My cure for boredom

The Rocket Summer said it best when they (he) sang, "This ain't where it's at, my friends will second that." Despite his poor grammar, I think he must have visited Brigham before. I've lived here my whole life, and I can definitely vouch for the fact that indeed not where it's at.
However, that's never stopped us before.
I have to say, nearly 22 years in this town, and I've never been bored for long. I should probably sell this information and make millions (or at the very least write a book) but I think it's best these ideas are out there for others to try. And/ or laugh at. And probably make fun of.
Enjoy... :)

An oldie, but still worth mentioning. Did you know if you call a hotel and ask in your very nicest, most pathetic voice, they'll let you come swim at the pool for free? Goodbye winter boredom!
One day, when we'd reached ultimate boredom, Carrie & I decided it would be fun to pretend we were tourists and go on a tour of the rich historical heritage of Brigham City! Unfortunately, it was getting dark, so we had to choose our destinations wisely. After getting ice cream at the famous Peach City, we of course made our way to the bird refuge!

As you can tell, there was lots to do. We took pictures at the gate...we got ourselves a pamphlet...and we didn't see one dang bird.

But, never fear! We were still able to get some pictures at the place where magic is made... that's right, the Box Elder news journal! Looking for a yard sale this weekend? Look no further!
Cause, why not? Why are these signs always upside down?? Drives the little OCD girl in me completely nuts.
Ah, a classic! This project started out in the hunt for a treat. Carrie pulled out a gigantic bag of M&M's, and we started thinking, hey! We could do some M&M art! That's got to be a thing, right? 
One quick google search later, we found out that it sure was! So we got to sorting, used Carrie's mad art skills, and laughed about how hilarious we were for making Eminem out of M&Ms. Ha, ha, ha.
(Side note: Anthony, I'm still very sorry about the unkind words we spoke to each other whilst making this masterpiece. As you well know, it was very stressful.)
About halfway through we realized we may have taken on a little much. But I mean, you see the resemblance, right?

Yeah, I know. Nailed. It.
(We didn't realize until too late that this was much harder than it seems. Where on earth did these people find WHITE m&ms? We used our resources and soaked some in water until the color came off. And if this project was good for nothing else, at least now Carrie's m&ms are all sorted into colors. Makes the little OCD girl in me very, very happy.)

Oh, boy.
HOURS of entertainment.
Face In Hole. Pretty sure my roommates and I could make these for hours and just laugh like crazy because we are all secretly 5 year olds. 

And when all else fails? Make a fake mustache. Because the possibilities are endless.
I know I'm not the only one who's done this. You're at the store, and you see something and realize you saw this awesome idea on Pinterest using that one, everyday thing? Well, this time I sucked Annie in with this supposedly ah-may-zing face mask recipe.
Does the look on our faces tell you it was amazing?
All I'm going to say is, DO NOT put straight gelatin and water on your face. It will not come off. Ever. Pinterest fail.

Just hang out with these two. Seriously, hours of entertainment. For free! On this particular night, I think they kept this up for over an hour. Luckily, Carrie and I just encourage them.

And finally, my all time favorite...make a video. 
I was sworn to never show this to anyone. But here I am...I'm not scared of you, Alex!!!
(Only a little.)

If you don't know who Hailey Haugen is, go to google and type in: "Hailey Haugen Two Years" and watch the video.
Don't get me wrong, we love her. Maybe a little too much. After quoting the video all year, we decided we just HAD to make our own parody on our last night at our apartment. (Since it was, after all, our "last night together right now.")

And now, I'm sitting at home bored, and the blogging is done...what could tonight's adventure be? :)

RFG 2012

So, it's not fair...I started this blog way after Retreat was over with, which means I didn't get to gush about every moment of it like my pal Rae. So, since this is my blog which makes me Optimus Prime (see what I did there?), we're going to do a little throwback here so I can celebrate one of my favorite things in this world...Retreat for girls!
When I was 15 (and not yet a member of the church) a friend took me to RFG and I LOVED it. It became a huge part of the reason I chose to get baptized in 2009. So, after that, I decided I just had to be a counselor there! And this year, I was lucky enough to be chosen! (Yes, chosen. Makes me feel more special that way.)
This is Rae & I at registration. See all the lined up water bottles? This must be the second week, because we all seem a lot more organized.
The first thing the director Katie told us when we were hired was that we should start praying for our girls, even though we hadn't met them yet. So I did, and it turned out to be one of the biggest blessings! I was so nervous to meet my group the first week, but as they all walked up to check in, I remember thinking, "Oh yeah! These are my girls! Of course." It was like I had met them before. (Do I sound all mama bird here, or what? Well hang in there, it gets worse.)

