Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Magical Guardians of the Galaxy Cassette Tape

(LEGO Guardians of the Galaxy: Star-Lord' Mix Tape by BrotherhoodWorkshop)

Every Science Fiction/Comic Book movie has scientific implausibilities.


But then a scientifically plausible Sci-Fi would be boring.

Take for instance the Death Star explosion in Star Wars: A New Hope.

There's no sound in space!

Because there is no air and sound travels via air particles.

Now replay the Star Wars explosion with the mute button.

So not cool.

Movies are full of these fabrications, but it's for the sake of entertainment, right?  All these falsehoods will be mended when starry eyed kids take High School Physics.

But out of all the unrealistic exaggerations in Marvels recent Guardians of the Galaxy, and trust me there's a few, nothing bothered me more then Star-Lord's Awesome Mix Vol. 1 cassette tape.

In after 20+ years how does that thing still exist?


 The stereo in my room is so outdated it still has two audio tape decks, and I won't use it because one side ate a tape, and I can't remember if it was Deck 1 or 2, so I don't use neither.  (And yes, I still have audio tapes that are in good working condition.)

And another thing . . .

 How is it that the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 still looks rather new?

I was going through some of my Grandpa's old cassette tapes, and they're all yellowed and stained.

(Maybe I should ask my Grandpa how he came to have a classical Victoria's Secret tape . . . no, somethings are better left to the unknown . . . )

Monday, September 29, 2014

If You're Craving In-N-Out Fries . . .

UTZ Potato Stix.

That's the name of the potato snack my Grandma discovered at a Walmart while visiting Ventura this last week.

They taste just like In-N-Out fries, only tiny and crunchy.  They even look like mini french fries!

We were immediately addicted.

Is this a bad thing?


I don't need to eat a lot to feel satisfied.  A tiny handful is enough.

So before hitting the road for the long trek home, we went to Walmart and bought the last 4 cans on the shelf.

They're probably available in Utah, but we didn't want to take a chance.

I love a good tasty treat.

Friday, September 26, 2014

My Name in Coca-Cola Print


I finally found a bottle of coke recommending I share the bottle with myself.  Not some stranger.  Not with a friend or family member.

A bottle that says: "Share a coke with Sarah."

And so I did, with gleeful selfish glory, drinking half and putting the other half in the fridge for later.

Then my Grandma found it, took it out, thinking it was hers, and drank the rest.

Guess I ended up sharing the coke after all!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Watching Old Faithful with my Niece

If you visit Yellowstone, you have to see Old Faithful.

The gorgeous geyser boils up and erupts every 90 minutes, give or take ten.

Everyone else in our group decided to hang out under a tree by the lodge.

My niece LE and I wanted a closer look.

 She said she needed sunglasses, so I lent her my hat.

The geyser was supposed to erupt around 6:08 pm that day, but it didn't explode until 6:25, which was beyond the +10 waiting period.  But it was so exciting!  Watching it bubble and die, causing the crowds to gasp in anticipation, only to wait longer, wondering if this faithful geyser would turn out to be unfaithful.

But sure enough it did explode, and according to the couple sitting behind us, this eruption was longer and higher then the hour before.  All that waiting was worth it.

 Then at the gift shop I got a smashed penny, because I love collecting small, little things.

The girls got penny's, too, but within a few minutes my younger niece LR lost hers.  It slid somewhere, out of view, and she was quite distraught.

I decided to get a second penny, this time with a moose, and LE wanted to help, insisting to turn the crank.  Several times I asked her if she needed help, but her reply was a confident, "I'm strong like Daddy," so she kept at it until the coin slid out of the machine.

Then LE wanted to make LR a penny to replace the one she lost.

I had run out of quarters, so I told LR we need to ask her daddy if he as any.  She walked over to a section holding tokens and put her hand in, looking at me with uncertainty.  "No, those are not quarters.  Lets go ask your daddy."  Then she walked up to a giant case with gold colored coins.  Once again she pointed and waited, and again I repeated, "No, those are not quarters. Lets go ask your daddy," encouraging her to the other side of the store.

Sure enough Michael had quarters, and LE insisted on cranking the machine again, choosing the bear for LR, because LR loves teddy bears.  She struggled as she cranked, but persisted, and when the penny came out she gave it to LR.

"It's a bear!" LR exclaimed, loud and joyful, laughing at the realization.  "It's a bear!"

I later left the store and I found everyone outside.  Suddenly I noticed both girls holding stuffed animal bears.

