October 29, 2015

Carpe Diem or Impulse Shopping Gone Wrong? (Harry Potter & the Cursed Child)

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 11.32.51 AM

Sooooo... It looks like I'm going to London! I signed up last week for VIP earlybird ticket access for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (the 8th installment in the Harry Potter series, but in play form), which will be playing in London starting next summer. Of course, I wanted to buy tickets, but I didn't make time to think things through.

When I realized yesterday how IN DEMAND tickets were (at one point, there were almost 35,000 people ahead of me in the ticket queue!), I sort of just... went for it! I bought four tickets! Which means.... It's time to save up my pennies for a plane ticket/hotel/transportation/etc. next fall! Annnnnd I need to recruit three adventurous friend to come with me! (Or one adventurous friend, and I'll sell the other two tickets?)

In conclusion... Woo hoo!! London/Harry Potter/Prince Harry, here I come!

October 19, 2015

Status Update: Life in Utah

I got to see my VL friends this weekend out in the Bay Area, and it led to a lot of "How is life in Utah??" updates. Instead of repeating this conversation over and over, I've decided to compile here for you how Utah is going:

How I feel most of the time about having my own apartment:

How I feel the rest of the time about having my own apartment (miss you, DC roomies!):

What my new job is like:

Living close to family again (LOL):

Life in my YSA ward:

On arriving in Utah and realizing that elevation is a THING but still trying to be outdoorsy (bc I really do enjoy it!) and then remembering I'm severely out of shape:

But it's SO pretty here, so:

The excitement at having some of my DC girlfriends here to help each other through the transition (!!!):

How I felt about dating when I first got here:


A little later:

When I realized I'm LITERALLY walking thousands of steps fewer each day, because I now drive to work and basically never move:

But possibly the best way to describe my transition is this:

Some good, some less than good but really, mostly good. :) I'm glad to be back!

August 24, 2015

The Weekend That Was All About Foodssss (and other things)

This weekend was a LOT about food. And when I say a LOT, here's what I mean:

First, I channeled my inner urban hipster yuppie (is that even a thing?) and rode a bike to the Salt Lake Farmer's Market on Saturday morning. I spent a lazy hour or so wandering all the booths, sampling all the peaches, and picking out m'goods. (And giving advice to a former co-worker. Gosh, I miss those girls! I'm really happy we still chat!) 

Weekend updates

Once I had my haul, I happily filled up my bike basket and rode home.

Earlier this summer, I took Melanie to Rye for her birthday dinner. I had the pork belly lettuce wraps, which were DELICIOUS. I left slightly hungry (small portions... geez) and obsessed with pork belly. Thankfully, Trader Joe's helped me get my fix. (They sell pork belly.) And I decided to use said pork belly in a lentil soup this weekend. (And I got to use some of my farmer's market haul! Tomatoes, onions, cilantro.) And that's how I spent my Saturday afternoon.

Somewhere in there, I also made a second grocery run to Smith's (where I also bought a vacuum cleaner (#thingsyoubuywhenyoureanadult) and a Magic Bullet. you know, for green smoothie-making. Also, don't worry; later that night, there was yet another grocery run to Trader Joe's. I've basically used up my non-existent grocery budget for the rest of the month.) annnnd finally checked out the vintage shops on 300 South (Maeberry Vintage -- lots of good stuff, but nothing that was calling my name -- and all its overpriced antique store neighbors). I saw some cute things, but I've decided the DI is more my style. Mostly because I can actually afford the DI. I hope this doesn't offend anyone, but antique stores here are seriously overpriced!

So obviously, when one has a giant pot of lentil + pork belly soup, one needs homemade bread. And that's exactly what I made Sunday morning before church. Sixty-five delicious rolls using my favorite roll recipe. (Don't worry; I froze half and gave some away to my family.)

soup + rolls = mmmmm!

Fun fact: that placemat looks like graphing paper, which came in handy earlier this week when I was helping my brother Spencer with some math homework. ;) You'd probably never guess, since I work in Comms/politics, but I'm actually really good at math. It's rather a point of pride with me, and I've considered taking a calculus class for fun, since I've forgotten so much of it! (The last math class I took was first semester freshman year -- Calc II. Eeeep!)

Sunday evening, I continued to get my domestic goddess on with the world's best brownies. (That recipe is seriously amazing. Click on the link, and go make some right now!) They were supposed to be for my brothers/mom, who were going to visit, but they ended up not having enough time for more than a drive-by to pick up rolls and soup, sooooo I now have a whole pan of these babies. Minus the one brownie I already ate. ;)

World's greatest brownies!

