Fortunately, Tyler and I have made it a lovely habit to make it to the temple every month. Unfortunately, it's usually toward the last of the month. We have been doing initiatories the passed couple of months and it has been a lovely refresher for the both of us of the blessings we are promised. Tonight, the sunset was unbelievable in the west and the clouds were as pink as could be in the east.

*Special birthday shout-out to my super awesome nephew Cody living far far away in the MD.



Today starts off my diet. Yes, the same diet I did last year and lost all that weight. I'm a tad ashamed to admit that it has definitely come back and then some. My Dad and I have decided to do it together and get healthy. This time is going to be different because I have painfully learned my lesson. Also, I'm sorry for such an exposed picture of my body, that I am so sure you wanted to see. But last time I didn't do a before and after picture and this is the ultimate motivator.



Last night after our company left, I became quite ill. I'm not sure what was wrong, but I felt pretty yucky. I slept all day and missed church. In the evening we ran some things back to my parents' house and then went over to Tyler's parents' house for crispy corner brownies and souvenirs from Matt. He gave everyone a set of the coins they use over there. My favorite is the one with the hole, why don't we do that here? He also found reversible ties for all the boys; Tyler picked a pretty sweet one. The night was then finished off with, you guessed it, more LOST.



Tyler went into work this morning, so I decided to do some cleaning up from my birthday. Remember one of the lovely presents Tyler's parents gave? Well, I got it out of its box today and set it all up. Yes, those are three blades; that's the beauty of it all. After my diet consultation this morning, we saw fit to start the diet on Monday instead of today. I will be using this blender a lot in the coming days and Tyler is going to start to bulk up so he'll be using it too. It takes up a bit of room on our counter, but I strategically placed it in front of our KitchenAid; we definitely wont be baking anytime soon.



Today could not have come any sooner. I worked from home, which was heaven. There isn't much to do the first week after conference—it's a bit of a lull. I started some side projects here and there, but nothing too post-worthy. As I was cleaning off my desk, I found $45 in cash and declared to Tyler via text that we should have Cafe Rio. You see, tomorrow I am going to a diet consultation with my Dad so we can slim down and get healthy. So, as a last meal, you can't go wrong with a pork salad. While we ate we watched some good ol' LOST; we are currently in the middle of season 4 and I am lovin' every minute of it! We started season 1 the beginning of June and are determined to finish it at the close of summer.



He has returned! I left work early again today so that we could greet Matt at the airport. Tyler dropped me off this morning and then picked me up, so we only had to worry about one car. Traffic was outrageously anger-causing for only being 4 p.m. We missed our exit and had to dash from the parking lot just to get there on what we thought would be on time. Alas, we arrived to see Matt standing with the fam at baggage claim. We took him home to see all the changes made to the house during the 7 months he was gone. The basement was the most rewarding, as he had no idea what we had done for his arrival. Once the tour had sunk in, we went for his favorite pizza to fill our tummies.



Oh boy what a sight to see! While I was in Nashville last week, Tyler told me of a tale: almost thirty white and brown ducks had taken over the little yards of our apartment complex. As of late, they have taken comfort on the small patch of grass that lies in front of our door. I don't mind the quacking but the 'barnyard smell' has gotten stronger and stronger every day. On a not-so-lighter note I had my follow-up appointment at the urologist today for my kidney problems. My infections seem to be gone after the lovely cystoscopy I had done today. Yeah, that was a fun time.



For Tyler's mom's birthday the family gave her a coupon stating we would clean out the basement. Seeing how that was back in March, this chore was long overdue. To add to the task of getting it organized, we needed to also dub it as a bedroom for Tyler's little brother's return from his mission. He has been having some health issues over in the Philippines and has been advised to come home after various tests and doctors failed to find what was wrong. I was completely excited to devote my day to this, for I like to think Tyler and I are organization masters, seeing how we've managed to utilize every bit of space in our tiny apartment without it looking like a jam packed u-haul. We lugged furniture to the curb, re-figured the layout, built furniture, organized shelves and birthed many great organization ideas. I should have taken a 'before' picture, but no worries, the 'after' picture is still just as rewarding.



I took a half-day off this morning and slept right on in 'til noon. Traveling just takes it right out of you no matter where you go or for however long, am I right? Right after work I had my Visiting Teachers come over for a chat. I then scurried on over to meet Tyler at his parents' house so we could ride together to the Lynch family's annual 24th of July food gathering with two of their neighbors. The night was capped off with a spectacle to see of flashing sparks. I was much too far away to get a crisp view, but the captured shot turned out a little bit on the watercolor side anyways.



