Courage to Blog

It is easy to forget why I started here.
In the days before giveaways, and sponsors, and formspring - -
there existed just me, a confused, lonely freshman who took her feelings out,
not on her roommate, although it may have happened once or twice (Sorry Lizzie).
Not on her boyfriend at the time who came to be someone she doesn't think about anymore
because the forever one was thousands of miles away in Argentina.
(She just didn't know it yet.)
Or on her journal, which sat stationary in the draw under her desk - willing, even desiring to accept her secrets but instead collecting dust, while the girl sat down at her computer,
afraid to sort out her feelings, because she was afraid of what might be in there. Inside her.
Doubt? Yes. Uncertainty? Yes. Courage? Enough.
She cracked open the computer, typed in the words -
And started a blog.

500 posts later, I am so grateful for that little bit of courage, that enabled me to find myself through my own words, my keyboard, and the kindness of strangers that have become my friends. Thank you, each of you who have helped me find my voice. For every comment that inspired me and motivated me and reminded me that blogging isn't to become popular or recognized or paid. It is to write about our lives and our moments and our feelings so that we can bless others and meet ourselves again and again.


Wherein Kevin Convinces Me to Sell our Entire Living Room





For details and prices, go to my Shop blog. I kind of can't believe I am doing this...


Mastering Macarons

I attended my first ever cooking class (hopefully not my last!) at Sur la Table with my sister Melissa (who flew in mere hours before the class and came straight from the airport.) We have been wanting to learn how to make these temperamental cookies for awhile, which Chef Andrew Young our instructor calls, "The cupcakes of the future." While I am not sure I have "mastered" the art of macarons, the class taught me SO much and I am excited to experiment with different flavors and colors at home.


Did I mention that Melissa is pregnant? She is the cutest thing ever.



The flavors we made were: Hazelnut Macarons with Praline Buttercream, Banana Macarons with Banana Custard Cream, Pistachio Macarons with Chocolate Ganache and Chocolate Macarons with Salted Caramel. When I am brave enough to try them on my own I will post a tutorial. And if anyone is interested in the packet the chef gave us with the recipes and tips, send me an email. I will send it out when Sur La Table sends it to me.




Kevin and I talk about whether we have a boy or girl first, what we will name our future children, how we will raise them, and I always say that I don't care if we have boys or girls, and I kind of mean it.

But then I think of my sisters, and how lucky I am to have so many who all love me. My mom always called them my "built in best friends," and although I didn't always see it that way I do now. In Little Women Jo says, "I could never love anyone like I love my sisters," and I know how she feels. So to say that I don't care if we have boys or girls might be a little bit of a lie, because I wish everyone could have been raised with so many sisters like me.

(Kevin would argue that brothers are best.)



I met Sheryl as an EFY camp counselor, the same time I met Kevin. She is a really special person and I don't say that about a lot of people. She is probably one of the strongest individuals I know and has done so much good in this world already. Every time she comes to Utah we go to Jdawgs :) and this weekend we continued our ritual. I always leave inspired and uplifted after meeting with her.

Sheryl and I in July 2010


Sheryl and I this weekend.


And if you really want to see the type of person Sheryl is, you can. She was recently filmed for an lds.org video. Watch it to be inspired by her like I am.


Why I studied What I studied

There was a running joke in my English program at BYU that went something like this: "Hi, I got my BA in English. Do you want fries with that?"

My parents warned me that there was nothing I could do with a BA in English. They urged me to get my teaching degree "Just in case," but I didn't want to be a teacher, I wanted to be a writer. I see now it was love and concern that spurred these comments, and I think teaching is an honorable profession, just not what I wanted to do.

I have been asked why I studied English. "Do you just like reading a lot?" people asked me. Or, "Oh that's great, do you want to be a teacher?" "Do you want to edit?"Or the fan favorite, "What are you going to do with that?"

What does anyone do with any major? I am going to work, and wherever I work I am going to contribute new ideas to my company. I am going to pursue whatever dream I have because regardless of what your degree is in your dreams don't necessarily change. And I am going to think most of all, because that is what any Bachelors degree teaches you to do.

