The Fit Girl’s Guide to The Best Protein Powders

Many of my close friends, family members, and likely some of my readers now, know that I am an eating disorder survivor. Without going into major detail about that part of my life (I could write about it for hours), I have spent years with trial and error trying to come up with a fitness and diet routine that works best for me. I’ve experimented with everything under the sun from weight lifting, yoga classes, at-home workout videos, and hours upon hours of kicking my butt on any & every cardio machine. I’ve dieted to dangerous extremes; eating only fruits & veggies for a week straight, the “military diet”, the “Egg Diet”, and everything else you can find on Pinterest or in Women’s Health Magazine. As women, I think we can all agree that it takes a little practice and a lot of sweat (might I add tears) to get to the level where we feel comfortable and confident & we are constantly looking for ways to enhance our endurance, improve our strength, and perk up that booty. Thankfully, I have finally learned after all this time that it’s important to treat my body kindly– to give it exercise

Two Years Later: 15 Things I Love About Our Marriage

It’s not like me to be without the right words, but it’s taken me a few days to type this one out. You see, I feel like I don’t have endless advice to offer about marriage and I can’t articulate how it has changed me over the last 2 years for the better. I have given my experiences I’ve shared with Aaron much thought but as I sit at my laptop in our two bedroom apartment listening to the clanking of our dryer down the hall, these are the things I think as I contemplate our marriage… I’ll never forget how I drove to the Salt Lake temple two years ago on a snowy morning only to realize…I FORGOT MY WEDDING DRESS!!! Poor Aaron, the first time he saw me on our wedding day I was crying, so I can only imagine the thoughts that were going through his mind! I told him the situation and he simply hugged me & held my hand through my tears until the problem was solved. I love…love love love my new last name. I’ve finally learned how to write it cute, too. We are rarely happier when we’re curled up on the

If We Loved The Savior More

I don’t thank my Savior enough. Even though it isn’t the popular thing to do on the internet, it is necessary for me today, and especially during this special time of each year. Yesterday was my Grandpa Ray’s 93rd birthday and I love him with every ounce of my being. But sometimes I worry about him. I worry about his health. I worry that he might still carry emotional pain from serving in World War 2. I worry that he is lonely. As I listened to my Grandpa Ray’s cute, squeaky voice over the telephone, I was reminded of this story by Robert D. Hales from October 2016: “Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel was in the hospital recovering from open-heart surgery when he was visited by his five-year-old grandson. As the little boy looked into his grandfather’s eyes, he saw his pain. “Grandpa,” he asked, “if I loved you more, would you hurt less?” Today I ask a similar question of each of us: “If we love the Savior more, will we suffer less?” -Robert D. Hales I wondered the same question; if I loved my Grandpa more…if I called him more, sent him post cards more, prayed for him more…would

Why I Quit My Day Job to be a Nanny

Today I’m going to share a huge portion of my life — being a nanny. To be honest, I’m totally shocked I haven’t once blogged about this before! When I am asked what I do by new people I meet, I avoid the question because sometimes I feel embarrassed that it’s not a “career” job which most college graduates attain, say…. a nurse, a teacher, a hairstylist, or even an author. It’s plain, old, just a nanny. But little did I know, this “job” would soon become one of the best decisions in my life and I’d fall in love with every part of it. Being a nanny is so much more than just turning on the TV and ignoring the kids. I have changed more diapers than most adults my age who don’t have children. I’ve dealt with level 10 tantrums, sibling wars, nonstop whining and tattle telling. I have cooked hundreds of meals and fed hungry stomachs. I have folded mountains of laundry. I have prepared bottles and snacks. I have played the role of “Taxi Mom” to soccer practice, baseball games, piano lessons, and late night’s at friend’s houses. I have helped with homework and school

Marriage Needs More Than Just a “Date Night”

I’m going to go out on a limb & make a sweeping-generalization-type-of-statement: Aside from the glimpses we get online about marriage from freshly-penned blog posts about life as a newlywed, Instagram photos of a shiny stone, a perfect manicure, and an “I said yes!” caption — all tastefully filtered in Amaro, of course — most of us base our assertions, values, and desires surrounding marriage off of our parents’ relationship. Today my parents celebrate their 32nd “wedding birthday”, as Aaron calls it, and for some reason, this year’s milestone seems particularly significant to me. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched several of my own friends get married, and I have also seen their marriages fall apart. Or, maybe it’s because I am nearing my own anniversary of marriage, and after two years, I can say that I’ve received an accurate depiction of what it’s like to be married. In my (almost) two years of experience, marriage requires these 3 things: Expression of love, more than just a “date night”, and…yes, I’ll say it. Hard work. Expression Of Love Let’s face it. Most of us are not Shakespeare. We have all the feelings, but not so many words. I say that even as

