Monday, December 31, 2007

Tag, You're It!

I was tagged like three and a half times so finally I'm getting you all back!

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I'm not this totally mysterious person, so most of you will probably know these things about me.

1. I wish I had long thick hair. Seriously, my hair grows overly slow (I think) and when it finally does reach that past the shoulder point it's just unhealthy. How I envy my cousins ans sisters for their lucious locks!

2. I am a really annoying person to go to restaurants with because if I really like my meal I will tune my company out to try to figure out what is in it and make it at home.

3. I love to go fast! Roller Coasters, Boats, Cars, Planes, Skiing, Blading, Ice-Skating, you name it...the more fast, the better!

4. I love movies but when I watch them at home I am lucky to make it through the credits without falling asleep. When the lights go out and I am cozy on the couch somehow all the sleep I haven't had catches up with me and my eyes are shut before the show even starts.

5. I have always wanted to go to India to see the Taj Mahal, but will only travel there with the man that I marry since the story of the palace is one of the most beautiful love stories that I've heard. That's REALLY cheesy, but true.

6. I dislike text messaging. Maybe because I haven't mastered the art of it yet or because I rather hear a voice and think it's quicker to just call someone. It does have international advantages, but other than that I rather someone just call.

7. There are a lot of things that I sort of do that I wish I did well. I sort of can play the piano and the guitar, I sort of know how to draw, I sort of can write a decent poem and I'm sort of good at frisbee etc. I'll have to just keep on trying, but where's the time to practice?

Okay that's it! Ashley Aguirre, Ashley Lawrence, Elizabeth, Jai, Levi, Ruby, Veronica and're it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Famous Dave!

Uncle Dave is amazing at so many things, but he's particularly famous for his after dessert treats! The Harris Family Nativity Sing-A-Long this year was no exception. He has brought Twizzlers licorice to every family function in a variety of flavors since the 90's. Wow, did I just say 90's?. Strawberry, Cherry, Chocolate and Black. But this year...he went WAY overboard and busted out the "Extra Long" Twizzlers. They had the whole family oohing and ahhing and once open, they were gone in seconds. Uncle Dave, your a star! We love you and love that you bring licorice to our lives!

Home For The Holidays!

There's no place like home for the holidays!I had an amazing trip to Salt Lake this weekend! It was jam packed with Temple Square, Lights, Concerts, Sledding, Parties, Friends and Family and of course everything revolved around Christmas. Music and the Spoken Word at The Confrence Center, The Girls Party and the Annual Harris Family Nativity Sing-a-Long, and sledding were definatly the highlights!

I had the opportunity to bring my friend Lesego Makhubela from South Africa with me. We met at church my first time in Pretoria in 2004. He's been an amazing friend to me since and has been my personal tour guide each time I've returned. It was fun to show him the church sites and to have him meet my family. He probably thinks we're weirdos cause we have some crazy traditions. How many families do you know who alter Elmo masks into Wise Men Costumes? Thanks for comin' Lesego! Le a go rata!

Below are pics that highlight my trip!

Monday, December 17, 2007


I went to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall with Jessica last week! My mouth is still hanging wide open in awe at how these ladies can kick like that in high heels. I even tried it at home in my room. K, that's embarrasing! Anywhoo, The frolicking feathard females are actually very talented and I enjoyed the show! The Rockettes are part of New York and so is their "Christmas Spectular Show". Thanks Jess for coming with me and getting the tickets. Next year maybe we can try out!

Plastic Death!

I've had a smile plastered on my face (as well as a really sore rear end) since Saturday! Several years ago we started a tradition of going sledding up Parleys Canyon. Instant Gratification is plentiful in this stellar sport. This years ever popular sled-the Saucer! The benefit to the saucer is in the spinning. No matter which angle you pick to start out on, you are bound to end up backwards. We tried several formations and chains this year including the "V" and the arm-linked circle. The highlight was definatly Camille hitting the barrel of hay, sending Aaron flying off the sled and the rest of us landing on top of each other. Or was that after the monsterous jump? In any event, sledding is pure bliss!

Girls Just Want to Have Fun and Eat Cupcakes!

I have missed my friend's from Salt Lake more than toilet paper on a camping trip, more than popcorn without butter-and that's a lot! I love planning parties (seriously, I would have one every weekend if time allowed) so naturally on my trip home, my college friends and I got together on Saturday for a Christmas Party at my Mom's House.

Chocolate Peppermint Cup Cakes-My favorite!

