Monday, August 31, 2015

My Hair-Did

I have a message, for everyone who has ever felt picked on because of their hairs.

Your hairs do not define you! You are more than just your hairs! They are a part of you, but they don't tell the whole story! As important as they are, they aren't everything. Just ask anyone who's ever gotten chopped on ANTM - hairs are important, but you can werk without your normal style.  #blackhairsmatter....and so do #blondehairs and #brownhairs and #redhairs. Furthermore, I want to encourage everyone to style their truth! Baby let your hair down! Drop it down low or pick it up real slow! It's your hairs, so do whatever you want with it! I support you. 

Once upon a time, I.



Okay this is still a little hard to talk about, but I think that there are people out there who will benefit from hearing my story, so I'm going to tell it! 

I tried a new hairstyle, one that I had seen on Pinterest. It's called the Bubble Ponytail. I carefully teased, tugged, and tied until I had reached the look I was going for. However, I wasn't 100% confident in this trail I was blazing, so I went about gathering some opinions. Stephen said it looked cool, and his aunt said it was fun, but just to be sure, I txtd some important people in my life. And in my txt I included a picture, which is lucky for my visual learners in the audience:

Hmmmm. Not exactly the enthusiastic response I was hoping for....but maybe balloons are a good thing? I sent out a few more txts and figured I would just let the majority rule on this very important issue.

Nicole responded first:

What the! Okay, this was much more hurtful than I had anticipated!
I smiled as I sent this last txt. Surely my sister would feel my passion for fashion through the phone, and catch my vision, and jump on board.
......Nope, I guess I was wrong.
So that was definitely not the response I was hoping for, but in the midst of that, I got some kind words of encouragement from my friend who has a fashion blog, and I was pretty sure that a fashion blogger's opinion should count as 2 points at least, so now I had gotten 3 positive responses, 4 if you want to count the fashion blogger as 2, and 2 negatives.

Unfortunately, Jacob was the next person to respond:

Sorry for the obvious photoshopping, but I am not trying to give out my little brother's number to all the ladies who undoubtedly would have snatched it up and tried to txt him after seeing this charming exchange....
And then Julie responded after him:

I was feeling very smfimphim. <--Do you know what feels like? Like nobody understands you. Like you're all alone in a sea of people. Like there's nobody out there who shares, or even comprehends your dream! (Can I get an amen!!

But then I thought about Stephen's response - that "Yeah, it looks cool. I like it."

And his aunt's verdict, that it was fun and creative. 

And Caitlin's heart-eye emoji, and her comment that it was fun that I was experimenting and doing something cooler than just a plain ponytail. 

And the lady at the Dolla Store last year when I was running errands, who gasped and said "Youuuu, have the most beauuuutiful hair!" 

And the Portlandian girl who told her mom that she liked my hairs, when we were at Beacon Rock State Park.

And all these loving supporters buoyed me right back up, and helped me channel my inner Blake Lively a la Met Gala, and I went out into the world bright-eyed and bubble-ponytailed, and I loved every second of that journey. 

So my message to you is, try something new with your hairs! You are bea-u-ti-FUL! Even if there's someone out there who thinks your hair-did is a hair-dud, you can be sure there's someone right here, who wrote this blog, who thinks it's a hair-(please)-do(-over-and-over-again), and I'm cheering you on! And if you're standing in front of your mirror in doubt about your hairs, know this: if you were Bruno Mars' girlfriend, I'm sure he would write a song for your hairs, and he would mean every perfect lyric, and all the girls all around the world would swoon e'er time it came on the radio, and wish that they were you. 

You do you, hair experimenters. You're the movers and shakers, and Portlandians and fashion bloggers and Bruno Marses everywhere are rooting for you. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Two Shimps in Oneonta

Recently, Hubs and I discussed dental schools and teeeeentatively settled on Maryland as our #1 choice. We were thrilled to have come to a semi-decision and started getting excited about the next chapter in our lives!

Then, panic ensued. (Mostly just inside of me.) Maryland is far, far away from where we are now, and we haven't seen everything yet! The realization set in that we had limited time. We would need to work fast.

