Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Princess Bride Deleted Political Scene.

I saw this on the Five Brothers blog and had to post it on my own. The voice-overs aren't the greatest, but it's pretty funny!

Yeah. I'm bummed.

Well, Mitt Romney lost in Florida last night, as you must know by now. I suspected McCain was going to win going into it, but it was still disappointing. It will be much more difficult for Romney to get the nomination now. What's even worse is that the front-runner is the mean and vindictive McCain, who is unlikely to choose Romney as a running mate, even though Romney is far better than any of the other candidates. It's so frustrating because I know Romney would be a good president and that he'd do great things for the country if he were to lead it. I wish more Americans would do their research so that they could know this as well. Maybe they will and some sort of a miracle will happen, but I'm not counting on that.

So we'll see how things go from here. John Edwards quit today, and Rudy Giuliani will be doing the same, and of course he'll give his endorsement to his friend McCain instead of to Romney. It's going to be really interesting to see who comes out on top on Super Tuesday, Clinton or Obama. For the Republicans, it looks like McCain will emerge as the victor with Romney in second. I have to say that I really can't stand John McCain. At this point, I would vote for Clinton over McCain, which some of you will think is crazy, but I really just distrust and dislike the guy more than I feel that way toward Clinton. And even though I'm not crazy about Obama, he's a lot better than McCain and I'd definitely vote for him over McCain.

As is stands now the only thing that would make me vote for McCain is: 1) if he were to choose Romney as his running mate, or 2) if he changes his lying ways and strange personality problems, which is unlikely. If Obama and McCain win their party's nominations, I bet McCain will choose Huckabee as his running mate so that they'll have a chance of winning in the South. I'm convinced that McCain and Huckabee have been working together secretly for awhile, and also that they'd both have total power trips if they ever lead this country. If Hillary gets the nomination, McCain might be more likely to choose Romney, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to receiving all the new clothes I bought on the Internet last night in the midst of my disappointment as the returns were coming in and the victor was projected. Aaaah, retail therapy, there's nothing like it! (Only you'll notice that I'm still bummed out today, so I guess it didn't really work. Oh well. At least I'm getting some new clothes!)

Monday, January 28, 2008

President Hinckley

Yesterday evening our beloved prophet and president of the church passed away peacefully at his home in Salt Lake City, surrounded by his family. President Hinckley was such a special man, and at 97, he kept going and going, so I naively thought he would just continue to do so. His daughter Virginia Hinckley Pearce was one of the speakers at a women's conference I attended in downtown Hartford last fall and she said at the time that he was doing pretty well health-wise. But of course we all must pass on to the next phase of life at some point. He seemed strong enough when he spoke at our last General Conference in the fall, and I remember that he said he hoped to be with us at the next Conference in April. Now he will be there in spirit instead.

President Hinckley has been prophet since 1995, when I was in high school. I saw him at two conferences in Massachusetts and it was such a good experience to see him speak in person. The audience was always especially quiet and reverent when he spoke, sensing something special about this chosen man and what he had to say. The last time Peter and I saw him was in June 2004 at Radio City Music Hall in New York, where there was a big celebration with the youth for the opening of the Manhattan Temple. He was such a well-traveled leader who spread temples and the gospel across the earth. He did so much for other people and he will be greatly missed. I'm happy that he is now reunited with his beloved wife Marjorie, who passed away in 2004. What a wonderful reception he must have received when he entered heaven. It's really a nice thought to have and brings much comfort and peace to know that he is very happy now.

President Hinckley will still be a part of my daily life. For years I have read a quote from him every morning from a little book called Stand a Little Taller, and it helps me to start my day out right. My favorite teachings of his were about the importance of living with faith and having a strong family. He was very encouraging about the fact that we just need to keep trying to do our best, day by day, however small it may be, and we will be blessed for that. His strong faith and testimony have been a great source of inspiration to me and have helped to strengthen my own testimony. I loved reading his book Standing for Something, and I wish everyone both in and out of the church would read it and benefit from its excellent guidance. Our society and our world would be so much better if people followed his wonderful, God-given counsel.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Watch tonight!

