Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Welcome Christmas

Alright, it's been a while since my last post. (I feel like I say that every time. Oh well.) But! Do I have a treat for you!

We all know that I have an unhealthy obsession with Halloween, but don't think that means that Christmas gets forgotten. As we speak, I'm mentally designing the Christmas version of my Halloween felt pillows and deciding what kind of wreath to hang on the front door.

Meanwhile, I am doing the best I can to sneak in some Christmas before December officially hits without anyone getting upset. Ikea is selling the most darling Christmas decorations this year, including a cardboard tree that you know I snatched up and stuck in my office. My boss was kind enough to snap this photo of me mid-rant about how cute my happy little Christmas tree was. (Yes, I know I'm eight.)

Christmas music is also a staple during most of my activities - getting ready in the morning, studying, driving, working. In fact, Michael Buble is serenading me as I type, and he'll definitely be home for Christmas, if you know what I mean. 

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the abundance of hot chocolate. Nothing is better than showing up to work with cold little fingers and fixing a nice big cup of cocoa to warm you up. Likewise, I am a huge fan of snuggling up to a good movie with some delicious cocoa. Throw the boyfriend into the mix and it sounds like the best winter night I could imagine. 

After Thanksgiving dinner with Brady's family and my own, he decided to brave Wal-Mart for Black Friday. I, being the sane person that I am, told him that he took a one way trip to crazy town and that I would not be joining him. Instead, I did what I love to do most and snuggled up with some hot chocolate. 

Only problem? 

No hot chocolate mix. 

It was the worst feeling. Not even one little packet! Swiss Miss was nowhere to be found! The roommates didn't even have hot chocolate (at least none that I could find). I almost gave up. But then I remembered - hot chocolate mix didn't always exist. My mother used to make hot cocoa for us on the stovetop, using real cocoa instead of the storebought packets. If she could do it, so could I, right? 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DIY: Halloween Felt Pillows

It's no secret that Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. Yes, it even surpasses Christmas in my book! Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the true meaning of Christmas, and I do love it as much as the next person, but I foster this unhealthy addiction to Halloween decorations. 

So it's also no surprise that my apartment is already pretty decked out in a rather spooky fashion. This of course has been facilitated with my roommates being 100% cool with my (almost) hostile take-over in decorating our entire living room with bats, pumpkins, and glitter as far as the eye can see. 

1. Purple glitter pumpkin from Wal-Mart | 2. Baby pumpkins & candlesticks
3. Bats (I used a black posterboard: $0.97) | 4. Ghost light garland from Wal-Mart

However, I wasn't satisfied. My roommates contributed to the decorations with some very cool pumpkins, garlands, candy dishes and other Halloween swag, but I wanted more. I wanted you to get hit in the face with that fall scent of Spiced Cinnamon Apple when you walked through my door. I wanted you to practically squeal with girlish excitement at the state of my apartment, which you thought rivaled the October edition of Martha Stewart Living. 

I wanted to be a Halloween goddess. 

It was this that spawned the creation of my Halloween throw pillows. I love pillows. My bed is full of them and it's my personal philosophy that a couch is not complete without a throw pillow. I love resting my head on them while I watch Honey Boo Boo, using them as a tray for my burrito that gets too warm in the microwave and would otherwise burn my legs - you know, the usual tasks of a throw pillow. I knew that my pillows would have to be both functional and cute. 

Behold: my new Halloween Felt Pillows.

I'm so happy with the way they turned out! I always get skeptical right int he middle of any project, and these guys proved me wrong so I'm thrilled. Ready to learn how to make them? Well you're about to find out.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Driving Instructions

I initially wanted to title this post "Things I've Learned About Driving in the Past Month and Why I'm a Better Driver than You", but I thought it sounded pretentious.

By no means am I claiming to be the best driver. I don't even claim to be better than you. But I DO know that I am a better driver than some people that are out there, and somehow, I end up interacting a lot more with these peabrains than the somewhat decent drivers on the road.

You might be saying to yourself "This sounds like one of those angry rant-type blog posts." Which, it may be. But you're going to read it anyway because that's what people on the internet do.

So why this post? There had to be something that prompted it. Well, you're right again. Let me tell you about the morning I had today.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering Today

"These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of America's resolve."
-President George W. Bush

I still remember exactly what I was doing eleven years ago today. I'm sure that most of us do.

