18 December 2019

The Force Will Be With You.....Always

As the Skywalker saga comes to an end this year,
it made me think of how Star Wars has effected me in my life.
It started as something I watched with my dad,
 who's been an avid fan from the beginning,
and bond with him
to something that means so much more to me than I thought.

A big factor in that development was the year I spent at Disneyland 
working in Tomorrowland in Star Trader surrounded by Star Wars 
merchandise, fans, lore, characters
and people that genuinely loved this story.
(I have a funny story about cast members that portrayed both Darth Maul 
and Darth Vader but another time!!)
I learned and "trained to be a Jedi Knight"
as I helped younglings and Padawans build lightsabers
and tell them stories of the Jedi before them that had the same color saber
or answered questions they had about various characters.
It was truly then I think that I realized how much Star Wars meant to
people and how magical it could be and it changed me too.
Yesterday I watched as "the circle [was] now complete[d]" 
and it left me in tears.
Our beloved Rebel Princess and Resistance General
Carrie Fisher left us too soon
but the way they paid tribute to her is worthy of everything she built.

"A thousand generations of Jedi now live in you.
The Force will be with you.....Always"
Watching Rey, Poe, Finn, and the 
Resistance fight against the First Order against all odds
is something to wonder and respect.
The story completes in a perfect way
and I truly hope all fans can come together after this 
and rejoice in the
amazing 40 year journey we've all taken together.

J.J. Abrams promised to surprise us,
and that he did.
Be sure you're paying attention to details 
and see some of the subtle
tributes he pays to the fans.
Music cues also pay tribute to Jedi, Sith, and stories past
which helped enhance the experience.

As for kids,
I won't be taking my kids to see this in the theater
there are some older themes that I know my 7 and 5 year old will need explained
and a theater is not the place to do that hahahaha
So when it comes out we will do a big movie night so we can pause 
and answer questions as needed 

As you go out and watch this conclusin,
remember #MayTheShushBeWithYou 
as Mark Hamill himself posted on his Instagram.
Let all enjoy this final chapter.

May The Force Be With You


15 October 2019

"Well well....."

"...thinking you could defeat me, ME the Mistress of all Evil!"
One of the best lines in Walt Disney's 
Sleeping Beauty has now become the title for the sequel
all about our favorite horned "wicked" fairy.
This movie follows the first in both style and character development.
Maleficent and Aurora have a strong bond that will be tested by
attempting to join families with Prince Phillip's parents 
over their much anticipated union.
The King wants peace and unity, the Queen may be hiding some devious plans.
What will happen when the worlds collide?

Angelina Jolie once described Maleficent as a "delicious" character to play,
and she delivers a performance that makes you sympathize with
(and dare I say, humanize?) this feared fairy.
Michelle Pfeiffer shines as Jolie's foil and enemy.
These two powerhouse women steal the show
and leave you wanting more.
Chiwetel Ejioforis a great addition to this cast and his character, Conall 
helps us learn more about Maleficent's origins 
which she herself doesn't fully understand or know.
There is humor mixed in at all the good times for it and the music is stellar!

As for those little ones seeing this movie:
I, personally, will let my kids see it once it's out for purchase
so I can pause and explain things as we go.
There is a lot of intensity in this movie and 
emotional hardships that might be too difficult for some to understand.
There is a large battle at the end of the movie
(this isn't a spoiler, y'all have seen Pfeiffer/Jolie in their battle armor in previews)
and it's quite long and many heavy things happen as they do in wars.
I would be cautious and see it first for any young kids but I think age 9+ would do just fine.
See Maleficent: Mistress of Evil in theatres this Friday
October 18th!!

02 September 2019

Kooky Hair and a GIVEAWAY!

Welcome to September everyone!!
I wish I could say it was cooling down in AZ but we just had two weeks or more 
of heat advisories that lasted multiple days sooooo 
we still melting over here hahaha 
I'm here today to talk about a new company I just found!

  They're called Formulate and they are  
custom shampoo and conditioner wizards!
You take a simple hair quiz:
type, length, heat treated, colored, etc
and then tell them your hair goals:
glossy, scalp health, UV protection, color last, etc
and BAM!
They create a one of a kind formula JUST for you!

