Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Who's Your Doppelgänger?

Have you ever been told you look like a someone? That they're your "doppelgänger"? I have. In fact, I am regularly told I look like others... as in multiple others. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but being told I look like someone else makes me quite uncomfortable. I'm not offended; not at all. I think it's more that I don't really know what they're saying or why they're saying it. Do they think it's a compliment? Is it a compliment? Is it merely a statement? Some comparisons I can't help but wonder if 1) they even know what I look like or 2) they know what the person they're comparing me to looks like? Either way, I never know how to respond. And so I get awkward. I mean, how are you supposed to respond? Do you say thank you? Thank you for what? For telling me I look like someone else...? Is that something you thank someone for? I really have no idea. So I usually just chortle - awkwardly - and say with a grin, "How funny." Then I chortle some more - all very awkwardly. I'm so cool.

I suppose I should clarify that this whole doppelgänger "dilemma" really isn't a dilemma at all. In fact, the only reason I'm mentioning this at all is because I've had a lot of doppelgänger mentions these past two weeks. And as awkward as I get in the moment, I actually find it all quite hilarious. I look like who? You think I look like a bad guy? Ok, I can work with that. I'm sorry, who even is that? It's so funny to me.

These are just a few of my most repeated and/or recent "doppelgängers".

Sienna Miller "...especially in GI Joe"

Jennifer Lawrence "...with long hair"

Kate Winslet "It's the face."

Rebel Wilson

Scarlett Johansson

Lauren Conrad aka LC

What do you think?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Old Stomping Grounds

I found myself on the Upper West Side (UWS) earlier this week. It was a beautiful spring day; it was warm and sunny… all you need is a light sweater (ahem, my favorite line in Ms. Congeniality).  If you recall I lived on the UWS all during graduate school so, in a way, I felt like I was home. I wandered the neighborhood and walked by some favorite places. So many stories, so many friends, so much homework… why this is where I met my incredible husband. I honestly looked like such a goof as I strolled along with a huge grin on my face and random outbursts of laugher as I took a walk down memory lane.

Midnight diet coke and chocolate runs to the corner store.

That time my roommate/bestie, Melissa, and I had a cookie dough fight—more like a war—with some dudes in the neighboring building. We were both crying from laughing so hard as we dove behind our kitchen counters while they pelted us with cookie dough. FYI, cookie dough leaves welts. Don’t worry, we hit them too.

An epic snowball fight in Central Park. I’d only just realized I had feelings for my husband; he was there too. I confess I had no problem with him wrestling me to the snow-covered ground.

The tennis ball party. Someone got what? 100, 500 tennis balls for free on Craigslist. Clearly we had to party and have a tournament of some sort. We are so cool.

Sleepovers on the hide-a-bed watching chick flicks and The Bachelor. My friend, Melissa, would cry at the end of every film that had a happy ending. “It was just so happy,” she would sob. Love that girl.

First date, first kiss, first “I love you!”, first apartment together... This is where my happily ever after began.

Geez, I really could go on and on and on. Don’t worry, I’ll spare you.

Anyway, I walked a lot. I spent a good three or so hours exploring, laughing, smiling, and reminiscing.  I actually hadn’t even planned to explore the UWS; I was in the area to meet with a favorite former professor. But it brought me back to my old stomping grounds though, and I loved it. I really am so unbelievably grateful for the wonderful experiences I had during my time on the UWS.

Finally, I finished my adventure with the Manhattan LDS Temple. My professor mentioned how beautiful the “Mormon Church” is there. I couldn’t agree more.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Say Yes to the Dress

My friend, Kerrie, and I went wedding dress shopping the other day. She’s getting hitched this coming August and desperately needed to get a move on finding and ordering her gown. I was asked to go along as as a second opinion as she was having great difficulty making a final decision.

So Kerrie made an appointment and we headed over to the East Side for a fitting at the infamous Kleinfield. At this point, Kerrie had already tried on about 90 of the store’s dresses at previous fittings and to no avail. For this appointment, however, she believed to have narrowed it down to 5 favorites. 

To be honest, I’m impressed anyone could ever decide on just five dresses, let alone one; I’ve never seen so many wedding gowns, veils, belts, flowers… you name it. Kleinfield is like a glorified warehouse of bridal everything! There are so many options and so many decisions to make. But, it is beautiful—regal even. Kleinfield treats every bride like they are a celebrity or royalty. You have your own wedding consultant who works with you through the entire process, brings dresses to your personal fitting room, and basically caters to your every whim. It was really fun. 

