Sunday, November 29, 2015

that typical November grateful post + Thanksgiving pictures

I've seen a million and one of these lately, not that i'm complaining!
I've been having a rough time ever since Daylight Savings. Haha! I don't know what it is, maybe just getting dark earlier or in the cold but i've been really struggling to keep my happy lately. However Thanksgiving break and focusing on what i'm grateful for, as well as spending quality time with family has been everything and though it can be a drag to go back to work after a holiday, i'm going back a healthier and happier me.
The main thing i've been feeling extra grateful for these days is my job. I don't know if I have ever talked about it publicly, but last year I taught for half a year and it was such a dysfunctional experience for me. It's so hard to take over for a teacher mid year, it's so hard to go into a school that is in the midst of changes, it was so hard to be in the population I was with little to no support from anybody. I was so far from my dreams and each day I went to work a little part of me died. There was one specific experience that made me sob, harder than I have ever sobbed in my life (which is crazy because my bc makes me cry allllll the time over nothing) and I just was so ready to either quit my job or quit my life. If it weren't for Mark I would have been in the lowest point of my life, right when I should have been at the most exciting part!
I'm not saying this to get sympathy, i'm also not turning this into "i'm so glad for my trials!" I'm actually only 1/2 glad for that experience. It has absolutely made me a better teacher, no question about that. No bull happens in my classroom anymore, because I have been to literal classroom hell and back However, the other half of me is still trying to understand why I went through that trial. Maybe it's just so that when I found my current job I would be extra grateful, and I truly feel that.
  Teaching itself will never be without its challenges but every morning that I come to school and every afternoon (well, let's be honest, usually night) that I leave I literally tear up and sometimes full on cry because of how much I love my kids, my principal, my co-workers, everyone! They are the most loving and supportive people. I'm consistently surprised that people can be so good and wanting each other to succeed. I've never been in a place quite like that before, and it's truly lovely.

  Anyway, we had a great Thanksgiving weekend although it went scarily fast. On Wednesday I got some cavities filled and to be quite honest, after the nitris gas in the morning I was quite drugged for the entire day. It might have been a mental thing because they said it would wear off in minutes after disconnecting, but I felt that crap till about 7:00 PM. 
Thursday was Thanksgiving, we spent the first half of the day with Mark's family and the second half with my family. I felt soooo sick that whole night, trying to eat two dinners is not a great idea!
On Friday, Mark and I saw Room at the Broadway downtown. I read the book a few years ago. Mark  thinks really critically about movies so he tends to have a more refined movie palette as to what is good and what is crap, haha, and he rated Room as THE BEST movie of 2015, I have to agree. It was mind blowing, the acting, everything. After the movie we went to an all you can sushi bar and it was so...nasty. We realized that when you have to say "Hey, this isn't terrible!" and be pleasantly surprised about your food, it's probably not a great decision. 
Saturday we went to Brooklyn, again, I read the book a few years ago. It was such a sweet movie and I connected with it on so many levels, leaving home and all the pain and joy that comes with. It was so sweet! If you're thinking "Man, you guys see a lot of movies!" it's because Mark has an unlimited movie pass because he loves movies so much. It's pretty sweet! Anyway, for dinner we went to Station 22 for dinner. It's located in Provo, and so delicious. I would go back in a second. I'm craving the rootbeer I had, and I hate rootbeer so there ya go!
Alright, some pictures of food!

The Hanni's are turkey-haters and so we get these delicious ribs each holiday! 0 complaints!

  Hope you had a grand Thanksgiving! If you didn't check out my second #GirlBoss of the week series, make sure you do! There will be another one here next Monday!
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Saturday, November 28, 2015

