Hey can’t write because I am in paradise. Love it! Here is a video hello that I took today at the beach.
I can’t write much but I wanted to update quickly on the craziness of my life the last few days. First of all, I moved on Saturday to my new 2 bedroom apartment. It is much roomier and in a way feels more like a home than my last place. I will always love that apartment because it proved I could be on my own and be happy. This apartment feels different but I have high hopes for it as well. As you can expect the move was stressful and exhausting. I am so grateful to Easton Brown, Sarah Creer and other friends from church who came to my moving rescue. It was a hot day and the move took several hours. As I have often said I am blessed with wonderful people in my life.
With the boxes moved in the next task of unpacking came into play. (By the way, we have also had people in all 4 houses over the last few days which is great but stressful!). It is shocking how much stuff I have. Truly shocking! Thank goodness my roommate has only furniture for her bedroom and little kitchen stuff. That was a huge blessing! She hasn’t officially moved in yet but I consulted with her before placing furniture and unpacking my kitchen stuff. She seems very easy going, and I think we will make a good team.
I am proud to say I finished the unpacking today! The final step was my office. I will put up photos of my new place soon. I just love it so much!
In the midst of all this unpacking and working I also had to do my final check out of my old place today. This morning to be more particular. I thought I had done a pretty good job with things but the inspector sure found a big list of problems. By the end of the check out it seems I will be responsible for $200 worth of stuff! That’s the downside of renting.
Naturally I was in a bad mood this morning but then we added on more stress by having a crisis at work. I won’t go into the details but one of the houses had some minor vandalism and we had someone checking into the house today! It was creepy, annoying and exhausting all at the same time. It ended up taking Jim and I the entire afternoon to resolve the problem. Luckily the tenants are happy and nothing was seriously damaged or taken except some sheets that had to be replaced. We are now already in the process of getting alarm systems on all 4 houses.
The other stressful event that happened is yesterday I made the mistake of purchasing an Ikea bookshelf with doors for the kitchen as a type of pantry. We got the bookshelf together easy enough but the stupid doors were impossible. We literally spent the entire day. By saying we, I mean my friend Melany Bushe and I. I think the definition of a true friend is someone who will help you assemble Ikea furniture. It was a lot of work and the frustrating thing is that it still isn’t perfect. It wobbles more than it should and the doors don’t line up perfectly! Part of the problem is they only give you those silly drawings as instructions. There are always a million ways to go wrong- and usually I find all of them! Oh well! It will have to do for now. You know there is a joke about Ikea furniture- How may PHD’s do you need to assemble a piece of Ikea furniture?- 3 one PHD in Swedish, one in Engineering and one in relationship counseling. Luckily mine and Melany’s relationship is still intact and the friendship will persist despite the trial!
Need I mention that I also have my recital for voice lessons on Friday! I am doing Somewhere Over the Rainbow which may sound like a simple song but in fact it is quite difficult. It has an octave change with every Some-where and Rain-bow. It is definitely the hardest song I have done at a recital and is a bit of a risk. I hope it pays off- especially with how little rehearsal time I have gotten lately with the move and all. Wish me luck come Friday. I wish it sounded like this. 01 Over The Rainbow (Single Version)
Between everything going on I am looking forward more than ever to the tropical paradise that awaits me this Sunday. Hawaii here I come! I can’t think of anything more relaxing than lying in the sun with a good book listening to the waves. I’d give up a meal a day for that pleasure! Every ounce of my sore achy emotional body is yearning for that blessed island. Thank goodness for vacations by the ocean! I need it real bad!
Hey everyone! Thanks for making my last post my most visited yet! I guess doing longer posts pay off. Well, this a shorter one, so maybe no one will read it but oh well.
I have been busy getting things back to normal at my apartment and job. It has been crazy trying to get reservations made and also be ready for a handwarmer event this Saturday. By the way, I have gotten 13 reservations since I have been home- not bad! They only got 1 while I was gone. That certainly makes a girl feel indispensable.