But lest you think my whole weekend consisted of making + eating foods, let's not forget I also did a lot of cleaning of the house and washing of the dishes (seriously, that much cooking requires a loooot of dishwasing!).

Oh, yeah, and I had some brief social breaks. Most notably, my old roomie Amanda came into town! I was looking forward to meeting her fiancé, but instead, I met her HUSBAND! (They eloped last Friday in Annapolis.) We took a group selfie on John's phone, but here's the one of Mandy 'n me from my cell:

Weekend updates

And I got to meet Mandy's mom, of whom she is basically a clone. It's always nice to meet the people the people you love love. :)

I also went to the end of a Liberty Park picnic DC reunion Mel had organized. I wish I could say I feel bad I missed most of it, but what I can truthfully say is that I'm glad I caught a bit of it.

The other thing I did a lot of this weekend is watch How I Met Your Mother. I'm in a bit of a funk right now. (Hence my anti-social feelings, even with people I love – like the DC picnic crew from Saturday.) Hopefully this isn't over-sharing too badly with the worldwide web, but I'm just a bit worn out from dating right now. The last guy (I think I referenced this recently when I mentioned a promising relationship ending abruptly almost two weeks ago? Oh, and via text. Yep. Via text.) really shook me up. I guess that's why I'm especially loving HIMYM right now.

Steph likes to call me "Ted," as in Ted Mosby. Because, like Ted, I am a complete romantic. It's hard for me to go on a first date and not start considering from the get-go whether the guy has potential to be The One. Try as I might, like Ted (well, at least as of Season 8 Episode 1), I still haven't found my Lebenslangerschicsalsschatz. I've been guilty time and again of getting so excited about someone, I don't see until much later that he was really just a Beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand. (Oh, also, Ted and I are both brunette grammar snobs who enjoy Star Wars and wearing our favorite boots. ;) Heh heh.)

HIMYM (Ted!)

In one of this weekend's episodes, Ted admitted that, for the first time, he had lost hope of finding The One. That's almost how I feel right now. Except I haven't lost hope; I'm just emotionally tired and need a break. Plus, I mean, I have so much I could be doing right now! I haven't even finished unpacking yet! My office walls are still empty. My back room isn't organized. Oh, and I just started violin lessons! (I've been playing since 7th grade but haven't played consistently in more than a decade. Since I played in the U's Symphony Orchestra during college. And I never took private lessons, so I figured it was time.) See? Lots to do besides even thinking of dating. ;)

Probably my journal is a better place for this type of stuff, instead of, you know the internet. But there it is. Ted took a break from dating in Season 7 to recoup and find himself. And since I'm basically Ted, I guess what I'm saying is... I'm taking the rest of August off. Hence all the cooking and not-so-much socializing. I love cooking, it's therapeutic, and I haven't been doing it nearly enough this summer. And if I have to do this dating thing at least once more (please only once more??), I need some recovery time. But maybe I'll see you again in September, dating world. Ttylz!

**EDIT: I just realized August ends in a week. So, my moratorium will now last until as long as I feel like it.**

PS Important sidenote: I had my very first press conference of my new job this week, and it went reeeally well! We had coverage from every major TV/radio/print news outlet, and I knew we'd really struck a nerve when the opposition issued a response. ;) The sun was in my face, but here is my face of excitement right after the event had wrapped up.

Press conf glee

OK, that's all for now. Over, annnnnd out...

August 08, 2015

The Bee's Knees Waffles

Bee's Knees Waffles

Have you ever heard of a Hong Kong eggette? Well, I hadn't either. Until I saw Winter & Lee's Facebook post, that is.

Guys, THIS is a Hong Kong eggette:

You want one, fresh strawberries and cool cream, on this hot summer day, friends! Come get one today at the Bountiful Farmers Market and say hi to Lee!
Posted by Bee's Knees Waffles at the Bountiful Farmers Market on Thursday, August 6, 2015

Winter is a dear friend of mine from my favorite college singles ward, and Lee is her husband, who just graduated from culinary school. They have a delicious eggette stand (which, in case you can't tell, an eggette is essentially a delicious, glorified Asian waffle. Winter says it's a Hong Kong street food) at the Bountiful Farmer's Market, and I've been wanting to pay them a visit alllll summer!

Well, this Thursday, I finally did!

Bee's Knees Waffles

And Camille came with me!

Bee's Knees Waffles

Though in full disclosure, she ate at her neighbor's food truck, which I guess is OK, since she's lactose intolerant and couldn't have handled the cream on the delicious eggettes. ;) She says the Braza bowls were delicious, but HOLY MOLY... eggettes!!

