Month: August 2013

Imposters

was thinking about this and decided to reblog it. Thoughts?

Smilingldsgirl's Weblog

When I was in college I was given an editorial by Lynne Tempest called ‘A Pinch of Reality’ that I’ve hung onto all these years (it was originally posted in Network magazine in 1991 and I have the pink handout I got probably 12 years ago in college! I told you I was a pack rat!).   It has always wrung true to me and I was thinking about it this weekend.

The main point of the piece is that many women feel they are ‘imposters’ in their own lives.  Here’s some examples she gives:

‘”I’m not really a composer but for my final project I did compose just a couple of little pieces” said a classmate recently in a course on women composers.  After several apologies and self-effacing gestures, she sat down at the piano and played 3 magnificent compositions.’

‘”It’s just a simple pet project.  Nothing really” said another…

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Things You Probably Like That I Don’t Like

In general I don’t think of myself as a picky person.  I try to be open minded but just like anyone else I have honed in on my likes and dislikes over the years.  I’m not a very counter-culture person but there are a few things that nearly everyone likes that I don’t like.

Here you go:

Fake Cheese- I hate that goopy yellow stuff they put on nachos, velveta, the american cheese wrapped in plastic slices, cheese wiz, cheese from a can. You get the idea.

Catch 22 and Catcher in the Rye- I hated both of these books and would not read them again unless a gun was at my head

Anti-hero Shows- I’ve genuinely tried to get into Sopranos, Nurse Jackie, Breaking Bad, Dexter and other shows with these ne’er-do-wells and I just can’t get into them.  Too violent for my tastes and I found them to be boring.  I hated the Big C.  All of the characters are scum.  I didn’t like a single one.  I liked Mad Men for a while but even that became too sadistic and immoral for my stomach to handle.

(I thought of this post because everyone is talking about Breaking Bad and I just couldn’t get into it)

The Bachelor- I have so many friends who are into this show and report about it on facebook.  In the age of feminism it boggles the mind.  How can they be surprised when these staged relationships don’t work out?  The man has been courting 20 other women while claiming to be in love with you? I have never gotten it.

Sheryl Crow- People love Sheryl Crow. Not me.  I think she is a poser.  When things need to be country, she does country.  When things need to be a little more edgy, she does that and then we are back to Lilith Fair.  Give me a break.

Twilight- I liked the first 2 twilight books actually a lot.  They were fun and romantic.  Then the 3rd book came and I hated it.  I hated that Bella became a damsel in distress.  I hated the love triangle especially after the mutual acknowledgments between Edward and Bella in New Moon.  I hated how nothing surprised me.  I hated the dialogue.  I hated the messages to women.  I like the ideas about abstinence and purity but don’t like how they were couched in such dime novel drivel.

Socks- My roommate is always getting at me about wearing socks.  I hate socks and wear sandles or flats whenever I can.  Don’t know why I just do

Protein anything- I hate protein powders, drinks and bars.  And yes I’ve tried yours and I hated it.  Everyone I have tried has made me want to spit it out.  The texture and taste are like eating tar.

Dark Knight- We’ve already learned that I am one of the few who did not like the Dark Knight.  We should really start a support group for those that don’t like this movie.  Its a lonely world.

Kevin Hart- I have never heard a more annoying man in my life.  Just his voice is like nails on a chalkboard.  I didn’t laugh once at a recent bit I saw in him and in a movie I wanted to punch him each time he was in a scene.  Like Tracey Morgan but worse.

30 Rock- Speaking of Tracey Morgan I do not like 30 Rock.  I have never found it funny and tried lots.  It just doesn’t make me laugh.

Rhubarb and Figs- So far I’ve not had either in a preparation I’ve liked. Open to the possibility of liking them.

Dried Fruit- I want to like dried fruit but I just don’t.  Its ok but I never crave it and I find I buy it hoping I will snack on it and it always seems too sweet for me.  Not a fan.

Running- I hate running.  This is why I swim. I would rather do just about anything than go for a run.

Driving- If I could live without driving I would be a happy girl.  I really dislike it, so anytime people suggest they will drive I’m in!

Camping- Everyone knows this but I know you love it.  I do not.  I do not like the bugs, dirt, wild animals, or sleeping on the ground.  Sorry.

Dancing- Everyone also knows this.  I will go and dance occasionally to meet new people but I really don’t like it.  The horrible music is too loud and I have no natural rhythm. Not a fan.

YA Books- Clearly there are some YA books that I like but I’d say I dislike the genre more than most people I know.  I feel it is getting so reductive.  I’m bored with YA and usually they involve fantasy which I am not a fan of in general.

Black Licorice- It seems you either love it or hate it. I hate it!

