Katie & Rae take over SLC! (+ A Code for a Free $20 Uber Ride!)

Last weekend, Rae & I met in Salt Lake City, UT for a little weekend girls trip! We planned the trip when ASU was ranked and projected to win…everything. Needless to say, being a Sun Devil fan is like being in a whirlwind of emotion and the game didn’t quite work out. The rest of the weekend was a blast though!

I checked into the Peery Hotel. I was a little worried because some of the reviews were brutal. It was certainly historic and the staff was quirky. Not the fanciest place on the block, but it was charming and served our purpose. The beds were SO comfy.

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Cute, huh?

We kicked off the weekend at Whiskey Street for dinner. It had great Yelp reviews & didn’t disappoint! One thing we noticed was that they are PSYCHO about checking IDs in Utah. Once we got through the 3rd degree at the door, we settled in and ordered the bourbon bacon caramel corn. UM YUM. Yes it was as good as it sounds.

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Then I got the Pork Belly Cuban. Yep- also amazing. We wandered around Main St (formerly known as Whiskey St where ol’ Brigham would reportedly partake…..) and then met up with some of Rae’s friends at Wasatch Brewery and sat outside for a long while.

And took silly photos…..

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Wait….pause….how awesome does my hair color look???? You should go see Stephanie. She’s amazing. A blonde genius.

Saturday was full of history, questions, and treats. We brunched at Bruges Waffles & Frites. It was poppin on a Saturday morning and a quick walk from our hotel. Painfully, they did’t really have coffee.

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Another sign we were in the land of the LDS….Across the street, there was the cutest farmers market that we wandered through and listened to the live music. Great way to kick off our day! We scheduled a tour of Temple Square. Regardless of your thoughts on the LDS Church, this was fascinating. Definitely something I would recommend if you find yourself in SLC- I felt like I had a better idea of the culture that has shaped the city.IMG_8620

Our Uber driver tipped us off to a restaurant that had good rolls + honey butter. When we got to The Lion House Pantry, we found out that the rolls were free! Whhhhat?? We grabbed some drinks and enjoyed the buttery delight of their famous rolls.

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We later found out that this restaurant is in the basement of the house where Brigham Young housed all of his wives after his primary wife.

That was our next stop- Brigham’s house aka The Beehive House. Utah is obsessed with beehives. They’re a huge fixture in the LDS faith because beehives are harmonious & industrious. The sister missionaries who toured us around were so sweet and took possibly the most flattering photo I’ve ever taken ever. Look:

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Here’s a creeper mirror photo we took inside the house too:

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It was time for a little siesta. We’d seen all the sights and we needed to rest up for what turned out to be a miserable football game. Humpf. After another Uber driver suggestion, we decided to try Bodega. I won’t tell you much and give away the greatness, but you should go here. Make a reservation and eat something delicious off of their rotating menu. Rae ordered the short ribs served over the creamiest polenta I’ve ever tasted. Whoa.They discourage the use of cell phones so we enjoyed our meal and had the most delightful server/bar tender.

Then we headed to a rough football game and it rained but the Utah fans were peaches.

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Enough about that. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sunday, we lazed around and then headed out of town to a spot called Garage. It over looks a refinery but had great food & it sounded like they frequently had live music.

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I’d recommend it! ย For the afternoon, we took a bike tour! We did not operate a bike, but rather were carted around in one. It was a great way to see the city from someone who was super knowledgeable. Jeff put up with our 2 billion questions and showed us all around Salt Lake City. Here! You can see some of it too:

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Here’s the info if you’d like to try the experience:

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Those were the big highlights from our weekend. Would I recommend Salt Lake as a major vacation destination? Maybe not. If you’re into skiing maybe! It was still a fun weekend get away. The city is really bike friendly and very walk able. We ubered all around and it worked out great. (Use my promo code and we both get a free $20 ride: katiec4050ue)

Such a fun weekend spent with a great friend. Until our next adventure!

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Comfort Is Not My Goal

A few weeks ago, Brian Orme posted this quote:

“The pursuit of comfort is in direct opposition to Jesus’ vision: the Great Comission.”

I read that and I was straight OFFENDED. Ha! Now, Brian is someone I highly respect and who I usually agree with so this was a little bit of a red flag to me.

