Thursday, December 29, 2011

"The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed"

I try to be someone who lives in the present, with an eye on the future.  I try to live as an optimist in everything I do.  I try to "let the dead past bury it's dead" and move on with things.  However, there are times when I slip.  There are times when I let the past get me, when I allow pessimism to creep in.  

The truth is, I can't change how things have gone in my past.  I can't change the way I've acted nor the way others have acted towards me.  It's easy to say that these things are just going to be a part of me and that similar situations are going to have the same results.  It's easy to fall into habits of sadness and low confidence.  It's easy to tell myself that I'm not worth it.  

It's times like this, when I feel as though I've fallen under the spell of looking at my feet instead of forward, when I need most of all to pull out every ounce of effort I have and put it towards looking up with a smile.  I am who I am because of the things that have happened to me.  I am a woman with a bright future, I am above the things and people of the past.  I deserve happiness because I know I am worth it.  

I am worth it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

“A healthy body is a guest chamber for the soul: a sick body is a prison”

Yesterday was a pretty good, lazy day.  I ran some errands, I planned on going out to Roscoe's with some friends.  Around 5pm, though, everything took a turn for the worse.  I started to feel sick to my stomach out of nowhere.  I figured I must have eaten one too many rootbeer barrels  but no, it was the stomach flu.

Last night was one of the worst nights I can remember.  I was so so so sick.  I couldn't even keep down two mouth fulls of water, which was all I wanted due to the fact that I was severely dehydrated.  I tried to sleep it off, but I was either too hot or too cold.  I tried a bath, I tried a cold compress.  Nothing was helping.  I was miserable.

By midnight, however, I was able to keep down some water, which I drank greedily.  Around that same time I head noises outside my room and discovered that my younger brother James was sick, too.  By 3am, David joined the ranks of the sick.  It was then that I was able to finally fall into a restful sleep.  5am rolled around and Aaron banged on my door, asking for the medicine.  When I ventured out of bed around 9am, I discovered that my Dad was the only one who remained unscathed by the Stomach Flu of Evil.

Aside from some aches in my body, I feel 100% better.  I'm glad it was a short bug, because last night was honestly terrible.  It was so awful.  And now it's Christmas Eve and my whole family seems disabled.  Everyone is in bed, no one wants to do anything except reel from the night from hell.

Merry Christmas to us.

Monday, December 19, 2011

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again"

After one of the longest weekends of my life, I made it home.  No more detours or being crammed in the back of a pick up truck, no more country music, no more numb knees.  Being able to finally crawl into my bed Sunday night was joyous.  I have a really comfortable bed...

Home is where I go to be refreshed.  Home is the place where as soon as I walk in the door and the sound of my suitcase on the tile travels to the back of the house, I hear my father's booming voice shout out, "Heeey!!!"  I dropped my things and ran to my parents room, greeted by brothers and parentals with their arms stretched out wide to catch me.  I was here just a few short weeks ago for Thanksgiving, but it still feels like ages.  To be welcomes home with such vigor was a delight is one of the best feelings.

I'm grateful to be home, I'm grateful for a family that loves me.  I'm grateful for the most comfortable bed in the world.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Home is where the box is"

Let me tell you about a guy named Justin.  He is hard working and studious (in most of his classes.)  He's reliable and intelligent, funny and sarcastic.  He's motivated and kind.  He likes it when I send him Natalie Dee comics like this one:


When I tell him to treat himself to a slurpee after a grueling test, but the slurpee machine at 7-11 is out of order, he gets creative and buys himself something else then snaps a picture to show me how awesome he is. 


He encourages me to do well on my homework, listens to me talk forever about my family and my crazy roommates.  He keeps me company whilst I study on campus, even though he's not in Idaho.  He swaps new music with me and sends me funny youtube videos.  I could probably go on and on with all the things this kid manages to do from forever far away.  

He's a good listener, he's a good friend.  He wanted a blogpost, so he gets a blog post.  

Today is a good day.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

“Life at best is bittersweet"

This was the last full week of the semester.  It's been all sorts of different for me.  I've spent entire days in my room studying, nights out with the girls, trips to Idaho Falls, and on skype dates.  Everything feels so bittersweet right now.

I've got some really awesome neighbors.  Along with my roommates Kelly and Schmems (Emily), I spend a ton of time with Xanning and Madi.  Late in the semester it became a Friday night tradition to drag our mattresses downstairs in either our apartment or theirs, watch a scary movie, and stay up until at least 4 in the morning.  It's been refreshing to have solid girlfriends out here.  These girls are some of the most ridiculous, hilarious, awesome people I have ever met.  We often say that we wish we had cameras in our apartments just to capture all the hilarity that goes down.  I'm not sure if anyone really believes that we are as awesome as we say we are.

Basically, things are really good.  When I'm not with the girls, I'm either rocking my school work or watching Band of Brothers with Mike and the other guys from 411.  With only three days left of school, I feel pretty satisfied where I'm at with all that.  It's just...everything is coming to a close and I feel like everything has just started going.  I'm settled, this feels like home.  I'm established, I've got good friends, I've got killer work ethic.

After this semester Xanning graduates, Madi leaves for winter semester.  I won't be in school in the winter and as of right now, I have neither a job nor a car, so it's promising to be an interesting few months in the frozen tundra of Rexburg.  It's going to be different, that's what makes it bitter.  Sweet because I'll be back, bitter because I'll have some adjusting to do.

Things are changing.  I think some things will be good, though.

I'm on the verge of something really good.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Something tells me I'm into something good"

Good things happen when you least expect them, where you least expect them.  I'm still getting used to it.  I think I'm into something good.  It's about time, life.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

"I don't understand boring guys. I really don't."