So there you go! What do you think of this list!

i_hate_this

 

Book Thief

book thief

I’ve mentioned several times on this blog how much I love The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  I can confidently say it is the best book published in my lifetime.  I can’t think of anything that even comes close.  My favorite book is still North and South but this one is a very close second.

The reason why I wanted to profile it today is because my blogger friend over at Suey’s Books also loves this novel and is doing a read-along in September.  There will be insight posted daily with discussion questions, twitter chatting etc.  I will be participating and I thought some of you might enjoy it also http://sueysbooks.blogspot.com/2013/08/announcing-book-thief-read-along.html

The other news on the Book Thief front is the trailer for the upcoming movie came out.  In some ways I’m optimistic (I really felt it was an unfilmable book) but in other ways very skeptical (how can you not have death in the trailer!).  Those who’ve read it what do you think?

If you are one of the few people who haven’t read The Book Thief let me tell you why it is so spectacular.  It is set in WWII Nazi Germany but it is not a Holocaust book; although that certainly plays into the story.  That alone makes it unique.  Then it is narrated by death as a sarcastic, scary, biting, politically neutral force.  It is a brilliant choice as narrator not simply a gimmick.  Who else could be neutral about WWII?

Then you have a little girl, Liesel, who’s parents are communists so she and her brother are smuggled onto a train where the brother dies and Liesel stumbles upon her first book.  Unable to read she takes it anyway and shows it to her new foster parents The Hubermans.

Rosa and Hans Huberman are quite the couple.  Hans is all loving and sweetness; while Rosa is somewhat of a tyrant.  However, you know that she is helping this girl and a Jewish man named Max who hides in the basement so she can’t be all bad.  Later Liesel becomes friends with a little boy named Rudy who adores her and the mayor’s wife Ilsa who has a whole library for her to explore.

WWII unfolds for these characters with all kinds of moral challenges, sweet moments and tragedy.  You have to read it.  The thing that amazes me about The Book Thief is how many well developed characters there are.  Most books are lucky if you have two dynamic characters.  This book has at least 6 maybe more.  There are characters that only appear for a page or two and yet you see a whole story arc and feel for them.  It’s amazing.

Then the book has so much to say.  First, its a commentary on war and the baseness but also grandeur of human nature.  Death teaches the reader about all he has learned about mankind at his job, especially in the busy season of WWII.  A character like Rudy shows the innocent and loving side.  Rosa shows the complex but deeply human side.  Hans shows the brave side.  Everything around them shows the horrible side.

The Book Thief also has something to say about books and the power of words.  Liesel is a book thief but in a way aren’t we all.  We take the inner most thoughts of the author, absorb it and then make it our own.  In the book-within-a-book that Max writes for Liesel, The Word Shaker, we learn about a group of people who have the power to throw words at people. One particular girl climbs a tree and the fuhrer tries to chop it down but despite trying multiple axes he cannot cut the tree or destroy the word shaker.

(See why I think this movie is unfilmable).  Anyway, Zusak’s point is that words create evil and have the power to save humanity.  We should in the end all be book thieves like the word shaker. Maybe such tragedy shown in the book wouldn’t happen if we did.

I hope that isn’t any spoilers.  I tried.  Its such a great book.  I’ve read it 4 or 5 times and each time I have a full spectrum of emotions including weeping.  Not a small tear but actual flooding. And its a good kind of crying.  A crying where you have been truly moved, not manipulated. Second to last time I read it I was listening to it (a great audiobook btw) on a greyhound coming home from a swim in Vegas and at certain point I started to cry.  I couldn’t help myself.  I wonder what those bus riders thought of me!

Anyway, take this chance with Suey’s read along and read The Book Thief.  You won’t regret it.  I’m reading it again and I look forward to being dazzled all over again.  Happy Reading!

Please put in the comments what you think of the trailer.  Hopeful? Skeptical?

 

Box Month: Escape Box

Forgive me for writing quickly.  I am so tired today.  I stayed up to late and ended up getting around 4 hours of sleep.  I hope I can crash tonight.

Anyway,  I am down to my last two boxes for box month 😦 .  The mail won’t be the same after this month and I still haven’t decided which one’s I’m going to keep.  Which one’s have you liked or been interested in?  Once box month is finished I will give the blog a rest and only do periodic updates but you will be able to find photos and such on my instagram.

Today I received a brand new box.  Meaning this is the inaugural box. (This also means they are eager to get it out there so contact them if you have a blog with hits or a youtube channel).   You can get 20% off using code ESCAPENOW.  With this discount the box ends up being $39 and while that is a lot for the box you will find the value is there.

