Monday, February 27, 2012

Eat your cookies, or two, for half the guilt. I'm in.

So my roommate Brooklyn had a b-day this weekend and naturally some sort of wild college party was bound to go down on behalf of it! We dropped the big bucks on some hardcore cupcakes, baked away our Sunday and invited boys over to celebrate. Good ol' fashioned G-rated BYU-Idaho style :) 

In regards to such event, I'd like to share with you one of the easiest (and if I do say so, yummiest) cookie recipes ever. Serrrriously.
They are FAST: Baked for 8-10 min at 375 degrees F.
EASY: One cake mix (I like the chocolate fudgy ones) and one low or non-fat vanilla yogurt (I usually use Yoplait, but because I'm a cheap college student, pictured below are the knock-off store brands) and that. is. it. people.
They are CHEAP: Because obviously there's only 2 ingredients and they both cost less than a dolla.
And DELICIOUS: They get crisp on the outside and yummy, fudgy, chewy, gooeyness on the inside. Need I say more?
and they are HEALTHY(ish): ok, I wouldn't consider them totally healthy, but the yogurt is the healthy substitute for the oils and eggs that cake box cookies usually call for.

SO here you have it:

When it comes to the dough consistency, it can go one of two ways and varies with the type of cake mix used, but all are good. I prefer the stickier moist dough, which makes them much softer and chewier.

Feast your eyes (and your bellies), and follow my example by ALWAYS having a cake mix and yogurt on hand for those last minute -I-gotta-get-a-cookie-in-my-mouth-before-my-woman-stomach-eats-itself, or old-lady-at-church-fell-down-the-stairs-and-needs-a-hospital-visitor- scenario's that we all find ourselves in.

These are great. Once I even used white cake mix with food coloring, added marshmallow fondant eyes and made monster cookies for Halloween. They were a hit.

Nuff said.
Make them. 
Tell yourself they are so healthy you can eat twice as much. 
Love me forever.

You WON'T regret it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Calling all prayers! You are SOOO needed.

Life is hard.
It is really really hard.
We are all given different "crosses" to which we must bear, cope with, and battle on a daily basis. 
Sometimes they are all that consume our thoughts, and other times we thank our lucky stars that the ones we bear are not as difficult as others.

There are a lot of things that we as people experience in our purest pleas and lowest lows truly don't think we can handle. We put on a happy face and push through it, because frankly there is nothing else that can be done in regards to it, but that doesn't make it any more less exhausting and discouraging.
I am so blessed, this I know, but likewise I'll be the first to admit that everything going on in my life has not been gumdrops and candy kisses to deal with. Things are so hard, but if there is anything I know, anything that has been reaffirmed to me time and time again, it is that there is NO way I could cope with the loss of a loved one; especially a spouse. I simply could. not. do. it. I'm sure everyone says this, and those who have experienced it first hand thought the same thing, but seriously. I can think of no worse Hell to experience.

If you have a religion: Awesome. 
If you don't, to each his own. 
If you believe in God, any God, and even if you don't, I have a favor.

I really need you to pray for someone. 
It's someone I don't really know that well, but their current situation is hitting me really close to home, partially because they are experiencing my worst nightmare.

There is a woman who attends my church back home in Washington, who is very involved in the young women's organization, and her husband likewise was very involved with the youth and the young men. They are a couple of faith, and love. They have been married for a few years, and have tried and failed to start a family for a while, finally after a few miscarriages, they learned they were pregnant, and were thrilled. I received a call from my mother this week informing me that this sweet young husband committed suicide this week. I ache for this kind and gentle man who was probably overwhelmed with hopelessness. Overwhelmed with the pressure of completing his schooling soon, and the stresses of starting a family. He was a victim to depression, which though overlooked and sometimes underestimated is a serious and very difficult disease that I imagine is invisible, and difficult to comprehend to many who haven't experienced it's weight personally. In speaking to my mom, she said "He was such a good man, He simply couldn't have been in his right state of mind." and this I'm sure to be true. I ache for his position, and the burden of feeling this hopeless for however long he may have felt that led to this sad end. My heart is crushed on behalf of this sweet wife, daughter of God, and soon-to-be mother. I cannot even imagine the kind of torment she is experiencing right now; Her fear when she noticed he was gone. Both of her parents are likewise gone, and being the only active church member in her family, she is distanced from her sisters. This situation is beyond devastating. Having been trying to cope myself with losing the companionship of someone I love dearly, I cannot even begin to imagine the type of tormenting pain, fear, and loneliness she is experiencing. I want so badly to do something, to make everything okay, to win the lottery and set her up financially for life, to fix this emotional distress she is experiencing; it being something I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy, but I am coming up short. 

