Monday, November 30, 2009

Luna Nueva -- a GIVEAWAY!

Most of you know my feelings about the Twilight hysteria. I've read, I'll watch, but I definitely don't love. Definitely. Don't. Love. What I do love though? New Moon in Spanish. Something about the direct translation of New Moon to Luna Nueva just brought joy to my heart. And there were posters every.where.

Maybe my head's been in the sand as far as Luna Nueva was concerned pre-trip, but I hadn't even seen the poster! Holy creepy Jasper. (Even creepier when we found his face floating around on the ground in a random part of town. And maybe we took it with us for a day or so.)

So Monday/Lunes night/noche we took ourselves to the movie. For FOUR DOLLARS. In a nicer theater than any Boston l. We really didn't know if the movie was going to be dubbed or have Spanish subtitles. Either way it would have been hilarious. On a map, the theater looked near our apartment but we had a bit of difficulty finding it. While it threw a little hiccup in our plan, it also let us ask the question every 8th grader learns for conversational Spanish -- "Por favor, donde estan las cinemas?" Ohmygosh you guys, we couldn't quit laughing. And we both got to ask it to different people. One of my favorite moments of the trip.

Boy oh boy. I have plenty to say about this movie, but I'll keep it to myself. And move on!

So now! As promised! The first GIVEAWAY in NatA! history:

I have in my possession.
A copy.
Of Luna Nueva.
For one of you lucky readers. I'm not sure if it works, or what the quality is, but I have procured an illegal copy of this tasty (and terrible) treat.
And I will mail it to you.

So drop me a comment by Thursday at noon and I'll randomly draw for this giveaway! And then hope it works.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Trips are hard work

The short news is, I'm home. The long news is that I've spent more time sleeping and clearing off the recorded goodies on my DVR rather than deal with the unpacking, the laundry, and the general back to real life-ness required after a week out of the country. Had I not left my apartment keys in Argentina I may have had a bit more spare time today to deal with real life... but who'm I kidding? I'd probably still be sleeping and watching TV rather than laundry.

My photos have been uploaded however and they're ready to roll. I'm ready to start telling you about the trip and all it's wonderful splendorness--there's so much to tell and so many legs of the journey to cover I'm not quite sure how I'll organize, but I will tell you that there'll be a NatAttack first tomorrow--A GIVEAWAY. So stay tuned on Monday for your chance to win something ridiculous from abroad.

Another special thanks to all the guest bloggers--didn't they do a great job? I had a blast checking in to see what was going on in these parts while I was away. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Jamar, Stephanie, Juan, Whitney, Kendall, Mallory, and Mary. Make sure to add them to your reader lists, they all write a good blog.

Also, is November over yet? This blogging every day thing is taxing.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nat is Awesome.

It's the holidays! Black Friday is past, and Christmas is on the queue. Lots of hustle. Plenty o'bustle. Everyone's excited to see the family, find the perfect gift, eat all the best foods, pull out the Christmas music, light the fires, and basically have a ball. Simultaneous with this, many of us are fighting off the germs threatening us at every handshake or touch of a door handle. I myself have been recovering slowly from…well…it doesn't really have a name. If I had to name the thing that gives you a runny nose, constant coughing, body aches, sore throat, a cold sore, and a tense neck, I think I'd name it Carla. Carla works as well as anything else. Carla has more or less gone away, but in her wake of wrathful phlegm, she leaves behind a single chotchkie...a cough. This cough is surely familiar to you. Long after all symptoms have left, even months later, the cough remains. Like dust flakes coating your inner respiratory, it lingers, lifts, and regenerates ad nauseum. Perhaps you've been up nights enjoying this leftover piece of crap for a cold symptom, or annoyed the daylights out of other movie theater patrons on a Saturday afternoon. Yes, there are many things about the cough that make you want to punch yourself in the lungs, but hey! Don't do that! Turn that smile upside down, friend! Because here it is. A special list for you.

Fun Things To Do With A Residual Carla Cough

  1. Cough in a descending scale of pitches. For advanced pupils, try arpeggios.
  2. Use the cough to help further cultivate your chimpanzee imitation.
  3. Go to a movie or play and see how many times you can cough during the pauses in dialogue. At the show's beginning you are allotted fifty points. You lose two points every time you interrupt a line. If you reach curtain call with at least 45 points or more, you get a steak dinner. Have the theater patron in front of you pay.
  4. Visit the supermarket wearing a mask, and when you're standing next to someone, lift it away from your face only when you cough, replace when coughing is done. Then give your fellow shopper a hello and keep moving.
  5. Create a cough interpretive dance. Put the cough into your whole body, and move as the cough would have you go. Set this dance to Kenny Loggins' beloved, "Danger Zone."
  6. Make lots of crank calls to pizza joints and sandwich shops where you must list several custom toppings, making sure to cough directly into the phone like a maniac in between items.

Well, folks, that's six. That should get you started. If you have a great idea to add, please put it in a comment! I'm going to start on my interpretive dance now. See yas!

