Monday, December 29

we've only just begun...

Happy Anniversary to us!
Two years - we're pros.

We hope you all had a happy Christmas. Ours was the best ever. Hands down.

Back in Vegas, back to real life.

Meh.

Thursday, December 18

getting the Christmas spirit...

Note to self: Do not rely on husband to inform you about the ward choir dress code for a fireside. "Uh, yeah, shades of green and dark colors." (I was wearing a bright green blazer and brown skirt). Showed up to find the choir in black and red. To quote one of my favorite lines from "This American Life," I stood out "like a Skittle in a bowl of Swiss chocolate."

It snowed yesterday in Vegas - the biggest snow storm since 1979. Nobody knows how to drive in the snow, which made for some crazy, panicked driving by the Vegans. I took a little ride on the pride cycle - THRILLED to see the aggressive, inconsiderate drivers of Las Vegas finally have to use caution [insert evil laugh].

Mind you, it only snowed maybe 3-4 inches, but this led to cancelling the Beehive activity, closing part of the 95, calling today a snow day (it snows 3 FEET in Utah and they won't cancel school), and making December 17th the most bearable day in Vegas thus far. I turned on the Christmas tree and made Christmas cookies. And for one night here in Vegas, it felt like Christmas time.
I'm sure it will all be melted by noon, but it's lasted all morning! With all the snow on the palm trees and weighing down the wimpy desert foliage, we feel like we're living in a Dr. Seuss story.

Lastly, the Oldroyd Christmas card came this morning. Hats off to Mom - pretty good, but missing 6 sombreros.

Monday, December 15

taylor's christmas mix

Those of you who know Taylor well know that he is really into music, and could easily spend his entire salary on iTunes (thank heavens for his incredible discipline). He just compiled his 2008 Christmas mix, and though I'll try and get as many as I can on our blog playlist, many of them aren't on there. Some of the songs have links, so be sure to click on them (everyone needs to hear Sam Bush's "Let it Snow").
Make yourself some hot chocolate, pull out a box of Trader Joe's Candy Cane Jo-Jos (AMAZING), and enjoy the glow of your Christmas tree.

Taylor's Christmas Mix:
1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - James Taylor
2. Christmas - Blues Traveler
3. Lonesome Christmas - B.B. King
4. Merry Christmas Baby - Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
5. Christmas Tears - Eric Clapton
6. I'll Be Home For Christmas - Nickel Creek
7. Christmas Blues - The Ramsey Lewis Trio
8. Let it Snow - Sam Bush
9. I Saw Three Ships - Sting
10. Christmas All Over Again - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
11. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - U2
12. Christmas Katie - Widespread Panic
13. Blue Christmas - Willie Nelson
14. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Coldplay

I would add:
Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire - Nat King Cole
Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Perry Como
Silent Night - Marshall McDonald
Dona Nobis Pacem - Yo-Yo Ma
Joy To The World - Yo-Yo Ma, Dave Brubeck
The Wexford Carol - Yo-Yo Ma, Alison Krauss, Natalie MacMaster

Christmas Waltz - Oscar Peterson
Christmas Time is Here - Vince Guaraldi Trio

Any additions you would make?

Thursday, December 11

We've reached the pinnacle!

So, if you Google "Eastern European Fashion" ...

... we are the 7th site down.

We are officially AWESOME.

I found this out through blogpatrol.com, a website that gives you all sorts of random stats on how people access your blog (Google, bookmarks, other blogs). We've had almost 300 hits/visitors since Monday, with over a dozen from Europe! So I have one question: who are all of you? I assume the only people who read our blog are our moms, or those who post comments, so really...

Who are you, mystery people?

Wednesday, December 10

Sharing the wealth.

I figured this was a good picture to show for a post on budget shopping. My family has unknowingly started a tradition where we wrap one present as ugly as possible. Two years ago, Taylor was the lucky man.

