Monday, June 30, 2008

In The Heights


Thursday night Reagan and I got the opportunity to go see 'In The Heights' on Broadway and we were not disappointed. Thanks Eric for getting us such great seats, they were perfect. The whole evening was perfect. Reagan got to wear her new hot outfit so I had the best looking date there. The weather was perfect so we were able to chill outside before the play started and meet some long time New Yorkers. We were able to snap a couple of pictures of the set before they told us to put our cameras away. We could not resist, the set was our subway stop.
Often times I do not agree with who wins the Tony's or even who is nominated but 'In the Heights' well deserved to win the Tony for musical of the year. My favorite was the dancing, it made me want to get up and join them (oh ya). The songs were fun to listen to and I am sure that I will be getting the CD to continue learning and singing the songs at home, Doug is going to be so pleased.
Seeing this play was something else that I had to cross off my list before we leave, my list keeps getting smaller...I might just get everything in. If you ever get the chance to see 'In the Heights' you need to go, you will not be let down.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

NYC Philharmonic


I often mention things that I love to do here in the city and I probably will be mentioning things more now that it is so close to us leaving. One of my favorite things here are the free concerts in Central Park especially the NYC Philharmonic. This was my fourth year in a row going and I must say that I enjoyed this one the most. Maybe it was because this year I did not have to wait out in a rain storm or maybe because I was able to get there early enough to get great seats, I am not sure. I do know that the weather was perfect and they ended the show with Purple Haze from Jimmy Hendrix....now that was cool. Doug was very excited because he voted twice for them to play it. As much as I enjoyed the show, I very much enjoyed the fireworks afterwards. They never let me down. This year we were able to watch in plain sight instead of behind a rather large tree that we sat behind last year trying to stay out of the rain.
The NYC Philharmonic means a lot to me and I would like to say Doug because three years ago at the same concert Doug asked me out on our first date and we all know how well that turned out. Also, two years ago we set up our friends the Bennion's on a blind date. With them having the same last name now, we all know how that turned out as well. It was also nice to share the evening with Doug's cousin John and his girlfriend Kayte and the Hardie's. I am trying to take advantage of all the time that we have to share together these days. Chalk this night up to another joyful evening in the city.











Thursday, June 26, 2008

Appreciation #13


This week's appreciation goes out to Mackenzie Brasher. Mackenzie and I have only become friends in the last few months but I have a feeling that it will be a friendship that lasts a long time. Before I even met Mackenzie she sent me a lovely letter in mail because she had heard that I was having a tough time from some mutual friends of ours. When we finally met we sat and talked for about two hours. She will have no idea how much that letter and talk helped me make it through the days; her friendship has been a blessing. When she heard that we had to terminate the pregnancy, she was out of town, but I still received a package in the mail from her. It was a gift that I will treasure always and it is a daily reminder of hope. Hope that things will work out and that Doug and I will be able to extend our family one-day. Mackenzie has taught me the importance of patience and to stay positive even when the going gets tough. I hope that one day I will be as good of a friend to her that she has so willingly been to me.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Longest day of the year

When Tamara told me her birthday for the first time she told me I could remember it because it's the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. Tamara takes birthdays much more seriously than I do. She's done pretty sweet stuff for me and others for birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, and...well, it goes on and on. You've seen some of the events on here. So I thought I should at least try return the favor on her favorite day of the year. Only the best for my babe. Due to some logistical errors (I was working on a dial up connection) the celebration last year wasn't quite up to snuff. I knew I had to come through this year and I can say this year was like upgrading to DSL.
Before I get into what we did, let's talk about some other notable birthdays on June 21. We have Prince William, the Keatons from Family Ties, and Jean-Paul Sartre. For a list of important events that occurred on this day, check out this. Not too shabby.
To celebrate Tamara's big day, we decided to do a video scavenger hunt because, well, that's what she wanted to do. We came up with a list of things everybody had to video and gave everything a certain number of points. We tried to come up with stuff most people wouldn't do but everybody really came through. We were really impressed. We met at Bryant park and from 4:30 until 7 everyone filmed (thanks Kayte (and Bravo) for the Flip cameras) stuff all over the city. We had a beautiful rendition of I'm a little teapot, a 15 second summary of the show Gypsy, inappropriate jokes, photobombings (Intentionally posing in other people's photos, for a later surprise) of wedding pictures, multiple sweet tattoos, an almost incident of roid rage, and two breathtaking dance performances. To see these and others, Tamara's videos are here on youtube. It's really worth five minutes of your time. You'll probably end up spending more because it's so entertaining.
Everyone came back to our place (thanks Kendra for decorating) and we watched all the videos, had some average pizza (thanks for backing me up Caitlin), some amazing cake (thanks Ann), ate some sweet cupcakes (thanks Jen), and laughed at everybody's work. You know, the normal stuff.
If there are any lessons I can take away from this here they are. First, people will do amazing things when there is a camera involved. I mean, some of these dances are ridiculous and no one would do them if they weren't captured on film. Second, it's amazing what people will do when you ask them to. There were people flexing, telling jokes, letting people on buses, etc. all because someone asked them to. People are nice if you approach them correctly. Third, I learned I can come through on a birthday with help from other awesome people. Last, with a bit of planning and everyone's energy, you can have a really good time. We had a great time and hope you everyone who participated did as well. We're lucky to have such awesome friends and if we ever move we'll really miss them. Wait, what?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Birthday Celebration Part 2


