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


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Middle Eastern Dinner Party

While Deb and I were in the Middle East, we fell in love with the food. We took a hummus making class and tried all the recommended food. We were in love. While at the market we both bought teas and spices to take home and decided that we were both going to put on Middle Eastern dinner parties with our friends and try cooking this yummy food ourselves.

Took about 4 months, but we both finally did it. Deb did hers first and sent me a picture of the food she made. Seeing the picture of her yummy food got my motivated to put on my dinner party as well. So I sent a message out to my crew (which I see less and less of now... pretty much just when I throw my dinner parties). I had done Christmas Dinner parties and my summer dinner parties and my fall pumpkin dinner parties. I have even done a few tea parties. This was the first middle eastern one and I was excited for the challenge.

Like Deb, I decided to keep to the Middle Eastern Staples... although I went a lot more all out than Deb did. Doesn't her looks pretty though? That girl knows how to take pictures of food. I haven't mastered that art yet.

I decided to make the same thing Deb did (homemade hummus, falafel's, cucumber and tomato salad and pita's) although I bought my pita's but I did put out that same green spice for the pitas like she did above. That stuff is tasty. I decided to also make chicken shawarma which turned out awesome and I brewed up some of the tea that I brought back. For desert, yogurt with halva on top (I LOVE halva)

And of course I can't put on a dinner party without also creating the ambiance. So we sat in my basement on the floor around the table and ate with our hands. I hung one of the tapestries I bought in Israel that I love and hung some lights and lit some candles. Used one of my scarves I got from there as the table cloth. And Stacey always provides the music and found a Middle Eastern playlist to listen to while we ate. It was pretty awesome actually. And speaking of Stacey, he knows me well and knows that I always bite off more than I can chew and knows I always run late with everything I end up making... so he came an hour early to help me cook and set up. He's a gem. Plus it is more fun to cook with someone else and have some help than to do it all yourself.

All in all I loved the way it all turned out and the food was.... FANTASTIC. I will be making it all again and I guess that means I should post the recipes as well. I actually used the same humus recipe that I posted on my blog years ago. Love that humus. I will post the chicken shawarma and falafel's recipes later. Oh.. and my crew told me this was my yummiest of all of my dinner parties so far. So I think that means it was a success. I have already suggested to my family that we should do it for Sunday dinner one week. P.S. I sent a picture of my spread to Deb. She loved it. I also sent a picture to Eli and he was very impressed... so if an Israeli is impressed, I did ok for myself.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Mattress Drama

I have had my mattress for about 5 years now. They say you should replace your mattress every 8 years... but I was feeling  a new mattress now. I have a pillow top on a spring mattress and it is SUPER soft and starting to dip a little bit and even though it is super soft and comfortable, I have a crappy back and lately I wake up on occasion with my back hurting. So I decided it was time to save my back before things get worse and get something a little more firm.

I had come across a mattress on Amazon that had 400 plus reviews that were all amazing. People saying that it was the best mattress they had ever slept on. Those are pretty good reviews! However, buying a mattress online without testing it out seemed pretty risky. It was a pretty good price though. $520 for a queen. Not bad! So I put it in my wish list.

I talked about the mattress with several different people and everyone was telling me it was a great price and a great mattress and they knew someone with a similar mattress that said it was amazing. bla bla bla... I was becoming more convinced (not that that is hard).

When I got back from Iceland, I was looking at my Amazon wishlist and noticed that the price went down $100 on the mattress. What? That is an amazing price! $420 for a brand new mattress that was apparently amazing. I decided I should buy that mattress.

Less than a week later, the new mattress arrived at my doorstep in a very big and heavy box. The box was pretty beat up... so I got rid of the box and brought the mattress in the air tight bag down to my basement until I could sell my bed and buy a new bed frame. My co-worker Drew came with me to Ikea soon after my bed came to help me find a frame that I liked. Now I just needed to sell my bed.

I sold my bed a week later and the same day I sold my bed, my dad came over and put together my frame. As soon as the frame was build, we took the mattress out of the bag to complete my bed so I could sleep on it that night. They say you needed up to 6 hours for the mattress to fully expand to full size. As soon as we ripped open the air tight bag the mattress was in, it quickly expanded and it took 5 minutes. In those 5 minutes, we quickly realized that it was way too big and they did NOT send me a queen which I ordered. I looked at my order to see if it was my fault and I accidentally ordered a king instead of a queen. Nope. My order said Queen. What happened? I looked at the box it came in before I threw it away... but I didn't see the size anywhere big. I'm sure it said somewhere, but I didn't look for it because I just assumed that they sent me the correct size. What was I going to do? My dad and I both weren't sure, but it was too late to do anything about it that night... so my dad left and I grabbed some sheets to sleep on and I slept on it that night.