I really enjoy being comfortable. I like soft blankets, snacks at my disposal at all times, I love amenities. I also have spent most of my life attempting to craft every situation into something comfortable to me. “Don’t say that… they won’t like it.” “Protect your self with a joke here…” “Don’t say how you REALLY feel- say what will make them comfortable.” “Hard sitch? AVOID AT ALL COSTS!” To use some BOrme phrasing, “Hello, Manipulation.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

This really got my wheels turning. Is my life style in OPPOSITION to what I would say is my greatest passion? Enter the Beaver Creek Hike.

Every year, Chi Alpha goes hiking to Beaver Creek. It’s about a 4 mile hike to a sparkling creek where you can swim & cliff jump. The canyon walls rise around you as you hike in. You don’t get to see these views every day. And yet every year I dread it.

It’s freaking hot. You have to climb up a little elevation. On top of that, you get done and then you have to CAMP aka sleep on the ground. This is the opposite of comfortable. I was having crazy anxiety leading up to the trip. The first time I went on the hike I hyperventilated and quit. I almost threw up last year and I cried on the way out.

Before this years trip, I kept repeating to myself, “You like this.” “You like to challenge yourself.” “You will have a good time.” “These trips build community.” I even bought a shirt that said “FUN DAY” so I could really get my head in the game. I visualized myself finishing the hike smiling.ย 

As I was processing and preparing to go against this very real fear, I had the realization that comfort was not my goal. My be-all-end-all is to grow. I want to get better. I want to be more compassionate. More mentally strong. I will never learn to enjoy a hike or have a hard conversation or extend a hand or live generously if I don’t make myself uncomfortable. It’s just like in spin class– we add resistance to get stronger. Do I hate those parts of the class? Obviously. But I wouldn’t get any stronger or any better if they weren’t there.

We’re also reading James in our Connect Group– that’ll punch you in the face:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

I don’t want to lack any thing. I don’t want my comfort to come at the cost of not pursing the advancement of the Great Comission. So I press on towards higher and harder terrain with perseverance, joy, and maybe a few snacks. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are a few pictures so you can all see what I suffered through. ๐Ÿ˜‰ย 

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5 Things I’ve learned from Party on A Bike.

ย 10 weeks ago, I dragged my butt out of bed at 6am and showed up at The Madison Tempe for a Party on a Bike class. Erin & I set a goal of 10 classes- it seemed impossible. Well we CRUSHED that goal, and I’ve learned some pretty good nuggets along the way. I thought I’d share them here. ๐Ÿ™‚

1. Community will carry you.

My first visit, the girls who were up front were like, “we thought you were never coming in from the parking lot! So glad you’re here!” I internally rolled my eyes at their adorableness/friendliness. Welp, turns out I am the worst and they were being authentically nice. It’s such a non-intimidating environment because people want to support each other. If I just rode a bike by myself, I’d take the easy route. Community that cares makes me push myself.

2. Fun is powerful.

If I can let go of the seriousness, it takes the pressure off and I have permission to work harder. Every time the class gets really hard, I purposely smile HUGE instead of scrunching my face. It sends a message to myself that I’m taking care of me and that makes me happy!

3. My body was made to move.

I have learned that I have a ton of energy. I don’t need to count myself out. I can be pushed. I can be active. I can move- and I actually like it. I’ve spent most of my life thinking that I didn’t like being active…but I actually do. My body/life thrive when I’m active.

4. I’m my biggest hurdle.

I could literally go to class and sit on the bike and the instructor would tell me I killed it. That’s just how supportive they are. The people who go to the class are nice. I’m the one who decides how hard I work. I’m the one who decides to take the next challenge. People can support me, but I’m the one who has to take the jump.

5. I’m part of the party.

In January, I spent some time praying over my year and asking God what He had for my 2015. One thing I felt like He said was, “This year you’re going to see yourself as PART of the party, not on the outside of the party.” I notice that I purposely hold back or don’t put my whole self into experiences because of fear. One day, I was in spin and I was like, “Omg! This class is called ‘Party On A Bike’! And I’m part of it! Like really part of it!” Being a “part” of the class is showing me that I can be part of any party- any situation! Even if it’s out of my comfort zone.

