My busy is so first world.
And yet, I am weird busy. So I don't plan anything. I write on the side. Nothing has priority and nothing is set in stone. I am totally MC Bat Commander in this song:
Right now, my life is set on "Wingin' It" mode. So far, all is well and nothing too horrible has happened (except for Rhett's massive bonk in Target that caused a big ruckus and blood was EVERYWHERE, but we're all good now).
Are you a "wingin' it" type person?" Planning takes time that (wo)men of action can't afford. You with me?
Thursday, May 16, 2013
My busy is so first world.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
My sister, Angela, and I have been busy like those little bees up in my header. (I am the smaller one... because I am younger. sheesh.)
Tomorrow we will be in Arizona having a special show in Gilbert. Check it:
Yep. I will be there, too. So, if you have been wanting to reunite or meet me (ha!), this is the occasion. Oh, I make myself laugh. But, seriously you should come and get a gift for your mother (or for yourself--best kinds of Mother's Day gifts, in my opinion, are the ones you get yourself), your graduate (my niece is graduating in the top 10 of her MASTERS Accounting class from ASU--she won't brag, but I will), or for whomever for whatever.
We will have items there for both weekends. Unless we sell out of everything on day one. Which could totally happen (since we will have about 250 items there).
These silver heart and leather-wrap bracelets are going to go fast. We will have them at both shows, but I have already heard from about half a dozen people that they are planning on snatching them up. (you can buy one online HERE)
And, my love of trophies and spray paint hasn't ceased, apparently. I made some wicked trophy candlesticks and if they don't sell, I will love them forever in my home. (I might cry if they all sell. I guess I can always make more.)
So. I hope you can make it to either one. Or that you have a productive and creative weekend at the yard sales.
Friday, May 3, 2013
Rhett and I were walking all around our neighborhood yesterday--we met a friend for lunch at Mazza, walked up to Jolley's pharmacy to pick up a prescription and some candy (and look at some clothes) and then meandered home among the blossom-filled trees and tulips.
He held a Flash Gordon sticker in one hand and my hand in his other (to cross every street--but that sticker had magic properties and he had to run ahead on the sidewalks). We watched birds make nests, squirrels chase up tree trunks and dogs beg us to play with them from behind their fences. Rhett said more than once, "This is fun, right?" So much, Rhett.
I love our neighborhood in the spring (... and autumn, summer, and even most of the winter). It is so choice.
It's like I am walking in a music video while the wind blows the blossoms off the trees as they cascade all around us. It's terribly cheesy and wonderful. Do you hear music playing in the soundtrack of your life? Especially during those prime moments you want to bottle up and hold onto forever?
Some new songs for your blossom-cascading-and-twirling weekend:
And this one. Which just so happens to be FREE on iTunes right now. So, get it.
Bon week-end, mes amis (and have a great Cinco de Mayo and Star Wars Day [May the Fourth])!
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Do you eat? Good job. Do you find yourself in Salt Lake City, Utah and wondering where to eat? If you are heading to Olive Garden or Chili's, STOP your car right now. There are so many great places to eat in the S-L-C. Local eateries typically use fresher ingredients grown closer to home and you can taste it. Here are some of my favorites, so check 'em out:
Breakfast for breakfast or for lunch. Whatever time of day you choose, these are three of my favorite places to grab some petit déjeuner.
The Park Cafe
Across the street from Liberty Park, this place is always hopping. It is only open from 7 am until 3 pm, so wake up and get over there. Their omelets are amazing, as are the breakfast sandwiches. Oh, and their pancakes are ginormous.
Belgian waffles and frites. Need I say more? Yes? Well, then. Try the caramelized waffles with Belgian chocolate and whipped cream. I am salivating just thinking about it.
Two words: Kouing Aman. A few other places have started to make this delicacy, but Les Madeleines is still king with the Kouing. Get a few to go, because they sell out quickly.
