For now


So maybe our nights are not filled with
candle-lit dinners and roses splayed across our bed
and elaborate gifts like watches and paperweights
that will sit in the closet eventually
and take up space that we don't have.

Maybe we both get home from work or school respectively
and argue about whose day was longer,
or whose feet hurt more.

And maybe we eat pasta every night
and fall asleep to the television
and let the laundry pile up.

And maybe I love the way our life is
and someday when we go on candle-lit dinners
and have roses on our bed
and give each other pointless gifts,
I will be wishing we were back here.

And I will miss our pasta and television nights
and sweet whispers of affirmation before falling asleep
and the tufts of hair that come out from under the covers
as you dream about our future.


loving yourself


This morning at my 6 am yoga class my instructor told our class something I have been thinking about for awhile, but have been unable to fully realize. She told us we should feel proud of ourselves, because we love ourselves enough to wake up (at an ungodly hour) and exercise our minds, bodies and spirits.
She made me think about all of the other things I do that demonstrates my love for myself. Most of them are small things, like smiling at myself in the rear view mirror and painting my nails, but there are bigger and more important things too.

Reading literature I enjoy. Not because it is popular or will show others that I am intelligent, but reading purely for my personal joy of reading. Also, taking care of my body by eating well. I am not a health nut by any means, but I try not to over-eat or under-eat and I also try to keep a balanced diet while still rewarding myself with treats. I think steering clear of judging others is a way I love myself, because in turn, I do not judge myself but instead try to become better daily. I also try to show Kevin I love him by serving him, not only because I love him, but because I love myself enough to want a strong and healthy relationship.

I am not perfect at this yet, but I am trying to love myself more. To find happiness inside myself, because if I cannot find it there it is useless to search elsewhere.

How do you love yourself? I am genuinely curious.



Normally I would never blog about this, but I feel like I would be selfish to all of my friends in Utah if I didn't.

I won a giveaway from Brook Knecht hair this month and Saturday I went into her studio and got a partial weave and a hair cut. Honestly, Brook was the best hairstylist I have ever had. She did exactly what I asked her to, which is a big deal in the hair world in my book. So many times you find a stylist and she does what she thinks will look good, not what you want.

She was also one of the cutest, most lovable people to talk to, and reminded me a lot of my friend Tia, (who I miss so much!) Usually I bury my face in People magazine because the stylist a) doesn't want to talk or b) I don't want to talk, but with Brook it was not that way at all! I would recommend Brook to anyone and everyone I know.

Right now she is doing a special - $50 for a cut and color! Go here to get in touch with Brook, and tell her that Mandy sent you.

Also, I need some tips on cooking for two - we either eat pizza or cereal every night or have loads of leftovers! Any advice?


Happy Things

There are just some things around my apartment that made me happy this weekend:

My white bed with a pretty yellow pillow

The purple orchid I splurged on.
It is the most beautiful thing, and makes me so happy to look at it.
Any advice on keeping orchids alive? I want to keep it around for awhile.
My blue pastel wall with pretty towels.
A newly organized jewelry collection.
B's wedding announcement on my fridge.
I smile every time I pass it.
Some of the baby's breath saved from my wedding in my favorite milk glass vase.

I hope your weekend was as lovely as mine was.


House of Kevin's

Kevin plays on a flag football time in his free time (which doesn't exist).
I go and support him and he says it is good practice for when we have sons.

He wants a house full of boys who he can play football and basketball with,
wrestle, eat ribs, and take to BYU games.

Sometimes that thought scares me,
but if I had a house full of Kevin's
I might kind of like it.

(I still wouldn't mind having at least one girl).

What do you want?
A house of boys, girls, or both?


all you need


All you need is love.

And car insurance,
health insurance,
rent money,
a diploma,
new license plates,
acceptance to med school for him
and grad school for me,
and maybe some money for clothes, gas, food, and the occasional dollar movie.

(Lucky for me the library is free)




you don't have a soul,
you are a soul.
you have a body.
- c.s. Lewis


Fiesta for Jesta

This weekend my little sister Jessica turned 20.
To celebrate, I threw a Fiesta for her.

