October 25, 2016


My family (as in, my siblings + all the spouses + my parents) got together for a family home evening activity last night. My mom booked one of the rooms for those "get out games" things and I was actually pretty contemplative about it all. I've heard a lot of people talking about how "fun" it is, but I wasn't sure how I would like it because... well, I'm not a lot of people.

BUT, it ended up being really enjoyable. They set a timer for 45 minutes and we were locked up in a room and had to figure out how to get out of it within the time limit. This particular room was actually a 60's themed trailer parked in a random parking lot in Lehi (which kind of sketched me out at first). They don't give you any clues or hints (unless you ask for them) so you're kind of on your own to figure out how to get the key to unlock the door. 

Knowing my family, it was utter chaos the entire time. But the guy "officiating" the game was shocked at how fast we accomplished it. I guess we were the fastest group he'd ever seen escape (which was news to us because, like I said, it was madness in that little trailer). The little number in the bottom photo is the time we had remaining. 

Anyway, like I said, I had a lot of fun. If you ever get a chance to go with a fun group of people, I'd suggest doing it at least once. I mean, there's no harm in trying, right? (And I guess there's a deal for it on groupon right now? At least, that's what my mother says.)

October 24, 2016

A Happy List: 1

I've loved reading the weekly "happy list" posts by Emily, so she's inspired me to attempt to do my own weekly "happy list" posts. I can't promise that I'll be as good at it as I start, but I can promise that I will try really, really hard. Here's to this happy list and (hopefully) many more to come. 

Tay taped up a bunch of cheap Halloween decor on the wall. It's lame and looks dumb but he's cute. We spent the week doing all sorts of cliche "fally" things like going to cornbelly's and frightmares. Kingsley keeps trying to hump our new dog (who is also a boy) and it's inappropriate (but funny). I made three new recipes off of pinterest and they were all delicious. Calling new dog "Dopey" because he's kinda... dopey. Starting a new TV show on Netflix with Tay. Excessive Autumn posts on Insta. Sleepy Kingsley.

Something funny that happened this week: 

Taylor and I work from home. That being said, we have a land-line work phone that rings for all of our business phone calls. We were watching a show on Netflix this week and in several of the scenes they have phones ringing that sound exactly like our work phone! We had to keep pausing the show every time a phone would ring to make sure it wasn't our real phone ringing. Most annoying/hysterical thing ever.

October 23, 2016

Sunset + Squaw Peak.

We drove up Provo Canyon with our two lil' pups and watched the sunset from Squaw Peak tonight. Fun fact: I'd never actually been up there before. I have to laugh at myself because I'm pretty sure that whole taboo about it being the "make out point" probably plays a role in that? I was too busy making fun of why people went up there to ever make it up there myself. But for the record, it's lovely. Everyone should enjoy the view from Squaw Peak at some point during their Utah existence (okay, sorry, that sentence was heavily influenced by Korean).

Taylor and I have always loved traveling and seeing new things. But I realized recently that there are a lot of places and things in Utah that I have never experienced. I've lived here basically my whole life and I guess I figured that I'd seen it all-- but I've seen very little of it! After I married Taylor, I've seen more of Utah than I ever before had, but there's still so much to experience before we set off to venture through life in new places. So, while we're here in Utah finishing up school, we plan to explore more of Utah and discover all those really cool places that have been hiding from us for so long.

October 21, 2016

we adopted another dog!

We welcomed this little man into the family yesterday afternoon. He's got the sweetest little spirit. His name was originally Charlie, but seeing as I have a brother-in-law named Charlie, I think we're looking to find a different name for him (which is fine because his former owner was Russian and we're pretty sure he has no idea what we're saying when we speak English-- and also he's non-responsive to his name). We named our first pup "Kingsley" because I love Harry Potter and my subconscious self remembered that in the naming process the first go around (although it took me a while to finally remember where the name even came from, and we did spell it a bit differently). I think we're wanting to stick with the Harry Potter themed names, though. I've had a few picked out but nothing fits him quite yet.

Feel free to leave Harry Potter themed name suggestions below (creativity welcomed).

October 20, 2016

Korea: Gyeongju.

We spent the very last day of our trip in the southern part of South Korea. I'd obviously never been there before because it was a long way out of my mission boundaries-- but it was GORGEOUS. From Seoul, it was about a four hour drive south to get there (which, to Koreans, is a ridiculously long amount of travel time by car-- for us Americans, it's a ridiculously short amount of time to drive across an entire country). 

