Wednesday, May 11, 2016

New blog.

For those of you who don't have Facebook or Instagram, I thought I would post this information here. I have a new blog! Blogging is something that I have always loved doing, so I thought it was time that I put a little more stock into the appearance and namesake of the blog. The new blog can be found here. Brandon came up with the name, Freckle Eye Fancy. I follow a blog titled Barefoot Blonde, so he took a similar idea and applied to it to me, because of the freckles in my eyes. It's laughable though, because I'm definitely the opposite of fancy.

Anyway, the blog will be the same as this one, just with more posts about more things, and it looks prettier too! For family that gets emails every time I post, there is a spot on the homepage where you can subscribe for updates, so it will send you an email every time I post something!

Be sure to check it out so you don't miss anything!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

An ode to my first novel.

I started writing this novel on April 17, 2015. I only know that because I just looked, I wanted to know how long I have been working on this dang thing. It was slow going in the beginning, because it was nearing the end of the school year, and I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do with it. Like, I wanted to write the book, but how? How does someone just sit down and pound out 100,000 words, coherent words, and string them together to make sentences and chapters? That's not even possible!!!

Then in the summer, I kind of hit my stride. I was spending eight hours a day in a classroom, basically just sitting there, so I used the time to write. And when I say write, I mean physically writing. I have an entire notebook full from all the things I wrote last summer just sitting in my nightstand, waiting to either be burned, or put up in a museum. (side note: carrying a notebook with Taylor Swift's on it around a high school does not make you feel as cool as you probably think it should). And then, of course, school started again, and then we got busy and then the move...just a lot of things that were more important than writing. So for a long time it just seemed like a never-ending project.

But I finished it today.

I know it needs to be edited and read by other people and re-edited and maybe it won't go anywhere. But I freaking wrote a book. I feel like for a person to write a book, they have a ton of feelings and words to put on paper, and I thought I had a lot of both those things, but think about people who write more than even five or ten books! That's so crazy! And so time-consuming and imagination consuming...I guess I have a lot more respect for the process now that I have finished mine.

Anyway. I wanted to get all these thoughts out, because writing this book has been sort of therapeutic for me. There were days that it left me feeling sad and drained, and there were days that I was elated after spending hours on a certain scene. I keep telling people that I couldn't wait to finish it, because all I wanted to do was print it off and burn it. And now it's done and I am thoroughly looking forward to roasting a marshmallow over the pages.

I'm not going to say what it's about, you can find out if it ever gets published, but I don't even care about that. When I was little, it was always a goal of mine to write a book, and now I can say that I did it. It took me just over a year, but it's done.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Grand Adventure.

I had to write this post a day in advance so that I could compose my thoughts well enough that any single person who is not me can actually understand what I am saying. And rereading it this morning, I see that I didn't do a very good job haha. Here's the thing: I'm pregnant and my brain has turned to mush. Literal mush. Sometimes I feel like I'm lucky to be able to string together five cohesive words in a day.

Let's start with the whole "I'm pregnant" thing: I'M FREAKING PREGNANT! We had been trying for a while, and things just weren't working out, so we kind of just assumed it wasn't in the cards at this point. Then we moved to Utah and I drank the water, and if you've ever been to Utah you know what the water does to the women around here. It feels like literally everyone is pregnant. Just in the past three weeks I can think of at least five people who have announced their pregnancy on Facebook. But how fun will that be for our little nugget?! So many potential friends for them! A few details:

1. As of today we are thirteen weeks along. We decided to wait until now, just because of the whole risk thing, but I am honestly surprised that I haven't badgered Brandon more about telling everyone early. He was the first one to know, and then I told a few of my friends, then after what seemed like a million years we finally told our families, but I am happy for word to finally be out. Not that it makes a difference that the whole world knows, but it will be nice for it to not be a secret anymore.

2. We are due November 2nd which seems like a couple thousand years away at this point, but I know it will go quickly. We are mostly just ready to start buying stuff and start prepping, but even now feels a little early.

3. Food cravings/aversions are weird and I sort of hate them. I love eating, so I hate not knowing what to eat/feeling like I don't actually want to eat anything.

So far, I feel like I have been pretty lucky when it comes to symptoms. I haven't been sick at all, just nauseous, so that is a huge blessing. I have mostly just been super tired, and keep waiting for that stage to go away, but then I remember that I'm going to be tired for the rest of my life, so I just keep chugging along!

Sometimes it still doesn't feel real, and I feel like I'm just this big hypochondriac that is making up all these ill symptoms, but then I see the ultrasound posted on the fridge and remember that the tiny thing is inside me all the time. It's the weirdest, coolest thing I think I will ever experience. Which is actually what I think I said about the catacombs in Paris too, but being pregnant definitely wins. We can't wait to meet our little nugget!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Family Vacay.

