Once upon a time, my pal Shelby decided to get really into hiking. I’ve always loved hiking, but not enough to actually seek out friends who do too. So when Shelby was like “I suddenly want to hike to the summit of every mountain in Utah so wanna be my hiking buddy?” I was like “Oh I was going to ask you and everyone else I hang out with if you wanted to go hiking with me but I just never got around to it because I am actually quite lazy and don’t plan this type of thing unless someone invites me and I conveniently already don’t have any other plans.”
We started small, with Mount Timpanogos (lolol). OK so we actually did a few small hikes before that: Silver Lake and Upper Falls, and I’m sure the Y was thrown in there somewhere.
THEN Timpanogos. We started at midnight (I highly recommend this. Not only is the sunrise incredible from up there, but you also don’t have to get full sun on your way up, and you can’t see how far you are from the top).
Getting to the top was fine, but you always forget to mentally prepare yourself for the long descent. I actually told Shelby my entire life story, complete with the most minute and uninteresting details, to keep ourselves mentally stable. This was still more enjoyable than the first time I hiked it though (family got separated, many delays, no sunscreen and severe blistering sunburns, bad case of sitting-inside-all-summer-and-being-very-out-of-shape, etc. all contributed to that).
Among the others: Battle Creek, Squaw Peak, The Y (again) and Angel’s Landing. All excellent 10/10 would recommend. There’s just something about being wayyyy up above everyone else that keeps us turning our legs to jelly and depriving ourselves of sleep.
Sadly, Shelby is now on the literal other end of the Earth on a study abroad, so I am accepting applications for a temporary Fall hiking buddy. DM or email me your resumes any time between now and the winter months, thanks.
The predicament of being a fun-loving quasi-adult who also tries to upkeep a blog is that the more blog-worthy events you have in your life, the busier you probably are, and the less time you have for actually updating your blog. So, my dear people of the Internet, I hope you’re ready for an EXTREMELY wild ride through everything cool/uncool that’s happened to me in the past 6 months.
Cool: This view of BYU campus in the winter. As much as I complain about school, I really do enjoy my walks home (probably because school is over, but you know).
Cool: Women’s Chorus! I had an actual fan club at our winter concert and I have never felt so famous.
Cool: my little sis is a basketball STAR! / Uncool: her team lost in the state semi-finals. This picture captures my pride in her overall and her (silly) desire to not be photographed after crying over a loss (just kidding. I get it. I guess I’m just a mean sister).
Not only cool, but AMAZINGLY, INCREDIBLY COOL: I got to sing in General Conference! The women of BYU Women’s Chorus, Concert Chorus, and BYU Singers, plus some alumni, were invited to sing for the General Women’s Session. I don’t think I’ve ever been that excited about any musical performance in my life. Here are the 3 songs we sang (if you look on “I Feel My Savior’s Love,” you’ll see me!):
5. Cool: I GOT TO THE END OF THE COOKIE DOUGH AND THERE WAS THE PERFECT NUMBER OF COOKIES TO FILL UP THE COOKIE SHEET. I HAVE BEEN WAITING YEARS FOR THIS TO HAPPEN.
6. Cool: I ran a half marathon! My friend FORCED me to sign up with her (when I say “forced,” I mean she invited me and I immediately was like “yeah, OK, why not?” without thinking about what I was really getting myself into).
Uncool: I got sick a week before the race. I also had finals right before that, and final projects and papers etc. right before that. My training did not quite go according to plan, and judging by the severe discomfort I felt in my legs and feet for the next two days, I have now learned what not to do right before a half marathon.
I only have pictures of myself in this position because I actually couldn’t stand in any other position for about 19 weeks.
7. Uncool: my fabulous roommate left me. Cool: she left me because she got married! My other “roomies” (none of whom actually live with me, but all of whom I see more than my actual roommates) and I decided to head out to San Diego for the wedding, and, obviously, we saw Celine Dion’s show in Vegas on the way back. (We had already been talking about seeing Celine for *WEEKS* and having an excuse to head that direction was like manna from Heaven). These pictures are only a few treasures from the gold mine of gems obtained on this trip.
8. Uncool: when my dad took me, my sister, and one of my brothers fishing on Memorial Day, we caught NOTHING (nothing we could keep, that is. We did not, as my father always reminds us, get skunked. We just couldn’t keep the species we caught).
Cool: I now have this picture of my sister.
And this one of us.
9. Cool: I somehow (it’s a long story) ended up on a Ragnar (if you don’t know what this is: read here) team sponsored by the University of Utah MBA program, meaning I got to do the Wasatch Back Ragnar for free! Who knew depriving yourself of sleep and running 200 miles collectively would be so much FUN?
Uncool: I had to wear University of Utah t-shirts. (I say this, but in reality, they are nice shirts and my teammates were really chill people. I guess I can’t profess to have a true BYU hatred of the U. Not that I ever did, and I only cried a little (lol jk) putting the red shirt on for the first time).
