Wednesday, December 16, 2015

How We Wore It | Sequins

I've been wanting to incorporate some sort of fashion-y posts here for a while but haven't really known how to go about it.. especially because I don't consider myself to be the most fashion forward person. I mean my clothing Pinterest board is absolutely adorable but it's not the most accurate representation of what I actually wear/have in my closet.

Therefore, to kind of transition into doing some fashion posts every once in a while, I gathered some of my favorite fashion blogger friends to do a 'How we wore it' post! We used the photo below as our inspiration and incorporated elements that we liked from this outfit into our own holiday party outfit, specifically sequins! 
Photo found here

My favorite part of this inspo outfit is the sparkly skirt dressed down with a more casual top so that's what I focused on when recreating this look using what I already had in my closet. I also borrowed my mother's leather jacket because not only was it SO cute but it was FREEZING outside when we shot these photos! The statement necklace I'm wearing is my all time favorite and I wear it with almost everything. I think the added pizazz is the perfect finishing touch to any look!
Holiday Party OutfitHoliday Party OutfitHoliday Party OutfitHoliday Party Outfit
Holiday Party OutfitHoliday Party Outfit
Holiday Party Outfit
Thank you, Cahoon Hotel, for having white brick and making the perfect setting for taking photos!
Holiday Party Outfit
Holiday Party Outift
Holiday Party Outfit
Leather jacket from my mother's closet. Similar here
Shirt from TJMaxx. Similar here
Shoes from my mother's closet. Similar here. 
Necklace from Charlotte Russe. Similar here
Earrings were a gift. Similar here
Be sure to check out how the other bloggers recreated the inspiration look to fit their own style! 
Hannah from Twinnerpated
Jordan from Jordan Cidelle
Brittany from Brittany Lowry Blog
Holiday Party Outfit
A HUGE thank you to Hannah from Twinnerpated/Hannah Paige Photography for taking these pictures for me :) I had SO much fun doing this post! 

Thanks for reading! Now go buy yourself some sequins because they'll make your closet happy!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide + How NOT To Break The Bank This Christmas

This year I was determined to get everything Christmas gift related done early so I didn't have to worry about things not arriving on time... which seems to be my life every year and it is SO STRESSFUL. I always cut it way too close! So here I am at the beginning of December with all of my Christmas shopping done (besides stocking stuffers like candy that I know I will accidentally eat before Christmas day) and life feels good!

This year I wanted to be careful of two things while Christmas shopping:
1. I wanted to get gifts for people that they actually wanted/needed... not just something that I thought they should want haha because I'm that type of gift giver... Whoops! Also, gifts that inspire the true meaning of Christmas!!!
2. I also wanted to manage our Christmas spending. And lets face it guys, this is so hard! Wouldn't it be nice to have all the $$$ so we could just get people nice things that they actually want without feeling cheap? lol #medschoollife jk. I have to say that I'm pretty proud of how Parker and I have done this year. 

So this post is a holiday gift guide meets how not to break the bank on Christmas gifts!

+To help us brainstorm some ideas of gifts we can give or things we can do to keep Christ the center of Christmas, let's take a look back to some of your favorite Christmas gifts or just Christmases in general. What made that gift or that year so special? I can recall one gift that, at the time that I received it, I didn't think much of it... (I'm a brat, I know). It was a book by Ronald Taylor that my Grandma and Grandpa McMurray gave me entitled, "The Christmas Promise." And embarrassingly enough, that book sat on the shelf in my room for a few years before I gave it any thought. The first time I read it, I bawled my eyes out. I stayed up super late reading it and then because it had moved me so much I felt the need to share it with my mother right then and there so I woke her up and said something like, "Mom.... book so good...... just a star.....that's all.....for Christmas....MUST READ" (the dots are read as sobs if that wasn't clear enough for ya). And then I remember my mom read it while we were on a basketball/cheerleading trip and I was in the pool with my friends and I looked up at her from my place in the water to where she was sitting in the chair beside the water with this book and she had tears streaming down her face and she was choking back soft, soft sobs (name that movie!). And then my Nana read it and I remember her calling my mom after she had finished it and I could hear her sobbing to my mother on the phone. It's one of those books that just really touches your heart and is such a good reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. (And for you people that don't like reading, it's only like 100 pages! Super short! You can do it!) I found a copy on Amazon for like $5. So it's an inexpensive and meaningful gift! Win, win. Everyone should read it. 
I just found out that this book is also published with the title, "Grandma's Promise." Incase you can't find it and you wanted to read it, you can find it on Amazon here!

