BRAD PAISLEY






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.

IM SHOUTING BECAUSE IM HAPPY


OH MY GOSH I JUST GOT 100% ON THE FIRST TRY FOR THE FIRST TIME ON MY FINANCE QUIZ

THIS IS AN EXCITING MOMENT


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:
-prayer
-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

Kara's birthday scavenger hunt!



Scavenger hunts are way fun and way competitive and way awesome.

she's 18, errybody

Indianapolis, Indiana 
november 2013

the first photoshoot we ever did
Utah Lake, Utah
april 2014

 my first tattoo
The Band Room
june 2014

The Grass By Allstate on State Street
june 2014

 photoshoot at Tibble Fork, where we sang along to music and picked sunflowers
Tibble Fork, American Fork Canyon
july 2014

The Band Room, Deer Creek
september 2014

after winning state and region
St. George, Utah
november 2014

American Fork, Utah
november 2014

New York City
november 2014

Provo, Utah
february 2015

Salt Lake City, Utah
march 2015
 taking my senior pictures and her modeling again
The Dumpster Behind Fresh Market
may 2015

watching pete in theater, and sleepovers
Orem, My Deck
august 2015

Pioche, Nevada
august 2015
The Side of the Road, Calliente, Nevada
august 2015

Pioche, Nevada
august 2015

GUYS it's Kara's 18th birthday today! And what would a birthday be without a little shoutout?
Now, Kara and I have only known each other for two and a half years and I never would have thought that we would become so close!

When I found out that Kara was going to be a rookie in the trumpet section I was leading, I wanted to know as much about her as I could. I heard that she was a freakin awesome trumpet player and was just going to rock our world (which she is, and does) and that she was going to just slay in our band program. Well, if you heard this about a rookie coming into marching band, you'd want to know more about her too!

I ended up stalking her on every social media account of her that I could find (which is only facebook and instagram, but you get the gist) and I found out that not only is she a really talented trumpet player, but she also did rodeos. I thought to myself, wow this gal really has something going for her!
When I first met her I was kind of nervous because I had only been playing trumpet for 3 years and she had been playing for 5 and I knew I was waaaaaay under-qualified. But come to find out, she is the nicest human on the planet and makes you feel like you are 100% capable of anything.

I don't really know how or why we became close, but we started hanging out more and more and all of a sudden, she was my go-to model for any photo adventure that I wanted to go on. Seriously though, she's so pretty she could be a model.

Anyway, now we are practically the same person.

We say 'woof' and 'I'm over it' and pretty much any other funny saying that the other one makes up. Which can get really annoying and we realize that, but we're over it.

I texted her one day a picture of the blossoming trees at the capitol, and we drove up that same day to take pictures. Same with the carnival. And the flowers on state street. And tibble fork. And finally, she told me she wanted senior pictures in her favorite town of Pioche, Nevada, and so we drove for five hours and stayed for three days and took pictures, hiked, climbed, and played cards with her grandparents.

We sat front row at the bridal show at Provo Fashion Week and met a whole bunch of bloggers.

Sleepovers on my deck happen so often we can't count. Don't ask why we sleep on my deck. I don't think we even know.

Halo nights are a regular occurrence.

We can jam to any music. Oldies, country, MoTab, you name it. Heck, we listened to the same 30 songs for three days straight, and only got super frustrated on the last day.

The spiritual conversations we have blow my mind and make me appreciate her so much more.

It's safe to say that Kara is awesome and I love her a freaking load.

She has changed my life for the better, and I love love love love love her.

Here's to another year of Kara!

And be sure to wish her a happy 18th birthday!

inspiration from a class that I didn't know I could be inspired from


In my Effective Learning and Study Skills class (which I thought was going to be a piece of cake...kind of like a bring-your-own-homework-and-study kind of class that I only took to fulfill a  credit requirement for my scholarship - it totally isn't) we had an amazing amazing amazing speaker. Did I mention that he was amazing? Even if this is the only productive thing we do all semester, it was worth it.
If you haven't heard of Bob Kittell, you need to check him out. Motivational speaker, memory expert, speaking extraordinaire.


Some of the things I learned:



"start making it fun wherever you are"

"your habits now will be your habits for the rest of your life"

find a mentor

"you become what you think about with your time"

"so what if they say no? go back again like it's the first time"

persistence, persistence, persistence

go for it

don't take no for an answer

set goals and review them on a regular basis

 "if you go toward your goal, you will find so many more opportunities than you would have without goal setting"

"successful people are persistent, and they fail"

"if you fail, fantastic"

if you work hard, things will happen

go a whole week without complaining

"what you get by reaching your goal isn't nearly as important as who you become by going after it"

rice for everyone


rice for everyone cause I just learned how to make rice in my cute rice cooker. 
and I promise I'm half japanese, even though my eyeballs are huge

greensboro, chris brown, and good food


My momma said party, old friends, and barbecue, so I came running.
It's been five years since I've lived in North Carolina, and these people embody the south away from the south. There is no one else that I'd rather be singing With You by Chris Brown with at the top of my lungs on the freeway. No one.