We like Middle Eastern food around our home. A good masala and naan is as good as gold. Over the past five years, we have made it our mission to find the best out of all of the Salt Lake Indian offerings. These are our faves:
They have a lunch buffet, which is good, but we love their dinner menu the most. Try the Juwanu Chicken and the Chicken Tikka Masala. Once we got some kind of vegetarian balls in a creamy sauce and it was crazy delicious. I've been trying to find it again and have come up empty. Any ideas?
Talk about a hole in the wall. Ali Baba has the biggest and tastiest naan I have ever seen. I think for lunch today I will go get one naan and a side of grilled chicken for a crazy good sandwich for two and under $6. I have heard that their Chicken karahi is off the chain (and off the menu). Go there.
A downtown favorite for many, I have only been once but it was delicioso. I'd go again in a heartbeat. The parking blows, though. The service is great and the mango lassis are calling my name.
So this might be me bragging, but I can walk to Mazza from my house. There. I said it. I don't always want a felafel or shawarma, but when I do, I go to Mazza. I love their fries and dipping sauce, too.
I wish I didn't like pizza as much as I do. I know I am not the only one; it seems to be the go-to meal for large groups and fun dates with kids. Everyone can find a slice they like and these are our favorite places to get one:
When someone comes in town and wants to try something new and local, I usually take them to Settebello. Get your own pizza (I love the quatro formaggio) and save some room for the gelato next door. I once got a ricotta cheese and balsamic gelato and it was crazy good.
Interesting choices make for tasty pizzas--the Pera has sliced pears, red onions, pistachios and prosciutto. The kids' pizzas are the same size for half the price (if you are under 12).
If you are in Salt Lake and you want pizza, you should really go experience The Pie. It is a college hangout of all hangouts, but the pizza is pretty delicious, too. I love the Pizza pull-a-part (it's just pizza dough breadsticks, but I think it's the bees knees. It's like a whole pan of pizza crusts!). Bring a sharpie to write your name on the brick walls.
Diner:Sometimes you just want breakfast for dinner and hamburgers for breakfast. If you're like me (bless your heart), sometimes you want pancakes and a chocolate malt for lunch. Enter the diner.
A funky establishment with great sandwiches and an old-school vibe. Vegan options or get a burger with bacon, your call.
Best patio eating experience in Salt Lake City. OR eat in the train car. Ruth's has been around for decades and is in the canyon but close to the city. Get the pulled pork sandwich or the meatloaf. So many choices, all delicious.
I am an Arizona girl and so I am very picky about my Mexican food. Utah's Mexican is not Arizona Mexican, so I am still working on finding a lot of good ones. So far, I have one suggestion (I know people love Red Iguana, I am just not one of them):
Tacos. Guacamole. Good. Slightly sketchy area of SLC.
Where have I been? Thai food is crazy amazing. Why was I ever going to Panda Express? WHY?!?!? All of these restaurants have great pad thai, green curry, and tom kha (coconut soup). Oh, Tom Kha, I love you.
French food? Oui, mes amis!
When you are going out for a fancy date or special event, try The Paris. Everything I have had is incredible (even the escargot). It is one classy place. And it just so happens to be in the greatest neighborhood in all of Utah (so says I).
This new boulangerie has everything going for it. Great croissants, Parisian decor, good service, and french offerings. I had the Brunch Pie and it was fantastique. All of their breads are made with organic local flour and a twenty-year-old mother sourdough starter instead of commercial yeast. Let's all meet there today!
Sometimes you just need a slab of beef, you know what I mean? And if when you read hamburger, you thought of McDonald's, then SHAME ON YOU! Get your hamburger buns to one of these hamburger eateries ASAP:
Al and I love this place. Technically, it is a bar. And technically, you can't even get in if you are under 21 or don't have picture ID. But technically, it is the most incredible burger you will ever eat. I have written whole posts about it (like this ONE) because it is so tasty.
This is Alan's favorite eatery of meat. He likes the Crown Burger, which has pastrami on top of the big fat burger patty. I like their sweet potato fries and the gyros.
Not from SLC, but a good burger joint. I got the lettuce-wrapped burger with teriyaki sauce and pineapple yesterday and it was pretty delicious. Priced relatively low, as well. Try it.
