Monday, December 31, 2012

Past Year's Resolutions: 2012

What did I accomplish this year?

Every year I ask myself this question and make my retrospective resolutions for the year.  Hindsight is 20/20.  And I think it is much more uplifting to reflect and think, "Wow- I did that!" than to think, "I didn't meet two of my ten goals.  I'm a failure."  Know what I'm saying?  

1. Have a segment on a National Television Show (Dr. Oz)

2. Organize a trip for my entire immediate family to go to New York City, some for the first time

3. Buy a car!  My first on-my-own car purchase - paid for in full!

4. Complete the one-day, 34-mile "Great Saunter" around Manhattan's rim with my dad, lil sis, and her now hubby

5. Fall in love

6. Get that little sis of mine married and be her Maid of Honor/sing at her wedding

7.  Realize a skit I did two years ago now has over 50,000 Youtube views

8. Ride a wave runner for the first time

9. Attend the Utah Shakespearean Festival for the first time

10. Receive my first professional massage (90 minutes!)

11. Run five miles in 41:45

12. Continue to have zero debt

13. Maintain my six-times weekly dates with Gym and within 5-7 pounds of my finish weight from when I worked with a nutritionist 3 years ago.

14. Visit the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame for the first time

15. Visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the first time

16. Finally visit the A Christmas Story house!

17. Perform a leading role in a play

18. Visit Las Vegas twice - first with three of my favorite gals and second with my favorite guy

19. Continue to be rewarded/recognized at work with a raise and a department expansion

20. Take my beau home to Ohio with me for Christmas Eve with my family and jet back to Utah for Christmas Day with his

Honorable mention: Transition from 22-year habit of a written planner to an e-planner.  Way more difficult than you'd think.

Resolutions of Year's Past

Friday, December 14, 2012

Somewhere Out There

"I have been out back looking for shooting stars tonight.  Remember when you did that?  I saw one!  I love you!  Goodnight my wonderful daughters!"

My dad sent me that last night sometime during the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert.  I smiled, felt my "dad loves me" little warm fuzzy, and quickly forgot.

On the way home (Rob and I were in separate vehicles due to some car issues we'd helped his family with earlier in the evening), Rob and I were on the phone when a brilliantly vast shooting star blazed across the sky.  We yelled out, "I just saw a shooting star!" in such synchronization that he didn't even hear my exclamation.

I shared with him my text from my father earlier that night and how it seems more than a coincidence.  He replied, "Why don't you call him and sing Somewhere Out There."

"Have I told you that story?"
"What story?"
"About that song....have I told you?"
"No, I don't think so..."
"About how that is my dad's song for me?  That ever since I was a little girl, he always thinks of me when he hears that song or looks at the sky?"
"Wow, no, I didn't know that."

This afternoon I called my father to tell him the story rather than text.  He added, "You know, your sister and Braelin (niece) responded that they saw a shooting star too!"

Sometimes, the littlest things bring us together across what seems like a universe apart.  Maybe it was just a simple meteor shower, but maybe, just maybe, it was more than that. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Opening a Can

This is not about opening a proverbial can of whoop a**, as it were. 

I'm talking about a real can.  But perhaps they are, in actuality, a can of whoop a**. 


Because those blasted things scare the bajeebers out of me.

Have you ever opened one with the pull-off lid?  Do you know that moment when you hold your breath, make the final tug, and pray you don't get splattered with liquid as the lid breaks free from the can?  Have you ever not been splattered?  I think I'm about zero for...hmm...however many cans you can open in your life time.  I was reminded of this today at lunch as I tried to open a can of patheticness (aka some 210-calorie Chef Boyaredee kids meal).

To make up for it, I am eating the lion's share of Rocky Mountain Chocolates one of our vendors sent.  You need comfort food after a trauma.  Okay, not really - I am not an emotional just sounded like a good excuse.    

Does anyone have any secret tips for lid removal sans splatter massacre? 

image rights of

Monday, December 10, 2012

6th Annual A Christmas Story Pajama Party

It's that time of year when my little world of friends gather together to view A Christmas Story in their pajamas.

Every year I throw this party and bake treats galore in lieu of gifts (for most).  There are always plenty of treats to take home after, although most people gorge themselves so much they run screaming the second I say, "If you want to take anything home..."

This year's party was fantastic, back to our home theater venue at Dallas's (Shout out to the most fantastic co-host!).  Many, many people I love, whom I haven't seen in quite some time, appeared through the front door and spread smiles across our faces and hearts.  I was also missing quite a few (you know who you are, so I won't shame you by calling you out), but the hustle and bustle of this time of year gets the better of us.  Blessings abound that as many were able to make it as did - even one from Vegas!  The icing on the cake for me was having my partner-in-crime, his family, and his best friend there - imagine the legacy that will live on as the 3- and 5-year old's create their own A Christmas Story traditions.

I forgot to take photos until the last thirty minutes of the event, so the food is just the carnage of leftovers and more than three-quarters of the attendees didn't get their mugshot. C'est la vie.  This year's menu was more low-key than in the past, but still all homemade and the piggies showed me how they ate: Oreos, M&M cookies, Chocolate Chip cookies, Chocolate mint cookies, Reese's cupcake cookies, Ohhh Fuuuuudge, and Snickerdoodles.     

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Russ McBride

I don't know where to begin.