I can't believe how fast I fell in love with my girls. I'll be the first to admit, I'm not quick to show affection. (My roommate would always get mad at me because she'd yell "I LOVE YOU!" everytime one of us left or even hung up the phone, and I never. said it. back. I know, I'm a monster.) But by the first night, I was tucking all my girls into bed and telling them I loved them, and I'm sure if I wasn't so dead tired all the time, I would have been staying up late worrying about them. (But give me a break, they were right upstairs. And it's only by some miracle that any of us counselors make it through the week on four hours of sleep a night or less.)

But, don't give me too much credit for loving them so much. They were pretty great. (Also, thank you girls for introducing me to this song. And by thank you I mean oh my, I heard it so much that week I never ever EVER need to hear it again.)

Of course it's the girls that make Retreat what it is, but who doesn't love all the special touches? I will go to my grave swearing that RFG is just plain better than EFY. (It IS.)

I spent weeks making these decorations that were basically torn down in the first five minutes. (Although my sweet girls DID try to fix it with the useless painters tape multiple times.)

The nicknames are also so much fun... the first week I blew it what my real name was, but the second week I held strong! I will forever think Nomi is 100% cooler and all around better than Anndee is.

The other counselors...I was SO excited to get to spend 2 weeks with these girls, and that's all it took to form lifelong friendships. They are the best girls I know! I loved our nightly counselor meetings hearing everyone's crazy stories from the day, or finding out that one counselor was struggling with the same thing you were. And I'm SO glad counselors had to have roommates too, it was so much fun! If you have to stay up until 4:00 planning and making things, only to be up again at 6:00, then dang it, you better have a room full of girls with you. I just love them so much!

This dance. First of all, strangely, this is what I was most scared of at Retreat. See, I DO NOT dance. I have zero coordination, and trying to teach me any choreography is a disaster. But honestly, after the first day I realized there was nothing to be afraid of. One of my favorite things about Retreat was how much it brought me out of my shell. I honestly didn't care one bit what anyone thought or if I was dancing bad, and maybe that's because I had 12 girls looking at me all day long like I was the coolest thing to happen to them since One Direction. Whatever the reason, the self esteem boost was nice.

The second week was an entirely new adventure. I went home after the first week and bawled the whole way home. Then I slept the entire weekend until I had to be back on Sunday night. By the time registration rolled around again, I just couldn't imagine taking on a whole new group and loving them as much as I had the last one. Did I even have it in me? I was really surprised by how different my second group was. The second week should have been essentially the same as the first, but it was like stepping into a new world. I loved them all (of course) just as much, and I think that week I came out of my shell even MORE. (I know, things were getting out of control by then.)

The tears. Oh, boy. I am not a crier...I just plain don't cry. But at Retreat, I think I was crying about 95% of the time. (Rae can back me up on that.) Even now, when I listen to Mercy River songs, I get all teary eyed. ("All my girls are just so beautiful and they don't know it and Heavenly Father really does love me so much and I want to go back to Retreat because the real world STINKS...") It's really a new experience to be on that much of a spiritual high and that lacking in sleep. I promise, I am not nearly as crazy as I made myself out to be during those two weeks. Oh well, I still made friends out of it!

The inside jokes. I wasn't expecting to feel so close to my group. You get so used to having these girls following you around all week that coming home I felt very, very alone. I guess it's "nature" but it really bonds you to someone to have them in your care 24/7. I've never had a little sister, and now I have a bunch of them that still keep in touch with me all the time! I feel so blessed for that.

Saying Goodbye. Probably the hardest thing ever. You turn them over to their parents and feel like giving them a lecture. ("And she needs to read her scriptures everyday, do you understand? I mean it. And she says she can't wake up without an alarm but she really can, and she'll try to convince you she can't live without her phone but I'm tempted to throw that thing out the window...") I got so lucky, both my groups were just awesome. At the closing banquet each group sings their counselor a song they made up. They're always clever and adorable and a new reason to cry some more.

I am SOOOO excited to get married (in 36 days!!!) but I'm really sad I won't be able to do Retreat again. I do know that I was able to be a counselor exactly when I was supposed to...those girls were definitely meant for me and I'm so blessed to have them in my life!
So I might have up a lot of engagements, I might talk a lot about our wedding or our house, but I refuse to take down Retreat pictures because they remind me of one of the best experiences of my life, and help me want to be more like Nomi everyday...just maybe a little less tired and emotional...


