Wednesday, October 29, 2008

double tag

sorry, i usually value"tags" about as much as i do all the chain emails i receive (by valuing i mean ignoring), but when two of my favorite cousins BOTH tagged me i figured i was stuck. so here you go, seven random things about me:

1. i used to love jonathan taylor thomas. like, unhealthy love. i was about 12 and thought he was the cutest thing EVER. i religiously watched home improvement (which, in retrospect, is a pretty cheesy show), bought all the teeny bopper magazines, plastered his picture all over my room. on november 12, 1997 i went to a rehearsal of home improvement with some friends from my ward and got to go backstage and i met jtt. he was standing in the wings, eating a bowl of rice, wearing a green bomber jacket. he shook my hand and talked to me for a few minutes and at the age of 13 i was already four inches taller than he, who was age 16. i didn't wash my hand for 24 hours and i wore a plastic bag over it when i took a shower. glad i got over that.

2. i have all these weird rules about food handling and cleanliness. if a wet piece of food falls off my plate onto the table, i won't eat it -- but if a dry piece falls off, i probably will. i won't let brandon put a utensil on his placemat if he's already eaten off of it. i don't like skin on the upholstery (i.e. if b takes off his shirt, he can't sit on the couch). i eat peanut butter out of the jar with my finger or a spoon, but refuse to eat anything someone else has touched. my poor husband is very confused by all this.

3. in third grade we did a play of pandora's box and students got to try out to play each thing that came out of the box. i wanted to be hope, who comes out at the end to save the world. i memorized my whole audition script, practiced for days, even dressed up for the part. i was up against only one girl (who also happened to be the most popular girl in our grade). when we auditioned i totally nailed it...this was big because i used to be really shy...and i saw that my teacher wrote my name down as her choice after we both auditioned. but then someone said we should vote, and the class voted for the popular girl. she got to be hope and i ended up with a tiny minor part. i think i cried a lot.

4. most people know this: i was in marching band in high school. but most people do not know that band camp was my very favorite time of the year. during lunch we'd climb the fence and sneak into the school swimming pool to swin in our clothes, then run back to rehearsals all wet. another nice side benefit of this was that some days the boys' water polo team was out there practicing so we could watch them from the field. i loved band.

5. i have taken yoga classes since we got married. at my gym in beverly hills, my teacher's name was raghavan and he was probably 70. it seemed to me that he and hundreds of generations of his ancestors had taught yoga for eternity; i loved that our class was so authentic. now i live in pasadena and the 24 hour yoga teacher's name is amy. i don't like her classes much at all.

6. when i was born i had astygmatism and my eyes crossed. to try to fix it, i had surgery on my eyes when i was eight months old and again when i was two years old. they cut my eyes open, disconnected and reattached the eye muscles so they wouldn't cross, and then i wore glasses until i was 10. my eyes had fixed themselves and today i don't wear contacts or anything. i do, however, have bluish-tinted scars in both eyes from the surgeries. sometimes when i'm talking to people they stop me suddenly and say "do you have HOLES in your eyes?" to which i say yes.

7. i like to make faces. (okay, maybe i didn't have a seventh interesting fact about myself...but a blog is only good if it has a picture :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

definitely not vampires

saturday was a GREAT day in the payzant-wells household. brandon took the GMAT for the third time; we were really nervous (probably me more than palms were sweaty when he left, and he seemed just fine) because he has worked SO HARD preparing for that thing. he has studied pretty much every day since january for the stupid thing, which has caused plenty of stress (on his part) and annoyance (on my part -- he wouldn't let me invite people over on weeknights OR go to the gym with me).

he had taken a prep course after the first time, but his score on the second test was only fractionally higher. but he didn't give up; he kept working on math, which is his toughest subject, and taking practice tests until he ate, slept, breathed GMAT.

and on saturday he aced it!!

well, not really; he didn't get a perfect score or anything. but he did do WAY better than before, achieving a score high enough to make him a highly competitive applicant and good enough to get him into the schools he is applying for. HOORAY! all of our prayers over the past 10 months were answered and i am so grateful. and so excited to see where we end up!

then...we celebrated the big 0-2 wedding anniversary that night. we spent some time at the los angeles temple which was peaceful, invigorating and much needed. and then we headed to the stinking rose, a garlic restaurant in beverly hills.

the stinking rose was located pretty close to our old apartment and we used to drive by and talk about it all the time (we're both big garlic fans) but never went, so we decided the anniversary could be a good excuse to go.