Russ McBride entered my life almost two years ago exactly.  And what a thundering entrance.  My cast of 1940s Radio Hour had just completed our performance and were letting people "run the gauntlet" (where you have to walk past all the cast members to get out) as they exited the theater.  Russ had come with his son, Nik, and kept gushing to us about how much he enjoyed the show - so much, in fact, he promised to return if we checked out his improv group, "Quick Wits." 

I recall those snowy December evenings with warmth and love.  My cast ventured over to Midvale Main Street Theater several times to laugh, eat junk food, and enjoy each other.  Russ pulled me onto stage as his wife for the newlywed game my first time at Quick Wits and boy was it a hoot playing his white trash babe.  He told me he knew we'd be good friends after he first asked me, regarding our upcoming sketch, "Alright so what do you want to do?" I smiled coyly at him and winked as I said, "You."  Then I laughed myself silly because I have no seriousness behind what I say, I just think it is funny.  I'm glad he did too because friends we became.  Dear friends.

This weekend, we lost Russ to a massive, unexpected stroke.  I lost a constant support, a friend, and a source of more laughs than I can count.  Yet, the memories I have are priceless and will be with me forever.

Here are a few stories:

- I was down and out about my relationship choices, so I posed a question on my blog about what type of man you would see me with.  Russ responded with this: This is such a great question...How many of us have heard "I never would have seen you two together in a million years...."..there are so many factors that play into the final decision of a significant other..with that being said I truly feel that no matter what "type" fits you, there are some qualities that I feel you ultimately deserve (sappy moment alert)..granted I have not spent enough quality time to get an accurate account of your type..but you are so well rounded that I can only assume so many types fit your personality...someone that can make you laugh, not just few moments of LOLs but even just the times when a past moment brings a chuckle or a giggle or even a slight grin, I loved the comment of " but is no wallflower himself (as in, he'll join in conversations you're having even if he doesn't know the people well or at all)", you seem to have the ability to be the life of the party without having to know ANYONE at the party and you don't want to have to babysit or make sure he is having a good time, you want to interact with everyone..someone who enjoys the arts but at the very least will support you in them..someone whose knees get weak and breath becomes short because you simply walked into the room, even 60 years later...someone who becomes stronger and better because you are beside them...when all dates are filled with the excitement and giddiness of a first date, whether going to the ballet or sitting home watching a dvd...when there is no reason needed to get you chocolates, flowers, a card or even a little toy out of the .25 cent machine...someone to, at the very least, OFFER to help cook and clean...Wow this is very sappy, I could go on and on...I don't think any of this actually even answered the question. You have so many different types that you have dated cause you are that rare person that truly cares for everyone.   

- I blogged about wanting a certain dress.   Within a week, I received a message from Russ, "I have that dress for you."  The story is here.  Of course, he told me he had some connection and got the dress inexpensively and would not let me pay him back.  Two other times I asked if his connection could help me get some spendy dresses I wanted and both times he said, "Absolutely."  Upon asking him how much I owed him, he would never let me pay him back.  I asked him over and over, but he would never let me.  One time, my friend loved one of the dresses as much as I do, and he got one for her too!

- I had mentioned something to him about how I used to make Easter baskets for all my roommates and how, now that I live alone, I made my own basket and had no one else to give one too.  And you know what?  I went to Quick Wits one night and they said, "We have something for you!"  It was a huge Easter basket!  From Russ!

- I was auditioning for a lot of shows and doubting if I deserved a lead or even a part at all.  He had seen me perform several times and spent a late evening after Quick Wits talking with me outside into the wee hours - about performing, life, and just anything that came up to help me with perspective.  When I got the leading role in a show, he bought me a ticket to another theater company who was doing the show so I could see what I was getting myself into. 

-Opening night of my show, with my first lead lead, I received a gift at intermission.  "Someone brought these and asked us to give them to you."  I read the card.  Russ.  Two dozen roses.  He couldn't stay for the show, but wanted me to know how much I deserved this moment. 

- I got stranded at a rest stop near Brigham City.  As soon as I posted it, Russ was on the phone asking what he could do to help and if he needed to come rescue me.  Some friends near me responded and came to my aid just as he was leaving his house, so I called to tell him he didn't need to come.

- My mom came into town and I took her to Quick Wits.  Russ went out of his way to come talk to us for the entire intermission.  As he had done the year prior when my sister and her friends came into town.  He made a huge impression on all of them and, even after only fifteen minutes, they'd all regularly ask how that nice, funny guy from improv was doing.

- Last Saturday November 24 he performed with Quick Wits - he may have been planning on performing anyway, but I had texted him several times begging him to be there because my sissy likes him most and she was in town from Ohio with her new hubby.  Once he told me he'd be there, I invited several more friends out.  That evening, we talked and he told me he almost didn't make it but was glad he did and glad he got to see us. 

- He supported many of my friends in many of their shows and even met a group of us to support Megan in Beauty and Nichole in Annie Get Your Gun. 

- Most importantly, Russ's constant support and words of kindness helped me, along with the support of a handful of others, avoid marrying the wrong man.  He literally helped change my life. 

- We would e-mail all the time for about a year.  This communication dissipated after I started dating my Rob, a Quick Wits teammate.  I'm not sure if Russ felt I no longer needed him, if life got busy, or a multitude of other reasons.  He was always there with his words to give me a boost.  I tried to do the same for him, he was just so much better at it. 

