Thursday, March 27, 2014

Utah's Odyssey of the Mind Creativity Festival

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure!!

No, that's not the theme for the Creativity Festival which takes place this Saturday during the Utah State Odyssey of the Mind Competition. The competition is at the Park City High School, and is open to the public.

Becoming Renaissance Men and Women is the theme for the festival.  There are several activities that focus on different Renaissance men and women in history.

And at the end of the Park City High School hallway in which the festival is taking place, The Leonardo, the amazing museum in Salt Lake City, is going to have activities as well.

Some of the individuals we're highlighting: 
Benjamin Franklin, Hildegard, and Leonardo da Vinci.

Never underestimate the power of egg cartons!!

Sorting everything into piles.

Ready for fun :0)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Utah Odyssey of the Mind 2014 Pin Sneak Peak

 This weekend is the Utah State Odyssey of the Mind (OotM for short) competition!

It's going to be awesome :0)

OotM pins are a really big thing.  Each State and Country produces a new pin each year, creating a frenzy as kids trade them at the World's compition, which is in Iowa this year.  (Maybe I'll get to see some of that in action--I'm volunteering at World's this year!!!!!!!!--but I hear I'll be super busy, which will be fun.)

These are the Utah OotM pins for the year 2014.

 I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this pin of Omer snowboarding on the half-pike.  (I think that's a half-pike.  Heh, I'm a sports dunce . . . probably shouldn't brag about that.)

A couple more fun TEAM UTAH pins.

I actually don't know how much they will be sold for at the competition, but they were reasonable last year.

I can't wait to see some of the other OotM pins at the World competition in May.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dying Palms

After a week in Ventura CA, and a couple days in St. George UT, I'm finally coming home.  Home!  I miss my bed.

But these last couple days in St. George has been interesting.

All the palm trees are dead.  All of them.  We theorize it was the great freeze from last November that did it, though we could be wrong.

But still, driving around it's hard not noticing all the dead palms.  What's sad is that I never realized how many palm trees there are here.  (I'm in St. George as I type this out on my phone.)

You don't realize what you have till its gone.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March 2014 Your Bijoux Box Review with Spoilers

 "You mustn't be afraid to sparkle a little brighter, darling."

 Your Bijoux Box is a Jewelry Subscription monthly box, costing $35 with free shipping.  Ships to the USA and Canada.

This subscription is my Mom's!  Her first one.  Since I've gotten into subscriptions, I only get 2, my Mom has been curious.  I showed her this subscription and some of their previous items, plus the March spoiler, and she signed up immediately.

These pieces have a nice weight to them and are quality.  Love the sparkle!  I don't think my pictures do justice to these pieces.

 The first look.

 The March spoiler that tempted my Mom towards this box, named Jardin Fleur.  Flower Garden.  

 Gorgeous!!  Stunning in person.

 Orchid Skyline: I love the name of this piece.  And the pink color is Radiant Orchid, which, according to Sephora, is the color of the year.  My Mom gave this piece to me, and I took it eagerly.

 Claire Rose: My Mom LOVES this bracelet.  I do too.  She immediately put it on, and it really is stunning.  She'll be wearing it a lot :0)

 The bonus necklace for subscribing.  I don't know the name of this piece!  Only that I used the code HEART14 to get it, which may or may not be available.  If you look at the Bijoux Box Blog, they'll let you know of extra codes (PRETTY2 is the latest code for a sparkly punk bracelet).  Also the blog has styling tips and other fun stuff.

When I signed my Mom up I didn't know if the code worked for this necklace, so I contacted Costumer Service late afternoon.  Within an hour I got a response that said a note was added to my order for the necklace.  Amazing!  Great Costumer Service is worth its weight in gold in the subscription box world.

BTW, this necklace is mine, and I love it :0)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Getting My Inner Irish On

 Today I'm getting my inner Irish on.  Not in an "I'm going to go out and get drunk" sort of way, because I don't drink, but in an "It's St. Patrick's Day!  Wear green!"

When did St. Patrick's Day stop being so Catholic and became a celebration of all things Irish?  Around the same time Valentine's Day did?  Valentine's a Saint, too.  Saint Valentinus.

