I am a little bit twitterpated with the band Snow Patrol. I love them in the same way that I loved Duran Duran when I was in high school. Instead of buying Tiger Beat and 16 magazines looking for pictures of Simon Le Bon, I search for articles about Gary Lightbody online. Instead of watching MTV for hours on end hoping that they will play the video for "Union of the Snake," I troll through youtube videos looking for performances of "Run." Instead of putting pictures of Duran Duran in my locker, I post videos of Snow Patrol on my facebook wall. The technology may have changed but I still feel like a 15 year old girl obsessed by a band! Tonight I reverted to a younger version of myself yet again when I saw Snow Patrol in concert. There was a time, not too long ago, when I would spend most weekends at clubs like Liquid Joe's and the Zephyr with my friend Candy listening to local bands with my arms in the air. The concert tonight was at The Depot, a fairly intimate club that I had never been to before, and I was on the main floor about ten feet from the stage screaming every time Gary Lightbody spoke and singing along to every song. It was fun to be that girl again! The opening act was Ed Sheeran. He had an acoustic guitar and a loop pedal and boy could he use them! I really liked his voice and his sound. Then Snow Patrol took the stage at about 10:00. I can't explain why but it was such a thrill to see them! They played "Hands Open," "Take Back the City," "Crack the Shutters," and then a new single from their most recent album, Fallen Empires, called "This Isn't Everything You Are." Then they played "Run" which is my very favorite Snow Patrol song. The entire audience sang every single word! Then Ed Sheeran came back on stage and joined Gary to sing an absolutely amazing version of "New York." Even though Gary complained that his vocal chords were in rough shape and apologized many times, I think he gave incredible vocal performances on "Set the Fire to the Third Bar" and "Make This Go On Forever" which is another favorite. Next came the crowd pleasing "Chocolate" and "Chasing Cars" followed by the lead single from Fallen Empires, "Called Out In the Dark." For the encore, Gary gave a very affecting performance of "Lifening" and ended the evening with the feel-good "Just Say Yes." It was an incredible show! Gary was so passionate in his performance and so charming and charismatic with his interactions with the audience! Sigh...
Note: I went to this show with someone I haven't talked to in a really long time and it was great to catch up. While I was at the show I ran into a friend from high school and it was fun to talk to him!
I have been waiting, impatiently, for tonight's Utah Symphony concert since the 2011-2012 season was announced! The evening began with a selection from Mozart's opera Idomeneo and continued with Symphony No. 101 from Haydn. Both were perfectly lovely but, in all honesty, I was anticipating the piece to be performed after the intermission throughout the whole performance. Words cannot express how much I love Mozart's Requiem. It is the first piece of classical music that truly touched my soul and, indeed, it is what turned me into a fan of classical music. I was introduced to the Requiem by the movie Amadeus when I was in high school. The movie gives a fictionalized account of how Mozart came to write the Requiem and features "Confutatis" and "Lacrymosa" on the soundtrack. I was absolutely haunted by this music and eventually bought a copy of the soundtrack on vinyl which I played over and over (I fell in love with many other pieces by Mozart featured in the movie as well). In college I was a member of the choir and one semester we sang "Lacrymosa." I literally got goosebumps every single time we performed it. The first time I was able to hear the Requiem performed live was the summer between my junior and senior year in college and I went to the concert with my parents. I was so completely overcome by the almost unbearable beauty of the "Agnus Dei" that I had tears streaming down my face. I turned to see if my parents were as affected by the music as I was and discovered that they were both asleep! I have since seen this piece performed many times and it always has the same effect on me. Tonight it was performed with the Utah Symphony Chorus as well as four amazing soloists. It was sublime!
Tonight was the final Jazz game of the 2011-2012 regular season. Most of the time I leave the ESA in tears after this game due to the way the Jazz usually finish out the season. Last year I couldn't even bring myself to go to the final games and I sold my remaining tickets! This year, even though the game didn't really matter and most of the starters sat on the bench after the first quarter, the Jazz still gave a good effort to defeat the Portland Trailblazers 96-94. The game was actually a lot of fun to watch and the Jazz held a comfortable lead for much of it, faltering a little bit in the fourth quarter before wiping out Portland's 88-80 lead in the final six minutes. Enes Kanter, after thanking the crowd for their support this season before tip-off, scored a double-double. Jeremy Evans did what he does best and gave the crowd something to cheer about with some electrifying dunks. Derrick Favors ended the night with 15 points and five rebounds. Finally, Alec Burks, my favorite player all season, had a career-high 18 points! Now the Jazz will face the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. Win or lose I am proud of this team!
