Tuesday, April 30, 2013

LA wedding preview

i've been going through all the footage from the wedding we shot in LA last weekend and am so, so excited to cut the highlight film together and show you all!

and this bride's dress. $200 at david's bridal. what the?! her mom just added the sleeves.
there's nothing better than a knock out wedding dress found for an amazing deal, am i right?

check back soon for the finished film!

(p.s. i need a hair cut. we're entering mulletville, folks.)

Monday, April 29, 2013

weekend in cali

swim suit c/o albion fit

we just got back from a great three-day weekend in southern california!

we went out to film a wedding in LA on saturday and when we weren't working, we hit the beach and explored the santa monica pier. it felt like the perfect little vacation because not only was it a blast to have some time with just the two of us, but spending a whole day working hard together filming made the trip feel super productive and satisfying too!

after enjoying gelato on huntington beach, twilight swims, and room service breakfast, it was kinda hard to leave but we're glad to be back home watching prison break and snugging our hero again.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

a proposal in the park

one of chas' coworkers proposed to his girlfriend a few nights ago and asked chas to help out and snap a few pics.

billy first said "i love you" to lizzy at this park so after a horse-drawn carriage ride around downtown slc, he brought her back to this same park- all lit up beautifully with twinkle lights and spot lights. he made her a special book that he gave to her and then after she said "yes," fireworks went off!

do we love it!?

way to go, billy!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

new look & half off sponsorship!

i decided this blog was long overdue for a layout update and i am loving the new look!

i've also done a few changes on all the sidebar pages- you're definitely gonna wanna take a second and just hover your mouse over those sidebar links for a fun little surprise! cute, huh?

my good friend, stephanie, designed it- check her and her blog out. she's the greatest.


and while we're rolling out the new digs, i thought i'd let you all know that i've cut my sponsorship rates by 50%! check out the new rates and let me know if you'd like to reserve a spot! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

springtime sunday strolls

so it was spring for a little bit...then it turned back to winter...now it's spring again!

we had dinner with my family on sunday and then walked around my parent's neighborhood. it was such a beautiful evening and so much fun to be with everyone!

you know, sometimes i feel like we're really missing out on great, daily adventures by not living somewhere more exciting like new york or california. but then days like this remind me why living in utah has its perks- family! chas and i are blessed to have wonderful families that we're both super close with and within just an hour's drive from visiting. i love being near my inlaws, parents, sisters, and hero's cousins!

so you can have your big dream cities and your skyscrapers. we've got sunday family dinner and springtime strolls.

p.s. to our family out in new york and new jersey: we love you, miss you, and want to come visit you!

Friday, April 19, 2013

i love this man

this past week has been pretty rough for me and chas has been there to take care of me every step of the way.

he's suggested that i take a hot bath and then served me a tall, cold glass of root beer (a small delicacy around these parts) while i was soaking.

he didn't (or at least pretended not to) mind when i've gotten his shirt super wet with my tears.

he's given me back rubs and foot rubs.

he's made us nachos and root beer floats (like i said- a delicacy).

he's made us dinner.

he's bathed hero by himself (quite a feat nowadays for how squirmy and slippery she is in the tub) and put her down to bed.

he's woken up with her more mornings than not to feed her and change her.

he's talked to me over and over about how much he loves me and is proud of me.

sheesh. i'm feeling really blessed and lucky today to be with this guy forever.

here's to a happy weekend!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

butternut squash and crispy sage pizza

chas and i are pizza huge fanatics. we could honestly eat pizza for dinner every single night and never get bored. sometimes it kinda feels like a chore when we eat something other than pizza.

thanks to pinterest, we've been trying out some fun new recipes and wanted to share our latest and greatest!

it's hard to put into words how good this pizza is. i will say that chas almost cried while eating it- it's that yummy. (like i said, we love our pizza!)

the original recipe can be found here.

but if you wanna make this super easy (yes, please!), then just substitute the homemade crust for a pre-made, thin crust boboli. we're big boboli believers over here.

