This summer

Has it really been almost a year since we left Saipan?  Mandi Spa, I will always love you and your infinity pool overlooking the ocean!
I can't believe it's the middle of July!  Actually, it's a little past the middle, and that made me think about this summer and what I want to get started on.  Some things I want to do/learn:

1. Go camping a few times with Brian and our dog, Samantha.  Already have a head start on this one:  we are camping this Saturday with our friends Jamie and Taylor and I can't wait!

2. Learn how to do a headstand.  I've become kind of yoga class crazed this spring and summer.  I alternate between two great studios:  Centered City Yoga and Yoga Central.  If one is offering a Groupon or some other kind of a deal, I go there for awhile, then maybe switch back to the other.  I have my favorite teachers at each studio and can always find a great class to go to between the two.  I try to go twice a week.  Yoga has helped my whole body become stronger (I've never been that strong of a person at all!  Weight lifting classes? I'm terrible and always go for the lightest weights) and it helps my mind become clearer and to put things in perspective.  I want to take it to the next level now and be able to do some more of the challenging poses.  I'm going to use this tutorial and start working on it!
3. Drink more water.  Why is it so hard?  6-8 glasses per day!

4. Send some letters.  My friends Anna and Kara are the best at sending letters, and I have received several from them that just made my whole week.  I want to get better at doing it.  I might even send one to Brian through the mail- that would be cool.

5. Paint our kitchen cabinets, if our landlord will let us.  He's still getting the okay from the house's owner.

6. Make salads at home and find a healthy salad dressing that Brian and I both really like.
Also, this picture makes me really happy.  I miss you, Anna, Kara, and Becky!  And I sure do still call my kindle the Pretty Little Liar! :)


We found a waterfall

On Sunday morning, Brian and I woke up, put on some hiking clothes, packed Samantha in the car, and drove about 45 minutes down to Provo Canyon.  We stopped in Provo first to get some brunch, but almost every restaurant (and store) was closed because it was a Sunday in Utah.  We finally found this little diner that was open and had omelets, french toast, eggs and sausage, and of course a lot of coffee for me.  
 After brunch, we drove up into the canyon.  We discovered we were low on gas, so decided not to go too far into the canyon.  We ended up parking at Nunn's Park, and hiked up part of the Bonneville Shoreline trail.
 As we were hiking, we saw this beautiful, flowing waterfall up above us.  We had been to this area before in the winter, so we knew that there were a bunch of waterfalls nearby.  The trail kept splitting off in many directions, but we tried to always go toward the waterfall because it was pretty hot and we wanted Sam to be able to cool off in the water. (She gets so hot while hiking in the summer- we end up stopping just about every 10-15 minutes to let her drink some water that we packed and cool off.)
 Finally, we made it to the waterfall!  It was so gorgeous, and it felt really good to be sprayed with the water after such a steep climb to get there.  There were also tons of colorful wildflowers growing all around the edges of the waterfall.
 Samantha and Brian drank lots of fresh water.
 Brian did some climbing while I sat and chilled.
 Sam was pretty upset that she couldn't follow Brian up the rocks and kept whining :)
 He made it up as far as he could go, then the rocks started to get really slippery.  That water is so freezing cold if you accidentally step right into it!
 After exploring for a while, we came back down the trail, stopped to get some groceries in Provo, and headed back home.  We've become really fond of Utah- there is so much to do within such a short distance from our house.  There are also unlimited and beautiful hiking trails, which are always a free and fun getaway from the city. Fun weekend!


I love you Friday

In Saipan at American Memorial Park, 2011
Heyyy there, Friday, I'm so glad you're here.  It's gorgeous in the city and all I want to do is go and spend time with this guy!  And that pup.  I think we're going to see a movie tonight- maybe Oblivion at the Sugarhouse dollar theater.  

