Friday, December 14, 2012

The Tragedy in Newtown

I was horrified when I saw what happened in Connecticut today. What has to happen in a person's life for them to believe the only option is kill innocent children? I came home tonight and turned on the news and almost immediately started crying. I watched as parents fell to the ground with grief. My heart is broken for the families who are affected. I feel so blessed to know what I know. To know that those parents will be with their children again. That those innocent children are in a better place today. Here is what the First Presidency had to say:

"We are profoundly saddened by the events this morning at a school in Connecticut. We grieve with all those affected by this tragedy and especially for the families of these little children."
"In this hour of great sorrow we pray the Spirit of our Father in Heaven will provide comfort and peace to all."

As I have been online watching the story unfold, understandably people are discussing gun control laws. I understand the fear that comes from these events can be overwhelming, but I think we have to take a step back and look at the real problem. I believe the issue at the heart of many of these horrible attacks is mental illness. If our nation were better equipped to treat and care for people with mental health issues, there is a possibility that we could prevent these tragic events. If we, as citizens, reach out to the people we know who are suffering, we can make sure these events don't happen again. These shooters often take a lot of time to plan their attack. If they wanted to find a gun, they would. In the case of the shooting in Newtown, the guns used were purchased legally by the shooters mother. I guess the point of all of this is this: If you see someone who is yelling for attention and help, who is mentally unstable, please help them. Gun control is important, but it will not prevent more shootings. We can all help prevent these situations by being better brothers and sisters, friends and co-workers.

My prayers are with all of the families in Newtown Connecticut.

Fall TV Reviews

So if you know me at all, you know that I love watching TV shows. I love taking 30 minutes or an hour and just escaping from reality. I decided I would share with all of you my 3 favorite new shows this fall and my 3 favorite returning shows. My reviews may contain spoilers... so sorry in advance. Feel free to let me know if you think I am right or wrong in the comments!

3 Favorite New Shows

Nashville: I loved Friday Night Lights, so when I heard Connie Britton was doing a new show, I was in! While this show has a totally different feel than FNLs, I love it. You have the conflicted pop star, the tenured diva and of course all of the love interests that come along with both. While I love the acting, what has really kept me watching is the music. I am not a huge country fan, but the singers and music in Nashville are amazing. They aren't the cliche, I have beer and a truck and a pretty face country songs. A lot of the songs are moving ballads that parallel the stories being told each week. I look forward to the music almost more than the drama... almost. The recent duet with Juliette and Rayna sealed the deal for me and was the perfect set up for the rest of the season. I cant wait to see what happens with Rayna and Teddy, Juliette and the Tim Tebow wannabe, and Scarlett and Gunner. Watch it... you will love it.

Arrow: So I am not really a comic book remake girl. I never really got into all of these other movies and shows based on comic books (X-Men, Captain American, Etc). But Arrow, I can sink my teeth into. Maybe it's because Stephen Amell shamelessly works out without his shirt on for a quarter of the show, and maybe it's because I actually feel for his character Oliver, much more so than any of the other characters in this genre. Oliver's tragic desire to make his dead father proud and his desire to be seen as someone different than who he once was all make it worth spending 42 minutes a week watching Arrow. The show also balances developing some complex relationships all while showing us how Oliver can take down crimials. Give it a chance... I think you will find yourself wanting to know more about Oliver Queen.

Go On: Ok, I will admit it. I loved Friends. I have probably watched each episode of the show a dozen times... and my favorite episodes 3 or 4 dozen times. When all is said and done, Chandler made that show freaking funny. His awesome one liners and ability to make every situation awkward was classic. But when I saw he was doing a sitcom, I decided to avoid it at all costs. It is very rare that an old sitcom comedian strikes gold twice. But my guard was down when they previewed it after the Olympics... and when it was the only thing on HULU on some lonely Saturdays this fall. And after two episodes I was hooked. Matthew Perry is still funny, but this time he has more confidence and arrogance then my good friend Chandler did. His arrogance actually makes him more likeable, and makes his struggle with grief and loss more compelling. The supporting cast is stellar and they just keep getting better. There hasn't been an episode where I didn't die laughing.  Watch it... I know you will love it (yes that is a You've Got Mail reference).

The Mindy Show: So I was really excited about this show. I watched the pilot and totally fell for Mindy Kaling's self deprecating character. She was a smart girl who just hasn't quite learned to love herself. As the season has gone on, episodes have been hit and miss. Best moment so far was when Mindy wakes up in the morning and walks in with her BF's shirt on. He gets up a few minutes later and accidentally puts on her pants... which are too big for him. Seriously hilarious scene. I think it will take me a full season to decide if this show is a keeper or not, but keep it on your radar.