I'm not quite sure how I overlooked this, but somehow I never blogged about our short vacation in California with my family. My spring break was a measly Thursday-Sunday, and we were originally planning to go to Boise to visit the fam, but easily changed our plans (because California, duh) when they invited us to join them the last half of their spring break in Anaheim. We flew in late Wednesday night after our flight had been delayed, which is seemingly becoming the norm for us and I don't like it. Anyway. The whole family-parents, brothers, grandma, and girlfriends-all piled in the expedition and met us at LAX. My favorite thing was the cargo carrier they had attached to the back of the car; it just made me think of all those family vacation movies, where there's just too many people and suitcase and not enough space. I could not stop laughing. I probably was mostly delirious from flying so late.

That first night was my mom's birthday, and the next day was my grandma's birthday! She had wanted to go to Disneyland, so we all woke up bright and early to make it to the happiest place on earth! The park was pretty busy, considering it was probably most of the country's spring break, but we didn't have to wait in line for anything longer than 45 minutes. We rode all the best rides, ate all the necessary foods (dole whips, Mickey pretzels, and Mickey ice cream bars) and had some good old-fashioned family fun. My parents even treated us all to lunch at The Blue Bayou inside of Pirates,  and it was amazing. I had this sandwich that came with three different sweet sauces to dip it in...I still dream about it all the time. It had been a while since we had done Disney with my family, so I was happy that we were able to go and have a magical day.

The next day was Adrian's birthday! My baby bro is eighteen now...weird. He wanted to spend his special day at Six Flags, so the adventurous group (everyone besides mom and grandma) went and rode rides, ate more great park food, and spent time in the warm sunny weather. That night, per Adrian's request, we had Panda Express for dinner and watched Modern Family in the hotel room while we ate.

The morning after, my family got on the road early to make half the drive back to Boise. It was a quick trip with them, but we were happy to have some time with them! Our flight didn't leave LA until five that night, so Brandon and I spent most of the day shopping and eating at Downtown Disney. We bought our traditional Mickey caramel apple, and spent hours searching for a puzzle we had seen in the park, but so stupidly waited to buy until our time in Downtown Disney. We never did find the puzzle, but we did get sunburned from spending so much time just hanging out outside.

I wish we lived closer to Disney, we would totally get annual passes and go all the time. We are going back over Memorial Weekend with our friends, and this time are doing California Adventure, and also Wizarding World! Now that Wizarding World is open in California, maybe we'll splurge and get annual passes to both anyway. We'll see what happens.

Monday, April 11, 2016

six years later.

Today is the anniversary of something randomly wonderful for me, something that I feel like needs a blog post dedicated to it. I can't even write this post without getting sentimental and making the whole experience seem like a bigger deal than it probably is to most people, so sorry in advance for making it sound like the most magical thing in the world.

Six years ago today I had my first day of work at the movie theater. It was meant to be just a second summer job, something else to occupy my time in addition to my library shifts and help me earn extra money to put toward a new car. By the end of my first shift, I could tell that not only was it going to be a super fun second job, but also that it was probably going to change my life somehow.

It was so much fun working with as many people as I did, and meeting a whole new group of people my own age. I made a lot of friends quickly, and developed a strong friend base that I hung out with the good majority of that summer and fall. The job allowed me to develop a life  outside of campus life, and start fresh with new people, which allowed me to be myself and not feel like I didn't live up to the standard of "good enough" which is how I felt during the school year. I fit right in at the theater, and being myself was good enough.

The environment at the theater was loud and crazy compared to the nice quiet that I had at the library every day, and I loved it. We were a well-oiled machine that got to hang out with friends (each other) in between sets, and have free popcorn and soda as often as we wanted. And free movies was a perk too. I went to movies all the time with my new friends, and felt so at home. It was like a tiny piece of my heart had been saved for me there, and I got it back when I started the job.

That summer at the movie theater led to some of the worst, and the best times of my life. It was supposed to be a four-month job, but I ended up being there for sixteen months. Without the theater, I wouldn't have figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I probably would still be struggling through a Spanish Ed. degree, hating life. Without the theater, I wouldn't have met Brandon, and I don't even need to go in detail about what a wonderful thing that is.

To sum it up, I just am really grateful for the start of a super important time in my life. I think back on those days a lot, and I honestly am not sure where I would be without them.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


There comes a point in every woman's life when she starts denying her true age. I think I've been there for about three years now, but I'm seriously freaking out about turning 25 tomorrow. Just last week I was mistaken for being in high school! I don't want to be that young again, but 25 just sounds like a defining point in life. Like, by the time you are a quarter of a century old, you probably should have life figured out and have your crap together. And I definitely don't. I have been watching this show Younger, and on there the girls are 26 and have actual careers. And on the Bachelor (because reality tv is the best thing to compare your life to) the women are generally 24-26, but they look their age and seem well put together, and mostly I'm just wondering when all that is going to happen for me. At what age am I going to feel like "yes, I am this age. I feel confident enough to tell people that I am this age and feel that my life accomplishments are equal to my number of years of being on this earth."

