Musical Time

I really like music. To me, nothing beats a really good talk by a church leader followed by a really beautiful arrangement of a hymn. It's like abstract gold.

I went to a Missy Higgins concert a couple months ago. And it was incredible. I don't think anything beats live music. And not just any live music, but music that empowers and make you really feel stuff. The kind that makes you think about your life and other people's life and wonder how you can improve it or learn what you need to learn.

I have been listening to all of Missy's songs at work for the last several months and I didn't realize how many of the words I knew until I could whisper them to myself as she sang. I love music. I love that it can change how I am feeling or make me feel better. It's like reading someone's journal but with more emotion. I like feeling that I know Missy, even though she doesn't know me. It's just so bizarre and a little bit miraculous that someone who grew up in a different country with different interests and beliefs can so articulately capture similar thoughts and feelings that I have had, but can say it much more beautifully than I ever could.

Her new album called "The 'Ol Razzle Dazzle" has particularly affected me. I usually can only handle listening to new music on constant repeat for about a week, but it's now December and I have listened to this album every day since March. If I had to pick a soundtrack for 2012, it would be this one. The songs are always in my head.

One of the songs is called "Everyone's Waiting." I really liked it before the concert. But my friend, Christine and I had a pretty in-depth conversation about this song and the music video right before the concert. We analyzed it and came up with our own conclusions of what it is about. And then when she sang it and told us what it meant for her, it was like we had solved a mystery. And we both loved the song so much that adding her story and meaning to it, made it even better. Here it is:

One thing I just love about Dallas is the music scene. So many artists come through here. Just in the last year, I have seen Ingrid Michaelson, Missy Higgins, A Fine Frenzy, Joshua Radin, and as of last weekend, Sufjan Stevens Christmas concert sing-along. It was pretty fun to sing Christmas songs with people I don't know and who don't believe everything that I believe about Christmas. I love so many of Sufjan's Christmas songs, so it was nice to see them performed live. He also sang his version of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," which I recorded. Not for any particular reason, except to tell my mom that I go to concerts in which hymns are performed.  Figured she would be happy about that.  :)

I read a quote awhile back that said something about how a group of people playing music together is the perfect symbol of what humans can accomplish together. It represents the theory of gestalt: the total combination is greater than the sum of individual parts. You have to follow and listen and contribute and work together.
I couldn't find the exact quote, but I did find this one from Artur Rodzinski:
In our orchestra we have many nationalities, types, and temperaments. We have learned to forget individual likes, dislikes, and differences of temperament for the sake of music to which we have dedicated our lives. I often wonder if we could not solve the world's problems on a similar basis of harmony. Think what a single individual in a symphony orchestra can accomplish by giving up his individual traits and ambitions in the service of music. . . . Suppose that in life you had the same all-embracing love for the whole of mankind and for your neighbor in particular. Only when every one of us and every nation learns the secret of love for all mankind will the world become a great orchestra, following the beat of the Greatest Conductor of all.

It's not really the quote I had in mind, but it is still awesome. Music is a miracle.

While searching for that quote, I also came across this one from Dale Carnegie:
You can sing only what you are. You can paint only what you are. You must be what your experiences, your environment, and your heredity have made you. For better or for worse, you must play your own little instrument in the orchestra of life.
Lovely. So in conclusion. I love music. I love the way it influences my feelings. I love that I know how to sing, play the piano, and stumble over the violin. I like that other people share their feelings, their happiness, their sorrows and the melody in their head.

Photo by Bill Ellison: image of Missy Higgins at Granada in Dallas
Photo by Bill Ellison: image of Missy and band at Granada in Dallas
Photo by Bill Ellison:  image of Sufjan on stage
Photo by Bill Ellison:  image of Shana and I
Photo by Bill Ellison: image of Sufjan's band


Rebecca Made

When I was in college, I had to make a website for a class. I didn't know what HTML or CSS was, but my sister had warned me that it was rough. She really didn't enjoy the class and so I prepped myself for the worst.

I made the website and finished the class, barely getting it all together by the end. I haven't updated that site until today. It has all new content, a new design, and it is completely responsive- meaning the content responds to any device you are browsing in.