You can choose up to 6 hair goals for your combo and a scent
AND strength OF that scent,
It was magical!
I chose the Shoreline scent and it was AMAZING.
My hair goals were:
Color Protection (hello purple hair), thermal protection (from AZ heat), glossy hair, 
nourish roots, and improve scalp health 
(I've been dealing with an itchy scalp for a few years now 
and it annoys me).

Here's a video I did talking about my experience and 
sometimes it's better to listen than read hahahaha

The formulae may not have worked great for my hair
BUT my scalp was much better!
I loved working with this amazing company
AND because they love you all so much,
we've partnered to do a giveaway for one FREE set of shampoo and conditioner set!
One person will win the free set but every entry will receive a discount 
for the products if you desire to try them!
Click the link here to enter to win!!
Check out their website to see more testimonials and how their process works!
It's truly something to admire!

06 August 2019

Nothing's ever truly lost.....

Last I wrote on here, I was looking forward to things slowing down a bit and getting ready for school to start, well, school did start but it did not start off well for us in our personal lives.

My grandpa passed away on July 16th and his funeral was the 24th (the second day of school). I talked some on my Instagram about this whole experience but I haven't written it down anywhere yet. So please bare with me as I get a bit raw and real here.

My Papa was my first best friend. As the only granddaughter I had many privileges hahaha I was allowed to not only touch his beloved baseball cards, I was even able to suck on them as a baby.

We ate ice cream for breakfast, I would go with him to his Institute classes and help him teach the students or just participate in them. (they lived across a driveway from the institute building in Santa Monica) He was the one I always asked gospel questions, he knew so many things about the scriptures and church history that I never got bored lsitening to him talk or teach about it. He was also a general history junkie and he and I would have lots of talks about all kinds of places and times - WW2 was both a time of passionate research for us. We even got to stand by the treaty that eneded the war on the USS Missouri!

He had the best laugh. Loud and booming, he could always find a joke. I remember countless hours of playing Cray 8's or Go Fish and just laughing our heads off. When we would visit them on summer vacations he and my grandma would sit us down to make a plan for the entirety of our stay so we could make sure to get all the things done we wanted to while we were there. The Santa Monica Pier, Tito's Tacos (a couple times lezzbe honest), Olvera Street, movies, Institute, and Venice Beach were always on the list.

He was always fair. He loved everyone and everyone knew it. It was a genuine love and concern for everyone he met. His generosity of both spiritual and temporal means is something to aspire to. He was the most Christlike person I know.

He went into the hospital for the final time on the 4th of July. He'd only been back home after being in a physical rehab center for a month when he slipped out of his bed. It just started a chain reaction of things and when I got the call to come quickly so I could say goodbye I sadly wasn't surprised. It's like I knew this was coming but it didn't hurt any less. I immediately started sobbing in Target while I ushered my kids back into the car. I drove them to a friend's house because I did NOT want them to see Papa like he was at the end.

I walked into the room and my heart stopped. I felt such conflicting emotions of peace, love, sorrow and guilt. Guilt that I hadn't spent even more time with him and that I hadn't brought my children to say goodbye (even though I KNOW he wouldn't have wanted that either). Sorrow because I knew this was the end of his life here on earth and I miss him every day. Love for this giant of a man that helped shape me and who loved my family so entirely - he even loved Andrew before I did hahaha. Peace from knowing he'd want to be home with his Savior instead of here on a machine. The Spirit was so strong and I was able to hold his hand, speak to him and kiss him goodbye. I kissed him for the girls and told him to watch over us especially as the girls get older - they'll need their Papa to keep them safe.

As we then celebrated his life the following week, it was wonderful to see all of the family and friends that were able to come. Some of these cousins I had never met or it had been years since seeing each other. We all joked that Papa would have hated it hahaha he's be tucked into a quiet corner somewhere avoiding everyone and all the noise - which is completely true. The sadness comes and goes. I know hes happier and with his mom, dad, best friend Jack and all the others that have gone before him but gosh darn it I miss him so much. I know he's watching over me, I've felt his presence throughout the weeks since he's been gone.

When he passed I knew I wanted something to help us remember and grieve - so I asked my sweet friend Nichelle to make us a necklace with his favorite hymn (If You Could Hie to Kolob") and then on the back we had his handwriting ;) It was the most perfect thing we needed!

