Christmas in Paris

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Adventure / Travel

FrenchKissAfter getting the plane tickets for our trip in August, the first thing we booked was this amazing stone farmhouse from the 17th century that had been redone and converted into a bed and breakfast in the British countryside. Our plan was to spend Christmas there and I was stoked. Then, our credit card expired in November and they cancelled our reservation before we could give them a new number, and someone else booked our spot. Then I was furious. We tried booking two other B&Bs in Bath, but each one cancelled on us for various reasons and finally I said, forget it, we’re going to Paris!

I took French all through High School, and several years in college so I got to be our official speaker for this part of our trip. The main thing this did for me was make me realize my French is really, really bad. I’ve forgotten so much. I did help us get out of being swindled by someone in the metro who was acting like he was going to help us because we were obviously lost tourists though, so at least there’s that. I need to practice up for our next trip someday.

Paris is a unique place—everything about it just feels beautiful and it was perfect for Christmas. Our hotel was completely incredible. If you ever go to Paris, you must stay at the Hotel La Tamise. It was in the perfect location, literally right across the street from the Louvre, every corner of the hotel had a beautiful Parisian charm, and the staff were the friendliest people we met anywhere on our trip. We were pretty much treated like royalty by everyone and it was very nice. They upgraded our room because it was Christmas and I just can’t say enough good things about them.

The window in our hotel room

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Look at that banister!

The first day we got to Paris we found this adorable little patisserie around the corner from our hotel, bought one of everything we wanted to try and went to eat them in the Jardin des Tuileries. We walked around like the aristocrats used to then went and looked at the huge ferris wheel at the end of the garden as it got dark. It was lovely.
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I’ll have one of each, thank you.

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On Christmas Morning we woke up and had a delicious French breakfast in bed then set out to explore. This was the day we hit most of our major sites like the Eiffel tower and Champs Elysses (which, surprisingly, tons of things were open on Christmas).

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In the evening we had reservations for a restaurant with a glass roof that was right next to the Eiffel tower so we could watch as it lit up while we ate our dinner. The food was just okay for how much it cost but overall the experience was nice. It was pretty magical watching the Eiffel tower sparkle while eating dinner on Christmas in a fancy restaurant.IMG_3685 IMG_3696 copy

The day after Christmas we spent a lot of time at Museums, going through different exhibits. My favorite is still the Museé D’Orsay, and the Louvre is of course always very nice. My favorite era of painting is Impressionism and the Musée D’Orsay had a beautiful collection of paintings from that era. They also had an exhibit of art nouveau furniture and housewares that was very cool. In the Louvre, you kind of have to choose what you want to see because it’s so huge, so we spent a lot of time in the Egyptian and Medieval areas, and of course we stopped to see Darth Vader’s helmet as well because we were still on a Star Wars kick after seeing number VII in London.

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The Louvre!

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While standing in line behind the most annoying Americans I’ve ever met. We didn’t talk at all in the line because we didn’t want people to associate us with them.

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Darth Vader

Tapestries in the Louvre

Wandering the halls in the louvre

shield in the Louvre

Some of the detail on these shields was amazing!

Art nouveau chair

Art Nouveau for life!

We spent some time looking at shops and trying ordering at different restaurants in French, which was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Man, my french has gotten really bad. We looked through some neat book and clothing stores and walked through a few open air markets that were fun, and then on the 27th we headed back to London to catch our connection to Bath!

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Harry Potter Studio Tour

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Adventure / Travel

KnightBus

If I’m being completely honest, one of the main reasons we chose to go to England for our trip was because of Harry Potter. It’s taking everything I have to not write this entire post in all caps with exclamation marks every other word. We LOVE Harry Potter, and Hogwarts at Christmas is potentially the most magical thing ever created. Just walking around the streets of London, eating in decked out pubs, and buying Christmas Crackers felt so magical because in my mind it’s all connected to Harry Potter and the Wizarding World.

