Monday, June 27, 2011

Wild Woman... Saintly Saint

As a believing and practicing LDS woman, many would assume that I am conservative in a lot of ways. Perhaps not necessarily politically or socially, but on a more superficial scale. I'm talking conservative in appearance. We Mormons espouse principles and guidelines pertaining to modesty and comeliness in both dress and manner. Of course, this would lead many to believe that we all look like strait laced, side-part, drones. And if one takes a walk around BYU campus, it's very easy to make that assumption. And no, that actually wasn't a BYU slight (Wha?!?!??!), but merely an acknowledgement of the Honor Code students are required to adhere to while studying there. This Honor Code isn't something I would call strict or "uniform" pertaining to appearance standards, however, it does tend to make those attending said institution look very similar; particularly the men. When I spent a year there, working on campus, churching on campus, exercising on campus, basically spending alot of time on campus, I can not TELL you how frustrating it was (not to mention making me question my state of mind daily) thinking I saw "this guy" or "that guy" I knew only to find that ONCE AGAIN, the fellow I had been walking towards readying my happy salutation was a complete stranger who now was looking at me with both confusion and fear. It's sort of amazing how much side burn length and 5:00 shadows actually help differentiate one male from the other. Yet another reason I support the stubble.


Point is...

There's a conceptual acknowledgement that because of the LDS Church's guidelines on appearance, many of us LDS folks MUST look very alike.

And some of us do...

But mainly, this is not so.Sure there is a culture propagated through religious precepts that at times blurs the line between what is and is not indicative of "must be a Mormon" attire. EXAMPLE! And you know how much I LOVE this example... the white t-shirt under EVERYTHING. This is women-specific. Can I tell you right this moment that I do not even OWN a cap-sleeved crewneck close fitting white t-shirt. WHY? Because it is NOT the "cure-all" for what would otherwise be considered "immodest" attire! No; it does not "cure" the tube top... the spaghetti strap tank... or the low cut v-neck. It merely looks like an attempt to serve both "God and mammon" - and is generally stylistically gag-worthy.  Has no one heard of the cardigan? Or even more horrible... accepting the fact that maybe you just can't WEAR SOME THINGS! The white tee can work sometimes, but mostly.... no. NO! No.

Repetitive rant and cultural manifestations aside, I feel my religion gives me a good many liberties in choosing how I present myself and furthermore, acknowledges that there is great diversity within the church and no one particular cultural "norm" (the white tee, married by 19, those stupid little "people" stickers on the back of Escalades that show two parents and their 24 offspring) one must accommodate to still be religiously strait and narrow. These guidelines also help me keep that wild woman that likes to swing on vines through my circulatory system in check. We all have a wild side, don't we? I can feel mine peaking PARTICULARLY when it comes to my appearance. My wild streak doesn't really run deeply as far as such things as alcohol consumption or sketchy moral dilemmas (though I'm no stone cold prude... wink nudge). Naw. It basically stops at piercings, tattoos, and short skirts. It's not even wild... just a little crazy-eyed.

Example: I really REALLY really want a nose ring. I've wanted one for sometime and think that my features would compliment a little diamond stud in my nose quite well. I'd like you to know that there have been a few times when I've seriously SERIOUSLY considered doing it. Religiously, it's more "frowned upon" than necessarily shunned. ;) Ya know... more like guidelines than actual rules. BUT, I also work in a government setting and if I'd like to be taken seriously in any way (particularly being young and short... and also young), I don't think a nose stud is the way to cultivate said respect or legitimacy. So, I will keep wanting one, but not getting one, based on religious and professional guidelines I hold in higher regard than nose studs. But only just.