I'm going to get a bit spiritual here, you've been warned. I am so grateful to KNOW I will see my Papa again! While it doesn't diminish my temporal sadness here and now, I know it helps me to know he'll be waiting for me with open arms when it's my turn to go home. I'm grateful for a Savior that knows my pain and anguish. He knows my conflicted soul and helps to soothe it. I'm grateful for a family that comes together and strengthens each other - I could not have made it through without my husband and kids. Papa is the first of my grandparents to pass, so in that I know I've been extremely lucky to have had him for 30 years teaching and loving me.

I love you Papa, Save a seat for me <3


06 July 2019

Home Tour!

We've been plugging along here
unpacking the house,
and celebrating birthdays!
For those asking,
here is a "house tour" 
I have most of the fun stuff from the house on my
Amazon favorites page so it's easy to find!
Summer is always a crazy time for us! 
Andrew and Rory have birthdays 4 days apart
so it's always a bit nuts for that one week hahaha
This year we just had friends over,
went out to eat and enjoyed our amazing new house.
We had our friends stay with us for a few days
while they transitioned to a new house
and we LOVED having them here
and having the house filled with people.
We will miss them terribly though and I'm only
completely heartbroken that they're leaving us!
Nevertheless it's been a crazy summer,
and school starts in like 2 weeks!
I'm ready for life to calm down just a smidge hahaha

29 May 2019

A Leap of Faith

You may have noticed it's been
pretty quiet around these parts for awhile.
Occasional movie reviews but nothing consistent.
Well there's a good reason for that lack of commitment:
Completely NOT in the plans for the year when we made goals,
NOT in even our minds really but here we are hahaha
 I've said here before that the house we were in was not 
our forever house.
It was the perfect starter home and we loved it dearly.
We started to feel the nudge sometime in the end of March.
First week of April we just decided to look around at
some houses nearby to see what was even on the market.
On a whim we saw this house (I had hated the pictures of it online)
and we fell in love with it.
And that's when the madness started hahaha

Within a week we had our house up on the market.
Guys I've never worked so hard for so long on something
(other than growing babies)
and we had multiple offers come in which was great.
We also knew that we couldn't afford this new house
without selling ours first.
Basically take the equity and roll it over into our down payment.
So we took a cash offer that seemed to give us the most wiggle room
in a new budget to work.

After the inspection period,
these buyers got difficult.
They now wanted pictures of the EMPTY house 3 days before close,
lowered their price to "help them with upgrades to the property",
and a few other things that I've honestly blocked from memory.

We could have backed out and put it back up and seen what would happen.
We could have done that,
but Andrew and I both felt prompted to just keep going.
We didn't want to lose THIS house.
It had been on the market for about 50 days when we saw it,
and we were the only offer on it but it was contingent
upon the sale of our house.
And if we had put ours back up and waited,
this house would probably be out of reach because they were
waiting for a certain period of time before they 
would open this house for more financing options.

And so, we plugged on.
The week leading up to Memorial Day was moving week.
We had to pack the truck on Wednesday so we could take pictures
of the empty house for them to wire the money on Friday
so we could simultaneously close on the new one same day.
We had plans to pack the truck and leave room for the mattresses 
so we could sleep one more night there and then be out by Thursday.
Well our water had other ideas and we were kinda forced out Wednesday night.
THANK GOODNESS for amazing ward members and neighbors
who allowed us to crash at their house and helped us with this move.
We lived out of our car for most of Thursday,
stayed the night with some friends,
and most of the day on Friday while we waited for the green light to move into
the new house.

Oh and did I mention this was also Rory's last week of school????
My poor girl didn't get a proper last week of school
and quite frankly I felt really bad that her teacher didn't get the same amount of gifts
or attention that her kinder teachers did last year.
All because of this move hahahaha

But as I sit here in my new office and type this,
I am BEYOND grateful.
We know for a fact that the Lord's hand was in this.
We've felt His promptings and love and peace while in the midst of chaos.
We're both so grateful to everyone that helped us in any way with this new adventure.

