Monday, December 30, 2013

Spinning - our latest obsession

So our latest "thing" is going to spin class together (isn't he great??). Since it's winter, and since I married a cyclist, it just makes sense, eh? The endorphin high, the drenched-in-sweat car ride home together, the feeling of doing something that's working our hearts so well... and staying in shape during the off-season is obviously a plus :)

(our last 2 classes together)

(and a picture of back when it was warm... just to remind us why we do this to ourselves :))

Adore him :)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

December of service!

So last Christmas we started this tradition where we do an act of service (outside of what we would already do) each day leading up to Christmas. We weren't perfect at it, but we loved it!

We decided to keep it going this year, so once we got back from out trip, we started up the goal of at least one act of service per day... and it was AWESOME! We love this tradition --- it really helps us get into the Christmas spirit (and it probably keeps us grounded cause we really like getting presents for each other haha). From donations of money or goods to organizations like women's shelters to watching our neighbors' kids to volunteering at Blood Drives, we had an amazing experience. What a blessing, to be in the position to make the Christmas season a little better for someone else!

(our chart and a Christmas bag of donations)

It's our goal now to try and be mindful of those around us all year... after all, why limit this kind of happiness to the Christmas season?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dreaming of Paradise.... back from vacation

Remember that travel bug I posted about? Yay cruises! Different countries, amazing food, lots of sunshine, and a glimpse into the way other people live... love it. The only lame part is coming back home :)

Tony (our new buddy in Jamaica)

The Pinkleys (making new friends is the best)

Holding and swimming with freaking sting rays in the Cayman Islands

Cruisin the Keys with my love

And so much more. The Keys, Gramd Cayman, Jamaica, and Haiti. Love <3

Monday, October 7, 2013

Obsessed with Autumn

This man (and those leaves in these mountains)

These boots

Pumpkin hot chocolate (or pumpkin anything, really... have you tried the Trader Joe's pumpkin cheesecake? To. Die. For.)

These rice bags (cause, seriously y'all, how else do your feet stay warm in the winter????)

And this movie.

Happy Fall, y'all!!


Ok, ok, I know the word is overused... but people, have I GOT THE BUG!!!!

I want to travel! I want to roam the world! I want different cultures and foods and colors and smells... I want oceans and mountains and rain forests I'm not familiar with... I want to go somewhere I've never been before!

I'm dying for it, itching for it, obsessed with it!!!!

Ok, so now that you know how I really feel... please be patient while I express myself further with pictures. <3

Sunday, September 15, 2013

How to Win the Race

So I recently read this talk given by Elder Holland back in 2002 titled "The Other Prodigal," and it really hit me hard that day. Almost two weeks later, I still think about it every day.

The story of the prodigal son was always hard for me to swallow, growing up. Maybe it was because I was an oldest sibling who had always tried my hardest to make the right choices and be the best that I could be, but it just never seemed FAIR to me that someone could do EVERYTHING wrong and yet get rewarded with the fatted calf. I mean, why try hard in the first place if you can just undo all of your mistakes and still get the reward? For someone who tried to avoid all those mistakes in the first place and who made a lot of sacrifices, I always resented that parable.

This talk, though, definitely put it in new light for me. The whole talk is amazing, but there were a few points that really stuck out to me.

When talking about the elder brother's feelings about his returning punk-of-a-brother, Elder Holland says,

"Feeling unappreciated and perhaps more than a little self-pity, this dutiful son—and he is wonderfully dutiful—forgets for a moment that he has never had to know filth or despair, fear or self-loathing. He forgets for a moment that every calf on the ranch is already his and so are all the robes in the closet and every ring in the drawer. He forgets for a moment that his faithfulness has been and always will be rewarded.

No, he who has virtually everything, and who has in his hardworking, wonderful way earned it, lacks the one thing that might make him the complete man of the Lord he nearly is. He has yet to come to the compassion and mercy, the charitable breadth of vision to see that this is not a rival returning. It is his brother. As his father pled with him to see, it is one who was dead and now is alive. It is one who was lost and now is found.

Certainly this younger brother had been a prisoner—a prisoner of sin, stupidity, and a pigsty. But the older brother lives in some confinement, too. He has, as yet, been unable to break out of the prison of himself. He is haunted by the green-eyed monster of jealousy. He feels taken for granted by his father and disenfranchised by his brother, when neither is the case. He has fallen victim to a fictional affront. As such he is like Tantalus of Greek mythology—he is up to his chin in water, but he remains thirsty nevertheless. One who has heretofore presumably been very happy with his life and content with his good fortune suddenly feels very unhappy simply because another has had some good fortune as well.