Grandma Rose’s Recipe for 50 Years of Good Life

I had the best birthday present of indulging in the small-town charm of Carson, Washington the past 5 days with my husband and my father. My 93-year-old Grandpa Ray, my dad’s dad, lives there and it’s where he raised his family on 7 acres of evergreen forest with the Columbia River Gorge nestled right behind it. Growing up, I loved our vacations there. We hiked, we swam in my aunt & uncle’s pool, we jet skied on the Gorge, and I got to know the Matta family a little more. But the truth is, I never got to know my grandmother. My Grandma Rose passed away with cancer when I was four years old. I don’t remember her, but Grandpa Ray says my smile reminds him of hers. We spent several hours a day laughing with him, eating with him, listening to his polka music with him (he was quite the musician in his young years), and learning of his stories about he & Grandma Rose. They met at a dance hall, had a double wedding, traveled Europe together for 3 weeks, were devout Christian’s, and raised 4 sons. What I didn’t know about Grandma Rose, though, is her love for

25 Quarter-Life Lessons (& Realizations)

Happy 25th birthday to me! I almost went out and took pictures in a dolled up little black dress holding gold balloons to look Instagram perfect. Sometimes as a blogger I feel that’s what the internet expects of me, but let’s keep it real. I woke up early for a morning run, packed my husband’s lunch, met with a dear friend for lunch (she drove 2 hours just to come see me. Gosh I love her), read a book on the grass in the backyard, and spent the remainder of my day pecking at my keyboard in sweat pants, hair pulled back, no make up and my thick purple glasses eating Mike & Ike’s. That’s real life for an aspiring writer. I’ve been contemplating this milestone for about a month now, and it’s made me feel a little nostalgic to think back through all the years that have flown by. In 25 years, there’s plenty I’ve realized, and even more I’ve learned. So here it is: 25 lessons I learned by age 25. 1. Life is really what you make it. Be creative. We so easily get lost in the mundane routines of life. It can be boring and

“We are Daughters of our Heavenly Father”: A Testimony of The Young Women Theme

Hi friends, it’s been a while (like, a month & a half while)! I thought writing + my blog was on the top of my priority list, especially after quitting my day job but — HA! Yeah right. It’s not, but at least it’s still a once-in-a-while hobby. I think we need those, our own “once-in-a-while hobbies” to energize us and refocus us. Mine are running, getting a pedicure, writing in my journal (or, if I have a few hours, on my blog) and napping. We need these activities because life is full of surprises. Some are amazing, some are imperfect, but we find fulfillment from our crazy, chaotic lives in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For the past 13 days, and the following 15, I am living out my husband’s gigantic worn-out missionary suitcase moving house to house as I tend children of various families while the parents go out of town for mini getaways or work-related trips. I refer to myself as “The Travelling Nanny” because it’s who I am, really! It’s a fun gig where I’m able to meet so many cute little kids, drive them to and from school and soccer practice in a snazzy

Face Plants and Prayer: Why It Takes all the Energy of our Hearts to be Converted

At a Women’s Conference I attended earlier this year, a speaker expressed this thought: “Prayer keeps us converted. It’s a commandment because He wants us to seek proximity to Him.” We are constantly on the path to conversion and it takes all the energy of our hearts to become converted, to become like our Savior. Sometimes, though, life feels like a constant face plant. See, just like this, and they hurt. We experience stresses of mortality (illness, arguments, death, financial problems, work difficulties, sleep deprivation, parenthood, media overload) that have the ability to numb our eternal vision. We judge others and hold grudges, we’re jealous, impatient, and experts in self-doubt. Each of these are referred to as our “weapons of rebellion” and it may begin to feel nearly impossible to become as He is. A weapon of rebellion in my life recently has been demanding answers to the “if’s, why’s, how’s, and when’s” of mortal life. Aaron and I are anticipating some significant changes within the next few months (change is still the only constant in our lives and probably will be forever) and we have found ourselves overwhelmed with doubts that have only led to fear and arguments.

We Have Big News! (No, not baby news. I’m sorry, mom)

Aaron gave me a mother’s day card last Sunday (I’m not a mother yet — he’s just super thoughtful) but the greeting AND his own written message was entirely in Spanish! You’re probably wondering why he did that. It’s partly because he thinks he’s funny but let’s just say he’s taking all the opportunities he can to teach me how to speak, read, and understand Spanish because…. THE BENNETT’S ARE MOVING TO PERU!!! Yes, yes. It’s true. It’s okay to still be in shock because I am too.   If you’re interested to know how this happened, here’s the low down. Aaron was offered a full-time job with KPMG after he graduates with his Master’s degree this December of 2017. BUT, his start date isn’t until August of 2018. This means we have nearly nine months of “down time” after he graduates before he starts working in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. A few days after Aaron received this offer, we began tossing around ideas of what we could do/should do to fill our time before he starts working. While driving in the car one afternoon, he said, “What would you think if we moved to Peru??” I looked at him, stunned, and