A LIL' BIT OF 2015

December 31, 2015

some of my favorite moments from this past year! i can't believe another year has already come and gone. see ya in seven hours 2016!

BYE BYE 2015!

just wanted to share a few thoughts about 2015 before the new year arrives. this past year brought a lot of ups and downs, but i'm most grateful that my husband, family, and loved ones are healthy and alive. and that i have good people in my life that i love and love me in return. i feel unbelievably blessed and thankful to god for my life.

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2015:
-beej graduating college
-moving out of logan and out of our first place together
-working remote full-time
-taking a week long trip to hawaii with beej
-going back to hawaii a few months later for a two-week family trip
-celebrating one year of marriage in park city
-buying our first home
-moving to arizona (we lived at my mother-in-law's for 7 months prior to this move!)
-hanging out lots with glo
-going on a daddy/sisters trip the day after christmas to disneyland
-putting a down payment on our first pup! (coming in 2016)

one thing i definitely want to be better at in the new year is taking care of myself. since i've hung up my tennis rackets and taken a full-time "desk" job (i reeeeeeally miss working out four hours a day with a team and having someone holding me accountable!), i've noticed my health has slowly trickled downhill. so my sisters and i are going on a major health and fitness grind together. we've been talking about it for weeks now and if you'd heard some of our conversations, you'd think we were nuts, but i've never felt more ready to make a change! starting tomorrow, we'll be cutting out all added sugars, soda, white bread, and pasta. i know that sounds totally crazy and it's such a new year's cliche, but i legitimately want to try. and i don't even know how long i'll be able to do it for (i really hope i can keep it up until our family trip this summer), since i'm the queen of making exceptions (which will probably still happen here and there). but we'll see!

i'll miss you, 2015! but i can't wait to see what 2016 has in store. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

WE'RE MOVING!

November 23, 2015

 [photo by: whitney brailsford]

yep that's right. we're moving to arizona! i'm so excited i can finally share. this last week has been a total whirlwind. i've barely slept. for the last seven months, we've been living at my mother-in-law's in layton, saving up and deciding what to do next. we'd talked about doing a lot of different things come next year, but ultimately, we planned to wait out beej's contract and then decide from there. but an opportunity for beej to transfer locations suddenly came up and everything just fell into place. now we're packing up and heading to arizona! 

i honestly never thought i would have been in utah this long, but you just never know what life has in store for you. as much as we've loved our time here, we're both so excited for this next chapter in our lives. utah will always hold a special place in my heart. as much as i complain about it sometimes (mostly just about utah culture), it's been a wonderful place to live and grow these last seven years.

utah is where i lived some of the best years of my life. it's where i crossed paths with some of the most amazing and talented people, and where i made some of my very best friends, who will forever be in my life. it's where i had the funnest, most amazing college experience, and where i played five years of tennis alongside the best girls. it's where i met my sweet husband and got married and lived our first year as newlyweds. it's where i learned how to be on my own, and where i learned important and necessary life lessons. it's honestly where i truly blossomed and learned more about myself than i ever thought i would. it's where i had experiences and memories and cherished times that are so dear to my heart, and will be for all time. i met people that changed my life forever. i even became closer with my family (if you can believe that) and really strengthened my relationships with them, even being a whole state away. a lot has happened in the last seven years. my utah days have shaped me into who i am now, and it's been a time i will never ever forget.

we'd talked about ending up in arizona way down the road, but i never thought it would happen this soon. i've always been very close with my family and wanted my kids to grow up around and be close to them, but i thought that would be much further out. i'm a family gal through and through, so this is sort of a dream come true. 

also, we decided not to rent anymore and finally put our savings towards a house. house hunting has also added to the crazy amount of stress this last week. it's hard trying to buy a home out of state and there are so many things to consider. it's been exhausting. i've never called my mom more times in my life. any time i've had a question about anything or needed her to check out a house, she was my go-to girl.

