March 25, 2013

March 25th (4 Years)

It's crazy to think that I've been home from my mission for four years today. I loved my mission. It was sacred time for me, and I still know that the doctrines and principles I taught during that time are true. I know serving a mission isn't for everyone, but I'm grateful the Lord saw fit to make it for me.


You can read my musings from my 3-year mark here.

And you can check out my Mormon.org profile here to learn a little more about my faith and what it means to me.

March 20, 2013

What Happens to Me When I Go to Target

In case you didn't know it, I'm a most excellent shopper! Last night, I went to Target to get some of this:



But, as always, Target SUCKED ME IN, and I ended up ALSO coming back with all of this:

You should have seen all the stuff I DIDN'T buy! Does it make it better if I say I used TWO coupons?

I blame C-lin for not coming with me. ;)

In my defense, how can you pass up salt/pepper shakers shaped like a rabbit and an Easter chicken?? Which obviously meant that I needed to buy black pepper... And you can never have too much craft glitter (only $1.25!)... or too many socks (3 pairs for $1.78!)! And I've been needing glue sticks for ages. Also, the ice cream was only $3.25 (and ice cream and ibuprofen just go together sometimes, amiright? tmi? meh.), and the shoes were (wait for it) $5.96! Less than $6! How was I to pass them up?? And umm, I was out of milk and eggs anyway. Also, I decided last night that it's time to finally become an adult and start taking one-a-day vitamins. (Are you proud, Mom? You've only been telling me for about 10 years now.) And guys, I know that shirt is WAY out of my regular price range, but I used a $5 off coupon, plus my wardrobe has been chambray-less for long enough, so it's all good, right?? Oh, and why did I buy sweet hot mustard? Because it was $1.24, of course! (And for the pretzel-making party I've been wanting to host ever since returning from Amish Country!)

Sigh.

You win this time, Target. (OK... Let's be honest; probably next time, too. Unless Caitlin comes?)

PS I also did this yesterday (BEFORE I bought the < $6 shoes):

Homemade hot pink Toms!
I've been wanting another pair of Toms for summer, but due to the grad school thing + the "My Car Failed Emissions and Then My Tire Exploded, Too" thing PLUS the "I GOT ACCEPTED FOR A ONE-WEEK STUDY ABROAD IN TURKEY THIS SUMMER (but it costs a million dollars)" thing (but YAY anyway!), it just ain't in the cards. I decided to get all crafty and revamped my two current pairs. I haven't yet decided if I'm "done" with the silver ones (I made them shiny again with a coat of metallic silver spray paint and sprayed the soles metallic gold), but I patched up my red ones (rather clumsily, I might add. oh, well.) and turned them hot pink! I sprayed the soles a dark gray, taped them off, and used hot pink acrylic paint and a sponge brush to paint the red canvas hot pink. :)

And then I bought new green canvas shoes. Oh, well. Can't say I didn't try!

March 14, 2013

Lancaster County

Last Saturday, I spent the day with friends in Lancaster County, PA (aka Amish country!). We could NOT have asked for a more perfect Saturday! The scenery was breath-taking, the food was amazing, and the company was the BEST!

We started out our day in Lancaster at Central Market: the oldest, continuously-running farmers market in the U.S. The produce was beautiful, delicious, and cheap! The jam was yummy and most plentiful.

(photo collages by my iPhone)

We then carried on to Intercourse, PA (Hee hee. I know you just giggled, too!)

We made SURE to stop at Immergut Pretzels. I'd received high recommendations from my roommate and from the Internet, and we were NOT disappointed! The pretzels were so, so good!

Possibly the best shot of Camille I've ever taken on my iPhone.
And then I got this adorable candid shot of Camille & April on April's camera. :)
We walked up the street to take a tour of the Intercourse Pretzel Factory. We learned that 70% of the pretzels made in the U.S. are made within 100 miles of Intercourse, and that 80% of those are eaten within that same distance. (Apparently, Pennsylvanians love pretzels?)

(photo by Andrea on April's camera)
We learned how to twist our own pretzels! And I loved all the colorful, vintage pretzel containers!

After becoming certified pretzel-makers (we even got stickers to prove it!), we perused the goods at "Dolly Bodacious," a cute little vintage/thrift shop next door.
photo by April
Cute girls browsing books. (I almost bought this book! It was hysterical!)
Photobomb by Andrea (photo by my iPhone)
I LOVED these vintage hankies! But I didn't buy one, because I don't know how I'd use it? (photo by my iPhone)
Just practicing my duck face, nbd. (PS not really!) (photo by April)
(self-timer photo on April's camera)
(walking shot! taken by Camille on April's camera)

Then, as if our trip hadn't revolved enough yet around food, we went to... Kitchen Kettle Village! I also had this place on high recommendation from Whitney, who described it as an "Amish Costco," where you could sample delicious spreads, jams, cheeses, etc. to your heart's content! And man, oh, MAN, was I content here! I left with obscene amounts of jam (don't worry, some of it is for gifts!), and some Amish butter cheese. :D

Heh heh! (photo by Brynn, on April's camera)

(photo by April)
Sample ALL the jams! (photo by my iPhone)
The sign behind us said Girls' Day Out. (And if the bad quality isn't a giveaway... yep. iPhone.)


The only part of our trip that did NOT involve food was our visit to the Hunsecker's Mill Covered Bridge (which is, apparently, the longest single-span covered bridge in the U.S.). I hadn't heard of covered bridges before doing research or this trip, but it was so beautiful at this bridge, and it was the perfect place or a min photo sesh.

(photo by April)
Covered bridge = dance party, duh. (photo by my iPhone)
Covered bridge also = photo shoot, double-duh! PS I have no idea how I kept a straight face. (photo by April)
(boot shot by Camille on April's camera)
(by April)
(photo by friendly passers-by on April's camera)
Jump! (iPhone)

The last part of our excursion was most definitely a highlight. We got to have dinner in a real Amish home! Our hostess was Amanda, and we got to meet her son, Daniel, and her beautiful grand-daughters (ages 3, 5, and 7). We have no photos from dinner (we didn't want to be rude), but it was a really neat experience; one that I'd definitely love to repeat!

On our drive to Amanda's home, we stopped to take photos of some of the scenery, which was spectacular.
(photo by my iPhone)
(thanks, iPhone!)
I may or may not have stood up through the sunroof to take some of these. (Don't worry; the car was parked!)
(photo by my iPhone)
(photo stilll  from the iPhone)
Don't they look delicious? Ha ha. (photo by April)
Cow houses! (like dog houses, but for cows!) (photo by April)

These last shots are from down the road from Amanda's home.

(taken on my iPhone)
by April
(self-timer photo -- on my car! mad skillz! -- on April's camera)
And some bloopers (still from April's camera): 

Rolling my eyes at all the drama. ;) Ha ha.
Adorable! (photo by April)
Surprise! an iPhone photo!
Back to April's camera.
One of my favorites! (photo by April)

Next time you've got a hankering to get out of the city/eat some really delicious food, check out Lancaster County.

The end!