Category: life

Short Hair!

So folks if you have followed this blog you will know I have had long hair the entire time I’ve had this blog. In fact, I haven’t had short hair since I lived in California in 1998. How crazy is that?

Well one thing I have always wanted to do is donate hair to a worthy organization for those in need but I have never had the guts. I have also had a hard time finding a stylist that I trusted and cared for here in Draper, so I put off cutting my hair. In fact, I hadn’t had a trim of any kind in at least 2 years. Well, we decided to do a photo shoot for Hallmarkies podcast with my friend Kristi Linton and so I felt it was time to get my hair cut.

I went to the Rooted Aveda salon in Draper and had a stylist named Britney. She said it was her first day at the salon but luckily she had been doing hair for over 15 years. This place is expensive but especially for such an epic cut it is well worth it.

After much hemming and hawing I finally mustered up the courage to cut my hair and donate it! I actually have to send it in so I am looking into what organization is the best, so if you have any insight I would love to hear it. But look at all that hair!

donating

I had Britney curl my hair because that is my favorite styling and what I wanted for the photo shoot and it is going to take some getting used to but I think it looks cute!

short hair

It feels like there is something missing when I move my head but it is kind of liberating to try a new style after all these years of doing long curly hair. Everyone has been so nice with their praise and kind words about the new style. Thanks!

So there you go. I am now Ms Short Hair (but I can still put it in a ponytail which was a requirement).  I’m excited for this new change!

15 Years since BYU

It seems hard for me to believe but the next few weeks marks a milestone in my life. It will be 15 years since I graduated with my bachelors degree from Brigham Young University (BYU)! It really seems impossible that 15 years has come and gone.

One of the things I envy about those who have kids is they have more concrete evidence of their growth as people. This person didn’t exist and now they do. I have no such evidence. In many ways I feel the same as I did back in 2002 getting my degree. For all intensive purposes how different is my life? I work every day, go to church on Sunday and develop my hobbies just like I did back then.

Nevertheless, I will always look back at my time at BYU as the happiest time of my life. It was a time of great growth, soul searching and closeness to God that I will never forget. My mission was also an extreme learning experience but that was more polishing. The real grunt work happened at BYU.

After growing up with little church support it was so important to be surrounded by people with shared values. I remember when we said a prayer before my science class and I started to cry. Where else could you say a prayer before a science class? What a liberating and beautiful thing!

Most people probably have grand ideas of what they want to do coming out of college. Not me. I just wanted to finish and have a great life. I’ve never been much of a dreamer in that way. I remember my friend Raelene had this long list of the house she wanted and the other bucket list things she wanted to do in life. That was never me. I was just thrilled to have achieved my dream of going to BYU. I didn’t need anything more.

Since then I have served a mission and had a number of jobs including working as an accounting clerk for nearly 10 years. Now I work from home in marketing and I think that might surprise my former self as I was a very social person back then. Now that social life is mostly fulfilled by means like twitter and facebook. It’s hard to imagine I once didn’t have those tools and survived quite well. I believe 2002 was the first year I ever got a cell phone if that puts things in perspective.

If I could give my young self advice I’d say to be patient and that being single aint that bad. I’d say quit that horrible job in 2005 instead of hanging on until 2007 and being miserable. Don’t be afraid to take risks and make sure you are making memories instead of gliding through life. And I’d say ‘you just lost Grandpa and yep you still miss him all these years later’.

It’s funny because I really don’t use my degree much aside from basic writing, editing and reading skills. However, I am certainly grateful I had my college experience and can look back with nostalgia at such a happy time in my life. I am grateful for all I learned and the person it helped me to become.

I can’t believe it has been 15 years! How is that possible?

Well, all I have o say is GO COUGARS!!

News and Updates

Hey guys! I just wanted to give you a quick update as Memorial Day is coming to a close. I hope you had a great day! I am happy to inform you I am pretty much healed from my illness of the last 2 weeks. It was brutal but I’m so grateful for all the support I had. If there’s one thing a tough experience can teach you it is it shows you all the love you have in your life. Thank you for all your love, support and prayers.

I have some fun news to share with you! The first exciting news has to do with the church congregation I go to. I have done my fair share of complaining on this blog about my family wards and how out of place I feel. Unfortunately it was my only option because I was too old for the YSA singles ward and the midsingles ward was 30 minute drive and that wasn’t going to happen. Well, I am so excited to announce that we are getting a midsingles ward in Draper!!!!  They announced it last week and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  It is going to start up right away with a fireside to be held on Sunday and the first meeting on June 12th!

