Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

To say that 2013 was good to me would be an understatement. 
Here's my favorite moments of the last 365. [In no particular order, because I know someone *cough* Brian *cough* Wolfie* will say something about it.]
Sunday drives around Logan with my roommates--particularly those to the Lonely Bench. Because sometimes, it's easier to deal with life when you're singing along to Taylor Swift as loud as you can with your five best friends. 
Surviving my first year of college; not just with a decent GPA, and my life, but also without a ring on my left hand. 
Conquering my fourth Ragnar, even though the amount of training I did was equal to the amount of Olympic gold medals I have. 
St. George trip with the remaining Snitches. We discovered Swig, Friends at 2 am, and spent absurd amounts of time by the pool. 
SOAR days. Whether it was scooping a dozen gallons of ice cream, trying to calm down yet another angry parent, or giving "tours" on the shuttle--my summer job was the best I'll ever have. 
Designing this "Recycled Fashion" dress. After 15 hours, 2,500 puzzle pieces and almost 100 hot glue sticks--we won Best in Show. What can I say, we're well-rounded. 
Getting 95+ new sisters and developing an affinity for green and white. Kappa Delta is just what I needed in terms of support, motivation, and fun.
It might not have been my favorite part--but sending these guys out on their missions has definitely changed my life. Hearing about their experiences and watching their testimonies grow has strengthened mine, and I'm so proud of all of them. Here's to 2014 bringing them all home.
Documenting the last time the Snitches were all together--and all single. Next time we're all together, there'll be wedding rings involved.
Summer adventures with my #twerkteam. Whether we were swimming in fountains, watching fireworks in Huntsville, cliff jumping at Bloomington or watching yet another movie on the LoveSac, I'm so grateful I met these people and am even more grateful that I can call them some of my closest friends. 
Starting [and being almost done with!] my second year of college. Still not quite sure what exactly I'm going to do with a degree in English Literature...but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. 
Coming home to my family is my favorite thing. Between hearing my little sisters running through the house and going on late-night shake runs with my little brother, or shopping with my parents--home is definitely my favorite place to be. 

2013 was different. I moved apartments multiple times, and worked two jobs. I said goodbye to the people I care most about--and found friends that I love just as much. I changed my major once, and my hair color more than once [which is evident as you scroll through the pictures. Whoops.]. And I learned a lot about myself. 
So here's to you, 2013. For teaching me that I can do things on my own, and that change is OK. For helping me get out of my comfort zone, and showing me what's important. 
And here's to 2014, for bringing me back the people I love most and for even more adventures, learning, and change. If 2014 is half as good to me as this year has been, I'll be a happy girl. 

Cheers to a new year, and another chance for us to get it right.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Reason for the season.

It's not about ribbons. It's not about tags. 
It's not about what's in those boxes and bags. 
In spite of the presents, Christmas is not from a store. 
Why Christmas means quite a bit more. 
In the midst of the hoopla and parties, remember what we're truly celebrating:
The birth of a baby boy who came to earth to save all of us. 
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." [Isaiah 9:6]

Merry Christmas! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Right this second.

Currently listening to: 
[also this.]
[and this.]
[this too.]
Currently craving: 
Candy canes, Coldstone's Red Velvet ice cream+brownies, and Dr. Pepper.
A movie night with my best friend + snowboarding + my favorite Californian. 

Currently reading: 

Currently loving:
No school, having time to read, limited work. 
My sisters, best friends, and missionary. 
Christmas, the holidays in general, and life. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My lucky day.

