Tuesday, November 3, 2009

a little rant about Mary Kay and Make-up

I hate Mary Kay's philosophy!

On my fridge is a flyer for an upcoming Mary Kay party that reads "sometimes it's impossible to feel pretty." As if to say, we know you have trouble feeling pretty, but WE can help!

Some people that are dear to me have sold these products in the past, and I know it's a really good job for a busy young woman who needs a flexible schedule. BUT, sometimes those consultant ladies can drive me crazy. One of them once tried to sell me a product that would hide my freckles. I told her I've always liked my freckles. She just said, "Oh..." yeah, rude! And that's the other thing, they notice anything someone might consider a flaw and try to sell you one of their products that will supposedly solve that specific "problem". It's as if they're diagnosing your face and prescribing medicine. They give these feel-goody speeches about self worth. That's great and all but what they are saying is that you need their products to feel good about your appearance. It's like a slap in the face!

I'm not someone who is anti-make-up or anything. I love to get dressed up and look good. Usually it feels good to spend a few minutes doing make-up daily. And every once in a while for choir concerts or hot dates its marvelous to go all out. Make-up is great insofar as it accentuates your natural features and doesn't distract from them. (some girls really need to learn about make-up that is beyond the point of beauty, by the way). And I couldn't live with myself if the people I see in every day life didn't know what I looked like without make-up. So I wear it in moderation.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New England with the Fam

Kirtland, OH :: Niagara Falls, NY :: Palmyra, NY :: New York City, NY :: Mystic, CN :: Plymouth, MA :: Concord, MA :: Boston, MA

Church History Sites:

The Sacred Grove
We actually went there early in the morning first. Marianne and I jogged past the corn fields, past the temple, and my family walked through the grove together.

Wonderful. Beautiful. I really have a love for Sister missionaries as they were usually the ones to take us on the tours. They were delightful, shared interesting history, but most importantly, testified of eternal principles. They made what happened two hundred years ago meaningful to me. And not just because its my heritage as a Latter-Day-Saint. In Kirtland we saw the Ash Mill. I thought that was so fascinating. There were three steps to processing ash to make marketable products, each with increasing value. The first process yielded lye (used for soap), the second pot ash, and the third pearl ash, used for making china. Pearl ash had to be in a very hot kiln for a long time but is the most valuable. The sister told us how Heavenly Father refines us through trials into the most beautiful person we can be. The most impactful message I received was in Palmyra. As we stood in the kitchen in the Smith home the sister recited the first vision and I could feel the Spirit and I knew that my Heavenly Father really had appeared to Joseph Smith. In the bedroom of the Smith boys she for some reason read Alma 36:3.
The Smith Boys Bedroom
"Whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles."

And I knew at that moment that I needed to remember that this year. It is the most challenging semester I've had so far. But I am doing my best, and trusting the Lord. He has blessed me in so many ways.

Favorite Parts:

Seeing WICKED, in NYC. Mostly I thought NYC was really worldly and it wasn't my favorite. But WICKED is a fantastic show with the following ideas of note:
-Good deeds without sincerity are no good
-Fame isn't all it's cracked up to be
-Do what's right, not what's easy or most appealing

On our way to dinner before seeing WICKED in the Gershwin Theater

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Death of Socrates!

Plymouth, MA
This was the site of some of my best memories of the trip. First of all, this was the point that marked the end of the planned portion of our trip. The rest was slightly up in the air, which is very strange for my family. We had a very good heated discussion regarding our plans that ended in Marianne coming up with the perfect plan which we affectionately began referring to as Obama's Health plan. This hotel was not a huge tourist trap. The most exciting tenants in the place were the five elderly women wearing matching "Cousin Reunion" t-shirts. : ) It had access to a beautiful beach that we walked on in the morning and at night. We stayed two nights. It was exactly what we needed. This is also where we received our father's blessings for the school year. As you can imagine, that is invaluable to me and contributes to my warm feelings for this particular part of our trip. I have priceless memories of sitting by the ocean watching the waves crash against the rocks and feeling like I had never seen the ocean before. I felt such peace. I sat on the rocks in my swimsuit as it began to rain. Such good memories.

Plymouth, MA, Cape Cod

Quincy, MA
We toured the home and library of John Adams. That was really neat. Those were good men who founded our nation. There was a good spirit about their home. And what a library! Two floors and fire proof walls.

Concord: The Literary Center
Concord was not part of our original plan at all but when I realized how close we were I felt we had to go. It was so thrilling for me to see Louisa May Alcott's house, the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and a replica of the famous cabin of Henry David Thoreau.

Louisa May Alcott's house

Me in front of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Home

Thoreau's Cabin

Walden Pond, however, was a great disappointment. We walked down to that pristine lake only to find a water hole swarming with people! Thoreau must be rolling in his grave! It did look beautiful though, and I am a sucker for lakes.... I'd say they are my body-of-water of choice. So I actually found myself wanting to join all the rest of the tourists in desecrating the hallowed place...but it just didn't fit into our schedule.