When the Harry Potter movies first started production, not all of the books had been written yet which meant the film crew didn’t know what props and sets would be needed in the future. As a result they kept many of the things they made for each film and now it’s all on display in a studio tour just outside of London so the Muggles can have a taste of the magic. I was really impressed with how much detail everything had, even if it was just a minor prop in the background and this tour ended up being one of my favorite things we did on our entire trip.

After a short train ride from London to Watford, we rode a double decker bus out to the studio, and after arriving a bit early for our scheduled time, decided to have afternoon tea in their cafe. Once it was time for us to go in we walked into a small theater room where they had an introductory video that talked a bit about the making of Harry Potter, then a screen raised up revealing the entrance to the Great Hall, which was decorated for Christmas!

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Afternoon tea

A very terrible shot of a very delicious afternoon tea!

There was a guy in the Great Hall giving some brief information about the hall and filming there, and then they moved us into the “museum” section with all the props and sets where we could wander freely as long as we liked. There were so many awesome things! I’m sorry you only get crappy phone photos of them, because though we did take the nicer camera, we forgot to charge the battery, so it died pretty quickly.

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Dumbledore, Snape, and McGonagall in the great hall.

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The Gryffindor common room was so cozy!

The Leaky Cauldron

The Leaky Cauldron

All the main characters' wands. Some of them were really cool.

All the main characters’ wands. Some of them were really cool.

Taking a selfie in the Mirror of Erisid

Taking a selfie in the Mirror of Erisid

House Elf Armor

House Elf Armor

The clue for the second task of the Triwizard tournament

The clue for the second task of the Triwizard tournament

The walls in Dumbledor's office.

The walls in Dumbledor’s office.

 

Selfie in the dungeon

Selfie in the dungeon

The Goblet of Fire

The Goblet of Fire

Hagrid's Cabin

Hagrid’s Cabin

Aaron looking through the window to Hagrid's cabin

Aaron looking through the window to Hagrid’s cabin

Door to the Chamber of Secrets

Door to the Chamber of Secrets

The collection of Horcruxes

The collection of Horcruxes

Some interesting objects from Bourgin and Burkes

Some interesting objects from Bourgin and Burkes

Nagini with the Death Eaters

Nagini with the Death Eaters

Umbridge's collection of cat things in her office.

Umbridge’s collection of cat things in her office.

Magic is Might from the Ministery of Magic

Magic is Might from the Ministery of Magic

Official Decrees at Hogwarts

Official Decrees at Hogwarts

Aaron on the Hogwarts Express

Aaron on the Hogwarts Express

The lunch Trolley

The lunch Trolley

Wizarding Books

Wizarding Books

More wizarding books

More wizarding books

After the first museum part with props and sets you hit a little lunch area where we bought some butterbeer and butterbeer flavored ice cream. Neither of them were very good. Then you walk briefly through the outdoor area of Privit Drive where you can also see the Night Bus, and then go back indoors into the special effects section. Here you got a good look at the latex masks they made for creatures, animatronics, and a bunch of green screen special effects. They had a section where you could ride a broomstick in front of a green screen and they’d make it look like you were flying, but if you wanted a picture of that it was like $40.

We stopped at the butterbeer stand for some butterbeer and butterbeer icecream. Neither were very good.

We stopped at the butterbeer stand for some butterbeer and butterbeer icecream. Neither were very good.

Someone had laid a sock across Dobby's plaque.

Someone had laid a sock across Dobby’s plaque.

Some of the special effects for Lupin's werewolf

Some of the special effects for Lupin’s werewolf

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Aaron in Diagon Alley

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The “small scale” Hogwarts castle they used to film aerial scenes. It’s dusted in snow only at Christmas! This was my favorite thing of the entire tour.

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Some very cool concept art on the way out. It’s incredible how many people are involved in designing the movie!

It was nerd heaven and my soul loved every second.

London!