I know being a nurse, or an accountant, or a teacher is more practical than a BA in English. But I tried the nursing thing and hated it, I am terrible at math, and I don't want to grade papers. I want to write books and poems and have children and teach them how to express their thoughts and feelings, and read them Wordsworth and Austen before bed, and practice articulating my thoughts accurately. And most of all, be happy.

You can learn a lot of things, but learning more about what you love makes you happy. Or at least teaches you to pursue what makes you happy. And that's why I majored in English.


First Boat Ride of Summer








This Saturday we took the boat out on its first excursion. A lot of things remind me of summer. Popsicles, swimming suits, parades, carnivals and the smell of sunscreen - but nothing feels more like summer than boating for me. Since I was a little girl we would go boating almost every Saturday, and nothing feels like summer like a boat and the sun and the lake with my dad at the wheel and red vines and Dr. Pepper and the first icy cold tingle when you jump in the lake, and the feel of the ski underneath you while you zip in and out of this ocean that seems made for you and this moment and this experience exclusively.


Gotta Get Down on Friday

Something kind of nice is that Fridays occur weekly. They're not like Christmas, which disappointingly only comes once a year and is so fun that every time it is Christmas I feel a lot of pressure to enjoy it to the fullest and get super depressed around 3:00 because it's almost over, and I have to wait for a whole year again. Same with my birthday, which sadly comes around two weeks before Christmas, so all of my fun has to be spent in one month, but people are usually into Christmas and not my birthday so sometimes it gets overlooked which is sad because it is the best day of the year (for me). (Any other whiny Decembers out there?)

But Fridays, they never disappoint. The promise of a shiny weekend, where I can sleep in, and exercise and lounge around playing cards and watching Parks and Rec with Kev until 6:00, wherein we shower and go out on a date, or sometimes just opt for a drive through and more shows and snuggles. I get to see my family, eat my mom's terrific cooking, go shopping, and take long runs down the canyon. (Weather permitting.)

There are a lot of hard things in life and I feel down more than I should, but Fridays remind me that the hard things fill in the gaps of the good things. Fridays and I love each other.



We all have fashion icons. Alexa Chung, Kate Moss, Jenna Lyons. Mine is fictional, but very real. Blair Waldorf. As bad as it is, when I have gone shopping lately I tend to ask myself before a purchase, "Would Blair wear this?" Somehow if the answer is no, it ends up back on the rack.





WWBW. What Would Blair Wear is taking over my life. Someone help.



Most of you have probably already heard of Lonny, but if not, let me just say that it is easily the best design magazine available. I was a little too young to get on the Domino train (RIP Domino), but Lonny has got to be a good replacement. It is free, original, and if you aren't into home design yet, you will be after reading Lonny. Every issue is like Christmas to me.






Do you Lonny too?


Celebrity Look alike

A friend asked me which celebrity I am told I look like recently, and it made me laugh. I have been told I look like everyone under the sun from Mischa Barton to Kate Beckinsale to a white Beyonce (yeah, what?). Since I have been told so many different people, I feel like none of them really count.

Last night I saw Something Borrowed however, and laughed every time John Krasinski did pretty much anything. Most people who know Kevin thinks he is strikingly similar to John both in looks and mannerisms and I have to agree. So glad he doesn't resemble Edward. (Sorry Twilight fans).


Which celebrity are you told you look like?



The main thing that gets me through a tough week is the promise of a date with Kevin. I dragged him to Sammy's, a local burger joint that I love and he hates. He thinks it is overpriced and comparable to Wendy's, but I totally disagree. Their battered fries and pie shakes are just what I need after a long week. In a trashy/classy kind of way.

And - if you are interested in some entertainment while there, check out the sign outside the restaurant. We laughed so hard the people around us kept turning around and staring, but after we left we saw them crowd around the sign as well. Gotta love Provo Center Street





Wedding Weekend






We had two weddings back to back this weekend. The first was for my cousin Stefan and his new wife Jamie. The second was for my friend Maddi and her new husband Rick. Both weddings were beautiful. It is the best thing in life to get together as family and friends and celebrate the new additions to your lives. I really believe that.

p.s. I accidentally matched both weddings. Yellow for Stefan's and Tiffany Blue for Maddi's.
p.p.s Aren't my little brother and sister the cutest people on the earth? They really are.