Tats. Can I tell you how sexy I think it looks when women have tattoo sleeves? Serious! Generally, I'm not a fan of most tattoos and have a hard time understanding why people get the same variation of the same ugly skull and roses... "thing". Makes no sense. But man, chicks with tat sleeves? That's bad-ass! And would possibly cause me a lot of regret later. Yet another reason my religious adherence's must be given kudos - it keeps me from regrets. (I also feel they photo-shopped this woman's boob... right? I mean she's missing a little something... OR! Perhaps she has a nicely rounded smooth wrist covering said boob because that boob is weird looking... anyway)

Lastly, because I want to maintain my individuality but still feel it important to adhere to religious precepts and professional expectations I believe are meant for my good and progress, I choose to do thinks like chop off all my hair and put feathers in it instead. Yes, THAT is the wild woman in me! And yes, I've used 6 paragraphs to build up to the fact I got a super short haircut this weekend!! I feel it gives the wild woman inside me a bone and still helps me maintain those things that are more important than modern stylings or the fact my nose would rock a stud. And I mean totally rock it.

So tell me, what's your wild woman (or man) always urging YOU to do? This blog is respectively PG-13 so keep that in mind. Though, some PG-13's I've seen lately are sure getting fast and loose with the F word. Have you noticed? I'm just sayin. Times is changin.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I wouldn't win a trip to Paris!

And that's truly a crying shame. Tres triste, non? Oui.

Let me tell you something about me and winning stuff. I don't. I don't win things, I don't have things drop in my lap, I'm never at the right place at the right time, and that one in a million people who are eaten by a shark each year? That's me. That one statistic.Thus I'm a little jumpy when wading into large bodies of water... salt and otherwise.

So not only do I not win or luck out or am a recipient of joyous coincidence, but I have severe bad luck in most instances. I can't ever catch a break. I've always had to work for everything... as Mrs. Serendipity has had a grudge against me for years.  And yes, she WOULD be a Mrs.

And yet...

I continue to have hope that one day, karma will throw me a bone. I do believe in karma and that's why I do things like clock my work hours to the MINUTE and return extra change and let vehicles cut infront of me on the freeway and hold the door open for old folks. Because of my inordinate amount of non-luck and even bad luck, I feel I can't afford to insight karma's wrath as well. Even if Mrs. Serendipity isn't on my side, I can actively recruit Mr. Karma, am I right? And listen, I don't attempt to do good deeds with the hope of reward, it's just always in the back of my brain that if I DON'T help... it will come back to bite me, in the form of a shark, clean through my LEG.

Thus, to continue to cultivate this, what some may call a "fools hope", I enter contests for Paris with a small glimmer in my heart that the winner could actually be ME this time! Maybe! And I genuinely suffer somewhat intense disappointment when my one in 5,265 chances doesn't come to fruition. I figure, SOMEONE has to win it, right? Why not me? Why not ME?!?!

Well, because the person who wins trips to Paris probably also wins free TV's, radio concert tickets, stumbles upon a $20 on the street, and happens to see her year-long crush on a day when she's never looked hotter in her life... likely culminating in a "eye opening I love you moment" for said eligible bachelor... followed by a first date... engagement... and 3 kids in a picturesque downtown two level home with a beagle and herb garden happily wrapping up her third novel and finishing packing for their two week FREE trip to France.  I can't compete with those sorts of serendipitous types. An average-luck layman couldn't compete with that! How could I ever hope to compete with that?

I hate that person.

And I want to be that person.

And yet, I will continue to find the one chair of 100 with the broken leg (name that ironic movie moment), fall for men who always turn out to be gay (not that there's anything wrong with that), get stuck in an elevator with my sworn arch-nemesis, and not winning trips to Paris. All of this would seem very gray, if not for the fact I still live a pretty good existence regardless of my relationship with Serendipity. It means I've actively controlled my destiny against all odds! And because of this, Mr Karma will soon appreciate my acknowledgment of his just work and finally, FINALLY, finally, give me that free trip to Paris, or that $10 surprise in my pocket, or that chance run-in with the man of my dreams when I've never looked better!

I have hope!