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Adventure / Travel

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For Christmas Aaron and I decided we wanted to take a big trip. Our honeymoon was spent in Park City, Utah, which at the time, was the perfect place to go, but we hadn’t really been on a real vacation with just us since getting married three years ago. (now three and a half!) A grand European Adventure seemed like the perfect solution.

After spending a lot of time thinking about where we want to go (everywhere!) We decided on London. I had never been there before, and Aaron had loved it the last time he went. He was right. It was SO MUCH FUN.

I took my Nikon F with about ten rolls of film, plus a new mirrorless camera we got with the intention of documenting this trip in great detail, but when we got there everyone was walking around with selfie sticks and taking photos of every little thing they walked past and I realized I really just wanted to experience the moment rather than photograph it. Consequently my real cameras didn’t get very much use and most photos I got came from my crappy little phone camera. I have one roll of film from the trip I still need to develop that I will share after it gets done. In retrospect, I wish I had more photos (for this post mostly) but I regret nothing about just experiencing the moment with Aaron.

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London from the sky

We arrived in london late and spent our first night at a Yotel in the airport. Yotels are these awesome little cube hotels that are actually inside the terminal, which makes it nice when you get off an eleven hour flight and don’t want to navigate London in the middle of the night. We just walked out of security and checked in.

We spent most of our days wandering around, exploring London and talking about things. We thought about filling a schedule with museums and landmarks but decided that what we really wanted to do was find cool shops, look at cool buildings, and hang out in pubs. So that is what we did.

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Walking through Hyde Park.

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A Christmas Cracker pop-up shop

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Having meat pies in pubs!

Having meat pies in pubs that are covered with christmas garlands!

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Meat Pies!

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Pubs covered in Christmas trees!

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They had some sort of festival outside the natural History Museum with ice skating (in 50 degrees) a merry go round, and some cool christmas lights.

Wandering around while everyone was out doing their Christmas shopping was a lot of fun and I’m so glad we were there at this time of year. Pure magic! The only thing that would have made it more magical was snow, but that’s the Utahn in me talking.IMG_3577IMG_3578

One minor hiccup was our hotel. We booked it through hotwire, because we had a good experience with them the last time we went to Vegas but we ended up in the WORST hotel ever. We stayed there for two nights before we decided we’d had enough and I spent two hours in a Starbucks calling Hotwire who kept telling me it was non-refundable. I’m not usually an unhappy customer, but this hotel was totally a joke so I just kept asking for their manager and refused their free credits they kept offering me and two hours later they moved us to a new nicer hotel. ‘Murica: where you can have whatever you want if you stay on the phone long enough. Never planning on using Hotwire again.

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Just the lovely view on the landing of spare mattresses. Next to the elevator that didn’t work.

The best place we went during our time in London was this restaurant called The Ivy Kensington Brasserie. We looked through the window as we walked past one day while it was raining, and decided we would come back later for Aaron’s birthday because it looked pretty nice. It was very nice and the food was excellent! Amazing! Delicious! We also had a really great waiter named Rafael from Italy who we talked with for a while and I wish we could have just had him sit and eat with us. If I lived in London I would be a regular. We ended up going back at the end of our trip, right before we went home.

Crispy duck salad

The BEST salad. Crispy duck, ginger dressing and pomegranate seeds. I don’t even like duck.

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Happy Birthday Babe.

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Lovely Brasserie ambiance.

Stay tuned for the next installment on our trip to Harry Potter Land!

Utah Fashion Insider Magazine

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Fashion / Projects

Sometimes when I tell people I designed and made some lines for Provo Fashion Week I get some scoffs and nervous smiles. They can’t get over the idea of there being fashion in Utah, specifically Provo. They think it’s this hilarious joke. I don’t know what to say to those people other than the joke’s on them because their misplaced bias is blinding them to the incredibly talented designers in this area. As I’ve participated in a couple of the PFW shows I’ve been able to meet and see the work of designers in this area and I’m truly astounded by some of it.  I’m so happy I’ve been able to participate in making things alongside these talented people.

