Sunday, September 9, 2012

So far...

...this semester (which doesn't officially start until tomorrow), I have unpacked and decorated my room, gone to an SRC meeting, started good relationships with most of my roommates (one moved in barely an hour ago, but she seems nice), hung out with friends, met a LOT of new boys, thrown a frisbee around with some boys, been bought an orange julius by a boy, gone to the coolest college ward I have ever been in, been invited to a neighbor's waffle party and to several game nights, enjoyed an entertaining and amazing conversation with my new bishopric, found out (already!) who my FHE group is, been asked to sing in sacrament meeting sometime, had our first weekly apartment dinner, gone to an amazing CES fireside, worn a stranger's tie, gone on a complex-wide blind date with the same boy (where I was told that I have the "glow of a returned missionary"--which is good I guess), been asked to mend a pair of pants by the very same boy, and written this blog post. Whew! It's been busy. And Sunrise Village is officially the coolest apartment complex I have ever been in! Everyone here is so friendly and social, and this ward is amazing.

I am ridiculously excited for this semester, but also ridiculously terrified. In addition to my 12 credits, I'll be working up to 20 hours per week, and doing SRC for at least 10. So I basically have 2 part time jobs and full time school, AND, I am stinkin' determined to have a decent social life this semester. On top of that, I have a huge anxiety bubble that's constantly getting bigger and bigger. I can't figure out if it's in anticipation for the crazy-awesomeness of the semester to come, or if it's something else, but usually when I feel like this it means a big change is coming. I've been super emotional this weekend. As scared I am of my service on the Student Representative Council (in which I will be meeting weekly with the Academic Vice President and be forced to break out of my little shy, timid shell), I know without a doubt that it is what I am supposed to be doing this semester. That has made me cry, my amazing apartment has made me cry, I cried all throughout church, and the CES fireside made me cry. I can be rather emotional, but never this emotional. I know that the path I am on with my education (as wiggly as it has been) is right for me. I know that I'm supposed to be on SRC. I know that Sunrise Village is where I should be. I know that God loves me, no matter how stupid and clueless I am. I know that my post graduation plan (click HERE for more info) is at least a piece of the right path. I know that Jeffrey R. Holland is one of 15 extraordinary prophets who are really and truly called of God. I know that above anything else, I am meant to one day be a wife and a mother, and someday that will happen for me no matter how much Satan tries to tell me otherwise. I know that the people I have met and lived with in the past four years of my life were there to strengthen me and help me grow, along with the classes I've taken, the places I've been, and the things I've done. I know, that no matter how freaking scary this next semester may be, God will help me through it. So, you know what I say to this semester? BRING IT ON. Now, for pictures of my amazing apartment.

Angela's side

My side: I'm really proud of those collages...

The closet doesn't have a door, so I made these to help hide the shtuff inside, with help from my mama, of course.

My under-the-bed shelving system. There aren't any dressers here, so I got some drawers. I had to put my bed on risers to make it fit. Now my bed comes up to my belly button. :)

Everyone (boys and girls alike--there's not really a defined "chastity line" in this apartment) can see into our room,and this is mostly what they see. :)

Our sweet kitchen with our sweet granite table/counter and our sweet lack of a dishwasher (I'm not being sarcastic)

Doesn't my apartment look so modern and chic? ;) I freaking love that couch.

And... just to show you how legit I am, my SRC magnetic name tag. I'll post pictures of me in my polo when I get it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Change of Plans...

So, as much as I am still fully committed to getting myself to Florida to runDisney, the fact is that I simply do not, and likely will not, have the funds to run the Disney Princess Half this coming February. So, we have developed a new plan, one which is much more feasible. Instead of the Princess Half, Taralyn and I are now running the Dogtown Half Marathon in Washington, UT, on February 23, 2013!  Click on the link for more information and pictures of last year's race. So, I'm still running a half in February, and training will continue as planned. Here's the kicker: we're still running in Disney, but we're pushing it back eleven months to January 12(ish), when we're running the Walt Disney World Marathon! This way, we'll have lots more time to save the necessary funds.

