A Girl Should Be Two Things: Classy & Fabulous. - Coco Chanel


Friday, December 31, 2010


My good friend Desiree and I write to each other almost everyday. We used to be in the same ward until she got married and have been writing each other regularly for the past couple of years. One day when we were writing we both had talked about having appointments to get our hair done within days of each other and then both found out that we were both going to be getting bangs! May not seem to be a big deal, but bangs are a big commitment and they don't look good on everyone. Des and I .... we can pull it. Ever since we both got our bangs, we have talked about getting together and taking Twinner pictures. Well, that finally happened.

The funny thing is, we didn't know how twinner we would be. I walked up the stairs to see Desiree and noticed that we were both wearing grey coats and purple scarves! Great minds think a like.

Then when we were out taking pictures, it was freezing and we took our hands out of our coat pockets and noticed we were wearing almost the SAME nail polish color! What the what?! Yep. I did always like Desiree's style, apparently because its the same as mine! ha ha. It was awesome.... so we took pictures.

Here are the pictures I took of Desiree. Is she not so beautiful? I think she is. The camera loves her. Obviously. P.S. Congrats to Des, she made it into the MoTab!!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Confessions of a Brunette on the Internet 46

My siblings and family that are from out of town all left today. It was pretty sad. I had so much fun hanging out with my family. So glad that I had the week off so that I could do that and spend quality time with each of my nieces and nephews so that I can try to become "Favorite Aunt Tracy" in all of their eyes. Not sure if I have accomplished that, but since I don't have kids of my own... I'm working on that. Love my family.

So for Christmas, my mom got these toys for all of her grandchildren. I had never seen them or heard of them before. They are called "Singamajigs". I find them to be pretty hilarious. I think the adults had as much fun with them as the kids did. We even formed a choir with them. Call me easily amused, but I thought they were funny. Gwen was the only one that didn't appreciate them. She thought they were pretty scary and would cry if any of them came near her and made a sound. It was kind of sad, but I don't blame her. They are a little creepy in a way which is probably why I think they are so funny. Take a look yourself. Click here to see a commercial for them.

Tonight I was eating dinner and flipping through the channels on TV. I ended up on "E True Hollywood Story". I usually don't stop to watch these, but this happened to be someone I knew back in high school. I guess I was sucked in because growing up, you think... what if someone I knew became famous, but then you never think that could actually happen. I am sure some of you already know who this show was about. For those of you who don't know, the show was about Katy Hudson aka Katy Perry. It was weird when they did flash back's to when she was in high school... as I knew her. Short blonde hair. We were not best friends and we never hung out outside of choir. We sat by each other in choir because we were both altos and I was nice to her. Most people including (myself most of the time) thought she as an annoying little freshman. She was a freshman when I was a Jr. She wanted to be famous and I think her thinking that bugged me more. There was another girl in choir that would miss class all the time because she was a model. I thought that was lame until I saw her in an add in a magazine. ha ha. Her career never went much further than that though. Katy on the other hand.... she got her GED and left high school after her freshman year to chase her dream. I just never thought she would become as big as she is now. When I first heard her on the radio, I didn't even know it was her. She sounded and looked different from when I knew her in high school. It was her though. I resisted at first and always changed the station whenever she would come on. Jealousy? Maybe. I don't know. Being a famous singer is what she has always wanted, and she put all her efforts into that dream, so I'm happy she got what she wanted. I thought it would be a one hit wonder and she would die out. Two years later she has gotten even more famous and has a lot of fun hit songs on the radio, so I have embraced it. In fact... we are even facebook friends now and she is famous enough that they did an E Hollywood story on her. And I watched it all the while thinking.... I sat next to that girl in high school choir. Weird.

