Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Modeling Faces

Jullien doesn't get to see his little cousins very often since he's moved to New York. So during his quick visit to Utah, he spent some quality time with them, teaching them all kinds of cute "modeling" faces!lol! They missed their "Juju."
Brayden & Juju
Tyce & Juj
Ava's got it down

Well maybe not?lol
Awe...he misses his cousin Juju~big kiss

Grrrrrrrrr

 I'm so happy my big kids are never too busy or cool to spend time with their little cousins. They love them so much & always make a point to hang out with them and give them special attention.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Top Academy Award Dresses For 2012

As the stars and their stylists spend hours finding the right dress, shoes, jewelry, makeup and hair styles to complete their Academy Award night looks; there are only a chosen few who actually hit the mark. That special moment when everything comes together & creates a 'WOW' effect.

 These are the women who achieved this monumental task and left an impression:

And the Fashion Oscar goes to:
Gweneth Paltrow in Tom Ford...elegant, regal simplicity.  
GWENETH PALTROW IN TOM FORD

CAMERON DIAZ IN GUZZI
MILLA JOVOVICH IN ELIE SAAB
 
PENELOPE CRUZ IN ARMANI PRIVE & CHOPARD





















ROSE BYRNE IN VIVIENNE WESTWOOD
OCTAVIA SPENCER IN TODASHI SOJI & NEIL LANE
GLENN CLOSE IN ZAC POSEN

LOUISE ROE IN BLACK HALO
There is something interestingly beautiful about each one of these gowns. The women wore the dress, the dress didn't wear them. I loved Cameron Diaz's shorter haircut and THAT DRESS was a close contender for #1. Milla Jovovich stunned in an 'old Hollywood glam' gown & styling...those red lips! Penelope Cruz chose a perfect color & style...breathtaking. Rose Byrne's dress quickly grabbed my attention. It's wet, watery, slithery look, hugged her perfect figure & left an impression. Octavia Spencer's dress was gorgeous on her...very flattering. She stayed away from falling into the 'too many layer's' trap, that usually happens to fuller figured women. She glowed! Glenn Close's dress was age appropriate and still gave her a classy/sexy look. Louise Roe's dress was conservative yet elegant... color, style & accessories.

So there you have it...my top picks for the 2012 Academy Awards Red carpet hits.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

I wanted to share some special memories with all of you. I will add a few captions, but the pictures truly speak for themselves.
My niece Zoey & her grandpa
It snowed the morning my dad passed-his favorite
Looking out my parents front door-the sun immediately came out after my dad passed
The police escorting my dad, (in front, beside & behind) on his final drive through the city
As we drove in the police lined up in honor of my dad
Zoey would not leave her grandpa's side
My dad laid to rest beside my younger brother John

Zoey kept a hand on my mom & sisters back during the entire service

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jullien's Boxing...Not Happy!


The other day I clicked on my son, Juj's Facebook and came across this picture.

I assumed it was just another photo shoot. For those of you who are new to my blog, he's a model in New York. I also came across some other pics from New York Fashion Week & a magazine.
JUJ FOR NUMBER LAB


Jullien at Rochambeau Presentation New York Fashion Week

So I called him to find out about the boxing photo shoot, only to hear something I didn't want to, "NO MOM, it's not a photo shoot, it was an underground boxing match," he replied.

I guess this is a big, popular thing...read about it in this New York Magazine Article CLICK HERE. And another New York Times Article about it CLICK HERE. Yes, I researched it to find out what exactly this is that my son's doing.

At first I didn't believe him. I'm not sure why, he's always loved fighting (no, not you're typical model.) He played football as a linebacker for a D1 high school and loved to hit! But as much as I personally love going to boxing and MMA matches, I NEVER wanted any of my kids to do it. Football's one thing, but getting hit in the face & head without protection is quite another. As I ran down the list of reason's why he shouldn't do this again (career, teeth, face, head injury, insurance issues, etc) his reply was, "It's only every 4-6 months or so, besides I won!" Then he sent me a short video of the fight to show me how good he was.

Jullien's been good at anything he's ever done. He's just a natural athlete, which has always made me proud...but not this time. I just want to make sure he's safe & making good choices and decisions. He should know that of course he'd be good at boxing, but that's not the point. I told him, "All the fights aren't going to be that easy." But unfortunately, he's 20 years old now. He doesn't want to listen to his mom's reasoning. He had fun, he won, he won money. So all I can do is hope that the things I told him will sink in before the next boxing match; or he books big and constant modeling gigs which will keep him out of the ring.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Beach "Drum" Video For You!

Today after church I told my hubby I wanted to go down to the beach, grab a slice of my fav pizza & sit out in the pavilion area next to the pier and just relax. With all that's gone on, the beach just seems to fade all my stress away. It was a little breezy and the air was crisp, but it felt perfect. I don't know what it is about the beach...the crashing waves, palm trees, kites flying overhead, or just the general laid back environment that slows down the time, cares and worry's of life.

