2015 top ten.

it's that time again! oscar time! here are my top ten favorite movies of 2015:

the psychologist in me LOVED THIS. also, the emotional part of me (50%; i'm half blue on the color personality test. the other half of me is red, which is also represented in the movie and somehow i just got lost on this personality test tangent sorry--). i could have done without a few scenes and characters (i'm looking at you bozo bing bong). pixar did it again for me with super deep concepts like sadness is NECESSARY and, dare i say holy?

i loved quite a few things about this movie, first and foremost is that it was a welcomed departure from disney's last live-action fairy tale (the most deplorable maleficent). hate for maleficent aside, this was my first encounter with the lovely lily james. her oft repeated line "have courage and be kind" should be a national motto. other than that, cate blanchett of course was wonderful and THE COSTUMES!!!!!! i think this also mighta been the first time i went to the sugar house recliner theater so that probably played into my love.

saoirse ronan is getting better and better with age it appears (but really, how much better can you get when your breakout role was in atonement?). she comes into her own in this role. the best scene is her verbal flogging of a nosy townswoman--of which i responded with a loud YOU GO GIRL in the theater. couldn't help it. the greatest part about this movie is that even YOU can't decide who she should be with in the end; on the one hand there's the sign-inducing emory cohen busting out maybe my favorite brooklyn accent ever, and on the other is my long-time crush domhnall gleeson and a fancy irish country home. WHO TO CHOOSE?!?! but also, THE COSTUMES!!!!

this is YOUR YEAR leo (although, for the record, i think michael fassbender is more deserving of best actor this year, for his work in steve jobs)!!! really though, what a cast! tom hardy is a force to be reckoned with and, fun fact:  i named my goldfish after will poulter's character in son of rambow, so i'm a big fan. as has previously been indicated, i'm also a fan of alejandro inarritu's work (see last year's top ten) and thoroughly enjoyed the vast single-shots that occurred. basically this movie is equal parts brutal and beautiful. i was glad i brought a blanket to the theater for this one cause 2.5 hours of snow had me CHILLED.

this movie is kinda like, just my thing:  funny, but also REAL and sometimes super serious. and it was about movies. and it had nick offerman in it. and the soundtrack was LIT! my very, most favoritest, fall-in-love moment was this very expressionist scene of just some light and color and movement on the screen with brian eno's "big ship" playing. it was beautiful and may or may not have provoked a few tears from this girl.

well i'd be lying if i didn't say that the best part of this movie was oscar isacc's dance scene. this was an unexpected gem early in the year and those are always my favorites. terrific performances by all involved, and really set in stone my love for alicia vikander.

i think i have a thing for movies about space. maybe i should have been an astronaut? um, i really really liked this movie! i was funny! and interesting! and it was my #1 for the year for a while. and that's that.

oh goshhhh. each scene of this film is more heart breaking and more shocking until you are left with mouth agape as the credits role. the entire cast (which includes the city of boston) is wonderful. i'm partial to michael keaton and mark ruffalo ALWAYS, but rachel mcadams, liev schreiber, and brian d'arcy james are all brilliant here. oh yeah and duh! my fave mad men roger sterling (john slattery) was beautiful and wonderful too. this movie made me think a lot and talk a lot, which is essentially why i like movies. 

2. room 
WHOA. this was the most tense i have been in a movie, maybe ever. i turned into one of those people in the theater that yell out; hurry! run! get out! this movie is heart-wrenching and makes you think, mostly about how much you laughed at kimmy schmidt. there are really good lessons here about overcoming things. it's one of those films that you never forget and will stay with you forever. also, the boy in this (played by 9 year old jacob tremblay) is brilliant so, LENNY ABRAHAMSON FOR BEST DIRECTOR!

well i never would have thought that this movie would end up being my favorite of the year, but here we are and here it is! at the top of the list. i really really liked a lot of movies last year, but when it came down to it, nothing beat out my love for furiosa mad max. emily and i saw it early in the morning and drove to an amc about 30-minutes away to watch in reclining seats. we snacked on chocolate covered almonds (the closest to "breakfast" we could find at the theater) while having our minds blown. the part i fell hard was, of course, when the doof warrior entered SHREDDING his flaming electric guitar. ohhhh so many goodies; tom hardy is such a hunk, furiosa is the best fictional character created in recent years. honestly it was the most pleasant surprise of 2015. rolling stone got it right:  "a hallucinatory milestone from director george miller, who, at 70, proves himself the most vital action director in movies today. tom hardy excels as the futuristic road warrior, but charlize theron steals the show as a force of feminist nature. that's miller for you, making a woman the redeemer in his world of fire and blood." amen.

honorable mentions go to love & mercy, shaun the sheep, steve jobs, bridge of spies, kingsmen:  the secret service, irrational man (which no one saw, but guys IT'S WOODY!), and the end of the tour. all wonderful movies you should add to your to see list.

