December 29, 2013

best of 2013

I always make end of the year lists in some form or another, but this is the first I've ever made public so bear with me. LOTS of fantastic music came out this year and this post has been in the making for longer than I care to admit. So after much deliberation, here are my top 20 songs of 2013:

20. Homage- Feist & Timber Timbre
19. All About You- Birdy
18. Heart of Nowhere- Noah and the Whale
17. Grace for Saints and Ramblers- Iron and Wine
16. Elastic Heart- Sia ft. The Weeknd & Diplo
15. Silhouette- Active Child ft. Ellie Goulding
14. Gypsy- Lady Gaga
13. Alive- Empire of the Sun
12. Get Lucky- Daft Punk ft. Pharrell
11. The Mother We Share- CHVRCHES
10. All Night- Icona Pop
9. From This Valley- The Civil Wars
8. Holy Grail- Jay Z ft. Justin Timberlake
7. Stay (Branchez remix) -Rihanna
6. Of the Night- Bastille
5. Hurricane (CHVRCHES remix) -MS MR
4. Mirrors- Justin Timberlake
3. Everlasting Arms- Vampire Weekend
2. Team- Lorde
1. Burn- Ellie Goulding

Top 5 albums of 2013:
5. Great Gatsby soundtrack- Produced by Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted and Jay Z
Does this count? Because it was by far the best movie soundtrack of the year. 'Gatsby' was so visually beautiful I could probably watch it in silence and still love it, but the soundtrack was also perfection. It was chalkful of some of my favorite artists and before the movie even came out and I listened to the soundtrack, I knew exactly which scenes each of these songs would play at. They nailed it. But then again Jay Z is a mastermind so we shouldn't even be surprised at this point.

4. Modern Vampires of the City- Vampire Weekend
I've been a huge fan of theirs for years but I kinda forgot about them for a lil bit until this album came out. Saddest realization about deciding to go home for Spring semester was knowing I had to sell my ticket for when they came to Salt Lake :( And then of course when they came to Philly in September, I was already back in Provo. I just can't win. They are on my concert bucket list and I am itching to sing and dance along to all the fun tunes on this album. I mean, I still do that on the reg but I just want to see them live so so bad.

3. The Bones of What You Believe- CHVRCHES
To me, a quality album is one I can listen to straight through without skipping any songs. Although most of these albums make that possible, this one was definitely my most played this year. There were songs to work out to, dance to, sing along to, and take long drives to. So versatile, so fun, and it just makes me so happy listening to it. Of course they're coming to Salt Lake during FINALS WEEK in April. However, the concert falls on the last night of finals week so fingers crossed I don't have to take a final on that last day! Actually, I'd still go because I have my priorities in line...

2. Halcyon Days- Ellie Goulding
Ellie is my #1 girl crush and easily my favorite artist of 2013. This year she released this extension to 'Halcyon' which came out in 2012, as well as a ton of other incredible singles. Her cover for 'Of the Night' rivals the original and her song 'Mirror' for the Catching Fire soundtrack was spot-on for the movie. Also 'How Long Will I Love You' is for sure playing at my wedding. It is too tender. Ellie's concert was the first one I attended this year and she is returning to Salt Lake in May!!! You better believe I will be in attendance and do everything in my power to meet her.

1. Pure Heroine- Lorde
The fact that she isn't even nominated for Best New Artist at the 2014 Grammy's (but Ed Sheeran is and he's been around since 2011...?) is a travesty, but just know that she wins in my book. She has too much swag for a 17 year old and I love it. Not to mention she is an extremely bizarre performer to watch. (see what I mean?) But Lorde is still 2 cool 4 skool and I would love to see her in concert, despite how uncomfortable it might make me. Pure Heroine was flawless and she just blew us all away with her talent, maturity, and uniqueness this year. Lorde have mercy.

This post is seriously lacking in pics so here's one from my favorite concert this year, (out of the 12 I attended hehe oops) which was Justin Timberlake & Jay Z: Legends of the Summer at Citizens Bank Park in Philly.

Sorry this was such a novel but I love talking music and 2013 was just a stellar year for new music. Thanks if you stuck it out to the end and I'd love to hear all your favorites too!

Oh, have a listen to them all here:

December 10, 2013

oh Martha, oh Christmas!