Recently I decided that I needed a signature food that I bring or make for parties. I've officially decided on Giant Cupcakes. I ordered the pan for them on-line. I'm not ambitious enough (or rather don't have time) to make the batter from scratch, but Betty Crocker comes through for me flawlessly everytime. Kevin, my super nice brother-in-law crushed candy canes with a hammer and my mom made the frosting this time, cause she makes the BEST butter cream frosting. Thanks for all your help Mom, you rock!

The MOST Amazing Women in the Universe!

Cedar, Jackson, Annie, Amelia, Eli and Lucy-So Delicious!

The Menaces (If you are going to be a menace, you should be as cool as we are!)

Mostly, I just want to pay tribute to my girlfriends and thier delicious babes. Seriously, I have the most unachievably talented, most beautiful, graceful, lovely, intelligent girlfriends in the world and I don't even know why I'm privleged enough to hang out with them. Elizabeth, Jacey, Becky, Julie, Camille, Cary Ann, Jessica, Ashley, Shelly, Mindy, Wendy, and Krist-it was so fun to play catch up with you and see your adorable kids. Those of you who are mom's, you inspire me. My sensational friends who are menaces like one is worthy! I love your guts!

Who doesn't love a cute gift bag?

Christmas in the City!

City Sidewalks, Pretty Sidewalks...Manhattan is such a magical place to be in December! 5th Avenue becomes a mecca for tourists who like to shop. Although I have to say that I never shop there because everything on 5th avenue costs a pretty penny, and let's be honest, nannies are not that rich. However, the window shopping is delightful. The window displays are simply amazing at this time of year, I think the stores even compete for a prize. I love the carriage rides and ice skating in Central Park.

My most favorite thing in New York at Christmas is Rockerfellar Center's famous Christmas Tree. Year after year, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree appears as surely as December, and Christmas in New York wouldn't be the same if it didn't. In a city of superlatives, it is the biggest, brightest, most famous Christmas tree of them all; as venerable and beloved a tradition as the World Series, Fourth of July fireworks and New Year's Eve celebrations.

It is, quite simply, a crowd-stopper. Skaters swirl beneath its branches and shoppers stop to stare. Carolers serenade beside its branches, their voices climbing to the shining star on top, and sightseers are held rapt by the thousands of lights that blanket its limbs, glistening like fresh snow in the moonlight.

America has celebrated Christmas around the Rockefeller Center Tree since 1931. Below you will find a pic of the 2007 tree. I love it. Christmas in New York wouldn't be Christmas without it.

I heart Christmas, and I heart this city at Christmas Time!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hanukkah-Festival of Lights!

The Menorah on the First Night of Hannukah. The middle is called the Shamash and is used to light the other candles.

Potato Latkes, served with Sour Cream and Apple Sauce. So Yummy!

Dreidels and Chocolate Gelt

Since I live and work in a Jewish Home I wanted to share a little bit about the holiday we've been celebrating this past week. Hanukkah started on Tuesday evening and lasts 8 nights.

Here's a little background. Long ago, King Antiochus and the Syrians ruled over the land of Israel. The king tried to force the Jews to give up their religion. He seized the Temple and put out the great seven-branched menorah. But the Jews, led by Judah Maccabee fought back and won a long battle against the wicked king. The Jews cleaned the Temple and made it beautiful again. Then they tried to light the lamp. But there was only enough olive oil to light the lamp for one day. A miracle happened, and the oil lasted for eight days. This gave the Jews enough time to make more oil. This is why Hanukkah is referred to as the "Festival of Lights".

It's been a unique opportunity to celebrate with the cute family I nanny for. We made Latkes (potato pancakes) on Tuesday evening and lit the menorah and the kids taught me how to play dreidel. Since there are eight nights of Hanukkah we recieve and give a gift for each of the eight nights. Now you know where my salary goes at the end of the year. I've loved the gift giving though and each year I try to make something so it's a little more personal. Last year I had my mom make blankets...This year I was a little more ambitious and made a scrapbook of all our fun nanny outings. Pretty much I'm married to my job...but it's cool!

A peek at my Hanukkah gift!

