Monday, May 30, 2011

Financial Plans?

The other day, someone asked us to come to a financial planning meeting, where we'd get our finances analyzed, a forecast prepared, and additional advice regarding investing, etc - for free. So, because we  1) like the idea of free financial assistance from a trusted source, and 2) wanted to help this person, we said yes.

Now, I know I'm not a very exciting person. Ask my roommates from college. I studied. I played sports. Then, instead of eating or sleeping, I studied more. Stress was my constant companion. Well, when you're that involved in an affair with your GPA, you rarely have time to spend money. Hence, I didn't budget because I didn't spend. In fact, I came out of college with $0 in debt.

My parents are also extremely frugal. When gas was $0.87/gallon, we'd drive around to different grocery stores to save 10 cents on meat - an exaggeration, but not by much! My parents are great examples of living within your means. I've learned the distinct difference between needs and wants - I've known that since I could write my name.

I have regrets - not playing more in college, not relaxing and most importantly - I took myself too seriously. I'm a lot better at this now, but mostly because I married someone who helps me identify when I'm about to start down that path, and that pattern has led to a change in behavior. Thankfully!

But, I don't regret being financially responsible.

-Cue Financial Planner-

He looks at our numbers, drools over how much my company contributes to my 403(b), and loves how much we've done - we have no debt, etc. Great.

Then, he asks us about our dreams. [Remember, I'm a pretty dull person, apparently.]

I look to Tyler. He mentions that we'd like to start a family and own a home someday. [Please notice the word, someday.]

The planner begins to drill us - what about travelling all over the world? What about this, that, and the other things!? His son is traveling Eurpoe with his wife, he speaks 4 languages, and he's interning with the State Dept. in Albania or something.

I don't have much to say. I need more advice on investing, not saving for a trip to Europe, amongst other things.

Anywho, the guy eventually breaks my silent streak. He tells me I live in a box. [He isn't the first one.] I said thank-you. He's shocked. I mention to him that I believe in being financially responsible first and foremost. I have dreams, but I know that they're not the most important things in my near future.

He asks what they are - truthfully, I'd give anything to be a National Geographic photographer. Ty's an anthropologist - as he travels, wouldn't it be great to be a photojournalist for National Geographic!?

He grins, because he thinks we're getting somewhere.

In the end, he brings the discussion back to owning a house. [In my world, I would like to own a home within the next 10 years.] I once had a co-worker who told me that if I could, I should only take out a mortgage that was 2x what we made anually. The financial planner says, "Is your box even going to have windows?!?" [I love windows. And, that struck a nerve.]

I came home and cried and cried and cried.

What's wrong with me?

Now, this may sound a little self-serving, but I don't think that anything is wrong with me. I refuse to live like the other 98% of Americans. I don't want to keep up with the Joneses [did anyone else see that movie!?]. I mean, it'd be fantastic to live a lifestyle without worries. Oh wait! Being financially responsible allows me to do just that. However, that doesn't mean that I can just up and purchase anything, go anywhere at anytime - that sort of thing. Remember, I am somewhat intelligent - I know that debt will come knocking on my doorstep quickly [grad school, kids, eventually achiving my dream of owning a home, etc].


The kicker is: I would really die to visit the Myan ruins, the underground city in Jerusalem, travel through Italy, visit Ukraine, and backpack through all of Europe.

The difference is - I can do all of those things, but I don't have to do them now. I don't need those things.

My Ultimatum
I told the financial planner that I was an 85 yr old woman in a 25 yr old's body.
I plan on living frugally. I want to help those around me.
I don't need a new house tomorrow.
I don't need a $10,000 credit limit.
I don't need to travel everywhere before 40.
[even if I would love to]

I have a plan for my life.
I receive constant guidance for that plan.
From someone who knows what will bring me true happiness.
This plan is not the same for everyone.
That's why I live vicariously through so many of you.

