Weekend Update 4.0

I've had a fun two weeks with lots of special Christmasy thing and good times with friends and family.

"What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family." Mother Teresa

I spend a lot of my down time on my bed in this position. This day was especially lovely because there was softly falling snow outside. It was one of those days where you are so thankful it's Saturday because you don't want to go anywhere. But I did get up and tried out my smoking man. It's a pretty entertaining German invention. Just put in a little pellet, light, and he smokes. That night I spent time with ward members, including the amazing Shannon. 
My mom hosts a big Christmas party every year. Santa comes even though this is his busy season - that's how big this party is. My family is the funnest and these are the photos to prove it. 
This past week the SLC airport was a winter wonderland and Milla was stuck in the area for the night. Christmas miracle! So we talked, watched Doctor Who, and that was about what we had time for. 
Splurged this year for the fancy Nutcracker at the Capitol Theater. Mom and I ate at Siegfried's (what's more Christmasy than German food?) before we enjoyed the gorgeous ballet. Who wants to see Sleeping Beauty with me in February?
Ended a great weekend here, which was probably the Christmasiest of all.
photo from here


How to Use Social Media and Keep Your Friends

The end of the year is the ideal time to simplify your life. I do it by unfriending and unfollowing people who make my social media life insufferable. Like the Sword of Griffindor, I only take on that which makes me stronger. To avoid my purge I urge all people everyone to have some good will towards, well, everyone and use social media appropriately.

This is probably the most ill-used platform and so I begin here. Check out this link from the HuffPost first (it's pretty exhaustive and totally on) before I add my two cents (which actually is worth much more when you consider the value of the relationships you will save by adhering to my guidelines and the aforementioned link). Use the following "rules," if you will, to give me and those like me less to judge about you.  
  1. Facebook is not a storage facility, y'all. It is inappropriate and annoying to post recipes ever or memes ad nauseam. You are crowding my feed with minutia that I and, I dare say, you will never look at or refer to.  This is not the place.
  2. If your feed shows the same viral video from lots of your friends, you probably don't need to repost it. It's filling up their feed too and now y'all are filling up mine. Thanks zero, and that's no thanks. If you must post a video find a video no one has seen and post that - then you'll actually be adding to my life. 
  3. No political messages. Just stop. 
  4. If you want people to enjoy your presence on Facebook act like a oft-followed celebrity. These celebrities post with purpose. Their content is usually generally informative or entertaining. They don't post inside jokes, tell long stories, talk about super private things, fish for sympathy, or talk about anything negative. 
  5. Brevity is your friend. If I have to click "see more" you should have blogged about it. If you made three or more "." the post is way, way too long.
  6. You don't have to post all the photos because I'm astute and I get it with just a few. Don't post photos everyday unless you can't write and that's the only way you can communicate.  
  7. If you just want one person to see something, post it to their page. Don't post it to your page and tag them. Or better yet, email them. 
  8. When you are having a private moment like, say you're in labor, feel free to enjoy that moment and not post at all. 
Now some, not all, of these rules can be violated on other social media. I shall explain below how you can violate #1 via Pinterest, #5 via blogging, and #6 via Instagram. 

Twitter is for people who just like to whip out short statements. I have a hidden Twitter account where I keep all my snarky comments that I can't say in real life because people will hear me. I do follow quite a few people and my favorites are entertaining, and the funnier the better. The ones I unfollow are the ones who violate Facebook rules #4 and #6. I also unfollow anyone who just tweets links, has too many photos (because they require an extra click to see the photo), or is boring. 

Instagram is awesome if you want to post photos every day. I really enjoy some of my Insta friends who post photos of their lives several times a day. The only caution with Instagram is that if you are posting multiple photos from the same event use a collage - otherwise you clog my feed and I will drop you. And probably talk about you behind your online back. 

Also don't post photos about wishing you were somewhere from you past, like a vacation. To me this is just a way for you to post more about the vacation or brag about it way after the fact. It's like Reuben Studdard trying to get famous again and basically says, "Yeah, I got nothing today." 

Pinterest is a way to visually bookmark pages on the internet but most people use it to accumulate current content, which is totally fine. In fact, if you need to accumulate (and I have that need too) this is the way I would prefer you do it and this is how we can have a win-win on Facebook rule #1. Pin all the recipes you can see. Pin all the adorable quotes you can see. Pin all the "red georgette blouses" you can see - but know I'll unfollow that board because you obviously have a project going that no one but you cares about. But that's what this site is for and I understand that. 