To continue on with my birthday month, my friends Becca and Kendra took me out to breakfast on Friday morning. My favorite brunch place in the city is Sarabeth's. It has these amazing lemon ricotta pancakes that I can still taste in my mouth....so good. Sarabeth's was where I celebrated my first birthday here in NYC so I figured that it should be where I spend my last. Thank you ladies, it was a wonderful morning. If that wasn't enough to make the day complete, my friend Reagan took me dress shopping to my favorite store, Anthropologie. The moment we first walked in we both saw the dresses that we wanted and those were the two that we bought. I wore the dress on my actually birthday Saturday and I felt like a rock star. Doug was happy that I added some color into my wardrobe because I will fit in better in LA, I like to wear a lot of black because...I look good in black. Anyway, my pre-birthday day was just perfect:)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I can fly

I have a long list of things that I want to do in my life and flying is one of them. This comes in many forms like bungee jumping, jumping out of a plane, and flying on the trapeze. I have gone bungee jumping (incredible) but still needed to cross off the other two. This week I got my chance to try out the trapeze thanks to my friend Corrie Thompson. She has been taking classes and is pretty good I might add. We have talked about going together for about two years so finally we set a date and she hooked me up with a sweet discount. It was great!!! I did a couple tricks but not everything that I wanted to do but it was my own fault. I was so excited to be up there and swinging that I was not listening to the instructor yell out commands (to those of you that know me well, this comes at no surprise). I was happy with myself that I had no fear of jumping off the ledge. The night was beautiful and I loved the feeling of flying in the air. Flying on the trapeze...check.

Here are some small clips of Corrie and me.

video

If you are ever here in the city or live here and want to try it out, here is the website.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I want to be a Cowboy

...and you can be my cowgirl. Anyone remember that song?


So, the Fort Washington Crew decided to take a trip downtown for dinner. We were celebrating Doug and mines Birthdays (I am one that feels that we should be celebrating my birthday all month). Paul entertained us with a story about the guy that broke into his apartment while he was home playing video games. That guy was in for a shock and obviously was not that smart.









We had reservations at Johnny Utah's. For those of you that have not heard about the place, it has a western atmosphere and I was in heaven. I may live in the city but I am a country girl at heart. They even have a Wyatt Earp room, how cool is that? The BEST part about the place is that it has a machinable bull...yes, you heard me correctly. Everyone enjoyed their delicious BBQ (more pictures here) and then we were ready to ride. Check it out, most of us tried it out.


video

Just when I thought that the night could not get any better, we went back to the Hardie's for some cake and ice cream. Becca and Andrea went all out, these ladies know their desserts.










This night will definitely go in the books as one of my most favorites nights in the city. Thanks gang for making it so memorable.


Oh, in case you were wondering if riding the bull is really that cool, um...it must be because the naked cowboy thinks so.


To make this post even longer, Doug thought that I should add this picture to show how cool I thought I was in Middle School.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Van Cortland Park


My calling in the ward is with the 8-11 year old girls and planning their Activity Days. This past Saturday we were able to bring them to Van Cortland Park where they hiked around and were taught be the stake members how to patch each other up in an emergency. The girls seemed to have a good time and hopefully learn something. It is always good to get out and enjoy yourselves and what the city has to offer. Good job to all of you girls.




Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Fathers Day

Today is Fathers Day and I wanted to call my dad to tell him how much I love him but he is on a plane to Alaska to go fishing. That is just how cool of a guy he is. I always remember how much fun my dad was when I was a kid. We always had a fun adventure planned because my dad is really a kid at heart. My favorite times were when he would let me help him with a project like building some furniture or working on a car. I miss living close to my parents but always treasure the time that we spend together. Here are a couple pictures that totally show how awesome my dad is...and what a looker he was (is). I love you dad, now and forever.



New BR Favorite

I have a new Baskin Robbins love affair with Berries ’n Banana (No Sugar Added). It is a delicious Strawberry and Banana lowfat ice cream swirled together with chunks of strawberry has been a popular light option since 1991. I can eat this all summer and not feel guilty. It is great that I can name about five BR's that are right near us. Thank you to mom and dad Hall for sending us gift certificates, it makes it that much easier to go and have no regrets. I also love that we have to walk to all of them. I purposely will pick the farthest one away so I will feel like I am walking off the calories and Doug and I get to spend some quality time together. Also, it is always great to share the experience with friends.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yoga in the Park


I started doing Yoga in Fort Tryant Park and I am loving it. If you ever get a chance to explore upper Manhattan you should definitely walk through this park, it is just beautiful. We have enjoyed many activities in this park, I will miss it. Last night Kim came up and joined me and we were able to relax together. As we were being told to release our bodies and become one with the earth, a bird came along and crapped on me...how is that for relaxing and becoming one with the earth? Everyone kept telling me that it was good luck so I am waiting for some good news. Hopefully this means that we will get a two bedroom apartment out at UCLA. We are moving into student housing and they wont tell us which one yet even though I keep calling and bugging them. I was told by two people that this works but I guess that I am just not annoying enough...yet. After Yoga and after Kim and I felt peace within ourselves, we grabbed a salad and watched So You Think That You Can Dance....bring on the hot tamale train.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ooey, Gooey Cupcakes


Per requested here is the recipe for the Ooey, Gooey Cupcakes. It is from Emeril.com recipes and I first had these at the Hardie's, Becca is a master at baking.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder (for chocolate cupcakes)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, cracked into a small cup or saucer
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • OOEY GOOEY FILLING:
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 1 (12-cup) muffin tin with 12 paper muffin-tin liners and place 4 paper muffin-tin liners inside another muffin tin. Add 2 tablespoons of water to each of the paperless muffin wells.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the remaining ingredients, adding the hot water last. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Divide the batter evenly among the paper muffin-tin liners.


In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar. Fold in the chocolate chips and coconut. Drop the cream cheese mixture into the center of the cupcakes. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cupcakes rise and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle chocolate sauce over cupcakes when serving.

Yield: 16 cupcakes

Enjoy!!

Appreciation #12


This weeks appreciation goes out to Leslie Short. We became friends in the singles ward a couple years ago and our friendship has continued to grow. I always look forward to sitting with her on Sundays and walking to church together. She brought me rice krispies treats twice and they were exactly what I wanted. Even though life has been tough for both of us lately, we know that we have each other for support. Leslie also brought by a beautiful gift, a lucky bamboo. I have never been that good at keeping plants alive but this one seems to be surviving. She also explained that three means fertility so I placed it in our bedroom. Another thing all you single men, Leslie is an amazing girl with many talents....you are missing out if you don't ask her out on a date...not that she needs help, look at her:)

Monday, June 9, 2008

95 Degree Picnic

We planned a picnic with some friends about a month ago (yes, I plan that far in advance) but when we planned, we had no idea that it was going to be 95 degrees out. We were able to find some shade and still enjoy our day.

The kids were able to fly some kites and did a good job not getting them into the trees.










The group next to us was nice enough to play their music so loud that we were able to dance.


video

It was Doug's birthday so I thought that it would be so fun to make some cupcakes for everyone to enjoy. It sounded like a great excuse to make some chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese filling. It was not such a great idea when I opened the container and all the cupcakes had melted together, it was more like eating pudding.

The kids did not seem to mind.


