Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Festivities

I just love Fall. The crisp weather, colorful leaves, apple cider, pumpkin bars... it's just magical! I missed seeing the four seasons in Oakland, so it's fun to be back in a city that has them all (yes, even winter). TJ and I celebrated Halloween a little early by carving pumpkins and watching scary movies/shows. I decorated our apartment with spider webs, pumpkins, and candy-filled treat bowls. I didn't even care that he and I were the only ones to really enjoy it! I need to start practicing so our future kids can have memories of their mom decorating the house for the holidays. :)
Here are our pumpkins. TJ's is an angry bird and mine is the headless horseman thing from the Ichabod Crane story.
We're so talented, huh? Mine looks pretty creepy, I must say...
We also watched an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark. Do you remember that show? Classic. I can't belive it used to scare me so much. Ok, well, it IS pretty frightening for a 12 year old. After that, we (very unwisely) watched The Shining (don't worry - a clean version). Why why why why why why did I do this? TJ was pretty unphased. I, on the other hand, proceeded to have nightmares showcasing the following:
Such a creepy movie. More psychologically frightening than anything else. Don't watch it if you scare easily like me.
I've also been baking and cooking up a storm - anything and everything pumpkin! Especially pumpkin gooey butter cakes. These are, without a doubt, the most sinfully delicious pumpkin treats ever concocted. You can find the recipe here.
Hooray for Fall!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


TJ and I used our AAdvantage Points to cash in on a (practically) free trip to Hawaii! Thanks to Brandon and Jamie's tutelage, we learned how to also get a free room upgrade at our hotel. Hello, double deluxe ocean view room! Seven days of pure paradise.

We had such a wonderfully relaxing vacation. We weren't idle though - we completely explored the island. We hiked a TON, explored all the beaches, and had shave ice every single day. :) Can I go back?

Here are some pics. I wish I could live in Hawaii.

Pali Lookout - Super windy!

He's so cute. :)

North Shore at sunset. As we drove back to the hotel, we freaked ourselves out by reading about shark attacks. Not a good idea...

We're silly.

TJ's sandcastle - modeled after "Helm's Deep"

My sandcastle. I win. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

So long, O-town! (and I'm not talking about the cheesy boy band)

Where am I, you may wonder? Read on to find out....

Hello friends! Wow, it's been a long time since I've blogged. Probably because TJ and I have been busier than ever with work, apartment managing, and school. Wonderful things have happened to us recently, though! TJ received a job offer from American Salt Lake City! I was so happy when I heard about it from him and immediately knew we were supposed to take it. Things like this don't just happen by accident! I would no longer have to fly back and forth to Utah for school! I could do my internship somewhere I didn't feel scared for my life! :) After planning and packing for about a month, we hauled ourselves over the Sierra Nevadas and over into good ol' Utah. It feels great to be back. I know, I know... a lot of people wonder why we would be excited to come back to Utah when so many are desperate to flee it. TJ and I compiled a list of reasons for these people....

1. No traffic
2. No graffiti
3. No $4 gas
4. Happy Meals
5. Lower taxes
6. Inexpensive housing
7. Non-corrupt governators
8. Hires Big H
9. Fewer hobos (this may sound cruel... but you'd agree with me if you, like me, had seen a homeless man literally pooping on the sidewalk in broad daylight and/or were harassed by the same sky-high bum every day on the way to work. Ok, I'm heartless.)
10. Fewer dropout factories

There are more, I suppose. And I do love parts of California, don't get me wrong! TJ and I agree that if we had lots of money, we'd like it better (Palo Alto and Walnut Creek are super nice). And yes, we lived in not exactly the best city to live in.... I'll admit it. But still, while we traveled near and far and had a lot of fun memories, we just think Utah is better. So sue us.

The hardest part about leaving California was saying goodbye to all the friends we've made. From my Synergy Besties (Rachel and Kim, you know who you are!), to the absolutely amazing saints in the Oakland 9th ward, we love you all and are better people for having known you. As for Jamie, Brandon, and little E, we will miss you like crazy!

Wish us luck on the next chapter in our lives! Let's hope it brings fewer 16-hour days and more time for fun!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This makes me smile!

