Farewell to the Big Apple

Our tour of NYC is finally over! On our last evening together Tyler and I took one final walk around the financial district, my favorite part of NYC, and then grabbed dinner at Peanut Butter & Co. I had the famous Fluffernutter (creamy peanut butter & marshmallow fluff w/ bananas) while Tyler enjoyed the Jerry Seinfeld Special (toasted bagel smothered in creamy peanut butter, honey & cinnamon); YUM!

I am soooo excited to not be living in the big city anymore, but I do have some fond memories of our time there. For example, watching a guy fall asleep mid-dunk (chicken Mcnugget into sweet & sour sauce) on the train from Newark to Manhattan, and then watching him wake up, fingers covered in sauce, toss the nugget into his mouth and chew for a few seconds before then falling asleep mid-chew! Seriously, how tired can you be?!

Anyways, I haven't been super stoked on the idea of us living in L.A. for a few years either, but NYC has made me appreciate it's west coast counterpart a little more. Tyler is thrilled I have finally jumped on the bandwagon and suggested I write down a few things in L.A. that made me smile this weekend. So, here I go:

1. Fresh air! Less smoke, less garbage, less urine in the streets, and less weirdy food restaurants.
2. When I go running in the morning people smile and say "Good Morning" instead of glaring or cussing out some poor bloke on the phone all day; aka, people are happy not angry 90% of the time.
3. Actual markets with everything I'm looking for and no rotting produce smells.
4. Good, fresh produce!!
5. Ahhh, the Focus. I actually smiled when I sat down in him for the first time (although I may have forgotten how to drive a manual slightly and may have used 2nd gear as 1st gear for the first little while). No more hot, stinky, always late subway.
6. The cool ocean breeze and perfectly warm summer days :)
7. Grass. It's the simple things.
8. Cheaper.... everything!
9. BONUS: I passed by a Plumeria tree on my morning run the other day and it smelled soooooo good!! I love it!


Broadway Review

I've seen quite a few Broadway musicals in London and NYC this summer, and now I love going to a show. In case you're wondering what you should see, here's my personal review of the ones I've seen.

Both Tyler and I went to see Wicked without having any prior knowledge of the story and we both thought it was AWESOME!! The storyline is fun yet completely different from it's counterpart, The Wizard of Oz, the set designs were great, and the singing was phenomenal! I think I got chills every time Elphaba sang- definitely a must see.

If you have seen the film version of South Pacific, then you'll love it just as much on stage. It follows right along with movie and has all the same great songs including "Happy Talk" :) Seriously, the music is so fun- I was singing along and dancing in my seat the whole time. It also made me want to go to the beach, but I still highly recommend it.

The Phantom of the Opera was similar to the movie as well (I'm pretty sure cause I've only seen part of the movie), but in the production I saw the singing was only okay and in my opinion incredible singing is what makes that musical good. I guess it's a classic, but it's not on my must see list.

I honestly can't remember the last time I saw this movie and it makes me sad because all the songs are so good. The most impressive thing about Mary Poppins were the set designs and changes. There was also a little mythology in there, which I'm not sure is in the movie, but I loved, naturally. It was really fun to watch and sing along to- I would say this one is worth the time and excellent for the keikis too!

Oliver is an off-Broadway musical that I went to only because the London Centre was paying for us to see it, and I am soooo glad they did. The kids singing in this were amazing and the guy who played Bill Sikes was every bit as creepy as the one in the movie; I think Bill Sikes is on my top five creepiest bad guys list. The sets were also pretty neat- definitely a must see.

Seeing a Broadway production of The Lion King has been on my bucket list for some time now, and I'm happy to say that I can finally check it off the list. The singing in the production Tyler and I saw was a little disappointing, however I was still got totally giddy when the giraffes first came on stage. Like everyone says the costumes, as well as the sets, are incredible. It is definitely a must see for the costumes alone, but everything else is still a bonus!

Finally, even though it is not technically a musical, I wanted to do a shout out for the Peter Pan play we saw in London. I did a research paper on J.M. Barrie's original Peter Pan for an English class and absolutely love the story. This production of the classic tale was set in Scotland. During major set changes the cast members sang a Scottish song and it was really interesting. I was also impressed with the way they did Tinkerbell- she was a floating flame that Peter could catch and hold; so clever! The play was also much more like the book than the Disney movie which I loved!


