anyway, what have i been up to lately, you ask? well, last week i took a test in the testing center for the first time in three years, i prepared an institute lesson, i went to a stake dance in a barn, i stayed home from the goth prom to fold laundry and watch 12 angry men, which was awesome, i went to a granddaughter tea party hosted by mom and nana, and i had a very successful shopping trip to h&m wherein i purchased a lovely lace skirt at half price.

mostly, i've been having little everyday adventures. i shall be detailing some of these shortly.

to end this comeback post, i'd like to direct your attention to this article, which helps lay to rest the argument that learning how to write well is a useless skill. i'm looking at you, friend!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

a magical night

i've known about book on tape worm for a few years now. back in my younger days, i became pretty good friends with a fun guy who had a brother in one provo-based band and a roommate in another. through andrew, i went to the sego festival in 2008 and saw neon trees in the middle of 100 north between velour and central bank. my memory from that night is of being crushed by people rocking out and of seeing people sitting on top of the central bank building. the next night, we went up to the castle to see scott shepard, who was playing in this little clearing of trees with all these electric lamps everywhere. we sat on the grass. my memory from that night is of feeling like i was in a magical fairyland. i still wonder how all those lamps were powered.

fast forward a few years. i guess i lost touch with the provo music scene or something. this summer, i finally started going to the rooftop concert series, and probably my favorite show was isaac russell with book on tape worm and john allred. the whole night was great, but i was captivated by book on tape worm. the lyrics--how could an english major not fall in love with songs about a wrinkle in time or death of a salesman, so full of figurative language that they make me want to shout for joy and point my students in their direction so they can understand what personification is? and scott's voice--i sing, and it's amazing to me how perfect his vocals always are. he truly has a gift. and the arrangements themselves--there were times that night when i just closed my eyes and let the music cover me like my most cozy blanket.

needless to say, i knew i needed to go the album release show on october 13.

oh my goodness, it was so great. from the gorgeous set with twinkle lights to the lovely opening acts to the glorious music played in four acts i was entranced. i think my mouth was open most of the night from being so awestruck by the beauty of it all. i was thinking the whole time, i'm so glad i was here. i was already thinking about how that night would affect me in days to come.

also, the album itself is soooooooo beautiful. i don't know what i was expecting, but it definitely wasn't this:

yes, you are seeing correctly--this is a pop up stage!!!!!! i gasped when i opened the album. so lovely.

also, lyrics booklet! i was pretty stoked about this, because the lyrics are so full of figures of speech that i knew i would want to study them a little bit more. so, thanks guys, for the lyrics booklet.

so, basically, it was a fantastic, spectacular, heartfelt, awesome, thoughtful, beautiful, magical show. and, again, i'm so glad i got to be a part of it. and i still kinda want scott shepard to date me, so there's that, i guess. now go out and buy this album.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

two hundred...and three

remember how i had all these grand plans for my 200th post and then i promptly posted a couple things on one day and a couple things on the next and completely forgot that i was close to 200 at all? yeah, that was dumb.

so, i don't really have anything momentous to say. i just wanted to acknowledge this little landmark in my life. i guess i should say something like, look how far i've come in these past 200 posts. or maybe it's more like, why haven't i come that far in these past 200 posts? whatever the case may be, i do still love this little blog, and it is still pretty little. but more often than not it's at least therapeutic for me, so i'm going to keep it up.

to my 203rd post!


a few weeks ago i taught an institute class on hope. this is a topic i've thought a lot about in the past couple years, and my study was sparked by president uchtdorf's talk "the infinite power of hope," which became the basis for my lesson. i've had this little post waiting for weeks, so i decided to finally share a couple of my favorite quotes from the lesson.

The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart. Despair can seem like a staircase that leads only and forever downward.
Hope, on the other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fearPresident Uchtdorf
With Nephi I declare: “Press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.”
This is the quality of hope we must cherish and develop. Such a mature hope comes in and through our Savior Jesus Christ, for “every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as [the Savior] is pure.”  President Uchtdorf

Everybody in this life has their challenges and difficulties. That is part of our mortal test. The reason for some of these trials cannot be readily understood except on the basis of faith and hope because there is often a larger purpose which we do not always understand. Peace comes through hopeJames E. Faust

And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.
Never surrender.
Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.
Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.  President Uchtdorf

best compliment ever {part two}

i've been doing zumba for a few years now, and, while i don't pretend to be a dancer of any kind, i think i'm okay at it. it's especially nice to know, for the most part, what the moves are and how the songs go. so anyway, yesterday we did zumba pump, which is always awesome. we were putting our equipment away, and this conversation went down.

lady in grey t-shirt behind me: you were doing so well!
me: oh! thank you!
ligt-sbm: i was watching you the whole time, and i was thinking, if i follow her, i'll be doing it!       you were so good at it!
me: oh! thank you!

i was clearly speechless in the glow of her praise. looks like all those years of aerobics and zumba are starting to pay off!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

thoughts on wednesday

--what's with girls talking to each other like babies when they first see each other? that's a weird thing.
--conference time (the kind of conference time where i am sitting around all day waiting for my students to come talk to me) should always be about a million times more productive than it is. when i'm sitting outside my office in the jkb there is just some instinct that kicks in that tells me i can't do any real work.
--i just remembered the word "ornery" thanks to nat the fat rat and now i want to use it all the time.
--this is maybe one of the best things from the office ever. it's from the latest episode, and it's an instant classic. so good. i'm glad to see they haven't decided to slack off this final season. "hats off to you for not seeing race!" hahahahahahaha

--talking on the phone is fun. it can sometimes be just as good as getting letters.
--loving this song lately:

happy wednesday!

