Sunday, December 30, 2012


2012. Wow. I can't believe this year is almost over. As I look back on the year I realize that I did a lot of traveling and a lot of running. Somehow I always end up traveling, even when I do silly things like going to grad school that really should make traveling an economic impossibility, but somehow the universe keeps working in my favor. Overall the year was fairly miraculous. The journey from finishing school, going 7 months unemployed, and finding a job and moving to California was never dull. The year was jam packed with adventure, heart break, best friends, loads of change, days at the pool, miles on the pavement, and lots of love both given and received. I am one incredibly blessed girl and this year, like so many others, was full of undisputable evidence of that fact.

Here are just a couple of highlights from 2012.

January: Ran my 1st half marathon - Disney World
February: Went to the Grand Canyon!
March: Went to Seattle on a career trip for school cause I thought I would end up working there :)
April: FINISHED GRAD SCHOOL! Ran my 2nd half marathon - Salt Lake Marathon, SLC
         And my baby sister got married!
May: Went to South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore - cross it off the bucket list!
          Turned 30!
June: Visited my lovely, darling friends, Emily and Natalie, in Phoenix, AZ
         Ran my first Ragnar - Wasatch Back
July: Led a group of girls in C25K and cheered them on at their first 5k!
August: Miraculously had the opportunity to attend the wedding of one of my very best friends.
September: Ran my 3rd half marathon - Disneyland! Completed the Coast to Coast Challenge!
October: Ran my 4th half marathon - Utah Marathon - SLC
November: Accepted a job with the March of Dimes and moved to California
                 Visited my dad for a quick weekend in NYC
December: Started a new job, made weekly visits to San Francisco, met loads of new people,and spent a wonderful Christmas holiday with my mom.

2012 was not a bad year, indeed. Now to top it all in 2013. Looks like the pressure is on. I am going to have to make some seriously awesome resolutions.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Jolly Holiday or I Love My Mom SO Much!

Well, I have now been in California for a full month. I am in that strange place where that seems completely unbelievable both because it seems like there is no way that I could have been here that long, but also because I am shocked that so much has happened and it has only been a month. 

I had an absolutely incredible Christmas. My mom came out and we pretty much had nonstop fun for 4 days. We went to see the Oakland temple, went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the California Academy of Sciences, had dinner in Sausalito on the water, saw the Union Square Christmas tree, saw the Golden Gate Bridge, wore matching Christmas pajamas, met up with old friends, participated in an impromptu live nativity with my singles ward, watched White Christmas, Elf, and Mixed Nuts, saw the Baylands, and wrapped it all up with Chinese food for Christmas dinner a la A Christmas Story. I won't lie, I cried when she left. But mostly I was just happy that she got to come out. It was a very Merry Christmas indeed!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

So surreal.

Merry it was Christmas! I will post about my jolly holiday soon, but first I wanted to brag about today's weather! I met up with my dear friend Janhavi for lunch today. We spent the better part of our childhood together and haven't seen each other in  at least 6 years, and it had been even longer before that.  It was so good to catch up. It has been wonderful catching up with old friends, they have all grown to be the most amazing women. After lunch we went to get cupcakes and ate them outside. Outside. Folks, it is the 27th of December and the sun was shining bright!  I think moving here was not a bad idea.

In running news, my brother got here this week and I took him  out with me for a run last night. He hasn't been out running in a long time and I am pretty sure the run was a bit brutal for him, but it just made me exited for him. While it is certainly difficult, I love the initial feeling of conquering the run. I love when you are first starting out and you feel stronger every day, each run is a milestone and every step takes you further than you have ever gone before.

It was also just nice to have a running buddy. Hopefully he is as exited about this as I am!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ladies of Luxury

Last night I went out for an evening of holiday cheer with some girls from my ward. They have a little group that they call the Ladies of Luxury. They get together every once in a while to do fancy things and last night was no exception. We went up to San Francisco to see The Nutcracker at The San Francisco Ballet. It, of course, was incredible. Everytime I go to the ballet I wonder why I don't do it more often, I find it inspiring, and I could always use more of that in my life. The theater was so fancy, and for an added bonus, they had juice boxes and butter cookies at intermission. That part may not have been fancy and luxurious, but it was fun. I can't remember the last time I had a juice box. It was delish.