And there you have it: a haphazard, incomplete catch-up on the happenings of my ill-documented recent life. There’s more where this came from (my brain, so we would hope there’s more).
Of all those answer options, ELEVATORS was the winner for April. I have to go for all of April without using an elevator. I put that on the list, thinking it wouldn’t be noticed or chosen, and that if it were, it wouldn’t be difficult to give up at all. But when I realized last night that I often have to take a cart up and down a couple floors for work, I determinedly told my roomies that I would not be following the poll results this month. I mean, come on, I HAVE to do my job.
Unless . . . (dang roommates are too smart and creative) I could just send the cart down on its own in the elevator, then run down the stairs to meet it.
??? Am I really doing to do this? Is it really worth it?
ALREADY DID. AND IT WAS.
Never has work been so adventurous (except maybe that time when I had to clean out a bunch of vans that had been on weeks worth of geology field trips . . . and trust me, you don’t even want to know).
I’ll probably be getting some weird looks from people as I shove a cart into an elevator, run down several flights of stairs, and pull a lone cart out of an elevator on the next floor. But do I care what they think? NAH. I care about all y’all lovely followers who care enough about my life to make it juuuuust a little bit difficult.
I sit on the very back row in my 100-level geography class, contemplating life.
I’m wearing a beanie to cover my mangy hair and a hoodie I feel like I could disappear in. I only dress like this on days like today, when I wake up 5 minutes before I needed to leave for my 8 am final exam.
It’s only 9 am, but I’m eating Doritos. They aren’t a normal breakfast food for me, but right before class I saw someone carrying a full-sized bag of them and the craving struck like lightning.
I’m hearing a little of what my professor wants us to know about urban sprawl, America, the 1950s . . . seems like I’ve heard it all before in other classes, so my brain doesn’t want me to take notes (as usual). So I contemplate my existence, my future, and the past semester as I eat.
Why do I have such a bad grade in this class? Why do I hate it so much? Is it because I’ve skipped at least once, sometimes 2 times a week? Is it because when I actually come, I sleep the whole time? Is it because it’s an enormous class and I don’t feel like anything I do in here matters? Is it because I hate the assignments that are 40% of my grade and honestly don’t have anything to do with the material we are supposed to learn in this course? I think that in the end, I just don’t care enough.
That’s why I’m here, on the last day of class, sitting in the back row once again, dressed like a hobo, eating Doritos for breakfast, and later, nodding off and waking up to the sound of my own slightest snore. I’m a lazy, finals-ridden college student cliché.
I picture myself as a professor one day, sitting in my office, conversing with a student over an assigned paper. I’m dressed professionally, I have that enthusiastic-about-education gleam in my eye, and the sun shines through the window onto my book-laden desk.
I’m not even really planning to become a professor; I’m studying to be high school teacher, and not even doing so well at that right now.
But, could I see myself there? Yes. Am I anywhere close right now? Not really. But does that mean I can’t get there? Of course not!
I may not be where I want to be, I may not be how I want to be, and I may not be who I want to be right now. Sometimes I’m just barely getting through.
And that’s OK.
It’s easy to think that just getting by is NOT okay. Don’t we want to excel? To flourish? To shine? Of course. That would be nice. In fact, I feel like I have excelled in one of my classes semester—my writing class, which I love and care about far more than I could ever care about a basic-level geography class.
So, even though it’s not ideal, isn’t enough that I even stuck with the class despite it being the bane of my existence the whole semester? Isn’t that worth something?
I’m not where I want to be right now, and that’s OK.
I know what you’re thinking. First of all, why would anyone ever deprive themself of chocolate for an entire month? Second, the Aubrey I know would never be able to do that; am I reading the right blog?
It’s true, though. I did it. I don’t really know why, to be honest, and I had to explain myself countless times. Like when I asked for a Chick-fil-A peppermint shake without the chocolate chips, and the girl working the register was in tears because she was so impressed with my determination to fulfill a personal dream. Just kidding, she actually was just like “that’s so impressive! I wish I could give you the shake for free!” so I said, “can you?” and she said she couldn’t. Disappointing, but the shake was still ridiculously good, of course.
Or when I ate a delicious cookie fro
m my visiting teachers and my roommates watched as I picked out every chocolate chip. If by some strange twist of fate you come across this post, lovely visiting teachers, the cookies were delicious, just like I said, and I hope you aren’t offended that I didn’t eat them in the intended fashion. I still felt loved and your mission was accomplished and I mostly just hope you don’t actually read this. Okay.
Or when they had gallons on gallons of BYU Creamery ice cream after stake conference and I was like no way I’m passing up a free scoop of Graham Canyon! I just ate around the little chocolate covered graham cracker pieces (which are actually the best part, but whatevs).
