06 January 2014

Utah Trip, 2013

Before this trip, I hadn't been back since I had graduated in August 2012. What I missed most about Provo were the people. I loved my classes and campus life, there are some good places to eat, but I really missed my buds.
Naturally, my agenda was: friends, eating, eating with friends, General Conference, friends. Because that's really all I did in Provo when I lived there. Besides watch basketball #gocougs
I drove with some peeps from my ward. I took the Frontrunner from SLC to Provo for the first time once we got there. Uhhh why did we get the Frontrunner, Chik-fil-A, AND H&M AFTER I move away from Provo????? Dumb planning on somebody's part.

I stayed with my most recent roommates, Kimberly and Hilary, (#224 #roomies4lyfe). I walked in to Hilary presenting me with Cafe Rio. Come to Oregon, you delicious barbacoa salads, you! In true fashion, we then went and saw "Gravity" at Wynnsong. Wynnsong really is our home away from home. Once we found out about $5 movies there one summer, we were there every week. I wish I was exaggerating, but I'm not.
Saturday was the start of Conference weekend for us Mormon folk. It was an uplifting weekend and I always look forward to it at least a month in advance. I stayed in my sweats, even when we went to breakfast at Kneaders (unlimited French toast, also a tradition), until we went up to SLC to meet with our fourth 224 buddy, Meagan. Meagan was getting married the next week and I was bummed that I couldn't stay for the festivities. But we ate yummy food at my favorite downtown, Buca di Beppo, and then helped Meagan choose her wedding shoes.
Sammy's pieshakes because duh.

Love these girls.

Allie happened to be in Utah that weekend, also, so she dropped by.
Photo c/o Allie

Sunday, I had tickets for morning session of Conference with my wardies, so we met up and enjoyed that amazing session together. "Music and the Spoken Word" is right before every Sunday morning session, so Asia and I made sure that we were there on time for that. If any of you haven't attended Conference, I HIGHLY recommend getting into a session, especially one where the Prophet speaks and when the MoTab sings. It's 1000000xs better than watching on TV.
Asia - Me - Roy

Lovely day in Temple Square

On the drive back to Utah, we drove until the wee hours of the morning. It would have been less painful if we hadn't blown a tire on the way back. Of course, I was driving (crazy things always happens when I'm involved) and we were in the middle of nowhere at 12:30 at night. Pitch black. Freezing cold. Thankfully, we had some studly men in our car who were able to fix it and get us going again. Always an adventure.

It's GONE.

As much as I was ready to move on from my time in Utah, I miss the times I had with the AMAZING people that I befriended while I lived there. You guys rock. Move to PDX so that we can hang out more, k?

05 January 2014

It's A Wonderful Life

My life, let me tell ya.
I feel like I've put some parts of me on the back burner and some parts have exploded into every part of my life. Like writing (and this blog) has not been on my mind. I haven't had the urge to write anything in about 6 months. That's weird for me. But then music, which has always been a big part of my life, was diminished during college to make room for English and Humanities. I think I also felt self-conscious being a musician at the (in?)famous BYU music program. EVERYONE was musical. But now that I'm back in Oregon, I find myself doing music every day, again, and it consumes me. When I used to think about things to write about, now I think about what song I am working on, or what my student needs in order to keep their fingers curved.
Funny how life works, huh?

These are the reasons why I haven't blogged in an embarrassingly long time. I'm forcing myself to catch you up on the important things today. Hello, writing. It feels good to be back.

First of all, one musical thing in particular that consumed my time and practice hours was the Lake Oswego LDS Stake Musical that went from September to November. We performed "It's A Wonderful Life," musical edition. I was one of the piano players for the rehearsals and performances. It was a blast! [I tried to give photo credit where it's due. I hope I didn't mix anyone up!]

That's me by the harp in our tiny, squished orch pit. It was a party every day, which usually involved cookies.
c/o Brittany Bigelow

Cecily and I

c/o Cathrine Martell

The musicians. All of us crammed into this little tiny space.
c/o Cathrine

c/o Cathrine

The leads, "Mary" and "George" (The Thompsons-they are awesome)
c/o Cathrine

Then we had the cast party closing night, of course.
c/o McKenna Fox

c/o Brooke Jeppson

But the crazy party came when Scott Thompson put on some jams and we had a dance party after the cast party. A post party dance party, if you will. (photos c/o Brooke)


And since we are musicians, we sang at the top of our lungs.