So this is my plea: remember her in your prayers.

Her name is Lucy Sorensen.
The blogger world is vast, and diverse, full of so many faiths, people, backgrounds, and most importantly compassion.  There is a lot of good to be done.
I'm sure that though this woman's home is probably a place of much sadness this week, It is also a place of reverence where the spirit of love and compassion is close, and the veil between this life and her sweet husband on the other side, is thin.

Suicide is a very troubling issue due to the heartbreak that comes from every angle, and then combined with personal teachings and beliefs regarding the fate of the victim. So to those who have indirectly or directly been affected by suicide, I want to offer this quote as hopefully a source of comfort.

"Obviously, we do not know the full circumstances surrounding every suicide. Only the Lord knows all the details, and he it is who will judge our actions here on earth. When he does judge us, I feel he will take all things into consideration: our genetic and chemical makeup, our mental state, our intellectual capacity, the teachings we have received, the traditions of our fathers, our health, and so forth." -Elder Russel M. Ballard (Via: "Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not") 

Whether we share the same faith our not, there are some beliefs I feel to be universal amongst all followers of Christ. The talk I just quoted came as a comfort to me given this situation, I'd highly recommend reading it.

 Despite all of our complexities and differences, my thoughts are these: Christ atoned for our sins, and we have a very loving Heavenly Father who ultimately will be our judge. He is a just, and kind judge. This I know.
Please send your prayers North, it's greatly appreciated.

Love, Valpal

 (Artist: Liz Lemon Swindle. Aka most amazing painter ever.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I whip my hurr back and forth.

So I received an ever-so-flattering text from my friend Rilee a little while ago just begging me to post about my pony-tails. My pony-tails? Yes. Now I'm no master at the art of beauty or anything, but apparently she is a fan of my versatile pony-tails. I'm a pony-tail addict for two reasons: 
1. They are quick, and keep err-thing outta your face.
2. They are the perfect fix to the ol' "I have no time to shower and gotta run" issue.

SO, in honoring one of my best friends and greatest cheerleader's request, here are my top three pony-tails.
Now, I attempt to try not to look like a greasy lazy slob, so to hide these very attractive qualities in myself, these are the semi-stylish up-do's I rock.

This is the "Curly Pony". Basically I lightly curl my hair with my Chi (straightener) just by wrapping my hair around the chi while slowly pulling it down. 
I swear by that baby. 
If you don't have one, here's what they are:

I lil pricey, but totally worth it!
 Anywho, I spray, spray, spray and scrunch up those curls to give them a little volume, put it all up in a elastic, pull the hair out away from my head in random parts so it's not nice and smooth against my head, and I tighten it high on top of my head, cheerleader style! Bada-bing, bada boom= curly pony tail. You may also notice the little ribbon to top it all off. Bows make everything better! I love them, and I'd highly recommend them. I used to get made fun of when I worked at DQ because I always childishly had a bow in my hair. My mommy tied them for me :)

Next, the "Straight pony". It's pretty self explanatory. Basically, I have straight hair, I spray it was my hair spray, usually flip my hair upside down, spray some more, shake my head around, so the hair is a little messy, throw it up in a pony, tighten high, same ol' thing, and there you go.

Now, the hair spray I use is DI-VINE, because it is:

a. CHEAP! aka: less than 3 dolores.
b. It smells SOOOO good. No joke.
c. It holds the hair really well. This stuff gives me better volume than all that expensive stuff.
 I use the Herbal Essence Hair spray as shown here:

Serrriously. I swear by this stuff.

Lastly, and probably my favorite is the "Crimped pony". Now, I have a little video to show how I crimp my hair with my straightener, because that is also very commonly asked me. The video stalls and is a little slow at first, be patient, you'll get the idea. 

Anyway, I crimp and spray like a mad woman. Scrunch ladies, scrunch! I like this because the curls in themselves make the pony tail imperfect by itself which I love. Also, the key to curling nice shapely curls is that you don't curl the same day you shower. The natural oils in your hair act as hair spray in itself, and it makes you feel a little less like a slob. I also like this because It only takes about 15 minutes to do. Chi straighteners are a beautiful thing.

