Friday, May 31, 2013

Do me a favor.

Friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers...PEOPLE. 
I have this friend. This wonderful, adorable, incredibly crafty friend. 
She's in this happy little contest called "Blog Wars," and is in the third of four rounds of the craft contest. 
If you have just a second, and I mean literally a second since that's how long it takes to vote for her craft, DO IT. 

There's the link for you. 
Voting is going on right now and will go to Sunday. 
Hints on my favorite: it captures my love for "tweeting." 

Please, and THANK YOU! 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

It's still weird.

It's been a year since I graduated from high school. A whole stinking year. 
Freaky how fast time flies without you realizing it. 
I posted this picture on my instagram account for my #tbt post of the week, and it made me think about how much has happened in the last 12 months. 
-I ran my third Ragnar relay (and my fourth happens in 21 days. I've already resigned myself to the fact that I'm dying on the trail). 
-I turned 18, and celebrated my birthday with 12 of my favorite people over a weekend in Park City.
 -I moved up to school with five of the best friends I've ever had...and have now sent one on a mission, one leaving in just under 70 days, one home to go to a different school, and found an apartment for the three of us left. 
 -I started hanging out with these boys again, and have watched my best friends leave on their missions (four months down today!). 
-I made USU's A-Team, changed my major twice, and survived a whole year of college on my own. 

It's weird to look back over a year and see how much has changed and how much I've accomplished in what seems like such a small amount of time. 
Girls my age are getting married, some of the boys have been gone almost a whole year, and I haven't seen some of the kids I grew up with in months. 
High school was great--for the most part--but I'm loving this whole "real world" thing. That doesn't mean it's necessarily all fun and games, but college definitely has it's perks; and I love every single minute of it. 

That's a list of things I want to do by the time I'm 20 (which is about a year from now). 
What are some things you'd add/want to do? 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Long story short.

I'm just missing these two a whole bunch today. 
Paris and Michigan better be taking good care of my favorite missionaries.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Can I say something?

Hi friends. This post is a little bit angry, a little bit frustrated, but mostly a little bit for your information. Consider it tips and tricks to being a fantastic customer, wonderful guest, and just an all around good person. 

I work as a waitress in Logan, and while I get my fair share of bad days and bad customers, I also have some rather incredible people come in and genuinely kind customers that give me reason to stay with this job. I love being able to work and interact with tons of new people on a daily basis, and the fast paced environment is perfect for my attention span. 
Today, though, was incredibly frustrating. 

Let's say, hypothetically speaking of course, that you and your family go out for a nice holiday brunch on Memorial Day. 
You all order specialty drinks, place large meal orders, and add dessert, appetizers, and some minor requests throughout the course of the meal. 
When you are finished eating, as your waitress clears your plates [which have very little, if any, food left on them] and asks how everything was, you respond with a not-so-courteous "Would you be offended if we complained?" 
When she asks what's wrong, you say, "The portions were way off, the food was bland and awful, and it took nearly 15 minutes to get to us. The service was alright, though." 
She responds, "I'm sorry! Would you like another order of pancakes? The times have been a little off all morning, we've been a lot busier than we expected! Is there anything I can do better?" 
You say, "No, we're fine thanks. Can we see a manager?"
So she gets the manager. Who you proceed to argue with about the "changed portion sizes" and "cold food." 
Then you go to pay your bill, and complain to the host while doing so, all while mocking your server's comments and their manager's attempt to fix the problem. [and you're not wearing shoes, in a public place, the whole time this is happening. HYPOTHETICALLY SPEAKING, of course.]
And then maybe, just maybe, you don't tip your waitress on your $100+ bill. 

And that, my friends, is the problem. 
We servers are trained to answer questions, solve customer's problems, and involve our managers whenever needed. We are in charge of getting drinks, serving the food, and keeping customers full and satisfied. 
However, we are not responsible for the portion sizes or the time it takes to get the food from the kitchen to the table. We do everything in our power to have food out in under 15 minutes, 20 at the very most. We have cooks remake the food if it's been sitting too long, is too cold, or doesn't look right. 
Our job is to keep the customers happy, because they control what we're paid. 
As a server in Utah, the hourly wage is $2.13. After taxes, our checks are minimal, even after working 20-35 hours a week. [Over the last pay period, I clocked nearly 64 hours. My paycheck was less than $80.] Our income is based solely on tips, and if those don't come through...we don't make money at all. 