Who is it that whispers so subtly in our ear that a gift given to another somehow diminishes the blessings we have received? Who makes us feel that if God is smiling on another, then He surely must somehow be frowning on us? You and I both know who does this—it is the father of all lies. It is Lucifer, our common enemy, whose cry down through the corridors of time is always and to everyone, “Give me thine honor.”

How often do we let someone else's accomplishments, praiseworthiness, or moment in the spotlight make us feel as if we're losing some kind of contest? How many of us, instead of choosing to be happy for someone else, take it as a personal blow? Even when we're happy for them on the surface, how do we feel in our secret hearts?

Elder Holland goes on to talk about re-framing our perspectives so that we don't view this life as a race against each other. If we are all in this together, then of course we would be happy for the successes of another! Because, really, it would contribute to the success of our overall goal. We would be happy, sincerely happy, to see others succeed as much as possible, because we're all on the same team. We would serve them, go out of our way for them, bend over backwards and do anything in our power to see them succeed, because that's how we would succeed. If seeing everyone cross the finish line was our goal (and it should be, shouldn't it?), then it wouldn't matter how fast we ran as individuals, but how we could work as a team to get even the slow-pokes to finish that race. Because that's how we win. Not by out-pacing others, not by personal successes, not by doing better than our neighbor. A wayward brother returning home after making every mistake in the book would be a cause for celebration, not for resentment. Because the steps along the way matter less than the end goal. And by the prodigal son returning home, both brothers win.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things

You know how some things just make you really happy?

I have LOTS of those things. But these are some of my favorites:

This video about the minions in Despicable Me 2. And that movie in general.

Coconut. And all tropical deliciousness. This blog post is about different ways to add coconut to your diet. Yum.

These recreations of childhood photos. Hilarious. Genius. I think I want to do this picture:

The house we've built. It's almost done and we'll hopefully be in it next week!

(ps that picture is from like a week ago, even more progress has been made since then)

Beaches. The sand, the sun, the ocean... does it get much better?? I can't wait till our California trip in a few weeks, so until then, I'll have to rely on memories of Fiji.......

Monday, July 1, 2013


So for the last month I’ve been studying for my big certification test – the ACSM Health Fitness Specialist certification, to be exact. I didn’t really have a whole lot of information on what to expect from the test, so I was really nervous. I passed up on a LOT of fun things – The Husband went on many trips and played many times without me. It was hard for me, to stay home and study for something I didn’t even think I would pass.

See, I was planning on taking this test in August, and that was stressful enough. But less than a month ago, I found out that the exam would be changing on July 1st, and all of the study materials along with it. Blahhhh. So I was stuck with a decision: take the test 2 months before I was planning on taking it, or buy all new materials and start studying all over? I ultimately decided to take the exam before it changed, and so preparing for it became my whole life for the next few weeks.

I wish I had applied myself like that in college haha.

It all paid off though: I passed! I was so nervous that I was shaking, and I couldn’t believe it when I got my score! All of the studying, the sacrifice, the prayer and fasting, and the stress were worth it! I’m certified and it’s all over with!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Things what are dreat

This story.

This music video.

And this article by The Onion.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Ok, ok, even though I’m not horribly artistic, crafting is my guilty pleasure. When a girl told me this last weekend that my home looked like “Pinterest gone right,” I figured I could just go ahead and die happy.

My crafting history, however, is extremely short at this point. Not that long ago, crafting was extremely intimidating to me. When I found this project in a magazine at the hospital one night, however, I decided I needed to learn how to knit.

I mean, if anything is going to motivate someone to take on a major knitting project, it would be that blanket, amiright?

It’s freaking beautiful. Never mind that I have never knit anything in my whole life. I don’t even crochet. Or sew. Or even use one of those looms that most little girls use to make potholders for their grandmas. Nope, not me. I figure square one (and two through twelve) will be this gorgeous blanket.

Enter a craft store purchase of some bamboo knitting needles and cheap yarn so I could hurry up and teach myself. Next, YouTube tutorials for casting on, a basic stitch, and casting off. Then, the realization that internet tutorials suck because you get zero feedback and that cheap yarn is miserable to work with.

Needless to say, my knitting box went into retirement for several months.