(count how many times i say garlic in this paragraph.)

we started out with delicious garlic rolls, dipped in garlic-infused olive oil and a little garlic-chive dip. brandon had a garlic-braised boneless short rib and garlic mashed potatoes; i had a chicken and arugula salad with garlic vinaigrette (boring, i know, but like i said...i'd eaten a whole bowl of cookie dough). all of this was quite tasty...and then we ordered garlic ice cream for dessert and that was when i'd had it. it tasted like normal vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce, but the aftertaste was pure garlic. kind of savory and definitely unique, but a couple of bites in and i was sucking back splenda packets, desperate for anything that didn't taste like garlic. two teeth-brushings and four hours later, my mouth still tasted pungent when i went to sleep.

all in all it was a fabulous day.

kind of a stoned picture, but myspace shots are hard to take of two people. happy anniversary husby!

elections cant end soon ENOUGH

for real. i am counting the days till nov. 4.

i have been pretty fed up with the presidential election since about oh...2007. both mccain and obama just mudsling at each other the whole time; i'm so tired of it. i'm sick of the media throwing in their two cents, which is usually a completely biased two cents in either direction, depending on which channel you're watching.

but of course this election hits a little closer to home than usual thanks to our campaigning efforts for prop 8 (yes, i'm still voting YES). i hate how the "yes" voters have come to be known as intolerant, hate-filled people who don't want equality for all -- when in fact WE DO. it's not easy for me to get all activist and outspoken about this stuff because i'm not normally like that, but i will stand up for what i believe -- and that is the fact that children, who have no say in which family they are born into, deserve the right to have a mother and a father.

i'm not here to go over my position, though; that's been done. i would however like to say that the prop 8 debate has become riDICulously heated. "yes on prop 8" signs around the state don't even last overnight before they are stolen/vandalized/destroyed. people are being harassed, yelled at, flipped off, threatened. some people choose to wave "vote yes" signs on busy street corners in their towns and drivers come by and yell, jeer, intimidate. last week in fountain valley a group of people were waving signs (which, last time i checked, is not an illegal thing to do nor is it imposing on others) and some apparently-no-voters came and threw BLEACH on them. one of the wavers was a pregnant woman who got covered in bleach.

seriously? this is insane.

groups on both sides of the issue have every bit as much right as the other to express themselves and stand up for what they believe. but MY SIDE is not the one physically attacking people. who's the hater now?

Saturday, October 25, 2008


i took thursday and friday off to have a little break, after working so much in georgia. the first day i did laundry, went grocery shopping, took a nap, finished up project runway on dvr. yesterday i went out to rancho to have lunch and go shopping with my mom. she is super busy with all her efforts for the yes on prop 8 campaign, and i have been busy with life, so it was a fun day off for both of us.

we had a DELISH lunch at souplantation (i am always delighted by healthy-ish buffets) and made our first stop at tai pan trading.

my MIL got me hooked on tai pan a while back; it is a fantastic home decorating warehouse that started out with two salt lake city locations. seriously, this place is like a dream come true if you want to spice up your house. every time we've been to utah since we got married, i have made a trip there. unfortunately i was always limited to what i could purchase since i'd have to lug it home on the plane with me.

naturally i was ecstatic when i heard one was opening in california -- and even more thrilled to hear it was opening in my very own hometown. tai pan rancho opened on monday and it was everything i had hoped.