My point is: 
Always tip your server. 
Unless the service itself is what was bad, of course. It's not their fault if the cooks took twenty minutes to make your food correctly, and they have no control over the amount of food you are given. 
AND please, please, please tip on the pre-coupon/discount amount if you use a coupon. Just because you got free/cheaper food doesn't mean your server did any less work--the food is discounted, not the service. [For example, Free Pie Wednesday at the VI. Drinks are two dollars and something cents. Pie is taken off. Tip on the total amount INCLUDING the pie. Gift cards too. If you're not actually paying for your food, leaving a tip should be easy!]
If you have a problem, complaint, or concern about something, please tell your waitress. It's our job to take care of you. If it's a big enough deal, we will always get our managers involved, and the problem will be solved to the best of our ability. 
Ask to talk to a manager, or leave a note for the owner if there is a problem. 
But please, for the sake of all of us servers out there, don't take it out on your server's tip. 

That's all. I'm done ranting now. 
Happy Monday, folks!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gone too soon.

Friday night, we had one final dinner as roommates before Kelsey leaves on Wednesday. While we were sitting at Zupa's, someone said something about how the next time we'll all be together, there'll be wedding rings involved. Just about blew my mind. 
For the last nine months, I've spent just about every waking moment with these five girls. We've cleaned, cried, yelled, slept, cooked, and laughed together; and they've become my very best friends. 
Kelsey goes into the MTC next Wednesday, and then we'll have 21 months before we're all together again.
Gives a whole new meaning to "see you soon."
I'm so excited for the people of Knoxville [not Nashville, contrary to popular belief] to get to know Kelsey. She's one of the most Christlike people I've ever met, and she's got a stronger testimony than just about anyone else I know. She's a ridiculously hard worker, and more motivated than I'll ever be. And those traits alone are going to help her work wonders in Tennessee. 

Yesterday was Boston's farewell too. Our mom's have been friends for a ridiculously long time, and we kind of got thrown together. That led to sleepovers every day of the week, daily homework sessions, and bike rides to our favorite swing set in Kaysville. Being a year old than me, Bost was always one step ahead and acted as the perfect example for me to follow. She heads to the MTC on the 5th of June before leaving for Spokane, Washington...and I feel like I'm losing a sister. She's taught me so much, and I look up to her and admire her more than anybody else.

Basically, I've been ridiculously lucky when it comes to my friends. They're incredible examples of Christlike lives, and they have testimonies that help mine grow every single day. I'm so proud of each and every one of them and their decision to serve, and I can't wait to add to my list of letter-writing buddies. Missionary work is such an amazing thing, and I'm so glad I get to see it happening on so many levels.
I went over to Bronson's house yesterday since it had been forever since I'd seen his family. After four hours of talking about everything under the sun, a snapchat conversation with Jonnynog, and updating them on everybody's lives; I realized just how lucky I was to have not only amazing friends, but to have  good relationships with their families as well. The Kunzler's are some incredible people, and I'm so glad they're a part of my life.
Last, but certainly not least, today was email day! Emily's been eating some freaky foods in Paris (rabbit, goat cheese, escargot, and pureed celery--whatever that means) and Hailee's companion knows next to no English (the word of the day was "sketchy" and her companion lost no time telling her, "Sister Henson, you look sketchy today." Oh the joys of a foreign language). Bronson's loving Michigan. (He also said a bunch of ward members had found my blog via hello to any new readers in Michigan! Take care of my best friend, alright?) And he sent me this picture saying, "I think this will make your day." He's changed so much in the last four months, and yet he hasn't changed at all. What a goof. 

Life is good, kids. So good. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

All I could ask for.

