So I mentioned (in my long list of excuses as to why I don't ever update)going to a Journey tribute band concert. The band? Separate Ways. Their amazingness rating? 11 out of 10. Some of you might be thinking, "What about real Journey?" Don't worry. NO ONE could surpass real Journey. I'm just saying, as cover bands go, this was the creme de la creme.
Just look at that poster. I mean, how could you not want to attend that concert? The best part was that they sounded almost exactly like Journey. It was life changing to be there with hundreds of other people singing the words to every song played like there was no tomorrow. You know they loved Journey like you do because who would go to a cover band concert if they didn't? Whitney and I just rocked our little hearts out to say the least.
Please notice the crazy long haired bassist. He jammed like none other and his hair was always blowing in the air conditioner wind. It was awesome. Also acknowledge the rockin' guitarist. The unsung hero of the night in my opinion. The bassist obviously catches your attention, as does the lead singer, but this dude? Humbly rocking out. Loved him.
Now, after reading that poster some of you might be thinking that the lead singer looks a little creepy. In regards to that photo, I have to agree with you. He does. However, in person he was kinda of hot. Like, he doesn't really look like that. It's weird. This is him below.
We sort of fell in love with him a little bit...
Another thig that I found to be super fun was the fact that there were people from all walks of life there. Young, old, fat, think, white, black and every shade in between. The people watching was supreme. For instance, the couple below (look to the right of Whitney). These "nifty" fifty year olds were ALL up in each other's business. They were way in love. It was actually pretty cute. I bet they did this to the real journey when they were like my age. Tender, I know.
Here is some video from the concert. They are just clips because I was saving up camera to record all of "Don't Stop Believing." I did it too. It was amazing. It had shots of the crowd, of me and Whit. It was perfect. And then I accidentally deleted it and didn't know how to recover it. Sadness, I know. But this will just have to do.
Life is rough. I have a ton to do and I'm not really diggin' it. But this isn't a complaining post; this is an explaining post. I'm going to explain to you why it's been a million years since I've updated this bad boy.
Reason number 1 6th grade. I'm loving it. The kids are awesome. We're finally used to each other and I can see my skills improving every day. However, 6th grade demands a lot of my time and it can be quite tiring. Either way, it's my favorite and I'm SUPER excited for student teaching in the winter.
Reason number 2 College. Not only do I have 6th grade but I have university classes too. I spend all day at the school of ed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Like, 6-8 hours depending on the day. Holy Hannah it's draining. With that said, the non class part of it all is super fun. My professors rock. Everyone is laid back and we've known each other for years now so that's nice. Our cohort of kids is like one happy little family. I kinda like it.
Reason number 3 Work. I have a really cool job. In July, my job changed hands from the EIL dept. to the Dept. of Online Curriculum. The DOC is now BYUH online and instead of working on curriculum development teams for EIL courses, I'm doing instructional design. I take existing on campus courses and modify them to an online format, or, in the case of Physical Science 100, I build courses for online use. The school is trying to put all of its courses online to help students get through BYUH faster, and to reach thousands more people world wide. As if that wasn't enough for me to love my job, everyone I work with is HECKA cool. BYUH Online is probably the most awesome dept. on campus.
Reason number 4 The family aka the kids that hang out at the bus stop house. And don't worry, we do refer to ourselves as the family. There's not much to say except that we're the shiz-nit and we kick trash day in and day out. Straight up. Hahaha! We just chill and have fun and conquer the island and there's no one cooler than us. I love it.
Reason number 5 Adventures. We go on legit adventures. First it was crazy out of season 15 ft. shore breaks on the North shore. People were just getting rocked. We straight up saw a dude get taken away in an ambulance. It was that crazy. Alexis and I conquered it though. We went out, swam in it and came back in without so much as tripping. Next was a trip to see Separate Ways (a Journey tribute band). It was AMAZING. Like A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. The lead singer sounded SO much like Steve Perry and their guitarist kicked some "a." It was so chill and yet everyone was all pumped and singing along. I often wish I could go back to that night... Last weekend, Whitney and I went on a circle island shopping excursion. Very successful. OH! And I got NEW GLASSES and CONTACTS!! Wooooo! Lots of great stuff going on.
Life is hectic. Yes, it is. But, you know what? It is also flippin' sweet. As demanding as stuff is, I don't think I've ever had so much fun out here.
