One of my friends just sent me a link to this amazing and inspiring video. It really just makes me so emotional to think about all of our brothers and sisters around the world singing about love together. I do believe that all this world needs is love. Love for each other, and love for our Savior. Christ really did know what he was talking about when he gave the two great commandments. May we all just take a little time to think about others at this season and love a little more.
Q: Which one tastes better: a homemade burrito with chipotle peppers, or a wedding cake that's been frozen for one year?
Here are some pictures to aid you in the decision-making process... A: Definitely the wedding cake.
The burritos were good... if you like having your mouth BURN for 30 minutes after eating.... Henry had the great idea to cook the chicken in the pepper sauce from the can, and then add all the peppers to the mix as well. Let's just say that there was a LOT of flavor in that little can. Henry's stomach ached for the rest of the night (Tori wisely only had half a serving).
Yes, we followed the old tradition of freezing the cake from your wedding. Our cake maker actually made us a separate cake, so we'll be eating this for the next few days. But it is still so good! The icing may have slid around a bit in transit (it made the road trip from AZ on dry ice), but it tastes 15X better than it looks. Promise. Come over and have a bite if you're in Provo.
We're currently contemplating never leaving our apartment again. The tons of snow we had dumped on us last week has now transformed into an all-consuming slush. Every time we've taken the car out (only three times) in the past few days it has almost gotten stuck. Stressful.
On a more happy note, we have our first Christmas tree! Tori was giddily excited by the prospect of having any kind of tree, while Henry just didn't get it. This one was pre-lit, pre-decorated, on sale, and about a foot tall! A mini-tree for our mini-studio. We managed to squish some of our ornaments on it... so now it's a bit crowded, but hey, we like it!
To end this long-awaited (by my MANY readers...) blog post, I'm going to share some of my favorite Christmas/winter songs! While I always love the traditional, religious songs, I also like to add some variety in there sometimes.
So in the last month we've just been settling in to our daily routines: 5am: Alarm goes off ("Gold Digger" ringtone). Snooze. Wake-up. Shower etc. H makes T lunch.
6am: T catches bus to SLC and reads books, H goes back to sleep or starts work. 8-5pm-ish: T works, sacks (sacrifices) mice, finds out how nicotine affects the immune system and how it can affect developing babies. H works, goes to school, learns about measure theory and dynamic programming and other hard math. 6:30pm - bedtime: chill, eat, cuddle, etc. (service to the poor, putting together humanitarian aid kits, cleaning the wounds of lepers, and giving blood) SLEEP
Here are some things that H and T have been enjoying lately: 1. Trying to become ventriloquists, which really just involves avoiding words with letters like "m" and "b", etc. 2. Autotune the news. Seriously funny. Especially if you are familiar with T Pain, Kanye, etc. There are about 8 videos, but our favorite is found here. 3. Chocolate. This is a regular for T, actually.... 4. New phone! H got a fancy phone with a whole QWERTY keyboard on it... too bad he doesn't have texting. 5. Wonderful conference! 6. Spending time with family. Kids are entertaining. Take for example, our 3-year-old niece who wants to be naked Dumbledore (time 1:18 here) for Halloween. She has a natural aversion to wearing clothes. We attribute it to the fact that she is actually Tarzan. 7. Trying to play D&D with H's old roommate (meathead, and wife). T was an elven druid named Valanthia or "Val". H was a barbarian named Grognak. 8. Indian food in all its forms. Bombay House and/or homemade. If you have any recipes you'd recommend send them our way. 9. Lots of books. Our nifty goodreads sidebars can testify to that. 10. Hayao Miyazaki films. So good. Kiki's Delivery Service and Porco Rosso are our most recent favorites.
So after our internships in DC finished we went on a whirlwind vacation to NYC and Boston. We also spent about 20 hours on various bus rides ... not too fun, but worth it for the price!
