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

The Best Gift You Could Ever Give To Your Parents

I’m sure there’s been several moments when my parents have said to themselves as they raised me, “Some day she’ll thank me for that!” Their parents probably had the same experience! So here’s my question: have I thanked them for that? Have I thanked them for teaching me humility? For allowing me to make mistakes but always holding my hand through the process of mending them? For pushing me in school (and paying for it)? Have I thanked them for always answering the phone when I call? For always providing me with new school clothes, a cute childhood bedroom, and yearly tours with my dance team? The list of what I need to thank them for is incredibly long, and as I have grown into adulthood, I have truly been able to acknowledge the love and sacrifices they continue to make for me day by day. But one I have felt so strongly about lately is to thank them for the gift of allowing my grandparents to be part of my life. That’s not a typical thought you’d have to thank your parents for, right? The last few years though I’ve had the strongest yearning to build a deeper relationship

3 Easy Dishes You Can Cook For Thanksgiving (Even If You’re Not A Cook)

Thanksgiving….I can smell it already! It’s all about family, friends, and fooooood. I’ve never been one to really spend much time in my kitchen, but lately I’ve had the desire to be a better homemaker and learn new skills. However, after an ambitious week of babysitting three kids for a few days all while trying to move into a new apartment, I have lost the motivation to cook. Some nights (alright, most nights) cereal or Chic-Fil-A chicken nuggets for dinner felt like a major culinary accomplishment. So to slow down my life for a brief moment, I thought I’d make this quick and easy. If you’re learning, like me, these 3 simple recipes will help you round up the ones you love around your table for a wonderful and delicious Thanksgiving celebration!   Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes Ingredients: 1 head of garlic 4 pounds medium red potatoes 1 ½ cups hot whipping cream Choose at least 3: Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Chives, Parsley 2 to 3 tbsp butter Salt & Pepper to taste Directions: Place garlic in a small baking dish and roast in oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until skin is brown and sides give easily

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

From a Father to a Daughter, These are the Lessons I’ve Learned About Real Love

I’ve spent many of my recent quiet moments reflecting on my father and my special relationship with him. Some of his lessons come from conversations, but most come from observing how he interacts with the world, and with me. From a father to his daughter, these are the lessons I’ve learned about real love. Real love was making me Minnie Mouse pancakes on Saturday mornings. Growing up, I’d often have cousins or friends sleep over on Friday nights. My dad would pitch up the tent in our backyard (or we’d camp out in the living room) and he’d stay up late with us teaching us about the constellations, telling us funny stories, and wake up early to prepare our favorite pancake breakfast.  He’d pour the batter by hand in the specific shape each kid wanted: monster trucks, letters, and soccer balls, but I loved my Minnie Mouse pancakes and I loved even more that my dad would make the time, and the mess, to cook them for me. Real love was sneaking a note in my lunch when he knew I had an important test at school, a dance performance, a late-night shift at work, or simply felt I needed a little extra

“Voices of early-returned LDS Missionaries: The Daily Universe”

“Overtime, I learned that I served exactly the time I needed to serve and taught the people I needed to teach.” When I was thirteen years old, I attended an EFY (Especially for Youth) the summer before eighth grade and my counselor had asked us on the first day to think of questions we wanted answers to. They could be gospel related, familial, or academic – anything we wanted – and she promised us by the end of the week, if we sought for answers from the scriptures and prayer, we would receive an answer. The question I wrote was: am I meant to serve a mission? I had watched my older brothers prepare and serve and I felt that experience was something I wanted. During the week, I read a particular scripture in Doctrine and Covenants that influenced my decision. The spirit was so overwhelming in that moment that I knew I had my answer. From then on, I tried to live my life in a way that was preparatory for a mission and read that scripture on a daily basis. I served in the Illinois, Chicago mission for exactly seven months. I entered the MTC on July

Our Last Day in Sunny San Diego: Old Town Trolley

Hey, guys! We’re back in Utah even though it took me three potty stops during the drive (sorry, Aaron) and a 40 minute detour because we missed an exit (again, sorry Aaron. I’m not the best navigator). We still love each other anyways! Before I get too carried away with life and its responsibilities, I want to tell you the last few activities we did while in sunny San Diego. Mainly because I’m suffering from vacation withdrawals and also because some of you might find it fascinating. Wednesday was our last day there so we woke up bright and early to catch the Old Town trolley in no other place than Old Town, San Diego. We bought our tickets on our first day at a ticket booth in Seaport Village but there are other booths around the city and you can also purchase them online. Plus, the tickets are good for any weekday and they never expire. Isn’t that cool? Throughout the trolley tour, you are taken through the city to seven different “ports” that are narrated along the way. Your guide tells you about the historical landscapes, why San Diego is called “America’s Finest City”, and see the

My SoCal’ed Life: Good Morning from San Diego!

We are loving it here in sunny San Diego! After spending a few rainy days in Washington State and the weekend in cold little Logan, Utah, it’s nice to be in a place of palm trees. Sunday after the morning session of General Conference, Aaron and I drove straight from Logan to Draper to say a quick hello to my parents and switch out our rain jackets for swimming suits & sandals. We nibbled on some left over Olive Garden (have you tried the Steak Gorgonzola?! It’s delectable) then off we went. Sunday night we boarded at the Virgin River Hotel & Casino which was actually nicer than where we stayed at for our first year anniversary — haha! We’re cheap. Monday morning began bright and early with our remaining excursion to California. Our original plan was Las Vegas but it didn’t take much flirting for me to convince Aaron to spend six more long hours in the car to come to…yes, SEA WORLD!! But before I get to that, we are huge fans of airbnb, anyone else? We use it on all of our trips and we are staying in thee coolest spot! It’s like our own little oasis here in