Month: July 2013

My Cotton Bunny Box August

So this month I am having a ton of fun with subscription boxes.  I found a bunch of try it free/discount codes for boxes so I signed up for a bunch in August and will be posting reviews.  Subscription boxes are sent to you each month for a fee.  I’m a huge fan of birchbox which was the first subscription box company and they consistently have high quality boxes with a great points system for discounts if you rate products and write reviews.  So fun.

My first box came today even before August started. It is called the My Cotton bunny and it is a box to help women with their period each month.  I laughed when I first heard about it because on Big Bang Theory Sheldon suggests this idea to Penny.  Funny…

So here’s my review and unboxing!

cotton bunny

Envy of Wallflowers

Readers of this blog probably remember that I loved the movie and book Perks of Being a Wallflower last year.  It was the first movie I felt nostalgic for, that I felt captured high school when I was a teen.  Of course, the movie is much darker and tragic than anything I experienced but the look and feel reminded me of those years.

That said, one thing it did not remind me of is the experience of being a wallflower.  What is that like? I really do wonder.

Sometimes it feels like I never get the chance to follow instead of lead.  I am not trying to brag. Believe me sometimes I wish I could take a break and follow but it never seems to work out that way.

When I was in grad school we were required to do a group project in every class which could be such a pain (with UofPhoenix they try to make it so you have basically the same classmates during your entire program).  This definitely helps you weed out the good team partners.  By the last class one person I never got to work with said ‘I never got to be a part of the dream team’.

Anyway, I always ended up leading the groups but one time I was taking my first trip to Hawaii and decided to take a lesser role, let someone else lead.  I still checked in every day (as was required for the curriculum) and tried to follow a project which was due the week after I came home (the courses were only 6 weeks).

It was a statistics class and my toughest subject during my MBA (great time to take a trip right!), but I did my best and hoped for a decent grade.  When I got home I called my various team members and they hadn’t done much on the paper.  Quickly I glanced through the assignment and realized that my teammates had read the assignment incorrectly.  They thought we had to get research already collected from scientific journals and the like. Turns out we had to collect the data ourselves.

Panicked I called my Dad who is the greatest in moments like this.  We put together a survey of JWA employees rating their benefits package and asked them to return it the next day (my Dad and uncle being president and chairman of the board probably helped with that!).  So I got the surveys back, tabulated the data, wrote the paper and had it in on time. Phew!

It was actually kind of funny I was visiting teaching coordinator, along with 2 other callings, at that time and I was terrible at that calling.  I never seemed to be able to get my calls in on time.  As it so happened just as I was tabulating data and super stressed out (I was working super long hours at this time as well) my Relief Society pres called me to ask for the numbers and I started to cry (sometimes leading can cause my anxiety, which isn’t good).  She asked me if she could help and bless her heart she came over and helped read off the survey scores as I entered them into the spreadsheet.  So I guess I was the recipient of leadership in that case.

Maybe it was the wrong lesson to learn but I never took a smaller role in a group again and that statistics class was my only B in grad school.  It wasn’t worth the risk of failure to let someone else lead and nobody challenged me for the spot so I took it and created the dream team!

The reason this was on my mind is I was discussing a dating idea on the Midsingles facebook forum called 8 at 8.  The concept is you network instead of one-on-one date.  Ideally 8 people, 4 men and 4 women, meet and have dinner together.  This way instead of meeting 1 person you have met 7 people who know so many more people, who know more people who might be right for you.  Anyway, I brought up the idea and it got a huge response.

People seemed really interested so I set up a meetup for August 14th.  Now there are 40 people signed up for the group.  21 are signed for the event.  My thought is we will figure out what we want to do for the future, organize smaller groups, but I’m sure the turnout will be smaller than rsvpd.  I’m expecting 8-10.  We are meeting at a local pizzeria just to guard against any weirdos. It should be pretty fun.

I was talking to a friend about this, and she said I was brave. I didn’t feel brave.  Of course, I went on a cruise alone to Mexico so my comfort level with strangers is pretty high. 🙂 When I was on the institute committee I remember people saying similar things when we were planning a barn dance and people were surprised I’d call someone who I knew had a barn.  Seemed obvious to me but the fact that I didn’t know the barn owner made it bold I guess…

Anyway, I was sitting wondering how I ended up as a leader in another group?  Whether its swimfest, book club, my writing group or some church function I always seem to be asked to lead.  I’m not really complaining just puzzling because sometimes it just seems to happen without really meaning too?

One thing I like about swimming is I got to be fellowshipped instead of lead. I am pretty much always the slowest swimmer in the bunch and yet I’ve never felt excluded or anything but encouraged.  Its kind of a nice change.  (yet I still have led with swimfest and helping with the newsletter but that has been fun.)

The other strange thing is I’ve never been a leader in my work, unless you count my days as a teaching assistant back in college (still my favorite job).  Funny hah? You think that would be the place I’d be most likely to lead?  I have led in my own way at work but a clerical job doesn’t exactly scream leadership.  Very strange… (I’ve also never been relief society president, thank goodness! However, I was gospel doctrine teacher for 6 years which is a type of leadership and excelled in front of the classroom)

Anyway, sorry for this long rambling post.  Does anyone out there know what I’m talking about?  Do you feel that way about leadership or are you a natural follower?

dilbert leadership
Just a laugh

Getting Peachy

So I am about as tired at the end of today as I have ever been.  No, I did not do a large swim or boxing session.  I made jam.  Peach jam that is.  I went to the farmers market after going to my friend Renee’s open house.  Its in Murray and I don’t always get out there but I was hoping they would have strawberries so I could make more jam.  (My strawberry jam has been a big hit)

Unfortunately I did not know that peach jam and strawberry jam are two entirely different ballgames.  Strawberries take about 3 steps and you are done.  It takes that much just to get the fruit ready.  First you have to blanch the fruit in 2 different temp water so that the peel will come off.  Then you have to take the peal off and remove the core in whatever way it will allow.  For some reason today none of them would split open normally so I used my knife to get as much off the fruit as possible.