Friday, April 5, 2013

a bummer day, a good friend, and a realization

do you ever have an exceptionally bummer day immediately following an exceptionally happy day?

wednesday was my happy day and, turns out, yesterday was my bummer day.

the great thing about bummer days, however, is that you're reminded how much you appreciate your amazing, wise friends. elle was that friend for me yesterday.

elle is a good, close friend. we actually don't talk (social media excluded) much but, when we do, it almost always feels life-changing.

so after i started blowing up elle's phone yesterday evening with venting texts, she was the mature adult and called me up. she patiently let me vent some more...and then some more. she listened to my embarrassing insecurities and even validated my frustrations. i was so glad to talk to her because i knew that she'd be able to relate better than most anyone else i know. we commiserated and laughed loudly together. and then elle did something which i think is rare nowadays but so, so needed and important:

she brainstormed with me ways in which i could turn off the whining and pining and starting getting to work, making things happen, and forging some good for myself and my life in certain areas.

i think that's a hard thing to do successfully as a friend- to listen, validate, and comfort while also motivating the other to do and be better. yesterday, however, elle did it all with grace and it was exactly what i needed.

during our talk, one of the things she asked me was, "besides your family, what is it you really want to be doing most with your life?"

"my book and our film business," i replied automatically.

i feel blessed to know what my passions are in life and how i can be using my talents. and lately, i've been working really hard to make both my book and our business successful ventures. and it's felt great.

but then i started thinking about this blog. it's been a pretty big mainstay in my life for years and years now and it's been interesting to see how the content of this blog has changed and evolved in tandem with my different life stages, wants, and interests. ever since hero was born, however, i've been a little at a loss, wondering where to take this blog next. but last night, i think i finally figured it out.

there are a bazillion blogs out there and every single one is different. there are beauty blogs, fashion blogs, lifestyle blogs, food blogs, blogs with beautiful pictures, blogs with no pictures, blogs with some mediocre pictures. there are blogs you love and blogs you love to hate. all of this is what's great about the blogging world. lots of different choices and you, as the reader, are the one who gets to make the decision of what blogs you want to spend your time on.

what i decided was that while this blog may ebb and flow a bit, above all, i want my blog to be a reflection of what i feel is one of the most important achievements in life: the ability to be genuine, authentic, and even allowing yourself to take the risk and be vulnerable every now and then.

and while for months now i've felt rather uninspired about what or how i should blog, with that realization last night, i was infused with a new love and drive for blogging. and it made me excited to get back to blogging more consistently with the focus on authentic content!


so to you readers:

many of you have been here for a while (and if you're new- welcome!) and have watched, first-hand, how all of this has unfolded. your support means the world to me. truly. and while i rarely reply to comments, i do read and so appreciate every single one. i used to be better at actively replying to comments but i've decided that, with hero in the picture, some things have to take the backseat. replying to comments is one of those worthy sacrifices that i've chosen to make in order to spend more time with my daughter. thanks for understanding :)

and to those of you who have sent me personal emails- you are amazing. i'm much, much better at replying to emails, by the way. so if you're wanting to say something with the intent of getting a written response, please feel free to email any time! i often read to chas your emails and, more than once, we've been blown away by people's willingness to give of themselves in such kind, comforting, and supportive ways. a few weeks ago, in fact, a certain reader's email brought tears to both our eyes.

basically- you readers are wonderful. and i hope i never take your support for granted.


and now, as i go back and read how this post started, it actually surprises me that all this began with a bad day. interesting.

there is plenty of good waiting to unfold from bad days.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

in love on the front lawn

last night, as we were getting ready for bed, i said to chas, "ummm...chas? i just feel really, really happy right now."

the day had started out like almost every other day: spent the morning in dirty pajamas as i focused on feeding, changing, dressing, and playing with the hero girl. put her down for a nap. did the dishes, ate a boring PB&J lunch, took a shower, got ready for the day, and wasted some time online. and, like almost every other day, by mid-afternoon i was gonna go crazy if i didn't get out of the house. so i invited a new friend to go on a walk around the neighborhood with us.

