Lot 48: July 2016

July 28, 2016

my ancestor/pioneer day

*i will probably get the majority of this factually incorrect*

have you ever heard of the Mormon pioneers before? how about Pioneer Day?  i'm not surprised if you haven't heard of it.  it is very much a topic that isn't talked about hardly at all in the general public.  mostly because people don't know this happened.

 let me tell you a story....

in the 1800's, after the founder of the Mormon church, (although it really is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, not the 'Mormon' Church.) Joseph Smith (the first Prophet.  We don't worship him! A lot of people think we do.) had shared the gospel with many many people and the the gospel had spread all the way to England, years of religious persecution began.  

angry mobs came and took sleeping women and children out of their beds at night and killed them in horrific ways.  they burnt our beloved temple to the ground, one that we had taken so long to build.  they took Joseph Smith into the streets and tarred and feathered him.  he bled and tore of skin getting it off.

Joseph Smith knocked on the White House door and pleaded with President Martin van Buren for help.  President Van Buren, after hearing their plea and letters, said to our Prophet Joseph Smith, "What can I do?  I can do nothing for you!  If I do anything, I shall come in contact with the whole state of Missouri." (Joseph Smith founded the Church and lived in Nauvoo, Illinois.)  [393. Bushman, Richard Lyman. Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. N.p.: Vintage, 2007. Print.]

things got so bad that it became clear that in order for members of the Church to practice religious freedom and worship in peace, they would have leave. to pack up as many personal belongings as they could into handcarts and headed west to build a new settlement, to build a new life for themselves.  

there were many handcart companies.  thousands of people died.  they battled the harshest of conditions.  my great-great-great grandmother's sister on my paternal side, elizabeth horrocks jackson, was one of these courageous pioneers who trekked across thousands of miles to get to utah to settle and have religious freedom.  in 1856, her family of a husband and three children, started their journey by boat from England and then joined a handcart company and began their trek across the plains. in wyoming, her husband fell ill with mountain fever, and died shortly after.  

july 24, 1847 marks the day the first handcart company arrived in the salt lake valley in Utah.  the day Utah was settled (although there were indians of course.  unclear on that part but i know there was this huge bloody battle with them an hour away from where i grew up in southern utah.)  this is known as pioneer day and in Church, we spend the month of july talking and thinking about pioneers and all that they sacrificed.

i can't begin to tell you how much they sacrificed and how grateful i am that they did.  a lot of members have wondered "why didn't the Lord make their conditions easier?   keep those they loved alive, make the harsh wind and snow go away, the blistering heat not so blistering?" my ancestor answers perfectly:

“I have a desire to leave a record of those scenes and events, through which I have passed, that my children, down to my latest posterity may read what their ancestors were willing to suffer, and did suffer, patiently for the Gospel's sake. And I wish them to understand, too, that what I now write is the history of hundreds of others, both men, women and children, who have passed through many like scenes for a similar cause, at the same time we did. I also desire them to know that it was in obedience of an eternal reward- an exaltation to eternal life in His kingdom- that we suffered these things. I hope, too, that it will inspire my posterity with fortitude to stand firm and faithful to the truth, and be willing to suffer, and sacrifice all things they may be required to pass through for the Kingdom of God's sake.”  - Elizabeth Horrocks Jackson

that gives me chills.  i am so grateful that she did indeed write of her experiences and that i have access to this treasured story.  it gives me chills reading it.  my heart bursts with pride for not only my ancestor, but for all others who trekked as she did and suffered as she did.  it brings tears to my eyes.

so every Pioneer day weekend now, there are carnivals, parades, and a lot of celebration.  this year i went with my sister to her suburb's parade and carnival.  i didn't want to miss experiencing it with my nephews! 

GOOOOOOO UTES!!! that float is the float for my alma mater. 

the two youngest nephews, eli and oliver, rode the swing ride that goes round and round.  they loved it and couldn't stop smiling. 

i am so grateful for my ancestors and the sacrifices they made.  and i don't take for granted for a second that we have religious freedom and can worship in peace.

July 19, 2016

saturday in the city

this past saturday was so much fun!!  we decided to be tourists in our own city and explore downtown while on rented city bikes! it was by far one of my favorite days ever and i loved experiencing something new in our own backyard with my love.

first we hit up the farmer's market.  i've been going for years and always love it.  my favorite things are of course the bakery stands! i could drop so much money so easily at a farmer's market.  everything is so fresh and delicious and just looks so good.  i always want it all.
!!!!!! (watering mouth emoji)

i love almond croissants.   i practically lived off them when i was on my study abroad in london.  and this one was as big as my face. it was excellent.

these popsicles were the soooo fresh and delicious.  i had never had a gourmet popsicle before and it was everything i hoped it would be! ;)

i liked that this was a fort by pioneer women when they first settled utah.  we have a state holiday coming up on sunday, pioneer day, where we celebrate the settlers of our great state and the sacrifices my mormon ancestors made making the multi-thousand mile trek across country, some coming all the way from england.  i will do a post later in the week about this because it truly is an incredible story. 

taran wanted to pretend to be tourists. ha! i love him.  it was his idea for this day to happen, and he got so excited when an actual tourist asked for directions and he said "sorry, we're not from here, we're tourists."   

this is bruges waffles and frites.  it's an authentic belgian shop that makes the best best BEST waffles and fries.  best you can get anywhere. 

there was this super cute sign for the shops that were behind bruges.  there was a fish market, bakery, and others.  and the apartments you see above were really cool.  i want to live there.

we went to this crazy big bookstore and i found the creepiest rooms.  they were all dark and hidden way in the back! check it out! 
Creepy bookstore basement from Lauren Packer on Vimeo.

we did so much and i made the longest snapchat story ever.  take a look for more of what we did below!!
Saturday in the city from Lauren Packer on Vimeo.

thanks for catching up on the weekend with me!

July 13, 2016

what i used to do with my summers

when i was a teenager, i was convinced i was going to be a performer for life.  i was a serious dancer for 12 years. i spent 30 hours a week in dance class, was in dance companies and took singing lessons extensively.  i was a performer and that was what i lived, breathed and did.  it was all i did.  

so each summer, i would do summer theater.  2006 - 2009

there is a very beautiful outdoor theater called tuacahn that brought in performers from all around the country, especially the NYC.  it is a really good theater and all the shows are killer.  

in 2006, i did their high school summer intensive in their indoor theater.  we learned the show in 6 short weeks and performed the show the rest of the summer until august?? i think? that summer the show was grease but i don't have any pictures of it.
the next summer i did it again, this time i had a lead character (one of the narrators.  only time i got to play a black woman. wish i got to play that character more!) and the show was little shop of horrors.  the thing about this program was that we had two casts.  so there was another set of narrators, another seymour, etc. the other shows when i wasn't a lead i was in the ensemble.  so we all had to memorize and learn two parts in six weeks! it was intense! 

can you even spot me in these pictures? i was so young, just 17.
the next summer i moved to "the big stage" the outdoor theater which was more "prestigious."  tuacahn was a repertoire theater, so we learned two shows in two months and performed six days a week, alternating nights.  that summer we did les miserables and the sound of music. my dad just LOVED to tell me repeatedly "don't forget which show you're doing tonight! you don't want to be a nun and show up as a prostitute!"  haha. that never happened.  the closest that ever happened was a costar was putting on her nun outfit when we said "what are you doing, it's wednesday, tonight is les miz." 

in a sound of music scene with puppets

backstage where we were acting like our characters which i don't remember what they were.  but we won a competition or something where the von trapps performed.  so we were acting super excited!! 
backstage.  i'm not bald, it's a wig cap.  you can see all my wigs to the right. 

being in les miserables was one of the best experiences of my life.  i think every performer needs to be in it at some point in their career. it is such a special musical, a special story.  i refused to see the movie when it came out a few years ago because nobody is better than my cast!! i loved every minute of performing that show.  i wrote about it a little here when i talked about how i had to have a goose onstage.  our jon val jean was absolutely incredible but a total diva.  but he was incredible and brought me to tears each time he sang "bring him home."

the cast :) 

and i just loved all the friends i made during the show.  it was an unforgettable experience that i still miss. 

after my freshman year of college, i transferred colleges and moved up north.  i moved up in may because i was cast in a show at an amusement park called lagoon.  we did four shows a day, as our show was only about a half hour and had was consisted of old school musical numbers.  

this was us singing 9-5.  it was an exhausting show that was physically straining and at the end of the day we all looked like we had climbed out of a swimming pool because it was so hot. and we were dancing a lot.  that was also a really excellent time as well.  i loved doing that show.  

so that's what i did with my summers until i was 19! what did you do with yours?

July 11, 2016

what i learned from my day in a wheelchair

as a lot of you know, i sprained my ankle last week.  it happened when i was walking into work and there was a piece of tile that was sticking out of the pavement.  i tripped on it and went allll the way down, rolling my ankle in the process.  it really hurt and i tried not to cry and went back upstairs to work until my coworkers forced me to leave and go get it x-rayed.  they were very kind.  because it hurt like a b***.

the next day, i really couldn't walk on it at all. so when i got to work, i got a wheelchair.  

i like to think of myself as a grateful person. i try really hard everyday to never take for granted my health, that i can walk, that i have so many blessings.  but once you get injured things change a bit.  you realize how really important being able to walk without pain is.  

i was really worried that while in the wheelchair, people would think i was paralyzed and that would be offensive to the handiCAPABLE community.  so i said "just sprained my ankle!!" a lot.  

people were really helpful all day.  pushing the elevator button that i couldn't reach, opening doors for me.  and directing yourself in a wheelchair is a lot harder than it looks!! and by the end of the day, my arms felt really strong and just a bit sore.  

i am now evermore grateful for my health, that i can walk, that i have my health, that i have so many blessings.  being in that situation can really humble you. i'm so fortunate to have my health.

and that's all she wrote. 

July 5, 2016

mega mansions

out of all the posts i have written, this is the one i have worked the hardest on.  by far.  

a few weeks ago, i came across this travel channel show called mega masnions on netflix.  it seemed interesting so i watched a few episodes.  and i just have to share with you these crazy mansions and how enormous and awesome they are.  too good not to make blog conversation with.   all the pictures were screen shots from my ipad that i cropped and sized, hence all the work.  so i hope this isn't illegal because i took the pictures, right? 


the first mega mansion they showed was hearst castle in san simeon, CA.  it was owned by the media conglomerate millionaire who if you get a cosmopolitan or elle mgazine, it says "hearst publishing" on the list of writers and executives on it.  this guy was a big deal, and built himself a literal castle 250 miles south of san fransisco. it was built completed in 1947 and housed some of the most famous people of that time.   it has 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, and sits on 127 acres.  in the time hearst lived there, he had his own zoo! 

this is the dining room.  he would house guests for days at a time, because it isn't like he had the room! and he and his celebrity friends would party for days and days.  it is said that when he got sick of the guests, he would have their meal sitting further and further down the table until they got to the gigantic fireplace.  it was an unwritten rule that if you were assigned to sit there, it was time to go. 

the man himself, william randolph hearst. 

this was his study and office.  he had his many meetings there and took up the entire floor! 

he liked to have crazy expensive things in his house.  things that were really old.  egyptian statues that were 2000 years old, solid silver pots that are worth $1 million, and very old and expensive ceilings.  this is the ceiling that came all the way to king henry the whatever's day and goes all the way back to the 14th century. 

the neptune pool deserves 3 pictures.  it houses 345,000 gallons of water and is big enough to float christopher columbus' santa maria ship.  hearst had the pool built three times because the first two tries weren't good enough.  can you imagine the pool parties?

hearst castle is open 360 days a year for tourists and gets 1million tourists a year.  it is definitely on my bucket list now. 

next is the O street mansion in washington dc. 

the O street mansion is 5 townhouses combined, so walking by you wouldn't know it was a mansion.  it is 30,000 sq feet. 

it has 100 rooms, all hidden by secret doors and it is easy to get lost.  it's a labyrinth!  it has housed everyone from washington d.c. elite to movie stars to a variety of powerful people.  the owners and guests are sworn to secrecy.  secret things have happened in the O street mansion that can't be talked about.  all the owner said in the show was that "there are secret societies, i can tell you that, they do exist, but that's all i can tell you." 

 each room is decorated differently.  completely differently.  there are chic rooms, presidential rooms, weird rooms, you name it! 

here is a secret door that goes into a room! the owner says that people get so excited about finding secret rooms that they pull things off the walls, thinking it's a door.  the owners had to put signs up everywhere to say "this is not a secret door!"  
here is the log cabin room! for $2000 a night, you can stay in this multi level log cabin feel room. it houses 4 people.

on the upper level of the log cabin room, there is a sauna, a rainforest shower (what is that?) and other cool amenities. cool.  

the next is a mansion owned by this german fellow, who is a stock trader and real estate mogul who is responsible for turning miami into the destination it is today.  and he is a total pig.  he makes his friends call him "tk" and has his tk emblem on everything.  and every shot of him is kissing multiple models 20 years younger than him.  his mansion resides on a private, exclusive island off of the miami coast called "star island."

it's a crazy mansion with cool rooms and toilets with bullet holes melted into the toilet seat.  his pool is surrounded by limestone, so no matter how hot it gets in miami, the ground stays cool! notice the alligator on the edge of the pool? 

another view of the pool.

 this is one of the cabanas.  it looks fabulous and i want to hang out there, and it looks fruity.  and yellow.  i love it. 

he has a custom made double king size bed for all his adventures.  and a tub that "takes no longer than 5 minutes to fill.  not long enough for the girl to get dressed or change her mind. ha! there are also mirrors all around the bathroom so you can see who is doing what to whom. ha!" he always said "ha!" and slapped his hand together.  and ew.  

this is a tech mansion off of the san fransisco coast in a city called "belvedere" where the median price for a home is 4 million.  the entire house is controlled by an ipad and you can open the gate and turn on ac in any room with a touch of button.  you can also do it from your phone if you are out of town and forget to turn off the stove!  it overlooks the san fran bay and has a gorgeous view.  

he has these sliding doors that open all the way so when you are in the pool, you an see all the way through the house to the ocean.  beautiful.

these houses are crazy and awesome!   i watched most of the episodes and it also includes a vanderbilt mansion and a mansion some guy bought that is a hotel and restaurant. 

so what do you think? which one would you want to visit the most?