In April my book club chose to read the brilliant satire Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. This book is an absolutely delightful read that pokes gentle fun at the novels of Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, D. H. Lawrence, and the Bronte sisters. Flora Poste finds herself a penniless orphan at age 19 and decides to leave London and move to Sussex to live with her eccentric relatives at Cold Comfort Farm. Reuben, like the dark and brooding Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, desperately wants to run the farm but his father Amos, a fire-and-brimstone preacher, refuses to relinquish control. Seth, much like Alec from Tess of the d'Urbervilles, spends most of his time bedding the local maidens. Elfine, like Catherine Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights, roams the moors pining for a nobleman from the neighboring village. Judith, like Miss Havisham from Great Expectations, obsessively preserves every memory of her son. Finally, Aunt Ada Doom, Cold Comfort Farm's own version of the madwoman in the attic from Jane Eyre, believes there is a curse on the farm and won't let anyone leave. Flora believes that a tidy life is a happy life, both literally and figuratively, so she decides to take her relatives in hand and "fix" them and the farm with hilarious results. Throw in a few cows named Aimless, Pointless, Graceless, and Feckless and you have a well-written and highly entertaining novel that I recommend to everyone (not just those who studied British literature in college).
Tonight's game between the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns, a team they do not beat very often, was a must win situation if the Jazz had any hope of making it to the postseason. It was also a must win situation for the Suns if they had any hope of making the playoffs. A student in my first period who is a Jazz fanatic told me he considered it to be a playoff single-elimination game. It certainly felt like a playoff game inside the ESA! The crowd was absolutely insane, rising to their feet often and chanting "Playoffs, Playoffs" at various times. The Jazz got off to a quick start, scoring three baskets in succession. Then they started taking, and missing, outside shots and allowed the Suns to take a 17-15 lead. A certain Paul Millsap scored 11 points in the first quarter to regain the lead. Paul Millsap, Derek Favors, and Al Jefferson were in complete control of the game during the second quarter and took a 49-42 lead into the half. I have to admit that I got a little worried in the third quarter because the Jazz couldn't seem to get anything going. Steve Nash wasn't having his best game tonight but you should never underestimate him. He hit a basket that got the Suns within one point with 1:15 left in the third. During the final minute, my favorite Alec Burks scored five points in a row for a 73-68 lead going into the fourth quarter. The crowd, myself included, was in hysterics! Michael Redd answered back with five consecutive points of his own early in the fourth to give the Suns their first lead since the second quarter. The Jazz then went on a 11-2 run and never looked back. Devin Harris scored a few key baskets to completely change the momentum and Al Jefferson personally went on an 8-0 run (after getting two stitches above his eye) to give the Jazz a 100-88 victory. It was an incredible game! The Jazz are going to the playoffs, baby! After a disastrous 2010-2011 season that saw the team lose both Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams and fail to make the playoffs, this feels pretty good!
It is no secret that I am a huge Beatles fan so I definitely couldn't miss seeing them perform with the Utah Symphony tonight! I went to a concert called "Classical Mystery Tour" which featured a Beatles tribute band with the orchestra performing some of their best known songs using the original orchestrations. It was amazing! The four musicians really did look and sound like the lads from Liverpool! At the beginning of the show they were dressed in the Ed Sullivan Show suits and they played some of the early songs such as "A Hard Day's Night," "I Saw Her Standing There," and an incredible rendition of "Yesterday." Then they changed into the Sgt. Pepper's uniforms and played a lot of songs from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour. I loved "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Penny Lane," "Hello, Goodbye," and "A Day In the Life." After the intermission they came out wearing hippie outfits and sang songs from The Beatles (The White Album), Let It Be, and Abbey Road. I was thrilled when they played "The Long and Winding Road" (huge Paul McCartney fan). For an encore they played "Hey Jude," my favorite Beatles song, and got the audience singing Na Na Na Na Na Na Na... Then they got the audience dancing with "Twist and Shout." This concert was seriously so much fun.
Note: It has been a difficult week. I had a tire blow out on the way to school one morning and it was quite expensive to replace...an expense that I was definitely not expecting! Then my travel company informed me that the trip I had booked to Southeast Asia has been cancelled due to low enrollment. I am incredibly disappointed because I was really looking forward to visiting Angkor Wat. I have a couple of days to book another trip but I am having a hard time deciding.