My saddest part of this move however was leaving my sweet girls.
My Young Women have been in my life for the 5 1/2 years we lived in that house.
I grew up with them as their teacher and I have loved them
as though they were my own
(and still do don't you worry girls!).
They surprised me on our last week at church with signed posters,
a Sodalicious gift card (it's like they know me),
treats and lots of tears and hugs.
They're my "babies" and I am sad that I won't be there
every week to see them anymore.
Lucky for us, we only moved like 5 minutes away so they are still stuck with me
as a friend and ally!

So there ya have it!
Now you know why it's been kinda silent on here for awhile 
and it may continue to be so while I unpack
and get everything settled away.
So bare with me while I try to work some pixie magic on this house
and make it into our true forever home!

22 May 2019

"Aladdin, The Princess, and The Lamp."

I will try to control myself
to NOT burst out in
"Arabian Nights" as I write this because believe me, 
it's a very strong temptation!
Last night I went with my mom to a screening of
I'll be honest.
I walked into this with zero expectations because 
I LOVE the animated version of this movie so much I was skeptical.

Guys I was blown away by how good it was!
It was its own movie.
They weren't trying to make it completely the same way,
they made it their own!
I loved it.
Let's talk about this for a minute.
The music is INCREDIBLE!
Naomi Scott was my biggest surprise of the entire thing,
her voice is amazing,
her portrayal of Jasmine just made me so happy.
We already knew that Jasmine was "NOT a prize to be won",
and Naomi portrays her with such grace and power
that I was happily stunned by.
The dancing!
They combined Bollywood with hip hop and I DIED!
It's amazing to see different cultures meld into 
one beautiful interpretation of events.
On that note,
let's mention how AMAZING it is to see
actors that are actually FROM the culture being represented!?
This casting was done incredibly,
including Will Smith.
A few naysayers have mentioned that he doesn't fit this or that mold,
or belong in the cast because he himself is not of the same culture.
Um guys, he plays THE GENIE.
the BLUE Genie for crying out loud!
He belongs just fine.
I fell in love with this movie and 100% recommend it for kids and adults alike ;)
It's super fun and very entertaining,
and you'll be singing
"Friend Like Me" for days!

24 April 2019

"We're in the endgame now"

"How many did you see?"
"How many did we win?"

After the MCU devastaed us with Avengers: Inifinity War -
Thanos won.
For the first time, our beloved heroes lost.
Utterly and without closure.
the time has come to settle the score for as
Tony Stark said from the beginning
"Earth's Mightiest Heroes.....
If we can't protect the Earth,
you can be damed sure we'll avenge it."
This movie is long.
3 hours and 2 minutes to be exact.
Altough I'd say it's more like 3 hours and 10 minutes to include the first part of the credits.
And trust me when I say,
it doesn't ever give you a break.
It starts without warning or even a recap.
Just BAM!
So use the bathroom before,
maybe skip the drink and popcorn,
and just enjoy the show.
I enjoyed everything about this movie.
I walked out and immediately wanted to go back and watch it again.
It's not just the story I will go back for either.
The way it was filmed,
the MUSIC!!!,
everything spectacular we've come to expect from a Marvel movie
were all there and then some.
Movies you NEED to have seen before seeing Endgame:
Avengers Infinity War.
That's it.
Captain Marvel is a good idea to see just so you can know who
she is and what she can do but it isn't essential
while Inifinity War is most definitely.
They don't have the luxury of recapping the last movie 
before delving into this one so you've been warned!
If you're thinking of taking your kids to see this I have a slight word of caution:
unless they've seen Inifinity War, and survived watching that,
I'd wait a bit before they see this.
There's nothing bad in the way of bad words or sexual innuendos
but it IS intense and doesn't let up really at all.
And there is, considerably, a lot of fighting.
My own kids won't be seeing either of these until they're a little bit older
only becasue they're not emotionally mature enough to handle them yet.
Will they avenge the world like they've promised:
"Whatever it takes."?
Go see it in theaters starting April 26th and find out!
(and then talk to me cuz I'm DYING to talk to people about it!!!)

