Our Week + Valley Scare Mall

It all started when Zach told me he had a roller hockey game down in WVC.  We decided to make a date of it:  we went out for some sushi and then made our way south to the rink.  I was reminiscing about my days as a youngster, going to Valley Fair Mall with my mom and aunts.  We would eat at the food court and then see a discount movie at the theater – when the mall was in it’s prime.  This was long before Gateway, by the way.  Zach expressed the desire to see it, out of pure curiosity.  I informed him it was worse [as in more ghetto] than New Gate Mall in Ogden, but he didn’t believe me.  Also, I find that people that are born and bred in Ogden always defend New Gate, like it is some precious landmark in their community.  Every time I criticize that mall he says, “But New Gate used to have a Nordstrom!” ‘Used to’ being the important part of the phrase in my argument.  We had some time to kill, so I drove him to the heart of the mall.  He  L O V E D  it.

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Truth be told, it was even worse than I remembered.  Most of the popular retailers have moved out, and in their place are…no words:

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By far my favorite was the Latino Bridal Store.  Where you can have a wedding dress that resembles cotton candy for a mere $600.

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We also stopped inside an “ALL A BUCK” store, where everything was 50% off.  Zach purchased this gorgeous feather mask for me for a steal of a deal:  53 cents.  I wore it the remainder of our experience through the mall – and to my disbelief nobody even gave me a second look.

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Along with our superb shopping experience, we also…

1]  Celebrated my boss’ departure to China with a lunch at the Red Iguana.

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2]  Reached my Fuel goal [four times] with my Fuel Band.

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3]  Discovered MEGA Stuf Oreos at Walmart.

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4]  Watched the guys in the shop set up my completed Health Catalyst booth before the show in New Orleans.  [This is only half of it, technically.  Also, meet Rob and Yubei…two of my coworkers.

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5]  Had a date at Market Street Broiler – with too much sourdough bread and clam chowder.

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6]  Spent the morning with my grandfather.  We picked out paint colors for his kitchen, discussed cabinet hardware, rearranged furniture, and then had brunch at IHOP.  It wasn’t a prime meal [he took one bite of his sausage and KNEW it wasn’t pork] but we had fun discussing technology, current events, and my grandmother’s biscuit recipe.  I am making an honest effort to spend more time with my grandparents – I promised myself that after my Grandpa Orval passed away.  Besides, I can’t get enough of this sass mouth…I adore him.

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7]  Zach cleaned out our entire garage – quite the feat considering how much hockey gear, snowboarding gear, and other garb we have crammed into this joint…

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8]  We spent Sunday evening at the Henderson’s eating a delicious dinner and then watched the Oscars.  My favorite moment?  When my lady crush, JL, fell on her way up to accept her award.  This made me liker her even more, to be honest.

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9]   The icing on the cake was eating Jeanene’s chocolate cake – Zach’s favorite dessert of all time.

I’m excited to get this upcoming week started:  my Dad finally returns home from Argentina.   We can’t wait to see pictures and stories of his adventures!

Mo Mummies: Mo Problems

After all the excitement we had on V-Day, we decided to keep it low key over the weekend.  Friday was my cousin Carissa’s wedding – so Zach and I drove down to Salt Lake to celebrate with our family.  It was gorgeous, as expected.  My favorite part, besides seeing the beautiful bride and her new husband, was watching my cousin’s child, Xander [dressed in a Newsie-esque costume?] jumping off the stairs repeatedly.  And falling and rolling, repeatedly.

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After the reception Zach and I stopped for dinner and to purchase some treats from STF.  Three of my family members bought me gift cards there for my birthday, I think it is obvious that I have a problem…

Yes, we took our baked goods into the movie theater with us.  FYI:  Eating a sugar cookie out of a paper bag is not easy or quiet in the theater.

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The next morning we had big plans.  We completed all of our Saturday chores, while watching the Art of Flight [to keep Zach motivated].

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We also finished our guest bathroom.  Everything is hung and installed – the only thing left is to patch those freaking holes I made last week….