When I first bought my new phone, one of the things the guys told me that I had to download "Angry Birds". I asked them what that was. They just looked at me and said "Don't worry about it, just download it, you won't regret it". I just gave them a look and they then started asking everyone that worked there if they had Angry Birds on their phone and everyone said yes. When people highly recommend something to me... I usually do it. So now I am pretty addicted to Angry Birds. I'm not the only one.... there was a point where a big chunk of my family that were all in the family room at my parents house and everyone was either on a smart phone, an ipod or ipad and playing Angry Birds. Even my 5 and 7 year old nieces are addicted. Its pretty funny. I guess my family mostly communicates through a family website.... so I guess we are a tech-family. Technology brings us together. Its true... just look at these pictures of my nieces and nephews. *They are holding and looking at ipods*

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Photo of the Week 44

Provo Tabernacle. R.I.P.

I took some pictures after the fire. Still makes me sad to think about.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


This doesn't happen very often.... so we must document, no matter how difficult that can be. :o) Love the Holidays for that reason. An excuse for our family to get together. We are missing Chad and Clara.... not sure when a real family picture will ever happen. Maybe one day if I get married?

L-O-V-E, That spells Family!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

White Christmas

This year was my first white Christmas.... EVER. I have spent almost every Christmas in California, last year in Arizona and the one other year besides this year that I spent Christmas in Utah... it didn't snow. Although it didn't snow on Christmas day, there was plenty of left over snow from when it snowed a few days before.
*Here is my dad... excited to be using a snow blower. Please notice that its cold outside and my dad is in short sleeves. Us crazy californians don't know what to do in the snow*

So after opening gifts on Christmas day, we went outside with the kids to play in the snow and attempt to build a snowman. It wasn't the best snow for this, but we did the best with what we had. Reanne and Sierra had a blast. William was not loving the snow so much. It was a fun new activity for our family to experience on Christmas Day.

I know I had a bad attitude about having Christmas in Utah this year... and just wished that I was in California and I complain about the snow.... but.... really, I am just happy to be with my family. Home is where your family is. As cheesy as that sounds, it is also true. I don't care where I am as long as all of my family is there. I love them a lot and am really enjoying our time together.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Movies

One of the many things I love about Christmas is the music and the movies! There are so many great Christmas movies out there. I only watched a few this year.... as much as I had time for.

Of course I watched "Elf". I watched this movie with friends and we made a party out of it. We dressed as Elves, had elf cookies and other sweets and watched the movie. Good times.

I also watched "Love Actually" with roommate (and old roommate) as tradition starting last year and had snacks and hot chocolate. Also watched "Serendipity" with friends and had sweets. On my own I watched "The Polar Express", "The Grinch", "White Christmas", some Christmas movies on Lifetime and of course one of my favorites "A Muppets Christmas Carol". I really do love snuggling up with a blanket and drinking hot chocolate and enjoying Christmas movies in good company. I still need to buy "A Christmas Story" and "Home Alone" I'm sure others too... but got to have the classics.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Christmas Eve I spent the night at my parents new house so that I could wake up on Christmas day with my family and not at my place. Just seemed better... and it was. I spent the entire day relaxing with the family. I think it was a record for how long we waited to open presents. Lori and family had their own Christmas before they came to Utah and Kristy and family were having their own Christmas before coming over to my parents house. I don't think we opened presents until the afternoon. The morning was spent preparing dinner and playing with kids and relaxing. I set up a dessert table to snack on throughout the day and night. I think the kids liked it the most. They were all on a sugar high all day and night long. ha ha. Christmas only comes once a year right?

Here we are around the tree opening gifts and me with my gifts. We draw names every year... and this year we decided to all do home made gifts. I had Lori and family and put together a family night book for their family. Kristy has the same one for her family and her kids love it. My mom made us all sewn ornament nativities. They are adorable. Lori & Billy had Kristy & family and they made them a frame and cutting bored carved from a tree that Billy cut down. Lori also sewed lunch sacks for the kids that are super cute. My family is so amazing and crafty. I am amazed with the things they can do.

Lori gave my parents a calendar of their family... a lot of the pictures that made it into the calendar are ones that I took..... which makes me feel good, when people like my photography.