Anywho, I do love St. Patrick's Day, and it's funny how, no matter my age, I still feel the need to wear green, a fear of getting pinched if I don't.

I've been pinched on St. Patrick's Day for not wearing Green!  It's a real thing!

What was wrong with me that year? 

 And back in Kindergarten I was led to believe that Leprechauns were real!  I had the coolest teacher, though I bet everyone would claim that with their first.  She cut out hundreds of tiny green footprints out of construction paper and taped them all over the room.  We were told to follow the footprints to find our treasure.  (Apparently the Leprechaun had snuck in the night before, and I believed her.)

 I do have Irish roots in me.  Don't know the percentage, which would be hard to gauge, but I've collect a few surnames from my ancestors: Mahoney, Hallisey, O'Niel, and Miskell.

Doesn't the Mahoney coat of arms look very Harry Potter-ish?  I've always thought so.

And I have a little Patrick in me as well, though my Patrick ancestry goes back to Scotland, not Ireland.

And now I'll leave you a little Irish blessing:

"May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand."

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Non-Stop: Movie Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

It's surreal writing this movie review with what's currently happening with the missing Malaysian flight. The latest reports suggest a possibility of sabotage, maybe even terrorism.

Non-Stop starts with Bill Marks (), a mess of a man who lost his daughter through cancer and his wife through divorce. After being discharged from the NYPD he signed up to work as an air marshal, despite his fear of take-offs.

Soon the flight he's on proves to be out of the ordinary when Marks receives a text halfway between New York and London. The text threatens that if $150 million isn't deposited, someone on the flight will die every 20 minutes. The rest of the movie plays out like a giant game of Clue over the Atlantic.

I spent most of this movie on the edge of my seat, trying to guess who was responsible. Wondering where the texts were coming from. Non-Stop does a great job bouncing the ball from suspect to suspect, giving great suspense and accusations. Death, a bomb, continuous countdowns to the next victim, and over-speculative media back home influencing opinions on the plane. Honestly, it's a bit of a ride.

And then the big reveal . . .

I can't tell you what it is, because I'd spoil it, but honestly.


That's what the writers came up with!!??


The only clue as to my thoughts of the big reveal is the fact that I was considering giving this movie a 5 out of 5, because it's a great popcorn flick that keeps you guessing. The big reveal knocks the score down 1.5 stars thanks to pure idiocy. And a great lack of imagination.

Other then that this movie is a bit of a nail biter. At least I enjoyed that aspect.

MPAA: PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Wind Rises: Movie Review

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

"Le vent se lève!... Il faut tenter de vivre!"
"The wind is rising!…We must try to live!"
~ Le Cimetière marin, by Paul Valery 

The Wind Rises is Hayao Miyazaki's swan song, his final film after six decades of work.  Through Miyazaki's career we've seen such films as The Cat Returns, Kiki's Delivery Service, Whisper of the Heart, Howls Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and Ponyo to name a few.

And in The Wind Rises we get a little bit of everything Miyazaki: A historical film about Jiro Horikoshi, fanciful bits through dreams, commentaries about war, and beautiful nature shots carefully hand painted instead of the digital work we now see so often.  True artistry.

There is a benefit in not knowing what The Wind Rises is all about, though this movie experience, especially if you've studied WWII history, can quickly become eerie.

Dr. Jiro Horikoshi has dreamed his whole life of building beautiful airplanes. He wanted to fly airplanes himself as a kid, but his poor eyesight quickly put an end to it. This film actually starts with a dream sequence, which, if you don't know the movie's theme, can quickly add confusion. The animation during the dream sequence is part Spirited Away, part Howls Moving Castle, and part Porco Rosso. Immediately The Wind Rises feels like a Miyazaki fantasy, and it is, but only when Jiro dreams. And it is through his dreams that Jiro receives both guidance and warnings from the Italian plane builder Caproni.

Time passes quickly in The Wind Rises, and this time passage isn't always noticeable. Clues come through character changes and dialogue. Some characters age, while others don't age enough. We see Jiro attend school, meet the girl he is destined to love, the 1923 Kanto Earthquake, the economic crash, an interesting view of Japan pre-WWII . . . and that's when the movie takes it's eerie turn.