I promise I'll update more often with all of the fun things we do. I mean we're going to continue baking for sure and we're going to tie-dye soon. Plus there is soccer and volley ball. We're all up at those games. Exciting posts are coming. For sheez.
NOTE: I was gonna upload all of these awesome videos and photos but the internet wasn't cooperating so you get a super boring post. Sorry.
That's right. I am an official Teacher Candidate. I have started my professional year with the BYUH College of Human Development. I spend every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Hau'ula Elementary teaching and working with my 6th grade students. Like this whole becoming a teaching this is for real now. They call me Miss Davis and everything. It took me a while to get used to it, especially because there's a girl named Jessica in my class. Every time my CT would say her name I would turn around and look like she was actually calling for me. It is weird... Weird, but wonderful. I mean I correct homework, administer tests, discipline students, run copies in the teacher work room and everything. I'm legit. Too legit to quit some might say...
I admit, I've had kind of a rocky start. Not to sound like a snot, but I struggle when I'm not relatively good at something right away. My CT (Cooperating Teacher) put me straight to work and of course, I've never been in the classroom as an actual teacher, so it took me a while to figure out what I was doing. Now, I am not complaining. I'm super grateful for it. My CT is awesome and my skills and abilities have improved already. I'm just saying, I didn't immediately feel super comfortable and capable. In fact, I felt rather inadequate and like I was struggling to keep my head above water. I've spent so long learning about principles and psychological concepts and pedagogy that all of a sudden having to put them into action was a little overwhelming. Not a happy feeling for me. Plus, it's always harder for me to work with older students. They have attitude problems because they are at that awkward in between stage. So my not being perfect right away at being a teacher coupled with snarky sixth graders made things kinda hard.
With that said, I'm finally to the point where I'm loving my class. As I've relaxed around the kids they've relaxed around me. Wednesday was my first good day and we actually had a lot of fun together. I'm happy to finally be settling in and I can tell this is going to be one heck of a year. All I have to do is get used to balancing my O & P with classes (4 to be exact), work and my church calling. My schedule is hectic to say the least, but I'm going to work hard, endure to the end and complete this program with flying colors. I won't let myself do anything less.
Excited doesn't even begin to describe how I'm feeling.
It's one of those nights when I can't stay asleep. I am tired, and searching for rest, but I have a head full of thoughts. I think that the worst part is that none of them are quite complete. In fact, I don't even quite know what's going on up there. I simply feel them, thick and smokey, swirly around, waiting to be shaped into something I can release. So, forgive me if I ramble, or don't quite make sense. It just means that my thoughts were not as complete as I had thought.
I wake up each morning and I am given things. They are perfectly ordinary things like music, beauty, sights, and sounds. They are things we experience every day -- friendship, excitement, struggles and victories. And for some reason, today, I cannot quite make sense of what I'm feeling. There are so many wonderful things happening all at once that I can't quite register them all. In essence, I'm overwhelmed in the best way possible. What makes this such a dilemma is the fact that I feel so immobile. I'm trying to respond to the world around me and I don't really know how. What do you give back to the reflections that dance off of an ocean made of the bluest glass? What do you say to laughter so rich that fills every inch of you? There's nothing. There's nothing you can say or do that will be as beautiful. There's just the feeling you have inside, lingering on after the moment has passed. All I want to do is give something in return. My heart is aching to whisper back to the moments of perfection I am blessed enough to experience everyday. I hope, someday, I find a way to answer the world around me. I like to imagine something equally eloquent sweeping out of me. It will be smooth, gentle and steady, like the light the night sky gives. It will let the life around me know how content and grateful I am, how much I appreciate its radiance. But then again, maybe we aren't meant to respond. Maybe instead of giving something back we are supposed to build upon these moments, add notes to the song. Maybe we keep them like secrets, sharing them with the people we love the most. I'm not really sure. All I know, is that it has been a wonderful summer, and my heart and mind are full of these moments that make me want to sing.
I almost died for one. Wednesday, just three hours before I left for the airport, I was stung by a Portuguese Man O' War. Now, it was just a baby one -- a blue bubble they call them -- but I had a terrible allergic reaction and started going into hardcore shock.
