November 29, 2012

28 Things for my 28th Birthday!


Today is my 28th birthday! Happy birthday to me! To celebrate, here are 28 things you might not already know about me.

1. My favorite color is pink. It was my original favorite color from my very earliest years. I went through a blue phase as a teenager, but I'm solidly back in the pink camp.

2. When I was 8 years old, I my dream was to be a scientist for NASA. 

3. I had a quinceañera

4. My right leg is (slightly) shorter than my left leg.

5. I was first introduced to politics when I was 9 by this book and by a Primary teacher (my teacher at church) who was the only woman on our City Council at the time.

6. I was also first introduced to ranch dressing when I was 9 at a Riverdale 1st Ward spaghetti dinner. (As Latinos, we loved our salads (and oh, our pepinos!) con limon y sal, of course!

7. When I was a teenager, I wanted to dip dye the ends of my hair HOT PINK! (But knowing that my dad would probably have freaked out, I never asked.) Wish I had...

8. I am not a sweets person. But I LOOOVE chocolate-chip cookies! (Well, chocolate in general. And cheesecake!)

9. I started wearing glasses EXACTLY 17 years ago today. They were my present for my 11th birthday. They were big and round and green and glorious, and I was so excited! What ever was I thinking??

10. I was born a bald baby and didn't have a significant amount of hair until after I was 2 years old!

See? Bald!

11. My favorite pro sport to watch is NBA basketball!

12. My favorite fruit is mangos! Unfortunately, I'm allergic to them (only on my skin). But I eat them anyway. :)

13. I became a U.S. citizen the summer before I turned 16.
14. One of my biggest life's regrets is not trying out for 9th grade cheerleader at the end of 8th grade.
15. My original college major was Biomedical Engineering.

16. I have naturally curly hair. I started straightening my curls when I was in 8th grade on account of my mother. The thought of straightening my hair had never crossed my mind, but once, she cut my hair and accidentally cut it shorter than she had intended. She felt bad, so she straightened it to make it look longer. The next day at school, all my friends told me I looked like a supermodel, and I've been straightening ever since!

My 7 (or maybe 8?)-year old curls! + Chuck E. Cheese

17. I minored in German. (My other minor was Campaign Management.)
18. One of my biggest pet peeves is... People who don't use their blinkers when they're driving!
19. I speak Spanish fluently and learned it before I learned English. I'm also fluent in Spanglish.
20. I'm secretly sort of fond of the little curls that form at the very back of my neck.
21. Growing up, I.... * gasp * wanted to go to BYU! (That was before I wised up, of course. And for the record, I DID get into BYU. With a scholarship. and then CHOSE the U anyway. :P)


22. If there is any talent in this world I am sure I have, it's  s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g. I am a great speller. :)
23. I'm allergic to earrings that aren't made of gold (yep, even sterling silver and the ones for "sensitive"  ears.)
24. I started learning to play the violin 3 months shy of my 12th birthday.
25. I am NOT a morning person!
26. I'm terrible at team sports. That's why I like running. :)
27. I've been 5 feet tall since I was in 8th grade.

28. If I could go back in time and develop any skill (OK, any TWO skills.), I would be A- a skilled pianist, annnd B- a ballerina! :)

November 27, 2012

Zavala: Of Basque Origins


I met up for ice cream with one of my classmates last week. He is from Spain, and as we chatted about a lot of different things, we somehow started talking about how Mormons like to research their family history. And he mentioned that my last name is a Basque last name. All I'd known previously is that if you trace our genealogy far back enough on my dad's mom's side, we come from Spain (as is the case with many Latin Americans). But the Basque detail was new to me. I've taken to the internet and lo and behold.... He's right! I have a Basque last name! I'm suddenly interested in learning about everything Basque! 

