sisters, sisters...

(turn off the sound first, it's a little irritating.)

This is one of the greatest things to finally come out of those ridiculously expensive photo booths in the mall. The booth took two dollar bills before we realized that we didn't have enough. I also swiped my debit card to be charged $5 on top of the $2 it already had eaten. After the photo session, the machine spits out two matching photo strips that look like they have been printed off of my own Epson printer a few days before the ink cartridge ran out. But, when you take a little code and enter it online you get this great video of us posing for the pictures. It's so awkward, I love it.

The past couple of days were the greatest. It was so fun to go on such a spontaneous trip without having to worry about classes or work or anything. I love just floating around in this honeymoon phase between school and real world--and, I am in no hurry to snap out of it.

And, did I mention that Desi took me to see Billy Elliot, The Musical? (!) Think 1980s Britain + tap dancing coal miners + cute kids in tutus that curse like sailors. It was such a great show. Desi and I both decided that we loved Michael's character, especially in the "Expressing Yourself" scene. This little ten year old boy is dressed up in his sisters ruffled, pink skirt while giant dresses on hangers are tap dancing around him. It really was such a great show.

The rest of the trip consisted of some great food, an amazing hair appointment (more details later), and a mile long hike through Arizona Mills Mall with Danielle which resulted in the above video.

And, two days later I am back home in Utah like it was all a happy dream. Thank you sisters!

Ps. I'm going to throw these shout outs mostly because Sam and I are huge fans of finding local eats. If you are ever in the area, get lunch at Joe's Real Bar-B-Q in Gilbert. Try the chopped brisket sandwich and mac-n-cheese. They even make their own root beer! Or, try dinner at Oregano's in Tempe. They have huge portions, so Danielle and I split a pasta dinner and my very first pizookie.

miss tricia ragsdale.

Let me tell you a little something about my friend, Tricia Ragsdale.

Tricia is fierce.


She was one of the first friends I made in the dance program at BYU. She was a jazz baby from Denton, Texas—raised on drill team and high kicks. We danced together for four years, always in the same companies and classes. I wish you could see this girl dance. I just want to bottle some of that confidence and power and drink it for breakfast every day. This girl is fierce. And, she is a fierce friend. I would trust her with anything. I spend more time with Tricia than I do with my own husband. I feel sorry for Sam, because when Tricia leaves I will have way too much energy to unload by myself. We dance all morning, and then spend the rest of the afternoon sitting across from each at work in the neuroscience office making ridiculous faces. She is one of those friends that you can show your whole self to—the self that only sees the light of day when you are alone in an elevator. She is great.

Tricia is leaving me this weekend, and since I am leaving town this afternoon, today is our last day together. We are celebrating by sharing our love of baked goods and picking up apple fritters from Provo Bakery. Then, she will head back to Texas for the summer.

I’m going to miss her… a lot.

In the fall she will start graduate school at Arizona State University. I know she will kill it. Get it girl.

Ps. I’m heading down to Arizona this afternoon for the sister trip! I can’t wait!

(photo credit: Josh Rossi)

graduation weekend.

These are a few of my favorite things from this last weekend with the family:

1. A morning walk with Mama in South Provo. Sometimes I hear myself say that Utah spring makes Utah winter just a bit more manageable. Being native Texans, we were pulling out our cameras every other minute to try and catch a quail or a red-bellied robin. And, the flowers... oh, the flowers.


2. A graduation dress! Mama and I went shopping after lunch with Sam at Vivint. After searching for months and months, I finally found the cutest dress to wear for my special day. There are three girls in my family, and my mother is an expert seamstress. So, our holidays consisted of a calendar of new dresses for every holiday or special event. My graduation would be no exception. After finding this cute dress at Apricot Lane (a new boutique in Riverwoods), Mama took it home and fixed it up on my little Singer.


3. Standing backstage for the last time with my beautiful girls. The convocation was held at the DeJong Theater, where Contemporary Dance Theater performed this year. I am going to miss these girls so much, but I know that we will see each other often. Let me tell you, these girls are going to be stars!