the place is so big it's sort of overwhelming (especially cause it's loaded with christmas stuff right now, but i can't remember what new decorations i bought last year) but i made off with a lovely collection of new halloween/harvest decorations for the apt. SO FUN. i highly recommend checking it out if you're ever in the 909 (or in utah). oh, and if you go on 11/15, you can meet marie osmond :)

and speaking of gourds (my favorite seasonal ugly)...i think i ate my weight in pumpkin chocolate chip cookie dough today. gross.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

final thoughts on georgia

i was pretty excited for our event to end so i could come was a long 10 days, so even though it went by quickly i was pretty worn out by the end.

after packing up on tuesday we got on the road...but couldn't leave clayton without visiting the famed "goats on the roof" gift shop and tourist attraction -- click that link, i guarantee it will make your day. i guess this is just one more piece of evidence toward how remote northern georgia is -- you put goats on a roof to attract people?? -- but i actually loved it.

we paid a quarter to get a handful of goat food, put it in a can and peddle it up to the roof where it dumped out. and to my delight all four of the sleeping goats up on the roof came over to check it out! so cute. here's one of my friends walking over:

it is beautiful there, that's for sure.

and a side note. i watched a whole lot of tlc on this trip. when i travel for work i like to keep the tv on for company while i'm in my room, typically on a friendly channel (can't watch food network if i'm hungry, so i switch to tlc). sometimes this is not a good experience like on monday when i watched some birthing baby show that may or may not have scarred me away from motherhood for another two years, but other times it works out with a "what not to wear" marathon!

at first i was skeptical of this show...the first episodes i watched showed the grossest, most fashionably-challenged people EVER. gross. but jolee talked me into giving it another try, and i loved it!

i got hooked on an episode about some gross middle-aged balloon-sculptress lady who said she was often mistaken for a lesbian (probably because she dressed like she had no gender). by the end of the show she was so happy, her self-esteem obviously boosted with a few new outfits and a new haircut. i loved that they could improve her self worth with such simple measures, without implying that she lose weight or change herself drastically. cute.

from there i was more interested, for one because the hosts are hilarious, and for another because once in a while i could sort of relate to the featured people. (NOT because i'm frumpy...more because there were some who were trying to maintain their punky eclectic style and still be businesslike, etc. i told you i watched a lot of episodes!)

and then they featured a mormon girl from provo utah! i was so excited. probably because the girl was all artsy like my friend meridth (though mer is def more stylish than this chick started out). anyway, great show, so awesome to see a girl with modest cute outfits, and maybe i am hooked. thanks, tlc, for keeping me company for the past 10 days!

Monday, October 20, 2008

oct 20 is the best day

today is our TWO YEAR anniversary.

that would ordinarily be a fabulous excuse to celebrate...except that i'm still in freaking georgia. but i go home tomorrow! woop woop.

how am i enjoying my anniversary night? i got home early from dinner, i get to watch jon & kate + 8 and blog, and i have a reese's peanut butter cup in my pocket. oh yeah. and i'm getting on an airplane destined for LAX tomorrow!!

while two years feels like it went by super quick, it also sort of feels like it has been forEVER that i have been living with mr. brandon joseph wells. i've learned to put up with his singing in the shower (or kitchen or bedroom or anywhere else) and to the fact that he becomes nocturnal on the weekends, but really those are the only complaints i have.

i love that brandon tells me all the time how beautiful i am (no matter how many times i tell him he's wrong) and that he is so lucky to have me. i love that he cleans the bathroom without being asked. i love that he encourages me to cook and make cards and shop and do whatever makes me happy. i love that he tells me my outfits are cute and that he's not afraid to say the word "cute." i love that he is so concerned for our future and wants the best for our little family.

especially i love that he had flowers delivered to me today, when i was sad that i couldn't see him, all the way at my hotel out in the middle of nowhere, georgia:

i love you wellsy!! here's to a million more anniversaries. xoxo.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

last day in paris

we started out our final day in the city of lights by visiting our favorite breakfast place -- we dined there every morning. we learned about it from rick steves, of course (one more shout out to how we could NOT have had such a fabulous trip without his help).

we found this tiny diner on rue cler, just around the corner from our hotel, who gave a special "american breakfast" deal to rick steves readers: orange juice, the best hot chocolate of my LIFE, ham, an egg, bread basket and a croissant. yum! the same waitress was there all three times so we became friends with her quickly. how i would love to be a parisian local and become a regular at a place like that.

