Monday, December 28, 2009

The Aftermath; or What I Have Read

Theoretically I should have pictures on Christmas but I didn't (typical.)
Anywho, it was a nice day, devoid of any meltdowns or tantrums (even Avery was well-behaved.)
I'll track down some pictures and write an update...

In the meantime

Here are the books that I have read since I've been home for Christmas:
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
I started reading this book while I was an undergrad at Weber. My grandma (who was a professor there) had borrowed it from the library and asked me to return it on my way back to the Browning Center. I started reading it and I probably would have finished it, sitting in the cold outside the library, were it not for class. I read it over two days and it really made me think about grief and death. I wondered if it is worse to have someone die of a disease rather than at the hand of another person because there isn't really something to attach the blame. Try as you might, "cancer" doesn't really make a good bulletin board for your pain and grief.
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
I am SUCH a sucker for historical mysteries. If a book has footnotes or a person doing research in a library, I am SO there! I think that is why I enjoyed the books Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke and the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud so much; FOOTNOTES! I read this book in a day, mostly because I just wanted to know what was going to happen to grad-student Connie and her historical detective work.
I highly recommend this book even though the ending was a bit off.
Cumorah Christmas by Bob Lonsberry
Bob is a friend from my mission and this book is set in my mission. I was fun to read about places that I was able to visit. The book was short but it was a nice story about a man who is reminded of Christmas in a sacred place. My Mom picked up this book for me a week or so before Christmas along with the next book.

Saving Madeline by Rachel Ann Nunes
My Mom surprised me with a signed copy of this book (thanks!) for Christmas. It was fun to meet the author because I really enjoyed the Ariana series when I was in junior high. My tastes changed and I didn't continue on with the other books Ms. Nunes has since written. I read this book on Christmas, after we arrived home from visiting my grandparents. The plot was engaging: a lawyer defends a man who kidnapped his own daughter because the mother was dangerous even though the police didn't have any evidence of the mother and her dangerous ways. I really liked it even though parts were a bit silly-romantic but the other parts made up for it. This book also has brought my number of autographed books to four.
Tangent: When I was younger I LOVED the Baby-sitter's Club book by Ann M. Martin (Hilary read the Babysitters Little Sister series for a little while.) Anyway, we went to a book signing with our parents at a mall so we could meet Ann M. Martin. I was so nervous I couldn't even tell her how much I liked her books or how much I was able to relate to ALL of the girls in the club. All I was able to do was spell my name.
I was so nervous.
I can't remember how old we were or where the signing was held. I just remember there were A LOT of people and I was very nervous.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Vacation so far...

Has it really almost been two weeks since school ended? How did that happen? Seriously, where did the time go?

Here are some of the places it has gone:

Seeing friends from New York
Visiting with family and cousins.

More family stuff...Lauren went to the Christmas dance last night. Nope, she's not 16 but apparently dances have ventured from the land of dates to "school activities." Anyway, I can't believe she is 15 and so grown up.

I've also done a lot of shopping with my parents. During a lull I did some people watching and here are some things that I noticed:
  • Neck tattoos, probably not the best place for a tattoo although it is slightly better than a face tattoo. Only slightly.
  • Wearing sunglasses inside and you aren't either fresh from an eye appointment nor are you famous in a paparazzi-hiding-in-the-bushes kind of famous. Even then, I think you draw more attention to yourself if you are wearing sunglasses inside.
  • Bright pink hair. There is small percentage of the population that can carry off pink hair and it's something you have to commit to with your wardrobe and grooming. It doesn't work if your hair is a lovely shade of magenta and you are dressed like a boy.
  • High heels with jeans and sweatshirts. This is as a bad as really nice church clothes with flip flops in the summer time or Uggs in the wintertime. Ugh.
  • Manpris. Confused? They are capri pants worn by a man. Not a good look. At all.
  • Plucking your eyebrows into obscurity. Seriously. Why do people do this? It just makes a person look old and haggard.
  • Hair styles that weren't cool twenty years ago certainly aren't good today. Enough with the feathered and frosted hair already!
  • Wearing cartoon characters on sweatshirts and you aren't 12.

I took notes on my cell phone while people watching. I sort of wish that I had taken a few pictures as well. That's probably pushing it though.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Of all the odd things that I enjoy I am going to share another oddity with you: infomercials. Not all, just a few:

Burt Sugarman's The Midnight Special
Romancing the Seventies
and BareMinerals by BareEscentuals

First up, The Midnight Special. Even though I've seen this a bajillion times, I STILL have a hard time falling asleep once this one starts! I think it's because I love watching musicians perform and it features a couple of David Bowie performances. I also think I continue to hope that the infomercial will change and show different clips. OR it could also be due to the late hour that I usual see it.