Today however was extra special. As we sat down, there were three guys who had brought various drums to have a beach jam session. The rhythmic beats of the drums adding to the calming feel of the crashing waves. As we ate, the group began to grow. Random people of all ages seemed to pop up out of nowhere & join in, adding more drum varieties, tambourines, and large shakers.

We finished eating & laid on the grass, staring up at the clouds, palm trees and pelicans gracefully soaring overhead. Allowing the music to eventually lull us away from all the built up tension. I told my hubby, "We haven't actually relaxed like this since Hawaii." It's strange how I live so close to the beach and don't take advantage of it. I'm going to make a point of enjoying it more.

As we left I recorded it to share with all of you. I didn't want you to miss out on the magic of the moment. Enjoy!
video

 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Time with Whitney Houston


Several years back, I decided to leave my job as an office manager for a doctor's office. I fell into a position which allowed me to think outside of the box. Something not as confining as sitting behind a desk everyday. I became an assistant to Whitney Houston's.

One of the first times I was over, her sister-in-law Pat (an amazing, caring and sweet lady) was cooking spaghetti dinner for us. Whitney and I were sitting on the couch watching a show. She was telling hilarious stories about different people she knew who came up on the t.v. screen. Pat and Whitney were commenting back and forth as I sat there cracking up. They were so loud and fun together. During this time, Whitney's adorable little Yorkie, took a liking to me and he curled up on my lap. She apologized and tried to call him over. I told her, "Don't worry, I like dogs." She smiled and said, "He usually never likes anyone else." Being new and not knowing how to take it, I was worried that she might be annoyed that her dog was staying with me while she continued to try to call him over to sit on her lap (you hear all kinds of crazy stories about stars.) But not Whitney, she just gave me a huge smile and said to her dog, "Okay, I see how it is, you like to sit with the pretty lady." "What?" I thought to myself, "Whitney Houston thinks I'm pretty?"

After that, I realized how down to earth she was. She treated me like a friend, not someone who was working for her. One day when I was getting ready to go shopping, I asked her if there was anything she wanted in particular. She said, "I'm not sure, maybe I'll just go with you." I became a little nervous, she didn't have any bodyguards to go with us. What happens if people recognize her and she gets mobbed? What if she has a crazed stalker fan? My mind was racing, trying to figure out a way to keep her from going with me. I'm not a trained black belt or anything...but I do have quite the mouth and could give somebody a good sharp worded, tongue lashing. Not sure how effective that would've been though-lol! She insisted on going however, put on sweats, a baseball cap worn low and big dark sunglasses. To my surprise, no one recognized her. We walked through the store without a single person glancing twice. It was funny to see her pick up the Enquirer in the check out line, look at her picture and some crazy caption about herself. She laughed, put it down & said, "What'll they come up with next."

Whitney definitely had her struggles, but I was with her during a time that she was completely cleaning up. I was lucky enough to get to see the true side of her. She was NEVER a diva with me, which I appreciated. I don't think I could've handled being around someone who treated me "less than."

During my time with Whitney I became close with her daughter Krissie while driving her around, shopping, to school, friends houses, dances...etc. It was fun to see the two of them interact together. Just a normal mother/teen daughter relationship. Krissie saw Whitney as just 'her mom' not the superstar the world saw her as. Whitney would often roll her eyes and say, "She doesn't think I'm cool & gets embarrassed by me." It definitely made me feel better as I told her, "Join the club, I think I'm a cool mom, but my teen boys don't either." We'd laugh and talk about the 'joy's' of raising teenagers.

Luckily teenager's grow out of the "embarrassed by their parents stage" and can have a close, loving and caring relationship with their parents...as was evident with Whitney & Krissie in their later years.

One particular day, I was driving Whitney to pick up Krissie. A Prince song was playing on the radio. I turned the music up and said, "He is my ALL TIME FAVORITE...I LOVE HIM!" Forgetting for a minute that I was sitting in the car with Whitney Houston...not a normal friend. Oops...I quickly realized my mistake as she turned and smiled and said, "Ya, he's pretty cool."

I stammered, "I mean, YOU ARE TOO! I've grown up listening to you and you're amazing. Wait..not that you're old, you're only 3 years older than me." She started cracking up and said, "Okay, you can stop now."  

Then she started singing to his song, her voice ringing with perfection throughout my car. She stopped for a minute to clear her throat and said, "This dry California weather makes it a little tough on my voice." Then she started up again. I sat driving and listening to a private concert. Then I had a crazy idea, "Should I do it? I don't know, I don't want her to stop singing," I thought to myself. "What the heck, I'll do it, I may not get another opportunity like this!"

I began singing along with her. Yes, me and my not so great voice. How many people can actually say they've sang with Whitney? Well people, I rose up, and with unfailing courage, I sang a duet with one of "THE GREATEST SINGERS OF OUR TIME"...WHITNEY HOUSTON.