I saw that lovely picture the other day though, so my motivation returned. I bought some better yarn and realized that KNITTING IS AWESOME! Who knew?? You can do it while you watch a movie, on long road trips, sitting around and talking with people, pretty much whenever you want! (Even a climbing/canyoneering trip where everyone else is hardcore and you feel kinda silly)

Now I just need to find the perfect yarn for that darn blanket…

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


With many things in life, you will reach a point where the word “can’t” is a wall that you hit. You will feel like you truly CAN’T keep going – that you can’t do it mentally, physically, or any other kind of –ally. It is in those moments you learn a lot about yourself. What is your reaction to that seemingly solid, impenetrable wall of what you can’t do?

On a canyoneering trip this last weekend, things didn’t exactly go as planned. We got out of the canyon and into the Narrows much later than planned, so our 3 hour hike through the water (ranging from ankle-deep to waist-deep) was done in the dark. This meant being cold, unable to see the bottom of the river and the rocks we were navigating over, and unsure of our exact location. After about two hours of this – and multiple falls into the cold water, lots of banged toes, and the mental strain of not knowing how much longer this all would last – we finally hit a landmark we recognized… and this land mark was an hour from the end.

I was crushed. I had been getting by this whole time by telling myself that the end was just around the next corner… then the next one… just a little further… we’ll be done any minute now.. and so on. So while my companions were glad to finally know where we were, I was ready to just fall down and die at the thought of doing this for another hour. My toes were bruised and bloody, I was soaked and freezing, and my headlamp was dying so my visibility was awful. Several times over the course of a few minutes I could feel tears come on, prayers of pleading escape my lips, and temper tantrums form just under the surface. I thought of helicopters rescuing us, of being carried out, of any other option than having to keep going. “I can’t” was the predominant thought. “I truly can’t keep going.”

But of course that wasn’t an option. And neither was bawling, or screaming, or dying, or anything but continuing to stumble down the river. And eventually we reached the end.

Now I didn’t have a major epiphany at the end where I was so glad that I had gone through this trial and I had such a feeling of accomplishment and I wished I could do it again. I was still cold and miserable and I will never willingly do that to myself again. But I learned a lot about what I was able to do when “can’t” wasn’t an option. And it made me think a lot about the times where I surrender to “can’t” because it IS an option… and what I could do if I stopped letting “can’t” get in my way.

I also learned a lot about the people whose company I was in – their reactions to those same circumstances really humbled me. It was inspiring to see people being so strong, to see positive attitudes emerge and hear words of encouragement being uttered. Rather than seeing people giving into the wave of negative reactions that I know I was on the brink of, I witnessed amazing strength and positivity.

What do you do when “can’t” overwhelms you? Do you let yourself stop? When you are on that long run, do you slow down and start walking? Or do you push through and deal with the pain? Chris McCormack, an amazing athlete, talks about it as managing pain – do you embrace it for what it is, or do you let it ruin you and the experience you might gain?

Which kind of person are you? And more importantly, which kind of person do you WANT to be?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Honey/Lime Fruit Salad with Quinoa

Ok, let’s talk about this to-die-for fruit salad. Think delicious summer fruit and a honey/lime/mint sauce. Yes. It’s a real thing. And it’s divine.

I got the inspiration on Pinterest and modified it a little to suit my own tastes. And now I’m sharing it with you.

I basically took some delicious fruit (mangoes, blackberries, and strawberries), threw in some (already cooked) quinoa, and tossed it in the sauce (mix equal parts honey and lime juice and throw in a couple of chopped up fresh mint leaves)… and won over everyone who ever tasted it.

If only everything so heavenly was so simple.

So in review:
-Chop up mangoes, slice strawberries, don’t do anything to blackberries
-Cook probably 1/3 cup quinoa in 2/3 cup water, let it cool
-Whisk about 3T honey and 3T lime juice, add in chopped up mint leaves
-Toss all ingredients together and die of happiness

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I love the feeling of a good workout. The bone-tired, completely satisfied feeling that comes after working yourself past what you thought you were capable of doing.

However, I don't love the soreness and tightness that can come in the few days AFTER that glorious workout.

Fortunately, there are ways to minimize that delayed-onset muscle soreness, and they aren't even that hard.

First, stretching. I love to take a few minutes post-workout to stretch out the muscles that I worked that day (I also try to hit my other major muscle groups just for good measure). It leaves me feeling so relaxed, and it makes me feel much less tight later on.