#girlboss of the week///2

Hi everyone! I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving!  I usually post this series on Mondays but in honor of #SmallBusinessSaturday I really wanted to highlight my second #GirlBoss of the week!
I told you I had a lot of amazing ladies lined up for this series, so without further ado, this week is Ashley Hawkins! I met Ashley in college through mutual friends and she is just one of the most fun humans there is! She is always down for a good time, even with twins! Who, by the way, make me baby hungry each time she posts! Anyway, Ashley is just one awesome and super creative individual.  I was obssessed with her print shop and now she has a new gig going on called Elemeno Tees! 
Give us a run down of you, who are you, where are you from ,what do you do, basics etc
I'm Ashley Hawkins, originally from Michigan but currently live in Holladay, Utah with my husband Taylor & my twin boys Max & Oliver. We are a husband & wife duo biz who create graphic tees for your little guys & gals called Elemeno Tees. I love creating new things - I have a design background from a previous job & have carried that talent into bringing moms fun, cute, unique tees. We specialize in our custom nickname template tees! We carry a handful of templates that you can plug in your own nicknames, names, or words into for your littles to wear. You can mix & match shirts, styles and ink colors!
How did Elemeno Tees come about?
Elemeno Tees was born about six months after our twins! My husband and I have always talked about having our own boutique filled with unique items for as long as I can remember! When our twins were born, we had a hard time finding cute shirts for boys (girls seriously have all the luck in that department). We wanted to do something that set us apart in the t-shirt business, so we decided to come up with a few templates our customers could customize, and it's grown from there to having stock shirt designs, more custom designs, and who knows what else in the future! The name originated from Lil' Max N' Ollie's to LMNO, to Elemeno!
 What is the best and hardest thing about owning your own business?
Oh, gosh! The greatest thing is when people love your product! It's the BEST when people email you with photos, or tag you on instagram, or show up to a photoshoot saying that they love our product! It's the best kind of validation - that we're actually doing something that someone else loves aside from us! The most difficult thing would have to be managing every different side of the business. 
 What is your favorite item of clothing and why?
My favorite item of clothing for myself is probably chunky sweaters, I seriously love them. But if we were talking about babes, I have to say our tees - duh!
What makes you feel most confident?
Something that makes me feel the most confident is a good pair of jeans.

What is one thing you know to be true?
One thing I know to be true is that a person's value in life should never be decided by anyone but yourself. We all have so much value, never let anyone tell you otherwise.

Since i’m big on tips to be your happiest self, do you have a tip on what keeps you happy?
A tip for what keeps me happy is finding time for yourself!! This is another thing I know to be true, referring from our previous question - ha! Whenever you're feeling bogged down by life, take a minute. Go walk around Target. Go get fro-yo (I'm all about fro-yo). Go on a drive. Heck, go buy yourself a new outfit! Just do YOU. It's a good refresher so you can get yourself back where you want to be. 
Thanks so much to Ashley for answering my questions with such a busy life! If you want to purchase any of her tees, visit her Etsy site. You can also follow Elemeno Tees on Instagram here or like them on Facebook here!
Remember to support small businesses today! As I have gotten older and had a lot more friends become the faces behind those small businesses, I really know how much it means to these guys!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Old Navy Black Friday

Well you guys, it's the time of year that I get an entirely new closet. Old Navy has 50% off their entire store for Black Friday. I keep an eye on things starting in August about what I want. The good thing about Old Navy Black Friday is that it's never too insane in the store, it's mostly just like a busy Saturday. They had 50% off last Saturday to prepare for Black Friday and I actually got mostly everything I needed. My favorite thing is this winter version of the jersey swing dress that I have been raving about for months. I also have been quite addicted to this wine color lately. Maybe it's because they are my school colors and I have been buying a ton of them to #represent but I just really think it's my new favorite color!

Here is the thing that makes me pretty sad about these pictures. I don't own jewlery at all, I just feel like everything I like is too expensive and I have a hard time justifying it. However I saw this necklace and it was so cool with all the different layers and the stones. I was really excited to finally own a necklace like a real woman. Then it got SO TANGLED and Mark and I worked all during church to untangle it and we ended up having to completely break it to get it untangeled. So I owned a very pretty and expensive necklace for not even 24 hours. Bummer. 

On a lighter note, thanks to my IRLBFF Emily for taking these pictures! I also learned that trying to pretend it's okay to not wear tights in November is a huge mistake.
 Have a good Thanksgiving! Don't forget to enter my Cariloha giveaway one post back!
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Monday, November 23, 2015

Cariloha Bamboo Sheet Review (+ Giveaway!)

I'm really excited to share this review with you guys today!
I have been sleeping on this review for a week now, trying to decide....and i've decided that Cariloha Bamboo Sheet are the BamBEST! (Wow guys, so many #DadJokes in that one sentence it's craaazy)
Ok, no, but seriously. When Cariloha reached out to me to try their sheets I was insanely excited. My friend Hilarie has a set of their sheets and she is constantly telling me how she can never go back to any other sheets. I was really excited to try them for myself! Do I deserve something that feels so nice and fancy? 
Heck yeah I do.