When I did my internship at Sky View, I remember thinking that all the high school girls were so put together and confident. How the heck did I miss that stage in high school? I feel like I have grown into that just within the last few years, but it is still something I am working on every day. If people can master that at the age of 17, I should have it down by now too, right? I guess that's where the real struggle with my age comes in-I just feel a few years behind. Pretty soon I'll be thirty, and that's like real adult years, and I just don't know that I'm ready for that yet.

In light of year 25 being sort of a big one, I have decided to write down 25 goals. Some of them are small and petty, and some are things that I feel like I am sort of doing already, but putting things in writing always makes them more important, right? So here we go.

  1. Finish my book-I have been working on this dang thing since April and it's about time I finish it. I am in the preliminary editing stages now and am just over a third of the way through. It's strange to think that soon I will be done, and handing it off to other eyes for editing. On that note...
  2. Stop being so hypercritical of my work. Whether it is with my writing, craft projects, decorations in our house, anything, I constantly feel like anything I create is not good enough for other people to see. I need to start recognizing when I have done a good job and just let that be enough.
  3. Be excited for other people. I already love getting excited for other people and their exciting decisions in life, but I recently read a blog post by a girlfriend of mine (read it here) and have gotten really into the idea of "squad." Just having each other's backs and being supportive of people even if their decisions are different than your own. The beauty of life is that we can all be individuals and still support each other.
  4. Travel more
  5. Exercise more-and I don't mean like go to the gym every day, but get fit in my own way. Dancing, running, simply getting out and doing things instead of sitting on my butt in front of the couch with some Ben & Jerry's in hand. Although there will be plenty of days for that too.
  6. Don't be so quick to say no.
  7. Don't be so quick to write myself off.
  8. Be up for adventures.
  9. Stop stressing about the little things.
  10. Know my strengths.
  11. Take more pictures.
  12. Ignore the haters.
  13. Go to more concerts.
  14. Maintain strong relationships with my family even though we live in different cities now.
  15. Let the positive things people say about/to me affect me more than the negative.
  16. Allow time/room for myself in my own life. I have a tendency to put other people's needs above my own, which is a good thing, but I need to allow myself to do things too!
  17. Make decisions when it is important to do so.
  18. Try new things. But when I say things I mostly mean food.
  19. Cook more and try new recipes.
  20. Cook more big meals on the weekends with Brandon. Cooking is one of our favorite things to do together, and we definitely don't do it enough.
  21. Laugh more.
  22. Stop being defensive before I need to be.
  23. Continue learning French.
  24. Read more.
  25. Surround myself with people who allow me to be myself and don't make me feel insecure. And also stop allowing other people to make me feel insecure.
I don't know that I have a good feeling about year 25, but I haven't had any bad years so far, so bring it on world. Teach me new lessons and continue to mold me into the adult that I someday may be. Here's to getting old(er).

Thursday, February 11, 2016

sojo and hocho.

I have officially lived in Utah (again) for eleven days now, and in my time here I have learned/relearned a few things:

  • Utah is freaking cold. At least this part of it is. Everyone always said that Salt Lake and Boise were similar temperature-wise and I believed them but they lied!! It snowed for like four days straight last week and just overall has been very cold. A lady I work with told me that this is normal for Salt Lake, but they haven't had a "normal" winter in like ten years, so maybe this is just a fluke. Who knows.
  • I can drive as fast as I want to work and will literally never get pulled over because there will always be someone driving faster than me.
  • It's nice to live by friends.
  • The mountains are so big and beautiful!! I don't feel quite as caged in by the mountains in Salt Lake as I did in Logan, so I'm very happy with them.
  • If you are ever feeling homesick, go to Walmart. They are all mostly the same, so you can walk around and forget where you are while you are buying your self-pity pint of Ben & Jerry's. Side note: the walmart by my work puts the ice cream at the back of the store. What kind of sick joke is that? It's already bad enough that I'm going through self check out with literally only two pints of ice cream in hand, but to make me do the walk of shame all the way back to the freezer section and then back up to the front of the store?? Talk about kicking a lady while she's down. Geez.
Those are just some random things. Really though, our time here has been good so far. We have been living with Brandon's uncle, and have hopefully not been too much of an imposition. He has a mini schnauzer, and we have our two cats, so it's basically just hilarious to watch them interact. Brandon and I have stayed busy with our free time too, trying to make the time pass quickly so we can get to move-in day! We have seen three movies, spent our two Mondays watching The Bachelor (he's so good to me but Kayla I miss you!!), went to the Ice Castles in Midway, watched the Super Bowl with friends, have eaten out far too much, and sometimes we just drive to explore our new area. Where we live, and also where our new house is, is called South Jordan, or SoJo, if you are hip. I have never actually heard anyone call it that, but there is a SoJo Dental down the street from our house, and I think it's funny. 