Tired of pictures of my apartment yet? Well you soon will be. SORRY but in the words of Aly &'s the greatest time of year, and it's here, help me celebrate it! Right now, few things in life make me happier than Christmas decorations, Christmas music, and the fact that I will be home for Christmas break in 10 days. SO, now that I have time in between classes and finished my homework, I am writing this post. Even though I already dedicated an entire post to my apartment, it is now more festive than ever and includes a few more non-Christmasy additions that I am too excited about to not share.
lil baby tree
our Holiday Cheermeister

festive. leather. triangles. game over.

Updated kitchen! A few weeks ago we bought these fabulous wall patterns from for our kitchen's backsplash. They are simply adhesive stickers and come in tons of different shapes and colors. We ordered one pack of 45 and it was exactly enough, so if you want to decorate an entire wall (which I would LOVE to do if I had the space), you might need to buy 2 or 3. They are easy enough to apply and remove, but fair is still a pretty arduous task. But this was only because we were extremely nitpicky with the proper spacing and measurements for each one. It was SO worth it though and I would highly recommend them if you are looking to spice up a backsplash, wall, or ceiling in your home.
Updated hallway! Remember when I said I was done buying décor/furniture? Funny joke. Bijou Market was a few weeks ago in downtown Provo, which is a market for local vendors to sell all of their handmade crafts, clothes and other goods. It comes twice a year and me and my roommates had been looking forward to it since we went in April. We just HAD to have this painted wooden sign by Salty Bison. Distressed wooden signs are sOoOo trendy right now, so you should definitely check out their Etsy shop! This sign was the perfect piece for our hallway and considering we have no room for anything else, I am confident in saying we are ACTUALLY done this time. Pinky swear.

snow head of a goblin
Oh, and for some actual news, last night after building snowmen/snowheads, we warmed up by hosting a lil hot chocolate bar at our place for some post-snow partying. The main event was a special screening of "12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue," a fantastically cheesy movie (think ABC Family original movie status) starring the one and only Skyler Holman! That's right, I'm neighbors with a movie star. So that was super fun watching a new classic Christmas movie and cozying up with some friends for a relaxing evening before the madness of finals begins. Thanks to all of our neighbors for coming over to enjoy a Christmas-cocoa-comfy-come-together with us.
woodland heights' very own celeb
Now that our apartment is full of holiday cheer and my Christmas playlist is on 24/7, I am even more excited to go home than ever before!!! I would recommend listening to 'NSYNC's, Sufjan Stevens', She & Him, and Justin Bieber's holiday albums to get you through finals week and just think...only 15 more sleeps til Christmas! Happy studying and happy holidays!

November 27, 2013

hbd to the smaller, cooler, wittier version of me

Happy 22nd birthday to my favorite sister and best friend in the world, Ynna! We're both gonna listen to t-swift's '22' on repeat today, it would just be rude not to amiright? Here's a picture from back in the day when our mother liked to tell people we were twins:
Ynna has said before that she tells people who have never met me that I am the taller, smarter, quieter version of her, so I've decided she is the smaller, cooler, wittier version of me. We have the same taste in everything, including but not limited to clothes, music, décor, books and movies. If you follow her blog (which you should probably start doing now if you don't), or have ever held a conversation with either of us, you might even notice we talk and write the same too. It's freaky sometimes. However, she is a far superior writer than I am, and is so much funnier too. Just follow her twitter for proof. But enough advertising Ynna's social media sites for now.
Growing up with Ynna was super fun because she gave me, and still continues to give me the best advice. When it comes to clothes, boys, what classes to take, and anything in between, I ask Ynna for her input first. I trust her judgment completely and we almost always agree on everything. She has helped me through more things than she even realizes, just by being such a wonderful example to me. I know I'm not the only one who admires her style, wit, friendliness and faithfulness. Sometimes I even think my friends are more interested in her life than mine. They tell me on the reg how lucky I am to have grown up with such a fabulous if I wasn't already aware! She inspires me daily and is the greatest sister, role model, and best friend in the world.
 Alex Steele Photography
This year was pretty momentous for Ynna, seeing as she graduated college, got married and moved to Dallas with her husband (and my new big bro!) Preston. I definitely miss having them here with me at BYU. She made the transition so much easier for me as a freshman by showing me the ins and outs of Provo and introducing me to her hip, older friends. I met a lot of wonderful people here thanks to her, and everyone who knows her has only nice things to say :] Last year she also introduced me to the wonderful world of iPod dance parties, which is now one of my favorite hobbies here at school. I miss swapping clothes with her and buying her food or groceries whenever we were on campus together too. It was a riot whenever we met up for Canon dinners wearing the same outfit, which happened more often than not.