+Another gift that is meaningful/useful/inexpensive is ornaments! But seriously, how cute and meaningful are these little clothespin nativity ornaments?! They, too, remind us of the true meaning of Christmas! They are super easy to make and would be a fun thing to do with kids... also, talk about teaching moment with your children as you put these together or put them on the tree!
Photo via Pinterest

+My next idea for inexpensive and adorable gifts are printables! Pinterest has SO MANY free Christmas printables that can either be cute Christmas quotes or can also help to remind us of what this time of year is all about. Get a dollar store frame/thrifted frame and print off one of these cute printables to put in it. Wrap it up and there you go! Adorable, inexpensive, useful Christmas present!
Printable via A Well-Feathered Nest

Now for some tips to help you save a little bit of money this year..

+Use an app/website to track your finances. Personal Captial is a really good site that help you stay on top of your spending and its free so I'd definitely recommend checking that out this holiday season!

+Next, spreadsheets are your friends. I created a very detailed spreadsheet where I had the person's name who I was giving the gift to, what the gift was, how much it cost and if I ordered it, what day it is/was supposed to arrive or if we had already received it!

+Also, if you are shopping online like I did I highly recommend using! They've got a ton of coupons and cash back deals that make it possible for you to easily earn cash back on the the purchases you make online! 

What other ideas do you have for Christmas gifts that are meaningful but don't cost a fortune? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below! Happy shopping and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Our Love Story: Part 5

"Here's the thing about this love story of ours. Its long. And drawn out. And mushy-gushy. And even a bit cheesy. But it's true. And I've decided to take my time writing it, capturing all the special details of those moments I never want to forget. So if mushy-gushy, cheesy love stories aren't your thing, I totally get that. Just know that I'm writing this as a gift - to my family, and my children, and their future children - and also, for [Parker] and me - so that on those days when the kids are screaming, the laundry is overflowing and the bills are rolling in...on those days when it all just seems so hard, we'll have this to remind us of those first moments when we fell in love. And if sappy, detail ridden love stories are your thing, well then you've come to the right place." -Ashley Stock

To read the beginning of our love story, click here.

Fall 2010

Since my friends had pretty much all moved away, I was determined to keep in contact with them.. and I also didn't have much else to do besides teach dance a couple of nights a week, so Tessa and I would Skype each other pretty regularly. (She was basically the key to Parker and I working out, you guys).

Monday, November 23, 2015

I'm Back!

Hey there! I'm back in action on this little blog of mine. I would say that I'm sorry for being so M.I.A. lately, but I'm really not sorry at all because I GOT A JOB! And it was slightly awful! Ok so it really wasn't all that bad but it was just a little bit exhausting.... I will say that the pay was great and I got a ton of hours so it was definitely worth it. It was a temporary position with a Medicare insurance company and it was supposed to go all the way through until December 7th but guess who got ANOTHER JOB! It is my pleasure to inform you that yours truly has been hired as the receptionist at a dance studio in Akron, Ohio called Creative Motions Studios and I am so excited about it!! Is a receptionist what I've always dreamed of being? No... but does this new job have the potential to turn into a teaching position in the future? YES! And I figure that getting receptionist experience in a dance studio setting will also be beneficial to me in the future for multiple reasons. This job is one step closer to doing what I actually want to do and what I have been trained to do so I am thrilled. I am also very happy that it is a permanent position... no more of this temporary stuff. So that's where I've been lately. But I'm back, and working a little less hours (hopefully I can find another part time position to fill in the extra hours I've got open at the moment). But as for now, I am content with knowing that I have a permanent job and that I am involved in the dance world again in some small way!

With all that being said.. lets talk about Christmas, shall we?!
This was my computer desktop photo at my medicare job haha It kept me motivated :)

Last year, I couldn't leave the country due to the green card situation we were in so we ended up going to Ohio for Christmas break. Originally we thought that we would have had all the immigration stuff figured out by then (newbs lol) and we could do Christmas in Canada last year and then Christmas in Ohio this year but that obviously didn't happen and so to Ohio we went. And it was one of the best Christmas' I've ever had!! I thought that it would be hard doing something different from what I was used to but it really wasn't all that different. I was still surrounded by people that I love and that love me back and we had so much fun together! And I also have to add that I forgot what it was like to have little kids around on Christmas morning.. how fun it was to witness their excitement over Santa and their gifts! I got to Facetime my family on Christmas morning so that was awesome too. 

