Just a little ray of sunshine

Just a little ray of sunshine

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giving thanks in Rancho Santa Margarita

Thanksgiving this year was quite the eventful trip! I kinda like that every year for Thanksgiving since I came to college I have done something completely different with different people every time. This time around I went to sunny CA, specifically Rancho Santa Margarita, with Josh and Tiersha and we picked up Taylor in Vegas. It was a party to say the least! Day 1 was spent at Disneyland, courtesy of Grandma Whitmore. This place is seriously magical. Sadly Tiersh didn't go because her back was hurting her too much, so it was just me and the boys. We had a great time and oh did the memories begin.

We went on a bunch of awesome rides including Splash Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, Thunder Mountain, Star Tours, Indiana Jones (twice!), Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, and the Finding Nemo ride. I loved all of them, but Space Mountain definitely takes the cake. I just love that you are in the total dark and there are so many sharp turns and fun drops - you never know what's next! Spooky! Here is Taylor and I in front of the Haunted Mansion, and let me just add that during this ride we saw Josh pull his iphone out. He obviously has been to Disneyland wayyy too many times since he met Tiersha (like 20. For real. Spoiled and starting to take it for granted clearly!).

Taylor's favorite ride was Star Tours and since he's obsessed with Star Wars. A little too much maybe, but shhh don't tell. I won't lie, it was pretty sweet and I liked it a lot too - it was a simulation, so it felt so real like we were really in the scene and flying and stuff! Here we are with our sweet 3D glasses on. We're pretty cool, you don't have to tell us!

I have to admit that I wasn't very impressed with the castle during the daytime, but at night it was seriously magical. Probably because it looked more like it does when you see it in the previews before a movie starts! I could not stop staring at it and it was at this point that I came to believe that Disneyland really is the happiest place on earth. :) Here I am in front of the castle.

At the end of the night we saw the Fireworks show and it was so great! It was pretty short, but since I tend to get antsy I kinda liked it that way. Definitely short and sweet! The fake snow was killing me. I loved all the Christmas decor too! Here is the three of us in front of the tree, which I will say is prettier than the one in NYC (which I know is so cool b/c it's real, but still, they could decorate it better. come on now!).

Overall, Disneyland was awesome! Thank you Grandma for allowing me to go! Day 2 was Thanksgiving Day, which we spent with a bunch of Tiersh's extended family. It was a day full of great food and great company. On the way over, I started taking pictures Tiersh's little adopted siblings. They are so cute! Here are the twins, Lillee and William and they're 2.

I think it's safe to say that we are all quite obsessed with them! Then there is Gracee who is 7 and so cute and tiny. Here she is in an apron that she got as a present - I thought it was so precious so I had to take a picture!

Here are the four of us after stuffing ourselves with food. Can you tell? Lets hope not. I know I had a food baby!