    Some of the inspiring/funny/random thoughts he shared with me are below, all exactly his words from e-mails:
  • Nik came into my life when I needed him more than he needed is amazing how often that happens...I try to look at things in life that make the days better...and if you look it always seems that people or things come into our lives right at the perfect time...they also leave the same way...sometimes it is the person that shows up right when you needed someone to just understand and listen, or the person that gives you the boost you needed.
  • I sat and watched the final hours of favorite time of day is that moment when the world is settling down, usually about 630-8 where the kids are being called in for dinner and baths, the traffic has subsided, even the animals are beginning to be done for the is just a peaceful, peaceful time. I am very lucky Nik likes improv shows..he goes through so much always just sitting there waiting for dad to finish what he does...but it has been such a blessing for me...he even started his own "troupe" at his school and had a talent show with it..Yes, dad was beaming..we have sooooooo much fun together and it is incredible to see him WANT to do the things I take such an interest in. It is funny, my entire life has been athletics, fitness, sports not until I was out of college that I got into acting and improv...people would ask me in high school "What if your son isn't into fitness or sports?" and I would always respond "I will support him in whatever he wants to do, even if its acting.." Now I just sit and watch him excel at it all...*proud daddy moment*.
  • My family and I are very close, we all support one another in pretty much everything
  • My favorite times at the shows are when we banter back and forth...good times.
  • I actually have a phobia of haircuts (I think my ear got clipped when I was a kid) but it isn't about getting my ear clipped or anything like that...I fear a bad haircut (maybe it was the bad haircuts a s a kid growing up to save money)..I have walked up to a saloon and honestly found the most mundane excuse to walk away and change my appointment...weird fact about Russ.
  • I don't want to just be good. I want to be the part that actors pattern after or directors try to Improv I want other actors to say "I patterned how I did this game or this character after Russ..."
  • Just want to say again how great you did on closing night.  Great job....I am sure your parents were not only impressed with their daughters talents, but were beaming with pride..:)
  • When one hurts it is tough to be on the outside looking in and not being able to fix it or shield that pain from you. I am sorry that it hurt that deeply. But know that I am here....whether it is to hear about the same thing over and over or if it is a simple hi or if its a "I need to get out of here and you need to take me..." 
  •  You are truly one of the most incredible people I know...from physical appearance to personality to talent to spirituality to your heart...the list goes on and on and on...I have said it before, quit stepping over dollars to pick up quarters.
  •  Riss, I don't need to tell you what you mean to so many people out there...I don't need to tell you all the qualities you have....I don't need to tell you that anytime you turn around and need me I am there.  You are an amazing woman. One that a man with the sense of a billy goat would be eternally grateful to even just have gotten to meet you. You embody (where is my mind :)) everything that one would look for in a it romantic or friendship.
  • Riss, there is not many out there that I can think of that I would cast above you, of course we all have our strengths, but there is something to be said about an actor/actress that is quite literally LOVED by everyone. Do you think that I was just giving you a line when I told you you light up the room? It is soooooo true that you do..and you light up the stage as well. And at the end of the day, if you had a blast and truly enjoyed what you just did, then don't second guess yourself. I can see you on the "Big" stage one day, if that is what you want. Never would I doubt that you can get there. You are an amazing person in so many ways.
  • My heart dearly aches for you when you are hurting or sad (is that they same thing?). But again, do know that I truly hold you as one of the most remarkable people that I have EVER known. My world literally lights up with even just an email....I want to slap the men that have been in your life and just say "Do you realize what a TRUE man would give to be with a Larissa???? Are you really that stupid, self absorbed and blind that you can't see the forest through the trees??? You hit the female lottery and you blew the WHOLE THING!!!!"
  • I flirt because it is in my nature to flirt....but I also understand the importance of a kind word and the impact that just a little attention can give to someone. If by me simply smiling and telling someone how they have brightened my day translates into them taking a little extra care of themselves or giving them a smile that passes to the next person, then how could that be a bad thing? And if they "spruce" up just a little bit more because they know I will be there or that I might see them at the show or something, then that confidence translates into EVERYTHING they end up doing for the entire day and night. It is even a bit selfish cause it makes me feel good to see people improve themselves.
  • Thank you for your kind words about Nik...I fear (actually look forward to) the day I fall for a woman that I come to adore as much as that little boy...they will have control of the world and me:)
  • I haven't set the bar high at all for Nik. I will spoil him for the day (ok weekend) but he knows that stuff is just that, stuff...I have instilled a big sense of charity into his life that he has never taken things for granted..and what amazes me about him, is he recognizes, at this early age, how hard I am willing to work for him and others that I love..he appreciates it and never takes advantage of it..but I can't help but want to give him everything and show him off to the world. He is so incredible and has made me not only be but want to be a better man daily. It is amazing how much and how many things he has changed in my life...

I haven't lost anyone close to me in a good, long while.  Life is delicate, fragile, and fleeting.  I despise the "He is in a better place now"-esque comments.  I know, I get it.  But right now?  Right now, I miss his presence.  Right now, I keep expecting to see him walk around the corner flipping his water bottle and coyly smiling saying it was all a joke.  Right now, I wish I could hear him talk about his amazing son one more time.  Or give me a huge hug.  Or send me a message just to say hi like he so often did.  Right now, I have a hard time comprehending all of those things will never happen again.  Right now, I am eternally grateful for this man who touched my life and changed my course.  Russ had a way of making everyone around him feel like a million bucks.

We love you, Russ. 

His viewing will be Monday, December 10th from 6-8pm at Myers in Roy 5865 s 1900 w in Roy. The funeral is Tuesday, December 11th at 11am (viewing that day from 10-10:45) at the Chateau Park church (formerly 3rd, 8th, 23rd wards) building. 5930 s 2200 w in Roy.

