A Staycation at the Opera

Salt Lake City has always had a reputation of featuring real talent in the realm of the arts. Between the Utah Symphony, Ballet West, Pioneer Theater, and the Utah Opera, theater goers have their pick of truly excellent, local performances on stage throughout the year. If tourists from around the country are coming to Salt Lake to see these shows, shouldn’t we be taking advantage of the prolific artistic culture in Utah as locals?

butterflyPageBannerAs the 2014-2015 theater season begins this summer and fall, consider planning an “opera-style” staycation right here in Salt Lake. This year, the Utah Opera has a fabulous line up, starting with Puccini’s Madame Butterfly that begins on October 11, 2014 at Capitol Theater. As one of Puccini’s most famous works, Madame Butterfly is the tragic tale of the boundaries race and status place around love. The story begins in Nagasaki, Japan when a U.S. Naval Officer and a common Japanese woman – Butterfly – fall in love and are married. Soon after the marriage, the naval officer leaves for the United States and does not return for years. When he does return, he brings with him his American wife in hopes to adopt the son he shares with Butterfly. The encounter yields devastating consequences. Written in 1900, the opera has influenced many other works including Schonberg and Boublil’s Miss Saigon. With elaborate sets and opulent costumes, this masterpiece is not to be missed.

To cap off your enjoyable staycation, book a night at the Anniversary Inn on South Temple, just blocks away from the Capitol Theater. You and your sweetheart could forgo the stress of finding a parking space and take a romantic walk down South Temple admiring the sites along the way. To carry on the opera theme, reserve the Phantom of the Opera Suite. With painted murals from the musical combined with ornate decor reminiscent of an opera house, you will find yourselves the star of the show as you and your honey spend the evening relaxing in grandeur. And you didn’t even need to leave your home town!

Tickets to Madame Butterfly go on sale July 20th – check the Utah Opera site for further updates. The opera runs October 11, 13, 15, and 17 at 7:30 pm and on October 19 at 2 pm. The opera is sung in Italian with English subtitles projected above the stage. Under 30 years of age? Check out these amazing discounts from Utah Opera! For the full season preview, see this video. Subscriptions to the Opera can be bought here.

Who Says You Have to Be an Adult to Celebrate an Anniversary?

Anniversaries are like fine wines, they get better with age. With each coming year, the relationship you have with your companion grows deeper and sweeter. Unlike birthdays, anniversaries are celebrated without wincing at the reminder of age. The more you have, the more successful your marriage is … and the more there is to celebrate.

Still, the celebration of anniversaries can grow dull year after year if the way you celebrate this special event becomes too routine. So, spice things up this year by returning to the days when carelessness ruled and time was not an issue – become teenagers again by celebrating your anniversary at the local amusement park!

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There are plenty of amusement-style centers all over Utah, but if you live in or close to Logan, Utah, we recommend the Cache Valley Fun Center. Located in North Logan, this place has it all! From roller skating to billiards, from laser tag to bowling, you two will find plenty of ways to remember what it was like to be young and reckless. They even offer Country Dancing on Monday and Wednesday nights – free instruction included.

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The facility is clean and offers all these attractions at incredibly low prices (visitors give the facility 4.2/5 stars). If you and your sweetheart wanted to make an entire evening (or afternoon) of it, you could roller skate, play a game of pool, bowl, and challenge each other to a game of laser tag – all for under $20/person! After popcorn and treats, you’re spending almost that same amount going to a movie or play…but, let’s be honest, what’s the fun in celebrating an anniversary without laughter and conversation? Personally, I would love nothing more than to rally my husband in a round of laser tag. Bragging rights forever! It may take a few minutes to get into the swing of juvenile fun, but I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it soon enough. Plus, it’s a great excuse to eat greasy pizza or churros or soft, stuffed pretzels or even corn dogs! All offered at the Center’s cafe for great prices ($2.50-$16.00)

