weekending in Portland

I was too excited to sleep much on the plane, so I drank my complimentary beverage and listened to my iPod.

After an hour or so had passed, I looked out the window and saw eastern Oregon flying below me.

Josh met me in the airport, and we snapped this SP at the baggage claim. I think it's one of my favorite photos of us ever.

We went to IKEA to look for furniture for our apartment. And we ate dinner there! I know. I had no idea. (I'd never been to IKEA before.)

IKEA is full of show rooms and displays, and so we had fun with those.

I fell in love with this set of bookcases. Someday.

The next day we saw Inception and really liked it! We went to Whole Foods after to pick up some ingredients for a stir fry we were planning on making the next day. On our way into the store we saw this bumper--it's quintessential Oregon.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was checking into our apartment! We picked up the keys, and before he pushed open the door I pulled out my camera and snapped this momentous shot--we're going into our first apartment for the first time!!

As we were walking around (which didn't take too long--it's on the small end), I kept picturing what it will look like with furniture and decorations. I tried to figure out where we'd put the Christmas tree, and I imagined the Friday nights we'll spend watching a movie and the dinners I'll make in the kitchen and all the little details that will make up these early years of our life. It's often felt surreal--getting married, having a wedding, starting a life together--and in those first moments in our apartment it all seemed so much more real.

We made shrimp stir fry (Josh is really good at making Japanese food), and we'd purchased real shrimp--shrimp that we had to shell and de-vein.

I couldn't de-vein very well. It kind of grossed me out.

When I had to go to the airport to fly back to Utah, I was a little sad. And I felt a little silly, because I get to see him in less than two weeks when Dad and I move my stuff up there. But I was sad. So I bought Reese's minis, M&Ms, and Coke Zero.

Then I had to run back to the Travel Mart to pick up a 99-cent pack of Kleenex. (I made it almost all the way through the Reese's before landing in Salt Lake.)

But I'm okay. And I love looking through all my pictures and remembering all we did together over the weekend. It was wonderful.

We did a lot and accomplished a lot, but you know what my favorite part was? Putting in a second Harry Potter movie Saturday night even though it was late just so we could cuddle a little longer before going to bed.


yes, I got my camera

Yesterday I came home and promptly opened this.

 And felt the need to take a SP of joy.

Then I enjoyed this for dinner.

Tonight I went to Michelle's (for the last time before I move, because her family is going on vacation) and enjoyed this.

Then I came home and did this.

Because tomorrow after work I'm going to the airport to fly to Oregon so I can see him.

Engagement photo, by Kate and Jess Photography (kateandjessphotos.blogspot.com)

I can't wait to photo document my weekend.

Operation Superhuman Reader: Route 801, #9 and #10

So #9 I'm not sure if I can share on this forum, and here's why. I just read a YA book titled Orphan, and it hasn't been published yet. Several months ago I submitted my YA research paper to a YA-lit journal. They responded over a month ago (and didn't accept it) but asked if I'd be interested in reviewing YA books for them. They send me a book, and I have four weeks to read it and write a 150-word review. Orphan was for that, and I don't want to overstep my bounds by posting about it. But anyway, that was #9. And here's #10.

Ender's Shadow (Shadow Series, #1)Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is a companion novel to Ender's Game and follows the character Bean instead. It was interesting to get a different perspective on some of the characters through this book, like Ender for example, especially knowing how the story ends. I wonder how I would have responded to this story if I'd read Ender's Shadow first. I like the complexities of this story (with both books) and find them actually quite emotional, especially for a YA book.

View all my reviews >>


bullet-point Monday

  • I had my final dentist appointment to wrap up my root canal--finally
  • I applied for a real job--salaried and everything
  • Because Brooke let me take her car to work today (because of aforementioned dentist appointment), I got to stop by Erica's and see her and her new baby. McKenzie is so, so, so cute. So tiny. So pretty. Erica is wonderful--I've missed her
  • I last-minute decided to go on a run--I know
  • It's been reaching for the 100-degree mark lately--that's why I went running after the sun dipped down
  • The GG episode I'm watching is almost over, and then I'm going to take a shower, because I'm sweaty and gross
  • I'm eagerly waiting the arrival of my new camera--yes, readers, after the demise of Josh's old camera, I splurged and bought the same camera I got for Christmas. I can't not have a camera right now. Seriously. It's coming tomorrow
  • PSA: In the wedding announcements, some of the reception invites have been getting stuck to the announcements. Every announcement came with a reception invitation. FYI.


last weekend

It's been hard to plan my wedding being apart from my family, but with my mom and sister being so incredible, it's still been fun. I took on the responsibility of taking of the invitations from designing them to printing them to assembling to sending. It was a big duty, but I did it (with some help, of course!). A week ago I finally had everything ready to go: printed stationery, ribbon, engagement photos. And Saturday was the day to assemble.