I've been doing quick little Youtube yoga workouts in front of our tv all week because we've been pretty busy and I haven't had time to go and use my yoga pass at Central Yoga.  I found some really great 10 to 20 minute yoga workouts by Tara Stiles.  That girl is crazy flexible... I don't really look like her when I try some of the moves, but no worries.  She's awesome and it's free on Youtube- check it out.
Last night, I got to go walking at Liberty Park and spent some great quality time with my friend Liz.  We talked about all kinds of things and the subject of blogging came up, about how it's so easy to share the good and fun things that are happening in your life, but it's tough and scary to genuinely share the rough parts of you that you don't want others to see.  It's so tough to be honest, especially when you know other people are actually reading what you write! 

 Liz and I both talked about wanting to be genuine, so that others can see the real you and can possibly be encouraged by what you struggle with. I struggle with thinking primarily about myself and my own needs most of the time, instead of others.  I can get really grouchy with my husband, the one who loves me the most, and take stress out on him. (He doesn't deserve that.)  I can also be sensitive to some things, but completely insensitive and clueless about others.  And those are just some things that I can think of off the top of my head ha!  Life is a balance of the good and the bad, and I don't want to show just the good and the perfect.  I've put my favorite quote by Holley Gerth on here before and here it is again: "The most impactful people aren't those who are perfect (there aren't any of those anyway). The most impactful people are those who are in the process of growing."   I love that.


Some summer things

 Me and my babe before our 5th anniversary date a few weeks ago.
One last picture of hiking from Gram and Ryan's visit because I really like this picture and these people.
Going to the pool is one of my favorite things in the whole world.  My friend Christine and I were planning on swimming somewhere last Sunday afternoon, and then our friend Liz (who has a pool at her condo building) said she was up for a swim too, and then bam!  We put the two together and had an awesome girls-only pool afternoon.
Liz, Linds, and I getting our tan on, of course.
Then Christine joined!  Lounging around on pool chairs on a hot day is just so great.  I kept dipping into the pool just about every 5 minutes because it got so hot.
 But before our pool party, we actually went to brunch with these guys after church Sunday morning.  Charlie suggested we all go to Ruth's Diner and I said yes! because I've wanted to go there forever and we've never made the trip.  Ruth's is up Emmigration Canyon and is tucked into the mountain.  It feels like a little oasis to eat there surrounded by nature.  I was thinking it was going to be a tiny little building, but it was actually pretty big and there was a huge crowd of people there who had the same Sunday brunch idea as us. 
The restaurant is super popular and they don't allow reservations, so we had to wait for about 45 minutes outside but we didn't really mind.
 We got to eat on the patio which was shady and cool, and they even had a live band (two women with acoustic guitars) playing music in the background.  We really loved Ruth's and want to take my parents there when they visit Salt Lake this fall.

Brian and I chose and booked our hotel last night for our trip to Zion at the end of this summer.  I have it all circled and exclamation point-ed on the calendar- we can't wait!  I want to check out some cool stops along the way from Salt Lake down to Zion- popular restaurants, tourist places, etc.


An award? Yaya!

You guys I'm so excited!  One of my favorite bloggers, Tisse from Tisse's Pieces, nominated me for the Leibster Award! Thank you, Tisse!!!

A Leibster is an award for bloggers with under 200 followers and the idea is to introduce new blogs to the big, big blog world.  I was so excited she chose my blog- please make sure to check out her's (her baby daughter is a-dorable!).

So, here's what you do:
1. Thank the blogger that nominated you with their link.
2. Post 11 random facts about yourself.
3. Answer the 11 questions set for you.
4. Choose blogs you love with less than 200 followers and link their pages to your post.
5. Create 11 questions for them.
6. Notify your nominees.

