Oh my word.
Country concerts.
So good.
So, so good.
And Brad.
Oh my word, Brad.
He was just SO good.
Mickey Guyton was one of the opening acts and she blew me away. Her voice was so powerful, and she sang her hit song Better Than You Left Me and man oh man it was great. I hope she can get really big in the music industry because she is so unbelievably talented.
Justin Moore was next, and his accent just melted my heart. I decided right then and there that I need to marry someone with a country accent because it is just..ah. And he can sing. Boy, can he sing!
And then, Brad.
He came on stage and I died. His voice was so pure and perfect; just like his albums. For his song Country Nation, he put on a jersey that was half BYU and half Utah, and the clips on the screen were of BYU and Utah football. It just added to the whole experience!
And for the song Remind Me, Carrie Underwood came on the screen that made it look like a facetime conversation and sang. Those two together were crazy good!
I only knew half the songs, but the ones I knew I love love love. And he sang all of them and I pretty much died.
So worth it.

Going with Kelly made me miss the south a freaking lot. She was my older brother's ex girlfriend when we lived in North Carolina, but I think somehow we were really close even after they broke up...? Anyway, my fondest memory of her was driving around and listening to her many CDs that she kept in a binder because her radio didn't work. She is the one who started my CD collection and my overall love for CDs in general. And going with her alone made me miss the south already, but add the fact that it was a country concert and my heart ached for Cheerwine and true country radio and the south.
I'm so glad we could catch up and have a fun time together. It also helped that Brad Paisley was just UNREAL. Ah

obaachan & me

It all started when I had to go to the dentist.
My parents were both at a DoTerra conference in Salt Lake, and I had no way to get to my appointment.
I called up my obaachan, told her the situation, and then there she was. 
Who knew that the dentist would take an hour? Yeah, me neither.
She waited in the office, and then in her car.
But when I was done, there she was.

I've never really appreciated her for all she's done for me.
For the past few years, my grandparents have lived with us, and now that my ojiichan has passed on, it's just her with my family.
She does all the dishes, cleans the kitchen, the bathrooms, vacuums...
Basically, she cleans our whole house because that's the way she is.
She can't not do something that needs to be done.
Whenever it was just she and I, she made the most delicious Japanese dinners.
But I never really appreciated it.
Maybe because I was (and still am) an unappreciative teenager.
Or maybe because I was just used to all of it.
But, on the day of the dentist, I think I started to truly appreciate my obaachan and all she does for me.
(You'd think that someone who stars on my brother and my's snapchat stories would be more appreciated for how funny and awesome she is)

I hopped in the car and blurted that I was hungry, and she pulled out a little bag of caramels.
I exclaimed how I needed to go to Barnes and Noble to buy my friend's birthday present, and she took me there.
While we were driving, I asked her if she had been various places.
JCWs? No.
Vegas? No.
In-n-Out? No.
and finally, Barnes and Noble? No.
She was just gonna stay in the car while I grabbed the book, but I dragged her inside.
I don't think she realized how big of a bookstore it was.
She looked at so many books!
And she showed me a couple that she read while she was a high school student in Japan.
If that's not cool, I don't know what is.
In the picture above, she was holding my Vogue September issue and my Humans of New York book for my friend.
She is truly the greatest.
And I'm so grateful I could show her something new.

the Lord knows me

I feel closest to my ojiichan when I'm in the temple.
Maybe it's because doing work for people on the other side of the veil brings a different spirit into my life.
Or maybe it's because the Lord knows my every need.
It just so happens (not really because I don't believe in coincidences), Wednesday mornings at 6:30 when my cousin Tanner and I go to the temple, there is a worker there who knew my ojiichan.
He recognized the name Taguchi from my cousin's last name, and asked if we knew of a Mitch Taguchi. 
Tanner and I looked at each other and excitedly told him that he was our grandfather.
The man then said how he had worked in a factory with jiichan and that he was one of the hardest workers he knew.
Oh man, how I love how the temple brings people together. 
People who are on this side of the veil, and the other as well.




okay i'm done shouting now

holding to the rod

view more photos from this shoot here

Working part-time at a life science museum is great. I get the opportunity to see many children, youth groups, and families come to appreciate the animals that we have in the museum.
Just recently, a little girl walked into the store and began to look around, touching everything that looked even remotely interesting. After a while of browsing all the shiny and bright colored items in the store, she realized that she had lost her mother.
Jokingly, she laughed, "I don't know where my momma is," but even as she said it, she looked a little nervous. After saying this a few times and looking around frantically, she shouted, "Mom! Momma!! MOM!!!"

After watching this little girl lose sight of her mother and try to find her way back, I was reminded of an experience I had at girls camp.

A couple of years ago, my stake put together an iron rod activity that each young woman was able to take part in. Before it started, there was no instruction on what the activity was or what we were supposed to do. I was blindfolded and my hands were placed on the 'iron rod', or the railing which followed the trail. The journey was made in complete darkness.

I would hear things like
I have a glow stick, just follow my voice and I'll give you one. they're really fun! 
Someone threw up on the trail in front of you. come towards me and I'll guide you around it. 
There is a huge stump in front of you. let go of the path for a second so I can help you get over it.

These voices were extremely tempting because I had no idea if they were being honest or not. But I decided to ignore them and kept a firm grip on the iron rod. Every once in a while, a reassuring voice said sweetly, you are doing great. I love you. keep going, and you'll get there soon.
When I reached the end of the iron rod, the blind fold was removed, and I was led through a curtain to a truly beautiful sight. Before me, there was a tree, illuminated brighter than the darkness around it. I walked down to the tree and saw the bishopric members, congratulating my friends and I for making it to the tree safely. Lanterns which were made prior to the activity were handed each of us, glowing with a little light.

When I got to the end of the path, I was so grateful that I hadn't loosened my grip of the rod and wandered off the path. Although the words that were said to me seemed really appealing and for my genuine safety, I somehow knew that I wanted to hold onto the rod.

Remembering this experience I had and watching this little girl struggle to find her mom made me ask myself some questions.

How often do I let go of my Savior's hand and wander off to look at new and interesting things? And how often do I find that I become lost and confused once I find that I am no longer with Him?
More importantly, how can I make sure to hold onto the iron rod with all my might?

Personally, these are the things I've found that bring me closer to the Savior:
-having a genuine love for the people around me (this is hard)
-scripture study
-self love
-trying to be my best self every day
-the temple
-taking care of my body
-listening to the spirit
-finding an act of service to do everyday