Rest in Peace Whitney and thank you for always treating me with respect.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

MY DAD'S TRIBUTE


My mom being comforted by granddaugher Zoey

My dad passed away the day after I arrived in Utah. I was lucky to have made it in time. I spoke at his service today and wanted to share my talk with you. It was tough but I was able to do it without breaking down. He received a 21-gun salute, a bugle playing taps and a bagpipe playing, "Amazing Grace," at the grave site after the service. It was a wonderful tribute. The entire Provo Police Department, closed down (they had the City of Orem PD cover) giving EVERYONE on the entire force, even dispatch & administration the opportunity to attend.
It was an incredible turn out and an amazing show of love!
MY DAD'S TRIBUTE
When I was 7 years old, Heavenly Father gave me a wonderful gift, my dad. In my younger years I treasured this gift; a kind, loving, caring and ever-attentive father. In my teen years however, my dad, "the gift," somehow became burdensome.
He had a love for classical music and would call us into the bedroom, turn the music up very loud and make us sit and watch him conduct the orchestra. My younger brothers and sisters enjoyed this immensely, I however, had better things to do than watch him conduct. 
But then my dad would surprise me with unexpected things. What I didn’t know at the time was everything he did was well thought out and planned. It was to achieve a purpose.
When I turned 16 years old, he told me to go shopping and buy a fancy dress; he was going to take me out to dinner, just the two of us. He chose the nicest restaurant he could find. It was down in LA at the top of the Bonaventure Hotel. The restaurant slowly rotated, creating a gorgeous 180 degree view. I’d never been to LA or a fancy restaurant. My dad wore a suit and I a bright fuchsia tulle dress with puffy sleeves. We ate and talked. He told me now that I was old enough to start dating, he wanted to show me how a young lady should be treated, with dignity and respect.
He knew the importance of showing by example. Other lessons my dad taught weren’t as fun however. He somehow felt the need to teach me patience, along with my friends. I’d ask if I could go somewhere or to a church dance early in the day, only to have my friend come over hours later at night, waiting with me while my dad, “my gift” decided if it was okay.
As I became older, I once again began to appreciate my dad, the role model, the kind, loving example.
When my dad and mom came down to visit me in Huntington Beach, he proudly said, “Did I show you this Lis?” He held up an orange bracelet around his wrist. “No, what is it?” I replied. It says, “A carrot a day and reminds me to do something nice for someone every day because I’ve been given another day to live.” Once again, he showed me by example, as we all headed downtown to walk on the pier and get some lunch.
There was a lady struggling to carry several large boxes across the street. She looked like she was going to take them into a restaurant. My dad hurried over and asked if he could help. She gratefully accepted and said she was taking them to her car. He told us to go ahead and he’d meet us in a store. A long time passed and we wondered where he was, only to find out he had to carry them 5 or 6 blocks, but he was happy to do it.
His example reminded me not to focus on my problems but to use each day as a gift, looking to help and be a blessing in someone else’s life, for that is where you find true happiness, showing Christ like love.
As my dad grew weaker, I prayed daily to know when I should come to Utah. My Heavenly Father answered my prayer when my mom text me that my dad was asking where I was. I knew it was time to come; I checked the weather report and saw that it was only supposed to snow one day, Thursday. Every day before and after was sunny.
I arrived late Wednesday night and as I went in to see my dad, his face lit up as he smiled and said, “Tomorrow’s going to be a good day.”
On Thursday morning as we gathered around my dad. We opened the blinds to a dusting of snow covering the rooftops and grass. I said, “Dad, it’s snowing outside.” He said, “It’s supposed to be.” My dad loved the snow!
On that beautiful, snowy, “Good Day,” my dad went home to his Heavenly Father, surrounded by his children and wife.  I’m sure, that as he stood before the Lord, he heard Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
I love you and will miss you dad, till we meet again. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Times Too Short!

My Dad's Police Dept. Retirement Party & our family (November 2011)
I got a text from my mom today saying that my dad was asking where I was. I've been wanting to go back to Utah ever since my dad's health has been failing, but I've had to work. Today when I got the text, I knew that I needed to go right away. I've been struggling all day. Just knowing that he isn't doing good and knowing that he's wondering where I am.

I talked to my boss today & she said, "Just go! I'll be fine." Then I had to talk to my knew bosses (I have another part-time job that I just started on Monday.) That was really difficult because I'm not a flaky person and knowing that I just got hired and have to ask them if it's okay if I don't come in next week was really hard...I felt bad. But they are awesome guys and were totally understanding. They told me not to worry about it at all & take all the time I needed.

I feel really blessed that I can leave to go spend whatever time my dad has left without stressing about work. 

He's put up such a valiant fight against this terrible disease, lung cancer. He's been so strong and sure that he was going to beat this. His original diagnosis, inoperable 4th stage lung cancer, left us with hope for at least a year. But my dad's a fighter and his year turned into five years. Unfortunately it eventually spread to his brain and after going through several rounds of chemo & radiation, he is now completely bed ridden. I don't know how much longer he has and as I head out to go see him tomorrow (11 hour drive), I pray that he'll hold on until I get there. I need some time with him. I need to tell him how grateful I am to have had a step-dad who's raised & loved me as his own. He sacrificed so much for our large family, and has been an example of unselfish love. During times like this, I want to remind each of you to take advantage of each & every moment you have with your loved ones. You never know how long you'll have with them & it never seems to be enough time.