Have a Very Merry Christmas

My talented cousin Brooke took some Christmas pictures for us when we went home to California for Thanksgiving. The first time we sent out Christmas cards, 5 people got them. We didn't send any last year because let's be honest, without kids or a dog it's pretty silly. And this year, 6 people got them. I just really like the Christmas card tradition. Can we please all agree to send each other Christmas cards next year?


Low Fashion

For the last few weeks, I have been conducting a highly scientific experiment. Anytime Jason compliments a non-Sunday outfit I take a picture of it. I have completed analyzing the data, and the results are fascinating.
Apparently, Jason really likes my most unfashionable outfits. Anytime I'm dressed comfortably to face inclement weather that seems to be a win in his book.
Today he said to me, "You've had probably a hundred great outfits in a row. Ever since you stopped that fashion blog, you started dressing cute all the time."
In case you are wondering what Jason's definition of cute is, please see above. And if I've had a hundred successes in a row... Obviously, I look like a train wreck all the time.


A little tip

Maybe you already know this trick. If so, WHY DID YOU NEVER TELL ME?! I just found this out. And I think it is positively brilliant. The other night I made this amazingly delicious and unsurprisingly unhealthy corn chowder. It was my intention to make some bread to go with it, because those chilies make it hot, therefore bread is a must. But while the dough should have been rising... I was at something called work. Sitting at my desk. Reading the recipe. And realizing that at that very moment, the dough should have been rising.
So I decided to go with the ole grocery fail-safe. Did you know that you can go to your local grocery store bakery (I went to Safeway) and ask the baker for a loaf of unbaked dough? They might not know what you're talking about, but if you tell them that you'd like to purchase some dough, they usually oblige. One dollar and 30 minutes later, you have a beautiful warm loaf coming out of your oven and basically look like a domestic superhero. (Or you can freeze it and look like a domestic superhero at another place and time. It's like having a cape in your freezer.)

The more you know...


Christmastime in the Mile High City

My brother Sam and his wife Michelle were passing through Colorado this weekend as they move back west from Pennsylvania. So, we took them into Denver to take in all the Christmas goodness. I was glad that we happened across the Denver Christkindl Market which was full of Christmas goodies from all over the world. We ended our night at Crave Dessert Bar where this guy and I became fast friends.


Free Treats

Last Christmas, I watched longingly as gifts rolled in for my boss from businesses and clients my company worked with. Well at the start of 2012, I took over a large part of our client and vendor relations. So now, when those packages arrive, they arrive in twos. One addressed to my boss, and one addressed to me. Which is basically the pinnacle of success for me. You guys, I've made it.

I now have a 4.3 pound box of gourmet brownies sitting on my kitchen counter. Well, it was 4 pounds when I brought it home. I think we might be down to 2.7 by now.


Merry Christmas Dad

These are for you.

And these are so you don't have to get a kink in your neck or turn your computer sideways because I can assure you that it would not be worth it.


Healing Hearts

Last week’s story isn’t quite complete without the other side of things. While I was fighting to heal my heart, my dad was fighting for his heart too. Fighting to keep his newly transplanted heart out of rejection and strong enough to go through a terrifying bone marrow transplant and countless rounds of chemotherapy.

My father was diagnosed with Amyloidosis, a rare and fatal disease that is similar to cancer, except that instead of bad cells, you have bad proteins.  These proteins turn on your organs; my dad’s heart was first to be attacked. He miraculously received a heart transplant and a few months later, a month after I moved back home, my dad went off to receive a bone marrow transplant with the hope that this would get rid of his amyloidosis and prevent it from attacking his new heart. It was scary. He got so sick. And then it appeared that it didn’t work. The back-up plan was chemotherapy.

During those months, we’d wait for updates. Is his heart in rejection? What level? What about his amyloidosis count? Is it too high? Is the outlook good? It’s too soon. He’s so young. He can’t die.
And every once in awhile I’d feel so selfish. I was too sad and too worried about myself that I wasn’t allowing enough worry for my dad. It was hard to keep the sorrows fairly balanced.