Now, at this time I would like to offer a formal invitation to my dear siblings, Tiffany, Bryan, Steve, and Rachel. I think you should all run the aforementioned races with us. The Dogtown Marathon is seven months away- plenty of time to save and train (the race is rather affordable, by the way)! The Disney Marathon is EIGHTEEN months away, which is also plenty of time to save. And just imagine how fun it would be to have family adventures of southern Utah (the week after is an off-week for dad and we're planning a grand adventure for the week following the race! We think you all should come--you too Mumsy and Popsicle!) and Disney World! Just saying.

I think we can all do this, and I firmly believe that this has a potential to change all of our lives for the better. I love you guys tons and would love the opportunity to have this experience with all of you! Do it do it do it do it do it do it...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Changes... All IS Well!

Precaution: Upon the perusal of the post you will perceive a plethora of pictures portraying and pertaining to my persistent practice and achieved progressional proficiency in the prodigious procedure of cake decorating and sewing. 

Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time there was a girl. This girl was having an emotional and mental breakdown. She was worried about money, about the unknown future, about her need to graduate, about not wanting to graduate, etc. One day, she decided to pay the tithing she was behind on, that she had been putting off paying because it would have comprised of a third of her bank account. It was scary to pay that tithing, but she knew that if she paid it, things would get better. The next morning, at 7:30 am, there was an email on her campus account. The email was to inform her that she had been given a scholarship! A scholarship that would cover almost half of her tuition for the following school year. She was completely overcome with gratitude and joy, for she knew that scholarship was a product of her tithing. Later that day, she received another email. This email was to schedule a job interview. This was the first time any employer had given her a chance that semester. She was overjoyed with these newfound blessings.

Throughout the course of that week, the girl's beautiful, amazing, talented, warrior of a mother decided to help her figure out a way to finally put a future graduation date on her calendar. With their combined brainpower, and a lot of stress and wailing and nashing of teeth, they made a fascinating discovery. By switching around the details of her major, the girl would be able to graduate the very next semester! That's right, they discovered that the girl, so long as all went as planned, would be able to graduate from college in the December of 2012. 

Meanwhile, the girl had taken a day off school to spend a marvelous weekend at Aspen Grove with her parents, a sister, and two of her nieces. On the way to Utah, she received a phone call, where in she scheduled another job interview! Upon her return back to Rexburg, she attended the second job interview, wherein she was hired immediately. The girl couldn't believe the blessings that were being poured down upon her. In the following days she would continue to be requested for not one, but two additional job interviews.

Also during that week, the girl, after much labor and turmoil, finally finished her extraordinarily stressful cake decorating final project. She experienced much joy at this accomplishment, and she knew that it would not have been achieved without the help of her Heavenly Father (for pictures of her final achievements in cake decorating, see below).

That brings us nearly up to date with the events of the girl's life, up until yesterday. Yesterday, with the help of her amazing friend, Juan, she had the beautiful opportunity to perform baptisms for the dead for a few of her dear great great great great (etc) aunts and uncle: Ragnil Jacomsen, Johanne Jocomsen (sisters from Norway, through the Schultz line), Maria Ann Schaeffer (from Pennsylvania), and William Henry Spink (from York, England--his baptism and confirmation was completed by Juan). It was a beautiful experience, and she was supernally grateful for the opportunity to be involved in such a marvelous work.

What, you ask, is the moral of the story? ALL WILL BE WELL! With faith, all things truly are possible. The girl is still terrified at the prospect of beginning her post-graduate journey through life, but she knows, now more than ever, that if she does each day by faith, all will truly be well. Heavenly Father loves us, and knows what we are going through. He is aware of our pain and our worry, and if we let Him, He will help us to conquer all our fears and the trials of our life! That is the undeniable and eternal truth.

Now for some baby clothes and cake:

My first sleeper: my favorite project in this class thus far.

