Thursday, February 28, 2013

Remembering Eleanor

When it came time to register for classes for spring semester, I didn't know what I was doing. I only needed to take two more classes. However, people apparently think I need to be a full time student to keep my scholarship and financial aid, thus I began searching the school website for random classes that would make my total credit hours sum up to a total of twelve. My two thoughts while searching for these random classes were 1) sign up for fun and interesting classes, and 2) sign up for classes that will be an easy A. 

So I signed up for billiards because I had always wanted to take it. Then I signed up for intro to religious studies because I heard it was easy and engaging. Then I signed up for social deviance because I am apparently obsessed with criminal behavior and the professor teaching it is one of my favorites. Then I signed up for some English class because English comes to me easier than most subjects. 

But weeks later, flurries of emails made it to my inbox alerting me that I couldn't take that English class because it was only for English majors. They demanded I drop it or they would drop me instead, and while I was made out to be the criminal, I was just wondering why the heck they gave me the go to register for it in the first place. Not my fault. When I pushed that register button, why in the world didn't red lights flash and words come across my screen saying, BOO, SUCKER! YOU AREN'T AN ENGLISH MAJOR! DO NOT PASS GO! DO NOT COLLECT TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS! 

So I obeyed the English masters and dropped the class. Then I worriedly and anxiously searched for another class that could give me my full time student status. All the somewhat easy classes were full and had long waiting lists. I started to panic. Then I cursed the law makers of University rules because all I really wanted was to take another journalism class, but apparently my JCOM classes are maxed out. Okay, yeah, that makes sense. Limit me from learning more about my trade. Ugh.

Then I found a women & leadership class that was only once a week. And I thought to myself, "Hmm, once a week. It can't be too hard. What the heck. Let's light things on fire, twirl our panties around, and bash on men." So I signed up for it.

Now it turns out, I think I was meant to take this class all along. It is nothing like I thought it would be. I am not just sliding by, wanting a grade. It's something I've discovered I am passionate about. And we don't sit in class on Wednesday evenings and act like we are picked on because we are females. We discuss things that are empowering. We talk about problems and how to overcome them. We learn leadership skills and how to use the fact that we are women to our advantage. We talk about how we can better support and embrace the women around us. Turns out, I love this stuff. It's made me take a step back and look into my soul, and then made me take a step forward and look into the souls of my fellow-women.

In class, we recently took a silencing the self test and it turns out, I silence myself a lot more than I thought I did. Sure, I have strong opinions on subjects. And sure, I probably blog about things that make people roll their eyes and shake their heads. But the thing is, I have a bad habit of closing off my innermost feelings. And when I want to express how I feel, I stop myself out of the fear of hurting someone's feelings. I do like this about myself; that I am sentimental toward others. However, I do an unhealthy amount of it. I always worry about others' feelings at the expense of my own. So I am working on it. I am trying to say and do what I feel is best, even if it means I might be judged for it. And on the other hand, I am trying to do a better job of not doing the judging myself. It's quite interesting because the men actually don't hold women back as much as we may think. We as women do the holding back. We hold ourselves back and if we aren't holding ourselves back, we justify belittling and holding back other women.

Because of this class, wheels are turning in my head and ideas are forming. I want to help women come together to celebrate this beautiful thing we have in common, this thing we call womanhood. I don't know how I want to do that, but I know I already have strengthened a part of myself because of this class. I am learning more and more every day how special it is to be a woman and that God loves me and knows I am capable. 

Around the same time we took the silencing the self test, we also watched a PBS documentary on Eleanor Roosevelt. Watch it if you get the chance. No matter your political opinions, you can't deny the fact that Eleanor Roosevelt was an incredible lady. Her life was actually quite dark and depressing. She was shy. But she learned how to speak and instill hope and happiness into others, and I think that's just grand. So if Eleanor did it, then I can too. And so can you, and you, and you

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Instagrams & Milk

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some of this action. . .