I got the chunky monkey with coconut cream. So think of a delicious waffle/crepe, with sliced bananas, drizzled dark chocolate, whipped cream, AND coconut cream! WOW-eee!

If you're anywhere in the area, might I suggest you get thee hence to the Bountiful Farmers Market next Thursday night for a Bee's Knees Waffle? I promise you won't regret it! (Well, unless you're lactose intolerant.) But it might still be worth it!

Oh, and the rest of the farmers market is good, too. ;) There's even an Amish jam and honey stand!! (Totally took me back my favorite East Coast day trip ever.)

PS In totally unrelated news, I wanted to record here for posterity that yesterday, I finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird (how I never had to read it in high school, but I did have to read Heart of Darkness is beyond me). It was such a beautiful book, and I'm dying to discuss it with somebody. Talk to me about it next time you see me, OK? :)

August 05, 2015

Isn't it Ironic? (And Also Jordan Came to Town!)

I find it of the utmost irony that the day after I published my last post, I had great need to heed my own WORDS from that post, as a promising relationship came unexpectedly to an end. (dating is. the WORST. thing. EVER!!!)

The older I get, and the more I unsuccessfully date, the more I'm tempted to become jaded and lose hope, but I'm grateful that my own stinkin' words posted yesterday were a source of comfort to me today.

I'm also grateful to have found peace today in my default place of peace and with these lovely ladies no less:

DC friends at Temple Square

This temple trip was already planned, and I know it was no coincidence that it fell on a day God knew I would desperately need to find peace. I've expressed my feelings about the temple on this blog before (shoot, I have an entire blog label called "Temple"), and it's because I know if I ever need guidance or am looking for peace, I'll find both here.

Now on to something a little more fun.... The REASON for the temple trip was... Jordan came to town! It was SO lovely to get to see her while she was here. Jordan is the kind of friend you can always count on to have something positive and cheerful to say (and something delicious to eat!), to make you feel beautiful when you're not feelin' even remotely cute, to bring you up when you're feeling down, and to immediately come to your rescue when you need it. I'm sad she can't stay longer, but it was lovely to get to see her twice while she was in our lovely Deseret.

The first occasion was a gorgeous and oh-so-delicious garden party hosted by Addison on Sunday night. I mean, seriously, look at this spread! Addison and Jordan cooked EVERYTHING, and Addison and his bf Austin created the tablescape and ambience.

Addison's Garden Party

And oh, my goodness, the food! A zucchini mascarpone gallete. Fresh caprese salad. Yummy risotto. The most beautiful cheese plate. Mixed drinks and mocktails. Salmon a la Addison. a HOMEMADE (from scratch by Jordan!) strawberry rhubarb pie that was everything I'd ever dreamed a pie should be!


I'm grateful again that the Lord saw fit to give me friends, the Temple, and delicious food (SO bad, I know, but I totally ate my feelings today. And by "my feelings," I mean a Neapolitan style pizza + cannoli + two flavors of gelato from Settabello, Shoyu fried chicken and cole slaw from Rye, and the famous Tollhouse pie a la mode from The Dodo in Sugarhouse) on this gloomy day.

What a blessing to have dear friends in town!

August 03, 2015

Miracles Happen: Erika & Matt's Wedding!

(warning: slightly mushy post ahead.)

Erika's wedding
Payson, Utah LDS Temple
I mentioned in my last post that my friends Erika and Matt got married earlier this month. I'm SO, so happy I was able to be there for their sealing and to celebrate their big day!

Erika and I became friends almost three years ago in the DC 2nd ward. She was a newly-baptized convert, and I was the lucky duck who was called as her visiting teacher. :) We quickly became friends, and it's just another example of the blessings that come from visiting teaching. I love Erika so much and am so grateful I got to know her and become dear friends with her.

Erika's wedding
Erika's wedding

I also mentioned in my last post that Caitlin came out from DC for Erika's sealing. There was a beautiful spirit in the sealing room, and Caitlin and I may or may not have cried through a good portion of it. ;) We were both struck by the beauty and simplicity of the sealing ceremony and by the miracle – the SERIOUS MIRACLE – it was that Matt and Erika found each other.

Erika grew up in Brazil. Matt grew up out here in Utah. He grew up in the Church; Erika did not. Who could have ever imagined that somewhere in São Paulo there was a little girl growing up, and that she would be the eternal companion of this little boy growing up in the middle-of-nowhere Utah??

The path they each took to get to the place – physically, emotionally, spiritually – where they could meet, date, and fall in love is a miracle to me. Honestly, any time two people fall in love and get married is a miracle to me.

Erika's wedding

It was a beautiful experience to watch the culmination of this miracle in my friend's life. I can remember so many conversations we've had where one of us has felt discouraged in dating; like it was never going to work out for us.

