Friday, February 28, 2014

Oh Darn, I'm Not Perfect.

You know when you're just feeling like you're really rocking at the whole life thing? And just thinking, "Yeah I'm a great person! I got this." And then you just have a reality check where all the things you need to improve on come crashing down on you in one big wave of realization? That happened to me today. I realized that I have been so self-absorbed lately that I've been having a hard time really caring about others. I may notice that one of my friends seems a little down but decide not to say anything because I don't really have that much time to listen. Or I may think of one of my friends back home that I should call and catch up with, but then I remember the test I need to study for. Life is busy, but if its too busy to make time to love others and show them that I care, then it's too busy. Sure, its great when my makeup looks good or I get asked out or I get an A on a test, but if I'm not doing anything to make the lives of those around me a little better, what's the point?

In college it's pretty easy to get selfish. I basically only have to worry about my schedule, my stuff, and my desires. Gone are the days of sharing a car with my sister and my mom and working my schedule around those of five other people. No more babysitting, driving siblings around, helping make dinner, or stopping by the grocery store to my mom. And I'll admit, it's nice! It's nice to be independent and make my own decisions and I've learned a lot from being away from home, but I'm not sure its made me less selfless. Luckily I have the amazing opportunity to be surrounded by people who need help! Everyone gets stressed out by school, everyone gets sick without a mom to take care of them, and everyone wants someone to talk about their day to. Its all about being a little less selfish, getting out of my bubble, and reaching out and helping someone else.

Now I can respond two ways to this reality check that hit me today. I could justify my actions and tell myself that I'm doing enough already, and let this thought slip away. Or I could let this fault of mine motivate me and inspire me to be better. I think I'll choose the second. I won't spend time regretting what I have or haven't done in the past, but today I'm going to change. I'm going to look outward just a little more and just try to be a little better. That's what we're here for right?


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Kayla's Going to the Philippines!

Big news here. One of my very best friends, Kayla Lockwood opened her mission call last night and she is going to the Philippines Manila mission! I am so incredibly proud of her. I was so emotional last night out of both excitement and realization that she's not going to be here for the next 2 years! (I also told her that she's going to be the vanilla in Manila...we liked it.)

Erica and I celebrated at Texas Roadhouse last night with her, a treat from the Lockwood family who couldn't take her out themselves. I was more than happy to step in :) It's a toss up if the best part was the rolls, the ribs, or the waiter's comment to Kayla: "Good luck on your mission. Baptize the hell out of them!" We were dying.

Let me tell you a little bit about Kayla. She is one of the most charitable and thoughtful people I have ever met in my entire life. She loves birthdays and is always the first to organize a birthday celebration or surprise for one of the girls in our hall. She is also the queen of leaving sweet notes for people-she has a huge collection of adorable cards that she leaves for her friends as thank you notes, or just as a little pick-me-up. Kayla is also the best listener-she is always willing to listen and is interested in the things I have to tell her. She has been an amazing example to me this year, and I feel like I've gotten a little bit kinder and more thoughtful just from being her friend!

Now lest you think that she's one of those people where the only word to describe them is "nice" but they have no personality, you are so wrong. Kayla makes me laugh with her hilarious comments and stories every single day. This girl also loves to dance (especially dressed up in 80's attire), is extremely competitive on the basketball court, and is addicted to shopping. She is a fabulous combination of sassy and sweet. We have so many good memories and I'm going to miss her so much!

I'm so proud of this girl and her decision to serve a mission. I'm also sure glad that I know this church is true and that this is the Lord's work, or else I'd have a really hard time with the fact that a lot of my friends are or will be spread across the country!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sunshine and Smiles

These last couple of days have been just lovely. First of all, let's talk about this weather! It has been absolutely beautiful outside and it's like Provo has come alive again! Everyone has been throwing on their shorts and sandals and coming outside at every chance they get. Over the weekend, I spent some time out on the grass by Helaman Halls. On Sunday, the lawn was completely covered in picnic blankets and happy was wonderful.

See how happy the sun makes us?

Although I struggled today to not give in to the temptation to ditch all my classes and lay on the grass all day, I did enjoy a beautiful lunch outside and embraced all the warmth I could in between classes.