> > > > > > > > > > 

can't get enough?? more oscar fun comin' attcha:

here are my TOP TEN lists from 20122013, and 2014


music monday.

this past monday, pitchfork released their 100 best tracks of 2015--just another reason december is one of the best months of the year. i love year-end lists and was pleased to see a handful of my favorite songs of 2015 represented in the hundred:

two sufjan stevens' songs from his latest album, carrie and lowell--forth of july at #69
it's hard to imagine too many artists capable of selling the line 'we're all gonna die' and wringing out so many layers of meaning. as the line is repeated--surrounded by hushed piano and a choir of backup voices--it becomes less a nihilist warning of an admission of defeat. it's a reminder to live, to embrace, to remember, to sing (t. cole rachel). 
and should have known better at #11! woo!

also, rihanna's bitch better have my money at #13, lana del rey's high by the beach at #75, father john misty's the night josh tillman came to our apt at #71, fka twig's in time at #52, jack u (featuring justin bieber) where are u now  at #38 (a j.b. song, shocking i know), kendrick lamar's blacker the berry at # 21, tame impala's eventually at #26, adele's hello at #15 (OBVI!), and EVEN drake's hotline bling coming in at #2!!!

as usual, the list also nets a bunch of great new stuff to listen to. take a look and find something beautiful for your ears to celebrate.

i'll leave you with two spotify playlists. first, my top 10 songs of 2015 (not necessarily FROM 2015, but in 2015--this is what i liked):

second, my top 100 played songs in 2015:

happy end-of-year! many a good song to you and yours!


pretty print (family picture edition).

taken by the lovely shayla moller.

i was just looking through some of this year's family pictures and fell upon this one. i think it's so natural and beautiful. we are happy, together, in our favorite city.

i'm so grateful for my family and the LIGHT and JOY and HAPPINESS they bring to my life. counting down the days (16) till christmas-break and 24/7 family time! woo!!

wishing you all the same--light, joy, and happiness--this holiday season.


pretty prints.

i like all of these quite a bit. they were all designed for dress your tech over on design love fest. if i'm ever feeling a little dull and need some SPICE in my life, i head over there for a new phone or computer background. it's funny how something so little as what's on your computer screen can affect you--for good or bad.



summer re-cap.

i went to church on sunday only to discover the average age in the ward dropped to 18; westminster started.

paige became a full-fledged adult today and started teaching english to a bunch of eighth graders.

i added about 5 minutes to my morning commute (as of yesterday) because of the elementary that's located on my street, and because of all the freaking school zones on the the way to work.

summer 2015 is OVER!

for me though, things will pretty much stay the same. i've gotten over that gotta-buy-school-clothes-and-get-back-to-school feeling i grappled with post-graduation. and it's still warm enough to swim. so really, i'm good! it also means that city creek isn't so crowded and that i basically have the food court to myself at lunch. win!

nevertheless, here's a pictorial summer 2015 re-cap for your viewing pleasure:

at the beginning of the summer i went on a architecture tour of salt lake. man, we have some beautiful buildings in this city (see above). 

i continued to love burgers this summer and was ecstatic to find this burger seat at one of my fave spots: red robbin.

i went to a lot of concerts this summer. concerts are kind of my jam lately. here ^^^ is passion pit at red butte. we also saw death cab for cutie, father john misty, and black rebel motorcycle club at twilight. last week i sat on the hill behind red butte to listen to wilco and it was a DREAM! looking forward to a few more really great concerts this fall.  

i didn't hike as much as i wanted to this summer. i did timp last year and was yearning for another 10-hour gig, but didn't get the chance. fingers crossed for some good fall hikes. i did however, do a few short hikes here and there. above ^^^ is on the grandeur peak trail.
 ^^^ here's a view from the trail behind the draper temple ... i don't know what it's called ... bonneville shoreline?? which reminds me of a new bucket list item i have:  hike the entire bonneville shoreline trail, which spans from idaho to santaquin. on the day this was taken, i just hurried up the hill to see the sunset. boy was it worth it!

^^^ this is the desolation trail up millcreek canyon. it's lotr reminiscent no? 

