We made it to St. Louis.

May 14, 2016

Well, we've made it safe and sound to our new home for the next couple of months. We split up the 20 hour drive into two separate days (because I'm quite sure we would have died if we tried to do the whole thing straight through) and managed to get both of our cars here with no real problems. (However, at one point during the journey, I said something along the lines of, "Wow, I'm surprised we've made it this far with no car problems," and literally within the half hour that followed one of the cars presented a minor problem... karma). We drove through Colorado and Kansas-- meaning the first part of the drive was really exciting because we drove through a "treacherous" mountain range, but once we hit the endless flats of Kansas it proved to be rather difficult to stay awake. (Don't get me wrong, it was gorgeous out there... there was just no real change in scenery for HOURS.)

There was so much construction along the way. I swear we spent more time looking at orange cones lining the side of the road than we did looking at anything else. I kept getting so irritated because every time we started to get into the flow of the drive, we'd hit a long patch of construction cones and 45mph speed limits. In the end, all we could really do about it was just laugh and keep on driving. Tay and I got to drive together in the same car for a portion of the travels and we laughed at ourselves when we attempted to play the ABC game in the middle of Kansas. It was the longest ABC game I've ever participated and we ended up giving up before it was even over. Fortunately things got better the further into the journey we got. When we hit the rolling hills of Kansas, it was nearing dusk and I couldn't help but to be mesmerized by the hundreds of windmills scattered across the horizon. 

 When we finally got to St. Louis we literally spent two hours sitting in a six mile patch of road work. That was easily the most frustrating point of the trip just because we were so close but we couldn't keep progressing in our journey just because we were stuck in a "parking lot" on the freeway. But we eventually overcame that little bump in the road and made it to our new place. We were just happy to unpack our things and get ourselves situated enough to begin this new phase of life. 

Not even two days into our move, however, we were faced with another set of rare circumstances. A wild storm rolled into town and ripped through everything and anything in sight. I was actually filming the storm through my living room window when suddenly a tree across the street toppled over into the adjacent power lines and the power went out. (Yes, I did catch the big fall on film-- it was nuts!) The scene was a mess and it took the power guys a full day to make it to our complex just because of all the other storm damage they were dealing with. 

Long story short, we spent about two days with no electricity. Which meant that I spent two days with a dead phone (charging it in my car when I felt it was absolutely necessary) and worrying about whether or not all of the groceries we had just bought were going to go bad because the fridge wasn't on. We survived by relying on candles and our one flashlight as our only sources of light. And we had to eat out several times just because the apartment complex's repairmen highly recommended that we didn't open our refrigerators during the period of time when the power was out. (We did open it once... but just to shove a couple of bags of ice in there and hope for the best outcome). It's just funny because Taylor and I always have the worst luck when it comes to things like this! We even ended up talking to one of our neighbors we ran into while we were out walking our dog and she said that nothing like this has happened since she's lived here (which has been about 3+ years, just FYI). I think we brought in all the bad luck? Whoops, our bad. 

 Anyway, with the power out and Tay gone working all day, I ended up getting really creative with my time. I read all of the books I had to read and then found myself with an open sketch book in front of me and a determination to try something new in the art realm that I hadn't tried before. These faceless portraits are all the rage these days in Utah, so instead of paying someone else to do one for me, I just made one myself. It was fun to have a reason to try something new. It was also fun to try and be creative as possible and come up with ways to keep myself occupied. I must admit... I did end up spending at least an hour or two staring out the window and a bunch of old dudes in orange vests and helmets pointing at the tree tangled up in electric wires and trying to figure out what to do with it. It wasn't even remotely entertaining, but I was desperate, I guess. 
Taylor and I are doing well now! Our power finally came back on, our boxes are all unpacked and our temporary home is organized just the way I like it. We even live fifteen minutes away from a little Korean market (and you bet we bought ourselves a nice big jar of kimchi). The weather seems to be behaving itself much better now as well. So far, I'm quite in love with the luscious green trees that I see everywhere in Missouri. I'm also quite fond of the humidity as well (like, who even needs lotion anymore). We'll see how we feel about things once we're here for a bit longer, but for now, our first impression (aside from all the mishaps and whatnot) has been a good one!

xoxo

ps. if you have any "must-do," "must-eat," or "must see," suggestions for me while I'm living here in St. Louis, feel free to let me know!

newlyweds.

