Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2014 Bucket List, Recapped

2014 got a little crazy. I didn't get the chance to do everything that I wanted to because I was slammed with work and school. Still, it was a good year. I'm moving a lot of these goals forward for 2015 because I think they are important and don't want to say goodbye to them without finishing them.

Spend at least 208 hours at the piano (that's just four hours a week)
Run/walk 312 miles (an average of 6 miles a week)
Take a photography class
Choose a new lens
Go back to school
Practice yoga at least twice a week, for a total of 104 practices
Do an in-depth study of one composer each month
Hike Lake Blanche
Hike Mount Olympus
Try at least three other new hikes
     1. Bell Canyon Waterfall
     2. The Living Room
     3. Salt Lake Overlook
Learn to live with less (this includes clothing, shoes, and lipstick)
Write more
Do yoga every day for 30 days
Start teaching piano lessons again
Go 100 days without junk food (candy, chips, cookies, fried foods, etc.)
Try 5 new things
     1. ice fishing, 1.4.13
     2. shed hunting with Colt
     3. gardening with Whit
Write everyday for 30 days

The Signature of All Things
Crime and Punishment
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Life of Our Lord (with Harper)
Mere Christianity
War and Peace
The Old Man and the Sea
Into the Wild
The Four Loves
Ender's Game
One Thousand Gifts
The Barefoot Executive
These is My Words
My Name is Asher Lev
A Farewell to Arms

Take Harper to swimming lessons
Take Harper to five live performances
    1. Disney on Ice, March 5, 2014
    2. Miss Utah final night, June 21, 2014
    3. Wicked, November 8, 2014
Take Harper to see the baby animals at This is the Place
Do ABCMouse with Harper at least three times a week
Take Harper to The Princess Festival at Thanksgiving Point
Go to Yellowstone
Take Harper to Discovery Gateway
Take Harper to Airborne
Take Harper to the beach

Favorite Things Party + Giveaway

My friend Dani and I hosted a Favorite Things party last month. It was a lot of fun, both to plan and to participate in. Can you guess what my favorite thing was (our budget was $10 per gift)? I'll tell you at the end of this post, I promise, but do feel like most people that know me well will be able to figure it out. Hint: it's from a beauty aisle, the one where you get stuff for your hair.

Dani and I wanted to go with neutral colors and some metalics for the decorations and supplies. I threw some cute tags together and copied a cute gift bag that we saw at Target by sticking gold labels onto plain burlap bags from Michael's (the bags at Target were $3 each, which is fine if you're purchasing one bag, but definitely not when you need ten. The bags I made were under $1 each and were, if you ask me, pretty darn cute). We also put together some small gifts for our guests (CD's of our favorite jams, lip balms wrapped like candy, chocolates, and pen/notecard sets). Everything turned out really well.

For food, we did a soup and salad sort of thing. We had white chili, spinach salad, some appetizers, and a few yummy treats (chocolate chip cookies and salted caramel brownies, anyone?).

Each guest brought four of one of her favorite things to give out and in return received favorites from four other ladies. I loved everything that I received, which is probably because it was all beauty-aisle related. I received nail polishes, hair products, a brush, lip gloss, lotions, and face wipes. I had fun seeing what everyone else opened, too. There was a lot of good stuff up for grabs at our party and the selfish part of me was a little disappointed that I didn't get one of everything. The good news is that I kept a mental note of the things that were interesting to me so that when I go shopping, I can pick them up for myself. Our guests definitely brought, and went home with, some cool favorite things.

My only regret is that I didn't take any photos of people. I only had my camera out before the party. Once it started, I forgot to pick it back up again, which is pretty typical of me when I'm in party mode. I guess I will just have to host another favorites party so that I can take photos of the women that I love.

I gave two of my can't-live-without hair products as my favorite thing:
Batiste Dry Shampoo and Garnier Beach Chic are two things that I don't want to live without. I love them both because they help me keep my hair routine simple (and because they aren't $30 a bottle). 

Have you ever tried either of them? Would you like to? If so, go ahead and keep reading...

I am excited to announce that I am doing a giveaway. One winner will receive both of my favorite things, along with a copy of the CD we gave out at the party and some of the other little prizes that we included in our guests' gift bags. I'm so excited!