Every once and awhile I get the overwhelming desire to read Catcher in the Rye.  I'm not really sure when I fell in love with that book, but I absolutely adore it.  I like Holden, but at the same time I hate him.  And pity him.  He's the misfit, hipster boy that I want to be my best friend.  I'm fairly certain that if Holden were actually my friend, I'd hate him.

All the same, I love the book and I love Holden.  I wish I had my copy here in Idaho with me.  What was I thinking when I chose to leave it at home?

This is what my copy of the book looks like.  On a good day.

Friday, December 2, 2011

“Knowledge is ancient error reflecting on its youth"

Finals are quickly approaching and my brain is melting.  

Friday is the day when I don't have any classes and I use the time to work on my online class, but also to relax and prepare for the weekend. Today, however, I got up early, filled my backpack with books and pencils, and headed to the library.  I wrote papers, took a quiz, and worked on several projects. I feel incredibly productive today.  Seriously, I'm getting things done and it feels so good.

When I consider where I was last December, I've come a long way.  This past year has been such a tumultuous one, with huge ups and huge downs.  I've said it before, but this year has been my year.

Highlights
  • Starbucks.  This place was such a fun job.  When I went home for Thanksgiving, I had lunch with my manager and visited with a couple of my former coworkers.  I forgot how much fun I had at that job.  I made life long friends, met some celebrities, and learned the art of coffee making.  I think steaming milk to perfection will always be a part of my nature now.  
Cleaning the ice bin
  • Erik.  This guy is one of my best friends ever.  Having him home, living only two blocks away was what saved me from utter despair for a good part of the year.  I'm lucky to have a fun, reliable, trustworthy friend.  
Erik is a pretty, pretty princess
  • Moving to Idaho.  Seriously, this was the best thing I could have done this fall.  I had to choose between staying  at home to save up enough money to move to France and moving to Idaho and spending the France money.  I gave up France for Rexburg, Idaho.  A lot of people would see that as a lame choice, but for me it was the better choice.  I have a great apartment, I have great roommate.  
My apartment
  • Grades.  This is my best semester ever.  In fact, this is the best I've ever done in school.  I have straight A's.  I am the bomb.
Midterm grades.  Still going strong

I could go on and on about the awesome things that have happened this year.  True, there were some low points and I could go into those, but instead of viewing those things as negatives, I chose to look at the way they've changed me and helped me become who I am today.  

2011 has been a year to remember.  I look forward to it's close and the beginning of 2012.



Thursday, December 1, 2011

"It's true I've become a skeptic"

Right now I love Jem.



Said there'd be no going back
Promised myself I'd never be that sad
Maybe that's why you've come along
To show me, it's not always bad

'Cause I can feel it, baby
I feel like I'm falling for you
But I'm scared to, let go
I'm scared 'cause my heart has been hurt so

It's true I've become a skeptic
How many couples really love
Just wish I had a crystal ball
To show me, if it's worth it all

'Cause I can feel it, baby
I feel like I'm falling for you
But I'm scared to, let go
I'm scared 'cause my heart has been hurt so
Yeah I can feel it, baby
I feel like I'm falling for you
But I'm scared to, let go
I'm scared 'cause my heart has been hurt so

And I've got to be sure
'Cause it's been so long
And I cannot take the pain again
If it all goes wrong

'Cause I can feel it, baby
I feel like I'm falling for you
But I'm scared to, let go
I'm scared 'cause my heart has been hurt so
Yeah I can feel it, baby
I feel like I'm falling for you
But I'm scared to, let go
I'm scared 'cause my heart has been hurt so

I want you so much
I need you so much
I want you so much
I need you so much
(believe me my love
Believe me my love)






Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values"

For one of my English classes we read Hyrum W. Smith's Your Governing Values are the Foundation of Personal Fulfillment.  It was a really interesting piece and, as good literature is designed to, it made me reflect on my own personal governing values.  Turns out the following assignment was to write our your top twenty governing values and define them.  Perfect.

In no particular order, my top twenty:

1.  I love the Lord and will do his will
     I've seen the work of the Lord's hand in my life and know that he knows and loves me.  I trust him to guide me in the right direction and not lead me astray, and consequently I follow his commandments.  I love him and tell him often.  I serve him in whatever way I can.

2.  I love my family
     I love the family I have been blessed with and I love my future family, even though I don't know them yet.  They are the driving force behind so much that I do.  I want to be more kind and more loving to those that I am eternally bound to.

3.  I am desirous to be a good wife and mother
     Despite not being married or having children yet, I know that being with them is one of my main goals in life.  I hope to be everything I have the capacity to be.  I look forward to teaching and loving my children, helping them weather the trials of life.  I look forward to sharing a life with a loving husband.  I want to be by his side through thick and thin, as someone to lean on and someone to love and hold.

4.  I care about those around me
     When people I care about hurt, it hurts me.  I look after the well being of those I interact with.  I find joy in being considerate and helping those in need.

5.  I find work fulfilling
     I gain a feeling of self accomplishment when I'm doing work that I know is done well.  This feeling motivates me to do my best in all the work I perform.  There is no satisfaction in doing something that I won't be proud of.

6.  I am ambitious
     I dream big.  I want to make something amazing out of my life.  I have goals and I will do what it takes to attain them.

7.  I am intellectual
     I enjoy enlightening conversation.  I find that when something stimulates the mind to grow and think, it's worthwhile.  I take pride in being able to hold intelligent conversation.

8.  I enjoy performing service
     Even the little things, like holding the door open for someone, make my day brighter.  It's satisfying to help my fellow man out.

