Saturday, January 30, 2010


Now, I know I shouldn't brag, but I think it's great that my four year old niece Cassidy loves me as much as she does. I'll call to chat with my sister and am often told a story of how Cassidy brought me up in recent conversation.

Right now my sister's family is awaiting a new baby due approximately at the end of May, and they just found out it's another girl! I did laugh when I read my sister's blog entry about it... Cassidy once again proved that she's constantly thinking of me:

I just love this girl!

August 2009

It's easy for me to tell by looking through my pictures when life gets busy... in August there is a steep drop in the number of pictures I took! Granted, August of 2009 marked the beginning of my last semester of college and I was really busy. I was taking 15 credits including my capstone class (meant to bring everything I learned in school to use), working shifts at the Mandalay Bay convention center when I could, juggling two internships, attending institute, selecting who to give money to on UNLV's scholarship board, and got called as the first counsellor in my singles ward's Relief Society. I sometimes ended up with no time to shop for food or do my laundry during the week. I still don't know how I managed, honestly.

Anyway, back to the fun August stuff... 2009 will always be stuck in my brain as "the year that EVERYONE got married." One fun thing a couple of my engaged friends did before they finished tying the knot was to have a little messy party at the park... and I mean MESSY! This is Chris and Katy:

Why do they look disgusting? Because they just finished wrestling in a kiddie pool of pudding. It was hilarious. At the party was also a jello slip-n-slide. Gross.

This totally would have been an activity I would have jumped in to (literally), but I had some other activity planned for later in the afternoon (I don't remember what) and had already showered and gotten dressed for it. Bummer.

Do you love Papa Johns? My roommate Rashida does! Well, I do too, but Rashida takes it to a whole new level, and the rest of the house often benefits from her addiction (geez, here we go about strange addictions again... remember FE-A?) Any-who... the delivery guy one day obviously liked taking his job to a whole new level too. His name tag did not display his name, but rather, said "Delivery Perfectionist." I laughed. And then ran for my camera.

The best part about August however was that my great friend Emily got to officially move in! She had been living on my living room floor for a couple of weeks (convenient... living in the LIVING room) while looking for an apartment, and moved in to the room I shared with Cynthia when Cynthia and I moved in to the master bedroom when Jen bought her own condo and moved out. We knew we'd miss Jen, but she decided to buy a conder a little further in the same complex, so it's not like we'd never see her. I think Emily was happy that she could finally un-pack her car before it made her crazy.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Maybe I Have A Bad Employment History...

Funny. Kind of. For some reason lately I have been running in to or have been reminded of some of my former employers. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

At the end of last semester I was on a site visit for my nightclub management class at the HardRock Hotel and Casino. We'd finished our tour and were standing with our professor in the hallway near their meeting rooms. I had noticed as we had passed by that there was equipment/decor being loaded in for some event, and I mentioned to a classmate that I had helped set up an event in the same room once before with (we'll change the names here) Former Employer A (FE-A).

I had worked for FE-A during 2008 for about 5-6 months. I had begun my internship requirement with them hoping to learn about creating/desining special events, etc, and got a few opportunities to work semi-closely with some events; I even was allowed to write out a proposal for a potential client for a very VERY small event. THEN, things changed. Receptionist went on planned maternity leave and I was expected to do her job. And that's it. Hmmmm... so much for event experience. FE-A and I had a mutual parting of ways. I didn't quit, she didn't fire me, we just stopped calling each other to schedule work times.

Skipping back to the hallway... while discussing the results of the class' nightclub event - lo and behold - who do I see pacing the hallway monitoring the load-in process while probably wishing she was eating a McDonald's cheeseburger and smoking a cigarette (I'll save the topic of addictions for another post... maybe)? FE-A. Boo. I even had to share an elevator with her on the way to the parking garage. We were civil, but the conversation was oh so short.

Time for FE-B. Before my mission I nannied and worked at the home office/business of Former Employer B. I gave up 2 other jobs (I had 3 at one time) for a great raise and more hours with FE-B and was promised the chance to learn the field of live entertainment. Haha! Kidding - they really just wanted me to watch their four year old in a hotel room for 3 weeks. Yes, nannying was PART of my job, but nothing they had promised on the entertainment side happened. So, I explained my feelings, and among another misunderstanding I was let go (saw it coming a mile away).

