Thursday, January 31, 2013

$20 dollar adventures

Normally when Friday night rolls around and all I want to do is indulge in mindless TV. On my recent self evaluations, I knew I wanted to take better advantage of the opportunities to learn available right now.  While I kind of stumbled into this weekends adventures of $20 dollar craziness, I'm hooked! I loved seeing what I could see/do/eat for $20 dollars.

I'd been wanting to see Da Vinci, the Genius at The Leonard for some time. To see Da Vinci's designs actually brough to life was impressive. Was there anything he couldn't do? His designs were incredible in their scope and technicality and so beautiful in their design.  What four new things did I learn? 1. He was right handed but wrote left handed. 2. He was a bastard. 3. He became even more secretive in his journals after being arrested.  4. He abhorred war, but most of his designs increased the capability of destruction.

Saturday night allowed me to do something I've always thought would be fun. To see if I could do a three course dinner, including tip and tax, at three different restaurants for a set amount of money. We spent every last penny of our $20--bet that waitress loved our tip in nickels and dimes--and had a blast doing so.  Even one of our waitress got into the spirit when she found out what we were doing by giving us free drinks! Score! Twenty dollars can get you cheesy bread with dipping sauce at The Old Spaghetti Factory (yummy), a rice and lentils dish from an organic shop (the apple chutney was the only good part of the meal), and chocolate from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (can't go wrong with chocolate).

I'm pretty sure this is going to become a monthly ritual.  I'm thinking Gateway next, but if you want to come you can pick the location. :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Winter, how about you and I part.

Dear Winter, 
It's time to take a break from each other.  Round two after beautiful blue skies this morning, snow not amused.  I'll let you know when I'm ready to see you again, but I have a feeling it's not going to be for another 10 or possibly 11 months.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chasing the winter blues away

We're supposed to hit a balmy 40 today. Hallelujah!  But, right now there's freezing rain coming down. Hmmm. Hopefully the weather minions aren't just playing with me.

I wish I was here.
Image from BBC Travel
And this yellow beauty from One Good Thread was in my closet.

I'd even settle for just seeing blue sky (and not the yucky smog).

Image from aroundtherings

So spring, how do you feel about showing up sooner than later?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Love Pinterest, but it's testing my resolve to stay away from calorie laden desserts. 

Salted Caramel Shortbread from Annie Eats

Turtle Cake from Cafe Lattee

Coconut Lemon Cake  from Oh Cake

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Don't be afraid.

Coming up with an idea for an adventure. EASY. Actually doing it. A. LOT. OF. SCARY. WORK. 

Did you know that some of the last words that George Washington uttered before his death were "Don't be afraid." Aren't they powerful? Of all the things Washington could have left us with, why this? I think it's because he wanted not only the doctor that needed to preform a procedure that could relieve his suffering, but, the rest of us as well, to understand that fear is the greatest reducer of our potential. Here was a man who had been called upon to do a lot of hard things, and knew what it was to be afraid, letting us know the secret to his greatness--he did it anyway.

My doing it anyway is still a work in progress. It's a lot harder than you think. And I've already failed miserably, but then again so did Washington so I'm in good company, right?

Those that know my family, know we're history nerds. There's not many people that have had the portraits of  Washington, Nathanael Green, and Henry Knox hanging on their dinning room wall. Next to their portraits also hung one of my favorite quotes. It's from a forum David McCullough's gave at BYU in 2006 entitles "The Glorious Cause of America." I HIGHLY recommend you read it and then read it again.

"Most everybody concluded that the war was over and we had lost. It was the only rational conclusion one could come to. There wasn’t a chance. So Washington did what you sometimes have to do when everything is lost and all hope is gone. He attacked."  

 I've included it twice because it is that amazing.  Plus, google won't include my blog in search results if I just include the image.

Why do I love it? It reminds me that there are times when the only course open to me is to attack. To not be afraid. To jump in both feet not knowing what the outcome may. So this week, I attacked going after a new job and applying for a graduate program. I may fail miserably in both endeavors, who knows. But I didn't attack all situations this week. Major epic fail in introducing myself to my stake crush.

As you getting ready to "attack" do you have a quote you turn to? I'd love to know what it is, so please share.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Why hello winter!