I got stung on the ankle. Most people compare the sting to that of a bee. That's not too bad for an adult. It hurts, you push through it, and life is good. But after I was stung the pain began to intensify and move up my leg. The sting formed big welts and swelled up. I began to shiver and sweat, and my breathing became shallow. Soon I was nauseous and pretty worried about where my life was headed. Now, I was prepared to wait it all out right there on the beach. I had Alexis on the phone coaching me via Google (I was combing the shore alone this particular afternoon), I wasn't dizzy or experiencing tunnel vision and vertigo. I had a plane to catch! I was NOT about to go to Kahuku and have them kill me (you laugh but Kahuku Hospital does that to you). Soon, however, my kidneys began hurting. The shutting down of vital organs is never a sign of recovery, so I phoned Marissa and had her pick me up.
This is right afterwards--you can just barely see the welts starting to form
In retrospect, I'm very lucky. I knew exactly what to do to prevent the sting from being too severe. I knew what to do to keep my physical stress level in check. I had Alexis there, reminding be to lay down and put my feet up. By the time Marissa got me to the Health Center I was in much better shape and, obviously, I survived and made it to CA, albeit in some pain. Mahalo, Alexis and Marissa, for your kokua!! HA!
The damage one week later
As for CA, I made it there without a hitch. DAY 1: Coronado Island, the Rhino Cafe, picking up Brit, Fred's in Old Town, the Carlsbad Outlets (where Camille and I decided-after shopping for men's clothing and experiencing new men's frangrances-that we needed some classy gents)and a sweet, sweet reunion among sisters. Day 2: Spa day, lingerie shopping, In n' Out, Hojo & company, a questionable bachelorette party, and more amazing chocolate chip cookies. Day 3: The Wedding! Beginning 6:30 and ending at 2:30, the temple, Big D, C Level, a wedding reception where gerber daisies abound, sending my little sister off with her new hubby, Dr. Pepper and new friends. Day 4: Teaching Primary, Trish & Rob's monthly partay, more new friends, peach pie with a perfect crust, and heart to hearts with my favorite cuz. Day 5: DISNEYLAND! Pirates of the Carribean, Blue Bayou, Buzz Lightyear, Tower of Terror, Soarin', new fireworks, Dumbo's magic, tears of love, "they light the lake on fire", postcards, and good music. Day 6: Kayaking in Mission Bay, more In n' Out, sea gull catching, jumping photos and Uno! Day 7: The DMV, baby kisses, Harry Potter chopstick wands, the Word Shaker and a welcome home.
I'm tired just from typing that bad boy out. In an effort to make the most of my time there I definitely exhausted myself. However, that's okay because I loved my little adventure and am very grateful for being able to go. I'm also very grateful for those of you out there that helped give my sister the most beautiful day of her life. Thank you. They are little words but I don't know how else to express my big feelings. The love I've felt the last seven days is life changing.
Needless to say, blessed doesn't even begin to describe my life.
I love the idea of secret, family recipes. Really, I do. Bush's Baked Beans? I wholeheartedly agree with their add campaign and think that that blabber mouth dog needs to be punished. I had this wonderful idea for that chocolate chip recipe to become one of those secret, family things. However, I also have an affinity for sharing things I love. What good is something awesome if I don't share it with someone? It's like that whole tree crashing in a forest question.
The urge to share the goodness with you is stronger than the part of me that wants to keep it top secret, so here it goes.
IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE BEFORE WE BEGIN: Beth, I accept your chocolate chip cookie challenge. However, no cheating and comparing the baked goods before the competition. With that said, next time we see each other it is on, sister! Hopefully it's soon because the idea of a bake off makes me incredibly excited.
THE RECIPE: 2 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 cups unsalted butter MELTED 1 cup packed brown sugar (do think about it, just do it) 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 TABLESPOON vanilla (drool) 1 egg 1 egg yolk 2+ cups of chocolate chips
Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees Melt the butter and combine it with the brown and granulated sugar. In a second bowl, gently beat together the egg, egg yolk and vanilla until just blended. DO NOT OVER BEAT, DO NOT ATTACK IT WITH A WISK! Combine the eggs and butter/sugar mixture until just blended. RESIST THE URGE TO CONTINUE MIXING FOR GOOD MEASURE! Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and once again mix until just blended. When I got to this step I used my electric mixer and finished up the last 10% of the job with a spatula to ensure I didn't beat the shmickle our of my dough. The secret to these cookies really is not over mixing. Don't say I didn't warn you... Upon combining the deliciousness fold in the chocolate chips. The skinny on the chocolate: half and half--half milk, half bitter-sweet--I promise it will NOT let you down. Chill the dough. You don't have to wait forever (just 40 minutes to an hour) but they won't set right if you don't cool things down, so be patient and put the dough in the fridge. Once the dough is chilled, don't hesitate to get those bad boys on a tray. These cookies like to spread, so don't put them too close. Place them in the oven for 15-17 minutes. Bake them until the edges just start to turn golden brown. The middles probably won't look completely done. Ignore the middles. They are liars. You are using the edges to get these things perfect. Once you take them out let them cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet. The residual heat will finish baking the cookies, allowing them to reach an ooey-gooey nirvana. Finish cooling them on a rack, parchment paper, whatever your fancy. Now for a confession: I did not eat any of these when they were fresh out of the oven. I don't know how they taste then. If they taste funny to you just wait it out because one they cool down they will be like your heroin and I'm not talking female heroes here. FYI: When I baked them I placed 12 big or 20 small on a sheet. The recipe will yield over 4 dozen of the smaller cookies.