Waking up, it seemed like a regular Tuesday. I rushed off to fourth grade to arrive early and see my favorite teacher, Mr. Z. I remember asking him if there was anything I could help him do, and he had me organize multiplication sheets at my desk.

I sat in the back, somewhat closer to the classroom door than most of the other children. Our classroom door was open, and Miss Rossiter's classroom door was too, allowing me to see into her 5th grade classroom. Her television was on and showed the news, which looked startling - even from the distance that I was at.

As I focused on the screen trying to make sense of the images that were flashing before my eyes, the camera angles switched rapidly to the plane making its way across the sky and towards a tall building.

I watched in horror as the plane soared magnificently into the building and burst into a vibrant display of flames, smoke and wreckage. I knew there had to be people on the plane. People in the building. In the pit of my stomach, it felt wrong. My brain tried to rationalize what I had just witnessed. It had to be an accident. A terrible, terrible accident.

I remember looking to Mr. Z for some sort of explanation as to what was happening, as my other classmates did, but he seemed as horrified and dumbstruck as we were. We spent the rest of the day processing the information that we would later discover: the planes were hijacked by terrorists and crashed determinedly into the World Trade Centers in New York City. This was no accident.

Being only nine years old at the time, it didn't make much sense. We had learned about history and wars that occurred in America, but had never experienced anything like that first hand. War and terrorism were things that we only read about in books, or watched on the television occurring in other countries. Things like this in America were things of the past. Eleven years ago, I learned that I was wrong.

From that day forward, I looked at America differently. We didn't just have people fight for our freedoms, we have people continually fighting for our freedoms. Freedom isn't a trophy you can obtain and let sit in a trophy case for eternity. It's a constant battle. Our grandfathers and great grandfathers fought for our country in the past, but today it is our fathers, our husbands, our brothers, cousins and sons, our mothers, our wives, our sisters and daughters that fight to keep America the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Yesterday, I attended the funeral of my great-grandpa Glen, who was a World War II veteran. He witnessed Pearl Harbor first hand, was there for Iwo Jima, Hiroshima and the end of the war. He lived to be 94 years old and at his funeral, his casket was draped with the American flag to honor his service to our country. As part of his funeral, the US Military sent a post to perform military rites at the grave site. Two men carefully removed the flag and folded it into a triangle and presented this to my great grandmother. As he presented the flag, he spoke saying "The United States of America extends their thanks to this great man for defending his nation". After this, a 21 gun salute to my great grandfather rang through the air, and silence fell as the bugle played.

I wouldn't be able to describe how I felt in words - the mix of spiritual emotion and patriotism that filled my heart. Accurately, at least. But I will never forget that feeling.

The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. Sans barbeques, parades, and the red white and blue attire, it's always been about something bigger - the celebration of America. The idea of being free to make our own decisions, to raise our families in a safe place, to grow and expand to unlimited heights, to achieve whatever it is that we desire.

September 11th is a reminder of many of the same things, but also serves as another reminder. It reminds us of the price of our freedoms; what some had to pay for us to celebrate the liberties we know and love. Great grandpa Glen said it wisely when he said "There are no winners in war". There is always loss. September 11th was a great loss for many families and friends, and for America. It will stand as a constant reminder of the price of our freedoms and how blessed we truly are to live in a country where not only do we have the ability to create our own freedoms, but to fight for them as well. It serves as a reminder that the nation is a nation united - we are all one and the same. We are Americans.

Remember September 11th.

Remember America.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gearing up for Fall.


It's over.

Summer is dead and gone. Well, in the actual passing of the seasons I guess summer is still existent. But for me and 2012, summer was just a passing fancy.

School starting is always a funny thing for me. There are several pre-school rituals that I partake in that help me to feel as prepared as possible for the upcoming school year. Some things are planned, others occur without me really having a say in how or when they go down, but nevertheless, they happen just the same.

For example, before school starts I try to go on one last trip or have one last hurrah doing absolutely whatever I want without any nagging fear of a missed assignment or guilt for blatantly ignoring whatever I have on my plate at the time. Usually, this involves stuffing my face with mass quantities of my favorite foods along with some shameless self indulgence of A Very Potter Musical, Dance Moms, or America's Next Top Model marathons. This year, it was a little different.