Tonight I went to see the play Father of the Bride at Hale Theatre. I absolutely loved the updated movie starring Steve Martin so I knew that I would enjoy the original version by Edward Streeter. The story is set in 1964 and begins with Kay telling her father that she is engaged to Buckley Dunstan while the whole family is sitting at the breakfast table. Things spiral completely out of control when the small private wedding grows to include over 300 people, the happy couple quarrels causing the groom to go missing, and the father of the bride can't fit into his tuxedo! But in the end, Daddy makes everything better just as he has always done since Kay was a little girl. It is a sweet, if anachronistic, story about the bond between a young woman and the first man she ever loves...her daddy! The set, costumes, and hair are completely authentic to the time period. I think the clothes in the sixties are incredibly sophisticated and the bouffant hair is fabulous! The casting is practically perfect and the actors do a great job with their roles. I particularly loved the actor playing Tommy (Spencer Godwin), the younger brother. I think he steals the show! However, the funniest scenes are, by far, those involving Mr. Massoula (Paul Cartwright) of Buckingham Caterers! He is absolutely hilarious! I laughed out loud at many of his antics and, at one point, the entire audience broke out into spontaneous applause as he made a dramatic exit! Tonight was opening night for this particular cast and there were quite a few kinks including an upside down briefcase, the ringing of a doorbell at the wrong time (which was referenced several times throughout the show), and breaking character by laughing. I'm sure these little mishaps will get sorted out as the run continues. It is a light-hearted production that I recommend to anyone looking for a fun night of theatre.
I have decided that every time I have a free afternoon (it doesn't happen often) I am going exploring in my own backyard. I am going to visit places that people come to Utah to see that are within an hour's drive from my house.
I decided to start my explorations with the gardens at Thanksgiving Point because the annual Tulip Festival is going on right now.
Thanksgiving Point is located in Lehi which is about a 20 minute drive from where I live. I have been to Thanksgiving Point before, attending weddings and other special events like Breakfast with Santa, but I have never wandered through the gardens and I had never heard of the Tulip Festival before.
It was so beautiful! I was a bit overwhelmed by vista after vista of incredible flowers! There are over a quarter million tulips in nearly 100 different varieties and 70 different colors spread across 55 acres with 15 themed gardens. It actually reminded me of Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C.
I think I may have taken a picture of every variety of tulip!! I did take over 50 pictures because the views were so stunning (I won't post all of them here).
My favorite themed garden was the Secret Garden. You walk through a little tunnel of ivy and then enter through an oak door into a little sanctuary with benches, a fountain, and flowers everywhere! I loved it!
I also liked the Vista Garden.
There is a stream running through many of the gardens with several charming bridges. It was very peaceful listening to the water.
There is an incredible waterfall in the middle of the garden surrounded by an amphitheatre. At various times during the festival there will be local bands, bagpipers, and string quartets performing. There is also a large market located here where you can buy snacks or lunch.
I spent several hours meandering along the cobblestone pathways and it was definitely a lovely way to spend an afternoon!
The cost of the festival is $10 for adults and $6 for children. It is open from 10:00am to 8:00pm every day except Sunday and it runs through April 28.
Definitely plan a visit if you live in the area! You can go here to win some free tickets.
Every weekend in April you can find me at Abravanel Hall listening to the Utah Symphony! Tonight's concert began with a delightful piece by Mozart who, as many of you will remember, is my very favorite composer. The orchestra played Piano Concerto No. 26 (which is known as the "Coronation" Concerto because it was played at the coronation of Leopold II as Holy Roman Emperor) with an amazing soloist named Ronald Brautigam. He had a long mane of white hair which made him look a bit like a madman but his playing was magnificent. One of the reasons why I love Mozart so much is because his music is light and beautiful and this concerto is especially playful. I absolutely loved it. After the intermission the orchestra played Beethoven's Symphony No. 3. This piece was originally written in honor of Napoleon Bonaparte but Beethoven became disenchanted with him and crossed out the dedication from the original score. The symphony has come to be known as "Eroica" (Heroic). I found it to be incredibly romantic and emotional. I especially loved the second movement which is a solemn funeral march with a beautiful theme played by cellos. It was another evening of wonderful music.
I have frequently mentioned that traditions are very important to Sean and Tashena. One of our favorite traditions is to color Easter eggs every year. However, this year we did something a little bit different. We used Kool-Aid to color the eggs!
Simply dissolve a packet of Kool-Aid into one cup of water. You don't need to add vinegar (or sugar which caused an unfortunate incident when Sean tried to drink it).
Don't you love my green Easter egg? I think the color saturation is so much better with Kool-Aid than with regular egg dyes. The color is also much more even and it took a lot less time to get a deep color.
We also tried a few other fun techniques such as using rubber cement and elastic bands to create patterns.
Here is Tashena's egg using rubber cement. You use the rubber cement to make whatever pattern you would like on the egg and wait a few minutes until it dries. Then you dunk the egg in whatever color you would like. Tashena used Berry Blue Kool-Aid. After the egg dries you can rub the rubber cement off the egg with your fingers and dunk it in another color. The Grape Kool-Aid produced this brownish color. This is my favorite egg of the day!
You can also wrap elastic bands around the eggs before dunking them in a color to get some cool effects. The Strawberry Kool-Aid produced this really vivid orange color.
Here are some of our awesome eggs!
It was a lot of fun as you can see from Sean's expression!
