A Girl Should Be Two Things: Classy & Fabulous. - Coco Chanel


Sunday, November 30, 2014


I feel like the perfect way to end the month of November is expressing my thanks. As great as food and family is.... giving thanks is what the holiday is all about right?

I'm thankful for the gospel. It brings happiness and guidance and purpose to my life. Comfort too... to know my family is forever.

Speaking of family. I'm really thankful for my family. I'm thankful that my family is pretty drama free compared to many other families I know. I'm thankful that we all love each other and love spending time together. I'm thankful that everyone has different talents and willing to share them and help each other out. I'm thankful how sweet and supportive and loving they all are. I feel really blessed to be a part of my family. They are all amazing examples to me.

I'm thankful for being an overall positive person. Sure I have my down times, but overall... I look at life in a positive way and make the best out of every situation and pretty happy most of the time and love life.

I'm thankful for technology. I'm thankful that it makes my life easier. Easier to keep in touch with people, easier for me to keep a journal, easier to share my life with others.... just makes life easier.... there is something for everything to make things easier. It also provides me a job.

I'm thankful for my job! It's so nice to have a secure job for the past almost 6 years. It's nice to have a steady income to be able to support myself and also do things that I love. I'm also lucky that my job has provided me great co-workers and a fun and laid back environment that ALSO gives me great benefits and a lot of paid time off.

Which brings me to the next thing I'm thankful for. I'm thankful for traveling. Not only do I love seeing new places and doing new things and eating new food... but each time I travel, it teaches me new lessons and has me meeting new people and it gives me new perspective and appreciation for life. I'm so passionate about traveling.

I'm thankful for the basics. A roof over my head, food to eat, water to drink and shower in and a car (a beautiful and very reliable new car) to get me where I need to go. It's the everyday little things that a lot of times we forget to be thankful for because we are all lucky enough to have them, but not everyone does.... or people do, but it is a big struggle to get them.

I'm thankful for my friends. I have had bad friends in my life that have caused me a lot of heartache, but I have mostly been blessed with really wonderful friends that truly love and care for me as I do them. They have been a great support to me and we have had a lot of fun times throughout my life. My life would for sure not be as enjoyable without all of my dearest friends. They give life more meaning.

I'm thankful for music. Seems like a silly thing to be thankful for, but music is something that I have always been passionate about. I love it... pretty much all of it. I love singing, I love playing the piano and guitar even though I'm not the best. I loved my choir days, I have tender memories of singing with my mom and sisters all growing up and all the music we listened to in the car growing up. Music can set a mood, help you express your feelings and help bring back wonderful memories. Music is a powerful thing and I love it.

I'm thankful for my health. I know that there are a lot of people that are not so lucky with their health. People that are sick all the time or have struggled with cancer or other unpleasant things. It makes me feel bad for being such a baby about getting a cold once or twice a year. I really don't get sick much. I'm really thankful for that. I'm also thankful that I exercise and eat healthy and am able to run and hike and do active things because I have taken care of myself... sure... there is still lots of room to improve and I'm always trying to... but I'm healthy and I'm thankful for that.

I'm thankful for everything I have learned in my life so far and the person that I have become. Of course I'm not perfect and will never be... but I like to think that I have learned a lot in my 31 years. I have matured and become a better communicator and more confident and less judgmental and just a little wiser. I love who I am and it has taken me many years to feel that way. I'm happy that I finally feel that way.

I could go on and on about things I am thankful for. There are a lot of things and people in my life to be thankful for. However, I will end it here. It is easy to focus on what we don't have... but let's choose to focus on everything that we DO have. We are all blessed with so much. There's so much to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

New Wheels

Today I took a very big step in my adult life and made a big purchase. A new car. There are certain purchases in your life that make you feel like a real adult.... my first one was graduating from a single bed to a queen bed. That may sound silly... but a single bed is what you grow up sleeping on since you were a little kid. So when I got a queen bed, I felt like a real grown up.