Kristy gave my parents ornaments with all the grandkids pictures. Some of those pictures are ones I took too. I told my mom she should put them in the wreath. I think they look SO great! What great ideas! I should have made home made gifts for my parents but I didn't. Sad.

 The kids were having a great time. Especially Grant and William. They are so cute to watch. It was a great day. I can't wait for Jamie and family to come tomorrow!

I love my family and I am so happy to be spending so much time with them! I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas in Salem

The other night my friends Rachel and Maria took me to Salem to experience to lights at Salem Pond, which happen to be very charming and beautiful. Its simple. They just put some tree lights out on the pond.... but with the lights glowing on the water, it makes it enchanting. I also love that they light up the bridge. What a beautiful view for the houses that live by the pond. After Salem pond, we drove around to different neighborhoods looking at all the neat Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music in the car.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Confessions of a Brunette on the Internet 45

This week my co-worker has been gone and I have been covering everything. Last year I did the same and it wasn't that big of a deal. The week before Christmas tends to be slow. Not this year. I have been busy and usually staying late everyday, then after work trying to go shopping for Christmas. Today was my last day of work for the week and I have next week off and I can't tell you how happy I am for the break. Today I also took a long lunch for a "Girls Outing" which I hope happens more. I went with my mom, oldest sister and my nieces to the movies to go see "Tangled". It was my nieces first time to the movie theater and it was so fun to see how excited they were to be there. It was SO cute. I loved our girls outing. Plus, the movie was pretty adorable too. I am going to buy that one when it comes out.

This week my blog was discovered! My blog post that I did about seeing the lights at Temple Square was discovered by a lady that works at Temple Square. I'm pretty sure she found it just by googleling "Christmas at Temple Square" or something. Which is awesome that my blog comes up high on the search engine list. Anyway... she found my blog... loved it and made a comment asking me if she could use my experience and some of my pictures to be posted on the Temple Square site. I said of course and wrote a little more than what was on my blog. She wrote me again today and said that she posted it. So if you want to check it out and look around the rest of the site, go here. I find it awesome when someone finds me on the web and then likes what I am doing (writing or photography or what have you) enough that not only they leave a comment but want to feature me or share my blog with others.  Hopefully there will be a little more of that in the future.

So a sad thing that happened in the last week is that the Provo Tabernacle burned. The outside walls remain, but that is about it. It is pretty much the saddest thing ever. I had my graduation there. We have our stake conferences there. I have been to many concerts there. Its a beautiful building. I think it was the most beautiful building in Provo and now... its gone. The fire was an accident, they are thinking electrical. Still so sad. I am hoping they try and restore it and rebuild it to as close as it was before. Of course you can never bring back a piano that is worth thousands and original artwork. Its just sad. You can read more about it here.

I am in the home stretch of Christmas music.... so I have been listening to it tons. I will only listen to it in December and its only once a year and this month is going by fast... so trying to appreciate it to its fullest. I love my old classic Christmas music like Frank Sinatra, Andrews Sisters, Dean Martin, Carpenters... etc... but this year I wanted to get some new fun Christmas music on top of my classic faves. I have a hard time with the pop artists Christmas albums... its a little too overdone for me. What I do love though is newer mellow artists that have some cool classic covers, but then they have new Christmas music. I feel like you hear the same songs over and over all month long... just different covers of those same songs. Its refreshing to hear new Christmas music. Last year my new faves were David Archuleta's Christmas Album and Mindy Smith. Of course I also love Michael Buble and Josh Groban's Christmas albums. This year's new faves are "Glee Christmas", "The Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs" and "Dave Barns" new Christmas album that came out this year. He has a lot of new fun Christmas songs. Love him.

