Here are some pictures I took of my beautiful sister Val while we were at Yellowstone:


Thoughts About Thoughts

Have you ever thought about your thoughts?

I mean truly, this is a very important question. Because our thoughts are a huge part of what makes us who we are. Think about it. Positive thoughts create positive feelings and positive actions. Negative thoughts create negative feelings and actions [as well as self justification, which creates a downward spiral of negativity, but we won't even go there].

To realize that we are in charge of our thoughts is a huge step to becoming better people.

Have you ever sat down and thought to yourself something like, "Hmmmm. What should I think about?" It's a strange question, I know, but it's also quite intriguing. There are so many possibilities. Our thoughts have no restraints. Man this is deep stuff I've been thinking about lately. Sometimes I get lost in my thoughts about thoughts.

Yesterday, John and I went out in nature on an awesome bike ride, in a mountainous area, next to a beautiful river. The plan was we'd go on our bike ride, have a picnic, and afterwards John would find a place to fish. Meanwhile, I would get a nice tan while reading. Unfortunately, I am me, and I forgot to bring my book. I also forgot to bring my camping chair.

After our ride, I found an uncomfortable hot rock, and for a while I was happy to observe John as he fished [he caught two rainbow trout [or is it trouts?]]! But then I started getting bored. And hot. And the stupid flies just wouldn't leave me alone. So I went back to the car and as I was sitting their I realized I didn't want to let boredom get the best of me.

So I tried the normal things a person of my age would do. I checked my phone: no service. I checked John's phone: no 3G, no service. And then I looked out at nature and realized I didn't need a phone! I had my thoughts to entertain me. So I asked myself the question, "What should I think about?" And the strangest thing happened! I started thinking deeply, and it was so much fun. And quite helpful too.

One of the dangers of this technology filled world is that we don't have as much time to sit and think. Back when computers, cell phones, internet, and tv didn't exist, people thought about things on a more regular basis. Life was so much more simple back then. But now it's like a gadget free life creates this silence that makes us uncomfortable. It's been happening to me. It's like I have to be doing something all the time. But now I realize, it's good sometimes to just do nothing but think.

So I'm making a goal to tone down my technology. Less facebook, less wandering all over the web reading blogs that have nothing to do with anything. Less live streaming Netflix.

More meaningful thinking, which will hopefully lead to a more meaningful life.


Oh How I Love the French!

France has always fascinated me. I've always been a fan of the country. To tell the truth, I don't know much about the place. Except that it has the Eiffel Tower... Oh, and one of my favorite foreign films is from there [Amelie].

The biggest reason I love France is because of their love for cooking things that are delicious. The dish featured above is my favorite dessert of all time. And guess where it was invented......? Yep, France.

Creme Brulee is so good it deserves to be capitalized. It's creamy with the perfect amount of crunch. It's like heaven in my mouth and belly. I'm not even kidding.

So John and I had our two year anniversary on the 7th, and my mother gave us a gift. It was a kit for making my favorite of all desserts! So naturally we had to try it out. It was sooooooo delicious. And of course Jaunito loved the part where he got to use the torch to caramelize the sugar :)

You know it's good when John licks his ramekin [I would have too, but I was really full]:


Link to recipe here.


Photoshop World!

Ok peeps. I really need your help. This is serious business we are dealing with here in this post.

See, my school is paying for me and a group of photography students to get into Photoshop World [an awesome conference where some of the worlds best photographers/editors get together and teach us novices what photography is all about]. And oh my heavens I am sooooo excited!

I have a problem though. We leave next Monday to head to Vegas, where the conference will be held, and I still need to put together my portfolio... I've been procrastinating because I am so indecisive, and I can't decide what pictures will be best to print.

Here's where you all come in. I'm going to post the photos that I feel are my best. I only have room for ten in my portfolio. So I need as many people as possible to vote and tell me which three photos should be kicked out of the running. I'm also bringing a photo book that has most of my photography from last semester in it, so what I'll show below is from before and after the past semester.

Go ahead, scroll down, and leave a comment with the ones you like least [click to enlarge]!

Thanks :)

Number 1

Number 2

Number 3

Number 4

Number 5

Number 6

Number 7

Number 8

Number 9

Number 10

Number 11

Number 12

Number 13

Also, if you have any advice on how I can improve any of these, that would be greatly appreciated as well!


