Category Archives: Uncategorized

Christine and The Queens

Since I’m constantly hunting for new music (especially with this new yoga thing), I decided I’m going to share some of it here.

I’m loving Christine & the Queens lately. Something about her voice — and her French — just really gets me.

I played Jonathan at the end of yoga the other day and it was perfect.

Her whole album is good, but some favorites are Science Fiction and Paradis Perdue, a Kanye West cover if my ears are working correctly??

I recommend listening on full volume while in traffic. Enjoy!

 

Things My Mother Taught Me

It’s the title of a church activity coming up next week.

The little yellow flyer is trapped under magnets on my fridge. Please come with stories to share of things your Mother taught you!

At first I thought, ooh! Maybe I’ll write a listicle where I spell out all the great things Mother taught me and post it on my blog! I started trying to list them but found it impossible.

Because when I thought about the tangible things she tried to teach me, I felt like a failure. She taught me to sew, but it always seemed cheaper and easier to buy my clothes. She tried to teach me to cook, but so far I’ve ruined a lot of her recipes. I knew my mother taught me a lot, so why couldn’t I make a blog post out of her life lessons??

Recently, I read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (yes I know I am behind the times). If you haven’t read it, a) you must and b) as background, it is a memoir written by a girl who was raised by two perhaps well-meaning but incredibly negligent parents. After I finished, the friend who lent it to me asked which parent I thought was more hurtful to the kids and without any specific reason, my gut answered, “the mother.”

There is one gut-wrenching scene in which the four children are literally starving, it’s the dead of winter, they are living in a shack on a hill with no indoor plumbing or power. They have to scavenge for food while their dad continues to drink and mom stops going to work.

One evening when Dad was away and we had nothing to eat and we were all sitting around the living room trying not to think of food, Mom kept disappearing under the blanket on the sofa bed. At one point Brian looked over.

“Are you chewing something?” he asked.

“My teeth hurt,” Mom said, but she was getting all shifty-eyed, glancing around the room and avoiding our stares. “It’s my bad gums. I’m working my jaw to increase the circulation.”

Brian yanked the covers back. Lying on the mattress next to Mom was one of those huge family-sized Hershey chocolate bars, the shiny silver wrapper pulled back and torn away. She’d already eaten half of it.

I think I experienced the seven stages of grief after reading that scene. Because I do not know how one survives being raised by that mother. I do not know how that Mother is real. I am angry at her. I am sad for her? I can’t seem to understand her. Mostly, I feel guilty that I got to be raised by my mother when Jeannette Walls had to raise hers.

The scene got me thinking – what is the duty of a mother? Can it be defined?

Is it reading or cooking or knowing how to do french braids?

Is it working? Is it staying home?

And the one that always lurks under the others — will I ever feel up to the task?

In this day and age it feels as impossible as it is unwise to try to define the role — and yet there is something that seems requisite for those who occupy it — something that is the reason we are so harrowed by the thought of a mother who devours a Hershey’s bar while her children are starving.

I thought again about my Mother. How she laughs, how she always runs into friends at the grocery store, how she gardens. How everything in her presence seems to flourish. She wasn’t perfect, no one is, but I always knew she loved me — wholly and selflessly.

I thought about friends’ mothers, or aunts, or women at church, who have become second mothers to me, and it fills me with hope to realize that selfless love is not limited to a biological mother. The selfless love of dear friends has gotten me through some dark times. Jeannette Walls’ siblings love saved each other from their parents. But the truth is, they shouldn’t have had to. They should have been loved by their mother.

I cannot list the things my mother taught me — they are too thoroughly blended into my DNA. I can’t remember all the facts she told me because I don’t think in the end they were the point. I don’t think it was what she taught me so much as how. 

I can’t list out the things my mother taught me. But I do know that she loved me, and that seems like more.

 

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Baby me with Mother, back when Sunday hats were still cool

9 Cliches I Have Had To Accept As True Since Being Married

Aren’t cliches about love gross? They make me want to barf. Here are a couple of gross cliches that are super disgusting.

1. When you know you know

It is strange and just a little unnerving to realize that we didn’t totally know each other when we got engaged. I have learned a lot of things about Scott since being married, for example that he is planning on giving his son his middle name, which is Eugene. This was not exactly in my plan, but strangely the more time goes I think it is the name all cute boys should have.

2. Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Sometimes I miss him while I’m at work. Yuck.

3. Marriage is waking up next to your best friend

We never really want to hang out with people. Partly because we are curmudgeons, partly because we’re jerks, but maybe also because we just like each other?

4. Love is blind

Once he told me it was “a beauty zit.”

