Love Letter


Like we have discussed, Kevin is applying for medical school and I am helping him with his personal statement. As fun as it has been, the best part was sneaking in a paragraph about me.

It kind of felt like I was writing a love letter to myself from Kevin's perspective. What I wish he would write to me. Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to marry someone who was just like me. Scribbling poems everywhere they go, crying when they see a Degas print at Hobby Lobby and watching Wicker Park for the hundredth time just to see the end scene where The Scientist comes on and Diane Kruger sits on the floor in the airport and Josh Hartnett hugs her from behind. As fun as it is to fantasize about, as a couple we would be an over-emotional wreck.

Instead of showing his love for me in poetry, Kevin surprises me with a bag of chocolate covered cinnamon bears and the promise of watching Modern Family if I let him study for an hour. He listens intently when I weepily read him a paragraph (or page) from my latest book, and lets me buy Greek Yogurt from the grocery store even though he thinks it is a waste of money.

And he smiles when he reads this paragraph from his personal statement:

"Although being a campus EMT was a volunteer position I used my training one summer and worked as a Health Counselor for a camp in New Hampshire. I mainly helped campers with diabetes regulate their blood sugar and treated those with heat stroke. It was there that I met my wife though, who has taught me that courage comes in many forms. She was perfect. She radiated beauty and life and health. She was out of my league. Fortunately she had a plethora of ill campers in her group, and we connected over fevers and diarrhea. Evenings when we had free time, we would lie under a giant oak tree on a hill and watch people pass us on the street. She told me she was afraid of falling in love, but I gathered the strength of the universe and told her I loved her anyway. We were married a year later, and I still tell her that marrying me was the bravest thing she ever did. She agrees."

Nothing wrong with writing about your husband calling you perfect and radiant and beautiful. Nothing wrong with that at all.

photo by Kristin Brown




Sometimes it is easy to feel that I was born in the wrong time period. I feel that my personality was made for reading books, wandering fields, wearing pretty dresses, and playing the piano. I would have made an excellent Bennett sister.

But I keep thinking about a conversation I had with some of my girlfriends a few weeks ago. One friend wants to be a doctor, the other two of us have dreams of getting our PHD's. We talked about how we want all of these things, but that we also want a family. How do you balance kids and education? My friend Katie had a good point. She said something like, "To me, we live in the first time period ever on this earth where women have the same opportunities as men. I can't pretend that I wasn't born during this time for nothing."

I was inspired by that, and still am. I want kids. A whole house full. But I also can't help but think that I can do anything I want to do - kids or not.

Do any of you struggle with the same thoughts? It is so frustrating/liberating.


Wedding Details





Some of my favorite pictures from our wedding day are of the small details. Really when you are planning a wedding, it is all about the details. I wanted each table to be unique, so I bought new and vintage vases, bowls, bottles, old clocks, etc. so each table would be fun to look at. We hung glass orbs with fresh flowers and candles from the gazebo. We had an amazing jazz band (email me if you want a reference) and they lit up the party with their beautiful music. I bought my shoes the day before the wedding. On the way down the escalator at Nordstrom I saw them and knew they were meant to be mine. We had a dessert buffet full of white and cream desserts, so everyone would have something they wanted.

People email me and formspring me all the time asking about how to plan a wedding, where to go to for ideas, etc. Really when it comes down to it, it is a day celebrating your union. You don't like dancing? Don't dance. You think the bouquet toss is cheesy? Don't have one. You think wedding cakes are overrated and expensive? Have an ice-cream bar.

I didn't want to look back on my wedding day and see someone else's party. To witness someone else's fun. I wanted it to be all mine, and all Kevin's. And that's the best wedding advice I have.

photos by Allison


Dr. V


Last night Kevin and I started writing his personal statement for med school applications. This is my dream assignment for three reasons:

1. The quality of his statement determines the interviews he gets. And once people meet him, he is kind of hard to turn down.
2. I get to write academically for the first time since graduation.
3. I get to brag about my husband. On paper. To strangers.

Kevin read it the first time and felt better about himself immediately. I think I am good for his ego. Then he read it a couple times and said things like, "Brilliant Mind?" "Horse-like work ethic?" and made me tone it down a little bit. (Even though in all reality, I think it is true.)

Love you future Dr. V.

photo via


Snowed In




We got snowed in at my future BIL's cabin this weekend. (Yes that is his car in the driveway). I have never been snowed in before, and so we took full advantage of it.

We ate french toast, curry and loads of hot chocolate. (They had a built in hot chocolate machine that made froth on the top). We watched lots of movies, I won at Jeopardy, and we played hours and hours of Pit.

Falling asleep last night back at home (after the plows came) I had "I got two. I got three. Trade one?" ringing in my ears.

Lovely weekend.




