love languages

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I have had friends and co-workers ask me what my love language is, and to be candid - I hate that question. Just because someone decided that there are five love languages, people seem to believe that there is this one way you feel loved in order to be fulfilled. If you have ever been in love, you know that there is no such thing as a love language - but there are thousands of languages, and some are learned and some are innate and some are as foreign as the gaping universe surrounding each of us but there is no such thing as one.

The first time I ever cried with Kevin, was in a hammock in the park. The stars stretched out above us - as they did for every important moment in our love life, and we listened to Ryan Adams on my iPod, each of us sharing a bud. My mom left for Connecticut earlier that day, and I was leaving to Hawaii in a week. He didn't say anything as he felt the tears stream down my face, but his hold got a little tighter, and he kissed me on the forehead. I didn't want him to say anything - I already knew.

The first time he told me he loved me I heard it, but the first time I really knew he loved me was when he barraged back from security as he was leaving the airport in Hawaii to pick me up one more time and kiss me goodbye. He had said "I love you" hundreds of times prior but that was the first time I believed him.

Then on the day of our wedding when he showed up at my house and looked so real and full in my doorway and asked me how I slept with a kiss on the cheek, and his hands in his pockets. That said it all. "I love you, I'm not going to try to make you any more nervous than you already are by telling you how much I love you, but I want to do this still if you do."

So I guess my answer is, that I don't believe in love languages but I do believe in love. I believe that you need someone who really knows you, and how you want to be loved, otherwise you begin to wonder, "what is my love language, anyway?"


piece of foreign sky

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I'm not pregnant, and I'm not sure I am ready yet, but that doesn't mean I don't think about being a mom almost every day. It is easy for Kevin and I to think of the things we would miss if we had a baby - vacations, money, career advances, etc. but I read this Anne Campbell poem at a doctor's office a few years ago and think about it a lot.

“You are the trip I did not take; You are the pearls I cannot buy; You are my blue Italian lake; You are my piece of foreign sky.”

Such a beautiful way to express the way I feel about becoming a mother someday.

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The Wednesday Wars

“Think of the sound you make when you let go after holding your breath for a very, very long time. Think of the gladdest sound you know: the sound of dawn on the first day of spring break, the sound of a bottle of Coke opening, the sound of a crowd cheering in your ears because you're coming down to the last part of a race--and you're ahead. Think of the sound of water over stones in a cold stream, and the sound of wind through green trees on a late May afternoon in Central Park. Think of the sound of a bus coming into the station carrying someone you love. Then put all those together.”

After several recommendations to read The Wednesday Wars, her review set me over the edge and I bought a copy at Powell's books in Portland. (my favorite place I went while I was there)

This was a special kind of book, and maybe my favorite since Walk Two Moons. It is young adult fiction which is my favorite genre and not because you don't have to think so hard - which is a misconception about good young adult fiction. I love it because it is unpretentious and it moves fast, and the characters are lovable and believe in the reality of their dreams. Of course that description does not sum up all young adult fiction, but it does sum up the good kind.

This book was emotional for me. I loved Holling so much I wished I could sit down with him and talk about Shakespeare. The book is funny - and it doesn't try too hard, it just is. If you ever thought that Shakespeare was boring, Holling will change your mind. I opened up to my copy of The Tempest after reading this, and was immediately taken back to 6th grade when I was Miranda in my class play, truly believing I was on Broadway and that this performance would be my big break. That is the thing about Y.A.F - it reminds you of who you were. I really liked who I was then and although I like myself now, I think was more lovable as a 6th grader - probably most of us were.

The Wednesday Wars went deeper than most Y.A.F but the tone was still kept light and funny. Schmidt covers war, humiliation, friendship, love, growing up, relationships, etc. in this book that literally took me 5 hours to read - (waiting at the airport, plane, traveling in general). I laughed out loud while reading it, and Kevin would keep asking me to read those parts to him. I sobbed too, on the plane, using the napkin the stewardess gave me as a tissue and burying my face in Kevin's shirt. The best kinds of books will do that to you.

Creatively, The Wednesday Wars inspired me. So simple in its approach, but so meaningful and so beautifully written. As I turned each page, I got so excited to have a child someday who could read this book and experience what I did as I read. There is something so unique about a book that you don't have to analyze too much, but that makes you feel something anyway. I think that even if you are into Safran and Morrison you would love this book. It is beautiful and witty and thoughtful from front to back.

Have you read The Wednesday Wars? What did you think?


Portland II



The last of our Portland photos via Instagram. Do you have Instagram? My username is mvoisin. Follow me so I can follow you! It is my new favorite app.

And, happy weekend everybody.


The Historian

“As a historian, I have learned that, in fact, not everyone who reaches back into history can survive it. And it is not only reaching back that endangers us; sometimes history itself reaches inexorably forward for us with its shadowy claws.”