And Mrs. Serendipity can't ever take away my hope. Cause that's the sort of sucker I am!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

That's not honesty... you're just being a bit$&

I've noticed a lot lately (as in the last several years) that people are somewhat fast and loose with the word "honesty." Sure, maybe we all stray from Mr. Webster in our word application once in awhile. Take the word "ignorant" for example. Among pubescents, hicks (pronounced"ig-nernt" in such cases), and the general uneducated populous; the term ignorant is used to describe someone who's "rude". I say "rude" because ignorant is substituted for that word most often... "That crap-kicker is ignernt!" or "She was so ignernt!" And I always thought - oh... this person must mean the crap-kicker or "she" is just ill-informed. No... that's not what they meant. They meant they were "rude." You see the irony in this usage I imagine; as ignorant is a word that connotes being naive or misinformed. I honestly remember "ignernt" cropping up in my Senior in high school-early 20's conversations with peers and the misuse was always painful, but still somewhat satisfying because of the irony. Irony makes up for a lot of dissatisfaction in my life. And you can cross-stitch that.

So lets talk about my grief with the word "honesty." It's not so much the mechanical usage as its employment as a facade, a covering, nay, a JUSTIFICATION for being tactless, inappropriate, or just plain bitchy.

"Hey, I'm just being honest person-who-did-not-solicit-my-advice-on-their-life-choices but I feel compelled to give anyway because hey, that's just who I am! And honesty is a VIRTUE! Therefore, I am vir-tu-ous!"

No one asked you - so maybe keep it to yourself? I don't really care for your unsolicited advise on a life choice you don't really know anything about and that's none of your business.

The word "honesty" is also used as a justification for major MAJOR TMI's (too much information). Example: if you preface a comment such as: "When my gyno was swabbing for a pap smear she mentioned there was a strange odor..." with "Just as a warning, I'm a very honest person" you are using the word "honesty" to justify the fact you just told the entire Internet and everyone else in the world who could've proceeded throughout the rest of their entire lives without such intimate knowledge, about your weird girl smells. I think I find this justification the worst sort. I know, I know, "Well if you don't like it... then don't read it." And that's fine, but lets come to an agreement that I won't read about the fact your husband is having trouble "getting it up, lately" if you promise not to preface it with, "Warning, I'm going to be honest here."


I don't think that's how such a virtue was intended to be utilized; as a shroud for you personal septic tank. Perhaps instead of saying "I'm honest so therefore..." say something like "Warning: I have no filters so just so you know, you're about to hear about something that will make you blush, squirm, and even puke in your mouth slightly." Or simply "Warning: I have no shame."

Finally, the bitch justification. Yet, another favorite. Passing of your bitchyness as honesty because maybe, you can't face the fact you're a bitch. I was in a restaurant once with a group of people, and a woman who was with our group was telling us a story and the waiter came up, greeted us, and asked if we'd like our drinks. This woman turns to him and says, "Do you mind? I am telling a STORY. You will come back in 2 minutes", gave the poor college-lad a look of disdain, and turned back to her group with this look of "well I never!" What's more, when she saw all of us squirming a little due to her bitch comment, she said, "Well I'm just an honest person!" No... you're not honest... you're a bitch.

Truly. I'm just asking for a little discretion and perhaps, a little "honesty" with yourself. If you're kinda a bitch, then hey! Be kinda a bitch and accept that's just how you are sometimes. Don't drag honesty through your disdain puddle too. And while you're down there, keep the pap smears, foreplay descriptions, and messy divorce details to yourself too. Or maybe go "old school" and lock it away in a handwritten journal or personal word document. There are options... so many other options... to display your "honesty."

And that's my rant.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Home is Where the Heart is... and where loads of carboard boxes are NOT!