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Also supports my scrunchie habit

5. Laughter is the best medicine

Sometimes I get mad and then he makes me laugh, which makes me more mad because I wanted to be mad. He is super manipulative like that.

6. I thought I loved you then

I like him so much more now.

7. Timing is everything

Scott and I both agree it would not have worked out for us had we met nine years ago while living in neighboring dorms. I had dark brown hair as the result of a very poor decision and am also sure I could not have fit into his pants.

8. Nice guys finish last

JUST KIDDING, THIS ONE IS FALSE. I MARRIED A NICE GUY AND IT’S THE BEST!

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9. We were meant for each other

It’s as gross as it is true. Here’s to another year of eating my words.

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Word of 2015: Content

I am not a naturally content person.

A dear friend has often described both she and I as simply discontent. “It’s what makes us good at things,” she says, “but also sort of miserable.”

The word itself has sort of always made me turn up my nose, as it connotes being stagnant which obviously means being mediocre or worse, giving up. Ew!

But content is how I felt this year. Or rather, this year I got my first taste of contentment.

Content: Satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.

Doesn’t it sound great?

This year I traded in a demanding, life-sucking job for one that is simpler. Less challenging, less interesting, a little more fulfilling. I spent months going back and forth about whether I liked it or not, whether it was stimulating enough or the right career move, before deciding to simply accept it. It is, like any job, good and also bad, but I chose it, and I am learning from it. I picked it for a reason, and I’ve worked hard to remember that in the moments when my ego tells me I am so totally too smart for this place.

It’s weird how being content takes work, isn’t it? Was it ever our default setting?

This year I traded in the excitement of dating for a steadier kind of love. I gave up flirting and being flirted with and the silly, ego stroke it brings for the happiness of being loved in the most mundane of moments. This year I felt adored while brushing my teeth. That hadn’t really happened pre-2015. Being loved in the small moments has filled in a million little empty spaces I didn’t know I had. I was always able to hold myself together but it feels a little sturdier now. Like a floppy stuffed animal that got packed full of fresh cotton.

I have had to accept the fact that I cannot pursue everything I want to. It is my least favorite pill to swallow. But I swallowed the embarrassing, horse-sized medicine and am trying to focus on doing a few things well rather than doing everything badly. I think it’s a good trade. And a necessary one.

This year I decided I like my body. Hey, I said it out loud!

I accepted the fact that being in a good relationship still means giving up a lot of control. Ask me where I will live in six months. I can’t tell you.

I’ve made peace with the fact that I cannot cook like my Mother. Or maybe I could, except I have zero desire to put in the necessary time. Later, I say. When I’m home with a cute, illiterate baby and am losing my mind.

Satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.

Can you imagine it?

It’s tough for me. I still have things I badly want, and am working hard to get them. I think maybe I’m just a little more okay with enjoying the small moments. Remembering that life is what happens while you’re waiting for the big stuff.

Content is my word of 2015. What’s yours?

 

p.s. this post was inspired by my friend Jill. Read her words, they’re lovely.

 

Adult Things & Stuff

For the last year, I have existed in the mindset that I could make my life whatever I wanted. I could work when I wanted and not when I didn’t. I could go to yoga at noon or fly home for a weekend on a whim.

Because I had the freedom to choose not to work, I got so that the idea of having to work was almost offensive.

But it’s my life!

I do what I want!

Work is the opposite of freedom and writing and creativity!

There were a lot of great times, don’t get me wrong. But it was almost too much freedom. I started thinking I had the power to create a perfect situation for myself. I had these visions that I would work for a month, write for a month, and so on until my bank account was stacked and my lifestyle blog was making me famous. (jokes!)

The reality of my search for this perfect, adversity-free life was that I swung violently between extremes. From working 14-hour days where I cursed my job and wished for unemployment to 14-hour days being home on the couch with just my laptop for company. The first situation had me panicked that I had no time to write, the second brought on existential crises where each day ended in my sure conclusion that I was a terrible writer who was contributing nothing to the world.

The most painful part is that I now have a mirror in the form of a husband, who ever-so-lovingly would point out that no, I was not happier when I was working (or not working.)

The reality seemed to be that I found the bad in whatever situation I was currently in.

(These are painful things to admit)

All the madness was coming to a boiling point, when I heard about a full time job in a role that was not quite like my other job but related. And it sounded like something I would enjoy and possibly be good at, so I took it.

Part of me took it because I knew it was time to be working again. The other part took it because it had the illusion of a fresh start, which means total and perfect happiness right??

I started last Monday. And guess what?

It is not a perfect job.