A Few Things. . . .

This past week was Tyler and I's last full week in NYC together. I'm taking off Wednesday morning to Cali for a couple days before Chicago, and Tyler will be meeting up with me there Friday evening. We decided to make the most of our last week so we took a sunset Circleline boat tour around the southern tip of Manhattan, took another late nite cruise around the upper New York Bay with the JP Morgan crew, finally visited Lady Liberty and Ellis Island, relaxed at the beach for a bit and discovered an amazing Argentinian pizzeria. We still need to try and squeeze in a couple of dinners with some of Tyler's colleagues & friends and a visit to the Met, but our NYC tour is just about over and I'm soooo excited!

Sorry, I have no photos of the NYC skyline all lit up at nite; the boat was a speed-racer so all of my attempted pics came out blurry :(



Last nite Tyler and I opted for a simple dinner out to celebrate our 2-year anniversary. We decided that we didn't need to do anything too amazing since we've pretty much been traveling all over the world since April and we are far from done. Over dinner we contemplated all that we've done in the past two years- which is a lot, but it's been great! We were lucky enough to spend a few days in Paris, just us, at the end of June and I realized that I never posted anything about the trip. So, of all the trips we've taken during our second year of marriage, I figured a little blurb about the city of love, Paris (said Paree), was appropriate.

Although Paris is not the most beautiful city I've ever been to, everything we saw was absolutely gorgeous. We spent our first day wandering around Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle and the two small islands there. In the evening we spent a good four hours at the Louvre and that was only to see a few specific pieces; including the Winged Victory which is one of my absolute favorites!

The second day we spent all day touring the gardens and palaces at Versailles. The palaces were exquisite and beautifully ornate in every possible way. I loved the furniture and all the gold, but my favorite was still Marie Antoinette's Hamlet- I wish I could live there cause it's just so cute :) The last day we soared to the top of the Eiffel Tower- incredible! Then we spent the remainder of our time there wandering the city and seeing a few other sites like the Pantheon and the Arc de Triomphe. Our trip was grand; and yes, I ate at least two Nutella crepes a day. Yum!

How Tyler probably wished he could've spent the entire afternoon.


2 Years

Happy Anniversary to my one and only lover! I still love you!

Haha, I saw this picture on my sister Amy's blog and decided it is an accurate depiction of Tyler and I. Who knows what's going on :)

P.S. For those of you who haven't heard yet, the happy couple is officially moving to Chicago in two weeks, and we will be there until Thanksgiving. Apparently, our crazy year isn't quite over yet!

100 Years in a Day

Saturday Tyler and I drove across the state of Pennsylvania and effectively covered over 100 years of history in one day. We started in Philadelphia where Tyler was able to see a few of the historical sites I saw a couple weeks ago. Then we headed out to Valley Forge and walked through General Washington's headquarters. Then we drove a few hours over to Gettysburg and wandered the battlefields there. Both of us realized that we tend to lump the Revolutionary War and the American Civil War together in history. It was kind of interesting to think about how the Civil War happened 100 years after our country was formed and interesting to think about how far our country has come in another 100 or so years.

I don't know what I was expecting to find at Gettysburg, perhaps some misty, eerie woods like in Remember the Titans, but I was impressed with what was there. The battlefields where thousands of Americans died fighting their own countrymen were littered with memorials to various infantries, states, generals and other significant soldiers. There were hundreds of monuments covering the beautiful countryside of all shapes and sizes. Some of the markers were built shortly after the war while others were brand new. It was incredible to see and feel the impact of the Civil War on our country. We also stopped by the Soldiers National Cemetery and saw the place where Abraham Lincoln dedicated the land and delivered the Gettysburg Address. Tyler and I both felt bad because we realized how little we actually know about the war, so it looks like I need to take a refresher course in American History; it really is something that I would like to know more about. At the same time, it was really cool knowing that in one day I stood in the exact spot where George Washington stood and the exact spot where Abraham Lincoln stood, both in the midst of a war, making history.