I love it when Jesus teaches me things in the most unexpected places and I’m so thankful for Party on a Bike. As I head into a NEW season of challenges and goal busting, I’m glad these tools have been added to my belt. Wisdom that will serve me well for a long time.

***You should totally come with me sometime! If you aren’t a masacist who wants to take a 6am class, that’s fine. I would highly recommend Mikayla’s classes- she is a gifted teacher who is right there with you! If you like that yoga vibe with some Biggie Smalls sprinkled in, take Brittny’s class! Honestly, I’ve never had a bad experience. Those girls are just the 6am homies. Plus, shout out to Cailey the angel who takes good care of…everyone. ๐Ÿ™‚

Apps I’m Into Right Now

  
I’ve been trying to get everyone I know to download 2 of my favorite apps of the moment. Since my sisters only seem vaguely interested, I thought I’d share them with you all!

1. Keep

Keep is a shopping/fashion app- sort of like an online shopping version of Pinterest. You can organize lists, scroll their feed, and find everything you didn’t know you needed. My favorite part of this app is that it has items that are accessible & affordable with luxury items sprinkled in. Unlike most fashion apps, not everything is like $1,000 for a white v neck. I also think that their push notifications are really witty and non annoying. 

2. TouchRetouch

This app is like a teeny tiny photo shop & is well worth the $1.99. I found out about this bad boy from InstaCamp & I’ve been using it weekly. Just yesterday, I took a picture of my tacos and there was a weird pink chunk in the middle of the plate. I had already started shoveling tacos in my face when I noticed the blemish. Welp-this app helped me erase it:

  
Obviously it’s not perfect, but I bet you totally thought it was just a shadow when you scrolled past it on Instagram! 

Those are 2 that I’m into right now. Any ones that are tickling your fancy as of late? I’d love to hear! 

Summer Camp Melt Down.ย 

  Yesterday was SO FUN! I went to Instagram Summer Camp hosted by The Bloguettes at The Saguaro. We learned everything from branding to editing to landscapes. I had a fabulous group- the #shadowhawks- and we even won best group! I think I’ll even stay connected to some of the girls! The day was encouraging, affirming, inspiring, and most of all FUN!

But it did NOT start out that way. After fixing a wardrobe malfunction and being offended that safety pins are $7 at CVS, I made my way to The Saguaro in Old Town. I had signed for camp months ago but all of my expectation & excitement died the second I walked through the lobby doors. The place was FULL of the prettiest, most fashionable, hat wearing girls I had ever seen. I swear- everyone had a hat and everyone was pulling it off. I bolted for the bathroom and promptly burst into tears.

WHAT AM I DOING HERE? I thought I looked cute but clearly I look like a hobo compared to these girls with Rapunzel hair. Why did I come? Everyone is going to hate me. Definetly never going to be cool enough. Should I just leave?

This wave of terror & rejection just knocked me right over. I texted some homies. They were quick to respond with the reassurance I needed:

“Remember! You like this! It’s going to be great!”

“Um you are pretty? Let’s identify the lie you’re believing.” 

Ooof. Deep breath. I dabbed my mascara off my cheeks, put on a smile, and walked into the main room. I sat down next to a girl with perfectly pastel hair and she was so nice! She has a great online boutique based out of LA. Once I started talking, I started to feel better. I wasn’t even nervous when they had a “Meet Your Neighbor” time. Everyone there was friendly! The day got rolling, and I was loving it! We were laughing, snapping photos, and sharing tips. These were my PEOPLE! They spoke my language. And best of all, they didn’t even care if I was on my phone the whole time. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Our last stop of our full day was “Lifestyle”- learning to spot gram-able moments and being comfortable in front of the camera. I wanted someone to take my picture but I kept saying I needed “direction.” What I really meant was that I wanted permission to be silly or to strike a pose. I wanted permission to be me. But I actually already had that already. I can give that to myself. Always.

Next time I want to skip the bathroom part and go right to the “oh I actually love people and make friends easily” part. This was a huge #LiveBrave moment for me. I recently got this crazy prophetic word about how I am going to move into a season where fear falls off & I live loved. Instagram Summer Camp felt like a kick off to that. I’m ready. 

All to say- you can live brave too. You’re also in on the biggest secret: Even the loudest girl might be nervous to make friends. They even asked during the keynote, “How many times have you looked at someone for 5 seconds and already made up a whole story about them?” Guilty as charged. We’re all in this together- even the girls in hats. (PS They’re actually really nice.)  

