Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Good Times

One time, my parents went to Mexico to pick my brother up from his mission for the church and left the rest of us kids at home. This was a good three or so years ago, I think in 2008. My sister and I decided to document for my parents what happens when they leave town. This is what we came up with.

We bust out the hard stuff. Dr. Pepper and Coca-Cola. There's nothing that quenches thirst, adds pounds to your waistline and slows you down better. But that's nothing compared to what's next...

Now, for the life of me, I cannot figure out why we had two gallons of milk in the fridge and they were both open. But, since there were, there was only one thing that we could do. Chug!

Friday, November 11, 2011


I am extremely proud of this photo of an orchid that I took a while back. I'm not sure why, because taking pictures of plants is actually pretty easy. They always look good. They sit still and let you take as many pictures of them as you want. Yet this is my favorite flower picture I have ever taken. There was a little stuff in the background, but I took it out so the flower just contrasts against the pitch black background.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Get ready Vienna!

So, as of today, I now have a ticket to Vienna! I'm so excited to get over there. We are going to be right in the middle of the city where there is so much art and music history. I seriously can't wait to check out all the museums, orchestra concerts and operas.

This is going to be a great way to start the new year. I can't wait for it. Not to mention the adventure that my camera is going to have. :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mylo Xyloto

This image basically represents how my week was.

Living on the edge...

Sometimes, I like to live my life on the edge. Every once in a while, I need a surge of adrenaline. This would be a lot easier if I had a fast car, like my friend Richie. But I don't have a fast car. So, instead, I do this.

This is my gas gauge. Sometimes, when my gas light comes on, I like to see how long I can go before I actually have to fill up. So far, I haven't run out of gas. Each time I get close to being empty, I try and go a little farther than I did the last time. I just hope I don't actually run out of gas one of these days. That wouldn't be fun. Maybe I should stop this activity.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hidden Gem

I was going through all my pictures the other day and found this little gem. When I saw it, I thought "wow! How creative of me." Well, actually more like, "wow! That was a lucky shot. How did that get in my library?"  

I don't even know what it is or what it is for. All I know is I found them in Idaho. Down by the river.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

blinchiki (блинчики)

It has been a while since I was serving in Russia. It has been over 5 years, if we really want to know how long it has been. I really miss that place and I especially miss all of the people that I came to know and love over those two years that I was there. So, as a nostalgic homage to Russia, I decided to make some blinchiki, or pancakes. They are kind of like crepes and they are so stinking delicious. I ate way too many of them (mainly because I made too many of them).

Making them reminded me of the very first time I was taught how to make them. My companion and I were at a member's home for family home evening on a Monday evening. It was at Nina Miller's (Нина Миллер) apartment and a bunch of other members were there, too. The thing I remember most was Maria Stepanovna (Мария Степановна) thrusting me into the role of cooking them. She showed me how to do it first and she did it so fast that I still had no idea what to do. She took me through the process a few times and before I knew it, I was flipping the pancakes left and right (I caught all of them. Didn't drop a single one). We must have made a hundred or so of them that night. Way too many for the crowd we had, but we just kept dishing them out anyway. Those were some good times. O, how I miss Russia...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Carving

For our ward's home evening, we did some pumpkin carving. So, I grabbed all of my cool little pumpkin saws and tools and headed over there. Upon arriving, I raced over to the tables to find my pumpkin (yes. Raced. I was pretty excited). This is what he looked like.

It basically stayed this way for about half an hour. I just couldn't decide what to do with it. I didn't want to do the classic triangle eyes sparse-toothed smile. I wanted something awesome. Something hip and screaming 21st century. I needed something people would like and laugh at, but at the same time, strangely relate to. 

That was a very productive half hour of thinking. Better than anything I've done in school so far this semester. Pretty sad. Finally, I came up with the idea of all ideas. I was going to create an "emotipumpkon." "Genius!" I thought to myself. So, I plotted everything out and started carving.


The flirtatious, winky face. Perfect. I was really onto something here, so why stop at just one emoticon? I thought of another.


The goofy, stick-my-tongue-out face. My pumpkin was getting better and better as time went on. But two emoticons wasn't going to be enough. I needed a third.


The squinty-eyed, mouth-wide-open, excited face. Best. Pumpkin. Ever. Now, I just needed to make sure that it was mine so no other could take credit for my take on 21st century digital culture in pumpkin format. 


