Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Binge and a Fun Contest

This is the post where you gasp not once, but twice, and exclaim, "Larissa!  How could you?"

My first binge was a full-on attack of everything exceeding a caloric value of more than 500 - for four days straight.  Monday I wore this adorable dress that just happens to snap up in the back instead of zip.
Guess whose snaps kept popping open all day?  Folks, I do not think this is coincidence (mainly because I have worn the dress a half dozen times and never had this problem).

After my second binge, I immediately called my father to confess my sins.  Black Friday and I have never gotten along so well.  Then the remorse set it.  I thought maybe I should return some items.

But you know what Dad said?  "Larissa, you have a good job and you do a good job with saving most of the year.  When do you splurge on clothes like this?  Once per year?  If that?  You deserve it!  Enjoy!"

To justify this a little, in the past two weeks I have:  
  • Once worn my coat all day at work (not by choice) because my sweater had a hole that huge in the armpit
  • Found holes in the elbows of two sweaters I was wearing to work
  • Found a hole on the belly of yet a fourth outfit I was wearing to work
  • Realized the seams in my favorite (aka most comfortable) pair of work flats are shredding
  • Ripped three holes in the bum of one of my favorite pairs of pajamas

The grand total?  An arm and a leg, but only $12 more than the combined original retail price of just two of these items.


Can you guess which two items originally almost totaled the sum of the lot?  Can you guess the grand total?  (I'll give you a clue - the total Retail Value was originally $1600)

First person to correctly guess either of the aforementioned gets to guest blog for Larissa Explains It All!  Or, if you don't like writing, I'll write a post all about you!

I present to you, my Black Friday acquisitions:

In Cream

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Who You Become

You become what you surround yourself with.  If you are constantly absorbed in video games or shopping or whatever it may be, that becomes more and more important to you while things as small as cleaning or as large as quality time with loved ones become less and less important. 

Now let's change that to, "You become who you surround yourself with."

Not only is this an enlightened principle, but you can see the truth verified in people every day.

I watched my little sister, at one point in her life, surround herself with people she was trying to help, people who needed her.  She did not need them, but she felt guilty withdrawing the life she knew she provided to them.  She is strong, vibrant, full of life and spirit, intelligent, the list goes on.  But for a time, she surrounded herself with people who were broken and she gave herself so fully to them that eventually she too was broken.   

There is a fine line between reaching out to those in need with unconditional love and showing that same unconditional love towards yourself.  Sometimes you have to do what is best for you.  Teach a man to fish and if he comes back to you whining about how hungry he is, that is something you have fully equipped him to solve on his own, you are no longer responsible.

So what is best for you?  Do you surround yourself with people who are givers or takers?  I've had some acquaintances in the past who appear to truly believe friendship is when someone goes out of their way to help me and pay attention to me without me giving any regards to the other individual's needs.  If you are not there the precise moment me needs you, you are not a worthy friend. 

One of the greatest treasures of friendship is understanding each others' priorities.  Sometimes, friends are numero uno.  Sometimes, unfortunately, friends are numero far-from-uno.  That's just the way the chips fall.  Life happens.  All of the friendships I have been able to maintain over the test of distance and time?  Those are the ones where you stopped mid-conversation ten years ago and pick up right where you left off when you reunite.  The ones where you can take Hawaiian vacations stuck in an airport together, not talk for two months, then explode with love for them at the mere mention of anything that reminds you of them.  The ones you see once per year at Christmas for three hours and laugh the entire time.  The ones who have light sparkling from their eyes and understand our priorities in life have changed, but our love for each other never, ever will.  There are no unspoken rules. 

I choose to surround myself with those who fill my life with enlightenment, energy, upliftment, spirituality, athleticism, musicality, service, love, laughter, motivation, and reciprocity.  I sacrifice for my friends daily because we fill part of each other.

I choose to dedicate myself to being more of that person this holiday season - more of the person people want to be around because I am someone they don't mind emulating.  And I will be around them because I sure as heck would like a little of their awesomeness to rub off on me.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cat Person vs. Dog Person

I have noticed a common trend out there in the expansive world of the internet.

Dog people are generally accepted.  Write about how cute your pup is, post frequent photos, gush over your friendly pooch.

But if you are a cat person?  Black mark of crazy be thrust upon you.  Generally, it is not okay to post photos frequently or act like the feline is the constant companion she is unless you are married and your husband is an active participant in the kitty cooing.