It's my favorite missionary's birthday today, and to say I was grateful for today would be the understatement of the century.
It's not everyday you meet somebody who knows every detail of your life and still loves you. Bronson is the most patient, forgiving, entertaining person I know, and I honestly don't know where I'd be without him. 
When my Grandma passed away, he kept my head above water and made sure I was okay--and let me know it was okay if I wasn't. 
When I was working late, he'd wait up and make sure I got home safe; and would drive home with me because he knows how much I hate driving at night. 
When we had finals last fall, he bring me food when I'd been in the library all day; and he even came with Jon and made sure Paige and I got up on time for our psychology final when we'd been studying all night the night before. 
When my birthday came around this year, even though it had been almost 7 months since we'd seen each other, he sent me a package of my favorite things--and on Valentine's Day he had Jon surprise me with a dozen roses, because he knows how much I love flowers. 
He knows me better than anybody else. He gets my irrational fears, supports my crazy dreams, and even laughs at my stupid jokes.
He eats the peach jelly beans, green Dots and gummy bears, and vanilla Frosty's that I hate. 
He understands what I mean when I say, "I HATE cancer." 
He stays with me when we snowboard, even though he's much better than I am and could easily leave me behind. 
He laughs at my jokes. 
He shares my disdain for BYU. 
He teaches me how to be a gracious loser--and does the same when I destroy him in bowling. 
He's completely honest with me, 100% of the time. 
He knows everything about me: he understands my worries and frustrations, acknowledges my dreams, and knows my fears. 
He never fails to tell me I'm beautiful; whether it's at 3 am during a stressful finals week, on the ski lift after a massive crash while snowboarding, in the car on a date, or while I'm in tears for some random reason. 
He's patient with me--more so than just about anyone I know--even when I won't decide where we should go for dinner, whose car we're taking, what movie to watch, or who to hang out with, he's patient and eventually makes most of the decisions. 
He keeps me focused and motivated.
He always knows what to say. Even though he's 1,500 miles away and I only hear from him twice a week--Friday's letters are always full of exactly what I need to hear, and Monday morning emails never fail to make me smile. 
He's the reason I love hockey, go to Aggie basketball games, and can tolerate driving. 
He makes me laugh harder than anyone else, smile when I'd rather cry, and can drive me crazy in a matter of seconds. 
He's the patient one when I'm stressed, the forgiving one when I'm judgmental, and the grounded one when I'm day dreaming and unfocused. 
He keeps me sane, motivated, and constantly surprised. 
Some days, I miss him so much it hurts...and I'm not ashamed to admit that I'll drive the neighborhoods of Logan by myself, listening to Rascal Flatts and talking out loud trying to figure out what he'd say in the present situation. 
Long story short, he's my very best friend. And even though I miss him like crazy, I know he's exactly where he's supposed to be. Michigan sure is a lucky place. 

He's been gone almost a whole year, and that means in just over a year, he'll be home. And everything will be okay again. 
Happy Birthday, Elder! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A bit unusual.

A tree made out of stuffed animals. 
Sounds crazy, right? Probably.
But I couldn't imagine Christmas without it. 
It's another tradition my Grandma started, but this one began before I was even born. 
It started on an old ladder with stuffed animals bound and tied to the frame, and became a pyramid frame with hooks when my Grandpa realized the tradition wasn't going anywhere. 
When my mom and her siblings all had homes and families of their own, the frame was adapted to a shower rod and peg boards in graduating sizes to make the tree shape you see now. 
Not only is this tradition unique to the Bell's, but each tree is different from house to house--except for one thing:
My Grandma loved the idea of the lamb and the lion, and each family has their own lamb and lion to place somewhere on the tree. 

The fact that it reminds me so much of my grandma is reason enough for me to love it--and look forward to "The Animal Tree" and it's decorating each year. 
It's different, but it's beautiful. 

What are some Christmas traditions that are unique to you and your family? 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

One of many.

As cliche as it may sound, the holidays are my favorite time of year. 
I love the chaos of a million family events, the smell of our Christmas tree, and the glow of the fireplace burning all day long. 
Sandwiched between the typical holiday parties and gatherings, my family holds a couple of traditions that mark some of my favorite days of the year. 
When I was little, my grandma would devote an entire Saturday to gingerbread houses--and not just any gingerbread houses. What began as your typical four-walled creations quickly escalated to castles and train stations and airports and mansions, with dozens of frosting colors and candy types to decorate with. The enormous creations we would make were extravagant and some would say over-the-top. But we loved those gingerbread houses. 
After my grandma passed away my junior year of high school, my mom wanted a way to carry on that tradition, but without the craziness and elaborate architecture. 
So....96 sugar cookies and six bags of royal icing later, you have our cousin Christmas cookie decorating party. 
By the end of the night, it's nearly impossible to tell what is a "decorated" cookie and what is merely a pile of icing that spilled from the frosting bag, but watching the little kids decorate their cookies and then show them off--before eating them of course--is always an adventure. 
[And by the looks of the cookies we had this year, these kiddos are getting pretty darn good at using those icing bags.]