We planned out a West-coast road trip, one that would last 2 weeks and take us to Washington and Portland and Yosemite. I spent hours on Google maps trying to plan where to stop first, and then where to go, and so on. Then I realized that we actually only had one week of summer where neither of us had school, and we had to condense the trip and cut some things out. And once we were on the road, there was so much that didn't happen as planned. Even so, it was a nearly perfect week, and I'm so glad I panicked :)

We packed on Thursday. Stephen picked me up after school on Friday and we headed off to our first stop: Boise, Idaho. We just stopped there for tonight to visit my old roommate, Chelsea, who I haven't seen since before either she or I got married. I spent almost two hours of our drive from Provo to Boise telling Stephen all about how hilarious she is and about all our fun memories together. We only got to see her for a short time, but her parents graciously let us explore and stay at their beautiful home that night.

This was the night we had intended to stay at the Anniversary Inn, but as I mentioned earlier, it was all booked. And that turned out to be something to rejoice about, because this house was 100x better!! It was literally the coolest house I've ever been in. I'll just say this: there was a suit of armor in the entryway. (And two more suits of armor in other places in the house.)

On Saturday, we went from Boise to Oneonta. It's right by the Columbia River Gorge (maybe even in it? It was hard to tell) and just has a bunch of cool hikes. Since we wanted to hike Half Dome in Yosemite at the end of this trip, and since Stephen's shoes have like 10 holes in them and zero traction on the bottom, we had gotten new hiking shoes for both of us right before driving to Boise. We just planned to wear them all the time so they would be broken in by the time we did Half Dome, so this one hike at Oneonta Gorge was both of our shoes' maiden voyage.

Wellllll, turns out slot canyons in Oregon are different than slot canyons in Utah, because they are actually wet! In Utah, if it's wet, it's because there's a flash flood and you are ABOUT TO DIE. In Oregon, it's no big deal and people bring their kids and have a blasty-blast swim-walking through the wet slot canyon.

At first I tried to pick my way carefully across the patches of rocks and the logs strewn everywhere. When we got to the first unpickable puddle, I took my shoes and socks off and waded through to the next rock island. But eventually I just had to give up, and I squelched through the sometimes waist-deep water with my new hiking shoes just like everybody else.

The water was freezing, but it was one of our favorite hikes we've ever done! It was really short - it only took about an hour to reach the waterfall at the end, take some pictures of Stephen jumping in, and then splish-splash back to the car.

Stephen's aunt Angie lives about 20 minutes outside of Columbia River Gorge, so we stayed with her while we were in Portland. We had a great time with our tour guides!! Angie and Jeff took us to Thai food for dinner our first night, and to the Columbia River Gorge the next day. We had a picnic and did two hikes at a place called Beacon Rock. It was beautiful!

The hike itself was also really cool! It wasn't too hard thanks to all the footbridges switch-backing up the mountain, which apparently took 3 years to complete. I don't think it would have been doable without the footbridges, because at some points, there was nothing under the bridge. But they felt very sturdy and I think even people with a fear of heights would be fine on this hike. This was the view looking down.
And the view looking up! 

While we were in Portland, we also played with Kashmere, the sweetest golden retriever I've ever met, picked and ate wild blackberries, played a hilarious game that I don't even remember the name of now, and got Voodoo Doughnuts. Bonus: Stephen swam with Kashmere and almost got caught naked when he tried to change into his swimsuit in the car.

Not sure why I look bald?? But the berries were so good!
Kashmere made a perfect pillow. He was so soft and smelled good and didn't even mind my head resting on him!

Portland, we like you. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Random Summer Happenings

So I am one of those people who LOVES year-round school. I also blab about how great it is, to anyone who asks. It is one of my favorite things about my job.

Except in July. July is the part where everyone else is halfway through their summer and halfway through their tan, and I am just starting my summer while also about to end my summer. In my school, teachers get 2 weeks off, then go back to school to set up our classrooms and sit in meetings. Kids come back after the third week.

(Secretly I still kind of like this, because I don't feel like I need a huge long summer if it means fewer breaks throughout the year. But I like it in kind of a hateful way. Like I like it, but I hate it. It's a love-hate kind of a feeling.)