I woke up just in the nick of time to catch a cab to the airport. From there I flew to Denver and had an hour layover before heading to my homeland. The anticipation was building as the time grew closer and closer to being reunited with my honey. This has been the longest that we have ever been away from each other and we both suffered the consequences dearly: long work hours, dinner alone and sleepless nights. I was giddy as a school girl to see my hunky husband in his Sunday attire waiting for me at the SLC Airport. The night was topped off with a mini visit with the Rich family before they go back to Cali and a long overdue round of Beyond Balderdash.

Special 'holla back girl' to my Grandma Duncan who turned 91 today!



I woke up at the butt-crack of dawn this morning for the 5k that our company put on in the heart of Nashville. I, along with five other co-workers, was asked to set up the water stations and hold out the cups for all who passed by. Afterwards, I went back to my dungeon to push the button for this afternoon's session and rehearse the gala and awards presentation for tonight. I then only had a brief bit to run back to my hotel to shower off and look as presentable as time would allow for the fancy event ahead. The gala went well; the most exhilarating part was finishing the Powerpoint. A handful of us didn't stay for the after-party; we went straight back to the hotel to pack and sleep. I cannot wait to see Tyler tomorrow!



Today was a repeat of yesterday, all except I was able to squeeze a thirty-minute nap in before attending all the country festivities of the night. Everyone attending the conference, including employees, had a free meal ticket and waived entrance fee to the Wild Horse Saloon. My roommate Elli and I got there long after it had started—we were basically just there for the food. The place was crawling with silly horse statues… some of which were on the ceiling. Elli and another co-worker, Megan, and I were ready to leave after being there only for a short while. As we were about to exit it began to downpour a monsoon of wetness to flood the streets and clear the air. We waited for a good while before it cleared up and made our way to a homemade ice cream shop down the block that sported this lovely jar. Mmm Tennessee Fudge!



Being backstage all day yesterday, I never saw the sun. I only saw it for a brief moment today, so here are my favorite glimpses from my three-minute walk from hotel room to convention center: secret tunnels in the hotel to shave off a block of hot, humid walking—thank you Sheraton Concierge; bike locks… tee hee; and this sweet building—they sell flowers—I love the window awnings. Also, I will never live here—the humidity is something that I could never stand on a regular basis. Give me my dry heat!



As a graphic designer, I was in charge of all the Powerpoint changes that would be made during the rehearsals before the conference began—at least that's what I thought my job would be. I reported to the Events Coordinator and she handed me off to our corporate staging company. They brought me backstage, got my computer all plugged in, and handed me some headphones. Puzzled, I asked what they were for. They answered, as if I was the dumbest girl on the planet, I would be the one running the Powerpoints during the show. Oh. Well then. I had no idea. I put on my headphones and proceeded through the rehearsal thinking I could totally get used to this. I would have the presentation on my computer which would go to the projection guy in front of me which, then would be shown on screen to the people in the audience. I was back there with the teleprompter guy, the video guy and the camera coordinator. I loved every minute of it.



Tyler dashed me to the airport this morning, and with only one minor set back while checking my bags I was off. First stop, Denver. After an hour lay-over there, it was the 4-hour flight to Nashville that lay before me. I played games on my phone, did the head-bob, totaling 7 short naps, and wrote in this little beauty. I got it from my adorable design friend's  BFA show last year. I have been keeping all my places of travel doings on its moleskin pages—Nashville will be the third trip this year. Once we landed we took a cab back to the hotel and got settled in for the big week ahead.



I went to work today not expecting much, for tomorrow I leave on a jet plane for Nashville. My company is having their annual Representative Conference there and I am one of two going from my department. I knew today would be filled with scrambling to get everything done for the event. I was greeted by seven lovely balloons tied to my chair. I got to work and was then treated to Little Caesar's for lunch followed by an Andes mint chocolate cake (yes, my co-workers are the bomb). But, that's only the half of it: the crowning jewel was this book. Which is so ironic because I was just about to buy it on online last night with some Amazon money I still have. I was completely blown away when I opened this—my co-workers really are the greatest. I cannot wait to read it!