Tyler and I also had the privilege of driving through Lancaster County, aka Amish Country, over the weekend. We stopped in a quilt shop, a bake shop, a furniture shop and an antique shop. I loved it all! I decided that Ma and Pa would be good Amish folk because they have the quilting and bread making down, plus we all know how Pa could easily lose the cell phone and TV. We saw soooo many people in their little horse carriages and I decided that I would love to live Amish style for a while. Tyler gave me permission so if anyone else is interested let me know :) Unfortunately, I didn't really get any pictures because it was raining and I felt awkward taking a picture of someone in their carriage, so you'll just have to trust me when I say it was beautiful, peaceful country.

(Picture courtesy of Google Images)



Today I am officially a college graduate! In April Tyler graduated from the BYU business school and because my graduation was only a few months away we decided to walk together with his school. However, I still had to finish up my classes in London and my senior project to be done with school. Today is my actual graduation date, so HOORAY for me....and Tyler. We're done with school for at least a few years :)


Oh Canada!

Tyler and I visited Niagara Falls over the weekend, too. It was beautiful, of course, and the longer we were there the more amazing it was. Nature is so intense!

Since I have never been to Canada before, we also decided to cross the river and grab lunch in Ontario. I didn't have my passport so once we got into Canada I was a little nervous the U.S. border patrol wouldn't let me back in the country. Luckily we made it back!


"Oh, how lovely was the morning! Radiant beamed the sun above. Bees were humming, sweet birds singing, music ringing thru the grove,...." (Joseph Smith's First Prayer, Hymn 26)

Over the weekend Tyler and I drove upstate to see the church history sites in Palmyra and Fayette. I think the hymn above is the best way to describe how perfect Saturday was. Upstate New York has some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen!

We started the day off at the Hill Cumorah, then visited the Palmyra Temple, the Smith Farm and Sacred Grove, the E.B. Grandin Publishing building, and finally the Peter Whittmer Farm. We also saw the location of the Martin Harris Farm and Alvin Smith's grave site. Every place was just as beautiful as the next and I actually learned a lot as well. One of the walls at the Grandin building was an original and still had ink stains from back when the Book of Mormon original copies were published there; very cool. My favorite site, however, was the Sacred Grove; it really is so beautiful and so peaceful. We did cross paths with a skunk and a very skittish deer which livened things up though :)

It really was a wonderful experience to be at the sites where such important events in church history took place. I've been an awesome combination of crazy bored and insanely stressed the past couple of weeks; trying to come up with things to do to pass the time while worrying about where Tyler and I will live in L.A. and if I can get a job. Our trip to the country could not have come at a better time, and once again I am soooo grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord in my life. I couldn't survive without them!


Bronx Zoo

The JP Morgan trainees spent the day as volunteers taking some kids from Harlem around the Bronx Zoo. Tyler and I hung out with a boy who was about 13. He kind of reminded me of Ben, but said he wanted to be a judge when he grew up not a builder/soldier/park ranger hybrid :)

Highlights of the day:

Watching two grizzly bears duke it out, especially when the smaller guy tricked the bigger guy into turning his back so he could book it back up the "mountain."

Watching the sea lion feedings. The male sea lion was HUGE and did some cool tricks, including coming up to the wall where we were standing to wave and shout hello.


Philadelphia, PA

"In west Philadelphia, born and raised...." It was definitely after I had been in college for a while that I finally learned that song said Philadelphia and not Villanovia, which I thought was some area like Compton around L.A. I had that line stuck in my head all day yesterday as I was walking around old Philly to see the historic sites, so I thought I'd share :)

I loved Philadelphia, well old Philadelphia anyways. I found myself wanting to know more and more about our nation's history and wondering why I didn't pay more attention to Mrs. Smith in 8th grade. In fact, I'm very interested in good novels about the Revolutionary War if anyone has a suggestion.

It was an incredible feeling standing in the room where our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence; just feet away from the actual chair in which General Washington sat and oversaw the whole affair. I got butterflies in my stomach as we entered the room and felt as if I was standing on sacred ground. I later re-read the Declaration of Independence and I love these words:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.... And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."
I am so grateful for our Founding Fathers and the divine help they received in forming our beloved nation and, as always, I am still so proud to American!

Other cool things I saw in Philadelphia were: the Liberty Bell (natch, it was awesome), the Betsy Ross home, the U.S. Mint, Christ's Church and burial grounds (where Benjamin Franklin is buried), Elfreth's Alley (the oldest continuous residential street in the nation), and learning all about the Quakers.