I just want all the mothers in my life to know how thankful I am for all of them. I'm grateful for all of my aunts that have spoiled me and loved me like their own daughter since the second my mom brought me home from the hospital. I'm grateful for the mom's in my ward that have been my primary teachers and YW leaders. I'm grateful for my roommates mom's for giving me the five best friends a girl could ask for, and for giving me such good examples to look up to. I'm grateful for the mom's of the boys I hang out with (especially Bronson, Jackson, Jon, Sam, and Dallin's mothers) for raising the boys I love more than just about anything and for teaching them how to treat girls. I'm grateful for a grandma that was the perfect mom to my mother, and for my Grandma Jo who's stepped in and been an excellent mom and grandma to us since my Grandma passed away.
I'm so grateful for all of them, but I wouldn't be here without my mom (and I'm not just talking literally).
For as long as I can remember, I've heard things like:
"You look just like your mom!" 
"I can never tell you and your mom apart on the phone." 
"You and your mom are so alike."
Things like this used to drive me absolutely crazy. I didn't sound anything like her! I sounded like a 16-year old. Not a mom. I didn't look anything like her! I was blonde. We weren't alike! I can't sing like her. Or invent cake flavors (or cook at all really). We're so different. 
Now though, I can see the truth in those compliments. I do look just like her. I've got her curly hair, and her eyes. Even though I look an awful lot like my dad too, I've definitely got a significant amount of Bell genes. I do sound just like my mom. Not even just literally, but figuratively too. My voice sounds more and more like hers everyday...and sometimes, I find myself saying things I've heard her say. I never knew what people meant when they said "I always said I'd never do [insert some behavior or habit here] like my mom does...but I find myself doing it everyday." I'll fold laundry a certain way or frost a cupcake a different way just because I've watched her do it that way. And we're a lot more similar than I thought we were. I hate making left turns almost as much as she does. We're both incredibly stubborn and independent, but I think we both rely on others more than we admit. We both love music, and I've found that she appreciates my music a lot more than most parents would, and we both get excited when we find a new song. 
I've always had people tell me how lucky I was to have the parents I do, but I think it took moving away from home to fully realize how incredibly lucky I am. 
My mom supports me in EVERYTHING I do. And by everything, I mean every single thing I do. From yet another crazy hair-dye adventure (not many mothers are okay with their daughter coming home with purple hair...then red hair....and then who knows what) to an hour long drive just to grab a snowboard before heading right back. From helping me out with yet another campaign skit to driving out to who knows where to watch a lacrosse game. 

I have yet to make a drive to Logan without getting a call exactly an hour and five minutes after I leave, making sure I was home safe; and she waits up for me the weekends I drive home after a late night shift at work. She makes my favorite meals, and there's always guacamole and orange juice waiting in the fridge when I get home. When I ask, "Should I do [insert crazy, sometimes responsible, and always adventurous thing here]?" the answer is always, "You'd be great at it. Go for it." 
She loves Maroon 5, Sara Bareilles, Kate Voegele, P!nk, and Train almost as much as I do--and she'll even listen to Lady Gaga and Fall Out Boy with me. We're both slightly in love with Josh Groban, Michael Buble, and Alfie Boe--and neither of us are ashamed to admit it. 
My mom answers all of my phone calls--or at least calls back really fast--and answers all my questions.
My mom makes me laugh, and I think this picture proves to everyone where I got my ability to pull some strange faces from. 
She laughs at my jokes, and listens to dozens of new stories every time I come home. Even though she rolls her eyes at me when I say I'm going shopping, yet again, she trusts me enough to dress all my little sisters for family pictures, and doesn't complain about what I wear. [Although she has remarked that the increase of floral pants in my wardrobe is "interesting."] She helps me move in to my apartments, and calls to check on me just when I'm about ready to lose my mind. She cares--enough that I'm not worried about being alone, but not enough to drive me crazy. 
You can tell me over and over how your mom is the best, but I'll kindly disagree. 
I'm so grateful I have a Heavenly Father who loves me enough to give me parents that are as wonderful as mine. I'm so grateful for my mom and all she does for me, and I can honestly say I wouldn't be who I am without her. She's one of my best friends, and I'm so glad people say that I remind them of her. 
If I can be half the woman and mother she is, I'd be the happiest person on the planet. 
Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Reason for being.