I am still in shock at how much fun it is to make a website. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it!

the brand spanking new


No-Repeat October

First day of school in 5th grade. 
Can't remember who gave me this shirt, but it started my love for hand-me-downs. 
As I like to say, "One man's trash is always my treasure."

A few weeks ago, my friend Rachelle gave me a bunch of her old clothes. This was the second time she let me go through her donation box and I loved every minute of it. Most girls really like shopping and although I do enjoy seeing the latest and greatest in the fashion world and window displays, I hardly ever buy clothes. So that feeling of excitement that most girls get when they approach the cash register, eager to carry their bag around the mall... is the same feeling that I get when someone that I love (who also has great fashion sense) tells me that they are getting rid of clothes.

I think this is the 3rd post I have done about clothes since I moved to Texas and there is a reason for that. Clothes, especially fancy onces, are a big deal in Texas. Most of my friends growing up were athletes and even though we cared a little about clothes, we mostly cared about what we accomplished. Which was great, and in my opinion, the best way to establish your roots.
In college I was exposed to many more fashionistas but I typically surrounded myself with people who dress simple, practical, comfortable, with really great taste.

Now I live in Texas, and spend all day at America's largest private advertising agency. And let me tell you, if you've ever heard that advertising agencies have lots of really pretty people who dress really well, you are right. There are lots of heels, colored pants, statement necklaces, voluminous hair, clear complexions... or just picture the people in your favorite fashion magazine, and you will have the right visual.

When I first moved here, I found it very intimidating. Between the people I interacted with at work and then going to church and being told I need to buy more high heels or people saying, "Let's go dress shopping for you" ... I started to feel not too great about my appearance. Add some weight gain and you end up feeling a bit of disappointment.

My awesome roommate, Shana, and I have talked about this a lot and we like to visit stores quite a bit. There are so many in our neighborhood. Think of any clothing store chain that you love. There is a 90% chance that store is within a 7 minute radius of my house. Shana and I found ourselves going shopping a lot in our downtime. Sometimes we would buy things but most the time we would try stuff on and then decide, "Ok, I really don't need this..." and then we would leave.

Then Shana had a brilliant idea in late September. She said,"Let's have a no-repeat October." I was intrigued. She wanted to not repeat any tops for the entire month of October. I looked around at my closet and thought, I bet I can go the whole month of October without repeating pants, skirts, shirts, or jackets. Which is a little sick to think about. But I decided that if I can repeat tank tops, undergarments, leggings, socks, and shoes- then I could really come up with 31 different outfits.

I am happy to report that I did it.
It was hard.
It took a lot more time in the morning. I sometimes repeated a certain cream sweater that I really love and since it was new, I felt like it was ok to repeat because it still had the newness I was excited about. But I learned a lot in the month of October. Here are a few of my tidbits.

1. At least half of my clothes were not purchased by me. I have many, many hand-me-downs.
When put to lyrics, my wardrobe is a lot like the song "Tapestry" by Carole King.
My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue
An everlasting vision of the ever changing view
A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold
My wardrobe has little bits of memories from the people who gave them to me in their hand-me-down box. It's really fun. Like this morning when I woke up, I put on Melissa's brown velvet pants and added Emily's cream cardigan and her gold flats from Target. And when I looked in the mirror it was like I was with my whole family. Ok, this is getting deep. But really. It's nice to have these physical pieces from my sisters when I don't get to see them too much. Sometimes I look at blogs written by girls who take pictures of their outfits everyday and then they say which stores every piece of clothing is from. If I ever did a blog like that my clothing credits would look like this:

Shirt- Laura Goodrich's mom, Val, bought this, but Laura didn't like it and it was too late to return, so they gave it to me.
Sweater- My co-worker, Jason accidentally put his J Crew lamb's wool sweater in the dryer and then it shrunk so he gave it to me. Score!
Pants- From my sister
Tank top- From the give-away box that my mom saw at her friend's sister's house. Thank you Aunt Cheryl! The gold camisole from Express is one of my favorites!
Shoes- Zack Golden's (my mom's best friend's son) old adidas shoes that have lasted me so many years.

2. You should never spend good money on an item of clothing that is "for road-trips."
I have learned now, that I have way too many linen capris that I bought thinking "these will be so great for when no one will see me and I will be stuck in a car for 8 hours."

