3 Things

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

There are 3 things that have made me a happy girl lately.

#1: Pinterest. I have a lot of free time (aka: still job hunting), but for some reason I do not have a lot of creative juices flowing. So frustrating. So imagine my excitement when I finally received my invitation to join Pinterest, the most addicting and inspiring online collaboration I've ever been a part of. You can browse oodles of inspiring pictures other people have "pinned" to their boards, including decorating ideas, crafts, foods, styles, vacation destinations, art, etc. I must warn you: it is highly addicting! But believe me, my creative wheels are spinning now.

This is a view into some of my "boards" I have created. I am still learning the ropes, but I like how it will help me remember all the cute ideas I see online that I usually forget about 10 seconds after I see them. You have to request an invitation, but I have some invitations I can send out, so let me know if you want one!

 #2: Reading. I absolutely love getting sucked into a book to the point where you want to squeeze in a few pages whenever you get a chance. I recently read The Help, and by golly, I could not put it down. It is based in Jackson, Mississippi during the height of the civil rights movement, when for some reason a woman's skin color defined how she was treated. It is such an eye-opening novel that allows you to fall head-first into the nitty gritty of the character's lives. When I finished the book I truly missed these women! I can't wait for the movie this summer.

#3: And last, but definitely not least, Adele. This girl has got some soul and I think it is safe to say she is somewhat of a modern-day Aretha. This CD is played on repeat in my car, and the melodies and lyrics run throughout my head for the rest of the day. If you're feeling rather uninspired in the music genre these days, I highly recommend picking up this album, 21, or any of her others. You won't be sorry!

Utah Adventure #1: Coyote Gulch

Monday, May 30, 2011

Aaaaand we're back! Barely, that is. We've spent this lovely Memorial Day being as lazy as humanly possible after we just had a killer of a weekend... both literally and figuratively. Let me explain.

We drove down to Southern Utah near the Escalante River to a beautiful little area called "Coyote Gulch." To access the gulch you must backpack in a good 5-6 miles through the hot desert, and then hike in as far as you'd like within the breathtaking revine. You walk through and along a river as you bypass steep cliffs, incredible greenery, natural arches and bridges, waterfalls, and more. You can set up camp anywhere you desire; we chose to set up our temporary abode in a little meadow near the "Natural Bridge," about half-way through the gulch. It was perfect.

And then we woke up the next morning after our killer 10 mile hike into the gulch (believe me... 10 miles doesn't sound too bad, but it is a lot worse with a 40 pound backpack... the whole way). As we went to boil some water for breakfast we realized we had bought the wrong propane bottle for our portable stove. Uh oh. No stove = no boiling water = no way to cook our next 3 meals. We looked at each other, with our aching muscles and feet and said "looks like we better hike back out!" Haha oops. So we hiked 10 more miles the next day.

So there you have it! Our adventure was a little shorter than anticipated, but just as breathtaking and beautiful as I remembered Utah being. But I must say, it was a lot more painful. :) It's funny how you forget how backpacking is such hard work! By the time we pulled in last night we could barely move. And I'm not exaggerating. We were both limping and walking hunched over. I'm sure we were quite the spectacle. After a lazy day watching movies and making a big breakfast today, I think we are ready to take on the world again, or at least be able to walk...

Oh and don't worry, despite being so particular on what I would carry in my backpack for fear of excess weight, I knew one little addition would be worth it:

This picture showcases two of my loves in life... in no particular order of course. :)

The Inaugural Trip

Friday, May 27, 2011

The husband and I are packing up all of our gear that has been so neglected for the last two years. It has made me giddy pulling out all of my things that I used to use so very often, remembering adventures of years past, and anticipating the untold adventures that are ahead. I love, love, love being out in nature. Nature was hard to come by in Texas, and honestly, I felt like I lost a side of myself living there. I'm excited to go camping where I'm not next to an RV and there is not a porta-potty in sight. I am so happy to be living where my Osprey backpack, Thermarest, Smartwool socks, and Chacos can be fully utilized.

And mostly, I'm just excited to be out in the middle of nowhere with the husband. We have needed to "get away" for like 5 months, but seeing as we didn't really live with each other, it was kind of difficult. We have been anticipating this trip for quite some time.