9.  I am a peacemaker
     I avoid contention whenever I am able to.  I'd rather talk things out than get in an argument.  When people are upset, I try to calm them down.  I try my best not to participate in gossip, but I could always use improvement with that.

10.  I am a leader
       Whether or not I like it, I was born with leading qualities.  I don't have a problem with taking charge, even if cruising in the background sounds appealing.  In the future I see myself in a lot of leadership roles, whether it's in the church, school, or work.

11.  I am mature
       I might have  immature moments, but for the most part I'm mature.  I know how to act like an adult.  I've had a lot of experiences that have caused me to grow up in ways I don't think I anticipated when I was younger.  I feel more prepared for the things that lay ahead.

12.  I respect myself and know what I deserve
       I deserve to be treated well and to be loved.  I won't settle for anything that is below me.  I am a daughter of God and should be treated like one.

13.  I love to love
       Almost nothing brings me as much joy as expressing love does.  I love to be in love, I love to tell my family I love them.  I love to leave love notes for roommates or friends.  I love to snuggle and love cats.  I love to love God.  I love to love.

14.  I am healthy
      I exercise regularly.  I eat well.  I have studied food and know better ways of preparing things.

15.  I am motivated
      I'm a go-getter.  I like getting things done, I like being involved.  I am reliable and present.  I have a positive attitude.

16.  I have passion
       I am passionate about food.  I love to cook, I love to satisfy people by making something that looks and taste delicious.

17.  I have a sunny disposition
       I'm an optimist.  If I'm having a downer day, I chose to surround myself by people are uplifting and then regain my happiness.  I find that life is more enjoyable when you're actually enjoying it.  Smiling is contagious, I like to do it often.

18.  I devour knowledge and education
       If I could just read books for the rest of my life, I'd give up facebook, texting, and everything else.  But I have to go to school and stuff, so it's okay to tie those other things in.  I love learning.  My mind is open to new possibilities and fascinated by things of the past.  I strive to be a better student and make the most out of my learning.

19.  I am financially capable
       I paid my way through culinary school without taking out a loan.  I live within my means and know what it means to be frugal.  I thing really hard about big purchases and save up for them.  I know how to compare prices and find out the real value of something.  I know how to pay my taxes.

20.  I am a good friend
      I am someone people can turn to for advice.  I like listening and lending a comforting word or two.  I enjoy the company of others.  I can keep a secret.


There you have it, my top twenty governing values.  These are things that guide me throughout my life, helping me determine what decisions to make and what direction to go.  These are the things that make me me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

“Home, the spot of earth supremely blest, A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest”

Dear Husband,

We are going to build a fortress.   Together we will transform wherever we reside into a safe house where we can take refuge from the storm.  There will be pictures of you and me and our children littering the walls, displaying captured moments of our life together.  Our home is going to be a place of happiness and joy where we may live and love and learn together.  
Our children will feel refreshed and calm when they return from school, you will have a place to kick off your shoes and read to them after work.  I'll bake pies often.  We'll listen to fabulous music and dance barefoot in the living room.  On Sunday evenings we'll drink hot chocolate and read books in bed together.  We'll build a tree house.
We'll have family prayer daily and tell our children often than we love them.  I'll let you get a dog if you want.  I'm going to cook a big dinner every Christmas, but you have to put up the lights on the house.  We'll go on a road trip and see the nation. 
I'm so excited for our future.  I can't wait to create a home with you.

All my love,
Amanda

This started off as a post about my future home and how it's going to be, how it's going to feel.  Somehow it developed into this letter.  I find that I am filled with hope and am giddy with excitement to get started on this life, even if the idea of marriage scares me.

Maybe I just want a tree house.




Friday, November 11, 2011

"Cooking is at once one of the simplest and most gratifying of the arts, but to cook well one must love and respect food."

Last night I did a test run with the religieuses.  It was a pretty basic test run, mostly to make sure I have a good solid recipe for pâte à choux.  I had some trouble mixing the eggs into the paste, but a little help from an electric mixer and I was good to go.  Instead of using a pastry bag (all of mine are in California) I used parchment paper.  It worked pretty well, but the downside to using parchment is it's hard to refill it, so you end up using more than one bag.  Piping the dough out resulted in slightly odd shaped puffs, so I think when it comes time to make the actual religieuses, I'm going to forego the piping and just spoon the dough onto some parchment.  I think that will help them maintain a better shape for filling them.


I had all the intentions of making pastry cream for this test run, but I ended up making whipped cream instead.  The cream puffs turned out delicious and relatively easy.  They weren't as filled as I would have liked them to be, as a result of the odd shape, but that's what test runs are for.  Ideally, I'd like to use manufacturers cream for the filling since it's heavier than the cream you can get at the grocery store, but I haven't the slightest idea of where to get that out here.  


Sometime I think my roommates and I are going to make a ton of cream puffs together and freeze them.  Then we can have those delightful treats all throughout the winter without the process of making them (which is a relatively easy process, but we're lazy college students.)  


Overall, the test run was a success.  I realized that for the larger portions I'll have to have a longer baking time; the ones I made last night fell as they were cooling due to being undercooked.  The taste of the dough is light, but eggy, just like I hoped.  I like the taste of pretty sweet cream in the center to offset the savory flavor of the dough.  


I think sometime soon I'll try my hand at some swans.



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"“He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.”

Times come and go, bringing in happiness and sadness and all those other silly emotions.  Every moment should be cherished, held dear, woven into what you are.  Be it good or bad, pleasant or disturbing.  We are made up of a series of little moments strung together, comprising who we are.  Who am I to say that won't be a part of me when clearly it is?  It's things like that that will shape you and mold you into what kind of person you will be.  It's those kinds of things that help you move forward down the path of life.

