Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fall: That's Better.

OK, so I am currently in a persistent state of bliss as we enter the best season of the year...Fall!! Now don't get me wrong, I'm sad to say farewell to the beautifully blistering summer heat and my ever-favorite state of driving fast, windows down, foot propped up on the driver's seat, music ever-encompassing and warm rays pouring in from the open sunroof, but there is just something so magical and special about the crisp mornings of fall. I love the color scheme of the season, the turn of activities towards nature, and the smell of the kitchen with great baked-goods! So, here's a short list (for me!) of my Must-Dos for Fall... enjoy!!

1. Pick fresh apples and make delicious apple favorites: cider, pie, caramel apples! Yum!
2. Go to a craft fair
3. Pull out my favorite sweaters and jackets (don't forget the scarves!)
4. Make homemade hot cocoa and curl up on the couch with a good book and blanket
5. Make homemade bread.... yummm!
6. Pick pumpkins and make delicious pumpkin treats: pumpkin bread, baked pumpkin seeds, pumpkin-apple butter
7. Have a campfire in the mountains, complete with smores and star-gazing (we'll see how well I can pull this off in Boston!)
8. Have a picnic in the cold with homemade warm soup and bread
9. Go on a hayride (I LOVE these!!!)
10. Litter my room with cinnamon/nutmeg, pine, and pumpkin candles
11. Get a new pair of decorative stockings from Nordstroms (this is my own little tradition for myself... love it!)
12. Start holiday shopping (I hate the crowds!)
13. Go horseback riding
14. Make a homemade fall wreath (Another one of my personal little traditions)

This is the wreath I made last year. Now go make one of your own! :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Boston: That's Better.

I am loving Boston!! I had a really hard time the first day or so that I was here, but this city is definitely growing on me! So many funny little things happen throughout the day that never would have happened in Utah that I started to write them down and think I'll post them here every so often. For example:

I was walking around Newbury St today applying for jobs when I came out of a really nice restaurante, Sonsie, and saw a guy, shirtless and sweaty, standing next to a stationary spin bike just chilling on the street. Of course I thought to myself, 'Man, I hope he's for real with that!' How crazy!!

Then, on the way to the grocery store I was walking past Fenway (there was a game tonight! :) ) and this homeless guy in a wheelchair said, with an accent only a true Bostonian can do, 'Hey honey, wanna go ta dinna?!' Oh Boston, I'm really starting to love you :)

THEN.... I got home and started talking to my roommate, who's a nurse at Brigham and Women's Hospital downtown, and apparently the tv show Boston Med was filmed there! So, of course, we had to watch it! Soo cool! I'm really thinking about being a nurse... how cool would THAT be.

Anyways, so between the beautiful architecture (see below) and the crazy homeless, it's been a fun week. DEFINITELY more interesting than petty social drama in Provo. So, obviously, Boston is better than Utah ;)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bucket Lists: That's Better.

I need things to do with my life. I'm getting EXTREMELY depressed with all this free time. So I've compiled a list of things I want to do.

First of all, I've been reading the book Eat, Pray, Love and when she mentioned figuring out what the three things that are most important to me in life are, I decided to do the same... to go on a similar journey of self-discovery and try and figure out who I am and what I want. Here are my three, all of which were fairly easy to decide upon:
1. Joy.
2. Family.
3. Accomplishment.

Now, to take that even further, I needed to figure out what they each mean and how to apply them to my life to make any sort of difference or impact. Family is obviously family, but I need to figure out what brings me joy and what things I want to accomplish in life so I feel like I haven't wasted my time for nothing.

So here begins a list of thing that I want to do in life that I think might bring me joy and accomplishment:
1. Learn another language. French or Italian, or maybe both.
2. Maybe go to law or medical school. Or both. Why not be awesome?
3. Go skydiving
4. Sail
5. Go Fly Fishing
6. Go deep sea fishing
7. Visit Auschwitz
8. Decorate my perfect house.
9. Go back to Africa and help out another orphanage.
10. Live international for as long as I want.
11. Write a movie script
12. Help someone get through the loss of their mother to cancer.
13. Eat Indian food in India.
14. Golf par on an entire course.
15. Get acupuncture
16. Make someone else wait for ME to respond for once.

And since most of these require money, and quite a bit of it, I've also decided to become rich, in case you were wondering. :) See you in India...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hero: That's Better.

It is the day before our last day of school and I was feeling nauseous this morning so I sent my first period class to my friend Toby's classroom to work on their projects while he taught Art History. Lucky for me, when I got there they were just beginning the analysis of the movie Hero. Not gonna lie, I was definitely against it in the beginning because I know Toby and Toby loves history and I hate it, but I decided to let Toby do his thing and see him in his element.