Why is this?

I found this article on, but I'd like to know what all of you think.

Thanks to

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jewelry Commercials Make My Blood Boil

I hate jewelry commercials.  With a passion.  Probably as passionately as those ladies in the commercials pretend to be idiotic fools who know their man loves them because he buys them a diamond.  Really?

Are women that superficial and that easily assuaged?

These commercials have gotten me so embarrassed about the fact that I like shiny accessories every once in awhile, that I won't go anywhere near a jewelry store.  In fact, if I walk by that section in a store, I cast quick glances that direction, trying to sneak a peak like you would at a secret crush.  I mean, c'mon, who doesn't love some glittery sparkly loveliness?!

But to go all goo-goo ga-ga over a man because he gave me a diamond?  Puhlease, all that means is that he's got money.  I'd go so far as to say these commercials imply that he doesn't love you if he doesn't waste his hard-earned Benjamins on you.  There is so much spoiled, pretentious fuss about it all.

If you prefer the company of diamonds over the company of your man, I suppose this would do.
Don't worry, if you don't treat her right in any way, but buy her diamonds, you'll fool everyone, including her.

This got me thinking about the business mantra, "Don't bring up the problem without proposing a solution."

And this morning I saw one.  On the side of a bus, an ad with a rock-looking gemstone saying, "Boys like to throw rocks at girls."  Clever.  I would like to see more of this.  Or the funnies in the image below, which isn't an official ad, but by golly it should be.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Big Girl, You Are Beautiful

This morning on my date with Gym, a song came on that made me proud of my womanly curves.

Granted, I am not a "big girl" and will wallop anyone who even implies such a thing.  However, this particular song almost makes me want to be a big girl.  Praise be to Mika.

I've decided that any and all "fat" days (ladies, you know you have 'em) need to have this for their soundtrack and suddenly you will find yourself looking forward to those days. 

Happy Friday!  Diet Coke and a pizza, please!

(should out to Stephanie for making such a quality video!  Yes, that is actually him singing the Mika classic)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Licked Before You Begin

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do." - Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Closing Time

Some friends and I were discussing where to go after our next theater outing.

One of them suggested Hatch Family Chocolates (yes, from the TV show "The Little Chocolatiers").  My heart immediately sank in disappointment when I discovered their closing time is 10pm and we may not make it there in time after the show.

Then I realized that my definition of "in time" is "in enough time to have our treats and relax and enjoy them before 10pm."  Closing time is the time at which we need to be out.

Yet I know of people whose definition is "as long as I make it there before they lock the door." 

Is closing time the last moment the doors are open, or is it the last logical time you can enter and be finished before the doors are locked?

What do you think? 

Monday, November 14, 2011


My friend was recently reading, Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, and shared this quote, which applies all too much to my life:
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor... and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
I think of all of the different directions my life could go with each different decision I make.  I clearly see the consequences of each action, yet I sit there.  Sure, I've mastered the little things, but the big ones - love and career mostly - those are the decisions that elude me.  I need to learn to take action before all those ripe figs whither.

I don't think it is indecisiveness stopping me, I think it is fear.  I'm afraid that if I choose one branch instead of the other, that it isn't the most right decision - I know all of them are right decisionsI'm a perfectionist, which can often lead to perfectly impossible expectations.  I need to take a leap of faith towards one of those branches, living each day in that moment to progress with and embrace the life I chose.    

Sometimes, "I know I made the right decision," is simply making any decision at all.

The cool thing about branches?  They continue to branch, leading us to more decisions and more opportunities if we continue to grow instead of sitting there like a literal bump on a log.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Can See Clearly Now

Monday evening lead me to an interesting adventure with the optometrist.

I like to consider myself a spendthrift, so I milked my last "year supply" of contacts for two years.  Which also meant I did not have an eye exam last year.  My prescription hasn't changed from -4.25 in over 14 years, so no biggie, right? 

Imagine my surprise when the doctor handed me some new contacts almost an entire point more severe than what I'd been wearing.

The next morning, my eyes decided to reject the silicone in the new lenses, so back in I went for a different pair.  The next day, the right eye, in spite of new lenses, is still irritated, so I thought I'd pop in my old prescription until the new contacts arrive.  No can do - so blurry.  (but I don't wanna be that whiny girl and go back in again for another new lense - ugh)

The point?