Nobody tells you what a train wreck house hunting can be.

We started out so naiive  hopeful, telling ourselves we wanted a "fixer-upper"! I have actually said the words, "I don't want to have a nice place at first, I want us to work together on it."

Cute, Anndee. Until you see some of the houses in our price range.

The first day of house hunting was a rude awakening for us. We had our hearts set on this certain house in Brigham that we'd only seen online, and when we got there we were...let's say...less than happy with what we saw. It wasn't a fixer-upper. In fact, our realtor pointed out, ever so nicely, that we "would probably want to get it checked for meth."

And it gets better. There was the house in Ogden that had something living in the walls. As we were leaving, we heard it clawing from the inside. Our realtor tried to convince us it was just a starling (doesn't that make it sound much more charming?) but that was no bird. There was some sort of werewolf in there.

We did finally find a cute townhouse in Brigham, and on Halloween we put in our first offer. A few days later we found out that even though the property had been listed for over a year with little interest, there had been an offer the same day as ours full price, in cash. So, basically, impossible to compete with.

A few weeks later we found an even cheaper townhouse in Ogden. So again, we put in an offer, this time full price because we weren't taking any chances. But what happened? Someone else offered more. More than full price! We were starting to believe we just had terrible luck.

But weeks ago, Caleb showed me a house he found out in Garland. It didn't look like much, and the picture online with the power plant behind it left much to be desired.

Luckily we decided to go look at it anyway, and boy are we both glad we did! Not only is the house in our price range, but the inside is perfect. New kitchen, new bathrooms, 5 bedrooms! (I know, how can this house possibly fit 5 bedrooms? I'm convinced it's a trick.) We were so excited that we put in an offer as soon as we could, and presumably I'm jumping the gun even writing this because we're still waiting to hear. 

But here's to hoping we're homeowners soon!!

Notice anything weird in this picture? Hint: look in the mirror. 

Yeah...this shower (AND the other shower) has 2 heads! And this is a jetted tub! How lucky can we get?!

Semi-amateur wedding planning advice...

Like I've mentioned before, ever since I got engaged, people keep telling me how stressful wedding planning is. You always see those pins about "How to have a great wedding for under $6,000" or "Using the dollar store!" But honestly, from this end of things, it's a lot easier than it seems. We stayed well within our budget, and even splurged a little. And the best part is, it's been fun! So here is my advice for anyone trying to plan an inexpensive wedding without pulling their hair out in the process.

#1: The Budget: My parents gave us $5,000 toward the wedding, apologizing the entire time because they thought it couldn't nearly be enough. Keep in mind, Caleb's family is paying for tuxes, ties, and the wedding luncheon, so take that out of the budget. Once we started looking, we realized this was more than we could possibly need for what we wanted! Granted, we haven't sent out invites yet, but we've only spent $3,500 and we are basically done. Pretty good, if you ask me. So how did we do it?

  • Decide what you can live without. Caleb and I just aren't traditional, and we consider ourselves pretty practical. The more we thought about it, the more we realized we really didn't need certain "traditional" aspects at our wedding. We chose to do without flowers or a cake. (I know, some of you are probably dying right now, but hear me out.) We got beautiful fake flowers for centerpieces which (bonus!) we can use as gifts to bridesmaids afterwards AND decorate with in our house. You leave on your honeymoon right after the reception, so by the time you come home all your flowers are dead anyway. As for the cake, we shopped around forever and people kept telling us, "You freeze the cake and eat it all year, there's always so much left over!" I'm sorry, but if I want to spend $500 on a cake, I'll have a fresh freakin cake every time, thank you very much. And one where a strangers hands haven't been all over in the frosting. The other argument, "You have to have pictures of you feeding each other cake!" I'm sorry, explain that one to me. Or better yet, show me ONE person who displays that picture in their house. Exactly. The point is, maybe you can't imagine living without flowers or a cake, but there are probably some aspects of your wedding that you can live without. And as an added bonus, we used the money for the cake to rent a photobooth, which will be way more fun!
  • Bridesmaids & Groomsmen.  All my time being a bridesmaid, I'll admit it, was miserable, probably because most of the brides made me stand in line with them and greet all the guests. So first of all, not doing that: just us & the parents, maybe. Second, dresses are expensive! I had some buy us the dresses, some request that we buy them (annoying- when am I going to wear this again?) and one who did what I'm doing- gave us a color and set us loose. I'm asking my bridesmaids to wear a grey dress with colored shoes. This way, they can buy a dress they actually like and still wear it afterwards! For the groomsmen, we have a friend who sells ties for $5, and we're just getting tuxes for Caleb & the dads. (Mostly because my dad hasn't owned a suit in...ever.)