Nat Is Awesome.


Friday, November 27, 2009

That's Right, It's Turkey Day

I am Nat's younger sister, 3rd of the 4 girls in our family. Nat was gracious enough to allow me to blog about my day of Thanksgiving for all to read.

This was my first married Thanksgiving, and I offered to host for my husband's family (brave, I know). Alaina (oldest of the daughters) lent me her house for our festivities and we crammed 11 adults and 5 kids into Lain's 3 bedroom condo. I had my first experience with cooking a turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy for all 16 (minus the 1 baby) people. This was also the first year I heard about brining a turkey. The recipe is an Alton Brown Calvert family tried and true, and it turned out so nice and juicy. In fact, the only downside to the turkey was the slightly salty gravy. So anyway, we had all the classic favorites, and a dessert spread consisting of 7 different types of pie, oreo truffles, and butterscotch oatmeal cookies. I was so grateful to have so many people help out for Thanksgiving.

Now, I love Thanksgiving, but I am happy that starting tomorrow, I get to celebrate Christmas without being considered in the crazy category. I mean, not that it stopped me before, but now I can really celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. I put up a strand of lights outside on November 16 and set up the Christmas tree on the same day. I've slowly been putting up more and more Christmas decorations, and finished my outside lights on Wednesday night. I just can't help but celebrate my favorite time of year. How soon after Halloween is considered acceptable to start celebrating Christmas? Does Thanksgiving warrant it's own collection of pilgrim, indian, and Mayflower decorations? Thanks for reading and may your holiday season officially begin.

Written by Kendall, blog at and

ps. Sending this email from a draft in my inbox. I'm sorry, Nat! And thanks to Whit for posting on Thanksgiving.

Man Bags

I am a fan of convenience and practicality. Girls are allowed to carry purses but why is it so taboo is a man wants to carry a bag? Dear men of the world, I LOVE your bags. I love them so much that the last three months of college I've secretly pulled out my phone and taken a picture of your beautiful declarations of manhood every time I see you. I don't know what it is about BYU but there seems to be no shortage of attractive male characters carrying around bags of all
shapes and sizes. (Unfortunately I seem to have traveled home to Oregon without my miniSD card reader so I don't have my actual pictures but hopefully Nat will let me post them in the near future.)

Let me give you a little history of the origin of the man bag. It all started with Indiana Jones; the rugged professor that moonlighted as an adventurer and heart throb who carried around a bag. Of course it's possible I am a little bit biased seeing as I am in love with Harrison Ford, but it doesn't make a difference anyway. Indiana noticed the convenience in not having to carry everything around in either his hands or pockets. His adventure time was greatly improved by his ability to store his valuables in the bag strung sidesaddle around his hips and at times this nifty feature saved his life. Time does not stand still for a man while he stores his valuables deep in his pockets.

Man bags can tell a girl a lot about the man carrying it. Perhaps it is a laptop bag with a padded strap. This tells us the man can't go anywhere without his technology fix. If it's soft leather with many buckles on the front it's probably safe to infer that that man has nothing to hide and is just a confidant man with a bag. Then there is the briefcase** on a strap which reads "strictly business". All styles are different and all styles can be acceptable.

Friends, I urge you to open your eyes and see the beauty of a man with a bag. They come in all styles and shapes, from leather to cloth and even canvas. All sorts of embellishments can be seen but it is up to the man to carry the bag. Carry the bag, don't let the bag carry you. If you are a man, tote that bag around with pride! America is the land of opportunity and all should have the opportunity for the greatest convenience. Oh and I think it's pretty safe to say most women greatly love a man with his bag. At least I know I do.

Love the bag, love the man.

Next trend: Fanny-packs for women. Think about how great it is to not have to hold on to your purse. I've already got one and it's leather. That's class if I ever saw it.

**They can call it a briefcase but as long as it's got a strap, it's a man bag.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Midnight Madness

Well, first off I need to apologize.  I totally dropped the ball yesterday.  I thought about my glorious post, but alas, work consumed my time until 3 AM this morning.  Yes.  3. AM. 

Well, anyway, on to the late blog post. 

Last year my mom and I had the genius idea to go to the Gilroy outlets for the Ralph Lauren factory store sale.  We figured, hey, no one is going to want to stay up that late for some deals, but we, the shopper-extraordinaires would.  Well, turns out we were wrong.  The line of the freeway was so backed up, it took us 45 minutes just get to the exit and into the parking lot, where we could not find a parking spot.  We were relegated to the open, dark, muddy farm fields behind.  We walked 20 minutes to get to the outlet store where you could barely walk without bumping into another person.  Let's just was MADNESS. 

Thankfully my sweet husband came with me and my mom.  While I looked for Christmas presents and treats for us, he got in the massively long line to check out (I think it took 45 minutes just to get to a cashier).  But the deals!  The deals were great and a couple days after the whole experience seemed like a bad dream, my mom and I were really happy we went (it has taken Mike a few more months to recover).

