Music Monday - Battle Hymn of the Republic

This Music Monday being brought to you from Arlington, VA.

A group of friends and I are in the district for the weekend to enjoy some grand celebrations for Memorial Day weekend. Yesterday we went to the Kennedy Center to see Craig Jessop conduct at the National Memorial Day Choral Festival Performance. I'll expound on the trip later but let's just say I am much more grateful for the service of those in the military after visiting monuments, seeing them in parades, and listening to beautiful music honoring them at Kennedy.


Weekend Preview

Friday road trip to Raleigh, North Carolina. Never been so this is my only photo and I took it off of Google. :)

This weekend we get to use this for transportation...

and visit this place...

I get to see this lovely face...

and this one too!!

If I'm lucky, I'll be able to see a few of these people...

...and this place.

I'll show my friends the wonders of getting lost in this city...

and take some funny pictures at the same time.  (What's funny about this photo is I had just burned my foot a few days earlier by stepping on my flat iron and there it is, on the floor. This was in the GW Inn after the power went out during a crazy summer DC storm)

We'll see some of these buildings....

and take a night tour of the monuments.

Yup! We're heading to the District for the holiday weekend.

There probably won't be much of this, but I'll hopefully get to see this face...
and this one.


Music Monday - Two-Toned

I met Gina in Newspaper this year.
She's rad.
We share a name, almost (She's Georgina).
I love her hair.
and she knows good music.

Mitch plays baseball,
and hunches when he sings.
(and, yes, that is all I know about Mitch hah)

SVU hasn't had a music act quite like this duo in the four years that I've been here so I am excited to see where they go. They'll be doing some recording this summer and I can't wait to buy my copy and jam to wherever I may be geographically at the time I get it. Utah? Yeah, maybe.

So now I present to you, Elephant Shortcut with Two Toned.

(this performance was at a benefit concert for Japan after the tsunami and the echo is from the speakers, check out their youtube channel for more vids!)


Graduation Present.... a year late...?

After seeing how great a tax refund check can be when you check the right boxes and get the credit for being a full time student, and a full time student working a part-time job I realized that I'll also get that credit next year too. So I started thinking, what should I do with next years refund?

Megs has a standing invitation to stay in a professors home in Spello and we've joked about just taking a trip to Italy...

I looked up tickets for the farthest date away that you can book at the moment...



Music Monday - 1,000 Ships

Fact: I listen to this song at least 2x a day.

Fact: You might still be able to download it on amazon.com for free.

Rachel Platten - 1,000 Ships

"So slow down, there's some sort of blessing here but you've gone and missed your queue" 


Still feels good...

I haven't really felt like deleting this countdown from my desktop yet. Even though I am finishing my last class and therefore not technically done, there are only 2 credits between me and my degree being official.

And this is what sits on the right side of my computer desktop, next to my background photo of the Mt. Timpanogos Temple in American Fork, Utah. I've got the weather for Buena Vista, and the weather for Provo, Utah along with countdowns for those places, Graduation and Moving to Utah, respectively. This is about a week old and the date is an estimate since I haven't decided when I'm leaving yet...

Graduation is over...

...and it still feels good.


Family Photos - Preview

If you are one of my readers who already follows Brinn Willis' Blog, BMW Photography, then you may have already seen a preview of our family photos that she took after graduation but if not... I will post them here! I have to say, I absolutely love the previews so I am really excited to see the finished product. Miss Willis is super busy cause she's a pretty rad photographer so I've been promised I will have them before I move and these photos will get me through until then.

First - Some old family photos

Joey, Me, Mom, Dad, George (who looks like he doesn't belong because he is standing so far away haha) after Moms graduation from Nursing School

Another group photo after Moms Pinning Ceremony

Me and Ma

Joey and Mom

Mom and Dad :)

Mom and the kids

Dad, Me and Mom after my high school graduation. June 2007.