So Mr. Adventure, are you ready for us? We are sure ready for you!

I Need a Job

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thanks for all the nice words about the house! We are pretty stinkin' excited, and now just can't wait till we can actually be in the house! Let me know when you want to come visit, we'd love to show you around!

My main responsibility of house hunting is completed, so now I've started the oh-so-fun job hunt. While working the 8-5 Monday-Friday job, I always thought "it'd be so nice to just stay home and do nothing!" Ok, that is fun for like 2 days. It's been about a week, and I'm already getting a little stir-crazy. I know it's time to get a job when I do two crafts in one afternoon.

First, I embellished an old striped shirt with some scrap fabric using this tutorial.

Then I made this bow headband with some fabric I picked up from Ikea, based on this tutorial.

And you better believe I have some more things up my sleeve. But mostly, I just need a job! If anyone has any leads here in Utah, send them my way! I promise, I've got skillzzzz. :)

Our Crazy Weekend

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Oh hey blogland! This has been a seriously crazy (but good) weekend. It is Sunday evening and I think we are both feeling quite exhausted. I'll stop talking and let the pictures do the explaining.

Oh snap! Did you like how I just threw that little piece of information in there?!? I guess I spoke too soon with my previous post. I know life doesn't always work this fast, but one window closed and another opened in like 4 days. By the end of this search, however, I probably walked through a hundred or more houses, all equally depressing and definitely not ours.

House hunting is like shopping for a wedding dress. 
As soon as you put it on, you just know.

When I walked through this house on Friday morning with my realtor, I really felt like the skies had parted. This house is everything we've been looking for and more, and I feel so grateful it fell into our laps. For you Utah peeps, it is in Lehi against the Jordan River. Instead of backyard neighbors we will have the Jordan River trail, the river, and a view of horses and mountains, yet we are only 7 minutes from the freeway. As I stood there and looked at the view, geese were flying off the rvier, ducks were quacking, and the sun was shining. I knew it was our house.

Everything happened much quicker than anticipated. Friday evening at Natalie's graduation we got a text from our realtor telling us someone else had put an offer on the house! No! Not our house?!? So Saturday morning we showed up bright and early, made a strong offer, and after a short but sweet bidding war, we signed a few papers, the house was ours. Yet we are relieved because even with the bidding war the house is still at the bottom end of our previously set budget. Obviously we still need to do all the financial side of house-buying (a.k.a getting a mortgage... eek!), but right now we are still letting it sink in that we found our house.

Here's the quick rundown:
3 bed, 2.5 bath, (with a loft that can be made into a bedroom if need be)
Brand new -- owner built it and included some pretty nice upgrades, but had to back out last minute because he lost his job (sad, huh?)
Just over 2,000 square feet
1/3 of an acre
Obviously not landscaped yet. Yikes! We have our work cut out for us.

And now, my friends, it is time to retire from this epic weekend. I'll keep y'all posted if anything else crazy happens. It seems to occur often these days. :)

Because You Asked...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A lot of you have asked where we are living here in Utah. Well, if that isn't the #1 question of the year I don't know what is!! When I had come to Utah a few weeks ago, we nailed down an area that we loved and found a house in our price range. Bada bing, bada boom, an offer was made, offer was accepted, we were homeward bound! (pun intended). Hold up. Not so fast. Tuesday night we had our inspection of the house, and it turns out this house wasn't so great. A few leaks in the roof and the basement, some grading issues, amongst a load of other concerns that were brought to our attention. Needless to say, we went home completely deflated and dissapointed. This was not our house.

Back to square one! So now I have been out with the realtor every day to try to figure out where we want to live. I'm finding house hunting to be the most frustrating experience EVER!!! Especially in our phase of life. No kids right now (so do we buy a house that fits us now and move when we need more room??). Not millionaires (aka, needing to sacrifice something in our house/location/quality to fit our budget). Haven't found one particular "area" we looooove (and therefore have driven all over Salt Lake and Utah valley).


Everyone keeps telling me to be patient because the house will come. I know, I know. It is just a slightly frustrating process, and whoever said house hunting is fun is crazy!! I am ready for this to end.