When Kevin was a toddler he had a nickname, "The Great Ransacker of the Sky." He got into anything and everything. His parents even tell the story of finding him on top of the refrigerator as a two year old. The refrigerator.

When asked how I was as a child, it was difficult to respond. I was a good kid. I slept a lot, I didn't throw huge tantrums, I understood the word no. But growing up I always felt like I was a little bit different. I had an aunt tell me once when I was feeling out of place with my cousins that I was "precocious." Precocious? I wondered. Sounds good.

I looked it up in the dictionary that evening.



[pri-koh-shuhs] Show IPA
unusually advanced or mature in development, especiallymental development: a precocious child.
prematurely developed, as the mind, faculties, etc.
of or pertaining to premature development.

It is a word I had used ever since to describe myself. A precocious daydreamer. Instead of chasing after boys when I was younger, I read books. Instead of playing frisbee with the neighbors, I locked myself in the below-the-stairs blanket closet and wrote poems and stories, grueling over every word and sentence and comma until my mom came and found me to tell me it was time for dinner.

I'd like to think that I have grown out of my precociousness a little bit. That I am not as high strung as I used to be. That I know how to have fun a little more. But every now and then Kevin will ask me if I want to watch an episode of something or other with him, and I feel frustrated because he interrupted my thoughts. There are times when I get annoyed with my boss for pulling me away from a daydream to fill out a report, or attend a meeting where there are no beautiful words or elegant thoughts.

And so I realize that even though I am an adult now (or at least, pretend to be). I still have that precocious little girl inside somewhere, just yearning for a fierce battle, or perfect haiku, or tragic ending, whatever it is.

photo via


Girl in the Glass


One night in high school I came home late and stared a myself in the mirror for a long time. It was as though I had lost touch with who I was. I wanted to feel connected with the girl in the glass. I wanted to feel like she and I were on the same page. Looking back, I realize that I was missing something. I felt hollow inside, like my actions and my body were two separate entities.

I don't remember what happened that night, or what it was that drew me to the mirror. I just remember my eye contact with myself. I remember feeling like I could never live with myself if I cheated her. That I was responsible for her well being. For my well being. It was at that moment that I decided I wanted to always be a good person. That I wanted to always feel confident about my decisions, about the path I was headed, about the woman I could become if I was brave enough to be her.

And so I made changes. I prioritized. I decided that I couldn't cheat myself, because even if no one ever found out, I would still know.

That night in the mirror changed me forever. And even though I don't often think of that experience, sometimes when I feel disconnected, or hollow, or any sort of empty inside, coming back to that night in the mirror always helps. It's as if I looked at myself that night and recognized, "I know you."

"The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins."
- Bob Moawad

quote found here. photo unknown.

Pizzeria 712


For Valentines Day Kevin took me to Pizzeria 712. My favorite place to eat in Utah. Everything is fresh and local, and the experience is far different than your average pizza place. Kevin laughed because he said there was at least one thing on every item of the menu that he didn't recognize.

We had the potato polenta for an appetizer, the speck pizza for dinner, and the blood orange vanilla bean panna cotta for dessert. He listened to me express my frustrations about work, and I listened to him rage about the MCAT. And even though we didn't talk directly about love, even though it was a day to celebrate it, I am realizing more and more that love is not a product. Love is a method. We listen to each other, we make each other laugh, we lean on each other, we sacrifice for each other. And then, after we have done all of these things we feel love towards each other, because we recognize our reliance and commitment.

And then we recognize how sexy Kevin looks when he wears stripes. (I mean really though.)


Bean Benefit

Two of my good friends Bryan and Lyndsey asked me if I could help out with a 5k benefit run they are planning for a classmate who is in need. I decided one of the best ways I can help is by spreading the word.

Here is their classmate Josh Bean's story:


"Allow me to give you a brief overview of my wife's situation. My wife's name is Janeece Bean. Approximately four years ago, she was pregnant with our soon to be son (we had a three year old daughter, Alivia, as well). One of her legs swelled up more than the other; but we thought nothing of it. We assumed it was normal pregnancy stuff. After she gave birth to our son, Logan, her left leg returned to normal size and her right leg stayed swollen. Soon after, we found out it was due to a cancerous tumor (synovial sarcoma) in her hip/pelvis. There were also smaller tumors in her lungs. She endured four years of countless radiation treatments, chemo-therapies, surgeries, emergency room visits, pills, doctor visits, etc.

It was very difficult to try and juggle school, work, two young children, her not feeling well, and all the trips to the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake. With the help of family and friends, we were able to make it sort of work. Obviously it was not easy, but we made the best of the situation and still tried to enjoy life as much as we could!

About a year ago, things started to get really bad. They had to amputate her leg (along with half of her pelvis), remove half of her lung, and take some other very drastic steps. For the next few months, things kept relentlessly progressing from bad to worse. She made it until August 25, 2010. She was 27."