4. So many graduation presents! It really was like my birthday... but better. Thank you so much for all of the generous gifts sent snail mail from Texas! Also, Daddy gave me a gorgeous, vintage gold ring with a creamy, coral stone. (See if you can spot it in the pictures). Mama and Chad gave me my very own pearl necklace, just like the one Mama let me borrow for my wedding day. The Grays gave me a new cookbook, the cutest gardening tools, and gift money. Finally, Desi, Danielle, and Wilson surprised me with "sister time" down in Arizona this week. On Wednesday I am flying out for three days of sister time, including an appointment at Curls Gone Wild (read about it here), pedicures, and tickets to see Billy Elliott at Gammage. I feel so loved!


5. A graduation bar-b-q complete with hamburgers, hotdogs, salad, beans, and potatoes. It was so great to have my two families together for dinner. The Grays brought over food to add to the table, while Sam and Wilson manned the grill. Mama and the girls helped make the cutest cupcakes with the Meri Meri Tweet Tweet Cupcake Kit. Aren't they darling? I also made a version of the famous lemon-berry bundt cake that Miss Whitney Bush made for our wedding reception. It was a hit. We all ate dinner, watched a few past BYU performances on DVD, and even caught a show from baby Nola as she danced and rolled around our living room.


6. Did I mention that my family was in town? Well, let me tell you again. Mama, Wilson, Desi, Danielle, and Daddy all flew or drove into Utah to see me graduate. I think my most favorite thing from this weekend was having all of us sleeping under one roof in our little home in Provo. Everyone was spread out on air mattresses and couches, and we ended the night with a brand new copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I love my family.


7. A surprise easter egg hunt. The "easter bunny" hid eggs all over our house. I found the first one in our medicine cabinet, and the rest revealed themselves throughout the morning. One of my favorites was the egg nestled between my spools of thread, or this pink one perched on the top shelf in the kitchen. (I think I spotted a couple of knowing smiles from the Luongs!) The plastic eggs were a perfect edition for my Easter lesson in our primary class on Sunday. And, I'm not going to lie, I have already eaten all of the jelly beans.


8. A few nature drives with Daddy. After the rest of the family headed back to Texas, or vacation adventures to Vegas, Daddy stayed a few extra days to hang out with Sam and I. Sadly, Sam spent most of the weekend in bed with some sort of cold/flu. (We are nursing him back to health.) But, he did get enough energy to drive Daddy and I around to see some of the beauty of Utah. We saw a little of Mt. Timpanagos at Sundance, Lincoln Point at Utah Lake, and Rock Canyon. We also managed to visit Vivint again, and grab some lunch and sweet potato fries at Guru's. I was sad to finally send Daddy back home.



These are a few of my favorite things. Thank you for a beautiful weekend!

graduation day.

I am a lucky girl. This weekend I had my entire family sleeping under one roof! Everyone was spread out between one bed, two air mattresses, and a sectional couch for a weekend slumber party at our little home in Provo. It was the best weekend I could imagine. Mama, the sisters, Wilson, and Daddy were all in town to celebrate my graduation from BYU.

My convocation was at 8:00 am. (!) It was a beautiful program. The Dance Department is a part of the College of Fine Arts and so our convocation had a couple of musical and vocal performances, as well as spoken word. From my seat on the stage, I could see my family and the Grays all lined up across the second row of the balcony. It felt great to walk across that stage.












Thank you for all of the kind gifts and "congratulations!" It felt like my birthday.. but better. I will tell you all about the weekend a bit later.

Thank you for helping me these past five years. I have made the best friends and mentors, and I have had my family by my side. It is crazy to think that I will not be signing up for classes next semester, or preparing for another BYU performance. I am so grateful for the experience and education that I have received, and I am going to miss this school. It did feel great to finally walk across that stage--and I am so proud of myself.


graduation announcement

It's official, I am graduated. I am a college graduate.
Sam made me these beautiful announcements to mail to our friends and familyone of the perks of having a talented designer husband. He also made this blog! I am so excited to start posting, and I hope that this will be a fun project for us. So, as our first post I am announcing my debut into the "real world," as well as our debut into the "blog world." Hello, you!