Until then? We found an amazing deal living down in good ol' Provo, sub-letting a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment for the summer. Sometimes I have to laugh that we ended up closer to campus than we lived when we were students, but hey, we're going to make the most of it and have a heckuva summer living life in the beautiful Provo in front of "Y Mountain" and finding the perfect house for us.

The End.

We're Heeeeeeeere!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We've moved! It's official. We are, once again, residents of the beautiful state of Utah. I think I'm going to need to get me one of these prints. What d'ya think?

There's no going back at this point, because I'm pretty sure you couldn't pay me to do that whole moving thing again. Since Russ was already living in Utah for work, it was my duty to pack up the entire house... alone. Yikes. I thought that would be the worst of it, but it turns out our bad traveling luck struck again. Russ's 4 hour flight to Texas turned into a 24 hour extravaganza no thanks to a snow storm in Denver. We finally packed the truck Thursday night, stayed up till 2 in the morning cleaning, wrapped everything up Friday, fought with the lovely people at Budget for messing up our reservation, and finally pulled out of San Antonio at 5 in the afternoon.... 10 hours later than planned.

We made it to Roswell, New Mexico at about 2 in the morning, now running on barely no sleep for the last few nights. It was fun to sleep with the aliens. Oh, Roswell, you were fun.

After another 15 hour day in the smooth, comfortable ride (just a hint of sarcasm here), we finally pulled into Utah at about 1 in the morning. Like I said, there's no going back.

So now we're here, and I'm really so happy about it. When you live in Utah you really take those mountains for granted (I know I sure did before Texas!). But they are absolutely breathtaking. I went for a run yesterday morning and was almost giddy with the crisp, cool, mountain humidity-free air. We've already seen most of our family in the last 2 days, and I can't wait for the many, many other get-togethers that are sure to come.

So Utah, it sure is good to be back. Now if only you could bring our friends from Texas up here, too? Thanks, that'd be great.

My Partner In Crime

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's Wednesday. But unlike every other Wednesday for the last few years here in Texas I did not get up and go to work. And let me tell you, it was weird! Yesterday was my last day at my job. I am a tax accountant, which means I show up to the same desk and sit there for at least 8 hours of the day... preparing tax returns... every day. To most of the world that sounds like forced torture. But really, it's not so bad, especially when you have a best friend and partner in crime like I was lucky enough to have.

Most of you who have read my blog for a while have read about Sada. We both started working at that office within a few weeks of each other, and I knew it was friends-at-first-sight. We're practically the same person, so the fact that when she got married and her new last name was Lewis, just like me, it wasn't really a surprise. (I mean, come on, our husbands Russell and Reagan are both R. John Lewis's. Same middle and last name. Coincidence? We'll never know).

We spent hours and hours talking about everything under the sun, going to lunch, envisioning all sorts of crafts we can do together, running, cross-fitting, planning our futures, planning her wedding, shopping, talking, talking, and more talking, oh, and working of course. :) I honestly don't think I could have gotten through my time here in Texas without this girl. I mean, who else is willing to do an impromptu photo shoot in our "tax pit" on my last day? Sada. (PS. I highly recommend checking out her blog, seeing as she's an amazing photographer. Remember this photo shoot? Yup, Sada took those).

This picture is absolutely ridiculous, incredibly dorky, and slightly embarrassing. But I post it to give those people I have told about my "corner" at work a visual. I literally looked at a corner every day in a room with no windows and only fluorescent lights. It was fabulous. But as I walked out of that room for the last time yesterday, I was surprised to find myself rather emotional. I closed another chapter of my life, and said goodbye to another amazing friend. Luckily, she's a friend for life and this goodbye was more of a "see-you-later."

So, I'm Moving This Week.

Monday, May 9, 2011

If you asked me to explain how I'm feeling right now, I think I've got just about every emotion on the map. I am...

Excited to be with Russ again
SO sad to be leaving my friends here in Texas
Stressed about getting everything done
Tired from being stressed for 5 months
Happy to be moving closer to family
Relieved that Russell really does love his new job
Overwhelmed with finding somewhere to live
Stuck as to where to start looking for a job for me
Oh, and did I mentioned excited, stressed, and sad?