Our house is about five minutes away from where we are staying now, so all the places we have been frequenting (Costa, Walmart, movie theater) will all still be our regular places once we move. The Walmart and Costa are about three minutes away from our house, and then there is a big shopping/dining/entertainment complex about seven minutes away, so everything is very close. It's a bit different than where our house in Boise was at in relation to everything! It takes me ten minutes to get to work, and about thirty five minutes for Brandon, which isn't terrible considering how far away we are from Salt Lake and also morning traffic. We could have lived closer, but when we came to explore the area we sort of just fell in love with South Jordan, and my job gave us the excuse to live here, so it all worked out!

My job is going well-I work with lots of great people (people my own age!) and I like what I do. I haven't worked directly with students with disabilities before, so this is different for me, but they are super fun. I definitely miss Lewis and Clark though. I miss what I did, the staff, and the students for sure. I'm still adjusting to this new position, but they love me, so I guess I'm doing something right.

Brandon starts a ten-day training session on Monday, and then after that he will be able to start doing some real work. He has been job-shadowing up until now, and I know he is excited to delve into it!

We sign our closing documents this afternoon and are more than ready to get the keys and move all our stuff in. Everyone is welcome to come help us move, and also to come stay with us anytime!

Friday, January 29, 2016

the waterproof mascara days

If you know me well, you know that I can cry at the drop of a hat. Happy movie, boom. Tears. Something sad happens in life, more tears. Someone gives me a cookie, floodgates open. Okay, I'm exaggerating on that last one, but you get the gist of it. When Brandon came home last weekend to help me pack up the house a bit, I knew that it was the start of an emotional nine days. Once we started taking the decorations off the wall, the house didn't quite feel like home anymore. I started crying, and I'm pretty sure I haven't stopped since. And thus the waterproof mascara days were born.

It has been relatively easy to not be sad about the whole move, because I just don't think about it and then I'm fine. And luckily, I have been busy enough with packing and running errands and social events that there hasn't been much time to think about it. But I'm starting to let myself think about it more and more, and I feel like I can justify being sad because I have been really good about keeping it together. But it sucks, I can't lie. And for some reason, during all these social things I have been doing, I find myself (multiple times) breathing in the reality that it's probably one of the last times I will be doing that specific thing. It's a bittersweet feeling, because I sit there smiling, realizing how lucky I am to have these people in my life, and then I just start crying because I don't want to leave them.

The whole process has been like slowly ripping off a Band-Aid. We found out six weeks ago that we would be moving, so I've had six weeks to slowly, very slowly, say goodbye to our life here. Even though Brandon had to leave earlier than I did, I envy the fact that he just got to leave. We had his last day of work, we packed him up, and then left the next day for Salt Lake. I have been saying goodbye to my coworkers, my family, and the house for a long time now, and I am honestly just ready for it to be over. I'm ready for one last, big cry, so that I can just start the grieving process and let the feeling of missing people slowly start to fade.

A few things.
-Last week a friend at work sent out an invite to the entire staff for a going away mourning/celebration on my behalf. So many people showed up, and it was one of those times that I just kept thinking about how lucky I was, and how much I am going to miss all my co-workers. They have taught me so much, and have helped shaped me into the "professional" (if I can even call myself that-because also I spelled professional wrong the first time I typed it) that I am in the school system.

-I said goodbye to two of my coworkers yesterday, and it was terrible. One just kept telling me not to cry, which almost made it worse, except he's a big, scary cop so I decided to listen to him.

-I finally got a girlfriend in Boise for a little bit, and said goodbye to her and her husband last night too. We had bachelor nights for the last few weeks, and are already planning to Skype as we watch it through the rest of the season.

Today is my last day working at Lewis and Clark, and I am so sincerely sad. The people here are some of the kindest, funniest, hardest working people I know, and I am so lucky to have had the chance to work with them. I can only hope that the next chapter of my life provides me with people who are as wonderful as the ones here.

Monday, January 11, 2016

On 2016 and moving to Utah

This post is two-fold: a combination of my goal(s) for this year and my thoughts on this new phase of our lives. Bear with me, as this post is probably going to get deep, and a lot little emotional.

We hadn't planned to go down to Salt Lake this last weekend (together, that is. Brandon was planning to move down on Sunday) until halfway through the week. On Wednesday last week I got a call about a job interview on Friday. On Thursday, the day we were leaving to drive down, they called and scheduled my interview earlier in the day. Then later, I got a call about another interview just a little after the original time of my first interview-it wouldn't have worked out had the first interview not been moved. Talk about good timing. So we drove down Thursday night, made it barely before the snow, and woke up early the next morning for my interviews. Brandon was the sweetest guy and drove me all around and hung out in the car while I was inside. The first interview was at 8:00, the second at 10:30, and then we had an appointment with a realtor at 12:30. We got a little lost, and at 12:30, we weren't at the meeting spot, but the phone rang, and I was offered a job at the first place I interviewed at (more on that later). I literally started crying when I hung up the phone because everything just seems to be falling into place with this whole move.