The other day I went down to the cafe at work because I didn't have much food at home. I decided to just get a burger. When telling the guy that was making my burger what I wanted on it, he asked me if I wanted fries with my burger. Automatically I almost said yes... because how often do you get a burger without fries. I don't often. Its like they just go together. I thought about it.... well regular fries or sweet potato fries? They were out of sweet potato fries was I was a little less motivated to get them. We had a discussion about me getting them or not getting them. They probably thought I was being really silly. Everyone else was ordering fries with their burgers. Anyway... I finally decide that I am not going to get the fries because I wasn't that hungry and one less unhealthy thing right? I guess... When my burger was done, he handed it to me with just a little bit of fries on the side. He then told me that he just gave me a little bit of fries (so I wouldn't have to pay for it) because having a burger without fries is un-American. ha ha. I wouldn't want that now would I?

On Monday night, it snowed all night long. When I got up to go to work Tuesday morning, there was a good 16 inches of snow on the ground and no snow plow in site. I will say that with that much snow on the ground, it is beautiful. EVERYTHING is completely white and its very quiet and bright outside. If I didn't have to leave my house I probably would have thought it was the best thing ever. However... I have to go to work and be there at a certain time. I can drive in the snow just fine, but my poor little car can't always handle what other big cars can. Driving in 16 inches of snow is not the easiest task. I tried to follow car tracks from cars that left before me that morning. It was working fine until I had to stop before going on to the main road... there is a little ditch to get up on that road. In this ditch is where my poor little car got stuck. Another girl got stuck right by me with her car. I probably struggled and tried to get out of this snow ditch for about 7 minutes or so which seemed like 20 when you are trying to get to work. I didn't know what I was going to. I have never had to call someone to get my car out of being stuck in the snow. Thankfully me and this other girl were determined to get out and just kept trying until we both finally got out. Thank goodness! In these situations I don't like the snow.... not at all. I got to work and I was late, but I was the first one there. Next co-worker came in a half hour after I got there. Next person came in an hour after I got there. A few of my co-workers decided they would work from home because they didn't want to drive in the snow. Oh how I wish I had that option. I'm just a California girl trying to survive living in a Winter Wonderland!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Photo of the Week 43

As annoying as the snow is to drive in... its beautiful. I decided to take some pictures at the Provo Cemetery after the fresh snow fall on my lunch break. I knew that a lot of people put out flowers for Memorial Day, however I didn't notice until recently that a lot of people put out wreathes for Christmas. I am not the biggest fan of wreaths, but I have to admit they look quite beautiful in the cemetery, especially after a fresh snow.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Cupcakes in a Jar

At work we give each other little gifts for Christmas. Most people do treats. This year I found this cute idea on this blog. I enjoy this blog and have found many good recipes on it. When I saw this post, I knew it would be the perfect little treat for my co-workers. Let me just tell you... it was a hit! Everyone loved it. I made one for myself so I could try it and it was pretty darn good. Not going to lie. Plus, when you give a cupcake in a jar, you can eat it little by little and since it has a lid, it saves really well.

Mine did not turn out quite as pretty as the ones from the blog. My jar was a different size, but they sure tasted good... which is the important thing right?

Peppermint Fudge Cupcake Jars
Recipe by Our Best Bites
Makes approximately 8 jars or 12 Cupcakes 

Cupcakes  (cake base for this dessert adapted from Shelly Kaldunski)

 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp salt
3 oz chocolate, chopped.  (or abt 1/2 C chips) Use bittersweet, dark, or semi-sweet.
1/2 C + 3 Tbs real butter, cut into pieces
3/4 C plus 2 Tbs sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

8 8oz wide mouth mason jars (the short squatty kind) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.   Set mixture aside and let cool 10-15 minutes.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  Using a wooden spoon (don't use an electric mixer) stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until combined.  Stir in the eggs one and a time, beating with your spoon until combined after each addition, and then beat in the vanilla.  Gently fold in the flour mixture just until no traces of flour remain; do not overmix.

Place the mason jars on a cookie sheet.  Divide the mixture evenly among the 8 jars (no need for greasing the jars) or 12 cupcake liners if you're going that route.  The jars should be about half full or a little less.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the jar comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached 22-25 minutes.   Remove from oven and carefully (with a pot-holder!) transfer jars to a cooling rack.  Let jars cool till at least close to room temperature before topping with ganache.

