Saturday, April 4, 2015

Paris!

I'm finally getting around to dedicating a post to our trip to Paris in February!
Let's just say it was amazing.
I could just leave it at that, but I'll share a few highlights from the trip, and explain why we were there in the first place (other than when someone offers to fly to you Paris, you say yesssss!)

So Jason works in sales and his company does one big incentive trip a year with everyone who meets their goals. We were so pumped when we found out that this year's trip would be to France, but we also knew that no one had ever reached their sales goal in Arizona -- the area Jason took over -- so it was definitely going to be tough! With a lot of hard work and long days, Jason reached his goal! So off to Paris we went.

Being in the most romantic city with my husboyfriend was a total dream!
I got to go to Paris with my dad once when I was in college and hoped I would be able to go back again with my husband someday.
Who knew it would be so soon?!

On the flight to Paris, I read through an entire two hundred something page travel guide along with plenty of recommendations from family and friends and outlined a few things for us to do each day.
I am pleased to say we accomplished everything we hoped to and then some!
(I outlined each day on my instagram)

Since I feel like I've already journaled quite a bit about the trip, I'll just put down a few of the highlights!

1. I had two things I really wanted to do in Paris, one was hear "La Vie En Rose" somewhere, and the other was to find a sculpture of someone with a veil over their face (random, I know, I've just always admired the skill it would take to do something like that and I had never seen a veiled sculpture in real life!)

As for the first goal, we had just gotten off the airplane and were waiting for our luggage to arrive. I went into the bathroom and right when I walked in I heard the familiar first notes of my favorite song, La Vie En Rose! Suddenly, that public restroom became a very special place to me. Everything is more romantic in Paris! We also ended up hearing a crazy good accordion player on a train playing the song. Double check!

The second goal was accomplished with the assistance of my friend Julie. Her husband works for the same company and we hung out with them, as well as our friends Taylor and Melissa pretty much every waking moment because they are all hilarious and upbeat. Everyone needs friends like that! Anyway, we were at the Louvre and there were dozens of huge marble statues and I was distracted by those ones when she found a much smaller statue of a woman with a veil over her face. That also happened on our first day in Paris, so I was feeling excited and a little bummed that I had already accomplished everything on my to do list. Maybe I should be a more lengthly list maker next time!
2. In my opinion, the best food item Paris has to offer is their croissants! Wow I loved those so much. I think I had one every morning for breakfast, along with a liter or two of fresh squeezed OJ from a little market by our hotel.

Other "food" items I loved:
Sour gummies from the street of course! Our hotel also had an endless supply in the lobby and I ate plenty to keep my sweet tooth satisfied. My favorite treat was the peach sour belts! They get much more creative with their flavors than we do!

Onion soup was also among my favorite meal items! I love it in the states, but it was just extra frenchy there, you know?



A few friends recommended we go to this specific restaurant for steak and fries, and it was an experience! We didn't really understand the non-menu (they just ask you how you want your steak) and then they brought us out salads with a super scary horseradish dressing that made me want to cry. After wiping away my horseradish tears they brought us each a big plate of steak and fries covered in a green mystery sauce, and I must say it was delicious! I did really want some ketchup though, but I was too afraid to ask the lady because she already suspected (hmm, I think she knew) we were confused, silly Americans with no taste. The best part of the meal was when the waitresses came out again and filled up our plates a second time! We were kind of skeptical, hoping they weren't charging us double or something. All in all, a good meal!

Jason and I also had enough ham, egg and cheese crepes to last us until our next trip to Europe (who wants to come?! We're thinking Italy...) but to be honest, I wasn't suuuuper impressed with the dessert crepe options. Basically, you could order nutella banana, but I overdosed on nutella like five years ago so it's not too fancy to me anymore. I was really hoping for some biscoff, strawberries and cream, but they just have crumbled up biscoff cookies which are quite dry. Maybe they only do strawberries seasonally? We also did not find one gelato or berthillon ice cream stand! Maybe that was also seasonal because who wants to eat ice cream in February? Of course not us...