The flowers Russ got me for opening night

Friday, November 30, 2012

We Don't Know What's Going On

"We don't know what's going on in your life anymore."

Megs and Jules informed me of this last Friday night when Rob (fighting the urge to call him Robalicious, fighting the urge...) and I visited them at Megan's house.

I launched into some spiel about how I don't know, when another person is involved in my day-to-day life, how much of that can be considered "public" and how much can be considered "private."  So, I'll share the big stuff so you have a little morsel.

1. My sissy Britty and her new husband Matt came to town to visit me for Thanksgiving!  Lots of great adventures - watching the Macy's parade, the on fire fountains at City Creek, the funicular at the St. Regis, Christmas lights in downtown SLC, Quick Wits, game nights with old friends, IMAX Skyfall, two new pairs of boots for $35 total at midnight (These and two pairs of gym pants were my total black Friday haul) and pure exhaustion.

2. I experienced my first Ferre family Thanksgiving - complete with Christmas singing afterwards!  And my first Smyth-family Pie Night on Thanksgiving Eve.

3. Rob is coming to Ohio for Christmas adventures, complete with a visit to the A Christmas Story house!

4. I have been asked by my wonderful director of ole, Wendy Dahl-Smedshammer, to reprise my role as Sister Mary Leo in Nunsense in March.

I think that's it in big news for now - love you all!

Britty and Matt helped me decorate for Christmas and I awarded Brit the "star on top" privileges

Christmas Tree in the LDS Conference Center

Scheel's - this totally ridiculous sporting goods store
Ferre family Thanksgiving

Cafe Rio with Rob's amazing friends from Orlando days of yore
Pie Night at Megan Smyth's

Ferre Family Thanksgiving
Cantina - my fav Mexican place!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Those Three Little Words

Sunday evening, my partner in crime's little 3-year-old niece was jabbering away to me whilst eating her dessert at the dining room table.  We made faces at each other, I pretended like I understood everything she said, and we both smiled bemusedly.  She leaned over to me, reached her hand through her long red hair, and touched my shoulder as she said three little words I understood crystal clearly: "I love you."

I didn't think those words would melt my heart they way they did.  I know little children are very unconditionally loving, but this child had no obligation to love me - she is not related to me.  I often feel so undeserving of the love of my niece and nephew because I only see them a few times a year.  Yet, because I am their Aunt Rissa, they love me dearly...because that's what kids do so perfectly.

Her words made me wonder, "Do I deserve this love?  I didn't even do anything..."  I smiled as I realized that in the eyes of this little girl, I must be pretty cool just because I'm there and she's happy when I am. And in my eyes, she's pretty cool too. 

I returned her favor as I watched her ridiculously cheesy little grin, "Thank you, Gwen.  I love you too!"  Because I do. You always hope you are going to find love when you begin a romantic relationship, but what I didn't ever guess was where exactly that love would come from. 

Red Butte Gardens after we took her to dance class at the end of September

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ten Lucky Movies - Because They are My Favorites

How do you pick a favorite movie?

I've long proclaimed that asking me to pick a favorite is much like unto asking someone to pick their favorite child.  Alas, a couple of my friends (1,2) have recently blogged about their favorite movies and it really got the wheels in my head turning: "Perhaps I should finally at least narrow down my list?"

So what is my determining qualification?   Any movie that will make me absolutely excited anytime anyone says, "Let's watch..."

I believe some of my decisions will knock your socks off...with shock, not impression.  I maybe sorta kinda watch movies to escape.  My list of ten is a friendly list kinda number thanks to David Letterman.  But me?  I'm like Winnie the Pooh, I, "Think, think, think," and I definitely have my favorites that are above the others and then this garbled endless list* of, "but I love this one and this one and this one too..."  The point is, I'm not certain these are the top ten, but at the time of pressing "publish," they are.

There is a certain amount of nostalgia involved in my choices.  I've spent a lot of time thinking about why.  As an adult, there is a lot required to make me feel a sense of awe and wonderment or that feeling that what I am experiencing is changing my life.  As a child/adolescent, every new experience is embraced with the hungry vigor of youthful innocence.  In a strange way, I long for the days when I was so innocent and impressionable, each experience intense and eye-widening.  These movies bring those feelings to me again - every time I watch them I feel what I felt then.  And that, my friends, is a treasure hard to come by.

Jurassic Park

A League of Their Own


You've Got Mail


A Christmas Story 


Lord of The Rings Trilogy - Return of the King

Indiana Jones Trilogy - The Last Crusade

Back to the Future Trilogy - Part 1

What are your favorites?

*In case you are curious, the garbled list includes things like Little Manhattan, Shawshank Redemption, The Hot Chick, White Christmas, The Help, Life is Beautiful, The Family Man, 500 Days of Summer, The Prestige, Anything Disney, Sharktopus (don't judge), The Burbs, Elf, Gremlins, Princess Bride, Heart and Souls, Return to Me, Dances with Wolves, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Ten Things I Hate About You, Labyrinth, While You Were Sleeping...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Painting What?

So, I got this lovely little pink flyer on my door the other day.

I was slightly confused at first.  Then I was slightly amused.  I hope I'm not the only one...

Monday, November 12, 2012

You Are What You Eat

Have you seen this commercial from Pediasure? 

The children run around the soccer field as the foods they are eating and only the non-sluggish children are sans some edible accoutrement. 

But the point is that "you are what you eat." 

