Monday, March 31, 2014

The End of an Era

So tonight is the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. I am so excited, so sad, and so sentimental at the same time. Here is why.

EXCITED: how could you not be? to see how your favorite TV show will end. I mean come on! When will Ted meet the mother already! Actually, we know when, and we know how, we just need to see it happen. And I am stoked. I can't decide if I want it to be romantic, hilarious, or terrible. I think I will just be happy with anything at this point.

SAD: the end of the show. It is always sad when something ends. And yet it is still just a TV show. Am I the only one though that gets attached to fictional characters? Be it a book, or TV/movie?

SENTIMENTAL: Could I watch this finale on my own within the next several hours? Yes. But am I going to? Nope. One of my very best friends introduced me to the show, we watched it together all the time, and even after I got married, we would talk about them afterward when we couldn't watch together. Well now she is back from serving an LDS mission in San Francisco and will be back in Utah in about a week. So, because I am sentimental, I am waiting for her. I feel like we started it together and I want to finish it together too. I can't wait!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Two Part Post About Books

Part One: A Book Review

The Mortal Instruments and the The Infernal Devices-Cassandra Clare

I read the Mortal Instruments first as a recommendation from a sister in law, and they were great. It is a real-life fantasy story about a girl in New York finding out that all the myths and stories (the good and the bad) are true and that things are not that rosy. She gets interconnected into this "Shadow World" and saves the day several times. Of course, since it is young adult fiction, there has to be the love interest and love triangle thing going on too. There is one more book left to come out this summer, and I have to be honest and say that I am somewhat sick of reading them, but yet I have to know the end. I have a problem with needing to know the end of a story. Once I start a series, I have to finish it, no matter how bored I am by the time it ends.

image via

The Infernal Devices is a prequel series to the Mortal Instruments that I actually enjoyed more than the original series. There is not as much of the modern teenage angst, the story is back far enough that it is different characters, and its only a trilogy. Hooray for the classic trilogy! Series burnout is a real thing, see the above paragraph.

Part Two: General Book Thoughts

Not only is series burnout a real thing, but I would like to propose my own term-genre burnout.

I need something new to read. There have been so many books lately that are about a normal teenager being pulled into a fantastical world and having to save the day using a secret mythical talent they didn't know they had until a large climatic moment. They also have a little too much teenage angst, love triangle, life isn't fair, kids-save-the-day-because-adults-made-the-problem attitude, and predictability. On a similar note, just because one of these books sells a lot of copies does not mean it needs to be a movie.  We have Percy Jackson, Twilight (yes I am including it on this list, I admit that I read them in high school), Hunger Games, Moral Instruments, Divergent, and more. Too much!

So there it is. So many people keep telling me that I need to read the Divergent books, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I am suffering from genre-burnout.

If anyone else has another book to recommend I am in need of some suggestions.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Social

Top 3 things you can't go a day without doing

  • Checking my email at least a million times
  • Getting a water bottle full of crushed ice from the work ice machine and eating it like there is no tomorrow. 
  • Trying to crack a joke to Brett that turns out not to be funny, but just awkward because I try to hard. 

3 things that scare you the most

  • Falling. Not necessarily heights, I loved looking through the observation deck of the Space Needle because I knew I wouldn't fall. But sometimes walking across a bridge freaks me out.

  • Settling and not living up to my full potential, whatever it may be. Nothing makes me more upset than stopping short of an achievable goal.
  • Losing those that I love. Loneliness in general scares me. 

3 places you want to see before you kick the bucket

  • Greece. Those white rocks and houses are beautiful. 
  • Washington DC. So much history there that I can't wait to see. 
  • A warm beach. I don't care if its West Coast, East Coast, foreign, etc. But a warm beach after these Utah winters would be wonderful!

3 movies you will always love

  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy. All three of them. I have a hard time leaving a story uncompleted, so with a series like this, I group them all together.
  • Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Same logic as above. 
  • Silver Linings Playbook. I don't like watching R-rated movies very often, but since getting a ClearPlay player, this has become one of my favorites. Its a movie about family and learning to love each other, yourself, and how to handle your personal issues. So lovely. Jennifer Lawrence totally deserved that Oscar.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day of Spring

Today is the first day of spring. Here in Utah it may not really feel like it, but at least we now know there is hope! As I was thinking of how much I love spring, I realized that I also love summer, and fall, and winter even. Apparently I just like all the seasons. I guess that comes from always living in places where I get to experience all four every year.

