Friday, August 30, 2013

Your little girl.

It's my Dad's birthday today. 
That means the world has been a better place for 43 years. 
Those of you who know my dad know exactly what I mean when I say my dad is amazing. 
He knows just about everything, and what he doesn't know, he figures out. 
He knows how to tune a bike like a pro, and smokes some of the best BBQ I've ever had. 
He's the best sports photographer our athletic teams ever hired, and I have him to thank for my blonde hair and green eyes. 
He's the first person I call when I have a question, I'm in trouble, or I don't know what to do. 
He's the one I think about when I'm making a big decision, and who I aim to please in everything I do. 
He's the perfect example of the kind of man I want to marry. 
Smart, loyal, funny, spiritual. Organized, dedicated, family oriented, supportive. 
I've been out of the house for a year now, and I see more of him in myself every day.
He's the reason I've always tried my hardest in school (well that, and a little exterior motivation called a cell phone). 
He's the reason I've run across the across the Wasatch Front for one weekend every year. 
He's the reason I can out-eat most boys in ribs and brisket. 
He's the reason I love John Grisham, Vince Flynn, Robert McCammon, and Lincoln & Child.
He's the reason I cry, all the freaking time. He's the biggest cry baby I know (and I'll probably get in trouble for saying that). 
He's the reason I love Chocolate English Toffee ice cream, football, and Utah State. 
But most importantly? He's the reason I'm here. 

My friends all love my dad; like almost obsessively. 
Everybody wants to be Russ's best friend. 
I don't even want to count the number of times Dallin's made me make sure to tell my dad that he loves him, how many times I've had boys show up at my house just wanting to hang out with my dad, and one time, I even got mad at my dad for texting at the dinner table....only to find out he was talking to Spencer. 
He's the best; and everyone is very aware of that fact. 

I'm incredibly lucky to have such an amazing example in my life. My dad's family is a little...psycho. And he has every reason in the world to be bitter about it. But for the last 10 years, he's used the situation to teach us kids about forgiveness, and accepting what we can't change. He's the perfect example of service: whether he's installing radar detectors in our neighbors cars, smoking loads of pulled pork for other people's family BBQ's, or taking dance pictures for yet another group of high schoolers, he does it without question. My dad has an amazing testimony--and he lives it everyday. 
He'll always be the first man I ever loved, and I'll always be a daddy's girl. That's just how life goes. 

The moral of the story is, I absolutely adore my dad, for a million different reasons. But the number one reason I love him? He lets me be me. He supports me in whatever I do. 
Jim Valvano said it best: "My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: he believed in me." And for that? I owe him everything I have been, am, and want to become. 
Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you. :) 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Here's to summer.

Here's to new adventures, new jobs, and new apartments.
Here's to tiki masks, dance parties, midnight movies on LoveSacs, and trading hoodies. 
Here's to hours of night games, hiding under bunk beds, inside showers, and behind closet doors. 
Here's to riding on a mattress in the back of the Suburban, jumping off cliffs, and swinging on ropes.
Here's to best friend alerts, the Twerk Team, and a summer fling. 
Here's to a thousand McDonald's runs, sushi nights, and a dozen trips to PacSun. 
Here's to too many people in a car, being Beyonce's staff in Ikea, and dysfunctional family dinners.
Here's to paint twister, lunch dates, and campus golf.
Here's to freshmen stalkers, staff sanities, and finding a thousand and one ways to wear grey t-shirts. 
Here's to road trips, Dirty Dr. Peppers, sugar cookies, and Friends marathons. 
Here's to fountain swimming, statue climbing, hallway dancing, and firework mishaps.
Here's to 7 am meetings, 21 hour work days, and double jobs.
Here's to midnight drives, the Fourth of July in Huntsville, and JT jam sessions.
Here's to this summer, the memories made to tide us over until next year, and the friends that came with the summer.
Here's to summer, and here's to us. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

One step back.

