Sunday, June 26, 2011

One Night in Central Park

Saturday, June 11, after leaving the Belmont Stakes we went to Braden's work to pick up my luggage and check into our hotel. Meg and Braden were "going to get us reservations somewhere" so we could eat dinner together before they went home for the night.
After checking in we caught a cab to Central Park. I didn't think there were restaurants in Central Park but Mike assured me there was a great one at the boat house and that's where we were going.
I have to admit that I was scared. Central Park is in the middle of NYC but once you walk into the park, the noises of the city disappear. I watch too many Law and Order/CSI shows not to be thinking that someone was going to jump out and murder us. It was completely dark by the time we got there.
We get to the Bow Bridge, this beautiful bridge that is in countless romantic movies I've seen and Mike calls his brother Braden and tells him where we are but can't remember how to get where we are going and to please meet us here.

Mike said that they might be a minute so we walked across the bridge and found somewhere to wait until they could meet us. This is where we waited. Suddenly there is a noise from the water. There was a remote control boat coming from under the bridge with glow sticks attached. I asked Mike if that's what it was because it seemed so odd that someone would play with a remote control boat in the dark, but thought nothing of it until it started in our direction. I was terrified. You have to remember that I suffer from mild paranoia anyway, I thought it was a bomb. You can see in the picture below that there is a little piece of fencing in the water right off the shore and the boat ran straight into it, right by where we were standing. At this point I'm ready to run for my life. Then of all things, Mike picks up the boat and starts fiddling with it. Then he takes something off of it and walks toward me and gets down on one knee.
I was in shock. I wish I had been more calm and could've committed what he said to memory but it's all a blur. I do remember saying yes though. And just like that Mike and I are engaged!
As of now, the wedding is planned to be in Cancun, December 2012 with close family and friends.

This is the Bow bridge in daylight.

Look at this bad boy. It is a lot bigger than it looks in this picture. The bow of the boat is where the ring box was taped. Mike assured me later that he had tried out the boat before and made sure that it was not going to sink, and did in fact insure my ring prior to putting it on a boat in the water.
Apparently, Braden and Meg weren't getting us reservations, they were hidden in the park setting this all up. It was so exciting.
I can't even imagine how much planning this took to execute. Mike did such a good job, he totally caught me by surprise. I was expecting to get purposed to like you see in movies, like a ring in a champagne glass or sticking out of a dessert or something but this surpassed anything I could've imagined.

We have been looking at rings for a few months and Mike made me rate them on a scale of like 1 to 3 of the ones I like the most. Then he designed one based on my favorites. It's like he took all the rings I loved and combined them into one ring:

This is the ring from the side, it has so much detail with all the tiny diamonds on it so it sparkles from any angle. The flat bottom is called a European shank, it is weighted in the bottom of the ring so it will stay upright on my finger. I love it.

Sorry, i know this pic is blurry but this is one of my favorite parts of my ring, he put our birthstones on the inside of the band. It's so thoughtful and creative.
Mike, you are so amazing, I love you!

Way Back East

Two weeks ago Mike and I ventured east for a little vacation with his family. Mike and his parents flew out Wednesday and due to work and school I stayed home a few extra days and flew out Friday night. We stayed with Mike's brother and sister-in-law in Connecticut. I didn't get in until about 11pm eastern time but went straight to bed when we got there because we were planning on getting up early to go to the Belmont Stakes Horse Race the next day. The plan was to leave the house at like 830am which would be 630am Utah time.
I was grateful to have been woken up early by Mike's adorable niece who was screeching pretty early in the morning (Eve apparently has only one volume, which isn't terribly quiet). So I got up about 630 eastern time to get in a quick shower before we had to leave.
On a side note, with all the humidity that goes on in that climate I never actually felt fresh. It was like the minute I got out of the shower and dried off I was instantly sweating. I wonder it you get used to that over time?
Anyway, the plan was to catch a train to somewhere, get on another train that lead to New York City which is conveniently only about 60-90 mins from the Stamford, the city in Connecticut where we were staying. Mike and I planned to stay the night in the city so we made a quick stop into Braden's work in NYC and dropped off my suit case and headed to yet another train that would lead us to Belmont Park. I can recall maybe (but not for sure) going to maybe 1 horse race in my life, and if that is correct it must have been in Wyoming. That being said, I knew nothing about horse races, nor how to bet on them. So with program in hand, Mike taught me everything he knew about horse races. We bet on almost every race up until the big race, only a dollar or two per race, me always betting on one horse to win and Mike usually going for trifecta. I think my winnings for the day equaled $2.75, and even then I was probably down at least $10. It was a fun experience though, reading about the horses, learning where to look for their placings in previous races and speeds, which jocky would be riding them etc. Mike bet bigger on the big race and ended up winning like $200 or something, so we ended up winning back all of our losses and then some.
Now, there are TONS of people at this race, Mike said even less than usual though because it was rainy and cold. But after the big race most people leave, which means that you have to run your tail off to make it to the train in time to get a seat or even any room on the train back to the city. It was mayhem, but somehow we made it.