The highlight of the evening was getting to see my cousin Amy, now Sister Christensen, who is serving in Tiersh's ward right now. We went over to Tiersh's cousin's house to visit with her and her companion and it was seriously so great to see her again! I am so happy that she is serving there so that it was possible! She seemed great and pretty much freaked out with excitement when she saw me. :) It was a lot of fun to catch up and the ward seems to love her and think she is a great missionary. So proud of her! Here are the four of us and then just Sister Christensen and I.
Day 2 and Day 3 kinda blend together because of the chaos of the event I will call Black Friday. Oh man, where do begin. I can't believe I participated in it to the extent I did this year! I think only twice have I even went shopping at all on this famous day, but I went during normal hours of the day. This time things got waaay crazier! Josh, Tiersh, Annie (Tiersh's sister), and I started by going to Target at midnight. K so I've never really gone to a store on Black Friday right when it opens, but I've definitely envisioned it in my head. I know there are crazy people in this world who camp out, line up, and there's huge hoopla. However, I just pictured that once the clock strikes midnight the store opens and everyone just rushes in - maybe a few people die in the process, but then come 12:02 no one is outside. So when we left at midnight I figured that we would just be able to walk right in. Ohhhh was I sooo wrong! We got there and the line was SO long, my jaw dropped. I couldn't believe my eyes. I instantly got a pit in my stomach and thought how have I become a psychotic person to do anything to get a good deal on Black Friday. I thought for sure there would be no way we'd get into the store like another hour and I felt sick thinking about sitting and waiting, when I really just wanted to sleep. Well, we drove around for a few minutes and when we went back around we actually noticed that the line was way shorter! So we made an executive decision to go ahead and just get in line and wait to get in. I then thought that was also stupid because I figured if we wanted to buy anything we'd have to wait in line for 4690809456 hours and I did NOT feel like doing that. Again, I was SO wrong! We were in and out in less than 20 minutes and we all bought stuff. I was stunned! I got catch phrase for half off since I left my old one in Africa and also got the Blindside for 4 bucks. What a steal! I started to feel rejuvenated and that I could survive Black Friday after all, which I know Tiersh is very happy about because I could tell she was getting scared I would back out in the morning. And by morning I mean 2 and a half hours later. That's right, we went back to her house and slept for 2 and a half hours and then went to the mall at 4am. Are we crazy? Probably, but it was sooo worth it. We even paid a few bucks so that we could get valet parking and walk right into the mall. Holla! I was tired for the first few minutes, but once I started trying on clothes I was perfectly fine. I may have went a little crazy and spent nearly all of my Christmas money in 7 hours (yeah, we were there for 7 hours, that is not a typo), but it was so worth it! I rarely shop for new clothes while I'm in school, so I feel that for Christmas and my birthday I deserve to go all out and update my wardrobe a bit. The best part was that everything at The Loft was 50% off and they have nice clothes so I was able to get some timeless, classy, nice items there! I also got stuff at Forever 21 and Old Navy that I was super happy about and then got my new niece who is coming any day the CUTEST outfit from Baby Gap! Seriously can't WAIT to see her in it. Yay for sales! I am now a huge fan of Black Friday and will definitely participate every year from now on. Tiersh's mom joined us for the last bit of shopping and she bought some clothes for the little kids. Here is Lillee in one of her new outfits from Baby Gap! I was dying over how cute it was.

After stopping at Burlington Coat Factory, we went home and showered and ate a little bit (we were famished... well at least I was) and were feeling great! Then we went back out with the boys and went BACK to the mall (I like to think that it was for them, but it was really for us again...ha) and then to Nordstrom Rack and Best Buy. What a crazy day of shopping! I was pooped by the end of it. That night Taylor and I took it easy with Annie and the little kids while Tiersh and Josh went with Tiersh's parents to an anniversary party for her aunt and uncle. It was nice to relax, although we also played Just Dance which was a work out but I can never say no to that game! So fun. Then I did a little photoshoot with Gracee and Gregory and here is one of the gems.
It took Gregory a LOT to kiss me on the cheek and after he did he was freaking out. It was hilarious! The last day, Day 4, we woke up early and all went to the Swap meet. They had everything you could ever think of! Since I depleted my funds, I only bought a present for my sister for Christmas, which was an accomplishment. It's a surprise so I'm sure the suspense is killing her right now. We let the twins out of the stroller for the last little bit and after holding our hands for a while they both ended up on the boys' shoulders so I had to take a pic! Too cute!

That afternoon I took a nap to make up for lost sleep from Black Friday and then woke up to Gracee telling me she was bored. What do I do when I little kid tells me they are bored? Why give them a make over and a crazy hairdo of course! It is the best because it keeps them entertained and it is fun for me without having to exert too much energy. She was dying after I finished and couldn't stop laughing at all the make up and her crazy hair! See for yourself. I basically did a ton of little braids and then put a bunch of random hair bows all over the place. A great look if you ask me!

We showed her family and I think they all thought I was crazy after that. I guess it's true though, so what can you do. Then Gracee wanted to have a photo shoot and she was doing all these crazy poses, it was killing me!

Meanwhile, the twins and Josh were going crazy in this little car or whatever it is. Lillee kept making the funniest facial expressions!

That night to end the break with a bang the four of us went to Laguna Beach and ate at BJ's. We had some pizza that was delish and I got a pazookie too... it was heavenly. Here we are outside of BJ's - this picture is courtesy of some crazy drunk man who also took a picture of himself that I am sparing you of. You can thank me for that!

It was pretty cold so we only walked onto the beach for a sec, basically long enough to take this picture. It was so dark so you couldn't see the water very well on camera (although the waves were huge!) so I just took this picture by the lighthouse or whatever it is.