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After all our duties were done around the house, we set off for City Creek.  We ate lunch at Red Iguana To Go.  In my opinion, just as good as the real Red Iguana, but you don’t leave smelling like Red Iguana.

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We shopped around City Creek for a while until we moved on over to the Leonardo for the Mummies Exhibit.

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Turns out we weren’t the only people with this exact same planeven though Zach thought going to see mummified bodies was weird.  There were no tickets available – they were completely sold out.  I am hoping they extend the exhibit for a few days…but until then, we will wait!  Zach could tell I was pretty bummed, so he drove me to Sweet Tooth Fairy.  Again.  Two times in two days.  The same girl was working there, and laughed when I walked through the door and made an identical order.

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It was convenient, however…that STF is located very close to a certain hockey store.  I didn’t make the connection until after we had left The Player’s Bench…and by then I was already eating my cake bites, so I didn’t mind.

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By the time we had looked through all the hockey sticks, tape, pads, and helmets…it was time for dinner.  We decided to stop at Tsunami for some sushi.

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After dinner Zach begged me to stop and get popcorn at the nearby theater [thank heaven above we get Cinemark Coupons in the mail every week] so we could take it home to watch the Slam Dunk Competition.

We were a little disappointed that the Jazz’s Jeremy Evans didn’t win first place, but it was a blast to watch!

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After the winner was announced we hurried up to Bountiful to meet my brother, his girlfriend, and my mother to see a movie [my dad is still in Argentina, exploring].  My mom and Brittany wanted to see Safe Haven: not complaining – it stars Josh Duhamel, and we met them for the flick in our neck of the woods.  Turns out the film’s popularity must have died off after Valentine’s, because we were the only souls in the theater.

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The movie was actually pretty decent, and it was fun to spend time with my family.  On an even better note – whilst jumping from seat to seat, I reached my daily Fuel Goal!  Bam!  [No it doesn’t calculate how many cake bites I ate, only how much I moved.]

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Maybe Nike can create a Fuel band that will alert you when you are having too many chubby-girl tendencies?  I could have really used it at Sunday dinner the next night.

A Classy Valentine’s : Peeing Outdoors

This year, it was my turn to plan Valentine’s Day festivities.  Hopefully I don’t have to remind anyone of why I plan Valentine’s Day every year automatically – but just in case you forgot:  it was because we spent our first V-Day as a married couple at Hot Dog on a Stick at the Gateway Food Court.  Zach planned it.  And that is why I plan every Valentine’s Day from now until forever.

I have done some design work for my sister-in-law over the past few months and she compensates me with credit at her brand new spa in Layton.  I decided to book the Luxe sweet for an 80 minute massage the day before V-day, as to somewhat avoid the crowds.

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You get this suite all to yourself:  a tub, a private bathroom with a shower, a fireplace, and a patio (this obviously is more beneficial in the warmer months).  First we got the couples massage.  By the fire.  Pretty freaking romantic.  Towards the end of the massage they started filling up the tub for us to soak in after.  That is the selling point in my opinion.  Nobody likes to drive home from an amazing massage covered in oil – slipping and sliding all over the place.  After our massages were over they ‘left us alone to relax’.  Normally, I would cringe at the thought of how many people have gotten down in the suite – especially the tub.  But Zach and I were too busy doing fantastic dance moves all over everything.  You might recognize this move: which I learned from my girl B at the Super Bowl Halftime Show.  I know…I look just like her.

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Then we soaked in the tub.  We got to relax for 30 minutes and then showered off all our greasy goodness.

Yes, I vined it.  Like I need another source of social media…

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Just a few photos of the gorgeous checkout, with all the product that we created.

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The actual holiday we both had to work, so we spent the majority of the day apart.  I did wake up to this sweet gift, however.  I have been wanting a Nike+ FuelBand forever.  But I never actually asked for one.  Sometimes I think my husband can read my mind…or maybe it is just impossible for me to be subtle?  Regardless, he knows me too well.  I am not a fan of roses in general, so instead of flowers I got Reeses’ Eggs.  He rules my world.