Second, rolling. Dang I love me some foam rollers. Being able to roll-out after a hard workout helps me so much as far as the level of soreness that I'll feel later on. I also bought a roller for home so I can hit it up any time I feel like I need it.

Third, protein. Getting some protein in me within an hour of finishing my workout and again 4-6 hours later does wonders for my recovery process.

Fourth, hydration. I try to hydrate all the time, but the days where I'm less diligent, my recovery suffers for it.

Not only does a good recovery help prevent DOMS, but it will show in how much progress you are making in your workouts. The recovery process is just as important as the workout process - without it, your body can't adapt to the changes you are trying to make, and you will wear yourself out and not be as productive.

Besides... it just feels so good! :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Birthday 2013

This post is so I'll be able to always remember my second best birthday ever (because, let's be honest, nothing is ever going to top a last minute flight to Cancun and being proposed to on the beach at sunrise with the prettiest diamond ever).

I had to work from 5 am - 1 pm, but my great co-workers brought me delicious mint brownies and a GC to the ever-fabulous Lululemon, and my boss got me flowers and another GC. When I got home, my cute neighbor kids had written me a happy birthday message on the driveway in chalk. The Husband had more flowers waiting, along with presents from him and my parents. I then got a long footrub as my sister drove over, and we went to Orange Leaf to get frozen yogurt and then went slacklining in the park. The Husband and I then drove up to Salt Lake and went to The Roof (which I've dreamed about going to ever since I was a little kid and would see my parents go when we visited Utah on trips) and it was everything I'd hoped it would be and more. Then we went and got pedicures (his first!) and watched PS I love you...... dang that man spoils me.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Smash Book!

Ok, let's be honest, when I heard the name "Smash Book" for the first time, I thought of the elementary-drama, hate-filled insult books from yesteryear... however, these little scrapbook-cheats are nothing of the sort... in fact, they are only filled with joy and wonder.

I love scrapbooking. There, I said it. It's just so... fun! I guess everyone needs a creative outlet, right? The thing is, scrapbooking is SO time-intensive, and time is something I don't have a whole lot of at the moment. So these Smash Books are a great option.

They're basically a little spiral-bound scrapbook whose pages are already colored/decorated/designed (eliminating the step of doing it yourself!). So this means every little detail won't always match your theme... so I wouldn't use them for like, my wedding or anything. But they are SO great for several reasons - they are perfect for capturing memories as you go. Each book comes with a pen/marker, and the other end is a glue stick (I also keep colored tape handy) so you can attach movie stubs, receipts, autographs, or whatever else you want to put in there to remember your trip by. You can also buy little envelopes and other details to stick in there to keep your memorabilia. It's also fast. By the time we got home from our cruise, all I had to do was print the pictures and stick them into the spaces I'd allocated for them. So rather than waiting months for the project to be done, we already have the scrapbook of memories from our awesome trip.

A few tricks and tips I've picked up - carrying all the supplies in a gallon-bag makes them easily accessible but self-contained. I keep tape, mini scissors, various smashbook accessories, an extra pen/glue stick, and whatever else I need. Plus it's a great place to keep the stuff you want to stick in there but don't have time to address yet. I love to use it as a trip journal as well - both Kip and I would write entries throughout the week, so that will be cool to go back and read. Some pages merit multiple picures but don't have the space (note: I used a mini-smashbook for the cruise, but I have some in bigger sizes) you can layer them.. basically tape the top of a picture down, then tape another, and you can lift the top ones to see the bottom ones.

Overall, it's a fun, simple way to capture memories... as long as you don't mind it being a little random and haphazard!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Equal Partnership in Marriage

So my husband had me read an article in the latest Ensign about the equality of men and women in a marriage partnership (as the whole gender equality is something of an issue for me - I think men and women DO have equally important roles and, and while they are different roles, I don't think being an eternal baby-making machine is the end-all divine role of women and they are subordinate to men in every other way because that's the way God intended it... and I don't think Motherhood ~ Priesthood because that's stupid) and I thought it was worth sharing:

Equal Partnership in Marriage by Valerie Hudson and Richard Miller

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Amazingly Delicious Bran Muffins

Ok so it's no secret that I love to bake. Every once in a while, I come across a recipe that I will keep forever and ever and ever and I want the whole world to know about it because it's so freaking delicious.

This is one of those.