Dad and I after my high school graduation. June 2007.
Dad, Mom, Me, George (an unhappy one at that) and Joey at the Washington, D.C. Temple after being sealed as a family for time and all eternity in November of 1997. Just a week or so after I was baptized.

Isn't my dad just the cutest?! Oh, and that's baby me!

Mom and I, Probably in the spring of '90, at least.

Mom, Me and Dad - This was taken after I was baptized as a baby, before my family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

George and I, around '95.

Me, Dad and George just messing around. Hopefully George doesn't see that I post this or doesn't get mad, sorry buddy :) You were just so cute!!

So, that was then and this... is now:

Joey, Me, George, Mom, Dad and Grandma. Super posed, not my favorite photo, but the fam was still getting used to photos being taken of them and it seems they got better as we went on.

Daddy and I. I love the tie he is wearing, he brought it with him specifically because that is the tie I bought for him when I was in Rome, Italy last Christmas break.

Mom and I - Brinn kept saying how we have the same eyes, Yeah?

Mom and her boys :)

George. I like his tie. And his fedora. And that signature smirk he loves to do.

Joey wasn't sold on the tie I bought for him but I think it looks so good with his gray suit. He's got his "swag on", as he says.

Sibling love.


I can't tell you how much I totally love this picture, I seriously cannot get over it!! 

So, here is the question, who looks like who? And who wants to hire Brinn for photos?! :)


Southern Virginia University - Class of 2011

The day finally came. I walked across the "stage", the front of Main Hall and was handed an empty, hunter green, cardboard tube with the school's symbol in gold printed across it. I stood for a photo with President Smith, and shook hands with Elder Nolan D. Archibald, our guest speaker at commencement,  and Glade Knight, chairman of the Board of Trustees. I walked down the steps and my mom and brother were right up in my grill taking photos. I let out a quiet "Mom" (think, whiney teenager sounding "mom") and my brother, George, ran over to hug me. I hugged him quickly but couldn't hang around, there is order in all things, yeah? So I told him I would see him at the end. I about cried as I watched Natalie & Brig, Jemma, Laura, Brittany, Enten, Melissa, Chris and other seniors walk. Most of these people I have known for my entire time here, or for their time here if they were three-year graduates. Talk about emotion running high.

However, I didn't cry. Not during the speeches. Not during the performance of Shenandoah. Not while my friends, my very best friends, walked across the stage. It was the walk at the end that got me. The professors lead us in at the beginning of the ceremony and lead us out at the end. Our final steps as the newest Alumni are taken walking through our professor's. Educators who have supported us over our years here. Who encouraged us when we faced things we thought we could not do. Who taught us things a textbook could never cover. Who aided us in discovering who we truly are, and what we could become. That got me. As we were walking I saw students hugging professors and thought well heck, I'm going for it. Professor Brotherson was first. Dr. Kellogg was next. I walked up to her and standing to her left was Dr. Dransfield (aka Professor aka My Dad in VA). He started to put his arms out as I hugged Dr. Kellogg and I let go and went to give him a hug as well and he said "Come to Papa". Again, this is my Dad in VA so that is really when I lost it. It makes me sad to think that in just a month I will be leaving Virginia, and my Dransfield's. I love them more than they'll know. I've known Megs for over three years now and the rest of the fam over a year... I'll miss them so much.

Okay, okay. Time for photos :)

Before Graduation in front of Main Hall - My first dorm when I came to SVU, you can even see my room in this photo.

Jemma-lemz :)

President Smith and I, and an empty, cardboard tube.

That would be my mother on the left.

Dr. Arogyasami followed by faculty of SVU

Got my "diploma"!

Este es Senora Konstantinova y Natalie (a la izquierda). Senora Konstantinova fue mi profesora de Espanol 3 y 4 y Natalie es mi amiga mejor y una persona que bien!

Professor Perry Driggs - Financial Markets and Securities.