Last semester the company I was interning for (see FE-C) entered into a contract with FE-B to open a live entertainment production in a local venue. I feared every day that I would come face to face with the folks that make up FE-B, but somehow lucked out when they only came in to the office on days I was in school. So, this last Saturday I was running about Las Vegas attending a couple of wedding receptions. The first was hosted at a church building, but the second was at the bride's home. I got directions off the internet, saw the map and had driven up to the very gate of the community before I realized that I was waiting to be allowed access to the same neighborhood in which I had worked for FE-B. The bride's house was two doors down. Geez. Talk about bad memories.

FE-C was where I actually completed the requirements for my internship credit. I worked with them last year for seven months. SEVEN! I could have finished my hours quicker yes, but I wanted to really learn about entertainment and get my foot in the door. My coworkers were awesome, I liked being at work and did learn a lot, but then had no job when FE-C (who HAD hired me) passed on the word that the company was downsizing and could no longer give me a position. Rude. He had to wait until halfway through my first day as a f/t employee...

FE-D was a small part-time job I had many many moons ago here in Vegas. It was great for school - it required a telephone and a computer (which did most of the work for you), and it was suggested that employees brought something to do while waiting for the computer to dial someone who was home. I think that was the only semester I read an entire textbook for school. Long story short, company cutbacks required the department to be cut in half, and the newest employees were let go first. Game Over.

Now tomorrow I'm being a live mannequin at a bridal fair (think convention). One of the main sponsors for the bridal fair is FE-D, I know FE-C has a booth at the fair, and I would be shocked if FE-A didn't have a booth for her company too (I doubt FE-B has anything to do with it). But goodness... isn't just wierd how often they're all showing up in my life lately?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Post Grad

So, while I am still working on catching my blog up on the happenings of 2009, I have decided to try and add more of my personal thoughts about current happenings in my life throughout the year. So far my blog has mostly been a storybook of my life's activities (complete with pictures!), but thanks to some examples from friend's blogs, I have wanted to add a little more to my blog this year. Sorry if it gets boring, y'all.

Tonight was a night of movies... first with my ward for FHE, and then at a married friend's house. At this friend's house we watched Post Grad. Haven't heard of it? Don't worry - you'll learn everything you need to know from the movie in this post. In other words, it's not that great. In fact, it's really strange and random and our little group of friends pondered on why so many great actors such as Michael Keaton, Carol Burnett, Alexis Bledel and Bobby Coleman would waste their time on such a flick. Anyway, I digress.

The main part of the movie centers on recent college grad Rydan Malby who always seemed to have her life planned out. Not long after turning her tassel things start falling out of place. Her car gets knocked out of comission from a hit and run accident, she doesn't get the job she had her sights set on because of her "arch nemesis" and is unable to move in to her new apartment because the lack of a paycheck. She then ends up moving back home with mom, dad, little brother and grandma, and looses her best friend Adam Davies when he realizes that she has nothing more that platonic feelings for him. The majority of scenes focus on Rydan either looking for a job, coping with family, avoiding the nemesis, and crushing Adam's dreams (Hm. Like I said, not very good). Eventually, the family learns how to function together, Rydan is offered the job that the nemesis gets fired from, and she realizes that she does in fact love Adam - after he's moved across the country for law school. So, what does she do? Quits her new job, flies across the country and lives happily ever after with Adam.

Okay, so you've now been long asking yourself, "why has Melissa dedicated an entire post to this sub-par phenomenon?" Only because I feel some of her pain - minus the whole "everything just works itself out" part at the end. For now.

I graduated from college just over a month ago, with a full-time job offered to me. I had my plan! I was never the type of kid who had their career decided on since kindergarten; I didn't even pick a major until after I had my Associate's Degree. Anyhow, I had finally settled on something, and busted my butt for 7 months doing intern work for the company to ensure my spot. And it had worked! For a while.

The first day I went in to work as a paid professional was the day that my plan fell apart. The company was suddenly downsizing, laying people off, and unable to give me the promised job. So, my business cards met the trash can, and like Rydan I found myself frantically searching out job leads and picking up a random job on the side to try and hold me over.

