Bring on the Bling

Friday, June 27, 2014

Birthday Celebrations!

I know a few posts ago I said that I wanted to blog every day, mainly so I would remember this time of my life leading up to a huge shake-up. What I failed to realize was that between birthdays, blessings, graduations, moving, training my replacement, and GETTING MY PURSE STOLEN was going to take all of my time away from leisure. Let me catch up a little bit...

I turned 30 a few weeks ago. That's right, 30. I received so many texts, calls, emails, Facebook messages, hugs, was all so wonderful! Thank you to everyone who reached out to me on this epic day!! Oddly enough, I usually work on my birthday, and it was fun with my coworkers!
Beautiful flowers from Melissa!
Eating "dirt" with Tiffany. Thanks Becky/Jerry for my awesome "Dirty 30" treats!
My work station for the day...PHOTOBOMB Tiffany!!
My boss knows me so well...Kami brought in Brote from the German bakery!
It's pretty fun to plan your own birthday party...but you always hope that your friends would do it for you, or at least help, especially when you've done your best to make their birthdays memorable with trips, dinners, and parties. Oh well. I'm usually the planner, so I just planned my own. We had a fun dinner at my favorite restaurant in SLC, Alamexo. It was a fun group of friends and family...and the best part was actually having the dinner on my birthday. Hooray for Friday birthdays!!
Judy, Kerry Lynn, me, Kristin, Cara, Kasia, Debbie, Natalie, Jen, Scott, Wendy
The day after my birthday, I headed up to Rexburg, Idaho for my cousin's baby's blessing. I had such a fun relaxing time with family revisiting my old stomping ground (what's left of it...the campus/city is constantly growing!)
Me and Sam...such a cute and happy baby!
Bailee, Katie, Sam and I just after the blessing!
My uncle Blayne and Aunt Lu...this is my favorite picture! He makes me laugh! He was done with the pictures...
The weekend after the blessing, I found myself on a plane headed to SoCal for yet another birthday celebration! Since they were heading out of town for the weekend, I got to go to breakfast with 2 of my favorite people: Bethany and Cora. Bethany and I have been best friends since we were 5...25 years and going strong!

I can always count on mom organizing a large party. This year, since I was getting ready for Germany, we just had a large family dinner at one of my favorite places: North Woods Inn. My BFF Michelle came up from San Diego, a bunch of aunts, uncles, and cousins were there, along with my mentor, Deb. Such a fun time catching up and enjoying good company!
Seriously, there's no way to take a good picture with this lighting!
Deb and good to catch up with this lovely!
PS...Adam was slouching because I'm so short! What a cute little brother!!
My wonderful mother!
Besties forEVER! Michelle and I hit up the movie theater while she was up!
No trip to SoCal is complete unless the beach is involved! Adam and I at Newport...before the wave came...
Midnight premier of "How to Train Your Dragon 2" w/mom and Curtis!
We're pretty awesome...
Michael just LOVES when I take pictures with him...don't worry baby brother! I got this!
 After SoCal, I flew back to Utah just in time for my friend's mission farewell. He was in my German classes these last 2 semesters and we got pretty close. We were all stoked when he received his call to serve in Frankfurt, Germany...but NOBODY was as excited as Wendy, our teacher. Her first missionary! We went to his farewell talk in Coalville and the party at his family's place. So proud of Elder Andrus!
Elder Andrus, Wendy, Kim, me in Coalville, UT...
Now that my birthday, the baby blessing, and the missionary farewell were over, the reality of Germany was magnified! It was getting closer!! I decided to bring all of my documents to work one day to scan them and make copies to have while abroad. Little did I know that my life would be flipped upside-down...


Thursday, June 5, 2014

My First 30 Years...

Tonight is the eve of my 30th birthday. Wow. Where did the time go? At first, I wasn't making a big deal about the fact that it is the big 3-0. To me, it's just another day. However, after friends and coworkers kept talking about it, I've started to get hyped about it. One of the biggest questions I've been getting has been "how are you going to celebrate?" Well, I'm going to dinner with some friends and family tomorrow night at my favorite place, Alamexo. Next weekend, I'll be heading back to SoCal for Curtis' graduation and my big family dinner at North Woods Inn. Plus, I'm going to Europe. Pretty sure that's the best celebration ever.