Brandon had applied for more than 300 jobs in Boise since the time we moved here, and was offered two of them. He applied for just one in Salt Lake, and it was offered to him. We put our house up for sale after only living in it for seven months, and it sold within a week. I interviewed for three jobs, and got the one I was most excited about. And the job is in the area we liked the most (even though it wasn't the most logical choice for Brandon's commute), so that allowed us to look for a house in an area we loved. We house hunted all day Friday and Saturday and were feeling so defeated, like nothing was going to work out. The very last home we saw was one we had forgotten about, even though when we originally looked at the listing, we were SO excited. Like, I texted Brandon in all caps and multiple exclamation points when I saw it for the first time. And it did not disappoint. We have a tendency when apartment/house hunting to sit down in the place we feel most comfortable. After twenty minutes of us sitting on the floor, I pointed this out to Brandon, and we went and put an offer on the home.

People keep asking how I am doing with this whole thing, and my answer is typically "if I don't think about it, then I'm fine." And that is true for the most part. When I start thinking about things, like how I won't get to hang out with my family whenever I want, and how much I am going to miss them, and our cute little house, and all the people I work with, I get sad. And then I cry. My goal this move is to shed as few tears as possible. I hate change. I love trying new things, but I hate situational changes. I don't cope well with them. I'm not sure where the issue spawned from, but every time a major change happens, I feel like I'm going to lose something. For example, every single time Brandon and I have moved, I feel like he won't be moving with me, like we won't be married anymore. I know it is a crazy thought to have, but it happens every time. When we were moving out of our first apartment, I cried every time I packed up a picture of us. This time, though, even though I'm saying I'm just not thinking about it, I mostly just feel a weird sense of calmness. Like something is telling me that it's not going to be easy, but that it's going to be okay.

I lived in Utah (Logan) for four and a half years before moving back to Boise, and for probably three and a half of those years I was severely depressed. It's not something I talk about a lot, because I hate to think about it, but it influenced my life in a lot of ways, both good and bad. My biggest hesitation with ever even considering moving to Salt Lake was that it would end up being very similar to my time in Logan (I was nervous about the negatives, obviously, not the positives). I think a lot of people were quick to jump on my back about not wanting to move back to Utah, because being from Utah or having lived so many years there, they loved it and couldn't see why someone wouldn't want to live there. No one needs to know every tiny detail of what made up the dark years, but I can tell you that it's hard to imagine living in a place that sucked every desire of being alive straight from my body.

People will say "good things happened too, focus on the good things!" Trust me, I've tried. I recognize the good things, I really do, but a mind molded by depression doesn't always work that way.

Luckily, Brandon's interview process was a long one, and that gave me plenty of time to come to terms with the fact that this was probably going to happen, and also to flip my attitude from nervousness about the move to excitement for Brandon. And I'm slowly getting to excitement for myself. The job opportunity itself is too great to turn down, but this is going to be a fun new chapter of our lives together, too. We will be in a new place with friends, finally, and I am so excited about it. I have felt a lot of peace knowing that on the hardest days I will have at least two friends I can turn to, two friends that helped me through the hardest days and that I know will love me unconditionally no matter what I feel.

I'm feeling extremely blessed to not be feeling the anxiety I thought I would experience. Like I said before, something is just telling me that it may not be easy, but that I'm going to be okay.
On our drive to the airport yesterday, I decided I wanted to make a sort of New Years resolution for 2016, but specifically for the move. I'm feeling all sorts of good about it right now, but I know there will be days where I miss every single thing about Boise and just want to lie down and be miserable. So my resolution/statement for the upcoming change is this: embrace the new with optimism. or at least try.
I was thinking about all the fun things we will get to do-Real games, hiking, Jazz games, Park City whenever we want, exploring different areas of Utah, and being closer to places we weren't able to go as often as we wanted as students-and I was thinking about how much I want to love all those things as much as my friends do. I formed my resolution knowing that sometimes, I won't want to enjoy Utah, because I'm stubborn and I hate change, but I at least have to try. A long time ago my dad went through some training thing at work and their mantra was "act enthusiastic and you'll be enthusiastic." It even came with a fun little dance to do while you said it. Brandon, if you read this, force me to do the stupid dance whenever I'm being stubborn.

I don't feel like I'm setting myself up for negativity every day. I actually am really excited for our new jobs, our new house, to be by friends, and for all the things we get to do (I am compiling a list already). But I'm writing this post now to remind myself that on those rare days when I'm not excited, it's okay to just try and be optimistic. Because leaving things behind is hard, and it's okay to be sad, but it's not okay to give up and write off all the opportunities that are placed in front of me.