Next up, Romancing the Seventies. WHERE do I start? There are so many things to love about this silly program. First off, it's hosted by Tony Orlando and some lady who has apparently made a career out of hosting music on TV type programs because she seems awfully comfortable with the whole deal. Setting aside the obvious awesomeness of Tony Orlando, some of the music choices are really horrible. REALLY horrible.
  1. Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again Naturally" (#27 on my playlist) While the song may appear to be just another mellow piano and cymbal based song, take a minute to LISTEN to the lyrics. Yep, he DID just say he was contemplating suicide by throwing himself off a tower AND his life really sucked.
  2. Engelbert Humperdinck's "After the Lovin'" Oh, I don't know if I can even get past his name and the song title. I find the idea of singing someone to sleep with a song you "wrote yesterday" not particularly romantic. Not so much writing the song but specifying WHEN you wrote it. Also I have problems with the phrase "the lovin'" and the name Engelbert Humperdinck. Why change your name from Arnold George Dorsey? Is it that bad?
  3. Diana Ross's "Touch Me In The Morning" It's probably just the clip they show but every time I follow her line "touch me in the morning" with "don't even think about touching me any other time of the daaaaay." Probably only really funny to me and at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
  4. America's "Horse With No Name" Since when is this a love song? Seriously, have I been missing something?
  5. Same goes for Paul Simon's "Kodachrome."
  6. B.J. Thomas' "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" Holy CRAP, that is A LOT of words in that title. I'm putting this on this list for the sheer tongue-tying aspects of the title alone.
  7. Helen Redding "Angie Baby" I'm pretty sure this song is about a "lady of the night" or a "lady of questionable morals" or a "strumpet" or the same subject as the Reba McIntire song "Fancy." (A side note, Jessica Simpson's perfume is called Fancy. It STILL cracks me up!)
  8. Bread "Guitar Man" Just because a song contains the word "love" I don't think it qualifies as a love song.
There were a few others but I honestly can't remember what they were. Maybe I'll write down my ideas the next time I'm sitting around and the informerical comes on.

Last up is something I actually really LOVE.
I started using Bare Minerals in September and I have actually seen an improvement in my skin. Honestly. I bought it via Sephora and it was well worth the expense of $60.
The kit contained three brushes, magical primer, two foundations, "warmth" (sort of bronzer that doesn't have a cheeto effect) and "mineral veil" (a translucent powder that looks really sparkly but somehow isn't.) It also came with a how-to DVD and a booklet. While the infomerical sort of drove me nuts with the host (CEO Leslie Blogett) repeating "swirl, tap, buff" so many times it could be a drinking game if I were the drinking type. Plus, it all seemed too good to be true: it covers, doesn't feel like make up AND it is good for just about any skin type? It took a couple of conversations over the summer to help me make my decision to purchase the kit (namely two conversations with actual users and numerous infomercial viewings.) The prognosis?
I love it!
My skin is a heck of a lot clearer than it has been, well, since I started wearing make-up and it feels softer too. The only downside is I ran out of primer a month and a half ago (the kit contained a deluxe sample size, just enough to get you hooked.) I've been substituting Benefit's Dr. Feelgood and Korre's Face Primer. (I purchased the Benefit product on a whim a couple of months ago and only figured it out recently. I received a deluxe sample of the Korres primer via the Beauty Insider program.)

There you have it, the infomercials I sort of like. I'm even more strange than you though!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jet lag without the jet

Is it possible experience the effects of jet lag without traveling? Is it possible to have your sleep schedule thrown totally off by one all nighter? Let me explain...

On Monday I stayed up until 4:00 AM, working on my final project for design studies. (Design studies is a class that is mandatory for all design grad students to help them refine their rendering skills and to bulk up their portfolios. We complete "paper projects" which can be anything from costume design renderings to a model of a set or lighting designs complete on Photoshop. ) Anywho, I slept until after 10:00 AM on Tuesday and I went to bed at 6:45 PM on
Wednesday night.

I know! I know! I shouldn't do things like that to myself! Staying up for over thirty hours in the middle of the week has really screwed up my sleeping schedule. REALLY screwed it up.