The next purchase was my new car. It is a used car... but it is pretty new. It's a 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring. Compared to my last car (my 2003 Ford Focus) this car is a dream. The new technology they put into car amazes me. There is a blind spot detector so you don't merge over when there is a car there that you can't see. There is heated leather seats, a sun roof, dual climate control, a touch screen that has a backup camera, blue tooth and pandora and I can answer phone calls hands free while I'm diving. I never imagined driving a car so nice and fancy. I Love it.

Not only do I love how it looks on the inside... and how much more room I have in this car to pack in stuff if I needed to... but I also love how cute it looks on the outside as well. Charcoal Gray is the color car I have always wanted. I think it's so classy. So I got exactly what I wanted there. Plus I love the look of this compact SUV. I had driven others and liked them but still was unsure about this or that... but when I test drove this car... I fell in love. It is so quite and drives so smooth and it is AWD which is going to make the world of difference driving this Winter. I got a good price for the car... and although it took FOREVER at the dealership (I drove to Layton just to buy this car at this price)  and I felt like I had to sign my life away (I think I had to sign 30 papers) it was an overall pretty good experience. Thank you Young Chevrolet. Thank you to my mom as well for driving me there and sitting with me the entire process even though it was long. I LOVE my new car. It gets awesome gas milage, so I'm sure it will be taking me on many adventures to come. I'm glad this process is finally done and over with and now I just get to enjoy the car... and make some big car payments.... now the next stress will be selling my old car...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Family, Feast and More Family

This past week, my entire family has been together and I have loved every minute that I have gotten to spend with them. I wish I could spend more time with them, but I have a job... so I missed out on a few things, but I spent all the time I could when I wasn't at work. Our family doesn't all get together very often, so when we do... it's so fun. I love seeing all of my nieces and nephews playing together. They are all super adorable.

When we all get together, there is typically a lot of just sitting around. We don't have a lot of take charge type of people in our family... so it usually just doesn't happen. I tried to organize a little bit even though I wasn't even going to be there for a lot of it. My brother in law, Dan, was my secretary and this is what the weeks schedule looked like....

We celebrated Gwen's birthday late. She loved it. She is the cutest. She got nail polish and Sierra and Gwen (the girly girls) enjoyed painting each other's nails.

During the day while I was at work, they did a temple scavenger hunt and an elf hunt at Gardner Village. At night there was a movie night (one for the kids and one for the adults) and Billy, Dan and Lori took all of the kids bowling. Other than that... it was just playing and hanging out around the house.

If we didn't have enough family at the house already, on Thanksgiving day, we added more! It was crazy, but it was fun. We had our entire family and spouses and kids, plus my Uncle Rod and Aunt Rose and my cousin Jacob from California, plus My Uncle Dale and Aunt Theresa (who we have Thanksgiving with every year) and my cousin Lauren and her husband and two daughters, plus Clara's brother and their new convert friend Cathy. It was a full house and we had A LOT of food. Everyone was assigned to make something for the feast. My yearly contribution, Chocolate Haupia Pie.

We actually got a picture of the whole gang on the stairs... that is the only place we will all fit. It was a great day with great food. I'm very thankful for my family. I love them all VERY much and feel blessed to be a part of the family.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Confessions of a Brunette on the Internet 247

I'm thankful for Thanksgiving (today) and that it gives us a reason to reflect on our lives and all of the things that we have to be thankful for. I sure have a lot to be Thankful for. I have the greatest family that I love dearly. I have been blessed with a great job and the opportunity to travel all over the world. I have been blessed with great health and good friends that care about me and love to play with me. I have everything that I need and more and I am so thankful for all of that.

It has been so great to have all of my siblings and their families in town this week. Every day after work I just go hang out at my parents house with all of the family and I love it. Only wish that I didn't have to work so that I could have done more with them. We don't ALL get to be together that often, so I'm really grateful for when we do get the chance to.

I'm still watching Gilmore Girls. I'm half way done with the 6th season and then I only have one more season left.

I'm still car shopping, although I'm hoping to be done soon.... REAL soon. I'm not looking forward to how expensive it's going to be... but it needs to be done and I AM excited to be driving a new car. After I get my new car I won't be excited about the process of selling my old car. Hopefully it won't be too big of a pain and I will be able to sell it quickly.

