Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas with the Roommates :)

Photo: I ♥ Christmas, my friends, cookies and presents!!!! Thank you guys, you all made me feel at home!!!!! 

I can never ever get enough of the Christmas season. As soon as a speck of snow hits the ground, my radio is immediately turned to the Christmas station, I whip out my dorky, Christmas socks, and, being the shopaholic that I am, I start looking for gifts for my family and friends. Some would say it's a little bit over the top. I say, to heck with them! There is only one time of year that you can wear ugly sweaters and obnoxious holiday themed earrings and get away with it! We've gotta milk it for all it's worth! It's all about the reindeer nail polish, the red and green eyeshadow, and the excessive santa-hat wearing :) Oh, and singing Christmas carols whenever humanly possible. Hmm I think I may have a little bit of  a Christmas problem here... oh well!! Maybe someday a long time from now, an over-educated shrink will tell me the root of my holiday obsession. Until then, I'm sticking to my very exaggerated holiday spirit :)
This year, my Christmas came a little bit early. First of all, I live with some of the nicest and most generous girls on the planet :) and boy am I thankful for that!! We all decided that Christmas could not wait another week, so we all planned a mini gift exchange for our little group of 5 for the Monday before we all left for home. You should've seen us the Friday before our Trainee House Christmas; all frantically running through the mall, searching through every store and secretly asking our other roommates if they had any idea what each of us wanted for Christmas. It was a hot mess. Not only is it hard to shop for people you've only known for 4 months, but it makes it massive amounts worse when you're on a very short time limit and a super tight money budget. Thank goodness we were all at the mall at the same time! I ran into a few of my girls while figuring out what to buy and they were a great deal of help!! At one point, we were all in Forever 21, coincidentally enough. So I had to hide in the corner until they were all gone and I could check out with all my cute little trinkets for each of them :) And of course, I double bagged everything! You can never trust one bag to conceal the surprises inside. I've learned that lesson first hand... thank for ruining Christmas, Kaitlan. 
After a somewhat stressful, but way fun weekend of shopping and running around the mall like a crazy, Monday night finally came, which meant only one thing: CHRISTMAS!! haha :) My Italian roommate was so cute; she went to the store in the morning to buy all sorts of cookies and hot chocolate mix. And my roommate, Haley, also whipped up a batch of her favorite whtie macadamia nut cookies. um yum. We boiled 5 cups of milk and made our hot chocolate while a few of us created a crepe paper Christmas tree on our wall. That was quite the sight! haha Green crepe paper in the shape of a tree with a yellow paper star on top, white, twinkle lights stranded across the wall and bows stuck on for the ornaments. I must say, it was the most creative tree I've ever seen! I guess when you're too poor and lazy to haul a real tree home from the grocery store, you've got to learn to use your resources :) We all sat around our little coffee table, drinking our hot chocolate and stuffing our faces with cookies. I don't think we even hardly talked! We were too busy filling up with empty calories as fast as we could; we all knew that once we had finished eating, we could open our presents all sitting under the homemade tree. 
Photo: Happy Birthday @lalicemin!!!  You are so fabulous and amazing! I'm so glad we are friends! Love you so much and I hope you have a wonderful day! Can't wait to see you when I get back ☺ xxx
This is Laura, the tree artist, with our homemade tree :) Isn't it awesome??!
When our mugs were empty and we had made a pretty good dent in the plates of cookies, we started the gift exchange :) Laura started by closing her eyes and waving her hand over the big pile of gifts until we told her to stop and grab the one under her hand. haha I don't know who came up with that present-picking method, but it actually proved to be quite efficient :) Before opening each gift, we got a picture with our unopened present, then we ripped off the paper and screamed for a little bit, then ran over to the roommate who gave us the awesome present, giving them a huge hug, then you got a picture with the OPENED present. hahaha!! This seriously happened.. like the entire time. haha it was awesome :) Opening presents takes alot longer when you have to pose for two pictures and give a great big hug to your awesome roommates! And they really are the best roommates ever!! They all spent way too much money on me. I ended up with new pajama pants, a cute scarf, a new cookbook (thank goodness for that!) and cute Christmas cupcake liners. I think they were trying to send me some sort of message to cook and bake more?? And I sure got the point! The next day, I whipped up some red velvet cupcakes for my dear Laura, whose birthday was on the 21st (HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, LAURA!!). And maybe with this awesome new cookbook, I'll start eating something other than sandwiches and cans of soup for dinner ;).