I'm now losing my condo. Well, technically I'm not losing it... but I'm letting it go. I will not be renewing my lease after the end of February without having an income. I'm hoping to relocate to anywhere that has a job in my field for me, but in all honesty I'll most likely be moving in with family either in California or Colorado; I have a room offered to me in 3 different houses. While I love my family, I would definitely feel as if I was regressing a little in regards to my independence. And no, there is no best guy friend/potential love of my life out there waiting for me to discover my feelings for him, although I did have a guy recently tell me that I'm almost (if not everything) he's looking for in a spouce, and then he proceded to tell me that he was interested in persuing a relationship with another girl. While I had decided that I wasn't interested in persuing a relationship with said guy and encouraged him to develop the relationship he is currently in, it still hurts the pride a little bit when you hear "you're great, but she's better" know? Don't get me wrong, I have no ill feelings toward the guy; he's incredibly honest with people and it would be totally unfair of me to want or expect him to pine after me just because I like attention from guys. I'm happy for him!

Anyway, I digressed again. To sum up the movie analogy I felt like I understood the frustrating part of being finished with college and not having it be of any help in moving on to the next part of my life. I guess I could have said that a lot quicker and a lot better than I just did. Oh well.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Blame It On The Pop - Top 25 Billboard Hits of 2009

This is the most amazing mash up I have ever seen! Thanks to my friend Shelli who introduced me. Enjoy!!

Hill Cumorah Pageant

Here's some video that Geminee took of our scene... it's kinda far away and she missed the beginning, but maybe you can still see what we did.

July 2009 Sum Up

After getting settled in Fairport, New York, it was time to head to the Hill Cumorah and head to registration for the pageant. Emily, Dianna and I talked to a few people in line, and even checked out some cute boys. After receiving our name badges and lanyards and ensuring our medical info was correct we walked up to the top of the hill to get a view of where we'd be spending most of our time for the next two weeks.

We still had several hours until the opening devotional, so we also visited the Sacred Grove only three miles away from the hill. It was beautiful to see the Palmyra temple just across the street from the Smith property!

The opening devotional was pretty short and was immediately followed by auditions for women's "movement" roles. I ran down to the "bowl" (as was nicknamed the grassy audiency area) and started to get my groove on! There were several dance instructors present who taught us a short dance that incorporated parts of different dances for the show so they could see how each person (of the 200+ audionees) moved, and which role(s) they would be best suited for. I made sure I was in the first batch of dancers that auditioned after learning the dance, and was the first girl handed a number card - which means you went on to round two. Quickly other girls with number cards joined me in waiting for round two and we continued practicing the dance to make sure we didn't forget it. Round two was quicker than the first, and I was once again the first girl handed a permanent role tag! I was excited; I ended up being cast as a dancer in the opening scene of the pageant, and there were only 8 girls assigned to this group - some other groups had 30-40 people in it.

Rehearsals began the next day, and were held every day after that with the exception of Sundays. Because of the large cast size (more than 700 people) there were two "cyber stages" painted in the grassy area where scenes could work on blocking, and often times there were 2-4 different scenes being rehearsed on the stage at a time!

It was also during rehearsal week that the cast was allowed one night to sit in the audience area and watch the run through - as long as we paid attention to what was happening and didn't miss our cues to be on stage. Several scenes were skipped during the run through however; they hadn't been blocked yet. These are pictures of my scene; the first during rehearsal on media day, and the second during our first run through (without costumes).

I happened to have done my hair a little crazy this day... another cast member one day had been looking at my long hair and was inspired to give me a small bottle of purple Hannah Montana Hair Mascara, so I did my hair in a style I thought would be appropriate to show off the glittery stuff.

During rehearsal week our group of ceremonial dancers sadly dropped from 8 to 7 people... poor Geminee turned wrong during a practice and sprained her ankle - everyone heard it pop; it was pretty gross. We also started getting our costumes in order, and learned that it was IMPOSSIBLE to put the entire thing on without help! They were a little hard to get used to too; having a belt cinched as tight as possible across your ribs doesn't allow for much breathing. But we sure looked good when we had it all on! You'll notice there's 8 girls in the fully costumed picture... we got our dance instructor to wear the extra costume and perform with us on one of the show nights!

The prop shop looked cool, and they even spray painted my shoes black so I could wear them on stage!

Because Geminee could no longer dance she was the only cast member that could sit in the audience area on the night of our dress rehearsal, so of course we made her take pictures of the performance. Nephi and his family aboard the ship followed by the Lamanite/Nephite pre-battle dance scene:

And the highlight of the entire show: Christ's visit to the Nephites in ancient America after his crucifixion and resurrection.