This year, we are going to Canada and I am so excited! But I have to admit that I have been stressing about one thing... stockings! This year, Parker and I are are just in charge of each other's stockings. Does anyone have any ideas of what I could put in his stocking that isn't just random stuff to fill it up? Things that he could actually use or is meaningful in some way? What's something that you have put in your spouse's stocking that they love/appreciate? Or things that you have got in your own stocking that you love?!

Thanks in advance and Merry Christmas!! xoxo, Chelan

Sunday, October 4, 2015

LDS General Conference Weekend

My life has been a roller-coaster of emotions this last month with having moved to Ohio, having my husband start medical school, not being able to find work yet, getting a new and scary calling, and many other things, but thank goodness for General Conference and for a loving Heavenly Father who knows me and knows what I am going through and knows just what I need to hear. What a lovely conference weekend it has been! The biggest thing that I have learned lately, not only from the wonderful talks that were shared this weekend, but from life in general is to have faith in the Lord's plan and in His timing and that IT WILL ALL WORK OUT! May we all remember our infinite worth and trust in our Heavenly Father's unique and divine plans for us!

Now, in the spirit of conference weekend, my super talented cousin, Courtney, made these adorable and free conference printables that are too cute not to share! For downloadable links click here to go to her blog All Things Bright And Beautiful

What were your favorite quotes from conference this weekend? 
xoxo, Chelan

Monday, September 28, 2015

Our Love Story: Part 4

"Here's the thing about this love story of ours. Its long. And drawn out. And mushy-gushy. And even a bit cheesy. But it's true. And I've decided to take my time writing it, capturing all the special details of those moments I never want to forget. So if mushy-gushy, cheesy love stories aren't your thing, I totally get that. Just know that I'm writing this as a gift - to my family, and my children, and their future children - and also, for [Parker] and me - so that on those days when the kids are screaming, the laundry is overflowing and the bills are rolling in...on those days when it all just seems so hard, we'll have this to remind us of those first moments when we fell in love. And if sappy, detail ridden love stories are your thing, well then you've come to the right place." -Ashley Stock

To read the beginning of our love story, click here.

It's taken me a long time to get this post up and running... actually I've had this post written for over a year now. I was really hoping that Parker would write his perspective of the first time we met because I know its funny (he thought I was a brat), but he doesn't share my enthusiasm of his thoughts being posted on the internet, which I get and respect. So we'll just pretend it was love at first sight on his end.. :)

Late August 2010

Friday, September 25, 2015

Heidi Swapp Memory Planner: August Recap

For my birthday this year, Camrie Clair got me THE CUTEST Memory Planner by Heidi Swapp. You all know that I loooooove all things cute and floral and polka dots and gold and life-documenting, so ya.. to say I was thrilled with this adorable gift is a huge understatement. It was also on major sale at Michael's, so bonus! There were a lot of little embellishments that could be bought separately, but that coordinate perfectly so Cam gave me some of those too which was so fun. The rest of the added things were pretty much stuff my mom had laying around her 'scrapbook room' that I snatched up before we moved! Go get a memory planner because they are cute AND functional. And here is our August, according to my planner!

August Recap

The adorable exterior. A Kate Spade kind of feel that I'm loving right now.

August Recap

Top: How cute is the gold polka dot interior? {Insert heart eye emoji here}. Every month has a beautiful title page/tab and August was no exception, obviously. 
Bottom left: Parker and I went to The Carriage House Theatre's play Mary Poppins and got a photo with the leads, who happened to be some of my good friends from BYU! So fun to have that documented right on the day that it happened! (Not pictured, the tickets from that even are attached as well). 
Bottom right: Just a cute piece of paper to fill some extra space, complete with gold, sparkly washi-tape. 

August Recap
I love the 'Photos Of The Month' page with the journalling sections and the metallic gold frames. And the photo page protectors too!

August Recap

Every month has the entire month laid out calendar style, along with a section devoted to quotes, goals, and that month's happenings. 

August Recap

We spent SO much time at Wally's this summer and it was SO much fun! I could lay in the sun on a beach all day every day and never tire of it. And yes, we are in a mud pit... that a lot of nasty little kids probably peed in... and who knows what else. I got pushed in. Anyway, as you can see I attached this picture with some more cute washi-tape!