Happy Birthday Jess. I'm glad you were born.


How I met Kevin 3

Thursday is when things started to get complicated (of course). I sat by Kevin during the weekly variety show, and I honestly don't remember anything about it but sitting by Kevin and laughing and talking the entire time. Another boy counselor who I had also become close friends with noticed, and apparently didn't like it. He told me we "needed to talk," and it was serious.

He took me to a break room and got on Facebook where he started showing me pictures of his family. Then he told me that I should be careful with Kevin, because he was a player. I asked him how he knew all this. He told me that he had been in Virginia with Kevin and there was another girl involved, and that she and Kevin were planning on getting married when they both returned to BYU. Then he showed me pictures of this girl on Facebook (which I see was his plan all along.)

I was devastated. Absolutely. I felt so played by Kevin, and felt so good about us and here I was being told that he was a player and I shouldn't get involved. I actually laid on my bed and cried to my mom about this boy who I barely knew. She asked me why I was sad about this boy already and said, "Do you even know his last name?" (I didn't) I barely knew him at all, but I couldn't pretend that I wasn't already completely infatuated with him. It hurt me so much. I avoided Kevin for the rest of the day, and most of the next day until the second dance of the camp. This particular dance everyone dressed up and it is kind of a big goodbye to that week of campers.

I had to look amazing. I wore a black dress and curled my hair, and wore heels. (You should know, it is a rare occurrence for me to ever be wearing heels). I walked into the cafeteria and all of the younger camper boys in my group started cheering and cat-calling. I am only sharing this for the sake of the story. I knew I looked good - I had to. I wanted Kevin to notice me, and to pick me instead of her (so desperate I know). I saw him sitting at a table and when I looked at him he diverted his attention and started talking to someone next to him - but every time I looked over at him, he was looking at me.

That night at the dance I got put in charge of guarding the back entrance of the dance and making sure no one got past (such a glamorous job I know). Basically it meant I was isolated from the rest of the group, and couldn't dance with my kids until my shift ended. Kevin came and sat by me much to the disappointment of the girl campers and the girl counselors. He asked me why I had been avoiding him and I got really angry and came right out and asked him about this other girl and if they were planning on getting married and why he led me on, etc. etc. (I maybe even started crying a little - but just a little bit.)

He stared at me for a minute with an open mouth and then started laughing. I was so mad. I didn't want him to laugh - I wanted him to feel sorry and hug me and tell me that she didn't exist. Instead he just laughed. When he finally calmed down he said, "I never liked her. We didn't date, we didn't do anything. I never even said I would talk to her after we left and I haven't talked to her since. I really like you Mandy."

Right on cue, before I even had time to take in what he had just told me, the boy who told me the rumor in the first place entered the scene. He said, "Mandy I call I get to dance with you on the first dance. I don't want any players stealing you all night."
Right. In front. Of Kevin.

And then it all made sense. This boy liked me, but could see I preferred Kevin, so told me this rumor so I wouldn't trust Kevin and give him a chance. I felt so relieved. I was released from my isolated shift and danced with my campers for the rest of the dance, and still didn't have a chance to dance with Kevin. The night ended and I left feeling like a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders.

Saturday was our first real date, (since the second set of campers would not come to Plymouth until Monday.) We laid underneath this enormous willow tree on the Plymouth University campus grounds and people watched on Main Street. We talked about our dreams, our memories of that past week, and my plans to go to Hawaii for school in the fall, but never did we talk about our future. Together. Later we walked to a pizza place and then went straight back to the tree where we had sat all day long. We didn't hold hands, or kiss, or cuddle, or even touch at all. That would come later. Instead we made up for 20 years in my case, and 22 in his, of time apart from each other. But it almost felt instead like we were just reuniting again. Like we had known each other all along.