On our last day we had one of Jason's french friends take us to an authentic italian restaurant! The pizza was very good, except we were both very confident that we wanted spicy sausage all over our pizzas. The spicy sausage must be an acquired taste (and look.. it was firecracker red!) because it was pretty unfamiliar tasting to us, which is pretty scary when it comes to meat! Once I removed all the red sausage from my pizza, I was a happy camper.

3. Of course seeing the Eiffel Tower will always be a highlight! There is something so surreal about it. It's much bigger than you imagine, and there is nothing as romantic as watching it sparkle in the evening. 


4. We also really loved spending a few hours at Versailles! Honestly, I'm not too interested in walking through super fancy palaces because royalty just kind of weirds me out, but I love love love gardens! I especially love when hedges are all manicured into shapes. I asked Jason if he could do plant sculptures in our yard someday and I guess he already knows how (he carved "GO PATRIOTS" into his mom's hedges when he was young, never mind that he ended up killing the bushes..) so I'm looking forward to that.


5. How can I forget our boat adventure?! Yes, we stayed on a boat for the last three days. Yes, it was totally awesome. Jason found it on VRBO and surprised me (I never would have predicted that one!) and we had a blast. Just be sure that if you surprise someone with a few nights on a boat, you know whether or not they get sea sick! Luckily, I don't get too sea sick, and we have actually spent a fair share of nights on catamarans and other various boats since being married, so I guess it's kind of our thing. The boat was also docked at a great location, just across the river from the tower and very close to the train, and we could see the eiffel tower sparkling through the window from our bed! 

Overall, we had an incredible time!
Traveling with Jason is one of my favorite favorite things, and I can't wait to continue making memories with our family as we get all old and wrinkly!


 If you want to see a little video of our trip, click HERE!

xoxo

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring cleaning!

I've totally caught the spring cleaning bug and I am loving it!
Last weekend, Jason (see above... just kidding) and I sorted through a bunch of things we no longer need and sold or donated them. It felt like I lost ten pounds!

This week I started a big project I've been putting off for months -- maybe years -- now...
organizing ALL my photos and videos!
I've decided it's finally time to back up my external hard drive and computer to google drive and delete all the random things I no longer need.
Oh my gosh guys, it's amazing.
Not only has it alleviated my anxiety that all my photos and videos will burn up in a fire,
I'm going to be able to access everything from anywhere I want!
I've also discovered a treasure trove of old photos...

^the only way to shower at lake powell^

 ^heritage halls baby!^

^a really precious/weird photo shoot with my roommate Katie^

^an even weirder advertisement for a group project I vaguely remember doing...^

^every girl needs a power suit, right?^

^Best Buddies with Endyn. I think we were tap dancing cats in bow ties.^

^Because what's more natural than hanging off an iron gate in an argyle sweater?^

^a sweaty Cuban sunset with my parents^

^eating squid wrapped in cow intestine in Tunisia.. yum^

^Is it just me or does this look like the kind of old dating photos
you find of your parents? I think that's why I like it.^

Going through hard drives of photos has made me incredibly grateful for the random collection of life experiences I have had that fill up my random collection of photos through the years.

My next spring cleaning project (that I probably won't finish for a couple of years...) is typing out all of my handwritten journals. GAH. Wish me luck!

Happy spring cleaning!

xoxo

Friday, February 13, 2015

What I've learned about love through marriage


Of all the posts I've done this week, this one has definitely been the most challenging to write!
Marriage is unlike any relationship I have ever experienced.
I knew it would be powerful, I knew it would be beautiful, and I knew it would be fulfilling,
but I just didn't know how deeply powerful, beautiful and fulfilling it would be until I found Jason.

I know that every marriage is different, and each couple has their own set of challenges.
None of us are perfect, which means none of our relationships will be perfect.
I would never want any of the things I say on this blog to make it sound like I have everything figured out or that I'm even perfectly consistent at following my own advice,
but I do know that reading someone else's experiences can help you with your own life experiences.

So here's what I've learned about love through marriage so far!