So many amazing things are planned for this spring. We will finish classes, visit family, move, explore a new city, and start two new jobs all before the official first day of summer hits us.

Luckily I love the rain, because the season and our soon-to-be new home are famous for it! Speaking of which, I found this painting online and have fallen in love with it! If you follow this link there are others as well. I just love the way it shows the rain, but in such bright fragmented colors. I was hoping it cost a little less so we could have it in Seattle, but alas, maybe in the future.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Recipes I Love

Since finding out that I needed to changed my diet and exercise patterns to be much more strict, I tried lots of new recipes and have played with adapting some favorite recipes as well. That means I have been able to find some new favorites that I cannot get over. All images were taken from the linked recipe websites

Orange Chicken

I just found this recipe and cannot get over it. So far I have made it twice in one week. I love it! As far as the recipe is concerned, I didn't have rice wine vinegar, but it still worked out well.  It was good to have over white rice, like the recipe calls for, but I also like it over home made fried rice. The recipe can be found at Return of the Yummmy here, and I really recommend you check it out immediately.

Taco Chicken

This is another favorite found at From Valerie's Kitchen that I have made a couple different ways. I have followed the recipe with everything other than the can of chilies, and I have made it with just the spice mix and onions and that was also fantastic. I love that this recipe is in the slow-cooker so it makes cleanup so easy. And the leftovers keep so well that I will us the chicken all week. The chicken is good on a southwest salad, my favorite way to use what's left.

Honey-Lime Chicken Skewers

The only thing I change in this is that we don't have a BBQ so we usually cook it in more of an Asian style, cooked up on the stove and mixed in with some fried rice. Very simple, very delicious. Check it out at Kitchen Meets Girl.

Garlic and Oil Spaghetti with Lemon-Pepper Chicken

This one from Rachael Ray is by far the most simple of the bunch, but the mix of flavors is amazing. I like using Angle Hair spaghetti with such a light sauce, stirring the sauce into the noodles before serving and topping with chicken chunks just seasoned with generic lemon-pepper mix. So good, so light, and yet so filling.

I hope you love these as much as I do!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Saturday Night that Just Wouldn't Happen

Before we begin the ridiculousness of our Saturday, enjoy this adorable picture of my husband with our niece and nephew. We babysat them last week so naturally Brett had to watch the Avengers cartoon with them. 

Here is the sequence of events we got over the weekend.

Saturday morning we woke up later than we really had time for (we stayed up way too late watching Hunger Games with Matt & Hannah), getting to the library at 9:15 am to work on homework. Brett started his online midterm and 7 1/2 hours later he finally finished. 

That afternoon I ran to the grocery store for a 'quick couple things' and naturally forgot half of what we needed. Typical, right?

Then we headed out to the Saturday evening session of Stake Conference where we were able to make up for some of the frustration of the day. 

After that ended, we wanted to relax with a date night to the dollar theater. Now here is where it starts to get ridiculous. 

We show up to a 9:35 movie (we still want to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) and got through all the previews, our popcorn was almost half gone, and the lights turn on. Honestly, we were at the dollar theater where things like this happen quite often and you just roll with it. If you literally pay $1.25 then you can't complain about the crappy theater. So we waited for the lights to turn off. Then suddenly an employee walks to the front and announces that they are actually stopping the movie and are evacuating the building. Apparently, the sewage line got backed up, was flooding both bathrooms, and everyone had to leave. Luckily we aren't out $3.00 because they will honor our tickets again any time. 

So here we are, 9:50 with no movie plans. We hit up the gas station, check the Red-boxes, and a different movie we wanted isn't in either of the machines. So we head home and start to begin the process of picking what we will watch at home. After the 30 minute process of weeding out options on Netflix we settle on a comic book movie. After online streaming gets to the point where the voices and mouths are off, we realize that we actually have a hard copy of the movie and don't need to stream it. What were we thinking! So we switch to that.

Before going to the movie theater, Brett hit up a vending machine for a diet Coke, which he cracked open at home, took a sip, and spit it out. It was the warmest, flattest soda he had ever tried to drink. So then he moved on to the Starbursts he got, also from the vending machine. Turns out that those were old and nasty too. 