While I didn't get to sit around in my sweats enjoying Abby Lee Miller scream at Chloe, I did get to eat my weight in carnival food, which is almost as good. Brady's family takes us to Lagoon every year and it's always a great time for everyone. The boyfriend and I drove up with his parents in the morning and spent the day riding Wicked, Colossus and other Lagoon attractions. (And hey, Jensen Astle - I don't like Colossus, but I rode everything else. #hashtagthat )

By far, one of the best parts of the day were the massive amounts of caffeine, sugar, and fried goodness I was able to consume. By myself, I was able to eat a cheeseburger, french fries, soft serve ice cream, Mint Chocolate Dippin' Dots, a churro, and the larger halves of three 32-oz Coca Colas. How did I feel?

F A N T A S T I C.

And that's the truth. I will probably not be able to fit into any sort of dance costumes however for this upcoming school year, so I guess I should just begin my life as a fatty and start hoarding porcelain dolls and fast food containers. Does anyone have any cats?

I also helped the Bradster consume his Snowie, but he likes those on the heavy syrup side where I prefer most of the ice, so my lips didn't get quite as lovely as his did. But with lips like that, I couldn't help myself when he agreed to sneak off to the ferris wheel for a little while. It's an impressive sight to see at night, but to be completely honest I think what made it an amazing night was the person I got to share it with.

He is seriously the greatest. And I"m glad that Lagoon ended up being my last hurrah before school begins tomorrow. Other rituals that occur are the night before paining of my nails (and as I type this, they are drying up swell) and spa routine, and the obsessive writing of schedules in my day planner that will be soon forgotten in about two weeks. Routines I can't control are the unsightly stress breakouts that I always hope won't occur but actually do, and the slow sinking feeling that comes with realizing I will never have a moment to breathe until December and that kind of freaks me out. This is slowly followed by a crippling, sleepless night where I imagine the worst-case scenario of virtually everything in my life and I usually end up relationship-less, family-less, homeless, and one of those people you see on the front of a magazine asking how they ended up falling so low. Every year, I try to tell myself to suck it up and ignore that dream but it loves to come back and haunt me like that low-fat sour cream you left in your fridge and keep forgetting to throw out.

I'm ready for it, but not ready for it. I just want to be able to have a professional career, great bank account, have some semblance of a social life and stay caught up on my favorite shows. Too much to ask?


Monday, June 4, 2012

One Year Ago

It's strange to me how quickly time passes in some instances, yet so slowly in others.

For example, when you are waiting for good news or the work day to end, or maybe even a bathroom on a road trip, time seems to drip one grain of sand at a time into the hourglass. You might even start to wonder if the clock has stopped altogether or going backwards even.

When you're dating someone, though, sometimes the time just flies.

I can't believe that it's been one year since this post. And this post. And this one.

Last summer, I did a lot of amazing things. One year ago today I went on my first date with Brady. I still remember that night like it was only a few short months ago.

He asked me for my number with a jar of salsa. At work, we would instant message back and forth, sitting just a few cubicles away. As I was on a call one day, I turned around to see him standing there, awkwardly clutching a large mason jar full of salsa in both hands. He looked at me for a few moments, and then went back to his desk without saying a word. Shortly after, I saw his instant message window flash on my screen. He asked me if he could trade the salsa for something. He said he wanted to trade the salsa for my number, so he could take me on a date.

It was so adorably cheesy that I couldn't say no.

Our first date was scheduled for Friday, June 4th. I nervously anticipated it all week. We had a company outing the day before and I knew I was going to ask Brady if we could drive together so I could scout him out pre-date outside of work. I still remember how natural it felt to say "Brady & I" as we discussed driving arrangements. I remember getting into his pristine Mazda 3, not knowing about the Jimmy that was probably parked down at the station and that the Mazda would soon be leaving us for another owner. I remember how his sideburns were just a little too long and had started to blend with his reddish stubble; his sunglasses interrupting their lines. I would later find out that he needed a haircut but never got time to go before our date. I didn't mind. We laughed and joked with ease, tossing jabs back and forth in the car about everything. He played Big John for us to listen to on the way up and made fun of me for everything under the sun, and swore that I would be driving us home.