I don't know what I'm getting at.  I'm rambling with my writing.  I've got a lot on my mind tonight.

The things we experience have purpose.  I look at where I am now and I can see how things have affected me and how I handle situations.  I can see the development in my character.  Some of the changes I accept willingly, some of them I'm struggling with.  Overall, however, I feel good.  I feel wiser, better prepared for the challenges that lay ahead.  I'm on my way to becoming my most perfect self.  

I knew this year would be my year.  Looks like I was right.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

“Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again”

I just finished my 25th journal.  It took me nearly a year to fill it and now that it's done I feel almost relieved.  A lot happened in this past year.  Now I literally don't have to carry it around with me.  I was listening to Anberlin's album New Surrender and the song Breathe stuck out to me.  I feel like that song describes how I feel right now.
It's long overdue, but I've finally closed that chapter of my life.  Sam isn't someone I need to waste any more time on.  I don't need to dwell on what happened. I'm free.

Breathe
Anberlin

This is surrender
To a war-torn life I've lived.
Scars and stripes forever
In need of change I can't resist.

No need to hide anything anymore.
Can't return to who I was before.

I can finally breathe.
Suddenly alive.
I can finally move.
The world feels revived.

This long of a struggle
Finally opened up my eyes.
Revolution's not easy
With a Civil War on the inside.

No need to hide anything anymore.
Can't return to who I was before.

I can finally breathe.
Suddenly alive.
I can finally move.
'Cause I realize.

I can finally breathe.
Suddenly alive.
I can finally move.
The world feels revived.

I can finally breathe.
Suddenly alive.
I can finally move.
'Cause I realize.

I can finally breathe.
Suddenly alive.
I can finally move.
The world feels revived.

I can finally breathe.
I can finally move.
The world feels revived.




Hurray for beginning again!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first"

Today in my brit lit class we somehow got onto the topic of nun hats and their shape.  My professor went off on a tangent about these pastries he had in France called religieuses which means nun's hat in French, that was the connection between Hopkins and this delectable French pastry.  He jumped on google images, showed us a picture, then took a good portion of time telling a detailed story about how one goes about eating a religieuse.  Brother Bruggar's stories are so fun.  The tangents make that class so worth it.  I guess the literature is pretty good, too.  I discovered this week that I really like Christina Rossetti.

Anyway, earlier in the semester we were told we would get extra credit if we used British recipes and brought in British desserts, such as figgy pudding and other delightful treats.  Unfortunately, the idea of making a religieuse is much more appealing than whipping up some mediocre pudding.  It wouldn't really be that hard, it's just pastry cream and  pâte à choux.  Essentially, it's a giant cream puff with a smaller cream puff on top.
  

See?  Not that hard.  I've got experience with  pâte à choux and I've watched a pro make it. We had a guest chef (from France!!  I wish I remembered his name) come and teach us the proper method for making it.  It's a slightly difficult dough to work with, but it's not the hardest thing to do.  I haven't made it since culinary school, but my professor told me he'd give me extra credit if I made religieuses for the class.  He also said he'd pay for the ingredients.  Awesome?  Awesome.

I'm going to do a test run this weekend, just to make sure the method I've come up with is going to be appropriate for making my own religieuse.  I've never had one, so I'm being daring and making them my way. I'm really excited.  This is the kind of thing I live for.  If I could just drop out of school and experiment and create desserts, I would.  But then I would get fat.  And be uneducated.  I don't want either of those.

Hurray for religieuses!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Life is real! Life is earnest!"


            A PSALM OF LIFE


      WHAT THE HEART OF THE YOUNG MAN
                    SAID TO THE PSALMIST



    TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
        Life is but an empty dream ! —
    For the soul is dead that slumbers,
        And things are not what they seem.

    Life is real !   Life is earnest!
        And the grave is not its goal ;
    Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
        Was not spoken of the soul.

    Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
        Is our destined end or way ;
    But to act, that each to-morrow
        Find us farther than to-day.

    Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
        And our hearts, though stout and brave,
    Still, like muffled drums, are beating
        Funeral marches to the grave.

    In the world's broad field of battle,
        In the bivouac of Life,
    Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
        Be a hero in the strife !

    Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
        Let the dead Past bury its dead !
    Act,— act in the living Present !
        Heart within, and God o'erhead !

    Lives of great men all remind us
        We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
        Footprints on the sands of time ;

    Footprints, that perhaps another,
        Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
        Seeing, shall take heart again.

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
        With a heart for any fate ;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
        Learn to labor and to wait.


That is my favorite poem ever.  I figured I'd share.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Top 8 things I love about Rexburg

A couple weekends ago I came to the realization that I really love this small, boring town.  It's often complained about that there's nothing to do here, it's so podunk, everyone is super lame, etc.  I don't know what people are thinking, but there is SO much to do!  I went to the caves one weekend, to Idaho Falls the next, I've gone to dance parties and movie nights, to walmart late at night, and out to the park to longboard.  I've gone to events on campus, over to friends houses for movie nights or to play games.  There is always something to do out here, you just have to look around you.  In addition to the atmosphere of the town, I love being at BYU-Idaho.  It's a great school with a great spirit and great people.

That being said, here is my top 8 favorite things about this place.

