Feb 25, 2016

Small town girl living in the big city.

So, here’s the thing, I’ve learned recently how easy it can be to get caught up in being someone you’re not. I’m going to start by saying that I have nothing against the people who began to influence me or the things that they were doing. It just wasn’t me.  It wasn’t who I am.
Like most things in my life lately, it started with the wedding. I was talking with some of my friends about it and the planning and of course the subject of hair and make up came up. They asked if I was going to get hair and eyelash extensions. I’d never really thought about it before. I’d just barley started to realize how full and luscious hair extensions could make your hair look. My sister-in-law always has fake eyelashes, so I’d seen hers lots of times and they look great, but it wasn’t something I’d ever considered for myself. On top of hair and makeup, the topic of spray tans came up. Specifically, contouring spray tans. If you’re like I was and don’t know what that is, they basically spray you to make you look skinny and toned. Magic, right?

I began to really think about doing those things. Every girl wants to look flawless on her wedding day! And I knew those were things that could help with that. On the other hand, I also thought about waking up next to my husband for the first time. We’d been on trips and camping and things like that together, so he definitely already knows what I look like first thing in the morning when I wake up, but that’s not the same. I mentioned to my friends that I wanted my husband to actually see me when we woke up, and one of the girls said, “Not me! I’m going to be as fake as possible, and I’m going to look sexy!”

So I kept thinking about it. I couldn’t quite let it go. So I thought maybe I’d try it out. I asked my sister-in-law if she would do my makeup for me. She does an AMAZING job and always looks flawless. I still wasn’t sure if I’d want her style of makeup on my wedding day, but we decided to do a test run. And I did look good. I had no doubt that my skin would look flawless in every picture that was taken that day. But every time I looked in the mirror, I had a hard time recognizing the girl looking back at me. I couldn’t see past the makeup. My husband, sweet guy that he is, just kept saying, “It looks good. It’s different, but it looks good.” He tries to not sway me by his opinions. By the end of the day, my mind was made up. I didn’t want to look or feel like someone else on my wedding day. I didn’t want to look like someone else and not recognize myself in my wedding pictures.

It may sound like a simple thing, but during the few weeks that all of this was happening, I found myself caught up in a world of expensive makeup (which actually is really amazing. I still love and fully support it), extensions, and basically things that are just... fake. Again, totally not judging people who like those things. I fully support women doing whatever they want to feel good about themselves. It just wasn’t me. But because it felt like everyone around cared so much about those things, I began to understand how people can change who they are to fit in with the people around them. I felt pressured to do things I never thought I would care about. And in reality, as soon as I stopped caring about what other people would think of me, I really didn’t care about extensions and contouring spray tans at all!

At the end of the day, all I cared about was my fiancĂ©. And that we would soon finally be married. I have always known that he loves me for me. It just took me some time to realize that me was who he wanted to marry. I didn’t need to become someone else just to look flawless for our wedding day. He loves me and we were getting married. That’s all that mattered. And the best part was, I felt like me on my wedding day. I looked like me. 

And this guy became mine for the rest of forever. Isn't he handsome? I sure think so :)

So, if you find yourself living in a new place surrounded by new people, always remember who you are. Don’t be afraid to just be yourself. You don’t always have to care about the things that the people you care about do. And if you find that you are losing yourself to the people or the things around you, in my experience, nothing will help you find yourself again better than the people you love and a trip home.

Feb 23, 2016

"Adventure may hurt you, but monotony will kill you."

            So here’s the thing, I’m going to start by being honest and saying that this blog post is going to be very different than what I originally thought it was going to be, and I’m really happy about the new direction that I was obviously inspired to take it.

            Monotony. The day-to-day grind. Doing the same thing, day in, day out. We’ve all been there. It’s killer. I don’t think I’ve found a single thing that makes me dream of adventures the way monotony does. I’ve come to find that adventure takes on two different meanings for me, depending on the context of what I’m saying. Two. No more. No less.