August Recap

Top Left: Features the first time I skyped my family after we moved.. Lots of hearts (some of the embellishments that can be purchased to coordinate with the planner). 
Top right: Our iconic Harry Potter World/Universal Studios trip photo. Idk what it is about mini pictures but they are just extra cute!
Bottom: Every month there is also a place for you to write what you are thankful for, what was awesome, and what you probably should... It's the easiest journal writing ever! So many prompts! This extra page that has 'overall' thoughts on August was something I struggled with.. I couldn't figure out what to do with it but finally decided to do a journalling page here and I love the end result. 

August Recap
Top left: Left some 'white space' on the outside of this photo when cropping it so I could hole punch it and add it via the binder rings. Its such a fun little insert - then I added the description of the photo directly on the back!
Top right: The looooong drive out to Ohio had to be documented!
Bottom left: We won the family tournament at Heritage Days again this year!
Bottom right: While camping in Kalispell, we went to the matinee to see Antman. There is something more fun about going to the Kalispell movie theatre than there is going to other theatres....
August Recap

Had to include Matlin's birthday shout-out to me via Instagram next to my birthday!

I finished off the month with a photo collage featuring all of our favorite pictures from August! It's fun to have another 'recap' only without words!

Heidi Swapp's motto is #makeprettystuff, which is so fun to implement in my life and her products make it so easy. On her instagram page, she has been hinting at some new planner kits for 2015 that have everything included - an adorable planner similar to the one I have but not exactly the same, some embellishments, matching washi-tape, etc. I think everyone should get one (and no, this post is not sponsored by any means, I just really love this planner that much) and make your own pretty stuff! 

How do you document your life? I'd love to hear about it in the comment section below! Also, if you want to stay caught up on how the rest of this planner goes, be sure to subscribe ----> so you never miss a post! Thanks for reading <3

xoxo, Chelan

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Yellow Bowl

When Parker and I were packing up to move across the country, my mom was pretty concerned that we didn't have everything that we needed, especially kitchen supplies. One day she went into the kitchen and emerged with the yellow bowl and said, "Here. Take this with you. I want you to have it." Or something of that nature anyway. I almost cried. Because to me, this bowl is something much more than just a bowl. It represents SO much.
The yellow bowl represents countless family get togethers where yummy salads were shared.
The yellow bowl represents the numerous game and movie nights at our house where regular popcorn or caramel popcorn was consumed.
The yellow bowl represents the Christmas Crack that my mom and I would devour at Christmastime.
The yellow bowl represents the kitchen counter covered in sugar cookies in preparation for Valentine's Day.
The yellow bowl represents all the milestones in our family -- birthdays, baptisms, farewells and homecomings, sports team parties, graduation dinners, etc. -- that required food for celebration.
The yellow bowl represents all the times we snuck some cookie dough when mom wasn't looking or begged to lick the spoon.
The yellow bowl represents the delicious muffins that my mom would make fresh for breakfast.
The yellow bowl represents my mom attempting to teach me how to cook, bless her heart.
The yellow bowl represents the secret family recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that would be gone almost as soon as they came out of the oven.
And as silly as it sounds, the yellow bowl represents my love for my family and how much I cherish the time I get to spend with them.
I was so touched by this simple gesture from my mother. I am so grateful that now I have the yellow bowl and that it will be a part of my family's get togethers and important moments. It probably seems pretty stupid to be so excited and touched by a bowl, but to give you an idea of how important it is to me and my family... Matlin, who cooks less than me, was actually pretty jealous that my mom chose to give it to me hahah. #favoritechild. just kidding.
So, yesterday, the bowl was a part of something in our little home for the first time! I made the secret family recipe of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert for the missionaries and let me tell you that I have never made them so well! They tasted just like my mom's and that is a miracle. I blame the bowl. 
I didn't get a photo of the finished cookies because we ate them too fast. They were that good! Thanks mom for the special gift!!

Do you have something similar to this that brings your family together? I would love to hear about it! Thanks for reading!

xoxo, Chelan

Friday, September 18, 2015

Current Beauty Favorites

I'm not one to go around advertising my hair and make up routine, but having not found a job out here yet, I've had a lot of time to play around with different styles, looks, and products. Today I thought it would be fun to share my current favorite beauty products with you!