Surprise each other often
This one makes marriage such a blast! Surprises and fun romantic evenings aren't uncommon during the dating and engagement phases of love, but something about marriage can cause those surprises to start dwindling. It doesn't have to be that way though! Surprises can be simple, something like picking up your spouse's favorite cereal at the store, or showing up at work or school to take your spouse on a lunch date. I don't know what it is, but surprises like these help remind you how much you love and appreciate each other, and suddenly nothing else matters in the world!


Jason is seriously great at little surprises, and they make me feel so loved! They also make me want to surprise him more, which makes the fun continue. Just tonight I came home to a sweet card on our bed (he's out of town and I won't see him until tomorrow) letting me know he loves me. It's the little things, guys!

Be fiercely loyal

I heard the phrase "fiercely loyal" in a talk by President Monson and it has always stuck with me. To be fiercely loyal is to defend your marriage with everything you have. Speak positively about your spouse, and don't vent about little things to family members or friends. Remember, they will probably never forget what you tell them, and they will usually never hear the resolution to whatever issue you were filling them in on.

Beware of social media -- especially when it comes to former boyfriends/girlfriends. To be fiercely loyal is to lock your heart, filling it with love for your spouse, and your spouse only. Loyalty in marriage allows you to love completely, and you can never take too many precautions in this area.

^^ Jason made this name tag for me the week after we got engaged at a ward activity, ha!
(I don't think we need to be this extreme, but it's a good reminder!)

When it comes to listening, don't multitask
I'm going to be honest -- this one is a tough one! When you're married you spend more time together than ever before, which means the time you spend together isn't always just focused on each other like it was when you were dating. You'll be beside each other sending emails, reading books, or in the same room but doing very unrelated things. This can make putting whatever you're doing down to listen to your spouse's ideas or concerns difficult, especially when you're in the middle of something. My advice? When your spouse wants to chat, put the phone down, close the computer and look them in the eyes and listen. This is a very small, but meaningful, way to show someone you love them!

Thank God for each other in front of each other
When we were engaged, someone gave us a piece of advice that we have stuck to every day of our marriage. They said, "Pray together morning and evening, and when you pray, thank Heavenly Father for your spouse, and tell Him what you are grateful for about that person." I think that's all I need to say about that one. It's led to some beautiful, heartfelt prayers.

Learn your spouse's love language
Taking the love language quiz makes for a great date for married, engaged, or seriously dating couples! The book is nice as well, but not necessary because each of the love languages is pretty self explanatory. Also realize that love languages can evolve after marriage, so the same ways you showed love to your spouse may or may not be the ways they feel it the most once you're married! That being said though, I think I'll always be a quality time person, and Jason will always be physical touch. Jason loves to be close to me, and I love to spend time with him so it works out well! Honestly though, any of the love languages make me feel loved, and I think many people are that way. Just put your spouse first, spend time together, show physical affection and chances are, your love for each other will deepen!

Be social together
When we got married we made a decision to make hosting and attending social gatherings a priority. Of course, being social shouldn't take precedence over your relationship, but also realize that being social together can definitely strengthen your relationship! Seeing Jason interact with people always makes me fall more in love with him. When we're social together, we also create fun memories and build lifelong friendships. Socializing energizes us, and it's a healthy way to keep your marriage fun!



Walk it out
I'm pretty sure I've made it clear on this blog how much I love to walk! Luckily Jason enjoys evening walks as well, so we do a lot of talking and walking. Maybe for you, it's not walking but going on a drive, stargazing, or sitting on a porch swing. We love to walk though, and this activity has been the greatest thing for our marriage! It gets us out of the house, away from distractions, and focused completely on each other for however long we want it to last. When we walk together, it's like nothing else matters and it really helps me prioritize.

Walking also gets us in the habit of asking each other questions about how the day went, what we're working on, what's concerning us, what we're excited about. We also love to ask each other random questions about childhood memories, high school, and life before we met each other. These questions are common for the dating phase of life, but keep them going into marriage! Become an expert on your spouse. Know their likes, their fears, their accomplishments, and their hopes and dreams. Knowing these things about each other will create a beautiful friendship.


Well, that's it for my love week posts!
I hope you have a lovely Valentine's Day, whether you're spending it with family, friends, a spouse, or a pint of ice cream.
I've spent a Valentine's Day or two doing all of those things!

xoxo,