So the idea behind this box is you get all the stuff to get to know a vacation spot, including a guidebook if you decide to travel there.  They also have a contest and give away said vacation with each box.  There aren’t a ton of subscribers since it’s new so I think you chances are higher than in other sweepstakes.

The box this month was on Napa so unfortunately for me it had some wine/tea items I will not be able to eat.  However, my friends will or I will use them for topical applications.  Fortunately even with those items removed I still save $20 on the contents of my box.  Pretty good.

Escape box.  Pretty good, right.
Escape box. Pretty good, right.

Here’s the breakdown of the box:

Escape
3.95 luffa
3.31 cookies
9 white tea
4.49 dead sea salts
5.98 rose candles
4.48 napa soap
0.5 suki body butter cream
2.99 detox mud
7.89 lavendar body scrub
0.7 Clearly natural bar
3.39 mixture lip balm
13.19 Moon Guidebook
50 Wine card
109.87 subtotal
7.69 sales tax
117.56 total
58.56
59 value I can use
39 cost of box

Box Month Continues: Goodies Co and Naturebox

Got two more boxes today for box month and they are both food boxes.  I think the last of my food boxes.  If you want to do a box month contact the different subscriptions, tell them about your blog and you may get lucky.  Its been really fun.

Goodies Co-

This is a great box for those that want to dabble in boxes but don’t want to invest much money . It is only $7 a month!  I spend that much on a cafe rio burrito!  They also have a points system where you can add reviews and get discounts, free shipping on products.   It is a smaller box and the value came to right about $7 so its not a huge value box but the cost is so low I think it has its appeal.

This is not specifically a healthy box; although all of the products appear to be all-natural and ingredient conscious.  Mostly its a snacking box. They have an adult box and one designed for kids.  I got the adult box to to try and enjoyed it.

goodies

Goodies
2.77 alo light exposed drink
0.31 tangy zangy
1.5 poplets sea salt and butter
0.4 sunflower seeds
1.1 veggie sticks
0.75 pronto
0.48 sales tax
7.31  total

Naturebox

I have already talked about this box on my blog because its one I have done for a couple of months.  I love it.  Its my favorite food box.  The great things about this box is you can pick what products you want, they are full size, all nutritionist recommended and yummy! This box is a great bargain too.  My box this month was valued at $27.11 and that is being conservative.  I think it would be great for an office breakroom.  You could get healthy snacks for your employees without having to go to the store or to Costco!

It is definitely the largest of all the food boxes I tried and still my favorite.  I highly recommend it.  They also have lots of gluten free and vegan options so you just pick what you like.   I can’t recommend it highly enough.

This month I tried a few new things like the guacamole bites and garlic pumpkin seeds and some of my favorites from past boxes like the cheddar pub pretzels (so good!).  You can also be suprised by snackbox if you prefer and you can add on to your box for a very reasonable fee.   Naturebox is not a sample box.  All of the products are made with the naturebox label which is part of the reason why you are given such generous amounts for the $19.95 cost.  I love it.  Give it a try!

naturebox

Naturebox
4 pumpkin seeds
3.34 cheddar pub pretzels
4 plantain chips
4 peanut butter nom noms
4 guacamole bites
6 veggie chips
25.34 subtotal
1.77 sales tax
27.11 total

Bake 360

bakery
Bakery in all its delights
bake360
Bake 360

When there is a local establishment that does great work I like to use my blog to give a little shout out and maybe try to promote it in my own little way.  One such place is a bakery in my hometown of Draper, Utah called Bake 360.  I can honestly say it is as good if not better than any bakery I’ve ever been to.  Everything is meticulously made and you feel guilty tearing into it (in more ways than one) because they are so pretty, works of art really.

Just to show you I’m not alone here are some of the yelp reviews:

An exhaustive review is unnecessary – Just go! Right now!
I’ve tried most of the items in that majestic glass case and every single one is phenomenal. Eclairs? Delicious

—-

After one visit to Bake 360 I would now trade my Elvis collectible dolls, the contents of my secret lockbox (doh!), and what’s left of my dignity for just one more visit to Bake 360…

—-

Oh, the poor tattered remains of my diet….After our Saturday visit where we ordered a fairly stupid haul of pastries to sample, my wife asked how much the damage was.  When I gave her a figure in the low $20 range, she was gobsmacked.  The love and care that goes into each product is evident and while paying a bit more might have been understandable, I really appreciate the effort to keep things reasonable.

—–

I’ve only been there three times since I discovered the place a month ago (and one time I didn’t even eat anything –   I just smelled the air and bought stuff for friends.  No, no – real friends.  Not “air quotes” friends).

Things I might have said recently about Bake 360:

I really didn’t mean to get in my car, drive 10.24 miles, and purchase baked goods there.  It just happened.