1. Physicians Formula Eye Booster 2 in 1 Lash Boosting Eyliner + Serum
You guys. I have been using this for a few years now and it is the absolute best! Not only is it the best eyeliner EVER, but it helps your lashes grow. So ya... no brainer. Having never used liquid liner before, I was really hesitant to try it but this stuff is the easiest thing to apply. It's great for thin and thick amounts so it'll suit everyone's needs and it lasts forever (like the tube lasts forever and the makeup on your face lasts forever)! I bought a three pack of brown, gray, and black. Besides dance, I had only ever used brown so I started with that and loved it. About a year later when I ran out of the brown, I transitioned to the gray... That one just ran out a few months ago and I've moved onto the black and I was surprised at how much I loved the bold look of the black! It's decently priced, but even if it wasn't, I would pay big bucks for this stuff. It's worth it!

2. Purple Shampoo (for my blonde friends)
I have been dying my hair since grade 4. I just wish I was blonde, always. And in those many years of dying my hair and having it go from pretty blonde to brassy yellow, not once did a hairdresser say, buy some purple shampoo or come back so we can put some toner in it. Not until this year and it has changed my life! Gone are the days of yellow, brassy locks, and say hello to silvery goodness! I got the biggest and cheapest bottle I could find at Sally Beauty Supply and I'm thrilled with it! If you are blonde, you need this.

3. Tanwise Wash-Off Bronzing Mousse
This is my go-to self-tanner for those long winter months. It comes in different levels... I use the medium. It gives you that extra glow, without permanently turning you orange because it washes right off! No orange hands or streaky faces to give away your flawless tan secrets! This one can also be found at Sally Beauty Supply.

4. Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm with SPF 20
I looooove a good lip chap (chap stick for you little Americans) and this stuff is top notch. It gives you the best combination of moisturizer and tint. The grape vine and cherry me are my favorite colors. This product can be found everywhere. Ulta, Target, Walmart, you name it!

5. A curling rod
First of all, if you haven't got one of these.. its time. Just do it because you need one. For years I used my sister, Matlin's, curling rod. It was a 1-inch rod and worked like a charm! But it resulted in fights when I would bring it home with me when I visited because she tries to steal it back and then I'd sneak it back into my luggage when she wasn't looking... So my mom gave me my own curling rod for my birthday this year! It's Le Angelique brand in 32mm size. It's a little bigger than Matlin's but I LOVE it! The bigger curls are perfect for my long hair and they last for so long! I don't wash my hair very often.... so sue me.... so I love that these curls can last a while and I don't have to use hot tools on my hair every day! My mom found this one at Winners (for American readers, Winners is similar to Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Ross type stores) for a fraction of the price of some of the more well-known brands like NuMe.

6. Johnson's Baby Powder
How is this a beauty product? Well it works even better than dry shampoo for me. I'm sure everyone already knows this trick but if you didn't.... now you do! If you don't have time to wash your hair or don't want to wash it everyday, just sprinkle a little baby powder through the greasy parts and you are good to go! It absorbs all the grease and leaves your hair looking and feeling fresh! Parker always makes fun of me for this one...

7. Johnson's Baby Shampoo
I know, I know another baby product. You moms who already use these baby products on your littles with be thanking me. Johnson's Baby Shampoo works as the best eye make up remover ever! No scrubbing and rubbing your eyes raw to get your make up off anymore. Instead get a dime sized bit of baby shampoo on your fingers and gently rub it on your eyelids. It cleans off every last speck of mascara and eyeliner and it's 'no tears formula' works like a charm! My friend, Tessa, taught me this trick and I've never looked back since.

8. Pantene Pro-V Overnight Miracle
This is a 'repair serum' that I don't just apply overnight but after every shower. I think it's the trick to what has helped me keep my hair healthy! For a while, I had hair that was thick all the way to the ends. But after more color and more heat was applied to my hair, it just died. The ends were broken and whispy and it had lost its thickness. Once I noticed how bad it was, I was on a mission to get my healthy hair back. This repair serum has really done the trick! I thought my hair had 'stopped growing' as so many people say theirs does when it reaches a certain length, but it has grown well past the length that I thought it would stop at thanks to this little miracle! I will also add that I took a break from dyeing my hair for a long time (a year or so), nor did I style it very often. Give that a try too! Challenge yourself to try some cool braids or a cute top knot to give your locks a break from the heat! This product can also be found just about anywhere. *Update as of 8/15/17 this is only $5 at Walgreens!