This does have its downside because the ward will be massive- containing singles 31-45 from 28 stakes in the Sandy and Draper area. I am sure I will feel somewhat lost but as I already feel that way in the family ward at least there is some potential to make friends/date. Currently my life has little opportunities to meet new people so I am most excited for activities/Family Home Evening and other gathering times in the new ward. It should help my social circle at least a little bit (hey even if I meet one additional person that is a plus!)

midsingles

The other drawback is I will lose my home teachers, The Porters, who I love very much. Hopefully we can still stay in touch because they are only 2 houses down from me but I will miss their visits. They are the coolest people I know and so warm and accepting of me with all my flaws. I could talk to them for hours and have on a more than a few occasions.

Other than that I am excited to at least try something new. Hooray!

The other exciting news is I had to get my passport because I am going to Spain for the beginning of July!  I will be visiting my sister Anna in Valencia, Spain. I was determined to go to the beach this summer and she was there so I figured why not take advantage of it? I don’t know much about the area but am doing research. It looks like a neat place with beautiful water, which is most important to me.

valenciaI have been to Europe since I was in high school and haven’t been anywhere aside from a Mexican cruise since 2005! I am very excited.

I also don’t think I will be swimming the GSL race this year. It was a very hard decision for me but this recent illness finally sealed the deal. I just don’t think I will be strong enough Saturday to take that on. It’s so hard on my body with the salty water that it just doesn’t make sense. (It pains me to write that and a side of me still wants to do it. Darn it all!).

Anyway, that’s my news. I hope you are all doing well.  Let me know what you think!

Life’s Been a Little Crazy

Hey guys!  I never want it to feel like I am neglecting my first love, this blog.  Things have just been a little crazy lately so my apologies.  Beginning of the year is always intense at work and with my birthday and the many social media projects I have going on it’s intense.

Let me tell you about some of my projects-

OUTSIDE COLUMNIST

Currently I am doing a weekly column for ldsblogs.com on Family Movie Night.   This requires my filming, editing and preparing a video each week and writing a 700+ word column on the film.

I have just been added a writer for Rotoscopers.com which I am very excited about.  If you haven’t heard of it it’s a website all about animation.  I’m not sure how much I will be doing for them but here’s a couple pieces:

My review of the Sundance film I saw Snowtime (I would love if a few of you commented on this piece)

I do top 10 lists for them.  Here are my Top 10 Animated Moments to be Grateful for

I’m really excited for both opportunities and will have to be careful to not spread myself too thin.

54DISNEYREVIEWS.COM

Then there is my movie blog, which I do reviews, editorials and cover anything I want to involving movies.  If you don’t follow it for some reason I think you will really enjoy it.

Here’s a post I did comparing Tangled and Frozen.

And here is my review of the Oscar nominated film The Revenant

YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Then I have my youtube channel.  I do subscription box and movie reviews.  On a typical week I will have at least a video posted every day and I’m really proud of the improvements I’ve made.  I’m getting better at editing, speaking, shooting and all the other aspects of making videos.  The creative process is so stimulating.

I currently have a number of series that I have on the channel like reviewing the Disney Canon each week.  This is posted on Wednesday and last week we looked at Bambi:

Sometimes I give my review of current movies like here is my thoughts on the Coen Brother’s recent Hail Caesar:

I also have top 10 lists and other commentary on my channel. Here’s my thoughts on why I won’t be seeing the new Deadpool movie and a little bit to my method for deciding what to see.

For the box reviews I have to photograph every item and edit the images into the video.  Here’s a review I did of Graze box I posted today.

I also do the Friday 5 which is all about music and this week it was about Michael Buble

None of the videos are perfect but they are improving and I’m proud of that and I simply find the creative process to be very inspiring!

SMILINGLDSGIRL BLOG

Anyway, back to this blog.  I started the Teaser Tuesday series where I give you a sentence or two of the latest book I am reading.  I didn’t get much response.  Do you guys like that series?  Do you like seeing what I am reading?  I also had been sharing the Friday Five with you guys but never got a ton of feedback on it.  Do you like seeing those posts about my favorite music?