I never realized I wasn't seeing clearly until I was

I think life is like this more often than not.  We walk around thinking certain things, like that perhaps we will never be able to run five miles or get that manager position or find the companion of your dreams, and we never question this.  These are the facts of life.  But then one day, you receive some guidance and your eyes are opened to the possibilities that maybe you can.

What is wrong with the prescription for your life you have written?  Are you seeing clearly?  Think about it.  Now go get your eyes checked and open them wide to the new possibilities.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Forever Plaid : Empress Theatre

Forever Plaid may just be the most famous Broadway show to never hit Broadway and I had never seen it until this past Friday night.  Oldies-style music and singing men are right up my alley, so I figured I'd give it a shot with the Empress Theatre's latest production.

And you know what?  That shot was worth taking.

What I have to say won't be as long as normal because I don't think there is much to analyze or critique in a happy-go-lucky-character-development-free performance such as this.  For the premise, all you need to know is that there are four singing young men who refer to themselves as "The Plaid's" who are killed in a car accident by some girls on their way to watch the Beatles' debut on the Ed Sullivan Show.  One night, the Plaid's are lucky enough to come back to life to finish performing their final show for us so that they may proceed to heaven.

Have you ever longed to be part of one of those cheesy dance scenes from the movies of the 50s and 60s?  Miss prom night?  Forever Plaid is a parody that evokes exactly that sort of feeling and makes fun of itself, recognizing the absurdity of everything it stands for.

These guys are this loveable, adorable assortment of chumps who amuse themselves, and only themselves, endlessly.  No one remembered them or even noticed their deaths.  Without this premise, I may have been disappointed in some squeaky notes or in the performance of one of the characters who seemed to be battling with himself as to if he wanted to be performing.  But man, as the punster geeks bursting with excitement from ear-to-ear, this whole thing just worked for me.  If I hadn't heard a cracked note, an off harmony, or seen a missed doo-wop dance step once in awhile, I would not have believed the whole premise of the show.  You cannot help but smile and be-bop in your seat along with these guys as you become infected with their energy.  Big, amazing Broadway it is not, but a smile-inducing evening it is.

At one point during the evening, you actually get to sing along with the Plaids and you will not be able to resist.  Trust me.  I tried.  Then the nudges from all my neighbors started and I gave in to the temptation to belt out with the rest of the audience, embracing our inner Plaid. My favorite portion of the evening was probably their rendition of a classic Beatles song.  True parody hilariousness.

I must also give props to the staging of the live accompaniment as part of the show - they add charisma and ambiance to the evening that drives home the feeling the director, Nancy Jensen, is trying to convey.  Tim Frost, the pianist, has that special something that makes me smile every time I see him on stage.

If you have been thinking about attending this show, you'll enjoy yourself.  The length is definitely shorter than any show I've seen this year and may just be the perfect length - it ends juuuust when you are thinking you may have had enough and you end up saying, "Hey, wait a minute - is that it?"  You won't find any "bringin' down the house" numbers, but if you enjoy a good stroll down memory lane, this show is right up your alley. 

Might I also suggest hitting up El Habanero (8164 W 3500 S) before the show?  This local Magna Mexican restaurant will warm your belly with deliciousness, but give yourself at least an hour.  Speaking of warm, take a jacket - the Empress is chilly.

You have six more chances to catch the Plaids before they ascent into heaven: November 11, 12, 14, 18, 19 at 7:30pm with a matinee on the 19th at 2:30pm.  Buy tickets here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sweeney Todd: Midvale Main Street Theatre

For those of you who are super fans of Sweeney Todd, I want to start out with this:
Buy your tickets nowHere.

Traditionally, I am not a fan of Sweeney Todd - so much so that I passed up the opportunity to see this show on Broadway, starring Michael Cerveris and Patti LuPone.  However, Midvale Main Street Theatre's current production had me enthralled from start to finish.

Sweeney Todd, in a nutshell, is a show about a barber who returns to his home town to seek revenge for horrible misgivings thrust upon him.  He takes up shop above a destitute bakery, run by Nellie Lovett - a woman who has been infatuated with him for years.  Through a twist of events, he and the widow Lovett become accomplices in a murderous meat pie venture, hence the monicker, "The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."

A single spotlight is eerily placed upon a performer dressed sickeningly drab from head to toe.  He raises his head, gives the audience a glazed over sneer of a look and let's his voice boom out, "Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd."  And so begins a performance that attend you must.  