#2:Find what you have to have, and do that first. Mine was a little tricky, because we are getting married in the temple, but also having a ring ceremony. It makes for a busy day, and lots to plan for! I found the times Caleb and I felt stressed were when other people got overly involved and told us we were doing it wrong. But delegate- if you don't care what you have for your rehearsal dinner or luncheon, let someone else who has done this before decide. I think the moms especially love to get involved, but don't want to step on anyone's toes, so let them give advice and make decisions and be in charge too- but only where you feel you don't have strong opinions anyway.

#3: Get crafty. How on earth did anyone plan a wedding before pinterest came along? It's been a lifesaver! I've been lucky, because my fiance loves to help me with all the projects I get myself into, so we get to spend time together AND get stuff done for our wedding. We made all our own centerpieces, plus Caleb is great with Adobe Illustrator, so he made our invites, tags for our favors, and some other fun printouts. I'd say 90% of our wedding is homemade, and maybe some people would hate that, but I think it perfectly fits us!

We had so much fun making this sign together, it was the perfect team-project. Plus, it only cost about $5.00 to make. Score!

 (Oh, and we cheated a little- we went back and forth on what to do for a backdrop and just couldn't agree. Then we stumbled across one of my friends wedding photos from last year and angels started singing "halleluia"- her backdrop was in my colors! So I texted her and lucked out that she still has it and is willing to let me use it! So that brings me to another point, use your resources. You don't have to buy everything.)

#5: The dress. Maybe I was easy because I had no expectations- I didn't have a clue what kind of dress I wanted, or what would look good on me. I ended up buying the first one I tried on! (Don't worry, I tried a couple others too, and they just weren't me!) The best advice I got about the dress was not to question it. If you find one you love, buy it. And then stop dress shopping, for pete's sake. You just confuse yourself. I spent $700 on the dress, and I got $100 off for buying it that same day. I still thought that was pretty expensive, but I guess if you watch Say yes to the dress, I'm doing great! (And for the record, if I could have found anywhere to rent a dress, I would have done that, hands down. My soon to be sister in law bought her dress on clearance for $100, then resold it after her wedding for $150! When Caleb heard that, he said, "Well why don't we do that?!")

#4: Shop online. Not only can you find better deals, but you're much more likely to find unique items, and in bulk when you need them. I was looking all over for these puppies:

and finally  found them online at They were a little more expensive to buy in bulk, but we decided it was worth it since we can sell them afterwards. (My hunt for them proved they are pretty big for weddings and parties right now, so we're hoping they'll be easy to resell.) Also, the other day I found them at Zurchers, and they were glass as well but more expensive and didn't have the cute decal on the front. But if I hadn't found these first, I would have gone for those!

#5: Don't forget why you're doing this.  The day after I got engaged, I woke up at 7:00 in the morning, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, just because I wanted to put my ring on and stare at it and daydream. I think as little girls we are always fed the notion that our wedding day is the best day of our lives, and that leads to thinking we have to have the perfect wedding, or we won't be happy. But think about it: it's one day. It will go by so fast, you'll need the pictures to remember any of the small details. Honestly, I am much more excited for the marriage than I am for the wedding. 

Oh, and don't forget to include your fiance in the planning. It's just as much his day as it is yours.

Conversations with my Fiance...part one

Scene: getting ready to leave for a friend's house after work.

Me: Oh, my new coat came today! Want to see?

Caleb: Show me!

Me: (putting on coat with as much dramatic flair as possible.)

Caleb: (stone faced) It's kind of big.

Me: It is kind of big. But it's a coat, I guess it's supposed to be.

Caleb: (still stone faced)

Me: I got it online, so I couldn't check the size for sure...

Caleb: (it's as if he's not even in the room)

Me: (getting desperate for a reaction) It's warm! But look...the lining has skulls.

Caleb: Skulls?

Me: Yeah, I didn't pick it. They didn't show that in the pictures online.

Caleb: Yeah, it's pretty big. I thought those were supposed to fit better.

Me: Yeah. It is. Big. Does it make me look fat...?

Caleb: (studying me in my fat coat, clearly trying to think up the nicest way possible to tell me that I do indeed look fat in my too big coat.)

Me: Hey! You're supposed to say, "No, of course not!"

Caleb: (confused, but dead serious) you want me to lie about stuff like that?

Awkward silence.

Me: (realizing I'm marrying a man who will always tell me like it is, even if I don't like it, and even if I can't return the coat.) .......I guess not.