Monday, October 8, 2012

conference weekend

i wanted it to be a lovely weekend, and it was.

sheesh, i feel like i don't even know what to say; there were so many great parts.

my overwhelming feeling after a weekend of general conference is always a desire to do and be better. it is so amazing that i can listen to the prophet and other chosen leaders and know what i need to do.

this conference a couple things really stood out to me. first, i can't wait to be a parent. several talks focused on raising righteous children, including elder perry's. in his talk, elder perry discussed how we can create strong family cultures so our homes are sacred places that our children cherish. in the past, i would tune out during the talks directed to parents, but for some reason this has been on my mind a lot lately. and as the youth choir was singing for the saturday afternoon session, i started thinking about how crucial it will be when i'm raising kids to make sure i teach them well so they can withstand those crazy trials in this crazy world.

also, and i've talked about this a few times, but i need to be constantly reminded of the importance of faith in driving out fear and doubt. for whatever reason, it is fairly easy for me to feel discouraged about so many things, and i have to remember that miracles can happen with faith. literally, miraculous things can happen when we believe. and it's gonna take some miracles to get me out of some of the pickles i'm in currently. president uchtdorf's talk was also amazing and somewhat related. if i want to live a life without regrets, i need to appreciate each day and do the things each day that will help me become more like Christ. have we not reason to rejoice?

and, lastly, i want to be converted to the gospel rather than just have a testimony of its truth. this is important, but i want to be converted to the Lord so i cannot be shaken by the winds of adversity and persecution that are surely coming. i want to give my whole soul to Heavenly Father. really though, how awesome was elder bednar's talk? that's one i'm going to be thinking about a lot in the coming months.

apart from these inspiring messages (and many others that were also great), i had a great weekend with friends and family. it was a party in north salt lake this weekend, and i loved it.

i loved that our basement couch was full of some of my favorite people on sunday morning. i loved how we spent what seemed like hours discussing the implications of the just-announced change in age requirement for missionaries (18 for elders, 19 for sisters--what will this do to freshman wards? to the mission field? to the idea of "waiting for your missionary"? the questions are endless!) i loved that we stayed up late on saturday night visiting nielsen's and talking about important things. i loved that our girls' night consisted of dinner at a steakhouse, a trip to the shoe store, and rice krispie treats. i loved that we got to be in the conference center, which is typically the highlight of any conference weekend (though other things this weekend maybe rivalled that, including my two new pairs of shoes with which i am in love). i loved that we ended the festivities with a roast dinner and chocolate chip cheesecake, two things that will forever remind me of my childhood, which was pretty darn awesome.

basically, i remembered this weekend that life is good, due both to the uplifting messages of general conference and to being with loved ones. happy conference!

Friday, October 5, 2012

good news for this week

sometimes i just need to focus on the positives. not that my life is bad, by any means, but it's especially easy for me, as i've said before, to get hung up on the stresses and forget about the good stuff. so, here are some of the lovely things happening lately, in no particular order.
  • alias is on netflix watch instantly now. i literally gasped when i saw it. 
  • i got a free waffle from the awful waffle thanks to the lovely tess. nutella, bananas, and a whole lot of vanilla whipped cream.
  • conference is this weekend, and i get to go on saturday! yay!
  • my students are funny. and, when they put their minds to it, they can have some pretty great discussions. 
  • i went on a shopping trip with a boy this week. he has this thing for insulting my fashion sense, which is not so cool, but hopefully this successful trip laid that to rest. because now i'm his permanent fashion consultant. according to him.
  • my shows are still making me laugh, which is always a good sign. 
  • i still love teaching, both writing 150 and institute. 
  • zumba kicks my butt, in the best possible way.
  • i get to spend all weekend with my family and other people that i love!
so there you have it. life is good.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

getting ready for general conference

i'm always excited for general conference weekend, but this time i am especially excited because i've been preparing an institute lesson this week about the prophet, the other apostles, and conference itself.

for those who might not know, general conference is a semi-annual event in our church where the prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other leaders of the Church speak to us, members and non-members alike. we consider these talks to be the word of God given with our specific challenges and circumstances in mind. just as in biblical times, God speaks to His people through the prophets. we have a prophet and apostles today who prayerfully seek the counsel of God to then give to us. if we follow this counsel, we will find "safety, peace, prosperity, and happiness" (m. russell ballard, "his word ye shall receive").

i know this is true. i know that the things we hear in general conference are directed specifically toward us and our individual challenges. i have felt the peace that comes from following the prophet and the other servants of God.

tune in to general conference if you can. if you listen, i know you will hear something that is directed to you personally.  it will be a marvelous weekend!

(and i'm so excited to be able to attend the saturday afternoon session with some of my favorite people :) being in the presence of the prophet is one of the best things in the world!)