I already got my Southeast Asia book in the mail. It came so fast! I'm also just about done with my Italy and Greece book. I felt like I did that pretty quickly. I am really happy with how the Southeast Asia book turned out. Even though it is a little bit of a pain to put together, I'm glad that I do it, they are so nice to have. Next I need to put together the video of the Italy & Greece trip. Typically I do that before the book gets done... but I guess I just got in book mode.

I went to the fish store this week and I bought new coral for my tank. I tried to get a different color to mix things up. One day I hope my tank will just be all jazzed up. It looks better and better all of the time and I feel like I have it more and more under control. My coral and fish are doing great and I don't have the green algae taking over the tank anymore which is awesome. I hated trying to pick it out all of the time. It's become a pretty fun hobby and I will continue to add to it little by little.

I haven't been very strict on my diet... but I need to be. Today I ate WAY too much. But it's Thanksgiving and everything looked so good so I tried a little bit of everything. I don't regret it, but I do need to get back on track now.

We brought much and mingle back in our ward. I feel like people have started singing my praises as being new Activities co-chair. Now if we can pull off the Ward Christmas party the way I vision it... I think we can call Ian and I a success. I couldn't ask for a better partner in this calling. I REALLY appreciate Ian and his enthusiasm. I tell him all the time how awesome I think he is and how glad he is my co-chair. Co-chairs make all the difference. Not only is he enthusiastic, but he is also super organized. He started a google spreadsheet to keep track of our budget and everything. He is great... I'm still a little stressed about our Christmas party because we pretty much don't have anything and we have a week to put it together... but I think we can do it. Wish me luck!

I think that is about all I have to confess. Happy Thanksgiving. I hope it was great.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Photo of the Week 245

It's that time of year when I get to see the sunset every day when I leave work.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Laser Tag Date

Jared really wanted to play Laser Tag for our date so I agreed and we met in the middle. Don't get me wrong, I like laser tag, but every time I have played it has been in a big group of friends... never for a date. So I wasn't sure how that was going to work.

There were 40 people in our game. We were on the red team which was a group of VERY young competitive boys. There were maybe 4 or 5 other adults and the rest were kids.... kids that meant business.

One of the bigger boys on our red team claimed to be the best and made himself our leader. Don't worry... he looked at me and worried that I was going to bring the team down, so he started giving me tips while we were putting our gear on. It made me laugh. This was serious.

Jared and I didn't see each other much in the game. We were both too focused on bringing all of the hyper kids down. Jared did A LOT better than I did... we will just leave it at that.

Laser tag was fun and all... but I had more fun after laser tag when we just went to sit and talk and eat ice cream. I helped him come up with an epic bucket list. I am very pro bucket lists.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mr. Always Comes Back

When I first got on Tinder, I matched with this guy and we started chatting. We soon figured out that we were not in the same state. He happened to be in Utah when I left to go on a cruise. We had just missed each other. He lives in Alaska. It is usually at that point where both people don't see the point and they both stop talking and move on. That didn't happen with this guy. We started talking regularly and he called me a few times and we chatted. I never really thought it would go anywhere and I didn't care for it to... I just enjoy talking and people and I thought he was kind of cute (at least the pictures he had on Tinder).

This went on for months... I was dating a lot of other guys and I didn't care but I enjoyed our chats. The more I got to know him the more sensitive I figured out he was and it didn't take much to set him off. He would tell me I was good wife material and I couldn't say anything back because we had never met and that is weird to me. I knew him a little by chatting... but you don't really know a person you have never met. It's different. I feel like with Internet dating... people fall in love with the idea of someone, and I really felt that is what he was doing with me. He was then telling me I needed to go out to Alaska to spend the week with him so we could see if something was there and he would pay for half my ticket... and I just couldn't do it. It sounded crazy to me. I did tell him though that next time he was in Utah that I would love to go out with him. He didn't like this answer. He felt like I was rejecting him or maybe he just didn't see the point because he liked me more than I liked him... I don't know. Soon after that he stopped texting me and I would try writing him on Facebook to say hi when I saw him online and he didn't answer and then he deleted me. I thought... ok... oh well... I didn't care too much, shortly after I started dating John.

