October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Today is Halloween, and I'm celebrating by... going to class! Yes! I will not be dressing up tonight (unless my plaid shirt and boots make me a cowgirl?), but here are the three costumes I've worn this year:

1- Jewelry thief! (If you don't see it... Don't worry; you're not alone. People kept guessing pirate. Pirate!!?!)

2- Cat! (Complete with homemade ears... Which explains the drooping.)

3- The DC/MoCo bag tax! (Get it? I made the outfit by safety-pinning plastic bags to a white t-shirt. The red belt was just for kicks. Also, I lament to report that I collected no money.)

For those who will be trick-or-treating tonight, stay warm, stay safe, and stay away from trees! (And please remember those affected by Sandy in your prayers.)

Happy Halloween!

Grateful + God's Plan

Through a miracle -- and the goodness and grace of God -- Hurricane Sandy (or Superstorm Sandy, technically) passed over us and left very minimal damage in my neighborhood. We were temporally prepared for it, and we were even ready to be out of power for the rest of the week. Yet somehow, our neighborhood (which is actually notorious for being the first place to lose power in our area -- made it through unscathed and without any loss of electricity. I cannot express my gratitude at being safe, and warm, and not without power. Truly, God is good.

My thoughts and prayers are extended tonight to those who are still suffering from the effects of the storm -- those without power, those who suffered storm-related damage or injuries, and most poignantly, to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives. (This includes the close family friends of my GSPM friend Nicole, whose BFF's dad lost his life last night due to a falling tree.)

Sandy has made me reflect on the fleetingness (is that a word?) of this life. I feel grateful to know there is a purpose to our earth lives, and there IS life after death. These things I know to be true. The simplicity of God's plan sometimes blows me away. You can watch a short, but powerful, summary here:

October 29, 2012


Satellite view of Hurricane Sandy on 10/28 (via)

Sandy's gone bad. Get it? (via)

We're hunkered down and are as ready as we can be here in the DC area. We've replenished our water, boosted our canned goods and PBJ supply, and baked choc-chip cookies. (AND I even just straightened my hair! No, but seriously. If I'm going to potentially be out of power for several days, my hair at least needs to be done.*) Now, my roommate Whitney and I are chillin' in our living room, enjoying what will probably be our last few hours with electricity.

As I've watched everyone around me getting ready for the storm, I've felt grateful for the church's constant counsel for us to be prepared always -- spiritually and temporally. Friday night when I went to Target, there was NO. WATER. LEFT. in the whole store! It's so crazy!

I feel grateful that we have the supplies we'll need and am keeping those who are in the hurricane's path in my prayers. Stay safe, warm, and INSIDE, everyone!

* Because my hair is easier to handle fuss-free for days on end when it's straight than when it's curly; NOT because I'm high-maintenance. Because I'm not.

October 25, 2012

Ladies Who Lunch (and Dinner)

This week, I've gotten to be down in DC more than usual. I'm blessed to have a job that often allows me to work from home. But with a few business items to attend to in the District, I've taken advantage of the time to eat lunch with friends. Tuesday, I had a morning meeting, worked, then enjoyed lunch with Stephanie while sitting on the fountain in Dupont Circle. I used a Groupon to eat BGR The Burger Joint, and folks, let me tell you... it was good! I looove a good burger/fries/pumpkin shake combo! Sadly, the shake met an untimely death in the fountain, buuut at least it was tasty!

Not my actual burger, but this is what it looked like! (via)

That same day, Caitlin and I met up after work. We decided there wasn't enough time to go home, have dinner, and come back to Friendship Heights in time for institute, so, we decided to walk around the shops at FH and grab dinner there. Naturally, we decided to eat at a grocery store. I mean, sure Whole Foods is a fancy grocery store, but, you know.

Going into a Whole Foods always reminds me of my mission. In my last area, we lived on the same block as a Whole Foods. I remember thinking how beautiful (and expensive) everything looked. Seriously; Whole Foods has the prettiest produce I've ever seen! I always wanted to eat lunch at the deli, but it was just too expensive on a missionary budget, so I never did. 

I meant to take a picture of the produce, too, but the flowers were pretty, and I got distracted.
So, what did we get for dinner, you ask? Caprese pizzas, of course! These giant beauties were on sale 2 for $11.99, so, of course, we got both.

Please note C's new hot pink belt. 

And then we were super classy and cooked them in the church kitchen. :) Soooo good! I think I have a new favorite pizza. :)

Look at all this cheeeesssee!!!

