Sunday, November 8, 2009

Once upon a time I was a blogger.

Or at least I was a girl who sometimes posted on a blog.

And then one day, I became a girl who teaches.

And no longer a girl who posts on blogs.

It's not that I've forgotten, nor that I've lost my desire. 

But you see, right now I'm a girl who is very, very tired. 

And I keep waiting for my energy to return to normal levels.

In my dreams I have energy. My lessons are perfectly planned. My class assignments are done weeks in advance. I never miss a day of exercise and I always have fresh, home-cooked, healthful meals. I have extra time to read classic novels and study deep doctrinal truths, practice the piano and fiddle around with my camera. I don't forget to buy stamps for 5 consecutive days and that check on my desk actually made it to the bank. I don't fall alseep on my knees. I make it to the temple once a week. I make time for the people who matter the most and keep in good touch with all those I care about. Yes, in that dream my hair is perfectly coifed and my clothes neatly pressed and I most certainly don't have dark circles under my eyes.  

Now if only I could wake up.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mama, you know I love you!

I have the best mother around. 

And I'm lucky to get to spend Mother's Day with her (and the rest of my wonderful family).

In honor of her, I'm posting a video, taken last Thanksgiving during an intense game of "Would You Rather." Mom would apparently rather rap, so here she is, rapping her heart out.  Just a small preview of exactly how awesome she is...

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Checkin' It Twice

Not to take away from the Earth Day celebrations, but today is also another very important day.

Today is my half-birthday. So, in honor of turning 26 and 1/2 I am checking in with my list of 26 things to do this year.

1. visit somewhere new, outside the United States 
Not yet! Oh, I do hope I can squeeze this in somewhere. Anyone up for a little trip?
2. get back to my college weight (and maintain it)
Pretty darn close, though not completely at my goal. However, I feel more energized and healthy than I have in ... well, maybe ever. It feels so great!
3. buy a digital SLR camera
Not yet, but soon. My 3 year old point and shoot just isn't cutting it anymore.
4. get those glasses/contacts the eye dr. said I needed
Really, really close to checking this off the list. And let me tell you, it has not been easy. Did you know glasses are expensive? And, it is really hard to find ones that look super hot! But, with some help from Kristy, I was able to find an awesome I just have to wait for them to be delivered. Be anxiously awaiting photos of my sophisticated side.
5. run a marathon
This has not happened. And I'm not sure that it will before my next birthday, though it is still a goal. I have, however, maintained an active running schedule since the beginning of the year (going along with number 2) and it has been fantastic. I have worked really hard and now am very comfortable at a ten minute mile. To some, this is very slow. To me, this is a great accomplishment. A few weeks ago I ran in our ward Fun Run and completed the 5K in 30:12. It obviously doesn't compare to completing a marathon, but I was happy about it.
6. read my scriptures every day 
This is an ongoing one, but so far I'm doing well. I know I've missed a few days here and there, but overall I'm learning a lot!
7. watch the 6 hour version of Pride and Prejudice
Done! Finally! I'm not sure how I put this off for so long, especially considering how many females I've lived with who adore this movie. And now, I finally understand, as I too adore this movie. Granted, it took me at least 5 days to get through the whole thing, but I was strangely disappointed when it was over b/c I loved watching every part. I then watched the newer version with Kiera Knightly and ugh!!! I know these version are so different so I shouldn't even compare, but her rendition of Elizabeth Bennett was disappointing at best. I will be sticking with the 6 hour version.
8. plant my own herbs
I probably should get on this....but who am I kidding? My thumb is the opposite of green...
9. take a dance class
My little sister Abbie willingly taught me some stuff from her dance classes, so I got a little start. But, it only whet my appetite...I should get on this too.
10. learn how to use photoshop
I forgot this was on my list. I guess I've got something to look forward to in the next 6 months
11. visit Nashville (perhaps while doing number 5)
I really really really really really still want to do this....not sure when I'm going to make it, but seriously, I really want to go. Lori and Jackie...I'm coming for real!
12. get married
uh......maybe this was put here for positive thinking, but as of now I'm currently accepting offers
13. continue my education
Yes, in a way that I hadn't originally planned. I will be completing a teaching fellowship starting this summer/fall. I am going to be teaching elementary school and it will definitely be a daily education. More updates on this soon.
14. learn and perfect one challenging piano piece
Man, I need a piano...
15. give away a Book of Mormon
Yes, I did this. Actually I did this twice. Both were very positive experiences. 
16. try out for American Idol (just once)
No, but there's still time to meet Simon Cowell...
17. learn to make homemade ravioli
Yes....see here. Can't wait to continue this tradition 
18. give up resetting my alarm in the morning
I plead the 5th
19. see a need, fill it, repeat
20. start the personal history of my mom and dad 
Briefly started....and it looks like it is going to be a major project but one I am looking forward to working on
21. learn italian (at least start)
Briefly listening to some cds in the car. Maybe in a few more years I'll get the hang of it :)
22. give up wasting time
Depends on the I wasting time right now?
23. go parasailing
Not yet
24. hug and kiss more often
Wouldn't you all like to know :)
25. sacrifice 
The more I learn about sacrifice, the more I realize how completely selfish I am. This is a lifelong lesson, but one that I'm really trying to implement on a daily basis. 
26. live my life 
I'm doing it!