I slept great. It is a comfortable bed, it was just the wrong size, so I needed to call Amazon. The next morning I called Amazon. I explained VERY CAREFULLY exactly what happened. I explained that I can't put it back in the box and that it is a king size bed. They said, it was their mistake and it was fine and that they would have UPS pick it up the next day. I asked if UPS would take it even though it isn't in a box. They said yes. That mattress is ALL memory foam it is heavy. So I asked my friend Daniel to come over and help me move it. He said he would and brought his roommate Josh. It took them 20 minutes to get it out of my room and upstairs. The trickiest part was getting it up the stairs because it didn't fit in the stairwell... so it took some squishing and pushing and pulling, but they did it. So I left the mattress upstairs and I slept on the floor in the basement. UPS would take my mattress the next day and they told me my new mattress was on it's way and would be at my house on Wednesday. I thought it was all fixed now and I had nothing to worry about.

When UPS came to pick it up, my roommate was home and called me soon after they left and told me they wouldn't take the mattress because it wasn't wrapped or boxed... which I had clearly explained to Amazon that I couldn't do. So I still had the mattress. Ugh. So I called Amazon again. Of course every time I called Amazon I talk to a different person. I had to explain what happened each time I called in. This time they said it just needs to be wrapped up in order for UPS to take it and transferred me to a UPS representative. So I called my dad and asked him if he had anything to wrap something that big at his work warehouse... so he told me he would pick up the mattress and wrap it up and have UPS pick it up when they come to his work. So he did and I arranged for UPS to pick it up there instead of my house. My dad wrapped it up and then called UPS and they said they still wouldn't take it because it was too big and a special freight company would have to take it and that is expensive. SO... I called Amazon again and asked them what they were going to do at their expense to take care of this situation. They said...oh, we actually have a different department that deals with larger shipping items. Oh really? Ok, why didn't they tell that to me the first time that I called in? I got transferred to that department and I explained the situation once again. They said it is opened and out of the box? Oh... you know what? They won't resell that anyway and it would cost a lot to ship it back, so just do whatever you want with it and your new one is on it's way AND we will refund you your money. I said, "Hold up... I can keep the King, my Queen is on the way AND you are giving me my money back? So I get 2 beds for free?" They said yep. So I was thought... that works for me. This has been a headache, but if it meant getting 2 beds for free I can deal with it. I called up my sister Kristy and asked her if she wanted a new King bed for free since they had been sleeping in the same queen bed since they got married. So it all turned out... or so I thought.

Wednesday came and my new bed arrived. I had been sleeping on the floor for 2 nights and was already tired of it and was excited for my new bed. This time I checked the box before taking the mattress out. Almost as a joke... because how could they get the size wrong twice? I brought the box inside and I checked the size on the box. OMG! They sent me the wrong size AGAIN! I couldn't believe it. This time they sent me a full. So I have a King and a Full and I ordered a Queen. I was so mad. I had to call Amazon again.

I was not looking forward to this phone call because I was mad. I try really hard not to yell and be mad at the people on the phone because I know it is not their fault. It is the person that is taking it from the warehouse and putting it on the shipping trucks fault. At the same time... I want to be understood and I want them to fix the problem. I called and explained what happened this time. That they sent me the wrong size a second time. They looked at my account and all they saw was that I was given a refund, so they were telling me that they couldn't ship me a new one, they told me that I would have to buy a new one because I got the refund. I told them no, I wasn't going to accept that because I was given the refund, I didn't ask for it and that was for the first one and not the second one. She told me there was nothing she could do for me and at this point I'm yelling and really mad. She asks me if I want to talk to the manager. I say absolutely I do. So I talk to the "manager" and explain the situation again. She was trying to tell me the same thing and on top of that telling me that because they got it wrong twice, that they can't sell it to me again because they might get it wrong a 3rd time. WHAT?! That is THE STUPIDEST thing I have ever heard. I asked, are you planning on getting it wrong a third time? Just send me the correct bed and all of this is over. It had become such a nightmare and I had ended up talking to Amazon at least once every day that week. It was so ridiculous. I told her I hadn't opened this bed yet... it was still in the box. UPS could come pick it up the next day and they could resell the bed. She finally understands me and she says UPS will pick up the bed the next day and my new bed (the Queen... hopefully) will be there by Friday at no cost to me. Ok... hopefully this is the last time I have to call Amazon. I wait for Friday.