We opened the box and I realized they were a little silky. I got a little nervous because I used to have these zebra and lip print sheets (LOL) that were silk and I always woke up on the floor because I slid off them! I just generally feel like silk sheets are too slippery. However, I sat down on the bed after we put them on and I instantly realized these were not like the other sheets. Silky, yes. Slippery, absolutely not. This was only the start of a series of pleasant surprises with these sheets!
The hard part about reviewing Cariloha Bamboo sheets is that I have found them quite indescribable. "Soft" doesn't seem to cover it, because the way in which they are soft is so unique and unlike anything I have ever felt. Cariloha's website says they are twice as soft as cotton and honestly, I'm surprised it isn't more, because that's how soft the Cariloha sheets feel.  The only way I can really accurately describe these sheets is like when people say things are "like butter." They are extremely buttery!
Another reason bamboo sheets are unique is because they are 3 degrees cooler than cotton and wick away moisture. These are things I didn't anticipate that I would notice but I absolutely did. I've slept on these sheets for a week and a half and they feel like they were freshly washed each time I get into bed, and a few of those times my bed hasn't even been made. I'm not a scientist, but I think that the reason they continually feel so fresh is because of the temperature and the moisture factor. Today we came home from church and I collapsed in my bed for a nap. The sheets felt so nice and clean, I had the thought that maybe Mark washed them while I was running errands yesterday, but he didn't! They just feel continually clean and crisp as the first night we slept on them.
Ok, let's talk about the blanket that Cariloha surprised us with. I opened up the package and said "Oh! They sent us a blanket!" Mark, who had been really skeptical about these bamboo sheets, demanded to "feel" the blanket. After he felt it he was begging me to open it but I wouldn't let him until I had taken some pictures. After I got done, he opened it like he was a kid on Christmas morning and has dubbed it, "His Blanket" and has been using it ever since. YOU GUYS! This might not seem like a big deal but Mark is a Certified Blanket Hater. I'm obsessed with them and he totally hates how many we have, he never will use one. So the fact that he not only likes this one but it hasn't left his side since we got it is huge. 
However, I did manage to steal it away a few nights ago and I was shocked at how warm it was. It is by far warmer than my comforter! I was really pleasantly surprised.

  So here is the best part about this whole experience. Cariloha is being SO generous and is letting me give away a set of sheets, valued at over $200! I promise, this is the best opportunity to try out these sheets. It's really simple to enter, see the rafflecopter below to enter!
A million thank yous to Cariloha for changing the way I sleep! When we got a king bed I thought it couldn't get any better, and it absolutely did!
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Monday, November 16, 2015

#girlboss of the week!///1

I'm so excited, SO excited, to bring you this new series. I have done the responsible blogger thing and have actually scheduled these for the next few months, so this series will hopefully stick.
A few weeks ago I realized what cool people I surround myself with, (go me, go me!)
Not just people, but awesome women! I just suddenly felt so selfish that I wasn't sharing their awesome talents with the world.
So every week I will be highlighting another women who I think identifies as a #GIRLBOSS. Just basically living the dream! 
The first #GIRLBOSS I will be highlighting is Mallory Ann Poulsen. 
I first met Mallory when she was still in high school, I think? I met her through a mutual friend. My first thought was that she was like Stargirl by Jared Spinelli, in the best way. She just kind of showed up in my circle randomly and was the most unique person ever, and I was so jealous of her pure sense of her own self. Mallory has a blog named Pale as Hale and it is, without a doubt, THE funniest blog I have ever read. I love that she writes way more than any other blogger I know because her writing is probably more entertaining than any Netflix show. She also lives in FREAKING ICELAND. So you know. I asked her some questions and SHE DELIVERED, my friends!! Read on, if you'd like...

Alright, give us a run down of who you are and what your story is.
I am a 22 year old caucasian female – I prefer to describe myself as I would on any standardized test.
I was born and raised in Rose Park (back in the early 90’s when it was “the hood” instead of the lovely landscaped land it is today) and ended up in the Avenues of SLC as I grew up. That’s home.
 I knit, I eat, I resent how much I eat, I Netflix, I explore, I sleep and repeat. In the states I went to Cosmetology school at Aveda Institute where I learned how to do hair and also learned how to convince people that the mistakes I made on their haircut was going to be the next big thing. I also worked in a Chocolate Factory solely because they would let me play Disney music all day. But the best job I ever had was as a substitute teacher, it was perfect for my short attention span. I also loved it because I could tell the same jokes every day to completely different people and they would all think I was impossibly clever (my apologies to Mountain Ridge Jr. High, I tested the jokes on you guys first).

Why did you start Pale as Hale?
Pale as Hail first started as an Instagram name I thought up while at a coffee shop in downtown SLC. I was with friends and we were discussing what we thought people first noticed about us. I figured people first noticed my White-Out color skin tone. I liked it as an Instagram name because the app feels like one big first impression. People can see my account and assume that I’m quirky, like clothes, and know how to fish gape when appropriate, but essentially that’s all they’re seeing. A pale girl’s selfies.

