Jun 21, 2017

Why I think social media can be AWESOME



Hi!!! Stayed up wayyy too late last night finishing up my shutterfly book because I wanted to get it ordered BEFORE the 50% off everything deal expired... which was last night. Granted Shutterfly offers that deal & more like every other week so really there's never any REAL pressure BUT I wanted it haha. If you know me, you know I love documenting my life! I just do. I get so excited about something and want to snap a pic of it in hopes of trapping those excited feelings and special moments within a little frame. And for the most part... my pictures do just that for me. I am NO expert and my pictures are far from perfect or non-pixelated (probably not even a term) but to the untrained eye, Jord and I LOOOOVE looking back at our pictures. We've known each other for 10 years now (WHAT?!?) so the memories that are sparked by looking back at pictures are just sweeter and sweeter as the years go by. I'm so grateful I've snapped pics in all our moments together. 

I know what some of you are thinking, and YES I do love to live in the moment and think that it is definitely important. If there are times where pictures seem too forced or inappropriate or it really is just better to sit back and enjoy it, I do know how to refrain ;) But my point is most the time it is hardly a distraction and believe it or not it is fun for us (okay mostly me) to be capturing how I see the world. 

What comes hand in hand with taking a million pictures for me, is I love to share them. (I have this weird perception that well hey I like to see what MY friends and family are up to... so hey maybe they might want to see what I've been doing too?! Basically I'll just pretend that you all care.) If you follow me on social media it probably seems like I am sharing EVERY single picture I take and sharing all the time haha and while I do post a lot there are a lot of pictures that don't get posted. And that is okay! 

I consider myself to be a pretty genuine person. When I care about people, I REALLY care about them and with that comes this funny little intriguing desire to know what is going on in their life. Weird right? Living away from family and friends for the past year the only connection I really had with a lot of people was through social media. (Cause who picks up the phone nowadays to actually call and tell your loved ones about your life?! -Another rant for another day.) I totally loved seeing that my cousins won their baseball/soccer/basketball games or my aunts and uncles spent an awesome week in Hawaii, or my friend painted something new and her shop is killin it and how cute all my friends' baby bumps growing! I love being motivated by fitness accounts and seeing great alternatives for a healthier snack option or also a fun new workout to try for the day. Getting advice on great places to eat yummy food? Yes please. Also pics please of my little nieces and nephews who I haven't had the chance to meet yet! I love having met people through traveling and seeing where they are going to next!! How inspiring is that?! Would I have ever thought of going to Iceland? Probably not haha! But now that I know it is a possibility and I can connect with people to see HOW they did it... definitely on the bucket list. ALSO weird as it seems I've had people come to me asking advice on one thing or another they've seen me post about (I know, I know, what?!) and of course I'm so excited to share some good news!! 

So whats not to like? Here comes the deep dark evil part of social media that traps so many... I think, no I KNOW the danger comes when people get caught up in a little word called comparison. And ya, I can definitely gather how that can make social media seem like the WORST. Coveting is of the devil. Not a healthy way to live at all. If you find yourself getting depressed and down rather than inspired by looking at other people's pictures, I totally think you should delete all your accounts asap! If following a particular account makes you feel bad about yourself? Here is the beautiful thing, you can choose to unfollow. No one (including me) NEEDS to have social media in their life! haha
I don't know HOW to get it across to you but, YOU are awesome. Just the way YOU are. Your life is beautiful and different (as it should be) than anyone else's. Your trials and struggles are NOT the same as anyone else. YOUR accomplishments are sooooo unique and something to be proud of!! Let's get real here by stating the obvious... pictures on social media are often filtered (don't we all know this by now?) haha and we just have to realize that YES there are so many awesome inspiring HONEST people posting about hard things that we could relate with or could help us to get through a similar struggle AND there are also people who like to keep it pretty positive and uplifting as far as sharing goes. I know I do, being vulnerable is scary ha!! You just have to take it as it is and accept that social media is going to be a highlight reel of someone's life. AND LET'S LET THAT INSPIRE US! Don't get down on people for being excited to share about their accomplishments and passions. If you don't like it, you don't have to be there. (Yikes that was harsh.)