These bran muffins cure cancer, make your hair long and your nails strong, and instantly make you lose 10 lbs. Not really, but they taste good enough to make you think those things are true.

They also freeze well, I've eaten them months later and they were STILL amazing.

Amazing Bran Muffins

1.5 cup wheat bran
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup natural applesauce
2 egg whites
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 t vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

-Pre-heat your oven to 375F, and spray muffin tin liners (yes, spray the liners).
-Mix the wheat bran and buttermilk, let stand for 10 mins.
-Beat together applesauce, egg whites, b. sugar, and vanilla
-Mix with buttermilk mixture.
-Stir dry ingredients into mixture until just blended.
-Fold in craisins and walnuts.
-Bake 14-15 mins until toothpick comes out clean.
-Brush with honey immediately out of the oven.

And voilĂ ! Delicious, amazing bran muffins!

This is a frozen muffin. Yum.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Ok, so running.... it's never really been my thing. I've never run anything longer than a 10k, and even that wasn't my favorite. Love to ride bikes, swim, and get my cardio in lots of other forms... but I've just never been able to love running the way that so many other people do.

But I've decided that it's within my power to change that. Not only do the health benefits and "runner's highs" appeal to me, but I like the idea of overcoming something that I've always viewed as a weakness in myself.

So that means it's time to invest in some running shoes and get to work.

Any advice for me? Cause I could sure use it.

I liked this list, it seemed like some good tips for beginners.

I also think I'll probably sign up for a race so I can keep myself motivated.

Anything else?

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Ok, so, I'm female. That means I love travel-sized (read: mini) anything, and I love samples.

Make 'em beauty samples, and I'm sold.

Enter Birchbox. They sell beauty products, but their name was really created around their monthly beauty boxes - you pay $10/month, and you get a different set of samples (mostly BIG samples, sometimes full-size products) - always a surprise - each month.

Brilliant. Inexpensive, always new stuff to try, and just so.. fun!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fitness Gems

Working out. There are so many benefits: the high after a great session, looking great, better health, being stronger, and, let's all be honest, cute workout clothes and sweet equipment/accessories.

Working in the fitness world, it gives me a great opportunity to discover awesome little gems to help on the fitness journey. From bags to books to the cutest freaking sports bras out there, I'm always on the hunt to find items that are cute, functional, helpful, and/or motivating (because who doesn't feel motivated when you've got something totally awesome to try out/wear??).

These are some of my favorite finds.

Let's start with my all-time favorite gym bag. Originally, I fell in love with this bag, but its price tag was a complete turn-off. I mean, really, I use my gym bag as a work bag and I still couldn't justify it. Thankfully, I found this as a replacement. So cute, the perfect size (as a small person, I have no use for a giant gym bag - but if large size is important to you, this isn't gonna work) for all my workout clothes/food/shower stuff/water bottle and blender bottle/etc, and the right amount of pockets to keep it all organized. Love love love it. Got it in Jungle Green from the REI website.

So in that gym bag, I bring my protein powder. The huge 5 lb canister is definitely not something I want to lug around, though, so I tried a few different ways of packing it. Tupperware, plastic baggies, and just pouring the powder into my empty blender bottle weren't really floating my boat... and then I found this. Created for moms to carry around infant formula, each little section is the perfect size for a scoop of powder. I can just open the little spout, pour in the contents (one or two sections, depending on the day), and be done with it. Brilliant.

When it comes to fitness, nutrition, and exercise, writing things down is a huge deal. Tracking your workouts, your meals, your goals, and just about anything else makes a huge difference - you feel more accountable, you have an easy way to track your progress, and you can use it as a motivation tool. You can use an app, an excel sheet, an empty notebook, or just about anything else... but I love this fitness journal. It's got places to track meals and snacks, macros, cardio and strength training workouts, vitamins and supplements, glasses of water, and more. Love it.

So next is a little timer that I started using for teaching Tabata classes, and now I love it for any interval workouts that I do. You can set the length of time for each interval and the time for the rests in between, and you can set the number of rounds you want to do. So rather than watching a clock or stopwatch, this little guy just beeps/vibrates to let you know when to switch.

Finally, clothes. That's another can of worms entirely, one I'll address later, but for now I'll leave it at this - I'm obsessed with Lululemon. I'm not in love with their prices, but for a couple of these items, it's worth biting the bullet and totally rocking the cutest workout clothes ever. Loooooooove.

Now don't you just feel so motivated? :)