And there you have it. The most amazing chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. Do not abuse the privilege I have just afforded you. I will know if you have used this recipe for evil...
Monday August 10, 2009 I turned 21, and, I am pleased to say, it was a fabulous birthday. The festivities began the night before with a DELICIOUS lemon cake baked by my dear friend Marissa Greathouse. However, I did not get to blow out any birthday candles. Don't be sad. Candles just aren't how we roll. We're hardcore. We put sparklers in my cake. That's right, my cake looked like a giant, lemony firework and I loved it. After singing and fiery balls of birthday lemon love, there was coloring, birthday kisses, skip-bo and 30 Rock. Basically, only awesome things were allowed to take place that night. Monday brought more happy birthday messages and well wishes from all of my favorite people. In fact, Marie Granoff's happy birthday text ensured that I not sleep through class. Much mahalo, Marie, for supporting my education. It was a delightfully chill day, complete with an afternoon nap and it ended with yummy tacos, ginger ale (<3) and a movie.
Specifically, we went and saw Julie & Julia and from that movie I was given the best birthday present of the year: a new hero, namely JULIA FREAKING CHILD! She is amazing! I've known all of my life who she was but until that movie she was just the funny sounding chick who came PBS on after Wishbone. She made french food. She was old. I didn't think much of her. Little did I know she did some crazy stuff in her life. She was tenacious. She was diligent and purposeful. She loved culture, she loved people and she loved butter just as much as I do. I couldn't have cared less what happened to Julie in that movie. She was someone hopeless taking away from my time with Mrs. Child. Why do I want to hear about some winy woman living in queens when I could find out more about my Julie?! Goodness, I CANNOT WAIT to read her biography!
With that said, let's move on to chocolate chip cookies. I've been searching for the perfect recipe for a while. I've tried family recipes, friend's recipes, even the Nestle Tollhouse recipe... Each was good but lacked that certain something. I was looking for a cookie that would be slightly crispy on the edges but oh so chewy in the middle, and at the same time, didn't scrimp on flavor. Believe me when I say I've finally found my recipe.
This recipe is perfect. It includes an extra egg yolk for the chewy (but not cakey) goodness I was looking for, and with 1 tablespoon (that's right, TABLEspoon not teaspoon) of vanilla I knew this would be flavor heaven.
I read a LOT of reviews for these cookies before baking (the cookies were for a meeting and i had to get this right) and adjusted the recipe where necessary, executing them perfectly. Specifically, I did everything in my power to avoid mixing the dough too much. It was the most common problem, and produced heavy and sometimes even hard cookies. My favorite personal touch to the recipe was using 1 cup semi-sweet and 1 cup milk chocolate chips instead of just one or the other.
It cut the richness of the 1 tablespoon of vanilla and the cup of brown sugar. Oh, I didn't mention that these cookies call for an entire cup of brown sugar in addition to the 1/2 cup white? Well I'm mentioning it now and Holy Moly does the brown to white ratio make a difference.
I made two batches of these cookies. The first were big, impressive ones to be used as the refreshment for our weekly team meeting. For those cookies I used a 1/8 measuring cup to scoop the dough. It produced about 24 gorgeous cookies.
The second batch (for me and mine to munch on because how do you make cookies but refrain from eating them?) made about 50 cookies that were half the size. The cookies were a HUGE hit with both sets. My friend Kyle at 9 of the small ones, but even more impressive was my boss. He had 8 of the big guys. That's right, 8. I've never seen an adult so adamantly consume cookies. These cookies are just that good.
The smell alone makes your mouth water. I mean just look at them. AMAZING! I'm hesitant to post the recipe, but if you really want it just comment and I'll send it to you complete with my adjustments. I love you just that much.