3 Favorite Returning Shows

Scandal: Whoever made up the acronym OMG did it just to describe season 2 of Scandal. OMG!!! To be honest I watched season 1 half-heatedly over the summer as a time filler. It is a little risque and didn't have me totally bought in. But the twists and turns Shonda Rhimes has thrown at us viewers are never-ending! My sense of reality is shattered pretty much every week.... And the best part is that we finally know the back story behind Olivia and Fitz! Epic. Pretty much every week Scandal trends on Twitter, which tells me it's a great show :) Cant wait to see what they do after the finale last night. I am praying Fitz recovers and we can go back to tense Olivia and Fitz love moments.

The Vampire Diaries: I could pretty much have my own blog about Vampire Diaries, I am just that obsessed. I don't know how to sum up this season in a paragraph but I'll try. This show knows how to pull out all of the twists and turns that make you stare at your TV for like 10 minutes after the episode, trying to comprehend what just happened. Best parts of the season: Delena getting together, Tyler being an Alpha, Caroline and Klaus, Caroline and Stefan, Jeremy's arms, Professor Shane and the illusive "cure" (I don't believe anything on this show until I see it).  Worst parts of the season: Delena being "sired", Stefan being so depressed and not being a ripper, Hailey (hate her), losing the Mayor of MF and Matt not having a girlfriend. This season has not disappointed and I am so excited to see where things go from here. I am holding out hope for Damon and Elena... and I will hold a vigil whenever they break up (Just Saying).

Castle: Oh Castle. I love all of the silly humor and clean flirting that happens on this show. It really is one of the only shows on TV that just leaves you feeling good inside. I love Castle and Beckett as a couple. Kate deserves to be happy and Castle needed to settle down. The writers have done a great job of teasing us with little moments and not being to scandalous with crazy sex scenes. It really is just a fun hour of TV each week and its worth watching just for fun.

Revenge: So if you had asked me over the summer which show I was most excited about coming back I would have said The Vampire Diaries. And then I would have said Revenge. I loved season 1... like loved it. All of the crazy, wealthy, selfish people had me hooked. But this season has kind of stalled, I like Emily with Aiden, but don't love them. I like that Amanda is happy with Jack, but I don't buy it. I want Ashley to be revealed as a skank and she was. Ok so some things are great but I just don't feel like it has picked up with the momentum they left off with last season. Hopefully that changes after the new year.

 Hope you enjoyed my reviews! And I hope everyone is having a great Holiday season!

Thursday, November 29, 2012


This was the first Thanksgiving Derek and I got to spend together in Florida! It was so fun to be home and spend time with family. Buffy, Greg and Chloe came down from Atlanta and Sarah and Ryan were in town on Saturday. School has been busy for Derek so I was looking forward to letting him take a break and get some rest!

Thursday we drove up and had lunch at Aunt Nez's house. As always, we had a healthy political debate over lunch and then planned our Black Friday shopping. We ended up going shopping on Thursday night and we had all of our shopping done by 11:30pm! Mom got some awesome deals and finished all of her Christmas shopping by the end of the weekend (jealous). We just hung out with my mom and dad the rest of the day and of course we watched lots of football. Friday we hung out with the Coddington and Estes families and ate another Thanksgiving dinner. No turkey at this one... just a yummy roast thanks to my FIL. Chloe is getting so big and we had a blast playing with her and getting a glimpse into her fun personality. I wish we were closer to all of the nieces and nephew, but thankfully the whole Estes family will be up in Atlanta for Christmas so we will get a chance to see them all soon. Saturday Sarah and Ryan got back from North Florida and we ate yummy yummy cheese stakes at Little Phillies. If you are ever in Satellite Beach, go there... they are the best! After we went to Viero and shopped at the outlets and got dinner. Surprisingly Derek got more clothes than I did :) He is all decked out now with a nice professional wardrobe from Banana Republic (thanks Mom and Vickie!) We had a blast with all the families... I could have used another day or two for sure!

 Our yummy dinner with the Estes and Coddingtons
Watching some football

We drove home Saturday night and recovered from the trip on Sunday. I pulled out the Christmas decorations and our family room is nice and festive now. I got a cold over the weekend so this week has been long, but I am so glad we got to go home for the holiday! I love our families and I feel so lucky to have them so close to us. I love the holiday season and I am ready to celebrate in fashion!