Then I cut the peaches into small chunks and then blended coarsely about half the peaches.  I ended up with so many that it came to 2 vats of jam with peaches, pectin, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and a little butter.

Its hard to say tonight how they will turn out but we will know more tomorrow.  So far they look pretty good.  Good enough to eat!

At the farmers market in Murray
At the farmers market in Murray
For $30 I got a box of peaches, 3 tins of raspberries, a bag of apricots, 3 zuccini, 3 bell peppers and a giant onion.  Pretty good!
For $30 I got a box of peaches, 3 tins of raspberries, a bag of apricots, 3 zuccini, 3 bell peppers and a giant onion. Pretty good!
The prep area.  Thank goodness for my gel pro mat. Lifesaver
The prep area. Thank goodness for my gel pro mat. Lifesaver
Double bouble, toil and trouble. 2 Vats of jam a brewing
Double bubble, toil and trouble. 2 Vats of jam a brewing
When the foam subsides and the syrup becomes more clear than you want to cook another 12 minutes. At least hopefully it will turn out
When the foam subsides and the syrup becomes more clear than you want to cook another 12 minutes. At least hopefully it will turn out
The finished product.  A little runny still but yum!
The finished product. A little runny still but yum!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pioneering Spirit

Reposting some thoughts on the pioneers for pioneer day

Smilingldsgirl's Weblog

Today I was looking through my stationery collection (yes I have a stationery collection that craves a pen pal) when I saw my Minerva Teichert note cards I bought several years ago at the BYU Museum of Art.  Minerva was an artist that reached her prime in the 1930s in Utah.  She is primarily known within the Mormon community but she deserves a wider audience.  Her palate is unique and relaxing- using mostly pastel colors.   Some of my favorite of her paintings are:

Don’t you think these paintings are beautiful? I actually have the Martha and Mary one (the middle one) framed in my dining room.  Seeing that painting reminds me to take a second and “choose the better part.”

Anyway, today I was looking through my note cards and one of Teicherts painting called Zion Ho! stood out to me.  It is a painting of a pioneer woman…

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32 vs 17

So tomorrow I go back to my home in Utah, get back to work and training for my swims in my free time.  Aside from a little stomach ache today, I’ve had a great time and it was a nice break from my everyday life.

I don’t know how detailed I can get without shaming people but I learned a lesson this week I felt was worth sharing with all of you.

When I was about 17 I had an experience that stuck with me.  I had always felt bad about my weight and felt like it was something I couldn’t fix that I wanted to fix.  I was at a family reunion that summer when someone said something cruel about my eating ice cream and I threw the ice cream away and stormed out in tears.

My brother, who I was not normally close with, got very angry, stood up for me and stormed out of the restaurant, walking the rest of the way home.  My parents, uncle and cousins were also very supportive and the incident blew over with probably nobody remembering it but maybe my brother and me (although he claims to remember nothing from his childhood).

Well, that’s always stayed with me and on Friday night I was with the same person eating ice cream again and he/she made another comment about my weight and at first I s laughed it off but then I got mad.  This time instead of storming out I stood up for myself and said

‘You know what…..I know you would be happier if I was skinny but you will just have to deal with it’ and then I left the table and cried outside. I’d say an improvement in 15 years wouldn’t you?  I was pretty upset and frustrated that nothing seemed to have changed over such a long period of time, that nothing I had done in the intervening years had made a dent or changed that person’s attitude towards me.  I was still the same girl eating ice cream, feeling bad about myself.

For a second I felt 17 again…How could a situation mirror itself so closely after all that time?

Or was it?  This time it was not my brother, Dad or cousins standing up for me.  It was me, and yes I felt the tears of 15 years of frustration and pain, but I had said something that made an impact.  In fact, the next day I had flowers and a letter of apology from the person.  Forgiveness was granted and yet none of that would have happened if I had kept my mouth shut and smiled through the ridicule or if I had made an unsightly scene.  I certainly had not received an apology at 17.

Maybe all of us had learned something in the last 15 years after all? Hurray for humanity and a victory for underdogs out there.

Redemption and a high five to the 17 year old me!

Then
Then
Now
Now

White Water Rafting 2013

So last year I went white water rafting with my family on the American River and it was quite eventful.  At one point I got thrown from the raft and had to go down the ‘devil’s teacup’ on my back and then get thrust back onto the raft.  It was hard to get back on the raft and I was a little bruised so I was justifiably nervous to go this year for the reunion but anytime you get me around water I’m a happy camper. So off we went!

24 of us from the reunion went to the rafting and we had a great time and…no being thrown from the raft!  We had a great guide who was very good at explaining what we should do.   It was a long day and I am very tired but it was a great day (if a little drama thrown in there family reunion style).  I’m really grateful to my Mom and Dad for all they did to make the evening happen.