It really was the best Christmas ever!! Thanks, guys, for everything and for creating such an unforgettable night :) Love you all!!
Photo: Christmas party!!! Love all our presents!!! ❤ @hjenn140 @lalicemin #kaitlan #nathaliacrazybrazilian #christmas #mustache #lovemyfriends #loveit #divas #bejeweledcorset
Us with all of our presents :) Just a little bit crazy ;)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Going Nutty

As December rolls along, all dancers know it means the Nutcracker also comes with it, of which most, if not all of us, have VERY mixed feelings about. It's sort of a love-hate relationship.. it's not really the Christmas season without Nutcracker, although you end up going crazy after hearing the same, over-played, dreadful music for 3 months on end. And, let me tell you, those usually are the longest months of the year. We started rehearsing for the Nutcracker at the beginning of October, and the show runs through the end of December, so you can only imagine how one can memorize the entire ballet, as well as learn to sing every single piece of music, in those 3 months. And, to make things worse, radio stations find it amusing to torture us by playing Nutcracker music all too frequently on our favorite Christmas radio stations. It's simply dreadful. Every dancer who has done the Nutcracker knows exactly what I'm talking about. But, then again, getting to experience such a magical ballet for a quarter of the year is some kind of heaven. Every night is a different story as new dancers enact different roles. And, when you are lucky enough to be apart of the cast, you have this awesome opportunity to paint your face in stage makeup, put on a beautiful costume, and perform. There really is nothing like it. Unfortunately, many of us trainees didn't get that chance.. darn you company unions and contracts!! Oh well, I think I can last one year without the Nutcracker stress :)
Even though I wasn't technically apart of the production this year, I got the awesome opportunity to be an assistant and an understudy for a couple parts. I was casted to assist with the Oriental Servants, who dance in the opening of the second act for a few minutes. As a part of this job, I went to all the rehearsals and performances, learning the choreography and going in when one of the servants was absent. You should've seen what a nervous mess I was at every show, going in their dressing room every 10 minutes until I knew all 6 of them were present and well enough to go on stage. "Are you guys are here?? Are you guys all alive?? So I don't have to go in for anyone tonight??" I'm sure they were all sick of hearing my pressing questions after 3 weeks of it :) Sure, it would've been awesome to be able to perform for at least a few minutes, but when you've never rehearsed a piece and you're expected to do it perfectly, it's a little bit stressful to think you might have to just go out and do it.. in front of hundreds of people.. not to mention your maybe future boss. Ya. Just sayin..
I was also lucky enough to be casted as an understudy for Waltz of the Flowers, which was an amazing experience. Me and 11 other trainees got to go to the company rehearsals for either Snow or Flowers! Talk about being the same room as insane good dancers. I will be the first to admit I basically spent those few hours a week staring at all of them with my jaw dragging on the floor.. let's just hope none of them noticed :) We didn't get to do very much in those rehearsals; in other words, we had to stand in the corner and do our best to blend into the walls, which wasn't very hard considering our white leotards matched the white walls pretty well! I guess that is one plus for being forced to wear the most unflattering color on the face of the planet. It's pretty rough when you're in the same room as all these incredible dancers and you're just standing there.. in this ugly leotard.. feeling all "ya, I suck. Pretty much." haha it's a great self esteem booster :) But other than that, I loved it! Because of this crazy contract the company is on, they are only allowed to bring 6 un-paid dancers into the room, and we aren't allowed to dance. I don't understand it myself, but I'm just hoping that it will all pay off in the long run!
After a long few months of rehearsing, we finally got to the theater, which meant even more work for us trainees. We were expected to be at the theater for every performance, all month long. For the most part, we put makeup on about a million little kids and then stood in the wings during the show, making sure everything was going smoothly and sending kids out on stage at the right times. At times, it got.. repetitive, to say the least. Makeup assembly lines for an hour, then two hours of running around getting kids into position and standing in the wings. But, it was really nice to watch almost every show. And it's a very different show watching from the side than it is from the front. I got to see what happens behind the scenes of a real professional show, which was the greatest experience of all. I just can't wait until I get to be in those dancer shoes! Let's hope that day comes soon!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thanksgiving at home :)

Ok ok, I admit it! I've totally been putting this off... for awhile.. and by awhile, I mean 3 weeks. Whoopsie! So what if Thanksgiving was almost a month ago! But, everytime I get on to write, I just think, "My name is Kaitlan Smallwood, and I have an over-writing, rambling problem." I don't know if any of you know this, but I have to devote at least a 2 hour period of time when I blog just because I can't seem to shut up and let my 2.5 readers get back to their much more interesting and important lives. I know, it's a problem..