Another thing that made my day bright besides all this sunshine was the sweet note I received in the mail today. I woke up to an email that I had a package waiting for me and unexpected packages are a big deal so I hurried over to the mail counter (in my pajamas...but let's not talk about the fact.) and was so happy to open the envelope that had this little gem in it:

This is from my 8 year old brother, Nick, who is one of the sweetest people in the entire world and one of my best friends. He, along with all the other elementary school aged kids in the world, has become obsessed with the "Rainbow Loom" and making stretchy bracelets on it. (His teacher had to send out an email telling parents that their kids weren't allowed to sell them at school anymore...hahaha) My mom told me that he proudly came up with this note all on his own...

And it melted my heart. Seriously. I couldn't help but smile when I read it. What a sweet kid. He's never allowed to grow up.

Today I'm just grateful for sunshine and smiles.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

I Need Thee Every Hour


One of my favorite things about going to BYU is going to church every Sunday and being taught by my peers! I've always loved going to church, but there's something different about hearing the testimonies of my friends every week. And I'm friends with some amazing people. Today my friend Julie (shoutout to her because I know she reads my blog!) gave an amazing lesson in Relief Society that was just what I needed today. She just reminded us that Christ needs to be the center of our life and that's all that really matters. I feel like lately I've been getting really distracted by silly things lately that are really not very important when I look at the grand scheme of things.When  more of my attention on becoming more like Christ instead of becoming what those around me expect me to be, I'm a lot dang happier. She also had us sing I Need Thee Every Hour, one of my favorites.

This made me reflect on how much I think I can do things on my own and forget to look to the Lord. When it comes down to it, I'm an imperfect 18 year old girl who has no idea what is coming in her life. I've had some decisions to make lately and as I've prayed to know what Heavenly Father wants me to do, I have been so comforted to receive answers from Him regarding the direction I in which I should go. It's so liberating to put my life into God's hands and let Him guide me. Because I know that what He has in mind for me is better than anything I have in mind for myself! 

Basically, I'm just so glad for a God that loves me and a Savior that makes it possible for me to change and the great examples I have all around me of people that are trying to be more like Him.

I'll post an update of this weekend hopefully tomorrow! But until then...


Monday, February 17, 2014

Valentines, Presidents, and All Other Sorts of Fun Stuff

Hello friends!

Happy Monday! (Although I'm kind of in denial that today isn't Saturday and I have to go to school tomorrow...) This weekend was fabulous! I mean, it included two holidays so how could it not be? Here were some things that I loved (you know, since it was Valentine's Day) this weekend:

-Being content to be single on Valentine's Day. I know its hard for some single folks to stay happy on Valentine's Day, but I was fine with being single last week, so I figured I would be fine with being single this week too. I'm happy for those around me that are in relationships, but also happy with where I'm at right now. Especially because I am blessed with such great girl and guy friends. Plus...I still managed to have a lot of fun on V-Day, even without a man to call mine!

-This adorable Valentine my Aunt Liann sent me! She sends all the nieces and nephews Valentines every year and this one was a winner.

Twinkie minion...adorable!

-These homemade conversations hearts.

Courtesy of my lovely guy friends.

-Delivering cheesy pick up lines on post-it notes and Hershey's kisses to the poor souls that were in the library on Friday/Valentine's night. They were well recieved.

-My Valentine's Day date(s) to see  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Which I highly recommend seeing if you want to feel inspired and think your life is lame all at the same time.

Supposedly all his friends were "out of town".

-Pulling an accidental all-nighter with Kayla and Erica. We made a mega-bed at about 2, talked till 4 at which time we went to Del Taco...Then Erica and I ended up hiking the Y at 6 am in time to see the sunrise. I love college.

-The beauty of a sunrise on a hike. Hiking is one of my all-time favorite things in the entire world and so are early mornings. I always just feel a little closer to God when I'm out in was so lovely to enjoy the silence of the early morning and have a little time to think as I hiked.

 This picture does not do the sunrise justice.

Gotta love this "barren winter" look. I promise its prettier in person!

-Literally sleeping/laying in bed all day on Saturday. I don't know what I'm going to do when I'm a mother and my children still have to be cared for on Saturdays...