so that's a little update on our life right now. we officially move in two weeks! once we get back from thanksgiving in arizona, we'll head back for a week to pack up, move over the weekend, and then we'll be back down. i have so much to do before we leave. i don't even want to think about it. but i'm going to enjoy thanksgiving and worry about all of that lataaaaa.

since beej starts work fairly soon (dec. 7th) and we definitely won't have a place by then, we're planning on living with my parents for a month or so while we close on a house (from one family member to the next ha). but once we're settled, COME VISIT US! we'd love visitors :)

here's to a new adventure. we're ready for you, arizona! and we can't wait for summer ;) 

BOSTON PHOTO DIARY

October 14, 2015

from new york, i took a megabus to boston. (i love megabus!) they had seat plugs and wi-fi, plus little foot rests in front of my seat which was nice. now call me crazy, but i actually enjoy the five-hour bus ride from ny to boston. i think it's kinda fun. i just throw my headphones on, listen to my music, and stare out the window the whole time. and i love it.

for the first half of the drive, it was freezing cold in the bus. i felt like i was in an icebox, as i'm sure everyone else did, but no one said anything. we were all just shivering through it. i had my tshirt that was tied around my waist earlier draped over me trying to stay warm, but it wasn't doing much. anyway, we stopped at a gas station to take a break and right before we got back on the road, i saw our bus driver, a short little guy, marching down the aisle shouting, "now someone just informed that y'all are cold back here. is this true?" still no one said anything, but most people were sorta laughing. so he goes, "well for crying out loud, speak up. i don't want y'all freezing back here. i want ya guys to be comfortable and enjoy ya ride. there's no need for y'all to be scared of your bus driver. my name's joe and if ya need something, come talk to me." i was dying. he was the cutest and funniest little guy.

i got into boston pretty late. luckily, the bus station wasn't too far from my hotel. once i got checked in and up to my room, i was so weirded out by the fact that i was in my room by myself. (i was also kinda homesick too) it didn't really hit me until i walked through the door. and i don't even know why i was so weirded out by this! i'd never stayed in a hotel room completely by myself before, so this trip was the first time. and it's really not that weird of a thing. people do it all the time, but for some reason, i did not like it. haha i just hate being alone, i guess. however, some things were nice, like having the bathroom to myself, and sprawling out on the bed, and putting my stuff wherever, and watching tv until whenever. and the mornings weren't bad. it was just at night that i really hated it. i got the worst sleep ever that entire week, which is weird because i normally sleep like a rock. (as i'm typing this, i'm realizing it's probably because i slept with the lights on every night...yeaaaah i don't like the dark and i especially don't like the dark when i'm all by my lonesome) and aside from my strong hate of being alone, i HATE sleeping alone even more, so every night i would fall asleep face timing beej. 

