Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Blue Monday

My work decided to publish an article on our employee homepage entitled “Blue Monday” which explained how yesterday has been deemed the most depressing day of the year. Per the article, a psychologist found that due to debt, the weather, and the time since the holidays this particular Monday is the worst. After reading the article, I couldn’t help but laugh; for one, it seemed like a funny article to publish at a workplace (I guess it did give some ideas on how to fix the Monday blues). In addition, it was especially funny since yesterday was also MLK day and we were all stuck working. Fortunately though, Blue Monday wasn’t so bad for me.

In fact, this whole year has gotten off to a great start. Dylan and I spent the New Year in Utah with Dylan’s family. Like I mentioned before, his parents had rented a cabin for everyone to gather in for the weekend. Then we extended our time and stayed with one of Dylan’s brothers and his family. It was such a relaxing trip. We played tons of games, enjoyed the mountainous view from a Jacuzzi, and learned some family recipes. We also had our family gift exchange of handmade gifts. This year Dylan and I got these cute handmade mittens. We each got a pair, but then our sister-in-law made a special mitten that allows Dylan and me to hold hands and still stay warm. Such a great idea!

After thawing out from our Utah trip, we were back to work as usual in Arizona. My family started a health challenge for the New Year, so we are trying to keep up on that. Dylan’s new school semester starts today, and my YTT classes will resume next week. Overall, it been a great year so far and “Blue Monday” doesn’t have anything on me!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas 2017

Christmas truly was magical this year. We started out Christmas Eve with an amazing musical program at our church. The spirit filled us as we listened to songs like Mary’s Lullaby, and Peace on Earth performed by the choir. After church, we gathered at my parents’ house for an early dinner. We decided to ditch our traditional prime rib and instead ordered tamales, made some salsa and rice, and called the night a Mexican Fiesta! It was more casual than past years, which seemed to make it better. We spent the evening on my parents’ tennis court watching Santa Claus in our inflatable chairs.


Soon Christmas Eve turned into Christmas morning, I was woken up at 5 am by Dylan’s huge smile right in my face. He wanted to open gifts already. I was tired from the night before, so I talked him into sleeping in a bit longer. We ended up both falling asleep until 8 which gave us some much needed rest. Then the gift opening began! It was fun to finally be able to open those gifts we had stashed around our home in the weeks prior. We had a great Christmas of giving. We spent the evening again back at my parents playing with the new toys and games.


And just like that Christmas day was over. It seems so funny that there is such a build up to Christmas and then the day after, everything has to go back to normal. Dylan and I were back at work. The radio stations stopped playing Christmas music. The store ads even started their End of the Year clearance sales. I haven’t been to the grocery store yet, but I suspect that I will no longer hear the Salvation Army bell.  My brother-in-law even spotted Valentine’s Day candy already! For being the holiday with the biggest commercial build up, Christmas sure has a quick ending. Hopefully though, among all the commercial aspects of Christmas, we can take the spirit of Christmas with us into the New Year.

Luckily for Dylan and me though, the Christmas season gets to continue a little bit longer. At the end of this week, we are travelling up to Utah to visit Dylan’s family. Since all of his family now lives out of state, we cherish this yearly holiday trip. Last year we went for Thanksgiving and had a great time. We even got snowed in and our flight got cancelled. It was truly a winter’s dream. This year I assume it will be even colder, so I plan on bundling up! Beyond just the cold, we are just excited to see the family. Dylan’s family is amazing, and I have truly been blessed with great in-laws. I can’t wait for this next reunion and adventure.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

YTT: First Semester Complete

First semester of Yoga Teacher Training is complete! Monday was the last night my beginner asana (or poses) class met. There wasn’t a final associated to the class, and we were surprised with a guest teacher. She had actually graduated a year ago from the same teacher training program.  I enjoyed hearing a different voice and getting new guidance and perspective on familiar movements.