This is what has been staring me in the face for the last couple of weeks--well, this, and the hour by hour version of my life in my other planner. 
The next two and a half weeks have had me stressed, panicked, worried, and nervous; plus a whole lot of excited too. 
In the midst of moving this week, trying to juggle two jobs+a social life+a healthy sleep schedule...overwhelmed doesn't quite cover how I've been feeling. 
As I looked at my upcoming schedule, I spent a sad little minute questioning what on earth I was doing and wondering if I was wasting all my time and energy...until I got a stunning little reminder of what the heck was going on. 
One of my best friends is currently on a mission in Paris, France. She's like my twin sister; the one who finishes my sentences, answers the phone at 3 am, and reminds me where I'm going and who I want to be when I forget. 
I completely spaced emailing her Sunday night, and when I woke up Monday morning, I had a one sentence email waiting for me in my inbox. 
The subject line was, "I think you need this right now," and all the body of the message said was, 
"You're too blessed to be stressed. Love, Emily." 
I guess I forgot. 
Forgot that I'm living in one of the best cities on the planet, going to what I think is the best school. 
Forgot that I have a fantastic job, that lets me work with people day in and day out, answer questions that I had problems with not too long ago, and be with some of my favorite people all day long--and another that (while not my favorite) gives me a chance to talk to dozens of new people every day, and keeps me on my feet and distracted. 
Forgot that I'm studying something that I love--and devoting the next couple years of my life to becoming educated in a field I adore. 
I guess I forgot how incredibly lucky I am to be so busy doing the things I love. 
I really am way to blessed to be stressed.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

We can't stop.

When your daily routine gets a little too routine, and you're out of adventures to go on, you have to get a little creative. 
This would be us [the #TwerkTeam] running around campus at midnight in our swimsuits. Shenanigans, dance parties, and foreign activities took place. 
Being the classy individuals that we are, sushi is always a yes. But in case you were wondering, sushi + ice cream in the same night is always a no. 
And when we all finally have a day off work, we caravan up to Bloomington Lake. With a rope swing, cliffs to jump, crystal clear water, a group of my best friends, and a view like this....
you can't go wrong. I could live on the side of this lake and not feel bad about it for a second. You really don't need much more in life than water, sunshine, a rope swing, and cliffs to jump off of.
 When two of your friends haven't been to pile six people into a five person car, and make the two hour drive to Draper. You play house for two hours, fail to buy the couch we went there for in the first place, and introduce the bunch of crazies you spend every day with to your family [this picture epitomizes Brian. So he gets to deal with it. That, and it was the only picture that we took on my phone all day].
When Trent needs help with a video about AED's for campus, Wolfie "dies" and Big Blue takes off his shirt.  
[Bonus: I got to hang out with Big Blue all day.]
And even after all these crazy adventures, sometimes there's nothing I'd rather do than sit on Braxton's bed with my favorite boys and watch them play video games, Tinder, or listen to Selena Gomez until way too early in the morning--even if it involves dozens of pictures of Trent&Sherlock, Brian, and ____ Braxy Brax.
I guess I'm just very very glad I met--and got to really know--these boys this summer. I was worried about not having people to do stuff with...but that fear disappeared very quickly. 
Brian, Trent, Michael, and Braxton [and the rest of the SigEp boys + the other A-Teamers] made this summer a blast and a half. Whether we were doing back flips off a rope swing, fighting with pool noodles in the basement, playing watching Minecraft on Braxton's bed, hitting up McDonald's for yet another large drink in a styrofoam cup, attending Beyonce Home Evening, playing Snapchat telephone, swimming in the fountains, twerking all over campus, or fighting over what movie to watch on LoveSacs...I had a blast. 
S/O to the #twerkteam for a perfect summer, and for becoming some of my best friends. I guess I kinda like you people. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Escape from reality.

With two of the original roommates out on their missions, the remaining four of us decided there was nothing else to do but escape our lives and responsibility for the week. St. George was the best way to forget about the chaos of our lives for a second, and it was an excellent way to catch up with my best friends. 
I'd never been to Tuacahn before, and Kenzie got a ridiculously good deal on tickets to Thoroughly Modern Millie. I loved musicals before, but I decided that there's no better way to experience than nestled in the red rock of Southern Utah. That ampitheater is beautiful. And the musical itself made me want to live in the 20's more than I've ever wanted to before. 

