Sunday, October 23, 2011

Michelle Branch Glory

I got to see her. It was one of the best days of my life. It is a close follower after my wedding day and the day I got my gallbladder removed.

I have been crazy about Michelle Branch since high school. Broken Bracelet, Spirit Room, Hotel Paper, all marvelous albums. Everything was going great until she decided to quit her solo gig and become a country duo with a conniving backup singer of hers. This backup singer must have blackmailed or brainwashed Michelle into doing this because not even I, her biggest fan, could understand or even try to like this move. I knew it the moment Michelle announced it. They would be called The Wreckers and it was definite foreshadowing for the results and sadness to come. They had about one mediocre hit, and I would always thumb down The Wreckers songs on Pandora because I couldn’t handle seeing Michelle in such a state. Now, don’t get me wrong. I really like country. Jason Aldean, Brooks and Dunn, Keith Urban. Just not Michelle in country. They were never meant to be together. A year or two ago, Michelle realized what I had known all along. She must have finally read all of those fan letters I wrote begging her to leave that other weird girl behind! She dropped that terrible compadre of hers and ventured back out into solo world, working hard to return to her pop roots. Her new single, Loud Music, can be played over and over in the Cannon house and Steadman (the Cannon Buick) and not a soul will get tired of it. Not a Laken soul, anyhow. That horrid girl (I didn’t even bother to learn her name) has left no trace on Michelle and her comeback will be complete and even more glorious than her successes before.

I eagerly await for her to reveal of the release date of her new CD, West Coast Time. I CAN’T WAIT! I don’t know what I’m more excited for. Davey, my future puppy, West Coast Time or Sweet Tooth Fairy’s debut on Cupcake Wars? It really is a toss up.

Seeing Michelle in concert only made excitement and anticipation for her new stuff all the more real and intense. While we weren’t too close to the stage and she was just the opening act before Goo Goo Dolls (which were fantastic by the way – I love their Let Love In album – incredible!), but I never wanted her to stop. I knew all of the songs she sang, except for the unrecorded ones, and proudly sang all the words while the silly people around me only knew a few words of the chorus to a select few of her giant hits. It was heaven.

Michelle, I love you. Please release your CD soon. If you can’t do that, at least tell me when it is coming so I can make a countdown chain and get even more excited.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Timp Hike

About a week before Labor Day I told Mike I was going to hike Timpanogos. I told him he was invited to come along, but I was going to hike it regardless if he was present or not. Law school had been in full swing for two weeks and I was really quite sure he would say I was on my own. He said he felt scared about me going by myself because some scary hikers might kidnap me. He must not have very much confidence in my self-defense skills. (That’s ok because I don’t either.) I still wanted to go very much and said he’d better come along to protect me then. It worked! He came! I am very clever.

We had a great time! Well, not very much at the beginning because I kept complaining that my backpack was too heavy because Mike made us take a gallon of water each and I hated it. You can tell I didn’t learn very much from our Arches adventure. Besides the heaviness, the scenery was beautiful (so many wildflowers!) and we had a great time together. We stopped to have lunch in a fun, little meadow and watched crazy people slide down a glacier. Very enjoyable.

After that the hike started to be less fun, even though I had drank a ton of water as to lighten my load, because a lot of the trail was covered in slippery snow. I can’t tell you how many times I fell down. Mike didn’t fall down once! I was getting very annoyed and frustrated. However, I eventually made it through and my life continued.

We made it to the top and we felt so proud of ourselves. Going down was even more enjoyable (except the dreaded snowy part) because we passed everyone going up and they were tired and breathless. We were so happy we have moved past that stage! We were getting close to the bottom, about 3 miles away, when Mike sprained his ankle on some crazy moving rocks! I was so sad for him, but he was such a trooper! If that had happened to me, I would have passed out on the spot and Mike would have had to throw me over his shoulder and carry me down (this may or may not be an accurate statement of what would actually occur because it may or may not have already happened on the stairs leading to our apartment while I was carrying groceries in the rain – will blog about later). He just tightened his little shoelaces and off he went! He is a very brave man.

Once we got home, we removed his shoe and his poor ankle was so scary looking! I went and got him and ace bandage, athletic tape and an In and Out Double-Double and he seemed much better.

