Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mall of America!

We had a big event in Minneapolis Minnesota a couple of weeks ago. It was the first time I have ever been to Minnesota and I loved it! Totally different than I expected. The fun thing about this trip is, all the girls from the Marketing department were there! We stayed down town which was about 20 minutes away from the mall. But that didnt stop us from going there every single day..which was 4 days. I loved flying in and seeing all the lakes and green yards. Every ones houses always look so much cooler from the air too. When we werent working, we were at the mall. We ate out (which when you are on a strict diet is hard). We rode mechanical bulls
And roller coasters
One night after dinner with my coworkers I met up with my cousin and his wife that live there. He came and picked me up at Mall of America and showed me around town and took me for yummy frozen yogurt (also not on the diet plan). I really wanted to see where they lived and meet their famous dog Benny. Their house was beautiful and it was so fun to sit on this fantastic little room off the back of his house, enclosed on his deck.
We stayed up talking until like midnight when he finally drove me back to my hotel down town. I love that guy...he reminds me so much of my brother. The day we flew out, a few of us took a later flight so we could hang out and actually shop at the Mall of America. This place is HUGE!!!! We got there right at 10 am when it opened and shopped until 3 pm and I still only saw the first floor. It has over 4.3 miles of shopping space! How would you like some Mall of America Fun facts?
It has over 520 stores, 50 restaurants, 24 amusement park rides including a roller coaster that winds around the enclosed atrium of the mall.
There’s also a 1.2 million-gallon aquarium that features sharks, stingrays, giant sea turtles and other types of aquatic creatures.
86 hours is the length of time it would take to complete your visit to the Mall if you were to spend just 10 minutes in each store. Thats a lot of shopping.
My very, very favorite store was TYPO. I pretty much wanted to buy every single thing in that store. Here is a tiny example of its cuteness:
But one thing about Mall of America, is it taught me one of the greatest lessons on marriage while visiting. I had ONE thing that I had in mind that I wanted to buy. Just one thing. A cute fall jacket and I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like. And to my surprise, I found it. I sent this exact picture to Russ to see if he liked it.
Of course, I thought it was the greatest thing in the world and thought he would share in my excitement seeing how I found the one and only thing I wanted 500+ stores and no one else would have it in Utah. He responded about me looking like a biker chick and a bad @$$. Hmm, not the response I was looking for. But you better believe I made room for that baby in my suitcase and I also learned a valuable lesson of not asking husbands their opinions on clothing and decor. Those cute letters in the picture above.. I sent him a picture of those too. Our front living room has a bunch of red tones so I got white and red letters for our initials and text him a picture of it laid out, and his response for that, "Is it for Valentines Day or something?" Never again. Do not ask the hubs.
Have I mentioned how much Russ loves the honey badger you tube video? He does. So I bought him this as a souvenir.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Paddle Boarding-Bear Lake