As you can see, it was an eventful break full of many adventures. To end the trip on a high note, during the long car ride home I called my dad and he told me to get the iPhone. I never thought I would ever hear such words out of his mouth. It was a true Christmas miracle!

What I hate to say is that I found out tonight I can't get it for free anymore because I've had my new phone longer than 30 days.... but we won't dwell on that.

Thanksgiving was perfect! There is so much to be grateful for. Hope I haven't bored you to tears. :) Until next time.

Quote of the day

I hate to say it, but I tend to shake my legs a lot when I'm sitting. I blame it on being an antsy person. Most people hate this. It was the worst when I was doing it in my Mediation class this semester and my teacher asked me, "are you nodding your head or are you just bouncy?" - embarrassing. Well, I was studying today in the library with my good friend Jarom and he leans over and says...

"You're measuring a 6.5 on the Richter scale"

HA I guess I was shaking the table a lot. I can't help that my legs are so restless.... :/

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I am pleased to announce that we now have a new member of our apartment. That's right, Heather had a baby. And we don't know the father.... but hope that it's Brenton. ;) No no no, I'm kidding. Kim went and bought a turtle! The best part is how I first learned of this cute little turtle. I am sitting in class last Thursday night and get a text from Laura asking me when I will be home. I tell her and then ask why she wants to know and she replies "Think of a quarter. A baby quarter... aka baby turtle. We wanna go get him, but it's fine, no worries!" I read this and start to wonder if she sent the text to the wrong person. I was perplexed. I texted her back and said "Wait, what? I am so confused" and then she felt like an idiot because she thought I already knew, but I indeed did not. She proceeded to tell me that Kim had decided to buy a baby turtle, just barely bigger than the size of a quarter, and his name would be Squirtle! I almost started laughing! We love this new little guy. He's such a cutie and only a month old. I will not mention how many times I have dropped him on his back since he has joined our apartment. Shhh. Meet Squirtle!

Look at that little face! Thank you Macro for taking such nice detailed photos up close. Visitors are welcome anytime to come see him - you just can't drop him on his back like I do. ;)

Blame it on the fruity pebbles

This past Sunday was quite the Sunday. As I mentioned in my previous post, there are 15 or so of us from my ward that are in a dinner group today. The mastermind of it all, my rad roommate Heather, decided it might be fun to have dinner group at her house on a Sunday since her family lives in Provo. We all were quite fond of the idea since it is always nice to get away from Provo - oh wait, I guess we didn't - but at least be in a nicer house. Out of the college scene if you know what I mean. Heather INSISTED that Laura, Kim, and I go slave away with her after church to get the meal ready in time - she is sooo lazy, sheesh! Okay I'm kidding, I'm kidding, we of course offered to help and were very happy to. So after church we took the long 10 minute trip to her house (we even brought Squirtle! After all he is basically another roommate - can't leave him out) and had fun cooking together. We sort of made it Thanksgiving-esque with Thanksgiving around the corner so there was Turkey, mashed potatoes, cooked carrots, Brown bread (get it? Heather BROWN ... haha .. ha), and some salad. So Kim and I tag teamed peeling the potatoes, while Heather and Laura set the table and then Laura and I cut up all the carrots after they were peeled (I hate to admit that I was having a lot of trouble peeling the carrots - come to find out I was using the wrong side of the peeler. Don't judge me, it was my first time peeling carrots - We didn't normally buy big carrots at my house growing up, we were more of a baby carrots family. Probably because we are all short - don't judge us). Anyway, here is Laura and I cutting the carrots.

After the Brown bread was finished I had the honors of also learning how to use an electric knife to cut it! Has anyone else never seen an electric knife before? I was in shock, but it was quite the experience. I may have ruined the first few pieces, but I got the hang of it quickly thereafter thankfully. I am so domestic! Here you can see me cutting the bread.

Noe, another member of dinner group, came a bit early too and ended up helping with the final preparations. He was cutting up the red pepper for the salad and as he cut it open he found a tiny green pepper inside of it! Imagine that! A true Thanksgiving miracle. Check it out.

6:00 rolled around and everyone started showing up. We enjoyed quite the feast together around a set table big enough for all of us to fit around it! Well I guess we put two tables together, but still - in our apartments at the Enclave we are never lucky enough to all eat around a table. It was quite the luxury! It was a delicious meal and we are grateful for the Browns for welcoming us into their home for the evening. Here is the group!