we walked and talked for over an hour. it was truly lovely- one of the first really warm spring days here in salt lake. the kind of spring day when you first notice the trees just about ready to blossom and you're wishing it wouldn't get any warmer but just stay exactly this perfect temperature outdoors- perfect for long walks with new friends and making plans to walk to the library next week for children's story time.

then we came home. i fed hero and let her have some quiet play time by herself in her crib.

later, when a friend invited us for a dinner picnic in the park, i was so bummed i had a physical therapy appointment right then. but still, just knowing that it's the season for picnics at the park was enough to give me excited little tummy butterflies!

after physical therapy and a surprisingly yummy chicken taco dinner, chas and i grabbed a blanket and laid out on our front lawn for the last few minutes of evening light when the mountains to the east are that perfect shade of soft pinky glow.

the night ended with scripture study together and an episode of shark tank.

nothing special but, at the same time, at the end of the day yesterday, life felt completely wonderful and dreamy in its own small way. like all of the things that you see other people doing or being involved in-the kinds of things that make you feel instantly sad when you compare your life to theirs- all of that stuff didn't matter. wasn't even on the radar.

all i could see was my own life and the happiness and love and beautifully warm springtime air that abounded.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

story of my life (part II)

my family moved from new york, back to utah at the end of my sophomore year of high school. i enrolled at salt lake city's east high school at the beginning of may with barely six weeks left in the school year. it was weird timing. most teachers didn't really know what to do with me, academically-speaking. couldn't say i blamed them really. and, in a way, i kind of knew how they felt. after those four traumatic years in new york, i didn't really know what to do with myself either.

i had suddenly gone from the outcast minority at school to just one of the majority. most every one around me was, for all intents and purposes, just like me- your average mormon kid. i should have felt safe and comfortable. but i didn't.

after my new york experience, i was, in many respects, socially inept. i had become merely a shell of the person i used to be. i didn't know who i was anymore and definitely didn't know how to interact with my peers. i had become used to keeping everything tucked away, safely inside and using silence to protect myself emotionally. i had not only forgotten how to share myself with others but was terrified of doing so.

i quickly became assimilated into a group of very nice girls. i knew they were nice girls and i knew, cognitively, that i could trust them but the very core of me fought against that trust, that longing for connection. sometimes it felt like relearning how to ride a bike- a bike that i so, so desperately wanted to be able to ride but, after four years off scraped knees and bruised elbows, i was paralyzed by fear. i was sick and tired of falling off the bike and the ride almost didn't even feel worth the risk of potentially crashing.

so i was often coined as "quiet" or "shy." and i hated those labels. not because there is anything wrong with being either quiet or shy but because i knew, deep down, that i really was neither of those things. those labels were a blatant reminder that i still wasn't being "myself," that my friends couldn't see the "real" me, and because of that, that i was still very much alone.

before new york, i was a leader with my peers. i was energetic, fun, and happy-go-lucky. after new york, i was completely shut down. although i did have a few close friends now, i'm honestly not sure anyone at east high ever really knew me. and i wasn't sure i would ever find that person i used to be and wanted to be again.

it's strange to think that it's been 12 years since my family moved back from new york and i still sometimes feel uneasy and guarded when i'm with groups of girls- even good friends. i've learned to hide it well but those old feelings of insecurity and worry about saying something that i could be mocked for, or even outright rejected, still creep up and surprise me every now and then.

back home from my own, personal war, and during my junior and senior year at east high school, i discovered that i had a big, empty hole inside of me. a black hole of loneliness. i craved connection and acceptance but, in order to have those things, i would have to force myself to take down my carefully built walls of safety and security. although i wanted so badly to knock those walls down with one huge blow, i honestly had no idea how to do so. the walls were strong and i felt so weak, depleted of strength after four years of battle.

i don't remember how it first happened, but at some point during my senior year of high school, i realized that i didn't have to knock down the walls. instead, i found that i could simply fill the hole with attention and "love" from a boy.

...to be continued.


story of my life (part I)