busy, busy.

I hope y'all had a beautiful Thanksgiving! We spent the weekend baking, eating, and laying around in a food coma. It was great. Actually, we were quite busy. We shot all of our newest inventory, getting the shop nice and stocked for the holiday shopping. I cataloged everything, while Sam has been busy running all over Utah working on his BFA project (more details to come). And, we got our Christmas tree! The house is starting to smell like the holidays, and I finally feel ok about playing Pandora Christmas all day.

So, here's to getting things done. I hope your vacation was as relaxing and productive as ours!

the grand tetons.




We only spent a couple of hours in Grand Teton National Park, but it was worth the drive. The Tetons remind me of when we were little and a mountain landscape drawing consisted of a few pointy triangles with zig-zag snow caps. Living in Utah, I have a permanent beautiful mountain backdrop. But, the Tetons are something else entirely. They are so tall and jagged and, blue. Am I allowed to use the word "majestic" again?"

We pulled over at a lake towards the end of the day. There is something about lakes that pulls me out of body. I think it's the acoustics of such a large body of water that makes everything seem so still and silent. We watched a couple strip down to their swimsuit and jump in the freezing cold water for 2.2 seconds, and then we jumped back in the car to head to our nice warm hotel. I love our more rigorous adventures, but sometimes it feels great to head back to a comfy, clean hotel room and a shower.

So, that's it, kids. We packed up and came home before the end of the weekend to find Goldie on the verge of a mental breakdown, a messy house, and loads of laundry. Here's to reckless weekends!








Yes, of course we went to Yellowstone. And yes, of course it lived up to all of my expectations. (Minus the fact that I really wanted to see a grizzly bear...from afar.) Sam and I have been to quite a few National Parks, but Yellowstone really is THE one. You know when they talk about the beauty of America, the majesty and glory? That is Yellowstone: majestic. And, it was so big! I wish we had planned our trip better and given ourselves more time to spend in the park because there was just so much to see. We saw Old Faithful, and walked the loop around the apocalyptic steaming pools of the brightest teal water. We drove the entire loop, stopping to see every carving river and raging waterfall. Whenever I see places like this, I always wonder what it would have been like to be one of the first to stumble upon it. It just seems so unreal.

One of my favorite road trip traditions that we have adopted is to finish a book or two in the car. I have a very hard time staying awake, even in public settings. So usually a car ride means a 10 minute conversation before my head is bobbing around dangerously, and Sam gets worried and gives me permission to lie down and take nap. But on our trip to California this summer, I got hooked on reading out loud to Sam. It kept me awake and kept Sam attentive. And, I really love reading out loud. Maybe it has something to with hearing myself talk, I don't know. On our California trip I read him the entire Hunger Games trilogy. We would stop for gas, and wander the convenient store looking for snacks and wondering, "What's going to happen to Peeta!?" (By the way, have you seen this yet? I can't contain myself.) This trip, I thought I would read Sam Ender's Game. I remember loving it when I was young, and I felt like Sam would love it. We finished it on the way home, and it sent us off on a few long conversations about human nature and war and Ender. It also made me realize that I don't feel like I am achieving lately. Do you know what I mean? Like, when you suddenly realize that you are sort of allowing yourself to slide through life without reaching your full potential. A little deep, but think about it. It's a great book. Do you have any recommendations for our next trip?








A few weeks ago, Sam and I took off for Wyoming. Yes, Wyoming! We had plans to go down to Southern Utah, but everything seemed to fall through at the last second. So, the day before we left we suddenly thought, "Why not Wyoming?" I had never been there, and it had been awhile for Sam. It's only five hours away, too. We knew it was the off-season, but we figured it would still be worth the trip. And oh, it was so gorgeous and perfect! I have always loved the changing colors in Utah, but Wyoming Fall was magnified times 10. And, I think I appreciated that it was the off-season. It was such a calm and peaceful place, and seemed so undisturbed. Even the wildlife and locals seemed completely unaware that we were standing there with our cameras so desperately trying to soak it all up. And, there just can't be anything better than stopping on the side of the road to stare a buffalo in the eye, surrounded by tall yellow grasses and a sky that seems to roll for miles. Oh, Wyoming, you stole a piece of my heart.

If you ever find yourself in Jackson, Wyoming:

1. Snow King Resort (via Expedia)- We knew it would be too cold to camp out, but we were not really willing to spend loads on a hotel. So, feeling very adventurous, we bought the "Top Secret Room" on Expedia. Basically, you click a button for a $45 room, and hope that it's not a scary dump. It ended up being a cute little room at the Snow King Resort in Jackson.