It’s quite uncomfortable to be the new person.

It’s awkward and intimidating to be a rookie again.

It is much harder to get to yoga when you have 9 less hours in your day.

But this is life. Life is work.

It’s discomfort and inconvenience, that if properly applied, makes you smarter or more capable or at least a bit more empathetic.

I am re-learning a lesson I have learned over and over, which is that happiness takes work. If we don’t know how to work, how do we then be happy?

Maybe I am unique in my pessimism. Maybe not everyone has to work at happiness. But for me it takes a lot of work.

It takes practicing gratitude.

Remembering how lucky I am to be able to support myself.

Appreciating the regular paycheck.

Feeling the validation of being needed somewhere.

It takes resistance to FOMO.

Constant reality checks that yes, it’s too bad you aren’t rich from some thing you did on Instagram but also that person probably works very hard and their life is still not perfect.

It takes waking up at 6 AM when I used to sleep til 8.

(I repeat, these are embarrassing things to admit)

I don’t know how at age 26 I am still having to re-learn that there is no magic formula for happiness. It just would be so much easier if there was, wouldn’t it?

But I am re-learning it again, and hopefully this time it will stick a little more than last time.

There are so many different paths my life could take. Every one of them might be wonderful, but none of them is perfect.

And so for now, I am picking one and deciding to be happy with it.

I will wake up at 6 (ish) AM and write with whatever half-awake energy I have.

I will not complain about my stable, wonderful new job.

I will work at being happy where I am.

I will need you to hold me to it.

 

I got a new roommate

I recently got a new roommate.

He is a He. And living with him is so many things.

It’s eating breakfast together. It’s sharing a bathroom.

It’s all the in-betweens. Getting ready for work and doing the dishes. Morning breath and bed head.

It’s vulnerability. Realizing that you, the girl who used to passionately kiss him goodnight at the doorstep are now drooling on his pillow. It’s accepting that he loves you in spite of this.

It’s constant surprises. Like him organizing your nail polishes using the spice rack you got as a wedding gift or serenading you at night with some jazzy chords on your keyboard.

It’s realizing that becoming a wife does not make you your mother. It’s making her “Fluffiest Pancakes in the World” and having them come out flat. It’s having to Google “how to boil an egg” and frosting Valentine’s cupcakes that look like a 5-year-old made them.

It’s realizing you are not your mother, and that he doesn’t need you to be.

It’s realizing that becoming a wife also does not make you his mother, not even when you really wish he’d eat more vegetables.

It’s his intentionally cheesy romantic gestures, like asking you to check if the printer is working, and you walking over to find a newly-printed piece of paper that says, “you look so beautiful tonight.”

It’s him wearing glasses while working at his computer and no one ever being more handsome.

It’s having a serious argument because he ate a bite of your cookie and you wanted the whole thing. It’s realizing that yes, you will argue. It’s breaking down because you didn’t want to be a couple that argued, and you love him and why are you arguing??

It’s realizing that you barely knew him when you married him, and that you like him so much more now.

It’s him becoming your family. It’s him becoming home.

It’s less butterflies, more feeling like you just drank a mug of hot chocolate—a warm comfort that spreads outward from somewhere deep inside you.

It’s safety. It’s a closer relationship than anything you’ve ever known, because you have given your lives to each other.

It’s realizing that you have given your lives to each other, when you’re used to your life being your own.

It’s so wonderful. It’s so complicated. It’s marriage.

 

 

 

 

Fireworks

Lately I am too happy.

It’s like that moment in the movies where things are working out so perfectly, you just feel like something has to go wrong.

You know the moment I mean — Matthew Crawley is driving blissfully away from the Hospital after meeting his perfect newborn son, and as the beautiful music plays you know that stupid car is gonna crash.

It’s a strange thing. Why don’t we think it’s possible for ourselves to be blissfully happy? Is it us? Or is it just me…being a fatalist…hmmm.

Either way, it makes me think of a moment I had with my nephew several years ago.

We were in California on a family vacation and we’d spent the day at Disneyland, a day that also happened to be his birthday. As is customary with children at Disneyland, it was an exhausting day that brought with it both euphoria and tears.

When it came time for the firework show to start, the poor five year old kid had had it. He started crying inconsolably, so we left the park right as the show was starting. At some point during the 5k we walked to get to our car, he looked up at the fireworks, stopped crying and said, “they must know it’s my birthday.”

I wonder at what point we stop believing that we deserve all the happiness in the world. Apparently it’s somewhere between 5 and 25, and if I was a betting woman I’d put all my money on middle school. Or braces, whichever comes first.