In the last year Provo Fashion Week has grown and become Utah Fashion Week with one annual show in the Spring. As part of this shift they just put out their first Utah Fashion Insider Magazine with a bunch of photo stories featuring work of local designers. They did an amazing job with the styling, photography and layouts and you should all take a look (on the computer works better than on a mobile) I was lucky enough to have three of my dresses featured in their articles! You can see the whole magazine at utahfashioninsider.com, but below are some shots featuring of my work.

First we have the Evening Editorial. I just can’t get over the colors in these photos. So beautiful.

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Evening Editorial: Photography by: Brolin Roney @brolintaylor || Styled by: Natalie Workman @nataliewynndesign || Makeup by: Jessika Luz @jessikaluz and Perla Frida @perlafrida || Hair by: Jessica Taylor @noskpike and Lose Ngata @celestialrose_hairstyle1 || Jewelry by: Katie Waltman @katiewaltman || Janay Marie evening gown @janaymarie on Nadya Cox @nadyacox (gold sequins) || Mary Rino evening gown @lilybridedesigns on Kaitlyn Towner @kaitlynoelle (black backless) || Natalie Wynn evening gown @nataliewynndesign on Haley McLachlan @haleymakail (black w/applique) || Bree Lena evening gown @breelena on Mallory Gifford @mallorygifford (sequin ball gown) || Alexis Puglisi evening gown @lexpuglisi on Jenessa Sheffield @jenessa4 (green)

Then they had this fantastic bridal ballerina shoot with my wedding dress!

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Bridal Editorial Credits: Photography by: Elisha Braithwaite (@elishabraith) || Styled by: Natalie Workman and Janay Robison (@nataliewynndesign, @janaymarie) || Flowers by: Margie Keates The Lovely Ave (@thelovelyave) || Makeup by: Jessika Luz (@jessicaluz) || Hair by: Leanna (@prohairbyleanna) || Dress by Natalie Wynn (@nataliewynndesign) on Hilary Wolfley (@hilarywolfley) (polkadot and tulle) || Dress by Alexis Puglisi (@lexpuglisi) on Ariel Wright (@arielsue) || Dress by Janay Marie (@janaymarie) on Janay Robison (@Janaymarie) || Dress by Mary Rino (@lilybridedesigns) on Hilary Wolfley (@hilarywolfley) (silk w/ tulle skirt) || Dress by Nancy Barrus (@aveniabridal) on Ariel Wright (@arielsue) (strapless w/ purple)

And lastly there was this cool ready to wear, night fashion shoot where they used my red leather dress with laser cut detailing.

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Night Editorial Credits: Photography by: Mike Johnson (@endless.photo) || Styled by: Natalie Workman and Janay Robison (@nataliewynndesign, @janaymarie) || Jewelry by: Desert Rose Jewelry (@desertrosejewelry) || Makeup by: Jessika Luz (@jessicaluz) || Hair by: Sierra Miller (@sierrasbeauties) || Meg Ricks (@megricks) in: Zaiya Collection (@zaiyacollection) || Natalie Workman (@nataliewynndesign) in: Alexis Puglisi (@lexpuglisi)

Photo Final

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Photography / Projects

My photo 101 class came to an end the other week. It was pretty fun to work on my own photography skills rather than just always helping other people develop theirs and even though I already knew most of the stuff we talked about in class from my experience teaching Photo I at school, I still learned some valuable stuff and got to see how a real photo class functions in terms of critiquing.

I also noticed that compared to the class I teach, this class was a piece of cake and my high schoolers do significantly more, and more difficult work. I’m still trying to decide if this means my students are getting an excellent education, or if I need to ease up a little bit. Maybe some of both. Overall the class, though not wildly informative, did help me analyze to a greater degree my teaching methods, which was helpful.