All that being said, this move is not just about me, and I hope no one thinks that I think that just through reading this (here, on this blog where I write, and even though it is titled B&C, we all know that I'm the only one that writes and the opinions on here are solely my own). I am super excited for Brandon, who started his new position just a few hours ago. This job will allow so much room for him to grow, and hopefully it will challenge him on a daily basis. And I appreciate that throughout the interview process, he dissected the aspects of the job and the prospect of moving to make sure that it would be good for both of us and our marriage as a collective whole, and not just for his professional life. And I also appreciate that every time I cry about missing my family, he apologizes unnecessarily (and incessantly) and says that he is willing to drive or fly me back every weekend if that's what I want. He's the best husband, and I wouldn't trade him for anything.

If you are reading this last sentence, congratulations! You have officially made it through the most emotional post I've ever written. Also, sorry. Because sometimes emotional is not fun. But thanks for letting me have this little corner of the internet to shout my thoughts into. It's therapeutic.

And finally, I am constructing a Utah bucket list. If anyone has anything they think should be on the list, let me know!

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Paris was an absolute dream! We ate so much delicious food, saw everything we could for the time we were there, and are already making plans dreaming of going back! I'm going to try not to write a novel about this trip, because I know I could, so forgive me if I write too much! If you don't want to read the entire thing, here is a shortened version:

Got to Paris a day late, ate lots of food, saw lots of things, took way too many pictures of the Eiffel Tower.

Trip stats:
Weather-great, low fifties, only rained when we were inside
Favorite part of Paris-the architecture
Favorite part of the trip-wandering Paris at night and in the morning before the city woke up
Favorite food-almond croissant and all the eclairs
How was the language-great, basically everyone spoke English, and I knew how to say bonjour, merci, and chocolat. So, the important things.
Was is safe-very! policemen everywhere

If you want more info, you will have to continue reading!

Saturday, Day 1.
The day after Christmas we slept in, ran to the store to get last minute things, finished packing, and then waited. I swear, it was like Christmas all over again, waiting to leave for the airport. Finally at 12:30, my parents picked us up to take us to the airport. We were afraid it would be busy, so we wanted to get there with plenty of time to check out suitcase and get our boarding passes. Flash forward to 1:10-we are through security and waiting at the gate. So we overestimated the number of people we thought would be there. We grabbed some lunch about thirty minutes before we were supposed to board, then got notice that our flight to Salt Lake had been delayed about thirty minutes. No big deal. Thirty minutes later, and our flight had been pushed back from 3:30 to 4:30. Our flight from Salt Lake to Paris was supposed to leave at 5:10, so at that point, we had would have missed our connection. Brandon got on the phone with Delta and reserved us two spots for a red-eye from SLC to JFK. Come 4:00, the flight had been delayed again, but this time they weren't sure when we would leave. We debated renting a car and driving down to Salt Lake to make that connection to JFK, but decided to wait and see if our flight ended up going out later.
It didn't.
Eventually, the flight was cancelled and we were put on standby for a 6:00 flight from Boise to Salt Lake, which would have still allowed us to make that connection to JFK. We made friends with a gentleman who lives in New York, and we got really excited about the idea of having a ten hour layover in the city. Not surprisingly, we didn't get on the 6:00 flight. So they put us on a flight out of Boise at 5:30 the next morning, and we left to go pick up our suitcase and go home to sleep. When we got to the Delta luggage claim, we were informed that our luggage had left with the 6:00 flight, and would go to JFK and then to Paris. It wasn't a big deal, because it was one less thing that we had to take home and bring back in just eleven short hours.

Sunday, Day 2.
3:30 Sunday morning, we are back at the airport after a short night's rest at home with the kitties. I was happy that our cancelled flight at least happened in Boise where we could go home to our own bed! Some lady in line at the ticket counter told me I was pretty-I told Brandon I thought she was on drugs because no one is pretty at 3:30 in the morning. We got our new boarding passes and got through security and made it onto the plane with no issues!! This flight took us to Minneapolis, where we had an eight hour layover. Once we got there, we left our carry-ons in a locker at the airport and took the subway to the Mall of America! It's huge! There is are roller coasters, a movie theater, restaurants, mini gold, and tons of shops. Like, multiple Game Stops and Victoria's Secrets, that's how big it is. It was a great way to get us out of the airport for a few hours. We walked around for about three hours, then went back to the airport to replan our days in Paris, since we were short a day now. The gate we were at had nice booths to sit in, so it didn't really feel like we were just sitting at the airport, which was nice. Finally, we boarded our flight to Paris! It was a long eight hours, and neither of us really slept, but we watched Midnight in Paris and got so excited for everything we were about to see!

Monday, Day 3.
After years on the airplane, we finally landed in Paris! We waited in line at customs for just over an hour, then went to the luggage counter to get our suitcase that should have arrived just three hours before us. Apparently, checked luggage is not allowed in the country until it's owners are there, so our luggage was still at JFK. Thankfully, we had packed almost everything in the two carry-ons we had with us, and the only things in the checked bag were our scarves, extra jackets, facewash, and my conditioner. They took down our contact info and said they would send the luggage as soon as it arrived!
We had a shuttle scheduled to pick us up the day before, so we had to find someone to call the shuttle service for us. We learned very quickly that most everyone in Paris spoke English (at least the people at the airport) and also that they were very friendly and eager to help. Our shuttle came to pick us up a short while later, and finally finally we were at the hotel! Hotels in Europe are smaller than they are here, so while the room wasn't overly impressive, the view most definitely was! If we stepped out onto our tiny balcony, we could see the Eiffel Tower!!!