So now that I have forgotten all of those painful crowd-mob memories, we are off tonight to Midnight Madness...only in Marysville -- where they have EVEN BETTER outlets! 

Kate Spade 50% off the entire store?  Yes please.  J.Crew clearance?  Sign me up.  Ralph Lauren too?  Burberry?  Brooks Brothers?  Oh boy. 

Let's just hope we don't get stampeded.

{Thanks Nat and you can find me at:}

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Un buen viaje!

Hola mis amigos!

A quick interruption from your scheduled guest bloggers (aren´t they doing a GREAT job!?) for a jaunty hola from Argentina. People. This place is muy fantastico! Perhaps my favorite place so far. But that could have more to do with the warm (at times hot, HELLO sunburn) weather, the cheap wares, and the food. I promptly bought two pairs of antique boots at the market and have been drinking Coke Light like it´s cheaper than water (as it is). Last night we had steaks as big as my face, and as they were as flavorful and tender as everyone says they are.

Perhaps my favorite thing so far has been our $4 spend to see Luna Neueva at the Cinemark theater just a few blocks from our house. FOUR DOLLARS folks. This will deserve a post all in itself (when photos can be included) but definitely a fun evening.

The place we´ve rented is AMAZING. JUST AMAZING. The perfect location, the perfect price, the perfect place to spread out. THERE´S SO MUCH TO SAY AND TALK ABOUT!

Okay, I´ll end now, but you´ll be happy to know my Spanish has picked right back up, and I´m basically a pro now. I can order food, ask for directions, answer questions about myself and generally navigate life. (Having Colleen as another Spanish speaker just above my level has made us UNSTOPPABLE.)

Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow to everyone. Hope you´re happy and well and enjoying the Northern Hemisphere.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two Point Oh

I like giving people nick names. Natalie made it easy. If memory serves me well, the first time I read this blog it was this hair color changing related post in which she refereed to herself as "Nat 2.0". Thus from that moment on when talking about her with Colleen I took to calling her Natalie 2.0 since Colleen and I knew another Natalie here in Austin. I don't know when during our chit-google-talks Friday Night Lights came up, but we sure do share a passion for that show and here I live in the town it is filmed in. Not once have I run into any of the cast members. Once, at a party, I met a football scene crowd extra. Such is my luck.

Oh yes, right about now you may be wondering who I am. My name is Juan and I'm a friend of Colleen's from way back. This is one of my favorite Collen pictures that I've taken. It must have taken me about 3 trips to Boston for all the stars to align properly and get a picture with Natalie and her signature picture mouth pose.

Tomorrow I'm on my way up to Fort Worth(less) for Thanks Giving. I'm always thankful for all the amazing women in my life.

And for the fact that they don't slap me when I prank them.

Over at my blog, the latest posts have some synergy going. One is all songs by singers named Natalie. The other, an instrumental Tango Suite. Check it out.

[ Juan ]

By Request: A Photo

By request (I aim to please Breona!) a photo. I picked one with Nat in it just for funsies.

Creature of Habit

It's coming down to the wire on my assigned day of guest blogging - in fact, for you East Coasters it's already Tuesday and I've missed the boat - and I'm feeling the pressure. Who knew blogging on a schedule would be so hard? Lucky for me I rock the West Coast, Seattle to be exact, and still have time. But I guess I wouldn't be me if I didn't sprinkle every assignment with a little procrastination. By way of introduction, I'm stephanielynn and am a friend of Nat's from her Utah (post-college) days. We first bonded in the workplace and over many, many baskets of rolls at The Texas. The bonding continues from afar over things like Friday Night Lights, RW/RR Challenges, know, the finer things in life.

This morning I was thinking about how habit rules my life without me even realizing it. And I would imagine that I'm not alone. This thought came to me today after I had some laptop trouble at work. Between the hours of 8:30 and 10:00am I received the blue screen of death upwards of seven times always followed by my computer automatically restarting. Not exactly ideal in terms of productivity. After my new IT (best) friend took a look he announced, "I think you might have a virus".

Perfect. My computer caught the swine flu.

Thirty minutes later and I had my very own "loaner laptop" to get me through the day. I had my email. I had the Internet. I should have been set, right?


I may as well have been my 85 year-old grandfather trying to figure this thing out. I had no links saved as favorites. I struggled to remember passwords. There were no contacts auto-populating in my emails. My shortcuts to files were no longer on my desktop. Not to mention the loaner introduced me to the world of Vista.

Oh boy. I was lost.

And this led my mind to wander through all of the habits I've fallen into on a daily basis and marvel at how my life could get so turned upside down by the slightest unbalance in my routine. Like the time a weekly report at work got delayed by ONE day and it felt as though the world would end. What?! You mean I have to analyze this data on THURSDAY? But that's what I do on WEDNESDAY!  Can. Not. Compute. System. Crashing. And then my head exploded.

So I've decided to give myself a challenge - feel free to join me. The challenge is this: To simply be more aware. To live consciously instead of just going through the motions. And to possibly throw myself a curve ball every so often.