Ah, my real birthday, for it has come and been a lovely one at that. Tyler woke up super early this morning and made me mint chocolate chip pancakes… wha? Yeah, you heard me. It was essentially cake for breakfast. We were up so early that I decided to open all my gifts. Tyler got me a book: Run Your Butt Off; two movies: Stardust (a movie we saw together from our very early friend years) and In Time (a movie we saw together from our very late engagement days); three letter-pressed prints: one of which is pictured above (old-fashioned radios piled high in mint ink) and two of these glow in the dark mini prints; a hot air balloon necklace that is coming in the mail and a doting little card that made me tear up, not to mention all that he has given me in the days leading up to this day. I wore my lovely maxi dress and we went to church. Nursery was hectic, but perfect. We got complimented on how great we are with the kids by one of the parents. I can't believe I get to build my life with this man. The day ended with dinner at my parents' house where my Grandma and Grandpa Bush partied with us, along with my adorable little sister's new man candy.



I know that this looks like a lowly watermelon overflowing the top shelf of our refrigerator, but behold, it is not. This was the first surprise of the day from my Tyler husband. He had been hiding it somewhere in our house since he went grocery shopping on Thursday. We were doing some house work and I was a little hot; he told me I should drink some water and this was waiting for me. I was so surprised, for I have been wanting a seeded watermelon since March. We ate watermelon and watched LOST up until dinner at his parents'. My mother-in-law made the most impeccable Cafe Rio sweet pork salad—I was in heaven. His Mom and Dad got me a Ninja Professional Blender and a Crispy Corners Brownie Pan. His sister Nicole got me the coolest shoes that I have been coveting ever since we saw them on our shopping trip. His brother Matt sent me a hand written letter from the Philippines. The night was topped off with 24 Nothing Bundt Cake bundtinis. It really was a perfect day.



Remember that lovely-man-of-a-husband I am married to? Well he woke up extra early to make these 'firecrackers' for me. I rolled over and he was standing there with five of them, fresh out of the freezer. Tyler has been anticipating my birthday and I know he has a lot up his sleeve—so constantly being surprised will be no surprise. I started the day with these, what a delicious sugar high… sugar slam! Then he had a custom flower arrangement delivered to my work, with snap dragons and all. I was in the shower when he got home and soon he said we had visitors. I hurried on some clothes and came out to find Nikki and Spencer had brought my very favorite cheesecake that Tyler had them make. We then topped off the night dressing fancy and pigging out at Rodizio Grill. Can you even handle what will happen on my real birthday, let alone tomorrow?



Work has been driving me a little bonkers. Today, though, it got to the point that I got snappy with people, which was a little unprofessional. Everyone is wound up so tight and stressed about our Rep conference next week in Nashville. I'm the only Graphic Designer going from my department so a lot more than I would like is falling on my plate. At the end of the day I started to draw out a reminder on my hand, killing the stress slowly. After I got home, my lovely-man-of-a  husband traipsed in carrying the much-needed groceries our fridge has been lacking all week. Only one more day of work and then my birthday weekend will commence.



Tyler was a tad nervous this morning for a thing we twenty-first-centurers like to call LASIK. His eyes are progressively getting worse, and seeing how I'd like him to be able to see our future children, we had a Groupon and went for it. It was a pretty snappy procedure and might I add how posh Hoopes Vision is? They gave me a fresh baked cookie during the 15 seconds it took for them to cut a man hole into both of his corneas, the snazzy sunglasses you see pictured and a logo-ed mug full of candy. The nurse helping us reminded everyone so profusely that it was free slurpee day, so we made a quick stop on our way home. The ounce count on the cups were even 7.11 oz. How cute.



Goodness gracious this day was rough, and I only foresee the rest of the week going down, down, down, into a raging river of death. On a lighter note, Tyler and I have made a lovely little stash of these delectable little mints. These are probably one of my most favorite things to cheer up a lowly day—the superb ratio of mint to chocolate. Our apartment is so hot that they began to melt in our candy bowl, so this is a glimpse inside our freezer where mountains of Andes fill the bottom cubby in the door.



Work was a smidgen more stressful than usual for me today, as well as Tyler's work day. We were both so glad to be home so we could couch-potato the night away. We skyped with Tiffany and Steve for a couple of hours and cracked up until our screens froze and our sides split. Afterwards we had our usual spaghetti and LOST watching. Before the night was over it was time for the unveiling of my ear holes. Yes, I got my ears pierced at 23—it was never a big deal when I was little. I found these earrings at the Bijou Market a couple of months back and on a spontaneous whim, decided to pierce my ears for them. Little did I know, I would have to wait 6 weeks. Finally, the patience is over and my ears are cheerful and bright.