I'm so grateful to friends who travel.
I'm so grateful to friends who experience life whim by whim!
I am not jealous; I don't disagree with that lifestyle.
I understand that the plan for you and for me are inherntly different.
Just like we are all different.

I don't particularly love it when others,
namely financial planner dude,
can't get their heads around that.

So, ultimately:
At the end of all things, I don't think that God is going to say with scorn,
"Why didn't you travel all over Europe?"
"Why didn't you buy that enormous house?"
"Why didn't you get a new car every year?"
"Why didn't you spend more money that you made so that you could impress others?"

I think that God will ask me:
"What did you do to build up my kingdom?"

And, I realize that the answer to that question is going to differ for everyone.

I find myself not knowing how to wrap this 'entry' up.
I just know I am trying to do my best.
That's all my dad ever asked of me.
That's what I'm going to try to give,
and this is a motto I could live by:
"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that."
[HP #1]

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Just when I thought the world had run out of love songs...

Yahoo! wrote this article - I've siphoned a bit, but you can find the original article here.

'Following the "Idol" broadcast, Beyoncé's husband, Jay-Z, posted behind-the-scenes footage of his wife singing her new emotional ballad "1+1" in her dressing room. Accompanied by a pianist and her background singers, Beyoncé simply stands in front of a vanity mirror with her head humbly held low and eyes closed as she belts her way through the lyrics while her mother, nephew, and cousin, among others, watch in awe.
Jay-Z, who actually videotaped the clip, stressed the uniqueness of the stripped-down run-through. "This is the dressing-room rehearsal for 'American Idol,'" he wrote on his Life+Times website under the pseudonym Andy WarHOV. "'NO MICROPHONE. No effects."'

I love the raw version. 
Its so much better than the produced one - can't you just feel the emotion?


Friday, May 27, 2011

the hills are alive...

with the sound of music!


My next-door neighbor bought a piano, 
moved 3 yrs later,
and gave it to me for free!


It had 11 broken hammers, 3 missing dampeners, etc.
A nice man named Paul fixed it for $150.
That, my friends, is a steal.


The living room is a little cramped, but hello.
We live in the projects.
And, almost everything in this room was free.
No complaints here!


Now, to get back to where my talent used to be.
Practice, practice, practice.

One day, I'm going to be besides myself
when I can play without the soft pedal held down through every song.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hiking the Mountain

 Once graduation was confirmed, I decided we should take a hike!

 And so we did.
To the top of my mountain.
I watch people climb this mountain daily, and I stare out at them 
from my windows at work.
longing to be free.

We reached the 1st of 3 peaks, and had a picture break!
 My building is directly the the upper-left of Ty's left elbow.
Our home is just 2 blocks left of that!
Its so nice to walk!
[especially in under 7 minutes!]

 It was the nicest day ever.
Thank you Utah!
Um, I happen to be quite involved when I read.
The day before, I had sat outside, reading "The King in the Window."
A great novel.
Well, I forgot that I had a hole across my left knee
in the jeans I wore while outside.
This burn was the result.
One burn in one spot.
Just happened to be in the middle of my leg.

2nd Summit!
We made it!

The Peak.
Oh my. 
Seriously, its so high up!!!!!

 Evaluating our progress....

I had to text/call my work.
I had a post-it hung up at work with my 2010 goals.
Climbing this mountain was one of them.
Everyone asked, asked, and asked, "Have you climbed your mountain yet?!"
I called them, waved, and I am now famous. 
Candid shot.
Good one, Tyler!

Tyler, master of the mountain!

Rock in shoe. 

This is the view from the 2nd summit, looking up!
That's where we were!

2nd summit, looking down at the 1st summit.
It doesn't look this big from the front!

We took a different path down the mountain.
We found a rock-wall!
'nuff said.

Pretty little grove/trail.
It was so much easier going down through this trail.
On our way up, we hiked directly up the mountain.
Like, at a 60 degree angle.

beautiful views
amazing exercise
the best company

I am so excited for summer.