We'll start of slow. Maybe tomorrow morning I'll by a different flavor of Vitamin Water. Or I might just sleep on the left side of the bed tonight instead of the right. Or if I'm feeling really crazy, I'll analyze that data on Friday instead of Wednesday.

But let's not get too carried away.

You can find me here:
(And let's not judge the name of my blog, okay? We'll just let that one slide.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ready. Set. Cook, Eat and Repeat.

Pretend this a Sunday post, for NatAttack's sake...

Quick Intro: Hello, my name is Jam (or Jamar) and I coming to you straight from Gossip Girl Land (NYC). NatAttack and I have been friendshipping it up going on 7 years now. So here is my entry.

So, I work for a culinary magazine and guess what? Ta daaaaa, I love food. Big deal, everyone loves food, right? Of course, but some are more industrious than others. I feel like everyone who comes into my office to interview for a position always exclaim they have a "passion" for food. I guess for me that word is more played out than S.Palin's Oprah interview, but alas, there really is no other word to describe it. So naturally, my favorite holiday is one that involves massive amounts of food to be prepared under my tutelage. Thanksgiving. Ahh the days when I would awake to the smells of freshly baked yeasty rolls and the aromatic scent of turkey and ham, as they move in concert one with another. My mom and grandmothers are amazing cooks and I believe they have channeled their "passion" for an excellent gastronomic event into my ideas of a classic Thanksgiving feast. So, my friend Carol and I have decided to join forces this year and cook for the masses, or about 10 of our friends that are still in New York. She has the turkey, I have the ham. She's got the potatoes and cranberries and I've got the brussels and rolls covered. And the list goes on until we have more than enough to feed our waistlines. Now it's quite ironic, but the dinner itself isn't what brings me joy. I revel in the preparation of pie crusts, seasoning vegetables, and finding that perfect glaze to accompany the community ham. However, I also look forward to 3.5 hours after the initial dinner when everyone has awakened from their glutton-filled slumber for round 2. Nothing is more sexy and appetizing than to know that a full spread of goodies is waiting for you to stuff into 3-5 rolls.
As for my daily eating choices, I am definitely not a food snob. I would consider myself what you would call an "Equal Opportunity Eater". I have no biases against food as long as it tastes good going down. You can see me hobnobbing with my co-workers at a restaurant tasting, or you can see me with NatAttack at the BK throwing down burgers as I refill her cup with equal parts diet and regular Coke (it's an instant key to her heart.) Well readers, I believe I have fulfilled my obligations to the blog. Now excuse me as I figure out what to eat for lunch.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Life from the front row

Another lotto win on Broadway. STOP. Lyrical hip hop song and dance. STOP. Set in New York. STOP. Photo taken from my seat in the front row before the show started and changed my life. STOP. If you're bored this holiday week, search "In The Heights" on YouTube. STOP.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

starting a bucket list

Of late, I've been part of several conversations about bucket lists. I struggle to contribute because I don't have a detailed list of what I want to do or learn--in fact, I generally steal from other people's lists. (I can thank Katie for my Argentinian Thanksgiving adventure!)

Sometimes I think bucket lists are cliché because they either include cheesy duhs (Tell someone you love them. At the beach.) or are unatainably ridiculous (kill an elephant and mount the tusks in the living room!). I'm also judgy, so don't listen to me.

However cold and dark my heart however, inspiration must have struck because I'm ready to present my first two totally attainable bucket list items:

1. Sit courtside at an NBA game.
2. Cook a (good) turkey

So there you have it. If you, or someone you know can help me achieve these goals, that'd be helpful.

What's the most absurd item on your bucket list? What else should be on MY bucket list?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why I Believe: Gratitude

Alternate Title: "I too am thankful for muffins and donuts"

...and also so many of the other things in this sweet video.

With the Thanksgiving holiday all but around the corner, my thoughts are turned to tradition, blessings, and the gratitude I feel so strongly in my life. I've watched this video countless times (funny considering my perpetual disdain for streaming video) because it's funny, and warm, and I love the feeling I get listening to Elder Oaks talk.

I love Elder Oaks challenge, "Let us give thanks for what we are and for the circumstances God has given us for our personal journey through mortality." So true! My personal journey is different than each of yours and this blog should be a testament to that fact! Lately I've been ruminating on a blog post on the "Why I Came to Boston" (which has never been fully discussed here) and have unanimously agreed with myself that this little adventure of mine has truly changed my life. It's not a circumstance I ever considered would become a reality, but I guess God had a different circumstance in mind for me, eh? How thankful I am for that. (And will discuss at length further. Later.)

"When we understand that God offers us opportunities for blessings and blesses us through our own adversities and the adversities of others we can understand why He has commanded us again and again to thank the Lord they God in all things."