May 10, 2016

A few months back, Taylor and I had a friend on facebook who posted something along the lines of, "Happy six months to my sweet wife! I'm so glad we're not newlyweds anymore!" When we read that, Taylor and I both laughed together because we had recently come to the mutual conclusion that we'll consider ourselves "newlyweds" until we have our first baby or until we've been married 10+ years. That being said, there's such a cliche that comes along with being a recently married couple-- people will give you advice that suggests that, "The first year is the hardest," or ask crazy things like, "Do you guys hate each other yet?" But in my opinion, the married lifestyle, although filled with various challenges along the way, is both very happy and extremely rewarding. People have weaknesses, times are tough, and difficult things are bound to happen, but when it all comes down to it, a happy marriage is one that's based off of mutual goals and a desire to make each other happy. 

Sometimes I get mad at Taylor when he leaves his socks on the floor or when he doesn't put things back where they go after he's made something in the kitchen. Sometimes I get real snappy with him because I haven't eaten anything all day or because I haven't gotten enough sleep (and it's funny because I know that I'm being a brat but I can't seem to control myself). We don't always agree on how various situations should be handled. I'm a stubborn son-of-a-gun and that always seems to make things interesting because I refuse to budge (even when I know I'm wrong)-- Taylor just has to roll his eyes and deal with me. Taylor doesn't like feet and I make a point to always rub my bare feet on his face. He tickles me until I nearly pee my pants (and I get so mad I refuse to talk to him for a solid ten minutes). Long story short: yeah, we don't agree on everything. No, marriage isn't like all the fairytales we grew up telling-- it's better. It's better because it's real, and it's raw, and it gives us the opportunity to grow in ways we never could have otherwise. 

I'm obviously no expert on marriage (heck, I don't know if any of us will ever be) and Taylor and I have just as many disagreements as the next couple. But I've realized that being different and having different opinions really is such a good aspect in a marriage. It helps us to see things from multiple points of views and to make the best possible decision in different phases of life. What matters isn't necessarily the way we handle the mundane day-to-day things (like toothpaste, socks on the floor, and dishes in the sink), but rather, the goals that we share as a couple and the things we hope to accomplish during our lives together. 

Who cares if I want to play soccer but he wants to play basketball? Who cares if sometimes I'd rather sit and watch gossip girl while he's watching the football game? Who cares if he knows all sorts of things about cars and that I'm completely incompetent when it comes to that topic? What matters is that we both share a desire to have a family, we both want to travel and experience different places and cultures, and we both want to continue to put an emphasis on the role religion plays in our lives. What matters is that we value each other's dreams and opinions and do the best we can to accommodate to each other, even when it's not always convenient to us. What matters is that, in the end, we just like being together. It doesn't matter where we are or what we're doing, as long as we're together. 

In life we have to pick and choose our battles; it's no different in marriage. You can choose to be upset about the socks on the floor or you can just laugh about it and throw them in the laundry hamper. Or, if it's something that really troubles you, you could simply express why it upsets you to your spouse (and more often than not your spouse will put up a valiant effort to be better about it)-- but you have to give them time to be better. None of us is perfect. We've got to be patient with others and we've got to be patient with ourselves. 

Getting married doesn't solve all of your problems. In fact, more often than not, it presents a whole new list of problems that you couldn't have predicted you'd have to deal with. What marriage can do, however, is offer you a lifetime-partner in crime with whom you can take on life's challenges with. It gives you a permanent cuddle buddy, netflix buddy, and adventure buddy. Your relationship doesn't change just because you say "I do," over the alter. You're still you and he's still him. You become permanent sleepover buddies and that's about all the change you get. So don't expect marriage to make your relationship into something other than what it already is. You love him for who he is, he loves you for who you are, and that's about it. You'll be married and other than the permanent sleepover thing, nothing feels different. It's just more fun because you know that you'll be there for each other forever and always. 