And without further ado, here’s my photo final. I decided to do a sort of stylized portrait series of my family. Of course I did it the day before it was due, so Hannah is missing because she was at Youth Conference in Wyoming and was unavailable to be photographed. There’s also two of each Sam, Chris and my mom because I needed ten.

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Fourth of July Weekend

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Adventure / In Utah

Balloons

The Fourth of July is a big deal in Provo—like, probably a bigger deal than Christmas. There are a bunch of events put on by the Freedom Festival that go on throughout the week of the fourth and it’s created quite a few of my family traditions. Though Aaron has lived in Provo for about four years, he’s never been in town for the fourth and while I was excited to show him all the cools stuff I grew up doing, I was a little bit nervous too. What if this stuff is only fun because it’s a tradition for me? What if I’ve talked it up but he ends up thinking it’s just okay? The prospect was a little bit scary.

It all turned out even better than expected though because watching Aaron experienced some of these things for the first time was really fun. Even things that I though were borderline boring (ahem, parade) he thought were pretty great and it was fun to share it with him. It was one of my best Fourths in Provo yet. Now let the gigantic post begin!

Utah Symphony Concert in the woods

The weekend before the Fourth Aaron and I went up to Sundance to see the Utah Symphony’s patriotic program. Sundance is my favorite Ski resort in all of Utah. Most people kind of think of it as the beginners ski resort because it’s maybe a tenth of the size of Alta or Snowbird but I like it because it’s not commercial feeling like all the others. When you go up there you really are at a resort in the woods. It’s so peaceful.

Sometimes you forget what a big difference there is between listening to a recording and hearing a symphony play live. Aaron and I sat on the grass with a blanket and snacks and had quite a nice evening listening to the symphony as it got dark and the stars came out (because you can actually see them up in the mountains!)

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The ticket office

Hill

We decided to hike up rather than wait for the trailer ride up the slope to the amphitheater because the line was about a mile long.

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Ampitheatre

We sat at the very top of the amphitheater on a blanket and enjoyed the view.

 

Freedom Awards Gala

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Blurry phone photo outside the dinner at the convention center. Aaron had to stay late at work unexpectedly so he wasn’t able to come with us. 😦

Every year the Freedom Festival recognizes several people from around the country who have exemplified the cause of freedom in one way or another and they honor them at a big fundraiser dinner. The food is pretty fancy but the dinner is one of my favorite things to go to because the awards recipients get to spend a moment and share their story, and they are absolutely incredible human beings. This year was probably the best dinner I’ve ever been to. The awards this year were given to A World War II Japanese-American veteran, a preserver of veterans’ histories, a veteran amputee and and while all of the recipients had incredible stories, the one that particularly touched my soul was Timothy Ballard, the founder of  Operation Underground Railroad. He used to work for the FBI rescuing children from sex slavery but found that there were so many issues with jurisdiction as he went abroad as a member of the FBI, that he formed his own organization to continue the work. His stories were so heartbreaking! There are an estimated 27 million people living in the sex slavery right now, 13 million of them are children. Here is an infographic his foundation made with statistics.

Balloon Festival

The balloon festival takes place over several days veeery early in the morning. My favorite part is when you first get there and there are about 35 balloons laid out on the grass. They have these giant fans they use to inflate them and just walking around these mammoth balloons as they get bigger and bigger is such a surreal experience. You don’t really realize how large a hot air balloon is until you are standing next to it.

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Filling the Balloons up.

When I was younger I got to go up in one of the balloons, and this year Sam and Hannah got to do it. Their pilot was a pretty cool guy, which is saying something because a lot of hot air balloonists are a bit excentric. I mean, you have to be if you’re going to drop $100,000 on a hot air balloon. These guys come from all over the country to participate in the balloon fest and it’s pretty good fun. After they all take off there are some games where they try and drop bean bags on targets and stuff, but most of the pilots just float away across the valley instead of sticking around. When it gets too hot, they try and find an open place to land—a parking lot, park, or even just a residential street, and whoever is around comes out of their houses in their pajamas and helps fold the balloon up. Then the pilot shares a bottle of champagne, (or cider in this case) with whoever helped them.