So this is it. My general shout out of Gratitude in Thanksgiving for all that I've been given. For the tactile goods and tools required for everyday living. For the intangible quality (and eternal!) relationships I share with my family and friends. For my innate gifts and talents. For the ability to express myself freely. For the time and talents and desire to serve in God's Kingdom. For learning to truly love myself and recognizing my worth as a daughter, a sister, a friend.

For independence.
For dependence.

For Happy Ever After.
And most importantly...
For Happy Right Now.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Driving off with Best in Show

It's very late so I'll keep this short. I'm just getting home from work events for the day. Why? We attended a very prestigious web development awards ceremony tonight--complete with the semi-dressy cocktail dresses, the semi-boozy industry professionals, and a few sites up for awards.

I'm happy to announce that won not only the first award of the night for Applied Technology but also a Best in Show award for User Experience. I won't go into a lot of detail, but huge, huge wins. (Celebrated with quite a few drinks and celebratory dinners on Newbury Street.) A fabulous big name client win on a site I was owner to and sole manager of. The client couldn't be more pleased and these two wins combined with a few other work things this week are giving me my best work week ever. I know I shouldn't need tangible proof to prove I'm good at my job, but it does feel nice. Glad I'm not a waste of cyber space. That stuff don't come too cheap. Wiiiiiink.

Monday, November 16, 2009

First a copilot, now an architect

Not only is our burned out church building being rebuilt, but we're getting a new Stake Center. Cambridge, Mass. thanks everyone for being tithing payers. This image cracks me right up: (click the photo for a bigger image if you can't see):
Not sure who updated the sign, but I feel like this is an image you'll start seeing in email forwards pretty soon. The new Stake Center is the first of its kind in our area -- our closest Stake Center is 12 miles (~30 minutes) West of here -- so we're thrilled!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

rinse and repeat: embarrassment for sport

Once upon a time, in a time long long ago 2.5 years, I posted my first video blog after nine shots of novocaine to the mouth. I think this one is worth reliving:

I think my favorite part is at 18 seconds where I have to breathe in through my mouth to slurp up the uncontrollable drool about to pour forth from my mouth. Curious about the Bob Bob Blog?

And how about that red, eh? Who remembers 2006 and 2007? Ohhhh a Boston I hardly even remember.

Also, guess who's having cavities filled again soon?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

On... (part cuatro)

... bringing back the 80's
Client in the sink next to mine: "People actually still get perms?"
Her hair washer: "It actually looks pretty good. Sometimes people with thin or limp hair get them.
Me: I'm sitting right here, I can clearly hear you.

... family friendly television
When my parents were here a few weeks ago, they talked Linda and I into watching "White Collar", a new show on USA, with them. Holy buckets, this show is great! I caught up on Hulu last night, and the show genuinely makes me laugh. It doesn't try too hard to be funny or dramatic, or to push the envelope; and it's supremely well acted. What's it about? I could try to explain it, but I'd rather let the site dedicated and developed to the show tell the story. It's basically crime solving heists, now with more Tiffani Amber Theissen! (There are only four episodes to date, catch up on Hulu!)

... word fun
I decided my favorite word is "extravaganza." Every event, trip, or party I plan typically has extravaganza added to the official title--because it's fun! And all those a's roll so beautifully together! I posted these same sentiments to facebook and was returned a handful of other words who make good use of a's : organza, guadalajara, catamaran, lava lava, Walla Walla, etc. Any others we've missed?

... tasks of adulthood
This week I participated in quite a few tasks that made me feel like maybe I am on may way to adulthood. I chose an auto body shop to reconnect my bumper and replace a smashed light. I went luggage shopping. I opened an online brokerage account and started buying bonds and notes and other stuffs. I bought an outfit for a fancy awards event I have to attend next week (Zipcar is nominated, woot!). I had a giant metal rod shoved into my ear canal and didn't cry.

Friday, November 13, 2009

To Serve and Protect

This week, we celebrated a holiday. (Some of you were lucky enough to have the day off. Some of us may or may not have been a) envious and b) had to walk to the work because the bus wasn't running. Again. The City of Boston sure does like taking holidays.) Happy belated Veteran's Day everyone.

I've blogged before about my the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces, so I won't repeat posts, except to say Thank You again. I was at the Celtics game on Wednesday night and the Garden did a lovely job of honoring both past and present soldiers. As mentioned in my previous post, "Despite the debate (about the war)--the rallying of the right and the lobbying of the left, I believe Americans are united on perhaps only one front; and that's respect and gratitude for our American troops." Public displays of appreciation for the troops always make me tear up.

This week Mel wrote about her Grandpa, who was honored this week at the University of Utah for his service in World War II. What a brilliant idea! I'ma copy her post idea and show off my two handsome grandfathers.

Both my Grandpa Wood and Grandpa Williams are veterans. My Gpa Wood was in the Navy and my Gpa Wms. a paratrooper(!) and both served in the Korean War era. I know slim to nothing about their time in the armed services, but wish I knew more. (Gpa--you'd better be ready to talk Navy blues!)
Aren't they handsome? And isn't it fascinating that in just two generations serving in the military is the exception instead of the rule? Will it ever reverse back?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

He never got a son...