They may say that the first year of marriage is the hardest, but I think it's probably the other way around. As life moves on greater trials will come-- the trials you deal with in the first year of marriage are more-so related to getting used to living with another person. But the trick to overcoming those issues is merely communicating well with each other and deciding from the beginning that you're not going to let the little things eat away at your soul. Marriage is sweet, exciting, and sometimes a little difficult, but like all things in life, the things that push us to become greater are the best things for us. 

xoxo

The Goodbye Sunday.

May 1, 2016

For Taylor and I, today was our last Sunday here in Utah before we head off together on our grand summer adventure. Our families put together a little goodbye shin-dig on our behalf, seeing as we'll be packing up our lives and making the big move later on this week. Getting the chance to be with all the people we love all at the same time made my heart so happy I thought it might burst (and all the yummy food made my tummy so happy that it nearly DID burst). For the record, I am a strong advocate for joint family parties. In my opinion, there really is nothing better than hanging out with all of my siblings and Tay's siblings for hours at a time. My sweet grandma and grandpa even made an appearance, which obviously made the evening complete. The party was complete with hill-rolling-races, painted sunsets, puppy chases, and a whole lot of laughter. 

(Sidenote: Taylor was going to shave off his beard today but when he jokingly came out to show me his goatee look, I decided I liked it and so I made him keep it... at least for a little while. He rocks that ironman look, yo.)

I feel at peace when I think about the plans we've made for the remainder of this year. When the new year initially came, I was somewhat contemplative about what Taylor and I should be doing and what kind of goals we needed to be setting together. But as time naturally passed, things and plans seemed to just fall together. I feel really good about what we're doing, the goals we've set, and the direction in which our life is headed. 

As I watched Taylor interacting with various loved ones tonight I was overcome with this feeling of love and appreciation for him. Of course, I always love and appreciate him, but you know those moments when you feel like a fly on the wall in your own existence and you come to all sorts of realizations at the exact same time? Tonight was one of those moments for me. I love my Taylor! He truly has helped me in so many ways amidst my journey to become the kind of person I want to be. He is such an important part of who I am and he plays such a large role in who I want to be. I love being married to my best friend. He really does enrich my life in so many ways. 

Long story short: life is good, I love my family, I adore my husband, and I'm excited to see where the next couple of months (as well as the next couple of years... but we'll just stick to the more immediate future for now) will take us. 

xoxo

Kingsley Meets Murphy.

April 25, 2016

I'm sure if I had a kid (or kids), I'd blog about it... but seeing as I am not yet mothering a small human, I sometimes feel as if I have nothing of real importance to blog about. I mean, come on, all I ever do is eat tacos, take pictures of other people, and watch greys anatomy whilst editing photos. I do, however, have a puppy. And in all reality, my dog is basically my child. So (disclaimer) don't mind me frequently blogging about Kingsley as if he is a being created from my own flesh and blood. Call me a crazy dog lady, whatever.

Anyway, today Taylor and I got to spend some time with some good friends. They have this cute little Cavapoo named Murphy who is basically has the exact same doggy-personality as Kingsley (we're actually quite convinced that somewhere in their bloodline they share an ancestor or something-- that's how similar they are). It was hysterical to see them interacting for the first time because they're both whimpy little pups who are afraid of anything and everything that is unfamiliar to them. Within the first few moments they were both shaking as if they'd been stuck out in the cold for hours and refused to be within a foot of each other. It took the two of them three whole hours to warm up to each other enough to start sniffing bums and exchange even the most stereotypical puppy greetings (but, as you can see in the photos above, we literally had to force them towards each other before they would even acknowledge one another). 