I haven't reviewed a book in awhile not because I forgot, but because I have been reading this one. The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova was a large literary journey for me not only because of its length (900+ pages) but because of the way it is written and its density. After all of my sisters and my mom finished it with raving reviews however, I knew I needed to read it for myself and I don't regret a page.

It is a book about Dracula - or rather, two young historians and their search for Dracula. It was dangerous and enticing at times, but also very philosophical and thoughtful in its approach. I knew vaguely that Dracula was based off of Vlad Tepes sometime in the 1400's, but there is so much more to that story. How he would impale his enemies and even followers violently. How he created an extensive following based off of The Order of the Dragon, and how he vowed to live forever (in history at least.) It definitely puts The Twilight series to shame, because to me, the Twilight series did a poor job of frightening the reader. In that series, vampires are protectors who suck the blood of animals and protect humans whereas in this more realistic novel, vampires are much more terrifying, and their existence much more believable.Of course mixed in with the historical research and escapades (which at times were a little dry to me,) was a love story that I found sweet and realistic.

One problem I had with the book though, was that it mixed fact with fiction. It was difficult for me to decipher what was real and what was fabricated, which was frustrating. I would have liked some kind of foreword or note from the author clearing up what was real or not. After I read it I googled Vlad Tepes trying to learn more about his real life, but I would have liked that to be more clear in the book.

Otherwise, it was a great read. Ambitious, but intriguing and by the end I really loved the characters. I would recommend reading it if you have a large stretch of time to read - say, a vacation or a long plane ride.

Have you read The Historian? What did you think?


Multnomah Falls





One of the best parts about our trip to Portland was the hike to the top of Multnomah Falls. I thought the legend of the falls was beautiful, and remembered hearing about it somewhere. On our drive home I realized that it was in the book The Shack which I reviewed awhile ago. Such a beautiful legend, and a beautiful place. I highly recommend it if you ever visit Portland.

There was a terrible sickness that threatened lives of the Multnomah people. An old medicine man revealed that the sickness had been foretold but that it would pass if a maiden descendant of a tribal chief would throw herself from a high cliff above the big river and onto the rocks below. The chief was not willing to sacrifice any of the princesses, so he elected to allow the sickness to run it’s course.

When the Chief’s daughter saw that the sickness had affected her lover, she went up to the top of the cliff and threw herself to the rocks below. Upon her death, the sickness immediately began to leave the affected people.

Now, when the breeze blows through the water, a silvery stream separates from the upper falls. The misty stream fashions a form of the maiden, a token of the “Great Spirit’s” acceptance of her sacrifice.


Portland I

Just some snapshots from our weekend in Portland. There were so many good things about this weekend, but the food is at the top of the list. Someone told me that a bad meal does not exist in Portland, and we found that to be true. Pok Pok, Tasty n Sons, Jade and Pine State Biscuits were our very favorites. Our first meal (at Pok Pok) Kevin and I didn't talk for 15 minutes straight. The food triggered some kind of sensory overload. I could write heart-wrenching poetry about the food it was that good, and yes that is only a slight exaggeration.







We are already planning our next trip back to Portland. I loved everything about it there.

Thank you so much for your recommendations!


Portland Bound

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For the first time in what feels like forever, I am traveling for pleasure and not business. For our anniversary I gave Kevin tickets to a BYU football away game and plane tickets to Portland. We leave tonight and I can think of nothing I'd rather do than spend a whole weekend with Kev exploring a new city.

Any Portland natives who have suggestions for us? We want to see the best that city has to offer.



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Yesterday night for a few minutes it was so quiet.
Kevin was out playing basketball with the boys,
I was snuggled up in bed with wet hair and thermals, and I wasn't reading, or sleeping -
I wasn't even praying
although I suppose you could call my thoughts a form of prayer.

As much as I love the hustle and bustle of my daily life,
there is nothing quite like being alone with quiet.
When I sit there, I like to imagine my heart beats as the only sounds
on this whole earth,
spreading blood like Christmas cheer throughout this body -
and then my breaths rising and falling without a care -
happy to be considered,
and my own mind taking itself where it wants to go,
without books or television or other people telling me where to take it.

It is myself taking time to listen to me.
sometimes I guess my subconscious just wants to be heard.


alone but not lonely

being married isn't so hard,
except that you have to be willing to make sacrifices you weren't willing to make before.
sacrifices that involve not being alone for long periods of time.
- - but you'd rather be with him than alone anyway,
you just don't realize it when you have been with him for a long time.

when you finally get to be alone you enjoy the first hour or so,
and then you realize that those sacrifices are nothing at all
because you'd much rather be with him
than with yourself.
you like yourself. maybe even love yourself, but not as much as he loves you.

besides, it is much better to be alone and know you are loved
than alone - really alone.
because when you are alone without him and he is somewhere else
you still know you're not really alone,
because you are loved by him.
you will find yourself wishing all that time apart would end already.

you are your best selves together, whether you realize it or not.
(and your worst selves too, just to keep things interesting.)