^^^ lastly we have a hike-selfie from donut falls.

of course we participated in our annual moonlight ride on antelope island! this year was the BEST YET because i brought a portable speaker and we JAMMED the whole ride. actually, at one point, i was taking a breather at the top of a hill and led zeppelin's kashmir was playing. a couple people thanked me while they passed and said the song helped them up the hill. long live jimmy page.

many a sunday night (and a few weeknights) were spent out on the front lawn. this is a favorite pass time of mine and paige's. another favorite pass time of mine and paige's is TICKET TO RIDE. the best board game ever to exist (with monopoly taking a close second, obvi). 

a super big giant best highlight of the summer was our quick jaunt to disneyland for a two day spree. we drove from saint george early on a sunday morning and returned late (SUPER late, like we got home at 6am) monday morning. it was all in all a wonderful trip. i'm realizing the more i visit disneyland, the more i love it. the ears, the food, the fun. it really is a magical place.

BEFORE the drop on splash mountain.

and AFTER the drop on splash mountain. somehow paige still looks like a model ... 

this summer was momentous because it was my first time seeing 2001: a space odyssey. loved it! love that stanely kubrick. also a shout out to my uncle for letting us watch it in his theater. so good.

two of my oldest and dearest friends had babies this summer. brooklyn (on the right) is my birthday babe cause she was due on my birthday. although, when it came down to it she couldn't wait to make her entrance and came four days early. still, she's my birthday babe. 

^^^ here's another one of my babes i just couldn't help but include in the post. showing me her smile on a sunday facetime sesh. that face! oh that face!!!

i know this picture is really dark, but it was one of my most favoritest days this summer. it was my birthday week and i did a little ferris buellering (if you know what i mean) and spent the day with my favorite people at lagoon. we did lagoon-a-beach, rode all the rides (well, some of the group rode all the rides), played games, won prizes, and ate something called a "beaver tail" that i've been dreaming about ever since. SUCH good times.  

a couple of weekends ago, me and my two best girls drove up to bear lake on a saturday. we stopped in logan for breakfast at angie's (highly recommended, we loved it!), then made the rest of our way up the canyon to that SO BLUE bear lake. it was crowded, but it's so big it didn't make much of a difference to us. we laid on the beach, tanned, listened to poolside playlist classics, and rented a jet ski for a bit and rode around on the lake. it was such a great day we decided to make it a tradition. 

^^^ dancing AND tanning. best of the best.

last weekend was a last-days-of-summer-celebration of sorts. we did slide the city. please note that, although my burger is so adorable, it is not a tube and therefore, was not ideal for sliding down the three block water slide. 

paige WAS wearing a swimsuit. just fyi. 

after slide the city we had snow cone chasers. interestingly, this was my first of the season and it did not disappoint. please give me coconut ice cream with my snow cone ALL THE TIMES.

in the evening we attended a concert at the sandy amphitheater. which was so delightful. oh! and then we went to bill & teds excellent adventure at the tower. 
perfect way to end the summer.

looking forward to football games, horror movies, pumpkin EVERYTHING, and all else that comes with fall.


28 things to do before i'm 29.

1. take a ceramics class.
2. go to a barre class.
3. take tennis lessons.
4. get a passport.
5. watch all the best picture winners.
6. take a trip via train.
7. stay at a dude ranch, do dude ranch things.
8. make pickles.
9. get acupuncture.
10. visit havasupai.
11. read a book.
12. cross at least one hike off my hiking list.
13. go snow shoeing.
14. surprise someone.
15. help someone in need.
16. run barefoot (preferably on the beach).
17. play matchmaker.
18. go on a completely spontaneous trip.
19. bake a cake for a loved-one.
20. fall asleep on a grassy plain.
21. cook a five-course meal.
22. travel the world through food.
23. learn the art of graffiti.
24. understand the difference between jazz and good jazz.
25. study mormon pioneer women.
26. read the last conference talk of all the prophets.
27. have more technology-free days.
28. throw a dance party.

most of these should look familiar to you if you've followed along for the past four years (24 things, 25 things, 26 things, and 27 things). it's becoming increasingly difficult to come up with things to do and i'm getting up there!

but i guess the most important, number one thing i want to do this year, isn't on the list. it isn't really something i can check off. it's something that has been really hard for me in the past, and maybe is really hard for me currently. but that thing is be happy in the moment. my sister keeps a running list every year of "moments of happiness". things like "this person said something nice to me" or "me and some friends ate out and saw a movie and it was really fun". just simple but, i think, really significant! and the greatest idea.

so here's to another year.
and here's to making this year the happiest.