Getting lost in a plethora of naked "man"nequins with my bff

cat naps

venturing through the winter tundra like a boss

my little sister's mop of hair

 rockin' out to Led Zeppelin in the kitchen

Luna wearing lipstick. It's her favorite shade. 

a Saturday journey to see my grandparents 

the greatest sweet potato fries to ever be sliced

a baby puppy that made me cry tears of joy

my cheapskate V-Day gift to BWell 

a snowy trail run

my new pony friend named Buttercup 

being a good sport after having my hiney handed to me by our whole group at bowling

Taking my seeeesters out for lunch 

my once childhood bed which has been taken over by these shady stuffed characters

with my lil bro & my main squeeze at a USU basketball game

And if you want some more of that action, find me @mrskellwell. Let's get crunk on Instagram together. 

Guys, I don't even know what crunk means. I just wanna sound large and in charge here. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Camping In

I don't know what came over me.

 I found myself wanting scary stories told over a bonfire.
 Sleeping on the ground under stars.
I found myself wanting summer over the weekend.

 So I came up with a temporary fix. I politely begged Brian to go on a camp in with me. Essentially like a camp out, only indoors.

We put our gas stove to use and made s'mores. Typically, I am afraid of that oven. I've never had a gas stove until this apartment. And I always just associate gas stoves with carbon monoxide poisonings. I can't even tell you how many times a day I obsessively check to make sure all the switches on the oven are off. I would just hate to accidentally kill myself with a kitchen appliance, ya know? But Saturday night, I was grateful for the gas stove when in it assisted us in roasting some delightful mallows. Then we rearranged the furniture in our living room to make a spot in the center of the room for our air mattress. After blowing it up and piling it with blankets and pillows, we cuddled, snacked on s'mores, and watched Argo (which won the very deserving award of best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, although I do still love Les Miserables).

T'was a very fine camp in, indeed. Although, I will admit that we wimped out and abandoned the air mattress for our comfortable bed upstairs once the movie ended. That's one luxury you can't enjoy on a camp out.

How do you handle "spring fever"? Do you talk people into having camp ins like I did?  

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Best: Shaven Legs

top: F21, necklace: F21, earrings: F21, skirt: maurices, tights: TJ Maxx, heels: Kmart, bracelet: gift

When a girl picks up a razor for the first time to shave the hair off her legs, it's kind of a right of passage. It is one of the many steps we take to become a woman. I was the last girl in my grade to shave my legs. I remember how it happened, exactly. I was in the locker room after PE and as I changed alongside my female classmates, the discussion of leg shaving came up. I carefully listened as all the girls chatted about how smooth their legs felt and I glanced down at my dry legs covered with little stubs of hair. Those stubs told me I was still a child. A child surrounded by women. Suddenly, another girl shouted, "Wait. Do you all shave your legs?" I shyly admitted I never had. Turns out the other girl hadn't either. The rest of the girls went on to tease us and we stood together, surrounded by legs much smoother and hairless than our own. As I walked from the locker room with this other girl who had never held a razor in hand, I made a deal with her. That night, we would both ask our moms if we could begin the journey of shaving our legs. I remember being so incredibly nervous that night to confront my mom. I finally worked up the courage to ask her, and she led me to the bathroom to give me my first shaving lesson. 

The first time was so exciting. I took careful long strokes, feeling the blade against flesh. Watching as my childhood hairs dropped from the blade and whirled around in the tub water. And after I dried off, I applied lotion to my now hairless legs. That night, I think I fell asleep stroking the smooth skin of my legs. I was now a woman. If only I knew then what a pain it really is to shave legs. . .perhaps I would have waited a few more years to start. 