Our hosts surprised us with a luxury condo at a resort there the night before (easily the nicest place we slept during our trip). Our place overlooked the mountains in the distance. One entire side of condo was made up of windows that could be covered with thick, heavy drapes. The bathrooms were fully equipped with jacuzzi tubs and rain showers that were located next to the window-wall so you could look out at dream of all the magical creatures hiding in the mountain in the distance. (That's a pretty good step up from all the missionary apartments I once lived in). SO NICE.

We spent the day visiting the various historical sites around the city. It was rich with traditional Korean culture. Once upon a time the area was a high-functioning city during the time of the Silla Kingdom (which we got to learn a lot about as we toured Gyeongju). It was cool to see and learn about so many different aspects of Korea and its history that I was unfamiliar with. My favorite parts were hiking to the top of a mountain to see a very impressive part of the most beautiful Buddhist temples. I don't have pictures of it, seeing as it was a sacred place and they asked us to be respectful of that. But let's just say I genuinely considered becoming Buddhist after that experience.

This day felt kind of like a dream. Our bags were packed and we were ready to get on the plane, but it was our last-hurrah in Korea so we packed as much Korean culture in food into as we possibly could. It didn't even feel like real life. We ran from one place to the next, snapped pictures, ate some food, and ran some more. We did end up running into a bunch of missionaries enjoying their P-day at one of the Buddhist temples! That was fun. My mom snapped some pictures of them and sent them to their mothers (that's such a missionary mom thing to do). But we got to introduce them to our famous artist friend, and they thought that was pretty cool!

Everything in Gyeongju was so different from all that we experienced in Seoul. I was grateful that we had the chance to go, to learn, and to explore. It was the perfect "wrap up" to our trip. 

October 19, 2016

Korea: Gangnam & Exploring.

Gangnam is one of those places you have to go sometime in your life (and then you can visit the rest of Korea too because it's awesome). There are at least a thousand things to do and you'll never have enough time to do all of it. We attempted to go to a Dog Cafe (one of those places where you buy a drink so you can play with all the pups that literally live in the cafe and it's a horrible idea and a wonderful idea all at once) but the one we attempted to go to wasn't open anymore! Tay was the most sad because he was the whole reason we were going to go in the first place... sorry, love. 

We stayed in this cute little guest house (which is basically a hotel for foreigners and it's a cool set up because you can stay for a few days or even a few months, and it's extremely inexpensive but also really nice-- depending on the place, of course) just a bit north of the main attractions in Gangnam. We ended up not getting to spend as much time in Gangnam as we would have liked because our plans were so busy and all over the place, but at least we got to spend at least a little of time there! One of the things I'd say you've got to do while in Gangnam is go to the underground shopping center near the subway station. It's unreal. If you like cute clothes and cheap prices, it's the place for you. Korea has so many underground shopping centers and they are basically the bane of my existence. All the clothes are typically $5 or $10, depending on what you get. But everything is so cute. Like, I would go to Korea just to shop. And also just for the food. And also just because I love it (but I'm obviously biased). 

Our hosts also took us to Namdaemoon market to go shopping-- which was also incredibly affordable and full of so much stuff. But I would say that this market is more geared towards the older women, whereas Dongdaemoon market is more geared towards college-aged kids and students (we didn't get a chance to go there because we went to Namdaemoon for my mom and then ran out of time-- but it was still good and I still got some good stuff). We also visited Myongdong-- which was awesome as well. But I would say it was definitely a bit more expensive than the underground market stuff (which, isn't hard because that stuff was so cheap). Long story short: go shopping in Korea someday. The end.

We got to go to the Seoul Tower one of the evenings we stayed in Gangnam. It was a rainy, moody evening-- but it was awesome. Looking over the entirety of Seoul from the top of the hill put so much into perspective for me. There were so many people. Each of those lights throughout the city represented at least one person. One person with a story, a life, connections. It's crazy to think about your own life and realize how many people you know and all of the things you've accomplished. And then when you realize that everyone has a collection of relationships and accomplishments from their own life, you realize how elaborate this existence truly is. There were so many lights in that city. There were so many people moving about, doing things, meeting people, accomplishing things; and that was just one city. There are so many cities in the world. There are so many people. And I'm just one little light in this big world full of lights.