Here are a few tidbits I've gleaned so far (some from legitimate sources, some from less legitimate sources, but ALL interesting!):

  • Zavala is a Spanish (Spain) last name. It's of Basque origin and comes from the Basque word zubia that means "bridge". (via)
  • Zavala is a Spanish variant of Zabala. (via)
  • Zabala is a name for someone who lived in any of the various places in Biscay and Araba (Basque country) called Zabala, which is derived from the Basque "zabal," meaning "large" or "broad" and "a", the definite article(via.)
  • There are German Zavala's and Italian Zabala's (buuuut who knows if I'm related to any of them?) and many variations of each spelling.

  • Matt and Lucy Damon gave their daughter the name "Zavala" for a middle name. (via) Her full name is Gia Zavala Damon. (See, I told you they weren't all relevant or legitimate.)
  • Lorenzo de Zavala was an influential Texan, and Zavala County, Texas is named after him.
  • Over 23,300 people in the U.S. have the last name "Zavala" (via)
  • Coat of arms. (Yeah, not sure about this one...)
  • Here's an... umm... interesting one about what Basques look like? (Sorry, this one is soooo not P.C., but I was curious.)
  • Apparently, a lot of Basques have O blood, mostly O negative. (My blood is O positive, FYI. You know, in case I never need blood transfusions, and you're the one at the hospital with me.) (via here, here, here.) Basques have the highest frequency of O blood type among all European populations (which leads many to believe that they did NOT intermix with other groups of people). For that reason, they are considered an ethnically unique people.
  • And finally, from Wiki:

    "The Basques (Basqueeuskaldunak,SpanishvascosFrenchbasques) as anethnic group, primarily inhabit an area traditionally known as the Basque Country (BasqueEuskal Herria), a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscayand straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.
    It is thought that
     Basques are a remnant of the early inhabitants of Western Europe, specifically those of the Franco-Cantabrian region. Autosomal genetic studies confirm that Basques have a very close relationship with other Europeans, especially with rest of Spaniards, who have a common genetic identity of over 70% with Basques."

Also, these links (here, here, here) were interesting. And now you know what I know.

November 21, 2012

Prayers of Gratitude

A few Sundays ago, one of our church leaders challenged us to go a whole week WITHOUT ASKING for anything in our prayers. To only express GRATITUDE to God. He gives this same challenge every November, but to be honest, it sort of terrifies me (which is why I haven't done it!)!

But during Stake Conference last week (which was AWESOME, btw. I was so impressed with the two youth speakers!), one of the speakers asked us to examine our relationships with Divinity, and I realized how much I need to work on mine. My prayers lately have fallen more into the "checkbox" category than into the "heartfelt and sincere" category. I want my prayers to be conversations that strengthen my relationship with God, and I don't want to be rote and repetitive and vain.

Which is to say... I'm going to give this gratitude challenge a try! So pray for me, OK? Because I won't be! (That was a joke.)

And on that note, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! May your day be full of blessings, loved ones, and something delicious. And may your hearts be full of gratitude. :)

(Original image source = unknown.)

November 12, 2012

It Never Gets Old (aka National Monuments at Night)

He tenido mucha tarea en estos ultimos dias, y por eso no he escrito con tanta frecuencia.

BUT for your viewing pleasure, here are a few photos from my outing with friends to explore the national monuments at night! Originally, this started out so my friend Kira could go, because she has NEVER (*gasp!*) seen the monuments at night! And one should not be allowed to live in DC without having first seen the majestic white of the national monuments against the pure black of the night sky.

These first few photos had me almost rolling on the Mall with laughter. Nils decided to leave his warm coat at home, so he texted me to ask if I could bring him a blanket. I joked about bringing a pink Snuggie (thanks, Maricela!), and he sounded excited, sooo I brought it! (I also brought a dark blue, much "manlier" blanket, but he really wanted to wear the Snuggie, so -- as you can see -- he did!

C-lin briefly considered breaking up with this guy, but then she changed her mind. :) Close call, Nils!
So beautiful!
Yikes! My dark hair against my black coat looks I HAVE no hair!