But, I finished my project AND it looked really great if I don't say so myself. It was nice way to finish up my first year of grad school. I'm going to post pictures when I scan my renderings. Pictures don't quite capture the colors or the shading.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Crunch Time (not nearly as much fun as Hammer Time)

Is it procrastination when you are just taking a break from working on a project?
I started my final design studies project a few weeks ago and I haven't really slacked off since. I worked over the break and I stayed up obscenely late last night/this morning. Is is still procrastinating if I'm blogging instead of painting? I'm fully prepared to stay up all night if I have to, I need to finish my project. I kind of feel like this guy
when he's taking about standing up to his father after wreaking the car. Taking the heat and all that jazz.

Sort of.

Anywho. Apart from painting and drawing a lot lately I have also caught up with some old pretend friends.

I have made it through the entire first season and I'm well on my way to finishing the second season tonight. I'd say it's a pretty big design project if it takes two seasons of Gilmore Girls to finish it.

I should take this time to thank my roommate and her family for their love of TV on DVD. I have benefited greatly and I appreciate it.

Do you want to know what else I appreciate? Johnson's baby lotion. Seriously. I have sensitive skin and that pink wonder not only moisturizes but it does it without freaking out my face.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Moon...not nearly...

I just saw this movie:

I will admit that I enjoyed it in the same way I enjoy milk chocolate or wonder bread: it doesn't really do anything nutritionally for me but it sure tastes good. I enjoyed watching the film and it didn't seem as long as the actual running time.

1. WHAT is up with the stupid sound effects that go along with the "sparkling?" Can't they just look like they were attacked by a glitter gun or like they fell face first into a MAC counter? Why include a sound?

2. There is a certain scene that involves running and a forest and Bella and Edward in pastel clothes. Why oh WHY was Edward in a dorky, cream colored vest? Really, Tish Monaghan, REALLY? (Apart from that, well done. Much improved from the first film.)

3. Continuity. I realize that the budget was a lot bigger and better for this film than the first but was it totally necessary to give both the nomads almost complete make-overs? Sure Laurent's dreads looked better and he really rocked the Paul Smith-ish suit but I nearly didn't recognize him! Don't get me started with Victoria! Do you really expect us to believe that during all the plotting and planning that she took time out to visit the salon to really punch up her hair color? Her wardrobe changed too, less killer-hippie, more Anthropologie.

Glutton for punishment or careful attention to detail?

You decide!
The resist work on a kimono for Issun Boshi
and pencil renderings for a design studies project.Allegedly this makes it easier to paint later...I hope. It's going to be a long week.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese...

I sat on the floor of my room doing something I used to do as a kid: sit really close to the heating vent. Granted, when I was a kid I would drape a blanket over it as well but it was warm enough without one. I don't know how the situation could have gotten better, 30 Rock, polka dot pajamas, and the heating vent.

I felt like I needed that at the end of today, we got a lot done in the shop. However, before I got to the shop I snapped the following colorful pictures:

I think this was some kid's homework from the elementary school. I loved the pattern the bleeding colors created!
Apparently the walls in the theatre department were this color once upon a time:
Sheesh! I'm actually glad for the boring white walls!
Our last show of the semester is quickly approaching, we go into dress rehearsal on MONDAY before breaking for Thanksgiving and then picking up with more dress rehearsals. It was my pleasure to work with one version of the main character, Issun.
Your eyes do not decieve you, this is a PUPPET! Little Issun is wearing a preliminary costume called a mock-up, it helps us to see if the costume is going to work based on the pattern. We use cheap fabric such as muslin rather than using the "real" or fashion fabric. It was a good thing that I made a mock-up because the sleeves were too short and the pants were waaaay too long. I also needed to know where the mechanical elements were going to be attached.
This is a view of the puppet and the pattern pieces. After I took this picture I made marks on the mock-up and then took the mock-up apart so the altered pieces could become the pattern pieces for the final version.
We use "high-tech" materials in the costume shop such as scotch tape. It is VERY technical.And the finished product! The fabric is actually a scaled down version of the pattern used on the actor's costume. A photo of the pattern was scanned into PhotoShop, scaled down, printed on heat transfer paper and ironed on to muslin. It's really cool!
In addition to working on the costumes I've also been helping with the wigs for the show. I'm not sure how authentic they are but I'm pleased with the results!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hodgepodge of stuff

Okay folks, this entry is basically just a bunch of stuff that has been kicking around for a while. Why don't we let the old stuff go first?

One of the many reasons why Utah State is a great school: the views. I took this picture as I was walking home. I love the color combination!

I have no idea what this next object is but I saw it as I walked across campus with my friend Molly:
It's sort of a covered motorized bicycle. I thought it was fascinating! It looks like a little space ship!