Private Chef Gig

I finally got the chance to do what I've been waiting for...cook for private parties! I had an absolute blast planning, preparing and even eating the meal. I cooked for 8 people which was perfect! I didn't even know what to charge for this type of thing since I haven't had chef training...yet.
I served Teriyaki Salmon over Coconut Rice with Asparagus and a wild Musroom Sherry Sauce. Yes, LDS friends...I cook with alchohol sometimes! It burns off! The coconut rice was my personal favorite-sweet, rich, and filling! It complimented the salmon nicely. I'm still mastering the garnishing and some of my sauces but for the most part it turned out to my expectations. The next my way out of the nanny world and into the food world! Bon Apetit!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Costa Rica Turkey Day

I will most likely regret admitting such because usually I get sarcastic comments that are somewhere along the lines of, "Aww, you poor thing...getting paid to lounge in the sun and see the world", but I REALLY dislike traveling on holidays. Missing Pie Night at Uncle Dave's and being away from family and friends is about the worst way to eat your turkey. I didn't even suffer from Turkey Coma this year cause frankly, the fancy restaurant we went to didn't give me the Harris size portion I would have preferred and there was no time to rest since I was trying to keep an eighteen month old out of a bone fire on the beach all night. It must have looked rediculous watching this silly girl chasing a baby down the beach with a plate of food in her hand (I was trying to eat, walk, chase and not fall at the same time). There isn't a destination in the world that can top being with the people that you care for and that's what I've come to realize after missing two Thanksgivings and a Christmas due to work obligations. However, I wasn't completely at a loss. The Costa Rican chef served us the most phenomenal pumpkin pie. I wish I knew his secret and I would have asked him had I just known the right words in Spanish. (I should have payed more attention in college darn it).

Costa Rica itself was great. I welcomed the warm weather with open arms and spent most of my time outside swimming both in the pool and the ocean. One would think at 27 that my fascination with playing in the dirt, sand, clay, playdough, slime, fingerpaint etc. would have subsided, but I don't think this girl is ever going to change. I am and will forever remain a child at heart.

Another upside to Costa Rica is all the wildlife. I was awakened by the sound of Monkeys in the trees outside my window and from the deck of the house we saw Blue Whales in the ocean. That's not an experience you can have everyday and despite all my whining about being away from family and friends, I am very grateful for the cool opportunities I've had.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rice to Riches

I've found my new favorite place in New York! It's called Rice to Riches. On Saturday I met up with an my childhood friend Jenn. We used to play Strawberry Shortcake together when we were in kindergarten. Now we are both working insane hours and traveling at any opportunity. Who knew we'd still have so much in common? We both love trying new things and I've been wanting take myself on a restaurant tour in Manhattan for a while. We went to about five restaurants in one day, but this one was my favorite. Rice to Riches makes rice pudding. Not just any rice pudding...melt in your mouth, savor it forever, want to marry it cause it tastes so good rice pudding in about thirty flavors. You can even add in fruit and nuts if you like. I tried the french toast flavor and it was divine. The ambiance was hip and the spoons and bowls it was served in were funky. My kind of place...totally. I love cute, creative places like this. Jenn and I talked about opening a cupcake shop...with a million different kinds of cupcakes. Someday I will be one of those innovative people. I really admire the creativity and knack some people have for small businesses. Rice to Riches has my vote!


So it's true in life that if you want something, you have to it for yourself sometimes. This years Thanksgiving was the case. My job requires me to travel on this holiday each year. The traveling part is great, but missing Thanksgiving isn't. Last year was spent in Aruba eating Penne Pasta. Not okay with me. So, this year I talked with the children I nanny and we decided to make Thanksgiving at home before we left for Costa Rica. We invited the grandparents and cousins and had a great time making place tags and baking pies. It was the first full Thanksgiving I'd ever cooked and let me tell you is no less than a three day process between the planning, cooking and clean-up. I am so glad that I did it though, listening to the children express what they were thankful for (this doesn't happen often) was absolutely worth it. These kids often spend this holiday at restaurants, which can be impersonal.

Spending that much time in the kitchen gave me the opportunity to reflect on what I am thankful for. If I wrote all my gratitude in this blog you would be reading for days so I will spare you, but I am very thankful for Thanksgiving and the opportunity to reflect on all that I am blessed with. Below are some highlights of our feast!

The Table-We made the place tags out of chocolate bars.

The Appetizer-Hot Artichoke Spinach Dip in a Pumpkin, served with bagels.

Turkey (I used the recipe from Barefoot Contessa and it turned out great!)

My personal favorite, Pumpkin and Pecan Pie!

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I have a new obsession. Just like about every other girl I know, I have been reading the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer and I'm addicted. I think I may be falling in Love with Edward. I mean, who wouldn't want a hot and overprotective vampire taking care of you? Anyway...I'm off to read more...can't wait to see what happens next!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Confessions of a World Traveler...

I got in touch with an old friend the other day and she asked me what I've been up to in the past little while. Lately, it doesn't seem as if life has been that exciting, BUT when I think about all of the places I have been in the past few years my heart skips a beat and I am lost in wonderful memories of my adventures. I decided to make this blog a list of the places I have been and some short thoughts about each of them.