As the movie progressed the words “Pearl Harbor! Pearl Harbor! Pearl Harbor!” began echoing through my mind. The planes Jiro created and built were used during WWII, killing thousands. And through the film Jiro hears the warning. “Japan is going to burn,” he says while realizing what they're doing and the evils of Germany in which they're allied. But Jiro's need to create something beautiful propels him forward.

And in a way there's an irony there. Miyazaki, writer and director of The Wind Rises, has made his pacifism known through the years. He changed the book plot to Howls Moving Castle to insert his own pacifist ideologies (I still wish the scene where Howl visits his family in Wales, during our time, made it into the movie! It's hilarious!! Sophie trying to describe in her own words what a video game is. I sidetrack). This movie celebrates the airplanes Japan built during the war, and the modernization this helped bring, old Japan verses new Japan, but then you begin to see why Miyazaki hates war so much. This movie isn't Grave of theFireflies, it's considerably more lighthearted, but you get a different perspective of Japan before, during, and after the war.

The Wind Rises is a beautiful movie. Throughout the film my Mom, sitting to the right of me, said “oh” quite often as scenes changed. In an age of digital animation, it's nice seeing artfully drawn out paintings and backdrops. It's a dieing craft. And there are gorgeous moments as the movie pauses here and there. My brothers didn't like the pacing, but it's typical Japanese storytelling, which I like. The big drawback was the occasional use of human voice sound effects, which I found distracting, especially during the Earthquake scene.

As a note, Miyazaki humanizes Jiro a bit. We see a lot of back story and a lovely simple love story, which is apparently, from what I read, fabricated. The only true bits is the fact that Jiro designed planes that was used during the war.

Overall, The Wind Rises is a labor of love for Miyazaki, and I truly wonder if he'll stay retired. He did want to write a sequel to Ponyo, after all, and that's something I would like to see.

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for some disturbing images and smoking.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Robbie Gets Attacked Slo-Mo Style

Life is better in slo-mo . . .

I knew something was up when I got home and there was an awesome sword collection sitting lonesome like in the living room.  Sword collections are always worth getting excited over.

Soon I found out my brother and his friends had in their possession a really expensive slow motion camera.  A couple hours later the front yard was decorated with vanquished vegetables and balloon peels.

This is a view of all the fun they had :0)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Living Our Ideals

(Sunset a couple nights ago)

“We must have ideals and try to live up to them, even if we never quite succeed. Life would be a sorry business without them. With them it's grand and great.”

~ Lucy Maud Montgomery

Saturday, March 8, 2014

March 2014 POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review with Spoilers

It's POPSUGAR time again!  I find, these days, that I mark time by Popsugar.  Another Popsguar, another month.  It sure makes the year go fast.

POPSUGAR is a monthly subscription lifestyle box for gals.  The cost is $39.95 a month, free shipping, but it's cheaper when you subscribe with a 3, 6, or 12 months subscription.

On any month you can receive goodies for home, a book, fitness, snack, makeup, pampering, fashion, etc.  You never know what you're going to get, only that it will be fun and worth around $100, give or take a little.
And guess what, as of writing this post the March box is still available fore sell!  You can get $10 off your first box by using the code MARCH10  

First look and overview.

  Brokedown Blue Ikat Scarf, valued at $72.  Five or so days ago Popsugar Must Have released this spoiler for the March box, and everyone on the forums went crazy.  It's really nice, very different from anything I own, soft, and high quality.  Love it!  Now I just need to figure out how to style it.

The pamphlet states this scarf was designed exclusively for Popsugar subscribers, which is super cool.  I did find this picture on the Brokedown facebook page with spoilers for their new collection:

 Jurlique Herbal Recovery Advanced Serum, valued at $27 in the 15 ml, the 30 ml is $54.  I was so excited to see Jurlique again!  The rose hand cream sample was in the Winter Yuzen box, and I became obsessed with it.  Fantastic product.  I can't wait to try this out.

 What is this!!??  It's an Active Forever Fusion Exercise Ball, valued at $9.95.  The POPSUGAR Must Have website has a few exercises on their blog, which I'm going to try.  I even have some exercises I've collected from some fitness magazines, which I still need to try.  This is a push in a positive direction :0)

 BaubleBar Elephant Ring Tree, valued at $12.  Super cute!  I'm already using it.