3. Things come back in style.
I bought a light denim long sleeve collared shirt from Gap in the middle of high school, a good 6 years ago. I thought it was a risk and I only wore it a couple times and then probably once a year since then. Every time I cleaned out my closet, I would give that shirt a good stare and analyze its purpose and use in my life. Yep, getting deep again. So many times, I would take it off the hanger and then set it down in the give-away pile. But I always came back for it and rescued it. I am happy to report that the shirt is back in style. You know that denim chambray shirt you see all over pinterest that just happens to work with every outfit you could imagine? Yep, my shirt is exactly like that. So you could say I was ahead of the fashion world by 6 years. No big deal.

4. Creativity loves constraints.
One of my art professors told me that and I think about it at least once a week. I didn't take any pictures of my outfits, because I don't want to be that blogging fashion girl- if you know what I mean. But let's just say, things got a little crazy. I had to break out of the usual routine of this shirt with those pants and that accessory. If I had worn the item already, I hung it backwards on the rod. Thus, skirts were paired with tops that would never seem to logically go together, but actually looked quite alright. I came up with a some new combinations I would have never imagined. I re-evaluated the clothes I like and why I like them.

5. I embraced the pear in me.
As I observed which outfits worked and which did not, I re-learned that it is good to know my body shape and dress for it. I am a pear...which may or may not be caused by my love for the juicy pear jelly belly jelly bean.
When I was in junior high, my friend Steven commented on a skirt I was wearing. He said,"I really like it when you wear skirts. I don't know why, but it just seems so natural on you." That's all due to the pear shape, friends. Should have taken his advice sooner!

6. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
I moved last week and when I hung up my clothes in my new closet, I gave each hanger a good look. I asked myself, "Do I enjoy wearing this? Have I worn it in the last year? Will I be excited about wearing it ever?" If the answer was no, out it went.

So little Lizzy, get excited. 3 boxes of clothes and shoes are coming your way.

image up top, courtesy of my dad. 
image of denim skirt
image of pear


Central Market: A Love Story

The background for this post starts long ago, December of 2009 to be exact. My parents had been planning a fabulous holiday Hawaiian getaway for my family and we were all stoked. But when Melissa found out she was pregnant with Calvin, we knew it was going to be too close to his due date for her to fly, let alone fly to a tropical island less than a month before. We considered going without her little family but quickly decided that it would be too sad to leave them. So instead we rented a house in Austin, TX. We flew into San Antonio (where Melissa and Aaron lived at the time) and then drove to Austin. 

The house was great. The weather was great. We were all pumped for a fun weekend ahead. We drove into town fairly late into the evening and sent the boys off to find a grocery store so we could have some milk and cereal the next morning (this family is serious about our breakfast). When we woke up, Melissa and I headed to the kitchen ready to eat. There were a few varieties of cereals including a shredded wheat situation. I was pleased to find a cereal I had never heard of: Mango Peach Passion. 

When Melissa saw the cereal choices she began to cry. Literally. 
(Remember she was 8 months pregnant at the time.) 
I remember her saying something like, "I just want the brand name Frosted Mini Wheats. None of this off-brand healthy garbage." 
My dad and brother-in-law tried to defend themselves. Aaron said, "Well they didn't have Frosted Mini Wheats. I checked the whole aisle but it was as fancy grocery store and they only had the expensive stuff." My ears perked right up when I heard the words "fancy grocery store" while I ate every spoonful of the mango peach passion with much delight. 

I went back with my dad later in the day and I couldn't even handle the awesomeness. There were huge vegetables and fruits as decorations outside the store. The inside was even better. In fact, it was amazing. I had never seen so many varieties of potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, and apples. I loved the layout of the space, the design of the signs, the uniforms on the staff, ALL of the samples, and the land of cheese that is bigger than a master bed-room. I was in awe and I wanted to stay forever. 

I came home and called the graphic-designer-temporary-home-teacher-boyfriend I had at the time. I literally talked for an hour about this grocery store and how it rocked my world. I think I was just overcome with the word "variety." There were so many choices and so many different types of people making those choices. Clearly the boy was tired of talking about food because he broke up with me 2 days later (yep, over the phone while I was still in Texas). But, no worries because so much good came out of this discussion; I decided to move to Texas. You may be thinking, wow, Bec. Hold your horses, it's just a grocery store. But to me Central Market is much more than a grocery store. 