But the important part of this musical was the fact that a few different photographers captured the many concentration faces of Michelle. This face just happens to be at it's finest when I'm playing piano.
"The Lip Bite" aka "Turtle Turtle"
(photo c/o Brooke Jeppson)

"The Scowl" aka "I Hate Life" (I really do love playing piano. It just sometimes looks like I don't)
(photo c/o either Brooke or Cathrine Martell)

"Numb" aka "What I Do When I Realize Someone is Taking a Picture of Me Playing and I Have a Scowl So Look Natural"
(photo c/o McKenna Fox)

It's cool, guys. I'm a professional.

11 October 2013

Perfect Day in Portland

My lovely friend Brittany Jarman asked me to be a guest writer for her adorable blog (link to her blog is here). Go check it out; she's fantastic. She is doing a series of favorite things to do in cities or the perfect day your city. When Brittany asked me to write about the perfect day in Portland, I couldn’t resist! I love the City of Roses! Here is what I wrote for her blog:
Portland is the most unique city that I’ve ever been in. Whenever someone finds out that I live in Portland, they ask me if I’ve seen the TV show “Portlandia,” to which I respond: “Yes. And it is 100% accurate.” The writers for that show just need to walk around downtown and they will have plenty of material. There are lots of weirdness, but that means that there is so much character. Plus, there is plenty to do and are lots of hot spots for foodies. I describe the atmosphere as being a big neighborhood. It’s a big city, but it still feels like a neighborhood where people still say hi to each other on the street and the house was quaint.
A Perfect Day in Portland.
1. If the weather is nice, take a bike ride along the waterfront. Or, like a native Oregonian, you go even if it is raining. You get a great view of the city and the waterfront trail is lovely. I would start on the west side, where you can rent a bike, and make your way north across the Steel Bridge, then down the east side so you can see the west side.
view from the steel bridge
2. Saturday Market. This is my favorite things about the city. They have local farmers selling their produce and stands of people selling their art and other crafts. There are also food carts and street performers. I always recommend the market to the place to experience Portland and have a fun Saturday morning. It’s the first thing I do whenever I come back to the city.

3. Go to brunch. Portland is a city that brunches. You can’t go wrong with brunch, so find a place based on your breakfast preferences.
This blurry picture was taken at Slappy Cakes, where you can make your own pancakes on a griddle!

 4. Browse Powell’s City of Books. This is block-long bookstore in SW that is a main attraction in the city. And it gets the attention it deserves, in my opinion. It is Disneyland for bookies, I tell ya. It is so big, they have maps and directories. So many books! Love it!

 5. Lunch at the food carts. There are a few hubs of food carts downtown on both sides of the river. They have everything and the food is delicious. I like Pyro Pizza on and PBJ’s Grilled on the east side.
My other friend Britanee at a late-night Pyro run

6. Explore OMSI. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is a fun museum with a permanent exhibit hall that’s all hands-on and pretty cool temporary exhibits. You could spend a solid amount of time here, so plan accordingly. Maybe this is for day two of the Perfect Day in Portland series. Either way, you can conduct your own experiments and see dinosaur bones and experience what it would be like to be in an earthquake.

7. Pioneer Square. There is always something going on in Pioneer Square on the weekends, like festivals and movies on big screens. It’s a central meeting spot in the city by the historical Pioneer Court. Some of my favorite street performers set-up around here. It is also by the Pioneer Place Mall, where there is good shopping.
during the Portland Rose Festival

street performers

 8. Dinner/happy hour at Portland City Grill. The grill is on the 30th floor, so you get a commanding view of the city. If you go at a certain time you can get happy hour specials so it’s not too crazy expensive. Also, if you go at a certain time, you can get the sunset and the city lights at night.

9. See a show. My love of going to concerts stemmed from the music in the city and its venues. My favorite venue is the Crystal Ballroom in SW. There is a good mix of hip local bands that you’ve probably never heard of along with big names.

10. Voodoo Donuts. Probably the most popular food place in Portland, it is the collection of pure Portland spirit in one place. This place has it all: hip cashiers, post-modern art haphazardly tacked to the wall, puns, and owners that are authorized to officiate weddings. Oh, and there are donuts. Coco Puff donuts, donuts in the shape of Texas, voodoo dolls with raspberry filling. If you go at night, take a friend because you will run into…characters. It’s open late, so it’s a good place to go for post-show munchies.

