February 28, 2014

How to be an Awesome Co-Worker

I had to work late a few nights ago, and I was feeling a little flustered. I was tired, hungry, and struggling to focus. I just wanted to get out of the office and into my nice, warm bed, but I had to finish some things that were taking me longer than I wanted.

My co-worker Jimmy was heading out the door, and I jokingly said, "Come back, and bring me a cheeseburger!" And 15 minutes later... He did! He actually came back... with a CHEESEBURGER for me! And not just ANY cheeseburger; a Shackburger!

I was blown away! He completely made my night and made the rest of the evening go so much better! To him it might have seemed like something small, but it meant so much to me that he would serve me in that way. That Shackburger even gave me the strength to drop off my car to a friend who's helping me fix it after I got home from work (ie- around 10pm).


You never know the impact a small act of service will have on someone, but remember to look for opportunities to serve those around you as you go about your day. What may, to you, seem a small act, can mean the world, or even the answer to a prayer, to elseone.*

This is not the Shackburger Jimmy brought me; I scarfed that one up in a minute. But it looks just like it!
I borrowed this one from here.

* I know elseone isn't technically a word, but it should be.

February 24, 2014

Lazy Sundays

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I started this post LAST Sunday night but never finished it.

I spent last Sunday at home after church with my roommate Kathryn (our other roommate had a friend in town and was out for most of the evening). We didn't do much of anything, but it was just such a lovely day! We cooked (A lot... I was in a cooking mood to begin with, and then Kathryn discovered she had some things that were about to go bad, so we cooked it all up and froze some of it for later!), we chatted, we chilled. It wasn't anything spectacular, but it was lovely and relaxing and perfect, and it occurred to me that that's probably what being married will be like sometimes.


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And how nice does that sound? The thought of spending a comfortable, relaxed, happy Sunday (or any day really) with someone you love, where you don't really have to do much of anything, but you still feel lovely and content? And you enjoy the other's company and know they enjoy your company, too?, and you're both content to just... be?? It sounds like the best!

Where do I sign up?? ;)

February 17, 2014

Happy Birthday, BFF!!

picture of us when we were roomates in college

Today is my best friend's 30th birthday!!! Hurray!!!

The story of Lupita and me goes back allll the way to my first year as an RA in college. I remember meeting her, this sassy Latina with her wild hair + teensy shorts and basketball player boyfriend. (Ha!) She was my floor president, and we could not have been more different. But somehow, we just really clicked! It wasn't a "right away" kind of click, though to be honest, I'm not really sure when it even happened. All I know is I'm glad it did, because I can't imagine my life without her!

She knows me better than almost anyone (which means she has more dirt on me than almost anyone...), and she's been with me through all the hardest trials of my life. She was even one of my most faithful mission correspondents! I really loved that we got to serve at the same time, albeit in totally different parts of the world (she served in Lisbon, Portugal; I served in Oakland, California). We've shared laughter, love, even a few disagreements, and of course, everything in between. Through all the years and all the miles (she lives in Utah. :( sniff...), I know our friendship will always be one I can count on.

Happy birthday to the greatest friend a girl could ask for! I love you so much!!! xoxoxo

I hope y'all enjoy this little photo gallery! Sadly, some of the best gems of us together are NOT digital and are in hard copies in Utah, but here are a few favorite shots from over the years.


our first Broadway show (2011)
when Daniel Radcliffe signed our playbill after the show!!! (2011)
once a Ute, always a Ute (2009)
Reunited, & it feels so good! Meeting me at the airport when I came home from my mission (2009)
the time I threw her the world's greatest bridal shower/bachelorette party of ALL TIME! (2012)
when she came to DC for my GW commencement! (here we are feeding our faces between festivities) (2013)

February 16, 2014

Temple



Oh, gosh. It's been a little while now since I was released as a temple ordinance worker (which, in layman's terms, means I used to volunteer twice a month to help out with the work done at the Mormon Temple in DC, but I stopped doing it a few months ago), and today was actually my second time in the DC temple since my release. (I know... Only my second time... I'm so ashamed...)

The reason I was there today was to support my beautiful friend, Erika, as she received her temple endowment. (Or... To break it down, today was the first time Erika was able to go into the temple to make special covenants with God. It's a beautiful ceremony, and today was just a really special day.)

we love erika!
Erika's fan club

But holy, moly, as soon as I was settled, I felt like my heart and my spirit were doing backflips and somersaults! I was SO excited to be there, and both kept screaming, "We're home! We're home! We. are. home!!" Because that's what going to the temple feels like to me... It feels like coming home.