Photo #3 is a sort of familiar face. Now he has more than just a face and hands!
It's our friendly neighborhood dementor!
I finally brought him home from school (thanks Brandee!) and now he sits in our front room. So far he has scared at least three people. You don't really expect to see a big blue skeleton in a cloak on a couch, I guess.

Walking to school in the COLD wind! Why are all of the universities in Utah built so close to canyons? Ugh. (And another ugh to the picture.)

Finally, I took this picture while I was working on my renderings.

I'm not sure why I look so happy, I was pretty sick of painting.

I'm going to pace myself better for this last project, it means working everyday but hopefully I won't have to scramble to get everything done.

Did anyone see Monday's episode of Castle? Mitchum Huntzberger AND Duck Phillips guest starred! I was so excited! .....anyone?

I think I have watched too much TV during my lifetime.

P.S. I have added links for people who had no idea what I was referring to with my last Monday's episode of Castle.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

An open letter to the Gap

Dear Gap,

I would like to thank you for collaborating with Stella McCartney for your latest collection. I love her designs and I am very excited that they will be available at an affordable price. There is a lovely selection of jackets:

graphic t-shirts:

pretty blouses:

and cozy cardigans:
Why, oh why was it for Gapkids? Do kids really need silk shirts and cashmere cardigans? Will they appreciate the workmanship? Is there anyway I can get in on the action?

Sincerely (and sadly,)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Birthday Weekend

I had a pretty packed weekend. It was completely worth it though. I left Logan early on Friday and drove home to my parent's house so I could decorate a cake with my sister for my niece. Hilary and her family arrived the day before so she had a majority of the baking done before I arrived. They also made several neat tissue paper decorations (I should probably note that Hil has set the bar pretty high for first birthdays. I hope when I have kids that it isn't at a ridiculous height.)
We chose to follow the color scheme of the flowers when we decorated the cake.
It took a lot of effort to dye the batches of fondant but I think it worked out! We altered the design quite a bit but I think it was still a success.
The cake wasn't super-sized, Avery is just pocket sized. I don't think she liked the candle that much:
Luckily, her parents helped her blow out the candle.
I think she enjoyed the cake though.

The Birthday Girl and her beautiful mother:

Josh and Hilary also took Avery trick or treating to a couple of houses in my parent's neighborhood. Everyone got in on the act:
Ave makes a cute, if distracted, little monkey.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Do you ever feel like this?

Despite appearances, this picture is of six kids who are actually very intelligent and quite cute. It's just a bad photo. I sort of feel like that is how this week has been. I'm not really an awful person, I just seem like it. It's really frustrating when things just don't work out even though you've been trying really hard. It's almost like the more you do the more you fail. That is SUCH a terrible outlook! I can't wait for Thanksgiving break: family and my favorite meal of the year.

Honestly, have you ever seen a worse picture?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Projects (My own and others)

I just have to say as much as I appreciate people being on task and able to get things done early, WHAT is with the SNOW???? Really, Mother Nature? REALLY?!? I mean, it's only the end of October, can't we get to Thanksgiving before this stuff flies? Maybe? Please??? I don't want four months of winter.

I've been working on my Halloween project here at school and a little at home. Last week I covered the florist foam pieces so that this week I would be able to paint them. The other items in the picture are my first attempt at a skeleton hand and a mummy mask. Unfortuately the mask didn't photograph well but it looks better in real life. I'm really happy with the large hands. They are so creepy! After I took this picture I decided that the face was too cl
ean when compared to the hands so...

I dirtied it up with more paint, applied with a natural sponge as opposed to the brush I had used earlier. I'm pretty happy with the result. It seems to coordinate with the hands much better than before. Now I just need to worry about putting the whole monster together!
Wish me luck!

Another project that I am really excited about is my niece's birthday cake.
Hilary and I are going to collaborate again. I really love working with Hil! The idea is that we are going to make a cake that looks something like this:

Obviously we can't construct a cake that is as thin because it would fall over. We're going to change the proportions and the colors but the idea is there. I'm really excited. This weekend can't come soon enough!

The next photo is from Weber State's costume shop. The talented Jim Christian has written a muscial based on the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. While I was dropping something off, Jean Louise (their fantastic shop manager) showed off the leather horse heads the shop has constructed. It's a really cool concept!

This last photo isn't really a project, it's a prank.

Who door bell ditches and leave a three year old jar of capers on a doorstep?
Really, I'd like to know.