We started with the 5 gowns, but eventually moved to a different silhouette. Originally, Kerrie was looking for a “safe” tube top with an empire waste. Kerrie is so tiny, however, that she was nearly consumed by the extra fabric. She didn’t want to go with a mermaid; after all, she hoped to be able to walk and dance on her big day. Instead her wedding consultant brought in some pretty, “beach appropriate”, tube top, fit n’ flares. Although she looked stunning in every dress, Kerrie definitely rocked the fit n' flares. Still, she didn’t feel she’d found THE dress, just the style. Her consultant left the room once more and came back with a gorgeous lace fit n’ flare gown from a one day only “trunk show” (pretty much a designer brings by his or her work for a one day sale). Before she even put it on you could tell it was THE dress. Actually, Kerrie didn’t think so until she put it on; but I died the moment I saw it. Gorgeous. Simple, sophisticated, made of delicate lace, and undoubtedly perfect for her.


Still, she had to be certain; dresses can be quite an investment. So in order to have a better view and to try on some accessories, we moved from her personal fitting room to the main room filled with mirrors, dresses, veils, brides, fabric, couches, and even a live filming of the show, Say Yes to the Dress! Super cool, right?!

Anyway, back to Kerrie. She’d found it! She absolutely said yes to her dress (Go ahead and appreciate my cheese. But it had to happen.). And to top things off, she even got to meet her dress designer who oo’ed and awed over Kerrie. Both of them were beyond pleased. Kerrie looked stunning! I’m so excited for her! Congratulations Kerrie!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Devil's Hockey

In case you’re wondering, Bryan and I are hockey fans now. I’m sure that’s all you’ve been doing lately, wondering “are Bryan and Rachel hockey fans?” Ok, probably not at all on your mind. BUT we really are hockey fans.

Bryan and I recently went to a NJ Devil’s game with our friends, Jared and Kerrie. In mere minutes we were converted to the sport! Ok, so I don’t “get” most of what goes on down on the ice. But I can absolutely appreciate the fact that grown men (in this case) were skating on an ice rink as though it was second nature while hitting a lil puck with sticks; oh and somehow they even got the puck into a mini goal guarded by a player that looks like a lego person due to the amount of bulky padding he has on. Yeah. I'm a fan.

Ok, so they sometimes fight. Not so cool. (I confess I can't help but laugh when they fight.) BUT they are penalized for it and have to go sit in a little box on the sideline... like a grownup timeout.

Back to my hockey knowledge. Our friend, Jared, was a former hockey player so even though I began with a limited knowledge I left knowing quite a bit. (I can’t say that I can recall any of what I learned now… but that’s beside the point.)

Have I mentioned I feel bad for the Refs? I do. I would be utterly terrified if I had to be out there with a puck, sharp skates, sticks, and all sorts of dangerous things flying around the ice. Also, I can’t skate to save my life. Rest be assured, hockey Ref is one job I never have and never will aspire to do.

Confession: I’ve always been afraid of attending hockey games. When I was younger I heard a story about a hockey fan dying - yes dying - from a rogue hockey puck that hit him in the head. Now I don’t know if that story is true, but it sounds like something that would happen to me. I suppose you could say I was pretty brave attending the game… conquering my fear and all. Not really though, because I will always sit far, far away just in case. Ain’t nobody gonna hit me with a puck. (Parenting fear: what if my child wants to be a hockey player? How do you explain my sitting in the nosebleeds at every game? Better view?)

Oh you’ll love this: did you know the Devil’s have cheerleaders? Or I guess “cheer-dancers”? That’s right. They were fabulous dancers. That being said, you’d think they’d sport something other than booty shorts and a halter top bra in that this was an ice-skating rink… I’m thinking leggings, leg warmers, and a nice long sleeve shirt to keep warm at a minimum. Clothing choice aside, I want to know why they weren’t cheering/dancing on the ice? I mean come on, at football games they’re down on the field. For basketball, the cheerleaders are on the court. You’d think for hockey the cheerleaders would be on the ice. I’m just sayin… Ha. Can you imagine cheer-dancers on skates?! So much cooler. 

Anyway, we had a fantastic time watching three very intense periods. So yes, we’re hockey fans. Not necessarily Devil’s fans… but hockey. Very exciting!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

St. Patrick's Day DIY Garland

You may not believe me, but I made my very own St. Patties garland. Yeah. And suddenly I feel like a real homemaker… which is definitely a first. But I am so proud. I’m like a woman now. Whoa.