Just in time for lunch. Have you been to any of these places in Salt Lake? What is your favorite eatery in SLC? Where do you want to meet me today (I am hungry now)!
Friday, April 26, 2013
Alan reminded me last week that I neglected to share a cover that we recently discovered.
If this doesn't move you a little... I don't know. Go see a cardiologist.
This other song I recently found and started watching because of the beach scenes, but then I started hearing the words.
This guy is Alan's alter ego, for sure. "Breathe in the air, set your intentions... tomorrow's a new day for everyone. Brand new moon, brand new sun." "Cherish this moment; cherish this breath."
I mean, do I really need to add anything? Every moment, every day, fill it up, use it up, make the most of it all. Follow the sun, y'all.
bon week-end, mes amis.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Let me be clear, I realize that I am immensely fortunate. I am sitting in my comfortable home with all of my senses fully functioning. I have a kick-A husband and four pretty fantastic kids. We are all
relatively mostly healthy. I have food in my fridge, food in my pantry, food still on the table from breakfast, and enough food in my basement to last us a few weeks. Running water? check. Clothes for days? check. Automobiles/bikes/lawn mower/toys/tvs/games/phones? ummm... yes. check.
So. Complaining about things is kind of difficult, because I know that as far as anything in this world goes, I am crazy lucky. Ridiculous, really. But, things happen. Life gets hard and things don't go always as planned. This morning in yoga, our teacher/yogi read a passage at the end of class and she said something like:
I *might* have teared up when she read that. Then again, it was wicked hot in there and I was exhausted.
We are all on this life journey, doing our best to be good people and help others. Things are uncertain, that much IS certain, and we carry on anyway. Friends and family struggle, hurt, get sick, die, leave, change. Acting gracefully to ourselves and others is always a challenge.
I think so many of us often confuse "empathy" with "relating by participating" when we are trying to love people who are suffering. We want to be empathetic friends, so we share our own stories, or beliefs, or thoughts on the subjects. Hello, I am saying WE because I know I struggle with this at times, as well. I am especially bad with pregnant ladies. When you are pregnant, you actually don't want to hear everyone's horrible labor and delivery stories. But like a magic handkerchief trick gone wrong, I feel the stories spilling out of my mouth before I can catch and shove them back in.
Some of the worst offenses I have received are from really kind and well-intending people. They want me to know that they "understand" and care for me, so they share stories of people they know (or, worse, heard about) that experienced something similar. "Oh, my sister's brother-in-law had the same symptoms and died 48 hours later." "Have you tried oils? They helped my friend's husband who was worse off than you." "I heard about someone that thought it was what you have, but then it ended up being cancer. Have you been tested for cancer?"
These are not mean people. But their words weigh you down and cause emotional pain sometimes. So do comments that assume you aren't trying or haven't been consumed with your issues. "Are you reading your scriptures/praying?" "Try going for a walk." "Maybe you should eat more leafy greens."
Empathy means "the ability to understand and share the feelings of others." Not "share" as in tell but SHARE as in possess in common. There is little reason we should ever use moments of crises to recount, advise, or lecture. We show empathy with our actions and few words.
I have comprised my own list of ways to be empathetic.
Things you should NOT do:
- Share your own "war" story (unless asked for explicitly)
- Lecture (includes religiously, medically, and other ly's)
- Say "It wasn't meant to be" or "All things happen for a reason" and other senseless clichés
- Say, "What can I do for you?" (see * in next list)
- Give any extra burden
- Suggest a need for comfort from those in crisis (telling them how hard their experience is on you)
Things you SHOULD do:
- Say "I'm so sorry" and "I love you" and "I am here for you"
- Hug, if appropriate
- Back off, when needed
- *Inform of how you are going to help
This last one should not be overlooked. How often do we say and have we heard, "What can I do to help?" Now, I am a pretty outgoing and loud person by nature. I have a hard time keeping my thoughts to myself at times. But when someone asks me how they can help me (especially when I am really struggling), I never feel comfortable asking for something. I don't know many people who will let you know what they need. You need to tell them what you can do for them. Whether it be making a dinner, taking kids, donating money, or coming over for a chat, YOU need to let them know what you can do and then ask what time.