After a very sleepless night in Lava Hot Springs, we headed to the second part of our last minute trip-Bear Lake! Russ wanted to float the river for his Labor Day weekend and I wanted to paddle board, so we compromised and did both! We floated the river in Lava and then went straight to Bear Lake to rent paddle boards. Bear Lake to me never gets old. That where we vacationed growing up and it just feels like a little piece of heaven and my second home. I have so many fun memories in Bear Lake with family and friends and its fun to make new memories there with Russ. We had only been to Bear Lake for our race earlier this year and the water and temperature was still pretty chilly so it was fun to go play in the water! I could not believe how crazy busy it was there! There were lines down the street for food and shakes and the beaches were packed! Labor Day and Bear Lake seem to go hand in hand for lots of people. We had paddle boarded for the first time in San Diego a couple years back when we went for our friends wedding and I LOVED it! We found a new little rental shop right down on the beach and they were so nice.
We paddled and paddled until I noticed we were in the middle of the lake.
We started to paddle back after being on the lake for over an hour and the wind picked up really strong! As hard as we paddled we werent moving and if we were, we werent moving very fast at all. I was starting to get a little worried as I couldnt even see the rental shop we were so far away and I was getting really tired after paddling and not moving anywhere. I wondered if people noticed how far away we were or if they were worried about us. Finally, a lady on a jet ski started coming towards us and I thought she was coming to rescue us. She pulled up to Russ who was a ways from me and asked him something I couldnt hear and he directed her to me. She drove over to me and turned off her engine and said she was lost and needed directions back to her condo. Dang it- we werent being saved. She drove off after we gave her directions and Russ suggested getting on our knees and paddling lower so our bodies werent acting like a sail and sending us in the wrong direction. We got on our knees and paddled for what seemed like forever.
It worked though! Good thing Russ was there because I never would have thought of that. We got closer and closer to shore and my knees were starting to get tired so I decided to stand back up. You need good balance on a paddle board and I felt like I had it mastered. I had started in clothes and managed to get completely out of my shorts and shirt all while standing, holding a board and not falling into the lake. I had gotten down on my knees in the middle of the lake and strong winds and managed to stay dry until we were super close to the shore and I somehow shifted my weight wrong and fell in! I hadnt even come up out of the water before I could hear Russ laughing. He jumped in with me and we enjoyed the cool water before taking our boards back.
When we got back to shore and turned in our boards we laid out of towels and read for an hr or so. As we were reading, we could hear a lady and her son talking near us. Her husband, dad and other kid was also out on paddle boards and had been caught in that same wind and they had to send a boat out to get them! I was glad we made it in on our own. I got caught in a current while swimming out in the ocean in Hawaii once and you feel like a dumby when they have to come get you. I had been on a weird little diet thing for over a month and hadnt eaten out for over 3 weeks. I had my first meal besides chicken and vegetables that night and it was pretty great! We took a pretty drive up to the top of the mountain with a beautiful view of the whole lake and camped out for the night. I was scared of bears, hunters and pyscho people coming out to kill us in the middle of nowhere but we survived. I woke up like an hour into sleep and told Russ I could hear footsteps outside of the tent. He woke up and grabbed his gun and said he could hear them too. He unzipped the tent and and listened and got out and walked around with his headlamp. I was completely panicked and thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest until I realized the little shell that goes over the the top of the tent was swaying in the wind and hitting the sides and sounded EXACTLY like footsteps in dry weeds. In my weird slumbery state, I just went back to sleep and forgot to tell Russ who was out wandering with a gun and light that there was no man walking around our tent. He came back in and I told him what it was and he agreed it sounded exactly like footsteps. I put earplugs in and was good to go! Our view the next morning
Russ eating the traditional Bear Lake fruity pebbles while I ate egg whites and protein shake. Yuck. Dieting sucks.
We had taken Tuesday off as well and I hate to let a good secret out, but it was AWESOME! There was not a soul in sight at the Lake or around town. It was perfect! Everyone had headed home to get back to work and kids back to school. It was incredible. We went to the beach and there was one sail boat and a few seagulls-that was it. We played soccer on the beach, Frisbee and laid out and read.
The back of Russ's truck was full of fun things! We had lunch and long boarded around the park.
We finished off the long weekend with a fun bike ride around the the lake...after Russ fixed his tire.
I took Russ to Ideal Beach where I grew up staying. I wanted to have an ice cream cone but not only did the tourist leave town, so did the locals and everything was shut down. But I did take him by the swing set I fell off of, the glass door I walked into while holding a plate of food, and the mini golf course I peed my pants on as a kid. It was a great tour.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Labor Day-Lava Hot Springs!