My Virginia Family - Mother and Professor Dransfield

Professor W. Todd Brotherson - Taught me in many classes and encouraged me to not to drop out of the Business program when I was really struggling with my Core 1 classes. Also my favorite speaker at Stake Conference.

Jenessa Swain - Mallory's first roommate and one of the 4 yr. students.

Brittany and I were crying so bad after walking through the faculty line.

So what you don't see here is I was talking to someone and Mallory came out of nowhere and jumped on me, and I screamed. Then I started crying again. It is so very strange to think about how I have been going to school with this girl since kindergarten. Since I was 4 years old. That is almost 18 years of friendship people. With me moving, and her staying and finishing up school who knows when we'll really get to see each other again? One of us needs to get married, or Sam :) I think its marriages and babies that are going to keep us together now.

Josh. One of my boys from freshman year. He was flying home to California that day and on to Texas, well, by now, but he came to graduation and that meant so much! Such a good friend!

The Freshman Crew! We're missing most of the gang but Kenny, Jordan, Natalie, Geoff, Diana, Stephen, John, and Amber - you were all missed!

Miss Stephanie, another 4yr. graduate. She said the other night that I was the first person she met from our graduating class after we became MySpace friends of course. I'll miss her.

This is my Megs! Mrs (former Dransfield) Ondricek! Hands down, one of my favorite people. We met 3 years ago working at Joyful Spirit. She went to Italy soon after and I couldn't figure out why, but I missed her. There was something almost infectious about her wit, and her humor. We became friends, were co-workers still, she got married, we both went to DC last summer (me for an internship and her for Nates job), we continued our dinners, came back to school and had weekly Bones night, she introduced me to her brother and was there for me when it didn't work and now we're getting through more stuff. She's what I would call a best friend, and she is so good in that role.

Bishop Himes

Me and Pops - Practicing faces for family photos :)

Burke Olsen, University Communications. He has since been my Bishop and my go-to when I was working on moving to DC. He gave me a small yellow post it with places I needed to eat in different parts of the district, like a culinary scavenger hunt. It was so fun and in the last 2 weeks there were still 4 of the places I needed to go to so we started coordinating when we could go. There is only one I missed, Pasta Mia but hey, next time.

Profesora Fuentes - Fue mi primero profesora de espanol.

Oh, Taylor Dunn. We've worked together on Management Society for what feels like, forever. Its only really been maybe two years but this guy is so great. Kind of like that older brother that I already have but now I have him on campus. We went to take this photo and his wife, Lauren, was on the side and he looked at me and goes can I put my arm around you? Oh well, I'm doing it. It was funny. I'll really miss the Dunn's.

Brigham, Natalie and me. Natalie was key to me getting a 100 on my spanish final and my grade in class. She was so good at working on conversation with me in class and outside of class. Brig helped us with a play we did for our class and he's Natalie's husband.

Saskia & I - We lived together during May Term after my Freshman year.

BJ.. after he knocked my cap off :) He's one of my friends that I will get to see in Utah, I hope. He lives in St George but is moving up, maybe, to the Provo area. I'm hoping more SVU students follow him  so we can party this summer.

Jemma! We've been here for 4 years together. She got me through my Senior Paper, and finals week. And now we are taking a May term class together and she'll probably get me through this one too...

Garna, Jemma, Me

"What finals week felt like"

Pres and I - Yup, another 4 yr. friend. Pres has had some major developments over our friendship including his baptism and being sealed to Kara this past December. We talked at the beginning of the year how when graduation came we were one of each others few remaining friends who have been around since the start of our undergraduate careers.

Dr. Steve Baldridge - Professor of Law and Education, Taught me in Business Law.

Nate Pence, my FHE husband (co-coordinator). Thankfully I have another month before I have to say goodbye to this one.

Miss Aleah - Aleah was the Editor-in-Chief of The Paladin while I managed finances. What a team :)

And last, but not least, Zach. My Body Attack P.I.C.