I feel pretty good about my list, and I'm looking forward to another great 6 months. 

Happy 1/2 birthday to me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Tonight our ward had an open mic night. I had originally signed up and then forgot to prepare anything. Yesterday at church I was reminded and encouraged to still perform, so today I put something together and did just that. It's the first time I've performed the guitar in front of people besides my family and close friends so I was a little bit nervous as clearly my guitar playing needs some work, but it was fun anyway. We have some great talent in our ward and it was a great activity.

Thank you Ginette for the lovely video.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Two Weeks Without You

I've been on a blogging hiatus. Actually, I've been on a media hiatus. I have an extreme love/hate relationship with the "instantaneous information at our fingertips" age. I've recently become aware of the many ways in which the media sucks up my time and I have also felt that I am incredibly desensitized to the messages of the media in a way where I have a hard time distinguishing the effects.

This I did not like. And so I took a break, or tried to anyway. It was a lot harder than I expected but I have learned some valuable lessons about myself and the positive uses of the media in my life. I hope knowing the positive will help me eliminate the negative.

My rules for my "media fast" was to consume no media that wasn't spiritual in content. No movies, no TV, no radio, no magazines, no books, no blogs, no facebook, no nothing....oh wait, except email. I was allowed to use email because it would basically be impossible for me to get the things done that I need to do without it.

Here are some lessons that I learned
#1 Unnecessary media forms and choices breed laziness and a lack of productivity.
#2 Media choices that add useful knowledge (not just spiritual) create within me a productive mindset.
#3 I cannot run without pumping music. Thus, the ban on music was lifted much sooner than other forms of media.
#4 My focusing problem is so much better when I have a productive mindset.
#5 Wholesome yet useless media choices, when shared in a social setting, serve a good purpose for me.
# 6 I don't spend nearly enough time each day contemplating and learning spiritual truths.

I want to hone in on how to best use the media in my life and how to eliminate the unnecessary things. As of now, blogging remains on the best uses list, or maybe just the good uses list...

Either way, I think I'll continue writing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Courtin' in the Kitchen

Happy St. Patrick's Day

        From my kitchen to yours...

The Shepherd's Pie I can take credit. The giant shamrock is compliments of Eliza at our St. Patrick's Day Party last night.

Here is the recipe for the Shepherd's pie....a little healthful twist on an old Irish favorite. It is so good!

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 
1/3 c. buttermilk
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 medium garlic cloves
1 c. frozen corn
1 c. frozen peas
20 oz. ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 packet of Italian herb marinade mix
10 3/4 canned tomato soup, made with milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and pour in enough water to cover. Set pan over high heat and bring to a boil; boil until fork-tender, about 8 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to pan. Mash potatoes with buttermilk and garlic powder until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from skillet; set aside.

Mix ground turkey with 1 egg and Italian herb marinade mix (can also use a variety of Italian seasonings if you don't have a mix). Add the ground turkey to skillet and brown the meat. Return the onion/garlic mix  to the skillet. Add soup; simmer until liquid is mostly absorbed and mixture is thick, about 5 minutes (can still be a little bit soupy). Spoon mixture into 9-inch pie plate.

Layer corn and peas on top of the meat mixture. Spoon mashed potatoes over the corn and the peas in an even layer.