The Republican presidential debate is tonight on MSNBC from 9:00-10:30. It's the last debate before the Florida primary on Tuesday, January 29th, so it might turn out to be pretty important. I think Florida is going to be influential in determining what happens next to the candidates and the GOP race for the nomination. Let's watch and see if everyone gangs up on Romney again, how many times McCain says "my friends" when addressing both his opponents and his fellow Americans (what a hypocrite!), and if Huckabee blinks a lot and makes unsubstantive remarks. Should be interesting!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Petechuck!

Peter's birthday was this past Sunday, January 20th. He turned 29 years old. I can't believe he's now 29 and that he'll be 30 in a year. I still think of us both as being in our early to mid-20's. Where has the time gone!?

Peter was sick with a cold but not so sick that it had to change our plans. On Saturday my mother came to visit and she babysat John in the evening so that Peter and I could go out. We went to dinner at Max-a-Mia in Avon, a great Italian restaurant. For our appetizers we had calamari (mainly for Peter) and mussels (mainly for me). Peter had veal and I had chicken for our entrees, and I didn't even give him a hard time about the veal, which I've been wanting him to give up for years. I had a gigantic piece of chocolate cake for dessert which I couldn't even eat half of so I had it packed to go. I think Peter wished he had ordered that instead of the smaller, colder chocolate dessert that he got.

After our dee-lish dinner we went to one of our favorite stores, Barnes & Noble, to use all of the great gift cards we got for Christmas and also because we're nerds who like to go book-shopping for fun. Peter and I are addicted to buying and reading books. Our ideal house someday will have a library with built-in bookshelves lining the walls to hold our ever-expanding collection. He got about fifteen books that night! He'll probably have them all read in a month's time, too.
On Sunday I baked Peter a marble cake with chocolate frosting. It was good, but the top layer started to cave in a little bit, so it wasn't one of my best-looking cakes. Chef Pierre made an excellent dinner of chicken parm, pasta, garlic bread, and green beans. He and my mom watched the Patriots game, and Peter said that was his favorite thing about his birthday, because he got to watch the game and see the Patriots win to go on to the Super Bowl and make history with yet another undefeated game. Usually we don't watch TV on Sundays but it was two against one and it was his birthday, so I relented.

Happy birthday Peter! John and I love you!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Scary Mary

One of my favorite movies from childhood is Mary Poppins. Check out this funny "original" movie trailer for the film. It provides quite a different take on the classic children's tale, and it's pretty hilarious. Thanks to my brother Ben for sending me the link awhile back.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thank you, Michigan!

Tonight I like Michigan a lot. There are some very smart people there, and because of them my state of political depression can now come to an end, at least for the time being. Mitt Romney won the primary there tonight by a good margin, deservedly so, as well as necessarily so, otherwise I think it might have been the beginning of the end of his campaign for President. Even though he apparently has changed his policies more than the others (which is his biggest downfall in my opinion), he is by far the best person for the job. He's extremely intelligent and articulate, highly driven and motivated for the right reasons, he's proven that he gets difficult things done well, he got the bluest of blue Democrats of Massachusetts to vote for him, he's not a career politican, he's a true conservative, and he's a patriotic American.

Plus he's a genuinely nice guy. I know this from personal experience. When I was in high school a decade ago (yikes!) he was the Boston Stake Young Men's President and so he was at many of the youth activites we had, serving us dinner, interacting with us, smiling and laughing, dancing alongside us with his wife at dances. A lot of people as busy as he was wouldn't have been at all of those things, but he so often was. I remember when Ann came to my ward one Sunday to visit because she was in the stake Young Women's Presidency. After church was over she walked down the hall with me and two of my friends and took the time to really talk with us before she left. I remember she looked me right in the eyes like she was actually interested in me. Not all adults do that with teenagers. And one of my Young Women advisors who is a family friend of ours was Romney's scheduler when he was Governor and she said he was a good boss who treated his staff well.

Anyway, victory in Michigan in no way means that Mitt's quest for the nomination is now easily within reach. He has a hard road ahead. I'm worried he won't do very well in the South Carolina primary this Saturday due to the anti-Mormon prejudice that is historically strong in the South. (My prediction: Huckabee will win it, of course!) But Romney does have more delegates and votes than the other candidates and hopefully will soon be able to emerge as the front-runner.