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After work was our official V-Day celebration.  I had made a reservation for us at Ruth’s Chris downtown for the two of us.  I got all ready at work in the staff restroom – I got all dressed up in my emerald silk maxi skirt and even put on lipstick.  You know it’s legit when you put on lipstick.  The only reason I am referencing this is because of the events that follow afterwards…

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We had the most delicious dinner.  Nobody cooks a steak like the dudes at RC.  Nobody puts that much butter on a steak, either…which ended up in lovely puddle that just missed my napkin on my silk skirt, but it gets better.  Promise.

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I let Zach open his card and gift from me as well – he got stretchy pants.  He’s been talking about buying cycling shorts forever, and I just went out and got him a pair.  How hilarious is walking into a cycling shop and saying “can you show me where the stretchy pants are, please?”  It got weird.  Zach got some other super high-tech cycling stuff too, along with my favorite skinny tie of all time.

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We finished our meal and debated on whether or not to get an over-priced dessert or to get something on the way back home.  We opted for the latter:  a chocolate and strawberry shake.

Then…the drive home.  The great part about a ‘fancy dancer’ restaurant is that you get refills of your Diet Coke before you’ve finished even half of your glass.  Truth be told, I couldn’t even tell you how many beverages I had because of the swiftness of our waiter.  Between down town Salt Lake and our home in North Salt Lake there is a stretch that we take [Beck Street] that only has two gas stations.  A sketchy Chevron where crack heads hang out and a Tesoro.  I made Zach stop at the Tesoro because I had to go to the bathroom.  Long story short: they wouldn’t let me use the restroom EVEN when I offered to buy a 12 pack of Diet Coke [which is why I got here in the first place, obviously].  So we left, for the Chevron.  Someone was using the bathroom already, and the gas station attendant wasn’t being very helpful.  I weighed all my options, realizing that it I was either going to pee my pants in the car [there were no cups or bottles of water or anything I could use] or I was going to have to stop on the side of the road, like a homeless person.  So, I made Zach pull into a prominent Utah construction company’s parking lot, ran behind a shipping container, and pulled up my beautiful silk skirt [with butter all over the front].  Basically, the classiest Valentine’s Day ever. At least I was wearing lipstick.  

The only thing that could make me feel better?  That chocolate shake.

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Hope you all had fantastic Valentine’s Day!

Family Overload

We had a lot of family time this week/weekend.  1. Because Zach and I were gone for my actual Birthday.  2. Because my Dad left for South America this weekend.  [He’s going through a mid-life crisis, okay?]  So to make up for lost time, we spent a lot of time together…but first our random week, as expected:

I attempted to finish up our guest bathroom – I had on my list to install: knobs / handles, a single towel bar, a 24″ towel bar, two floating shelves above the toilet, and some framed prints.  I started with the single towel bar.

…and that’s as far as I got.  Technically, I didn’t even complete it.  I refused to use Zach’s help and attempted it all on my own.  In my defense I have installed all the other hardware in our house – including all the new light fixtures and had no complications.  Turns out our drywall in the guest bath was being difficult.  The drywall screws kept falling right through the wall.  There is an electrical box on the opposite side [where our laundry room is] and that posed as a problem as well.  By the time I was finished the wall had become swiss cheese.  I was super frustrated.  So I cleaned up my mess, left the rest of the hardware on the bathroom vanity, and went to go get ice cream.  Obviously.

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Sometimes Coldstone is the only thing that can make me feel better.  The manager knows me by name.  It’s embarrassing.

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Mid week we had a random date.  Chinese food at David’s Kitchen [with our favorite walnut shrimp] and a couple rounds of bowling.

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Along with the creepiest fortune of all time…am I right?!

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I have been attempting to organize my closet for weeks, and found this amazing app to try to help motivate me.  Instead of “motivating” me…it consumed me.  I documented and organized my entire closet.  Including all my jewelry, scarves, shoes…everything.  Once I got it all documented on my phone I could catalogue it.  You can make packing lists for vacation, track what you wear and when you wear it, and even create new “looks”.  I realize publicizing this makes me a crazy person, but I can’t tell you how much it will benefit me.  I have items of clothing that I haven’t worn for a while that I rediscovered in the depths of my closet.  I intend to put this app to good use.  Zach suggested that I catalogue all of our pots and pans next.  What a brat.