I’ve still been doing my usual editorials and commentaries but I would like to have a few series for this blog that become regular.  That way I won’t let it go too long.  I could do recipes or share with you product reviews from the boxes?  What would you like?

I plan on doing a personal post this week about Valentines Day as well as posting my annual valentine but I would always like to do more.  I gain a lot from this blog as an outlet as well and have no desire to give it the short end of the stick.

Thank you in advance for the feedback, and thanks for being understanding if I go a few days without a post.  I haven’t forgotten this blog!  Just check all my other content and I bet I will have posted that day.  That said, I am going to try and do better on this blog as well because I really do love it.

2015: My Year in Review

Hi friends! 2015 was a long, interesting year that had a lot of great moments.  As is my tradition here on the blog I thought I would go over some of the personal highlights.

To begin with it started off with a very enjoyable visit from my friend and former mission companion Julia Graves.  We had a blast catching up and ringing in the New Year together.

happy new year happy new year2Then in March I went to NYC for a RHAP Survivor event, met some great people and spent several days with my sister touristing around the Big Apple!

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In April I was called to go to Georgia for work and took a very productive work trip and stretched it to an excuse to see Atlanta and all it offers! Yay for solo traveling!

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Right around that time I got my 50oth subscriber on my youtube channel.  I now have nearly 700 so if you haven’t subscribed check it out! https://www.youtube.com/user/smilingldsgirl

500subs2And I posted my 1000th post on this blog!

1000-postsIn the summer started my new open water season which was a real thrill because I had my season truncated in 2014.

First there was Great Salt Lake

gsl1Then I did Bear Lake for the first time

bear lakeAnd then in August I completed my 10th open water swim race at Deer Creek.  This time I got to do it with my Dad, which was really special.

deer creek1 deer creek5Next up I finished my review of all the Pixar films and shorts which was an amazing experience.  Check out those reviews http://54disneyreviews.com/pixar-reviews/I also got the treat of 2 Pixar films this year!

inside out5good dinosaur famiyI did a series on my youtube channel I’m immensely proud of called Did the Right Film Win?  Where I looked at the animated Oscars and decided if the right film won.  Through this and other projects I really improved my channel and gained new skills in editing and using Adobe Premiere effectively (a colossal task I assure you!)

In the Fall I had the treat of seeing Idina Menzel in concert and she was fabulous.  My friend Heidi went with me and we had a such a great time.

elsa4

In November I was able to go to California and visit my nieces which meant a lot to me.  I don’t get to see them very much as they live in Portland and it meant a lot to me to hang out and get all the hugs I could!  I don’t have a picture of me with my niece Olive but here is me and Sparrow.

nieces sparrow

I also completed Nanowrimo for the 4th time in November!  I didn’t think I could do it but I pulled it off somehow.

migraine with ice nanowrimo winner

In December the highlight was seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens with my brother, roommate and Aunt Kate.  It was one of the most fun entertainment experiences of my life and the film did not disappoint.

rachel leiaI also loved doing podcast style videos with my friends Abby and Jeremy where discussed all 7 Star Wars films and then a review/response video with my brother Sam. If you are looking for something to listen to on a commute or something I think you will really enjoy them. Our last one was just recorded yesterday and we had a blast!

Then the final highlight of the year was having my sister and the rest of my nieces come for a visit.  What a treat to be able to see all 5 nieces in under 2 months time.  I miss them so much now they are gone back to DC.  (The one girl in the red is not my niece but the others are)

nieces lloydsI also had a great time at a new book club.  Thanks to Suey’s Books and company for being so welcoming.  It’s helped me read more and expand out of my comfort zone.  I’ve really tried to do that this year seeing films like Max Max: Fury Road or The Visit that I might not normally see.   The movie pass really made a difference to me in the number of films I can see and I recommend it for anyone that goes to 3 or more movies a month.

It’s funny as I sat down to write this piece I was thinking 2015 was a bit of a boring year but look at all the cool stuff I did! It was a great year!

For 2016 I hope to keep improving in everything in my life.  I hope to improve in my job.  I hope to improve in my relationships.  I hope to improve on my channel and both blogs. I hope to come up with new and exciting projects that people will like but more importantly I will like doing.  I hope to improve in my callings and in my daily devotions to God.  I hope to be more thoughtful and find ways to serve more than in 2015.

Either way I look forward to sharing it with all of you.  Thank you for all your support and for paying any attention to my content this year.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!