Before I throw my hair up in the pony tail, it'll look like this:

And here it is when It is thrown up on my head!

And there you have it! The "Crimped Pony".

Now that I feel totally silly for taking, let alone posting that many pictures of myself, there you have it. I actually got a compliment on that crimped pony-tail from a guy at church, so it can't be that bad right?

Hopefully that sums it up for you Rilee, I love you girl!

As for all you other ladies, lazy just got a whole lot nicer.
Try it, and make sure you send me a picture when you do!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

"You're the blood in my veins, you're the smell before rain."

No matter how much you want to, or attempt to, it's impossible to give yourself the silent treatment. You can ignore and insult yourself all you want, but somehow you just can't and won't leave yourself alone. Does that even make sense? I can't escape you either. No matter what you care to think, or what judgements other people create upon their own accord, you are part of me and I can't escape myself.

How is it that when someone is no longer around, suddenly they are everywhere?
What are the chances that some random guy in my living room would pick up the guitar, and strum 5 chords that would pierce my heart. Out of all the songs in the world, he happened to choose to play the first song you ever sang to me. They were pretty impressed I even knew the song "The boy who blocked his own shot" let alone recognized it, from the exile of my room, after just a few chords.

"If it makes you less sad, I will die by your hand
Hope you find out what you are; already know what I am
And if it makes you less sad, we'll start talking again
You can tell me how vile I already know that I am
I'll grow old, start acting my age
It'll be a brand new day in a life that you hate
A crown of gold, a heart that's harder than stone
And it hurts to hold on, but it's missed when it's gone"

You are in the shoes the guy next to me at work was wearing. (was it cramped in there? haha) I fumbled a phone call, lost in my own thoughts. I'd never seen Sperry's before I saw them on you. Now I see them on the guy my roommate went on a date with, they're on the feet of all my co-workers, next thing you know the autistic children I work with will be wearing them too!

I went and saw the movie The Vow. Beautiful. Sad. a little too close to home in a twisted sort of way. I didn't love it, and got pretty good use out of those tissues that I always have in my purse. Just in case ;)
Ladies, I haven't even decided if I'd recommend that movie yet or not, I'll let you know.

You were in my car when I turned it on and the CD in the CD player that automatically played was one that you made for me.

"So take it a day at a time,
They all say I'm doing fine,
The day's not gone, 
There's something left, 
The truth is it still takes away my breath.
The it is gone, again,
so I'll be moving on, again.
And all that I did,
is try to forget,
and all that I've said... It doesn't mean shhhh."

Sometimes you are in my dreams, sometimes my nightmares, it all balances on which way my subconscious wants to portray you. Whether it be the way things were, or the way things are, I've found not even in sleep does refuge lie.
I swear I'm not just some whiney love-struck girl who can't get over a crush. 
It's hard to just forget the man you imagined you'd someday find napping with your baby on his chest. That person who would chase all the monsters away with his words. The man you'd grow old with, who's calm green eyes would never fade with the years.
Those of you who have that already, do you know what I mean?
Does anyone? Or am I really that self-absorbed and crazy?
hmm. I guess time will tell.

Raise your hand if you are tired or hearing all this woe-is-me!
Yea, me too. 
Turns out my blog is really a glorified journal, you'll never have to worry about me filtering my true thoughts. So choose to read at your own risk friends. 

It will all work out. 
Now repeat.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Single-awareness Day.

I remember when I was younger, hearing people complain about how awful Valentine's Day was. Of course, it was always the single, bitter and lonely from which these comments, pathetic facebook posts, and complaints came from. I never really understood, I thought, "What's the big deal? Suck it up, or you'll always be single. No one likes a whiner."

It's true. I never understood.

This year I did.
 I empathize for all those people who have loved and lost, or never loved at all. Those people who yearn to be claimed and shown to the world that someone wants you, all of you, warts and everything, and that they are not afraid to show it on this special day of the year. Those who ache to be held by the arms their bodies have grown accustomed to. Those who starve for the privilege to spend that day with the same person they spent it with last year. Those with hearts so full of love, unable to express it due to circumstance of loss, misunderstanding or rejection.

It should have been me pasting hearts on your car.