Our too-short-of-a-trip came to a close today. We slept a little while longer, luggage-filled our car and said good-bye to the sunny side of the street. We finished our 100 questions and ate the snacks that filled our back seat. It's funny how in the city, they are the same clouds, but they never seem to strike you as much until you're out on the plains. It's just us, the clouds, the mountains and the annoying Lexus that can't decide if she wants to go 78 or 82 in the fast lane.



Ever heard of Diner's Drive-ins and Dive's? Of course you have, what a silly question. Well, since I am my Mother's daughter, I always fancy a look up on Guy Fieri's website when I am out and about from Utah. Tyler and I had it narrowed down to two and ended up picking this place. Oh my goodness, there is no place like this in Utah, the food just made you moan after every bite and your teeth rabid for more.  The 'blues on the cob' is by far my new favorite thing; garlic mashed potatoes; real corn kerneled bread; Texas-style beef rib; Memphis-style ribs; a rack of babyback ribs and four cheese mac. We had to get our dessert to go we were so stuffed to the brim. But don't think that wasn't delicious either: the most whipped banana cream you've ever tasted with the most perfect balance of tart in a slice of key lime pie.



This. This is the reason we came to the happy cow country: a wedding. Chadsen and Masumi are the cutest little couple—literally. I just want to put them in my pocket! Chadsen served with Tyler in Australia and invited us to their Temple sealing in the L.A. I was so honored, for I had never met either of them. They are both so kind and a delight to be around, it was a perfect day to be wed. Tyler gave me a birthday present early—a long and flowy maxi dress that made me feel so breezy—so I could wear it today. We stayed in our fancy threads from morn 'til dusk and it made everything we did seem that much fancier. The reception was in Chino Hills in a backyard that seemed to go on for days. I made Tyler pull over on the way home when I saw a random ferris wheel poking up above the buildings on route to the hotel. We had no cash, so we couldn't ride, but it was the adventure of it all that made it a story book ending to the day.



When I say packing into the night—I wasn't kidding. Tyler and I finally crawled into bed around 3AM. We overslept a tad, but got on the road in a jiffy. How great was the rain this morning? The storms broke once we got into St. George country and from then on it was sunshine for miles. We sure know how to road trip: good music (new albums from FUN. Maroon 5 and The Fray) to fill our ears, the perfect muddy buddy snacks to fill our tummies and the ultimate 100 question road trip document to fill our minds. California days are ahead.



The holiday started off half over—Tyler and I have been sleeping way too far in these days. It must be our too-luxurious trip to the Lake last week that put us in this rut. We had so many ambitions for this day, especially because we are venturing off and away from life tomorrow. We got no such things done, all except this one: a lovely patriotic trifle. Tyler did most of it, I just helped. He is such a genius: the store was completely out of blue jell-o (go figure) so instead he bought jell-o cups and the dessert took half the time. The night was topped off with all the finger food you could ask for at the Lynches' and a dear-to-my heart movie. . . Fantastic Mr. Fox. Now, off to pack late into the night.



Jordan left his N64 at our house from last night and we decided to take full advantage. Tyler has been wanting to show me for the longest while a little game the world likes to call Pokemon Snap. Ever played? I thought I was pretty good at it, until I realized that he and his siblings had passed the whole game. Any picture I took could not compare to the amazing ones that they spent years taking. Although, and might I say how proud I am of it, I did get the best photo of Jynx. Eat it Professor Oak!



Guess who has four thumbs, got a combined 2% raise, has four eyes and needs glasses to see? THESE GUYS! That's right, now we are a rich man—er woMAN…s. You get the idea. Tyler and I both got raises today, what are the odds? Pretty great if you ask me! Also, my li'l Aubrey Duncan of a sister came over to play. Tyler made a terribly delicious meal that we shared with one and all. Our neighbor upstairs came down and challenged my husband to Pokemon Stadium—Tyler conquered the Holmberg clan and all was well in the land!



Tyler and I ventured to Morgan, UT for a little summer time grub with some people from my department at work. Our photographer from work invited us to dine with his family and made an succulent meal and took us on a tour of his amazing home in the middle of nowhere. They just inherited a litter of kitties that they were more than happy to pawn off. I am not much for animals, but kittens are the cutest, I think.  Only for a split second—then they grow up to be mean, ornery and a not-so people person. This little black kitty was my favorite, but alas, Tyler still said no. Yes, even to that face (but don't be too hard on him; he is allergic after all). Would you have said no?