I've lived a lot of places since I was 18. What's ironic, I spent the first 18 years of my life in the same town, living in the same house. Since then, I've probably moved oh... over 15 times over 3 locations: Ephraim (Snow College!), SLC, Provo, and back to SLC. It's the nature of the single person to migrate from apt to house to mansion to apt to Aunt's basement in Taylorsville over the course of their young, mid, and yes, even later 20's. We're a nomadic breed whose roots can only be convinced of sticking by such things as marriage, buying a house, and also... marriage. Otherwise, as single adults we move for school, we move for roommates, we move for money, we move for the hell of it, and we move again just for good measure.

However, such movings tends to wear on a person. Wear on them real good. You hit an certain age (27! 27!) where you are ready to just stay put for heavens sake! And I am most definitely at that age. Moving for me used to be another adventure - but recently (say in the last 3 years and 3 places I've lived) I've about HAD IT. True - my expert boxing (the cardboard kind) skills as well as my affinity for being a minimalist have all derived from my many many MANY moving experiences. And though I feel these skills are valuable, I'm ready to stay unboxed and acquire a knick-knack or two.

All that said, I move last month! HA HA! I moved from a single bedroom wee apartment in downtown SLC to a house... a LOVELY house... an adorable house in Sugarhouse. Well, it's bordering on "Sugarhood" if ya know what I mean; but never the less. I moved into a house. My friend and now roomie Alex bought a house (roots!) and I, being the single person who first, wants to save more money because living alone is hella expensive, and two, is sick of living in apartments, moved in with her to help with the mortgage. A genius notion if you ask me: buying a house then finding a couple of suckers to pay it off with you. I have hopes that will be me by the time I'm 31. Yes, turns out I've now pre-planned to move. Alas!

I'd like to show you the befores and afters of our house. It's taken us about a month to finally get most everything in place and unpacked. Observe:

Moving Day

I've mainly shown you the living room, sun room, and my room. You can imagine the rest of the house was just as disastrous and albeit overwhelming. Looking at all those boxes would even give the calmest person an eye twitch. It's a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house brimming with personality and quirks. That's just how I like my houses... and my men ;) Brimming with personality and quirks.

Now for the "afters." Prepare to be awed!

Moved IN!

And there you have it! A run through of the basic enjoyments of the new and lovely house... plus scooter. Doesn't Holly (that's the Scooter) look right at home? She sure does! All teal and cute with her little tire saucily tilted to the side. Aw. I hope you enjoyed the e-tour of the new house.

And there you have it. It's not the entire house, but it's a good majority of it. There will naturally be a house-warming party for to christen said abode and many parties after that. Alex and I are both HUGE fans of parties and even BIGGER fans of HALLOWEEN! The greatest holiday for the greatest parties ever thrown! And you best believe we'll be putting that Zombie door to use... shudder. 

I also vow here and NOW Internet, I shall NOT move again. No! I shall not! Unless one of the following things should happen:

1. I get married (snort.. ha! I'm solid for at LEAST 5 years)
2. Alex gets married (more likely... but not SUPER likely in the next year? Hopefully?)
3. I move away to get a PhD (Snort again! At LEAST 2 years)
4. I buy a house
5. The Zombies in the basement rise up and eat us...
6. The Zombies in the basement rise up TO eat us and in our epically violent struggle to free ourselves from their grasps, we burn the house down.

I'm going with #3 as the most likely scenario. Here's to ROOTS!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris... then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast" - Ernest Hemingway

Want to win a trip to Paris? Well so do I! So don't enter the below contest or my chances drop! I just wanted to show you where you COULD have entered for a FREE TRIP TO PARIS (including airfare) if you had the desire.

And Trips to Paris aside, Oh Happy Day is a blog worth following. So go ahead and follow. And remember, don't enter this fantastic contest so I have better chances! You are all such great friends ;)

Monday, June 6, 2011

One day more! Les Miserables and a Trip to Charleston. Somehow, they connect.