Anywho, despite the obvious, it was an overall awful day on my end of the spectrum, I'm not gonna lie.
So pro's and cons, here we go!
Pro: Spending yet another Valentines Day in an elementary school (I FINALLY got a full time, steady client. He's a doll.) How can you not love those classroom parties?!
Con: Having absolutely NO plans for the rest of the day except to maybe light a few candles and soak in my sorrows. Pathetic is taking on a whole new level these days.

Pro: My Valentine this year was a 6-year-old autistic boy. I got a Nascar valentine with a heart shaped sucker. It made my day.
Con: Due to a very difficult previous day, and a whole lot of misunderstanding (that I obviously cannot really discuss due to fancy, real-world contracts and such), I spent the afternoon in a small room with a police officer explaining the play-by-play of events while substituting with a rather difficult client Monday. It was quite nerve-wracking. Though my head isn't necessarily on the chopping block, someone's is. With allegations flying, child services involved, and school districts on the defense, there is one thing I've learned for sure: there is no forgiveness for mistakes when children are involved.
Pro: This is the greatest Valentine I've ever seen. Are we agreed? I'm doing this from now on.
Cons: All the emotions that come with missing someone on Valentine's Day. 
Pros: My Little brother surprised me and came to visit this weekend! He brought with him some Valentine's from the fam, a rose from my sweet grandparents, and these de-licious cupcakes. Look closely.
Isn't that presh? My momma is just so clever.

Pros: The blogger world is awesome. We had a little Valentine exchange, and me and my girl Alana (over at The Life and Times of the Intelligent Blonde) got each other!!! I was stoked to say the least. She sent the cutest little pouch full of goodies anywhere from nail polish to breath mints (ya know, for those looong kisses I didn't get on V-day...) haha Thanks Alana! I LOVELOVELOVE IT ALL!

Cons: Falling asleep at 10. Preeetty wild night. not. 
Last Valentine's day, I sincerely thought I was spending it with the person I would always be spending it with. To those who have experienced such a thing as that realization that your future you've daydreamed about for so long is virtually non-existent anymore, you'll understand. To those of you who don't, sorry I'm a whiny girl. 
Pro: Getting to see and have a nice long talk with one of my best friends, the Miss Jeanelle Hollenbaugh. She's in love. Her and her Boo went to the restaurant my sweetie and I used to go to all the time. They dropped off Texas Roadhouse rolls at my apt. later. They are so thoughtful.
Funny: I joined all the procrastinators of the town in the card aisle on this glorious holiday. There were about 3 more guys there who walked off before my creeper-photo was captured. I just found this to be classic.

Remember when I said that I had a Valentine's related gem that I couldn't share until the day of?
 I made an assortment of different Valentines with my money-maker (aka my face) on the front
Valentines. This is Vanity at it's finest!
 (ignore the tremendously poor picture quality!)
 Yea, be jealous.
I sincerely hope your day was better than mine :)

Later Gators!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Now accepting applications.

As we are all painfully aware, Valentine's Day is tomorrow. Last years V-day was pretty unbeatable for me, so it'll be hard to top, but there is hope. We are now accepting applications from the vast array of pursuers aching to be our Valentines. It's a long process to sift through resumes, so gentlemen, for your convenience, we've created a requirement list to narrow it down :) 

You must be:

-Employed, rich or an heir to a great fortune. We're not too picky as to where this fortune is coming from.
-Chisled. Ryan Reynolds style.
-Must love giving back massages, watching chick flicks, and snuggling. Quit your day job, your full time duty is to please us ;)
-Loves showering their women with gifts. aka: us.
-Smart, funny, attractive, good with kids.
-Must think we are the most attractive women on the face of the planet.
-Spiritual and Christ-like.
-Aaand basically perfect in every way.

This isn't too much to ask it is?! I mean really.
Look at us, who could resist?
 Far left: Linds.
-She loves sour patch kids, wearing footie pajamas with Valpal, sounding like a creeper, and moans in her sleep. She is funny as I'll get out, and dances to the beat of her heart. Her dream date would be braiding each others hair, painting each others nails, and having pillow talk with a big strong man.

Middle: Yours Truly, Valpal.
-Loves blogging, white cheddar popcorn, and sleeps with a Dairy Queen Build-A-Bear. 
 (Yeah. You're jealous.) 
I'm a cuddle bug to the max, love wrestling, and knows the way to a mans heart is through his stomach ;) My dream date would be this. But, since that's unobtainable, my second choice would be (with Ben Affleck. Obvi.) getting icee's and an amazing back massage while watching Pearl Harbor.