Half a year goes by. I all of the sudden hear from him again. I should have ignored him, but I was too nice. I asked him why the long absence and why contact me again? He said he didn't see the point in trying to start anything long distance, but then he missed me and just really wanted to talk to me again and then asked me if we could talk again. I said sure. We chatted for a little while, but then he would send me inappropriate jokes that I didn't find funny and I would tell him that and then he would reply "sorry, I won't bother you again" and I would tell him he was being too dramatic and he wouldn't respond. This is when I really realized how emotionally unstable he was. Why did he care so much about what I said and though when we had never met and didn't really even keep in touch for most of the year?

Then a few weeks goes by and he would ask me if it bothered me if he can't stop staring at my pictures. How do you respond to that? Then he would ask me if I wanted to know what else my pictures did to him... trying to be dirty again. I would say no and he respected that for the time being because he "didn't want to lose me".  He doesn't really have me, so I don't know how he is going to lose me. Along with dirty humor text... I would also get lots of selfies of him trying to be sexy. When guys do that, to me it screams insecure. He would also send me song lyrics. It was all a little too weird to me. Here is an example of texts I would get from him.

"Want to know what I'm thinking about? Oh.... stuff. Work, sex, selling my truck, the weekend, sex, how I like this new phone case, how I like your picture... then sex again... "

Yep, classy. After that we would stop talking again.... which I was totally fine with. In fact I was always really happy when he stopped texting me. It was no longer fun to talk to him.

3 months goes by and I forgot about him honestly... until today when I got another text from him.

Mr. Always Comes Back : "What's up Tracy?"

Me : "Hey, how are you?"

Mr. Always Comes Back: "I'm good. At work this week. What's new?"

Me: " Since we last talked? Went to Italy & Greece, dating, shopping for a new car... you?"

Mr. Always Comes Back: " Well nothing as exciting as going to Italy and Greece. I started a new job and I started seeing this girl who lives in St. George.... so difficulties with that are pretty obvious. She's coming up for Thanksgiving and we are gonna decide what to do."

Me: "Sounds like life is going great for you. If you are happy in a relationship, why are you texting me?"

Mr. Always Comes Back: "A few days ago I couldn't get you out of my head. So maybe that was it"

Me: "Couldn't get me out of your head?!!!"
*I'm feeling creeped out because I forgot about him and never think about him. I have too many other guys to think about*

Mr. Always Comes Back: "Happens quite often"

Me: "Why? We never even met. You are dating another girl, you should be thinking about her"

Mr. Always Comes Back: "I just can't help but to have this incredible attraction to you... despite my best efforts not to. And I guess I'll always wonder what if."

Yikes...  All I can say is that I hope things go really well when the girlfriend comes out for Thanksgiving and he moves on, because it isn't ever going to happen for us. Sorry Mr. Always Comes Back....

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Today was another day of going through old stuff and letting go of more stuff. I took a HUGE pile to DI and it felt so good to get rid of that stuff. It's so refreshing to get rid of stuff you don't need and get more clean and organized. I'm so thankful I was raised that way and it's in my blood.

Among the stuff I found my Jansport backpack. Sometimes I wonder why I hold on to stuff. I have had this backpack since I was in high school. I used it in college and I took it with me camping and to India and South Africa and many other places. It ripped a hole in the bottom and my mom even stitched it back up so I could keep using it... which I did for many more years. It was a great backpack... but I don't use it anymore, therefore it was time to let it go. Shouldn't be hard, I should have let it go a long time ago. I guess I am a little sentimental.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Car Dealerships

Dear Car Dealerships,

I need a new car (newer used) and I want to buy one. After going to a few of you... you make me NOT want to buy a car. You make test driving a car is miserable experience. You make nice and friend Tracy turn into Sassy mad Tracy. I hate this process and you make me never want to do it again by giving me the run around and pressuring me to commit to things I don't want to.

I don't care to talk about Nintendo's and make small talk because you think that that is going to make me like you more therefore buy a car from you. It has everything to do with money... so please just tell me the price of the car and I will continue to shop around. When I tell you that I am annoyed and I need to go back to work... I REALLY am annoyed and REALLY need to go back to work.