Today, I felt a bit like I did ten years ago in that locker room. Embarrassed of my childhood leg hairs. Both nervous and excited about growing up. Today my wonderful husband, Brian, was made second counselor in the bishopric of our ward. We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). Basically different areas are divided into wards and the bishop is the one who oversees the people of each individual ward. As a bishop, you have two counselors to help assist you with all the work to be done. Brian is now one of those counselors. And if you aren't familiar with the LDS church and I've already confused you beyond measure, just know that this calling of Brian's means he will be gone a lot, helping people, and I will now hardly see him on Sundays. This means no more back rubs for me during sacrament meeting since he will be sitting on the stand (woe is me). I know Brian will do a great job, but as his wife, I feel sort of intimidated and inadequate. And young. I mostly just feel really young. So today I wore a black skirt and black tights (I rarely wear so much black) hoping that my outfit would say, "No, I'm not twenty-two years old and flawed beyond measure. I can handle this." 

But then again, my cheetah print heels probably jeopardized that motive.

If you have any tips on how to be more grown-up and mature, that'd be nice. This might be a little harder than leg shaving. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Proud Daughter Moment

Let me take a moment to brag about one of my very best friends. She is a very good friend, and the one I've had the very longest. She has always been there for me, even on days when I am mean. She taught me how to read, count, and tie my shoes. She made me sandwiches and watched "I Dream of Genie" with me before sending me out the door to catch the bus to kindergarten. She is the one who named me Kelsey Marie and rocked me at night when I was a wee crying baby.

My mom is one of my very best friends. And it's always been that way. When I was in high school, my friends would sometimes give me a hard time because I would ditch them to hang out with my mom. I would get a call to go out on a Friday or Saturday night and my reply would be: "Sorry, my mom and I are watching a movie tonight," or "Maybe another time. I'm going to scrapbook with my mom and eat cookies." I would often get joking remarks along the lines of, "Yeah, Kelsey would rather hang out with her mom than us." But really, I know they respected me for it. They knew how absolutely awesome my mom was. Who wouldn't want to hang out with her, really?

I am so grateful that I had a healthy relationship with my mom through my teen years. I am also grateful we could be friends without her setting aside her "mom role" to be my "girlfriend". You know those moms? The ones where you're like, "Ugh. I know you love your daughter, but don't act like you're in high school too." Yeah, my mom was a healthy balance. I knew after a date with a boy I really liked, that she would be anxiously waiting in bed to hear about my date (and I would always excitedly tell her if I got a kiss or not). On the other hand, I knew if I came home after a date and missed curfew, that she would be waiting, watching the clock, ready to lay out the consequences since I chose to break the rules. I am so grateful for that. I am so grateful she never worried about me being mad at her when I needed to be disciplined.

Besides being my friend, she has also been my number one supporter. Always. She rarely missed a volleyball match, basketball game, or track meet. And even though she still never understood the rules of basketball, she was still always there, in the bleachers, cheering for us to "put it in the hoop and not be mean to anyone". And after every game, she was there to give me words of encouragement. She is also the one that took my dream of going to Africa seriously. And then she even traveled with me, even though she is a huge home body. Those weeks of sleeping on our rickety cots and listening to the hyenas laugh at dawn brought us even closer together.

My mom is an example of a loving mother to everyone. When we are out in public, little kids I don't even know will rush up to her, hug her, and she will endearingly ask how they are. My mom is truly one of the most compassionate people I know. She loves others purely and completely, expecting nothing in return. She often puts her own trials aside in order to take care and listen to those around her who are hurting. I don't understand how she does it. She constantly takes on the burdens of others and still goes about her day with a smile and positive outlook on life. My whole life, I watched her bring in homeless and hurt animals that she cared for and nursed back to health. She sees the big picture and knows how to brighten the lives of all those who are in her reach. Whenever I'm having a bad day, my first thought is, "I just want to see my mom. She would know how to cheer me up."

