FALLing in Flagstaff

Flagstaff, Arizona, from the top of the mountain in HDR...
Flagstaff is beautiful and doesn't feel like Arizona if you think it's only desert-y and hot.  It was mid/low 70s during the DAY and it's like living in a forest.  Though they get snow, it's just 4+ hours north of the heat here.

We visited Ryan, Ben's good buddy.  Oh the weekend was so awesome.  We live for them!  Here are some forest-y views from the back door slash driveway where we basked in the sun with gourmet smoothies they made while I read about Chinese immigration (it's quite an interesting subject).

We ventured to the downtown shops and restaurants, and visited this Hopi Indian thingy going on (that dancing is cool).  It was a nice time with superb weather and company.  I love a town of people and busy-ness.  Flagstaff isn't really that big, but it felt like this grand and massive town this visit.  Probably since we live in a smaller town.

We brought some clothes in case we decided to hike.  Ryan mentioned a four mile round trip or thereabouts.  I took a picture of this sign really quickly without really registering the mileage on it because I had to catch up to the guys ahead.
About two hours into this rigorous mountain hiking I asked some down mountain travelers how far we had to the top, and they said possibly ONE to TWO more hours, depending on speed at the steeper parts ahead.  Uh.

I decided to pull the Humpreys Trail picture up on my camera to see how far the mileage said it was.  Oh round trip 9.6 miles.  When the sun sets at 6:20, it's a hike probably suited for a much earlier starting time than 2pm.  Hum.

I really like my hubbin.  He makes me happy and he's so hot.  He carried my tripod the entire day.  What a pain I am...his wife.  Or "wifflesnapper."

I guess I didn't make it clear that I set up the tripod to get all three of us in a shot.  lol  Oh well.  Those apples were indeed delicious.

We left the top just after 5...and went quickly to make it out before dark but almost failed at that.  It was pretty creepy in those woods at dark.  We got to the car at 6:45.  But don't worry, I'd put us on the hiking register in case we got "lost at hike."  =)  Hey, you never know.

Ben, Derrick, Ryan

And we visited my cute MIL, Minda, in the mountains somewhere.  I'm not exactly sure which town this was?  It was her friends' house.

Hopefully everyone had a good weekend and the week is already well on its way to another one.  Happy Fall (officially)!  This weekend is conference and the official turn to October. Crazy.

Summery September

We floated the Salt River this past weekend.  I talked alllll week about getting a waterproof camera, and then we didn't and I think we totally regretted that.  We brought our cooler along full of Monster, and cruised the river for 3-1/2 hours.  It was so awesome, and we saw some pretty funny groups of people.

One family had a tube that was probably as big as our master bedroom (not that that's saying much) and his entire family was just chillin' on it, floating down the river throwing those giant marshmellows at people.  People even put systems on tubes to have some music along the way.  Fun.
I spent a little time with my new filters.  This one is the polarized filter.  I didn't do a before picture purely out of laziness, but I did two exposures below (no Photoshop used) and I'm happy about how blue the sky is in them!  Usually the sky seems so washed out on film compared to reality and it makes me sad so I make it happy/brighter in Photoshop (see Photoshopped pic below them):

One of Ben's favorite authors, Brandon Sanderson (LDS from Orem area), recommended a series of horror books written by another Orem and most likely LDS buddy of his.

They looked pretty horrid, and the first one was somewhat dark at first, but tasteful with clean language and a fictional plot.  Creepy?  Fairly decent ratings on Goodreads.com (find me).  I read book #1, and am definitely reading the next two because I am a creeper.  And Ben is reading the first one right now as we speak, so he is too.  CreeperS.
I went back to low-lights for the fall, and a little shorter/more stacked A-line...though it's in a tiny "ponytail" for working out.  Guess you'll have to wait to see it done (though I'm sure it's killing you).  It is cute I think!  Here I am trying to model my hair for you (Ben).
Doesn't fall start this week?  Happy end of summer (sad) slash fall time!  And I think we will be moving in three weeks, so that's super fun for us if we do...the not moving part but the living somewhere new and bigger.  An entire room for my shoes.  Glorious.