My edible paper cake (the tulips and butterfly are edible paper

My first time tackling the terrifying world of fondant.

My gum paste flowers.

Royal Icing. Not yummy, but pretty.

I was thinking of my sister Tiffy while I made this cake. Probably because of the daffodils.
My final project: inspired by Taralyn's desires for her future wedding.

Duck bride and groom.

Picnic Basket

Red wagon with rope handle.

Black licorice wheels.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

No End in Sight...

I need twenty-four credits to graduate. Twenty-four. That's two more semesters, and some pretty chill semesters at that. In a perfect world, I would be graduating in July of 2013. That's only a year away. That is not far away at all--especially considering how quickly the last year has flown by.

When will I actually graduate??? Your guess is as good as mine. If you can figure it out, please let me know.

Here's my dilemma: next semester (which is Fall semester, the busiest semester of the year) only half of the culinary arts classes I need are going to be offered. Which half? The half that contains prerequisites for 50% of the classes that actually will be offered this Fall. Which means, that even though I should be able to take four culinary classes next semester, I can take TWO. And one of those two classes just so happen to be scheduled at the same time as one of the two Home and Family classes I need.

So, of the twenty-four credits I have left, this upcoming Fall semester will only allow me to take 8 of them.

Here is the Dilemma:

Do I:
A) Pay full tuition and take fluff classes, which requires sacrificing both time and money.
B) Pay tuition for only eight credits, thus disqualifying myself for any grants and scholarships, as well as the right to work on campus.
C) Take off Fall semester, which is immediately followed by my off-track, essentially totaling an entire school year taken off.
D) Magically befriend the BYU-Idaho scheduling fairies and make them add more culinary arts classes next semester. 

Eighteen year-old me would have opted for option A. In fact, eighteen year-old me lived option A for her first year of college. Current me is tempted to opt for option C, because current me is beginning to feel a lot of pressure and concern over the large sum of federal loans she has accrued over the past four years. Current me doesn't want to face the responsibilities and decisions of growing up. Current me wants to give up, as her financial situation is really starting to scare her. 

Yes, I'm scared to grow up. 

This is the second semester in a row that I have run into this problem. Last semester, my creativity and my mom's creativity combined led me to a practical solution. This semester, I am seriously running out of options. And it's making me freak out. A lot.  As much as I would love to live in the Rexburg college student bubble forever, the fact that I may have to stay here for who even knows how long does bother me. Just slightly. 

I don't mean to complain. And I don't mean to talk negatively about BYU-Idaho. I adore this school. I really do. And I am having a beautiful semester, and I actually have a job prospect, and I have been hit with blessing after blessing after blessing. And in two days, I get to go to one of the most beautiful places in Utah to spend time with 5/13 of my favorite people on the planet. Opposition in all things I guess. 

Luckily, I happen to be blessed enough to have been born to the wisest mother on the whole entire planet. Almost from infancy she has permanently engraved these words.

Day by day I live by faith. All will be well.

Coming soon: a happy post about things I'm learning this semester. I hereby declare that this little rant will be the only downer ever posted on this blog.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Let [everyone but me] Eat CAKE!

This semester is going so great! I love every single one of my classes, which is definitely a first. College life is definitely different once you finish your generals! Ah, the joys of being a senior. Even so, It is a very busy semester. My classes are incredibly time consuming. But, I am learning quite a lot. Right now the biggest focus of the semester (apart from training for the Princess Half) is Cake Decorating! This class is challenging me in ways that I have never experienced before, but I'm learning a lot, I tell ya what! We just finished the buttercream section, and turned in our third major assignment. I love working with buttercream! I have been able to learn such great piping skills so fast. I think buttercream will be my favorite forever, unless royal icing goes well (so far fondant and I are not very good friends). 

Our first buttercream assignment was a service project cake, meaning we had to make it for someone and deliver it to them. I chose to make a cake for some of my dear friends from Brit Lit. 