Whenever we weren't in rehearsals or devotionals, etc. we would spend time with our cast team - a group of single people about the same age as you. My cast team (R2) had a tent close to the 10 year old boy's tent, and were playing games in the open field next to our tent when we were bombarded by air missles from the boys. While they hadn't intentionally fired at us we did threaten to get even... and heart attacked their tent when no one was around. Watching the 10 year old boys scream and gag upon finding their tent covered in lots of pink hearts was priceless!

We also took turns doing service which included serving meals. My salad smiled at me the day that Emily played mashed potato lady.

Rob Moffat was the production manager at pageant, and most people were suprised to learn that I had known him since before my mission; he had been my brother's roommate, I had spent Thanksgiving at his Aunt's house in California, and he is currently my brother's writing partner for a Christmas oratorio about the nativity. Talented guy - but always busy!!

Once performances started our schedule for rehearsals was incredibly less demanding, and we were even granted a "free day" to spend with our cast team and others at Hobart and William Smith College. I enjoyed decorating the dorm sidewalks with my version of Colorado, and was pleased to see others join in with their own versions of the states they came from. There were cactuses for AZ, the Declaration of Independence for PA (it was written there), the delicate arch for UT, and many others. Later in the day several people from my cast team took a bus to visit the Martin Harris farm (I think that was the farm...) and we toured the home and then climbed trees in the orchard.

I laughed when I saw that the golf cart that collected trash from the study shelter (where we had devotionals and meals) had an Air Force One sign on the front.

There was a morning once that we didn't have to be at the Hill Cumorah very early, so Emily, Dianna and I went to the temple grounds. Pretty!

These are some of my favorite people from Pageant!! Nikita and I would sit together during the burning of Abinidi scene and quote it word for word. She's such a sweet girl! Gabby is our dance instructor's daughter, and she has the cutest smile!

Lauren was my buddy and hung out with me after she and her mom had been in the Waters of Mormon scene (that was the scene I was in when I was 13!); her mom had to take one of her brothers to another part of the stage for another scene, but her dad and other brother didn't finish the destruction scene quick enough to allow her mother to be in place. So Lauren would be dropped off with me and we'd watch the bursts of fire and water coming from all over the stage, and watch how high the rock cannons would blast their rubble into the air before the stage would go dark and allow her dad to run off and pick her up. There was one unfortunate evening where a storm blew in during the performance and opened up a downpour on us which resulted in cancelling the rest of the show for the evening just as Lauren and I were waiting for the destruction scene. It was hectic trying to find her family amongst the 700+ people making their way to the cover of the study shelter and dressing rooms, but Lauren stayed calm and wasn't worried a bit that I'd find her family.

This great guy was my scene director: John Huntington. If you've ever been introduced to Feature Films for Families, go back and watch Rigoletto again... you'll see a much younger John in the role of Hans. Great guy!

While most days seemed long at the Hill Cumorah Pageant, the weeks were short, and soon enough we'd packed up all the audience chairs and were saying goodbye to the great people we'd met. Here's a view of the stage and "bowl" from the top of the hill, and my most favorite street sign that I've EVER seen that we passed on the way home to Fairport every night.

And of course, one last trip to the Sacred Grove was necessary.

Before flying back to Las Vegas, Emily's kind sister Kim (who let us live in her house and use their truck, and eat her family's food) drove us out to Kirtland Ohio and Niagra Falls to let us have some fun. The Kirtland Temple (not owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now):

The Newell K. Whitney store:

Our stop in Kirtland was cut shorter than we'd planned so that we'd have time to do some fun stuff in Niagra... when I got out of the truck I happened to look straight at a diamond ring that someone had dropped in the parking lot. And so the fun began! We decided to turn it in after we went to the maid of the mist - since we had to run to barely make the last boat of the day.

Someone mentioned that it would be funny to get men to pretend to propose to us with the ring, so I scouted out a cutie and asked him to. He willingly agreed! Isn't he great?

It turned out that Markus Niemela is a Finnish racecar driver, and was traveling around the US for some races, but was also with his cameraman who was getting footage for the pilot of a Finnish reality show about Markus' life. Markus was about halfway through the mock-proposal when I noticed that the guy was filming us! I have yet to discover if they used any of the proposal in their show, but there's a possibility I'm famous in Finland now. Haha...

Niagra was super fun! We even went in to Buffalo after turning in the ring and ate at the home of the original Buffalo wings. I still hold that Buffalo Wild Wings is better.

I finally got back to Las Vegas to finish out the month and was given the opportunity to see Barbara Self - the last companion I had on my mission - when she came to UNLV to work as an EFY councelor for two weeks. Such a fun girl!