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I attended Zach’s hockey game in West Valley – he scored a handful of goals and even had a penalty shot!  I hope our offspring get his athletic ability.

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Friday was the worst.  Just the worst.  I spent my morning at the DMV renewing my license.  I won’t even go into it.  2 hours and 45 minutes later…

It was not my favorite day.  I promised my boss that I would work through lunch to make up for the time I lost that morning.  Even though he called me a ‘total drama queen’ and informed me that I have ‘been watching too much of that Kardashian show’ he brought me back lunch from the Dodo, along with my favorite dessert: cinnamon caramel coffee cake.

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That night Zach and I went out to Trolley Square for our date night.  We shopped around for a bit and then ate dinner at Rodizio Grill.

That cheese bread.  Gets us every freaking time.

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To make up for my failed attempt on Monday, I enlisted Zach’s help on Saturday morning to get some stuff finished in the guest bath.  We installed all the hardware…

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Hung up all the art [these three prints I bought to remind us of our 4th anniversary:  London, New York, and Paris].

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…and hung up the prints in our bedroom, finally.

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After our little home improvement bonding time together we set off down to my parents’ house to all head over to the Boat Show – a long time family tradition.

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We’ve had our family boat for just over a decade and we love it.  But every Boat Show my dad gets SUPER serious about buying a new boat.  About 80% ready to purchase it right then and there at the show…and then he backs out within the last 30 minutes of our time at the show hall.  Pretty hilarious.  It is a blast going through every make a model, weighing the pros and cons, discussing all the latest and greatest in gadgets.  After the show we all drove over to Macaroni Grill to  have a late birthday celebration for Camron and myself.  We had the whole crew there [16 of us including significant others] and had such a great time.  My parents got me this dope rice maker I have been wanting and my aunt’s family got me a PERSONAL crockpot to take to work for lunch.  It is amazing.

Sunday I sang in church for sacrament meeting and both my Mom and Aunt attended – along with Zach, obviously.  It is always my biggest anxiety singing in public.  I can barely eat anything the day of the song, I drink so much water that I have to make multiple trips to the bathroom, and mentally freak out about a thousand times.  The song went well, and I didn’t realize how hungry I was until after I sat down after the number.  Good thing we had big plans later for our family dinner…

It was Valentine cookie decorating night at my aunt’s house.  We decorated nearly 6 dozen cookies for our friends, families, and neighbors.

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My brother, Blake, won the award for Most Creative cookie.  I named it the “Heartbreak Hotel” because it has a triple decker feature and a broken heart on top.  He’s kind of a creative genius.  Zach’s cookie was pretty interesting, as well.  He wrote ‘I LOVE GOATS’ on his.  That was the only cookie he decorated.

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We were all pretty jacked up on the frosting and candy, and then some of us had a major sugar crash…

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My padre left for Argentina with his BFF on Sunday.  We are hoping for a really fun and safe trip for those two – with all their exploring and adventuring they plan to do.  Don’t worry, I ate enough cookies and frosting for him.  We really must have missed him: we even decorated cookies that were completely inappropriate and anatomically correct in his honor.

Viva la Birthday Bowl

This week I turned twenty-six.  Truth be told, I expected to feel no different – but strangely, I DO feel different.  But only in a good way…

My week was really great.  I got Handwritten notes…

I got to lounge on the couch and catch up on watching the Kardashians…

Zach even let me wear his clothes to the gym.  I wear his Notorious BIG and Dr. Dre’s the Chronic tee-shirts when I work out, it gives me street cred at the gym…also, it makes me feel more powerful when I do weights.  I am serious.

I got to go out with some of my college/design friends.  We went to Vivace.  I have been wanting to go there for weeks, and conned my friends into going with me.  It was as great as I had built it up in my head and heart.  [For those of you who like Cucina Toscana…it was created by the same owner.]

