Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter Day in Washington

Saturday was magical.  The weather was unexpected.  Our activities were spontaneous.  It was one of those days where things couldn’t have been so fun and festive had we tried to plan them out perfectly.  I love it when that happens. 

We woke up to the first snowfall of the season.  Anderson was overjoyed.DSC_0011



We took the metro downtown to take part in some of DC’s best holiday traditions.  I couldn’t get over how cute, BIG, and little Anderson looked all at once in his puffy coat and hat.  He couldn’t get over riding the train.  LOVED it.

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We visited the Botanical Gardens and saw beautiful holiday displays.  Anderson’s favorite was the train at the base of the huge Christmas tree.




We continued to the White House to see the National Christmas Tree and the Pageant of Peace.  It was freezing, but we had a great time.

DSC_0089 Maryland Tree.  We didn’t quite make it to Utah’s tree.  It was REALLY cold.


 National Christmas Tree


We stopped by Santa’s Workshop at the President’s Park.  We sat with Santa to take what is possibly, which I already regret posting. 



The White House 


I love holidays, and they just get better when you have a child.  I’m grateful Anderson is with us to bring out the magic in the Christmas season. 

Merry Christmas from the Nation’s Capital!


P.S.  How amazing was THIS performance last night?!  Practically putting Barbara to shame.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I’m THANKFUL for kisses.



I’m WON OVER by Anderson’s game day face.



I’m TOLERATING (you know, hate the sin, love the sinner) the Christmas decor in the nursery.

DSC_0017-1  Harley insisted.  Anderson loves it.  I’m just waiting for the WT police to show up and charge us with Tic and two counts of Tac.  Yes, Harley secured the lights with orange painters tape.


Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Daddy Dressed Me


And we all know how fashionable he is.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Three Things That Make My Life Easier: Chapter 4

I hate ironing. This may be because I'm not very good at it. Or because it is work to dig the ironing board out of the overcrowded hall closet. Whatever the reason I just don't like it. I also don't like looking unkempt and wrinkled. You can see the problem. When Harley and I got married I told him there are two household chores I really didn't want to do: ironing and cleaning the bathtub. Fortunately for me, Harley doesn't mind doing the bathtub so that part has worked out swimmingly. I'm pleased to report I don't think I have cleaned a bathtub in six years. Harley happily takes on that job, which these days is exceptionally easy thanks to our fabulous Bath Fitter shower. I wasn't so lucky with ironing since Harley doesn't like that task either. For years we survived taking turns or just being wrinkled. (Oh the humanity!) Then I discovered two products that rocked my pressing world. (That's another way of saying, "make my life easier.")

Oh my word, I am in love with these shirts. Leave it to Nordstrom to make my life easier. We bought a few of them years ago and they have NEVER touched an iron. EVER. They don't need to. Something in this genius Smartcare finish makes the shirts virtually wrinkle free. They just come out of the dryer looking starched and smashing. They are thick too, so no seeing through the fabric to skin (or worse) on your husband's chest. Haaaate that.
I'm pretty sure I have Mindy to thank for this discovery. Speaking of white dress shirts and thanking, I have Ben Rogers to thank for ensuring Harley never wears a short sleeved dress shirt to church again. Short sleeved white dress shirt=missionary. I'd been trying to insult Harley with this comparison for years, but it never worked. It wasn't until Ben (one of Harley's many man crushes) explained it like this: Church=formal. Short sleeves=not so formal. Or something like that. Anyway, it changed Harley's opinion on short sleeved shirts and he hasn't worn them since. To Mindy and Ben: thank you and thank you.

These shirts will run you $65. A bit pricey but worth it. Plan it right and buy them during Nordstrom's two sales: Anniversary (July) and Half-Yearly (for men it's in mid-June and late December).

2. Downy Wrinkle Releaser

If I could buy everything with Smartcare finish I would. Unfortunately, Smartcare has yet to spread its greatness to all fabric, so I'm left with many other wrinkled clothing items. Or am I? Enter magic in a bottle.

Spray the shirt, then smooth away unsightly wrinkles with your hand. The wrinkles disappear. Bonus: you get that fresh, soft bear scent.

For best results, spray, smooth, then hang the item in the bathroom while you take a steamy shower. Works wonders. Downy Wrinkle Releaser even works on dry-clean-only fabrics. $4.49 for a 16.9 oz bottle (which will last you forever) at your local grocery store or Target/Walmart.

I also own the travel size, because really, who wants to iron on vacation?

Disclaimer: Downy Wrinkle Releaser can't conquer all wrinkles. I still have to iron certain clothes. It works great on silk, but 100% cotton is pretty tough to tame and often requires a hot iron in the end. Still, so much better than ironing everything.

I have Jessica Diva to thank for this one. She is the master of throw it on, make it work, run out the door and still look great. It shall also be noted here Jessica taught me how to do laundry. I honestly didn't know how to do it. Thank goodness she showed me freshman year. I will also give a shout out to Ryan Peterson. He taught me one of the best laundry/ironing lessons EVER. Throw the wrinkled item into the dryer with a wet washcloth. 10 minutes later: wa-lah! The shirt is mostly, if not 100% wrinkle free! This was an amazing discovery sophomore year. I would do this all the time today except I don't have a dryer in my apartment. When you're paying quarters and schlepping to the basement this trick isn't so convenient. Still, Jessica and Ryan get big thank yous for making my laundry life easier.