I've enjoyed playing with my camera so much lately that I have decided that instead of reprints of famous artwork, or meaningless pictures little cottages in imaginary seaside villages, I'm going to decorate my home with artwork created by me and my future family, specifically, photographs I have taken while adventuring. Now all I need is a nicer camera (like one of the Canon XSI Rebels) so I have more control. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?
It is 2:30 am and I cannot sleep. What does that mean? It means that I am going to finish up blogging about Hong Kong and tell you all about our final day in Asia.
By day 6 were were EXHAUSTED (and that is an understatement). Our dilemma was making the most of our last day there (we didn't have to leave for the airport until 1) without destroying ourselves right before 15 hours worth of travel. The answer to our problem came in the form of a spa visit. There was one right across the street from the hotel and we decided we would go have something done.
The spa was on the second floor of this sketch apartment building. It ended up being really nice inside but until we got there we were a little worried that it was all a sham and that we were going to be kidnapped...
Our "I hope we don't get sold into sex trafficing!" faces.
We had ear candles done. The package included a head and neck massage. Hello best part of Hong Kong!
I was lucky. That sweet little lady did a FANTASTIC job. Alexis, however, did not enjoy her experience so much. Apparently the man working on her head and neck was intense and ended up putting her in quite a bit of pain at times. Sorry Alexis! After our massage we got one last yummy drink and headed to the airport.
I don't think we were ready to leave just yet... What do you think?
On the second leg of our journey we were lucky enough to be put in the emergency exit seats. These seats were located on the second floor of the plane (so cool!) and provided us with AMAZING leg room. Everyone on the plane was jealous. You could see it in their eyes. Because it was an overnight flight, we also got this awesome little bag complete with slippers and refreshing towelettes. Domo arigato Japan Airlines!
Japan Airlines slipper models
We spent the majority of the flight playing skip-bo and phase ten (Thanks, Holli, for those cards! They're now international travelers too!), and tried to get some sleep, but I managed only very little shut eye and Alexis got none at all. We were DONE by the time we landed in Honolulu.
Asia takes it out of you. Alexis lost her marbles and I was obviously hit by a train.
It was a long, intense six days, but Hong Kong was a once in life time opportunity and I would go again in a heartbeat!
NOTE: DIRECTLY BELOW THIS POST IS A POST FOR DAY 4! As much as I loved Hong Kong I am sick of blogging about it and want to get this over with. I have other things to say, dang it. So, scroll down and read about Delicious Day 4!
This (day 5) was the last day of the conference. After a LAME breakfast and a delightful keynote speaker we bailed. This meant we got to spend the entire day exploring Hong Kong. Where did we go? The jade market, and boy did we rock the set of stalls we visited.
I'mma cut you!! You had best believe we worked that jade market!
After that we met up with Holly and Calvin and had one last yummy drink with Aubrey Olsen and sent her on her way back to China. Form there we hit up the Hong Kong History Museum and the neighboring Science Museum. Wednesdays were free days so we didn't pay a cent!
What time is it? It's museum time! crazy mirror fun
Dinner came next. Holly and Calvin took us to a "hot pot" restaurant. The food you ordered is cooked right there in front of you in a bowl of boiling broth-water. We at some crazy stuff. We had squab brain, chicken feet, whole octopi, fish innards, and a number of other interesting and intimidating foods. We were lucky; nothing tasted bad. However, some things did have questionable textures...
They came to the party. "Um, eat this?! Are you sure?" Chicken Feet video
"Hi little shrimp! How about you ditch those frightening antenna and get in my belly..."
So when we met Calvin, we thought his name was Kevin. We called him Kevin for like 3 days until, at dinner, when we decided to come Facebook friends, we found out we had it all wrong. Needless to say we felt pretty stupid. CALVIN, why didn't you tell us sooner?!
"Really?! We've been calling you the wrong name this ENTIRE time?!"
Alexis and I were exhausted so after dinner Calvin took Alexis and I to a little dessert place instead of out shopping. Eating with friends is huge in Hong Kong culture. People go out for everything because apartments are so small. The place we ate was packed with young people and it was super fun to chat and laugh surrounded by them. Oh, and dessert was tasty too!
Strawberries in black jelly... The jelly tasted like black licorice which I am not a fan of. Calvin was kind enough to swap desserts with me. the mango goodness that I had instead It was late, and we were tired. That means we were a little loopy.
Want to see the rest of the pictures from Daring Day 5? Click here!