Now, I love avant garde, and I love art in cinema. Intro to Film at BYU was one of my favorite courses that I took, and this film definitely fell into that category. The overbearing use of the colors which flooded the screens and doused the fabrics

Friday, April 30, 2010

Multifunctional Art Part 3: That's Better.

I began being fascinated and obsessed with avant garde makeup in high school just before the Christina Aguilera spread for MAC came out.

When I saw this photo which makeup artist Julie Begin concocted, I knew I'd found another breathtaking, perfectly balanced 'Makeup As Art' photo. The start color contrast and flawless texture is enviable, absolutely.

Spring Style: That's Better.

I got the new J Crew catalog yesterday and am SO lovingly obsessed with these looks!! Hello summer paychecks, this is what you will be bartered for...

Their mens looks were so good I couldn't help but post these as well... stunning.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Multifunctional Art Part 2: That's Better.

Part two of my Multifunctional Art posts consists of architectural works. The first is the staircase in the Lello Bookshop in Portugal, constructed in 1906 by an engineering professor named Xavier Esteves. It's amazing the magnitude of the staircase when you consider the size of the shop! From construction to color this piece is amazing...

The second piece is an organic home in Mexico, the Nautilus House, designed by the architect Javier Senosiain. This definitely takes me to my own wonderland...

Multifunctional Art: That's Better.

I've found some really interesting pieces of art lately, so my next few posts will function more or less as a conglomerate of these intriguing works. Some are digital, some are installations, all are unique. Enjoy!

Ephemicropolis is a city made out of stacks of staples. The minute detail it would take to create this would be enough to drive me insane..

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Girls: That's Better.

Our squad hosted the 2nd Annual MCPA Cheerleading Invitational this past Saturday and I have been working like MAD on that and apologize for not posting for a few weeks! I will definitely get more on top of that now that competition and prom are both out of the way! (Both HUGE events that I was over at work)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Here... :That's Better.

In case you're wondering where I'll be in the fall....

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spinach Tart: That's Better.

I'm eating vegetarian-ish as one of my April goals, and I found this AMAZING spinach tart recipe that was absolutely divine! It only has about 250 cal per serving and it is full of tons of great flavor, especially when topped with fresh pico de gallo salsa!

Crustless Mushroom Spinach Tart

2 T seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/2 c chopped onion


10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 cup milk

1 cup egg substitute (I used about 3 egg whites and 4 eggs instead)

salt and pepper

1 1/4 c shredded Mexican cheese blend

1/3 c grated parmesan cheese

1. Coat a 9-in pie plate with cooking spray Sprinkle bottom and sides with crumbs; shake out the excess. Set plate aside.

2. Saute mushrooms and onion in oil until all liquid has evaporated (~10 min). Remove from heat; stir in spinach.

3. In a bowl, combine the milk, egg, salt and pepper. Stir in the spinach mixture, 1 cup Mexican cheese blend and Parmesan cheese. our into prepared pie plate. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Sprinkle remaining Mexican cheese blend around edge of tart. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

4. ENJOY this AMAZING dish!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Claire Morgan Art: That's Better.

I love art and whole-heartedly enjoy galleries and appreciating the talent it takes to develop such unique pieces. I've recently discovered this artist, who has been constructing these amazing 'kinetic' sculptures out of organic materials such as fruit, flowers and feathers. I love the geometric simplicity.

And I love saving the best for last:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Tiny Piney: That's Better.

I've been getting into unique edible plants as I've begun to plant my garden for this year (one of my favorite things about summer!) and I ran into the 'Tiny Piney', a relatively modern GMO which was originally developed to provide a fast growing source for its smell to be used in the fragrance industry. It's most often consumed in New Guinea by being dipped in a coconut milk and beetle shell batter and deep fried. While that wouldn't be how I would consume it, (not the biggest fan of beetles... ever) I am adoring this miniature version of my favorite Christmas aroma. Oh, and FYI, it is only 2 cm when full grown!

Boston University: That's Better.

I did it! I got into my #1 school!!! Boston University has made their decision, and YES, they want me to be among those in the MPH (Public Health) c/o 2012! I will be moving out of UT at the end of May, with a brief stay-over in AL for my best friend's wedding and then Louisville to visit my sister and her beautiful family, then on to Boston! I really am so blessed to have been accepted to one of the Top 20 MPH programs in the nation (BU is #13). I was turned down from a school that was 3 rankings behind BU and was beginning to get very nervous. And then, on top of that, I found out in the funniest way which definitely did not expect! Here's what happened...