For Labor Day this year we were kind of last minute. We had talked about going out of town as a final hooray for Summer, but never planned anything. My mom was having an outdoor party for her friends and their house and I offered to help. It was so much fun helping plan, and spending time with my mom. She has helped me so much over the years so it was nice to help her with something fun for her. She and my dad worked on their yard for weeks and weeks! It looked fantastic- like it should have been in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. ( I cant say that without saying it like Miranda Lambert in that song). A few shots from around their yard that night.
I went over to her house a couple nights before the party and the day before to help make food. It was so fun and I think it turned out SO well! Some of the desserts:
Unfortunately, after all their work, it ended up raining almost the entire time. But her guest still had a great time!
The next morning we drove up to Lava Hot Springs. I had never been there and heard you go float down the river on tubes! I had a busy summer this year with traveling for work so we didnt get to do a ton of water related activities which we love, so we thought it would be perfect! So did the rest of the world because that place was packed!! We got there and rented tubes and started the first float.
We saw so many people get rocked going over that tiny little water fall so we started below it. The water was so chilly but the outside air was nice and warm.
See what I mean by everyone else having the same idea?
The water had little areas where hot springs flowed into little spots. It was nice to hop off the tube and sit in hot water.
We hopped on a little taxi where you pay $1 per person and they load you and your tube back to the top. We got to drive through the tiny little town back to the top.
Back to the top!
I swear the second time down was a lot more cold. Russ said I had the slowest moving tube ever. My tube kept going toward the sides and getting stuck on rocks. I would float over a rock and my butt would hit it and send me spinning with the current. I couldnt stop laughing.
We got out of the river and realized we wouldnt have time to get back up to the top and float to the bottom by the time we needed to return the tubes so we decided to hike back to the top through the town. It was beautiful because the leaves were already starting to change colors.
This is also the time that Russ stopped right in his tracks to let me know his wedding ring was GONE. Super sad day. I dont care about the money aspect of it (that does add another level of suckiness), but it was just so sentimental.
As I was taking his picture to document this sad moment, I couldnt help but laugh at the hotel behind him. Colored TV?! Say it isnt so!
We drove around after looking for a place to stay. Since it was a last minute decision to go, and Labor Day weekend we couldnt find a hotel anywhere! Luckily, we figured that might be the case and had all of our camping gear packed. But, all the camp spots were taken too! We ended up finding a place just right outside of Lava. That night, we went to the hot springs and sat in the hot pools for a couple of hours and went back to our little tent. What we didnt know, was that a train would be going right past our tent on the hour all night long. It was freezing and SO SO loud but we survived. The next morning...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Reading Rainbow

I need a good book to read.
Im reading a book right now that is truly painful to get through. In all fairness Im not that far into it and Im crossing my fingers there is hope. It was free on Amazon and I still dont even know what its supposed to be about. Right now, the main character currently dreams about a carp fish named Harrison that writes her poems.
Yes, Im serious. Does anyone else start a book and HAVE to finish it? Its annoying.
Book suggestions please...
I want this library...minus the pug, plus a black lab on the floor.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Red Pines-One Yr Later

Russ proposed to me on July 24th last year.
For our one yr anniversary of our proposal, I was actually out of town in Texas for work, so when I got home, we went back up and hiked to the same place and looked for our tree. Im am not the greatest of hikers. Especially when its so darn hot and there are pesky flies driving you crazy, but thank goodness Russ is so persistent and packs my back pack with drinks and snacks to get me to the top. He is good and pushing me. It was a long hard hike and I know if I had been alone I would have turned back long before. Last year was different because half of the hike was covered in snow, even toward the end of July. This year was full of wild flowers and pretty streams. You cant tell by these pictures, but it was a pretty steep hike!
We stopped for snacks and water. I didnt dare to drink the water, but Russ was all for it! He is always so sweet to pack my back pack. He is crazy wild for the outdoors but he is always super prepared as if we might be up there for days.
This is about the point where I wanted to turn back and call it a day. Everyone we would ask on the way down would give us a different answer. Im pretty sure I asked every person on the way up, "How much longer to the top?" I would get a different answer every time. But then, the annoying dry trail turned to this!
After a little searching off the beaten path, we found the spot where we became engaged! It brought lots of fun memories. Russ was so thoughtful in proposing and it was fun to see the same spot, get a picture where it actually happened and see our tree he carved our initials in.
That was such a great day! I remember it taking forever to get up there the day we were engaged and I remember running down the mountain in 2 seconds because I was so excited to tell everyone. We continued on for another hour or so and reached the long awaited view...the lake!
Isnt it beautiful? Totally worth the sweat and pain...but dont tell Russ, because he will just make me go further next time. Enjoying my corn nuts next to the lake.
Once we got up top it was really windy! We crossed the dam to see if we could get out of the wind to enjoy a late lunch..also packed by Russ.
and it worked! Wind free beauty.
We had peanut butter and jelly here.. look how pretty it is!
I love traditions. My family has lot of traditions we grew up doing. I hope Russ and I will follow this and make traditions for our family and I hope this turns out to be one of them. We even carved a little notch in the tree next to our initials for 1 yr. Its been a crazy good year too! Weird to think a year ago at this time I was planning a wedding!