Surprisingly, this was the best photo we got the entire night:

I got to go out with some friends from my ward and neighborhood to PF Changs – we literally stayed until they had to politely invite us to leave.  We also were very loud.  98% my fault…

I even got an early surprise gift from my sister-in-law, nieces, and nephew.  The card reads “Happy Birday Katie”.  I am saving it forever.

Also, I had to document this radical birthday card from my one and only…cats and basketball.  What more could a girl ask for?

Friday after work Zach picked me up and we drove straight to the airport.  We were off to Las Vegas and warmer temperatures for the weekend!  It was planned really last minute – I was supposed to go to New York for work, then Los Angeles for work, then Zach and I were going to St. George for the weekend, and then finally settled on Las Vegas.  It’s a looooong story.

We touched down in Vegas at 6:30 pm and went straight to our hotel to check in.  We stayed at the Vdara this go around.  It was our first time, but definitely won’t be our last.  We booked the room with a killer deal on Expedia and were totally shocked at how nice the accomodations were – our room even came with a kitchenette [but more on that later].

We changed our clothes and were off to dinner at the Wynn.

At a friend’s recommendation, we tried the Wynn Buffet.  Zach was elated with the plethora of meat and I stayed in the dessert area for the majority of the time.

After our meal we went to the casino:  to win big at the WAR table.  Yes, I am serious.

Zach and his friends love this game and I quickly learned to love it as well…until I was forced to retire with only a $5 chip left.

We spent the rest of the night playing Blackjack, getting more dessert, and relaxing in our hotel.

The next morning we got breakfast at the hotel’s smoothie bar and then set off to do some birthday shopping.

We started at Fashion Show Mall and made our way over to the Forum Shops at Caesar’s.

The weather was perfect.

Zach entertained himself while walking store to store by taking pictures of me next to every 49ers fan possible.

Also, we spotted Ice-T and Coco in front of Hugo Boss.  Zach yelled/rapped as he continued through the mall.  Our last stop was at the Nike Store: where we geared up for the big game the following day.

Later that night we had dinner at Noodles at the Bellagio.  It’s a long story, but one of Zach’s clients that he charters private flights for always requests this food on the plane when he travels home from Vegas.  So we figured we would try it out and were not disappointed.

Immediately after our dinner Zach started prepping for the Super Bowl.  After shopping through the Bellagio Shops we walked over to Walgreens to get some supplies.

The entire weekend we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do the for the game – we looked into going to a Sports Book, restaurants, and other options – but Zach decided he wanted to stay at our hotel for the game.  We had the kitchenette anyway, so why not put it to good use?  So we stocked up on soda, ice cream, chips and salsa, and some other snacks.

The next morning we decided to hit the pool.  There was hardly anyone else out there – seems like people were scared off by 65 degrees?

After our pool session we went straight to the Bellagio for breakfast.  Yes, in our swim gear – still a little soggy.  We had deep dish pancakes.

Since we decided to stay in the room for the big game we had to purchase it for another night.  Zach decided he would go all out.  He started with rearranging all the furniture in our room to have a “better Super Bowl experience”.

Then, in the middle of the game he ordered us room service.  For those who know Zach well, you would understand that this was a huge splurge for him.  But, it was a special occasion after all…and he wanted something amazing to eat when we were to “celebrate the victory”.

The entire game was a roller coaster – ever since the very first play.  When we started to come back in the last half, there was a lot of celebrating.

 But inevitably, I guess it’s true when they say “you can’t win them all”.  We are confident that the Niners will be back in the Superbowl in the near future, but until then…we drowned our sorrows in the food that was delivered.  Including the molten chocolate cake.

Then it was off to the airport.  We weren’t the only disappointed fans.  People everywhere adorned Gore, Willis, and Kaepernick jerseys and were hanging their heads a little lower.

I feel really lucky.  Blessed to have my husband, family, and friends.  That’s the best part of having a birthday, I think.  Being reminded of the people in your life that care about you really is the best gift.