Graduation Weekend - Part 1

Grandma had a build-a-bear box with her when I met up with the fam tonight.
It was from my niece, Cailin, who is 8 years old.
She made me a graduation bear...
named Utah.
 My sister and gradma asked Cailin what they should name the bear and she said Utah -
and then they said "What?"

Meet Utah.


T - 1 Day

Today is Thursday.
I could have taken my Econ History final this morning but I decided to take it tomorrow morning since I didn't sleep last night. Rockbridge County was back and forth between a tornado warning and watch all night long.

So today, I woke up around 10am (wonderful) and, sorted the mountains of laundry I need to do before my fam gets here tomorrow night. Then I made some flower hair clips with fabric flowers and by rolling fabric in to flowers. They're pretty cute.

Then I painted my nails. again. I painted them yesterday but my nails are weird and my polish always chips and to keep them growing, and strong I have to keep a couple coats of something on them.

Now I am about to shower, straighten my hair, and I will head up to the library to study and finish the corrections I have on my senior paper.

Basically, everything is done. Once I make the few revisions I need to make on my paper and take my Econ final, I am done.

Until Monday, when I start my real final class for my undergraduate degree.

The family gets here tomorrow night and I'll have a large casserole dish full of manicotti waiting for them. Saturday morning is graduation and that evening we will be taking some family photos. Sunday I get to bring them with me to church and then they will leave Virginia at some point Monday. I will start classes Monday... but maybe Tuesday depending on when they leave.

So weird.

I'm graduating college.

Freshman Year in the car with Dad as we drive through Pennsylvania on the way to drop me off at school. Braces, nervous wreck, and excited all at the same time.
Senior Year in the car with Mallory getting ready to deliver a Key Lime pie to Josh for his birthday. Bangs. No braces. Much more aware of who I am, what makes me happy, and not the same little girl who arrived in Buena Vista almost 4 years ago.


Music Monday - Something That I Want

I'm a big fan of Grace Potter & The Nocturnals so imagine my surprise when I am sitting in the theater after watching Tangled and the credits start rolling and I hear a song I know....

You can bet we stuck around until it was over. :)

She's a girl with the best intentions
He's a man of his own invention
She looked out of the window
He walked out the door
But she followed him
And he said, "What'cha lookin' for?"

She said, "I want something that I want
Something that I tell myself I need
Something that I want
And I need everything I see."

Something that I want
Something that I tell myself I need
Something that I want
And I need everything I see

He's been livin' in a pure illusion
She's gonna come to her own conclusion
Right when you think you know what to say
Someone comes along and shows you a brand new way

She said, "I want something that I want
Something that I tell myself I need
Something that I want
And I need everything I see."

Something that I want
Something that I tell myself I need
Something that I want
And I need everything - 'cause

It's so easy to make believe,
it seems you're livin' in a dream
Don't you see that what you need
is standing in front of you?

I want something that I want
Something that I tell myself I need
Something that I want
And I need everything I see

Something that I want
Something that I tell myself I need
Something that I want
And I need everything I see


Do a little dance...

I'm sitting on my bed.
To my left - dinner. Farfalle pasta, meatballs, & Wal-Mart brand sauce.
*Babs would be horrified. You never, ever, mix pastas and sauces (I.e. rigatoni belongs with a meat sauce, bucatini should be covered in spicy tomato sauce with loads of pancetta, farfalle does not belong with meat balls. She knows these things because she lives in Italy when she isn't teaching)

To my right - my juice box.

I need to finish senior paper.
For realsies.

but I just thought about how I am moving to Provo in less than 60 days,
and I felt like doing a little dance.

but I didn't feel like getting up, and therefore - no dance.

but if I did a dance it would probably look something like this...

Start at 1:30 for what the dance would look like.... 



For a girl who did not do well in Macro and Micro, I sure am loving Economic History and have been considering doing a graduate program in Economics....