I REALLY do need and want to buy a car, not that I am looking forward to car payments and higher car insurance, but I am looking forward to a new car that isn't super loud and shake when I drive it. Something that I'm not going to have anxiety every time I have to drive in the snow. It's time... and I wish you would make this experience better for me.


I know I need to be an adult and deal with this and that this is a good experience for me... but sometimes I hate being an adult. I just want me dad to do it for me. Is that a terrible thing to say as a 31 year old? It would be so much easier. Please someone just find the car I want and deal with the dealerships and insurance and car loans and then I will pay for it.

..... Thanks.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Confessions of a Brunette on the Internet 246

I'm thankful for vacations. They are refreshing and I come back rejuvenated and motivated to get a lot accomplished and go back to life. Allyson took great care of me over the weekend. We had a great time and had some great heart to hearts. She is so great and I feel so thankful that she is my friend.

I already blogged all about my weekend... so lets move on. I am still watching Gilmore Girls and loving it. I'm almost done with the 4th season. I have 3 more seasons to go.... then I'm not sure what I will watch next.

I'm slightly stressed about planning the ward Christmas party. I have a great vision, but we currently don't have a building to hold the party in. THAT stresses me out. If the person called to book it when I asked them to, I don't think we would be in this situation, but they didn't. I remember when I was in charge of activities in my last ward. The hardest thing was relying on other people to do what they said they were going to do.... I guess that is still the case. Hopefully it will all work out.

I finished my Southeast Asia book and I'm probably half way done with my Italy and Greece book. I have been working on them any minute I get. I was hoping to have both of them done and ordered so they would be here in time while my family is all in town next week... not sure if that is going to happen, but at least I'm trying. I do better with a deadline.

Tonight I had my monthly massage. I had a new girl. She was ok. I hate it when I tell them they can go harder and they just continue at the same pressure as they were already doing. Oh well. Massage is better than no massage.

My friend Nathaniel is doing a project in his NBA program on the Bachelor and Bachelorette and he asked me if he could interview me. I said sure... thinking how complicated could the interview be. The questions actually got really deep and made me think. It was interesting. I never thought I would be interviewed on why I watch the Bachelor/Bachelorette. I had to bring 5-7 pictures that represented my feelings on the show. I thought I came up with some good pictures.

On Monday I mentioned to my boss that I was thinking about buying a Christmas tree this year. A nice one. He got all excited and asked me if I wanted to go to Costco to buy one. He wanted to get treats for work anyway.... so we left work and almost everyone came to help me get a Christmas tree. I'm not going to complain about leaving work to go do something that I would need to find time to do after work. It was random and awesome and I came home the proud new owner of a Christmas tree. They are so expensive... but it is an investment right? I won't have to buy a tree again.. and it's a nice one. Also when we showed up at the Costco in Spanish Fork.. as we were going in, my oldest sister was coming out! It was such a fun run-in. We both were for sure not expecting to see each other. ha ha. Now if only I could do the same thing with buying a car. I want it to just be that easy and be done with.

I also reserved a yurt for this Winter's adventure. I don't get excited about Winter, but I am excited about another yurt adventure. This time we will be in a yurt that holds 12. It will be a party. Allison doesn't think we have that many friends to fill the yurt, but I told her we could take it as a challenge to make more friends by then. I think we can do it.

Last night we watched Hunger Games AND Catching Fire. Why? Mocking Jay part 1 premiered today. I'm really happy that I know a lot of people and sometimes those people hook me up with things. My friend Wes, who I hadn't seen or talked to in forever text me yesterday asking me if I wanted 4 tickets to a private pre-showing of the Mocking Jay for tonight at 7:15. I took him up on that offer. I took my sister and Allison. We saw the line starting for the midnight showing and I just thought how nice it was to watch it opening night at a decent hour AND for free. We all enjoyed loved it. I thought it was so well done and I can't wait for part 2! I kind of hate that I have to wait a year to see it, but at the same time I like having movies I love to look forward to. Ahhhh so good!