20 March 2019

We need to change the story

  Most of you know that I am a member of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
and I have a calling (volunteer position) of teaching
the Beehive class who are 11-13 year old girls.
This year we are having the girls teach with us 
and they get to pick the lesson.
I was surprised when one girl picked
"Why is chastity important?"
as the lesson we would teach together.
But I was also humbled knowing that she felt comfortable enough
to suggest this one, without even giggling, and prepare for it.
I knew I needed help with this myself so I went
on Instagram for opinions and insights on this sensitive subject;
specifically, what you wish you had been taught
as a young woman that you didn't know until you grew up.
The response I had from my friends and colleagues on social media
was astounding.
So many amazing insights and differing perspectives
and I'm going to share them here because this is a conversation
I feel we ALL need to have with our children.
Especially our sweet girls.
As a youth myself I remember this lesson and feeling the blush
come up on my cheeks just hearing the word chastity.
That lesson was always a source of embarrassment and uncomfortable.
But I never felt like I was being guilted or told I wasn't enough ever in those lessons.
I was also incredibly lucky to have my mom and her two best friends
as my teachers for 5 of those 6 years in Young Women,
so the lessons, while weird, were never to make me feel
like my only worth was in staying pure.
For others, they were not as lucky.
They got the "chewed up gum" or the "mud splatted white fence"
lessons of guilt and worthlessness should they transgress.
The worst thing some one shared was of a leader saying in a lesson like this was
"what man could ever want someone that wasn't clean or pure?"
When I heard that from this incredible friend 
I felt like I personally had been punched in the gut.
What a horrible thing to say!
While the law of chastity is there to help keep us pure
and IS important to follow,
that does not diminish our worth in the eyes of God
if it is broken or a mistake is made.
It shouldn't diminish anyone's worth
in our own eyes.
Most of the time in our religious culture 
(almost regardless of which religion it is),
women are shunned if they transgress with this law.
I feel that this is so egregious and horrifying.
Instead we should be so loving and open and willing to help them heal.
How do we help them heal?
We talk of the healing power of the Atonement.
The power of the Atonement is overwhelming when you start to understand it.
Jesus Christ literally suffered for ALL of our sins.
He did this so when we mess up,
if we repented of and forsook it,
He would remember it no more because He already atoned for it.
That is something amazing to realize.
 Even if you do transgress in this way,
you can recover,
You can be healed.
You are still so loved beyond measure.
He will never forsake you,
believe on that and your healing will begin.
A friend equated it to a broken bone:
over time you nurture it and it will heal,
so will your heart.
An amazing woman opened up about how she
wished that she had been able to be more open about her changing body.
But she felt that every part of her was sexualized and therefore
felt embarrassed to even think about asking.
She feels that maybe if that had been more out in the open,
she would have been able to recognize the times when
she was being sexually assaulted and been able to do something.
So much of what we're taught and discussing needs to change.
We need to teach more about what our bodies are capable of:
growing human beings, feeding those same babies,
preparing to hopefully be able to conceive those babies as well.
We need to change the story of breasts being nothing but things to oogle at.
We need to change the story that women are inherently sexual 
and want that at all times.
We need to change the story that women are the only beings "responsible"
and the only ones that have to "deal with the consequences".
We need to change the story that our girls have to be constantly
worried about becoming a sexual object by anyone of the opposite sex.
This lesson started as just the question of
why is chastity so important?
It became so much more to me personally
as I read story after story of heartbreak and abuse.
Moms. Sisters. Leaders. Teachers.
we need to change how we speak to our young girls and boys.
Chastity is a hard thing to describe and explain to a room of preteens.
I want to change that.
I'm not saying we share intimate details with other people
I believe that an open communication channel between
kids and adults they trust is imperative.
Be open about what our bodies will naturally do
and want to do.
If we make it so taboo to even speak of 
who will they go to for answers when things are hard?
I want my kids (my young women included) to feel comfortable
to come to me with any issues they may have.
I may not have all the answers they seek,
but I can help them find them.
We have a long ways to go in our society
to change how we perceive things.
I only hope we have enough time to teach our kids this:
Sexual feelings are natural.
You're supposed to have them, it's ok.
It's also ok if you don't have them right now. 
Sex itself is a wonderful natural gift we've been given
to show we love someone else so much.
But it is also so much more than physical.
Save that experience for the one
you know will treasure you forever.
Someone who will stand by you no matter what.
At the right time.
In the right place.
But also this:
You are loved even when you make a mistake.
You are worth more than all the treasure of the earth.
NO matter what.
I want to wrap every single one of these amazing ladies 
in the biggest Mama Bear hug possible for being so brave
and sharing these very intimate experiences with me.
I also am sending a virtual hug to any and
all who may be dealing with this now.
If you have felt shamed for anything,
please know that I see you.
I hear you.
I hold space for you and
want you here!