Erika's wedding

And being able to share in her special day just gave me so much HOPE that one day, I'll get to have my big day. That I'll be able to see this miracle in my life, and that somewhere, there is a special guy being prepared to be my eternal companion. (And umm, if you happen to know where he is, feel free to set me up with him! ;) Heh heh.)

Erika's wedding

Congrats again, Erika and Matt!! :) xo

July 28, 2015

A partial summer update!

This summer has been a good one, and rather than trying to catch up on e'rrything, I'm just gonna do a quick, partial update – but with lots of pictures!


This might be a bad thing, but I'm gonna look at it as a good thing Aside from becoming friends with my co-workers, I haven't really expanded my social circle much. I have a small but good group of DC friends who moved to Utah before I did (and Maggie who has since joined the fold!). Between that, my family, and DC friends visiting Utah, I've had my social calendar covered. :)

Some of our summer adventures –

On one of Maggie and Bremen's first weekends in Utah, a group of us headed down to Pleasant Grove (my first time there) for the Strawberry Days rodeo. Of course, our experience would've been incomplete without trying the strawberries and cream.

Strawberry Days!

(more photos after the jump!)

July 13, 2015

Apartment Update: Living Room Progress

It's officially summer (though I haven't been to a baseball game yet, so is it really summer??), and I can't even explain how lovely it is to not deal with East Coast humidity! I miss DC, but I definitely don't miss the weather this time of year. Utah summers for the win!

I actually started out this post with the intention of writing about a lot more than just my apartment, but it was taking me a while to get through even just the living room part of this, soooo here goes...

The good news is I'm definitely starting to feel more settled in my apartment. It's amazing what NOT living out of boxes can do to make a place feel like home! I think I've settled on my living room furniture arrangement, and I'm actually pretty proud of the little space I've put together. (Though in full disclosure, I've eliminated two of the throw pillows on the couch since this photo was taken, and I've added a wooden catch-all tray to the left of the TV (though I may change my mind on this. TBD; the suspense!) and a vintage green desk lamp to the right of the TV. I just googled how much these lamps sell for, and geez, the $5 I paid at the DI for my lamp was a friggin' STEAL! There's also a floor lamp riiiight in front of the AC window unit (you can sort of see the pole just to the left of the unit) with a yellow/turquoise floral lampshade from Target. I've had both the lamp and the shade since DC, so I don't have links for them.)

Check it out so far:

Yándary's living room

And just for fun, here's where everything is from –

June 09, 2015


Have you heard of Wayfair.com?

I ordered my bed from them last fall, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd been searching Craigslist, Goodwill and other thrift stores, local furniture stores, heck, even Freecycle... looking for the bed of my dreams. Apparently, the entire DC metro area was devoid of such a bed. :(

Enter Wayfair.

I've always liked the look of wrought-iron, but those can often be pretty pricy! I found this little bed via Walmart, courtesy of Wayfair, and I LOVED the look of it! I was nervous to order such a big-ticket item online (What if I hated it? What if it looked nothing like the photo? What if I had to ship it back??), but thankfully, it worked out. The quality of the bed isn't high-end by any means (you get what you pay for, right?), but the price was right, and I just think it's so pretty! (I mean, I'm single, people. If I don't have a super girly bed right now, then when? Actually, to be honest, I was trying to NOT go so girly with this bed, but it just worked out that way. :) )

My biggest complaint is the bed didn't come with instructions, but my amazing roommate Kathryn helped me figure it out and put it together. I added bed lifts for a little more height (and under-the-bed storage space!), and I couldn't have been more pleased with how my bed turned out!

A few months after I got my bed all set up in DC, I decided to move back to Utah! :-/

Somehow, in the moving process, I lost TWO of the four legs to this bed, and needless to say, I was SO, SO bummed!

In a stroke of genius one day, it occurred to me to call Wayfair to see if they could sell me just the two missing legs. The manufacturer was a different company, so Wayfair gave me their phone number, and I checked with the company (Williams Imports). I spent almost two weeks trying to reach someone there, and NO ONE ever called me back. I called Wayfair again, shared my dilemma, and they took care of contacting the manufacturer for me and even sent me the missing legs at no cost. I can't speak highly enough of their customer service, and that alone will guarantee I'll be a return customer! They were kind, gracious, they kept me informed on the status of the legs via phone calls and emails, and I couldn't believe they didn't even charge me!

The missing parts arrived last week, and my dad came over last night to help me put the bed together in my new apartment. YAY!!

Here's what it looks like in my SLC apartment! (Looks a lot like it did in DC, eh? ;) Except you can see more of the actual bed frame in this shot!)