Other than that... just juggling guys with J names. The end.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Orleans

I flew to Texas to visit Allyson, but our main weekend event was a road trip to New Orleans. It is only 5 hours from Houston and I have always wanted to go and explore New Orleans, so Allyson agreed and we went. We didn't really have any plans once we got there, we just figured we would figure it out when we got there. Which we did. 

We arrived Friday night. We found a hotel to stay in that night that was close to the main part of the city. We checked in and then went out to explore the New Orleans night life. It felt like Vegas... every where you walk was a party. Everyone drinking. Hanging beads everywhere. It was kind of fun. We found a place to eat. I was excited to try Southern food. I tried fried Mac and Cheese. It didn't sound that appealing, but it was surprisingly very good. We had a lot of fun just hanging out and talking with strangers. Everyone is so friendly there.

We didn't stay out too late... I guess we are getting old. We went to bed so we could get up and enjoy the next day and not feel like we had a hangover from staying out all night. So we got up and set out to explore the city and see what it was like during the day.

First we needed to get the famous pastries at Cafe Du Monde. We stood in a long line for them. It reminded me of standing in line to get Butter Beer at Harry Potter World. Like the Butter Beer, it was worth it. 

After that we spent a lot of time walking around, going in shops, looking at art and watching street performers. There were so many of them. I also just loved taking in how beautiful it was. Not only was it a beautiful day (while it was snowing back home) but it is a beautiful and charming city. 

We also ate more. I mean... I had to try all of that famous New Orleans food. We ended up going to Antoine's and getting the New Orleans sample platter so we could try the Gumbo, Jambalaya, red beans and shrimp. Also came with bread pudding. All of it was good. 

And really... that was all we did in New Orleans. I was totally satisfied with that. I love exploring new cities and just taking them in. Experiencing the food and the culture and the architecture. And that is what we did. Along with that... New Orleans has some amazing talent when it comes to music. We saw so many great bands performing on the streets while we walked around. Being a music lover... I can't get enough of that. 

Allyson and I have gone on some great adventures in the past... Hanging out in St. George, rappelling down a waterfall in American Fork Canyon, staying out all night in Vegas, backpacking to Havasupai... now we have road tripping from Texas and exploring New Orleans to add to our fun little adventures. Allyson is an amazing friend and I love that she is always up for fun. She really took care of me over the weekend and we had such a great time talking about life... the good and the bad and learning from each other and being there for each other. Love that girl and look forward to our next adventure.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Reunited in Texas

I have been to the Texas airport more times than I can count... but this trip was the first time I have left the airport in Texas. I happen to have two very good friends living in Houston right now. To  be honest... I wasn't too excited to visit Houston. There doesn't seem to be much to do there except eat (which might be why it is one of the fattest cities in the country) and the scenery isn't much to look at either. However, I have two dear friends living there and that is reason enough to go for a visit.

Allyson moved out there first, for work and wanted me to visit. I told her I would and I am a woman of my word. If I say I'm going to do something, I do it. I love that girl, so I was more than happy to go spend a weekend with her. About a year ago, my good friend Rich moved there as well. Well... at first he moved home, but then he moved to Houston for a job. My first night there Rich and I got together for dinner and a good heart to heart... like we used to do when we lived next to each other. Rich was always a good friend, so we were excited to hang out and catch up. Allyson had other plans, so it was just Rich and I.

We went out to eat. Got some good Texan food. After dinner we went to this cute dessert shop called "Sweet" and got some cupcakes and hot chocolate. I have to say that the cupcakes and hot chocolate are better in Utah (at least compared to this shop) but it was still cute and delicious and more importantly just fun hanging out with Rich.

Sad to say that I don't know when it will happen again. However, we are good enough friends that we will be in touch and if we happen to be in each other's area... we will hang out again.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


I just got back from traveling... again. I know... I'm just a traveler, what can I say? Well.. when traveling, especially when by myself... I love.....

People watching! It can be VERY entertaining.

Enough said.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pumpkind Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter

Yet another hit at the Pumpkin Dinner Party. I pinned this and so did Allison and this is one of the things she made for the party. It turned out so great (even though she didn't do the cinnamon butter. I will try that next time for sure. I love that not only the taste good, but look cute too.