By the end of our visit, however, they were chasing each other around the backyard and having the time of their lives together. Kingsley has been the worst when it comes to being socialized with other dogs. He's great with people (including sticky babies who tug on his ears) but he's been so terrified of every other dog he's come into contact with. I was actually started to get a wee bit worried because I just wanted him to have a couple of dog friends that he could play with (mostly because I was getting tired of crawling around on all fours and "wrestling" with him) but he simply did not connect with any other dog. Instead of bum-sniffing and playing tag, he'd always retreat to a corner and cower when he'd meet potential new puppy friends. I guess all he really needed was another terrified pup and a whole lot of time to warm up to him. 

Long story short, I'm proud to announce that my dog has at least ONE little dog friend. Hopefully this is just the start of many new dog friends to come (but I wouldn't count on it because.... well, Kings is a whimp. But I love him anyway).

xoxo 

happiness always wins.

April 23, 2016

Yesterday Taylor and I visited the place where he asked me to marry him. We've been married for just over six months now, but I still got little butterflies deep within my tummy when we pulled up over the top of the hill and saw the lovely golden field dancing in the wind. We took Kingsley (our little pup) with us and let him wander through the shrubbery and underbrush that was scattered across the hillside. He dug a little path in the sandy dirt and ended up inhaling so much of it that he sneezed consecutively for about ten minutes. Eventually we decided it was probably best that he inhale oxygen rather than dirt particles, but when picked him up, he had dirt smeared across his wet little nose (and it wouldn't come off until we finally just gave him a bath). 

To be quite honest, I was having a bit of a difficult day. I've got these silly health problems that sometimes leave me feeling incredibly helpless. It's funny, because when I feel really crappy physically, I end up feeling really crappy mentally as well. So my loving husband came to the rescue and took me to a beautiful place where we could just be together and leave the world behind. 

Watching Taylor and Kingsley playing together made it really hard for me to focus on anything other than how stinkin' adorable they are. I couldn't help but to laugh at all of their silliness-- I could literally feel all the happiness swelling within my bosom and it reminded me how lucky I am to live the life I live and how grateful I am to share it with the people (and puppy) I love. 

**But seriously, how CUTE is this little video of my boys? Every time I watch it, I can't help but to be really, really, really exceptionally happy. 

The truth is, feeling all crappy on the inside is the absolute worst. But sometimes those feelings are 100% unavoidable. So when those crappy feelings come, the only thing we can really do is combat them with happiness. My happiness is spending time in random, beautiful places with the people I love. It's an ice-cold lime diet coke and a bag of microwave popcorn. It's taking pictures and laughing at Taylor's jokes (even when they aren't particularly funny). Happiness comes in so many shapes and sizes, but in the end, happiness always wins. 

So never, ever give up. It's not worth it to be sad.

xoxo

a little evening fishing.

April 22, 2016

Taylor Dale and I took my younger brother up the canyon to go fishing last night. He turned sixteen at the beginning of the week and we wanted to take him out for the evening so we could spend some time with him in celebration of reaching this big stepping stone in his life. I remember when I turned sixteen; I thought I was going to feel so much older and wiser, but in the end I just felt more young and inexperienced than I had before (thanks to the added responsibilities in my life such as driving and working and blah). I think it's funny that we, as human beings, look forward to these "landmark" events in our life as if things will suddenly change for the better. It's just funny that, although the things around us may change, we don't change at all. The very essence of who we are stays the same, we just gain more responsibility (and then have to learn how to deal with it). 

Every once in a while, it's nice to take a step back from the demands of every-day life. Spending an evening sitting beside a beautiful reservoir of water nestled comfortably within the comfort of the mountains was exactly what I needed. I tend to get caught up in the monotony of to-do lists and adult-ing. I think it's mostly because I just want to feel as if I'm on top of the things going on in my life (even though I've come to the conclusion that I will never really feel as if I've got a solid handle on my own life) but I can never seem to keep up with all the things I want to accomplish. 