It is such an interesting Republican race with so many contenders still around at this stage of the game, while the Democrats have been able to whittle it down to three, mostly two candidates. I'm glad that I can be more excited about the race again, but it is a cautious sense of optimism because you never know what will happen. And I'm worried that Mayor Bloomberg is going to throw a wrench into the whole thing by deciding to run, which would make it even more difficult for Romney and the rest of the Republicans, while being a gift to the Democrats. The next few weeks leading up to Super Tuesday on February 5th will be very interesting. And hopefully not depressing!

Winter Wonderland

Ahh, winter! We had some fun outside in the yard in yesterday's little snowstorm. It wasn't as much snow as was predicted (we got 5 or 6 inches instead of 8-14), but it was a very pretty snowfall and it looks so picturesque on the trees right now. This is one of the few good things about winter!

The snow was the perfect texture and weight for great snowballs. We got Peter with a few good ones!
Christy the snow dog.
This is the first time John tried out his new snowsuit from LLBean, which seemed to keep him nice and toasty, except for his little nose and cheeks.
This tree in our front yard has branches that droop down to the ground under the weight of the snow. We might chop the whole tree down eventually, but for now it's kind of cool.
Industrious Peter. I don't know how we survived last winter without a snowblower.
Here's John underneath the low-hanging tree branches.
"Oops, what did I do? I didn't think I was that strong!"
The snowy woods around our house. So pretty!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Peter is in the news again

Peter's name and discussions about his and Jim's retirement product are in this week's issue of U.S. News & World Report. I'm glad they're getting recognition for a really innovative concept they came up with that should be able to help a lot of people. The articles also mention Olivia Mitchell, one of Peter's professors at Wharton when we were in college who he still stays in touch with. Here are the links to the articles if you want to read them (they make for some exciting weekend reading!):

P.S. He was also in the Monday, January 14th edition of USA Today for those who want to check that out too!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Grandma Cost

This past Saturday evening, on January 5th, Peter's Grandma Cost passed away from multiple myeloma (bone cancer). We knew she didn't have much time left, but we were saddened and surprised by how quickly it came. We just saw her two weeks ago on the day after Christmas, and she was so much like her normal self. I would never have thought that the next week she would be gone. I'm so glad we went to see her that day and that we talked about significant things, like her family history and what life was like when she and Grandpa Cost were younger, instead of just trivial small talk.

One of the cool things about Grandma Cost is that she's a direct descendant of a now-prominent couple who came over on the Mayflower, John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley. Their descendants include many well-known people, including President Bush, the Prophet Joseph Smith, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Humphrey Bogart, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I'm looking forward to researching the exact line that she, Peter, and John are descended from. I was planning on doing that for her before she died, and I can still do it for her even though she's no longer here.

I've always thought of Grandma Cost as a classic New Englander. She was polite and friendly; she was also a firecracker who wasn't afraid to tell you exactly what she thought. She dressed well and always looked nice. She loved her grandkids and great-grandkids and opened her home and her heart to them. The family gatherings will no longer be the same without her there and it's difficult to realize that she's not going to be around anymore. We're so glad to know that it's only good-bye for a little while, and that she's in a wonderful place right now.

This is the first time John met his Great-Grandma Cost, when he was almost 4 months old, in June 2005.
Thanksgiving, 2005.
Grandma and Grandpa Cost. They were married for almost 60 years!
Four generations: Grandma Cost, Allison (Peter's mother), Peter, and John, at our house in September 2006.
And, mostly for my own records, but an interesting read nonetheless, is her obituary that appeared in the newspaper:

