9.29.2013

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER


When I was twelve, I couldn't wait to be eighteen. I thought that for sure, by that time, I would have life all figured out. When I was sixteen, I thought that I wanted to be married at about twenty-three and start a family shortly after. I smile when I look back to these times because it seems almost part of human nature to crave the next stage in life. Throughout all these ages and stages, I've had different struggles, dreams, and excitements. 

It made me think about how easy it can become to be controlled by our age, to all have expectations about when is the right time for this or for that. You know, like how old you should be to graduate college, get married, or start a family. How old you should be when you buy your first house, or even retire. 

Forget these standards of society.


I think that a lot of us are expected to live our lives a certain way, do things in a certain order. Live your life the way you want to, not how you're expected to.

Take a big jump. Go back to college, travel, get married, fall in love, have kids, cut your hair, chase after your dreams. Whatever it is that makes you happy, do it. This is the time. Don't let your life be dictated by numbers. Never feel inadequate. Never feel like you're not good enough, talented enough, old enough. Because you are. 

"This life is to be enjoyed, not just endured."


9.28.2013

FOOTBALL FRIDAY

While most of my friends and family in Utah attended the BYU football game last night, Tyler and I attended a high school football game. (Haha.. I know what you are thinking) We seriously had SO much fun!!

My dad's best friend growing up is now a radiologist in Idaho Falls and Tyler has been doing an internship with him. His son plays for Idaho Falls High School and invited us to come! Last night was what they call "The Emotion Bowl" and it's a huge rivalry (similar to Timpanogos vs. PG or Orem) with IF against Skyline.

Tyler loves football and really wanted to go and it ended up being SO much fun and it made me miss high school! We kept saying that we hope our sons play football in high school because I love those games!




9.26.2013

THE DRESS

Clearly I'm in denial that my wedding is over because I just keep blogging about it. Sorry guys! Today I am going to tell the story of my dress, and how it came to be. I'm going to be honest, tell you prices, and get into the details with this post. 



I knew I wanted lace. We started at the most recommended Bridal Salon in Utah, The Perfect Dress. We loved it here because everyone was so kind to us and really made it a special experience. The third dress I tried on was beautiful and my mom & I cried and I knew it was the one. The mistake? We were just trying on dresses and not even looking at the price tags. Soo I was kind of guessing that a wedding dress would cost around $1,000 or less. Maybe I live under a rock or something because boy was I wrong! If I didn't want lace, I could have for sure managed to pay less, but I knew I wanted it. After all this, we asked and she said that this beautiful-dream-dress-that-we-knew-was-the-one was $1,900 but with the alternations I wanted we were looking at around $2,300. TWENTY THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Yeah, I wasn't all over that. 

My mom told me that I had a budget, and that if I wanted to splurge in one area and scrimp in another that I could. But when I thought about it, I couldn't bring myself to spend that much. We left the store and drove to every single dress shop in the SLC valley. Like, I'm not even kidding. Every single store. 

Nothing.

By this time I was discouraged, tired and done. We headed home and my mom suggested we make one last stop in Utah County. By this time, most of them were closed. We called store after store and they had each closed for the night. (bridal stores close early) We finally found one that was open. Bridal Centre in Provo. We pulled up and I did not want to go in. It was tucked in this little ghetto store and I was assuming the worst. My mom convinced me to go in, and we did. Despite the old carpet, and run-down store, they had an absolutely BEAUITFUL selection. In previous stores, I would look through the selection and try on maybe 2 or 3 but here I had pulled probably 15 dresses! It was refreshing and I was happy. 

I tried on dress #1. I walked out, and my mom, (my sister, my grandma, and my aunts met up with us for this last one) and we all cried. They got the veil out, like they do in Say Yes to the Dress, and it was all so real! It was the one! This is when we had a wedding miracle.



One of the workers came over and started telling us about the dress. It was the exact same designer and style as the very one we had fallen in love with at The Perfect Dress in SLC! The exact same. I kid you not. But I braced myself as I asked the next question… "How much is it?"