Since I am taking the YTT certification classes through a community college, the anatomy class I was enrolled in was just a typical anatomy class and not focused specifically on yoga or alignment. I had taken anatomy as a high school junior and it was fun to see how much I remembered; although I wish I could remember more. This time round, I found it incredibly difficult to understand chemical reactions in the bodies. I would get completely lost as we discussed molecules, ions, filtration, and what diffuses where. I do not remember those concepts being so difficult in high school, but maybe we didn’t focus on them as much or maybe it’s my old mind. Either way, I had to put all that I could and could not remember to the test yesterday.  I am supposed to hear on Friday how I did.
Dylan and I actually got to take anatomy together since he needed the class for his minor in nutrition. We were able to remind each other of due dates and work together to prepare for the final. Discussing the final after the test ended, I think we both did pretty well. Test results will be out on Friday.

My Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) is definitely a bit different than most YTT programs. First as mentioned before, the whole program is done at Scottsdale Community College. It is the only college in Arizona to offer a Yoga Alliance certified yoga program. The training also follows a typical college schedule, so there are summer and winter breaks. The program is designed to take about 3 semesters to complete.
 I had always wanted to become a yoga teacher. I did not necessarily want to teach full time or maybe at all, but I knew I could further my knowledge and yoga experience with YTT. When one of the studios I had practiced at sent me an email about their upcoming YTT program, I began to research. Of course I already knew about the many concentrated 30 day programs in amazing destinations like Costa Rica, Thailand or India. There are also local programs that run for a few months and have class a few nights week and then all day Saturday and Sunday classes. With my schedule and current job, programs like these were just not doable. I figured my desire to complete an YTT would just have to wait until I had the time.
Luckily, I was later drawn back to the Yoga Alliance website and found a list of local YTT programs. Scottsdale Community College appeared and I quickly went to the website to learn more about the program. After meeting with the director, I enrolled in classes. Since SCC is a college, I can actually pick classes that work with my schedule. The teachers at SCC are all Iyengar yoga certified, and they have developed a great yoga community with the college. Iyengar is a form of Hatha yoga that focuses on safety and alignment. Students are verbally guided into the traditional movements and poses by a teacher. I had not practiced Iyengar yoga prior to starting YTT, but it has been great to learn as part of my 300 hour certificate.  
Next semester I will be taking a few more classes, but for now Dylan and I have 5 weeks of pure bliss to enjoy the holidays and family. Of course, I will have to keep up on my yoga practice and maybe learn more Sanskrit, but that is more fun than work.

Friday, December 1, 2017

'Tis the Season

It’s December! In just a couple of weeks, the whole year will be over. I already know that the time will fly; work and school are speeding up, family events are all marked on the calendar, and the desire to give but also to just snuggle on the couch and do nothing is setting in. I almost have all my holiday shopping done, which is such a relief. I really lived it up online for Black Friday and Cyber Monday trying to get everything bought at a deal.
All year, I have been using the Ebates and Ibotta apps. Both apps give you cash back for shopping through them. Ibotta I use mainly for grocery shopping. They have certain items that, if bought, will give $0.25-$2.00 back. After I do my grocery shopping, I take of picture of my receipt. The cash back goes to the Ibotta account and can be transferred onto giftcards or to Paypal.  Earlier this year, I used my Ibotta money towards a new Fitbit, and I just I just used another cash back card to get part of Dylan’s Christmas gift. Ibotta also occasionally has websites that give cashback as well (instead of just grocery stores). For example, on Black Friday, there was 7% cash back available for Groupon purchases and 20% cashback on Joann’s purchases.
Ebates is another great app that I use constantly. This one is almost only for online shopping and is not grocery based like Ibotta. There are hundreds of websites that give cash back through Ebates. Instead of taking a picture of a receipt, I open the Ebates app, then chose the online store I want to shop. Ebates then connects me to that store’s website. When I make a purchase, Ebates calculates the cashback and every three months sends me a check in the mail. Ebates had huge cash back deals for Black Friday including 10% back at Lululemon and 3% at Best Buy. Etsy was even on Ebates, but I cannot remember what the cash back amount was. Ebates will also link any public discount codes or coupons that are available. I always check the app before I buy anything, online or in store.
I think all the savings and planning have made this holiday more enjoyable so far. I normally stress about getting the right gifts and just the overall craziness of the season, but this year I think I have been smarter about it. I started making notes about gift ideas near the start of 2017, so I have had plenty of options of what to buy. I also kept track of prices and availability to know right when to buy. I even stalked Priceline to no end to get Dylan and I’s tickets to Utah. The hard work has paid off. Who doesn’t enjoy a discount?