Hello winter. Thanks for showing up and dumping over 30+ inches in 30 hours. Granted, I loved the whole snowday and staying in my PJ's, but I didn't love having to scrape my car off multiple times or spending an hour digging my car out. Next time you decided to send that much snow, how about also sending a guy who'll dig my car out. Deal?

What make a snow plow interesting? The fact that he got stucked.

Until you send the boy, I'll settle for the sun.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I'm going on an ADVENTURE

Yep, that's right. The blog has a new name.

Why the change? Let's just say that 2012 was a hard year, and, for some funny reason, a hard year means lots of introspection--and I mean lots. During the last six months I spent too many late nights pondering things (after too many late nights crying). In my tear-filed haze, I came to the realization that everything I wanted/needed this year would be an adventure to accomplish.  Getting a new job--adventure. Being happy with myself and situation--adventure. Dating--major adventure. So, the words of Bilbo Baggins "I'm going on an adventure" have become my unofficial motto.

But, actually there's more to it. In The Hobbit movie (I can't vouch if it's in the book as I was 11 when I read it),  Bilbo Baggins ask Gandalf if he will return from his adventure. Gandalf replies with some very wise council, “No... and if you do, you will not be the same.”  

Watching that, it finally dawned on me that the true meaning of an adventure is not that you did something/went somewhere, but rather, you did something you didn't think you could and you came away changed.  Changed for the good/bad, well that depends on you. 

Like Bilbo, I want to go on an adventure, or in my case, adventures--some will be good, some will be difficult, and some, of course, will be painful--but the hope is that all of them will change me. 

I'll be sharing what I learn on my adventure, so I hope you'll come along because every adventure is better with companions, right?

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Ten Years of London Love

London you've enchanted me for TEN years. From that very first moment you captured my heart and  I felt like I was coming home. That first night I wrote "I can tell already that four months won't be long enough."  I could live there the rest of my days and it still wouldn't be enough time. As the plane was lifting off, I penned  "Farewell England. My heart belongs to you." So true. This is a love affair that is going to last a lifetime!

Stepping off that plane, I had no idea what my time in London would bring. I knew I'd be surrounded by awe-inspiring buildings, great historical places, and thousands of years of culture. What I didn't expect was to fall in love, find a true friend that has seen me through the ups and downs of life, or to truly discover who I was and what I wanted to become. Thank you for giving me that amazing opportunity to grow. It's probably why I love you so much. 

Buckingham Palace
First day in London, Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace
Last day in London, Buckingham Palace

Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace

St. James Park

Thames, Westminster, Big Ben
Big Ben

My favorite place to be at night, bank of the Thames

Big Ben
Thames and the South Bank

Houses of Parliament

London Eye

Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square
Kensington Garden/ Hyde Park

Kensington Palace

Peter Pan Statue, Hyde Park

Iconic London, Black Taxis

Tower of London
Tower of London

Tower of London
White Tower, Tower of London
Beefeater, Tower of London

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

ST. Pauls

St. Paul's Cathedral

City of London aka the Square Mile

Welcome to the city of London

Cultural London

Victoria and Albert Museum

Globe Theatre

Les Miserables

The Tube aka the oldest mass transit system

Platform 9 3/4

The Tube

The Tube
Home, 27 Palace Court

Home, 27 Palace Court with the lovely Tina (the lady who ran the London Centre)

Dinning Room at 27 Palace Court

Packin' Up

England Adventures

First Red Phone Boxes,  Hampshire
Brighton Pier
Cardif Castle, Cardif Wales
Benbow Pond
St. Albans


Shambles, York

Shambles, York

Rievaulx Abbey

Roommates at Rievaulx Abbey



Royal Observatory, Greenwich

Meridian Date Line, Greenwich
Crescent Circle, Bath

King's College, Cambridge

Punting on the River Cam, Cambridge

Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle, Soctland

Downpour in Scotland

Lake District

Beatles Yellow Submarine, Liverpool

Salsibury Cathedral

Dover Castle

Dover Castle

Dover Castle. We had amazing directors with the Whittakers

Blenheim Place, birthplace of Winston Churchill

Blenheim Place

Windsor Castle

Portsmouth England
Jane Austen's House in Chawton

On the Bus

Home Stay
During the middle of the semester, we were sent to live with a British Family. Melanie and I stayed with the Rasmussen.

Visiting the birthplace of the Bakewell Tart

Our lovely host mum,  Elaine Rassmussen

Nottingham Castle home of Robin Hood

Some of the local YSA.