Far right: Chrissy.
-Makes kettle corn, attracted to the hipster style, and wears matching leopard print grandma pajamas (ya know, the button up kind?). She is selfless, makes the yummiest treats, and has long elegant nails for scratching boys backs. Her dream date would be fish tacos and techno music... In the alps in Norway. Or dinner and a movie. She's not too picky.

Additionally, we've made Valentine's boxes with our roommates, so you handsome men know where to place all of our gifts :) Don't worry, we included ring sizes... if ya know what I mean!
Presh right? We're going kindergarten style.

Gents, you have one day. I'll brace my inbox for the influx of applications.
May the best man win :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happy Anniversary

One year. It's a long time. It'd be even longer if we were still together. I remember this week, last year, tremendously vividly. It was a week of ups, downs, emotions were high, and eventually we came out on top. Maybe next year we can celebrate our anniversary together.

Regardless of the melancholy aura that came with this day this year, someone out there was very thoughtful. Surely they couldn't have know what day it was. Coincidence? I don't know, perhaps they were just in-tune to my needs, but to whoever you are, thank you. 
I was on yet another first date, going through the typical "What's your major, where are you from, what's your favorite cereal, are you as bored as me?", questions and it was nice, but it wasn't you. On our day. When I got home, this was waiting for me.
Can you say pleasant surprise?! 
 I keep being reminded that people are generally good, and caring, in their most natural sense. It's the weight of the world that eventually may turn them otherwise, however, even those who's goodness is temporarily fogged, or more difficult to see, it's there.
Thanks for the cookies.

 And this little note.

Mystery good-doer, were you aware that last quote is my favorite of all time? It's from this amazing video. Watch it. I watch it often, and it's always been a source of encouragement in times of need. You won't regret it.
I love it so much, sometimes I write the URL to this video on toilet paper in gas station restrooms. 
(It's the best kind of free advertising!)

Whoever dropped of that sweet gesture, thank you. You must be seriously in-tune, or psychic because these were conveniently here just in time for my routine evening melt down. Boy howdy how I needed it.
Happy Anniversary.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Every conversation leads to the bathroom.

You know it's a slow thought day if this is my topic of choice, but have you ever heard that phrase? Every conversation leads to the bathroom. Maybe that was only the case in my household, what with four brothers and all, but I've heard if you talk long enough... it's bound to happen.
Public restrooms. Don't you just love em?
Today I used one :) 
(Yea, it's about to get intimate. haha)
I don't know what it is about them.  Is it the musky temperature mixed with the cheap cleaning product scent?
Is it the tissue paper that they call toilet paper? 
Do they know if they'd splurge to buy real toilet paper, perhaps we wouldn't have to use 3 times as much!!! (and I was in the restroom of a grocery store no less! Real TP aisle 3?)
Or maybe its those automatic flusher things that are set off by movement (in the nicer restrooms of course) 
Juuuuust when you are getting comfortable on a porcelain throne that isn't your own... they'll catch ya by surprise... dee dee dummm, dee dee dummm, FLUUUUSSSSHHHHH-HOLY-HEART ATTACK! Those things put a whole new meaning to the phrase "It scared the crap outta me" ha ha ha.

Oh, and who doesn't adore the soap that smells like grandma's house? (no offense G-dizzle)

Has anyone noticed you do your best thinking in the bathroom? I love the bathroom. It's private, quiet, and just the right amount of me time. TMI? I know you agree!  Here's the problem with some public restrooms:
A. Men and Women's restrooms that share a vestibule. A vestibule is that little entrance thing... right is the mens room, left is the Womens, sound familiar? Well, in a nicely tiled restroom, sounds carry very well. One minute things are fine and dandy, and the next thing you know, a males voice is so clear from a high quality echo that your heart just about skips a beat thinkin your about to be the next victim of life-threathening embarrassment from walking into the wrong bathroom! 

B. Then, there's always that unspoken awkwardness when you find you aren't alone in the bathroom. Do you wait until the other person starts urinating so that you can urinate in sync, that way it's not you breaking the silence? Or is that a little too intimate? Maybe you should just pull the "I suddenly have to cough a bunch" card to warn them that yes, they are not alone. Or perhaps, you should flush the toilet and pee really fast so that they don't hear a thing! Yea, I'm a master at the whole sha-bang.
Let me tell you something that occurred to me today. We are all people. We all pee. We shouldn't be embarrassed by that. Why be ashamed? let the world know you have arrived. It's all good :)

C. This is a personal issue, but today, I noticed I was so short and my feet didn't even reach the ground in a particular restroom. I felt like a child, my moon boots dangling free in the air. Ra-diculous. 