COST, Marian H., (Bush), 76, of Battey Meeting House Rd., died Saturday, January 5, 2008 at home. She was the beloved wife of Charles Cost. Born in Providence, the daughter of the late Herman E. and Ruth P. (Tinkham) Bush. Mrs. Cost was a resident of North Scituate since 1950. She was a Certified Licensed Underwriter for the Amica Life Insurance Co. for 20 years, retiring in 1988. She was a member of the North Scituate Baptist Church; Queen of Sheba Chapter #10 O.E.S., and the R.I. Sewing Network. She was an avid camper and boater and a member of the Sunshine Wheelers Camping Club. She was a past member of the Wickford Yacht Club and a past Cub Scout and Brownie leader. Besides her husband, she leaves her daughter Allison Thienel and husband Larry of North Scituate, her sons, Clifford Cost and wife Gail of Foster, David Cost and wife Susan of Chepachet, Brian Cost and wife Peggy of North Scituate, Gordon Cost and wife Patricia of North Scituate. She leaves 15 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren. Visiting hours in the TUCKER-QUINN Funeral Chapel, 643 Putnam Ave. (Rte.44) Greenville , Wednesday, 4-7pm. Memorial Service in North Scituate Baptist Church 619 West Greenville Rd., Scituate, RI, Thursday January 10, 2008 at 10AM .

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Books I Read in 2007

Here are the books I read last year, starting from last January. I read a lot of lighter fiction and only one non-fiction book. Usually I mix in more of the classics, biographies, history, and other non-fiction, but last year I really just felt like taking a break from the deeper books and reading whatever struck my fancy. So here are the books and my mini reviews!

1. Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes. It was cute, funny, and smarter than I expected. I like it when books are set in Manhattan, one of my favorite places.

2. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. He is one of my favorite fantasy authors. I first read this book in high school and now I'm finally going to read the rest of the trilogy. This book is really good, though controversial because Pullman injects some of his atheistic beliefs into the books. I'm sure you've heard about this in the news or in your e-mail warning you about the movie, which came out last month. My view is that they are his books and he can write whatever he wants. I'm open to how other people view life and religion and God. So even though I disagree with many of his viewpoints, I wasn't personally offended by the story. At least in the first book (I haven't read the other two yet), it's more of a classic fight between good and evil than anything else. I think he's a brilliant storyteller. I saw the movie last month and it was very good and true to the book.

3. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus. This was a really fun read and I enjoyed the book very much. It too was set in NYC, which provides such a great backdrop for stories. I made sure to read it before the movie came out. I like reading a book and then watching the movie to see how they compare and to see how closely the movie and characters match what I imagined. I didn't get to see it in the theaters but I have it from Netflix right now and I plan on watching it this week.

4. The Ultimate Career by Daryl Hoole. This was an inspiring, helpful book about homemaking and mothering (the ultimate career). This was the one non-fiction book I read in full all year. I finished it in the spring while I was visiting at Penn...kind of ironic, given that the ultimate career at Penn is anything but homemaking!

5. I Heard That Song Before by Mary Higgins Clark. Another good one by one of my favorite mystery writers. I don't know how she keeps coming up with these unique ideas for stories. I have a small connection to Mary Higgins Clark. An editor of hers guest-lectured at one of my NYU classes a few years ago. She actually mentions this editor, Gypsy da Silva, in her Acknowledgments section in almost all of her books. Gypsy and my instructor were co-workers and friends, and I still have their contact information. Pretty cool! I would love to copyedit her manuscripts. She's great, but she could use some fresh ideas....such as, it's not called a "pocketbook" anymore, it's a "purse," and it's no longer a "carriage" but a "stroller." Using the former terms is such an anachronism and it's jarring to read since her books are set in the present. I really think I could help her books be even better by fixing things like that. Think Simon & Schuster will hire me? Nope--I've already tried!

6. The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud. I didn't realize until I started reading it that this is a book involving 9/11. I'd never read a 9/11 novel before, so that was new. This book got a lot of acclaim, but I didn't like it very much. I found it to be depressing and in the end a little bit pointless. I'm not really into dark reads, unless they're murder mysteries or something fun like that.

7. The Big Love by Sarah Dunn. She's a Penn alumni like me and it's set in Philadelphia, a city that I know and love. She's a really good writer--very funny and witty. The story was pretty good. It was a fast, fun read. It has an ex-Mormon character in it who is very much an ex-Mormon in her lifestyle choices. I always find it interesting when writers use Mormonism in their books. It's usually not overly positive, but sometimes they're right on target. It was mostly fine here. (Although now that I think about it, I do remember reading something and wanting to e-mail Sarah Dunn to say, "Hey, that's not true! This is what we really believe!")

8. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler. This is another one that I wanted to read before the movie came out. (It seems that a lot of movies from books I read or wanted to read came out in 2007.) I'd heard of this book because it's been popular ever since it was published a few years ago, and since I'm a Jane Austen fan, I wanted to read it. It turned out to be just okay. I didn't love it. I didn't see it aligning all that much with Jane Austen and her novels. I wouldn't read it again, but I still want to see the movie. Maybe it will add some insights that I might have missed.

9. Sleeping with Schubert by Bonnie Marson. The best book that I read this year! One of my favorites of all time! The characters, writing, and storyline were so clever and creative. I was sad when this book was over--I really wanted it to keep on going. It was excellent. It was funny. It was touching. I highly recommend it. It's about a 30-something New York City woman who inexplicably becomes inhabited by the spirit of the great composer Franz Schubert. It's so good!

10. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Oh. my. gosh. This book was so good. I found myself thinking about it a lot during the day while I was reading it because it was so compelling and suspenseful. It came out in 2005 when John was a baby and it was a big New York Times bestseller. Now I can see why. It's an amazing book, especially since this is Kostova's first. She worked on it for ten years. She went to Yale and is extremely knowledgeable about history and European culture and geography and everything like that. I feel like I've been to many different parts of Europe after reading this book, that's how vivid her writing is. It makes you feel like you're there. The story itself is a compelling historical mystery about the legend of Dracula, which came about from a real person in history, Vlad Tepes, a 15th-century tyrannical ruler who lived in Transylvania (Romania) and fought against the invading Ottoman Empire. He was one bad dude and the legend of Dracula comes from him. The book is set in different decades, ending in 2008. I totally loved this book, and I hope Kostova will come out with another book soon.

I'm looking forward to reading more good books this year. Reading is one of my greatest pleasures in life. I think what I'll do is write a book review each time I finish a book, instead of doing a big long list like this at year's end. I haven't decided yet if I will return to my old habits of rotating through different genres during the year or if I'll have another "whatever floats my boat" kind of year, although I'm leaning more towards the latter.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

My Sunbeams

Isn't this the cutest trio of 4-year-olds you've ever seen!? This is my Sunbeams class. My church calling for much of last year was to be their teacher. It's the best calling I've ever had in the church. Camden, Karinn, and Alyssa have been a joy to teach and I just love them (even when they're being less than angelic!). They say and do some of the funniest things, as well as some of the sweetest things, like the big group bear hug they gave me two Sundays ago during our lesson. There is something special about the innocent goodness of children that I've always found to be inspiring and uplifting. I get to be their teacher this year too, only we'll have three other girls in our class as well, so the class will double in size. The more the merrier! (I hope!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Big Day in Iowa

It's been awhile since I've written about politics, and I've been meaning to do it sooner, but December was a difficult month to do that. Plus, I was going to write about all of the Democratic presidential candidates after one of their debates, but there weren't really any good ones in December so I wasn't able to organize my thoughts very well on those candidates. (I'm better informed about the Republicans because I've been following that race more closely and because I'm a Romney supporter.) So I apologize for depriving you of more of my enlightening insights, but they're coming, don't worry!

Things have been heating up recently and I'm looking forward to the Iowa caucus tomorrow. I'm really eager to see who wins on each side and in what place everybody comes in. That will give the candidates important momentum (or lack of it for the unfortunate ones) going into New Hampshire. Some people believe Iowa doesn't matter much, and that might be true to a certain extent, but it's important at least because it's usually the end of the road for some of the candidates (mostly the second-tier ones, like Sen. Joseph Biden, Sen. Chris Dodd, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and Rep. Duncan Hunter). The Iowa caucus and the ensuing primaries are exciting for those who enjoy following politics, so even if it doesn't matter very much at first or in the long run, it's so interesting to watch it all unfold, especially if you're a political/news junkie like me!