So, Thanksgiving! I was lucky enough to sneak home for a week at the end of November to spend this joyous, sweatpants holiday with the family. And thank goodness for that! Right now, Ballet West is doing their Nutcracker. All month long. Yes. All month. And, being the spectacular understudy that I am, I have to attend every single show and help out back stage with putting makeup on the little ones and making sure they all get to their places on time. So, I guess, in retrospect, I've gotten really good at putting lip liner on children! There's a plus :) It actually is really fun being backstage for it all, though. I get to experience the entire process and product of a real company show. It's thrilling to see the stage managers hauling around props, and professional dancers huddling around the space heater in the wings, and the little kids bouncing off the walls with excitement. I guess I should probably explain: The trainees were mostly all casted in small roles, all of which are only on stage for the beginning of second act. And a few of us were only casted as understudies for these smaller roles. My official title is a Servant's Assistant, meaning if one of the "Oriental Servants", who have a small piece in the opening of second act, goes out, then I am the one to fill the hole. But, otherwise, my job is to make sure the show is running smoothly. I usually just end up watching the performance from the wings and drooling over how beautiful all the company dancers are.
Anyway, back to the point! I was lucky to be able to get the week off from doing Nutcracker up in Ogden, Utah, where the company was guesting. The whole family was at home, which was so so nice since that sort of thing only happens every couple of years or so. The only one we were missing was Wade, whose still on his mission in California, and boy do we miss him! 9 more months :) So, I flew in to Colorado on Monday morning before Thanksgiving. It's funny how you just kinda jump back into where you left off at home. You feel like you've been there all along and there's people who you know and love, and there's mounds of food in the pantry, and there's a queen bed upstairs with your name on it, and you know exactly how to get places. It's just an awesome feeling; being at home :) We basically spent the week either sitting around at home in our pajamas, or at the mall, frantically trying to buy gifts for family members. Every year, we do a secret santa among all the kids in the family, and since we aren't all going to be together for Christmas, we decided to do the gift exchange the day after Thanksgiving, which also happened to be the day we were celebrating my sister's birthday. The whole secret santa thing used to be simple.. until we all grew up and we are more picky about what we want, plus it's twice as difficult to buy a gift for a sibling's spouse since you really don't know what they like. So, it got pretty complicated. I had to go back to the same store at the mall 3 or 4 times to make exchanges of items and to buy new things and to return others before I finally got it right. My person was Jessica, my older sister, and if you know her, you know she knows what she wants, which puts quite a bit of stress on a person whose trying to shop for her. I ended up following her around H and M one day to see what she thought was cute and the next day, I went back and bought it all.
It was so nice to have a few days off from dancing, even if we didn't do anything that exciting. Although, the mall gets pretty entertaining when it's packed with crazy shoppers the week before Thanksgiving. I did go take a ballet class at my old studio, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, and saw a few of my old teachers and friends. It's always nice to see all of them again! But, I do admit, the nice, big studios I dance in now are a much better upgrade than what I used to dance in. I can't imagine how we even danced in there when I was younger!! It was also so great to hang out with my cool niece and nephew. You never really understand the phrase "Kids do the darndest things" until you're an aunt, because, seriously... kids just do the darndest things! haha. My niece, Whitley, is really talking now, but just to the point where everything she says sounds like gibberish. I think I had to ask her 4 or 5 times what she said before I finally understood the point she was trying to put across. Thank goodness for moms who understand the weird, toddler language :) And my nephew is walking now. He just looks like this little man, strutting around the house in his droopy diaper like he owns the place. He's gotten really good at the car engine sound, which can entertain him for limitless hours, as long as he has some kind of toy vehicle in his possession. I love kids :)... just as long as I don't have to change their poopy diapers... or deal with them when they are grumpy.. or hungry.. or crying..