2. Dolce- A beautiful, little bakery and cafe. They make hot donuts, made-to-order. And, I'm not talking about Krispy Creme. I'm talking about crazy fresh donut holes on a pretty plate with three tiny cups--rich chocolate, raspberry, and maple sauces.

3. Jackson Hole Twin Cinema- This is one of those really great, tiny movie theaters. They only accept cash, which may send you sprinting down Pearl Street to find an ATM. A little inconvenience that reminds you how simple life can be. We saw the new Footloose. Have you seen it? (Loved it.)

And, did you really think we would drive all the way up there and not hit Yellowstone? Don't worry, more pictures to come.

bridal shower.






This last week I went out to Midway for a bridal shower for Miss Kimi Rooney. Kimi is one of my very good friends, and she is getting married just next month. It's kind of crazy to think about it, but I am so excited for the day to come. I have been scouring the shops and sites for a bridesmaid dress. I need one in teal, mauve, or cream--any ideas? I'm in the mood to be spendy!

We had a "Favorite Things" shower that involved all of the guests' and Kimi's favorite things. I ate way too many treats, and laughed way to hard. One of my favorite parts was when everybody in the room told their favorite memory or thing about Kimi. Mine might have involved a late night wearing leotards and heels, and dancing to "Single Ladies" in front of our wide-open living room window. We also watched a video of her fiance answering questions, and I was pretty impressed that he only got one wrong. He's such a great guy, it's ridiculous. They are perfect together.

I was in charge of bringing a craft for the guests to do. Kimi loves making things, and when we used to live together we would always take spontaneous trips to the dollar store to buy random craft supplies and glue them together. So, at the shower we all made Christmas ornaments for the newlywed's tree. I remembered our first Christmas, and how bummed I was that my tree was so bare. So, I thought it might be fun to have something pretty from your closest friends. We took some ideas from this and this, but the girls also came up with some other pretty baubles.

I am so excited for Kimi and Nate, and I think that they will be so happy together. You can just tell, you know? Love you, Kimi!

butternut squash soup.

Butternut squash soup is my absolute favorite comfort food when it starts to get cold. But, it's hard to find a recipe that isn't weighed down by cream, or that doesn't call for expensive white wine. I don't think that either is necessary, considering the squash is smooth and creamy on it's own. So, after experimenting a little bit, I have combined two pretty simple recipes, cut out the unnecessary ingredients, and come up with something pretty healthy and easy to make. I hope it makes you smile!

Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium/large butternut squash
olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tbs minced garlic
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk

1. Cut the squash into quarters, then scrape out the pulp and seeds. Place the squash pieces in a single layer (flesh side down) in a baking dish. Pour 1 cup of water into dish. Bake the squash at 400 degrees for 1 hour.

2. Remove the squash from the pan and allow to cool. (You can place them in the refrigerator to speed up the process.) Scrape out the flesh of the squash, and place in a bowl. You should have about 4 cups.

3. Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and saute until soft. Add the stock and squash, and remove from heat.

4. Puree the soup until smooth, using an immersion blender. You can also pour it into a blender and return it to the pot. If you don't have an immersion blender, you should get one. It is one of the best kitchen appliances I own!

5. Return the pot to the stove, and add the milk. Simmer, uncovered until the flavors are blended, about 15 minutes. Stir often, so as not to burn the milk. Season with salt and cracked pepper, and serve with bread. It's also great served over a small mound of mashed potatoes.

Let me know of you have any questions!

bellatrix bonus.





So, I didn't want to be Betty for school, because I doubted that any of the kids would know who I was. So, I opted for a more kid friendly costume--Bellatrix Lestrange. I already had the costume together, because Sam and I had dressed up the week before for a church Halloween party. We had set up a trick-or-treat table to look like a potions class, with pots and bottles and things. Sam dressed as Snape, and I was Bellatrix. It was great.

Unfortunately, the costume didn't go over as well at school. Apparently nobody reads and watches Harry Potter because there were only three kids who knew who I was. I can understand why the young kids would not be allowed to watch it. But, even the high school students were totally clueless. I'm now pretty disappointed in the next generation of youth. I mean, the hair, the Dark Mark (drawn my Sam). There was no question who I was, right? But, at least those three Harry Potter fans thought I was the coolest teacher ever that day.

Oh, and don't worry. When I got home from school, I made Sam take pictures of me swinging my wand around and shouting out spells on our front lawn. I am such a nerd.

Ps. So, we never got around to carving our patch picked pumpkins. We decided that they look great on the porch and can double as November decor. But, Sam did carve a pretty great pumpkin at his Grandma's, eh?

marty and betty.