Water for Elephants (the book)

"Life is the most spectacular show on earth "

My best motivation for reading books I meant to read a long time ago is a movie release of the book. I see the trailer and then the book seems so good and I can't wait to read it before the movie comes out. That was definitely the case with Water for Elephants, and will probably be the case with The Help. I wish I had been able to imagine Jacob as someone other than Edward from Twilight though (pretty ironic his name is Jacob in this movie...) but otherwise I loved the book.

I loved the book in the way that I couldn't put it down, even though at times it was gruesome or risque, I could always count on it to come around, and it always did. (Similar to The Time Traveler's Wife.) The circus life was so wild, and extreme and colossally dramatic that it was interesting to realize that people really did (and I suppose really do,) live their lives on trains, traveling with the circus.

It has been a long time since I felt afraid for the characters in the way I was afraid in this book. So many threats and mysteries and so much danger in a way that I was pleasantly surprised at how the book took a turn, but not so surprised that it was extreme or fake. Just a good old-fashioned web of romance and danger and compassion. You also really come to love Jacob and Marlena, as well as Rosie and Walter. It is important to me when I read anything to come to love certain characters, and despise others. It is a sign that I am invested in the story.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. (Just a warning - there are some pretty explicit sex scenes.) I can't wait for the movie now. Did you see it? Or read the book? How does it compare?


(late) mother's day


My mom tells the story of my birth every time I have a birthday. My dad was thousands of miles away in Japan, and I was supposed to come on Christmas. Two weeks early, she delivered me by herself, and - because she was alone, she asked the nurse to bring me in to her room so she could hold me all night. She didn't want to be alone.

I love to think about that time. I think those hours set a precedence of love and friendship and understanding that have followed me throughout my life with my mom. She loved me in my early years - with memories of teaching me to read, each letter shaping who I would become, what I would love - allowing me to wear my favorite chicken dress everyday and staying up late to wash it at night so it would be clean for me in the morning - shaping my imagination with trips to the library, and prompts for new stories and poems.

And my later years - where she put up with my teenage attitude, my complaining about clothes and boys, the times where she would tell me she loved me at random, which is exactly what I needed to hear then. She always knew when I felt unloved. She always reminded me that even if no one else loved me, she did.

That's the thing about mom's. They love you most, and in turn - teach you to love yourself. Which I believe, is the most important thing you can do.

Happy Mother's day to all of those mom's out there.


Weeks Pass By

I look forward to payday all two weeks, and then when it comes I feel massively disappointed, because I have to start waiting again from the beginning. ?

I have two weddings to attend this weekend. I have never been to two back to back but I think I will feel so much love after them both. I can't wait.

I told Kevin he needs to give me a Mother's day gift. I know I'm not a mother yet, but I have put up with a lot throughout the years so I could potentially be one. That's worth a new pair of shoes and chocolate, right?

I got pulled over yesterday for my first time ever. It should have been a $1,000.00 ticket. I got off with $40.00 because I cried. I wasn't even trying to get out of it, I legitimately cried over it. Maybe I'll never grow up.

I look pretty in black and yellow.

Dear Elizabeth sent me a letter today. I wanted to reach through the letter and hug her so much my eyes well with tears when I think about hugging her. She gives the best hugs.

I fell asleep last night so scared. When I woke up I was holding hands with Kevin. Being married is so beautiful. You always have someone, even subconsciously.

This week, despite its ups and downs was so good to me. Everyday is. I struggle with negative thoughts, but at heart I desperately want to be an optimist.

Life is so good.



Something about this day just gets me. I don't know much about Mexico, but I really love celebrating Cinco de Mayo. The bright colors, the mariachi music, and the chips and guacamole. Such a happy holiday. I used to get annoyed when people recognized holidays like Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick's Day, but now I think any reason to celebrate is worthwhile. If it makes you happy, and gives you something to look forward to - there is no harm in that at all.

(p.s. In the spirit of Cinco, I went to Zumba last night. So sore I can barely type. Do you Zumba?)

photos via