I have taken a little bit of time this week to finish one project I call my inspiration boards. One of them is for “work” and one for “pleasure”. What I mean by that is they large are cork boards that I loaded with pictures, sayings, jokes- all kinds of things. The work one is all beautiful things that will hopefully inspire me to be creative, think differently, and work my hardest. It is right above my desk. The other one is on the other side of my bedroom next to my dresser and TV. It has photos of family, friends, sayings I like, my hobbies etc. Here they are. Feel free to steel my idea if you like. I love, love, love them!
On another random note, if you have not started watching the new and improved season of Masterpiece Theater (now called Masterpiece) start. It has been amazing. I just finished their newest version of Wuthering Heights and it is fantastic- even though it is not my favorite story I loved the production and performances. They also did the complete Jane Austen with new versions of Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey and Emma. The only one that they didn’t redo is Pride and Prejudice- probably because the Collin Firth version is a classic. They also did a Tess of the Dubervilles which was great and I LOVED the recent miniseries Cranford (I have yet to not love Elizabeth Gaskell in any form). All of these titles are available on DVD and probably at your library. I cannot recommend them enough. Wonderful!
It is almost difficult to put into words the last few weeks. This will no doubt be one of my longer entries. So much has happened!
Without boring you with a day by day travelogue let me just share some photos and memories.
To begin with my roommates Erika, Nicole and Kizzi were great. They welcomed me as their friend and were good about including me in activities. I can’t say how grateful I was for their kindness. Here we are looking quite pretty- if I don’t say so myself. That’s Nicole, me, Erika and Kizzi.
During the cruise we had 3 days at sea and 3 days at port. We visited Puerta Vaerta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. There were also 2 formal days on the boat including on my birthday! (How perfect is that!). The picture above is actually from formal day #2. My roommate Erika did my hair and Nicole had just about everyone we saw sing happy birthday to me. In fact, it was funny because the people in Cabo finding about my birthday kept offering me shots. I could have been quite hammered by the end of that day if I drank! It was a great birthday. I felt like a princess all day. I even had the boat guitarist serenade me with My Girl- all the other girls were jealous!
The most interesting thing about the cruise is that I met people I would never have otherwise. I was definitely the nerd of the ship. Its hard to explain but I learned to be a little bit less judgmental- a little more accepting of what I might call “high maintenance” characters. I had no one else to be friends with and was warmly accepted. I never want to be judgmental of anyone, and I feel that I am better person as a result of going on this cruise.
In addition, I had to be bold and introduce myself to new people every second- many times people I felt I had nothing in common with. I had to find the common ground and make friends. I also had to be comfortable in my own skin in a new way. This is something I feel very strongly about. Everyone should be able to spend time by themselves, pondering, and feel happy with just being alone. I read four books on the cruise alone and wrote in my journal every day. It was a great opportunity. Plus, it was a lot of fun. Here I am relaxing on the boat.
The ports were my favorite part by a long shot. In Puerta Vaerta all of my new friends went ziplining but I didn’t want to go, so I signed for an exclusive beach resort excursion. We went to this beautiful beach resort with the best pool I have ever seen. (Anyone who knows me understands how much I love pools). It was amazing. They had this taco bar that was delicious- as well as a buffet and a restaurant. The jacuzzi tub was also great. While soaking in the jacuzzi tub I started talking with some of the resort guests and believe it or not one of them knew my uncle Vernon and had actually seen him as their doctor. Small world!
Our second port was Mazatlan. This I also loved. It was cool because my friends ended up getting scooters, and I didn’t want to do that. Instead, I signed up for a trolley tour. On our second stop I ran into some other friends from the cruise ship who had rented a van. They had space, so I ended up going with them for the rest of the day. We went to another resort called El Cid that had an awesome beach. Below are pictures of the resort, beach and my friend Ashley who I hung out with in Mazatlan.
I unfortunately forgot my camera in Mazatlan so I am waiting to get more photos from friends. Isn’t that pretty though? Plus, I felt it was a blessing that I was led to people I could spend the day with. That was great.