I pulled into my apartment complex around 9pm or so from work. Tired and hungry, I decided to check the mail, just in case there were any bills in there that needed handling. I opened the door to the mailbox and pulled out a small pile of letters, with a postcard from Boston University catching my eye. I THREW everything else on the ground and ripped open the over-sized postcard and began to read:

"Boston University would like to invite you to attend it's 2010 Accepted Students Day! Please RSVP at..."

I began openly shouting "I got in!! I GOT IN!!" at the top of my lungs and jumping around like I was skipping rope, knees tucked and everything. :) Then I started to think for a second and began to wonder what kind of school sends out a postcard as a notice of acceptance to a graduate program? I mean, I understand that we're in a recession and all, but seriously? Ya couldn't spare a few more cents and put it on real paper? I called my dad, I called my sisters, I called my roommate, and all of them came to the same consensus: because I'd recently moved, the forwarded postcard had arrived before the acceptance package and I didn't have anything to worry about.

But I still couldn't help but wonder, 'What if they simply sent this to those on a BU School of Public Health mailing list, and I just happened to be on that list? How lame would that be! So of course I now had to wait 9 hours until their offices would open the next morning and I could call and inquire. Lucky for me, I had really been accepted. :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Knot Gardens: That's Better.

I adore gardens! They are so fabulously quaint, orderly, productive and aesthetically pleasing. I've always taught a gardening unit at the end of my course and I love getting other people into the wonderful world of gardening and beings somewhat self-sustaining!

This year I get the joy of designing the layout for our courtyard inside our school and I am absolutely loving the research of looking through gorgeous gardens for inspiration! I've recently discovered the term for a concept I've been in love with since I can remember, knot gardens.

I just can't get over these beautiful knots! And one day, when I have my own beautiful home and garden I can have a knot to tie it all up with!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Birthday Surprises: That's Better.

I was reading a blog I really like, Jordan Ferney's Oh Happy Day, and saw this amazing idea she had for her husband's birthday! She borrowed a friend's bear costume, another friend's boom box, and hired a break dancer off craigslist to dance for her husband for his birthday! Soo fun! Enjoy!

Circus Dress: That's Better.

Our school is doing an auction/dinner event on Saturday to raise money for the library and they asked each mentor class to donate a basket. Our class decided to do one with the theme 'Little Darlings'. We've got pom poms, body spray, coloring books, a hat, some headbands I've crocheted, and THIS:

Isn't it fabulous?!? I love the colors, it reminds me of the circus, which I know is kind of helter skelter, but it nonetheless intrigues me and inspires movement. :)

America, ENJOY!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Vision: That's Better.

Ahh! Again! It's not even just a little bit later and I've found another love. Can you believe someone actually thought of this as a birthday gift and furthermore, could you imagine yourself being the one to receive?! Love...

(Note: This is NOT a post of mine, but rather one found here.)

Birthday Installation

My friend Aubrey put together this little "installation" for her boyfriend's birthday. The best surprises cost less than $20. Happy Birthday Blake!

Bluebirds: That's Better.

I have been getting more and more into surfing blogs and found this amazing art work I absolutely adore. The poem that inspired this piece reminded me of a distant life I once had where I wrote poetry too. And the fact that someone was inspired and created this necklace, perfect.

There's a Bluebird in my Heart Charm Necklace with Sterling Silver Chain inspired by a Charles Bukowski Poem
There's a Bluebird in my Heart Charm Necklace with Sterling Silver Chain inspired by a Charles Bukowski PoemThere's a Bluebird in my Heart Charm Necklace with Sterling Silver Chain inspired by a Charles Bukowski PoemThere's a Bluebird in my Heart Charm Necklace with Sterling Silver Chain inspired by a Charles Bukowski PoemThere's a Bluebird in my Heart Charm Necklace with Sterling Silver Chain inspired by a Charles Bukowski PoemThere's a Bluebird in my Heart Charm Necklace with Sterling Silver Chain inspired by a Charles Bukowski Poem


There's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
in there.

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
you want to blow my book sales in

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody's asleep.
I say, I know that you're there,
so don't be
then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
and we sleep together like
with our
secret pact
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don't
weep, do
-Charles Bukowski

You can find the link to this piece here, America. Enjoy!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wise Guys: That's Better.