Now it’s just time to enjoy. I am ready for the Christmas music, the yummy smells, and the quality time. Today is the first day of December and I think I will spend the evening cuddled on the couch watching the Grinch. I may also pick up some of those yummy smelling cinnamon pine cones that have been tempting me since November. ‘Tis the Season.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Due to a promotion I received a few months ago, I hadn’t taken any time off work, so when I finally had a few days off for Thanksgiving weekend, I was definitely grateful. Dylan and I spent Thanksgiving Day at my parent’s new house. This was Dylan’s first Thanksgiving with my family since last year we went to Utah to be with his family. We talked about the different side dishes that our families make. His family always makes green bean casserole, which I just learned is a traditional Thanksgiving food. As far as I can remember, we have never made green bean casserole in my family. My favorite dish is always the candied yams. Yummy, yummy, yummy!

After stuffing ourselves, Dylan and I decided to head to Prescott for the rest of the long weekend. As I mentioned before, Dylan grew up in Prescott, but now he is the only one of his family that lives in Arizona. Still his parents own a home and guest house in Chino Valley, so we spent this past weekend there. The cool weather and open prairies make the trip worth it every time. We spent most of the time playing board games (our current favorites are Ticket to Ride and Farkle). We also hiked around Watson Lake and the Granite Dells.

Prescott is one of those snow globe cities to me. If I collected snow globes, I would want the layout of Prescott in one because of the memories and the feeling of wonder I get being there. It’s the place I fell in love with my husband. Before meeting Dylan, I only remember travelling to Prescott once.  In the 6th grade I went to a leadership camp; I’m not even sure where it’s located but I always say Prescott.

Since Dylan was living in Prescott when we met, I ended up spending a lot of time there all of the sudden. Luckily the house he was living in had a spare bedroom, so I could spend the whole weekend there with him and his roommates. Dylan would come to my parents’ house some weekends as well, but he only had a couch to sleep on.

Watson Lake and the Dells
One of our first dates in Prescott was hiking in the Granite Dells. Dylan just made up a path through all the rocks and took off. I remember trying to keep up with him as we scrambled over boulders. We also went to the best Chinese buffet ever. Now I am pretty sure I really only think U-Like Buffet is the best because of the snow globe effect, but even today it seems like the best $10 meal a person can get. Other memories like geocaching, game nights, and Aroma’s pizza are also tied to Prescott.

One of my favorite funny memories happened on a date in downtown Prescott. We went to the Courthouse Square. The Christmas lights were still on all the towering trees and it was a cold night. We meandered through the local shops musing over the souvenirs and relics of the Old West. Then we stopped for some ice cream because even on the coldest night, I want ice cream. My hands were freezing trying to hold that ice cream cone. Dylan and I would hold hands and stick our hands together in his coat pocket while I use the other hand to eat ice cream. After a minute or two, we would swap hands so the other hand could warm up as we walked around.

 Later, he drove us up a little hill to look at all the city lights. We were chatting and enjoying the warmth of the car heater. Dylan was holding my hand and then leaned in for a kiss… on my hand (he held out for the first lips kiss for a while). I saw the gesture and just figured that my hands were too frozen to have actually felt the kiss. We continued talking.  Then after a few minutes, Dylan said, “wait I think I kissed my own hand!” I died laughing. Apparently instead of kissing the back of my hand, he actually kissed his own hand and I was too cold to know the difference.  This is still our little joke, and we commonly kiss the back of our own hands for fun.

I definitely enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday and the opportunity to relive those fun memories of falling in love. If only it could all fit in a little snow globe; luckily it’s all not too far away from our current home.