I don't even know how to articulate my point with all this rambling haha but basically what I think I'm trying to get across is YOU do YOU. (and not just with social media- because let's get real it gets a lot deeper than that)
For me???
I love taking pictures and capturing what I think are beautiful memories. 
I love sharing these moments and hopefully my friends and family can be excited for me!
I also love staying connected and seeing what is going on in my friends and family's life. 
I love being inspired by creative people from all over the world!
And while it's awesome, social media NEVER takes precedence over real, genuine, human contact haha. Husband comes first. Family comes first. REAL PEOPLE always come first!!! PUT IT AWAY PEOPLE. PUT THE PHONE DOWN. 
BALANCE is crucial, as with all things in life. It's simply a fun little hobby to keep to the side. I share a lot, but I also have a life where soooooooooo much goes on that only those super close to me are a part of. 
So, share the positivity! Share the love. Be kind to others. Be kind to EVERYONE. Inspire! Don't take it too seriously! Share hard things! Don't share anything! Unplug for a while! Whatever! Just do you! Be healthy. Be happy. But, love one another!! 

Haha if you made it to the end of my extremely long random rant, props. I don't honestly know why I felt the need to explain myself (probably cause, America?? Freedom of speech? ;)) but there ya go.  

Also.
Here are a few of the pics I added to my Shutterfly book! Just a HIGHLIGHT reel. ;) 













May 6, 2017

THE CATAMARAN and some tidbits




We have come full circle!!
Our first day, (literally within 5 hours of getting off the airplane) in St. Thomas we were snorkeling around Turtle Cove of Buck Island. -Thanks to our friend who picked us up from the airport and dropped us off in the ocean ha! We hadn't been back since but got invited on a catamaran tour over there, and now we only have WEEKS left here in St. Thomas. We began and ended with Buck Island.

The "Cat" was awesome and the water was spectacularrrrrrr. Couldn't have asked for a prettier day. And if I could sail around the ocean just chillin on the net with some chips and salsa every day- I wouldn't complain ;) 


Tid Bits of our life lately:
  • We started to lay out everything we are going to take to Europe today. PANICKING because we have to pack for hot AND cold weather. And we have a 22 lb. limit. I REPEAT 22 LBS! Asking if this is going to be possible. Prayers welcome. Contemplating photoshopping different outfits in my pictures (kidding..... maybe)
  • Also, we ran some errands to get some Europe-needs today. (Like an actual pair of pants for Jordan and some travel containers to pour our lotions and what-not into.) NO WHERE on the island is selling a raincoat right now just fyi haha. Amazon? Help?
  • I am still in utter awe and amazement at how beautiful our view is as we drive down the hill from our house into town and especially when the sun is shining the water just takes my breath away. 
  • I married a stud who did the dishes, sprayed everything down, swept, mopped and sparkled our house right up while I prepared my relief society lesson for church!
  • My right eyelid literally twitched for FOUR days straight. I was slowly going crazy. Not knowing what was causing it I ate a bunch of nuts, bananas, stayed away from caffeine and aspartame, tried to drink a lot of water and get some sleep and the 5th day I woke up and it finally went away. But I'm telling ya... I wouldn't wish that upon my worst enemy. (I literally had Jordan stick his thumb in my eyelid during church to just numb the twitching  a little.)
  •  I am starting to interview for teaching positions again for this fall!!! I'm so excited to be back. I've had dreams about teaching at least a couple times a month. Wish me luck!
  • Daddy's birthday is TOMORROW. Such a good guy. Wish I could be there to celebrate him. (And if you see this dad I ordered your present but it will get to you a little late, just to prolong your birthday for a little longer yay!)


AND, some pictures of our day on the Catamaran.


A real life bachelorette date!!! Lol Jk. But really the cute interns who let us tag along.


Bringing me treasures from the sea!!! Heart Eyes. Also note- HOW CLEAR IS THAT WATER. Doesn't get old. 





THE VI CAT fake tattoo... sounded so good in the moment hahaha why?? 

Pretty views from the outside looking in. 




Apr 25, 2017

Take the Risk!! Our year away from HOME as newly weds.


Hi there guys!! 
Felt like writing tonight. 

When Jord and I first got married we always talked about moving away somewhere "foreign" for a little bit of time. We just wanted to have some "alone time" before children came and thought it would be a fun "adventure" and kind of had that empowering newly married "well, we CAN so why not?" attitude.
 Of course though it was always going to be tucked away somewhere in the countryside of Tuscany, Italy. OR somewhere in Switzerland or Australia haha. And of course it was all just talk because although it sounded exciting and quaint it would be quite a hassle and didn't REALLY seem too realistic. But, it was fun to talk about.