1.  The PEOPLE!
  • I have fantastic roommates.  I've lucked out this semester with girls I don't know too well and girls I haven't ever met.  They are all fantastic.  We have the same kind of humor, we have the same ideas for how an apartment of six girls should operate.  We've already signed contracts for the winter to live with the same six people...that's kind of a big deal.
  • The ward I'm in is excellent.  It's heavily full of girls, but thus far I really enjoy them.  The boys, too.  Our FHE group is a hodge-podge mix of people, but it somehow works really well.  I'm stoked for my ward.  And the guys across the street, because I'm over at their apartment almost as much as I'm at my own apartment.
  • The professors are so amazing.  I've made the habit of thoroughly researching my professors on ratemyprofessor before actually registering for any classes and it's made all the difference.  I have a ton of wonderful teachers this semester who make me actually excited to come to class and do the homework.  
2.  The Campus of BYU-Idaho.
          Have you SEEN the new BYUI Center?  The improvements made on this campus since I've been gone are outstanding.  The Manwaring Center improvements are amazing, along with the sky walk and the new gym.  The campus is absolutely gorgeous.  I love BYU-Idaho.

3.  Porter Park
          I love porter park.  Granted, the fall and winter aren't prime for spending Sunday afternoons napping on the grass, having picnics with roommates and friends, it's still a glorious place.  Can't wait for the spring and warm weather.

4.  The Food
          Now, I know that Rexburg is pretty limited as far as cuisine goes, but there are some good eats here.

  •   Taco Bus.  There are two on them, but the one that's worth going to is the one that's right by the round-a-bout, across from Rockland.  I prefer the macho burrito with steak, but I hear the carnitas are delicious as well.  Authentic Mexican food in small town Idaho.  In a bus.  So good!
  • Sammy's famous pie shakes are delicious.  I wish I had thought to make a shake with real pie in it...  Their concerts are pretty fun, too.  I went to a ska concert, ate a banana cream pie shake, and had a good ol' time.  Too bad the shakes are WAY over priced...
  • It took me five semesters to ever get myself into Wingers.  It spectacular like I was expecting, due to the hype people have made, but it's not bad.  I rather enjoyed it.  
  • Sushi in Idaho seems a little bit strange, but Da Pineapple Grill is tasty.  I've spent a couple birthdays there for birthday dinner, enjoying myself some scrumptious sushi.  I kind of want some right now...
  • Frontier Pies has mediocre dinner food, but their pies (excluding the cream pies) are dang good.  I haven't had any since I got back to Rexburg, but every time I think of berry pie, their jumbleberry pie comes to mind....mmmm
There are plenty of other places to eat, but they're more fast food , like Taco Bell or Little Caesar's.  All the same, there are lots of places I like to eat.

5.  The Dancing
          I love to dance.  I love dance parties, swing dancing, ballroom dancing...pretty much, if it involves moving to music, I want to be there.  I'm currently taking a ballroom technique class and I'm loving it.  We just started swing dancing and the technique is harder than you'd think, but it's so much fun!  I'm stoked.

6.  The Snow
          Don't get me wrong, the snow is a pain.  I haven't yet survived a winter here in Rexburg, so that might change my opinion of the snow, but I can't help but feel giddy and excited when it snows.  I think it's beautiful,  I'd much rather walk to school in the snow than in the rain, where I'll for sure end up soaking wet by the time I get to class.

7.  Movie Marathons
          I realize that movie/tv marathons aren't unique to my experience in Rexburg, but they're still a big part.  Whether it's Pushing DaisiesThe Office, or Hoarders, it's bound to be a good time.  It's fun with roommates, it's fun with friends.  It's fun with guys from home or guys across the street.  It's fun to chat during commercials and tease each other.  I feel as though there's this bonding that happens, even though we're all sitting around watching TV.  Maybe it's just the people I watch TV with...we get pretty emotionally involved.

8.  The SPIRIT here!
           Feeling the Spirit is awesome.  I feel it here all the time and it rocks.  I'm taking two religion classes, Pearl of Great Price and Family Foundations.  Those, combined with devotional, church, and random other moments of spirituality, make life here in Rexburg abundant with spiritual experiences.  I find that I'm more in tune with the spirit and less likely to focus on the downer things in life.  I feel my trust in God strengthened every day by even the littlest of things.  Having the spirit ever present here at BYU-Idaho makes things just that much better.


I was going to make this a list of ten things, but this blog has been at least a month in the making, so it's time to post it.  I love Rexburg, it's as simple as that.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

“Promises and pie-crust are made to be broken.”

Why do I like pie so much?

I've been obsessing over Pinterest lately.  It's a neat way to collect visuals of the things I like.  One of my favorite boards is a collection of pies and tarts I've come across.  There are some classic ideas, innovative ideas, savory, ultra sweet...  It's a variety of delicious treats with the same basic structure.

I love pie. It's no secret, I really love pie.  Something about the rustic appeal just draws me in.  It's the combination of flaky, buttery crust and sweet, but slightly tangy fruit.  If I could drop out of school and just bake pies all day, I would.

I find that making my own dough, making creative crusts and preparing the filling with love is therapeutic.  It's something that takes my mind off things and I get lost in the process.  It's hard to explain why it's so lovely to me, it just is.  I think my calling in life is to be a pie baker.  And so today I made a pie.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

“Music is an outburst of the soul"


I was listening to music on Spotify today when I came across a Hello Saferide song I hadn't heard before.  It's called I Wonder Who is like This One  and likens people to songs. 