For a girl who did really horribly in Corporate Finance (our highest finance course @ SVU), I can't believe I am looking at jobs that require me to have Series 6, 7 and 63 licensing. Finance Jobs.

What the what?

Reality: I have an apartment in Provo. Signed, sealed, delivered - It's mine (and Sam and Felicia's - Thank you Joycey!!)

Reality: I do not have a job

Reality: I don't have a car either

Reality: If I could just find a job working in career development for a University that would hire me that would be swell. That would be pretty ideal. Next preference is education and working on my Masters so I can teach Business in high school, because it's a cause I believe in. After that would come straight up office work.

Working for a finance company was never on my radar but it is a little bit now.

Because I love to learn, and I discovered it late in my college career.
A job in the financial industry would afford me another year or so of serious learning.

I dislike becoming an adult and making these big choices
(and it thrills me all at the same time)

Signing off for now, I must clean my apartment and get on some paper writing, budget preparing and presentation designing. Oy.


Why I love Laura...

It's okay, Laura. Everyone thinks we are and I am okay with it.
So you know, this pretty much made my day.


I need to write my senior paper.
I want another pair of TOMS.

Do you see where this is going?


Read This.

This is one of the best opinion pieces I have read in awhile.

He hits the nail on the head when he says these companies are only making clothing for children like this because people are buying it.

Supply and Demand, people.


Music Monday - God Gave Me You

I'm going to start doing Music Monday again.

So for the first installment, a favorite song of mine introduced to me on a really sweet (in an "aww, thats sweet" kind of way) mix cd I got for my 21st birthday

Dave Barnes - God Gave Me You

Happy Birthday Giuseppe!

Sometimes we call him Giuseppe, sometimes we call him Josefina, or Joe-fiss, but no matter what we call him he'll always be my baby broski and today he turned the ripe old age of SEVENTEEN!

So weird.

and yes, this is the only picture i can find on my computer of joey.
He's the one all the way on the right.
This is when we went to the Washington, DC temple to be sealed as a family in 1997.
George is less than thrilled.
but i love him just the same,
and Giuseppe too.

True Haywood Family Story:
My dad really did want to name Joey, Giuseppe Vincenzo. 
My mom said "No, we aren't Italian"
So dad had to settle for Joseph Vincent.
I kind of love how Dad thinks and acts Italian.


Thank You, President Obama

(that may be the only time you hear me say that)

...or whoever is responsible for the American Opportunity Credit and the Making Work Pay Credit

I now am $1,000 closer to being able to get a car when I get to Utah.

This is great because I was fairly worried about transportation.

I know, I know, Provo has a great public transportation system and I don't necessarily need a car.
I guess at this point it is more of a "safety blanket" to be able to have a car so I can jump in and drive whenever I need to, wherever I need to go.

While we're on the topic of saving lets talk about ...saving.

I put $1,300 in my savings account for three months rent, utilities, and groceries for this summer in Provo.
I moved another $200 into savings for the deposit for the apartment.

$100 from grandma for a graduation dress that I already bought, and I have been depositing my paychecks into the savings account since I started back up at Joyful about a month ago so that is another $160. It looks as if I will have at least $1,000 left over from my spring refund check that I can put towards the car fund and another $2,000 of refund, and I get my deposit refund for my current place before I leave of $215,  Plus the $1,000 tax refund I am getting in the mail and the money I will make at Joyful from now until I leave in June (I figure another $250 at least) so that is....


and having already put away rent, utilities and food that means the $4,725 can go to the things Ill need to buy when I get to Utah (pillows, a few dishes, storage drawers, hangers, toiletries, towels, etc.) and the leftover goes into my car fund...

Have I mentioned that I am graduating in 13 days with a Business Degree so I fully love working things out like this. Yay, budgets :)


Recipe for a less than productive Saturday...