Despite the injury, it was a wonderful hike and I am so glad I did it. As we move further and further away from the event, I keep thinking that I want to do it again! It took us 8 hours to complete, but I felt so accomplished in that little, tin shack at the top, and it was so fun to be with Mike for a full day and complete something like that together.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Once upon a time, July to be exact, Mike and I went to Arches. Two weeks before this trip we were talking about how we should spend one of our upcoming three-day weekends. Law school hadn't even come close to starting, so we could really have a fun, real-person three-day weekend! I mentioned I had never been to Arches before. Mike was appalled, as he thought all good Utah children had been to Arches at least 4 times by the time there were 12. This was not the case for me, so we went.

I just love mini road trips. You still get to buy all the road trip treats, but your bum doesn't get terribly sore. It's just three hours! Perfect. My favorite road trip treats include grapes, Pringles, Teddy Grahams (Chocolate or Honey only), trail mix, pb and j sandwiches, beef jerky and pudding cups. Bon appetite!

Arches was magnificent! We did nearly all of the hikes and had so much fun! I can't believe I had never been there before. Thank you Mike for introducing me to Arches.

Cute Mike

Me reveling in precious shade.

Cute Mike again

Me by my favorite arch

Again, me in precious, shady shelter

There was one scary part that Mike and I now find funny, but still kind of scary. There was a part on the map labeled "primitive trail - for advanced hikers only."
Mike and I were confident in our hiking abilities and decided to conquer this different route back to our car. Everything was going splendidly. We were scaling rocks, finding secret, private arches and having a glorious time walking through the beautiful landscape. The only bad part was the heat. It was the middle of the afternoon toward the end of July. Maybe we were crazy for embarking on this "primitive" adventure, maybe we were brave, maybe we were tough. All I know is it was HOT and there was never any shade. I'm usually a lover of heat, but this was a wee bit more than my body prefers. It gets worse though. The trail was complete sand. We weren't exactly sure if we were on the trail one third of the time because it was, after all, "primitive." Our water was running dangerously low. We never saw anyone. Ever. We could have been wandering in the Gobi Desert for all we knew. And it was HOT. We kept following the semblance of a trail and hoped we'd reach the normal trail soon. I decided that I shouldn't drink anymore water because what if something happened to Mike? What if his was all gone? What if he needed more? What if we were in the Gobi Desert and would never find civilization for days? Those last 4 ounces in my Nalgene bottle were going to be precious. Yes, I would feel much better if I drank it, but who knew what in the world was happening with Mike's water supply? I knew if I asked he would say he was fine, and then he would know I was saving mine and tell me I needed to drink it and my plan would be foiled. I decided not to drink another drop until we reached the regular trail or I had passed out from heat exhaustion and Mike poured it down my throat while I was unconscious. I could tell Mike was starting to get nervous that we might be lost, which then made me nervous. I think we were both on the brink of freaking out. We ended up getting to the regular trail not long after slight freaking commenced and found our hordes of fellow European and Asian hikers just fine. Asian chit-chat never sounded more lovely. We vowed never to walk on stupid sand again for the rest of the day, and I finally drank my wonderful water. As it turns out, Mike had pulled the same Save-Your-Water-For-Your-Spouse-In-Case-They-Run-Out-And-Might-Die trick too. It was funny and we laughed. When we got to the car, we each drank about a half a gallon and nothing had ever tasted so good.

Everything else was rather uneventful. Just your regular hiking and looking at rock arches and formations created by millions and millions of years of erosion. We had such a fun time just running around with each other and spending time together.

We capped off the evening with not one, but two! McDonald's Mango Pineapple Smoothies (one in Moab and Springville) and had a great time at home nursing my wicked sunburns because I was "already tan enough" to make sunblock useless.

Wonderful place, wonderful time, wonderful boy.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Laken = STF's Biggest Fan.

Remember how I met Megan - The One and Only Glorious Owner and Creator of the Beloved Sweet Tooth Fairy? Well, I did. Remember how I was filmed with her and gave my own ode and soliloquy lauding the fame and glory and deliciousness of STF? Will, I did.