The next day I left the Full bed out on my front door for UPS to pick up. They never came. I checked my email and they told me no need to return that bed, but my new bed is on the way. Wait what? You make a big deal out of me returning the King bed that is out of the box, but this one that was never taken out of the box you don't care to pick up? Makes no sense, but I am not going to argue at this point. As long as my queen bed comes on Friday.

Friday the box comes. When I get home from work I bring the box inside and look to make sure it says Queen on it. IT DOES! HALLELUJAH!! I take the new mattress downstairs and take it out of the box & bag and put it on the new frame and let it expand. It fits! Now I need to sell the full bed.

I have never had orders go wrong when I order from Amazon. The one time it does... it just has to be a bed! Ugh. In the end, I got 3 memory foam beds for free. Crazy huh? How do I like the bed? It is different from what I am used to. More firm than I thought it was going to be... however, I sleep great on it and I feel like I can already tell a difference with my back sleeping on it. So I think it was a good decision in the end... even if it was a nightmare of a process getting the correct one.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Confessions of a Brunette on the Internet 369

It's amazing how fast the weeks go by and how much I want to get accomplished and how much I don't end up getting accomplished. I wish I was more motivated when I got home from work to tackle projects like dejunking. I really wanted to focus on dejunking this year... so far I haven't done too much of it. I really need to work on that.

Since I left the last confession, Friday after work Candice and I and her mom (who I also used to work with) went to bowl of heaven to get some dinner and then headed to the movie theaters to see "Life" which gave me major anxiety. It is a space movie... which already gives me anxiety and then add the suspense of an unknown growing alien that is killing each passenger on the space ship one by one... I turned away...a  lot. So did Candice. It was kind of funny actually.

Saturday was General Conference day. So I was home all day watching conference for 4 hours. In between sessions, I sold my bed to an old ward friend since I had my new bed I bought on amazon waiting in a box along with the frame I bought waiting in a box to be build. I just needed to sell my other bed first. So I did and that was exciting. I was just hoping that I wouldn't regret it because I hadn't tested out my new bed... I had only read great reviews. So lets hope those reviews are true because my other bed was so soft and comfy. I just don't think it was the best for my back... I needed something a little more firm. You know?

Later I met up with Kyle at Utah Lake with a couple of his friends. The plan was to paddle board.. but it was way to windy and there was no way I was going to paddle board. However we had fun hanging out at the lake for a bit. I met these guys that took a school bus and converted it into a little bachelor pad and were traveling across the US. They were both from New York.

Later that night I asked my dad to come over and put together my new bed frame. He is great at that sort of thing and I can tell you right now that I wouldn't have been able to put that thing together myself. Once it was put together, I was really happy with it. Looks really nice and it will be nice to have something more sturdy than that metal adjustable frame that I had before. I was excited to have the new frame and to finally take my new bed out of the air tight bag and try out my new bed. So we did... and QUICKLY found out it was the wrong size. Way too big. This turned into a week long bed drama with Amazon which I will do a separate blog post for. I did sleep on it that night though and it was comfortable, so at least I didn't have to worry about that anymore.

Sunday was another day of General Conference. It was great as it always is. After the last session I went over to my parents house for dinner and we celebrated Irelyn's 5th birthday... which I already blogged about. After leaving my parents house I met up with Drew & Sammy (the guys that I met on my Iceland trip) and we hung out and exchanged pictures and video and such. They are so fun and it was fun to see them again.

Monday after work I went running... it is finally warm enough to run outside after work. And I NEED to start running. Yes, I work out in the gym with Jack... so I am strong... and I have been doing interval running, so I am not totally out of shape.. but I haven't run outside in a long time and I am out of shape. It sucks. I hate feeling out of shape... which I usually feel, which is why exercise has never been really fun for me. However, I am going to keep at it even though I hate it.

After I got back from running and had some dinner, I headed over to Julia's house for a little singing session. I showed her a song that I wrote after getting back from Iceland that was inspired by Iceland. She loved it which made me happy because it just came to me and I was happy with it... which doesn't happen very often. What is also typical of me is that I come up with the lyrics and not the music... so I still need to do that, but at least I am happy with the lyrics right?

Tuesday after work I went up to Salt Lake to take Irelyn out for her birthday (which I also already blogged about) which was fun. After I hung out with Chad and Clara for a little bit and helped with the bedtime routine for Irelyn and Calvin and said goodnight and gave them hugs and kisses.

