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Updated: 2014-10-04T20:38:22.011-07:00


32 Lessons in 32 Years


(image) In honor of my 32nd birthday yesterday, I've compiled 32 life lessons. Thanks to my friend Lori for the great idea!

1. The world is an endless opportunity to learn, grow and experience new people, places and customs
2. Nielson’s Frozen Custard triple Oreo concretes are still the best treat in town
3. It’s okay to be honest with others about the struggles and challenges we all face in life
4. Being best friends with your brother and sister is one of the greatest blessings in life
5. Change is a good and necessary aspect of life, even when we don’t feel ready for it
6. Truly putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes is the best way to understand what’s really driving their behavior and actions
7. Few things compare to an early morning run in crisp fall weather
8. Being an aunt is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences life has to offer
9. Few things are more important than discovering who you are and then having the courage to be true to yourself
10. It’s okay to make mistakes – nobody is perfect
11. Be passionate!
12. Few moments compare to standing on top of Mount Kilimanjaro with your brother
13. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it
14. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it
15. Most people in the world are inherently good
16. One pair of great designer jeans is worth 10 pairs from The Gap
17. There is no better way to spend time and money than on international travel
18. Never cut 10 inches off your hair on a whim after you’ve spent three years growing it out!
19. Cherish each and every friendship in life
20. It’s okay to be a lifelong fan of Beverly Hills, 90210
21. Finding a career we enjoy is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves
22. We are all stronger than we think we are – we can get through hard things!
23. Training for and running a marathon provides a tremendous sense of personal accomplishment
24. There is plenty of opportunity for us out there if we just choose to take advantage of it
25. Try not to judge others – we have no idea what people are really going through
26. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to live happily without cable TV, Tivo, and a microwave
27. Expensive cars are highly overrated
28. Our parents really do know what they’re talking about (most of the time)
29. There is nothing better than reading a really good book
30. Sometimes splurging on a new pair of shoes is the best way to cheer up
31. It’s better to take chances and fail than to hold back because of fear
32. Embrace people from all walks of life – diversity is what makes the world go round

A Day in the Life


(image) Thursday, July 31, 2008

5:45 a.m. - cell phone alarm goes off, after having spent the previous day working in my Princeton office from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.

7:00 a.m. - arrive at the office and fine-tune materials for our afternoon presentation

9:00 a.m. - practically falling asleep at my desk; grab a Coke and a bag of M&M Peanuts from the vending machine down the hall

10:30 a.m. - emergency conference call with US staff to address an urgent client relations issue

11:45 a.m. - run down the street to the print shop to pick up presentation materials

12:00 p.m. - car service pick-up to take our team into Manhattan for our 3:00 p.m. meeting

1:30 p.m. - drop-off on 58th and 5th Avenue; last-minute meeting prep over a nice, sit-down lunch at the St. Regis hotel

3:00 p.m. - meeting begins; deliver 2-hour company pitch to investment banking firm

5:00 p.m. - car service pick-up; fight Manhattan rush hour traffic

5:45 p.m. - meeting debrief conference call with our board of directors

7:15 p.m. - arrive back in Princeton; enjoy a nice Italian meal with triple chocolate cake for dessert

9:30 p.m. - finally back to my hotel room, exhausted and ready for a good night's sleep

Retail Therapy


My mom and I hit the Nordstrom anniversary sale last night and I walked away with two new pairs of shoes that I just love!
Nothing like some new footwear to cheer a girl up.

One Oreo Concrete with Triple Oreos, Please


(image) Last night was awesome! Amanda and I crashed Anni's singles ward activity to take advantage of the late-night, all-you-can-eat custard party at Nielson's Frozen Custard. The party started at 11:00 p.m. so we had full reign of the place. I have loved Nielson's for as long as I can remember. An Oreo concrete with triple Oreos is my all-time favorite treat, the ultimate comfort food. So being able to scoop my own custard with free access to all the toppings I wanted was like being given the keys to the candy store. We were giddy!
(image) The owners of Nielson's are such generous people. They kept saying, "Eat today, because tomorrow you pay!" I was fascinated with the history of their business (yes, I am a nerd). I told them I'm they're #1 fan. I shared stories about sluffing class at South Davis Junior High in order to eat concretes for lunch and told them I routinely drive in from Salt Lake because I think the Bountiful location is the very best. They sent us home with so much custard, easily enough to last a full week!
(image) Yum. I can't think of a better way to spend a Thursday night (or any night, for that matter). Anni, thanks for staying up late so I could realize one of my lifelong dreams! Who knows, we just might have to make this a regular tradition.