The filming that was happening happened to be an audition tape for Megan/Sweet Tooth Fairy to get on Cupcake Wars. Guess who makes two appearances in said audition tape? Well, I did! Twice. I appear at the beginning just talking to Megan. Then I actually have a speaking role. The only customer to have one, mind you.

Check it. Megan is slightly crazy, but mostly wonderful.

* Note. Because I was kind of nervous, I may have said that Mike "has" to bring me Sweet Tooth Fairy. This is not the case. He brings me home STF by his own free will. I think that is why our marriage is wonderful. :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Detour to Dallas

Mike and I discovered that he will be clerking in Washington, DC for a wonderful Judge Griffith on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals during the years 2013-2014! Yes, that is far away. Attorneys and law people like to do things a decade in advance. DC is a place I've always wanted to visit, and now I will get to spend a whole year there! I'm very tempted to get a silly, part-time job so I can be a full-time tourist. Now there are only the dilemmas of what to do with Steadman, our beloved Buick. Do we take him? Leave him here? Sell him? Do we want to pay lots of rent and live in the city? Spend less and commute a lot? Can I handle a year without Sweet Tooth Fairy? All very good questions to consider. Good thing we have multiple years to consider this.

Part of my hearts wishes we could go straight to Dallas so that I can get a puppy, but this will be a very grand detour and will provide us with many exciting adventures.

In case you are wondering, and thought Mike graduated in April 2012, you are correct. There are several things we must do before we get to Dallas and become regular people. Here is a timeline for our lives:

April 2012: Graduate law school
August 2012: Clerk for Justice Lee at the Utah Supreme Court
August 2013: Clerk for Judge Griffith at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals
Probably August 2014: Go to Dallas where Mike will work and I will get a puppy.

I might as well tell you about my puppy dreams. I have always wanted a puppy. Mike - not so much. I have been working on him for years and he is slowly coming around. By the time we get to Dallas, he'll be just as excited as I am! I have read multiple dog training books to prepare myself so our puppy will be the best behaved dog ever. He is going to be a miniature goldendoodle (golden retriever/poodle mix) with wavy reddish fur. I have researched all of the puppy farms in America and have settled on the finest one in Alabama. His name will be Davey and I will LOVE him.

I will love DC too.

And Mike.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Who Shot JR?

I spent a month in Dallas over the summer. When I told anyone over 35 this, they immediately said, “Hey! Who shot JR!” Everyone then told me about this incredible 80’s TV series called Dallas with ridiculously rich people and ladies with very big hair who live out complicated lives. Supposedly, the coolest moment was when a mystery person shot an old, rich dude. I saw nothing like that while in Texas.

What I did see in Dallas was quite wonderful, nonetheless. Not only do they have the best fries on Earth (Katy Trail Ice House or Saint Anne’s) but it hardly ever snows there, they have fabulous shopping, the Dallas Mavericks and Blue Bell ice cream. Everyone there made a big deal about how glorious this particular ice cream is. I didn’t believe them at first. How good could a bucket of ice cream really be? Let me tell you, they weren’t joking. I consumed a carton of Rocky Road all by myself, minus one bowl Mike had, in three days. If you go, get some. You won’t be sad.

Mike sneakily caught me eating all the rest of our Blue Bell.

Another wonderful thing about Dallas was the lifestyle I lived while I was there. Wonderful Provo School District gives me a month off during the summer. I took those grand 4 weeks off while in Dallas, which meant I really didn’t have that much to do. My life consisted of sleeping in till 9 (or later), reading nearly a dozen books, running on the Katy Trail (no cars to hit or scare you), laying by the pool, shopping at giant malls, eating lots of Blue Bell, hunting for delicious cupcakes and cookies (Society Bakery and JD Chippery’s), pretty much doing whatever I wanted and attending Mike’s law firm parties. I think that describes the best life ever. I did that for a full month straight, and I still dream about it at night. Not only did I actually live this glorified life, but I also lived it with a washer, dryer and dishwasher, all fantasies of Wymount residents. There were times when I would wash a single shirt during the middle of the day, simply because I could and only had to walk 14 steps to do so. I never thought laundry could be such a grand novelty, but oh, it was.

The wonderful pool I would hang out at daily. People would often complain about the heat, but it really isn't that bad when you run around in a swimming suit during the afternoon. People need to figure that out.