18. find the best burger utah has to offer.

i'm nearing the end of my time for 27 things. in which case it's time for me to do a little accounting!

i'm sure i've talked about the mind of a chef here before. it's one of my favorite television shows. i'm SO intrigued by these food-geniuses. oddly enough, you can find me marathoning this documentary/travel/history/science/food series any given friday night. i'm obsessed.

david chang was the show's premier chef. season one encompassed the mind of david chang, founder of the momofuku restaurant group and 2 michelin star holder. needless to say, i'm a big fan. i look forward to the day i dine at one of his establishments.

combine my love of david chang with my love of burgers and imagine my delight upon finding this "burger manifesto" in lucky peach, last month. it's basically just a list of things david chang DOESN'T like about burgers. i similarly tried coming up with things i didn't like about burgers, but could really only come up with one:

a bunch of fancy stuff; arugula and candied bacon confuses my mouth.

really i'm pretty simple. good cheese, good meat, good burger. oh, i guess i have one criteria:  that the burger have a sense of the americana if you will. i'm talking mustard, ketchup, meat and bun, with good fries and a diet coke on the side. this, to me, is the perfect combo. if you can follow it up with a yummy shake, it's the cherry on top. ok so, 

top 3 in utah
1. tony burger - this place is cheap. and if you go in, you will come out smelling like a burger for the rest of the day. which is a good thing i guess. at tony burger, you have lots of options, really good fries, and coke products with crunchy ice. they also have shakes with BIG straws (very important). all i know is that if i'm in the mood for a burger fix, fast, tony burger has my back, EVERY time.

2. salt lake burger company - ok i love this place. and many of my loved ones do, but i have heard some negative reviews. what i like MOST of all about s.l. burger co., is that you have a ton of options here. they have a salad-bar-type jive going on where you can order any burger, specialty or plain-jane, and then add extras at a bar in the restaurant. the bar has veggies and sauces. it just makes me feel like i could have ANY combination on my burger. i usually get my burger with bleu cheese and then add veggies and dijon mustard. i love it. they have good fries too, and yummy fry sauce. and, oh yes, shakes. always shakes.

3. hire's - i grew up going to hire's. it's a salt lake favorite, but more importantly, it's a DAD favorite. whenever we would meet up with my dad for lunch when i was a kid, we'd go to hire's. for YEARS i never ordered burgers at restaurants, because i only liked my dad's home-grilled burgers. i remember going out with some friends in my teen years and having a friend say "you don't get the big h?!?! are you crazy?!?!". at which point, i tried the burgers (cause peer pressure ya know?) and never looked back. for me it's the big h combo with fries (topped with cheese if i'm feeling extra hungry), a large diet coke (hire's has THE best crushed ice in the biz), and the big h burger. it's a down and dirty burger - classic, hole-in-the-wall diner, greasy. the bun is really floury, the meat is ... greasy, there's one piece of iceburg lettuce and a slice of (usually unripened) tomato, american cheese (gross), and for sauce, a heaping tablespoon of frysauce (hire's secret recipe obvi!). so simple and yet, so damn good!

i thought a lot about #18 this year, find the best burger utah has to offer. and i guess what i learned is that i am always in search of the best burger, not only in utah, but in the WORLD! i am currently and will forever more be constantly seeking out the best burger. cause i love burgers



odds/ends, coming to you from boresville, usa (work). this might have been the most boring work week of the whole year ... when does that time come in life where you can take the whole summer off for swimming er whatever? 

without further ado, a list of what i have spent my time doing this week (since WORK wasn't really an option):

- something i've recently picked up on is podcast-listening, while working. it's like i'm learning AND working. or it's like i'm laughing AND working. or it's like i'm bored of music so podcasts are a good alternative. one that i've bookmarked, baconsale. i started listening to this podcast cause i occasionally see movies with one of the hosts, kent. i continued listening to this podcast cause it's really funny. i find myself quiet-work-laughing quite frequently during listening. to start you off, listen to the disney movie ranking episodes [episode 7: ranking disney part 1 (when you wish upon a tier) and episode 13: ranking disney part 2 (tier as old as time)]. they're silly and have a musical element. win win!

- if i want to feel really productive whilst wasting time, i like looking at our freaking budget. i actually went to byu with these two. aren't they adorable? they always have been. and now they're as cool as ever teaching the internet about finances, living in new york, with two darling children. two posts that i really like and are really worthwhile, why you should invest in a 401k and how to save for a home (probably because these two posts are really applicable to me).

- it's been about a year now since my first spa experience. turns out, i'm addicted now. i'm addicted to expensive 90-minute swedish massages. it's KIND of a problem but not really. it is the most pampering, luxurious past-time, which is SO ME! anyway, i'm heading to st. george today with the family. i thought it most fitting to celebrate my year-mark at the place it all started, st. george day spa. really i just wanted to write about it so i could think about it more, daydream if you will. so yeah, i recommend it.