Thanks to the dedication of my parents, I have had the great fortunate opportunity to travel quite a bit in my short amount of living.  And I've seen some great things and experienced a myriad of cultures, but there was something about going to Central Market that made me want to stay there forever. I wanted to get to know all of these people who cared about food like I did. I didn't want to just make a quick tourist visit, I wanted this to be MY grocery store. I decided that as much as I love everything about Utah and all the people in it, I needed to break out of my comfort zone and spend some time living in an unfamiliar place. And it was Central Market that gave me the initial push I needed. 

So let's fast forward to my life now. I got a job. I moved to Dallas. I settled into my apartment and felt pretty lucky to be walking distance from Wal-Mart and Target. One day I was chatting it up with my new friend Mike (who had so kindly just moved my new couch into our apartment), and the topic of food came up. 
He said, "So would you consider yourself a foodie?" 
I said, "Oh, yes. Definitely." 
He replied, "Then you'll want to check out a pretty cool grocery store. It's called Central... "
I cut him off right then and there. "They have a Central Market in DALLAS?!?" I yelled. 
"Yeah, it's right down the street, like half a block walking distance."

I was ecstatic. And I went the very next day. I slowly sauntered in the bulk foods sections admiring all of the nuts, chocolates, and individual spices. I grabbed a few items that Mike had specifically recommended and then headed to the floral section where I can get a little something special. It is great because you can buy individual bunches of flowers for $3. You get all the fun without the big price tag.  I've been hooked ever since and I visit the store at least every other week for most all of my grocery needs. 

When I started working for The Richards Group, I saw lots of Central Market posters around the office. We have a policy that any decor on the outside of our desk has to have been created by our company. So I wondered if Central Market was our client. It wasn't until a couple months later that I learned we were indeed their agency. I knew that I had to get myself on the Central Market team, but I wasn't quite sure how to make that happen. 

I got an email back in February from my supervisor needing a volunteer to work on the mobile site for the Central Market chocolate festival. I wrote back immediately and volunteered. I got the mobile site up without too much trouble and I am happy to report that I have been on the Central Market digital team ever since. And it has been pure bliss. I get to create all of their emails, make their facebook pages, advertise their festivals, and update their desktop and mobile site. 

We had a hatch chile peppers event and it was fun to see the process from the meetings to the actual implementation of all the advertising. I got the weekly specials in the mail, I made the form online, and then I bought the actual chiles in the store.  

Last week we went live with all of our holiday extravaganza. This was my favorite page I got to make. You get to move the food and decorate your own tree, complete with twinkle lights! 

Can you tell I love this store? I don't think I have ever loved another store or  brand quite like Central Market (Well, maybe Costco. I really love Costco.) But Central Market has become a little "happy place" for me. I go there when I need food, when I need some space, or when I just want to get in touch with the locals. Sometimes when I walk to Central Market with my wide brimmed hat, wearing a skirt and sandals, with a tote bag in hand and I think, wow, this life I have is pretty darn perfect. 


Benson Elmer Wood

My sister Melissa and her husband, Aaron just welcomed a new precious little baby boy to their family. I got to leave work right after he was born to go meet him and it was much more emotional than I ever expected. He is so sweet and perfect and small and adorable. I have never lived in the same state as my sister when she has given birth and it was really great to be there. I just can't believe how much love I have in my heart for my sweet niece and nephews. They are the absolute best. And I am really lucky that Melissa and Aaron are nice enough to share their sweet and perfect family with me.

Here are a few photos of Benson's birthday and beyond. 


Anything You Ever Wanted to Know

So I have lived in north Texas for over a year now. I am pretty observant and have noticed a few characteristics about the Texas I have come to know.

1. There are so many birds in the winter time. Makes sense though, birds fly south. They come here!
2. People dress real fancy here.
3. It gets warm, really warm.
4. The food is incredible. Everything I have ever eaten here is/was delicious. Fun fact: Dallas has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the U.S. It's hard to believe, but I did little google search to find the facts and was pleased with this article.
5. There are many, many freeways.
6. For as crowded as the metroplex is, it is quite inexpensive to live.
7. There are tons and tons of churches.
8. The people are real nice. And I can prove it.