After I left their house I headed to this guys place. We had been talking for a little bit and he had been wanting to hang out and he just so happened to live 5 minutes away from Chad and Clara... so I went over there and we went out and chatted for a couple hours. He was a nice guy. A LOT younger than me, but a nice guy. Good company. Will we see each other again. Probably not. Nice time though.

Yesterday after work I went running again. Back at it. A little easier than Monday... but still hard. I have a ways to go. Not much went on besides that besides some meal prep for my dinner party I had tonight.

Which leads me to tonight. After work I headed home and cooked cooked cooked. I had a dinner party for my crew. I love getting us all together for a dinner party. It gets me cooking and it gets us all together and it makes for a good time. I did a Middle Eastern Dinner Party this time obviously inspired by my recent trip. I would love to tell you more about it... but you will just have to wait for my post about it. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Photo of the Week 367

Spring stroll through the Provo Cemetery. So happy to see all of these beautiful flowers and say goodbye to Winter.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Cupcakes for Irelyn's Birthday

Birthday tradition with the nieces and nephews continue. Took Irelyn out for her 5th birthday to get cupcakes at The Chocolate.

We had a fun time and giggled about silly things and took silly pictures because Irelyn loves to be silly. She is such a cute little girl with a lot of character and love. Love you Irelyn.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Spring Card Making

Tradition continues. Monthly card making with my mom and sister. Here are the March Cards.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Irelyn's 5th Birthday

I seriously can't believe that Irelyn is already 5. All of my nieces and nephews are growing up SO fast. It makes me feel old and quit honestly it scares me a little bit. It scares me because not only am I getting old but also running out of years to have kids myself and even if I do have kids... all of my siblings will most likely be done having kids and they won't have any cousins their age. This is what older single people think about. However, I keep the smile and try not to think about it and just love my nieces and nephews.

It was fun to watch Irelyn open her presents and blow out her candles. This girl has a lot of facial expressions and I am not always quite sure what they mean... but I am pretty sure she was super excited for her birthday and felt like a princess.

Happy Birthday Irelyn. You sure are a sweet girl that has a great smile, gives great hugs, brings laughter and a lot of love into the family. Love you lots. Happy Birthday!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Packing Like a Boss

With all of the traveling I have done, I have packing down to an art. I really know how to pack my backpack well with room to spare. On this last trip to Iceland, I flew with WOW Airlines. They are a newer airline and I had never flown with them before. All I knew is that it was cheap. What I quickly figured out while buying the ticket is that it is cheap for a reason. If you want to pick a seat you have to pay, if you have a checked bag, you have to pay, if you have a carry on... you guessed it! You have to pay! I wasn't having it. So I didn't pick a seat and I decided to pack everything I needed in a personal bag that fits under the seat... which was free. How was I going to do it? I wasn't sure at the time, but I was going to take the challenge.

So 5 days in Iceland in a personal bag that fits under the seat. I did it! How did I do it you ask? First of all I decided it was going to be cold enough in Iceland that I was just going to wear my snow boots everyday. I decided I wasn't going to pack any other shoes. So I wore those shoes the entire trip. I also did this with my duck down parka. I knew that I would be wearing that everyday as well. My layover in LA got pretty hot.... but it was worth it not having to pay $50-$70 for a carry on bag.

What about everything else? It is not like I was going to wear the same clothes everyday. And I had other things I needed to bring as well. It just so happens that I purchased a travel bag from Cotopaxi late last year. It is small enough that it fits in any size overheard on a plane. It has handles that you can carry the bag or there are  straps that come out so you can wear it like a backpack or a long strap that you can throw over your shoulder... which is how I carry it most of the time. Sounding pretty cool so far? I think it is pretty awesome (which is why I bought it).

It doesn't look like much from the outside, but it has so many different pouches and compartments. They seemed to think of everything. I'm going to show you each compartment and what I was able to pack in it. First, they have a separate zipper for a slim compartment that you can carry your computer in. I have used that for another trip, but I wasn't taking my computer on this trip... so I used it for leggings and my swim suit.

There is a small compartment on the front that I used for chargers and adapter and stuff for the plane like earplugs and headphones etc...

Now let's open this bad boy up! On one side you have one mesh compartment. Zip that open... and here is everything I was able to fit inside. In eluding a scarf, two beanies, snow pants, gloves, socks, and some t-shirts!

On the other side, you have a little compartment on top of the bigger mesh compartment. Here is what I packed in that little pocket.