At our outing, we raced go-karts and I embarrassed myself in a round of miniature golf. We sat next to each other and ate pizza and laughed more and more. In the arcade, he gave me all of his hard earned tickets so that I could buy a blue yo-yo, and he won sparklers for having a "sparkling personality". At the end of the day, he took me back to Jenna's house where I was living at the time and told me he would see me tomorrow.

Friday came and I was a ball of nervous energy. The work day couldn't pass by quickly enough, but the clock was doing that thing again where it tries to go backwards instead of hurrying ahead to a better time. The date was at seven, but I got off work at six, leaving me one measly hour to travel and primp. Jenna rushed me home, I scrambled into the shower and prayed for my hair to look decent by the time he showed up at my door. I remember making Jenna straighten the back of my hair because I was so overwhelmed about getting ready in time that I was just making matters worse where my Hermionie-ish mane was concerned. As I put the finishing touches on my ensemble, which consisted of a striped shirt and jeans, I heard a knock on the door.

He stood there in a shirt I've seen him wear countless times over this year, and jeans I hardly see him wear now. I remember thinking how I had never seen him wear jeans before, and I liked how he came in and waited for me like a gentleman. We walked out to the car and he opened the door for me, and continued to for the rest of the evening. We went up to Salt Lake to see a Motocross  race. He kept asking if it was a lame date, but I was honestly excited. He lied to me and kept telling me he had entered me in to a drag racing competition and that I was going to have to sign all sorts of paperwork once we got there. That was a lie. At the race, we stood around and talked about everything under the sun, from his accident to my dancing to families and friends and everything in between. Conversation flowed between us so naturally and I was so intrigued by him. We sat on the bleachers watching racers jump off dirt mounds and I brushed his leg with my hand. It did the trick. He held my hand as I wore his jacket and we kept talking throughout the race. I can honestly say that I didn't pay very much attention to the bikes, which he may have been counting on but I didn't mind. As we left the park, he asked Rita, his trusty navigation to take us to eat dinner. We pulled up at  The Cheesecake Factory and continued to talk, this time over delicious pasta dishes. I remember us talking about our past relationships and the church, and our families, too. I was amazed at how easily we interacted together. It felt like we fit. He ordered a slice of Oreo cheesecake to go and we set out to take me home.

I will spare you the rest of the details of the evening, but I will tell you that the conclusion of that date brought the conclusion of one of the most memorable, magical, enchanting nights of my life. I remember walking up the stairs quietly as to not wake anyone, and laying on the couch with a smile plastered to my face that could put Gilderoy Lockhart to shame. It was the beginning of something amazing, I just knew it.

One year later, we're still going strong. Brady is incredible in every way to me. I love how he treats me like a princess and takes care of me throughout everything. He is kind, patient, funny, loveable, and a strong example to me in so many aspects. I owe a lot of who I have become to him. He has helped to shape me to be a stronger, better person. Having him out on the road often has been a trial for us, but it is one that we can face together. We can do hard things. I am amazed everyday that I get to call him mine.

I can't believe that one year has flown by so quickly.

Here's to hoping that this year is as incredible as the last.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Something New

Well chickadees, it has been done!

I have been thinking about how to revamp this blog for a long time, and this is the "final" product.
(Reasons for the " " ? I just know me and how I do things and that I will forever be adding/removing things on this blog, hence it will never be FINAL)

Breaking it down a bit, you will see my Instagram photos at the top, and I will be changing these out each week to show what's going on currently in my life. I've also added a Weekly Inspiration section on the right which shows a quote or image that inspires me.

Another new addition is the lovely link buttons to my Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts (Love!) so you can stalk me even more than you would probably like to. You can also contact me through email as well.

I am very excited for this blog's new beginning! Writing is something that I really do love to do - I promise! (Sometimes it just gets hard when that's ALL I do all day at work!)

Stay tuned for more...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Major Overhaul 2.0

Just letting you all know:

A HUGE makeover is in order for this sweet puppy.

Mamma's bout to get serious up in here, that's for sure.

Major things in the works include daily posts (I know, right?), a new layout, new pages, and a little bit more of what Melissa is maybe about.

Hope you're ready for it, cause I don't even think I am.

Stay tuned.