Anyways, I'm sure that was more than enough information, but I'm also sure we are all in agreement, public restrooms are not always ideal. 
Now that I've wasted your time with my bathroom rant, give the gift your yourself and use double-ply TP. You enjoy your day :)
(Here's a little surprise I left for my roommate who stayed up late to do homework. "I'll never let go!" haha)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

"It will all work out."

On the days I stay busy, some things rarely cross my mind, but on other days some things are very clear.
I live a double life. 
Sitting in my cubicle making those painfully unimportant phone calls, I stared out the window at the refreshingly warm January weather, and just yearned for my other life. The other life where after work, I'd go home to a crappy one bedroom apartment, with our photo's and home made decor irregularly plastering the walls. He'd be sitting on the cheap used couch we splurged for on Craigslist, reading the Ensign, or some scholarly magazine.  He loves to learn. I'd attempt to make a new and interesting dinner with our usual potatoes and rice (that I'm sure we'd live on), while still trying to make it healthy so as to not undo the work we probably would have done earlier at the gym. He'd eat it, rave about it to make me feel better, and then we just wind down. With him strumming the guitar in the background, maybe I'd knit. Maybe I'd scrapbook... or blog about the upcoming Valentine's day... maybe I'd be pregnant. That's a thought that has never occurred to me... wow.  Pregnant.  Our evening would be totally uneventful, completely mediocre, and blissfully boring. I think that's what would have happened today. 
It's crazy to think no one will ever know. How one choice can leave you waking up to your roommate instead of your hubby (though I do love you Lindsay!), frivolously typing a blog in a pay-every-three-months apartment kitchen, scattered with dirty dishes and nail polish, rather than in your home, with your honey.
Today is a day that would be really nice to see into the future. ... Or to have a time machine to the past. I'm a girl of simple taste, is a time machine really too much to ask for?! haha 

On day's like today, when emotions are close to the surface, and physical exhaust from a long week sets in, I try to draw my mind to one thing:
(no... not the fridge... although that wouldn't be too far of a long shot! haha)

"It will all work out" 
-President Gordon B. Hinckley
Even though some days it's hard to believe, and other days you just wish it didn't involve so much "work", this is the mantra I have on repeat.

Try to believe it people. 
Fake it til you make it.
Say it like you mean it. 
Believe it till you achieve it.
 I know I will.

Hey friends, is there something going on in your life that you just pray will be ok? 
Come on now, we are all human.
 E-mail me your name and address. For the first 10 readers to ask, I'd be happy to splurge the 50 cents of postage and printing costs to send you that little yellow quote (and I'll probably to it for the 11th, and 12th, and 50th person as well.. because I'm a sucker like that.) 
Why? Because frankly, we all just need a reminder that it will all work out.
Have a blessing-filled weekend.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Where troubles melt like lemon drops...

Star Valley Wyoming.
Population:1,089 (as of 2009)
 Need I say more? A town where there is only one main street, the fast food options are Burger King and The Red Baron (which is only seasonally open) and small town nostalgia is thick in the air. Nothing is warmer than Grandma and Grandpa's house... Except Grandma and Grandpa's house with Grandma and Grandpa still living inside it... and having the water turned. Minor details.

Anyways, last semester the fabulous Shelley McMakin (Founder and owner of EllieAsher Photography) and I decided to desert the real world and drive to Star Valley. Again, thanks to her hubby William for letting me borrow her!
Check her out. Babe.
I've been asked many times who takes the photo's on my blog and this little lady (along with photo booth on my mac, and my ever-so-high quality cell phone camera) takes 90% of them.
She so kindly agreed to take some photo's for my blog and such, and because we used Star Valley as a destination point for a haunting-memorial day themed photo shoot a few years ago and LOVED it, we had to return. The little chocolate shop was a perk :)
(May 2010)

 Here's a few photo's from that photo shoot:

 (This is my cousin Aimee. Babe.)