-We hurried and freshened up, then went straight to the Louvre! It was amazingly huge. Because we were short on time, we went through and saw the big things in an hour. We saw the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory. I could have spent weeks in there studying all the art!

After the Louvre, we got some lunch. Brandon had an omlette, and I had a croquet  went to the Pantheon. The Pantheon used to be a church, but now just serves as a sort of homage to those who are buried in its crypts (Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, Descartes, and Louis Braille). The Foucault pendulum swings in the Pantheon, which was an experiment done by Leon Foucault that demonstrates the rotation of the Earth. He hung the pendulum and it started swinging and hasn't stopped!
From there, we went to Notre Dame. We weren't able to go up to the belltower because the workers were on strike, but the cathedral itself was beautiful! While there, we ran into our friends Alyssa and Jake! It was great, because they didn't have easy wi-fi access like we did (we rented a hotspot for the week) so who knows if we would have been able to contact them! After catching up on the travel events, we walked over to Shakespeare and Company, where I bought a tiny book of Shakespeare's sonnets. Fitting, right? Afterward we went to Point Zero, the very center of Paris from which everything is measured. It is just a piece of metal in the ground, but still. Then we went to the 58th floor of the Montparnasse Tower and got a beautiful view of Paris lit up at night. While we were up there, we saw the Eiffel Tower glimmer for the first time! It was great! We found a cute little creperie down the street from Montparnasse and ducked in for some warmth and yummy food! I made a rule that we had to have at least one crepe and one dessert every day, and the crepe could not count as the dessert! It was the best rule I have ever made. Then we walked to the Eiffel Tower to see it lit up in the dark. It was beautiful! After a long 36 hours of traveling, we went back to the hotel and got a good nights rest!

Tuesday, Day 4.
We woke up bright and early to maximize our time in Paris! We went to Jake and Alyssa's hotel for breakfast, then stopped for an éclair before heading to Versailles. We waited in line outside the palace for about an hour and a half, but there was so much palace to look at just from our spot outside that it didn't get old even for a second! Versailles is grand, that is the best word I can use to describe it. Everything is huge and ornate-gold plated, painted, covered in drapes...I can't even describe it well enough to do it justice. The palace itself was amazing, but I still can't get over how expansive the grounds were! They cover almost 2,000 acres! The crazy thing is, that part of the grounds are just open to the public, so there was a guy canoeing on the water, people riding bikes through...and that is just life for them. It's just no big deal. It was the coolest place I have been in my whole life.
The line to buy subway tickets back to Versailles was incredibly long at the end of the day, so we wandered the streets and found a patisserie (got another éclair and some macarons!) and then we found a tapas bar. We got some cheese and bread and ate our desserts and it was magical! Also warm. It was chilly for most of the trip, so we layered up, but at this point we still didn't have our luggage with warm clothes, so we did the best we could! When we got back to Paris, we strolled around in the dark. We went to the love lock bridge, which doesn't have locks on it anymore, but there was a little lookout area with tons of locks on it still. We didn't seal our love with a lock, but we kissed there, so that counts, right?
We were hungry after that so we wandered until we found a café that was still open, and I got the most amazing crepe of my entire life (see pictures). It was seriously so good. Then, because it was almost midnight, we walked to St. Etienne, the church where Owen Wilson gets picked up in Midnight in Paris. Jake, Alyssa, and Brandon were troopers to walk through the cold with me just so I could sit on the church steps and wait for the car!!
When we got back to the hotel that night, we were hoping our checked suitcase would have arrived, but it hadn't. It was well past midnight, and I was telling Brandon how badly I wish it would show up, but he said it probably wouldn't because it was so late. Five minutes later, the phone in our room rang, and our suitcase had arrived!!! It was a post-Christmas miracle!