For those of you friends out there who are on a budget this Christmas, I discovered something spectacular over the Thanksgiving break, and have felt guilty keeping it to myself:

Free discount/promo codes!

www.retailmenot.com
www.promotionalcodes.com
www.currentcodes.com
www.couponalbum.com
www.ebates.com
or Google the store and discount code - "Deseret Book promotional code"

Mind you, not all of the codes work, but it is kind of fun trying them out, doing the detective work to find the best deal. I saved 10% off something for Taylor AND got free shipping, which ended up saving me $20 (shipping costs are ridiculous). I found 2 coupons that worked on Deseret Book (25% off, $5 off) that both worked, until I found that the book was sold out (Joseph Smith Papers).

We've found some sweet deals online this Christmas, to the point where we've found some things for $5. I see that as an opportunity to get something else for the person; Taylor sees it as an additional $20 in the bank. :)

Saturday, December 6

Lest you think that we don't have lives...

Taylor went to a hearing this past week with Judge Jackie Glass presiding. Little did he know, two days later she would be the one to send poor little O.J. Simpson to jail (bless his heart). O.J. didn't mean to hurt anybody! He just wanted to get his stuff back and just happened to have a gun on him. I think we saw the clip of O.J. pleading to Judge Glass about 10 times during last night's Jazz game, thanks to the thorough journalism of ESPN.

How about this economy, eh? Yeah, I haven't worked ONE hour this week at Anthropologie, due to the horrible economy and empty stores. I've spent more money at Anthropologie this week than I have made in the past month! This past week I got most of our Christmas shopping done, and was shocked at the empty shopping centers. Horrible.

But even with this financial crisis there were still thousands of people gambling their little hearts out on the strip. Phew! At least they're still gambling. It's a comfort to know there will always be a job available on the strip.

Having no hours this past week gave me time to prepare for an upcoming audition and get all my paperwork in to become a glamorous substitute teacher. You should have seen the orientation yesterday...

Remember some of the creepy substitutes you get in school? When I walked into the room and saw over 200 people sitting in there filling out paperwork, I scanned through, looking for a "cute grandma" sub, an "ex-military" sub, and the "I'm-trying-not-to-appear-high" sub. There were several options for each. It kept me entertained during the "Blood Pathogens" video, a graphic film (Sundance-worthy) showing how to use rubber gloves and goggles when disposing of blood. The fake accidents were amazing - old guy about cuts off his hand while cutting strips of construction paper, a teacher severs her wrist with a pair of lefty scissors (explain that one to me)... fake blood and Oscar-worthy acting a-plenty.

In other news, my article was finally published! Yeah, this picture is backwards. I've been waiting for the Fall issue of the Journal of the American Viola Society since September. It hit newsstands (er... library shelves) December 3rd. Open up to the center-fold, and you're smack dab in the middle of my article. Yes, five pages of nerdiness. I am officially a nerd, but it still feels pretty cool to be published (I was beginning to think it was all fake when fall came and there was no Journal!).

We also found a happy little Christmas tree. It took all of 30 seconds in the parking lot at the Home Depot. It may not look like Christmas down here, but at least it smells like Christmas in our place. :) It was fun to hang the ornaments that we bought in Moscow.

Wednesday, December 3

~ happy holidays ~

I love the Special Witnesses of Christ DVD, and this message seemed perfect with the passing of Elder Wirthlin and Christmas just around the corner.


We spent a perfect weekend in the Homeland. Cold Turkey Run, hiking to the beacon, JoAnn's sweet potatoes (with coconut and pecans!), movie night (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - whoa, powerful), turkey sandwiches, Bonsai, and my mother-in-law's famous pies. Oh, and about ten pounds of the Costco peppermint bark. Thank heavens we'll be back in 2 1/2 weeks. I think I can make it.

I only took one picture. Hooray for Christmas decorating!Yes, my mom is obsessed with Santas to the point that she has a room entirely dedicated to Santas, all 150+ of them (not counting ornaments), complete with an all-Santa tree.

Off to find a Christmas tree, and believe me it takes SEARCHING to find a fresh tree here in Vegas.

Monday, November 24

You need to listen to this.


Every Monday morning I do my household chores while listening to last Saturday's "This American Life" podcast. This past Saturday's was a re-run, episode 104: "Music Lessons."

I have never laughed so hard...

...and wanted to cry at the same time, because so many of these stories are so similar to my own life.