This world is so full of so many different opportunities to succeed. I get my head set on the idea that, in order to succeed, I have to walk a very specific path and check-off a list of very specific things and eventually I'll be the successful me I've always wanted to be. Lately, however, I think I've come to realize that success comes in so many different shapes and forms. It's my job to discover the path that is right for me and that will enable me to be not only successful, but to find my kind of happiness in every step along the way.

There are many ways to define "success." But to me, success is both doing something good in this world and enjoying the journey that takes you there. Success tastes sweeter when you sprinkle it with happiness. 

And that's exactly what I intend to do. 

xoxo

Freedom, sweet freedom.

April 20, 2016

I took my last few finals of the semester on Tuesday-- which means that for Taylor and I, summer has officially begun! Driving home from school that day was interesting, however, because although I am done with school for the time being, my sub-conscious kept telling me that I had homework to do and tests to study for. You know that feeling you get when you wake up suddenly in the middle of the night and realize that you still have a couple good hours of sleep left before your alarm sounds off? That's what it felt like. It was glorious.

In other news... I swear I spend every waking moment of my life attending various friends' weddings and taking/editing photos for clients. My little sister has completed half of her 18 month mission and I can't even fathom that because I swear she left like... yesterday. My puppy isn't really a puppy anymore-- he's getting so big and he does big dog things like "shake" and "roll over." Tay and I have officially entered our "pack and get ready to move to St. Louis" phase of life and it's mind-boggling. I've been dealing with daily AWFUL migraines (anyone know any good cures?????). I don't even remember the last time I wore cute clothes and got "ready" for the day (and I know, that probably sounds really pathetic, but that's my reality right now). A hobby that Taylor and I share is looking up houses that are up for sale on Zillow (no, we're not looking into buying a house right now....). We've been married for six months! Huzzah. And last but not least, it's been over a month since I last blogged... ha! And I've set this goal for myself to be better at blogging from here on out, but don't hold me to it because who knows how well I'm going to do....

Life is good. It's busy and I'm going semi-insane trying to keep up with everything, but it's good. Cheer me on as I attempt to be better at this whole blogging thing.

xoxo

rainy tuesdays.

March 22, 2016

 It rained all day today. I was supposed to go to school but my body protested and instead I just stayed at home, snuggled up beneath covers on my bed and cuddled my puppy. He's not used to the rain; the soft patter of raindrops kissing the window pane caused him all sorts of anxiety. He'd sit straight up and growl at the blind-covered window as if he had all the power in the world to stop the sky from showering down pearls of water. I'd just chuckle and ruffle the fur on the top of his head and assure him that everything was going to be okay and that we were as safe as could be. Eventually he ended up believing me... or just got tired of growling at the window. 

Taylor got off work early today. I swear I can't function as a normal human being unless he's with me. So when we're separated because of work and school I legitimately feel as if half of my soul has been ripped out of me. Maybe that's a bit dramatic? Nah. It's just how I feel. My love cuddled me for a while as we talked about his day at work and puppys fear of storms. Eventually, however, he just kissed my forehead and suggested that we get out of the house for a bit. 

When you don't feel well there isn't much you can do on terms of "adventure," but we made what we could out of our situation. We left our phones at home and went for a long drive in the rain. Puppy came along too. Today we discovered that he's actually quite afraid of windshield wipers. As soon as Taylor flipped them on, our little pup scrambled out of my lap and sought refuge in the squished space between the driver's seat and Tay's back. I just about died each time he'd look back at me with his big ol' eyes-- it was almost as if he was saying, "Why do you humans make me ride in big metal vehicles with squeaky noisy things on it?" Sorry, Kingsley. It gets better with time, I promise. 

I decided that I want this little part of the internet to be a place where I can share my thoughts and experiences-- you know, the little things that make life meaningful. You don't have to be traveling the world or living abroad to be an interesting person. Who we are is based off of the things that exist within our hearts and our minds, not the things have or the places we go. 

Maybe on the world's terms, I'm not that interesting. 
But I've never really bothered with what the world thinks. 

xoxo