-The fact that it was warm enough to ditch the treadmill and run outside this weekend! I got in two runs and it reminded me how much more I love running outside than in the stuffy gym. 

-Sundays in Provo. They will always remain my favorite. I love being taught by my friends every week at church!

-Movie nights with my roomie. We pushed our beds together, curled up with Hershey's Kisses and watched "Now and Then"...a perfect 90's movie that brought back serious childhood nostalgia.

-Photo shoots with Erica. I just asked her to snap a couple pictures for a new Blogger profile picture and then we ended up imitating  the photo shoots we all did with our friends while we were in junior high...Admit it, you did it too.

-Writing letters to my missionary friends/family. I'm a little obsessed lately.

If you survived this post, I love you and we should probably be best friends. I'm so grateful for all the wonderful people+opportunities that I have in my life right now and I'm only slightly jealous of all my friends who went to St. George/California this week... Life is good.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Working Out in College-How to Make It All "Fit"

First of all, just take a moment to appreciate the pun in my title. You're done laughing now? Alright, we can move on :)

I have made a habit of exercising pretty regularly since I was around 13...mostly thanks to my mom who has always gone to the gym and set an amazing example for me as far as exercise goes. Now, I'm not saying I am a total gym rat or have a model body because I'm not and I don't...but I have learned a few things about establishing an exercise routine and sticking to it.

I know a lot of people struggle when coming up to college in finding time or motivation to exercise...but it's so important! Here are some benefits I've enjoyed from working out consistently since I've come to college:

-Higher self-confidence: I just feel better about myself every time I exercise and know that I did something good for my body that day. Plus, who doesn't like to start to see some muscle definition after working out consistently? I also take pride in being able to speed walk to class when I'm running late without being completely out of breath :)

-Keeps "Freshman 15" at bay: I wish I could say that exercising has prevented any weight gain this past year...but because of some poor eating choices (for example hitting up the vending machines in the dorms at 2 am for a 4th meal of Pop Tarts quite frequently...) my weight hasn't stayed exactly the same as it was at home. That being said, I know that exercise has helped me keep that to a minimum and once I'm out of the dorms and cooking my own food, my body should be back to normal in no time!

-Helps me focus: I love starting off my day with a workout, because I feel a lot more alert when I get to class than when I just drag myself out of bed, get ready real quick and get to class.

-Keeps me happy: Endorphines are real, guys! And although chocolate is an alternative source of those little guys, go for exercise instead. Exercise=great mood boost.

I could go on and on, but the point is: exercise is a good thing to make a priority when you're going to school (well in any stage of life really!) And I think most people realize this, but have a hard time making time for it. So I thought I'd share a few things that I have found help get me to the gym!

-Work out with a friend (or friends!): I do about 80% of my workouts with a buddy and it makes a huge difference! I never want to be the one to send the "Hey I'm going to sleep in...have a good workout!" text, so if I tell someone I will be there to work out with them, I will be! I'm also way more likely to work harder when I'm with someone else because they are there to distract me from the voice in my head telling me how tired I am. Last semester, I would meet with a few girls in the basement of our dorm and do Insanity a few times a week- it kept me accountable and motivated. I'm sure if you just ask around your hall/apartment you will find some other girls who are looking for a workout buddy too!

-Take a class. Last semester, I talked 3 of my girl friends into taking a "Dance Aerobics" class with me 2 mornings a week and it was a blast! It was also great because when you're taking a class for a grade, it's "forcing" you to work out. I'm taking a Weight Training class right now and it's so nice because it gets me to weight train at least twice a week and I've learned a lot of helpful techniques+routines that I didn't know before! Plus, there is something so motivating about working out in a group environment. Look into fitness classes offered at your university!

Me and my girls with our instructor on our last day of Dance Aerobics. We had in this class! Oh and yes, this is black and white because it makes everyone look better, and when you've just finished working out, you need all the help you can get.

-Use your campus resources. Most schools offer access to a fitness center to all students. Take advantage of it! It may not be the nicest place in the world (mine is far from it), but its usually close and its FREE! Also take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy looking at the attractive men that go to your school while you work out ;) I also keep a set of dumbells and a yoga mat in my room so I can work out there if I don't have time to do anything else.