I spent all day working on these.

I cut ribbon. I stuffed stationery jackets. I counted. Everything. At one point I opened a package from Mom and Emily and took a break to eat these Canadian Smarties (they're similar to M&Ms).

And another break for a Big Gulp. Obviously.

Then I stuffed the prepared announcements into the envelopes.

And stamped them. And sent them out.


In other wedding planning progress, I picked up my dress! It's hanging in my closet. Right now. I look at it all the time. And I giggle because I'm so excited.

And I think it's time for a countdown update:
  • 5 weeks from today Josh and I seal the deal
  • that's 35 days
  • 6 days until I go to Portland for the weekend
  • 3 weeks until I move my stuff to Oregon
This is big. Getting married is big. But this is right. Josh is right. I'm so excited for this new part of my life--my life with Josh. Forever.


Operation Superhuman Reader: Summer Book Club

Emily McB started a summer book club with a few of her friends, and I was lucky enough to be invited! This is the first book we read. I won't be around for the third, but the second is up in a couple of weeks.

RebeccaRebecca by Daphne du Maurier

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this for a summer book club, and probably wouldn't have thought to read it otherwise. I was really glad to read it and then be able to talk about it with others. I didn't really like any of the characters except one (and he's not even a main character), but the mystery of Manderly and Rebecca kept me reading. The story follows an unnamed narrator as she marries a widower and deals with the aftermath of Rebecca's death. I was pretty frustrated with the narrator's insecurities and with her husband, Maxim's, closed off nature. It all made more sense at the end, but the ending itself is a little disturbing.

I'd recommend this book most for a book club read, because I don't think that I would have enjoyed it enough on my own.

View all my reviews >>

12 on 12: no camera edition

Yes, I've forgotten my camera  on the 12th before, but this time mine is currently out of commission. Brief camera explanation: My Nikon I got for Christmas was stolen right before graduation and the proposal. Josh lets me have his camera, which used to be his mom's, which he never uses. Saturday I was taking some pictures and then was turning it off. The lens got crooked and got stuck on zoom. I'm going to try and take it somewhere. I'm very frustrated.

But were I to take 12 photos yesterday, this is what they would be.

01. Riding to work with Emily McB—she gave me a ride, which was lovely
02. Eating chocolate chip cookies for breakfast
03. Reading Rebecca during a few minutes of lunch for a summer book club
04. Deciding titles for February's content
05. My updated countdown: 39 days
06. Proofreading the first proof of my first article to be published in the New Era—look for it in October's issue
07. Talking to Emily and hearing great news
08. Checking my mail and finding the wedding postage I ordered (invitations to be out soon) and a kind card from a friend
09. Sneaking pizza into Eclipse with Brooke and Kat
10. Texting hilarious quotes from Eclipse to Emily
11. Skyping Josh
12. Listening to HP as I fell asleep

PS—This is my 500th post. And this month marks my four-year blogging anniversary. 


Operation Superhuman Reader: Route 801, #6

So, I finished The Fountainhead, and I wish I could have read it in school for class and spend two weeks of class periods discussing it. Rand gives you a lot to think about—even if you don't agree with her philosophy—and I think I will get the most out of this book by discussing it with other people. This particular review is perhaps a little more rambling than others I've written, but I haven't yet been able to boil down my thoughts to anything too concise!

The FountainheadThe Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In short, I really, really liked it. I found the character development complex and compelling, and I liked it that the plot wasn't predictable but not outrageous. While definitely a meaty read, it wasn't hard to get through. I enjoyed the pace and found myself completely wrapped up in the story.

Ayn Rand is a philosopher at heart, and that really came through in this book. While often I shy away from philosophy, I found Rand's accessible in this book. The plot was driven but still left room for Rand's philosophizing. The philosophy waxes especially strong toward the end of the book, and by then I was kind of done with the objectivism. A good family friend of ours described Rand's objectivism like this: She has the diagnosis right, but not the prescription. I couldn't agree more. When I was reading this I would be struck with an observation and think, "Yeah! She's right!" But then as the story continued, the way she handled it was not what I necessarily agree with.

Howard was a particularly compelling character, and I admired his complete self-confidence, how he's happy with who he is and honestly doesn't care about others' opinions. But then again, he does have traits that aren't as admirable. Rand's explanation of this is a little off from how I might analyze it, but her thoughts gave me something to mull over.