Adventure- n. Something grand and exciting that happens; a story that’s one for the books- you know it will be one of your (obviously many) go-to “look at how awesome I am and be jealous” party stores; when it happens, if you stop for even half a second to appreciate the moment you’re living, you can’t help but think, “wow. This is my life. I can’t believe I’m doing this.”

Adventure- n. A small moment, not always noteworthy, but light-hearted and fun in the middle of a crazy, busy, and stressful (read: normal) life.

            I’m going to make a generalization here, and say that many people like to dream about the first definition. However, I’m come to learn that while those adventures are very close to my heart, and always amazing experiences, it’s the second definition that keeps monotony from killing you. Those are the adventures that may hurt in some way- your health, your grades, whatever it may be- but they’re also the ones that make you smile when you look back on them. They’re the ones that make life interesting. Here are a few of mine.... I hope they inspire you to make your own. Also, as I started looking through pictures, I found a lot more than I meant to. So.... #sorrynotsorry

 Sometimes your adventure is throwing a watermelon out your 8-story window....
 ... Or taking a picture laying in the middle of the road...
 ... Buying a 10 gallon bag of popcorn.... 
 ... Dancing in the rain in the middle of a parking lot....
 .... A bunch of Mexican kid ganging up on you while arm wrestling....
 .... Doing homework like this....
 .... Having a junk food Lord of the Rings marathon for your birthday....
 .... Coming to a stalemate with Poli-Sci majors in a match of Lord of the Rings Risk....
 ... Sitting on Joseph Smith's floor and taking a picture even though you're not supposed to....
 .... Chalk drawings. I won't say where. 
 Sometimes your daily adventure is a paint fight with friends...
 .... Finding the giant "cans of Coke" in Idaho....
 .... Supermanning in Glacier National Park....
 .... Experiencing gravity is an unnatural way....
 .... Randomly stopping to pick huckleberries with your dad....
 ... Getting caught in a rain storm trying to go to your first BYU game....
 ... Putting your niece in a conveniently-placed, totally stable bowl on the counter....

 .... Or facing a fear and acting like a child, all in one night.
 Sometimes your adventure is the most exhausting 24 hours of your life. Questival. If you don't understand, you need to learn. 
 Sometimes your daily adventure is a week of creating something truly special with truly special people. #dreamteam #dreamathoningforlife
 Sometimes adventure is playing in an Old West- themed shooting range....
 .... Or developing a love/hate relationship with some teenagers....
 .... Driving a 1928 bus.....
 .... Jumping in freezing cold mountain water. In August....
 ..... Teaching a friend how to properly road trip....
 .... Laying upside down on the Y, because peer pressure....
 ..... Eating a "Weird Food of the Week" that only happened one week....
 .... Painting a new friend's face....
 .... Watching the lunar eclipse at 3 a.m.....
 .... Taking desperate measures to get a real Christmas tree in your apartment....
 .... Playing wheelchair basketball....
 .... Going on a road trip to Canada with your two best friends. Just for breakfast.
 .... Falling in love with your best friend....
.... Or creating unforgettable memories. 

Whatever your adventure may be, go find it. Don't let monotony kill you. And don't think that your adventure has to be something big and grand, just do something silly and enjoy the moment.

Feb 15, 2016

I have a friend named...

I have a friend named Stella. Or Kelsie. I call her Kelsie. Usually. And this blog post was inspired by a blog post of hers. She wrote about her two very simple goals for 2016: be present; be intentional. That's it. Sounds simple enough right? In theory, maybe, yes. Absolutely. In practice, not so much. Apparently Stella used to have a blog. One that she gave up on awhile back. But she's determined not to give up, and to work to do this thing she's always wanted to do. Stella has always inspired me. She's inspired me to follow my dreams and to make my passions a part of my life. She's inspired me to work hard, find balance, and not make excuses. So, this blog post, is a shout out to Stella. And all of the rest of my friends (not all of them are mentioned) who have provided me with form of inspiration or life lesson that happens to be sticking out to me on this night while I'm avoiding my homework that requires a significant amount of effort. Clearly I'm not quite living up to Stella's hard work ethic at the moment.