Krista told me how the store manager gave them to the girls, free of charge.  She said, remembering how crazy distraught LR was at losing the penny, that bad behavior shouldn't be rewarded.  I told her the story of the penny machine, and that the manager must have been watching.  She agreed that it was pretty cool.

 I cranked the old faithful penny.  LE did the moose, and you can see slight ridges where mine is smooth, showing how she struggled with each crank.

As a tradition I love to buy a postcard and have everyone sign it, then drop it off at the nearest post office.  LE wanted to draw a picture of Old Faithful, and she asked me to draw a picture of us sitting on the bench.  She kept calling the water/steam smoke.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Growing Up in a Sea of Ignorance

Whenever I tell people where I grew up it goes something like this:

"Have you heard of Porterville California?  You haven't?  That's okay, I'd feel sorry if you had.  It's located between Fresno and Bakersfield, close to Visalia.  You don't know where that is?  It's at the base of the Sierra Nevada foothills.  You've never heard of that?  Have you noticed how, in the middle of California, there's this bowl like valley sounded by mountains?  You haven't?  Well, it's called the Central Valley, and I grew up in its southern end."

Okay, I don't always have to get that far into the explanation, but sometimes I've had to.

Why do I bring this up?  Last week I found circulating on Facebook an article on Forbes.com entitled, "The Most and Least Educated Cities in America."

The lists were put together by the financial site Wallet Hub, looking at America's 150 largest metros.  They took into account number of graduates with High School, associates degrees, etc, doctors in the area and other factors

Under the top 10 list at #4 is Provo, which is close to where I live.  That's pretty cool.  Guess I earned my B.A. in a pretty smart area.

So I guess that helps balance where I grew up.

Porterville may not have been counted, because it's more like a city town then a metro, but on the least educated city list is Visalia CA at #6, #7 is Bakersfield, and #10 is Fresno.  Porterville's in their midst.  And just above Fresno is Modesto, which made the least educated list at #5.  Central California really represents.

With all that being said, I have to say that I got a good education growing up, and I had excellent professors while attending Porterville College and College of the Sequoias in Visalia.

(As a side note, I took a picture of a map while at a gas station on the way to California last week, to show where I grew up.  Looking at it, seeing all the surrounding cities to Porterville, has made me a little reminiscent.  I miss those beautiful Sequoia trees.)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rise Up! Don't Be Ashamed of Failing

(From the Garden)

"No one likes to fail. And we particularly don’t like it when others—especially those we love—see us fail. We all want to be respected and esteemed. We want to be champions. But we mortals do not become champions without effort and discipline or without making mistakes.

"Brethren, our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we rise up, dust ourselves off, and move forward." –Elder Dieter F Uchtdorf, from "You Can Do It Now!"

Friday, September 19, 2014

My Salt Lake City Comic Con Loot

You can't go to a Con without gathering a bunch of loot to take home.  And loot of the Nerdy variety is the best kind.

Of course I had to get an official pin, because I collect pins.  They're fun, cheap, and small.

 Then I got two handcrafted leather journals.  They're gorgeous!  Easily my most favorite purchase.  It was so hard picking two.

 The paper is linen, and the overall quality is top notch.

 An Evermore Park coin!  The actual park isn't completed, the first phase should be completed end of 2015, but they are sure marketing this Victorian wonder of a place, and I love the marketing.

(Insert:  If Evermore Park doesn't happen, I will be sorely disappointed.  It's going to be amazing!)

The coin was available at the their booth/display.  You had to trade for it, with the trader, as long as he didn't already have what you were willing to trade.  I traded a UVU stress ball.  I sure got the better end of the trade!  It's a cool coin.

 A Comic Con spinner coin!!

Oh this is fun.  The middle spins, and helps you decide what to do next.

 Dragon Gold!

There were 5 different coins available, but I only wanted the 4.  The 5th had a giant boar on the back.  These are authentic recreations from the Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, cast from the molds originally used for the movie.  By WETA.

Seriously, it's been one of my dreams since childhood, ever since I read the Hobbit, to own Dragons Gold.  I'm not joking.  It was fun dreaming up Smaug surrounded by gold, and I wanted some of the goods.

Childhood dream realized!! :0)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The American Girl Beforever Makeover: And all the Great Books that Came Before

 I found out a couple months ago that American Girl, my favorite childhood book series that brings history to life, was getting a complete makeover, which happened August 28, #Beforever style.  I put a hashtag there, because it sounds hashtagish.

I read someone that beforever stands for become forever, and the idea is that girls are forever, no matter the era they are born.  And with this change the 6 books have become two, all illustrations and looking back sections removed.

