'bout time.

Just yesterday I did something BIG.

I bought ourselves airline tickets to TEXAS in May!
So maybe we did our taxes on Sunday and maybe we came into a tiny bit of money
and maybe I spent it before we even got it! But that's okay, right?

Mike has never gone to Texas with me and I am so. stinkin'. happy.
The purpose of this trip will be three-fold.
1. Most importantly- See my best friend from Texas, Ashley, and her hubby Jonathan
and their new baby girl due in March. I love it when besties have babies!

 Baby will only be 2 months old when Auntie Lyssa comes to see her. I'm so excited!!

2. Head over to Kingwood(Houston) to show Mike my old stomping grounds: my high school,
my carwash (yep, I worked at a carwash in Texas... don't worry. It was a cool thing.),
my old house, my favorite places to eat, etc.
3. Check out the business school at University of Texas and possibly
convince Mike to put it higher on his list of applications for next year.

I'm glad that we're finally taking this little ol' trip... Aren't tax refunds great?
Mikey lost his cell phone a couple weeks ago. Not sure where or how but it's gone.
He went 8 days without one & then decided life could not progress any further without a phone in his hand.
On Saturday we dropped everything. Found a good deal for a used HTC EVO online. Met up in a slightly sketchy situation. Learned that Mikey has NO bargaining skills whatsoever ( zilch.).
I demonstrated my wicked awesome bargaining skills and got the phone for cheap.

My hubby now has a new toy to obsessed over. Hence, he spent Saturday night glued to that phone while I watched episodes of Dance Moms and Toddlers&Tiaras. I know what you're thinking.
This couple is lamesauce.
But ya know what? It was kind of nice to relax in front of the tv and just veg out with a pizza on a Saturday night. We try to keep busy enough and be socialites on the side, that one weekend night with nothing to do ending up being just want we didn't know we wanted. Funny how it can be refreshing to do nothing at all.


The little (good) things.

Today's highlights -so far- include:

-After a 45 minute call with the California State Bar I was finally able to check three things off today's to-do list. Do you start every day with a list of things you need to get done and a list of things you want to get done? I try to and there is no better feeling than crossing things off the list! Okay... maybe a couple things are better. But really, I love it.

-Mike and I are now proud owners of the beautiful 2006 Nissan Altima that I've been driving around the past 18 months! When we moved to Bountiful and soon realized my 17 year old BMW couldn't make it up the mountain, my Dad (and financial guru extraordinaire) suggested us getting a different car and paying on a car loan for at least 18 months to build "hard credit". This way it will be much easier when Mike and I want to be approved for a home loan (MUCH further down the road). Yay!

-Mackenzie, the Wells Fargo teller that I see every 2 weeks at the drive thru, knows my name! I'm not sure why I find this to be so exciting... but I do. She said "Hi Alyssa!" as soon as I pulled up. I'd say we're at the friendship level already. And no, that's not rushing things. (The last time I became friends with my bank teller was back in 2006 and that resulted in being set up on the longest, worst blind date of my life. So I'm a bit hesitant but I feel good about this.)

-I feel like I cheated the Chick-fil-a system when my total was $3.40! Thank you to a dear coworker who has introduced me to the ways of the Chick-fil-a kids meal! 4 piece chicken nuggets with polynesian sauce, substitute the fries for a fruit cup (because it's free for the "kiddos") and then you can change out the toy for a cup of their delicious vanilla ice cream and a small Diet Dr. Pepper! All for $3.40! I can't stop using exclamation marks!! No more spending $7 at Chick-fil-a for a good meal... it's all kids meals from here!

-I wrote on my blog! If you can't tell already, I'm trying to put forth a good effort to update my blog a few times a week. I just know that 20 years from now (since I'm horrible at keeping a journal) I'll want to look back at these things. No matter how silly they are.

With all of these positive moments, I'm chalking up today as a good day.