The best letter of the alphabet. Z. I'm particularly proud of the serif font I used (I debated for a good five minutes whether to make it serif or sans serif). This was now unmistakably my pumpkin. 

Now, for the emotipumpkon in all of it's grandeur. 

XD   ;)   :P


Monday, October 24, 2011


This Saturday, I went to the Thanksgiving Point Gardens. It was amazing! I was so glad that I went when I did. This is about the best time of the year to head down there because the colors are just absolutely stunning and vibrant. Sneak down there this weekend if you get a chance (it's only open until the end of this month!). Of course, as is my new style, there are plenty of pictures for you to look at.

This is the beginning view from the top.

A carousel. I'm sure that in the summer it's more beautiful with the 
flowers blooming out of the horses.

The Italian Gardens. Pretty sweet.

A very delightful bridge. Love that red tree in the background.

Just a gorgeous winding stream complete with cute little bridge, of course.

Love, love, love the colors!

The secret garden. You come through these doors to enter the garden.

The view from inside the secret garden.

Amazing waterfalls. Completely manmade. Actually, they are the largest
manmade falls in all of North America. You have to go just to see this!

Monday, October 10, 2011


Ok. I have been wanting to post again for a while now, but have deemed myself "too busy" to do so. However, I have decided to make a little time and give you some fun things to read/to look at.

About a month ago, there were some pretty sweet lightning here. I mean, they were lightning storms like I have never experienced here in Utah. I love lightning storms. So much. They are quite mesmerizing and I think that they are beautiful. So, I went and sat out on my deck to just soak in the experience. Strikes were happening about every 1-3 seconds. It was amazing! I grabbed my camera a little later (something I have been doing a lot lately) and tried to take some pictures of the lightning. It actually turned out quite successful and I am very pleased with the results. Check out some of my favorites.

One day...

A different day...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I went to the Utah Symphony concert in Deer Valley this past weekend. It was a very entertaining concert. The music was definitely programmed to please the crowd. Many classics that are familiar to many were played: Grieg's Piano Concerto, Mozart's Serenade from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Grieg's Peer Gynt, and Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture (with real canons, might I add). If some of these don't ring a bell, look them up and take a quick listen. You'll probably have the moment of, "oh yeah! I know this!"

Anyway, the concert was a lot of fun, but that wasn't the best part. We were surrounded by a group of Koreans that were here visiting. I scored some pictures of two of my favorite hairdos. Check 'em out!

This was quite the hair bun! I can't imagine how she didn't have a headache. It was pulled back so tight. 

Now, my favorite...

This old man was rocking the combover. He is so proud of his combover that it's a different color from the rest of his hair. But by far, my favorite part about this is half of his combover is hanging down by his right ear. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Utah Symphony :: The Rite of Spring

(I love this sculpture at Abravanel Hall)

So, this post is a long time coming. I wrote down the title of this post and slapped a picture on in hopes of writing the actual post few days after the event. Well, a few months later, I have finally come around to write this post.

To end the 2010-11 season of the Utah Symphony, they played the Rite of Spring, by far, one of my favorite pieces of all time, by one of my favorite composers of all time, Igor Stravinsky. 

The performance was very exciting and well done. I loved the whole thing. There is such passion and power in this music. This is the reason that I took to classical music. I remember listening to this for the first time when I was 12-years old. It was unlike anything I had even heard before in my life until that point. All I knew was Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. That was all I listened to. The Rite of Spring was a revelation to me. It was a whole new sonic world full of so much color and excitement. 

Going to this concert brought back so many wonderful musical memories and rekindled my love for classical music. I have always had a love for classical music, it just sometimes get lost in our crazy fast world. 

There is nothing in music like the opening of this ballet. It opens with a solo bassoon at the top of its register. It is quite amazing and so beautiful. Then later, the pulsing and accenting low strings are exciting, eerie, unpredictable, powerful, uncertain and determined all at the same time. So. Cool. In order to keep this post to a reasonable length, take a listen to it yourself an let me know what you think! An absolutely amazing piece.

Monday, August 1, 2011

puddle jumping

I love it when it rains. 

I love the sense of renewal that it brings.

I love how vibrant the colors of nature become. 

I love the sound it makes on the house and the roof of my car. 

I love that it cools down the hot summer days that become almost unbearable. 

I love it when it rains.

I love that it creates special moments and spontaneous fun times. 

I love that it can make or break our planned activities.

I love the passion that nature manifests.

I love that it is unpredictable.