Time to move on to the living room! (My couch will be delivered tomorrow!)

Speaking of which, I'm considering one of these rugs from Wayfair. I'm not sure yet what I'm looking for rug-wise. I figure I'll get the couch and move furniture around and then see what colors I want to bring in via rugs, curtains, throw pillows, wall art, etc.

Any thoughts on these five for now?

Rug 1 | Rug 2Rug 3 | Rug 4 | Rug 5 

PS The rest of my bedding is from Target (gray body pillow, gray/white bed skirt (not pictured), sheets (sold out, not pictured)), HomeGoods (throw pillows; the pink one is from the little girls' section! ALWAYS look in the kids' section! It's a great place for throw pillows, storage baskets, accent items, etc. even select furniture items! And HUUUUGE thanks to Michelle for turning me on to HomeGoods!!! <3), Dillard's (light pink shams – I've actually had these for years, so no link), and Walmart – I know, right?? (BHG cherry blossom comforter set; what can I say? It reminded me of DC!).

PPS I'm not a fan of matching bedding sets, which is why none of these items came as a set. I picked items I liked in neutrals or complementary colors, so when I decide to switch out my comforter someday, I'll still be able to use most of these basic pieces. :)

June 03, 2015

The Great Couch Search of 2015

So, I moved in to my new apartment a few weeks ago, and I've been spending nearly all my free time shopping, thrifting, yard sale-ing, and generally hunting for furniture and those key pieces to help me turn my house into a home. (Two weekends ago, my mom, brothers, and I did a DI Tour of the Wasatch Front: we started in Ogden – Harrisville, technically – and made our way to EVERY DI, Savers, and Goodwill between Ogden and Sandy. It was amazing! Our favorites were definitely the Centerville and Murray DI's, in case you were wondering.)

The biggest ticket item I've been looking for is a COUCH! I've been researching online, searching for inspiration on Pinterest, and looking on KSL, Craigslist, etc., but I was struggling to find what I was looking for. So I made a Google doc and asked Facebook for help. I then spent the day texting and emailing with girlfriends across the country (thanks, ladies!), and I'm SO happy to announce I FINALLY bought a couch last night!! I'm a little nervous, because I bought it online and didn't get a chance to sit on it beforehand, but the online reviews were pretty positive, so I think it'll be OK. :)

Below, is the info that was on my Google doc, but if you want to just scroll to the very end, you'll see the couch I ended up with. ;)

(more after the jump!)

May 27, 2015

Does This Make Me a Trail Runner?

So, I'm trying to work running back into my life (my DC PT said I could!), and to help me get started, I went running shoe shopping this weekend! I may have gone a tad overboard....

running shoes!

But it's OK, because I'm only keeping the bottom two pairs!

Since I live in SLC now (hmmm... I really have some blog layout updates to make don't I?), I decided to keep a pair of trail running shoes (carpe diem!) and a pair of street running shoes (that I can also wear as regular shoes? ha!). Practical, right?

And I took the trail running shoes for an inaugural run yesterday after work! The whole time, I kept singing to myself, "I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world Heavenly Father created for me." Because it is beautiful, and I am glad. :)

IMG_0596 SLC trail running Utah wildflowers

And oh, MY, was I blown away by how pretty Utah is! Can you believe all this is just a few miles from my house/work??

I was also surprised by the wide array of wildflowers I saw. If this were Texas, I could probably tell you the names of all of these, but alas, that's not how we roll here in Utah. But look how pretty!

IMG_0594 IMG_0608 IMG_0605 IMG_0602 IMG_0603 IMG_0601

I even found a flower (bottom right) that matched my shoes.

One thing that did surprise me was how few people were up there. We've gotten some rain recently, so the trails were really muddy, which may have been a contributing factor. But since it was so deserted, I took advantage of the peace and quiet.

Last fall, my church congregation did a weekend retreat up near Gettysburg, PA. Our bishop challenged us to find a quiet spot in nature where we could go to pray out loud. I never got around to it in DC, on account of it got cold right after that, there was snow, then I moved, etc., but seeing no one anywhere around me, I made time for some peaceful, quiet moments. I don't typically pray out loud (maybe I should?), but I had a really lovely experience communing with God in nature. The evening was rejuvenating to my body and my soul. :)

I wanted to keep running, because there is SO much I could have still explored, but I was afraid it'd get dark and/or start raining again, so I headed back down.

This was the view as I got closer to my car:

Salt Lake Valley

I definitely plan to spend more time exploring the trails this summer! Let me know if you're in SLC and ever want to join me! (Or if you have any trail running tips, because the downhill killed me! :-/)