My dad was at a hospital a few hours away and my mom was by his side through this ordeal. That left me home with my 15 year-old sister who did her best to keep up with her activities, stay on top of her school work, and continue a fairly normal life. It was lonely. And the worry was taxing.

It just so happened that the two hardest things I have ever faced in my young life happened at the same time. But it was truly for the best. When my dad got sick, some families in our church began bringing meals over a couple nights a week so my mom wouldn’t have to worry about dinner. When my parents went off to the hospital, they continued to bring meals to just my sister and me. We weren’t the sick ones, and we could definitely fend for ourselves, but a few nights a week, someone would stop by our house, their arms loaded up with a warm meal, and yummy drink, and an amazing dessert. They’d come in and chat with us, see how we were doing, and sometimes invite us over to their home for a movie night or girls night out.

They didn’t just bring us a meal. They brought us so much more. Love and comfort to two young, scared girls. Many of these people I didn’t know well, as I had been away at college for the past few years. But I felt loved. And I felt cared for. Their meals for a family with a sick dad also provided healing for a girl with a broken heart.

So to those who were there for my family in one of our toughest times, from the bottom of my very healed, very happy, and very grateful heart, thank you.
I know my dad’s strong and healthy heart thanks you too.


Darndest things

"I don't understand why people would want to eat fudge cookies with a hint of toothpaste."

Jason, after taking a bite of a delicious 
mint oreo fudge cookie I offered him.


It's for your own good

Jason has a baffling phobia of chapstick. He won't ever use it. But that doesn't mean that his lips agree with his stance. And because I am a chapstick addict and have professed my love for it on many occasions, my lips can't help but empathize with his. So to ensure that his mouth doesn't wither away into a desert of misery, I do what any good wife would do. Chapstick kisses! Because winter is upon us, I thought it would be an opportune time to share with you a simple tutorial. Here's the how to:

1. Apply an exorbitant amount of chapstick to your own lips.
2. Give your husband a most unromantic kiss ensuring full coverage.
3. VoilĂ ! You're work here is done.


Circus Walls

They started painting the hallways in our apartment complex last week. The ceiling was first. We assumed they were going to repaint with the same neutral colors of our current walls.  One night Jason and I ran over to another building to deliver some goodies to a neighbor and stopped in our tracks when we walked in. Apparently, the new management needed more of a party atmosphere because the scent of newly legalized marijuana floating around just wasn't enough.

In additional to large stripes on the walls, each doorway is getting a new color. Blue, green, or orange. Jason and I were both pulling for blue. Or really anything but orange. They added color to our hallway today. As I walked in from work I saw that our hallway had two options. Broncos colors. Every other door was either blue or orange. 50/50 chance. I came around the corner but could only see the door next to ours. ORANGE! It was orange! And by my deductive reasoning I deduced that ours would be blue. Obviously this warranted a text to Jason. BLUE! This also warranted a celebration. So for dinner, we had tacos.


Dearest family and friends,

You guys are the best.  I love you all so very much.


Never Alone

I hope you'll excuse today's departure from the normal silliness that is found here.

I was compiling a list of my favorite posts the other day. I went through each year. I got to 2009 and realized it was full of depressing, vague, weird posts. So I've decided to rectify that. It's time to tell the story. I'm not ashamed or embarrassed any more. So here goes..

Two months after we got married, he told me he was done. I didn’t see it coming but I should have. I was miserable. He had made a commitment to a faith he couldn’t live, and he began to pull away from me physically and emotionally. Neither one of us were happy during a time that should have been wedded bliss.
The heartbreak and anguish I felt in the following months is impossible to explain. I went to work, I showered, I ate, I went to church, and I cried in between it all. Inside I was empty and yet heavy all at once. I’d moved back in with my parents and I would lie in bed at night listening to cars drive by imagining that it was him, that he'd changed his mind, and that he was coming back to me and the life we had imagined. But then the legal work was finalized and it was over.
A failed marriage. I felt embarrassed and ashamed.  