I'm grateful to live SO CLOSE to a temple. I feel connected to the temple and know that it's meant to be a big part of my life. The veil is thin at the temple, and you know, I just really hate that you can't take a notepad or take notes inside! :-/ The endowment session hadn't even started, and already, I had all sorts of wisdom pearls and spiritual insights racing through my mind! First, that no matter how long it's been, the temple will always be home. Second, that thought led me to reflect on the fact that no matter how far you've removed yourself from God, He will always be happy to hear from you and have you back. Third... OK, my mind was racing, so I'll just leave it at two insights.

Also, I apologize in advance to anyone reading this who may be confused by the Mormon lingo... I guess the bottom line is that the Temple is a little piece of heaven on earth, and I know I will always feel peace and God's love when I'm there, because it is His house. :)

*photos courtesy of Erika and Leslie

February 13, 2014

A Night Out With Tory & Camille


Camille and I went to the Tory Burch Fashion Week preview at the W hotel this week. (Love that hotel, btw. Gorgeous venue.)

Weeee weren't quite sure what to expect, but we enjoyed ourselves most thoroughly! It was fun to people watch, to people-clothes watch, and to critique each model's outfit as if we had any idea what we were talking about. :)


So excited to be here! 

For example, did you know the "Sarah Palin" is apparently back? (See below left.) Also, slingbacks (Much to my distress. I just... can't stand the sound they make. It's like you're wearing flip flops...).

Annnnd on the right, we have my favorite outfit of the night; an outfit we both decided we'd wear in a heartbeat (minus the slingbacks for me *shudder*). I wish you could see them, but the sleeves on that darling coat and the neckline of the dress were bejeweled in the prettiest way!



Annnnd then we learned life lessons from our hot chocolate cups:



Caribou SERIOUSLY makes the best dark chocolate hot chocolate in DC. Unless you like it REALLY dark and REALLY rich. In which case, go to Pitango.

We rounded out the night with a rousing game of DC 2nd men's basketball.


And the players even came and chatted with us! We felt like such celebs. ;)

Such a fun night with my little Camillionaire. :) Can't wait for more next week!

PS See Camille's account of Tory here.

February 11, 2014

Good Things

Here are some good things that have happened lately:

The time J.Crew emailed to give me a $50 gift card

I placed an order with J.Crew before Christmas and had the order shipped to my family's home in Utah. The order took a little longer than expected to arrive, but nothing too crazy. I figured things were behind with the holidays, but it really wasn't a big deal.

And then last week, they emailed me an apology, and a $50 gift card!! Guilt-free shopping for 2014!! What?? J.Crew, I love youuuuu! Will you be my valentine? xoxoxo <3 <3 <3




The time I was sick, went to work, had a work lunch, & the food was amazing

I love food. I had to stay home from work last week bc I was sick, and when I returned to the office, I had a work lunch at Luna Grill & Diner. I was still feeling a little under the weather, so I ordered the creamy tomato soup and mozzarella/basil/tomato panini. It was basically a glorified tomato soup + grilled cheese, and it was AMAZING! If you've never had it, GO! Right now, go!



The time we invited a new friend over to dinner, & he made this amazing apple pie

I don't like sweets. (Chocolate and cheesecake being the exceptions.) I know it's crazy, but I just don't. But a new friend of ours came over for Sunday dinner, and he brought this homemade (from scratch!) apple pie with him. It was so, so good! Coming from a girl who doesn't like sugar, that's a huge compliment! Ryan, I am seriously impressed! Look how pretty it was! Lattice crust and everything!



The time we celebrated Caitlin's 28th birthday, and it was really fun

Also, the cake was awesome. (Props to Jacks!) And HBD, C!! xo

(See C-lin's previous birthdays here: 2013. 2012.)



This link:

Celebrities reenact scenes from Disney movies (So good!)

February 10, 2014

#Sochi2014

I got to watch some of the Olympics this weekend, and HOLY MOLY, am I inspired! Such amazing physical skill and ability! As someone who has no physical or athletic talents whatsoever, I am just blown away! The ice dancers/figure skaters move with so much grace and strength. (And holy moly, the 15-year old Russian skater! HOLY COW!!) The snowboarders' tricks are incredible. The skiiers' execution is just flawless. I'm really just in awe.

Watching so much athletic talent makes me wish I could do something with my body. I've never been very coordinated, and I certainly have nary an athletic bone in my body. But maybe... I don't know? I can take ballet again or something? What else could I learn that's a physical talent?

In the meantime, here's how I enjoyed the Olympics on Saturday:

This latest bout of illness has apparently turned me into a regular tea drinker. I'm as baffled as you are.

I watched at the home of my friend Hannah's parents (they're out of town). I love them so! Also, THIS is my new favorite tea. (Not that I have an old favorite.)