We even got a little birthday song in.


video

Thanks crew for such a fun day.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Happy Birthday to My Man


Today is Doug's birthday so it is only right that he deserves a shout out. He is getting SO old...turning 28. Already he is complaining about his body hurting him and getting nose hairs. I do love this man, he is one in a million. Just as I sit here typing he is out helping someone in the ward move, we were already in Jersey this morning moving, we delivered furniture to two other friends, and he will be with the missionaries all day. I don't know about you but I would be complaining if those were my birthday plans, but Doug is another story. He serves without complaining and sometimes even a smile. He is so dependable and always gets the job done. For those of you that don't know him that well, you might think that he is to serious or has a very dry sense of humor. For those of you that know and love him, you know that there is another side to him. He can make you laugh at the drop of a hat no matter how bad of a mood you are in. He is pretty silly at times when you least expect it. He has been my rock through these past few months when there were times that I just didn't think that I could take it any longer. He always made me realize how fortunate I am. I must have done something right because I won his heart and loyalty. If you see him around this weekend give him a pat on the butt and say nice job. If you aren't in NY make sure you find some way to give him a shout out because he is just...awesome.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Morning Prayer

I find myself saying this prayer every morning:


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tough to explain

Yesterday was so awesome. So many tremendous things happened. I'll share what I can with you. My Achilles has been bugging me for a week and now I can walk around painlessly. I haven't tried running or biking yet, but I'm pretty excited to try it out. That was pretty cool, but not amazing. Tamara and I were going to a track meet last night (obviously her idea) and we were walking along 125th in Harlem. We stopped and ate at our favorite west indian place, roti plus. That was also really rad, but not quite awesome. As we continued to walk along we saw this group of radical (not rad) preachers. As we walked by, one of them pointed to me and said "You die you *&%$@#!. You and you dog." I was so confused that I just kept on walking, not really sure what happened. Not awesome, but really strange. We were waiting for a bus to the track meet and when I got on I turned to my left and immediately knew I was standing next to greatness. I met Weldon Johnson who is the owner/operator of www.letsrun.com. We talked for a while and he was a really nice guy. I hope he gets over his injury. This site has taken a pretty decent chunk of my life. For endless hours of entertainment there is the messageboard. But it also provides comprehensive running information and news. That, was awesome.
Once we were at the meet our seats weren't quite what we expected but they were decent. We were in the middle of a bunch of Jamacains that will figure in later on. During the meet it started raining so we had to go under a bridge to wait. There was this truck there that was totally crushed with no apparent reason why. Turns out there were tarps on the bridge from construction and they had built up tons of water. One broke and all the water came down on this truck. There was a guy asleep in the truck when this happened. Fortunately his seat was reclined or this wouldn't have been so awesome.
The meet continued and there were some good races. Unfortunately the world record holder in the 110 Hurdles had to bow out because of an injury so were a bit bummed. He's the gold medal hope for China in the upcoming Olympics. 60,000 people went to a meet to watch him run and left afterwards. Nobody stayed for the remaining events. Anyway, we were a bit bummed. Tamara's been to a few of these meets with me and she's seen a few world records. There were also some other great performances but she kept on saying she wouldn't be satisfied without a world record. I didn't really hold out hope for one but I knew there would be some good races. Turns out the high school 4X1 and 4X4 were super exciting races between USA and Jamaica. Relays are always great. Finally the last event of the night rolled around, the 100m. It was Tyson Gay, the reigning Olympics and World Champion, an American, versus Usain Bolt, a young Jamaican 200 meter runner who recently ran his first professional 100m and ran the 3rd fastest time ever. It would be a great event. The gun went off and the Jamaican guy was pretty far ahead about half way and just held it. He was flying. It was awesome to see that speed. We looked at the scoreboard and he had run 9.72, a new World Record. The place went nuts. Everyone in our stands was on the phone with someone in Jamaica screaming into the phone. It was totally electric. He did a victory lap and he is so impressive. He's 6'6" and just a beast. Anyway, what an awesome ending to a night. I had seen some distance world records but the sprints are impressive from a different perspective.
On the way out I talked to a runner, Grant Robison, who I had met previously and am hoping can get back to his winning ways. He had an amazing summer a few years ago and hasn't lived up to that since. Hopefully in an Olympic year he can. Anyway, quite the awesome night.