To enter, comment on this post. Tell me what your favorite thing would be if you were invited to a Favorite Things party (it doesn't have to be a beauty product- food, drinks, accessories, kitchen items, and pretty much anything that you love is fair game). For an extra entry, share a link to this post on Facebook (leave a second comment if you do). I'll announce the winner one week from today! Good luck and much love!

Sunday, December 28, 2014


This December was a busy one (all Decembers are, I know, but this one was unusually chaotic) and without meaning to, I wound up taking far more photos with my phone than with an actual camera. Boo to me, I know. What makes it worse is that I have an iPhone 4s, so my phone photos aren't even good phone photos. Still, I managed to capture a bit of the magic that came with this Christmas season and really want to share it here, graininess and all. 

Harper and I had so much fun making gingerbread houses together. We started the tradition last year by making one house together. We each made our own this year, which was great because I could have things in neat rows and patterns without encroaching upon Harper's creative instincts. 

She named our gingerbread people. Hers were Johnny and June (she's recently become a fan of vintage country) and mine were Holly and Jolly. Our gingerbread neighborhood was a musical one. It wasn't very tasty, though. I need to buy better candy next year so that we can enjoy eating our houses once Christmas is over.

Harper and I enjoyed a little lady date matinne to The Nutcracker. This book is one of her favorite Christmas stories. I could tell that she loved seeing it come to life on stage. Now that she is old enough to enjoy the show, I'd like to take her every year, or at least every other. I'm thinking of alternating years between this and The Forgotten Carols.

My mother-in-law brought Harper to watch one of my choir concerts (we had two and they were definitely the highlight of my holiday season). When we walked on stage, she got so excited and yelled, "Hi mommy! We brought you flowers!" Afterwards I asked Harper if she liked it. Her response was about as honest as they come: "I kind of liked it but I really kind of didn't because it was super long and boring. But I liked your lipstick because it looked very dark and beautiful."

We made a trip down to Papa Dave's to visit Harper's favorite animal buddies. Riding weather can't come soon enough for cowgirl Harper. Papa Dave has three colts that will be ready to ride this spring. Harper is so excited.

Hazelnut is still the best gift anyone (me) ever gave me. Santa would have to work a pretty big Christmas miracle to top the happiness that she brings me (it could never happen, but I wanted a Rudolph balloon to take back to Harper after Colt's work party).

Harper did a wonderful job in her Christmas recital! Her group did a ballet dance to Sarah Mclachlan's Song for a Winters' Night (confession: I had to look up how to spell Mclachlan). Her teacher, Miss Jasmine, has been wonderful. I am so appreciative of her enthusiasm and the way that she listens to Harper. A few weeks ago, Harper snuck a little gift for Jasmine (a bracelet from her own jewelry box) to ballet class. I had no idea about it until I saw Harper give it to her before warm ups. Miss Jasmine was so gracious and excited about it, bless her. The look on Harper's face when she told her she'd keep it forever was priceless.

We took Harper and Cash downtown to see the lights a week before Christmas. They liked the train ride far more than they liked the lights. I love these two cousins together. See how they are holding hands on the train (or, as Cash calls it, The Bullet Train)? Adorable.

Harper wrapped the gift she was giving at our preschool gift exchange all by herself. She even tied the bow (she learned to tie in preschool earlier this year and has gotten quite good at it).

This darling hat is one of the things she received at the gift exchange. It kept her warm and cozy while she worked on feeling better.

Present night at Grandma Carrie's is always a spoil fest. This year, Harper received a whole new wardrobe of princess dresses that actually fit her (she outgrew her others long ago). She was super excited about them.

Santa came and went without much effort this year. He needed a break after putting together the giant dollhouse that Harper received last year. 

Harper loved her new things but, as always, chose Scout and Kitty Soft Paws as snug buds when it was time to relax. 

We had a nice dinner with the Adams side of Colt's family on Christmas night. It was great to visit with people that we love.

A day after Christmas trip to Target (our gift cards were burning holes in our pockets!) for a pretzel and some new duds was just what we needed yesterday.

Harper is happily putting her new easel to good use. The girl loves to paint.

Here's to a wonderful holiday season. And to more "real" photos in 2015! 