I love it when it rains.

(My little sis jumping in a good puddle)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Black Beauty

My friend has a beautiful car and I have been wanting to drive it for a long time. Finally, I had an opportunity to do it and I was not going to miss this chance. First off, you have to see this thing. Good thing I had my camera with me (it's basically a new appendage that is always with me), so I snapped a shot.

(I specifically edited this to look like it came from Top Gear) 
(The British one. Not the American one)

It is very nice to look at, but looks are nothing compared to how it drove. If you had a Black Audi A4 whiz passed you sometime today, bets are, that was me. I have never driven anything like this. Then again, I have never driven a car anywhere close to this new and amazing. 

The acceleration is so addicting. I literally wanted to hit every red light just so I can feel the rush of the acceleration, especially when the turbo kicks in. So much fun. 

I took it cruising up Provo canyon where there are some fun curvy roads. It handles like a dream. So smooth and tight, without any slipping, thanks to the quattro all-wheel drive. I wanted to just continue all the way to Park City, but I didn't want to use all the gas. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Happy Birthday to ME!!!

Last week was my birthday and I was planning on posting back then right after it happened, but it got away from me and I'm posting a week later. My birthday was an awesome day full of shopping, food, and surprises.

I spent most of the day wandering around the mall just looking for anything that might strike my fancy. It was my birthday, so I figured that I would go and find myself something. Well, sad to say, I only found one thing, but it was pretty nice. I bought a light jacket from the GAP. I have been needing a light jacket, something I could wear when it wasn't too hot or too cold. I had the problem of having no jacket, and my Russian wool jacket that was meant to keep me warm really when it is below 0 degrees outside. So, I would either be a little cold in more mild weather, or extremely hot because of my limited choices.

In my family, we always celebrate our birthdays by going out to eat at the restaurant of our choice. I wanted to go to the Bombay House. It has amazing Indian food, but I knew that my mom and sister would not eat anything there. So I settled on Los Hermanos, a nice little Americanized Mexican restaurant. It was quite delicious and very satisfying.

When I went into work that afternoon to lock up the lab, there was a surprise waiting at my desk.

There were five balloons held down by a Snickers bar. It was left by a very dear friend of mine. At first, when I saw the balloons, I was really confused. I looked around the lab trying to figure out to whom they belonged. When there was only one person in the lab, and they were as far as they could get from the balloons, I then realized that they were maybe for me. And they were! Pretty cool, huh?

Thanks to everyone that made my birthday so special, whether it was by surprise, comment, or facebook message. It was a wonderful day.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Meet my new friend

I really like photography. The funny thing is, about a two years ago, I knew nothing about photography and had no desire to really get into photography. As soon as I used a friend's dslr camera, I was hooked and could never go back to my point-and-shoot. So, I invested in a camera with a 50mm f/1.4 lens. I have had so much fun running around with this camera and have been beyond satisfied with it. Well, after some more saving, I now have a new friend to accompany my camera.

There she is! Isn't she beautiful? It's a 24-105mm L f/4 IS. Here are some pretty pictures that it took this evening of the sunset. 

I am in love with this lens and it takes some amazing pictures that are super razor sharp. I'm going to have a lot of fun with this one. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I love to see the temple...

I have had the opportunity to travel around a little bit. Not to extravagant places, but rather to see and visit beautiful and peaceful places. The past month, I have visited several temples. Seven of them, to be exact. I have been to the Mt. Timpanogos, Salt Lake, Bountiful, Rexburg, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, and Manti temples. I was only able to get pictures of four of these seven, but that's ok. It gives me reason to go back, though I already have plenty of reasons to go back.

Idaho Falls Temple

Rexburg Idaho Temple

Manti Temple

Salt Lake Temple

Temples are such wonderful and amazing buildings. They are such peaceful places. Not everyone can enter inside. These are special places that require a special recommend to enter. Whether you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or not, these buildings are worth visiting. They are wonderful for pondering and thinking about life. They clear the mind and help you forget about your worries and cares of the world. I love going to the temple, even just to be there to look at the building and walk the beautiful grounds. If you have a chance, go to a temple near you. I promise it will be worth your time.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Photo Shoot

I took my camera out for a little photo shoot the other day and just wanted to show you some of the amazing shots that I got. My model made it extremely easy to take really good pictures. It has been a long while since I have been out on a photo shoot. I had forgotten how much fun it is!

All images Copyright © 2011 Van Houten Photography