It's fantstic.  I'm obsessed.  Here are the lyrics:

People are like songs, it’s true
Some seem dull at first but then they grow on you
Me, I’m like ”Can’t get you out of my head”
Annoying at times, but I make you wanna dance
But you are the only one I’ve met who’s ”God only knows”
I liked you the first time I met you
And it grows and grows and grows

People are like songs, I swear
Some found you as a child, and still they’re always there
A boy I once knew was ”Anarchy in the UK”
Burned out too quickly but in such a beautiful way
And you are the only one I’ve met who’s ”God only knows”
I liked you the first time I met you
And it grows and grows and grows

People are like songs, I’ve been told
Some claim your ears but you never hear story unfold
Oh, ”Lady gaga” or ”Your high school friends”
Reminds you of times when you were someone else
Then ”God only knows” and you pared up as two
As the turn of the seasons you come and go
I can never claim control of either of you
You’re too sweet to be just mine alone
And I try to stay humble over the fact that
Sometime when the time is right you will pass my door
The crescendo comes and…
And ”God only knows” and you have the same sad similarity
That every time it’s over I want to press play again
But the only difference appears to be 
I can force it on one of you and on the other I can’t



I'm the kind of person that puts songs to people, moods, certain events, etc.  I find joy in lyrics and I like music more when I can connect to the words I hear.  It's something that stirs the soul and fills me with so much emotion.  Music and poetry become the marriage of expression that I love.

Goodness, I love a good song.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

“There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction”

Remember that one time I said I go with my gut?  Yeah, carpe diem seems to be the driving factor behind many of the things that I do. 

I was planning on moving to France in January.  I was really excited, I looked into a lot of costs and I dug out my old passport.  At the time, I really felt good about it because it was time that I did something.  Living at home, working at Starbucks was getting monotonous and I needed a change of scene, a change of people.  France sounded great.  France still sounds great.

I'm not where I was in August when I made that decision.  I feel as though I've undergone an internal change between then and now, understanding more who I am, who I want to be, and what direction I'm heading.  I know now that I'm a better student, more prepared for life at BYU-Idaho.  I've made some connections out here in Idaho with people who work at the local bakers and I feel strongly that I'm going to find a job for the winter. 

Yep, I'm staying in Idaho.  I've signed a contract, its a done deal.  I feel kind of bad for backing out of the France plan, but financially it wasnt going to work out.  It costs a lot of money to travel and live overseas.  Besides, living here in Idaho makes sense.  I'm doing well in school, I have solid friends, and its hard to beat the spirit in this town.  I feel uplifted by the people that surround me and I feel happy.

I'm happier than I've been in a long time.  Things are turning around and working out for me.  It's about time, life.  Let's keep things going this way.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Starbucks represents something beyond a cup of coffee"

How Starbucks taught me to study: a tale of lattes and literature

I'm not afraid to admit that I've been a bad student in previous semesters.  My study habits, although they've existed, have been rather poor.  Sleep deprivation at night resulted in naps during class instead of attending class.    I want to believe that I was a good student and the classes were just that hard, but truth is that I really just wasn't that into school.  I did fairly well, enough to get by with average grades, but I know I'm better than that.

Here I am at a the start of a new semester after having taken two years off.  It's intimidating and huge and I'm scared out of my mind, BUT I have this overwhelming feeling that this is the semester where I figure things out and do well.  Throughout this first week of school I've been so on my game.  I've gone to all my classes on time (17 credits worth) and I've spent time in the library getting assignments done and many hours at home studying in my room instead of playing with my roommates.  Every time I open my computer, instead of opening up Facebook first thing, I open up my byui account and get a couple assignments done.  And then I get on facebook and watch kid history and laugh my face off.

What happened to cause the change?  I think working full-time at Starbucks did the trick.  I got into the habit of going to work for 9 hours, starting at 5am.  I worked hard at my job to be the best barista I could be and now I feel ask though I have a work ethic that far surpasses the one I had when I was at school before.  Basically, Starbucks taught me how to study.

This is my semester.  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"Its really hard to be roommates with people if your suitcases are much better than theirs"

This is round 5 for me at BYU-Idaho.  Two years on, two years off, now I'm back.
I'm in a new apartment with new roommates and a new (hopefully last) major.  I'm all settled in and I'm already loving my roommates.

I feel as though this is going to be the semester that I really figure out what I'm doing, and not only in school.   I think I'm going to end up with a clearer idea of what I'm going to do with my life.  I'm going to figure out what direction I need to take, whether or not I should stay in Idaho, how I'll be able to afford France, where I need to be.  I'm twenty-two and I still need some direction with what I'm doing.  There are so many options available to me, but everything has it's pros and cons.  Sometimes I'm worried about making the wrong decision.

But I really feel like things will make more sense this semester.  Hurray!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"France has more need of me than I have need of France"

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am moving to Southern France in January.  I'm going to a pastry program and internship in Le Cap d'Agde.

I.
Can't.
Wait.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

“College is a refuge from hasty judgment"

I've been home for two years.  I've left home maybe three times in those two years.  This fall I am moving out again and it feels SO great to be sorting through things, busting out the dusty college boxes.

There's a level of comfort that comes with being home.  I have my own room, I come and go as I please, I do my share in the house (dinner, dishes, laundry) and in turn I don't have to pay rent or for food.  I like that my things are here and, despite being a culinary term, everything is mise en place, or, in it's place.

I'm getting ready to leave home again and move into an apartment with a roommate.  I haven't had a roommate since 2007 and I'm not sure yet if I'm ready for one.  I like having my own space, you know?  My own bedroom is a place where I can take refuge from everyone around me, where I can clear my head, relax, and regroup.  Well, things changed pretty suddenly as far as the roommate situation goes.  My cousin Hannah moved in with me on Sunday.  I had known it was a possibility, but I didn't know for sure until Friday afternoon.  I used Saturday, my day off, to clean and rearrange my room in preparation for her arrival.  Thus far, I'm okay with the arrangement.  In fact, I kind of like it.

I've never been really close with any of my cousins.  I think it's partially because I've grown up not being crazy about visiting my extended family, but also because I fall kind of in the middle of all the cousins and haven't many cousins my age.  Hannah is several years younger than me, but she's easy to talk to and gets along well with people.  I'm excited to have her here and to develop a close relationship with her.  I'm excited to introduce her to the singles ward and all the awesomeness that it can be.  I'm ready to get out of my own personal space and learn to live with someone again.