"$1,399"

Ahhhh. This was such a magical moment and I couldn't believe that it was $500 less, plus the alterations (I wanted longer sleeves) would be a LOT less. (like $50 total)

So happy.


all images Stephanie Sunderland Photography



9.25.2013

RING BLING


So this is super random but I decided I would do a little "ring talk" today - since this is a newlywed blog. :) When Tyler and I started to get serious, I had absolutely NO idea what kind of ring that I wanted. I knew that I loved the typical thin banned halo ring style but I didn't love that everyone had it. I was lost and consequently, didn't think about it much.

I remember one night we were in the Nauvoo House lounge in a study room, and randomly we started talking about potentially getting married. These occasional conversations at this point of our relationship were thrilling and exciting for me. It's a great feeling to be so in love with someone, and to have them feel the same for you too. He then asked a question that he hadn't before when we talked about getting married. He hesitantly tried to find the words and then asked, "Soo what is your dream ring like?" I think that in that moment all of the blood in my body left and went somewhere else because I got a little light headed and I remember thinking "Is this real?" We had been talking for 6 months, dating for 4 months and although I think we both knew from the very start that we were going to get married, this was when it became really real to me. 

I remember thinking that I didn't know, but "something simple" came out of my mouth.

"Explain" he said. 

"Maybe just a really thin band with a single diamond."

And then I realized. What I just said was exactly what I wanted. I knew that it was perfect. I wanted something classy and timeless and I knew this was so me. You know when you're a little girl and you draw a diamond ring? (Maybe I'm the only girl that did that haha) But mine was always a circle with a single diamond sticking off the top. Who knew that that very style would be what I would end up with?

Ring shopping was just as wonderful as I dreamed it would be. I'm not sure if Tyler will ever understand how much I loved it. I was giddy the whole time trying on a million different rings. Tyler's aunt Susan told us about a jeweler in her ward who we should go see. So we ended up doing that (Rian Robinson - he's amazing everyone) and I remember he pulled out a Michael B. ring. I honestly didn't even want to try it on because I was already feeling kind of bad about how expensive a ring costs. But I did, and I fell in love. It was a little different than what I had in mind because there were small pave diamonds along the band:



Fast forward a couple months to May 19, 2013. I won't bore with all the details but I will say that I will never forget this day. After he had proposed, (with my dream ring you guys!) we kissed and hugged and I can remember feeling so at peace and so happy. There is no memory I will cherish more than standing outside of the Lord’s house with my best friend as we both cried together. This moment is so priceless to me and I count my lucky stars every single day.



…………………………………………………………………...




9.23.2013

STUDYING HARD OR HARDLY STUDYING



1 // trying to spice up late night library runs with Tyler.
2 // my absolute favorite spot to study on campus. It's in the Romney which it the science building (where Ty spends all his time). I love this little private comfortable cubby.

back to my homework I guess..

9.21.2013

LOVE


Since being newly married, I've been thinking a whole lot about a topic that engulfs our lives. A topic that holds great importance to me, and a topic that should encompass everyone across the world. This topic is that of LOVE. You see, i'm kind-of, sort-of studying love. My major is marriage & family studies and so many of my days involve digging deep down inside the human mind, and my own self, about what love really truly means.

I don't know who's reading this. I don't know if anyone is. But if you do happen to be, I know that you have spent your life longing for love. Whether you embrace the fact, or you know that you do it subconsciously, you all do. And it's okay, because you're wired to be that way and to think that way - it's in your DNA. But why? Why do you long for love? It's because relationships matter.

Whether developing your first crush in elementary, loving your parents, friends and family, your first relationship, or even just the deep care you feel for those surrounding you, relationships are beautiful and deep, and are what we thrive on.  Marriage, partnership and courtship are all part of human nature. Becoming a doctor, lawyer, dentist, firefighter, policeman or an engineer are all ways to support our selves, but love is what makes life truly enjoyable and brilliant.

I think that most are familiar with the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I read it last year. I didn't love the book as a whole, but I loved little bits and parts of it. It had a lot of really great insights regarding individuality, self-discovery and love. I've been thinking a lot about this whole concept of "accepting the love we think we deserve." (a quote from the book) because I think that a lot of us do this.
In high school I sometimes wondered what was in the books for me, if I would ever marry the man of my dreams, if that respectful and chivalrous man who opens doors, has goals and dreams, and lives the gospel really exists. I knew that these qualities were things that I wanted, but I hadn't met anyone with them. (was I being too picky?) I am overwhelmed by gratitude because I was so lucky to end up with the man of my dreams. Before Tyler, I dated a lot of guys that I wouldn't have married. But I dated them. I didn't find "You marry the people you date" very encouraging because I didn't want to marry any of the guys I dated. I remember feeling discouraged thinking that I would surely have to settle. 