9. NYX Butter Lipstick
Michelle Money did the CUTEST lipstick combination on her blog once with this stuff and I was convinced that I must have it. I picked mine up at Ulta in the Little Susie color and I've loved it. It was such a fun color to have over the summer. Bright pink lips were all the rage! This fall I'm hoping to pick up a pretty berry colored butter lipstick because this stuff just feels SO good on the lips! ULTA Beauty has an awesome selection of this brand for a decent price!

10. Clean & Clear Oil-Free Dual Action Moisturizer
This product is one that I've been using for years. Its my favorite. I have really sensitive skin and for a while, I could hardly put anything on my face without it literally burning my skin. That's when I discovered this stuff. It leaves my face feeling so clean and fresh and it has a cooling effect that I love. I put it on after every shower and before I do my make up. I love that it's not only a moisturizer but it also works to prevent acne! Score! This can also be found just about anywhere.

So there you have it! My 10 current beauty favorites! Also, I just dropped my blush brush in the toilet so I'm in search of a new one.. any suggestions? Any beauty products that you absolutely love and think I need to know about? Share your beauty secrets with me!

xoxo, Chelan

Friday, September 11, 2015

Senior Project

I finally got access to my senior project video and thought it would be fun to share on my blog because it was something that I, not to mention my beautiful dancers, put a LOT of time and effort into! Going into this project I was over the moon nervous about it. I had never choreographed anything so long or significant and I usually hated any sort of choreography that I ever came up with. But I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the whole thing was! I'll be honest, if I hadn't had the dancers that I did, it would have been a lot harder. The creative process has never been so fun for me. The way that we created this piece went something like this...

I would come to rehearsal prepared with about 16 counts of choreography and I would start out by teaching the dancers the movement. I would then just play some music and have them improvise with the sequence they had just learned. It was a guided improvisational activity because while they were playing with the movement, I would ask questions to prompt them to explore different ways they could change the sequence. Some of the questions I would ask include: Can you change up the speed of the movement by going really fast or really slow? Try facing a different direction or changing directions while moving. Could you try to do the movement upside down? Or with a different body part? Freeze! And reverse what you just did (this was one of my favorites because it always brought about such interesting results!). While the dancers were improvising, I would take note of things that they did that I liked or looked good. Often I would yell out, "Tessa, I liked what you just did! Remember that!" haha! Then a lot of rehearsal time was spent with me piecing together 'the puzzle.' We had a lot of movement and a lot of improvisationally (is that even a word?) generated material and I would basically stand on a chair at the front of the studio and point to the dancers and say, "Callie, go over there and start with this sequence. And then Danielle, you go over there and try to make this part of the other sequence happen at the same time that Callie is doing this part of her sequence." Confusing right? Ya. That's why I'm SO grateful for my talented dancers. They were always patient with me and willing to voice their opinions and give me ideas to help me make my senior project something to be proud of.
Me with my favorite dancers ever. Bless their hearts for going on such a crazy adventure with me!

Now for a little background on what my dance was about. At this point in my college career I was SO sick of trying to figure out the meaning behind every last movement, every flick of the hand, every step, every breath, etc. So I wanted my project to be something simple. Something where the dancers just danced because it felt good to move and to perform, and where the audience just got to watch it because it was beautiful to watch. Also, it's a little long (8 minutes... I would have been ok with it being like 4, but rules are rules). You've been warned. So, without further ado...... Here is my piece, "For Movement's Sake."

Just copy and paste this link into your browser. I couldn't upload the video here because Blogger said my file was too large.. that's what I get for finally having a good quality video to share! After you've finished watching, I would LOVE to hear what you thought about it so come back and leave a comment. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Thank you's & awards

Thank you, thank you to Clarissa Falco from Mrs. Med School for nominating me for the Brotherhood of the World Blogger's Award. Claire's blog is absolutely adorable and is all about med school wifery, DIY, motherhood, and life in Texas! Go check it out! 

Quick story about how Claire and I met in the blogisphere.. My sister-in-law, Dani, kept telling me that I should go look up this med school wife blog that she loved. I told her I would and then kinda forgot about it for a while... Then one day when I was looking for some new blogs to follow I stumbled up on Claire's blog and I was so excited! Turns out that Claire was in my very first class at BYU ever -- a contemporary dance class. She was SO fun to take class with! Anyway, I'm thrilled that we've found each other in the blogging world so we can stay caught up on eachother's lives, not to mention that her blog has been so great to read in preparation for becoming a medical school wife myself.