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cutest gift


My sister Melissa was afraid that after she got pregnant she wouldn't be able to go anywhere. (Something I can totally relate to - at least as far as marriage goes.) My brother-in-law Chris who really knows how to take care of his wife, gave her this piece of art as a post-pregnancy gift. It showcases all of the places she went while pregnant with Harry. I love seeing him at the bottom of the picture. How cool it will be for him to someday see this picture and all of the places he went before coming to earth.

photo via

it's not personal, it's business

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I have been in the business world for over a year now, and it is not what I expected so far. Having started in a small company with a lot of room to grow I went from being a personal assistant to the Director of Public Relations. These months of growth have taught me a lot about how to be in the business world - and how to be a young woman while you're at it.

The first thing to remember is that nothing is personal. I remember tearing up in meetings when I realized I didn't finish a project by deadline, or during a critique of my press releases. A year of business has made me much more tough. Everyone is just trying to do their job, and getting critique is a great way to show that you can grow and are an adaptable employee. When you take things personally you are showing that you are not able to take criticism. And there is no room for tears in the workplace. I learned that the hard way :)

Another thing I have learned is that it is so important to finish every task you are assigned. When you are young and in the workplace you are expendable - especially, it seems as a female. Prove that you can get things done on time and get them done well. I have made sure I can account for everything under my jurisdiction.

Don't be afraid to be a boss. When I first had employees to direct I was terribly intimidated. Not only are some of them older women, but I had men to direct too. I had a hard time at first showing them that I could do it. Then I realized that just because I am a young woman I know what I am doing. There is a reason I was given this opportunity. Delegating became easier once I realized that.

Something else I have done is set my expectations high for my employer. I have been frank and honest with him, showing what I have done, telling him when I feel I deserve a raise or specific opportunity, and telling him I can prove myself. I used to be so weak in the workplace. I would work a job for a year and not ask for a raise when I deserved one because I would rather get paid less and avoid the awkward conversation. I will never do that again. I think it shows confidence and a clear direction when you are not afraid to ask for what you want.

Lastly, I have made it clear what I am and am not okay with. Often I go on business trips with just older men and myself. During dinner appointments and tradeshows as well I am almost always the only girl. I have made it clear when I feel uncomfortable at times. The men I work with now respect me for that and are careful about what they say in my presence, and how they act around me. I feel like we have become friends because I have shown them that I am not afraid to stand up for myself.

It isn't easy being a young girl in the business world and to be honest, I never imagined myself here. But now that I am here, I love what I do and I enjoy working so much. It gives me fulfillment in a way that school never did.

Any other young girls in the workplace who can relate? I would love to hear your experiences/stories.


wherein i read old journals before bed

My entire life I have written in a journal - well, ever since I could write. I filled almost three journals with the following entry:

"Today I woke up. I practiced my violin and piano and went to school. I came home and played with my sisters. We made popcorn for dinner and watched Robin Hood. Now I am writing in my journal and soon I will go to bed. The end."

My sister Lacey was reading over my shoulder one evening as I wrote and said, "Mandy - you are supposed to write about your feelings! That is what a journal is."

I was terribly confused. This thing I thought I was doing so well, I was actually doing completely wrong. That was the first time I tried to keep in touch with my feelings - and my journals have taken me everywhere since.

There have been times however, when I have not kept a journal and it is those times I have found, that I do not want to remember. Those times left empty spaces in my journals. There have been times when my feelings are all too encompassing and I feel there is no space to say what needs to be said. Those times have left empty spaces in my journals. There have been times of great sadness, where my lungs felt they would cave in and I considered it a success when I cried roughly twice before breakfast. Those times have left empty spaces.

But when I read the pages between those spaces, I realize that I have lived a truly extraordinary life. I have learned to record my feelings and thoughts. I have covered grocery store visits to the spider in the curtains, to a series of bad days I thought would never end. I have written about the boys I kissed, my musings at Walden pond and my first time I set foot in Grand Central Station, my feet buzzing with excitement, my heart thumping. I have tear soaked pages and notes from friends tucked into the corners. I have written, "Falling in love is simple, falling out of love is so much more painful," and - "He loves me. Did you remember that? He told me twice," and "In tears, she took the lei's and kissed each man on the cheek."

I wrote in my journal in Hawaii about how terribly I missed my mom. How I would sob thinking about her being across the country in Connecticut without me. I have written about the time I cried at the circus, because the acrobats were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I ended my most recent journal with a favorite poem by Hopkins - "Glory be to God for dappled things - ... All things counter, original, spare, strange; whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With soft, slow, sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers forth whose beauty is past change. Praise him."

It makes me laugh now, because these journals brought out the dappled in me. My original, spare, strange, fickle, freckled, sweet, soft and adazzled self is encompassed in these pages. And somehow these pages make me feel honest about myself and this life.

I have an entire Bildungsroman novel tucked into those pages. The story of how I became who I am.