I oftentimes overhear girls expressing the concern that they are sick of the same old story. Sick of being mistreated, cheated on and stabbed in the back. Unfortunately, I believe that we think we deserve a lot less than what we really do. Each one of us have different lives, challenges, and experiences that shape us into who we are and what we believe. There have been times in my life where I have felt confident, strong and sure of myself. There have also been times where I have struggled and had trials where I could barely get myself out. I've had people tear me down and then people build me up. I've had great supportive friends, but I've also been greatly hurt from those I love most. And I've had great boyfriends as well as unhealthy relationships that just weren't right. What I have thought I deserved throughout life has changed according to the circumstances in that very moment. It's funny that how we are treated oftentimes determines what we think we deserve. 

Love is a spectacularly beautiful thing. Girls, you are all entitled to love. You are all entitled to feel the beauty within relationships like I do with my husband. If you don't feel it now, be patient. It all works out and I wish that I would have listened when people told me that because IT DOES. This life is fragile. Too fragile to be overly guarded, too fragile to treat those you love poorly, and too fragile for regret. We've all been mistreated, underestimated, ignored and denied the love we probably deserve. Forgive. Forget. And love unconditionally. It works out. I never knew what it felt like to be loved like I do now.


all images Stephanie Sunderland Photography

9.19.2013

ALL THIS GIRL TALK


So I know that a few days ago I posted about my wedding day. But I want to talk about it today in a lot more detail. What girls don't love to talk about weddings?! 

I was so lucky to have my absolute dream wedding this summer. I couldn't have pictured it better. My mom keeps asking me, "If you could go back and change one thing about your wedding, what would it be?" Honestly, I wouldn't change a thing. It was the happiest day of my life and if I could change one thing I would choose to relive it all over again.

The night before my wedding was crazy busy. Last minute details, Tyler had to run up to Nordstrom because he didn't have a tie yet (boys.. haha) but my sweet best friend Ashlyn came to have a last sleepover with me. It wasn't like a normal sleepover because it was getting really late and I knew I needed sleep. My mom had me take two sleeping pills and I fell asleep with Ash by my side. I felt so grateful for a friend to do this with me and be here with me every step of the way as I started my special day. 

Our temple sealing was at 10:20am, which meant we had to be at the temple at 8:50, and leave Orem at 8. Not too bad right? I got up at 5am, showered, and headed over to my neighbor Jordan McKell's house. She did my hair and makeup while her mom did my mom's. Her and her mom did my whole families hair and did such an amazing job. My mom left a little earlier than I did, and I remember leaving their house a little before 8 and walking across to my house. I saw Tyler's car in the driveway and started running to see him! I walked in and there was Tyler, standing in his suit. He looked so handsome and this was such a priceless moment for us as we kissed and both couldn't believe this day was finally here. I left to the temple with my parents and my aunt Kym while Tyler drove with his Dad and Scott, his sister's boyfriend. This was torture!! I just wanted to see my groom! But my mom convinced me that I would see him soon. 

We arrived at the temple in perfect timing. My dad dropped my mom & I off so we arrived a little before Tyler, who had to park. We checked in at the front desk and sat in the waiting room of the temple until I turned around and saw Tyler at the check-in desk with his Dad and Scott. He then pretty much yelled across the room, “We still on?!” One of the older temple workers laughed and laughed. She loved Tyler’s sense of humor just like I do. We were then together escorted  to fill out paperwork. We were both so happy and couldn’t stop smiling during this time. We were then separated and I was taken to the Bride’s room with my mom and a temple worker to change while Tyler changed too. The Bride’s room made me feel so special and it was absolutely beautiful. All of my temple clothes were laid out for me to put on, and usually you just put them on yourself so that made me feel like royalty. They really treat you that way on your special day. Tyler and I met up and went to the celestial room together. I just have to start by saying that the celestial room in the Salt Lake Temple is unreal. It is truly amazing and the detail is phenomenal. It was awe-inspiring and really, no word I can think of can possibly describe how it is there. I loved it and was overwhelmed by the spirit. There were just so many emotions and I was using all that I had to try to not start crying. (didn't last long) It was really special that I had about 40 minutes with Tyler to soak in the importance of the temple in our busy day. I think it’s really great they do this. Our really sweet sealer then came to get us. He escorted us into the sealing room. The feeling that I feel most abundant in the temple is love. And that is just what I felt in the sealing room, love. It was all of the people that I love: family, friends, relatives, etc. All there for US. It was a really special feeling. It was kind of all a blur but there are a few things that I do remember from the sealing. I remember feeling really proud of ourselves for making it to the temple. It was such a reassuring feeling that OF COURSE we did the right thing. There is absolutely nothing better than being worthy to enter the temple. I am so glad that we didn’t settle for anything less. After our sealing, Tyler and I were separated and my mom and Barb (my darling mother in law) helped me change into my wedding dress. This was a special time for me because I truly love both of my moms. I was then reunited with Tyler and as we waited at the bottom of the stairs to make our grand exit as Mr. & Mrs. Vance! 