They removed my favorite parts of American girl!  I remember checking the Samantha (1904) and Molly (1944) books out of the Westfield Elementary library.  I loved looking at the pictures and reading the history sections at the end.  American Girl books helped me find a love of reading, history, and a realization that the past is alive.

Why did American Girl change an amazing concept?  These books have become cheapened.

 So I went to Barnes & Noble, and sure enough no illustrations nor history sections, just as I read online.

 I love the original book collections.

 The beautiful covers.

 And all the beautiful pictures.  All gone.

 One fun aspect, the only good aspect in my opinion, is the "choose your style" books that each historical girl received.  The idea is you've gone back in time and experience everything that is happening, choosing your path, getting different outcomes.

 So thanks to the change I went Amazon Marketplace crazy, and bought many of the past books at good prices before prices start rising.

I got all 12 book series.  (Yes, there's been that many!  Felicity, Kristen, Molly, and Marie Grace/Cecile dolls have been archived, and they didn't receive a Beforever update.  Samantha got brought back for the Beforever release.)

And if you want to get some of the past books, search "American Girl [characters name] Story collection."  "Molly Story Collection" works too, if you want her.  You lose some of the historical sections, only getting one at the end of the bound volume, but at least you get the illustrations, and the prices are still pretty good.)

 There were short story collections for many of the original girls: I bought Kit, Kristen, Samantha, Felicity, Josefina, and Molly.  Addy is still in the mail.  There are short stories for Kaya, but I haven't purchased the book.

(Out of print, only available used)

 Each short story has beautiful illustrations and a looking back section.

Then there were three traveling like scrapbooks published, one for Samantha, Molly, and Kit.

 Each book has fun tidbits, and things you can pull out.  I've received Samantha, and can't wait for Kit and Molly.

(Out of print, only available used)

 Then there's the Welcome to [Samantha] World books, which are essentially glorified "looking back" sections with a lot of great information and pictures.  There's one for Addy and Kaya as well.  Addy is still in the mail, and I hope to one day get Kaya.

(Out of print, only available used)

 There are the American Girl mystery books.  I have several of them, and they are quite fun.  The books are novel like with no illustrations . . .

 . . . but each book has a "looking back" section!

These books are still available for purchase.

 Best friend books!  I have Emily, Ruthie, and Ivy, but I don't have Nellie or Elizabeth.  Apparently the companion books for Felicity and Samantha go OOC (out of character), so I haven't bothered quite yet, though I should consider buying them.

 And once again the best friend books have beautiful illustrations and interesting looking back sections.

American girl has announced that they will no longer be publishing or making best friend dolls.

(Out of print, only available used)

Then there are the Girl of the Year books!  Each year there is a modern girl featured, who receives a doll, books, movie, the works.  They're fun, but my heart is with the historical characters.

So I'm a little disheartened with Beforever.  It feels as if American Girl has lost their charm, which is a shame, and if they release a new historical girl under this new format, I will feel cheated not having beautiful illustrations and looking back sections.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Deciding to Not Serve a LDS Mission

A couple weeks ago I wrote how I was preparing to serve an LDS Mission.

I was so excited!  I have wanted to serve a mission since High School, hoping and praying I would have the opportunity.  But regardless of how strong my desire was, and how much I wanted to go, one thing or another prevented me from serving a mission.  I was 21 when I transferred to BYU to earn a music degree, the earliest age women used to be able to serve a mission, now they can leave at 19, but I knew my place was at BYU.  The heavens literally opened for me to get into the classical voice program, and that's where I was supposed to be at that moment.  But as time went on after graduation, no matter how many times I wanted to serve, it was never right.

And then a few weeks ago the miraculous happened.  It seemed the heavens opened once again and everything fell into place.  I would finally have the opportunity to go into the World and share my testimony, trusting my life entirely to Him, our Redeemer and Savior, giving up everything for full devotion. (see Footnote #1)

But as the days went on, preparing by having an interview with my Bishop (see Footnote #2), going to the dentist and doctor, something wasn't feeling right.  Something in my spirit just didn't feel right.

I expressed concern with my family, and my brother Steven sent me a link to a talk by Elder Holland entitled, "Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence."

It's an incredible talk about the adversary and staying true to what we originally feel in terms of promptings and feeling the spirit.  I listened to this talk with my Mom as we drove around doing errands, and I felt comforted and renewed, ready to continue my mission prep and everything that goes into having my papers submitted. (see Footnote #3).