Start with one part waking up early (because I have lots to do)
add in looking out the window to see the tree outside it almost bent in half due to wind

Sprinkle with a dash of tornado warning
and Gina's normally irrational (but this time rational) worries and fears

Combine with three roommates who take shelter in the basement apartment (mine) due to said tornado warning and facebook notifications of sitings of a swirling storm system in the next town over

Gradually mix in my boy scout tendencies of preparedness - i.e. I packed a tote with some clothes, important documents, external hard drive, etc.

Bake at 200 degrees for 3.5 hours (or as long as the really bad storm keeps up and tornado warnings are on)

Take out of the "oven" and what do you get?

A very tired Gina.

(Which looks comparable to this photo taken on one of the hottest days in D.C. this past summer. Ash and I chilled in the office and Reed made a run to Trader Joe's for Root Beer.)

Not only do you get a very tired Gina...
You get an annoyed Gina when she wakes up from her longer than necessary nap (I blame all the adrenaline running through my body during the storm) realizing that she has gotten nothing done today.


[out of third person]

I had taken off work today, blocked off a few hours specifically for a grand paper I must turn in or I don't graduate and I didn't get it done. I woke up, saw the storm rolling in, saw how bad it was predicted to be, packed for a little bit, cleaned the house a little so I would not be distracted by the messiness and could write my paper and then the storm hit hard so I was buggin' out while my roommates came to hang out in the basement because that's what you do when you are awaiting a tornado.

After the hustle and bustle was over one of my roommates stayed downstairs doing homework "with me" as I proceeded to fall asleep. I was so tired. Nothing was keeping me awake. I just woke up which means I have missed The Fading Point - Acapella Experience concert that I already paid for and I have only a few hours until the dance and then going out for my last lee-hi's trip with the freshman group. (see below)

and yes, I am taking a few minutes to blog about it.
and yes, I feel better now that I have done that so I'll get on to some
work now and hopefully salvage what is left of my Saturday.


Spring Break - Part 1, Vegas

Checked my bags and ready to go through security in Roanoke....
yup, this photo is in the bathroom of the airport. Classy? Sure!

First Day in Vegas - John goes to work at 5(ish) in the morning until 5:30 that night... leaving me in his bachelor pad for the day with this in the kitchen to eat...

{{**I'm taking a minute here to mention that I stayed alone in the bachelor pad for the 3 days & 2 nights that I was in Vegas while John stayed at his parents place 2 miles away. Just for clarification purposes. I'm graduating in 15 days and don't need the SVU Honor Council to see this and think something shady went down. It didn't.**}}

Kidding. Though, I did have a bit of a scavenger hunt when it came time for breakfast. In the end I wound up with this... pretty good, eh?

Johns Dad came over trying to find John, who wasn't answering his cell phone, so we could all go to Cafe Rio... I decided to hang out for a bit to wait for him to get home. After all the phone calls from me and his dad, I got a call saying "hold on! I'm almost home.. geez" (haha), he got home and we took the bike (after I fought him for a good fifteen minutes because I didn't think I liked motorcycles anymore... silly me) to Cafe Rio. (YUM!) Took the highway back to the parents house and exchanged the bike for johns brothers car so we could go down to the strip.

Crazy Place. Think NYC meets Theme Park.

We went in to a bunch of cool buildings that I don't remember the names of except this giant rabbit made of plants, this was in the Bellagio :)

along with the worlds largest chocolate fountain...

...and a crepe with coconut ice cream and mangoes....

...and these pretty desserts!

Outside the Bellagio we watched the water show...

We went in to another building and I saw this huge kitchen shop... and John dealt with me attempting to purchase everything in the store until they closed (6 minutes after we got there).

PROOF: I was in Vegas.
I dislike photos being taken of me, and just me, so sometimes people ask if I even went to places...


 Italy <3

   We found Dory....

Next day we woke up SUPER early to get to the Hoover Dam
and listen to all of John's Dam Jokes (like "look, its the Dam parking lot",
"Dam tourists" "Dam Rock"... you get it)

Sometimes we act like we like each other. This is not one of those times.

