Saturday, November 26, 2011

Count your blessings instead of sheep

Bing is oh-so-wise. These past few weeks I've been overwhelmed by how blessed I am. And considering the season, I'd say a cheesy, gratitude blog entry is definitely in order.

1. I have wonderful parents! I've been working on my semester project for my Doctrine and Covenants class this week; I wrote a 3500 word paper about Diana Baumrind's prototypical parenting styles--permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative--and comparing them to the advice we receive from Heavenly Father and our church leaders. Turns out, Baumrind is right on target when she discusses the importance of balancing limitations with autonomy and love. And, as it also turns out, my parents were right on target while raising me!

2. The beautiful Rebecca threw a surprise birthday party for me a few weekends ago, and it was so wonderful! I didn't expect a thing; it took me completely by surprise! She had some delicious BYU mint brownies and ice cream waiting, along with 20 or so of my favorite people! And, as if that wasn't enough, the next day she made a seven-layer cake for the cousins and us. What a sweetheart, right?

3. My parents and Granny bought me a new Kindle Fire for my birthday! It is pretty much the coolest thing I own. I've downloaded so many books already (all the free classics, of course) that chances are I'll never finish all of them! I have all of the Jane Austen novels, some Dickens, Shakespeare, Vanity Fair, Walt Whitman, Crime and Punishment, Elizabeth Gaskell, plenty of P.G. Wodehouse, Les Miserables, to name a few. I'm still finding my way through all the ins and outs of this high-tech gadget, but honestly, the biggest challenge will be deciding what to read first!

4. I spent the last few days in a lovely, homey condo in Park City with the cousins (pictures to come later). We had a peaceful Thanksgiving and even made our own traditional turkey dinner! Yes, that's right. Five college students cooked a complete, delicious Thanksgiving meal without any causing any national disasters... unless you count starting a fire in the oven. But don't worry, we just let it burn out and carried on with the cooking! We wouldn't let something so trivial as open flame keep us from food. What did we do for 2 days, apart from cooking? Well, we may or may not have watched the entire (extended edition) Lord of the Rings series while knitting scarves. It's definitely a possibility.

5. Last Friday, Dustin and I went to dinner at Tucanos so that I could use my birthday coupon. It was absolutely delicious. But that's not even the best part. As we walked out of the restaurant, we saw a crowd gathered around a gazebo in the middle of the square watching someone play the most magnificent piano I've ever seen. We decided to see what was going on and get this: JON SCHMIDT. Yes, that's right. We stumbled upon a free Jon Schmidt concert. He played all of his classics: "All of Me," "Waterfall." Then he did some upside down playing and some fun, jazzy Christmas carols. His beautiful music, combine with an abundance of Christmas lights and lightly falling snow... Well honestly, it couldn't get much more magical.

6. Last Thursday, Rebecca, Allison, Nikki, and I went to see BYU's theater production of my favorite Christmas movie of all time: White Christmas. It was absolutely fantastic. When they invited the audience to sing along with them at the end, I was on the verge of tears. I may have actually shed a tear or two when it started snowing on stage, it was too dark to tell. (In case you can't tell, I have this unpreventable emotional reaction whenever I see snow; I think it's a sort of medical condition.)

I'll leave you with a song from one of my new favorite artists. Her name is Camille, and she's a French singer with such a unique, interesting sound. Here's her song "Quand je marche."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

An angel in Romania

My friend (and future roommate! She'll be moving in when Rebecca goes off to Jerusalem) has been in Romania for the past few months working in an orphanage. I perused her blog today and, let me tell you, the tears flowed as I read about her experiences with the children there. She is the most loving person I know, and I am in awe of her beautiful testimony. If you need to be uplifted, read this blog. But beware; you might find yourself filled with a sudden desire to drop everything and change the world.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Plaid Sisterhood

A few weekends ago, we headed up Provo Canyon to take some roommate pictures. Naturally, we needed some sort of cute, cheesy theme, so we went with plaid. It's always a blast to spend time with these beautiful girls! I am so blessed to have such wonderful roommates. Here are some of the best shots:



Friday, November 4, 2011

It's a small world after all, and it's freaking me out.

So I spent this past weekend in Idaho (more about that later) and while I was there I met a girl who is roommates with someone I met at EFY four years ago, who also happened to be in my cousin's home ward.

I went to a party a few weeks ago where I met a guy who knew someone from my home stake. He served a mission in her ward after she had moved to Pennsylvania.

I'm a TA for my French professor's sister.

A guy who served a mission in my singles branch a couple summers ago was in a student ward at Utah State with my roommate's brother.

Seriously, if Mormons are involved, that whole six degrees of separation thing goes down to four. If you go to BYU or know someone who lives in Provo, it's three degrees. This is my third year in Provo, and I'm still not over it.

On a completely different note, I just found out that my favorite artist of all time, Edgar Degas, has an exhibit RIGHT NOW in Washington D.C. I am desperate to go. DESPERATE.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Graphite Powder Power, Graphite Powder Power

One of my favorite projects from my Intro to Drawing class was our graphite powder picture. I'd never heard of graphite powder before this semester, and although it's difficult to get the hang of, I really enjoyed working with it! Here's how you do it:

Choose a subject. 

You'll need graphite powder...

...and a foam brush.

Sprinkle the graphite powder onto the paper and brush it around until you have a smooth surface.

You might have to do this several times to achieve the smoothness and blackness you want. Note: don't do this in your bedroom. Apparently, it's just not a good idea.

Pick out the darkest spots and use your finger to smudge more graphite powder into those areas (the shadow of the shell). Find the lightest parts of the subject and use your eraser to pull out the color.

It takes a while before you feel like you've made any progress, so don't give up!
Keep in mind, my art skill is minimal! This blog post is mostly a demonstration for my mom, not a demonstration of my (exceptionally limited) graphite powder prowess.

Also, anyone who understood the excessively obscure reference in the title of this post gets a cookie.
Don't get it? Don't be ashamed.
Just educate yourself.

See between 2:48 and 2:54.

Second Star to the Right, and Straight on til Morning

Dressing up is more fun when you do it with friends.

Nathan (as it's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring), Brooke (as a mermaid), Rebecca (as Peter), Dustin (as Captain Hook), me (as Tiger Lily), and Tessa (as trusty Smee).

"Peter Pan... mighty warrior... save Tiger Lily... make big chief... heap glad." 

Captain Hook: You wouldn't do ol' Hook in now, would you, lad? I'll go away forever. I'll do anything you say.
Peter Pan:Well, all right... if you... say you're a codfish.
Captain Hook: [gulps] I'm a codfish.
Peter Pan: Louder!
Captain Hook: [wailing] I'M A CODFISH! 

Our two beautiful Disney princesses: Belle and Ariel

I found him!

To the Dark Lord, I know I will be dead long before you read this but I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret. I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can. I face death in the hope that when you meet your match, you will be mortal once more. R.A.B.