If you have EVER taken music lessons or have any slight interest in music, you need to listen to this.

Here you go. (click me!)

Saturday, November 22

red, blue, boo hoo...

I have sequestered myself to the spare bedroom to avoid the drama and emotion of the closing minutes of the "Deseret Duel!!!" Anyone else think the Duel title isn't as great/intense/un-cheesy than "Holy War"?

Yes, Taylor converted me to the dark(er) side of BYU blue. See here for details.

At this moment, my parents and Robby sit in their crimson red on the 50 yard line. Liz is buried in the MUSS. Taylor has collapsed on the couch, fearing the final 8 minutes of the game. He stopped screaming/gave up hope about a half hour ago, but the mood is still fragile.

And yet here I sit, blogging, in my red pants. The last time I wore these on game day was in 2005, when the Utes stole a victory in Provo (Mind you, I was wearing a BYU sweatshirt).

Oops.
I don't think we're getting a last-second miracle this time around, boys.
And to Max Hall: I don't think Taylor likes you very much right now.

Thursday, November 20

daydream travels

This afternoon I've been working on a project that has taken me through all the photos on our computer. When I got to the pictures from my trip to the UK in 2006, I lingered a little too long. It all started when I caught the last 10 minutes of Emma on TV Tuesday night.
From the top of Stirling Castle (Scotland)

I could live in the English countryside forever. It would be like living in a Jane Austen novel 24/7. To me, Britain has the most romantic landscapes of anywhere in the world.

Take a peek.
From the top of Warwick Castle - some one actually lives there.
In the words of Rachel Zoe, "I die!"


Someone (I can't remember who) snapped this of me and my dear Mindy-Anne
(who was known as my twin sister in our Rexburg days).

Saturday, November 15

'tis {almost} the season...

The Holiday issue of Real Simple came in the mail today.
I have been waiting 11 months for it.
Let the Holiday season begin!

Wednesday, November 12

tay & tal live for a day

Once you suggest going to San Diego for the day, there's no way you're going to get it out of Taylor's head.
So we got up early and left for the beach!It was heaven - we didn't want to leave. We spent all day at Pacific Beach, and enjoyed dinner at Filippi's ($5 gets you the best meatball sandwich in the world). Home by 9:30.

Total cost? $20 (okay, plus a tank of gas each way).
I think we'll go again.

Monday, November 10

nada mucho

Friday morning I sat in line for almost 2 hours to be one of the first 200 people to arrive at the REI Grand Opening in Summerlin. The first 200 got Nalgene bottles with gift cards inside ranging from $5-$200. I made the top 40! I went with so much faith that I would get at least a $50 gift card. I just knew I was in for the big money. So I waited in line in the "cold" (come on, it's Nevada) and made some new friends who were also as weird as me (I?).My new friends and I got pumped, and ran through the doorway, high-fiving the new employees that lined the aisle, and huddled to open our Nalgenes.
We peeked inside...
$5.
$5.
$5.
$5.
$5.
$5.
Even the Reverend got $5. Come on!

I turned around and left the store.

The things we do for swag.

Let me just say we were SPOILED in Utah with amazing outdoor stores. These REIs in Nevada are a little small and weak.

Saturday morning was the Henderson City Veterans' Day Memorial Service. The Henderson Symphony provided the music, and I was so happy that I got to be there. I love the moment when the flag comes out, it gets silent, and gradually everyone puts their hand over their heart. It really hit me on Saturday, and opened the "floodgates," if you know what I mean. It was a really moving experience for me to look into the faces of these men and women who gave so much so long ago to protect this land. When they stood during our performance of the Armed Forces Salute, I got really teary thinking about all that they had been through, and all that they sacrificed for our country. And to think that it was less than 5 years ago that I was called the "emotionally sterile" roommate!

On a lighter note, because tomorrow is Veterans' Day, that means no work for both of us.
Option 1: Taylor goes into work solo and we can leave a day earlier for Thanksgiving in Salt Lake.
Option 2: Taylor can't go into work solo and we take a day trip to San Diego (mind you, we'll probably have a $20 budget, which will cover meatball sandwiches at Filippi's).