Amidst all the Les Miserables contesting, I have yet to blog about my 6 day venture to Charleston, South Carolina. A gross oversight, but one must prioritize, am I right? And a coveted Les Miserables ticket seemed a more demanding task considering the deadline. And since we’re talking about Les Miserables, let me just say it was amazing, OF course, and I think my bless-ed companion enjoyed it as well!

Here he is in a picture with people he doesn’t know and me. How’s that for almost "background creeper got in our picture randomly?" Poor Pete. But he's HAPPY! That much is obvious.

And here’s one of my family – aren’t they a lovely family? What I like most is that brother Nick and brother Seth called each other before hand to see what to wear. They wanted to make sure they matched. Cute, eh? So cute.

As far as the production itself: incredible, amazing, and awe-inspiring. Truly I love the story, love the music, and love the changes and adaptations they made for this 25th Anniversary production. Nothing was amiss and all was as it should be. I’d also like to give a shout out to the wonders of CGI in such productions. It fit nicely without taking away from imagination and individual perspective. Bravo! And as always, Eponine is my favorite character, the one I identify with most. I may have to tell you why sometime… but now…



So, why Charleston? Well I expect that most of you know that Charleston (like Salt Lake City thank you very much) is one of the U.S’s most desirable cities to live in (which I couldn't find a site for so I may have just made it up...). Did you also know that SLC and Charleston also boast such awards as the “best looking people” in the US as well? I find this ironic for two reasons – one: as many of you know SLC was pegged as THE VAINEST of the VAIN Cities in the US according to Forbes magazine; citing our exorbitant amount of plastic surgeons to population ratio, as well as our ridiculous expenditures on cosmetics, self-help books, dietary supplements, etc. I admit, in SLC I feel I’m an average looking girl (at best), faced with an intensely high expectation of “beauty” I find not only impossible to maintain, but not entirely worth my time. I have such things as school, work, sleeping, and grocery shopping to pencil in as well, ya know? When I travel outside of Utah, my confidence increases greatly as I find I get more attention (gentlemanly kind… there’s a difference between cat-calls and a double take good sirs) and feel that everyone has a few more things to worry about than making sure their mascara is just-so every morning. I don’t function in extremes – so if you’re going to say “Oh sure! You want us to be ugly furry people who smell like sour milk and cat breath?” Clearly not. Moderation my friends – prioritization and all that. Anyway… aside. I feel SLC beauty can be highly superficial and that’s become the standard of beauty – faux-beauty.

Secondly, however, in Charleston I noticed there were a lot of good looking people but these good looking people seemed to exude a more natural beauty. They of course all had beautiful clear skin I’d attribute to the balmy moist climate and mucho amounts of sunshine rays increasing their Vitamin D which would give any one a twinkle in their eye. But also, I feel there was a quiet confidence about these good looking people that projected outward in a “I like myself” way rather than a “I have to be hotter than that person and that person and that person” sort of way. SLC’s vanity keeps up with the Jones’s… Charleston’s good lookingness finds beauty in living and walking and being rather than buying. But hey, I was only there for 6 days and I’ve lived in SLC for 7 years – so perhaps I have a better handle on the SLC vanity pulse than I do in Charleston. It’s just my “first impressions.”

And the impressions got better and better!

I flew out there to spend time with my old roomie Nikelle who moved out there this time last year as well as enjoy the beauty, food, and humidity of the South. Let me tell you how Nikelle and I have been roomies (with a few gaps here and there) for close on to 5-6 years. That’s a pretty significant time to have a roomie and not want to smother them in their sleep. Am I right? And with a free place to stay in one of the most desirable cities in the US, not to mention after a semester of death and months and months of cold wetness, it was time for a leisurely vacation across the country. That always cures what ails me. I've also never been east of Colorado in the US save the DC airport on my way to London. I know, I'm un-American. I hope to change that in the coming years... starting with Charleston!

Photo documentation below!

