Saturday, December 31, 2016

semester update: 97th ward

High up on my list of New Year's goals is to be more involved in my ward. I was doing so GOOD last year, maybe it was the calling, maybe it was the fact that I had a less demanding schedule, maybe it was the fact that I was out of town for so many activities. Either way, I was in the ward, but not of the ward (cheeseball-y I know, sue me). 

I almost moved away. I had told myself that I would move away if I found an opening in a particular complex. Literally a month or so before school started, I got a text from an old friend asking if I wanted to live with her in said complex. I went with it, but we never heard back from the landlord, so... I didn't move. I'm still trying to figure out why I'm back. It's been the ever pressing question this semester. 

Like I said, I wasn't the best at going to ward things, but repentance is real, right? That being said, here's a photos of the few (very few) ward related things I did do. 

Yes, friends. I was a cactus. I'm committed to this whole Latina-inspired costumes theme I've got going on. Plus, my costume cost me MAYBE $25, and that might be a overestimate. 
^^One of the few Roommate photos from this semester, and yes, I had to pose with my hands like that in every picture. 

Okay, so technically the BYU Lu'au isn't a ward activity, but the 97th ward had four representatives performing, so I'm going to count it!
^^Vaitiare, Me, and Jennie carpooled to practices together, and kept each other sane while trying to make our hip-bands. 
^^Former roommates. :)

When Tommaso met Thomas (One day I'll have to post about how most of the influential priesthood leaders in my young adult life have had some form of the name 'Thomas' as their first name)

Let me tell you, Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he called me to be Relief Society President last year. There is NO WAY I could have managed that responsibility well this year. Instead, this year I was called as 'Sabbath Day Co-Chair.' I'm still trying to figure out what exactly that means, but part of what I do is put together firesides for our ward. 

I may or may not have used my calling to make my re-living the mission dreams come true. I invited President & Sister Crawford to come speak on living a "purpose driven life" and of course semi-sabotaged the musical numbers (savior redeemer of my soul + ye elders of Israel) plus made Sister Crawford's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins as refreshments. 

It was, "a good time had by all."

Thursday, December 29, 2016

a love letter: friends

Oi vey this semester! I have been spending my days of winter break eating my weight in chips and my Mom's homemade salsa (I finished all of her green salsa by myself over a period of three days). I severely neglected to update this blog. Honestly, anytime I even thought about starting to update my little slice of internet, I would feel guilty and instead try to be productive doing other things.

This post is a heartfelt love letter to my friends who made this semester bearable.
Highlights include (but are not limited to):
- A DIO (do-it-ourselves) resurgence where we made phases of the moon tees
- Heart attacking Kelly's room with tissue paper hearts laden with pickup lines
- Ashley's melt in your mouth thai tacos from with a peanut sauce straight from heaven
- Sunday walks/hikes with Alyssa
- Crashing a wedding with Kiersten
- Impromptu house-sitting girls night after I'd gone to pick up my debit card forgotten in a restaurant in SLC

I was pretty horrible at responding to texts sometimes, and I couldn't always stay to enjoy the full length of birthday-camping-wedding activities. Friend time is definitely getting a higher priority next semester. After a pages upon pages of digesting case law, balancing grad school assignments, and squeezing internship/work time into my week it would have been pretty easy to just slip into pjs and go into vegetable mode with Netflix. I admit this did happen on occasions! But, really I couldn't have asked for a greater support system than friends who kept inviting me and including me in fun plans despite the madness of my life.


p.s. I leave you with this funny anecdote from the beginning of the semester. One weekend Kelly went out of town and was feeling sort of down. Lys and I decided to write the quirkiest LDS-themed pickup lines on paper tissue hearts to shower her bed. We also recruited two of our friends to take "seductive" pictures we could leave for her to find. To give them inspiration we googled the following.
thanks to Ray & Russell for being the greatest male models we could have dreamed of!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Thanksgiving con los Flores

Growing up, there was a period of time where we'd take road trips to Utah during Thanksgiving. For one reason or another, this tradition fizzled out. It had been a long time since we had gotten together with the Flores side of the family during a holiday, but when my abuelita passed away in May, it just felt like the right time. This time around, the family came to California.

