Arizona Adventures

Friday, February 24, 2012

A few weekends ago we hopped in the car and drove to sunny Arizona. It was a very welcome get-away. Our main purpose in going was to spend a few days with our good friends from Texas, Morgan and Karen and their cute little 1-year-old Carter. Karen threw the cutest little birthday party. We sure do wish we lived closer, but I'm so glad we are close enough to see each other a few times a year. Other highlights of our weekend include:

Riding beach cruisers on a perfect Arizona evening
Russ seeing the Hoover Dam for the first time -- and loving it
Eating an orange straight from a tree! 
Playing Buck Hunter with Morgan and Karen. Brought back old times.
Scoping out the highly anticipated store, Last Chance, and all of it's crazy glory. I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed. 
Hitting the craziest snow storm EVER on our way home. Russ's Prizm is a champ.
Last, but definitely not least, sneaking into the Grand Canyon.
Ok, let me explain real quick.

I have never seen the Grand Canyon. I feel like living within driving distance doesn't give me much of an excuse to have never seen one of the 7 natural wonders of the world! So on our way home we planned to drive through. As we are getting closer it is literally SNOWING. Are you for real?!? When we get to the pay station the lady tells us it is $25, even just to drive through. As we see the sign that says "poor visibility," we decide to save the cash and come back another time. 

And then we realize in order to get to the highway we have to drive through the Grand Canyon, that is if we didn't want to backtrack a few hours. Dang. We decide to ask a Park Ranger if there is any other way that will get us back to the highway besides going south again. After Russ smooth-talked him for 5 or 10 minutes, our most favoritest (yes, that's a word) Park Ranger then proceeds to say "Well, technically you don't HAVE to pay to get in the Grand Canyon. They don't want me to tell people about it, but I figure you guys are just driving through anyway." After telling us the side road that sneaks us in, we go on our merry, happy way. After a 20 or so minute off-roading experience in Russ's prizm (note to self -- we need a bigger car), we pull into the back of the Grand Canyon. Miraculously it had even stopped snowing and the fog had cleared. I'm so glad it all worked out. That sure was a GRAND canyon! :)

Results of Craft Night

Monday, February 20, 2012

I got together with some of my favorite girls for a craft night last week and we started these fun little "fully lined zippered pouches" using a tutorial found HERE. Because things always take a bit longer than planned, I finally finished it up yesterday afternoon. I think this is one of my favorite crafts I've ever done. I absolutely love this little bag!!

Picking the fabric was a lot of fun. Of course  you can never go wrong with stripes (in my book). And those turquoise pulls make me happier than they probably should. But my favorite part? Opening the zipper to find another fun fabric! Little surprises are the best.

My makeup now has a new home and my old nasty, dirty makeup bag from high school can finally retire! If you are wanting a fun sewing project, give this a try! Trust me, if I can sew it you can too. :) I'm definitely a novice in sewing land.

{Again, click HERE for the awesome tutorial. }

"Oh Hey Valentine"

Thursday, February 16, 2012

That's how Russ answered the phone when I called him on the morn of February 14th. It made me smile. "I'm someone's Valentine!"  I know I'm a few days late on posting about Valentine's Day, but no need to fear, we had a fantastic day. 

Random thought: I love when you make a spontaneous decoration one year, and then you reap the benefits for years to come. That is the case with these little lovely hearts I made last year. They make me happy every time I walk by them.

We had spent the weekend out of town (more on that later) and pulled in late Monday night, so we spent Valentines "in". It was just what the doctor ordered. We enjoyed a lovely dinner (if I do say so myself). The menu consisted of:

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Chimichirri
Green salad with apple, pecan, and bleu cheese, topped with blush wine vinaigrette dressing
Sourdough baguette
Peach Sparkling Cider
Peach Crunch Cake with French Vanilla ice cream on top (of course), while settling in to one of my favorite movies -- You've Got Mail, which believe it or not, Russ had never seen. (gasp!)

We also received a little surprise from some of the cutest girls in our neighborhood. They are some of my cute and eager piano students. They are also in our Primary class at Church. The note cracked us up. Let me make sure it is documented correctly:
"The 1 on top is for both of U, The 1 that says "2 hot" in the middle is Bro. Louis's & other is Sis. Louis's." 

Haha! Gotta love cute, little 9 year old girls :)

For My Music Lovin' Peeps

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Oh how I enjoy falling in love with new music. Finding a new favorite album or artist is like Christmas morning. All three of these albums have been on repeat for a good while now. 

I do have to say the National // High Violet is probably my reigning favorite. I cannot get enough of that album. I gave it to Russ for our anniversary last July. We blasted the album as we drove from Sundance through the American Fork canyon (nothing like taking the long way home) and oooh-ed and awww-ed over the stormy summer clouds and reigning peaks of Mt. Timpanogos. It was slightly magical. That album has been my go-to ever since that night.

Have you heard of Spotify yet? If not you may be living under a rock. It's the best. Sign up (for free!) and listen to a few of these tracks before making any purchases. Other tracks that have been my recent favs:

* Radical Face - Welcome Home Son
* Ryan Adams - Dirty Rain
* The National - Exile Vilify, About Today, and Cherry Tree (like I said, slightly obsessed)
* Wilco - One Sunday Morning
* Bon Iver - Calgary (actually the whole Bon Iver album...)
* The Moon Song - Gregory Alan Isakov
* Lykke Li - I Follow Rivers
* Florence + The Machine - Shake It Out
* Gabe Dixon Band - All Will Be Well
* Radiohead - The Daily Mail
* The Black Keys - Howlin' For You
* Geographer - Night Winds
* Cold War Kids - Hang Me Up to Dry
* Jonsi - Tornado

Sorry for the music overload, but hopefully you find a few new songs that will make your Tuesday that much better. :)

The Gallery Wall

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I finally finished the gallery wall in our living room! Hooray! I took my time slowly accumulating art, pictures and frames, and then arranged and re-arranged the frames on the floor until it finally made sense. One day I was home sick from work and just started hanging frames. I'm really happy with how it turned out.

That Robert Abbey lamp is another new addition. I sold our hand-me-down floor lamp a while ago on Craigslist, so I've kept my eye open for a lamp. It was hard, however, because I felt that corner needed something slightly larger than most lamps I was finding. And then I saw my amazingly cute and talented friend Candace's house, and knew that lamp was exactly what I was looking for. Candace was even nice enough to tell me where she got it, so I wasn't completely an annoying friend -- at least she knew I was copying her. :) Hey, it's all a form of flattery, right??

I wanted the pictures to mean something. Explaining some of the art, starting clockwise from the top left picture:

* "The learning print," by Caitlin of Hue and Hum
* The blue L for Lewis! I bought the letter at JoAnn's and painted it a light blue (I just had a sample here in the house, so I thought I would use it)
* "It's Better Tandem," by Fifth & Hazel. I gave this to Russ for Christmas; it's especially meaningful for us, not just because Russ loves to bike, but because Russ proposed to me while we were on a tandem bike ride.
* Canvas photo of us by the lovely Sada Lewis.
* Watercolor print of the Salt Lake City LDS Temple by Birds of Ashmae
* Print of Cadaques, Spain by Salvador Dali. We picked this print up when we visited Cadaques a few years ago. I love that we have stood in that exact point of view.

So there ya go. Our gallery wall is done, and the room is one more step to being "complete." But the funny thing is I don't know when it will ever be fully complete. Does anyone else feel this way?! Making a house a home is definitely a slow process, but every step of the way feels like a huge accomplishment.

Over and out!