All around I'm excited.  For the summer, for Hannah, for the big move in the Fall.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

“Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans”

I've found that as soon as things kick into gear, this blog goes dead.  Completely.  Sometimes I even forget that it exists.  As for the 50 days thing?  Yeah, I'm over it.  The facemorph was weird and then I just got bored and it started feeling like an obligation, not something enjoyable.  Back to regular blogging.

Today, on my day off, I went out to the outlets with Erik, to the mall to fill out rehire paperwork for Brookstone (I will never really leave them...this is the fourth time I've gone back, even if it is just for one week), and then we went roller blading.  Holy. Cow.  It was such a simple little thing, skating from Erik's house to the bike path through the soccer fields, but I got my trash kiiiicked.  Hills are not my friends.  Going up them is not fun.  Going down them is a death trap.  However, I only fell once, so that's got to count for something.

Roller blading is rad, but it's exhausting.


Check out these bad boys.  Their previous owner was an eleven year old boy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 23: One of my current favorite tunes

Last year I dated this guy who was mostly into heavy metal music that I couldn't stand.  However, he did share a few gems with me that I love.  This is my most favorite.  I could listen to this song on repeat all day.


"Sideways"
Citizen Cope

You know it ain't easy 
For these thoughts here to leave me
There's no words to describe it
In French or in English
Well, diamonds they fade
And flowers they bloom
And I'm telling you
These feelings won't go away
They've been knockin' me sideways
They've been knockin' me out lately
Whenever you come around me
These feelings won't go away 
They've been knockin' me sideways
I keep thinking in a moment that
Time will take them away
But these feelings won't go away 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day 22: A photo that makes me happy


Yeah, I went skydiving.  On my 21st birthday.  It was amazing.  I want to go again.  My birthday is right around the corner....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

day 21: My favorite TV program

There's this show called Community and I love it.  It's about a mishmash group of people at a community college who met by forming a spanish study group.  The characters are hilarious, the situations they encounter are ridiculous, the school is very much like a community college...it's just a good time.  I love it.  I bought the first season on DVD for super cheap on amazon.  I recommend checking it out.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 20: A letter to someone who changed my life

When I first started this whole 50 Days thing, I saw that there were several letters to be written and I thought nothing of it.  Now that it's actually time to write those letters, I struggle.  I can't seem to find anything I want to say.  My mind goes entirely blank of people who fit whatever category it is.  It's silly, I know, because there are several people I've encountered that have changed my life.  I feel as though my life is constantly being molded by the effect others have on me.

After having that previous paragraph written for over a week, I finally realized who I ought to write to, so here it goes...

Dear Heather,
You've been my best friend for nearly four years now.  We've helped each other through rough patches, had some of the greatest adventures, and survived living together.  You are awesome.  Because of you I feel as though I've had someone to lean on, someone to laugh with, someone to pick me up when I feel like I've hit rock bottom.  You don't judge me when I do stupid things or cry over boys or mess up pretty bad.  You've listened to my concerns about life and in turn trusted me with your secrets.  I'm lucky to know you, to be friends with you, to have developed such a good relationship with you.
Becoming friends/roommates with you was one of the best decisions of my life.  Thanks for being my best friend.
Love youuuu!!!
Amanda

Then

Now

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 19: Share a Goal

I make a lot of goals for myself.  They're usually simple, like keep my room clean or go to bed early 3 times this week, but it always feels good to reach them.

Lately I've experienced a little slump that cause me to make a new goal for myself.  It's one I can renew every day.  Be a little happier, smile a little more, live in the moment.  For the most part, I've been doing alright on this. I've found little things to make me enjoy life more and bad things aren't getting me down as much.  It's an easy goal, but it makes such a difference.

Be happy.  Love life.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 18: Whatever tickles your fancy

I'm swapping day 18 and 19 because I feel like writing about what I want to write about right now.

Carpe Diem.  Seize the day.  It's pretty much the motto of my life.  I'm the type of person who acts on impulse, so if something sounds good and I feel like doing it, I put all my energy towards doing that one thing.  I'm not sure if this is a good thing because I feel like I often times change my mind halfway through powering towards one goal in order to pursue something else.  But eventually some things get done and it feels awesome.  For example...culinary school!  Road trip across the US!  Skydiving!  Getting a job at the bread basket!  Things work out.

My latest fiasco (fyi-fiasco is the word of the day.  I've used it at least seven times) started last Tuesday.  My mom suggested to me that I move to Idaho in the Spring instead of waiting until the Fall and I became obsessed. It felt like a great idea, I haven't had any luck with finding a job out here, and I'm simply ready for a change of pace.  I need new faces and new scenery.  I spent forever looking into apartments out there, figuring out which ones still had rooms open for the spring, which ones I could afford, where people I knew were staying...  I found an apartment, I got all the papers ready to be sent back with the deposit...but then I was told I'm ineligible to even live in BYUI housing until I have a track assigned to me.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with how BYU-Idaho works, there are three semesters: Spring, Fall, and Winter.  When you apply, you are assigned two semesters to attend (your track) and then one semester to have off (your off track.)  This enables the school to have many more students than it's capable of having on a normal school schedule.  It worked out great for me before because I was on the Spring/Fall track.  I attended school in Idaho April-December and then went home January-March.  No cold Idaho winters for me!  However, I'm now in a rut because I have to be reassigned a track since I took so much time off.  I can't live in BYUI housing until the semester I'm accepted to starts.  I don't find out for at least another two weeks. If I'm moving into this apartment complex that I want, I need to sign a contract pretty much now or it'll fill up.  It's an awful situation to be in and the housing/admissions offices aren't helping at all.