But happy...Tuesday night, Wednesday/humpday!  I'll leave you with the "virtuous triangle" from Pinterest.  I love this.
That is all for now.  =)

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful, most beautiful and extremely talented mother.  She's my favorite, ever, and I'm so happy I get to call her my mom!  She is one of the kindest, easy going and always happy people that I know.  She has always supported me in my activities, sports and life in general, and we have made so many memories together, and I look forward to so many more.

Love you, mom!!  Happy Birthday and wish we were there at Disneyland to celebrate with you!  Hopefully Dee embarrasses you!!  =)

Freedom Running

We ran the town annual 5k Freedom Run, in honor/memory of [the 10th anniversary of] 9/11.  I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news of that first plane crash.  Those moments stick with you for a life time.  I can't believe it's been ten years.  God bless the U.S.A.

I had a solid 3 hours of sleep the night before and didn't really feel like running but rather punching our new neighbors that kept me up all night (but we may be moving).  Ben was super pumped!  The intense Crossfitters were trying for sub 22:30 to pass off a level 2.

Ben wore the Garmin which proved extremely helpful since the route ended up being a 6.07k, and everybody had whacked times while thinking they were running a 5k.  Those who ran with Ben could pace their 5k time off his to at least know if they were sub 22:30.  And the guys are soooo competitive so some of them were neck and neck.

The route, however, was pretty weird.  It doubled back, repeated, and half of it was through gravel?

The route was marked the night before and it had rained so we all ran an extra 2/3+ mile after the leader missed a turn.  I was pacing myself with my music and I just assumed I must be going slower when I hit an extra song.  Meh.  Running in the heat has a frustrating record of slowing me down, so I assumed twas that.

The lady who was in charge of the race was cute, though.  She offered a refund because of the extra length.  Haha.

It was a nice time and Ben rocked it with a 22:15.  I wish we had two watches so I knew my 5k time.

Happy Monday!!

Videos - New/Old/Awesome

My sister and the awesome composer, Jared Ong, sold the rights to this song and ARUP used it in their GIVE BLOOD commercial.  It first aired during the football game last week and people recognized her voice but, of course, she didn't tell us so we didn't know if it was her!

And I don't know if I ever posted my brother's Chinese Game Show clip, but he didn't tell us about it either at the time.  What is wrong with my siblings.  lol  He's in the blue STRIPED shirt.

Since I'm posting awesome videos that unfortunately I have no part in other than relation to these awesome people, the Maury Povich clip with my mom and aunt.  I think I may have posted this one before.

If you're feeling extra bored and want to see the long Story of Ben and Christy from our cruise last year...

My brother made a hair video before he chopped his hair for his mission. LOL
And there's a 20 minute video from 6th grade of KALEIDOSCOPE that I would like to post, but I'll have to upload it later.  But I'm out of awesome videos for now.  Have an awesome weekend!

Busy Birthday-ness, Utah, The Valley...so forth and on

You will need a Monster for this post.  I needed like four just to do it.  Things have been so crazy busy, and this post is busy long...if that even makes sense.

Last week I turned 27.  Time is quickly passing.  It's exciting but also a tad sad.  There are so many things we still want to do before we have to officially "grow up."

My birthday couldn't have been any better.  I really lucked out.  I spent part of it with my family, part of it with my Mini Italian Greyhound, and I flew home and spent the evening with sweet BEN.  (Don't mind the kind of creepy dog eyes.  Rykar is a sweetheart!!)
Becky and I [woke up at 3am and] flew to Utah on Tuesday-Thursday.  She for work and family time, me the same.  It was such a quick and busy trip that we didn't even see each other the entire time, but alas we were travel buddies.  Ben only had sick time off for the first 90 days, so he couldn't come along.  Big bummer.  But his 90 days are now up.

I went straight to my office for a meeting, and they greeted me with a cake and balloons!!  I never would have imagined they would still remember my birthday.  It made me really happy.  They have been keeping me working nearly full time.  It has been wonderful to stay so busy.