1. NORWAY-I'll never forget making Norwegian meatballs in a cabin with my friends mother or the sweater she made me or the flourescent green grass or peircing blue water.
2. DENMARK-A special place where I met friends in Copenhagen and enjoyed a "real" danish. Liberal, cool, hip...yet old. I love it there!
3. MEXICO-I've been twice. Once on Senior Trip to a small town in Ensenada and again this past year to a private beach. The Guacamole is unreal!
4. CANADA-Having a snowball fight in July on at the top of Glacier National Park was definatly the highlight.
5. THE CAYMAN ISLANDS-This place is Heaven...yet...I visited Hell here. It's a real stop as you are traveling to the giant turtle farm. And Pirates! I love Pirates!
6. ARUBA-Caribbean Water and 80-90 degrees year round. You can't beat that.
7. ENGLAND-I absolutely fell in love with London! Big Ben, the Ferris Wheel, Buckingham Palace-love it. Also, the english country side and stone henge are definatly worth a visit.
8. SPAIN-I didn't spend as much time here as I would have liked to, but Madrid was beautiful. I particularly liked the architecture here.
9. FRANCE-Most of my time was spent in Paris. The crepes are to die for. It isn't difficult to see why it is the city of love. I found it very romantic.
10. BELGIUM-We walked out of the train station and instantly the smell of chocolate and waffles permeated the air. Who wouldn't want that in their life!
11. HOLLAND-What is cuter than wooden shoes and people biking everywhere? I definatly couldn't resist the pancake houses and we went in April so we could see the tulips-rows and rows of them, so beautiful.
12. GERMANY-Three Words: Bread, Bratwurst, Berlin=Bliss.
13. SWITZERLAND-Is this place real? The miniature cabins and green hills dotted with churches make it feel like fairy land. Sparkling lakes and beautiful mountains...Swissland is like no other place I've seen!
14. LICTHENSTEIN-A Small country just outside of Switzerland. We visited a castle and ate apple strudel at a ski resort in the top of the mountains. Another fairy tale really.
15. ITALY-One of my favorites. Visited many cities here including Tuscany. The people, the food, the architecture, the ambiance. I'm going back again and again. Nothing really compares.
16. HUNGARY-There is something so special about the people here. Budapest is one of my favorite cities in Europe. If you are lucky enough to eat in homes (our friend Attilla spoiled us) the food is great. So much history and the language is interesting. We missed out on the bath houses.
17. ZIMBABWE-I didn't spend much time here and for good reason, but my passport has a gigantic VISA. We passed through on our way to Zambia.
18. ZAMBIA-So Majestic. Victoria Falls is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I literally couldn't breath. We also went on Safari and chased Elephants til we found them. Staying in a villiage in a clay house was an awesome can forget the world in Zambia. Pure Enchantment.
19. SOUTH AFRICA-My second home. The country I wish I was born in. I find the people, the culture, the nature-Everything about it fascinating. I will probably move there some day. I can't get enough. Cape Town is the most lovely city I've seen to date. The ocean against Table Mountain is extraordinary.
20. AUSTRIA-I think that Salzburg is one of the most cities I've seen. I loved the castle by the river and all the Mozart stuff, painted eggs, and pretzels in a variety of flavors.
21. COSTA RICA-lush, green, jungle, ocean. There is a lot to do and see here. You can hike through the rainforest, check out a volcano or just relax by the ocean. The Atlantic or the Pacific. How bout that?

Well, that is it so far...Next on the list are China and Thailand in the Spring (if I don't die from training for the Great Wall Marathon first.) My goal is tour 30 countries by my 30th Birthday. I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


The saying goes, "once you travel to Africa, it never leaves your heart." It's absolutely more than true! I'm madly in love with this part of the world!

This summer I took a journey to South Africa for the third time to visit my friends. I cant stay away really, it's impossible. There is something about being there that makes me a better Holly. I dont know if it has something to do with it being dangerous, adventurous, rugged so different from the world I know here in Connecticut but getting lost amongst the children, the people of South Africa is where I come to find the truth, who I really am. The people of South Africa are the most charming, most charastmatic, and simply the most delicious people that I know. I am better just for having spent moments in their presence.

I believe true inspiration comes from taking a journey outside of the norm of who you are from day to day. Nelson Mandela (former President of South Africa) says,

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadaquate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure"

I love that quote! I often think of how much more succesful I could be if I'd overcome my own fears and live every part of my dreams, all the time. How much more powerful could I be if I let go of those fears and just let myself reach my potential. That's the hard part, when inadaquacy sets in. However, there is also another phrase used often in South Africa that says, "Nothing comes for Mahala", meaning, nothing comes for free. We must work for it!

Africa is majestic, and powerful, and enchanting! Africa takes my breath away!

I am so inspired by the children that I was privlaged to spend time with everyday. They cheat death from week to week, fighting AIDS/HIV but bring life to everyone who was blessed enough to interact with them. My African name is Mahlogonolo, it means "blessings". That name doesn't suit me, it suits them. Each day I spend with them I enter with the intention to visit, teach and nurture, but instead turn they shower me with thier gifts which are my greatest treasures: courage, optomism, hope, spirit. My heart aches to be with them again. I long to sing the ABC's with them over and over and Nkosi Sikeleli Afrika (South Africa's National Anthem)-I finally just learned the Afrikaans part so now I can sing the whole thing! To rock them to sleep. To drink Rooibos tea with them, to hear their sweet voices again. The Children of South Africa taught me how to smile, to sing and to love more deeply than I thought capable. How can I ever repay them for that? How can I ever forget them?

My favorite story amongst many: One afternoon I was sitting out under the sun on a platform with the orphans playing games. Innocent, a six year old boy carried an old tin can in his hand and as we were singing (I think I was teaching them some American rock songs-"Shake it up Baby Now" comes to mind-don't ask!), and he started beating on it with a stick, mimicking a drum. I thought it was a stellar idea! Several other children followed, digging rusty cans out of an old garbage pile. They started playing, syncopating with one another and I found myself encircled amongst one of the most sensational sounds I've ever heard. Children-laughing and singing in their language, and beating on rusty tin cans with sticks. That, is power. That is what inspires me. Simple, rugged, blessed. AFRICA!

To find out more about my South Africa addiction and what it is I do there, visit

I can't wait to go back and continue my journey!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


There is a plethora of reasons why fall is my most favorite season. As many of my friends have shared there is so much to appreciate about it, especially in Connecticut. I enjoy fall in Utah, but I have to say when it comes to the leaves and the apple farms the East Coast is your best bet. I am lucky to live here for now. In my ward we carved pumpkins for FHE. I decided not to carve through the entire pumpkin for fear there would be nothing left when I finsihed, but here's the picture of my creation, AKA..the Globe Pumpkin. And yes it DID take a long time. It was a stellar creative outlet at the begining of the week. Now I am enjoying the crisp air and blue skies along with the smell of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I am baking. You want the recipe?

Here it is. It's the easiest thing eva!

1 box Duncan Hines Spice Cake mix
1 15oz can pumpkin
2 cups chocolate chips (I usually sneak in some extra)

Mix together cake mix and pumkin with a spoon. Add chocolate chips. Drop spoonfulls onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

I make these atleast once a week in October and they are great for all my freinds who are mommies and don't have time to break out the measuring spoons and baking soda!

Enjoy the rest of the season...Halloween next week. YAY!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Vespa Sick!

I am not a person who get's attached to objects easily or considers myself sentimental. I am often living away from home or occupying a passengers seat on an airplane to various destinations around the world so I reckon that getting attached to anything would just stand in my way! However, I have dearly missed my little silver Vespa lately. I purchased her in summer 2006 from the Vespa Dealership in order to save on petrol and to get though a transition period between living in South Africa and moving to Connecticut. I paid her off over a year ago and while I am working in Connecticut, she sits in my sisters garage in Salt Lake City just waiting for the day I return. She represents a time where I was free...only working part time teaching cooking classes, spending endless nights talking with my roomates, the summer sun beating down on us and the wind in my hair as we rode fast along the streets of Salt Lake. (well, if you consider 55mph at maximum speed fast).

I first gained an appreciation for the Vespa when I visited Milan with Camille while backpacking through Europe. My love affair with Italy came intensly and fast and Vespa's were everywhere as we strolled the Italain streets. I marveled at the idea of being mobile in something so small. A new way to get from here to there! When I returned, I spoke with my father about purchasing one. I have always been sort of a "Daddy's" girl, but that day I found out something new. My father had also purchased a Vespa when he was my age...drove it into the ground. Finally rid himself of it in a trash yard when it just wouldn't ride any further. I was delighted to hear that this love for small vehicles was something we had in common. Like father like daughter hey! Naturally, out of his sentiment for his Vespa he thought it a smart idea that I purchase one instead of a car.

Nowadays, miles away in Connecticut I just wait...wait for the day when I will reunite with her and we can ride together and I can again feel the wind in my hair and freedom beneath my feet. I'm definatly Vespa Sick! I've been meaning to give her a name but nothing seems fit the title I feel she deserves. She's strong, classic, elegant and graceful. All the things I desire to be, but fall short of.