then we headed out for the arch de triomphe.

it was cool to see this massive, famous monument and think of all the history it has seen. it was commissioned by napoleon, finished for his funeral march, stood watch while the nazis marched down the champs-elysees after taking over paris, etc. etc. it was definitely an intimidating piece of architecture.

here's the eternal flame:

then we hiked up 370-something MORE stairs. seriously, thanks to all the stairs in paris, i was able to guiltlessly enjoy my daily croissant :)

awesome views from the top:

next we walked down the champs-elysees, which wasn't quite as exciting as i had hoped. i felt like i was in nyc or something, surrounded by the disney store, virgin, billabong, coach, etc.
looking back toward the arch from the opposite end of the champs-elysees:
at the opposite end of the street, there's a big obelisk in a roundabout. this is where the guillotine was stationed during the french revolution. cooool.

we ate more crepes and enjoyed another beautiful paris morning.

and then we headed off to versailles. this palace, built for king louis xiv, had always intrigued me because my dad was fascinated by it on his previous travels to france and had told us all about it. it's located about 20 km outside the city in its own little touristy town.
for some reason i had assumed all these famous locations like versailles, dachau, etc. would be located out in the dust, far from civilization. i had read that during its operation dachau was surrounded by a mile-wide border to prevent people from entering, so i just figured it would still be like that. same with versailles -- why couldn't it be a nice little palace out in the country? ha. then i realized that consumerism is thriving even in europe. why put something in the dust when it can be surrounded by gift shops? versailles was a five minute walk through town from the train station.
hard to convey in pictures the magnitude and elaborate details of this place -- it did not disappoint. it was HUGE, covered in gold, and everything you'd ever hope a palace would be.

i loved the famous hall of mirrors:

one thing i found a little odd -- the palace was currently featuring artist jeff koons with displays throughout the living quarters. his stuff was cool i guess, but definitely took away from the amazing rooms. case in point:

which thing does not belong? uh, yeah. another room featured the famous "michael jackson and bubbles" sculpture i remembered from art history. not quite sure i'd choose to include that with versailles, but maybe i don't know enough about art.
we only made it through three rooms before an alarm went off and we were ushered outside. i never did find out what happened, but we were allowed back inside 20 minutes later. we explored the gardens and the outside a bit:

and then we rode the train back! that night we had our last dinner in rue cler, out on the sidewalk watching the city go by. that was also the night we went to the top of the eiffel tour; definitely a great way to end our stay in paris and our magnificent trip.
the next morning we packed up, took a train to frankfurt, bought a ridiculous amount of german chocolate and got on our plane home. i was sad that our vacation had finally come to an end, but it was SO NICE to come back home. never have i been so glad to see my own bed, my own apartment, palm trees, pasadena, friends, family. our european adventure was everything i had hoped for and more...but i do love being home :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

notre dame and the louvre

we started out our first full day in paris with a trip to notre dame. this church is AMAZING. considering it was built more than 600 years ago, its height and intricate designs are even more impressive.

we climbed a very loooong 400 steps to get to the top, up a twisty narrow staircase. i was a bit winded on the way up but didn't freak out till it was time to go back down...for those of you who don't know, i have a strange fear of going down stairs. but anyway, back up -- at the top we got an amazing view (natch):

along with cool views of all the gargoyles, which i LOVE. i know they are there to scare off evil spirits or something but i thought they were super cute. here's our favorite little guy:

we got to see 400-year old bells:

and climb inside bell towers. this is me crawling inside the mini door...but the photo strikes me now as more of a quasimodo impression:

and if you think all that is cool, just imagine the inside. the cathedral was HUGE. i loved all the side chapels and the high ceilings and the stained glass.

after sufficiently exploring notre dame, we visited an archaeological museum just next door and i ate my first parisian crepe. one jambon and fromage for lunch, with a nutella one for dessert. YUM. literally dripping with butter.