Walden Pond, Concord MA

-As we drove along the New England Coast there were many bogs by the beach. I had the greatest urge to take a canoe or kayak through one of them. But it never happened because it just didn't fit into the itinerary. I was very disappointed.
-When we went through the Metropolitan Museum of Art we took way too much time in the beginning and didn't have enough energy to slowly visit the best part - 19th and 20th Century European art. There were all sorts of artists I recognized from my Humanities classes, such as the impressionists, etc.
-Not swimming in Walden Pond

Eating with PKU
In the past my vacation menus have consisted mostly of french fries and chow mein....that gets old really quick. I consider it a great tender mercy that on this trip, despite the complication of finding meals for a whole family three times a day, I was always able to find something yummy and varied. I believe I had french fries and chow mein a total of one time each.

Candid Pictures
I have come to really love candid pictures. They are so much more authentic and revealing than posed ones. I have all sorts of philosophies about photography if you should like to hear them. I really want to learn photography one day. My camera was actually broken for this trip. But I know it was meant to be. See, usually when I take pictures it kind of consumes me to the point that I am thinking more about the picture and posting on facebook than on the scene I'm actually beholding. For me, in the past, sometimes photography encourages quite glances. But on this trip I was able to truly enjoy things and walk through a place more than once to really take it in while I was there. So I know my camera being broken was God's way of letting me enjoy the experience in the way I needed. Besides, Marianne and my Dad took tons of great pictures.

On the Beach in Boston after a long day of walking

Hudson River, Palmyra, NY

Central Park. A very hot day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My thoughts on Michael Jackson

I was never up on pop-culture growing up. I didn't listen to Michael Jackson's music. I heard Beat It at youth dances and Thriller on Halloween, but really all I knew of MJ was his creepy looking face (post-surgery) and the charges against him about child molesting. I always felt sorry for celebrities too, because their lives get so twisted and they seem so lost because they are caught up in fame. I now listen to more pop music and try to give celebrities the benefit of the doubt. Going to college has opened my mind a bit. But it has also helped me appreciate my background and how my parents taught me to be careful of what I watch and listen too, and to seek first the Kingdom of God and not get caught up in worldly icons.

I only ever started to listen to Michael Jackson's music just recently, which is really ironic for me, seeing as he died so soon after I became acquainted with him, so to speak. My first MJ experience was at a friend's house where a group of us were hanging out and the host popped in the DVD's of his music videos. I was blown away by the man's dance talent, a little offended at some of his provocative moves and kind of shocked by how beautiful his face was. Almost feminine, I thought. So anyway, because of the point I was at in my life and the people I was with, I developed warm feelings towards Michael Jackson and his video of, The Way You Make Me Feel. After he died, I, like many others, as evident in the pattern of top-ten lists lately, took to looking up some of his songs. Seeing as there was almost nothing else on television I watched some of CNN's and Larry King's coverage of this sudden event. I was rather enchanted by Neverland Ranch. I even created a mii character in MJ's honor on our wii. But I still couldn't vouch for the character of this man. I do believe that we should appreciate good art whatever its source, but I know that as a disciple of Christ I also need judge for myself what is admirable and what is not. I was amazed at how many people wanted to go to his funeral. I was not impressed by people chanting "Long live the king!" That was bordering on idolatry in my mind. Michael's brother Jerome defended his character on TV, saying he had a message that impacted people. That may be true. But to me, when you have the living scriptures, the word of God, as meat in your life, "Man in the Mirror," is just an inspirational twinkie. I think people just might have been blowing his virtue way out of proportion.

I really liked the words of Rev. Chuck Colson. He acknowledged MJ's musical genius and realized that people's mourning was justified. But he said we should all "mourn the real tragedy that Michael Jackson's story is." He quoted Andrew Sullivan from the Atlantic Monthly Blog:

Michael Jackson "was everything our culture worships; and yet he was obviously desperately unhappy, tortured, afraid and alone."

He goes on to say, "[Michael Jackson] was, as Sullivan noted, nothing but a creature of our culture, which puts "fame and celebrity" at its core, with money as its driving force, without regard for the person caught up in it or the character he exhibits."

The King of Pop obviously had some problems. But nobody is perfect. I still have a warm spot for MJ in my heart...and on my wii. I wish him the best in the next life. Maybe he'll learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ and really "ask the man in the mirror to change his ways." But I do think we need to be careful who we idolize. As for me, I worship the King of Israel, Jesus Christ. Millions watched the funeral of Michael Jackson, but when that day comes, "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess," that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of all mankind. Until then, you might find me listening to The Way You Make Me Feel on occasion. : )

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Milk Portraits

Kylie needed to do a portrait project for her photography class. She asked me to be her model. I was more than willing. : ) She wanted to do something about my PKU. So when we got together she said, "go get your milk." I couldn't help but laugh as I posed seriously like I did for my senior picture photo shoot except with my milk in hand. And then we realized it was just like my life! I have a normal life, except that I have PKU. Like my milk, PKU is an abnormal thing in an otherwise normal picture. So I thought that was interesting, and I think these pictures are fun. So, enjoy!