- Find something you love and don't be afraid to change up your routine! Exercise should be fun, not a chore. And while there may be that "perfect" balanced fitness program, if I don't like what I'm doing, it's not going to happen. I really don't enjoy biking, so I'm not going to incorporate that into my fitness routine. But I love HIIT and weight training, so I do lots of that! I'm also always trying new things. If I decide I don't like it, then I find something else!

-Set fitness goals. I am running my first half marathon at the end of April, and that has really motivated me to to run because I know if I don't, I will die before I get to the finish line (which wouldn't be good...) And another point: fitness goals are different than weight goals. Weight loss has a lot of contributing factors, and I don't want to get frustrated and stop exercising because I don't reach my weight goal. I like to set challenging, yet attainable, fitness goals that I will look forward to achieving.

-Don't use exercise as a punishment for eating badly. It is tempting to tell myself "Ugh, I have eaten so much tonight. I have to go to the gym tomorrow to burn this all off." But how fun does that sound? If I view exercise as a punishment, chances I won't make it to the gym and will just eat worse. I like to view exercise as a fun thing that I get to do to show my body that I care about it!

-Last but not least, don't beat yourself up. If my goal is to work out 5 times a week, and I only get one workout in? Oh well. There are some weeks where I am busy with school/social life/enjoying the college experience that I don't make it to the gym as much as I wanted. But I'm alright with it. College is meant to be enjoyed, and I don't want to spend my time stressing over a missed gym sesh so I just do the best I can and try to be better the next week.

Basically, I just love exercise and the benefits it brings to my life. Get out there and do something to show your body you love it today!

How do you make exercise happen in your life?

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Feelin' artsy.

For my Art for Elementary Teachers class, we were assigned to go look at an exhibit in BYU's Museum of Art called "Shaping America" that explores the cultural influences on American art throughout history. After a delicious lunch at the museum cafe (MOA's a thing.), I headed over with my notebook and pencil to take some notes on what I saw.

And as I explored each piece of art, I remembered how much I love going to art museums. Because I'm not super artistically inclined, I really appreciate those who are! And I really believe that art can convey emotions the way that words can't sometimes. Because I only went to one exhibit, I really took the time to read the background information on each piece and pay attention to the details. And as cheesy as it sounds, some of these actually took my breath away, like I let out an audible gasp...embarrassing I know. But some of this stuff is beautiful! Here were some of my favorites.

Silver Chalice with Roses by Julian Alden Weir (source)

Against the Sky by Robert Lewis Reid (source)
I just love how this woman is portrayed as feminine but powerful at the same time...I want to be like this!

Premier Chagrin  by Daniel Ridgway Knight (source)

Lift up Thine Eyes by Norman Rockwell (source)
This shows all the people who turn their eyes away from God because they are so focused on getting to where they need to. Makes me wonder how often I'm going through my day and Heavenly Father is hoping I lift up my eyes to Him.

The Calf  by Edwin Evans (source)

The Lake Scene by Sanford R. Gifford (source)
Some of these landscapes...this was definitely an "audible gasp" painting.

Anyways, go to an art museum. Choose an exhibit and take your time as you explore it. You'll leave feeling happy...I promise. And if you don't have time to head over to a museum, BYU has this entire exhibit online here (although there's no replacement for looking at a painting in person...) 

So that was just a little part of my day that left me feeling inspired. Just enjoying the little things :)


PS. I just had a fabulous flashback of exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my parents in NYC and making obnoxious comments with my dad as we walked through the exhibits like "Oh, I could do this better" or "You count this as art?" People love when you do that. Or how we seriously could not act  like adults around the nude Greek statues... so mature. Sometimes you have to appreciate the finer things in life but sometimes you have to act like you're 12. What can you do about it?

Monday, February 10, 2014

The House That Built Me

First things first, I apologize for my lack of blogging this past week! Things have been crazy- but good crazy :)

Second things second (is that a thing?), this video/song is adorable. And yes, I'm a country fan. Don't hate me.

Finally, yes I went home this weekend! My little brother Nick was getting baptized and I needed an excuse to get some sunshine and Allegiant flights from Provo to Mesa are ridiculously cheap. So to apologize for my slacking in the blogging sphere, I will dump on you tons of pictures from my weekend! Some highlights:

-Hanging out with my favorite sister Riley, who is 16 and fabulous. I've missed her/sleepover parties/wasting time on Youtube/arguing over sharing clothes/laughing till 2 am.

