Apr 29, 2011

If Life Were a Musical . . .

Here's a list of my some favorite movie musicals (before anyone gets on me about a certain musical not on this list [or a musical on this list], please note that it says movie musicals). This discludes (which I know isn't a word, but it should be) all Disney musicals (because I like most of them). The list would also be too long to list all of my favorite classic musicals with Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire and all them.

Okay, this does have Gene Kelly in it, but it is the ultimate Gene Kelly musical! If I could only watch one Kelly movie for the rest of my (the horror!), it would be this one. Debbie Reynolds is beautiful in it. And it is so funny! Wonderful songs, wonderful dancing. Love it.

This is the very first R&H Cinderella. History lesson: This was written for TV, and this was a live broadcast--there was no dubbing, no going back and cutting. And I love Julie Andrews. She is beautiful, graceful, classy, and had a wonderful voice. The clip above is "My Own Little Corner," but if you watch all of it, you will see that her ball gown is far superior to any other R&H Cinderella, as is the rest of the musical. Unless, you know, you like the impossibility of the Brandy version, with a white king, a black queen, and an Asian prince.

Who doesn't love this musical? I do have to say, that I think Julie Andrews was cheated out of the part of Eliza, considering she played her on Broadway, but I do have a love for Audrey Hepburn. And Marni Nixon (who dubbed Audrey's singing) has a wonderful voice (you have also heard her voice in other movie musicals such as The King and I, and West Side Story).

Another Julie Andrews. What can I say? I just really like her. This is another movie that I think it is impossible not to love. Christopher Plummer is so handsome and has those beautiful bright blue eyes. The songs are wonderful, the scenery sublime, and the kids are just so darn cute. This is the ultimate love story.

This is a movie that most people don't know about, which is a shame. It has Fred Astaire in it (obviously an older Fred Astaire, not that that hampered his dancing at all), and Petula Clark. It is the story of an Irish man and his daughter "following the rainbow" to a small American town. The scene I linked to is one of my favorite songs, but it isn't a very good introduction to the movie, which I apologize for. Basically, just get the movie and watch it. It's very 70s, but has great music and a fun story (including leprechauns!)

This scene was my favorite when I was little. I used to rewind the tape and watch it over and over again, driving my siblings crazy! This is a heartwarming, sometimes funny sometimes sad, story with beautiful music.

This is another not very well known musical, but one that I grew up watching. It is Cinderella, but my favorite thing about this movie is that it doesn't end with finding Cinderella, it goes beyond that to the difficulty of the prince wanting to marry a servant girl. You will laugh at the King and the Dowager Queen, you will sigh with satisfaction when Cinderella and the prince first meet, and you will be singing the beautiful songs. My favorite song is "Tell Him," sung by Cinderella. It's a wonderful version of the Cinderella tale. (BTW, the costumes are gorgeous!)

Let's skip several decades and get to the 2000s. Moulin Rouge. It's a slightly risque film, as well as being bizarre, but the integration of contemporary songs is great, and the love story is beautiful. The song I linked to is "Roxanne." Basically I just love that they made Roxanne a tango.

Hairspray (2007)
The reason I linked to this scene in Hairspray is because I think the words are so hilarious! "Nice WHITE kids," and "He's Corny!" Hairspray is fun and colorful, with catchy music, and a great cast.

Okay, Joss Whedon is a genius. I love his work and this is no exception. This is the story of super villain, Dr. Horrible, the girl he loves, Penny, and his arch nemesis, Captain Hammer. It's completely ridiculous, but you will love it. The song I linked to is a song that I used to sing every time I did laundry in my apartment's laundry room. "Underthings, tumbling."

Anyway, there you go. Hopefully you have been introduced to some movie musicals you haven't seen before. Go watch them! You won't regret it, I swear!