Wednesday, November 22, 2017

An Old Note

Yesterday I decided to rifle through my old cellphone. It’s an IPhone 4 that sits on my nightstand and now functions only as an alarm clock. That IPhone 4 was my first smartphone. I received it when I came home from my mission but only because the rest of my family was already upgrading to the newest version. I forget which sibling used the one they gave me, but I do know that when I left on my mission, my family only had dumb phones and then a few months later, they emailed me to say they all changed to IPhones. I guess those are the type of blessings a family receives for a having a missionary in the field? Anyways I digress…

I opened the notes app not remembering what I had stored there. I am typically a pen and paper type person, so the notes app normally remains abandoned as I prefer to write in my planner. However, I was surprised to find that I had kept quite a few lists in that phone. First was last year’s Christmas list for Dylan. I always try to scribble gift ideas down throughout the year whenever he mentions something he thinks is cool or he wants. Some of last year’s items included jeans, a guitar book, a knife, and a belt.

My next notes were quotes and song lyrics. One was a list of songs that I wanted on our wedding reception playlist.  We had a live guitarist at the reception who was able to play several of those songs, and the rest of the music made it to the dance playlist.

Finally, my last note was a list of goals I had written down in January 29th 2016. I was in Spain at that time on my solo backpacking trip. I am trying to figure out what inspired me to write down a list of goals. Maybe it was a late night video chat with Dylan, a common occurrence as I travelled. Maybe it was something I heard in a Spanish ward meeting. No matter the inspiration, it was fun to see how I compared to the 2016 Emilee.

My list of goals included:

  • Run a marathon ( I had recently ran my first and only half marathon)
  • Remain healthy and raise a healthy family
  • Create a home where the spirit can always be by reading scriptures, turning to forgiveness, and always showing love.
  • Become a yoga teacher
  • Serve an old people mission
  • Get a Master’s degree
  • Travel the world

I love how this short list shows both the change and progress I have made. I came home from Spain with an extra 10 lbs. I am sure, and I definitely didn’t lose it while running. I haven’t ran anywhere near 13 miles in the last two years, and really don’t have the goal to do so anytime soon. I still try to be a health nut but my love for ice cream and exploring new foods keeps inhibiting that goal. As for the family aspect, my tortoise Walnut is on a raw food diet, so I guess I am doing well there. Back in January 2016, I was entering my last semester of my undergraduate degree. I had talked to a professor who encouraged me to get a Master’s in Political and Environmental Science. Now that is definitely not even part of my current 5 year plan, but I did continue my education by joining the Yoga Teacher Training program which was something I always imagined doing when I was older. I still love to travel but recently haven’t been a world traveler. We do have some plans to go out of the country in 2018 though.

I used to think of goals as only a checklist. Once they were written down, I had to get them done. Of course some of the goals I wrote like “create a home where the spirit can be” are not something I can just check off, but a majority of my past and current goals are checklist worthy. With the checklist, I found myself stressing about the person I used to be or used to want to be. I felt I had let myself down or had become less of myself because I hadn’t accomplished certain goals. In the past few months, I have tried to accept that I can change and still be just as much of a person. Maybe I haven’t started my Master’s degree even though education is a top priority, but I do have my first full time job and have received 2 promotions in the last year and a half. I haven’t wanted to run my heart out, but my yoga practice is becoming stronger every day. I always thought I would be a great mom and would want to have kids very early in marriage. Instead, today motherhood seems terrifying, and I am currently enjoying the freedom and time I have with my husband.

Last night, as I looked at some of the items on my list, for once I wanted to laugh. I think a while ago I would have wanted to push myself harder or “get back in the game”. However, instead of feeling that I had fallen off the running or health food wagon, I thought about other interests I have developed. These changes really have much more to do with what takes up my time than who I truly am, so why stress about it. What I am realizing is that it is far more important to make sure that with the changes in hobbies or ideas, I am still on the right track to who I want to become. I still want to be able to serve “an old people mission” and have the spirit in my home. Am I doing the things I need to do to still be that person in the future? In the end, I probably won’t care if I don’t run a marathon or visit every country (although both would be awesome), but I will want to make sure that I had a positive attitude in life, through the running, yoga, motherhood, education, all of it and make sure that I remember who I am as a child of God.