we saw sacre couer, the conciergerie prison where marie antoinette was imprisoned with others during the french revolution, one of the only surviving original parisian subway stations from 1900 and walked along the river banks checking out the street vendors. it was a beautiful sunny paris afternoon.

and then we ended up at the louvre!

i won't lie, we were pretty burned out on museums by this point, and i've never been incredibly into art museums. we didn't spring for the audio tour, which i think would have been helpful seeing as how i did take art history in college and i do enjoy studying paintings and sculptures, but we were tired. basically we checked out the denon wing, focused on the big ticket items, and then headed home for a nap.

please note all the asian photo-takers in the picture above. this little lady is popular! and smaller than expected, though i'd heard she's somewhat anticlimactic. i did also think about the da vinci code the majority of our time in the museum.

brandon got sick while we were in paris, and in typical male fashion he acted like the world was crashing down because he had a sore throat. i tried to be sympathetic but COME ON we were in paris. i did allow him a brief nap after the louvre, but we headed out again.

we had a romantic dinner in a lovely fancy restaurant overlooking a quiet street and i got to order authentic french onion soup. we watched the sun go down over a delicious meal and shared creme brulee for dessert. and then we walked over to the river and boarded a night cruise on the seine.

this was another of my favorite paris moments. we sat out on the boat deck and floated through the city, seeing all of the monuments by moonlight. the eiffel tower did its hourly sparkle, we bundled up together since it was cold and listened to our audio narration of the city, and sailed under famous bridges and next to museums and churches and apartments. we saw couples kissing on riverside benches, groups having picnics on the walls, and a creepy little man crawl into a dark cave. it was fantastic.

do you believe me yet that paris is amazing?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

beats a day at the office

today i rode along with my clients and fellow journalists in the gorgeous mountain roads of georgia.

this may not seem very interesting to most people but prior to today my motorcycle-riding experience consisted of riding around the block with my dad at age 4 and one ride to the marriott center on the back of ryan haldeman's bike my senior year of college. it may strike some as odd that i work for a major moto manufacturer without a ton of personal investment in the which i say, i love PR so it doesn't much matter to me what subject it's for.

so when i was invited to ride along i was nervous and excited. i started out a little tense and had a desperate urge to grab onto my driver (a man who has worked for this company for 25 years and is a professional motorcycle tester -- could i possibly ride any safer? doubtful), but relaxed quickly. i loved it! what a cool way to be so close to nature. i loved smelling everything i drove through -- forests, campfires, wood-burning stoves in the middle of appalachia -- and not having a roof over my head and just being out there. so fun.

also as of yesterday i am the newest account executive at my work :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

vote YES on prop 8

so for those of you not living in my state currently -- fyi, we have this thing in california called prop 8. basically it's a revival of prop 22 (which passed by 61% of votes in 2000 for the exact same thing, in case you were wondering) which seeks to maintain the traditional definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

first of all, i think it's ridiculous that even though something passed just eight years ago, california's supreme court decided to overrule it and make it a bill again. maybe it's just me, but if a bill gets passed i like to think it's going to stay passed.

secondly. let's just get it out in the open. i don't hate gay people. i have a friends who are gay and i know plenty of people who choose to have "alternative lifestyles." i will admit that morally i don't agree with their choices, but they're still people and still deserve basic rights. but just because they choose to live that way, i do NOT think that means we need to completely redefine marriage, making it between two adult parties instead of between a man and a woman.

if this bill fails, everything will change. my kids will be taught in school that being gay is okay, that it's socially ordained to have two moms or two dads -- when i, personally, feel that this is a moral issue that should be taught in the home, NOT at school. don't believe me? things like that are already happening in states who have already legalized same sex marriage. not to mention this is just one step in slamming free speech for all of us. allow liberal viewpoints to win one victory like this and it's all downhill from here. tolerance for other ways of life, mine included, will continue to be targeted until everything is screwed up.

and have we forgotten that it's clinically proven by just about every family psychologist out there that the healthiest environment for children is one in a home with a mother and a father? who are we as a society to deny children the right to be born and live in a home with both their mother and father?