We then greeted our family and friends,


took a lot of photos, 



and went to our delicious luncheon at the Lion House. I love this candid photo of Tyler and I before entering together,



We had our reception later that evening and everything was perfect. Weddings are so amazing and I am so very happy in this stage of my life right now. Tyler and I's relationship is not perfect, but we love the gospel, love each other, and love the Lord. I feel so lucky to be married to the love of my life! The temple is so amazing. Do all you can to make it there one day.

all photos credit to Stephanie Sunderland Photography


9.18.2013

HOME SWEET HOME


This past weekend, Ty and I took a (very) last minute trip to Utah to grab a few things and also to go to my good friend Shayli's wedding reception. There's something really fun about deciding to go home, and then driving there within the hour. I got to spend some time with my mom and sisters, and Tyler loved it because he got to go mountain biking with my dad. Two of my best friends Chelsea and Tori came over Saturday night and it was sooo nice to just get to catch up with them. The best part about going home, is going home. My parents built our house while my mom was pregnant with me, so I've literally grown up in this house. While there, I went into my sisters rooms and she had three vases in her window with different succulents in each one. I loved it and wanted the same in my own bedroom back in Rexburg! On our way home, we took a little stop at IKEA for some more plates, vases and succulents to put in our bedroom window. 






And P.S. I wish it was summer again.

9.16.2013

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL


So today was the first day of school! There's something that a type-A personality like me looooves about new pencils, fresh & unused notebooks, school supplies, etc. BYU Idaho is the greatest school on this whole planet and being back on campus today was the best.


Ahhh, and I start my new job tomorrow. 
Wish me luck!

9.15.2013

TAKE ME BACK PLEASE!

I have been MIA in regards to my blog the past couple days. My apologies. These are just a few of our favorite wedding photos from my dream day, July 30, 2013. I feel SO grateful for all of the many people who helped me so much along the way. For my dear mom who put up with me being so stubborn and helped me throughout the entire process(not only was she the mother of bridezilla BUT she also did ALL of my flowers!! with the help of my talented aunts), for my my twin sisters that were so easy-going about my wedding day being on their birthday (yikes!), for my family, my sweet and loving dad, for ALL of our family that flew in from Canada, Texas, Virginia, Chicago, for my amazing photographer and family friend Stephanie Sunderland, for my best friend Ashlyn Ririe for helping me every step of the way, my aunt Lindsey for making my beautiful cake and ahh the list goes on. I am so grateful for all of my family and friend's love and support!! You guys are all so amazing and I hope to help each of you on your special day like you helped me on mine. 

phew, sorry for babbling. 

Planning for a wedding is so fun. It's so much preparation, planning, tears, stressing, laughing, excitement, crafting, making sure every little detail is perfect, and it's all just for one day. I feel such gratitude for everyone wanting to make my day so very special. 

IT WAS!

These photos are so fun for me because I get to relive the best day of my life. To be honest, it was such an emotion-filled day that sometimes it kind of seems blurred in my mind. I'm so grateful for photos so that I can go back and remember the most special day where I was married and sealed to the love of my life! 


















all images by Stephanie Sunderland

I am one happy girl!