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Sam and Hannah

Takeoff

About to take off

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The Star Wars Balloons are always a favorite

The Freedom Run

Every year before the Parade they have the freedom run, which includes a 5k, 10k and half marathon that goes along the parade route. Though some of my siblings have done it before, I’ve never been tempted to wake up an a ridiculous hour just to pay money to run, but for Aaron’s sake, I decided we were going to have the full experience and do the 5k it this year. We started up by the South end of BYU campus, ran all along the parade route, and then up 9th east (it’s a hill. one I didn’t think was part of the race) and end at Kiwanis Park. Running the Parade route was pretty cool where everyone who had camped out were just waking up, but that last hill was death.

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The Parade

As a kid the parade was one of my favorite things. There were giant balloons, people who threw candy, marching bands, tanks from WWII and Vintage Rolls Royces driving around, plus all the cities’ pageant queens on floats. Then I got older and it got a little less exciting and I haven’t even gone for the last few years. I guess the parade is pretty cool, but everyone in Provo doesn’t really go for the parade. They just go for the party the night before. At exactly 3pm the day before the parade, University and Center street become a shanty town of people claiming their turf for the next day. They bring tents, and canopies, couches, and waterbeds. After it gets dark people have BBQs and music and there’s a giant group of bikers that ride up and down the street (one group of cyclists, and one of Harley people). Any businesses or homes along the route try their best to fence things off before the hoards come because people get pretty territorial about their areas and it’s pretty weird, but again, just one of those tradition things.

I didn’t take any of these photos, but here’s an idea of what you see.

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The library fenced off like it’s a zombie apocalypse.

People camping out

Shanty town campers

The next morning, the run goes along the parade route right through shanty town. After we finished running Aaron and I went home to get ready, then rode our bikes along the parade route to the spot where we had seats on the bleachers (you can get tickets for those so you don’t have to camp out. No one in my family wanted to sleep in the street)

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At the parade with Sam, Mati, and Olivia

The parade was pretty good, and my mom was in it because she is on the city council. They were all on a trolley which was kind of fun and I think she had a good time.

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Mom, on a trolley

The Stadium of Fire

The grand culminating event on the Fourth is the Stadium of Fire. It’s at the LaVell Edwards stadium and is basically a theatrical patriotic program, followed by a concert, followed by a million fireworks.

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On our way in

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The siblings

They have fighter jets fly over the stadium, and parachuters that land in the field, which are cool. Then a huge group of about 300 teenage dancers do some choreographed dance with glow sticks and flags. They have some variety show, which this year was the guys on youtube that put mentos into coke (who knew they preform live shows in stadiums?)

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The mentos guys surrounded by a few of the dancers.

There was this really awesome jazz band that was the best I’ve ever heard and then Olivia Holt performed, who is apparently a big deal with the younger crowd, but I had never heard of her—one of those up and coming Disney Channel singer stars who is younger than me. After all of that Journey performed and put on a surprisingly great show. I’ve never really listened to their music but was impressed that I knew most of their songs that they played. It all ends with a huge fireworks show.

Going with Aaron for his first time to these things was pretty fun, and overall I would call it a success.

 

Photo 101

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Photography

This last year at school I taught the beginning photo class. I actually have the photo endorsement because most of the qualifications were covered when I worked doing graphic design at BYU, but I’ve never taken a real photo class myself.

I had one video class in my program where we talked about the way cameras function etc, and I feel I have a good grasp on basic principles of design, but there have been a few moments when I’ve been teaching that I’ve had to google things I just have no idea about.