an op ed in the la times put it better than i can: "changing the meaning of marriage to accommodate homosexual orientation further and perhaps definitively undermines for all of us the very thing -- the gift, the birthright -- that is marriage's most distinctive contribution to human society." read the rest of the article here.

i'm feeling a little fired up about all this right now because b & i have been involved in campaigning efforts in our area. we knocked on doors and have been calling people to find fellow "yes" voters to join in our cause. tonight i made some more calls (yes, even from georgia -- i'm that hardcore) and only got one hostile man.
i should warn you now that i totally hate confrontation...i burst into tears any time anyone raises their voice at me. (not lying...ask brandon. i'm "sensitive.")

so anyway, the guy started calling me a "hater" as soon as he found out why i was calling. i calmly tried to explain that we don't hate anyone, that we just want to maintain the traditional definition of marriage, the one that has existed since the beginning of time for the sake of OUR families, but he didn't care. after a few minutes of bantering i could see i was getting nowhere, so i thanked him for his time and prepared to hang up. his last words to me were "thank you for letting me know you're a HATER." i hung up and cried a little.

but now i'm just mad. don't you see, crazy guy? i'm NOT a hater. this is turning all of YOU into haters, people who are so angry at those of us who conservatively stand up for our beliefs that you're just fighting for the sake of fighting. i'm doing this because i believe in families, in parenthood, in marriage -- and yes, the traditional version of each. god sent us here to be part of a family. i believe that, and i'm not forcing it on anyone. they choose to be alternative; they should have an alternative option for marriage, thus not changing it for the rest of us.

all right, that's my soapbox. for more info, visit or or ask me about it. just don't raise your voice at me ;)

for those of you living in california, please vote yes on prop 8 next month. your kids (and mine) will thank you.

Friday, October 10, 2008


so here i am, back in hickville. maybe i didn't pay as much attention to clayton georgia as i should have the last time i was here, but i was delighted to discover they have a walmart supercenter AND a days inn. i guess that means they're on the map.

just a few random thoughts i've had since arriving:

- i feel so much more country when i listen to country music in the south. shoot, i could almost be a local.

- i am DEFINITELY a city girl. and i think i always will be. what do these people DO all day? and weekends? i mean, hello. when you don't even have a stoplight, i guess you don't aim very high for entertainment.

- checking into a creepy hotel (though not as creepy as the last one) with free wireless and recovering from jet lag works well for my schedule. since we went to europe, my unread posts in google reader have been hovering around the 800 mark. unacceptable, i know. after tonight? i'm down to 20.

- how have i NOT been to a waffle house yet??? that's totally on my to do list for this week.

- absence makes the husband more productive. what has he done in the 12 hours i've been gone? worked, cooked dinner, worked on mba school applications, shopped for new jeans (how disgusting is it that my husband wears seven jeans and i don't?!?!), cooked himself a lean cuisine and is planning (come on brandon -- you better do it) to clean the bathroom. shoot, i should leave him alone more often.

- the best part about georgia is that it's my last work trip till february. YAY.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


paris was absolutely everything i hoped it would be. magical, fashionable, romantic, historic, beautiful. i could have stayed a month.

we arrived in the late afternoon and went out to explore our neighborhood. we stayed right on the rue cler, an outdoor shopping area just south of the eiffel tower.

when we came out of dinner that night, it had drizzled a little so the whole city was misty. the streets sparkled and the lights reflected in the streets...we held hands and walked to the eiffel tower and at risk of being totally sappy i have to say it was the most romantic night of my life :)

i LOVED the eiffel tower.

at night it lights up blue and gold for the EU.

but every hour it sparkles with blinking lights for ten minutes. amazing.

i don't know why i have this enamoration for tall objects (empire state building, anyone?) but i absolutely loved the tower.

we went up to the top on our last night there. it was windy and cold up there. and i got tired of taking pictures after an hour.

amazing views though. and i love that you could see the tower from just about any point in the city.

and that's just the beginning. our three days in paris were jam-packed and we still didn't get to everything i wanted to see, but we squeezed in as much as possible.