1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces or 43 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, divided
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups (16.88 ounces or 479 grams) all-purpose flour
Sliced pecan pieces, for the "stems"


1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon



In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir the yeast, milk, sugar, butter, pumpkin, one egg, and salt until well combined. Gradually add the flour and knead on medium-low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Continue to knead the dough on medium-low speed for another 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and smooth. If it seems too sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces and shape into balls. Use the palm of your hand to flatten each ball slightly. With a pairing knife, cut 8 slices around each ball, being careful not to slice all the way into the center, to make the pumpkin shape. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Using the wooden end of a small utensil or your finger to poke an indentation in the center of each roll to create a space for the "stem." In a small bowl beat the remaining egg with 2 teaspoons of water and brush all over the rolls. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Place a sliced pecan piece into the indentation of each roll.


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 30 seconds, or until pale in color. Add the powdered sugar, honey, and cinnamon and beat until well combined, light, and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately or store, covered, in the fridge for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Serve the rolls warm with the cinnamon butter.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Pumpkin Coconut Curry

I don't know why I didn't take a picture of this one, but I didn't. All you have to know is that it is GOOD. I will make it again for sure especially since it was so easy. Gotta love crock pot meals. It was a hit at the pumpkin dinner party.

  • 1 15-ounce can of unsweetened coconut milk (full fat, not light)
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ tablespoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon tumeric powder
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cups 1-inch cubed sweet potatoes
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Juice of 1 lime

  1. In the insert of a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, add the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, chicken stock, curry powder, tumeric powder, garam masala, salt, and pepper. Whisk together to make sure it is all combined and spices are evenly distributed.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, sweet potatoes, chicken breasts, and lime juice to the mixture. Stir to coat and incorporate.
  3. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  4. Serve over rice!
  5. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to seven days.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Confessions of a Brunette on the Internet 245

I feel like I don't have much to say this week because I already blogged all about my exciting weekend and that was the excitement of the week.

Work has been slow so I have been bringing my laptop to work. I totally finished my Southeast Asia book and was so excited so I can start working on my Italy and Greece book... but then when I went to order it, it was telling me some of the pictures weren't loading and then I logged out and logged back in and a bunch of stuff didn't save. I was pretty irritated, so I will have to do it again. Hopefully I can remember everything that I did.

Still watching Gilmore Girls. Love it. I'm on the 3rd season now.

I got my hair done by my good friend Nicole who is amazing. I went darker. I feel like it has been a while since I have had darker hair, so I'm happy about it. She always does an awesome job with me hair, so I'm never worried.

I was having bad cramps (as I usually do) the other day and Mr. Butt Slapper wanted to hang out. I told him I wasn't feeling well. He wouldn't just accept that answer and move on. He had to ask me what I had. I'm not a very good liar and so I just came right out and told him I had cramps... thus I wanted to be left a lone and not see anyone and stay curled up in front of the TV watching Gilmore Girls. He asks if he can come over and give me a massage. I feel like if we were dating that would be sweet. But is that weird coming from a guy you have gone out with twice... hung out with once and went on one date? I said no.

Other than that... I'm out of town, so I will be posting recipes from my pumpkin dinner. Finally. So... enjoy. Hopefully I will have more exciting things to talk about when I get back from my trip.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Photo of the Week 243

I love living next to the park. Fall is still in full force at the park and I love it because it is gone pretty much everywhere else. I'm so sad when it's all gone and Winter comes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Harry Potter World Butter Beer

Ever since I went to Harry Potter World, I have wanted that Butter Beer again. It is SO good. When I decided to go all out for my pumpkin dinner this year, I decided it was the perfect time to try and make it. This recipe I found comes pretty close to the real thing.