First, one must enjoy the finer things of Southern culture and visit such necessary landmarks as:


Both of these fantastic establishments made me feel I was truly in the South. You should also know that the Waffle House is ghetto-DELICIOUS! And anyone who is telling you anything else is smokin something. In fact, let's talk a little bit about food, shall we?

Foods you must eat in Charleston: First, fried things... lots of fried things. If you don't eat fried things then you will not eat. So think about that before you pack your bags and head to that part of the U.S. where mac and cheese is considered a vegetable. You think I jest... I jest NOT lad. Fried things I had: Fried green tomatoes (delish), hush-puppies (which is basically deep fried pancake batter balls), chicken (duh), shrimps and other various basted seafood delights, grits, cheese grits, buttered grits (not fried but oh-so-Southern), and french fries (what?). My favorite place we dined was the Hominey Grill and I demand that if you go to Charleston YOU GO TO THE HOMINEY GRILL. Because if you don't, you suck. And no one really wants to suck; particularly if you sorta suck already.

Also of note is Melvins BBQ. Oh my friends, you have not eaten BBQ until you've sucked back some Melvin's BBQ. It's all about the sauce. They have varieties of sauces for to slather your pulled meat platters and oh what a slathering it is. This is also where I discovered my love for lima beans dripping in bacon-butter. That's right, bacon-butter.

Of course, the sea food is 100 times better than anything landlocked Utah can offer you, but you trade in exquisite Mexican food which Charleston does NOT have. Nikelle and I had ourselves some fish tacos at the end of a Sunday beaching excursion and felt less than satisfied. Utah, appreciate your Mexican cuisine cause you won't find of that business in the South. Not in Charleston, anyway.

Honorable food mention of course goes to Bo'jangles Biscuit and their freakishly good Bo'Jangle Blueberry biscuit shown here:
Internet, you've never tasted anything with such a perfect blend of savory, sweet, and startch. No, not ever.

NEXT! Let's talk about stuff to do.

The South is brimming with history the West can't hold a candle to. And that history goes all the way back to the Revolutionary War. However, the war that left its biggest mark on the South and nearly divided our great country in half, was of course the Civil War. Thus, visiting a legitimate Southern Plantation or two is a hands down 100% MUST!

We chose Middletone Place Plantation

And what trip to the South would be complete without a little Swampin? A pretty crappy one that's what! Below are the adventures of Cypress Gardens. We rented ourselves a wee canoe... and it being wee is significant considering we were paddling our way through alligator infested WATERS! Alright "infested" is a strong word... but they were "around." And that's a crazy thought to think that Alligators can just appear here and there in your everyday life, right?

Dude, Mr. Turtle, was my father. (Movie trivia!)

Next, let’s talk about Downtown Charleston and Beaches, yes? Observe.

One must naturally visit the Farmer's Market, walk The Battery, and weave in an out of the cobblestoned streets of Charleston to truly get a feel for its simple beauty and picturesque ambiance. Come, walk with me:

Turns out I took a lot of pictures. Yep! Ha! And that's not the half of them but I'm trying to keep this erp.. Fail.


There were two, but really only one worth mentioning as it's a very "Southern/East Coast" sort of beach which means not necessarily the miles of white sand, gulls, and piercing heat; rather, a slight breeze, packed sand, and big brimmed hats. Tis referred to as Sullivans Beach. Follow the romper:

Naturally, in between eating and beaching and leisurely hanging about, I also did some shopping and saw a couple of movies. Truly, it was a very relaxing vacation with ample leisure time and not a lot of "we must go here and we must go there!" Many times, I feel I need a vacation from my vacation, such as the case with Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam last tear. Talk about mentally taxing. This one, this one was a true, legitimate, relax and read leisure novels vacation and one that definitely recharged my battery for the weeks ahead which involved MOVING and MOVING and also moving. That's right - I am no longer a single apartment dweller but in fact, a house-dweller with a roommate. And I prefer houses and 1 or 2 roomies in every way: socially, financially,... other significant "lys"

House pictures to COME!