When I had a really difficult moment in my life, there were a few people who showed me this example. One was my sister-in-law; she called to let me know that she was sending over people to clean my house. (My house hasn't looked that clean since. oy vey) Another of my sisters got in her car and drove with her whole family to be close and support me and my family. A neighbor went and bought huge bows for my kids' Christmas presents, knowing I wouldn't be able. Friends brought meals, some took children. My in-laws asked for the days when they could watch my kids while I had appointments and tests. I didn't have to ask anyone, but I knew that if I needed something, these were the people I could ask.
Empathetic people are doers. They listen, they look in your eyes to express their love, and they SHOW you their sympathy. They rarely say much at all.
After I started writing this, my friend shared THIS article on protocol for kvetching with those who are ill. Nicely put.
I also wrote an article last month about making meals for neighbors, if you want to take a gander.
Friday, April 19, 2013
I love cover songs. Maybe because they elicit pleasant memories... without totally recalling anything in particular. I don't know. Just because I can't put my finger on WHY I love cover songs, doesn't make them any less fantastic.
Here are some recent cover songs for your listening pleasure:
I remember when I heard that this next song was originally sung by Tina Turner, I almost died. Figuratively, of course. I was a shocked teenager to think that Erasure didn't concept the song about being a little girl and having a rag doll.
This one makes me excited that it's the weekend. Big WINK.
Oh boy, I am getting all romantic and shmoopy, but this Eddie Vedder song with a shorn Natalie Maines is punching me in the gut. I love it so.
I could go on forever, but these cover songs will do for now. Whoo, I need a cold shower now. ;)
Bon week-end, mes amis. Anything great happening? Good luck to all those running the Salt Lake Marathon tomorrow.
Any cover songs you love?
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Have you seen the recent viral video promoted (created) by Dove?
My friend Jonathan made a really good point on Facebook about this spot:
The team at Dove makes a valid point: most of us are our own harshest critics. Most women probably are more beautiful than they think. My biggest problem? "How beautiful you are affects everything—from your personal relationships to your career. It could not be more critical to your happiness!" The message that we constantly receive is that girls are not valuable without beauty. Brave, strong, smart? Not enough. You have to be beautiful. And “beautiful” means something very specific, and very physical. There are real women who look like the women on the left. What is Dove saying about them, exactly?
The takeaway should really be this quote from the Dove spot:
"We spend a lot of time as women analyzing and trying to fix the things that aren't quite right and we should spend more time appreciating the things that we do like."
But I think Jonathan makes a really great and valid point. Sometimes in looking for our own beauty, we are comparing ourselves against either something more beautiful or less beautiful. We do it because without comparing our beauty, how can we be sure if we are attractive? And why is this SO IMPORTANT TO US?
I wrote to Jonathan:
In the end, this is a "beauty line" promoting their products. The fact that it resonates with so many and becomes viral is beneficial to them. But you're right. While we are more beautiful than we realize, we are also smarter, more creative, kinder, and more capable than we realize. But what product does that sell?
Don't get me wrong, I am as insecure about my "beauty" as the next person (woman?). My oldest sister has my ringtone on her phone set to Christina Aguilera's "You are Beautiful" and everytime I call her, the intro of Christina saying "Don't look at me" reminds her that I lack beauty confidence. HA!
The irony of this Dove message should not be overlooked. While we want to feel attractive, it is not the crux of our identity. It may affect how others treat us--let's not pretend otherwise--and it does feel nice to be complimented on your appearance, but it is fleeting and one of the least important pieces of who we are.
Yes, you are beautiful. YOU. Because of who you are, mostly, and not what you look like. You are beautiful because of how you spend your day, the ways you help others, the kindness you share. You are also smart. You are reading something you found on a web of massive amounts of information. That makes you pretty smart right there. But you also process this information and make your own thoughts and beliefs. You are creative. You are productive. Or you will be productive once you finish reading my blog post. ;)
But what product does all of this sell? Who is spending massive amounts of money producing this spot? And why would they? It benefits corporations to focus on our appearances, not our spirits. But what matters most is what we make of WHO we are, not WHAT we look like.