These kids are awesome. The Enclave is where it's at people! Be jealous you aren't a part of our dinner group. After we cleaned up a bit, we all headed back home and us roommates had boy talk. It got a little crazy, and I will not mention some of the things that were uttered out of H. Brown's -- no, no, that's too obvious -- Heather B.'s mouth. Considering my mom reads this, it is better to leave some things unsaid. Don't have a heart attack though mom, I am exaggerating, we are good girls and things didn't get too crazy. ;) We made it down to ward prayer to find out that not only are we doing P3 dates (Planned, Paired off, Paid for) within our ward, but we now have another ward's directory to feast upon and set up each other with. It is like facebook stalking, but worse. What is the world coming to? A few of us may or may not have found the hotties in this other ward and set each other up on dates. Who knows what will happen people, who knows. After ward prayer, the men of 219 invited some of us over to the apartment to play games. It was a party to say the least. We played some pool table game, I forget the name, and then we played Scum. Lets just say because I was wearing sunglasses the whole time, I took the spot of Queen in the game for a few rounds. Unfortunately, Jeff offered me fruity pebbles during one of the rounds and I clearly was too focused on those and went down to scum. We are blaming it on the fruity pebbles, and I don't wanna talk about it anymore than that.

When all is said and done, it was a pretty legit Sunday. Hallelujah for good friends and good food ... well maybe not fruity pebbles.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Meet my roommates

I figured it is time to introduce you to my three lovely roommates. They are all probably going to kill me for the pictures I chose of them, but they were the only single pictures I had of each of them...

Meet Heather.

She is 20 years old and from Provo. She is one of the nicest and strongest girls I know! She started dinner group with some others in the ward including myself and I will forever be grateful for that because I have never had so many good meals in a row since I lived at home 5 years ago. She has a missionary in Brazil (go figure - probably why we're roommates) that she worships, and hopes to marry him someday and have gorgeous babies, which is likely since he's gorgeous and so is she! If you ever want to text som
eone that will text you back right away, this is your girl. :)

Meet Laura.

She just turned 23 and is from New York (shout out to the east coast!). She doesn't normally look like a lionness like she does in this picture, but she has the best cheek bone structure I have ever seen. She is super bubbly and talkative and we have had many a fun chats! We are hoping that she doesn't have appendicitis, but with CT scans these days, you never know. She is currently on fast from boys and loving it, so check back a little later. I love her dearly so if you ever mess with her I will have to mess with you. ;)

Meet Kim.

She is 22 and from Idaho. Some of the funniest things I have ever heard have come from this girl's mouth. Thanks to her, as you can see, we had the lovely girl's night that these pictures came from last Saturday night. She works for Nu Skin in the middle of the night (which we don't particularly like because she sleeps while we have the most energy), and got all these awesome kinds of masks for us to use. Holla! She is dating a man with some pretty great muscles, so sorry boys, she is not for the taking. She's pretty great so be sad she isn't one of your roommates!

Now for a better picture of all of us, so you can see what we really look like...

We don't really take smiling pictures, so that's the best you're gonna get. I am so happy that I got such great roommates out of going random! Last night Laura, Heather, and I went to Cocoa Bean to get free pumpkin hot chocolate and share a cupcake (Kim was with her man... she likes him more than us apparently). It was a lovely time and we discussed other fun things we will be doing in the near future including these two things:

1. Game night on Sunday night with some prime men we will be inviting
2. Going to Salt Lake a couple weekends from now to go shopping, see the lights, see Savior of the World and have a sleepover at Heather's Grandma's house

I am so excited for these fun times to come! And for other epic things we will do over the next months too. HOLLA.

Peace and blessings. Love you ladies of 216.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Life lessons

Well, I caved. I decided to join the blogging world for real. I know that I had a blog in Africa, but obviously sort of thought that only a cool experience like that was worth blogging about. I got to thinking though--I am horrible at journaling, and wish I was better, but the fact of the matter is I don't think I ever will be. However, I love being on the internet, and blogging has to do with the internet--so surely I can make myself do something like this. Not to mention, if I blog, I will make sure that my life is exciting/worthwhile enough, so that I have good things to write about. Hence, the caving.