Bake until filling is bubbly, about 15 to 20 minutes. Slice into six pieces and let your belly enjoy.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

V is Very Very Extraordinary

This year for Valentine's I was introduced to the "Sing - a - gram." Not sure, given my love for music and all things cheesy, how I have not participated in this before. Stephanie use to do them in high school as a fund raiser, which sure beats the candy hearts that we used to sell.

2 days before Valentine's, we dressed up in pink and red, with hints of purple - the more outrageous the better. Then we went and sang to various friends....Stand By Me, Ain't No Mountain High Enough, You are My Sunshine...just to name a few. I pulled out some dance moves that I haven't used since the days of May Show back at GOHS. 

Oh, it was carefree and fun! I just might have found my newest tradition...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Baby, I Love You

Happy Valentine's Day!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

And So the Feeling Goes

Romance is....

A Power Outage

That may sound like a scene from a movie, but think of it. Nothing causes you to slow down and enjoy the people your with better than when the power goes out and you have nothing else to focus on except the people around you. I like that. It helps that your usually surrounded by candles.

I would also add


to the romance list. There is something cozy about being inside, away from the storm yet still feeling the excitement of its power. 

Give me a booming thunderstorm with torrential rains and a night without power and I'm butter.

It's so romantic.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Everywhere I Look Around

Tis the season for love and romance and all things pink and red. Cupid, draw back your bow!

I'm a romantic at heart. Romance is classic; it's a feeling; it's an ideal; it's fluttering hearts and moments too good to be true.

Romance is not about having everything align perfectly to create endless happiness. It's about finding the perfection in simple moments and treasured relationships. It has less to do with expecting, and everything to do with creating. 

Let's celebrate romance. For the next week, this blog will be dedicated to all things romantic (from my perspective of course). Feel free to add your romantic thoughts to mine and let's fall in love shall we?


Heavens no, I am not talking about the book series.

I'm talking about that moment right after the sun sets, before the night falls. The sky is a bluish gray and the lights in the city start to twinkle in the sky, but the contrast is not yet blinding. 

Give me that sky, warm air with just a soft breeze and I'm butter. 

It's so romantic.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Old Blue Jeans On

I'm depressed. 

Really depressed.

The "can't find any cute jeans that fit even after trying on every pair at the mall and even though I really need new jeans" kind of depressed.

Yep, I've got a fever for jeans and absolutely no cure. 

I've never loved my body, but most days I can accept it for what it is. Most days I can pick out a few things that are redeeming. But shopping for jeans is unlike most days. In fact, they rank among my worst days. 

My legs are short and my rear is round. And no one out there decided to make jeans that would flatter such little valued characteristics. 

I'm depressed.

Thankfully the weather is beautiful and it's almost 40 degrees today, or else I would be inconsolable. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'll Make You Banana Pancakes

I really love to cook. I don't know how long it took me to get to this point, but I could spend all day in the kitchen these days. I love preparing healthful foods that taste scrumptious.

The other day I made whole wheat banana pancakes with my overripe bananas. I made a large batch so I could throw them in the freezer for convenience sake (thanks to my sister for that idea). I felt domestic in every sense of the word. The best thing about these pancakes is that they have no sugar or oil and lots of good things including whole wheat, oats and of course bananas. They turned out very tasty. I have in the past been buying the Kashi brand of frozen waffles but at $4 for a box of 6, this is turning out to be much more economical.

I topped them with some low-fat yogurt for additional health benefits but they would also be good with fruit. DO NOT ruin by saturating with lots of syrup. If you must use syrup, please use in small doses. 

Here's the recipe. I take no credit. I found it online at

1 1/4 C. Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 C. Oatmeal (uncooked)
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 C. Skim Milk (or dairy free milk)
2 Egg Whites (or 1 large egg)
2 mashed bananas (ripe)
Cinnamon to taste

1. Mix all the ingredients with mixer or with a wire wisk.
2. Cook on a non-stick pan, or use a small amount of cooking spray for each pancake.

Easy as pie. Or pancakes. I doubled the recipe b/c I had a lot of bananas and it made about 2 dozen. 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Where At Least I Know I'm Free

January 20, 2009

It is a day that will go down in history, a "where were you when" kind of event, a moment long anticipated and not soon to be forgotten.

The inauguration of President Barack Obama, the first African American President of the United States of America.