Thanksgiving day was a blast! We had pumpkin pancakes for breakfast (home cooked breakfast for the win!!!) and then we got right into cooking dinner. You wouldn't think it if you'd never actually prepared Thanksgiving dinner, but it literally takes all day long. I even had to take a couple "laying on the floor for a few minutes to rest my body from relentless cooking" breaks. So, the girls were in the kitchen, wearing ridiculous aprons and frantically trying to throw together a meal, and the boys sat around a little table, putting together a puzzle. Of all games to play before Thanksgiving, they picked a puzzle.. what are we,80?! haha And occasionally, we switched off from 80 year old puzzle table to kitchen. My dad obviously had to deal with him turkey every now and then! We made every dish in the book: stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, jello salad, pumpkin pie, turkey, pumpkin dip and crackers, vegetables, and last but not least, rolls! The best rolls on the planet! I still have no idea why we made so much food.. I mean, I guess that the whole family was there, plus we invited the missionaries over for dinner, too, which was pretty great. Can't complain about something that's easy on the eyes sitting right across from me haha! The meal was a complete success, as usual. I don't know how my mom got to be such a good cook, but she is definitely teaching me her ways one of these days before she loses her mind and all her talent is lost or something.
After a very filling dinner, we took a digestion break and continued on our puzzle, as dorky as that may sound. We also had a bit of a ping pong tournament upstairs. I mostly just watched.. and dodged ping pong balls coming at my head, but it was funny to watch these guys getting all competative over a dumb game of table tennis. Boys and their competitions :) Once we felt like we could stuff some more food down, we had pumpkin pie and my famous pumpkin cupcakes for dessert. It turned out to be a really fun day! And I'm so glad that my parents flew me home for the week so I got to enjoy it with them :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ballet West for Kids

After a performance weekend, you expect to go right back to routine: getting up everyday for ballet class and then rehearsing the rest of the day. And, honestly, after a crazy week in the theater, there's a certain comfort in settling back into that routine. But, as luck would have it, we went straight into our touring week!! And I have absolutely no complaints about that :) I'm sure I've told you about our rehearsals for Ballet West for Kids, our mini Nutcracker show for elementary schools around Utah. We've literally been rehearsing for this since the beginning of the year, so we were well prepared, but I don't think we were prepared for what it would actually be like out there in Nowhereville, Utah.
We left bright and early Monday morning.. you can imagine how much of a joy I was at 6 in the morning. Thank goodness it was a good hour drive to wherever we were going! The minute I got into that van, my head hit the head rest and I was out until we pulled into that first elementary school. Although, napping in the car is never quite successful or satisfying, but you take what you can get! Only 6 trainees got cast to dance; three girls for Clara and three girls for Rag Doll/Chinese for the three groups of people going out. Unfortunately, I wasn't one of those lucky 6, but I was asked to go with one of the groups on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as an understudy in case anyone got sick or injured and to help with set up and take down at each school. I was happy that I at least got to go! It's always fun traveling with the people you work with. You get to know them in a different way than when you just take class with them or rehearse with them everyday.
Let's just say, when you're doing the same thing over and over again for three days, the whole process gets pretty quick and easy. We did three shows a day; two in the morning and one in the afternoon, each at a different elementary school. The first show was always the worst just because I was still have asleep and pretty unpleasant :) but who can blame me! A girl needs her sleep! haha We had to set up a few panels of marley floor either onto a tiny stage or a gym floor, take out and hang up all the costumes for the show and make sure all the props and head pieces were in their place. Then, it was sitting and waiting until the dancers needed you to help them get into a costume or help them take it off. The show started off with a shortened version of a ballet class just to kind of show the kids what we do everyday. Then, there were a series of speeches (by far the most stressful part of the entire tour!! When your profession doesn't ever include public speaking, having to say a short little blip about ballet becomes a frightening chore!) and then a mini version of the Nutcracker. It was fun seeing the kids faces light up when the dancers came out onto the makeshift stage and listening to their silly comments and giggles. And then, just as fast as we came, we rolled up the marley, packed away the props and costumes and headed onto the next school.
Every school was different, but the one that made the most impact on me was the tiny school out in Grouse Park, a town with a population of a mere 45 people... ya I didn't think towns like this existed either!! We drove into this one dirt road city and parked at what could have been the smallest school I've ever seen. Our director met with the principal just to tell him we made it to town and he told us that we would only be performing for 7 kids that day!! I know! 7 kids in the entire school! I could hardly believe it. We had a little time before we had to start setting up so we headed over to the "grocery store", which was pretty much a trailer sized convenient store with 2 short rows of shelves housing cans of soup, baking supplies, and candy. In one corner there was a fridge with a sign saying "Serve Yourself" followed by a list of different dishes that you could pick from the fridge and buy for a couple bucks. On the outside of the store, there was a sign saying that Ballet West was coming to town today and that they should go to the school to watch our performance. I think the whole town knew about our arrival haha! I felt like a celebrity in this tiny, old fashioned town. And by old fashioned, I mean there was still a horse shed where the kids used to park their horses during school, and the church was the biggest building in the city. Although, you'd be surprised at the level of the technology they had in that school!