 Dogeared Lucky Horseshoe Make A Wish Necklace, valued at $31.  No joke, a couple months ago I was thumbing through a set of Dogeared charms in the Sundance gift shop, thinking they were super cute, but a little out of reach for me.  And now I have one!  This horseshoe is supposed to bring me good luck.  I can always use some.  I did brake the string on purpose trying to find a chain that works with this, but haven't had success.  I didn't want to wear the necklace with the thread.  Haven't found the right chain.

 Snapea Crisps, valued at $2.  Peas are my least favorite veggie of all time.  Hate Them.  But these crisps are super good.  I had to refrain from eating the whole bag!  Tough to resist. They're like a veggie chip.

Nature’s Bakery All Natural Strawberry Fig Bars.  I haven't tried this yet, because I'm saving it for later.  I can't eat all my snacks in one setting!  But I can't wait to try it.

This was a very good month for Popsugar, and everyone on the Makeup Talk forum is very happy!  Overwhelmingly positive reviews.  Great mix and variety of items.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Te Perdiste Mi Amor

"Te Perdiste Mi Amor"

I don't speak Spanish, but from my French studies I can gather this means "You _______ Me Love".  A Google search later and I found the correct translation: "You Lost My Love."  Heh, I was close.

I heard this song earlier this week while eating at a Mexican restaurant and loved it!  Then I wondered how in the world I would find out the name of the song.  Thankfully the restaurant owner had the information and wrote it down for me.

This song is sung by Thalía and Prince Royce, and is a mixture of English and Spanish.

Enjoy :0)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Good Ol' Potatoes

(A conversation I had with Krista about gardening)
Krista: You can actually grow pretty good potatoes here.

Me: That's because we live so close to Idaho.
(I believe there's truth in that)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Rain, Rain Go Away . . .

My parents built a sun room on the back of the house, and after several months of construction it's finished . . . except the roof leaks!  We discovered the leaking problem for the first time last month.  Krista felt a drop while we were sitting out there one evening, and soon pots and trash bags were gathered as we began noticing more drops.  The next morning the carpet was saturated.  A couple trips to the roof later and we thought the problem was solved.  Not quite.

My Dad came up with a temporary fix for the current leaky problem.

Quite brilliant, actually.

 With the help of Steven, my Dad got a really long piece of plastic and, with heavy duty tape, taped it around the beam where the drops collect.

 And the plastic was taped so a downward slope was created,

 allowing for the drops to collect and pour from a single spot . . .

 . . . into a single pot.

(No more laying out multiple pots and baking sheets over plastic bags.)

On another note, who needs an umbrella when you've got a snazzy baseball cap?  BTW, this is one of my favorite hats, and it speaks truth :0)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Son of God: Movie Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

In 2004, a decade ago if you believe it, The Passion of the Christ came to theaters.  Living in Utah, and being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, aka Mormon, I got caught up in the huge debate going on here.  That film centering on Christ is rated R, and many Latter-Day Saints choose not to see rated R films. A few of my friends have even chosen not to view PG-13 movies.  I haven't that strength!

It was a huge debate in my heart if I was going to see The Passion of the Christ.  Oh, I wrestled with it!  And one morning in Music Theory 101, my earphones cleverly (or deceitfully if you will) hidden under my hair, I listened to a local radio host as I worked through chord progressions on the chalk board. (I was the first to finish in the class, receiving 100%.  I'll never forget it :0)  The radio host was talking to a BYU professor about the film, discussing the subject matter and MPAA rating.  I believe they both ended up seeing the movie.

So after much ponder and prayer I went with my family opening weekend, the theater absolutely packed with young and old alike.  A quiet reverence resting in the theater as the end credits rolled.  Silence all the way home as we pondered what we had just experienced.  No one said anything for quite a while, which is rare for my family.  We typically love picking movies apart.

A couple months ago I started seeing the trailer for Son of God in theaters, with the MPAA: PG-13.  The movie looked promising, high quality, produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, the same people behind the incredibly successful The Bible series on the History Channel last year.