I headed back to BYU for my senior year of college and moved in with some of the best friends a girl could ask for.  They were there when I needed to cry and when I needed to laugh. I poured myself into my schoolwork. I stayed busy with my girlfriends. I focused on feeling strong and sure of myself. Slowly, over time, I started to date again. No one ever made it past three dates. They were all gentlemen, but I never felt comfortable enough with them that I could share what had happened in my past.

And then I met Jason. Our roommates did some snooping and shared the information with us. “He was engaged,” my roommate Lindsay told me one night. “She was married,” his roommate Lance filled him in. So on our third date, we told each other everything. We had the most open and honest conversation and not once did I feel nervous of what he might think of me.
Right from the start, our relationship was founded on trust and real communication. And I started to learn how easy a strong and healthy relationship could be.

In those months of sorrow, there were moments where I thought I’d never stop hurting, and moments where I felt so very alone, and moments where I felt I’d been robbed of the most important thing in my life. But there were other moments as well. Moments where I felt that weight physically lifted from my chest, moments where I felt bright and shining hope, and moments where I felt that promise of happiness.

It didn’t take too long to see that promise fulfulled. I met the most humble, kind-hearted, respectful man who loved the Lord and I married him. I can honestly say that we've enjoyed two and a half years of bliss.

The most trying time in my life was also the most wonderful lesson that in your darkest moments, you are never alone.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” 2 Nephi 31:20


Cat in the Hat

My sisters-in-law have an etsy shop with the most adorable hats for babies. They crochet all the live long day. So late one night I decided it was high time I developed at least one worth while crafting skill. Chantell proved to be up for the challenge and soon I was yarning over and around and all over town. Unfortunately, we decided to start this lesson at 11:27 PM so we had to call it quits before I got very far. I looked down at my little creation and thought the only thing it would maybe pass for was a yarmulke (ya-meh-ka) and right then the cat sauntered in. 

Eureka! An unwilling and terrible model. We have a mutual agreement to ignore one another. She reneges on that promise far more often than I do, so I felt she owed me this one minor indulgence.
I placed my masterpiece on her head and stepped back to take it all in. Clearly, she felt as pretty as can be because she sat there turning her head from side to side, modeling for us as we showered her in oohs and aahs.

Oh Cat, you're alright. Sorry your family never gave you a name. 


Holidays at our House

Christmas deco

This will be our 3rd Christmas together. And it will be the first one in which a tree was involved. Since we'll actually be spending Christmas at home this year I was adamant that we have a tree. And thanks to my mom, we now have an advent calendar that looks just like the one I grew up with. Which I am just thrilled about because I loved that thing in all it's velcro glory. And with those two things up it sure started to feel like Christmas. The final touch was switching my Scentsy fragrances from Thanksgiving to Christmas smells. (Get Buckleberry! It's amazing!) Now if it would only snow here in Colorado that would be the frosting on the Christmas cookie!

The next step is to find some goodies to place under the tree. Which is proving to be a little difficult. Can someone please make a Christmas Gift Guide for your husband that is NOT a v-neck wearer, helvetica lover, gadget buyer, or alcohol drinker? Basically every blogger's husband is "cooler" than mine and therefore, their gift guides are not helpful. I need a gift guide for a man who loves sports and dogs and Chipotle. Any ideas?


Reason I love Jason #3278

Jason insists on using his made up words rather than the actual word assigned to a specific object or meaning.

Ex. No. 1 - Key Swab
Ex. No. 2 - Bagadabing Bagadaboom

Correction No. 1 - Key Fob
Correction No. 2 - Badabing Badaboom

He's a real Dr. Shakespeare Seuss that one. But really he does these things to annoy me. And I correct him endlessly, which probably annoys him. And that works for us. And basically we love each other.