At one point in the day a young family walked past us - students at Plymouth. The mother pushed the baby boy in the stroller, and the father carried his three year old daughter on his shoulders. At one point he set her down and chased her around on the grassy hill in front of us. When he caught her he would throw her up in the air while she screamed with laughter. I watched his wife's eyes, so full of love for her husband, and her children and saw myself in her place. For an instant I saw Kevin with a child on his shoulders, and me pushing another child in the stroller. And I knew that he would be my husband someday.

And now he is.


How I met Kevin 2

(first picture taken of us on Wednesday right after the rain storm)

Following our first meeting at the cafeteria table, I sat a few seats away from Kevin at a counselor meeting. He was busy talking to another girl counselor at the meeting and laughing with her the entire time. I felt so hopeless. I wanted to be her so badly. I wanted to sit through boring meetings with him and have thumb wars and make fun of the bow-tie the speaker is wearing and cover my mouth because I am laughing so hard. (Little did I know that this would be my future every Sunday at church for the rest of my life haha).

The next day I woke up and swore I wouldn't think about Kevin, because I thought he liked this other girl. When we were registering the kids into the camp Kevin was dispensing hand sanitizer (swine-flu scare season) and dealing with parents whose kids have health issues. He got hungry and asked me if I felt comfortable taking over his "big job" of dispensing hand sanitizer. I didn't know why I wanted to be mean to him. I guess I just liked him a lot already and realized I shouldn't, so I was a little rude about it. He just smiled at me and told me he "trusted me with this big job." He was flirting with me, but then again he was flirting with everyone, so I hated him. But I loved him too. I had so many mixed feelings about him. Have you ever felt that way about someone? That you liked them so much you hated them?

Later that night as the kids were coming up to bed I saw Kevin in the hall. He asked if I would go tell the girl I thought he liked that he had something for her. She was on my hall so I told her and felt so deflated. I was certain he liked her. (Little did I know it was medication for one of her campers).

The next day at lunch, a swarm of boys rushed up to me and said, "Kevin is saving a seat for you over there." I looked around the crowded cafeteria and saw Kevin waving his hand a little. Immediately I blushed. I walked over and sat next to him and he told me he got me a present. Of course I thought, "Yeah, and every other girl" obviously thinking of the night before with the medication. He had a brownie waiting for me, and underneath the brownie plate was a love note that the kids had written from him to me on a napkin which he knew nothing about. I didn't care. I pretended he wrote it and kept it in my purse to read later.

That night, (Tuesday) was a big dance. I was feeling very under the weather and the humidity in New Hampshire was killing me. Kevin approached me and asked if I felt okay. I shook my head. "Girl problems?" he asked me. I nodded again. Then he told me he could give me some medication and got me some Midol. I had never taken it before, but took it anyway. That night I got sick. Really sick. I am very sensitive to medications and the Midol poisoned my body. I spent most of that night and the next day throwing up in the community bathroom. True love.

The following day I didn't see Kevin all day, and kept looking for him to no avail. It was pouring rain, so that night we walked a couple blocks to the University sports arena where we were going to have a game night. About a half hour into the activity our Session Director told me they needed me outside. One of my girls was having a breakdown.

I went outside in the POURING rain and one of my girls was crying on the steps, because she had some social anxiety. She refused to come inside, so we sat there in the cold, New Hampshire rain. All of a sudden Kevin appeared. He was soaking wet, water running down his face from his hair, and he had the most concerned, loving face I have ever seen. (Just like Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice, I promise). All he said was, "How can I help?" He got me an umbrella, my jacket, and I took a walk with this girl around the campus in the pouring and freezing rain.

She asked me if I was in love. I thought about it for awhile and replied that yes, I think I was. (I had only known him three days at this point).

She asked me if I was going to marry him.

I said I hoped so.

Part III to be continued


How I met Kevin 1

(me in my dorky and over-sized counselor shirt)
I have had a couple of friends ask me to post about how Kevin and I met. It is a special story to me, but a long one so for accurate details I may need to do it in three separate posts. I hope you don't mind. My blog is a journal for me in many ways, and I want to document this as accurately and perfectly as I can. This is also more personal information than I have ever disclosed on this blog, so please be sensitive to that.