Now Ynna is living in Dallas being a cute, perfect wife to Preston and I know she is loving it. I miss her tons, but in a few weeks, me and the Kutney's will be en route to PA for Christmas!!! I am giddy with excitement to spend the holidays with them and the rest of my family in sweet Lancaster.
Happy birthday sister dearest, I just love ya! Keep on dancing like you're 22 <3

November 25, 2013

hbd to my favorite jonas/gilmore groupie

Happy 21st birthday to one of my most beautiful and best friends, Vanessa! Vanessa was the first person to suggest I start a blog, so of course I'm going to dedicate a post to her on the day of her birth :]
I first met Vanessa four years ago through one of our friends Ivy. A direct quote from Ivy was "Don't worry, you two will get along. You both love the Jonas Brothers and Gilmore Girls." No truer statement has ever been made. I can quote any line from any of the seven seasons of Gilmore Girls and Vanessa will instantly finish up the bit with me. However, the greater love we shared was with those wonderful jobros. (scratch that, we both still share a love for them even though they are no longer. TOO SOON? SRY) Not even a month after meeting each other, we both attended a Nick Jonas concert. As fate would have it, there were two empty seats next to me so I snuck Vanessa and her friend Jess up with me to enjoy Nick's presence from the seventh row. Later on, we joined him onstage with hordes of screaming girls, eventually pushing our way close enough to touch him. This is my favorite story to tell not only about Vanessa, but in general. We were crazy and Nick felt violated, but it was one of the best nights of our lives. Remember when his album came out and we went to Target to buy it together? Not pictured is the cake we decorated in honor of it too. Not sorry.
What I love most about Vanessa is that she is the best listener and storyteller. We don't get to see each other very often since she is living in PA and I'm attending school in Utah, but I always look forward to our Skype dates where we catch each other up on everything going on in our lives (those of which are just TOO important to tell over a simple text of course). Even better are our Starbucks dates when I do come home for breaks. She is genuinely interested in my crazy long stories and gives excellent advice and input on anything I need. We are both very detail-oriented when recounting anything of significance (or not of significance), so she always has the best stories to share with me too. She is such a genuine friend and I am so blessed I have her to confide in, even when she is hundreds of miles away.

Another fun fact about Vanessa is that she, much like myself, is a concert junkie. We have both spent obscene amounts of money for the sake of concerts, and we always have another one to look forward to at all times. In fact, this past summer we both attended Jonas Brothers concerts. (Sadly not together, but after the band's three year hiatus from touring, it was our sixth or seventh Jonas concert to date...oops) Together, along with our friends Erin and Jess, attended Justin Timberlake & Jay Z's summer tour in Philly. It was one of the highlights of my summer to sing and dance along to the sweet music of JT & Jay Z with this fabulous friend of mine.
I miss this girl so much when I'm at school, but in a few short weeks I will be home for winter break and will be seeing her lovely face! I also cannot wait until she can come visit ME out here in Provo. Happy birthday Vanessa, enjoy being "TWENTY-ONE!" (only to be said in the voice of Kyle's cousin from GG) <3

October 20, 2013

it's fall y'all!

Last night we threw a fall party for our friends and neighbors. Fall décor is just so much cuter than Halloween décor amiright? Also, we had no desire to compete with the many Halloween parties happening within the next two weeks. Maybe next year... I promise people actually came, I just realized I never took any pictures once more of our lovely guests arrived. Sorry guys, I still love you and think you're all cute. Thank you to everyone who made it out and a special thanks to my fellow hostesses: Abby, Cori and Desireé. You girls are fab and I am so happy we like to host fun shindigs like these together. I just love living with ya! Who else would I have a post-party yoga sesh + mcd's run with? No one. You rock and every day I think about how lucky I am to have met you all. Whoever said rooming with your best friends isn't a good idea was seriously disturbed. Ps let's never move out and/or away, cool? Cool. Cheers to apt. 307. Here's more pics from the party:

Why yes that IS a rose gold pumpkin. Hella glam right? I'm obsessed.

