27 May 2016

Making of a Wedding

The last few days of wedding planning were absolutely insane. Well, really the last two weeks were just crazy. Jake and I had our two week break between Spring and Summer semesters so a lot of our planning got restricted to that time period to make sure all loose ends were tied up.

Now that the wedding is over, I can finally take a break and look back on it all. Our photographer is still working on the bulk of the photos take that day, but he did get a few back to us for personal use. While I might wait a week to look over those photos and all the beautiful memories of that day, I can look over the two weeks preceding it. Frankly it was all such a whirlwind that I didn't take many photos of all the errands we ran or the places we went to. It is interesting what I did document with my camera and I thought I may as well share those with you here.

This was after I got back from Target. We bought all our frames there to match our existing frames in the house and did our prints there as well. I set them up on the dinning room table so Jake could see them when we got home. We eventually put these photos in front of our guest book at the wedding.
It was clearly adorable enough that I took a photo of it.
(Also, is it still called a dinning room table if our apartment doesn't have a dinning room??)

Cat on a chair. I was cleaning out something from under my desk so I move my chair to the most convenient place, which happened to be the couch. Being a cat, she had to sit on it.

I ran a super secret mission for Jake just a week before the wedding. Part of it had me traveling to the Great Salt Lake. Since I didn't tell Jake about it at the time I took a photo because it was so gosh darn gorgeous and I really wanted to remember it.

My cat looks thinks she is a human. She isn't even that far off. Again, super adorable and photo worthy.

Another cat photo. I mean, just look at her! SO CUTE. TAKING A LITTLE CAT NAP.

There are more cat photos in here than I thought. Our apartment was so full of boxes for the wedding (which normally thrill Joy), but clearly she was running out of box enthusiasm. She looks so melancholy at the prospect of having to play with another box. 

Jake and I printed all of our own wedding materials. All of the save the dates, invitations, website and programs we put together on indesign and printed at his dad's newspaper and the copy shop next door. We had just printed the programs for the wedding and they were so good that I had to take a photo.

If you haven't heard, getting our wedding suits was a disaster. After looking months in advance at dozens of suit stores, we realized that we didn't need to buy expensive suits because we really didn't think that we would have enough of a reason to wear them again. Instead, we decided to use this website founded by one of the ousted heads of Men's Wearhouse that seemed pretty cool. We knew there was some inherent risk in using that kind of a site, but we figured the cost savings would be worth it. 

We were wrong. They showed up and they looked absolutely terrible. Just baggy and cheap and awful. In a panic driven moment we ran (almost literally) to our local H&M to get some shirts to go with our existing pants. We found these perfectly fitting white button-ups and bide undershirts for like $20 and figured we would match them with our existing dress pants at home. But our local H&M only had one shirt left in our size and being Utah, the mall was closed the following day (Sunday). We woke up first thing the next morning to drive down to the next closest H&M and got our second white shirt. The photo above is me trying on what would be my wedding shirt just days before the wedding. I was taking photos to try and decide which undershirt looked best with the button-up.

Our wedding threw up all over our living room. We ended up recycling most of my sister Megan's decorations from her wedding and putting our colors on them. We had a finite amount of storage in our 400 sq/ft apartment so they ended up on the coffee table. Note the small mountain of boxes in the background of other wedding supplies.

Despite knowing how much stuff we needed to get done in those two weeks, we kept ourselves even busier with a bunch of other events.  Two days before our wedding we both went to a protest on Capitol Hill to advocate preserving Native American sacred lands. We did so much walking that day.

The week before, I attended a two day conference on the Great Salt Lake up at the University of Utah. It was AWESOME. 

Finally, a photo I took of Main Street and First South in downtown. I was hanging out at the Starbucks on that corner for some reason and looking out the window I was struck with the cascading love I feel for the city I live in. In this photo is our newest skyscraper 111 South Main and the new Preforming Arts Center that is also pretty incredible. 

I am honestly amazed that Jake and I survived the whole wedding planning process. It was all absurdly crazy and I am so glad that it is over. I'm also very very glad to be married to my husband and to know that our special day went so well. As an out going treat for y'all, here is one of the photos from our wedding day. I'll be posting a full album in not too long, so hopefully this will keep you satisfied until then.

With all my love,


23 March 2016

Getting Sidetracked in Colorado

As spring break rolled forward, Jake and I knew we needed to let off steam from all the stress of the semester. Honestly, I was getting a bit of tunnel vision with all the projects and midterms that were ahead of me, so we made plans early on that we knew would be just the ticket for a relaxing and refreshing spring break. After chugging along through mid terms, the light at the end of the tunnel was finally visible.

