Saturday, February 14, 2015

And This One's For You...

Roses are red, violets are blue, I've written a little love note for you...

If you, like me, don't happen to have a significant other in your life this Valentine's Day, it's okay.  This doesn't have to be depressing or irritating or serve as a reason for you to feel self-pity or loneliness.  Because newsflash, there are all kinds of love in this world.  Not just the in-love kind.  Chances are there is someone out there who loves you very dearly, even if it's not in that romance novel kind of way.  Maybe it's Mom. Or Dad. Or both. Or a little sister or brother. Or a big sister or brother.  Or your twin.  Or perhaps it's this really kick ass friend of yours who you can tell anything and everything.  Maybe it's a coworker, a cousin, an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent, a neighbor, a childhood playmate, an old college roommate.  Someone out there loves you.  It may be a different kind of love, but it's just as special. This I am sure of.

So for those of you who do have a husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner...go give em a kiss. A big, slobbery, wet one.  And for those of you who don't, celebrate the other equally special kinds of love that surround you each and every day of your life.

Happy Valentine's Day Audreamers.  I love you.

P.S. Thought I'd share my favorite love song of all time.  Leave it to Elton.

Much love, thanks for reading, and as always...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I Feel Full...

I feel full.  In every sense of the word.  Queso fundido with chorizo, blue corn dusted calamari with lemon-roasted jalapeƱo aioli, jumbo shrimp in a chipotle cream sauce, tres verdes rice, pork shank in a mole negro sauce, citrus glazed pork carnitas.  I’ve consumed not just one, or a few of these delightful treats.  Oh no.  I ate them all.  Like I said, I’m full.  And while my belly is swollen to a point where I think it may burst at any moment, I can safely say that I feel an even deeper sense of fulfillment in my heart.  This inexplicably delicious meal I speak of?  Well I’ve shared it with a United States Supreme Court Justice, one who I admire very much.  Justice Sonia Sotomayor was expected to arrive in town on Tuesday, January 27, 2015.  I had thought I would be meeting her days later, at an event we were hosting for work.  I thought I’d meet her in a professional setting. I’d get to shake her hand, have my photo taken with her, and have the opportunity to tell her how much I admire her.  I’d even be able to ask her to sign my copy of her book, “My Beloved World.”  This idea alone thrilled me. 

Princess and I with our copies of Justice Sotomayor's book, "My Beloved World"
But then, something borderline magical happened.  Justice Sotomayor arrived in town a day early and my boss, who was there to greet her as she arrived at the hotel, somehow managed to arrange a dinner with her.  Just him, my coworker Princess, me, and yes, Sonia.  No big deal. 

I think I expected a giant to walk into the room.  In her judges’ attire, gavel in hand, with a horde of United States Marshalls flanking her on all sides.  But the moment I saw her, I felt a wave of relief wash over me.  She was warm and kind and genuine.  A woman who took pride in her accomplishments and in her position, but who was also very level headed, down to earth, and surprisingly approachable.  At one point during the meal, she insisted that we each have a bite of her mole.  “This is delicious!  You have to have a bite.”  And with that, she shoved her plate to the center of the table so that each of us could have a taste.  It wasn’t until my fork was halfway to my mouth that I realized, “I’ve just eaten off the plate of a United States Supreme Court Justice.”  She wasn’t wrong.  The mole was sensational.

Camarones Diego, my entree of choice, at Frida Bistro in Salt Lake City.  Yummmm.
At first, we spoke about things you would expect us to speak about.  Our positions at the association, our role in the community, the upcoming events she would be appearing at, and the logistics of our own event.

But then, we began to venture into more personal topics.  We spoke about our homes, about baseball, hobbies, and family members.  She seemed genuinely interested in getting to know us and asked my coworker and I about our respective graduate degrees and lives outside of work.  We cracked jokes.  We giggled. And at the end of the night, big warm hugs were exchanged. 

The four of us.  I know it's kinda blurry and there's a bit of a glare, but I choose to ignore it.  Because SONIA!!
I am fully aware that very few people are given the opportunity that I was given that night.  Not many can say they have met a United States Supreme Court Justice.  Fewer can say they have met one they admire.  Even fewer have shared a margarita with one.  All I can say is that I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for that moment in my life.  I am honored to have met such an amazing woman, one who has overcome so much, and has made her mark on history in the process.  I am honored to have had the opportunity to not just shake her hand, but to have had a conversation with her, to share bits of my life with her, and to have watched the giant of a person I had read about on the pages of a book spring to life into this very real and spectacular human being.  Major Audream come true.