KASKADE

(I'm super sorry for the vulgar hand signs)

Okay so KASKADE came in concert. Like, Kaskade, Kaskade. The LDS DJ dude who went to BYU, Kaskade. And he performed for free at one of the Provo Rooftop Concerts. Who does that??
When I found out about the concert, I knew I was going. And I think I must've sounded really excited because I managed to get my roommates to come and some guys in our ward as well. And, Alex came too! Who could pass up seeing someone like Kaskade for free?

Sadly, I don't think I warned them that it was going to pretty much be a rave when we were there, so they weren't really prepared for some hard core moshing or anything.

Alex and I got separated from the main BYU wardies group and ended up joining a squad of expert rave dudes. We talked to them for a little while before the concert started and found out that some of them were return missionaries and now they go to raves all the time. And, they told us about EDC, electric daisy carnival, which is a three-day rave-fest in Vegas. Eat-sleep-rave. Eat-sleep-rave. They kept saying over and over.

Pretty much, they made sure that we stuck around with them, and we got as close as 15 feet away from the stage. Which was sick. And also kind of dangerous because some people weren't really all there in the head (whether they were drunk or high, I couldn't tell) but some of them started dancing kind of violently and pushing people around and crowd surfing, which is all around kind of dangerous. The rave-dudes watched out for us and made sure that we were having a fun time and doing our first rave right.

Man, it was one heck of a crazy night. Again, like at the party at the U, I realized how glad I was that I had standards. But, it was also really really fun. I've never been so tired, dehydrated, and sweaty, or been so close to so many people at once, but what an experience! Lesson one: bring water, and lots of it. Lesson two: make sure you're not by any crazy dudes dancing, or else you'll wake up the next morning with bruises on your legs that you don't remember getting. Lesson three: wear something really comfortable (but modest), and always, always, go for the close toed shoes. Lesson four: feel the music and just do you. Lesson five: have the time of your life!

Oh my word, everything just seemed so surreal. Wow, college is crazy man.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pastries

recipe from Diethood

Being in college for a week and not having enough time to bake anything was really killing my vibe. So, I decided to look up recipes on Pinterest and make something cause I was dying!
This recipe by Diethood caught my eye because it looked pretty and it sounded delicious. I mean, who could pass up a strawberry cream cheese pastry??
The recipe looked a little difficult, but it was actually super easy! It just takes a little time, but it is so worth it. There have been only positive reviews so far, so that's a good sign!

So without further ado, here is the recipe!
(recipe from diethood)

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pastries
makes: 20-24 cookies

Ingredients
For the Pastries
  • 1 package (8-ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons or 226 grams) butter, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  • ½ teaspoon salt
For the Filling
  • 1 package (8-ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, or to taste (if you prefer it sweeter, add more)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • strawberry jam
Instructions
  1. Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy.
  2. Add flour and salt. Continue to mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Lightly dust work area with powdered sugar.
  4. Transfer dough to work area and shape into a ball.
  5. Divide it into 4 rounds; flatten each round and cover each pastry dough with plastic wrap.
  6. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  7. In the meantime, prepare the filling by combining cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla in your mixer's bowl.
  8. Beat until creamy and smooth. Set aside.
  9. Dust work area with flour.
  10. Remove dough from fridge and let rest for 5 minutes.
  11. Roll out each ball of dough to a ¼-inch thickness.
  12. Cut into 3x3 squares.
  13. Fill the center of each square with ½-teaspoon cream cheese mixture and ½ teaspoon strawberry jam. For a prettier presentation, using a pastry bag, you can pipe the fillings, one on top of the other.
  14. Overlap opposite corners of dough to the center and over the filling. Pinch seams together.
  15. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  16. Preheat oven to 375.
  17. Bake 10 to 11 minutes, or until edges are browned.
  18. Cool completely.
  19. Serve.

Read more about the recipe and tips here!

Seriously this stuff tastes SO GOOD. Oh my word. My roommates loved them, all the guys I gave them to loved them....everyone loved them! So good.

shenanigans


dozens of glow sticks
a soccer ball
10:00 pm
20 crazy college kids

college (spiritual) food diary


cheesy eggs
strawberries
the perfect post-temple breakfast


If you need any peace in your life, hit this place up.
I was the first person that was able to be baptized and confirmed in the temple by my cute cousin who just got endowed. It was so special, even as early as 7:00 in the morning (did you know that there's a 7:00 in the morning too? Not just in the evening!)
Anyways, make this place a priority. Man, the gospel rocks.

taco potlucks + new friends


My old ward missionary companion Megan organized a huge taco potluck party and invited my roommates and I! Everyone brought different taco making materials and their roommates/friends and we all got to know each other over tacos and games. She organized a huge game with all 30 of us and it was crazy and competitive and so fun!


Wow, I love college, meeting new people, and tacos.