A Glimpse of Christmas

Unfortunately, Harper was under the weather for most of Christmas week. She was so tired during the majority of our pre-Christmas festivities that I didn't even try to take photos. At one point, she was even too tired to open a present (not typical Harper, that's for sure). She was so exhausted on Christmas Eve that we didn't even make cookies (poor Santa had to choke down white fudge covered Oreos) or read a story. Per her request, she went straight to bed and had a long, long winter's nap. It did her a world of good. I was so thankful when she woke up feeling much better on Christmas morning.

Santa knows Harper well. Most importantly, he knows that she is a girl of many interests. He left a fun variety of goodies for her, including princess stuff, Ninja Turtles, and art supplies.

It didn't take Harper long to break in her new easel. Santa may have actually underestimated how much Harper would love it. He only left one extra roll of paper, which, at the rate she's going, won't last until Valentine's Day.  

Harper received the Glitter Glider Castle that she has been wanting for months. It was the one thing she wanted to ask Santa for right from the start of the holiday season. I was a little apprehensive about it considering that we already have a small doll house and a giant Barbie house, but now that I've seen how much Harper loves to play with it, I am glad that her Christmas wish came true. 

Christmas morning brought the opportunity to start munching on the gingerbread houses that we made earlier this month. It didn't take Harper long to realize that gingerbread house candy isn't necessarily good-to-eat candy. 

Harper says that her favorite gift from this year was the cheetah sheets and cat pillow (not pictured) that she received from Aunts Kenzie and Mercedes. She is getting ready to makeover her room (the new theme is "horse cheetah") and can hardly wait to get these babies on her bed.

We have had such a wonderful holiday season and I sincerely hope that you have, too. 
Much love!

Halloween 2014

Harper is a huge fan of Halloween. I think she gets more excited for Halloween than for Christmas. Her enthusiasm has really rubbed off on me. I find myself liking it more and more each year. 

Up until the very week of Halloween this year, Harper was going to dress up as a cheetah, which was pretty easy for me since she already owns so many cheetah clothes and accessories (seriously, if you look at my instagrams from the past few months, more than half of them feature at least one sort of cheetah thing). Then, at the last minute, she changed her mind and decided to be Dorothy (I'm quite sure I was more excited about her choice than she was). I tried to order a costume online but, unsurprisingly, all of the good ones were on backorder. Luckily, after visiting 6 different stores, we found all of the parts of a Dorothy look in all of the right sizes. The costume came together really well, even if we had to go with white socks (Dorothy's are blue) and a sparkly dress (had I known further in advance, we would definitely have done a non-sparkly one). Harper loved it and was especially fond of her ruby red slippers (so fond, in fact, that they are already worn out). I even bought a witch hat and dressed up as the Wicked Witch of the West/Elphaba. Harper and I had a ton of fun chasing one another around the house and fighting over Toto.

Cool costumes were just the beginning of a really great Halloween. We went trick-or-treating to Colt's grandparents' houses, visited my in-laws, had a party in preschool, ate Cafe Rio takeout, watched our Halloween favorites (Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Casper, and The Adams Family), and hit a few houses on our own street. The weather was beautiful- warm enough for us to go without jackets- and the whole day was pretty much perfect.

Harper and Pierce are always so cute together. We love him so much and can't imagine life without him. Lucky for us, he comes for daycare a few times a week. He made one adorable little tiger.

We had a fun Halloween party in preschool. The kids love any excuse to eat treats and run around like little hooligans (as if they don't do that every day).

This little wild thing is Jax, another adorable daycare friend. His mom and I are good friends so we get to see Jax outside of daycare, too, which is really fun since he is such a sweet little guy. Harper loves him. A lot of the younger daycare kids are like the little brothers and sisters that she doesn't have. She gets really close to them and enjoys watching them grow and learn. She gets so excited when they begin walking and talking. My friend Dani posted a video of Jax recognizing his alphabet last week and Harper watched it no less than 7 times. She was so proud of him.

Harper always has fun trick-or-treating with her Papa Doug. They go around to the other houses on the lane that my in-laws live on, collecting more full size candy bars than we need in a year. This year was really fun because Pierce was old enough to join in on the tradition.