The more I tell about this, the more I realize how pointless this must sound. It’s not like I actually received any health benefits from cutting out chocolate for one month, since I basically ate whatever the heck I wanted as long as it wasn’t chocolate.
But hey, there’s something to be said for just having enough self-control to do something hard. Did I miss chocolate that much? Not really, though by some cruel twist of fate, I had more Frosty cravings than I have in the past year, probably. But was I seriously tempted when mom pulled out th
e chocolate-covered macadamia nut clusters from Costco on Thanksgiving? YES. Was I seriously tempted when I went to my friend’s house and her mom had made fudge?! OF COURSE. But I survived!
It felt good and it forced me to be a little bit creative, so I decided I’m going to do it again this month – but with soda, not chocolate. I don’t drink soda as much as I eat chocolate, but I think it’ll be good anyway.
And you better believe I’m going to enjoy all the holiday chocolate that is surely coming my way (there’s a reason I chose November, not December . . . hehe).
I love music. If you don’t know this about me, well, you aren’t very good at stalking my blog.
Really though. I can’t do anything without music playing in the background. I’m hopeless that way.
So, if you have music playing 24/7, you’re bound to run out sometime, right? No. Because there is a never-ending supply of fantastic music out there. I have been finding so much good stuff lately that I haven’t gone completely over to Christmas music yet because I just want to listen to all my new stuff . . .
So how do I discover new music? I don’t really know. I just stumble across it in various ways: Pandora, YouTube, concerts (sometimes the openers you didn’t intend to see are awesome), the radio (if you live in Utah county you really ought to check out 90.9, 91.7, 96.3, and 101.9 FM–between them all I’m rarely disappointed), ski movie soundtracks, and of course, good old recommendations from friends. Some artists I absolutely love are big on YouTube, and I love discovering music that way.
That’s actually what I wanted to get at here, so before I keep going on about all the places you should look for new music, I’ll get to the point. Recently I have come across a couple really great bands, and both of them are made up completely of sisters. Since I have a sister, I decided to post about these great bands of sisters so my sister will be convinced to join me in creating a hit YouTube band. Just kidding. But check them out!
First, Gardiner Sisters. They do a lot of YouTube covers and they have some good original stuff too. I mostly just can’t get over this amazing cover of “Like I Can” by Sam Smith.
Then, Joseph. They just have the most amazing sound together. This could only be attained by people who share genes, I’m pretty sure.
Now that I’ve started talking about music, I’m going to find it difficult to stop. Stay tuned for recommendation upon recommendation. (Yea or nay on a Christmas playlist for everyone? Too bad. I already decided yea).
I have always HATED getting my hair cut. I don’t know why. It’s probably similar to why I don’t like going to the doctor or going to the dentist. I’m not quite sure why; I just don’t like it.
A few months ago, I had been wanting to get my hair cut for a while – I didn’t even like my previous cut to begin with. I’d been putting it off though, because I just really don’t like going. And besides, I never seem to have time for that sort of thing. So I decided I was going to attempt one of the bravest things I’ve done (yes I’m kind of a wuss, so this really is one of the bravest things I’ve done) and do it myself! I’ve actually really been wanting to learn because as a kid, I always wished my mom could cut my hair.I watched a couple of video tutorials and away I went.
Here are the videos I watched, in case you’d like to try it yourself sometime!
I didn’t follow exactly what they did…I kinda just trimmed and trimmed and trimmed while I watched some episodes of Psych (classic me, “multi-tasking”). I was pretty pleased with how I did, considering I had never cut hair before. Except for this one time in 8th grade when I cut my own bangs and they reached like the middle of my forehead. Yeah. It was bad.
Anyway, so, after my lovely success story, I decided to try it again. This time I wanted to cut it short. I put my hair in a pony tail so I could cut enough to donate. Here’s the video of me freaking out as I cut off my loooooong pony tail.
(Side note: If you watched the video, you may have noticed a large black speck floating around on my camera. I don’t know what it is. Sometimes it moves to a different spot, sometimes it disappears altogether . . . it’s quite the mystery. If you can explain it, please tell me!!!)
Everything was exciting and great and whatever, until I took out the pony tail and realized what it looked like in the back . . . the front was great, and exactly what I wanted. The back, well, I wish I could show you a picture, but it was so awful that I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture. I don’t have a warranty on my phone, so I didn’t want to take any risk of breaking the camera. Ha.
My lovely angel roommate did her best to fix it, but it was pretty much beyond repair already at this point. She got it good enough that I could go to class in the morning. Then I went to a salon and got it touched up. I’m not saying I’ll never cut my own hair again, because now I know what not to do. That’s valuable knowledge that I need to utilize! Ha, ha. All joking aside, I really do think I’m going to continue cutting my own hair, at least when it’s longer and I’m not doing anything fancy. I’ll leave the shorter cuts to the professionals, though.