It is again a small world. I came in late with another girl who had ridden BART up with me because our jobs had us running a little behind. The theater was dark, so we just took a couple of empty seats near the rest of our group. At intermission the people who had those seats came and we all shuffled around a little to make sure we were all in the right place. I ended up next to a girl named Carlee who knew Erin Masihdas! Yet again, it's a small world after all!

After the show we went to the Top of the Mark and had fancy dessert while a fancy pianist played some fancy tunes and we looked out on the city and it's incredibly fancy view.This is a lifestyle that I would not mind becoming accustomed to.

Speaking of which, I have now been in California for two weeks. And I think I am starting to become accustomed. It does still freak me out a little bit everyday when I get on the 280 and start my commute. The commute to the place I work from the place I live. Yeah, definitely still weird. But fancy.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Weekend Update: Holiday Party Style

Let me tell you what, if you ever have to uproot your life and start everything brand new 600 miles away from home you should do it during the holidays. There has been so much going on here, and this weekend was PACKED with parties and activities that totally rocked my world. Saturday morning I went to a Christmas Morning Party that was hosted by the chief party girls in the Stanford 2nd Ward. More than 60 people showed up in their PJs, exchanged white elephant gifts, drank hot coco, and ate to their hearts' content.

Next was a Relief Society activity where, among other things, we decorated sugar cookies! I have a lot of love for the Relief Society. It is so good to have a place to go and just hang out with the girls. There are so many incredible, intelligent, and fabulously fun women around here. I have been here just under 2 weeks and I have already been blown away by the kindness of everyone I have met.

Saturday night I went to an Ugly Christmas Sweater party. (See photo above) I only found out about the party Saturday morning. As I didn't have an ugly sweater, I decided to wear a fabulous party sweater. I figured I had to make it clear that I wasn't participating so that people wouldn't think my everyday sweater was an ugly one. YIkes. This party was packed with people from all over the Bay Area. I made some fun new friends, among whom were some hilarious guys who came down from the city. We hit up In N Out after the party and I am pretty sure that we will all be best friends forever more. Late night post-party burger runs work wonders for new friendships.

Sunday was church, which kind of counts as a party. We sand Christmas songs and I got to see all of the new friends that I had met the day before at the parties. It totally counts.

After church I drove out to Livermore for a Gingerbread House Decorating party that was put on by Kristin who was my best friend when I lived out here as a kid. It was so fun to see her and to catch up a bit. I am pretty sure we are going to see if we can't have a slumby at her parent's house sometime this week for old time's sake.

After the party I got back in the car and headed back to Palo Alto. It was a long drive, but luckily it was also gorgeous. Livermore is out past rolling green hills and vineyards that were dotted with grazing cattle. On the way out there it was sunny and about 65 degrees. Seriously?! It is December. The weather is one thing that I am certainly not having a hard time getting adjusted to.

The evening ended with a German Advent dinner. We had bratwurst, sauerkraut, cabbage, and lots of other delicious German foods. The German speakers who were in attendance sang a German carol and we lit candles that counted for Advent and Hanukkah. There were gold coins for Hanukkah and we enjoyed throwing them at one another.

By the time the party wound down, I was absolutely exhausted. I felt happy, loved, and included. Things have been a little wild, but it couldn't have come at a better time. This is exactly what I need to be able to connect with people and get a bit of a jump start on my crazy new life out here.

Almost every day, probably especially when I see the temperature and it isn't in the 30s, I think to myself, "Seriously?! I live in California?!", and it freaks me out a little bit every time. I still can't believe that I am doing this. But here I am. And I am jumping right into the deep end, and you know what? The water's fine.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Working 9 to 5

For 6 1/2 months I woke up every day wondering what I was going to do with my life. Then I got up, maybe searched for some jobs, watched some TV, cleaned my room, did some traveling, went for a swim or a run, took a nap, spent time with my friends and family, and again, wondered what on Earth I was going to do with my life. Then one day, I got a call for an interview, and 4 weeks later I am living in California. Monday through Friday from 9 to 5, I know where I am going to be. 