Meet Marty and Betty! Such a great couple, eh?

In the past, Sam and I have always paired up for a couples costume. My favorite so far was our Bonnie and Clyde, put together at the last minute from clothes we already owned. But, we couldn't agree on any duos this year. Sam has wanted to be Marty McFly ever since he found this orange puff vest. But, I wasn't really into dressing up like Doc. I love to dress up for Halloween, but it's kind of stressful coming up with something. We really do brainstorm all year, and always seem to come up empty. But, while having my weekly iChat with my Dad, he suggested that I be Ugly Betty. I decided to take it as a compliment, because we both love the show. In fact. last year I bought a Netflix subscription primarily so that I could finish watching every season of Ugly Betty. Unfortunately, I got so caught up in the Betty's life that I forgot about my own life, skipped school, and finished all four seasons in a week and a half. Kind of a low point in my life. Or, a high point?

Marty McFly is looking pretty perfect, don't you think? Literally, almost every single detail is taken care of, right down to the undershirt color. The only things that we were missing are the Casio calculator watch and red and white Nike's. And, I am giving all props to Sam for making my "B" necklace. He cut it out of cardboard and covered it in gold foil from some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups that one of my students gave me. I know I am missing the braces, but I did spend a good hour watching "how to" videos on YouTube. It's harder than it looks.

I know it's a little late, but we hope that you had a Happy Halloween!

break in.


This is exactly what Goldie was doing when some strange man broke into our house and stole our valuables. Some guard dog! If he wasn't so cute, I would kick him out. Darn dog.

In case you have been wondering what happened over here, here's the story of our action-packed weekend:

Thursday night to early Friday morning.
Some creep walks into our house and runs off with our two laptops, Sam's iPad from work, and computer bag with external hard drive and sketchbook

(Ok, background: We may have left an inside door that leads to the (shared) laundry room open and unlocked. Stupid, I know. But, we were babysitting Goldie again, because our landlord is back in the hospital, and he needed the door open to go to the bathroom outside. Don't worry, we obviously don't do this anymore. And luckily, Goldie is suddenly magically trained to wait to go outside after many carpet episodes.)

The creep leaves a sock lying on the floor of our living room.
Goldie does not make a peep.

Friday morning.
We wake up to get ready for work.
I notice that my computer is gone.
Sam notices that his is gone, too.
I start sobbing hysterically.
Sam punches a door, and then proceeds to try and cheer me up.

We call the Provo police to file a report.
They send a cop over, who tells us there is basically no way we will ever see our things again.

We come to terms with it and call it a loss, after realizing how grateful we are that the situation was not worse than it was.
(ie. walking in on the creep in action, having more things stolen, getting shot, etc.)

Friday night.
We get a call from the Orem police who have arrested a man in Orem for stealing a car from a home just down the street from ours, and finding our bag in the car with the hard drive and destroyed sketchbook. (Why destroy the sketchbook? Jerk.)
There were no computers to be found.
They hand the creep over to the Provo police.

We call the Provo police all day trying to get details on the case. Are they questioning him? Where is our stuff? Can we press charges?
The answer: "That's not my job. The officer in charge of your case will be in on Monday."

In our imaginations: Our stuff is long gone, wiped clean, and passed through multiple hands. It is being sold in a pawn shop as we speak, picked up off KSL or Craigslists, never to be seen again.

Sunday night.
We are eating dinner at Sam's parents' when suddenly the iPad pops up on the GPS.
(Someone has turned on the iPad, causing it to register on Find My iPad.)
It is located in Orem.

After bouncing off the walls with excitement for a bit, Sam calms me down and we decide that we are taking matters into our own hands.
We pull on our coats, pack Goldie into the car, and follow the GPS.
It leads us to a parking lot, where we snoop around for a little bit in the dark, and then decide we should probably call the cops.
We park behind a dumpster while a really nice officer goes into a tattoo shop to investigate.
After 20 minutes of waiting, he suddenly returns with our iPad and my Macbook!

It turns out some junkie kid tried to trade them in for a tattoo.

The officer drives off to the find the guy, takes some guys into custody, and we never hear from either Provo or Orem police again. So, we got everything but one computer back. Pretty crazy, considering we didn't think we would ever see anything again. And, my computer had not been wiped clean!

Basically, we are stupid. But, the creeps were more stupid. And,if you ever need any help call the Orem police, because the Provo police will tell you it's not their job. But, we are so grateful that we are safe, and that we could recover most of our things. Be safe out there. Lock your doors, and put your valuables away. Too many creeps!