since it was late, and i was starving, and no places were open, and i couldn't fall asleep, i ordered a pizza. this was at like 1:30am, so i ate my pizza and watched tv until about 3:00am, hoping i would fall asleep sooner. i thought i had to wake up early the next morning, so i set my alarm at 6:30am, only to find out when i woke up that the only thing scheduled on the conference itinerary was a keynote speaker later in the evening and that was it. so i went back to bed and slept in.
and since the only thing on tuesday's itinerary was a keynote speaker that night, rebecca (another copywriter) and i spent tuesday roaming boston. we grabbed lunch at a place called back deck which was okay. and i only say okay because my corn was actually really good, but my salmon salad sucked bad. like really bad. i hate when that happens!
after lunch we headed to newbury street, where we made a pit stop for georgetown cupcakes (sprinkles is a MILLION times better though, in my opinion).
we spent the majority of the day shopping hard and walking harder. i swear we walked into every store. (i also don't know why i wore jeans because it was so hot and muggy.) when we were ready for dinner, i yelped nearby italian places and we decided on giacomo's. i got a caesar salad (per usual) and the lobster ravioli! it was duh-freaking-licious. lobster and pasta is a good combo. 
wednesday was the first full day of classes. when we showed up to the first class, it had already been maxxed out, so they weren't allowing any more people in. and it was like that for most of the classes. we showed up to our next one 45 minutes early just to get in line. it was kind of ridiculous.
the conference had food trucks come every day for lunch. the first day i got these fried mac 'n cheese bites with a BLT. really good, but also really heavy.
i was so excited for thursday's schedule. aziz ansari was a keynote speaker in the morning. he talked about his new book and the challenges of modern-day dating, which was hilarious. sophia amoruso from nastygal was also a speaker that day, but sadly, we didn't make it to her keynote. and later that night, amy schumer performed, which we almost debated not going to but we went anyway because somehow i was one of the first thirty people to use a promo code and get in to her meet & greet afterwards. and she was actually so funny. i usually hate stand up comedy. like, HATE it. but i'll admit, i thought she was pretty good. both rebecca and i were genuinely cracking up at her jokes. so i was pretty stoked to meet her afterwards. but when the show was over and i went to the designated area that was in the email, there was no one there. i was thinking, well this is super weird. so i asked a guy if i was in the right place, and he went and got the girl in charge, who was like "i'm so sorry! we sent you an email informing you there was a time change. we changed it from 8:30 to 7:00. sorry." i was nice about it because it wasn't her fault, but secretly i was freaking pissed. haha (i went back and checked and they'd sent the email an HOUR before the new time...like what...how would i have seen that in time?!) i guess i shouldn't have been surprised. all week class times and class topics were being changed or cancelled, which was something that was a little frustrating for us the whole week. but we dealt with it and still got to attend a ton of really awesome and beneficial classes. (also worth noting, rebecca and i were in a class one day and the girl next to us totally shh-ed us. don't you love when that happens?)
i'm sort of embarassed to admit this, but rebecca and i ate at the cheesecake factory three days in a row. one night we sat there and talked for four hours. and every time we ordered cheesecake. we even had the same waiter two out of the three days. and i know there were probably a million other places we could have eaten at there were unique to boston, but we were both down for it every day so we just kept going back. it sort of became our routine. when our classes were over, we'd just head to cheesecake to grab a bite to eat.
every night beej and i would face time and we'd watch movies. he would play the movie on his computer and then turn the phone to face the screen so i could watch too. not sure why we didn't just use screen share on the computer haha that probably would have made for a less shaky experience, but it was still fun. i'd usually fall asleep during the movie and then i'd wake up and he'd still be there, wide awake and starting another movie. every night we'd fall asleep face timing and i'd wake up to him still on the other end. it was like we were virtually sleeping together!
friday was the last day of the conference. we dragged our luggage with us to the convention center (i really regretted packing so much), went to our classes, and grabbed a bite to eat (at cheesecake) before heading out of town. then i grabbed a bus back to new york to spend a couple more days in the city with nat!

NEW YORK PHOTO DIARY #1

October 8, 2015

here are some photos from the first weekend i spent in new york over labor day! once i landed in newark, i caught an airport shuttle to the train station, then took the train to penn station, and from penn station i caught the subway. natalie's new york friends were in disbelief that i didn't call a taxi or an uber at the airport! i just figured i'd rather pay $12.50 instead of $70. but i'll admit, that day was a trip. getting from newark to natalie's apartment was a lot of steps. and sort of exhausting. maybe it just seemed like that because it was humid, i was hot and sweaty, and i was carrying 75 pounds of luggage. seriously what was i thinking packing that much? i was totally that person dragging it up every step on the subway stairs. clunk, clunk, clunk. i didn't care.