Do me a favor. Name something you love about yourself that has nothing to do with your appearance. Write it down in the comments. Try your hardest to not tear yourself down while doing it (ie don't write "I love my annoying laugh"). Then think of it all day long. I will do the same. (also, read the children's book Wonder which is about a not-conventionally-beautiful boy)
I love these things about myself:
my strong singing voice
my desire to create new things
my awareness of nature
my ability to write
Monday, April 15, 2013
What in the world is Antelope Island? you might be asking yourself.
Oh my dearest blog friends. Antelope Island is a magical place where I have yet to see an antelope, but I have very often seen buffalo. Perhaps I have seen an antelope, but all I can remember are the droves of bison. Droves, I say.
Antelope Island is the largest island in the Great Salt Lake--28,022 acres and 15 miles long. The causeway smells like stinky fish for the first half, I should warn you, but then it is all glorious. There are beaches to visit, mountains to climb, a historical and geological museum, bike paths to ride, campsites to camp, and an old ranch to check out.
The whole place is one big fascinating ride. Visit the old ranch, climb on old tractors and eat your picnic on the grassy area under the trees. Take a walk around the house and try your balance as you walk on the tree trunk over the creek. Race along the horse pasture and look at how time has stood still for this once-working ranch.
Then head over to the trail head for Frary Peak. It is a steady climb, but worth the views. I felt like we were in the dry season of some Ireland hillside. It is that kind of rolling green hills.
Stop to take some pictures of buffalo. You won't see this many bison outside of Yellowstone. Unless you live on some secret buffalo farm. Do you?
The beach is otherworldly. The water is the Great Salt Lake, so don't expect to swim too far or deep. But a beach it is and an experience to be had. There is even a grill near the beach if you want a buffalo burger or a treat.
Every time we go to Antelope Island, everyone has a great time. Spend all day there ($9 per car to enter). Grab some bikes and ride the trails. Get a reservation at one of the camping spots. Explore this otherworldly island and tell me what you think.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
The official HAIR UPDATE, of sorts.
I didn't shave any of it.
I didn't even keep it blonde.
I had it colored. Red. Again.
Kind of coppery.
Before and after.
I'll get a better picture one of these days in the sunshine and THEN you will be able to sleep at night.
Friday, April 5, 2013
I mean, really, what else do I write about?
Music. And hair.
If you don't buy this next song this week, you will feel really silly in about 2 months when everyone will be listening to it and talking about it. You could be one of the cool peeps and be all, "Totally. Got it months ago." Or you can say, "Sounds familiar" (while you are thinking, "Ahhnna was right. Again!").
Fitz and the Tantrums, "Out of My League" (it's so fresh and new that it doesn't even have a video)
Then there is this not so fresh and new song, but HOLY SHANANAS! Where have I been with Emeli Sandé? All of her music is pretty gorgeous.
Which brings me to her hair. Oh, dear blog friends, I am seriously considering this hair. You might know that I am a fool when it comes to my hair. I have been "growing it out" all while bleaching the ever-loving life out of it. Occasionally, I have put some purple and blue in it for good times and diversion. In short, my hair is not going to be all soft and smooth if I ever do get it to grow past my shoulders, anyway.
This is a great shot:
Did you just hear that loud sigh? That was my friend and hair stylist who knows all about my follicle derangement. Maybe it was, Al, though. Who knows.
Talk amongst yourselves and come back to me with your decision.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
"What has Ahhnna been up to?" I know you have been asking yourself often.
Oh, friends. It is just life like the rest of you.
I made some crazy zombie signs for a super random client that needed them for a trade show. You know, iron on,
Monday, April 1, 2013
It has taken a few years of trying, but I think my playhouses are getting better. It was kind of a long winter and last month I was itching to get outside and working with my hands. I was able to score about 20 old wood pallets from a friend who works in construction and while the kids were at school, I put together this bad boy:
This playhouse is a lot better than the other ones I put together (see HERE and HERE). I think this one might even last the year without any major Emergency Room accidents (fingers crossed)!