As I'm getting ready to turn 30, I've been thinking about what I've been up to these last few decades. I'm not married with kids, don't have the career of my dreams, don't own my own house, and am fairly poor. Still, I'm super happy with my life and where I'm at. I decided to go back to my beginning and make a list of the top 30 things that I'm most excited about that have happened in my life. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. Graduated from High School (go Bearcats!)
  2. High School Marching Band Drum Major
  3. Played in a band for President Clinton
  4. Bought and paid off my first car
  5. Earned a Bachelor's Degree (History) and 2 teaching certificates (CBEST & TESOL)
  6. Went parasailing
  7. Played softball in college
  8. Caught a foul ball at a Dodger game
  9. Became an auntie to the 2 cutest little girls
  10. Learned to speak 6 different languages
  11. Had a solo at a choir concert
  12. Became the Stake Music chair in downtown SLC
  13. Earned an awesome reputation for throwing awesome parties
  14. Worked at Disney's California Adventure
  15. Moved to a different state with nothing but a job waiting for me
  16. Experienced my first NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, NHL games
  17. Took a horse-riding class and learned to barrel ride
  18. Booked my first solo trip to the Czech Republic and Poland pre-Germany
  19. Sang in a German choir
  20. Went through the temple
  21. Became a Scholar-Athlete and lettered in High School for track & field (shot-put & discus)
  22. Was printed in the "Who's Who in America's High Schools" multiple times
  23. Discovered that I can sing, even though people told me I never could
  24. Played sports since the age of 4, even though I was born without hip sockets
  25. Pulled the sword from the stone at Disneyland and became "Queen Rachelle" for a day
  26. Became one of only 2 rollerbladers at Disney's California Adventure
  27. Became an accompanist for elementary school choirs
  28. Hiked a volcano
  29. Sang in the Tabernacle in Temple Square
  30. Fed stingrays in the Caribbean
There are plenty more experiences that have happened in my life that have shaped who I am. I think what everything boils down to is this: I am happy, I am confident in myself, I know what I want in life and how to get it, and I am strong. I can't wait for the new adventures that await me in my years to come!
Alameda, CA for Natalie's 30th Birthday

Newport Beach, CA Family Christmas Card Photo Shoot

Libby Gardner Hall, University of Utah SLSC choir concert

SLC, UT Moving Day to River Run!!

Candlestick Park, SF - Broncos at 49ers

Waiting for TRAX, SLC, UT

Maverick Center, SLC - Gabriel Iglesias show

City Creek Center, SLC, UT

NYE party 2013/2014

Seattle, WA

Snoqualmie Falls, Washington

New Orleans, LA

Pepper Palace, New Orleans

I didn't suck the head...New Orleans, LA

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Some days, I think I was born to a family of mermaids. I love to swim, whether it's in the ocean, pool, or lake. Our complex opened the pool the weekend before Memorial Day, and I couldn't be happier! I have been in the pool 6 days/week and look forward to swimming after work. I think that swimming/being in the water can help ease any pain. A few weeks ago, my coworker and I were involved in a very stressful situation with someone and I didn't know how I was going to be able to relax after the first day of it. When I got home and realized that I couldn't relax, I decided to go for a swim...and then something magical happened. Life didn't seem so hard, and the situation didn't seem like the end of the world. Okay, maybe I'm being over-dramatic. The situation really didn't bother me too much after the first hour or so. However, the freedom that came with swimming was amazing.

Lately when my coworkers have asked what my plans for the evening are, the first thing I say is "I'm going swimming for a while" and then whatever else. I look forward to it. I love it. I love the feeling of freedom in the water (even with the little kids screaming and getting in my way), and how my mind seems to clear when I'm in the water. I always start thinking about my to-do list for Germany, packing, planning things, etc...but then everything leaves my mind and all I can think about is breathing. Slow and steady, focusing on my arms, hands, and legs. Pushing water away from me. Practicing swimming the length of the pool, starting in the water, with only one breath. I must admit, I have to make a few attempts before it actually happens.

Another side benefit of being in the water daily is that my skin is going back to it's normal color. I'm not out long enough to burn...just to get sun-kissed. I've been secretly bothered by how pale I've gotten, but not anymore! Aunt Mel posted a TBT picture of me and a few family members from about 15 years ago. I would have been about 14-15. Man, was I dark! Ugh, to be that color again would be a dream come true!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Last Fast Sunday

Today, on my way down the stairs to my car, I realized that today was my last Fast Sunday in my ward. It was weird. Although I don't know where I'm going to live when I get back from Germany, I realized that I subconsciously have already decided that I'm not moving back to my ward. It was a little bittersweet. I know that I'll keep in contact with my friends and Bishop (especially since he teaches at the U), and then I'll get to meet new people. I will be gone the next 2 weekends (Sam's blessing and Jim's farewell), and then I'll have my last Sunday. I honestly was debating whether or not I should go. I was thinking about going to the German ward, but since I figured I was going to the motherland, I'll go to the Madison ward.

I've been emailing our landlord the last few days, trying to figure out my deposit refund. I don't think he really knows what he's doing. He's super nice, but I worry that he's too trusting. Yes, Kasia and I are trustworthy people who take care of our place. However, I'm leaving and the new person might not be as honest. It's been interesting, to say the least.

I've put off packing, once again. My next goal is to pack up my closet, which includes going through my clothes and shoes. I also need to start taking my pictures down off the wall. Ugh, I'm glad I have some time to do this!