i did meet some of the nicest people on my trek that day though. first, every person i asked for directions from was so nice. one guy in particular at the train station was genuinely concerned that i was lost. and he was being so sweet and made sure i knew exactly where i was going. even though i still had to ask a few people after him. and then once i made it onto the train from new jersey to penn station, i tried getting away with leaving my bag in the aisle because i knew there was no way i was going to get it onto the overhead rack. but sure enough the train got packed and i had to find a way to get it up there so i wasn't blocking everyone from getting through. it took everything i had to get my bag onto that rack. like, i think the only reason i was able to find the strength to get it on there was because i didn't want to crush the lady's head right below me. i kept thinking DO NOT DROP YOUR BAG. DO NOT DROP YOUR BAG. YOU WILL KILL THIS LADY IF YOU DO. somehow i managed to get it up there. but then when it was time to get off, i was stressing because i didn't know how to get my bag down. it was so dang heavy and i didn't want to make some scene with my luggage and then have the doors shut and miss my exit. but some guy, out of nowhere just flew right in to help me. um hello! thank you, kind sir! and then when i got to my subway stop, i asked a guy if i had to take the 2 train. he said yes. i thanked him and walked a little ways away. but then i saw the 3 train and remembered natalie said i could take that, too. so i got on when it came, and so did this guy because he found me on the subway and asked me, "you said the 2 train, right?" and i explained to him that i remembered what my friend said and he goes "okay, just checkin!" like so nice. he didn't need to do that.