A Shining Example

For the past couple weeks I've been thinking, off and on, about my recent interactions with
President Eyring. I'm lucky to share a ward with him.
I'm sure he doesn't know my name but my favorite thing is that he pretends he does.
"Hey there!" "There she is!" "Good to see you." He acts like we're friends and I love it.
Little does he know that as a young member growing up in Louisiana and Texas, I adored
him more than most youth. When you grow up as a member outside of Utah,
general authorities are almost like celebrities, not your regular people.
We only see them on tv, never in the car next to you or shopping at the same grocery store.
He was the one general authority I sincerely connected with. Every time he spoke.
President Eyring speaks consistently with such compassion and emotion, I find myself relating
to this 80 year old man more and more.
When Mike and I moved to Bountiful, we moved into President Eyring's home ward, and yes,
he attends nearly every Sunday. I've been able to enjoy hearing his personal testimonies
on more than one occasion,
his pure joy when a member of his family speaks in sacrament meeting
 and quick greetings in the hallways at church.
The first Sunday in December church was cut short so that the ward could secure the area, as much as possible, for an expected windstorm. As I walked pass President Eyring, he looked at me with a huge smile and said, "Isn't this so exciting?", to which I responded with the first thing that came to mind.
 "Yes! Especially when you aren't very prepared for the primary lesson you were going to teach."
I look over at Mike to get a "you know what I'm talking about" look but he is just staring at me with a shocked look on his face. I could tell exactly what he was thinking. Uh.. Did you just tell a general authority- a member of the First Presidency no less- that you didn't prepare your lesson? That you aren't magnifying your calling? For a split second I regretted telling Henry B. the truth. I totally wasn't prepared and I was estactic that I was left off the hook for this one Sunday. To my surprise, President Eyring told me about several experiences in grade school when he hadn't done his homework and he prayed that his teacher wouldn't pick it up. He said there were many times when he was "let off the hook" and said that the Lord hears our prayers. Even the seemingly insignificant ones.

He will probably never know how he influences me and that's okay by me.
I simply feel lucky enough to know him.



           Today has consisted of helping an attorney with some intellectual property work for a famous author (of whom I've read several works, so this is exciting, people!). It has been a slow process that has left me with a decent amount of downtime in between projects. In that downtime I've managed to open up 13 different tabs on my internet browser. I don't want to close out of any of them just yet, for different reasons. There is something in each one that inspires me, I find interesting, I'm researching, or fits into my daily online check ups. Here's a little glimpse into what my cramped computer screen includes:

* I'm logged on here pretty much all day. Don't ask me why though. The only emails I get are from J.Crew, every 2 hours. Oh, and I really don't like their new format. Anyone else with bitter feelings?
*I've been reading this survery about Mormons in America on and off all day. I'm only about half way through but so far it's very interesting. Whether you're involved in politics or not, I think it's a good read.
*This discount travel website usually has some smokin' deals on vacation packages. We booked our honeymoon destination through this site and we're hoping to book one "big trip" this year... so I'm always browsing.
*Looking at ground turkey recipes. I want to cook with turkey more since reading that it's much better for you than ground beef.
*Everyday I enter the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway 2012. I debated not telling a soul about it to better my chances of winning but now I'm thinking it isn't really a well kept secret, so enter! (Look through the amazing pictures of the home too... it's in Midway.) You're welcome.
*I'm always pinning something I like and want to keep tabs on.
*I check our bank account with Wells Fargo online nearly every day. It's a smart thing to do but I swear it bugs Mike sometimes because I see the charges and then ask Mike things like, "So how was your lunch at Carl's Jr. today? I saw that you spent $8. What'd you get that cost $8?" He just rolls his eyes.
*I love this beautiful little lady's blog/story. Inspiring and smart weight loss, a love of food and health, some delicious recipes and glamour adventures.
* Looking at a couple Anthropologie blouses (Dappled Sea Blouse and Iced Foliage top)... and deciding that I will wait until they go on sale.
*I'm embarrassed but it's true, I have perezhilton open to get my salacious celeb gossip. I know it's dumb but sometimes I do dumb things.