The Beauty of Yellowstone

We went to a family reunion at Yellowstone this past weekend and had a blast. We saw bison, elk, deer, birds, rivers, mountains, sunsets, and two little black specks that were bears. We went fishing, bike riding, hiking, hot tubbing, pooling, tanning, and sight seeing. We watched movies, ate great food, and enjoyed each others company. We had fun.

Family is such an important part of my life, and I'm so happy that I was blessed with such an awesome/adventurous family. You guys are the best!

Here are some photos from the trip that I feel capture some of the beauty of our family reunion at Yellowstone [click to enlarge]:

We missed you Mark and Nate!


First Time Car Buyers

Shortly after we moved back to Rexburg, we decided to upgrade to an SUV. We loved our car, but wanted to get something four wheel drive. You know — for driving in the snow, and up steep/muddy mountains.

The biggest reason we decided to do this was to build our credit. We both have pretty good scores, but we don't have much history. So even though we didn't want to add a car payment to our list of monthly bills, we decided it would be worth it. Hoping it would make it easier to get a loan on a house someday.

We were nervous/excited. Loans are scary, and interest is super lame. Sheesh.

John has a friend who is related to the guy who owns Murdock Hyundai, so we stopped by the one in Lindon, Utah while we were visiting my family one weekend. We spent a long time negotiating at the dealership, and ended up trading in our car. We made sure to buy an extended warranty as well, because the SUV we bought was at 55,000 miles, very close to the 60,000 original warranty expiration date [***remember the previous sentence, it will be important later].

We signed the papers and drove home in our very own 2007 Hyundai Tuscan!

[This is the only picture I've taken of it, sorry you can't see the whole thing. I'd take another, only it's at the shop as I type, getting a new engine installed...........]

I had a little episode of buyers remorse after everything was final, and we got into the car to find the check engine light on. Why hadn't I asked for the car facts!? Could they assure us that it was a good buy? Had the previous owners taken good care of it? I hadn't asked any of these questions! What the heck!?

They made me feel better when they told me that the light was only on because the gas cap wasn't screwed on tight enough. Hello, you have to keep turning until you hear three clicks!

For a while, we were happy with everything. But then things started going wrong…

I won't go into all the dirty details here, because they are long and you won't want to read all about them. All you need to know is this: the previous owners of our beautiful SUV didn't care much for it. The engine is completely ruined, because they weren't fond of changing the oil. The dealership who sold us the car failed to mention this very CRUCIAL AND IMPORTANT DETAIL! By the time we figured out this huge problem, we are at 59,200 miles. 800 short of the expiration.

As you probably know, problems caused by owners not taking proper care of the vehicle aren't covered under the warranty. You can see where I'm headed can't you? We were in trouble.

But a miracle happened. Hyundai custmer service is amazing. The dealership we are taking it to now in Idaho Falls is replacing the motor for us because they know we had nothing to do with the damage that was done. Murdock Hyundai should NEVER have sold us the car in the first place. This replacement is costing them $4,500. We agreed to pay about $1000 for routine maintenance that needs to be done at the $60,000 mile mark anyway. So it's not going to be free, but seriously. Go Hyundai.

I'm still planning on writing a very strong letter to the owner of Murdock Hyundai to let him know how upset we are that his dealership sold us a car in terrible shape.

An adventurous first time car buying experience, don't you think?


Big Brown Eyed Beauty

This is Giselle. She is the daughter of one of my very best friends. If you've been following my blog, you've seen pictures of her once before. I took some Easter photos of her when she was just a tiny little new born [see those photos here]. She's a little over 4 months old now, and she just keeps getting cuter.

She has such big eyes, and was great for the camera! Here are a few of my favorites from this morning [click to enlarge]:

I pretty much love her.


Chester, MT

It's official. I have the cutest niece and nephew on the planet. I'm not even joking!

Here's the proof [click to enlarge]:

Seriously though... Am I right!?

John and I are in Montana visiting his family. We've had a blast relaxing, playing with the kids, getting teeth cleaned, riding motorcycles & four wheelers, picking raspberries, and eating DELICIOUS food [until we feel like we are exploding]. All in all, it's been a great couple of days. It's been a welcome break.

Here are a few more photos from yesterday:

[Viola finds every excuse to get naked hahaha ;]
[John's sister emily and our nephew Julius]
[Just stuffing herself with freshly picked raspberries, no big deal.]

Happy Monday!