But I was saved!  I got a call today from a grocery store I applied to a couple months ago.  I applied for the bakery, but they had a position in their Starbucks open up and they liked my availability.  I went out there and interviewed and they offered me the job on the spot.  35 hours a week, Sundays off, great pay.  I start training on Wednesday.  BYUI will have to wait until September.  Bittersweet.

So, carpe diem.  It might be my saving grace, it might be my demise.  For now, it's making things hectic, but so good.

You may call me The Mormon Barista.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 17: A photo that makes me sad

I don't get this.  Why would I want to post something that makes me sad?  Really, WHY?  This past week has been so full of ups and downs and pains and hurts and good cries and bad cries and simply not wanting to move, I beg the question WHY?  Can't I post something that makes me happy?  I mean this is my blog.  I should get to make the rules.


This is my cat, Buckle.  This picture makes me happy because this is the coolest cat ever (except for maybe Jello.  He had a sweet mustache) and he loved me probably as much as I loved him.  When I went away to college and my mom put my bedsheets in the laundry room, he curled up on them and slept there.  She took a picture and sent it to me, but I can't find it anywhere.  That picture is one of my favorites.  
This picture makes me sad because he died a couple years ago.  He just never came home a couple weeks before I came home for Christmas.  I was devastated.  I still am.  I drive my mom crazy with how often I ask for a cat. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 16: Five Celebrity Crushes

This is a post I can get excited about.  Thinking of my celebrity crushes wasn't hard for me at all, so without further ado, here you go.

1.  John Cusack (mostly the young John Cusack)


He's a babe in Say Anything and completely adorable in Better of Dead.  I even love more recent movies of his, like Martian Child. 

2.  Lee Pace


Um...have you seen the show Pushing Daisies?  Or the movie The Fall?  Yeah.  He's fantastic.  And gorgeous.

3.  Andrew McMahon


Despite being all tattooed up and having a pretty foul mouth, this dude has mad talent.  He plays the piano and he plays it well.  His song writing/piano playing is why I love Jack's Mannequin and Something Corporate so much.

4.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt


Fell in love with him with 10 Things I hate about you, still in love after Inception and 500 Days of Summer.  

5.  Daniel Craig


Yeah, he's James Bond.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 15: A Letter to Someone I want to meet

Dear future husband,

I picked you to write this letter to because you give me hope.  I find that at times like this, when nothing seems to be going right, I remind myself that you are actually out there and you're looking for me.  It helps lighten the mood.  I'm sure you're great.  Here's hoping we cross paths soon, but I don't mean that we need to get married soon, just that I hope we meet soon.

And I hope you like cats.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 14: A Song from my Childhood

When I was a little girl I read a lot of books with my parents.  One of my favorite books to have my mom read to me was called My Father.  It had beautiful watercolor pictures and the story was a song.  Listening to my mother sing that to me while we read is one of my favorite memories.


My father always promised us
That we would live in France
We'd go boating on the Seine
And I would learn to dance 


We lived in Ohio then
He worked in the mines
On his dreams like boats
We knew we would sail in time 


All my sisters soon were gone
To Denver and Cheyenne
Marrying their grownup dreams
The lilacs and the man 


I stayed behind the youngest still
Only danced alone
The colors of my father's dreams
Faded without a sound 


And I live in Paris now
My children dance and dream
Hearing the ways of a miner's life
In words they've never seen 


I sail my memories of home
Like boats across the Seine
And watch the Paris sun
As it sets in my father's eyes again 


My father always promised us
That we would live in France
We'd go boating on the Seine
And I would learn to dance 


I sail my memories of home
Like boats across the Seine
And watch the Paris sun
As it sets in my father's eyes again







Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 13: Whatever tickles my fancy

Bucket lists.  Bucket lists tickle my fancy.  I've been thinking about mine lately and then a friend of mine posted a link to his, so that got me thinking that I should probably start keeping an actual list of what I want to do during my life.  You know, in case I forget.  Or at least so I can cross things off and feel accomplished.

So here is my bucket list.  It's a work in progress, since I keep coming up with new things I want to add to it, but here it is anyway.  If I ever do something on here, I'll post about it.

1.  Ride in a helicopter
2.  Scuba dive
3.  Play the guitar well
4.  See Phantom of the Opera on stage
5.  Cage dive with sharks
6.  Ride in a hot air balloon
7.  Visit the pyramids
8.  Live in another country for 3+ months
9.  Open my own bakery
10.  Skydive
11.  Convert to longboarding
12.  Night boogie boarding
13.  Publish my journals under my pen name
14.  Run a half marathon (or a marathon, but that's aiming pretty high)
15.  Visit each of the 50 states (already been to 24...almost half way there!)
16.  Shave my head (just kidding.  I wish I were that brave)
17.  Make a wedding cake.  A legit, big one
18.  New Year's at Times Square
19.  New Year's in Paris
20.  Temple Marriage

To be continued...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 12: Self portrait

I had a party last night.  A gangster party.  I moved all the furniture around, a friend made a huuuge brick wall thing with graffiti on it and we put it up on the dance floor.  My alter ego, Lil Shawty, showed up.  She's pretty chola and not really nice.  And she only has one face.


She's got some sketchy friends, but they sure do know how to bust a move.  





It was a fun night.  Thank you, mom and dad, for going out of town and making this party happen.  I promise it wasn't too loud.  We even took a little walk to make sure the sound wasn't carrying too much, then we shut the front doors to spare the neighbors.