So, we proceeded as usual; setting up the stage and performing the show, except this time, there were more people in our group than there were actually watching the show. There were 6 kids (one of them was "out working" that day. I can only think an elementary school kid would be working on the ranch at home?? haha I didn't think people still missed school for chores!!Crazy!) and then two teachers and a parent. As weird as it was to only have a 10 person audience, it made it more special for them and for us! We were able to talk to them like real people, instead of just talking at them during the speeches portion of the show. After we finished the performance, they all introduced themselves and gave us a grande tour of their school, which consisted of a library, one classroom, and a little kitchen. Each kid had their own big desk :). One of the girls was a dancer and she got each of our autographs and told us that she drove an hour everyday to get to class. One of the boys was seriously a piano prodigy. I guess when there's nothing else to do in such a tiny town, you just practice the piano!! haha They were all such sweet people though and I'm glad I got to experience such a welcoming, kind group of people. It really shows  you the difference between living in a big, worldly city and living in a place where morals and education are put first. Just something to think about...
After a looong three days of driving for hours, pretending to nap along the way, and setting up and taking down for 9 shows, I got Thursday and Friday off. Thank the heavens. I slept in till noon on Thursday morning, just because I think my body needed to catch up on sleeping after getting only about 5 or 6 hours for the past few days. Then one ballet class and sitting around for the rest of the day. Yay for days off :) But, I am glad that we get to go back to routine on Monday!! It'll be nice to have a real schedule again! As for now, I'm going to bed and hopefully having a lovely Saturday tomorrow :) Until later..

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our First Performance Weekend

It's always a thrill; going to the theater. You've practiced several months in grueling rehearsals, killed multiple pairs of shoes, undergone hours of teachers yelling at you and you're finally ready to go do it all on stage! Ok ok, fine that was a little dramatic :) ...except for the fact that it's all true.. hmm. Anyway, I always look forward to tech week on stage, despite how awful it seems to end up being. You go from a nice, safe studio with mirrors and familiar spacing, to this big dark stage that you're not used to dancing on and you're expected to have perfect spacing in the first run through. Tech week means late nights, going over and over again the same choreography you've been rehearsing for who knows how long, and sometimes you simply wanna die. Then again, there really is nothing better than stepping out onto that stage and overlooking the hundreds of red upholstered seats and the ginormous chandelier hanging from the beautifully decorated ceiling. Although, I can't speak for all theaters, but Capitol Theater is one gorgeous theater. It's kind of a cool set up actually. The company is based in the Capitol Theater. They take class and rehearse on the third floor where there are two studios, the administration works  on the second floor where they have all their offices and intimidating cubicles, and the theater is on the first floor; this huge, amazing theater (with real box seats!! I don't know why I find that so cool, but it is!). So everything's all in one place! As opposed to the good old days of having to drive an extra half an hour to get to late Nutcracker rehearsals in Denver. Then you'd get home at 11 o clock or later and still have to do your hair for the next night and your homework for the next day. Yay for graduating high school :) and yay for not having to put my hair up in curlers every night before Nutcracker performances! haha.
So, all the trainees and the academy kids (and I mean ALL the academy kids) have been rehearsing a little piece called De File for the Gala that Ballet West puts on every year. It's this huge fundraiser they put on and honestly, I wish I got to be one of the people who was watching the show! They all get fed an amazing meal, then watch the performance, and then they all meet again for dessert. And they were all wearing these fabulous dresses and killer shoes..man, what it would be like to be rich!! haha They bring in all these people, who most likely have a lot of money based on what I comprehended, and put this whole night together in hopes of convincing these people to donate money to the Ballet. It's kind of awesome! They start out the show with De File, which is basically 150 kids on stage at the same time, doing who knows what because there's too much commotion to even tell what is going on! But it was a blast :) The choreography isn't anything too complicated, but the fact that the school director can get us all in organized formations is a miracle!