The door to the office. Where the adventure begins.

 My first day of work was good. We did some orientation, had a staff meeting, I learned how to use the copiers, and I learned where the bathrooms are.  I feel good about the office and the job, and feel really good about the people that I work with. There are aspects of the job that scare me to death and I hope that I can really do this. I think I can. Today was even better than yesterday. We started talking specifics and I am getting a better feel for exactly what I will be doing. I am still scared.

First day of work picture. The mirror at home is small, so the only one I really had access to was the one in the bathroom at work. Classy, I know, but I am a girl and felt it was a necessary thing to document.
I am really looking forward to my life in a couple of weeks when I am settled in and can start to feel like I actually know what I am doing. Though honestly, I can't complain. While I am still nervous and working on making both my work and living situations feel more like home, so many wonderful things have happened since I have gotten here that have helped me to feel like I belong and have helped me to feel like moving out here was a good decision. I would be a hot mess for sure if I didn't feel that reassurance. 

My desk. Complete with bamboo plant! 
I am thinking of naming the bamboo plant on my desk. Any suggestions?


So, I know that I already told you about most of the weekend, but I just had to take a minute to highlight my totally awesome Sunday.

Denise was kind enough to let me tag along with her to church. I made some new friends and bumped into some old ones (It's a small world after all! Especially in the Mormon world!). The ward here is packed to the brim with good-looking, intelligent, and kind people. It is really intimidating. But like I said, they are nice, so that makes it a little bit easier. And one of the girls in the ward remembered me from when I visited this summer and invited me to hang out with her "Ladies of Luxury" club! We are going to go see The Nutcracker and we are going to be awesome. I feel good about both of those things.

At the end of church my friend Dean (who was in my Provo ward), came to find me and said that he needed a soloist for one of the songs the ward choir is singing for the Christmas program and asked me to fill the spot. Why not?! So, off to choir I went. I got a ride home with one of Denise's roommates and she, like everyone else, was absolutely delightful.

My dear Dean friend had me over for dinner and I ate my first hot meal (not including that Little Ceaser's pizza) in almost a week. I was so grateful and was very happy just to not be eating alone. After dinner I went back to Denise's and watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional with a group of people from the ward.

I also got to talk to my mom and several good friends at the end of the day. I went to bed feeling happy and loved. This may just all work out after all :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Hills Were Alive!

 I will never think of the Sound of Music the same way again. We had a great time. The theater was in the Castro district, so the show was packed full of girls who had always wanted to grow up to be Julie Andrews and packed full of boys who had also always wanted to grow up to be Julie Andrews. We sang at the top of our lungs, booed and hissed at the Baroness and at the nazis, laughed at well, pretty much everything, and cheered madly when the Captain and Maria finally kissed. We even got two little pieces of edelweiss to wave during the song. I really loved it when the nazis were looking for the Von Trapps in the abbey and several people pulled out flashlights to aid in the search.  It was hilarious. 

I drove up with two girls from the ward and we met up with about 10 other people from the ward. We didn't stick with them for long however, and the three of us ended up sitting by ourselves because the drunkies in front of us were a little out of control and kept making jokes that they thought were funny, but they really weren't. Overall, we had a simply marvelous time!

This morning I went to the Oakland Temple. It is so nice having a place to go anywhere in the world that feels like home. The icing on that cake is that the nativity was all set up.  I remember driving up to see the Christmas lights at the temple when I was a kid. It is funny to go back as a grown up. I cannot believe that it is already December! My how time flies. But I am kind of counting on that right now. Things are getting better, but I am looking forward to life in a few weeks when I am a little more settled in and feeling more at home. Until then, here's to the holidays!