So I teach high school Biology (and Infectious Diseases), in case you haven't gathered that, and I recently assigned an assignment wherein students had to make a collage of different parts of cells. This was one of the analogies one student submitted. He used the word 'affinity', which means an attraction to or liking of something, and although 'affinity' wasn't part of their words list that they could use, I gave him credit because his analogy was..haha.. awesome.

Enjoy, America :) (click on image to see the full picture)

Pushing Your Comfort Zone: That's Better.

So let me teach you a little something about me: I like barking orders. It honestly can make some things EXTREMELY efficient, and perhaps that's part of why I love my job so much right now...I get to bark orders.


When it comes to creative things, like dance or cheerleading, I do MUCH better when being barked at. I, in no way, have a creative mind, so as a second-year head coach of a high school cheerleading squad, I have done an amazingly great job at dodging the choreographing of ANY of our performance dances or routines. Head cheerleaders and the best assistant coach ever have allowed me to dance around this crucial aspect of cheerleading and I have gotten by until now.

I decided that, since this is probably my last time coaching cheerleading for a looong time, I would try and push myself an really give choreographing a shot. SO, I found some great music, locked all the doors in my house, and started dancin'!

We literally JUST finished our first practice with my newly-introduced choreography and I AM STOKED!!! It's just the right difficulty level, it pushes them (AND ME!!) and I'm even moving them into formations...WITH STUNTS!! As soon as I can find my camera charger and put the dang thing on it I'll upload a video for ya'll. 'Till then, America, PUSH YOURSELF out of your comfort zone! I always tell my kids that they can do hard things and they'll feel so good when they accomplish something difficult that they think they couldn't. Well, lesson to the teacher here...I've never felt so accomplished!

Monday, March 8, 2010

SOPHAS: That's Better.

I've been applying for graduate programs since about November and I have come to greatly appreciate the portal that is called SOPHAS. In case you'll ever be interested in going to graduate school to get your Masters in Public Health (MPH) might I recommend to you some of the 43+ brilliant schools who are on top of the ball when it comes to efficiency! 'How might you find these ingenious schools', you might ask? Well, simply go to SOPHAS.ORG and you can begin applying to as many of these schools, including Yale, Texas at Austin, or Harvard, to name a few, as your little heart desires.

Why are they so great? Duh. They make my life easier. They use SOPHAS. You know, well, you will know when you apply to grad school, but every school basically asks for the same thing, so SOPHAS was designed to be a sort of 'main hub' online for all of the basic application pieces that you will include in every one of your applications. You can of course personalize your application essays, which I'd highly recommend, but from there on out you just click 'submit' and all of your worries go away. They send out your applications, letters of recommendation, essays, even your application fees. I LOVE SOPHAS!!

So I've started getting antsy now about my status' and especially with only 10 weeks of instruction left at work really can't wait to hear back about where life's headed in 2010. Ahh! America!! Pray I get my number 1 choice! :) If I do, I'll tell you where it is ;) duh...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Shoe Therapy: That's Better.

I recently acquired these

and think every other woman who does or does not wear heels should, too. Talk about a power walk, America, and they're so incredibly cute!! Yay for summer and shorts to go with them!!

Forgetting: That's Better.

I was driving to Salt Lake Friday night for a friend's birthday party and stopped at my dad's house on the way to get a little help on my taxes. I left his place thinking about how different our lives are now that everyone's out of the house and Mom's gone. I used to think about her a lot every Sunday when I was in church, but lately with vacations and weekend trips and moving and lots of things changing, it's been a good long while since I've had the time to reconnect with her at our usual meeting place of Sundays at 2.

I remember talking to one of Mom's old friends, Jeri Norton, soon after Mom passed away. Jeri lost her mom at a fairly young age as well, so she at least kind of knew what we were going through. She said, "It'll get easier, and then some times, out of the blue, you'll go to call her and forget she's gone. You'll want to ask her for a recipe and then remember she's not there. You'll cry for a bit, but then you remember that she's happy, and that you're happy for her." She was right. It has gotten easier, and it hasn't happened for a while, but as I left my dad's house I started listening to Rascal Flatts' 'Skin' and just remembered her fire and wit, despite surgery and scalpel.

It hurts, of course it does, remembering the last few days. I was only home for 2 days from an international research position before she left us, but seeing the pain she was in and the subsequent pain it was causing me, how could I wish for it to last longer? But good hell, who even knows if it was pain?! It spread down her central nervous system, so how do we know that what she was feeling was worse than what my heart felt?? How could I not want her to stay longer? This is where defense mechanisms kick in and I pretend to forget.


Forget that part and remember the rest. Sometimes it's good, forgetting. Forget that, though, I'll take any memory of her I can find..