Candid shot with a direct quote. "I seriously could drink Freddy's fry sauce...not that I've done it...but I could."

-Going to the open house of the Gilbert Temple with my mom and Jack. Holy cow, this was amazing. Seriously so beautiful. So much work has gone into the building of this beautiful building and it shows...everything is perfect. I am so grateful to have such a beautiful place 10 minutes away from my house that I can go when I am looking for peace. If you're in AZ, I highly encourage you to go this week before the open house closes this weekend.

We were happy that this boy stayed home "sick" from school and joined us.

-Visiting Nick for a birthday lunch at school. It was so fun to meet all his friends and see him in his "natural environment".

When you're 8 years old and all your friends are sitting around you, you are suddenly too cool for pictures.

-Taking this cute guy to karate. It was so fun to see him going all out at his special needs karate class.

-Celebrating Nick's 8th birthday with family and friends. My mom was just planning on having cousins+grandparents come over but Nick insisted on inviting the families of some of his friends too. So we had lots of people over to make pizzas in our famous brick pizza oven (my dad is awesome and built this a few years ago!) and celebrate together. It was fun to meet everyone/catch up with family and I realized that the extrovert side of me loves hosting parties and getting to know new people! It was a lovely night full of good amazing food and great people!

 Guys I'm not joking...this pizza is probably one of my favorite things in the entire world.

 Forgot to snap a picture before we started digging in...I'm wishing I brought leftovers back to Provo. Costco cake=delish.

These boys make my heart melt.

-Nick's baptism! This was such a beautiful day. He was baptized by my dad and surrounded by lots of family. Jack, Nick, and some cousins sang "When I Am Baptized" and it was so sweet-that was when the crying started. I am so proud of this little guy and his decision to commit to follow Christ's example and be baptized. I started crying at least 4 times during the whole thing...Sometimes I swear I'm a 60 year old woman in an 18 year old body. Something about being with my family and realizing how great the gospel is just gets me every time!

 He is the absolute sweetest. Every time he walked into the room this weekend he came up and gave me a big hug. Is it acceptable to call an 8 year old my best friend?

 My mom's parents came down from Colorado for the baptism. We didn't get a picture with my dad's parents or cousins but we loved having them there!

 On Saturday night, he got out of bed and right as my parents were telling him to get back in bed, he said, "Hey Mom, I'm reading the New Testament and there's a word that I don't understand. Can you help me? I'm trying to read a chapter every night." This kid is making me think that I need to step it up!

 Such a handsome boy- he's going to be a lady killer.

 Smiling is overrated...

-Enjoying the beautiful weather! It was probably around 65 degrees the entire time I was home...I loved spending some time under blue skies and sun, as Provo has been pretty gray lately. I spent as much time as possible outside and we enjoyed a lovely lunch at Joe's Farm Grill with the family-if you are ever in Gilbert this a must! As are the cupcakes from The Coffee Shop next door.

He wanted me to take a picture of his shadow and he cracked up at the big belly created by his puffed out shirt...

 Riley and I were just practicing our selfies for "Selfie Saturday"...

Naps on the trampoline were definitely a thing...I seriously love Arizona winter.

And some "not pictured" highlights...

-Going to the Mesa temple with my best friend Chelsey! It was great to see one of my favorite people and go to one of the favorite places. So nice to get away for a couple of hours and enjoy the temple.

-Dinner with my almost-missionary friends! I got to go out with Brandon, Samantha, and Aimee who will all be gone in the next two weeks! So proud of my amazing friends.

Honestly, the best part of this weekend was to just spend time with my family. Now that I'm not with them most of the time, I really treasure the time I get to spend with them. I loved running errands and chatting with my mom, talking to and laughing with my dad, catching up with my grandparents, cuddling with my cousins, and laughing over "The Internship" with my parents. 

It was such an amazing weekend and there may have been some tears as I walked away from my mom at the airport... I love these people so much and I miss them. But I love BYU so much and am happy to be back with my fabulous friends!

Thanks for the great weekend AZ, see you in April!