But there was an event that was truly startled me. Something that pulled me back and pause.  My doctor, who's known me for over a decade and is LDS, said, "So this is the one thing you'll be asked over and over again: Why now?"  Why am I'm serving a mission at 32? (see Footnote #4)

Why after all this time am I leaving to serve a mission?

I told him how I've always wanted to serve, how I'm still single, how life is hard to predict, etc, but it wasn't until a couple days later it clicked.  Where was the burning fire?  Where was the light?  Why didn't I feel that burning in my bosom, as we Mormons call it, an overwhelming feeling of the spirit?  Why didn't I feel it?

Why haven't I felt it?

I wanted to serve a mission so badly I jumped right in, but something deep within was telling me "No."  I was just too excited to listen.

For years I had held onto the hope of serving a mission, but honestly there are so many ways to serve.  So many ways I can serve, without leaving for 18 months to proselyte.

Friday, September 5th, I talked with my Mom and brother Steven, talking until midnight about everything.  Some of the talking was intense, some confused, but by the end I felt peace.  Peace about the future.  Peace about finding faith in my music and talents.  You know, I've never doubted the existence of God.  Ever since I can remember I've always believed.  But believing in God, and believing Gods timetable for me, are two different things.  I've struggled with having faith in myself.

I have a strong testimony.  I know this church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is true.  I know God loves us and is real. I know he's my Father and watches over me, even when I struggle and stumble.  I know the Book of Mormon is a testament, a witness of Gods love and attention over those who lived on the American continents.  It's a true book of Ancient American Prophets.  A second witness of Christ on this side of the World.  God loves all his people.  He loves all of us, still.  He hasn't left.  He's still here with us, performing miracles, speaking through Prophets and Apostles.  Covenants, Ordinances, the Priesthood, and Temple are just as important now as with those who lived during ancient times.  I feel so blessed to have these things in my life.

For whatever reason unbeknown to me, I'm not supposed to serve a full-time mission, but I will always carry with me the missionary spirit.  And I will never stop loving God.

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

Footnote #1: When you serve an LDS mission you live really strict guidelines, beyond the standards we already live.  You can't go to the movies or watch TV.  You can't listen to the radio, and what you can listen to is really restricted (Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Especially for Youth, etc.) You work 6 days a week from 6:30 am to 10:30 pm, with little breaks.  And the 7th day, P day (preparation), still has standards.  There might be some sightseeing, but there's service, too.  And P day is the only day you can email home.  That's another thing, you can't call home or talk to your loved ones, except on Mothers Day and Christmas.  All your correspondence is through letters and emails (and hopefully you're allotted enough time on P day to go through your emails and write home.)  A missionaries life is not easy, by no means.  It's not a vacation.  It's very hard work.

Footnote #2:  In the LDS church a congregation is called a Ward, and the presiding member of the ward is called a Bishop.  It's an unpaid calling that lasts a few years until someone else is called to serve as Bishop.  All church callings are unpaid.  I've served twice as choir director, several teaching callings, Relief Society President, etc, all volunteer. 

Footnote #3:  "Submitting ones papers" is something that happens after being interviewed by the bishop and stake president, getting cleared by the doctor and dentist, and filling out a few forms.  After these forms are submitted and sent to Church headquarters, a "Mission Call" is sent, a letter mailed to the preparing missionary that tells him/her where they are to serve, what language they'll speak , and when to report to the Missionary Training Center (MTC).  You don't get to choose.  If you don't know the language you are going to speak, you learn it from scratch at the MTC.  My brother Robbie was called to Argentina not knowing any Spanish, and he lived in the MTC for 2 months to learn Spanish and train as a missionary.  And yes, after only two months, he was sent to Argentina having to converse and give lessons in Spanish.  It used to be 1 month in the MTC for native English, 2 months for Romantic/Germanic languages, and 3 months for non-romantic languages (Asian languages, Russian, Etc.)  (I may be wrong on the time frames with some of these languages.  I do know Japanese was a 3 month language).  But they've changed it.  2 weeks in the MTC for English, 6 weeks for Romantic/Germanic languages, and 8-10 weeks for Asian, etc.  (I don't know if it's 8 or 10 weeks now, I just know they no longer spend 3 months in the MTC to learn Japanese, Chinese, etc).