What's your vote?

Tuesday, November 4

Tuesday...

Got all dressed up for the uber-important orientation meeting at the Musician's Union, only to find out that I was the only one to attend. Yes, I am in a Union. Once again I was encouraged to join this ensemble, which I quickly (and very passionately) REFUSED.

Came home to a boat-load of "chores" and the very thought of starting the laundry, emptying the dishwasher, organizing the office, vacuuming, and scrubbing the shower got me a little less-than-thrilled about the remainder of my day.So I ran into the bedroom, took off my pearls, changed out of the dress pants, heels, and buttoned-up shirt, and put on my happy skirt (thanks, Mom Turner). Instant mood change.

Taylor makes fun of me a lot for changing clothes sometimes in the middle of the day, but I have this theory that clothes can change your mood some days. Some of my happy clothes include this skirt, my gnome pajamas, and "the grandma dress," as Taylor refers to it. Anyone else understand my theory?

There's a deep post for you. I'm off to hang out with my Scrubbing Bubbles.

I hope you all voted. My heart has never pounded so hard as when I saw the screen pop up with Obama and McCain. I'll just leave it at that. :)

Monday, November 3

home sweet home

Had a great weekend in Salt Lake with the fam. Sadly, the only thing we photographed was our Halloween J-Dawgs hot dogs (on orange buns!).
  • St. George Temple
  • Visited Grandma Lewis, who is finally home and making tremendous progress.
  • Spent Halloween wandering around the Turner neighborhood.
  • Met Liz's boyfriend. :)
  • Enjoyed the Roundhouse Special at George's/Dmitri's/Roundhouse Cafe.
  • Went to the first MLS playoff game for Real Salt Lake at the new stadium. A BLAST.
  • The ends of the BYU/New Mexico game and Texas/Texas Tech games.
  • Celebrated Mom Turner's birthday with some tasty Italian food at the Paris Bistro (?!) and the killer Red Butte chocolate decadence. The girls went upstairs to enjoy some Saturday Night Live:


  • Daylight Savings
  • The leaves are still so gorgeous, and I'm sure Taylor got so tired of me saying "The leaves!" "It's fall up here!" "Smell that!" "Look at the mountains!" "It smells like fall here!"
  • Oh, and my mom ran the New York Marathon this weekend. That makes 42.

Wednesday, October 29

a story

This morning Music of the Heart was winding down on TV while I was lifting weights. I'd only seen it once when it came out, and thought it was a little over-the-top cheesy. Boy, did I cry this time! It made me miss teaching soooo much. All morning I've been thinking back on some of the good memories I have from the past year (and believe me, there are bad memories as well!).
One of my favorite students was a little 6th grader named Caroline. Caroline is blind, and this was her second year learning the violin. She learned every song by ear and every new technique we did by feel and touch. It was such an incredible experience to teach her and adapt to her learning style. She was amazing and never once fell behind - because she was always one step ahead!

One morning I got to the classroom early and as I sat down to the piano I saw this:Later in the school year we had talent shows in each class. Caroline asked if she could play a piano solo. After a morning full of dance routines and goofy jokes, I helped Caroline to the piano and her little hands felt their way to these home keys. She started to play and her fingers flew around the piano. I'd never heard a Tarantella that lively before, and with such amazing accuracy! It was a piece difficult enough for a piano performance major! When she finished the class rose on their feet and erupted with praise, and I saw a big smile on Caroline's face as we walked back to her chair.

The next time we had class I took my camera to take a picture of the piano, to make sure that I never forgot that talent show. I can't imagine how much time it took to master that piece, but she did it with such flair. I hope I can think about Caroline more when I get a little impatient with myself, when things don't come as easy as I'd like.

Monday, October 27

a longish post.