At Belmont Park

Braden and Meg

Belmont park, can you see all the standing water on the track, it rained all day!

The gates

I think this was the big race, my camera doesnt take great fast-action shots..

Grand Central Station. I never really realized how big this place is. It is crazy when you are trying to get on a train, you buy your ticket at a kiosk, then you have to find the track it's on (which is confusing when there are a million to chose from! thank goodness Mike and his family knew what they were doing and where they were going because I was lost!)

Saturday night:
After we made it back to NYC we went to Braden's work and picked up my luggage and went to check in to our hotel while Meg and Braden went to find us somewhere to eat and get our name on the list, which we expected to be a long wait. Mike's parents stayed to cash in our winning ticket and caught the next train out of Belmont park and went to back to Braden and Meg's house to pick up Eve and spend more time with her (Eve is their only grandchild and was born after they moved from Utah, so they don't get to see her much).
We planned to stay in Yotel, a new hotel that Mike told me are usually connected to airports because they are very compact rooms that people often use to stay in when they have long layovers or flight cancellations but this one was in Times Square and it was their opening weekend so we got a killer deal.


Here are some pics of the room:

The bed in bed mode

The bed in couch mode

This is a pic taken of the mirror over the bed to show the tv and storage compartments on the wall.

The light even changes to look like this if you wanted dimmer (cooler) lighting

This is the rest of the room, the bathroom. If you want any privacy in this half of the room you get a curtain..

Here is the curtain/bathroom door.

This is the sliding glass door to the toilet and shower.

this is the shower/toilet door open

There was no enclosure to the shower so water inevitably got all over, so after we showered in the morning and water covered the floor, it made it tricky to use the toilet..

The sink and cubbies on the wall for storage.

This is the check-in/check-out area, it was ALOT faster than so many hotels i've been to in the past.

This is the luggage yobot. It stores your luggage for you. Sadly it wasn't in use while we were there. Having it be the opening weekend, they were missing a few things also. There were no hand towels or tissue in the room. The only soap was in a dispenser and seemed like the same soap for hands and body, no shampoo or lotion like you usually get at hotels (I usually bring my own anyway and realize that it does create alot of waste to have samples in the rooms like that but it still seemed odd).

Check out time was ~1030 so we got our butts out of bed, got ready and explored the city.
I was exhausted by this time because we had been walking so much the day before (often times running to get on trains) and still being on Utah time. I didnt think 2 hours would make such a difference but going to bed on Utah time but having to get up on east coast time was starting to wear on me. It was nice this morning though because we really didnt have much we had to do other than catch our show (Avenue Q) which started at 3. So we roamed around the city. Got some brunch and went back to Central Park (future posts will better explain this).

Times Square. Just like I remembered it from when I was younger and also how it is portrayed on tv, crazy busy. There were people everywhere!
There was also a Puerto Rican pride parade happening, which just made things that much more crazy.

Mike got me tickets to a Broadway show, my first ever. Avenue Q was hilarious! A bit crude, but even that more funny because at least half the characters are puppets. It was like Sesame Street for adults. After the show we caught a subway to Grand Central Station, then another train to another station, then finally a train back to Braden and Meg's house. All the different subways and trains are confusing to me. I was so grateful that Mike was leading the way because we would have never made it to the trains we needed to if I was in the lead. We made it back in time to have dinner and hang out with Mike's family for a little bit.

Mike let me sleep in, I felt bad because I held up everyone for lunch but they didnt really seem to mind, and it was so nice to catch up on some sleep. We attempted to grab lunch with Braden and Eve (Meg had to work) but with horrible traffic and our fear of not making it to the airport in time to catch our flight (since we were driving to Newark airport instead of taking the train) we had to ditch that idea and just went straight to the airport. Fortunately we made it in time to grab a quick bite to eat before getting to our terminal and getting on our plane home.

It was such a nice little trip. It seemed to go by so fast. It's always good to get to see Braden, Meg and Eve. We see them 1-2 times a year at the most since they moved back east about a year and a half ago. We've only got to see Eve twice which is sad, she doesn't even really know us. I do hope to see them more in the future though. And we are looking forward to their trip our here next month!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Meet Zoey!