After leaving the amusement park, the fun doesn’t have to stop. Book a night at the Anniversary Inn in Logan and request the Player’s Clubhouse Suite. Along with the standard cozy bed and jacuzzi tub, this suite includes a Foosball table, putting green, and large, flat screen TV. Lose that game of bowling to your competitive spouse that won’t let it go? Challenge her to a “friendly” game of Foosball and show her who rules. At the end of the night, you two may be so exhausted from all the fun, you’ll be dying to take a tub in the large, heart-shaped jacuzzi reserved just for you. It’s your anniversary after all! With all the fun and games, there is still plenty of room for romance.
CVFunPark1Cache Valley Fun Center hours and location

Proposal Story: “A Haunted Engagement”

It was a crisp October afternoon in 1998.  My boyfriend and I had just returned from doing a few errands in Logan.  I had planned to go to the Honeyville Haunted Corn Maze that night with my sisters.  I had just asked my boyfriend if he wanted to come with when I noticed how red and warm his ears were.  I asked him if he was feeling okay.  He said he wasn’t and that he better go home for the night ( I later learned that he was just nervous for the night he had planned out.)  I was sad that he couldn’t go, but thinking that he was sick, I was glad he was going home to get some rest.

As evening approached, my two sisters and I arrived at the gate of the haunted corn maze.  These haunted corn mazes really scared me and I was nervous to go inside.  We started walking slowly through the corn maze.  Screams were heard in the distance as other maze goers were getting spooked by the frightful characters hidden in the maze.  Monsters and zombies were hiding around every corner just waiting to jump out and scare those brave enough to enter the corn maze.

A few turns into the corn maze we were scared by a werewolf that had jumped out at us.  We screamed and then went on our way.  I happened to look back and noticed that this same werewolf that had just scared us was now following us.  I started to get a bit nervous and began walking faster.  A few twists and turns later, I looked back again and saw that he was still following us about 20 feet or so behind us.  I asked my sisters, “Do you think that werewolf is following us?” Unknown to me that they were in on it, so of course they say, “No, I don’t think so.”

After a few minutes of him following us and me looking back, I noticed that he was starting to get closer to us.  My mind began to think the worst things like “Is this someone that knows me and is just trying to scare me?”, “Do they want to kidnap me or my sisters?”, “Will my face end up on a milk carton?”.  I grabbed onto my sisters and I told them “Let’s run.”  As we began running, I looked back and noticed that the werewolf began to run after us.  I was really freaked out by now!!

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We were running as fast as we could, but the werewolf soon caught up to us.  He was right behind me.  He reached out and grabbed hold of me from behind wrapping his arms tightly around my arms.  My sisters were still right by me and at the time I thought they were trying to help pull me away.  They later told me that they were trying to hold me there because I was fighting so hard to get away from this person who I thought was a madman.  As I was fighting and trying to escape this person’s clutches, I looked down and saw that this werewolf was holding a piece of paper with my name on it.  I thought this was weird that this crazy person knew my name.  I finally calmed down a bit and opened up the paper realizing that it was for me.  I opened the folded paper and inside were the words “Will you marry me?” I was still scared and must not have been thinking clearly because I looked at the person who still had the werewolf mask on and said “You had better be Shawn.”

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Needless to say, it was my boyfriend, Shawn.  He was so out of breath from breathing through a tiny mouth hole in the mask and chasing us and trying to hold on to me so I wouldn’t escape that he was still trying to catch his breath.  He removed the mask and got down on one knee.  After telling me how much he loved me and that he wanted to be with me forever, he asked me to marry him.  I must not have been too mad at him for scaring me to death because I said “YES.”  We were married two months later and have been together for 15 ½ years now.

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Thank you for sharing your engagement story with us Tiffanie and Shawn! Let’s just say, Shawn is lucky to have escaped the night with a bride-to-be instead of a black eye. Congratulations on over 15 years of marriage! What an accomplishment. We are thrilled to share your story here.