TJ's in North Carolina for a while on business...and I really miss him when he's gone. I stumbled across this photo tonight and just had to post it. Happiest day of my life. :) Hurry home, Teeje!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hi, Friend(s)

I put the "s" in parentheses because I can only assume more than one person reads this blog :)

Someone's been a huge slacker in the blog department lately... namely, yours truly. However, I feel justified in my slacking because I believe I can safely say that TJ and I have never been busier or more stressed in our lives. My poor husband has had exactly 8 hours of sleep in the last four days. I'm so proud of him and his work ethic... but also worried he's going to drop dead soon. :( He's been so swamped at work lately. Poor TJ! I hope this stupid audit ends soon.

I'm not much less busy myself these days. I am currently flying to Utah once a week to finish up my masters degree this semester. Everyone always says the same thing: "Wow, that is expensive!" However, math is on my side, believe it or not! California tuition has skyrocketed in the last few years (even for residents), and even if I did transfer, they would only accept 6 or 12 of my 30-something credits. So, I'd end up being in school for another couple years, taking courses I've already taken, and paying out-of-state tuition (which roughly equals the GDP of a small country). So! Now you can see how my "crazy" plan isn't so crazy after all :)

On top of that, I still have my old job, volunteer at an inner-city school in Oakland (ever seen the movie "Lean on Me" with Morgan Freeman? It's like that - minus Morgan Freeman), and TJ and I apartment manage to get free rent. Somewhere in between, I fit in homework and manage to not fail (yet!). Sometimes, I wonder if we've officially bitten off more than we can chew... but it's amazing what one can do when in survival mode. I know we'll thank ourselves later. :)

So, my friend(s), wish us luck during this next phase of our lives. We will need it. It will be nice to take a little break tomorrow to see our good friends Kevin and Kyla tie the knot!! I think it will remind us what matters most - our marriage. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Highlights and Lowlights of 2010

This post was inspired by TJ. For Christmas, he spoiled me with presents (including a spa package and a box of my favorite chocolates), but I have to say my favorite gift was his note to me. TJ writes the most wonderfully funny and heartfelt notes I've ever read. He has a true gift! Since he is so considerably talented with words, I will include excerpts from his note in this post.


1. Car Broken Into. In TJ's words, "Ash, you're the one who always leaves your GPS sitting out in the open for the whole world to see, and MY car is the one that gets broken into, ironic. Who would have thought!? Maybe the guy who did it had a pregnant wife who needed him at the hospital immediately and he didn't know how to get there so he had to bust my window and steal my GPS. We really don't know the situation. Jokes on him though -- it was a Magellan. I just wish he would have also taken the Book of Mormon sitting in the backseat. If he/she/it was feeling guilty for what he did to me, he could have read about how Nephi stole the brass plates from Laban :)"
2. Oakland "Pet Store". Again, as TJ said, "I know you love dogs. I CAN'T tell you how excited I was to surprise you and take you to the one and only place in Oakland that sells dogs. Now, I've been to pet stores before....that was not a pet store. That place was like a maximum security prison for canines. I had a bad feeling (in my nose) the second we walked in. Wow. Sorry, Ash, Teeje really blew that one. I owe you a new pet store trip." Haha - it really was an interesting pet store.... Only in Oakland. I still loved the surprise though.
3. Chris Kimball Book Signing. Me: "Mr. Kimball, I'm your biggest fan!"
Chris Kimball: [sarcastically and without smiling] "...greeeeat."
Enough said. He really is one of my heroes. We went all the way out there and waited in line for that? :(

1. Getting Married. Obviously. :)
2. SF Half Marathon. Have I swapped running for the eliptical since? Yes. Do I regret racing? No way. What a great race. TJ was so proud. :)
3. TJ's Excellent Work Reviews. TJ has really shone at work this past year. I know he had a hard time at first and the firm still works him to death, but TJ has risen to the challenge time and again and has exceeded all expectations. He gets great ratings on his audits and works so hard to ensure that he does a good job. I'm so pleased with him!! What I love most is how humble he is about any and all compliments. If you were to ask him about his job and how he is at it, he'd say, "Nahhhh, I suck. Seriously. I'm the smelly kid in class."

We had such a great year last year. I'm so glad that we have and will continue to grow together as a couple. I'm so glad we got to spend a relaxing Christmas with my family in Utah - and see the TJ's family on New Year's Eve.

Bring it on, 2011!