I always think it's a little odd when someone says, "The people in France are mean." Or, oh "The people in Minnesota are so kind." I always think to myself, "How can you generalize a region to decide if they are kind or not?" As tourists you are typically exposed to people in the service industry, so it would make sense that when you're traveling, you think people are pretty nice.

Well I listen to NPR pretty much every time I'm in the car, and I particularly enjoy the episode called "Anything You Ever Wanted to Know." It is a local show that you can call or email on Friday at noon and ask a question or answer someone else's question. It can be about anything. Usually it is geared towards something someone is looking for in the region, like where to buy a certain type of meat or tea, or what that random warehouse manufactures at the corner of George Bush Turnpike and the Dallas North Tollway. But sometimes people call in and ask random questions, like what would happen if one of the presidential candidates died this week. Would the party replace them with someone else before the election?

The point is, you can ask anything. I love listening on Fridays during my lunch break because I learn so much about my neighborhood. Plus, I think there is something fascinating about not knowing what each caller is going to say, if they have a question or answer and what random tidbit they might share.

So this week, I was driving around during my lunch break looking for a place that had early voting. I was listening to "Anything You Ever Wanted to Know" and I decided to call in. I will admit, it was frustrating. I called in 2 times and got a busy signal. I called in a third time and it just rang forever. And then I decided to call one more time, and I finally got an answer! The lady put me on the line and asked me to turn down my radio while I listened to the show from the phone. I could hear the host chatting like we were just having our own little phone call. I waited as 3 other people asked questions and then it was my turn. I got really nervous. I have never called in to any radio show and suddenly I was all tongue-tied. I said that I was new to the area and that I wanted to participate in a choir. Not a church choir, because I already have a church and commitments on Sundays. But I said I would love to participate in a community choir that performs holiday music and maybe even a "Messiah" performance. The host thanked me for my question and I was off the air.

By the time I had finally asked my question, I was back to work and ready to go back into the office. Luckily, I was able to stream the show live on my headphones at work. I was delighted when someone called in and said, "Yeah Jeff, I have an answer for the young lady looking for a choir." He went on to suggest a Baroque Society that I could join and how it would be a great experience for me. At the end he said, "I hope she finds what she is looking for, best of luck to her."

I literally dropped my jaw. I was just in shock that some kind old man stopped what he was doing, called the station, waited until they finally were able to get him on the line... just so he could tell me about a choir. It was pretty much like Christmas morning listening to the rest of the show. FIVE more people called in. FIVE. And two people emailed suggestions. At one point there were 3 calls right in a row that were all choir suggestions for me. One guy was calling about his own choir and he said, "We would just love to have her."
I literally teared up listening to their answers. I couldn't believe that people would actually take the time to stop and share something they know. I also appreciated that most of them referred to me as "the young lady." I quite like that title.

So although I have not joined a choir as of yet, I feel pretty grateful for a community and for random people who want me to be part of theirs. It was just so random and so kind. These strangers that I don't know did something nice out of the goodness of their heart. They took the time to answer my question.

I remember my first time going to New York City. I was a wide-eyed teenager. My sisters and I had separated from the family to take our own little excursion on the subway to find the Guggenheim. We came out of the subway and tried to figure out which way we should go. We were all huddled around a map trying to figure out which way was north, when a woman came up to us and said, "Hey, are you guys lost? Could I point you in the right direction?" I was shocked. All I had heard about New Yorkers was that they were impatient and in a hurry, so don't slow them down. But this woman was so nice and we didn't even have to ask! That little moment made quite an impression on my teenage world, and I ended up using it as an example in every Good Samaritan lesson that I had in seminary and sunday school.

I think its the same feeling that I get every time I read an online forum. I know that some people get paid to answer questions on some of those yahoo forums, but for the most part- it's just people sharing what they know to other people. Yelp reviews, apartment ratings, ideas to get your ears to pop after a change in altitude, cleaning suggestions, etc. It's great.

So to all those random people who help me out, even though they don't me- thank you, thank you.