May 2011


Congrats, Tyler!
You made it!

This boy is amazing.
He put me before him while I got my 2nd degree in Medical Laboratory Science.
Yes, I am a certified scientist! haha
He graduated on the Dean's List
[and a whole lot of other honors],
and this was after taking a year and a half off to put me through school!

He graduated with a major in Anthropology, 
and minors in Middle Eastern Studies and Religious Studies.
He's brilliant.

We're applying for jobs all over the world.
Yes, world.
South Korea, Washington D.C., and Belgium.

Wish us luck!

Tyler, his brother Mike, and Mike's wife, Michael-Lee,
all graduated together, same college convocation, etc!
Mike is getting a PhD in Statistics/Epidemiology
and Michael-Lee, Summa Cum Laude!

Congrats to all of you!!!!

happy face

I've made a few discoveries this past month. And they've been the best!

I must preface with a personal struggle.


I've beat myself up for as long as I can remember for not being pretty.
I used to not be able to walk down the driveway without makeup on, 
to get the mail from the mailbox,
because I hated how I looked.

I've tried everything.
Neutrogena, Clearasil, Clinique.
[worst ever]
Proactiv-made it worse.
I've tried hand soap - that works well, actually.
Birth control.
You name it.
I've tried it.

And, its been a long struggle to love myself despite this enormous, 
and oh-so obvious flaw.


I have come to terms with myself.
I told myself, looking into the mirror w/o makeup
at BYU-I,
that one day, I would make a beautiful wife.
Someone would love me.
Despite it all.
Now I have that. 
And better, I'm learning to love myself.


I would like to announce a few things that I've finally discovered,
that create a happy face!
[besides dropping the intense self-loathing haha]
These are 2 of my favorite, current products!

-the facial cleanser is kinda interesting. 
Get this - you wash off your face [get rid of makeup; at least this is what I do], dry it,
then you rub a dime-size of the cleanser all over your face and neck.
Its melaluca and peppermint, and it feels like cream!
Then, once its rubbed in, you wash it off with hot water, and a washcloth.
Wow. It leaves your face feeling so...bright! 
It doesn't dry you out, make you oily, etc. 
Just perfect.

-oatmeal soap
this I found at WinCo.
My co-worker pays $8 a bar.
I paid $0.93
Oatmeal is used for people with sensitive skin [uh, yah. that's me]
This is the best way to start a new regimen!
It smells like an oatmeal cookie in a way.
And, it exfoliates!

This is a happy face!
-can you tell I've just come home from work?
iPod still in, scrubs on, and tired!

I'm running a clinical trial on myself.
I wear Este Lauder "Double Wear" makeup.
That stuff doesn't even come off when you're swimming in Lake Powell.
[I am taking recommendations for new cover-up/foundation if you have any!!]

So, scrubbing it, washing my face all the time, leaves me dry.
And I have combination skin.
Dry here, oily there.

I've used all sorts of facial lotions.
[see references above!]
My sister recommended the Clinique you see before you.
I'm having limited success with that, but I still love it!

So, my friend Emily recommended something interesting!
I put a few tbs of olive oil in that clear bottle, 
4 drops of Frankincense Oil, 4 drops of Melaluca Oil
and wha-la!!!!
Best facial moisturizer ever.

You would think that it leaves your face oily.
You would be so wrong!
I was delighted!

 The other bottle I have pictured is called "Purify."
This one is a knock-out.
You know when you have a large zit that you'd like to leave?
One drop of this onto it and bam! Its gone.
Even if you've already picked it.
It zaps it. Good-bye!

And that, my friends,
leaves me with a happy face!


email me if you have any questions!

Friday, May 20, 2011



we are alive.

things i have yet to blog about:

tyler graduating

hiking the mountain

temple trip today

amazing steals on BR dresses
job hunting


and soooooo much more. 

But, it finally started shining right now - as in sunshining. I can't be held responsible. The sun is touching my face. I promise to come back...someday.