...which is probably a good thing since chances are he wouldn't have gone along for this special Wood/Wms family photo sing-along. We love you Dad! Happy Birthday!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

convertible shoes for your feet

This blog goes out to 92% of my blog readers, aka the women of NatA!istheNB.

I know I'm all about emphatic declaration on this blog and the wheat may at times be hard to distinguish from the chaff. I'm hoping my good ideas ultimately bubble to the surface and you get to take something home with you when the browser light turns off and you go back to your regularly scheduled life.

Today, in the effort of full disclosure (and because I found a really really great deal I'm going to pass along), I'm going to emphatically declare my love for the greatest sandals of all time.

I am not a sandal wearer. The Wood/Wms. women aren't blessed with the best feet. Because my feet are long and flat, I had an aversion to wearing sandals, because they looked like pancakes. And the heel cracking was unsightly. But, two summers ago I found a pair of gladiators that changed my life.

See how I wear these sandals everywhere? Aren't they cute?The sandals are the perfect bronze color, so they can be equally worn with black or brown. They match everything. For someone with a penchant to look like she's sporting clown shoes, these sandals provided an elegant sleekness I'd only dreamt about from magazines. My girlfriends and sisters always commented on them; I've been bearing testimony of these sandals for more than two years. Purchased at TJ Maxx in the summer of 2007, I RAN THE ORIGINAL SANDALS INTO THE GROUND. With great luck, in the summer of 2008, I found them again and nearly cried in delight. Sadly, I thrashed that pair to pieces as well. Two years, two pairs, and I've been beating myself up for months for not purchasing a several year supply when they were $25 at TJ Maxx.

Now, here's my admonishment. Buy these sandals. Don't think, just buy. I know it's November and past season, but you will not be sorry when it's December and you're going to Mexico for Christmas or it's March and a freakishly warm week springs forth from the Wasatch Mountains or it's any month of the year and it's lovely because you're in California. Instead, you'll be so thrilled you have this fresh set of sandals to enjoy.


BUT WAIT. Here comes the hard sell. They're on sale online.
$20 for size 6-8.5
$25 for size 9-10

$17.83 for all sizes

Buy one get one free, 2 pair for $40 (use promo code: "fallten")

This post is in no ways sponsored by Madden Girl, though I wish it were. I'm just so enthusiastic about these sandals, that I'm willing to show up to Six Flags, or Prague, or church, or anywhere else I've worn mine in the last two years and I'd be perfectly happy to --GASP!-- be wearing the same sandals as you. In fact, my sister Mallory bought some last year (or I bought them with mine and hand delivered them to her in Portland because she wanted them so bad) and has enjoyed the heck out of them as well. Right Mal Pal?

Wow. This is a long post for what some would consider an inconsequential matter. But here's the driving point. I own three and a half closets worth of clothing. (I'll find time to be embarrassed about this admission later.) These sandals are one of the five pieces I would unequivocally endorse to anyone. YOU WON'T BE SORRY.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Do you hear what I hear?


This stresses me out quite a bit actually. The news really is good, but I just can't believe it. There's no way it can actually be true, right? I mean, what good has modern medicine ever done? What has it proved? What has it healed? Conspiracy!

I've promised never to lie to you--so I guess I can't hold this one back. For the last ten years, I was certain, just certain, that I was hard of hearing. My left ear to be exact. I can not hear out of it! So bad was my ailment, that Krista still remembers which ear is bad when she pictures how I used to lay on it in my bunk bed for optimal hearing. I sit with my right ear cocked forward at church, at movies, and try to sit on the outermost left position when we go out to eat.

BUT FOR NOTHING! I had my hearing tested today as a follow-up to the great vertigo that was a follow-up to the great H1N1 virus known as the great Swine Flu. GUESS WHO'S NOT EVEN HARD OF HEARING? In fact, I "have the hearing of a child", whatever that means.

I'm not a hypochondriac except that time I had a brain tumor, so I was seriously confused today. How am I going to adjust to life without a disability? I have perfect eyes now AND perfect ears? (Where the H is my perfect skin?!) I know this should be good news, but now I think my brain needs checking. What else am I fooling myself into thinking?

Speaking of a brain needing checking, I guess this is proof I foretold the future again. A bitty silver lining. But as freaky as making up a hearing impairment for the last ten years? Sigh. Now what am I going to tell people when I want a better seat at the table?

Monday, November 09, 2009

a call for guest bloggers

Nine posts in nine days? Holy cow, am I actually following through on a self-assigned blogging goal? I know, I can hardly believe it either. Back pat Nat Attack, back pat. And I'll admit it, I'm having fun.

Dear Internet Family, I need your help. Remember how I'm going on an epic journey to spanish-speaking southern spaces (S4) during Thanksgiving week? While I'm beyond nervous excited to explore a continent and a hemisphere I know slim to nothing about, I'm a bit sad to possibly ruin my longest blogging streak by relying on internet access in South America. But last night I had a grand idea. I'm going to turn this circus space over to you.