Another fun part about Mike’s internship was the firm parties held at least weekly. Most were dinners or cocktail parties and a partner’s house (partner = big boss in law world), but some included Ranger’s games, tours of the Dallas Cowboy’s Stadium, plays, fancy steakhouse dinners, and some volunteer landscaping in a scary Dallas neighborhood. It was a month-long party for me.

My view from our 17th row seats. It was my first MLB game ever, and I loved every moment! The Rangers didn't play quite so well, but I didn't care. I had a blast! I'm going to become the greatest Rangers fan to ever live!

We went to the Rangers game 4 minutes after a long/wonderful day at Six Flags. Good thing I was wearing my red I Love Cupcakes shirt so I would fit in with the rest of the Rangers fans. That shirt fits any and all occasions.

Big place. Cool place.

This is me, in the Cowboys Stadium, laying in the exact same spot where I'm sure a several very famous football players have too. I was hoping some of their great athleticism would seep into me.

One not so awesome part was how sweaty I got when I exercised. Granted, I was outside running in 100 degree heat, but I would never have expected myself to get this incredibly sweaty. I wouldn’t consider my self an intensely sweaty person, but this was a normal-looking Dallas me after running. Weird. Please do not be grossed out by the pictures, it was just so astounding to me that I couldn't let it pass undocumented. I would also like you to notice the gigantic size of my bathroom mirror at this time. Also a Wymount novelty. Mike and I could get ready at the same time! So big! So much space! That’s just Texas for you, or any place other than Wymount.

Probably the best part about Dallas was that I got to see Mike so much. He’d come home around 7 every night. That may not sound so awesome, but compared to his schedule during school and in Salt Lake, it was like a second honeymoon. We had dinner together every night. It was usually at a partner’s house or we went out to eat (I only cooked twice the whole time – AWESOME), but it was wonderful to consistently see him each night for a whole evening. We usually did lame things together, like running on the beloved Katy Trail, watching Modern Family or getting heavenly Mango Pineapple Smoothies at McDonalds, but it was so wonderful just to be with him.

After his internship was finished, Mike was offered a job at his wonderful firm and he accepted! We are going to be real Dallasonians after graduation, and I couldn’t be more excited! I loved it down there! Hooray for Dallas. Hooray for Blue Bell! While I’m quite sure my life will be slightly different than the lazy one explained above, I still can’t wait to have wonderful adventures down there with Mike. Hooray!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Sweet Tooth Fairy is in the Building

It has been ages since I last posted, and so much has happened, mainly wonderful trips to Dallas and others throughout Utah, but first I must post about an incredibly glorious event.

I just wanted to let you know that I met the owner of Sweet Tooth Fairy the other day. Some of you may know that my obsession with Sweet Tooth Fairy borders on the extreme, so as you can imagine, this was a red-letter day for me. I was in the neighborhood for a work errand and decided to get a cookie, of course. The Megan Faulkner Brown was there filming an audition video for Cupcake Wars. I asked the cashier girl if I could go talk to her and she said yes, like I was being a weirdo and Megan is just like any other person. Whatever, cashier girl. Like you know anything. I have been fan of Sweet Tooth Fairy longer than you've been out of high school.

So I went up to Megan and said I was one of her biggest fans. How I fell in love with STF four months after it opened years ago. I told her all of my favorite flavors and how her cupcakes have made my marriage so much better because Mike knows that he just needs to bring home a cupcake to make me so very happy no matter what has happened. I told her my husband just accepted a job in Dallas and that I the only reason I thought we maybe shouldn't go is because Sweet Tooth Fairy would not be there. Then she told me the greatest news of all. STF is building in PLANO! Plano is just a half hour away from Dallas. I got goosebumps all over and squealed for a minute straight.

It was like it was my birthday.

The guy filmed me talking to her and expressing my love for her divine confections. Then he asked if I would just talk for about 2 minutes straight about Sweet Tooth Fairy. It was hard to limit myself, but it was very fun. It was one of the best days of my life. Then guess what. The next day Megan asked ME to be her Facebook friend. I couldn't believe it. This is beyond anything I could have ever dreamed. Yay me! I love you, Sweet Tooth Fairy and Megan, who are one and the same!