The final day at port was Cabo and it was actually my least favorite. It was fun because it was my birthday, but I hated getting on the water taxis. They didn’t have a ladder, so I had to get practically shoved onto the front of the boat. I ended up getting my arm bruised from banging up against the boat. That was too bad and kind of embarrassing. Still, it was fun spending the day with Nicole and the Lover’s Beach was beautiful. Next time we will have to spend all of our time there. Here is lover’s beach. Someday I will have to go there with someone I love!
I just love the ocean so much. I have yet to go to a beach I haven’t loved. I hope someday I can live by the beach. It is a fantasy of mine. I love everything about it- the sound, the swimming, the sun, the feel of the sand. It’s just heaven.
I had a great time on the cruise; however, I don’t know if I will go on one again. The ports were great but the days at sea were a little bit more of a drag. Still fun, but not quite as much fun. A cruise feels like a casino/night club all the time, and if you don’t drink or gamble you are excluded from a lot of the supposed “fun”. I did get a manicure and pedicure one day and we went to karaoke 3 nights but that gets old after a while. I think I would rather just go down to one of the resorts with a group of friends. They were amazing and so reasonable. It would be fun for like spring break with friends. Anyone interested?
So in the end I loved the cruise. It was a great experience all around. I challenge any of you to challenge yourself. Try something new, make new friends, step out of your comfort zone, and I know you will find it to be as rewarding as I did. The other nice thing about the cruise is that for one week I was email/cell phone/tv and internet free. I am kind of an addict when it comes to these technologies and it was nice to know I did not need them. It was also nice to have a conversation with someone without hearing “oh sorry, I have to take this call…”. It was the first vacation I have taken in years without a computer and it was great. I am glad that I do not need those things to have a good time.
Once I finished the cruise I met up with my friend Raelene Bradley. I stayed with her family for 4 days and had a great time. I also got to see my former roommate Emily Alvillar Whitman and I meet her baby and husband (they are fantastic, such a great family). It was funny going from a huge group of singles, to hanging out with my married friends. It feels like a different world, but equally wonderful. Seeing both groups helped me remember that there are many ways to be a good Latterday Saint. It’s funny because the world would group us all as the same- all Mormons- but in reality we are very different and live a huge variety of lifestyles.
One of the highlights of visiting with Raelene was going to Hollywood and Santa Monica. I have never seen these sights and it was fun to finally do it. I know how hard it is to do stuff with a baby and I am grateful for Raelene and Jordan for taking the time to give me the tours. It was great spending time with Raelene. She is one of my favorite people. After spending a week with strangers it was nice to see people that I have a history with as well.
On Thursday I said goodbye to Raelene and family, and I thought I was going home; however, I wouldn’t have believed what was coming up! Because I was traveling on a free coupon I had gained from volunteering my seat last April in Hawaii (volunteering means you give up your seat on an overbooked flight in return for usually a free ticket). I volunteered twice last year and I do it whenever I can. Because I was using the free ticket I had to connect through San Francisco. Originally I was annoyed by this but it ended up being great. After arriving in San Francisco my flight to Utah announced they needed volunteers. I immediately offered to do it and it was accepted. I thought I would be going on the next flight at 7 pm (3 hours). I worked for most of the three hours but had a good time waiting. Then 7 pm came along and they asked for volunteers again! I asked if I could do it twice in one day and they said sure! I called Megan and she agreed to come pick me up, so I volunteered again- that’s 2 free plane tickets in about 3 hours! Not to shabby! It was very exciting. Plus, I got to spend the entire day with Megan, Seth and my adorable nieces. I was surprised how much fun I had in only a day visit. It made me want to come again for a long weekend or just a couple of days. In some ways a shorter trip is more fun because it is less pressure for all involved.
So, now I am home and back in my apartment. It really does feel like coming home. As much as I love vacationing (and am not looking forward to the stress of this week..) it is still great to be home and away from my suitcase. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to travel but I am also greatly blessed by wonderful friends who love and support me and a life that I love. Isn’t that great- I love my life. I love my family, my friends, my apartment, my job, my faith, and my whole life.
Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.
I know these kind of things are lame but I actually like doing them.
1. I love to travel and if I had a ton of money I would vacation as much as possible.
2. I have 4 nieces and a step nephew who are the cutest ever.
3. The rest of my family dislikes tv but for some reason I love it. Favorite shows are How I Met Your Mother, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, The Simpsons, and 24.
4. I have whole sections of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s memorized. It is my favorite movie.
5. I have a collection of Madame Alexander dolls. I got my first when I was 8 or 9 and now have 13.
6. I am an NPR junkie and love Car Talk, Radio West, This American Life and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.
7. I have a phobia of most animals and birds. I don’t like being licked, touched, pecked at or any of the other behaviors of animals. It’s weird but true.
8. There is nothing I love more than a Broadway musical. Les Mis is my favorite and it is the only show I have seen twice on Broadway. Amazing.
9. I sometimes do crazy things like go on a singles cruise to Mexico by myself. I like the challenge of it.
10. One of my favorite things is having a good conversation with an old, devoted friend. Best in person, but the phone is great too.
11. I love book clubs and even started going to one in September that I found out about on Craigslist. It’s been great.
12. Reading is another passion of mine. All types of books. Currently I am enjoying the Confessions of a Shopaholic books by Sophie Kinsella. They are surprisingly good.
13. My favorite names for a boy and a girl have always been Christian and Lili.
14. One of my goals in life is to someday live by the ocean. Hopefully Hawaii but I will take any ocean.
15. I went to college with my mom pregnant. My mom had the baby after my first summer term of BYU.
16. I love to swim. Give me a good pool and I am happy.
17. My current Hollywood crush is on Jeffrey Dean Morgan; although, Hugh Jackman always makes me dizzy.
18. I love politics and find it interesting to look at all sides of issues.
19. I hate mingling at a party. I seem to never know what to say.
20. I hate fake cheese
21. I have a birthmark on the top of my head that is bright red. I guess that’s another reason why I won’t ever shave my head!
22. I never went to prom in high school. My junior year I was actually on the planning committee but I got appendicitis and had to miss it. Senior year we had moved to California.
23. My current favorite food is greek yogurt with fruit and honey. I love it and I normally don’t like yogurt.
24.I love entertaining and enjoy the process of planning a menu and inviting friends.
25. I don’t like driving and honestly I am not very good at it.
So, that’s 25 things. 🙂
2008 has been a great year. I have learned so much and had so many amazing experiences. It has been a year of healing and growth, and I am imeasurably stronger as a result. It all started last December with my taking the big leap of faith and quiting my job at JWA. I knew I needed a change and that the Lord wanted me to be doing something else, so I left everything in His hands. Not knowing where life was taking me I entered the job hunt- interviewing for nearly 40 companies over 6 months. There were so many jobs that I thought for sure I would get and then I wouldn’t. The Lord definitely made me wait and show my faith before helping everything to work out.
In the meantime, I had some great experiences such as hanging out with Julia Graves for a week in January (it was so fun, we visited almost all of our comps and mission presidents. A blast). I wish I could find a picture of our time together but I can’t. Maybe Julia has some that I can get. At the end of January I visited my sister Megan for a week at Stanford. It was a lot of fun to be a part of their amazing family for a week. Their girls are the cutest things in the world.
I also had tons of fun with my roommates Megan and Camille. In addition, I was a full time student until the end of March taking 2 classes for most of that time period so I could finish quickly. In May I gratefully graduated! I am now a masters of business- yeah!
Before graduating I experienced another highlight of the year. In April Megan, Sarah, Hiedi, Camille and myself all went to Hawaii again. It was a magical trip. I was there for 2 solid weeks and was the best. I could be there forever. I love it so much. I love everything about it except the plane flight over! This time we did everything- of course the beach everyday, went to the PCC twice, Pearl Harbor, and even saw the lei’s being made in Chinatown. I am planning a return trip in 2009. I just love it so much!