Here we are in Central Park. Most of our pictures are "arm shots" - ya know, where you stick out your arm and take the picture yourself (I'm pretty good at them actually) - but this one was taken by a kind stranger (you'll notice both of my arms are visible): NYSE, baby. Doesn't Henry just look so happy? Ground Zero. Seeing the former site of the WTC up-close made us realize how scary it must have been when the buildings came crashing down 8 years ago. Everything is so close together in Manhattan that it must have been a nightmare to be anywhere in the vicinity. View of the Statue of Liberty, the sun, and some other tourists from the Staten Island Ferry: I don't remember why Henry is whistling or singing or something, but he sure is cute doing it: This is my artsy shot of my not well-manicured foot, a fence, and the fuzzy Manhattan skyline in the distance: Enjoying sunset from Staten Island! It was cool to see the city light up as the sun went down: This was from one of the exhibitions at the Met (I can't remember what it's called...). It's an ancient Egyptian temple, and I found it amusing that there is also not-so-ancient graffiti on it: Tori in chocolate heaven: We then boarded a bus to Boston and stayed with some good friends of ours, Malia and David, who graciously let us sleep in their living room and share their toothbrushes (...they don't know that...). We had a delicious calzone and then a cannoli (one each, of course). I definitely felt that for a while. Wow! The Old North Church: Napping in Boston Common: Taking the ferry to Martha's Vineyard. This is my all-natural hair, by the way, a nice wavy mess: The safety (?) sign on the ferry... still not exactly sure what that's supposed to mean. It sure didn't make us feel any safer: We rented bikes and rode all around the island. It was a nice sunny day and we didn't wear any sunscreen (we just love skin cancer) - I paid for it that night when I got delayed sunsickness and re-experienced dinner... But anyway, MV was consistently beautiful: the houses, the ocean, the lighthouse, the flowers, EVERYTHING. We would definitely rent/buy a home there someday if we make it big with one of our movie ideas. Beautiful park and eccentric architecture: HPT is proud to present.... THE OCEAN!! And how could we go to Martha's Vineyard without remembering the Obama's (who were vacationing with us.... or on the island at the same time)?!? Of course chocolate and ice cream is the best way to celebrate anything, especially if the food 1) is accompanied by a nice detailed diagram of the contents, 2)is available for a reasonable price that reflects the number of the president (44th), and 3) has a name could possibly be taken as an extremely politically incorrect racist comment:
So a few weeks ago we found some presents in our kitchen! They were a total surprise and we didn't know who left them. But don't get too excited, it wasn't Christmas in July/August... they presents were of a different nature altogether. I recognized the mouse poop because I used to work in a lab with mice. If only these little guys knew what I did to their distant cousins (not to sound too morbid or anything, but hey, it was for science) then they wouldn't have been so nonchalant about masquerading around OUR kitchen.
Well, we immediately put all of our food that was out (bread, chips, cereal) in the cabinet which we ASSUMED was secure from the scurrying scoundrels. We hung up our kitchen trash (which had been on the floor and had nibble marks). Then we bought some rat/mouse poison (tasty green blocks) and put it in some dark corners so the mouse could eat and DIE.
We soon found that our cabinet was NOT the safe haven we thought it was. In fact, the mice/mouse was having a hay-day eating through our plastic bags and cardboard boxes and finding all the food it wanted! It was quite disturbing the first morning we found this out. Honestly, it made me want to vomit. The mice I am used to working with are clean and disease-free, in fact, they would die pretty quickly in the normal world because of their genetic mutations. But these mice are disgusting, dirty, deleterious and disease-ridden (there's some alliteration for you). So now all of our food is in the fridge, we wash all of our dishes before using them, and we are super careful about crumbs etc.
On Saturday, Henry's mom and sister were visiting and his mom happened to open our water heater closet which is in the kitchen. There in one of the mouse traps (left by the owner) was a little friend! I won't go into details (even though I think it's interesting), but the mouse was definitely dead. Hopefully it was just one...
Here is a haiku I've written in honor of the dead mouse:
You lil' mousey, you. Nibbled our food and left poo. Then your head got smashed.
Rest in peace. (Maybe this picture is from mouse heaven.)
CoCo Sala - Henry's work party at this swanky downtown DC lounge/restaurant. Fancy hors 'doeuvres + unlimited alcohol + chocolate = great fun. Even more fun when you are not drinking and everyone else gets hammered and then you can all dance to MJ at the end of the night! They gave us chocolates with BW | 10 (10th anniversary of the company) on them. Also, as you can see by this picture we: 1) like chocolate 2) have a gas stove and 3) recycle!