December is one of my favorite months of the year, and the next couple of posts are going to show why that is exactly. From my lucky day, to Christmas Eve traditions and everywhere in between...here's to the happiest month of the year.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The reasons why.

It's the season of gratitude, and I have so much to be grateful for (50 things in this post to be exact). So settle down for a long one. 
50. My heated blanket: because when I woke up this morning and the heat had been turned down below 50 degrees, I could turn it up, and climb back into bed until it warmed up. 
49. Emilie Anne Facer: because everybody needs a twin sister who sticks it out through all the stupid decisions, crazy weekends, and missionary meltdowns. 
48. The Book of Mormon: because after a 23 hour day of school, work, meetings, and friends, the scriptures put everything back into perspective and help me refocus my life. 
47. Judith Anne Roche: because she had a pretty good reason to pretend like I didn't exist, and let me have a second chance instead. Because at 1 am when I'm approaching meltdown point, she understands me and knows exactly what to say. Because she understands me. #yousneakymom
46. Utah State University: because becoming an Aggie is the best decision I ever made, and I can't even begin to describe how much I love my school. I'll bleed blue til the end of time. 
45. Leggings: because sometimes pants are just way too much effort. 
44. Lauren Adamson: because she's lived with me for over a year now and still puts up with my quirks. She listens to me rant, complain, and talk her ear off, and makes me laugh on a daily basis. Because she's a constant example to me of what I want to become. 
43. The post office in the TSC: because when I'm an awful person and forget to write that missionary of mine, the two old men that work there are always curious about how "my friend in Michigan" is doing and if he's been writing me back. 
42. Dr. Pepper: because nothing puts me in a better mood faster or cures the migraines that seem to attack every five seconds.
41. Mary Alayna Lindberg: because she's the reason I try to be the best I can every day. Because she makes me laugh like nobody else can. Because she's my best friend. 
40. My car: because sometimes I just need to leave, get out. 
39. Emily Breanne Elliott: because she taught me how fast an irreplaceable friendship can be made, and tests my patience like nobody else. Because even in Paris, she knows what I need. 
38. Professor Smitten: because a compliment from him is worth a million dollars, and the desire for one of those compliments pushes me harder and further than I've ever been. 
37. Morgan Elizabeth Coles: because she's been there since 8th grade and knows my fears and dreams better than anyone else. Because I know that even when we go months without seeing each other, we can pick right back up where we left off. 
36. Hockey: because it introduced me to some of the best people in my life. Because it gave me an excuse to go somewhere on a Wednesday night. Because it makes me feel like my best friend isn't quite so far away. 
35. My parents: because I wouldn't be here without them. Because they support me in everything I do. Because they made me the person I am today. 
34. Fine-tip ball-point pens: because I don't have room in my schedule for medium-tip, and it's the little things that make me happy. 
33. Braxton Moon: because nobody else can say that they've stuck around for six years. Because he's the only constant in my world full of change. Because he shares his hoodies, gummy bears, and happy hippos with me.
32. My major: because there's nothing else in the world that I love more than words, books, and talking. 
31. Trent Morrison: because he listens to my endless whining, goes shopping with me, and not only understands, but exceeds my love for Beyonce. Because he's a good cuddle buddy, and an even better friend. 
30. Glitter: because it's hard to be sad when you're sparkly. 
29. Ashley Allen: because she's the big sister I've always wanted and finally have. Because she gives me advice that no one else can. Because we're the same person, in so many ways it's terrifying. 
28. Coldstone: because red velvet ice cream can solve any problem in the world. Because ice cream is one thing that brings me and Jon Downing closer than anything else. 
27. Bronson Kunzler: because nobody makes me feel more loved, important, or special like he does. Because he knows everything about me and still thinks I'm incredible. Because he's the boy who has a majority of my heart. 
26. Kappa Delta: because a girl can never have too many sisters. 