Some treatz. nomnomnom

Wait how cute are my fellow hostesses??

Artwork table cuz we're children. This was actually the best idea of the night (after Dance Central of course). Our coffee table is now adorned with so many funny cartoons. And like, 40 Deathly Hallows symbols. I don't hate it.

More treatz. All pumpkin all the time.

But seriously, the cutest. I just love ya!

October 14, 2013

my favorite weekend

Last weekend, Oct. 5th-6th 2013, was the 183rd Semi-Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Conference weekends are my favorite weekends of the year. They are our chance to listen to the words of the prophet and leaders of our church who received divine revelation from our Heavenly Father for the world to hear. Attending school at BYU means I am only a hop and a skip away from Salt Lake City, where conference is held and broadcast throughout the world, in hundreds of different languages. This meant I was fortunate enough to attend the Saturday morning session live with my dear friend Yuki. We did this exact same thing last fall, and I would like to make it a tradition for us. I feel like I need to be in slc for SOME part of conference weekend, just because I love the atmosphere and temple square is just so beautiful. Neither of us had tickets, but just like last year we worked one of the street corners by the conference center (and by worked I mean stood there smiling at people throwing deuces, signaling we needed two tickets) and managed to score bomb seats because Mormons are so nice and always have extra tickets to hand out. 

This session was in fact my favorite session of the entire weekend. Our beloved prophet Thomas S. Monson announced that we now have over 15 million members in the world, as well as over 80,000 full-time missionaries! It warms my heart to see the spreading of the gospel and the eagerness of young missionaries to serve all over the world, especially since I now know a fair amount from my freshman year. My favorite talk was by Dieter F. Uchtdorf and you can listen to it here. He talked about all of the wonderful reasons as to why people join the church, as well as why some sadly leave it. My favorite quote by him, and in fact from the whole weekend was "doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." It was such a powerful message and made me feel so happy about my knowledge of this gospel and strengthened my desire to be a better missionary to those around me. Hopefully this blog post helps! :) 

Yuki and I hitched a ride to slc with Abby and her cousin, and after conference we all drove back to Provo in time to stop by the farmer's market to grab Jeano's Pizza and fresh fruit. This is a Saturday morning tradition for me and I am SO sad that the farmer's market will only be open for another two weeks :( what will I do on Saturday mornings?! Sleep. I watched the next three sessions in the comfort of my own apartment. Sunday was the best because we lounged around all day to watch conference together and made quiche and fruit salad for brunch, a tradition established by the four of us roommates last conference in April. 

We live in a technological world, and during conference weekend it is so great to see how easily the messages of these great leaders can be shared with everyone! For instance, the twitter world and other social media sites were blown up by quotes from each speaker (I contributed a fair share of those) and can all be found searching hashtags like #ldsconf. Here are a few of my other favorites from the weekend, some of which I couldn't help tweeting myself:

"Though we may feel we are a broken vessel, we must remember that broken vessel is in the hands of our maker" -Jeffrey R. Holland

"Man's law cannot make moral, what God has declared immoral" -Dallin H. Oaks

"God is perfect and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us-His imperfect children-and imperfect people make mistakes" -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

After conference weekend I am always so filled with the spirit and the love I have for this church grows even more. The key is to keep those feelings after conference ends, and to make it a goal to apply what I learned in my daily life. I am so grateful to attend BYU where I can discuss these messages in class with professors, as well as with my peers and neighbors. You can listen to conference in its entirety here. The fact that we get to listen and read these words again gives us no excuse to let the spirit of conference diminish over the next six months. Can't wait until April!
"Above all, never lose faith in your Father in heaven, who loves you more than you can even comprehend" -Jeffrey R. Holland

September 22, 2013


About a month ago, I moved into apartment #307 of Woodland Heights with my three lovely roommates Abby, Cori and Desireé. We're FINALLY done furnishing this place after weeks of decorating and shopping. If I don't set foot in another Target for a year, I will be perfectly content. I'm so proud of how everything turned out and I felt blogging about why I love it so much was the only logical way to share it. So without further ado, welcome to my new home!