Here is how the nomination works:

  • Thank and link the blogger who nominated you
  • List the rules and display the badges on your blog
  • Answer the questions sent to you
  • Nominate other bloggers and notify them
  • Create questions for your nominees

1. Why do you blog? I blog to document my life for myself and Parker, my future kiddos, my mom, and my nana. It's a place where I can spew my thoughts, share my adventures and my accomplishments, and express my creativity. 

2. If you were given an extra $200 how would you want to spend it? I would either spend it on clothes, crafting supplies, or home decor :)

3. What is your favorite food? Potatoes in EVERY FORM! I can't get enough!

4. Where do you see your blog in five years? Realistically, in the same place its at now... In my dreams I've found my blogging niche - if you haven't noticed I'm kind of all over the place by posting about scrapbooking and crafts, sometimes hairstyles, random blabbering. But with that being said, it wouldn't be a lifestyle blog if I didn't share my everyday life right? I would love to experiment with fashion blogging someday. 

5. What lessons have you learned through your blogging experience? I've learned that I blog mostly for me. I love documenting my life with photos and videos, being able to write things down. Its a good collective place for me to store all my thoughts. I've also learned that I love sharing my life with others! 

6. What are your current three favorite blogs? Love Taza (those kids!!), Barefoot Blonde (those braids!!), and Jordan Cidelle (she's kind of been on a blogging hiatus but I loved whenever she would post). 

7. What secret skills do you have? I can lick my nose, I have been practicing my calligraphy, and I can handle the burn of the first drink of a diet pepsi better than anyone (is that even a skill?!!). 
8. If you could live anywhere for a year where would it be? This is an excellent question. Hawaii, Bald Head Island, New York City, maybe somewhere in Europe.... I'll admit that my first thought was Cardston though ;)

9. What goals do you currently have? To find a job, get in better shape, learn to cook! I actually made progress on all three this week!

10. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas and birthdays! I LOVE BIRTHDAYS! 

I nominate:

My questions for you:
1. What is your dream vacation?
2. What is your dream job?
3. What goals do you currently have?
4. What is your favorite thing about yourself?
5. You just won a one way ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
6. Favorite thing about your spouse?
7. What is your guilty pleasure?
8. Why did you start blogging in the first place?
9. What is your favorite scent?
10. If you were a mermaid, what would be your mermaid name? 

Thanks for reading! 
xoxo, Chelan

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The whole time we were in Florida visiting Universal Studios, more specifically The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I had it in my mind that I wanted to write everything down fairly soon after. I wanted to do this not only because I want to remember every little detail, but also because I want to come back again with my future children and I tend to forget even my own tips and tricks really easily! Ever since I read the Harry Potter books, I've had a plan to raise my future family on these books that are so magical. We'll start by reading them, then we'll watch the movies, and then hopefully we can plan a family trip to Harry Potter World someday too! So here is a super long post on all things Harry Potter World!

Tickets: We purchased our tickets through They had a deal where the more days you went, the less expensive the tickets got per day. We bought tickets for three days. Now, Universal Studios has two separate parks - Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. In Universal Studios is where you'll find Diagon Alley and in Islands of Adventure you'll find Hogsmeade. With our three days we decided to go to both the parks once and then choose which one we wanted to visit again. We probably could have done everything in only two days but it was nice to have that third day to revisit our favorite rides and get one last butterbeer! We also probably would have appreciated four days so we could do both parks twice, but of course we couldn't have known that beforehand. Next time! Definitely consider getting a park to park pass. With regular tickets, you can't go from Universal Studios to Island of Adventure or vise versa in one day and a way to do that is on Hogwarts Express. I would have LOVED to go on the train, but we didn't realize that you need a park to park pass. Another 'next time', for sure!

Parking: We tried three different parking options. Day one - we parked at a business a little ways down from the park entrance and just walked in. This was nice because it was free but we were also pretty worried about our rental car throughout the day haha. Day two - we parked in the Universal Studios Park Parking which is pretty expensive ($17) but the proximity is pretty nice after a long day of being on foot! The peace of mind about our car was also nice. Day three - we payed ($11) for parking at a hotel just outside of Universal so it was a happy medium.

 I can't stress this enough. We were both wearing runners (for you fellow Canadians) or tennis shoes (for my American friends), but after a few hours our feet had had it.