(Eery right? Mom and the aunts had great prom dresses!)
Anywho, this girl is versatile. She does themed stuff, high fashion, commercial and anything your heart desires. Skill. AND She's the easiest person to work with (I lived with her, I know)! I'm totally not biased :)
These Bird inspired photo's won a nation-wide hair competition:

And she does engagements, friend/roommate shoots, family photo's

As you can see, I use her ALL THE TIME!  Frankly, she's the only one I would use. 
So, when I felt the need for blog photos, She was so willingly there in a flash. I. Love. This. Girl.
Here's a few from the shoot.

Yep. I'm one of those laugh-ers that opens their mouths SO wide you could use it as a fish bowl. P.S. anyone notice the chunk of doughnut I caught on my shelf? Mamma did always say you know you've arrived when you start catching food on your chest rather than in your lap. (haha I'm typing this with a current chocolate stain, over my heart, on my shirt. Good to know nothing has changed...)

See that button on my side bar? Click it and bask in the glory of her art. You'd be crazy if you didn't.

So here's the basic wrap up, aaaand to honor my favorite awkward moment, today we're doing awesome and awkward in Spanish! (It roughly translates to "incredible" and "uncomfortable" buuut it's an alliteration!)
Increíeble: 2 and a half hours of scenic driving and deep conversation with my favorite 5-foot-tall former-roomie. 
Incómodo: Having the water shut off for the winter in my grandparents vacant home.... I may or may not have peed behind the shed in the wee hours of morning. Sorry G-pops. You will have lovely flowers this spring...
Increíeble: The photography spots of Star Valley. With so much junk, abandoned homes, and scenic areas, the possibilities are endless.
Incómodo: Finding a hair in Shelley's food at the home style Mexican restaurant.
Shelley: "Umm... there's a hair... in my food..."
Waiter awkwardly stands there, leans against the booth smiling...
seconds of awkward pass by...
Waiter: "Oh... sorry" (in Wyoming-Mexican accent)
Shelley:"....... So.. I'm not going to eat... this...."
Waiter: "Oh.. ok." (still smiling a little too comfortably)
Many more awkward seconds pass....
"You want ice cream?"
Shelley:"... um, yes please."
Waiter: "oh, and your meal.... on the house." :)
(if you look reeeaallly closely, you can see a small black hair streaming down from the fork.)
Following the hair fiasco, we proceeded to drop Shelley's debit card in the tiiiny itty bitty slit between the booth and the wall. After maturely crawling under the table and using my "Children and seizures" pamphlet (everyone has one of those in their purse, don't lie!) We told the same waiter and he kindly, and a little too easily slid the booth away from the wall. Yea... we felt a little el-stupid-o.
There's a mature adult under the table for ya.
Increíeble: FRIED ICE CREAM! SOOOO GOOD! And the fact that it was free made it even better!!!
 (don't ask.. I don't get the weird face either...)
Incómodo: Not being able to open any of the sweet glass bottles of soda for this lil photo shoot. Defintly went to a nice little ice cream parlor.
Um can you open this bottle? ... Sure, would you like some ice cream with that? ... noooo...
Increíeble: Shelley's photography skills. She has an eye for pretty sweet things. The possibilities were endless.
Incómodo: Changing clothes in the back seat of a car, and having random old cowboy pedestrians passing as I pretended to be hot stuff.
 Love the camera, love the camera, now hate the camera, hate the camera! Fierce like Tyra! haha
Increíeble: How much soda, and popcorn, and donuts, and cupcakes I ate to get these photos. I think choosing any blog name other than "Taking a Bite out of Life" would have been much more waistline friendly!
Incómodo: Smearing a red-jellied, old doughnut all over my face in the hopes of getting one of those cutsie, whoops-I-made-a-mes-but-still-look-camera-ready pictures, and failing. Red jelly mustache=never cute. EVER.
Increíeble: Being in Star Valley when the construction of the temple was announced to be there. Such a blessing for the Latter-Day Saints of Wyoming. Small town=HUGE miracle.
Incómodo: Having a TOTALLY unsatisfying french dip sandwich as a diner. Last time I checked, there wasn't normally horse-radish mayo on those sammiches!!! Boy does that stuff have a kick. Like a high five... in the face... with a chair.
Incómodo: I know these comparisons are all over pinterest, but here's one of my own (which you'd know to be accurate if you saw some of those glorious faces I made!)

And that basically sums it up. Glad I got around to it 5 MONTHS LATER! 
We're cool like that. 
Now go, and do great things!