3. Fabric Shaver

Continuing the wardrobe theme, another clothes saver is my Fabric Shaver. Again, Queen of All Things Fashion Jessica Diva told me about this years ago, but I could not find one. Probably because I wasn't using the proper name. I think I kept asking for a sweater shaver. Harley finally tracked one down at Brookstone and surprised me one Valentine's Day. I know, what says "I love you" like "Honey, get ride of your sweater pills"?

That's exactly what this little contraption does. It quickly and easily removes all pills, lint and fuzz that accumulate on clothing. Stainless steel, adjustable (3 settings) blades groom the fabric, cutting away unwanted gunk and collecting it in an attached tray. Take my word for it, this thing really works! So many sweaters I'd nearly given up on because they'd just gotten gross. After a once over with this small wonder they have new life. Just look what it did for my winter coat.

Before (see the pills gathering on the coat?)

The collection (I was walking around with all those little friends. Yuck.)


Good as new! (Except it's not new. It's four years old. I have yet to wear it this year and I'm already sick of it. Blech.)

Oh and did I mention it works on upholstery? I couldn't find my exact model at Brookstone, but I did find this one for $25.00. Amazon has a version for $12.99.

So there you have it. Smartcare me, spray me, shave me and I am a happier Diva with an easier life.

Other things that make my life easier here, here and here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

GIVING THANKS: Friends & Family

Anyone else feel like my Utah Staycation/BFF World Tour Summer 2009 was a long time ago?  Are you over hearing about it?  I’m kind of over blogging about it.  But then that small (big?) OCD part of me compels me to finish what I started.  So I am.  In one final whopper of a post.  I shall get away with posting it so late by putting a Thanksgiving spin on it.  Which works because I am, oh so thankful.

I couldn’t be more grateful for my loving family and my amazing friends.  On my last Sunday in Utah the Relief Society lesson was on friendship:  “How Glorious are Faithful, Just and True Friends.”  It was the perfect way to end my trip which was, of course, filled with cherished friends.    You know the kind.  The release the pause button kind.  The kind best described in a quote shared in the lesson:  “Each time I see you, all time melts away, precious moments come flooding back and I am reminded of the joy and laughter we have shared over the years.”  It may sound cheesy but that’s how I feel about these friends.

DSC_0470 My Utah Divas:  Kelly (with Tessa), Nicole & me.  Proudly keeping Cafe Rio in business since 2002.  We may or may not have overstayed our welcome this particular night.  When they turn the chairs upside down on the tables is that a sign it’s time to go?

DSC_0537  Childhood bestie:  Haley.  She & her husband, Matt, successfully got us hooked on Shark Tank, Blokus and Kid to Kid in one night.  In true Haley form, she asked me all kinds of bold questions most people avoid.  I love her for it.


Half of Harley’s high school best friends.  Kirk (& Kaija), Harley (& me), and Mark (& Kate).  Good food, good laughs, good reconnecting.


 Alyssa (Britain’s head) & me.  When you visit Alyssa you can expect a delicious, themed meal, thoughtful take-home treats and a genuine display of interest in your child, your husband and your life.  She’s great like that.



Anderson and I stopped in Denver on the way back to DC to visit some of our very best friends, The Linds.  Jack and Anderson have been best buds since birth.  I love watching them interact and (kind of) grow up together.  Mindy and I had a pretty great time reuniting (again… spoiled, I know) too.  Life goal:  Make Mindy my next door neighbor.  That way Anderson and Jack can really grow up together.  And I can have Mindy in my life every day.  Happiness!

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Let’s not forget who Anderson really comes to Denver to see.



While in Denver I got to spend time with my old roommate Kelley and her darling family.  Talk about reconnecting.   We hadn’t seen each other in seven years.  From the way we talked, shared and understood each other, you’d never know it.



"They shall not want a friend while I live. My heart shall love those, and my hands shall toil for those who love and toil for me and shall ever be found faithful to my friends."

-Joseph Smith


While we LOVE our friends, family is, of course,  the big reason we staycation in Utah.  Sprinkled throughout our 39 days were many happy moments shared with the people I care for most.  There are no words to express how much I love my family.  But there are pictures.  Oh there are pictures.

DSC_0385-1  Aunts Lisa, Ali & Cheryl with Anderson.  I love how much my sisters love my child.

DSC_0501Aunt Lisa with Lincoln, Uncle Tom with Anderson

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My family struggles with many things.  Cooking is one example.  Most of us are horrible at it.  But we are fantastic at laughing.  Especially the girls.   ESPECIALLY my Mom.  You get us all together and it’s one big giggle fest.

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We are crazy about the newest member of the family:  Lincoln.


 Ali & Jonathan’s new home in Lehi.  SO proud of them.


In some ways it feels like we were just home.  In other ways I can’t wait to go home again.  I don’t think I’m the only one.  DSC_0031                                  That is the face of a man excited to see his peeps.


See you at Christmas everyone!

Note the special edition Fabulous Right Then:  Utah Favorites on the left.