It really grates my cheese that the healthy children who drink Pediasure are not running around as Pediasure bottles.  Where is the sense in that?!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Night in Salt Lake City: Democratic Headquarters

I just want to clear the air that I am not a political activist.  My voter registration is as an independent/unaffiliated.  I've taken many tests/quizzes and I always fall 50/50 between the two parties. 

That being said, my beau's mother is highly involved with LDS Democrats here in Utah.  For the Presidential Election last night, Rob proposed we go check out the parties downtown for both Republican and Democrat.  My friend Colleen was in charge over at the Hilton for the Republicans, however, by the time we arrived downtown, the predictions had us knowing the Democratic party would be the most hoppin.

We arrived just in time for the announcement of Obama's continued presidency.  Naturally, we stayed to people watch and ended up smelling way too much marijuana and could never figure out quite where it was coming from, discussing all the wine-carrying hipsters in scarves or thick black-rimmed glasses or mustaches, and mostly watching all of the screens with newsfeed and statistics coming in regarding local races in our state and others.

As each candidate was declared the winner or defeated, they took the stage to give a speech.  I vaguely remember seeing many photographers around and I also vividly remember telling Rob, "I wasn't prepared to go out in public tonight."

And wouldn't you guess whose photo showed up on the Salt Lake Tribune's website today?    

It's like I want my eyes to be open, but can't quite manage it...and I want to smile, but only the right side of my mouth can muster up the energy. AND to top it off, Rob is holding me hold me up apparently.

What did he have to say about this?  "I can't believe you were seen drunk at a democratic event!"  He quickly recovered with this compliment, "You really look like Elizabeth Shue there."

Oh boy.  The things I get myself into for curiosity's sake.

Photo Courtesy of Salt Lake Tribune

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Red Tights

Different colors of tights with great designs on them are pretty popular these days, right?  I've seen them on everyone from wee babes to grandma's.  There is a pair for everyone - cute, trendy, classy, and sassy.

Sunday, I decided to wear some red tights with a diamond pattern to church.  I also decided to run my fashion decision past my beau, and he said, "They are fine.  Just wear 'em and see."  I said, "Well, they are fun, but are they too fun for church?  I don't want anyone to think I'm a street walker just because they are red."  He stood by his decision that they were fine.

The rest of my ensemble was a pure black, sleeved, knee-length dress with a little red camisole underneath so as to not give a free show should I choose to bend over.  My hair was caressing my back with loose, wavy curls, and I had a dainty diamond necklace on. 

We arrived at church a little late, so decided to sit in the foyer until the sacrament had been passed.  I excused myself to the restroom quickly and quietly.  I returned to find my beau looking forlorn and shaking his head in discontent.

"The guy who was just sitting on the couch next to me was staring at you with the most disapproving look on his face the entire time you walked away.  I stared at him, as he stared at you, and finally he noticed out of the corner of his eye and said, 'Yes?'  I said in an even but stern voice that was inviting him to have a conversation, 'You have a disapproving look on your face.'  He got up, didn't say a word, and walked away."

I responded, "Well, I guess that's my answer - these tights are too fun for church.  I'm taking them off."  Within 10 seconds I'd found an empty room, slid them off, and was seated next to him with my naked legs.

We've had a lot of conversation since then, but mostly both of us are disconcerted by the judgement.  Did he know he was looking at one of the most innocent 32-year old's out there?  Did he know I am a mega-virgin who would never seduce a man save for my future husband?  Did he know I'd have profusely apologized if I'd offended him in any way?  Or am I the one being judgy because I think he was being judgy?  I guess we'll never know since he clearly did not want to have a conversation.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Foot Panties

Foot Panties.  Does this make anyone cringe as much as it does me?

I'm seriously sitting here with my nose still wrinkled up and no comprehension as to why on earth you would willingly insert the name "panty" into a product for your foot.  If you watch the video, you can somewhat comprehend the purpose, but...seriously?!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween: Kissing The War Goodbye

My favorite photo, in spite of my detestation of kissing pictures, is "Kissing the War Goodbye."  This photo was taken May 8, 1945, when a handsome soldier returned from war, grabbed a nurse as she walked by, and laid a big one on her.

It's only fitting that my favorite guy would appease me this Halloween.  That is, after I appeased him as he did a little Gangnam Style.

Heeeeeey, Sexy Laday

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bonobos Khakis

If any men out there are looking for the most amazing Khaki's ever (if you lost your butt, you will find it in these), I highly recommend Bonobos.  I bought a pair for my handsome devil for his birthday and I now firmly believe every man should have a pair (of pants, get your minds out of the gutter).

They have an unbeatable return/exchange policy, free shipping, and you can use this link to get $25 off! Just copy/paste it into your web browser and select "apply."  You are welcome:-)

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Son of a B Katydid

This past August I took leave to the Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City with some of my besties and my beau. 

Our last evening there, we walked to the car, gazing upon the twinkling stars and basking in the post-theater glow that us theater-lovers emit.

Upon the car rested an innocent little katydid.  I nudged the insect a little for it to move so as to not get squished in the door.  And move it did.  Lucas inspected his car - no katydid in sight.  This was the all-clear for Melissa to enter, as she has frightful fits about the bugs. 

I hear someone amusedly say, "Oh!  There's the Katydid! It's in the car!"

The next thing I know, I hear the most growly, masculine voice boom, "SON OF A B*@#!" as Melissa flew from the car like a bat out of Hades.