Don't pay for a locker: There are lockers throughout the park (usually by the rides that you can't bring stuff on) that you can pay to use for the whole day or they are free to use while you ride.

Inside the Wiseacre Wizarding Equipment Shop. This detail! *swoon*

Take so many pictures!! I'm all about documenting things these days so we came prepared to take lots of pictures. I wanted everything recorded. Wait your turn to take pictures at the various photo ops throughout the parks and don't be afraid to hold up the line sometimes in order to get that perfect picture!

Me with my last frozen butterbeer and my Hermione wand!

Buy a wand! Just do it! You know you want to! There are interactive wands that you can purchase and use at designated places throughout Harry Potter World and things actually happen as you swish and flick your wand around and say the spell! Its the closest you'll get to feeling like an actual witch or wizard and it's so fun!!

Weasley's Wizard Wheezes

Download the Universal Studio App: This app is great for seeing how long the waits for the rides are. This way you can avoid the super long waits and take advantage of the shorter lines. Also, if you can, try to plan your trip sometime other than peak seasons. We were lucky enough that the week we went was the first week of school for most people so the parks were less busy than usual. With that being said, you don't need to go super early! So many websites and blogs said that in order to avoid the crowds, you should be at the gates to the parks a half hour before they open.... but people that stay at the actual Universal Resort Hotels get into the park an hour before the general public anyway so you'll still have to compete with them for a spot in line. We went really early our first day and we avoided a long line on just our first ride. After that, everyone else seemed to already be at the park and the lines were long for the remainder of the day. As a result of waking up super early and trying to get to the park before it opened, we burned out earlier too. Our other two park days we slept in a little bit, took our time getting there, and we lasted a lot longer!

Also, don't be afraid to use the single rider lines. The waits are usually significantly shorter so if you don't mind being split from your party while you ride then its definitely worth it! We used the single rider line a lot!

Don't forget to go check out Knockturn Alley which includes Borgin and Burkes!

Favorite Rides: We tried to go on every 'big' ride we could and we were pretty successful! Our favorite rides were *in no particular order* as follows...
Escape From Gringotts
Revenge of the Mummy - not a Harry Potter ride but we rode this one about 7 times because it was so good!
The Forbidden Journey - the ride where you go throughout Hogwarts Castle during your wait in line
Dragon Challenge
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster
The Hulk
Men in Black
Olivander's Wand Choosing Experience - its a really cute show!
Disaster - this isn't a ride necessarily, more of a show type thing, but it was really entertaining!

We went on pretty much all the other rides and liked most of them but not enough of them to wait in line to do them again.

Waste of time rides/shows: Posieden's Fury, The Terminator show, and Twister are lame sauce. Just don't even bother haha

Extra things to bring: Water, snacks (you can bring food and drink into the park so take advantage of it), rain ponchos/umbrella, painkillers, one of those small fans that can hang around your neck, camera, extra phone battery charger, and extra spending money (you will want everything!!!).

Food/Drink: We ate at the parks all three days. We knew that it was going to be more expensive than outside the park options but we wanted the entire experience. In Hogsmeade we got our first butterbeers at The Hog's Head Pub and yes, butterbeer really is a dream, you guys! Worth going to Universal just to try it!

We ate lunch at The Three Broomsticks. Parker got the smoked turkey leg meal and I got the rotisserie chicken platter. We shared the Pumpkin Fizz drink which was surprisingly really good! They give you SO much food that we probably could have shared one of the meals and been fine. Both days that we went to Diagon Alley we ate at The Leaky Cauldron. 

Our first time at The Leaky Cauldron Parker got bangers and mash and I got fish and chips. I was a little disappointed in my fish... it was SUPER greasy, but the chips were great haha It was also too much food for me to finish yet again. 

Fishy Green Ale. I almost liked this more than butterbeer. Keyword being almost!

We ended up going back to Diagon Alley so we ate at The Leaky Cauldron again. Parker got a chicken sandwich of some sort and I got good old macaroni and cheese and fries from the kids menu. But we both loved our food this time and the child portion was the perfect size for me!

We tried normal butterbeer and the frozen butterbeer. We would have tried the hot version ,but it was just too hot outside to even consider it. I would have liked to try the butterbeer ice cream too but we, unfortunately, didn't get that chance.

Last but not least, take your time! Its such a magical adventure with so many incredible details so don't try to speed through everything! Make it last because believe me, it'll be over before you know it! And get one more butterbeer. It's always worth it too!

Until next time, Universal!