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I have been thinking a lot about being thankful and about giving. I love the recent trend of posting something you are thankful for everyday of the month. People are using Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to express their thanks, which I just love. As I have seen this, I wondered if I could come up with 30 things I am thankful for. It reminds me of a funny experience I had as a kid. For some reason, I wanted to say a really long prayer. I would see my mom and dad pray and it seemed like they were down on their knees forever! So with the resolve of a child, I sat on my knees and started praying. I ran out of things to pray about pretty quickly and so I decided to start giving thanks for all of the animals on the earth. I went through all of the animals I could think of. Then I went to people. I remember going through my whole school class and church class. Eventually I ran out of things pray about and was surprised only a few minutes had passed (it felt like an eternity). I realize that in my busy life, I often don't take the time to stop and just be thankful for everything I have. I have so many things to be thankful for and I am grateful for a month to remember all of those things. For all of you sharing your thanks on social media, thank you for sharing what is most important and precious to you! It reminds me of the blessings I have!

 Oh and I am thankful for this kid :)

I really do love November. First, every two years there is an election of some sort. I love politics and elections, but what I love the most is seeing everything come together in an election. Even if my candidate didn't win, at least I had the chance to participate in the democratic process and witness what makes America unique. Second, I get to prepare for Christmas! I love Christmas time and November means I can clean off my Harry Connick Jr CDs and get in the Christmas spirit. We haven't really been in a position to go all out and decorate for Christmas since we have been married (mainly because we travel so much this time of year) but I still enjoy putting up my small tree and putting twinkle lights around the house. Third, there is a break from school and work! Since Derek is the eternal student (thanks babe!) these little breaks are awesome! I love having him around for a few days without the distraction of school. I get a few days off work as well so it really is one of the few weeks in the year we get to enjoy each others company without distraction.

I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving! I hope we all take a second after we have stuffed ourselves on yummy food to be thankful for all of the little things we have. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Young Women In Excellence

So like I mentioned in the previous post, I have had the opportunity to serve in the Young Women organization in my church. Last Sunday we had Young Women in Excellence, a yearly celebration of the girls accomplishments. It was a little stressful planning and executing, but it turned out perfect. I feel so blessed to have great councilors and young women who make all of that work worth it.

We decided to have the theme be "There's No Place Like Home" from the Wizard of Oz. We each spoke as one of the characters from the story and connected it to Personal Progress. If you don't know, Personal Progress is a program our church created that helps the young girls learn more about the scriptures and learn how to be virtuous young women. We had talks on knowledge and charity and how to get home. I think the girls really enjoyed it and in all it was a fun night. I am excited for more activities to come. Next is New Beginnings and then Girls Camp!

Derek was nice enough to come translate for me
 The main table

 The girls got slipper shaped cookies and a wand as their gift
The crew :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

And We're Back

So I have been debating blogging again since we left Utah. It's hard because I feel like our life is pretty boring in comparison to so many other people I know. We work, go to school, go to church and crash when we have a break. But I also feel like I want to remember these crazy times. So many people we talk to tell us to remember these fun times and the spontaneity that we get to enjoy. So I am going to start blogging to remember these fun times. Sorry if we seem boring! I'll give you a quick recap of what we have been up to!

Since we came to Florida I have started a new job. I am a training designer and scriptwriter. Basically that means I get to listen to sales calls, figure out what we can do better, write a script for the sales people to use, and then train it. It's turned out to be a really cool job! I get to write... a lot, and I love it! I have never been a super creative person (I could never write a novel) but I really enjoy technical writing. My boss is great! She has tons of experience in sales and she has taught me so much in just the first few weeks. The company I work for actually sells Vivint so I get to help with the training on that, so I am not lost all the time. It has been a crazy road to this point, but for the first time I like my job and I am not stressed out of my mind at the same time. My mom even mentioned it the other night. She said, "you never really say much about your job... which I guess is good because that means your not complaining about it!" That pretty much sums up how I feel about it! The only down side is that I have to drive about 40 miles up 95 to Deerfield Beach for work. I hope the Focus can keep up with me!

Derek is doing great with school! He has made some good friends already and seems to really be in the groove of school. He is starting to work with a local physician who teaches him how to take patient histories and general doctoring skills. Miami has been great at giving him hands on experience. He has his third health fair of the year this weekend. The health fairs are cool because they go into under-served areas of Miami (and there are a lot) and they do basic exams for the patients. For a lot of people that is their only doctors visit of the year. He has used his Spanish a ton already and I am sure it will continue to be a blessing for him throughout school.

Lastly, we have the opportunity to be in a small ward in Little Havanna. It is a really interesting experience. Our ward is about 90% Spanish speaking but the ward and stake are bilingual. So some of the meeting is in English, some in Spanish. The people are so friendly and welcoming. We have made some great friends and we are always greeted with hugs and kisses. Derek has had the opportunity to translate, which has kept him on his toes every Sunday! I think I am the hardest person to translate for because I talk so fast lol. I am working with the Young Women and it is incredibly rewarding. I love the girls and I am so grateful I can learn from them and their solid testimonies of the gospel.

Well I think that is a pretty good start to my return to blogging! I'll leave you with a picture from our balcony of a beautiful Miami sunset