Anyway, this first post I sort of have to dedicate to my cousin Thane's wife Shelby. She is quite the woman, and I just love her! She was reading the book "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin and decided to do a happiness project herself. I was actually having a rough night one night when I read her first post about this book. I instantly realized that I needed to get my hands on that book. I tend to think too much sometimes (okay, all the time) and this puts me into a bind often as I dwell on mistakes I've made and such too much or people that used to be in my life that aren't anymore - it always makes me sad even if I know it is for the better. Well, I commented on Shelby's post and said something to the effect of "this book is for me and I need to read it too" - and I figured that would be it. Maybe I would think about getting the book, but with my busy life probably not. A good idea - but would it really happen? Doubtful. Well, without even asking her to, Shelby decided to bring the book along with her one time her and Thane came to Provo and she gave it to me so that I could read it. I was so surprised, but really happy! Well I have started to read it, and let's just say it is already changing my life.

Let me just share a few passages from this book that have really struck me thus far.

"Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing or that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing. Contemporary researchers make the same argument: that it isn't goal attainment but the process of striving after goals--that is, growth--that brings happiness."

"When I thought about why I was sometimes reluctant to push myself, I realized that it was because I was afraid of failure--but in order to have more successes I needed to be willing to accept more failure.


To counteract this fear, I told myself, 'I enjoy the fun of failure.' It's fun to fail, I kept repeating. It's part of being ambitious; it's part of being creative. If something is worth doing, it's worth doing badly."

All of these quotes hit me pretty hard.

The first one seems so simple, yet after I read it I realized "ah ha! that's why I'm not happy sometimes when I can't put my finger on it--I'm just going through the motions, chugging along, without really trying to become better or reach new heights" ... it seems so easy, but yet I find myself just going along doing the same things I've always done in life lately. After I read this, I decided it is time to push myself to do more. Study my scriptures more. Clean my room more. Help people more. Step out of my comfort zone and meet more people. The list goes on. I even went as far as making a sign above my bed that says "HAPPINESS IS ABOUT GROWTH" so that I see if everyday and remember to act on it.

I actually read the second and third quotes tonight. I am about to graduate and I am going to be very honest for a minute. It is terrifying for me. My future is looming over my head, like a dark cloud. Day after day, I think about how I have to get a job. And how I sort of don't want to. I sort of don't want to do the work that is required to get a job. Time and time again I have not gotten job offers. Silly jobs too. So how on earth am I supposed to get a legitimate job after I graduate? The thought has terrified me for the past year and because I am afraid of it, I have ignored it. I don't want to fail. I figure I can't fail if I don't try. So.... I haven't tried for a while. This past week it has really been looming over my head and I decided it really was time to do something about it even if I didn't want to at all. Thankfully, Josh and Tiersha helped me edit my resume and I got it all fixed up and Tiersha has been kind enough to help in finding jobs that I can apply to. This one particular one sounded very interesting to me because it's a counseling job, which completely relates to my psychology degree. Well, yesterday I applied. Tomorrow I will call them and ask for an interview. It is scary, but I am glad that I am at least taking steps toward making a job happen after I graduate. Anyways, so I read the page that those quotes were found on tonight and I basically realized that is me. I completely relate to Gretchen. I have many a time not pushed myself because I am afraid of failure. But as she so clearly points out, in order to have more successes you need to be willing to accept some failure. Let's be real, I have already experienced failure. Instead of it making me word harder though, it often puts me in a rut and I sort of give up. After reading that statement though, I realized that is the dumbest thing I could do. In order to consider myself ambitious, I have to keep trying and trying and put on a face that I am okay with failure, because soon enough a success will come out of it. Like perhaps maybe getting a good job someday soon. Or maybe getting married. Maybe throw a couple kids in the mix. Eventually. I need to accept that most everybody does some things badly before they can do them well. It is life! SO here is to telling myself for the next few months that failure is fun. And applying to jobs - maybe not getting some of them, but that is okay. It will all work out if I just try. I have to try and work towards making progress so that I actually can and as a bonus point maybe get a good job eventually and be a lot happier!

You are probably bored to tears now. Most people probably don't write such long first blog posts. Let's be real though: I'm different. And I happen to like it. :)

Well friends, stick around and you just may see some more exciting blog posts from me. You just may.