Mormon Videos

p.s. As I kept watching videos online after my last post, I came across this golden gem of goodness.

I recently posted about him and his fabulous skill doing letterpress. But I am so glad they made this little video about him. Every word is good and true. He was such a fabulous teacher and made me think about my art and my life and my self and how they all connect. The notes I took from his course are the ones I open up and read regularly. Not necessarily because of what he taught me about design and letterpress but what he taught me about being a person and feeling confident about my opinions.

Some great thoughts from his video...
Text, the alphabet, letters are almost holy.
Books are one of man's supreme achievements. 
Creating isn't making something from nothing. Creating is organizing. It's bringing things together. 

General Conference

I woke up early this morning and couldn't go back to sleep, so I did what I always seem to do in the hours before the start of general conference. I watched videos about Mormons all around the world.

Everyone has conference traditions, but watching these videos has kind of become a new tradition for me. I just love mormon.org. I know the purpose of the site is for preaching the gospel and having one spot where people's google searches can end up, but I love it for me. It is so interesting to see the details of the lives of people in our global church and how their experiences might compare to mine. I like reading the profiles of other mormons and reading about their testimonies.

I especially love watching these before general conference. I get really excited for talks and topics that are a little different than the basic doctrines or that focus on something that I am particularly interested in. I really love when our leaders talk about history or a new intellectual way of looking at a basic tenet of our faith. I enjoy it so much, that sometimes I am slightly disappointed when my favorite topics aren't discussed or I don't seem to learn anything ground-breaking-ly new. But when I watch videos about mormons all throughout the world, I remember that we all need different things. We all find joy in the gospel, but we struggle from different things.

I love it because, even though we are a family-centered church, the gospel is personal and for every individual. It is easy to assume that every mormon person's life is the same and that we all live in families and have the same types of jobs. But we don't. Everyone's situation is unique. Profiles aren't created by families, they are by individuals.

Last summer I read Emily's book, A Single Voice, written by Sis. Kristen Oaks. It's a great read. One of my favorite sections was about the importance of the individual. Here is a snippet from this section that I typed up,

No matter what our relationships with others may be, many of life's greatest experiences take place individually. Joseph Smith walked in the grove alone, Moses ascended Mount Sinai alone and Nephi sought spiritual enlightenment alone. In like manner Sarah, Rebekah, Mary and Elisabeth were informed of miraculous births by heavenly messages. Other holy assignments were issued individually. Our deepest spiritual communion with Heavevnly Father and His Son occurs on an individual basis.  
When we come into this world, we are alone. When we enter the waters of baptism, we do this as individuals. We are confirmed one at a time. One by one we bear our testimonies. Each of us is endowed in the temple as an individual. Our church callings usually come to the one and when we die it will likely be a lone experience. I think that we expect that so much of life is being a couple or with others that we ignore all the times that Heavenly Father expects us to stand alone, to be counted as an individual, and to personally bear witness. We shouldn't be surprised that so many of our key experiences come to us alone. Likewise, salvation comes to one soul at a time. Thus, we had better like ourselves and feel comfortable with who we are. 

I have thought about this concept many a time since then for various reasons. But today I am thinking about it in terms of my global church. How grateful I am to be part of this big, huge organization that is so detailed and has thought through so many of the logistics that must go into arranging and meeting the needs of 14 million members. But also to know that I am valued as an individual, just as I am. I came across a quote recently from President Benson that I put up on my wall, "Your individual worth as a daughter of God transcends all." I love that and I know it is true. As much as I love my family and my ward and I love belonging, I know that if even without all of them and their support, I would still be important to God.

So as I approach another session of general conference, I am learning to remember that the leadership of the church knows a whole lot more than me. The apostles and the general authorities travel and meet all of these individuals and get to hear their stories (and luckily, they sometimes take a film crew so that I can watch their stories too). They know who needs what. They know the best things that need to be addressed in this the fall of 2012.

Happy General Conference weekend!

p.s. Great article about Sarah Jane's dad in the Salt Lake Tribune.


Boston Public Library

One of my co-workers went to Boston a few weeks ago and when he got back, we talked about how much he loved Boston Public Library. When I was living with Emily last summer, I loved going to the library because it is so big and beautiful and has free internet for the public. I just came across some of the photos on my hard drive of the library that I took while I was there.