Like I said, I feel full. 

Here are some photos we managed to get a few days later at the event.  

This is me doing my best not to cry as I watch the Justice write a personal message at the top corner of the title page.  For the record, I managed to keep it together until she left the room a few minutes later.

She met the whole fam!  Might be the greatest pic ever.

Much love, thanks for reading, and as always…

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sometimes, Even Gladiators Stumble...

I obsess.  Chronically.  When I fall for a television series, a restaurant, a lipstick, an artist, a band, a pair of shoes, an actor, a song, a character, or a real life human being…I fall hard and I fall fast. Last summer, it was Outlander.  I watched each episode a million times, I reread the first book, and I read everything there is to read about Sam Heughan and Catriona Balfe. And for a good chunk of the summer months, Jamie Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser’s beautiful face graced the lock screen on my iPhone. I’m not crazy.  I’m just passionate.  Or at least that’s how I like to think of it.

Anywho, Outlander’s mid-season finale came and went and I was forced to shelf the novel, along with the show, and come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t feel satiated once more until April of 2015 (I’m not happy Starz.  I’m really not happy).  So I sought out a new obsession.  Thank god for Netflix.  Before I knew it, I was throwing myself into the gut-wrenching, heart stopping, totally cheesy yet totally addicting television phenomenon that is Scandal.  And I couldn’t have been happier. It’s dramatic, it’s naughty, it’s politically charged, it’s over the top, and just freaking fantastic.  My watch-buddy (Mummy of course) and I cannot help but gasp at each startling revelation/confession/Olitz love scene.  It’s good people.  If you’re not watching, start.  Immediately.

So, why is this at all relevant? Why the hell am I talking your ear off about an ABC primetime drama?  For one, the newest season started last week and we will now see episodes consistently aired each Thursday for weeks to come.  Hallelujah!! But more importantly, beyond the angsty Olivia/Fitz love affair and beyond the juicy, dirty, scandalicious moments, we have a pretty dang fabulous heroine at the center of it all.

Olivia Pope, played marvelously by the beautiful Kerry Washington, is D.C.’s go-to woman.  She is well respected in the community, known for being the best at what she does.  She is ambitious, relentless, and will stop at nothing to deliver for her clients.  She is empathetic and generous and advocates for the people she loves. She is beautiful and, most notably, wicked smart.  She also has quite possibly the most beautiful collection of professional clothing I’ve ever seen – Prada Bags and Louboutins and Pastel colored topcoats.  Since watching the show, I’ve made small additions to my own closet in hopes of emulating her sophisticated look.  I call these my "Olivia Pope Coats."

Olivia is successful and professional and a force to be reckoned with.  And she looks damn good doing it (life goals!).  At first glance, Olivia Pope is kinda perfect.

But what makes Olivia Pope really special is the fact that she isn’t perfect at all. She’s made some pretty terrible decisions quite frankly.  - At this point, I feel the need to say the following: SPOILER ALERT -  She has had a long-lasting and very serious affair with the President of the United States.  Who happens to be married.  With children.  So his marriage wasn’t all rainbows and bunny rabbits (more like thunderstorms and disease infested rodents), but an affair is an affair, right?  She thwarted the democratic process and rigged a Presidential election. She tampers with evidence, condones torture in certain circumstances, and her pool of clients could be considered a rather immoral lot.  She has a less than ideal relationship with her father.  And she tends to shamelessly manipulate her loyal gladiators all in an effort to get exactly what she wants.

I think I’ve made it perfectly clear that Olivia Pope is not perfect.  Far from it.  She isn’t some glowing goddess free of flaws and imperfections.  She’s a person, just like the rest of us.  She has many admirable and lovable qualities.  But she has made mistakes, she’s taken wrong turns, she’s lost her way.  Olivia Pope, I think, is such a beautifully realistic female character, one that doesn’t project this unattainable level of perfection.  Sure, her average day is a bit more outrageous and glamorous than ours.  Yes, her hair is always impeccably styled and her wardrobe may be a bit more extensive.  But I think we can all identify with her in the sense that she doesn't actually have all her shit together as appearances may suggest.  She is not all good or all bad.  Real people are far more complicated than that, and Olivia is certainly a representation of that complexity.  Even gladiators stumble matter how gorgeous the suit.  What a breath of fresh air.

Hope everyone has enjoyed their Sunday.  Special thanks to my girl Katie Tingey for snapping these photos and for being just an all around awesome friend/human.  And to all you Gladiators out there, grab your popcorn and a giant glass of wine.  It’s Scandal Season!   

Much love, thanks for reading, and as always…