The other characters—Peter, Dominique, and Gail—were all compelling in their own way. Sometimes they were tragic and other times triumphant, and the full picture of their flaws and admirable traits made for complex relationships. My opinion of any of the relationships in this book isn't one-sided, thanks to the full and thorough character development.

The characters in this book were very real to me, and I admire Rand's writing that way. While I don't agree with every facet of her philosophy I can in many ways respect it.

If you're looking for a more intense summer read, try this one!

View all my reviews >>


a salute

{Prelude: Yesterday I had to take Josh to the airport. Ugh.}

This morning I received this text from my (almost) sister-in-law Estee:

"leaving campus to go get a big gulp. i just wanted you to know that you're not alone in thinking that today is long and a big bummer."

I then pulled out my Diet Pepsi (which I was going to save for lunch) from the fridge.

Here's to maybe a not-as-bummer day, thanks to my favorite cola and a sympathetic sister-in-law. Cheers.


my sister

When I was a young teenager, my family spent Thanksgiving with our family in Utah. All the women were helping out in the kitchen, and our aunt Patricia looks over to Emily and me and asks, "So, are you two just best friends?"

We looked at each other, and without hesitation, together answered, "Yes!"

We are. We're best friends.

Her first year of college was my third, and with Emily around, I found my last two years of college even better than the first two. Lately I get emotional when I think about her and our relationship, because things won't be the same after the summer. They're not even the same now.

I graduated from school and am getting married soon. Then I'm moving to Portland, and I won't live close enough to Emily to stop by after work or go grab a Big Gulp or watch MK&A or just hang out because I love to be with her. Even now she's living at home for the summer and I'm here still in Utah. I miss her. And I think I'll be missing her for a long time.

There's so much I want to say but don't know how to say it articulately or cohesively. She's helped teach me that being myself is okay—more than okay—and liking something or doing something just because I like it is a good enough reason. She's there to boost my confidence and comfort me when life gets hard. She will call me out on too much of a sad- or bad-itude and challenge me to become something better than what I am. When I'm with her I'm completely comfortable with who I am; I don't feel the need to be anyone else.

She's my favorite. I love her. I'm the person I am today, in large part,  because Emily is my sister.

My relationship with Emily is what sisterhood is all about.

Happy birthday, Em. I love you like crazy.


July 2

Ten years ago
:: I had been in the Young Women program for less than a year
:: I was getting ready to start middle school
:: I had straight-across bangs
:: I listened to N*SYNC regularly

Five years ago
:: I had already taken my senior pictures
:: I had already had my first kiss
:: My hair had enough highlights to almost be blond
:: I hadn't applied to BYU yet

Three years ago
:: I had just finished my freshman year of college
:: I was working a full-time temp job and saved up enough money for the whole school year
:: I was eagerly waiting for the release of the seventh HP book
:: I went to my first concert at Red Rocks Ampitheater

One year ago
:: I was not working a full-time temp job and did not save up enough money, resulting in another round of student loans
:: I was trying to figure out my cyst pain
:: I started Operation Superhuman Reader
:: I often felt panicked about post-graduation life

Six months ago
:: Josh met my family—immediate and a good deal of the extended
:: I was ready to graduate and still scared about it
:: I hugged my grandma for the last time
:: I started dreaming of diamonds—on my finger

Two months ago
:: I got engaged to a wonderful, wonderful man
:: I started my internship with the New Era
:: Four months seemed like a really, really long time
:: My Webcam became one of my better investments

One week ago
:: I was getting ready for (and dreading) my ward camp-out
:: I enjoyed the dark chocolate frozen yogurt in the cafeteria
:: I couldn't talk to my family, because they were all in Canada
:: I was in the middle of listening to HP 6 on my iPod

:: I finished HP 6
:: I watched the HP 7 movie trailer for the fifth or sixth time
:: I went with the Wilsons to their family reunion in Spanish Fork
:: Five weeks had turned into 24 hours until I saw Josh

:: It's the slowest day ever
:: The McDonald's worker spelled my name "Shaly" on my receipt
:: I'm taking the early bus home
:: The elevator jerked to a halt three times on the way down--when I left for the day, I took the stairs

In one month
:: I'll be getting ready to move out
:: The invitations will be sent and (hopefully) the replies received
:: Josh and I will have the keys to our apartment
:: I'll be in my last week at the New Era

In two months
:: I'll be married
:: Josh and I will be back from our cruise
:: My last name will be different
:: I'll be living in Oregon

Part of me wishes I could tell you what I'll be doing in six months, one year, five years, ten, but I can't. And I think that's pretty exciting. 
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