I have felt so overwhelmed by all the happiness I have had lately. I feel undeserving of it. All the love and kind words and friends who fly halfway across the world to see you get married and families who surprise you with a flash mob set to your favorite Beyonce song. All the countless times Scott has looked at me, shaken his head, and told me, “You’re so pretty. You’re just so beautiful.”

It’s too much to take in. I feel myself grasping at it, wanting to bottle up all the excess and save it for a rainy day. It is really quite a pain to be a pessimist.

I don’t know that I deserve all this happiness any more than my five-year-old nephew deserved an all-out Disney level firework show for his birthday. But maybe it doesn’t matter if I deserve it or not. Maybe it just is.

And I get to feel it, and be grateful for it, and let it make my heart bigger. I get to enjoy my day in the fireworks and believe that maybe, just maybe, they were all just for me.

 

 

 

I Met a Boy

Growing up, I was taught that getting married and starting a family was the most important thing I could do with my life.

When I graduated High School, I headed off to college at BYU where they promised me my perfect husband would be waiting. For the next five years I would watch my friends get married with varying degrees of happiness, and then came the day of graduation when reality hit–I was about to do the unthinkable. I was going to graduate BYU single…

**GASP**

As I moved far away from the land of Mormon men to pursue a career, I wondered if something was wrong with me. I’d tried to date in College! I’d made friends, I’d been nice, I did my hair most of the time! So why hadn’t it worked?

People told me, “Don’t worry about it — when you know, you’ll just know.” But I am not a girl who has ever really “just known” anything.

I have always known that I have a weird name, that I have a good family. But most every other thing in my life has involved a sort of worry-stress-freakout-over-analyze, and fret ‘til you can’t fret anymore type of process.

Others told me, as though the mantle of marriage had descended upon them and bestowed some sort of supernatural wisdom, “Marriage is so wonderful, you should try it!”

Or, “your problem is that you’re too picky.”

Or, “why don’t you marry so-and-so, you guys are friends right?”

And I “just knew” that I wanted to strangle them.

 

I kept going with my little single life, and long, someday-to-be-told story short, I came to love it.

I made friends who were different than me, I travelled, I got involved at church. I worked hard for a few years, saved up all my pennies and all my courage, until finally I got up the guts to quit my job to pursue my dreams of being a writer. (Aka to figure out what “being a writer” even means.) I was going to freelance all over the country and meet all the boys in the land. I was finally and completely content with my single life.

But then something strange happened — I met a boy.

It’s funny because people tell you it will be different than you imagined it. And I always took that to mean it would be even more like the movies than I had imagined it! I had kept an eye out for my Captain Moroni, my Abercrombie model with a testimony, who would sweep me off my feet.

But I met a boy, and it felt better than all that.

It wasn’t like time stopped. I didn’t feel like a Disney princess or someone from the romantic comedies I’ve had the misfortune of watching. I just felt like me.

Only now I had someone to be me with. I had someone who got all my jokes, someone who I found infinitely interesting.

I talked about my dreams and he didn’t get scared. I talked about the possibility of being a working mom and he didn’t flinch.

I knew before I was ready to admit it that I was going to marry him. It was so easy, and the ease was so confusing. I was ecstatic at the thought that maybe, just maybe, I was one of those people who would “just know!”

My excitement was short lived, however, as the day after I realized I just knew it, my real self kicked back in. And the worry-stress-freakout-over-analyze, and fret ‘til you can’t fret anymore type of process began yet again.

I knew that I wanted to be with Scott for the rest of forever, but the idea of marriage caused somewhat of an identity crisis. Because marrying him meant I would no longer be single.

Call me crazy, call me selfish, but I worked hard for this happiness!!! After all those stupid years of feeling like something was wrong with me, I finally came to like being single! I came to love my independence and ambition. It’s weird, but I came to love proving that you can be a young single Mormon and also a happy, functioning, non-pitiful person.

I wondered who I would become once I attached my life to his. Did I have to forget about my writing dreams? Must I now blog about being married?!?

Now I am well aware that singleness is riddled with moments of loneliness and insecurity, but it also brings with it so much possibility. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want to. You can flirt with your co-worker, you can take a weekend trip on a whim. It’s not a deep happiness, but its fleeting highs become intoxicating.

I spent three ridiculous days wondering if I should put off marriage because I wasn’t ready or because I still feel young. I wondered if it was fair to attach my life to someone else’s when I am currently living every millennial’s dream of semi-funemployment. I wondered if I deserved him at all, given the fit I was throwing.

But the problem I kept coming back to is that he’s perfect for me. For so many strange and wonderful reasons. Some that really matter and others like the fact that for Halloween of 2013, we both dressed up as Garth from Wayne’s World.