Ends up that exclamation came from Melissa.  Also ends up her fright may have given all of the rest of us laughing fits for at least the next ten minutes...making the extraction of the katydid all the more difficult and amusing.  Rest assured, there was no attack of a killer katydid and Melissa's heart rate has returned to normal. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Back to the Future

My Partner-in-Crime had a birthday this past weekend. 

He's also one of the top DJs by which I've ever been entertained (I'm seriously not just saying that).  Shout out to his company and group of DJs - Life of the Party Entertainment.  If you need a DJ for a Mitzvah, Corporate Party, Wedding, Assembly, or any other event requiring entertainment, contact him here.

Back to the point.  What does a DJ do on his birthday?  Naturally, work an event that happens to be an awesome 80s Prom for adults.  You heard me right.  Those people knew how to party and danced well past the set witching hour. 

Because I kind of adore him a wee bit, I agreed to be his lovely assistant for the evening.  Only neither of us ever arrived, as we were time-warped back to 1985 and people kept calling us Marty and Jennifer. 


Thursday, October 18, 2012

8 Lessons I Learned From Being Called "Fat"

Has it been over two weeks since I was "called fat?"

I would say I've started a new chapter, except that I feel as if I've been reading this chapter all along, I just didn't know it...and now I do.

1.   I'm okay.  
I'm healthy.  I truly believe I will never again have to worry about the trials I once faced in regards to obesity.  I don't crave the same types of food I once did.  I crave working out.  There is a certain knowledge I have acquired over the past eight years of how wonderful life can be when we are living to our potential and I truly believe that knowledge is what will keep me on the right path.  As several of you wonderful readers shared with me alternatives I may want to consider to help me, I realized just how far I have come from eight years ago...and how "okay" I am...that I have, within myself, everything I need.  And I can do it.  I have done it.  I will continue to do it.   And when I feel like I am falling, I have friends and family to lift me back up.    

2.  Saying nasty words about a person who said nasty words doesn't help.  And I have friends who will "take care of the family" moreso than the mafia would (you know who you are).
I know, I know.  While I particularly appreciate the image of several of you "ripping out his balls," how is it okay for us to castrate him and not okay for him to tell me I look a little flabbier than when he first met me?  Although the pain is different, there is hurt and pain behind both of those comments.  Except that he honestly felt he was doing something helpful by pointing out to me that Snickers is no laughing matter.  How is ripping his balls out helpful?  You see my point.

3. If I gain or lose five pounds or a body fat percentage or two, that does not make me a failure or a success.
That makes me human.

4. I will forever keep the kind words and love you all expressed to me.  
I'm terribly sorry that I had to experience this kind of ignorance.  But if I hadn't, there are things almost 100 of you shared with me that I would never have known.  Now I know.  And my thoughts, feelings, and perceptions will never and can never be the same.

5. Don't wait a moment to tell anyone you admire all of the wonderful things you think about them. 
Couldn't we all hold our heads a little higher if we new exactly how much so many people out there felt for us?  Would this comment have bothered me so much if I had known how many people had felt inspired by watching my life evolve?  Would this comment have bothered me if, if, if?  Do not leave people wondering if they are important to you or if they have left an impact on your life in even the littlest of ways (like telling a singer he/she has a beautiful voice).  So what if you think it is weird to share with them a random compliment?  Wouldn't you rather sacrifice those few seconds of courage to give them a bit of knowledge they can carry with them forever?

6. Think about those experiencing your former trials before criticizing your past.
This young man should have thought about how much it would hurt before he tried to "help" me.  Likewise, I should have thought a little more about how my self-consciousness would make all of my friends feel who are currently struggling.  I remember having a roommate, who was at times frighteningly thin, always complaining about how fat she'd gotten, when she was clearly half my size.  One day, I took her aside and expressed to her, "Do you know how it makes me feel when you call yourself fat?  Do you know how much it makes me feel terrible and wonder about the terrible things you must think about me and my size?"
I need to feast upon my own words there.  And if I hurt anyone's feelings, I am extremely sorry...I would never intentionally inflict the kind of pain on someone else that I felt so many times...that I caused myself so many times.

7. My body ROCKS!
Seriously!  I have all the right curves in all the right places (whether they are more or less toned one month as they are the next is trivial).  My muscles all work.  These hobbit legs and kids-size tootsies can run five miles without stopping.  My heart can beat 150-170 beats per minute for an hour at a time and thank me for it when I'm done.  My hair is long and luscious.  My hazel eyes are the gateway to my soul.  I have enough energy to be the Energizer Bunny.
Most importantly, this body is mine.  If I treat it right, it will return the favor.  And it has.  I'm healthier now than I was ten years ago.  That says a lot, yes? 

8. My body size does not and will never impact my spiritual size.  
What a marvelous realization.
At first I was upset that people said, "No matter what size you are, I've always found you one of the kindest, most genuine people I know and that is more important than any ridiculous number."  Because, hey, what did I go through all that work for if I was no more attractive at a healthier stature?  Ohhhh...riiiight...I did this for my health and for my own self-image.  I cannot state enough how much my self-image grows when I know I have the unconditional love of so many lifting me up.

Experiences like this help me to keep loving myself as much as others love me.  And if a person doesn't love me or say loving words to me?  Doesn't mean I should love myself any less...whether or not there is more or less of me.   

A Lot More of This!

No more of this!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy 8th Anniversary!

Today is my 8th Anniversary! 

On this day 8 years ago I joined a gym for the first time.  Sure, I'd had weight lifting classes at BYU and gymnastics and all of that, but this was my official declaration of, "I will get fit and stay fit forever." 