Once we got home from Hawaii and graduation came things jumped into high gear. In May my dad approached me with an idea to start a vacation rental business with these rentals that he had in the Suncrest community of Draper. I didn’t know if it was for me but I wasn’t getting anything else, so I figured- why not? In the end, I decided to start my own business Catalyst Events and Marketing with the crux of the business being the marketing and upkeep of the vacation rentals. For all intensive purposes I am a property manager where I handle the online marketing, the reservations process, maintenance, check in’s and check out’s etc. I didnt’ know what to expect going into it but have enjoyed it. Sometimes it can be stressful when we are getting a home ready for occupancy but every job has moments like that. On a whole I love it and I have especially enjoyed working with my Dad and Uncle Jim. I think we have all grown closer from the experience. I think most of all I enjoy the autonomy of the job. I have a lot of control over my schedule and I do a variety of things. It’s a job that uses all of my skillsets- my website design, marketing, salesmanship, organization and even my manual labor skills on occasion.
In addition to the vacation rentals I have also been working for GPG (Grabber Performance Group) as the leader of the West Warm Team. We go to events around Utah and give out free hand warmers and promote the product. I hope to be doing more of these types of events as the Winter months come up.
Finally, I am trying to add some events to my job but this takes time. It may be several years before I get that part of my business up and running. In the meantime, I am doing what I can every couple of months to build up my portfolio. If anyone is willing to take a chance on me, I will work for cheap!
Most of the summer I was involved with getting this company up and running (and getting all of the houses ready!). We didn’t know what to expect with the rentals but we have been almost fully booked since we opened in June. We have had over 50 groups with amazing variety and sizes! Check out our website for photos of al of the homes including our new house- The Sammy.www.jbjane.com.
During the summer I also made the change of moving into my new apartment. It was a hard step for me because I loved my roommates, Megan and Camille, and I was nervous about living alone for the first time. My apartment has only one bedroom but it is perfect for me. It has been a lot of fun putting up my artwork and photos. I really have made it my home and hope that I don’t have to move for some time. I just love it. I have missed living with someone in certain ways but on other ways I have loved living alone. I am lucky that I have a great and loyal group of girlfriends that never allow me to feel that lonely. It was just the right time for me to get my own place.
Another experience in the summer was the family reunion in July. The Wagner family does a family reunion every other year and this year we did a short cruise to Ensenada and Catalina Island. It was my first cruise and it was a lot of fun. We also got to go Disneyland with Isabel and Lucy. Plus, I got to see my bestest friend Raelene Bradley in Southern California. I always love spending time with family and long-time friends.
In September I started at a new ward in Draper and that was an interesting experience. It is harder to make friends without roommates but I am doing the best I can and trying to be friendly. Luckily it is nice ward and I have high hopes for the upcoming year. I have been out of town a lot so it has been hard to make friends there yet. It always takes time. In September I also took a trip to Cali and “babysat” my siblings while my parents went to Utah. It was a lot of fun.
In October I was asked to come to Michigan for training on the warm team at GPG. This gave me the amazing opportunity to visit my mission again for the first time in 3 years. It was awesome, if a bit surreal. My mission always feels like a dream- like another lifetime- so going back felt a bit like going back into a dream. Everything was the same but different at the same time. It warmed my heart to see old friends and to know that I did make a difference with the hard work I put into the great Hoosier state
After Indiana I threw myself into work and loved it more than I can say. With my job and my apartment it seems that I have come full circle in my life. I still have room to grow but I feel I am the person I want to be, that I am living the life I am meant to live- that Heavenly Father is happy with my choices. I am making a difference in the world in my own little way. It feels good.
With October came Halloween and our traditional party. This year I dressed up as a geisha- wig and all. We had a good time and it was nice to see Camille for the holiday.
With all of the travel and work November came quickly and I got to see Megan, Seth and my adorable nieces for Thanksgiving. Even though we had a lot of illness it was still great to see them and spend time together. I am so excited for Anna to come out here to school next year. I miss having my sisters nearby.