I think the reality of the situation really hit me today. Tomorrow is my last day of work! Russell comes on Wednesday! We pack the truck Thursday! We pull out Friday! WOAH. As excited as I am to not be alone here in Texas anymore where I'm left to eat Kraft Macaroni & Cheese alone for my Mother's Day Celebration meal (yes, I really did that), I really will miss our little life in our red brick house down here in Texas. 

As I've been packing everything up, I've been trying to engrain the little details of this house into my brain. Like this wall in our front room. For some reason it just made me so happy. I finally got permission from our Landlord to paint it grey, and then I hung the Ikea frames on the wall with the intention to put real pictures in them. I got sick of waiting and put some scrapbook paper in them as a "temporary" solution. I liked it so much they stuck! Nothing like a budget-friendly solution! :)

This guest bathroom was another favorite little room of our house. The towel and shower curtain are Amy Butler from Bed, Bath & Beyond and they really would make me smile. Even my little 3-year-old niece Lucy saw the greatness of Amy Butler. When they were here visiting last fall we all heard a "cuuuuuuuute!" from little Lucy as she was going to the bathroom. Thanks Lucy!

The graphic print says "Come What May and Love It." I bought it from this seller on Etsy. I guess that is the theme to our lives these days. We are trying to plan, plan, plan, and usually what you plan doesn't work out. Such is life! Sometimes you have to roll with the punches, like when life causes you to pack up your life in Texas and move 1,400 miles away. Yeah, just like that.

Fictionist & Rolling Stone: ROUND 3!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I know you have been dying to hear an update about Fictionist and the Rolling Stone Competition. I guess the title gives it all away -- they made it to Round 3!!

This is huge, people. The competition started with 16 bands from around the country, and now they are in the final four. That's all good and great, but now we need to pull out the big guns. They are up against some pretty great bands, and the bands who make it to the next round get to perform at Bonnaroo Music Festival in June. For those who have never heard of Bonnaroo, it's a hit line-up music festival where you go around and listen to the best of the best play all day long. A music lover's dream. This year some of the headliners include Arcade Fire, Iron & Wine, Ray LaMontagne, Eminem, The Black Keys, Robert Plant (hello... Led Zeppelin anyone?), Alison Kraus, Mumford & Sons, Florence + The Machine, and LOTS more.

Take a few seconds, rate Fictionist "5 stars" using the widget below, or if you are in reader, clicking on THIS LINK. If you are feeling extra generous, go ahead and "like" them on Facebook or twitter, because believe it or not, these Rolling Stones guys are looking at every online avenue to who should be on the cover of such an iconic magazine. And last but not least, tell your friends!

And because you have endured endless rambling about Fictionist and Rolling Stone, I will treat you with a picture that makes me laugh every time. This is Stu on a farm we stayed at during a family trip to Australia. I get to post it because I took it, and well, it's S.I.L. duty to be annoying and tease the man who married my sister. Love you, Stu! :)

On Running

Monday, May 2, 2011

The 1/2 Marathon I signed up for a few months ago is just 6 short Saturdays away! Wowzers! It's amazing how fast those races creep up on you. I've been trying to up my mileage lately in order to be prepared for 1/2 marathon numero tres. Texas blessed us with a cool and crisp morning today which I used to its full advantage as I got another long run in. It was one of those runs that reminded me how much I love running.

I haven't always loved running, believe you me. In fact I used to hate it. But in college I found it to be the best and fastest way to get a burn. My sister convinced me to do the Moab 1/2 Marathon with her in March 2009, and I haven't looked back since. There really is something to be said about the "runners high." Not every run is amazing, however. In fact, some, and perhaps most, are just down right hard and sometimes painful.  But somehow you still get back out there to try again.

But it's those blessed runs that come every so often that make you truly love the sport. Maybe it was my favorite shorts or my awesome neon yellow shirt given to me for my birthday by my running friend/hero, Andrea, or maybe it was just luck. But today was one of those blessed days. It's the runs like today where I went out for a 9 mile run, but ended up running 10.5 miles, just because I could.  It's the runs where I dance a little bit while running when a good song comes on, or when my mind stops thinking and just let's me be. It's the runs where I feel strong, confident, and accomplished.

Whatever it is, I'm just so grateful for running. I love that every running achievement is a personal one, and no matter how far a run is--whether it's 1 mile or 10.5 miles, you never regret that you did it.