Ate my lunch and read a book here for few hours

Ok, now comes the good part. Last summer I started noticing that lots of people were doing little self portraits of themselves. I thought, yes of course, I need one too. And what better location than a beautiful library on a clouded rainy day? I remember that there was a tour group right outside of this room and I wanted them to move along so I could take my self-portrait. I patiently waited for them to leave. Then I went in this room, set up the camera, and took this shot. 

Time out. How did I think this was going to be a good pose? First ballet position in the feet, and my hands look like I am showing my mom a wedding dress. Oh no. 

Photo shoot #2
Emily and I were driving around some small town on a Saturday morning in Massachusetts, possibly Pembroke. I saw this sign and told her to stop. My dear friend, Malinda, goes by Lindy. So I needed to take a picture for her. This one turned out ok. 

But as I was headed back to the car, this man was confused. He thought we had stopped because I wanted a picture with him. So of course, Emily told me to just smile rather than explain. Here is the result... Warning. This is probably the biggest smile I have ever had on camera. She caught the nose and everything. Good work, Em. 

And while we're on the topic. I saw this little gem on my hard drive as well. Sarah Jane must have taken it on April Fool's day when we were "snowed-in" to our apartment. Rather than wreck the masterpiece, we just put a bench outside of our window and climbed out that way. I remember that I had to meet my dinner group that night, but I was late because we were taking pictures of our door. So I must have been in a real hurry to get there. 

But oh my. What is this outfit? Cream jeans, grey shirt, my all-time favorite jumper (that Melissa bought at Goodwill for her first pregnancy), my pink cardigan (that I bought from Sally Dowse at the Lone Peak Chamber choir garage sale), my cream jeans, thick white Costco socks, and my favorite Hawaiian sandals (stolen from my mom's closet). 

I know you're not supposed to really post photos of yourself looking less than flattering. But with such unique photos like this, who could pass up this opportunity?
So next time you don't like your outfit. Think of me wearing my plaid jumper running with my plate and mug to grab some grub.  
And I am sure you'll feel good soon. 



Pretend I am Oprah for a second, and listen to me share one of my favorite things:


I love them so much. In fact, since I have started my job the use and importance of a favicon (and Mormonism) has been the topic I have debated the most.

Unfamiliar with favicons? Well let me tell you what they are.
The word is a combination of favorite and icon. They are tiny little square images that are 16 pixels by 16 pixels. They are not a JPG or a PNG, but an icon file that is saved as an .ico file. They are used as branding / bookmarking on websites. They go next to the title of the webpage if you have a tab open. Like so:

You also may have noticed them here in your bookmarks bar:

The reason I love them is because I am a heavy tab-user. I always have at least 8 tabs open with music, email, and projects I am working on. When I am jumping from one tab to another, I am usually skimming the text but my eye is focused on the favicon. 

Which brings me to my purpose. I love Google Reader. I subscribe to all of my favorite blogs on google reader and organize them by their categories: friends, design, fabric, food, and inspirational. 
This is what my DESIGN category looks like: 

This is what my FRIEND category looks like.

Clearly, my friends folder doesn't have a lot of personality in the favicon department.
I want to change this. 
So if you want me to make you a favicon for your blog, let me know and I will send you a little .ico file of something you want. But I'll be honest, the most frustrating part about making things for other people is all of the back and forth. Like, let's look at this shade of pink or change that font, or make that a jagged edge instead of a curved edge, etc. I don't want to have a lot of back and forth here so in this case, I will take your suggestions of what you want, spend 15-20 minutes making something and then send it to you and hopefully you love it because I probably won't change it if you don't. I still love you, but I want to make lots of these for all the readers I love, rather than one favicon that one person likes. 

I have never added favicons to blogs others than a google Blogger blog, but it is super easy to add on your own. So, no worries there. 

Because the image is so tiny, it is good to have just a few details in the image but nothing too complicated. Here are some of my favorites:

 I think it is a little weird to use a photograph for a favicon, but Martha Stewart seems to get to do whatever she wants. 

Here are a few sites with favicon examples: Smashing Magazine  Sitepoint  

Happy favicon day to you!