In an effort to become better myself and to have a better understanding of how a photo class should run (because understanding how photography works and teaching a photography class to teenagers are two completely different things) I’ve been taking a class at UVU over the summer. We recently had our midterm project due, where we were supposed to create a mini series that tells a story.

Every minute of every day we experience things, we make choices. Some of these moments are significant, some of them are mundane but they all push us forward in one direction or another, making us into the people we are.

My roots in Provo grow deep. Provo is the only city I’ve ever called home and this place is saturated with the moments that have made up my life experience. This place means a lot to me and as I consider my past and look to the future I see that life changes quickly and everyone in continually moving down their path of experience. I won’t always be here, which is fine, but the things that have happened here will always be with me.

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The Front Porch

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343 West / Exterior

Our house has good bones. In plain english this means that it is ugly, but some (allegedly) foolish young couple saw all the cool things that could be done to transform it into something better and decided it would be fun. There is a wide selection of projects that could be done to help transform this “good bones” house into a great house, but we thought one that would have a fairly large impact would be to work on the front porch. It is, after all, the first thing people see.

There are several things wrong with the front part of our house, however, the two most prominent were the wall of trellises that cover half the house, and the sagging porch. It is difficult to see the photo below, but the concrete slab that forms the front stoop had settled down an inch or two and consequently, the columns and covering had sunk with it. The “columns” made out of metal were not my favorite either. Mix this with the fortress of vinyl trellises and you have yourself what is commonly referred to as “the rental look”

Our first thought was to get the slab lifted, because we had heard that cost less than pouring a new one. But after getting a few estimates that were close to $1400, we decided that was not going to happen. We consulted with our contractor TJ, and after taking a look at it he said it would probably be fine if we just replaced the columns with some that were slightly taller to make the roof level again, then we could just remove and re-pour the front step, which would make the sloping barely noticeable. This sounded like a much better plan. We looked at a bunch of front porch column styles, and chose something we liked then he got to work.

I wasn’t home while he lifted it, so I’m not exactly sure how that happened, but apparently the support beam the columns were connected to was rotted, so he replaced it with a new board before attaching the posts.photo (27)

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Raised roof with the new support beams

He left the wood for about a week so it could climatize and get whatever cracks it was going to have, then he filled them in, and made the trim to fit around the top and bottom. After that, the final step was painting!

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Top trim. As you can see we have some other wood that may need to be looked at.

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Bottom trim

On Saturday Aaron spent the morning while I was at class ripping out the trellises, and TJ took them to the dump for us with everything else. We still need to fix the front facade on the top of the porch, add new trim around the windows, and a rain gutter on the left side there, replace our front door and porch light,  and of course add some plants (which will be our next project) but I feel like it is coming along.

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Provo Fashion Week

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Fashion

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For me at least, there are always a few days before something I’ve been working on is finished that I think it’s never going to come together, it looks terrible, and I hate it. My collection for Provo Fashion Week was no different, but fortunately it did come together and for the most part I think it turned out great.

Ever since I was a kid one of my favorite things to do was watch western movies with my dad. Usually Sunday evenings we would pop in some old John Wayne (who was his favorite) or Clint Eastwood (who was my favorite) and I was always enthralled by how very cool those cowboys were. The Hollywood cowboy is my favorite character from cinema’s history. There is no one more awesome than The man with no name in The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, Rooster Cogburn in True Grit (both versions), Ben Wade and Charlie Prince in 3:10 to Yuma. The struggle between the law and the outlaw, and what really makes you a good or bad guy has always fascinated me. Consequently, the collection I designed was based loosely on this idea of the Hollywood cowboy and the line that separates the law from the outlaw, while still being things I would want to wear on a normal day. It was my first time sewing leather—our sewing machine performed like a champ even I did go through a boatload of needles.