Anywho, here are some random pictures of things I squeezed into my summer:

1. Shimp family reunion! We stayed at the Westgate Hotel in Park City, which was really fun in and of itself, and also put us close to Olympic Park. Our first room was about the size of my living room. (I'm not kidding.) There was one pull-out couch bed, one king-size bed in a private part of the room behind some pocket doors, and a shower that we couldn't figure out how to operate.

Being in such close quarters for 10 minutes made everyone go a litttttle bit crazy. Brandon trapped Logan in the sauna shower. Logan started screaming that he couldn't breathe. Stephen mooned his brothers. Michael commented that at least the view wasn't bad and we all got confused because the window looked out on some cement stairs. Mama Shimp sent us out to the car to bring everything in, and texted us to not forget the  marshmallow sticks so we could roast marshmallows.

When we had cleared out the car and brought everything into the eensy-weensy room, the Shimp parents went downstairs to get a different room and Stephen and I took the kids to the pool. We came back just in time to help move everything to the other room, which was on another floor and in another section of the hotel. This room was awesome!! It had some quirks, but at least we were all able to recover our sanity in here.

The main quirk was the bathroom. It was a huge bathroom, with a double vanity, sauna shower, jacuzzi tub, and obviously a toilet.....and a window looking in on the bathroom from the master suite. When I say window, I don't mean a dinky little thing with frosted glass. I'm talking about a 5'x5' hole in the wall that you could climb through and you'd wind up in the tub. From window to wall, the bathroom was set up like this: tub, shower, toilet. So the toilet tried to hide, but when you took a seat, you'd be staring into the mirror over the double vanity. And whatever that mirror showed also conveniently reflected off the mirror next to the tub, so no one got too much privacy during this trip.

*Pictures soon to come of this anomaly of a bathroom.*

One time, someone - who will remain anonymous - fearlessly tried to take a dump in these conditions. Then some cousins came to visit.

"Wow, it's really nice in here!" they said.
"Look at all this space!" they exclaimed.
"You guys got a cool room!" they said.
"Oh yeah, except the bathroom has a window in it," Logan said. "You guys have got to see this." And he led them back to the bathroom.

Locked. So he led them into the master bedroom to show them the window.

"What??" they said.
"Why would anyone put this here?" they wondered.
"Oh, hi Stephen," they said. And continued to stand there marveling at the bathroom with a window in it.

While we were there, we roasted marshmallows, swam, played ping-pong, went to Olympic Park, had a baby shower for Stephen's aunt who is our age, and went to lots of things for Stephen's cousin's wedding.

We went on the drop tower at Olympic Park in Park City!

My other favorite part about staying in this room was the sleeping arrangement. Stephanie and Craig got back from a different vacation just in time to spend a night in the hotel, and Natalie got back from a student council retreat on the same night, which meant that 3 more people had to fit in. It was quite an adventure trying to find spots for everyone! 

In the end, the parents and Natalie slept in the bed, Stephanie and Craig slept on the worst couch-bed I have ever felt, Stephen and I slept on our sides squished on the couch, and Logan and Michael made beds out of pillows and blankets and slept on the floor. Brandon started out on the padded bench at the kitchen table, but that got old after about 5 minutes, so he came in and started gathering up bits and pieces of Logan and Michael's beds to make one for himself. Obviously that didn't go down too well. At first, Stephen and I didn't have a pillow, and Logan was highly frustrated when Stephen tried to take one of his five, but eventually it all worked out. 

Until someone farted and Logan almost had a meltdown, but then things got quiet again!

Until Brandon started to feel like "dude I'm seriously either about to throw up or poop for like 5 minutes straight dude, I'm not even kidding," and Logan just about lost his Shimp telling him to be quiet.

Okay and then things were pretty much quiet until poor Brandon got uncomfortable again.....and you guys, I don't even know what happened, I'm pretty sure he just ended up sleeping on the floor with no blankets or pillows or anything. 