25. My bed: because nothing feels better than a dozen pillows, blankets and my giraffe after an exhausting day. 
24. The Snitches of 102: because I wouldn't have survived my first year of college without them. Because they're my best friends, and the ones I would do anything for. 
23. Farmington, Utah: because regardless of where I live, nowhere brings me as much comfort, happiness, and nostalgia as Farmington's Main Street. 
22. These boys: because they've put up with me for five months and still make me laugh harder than anybody else. Because even though they drive me absolutely crazy, they're the best boys I know. 
21.  Country music: because Luke has my heart, Carrie understands, and Miranda tells it like it is. 
20. My Soarority girls: because they made this summer unforgettable and keep me sane. Because they're the best friends a girl could ask for. 
19. My planner: because there's no other way to keep track of my psychotic life. 
18. The Kunzler's: because they let me steal Bronson far too often. Because they let me in on their game nights. Because they're some of the most Christlike, selfless people I know and I'm blessed to have their family play such a huge part in my life. 
17. The piano: because when you can't leave the house and need to escape, nothing works better than Cristofori's Dream.
16. Hailee Jane Henson: because she understands my loathing of cancer. Because she inspires me to be a better person. Because she's the best example I've ever had. 
15. Hair-dye: because when you need a change but can't do a whole lot, it gives me a new start and a renewed sense of confidence. 
14. My cousins: because they're 30+ little minions who love me unconditionally. Because they give me a reason to be a good example. Because they cure me of my baby-hunger. 
13. A-Team: because it gave me the best summer job I'll ever have. Because I made 45 friends I wouldn't have made anywhere else. Because it made my summer unforgettable. 
12. My little brother: because he likes the same music I do and shares my love for In-n-Out shakes. Because he lets me beat him up....not. Because he makes me laugh. 
11. Sigma Phi Epsilon: because those boys have given me some of the greatest boys I've ever known. Whether it's Derek running to Hobby Lobby with me, Dusty dancing while I do my homework, Trevor going to dinner with me in his pajamas, Kurt giving me life advice, Zack finding me new music, Brady giving me a compliment, Kendall hacking my computer, or Matt experiencing Pumpkin Spice Lattes for the first time, these boys provide me with daily entertainment and friendships that I value more than I can express. Because I'd do anything for them and am blessed to call them friends. 
10. Marley McClune: because she accompanied me on a thousand adventures this summer and understands my soft drink addiction.
9. The temple: because it's given me the most important goal in my life and allowed me to have an eternal family. Because there's nothing more important to me than getting there someday with the boy I love, and the lessons we learn there are the most important knowledge I'll ever have. 
8. Liz Rumball: because she reminds me to wear my shoes, eat on a regular basis, and do my homework. Because at 2 am, she's the one I'm talking to in my car. Because she'll drop anything and everything to help me out. 
7. My oldest little sister: because she makes me food and watches movies with me. Because she shops with me even when she doesn't want to. Because she does everything with me and is my first best friend. 
6. My Viewmont boys: because high school was different because of them. Because they're my favorite dates, pen pals, and missionaries. Because they've changed my life--and continue to do so every day. 
5. Home: because whether it's Logan, Farmington, Kaysville, or anywhere with my best friends, I love the memories that accompany each place. 
4. My grandma: because she's my biggest hero and the greatest example I'll ever have. 
3. The priesthood: because whether it's a bishop's advice, a father's blessing, or my patriarchal blessing, I know what I'm hearing is coming from my Father in Heaven. 
2. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: because it makes sense when nothing else does. Because it never changes and is the sure foundation I need. Because it continually changes my life and allows me to serve in ways otherwise impossible. Because it's the only true church, and everything I need. 
1. My life: because as crazy and chaotic as it seems at times, I truly love every single aspect of it. Because I'm grateful for everything I get to do, the experiences I have, and the people I'm surrounded by. 
I'm a lucky girl, and I am very, very, blessed. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