 After we went to the Hoover Dam and the Las Vegas sign we met up with Jake(Cheddah) and Vanessa and drove out to the desert to shoot up some television sets and spray paint cans. It was my first time shooting a gun but I didn't do as bad as I thought I might. It was hard to hit the spray paint cans so I left those to the boys but I helped bust up the two tv's... talk about great stress reliever!

(Check out my footwear. Yes, I went shooting in ballet flats.. sure did)

After shooting we drove back to John's place so I could pack up my bags so we would have time to do some things before I had to go to the airport.

One of my goals on this trip was to see as many temples as I could in the 11 day period so I had to see the Las Vegas Temple. The photos do not do this place justice. The angles are really unique (compared to the temples I have been at before this trip - Boston, Manhattan, Palmyra and D.C.) and the roof is this dark colored wood. The outside is not a very white stone but off-white and with the red mountains in the back - Well, it is a new favorite. I loved this temple a lot. 

John talking to Las Vegas & Las Vegas talking back to John. Right. There.
Las Vegas Nevada Temple - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

After the temple we hit up In N' Out one last time and then it was off to the airport to say our goodbyes.

See you in a few months, Las Vegas.


Post #27 on Utah

I went to Richmond on Friday for a tour of the Federal Reserve Bank.
They began talking about job openings,
and I suddenly wished I hadn't signed a contract for an apartment.

do not worry - i am not changing my plans

but then I remembered all that moving to Utah meant -

1)Living with my best friend (read that: sister) for 2.5 months
2)Living close to my boys (which is just rad)
3)Feliciana (if she didn't get her own bullet point, I would hear about it hah)
4)5 minute drive to the Provo Temple
5)30 minute drive to the Mt Timpanogos Temple
6)1 hour drive to Salt Lake (and the temple)
7)Food: Jamba Juice, J Dawgs, Spoon it Up!, Cafe Rio, In N Out
8)A new adventure. Richmond would be new but it's still Virginia
9)I don't have a job offer in Richmond, or anywhere else. I have some options in Utah
10)I feel good about this move (at least, I did at one point and I'm sure its just nerves taking over now)
11)If I don't like it, I can move



"You're My Boomerang"

I'm not supposed to miss you, cause you're not coming back
And I wish I never kissed you, so what do you think of that?
What did I get myself into?

In the back of my mind there will always be the catch and throw away
But this moment's got me thinking I could reach you
And I'm waking up alone and echo the song sung yesterday
and begging you to come back home

Cause you're my boomerang
My repititous twist of fate
But unexpectedly this time you don't come back to me
Still you go on and on for someone else

This back and forth gets me going around and round
And I'm so worn out and dizzy while you knock the good ones down
Now I want to know the truth- do you even miss me?

Cause in the back of my mind I could always feel the push and pull away And now I can see that you were leaving me

When you're my boomerang and I tried so hard to make you stay
Without a doubt I see this time you won't come back to me

So fly, fly, fly like a bird in the atmosphere
Glide, glide let the breeze you're feeling take you there
Fly away from me

In the back of my mind there'll always be the catch and throw away
But this time I'll let it fly and not try to reach you
Because getting up alone will help me grow my own pair of wings
and the time has come for me to fly

Oh boomerang, I'm down to let you go, cause you're my boomerang
And the fun we had was all in vain
But unexpectedly this time you won't come back to me
Still you go on and on for someone, go on and on for someone else

Fly, Fly, Fly like a bird in the atmosphere
Glide, glide let the breezed you're feeling take you there
Ride, ride on the wind the gets you out of here
Fly away from me

...It was one of thoes nights. I rediscovered my love for MAE, and thought fondly of Norfolk and the epic trip that was...



My TOMS come in tomorrow.
I'll get them after I get back from the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond.
I get to open the cafe Saturday night.
I move to Utah in 75 days.

I'm kind of excited about all of that.