The dad, brothers and I then took a trip to Happy Sumo for our favorite sushi!  It was such a fun but LONG day, I was so exhausted and melted!!  I think my visit to see everyone on my bday made them feel obligated to buy me presents.  haha  =)

I sure love my family!!  I'm happy James came up from BYU to meet us all for dinner.  What a nice surprise.  We chat frequently in the cyber world, or "hang out" on Google+ (awesome).

A storm blew in and the umbrella we were sitting under almost blew over.  I reached up to steady it and instead it about took my finger off.  My dad barely caught it as it blew over.  Happy Sumo gave us $40 off dinner...which cash I got to pocket for my battle wound.  I think they were all worried we were going to sue and they were going to pay for stitches or whatever.  I was bothered they had a broken umbrella out there though.  Pretty negligent.

But the sushi was delicious and I made $40 ...so I spent it on MAC lipstick, Saint Germain, and liquid eyeliner.  =)
I spent gobs of time with mister pup (taking tons of pictures).  He was my slumber buddy.  I took him on a walk, played for him to sing, and just basked in his cuteness like when he moves down the couch as the sun moves...

This is him when I first got there.  He was so excited and he ran straight to the piano.  He turned around here to see if I was following.  I'm slightly obsessed with my pup, yes.  If my hub will allow it, we'll have a house full one day.  Maybe Rykar's offspring.  :)
Wednesday I was able to have lunch with my mom, and then we stopped by the Real Estate office to say hello to the grandparentals and I said hi to DI who informed me she was married on the same day that we were!!!  Di worked in the office when I did, so we got to know each other back then.

My grandma is so cute in her new pink outfit.  My grandpa bought it for her the day before.  She is so cute.

Dil and I headed over to mom's house for a birthday celebration.  My mom loves to go all out on birthdays and holidays.

She purchased me a copy of the book called "A Stolen Life," by Jaycee Dugard.  She's the one kidnapped and held for 18 years.  I'm excited to read it.

 Dallin is the artsy fartsy camera man.  :)

Thursday the first was my official birthday, and that morning it was back to the airport.  I came upstairs to see Dallin had decorated my dad's kitchen.  :)
Southwest didn't cancel our flight home like they did our flight to Utah, and all arrived safely.  I got home and the house was decorated!!  It made me smile.  I don't want to ever take my sweetheart for granted.

We headed to the Hotel Valley Ho for a birthday slash Labor Day weekend stay!  It was a Ben specialty surprise.  He's a lot better at surprises than me (I just explode out loud with excitement).  These first two shots I stole from their website.

The entire wall opened up to the balcony!!  But I guess I'll mention it was 110+, so ya, we didn't just LEAVE them open all afternoon like we would have loved.

We love getting dressed up and our opportunities to do so have declined over the years, unfortunately.  Ben made reservations at Mastro's City Hall Steakhouse on Saturday night, so he put on his smokin' hot suit, and me a skirt, and we went to overload on STEAK and lobster mashed potatoes.  I was full until lunch time the next day.  The uncomfortable fullness kind!!
I wish I wouldn't look so AWKWARD in pictures.  ha  But look at BEN.  He looks so great!

During the day time we birthday shopped at Fashion Square and pooled at the OH pool.  The Valley Ho has pool parties with a DJ and they got SUPER crowded with the holiday weekend.  It was such a fun time that we didn't even read our books that much.  (So ya, still trying to finish that book #3 of the Hunger Games.)
Before heading home we took a detour to Porsche of Scottsdale.  Ben was excited to be surrounded by all sorts of Porsches, it was rather cute.  Our Porsche fund probably would fund a tire right now (yes we have a Porsche fund), but alas, at least the medical bills are finally paid off.

It was such a great time seeing my family and celebrating.  I missed Ben, but it was a nice visit back home still.  We'll be back up for Christmas to see both of our families and our friends and everyone that I missed.  Thanks for making my birthday memorable.  Love and miss you all already.

Have a happy Thursday!!