So here's your chance, readers. I'm looking for 7-10 writers of varying height, weight, and hair color to contribute a post during the week I'm gone. As this blog has no rhyme or reason to content, I'll expect the same from volunteers. To put it mildly; write about whatever the heck you want. If you have a blog, if you don't, if you know me, if you don't... here's your chance to take advantage of the best reader's in the world. And now: a poem.

There once was a blog online,
Slim to never before did it rhyme.
But I'm going away,
It's your turn to play,
Get in by shooting me a line.

This is the part where we're all glad I don't try to poem on the fly very often. But I'm being serious about this. If you're interested, shout out in the comments or send me an email -- the{dot}nat{dot}factor{at}gmail{dot}com. I'll follow up in an email offline, but please consider doing this.

My life is surrounded by funny, thoughtful, interestingly brilliant people. Sisters, cousins, high school friends, old roommates, lurkers, Bostonians, and a representative from most states in the country. Give back to me by giving back to my readers (your peers!). If you've never blogged before, consider this a test run. If you do blog, consider this free promotion. If you don't know what a blog is, welcome to the world wide web.

Let's keep the streak alive folks. Help me out. (And help me out could also be cajoling my Dad or Grandpa to write a post. A coup of epic proportions! Rewards in store!)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

painted faces on parade

Historically, I go all out for Halloween. This year, I was happy to play it a bit safer with a 1992 Midnight Masquerade Barbie look. Add twos parts huge wire-lined sleeves to one part face painted masquerade mask, and voila!

This picture is my favorite of all of Halloween--my friend Carly made her own Marie Antoinette gown, and it was simply to die for!

My favorite costumes of the year--the Wicked gals, and the kid from Up!
This year, Halloween fell on the formal dance night of Education Conference. (Remember the Black and White Ball of 2007?) The event was held at the Harvard Club in the Back Bay and was a really grand night. All in all a great holiday, and the perfect kick-off to the holiday season!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

I could make SNL funny again

Beyond the standard websites everyone not living under a rock frequents, my most visited website is Entertainment Weekly. Judge if you will. is a round-the-clock portal for all things entertainment related--movies, TV, books, music, plays, games, websites, etc. I've received the hard-copy magazine at my house every week for the last six years. (And actually gave it as a wedding gift to someone I knew would appreciate it.) My secular Bible if you will.

EW is more than just celebrity gossip--in fact it doesn't cater much to that crowd. Instead, I frequent for the zippy television recaps, opinionated columns lambasting certain areas of "pop culture", and information on how the things I enjoy (shows, people, movies, books) are fairing.

Imagine, though I don't think you'll be able to, the moment when I discovered my name on the homepage of The delight. The excitement. The speechless wonder. Here's how it came about:

Rarely do I throw my hat into the ring of online forums. Thoughtful responses are few and far between; sandwiched between spam-generated comments, racist remarks, and political filibustering (yes! even here!). Last night however, in a moment of boredom somewhere between the Celtics losing to the Suns and a slow chapter of The Constant Gardner, I popped over to

A request for skits for Taylor Swift to perform on Saturday Night Live? Well why not. And they lead the follow-up story with my idea. Brilliant. Now if that skit shows on tonight's broadcast, I'll truly know that I can see the future. You see, about 15 years ago, I had a legitimate dream about self-checkout at the grocery store. I nearly fell over the first time I saw one. If there's a mention of Taylor Swift and Stuff White People Like tonight, check back here for lottery numbers on Monday.

Friday, November 06, 2009

When it's cold outside, I've got the month of May

The wind is out in full force today, seemingly in a hurry to kick Fall out the door and introduce Her Majesty WINTER. The wind, coupled with a general feeling of restlessness is turning my attention to the grand fact that I'll be in Argentina in 2.5 weeks. Hello Southern Hemisphere and the fact that sunny 80-degree days await. The opposite of November is May, and who doesn't love May (or counter-clockwise flushing toilets)?

Colleen and I got brave and decided to rent a loft instead of a standard hotel. For roughly the same price, we get to stay in this funky, eclectic little home with a full service kitchen and living space instead of touching elbows and knees with each other and our luggage. The Loft is owned by three of the friendliest folks--I've exchanged several emails with them and am excited to get on down there.

Also on our Spanish-speaking sojourn we're spending two days in La Ciudad de Mexico. What are we going to do while we're there? Hmm, good question. Maybe it's time to figure that out. And did I mention our flights start from New York City? Believe it or not, we're going to touch three of the top four most populous cities in North America in less than a week. (Guesses on the 3rd most populous? Whose ready for another geography quiz?!)

This afternoon I booked a hotel from a site solely in Spanish. I was rather pleased with myself, but I guess there's a slim chance I just ordered a sombrero-wearing donkey delivered to my doorstep. My travel-planning skills are getting a little out of control.

I've got the blues.