And the last compartment... well... even I was surprised how much I fit in there. I mean, I got a try-pod and SLR camera in there. That a lone is amazing. Let alone a water bottle (which I don't typically pack on trips but is a great idea to bring to Iceland) some crampons... which I didn't end up using. Nor did I use the headlamp (but that is something I always bring just in case), but I did use my GoPro, towel, brush and backpack.

Did you look at that picture and think... wait... where was the backpack? Another total space saver that I bought for Havasupai but is TOTALLY going to continue to come in handy is this Osprey collapsible backpack. Check out how sweet this is!

Close those zippers up and I still squeezed a few things in before zipping the backpack shut. A book, wallet and passport.

ALL of that... in this. It was a challenge, but I did it. I wouldn't say that I would pack like this for every trip... but I know that if I need to, I totally can. :)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Confessions of a Brunette on the Internet 368

Starting where I left off in my exciting life....

Friday I went to Ikea after work with my co-worker Drew. We both have exciting lives.... Friday night shopping at Ikea. I know I know. He was nice enough to help me shop for a bed frame for my new bed. I'm very indecisive so it is good to have someone to talk things through with. We were there until it closed.... but I did end up picking a frame that I am happy with.

Saturday was gloomy so I stayed in bed. Nothing new there... I like to stay in bed on Saturday anyway because I can. Good enough reason right? Anyway... Eli ended up texting me (you know... my Jerusalem boyfriend) and I told him I was just laying in bed not doing anything, so he decided to video chat with me. We had only done that once before and it wasn't for super long... but I had forgotten how different conversations are when you video chat with someone so far away. You can tease each other, you can see each other's facial expressions when you are talking. It's nice. We ended up talking for 3 hours! Seriously. We have fun chatting and we get each other. So it was nice to catch up face to face. After that I met up with Kyle and we went to Bowl of Heaven. We were going to do something outdoors... but with the rain, we both just decided to get something healthyish to eat instead. Hanging out is better than not doing anything at all. Later that night I hung out with Rachel. We just went to get dinner and hang out at her house. Nothing exciting. But again... better to do nothing with someone else than do nothing by myself. I enjoy having company. It's the extrovert in me.

LATER... after I got home from Rachel's house late and was in bed, Tyler shows up at my house. I told him not to come over because I was tired... but he said all he wanted to do was come hear about my Iceland trip and then he would go home. Wasn't trying to get anything physical out of me... just wanted to see me and hear about my trip because he hadn't seen me in a long time and then would go home. Have I told her he lives a half hour away? It's true. He was going to drive a half hour just to hear me talk about my trip and then drive a half hour back. I couldn't argue with that... so I told him he could. He can be sweet... but he can also be a pain. We have an interesting friendship.

Oh and I forgot! I went to the Festival of Colors for the 10th year in a row! Kyle went with me and we went to take pictures... which I think I got at least one good one. I always have these visions of getting these amazing pictures... but then get a couple of ok ones. It is fun to go anyway and Kyle and I always have fun on our little adventures.

Sunday was dinner with the family and Dale and Teresa came over. Always fun when they stop by. Love them. They are so fun to talk to... so I always stick around longer than usual when they are there.

Monday after work I went back over to Rachel's house because she had rented Moana and I hadn't seen it yet and heard that it was really cute. So I watched it over at her house. It was super cute. Will it be one that I own? We shall see. Maybe.

Tuesday after work I didn't do anything.

Wednesday I had to work late... like until 9. So that was a buzz kill for my evening... except that I probably wouldn't have done anything... so maybe it isn't a buzz kill because at least I was getting paid over-time.

Tonight? No plans again.... just watching tv while I blog. I know... the exciting life of Tracy.  I know I know... I'm normal. Not everyday can be filled with excitement. I just feel lame when I have nothing to report.

We will see what next week has in store.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Holi - Festival of Colors - Take 10

10 years going to the Festival of Colors! I must love it. ha ha. It's true. It is a fun festival that for some reason I haven't gotten sick of and I continue to find people to go with me every year. Not sure how much longer that will last. Last year, I went with Stacey. This year Kyle went with me. I love that about Kyle. He is always up for whatever adventure of festival I want to go to.

Every year my face looks different. It is like new art every year. ha ha. This is what my face ended up looking like this time.

Kyle and I enjoyed hanging out and taking pictures. It's what we both love to do. We stayed for a couple of throwings and then went home to clean up. Always a fun and positive festival.

This year, this was my best shot. And guess what? It ended up getting featured on WeRUtah Instagram account. It has A TON of followers. Since they have featured me a couple of other times, they gave me my own hashtag. ha ha. I felt special. Happy Spring! Happy Holi!