And oh! Did anyone else think it was so cool that the first gold medal won at the Sochi Olympics was earned by a boy from Utah?? Congrats, Sage Kotsenburg!! :D :D :D 


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On a semi-related note, check out America ice skating duo Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir:



If they can skate together (beautifully, I might add), surely there's no reason I couldn't date a 6' 4"-er, right? ;)

February 07, 2014

Not My Week

(I guess I should give you a heads up that this post starts out as a bit of a downer (understatement), but it does sort of take an upward, Mormon-y turn at the end? Keep reading if you'd like. Or not. It's up to you.)


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I'm sorry to be such a downer, but... this really has NOT been my week.

Between being sick for five days (even staying home from work on Monday), some really intense stuff with one of my siblings + trying to figure out how to help, and what feels like endless failed attempts at keeping my heart and my mind open (also, there was this...), I am just mentally, physically, and emotionally spent. I'm running on empty, and yet... I'm not REALLY empty, because I can somehow, even right now, in this moment, when I feel so sad, recognize that I still have faith, that I still have worth, and that God still loves me. I marvel at this, and I thank God, because I truly believe the ability to have faith against all odds is my greatest spiritual gift. That's how even at my lowest and when I feel like I'm falling apart, I'm still able to see that things are going to be OK. (But let it be known that feeling sad sometimes is a perfectly legitimate and valid thing.)

I owe this perspective to my knowledge of the Gospel. The gospel grounds me, it anchors me, and it teaches me eternal truths that override anything life or the world can ever throw at me. I repeat this over and over, but I firmly believe THE most important thing any human being can ever know is that he or she is a CHILD OF GOD. That God is literally our Father, that we are HIS children, and that He LOVES US. He loves us no matter what.

President Monson gave a talk last General Conference where he made a beautiful statement about this. He said,

"Your Heavenly Father loves you -- each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities... God's love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there."


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With my whole heart (it's still whole, even when it feels broken), I know that statement is true!

And tonight, for anyone who has ever felt as sad about things beyond your control as I've felt this week, I'd like to add that God loves you/me/us regardless of your status, regardless of what happens in your family, regardless of how many dates you have, regardless of how many boys did (or didn't) call, or any other crappy, crappy things you can't control. I have worth, and God does have a plan. I clearly haven't the smallest clue what that is, but I haven't lost my faith that His hand is somehow in it.


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February 06, 2014

February 03, 2014

I want to be over the weather

This weekend, I've felt a little... under the weather. So naturally, I want to be the opposite (which is OVER the weather, right?), and hopefully I will be by tomorrow, because I've got a lot of work ahead of me this week! In the meantime, here's what I did this weekend:

1- Sleeeeeep. I slept SO much this weekend. I even went to bed around 10:30 every night this weekend and slept 8 + hours each night. That NEVER happens, even on weekdays, let alone on a weekend... It was much-needed. And in fact, I slept so much, I woke up early enough to see the sunrise on Saturday morning...



2- Drink tea. I drink tea when I'm sick, and I decided this weekend that if I was gonna be drinking "sick tea," I should at least be doing it out of a pretty cup. So when I went to Target to buy medicine, I also brought home this little friend for my tea:



3- Watched Despicable Me 2. It was adorable! And a pretty entertaining way to spend a Saturday sick night in.



4- Celebrated my boss's birthday! My awesome boss turned 40 on Friday, and her husband organized a surprise party for her at the end of the workday on Friday. They are the cutest!




5- Kicked off our Girl Group! My friend Caitlin and I have been wanting to start a women's mentoring group for ages. We invited three of our friends to join us, and we had our first meeting this week! The group is modeled a lot after the Hot Mommas Project's "guerilla mentoring," and the premise is to each pick a goal to work on and serve as each other's support as we work to achieve that goal. We'll meet once a month to share our goal(s) and provide each other with encouraging words and constructive feedback. I'm really excited!

6- Went to church. (But really only for Sacrament meeting... I wasn't feeling well enough to stay for all three hours.)

7- Celebrated my amazing friend Erika's one-year baptism anniversary! Erika is so wonderful, and I'm so happy for her on reaching this milestone. She will go through the temple for the very first time in two weeks, and I'm so excited to be there with her for that! My roommate Jackie and I went with Erika to purchase some of the things she'll need for this next step, and we had a little dinner at Erika's home tonight to celebrate her. Alas, again because of the being sick thing, I only popped in for about 30 minutes, and then I went home to get back in my bed. (If you're not seeing the pattern, I basically spent a lot of time in bed this weekend.)

Here's hoping for A- a snow day tomorrow (pleeeease???), B- health, C- a lot of productivity this week! Hope your week is productive, too!