Our first night in the theater at Tuesday and we basically spent two hours trying to get a million and a half kids on stage and ran De File four times.. which is death.. on a stick. For the entire five minutes we are actually on stage, the majority of if is running around, and me, with the retarded lungs, can't for the life of me handle all the cardio without dying a little bit. The second night, we rehearsed the piece a few more times.. more dying :) But, at least the director, Peter Christie, was pleased with the progress we were making. It's so nice to hear when you are doing a good job and the people in charge of you are actually proud. To reward our hard work, he shortened our Thursday night rehearsal. haha it was funny because every single dancer walked out of the theater totally stunned that it was still light outside! Oh, the life of a dancer. Never seeing the sunlight :)
Friday night was my favorite night; dress rehearsal!! There's just a special thrill to a dress rehearsal. You slap on layers of break-out inducing stage makeup and head into the wings of the stage where a few company dancers are hanging out in their warm-ups. You only get one shot to get it right because, after that, the show has to go on! The orchestra and the other dancers aren't going to wait for you to get it right! Thankfully, the rehearsal went really well, except for a few minor mishaps. You know, little kids picking their noses on stage and having full on conversations during the Port de Bras section. Little things like that. The highlight of the night, though, was getting to sneak into the balcony after having rehearsed our piece, and getting to watch the company rehearse. They're all so inspiring! The way they own the stage and nail the choreography. I know it's super cheesy and nerdy to say, but I think it's important to watch a ballet every now and again. It helps me remember why I love it so much; why I put myself through countless hours of sweating bullets and angry teachers and blood blisters and frustration. We kill ourselves every single day so that when we get out there and see the hundreds of people paying to watch us dance, we can be proud that we worked so hard and accomplished something! Alright the nerdy part is over :)
After a long week on stage, performance day finally came!! The theater is fun, but when there's actually an audience out there, it makes it ten times better. You work a little harder and stick it out a little longer just for that applause at the end.. and then it's all over. We lined up on stage, the orchestra began to play (much too slow, might I add. One con of having a live orchestra is they always get the tempo wrong somehow. But no complaints!!) and we performed the piece, just like any other day of the week. It all went smoothly.. or so I thought, but I'll get to that later :) At the end of the piece, the conductor was supposed to lead us all into a bow, but instead he just put his head down and waltzed right out of the orchestra pit...leaving a little girl in charge of the bow. So obviously, she didn't know what to do, so we all just stood there in our final pose until the audience awkwardly stopped clapping and we clumsily headed off stage. Then, I heard that one of the trainees ran into one of the guys, leaving perfect makeup face print on his shirt! haha, I'm sure the audience didn't even notice though. You'd be surprised about what you can get away with without the audience's knowing :) But overall, it went well. It feels good that it's all over and we can start focusing on other things!
This week, we've been doing Ballet West for Kids so more on that soon!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My long weekend in Idaho

So it turns out, when you spend several days away from home, it takes almost a half a week to fully recover and to get all your crap under control again. You get home late Sunday night and all you wanna do is throw all your bags down and collapse on your oh so welcoming bed that hasn't been used for 4 days now, so then you wake up in the morning and start quoting that creepy clown lady from My Big Comfy Couch or whatever that show was called. We all know that everyone only watched that show for the part where she says "who made this big mess?" and then she cleans her entire house in 10 seconds. In what reality is that ever possible?? If anyone knows the answer to my question, please enlighten me because I would sure like to know how to clean my whole house in 10 seconds. For me, it takes hours! I have to take all my clothes out of my bag (and believe me. I always waaay overpack. it's a little out of control) and throw the dirty ones in the laundry and fold and put away the ones that are clean (this step shouldn't even exist because there shouldn't be any clean clothes.. but I'm obviously too dumb to understand that a 4 day trip only needs 4 different outfits..) and then do my laundry so I have clothes for the week. Then, I have to spend a good half hour reorganizing my purse because, somehow in the span of a few days, a ginormous explosion of receipts and gum wrappers and movie tickets and random trash occurs in there. I simply can't grasp the concept of a trash can I guess! But of course, not all of these processes can happen in one day because I'm too busy dancing and facebook stalking people and catching up on all my tv shows (I know, so productive haha). So my room remains a mess until I can find an ounce of motivation to actually fold my laundry.. it just looks so good sitting all clean and wrinkly in my hamper :)
But, my room is finally all put together again so I can now proceed to blog about my fantastic long weekend :) First of all, I am so glad that Utah is so genius. Thank goodness for Salt Lake Express!! For all of you non-Utah and Idaho people, Salt Lake Express is this shuttle that brings you from a few different places in Utah to a few different places in Idaho and vice versa. So, I took my overpacked bag and hopped on a shuttle prepared for a boring 5 hour drive, but way too excited for get to Idaho to even care about how boring the next hours were going to be. Surprisingly, one of the guys I dance with was taking a trip up to Idaho Falls for the weekend, so he pretty much talked my ear off the whole time, which took away from my "zone out looking out the window at all the dirt" time, but at least the ride wasn't as boring as previously planned. I think I checked the time on my phone over a hundred times because I just couldn't wait to get to Rexburg at 10:30 pm!! But I think someone out there didn't want me to get there on time, because my driver took her sweet little time at every drop off and pick-up people were late and apparently we all needed a 15 minute break...long story short, I got to Rexburg at a very late 11:30, very annoyed. At least I wasn't the girl who was literally sitting on the bus with her mission call, waiting to open it that night with her family.