I'll add my story to millions of other Americans and I feel extremely lucky to have been here in Washington, DC for the event. All politics aside, the chance to witness as Senator Feinstein mentioned, "the peaceful transition of power," is an American tradition. It defined this nation from the beginning and will continue on as willing leaders sacrifice 4 years to serve this nation. The office of President is one that I respect.

I don't think I've ever seen so many people in my life; literally millions showed up to support, even in the freezing weather. I found it good to see so many people ready to believe in something new and ready to embrace change. I hope that the hope they feel in Obama will translate into better actions on their part (perhaps I should include myself in that statement but I have yet to measure my hope). America does need a lot of "fixing," but it can't be done solely by a change in government. Each American must change too; we must better our values, better our work ethic, see "America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions," to quote from Obama's speech. 

The difference between former President Bush and President Obama was white and black, not just in the literal sense. One is loved with as much passion and as the other was hated. One deserved to be cheered, but the other did not deserve to be practically booed off the stage, and for that I was disappointed. I may very well have been one in a million who cheered for the former, but I appreciate and respect his service of the past 8 years. 

Yes, it was a historic day. And I am glad I was there.

I was also really glad to have spent the day with some great friends. I hosted an inauguration sleepover at my old office on 16th Street. We got there on Monday night so as to avoid the pandemonium on Tuesday. It was really fun. We woke up on Tuesday, steps away from the National Mall and the main event. I created a video to document the MANY pictures we took (a big thanks to Stephanie for taking the pictures as my fingers were too cold to move). I hope it captures feeling of the event. I will certainly never forget it. 

*Side note - I have tried three times to take away the blurry quality of this video. It has been unsuccessful. Sorry, I am not a master, but I hope you enjoy regardless (It helps if you double click to go to the youtube page so that it's a little larger).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Ball? Oh, That Would Be Fun!

What do you do when you have the chance to go to the Lincoln Inaugural Ball in celebration of Barack Obama's inauguration?

You buy a new dress, and you go!

That's what happened this weekend. I became aware of some small volunteer opportunities for an inaugural ball that would get us into the ball for free. My contribution of service - driving Anita Baker's musicians to their sound check. Easy Peasy! My reward - a spectacular night at the Smithsonian American Museum of Art/National Portrait Gallery at an inaugural ball with some wonderful friends. 

The food: Mashed sweet potatoes, succotash, turkey, ham, mac and cheese, au gratin potatoes, chocolate raspberry tarts, carrot cake - all with a gourmet flair that was divine. The music: Victorian, Jazz and some soul. The atmosphere: inaugural. It seriously was like a  scene from a movie and I was so glad I got to experience the ball as part of this historic weekend.

Here's a video trying to capture the ambiance.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

You'll Freeze to the Bone Out There

New Year's 2009 was a night for me to remember. I spent it in New York City with some good friends, not with Dick Clark, but in Central Park for the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run. It was a quick trip, but incredibly fun and even more cold. Seriously, I have a new definition for chilled to the bone. Here's the trip in review.