01 February 2019

Functional Craft/Office Space

  I've been on the search for MONTHS
for something to hold all of my vinyl and such for my business
and let me tell you,
If I had no budget to worry about,
I have plenty of wishlists I could share but let's share the reality shall we? ;)
The I found it!
My sweet friend was cleaning out her garage and had an IKEA
dresser (similar here) that she had made super cute
and just didn't need anymore.
I quickly volunteered as tribute for it!
When I saw it in person I was so happy and knew it would be perfect!
 I got it home and put it in the space I had cleared for it
(the room is super funky in layout,
weird walls and let's not even talk about the horrid colors in here -
they were from the previous owners and we didn't have money
to have them paint before so there ya go!)
and I quickly put everything in the drawers.

(And yes, I've been folding in the Kon Mari style WAY before this year folks hahaha) 
Owning your own small business is no joke y'all.
It takes a lot of time and effort
but is also so much fun!
 I also got myself the Cricut EasyPress 2!!
I bought the 12 X 10 press and the 20 X 16 mat 
that they suggest for it.
I haven't been this happy in a long time!
It's so easy to use and will save me TONS of time and backache! 
If you want to see a full tutorial for how to use it,
stay tuned! There will be a post soon!
If you can't wait any longer because you just love all things crafty,
I DID do a small tutorial on my Instagram Stories
and saved it in my highlights on my profile!

21 January 2019

CariPRO Ultrasonic Toothbrush by Smile Brilliant!

Who here has an electric toothbrush??
I've had one for about a year or so and I love mine!
And full disclosure:
My mom gave it to me hahaha
I wasn't going to pass up a FREE electric toothbrush ya know?
Then I saw Smile Brilliant came out with their own version!
You guys know how much I LOVE their teeth whitening system,
seriously the best one,
and I was eagerly saving up my pennies to get their brush!
When they contacted me for a trial of their toothbrush,
I kid you not I danced in the car!
My kids thought I was NUTS hahaha
**Post does contain affiliate links and I was given the product in exchange
for a review, all opinions are 100% my own**

I love this toothbrush!!!
I'm not saying it lightly either.
I love this toothbrush,
it is seriously awesome and designed so well to help your oral health!
We all know that electric toothbrushes are better for
oral care than manual brushes which is why I grabbed my old one
before my mom gave it away and it has dramatically helped my teeth.
I had an Oral-B SonicCare toothbrush,
and now with the CariPRO Ultrasonic Toothbrush my teeth have never been better.
This brush comes with 5 modes of brushing!
Did you even know that there could be MODES?
I love especially that it comes with a "Sensitive" mode
because some days my teeth are just extra sensitive and they need
to be cleaned with a little less vigor.

One of the features is that when you turn it on,
it stays on for 2 minutes with pauses every 30 seconds.
It's designed this way to give each quadrant of the mouth the
time and cleaning it needs to be fully cleaned!
No more needing to sing the Happy BIrthday song or 
setting a timer for it;
the toothbrush does all the thinking for you.
The battery life is amazing!
I plugged it in and didn't need to recharge it for over a week!
 The toothbrush heads can be purchased separately as well
so buying the actual toothbrush only once is required,
then all you need are new heads!
I like their designed heads because I felt like 
they get my WHOLE mouth clean.
Sometimes with these tiny brush heads it's questionable
 if it's all getting cleaned or not.
Wanna know the best part?
That's right friends,
I'm giving away one FREE CariPRO Ultrasonic Toothbrush to one of you!!
Click the link below to enter to win!! 
If you have any other questions about the toothbrush that I didn't answer,
check out their FAQs for some great info as well!
And for those of you that don't want to wait to get your hands on
one of these toothbrushes I have a discount code for you!
20% OFF the toothbrush which is HUGE guys!!
Use code: ourhappilyeverafterblog20
Good luck to you all!!