Memory Quilt, Part 2

Okay, so part two involved sewing the rows of three squares together. Take one row and lay the adjoining squares back-to-back and pin. (One side onto the middle square at a time.)
Once you pin, sew! You want about 1/4" seam. I'm not a seamstress. As such, I didn't really stress over the straightness or size of my sewing. I also kept having problems with the sewing machine--the thread kept slipping off of it's little thingy, which caused problems when I tried to run the fabric through. I discovered it was because I was going too slow, so I sped up and this helped to keep my seams a bit straighter, too.
This is how one row should look after you had sewed all three squares together. Do this with all the rows.
When you're done with all the rows, lay them on top of each other so you can remember which row you want on top. Then fold the pile in thirds and put back in the plastic bags until you are ready for the next part (which is coming soon!).

The Royal Wedding

Because I am an Anglophile and a romantic, I did something that my father thought was absolutely crazy. I woke up way early in the morning to watch Prince William and Catherine Middleton's wedding.

This is the way I see it. I may never again see an heir to the British throne get married. I mean, I could, but this was the wedding of the decade! When people talk about weddings, Prince Charles and Princess Diana's comes to mind. Sure, that story had a horrible ending, but the wedding! Ah, the wedding! Thirty years later it is still talked about as the fairytale wedding. Well, this story was even more of a fairytale. Commoner turned Princess. I don't envy Kate for the life she will lead, but the idea of meeting a prince and him falling in love with you is something just about every girl dreams about.

Anyway, here is the timeline of the night:

2:35 am: My alarm goes off. I go and wake my mom up so we can watch this momentous occasion together. My dad continues sleeping.
3:15 am: Prince William and Prince Harry arrive at Westminster Abbey. William was obviously nervous. He tugged at his collar, smoothed his hair, tugged at the front of his uniform, and hit his hands together. But he smiled and chatted with the guests, and took some teasing from his brother. They both looked very handsome in their uniforms.
3:45 am: The Queen and Prince Phillip arrive at Westminster Abbey immediately following Prince Charles and the duchess. The Queen wore a yellow hat.

3:50 am: Kate and her dad leave the Goring Hotel. We are finally awarded a view of The Dress--one of the biggest secrets about the wedding.

4:00 am: Kate arrives at Westminster Abbey. Her dress is gorgeous. Classy, simple, and so very Kate. She has a nice train--gratefully nothing like Diana's 25-foot train.

4:10 am: Kate makes the 600-ft walk down the Abbey aisle. This is something that I am so glad I don't ever have to do--not that I'd ever have to walk down a 600-ft aisle, but walking down an aisle with all those people looking at you? No thank. Anyway, Kate walks down the aisle and stands next to William. This is the first time William sees Kate in her dress. He smiled at her and leaned over. You could just make out him telling her that she looked beautiful (awww!).
4:15 am: They get married. It was actually a very nice ceremony.

4:30 am: Mom and I set a tape to record the rest of the coverage just in case there is anything we want to see (like the kiss on the balcony) and then go back to bed.

Apr 27, 2011

Photo Walk

So, I am on Spring Break--well, in a manner of speaking. I don't have a job and my internship has ended, so it is kind of a forced Spring Break. At the moment, I don't mind, but if this goes on too long I'm pretty sure I will get desperate.

Anyway, I decided to not spend the whole day in bed being lazy (I know, shocker). After the morning warmed up a bit, I borrowed my dad's DSLR and took a walk. It has been a long time since I was able to take a walk in the middle of the day.

Here are some of my favorites:

Playing around with F-stops

Springtime is coming!

Last of the morning dew

Apr 22, 2011

Internship in Review

About four months ago, I stood at a bus stop at 6:45 in the morning, watching my mother drive off. Though I was 22, I felt as if I were 5 years old again on the first day of school. Watching my mom drive off, I thought "How could she just drive off like that? How can she leave me here!" I felt betrayed, and nervous.

It was my first day of my internship, and I was scared to death. Two weeks before I had graduated from BYU, and I was walking into the real world for the first time and I had no idea what to expect.