Two and a half years later I'm looking back and remembering these conversations and thinking HA! What is life?! We've spent the last 9 months living in the Virgin Islands and if we WERE to really move away somewhere... I would have never guessed it to be here. But the universe heard our fantasies and here we are! Making the decision to come out here was actually HUGE for us. It took a lot of umph to pull the trigger! I didn't even realize that WAIT, this was our fantasy until after the fact. Jord's schooling got put on hold, I quit my job and we packed up headed to an island that we had not only NEVER been to but had never even heard of, working for a company we knew SO little about. 
What were we thinking people??? 
Totally a rhetorical question but actually I'll answer it for you. We knew it was a risk but we WANTED to take it. We didn't have much to lose and didn't want to look back ten years down the road kicking ourselves saying why didn't we just go for it?! So we did. We were craving a challenge and basically said bring it on! And it's been so awesome. Challenging none the less, but awesome... as you all know from the majority of my posts lately haha #sorry but I guess thats what has been on my mind. 

It's hard for me to comprehend that our time here in our own little paradise is coming to an end! We are starting to make arrangements to sell our car, do what we need to to apply for jobs when we get home, hittin up KSL for any great finds on houses/apts.... (sigh) "real life." And although I'm excited beyond measure to get back into the swing of things and be a block away from my mom (anything within driving distance will feel like a block after being oceans apart!!) I am SO going to miss so many things about our paradise.
 It has been such a special time for us. I have gotten to the point where I miss Jordan for the hour he is teaching youth Sunday school haha. We are SURROUNDED by beauty and spoiled with breathtaking views. God is good, and his earth is GORGEOUS in so many ways. and I have LOVED being in awe literally every single day driving up the road looking out at the turquoise water in this little tropical corner.
We have had beaches to ourselves countless times and it feels like we are staring in our own little romantic movie. 
I saw an eagle ray FLY (like, seriously I didn't know they actually did that) out of the ocean the other day and I just couldn't stop giggling it was SO beautiful. 
We've been blessed. And i'm going to miss our paradise. My ode to St. Thomas!

BUT good news. To make our departure a little less bitter we actually have planned another trip!! 
We leave from St. Thomas and go to Europe! We love to GO you guys. And I am SUPER giddy. We've planned a two week (practically back-packing) adventure to 

Copenhagen, Denmark
Zurich, Switzerland
Barcelona, Spain
and 
Rome, Italy

Jord and I have planned it with our besty couple and 100% we literally each picked a country we wanted to go to and booked the flights. We are having so much fun planning out our itineraries and doing our research because we don't know TOO much about these places. (Message me PLEASE with any suggestions.) GAHH. I can't wait!! Especially to get back to Italy... seriously that placed changed my life haha and it holds a special place in my heart. SO stoked to go with my baby! (FYI I spent 5 weeks in Italy my sophomore year of college on a study abroad studying Art History.)

Then it will be bummin it at my parents back in UTAHHHHH until we find a place to call home! 

Side note- Right before we moved out here we had been planning to move out of where we were living anyway, so we started to collect a couple pieces of furniture. I got a hand-me-down table and stripped it down and gave it a new stain and painted the legs and its SO pretty and honestly, I'm like super excited to pull it out of the storage unit and put it out in wherever my new kitchen may be! haha the littlest things get me. So much coming up, it's exciting and stressful and sad and happy. 
It's almost too much for my little heart to handle! But if I've learned anything, it's that I CAN DO IT especially with this hottie bay-watch model by my side. ;)

Whew, that's all. Thanks of reading and letting me dump my thoughts out. It feels good. 




Please ALWAYS smile like this while you are kissing me... GAH.















Mar 28, 2017

AN AFFORDABLE TRAVEL GUIDE TO PUERTO RICO



Hi there. Yup Puerto Rico again, but all for a good cause.
I've had a lot of people ask me questions about traveling to Puerto Rico, and what there is to do there! I feel like Puerto Rico is this little hidden gem, whats NOT to do there. But we all know how I feel about that place. :) So I've put together a little guide on how WE did it. I'm no expert. If anyone else has any alternatives or more options I would love to hear about them!! Comment or message me and we can plan our next trip together. :) 

WHERE TO STAY

There are a lot of friendly cute towns right outside of Old San Juan and in my opinion that is the PLACE to be!! I believe we stayed in Condado both times we have been there and found AMAZING deals on AirBNB both times. I would recommend saving your money on where you are staying and splurge on an awesome excursion!! You don't wanna hang around in your room anyway when there is so much to do! It feels totally safe there and we never had any sketchy moments, it's fun to get out at night and walk around the town there is always so much going on and allllways yummy little dessert places.