Through all of this, I could not stop laughing! And Stephen didn't help because I was trying to be considerate by laughing silently into his shoulder (which was jammed in my face anyway because remember we were both trying to sleep on a skinny little couch), but every time I started to calm down, he would start shaking like he was laughing, just to get me to laugh again. It just reminded me so much of that scene in Snow White, where all the dwarves give her their beds, and then they have to find a place to sleep, so they all go in cupboards and tea cups and fireplaces. 

#2. Jackie's wedding. Stephen's cousin Jackie got married at the end of the Shimp family reunion, so a lot of our activities revolved around that. She and Aaron got married in the Bountiful temple, which I had never been to before, but it was beautiful! 

The wedding reception was a lot of fun. It was at my new favorite venue, the Bungalow. The food was good, Jackie's parents danced the legit tango, there was a photo booth, and I had the cutest dance partner in the whole place. 

We love the Bruners!
It is really hard to get a good picture of a photo booth picture.

I guess the only person who didn't have fun was Logitos, when he didn't catch the garter and he had to get under some coattails. 

#3. Studying. Most of our summer was consumed with studying. Stephen was preparing for the DAT, which he's actually not going to take until next spring / summer, and I was preparing for the Praxis, which I didn't think I needed to study for originally but then I got freaked out when I read some stuff online about it the week before my test. So some of our days looked like this:

PS I just got my scores back and I passed :)
#4. Lagoon. Remember when I won something with 97.1 ZHT, and I got to jump in a big....pen kind of thing full of lucky charms with 20 other people, and somebody won Taylor Swift tickets and everyone else won something a little less cool but still cool? Well I won Lagoon tickets that day! Stephen and I went with Natalie and Brandon, and it was so much fun. 

#5. Stephen's birthday! I already blogged about the most interesting part of that, but I also want to share a few pictures here.
In our house, errbody gets to wear a crown on their birthday, even the boys. 
I made him this delicious (kinda yellow) breakfast and was very proud of myself.
Remember the candles I got that were a 2 and a 6? I tried to redeem myself here. 
This "cake" was amazing! It was basically a peanut butter chocolate cheesecake. You can find the recipe here.
#6. We erm......broke our scale.

I literally don't even know how this happened. I just walked in to find it like this. Stephen said he just nudged it and it shattered into a million pieces.....but I mean why?!
#7. Mob. We love Moab because, well, because it is Moab, and also because it was where we took our first mini-vacation together! This time, we went with Stephen's family. We found a cool little lake that I'm assuming was man-made, rented some paddle-boards, hiked to the Delicate Arch, and did a few other mini-hikes.

We were unaffected by the Dad-Bod trend, thankfully. 

#8. Lady A and Hunter Hayes!!! (And Sam Smith but no one really cared about him. #rude? Maybe, sorry.) Caitlin won tickets to all the shows this summer, and even though Stephen meanly rejected her Toby Keith tickets, since he hates country, she was still nice enough to take me to Lady Antebellum. We fangirled it up and I'm now even more obsessed with Hunter Hayes than I was when Stephen picked his song for our first dance.

Um, we were pretty excited.
Sorry that my phone camera is not the best TERRIBLE, but that is Lady A. I thought they were in love, but actually, the girl is just in love with the drummer in the band. And the boy lead singer who is tall and way better-looking than his poor brother that let him live in his basement years ago and came onstage to sing because he LIVES IN UTAH so why not, is actually married to someone else who had fertility struggles but is now pregnant. (Where would we be without Google, amiright.)
And there's Hunter Hayes! Stephen said that if he pulled me onstage and kissed me that would be cheating. So I guess that will never happen. 
Lady A came out into the audience! They were right at the end of our row and it was so great.
#9. Babay shower! So many baby showers. So many, guys. I guess it's just the phase of life I'm in. I love it because baby clothes are fun to buy, especially baby shoes. Ahhhh I die every time!! Anyway, the only one I got a picture at was Christine's.

#10. Back to school!

Here was my first day of school bulletin board! I'm still doing a circus-themed classroom, as you can tell.

And now I'm in Week #2 of my first 3-week break of the school year. We just got back from galavanting around the West coast, and I'm working on those blogs now too. Howwwww was everyone else's summer!?