Feeding My Passion


International travel has been on my mind a lot as of late. It all started when Tommy and I mapped out our dream 6-month round-the world adventure travel itinerary a few weeks ago. Then Amanda, Syd, and Anni invited me to join them this September for 12 days in Peru. I've never been to South America and I can't wait to experience this new corner of the globe.

I had dinner with my boss last week in Princeton. During the course of conversation, I shared with him some of my travel adventures and dream destinations. As the conversation concluded, he told me he observed a marked difference in my entire persona while I was talking about travel; my eyes lit up, my speech became more animated, and my body language came alive. He correctly derived that international travel is a passion for me.

Then last night I had dinner with Amanda, Syd, Mark and Lindsay at Cedars of Lebanon. Mark and Lindsay are a darling young couple Amanda met in Barnes and Noble several months ago while buying a travel book for our trip to Thailand. They had recently been to Thailand, started chatting, and ended up providing us with a wealth of Thai travel tips. We've since met for dinner every few months to share travel tips, stories, and adventures. We bring trip photos, talk about where we've been most recently, and where we'd like to go next. In addition to Peru, Amanda is on her way to China in a few weeks and Mark and Lindsay just returned from a 3-week trip to Turkey, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Spain.

Our 3-hour dinner flew by. I was alive, animated and excited while talking about places we've been and where we want to go next. There is no better way I'd choose to spend my time, energy, and money than on international travel. The greatest learning experiences of my life have occurred on these types of trips. I love to gain an appreciation of new and different places, people, cultures, languages, and experiences. I'm also amazed at how much I learn about myself.

Mark and Lindsay are such a great couple. I am so glad we've forged a friendship based on our shared love of travel. Last night was a great reminder of why international travel is so important to me. Nothing makes me happier. And I can't wait for Peru.

The Best Therapy There Is


I had dinner last night with three of my favorite SHPI co-workers . . . Lori, Janelle, and Bryan. They all stayed with the company that acquired us last month and still get to see each other every day. I miss my old job, the co-workers, and especially working with these three. Seeing them again is always fantastic, but last night was extra great.

We met for dinner at 5:30. Several hours later we were still at Settabello, talking about everything under the sun and then some. We shared our thoughts, feelings, and experiences with each other. I am so impressed with each of these individuals and what they represent. Lori is hilarious and always knows how to liven up the group. She is also determined and committed to what's important to her and is not afraid to be who she is. Bryan is one of the most truly "good" people I know. He is devoted to his family and his religion above all else and has higher integrity than most people I know. And Janelle is the sweetest person on the planet. She is kind and supportive and pretends not to mind when I insert my bossy opinion without being asked and dominate the conversation.

I already knew how fantastic all three of these people are professionally and have told them each that I would hire them again in a New York minute if given the opportunity. But last night I was reminded that they are so much more than just exceptional employees. I left dinner with a renewed sense of what's most important in life and a commitment to be a better person. It was the best therapy I could ask for. Thanks, guys, for your friendship and support. I am so lucky to have all three of you as my friends!

P.S. For those of you who know the Color Code, we had equal representation of all four colors at dinner last night . . . kinda cool!

Weekend in D.C.


Tommy and I spent the rest of our weekend checking out museums:(image) Resting on the steps of the Library of Congress:
(image) Learning how to ride Jenny's scooter (look out!):
(image) Checking out more museums:
(image) And shopping in Georgetown:

Happy 4th from our Nation's Capital


(image) For the third year in a row, Tommy and I celebrated the 4th of July together in our nation's capital. I'll be honest, I am not really a fan of the 4th of July and fireworks aren't my favorite. I know it sounds very unpatriotic, but it's true. We started out the day with a breakfast barbecue in Maryland with a bunch of Tommy's friends. Fun, but I felt a bit like we'd stepped right out of the movie Singles Ward. Not really my scene.

We then met up with Jenny and her sister Amber in Georgetown, where we rented kayaks on the Potomac. Tommy did most of the rowing while I kicked back and enjoyed the scene. There were tons of party boats lining the river, music blasting and beers in hand, getting ready to celebrate later that evening. We decided that next year we most definitely need to view the fireworks from the river itself, rather than trying to fight the hoards of people for an unobstructed view of the show.

After kayaking, Tommy and I hit up the shops in Georgetown, including a trip to Diesel where we both walked away with some new kicks for a bargain price. We ate dinner at Martin's Tavern, where our server pointed out the booth where JFK proposed to Jackie O. Jenny and Amber joined us after dinner and we made our way down to the waterfront to view the fireworks. Nice but, in my opinion, not worth all the hassle.

Not a bad way to spend the holiday.