Pale as Hail became a blog when I moved to Iceland. More than anything, it is meant to be a journal. This is a really cool time of life I’m in and I worry I wouldn’t write it all down if I didn’t have an audience (even if it’s just my grandma) who followed along with me. Pale as Hail has kept me from feeling isolated while on a very isolated island. It also encourages me to write about the good stuff. I feel like so often our journals become places where we vent. That can be a healthy outlet, but when I look back on this time years from now I don’t want to hear myself complaining about how hard it is–and it is certainly hard–I want to look back on the good/kooky/funny stuff. Writing to an audience makes that easier, and makes me go out and DO things so that I have anything interesting to write about.
I decided to move to Iceland because it is completely different than the United States. I love the US, I love that I’m from there. I also love how different it is from the rest of the world. Iceland is particularly different in that the pace of life is so slow. No one stresses here, due dates are not set in stone, vacations are respected and taken often. I moved here for that experience. Consequently, I’ve learned how to have a completely different pace in life. I spend days working alongside Masters students from around the world at a studio downtown. I spend a lot of time at thrift stores where I buy sweaters and make patches on them with cut outs of all the useless summer clothes I brought. I also knit, a lot. Downtown Reykjavik is a dream, I spend hours walking the streets and enjoy that it’s small enough I actually get to know the people who work in the stores. And more than once I’ve seen Jonsi walking his dog while I’m out. That’s fun. On the weekends I go exploring. My husband and I will pack up lunch and drive to eat on cliffs, caves, volcanoes, we go climb around the black sand beaches and hunt for waterfalls.
Ok, time for a deeper question. In what ways do you feel like you hold yourself back in life?
 I think I’m pretty stereotypical for my age. I am still young and I have no idea who I want to be when I grow up. I enviously look at people my age who know what they are doing with their lives, and yet I am also really enjoying my life while I embrace everything I’m interested in before realizing what one thing will be my…thing.  

Since i'm (Riley) huge on tips to live a happier life, what keeps you happy?
Don’t be afraid to do what you want to do in order to become who you want to be. By that I mean, it’s okay to move to Iceland just because you really want to. I might just be justifying my own crazy life choices, but I love my crazy life. If it feels right and you think it would make you the most happy, go for it. It will make you the person you are supposed to be.  
 Top three favorite albums?
 High Violet by The National (everyone who knows me well knows my daughter will be named “Violet” in part because of this album, and also because I already have a signed copy of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” for her in her name.)

Overgrown by James Blake, because his was the best concert I have ever been to. Ever.

And ( ) by Sigur Ros, because when my husband was just my friend and I wanted him to be just a little bit more, I bought an album whose name I couldn’t pronounce by a band that was Icelandic because it was his favorite. Showing an interest in his interests meant a lot to him. And when I was 13, we first began talking about how amazing it would be to live in Iceland. And I loved that. I loved him. We got married. And we moved to Iceland. And we listen to that album all the time.
I'm always curious what people's favorite beauty products are, just in case i'm missing out on something. What is your favorite beauty product?
Now, I’m gonna answer this my way and feel free to not use it but straight up my answer is tampons. Maybe this isn’t where you were going with the whole “beauty product” question so I will say that I prefer to keep a tube of lipstick in my purse at all times, but I ALWAYS have a tampon. I constantly think about how I would live in another time period, until I remember my period. I’d pick a tampon over lipstick every single month. 

  What makes you feel most confident and your favorite thing about yourself?
My favorite thing in the entire world is to make people laugh. I love to public speak and when people laugh at my stories my confidence is through the roof. Greatest feeling ever.  
 I love that I married someone who would move to another country just because we wanted to. I love being an example of how being married can lift you up and make you an individual. I love that the support that came from my marriage gave us the courage to become who we are and it is the only way we are able to do the things that we do. 
What is one thing you know to be true?
“Being in love lifts you up.” Be in love with your work. Be in love with those you keep around you. Be in love with your life. It makes everything so, so worth it. 
What is one thing about Iceland that nobody knows?
This is the top vacation spot for Bollywood stars. They come here to visit because apparently they get recognized everywhere else. So if you're ever in the mood to meet a Bollywood actor, this is the place to come!

 A HUGE thank you to Mallory Ann for letting me ask her a zillion questions. She is such a cool person!
To keep up with her really cool Icelandic adventures like the time she went to Yoko Ono's private island and how Iceland consistently smells like rotten eggs, follow her blog and instagram.
Do you know any #GIRLBOSSES out there that would want to be interviewed?  Email me at
Thanks for reading!

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Monday, November 9, 2015

murder mystery party

It's extremely hard for me to get through a holiday without "planning" anything and Halloween was no exception. I have wanted to throw a Murder Mystery party for a long time and this year, with the help of a lot of my awesome friends, we threw one together.
I was really nervous about it because everyone had complex parts with specific goals. There were so many moving parts and a high opportunity to screw it up. BUT HEY! We did it and we had fun. It didn't go perfectly, but we had a great meal and we were all in costumes so it worked for me.
 Here are some pictures (sorry for the crappy quality, I'm having a hard time with lightroom lately. Someone should teach me!) 

Click here for the game we used. We went with the free option! 

Thanks to everyone who came and brought food!

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