And what was just the ticket? An actual train ticket. On Amtrak.

So halfway through spring break, we boarded the California Zephyr in Salt Lake City on our way to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. This is a photo I took of Jake when our train was at a stopped in Grand Junction, CO. The reason I didn't take any photos when we were boarding is because our train departed Salt Lake City at 3:30 am. AM. Part of the reality of cross country train travel is that not all stops are going to be at convenient hours. And just our luck, a San Francisco departure at 9:00 am means a middle of the night stop for us Utahns. 

And let me tell you, there is no good way to wake up for a 3:30 am departure. We had to be at the station half an hour early, and since the station was on the other side of downtown we had to get up a little earlier to make sure we could get an Uber there. I ended up sleeping for about two hours before we left, and then maybe another two hours on the train. 

Anyone who knew me at any time during my childhood knows my adoration of locomotion, and so understandably it was hard for me to fall asleep just from the excitement alone.

Traveling by train was absolutely fantastic. I've taken Amtrak a few times before while I lived in North Carolina with my dad. Once to Raleigh and once to Charlotte-- both of which were fairly short intercity trains. In contrast, the California Zephyr is a city on wheels. A typical consist has two locomotives, a baggage car, a crew car, three sleeper cars, a dinning car, a lounge/cafe car, and three coach cars. Additionally, our eastbound train had three private coaches on the end of the train. I actually looked up how much it would cost to transport three private coaches from San Francisco to Chicago on the Zephyr and it was something like $11,000. 

That being said, the train was very long-- nearly a quarter of a mile. Our coach was towards the back of the train, so it made for great views of  the front of the train as we went around bends. And the views were STUNNING.

When we finally got to Glenwood Springs, it was just after 12:00 pm. We had breakfast in the dinning car of the train where met two young guys-- one from Boston and the other from San Jose (is that right Jake? Or was it somewhere else in the Bay Area?) The weather was fairly nice when we arrived. Glenwood Springs is such a compact little city and it was perfectly walkable. Our AirBNB was just a few minutes walk from the station, and so were the city's name sake, the Hot Springs. The town happens to be home to the largest hot spring pool in the world, almost the size of a football field.

The hot springs were founded in 1888, and the surrounding town has pretty much always been a tourist city. In fact, Teddy Roosevelt once spent an entire summer in the Hotel Colorado, seen above. The idea that the town has only ever been a tourist town was actually pretty apparent. The locals we met there were extremely nice. They use the hot springs just like everyone else and seemed genuinely interested in where we were from and what brought us here. People also seemed tickled that we took the train in from Salt Lake City.

Along with the hot springs, the town has also expanded to include a few other touristy amenities. The nearby city of Aspen has all the skiing, so Glenwood Springs used the top of one of their mountains for an amusement park. Unfortunately for us, the park was running limited operations until the next week when Colorado's spring break started. We ended up taking the tram to the park, walked around a bit, and then took down the tram just a few minutes later. The views of the city were pretty magnificent though! 

Would it really be a trip to Colorado if our AirBNB wasn't a block and a half from a dispensary? Don't worry mom and dad, we made sure to keep our distance while in town. ;)

We had a pretty laid back trip. We hung out at our AirBNB for a while and tried to not over burden our schedule with activities. I picked up a copy of the local newspaper while in town and saw that a Aspen choir was having a concert that evening. They had an organ performance, and the choir sang with a chamber orchestra. It was really magnificent, although the architecture of the Catholic church was a liiiiitle gaudy. 

We headed out the next morning. The train ride home was just lovely. We spend most of our time looking out the windows at the gorgeous scenery in the lounge car. The California Zephyr travels through a canyon on the Colorado/Utah border that can only be seen by train or by rafting the Colorado river. We got dinner that evening in the dinning car. We shared our booth with an older couple from Virginia. They live about four hours from where I grew up and their accents made me extremely nostalgic for the south. They were on a trip from their home in Virginia to Los Angeles, via Chicago.

We arrived in Salt Lake City almost an hour earlier than our scheduled time, around 10:15 pm. It was early enough that all the local trains in the city were still running, so instead of taking an Uber home, we caught a blue line train to downtown and walked the last few blocks to our apartment. It was very satisfying being able another train home. It really brought our my inner ferroequinologist.