living room:
This is my favorite spot in the apartment. My roommates found tons of neat ideas for this once blank wall on pinterest which I supported wholeheartedly, but I actually abhor pinterest and refuse to get an account. Instead, I would just make them show me pictures of all the stuff they found. I prefer to look for inspiration elsewhere. For instance, I love the human body and I think illustrations of it make the most beautiful artwork. If it were up to me, we would have a skeleton somewhere in there too. #dark, I know. I found a picture of a skull in an anatomy textbook and asked my artistic roommate Desireé to re-create a sketch of the heart that I fell in love with on tumblr once upon a time (shown on the left-hand side as the link to my twitter :] ). Those two pictures and the stag head are my favorites. The rest of the wall includes Audrey Hepburn, sheet music, quotes, and other pretty pictures. Also, shout-out to my trendy roommate Abby for donating the majority of those fun throw pillows and that cute lil shelf. She contributed a ton of stuff to our crib which is awesome because the less we had to buy, the better!

Across from the wall and sofa is our entertainment system. Let me first tell you about the day we struck GOLD at D.I. (Deseret Industries, the ultimate Mormon thrift store). We found all the obscure, vintage things we've been searching for and more! This shelf was exactly what I had in mind for this spot and it really brightens up the room after its turquoise paint job. But let's just talk about those RACKETS?! Easily my favorite D.I. find to date. It adds a preppy (plus sporty? ok nope, I tried) touch to the room which I absolutely adore. Next to the TV sits this bookshelf we bought at Ikea. We love vintage-looking globes and maps so naturally, not one, but three globes were necessary. The bottom shelf houses a record player and records for everyone to enjoy. 2 h!p$+3R 4 u.

I wasn't too picky about anything in the kitchen when we were apartment-hunting. Honestly, I was just jazzed about the filtered water. The origami crane strands, made by my crafty roommate Cori, add a nice pop of color to the ebony table and kitchen cabinets. Also EAT made the wall because that's what I like to do the most. I just love how spacious the living room and kitchen are. It makes our apartment ideal for parties and movie nights, and we are looking forward to hosting both!


Desireé and I share this bathroom and decided to go with a nautical theme + pink and orange because we already owned those towels so why not? The whale, chalkboard and welcome sign were all D.I. finds. Grand total of $2. Perhaps placing a welcome sign above the shower is a lil questionable...oops. But we just couldn't pass up that anchor. I'm serious when I say D.I. is a gold mine. At one point we were even overcome with emotion in the aisles because of how lucky we were in finding stuff. It was concerning. I am so blessed to have a friend and roommate as crazy as I am who is just as passionate about making our apartment the cutest ever. Love ya dezmillz.


Basically pink, orange and more pink. I am currently in the process of making a cork board collage to hang along one entire wall. On the opposite wall I made a shadow box of the people and places I love most. Congrats if you made the cut! My favorite part of this room is the top of my bookshelf which includes a globe (grand total in our apartment is now six), a Valázquez + easel ($7 at goodwill!), and a pair of my old pointe shoes because I will always be a ballerina at heart.

The majority of the things we bought, and in fact all of my favorite items, were purchased at thrift stores. Who says I don't know how to shop on a budget? (Me. I still say that). There was no way I'd be able to find these gems at home goods stores, and that's what I love most about our apartment. It is entirely our own and the perfect blend of our four personalities and styles. I cannot wait for all the fun times to be had here this year. Thanks for sticking to the end of this absurdly long post about furniture and letting me give you a virtual tour of my crib!

September 2, 2013

test run

oops i became one of those people who started a blog to write about her ideals. i'm sorry but i'm also not sorry. i think a blog is the most efficient and fun way for my family from all around the world, friends from back home, and anyone else who cares to stay updated on my life over here in provo, utah. in less than 48 hours i will be starting my sophomore year here at brigham young university. summer was fun and hot but after four months of working at home in lancaster, i am more than ready for this school year to start. i just moved into a fabulous new apartment with three of my best friends, and we have spent our time before the semester begins moving in and more importantly, decorating! i love it so far. i've only been back in provo for a little over a week and i can already tell this year has so much in store for me. i'm looking forward to sharing it with all of you!

sorry for the baby post but you gotta bear with us new bloggers, it's always embarrassing when we first start out. i also composed the majority of this whilst watching harry potter (happy first day at hogwarts everyone!) so the layout might be a little crazy and i'll probably go back and change it all again. but thanks for reading and stay tuned for more interesting reads, i promise!