I've found Huckabee's rise over Romney to be frustrating and I'm relieved that Romney has regained ground in the last few days and that the two are neck-and-neck in the polls in Iowa now. That's going to be a close one, but I think Romney will win, with Huckabee following closely behind, and then McCain in third. Then Fred Thompson in fourth, and I hope Ron Paul beats Giuliani for fifth place. He's got a decent chance of it since Giuliani hasn't campaigned much in Iowa and because Paul's supporters are so enthusiastic.

One last thing about the Repubs for now...I am convinced that Huckabee cannot win the Presidency. His recent foibles and missteps, along with his record in Arkansas and some somewhat disturbing reports about his personality, bear that out. I believe the biggest reason for his recent rise is his appeal to Evangelical Christians, who don't trust and accept Mormons very easily. Romney's reputation as a "flip-flopper" doesn't help, but still, they need to get over the religion issue if they want a good and viable Republican candidate running against the Democratic nominee.

Some quick thoughts on the Democrats...I will write exclusively about them in a post later this month, but for now, I will say these few things. It's really close in the Iowa polls between Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards. I'm not a big fan of any of them, least of all John Edwards. For all of the muck and trash about Hillary, I don't think she's totally evil and sometimes I find her to be pretty likable, although I don't really trust her and I think she's a Socialist at heart. I think I'd like her to win the nomination ultimately, and I think she will win it. Obama is okay. He seems to be quite intelligent and also a good people person, but his lack of political experience isn't so good. He needs more time in the Senate and/or elsewhere to really make his mark and get that valuable experience before running for President. Edwards strikes me as fake, hollow, and very liberal, but I sure do love that Southern twang of his! Ha ha. I can't really say who will win in Iowa tomorrow for the Dems. My best guess is Clinton, then Obama, and then Edwards, but I won't be surprised if the results are different from that.

My ideal match-ups for the final nominees are Clinton-Obama (maybe Edwards or Bill Richardson for VP...obviously I need more time to decide for sure on that one) vs. Romney-McCain. McCain would bring valuable foreign policy experience to that ticket, and Romney would take care of just about everything else. (In a different world, the VP candidate might be Ron Paul, Ben, but Romney-Paul would be a pretty hard sell to the American people. And Paul-anyone else would be nearly impossible!). There are rumors that Mike Bloomberg, the current mayor of NYC, might run as an independent, depending on how things stand in March, when independents can officially start running. I hope he doesn't, because that could really throw a wrench into things, hurting the Republicans most of all. I think Bloomberg is a good leader and that he's been great for the city of New York, but I don't believe mayors should go right up to being Presidents. I'm an independent so independent candidates have always been appealing to me, but not this time.

This Saturday from 7:00-11:00 p.m. on ABC is the first debate with candidates of both parties. Make sure to watch it, or at least some of it, if you are so inclined! It should be interesting. I'll be able to gather my thoughts better on the candidates, particularly on the Dems, and I'll write about them within the next few weeks. I know you all can't wait for that.

One last thing about the Iowa caucus--here's a link to a good, quick analysis and list of predictions for it by someone whose views I agree with much of the time (Robert Novak).

I'm sorry if this post has gone off on some tangents and been a little unfocused. John's been sick with a cold so I haven't been getting enough sleep and I'm tired as heck tonight and fighting off a migraine headache!

Cute Swimsuit Alert!

Today I found the pot of gold for swimsuits. I know, it's only swimsuits, but I've been wanting to get a new one for awhile and I've had no luck until now. This morning I was at Target and I couldn't believe the fantastic selection that was there, because in the past all they've had that I've seen are skimpy bikinis. I bet this new collection of stylish one- and two-pieces will sell out soon, because I think that many women want more coverage than what a bikini provides. I'm a big fan of those two-piece suits that have a cute little skirt on the bottom and a separate top. The only place I've been able to find really good ones are from Lands' End, but right now Target has an excellent selection of them in all different colors and designs and styles. There were so many that it was hard to decide what to get and I ended up buying two, plus two cover-ups (the selection of those is good too). Next week John and I start our parent-child swim class at the Y and I've been wanting to get a new suit for that. We're also going to the Caribbean in a few months and I've heard you should bring at least two swimsuits when you go there. Now I'm all set for that and my next quest is for a great pair of sunglasses. Does anyone have any recommendations?
Wow, what a difference to go from Christmas mode to beach mode, just like that!