May 07, 2014

Cinco de Mayo at La Casa Blanca

*Pardon these catch-up posts you're going to see here in the next little while. These are things I want to document but just haven't gotten around to! I also apologize for the quality of these photos... My phone was having a moment that night. :-/ *

I got to attend the Cinco de Mayo festivities at the White House earlier this year. I'm not Mexican, but I'm always down for a good party! (Especially when Chef José Andrés's guacamole will be there. That stuff is AMAZING! Note: That's not Chef José Andrés below. Additional note: his assistant was awesome and gave my co-workers and me $50 gift cards to any of his DC restaurants! Yum!)

Guac! 5 de mayo 5 de mayo
L-R: me, Jorge Neri (WH), Avery (VL), me, Annette R. (Enroll America)

There were mariachis (Los Gallos Negros -- my co-worker Steve's roommates!), Latin celebrities (Frankie Negrón, Lili Estefan, etc.), and even a delicious pig (Mmmm.... Tacos!).

5 de mayo Frankie Negrón con Los Gallos Negros 5 de mayo 5 de mayo

And I got to see the President whilst having a really sweet (not) view, remember?

POTUS perspective

Oh! And I found the White House copy of the Book of Mormon!>br /> 5 de mayo

Funny story -- The BoM was located in the WH Library on a reeeeally high shelf. I tried to reach but couldn't. I jumped. Tried to climb the bookcase. Fail. Then Congressman Joaquin Castro's wife came along in suuuuper high heels and offered to get it down for me. So sweet of her! Thanks so much, Mrs. Castro! Then she joined her husband and went on her way. :)

Living in DC is just so much fun. :)

May 06, 2014

My Last Bike Ride

My last bike ride :(

I'm so, so bummed! I left my bike downtown this weekend, and....

IT GOT STOLEN. :( :( :(

Here are some photos I took last Thursday the last time I rode it. :'( On the bright side, at least my last ride was a really good one.

I rode down from my office to the White House.

DC bike ride
My little grenade pouch-turned cell phone holder. *sniff* Now the Army surplus store is closed, I can't even replace it! :(
My last bike ride :( White House bike ride

Then, I rode down to the Mall. :) Past the Washington Memorial.

DC bike ride
The sky was GORGEOUS Thursday night! I live in such a pretty place!
DC bike ride

And, of course, across the street to my FAVORITE -- the World War II Memorial.

My last bike ride :( DC bike ride My last bike ride :( My last bike ride :(

I LOVE living in DC, and I can't wait to live biking distance from these beautiful sights again. And hopefully by then, I'll have another bike... :-(

May 05, 2014

Behind the Scenes: Voto Latino Power Summit NYC 2014 (Part 2)


Remember Behind the Scenes Part 1? It's time for the long-awaited Part 2!

The conference started out on Friday with an opening reception at John Jay.

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Team photo!
Our President & CEO (María Teresa Kumar) spoke, along with our Co-Founder & Chairwoman (Rosario Dawson), and our Artist Coalition Co-Chair (Wilmer Valderrama). It was especially neat to listen to the celebrities speak. We didn't prepare talking points for them for the reception, but they spoke from the heart, and their passion for the cause was clear to everyone in the room. I was so impressed with their commitment and their leadership. It really is an honor to work with such dedicated folks.

In fact, one of the highlights for me, was an impromptu PSA we made with Wilmer. We had a few extra minutes with him and our videographer, and my boss pulled me aside and wanted to quickly write up a script for a PSA for one of our campaigns! We went with #TrendUrVoice, since it's our biggest voter registration campaign this year. I quickly typed up a script and gave it to Wilmer for approval.

He made one or two minor tweaks on my MacBook and decided he was good with it. Then he said, "Hey, why don't we just make the video on the laptop?" Our VP of Digital thought it was a good idea, since it would give the video a more "organic" feel. Then Wilmer thought, "Hey, why don't I just record it on my iPhone and send it to you guys?" And then the scene below ensued.

Pic Jointer photo 3.JPG

Selfie-style filming didn't really work, so Tadao, Wilmer's bodyman held the iPhone, while Avery and Steve held up a #TrendUrVoice tablecloth (ie- makeshift backdrop), and Wilmer gave us his spiel.

It was fun to see how excited he got to make a video encouraging young people to register to vote. And I loved that we put this whole thing together on the fly! (I'll share the video later in the campaign cycle. :) Promise!)