The sailboat is inspired by the marvelous day when we rode a ferry across the Irish sea to Inishmore. As you can see, I was still very new at the whole buttercream thing. My stars are two far apart, the border on the top isn't even, and the icing isn't smooth. But as my first real cake ever, I'm pretty proud of it. :)

Our second assignment was a floral cake board that demonstrated our skills in rosettes (pink), rosebuds, half roses, and full roses (yellow), stem work, and a bow. I really love how it turned out in the end (so did my teacher- I got 100% on this project), but this was the third attempt. The first time it was hideous. The second time, it was beautiful, but then it fell on the floor and I wanted to cry. But the third time is the charm! It looks a lot better than the first two.

Our latest assignment was our buttercream project. The criteria for this cake was that it had to be four inches tall, the top had to be subdivided in some way, and it had to have flower, leaves, and at least three colors.  While classic looking cakes are beautiful, I decided to try something different. I have found that with buttercream, I love taking classic techniques and using them for unique purposes.

So I made a four seasons cake!!! I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. The variegated colors on the sun and leaves are accomplished by painting the gel food color on the inside of a parchment piping bag, so it comes out over the original base color. 

The spring section is my favorite. Those are the most perfect rosettes I have ever made. The little yellow ones really do look like flowers to me. I also love how dark I got the green icing. But my absolute favorite part of this cake that I am by far the most proud of is the side.

I did basket weave! It's not perfect, but I am so glad that I tried it. I definitely have the most fun doing this technique, and a lot of people really love it on wedding cakes or birthday cakes and such. :) It's a good skill to have if I want to make cakes for $$$, which Sister Kusch says we will have the skills to do by the time we finish this class (in three weeks!). 

I am definitely having a lot of fun in this class. It will be sad to say goodbye so very soon (it's a block class, meaning I only have it for half of the semester), but then again, once it's over I'll suddenly have about 15 hours/week to spend on the 55 novels I have to read for Young Adult and Children's Lit. You win some you lose some. :)

P.S. Yesterday I ran THREE miles for the first time in my entire life, in 46:14, which is well within qualifying time for the Princess Half! That's already 23% of the total race distance! By the time July 4 hits, the Firekracker 5k should be a piece of cake! Also, I haven't weighed in yet this week, but my clothes are starting to get baggy. I'm wearing a pair of pants that didn't fit when the semester started, my belt is down one notches, and a belt I wear around my waist is down two. I love progress!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Who are you...

...and what have you done with the real Taunalee???

I don't even recognize myself this semester. Yes, I look the same. For now. I talk the same. I dress the same. Mostly. But I am not the same. What's the difference?


Right now I feel more motivated than I think I ever have. I feel motivated to do well in my classes, despite the fact that they involve reading a grand total of 55 novels and 30 picture books in the next 10 weeks, not to mention the crazy workload from my other classes. I feel motivated to have friends. For the first time in my life, I refuse to sit in my room watching a movie on Friday night, just feeling sorry for myself for not having a life. I feel motivated to know my ward. I want to actually be involved. I no longer want my ward to just be where I go to church on Sunday. I feel motivated to BE HAPPY! I have a good life! Why have I wasted so much time longing for things that I can't have? And last, but not least, I feel motivated to GET HEALTHY. Remember that thing that I'm doing in February? That half-marathony thing in DISNEY WORLD??? Well... thanks to the encouraging (and very firm) words of my amazing sister Tiffany, I've started training. It's slow and I have a long way to go, but it's going. Quite well... In fact, heres a shocker. I'm actually enjoying it. A lot. A lot a lot. Not, only that, but I'm changing my eating habits as well. Going low-carb hasn't even been that hard. I still eat delicious food, just different food.  I don't go hungry. But, here's the kicker. Two words:

8 pounds.

In a week and a half. Now, I know that pace probably won't last for long. But still. That is eight pounds that are gone forever (because I am going to force them to be gone forever). I am going to change. And I am going to try as hard as I can to never go back.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patty's Day!!!