So, here are my 11 random facts....hmmm...
1. My favorite show ever is Lost. Brian and I watched the entire series during rainy days while living in Taipei (it rains a lot there).
2. I hate having the hiccups- it makes me so mad.
3. I love watching scary movies and getting really scared.  After the lights go out, I get so freaked out but it's still so fun to watch them.  When I visit home in Kansas City, my little bro and I save a bunch of them to watch together!
4. I lived in the same house in Kansas City until I was 19.
5. I'm a huge fan of Neil Diamond and know the words to all his songs.  I so regret not seeing him in concert when he came to OKC during my senior year of college- I would have made a sign.
6. I'm re-reading Wuthering Heights right now.  
7. I spent a summer in Vancouver BC and think it's the coolest city ever.  I would love to live there with Brian someday.
8. I'm really bad at most sports where you have to be coordinated!
9. I try to do yoga every day even if it's for just five minutes.  I really believe in the healing effects that yoga has on the body, plus it makes you strong and calm.
10. When I first met my husband, I thought he had the nicest legs I had ever seen :)
11. I recently discovered how cool houseplants are and then I bought like 15 of them.

And now for the 11 questions set for me:
1. What is your favorite food?  Onion rings.  I love them I love them.  
2. What is your favorite time of the year?  It used to be spring, but now I would actually say winter.  I adored all of the beautiful snow in Salt Lake City this year.  My favorite thing is being downtown during Christmastime when it is snowing, and bundling up against the cold.
3. What is your favorite quote?  Seek God first and everything else will fall into place.  Also: The key to a happy life is a grateful spirit.
4. What is your favorite book?  White Oleander by Janet Fitch, The Red Tent by Anita Daimant, and The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger 
5. Big wedding ceremony or elope?  We had a small church ceremony, but it also would have been fun to elope!  
6. How would you describe your basic life philosophy?  Love God and others deeply from your heart.
7. Best decision you ever made?  Marrying Brian!!!!!  It's true!!  Also, traveling while we were young- moving overseas right out of college.
8. One future goal?  Become fluent in Mandarin Chinese.  Visit/live in Taipei again and be able to speak fluently.
9. City or country?  Brian always says country, but I say CITY!!
10. If you could try out any job for a day, what would it be? A yoga instructor, a nurse, a travel guide
11. What is your favorite animal?  My puppy Samantha, the best dog in the world!

So, here are the three awesome blogs that I am choosing to nominate...

Crystal of Carpe Diem Crystal
Sarah of Crooked Stripes
MyLyn of Island Mama Wears

I love your blogs, you three!  They are each so inspirational and fantastic in their own unique way!
(Bloggers I nominated, just use the same three questions I answered.  Thanks!)
This picture was taken just about 2 years ago.  We love the beach!


A sad goodbye... but not yet!

This is the house of our friends Liz and Dan.  When we first moved to Salt Lake last September, we didn't know anyone and we felt a little lonely.  That first month, we started looking for churches to join.  We went to one church in Sandy and liked is so-so, and then we tried K2 and really liked it!  That first Sunday we attended, they were having a big event to sign up newcomers for "life together" groups- or whatever you want to call them (small groups within the church that do a Bible study together and where you really get a chance to know people within the church.)  We signed up to be in Liz and Dan's group for young married couples and guess what, it's the best group ever!  We met some of the greatest friends there who we just love.  
Sadly, we found out a couple of months ago that Liz and Dan are leaving at the end of the summer.  We've always had our small group Bible studies at their house this past year, and I'm going to miss them and their house so much!  It's so cozy and such a great house for parties.  It was really sentimental to walk in last week and see everything all boxed up :(

Last night, Brian and I went to help them box the last of their things up and clean the house.  These faces look happy, but they are actually really sad.    
 See?  Sadness...
But guess what we still get to hang out with Dan and Liz for awhile because they're staying in Park City until the end of the summer and not quite moving yet!  You guys are the best and we will sure miss you!
On a happier note, our friends Brian and Sarah had a party on Monday night because it was the NBA finals and Brian (Sarah's Brian) really wanted to watch it.  I was A-ok with that because Brian and Sarah always have really fun parties and plus we ordered Buffalo Wild Wings.  I love their little apartment too and cannot wait to use their pool with Sarah this summer!
 I didn't really watch the game at all because basketball is not my thing, but had the best time just hanging out with these fun girls all night.

Love this picture even though Christine is cracking up! 