Along with our breakfast, lunch, and evening plenaries (featuring awesome speakers like... Maria Hinojosa, Arianna Huffington, etc.), we had three sessions of workshops on Saturday. I got to moderate one of them!

photo 5.JPG Pic Jointer

We had an awesome discussion about how to use Media to Impact Change. My panelists were amazing, we had really good audience questions, and we even had a great article written about us!

Another highlight for me was getting to prep talking points/speeches and coordinate media. There's just something reeeeeally satisfying about watching you've helped prepare, deliver really great remarks or give an awesome interview/speech.

Pic Jointer photo 5.JPG

The evening ended with a networking reception + book signing with Arianna Huffington (everyone got copies of her new book, Thrive) and a conversation with Arianna, Rosario, and María Teresa.


And a few shots from the evening plenary:

IMG_1002_resize IMG_0915_resize

OK, but reeeeeally, the night ended with this (a lot of clean-up and packing):

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Team photo!
We did it! (photo from MT)
and this (teriyaki chicken!):

Team dinner!
photo cred: our waiter, via Jimmy's phone
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One Power Summit down, three to go. Hasta la próxima!

Professional photos from VL photographer | iPhone photos by me

May 04, 2014

Reading the Scriptures Chronologically

I've been reading the scriptures chronologically -- or at least my best guess of what the proper chronological order is. I searched online for a timeline of all the LDS scriptures (we read four books -- the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price), but I couldn't find a reliable one.

Actually, the problem is most timelines only feature Book of Mormon chronology. Very few cross-reference ALL of the standard works, and this timeline I found that seemed like it would at least help me sort out the Jaredite timeline cost more than I wanted to pay. (Though the online preview was helpful! Per them, the Jaredite civilization lasted from around 2500-500 BC.) This image from this blog post was also helpful.

So I'm doing my best based on what I know and reading a few things online to get some background info. (Though if anyone has insight on the timeline of the Book of Ether... please send any info., my way!)

I found this interesting chart that explains the lineage of Abraham, and I wanted to save it somewhere, so... here it is. A more detailed explanation for this chart can be found here.

I'm only in Genesis 25 right now, but since I'm going chronologically, I've read a good portion of the Pearl of Great Price, and part of the Book of Ether already. It's been fascinating to read this way! I forget that at the same time as a lot of the events as early as Genesis, there were people in the Americas whose story is told in the Book of Mormon! (I haven't yet read up to where the Jaredites get wiped out in the BoM.)

It was also particularly interesting to read about the Creation across the various accounts (Genesis, Moses, Abraham), and I know there's even more insight to be had in the Doctrine & Covenants! And actually, I stated my reading in Abraham, where Abraham converses with God about the cosmos and the pre-Creation. Such amazing stuff!

And because I want to connect more with my patriarchal blessing, I've also been taking notes as I've read about Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, etc. on their personal qualities and traits. I really want to get to know them as people and as ancestors, and not just as long-gone people I read about in the scriptures.

So far, I've mostly just been reading online (Thanks, Google and Wikipedia!), and I've even read about beliefs re: Abraham, etc. from the Quran (super interesting to learn about shared beliefs and differences!) but again, if anyone has recommendations of good books or resources to learn about historical context, cultural norms, etc., please let me know!

May 01, 2014

It's Always Darkest

it's always darkest before the dawn

I wrote an email to my brother this weekend, and I mentioned my most recent... "romantic" flop. (I have a lot of those. ;) )

It occurred to me that although it IS discouraging to put myself out there so much, only to... FLOP COMPLETELY. Even though it really, really stinks... It's really an act of faith. An act of faith that God keeps His promises. An act of faith that good things will come. An act of faith that there really IS someone out there for me. 

it's always darkest before the dawn


Last night, I was chatting with a dear friend about some discouraging times and thoughts in her life -- things that I think we've all felt and experienced (Seriously -- who in this great big world is not familiar with discouragement?), and she left my house around 11pm.

(Background: Monday - Wednesday, the weather in the DC area was rain. POURING rain. Flood-warnings-and-me-standing-in-ankle-deep-puddles-at-cross-walks rain.)

I walked downstairs with her, and I had a moment of inspiration! 

I told her to look around at the darkness and to listen to the pouring rain around us. The weather forecast for the next day said, "Sunny and 70 degrees." At that moment, it was hard to imagine, hard to visualize that it could possibly be sunny and 70 the next day, and I told her to remember when she felt the warmth and saw the sun the next day, that "it's always darkest before the dawn." (Or something like that.)

I'm happy to report that today was beautiful, and sunny, and warm (I even went on a bike ride on the Mall!). I can't wait for the day that I no longer have to make a fool out of myself, but I suppose until then, I'll keep flopping... and getting back up. :)