Hirshhorn - We both love modern art. This is one of our favorite Smithsonian's so far. Also nice because it doesn't take that long to go through the whole thing.
Holocaust Museum - Very memorable and well-curated. The reality of it all really hit me when the ID card I received was of a 22-year-old newly married young woman who did not survive.
Matchbox - Good pizza. Horrible service. We were never greeted, and spoken to rudely and glared at when we asked for a table. But good pizza. We like veggies.
Temple closed - Only to be realized after making the hour commute by metro and bus. At least they had a cool exhibit from the Hubble spacecraft at the visitor's center. And nature. The temple is surrounded by nature -- something that is hard to come by in DC.
Homemade chocolate chip cookies - Filled with butter and love, these goodies make a perfect breakfast any day of the week. And they disappear quickly.
Henry's interim review - Success! Henry is now CEO of Bates White. Or at least the best intern they've ever had (not an exaggeration).
Tori's poster presentation - On August 6th! Who cares how it goes, the poster looks pretty! Thank heaven for Powerpoint 2007's amazing default color scheme.
Family! - The Lefgren family came out to play before heading back to Utah. The kids were cute and we had lots of fun going to the zoo and just hanging out.
Here is Lucy saying "I don't want to wear shoes because I am a turtle and turtles don't wear shoes." She has a point, ya know.Emma and Tori swinging. We are girls because we wear pink shirts.
And these are boys. You can tell because they smell and wear blue.
Well, that's the latest update from the Tappens. 2.5 weeks of internships left (along with visits from more family) and then we're off to NYC for a week! And don't forget good ol' Provo, we'll be back there soon enough. Look out!
Happy Independence (not dense) Day! That reminds me of a funny Andy Sandberg digital short.
We started off the weekend by going to Arlington National Cemetery and seeing the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We also went to Georgetown Cupcake and waited in line for 30 minutes to buy a little bit of heaven. I do love chocolate A LOT, but the wait was a little bit ridiculous.
(We all know you're really just here to see me, so it doesn't really matter that Henry's left eye is cut off. Isn't the right side of his face cute, though?)
(I thought it was funny that they swung out their legs before they stopped walking, so I was soo happy when I caught this lil' pic.)
Random science fact: Did you know that they exhumed the remains of the Vietnam unknown soldier and identified him through his mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)? mtDNA is inherited through the mother because the egg contributes the bulk of the cell (including organelles like mitochondria), while the sperm only holds DNA. Wowsie!
On the fourth we went forth to downtown DC and saw the big show.
(Random people we don't know)
(This is us looking up at the fireworks. They turned us into giddy, blissful children... no lies. I have a video with Henry exclaiming "WOW" with perfect child-like awe)
After the show, we were walking through the crowd to get to our bus-stop and we came stumbled upon a magical street performer.
But this was not just any street performer. And that is NOT Chairman Mao behind him (not a racist comment, but just a remark on the way I edited the photo). This guy was actually playing CLASSICAL MUSIC on the STEEL DRUMS. This guy was a mix between Marley and Mozart, Rastafarian-ism and Ravel, Dreadlocks and Debussy, Jamaica and Johannes..., sorry I just got on a roll there. I'll put up a video soon so you can see, and hear, for yourself (our internet is too slow and it won't upload right now).
#1. Our 6-month-versary was on Saturday and we went out to Moroccan food at Marrakesh. It was an all night dining experience with a seven course meal and a belly dancer who balanced a sword on her head. Pretty scary if you ask me. #2. National Portrait Gallery. It's like a whole museum full of the stories of individuals throughout history. Simply amazing. It allows you to put faces to all those names that you've always heard. Our favorite thing was seeing the pictures of the presidents that were used on money (the penny, $1, $5, $100).