Dec. 31, 2008
9:30 am - make sack lunches
10:00 am - depart Philly for a quick drive to NYC
12:13 - park on the Upper West Side, close to the start/finish of the race
12:15 - Bundle up, the wind is blowing hard and it's starting to snow
12:35 - Meet up with other car, forge through wind across Central Park to get to race registration
1:07 - Arrive at race registration, buy $10 socks to replace the wet ones on my feet
1:30 - Take the subway to Staten Island ferry
2:14 - Eat sack lunches while waiting for the ferry with the added benefit of free entertainment - a lively piece on the cello, and a passerby doing a lively jig
2:47 - Get on the WARM ferry and ride to Staten Island while finishing up lunches and basking in the warmth!
3:32 - Pass Lady Liberty on ferry ride back to Manhattan
3:45 - Rejuvinated and warm, happy to continue onto Soho
4:11 - Shopping in Soho, buy some Bacon and Cheese flavored crickets at Evolution
4:21 - Pose for picture on a very picturesque street
4:26 - Stop in darling boutique, opt to not purchase the $104 sweater that I'm still in love with
4:48- Very large Anthropologie store, very happy
5:30 - Purchase some extra leggings for the race as the wind continues to bite harder!
6:25 - Stop at Rockefellar Center, see the beautiful large Christmas tree, opt not to skate but to watch the skaters from a warm spot inside, Staci treats all to Starbucks hot chocolate and cider, relax and enjoy each other's company
8:36 - Increasingly biting wind as we walk to Swagat, a charming Indian restaurant on the Upper West Side
9:00 - Wait for food, warm but hungry
9:15 - Still waiting for food
9:32 - Stuffing self with very, very tasty Indian eats
10:10 - Stroke of luck, we stop for warmth at Carrie's friends house 3 blocks from the restaurant
10:55 - Walk very fast to the car, questioning the sanity of whoever decided this run would be a good idea
11:12 - Change into running clothes in the car, opt for 3 layers of pants, 4 layers of shirts plus sweatshirt, 2 pairs of socks, 1 muff, 1 scarf, 1 beanie, 1 pair of gloves, 1 pair of mittens, 1 ipod for needed motivation
11:45 - Arrive at Central Park, excitement in the air, pre-race dancing and screaming and New Year's celebrating
11:59 - Countdown begins
12:00 am - Lots of fireworks and race begins
12:07 am - Feeling energized, fireworks still going, 
12:15 am - Thinking this is a pretty awesome race
12:20 am - Reach a water stop, grab a cup but it's frozen to the table. Grab another cup. Take a sip but the water is frozen solid. Continue running, a little thirsty.
12:22 am - Feeling that Indian food come back with a vengeance
12:32 am - Legs feeling like lead, wishing I didn't have 3 pairs of pants on, stripping off hat and gloves and for the first time that day, really thankful for the chill in the air
12:50 am - Cross the finish line hand in hand with Dallas and Matt
1:01 am - Meet up with friends that braved the wind to come support
1:12 am - Start drive back to Philadelphia
1: 23 am - Stop for gas and Dr. Pepper for Matt, learn that it is illegal to pump your own gas in New Jersey
3:32 am - Arrive in Philadelphia
3:37 am - Change into warm pajamas and brush teeth, late night talks around the kitchen island
4:06 am - Lay down in bed, very comfortable, another New Year has come

It's gonna be a good one folks!

Here's a video of the countdown to 2009!!!

*Sorry for the length of this post, but I like details!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Number 17 on my list of "26 things to do while 26" was to learn how to make homemade raviolis. My mother is full italian and every year her mom, Grandma Carmel to me, made homemade raviolis for Christmas Eve dinner. They are ridiculously good and I have always wanted to learn how to make them as it is a tradition too tasty to lose. For the past few Christmases, Grandma Carmel has been too sick and we have opted for the frozen variety, a poor substitute if you ask me. So this year, to stick with my goals and also to bring back that loving Christmas dinner, my mom and my sisters and I made the raviolis.

It was a very fun day. Mom knew how to make them, though it had been years since she had actually done it. Amy had once spent a day making them with Grandma and the rest of us were clueless. It must be our italian blood, because as it turned out, we were naturals.  They turned out delicious and I'm so excited to continue this tradition with my mom and my sisters.

Here's a little peak at the process. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

And Give Good Cheer of the Season

The magic of Christmas (and Christmas break)
Here's what made mine so great.

Making our family's traditional homemade raviolis with my mom and sisters. Chad and I running our own little "reindeer trot" in preparation to eat a lot of raviolis. Talking to Tod serving faithfully in Arizona. Hitting all the major after-Christmas sales. Aunt Jackie's lifesaver books and rice krispy treats. My nephew Ammon telling me he was going to marry me. Santa wrapped our bananas and oranges. Singing our favorite Christmas songs on Christmas Eve. Cozying up in my parent's bed with my sisters for nightly reading (and falling in love with Jane Eyre all over again). Singing It Doesn't Snow in L.A. with Chad.   Opening gifts with Grandma Carmel at the nursing home. My Christmas present to LeBron - new brake pads and rear drums. Kicking bum in Monopoly, building hotels on 3 different corners and forcing everyone into bankruptcy. Gingerbread spice tea. Sharing the Dom Deluise cookbook. Sunday night with Grandma Ruby and Grandpa Larry and three gallons of ice cream. Christmas day karaoke and dance party with the children. Rook. Catching up on Friday Night Lights. A trip to Malvern and an amazing cream cheese pumpkin roll. A new favorite blanket. Watching and quoting To Grandmother's House We Go.