Whereas in Passion of the Christ we view Christ's final 12 hours of life with the occasional flashback, in Son of God we follow Jesus Christ as if we were one of his disciples, watching him perform miracles and teach.  We watch Christ find a couple of the Apostles.  The scene where Matthew, a tax collector, is called to become one of Christ's 12 Apostles is particularly touching and tender.

That's one of the major differences between the two films.  Where in The Passion of the Christ the major conflict/opposition is Satan (the images created by this tension is haunting and powerful, particularly the scene where Christ carries his cross, Satan walking along step by step.)  In this latest film Son of God, Satan was left on the cutting room floor, literally, because the man who played Satan in The Bible and therefore Son of God looks similar to Obama, which created backlash and a negative dialogue last year, taking focus away from the beautiful scenes in The Bible.  Honestly I understand why the producers made this change.

Instead of the opposition of Satan we get a great view of the conflicts of the time: Pontius Pilate, his wife, the High Priest Caiaphas, and the Roman dominance in Israel.  Ironically, I guess, leaving out Satan in this regard helps us view the events in a more human way, though the war raging on the other side of the veil should never be forgotten.

Also, it was beautiful watching Mary Magdalene follow along as a disciple, participating as a witness to some of the miraculous events.

In terms of the violence in Son of God, it is tamed from The Passion of the Christ, though some of the scenes are still hard to watch.  The famous whipping scene from the former movie is what helped earn that film an R rating.  In Son of Got we see the whipping begin, pull away to only sounds, and then a cut.

The suffering and prayer of Christ in Gethsemane is glossed over, showing only a tiny bit, shifting quite a bit of focus to the scenes on the cross.  (It is in Gethsemane where Latter-Day Saints believe the atonement of Christ took place, his blood sacrifice, "and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground". Luke 22:43–44.  So I was saddened not to have seen more of the garden and that great trial.)  I am aware that the majority of Christians believe Christ's blood sacrifice was on the cross, and thus the long scene in the film and the reverence given therein.  For children watching in the theater it may be hard to watch Christ carry his cross, and then be hung.  A lot of the PG-13 elements in the film are in these moments.

I heard Roma Downey share a touching story in an interview with Hannity about the cross scene.  They hired someone to clear away scorpions and snakes as they shot scenes, usually clearing away one or two.  But on the morning when the production filmed the Crucifixion, 40 snakes circled the base of the cross.  What a striking moment of symbolism.

I will admit that when Jesus said, "I am the one, and only Son of God," I felt a little chill, though I know many believe it.  (I have a testimony that Christ is God's literal, Only Begotten Son in the flesh.  And I believe I am one of God's, our Heavenly Father's, spirit daughters.  But then I believe in a pre-mortality, where we all dwelt in Heaven as a family unit, with our Heavenly Parents before coming to Earth.  A Heavenly Father and Mother.  I am their daughter, in the spirit, as we are all God's children in the spirit.  But Christ is our Heavenly Father's Only Begotten Son in the Flesh.  Christ is God; One with the Father. I believe this with my whole heart.)

The Son of God is a beautiful film.  The ending absolutely touching.  I can't not cry when "Mary Did You Know?" is played.  This is a positive, touching film on Christ's life.

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense and bloody depiction of The Crucifixion, and for some sequences of violence.

I'd like to bare my testimony that I believe Christ is the Only Begotten Son of our Father in Heaven.  That Christ lived and still lives!  That he healed the sick, raised the dead, and walked on water.  And that through the atonement we can be healed and be forgiven of our sins.  Christ died so we can change.  The atonement isn't a one time only deal.  It's there for us whenever we need it, as many times as we need it, for none of us is perfect.  We all sin.  But thanks to Christ we have hope, and through his love and sacrifice we can live again with Jesus Christ and our Havenly Father.  Christ is the Word; The great I AM; Alpha and Omega; The beginning and the end; Jehovah; The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

I believe these things to be true.
I know these things are true.
My spirit, through the Holy Ghost, bares witness of Christ upon my heart.
I have always and will always love Christ, appreciate him, cherish him, and plead to have his spirit by my side.

My Testimony is Sure and Strong.
I will never doubt.

I say these things in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.