sometimes i hear about the sick things that happen in this world and about rotten people that do awful things. but then i'm reminded by these simple acts of kindness that good people still exist!
as soon as i got to natalie's, we were both ready to eat! i didn't even bother changing out of my sweaty clothes that i'd traveled in all day. (yeah i know, i'm classsssy) we headed straight to jin, a ramen restaurant on the upper west side. i HIGHLY recommend it. so freaking good. i got the green coconut thai curry. it was heaven. i could not get enough of the broth. so so savory.
after jin, we headed back and i finally got to shower. it felt so good not to be sticky anymore. we got ready and enjoyed a girl's night out on the uws.
natalie and her friends, amy and jose (lovers), planned for a beach day on saturday, and since i'd never been to the beach in new york, i was so down. i'm pretty much down for anything. natalie had told me a lot of great things about amy and jose, but they were even better in person. such niiiiiice people. we met them at whole foods that morning after being late due to a miscommunication with our uber driver, but anyway, as soon as i met amy she just gave my a giant hug and i knew we'd instantly be friends. and jose was so great and such a trooper for hanging with us girls all day. we got our food and then headed over to the rental car place.
i guess this beach day didn't go as smooth as their other beach days. haha we ended up not going the normal way and got lost for a little bit (gps was wacked that day!), which resulted in paying an unnecessary passing through fee (idk what you call them? a toll fee? and maybe that's a stupid question?), and then when we started going the right way, we had to pay another passing through fee for the one we were actually supposed to hit. and then our umbrella broke at the beach, as you can see above, because the wind was insane. it actually flew out of the sand and hit some guy next to us, who was super annoyed. and the beach was packed. people were so close to each other. and there were old naked ladies just walkin around. nbd. natalie also brought a fitted sheet to lay down on instead of a flat sheet. haha we all got a good laugh out of that series of events and still had an awesome time together. we made the fitted sheet work, chucked the umbrella, ate our sandwiches and chips, chatted about anything and everything, and then we all took a big fat nap, except for jose. i don't think he took a nap. i remember him saying my name multiple times, but i thought i was dreaming, so i continued snoozing. i found out i wasn't dreaming at all. he was indeed repeatedly calling my name. haha we didn't swim either, i didn't even get in to go pee (tmi?) i held it all the way until dinner. but i loved just laying on the sand and sleeping. even just driving in the rental car and listening to our favorite jams cranked up loud was a blast. we listened to life goes on by 2pac a loooooot that drive.
on the left, i just wanted to document that i was drinking a kale smoothie and eating tiramisu together for breakfast. (also, the tiramisu at whole foods is, like, whoa. dayum delicous, i tell you.)
 i don't know why i look so pregnant in the picture on the right, but i promise i'm not.
 this beach (robert moses beach on long island) felt right out of a movie.
after beachin', we stayed in long island and ate at the oyester bar, a super yummy seafood restaurant that was divine. the oysters and fried clams were my favorite!
 driving back into the city. i love that skyline.
originally, amy wanted to take us to this really good ice cream place in brooklyn, but for some reason gps was glitching out and taking us into manhattan, so we bagged it and headed to van leeuwen's, which i'm glad because the honeycomb ice cream there is to die for. it had huge chunks of real honeycombs from a straight up beehive in it. i could not get enough. and i literally could not stop talking about it. the salted caramel was also so yummy, but that honeycomb tho. it has my heart.
sunday morning we slept in. the morning before we had to wake up early, so it felt good to sleep in and not have to set an alarm or worry about waking up early. i fell asleep with my glasses on and natalie snapped this pic. i was sleeping like a little baby, all cozied up under those blankets.
we met up with amy for brunch at delicatessen, which was so good. i feel like i keep saying everything was so good, but it really was. the kale salad, reuben mac 'n cheese(omg!!!!), and truffle fries were my favorites from this meal. especially the truffle fries. and the mac n' cheese. well, everything.
we met up with jose when he got off work at a restaurant called shanghai asian manor in chinatown for some soup dumplings and potstickers. which were also amazing. i sound like a broken record, but for real. new york is such a melting pot that the options for amazing food seem endless. when i come to new york now, we don't plan anything major. we just decide where we want to eat. before we were even done with brunch, we knew where we were gonna eat three hours later. our plans literally revolved around food. since amy and jose are native new yorkers (born and raised!) and natalie might as well be now, i don't have to do a thing. i just go along for the ride. it's the best because they know how to navigate the city, they know all the best places, and all the best restaurants and exactly what to order.
we went shopping after brunch and walked off some calories, but then we ate in chinatown about two and a half hours after delicatessen and devoured all that food on the right. i'm telling you, we can eat! even these little friends of mine.
after hanging out with jose and amy, we went back to natalie's apartment for a typical girl's night. we'd gotten these charcoal face masks from sephora earlier that day, a product amy recommended to us. she takes such good care of her skin and she got me all motivated to take even better care of my skin.
 the brand is boscia and you can buy it at sephora. i love watching all the dead sluff peel off!
we walked to the grocery store and picked up sushi, which was also so good. (what is it with any food in new york?! it's all freaking gooood, i tell you!) we also picked up ice cream, then came home and did these face masks, painted our nails, had a lot of girl talk, and also watched the worst movie ever made. the best of me. never watch it. it's the worst.
 this night felt like we were back in college.
this picture cracks me up. we didn't lay it on thick enough so some parts weren't peeling off as smoothly. soooo this is what the peel off looked like.
 quick breakfast before meeting up with james and andy, natalie's brother and sister in law.
we met up with james and andy monday, which was labor day, and they came into town just for the day. we didn't have any solid plans, but we met them in west village and just started walking the city. we happened upon this cute little restaurant called meme mediterranean. i love that about new york. you can have zero plans and come across the best finds.
 i got the lobster hash, and yep, i'm gonna say it again. DELICIOUS.
 see that tree on the right turning orange? it was making me so giddy for fall!
 city charm. gets me every time.
after lunch, we walked around for a bit more. up and down the neighborhoods, over to washington square park, and on to cafe wha? where bob dylan and jimi hendrix have played. we did a little shopping in between, but it was such a zoo being labor day and all, i was over it in two seconds. we said bye to james and andy in the afternoon since i needed to get back and catch my bus to boston!

if i've learned anything about traveling around new york it's to always use the restroom when you're at a restaurant. i didn't think i needed to go when we were at meme, so i didn't, but about 15 minutes after we left, all of a sudden i had to go asap. i found a starbucks (about the only place with a restroom!) and waited in a line of almost 10 people. when it was finally my turn, they were completely out of toilet paper. normally i would have drip dried (tmi?) but i HAVE to have a seat cover or put toilet paper down, both of which they were out of. so i had to go track down a worker and ask for more toilet paper. i'd lost my spot in line, but the girl in front of me was nice enough to let me go next. so now i've just learned to always go when we're out eating, even if i don't feel like it! and i've learned to always wear comfortable shoes. it just ain't worth the blisters. so i always bring comfy flats or sneakers!