We (I) have been wanting another dog for a while but I always had reservations:
*I always worried that Ando would like me less if he had another dog to play with
*It would add extra cost with vet costs and food etc.
*Less time to spend with Ando and the new dog due to school
As time passed and my worries got the best of me, we just kept living with Ando being an only child. Then a friend of facebook posted that she needed a new home for her miniature pinscher. I knew right away that this was our new dog! Mike and the roommates agreed, so Mike and I drove up to Idaho to pick her up from my friend's house and brought her home.
This is my sweet baby Zoey

She's so cute and little and she gets cold alot, so she burrows to keep warm. I have several beds for the dogs that have heating pads in them so they can stay warm, and I make sure to put blankets in them so Zoey can dig down in them and get cozy.

Zoey is 3 years old, just like Ando and they love playing together. Ando doesn't seem to love me any less but now has a buddy to play with. I love they they have each other and aren't lonely. Lately Zoey has been being bad and having LOTS of accidents in the house, so we are on a "retraining" period as if she were a puppy and relearning that she's to go potty outside. It's frustrating that she was so good in the first 3 months we had her and now its different, but I have faith that consistency and positive reinforcement will lead her back to being good all of the time. She is sweet and lovable so you can't really stay mad at her for long at all, but I try to be tough so she knows I'm the boss :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The 12 days of Christmas

Have you met my boyfriend Mike? I certainly saw a side of him that I'd never met before this past Christmas. He hates the holiday. I try to get in the spirit with decorations and festive music and movies but he never fully get there. So I was surprised when he started giving me these little gifts leading up to the big day with these super cute rhymes that he'd made up himself.

The first day of Christmas:
Twas the first day of Christmas and all through our house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,
‘Cept suddenly some little soul did appear,
It is your Christmas love, bringing you cheer.

Today calls for a partridge in your pear tree,
But partridges are tough to catch, as we came to see.
So how ‘bout fresh pears, in place of the tree.
These pears are quite tasty, or so we will see.

At which point I was presented with 2 delicious pears.

The second day of Christmas:
Tonight you have turtles and doves coming your way,
So relax, enjoy and eat all the chocolate you may.
Because in your house you have quite a few,
I’ve left in this package more than just two.

In this one I got 2 bags of dove chocolates with turtle chocolates taped on top of each one.

The third day of Christmas:
Night three arrives, but we’re not in France,
And three French hens don’t come by chance.
So take these gift cards, and buy the large size,
You’re off to McDonalds to enjoy some French fries.

The fourth day of Christmas:
Four calling birds were not easy to find,
So I really found myself in quite the bind.
The holidays get busy and crazy we know,
So I thought you’d enjoy this candy and a show.

This gift consisted of a gift card to the local movie theater and a HUGE bag of M&Ms.

The fifth day of Christmas:
On the fifth day of Christmas, gold rings are called for,
But I wanted to leave something which would be no bore.
Gold rings for each finger are just no fun,
So enjoy these sweet donuts and eat till they’re none.

This one fell on the weekend and he dad sneakily got up before me and got a box of Krispy creams and put 5 in a pan and wrapped them for me to open.

The sixth day of Christmas:
Six geese a laying, an interesting sight.
One of them squawked, and they all took flight
A sixth night of birds would not have brought cheer
So for merriment and laughter, what could possible top beer?

When I opened this one I got a six pack of delicious bottled root beer :)

The seventh day of Christmas:
Seven swans-a-swimming, you can’t be for real,
The swans swam south, you know the deal.
So get ready to watch, as this next gift can sparkle
It surely is better than a big lump of charcoal!

This present was the Twilight movie Eclipse. Basically the only thing Mike knows about twilight is that the vampires sparkle in the sun (which he thinks is absurd and I don’t blame him) but I pointed out how the whole swan thing should’ve given it away for me to know what it is too: Bella Swan duh! But that seemed to be total coincidence because Mike doesn’t know the character names that well.

The eighth day of Christmas:
I have found the eight maids, they were milking away
I know that the milk doesn’t help you feel gay
The best part of pizza is the top made with cheese
So do yourself a favor and call for delivery please!

As everyone knows, I am lactose intolerant. But I can tolerate processed dairy, like cheese thank goodness. This gift was a gift card for yummy Papa John’s pizza.

The ninth day of Christmas:
Nine ladies dancing would be a big crowd
Besides that their music is just way too loud
So to help with the music, and all of the noise
I’ve got you MP3s to fulfill all your joys.