On the Soap Box - Single LDS Women

Dear Single LDS Women,

I speak to you dear sisters who are over 21 and unsure of what is next for you in life. For those who sit in meetings or school functions and see couples and become upset, even to the point of depression. For the women who hear the messages of "Get married" and "Start a Family" and feel like you have exhausted yourselves trying to do so. For any who are feeling alone and can't figure out the next step.

There is life after twenty-one, without a spouse. It's true. I was one of the young women who thought from age fourteen that I would get married in college. I would find him sometime between junior and senior year, we would date for at least 6 months and we would just know. I'd be swept away in this romance and graduate with my B.A. and my M.R.S. Now that was not my singular goal in college. I was going to college for an education but if I didn't find a husband in college - where would I find one?

I think part of this ideology comes from how much marriage is pushed on the young women of the church. It seems like it is always discussed and what is less often part of the discussion is the "what if it doesn't happen for me when it happens for everyone else?"

Up until last May I was still concerned about what I would do after graduation if "he" did not come along sometime soon. After all, we would have to date for a few months because I don't rush in to things like that. (Moving to Utah is one thing, I can change it easily. Marriage is serious, and I don't plan on doing that more than once.)

Then I moved to Washington, D.C. The place that holds the title of 2nd most populated city of YSA's (Young Single Adults). The women in my ward were ages 23-30. The men were around the same age. It was a weird thing to see but these women were functioning. Yup, functioning. They went about their daily lives without the weight of a ring on their left hand. They worked at Think Tanks, rode the metro, participated in pub trivia with friends, went to Duck Beach for Memorial Day weekend, organized and participated in Iron Chef events, went on dates, taught Relief Society, volunteered at DC3rd Girls Camp, and they blogged about all of it.

This was a new concept to me. That you could have graduated from a University, maybe gone on to get a Master’s degree or PhD, maybe served a mission - and then you lead your life. Do these women want to find someone and start a family? Sure! But they do not let that single fact rule their lives. They work. They live. They serve. They teach, and they taught me.

They showed me that life won't end in 27 days when I graduate from Southern Virginia University. No. I get to move to Utah. I am moving across the country! I could not do that with a spouse, at least not as easily as I am doing it. I get to go have new adventures, meet new people, make new friends, develop new talents, grow spiritually, and have time to better prepare myself for the time I get to have a family.

But, life is not over.

I think this exciting part of life should be addressed more to the Young Women of the church. That getting married young is okay, but that you still have plenty you can do and learn while you prepare for that time.

The women I met in DC were not the only examples of this I have in my life. There are women in my ward back home who are older women who have never married. They know that their blessings will come to them in the eternities, whenever that may be. They go on though. They serve, they love, and some of them are my 2nd and 3rd mothers. There are women who were just a few years older than me back home who are now going on to Masters programs, moving to new cities, experiencing new adventures. I am sure the desires of their hearts include marriage but they do not let it rule their day-to-day.

We need more examples like these women to combat the pressure some girls feel they are under to get married young. People like my friend who was upset after going to conference in the ward building and having to see all the couples and wondering why she had not received that blessing yet. Who just seemed down in the dumps all weekend during all the "marriage" talk.

Ladies - Life goes on. Experience it, all of it. Don't let the desire to be married rule your life. This is the one time you will really get to be on your own and do whatever you want to do. You've been given a little more time to have adventure, a little more time to learn, a little more time to become better prepared for when you have a family that will take up all of your time - Be grateful for it.

Happiness - There's Not a Single Barrier - By Mayola Miltenberger

David O. McKay - "The secret of happiness consists not of having but of being; not of possessing but of enjoying. It is a warm glow of the heart that is at peace with itself."

Stepping off the soap box.


I don't win contests....

...but I totally did today :-)

Thank you, Taza for always doing really cool giveaways and thank you random number generator for picking me.


Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

Now, friends, click "follow" on Taza's blog and enjoy her DC adventures as much as I do.
I miss the District.