Peppermint Ganache

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chocolate chips are fine)
1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 tsp peppermint extract

Place chocolate chips in a bowl.  Heat cream in microwave until bubbles form around the outside.  Pour in bowl over chocolate chips and immediately cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Let sit for 5 minutes, add peppermint extract and then whisk until smooth.  Let cool un-covered until thickened slightly, almost like a thin pudding.

To assemble, pour 1 1/2-2 Tbs ganache over the top of each cupcake jar.  If desired, use a paring knife to first hollow out a well in the middle of the cake.  Tilt jars to distribute ganache evenly over the top of the cake and then let cool for the ganache to set.  If storing overnight, place lids and rings on jars and leave at room temperature.

Use this frosting recipe, adding peppermint extract (in addition to the vanilla extract called for) at the end by 1/4 tsp to taste.  I prefer at least 1/2 tsp.  See instructions in the above post for creating a red and white striped look.  Pipe frosting on each jar, being careful to leave room for the lid.  If desired, sprinkle on some crushed candycanes and then screw on jar lids.

Click Here to print free labels for the mason jars.

Storage:  Note that just because these are in jars does not mean they are shelf stable for extended periods of time.  Also, baked goods are always best fresh, that being said, here are a few storage options.

When fully made, store with lids on at room temp for a day or two.   If made up to the ganache step (before frosting) you can screw lids on and store in the fridge for 3-4 days, then frost right before gifting.  If you'd like to fully prepare them a day or two ahead of time, I would actually reverse the filling and topping.  Core out the center of the cupcakes and fill with frosting.  Place the "cap" of the cupcake back over the hole and then top the entire top with ganache and a sprinkling of candycane.  Store at room temp for 1-2 days or refrigerated for 3-4. 

I totally recommend this tasty treat whether its for a gift or just for you. Merry Christmas & Happy Baking!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas at My House

I still don't have a lot of Christmas decorations. I have been trying to get more over the last couple of years. This year I finally bought a little tree. The Christmas decorations of course match my living room... which has purple. I guess purple is my color of choice for the past year or so. I wear it more, I decorate with it, so why would my Christmas decorations not be purple too?

Even though I don't have a lot... its enough to make it feel like Christmas at my house. I actually love. I will build up more over the years.... but for now this is great.

Here are some other random Christmas decorations I have around the house. The Noel nativity is one that I painted. I cut out snow flakes with Christmas wrapping paper to put above the window in the living room.

I just love having the glow of the Christmas lights in that room at night. Something magical about it. Since I have such a small tree, I used the left over tree ornaments for a center piece on the dinning room table. I like how it turned out. I mostly love how sparkly they are. :o)

How do you like to decorate for Christmas?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Concert by MoTab featuring David Archuleta!!

As soon as I was introduced to David Archuleta by American Idol... I have loved him. That was the only year of American Idol that I watched EVERY episode. Its the only season of American Idol that I went to the concert in SLC when they went on tour. That is when I met David Archuleta and David Cook (which is a highlight of my young adult years). I own all of David Archuleta's music. This does not just include his CD's that are out. It also includes every song he sang on American Idol and Anything that I have found on the web. Okay... I may be a little on the obsessed side, I have calmed down over the last year or so. I still love him and get excited whenever he comes out with new music. His voice soothes me. In fact, when I met him... I told him I listen to him almost everyday at work and that he soothed my stressful work days. ha ha. He didn't really know what to say to that. It's true though.