Quick sidebar: If you've been directed here from Facebook, see previous post. :)

I have always LOVED St. Patrick's Day! But I never really new why. It's not that exciting to wear green all day for fear of being pinched or be treated with normal, run-of-the-mill food that has received a treatment of green dye. But for me, it is! Growing up, I never really had a reason to love March 17. I simply did. And I still do. But, the difference between now and then, is that I now have excellent reasons to love and celebrate Irish culture and tradition.

I know many have not had the opportunity to experience the magic of Ireland first hand (a blessing I would wish upon any living being on this beautiful earth!), but trust me when I say that going there first hand really gives you a boost of enthusiasm for this magical, underrated holiday.

It could have something to do with...

...experiencing the colorful landscapes and the smell of salty Irish air...

...walking on sacred Irish burial grounds...

...feeling the Irish grass between my toes (which for some also meant hosting those hearty and tenacious Irish ticks...)

...seeing actual Irish Leprechauns of the streets of Dublin...

...enjoying a hearty bowl of Irish stew in an actual Irish pub...

...visiting the stunning cathedral built in honor of Saint Patrick himself...

...bicycling through Irish sea towns...

...or sailing over the Irish sea...

...this place gets in your bones! This beautiful nation is beautiful enough to make even the staunchest neigh-sayers of St. Patty's day feel a little Irish pride.

Not only that, but my momma and I recently discovered that I actually have Irish in my blood! I am descended from James O'Carroll (through my great-grandma Urna Barbara Carroll) of the clan O'Carroll of the village of Providence of Sisters in the County of Armagh in the country of Ireland. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it...

Kiss Me, I'm Irish!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Disney Princess Half

Let's face it: I'm not even close to being a very fit person. It's been that way for most of my life. Well, recently in my life I decided that I'm finally going to take matters into my own hands and change that. That's why, on February 24, 2013, my sister, Taralyn, and I (and anyone who wants to join us *hint hint*) are running the Disney Princess Half Marathon. If you don't understand this already, you need to take a minute and absorb what a massively huge deal this is for me. I was always one of the last kids to finish the mile during those good ole Presidential Fitness days. If I'm going to work out, I would rather do anything but run--I have always hated it. 

I've known about runDisney events for a long time now, ever since my first week working at Disney World just barely three years ago. It never tempted me. I didn't even give it a second thought after that day when I helped cheer on the runners going through Epcot on one of my first days at work. A few weeks ago, I was having dinner with Taralyn and my cousin, Melissa, and they started discussing their desires to run a marathon. It reminded me of runDisney, and that night I started doing some research for them.

Then came the big shocker. I started getting really excited and happy while reading the info about the Disney Princess Half. But, the surprise came when I realized that I wasn't feeling excitement and happiness on their behalf. I was feeling it for myself! I received a very strong prompting that night that over the next year, I need to be training, with the end goal of running the Princess Half in February. No one is more surprised than me. What makes it even more so is the fact that it was my idea to begin with.

This is going to be an incredibly long and difficult journey for me. I already know that there will be times when I want to give up. I will probably even try to from time to time. That's why I want people to know. The more people there are rooting for me and counting on me to do this for myself, the more motivation I will have to actually do it. I need help from people who love me, care for me, or even just know about me. 

I can't give up, and I need people to help me remember that. This journey that I will be embarking on over the next 10 1/2 months is going to change my life. I know that if I can just pull it off, my life will never be the same again. I know I will have love and encouragement from my family and from my Heavenly Father, but now I need it from everyone else!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Why I love my job...

Snow-topped pine trees...

The occasional  opportunity to  play with my nieces...

Sweeping views of majestic mountains...

My amazingly close proximity to  EIGHT different temples...

(I've only had a chance to visit SLC, Provo, and Mt. Timpanogos so far, but before we leave we're hoping to also hit Draper, Jordan River, Oqquirh Mountain, Manti, and maybe? Bountiful.)

The amazing ladies who make my job and my life in Utah not only bearable, but fun...

...and finally, perfect opportunities to play with my new camera and pretend I'm somewhat decent... :)