I have a friend named Heather. Heather is one of the most persistent and determined people I know. Heather never gives up. She always keeps going. Even when life is getting her down and she's not sure what to do and everything seems to be falling apart, she keeps going.

I have a friend named Nicole. She also happens to be my big sister. She has always been my hero and one of the people I look up most in the world. She's taught me a lot of things over the years (including what happens when you are pulled across the carpet wearing nothing but your underwear. Spoiler alert: you get a rug burn on your butt). But most recently, Nicole is teaching me what it means to be a mother. Nicole teaches me how to create memories for my family and how to make a home. She teaches me how to teach kids that it's ok to feel different emotions, and how to deal with them. She teaches me that pinterest really does have recipes worth not only finding, but actually trying. And she teaches me that no matter what, your sister will always be your best friend.

I have a friend named Jackie. Jackie has been my saving grace more times than I could count. She made the torturous classes fun, the boring homework entertaining, and was my sassy with mild swearing friend when I needed to lighten up.

I have a friend named Tess. Tess taught me to just relax. Tess taught me to hold on to the things that I love. She taught me that there's always time for hobbies and talents and friends. Tess taught me that sometimes you can be best friends with someone you might never fully understand- because you're so different. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Tess is on her mission right now, and I miss her like crazy, even though I'm terrible at writing to her.

I have a friend named Aubree. Aubree taught me that you might come to really value someone you thought you could never get along with. She taught me that sometimes you need to talk to someone with a different perspective, and sometimes, that perspective will give you the encouragement you need to make one tiny decision that will change your life.

I have a friend named Michelle. Michelle taught me that it's ok to do things in life just because you want to. Just for the experience. She taught me that it's ok to not have your life figured out, as long as you're enjoying the ride and living life to the fullest.

I have a friend named Karsen. Karsen taught me that everyone needs a little bit of the South in their life. That a girl can take on the world as long as she has a pair of cowboy boots and a solid set of roots to remember where she came from.

I have a friend named Macie. Macie taught me that some people really can be a friend to anyone, and still be a real, normal person.

I have another friend named Michelle. And Michelle taught me how important it is to be intentional in keeping God in the middle of you and your husband's relationship. She taught me how to keep Christ in your family.

Tonight, on this night of avoiding homework, I'm realizing that my friends have taught me so much more than I'd realized, and I'm so incredibly grateful for them. 

Feb 9, 2016

A few of my favorite things.

v My husband
v Gilmore Girls
v Good food
v Road trips
v Interesting podcasts
v Mountains, mountains, mountains
v Rocking out to good music in the car, in the shower, pretty much everywhere
v Friends (the real kind and the classic TV show)
v Date nights
v Stars
v Rain
v The sound of rushing water
v Adventures
v The first drive after getting off an airplane in a new place
v Hostels
v Paris
v London
v Wicked
v Temples
v Family
v Electricity
v Indoor plumbing
v Education
v Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
v Papa Murphey’s cookie dough
v Mexican food
v The beach. Good beaches. I have high standards. I didn’t use to be a beach person, but the Dominican Republic turned me into a beach snob.
v A River Flows in You by Yiruma.
v Snow
v Flowers
v Traveling
v Babies. Nieces. Specifically.
v All things Harry Potter.
v Harry Potter Studio in London
v Butterbeer
v Wintergreen Lifesaver’s mints
v Christmas lights
v Sodalicious
v Boots
v Scarves
v Hoodies
v Leggings
v Hot showers
v Sleeping
v Naps. Naps, naps, naps.
v Technology
v Soft blankets
v Nintendo 64
v The sound of rain
v The sound of sprinklers
v Clean laundry
v Mascara
v Crack. Not the drug kind. The addicting dessert that I named after the drug.
v Travel gear.
v Driving
v More mountains
v Plants
v Movie marathons
v My wedding ring
v Swimming
v Painting
v Sodalicious sugar cookies
v Rainbow chip frosting
v All things Disney
v Disneyland Paris
v Laughing until it hurts