I am sure my mom is already dizzy with embarrassment as she reads this post (she doesn't enjoy the spotlight) but I am going to embarrass her even more. Recently, my mom started a new hobby. She is full of hobbies. She is one of those creative and capable people who just seems to be able to do everything. But her most recent hobby is creating jewelry. A couple weeks ago, we spent an afternoon together and she taught me how to make a leather strap bracelet. I was amazed by all the pretty things she'd made and it was really piling up.

"What are you going to do with all this jewelry, Mom?"

"Oh, I'll just wear it or give it away," she said.

And she wasn't kidding. She actually posted a facebook status that said: What one word inspires you? Tell me and I'll make you a surprise.
She ended up with over 40 replies and has been faithfully working on those 40 something surprises. But I've been on her about selling her jewelry.

"Open an Etsy shop," I say.
And she says, "Oh, that's silly. No one will want to buy it."
I say that's lies.

Well, today my mom surprised me with the news that she created an Etsy shop for her lovely hand-made jewelry. And since I know she won't say anything about it, I thought I would share the news with all you lovely readers. Check out her shop at Millie Made. Cute name, right? Her name is Camille, but my dad often calls her Millie. You can also like her facebook page by clicking here. Who knows, maybe I can talk her into doing a giveaway on this here blog. Would that be fun or what? Here are some pictures of some of my favorite things she has in the shop at this very moment:

beauty bracelet

faith bracelet

a necklace. . .

with a hidden message on the back

and a bracelet. . .

with a hidden message inside

All orders can be specially made with your choice of word or message. Thanks for letting me brag up my mom for a bit. Usually you hear about moms having "proud mama moments" over their kids. Well, right now I am having a proud daughter moment. So proud of that sweet lady. 

Let me know if you would be interested in a giveaway so I can work on sweet talkin' her ;). 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Logan Love: Mandarin Garden

Logan Love: Mandarin Garden
432 North Main Street
Logan, UT

There is nothing quite like going into a restaurant and feeling as though you stepped back in time thirty years, and then being pleasantly surprised when you are presented with good food and top notch service. This is what Mandarin Garden was for me and Brian during date night last week. And I suppose it's the way every good Chinese place should be. You know, a little dilapidated (still very clean) with really good food. I think my heart will break if they ever renovate the place. I love the lanterns hanging from the ceiling and the floral wallpaper that seems to be clinging to the walls for dear life. It is quite the endearing atmosphere. 

When we arrived, the place was jumping, but we only waited about 45 seconds before they got a table ready for us. Our waiter constantly made sure our drinks were full and that we were happy, which we were both super impressed with (he got a good tip). And I noticed that everyone who worked there was constantly busy doing something. No lollygagging around. If a person wasn't busy with a table, they were sweeping the floor, or organizing silverware. It's like they were all on their own secret mission or something. I like going out to eat good food, but good service is also a must for me. If I go somewhere with really awful service, it doesn't matter how good the food tastes. The bad service puts a nasty taste in my mouth long before I get any food. So when I go somewhere to eat where I get both tasty food and sweet service, you bet that place has my business. I will always go back to Mandarin Garden. While we were there, we both felt like we were important. It's nice to feel important. It's also nice when your plate of orange chicken looks like it was created by a professional artist. . . 

Also, a word of advice, the servings are quite generous. Along with that huge plate of chicken, I also got a pot of rice. Brian and I decided we should have split a meal. But it was nice having leftovers for the weekend too. 

The worst part of the night was probably Brian's fortune he got in his cookie. It was kind of a. . .negative fortune. We both laughed really hard and I mocked him the remainder of the night. Give up on all your crazy dreams, Brian. The fortune cookie told you to. . .

For good Chinese food, excellent service, and unpredictable fortunes, hit up Mandarin Garden if you are in the Logan area. You'll have a real good time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Dreamiest Sugar Cookies

Valentine's Day is now long gone. But that doesn't mean you can't still whip up some delicious heart-shaped cookies. If you feel too weird about it, just find a cookie cutter in the shape of something to celebrate the next holiday. Four-leaf clover cookies? Bunny cookies? Sky is the limit, really.