First...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM TURNER!
Taylor's mom turns 29 today (almost 30!).
Okay, I've written a novel and had to edit it down in order to not get too mushy-gushy on this blog. We'll save it for the phone call.
That being said, we still need to brag about her a little bit. Anyone who has met Mary Anne Turner can attest to the fact that she is THE most creative person around. This is a picture of a doll she made me for Christmas right before Taylor and I were married. She makes at least a hundred of these almost every Christmas season. All hand-done. She is an incredible artist, art collector, decorator, gardener, whistler, traveler/family travel agent (she planned the Russia/Ukraine adventure perfectly), chef (family dinners look like pages out of Martha Stewart Living), you name it. Oh, and she would want me to mention that she ran a marathon. :) Add to all of this her spunky personality and fun sense of humor (I'll never forget her laughing inside the tomb of Lenin). I think some of my favorite parts of our trip were wandering around her favorite shops in Paris (oooh and the Valentino exhibit!) and hitting the Moscow markets.
Over the past two years I've seen how much she puts others before herself - causing her to lose a lot of sleep, I'm sure! She is so loving and supportive and can make anything fun. I just hope she does something for herself today!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
We love you!
We can't wait to celebrate with you this weekend!
Look in the mirror today and say to yourself "I am terrific!"

*As part of our gift we made special contact with Tim Russert, who also wanted to convey his admiration and express his deepest regret in not being able to celebrate with you this year. He will be there in spirit.


Alright, continuing on...
Behold, the week of the sugar craze:
Taylor's mom sent a box stuffed with all kinds of candy (okay, 6 Skor bars?! 3 kinds of Toblerone?!) and Count Chocula, congratulating him on the Bar.

We finally made the recipe I cut out of a Martha Stewart magazine in 2003. Pumpkin-Chocolate tart (click for recipe). It was amazing (Taylor totally ROCKED the crust). These are the leftovers the next morning.

Last weekend we had a baking contest at Anthropologie, and one of the managers requested I make her some white chocolate cupcakes for her last day of work. I took 2 dozen over, and forced the rest down the throats of my Beehives yesterday. I don't know who won the contest, but my vote was for my friend Shauna, who made mini caramel apples (using a melon baller) - so cute! I stole a picture from her blog...Yes, she is amazing. She's also an incredible painter - check out her Etsy shop!

Last night we enjoyed pumpkin cupcakes and coconut cupcakes filled with dark chocolate at Bob & Leila's house for dinner. Yum!

What else... Sarah Palin came to Henderson to speak, wearing a fabulous $1575 Versace pant-suit, Hermes scarf, Louis Vuitton heels, and a stellar Birkin bag (just kidding).

We got really excited about being Costco sample people for our ward trunk or treat. Except... we thought it'd be awesome to do little sample cups with some sort of Costco product. We love the Kirkland Trail Mix, so that was our choice...
Bad decision!
And I quote,
"Ew! I hate peanuts!"
"Oh, you guys don't have candy!"
"I'm allergic to nuts!"
"Trunk or treat! Uh... nevermind..."

Yeah, don't hand out trail mix in small sample cups at a Trunk or Treat. Sample cups full of nuts and raisins don't work in a pillow case or plastic pumpkin. Kids want pre-packaged candy... I think parents prefer it too. We kind of laughed when we drove away, thinking it probably looked pretty sketchy handing out sample cups of trail mix in the dark. Oh well!Luckily we got a re-do. Saturday we went with my cousin Melinda and her kids to their trunk or treat and carnival. We had the BEST time! Melinda and her husband Jason live in North Las Vegas with their 4 kids: Jack (a.k.a. Spiderman), Dallin (a.k.a. Power Ranger), Cameron (a.k.a. Batman), and baby Carson (a.k.a. Superbaby). Jason left in early September on a medical deployment to Afghanistan, and will be there until January. Melinda is honestly Wonderwoman (her Halloween costume, very appropriate), taking care of these 4 boys - the oldest in Kindergarten, the youngest only 5 months old. On our way back to Henderson, Taylor kept saying, "I don't know how she does it!"

She is the definition of Super-Mom, and the most hilarious person. Of course every time I go to their house it's spotless, the boys are happy and entertained, and last week I showed up to find her making HOMEMADE BREAD.

Everyone have a great week! We're headed to Salt Lake City (finally!) on Thursday to celebrate Halloween and Nevada Day.

Thursday, October 23

encore!

Yes, we got this in the mail today - we threw away the other SEVEN ads, but this was too good to keep to ourselves. Enjoy.