#3. KHAAAAAN! So if you haven't seen the Star Trek movie "The Wrath of Khan" (TWOK) then WATCH IT. We both loved the newest Star Trek movie, so we thought we'd go back and watch some of the old ones. We're pretty dorky, we know. Anyway, TWOK was actually pretty good. The shot of William Shatner screaming KHAN!! is well-preserved by the website above. And just so you know, this guy's chest is NOT a prosthetic (which makes him just a tad bit more creepy than he already is). #4. Church was wonderful and uplifting as ever. We have a very diverse ward with members from many African countries (Mali, Cameroon, and Nigera, that I know of) and we really enjoy listening to their inspiring testimonies and comments. We also found a random connection through someone that knows Henry's family from Pueblo, CO. Oh Pueblo.
#5. Henry and I are still very much in love and enjoying our time together in this exciting city! Only 9 more weeks to go! P.S. I just learned how to make words into links and am now obsessed. Funny youtube videos here, here, and here.
So we just had frozen yogurt at this place called "Mr. Yogato" this evening. Good yogurt, trivia challenges, free do-it-yourself toppings, and old school nintendo. While the extra chocolate sauce made my night, Henry was just ecstatic to play Mike Tyson's Punchout for 15 minutes.
We've been in DC for a week and a half now. Here's what we've been up to:
- Meeting many of our friendly neighbors with their darling children - Traveling by metro to and from work every day - Going to some Smithsonian museums (Air and Space, and Natural History) with family, and alone (American History) - Coming in to our bedroom (we are subletting from a woman in her 60s) for the first time and finding pictures of naked women on the walls (artistic, but still a bit shocking). They are now in the closet, so no worries - Learning to live without a microwave - Adjusting to humidity (and wavy hair on my part) - Getting used to seeing diversity everywhere (a nice change from Utah) - Taking the bus in the wrong direction when coming home from church (which only took an extra half hour... no biggie) - Learning all about Ebola virus and antibodies (Tori), and about trust-busting and the legal system (Henry) - Having a nice seafood dinner with Aunt Gail/Uncle Udell in Chinatown (not what you'd think of as a Chinatown) with an AMAZING chocolate cake dessert
If you've visited or lived in DC before, please send us your suggestions as to what to do (or what to eat)! We have three more months here so we're going to fit everything in.
So on Sunday, in commemoration of Mother's Day, I made lots of homemade food. And that actually means that I made two recipes (and peas). #1 is pineapple muffins. Sooooo good. Not healthy at all, especially with that glaze, but soooo good. It was a recipe from my cooking class that I took last semester. And actually, they are healthy! They have pineapples! That cancels out all the other ingredients. (Behind the muffins is our beautiful green stove, doesn't it match the plate well - on purpose of course) #2 - Henry and I made Indian food for dinner. Chicken Korma. This was AMAZING and super easy. It was only hard to find mango chutney, but besides that it was cake. The recipe was from allrecipes.com and it was as good as a restaurant. It kind of looks like throw-up, but I promise it tastes divine. And look how healthy we are!!! Frozen peas!!! And the beautiful presentation!!! I'm ready to have many, many children ... obviously.
I graduated from BYU! I have a BS in Molecular Biology with a minor in Philosophy. So I'm a scientists who loves knowledge. But more importantly, now I am an educated woman. Soon I'll be asking for the right to vote or own property or something. Man, has Henry got his work cut out for him!
So this picture isn't exactly the greatest, but it's the best one on my camera. My dad (the photography guru of the family) took some with his really nice camera that hopefully he'll send to me soon. The traditional graduation attire is so strange - the robe makes you look like an elephant even when it's sized, and the pointy hat should seriously come with a warning (I poked many people and may have caused some injuries).
It was just nice having family in town. My parents and two sisters came in to support me (but the sisters just really wanted free food from my parents). We went on a walk near their hotel in Provo and got this nice photo. We also went out to Bombay House and got indigestion. Yum! (Seriously though, Indian food is the best.)
Then we went to Colorado to visit my brother's family (with new Baby Sarah) and Henry's parents. Baby Sarah (not just Sarah - you have to add the "baby" in front) was less than two weeks old and oh so cute. This is my other niece Delaney with her little sister. Even the craziest 7-year-old (Delaney) can be calmed by the presence of a precious baby.
We saw the sights of Pueblo, Colorado: the downtown Riverwalk (pics below), the new Chipotle, City Park (played Bocce Ball), and the used bookstore - Books Again. It was rather eventful. We also had an open house with Henry's parents and got to celebrate our wedding again! It made us feel like newly weds again!!! Oh wait...