Yesterday, I ate lunch in Rock Creek Park with Camille!

Aren't we adorable and just sooo autumnal?? Cool image joining courtesy of my sweet iPhone app. :)

Now that I think about it, I think all Camille ate were apples? Applesauce, and an actual apple. (C$, is that right?)

I ate a delicious sandwich, which I prepared thusly:

  1. Spread peanut butter on one slice of whole wheat bread.
  2. Spread raspberry jam on the left side of the other slice of whole wheat bread.
  3. Spread nutella on the right side of the second slice.
  4. Spread strawberry slices across the entire PB bread slice.
  5. Put the two bread slices together, cut in half, and enjoy!
And THEN, I worked. After which I took a break to catch up with Liz on the rooftop terrace of her building.

Isn't she adorable?? I loved her green shirt with her red hair. This photo does justice to neither.

It was so nice and so refreshing to A- Spend so much time outside. B- Be down in the District. I miss it! And there's something to be said about working at an actual office from time to time, instead of just from home. C- Spend time with, and feel gratitude for, good friends.

Many thanks to delicious food, to the unseasonably warm and beautiful weather, and to the letters F-R-I-E-N-D-S for making these lovely excursions possible. :)

October 24, 2012

Spiritual Insights

Closeup of my favorite painting of Joseph and Mary, "The Road to Bethlehem" by Joseph Brickey. Full version here.

I have two spiritual insights to share from last night.

1- From Institute

We had a guest teacher at Institute (Institute = mid-week religious instruction for young adults in the LDS Church), and we studied from Luke 1 in the Bible. We discussed the attributes of Mary, and the list included:

  • humility
  • faith (Seriously! The way she just accepted what the angel told her when he said she would conceive and bear a son who would be called the Son of the Most High and then basically just said God's will be done? That's faith if ever I read about it. I probably would have been passed out on the floor, and the angel would have had to scrape me up with a spatula first.)
  • obedience (Obviously, she was living the commandments, or she wouldn't have received this sacred call.)
  • courage (Holy cow, did Mary have courage! She had courage to live God's commandments, even when so much of Israel was apostate at the time. (Learned that last night!) And courage to be OK with being a pregnant, unmarried virgin in that society at that time! Woah.)
  • knowledge, understanding of the gospel (She was obviously acquainted with the prophecy of Christ's birth, so that wasn't the part that maybe blew her away. Just maybe the part that SHE was to bring him into the world? IDK.)
  • selfless (She had to sacrifice a lot to fulfill her calling as Christ's earthly mother.)
  • sober (As in mature, not as in "not drunk.")
  • trustworthy (God sure trusted her with a lot!)
  • pure, virtuous (This one doesn't really need an explanation.)
  • righteous, prepared (She was already living the commandments and on the right path in her life.)

Try to think of these attributes and of how Mary might have felt as you watch this very brief, but very excellent, video:

Learning from the Bible last night, I gained a greater appreciation for Mary's role in God's plan. We do not worship Mary in our Church, but we hold her in extremely high regard as the earthly mother of the Son of God. I can't imagine how she must have felt A- to have an angel visit her, and B- to hear the incredible message he brought. Surely, she was a virtuous, righteous, obedient, faithful daughter of God. I hope in my lifetime to cultivate even a particle of her great faith.

2- From the Priesthood Session of this past General Conference

The First Presidency of the Church (via)

Last night, I also listened to most of the Priesthood Session of General Conference. Just like the women have their own session of General Conference, the men have their own (called the Priesthood session), and men in the Church ages 12 and older can attend. All the talks I've listened to so far were beautiful, but I'd like to share a little from Elder D. Todd Christofferson's talk, entitled "Brethren, We Have Work to Do."

This talk focused on the role of men. He said that often, as the role of women in society is elevated, this occurs at the expense of the role of men. Men are often portrayed in the media and popular culture as blundering, ignorant, unintelligent, and foolish. He discussed how a good man should act and what/how/who he should be.


I thought of all the good men I know -- my dad, my brothers, my friends, my church leaders, the EQ of my ward -- and how much I appreciate them. I know as women, it's often easy or tempting to hate on all the men, but guys, they're really not that bad. :) In fact, they're often pretty great! There's a lot of pressure on them to "man up" and "be men" in the way the world wants, but Elder Christofferson encouraged priesthood holders to give service in the church, missionary work, family history, temple work, lifting one's brethren, in society, in our communities, and -- most importantly -- in the home. I know this invitation to serve and develop Christlike attributes is also extended to all men everywhere, regardless of Church membership.