I haven’t gone there like, 26 out of the last 30 days.  So I don’t have a problem.

Those are not crumbs all over my car.  I don’t know what you’re talking about.

I wouldn’t have to go if there were better bakeries close by.

Sigh.

My name is Kristin.  And I’m a Bake 360-aholic

—-

Well, that should give you some ideas.  They always have a wide selection of pastries including scones, kouing aman, chocolate croissants and apricot pastries with pastry cream.

pastries to die for!
pastries to die for!

If you aren’t in the mood for pastries they have a whole case of other desserts like eclairs, brownies, cheesecakes and tarts.  All are some of the best I’ve ever had.

The case to die for
The case to die for

Some particular standouts are the creme fraiche cheesecake and raspberry tarts.

tart
raspberry tart. So good!
cheesecake
Best cheesecake I’ve ever had. Sorry Mom
eclairs
Eclairs. The one with the caramel sauce, holy cow!
brownie
Yes, that is one brownie. Dark chocolate dipped in dark chocolate ganache. Hint one glass of milk wasn’t enough

My trainer says if you are going to have a treat make it a ‘hell yeah’ treat.  Meaning don’t waste your calories on some lame cookie.  Get something really good.  Bake 360 totally fits that bill.  They even have pastry classes I’m dieing to take.   Although they say you only take the class to realize you should buy them!

The service is also great at Bake 360.  The staff is all well versed on every item including explanations as to where ingredients were sourced and how it was prepared. They even have french macaroons for the gluten free crowd (although not always in stock).

The only flaw with Bake 360 is there is no seating so you have to take your treat elsewhere; however, there is a coffee shop called Dancing Yetti’s next store that makes all kinds of drinks and has 2 sofas, so in a pinch you can bring your treats there and get a drink.  The lack of seating keeps the prices down and you can get a lot of pastries for under $20.

Check it out!  You won’t regret it.

 

Recital, Music and a Little Rain

Today turned out to be a fun day.  It is another example of when I’m tired and don’t feel like doing something I should always do it! (Remind me of that the next time I am  feeling lazy).  Monday’s are always hard for me.  Even working from home the weekend never seems long enough.  There is so much to do and so much work to get caught up on that it can feel overwhelming.

To add to my normal Monday mood today I had a voice lesson followed by our summer recital. I sang Let Me In from the film Rigoletto (not associated with the opera aside from a similar storyline but updated). Its a beautiful, haunting song that most people are unfamiliar with, so I really enjoyed singing it.  Its also one I know very well so in my busy open water season I didn’t have to worry too much about it (although I did fumble the words in one spot.  Nerves!).

After the recital I had tickets to see Bill Medley of Righteous Brother’s fame at the Scera Shell in Orem. I get season tickets every year because they are such an insane deal. 10 events (3 plays, 7 concerts) for $75.  Less if you are a student.  I’ve had tickets for most of the time I’ve lived in Utah and each year they get better acts and more polished theatrical productions.  The big draw this year was Josh Turner in July but I am also looking forward to Richard Marx at the end of this month.  I have seen him once before at Scera and really enjoyed it.

Anyway, I had tickets but I felt exhausted just thinking about the recital let alone the concert.  I offered them to my friend Rachel but she didn’t want to go and then on my way to the recital she changed her mind and encouraged me to go so I agreed.  It ended up raining through most of the show but we had a good time anyway.  If anything it made it more memorable with the rain (and for $7.50 you can hardly complain about a concert especially by a Hall of Fame singer!).

I'm so blessed to have such great friends.  I really love them like sisters.
I’m so blessed to have such great friends. I really love them like sisters.

All in all it ended up being a good day, which I am grateful for.

Here’s the video of my song. 

The end got cut off and I flubbed a line of lyrics but I think it turned out pretty well.  (I’m not a professional singer.  I just dabble at it for fun).  The other day I added up what I have spent over the years on voice lessons and it is kind of staggering; however I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  It has given me confidence and provided a creative outlet from the hum-drums of my sometimes all too unexciting life.

If you can learn anything from me cultivate what talents you have.  Try new things.  Be creative.  I love what President Uchtdorf says about creating things.  It is one of our deepest yearnings and we all need to find our own ways to make our mark on the world.  Even if it is just dopey little recitals every couple of months, it is creating something:

The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.

Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.

Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children.

You might say, “I’m not the creative type. When I sing, I’m always half a tone above or below the note. I cannot draw a line without a ruler. And the only practical use for my homemade bread is as a paperweight or as a doorstop.”

If that is how you feel, think again, and remember that you are spirit daughters of the most creative Being in the universe. Isn’t it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it—your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination.

I couldn’t have summed up these 7 years of voice lessons better!