If you are interested in having your proposal story published here on the Anniversary Inn Blog, just email a brief summary of the events and a few photos to anniversaryinnproposalstory@gmail.com. Those who submit their stories are automatically entered into our contest to win a free night at one of the four Anniversary Inn locations (Boise, Logan, 5th South, SLC, and South Temple, SLC). We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Rio Grande Room Anniversary Inn

Make it a Rio Grande-Style Staycation!

The concept of “staycation” is simple. Take your sweetheart on a vacation without ever leaving home. How is this accomplished? All you have to do is open your eyes and revisit your city as if you were a tourist and then treat your weekend as if you were on vacation. No obligations, no deadlines, just time to spend enjoying your surroundings. Continue reading

Attend the 14th annual Smart Marriages® Conference

Every year for the past 14 years, Diane Sollee has organized a conference that has attracted the biggest names in Marriage and Family Therapy circles in this country and from around the world. People like Dr. John and Jane Covey, Dr. John Gray, and Dr. William Doherty, just to name a few.

Ms. Sollee had come to the conclusion that too many marriages were falling apart and something had to be done. Sollee firmly believed that “..when it comes to marriage, we’ve been operating with good intentions, but terrible information. All that’s about to change. The research shows anyone can learn how to have a Smart Marriage®. Welcome the new era as we move out of the marital “dark ages” and into the Marriage Renaissance!”

Initially, the attendees were mainly marriage counselors and local clergy who were looking for additional information on how to support and educate couples on strengthening marriage commitments, but the conference has evolved into a fun getaway for couples who just want to find a unique way to travel and spend quality time together. In the past, it has changed venues so that each year you travel to a different part of the country.  This will be the second year in Orlando.  Think about several days at DisneyWorld with a couple of marriage education courses thrown in for good measure. For those couples who are always on the lookout for ways to strengthen their relationships, consider attending the next Smart Marriages Conference being held this year (for the second year in a row) in Orlando, Florida.

One of the Keynote Speakers will again be Dr. William Doherty. Over the years, crowds have loved his analysis and valuable insight into the world of marriage relationships because of his courage to ignore politically correct sensitivities and shed an honest and truthful light on some of the mistaken beliefs and past misunderstandings of marriage counselors, while at the same time encouraging couples to work through difficult periods and stop giving up too easily.

Says Doherty, “You move into marriage in the springtime of hope, but eventually arrive at the Minnesota winter, with its cold and darkness. Many of us are tempted to give up and move south at this point, not realizing that maybe we’ve hit a rough spot in a marriage that’s actually above average. The problem with giving up, of course, is that our next marriage will enter its own winter at some point. So do we just keep moving on, or do we make our stand now with this person, in this season? That’s the moral, existential question we face when our marriage is in trouble.”

As I’ve written before, people don’t have to get married with their fingers crossed, hoping that they can get along well with their spouse. Happy marriages can be learned! If you are serious about saving your relationship, don’t panic at the first sign of boredom, resistance, or doubt. Have faith in each other, remember why you fell in love to begin with and attend a seminar in Orlando. It will do you good!

5 Daily acts that will remind your spouse you love her (or him)

With the pressures and speed of daily life, it is easy to forget that our marriages need to be nurtured in the same way we would nurture a small plant in our kitchen window.  With our plant, we need to give it sunlight and water on a regular basis.  It doesn’t take much, just a small amount of water and a little sun will keep the plant growing and over time you will see a beautiful bloom of color and life.

Our marriages need the same attention.  It doesn’t require much, just a loving glance here, and an affectionate touch there, but that small amount of nurturing will keep the love between you blooming and full of color and life.

Here are 5 small acts you can do each day to ensure your loved one knows you still care:

1) Kiss her goodbye before leaving for work.

2) Send him a text saying “Hi”

3) Find one thing to complement her on.

4) Ask him how his day was and then listen to him tell you.

5) Hold her hand while watching TV.