Back in My Groove


(image) After a 3-week hiatus, I am gainfully employed once again. I spent this past week in Princeton, New Jersey, which is where my new company is based. I really like my new boss and had a great time getting to know the other employees and learning more about the company. I am excited for a new challenge and am very much looking forward to jumping in with both feet. I guess I really must be a workaholic, because I was surprised at just how nice it was to be working once again.

In addition to work, I spent my free time getting to know Princeton. My boss has a PhD in Philosophy and was a professor at Princeton many years ago. As such, he has a great feel for the town and the campus. I spent an enjoyable evening with my boss and his wife, where they walked me around campus and gave me a tour of the town. Princeton is charming - sidewalk cafes, little shops and restaurants, street musicians, town squares, and lots of people roaming the streets and enjoying what the town has to offer.

(image) In addition, the campus is absolutely beautiful. I've always loved Ivy League schools and Princeton just might be my favorite. There are plenty of biking and running paths that run throughout and around the campus and the buildings are amazing. As always, I fantasized about what it would have been like to attend college at a school like Princeton. I'm still trying to figure out a way to justify going back to school for another degree.

It was a great first week and I was pleasantly surprised at just how much I loved the town of Princeton. I'll be back again next week and I'm hoping to explore in even more detail. I will be homeless in less than a month and need to decide quickly where I'll be living next. Salt Lake, Washington D.C. or Princeton . . .



(image) My condo sold over the weekend. Just like that! The whole event was somewhat random and a bit serendipitous, which helps me believe that it was meant to be. The timing must be right for me to move on. I have to be out of my place by the end of July, which is not a whole lot of time to figure out what's next. It's been a great home and I have so many wonderful memories here. It's a little strange to think that after 7+ years, I'll be moving on. Let's just hope it's to a new place of my own, because otherwise I'll be shacking up with one of my parents for the interim. And let's be honest . . . that's no fun for anybody!

How the Other Half Lives


(image) Since my company sold earlier this month and my new job doesn't kick into action until next week, I've had quite a bit of free time on my hands these past few weeks. I've spent a big chunk of that time with three of my closest friends, all of whom are moms. Instead of putting together marketing strategies, conducting conference calls, and running staff meetings, I've been jumping on the trampoline, going swimming, and watching Signing Time. Although I've always admired my friends who are moms, I've gained a whole new appreciation for how much work it is. It's also been been surprisingly fun.

Like everything in life, there are pros and cons to every situation or circumstance. Developing a career and mothering young children are no exception. A few pros to working full time include: adult social interaction and stimulation, new challenges and opportunities to further develop skills, dressing up in cute clothes every day, and feeling a sense of accomplishment and praise for a job well done. A few pros to motherhood that I've observed: being able to go swimming every day in the summer, a relaxed pace that enables living in the moment, and seeing the world through the eyes of a child. Both have their place and both bring me satisfaction and fulfillment. Because I don't yet have kids of my own, it's been really fun for me to experience firsthand some of the benefits associated with "the other half."

Amanda, Allie, and Brit . . . thanks for letting me "shadow" you lately. It's been so much fun for me to hang out with you and your kids. You are all amazing moms and I am thoroughly impressed with the great job you're doing. Starting Monday, it's back to the world of full time work for me. I am looking forward to getting back into my groove, but I will miss the swimming, trampolines, treats, stories, and other pros that come along with spending the majority of my days with kids.

A Pleasant Day in Pleasant Grove


I first met Brit in junior high school. She was outgoing, popular, and friendly to everybody. I was much less so. We became friends at age 13 when we both tried out for cheerleader. Our friendship grew, and by high school we were inseparable. We talked on the phone several times a day. We took long walks on the boulevard and then sat on streetcorners for hours to finish our conversations. We carpooled to school every day. We had sleepovers every weekend. We went on each others' family vacations. We read each other our journals. We shared half gallons of Snelgroves Burnt Almont Fudge ice cream in the middle of the night. We loved it that our birthdays are 4 days apart, we are the same height, and our eyes are exactly the same color of hazel green. We were best friends in every sense of the word.

After high school, we were roommates during our freshman year at BYU. Brit was still outgoing, popular, and friendly to everybody. I was even much less so than I had been in high school, in part because I hated Utah County. We routinely stayed up late talking into the wee hours of the morning, discussing everything under the sun. We shared clothes, groceries, and rides home for the weekend. We took long walks to Brackmans Bagels in the dead of winter because neither of us had a car. We both gained the standard "freshman 10" pounds, probably because we were still sharing half-gallons of ice cream in the middle of the night.