I stayed with one of my best friends, Ashtyn, on Wednesday night at her apartment and it was just so nice to get to catch up with her. We've always been super close, but for some reason, we both suck at staying in touch when she's at school and I'm off somewhere dancing. It doesn't matter though, because we always pick up right where we left off! She's got so many exciting things happening in her life right now and I am so happy for her and I can't wait to see where life takes her. Her family and she moved to Colorado when I was a sophomore and I think they kinda became my second family. During the summer, I think I spend more time at their house than I do at my own haha! As you can imagine, I kept her up way too late catching up and talking about everything. I was just glad that I wasn't the one who had an 8 am class the next morning!! whoops!!
I spent Thursday with my sister, Jessica, who drove an hour from Driggs to come pick me up. Thankfully, she dropped the two kids off at the in-laws house so we could have a girls day... which quickly turned into a "let's get fat together" day. We ate lunch at this awesome sandwich place, then got Jamba Juices for an afternoon snack, then waited until 5 o clock to go get ice cream and hot chocolate at our favorite place, The Cocoa Bean. I swear, it's got the best hot chocolate on the planet. Don't worry, we also did a little shopping in town and she gave me a tour of BYU-Idaho. It was fun just getting to spend the day with my big sister, whose always been the person I look up to and who I spent many years of my young childhood trying to be more like. Yep, I was THAT little sister haha. She's just such a fun person, even with two kids and a husband and a life. She makes me laugh all the time and she's really taught me so much throughout my life. She's trying desperately to make me social, but it's sorta failing :)
Friday was our lazy day. I think we spent the majority of the day in our pajamas, making breakfast that we ate at noon, cleaning up after messes that just kept getting remade, and making dinner that we ate at nine... both both meals were quite a success, so I'd call that a good day :) Plus, I got a three hour nap, which was totally and completely necessary!! All the while, Whitley and Craig were reeking havoc on the house in every manner possible. They say cleaning the house with kids is like brushing your teeth while eating oreos. I know fully understand this quote haha! Everywhere I turned, they were pulling out more toys or turning a perfectly clean room into a war zone. It's just a good thing they're cuter than crap and they can get away with it :) I got my first good home-cooked meal in 2 months and I quite enjoyed it. We made baked ziti for dinner. Let's just say that nothing tastes better than pasta after 2 months of sandwiches and cereal...
On Saturday, we actually put on clothes :) and left the house :) haha! Jessica wanted us all to go to the pumpkin patch so we could pick a pumpkin to carve.. mostly she just wanted to take pictures of Whitley and Craig with all the pumpkins, but whatever helps you sleep at night! It was so much fun seeing little Craig running around, desperately trying to escape the grown-ups to play in the dirt and eat rocks and whatever else little boys do. And Whitley wanted to find a pumpkin that was small enough for her to pick up AND not slippery. It's too bad she's only like 20 pounds and she was wearing a slippery jacket, because all of them were too big and all of them were too slippery. haha such a high maintenance child!! But, again, too cute for anyone but her parents to notice. Chantz picked the biggest one in the entire field because all the other ones weren't "cool" enough for him or something. Jessica made me pick hers out because she was too busy taking pictures and I, obviously, got the best one ever. duh. After maybe a few too many hours walking around the pumpkin patch, I think the "hangry" started coming out of all of us, if you know what I mean. And me and Jessica being the totally indecisive people we are had to shout out a dozen different restaurants before finally deciding on a place to eat. Without much argument from Chantz, we headed to Red Robin, which is always a safe choice. Yes another successful meal I would say, except for the tragedy of our bottomless fries coming after we had already eaten, but it was well worth the wait for those spectacular sweet potato fries :) I'm drooling over here just thinking about them!!