Watch this before you read any farther. 
Monday morning, I moved into my apartment for the summer...not fully realizing what I was getting myself into. 
Last time I moved into an apartment I had my best friend with me, and four other girls moving in with us that I knew from school, EFY, and Girls' State. We were in a building with tons of kids I knew from high school, and everyone was moving in the same time.
This time I moved in to an apartment with 10 girls I've never met, three days before anyone else, and all my friends were at home in Kaysville or Farmington. 
Monday night, I was so bored and lonely I could barely handle it. I read my whole book for Connections, wrote three missionary letters, and organized my already clean closet. I woke up Tuesday morning to go to work, went on a run, and then went back into work at nine p.m. I got home and couldn't help but wonder what all my friends were doing. 
I was in a huge house, with two girls I'd never met, and was missing my family and best friends more than ever. 
I checked Facebook on my phone (because I had no idea what the wifi password was, and it was 1 am), and watched this video that my uncle made, and honestly it was just what I needed to hear. 
While we're growing up, we make our friends the most important part of our lives. We're dependent on them for everything--how to dress, what to do on the weekends, and what to say. 
I was no different; my best friends were my world
Then they started leaving on missions. Now I'm sending letters to Michigan, Paris, Honduras, Ghana, and Washington. Some of them moved home for the summer, or for good. Some of them have gotten married. 
I found myself fending for myself more than I'd like (I hate quiet, and I hate being alone. I'm definitely a people person). 

I also found that I didn't mind it. As much as I hate being by myself, I've learned that my friends and family--while incredibly important to me, and a very large part of who I am--aren't the reason that I exist. 
Like Andy says in that video, we shouldn't define ourselves by who we hang out with, or the things we have. Who we are is based on what we do. 
With that in mind, I decided that it's my job to be the best "me" possible. 
Whether that's by being the best A-Teamer I can be, studying English better than any other Aggie, or doing everything I can to get to cosmetology school's up to me. 
Ultimately, it comes down to how I can answer my Grandma's question of "Are you being good?" 
Am I living to up to my utmost potential, and accomplishing everything I can?
Or am I simply existing? 
In an earlier post, I said we're only given one shot at college--and it was our job to make it the best experience possible. The same goes for our lives; we've got one shot to prove we did what we wanted. Why waste a second of it just existing? 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Once each year.

Sometimes, just when you don't think you can handle one more emotion being thrown in your face, life hits you like a figurative brick wall. 
I thought I finally had everything under control after moving all week, working all weekend, and finishing finals; but I hadn't really had time to process what month it was. I've never been a fan of May, it's windy, it's AP week (or finals, now), and the anticipation for summer is getting the best of everyone. 
So when I got a letter from my best friend on Friday that said, "I know your least favorite day of the year is coming up. And I want you to know that I'm thinking about you, that the Plan of Salvation is real, and families ARE forever." I was caught a little off guard. 
Then I realized what he meant. It's been three years since my Grandma passed away; three years since the hardest day of my life. 
Even though I miss her so much it hurts to breathe somedays, I've learned so much over the last three years; things I wouldn't have learned otherwise. 
The night she passed away, after I'd told my friends good night, turned off my cell phone, and my family had gone to bed, I turned to my scriptures, desperate for some kind of comfort. 
Opening to a handout in the New Testament, I turned the page to 2nd Corinthians 4:17, which reads: 
"For our light affliction  which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. " 
Even though I wouldn't want to go through any of that again, I know that I wouldn't be the same person without that trial. I've learned how to rely on my Heavenly Father for comfort, and how to apply the Atonement to my life. I learned how incredible my family truly is, and I think the sealing power we find in the temples is even more amazing now. I know how much it hurt to lose my grandma, and at the time, that seemed like the worst thing in the world to me--and it might have been. But I do know that that trial will be worth it in the end, when I get to see her again in the spirit world and be with her for eternity. The pain of that loss is nothing compared to the glory we'll experience after. 

In the meantime though, I'll do my best to follow her example. To love without hesitation, and serve without a second thought. To focus on others more than I focus on myself, and set goals that will help me in a celestial sense. I want to be the kind of mother she was, and the kind of relationship that she and my grandpa have. During her fight with cancer, she adopted a motto of sorts, the phrase "You can do hard things" and I'd be lying if I said I hadn't applied that in my own life. I can do hard things, and I will keep doing hard things--because I had a nearly perfect example of endurance to follow. 
I love you, Grandma.