When you have something to say, say it with a blog. This is where people who love you (3-5% of your Facebook friends) can gather and look over your life and hear all your wonderful ideas and look at all those baby pictures (again, nobody was ever hurt by a collage). 

I hope that we can all love each other just a little more at this holiday season by remembering that everything has a place and everything should be in it's place. I love you more already. 


Weekend Update 3.0

The weekend began in my mind on Thursday with the Carrie Underwood attempt at the Sound of Music. I had some lovely people over who gave silly comments throughout, criticized enough, and enjoyed. Then we purged with highlights from the one true version. 

These three adorable kiddos made the perfect cupcake, gingersnap, and sugar plum, respectively, I've ever seen in their Nutcracker ballet. 

Followed by a mocktail party

I spent the afternoon with the bestie, talking and playing Just Dance. Our goal: make sure the winner of each dance was one of us. Mission completed.

Sometimes it's fun just to sing Christmas songs... especially if you can say things like "Sing it Memphis style" or "Can you do it like Judy Garland?" or "Do it like you're really British" which are all things I said to Miss J and she did.


Dear Little Ones

My church stake is a totally different demographic than my church ward. My ward is mostly made up of peers who are usually in careers, like me. My stake, on the other hand, is a lot of kiddos just out of high school and living with their parents prior to taking off to parts unknown. Last night was stake conference, meaning I have to sit in a room with those children. I have unchristian feelings of disdain and superiority toward them sometimes - we'll analyze that another day - and yesterday I gave them an imaginary lecture. Here's what I said.

Dear Little Ones

I have some things to share with you that I wish I'd realized earlier in life. I know you won't take this advice because probably someone shared it with me and I ignored it (and to some extent might still be ignoring it - Oscar Wilde said " I always pass on good advice. It's the only sensible thing to do with it."). Life is indeed understood backwards. But should there be some insightful ones among you, this might be helpful. You might just have to trust me on this one.

  • Trust your instincts. If something isn't jiving or seems "off" then stay away from that thing, dump that thing, move away from that thing. Give it a minute and you'll be justified. 
  • Take some just-for-fun classes in college, but not too many. You'll never get another chance to learn neat things like you will in college, but you also can't stay there forever. 
  • If free therapy is available, go. It'll never be free again. And don't tell me you don't need it. We all need it.
  • Do study abroad. Travel will never be so cheap again. And then go ahead and pay for it even after graduation. You need to get out, man. 
  • When you are in the late teens and early twenties, you'll live in some holes. I think that's important for character development - in fact, should probably make sure you do live in some holes. But at some point (maybe around graduation) stop living in a hole. 
  • Expect life plans to change. And be okay with it. And be okay with others' plans changing too. Life is so much better if you go with it instead of crying "Foul!" when things go in another direction. 
  • Figure out how to accept people. People aren't like your bedroom that you need to clean up. People are more like nature - it just is how it is and there is beauty and good in every landscape.
  • At the same time don't be good friends with everyone (always be friendly and interested). Not everyone is a good idea for you (or even safe). But be friends with people that are heading someplace, who have ideas and ambition, because then you will too.  
  • Figure out how to accept yourself. You are you and there is no changing that so either you can be mad that you aren't someone else, or you can just own it. Watch more indie flicks because they will show you that normal-looking people and rather mundane plot lines (aka your life) can be interesting, meaningful, and important. 
  • You get to choose what you think and what you do. Just because someone said it doesn't mean you have to believe it or do anything about it. It's just something someone said. At the end of the day you are accountable for what you do so do what you think will work out best for your life in the end. 
  • It's really ok not to have boyfriend.girlfriend so much. And maybe even a really good idea. In the words of the fictionalized version of Maria von Trapp: "Just wait a year or two."

Second Advent

Story of Christmas - an infographic
Click to learn more about the story of Christmas.


Weekend Update 2.0

Thanksgiving! and Christmas!
Our family likes to start Thanksgiving with a Turkey Trot. How cute are we! And friends too! Followed by the beginning of the feast with monkey bread, eggs, and clementines. And then the Thanksgiving meal at Mom's. Basically, we eat like we're on a cruise ship. We met up with more family to watch Frozen, which was totes adorbs.

Look who's back! We got to go on a run - my first in... months! - and then Catching Fire, finally. And I loved it!

I set up my Christmas tree and started my chocolate advent calendar. Yum. And my Ballet West Nutcracker tix came in the mail!