I will continue to set goals and fill my journal with dreams. It’s exciting to work hard and to accomplish. However, I hope that in the coming months, I continue to embrace change in myself and recognize we aren’t letting anyone down by evolving into different people with new talents, strengths, or goals. I hope for change that is for the better and brings me closer to my loved ones and to who I ultimately am.   

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A night in the life of a traveling sole

Last night was relaxing, much needed as we approach the holiday season. I ran to Fry’s after work to get some food for the week. It was a mad house and Thanksgiving is still 3 days away. The cashier assured me it would get worse. Dylan stayed to work late, so the house was quiet when I got home. Even though it wasn’t a very cold day, I felt like making soup. I turned to the recipe book from my mission in Chile. I leafed through the pages of hand written recipes remembering the people and families who I had learned the recipes from. How each of them has touch my life, I hope they remember me with the same fondness. I found a Columbian soup recipe I had written after having lunch with some recent converts. They had immigrated to Chile looking for better jobs in the cooper mines. They lived in studio-type apartment complex with several other Columbian families, they had struggles but were always anxious to share the gospel with their neighbors. It was always a joy to be there with such lively people.

The Columbian soup consists of plantains, potatoes, carrots, cilantro, and spices. My interpretation of course did not turn out as tasty, but it was a hearty soup for a mildly cold day. Dylan doused his bowl in hot sauce (his favorite food) and even had a second bowl, so it could not have been that bad.

After dinner, I was off to my yoga class. Monday night’s class is a two hour hatha yoga class, but last night we spent the final hour doing some restorative yoga. I hadn’t done a restorative practice for a while, since I am normally challenging myself to get deeper into the more traditional and “impressive” poses. I was grateful to have the evening to think and focus and feel the subtle shifts in my flexibility.

Soon I was back at home, cuddled on the couch with my hubby. I love relaxing evenings. Hopefully I can carry some of that peace from last night into the holiday season.

 Take the time to find the stillness in what can sometimes be chaos, and always remember to be grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Change and Learning

Two years. That exciting last post about Spain was published just six days before I met the man who would become my husband. When it came time to leave for Spain, my heart was in a different place. The last two years have definitely been a whirlwind of change and learning; some of it embraced and some of it met with resistance. In all the excitement, I’ve needed a place to dump my thoughts, so once again I have returned to my mostly abandoned blog page.

I’ll do a quick recap of the last years for anyone who is actually keeping up. Like I said I met my husband just after purchasing my plane ticket to Spain. We met briefly at an YSA dance at Northern Arizona University and then he came back to NAU for a night of swing and salsa dancing the following weekend. That night I could just tell Dylan was something different. Besides the fact that I was literally head over heels with all the flips and twists he was showing me, I was instantly drawn to him. When he left that night to return to Prescott, I knew I wanted to see him again.

A few days later, I left NAU to live with my parents for the few weeks leading to my departure to Spain. I still had one final essay to complete for the semester and I thought I could get could use that assignment as an excuse to talk to Dylan again. At the time I didn’t have his phone number, so I sent him a Facebook message telling him of my so-called “essay dilemma”. He responded that he would gladly help and that we should video chat. I do believe we were up until 3am that night chatting and very little of it had to do with my essay.

I quickly felt that Dylan was my new adventure and I changed my plans for Spain. I ended up doing a 3 week backpacking trip and took some online classes. May 5th, or Cinco de Mayo, Dylan and I were married and sealed for time and all eternity. I graduated from NAU the following weekend.

Now we have been married for just a year and a half and as I mentioned before, it has been an exciting whirlwind of change and learning.

Current day has us living in our home state of Arizona. Both Dylan and I are in school. Dylan is working on his undergraduate degree in Phycology and nutrition, and I am getting my yoga teacher training certificate. We both work full time and have a beautiful Hermann tortoise we call Walnut. While we have definitely put on some newly-wed weight, we still love dancing, hiking, and chasing adventure. Life truly is good.