My parents moved to Connecticut. Glastonbury (Hartford area) to be exact. My parents told me they wanted me to come out for the summer, but I was unsure about leaving my then-boyfriend of 18 months. When things began to fall apart with him, I decided to go, feeling so afraid for what was up ahead, and wondering how I would heal from such a broken heart.

Before I got to Connecticut I applied to be an EFY (Especially For Youth) counselor. My church has a camp where youth can go and play games and get to know each other and do other church activities. I thought it was dorky at the time, but decided to do it anyway so I could meet other counselors my age who lived on the East coast as well. So at the end of my lovely summer in Connecticut, I headed to Plymouth New Hampshire feeling less than excited, and regretting my decision to apply for a counselor position. I told my mom I didn't want to go and she said she had a really strong feeling that I should. Since I trust my mom more than anyone, I decided to suck it up and go.

The first day was Saturday, and I met a lot of awesome people who I really felt I could be friends with, but several of them had known each other from being counselors in Virginia earlier in the summer and I felt slightly out of place with them. Sunday evening before the campers came, all the counselors jammed onto one table for dinner (about 20 of us) and the only seat available on the table was directly across from me (convenient I know).

Enter Kevin Ryan Voisin. As soon as Kevin walked in the room, I knew I liked him. He is pretty tall (6'4") but he carries it well. I fell in love with his curly brown hair and perfect smile immediately, but mostly I liked the casual way he wore nice dress pants, a white button up with rolled up sleeps and flip-flops so well. He had about six pieces (not joking) of pizza on his tray and came to sit directly in front of me when immediately everyone began yelling "Kevin!" "What up Man?" "How was the flight?" and I began to realize that probably every guy on that table was friends with him and every girl on that table was already in love with him... and I couldn't blame them at all. One girl even moved her chair next to his so she could sit closer to him.

I focused on my food, and chatted with a couple of girls, before realizing that Kevin was staring directly at me. (Wow I just pictured this being a Twilight moment and almost died. He was not creepy, or Edward like even a little bit I promise :) He asked me what my name was... etc. etc. and I found out he was from Utah as well, also attended BYU, and was studying neuroscience, pre-med. He also told me that he was a health counselor. (There were only two in the whole camp, and basically they were in charge of keeping track of those with medical issues and applying first aid, etc.)

I already liked him so much. I couldn't help it, I really didn't know how this was possible. I had never believed in love at first sight, and maybe I still don't but I do believe now in really really desperately like at first sight, because that is exactly how I felt. I wanted to be with him already. I even found his overloaded tray of food endearing, and the flip-flops with the dress clothes extremely attractive. And I wanted him to like me and only me.

And that is as far as I will go for today :)

Part II to be continued tomorrow.

1 month

Kevin and I celebrated our one month anniversary last night (I know we are lame to celebrate month to month) but I love going out, and coincidentally so does Kevin, so we decided to celebrate it.

I took him to Spark, a swanky modern restaurant down the road from our apartment. Their food has improved a lot since the last time I ate there. To die for. (I had the fried chicken and smoked gouda mac and cheese and Kevin had the kobe beef burger). The best part of dinner was definitely dessert - the Panna cotta shooters. Passion fruit, guava and kiwi. I get those every time I go and regularly crave them.

The best part of the night was that we only spent $15 for all of our food. I joined the site Groupon, and they actually have really worthwhile and usable coupons! It is a Salt Lake based company that gives half off or more coupons to great restaurants, theaters, and shops. Many of them are online, so even if you are not in Utah it is worth your time to sign up for it.

Click here to join Groupon.

And Happy One month Kev-friend.
Best month of my life.


Bedroom Makeover

I am trying to decide how to decorate our new apartment bedroom (right now we are sub-leasing a furnished apartment until January). I want to get a feel for what I am doing now, so it will be all ready to go in January. Right now I have a white Pottery Barn sleigh bed but that is about all I know. I created these mood boards to help me decide what direction to go in.

Right now I am leaning towards the grey room, but I really like all three looks.