  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 6 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
  • Four 12-ounce bottles cream soda
  1. In a small saucepan over medium, combine the brown sugar and water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring often, until the mixture reads 240 F on a candy thermometer.
  2. Stir in the butter, salt, vinegar and 1/4 heavy cream. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the rum extract.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Use an electric mixer to beat until just thickened, but not completely whipped, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. To serve, divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 tall glasses (about 1/4 cup for each glass). Add 1/4 cup of cream soda to each glass, then stir to combine. Fill each glass nearly to the top with additional cream soda, then spoon the whipped topping over each.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fun Four Wheeling Adventure

Saturday (after Turkey Bowling) Allison, RJ, Jeremy and I headed up Hobble Creek Canyon to the Hyde home. Even though Brother Hyde is no longer in my Bishopric, we became buddies over the years that he was. Before he was released, he invited me and whoever I wanted to invite to come four wheeling (as I have many times before) and for a BBQ and to hang out in his new hot tub. With both of us being busy and or out of town... it took a while to set it up, but we finally made it happen on Saturday.

I decided to just have it be 4 of us. That way we could all go out on the four wheelers and not have to worry about how long each person was on and trading. We played on the four wheelers for a couple of hours. We explored the trails and were hoping to see some animals.. but no luck. Even though most everything was dead.. it was still fun and beautiful to go exploring around the mountains. They even had us take their dog Lou. She rode in the back with RJ and I and when we would stop, she would get out and run.... and run and run. She has an amazing amount of energy. It was fun to have her along on the adventure.

After we were done exploring and it was too dark to go any further, we went back to the Hyde home and Brother Hyde BBQed some chicken in his smoker for us. It was SOOOOO good. We brought the sides. We brought salad, corn, potato salad, corn bread and dessert. It was all so good.

If that were not enough, after getting full on a yummy dinner, the Hydes let us change and soak in their nice big hot tub.... which was so nice after getting cold on the four wheelers and being so cold the night before from camping. We soaked in there for an hour and a half. While we were in the hot tub, we talked about how going to the Hydes house was like going away to a cabin. Their house looks like a cabin and it is out in the middle of the canyon, you don't get any reception at their house. It's a nice get away without having to drive really far away.

It was a really fun night. BIG thank you to the Hydes. They are the best. So glad they let me come play still even though he is no longer in the bishopric. I just think the world of them.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Spanish Fork Canyon Camping

Friday night, I went camping... even though I thought I would freeze. I didn't have any other plans, plus I wanted to hang out with my friends. When I blogged about my last camping trip, I thought it would be my last camping trip of the year... and it probably should have been.

I only say that because even though the days have been really nice... the nights and the mornings are super cold. Too cold to be sleeping outside if you ask me. The entire time we were there, I was cold... even standing next to the fire. Just a part of me would be kind of warm then. I wanted all of me to be warm. All night I was just counting down until an hour that was socially acceptable to go to bed. I was tired, but I mostly wanted to be warm in my sleeping bag. We started laughing after a while because I kept checking the time and when I thought like 15 minutes had gone by, it had really only been 5 minutes. I gave in and went to bed around 10:45.

I knew that I would still be cold in my sleeping bag even though I brought warm clothes and double socks and a zero degree sleeping bag. Allison taught me camping trip that has changed my life. You boil water and put it in your water bottle and then you screw the lid on tight and you put it at the bottom of your sleeping bag. As soon as I got into my sleeping bag with the warm water bottle, I knew I was going to be able to sleep. I now have a quality sleeping pad that is comfy and holds in the heat... so I sleep pretty comfortable now... with warm feet... I can REALLY sleep while camping now! It warmed up my entire sleeping bag and my feet as usually the only part of me that I can't get completely warm... not this time! I was warm. It was AMAZING. It stayed warm the entire night. I slept pretty well. Only woke up twice. I will probably use that camping trick... like every time I go camping. I was the first to get in bed and fall asleep and the last to wake up and get out. I knew as soon as I got out of my sleeping bag I was going to be freezing again... and I was right. However... I did it anyway and joined my friends and the boys made breakfast... pancakes and bacon that they flipped with an axe. ha ha.

I still had fun, but I probably won't go camping again until summer... unless I travel to somewhere warmer to go camping. I wouldn't be against that... but not in the mountains in Utah. TOO COLD!!! I'm glad that we didn't go too far to go camping. That is the great thing about Utah... so many great places to go that are not too far away, but make you feel like you are. I love the outdoors.