Photo of a photo from sister's wedding


The Woes of a Picky Eater

I am what they call a "Picky Eater." (Though I find that name offensive and I prefer to use the term "highly selective.") People like to judge me. It's because I haven't tried that tomato enough, or my parents failed me as a child. False and double false. I'm sorry, but it does not matter how many times I try salmon and how many different ways you prepare it, I cannot convince my taste buds to participate in my culinary excursions.

Many people try to convince me to try something. "Here, it's delicious, just take a little bite. You might like it." I assure you that I will always adamantly decline. If I feel like trying something and have a spurt of bravery I'll say "Let me try that." And then I will. And usually, I hate it. (Except for that one time I finally tried that gross looking green stuff they call guacamole. Mind blown.)

I'd also like to set the record straight. I am not declining your generous food offering because I lack the adventure bone. I am declining your offer because I am gravely concerned that I JUST MIGHT THROW UP ON YOU.

It's not just the taste buds that force me to be "highly selective," it's my gag reflex. And if you offer me another mushroom, my gag reflex is going to get angry with you.

Now, you have been warned. You DO NOT want my gag reflex on your bad side.


Thought Throw-Up

Isn't it amazing what moving the part in your hair 3 centimeters to the right can do to your face? I look awesome.

Why are water fountains at ice cream shops so dang delicious? Sodium?

How come everyone in Connecticut wore sneakers to school and no one in California did? That made me look like a loser when I started my junior year of high school after moving across the country.

Do you ever scroll through your Facebook feed and forget which people you had actual relationships with and which people were simply acquaintances? Ugh, I'm the worst at keeping in touch.

Are your ears pierced? Do you wear earrings? Mine are and I don't.

Why is it that I don't cry over actual sad things* and yet I cry when I watch this dumb commercial? *Unless it's heart-wrenching, obviously. 



We flew home to California for the quietest Thanksgiving ever with my parents. None of my siblings were able to make it so it was just us four. So we ate a lot, crafted a bit, saw some old friends, visited Old Town Sacramento, went on a walk with the abominable snow man (and obtained the best picture ever but I promised not to share it but I also will never delete it because it's good for a laugh) and watched a lot of Seinfeld

This was also the trip that I finally overcame my fear of flying. I've dealt with this anxious, awful fear for a whopping 12 months of my life. It all started when I moved to Denver and then proceeded to fly on EIGHT of the most turbulent flights of my life. (Like drinking-tipping, people-shrieking, we're probably going down turbulence.)

I grew up flying a ton. I've never been afraid of flying, but for the last year every plane I was on seemed like it was going to fall out of the sky. And that can make a person a little antsy. Luckily, it seems that year of bizarre flights has come to an end and the last few have been fairly normal. 

Thank goodness because then I would have had to start driving every where and long car trips are the worst...especially through northern Nevada. 



"I never enjoy a single bite when I'm at Chipotle. Because I know it's coming to an end. I sit down and immediately I get sad."

Jason, discussing his love/hate relationship with Chipotle. One burrito is never enough...


Christmas shopping

Last Christmas Jason and I bought a customized pad of paper from Zazzle for his parents. We play a lot of hand & foot so we thought this would make the perfect gift. As you might be able to see from this picture, that pad has gotten a lot of use.
So I've decided that I need to do all of my Christmas shopping at Zazzle this year.

For Caitlin:
I'd get her this shirt. Because she took anatomy in high school and still has every bone in the body memorized. And she likes to correct me when I refer to them as my "leg bone" and my "arm bone." Also, we do puns in this family. 

For Jason:
I'd get him this phone case. Because he loves Colorado and the Colorado flag. And then maybe he'd stop wearing his Colorado flag t-shirt ALL THE TIME!

For myself:

I'd get this monogramed key chain. Because I have been asking for a key chain for a year and a half and Jason keeps forgetting to get me one. Such an easy gift. And so cheap! Jason, buy this!

For everyone else:
I'd get them this mug with our ugly mugs on it. My mug is on a mug. Life goal complete.

And just like that, Christmas shopping is done!