9.11.2013

IT'S A LOVELY DAY FOR THE TEMPLE


Tyler and I are loving our new married ward now and a lot of it has to do with this couple above. We met the Kaloni & Kyle on Saturday at a ward activity. We instantly clicked with them because Kaloni is also 19, and Kyle is 25. Really similar to Tyler and I. They're sooo much fun and the cutest couple. Kyle and Tyler together are so funny and all Kaloni and I do is laugh at our funny boys. This morning we had waffles and did a session at the temple together. We then made lunch afterwards. We love this cute couple and we're grateful to live so close to the temple.

9.10.2013

BAKED PEACH OATMEAL


So with all of the fresh peaches at every grocery store, I knew I had to buy a bunch and incorporate them into all that I can before peach season is over. I LOVE fresh peaches and there's nothing better than the big juicy ones from Utah. I was sooo happy when I went into Broulims, the grocery store here in Idaho, and saw boxes of peaches labeled "UTAH" My first endeavor is adapted from this blog. It's a baked peach oatmeal. I've been (trying to be) healthy lately and this was sooo yummy. I had it this morning with a tall glass of milk. Tyler paired it with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream (I tried to tell him it was peach oatmeal not peach cobbler) and we both loved it!



Baked Peach Oatmeal

2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups vanilla soy milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped peaches
Peach slices for the top

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a pan of your choice. A pie pan or an 8x8 is recommended.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
3. In another medium bowl, whisk together the almond milk, egg, coconut oil, and vanilla.
4. Arrange the chopped peaches on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Pour the oat mixture evenly over the peaches. Pour the soy milk mixture over the oats. Gently shake the baking dish to make sure the milk covers the oats evenly. I arranged some peach slices on the top just to make it look pretty.
5. Bake for 40 minutes, until the top is golden and oatmeal is set.

Enjoy!

9.09.2013

LAZY DAYS

To be honest, I'm not doing much right now. 
By right now, I mean today, yesterday, tomorrow.
I'm just kind of waiting for school to start in ONE WEEK.
I'm getting excited and a little nervous actually.
I have a full load.
Luckily, I LOVE my major.

&
I start a new job as a student secretary,
new jobs are always a little unsettling at first.
But it's so perfect.


I am enjoying...
  being a newlywed
  not having to say goodbye to Tyler at night
  having our very own home
  being now known as Madeline Vance
  cooking dinner everyday (I really try)
  sleeping in
  not getting ready until noon everyday.

Life is simple right now.
I know it won't be this way for long,
and I am soaking it in.



9.07.2013

IDAHO STATE FAIR


Tyler and I went to the Idaho State Fair and LOVED every minute of it. From the fried food to the animals, it was a BLAST. We tagged along with Tyler's best friend Dane. For dinner, the two of them insisted on getting a famous fair favorite, the Bullseye Burger. You guys, this whole concept of a hamburger and a donut mixed into one meal kind of made me sick. But boys will be boys. They ordered their "burgers" (if you can even call them that) and I ordered my own separate dinner - haha. But I will say that I wanted to try them, just to say that I did, and they weren't that bad. 


So if you're looking for a heart attack, a stroke, or a rise in your cholesterol, a state fair is your golden ticket.

9.03.2013

IT'S A HAPPY DAY

1.
Utah garden tomatoes came to Idaho and when I saw them I got so happy inside. If you know me, you know that I love tomatoes. Some people say it's gross but I love to just eat them like this:


2.
 My husband surprised me with this shirt that I have wanted from Anthropologie for soooo long! When I asked him why he got it for me he said, "Because you deserve it." I married such a sweetheart.


3. 
It's such a good feeling when you make up your own smoothie recipe and it turns out AH-MAZING. I peeled and cut up 2 apples, one banana, one orange, 1/2 cup honey greek yogurt and a little water. Yum yum yum.



Have a great day!


9.02.2013

J-DAWG SAUCE COPYCAT


Okay I'm easily the first person to admit that I do not care for hot dogs. However, if you are familiar with the Utah-county famous J-Dawgs, you know about their famous sauce. Because my husband really likes hot-dogs, we compromised. We cooked up a chipolte chorizo chicken sausage with mango and adobo (which was actually really healthy, and purchased at Winco) and on top, home-made J-Dawg sauce! I paired it with cucumbers because they are my favorite and they're extremely easy. :) There's just something about a sweet southern barbecue sauce that I love!


J Dawg Copycat Sauce
3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup barbecue
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Mix everything together, and there you go! So easy!