Thanksgiving by the Beach

This year, my family got to spend a nice Thanksgiving at my grandparents’ house in Laguna Beach. It was a short 20 minute drive for us, but since those driving minutes took us to the coast, it made a world of a difference. We got to enjoy the 90 degree weather on the beach, playing on the rocks and in the waves, as the Turkey cooked in the oven at their house. It was my version of a perfect day.

Since moving to Utah for school, these moments together as a family have become even more sweet to me. Even if they had taken us to Siberia, I would have enjoyed spending this holiday time with the people on earth who I love and who love me no matter what. My family is really tight and we have seen each other at our best and at our worst and still manage to get along and enjoy being together as much as we can.

If i’m being honest, their love and support (along with my Heavenly Father and His gospel) is what gets me through rough times. This past year, I have come to find out who really is there for me and who loves me even when I’m at my worst. In the past year alone they have seen me sick, crying, stressed, and irritable- and they still love me. I cannot express how grateful I am for you all.

We are all flawed. Flaws are not always endearing or exciting, but can be ugly and annoying. They can make people fight and argue and even tear people apart. I have come to find that the people who love you because and/or in spite of the  most annoying parts of you (even when those parts do cause argument or irritation) are the ones to keep close. Thank you to the people in my life who stick by me, no matter what.

I also remembered how much I miss living in this sunny state with my family and some of my closest friends, so I took some pictures to carry with me into the cold Utah December. Sunshine and loved ones are what make me truly happy. (okay and maybe tacos too)

This season, I am going to try and hold those things closer to me by letting my loved ones know what they mean to me and by holding the sunshine in my heart as I keep a more positive outlook. I challenge you to keep whatever it is that makes you happy close this season and to let the people who matter most know how much you appreciate them.




Fall in Utah

Growing up in California, seasons were never a reality (except maybe a cloudy season with an occasional bout of rainy days and then a season filled with sunshine and beach days). That’s more than just okay with me, I love the predictability and I love the sunshine.

Now, I live in Utah where seasons are most definitely a thing and sometimes all four can happen in a single day. Living in Provo, Utah, I sometimes feel like a fish out of water. It seems that everyone is hyper-social, hyper-worried about appearing and even being perfect, and loves the seasons.

Fall, in particular is kind of a big deal. At first, I resisted because naturally, I miss the warmth and the sunshine and the ability to tan or wear sundresses and sandals. Over time, I decided to lean into it.

That’s an idea I have adopted for many subjects over time. Lean into it. Just decide to be happy with what I have and learn to love my life how it is, scars and bruises and all.

When I look at fall, it is beautiful. Even though its not what I prefer weather-wise, even though I know that it means the beauty has to give way to bareness, snow, and freezing temperatures, fall is beautiful. Life is never going to be exactly the way we want it to be.

There are usually tests, trials, and challenges we could never see coming that threaten to destroy us. There are always tasks to be done and goals to achieve.

For me, at least, the key is to accept sadness and hardship as natural parts of life and to look for the good, to learn how to grow and become better because hard things happen that throw off your balance in life.

A couple weeks ago, despite mountains of schoolwork, work hours, a messy room, and a myriad of other works in progress I as in the middle of, I took a break to grab a pumpkin spice (no coffee) frappuccino and drove up the alpine loop. I brought along my camera and appreciated the colors and the fleeting beauty that is fall. It was spectacular and it inspired me to work even harder when I got home after the journey.

PNW Trip Part 3: Vancouver

The last leg of this journey was Vancouver in British Columbia.

Neither I nor my friend had ever stepped foot in Canada before, so this was bound to be an adventure.

The border we crossed was in the middle of “Peace Arch Historical State Park”  and it was pretty simple, considering we were only staying one night, to cross the border.

Driving through Canada was interesting, it felt a little bit like Europe (probably because we switched back into the metric system). There was plenty of farmland, small village, and confusing street signs. We discovered that a flashing green light at an intersection means that the cars wishing to turn left have the right of way, an opposite to the American green light which enforced a yield for drivers making a left turn.

Once we arrived in Vancouver, it became clear that this was a town of fine dining and shopping. Tourists everywhere raved of chef David Hawksworth’s two restaurants: Hawksworth and Nightingale. Did we try both? Maybe…. but it was SO worth it.

If you ever end up at Nightingale, you have to try the Speatzle- trust me.

We didn’t end up getting a great deal of pictures from shopping around or eating, but the next day (our last full day) we drove around Stanley Park. It was absolutely beautiful! It was a cloudy day, finally, and we were able to enjoy the typical gray weather experienced in this region of the world.

The park was gorgeous! There were tall trees, sea planes, colorful native american totem poles, and a great view of the skyline.

We then drove quickly through Granville island before heading back to Seattle to end our weekend adventure.

We loved Vancouver! (especially because they also had a Ladureé and if you know me, you know my love for their macaroons is real and that as soon as we found out Vancouver was one of their few locations, we basically ran-walked there to get a box of 8, each).