December came quickly and I enjoyed setting up my tree and making my apartment festive. Thanks to all who came to my party. It was a lot of fun. We were busy working getting our 4th house opened for tenants on December 23rd. The work was exacerbated by all of the snow. There were moments when I didn’t think I would be able to finish it all but somehow we did! Now we have 4 beautiful homes to rent out and make people’s stay unforgetable. We help people make memories.
As I mentioned a couple of posts ago I ended 2008 with some travel. December 14-18th I visited Julia Graves in Vegas. We had a fun trip even with the snow! Yes, snow in Vegas. They haven’t had snow there in like 30 years! Go figure that it would come for my stay. It was great spending time with Julia, with the highlight going to see Mamma Mia at the Mandalay Bay casino. So great!
Finally, I am sitting at my parent’s home in California. It is always nice to take a break from the world and enjoy my family. They are such a support to me, and I am grateful for all they do for me. I am truly blessed.
When I think back on 2008, I see a year of growth and strength. I started it unsure and confused about my role in the world. For a while I had no job, no apartment, and no relationship (still working on that last one!). Thanks to the support of family and friends I have gained a career that I love, finished my education and found an apartment that feels like home. It was been quite the journey! Along the way, my testimony has grown and become much stronger. I know that Heavenly Father has an active role in my life (at least he does if I let him). My existence is important and while He might test my faith from time-to-time He never forgets about me. My life matters and if I have faith in Him, I can do amazing things.
I know that the Lord loves me. I know that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for me. He is there for me in my lonely, confused hours. He never forgets, never abandones, never leaves without answers. His plan is real, His church is true and I know that while my life may not be perfect, it is guided by His light each day. I am so grateful for that knowledge and for a year where that testimony has become solid as it never was before. It was a year never to be forgotten. Thank you all for being a part of it. God bless and have a great 2009!
So my many friends I am vacationing in good old California. The story is a great one. On Tuesday I was feeling a little depressed because I wanted to see my new niece. I just wanted to be there. I was telling this to my dad and he surprised me by saying- “Well, why don’t you drive home with me and the boy scouts?.” The reason I was surprised by this suggestion was he had been opposed to such a plan weeks before because it meant my being absent from the vacation rentals for over a week. In the end I was able to turn the properties over to my uncle Jim (thank you Jim!) and after a long drive I am now in Palo Alto visiting with my niece. She’s so cute! All 3 of these girls are so adorable- each with their own distinctive and charming personalities. Isabel is in the era where she wants to hear stories over and over again. Yesterday I read her 3 stories from Brambley Hedge and I did all of the voices for the little mice and we enjoyed our time together.
Lucy is charming and has the funniest voice. It’s gravely and low in a way I have never heard in a little girl. She has a great smile, which combined with the voice can’t help but make you smile. Than there is the new little one Nelle that is sweetness personified. I read the other day that they studied the effects of babies on young mothers and that the endorphins released from holding a newborn are some of the same that come from exercising or other happy activities. (of course, they might also come from all of the work that goes into them but still- who could be uncheered by a newborn!). Here is the article if anyone wants to read it: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/5874711.html.
Tonight I am going back to spend the weekend with my younger siblings (Wagner generation 2 as I like to call them). It should be fun and I am particularly looking forward to lots of swimming- ahhh! Then tomorrow we might go and see Mamma Mia (which by the way I say poo poo to the bad reviews. I am seeing it anyway. One of the reviews said if you like chick flicks and show tunes you will like it- boy that doesn’t sound like me does it!). I am very excited about it. There are like 400 movies I want to see right now but Mamma Mia is the one I am most eagerly anticipating. I will let you know what I think.
Next week we are going on a Wagner family cruise to Catalina Island and Ensnada. I have never been there before and I am looking forward to 3 days of swimming, laying out in the sun, reading and spending time with family. (I know my life sounds so hard right now hah!). After the cruise I am spending one day in Disneyland with the fam and then am meeting up with my favorite college chum Raelene for a day at the beach (where I will finally get to see her baby! Yeah!).
So, in conclusion life is good. Life is great on vacation….