Footnote #4: Boys can serve missions from age 18-25.  Girls can serve from 19-39.  Then there are couple missionaries.  My Grandparents served a mission together to the Philippines several years back.  And Mission Presidents are married couples as well.  My best friend's Father in Elementary was called to be the mission president over Costa Rica, and they sold their house and moved there.  Mission Presidents serve for 3 years.  Boys serve for 2 years.  Girls and Couple missions are 18 months.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Because Nintendo is so Old School

This is one of the funniest and saddest video's I've seen in a long time.

Though I wont deny how nostalgic this has made me.

I <3 classic NES/Super NES games.

. . . and all those times I blew on the game cartridges!!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

September 2014 POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review with Spoilers, My Thoughts

I got my September POPSUGAR box yesterday, and I was so excited I took most of these photos in the car so I could go through everything.  It's hard waiting any longer then I have to!  Yup, there goes my patience . . . heh.

POPSUGAR Must Have 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.
Coupon code REFER5 saves you $5!

 First look.

This really is a well curated box.  POPSUGAR has stepped up their game in the last several months.  Even if I don't care for everything, at least I feel like thought was put into the items and selections, instead of everything just being thrown together.  I'm trying to figure out how football inspired this box . . .

 The Tilo scarf that was this months spoiler!!

(We don't typically get spoilers, but it's always fun when we do.)

 Tilo Scarves, Modal Gradation Scarf in Raisin, valued at $125.

This is an absolutely beautiful scarf, and I'm really happy with it in person.  The material is Modal and is really soft.  And I love how on one side the scarf has more gray tones, and then you flip it over to find burgundy.  Nice, natural, and sophisticated.  I'll be getting a lot of use out of this.  It's also dry clean only, so I'm going to have to be careful.

 Letter C Design, Gold Foil Arrow Pencils, valued at $5.

I love pencils, and now that I'm getting back into writing poetry and songs, these pencils will get a lot of use.  And I'm glad they came with a sharpener!!

 Nicole Miller, Stereo Earbuds, valued at $20.

I've seen a lot of other sub boxes get earbuds, and have been a little jealous, because POPSUGAR doesn't include electronic items in their boxes.  So when I found these I was so happy!  When you love music as much as I do, you can never own too many earbuds or earphones.  And these cobalt blue earbuds from Nicole Miller has pretty good sound.

 Rifle Paper Co., Gerance Dore Assorted Girls Set, valued at $18.

I love Rifle Paper, and the Cities Flip Calender we got last January from POPSUGAR is one of my most favorite items I've received in these boxes.  And I discovered their Queens greeting card set at Anthropologie last month, which is super cute.  (I'm going to have to splurge on the flip calender in January.)  That said, these cards aren't really my style, so I'm going to convert them into postcards to feed my postcrossing.com addiction.  The card stock is nice and thick.

Oribe, Superfine Purse Size Hair Spray, valued at $21.50.

I've heard a lot about Oribe, but haven't tried the product.  I can't believe a purse size hairspray would be $21!!  That's kind of crazy.  When it comes to hair I'm super simple.  Color it every couple months.  Rinse everyday and let air dry.  No heat.  Brush when needed.  Even so, there's quite a few hairstyles I've found on Pinterest involving braids, so I'll have to try them out.  Apparently it smells good.  (Spraying now).  Yeah, not a bad smell for hairspray . . .

 Urban Remedy, Almond Brownie, valued at $6.

This brownie is vegan and gluten free.  For those with celiac disease a treat like this would be really nice.  I'm not gluten intolerant, and prefer my brownies loaded with fat and sugar, but still if you want something a whole lot healthier, this isn't a bad choice.  I'm not quite brave enough to try this, sense I've read some disgruntlement about the taste on the forums.


Special extra's are box goodies that doesn't contribute to the box value.

 Ghirardelli, Milk Chocolate Sea Salt & Almond Minis.

Can't complain over chocolate!!  I love mine dark, but this is pretty good.

 Nike $20 gift card with free shipping.

I've been perusing nike.com, and there's some items I would love to get.  And I love the fact that that 2-day shipping is free.

Not including the chocolate and Nike gift card, this box has a value of $195.50.  Adding in the Special Extras, that's a value of about $218.50, for a box that cost me $36 with a 3 month sub.  That's crazy.  Needless to say, I got value out of this box.

If you go to the POPSUGAR site, this screen will great you.  POPSUGAR is getting a facelift, and I'm both nervous and curious.  I don't know how I feel about the prospect of different types of POPSUGAR monthly boxes, a la Fancy box or Quartaly Co., which some people are speculating.  POPSUGAR misses the mark with LE boxes sometimes, though they've stepped up with their monthly boxes.  Whatever happens, I hope care continues with the original sub.