- i can't explain why i've just now started watching comedians in cars getting coffee (i feel like a failure of a seinfeld fan). but i love it! the jim carrey one is a little weird, jimmy fallon is always the best, fred armisen, always funny, but i think my favorites are the sarah jessica parker and jon stewart episodes. check out the latest with stephen colbert. other shows i'm really into right now are the mind of a chef and the bachelorette, obviously.

- looking at pluto.

i also had to study for my real estate license, go to the dentist (NO CAVITIES!!!), and get my oil changed this week, so it's not all fun and games.


pretty print.

wayne thiebaud landscape

at first glance i liked this, but never would have guessed it originated from my long-time favorite sweets artist wayne thiebaud. according to the post from which this came (thisiscolossal):

thiebaud was born in mesa, arizona in 1920 and during his early career spent time in the animation department of walt disney studios (no wonder i love him) ... although thiebaud is often associated with the pop art movement, most of his early works pre-date classic pop pieces and he personally rejects the association. "i don't care for pop art at all," thiebaud told the wall street journal last year.

read more here.


life as of late.

it's friday. for some reason everyone i work with thinks friday is work-optional. therefore, each friday i am left feeling very alone and very bored. the way i normally address these feelings is by doing everything i can imagine to stay active at my desk. eventually this practice leads to blogging. ha!

it seems the last time i wrote about anything other than pretty pictures or movies was in january! so hows about a little catch up?

in january i dropped my phone whilst vacationing in st george. i was DEVASTATED but you know, got it fixed immediately and paid the $100 charge for it. for a brief moment after the repair i thought, perhaps get a better case, but instead opted to "just never take it out while on hard surfaces" ??? i actually said this to people as a solution. COURTNEY?!?!?!?! turns out my plan didn't last, and last month i dropped it again, it shattered again. this time i shelled out the big bucks ($30), put away my minimalism-pride and got a case. not four hours after my second fix, i dropped my phone in the toilet and we could never revive it.

in february i was obsessed with frying things and fancied myself a real colonel sanders, discovered the crazy helium booth app, and most important, experienced movie grille in ogden. for some reason utah is lacking the recliner / food-served-to-you-in-your-seat movie theater options. so when my friends and i discovered movie grille, we were thrilled. it was a beautiful winter day. we rushed straight from work to ogden, nearly a 40 minute drive, to catch the 6pm showing of into the woods. we made it just in time. our waitress took drink orders and emily ordered some popcorn. the word "some" is used loosely here as the popcorn she received could have fed all the hungry in africa. anyway, i got a burger which was great, endless refills of diet coke, and just LOUNGED. actually i almost fell asleep at one point. it was heaven on earth, true american living.

in march, oh blessed march, i got my hair cut after a long stint of NOT getting it cut. that was a highlight. but the most funnest bestest highlight was going to visit ben in LA/disneyland!!!! my benly friend lives in the classiest of lofts in downtown los angeles. paige and i spent two days downtown and two days in disneyland, but all of it was fun city!

also in march i took a harmon's cooking class. it was really the bee's knees. i wrote all about it for paige's magazine. read a copy here. lastly, i found out that they are bringing cubby's to taylorsville and my life was complete.

in april i got a fitbit and became one of those people, crazy about "their steps". i'm so annoying. i also picked up this great lip color at sephora called melted metal by too faced, in violet orchid. it's nice. a couple weekends ago i celebrated a friend's birthday by going on a STAYcation. we all met up at the salt lake city marriott at city center ready to swim. the swimming pool over looks second south, which of course was the best of people watching. after the swim we got dinner at maxwell's and dessert at rubysnap, and rounded out the evening with another swim and producing a music video to uptown funk, as any sleepover should end. the fun wasn't over though cause we had brunch at finn's the next morning. 

last week i accompanied amelia to her boxing class. she helped me wrap my hands and put on my gloves (so bad ass right?) and we got to work. guys, i almost died it was so hard core. when i left the gym i had a big bump on my knee from who knows what! and it turned into a big bruise. i swear i didn't bump my knee. this was a freak thing where my knee was just NOT HAVING my hard work.

you're almost caught up except for last weekend emily, amelia, and i drove to twin falls, idaho to visit shoshone falls. it was delightful. i'll take any excuse to stay in a hotel and sleep in a marriott bed. we mostly hiked, but ended our time at the spa. just how i like it.

i think i've wasted sufficient time now.

thanks for reading. until next time!