Hope you have a great weekend!!


Viva Las Vegas

Last weekend was what Mike termed my "fantastic birthday weekend".
He surprised me with airline tickets the night before we left
and I couldn't have been more happy about it.
50 minutes by plane versus 6 hours on the road? I'll take flying.

This trip really was Mike's gift to me. He hates Las Vegas. Okay, hate is a little extreme.
He has never cared for it as much as I have. Until this trip.

We had so much fun together. We walked the entire strip 4 times over.
I can't get enough of all the uh-mahzing (said like Penny from Happy Endings) things you can
see (for free!) by just walking around.
 The Bellagio and Wynn had the most beautiful, detailed decor.
Our pictures don't do it justice so you'll have to use a little imagination.

 The glass sculpture on the right was particularly impressive to me. It's a piece by Dale Chuhily,
an incredible American glass sculptor. I've been a long time fan of his work.
The horse is just cool. I have no idea who made it.

The Bellagio gardens weren't finished being set up for Chinese New Year but that didn't stop us from sneaking in and taking pictures of what was already on display. As expected, this hotel blew me away.
Look at this article and the photo gallery to see how the Bellagio is celebrating the Year of the Dragon!

We splurged and saw Le Reve.
Breathtaking! Inspiring! Unforgettable.
Mike and I turned to look at each other every two minutes with faces that maintained
a certain level of shock throughout the show. We will be saving our pennies to be at the next show that Steve Wynn and the creators of Cirque du Soleil team up to do. We were so impressed!

Sights on the strip.

I would hardly call us gamblers. We much prefer to look over the shoulder of others and watch them
lose their own money (I'm sure it makes them feel uncomfortable but who cares?), rather than risk
our own BUT one day I was feeling pretty lucky so asked a cute, old security guard named Jose
at Caesar's Palace to show us the ropes! I told him we were first timers who needed a little direction.
Jose showed us the Wheel of Fortune machine that he won $200,000 on. He bought his first house a few years ago with that money. (Shhh... he told me that was a secret between him and I but I know you don't tell anyone.)
Mike and I gambled with $15 each. Look who won $43 and only $3 into his game?
That's my cute hubby.
While everyone else was either losing thousands or making thousands,
we were happy with our humble winnings.
On Sunday night, after Le Reve, we hung out on the patio at the Wynn. Mike had a great time
"learning how to use our new camera" aka taking stalker photos of me.
This was our view from the patio.

The next day we left the perfect 60 degrees and Utah greeted us with- once again- freezing temperatures.
I'm sitting here at work, wishing I was back in Las Vegas.
Such a fun birthday trip! I'm grateful to experience many memorable travels, just the two of us.


How to Look Like a Cover Girl

Okay, so maybe working in the beauty industry isn't manly... but finding gems that make fun of the industry like this little video below make it all worth while. Take a look to see how there's no such thing as being "born with it," as Maybeline suggests.

Fotoshop by Adobé from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.



2011 in Review.

It's 2012. 2012.That's just plain crazy.
And if the Mayans are right- and they usually are- this is our last year people! Apparently the end of the world is in 11 months. Who needs food storage now, right?

In spite of our imminent doom, I suppose it's still appropriate to recap the past year.

:: Many job changes (Mike: marketing manager. Alyssa: speech assistant,
intern in sales/catering, legal assistant at a Cottonwood Heights law firm)
:: We both graduated with our Bachelors degrees from the University of Utah!
:: Getaways and long weekends in Park City, Midway, Idaho Falls and San Francisco
:: Traveling abroad! Spain, Italy, Germany and France!
:: Subsequently, our first cruise together.. a 14 day Mediterranean cruise. (I loved. Mike didn't.)
:: Said goodbye to Dallin for two whole years. Talked to him on Christmas Day. 
He's loving life in Argentina.
:: Mike's first business trip. Aww, he's growin' up!
:: Saw an active volcano erupt LIVE.
:: Kelsey and I flew up to PA. Went to Niagara Falls and Toronto too.
:: Made some exciting plans for 2012.