This blog might just be 85% hiking pictures

When my cousin Ryan was here, our friend Dave took us on a hike up Millcreek Canyon.  Brian took his scooter after work and met us for a hike. (On the way home from the hike we were all on our way to a friend's house to eat peach cobbler and it started pouring while Brian was following us on his scooter.  Luckily we quickly got to the house and then left his scooter there overnight while I drove him home because it rained all night.  Having a scooter is great, except for when you are caught in the rain or it's really cold weather.)
Here we are on top of this really cool little lookout on the Church Fork trail.  We had to climb up this random semi-hidden path to get to it.  I don't think any of us would have even seen it unless Dave pointed out the way.
 Ryan and I on top of the "monster" from Dave's 90's horror movie... long story!!

 Ryan loved Utah.  He's from my hometown, Kansas City (actually Topeka, KS), and so he loves to travel around and hike in the mountains. Him and his dad have taken some really cool backpacking trips.  We told him that if he moves here for college he could hike every day...
 Me and Tess.  This girl is fantastic :)

 Earlier in the week at Red Lobster.  Yum coconut shrimp... blogging always makes me hungry when I look back at pictures of places I've eaten!
 This was a couple of weeks ago.  I got together with a few friends and we had a cooking night- I loved it.  We made fresh spring rolls with the best Thai peanut sauce ever, and sushi.  They were both super easy to make, even though the sushi was kind of hard to roll up into the neat little rolls you get at a restaurant.
My spring roll filled with bean sprouts, carrots, parsley, and a few other things I can't remember right now.  The rice wrapper came in a hardened form (like a thin, crunchy tortilla) and we had to soak it in water to make it soft.  

Brian got two days off in August (thank you!!) so we are planning a quick weekend trip down to Zion National Park.  We have never been before and I was a little nervous about going in the hot heat of August (we have heard from some people that you can get really dehydrated if you aren't careful), so I read some forums online about going to Zion in July/August.  A lot of people commented that they had been during that time before, and that you just need to hike/tour in the early morning or evening, and take it easy in the middle of the day when the temperature gets really high.  We are planning on staying right outside of Zion, so we hope to go back to the hotel and just hang out during the afternoons.  If anyone has been to Zion before and has any tips/cool places we should go, I would love to hear them!


Gram and Ryan visited!

A couple of weekends ago, my Gram and cousin Ryan visited Salt Lake.  I was so excited for them to visit.  I even woke up the morning they would arrive at 7am and couldn't go back to sleep because I was so excited, and it was a Saturday.  This is my cousin Ryan and he's the best.  We spent the whole time he was here trying to convince him to come to college at the U :)
 They stayed for almost a week and we got to show them tons of cool places around Salt Lake City.  My Gram has been friends with our some of our friends here in Utah several decades (she was the reason we met them when we first moved here), so we all got to spend lots of time together that week, which was so much fun.
 On Memorial Day, we all met at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon for a hike.
Tess, Jennilyn, and I
me, my Gram, and Ann

 We went to Silver Lake, near Brighton ski resort, and walked the boardwalk around the lake.

 Brian giving Gram a little help on the trail.  There was still some leftover snow on the path.  Even though it's been 70 to 80 degrees lately down in the valley, the tops of the mountains all have snow still- it's so strange to see.

My Gram is in really good shape, and I was so proud of how great she did on the trails.
 The group- minus Brian taking the picture.  During the rest of the week we spent time in Park City (and rode the Alpine slide which was scaaaary!), took Gram to Ikea because she loves it, rode the ferris wheel at Scheels, and spent lots of time eating and hanging out with family.  I was so glad that Brian and I got to spend lots of time with my cousin Ryan.  He is so much fun and I really wish we lived closer to him so we could hang out more.
Bella developed a little crush on Ryan last week. She always wanted to sit/walk by him and even wanted to sit next to him on the ferris wheel.  One night we were having a big family pizza night outside and a bunch of us started playing duck duck goose because Bella really wanted to.  Bells chose Ryan all four times she played... so cute!
Gram and Ryan, please come back and visit soon!  We love you guys.