Traveling is cool because it gives you a new perspective on life. Traveling is cool because you feel blessed for the life you live. Traveling is cool because you meet new friends and try new things. You don't have to go to another country to explore. You don't even have to go to another state. You can find places you've never been just by going outside.

October 18, 2016

self portrait.

We see ourselves differently than the world sees us; all the thoughts and beliefs dancing within our skulls impact the reflection we see in the mirror. When the world sees my smile, I see the moments flickering behind my eyes... I see Taylor gently brushing a wispy hair from my face, I see the endless open road stretching before me, I see my little sister singing and dancing pant-less with me in the kitchen before she left on her eighteen-month mission. When the world hears my laugh, I hear the lingering sounds of stupid jokes Taylor has whispered into my ear, I hear my best friends laugh after I tripped over nothing in the hallway of high school, I hear the triumphant giggle of my nephew after he has successfully stolen my shoe and won't give it back. We are made up of so many little fragments-- memories, beliefs and experiences; those fragments are what make us who we are. They create the light in our eyes, the dimples in our cheeks and the wrinkles on our foreheads. 

I believe that our physical selves are greatly impacted by the things that go on inside us. Have you ever been to a funeral viewing? You walk into a quiet room. You see the casket bearing the body of a lost loved one. As you approach the open box, you see a body that looks kind of like the person you have lost... but it's not them. Not really, at least. When the spirit is gone-- the part of them that contains all the memories, laughs, sorrows, and experiences-- their body doesn't look like them anymore. I think that we look the way we do because of what we've experienced. 

This morning, I took this self-portrait. And I like it. I think everyone should have at least a couple of photos of themselves that they like (because it's okay to like pictures of yourself, I promise). Maybe someday, when my soul has gone, the ones I leave behind will see photos like this and remember me the way I am.

October 17, 2016

here's some food for thought.

After all the crazy things that happened this past summer/year, Taylor and I decided to take the semester off from school in order to make some time for ourselves and get settled into our new place before starting up school again in January. It's been interesting to hear some of the things that people feel they have to say to us because of our decision. Several people who don't even know us well (or at all, for that matter) have come forward to comment on our lifestyle and life choices as if their opinion of us would influence the way we choose to live our life in the future. 

I feel as if, in society, there is this taboo template for "how to be successful in life" that everyone feels they have to follow. People change themselves in order to fit into the mold. It's this false idea that there is only one path to success in life and that any life path that brings success other than THE path is rare luck. 

You know what I'm talking about? The idea that, if you don't go to college (or, in the case of being LDS, you have the alternative decision of going on a mission) immediately after you graduate high school, then you're doomed to fail. If you don't finish your degree immediately and as quickly as possible, you're doomed to fail. If you don't get married in the designated "correct age" set by society to get married, you're doomed to fail. If you don't pop out babies within the first two years of marriage, you're doomed to fail. If you don't do everything according to the template of "how to be successful in life" that has been designated by society, you're doomed to fail.

I don't think there is one correct way to live life. 

Just like there is not one pair of pants that will fit every body type, I believe there is not one template for life that will fit every type of person. For Taylor and I, getting married quick made sense. For other people, taking time to get to know each other more before taking the big step into marriage makes sense. And that's okay. For Taylor and I, taking random semesters off from school to travel and adventure together makes sense. For other people, cranking through school in order to get it done ASAP and move into a new phase of life makes sense. And that's okay. For Taylor and I, we don't feel it's the right for us to have a baby just a year into our marriage. For other people, they decide to have a baby after just a couple of months of being married. And that's okay.

People are different. People need different things. People need to be able to make their own decisions based off of what is right for them. And that's okay! Just like you have the right to navigate through life on the path that works best for you, other people deserve the same. We are all different and that's what makes humanity so lovely. We are different. And that's okay! It's more than just okay, it's wonderful, exhilarating and beautiful.

So the next time you think something like, "They shouldn't be doing that, they're too young," or, "She should stay in school! She's throwing her life away!" just remember that you want people to give you the space to live life the way that fits best for you and you should give others the same respect. We don't know what plans people have for their lives, so we obviously can't make accurate judgements of what will be best for them. People keep trying to tell Taylor and I that we will never go back to school if we take a semester off-- and maybe that statement is accurate about them, but that's not the case for us.

In the end, I'm just glad that there are lots of different pant sizes & types in the world and lots of different paths for us to take. 

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