An hour later I got off the bus in Salt Lake City. The sun was just coming up, and my nerves were running crazy. About two hours later I had gone through all the new employee stuff and was on the way up with the other interns. I was walking in wide-eyed wonder, with a haze over my mind. Everything seemed to not quite make sense. I met the New Era staff, which was short a managing editor. Six hours later I was on the bus to go home and I was exhausted.

After the first week or so, I had gotten into a rhythm. Everything wasn't quite as new and different. About a month into the internship I was given the opportunity to do something I had never done before--I performed an interview with two high school seniors. My supervisor was out for a surgery, making our small staff even smaller. But this was good in a way because it gave me the opportunity to work closer with the other two members of the staff.

Another month goes by and we have a new managing editor and my supervisor is back. I perform another interview, over the phone this time. I learned how hard it is to make a 14-year-old talk. By this time I became more confident in giving my opinions in meetings and realy felt like I was really a valid member of the staff. The entire curriculum department was getting ready for general conference at this point. The coolest thing happened--I got to read all the conference talks before conference. It was awesome! It was also about this time that I realized that the internship was coming to an end soon and that I needed to start thinking about the future.

I applied for an open position at the magazines and an internship at Deseret Book. The magazine job didn't work out, and I just took the test for DB. The last month of my internship was spent finishing up conference stuff, and writing stories. Yesterday was my last day.

When I started this internship, I was scared. I didn't know if I would like it; I never thought I would work for the Church. But everyone talked about what a good experience it would be, and that I would learn a lot. And I knew I needed experience. Turns out that I loved it! Where I thought reading GA talks all day would be boring, I enjoyed it. I learned so much, and felt my testimony grow. I received inspiration. It was amazing.

I also felt that I needed this internship, and that God knew I needed it. Not to give me editing experience, and not necessarily for me to read all of those GA talks, though that was probably part of it. But I needed it to grow stronger. I needed the courage I got from it, and I needed to learn that I can work through things and be okay. It was hard.

I am grateful for the chance to have learned so much.

Apr 20, 2011

Life After College

After 17 years of school, you are just about ready to call it all quits. Good thing it's your last semester of college. Instead of writing that 10 page research paper, you daydream about how good life is going to be once you graduate. No more teachers. No more text books. And best of all, no more tests. Oh yeah, life is gonna be good.

Reality Check!

I have been graduated for four months and this is what I have learned. School doesn't end! The world becomes your classroom, except you don't know who your teacher is, there is no syllabus, and every test is a surprise. Of course, there are no grades, but if you mess up it could mean your career.

You don't realize how easy school really is. True! You live in low rent housing, you go to class, you have a job that gives you enough money for what you need, you don't need a car, you aren't paying for insurance, you don't have to worry about what you are going to be doing in four months. You get to be around people your own age, and do fun and crazy things with them. It's so nice to be in that kind of environment.

Then you graduate. Maybe you move to a new city, maybe you move home to live in your parents' basement. Maybe you have a job, maybe an internship, or maybe you have to start out pounding pavements. Your future is hazy, and you can't see past the next bend in the road. And you're wishing you were back in school . . .

Being a college grad isn't all bad. You finally realize how stupid grades are. You have freedom to do what you want in the evenings when you get home from work. No homework! You no longer have that guilty feeling that comes when you are out having fun and the 100 pages of reading you haven't done yet crosses your mind. You can read whatever you want, at whatever pace is takes--you finally enjoy reading the classics. You can gloat over all your college friends as they complain about finals. You finally feel as if your life can move forward now, instead of just remaining stagnant.

Yes, life after college can be scary, and hard. But it can be fun too. I like knowing that I made it through college and now have a BA. Sometimes I think about college and wish that I were still there, but it doesn't last long.

The past is in the past, and the future is before me.