My heart aches for his family. To learn more about how you can help the Bean family, go here.

And I will be at the benefit on Saturday February 26th at the Provo Riverwoods. All of you locals please come! I would love to meet all of you. Email me for questions about how you can help.


6 months


Six months ago we made promises we will never break. And today we get to celebrate not only our love, but also half a year of marriage.

Half a year of cereal on the counter in our t-shirts.

Half a year of playing Doo-run in the car at the top of our lungs.

Half a year of dollar movies and cold walks to the car where we squeeze our hands together so tight and laugh about what we saw and make up what-ifs.

Half a year of good-night stories, and cuddles and waking up to your crazy hair coming out from under the covers.

Half a year of sometimes fights but fast make-ups and I'm sorry's and I love you's.

Half a year of tests, and late nights at work and hello's in the doorways and goodbyes just as fast, but half a year of being together when we can be, and making it count.

Half a year of you and me living life as us.

Best half year I ever had.


We Love You


Baby-sitting over night for four little kids (including twin 4 year olds) was so much work (my hats off to you moms out there.) For dinner everyone wants something different. No sauce on my spaghetti, no meat on mine, mine cut up in little pieces, mine with melted cheese.

Fights about what to watch, what to play, what to read before bed time, what pajamas to wear, whose turn it is to go first in the tub, whose hairbrush to use, what toothpaste to use, what song to sing, whose turn to pray first.

By the time bed came I was relieved to fall asleep, but without Kevin I couldn't fall asleep and when I did I would wake up because I thought I heard one of the kids up, or someone outside, or the telephone ringing. Getting out of bed without any sleep that night and wrestling kids into their favorite clothes (which we only locate after trying 5 other outfits), having breakfast be a repeat of dinner, socks, shoes, mittens, hats, coats, backpack, missing homework, lunches.

And then going out to my car, and seeing "We Love You" scraped onto the back windshield? Makes all of it more than worth it.


Y Ball






What started out as a harmless free date turned into the night 0f the century. (Or at least the semester). BYU holds an annual ball for married students and it is free. Free admission, free dinner, and this case, free limo rides. Julie (SIL) and Kevin (future BIL) invited Kevin and I to attend and we went albeit reluctantly since Kevin hates dancing and I am weary of any event that offers free food.

When we got there we saw married ladies dressed up in high school prom dresses, bow ties on men, and a lot of pregnant bellies on the dance floor. We also ran into Heather and Mitch, and TChelsey and Brandon who we had no idea were coming (even though we are best friends).

We took a free limo ride around the temple (Kevin's first limo ride!) pretended to drink champagne, reminisced about high school prom (am I the only one who had bad experiences 2/3 proms?) and laughed until we cried. Dorky is the new cool you guys.


Happy Sumo

On Friday night, after driving around the county looking for a mattress, we decided to end a very difficult week by going out for sushi with Tchelsey and Brandon.

Going out with them was a whole new experience. Kevin and I grew up in families where appetizers were never ordered, and when the waiter asked us what we would like to drink, our fathers would quickly state, "Water is fine," before anyone else had a chance to answer. That being said, when we go out to eat, we always look at the prices of the items, and usually end up sharing a meal. Cheapskates.

Tchelsey and Brandon made dining out an experience. We ordered four different appetizers, seven rolls of sushi, and one entree. As soon as something ran out that they liked, they would ask for more. Kevin and I looked at each other in awe. We never eat out like that. We stayed for about three hours, talking, laughing, sharing stories and eating non-stop. When the check came we didn't even care that the price was outrageous. The night was how eating out is supposed to be. And even though I think it is unwise to eat as much as you want whenever you want, it feels good sometimes to forget about money, and enjoy yourselves.

p.s. we took pictures of ourselves, but of course this is the only one that turned out.
p.p.s you would never know I lived in Japan for 8 years by the way I handle chopsticks...


Thoughts on Poetry


A few nights ago, Kevin and I were reading (well I was reading, he was watching sports re-plays on youtube) in bed, and I came across a poem I loved so much. I read it to him, as tears began welling in my eyes and he smiled at me, nodded and replied "I don't get it."

I understand that. I think poetry is one of the most misunderstood genres of writing and a lot of young people especially associate it with emo and mushy love poetry. It frustrates me, because poetry is my favorite genre of writing and it influences me more than any form of literature. Last night, still disturbed by the issue, I opened my favorite book "Good Poems for Hard Times" selected and introduced by Garrison Keillor. I read the full intro, which is something I never do because the poems themselves I always felt deserved my full attention, but I think that Keillor's introduction is poetry in and of itself, and the entire time I read it I realized it was exactly what I wanted to say to Kevin, and to you, and to anyone who maybe misunderstands poetry or thinks it still needs to rhyme, or thinks it is only about love.