Sunday, December 6, 2015


What started off as a dream more than 7 years ago is finally becoming reality! It began when I was in the 8th grade and I wandered into my school counselor's office. I wanted to talk about the possibility of studying abroad. I was falling in love with a language and could not wait to be immersed in it. After expressing my desire, she informed me that studying abroad in high school was not probable. She encouraged me to consider waiting until college, and she showed me her much loved scrapbook of her semester in Salamanca, Spain. My interest was sparked as she began to tell me of her amazing time abroad. Thumbing through the pages of her book, I was introduced to a new world and I could not wait until I had my very own scrapbook of adventures. It was settled: I would study abroad in Spain.

With this grand goal always on my mind its no mystery that right after high school graduation I wanted to fill my passport with stamps. My journeys have taken me to Germany, Mexico, Nicaragua, Tennessee, and Chile. However, now is the time that I fulfil that old dream I dreamt of in 8th grade. So for my very last semester of undergrad in college I will be in Madrid, Spain! I was accepted to a program at the Universidad de Carlos el Tercer en Madrid (UC3M), and I cannot wait!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Tortuga Study Abroad Scholarship!

It is often said that who lives sees much, who travels sees more. Through the first few years of my college career, I have been able to see and learn many things. I have become independent and organized; I have learned from great professors about political science and international relations. I have developed a love for diversity. My dream since age twelve was to study abroad in Spain, so during these past few years I have prepared myself to fulfil this dream. I have developed a love for Spanish culture through literature and film. I have worked at perfecting my Spanish speaking ability, and I even took some Latin dance classes. This upcoming semester, I will be able to finally fulfil that dream and ‘see more’.

Learning about another culture will help me better understand and love people that do not share my same story or background. I want to get to know the Spanish people and learn about their day to day hopes, concerns, and dreams. As I begin to understand a new culture, my love with expand. In addition, I want to deepen my understanding of topics that I have learned in the classroom. For example, a few semesters ago, I was in a Spanish course that focused on bilingual and multilingual countries, Spain being one of them. I am excited to see firsthand how multilingualism has shaped Spanish culture. This semester I am in an environmental science course and we have discussed sustainable food sources. I would love to be able to visit the Veta La Palma fish farm in Spain and see how sustainability is changing the way Spain thinks about food. I hope that having these experiences with another culture will make me a better, more open minded person than I am today.

When I return home from my semester abroad, I want to share what I have learned with others. I do not want to just share how great the food is, or what the latest fashions are, or all of the pictures I took, (although I will share that as well). However, I want to share what seeing another culture has done for me. I want to share the understanding gained, the love expounded, and the lessons learned. I would like to help others experience a small part of what I experienced. I plan on sharing my experiences through a blog that I write: travelingsole-emilee.blogspot.com and also through the education abroad department at my university. This way I can reach others who are interested in study abroad and excite them to travel and see more.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015

My Next Travels

Hey guys to fund my next  (to be revealed soon)http://www.drpeppertuition.com/profile/944617658964302, I need to earn a little money. I am applying for scholarships and need your help. Please go to this website and vote for me, so that I can continue pursuing my dreams!

Click Here! Thanks!

Friday, September 25, 2015


Being 22 was pretty awesome, I have to admit. A lot of self security and confidence was gained as I discovered more about who I am and what I want to do for this world. I owe much of that confidence and inner happiness to the time I spent as a full-time missionary for the LDS church. Those small and everyday experiences in Chile have shaped my life forever.

However, I must say good-bye to my Taylor Swift's "22" jam sessions and now officially enter what some websites deem the worst year of the twenties (Other websites say its 26 or 29, so I guess I can look forward to that). But, hey I am feeling pretty good about 23.  This is the year that I will graduate college (and figure out what happens after that), finally fulfil my lifelong goal of living in Spain, develop some sort of dance ability, and tackle a third language (work on my French? pick up an Asian language?). My outlook on life has always been positive, and this year I cannot wait to see what I can accomplish. So with this new found confidence and the myriad of opportunities ahead, I salute 23 to not being the worst year but one of the best!

And for just one last time: