Sunday, December 28, 2008

happy hong kong

There's been a lot of "happy" during our first week in Hong Kong.

Here are just a few of the downright delightful details — thus far. (In no particular order.)

1. The skyline
Isn't this gorgeous? My parents live among these beautiful buildings, which overlook the Victoria Harbor.
Photo courtesy the fabulous Sister Garn.

2. The mother's touch
This photo doesn't do justice to the beautifully decorated tree in front of their stunningly circular window. My mom is magic.
Many of you already know about her famous table settings.
Here's just a snapshot of what we've enjoyed this Christmas.

3. The virtual Christmas
Most of our family is back home in Utah, so we had a Web Cam Christmas — complete with a talent show and testimony meeting. Here are Erin and Emma singing "Do You Hear What I Hear?"
In case you were wondering, Adam and I sang "Baby, It's Cold Outside" for the second year in a row — by request. Yes, we're that good at it.
We also had a virtual Sister's Night. We're basically the Jetsons.

4. The temple

We took in a session at the Hong Kong temple.
Beautiful temple.

Photo, once again, courtesy the fabulous Sister Garn.
Us looking fancy in front of the temple.

5. The shopping. Oh, the shopping.
Adam and I have made out like bandits.
The best part, though, is I've finally found a world where Adam likes to shop! It's a happy world.
This is Stanley Market, which has ah-ma-zing deals.
This is the Jade Market, where we got too many wonderful things to count. (Think jewelry and home decor.)

6. The yuck
Adam has been obsessed with getting some "street meat," seen here.
No, thank you.

7. The 'Happy Feet'
Adam, Dad, Mom and I all went to "Happy Feet," where we got a 50-minute foot massage. Afterward, Dad did a little jig in the elevator. His feet were that happy.

7. The sights
We walked up the famous Pottinger Street in Central.
We rode the longest continuous escalator in the world.
Yes, the world!
We waded through crowds and crowds and crowds of people — a Hong Kong standard.
And we posed with a Foo Dog in front of the Peninsula Hotel. Foo Dogs are thought to bring protection and happiness, so bring it on, 2009!

Well, Zai Jian for now.

Up next: The Peak, Big Buddha, Ocean Park and more.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

merry blogging — day 7

Well, it's been merry. But as the great John Denver sang ...

"All our bags are packed, we're ready to go."
We'll see you kids in 2009.

merry blogging — day 6

OK, so this is really day 7, but it's not my fault.

Adam and I gave each other this for Christmas, and I was a wii bit distracted.
Forgive me?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

merry blogging — day 5

So this next post isn't really holiday-esque, but it is a very merry occasion. I changed my hair ... again. This time it's a touch more brunette, with just a hint of red. I really like it.

But the best part is when I got to my office this morning, co-worker Shelley told me my hair looked like Suri Cruise's hair. You know, TomKat's daughter.

I was pretty flattered she compared me to the most stylish toddler around. Until, of course, I realized I was flattered to have my hair compared to a toddler's.
Suri has a fuller bang, but other than that I'd say our 'dos were cut from the same block.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

merry blogging — day 4

My Mom took me back today when she posted this photo on her blog. It's of our long-lost home in Hawaii, circa the 1990s.

Now, I loved our house. And I loved, loved it at Christmas time. Excitement decked the halls.
So in honor of my Christmases of yore, I thought it'd be fun to list some "did you knows" about the way we Hallstroms celebrated. (Not to be confused with my traditions post of yesteryear. This is so totally different.)


... Due to past burglaries in our beautiful home, my mother began to hide our presents in the pantry and dryer when we went to Grandma's house for Christmas Eve. Yes, the dryer! It still makes me giggle.

... Sister's Night was born all because Erin got a white board for her birthday and wanted to use it as a sign to welcome Kara and I to a party. If my memory serves correctly, it was Aunti Heather who got her that white board. Bless you, Aunti Heather.

... My mom always put on the tree lights, and my dad always took them down. Good teamwork, you two.

... Upstairs we had a "kid tree" with our various (read: non-matching) ornaments. I got to put the lights on that one — and take them down!

... On the evening of Christmas day, we'd always drink eggnog by the fireplace. And yes, it was 80 degrees outside when we sat by said fire.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

merry blogging — day 3

Don't double check your Google Reader. This IS Bri's blog, and this IS a recipe post. A holiday recipe post, no less! (There's hope for me yet, my friends.)

In any case, this is a recipe I got from my co-worker, Ashley, that I absolutely fell in love with. Every bite is a burst of scrumptious, knee-buckling chocolate heaven.

Grandma Hallstrom would have loved it. (I come from a long line of chocolate lovers.)

It also happens to be one of the easiest recipes on the planet, although I fully recommend taking the "aww shucks" route when people rave about it at your holiday party. It'll make them think it's really hard and that — by extension — you're a gift to the culinary world.

See for yourself.

1. mix together 1 package of Oreos and 1, 8 oz. package of cream cheese
2. roll into small balls and place onto cookie sheets lined with foil
3. chill them in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes
4. melt almond bark in a bowl for dipping (add some chocolate chips to make it extra tasty)
5. dip the chilled balls individually into the bowl of melted almond bark, covering them completely. then pick each ball up with a fork (let it rest on the flat part — don't stab it), letting the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl
6. place the chocolate-covered balls back onto the cookie sheets, and chill once more (i like them really cold)
7. melt some white chocolate almond bark, and sprinkle it over the truffles with a fork for a fancy finish

Monday, December 15, 2008

merry blogging — day 2

This is what I was doing two Christmases ago ...
Dumbo, We're Not In Disneyland Anymore
My Dad took this National Geographic-worthy shot during our family trip to Thailand. I shared an elephant with my cute mom, whose knuckles were white from tightly grasping the bar.
Hello, Elephants
When you get to the elephant camp, you're greeted by these two cuties.
Don't I look wistful, calm and collected?
So not like me.
Feeding Time
Dad and the girls holding "the grub" to feed our new friends.
Erin and I were a little grub-shy when feeding the elephants.
that's more like me.
That form!
By the end of the day, Erin was an old pro.
This elephant stole my Dad's bananas when he wasn't looking.
Sneaky creature.
Elephants Do the Darndest Things
Yes, that is an elephant painting.
We saw him paint this with our very eyes.
Circus, Anyone?
The elephants did all kinds of tricks, and they were the biggest hams.
They loved it when the crowd cheered.
Babes in Thailand
So fun to share this with my sisters.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

merry blogging — day 1

We leave for Hong Kong in seven days, and I'm constantly fighting the urge to skip and breakout into song.

But instead of subjecting myself to strange looks from strangers, I thought it'd be fun to celebrate my excitement with seven straight days of merry blogging.

You're welcome, mother.
So to begin, here are seven of my favorite Christmas traditions — both past and present.

1. The delightful amount of effort and planning my mom puts into Christmas continues to amaze me. Seriously. This woman makes Santa's elves look like Scrooge. See the above stockings? My mom made those. I know, right?

2. My Dad always lead us down the stairs Christmas morning by covering our eyes. It made the "big reveal" so dramatic, and I loved it.

3. Performing the nativity (complete with elaborate sets, props and costumes) and the Hallstrom family testimony meeting are Christmas Eve traditions I will never forget. How lucky we were to learn at the feet of Grandpa Hallstrom!

4. Sisters' Night, baby! Erin began this tradition more than 20 years ago in which the Hallstrom sisters slept in the same bed on Christmas Eve — even despite long legs and my cuddling tendencies. Last year was the first Christmas we didn't do this (thanks to Mr. Stewart over here), but I got us matching PJ pants because "if we can't sleep in the same bed, we can at least sleep in the same thing!"

5. Singing/giggling "Rise Up Oh Shephards Run" with Megs almost every year for our Hallstrom Family Talent Show is definitely up there. We even sang a verse in Spanish. (ole!)

6. Cocktail wieners. 'Nuff said.

7. Adam and I are still forming our traditions, but it was a pretty merry morning waking up to him last Christmas. I'd say that tradition's a keeper.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


My dear sister, Erin, made a list on her blog of random things. And it looked crazy fun. So I've decided to copy her. (Don't judge me, people. I have blogger's block.)

1. Erin, Kara, Adam and I went to the Grand America for Thanksgiving dinner this year. It was — how do you say? —
grand. There were tables and tables of delicious food — both of the Thanksgiving-y and non-Thanksgiving-y variety. Oh, and there was eggnog. I adore eggnog.
Adam and I choosing our cheeses from a man
with a really tall chef's hat. So fancy!

2. We leave for Hong Kong three weeks from tomorrow. I can't wait.

3. We saw the movie "Australia" yesterday. Adam thought it was dorky. I giggled, smiled, gasped and cried all the way through it.

4. I've slept a consistent 11 hours every night of this Thanksgiving weekend. It's been so, so wonderful and so, so needed.

5. We finished the Bride magazine this past Wednesday, and it looks pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. (Which apparently, I do.)

6. I'm really terrible at answering my phone. No, really. I'm awful. Don't take it personally if it happens to you, my friends.

7. The minute I get home, I change into some sort of stretchy pant. I'm crazy fast at it, too. Adam often says to me, "When did you? ... How did you?" However, I've assured Adam that this in no way means I'll one day wear stretchy pants to the supermarket. You have my word on that, hon.

8. Adam's taping Christmas lights to our wall right now with great care.
He's cute.

9. If nothing good is on the radio, I sing show tunes in the car to keep myself entertained. (I make a great Annie.)

10. If I'm the only one at the office, I do lunges when I need to travel from room to room.

11. We had hot chocolate for breakfast this morning. Yum.

12. I'm thankful for more than I can possibly type.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

girls will be girls

Below is an I-promise-this-is-real "Guide to Hiring Women" from the 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine. It was a time when women were far more efficient with a fresh coat of lipstick and when "husky" girls were far more even-tempered than their skinny wee counterparts. (Hooray for husky girls!)

We're running this in our next issue of BusinessQ (it has a women in biz theme), and so I thought I'd share it with all of you now.

I know. You're welcome.
Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees

There’s no longer any question whether transit companies should hire women for jobs formerly held by men. The draft and manpower shortage has settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient women available and how to use them to the best advantage. Here are eleven helpful tips on the subject from western properties:

1. If you can get them, pick young married women. They have these advantages, according to the reports of western companies: they usually have more of a sense of responsibility than do their unmarried sisters; they’re less likely to be flirtatious; as a rule, they need the work or they wouldn’t be doing it — maybe a sick husband or one who’s in the army; they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.

2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Most transportation companies have found that older women who have never contacted the public, have a hard time adapting themselves, are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It’s always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.

3. While there are exceptions, of course, to this rule, general experience indicates that “husky” girls — those who are just a little on the heavy side — are likely to be more even-tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.

4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination — one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit but also reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job. Transit companies that follow this practice report a surprising number of women turned down for nervous disorders.

5. In breaking in women who haven’t previously done outside work, stress at the outset the importance of time — the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.

6. Give the female employee in garage or office a definite day-long schedule of duties so that she’ll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.

7. Whenever possible, let the inside employee change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be nervous and they’re happier with change.

8. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. Companies that are already using large numbers of women stress the fact that you have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and consequently is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.

9. Be tactful in issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can’t shrug off harsh words the way that men do. Never ridicule a woman — it breaks her spirit and cuts her efficiency.

10. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl’s husband or father may swear vociferously, she’ll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.

11. Get enough size variety in operator uniforms that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can’t be stressed too strongly as a means of keeping women happy, according to western properties.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

pumpkin extravaganza

In honor of this most festive season, we got our pumpkin on, y'all.

First, we carved pumpkins with Kara-Lara.
My first self-portrait with a pumpkin! All together now: ahhhhh.
Kara and Adam at work.
Kara and Adam at play.
The "Trevor" Pumpkin by Adam Stewart
(It's OK, I don't get the name either.)

The "I am a Robot" pumpkin by Briana Stewart
(Sorry for the fuzzy pic. And I know I'm seriously lacking in the carving department. There's no need to point and taunt.)
The "Jackie-O-Lantern" by Kara Hallstrom
(Look at those lips!)

And second, we baked pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, since, you know, I'm so totally domestic.
Adam getting ready to pour some pumpkin.
Me sporting an apron — my favorite part of cooking.
(Also, please appreciate that my hair looks like the anti-mullet. You know, party in the front, business in the back. But don't worry, my very short pony tail, which doesn't come close to holding all of my hair, is causing the hair horror.)
"Enough pictures already!" Adam says.
(The pumpkin paparazzi has it rough these days.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

just call me red

But under no circumstances are you allowed to call me "Big Red."

If you must resort to name-calling, "Moderately-Sized Red" will do.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

for cuteness

Everyone has seen this, right? It makes me laugh every time.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

2 worlds, 2 voices, 2 fans

OK, so I know what you're thinking. A Reba & Kelly concert? Really, Bri? Really?

Yes, really. No, like, really.

My dear friend Alison and I attended the concert at Energy Solutions Arena on Friday, and we had a rockin' time.

We love Kelly. We love Reba. Ergo, we screamed, we sang, we jumped, we danced, we giggled, we laughed, and yes, we even got goosebumps. It was positively magical.
Here we are before the concert. You can't see him, but Adam's taking the picture whilst making fun of our abnormal amounts of excitement. Oddly enough, many of our friends made fun of us for going to the show.
We are so misunderstood.

The opening curtain was this cool blue.
And then it turned this rad orange.
Us waiting for the show to start.
FUN FACT: Reba was Kelly's favorite singer since childhood, and after she won American Idol they met, sang together and became BFFs. Isn't that such a great story? And you could tell that Kelly is still just Reba's biggest fan and that she couldn't believe she was singing with her.
It was adorable.
Reba and Kelly sang together for two glorious hours.
Needless to say, "Fancy didn't let us down."

OK, so now everyone knows I'm a dork. (Most of you were already well aware.)

Oh well. You're stuck with me, people. You're all stuck with me.