A Homecoming Date

I posted this picture on my old fashion blog but then I deleted that sucker and I really felt this photo deserved to be immortalized on this here blog. For those of you who don't know the backstory, I was going through family albums at Jason's parents house a few months ago and found this little gem.

That would be my brother-in-law, clenched fist and all, taking this gorgeous girl to homecoming. Jeff, that is Keri Russell. Unclench your hand!

When I first saw this photo, I thought, "That is so cool. I loved her in August Rush." But since then, Felicity showed up on Netflix Instant Watch. (I was a tad too young for that show when it was on air.) And now this picture has reached a whole new level of star-struck awesomeness. That is Felicity.. in my in-laws house, standing where I've stood many times, in front of a fireplace I've sat on many times, breathing the air I've breathed many times.. (Okay, that one might be a stretch.)

Oh Felicity, let's be friends.


Hey Coach

I have decided that I would like to eternally declare my love for Friday Night Lights. How will I do this you ask?

I shall name my first born son Eric Taylor. And we will call him "Coach." 

Because Eric Taylor is the best character in the world and Coach is seriously the cutest nickname for a little boy.

There are only two problems with this plan. My sister-in-law has already claimed the name Eric. Annnnnd I have no baby boy to name.

Alas... in a perfect world...

In next week's series I'll tell you all about how Jason would like to name his future sons after the main characters of The OC. Seth and Ryan, get over here right now!



I suffer from bunions. But I really really really really really really despise that word. Loathe. Abhor. Eschew. (Thanks for that one thesaurus.com! Also, does anyone else imagine a dinosaur with a book for a head when they hear that word? No? Just me. Carry on.)
Let's be honest. The word bunion is one gross sounding word. But it's not my fault that my feet-bones hate me and my choice of shoes. Please don't judge me because I suffer from a gross sounding word.
I squirm every time I tell Jason, "My bunions are really hurting today." My bunions. MY bunions. Throwing a 'my' in front of that gross sounding word makes it seem as though it is venturing into a world of endearment and belonging. And that I will not stand for.
Which is why I've decided to rid myself of that gross sounding word all together, and henceforth, they shall be known as Paul. For obvious reasons.
This is the moment where I would draw poetic similarities between the giant, axe-wielding, Babe the Blue Ox for a sidekick Paul Bunyan and the painful, icky feet-bone bunion. But really, there are none.

Though I would venture to guess that with all that walking, and axe dragging, Mr. Bunyan had some pretty big bunions of his own. I know how you feel man, I know how you feel.


Father's daughter

My father tells a lot of puns (some bad, some good, all under-appreciated). He also likes to speak Spanish any chance he gets. The following is a direct result of being his daughter:

One time I was running around looking for my keys. "Donde estan mis llaves?!*" I yelled as I was running around the house in circles. And then all of the sudden my keys appeared. I held one up proudly. "Oh! Aqui!**" And then I smiled smugly and looked around to make everyone else in the room appreaciated my witty joke.

Moral of the story: I AM FUNNY IN SPANISH! But only when I've lost my keys.

* Where are my keys?!
** Oh! Here!


Namesake pants

Do you ever feel more inclined to buy something because the name of the item in question is in fact your name.

For example:
"That dress isn't that cute. Oh look! It's called Rebecca. I should probably buy it."

I was overly tempted to buy a pair of Paige jeans that had TERRIBLE rear pockets because their name was my last name.

...Doooes that ever happen to you?


Gardener Village

During our quick trip to Utah we went to Gardener Village with some family to check out their fun shops, tents full of treats and goofy witches. We had fudge, kettle corn, caramel apples, and delicious cheeses. Some members of our group got kissed by a fairy (my father) while others tried to feel up the witches (my grandma). Basically, a good time was had by all.

P.S. I just realized I haven't had one piece of Halloween candy yet. I might have to swipe some out of my nephew's candy sack tonight when he's not looking. Or hit up the crazy sales tomorrow at the grocery store. Pumpkin shaped Reese's, here I come!