And now for the real kicker. My brother in law decided it was a good idea to set me up on a blind date with a kid he works with. So after a well received meal, we picked up Cameron, my "date" for the night and went to this awesome corn maze. I mean, I wouldn't really call it a date. I was with my older sister, my brother in law, my niece and my nephew... but still; It's always nice to meet cute boys on my vacations :) We went through two different mazes, all the while Whitley was wandering around with a flashlight in her mouth and Chantz trying to be a genius with the corn maze map. Me and Jessica were freezing the whole time and just trying to get through it so we could go have some hot chocolate, but it was still a blast! I think we were just lucky that Craig wasn't having a melt down (it was way way past his bed time) and Whitley didn't get lost somewhere! haha. I loved getting to meet Cameron. He's just a genuinely sweet person and a funny guy. He's leaving on his mission in about 2 months so I'm super excited for him!! Maybe our paths will cross somewhere in the future or something.
On Sunday, we slept in after a pretty "wild"  night haha! and we spent the morning carving our pumpkins. Of course that meant Chantz was carving Craigs pumpkin and Jessica was carving Whitley's pumpkin. I stole a bag of pumpkin cookies and a bowl of leftover baked ziti, but then I was on my way home again!! I had such a fun weekend. I miss Idaho already!! There's just something about that place. I mean, you have to drive an hour to find any shopping centers and there's only one stoplight in the entire town, but it just feels like home. Hopefully I can go back soon!! But now, it's back to reality.. we've got a performance this weekend, so wish me luck! I'm sure as heck gonna need it..

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lauren's Birthday Dinner


One of the greatest things about living in a house full of eight people is the fact that there are eight birthdays. And birthdays always mean going out to dinner.. at least that's what it means for eight starving dancers who just want to eat good food on the weekends! I'll admit, this blog post is about a month overdue, but I was too busy updating on so many other things that I decided to put it off until now. As you could have guessed by now, my roommate, Lauren Denney, the tall, legs for days, blonde, Cali girl, was celebrating her 17th birthday. She's the only roommate in the house that's still in high school, but you'd never know she was so young. She's got more talent than I can even fathom sometimes and, as you can see from the description above, she's absolutely gorgeous. Ya, I hate her a little bit for it too ;) Anyway, we decided on this cute little Thai food place down the street from our house. Honestly, it didn't even matter where we were going, as long as I got to eat something other than a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. I've really gotta learn how to cook..
Part of the dinner crew and the Birthday Girl :)
Being the high maintenance dancers that we all are, we had to get all dressed up and fancy. I still don't understand why we need to wear dresses and heals to go eat food, but it's sorta fun :) Plus, I'm not going to be the one who throws on a pair of jeans and calls it a day when everyone else is going all out.
I think I can speak for the lot of us that we all had a lovely meal. And to top it all off, Laura Cemin, our authentic Italian roommate, made these incredible fudge cookies for dessert. I'd be lying if I didn't say it was my favorite part of the night :) But that's just because I can't live without chocolate. I had a blast with everyone, though! I'm always so reluctant to actually get out of the house, but when I do, it amazes me how much fun we can have just sitting at a restaurant table and laughing about a funny comment, or complaining about how awful our classes were that day, or meeting random opera singers sitting across the room. And yes, that actually happened. Some lady came up to our table and asked if we were dancers. She went on to explain that they were a singing group in Utah. It's funny how people always know we are dancers right when we walk in the door. I swear, every time we go out, I always hear little whispers coming from different sides of the room. "Oh look, dancers!" "They look like dancers." I just don't know how they can assume that right off the bat! It must be the impeccable posture or something :).
I knew right after this amazing night that I was with a really great group of people and I can't wait to spend the whole year with them! I've felt at home here right from the beginning and I think it's partly due to having such welcoming friends. I love taking class with them everyday and hanging out with them on the weekends. It's always a good time :)
I know this is about a month late, but I hope Lauren had an amazing birthday! She looked stunning, as always and made me laugh the entire night. Ahh to be 17 again :) .. I mean, I'm only 18, but still! Things get a lot harder once you turn 18. And by that I mean I can't force my knees to turn out anymore, my lower back is always in pain and I feel like an old woman every morning trying to climb four flights of stairs up to the studio. I can't even imagine what I'm gonna feel like in five years.. anyway, Happy very belated Birthday, Lauren!!! Love you, and your crazyness, and your inability to focus on your school work :), and your sense of humor. All my love!! :)

The whole group :) Had such a fun night!!