Halfway through the movie we both realized that we were exhausted and that it was way late. After going through the process of going home, picking a movie, switching movies, and laughing about diet Coke we burned all our relaxing movie time. 

So we went to bed. We still have to finish the last half of our movie. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Wise Words of My Husband

I found this sentence written on the inside cover of one of my husband's old notebooks when looking for scratch paper.

Since I found this I have been amazed at Brett's wisdom to want to remember this everyday when he used his notebook. I am sure we have all heard to the idea that we should treat everyone like they are going through a secret trial. While I agree with this, I think that we need to start with just simply being nice to everyone we meet. From a more cynical perspective, if I tell myself to treat everyone the same way, I will still want to treat the people I love well, not badly, so by default I have to choose to be nice to the people I may struggle to like.

By having a neutral foundation to build on we are able to build deeper relationships and eventually learn of those secret trials that every one of us has. Then we are able to be an influence for good.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Things That Bring Back a Memory

Everyone has their list of things that bring back certain memories, certain thoughts, and certain feelings. With the change of seasons coming upon us seemingly earlier than normal here in Utah, some of these things are coming back to me.

The smells of spring are my favorite. There is a smell of dirt and greenery that is amazing, mixed with the smell of moisture. It intensifies when I have to walk across a piece of grass and I can feel that the top of the ground is soft, but still frozen underneath. The smell and the feeling of the grass take me back to the beginning of softball every year, the start of that summer’s lawn mowing, the first excited backyard parties, and first cold night of sleeping in the backyard. And always having lived near a mountain and watching the winter change to spring from a distance.

Music also takes me back. Sometimes it is the hymns my mom used to play on the piano. Other times it is ridiculous 90's songs reminding me of dancing in the kitchen with my sisters when we were supposed to be doing the dishes. It might be a country song that brings back thoughts of driving a pickup with the windows down. Again with the dancing in the kitchen, but a song with a good beat and my roommates making cleaning checks fun. More recently it is a song from a road trip with my husband and the contest to see who can sing the loudest while getting all the words.

Just some sentimental thoughts on my mind as of late.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Coming of Age in Mississippi

This book is a few months old, and I couldn't decide if I was going to write about it or not. This was assigned in my US History class last semester right after The Jungle, and I didn't like it as much as the first. This book gives a girl's perspective of what it was like to grow up in the South leading up to and during the Civil Rights Movement. It begins with her childhood, moves through her college years, and ends with her as an activist participating in the south and in Washington D.C.

It was very eye-opening to read, but also very difficult to read. This first hand account of the Civil Rights Movement shows the levels of injustice and anger that existed. Most surprising to me was the anger that existed from both sides. One thing is that I wish that there wasn't as much language in it. I can usually handle my swear words, but in this case the f-bomb starts to wear on you.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Goal Recap-February

Image Via
Another month of 2014 down and I am still seeing success!

  • Exercising is fun again! I have gotten to the point now where I am able to look forward to each day's workout, not just convincing myself that I will be happy I did once it is over. It has even been warm enough over the last week to run outside! Running two consecutive 10-minute miles in the fresh air did wonderful things to my mind and my self esteem. 
  • I decided to run a half marathon at the end of the summer. There are two reasons for this. One is that if I have to be exercising so much I may as well have a good goal to show for it. The second is that I figured that there is no better place to train for one than in Seattle during the summer. The one I am shooting for is at the end of August and is a trail run so it should be as enjoyable as running can be. :)
  • Healthy eating is going well too. I have fallen in love with vanilla flavored almond milk (it seriously tastes like horchata!) I also have loved how much better I feel with this and the running. I can tell a difference in my body and my energy levels. 
  • Scripture reading is good. Could definitely be better though, fallen a little since last month.
  • Journal writing on the other hand has been going well. As much as I am enjoying blogging it is also good for me to contemplate my personal life and write things out by hand. 
  • Still going well. Having such specific goals is really helpful and it is really satisfying to see the effect it has had.
  • I just finished a block class (half the semester) that I loved, but am glad to be done with in order to get the time back. Should be helpful to my GPA since it was basically participation. :)
  • Due to this class that took up so much time I never got a chance to read an additional book that was not for school. I already have a couple ideas of what to read for March though.