Anyway, in case you were wondering, I do love the new hair. It’s like the “accident” child that ends up becoming the favorite, or the cooking mishap that turns out delicious. Success!
I hadn’t gotten nearly enough sleep all week, I was stressed about homework and tests coming up, and I didn’t even want to think about the mountain of laundry I’d been avoiding. (Of course, I couldn’t avoid thinking about it anymore when I had to put on my laundry-day pants today. You know, the ones you only wear when all the others are dirty).
So of course, instead of solving the tired-ness problem by going to sleep, I decided the best option was halfway lay down on my bed, distract my roommate from homework, and complain about all the things I need to do instead of doing them. Classic college logic. Of course, when you’re emotionally and physically worn-out, logic doesn’t exactly come in first place. Either laziness or its close cousin, time-wasting, usually wins.
After successfully procrastinating going to bed for about an hour, my hand started reaching, almost without my thinking about it, towards my beloved-yet-often neglected friend, the journal. I don’t know what it is about my journal that makes it so difficult to open, yet so difficult to close. Once I start to write, it’s so therapeutic that I just can’t stop.
This is terribly selfish of me, but I don’t write in my journal for the sake of posterity or whatever, I mostly do it for my own well-being. Maybe I’ll eventually compile it all into a personal history that can be more easily read by my grandkids (that’s the hope) or my million cats (that’s probably more likely). I’m at least 99% sure that no one would understand my journals anyway (especially the cats. Unless by the time I’m old, cats have learned to read. That would be both awesome and incredibly frightening).
It’s amazing what journaling does for me. That’s why I want to recommend it to everyone else as well. And since I know how terribly, terribly, hard it is to start (seriously, I don’t understand why it’s so hard), I thought I’d throw out a few tips that have helped me.
Get a journal that you LOVE. If your journal is just a spiral-bound notebook or your brother’s old one that he started, never finished, and ripped the first pages out of, you might not be very excited to write in it. However, if you spend a little time and money picking one that fits your own personal style, you’ll be much more tempted to pick it up and start writing. When I see a journal I love, I buy it and keep it on the shelf until I need it. That way I have motivation to finish the one I’m currently using.
Consider a “Line-A-Day” journal, or create your own system. I have one of those 5-year, one-line-a-day journals, where you just write something small each day. This might not work for everyone, but I love it. No matter how tired I am, I can always take 30 seconds to jot down something interesting about the day. Sometimes it’s just one word. But It makes me feel at peace knowing I’m keeping a record of my life. Then, when something important happens, or when I’m more in the mood to write, I crack open the big journal and expound. If you create some sort of schedule for yourself like that, your chances of keeping it up are a lot higher.
Write stuff you’ll actually care about remembering. I absolutely love reading back through my journals and reading about funny things my brother did, or how excited I was that a certain boy talked to me, or who I was spending time with. I also love reading about spiritual experiences I had, because sometimes I can trace parts of my testimony back to those experiences, even though I had forgotten what happened. I also like reading crazy stories that I retell, so I can make sure I am telling it how it really happened (you know how stories tend to change over time . . . that’s why my brother has, apparently, gotten at least 20 feet of air while tubing). Then, some things are just tedious to read about. In high school I would say “so today was pretty good, I did some homework, but I’m really tired, bleh” or something. Did I really need to write that down? Try to look at yourself in the future and wonder, what would I want to know about today? What am I likely to forget if I don’t write it down?
Be as honest as you possibly can. It’s one thing to sugarcoat, edit, and alter what we say to other people. You know, we automatically respond “good” when anyone asks how we are. We often end a conversation about something difficult in our life with “but it’s okay, everything’s going to work out fine” even if we aren’t so sure, and it’s not okay. If we want to keep this up for the sake of social acceptability, fine. But it has no place in a journal. If you’re trying to really get how you feel out on a paper, don’t act as if you’re talking to a girl you sit next to in class or someone you’re on a date with. This is just you and your own brain. Like I said, I don’t plan on letting anyone read my journals, ever.
Consider doing more than just writing. Once a friend of mine told me how she liked to use sketchbooks or journals with unlined paper, because she felt that the lines restricted her. I’ve thought about that ever since. I love using paper that isn’t lined because sometimes you want to write bigger for emphasis, write small enough that no one can read over your shoulder, or illustrate what you’re feeling by drawing. I’ve never considered myself an artist–my drawing skills are, well, we don’t even have to talk about it. But sometimes I draw some sort of diagram or just really big words to express what’s happening. I love journaling that way.
I hope that you all go out and buy a beautiful journal, write eloquently about the important details of your lives, and reap the benefits of doing so. Just kidding. I know that my saying all this stuff probably won’t convince you. Now you just know what you’re missing out on if you don’t write in your journal!