So how did I do it? Meaning how did I make the garland, not how did I become a woman because that one remains a mystery to me. Well… first I drew a shamrock on a piece of paper. Actually I drew a lot of shamrocks on paper until one finally looked semi shamrock-like. (That’s the hardest part.)

Next I traced my shamrock on green paper (I used two shades of green) and cut them out. If I did it over though, I would laminate the traced shamrocks on the green paper before cutting them out. Silly me, I didn’t think to laminate them until after I was done cutting my 20 shamrocks out. So I got to do double duty cutting.

Why laminate? Well you see, I made heart garland a year or two ago. It looked fabulous. Key word: looked. This year when I pulled the garland out it didn’t look fabulous anymore. I’d even stored it well. It was a real tragedy. Right, so by laminating my shamrocks I’m hoping for a longer life for them; maybe this time I’ll even get to five years of use. Hey, a girl can dream.

Anyway, once I had my pretty little laminated green shamrocks, I used a hole punch to punch a hole in each one. I personally made the decision to punch holes in different places on each shamrock. I figured why not; and turns out it adds a lovely variety.

Next, I hit the jackpot of burlap-like string/yarn at the local dollar store. I was very pleased with my find. So back home, I unwound the string until I had my desired length of garland. I then strung a shamrock on to where I wanted it and tied a knot so the shamrock wouldn’t slide. I then continued the process until all the shamrocks were all secured. I eyeballed the distance between shamrocks—some are longer than others. But I kind of like it that way. Then voilà. My St. Patties shamrock garland. 

So you see, I really am a homemaker. Who would have thought.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Savior of the World

During my rather lengthy lapse in blogging, life offered me some pretty neat opportunities and blessings that still need to be documented. For example, in 2012 I had the amazing opportunity to participate in the cast of the LDS Conference Center’s production of Savior of the World—with my sister and bestest friend, Bekah.

Savior of the World tells the story of the birth and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. It is a beautiful production filled with the love and spirit of the Lord. The first half of the musical reviews the events surrounding the birth of our Savior. We see dear Mary visited by the Angel and her visit to her cousin Elizabeth. We see sweet Joseph as he struggles with Mary’s pregnancy as well as his own Angelic visit by dream. We see Mary and Joseph’s wedding, shepherds in the field, and Heavenly angels sing. Finally we see Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in but a humble stable.

Following intermission, we see beloved Mary Magdalene grieving at the Savior’s tomb. This scene is so touching and pure as she sings one of the most beautiful ballads and sees the Savior. The rest of the second half reviews the experiences of the disciples and those close to the Savior as they come to understand the resurrection and see the Savior again: the road to Emmaus, Thomas’ struggle in believing what he has not seen, and ultimately the love our Savior has for everyone.

For me, one of the most touching facets of the musical is that there are always—always—angels on the veranda above the stage; they watch, grieve, and rejoice with the characters. It’s a beautiful reminder that we are not alone; we are loved and looked after.

Savior of the World is a perfect way to bring the focus of the holidays back to the Savior Jesus Christ. It is highly emotional and spiritual; it is uplifting and pure. It’s a musical testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ. He was born, lived, died, and was resurrected that we all may live forever in glory.

If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend going this next holiday season. Tickets usually go on sale in October (they sell out quickly) and the production runs November through December.

Now entering the LDS General Conference Center...

The LDS Salt Lake Temple

Practice makes perfect

An epic game of Simon Says with the entire cast

Dress rehearsal

 Backstage, costumes and makeup

So many amazing people!

More play and getting ready

Bekah and I had such a blast! I absolutely love that girl.

Pre-preformance cast devotional

Some cousin fans... they were in the cast a few years back. Love them.

I loved my experience and am so unbelievably grateful to have been able to participate in the 2012 production. Being in the cast of Savior of the World at this particular time was also a tremendous blessing in my life. It was actually during a time of trials for me. I was down and frustrated. Then my Heavenly Father and Savior literally wrapped me in their arms as they guided me to audition for and then supported me while in the cast of Savior of the World. And let me tell you, it’s impossible not to feel the Spirit and love of the Lord when you're part of that special cast. So even though times were unbelievably difficult, I always knew my Heavenly Father and Savior were there for me. They are always there for me. They are always there for you. They love each and every one of us.