I hope you are now motivated to visit this lovely city! There are so many more things that I want to add to this list, but this should easily cover a solid weekend. Come on by; I’ll show you a good time. :)

04 August 2013

My Life in Pictures: The White Room [dun dun DUN!]

Lucky for us, I've got a story to draw about today! It is short and sweet and sure to make you believe that I am a dork.

The time when I legitimately thought I was going to die.

My family owns a beach house here along the Oregon coast. It is a place of refuge from the drudgery of daily life and the noises of suburbia/city life. The Ericksen's Beach Abode houses family reunion, birthday celebrations, and even a Christmas morning or two. We have created many memories and look forward to all of the memories our family will make in the future. People come from all around America to also take refuge and enjoy what our little beach home has to offer.

However, I am slightly scared of sleeping there.

My life is such so that I had to get used to sleeping in noisy situations. Oldest child, roommates, traveling, living next to a busy road, etc. In fact, I now can only sleep with background noise. I can't be the last person to go to bed because it's too quiet in my apartment/house. I sleep with the window open so that I hear the cars/dogs/nature noises. I take comfort in people snoring in the next room over. This is my problem with our peaceful beach house. It's a little too quiet for this city girl. No cars. Well-insulated walls. Quiet neighbors. Even with the window open at night, it is silent. That gets into my head and I can't sleep at the beach house. I look forward to big family reunions because I get to share a room with someone. Get the picture? If not, I drew some for us.

A couple of trips ago, I begged my sister and mom to let me sleep with them, but they are those weird people who like the solitude and silence of sleeping in the beach house. Weirdos.
So I sucked it up and charged my iPod, ready to create noise and sleep like a big girl all by myself in the White Room (it's called that because white people like to name everything).  The White Room is the second scariest room in the beach house, next to the Red Room, which is freaky just in its name, but that's for another post.
Here is what normal people see when they see the White Room:
And here's how I see it: 
The first night, I'm delaying my sleepless night by reading and following my family around as they get ready for bed, which is their favorite activity to do with me. I finally decide that it's time for bed and should stop annoying hanging out with my family, so I get ready for bed, which includes making a sweep of the room to make sure there are no murderers. You know, like every normal adult does. I'm half-bracing myself to see something in one of the nooks of the room, so you can imagine what would happen if I were to actually see something. 
Well while I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth, my loving mom and sister, who know of my fears and heighten them by forcing me to sleep by myself, decide to not only make me sleep in the White Room, but then think it would be funny to hide in my closet. So I come back from the bathroom, make my sweep, then get to the closet. I open the closet, and this is what I see:

I scream bloody murder, scramble like a skittish cat who can't get traction on the wooden floors, and bolt out of the room. I collapse onto my mom's bed, in tears, heart racing. My grandpa stumbles into the room, still working on his pants, ready to kill the person who could possibly make me scream like that. By now, I realize that the two demons in my closet were actually my super supportive mother and sister and so I start to calm down. 
This is what they claimed they did:
..but we all know how it really went down.

Needless to say, I slept in my sister's room that night.

02 August 2013

End of the Best Weekend in New York with the Coolest Person Before I Moved Back West

I miss the east coast sometimes. Writing these posts about my great weekend in NYC just makes me miss it more. I just love NYC!
Tuesday it was rainy and cold and I walked everywhere in it, but it didn't dampen my spirits! I walked from UES through Central Park to LES and the MoMA before it started pouring.
Bethesda Fountain

Boat House

The MoMA was...Modern Art. I wanted to go since I haven't before, even though I am not a modern art fan.

Some of Monet's "Water Lilies"

"Starry Night," Van Gogh -- I had no idea it was here until I walked in the room!

Andy Warhol

Pollock from far away since they were unfortunately doing renovations to its room

It was pouring rain by then, so I didn't really want to walk around anymore. Instead, I picked up some cupcakes at the Plaza for Sarah and I. My childhood friend, Jessica, is all hip and working in the NYC financial district, now. We met up for dinner at a British Tea Shop, Alice's Tea Cup. It was so so cute and yummy and it was so great to catch up with Jessica!

Then up early the next day for the bus back to DC! Which broke down in the middle of Jersey and we had to wait in 90+ degree weather for an hour until another bus gets us. Then I went home, packed, and left two days later. Whirlwind!