I shmell someshing.

It's this pretty girl's birthday today, and I'm still a little bit in shock that she's 17. 
I'm in shock because it makes me feel old, and also because I think she's a lot older than she really is. 
Britt's the most mature person I know. She's my little sister, but she's way more responsible, organized, motivated, caring, and passionate than I am--or probably ever will be. 
She does everything I do, just better than I ever could. 
Not only does she do everything she wants to do, she does whatever I want her to do as well. 
Whether it's forcing her to play lacrosse, dragging her along for yet another unnecessary shopping spree, or making her make the brownies I need because I know I'll ruin them, she's always willing to help me out. 

We're eerily similar, and yet strikingly different, and I often question whether or not we're from the same gene pool. 
I love having dozens of people with me, and I don't mind attention. I live for the weekends and spending time with friends, and I hate quiet. 
Brittany is content with to spend time with a smaller group, and is even happier in a quiet place by herself with some random vampire book or her art stuff. 
She hates shopping, and is extremely good with money. 
She loves animals--one thing I will never understand. 
She's never been a huge girly-girl, but somehow manages to have the most beautiful head of hair I've seen short of Rapunzel in Tangled. 

Basically, she's everything good in this world. 
She has the kindest, softest heart of anybody I know.
She loves to serve and give to others, and spends more money on other people than she does on herself. 
She's motivated and focused, and one of the smartest people I know. 
She's a good listener, a great leader, and a better friend. 

She keeps me sane, and brings balance to my crazy life--and I'm so glad I have her to look up to. 
So thanks for being the best role model of a little sister a girl could ask for. I don't know what I'd do without you. Happy Birthday, Britty. :)  

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The little things.

Somedays, it's just so easy to be happy. 
Because even in the middle of tests, work, essays, and a to-do list that is longer than you are tall, you have the chance to see how absolutely incredible your life is.
There's no better way to celebrate your best friend's birthday than by smashing a homemade cake in his face. Tennessee orange looks real good in our hair and on the floor of SigEp. So glad this kid and his camo-loving Southern charm are such a big part of my life. Thanks for being born, Brian. 
Went to Frightmares for the first time for SigEp's informal, and had the best date in the group. 
My big is better than your big. We're so alike--even have the same name--and she keeps my head screwed on straight. I honestly don't know what I'd do without Ash, Liz and Judy--even though sometimes I have three extra mothers lecturing me and making sure I make good decisions. 
I'd do just about anything for these boys, and there's nothing better after a long day than a note like this and Dirty Dr. Peppers with two of my favorite boys. 
You can't fake a love like this. Honestly, this is sheer adoration in it's simplest form. 
As Winnie the Pooh said, "sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart." There isn't a thing on this planet I wouldn't do for this little girl. 

Everywhere I look, in every aspect of my life, I'm blessed. 
My calendar may be jam-packed with a million big ideas and huge deadlines, but it's the little things in the spare seconds that make everything worth it. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The skin I'm in.

Back-to-back SOAR days.
Dance parties.
Cliff jumping.
13-hour serving shifts.

These are just a few of the things my body allows me to do--and I'm sure there's a thousand others we're able to do I haven't even tried yet.
That's why it doesn't make sense to hate on the skin you're in.

My body may not be capable of making a three-point shot, scoring a field goal, or climbing Mt. Everest--but it can do a whole lot. And I'm grateful for it everyday.

Today is National Love Your Body Day.

I think it's time we all took a second and appreciated what we have--instead of focusing on what we don't.
Remember this post?  Still true.
When I was in junior high and high school, I watched multiple friends struggle with various eating disorders--and it wasn't fun.
It's hard to watch someone you care about become completely dissatisfied with themselves and not be able to do a thing about it.
I have four little sisters, and I don't want any of them to have to deal with that.

We live in a very material world; where image is everything and possessions reign supreme.
We spend a lot of time comparing what we have and who we are to other people, and that's not fair.

Society has warped and twisted the way girls see themselves, and I think it's important that we make an effort to change that. 
Not everyone can be super-model tall, with a Barbie's figure, crystal blue eyes and blonde hair. 
Not everyone is a size 0, has perfectly shaped eyebrows, or Angelina Jolie lips. 
Not everyone wears designer clothing, can walk in high heels like a pro, or pull off the latest fashion trends. 
I'm never going to be six feet tall or wear anything labeled "extra small."
I'm never going to rock a leather mini skirt, or have the bright green eyes I long for. 
I don't have perfectly defined cheek bones or a perfect "bikini body."
But that's okay. 
I love the fact that my hair has a crazy kind of curl to it. 
I love that my eyelashes are almost as thick as my little brothers. 
I love that I don't have to wear heels to be average height.
I love that I can run Ragnar and hold my own on a snowboard.
I love the body I have--and everything I'm able to do with it. 

The beauty of being a girl is that you're never going to be exactly the same as somebody else, no matter how hard you try. Accept that. 
Because if we're being honest, it's hard to be happy when someone is being mean to you all the time. 
Become your own biggest fan. 
Learn to love the skin you're in, be nice to yourself & love your body; because it does a lot for you.