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Scott as Garth on the left

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Me as Garth on the right

I met a boy who is funny and smart and handsome, but above all, kind. He tells me I am beautiful but he loves me for my brain. He makes me think and he makes me laugh. He makes me the best me I’ve ever known.

I have never felt like I could get married because it felt like signing up for a life where I had to be someone else.

I have dated guys with big egos who made me feel stupid and guys with big muscles who made me feel very small. I have dated wonderful guys where I’ve come out of the relationship feeling flawed for not wanting it.

But then I met a boy who made me feel complete. And I don’t have to give up my identity because, shall I say it again? He wants me!

Me, the funny girl. Me, the fatalist. Me who is loving and impatient and thoughtful and selfish. Me with my good parts and my bad.

So in answer to the question who I will be with him… I’m not really sure. I suppose I won’t really know until I try it. But my best guess is that I will just be me.

And as my hero Nora Ephron said via When Harry Met Sally,

“…When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

The rest of my life can’t come soon enough.

 

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Goodbye Public Life!

It has become apparent that a la Alec Baldwin, I must say goodbye to public life. But before I do so, I wanted to offer an explanation.

A few months after I began working in Los Angeles, we held a day of focus groups in Beverly Hills. We were in a swanky office  in the heart of the 90210 — an area that my recent college graduate self had not yet had any reason to visit.

At around 2 or 3 PM someone suggested we take a break from the torture and walk to a nearby cafe to grab some lunch. As we headed out into the sunny afternoon, I saw a sight that shocked me.

There were crowds of grown adults everywhere, just wandering the streets like it was Saturday. They were my age and older–you know, working-age people, just ambling mindlessly through shops I will never be able to afford. I thought, don’t these people have anywhere to be?? I assumed most of the women were probably Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but the men? What were they doing here!?

One man who struck me particularly was this good-looking brunette sitting in Urth Caffe wearing a red track suit. He just sat there, nursing a Spanish latte and reading a book for the duration of our lunch. When we left, he stayed there reading. I was astounded.

I shook my head in disgust at the nerve of these people, so publicly flaunting their lack of a real day job.

And then recently, I became one of them.

See, I quit my day job a few months ago to be a freelancer. This basically means that I write from home in my pajamas for most of the day and only leave when I want to go to yoga or need almond milk. Sometimes I stay inside all day and tell myself it’s good for my skin. It is a strange existence, largely devoid of human interaction, which can make a person quite crazy. But I have kept myself busy, which I thought had kept me sane. 

But then one day I had to go to an interview, which required putting on real clothes.

I grabbed a chambray shirt and was annoyed by how many buttons there were. I grabbed a pair of skinny jeans and wiggled my way into them.

I stood up and felt a spasm of unhappiness shoot through my lower half. What are skinny jeans!? Why must they encase my legs so tightly and squeeze the life out of my waist?? My body rejected them like a bad organ; after my hour in public, I raced home to discard them on the floor.

Despondent, I realized that this is the definition of “having let oneself go” — I have literally let my body relax into the capacity of my yoga pants. It will tolerate no denim.

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Since then, I slump around the apartment and catch horrifying glimpses of myself in the mirror, wearing outfits like a sundress with a hoodie, or a swimsuit top with a tennis skirt and slippers. Once I caught myself at the car wash wearing a pair of gym shorts and a silk blouse. 

I decided the other day when meeting a friend for lunch that I would put an end to this repulsive habit. I approached my closet and stared numbly at the objects inside it wondering, “What are all these things draped on the metal triangles? Did I buy all this?”

When I showed up to lunch she said, “Well, you look sunny!” I looked down to see that I was wearing pink and yellow floral pants, a perfectly matching pink top, and glittery sandals. Each element on its own would have been tolerable, but the combination of all three made me look like a 6-year-old on Easter.

“Agh! What’s wrong with me?”

“What do you mean what’s wrong with you?”

“I am unfit for public life!!”

And so world, I write you from the safety of my couch to bid you farewell. As a non-contributing citizen who has lost her ability to wear clothes, I no longer have a place in your company. I will not be the man in the red track suit. I will keep my indecency to myself.

Do let me know when you invent skinny jeans with a drawstring at the waist.

Until then, I bid you Goodbye.

 

Colonel Mustard, with the Lead Pipe, in the Laundry Room.

Welcome to La La. Where you pay an absurd amount of money to live in a tiny apartment where this is your laundry room.

LAUNDRY ROOM

**Crickets and cobwebs not pictured

If I ever go missing, will you guys look here?

Thanks!