Here is what Keillor says, "Poetry is a necessity as simple as the need to be touched and similarly a need that is hard to enunciate... The meaning of poetry is to give courage. A poem is not a puzzle that you the dutiful reader are obliged to solve. It is meant to poke you, get you to buck up, pay attention, rise and shine, look alive, pull up your socks, wake up and die right."

He continues, "But what really matters about poetry and what distinguishes poets from, say, fashion models or ad salesmen is the miracle of incantation in rendering the gravity and grace and beauty of the ordinary world and thereby lending courage to strangers. This is a necessary thing."

"Forget everything you ever read about poetry, it doesn't matter - poetry is the last preserve of honest speech and the outspoken heart."

Never have I read something more true, or inspired about poetry. Truly, Keillor's book is worth the $10.88 alone for the introduction. It inspired me to write real poems shamelessly. Because if we really understand poetry, we understand that the whole point is to give strangers, friends, loved ones, children - courage. And I think we could all use a little more of that.


Fake Engagements





A couple of weekends ago Kevin and I pretended to take engagements again to help Kristin Brown with a video she is making. We took them at Exchange Place in Salt Lake, and it was fun to take pictures in a city since our engagements, bridals and wedding were all in a natural setting.

Kristin was easy to work with, and her styling felt real, not contrived, which is very important when looking for a photographer. Although she took pictures in color, Kevin and I loved the black and white photos the most.

And yes, I had to bribe Kevin to take these. He told me, "I already took our engagements and that was painful enough." Luckily, the promise of Chipotle and a Prison Break marathon was enough to keep him smiling for the camera.

I love that man.




I rescued this little guy from a local thrift shop a few months ago, and finally got around to painting and recovering him. I thought I took a before picture, but can't find it anywhere! Just know that it was pretty sad.

With my friend TChelsey's help (pronounced Chelsea but spelled like Tchaikovsky) he turned out beautifully.

First we sanded it down, applied a couple coats of high-gloss white paint, removed the old fabric from the back of the stool, updated the batting, and then stapled the new fabric on. It was actually easier than expected, and adds a fun and modern piece to my developing living room, which is developing into a lot of pink and glam much to Kevin's chagrin.




I think I might be getting old young. I used to cry all the time, but it usually wasn't when I was happy, it was when I was sad. But now I find myself crying about everything all of the time, and I can't explain it.

I remember going to a Utah State hockey game with my BFF Lizzie. I don't remember anything about the game itself (although I love to watch hockey live more than any other sport) but I remember the half-time so vividly.

A team of little girls on ice skates came out holding hands, in little blue leotards with fur capes. They performed, and then all of the skaters exited the rink except one. The one skater began moving so gracefully on the ice, dancing and twirling, and moving so exceptionally for someone so small. I felt my eyes well up with tears at the sheer beauty of it. It felt like there was nothing bad in the world at that time. When it finally finished, cold tears were running down my face, and I looked over at Liz and her eyes were filled with tears also. And now we look back and laugh at it, and we both can't explain what it was that touched us so deeply, but it was there and the emotions were real.

Now that I am older I feel like I recognize beauty more distinctly. A piano student finally grasping a concept and improving because of it, an email from my sister who is thousands of miles away, but still makes me laugh as hard as if she were next to me, watching my sister-in-law make wedding plans and realizing that she is making the way for her own family, and seeing my husband study for hours because he believes in us, and our future.

I still cry selfish tears, but more often I am finding myself get emotional over things that never would have touched me before. And although I recognize that I need to reign it in sometimes because I don't want to be one of those moms who cries when their kid ties his or her shoelaces for the first time, I don't think I will ever get over the beauty of relationships, and life, and its unexpected way of teaching you that people matter more than anything.


Dining Room

I can't handle eating on the floor anymore. Or the couch (which really isn't an upgrade) and is white, which worries me a little.
My goal for February is to pull the dining room together. Which actually isn't a room, just a space we have for a table and chairs. I want the living and the dining room to feel like two separate rooms though, because tying them together would look too matchy-matchy.
We got a free table off of craigslist, which I love. It is walnut now, and a little scratched up but we are going to paint it in a glossy black. The chairs are old Louis chairs I bought on craigslist also, and although I am attempting to upholster two of them for the living room, I think I am going to pay an upholsterer to do them in a white pleather or something like that. I want them to be easy to clean, and durable but still look elegant and a little bit extravagant. I also want nailhead trim on them, so they look a little like these chairs by Sixx Design.
A lot of this is just speculation, but since this is a source of creative inspiration for me, organizing my thoughts and visualizing the space is helping me realize which direction I want to go in.
Thanks for being my sounding board friends :)