Here are some fun snaps from the day:

   
    
    
 
 
 I would highly HIGHLY recommend The Bloguettes webinars & workshops  if you have a small business/brand or are involved in any sort of social media. They were super informative, researched, organized, and sprinkled everything with fun & whimsy! 

Revelation at the Dentist.ย 

  I have had an infected tooth for over 4 years. It had abcessed so much that other dental hygienists had to come & take a peek. “I have never seen anything like this before!” is not something you want to hear your dentist say. My entire sinus cavity had filled with infection and I was starting to lose bone. 

Today was the big day to tackle the issue. On the docket: a root canal, a crown, & a filling. When the dentist got in there, he found that the one tooth crumbled and couldn’t handle a filling. He had to do a second crown and (extremely generously) did not charge me for it. In case you are like part of the royal family and don’t pay bills, those are E X P E N S I V E! 

In that dentist chair, around hour 3, I heard God whisper, “I’m really proud of you.” This dental work has haunted me for years! They say oral health is the best indicator of overall health and incredibly important for heart health. My word for 2015 is “hollistic”- learning health and balance in every way. This is one step closer to me valuing myself, treating my body well, and working towards wholeness. 

I knew it was God’s favor that I wasn’t charged for that second crown. It was a little nod from the Father that I was on the right track. 

I know what you’re thinking, millennial Christian. “If it was truly God, He would have/should have given you the whole thing for free. Or healed your tooth!” Maybe. But the beautiful thing is that God has given me a great job that allowed me to save up money, learn budgeting skills, and left space for me to accomplish something. He provided in 2 ways- #doublemiracle. 

I still think that Jesus would be proud of me and love me even if all of my teeth rotted out of my face and I exclusively ate Mac & cheese for the rest of my life. He’s a great Dad. And that’s not so different than my current diet any way. ๐Ÿ˜‚ But in the same way that a parent beams when their kid takes her first step or tries something new, God smiled at me today. 

I’m sore but happy. You’re worth taking care of. Take a step into the direction of self care, and He will meet you there.

*If you’re looking for a dentist, I can’t recommend Dr. Patterson & his staff enough!

*For the sake of my own pride & ego, my teeth are crazy town because  problem teeth are hereditary in my family and because antibiotics from child hood caused my teeth to be prone to decay. I promise this isn’t a “Lamar” type of thing. 

*I also don’t think God gave me an infected tooth to teach me a lesson. I think He used some of my negligence to teach me something. Oh grace. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Small Steps.

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I’ve been working hard at getting healthy. Erin & I have been getting up early and walking or spinning. I’m drinking more water, enjoying treats in moderation, and tracking my steps with my fit bit.

I’m seeing results…but it has been s l o w. So slow. And some times that’s hard. But one day I just sort of looked in the mirror and decided I was in this for the long haul. I’m not going to quit. I just have to put one foot in front of the other. I just have to dig my heels in and keep going.

Well isn’t it interesting that what’s going on in the natural always reflects what’s going on in the spirit? Always! So If you’ve met me you know I’m somewhat of an avalanche. I am all or nothing. Black or white. Loud or not there. Your best friend or your worst enemy.

As Jesus tries to nudge me more into being okay with the gray, the same principle applies. Slow & steady wins the race.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

It’s right there! When I feel like I’m facing an impossible course with getting healthy or in my relationships or my vision for my life or finding balance or whatever- if I fix my eyes on Jesus and run with endurance, I win. I don’t have to grow weary because His burden is light.

Even beyond that, Hebrews says that I have PEACE, GLORY, & NO SHAME! Furthermore, this jumble of situations in my life is producing PERSEVERANCE, CHARACTER, & my personal fav: HOPE!

Hebrews 5:1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because Godโ€™s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

There have been many times that I’ve been hopeless. I can say with confidence that I’m more hopeful despite storms raging than I ever have been in my whole life! What a bright future that’s ahead! To quote a famous campus pastor, “Today was good. Tomorrow may not be. Either way, Jesus is on His throne and I love him.”

PS: Totally into this song at the moment. If you’re feeling the vibe above, give it a listen: http://youtu.be/IJ8pu_OHz2Y