The majority of sugar cookies do not really get my taste-buds going. And that's because the majority of sugar cookies have the consistency all wrong. They are either crumbling apart onto my lap, or so hard I fear I will chip a tooth. This recipe gets it right. These cookies come out of the oven just soft enough and they stay just soft enough for days. No chipped teeth over here. Only a full and happy tummy.

Here is my genius mother's recipe for sugar cookies:

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp lemon extract (I think this is the secret ingredient that makes them smell so goooood)
7 Tbsp milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour

Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in salt, soda, and flavorings. Add part of milk, then flour, then rest of milk. Dough will be very soft. Roll out to desired thickness and cut with your cookie cutters. Bake at 375 for about 5 minutes. Watch closely. It would be a sin to over-bake.

Then whip up some frosting and get to decorating. That's the fun part (besides eating them of course). We had a blast spending an evening with friends while we decorated (and ate) plenty of sugar cookies. And the recipe made so many, that I even had a few for breakfast the next day (oops). So if you are making these with a small group, I would suggest halving the recipe. We ended up with close to 30 cookies. Just call me Mrs. Fatty.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Truth Tuesday

  • I am by no means a very good snowboarder, but there is something stunning about gliding across snow down a mountain. It is especially stunning when I crash and hurt my tailbone. Seriously though, I had such a blast spending Presidents' Day with my brother and sister as we hit up the slopes and shared many laughs together. 

  • I think I am finally getting over my fear of ski lifts. They give me anxiety attacks. Not riding them. It's the getting off that freaks me out. 

  • Also, I must look super manly in my snow pants because I was called a "dude" three separate times while boarding yesterday.

  • Does anyone remember Hoku? Oh my goodness, I loved her when I was about twelve. 

  • The guy in the car next to me at the red light today was totally picking his nose. We are talking knuckle deep. I felt super awkward and thought about rolling down the window to offer him a tissue. 

  • I went grocery shopping last night with wet hair, sweats, and a baseball cap on. I asked Brian if I looked suspicious. He said that I very much looked like I was getting ready to steal some tomatoes and animal crackers. 

  • Feast your eyes upon the prettiest filing cabinent I ever did see. Who knew filing cabinents could be so elegant-looking? This will be my next attempt at a DIY project. Definitely.  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Best: Battle of the Sweats

cardigan: Violet Hill Boutique, dress: Dillard's, tights: Kohl's shoes: Kohl's, necklace: Smith's, earrings: Forever 21

With all this cold air and inversion, it can be a constant battle to get dressed in the mornings. my alarm goes off and instead of being excited to delve into my closet for an outfit, I think, "I just want to stay in my bed. I just want to wear my baggy man sweats." But every day, I fight off the evil and lazy temptation to wear sweats and put on real clothes. 

My freshman year of college, I went through a dark period. You know, where I was feeling lost and insignificant. And every day, I wore sweats and a hoody to class. I made up excuses that my lack of dressing up was due to being on the track team. "I have practice later," I would say, "it makes more sense to just already be dressed for practice." But that was all dirty lies, I tell you. The truth was, I wanted to hide. So I hid in those comfy and boxy sweats and trudged around to class, hoping I went unnoticed.

I never want to have that feeling again, the feeling of wanting to go unnoticed. So when it seems easy to put on sweats, I remind myself I am better than that and I put on something cute. Even on days when I don't feel cute. 

So even though I'm experiencing a bit of the winter blues and my skin is so dry that it seems to constantly flake off my face (I am disgusting, I know) I still tried to dress my best for church today. This outfit above was the result. So for a few blessed hours, I felt like a lady. A lady with a dry face, but a lady nonetheless. A lady with a demand to be noticed. 

And then when we got home, I put the sweats on and consumed leftover Winger's sticky fingers and fries. Sue me.