Anyway, this was a fun project to do. While I worked on this stuff Aaron was doing a line for Tessel which also was featured at the show. I’m sure he will post about that later and we had a good time working on our stuff together. I love that he likes design and sews with me (also sews better than me)

The whole process was good right up until two days before the show when I realized I was way behind and decided a fashion show it was the worst idea I’d ever had. We both slept about 10 hours in the last week but then after the show I decided I wanted to do it again. Yesterday I slept in until 1pm because I was so tired. What can I say, sewing is a roller coaster.

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The incredible Jocelyn backstage before the show working on Megan

I can’t say enough good things about Jocelyn Brown who did everyone’s hair and makeup for the show—she is incredibly talented and so kind to help me out. Also, all of my models killed it on the runway, we made a pretty good team! Unlike many others who participated in the show, I don’t do this as business, it’s mostly just for me because I think it sounds like fun. Having a venue to showcase your work just makes the creative process that much better. That being said, there is a sample sale with all the stuff from the show on Monday so if people want to buy it that would make me back some of the money spent on all that leather! If not though, I just gave myself a super awesome new wardrobe.

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Everyone together

Here are some photos taken on the runway by the illustrious Breanna White, who was kind enough to share them with me.

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Ashley in the first dress, kilin it with the hat. Instagram @Ashleyr_rocks86

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Jamie in a laser cut red leather pencil skirt. This skirt is one of my favorites. Instagram @miejohnson88

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Alexis in the hair-on-hide leather jacket. That jacket was the hardest thing to sew, but I think turned out really well. instagram @alexismmckinnon

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Emme in the oversized sherling coat. Aaron actually sewed this one for me and it is COZY. instagram @emmefranks

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Lindsay in the complete red leather dress with laser cut patterns. Matisse drew the pattern I used for the cutouts and then I laser cut them at work we got a new laser cutter!!! instagram @lindsaynausin

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Megan in the LBD. Even though this dress ins’t made of leather or laser cut, it’s one of my favorites and I want to wear it every day.

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Stevie in the long wool coat. It’s surprisingly difficult to find light colored coating wool. but I thik this coat turned out nicely. It’s very soft and warm. instagram @steviesmile

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And finally, Chelsea, my best friend in the gown. My only regret are those sleeves which I just didn’t have time to get exactly the way I wanted. Chelsea and her parents helped put on the embellishments, which are also laser cut leather and helped pulled it together. The the cape was also pretty fun. The inspiration behind that was Clint Eastwood’s poncho in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. I sort of wish I could wear a cape everywhere. @chelseasmithbooyah

Golden Doorknobs

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343 West / Interior

After the great debacle of the doors our momentum took a sharp nosedive and a lot of our projects went to a standstill. Having to rip out the door frames you just spent hours painting, routing, assembling and installing is rather disheartening and really it wasn’t until I found these little beauties that I even wanted to think about working on the doors again.

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A lot of people will say brass hardware in your house is soooo 80’s. they may be right but I am in love and I do what I want! These particular knobs are made of solid brass (instead of plated steel) and I love their classic look. We ended up just buying two to start with because they are a bit pricey, and getting the doors on the bedrooms was our top priority because Aaron’s parents were coming to visit us for Christmas, and heaven knows you need doors when the in-laws come to visit!

With a renewed vigor brought on by the shiny brass, we plowed through remaking our door frames and installed them in record time. Thankfully, the second time you do a project you’re not quite such a newbie, and it goes much faster than the first time. We measured correctly and our beautiful new doors went on without a hitch. Then we opened the package of our new doorknobs and got to installing them.

After figuring out the basic mechanics of a doorknob with privacy lock, we chiseled out an area for the plate on both the door and the door frame. (I always knew that set of chisels my wood shop teacher said was vital would one day come in handy…)

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Brass doorknobs

Beautiful! Shiny! Gold!

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Full door shot. We still need to replace the pocket door on the right.

I’m in love with our doors, and even though they are still not quite finished, they really do make our house look significantly better.Now we just need to put the stopper in the doorframe for when the door closes, and install the trim. Slowly but surely we make progress!