There were many naysayers, truth be told.  Those who said, "Oh people always join the gym and quit six months later."  Or, "Don't join until you know you are going to exercise every day."  Blah blah blah.

Eight years later, I'm still going strong.  Happy Anniversary to me!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sexy and They Know It!

My kid sis, Britney, and her new hubby, Matt, are sexy.  And they know it.

This video speaks for itself.  I absolutely cannot get enough - especially during, "Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle."  I die.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Yesterday I Was Called "Fat" at the Gym

Yesterday, I headed to the gym as has so commonly occurred over the past 8 years (it's true - my 8th anniversary is on the 15th).  Little did I know what I was in for.

After my warmup, I loaded the leg press with 270 pounds for high-reps instead of my normal 315-340 pounds for low reps - figuring that my much-needed week off while I was in Ohio might have weakened me a bit.  Up walked Gym Rat - I met him last year about this time because he happens to be in my ward and I happen to see him almost every time I go to the gym, no matter what time of the day or night.

"You been slacking off at the gym?"

"No!  Well...I did just take a week off for my sister's...." *interrupted

"No, no, no.  That's not it.  It's been much longer than that. You used to be so much more fit when I first saw you here. You have really let yourself go. You need to work hard so you can have a hot body again. You've got good genetics and muscle tone, I know you can do it." 

Um?  I simply stared at him.  The caged obeast, cottage-cheese-thighed little girl in my head pulverized her enclosure and Stay-Puft Marshmallow Manned every corner of my brain.  The marshmallow liquified and began dripping from my eyes.  

Never you mind I wear a size 4-6 and am not overweight.  Never you mind that I am in the gym six days per week.  Never you mind that I am five freaking feet tall and can feel/see a weight gain or loss any more significant than two pounds.  Never you mind that two weeks ago I ran 5 miles in 41 minutes.  Clearly, as Gym Rat pointed out, I've let myself go.  

The kicker?  I'm the exact same weight I was when I met him last year.  I cannot tell you if I am as toned as I was then, but I can tell you that lately I have been feeling pretty gross about my body.  This could be a culmination of factors such as ill-fitting fall-weather clothes, a boyfriend whom I adore in every way whom I embrace often while all-the-while my little mental fat girl fears he will flee from encountering one fat-roll too many, the fact that I know I'm not as in-shape as I could be, the fact that I have been more lenient with Gym because boyfriend is mega more important to me right now....the list goes on.  

But back to what Gym Rat said.

People, you need to keep your mouths SHUT!  You never know what a person is going through.  Yes, I have justified making generalized statements such as, "Overweight can threaten your health.  Period."  I do not feel that is a personal attack on anyone and is a black and white fact.  But to walk up to a person and just tell them they have really "let themselves go?!"  To say he knows I have "good genetics?"  Sorry, Gym Rat, but I actually don't.  If you think my path to success is my "good genetics," then you make me feel as if I am going to fail.  Several in my family have had to have gastric bypasses because of their genetic weight struggles and many more continue their struggles with obesity (not simply being overweight).  So you telling me I've let myself go implies you think I am slothful when there is really so much more you don't know. 

The interesting insight into this that most of you wouldn't know is that I know this man was not trying to be malicious.  He's a Gym Rat who sees bodies as objects and not as part of a spiritual person.  I fully believe he thought he was helping and had no idea that his comments would lead to over an hour of tears.  That doesn't make it okay.

You see, I was thrice physically obese.  I am in better physical condition and weigh less now than I did when I was 11...and 16...and 21-24.  I conquered that.  Back then, I worked my butt off to become part of a competitive gymnastics team, show choir, a national runner-up baton competition team, Ohio State baton soloist champion in my division, vocal solo competition champion in Indiana, Feature Twirler for our High School, and the list goes on.  Yet, somehow, when I "retired" from gymnastics at 16, I gained 40 pounds within 9 months.  A doctor told me he was afraid for my health because of how physically active I was while my little body was carrying around an obese load.  Ouch.  At 17, I lost weight enough to not be obese, although still overweight, and over the next few years I crept back up to the big obeast.  At 24, even through years of coaching men's gymnastics classes at BYU, I could not complete a hike with some of my friends and I realized something had to change.  And I never looked back.

I have not been obese in eight years.  Mentally, however, I am still there.  Yesterday I realized that no matter how much I think I've conquered this obeast monster in my head, sometimes a setback makes me feel like I am back at square one.  Then logic and rationale step in, helping me to realize that voice in my head is my own inner-bully.  Being as it is anti-bullying month, I definitely need to let go and replace inner-beast with inner-beauty - accepting all parts of my current and past self as the pieces that have made me the person I am today.

Do you know what makes this easier?  The outpouring I received via phone calls, text messages, and Facebook after I shared my experience.  My Facebook post received 65 comments.  I will share some of those soon. The defeated part of me has a hard time believing people who have not seen me in years, or those whom I have heard before saying "you aren't fat" flippantly to many others...but you know what?  The fact remains that I am loved and the people who love me most all find me beautiful no matter what I look like on the outside.  I could not be a luckier gal.

One more thing...


* All of the photos were taken within the past two weeks
* Even if I were, for lack of a better word, "fat," does anyone who is "fat" need someone to point it out to them and tell them they don't look good anymore?  Nope.  We are all very self-aware.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Vaseline - My Cure for Many Ailments

You know how the father on My Big, Fat Greek Wedding uses Windex as a cure-all?  I've got a couple of similar tricks up my sleeve and one of them is Vaseline.