I’ve often complained about my iPod, it’s like second generation and older than dirt. But being practical, I couldn’t just buy a new one while it worked just fine. So Mike bought me a brand new iPod with the most memory possible, so now I’m set!

The tenth day of Christmas:
Ten lords-a-leaping would be quite a site
This next gift will surely help you jump to great height
Leaping around in this garment, you’ll look quite divine
So pull on these pants, one leg at a time.

As you probably guessed, this gift was new jeans.

The eleventh day of Christmas:
Those eleven pipers piping where busy piping on some plumbing
Which left me without a gift and often humming
I’ve gotten U something to show your true color
You know who will be jealous… your mother.

This gift is the most surprising for me. I’ve wanted one of these for a long time but by the time I got around to buying one, the store that makes them was going out of business and didn’t have any left. I was SUPER bummed. But somehow Mike came through and found me one. It’s a large U with lights on it for the University of Utah.

The twelfth day of Christmas:
The 12th night the drummers, and of course Christmas Day,
Santa has come and has what else is there to say
I've had so much fun, and I hope you have to,
So on Christmas Eve, this is my last gift to you.

This one was a new stereo for my car, one that has a USB and AUX plug so I can listen to my iPod in my car without the hassle and static that accompanies the FM transmitter.

It was so much fun for me and him too I think. It was an awesome Christmas season and isn’t Mike just the cutest!?!

Im a slacker!

I realize that its been a while since I posted, I'm blaming it on school. Third semester is finally over! 18 tests, 10 clinicals and countless hours of studying, frustration and worry and I survived! The Kristi approved diet lasted less than a month, that's pretty pathetic but it was too time consuming and expensive (most of the things i was cooking were not things I had on hand and you only eat the same foods for one week creating tremendous waste because you can never buy only enough for one week.)
So now I'm just doing what I can to eat healthy, non-processed foods, lots of fruits and veggies and being active when I can.
Instead of taking the summer completely off from school, I've decided to sign up for an LPN class with some friends. It seems pretty easy and at the end of this short semester i will be able to register to take the state boards and become an LPN. I'm super excited. Some days I reflect that I'd only have one semester left until I can become an RN so why am I putting myself through extra work, but this hardly feels like the work and demand that a full semester of nursing school brings. The benefit for me to take this class is to take the LPN boards as practice for the RN boards. And it's only once a week and I can do all my clinical hours on the weekend so I can work to save money for my last semester of nursing school. Now I will proceed to (try to) update my blog of all that has happened over this busy third semester.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I recommend...Live the Life: Kristi Approved!

I have decided to join the "Life the Life" Kristi approved program. It is a program that combines super healthy eating with exercise to help people lose weight, but mostly just live healthier. I want to be healthier! (and shedding a few extra stress-pounds wouldn't hurt either).
I've only been doing this for about a week and a half but I'm already a believer. My friend who recommended it to me has seen great results. But it's really more than a diet program, it's a healthy living community. It also comes with support that is amazing. Last week I was feeling very overwhelmed and feeling like I was not doing anything right so I decided that because I couldn't be fully committed to this program, that I should quit, so I emailed Live the Life support and told them that with school and clinical, I can't eat right everyday and can't find little time to exercise, so I would quit and restart when I was out of school. Not more than 10 minutes later I got a reply from Trish (co-founder of Live the Life) who told me not to quit, gave me ideas for making the meal plan work for my schedule and told me not to worry about exercise, take baby steps and just do what I can. I can't tell you the relief I felt when getting her message. I felt like less of a failure and she really made me feel like I could do it, just doing my best, and whatever my busy schedule would allow and that would be just fine.
I highly recommend this program to anyone and everyone.
Especially right now because its on SALE! for 50% off, which is great for you skeptics out there who can buy it without paying full price.

Go to
enter the code: LOVE2LIVE at checkout and get half off!
But hurry because the code expires 2/21/11.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Shredded Black Bean Chicken

Courtesy of co-worker Nurse Stephanie

*1-2 chicken breasts
*1 cup salsa
*1 can black beans, drained
*1 package taco seasoning
Combine all 5 ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours (I used my 4 qt crock pot)

Remove chicken and add to the sauce:
*1/2 cup sour cream
*1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Stir until sour cream is mixed and cheese is melted.
Shred chicken and mix back into the sauce.
Serve over rice, alone or as the filling to burritos.
Optional: top with chopped green and red peppers.

**I ate this over brown rice as Stephanie told me she did and it was delicious! There is an alternative where you cook 3-4 chicken breasts and serve them whole. Steph and I decided that we prefer shredded chicken so that's how we had it. This recipe was so yummy and Mike even had seconds (which hardly ever happens) so you know its that good!