Apr 10, 2011

Hi, I'm Whitney and I'm an Anglophile

Those of you who know me very well, knows that I LOVE England. I love the country, I love the culture, I love things that come out of England (sweets, people, history, news, movies, television, books). If I could, I would move back to London in a second. Or any other city/town in England.

Well, today I'm going to talk about my favorite BBC shows. English people and English humor, I'm all for it. In fact, there was a time last year after I had gone through my BBC TV phase when I started watching an American fantasy show and couldn't even finish watching the first episode because "they don't have English accents!" I'm not that bad all the time. I swear!

Anyway, here are my favorite BBC shows starting from the oldest (with some links to scenes):

*Hint: If you like Monty Python, you will love this. It has John Cleese in it.
*Synopsis: About an incompetent inn owner and the guests that come and stay in his hotel.
*Hilarious! One of my favorite episodes involves Germans.

*Hint: Just watch the first three seasons. They took a 8-year break or something in between the third and fourth seasons, and changed one major actor. I don't think I made it through the first episode of the fourth season.
*Synopsis: About a young man who becomes a veterinarian in a small York town pre-WWII.
*Absolutely hilarious! The members of the town are so funny. There are also some very heartwarming parts. I remember this one part about a man and his dog that made me cry. Based on the real life and memoirs of James Herriot

As Time Goes By (1992-2005)
*Synopsis: Two people who fell in love when young find each other in their "golden years" and fall in love again.
*Okay, there is so much good to say about this series. First: Dame Judi Dench. Second: Geoffrey Palmer. Third: Alistair. The great thing about this is that it just shows that people can fall in love no matter what stage of life they may be in. And it's funny

Marple (2004?)
*This one is hard to say because they are actually little short minis instead of an actual series. Started in 2004, I think. There are a lot of Miss Marple's out there, but Geraldine McEwan is the best.
*Synopsis: A little old woman uses her skills of observation to solve mysteries.
*Just homey and fun to watch. Miss Marple is a wonderful little lady. Based on the book series by Agatha Christie

Doctor Who (2005-present)
*Hint: So, I don't really know where to put this because it is actually a continuation of the 1968 series. But you don't need to watch all forty years to understand it. And if you do want to go back and watch some of the older ones, watch Tom Baker's doctor. He's one of the best.
*Synopsis: About a time-traveling alien called simply Doctor. His adventures with his companions as he fights other aliens and saves the world, and the universe.
*Everyone who knows Doctor Who has "their" doctor. My Doctor is David Tennant, the tenth doctor. The Doctor is satirical, serious, funny, scary, good, kind, and intense. Watch it, you will love it. Sometimes I just have to go back and watch all my favorite episodes (which ends up being almost all of them).

Robin Hood (2006)
*Hint: So much better if you watch with someone and make cookies. :)
*Synopsis: It's Robin Hood, there's not much else I can say.
*It's a little cheesy. But fun. Everyone needs a little Robin in their life.

Merlin (2008-present)
*Synopsis: The story of the young Merlin as he tries to hide his magic in a kingdom where it is illegal all while saving Prince Arthur with it.
*I really like this, but I've been having a hard time watching the third season, though I'm sure it is just as good.

Sherlock (2010-present)
*Synopsis: Sherlock Holmes updated to this time. Follow him and Dr. Watson as they solve mysteries and deal with the mysterious Moriarty.
*This is absolutely wonderful! It has a very dry humor, which is actually pretty characteristic of the English. Be warned though, watching the first season will leave you wanting much, much more!!

So, there you go! Maybe next time I'll tell you all about my favorite British miniseries! Have a good one.

Apr 7, 2011

The Shopping Theory

About a month and a half ago my mom and I went shopping. After not finding anything I wanted to buy, I very dejectedly left the store. As we were leaving, my mom said, "Shopping is kind of like dating." And you know what? It really is. I mean, think about it.