I use it as a one-trick-wonder and always have some in my home. 

What do I use it for?
  1. Squeaky doors.  I apply some Vaseline with a Q-tip and let it set for a couple of days - sure enough, the squeak disappears.  I've used this on car doors, screen doors, bathroom doors, you get the point.  Works every time.
  2. Makeup Remover.  I used to cake on the makeup for show choir and other shows in general.  Whenever I had stubborn stuff that I thought would need chiseled, I busted out the Vaseline and simply wiped it off.  I swipe a little on my lashes before bed each night instead of scrubbing them to death and when I awake in the morning - voila!  No sticky mascara residue!
  3. Lip Balm.  Chapped lips?  Vaseline will always keep them moist, healthy, and shiny.
  4. Salve for cracked skin on hands and feet.  I have great hand/feet skin, I really do.  But on the rare occasion that something gets too raw, I slather on some Vaseline before bed and cover up with gloves or socks (or both) and wake up in the morning to silky smooth, saved skin.
Now you want to go buy some Vaseline, don't you?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Topanga Lawrence and Kelly Kapowski

I couldn't help but giggle to myself when I thought of this the other day, so I created my first (and probably only) meme.  Hope it makes you smile!

Monday, September 24, 2012


Folks, this is my first post as a 32-year old.   

What's that?  You want to know all about my birthday?  Well since you asked nicely...

Last week was a collision of fun times - an elegant dinner out at Paris Bistro with my handsome fellow's family, a Yelp event at Rice Fusion Cuisine and Sushi Bar, and 9 to 5 the Musical at Hale Centre Theatre.

Then came my birthday.  This year I had taken note of all of the crazy amounts of events happening around my birthday and had decided I would just play it cool and spend the evening with Rob (yeah, handsome fellow I keep alluding to has a name - who knew?) instead of making myself another chore on everyone's to-do list.  My friends had a different idea.

I arrived at my 1/2 day of work to decorations, my favorite co-worker produced baked goods - caramel brownies, and a Nordstrom gift card.  Everyone was so kind and sweet in spite of the extreme work-stress we've been under recently. 

After work, my next agenda item was a 5-mile run at the gym.  Some of you may think this is rather odd, especially because my legs are about two inches long and I am not, I repeat not, a runner.  But this is a benchmark run for me each year because I don't think I can get too far off the fitness path if I can run five miles in under 50 minutes at least once each year.  I was a little further along in my training for the run this year and managed to beat last year's time of 43:25, running my five miles in only 41:45!!!  I was so proud of myself and exhausted.

I didn't let the exhaustion wear me down too much because Rob (have I mentioned he is the best?) booked a 90-minute massage for me.  You heard me.  I've never had a real, professional massage before and had no idea the ecstasy I was in for.  I had no idea 90-minutes could pass so quickly or that my mind could be so empty.  Imagine my surprise as I stumbled out of the massage room in my semi-coherent state to hear, "You have a delivery."  Rob had dropped off flowers for me at the front desk!  I must have lit up like the sun as the therapists exclaimed various renditions of, "You have the best boyfriend ever!"

Upon arriving home, I cleaned up a bit, took a little power nap, and made myself pretty for the evening, which would first involve heading to a DJ meeting with Rob for his 45-minute presentation.  Before you think that is also a weird thing, I thought nothing of it - I love knowing what is going on and helping out where I can with his business and I also think it is nice to do something sweet for him after he had spent the whole day making sure I was spoiled.  Little did I know the spoiling wasn't over.

We left the meeting after his presentation and after I asked where we were headed he said, "Well, I forgot my wallet at your house."
"I have money.  You can pay me back, I don't care."
"It's your birthday.  I would feel better if I paid.  What do you want to eat?"
He clearly knows talk of food will divert my attentions more quickly than anything. 

As fishy as this wallet debacle was, I clearly had not suspected anything up until that moment or I would have made sure to eat before I'd left home.

I walked around the corner into my condo to this gloriously unusual non-happy birthday song:

I may be acting entirely silly in that video, but I was brimming so fully of love that it almost spilled out my eyes if you know what I mean.  I could not believe it.  I love all of my friends so much and to know this many people were able to sacrifice the precious little time we all have just to come and wish me a happy birthday (which is always weird because it isn't like I actually did anything to be born), is overwhelming.  What an amazing sight.

Apparently Melissa and Rob had been planning this soiree for weeks.  Good one Guys, good one.  The guests came and went over the next four hours, each new face causing me to squeal with joy.  If any of the guests are deaf now, my deepest apologies.  My day and my heart were full beyond what I ever could have hoped for or done for myself.

And if all of that wasn't enough, the next morning Rob dropped by my office to meet all of my co-workers and wish me Happy Birthday yet again.

Not to sound cheesy or cliche, but my life is richly, fully, explodingly blessed.  Thank you all for being on this journey with me and so selflessly giving me your love every day.  Here's to the next 32!!!

My Fella and Me, 1950s high-school style for Yelp's back-to-school event

The flowers Rob delivered while I had a 90-minute massage
Shayla knows I don't like cake, so she and Laci made this amazing Rice Crispy Treat peanut butter cup/pretzel concoction for me!

Amy, me, Melissa - the last ladies of round 1 at the surprise party

Me, Chris, Megan, the true last guests to the party

The man of the hour and just about the best man that ever there was

Aloof Adorable Amy, me-clearly-not-ready-for-a-photo-and-rather-skeptical-about-something, and Hottie Keri working it - love these beautiful, energetic, glowing women!