HOW TO GET AROUND

Now I don't know if this is necessarily the BEST way to do it but I would recommend renting a car. You are going to want to be able to GET OUT AND AROUND AND SEE THE PLACE. You don't want to be restricted to Uber or taxis just because a lot of the attractions are a good amount of driving away. You won't want to be limited trust me. Especially when you can split the cost with a friend. Thats my next bit of advice, go with friends! 

LOL GO WITH FRIENDS

Traveling in groups saves money just in the fact that you get to split room and the car rental fee. :) Plus now you have someone to trade off taking pictures of each other. ;)

GO ON AN EXCURSION

HOLY MOLY. I have been on the most amazing excursions in Puerto Rico. We found a company called Rocaliza on trip advisor and have now been on two different excursions with them and I recommend them 100%. The guides are super friendly and knowledgeable! You have the option of choosing between different adventures with them and we have loved both that we've been on!
The first one we did back in October was the more moderate option they take you up in the rainforest which is emaculate (i'm a nerd for all the greenery it totally gets to me) you are hiking up through the river, rock climbing and trekking in the beauty then you get to repel down an 80+ ft waterfall, and then zipline the rest of the way down the mountain.
The higher adventure option took us again trekking up through a river and then repelling down multiple waterfalls that were 80+ ft, cliff jumping, going down natural rock slides, swimming and hiking!!
The guides feed you lunch afterwards and you get a taste of some authentic Puerto Rican grub which you've obviously got to try at least once while you are there! SO FUN. I have the most amazing memories from these excursions. Do it. Also if these don't fit your desires, there are SO many options on trip advisor. If you like getting out in nature I'm sure there is SOMETHING that will make you happy! 



SEE THE CAVERNS
Puerto Rico is known for having some incredible ancient caves. You get to learn the history as you walk through them and GOSH so pretty. 

HANG OUT IN OLD SAN JUAN

AHHH CUTEST EVERRRRR. Old San Juan has me ALL heart-eyed! The streets are lined with colorful buildings and cobblestone and it took me right back to when I was in Rome, Italy! Walk up and down all the streets, stop in the shops, get some ice-cream! And TAKE A MILLION PICTURES! haha It's a photographers dream! 


















EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT

There are SO many yummy authentic restaurants to choose from right in Old San Juan. Either more casual OR on the fancy end so your options are not limited at all! Plus if you are feelin super casual FOOD TRUCKS FOR THE WIN. There are grocery stores super accessible so what we like to do is go load up on some fruit, granola bars, water bottles, cereal, milk and other breakfast and snack options. That way we are saving on breakfast or lunch and then just go out for dinner or sometimes lunch and dinner! Your options are definitely not limited when it comes to the eats. Are you feeling an American experience? They have pretty much every popular chain (including our fav Cheesecake Factory yum) just a quick drive away in surrounding towns. OR obviously lots of yummy authentic options as well. All I know is you won't starve.  


VISIT THE FORTS

The old Forts that are in Old San Juan are only $10 a person to get in BOTH forts and your ticket will last you a couple days so you aren't rushed and can take it all in!! I found it so fascinating to walk through them and read up on some of the history. They are the original forts where Spain first fortified Puerto Rico before the U.S. took over. Plus so many more opportunities for great pictures. 


Can we please all take a moment to appreciate the Instagram husband featured in the above picture ;)


EL YUNQUE RAIN FOREST

Are you kidding me?? The only rainforest in the "U.S." No brainer!!! Again... greenery guys!! SO BEAUTIFUL. So many different hiking options. You could easily spend your entire day going on multiple hikes to waterfalls and outlook points.

BIOLUMINESCENT BAY

"Biobays are rare ecosystems that occur when microscopic organisms called dinoflagellates thrive in numbers large enough (and under the right conditions) to produce a glow-in-the-dark effect when they are stirred to action -- say, by a fish, paddle, or human arm. And when they glow, so does anything that comes in contact with them."

Glowing algae... yes please. But CHECK YOUR MOON PHASE CALENDAR. Because you can only see the light during certain phases of the moon.

LIGHTHOUSES

If you are up for a bit of a road trip there are light houses lining the coast of Puerto Rico. It's quite a bit of a drive from Old San Juan and we didn't get around to it but it sure sounded dreamy.. sigh.





Also booked our flights for our next trip and we are currently making our itinerary!!
Going somewhere I've wanted to go for a while now and headed back to stop by another one of my favorite places evvvvvvvvver :)