And here is my favorite monument (the WWII memorial). I'm telling you, it is the most romantic spot in DC and would make an ideal location for a marriage proposal, in my humble opinion (in case any of you are wondering!).

Lincoln in the distance
  I thought the USDA was pretty, so I took a picture of it, too.

And that's as far as we made it. Due to the fact that we were COLD, we decided to go to Pitango for some Italian hot cocoa (delicious!). But FIRST, I was delighted to discover a Teaism located near the Mall! Naturally, I had to get a chocolate-chip salted oat cookie. :)

I know I've seen the monuments at night multiple times before, but it honestly NEVER GETS OLD. When I drive past the monuments -- especially if I see them at night -- I still want to pinch myself, because I can't believe how lucky I am to live out here! I don't know how long life will keep me here (Don't worry. I still have to finish grad school, so I'll be here a little while longer at least!), but I intend to make the most of my time on the East Coast while I have it. :)

November 08, 2012

Birthday Month!


It's BIRTHDAY MONTH! I know it's ridiculous. I know it's even kind of silly. I know it doesn't make sense if you actually know me (mostly because I'm not one who cares to or needs to be the center of attention), buuuut I. LOVE. my birthday! And it's coming up!

I like to dedicate the whole month to mini birthday celebrations and then one BIG one at the end (can't wait!). And by mini celebrations, I mean eating-at-all-the-places-that-send-me-birthday-freebies. (Thank you to Baskin Robbins, Corner Bakery, and Noodles & Company who have already sent me e-mails for birthday treats!)

So, friends, Happy My-Birthday Month to YOU!


PS If you want to get birthday freebies for YOUR birthday month, click here.

November 06, 2012


Friends, whatever else you do today, please remember to VOTE!

Whatever your political affiliation, whoever has your support, make time today to VOTE.

Our experiment in Democracy doesn't work when you don't VOTE.

November 05, 2012

What Lately Has Looked Like

Cakes + fake lashes for Halloween
Trying to look like my iPhone case. :) Bottom image via
DC2 Halloween activity

Maggie and I now have the same iPhone case!
Halloween, Saturday edition
ISG love, Jose & Evita Peron, + me with Courtney

MaLeNa designs. Made by Evita Peron, I mean Wendy (from the photo above). I LOVE the necklace on the left!
Sandy, featuring artwork by Stephanie
Progress, 1st letter from the UK! + meeting on the Hill #IloveDC!
VOTE! + bejeweled KitchenAid
Superbama! + Saturday Temple shifts + NOT a laptop, but a shintop. (ie- it's more comfortable to prop my legs up and rest the laptop on my shins. Am I the only one who does this?) + who says I'm too old to be a princess? :)

A Post From Summer That I Forgot to Publish

Woah. I was going through my draft posts, and I found this one that I never published from last summer. I know it's November 5th now and whatnot (Happy Guy Fawkes Day for all you Brits or wannabe Brits!), but here you go. :)

Hanging out at home:

First cartwheel in, like, 10 years.Jaxie!

Celebrating Pioneer Day with Rachel at Cafe Rio:

Saying "goodbye" to Melissa (before I decided to drive out to Utah with her.

Recording a tape for my baby brother:

Enjoying Jazz in the Sculpture Garden (one of my all-time FAVORITE DC summer activities!)

Saying goodbye to our beloved Shum Shum.

Pre-mission BB's new glasses:

Hanging' out with Jeffrey Howard in SLC!

From Cordie's baby blessing:

Meeting officials from the German Green Party:

When Caitlin and I went back to the future. :)

Wanting a hot pink sports bra... (TMI?)

Umm, I want a hot pink sports bra! (TMI? Sorry.) 

Taking self-portraits at the temple?

Self-portrait in the reflection of the DC temple.

Feeling overwhelmed with school...

This is my glazed eye look when I study!