I recently won a giveaway hosted by Bryn at Bateman Headbands and love the hat I won so much. Bryn is so talented, and has the cutest style and original creations. (And such a cute personal blog!) I think her designs are perfect for the upcoming fall and winter seasons.

We decided to do a giveaway together, because we want to share the love. Bryn is giving away a green headband with a grey bow, similar to the one on the last picture. All you have to do to enter is state your favorite thing about fall. The giveaway will close on Saturday, and the winner will be announced next Monday. If you want extra entries, you can blog, tweet, or facebook about the giveaway, then add an extra comment below.

(if you would like to sponsor a giveaway on love you long time please contact me at mandy.madson(a)gmail.com)


Sneak Peek

First wedding photo blogged here.

I can't wait to show you the rest.

Happy Weekend Friends!


Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

My favorite recipe of late are these delicious Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies. I always feel like my Chocolate Chip Cookies are too crunchy unless they are eaten right after I get them out of the oven. The added banana in this recipe makes the cookies pillow soft, no matter when you eat them. (I like them for breakfast)

We also like to make pizookies out of them. I just freeze some of the dough, and they only take 1 minute to prepare in my ramekins, and 12-15 minutes to bake. Seriously, the best and easiest recipe I have tried in a long time.


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together, and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Mix in the mashed bananas. Add the flour mixture, and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes.


dream jobs

Last night Kevin and I talked about our dream jobs. Jobs that we would have if there were no limits at all.

Kevin said he would be a Supreme Court Justice (?)

I thought about it for awhile, and decided there are two jobs I would love:

First, I want to write books. I always have, since I was a little girl. I think that's why I majored in English. I wanted exposure to writing, I wanted to affect people the way I have been affected through literature. I also have a lot of stories in my head, all dying to come out.

Second, I want to decorate houses. Not just my house, but other people's houses. Everyday I see something new I want to try, slight improvements that could be made, inexpensive solutions to a lacking home budget.

I think it would be terribly disappointing to have lived your whole life not doing what you really want to do.

Do you have a dream job? Or are you already living your dream job? I want to hear.



I swear I liked Zebra pattern way before it was cool.
(Also Death Cab for Cutie, but that is another story.)

What did you like before it became cool?

p.s. the winner of the Drew and Lacey signed album giveaway is Annie.


what people told me

people told me: when you get married, it's over.
instead of your dreams you are living for, you will be living for his.
I used to worry.
I worried that I would never go to Paris and eat Macarons for breakfast and learn to paint and ride a bicycle with a basket on the front.
I worried that I would never live in New York and build a career where I could wear Ferragamo's and design houses, or shoes and live in my own flat and buy myself peaches from the farmer's market on Saturdays.
I worried that I would never go to Africa, and live in an orphanage and teach children how to read, or treat anyone medically, or go to my own book signing.

I don't worry anymore.
Kevin is my greatest side-kick ever.

When I run out of money in Paris, or lose my job in New York, and need someone to buy me breakfast during my book signing, he will be the one lifting me up, bailing me out, healing my wounds.

I'm glad I get to take my best friend along on the adventures that are coming, because now I feel like my dreams and his dreams are ours. There is no distinction.

p.s. this is beautiful.



"We have advantages. We have a cushion to fall back on. This is abundance. A luxury of place and time. Something rare and wonderful. It's almost historically unprecedented. We must do extraordinary things. We have to. It would be absurd not to."
Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius)

Some days instead of feeling extraordinary, I feel terribly ordinary.
I work full-time at a weight loss company,
take an Italian class and yoga on the side,
teach piano for some extra cash,
and look forward most to coming home to my new husband,
and maybe making dinner and watching Office before going to bed and waking up and starting all of it again.

But last night, as I listened to my breathing before falling asleep, I realized that it was my organs that were breathing. My lungs that inhale slowly and exhale, and my heart that beats, my eyes that can close or open, and my hands that on will could pull the covers closer around myself, and my mind that could think about my organs and what they were doing, and how I was feeling about living an extraordinary life.

And then I stopped feeling ordinary.

(photo via Kevin's iPhone)