Last picture taken in 2011.
Mike teaching our niece, Rhea, a thing or two on our piano.

I usually don't make New Year's Resolutions but after a chat with our friends Jade & Cody we have a fabulous goal for this coming year. Visit every LDS temple in Utah within 2012. We're really excited about going to so many new temples and finding things to do in the cities that we visit.
Here's to 2012!


A Merry Christmas Indeed.

It was Nelson Family Christmas this year. It was also the first time in 24 years that I've ever been away from my own family during the holidays. I knew the time when eventually come. I mean, I have been married for a couple years now... so I braced myself for the most emotional time and you know what?
I made it through. Just fine.

Mike and I decked the halls and made treats for family and friends.

Enjoyed the Zoo Lights at Hogle Zoo!  
(I made a few breakthroughs that night... I can't possibly be the only one who expected all the animals to be out... yes, even in 15 degree weather. And reindeer? They do exist!) 

Christmas Eve dinner with all the Nelson clan. Adam (brother in law) had the novel idea of having everyone at one big table... so a table fit for 32. Impressive, right?

Other holiday events included: visiting the lights on temple square on a couple occasions,  a beautiful Christmas message in our ward by President Eyring, new pajamas on Christmas Eve, a Park City getaway with the Browns, a whimsical night at the Salt Lake Country Club and purchasing a new camera (Canon Rebel T3i!!!). The camera presents quite the learning curve for us but... we look forward to the challenge!

Christmas was good to us this year. We're thankful for this special season where we can enjoy time together- focusing on our Savior and those most important to us.

Up next... our 2011 in review. I know. I know. You can hardly wait, right?

I left my $ in San Francisco.

Tony Bennett says "I left my heart in San Francisco"
... and I did. I just left a lot of $$$ there too.

We started out our road trip to San Fran with the traditional Dr. Pepper.

Now let me preface this post by saying that if you haven't taken a really long road trip with just you and your hunny before... you need to do it, STAT. There's nothing like endless hours in a car together. Mike and I have taken a handful of trips together but usually with others. This time around it was just me and my babe.
It was grand.

The road trip started after work on a Thursday. I picked him up at 5:30pm with a car fully loaded with carrots, Snack Pack puddings, Gatorade, string cheese, our favorite tunes and a full tank of gas. We made it all the way to Reno, Nevada and- thanks to the time zone change- we got in just before midnight. The next morning we took the beautiful 4 hours drive to Muir Woods (Redwoods and Sequoias just outside San Fran).

Muir Woods is beautiful. Breathtaking. Peaceful. Almost Spiritual.
There's something about the place that makes all the people speak in a whisper, if not at all.
The smell is unlike any other. Fresh.

After Muir Woods was Sausalito. We didn't spend much time there.
Just long enough to stroll along the bay, visit a dozen specialty shops and grab a margherita pizza.

Then we were off to San Francisco!
After we crossed over the bridge, found ourselves lost in Golden Gate Park (with no GPS because Mike's phone made an untimely parting), drove though Japantown (in circles half a dozen times) then we finally found a place to park the car that wasn't outrageously expensive. Only mildly scandalous $60 a night. We sucked up the cost and forked it over and then checked into our little hotel on the Wharf.

The next two days were full of food, shopping and tourist attractions.
Alcatraz, Pier 39, the famous sea lions, the Aquarium, Lombard Street, Ghiradhelli Square (complete with hot fudge sundae), Chinatown, the Exploratorium and mastering the bus/trolley system.

 The Bay Area proved to be the perfect long weekend getaway.
Although, my travel bug is coming on again (I'm sorry...  It's genetic. I just can't stop!)
so let us know of any fun travel plans we can join in on! Pleeeeeease.