Sweeney Todd, as played by Jim Dale, is incredible.  The look Jim carries in his eye is hollow, longing, desperate, the kind of look you see in a man trying to fill a bottomless void in his soul.  And his voice - his voice!  You will not find many like this in community theater, especially not for the price of these tickets.   Jim's tone is one of those that resonates deep into your chest, which made his performance all the more piercing for me, as I could feel everything he conveyed through the music. 

Eve Speer as Mrs. Lovett will have you in stitches the entire evening.  I often found myself wondering, "How can I love a woman who is cooking people into meat pies?"  But you love her and look forward to every moment she is on stage.  With such a dark premise, her character and Speer's interpretation of the character are welcome and much-needed relief. Speer was previously seen as Sylvia in Midvale Main Street's production of All Shook Up, and she was fantastic, but her performance in Sweeney Todd is exponentially everything more, being the pinnacle of a showcase for her talents.

Thanks to Kathryn Smith, as Tobias Ragg, the song, "Pirelli's Miracle Elixir," has been constantly looping through my brain for two days now.  Kathryn, I heard rumor, is a 19-year old young lady perfectly playing the part of a 12-year old boy.  You have to see her to believe it.  Her energy, speed, preciseness, naivete, and movements are spot on for this character.  You actually sit in the audience and wonder how such a small venue was lucky enough to find such a true fit for the role.

The last stand-out performer I will mention is Russ McBride, as Judge Turpin. Blair Howell, for the Deseret News, stated, "The production is at its zenith when Todd duets with his nemesis, Judge Turpin (a splendid Russ McBride), in a nice-sounding, well-performed 'Pretty Women.'”  I couldn't agree more.  The melody was haunting as Turpin pleasantly, playfully hums.  Each cheery note is haunting as the audience realizes what is about to happen.  McBride captures the essence of Judge Turpin as a schmoozing political figure - at once captivating to an adoring public, whilst a terror behind closed doors.

Typically you will see over-the-top costuming and bizarre set pieces in productions of Sweeney.  Midvale took a different twist with the design of costuming, make-up, and set pieces as realistically drab, which I loved (with the exception of a truly hideous, utterly entirely distracting blonde wig on what is supposed to be the most beautiful character in the show).  This more realistic approach feeds into the urban legend that this tale is based upon actual events - you believe something like this could actually have happened.  At least for the duration of the show, you find yourself believing, almost hoping it did because it makes you that much more terrified.

Rotating set pieces are often a treasure left on the stages of the more professional venues, but I was delighted with what this production shares with us.  Scene transitions were practically flawless, as the set rotated to the next location instead of black outs and characters carrying on and off clunky set pieces.  The real treat happens when Todd gets a little more creative about his disposal of his victims (go see the show to find out).

Lest you feel bamboozled if you see the show and you do see an error, I will let you know that mistakes do happen.  A few of the high soprano notes are not reached although attempted, a few of the male soloists squeak, one of the performers has a microphone that doesn't like him, one of the performers has some issues with deciding whether to look at the scene partner or the audience, one character needs to enunciate her words more, and there are your general little faux pas here and there.  But overall?  I did not feel this detracted from the quality of the show.  Perhaps I am so lavish with praise because I did not expect to enjoy the show much at all, let alone have the desire to go back and the inability to stop humming the Sondheim tunes.  Have I mentioned I don't care for much Sondheim? 

Yes, I do tend to sugar-coat my writings about shows - sandwiching the sour pickles in between juicy hamburgers - but this show truly is delicious.

Another fair warning, the show is PG-13 because of violence, a dark theme, and a few four-letter words.  If you want a big, bright, spectacle of a family-friendly show, this is not for you one bit, but if you are looking for a unique, diverse theater experience, you can't miss this.

You only have three opportunities remaining to catch Sweeney Todd and, if I were you, I'd take up one of those opportunities. 

Tickets are $10 for November 10, 11, and 12 at 7pm at the Midvale Main Street Theatre - 7711 S. Main Street.  You can buy tickets online, at the door, or call the box office at 801-566-0596.  

Sock Trick

Have you ever found yourself without a napkin?

I have a trick for you.

I can't believe I'm sharing this...

Whenever I am sans napkin and I have a gooey situation upon my fingertips, I simply reach town and wipe the goop upon my sock.  After all, isn't your sock the place most likely to get dirty and be washed after only one use?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Stacy's Pita Chips

Have you tried pita chips lately?