Just a warning: these are all copyrighted by Tappens (c)
Last night we (mostly Henry) came up with some great new movie ideas. I think we'll drop out of college and pursue careers in Hollywood.
Movie #1: Funkytown It a live-action movie with dogs, but they have animated mouths that make them talk. They are all voiced by famous comedians. Martin Lawrence plays some kind of terrier, George Lopez is a chihuahua, Cedric the Entertainer plays a bulldog with a screwed-up eye, and Beyonce Knowles (Sasha FIERCE!) plays a toy poodle. The dogs are in rival gangs in a neighborhood in the Bronx but they band together to fight off the dog-catcher (played by Bill Murray). Beyonce ends the show singing "Funkytown" - the classic 80s funk song - with dog barks in place of many of the instrumentals.
Movie #2: Ivy League A gay guy (played by Zac Efron)tries to get into a Christian college only to be discriminated against and rejected because of his orientation. He pretends to be straight in order to attend the school, but the ruse falls apart when he's discovered on a date with his male lab partner (played by Zachary Quinto, Spock in the new Star Wars movie)! Our hero is distraught. He attempts suicide but is rescued by his football-playing roommate (played by Tom Welling from Smallville), whom we thought was nothing more than an ignorant jock. The school issues a full pardon and the Tappens win an Oscar. Also features Morgan Freeman as the sympathetic school counselor, Reese Witherspoon as his conflicted mother, and Ed Harris as the intolerant dean. Hit pop song/title track by Mariah Carey and Zac Efron.
Hope you enjoyed these. Look for them on the big screen in the next two years.
So I haven't updated in a while, but I thought I'd go ahead and put up my pictures from the last month or so.
1) The Hunger Banquet. March 6-7. Those dates will be forever ingrained in my mind because of the hundreds of posters and handbills I put up around Provo. I was part of the publicity committee and as such I got to... publicize. The event turned out remarkably well and had 1,900 peopleshow up over the two nights. We also made over $15,000 to donate to local non-profits (working locally and abroad in development-related issues). I had a great time helping greet people and serving food both nights.
Unfortunately, due to an unlucky run-in with the delete key, I lost most of my pictures from the night. Here are a few that were rescued: This is my friend, Elisa. She's cool. We put up a lot of fliers together :)This is me in my Tanzanian dress (from my friend Katie). I did make that face most of the night. Oh yeah, the shoes aren't Tanzanian, but rather Old Navyian.
Deanna (former roommate of 3.5 years) and I. She had on a beautiful formal Chinese dress. Very classy.
2) Amy's (roommate of 2.5 years) sister's wedding reception in SLC. Once again, very classy. It was in the Joseph Smith Building, NOT the one on BYU campus but the real one. I was amused with the name tag: It makes my first and (former) last name look very similar.
Here are the roomies! We're still in love even though I've left them for this man:
He is working hard to solve the world's problems and find an equation to take over the world. He's so hot.
3) Internship Fair. I had a booth at the Internship Fair at BYU last week (April 3rd) on my Internship to Northern Ireland last summer. I studied leukemia. The fair was mostly geared towards "normal people" (aka non-science people) so I focused my booth on explaining what leukemia is and what a chemical signaling pathway is. I used the game "Mousetrap" to explain a signalling pathway. People liked it. And I got a $50 gift certificate to the BYU bookstore, so I was pretty happy, too.
And yes. That is a real leprechaun. 4) Pictures at Utah Lake. I usually associate this lake with gross smells and swamp-like qualities. Who knew it was actually pretty? I went to take pictures there with Deanna during Priesthood Session last weekend, at sunset. If we were in love and one of us was a man and I wasn't married it would have been the perfect time to purpose. Next big plans:
WASHINGTON DC!!!! We both have internships there over the summer. Henry at Bates White economic consulting and Tori at the National Institutes of Health. It will be an adventure (we leave on May 27th).
Pretty much.... moderation. It started off well and then kind of tapered off at the end and started making really broad generalizations about politics, religion, etc without very much deep consideration.