Wednesday, Day 5.
Brandon and I got up early and put on all the warm clothes we could (and I finally got to use all the bathroom products I had packed-yippee!) and headed toward the Eiffel Tower. The street our hotel was on was still fairly quiet, but there was a long line of people waiting to go to the top of the tower. We went all the way up to the very top and it was windy! It was crazy to see Paris from so high up; it just goes on and on forever! It was cool to see all the streets cutting through the buildings that are all relatively the same height. We took lots of pictures from up high. They definitely don't do it justice. We had some beignets and hot chocolate while we were up there, stood on the glass floor, and I think realization finally hit that we were actually in Paris!
After, we met up with Alyssa and Jake and took a river cruise on the Seine! I loved getting a different view of the city, and I will never get over how beautiful the buildings are. We stopped for a bite to eat (I got another croquet monsieur, I couldn't get enough of them!), then Brandon and I went to Saint Chappelle and saw the most beautiful stained glass windows I have ever seen! Each window depicted a different story from the bible. They have been restoring some of the windows; in the pictures you can see that the right side has been cleaned and restored while the left hasn't. Then we went to the Conciergerie, which used to be a prison. This is where Marie Antoinette was held prisoner during the French Revolution. We only got to see a very small portion of the Conciergerie, but it was very interesting!
From there, we went to the Catacombs, but they were full so we went the Arc de Triomphe and climbed up all 284 stairs to the top! The view from the top was neat, but the arch itself is incredible. The tomb of the unknown soldier is there, topped with the eternal flame. It was just a really neat experience.
We went and got pizza before heading to our two-hour bus tour around Paris. At some point, I kept falling asleep every time the guide started speaking French. I felt really bad, but it was the first time I had been warm all day and I was so tired! After the tour, we went straight to the hotel to sleep!

Thursday, Day 6.
Thursday morning was my favorite morning. We woke up while the sun was still rising and walked the quiet streets of Paris to L'orangerie. There was no one out, and the city was just peaceful and beautiful. We were able to go into the museum as soon as it opened and see eight of Monet's Les Nympheas (water lilies). They are beautiful. Totally worth waking up early for and standing in line out in the cold. The floor, walls, and ceilings are white, so the oil paintings stand out as the only color in the room. I could have stayed in there forever.
Brandon and I went to get tickets for the catacombs, but we had to return later, so we got some breakfast treats while we waited for Alyssa and Jake. We had this almond croissant that was amazing! We still think about it every day! Then we went to the Opera Garnier, but had to go back later for our tour, so then we went back to the catacombs and finally were able to go in! The catacombs were the weirdest, coolest thing I have ever seen in my whole life. There are approximately 6 million Parisians buried (I don't know that that is the right word, but whatever) in the catacombs. We went through a very small portion of the 200 miles of bones, but it was nuts to think that the tunnels just go on forever. We learned that before the catacombs had electricity and before they blocked off a majority of the tunnels to the public, one family got stuck down there for three days. There is a black line drawn on the ceiling in some parts that will lead you to the exit, but the family lost the black line and was stuck down there! So scary!!
We went back to the Opera Garnier, and were finally able to take a tour. It was beautiful!! The Phantom of the Opera is based in the opera house, and I can see why! It is beautiful and majestic, but there was almost a haunting feeling to it that makes you wonder what secrets it is holding. This article is really interesting in comparing the events in the novel to facts about the Opera Garnier. I'm obsessed with it. Alyssa and Jake left us for dinner in the Eiffel Tower, so Brandon and I took the subway to the Grand and Petit Palais. We couldn't go inside, but I had wanted to see them, so we went anyway. We then went out to Montmartre, saw the famous steps (didn't walk up them, too tired) and went into Sacre Couer. I know it's not right, but the interior of Sacre Couer sticks out more in my mind than the interior of Notre Dame. There is a dark picture of it amongst all 505 pictures of our trip. We weren't supposed to take a picture, but it was so grand and beautiful that we just had to.
For New Years Eve dinner, we found a little Italian café in Montmartre. One thing that blew my mind about the whole trip, was how pretty much everyone we talked to spoke English. A couple from the Netherlands sat next to us at dinner, and their common language with the waitress was English. I'm grateful that English is my first language, but I wish I knew more!
We went to Champs Elysees to see all the New Year's Eve madness, and ended up just people watching while we ate eclairs. Around 9:30, we took the subway back to our hotel (we thought it would be better to be safe in our hotel, just in case) and watched shows in bed until midnight, when we got up to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle from our balcony. And also we shouted "Bonne annee" from the window. It was great! Definitely a New Years I will never forget.

Friday, Day 7.
We woke up early on Friday to have dinner with Alyssa and Jake, then took the subway to Disneyland! As lame as it sounds, I was most excited for Disneyland out of anything on the entire trip. Disneyland Paris has been on Brandon's bucket list for a while now, so it was fun to cross that off! It is mostly the same as Disneyland in California, just smaller, and their rides are a bit different. We went on Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain: Mission 2, and Indiana Jones et le temple du peril. When we finished off everything we wanted to do in the Disneyland park, we went over to Walt Disney Studios and rode Ratatouille, Rockin' Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and the backlot tour. We went back to Disneyland to do some shopping, had one last croquet monsieur, and got a crepe! We were super tired, and needed to finish packing, so we headed back to the hotel just before the park closed, and tried not to cry at the fact that we had to leave the next day.

Day 8 doesn't really matter. Our flights went well (no delays, no cancellations, and no lost luggage) and we got home all in one piece. I want to go back to Paris already! Every day I crave bread and eclairs and the French music. It was amazing, I recommend it to everyone!

To see a full collection of our photos from the trip, click here. Photos also available on Facebook.