I felt sleep deprived for a lot of the trip, so these pictures do not contain everyone who was there.

^^Just a fun little centerpiece My Mom and I threw together for the festivities^^

^^Of course the boys all hung out in my brothers' room. Old gaming systems for the win!
^^These two!!!! 😍  our little half-mexican half-asian babies! Love them to pieces!
^^For some reason, Milis still hasn't warmed up to me. Maybe it's the fact that we're kind of birthday twins??
^^We had food FOR days. Seriously four times the quantity of every side dish you could think of
^^It was also Joshua's birthday, but his older brother sliced himself a piece of the cake before I could frost it. Ben seems to find himself involved in a lot of cake-involved incidents
^^Day after thanksgiving I came to find my Tio and Tía making tamalas bright and early. There's a reason I gained 5 pounds or so from three days home. See above.

We went to Placita Olvera the day after thanksgiving, because where else do Mexicans take their out of town family??
^^You can't visit the hood without having a ghetto dog. Must do.
^^& of COURSE we had to hit up the Alameda swapmeet, because: #mexicans
^^On Saturday we went to see Moana + walked around the mall + and topped it off with five guys. Also, notice my Tio and Tía's matching ponchos. 


Friday, November 18, 2016

Kansas City, I'm SO In Love.

I am VERY behind the times. I can't tell you how many times I've had the thought to update this blog with life adventures, but other things get the best of me--namely endlessly internet searching when I want to do nothing that requires serious thinking.

This post documents a trip I took to Kansas City, Missouri way back in September (guys. thanksgiving is DAYS away--which means gilmore girls!). I went with students from the MPA program for a conference. I love exploring different parts of the U.S., and I really did fall in love with Kansas City. 
We had sort of a turbulent flight, but the lover of natural disasters in me was such a fan. Flying through a lightning storm is the greatest.

On Sunday, we visited Church History sites. For those who may not be familiar with LDS Church History, Independence, MO was home to a big community of Mormon Settlers in the early 1800s. There was a great deal of persecution that the early Saints experienced here, culminating in an extermination order and Joseph Smith being thrown in jail. Despite the sad-rimmed history here, Missouri still has a special spirit about it.
^^Hotel roommates!
The Entrance to Liberty Jail, a.k.a. where Joseph Smith was incarcerated
Kansas City Temple also, how many MPAs does it take to work a selfie stick?
Fancy photos before a fancy dinner we had Sunday evening.
^^This wall is apparently an Instagram hotspot in Kansas City. I had found an article listing it as an Instagram worthy spot, and we just so happened to walk past it on the way to a burger joint.

Okay, if you've been a faithful reader of my blog, you know I have a special affinity for baseball. Way back in 2012 (pre-mission) when I was in Living Legends, my family came to see our show in Nauvoo, IL, BUT they also went to see a Cardinals and Royals game...without me. Yeah, it still stings. 

So, this time around there was NO way I was going to miss a ballgame this time around so I found really cheap (but surprisingly great) tickets on Stubhub, worked out a way to get from our hotel to the à la public transportation, and convinced people to come with. 

Last ballgame of the season, and I couldn't have asked for a better experience!
^^This is a face of genuine happiness on my face because of the beauty that is below.
^^french fries + pulled pork + onions + bbq sauce + pickles + sweet corn (because I asked told the vendor the program guy had told me should would hook it up, and she did!) +jalapeños (my addition).  BEST. BALLPARK. FOOD. EVER.
^^I die every time I see this picture!
^^We made friends with the sweetest Black women working at the Ice Cream parlor. I may or may not have started some feisty words though because I made a comment about how I wasn't a chocolate fan. "How you gonna not like chocolate, but then you gonna order cookies n' cream." It all went downhill from there. There was laughter, banter, some mmmhhhhms, but my favorite part was when a worker I had made friends with said, "Leave my friend alone! She's from Utah, we're probably related!" Ha! If only she had known the truth—Straight Outta Compton. 

Kansas City was a dream. I only wish I had had more time to eat at all the barbecue places, and explore the museums, and Adam Ondi Ahman, and more instagram walls (kidding). But really, I need to go back to Kansas City, if for nothing more than those beautiful pulled pork french fries at the ballgame.