What's the first thing you do when you walk in a store? You start browsing. You pick out a few clothes that are attractive to you (and a few that aren't), carrying them around with you until you're ready to try them on. What's the first thing you do when you move into a new ward, or start a new class? You browse! You find what is attractive to you, get to know them, until you're ready to try them out.

Then it's time for the dressing room. This is hard, because you are putting yourself out there. You are in your most vulnerable state. You pick the first piece of clothing and pull it on. Maybe it fits maybe it doesn't. Maybe it makes you look and feel great, chances are it doesn't. When you go on a date with a guy, you are putting yourself out there. And sometimes it works out with the guy, mostly it doesn't. You just don't feel great when you're with him, even though it is a perfectly nice shirt that looks good on that other girl in the dressing.

Once you weed through the clothes in the dressing room (and you have to go through a lot just to get two or three items you like), you put back the ones you don't like. At this point there is a lot more digging into the clothes you have chosen. First thing you do, look at the price. You don't want to have to give too much for that shirt--I mean, after all, you have to eat and pay rent still. No point investing too much for something only so so. Then you look at the care directions. Dry clean? Too high maintenance. Hand wash? It's a possibility, though not ideal. I would be willing to make changes if I really liked the shirt. Line dry? Definitely doable. The best though is just plan old washer and dryer.

If you leave with one shirt, you're going to think of that shopping trip a success.

But, unfortunately, sometimes nothing you try on works. Either they are too loose, too tight, too long, too complex, too scratchy, too short; they make you look boxy, fat, or buxom. The fabric which looked so pretty on the hanger or the mannequin ends up being weird on a real body. (Of course, I have to take a moment and say that sometimes something that you didn't like at all when it was on the hangar looks AMAZING on you. But I digress.) And, so, you dejectedly leave the store empty handed. It's hard to feel confident and happy after something that beats you down like looking terrible in everything you try on. You look around at all the other customers and they all look happy and amazing and you start wondering what is wrong with you. So, you resolve not to go shopping again. You'll just be happy with what you have at home (or with the plain t-shirt that isn't to exciting, but it's safe).

Of course, we are women--we can't stop shopping for too long. So, a couple of months later finds us back in the store, looking for that one shirt that will make us look, feel, and be awesome.

Apr 6, 2011

Book Review: Moon Over Manifest

Title: Moon Over Manifest
Author: Clare Vanderpool

Moon Over Manifest is Vanderpool's first novel, and 2010's Newberry Medal winner. In short, the novel is about WWI, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, Prohibition, family, the past, religion, fortune tellers, spies, hobos, love, emigration, trains, bootlegging, small towns, and influenza. Sorry, that wasn't really short was it?

The book is told in several different ways. There is the main narrative told by Abilene. Then there is the secondary narrative told in third person. There is also newspaper articles and letters.

This is one of those books that I felt an emotional connection too. I was brought to tears several times throughout the book. A cover blurb by a two-time Newberry Honor winner called Moon "the best book I've read in ages." And I have to agree.

Apr 2, 2011

Conference Project, Part 1

For conference this year I decided to work on a project instead of just sitting around and watching. Those of you who know me know that I am not a "crafty" sort of person, but I decided to make a "memory" quilt out of shirts and pants from my college years. The first thing I did was collect what I was going to use, and then decided how big I wanted the individual squares. Then it was time to cut them out:
I used a rotary blade and the square pattern was just from a cardboard box. I cut on the floor, but my knees and back got tired easily. I would recommend using the table or something else. (UPDATE: Seriously, use a table! I woke up this morning with my entire body sore from leaning over and cutting. Not pleasant.)
These are the cut out squares.
After I got all the squares cut out (it took about 1 and 1/2 sessions), I laid out the squares into the 9-square blocks that I wanted. There were some squares that I wanted in a specific way.
I made sure that I piled the squares up in a way so that I would remember how they all went.
Then I put them in individual baggies to keep all the blocks separated and in order. Soon, I hope to get to the sewing and then I can decide the order of the blocks.