I swear, they sounded healthy, so I tried several brands and gave up because they were all no bueno.

Stacy's Pita Chips then entered my life on a date when desperation hit me.  And I LOVE them. Add some cilantro jalapeno hummus or Laughing Cow and I'm in heaven.  Seriously.  They have cinnamon, parmesan garlic, multi-grain, veggie medley and simply naked.  Wouldn't you suspect that my favorite is the simply naked?  Cause it is.  Yum yum. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How to Flirt

I rather dashing fellow was sitting with me and my friend and hair stylist magician, Leah, while we were discussing my next hair appointment.

"Leah, I really need my hairs fixed.  When can we find time in your crazy schedule to fix them?"

Dashing young fellow, after inquisitively looking at my hair with a tilted head, genuinely asks, "What is there to fix?"

That's how it's done, fellas.  That's how it's done.

Friday, November 4, 2011

You Screwed Up

Let's say you organize an event, but are unable to attend.  Afterwards you hear only this: "I wanted to let you know that the drinks were warm and the entertainment arrived five minutes late."

My personality type hears, "You screwed up."  After all, nothing else was mentioned.  The only things worth mentioning at all were the bad things?  Oh crap, I must have really screwed it up.

The personality type who says that may actually be thinking simply, "Hey, FYI."  No padding.  Straight fact.  No, "It went great but we may want to check this out in the future..."

I don't understand this type of communication because I think most people would also throw in the good things with the bad things if they wanted to communicate that activity X went fine but here are additional items for the checklist next time. And what would be the point of communicating only the bad unless you were trying to let the person know they screwed up?  I don't get it...

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Darn the group Eiffel 65 for ruining the word "blue" for me forever and ever.

I can not hear that word without automatically (and sometimes outloud) jammin', "I'm blue dah bah dee dah bah die Dah bah dee day bah die dah bah dee day bah dee dah bah die."

Eiffel forever took away my right to compliment someone's shirt without busting into song! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

If I Make You Cry

There are certain personalities in this world that I do not comprehend.

There are those who make you cry* and then respond, "Oh no!  I'm so sorry!  What did I do?  How can I make it better?  How can we prevent this from happening in the future?"

Then there are those who make you cry* and respond, "It really hurts my feelings that you react that way.  You know I didn't mean anything by it."

You all can guess which personality type it is that I do not understand.  I'll even go so far as to say that the second type mentioned is selfish and inconsiderate.  Yeah, I judged.  But if I cry in your presence and you don't even care enough about me to care about anything except that it makes you feel uncomfortable, well, let me be the first to excuse myself from your company and avoid you in the future at all costs. 

For the record, I am not a crier, but sometimes life dishes up too much to handle and I have a good, cleansing, salt-water bath for my eyes and soul.

*I recognize no one makes you cry, but they can be an influence towards tears.  But who wants to say "influence towards tears" instead of "makes you cry?" 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Costume(s) 2011

I know you've all been waiting with baited breath to see what kind of absurdity I came up with for Halloween celebrations this year.

I started with a repeat from last year to fit in with my department at the office.

Now to find five Mickey's...

And now for the real spectacle.

I wore not one, not two, but three costumes all at the same time and randomly had costume changes throughout the evening for all five parties I attended.

I present to you...

*Drum Roll Please*

...Show Choir girl extraordinaire!  

First: Green Chiffon
Second: Pink Sequins, also known as Pink Elephant (I don't have photos of this one, but I think Keri does, so I'll post them when she posts)
Third: After a quick spin out of the Pink dress (really, I spin out of it!), the black sequin hottie hot nightclub number.
All accompanied by the Piqua High School Jacket.

Too bad I don't have any photos from the two parties last night, as there were ample creepers and creatures and cuties!


Dennis as the Mad Hatter
Melissa as Roxy Richter from Scott Pilgrim
Chris as a cowboy and Mr. Darcy in the background
Jodi as a Ladybug and Tiffany as Cat Woman - they are animals! And Roxy in the background
BJ as a tourist
Jon as the Goblin King from Labrynth

Side note: It is really super duper awesome when you can fit into your high school show choir dresses all layered on top of each other and not one of them is tight.  In fact, they were all quite loose.  The problem?  They may have been the most loose (by a good three inches) in the chest area.  Ah well, you win some, you lose some (literally).