Thursday, December 4, 2014

Chicago Travelsgiving

To say I’ve been bad at blogging this year would be a gross understatement.

I feel like most of my friends have stopped blogging though, so I have to admit that I don’t feel too bad about it. The good news for those of you who have been anxiously awaiting a new post (read: my mom) is that I finally have something cool enough that I want to share.

This Thanksgiving, I spent the break from work exploring Chicago with my roommate Hayley. It was a totally random, spur of the moment decision. We were sitting on the couch a couple of months ago when we started talking about how we had never been there before. Less than 24 hours later, we booked a place to stay in the windy city on Airbnb. We really had no reason to go other than it sounding like a great adventure. Traveling is pretty much my most favorite thing ever, as I’m sure you’ve gathered from my blog if you’ve ever looked at it before. The only thing that gets in the way is a shortage of vacation days… somehow I seem to burn through those way to quickly.

Without further adieu, here is the trip in photos. It’s ok if you admit you only wanted to see pictures. Hayley got a new camera and brought it with her, so there are some pretty great ones. Unless the picture is of Hayley, it was most likely taken by her (the not-as-great-quality ones are from my phone). I promise she let me steal her work.

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Started out the day with a nice Thanksgiving parade and cute Christmas market


The contrast between the blue of the sky and the blue of Lake Michigan was ridiculously captivating. Totally worth the Thanksgiving Day cold. Don’t worry, we went to a warm restaurant right after this. That night we went to a hilarious Second City show and enjoyed all-you-can-drink hot chocolate.

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We spent most of Friday getting lost in the Art Institute of Chicago before eating pizza and checking out the night view at the top of the Sear’s Tower (fine, I guess it’s called the Willis Tower now).


We covered a lot of ground Saturday walking along the river, checking out an almost-abandoned Navy Pier (where Hayley’s hair cooperated, but mine was going insane), visiting the Zoo and surrounding park, stopping by the Christmas market again for more treats, hanging out around the cool outdoor art displays and watching ice skaters.

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And because Hayley specifically said she went to Chicago to recreate Kanye videos, here is this gem with a “behind the scenes” shot.

On Sunday, we went back home to the real world. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving as well! Now on to counting the days until Christmas…

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 in Review

I’ve been entirely terrible at blogging since I’ve returned to the states (note the lack of a single post in December. Oops!), but there have been so many major developments this year that I felt it would be shameful if I missed my annual review.

So, without further adieu, here’s a snapshot of my 2013!



Locations: Asahikawa, Japan

Included: I got transferred to the coldest area for sister missionaries in Japan just in time for the winter! Battling the snow every day was sometimes crazy, but it was also beautiful. Asahikawa also is home to a sweet zoo where they have a penguin walk, so I got to make some new animal friends. I may have gone on three p-days.



Locations: Asahikawa, Japan

Included: February continued to be super cold, but it took a turn for the awesome when we got to go to the world-famous yuki matsuri (a.k.a. snow festival) in Sapporo and the winter festival in Asahikawa. The sculptures were the size of buildings!



Locations: Asahikawa, Japan

Included: The snow… was still a main feature of this month. I celebrated my 24th birthday and continued having fun serving the wonderful people in Japan.



Locations: Asahikawa, Japan

Included: April was the first month the age change for girl missionaries hit our mission, so all of a sudden our numbers tripled! I also got my first non-Japanese companion, Sister Lundstrom from Ohio, and we had way too much fun together.



Locations: Asahikawa & Sapporo, Japan

Included: In May I was transferred to Sapporo to be a sister training leader, which meant my companion and I got to visit all of the areas in our mission to split up and train with the sister missionaries. It was so much fun to get team up with everyone, and a dream come true to see all of the different areas! We usually went to two locations in a week, so we were living out of our suitcases and hardly ever were in our own apartment.



Locations: Sapporo, Japan; Portland, Ore.

Included: This was my last month of the mission and it was fast and crazy and fun as we continued to travel around Hokkaido every week. It was actually perfect because I got to see all of the people I had come to love in all of my areas one more time before I headed back to the states. Leaving was sad, but being reunited with my family after a year and a half was wonderful. I also enjoyed the whole being able to sleep in again thing too.



Locations: Portland, Ore.; Provo, Utah

Included: This was a whirlwind month of adjusting to being home, reuniting with friends, landing a job at and then finding an apartment in Salt Lake City. It was crazy how fast things moved, but it all worked out so perfectly I know it was definitely what I was supposed to do.



Locations: Salt Lake City, Utah

Included: Moving to Salt Lake and getting settled at work was the biggest part of this month. It was a fun adventure! We also had a mini mission reunion when my last companion came into town from Japan, so I didn’t have to miss my mission friends for too long.



Locations: Salt Lake City, Utah

Included: September was a pretty chill month. I continued to have fun exploring the area and Amber even came down from Provo a few times to eat something delicious.



Locations: Salt Lake City, Utah

Included: I kept working and living and enjoyed the fall colors.



Locations: Salt Lake City, Utah; All over California

Included: The best part of this month was hands down tagging along with Amber and her friend for a Thanksgiving road trip to California. We hit up an extra-magical Disneyland on Thanksgiving, enjoyed warm beaches and visited the animals at the San Diego Zoo (in case anyone was wondering, I think I’ve been to three zoos this year for a total of six times). It was kind of hard to come back to cold Utah… as you may have guessed, I’ve had more than my fill of chilly weather this past year.



Locations: Salt Lake City, Utah; Portland, Ore.

Included: The Christmas season featured fun parties in Salt Lake and then wonderful reunions back home in Portland! I got a fabulous week off from work to come home. I wasn’t here for Christmas last year, so that just made it even more special. It was a perfect end to a big year.

And that was 2013! I hope you all had a fantastic year as well, and that 2014 will be even more amazing.

*Song of the day = London, by She & Him. My next destination, perhaps?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Golden Mountain Perfection

Fall leaves, golden sun, a tinsy bit of snow… Amber and I lucked out with all of the perfect ingredients to mess around with for a fun fall photo play-day.

(Just to clarify, snow is only permissible right now to make things look pretty. Otherwise, it is entirely unacceptable. And now that we’re done taking pictures, it should go away.)

Amber got an awesome camera on her birthday, so we’d been wanting to get out on a photo adventure together and I finally made it down to Provo with my camera the other weekend. It was the perfect fall day, so her roomie Erin was wise to tag along. Just see for yourself!


See right there? That is what we call golden fall perfection. It’s a scientific term.

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It needed to be played in.


And that included bubbles. Look at what a graceful team they make.

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It was the perfect opportunity for Amber to put her new camera to good use!

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There was also lots of good roommate bonding…


but the spiders weren’t quite as friendly looking. (Maybe we should have given them more of a chance?)

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But still, with the somehow simultaneously dusty-yet-muddy roads leading us to fresh air, it was quite lovely.

The whole bunch, for those with time to waste (or those who are avoiding doing more productive things):

And for Amber’s take on things, you can check her blog out.


And a Happy Halloween Season to you!

*Song of the day = Daylight by Matt & Kim


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