That being said, when I found out that he was going to be the featured soloist for the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert, I was pretty darn excited. MoTab concerts are already awesome on their own, so to have a soloist that I loved on top of that is a dream concert for me. So... I just had to get tickets. The thing with the MoTab Christmas Concerts is that you don't just buy tickets, you have to submit your name into a drawing and hope that your name gets picked for tickets on one of the 3 days that the concert is taking place. I submitted my name, but alas... I did not get chosen for the concert. I was sad. For a month I kept my ears open for anyone mentioning extra tickets. No luck. The closer the concert got I tried to figure out in my head how I was going to sneak into this concert. Knowing how it was now... that would have been impossible. I don't think Stand by would have even been possible. My co-worker had tickets for opening night and got there 40 minutes early and did NOT get it. It was crazy. There were more people there than there are for General Conference. I guess I am not the only one that has a deep love for Archie. So are you wondering how I got in? Well... let me just tell you. I flirted my way to some tickets. Ha ha.. okay, not exactly. On our  double date last week to see the lights at Temple Square, somehow the concert was brought up in conversation. I mentioned how desperately I wanted to go. Both Matt's casually said they were both going and that they go EVERY year. I'm thinking... What? How? They totally pick names at random, how do you get chosen every year? I then learn that the Matt that I was with had a connection. His mom is IN the MoTab choir. He then goes on to tell me that his whole family is going and that his mom told him he could take a date, but he told her he didn't want to because he didn't want to take a first date to hang out with his family. I just looked at him with a VERY serious face and pointed at myself. It took him a couple seconds but then he smiled and said "You want to go with me?" No hesitation I said yes, I don't care if your whole family is there, I want to go to that concert!! ha ha. So.... he talked to his mom and told him he changed his mind and that he wanted that extra ticket and I was IN!!!

I'm SO happy I was able to go. It was such a great way to spend my birthday! We got there SUPER early to make sure we were really going to get in. Our seats were pretty decent and Matt and his family were great company. We had a lot of fun together while we waited. Before meeting up with Matt's family, we went to the GateWay and shopped and went out to dinner. We had a great time. After the concert was over, Matt's mom (in MoTab) sang happy birthday to me and we all went to hang out at this apartment next to the conference center. Its called the Mickey Apartment... well... because everything in the apartment was Mickey & Miney Mouse. Seriously... I felt like I was at Disneyland. It was pretty fun.

Back to the concert.... MoTab knows how to put on a show! The decorations were beautiful, the choir sounded AMAZING, the Orchestra sounded AMAZING. The acoustics in that conference center are out of this world. David is a little awkward when he speaks... but I think that makes him keep his sweet innocence. In fact, Matt's mom said he said the same awkward things every night. They never changed his script... which tells me they want him to keep that image. I found it interesting. He is adorable though and looking good in his tux. When he sang... he was flawless. Seriously. I could have listened to him ALL night long. He was amazing. I am going to buy the CD and DVD of that performance when it comes out. Loved EVERY minute of that concert.
*P.S. we were not supposed to take pictures during the show.... but I couldn't resist, so I just turned off the flash and tried to get some decent pictures)

Here I am with the Brewster Family after the concert at Temple Square. I was taking pictures of their family for them and Matt's mom insisted that I got in a picture with the family. They were all so sweet and made me feel part of the family as soon as I met them. It has been a while since I have experienced that. It was refreshing. I would hang out with the Brewster family any day!

Thank you so much Matt for taking me! I had such a wonderful night.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Birthday & Gingerbread Houses

Today is my birthday. Wow... another year older. Hopefully 28 will be as good of a year as 27 was. The day was spent helping my parents move into their new house in Mapleton and then I got to go on a date to the MoTab concert, which I will be blogging about next. All in all a pretty good day.

My sister made me dinner and a home made cake. Its always fun to celebrate with family... especially with my nieces and nephews. They love any reason to eat cake. Reanne is so cute and wrote me this letter and drew a picture and spelt my name wrong and I just think it is the cutest thing. Its going to go up in my office along with everything else my nieces give me. I love being an Aunt. Its the best.

Along with the family dinner and cake and my date, we also celebrated at work with cake. I also got 80+ birthday messages on facebook and several text messages and a couple phone calls. Its nice to feel loved and valued on your birthday. So thank you to everyone that did that.

On another day I watched my nieces and nephew decorate a gingerbread house.... which was a lot more fun than making my own. Seriously. They get so excited about it and can hardly put it together without eating it while they go. It was pretty cute. I can't wait to have kids one day. I love all the Christmas Festive Activities. :o)