After our first year at BYU, we both decided we'd had enough of Utah County. She backpacked through Europe with her brother and cousin and I transferred to the U. It was the first time in over 5 years that our lives took us in different directions and it was a big adjustment. Since then, our lives have continued on their individual paths but we have always remained close.

Brit is still outgoing, popular, and friendly to everybody. And I'm still quite anti-social by comparison. This point was driven home to me earlier this week when I spent the day with Brit in Pleasant Grove. Brit was giving me a walking tour of her neighborhood and we couldn't walk 5 feet without Brit greeting or waving to one of her neighbors. As we stopped to chat with various neighbors representing all walks of life, it was apparent to me how much Brit's neighbors love her and how lucky they are to have her around. Brit was in her element. I was not. I teased her that I felt like we were in Leave it to Beaver. And she told me that I am her fancy "city mouse" friend.

As I drove home, I reflected on what an amazing person she is. She is kind, selfless, and giving. Anybody who knows Brit understands her uncanny ability to make everybody feel welcome. She is an amazing mother and is raising her daughter to exhibit the same wonderful qualities she possesses. And almost 20 years after we first met, she is still one of my very best friends.

Brit, I love you. Thanks for a pleasant day in Pleasant Grove. Let's do it again soon!

Summer Solstice


(image) I spent the longest day of the year hiking in Big Cottonwood Canyon. I reconnected with an old friend from my early days at BD about a week ago. He and I share an interest in hiking, so he invited me to spend last Saturday hiking with him. We met at the base of the canyon and headed to Silver Fork Lodge for brunch. For those of you who aren't familiar with Silver Fork Lodge, the view is one of the best kept secrets in Utah. We enjoyed our breakfast of omelettes and huevos rancheros while sitting outside on the deck, overlooking the spectacular views of the canyon. It was really great to catch up and the setting was top-notch.

After breakfast we hiked to Broads Fork, which is adjacent to the Lake Blanche trailhead. It was a beautiful hike, but a bit more vertical than I was expecting. The 96 degree weather certainly didn't help. Quite frankly, it kicked my can! I am a significantly slower hiker than Jon and didn't want to be the one to hold us up, so I did my best to forge ahead. Man, was I feeling it. I guess I need to beef up my game if I'm going to keep hiking with Jon.

The view at the top was absolutely worth it and we had a nice time relaxing in the sun before heading back down the mountain. We reflected on the way down on how spending the day hiking is our idea of a perfect summer Saturday in Utah. I am continually amazed at how therapeutic the mountains are for me. I always feel better when I'm in the mountains. Now if I could just keep up . . .

Silver Linings


(image) If I've learned one thing during my almost 32 years of living, it is that life is not always easy or fair. This has been proven to me through observing the lives of those with whom I am closest and is also evidenced through my own life. However, I have also learned that hardships and trials are usually accompanied with silver linings that make life bearable. I have been very aware of these blessings in my own life lately and I can't help but feel a tremendous amount of gratitude for . . .

. . . a mom who calls me daily from her business trip, just to check in on me

. . . a best friend who gives me a standing invitation into her home and family, shares her four children with me, and makes me fudge balls just because she knows they're my favorite

. . . an old friend who reconnected with me and then invited me to brunch and a day of hiking in the canyons

. . . a good friend who invited me to go walking on a Saturday night (just what I needed) and then convinced me to join her and other friends for a trip to Peru in September

. . . a dad who makes time in his busy day to have lunch with me and goes out of his way to help me any way he can

. . . a former boss and good friend who is willing to make calls on my behalf and who also gives great advice, both personal and professional

. . . an invitation to join my dear friend (who not only sympathizes but empathizes with what I'm going through) for a home-cooked Sunday brunch and a few days later spending the day hiking to Timpanogos Cave with her 14-month-old baby in beautiful American Fork Canyon

. . . a spontaneous road trip to Yellowstone with my brother, who is also one of my very best friends, where we mapped out our dream round-the-world 6-month travel adventure

. . . an understanding new boss who sees enough value in me to bend the rules and allow me to work from home rather than relocating right away

. . . a strong and healthy body that allows me to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, running, and long walks with friends

. . . a sister who is willing to leave her husband and kids for the night to have a sleepover with me just because she knows it will make me feel better

. . . good friends since childhood who make the time for a quick lunch, even with a tired baby, and who give me great advice with more impact than they could possibly know

. . . my oldest and close friend who takes time away from her 3-week-old newborn to talk with me over dinner at the Mandarin

Life isn't fair and it most certainly isn't always easy. But I have a tremendous amount for which to be grateful. My family and friends have always been there for me, and they are the silver linings that make the hard times bearable. I only hope that someday I can repay the favor.