After a disappointing loss in San Antonio last night the Jazz wanted some redemption against the Spurs tonight! They got it in what was one of the most exciting games I've seen all season. The atmosphere inside the ESA was intense and, despite the fact that the Spurs were missing Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, the crowd was on their feet throughout much of the game. The first quarter got off to a pretty sluggish start with both teams turning the ball over multiple times but the Jazz took a 47-44 lead into halftime. Neither team was able to take a commanding lead until the fourth quarter when the Spurs surged ahead 75-67. Then Jamaal Tinsley hit a fabulous jump shot and completely changed the momentum of the game. After that we were, once again, treated to the Devin Harris show. He made two exciting three-pointers within 60 seconds and the crowd went into hysterics. Paul Millsap got an impressive slam dunk to put the Jazz up 88-82 then Harris and Millsap made free throws to bring the final score to 91-84. Devin Harris ended the night with 25 points, Paul Millsap had 18, and Gordon Hayward continued to impress with 16. So much fun! The Jazz were 0-3 against the Spurs this season so tonight's victory felt really good (snapping the Spurs' 11-game winning streak felt really great).
Note: The fact that John Stockton was in the crowd may have contributed to the atmosphere in the arena. He received a standing ovation when he was shown on the screen!
Even though I have quite a few Utah Symphony performances scheduled for April I just had to get a ticket for tonight's concert because I knew the program would be amazing! I am very glad I did! The first piece was Symphony No. 2 by Franz Joseph Haydn. It was perfectly lovely and I felt like I had been transported to an opulent palace in Vienna (one of my favorite cities). Next was Vier Lieder Op. 27 by Richard Strauss. This piece is a series of four songs for a soprano and orchestra and was written for Strauss' wife Pauline de Ahna. I absolutely loved all four of the songs because they were incredibly romantic but I especially loved the fourth song "Morgen!" because it was so exquisitely beautiful, particularly a theme played by a solo violin and harp throughout, that I was actually moved to tears. The soloist was Lisa Milne and she was wonderful. After the intermission the orchestra played Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 4. This piece describes a child's version of heaven including a feast prepared for the saints. It was incredible! Getting a ticket to see the Utah Symphony is always a good idea and I am eagerly anticipating several more wonderful concerts this month!
Here is one more recipe for a fun Easter treat! I found these cookies here and just had to make them.
To make these cookies preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl combine a lemon cake mix, 1/3 cup oil, and two eggs until a soft dough forms. You can add several drops of yellow food coloring to make the color more intense. Roll two balls of dough, one slightly bigger than the other, and place them together so they are touching on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately add two mini chocolate chips for the eyes and an orange tic tac for the beak. Place on a cooling rack. You can make the feathers with a tube of yellow decorator frosting.
Pretty cute, eh? Give them a try.
Note: I go back to school on Monday so the crafting and baking insanity should stop soon...
Tonight's game between the Utah Jazz and the Golden State Warriors was a little bit boring...until the fourth quarter. In the first quarter both teams traded baskets back and forth. I really only paid attention when my favorite player, Alec Burks, came into the game and got a sweet jumper and then a tip-in at the end of the quarter to give the Jazz a one point lead. The second quarter was disastrous for the Jazz and they let the Warriors get ahead by as many as 13 points by inexplicably missing easy layups and turning the ball over. I stopped paying attention, thinking that if the Jazz can't beat the Warriors at home they have no chance of beating the Spurs in their next two games and no hope of making the playoffs. I decided to go get a beverage. When I returned, the Jazz started to show a little bit of life to end the quarter tied with the Warriors. The third quarter was a repeat of the first quarter, although an incredible three-pointer by Gordon Hayward did get me cheering momentarily. Then Devin Harris got my attention in a big way in the fourth quarter! He hit two back-to-back three-pointers and then an awesome driving layup in the first 90 seconds! I was on my feet cheering at this point, along with everyone else in the ESA, and I kept cheering. Golden State did get within three points in the final two minutes of the game to make it interesting but two free throws from Gordon Hayward sealed the 104-98 victory! Bring on the Spurs!
Since I made Easter Chick cupcakes last year I decided that I should make some Easter Bunny ones this year! To make them you will need cupcakes using your favorite recipe, white frosting, shredded coconut, large marshmallows, miniature marshmallows, pink decorator sugar, pink and blue jelly beans, and pink decorator gel.
Generously frost your cupcakes and then dunk them into some shredded coconut. Cut some large marshmallows in half with your kitchen scissors, pinch into an oval shape, and dunk the cut side into the pink sugar. Place two on the cupcake for ears using some frosting to hold them in place. Use blue jelly beans as eyes and a pink jelly bean as a nose. You can use black decorator gel to make pupils in the eyes but I think it makes them look demented. Place two minature marshmallows below the nose as teeth and pipe some whiskers using the pink decorator gel. Go here for a step-by-step video showing how to make them.
There are quite a few steps involved but they are so easy. I think kids would love making these cute bunnies. Give them a try!