I miss the tan M&M's. The blues just don't taste the same.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Why I Believe: The Beginning of a Spiritual Explanation

More often than not, this blog serves as a secular space for the stories, musings, and phrases that strike my fancy at any given moment. In the past three and a half years, I’ve chuckled good-naturedly as I’ve penned embarrassing confessions or delighted in new ways to poke fun at myself. On occasion, I’ve cried tears at life’s confusion or in frustration at my inability to stop the world from turning and changing the things I love at that very moment. All of these experiences are memories or thoughts important enough to be remembered—things I want to remember—be they clever, painful, or nostalgic. I’m happy you’re accompanying me on this ride.

For whatever reason, conscious or not, there’s one area of my life I haven’t shared as freely on this blog as other areas of this circus I call daily living. If you’re at all familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), or “The Mormons”, my references to visiting teaching, stake conference, or singles’ wards means something to you—either personally or by association. If you haven’t been able to read between the lines in the last 700 blog posts, I’ll spell it out very clearly:

Yes, I’m a Mormon.

Being a Mormon is more a part of who I am than any number of grand metaphors or similes could ever explain. At the very center of who I am, lives the knowledge that God has a plan for me—and for each of His children. We belong to Him, and he loves us divinely; because we are divinely His. The teachings of Christ’s ancient church have been restored again to the earth, and they offer all of the happiness and hope and joy afforded to mankind both in this lifetime and in the one to come. My inner light and positivity are deeply rooted in knowing where I came from, why I’m here on Earth, and the paradise and rest that await on the other side once this life ends.

I’m going to start a tagged series called Why I Believe. In 700 posts I haven’t once tried to explain why I do certain things (three hours of church, 10 percent tithe, callings, temple attendance, etc.) or why I don’t do others (smoke, drink alcohol or coffee, engage in pre-marital sex, etc.). Considering that being a Mormon is who I am first and foremost, this blog hasn’t been a completely accurate portrayal of who I really am, has it? I've been thinking about this reconciliation for quite some time, but the scales have finally tipped to include the spiritual aspect of my life in this little corner of my universe. I’ve been inspired by a post written by a good friend entitled “I’m a Mormon?”, a magnificent Education Conference with Elder M. Russell Ballard (who we believe is a called Apostle of Jesus Christ), and Fiddler on the Roof.

That’s right, Fiddler on the Roof. Last night, one of my best friends and I were able to attend the Broadway show downtown in the historic Boston Opera House. I’ve always loved the story of Tevye’s family and village as they struggle to maintain lives of spiritual tradition in a world of conflict and change. The moment that struck my heart was during the first act as the families all over the village of Anetevka were gathering at sunset on the Sabbath. I don’t profess to know anything about Jewish tradition, but in this moment of swelling music, I was afforded a brief inner glimpse at the spiritual customs and beliefs of a religion that were lived so completely and thoroughly that they governed every aspect of Jewish life.

Occasionally, I’d like to afford you a brief inner glimpse into the LDS spiritual customs and beliefs that are lived so completely and thoroughly that they govern every aspect of the Mormon life. Because as zany a picture I’ve painted of myself in the last 3.5 years, all of it means nothing if you don’t know who I am and why I believe.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

All around the world statues crumble for me

Today, I tested my geography and felt sorely lacking in my knowledge of the countries of the world. Fifteen minutes, and I could only name 77 of 195 (~40%). When my time was up there were several "duh" countries I missed, but I was pretty maxed out. Here's how I failed:

So, without looking at a map, what countries did I miss that you know? Did you fair any better in 15 minutes? Take the quiz here.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Working the Poll

From a post on August 29, 2009:

I think my next poll will attempt to gather the stats on the marital status of my dear readers. If I had to guess now, I'd wager 65/35 in favor of the marrieds, if not higher. Which is odd now that I think about it, since my daily 24/7 is surrounded by single people.

Well there you have it. As far as blogs go, married is the new single.
Also, I can see the future. Or close to the future.

Also, it's time for a new poll. Anyone have any dying questions they need to know the answers to?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

trick her treat

Are you annoyed with photo posts yet? I can't help it. It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Presently, I'm laying comatose in my bed. As previously mentioned, I hosted a group of 11 for a church Education Conference this weekend. Pre, during, and post work were more than I cut out for -- but I thrive on stressful challenges. More to come on this weekend, but I wanted to give you a lil sneak peek to wet your whistle. (Also Ryan, one of my houseguests, informed me November is National Blog Posting month. A blog post every day this month? No promises, but we'll see.)

This photo is my new header image, but for posterity's sake (should I ever happen upon some), I'll toss it into this post. Gorgeous huh? A Friday morning spent at the Old North Bridge at the tail end of Fall.

NatA! at the Old North Bridge

And also. Here's what's left of my Halloween costume after the Masquerade Ball hit me with its best shot and melted my face.
Lemme get back on my feet and I'll shoot some more goodies your way. Hope your Halloween was more treats than tricks!

Definitely, maybe, probaby related posts:

If NatA! posted a photo with this blog, here it is!