Elder Christofferson said,

"[W]e must be men that women can trust, that children can trust, and that God can trust. Brethren, we have a work to do... 

Prepare to be a good husband and father; prepare to be a good and productive citizen; prepare to serve the Lord, whose priesthood you hold...

The Church and the world and women are crying for men, men who are developing their capacity and talents, who are willing to work and make sacrifices, who will help others achieve happiness and salvation. They are crying, 'Rise up, O men of God!' God help us to do it."

And I thought, That is the kind of man I hope to marry. I'm grateful for a church organization that helps and encourages us to be our very best selves, to develop our divine talents and attributes to give service in the kingdom of God, and to live our lives in the Lord's way. I'm so glad my baby brothers got to hear such beautiful counsel. And EC, wherever you are, I hope you were watching that Conference!

October 22, 2012

Over the Weekend

This is what I did:

  • Wanted to buy this nail polish but didn't (...YET!). DID buy this nail polish (Confetti, not OPI. Please, people. Do I look like I'm made of $$? Ha ha.). Wearing it now on 6 of my 10 fingernails. :)
  • Had to literally pull over when I saw these GORGEOUS red trees! Fall is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE season!

  • Went shopping with C-lin (So fun!). Bought too much stuff. (That's what returns are for, right? No? OK.)

**QUICK POLL: Which coat should I keep? Gray wool coat (with ribbed gray trim on the neck and sleeves but NO HOOD-sad-day!) from Express? Or black, glorified trench coat (with warm lining and a hood!) from Macy's? (PS Official product photos are from these same links.) OR, should I just buy this puffer coat from J. Crew Factory (also with a hood)?? Decisions, decisions!

  • Baby-sat this little cutie (who insisted on wearing her Halloween costume all night) and her brothers.

Yes, I did her hair. Cut me some slack, OK? All I helped raise were brothers!

  •  Spent a night in the dark when the power went out due to the rainstorms.

  • Served at the Temple (Loved it!).
  • Went to a Halloween party, where I saw some great costumes! (Can you tell what my costume was? And no, I wasn't a pirate! There's a cookie in it for you, if you guess right!)

This is my crazy friend Chris, whom I've known since undergrad.
These two crack me up! Their costume was "Falling in Love." Get it? Get it? Ah ha ha!
Such an attractive couple. ;) (Love you, C!)
Cutest condiments ever!

  • Went to church. Felt the spirit and also loved it! Learned about the importance of self-reliance and the gathering of Israel and that God answers prayers. (It's true! He does!)
  • Joined the ward choir! Eeep! And no, h*#1 has not frozen over. Those who know me know that I only sing in church choirs when there's a General Authority involved and well, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is coming to DC next Sunday to dedicate our new chapel in the District, and I really want to go, OK? The last time I was in the choir was when Elder David A. Bednar came about a year and a half ago. (Sorry, Michelle!) It's just that these guys are a big deal to us Mormons. We sustain these men as prophets, seers, and revelators. I know each of them has truly been called of God to help lead us today.
  • And last, but certainly not least, I partook in a gorgeous Sunday drive through Rock Creek Park (where I saw a park ranger on horseback), baked the season's first pumpkin choc-chip cookies, and gloried in a Sunday nap. :)
Can you see the tiny horse?

Here's to a great week!

October 19, 2012

Your Life in Six Words

A few days ago, I was reading through Brittany's blog -- Brittany and I have never met in person, but we're blog buddies. :) -- and I saw her link to Oprah's site... where I arrived at this "Mini-Memoirs" page, and I think it's just brilliant. Your life in six words!

Here are some of my favorites that were on the site:

Ha ha! Kidding.

And so I thought... What would MY "mini memoir" be? And I think when I die, I would want this to be true:

tried to make
a difference.

Or there's always

loved to eat
chocolate-chip cookies.


I also read Brittany's story of running her first 5K, and can I just say how inspiring she is?? This is amazing! Read her story and be inspired, too. Sometimes it's daunting to think of a huge long-term goal (whether in fitness or any area of life), but if you start out with smaller goals, it seems a little more manageable. 

To further inspire you (or not), here are a few photos from my adventure with Stephanie in Rock Creek Park yesterday.

The East Coast is SO FLAT!

Oh, you know. Just communing with nature and stuff.

Happy weekend!