We also learned a very valuable lesson...don't let the adorable old lady attempt to get a picture of you jumping into the pool. 
Obviously, we spent a majority of our time laying out by the pool. It was nice to finally let my skin see the sun, after being in polos and at work every other day this summer. [And I didn't get a sunburn. #winner.]
This picture is really only here to show you how excited we were to not be in the cave anymore, not have jobs to worry about, and be in air conditioning--well that, and how stoked Lauren was to share a bed with me for four nights. I may or may not talk in my sleep. And she might have woken up with me taking over the whole bed and with my arms around her once or twice. I like my sleep, okay?? Also, it's almost physically impossible for us to take a decent picture together. This is about as good as it gets. 
This basically sums up our whole adventure. A whole lot of time together, no makeup, top knots, swimsuits, enough shopping to fulfill my wardrobe wishes, and hotel beds. 
I guess you could say I consider myself very lucky to have had some of the best roommates imaginable. These girls keep me sane--and that's not always an easy job. They understand when I flip out in the middle of traffic, and don't judge when we decide to sleep through the hotel breakfast. They get the fact that I'll watch Friends at any hour of the day, and laugh at my weird jokes. 
I'm so glad I can call these ladies my best friends, and can't wait to see where this year takes us. 
I wish you all 5's, girls. :) 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Falling in love.

I came across a blog post yesterday that I loved.
The world is a confused place, if people are honestly criticizing her body immediately after having a baby. 
Society is out of check with reality. Tina Fey said it best:
"...every girl is expected to have: Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, and the arms of Michelle Obama."
With a standard like that being placed on every girl, it's nearly impossible to not compare yourself to others. 
I wish my hair was as pretty as her's, I wish I could pull off her outfit, I wish my eyes were her color of blue, I wish my legs were as long as hers...
The list goes on and on. 
We're so worried about what other girls think about us, and so concerned with making the boys fall in love with us that we forget to love ourselves first. 
One of my best friends would always tell me, "I love you, but I loved your confidence first." 
Don't get me wrong, I have just as many insecurities as the next girl. 
I refuse to leave the house without mascara on. 
My hair is naturally curly...and no one ever sees it. 
Pink washes me out like no other color on the planet. 
I can't wear some dresses because I just don't fill them out. 
Hats have never looked good on me. 
But, I've learned to be OK with all that. 
I'm perfectly comfortable with the person that I am, regardless of what the world says. 
One of my favorite quotes says, "You are not your bra size, nor are you the width of your waist, nor are you the slenderness of your calves. You are not your hair color, your skin color, nor are you a shade of lipstick. Your shoe-size is of no consequence. You are not defined by the amount of attention you get from males, females, or any combination thereof. You are not the number of sit-ups you can do, nor are you the number of calories in a day. You are not your mustache. You are not the hair on your legs. You are not a little red dress. You are no amalgam of these things. You are the content of your character. You are the ambitions that drive you. You are the goals that you set. You are the things that you laugh at and the words that you say. You are the thoughts you think and the things you wonder. You are beautiful and desirable not for the clique you attend, but for the spark of life within you that compels you to make your a full and meaningful one. You are beautiful not for the shape of the vessel, but for the volume of the soul it carries." 
In a world where celebrities create our own self image, it's tough to be a girl. 
If we live by the world's standards, we will never be skinny enough, tall enough, blonde enough, or curvy enough. We'll never wear exactly the right clothes, or do our make up exactly like we're supposed to. 
Learn to love yourself, rather than the person you think you need to be. 
Enjoy your smile.
Be content with your dress size.
Learn to accept the reality of your eye color.
Fall in love with yourself, your body, and the person you're becoming.  
I think the most important thing a girl can do for herself is to care more about how she thinks of herself than she cares about how others think about her. 
Other people criticize us enough--we have to be our own biggest fans. 

"There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty."
 -Steve Maraboli