I still plan on putting a swing off the side somehow and maybe get some cool paint going on, but for right now, I think she looks mighty fine.
Why don't you come over and play in our playhouse with us!
Friday, March 29, 2013
By the by, it is Good Friday which is a whole lot of good,
if you ask me. As a Mormon (a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints), I should inform you that we don't typically use the symbol of the cross in our churches, homes and jewelry. We
speak and teach of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and His ultimate
sacrifice in the olive Garden. We celebrate His resurrection and humbly
partake in His Atonement.
On Good Friday, there are no vespers in the LDS church. There are no meetings nor religious ceremonies. We don't get out of work and school to attend spiritual service.
Honestly, I would like to consider the sacred day of Good Friday more than I have in the past. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrate that He Lives! Which undeniably cannot be overshadowed. The fact that Jesus Christ gave His life and was pronounced dead for three days, only to rise again and exemplify the awesome power of eternal life, is one of the most profound occurrences in the history of this world. This is what Easter means to me. But, Good Friday was and is so good, because without His sacrifice, there would be no Easter. There would be little hope for those of us still pushing along our mortality.
I don't think it takes away from the glory that is His Resurrection if we take a moment today and ponder His sacrifice on the cross.
Last week I mentioned that I am excited for Vampire Weekend's new album. What is it about them that I find so APPEALING? Who can say.
Check it out for yourself.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
If that word makes you uncomfortable, then... well, I don't know. I am sorry that it makes you uncomfortable, because it is a word. A word that loosely describes a type of people. These people who can be classified as homosexuals are attracted to the same gender as they are. But that is not who they are.
Homosexuals are kind, caring, helpful, creative, generous, spiritual, thoughtful, beautiful, smart, and brave. They might be all of the opposite characteristics, too. Just like you and me. Just as I am not merely a heterosexual, but also a mother, wife, writer, spiritualist, teacher, wannabe artist, homemaker, worker, lazy chick, soapbox frequenter, sister, daughter, friend and lover of fine foods. That is just the surface of who I am.
I don't know what it would be like to be homosexual. I can't tell you how difficult or easy it is. I can't say that I have walked even a tenth of a mile in the shoes of someone who has same-gender attraction. I don't know what it is like to be a billion kind of things. Or more. I've walked in my shoes alone. (well, technically, I have walked in my Mom's shoes, but that is because she has a lot of shoes and sometimes lets me borrow them. But I digress.) I only know my life. My little, simple, pretty easy life.
I don't know what will happen this week (or next month) with the Supreme Court hearing regarding the HRC petition. Whatever it is, there will be many upset and many who feel justification. The fight on both sides will not be over. This is heart breaking to me. This is what makes me most sad about this marriage-definition skirmish happening in our country, homes, online forums, and hearts.
I believe in God and His Son, Jesus Christ. I believe in the Holy Bible. I also believe in the Book of Mormon and in a modern-day Prophet.
I, anna, also believe that all men and women should be treated equally and fairly. I believe that because I cannot know how it would be to be anyone other than me, that I cannot judge the life others lead. I cannot say that one type of life is superior to another. I should not impose my beliefs on others, just as I would not want their beliefs imposed on me. I am commanded to love all of God's children--not to love only those who think just as I do. I will not play the "love the sinner, hate the sin" card because I am a sinner. I can't cast stones. I am aware of how many could be cast back at me.
I have found that the homosexuals that I know are generous and kind. They are good citizens and honest business people. They are thoughtful and intelligent. It is only a generalization because I am limited in my relationships, but I find that those I consider friends who are gay are some of the more respectable people that I know. I know plenty of heterosexual people who lean more to the unscrupulous end of things (but there I go, judging).
These are my simple thoughts. My hope is that kindness and compassion reigns supreme over the many individuals who are affected by this court hearing. That those on both sides feel it for the other. That anyone who feels frustrated or mistreated could have peace. That we can consider this as a small portion of our lives and not define us or overwhelm us.
How can I end this? I have no clean ending to a post about something that will have no tidy resolution. I guess that is fitting.