Sunday, November 30, 2008

O Christmas Tree

It's a good thing Austin and I are both Christmas tree fanatics, because it made it an easy decision when we decided to get one right after Thanksgiving. And we didn't even need to discuss whether it would be a real one or not. So we went and picked out the best tree on the lot, tied it to the top of the Corolla, and hauled it to our little apartment. I must say, it looks just perfect in our tiny living room!
Sorry the pictures are a little blurry, it was the best I could get without a flash, otherwise you can hardly see it!

And Aunt Kelly sent us a whole box of adorable ornaments!

And we already have our presents under the tree, cause we are done Christmas shopping!

We don't have a lot of other Christmas decorations, but I did find these cute stockings at a sale last week.

The Santa is Austin's and the Snowman is mine!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Finding Joy in the Journey

I have the most wonderful visiting teacher in this ward right now, and she always brings me the most inspired and perfect messages. Tonight she visited me and shared President Monson's talk from October conference about finding joy in the journey of our lives. He shared this quote in his talk that I think it so important for everyone trying to live in a world that focuses so much on greed, possessions, fame, and fortune.

Said one well-known author: “Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend . . . when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.”

It's amazing that we can feel so poor monetarily at times, but always feel so incredibly and richly blessed because of the Church, and our families, and because we know why we're here. Living this life would be so difficult without the ability to view an imperfect world through the eternal, perfect, and true perspective of the gospel. Like President Monson says,

"I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and non-existent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now."

The Giving of Thanks

I have to say that I HATE it when people refer to Thanksgiving as "Turkey Day". It's the same way I feel about when people abbreviate Christmas like "Xmas". It takes out the most important part of the name, and completely demeans the whole point of the holiday. So in honor of THANKSGIVING Day, here's a list of ten things, in no particular order, that I am giving thanks for this year.

1. My new adorable, sweet niece Bailey
2. Austin and I both have good jobs that we love
3. My parents and family are happier than ever, unemployed in their cute cabin
4. Our economy sucks, but it seems to be helping people realize what's more important than money and material things
5. Rachel and Jess, who are the funnest, most amazing friends in the world
6. Everything has come together perfectly so that I can go to Nursing school in January
7. We get to spend Christmas in the cabin with my whole family
8. Ash and Chris live right down the road, so we have a little bit of North Carolina with us all the time
9. Austin's parents are so wonderful to us, and I love them to death, and it's often considered a rare blessing to love your in-laws =)
10. We have a clean, cheap, and I have to say pretty cute little basement apartment that we love living in

There are hundreds more, and I hope that we'll get better at counting our blessings all year, and not just on Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Baby Crazy

Here is my adorable niece Bailey. I absolutely can't get enough of her, and she even makes me want to have kids just a little bit!

Break Time

I am so ready for Thanksgiving break. A much-needed vacation from work, with some much-needed family time.

And in honor of my love for ridiculous, childish jokes, a cartoon.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Penny Pincher

Like most people, Austin and I have been trying to cut back on expenses, and save a little money. Our monthly cost of living is relatively low, considering that we live in a basement and do without a lot of luxuries. And luckily we have cars with good gas mileage, and we live within about a 3 mile radius of anywhere we need to go.

So we decided the best place to save more was in our grocery bill. I feel like it's much harder to cook for just two people, cause I find myself throwing out a lot of leftovers and produce that goes bad before I can use it. So I did some research, and read tons of articles on how to avoid throwing money away.

The best advice I found was using the 80/20 rule. The idea is that 20% of the items on your grocery list will cost 80% of your budget, so by cutting out just a few things in that 20%, you'll save a ton. And it applied it to the actual kitchen--that 20% of the staples you already have (flour, eggs, milk, sugar, etc.) will be used in 80% of the meals you make. So there's no point in keeping a ton of excess around, when you already have 80% of what you need.

With that in mind, I sat down last night and planned out 14 healthy (and delicious) meals, meals that we already had the majority of the ingredients for in the house. I found that we have a lot more on hand than I ever would have thought. I also chose meals with similar ingredients, so that each item on my grocery list would be used in at least 2 or 3 meals (I found some things that I would use in 5 of them). Our list was much shorter than usual, and more efficient.

We ended up buying everything we needed for all 14 meals for just over $70.00. That works out to almost exactly $5.00 dollars a meal. And that's only $2.50 a person! And I tried to choose things that would be easy to take for lunch as leftovers, so who knows how long it will last. It all seems so simple, but it ended up cutting our grocery bill almost in half, and will likely avoid all that waste.

Sometimes it's just not so bad being poor.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Things I love....

NARS blush!

My dear sister and make-up coach Siara introduced me to this blush. I have it in a color called Torrid, and it is absolutely amazing. I've had the same one for THREE YEARS, and it's still not out. And I use it almost every day. It is the most beautiful texture and shade, and seriously will change the way your face looks. The $25 is more than worth it for how long it lasts.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Things I love...

Here is something I discovered burning at a little shop in Sugarhouse called Koodeker. They actually sell them at the place next door called Hip and Humble, but you can get them online.

Votivo Red Currant Candles

They smell absolutely divine. Seriously, the most incredible smell ever. You can order them online here. They are so potent that you only need to light it for a few minutes and your whole house will smell like heaven!


So at the Gold's Gym right by our house, they finally put those awesome individual TV's on each of the machines, so you can watch any channel you want. The other day I'm minding my own business, just watching a marathon of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleading Tryouts on CMT, and this guy comes up and is kind of lingering behind my machine. I had headphones in obviously, so I was trying to ignore him. But then he comes up to me and says, obviously a little embarrassed,...

"Uhh...what channel are you watching?"

"Channel 31"

"Umm...okay thanks."

Then he precedes to go get on another machine, and watch the scantily clad blonde girls jump around in their uniforms.

Some boys have no shame.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Give. Me. A. Break.

I must say that I think it's absolutely ridiculous that all these rumors are spreading about Barack Obama being the "Antichrist". Not only is it just plain ignorant, stupid, and fanatical, it's not fair. Just because the candidate you voted for didn't win doesn't make our President the Antichrist. Don't get me wrong, I think there are a lot of signs that the end of the world is nearing. But to make such an audacious statement about a politician is out of line. I just wonder what happened to supporting the leaders of our country simply because we are American citizens?

I think there were a few other people in recent history that are more worthy of the title Antichrist. Anyone remember Hitler? Stalin? Mao? Give me a break. This doesn't mean that I'm happy about the direction our country may be going, and it doesn't make me an Obama supporter--I'm against Socialism and government handouts as much as the next person. But what I don't support is the rumorous slander that instantly starts spreading amongst dissatisfied election losers who exaggerate the power that Obama will actually have.

If you still believe all this trash about Obama fitting the bill for the Antichrist as supposedly described in the Book of Revelation, read THIS.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A modern American's interpretation of Socialism...

Please tell me this is a joke.

Karl Marx is turning in his grave.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


So, not to make the announcement and upstage Scott and Nicole's blog, but I figure they won't have time to be blogging during the next few days...cause Nicole is definitely in labor! That's right, baby Bailey will be here "by morning", according to the doctor. We are all dying to meet her, and to finally be Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, etc. My parents are coming into town tomorrow, and we all get to have an adorable little addition to our family. Can't wait.