Lastly, here is a gif I made of our west bound train pulling into Glenwood Springs. I take way too many photos on Jake's phone trying to capture the perfect Instagram-able photo which results in a long set of photos that happen to translate into a halfway decent animated gif.

Thanks for reading! Hopefully you all decide that train is your preferred form of transport, or at least it might inspire you to take a trip in a way you haven't done before. 

Best wishes, and I'll get back to y'all later!

18 September 2015

An Alberta Road Trip in Selfies (And A Few Other Photos)

The selfies are in chronological order. Everything else is not.

I never really told you guys about going to Alberta! I'm getting into this bad habit where I go on these road trips and tell very few people, and then start posting photos from there. I know I never got around to posting about my Vancouver trip, and good golly, I'm not sure I'll get around to posting about the Navajo Nation, but at least I'll have Alberta down. 

So go back a month, and you'll see that Jake and I began our road trip with a 7 hour gallivant from Salt Lake City, UT to Helena, MT.  It was a good halfway point between home and our destination, and a city neither of us had been to before. It was probably one of the best stops we could have made. The town has such a cool character to it, such good Romanesque architecture and just a really cool vibe in general. It also happens to be the capitol of Montana, and our Airbnb was a quick 5 minute walk from it. Unfortunately the building was closed, but we managed to snap this photo before heading out.

Our next stop was the border! I've crossed into Canada three other times, all by land. This was probably the least dramatic of those crossings. It is lots of farm and prairie land that goes into more Canadian farm and prairie land. The point is, this particular crossing is essentially in the middle of nowhere. It happens to be at the northern terminus of I-15, and the closest border crossing to Calgary, which is the only reason it exists.

This is the Bow! Which is the tower directly behind us. This was our first night in the city after checking into our Airbnb. We just wanted to explore a little bit, and this was taken at the Olympic Park in downtown Calgary. We spent most of our time in the city doing everything from Shakespeare in the park, to Taste of Calgary (a kind of buffet of all city restaurants), visiting shopping malls, using the 15+ network of skybridges to get around the city and eventually visiting the University of Calgary.

We did spend an entire day in Banff National Park. It is sort of regarded as the Yellowstone of Canada, and it was the country's first and most famous national park. And my god, it was beautiful. Behind us are the Bow Falls. They are more of a set of large cascades along the river. We followed this river all the way from downtown Calgary to its glacial headwaters.

This is the Banff Springs Hotel. It was one of the old historic hotels built along the Canadian National Railroad to bring tourists and passengers from as far away as Toronto and Montréal. It is located directly above the waterfalls we took a picture in from of.

This is a lake. I can't quite remember which one. It was blue and beautiful. This one just took our breath away and I insisted it was selfie worthy. All of the water in the park was a glacier, like, yesterday. You can actually see a bit of a glacier in this photo, hanging high above the lake. We did a long, roughly 4 hour round trip scenic drive through Banff National Park to Jasper National Park and we probably saw at least two dozen glaciers.

This is one of the most photographed lakes in the world. It is called Lake Louise, and you should google it right this second. We were there later in the evening to beat the crowds but consequently we got the poor end of the lighting. The lake is as beautiful in person as it is in the photos. Although honestly after spending an entire day looking at one impossibly beautiful thing after another, some of the initial amazement may have worn off.

We took this one right before we left the city. Our Airbnb was in the neighborhood of Ramsay, which is an old neighborhood sitting on a bluff just over the city. There is one street that has just an amazing view of the city. There is another photo below taken at this same location of the city at night.

This is us somewhere in Idaho. We decided to do the 13 hour journey home in one giant hurrah, and it was hard not to get a little bored once and a while. Jake is a really handsome fellow.


Below are a selection of photos in no particular order that I took on the trip. I'll include captions for some of them, but mostly they are just really great things to look at.

Above is the city of Calgary at night with the Saddle Dome in front. The Saddle Dome is the centre piece of a large complex known as the Calgary Stampede, one of the largest of its kind in the world. Our train station was on the other side of that building, so we ended up walking around it probably a dozen times in our short time there.

This is the library at the University of Calgary. I had two different meetings with advisers in their planning school, and we had a self guided tour of the campus while were were there.

This one is great. This is taken from a park above Helena, MT. I would call it the Ensign Peak of Helena. You should zoon in on this one, because it was just beautiful.

The Calgary C-Train. It is the oldest light rail system in North America, and it was a super convenient way to get around the city.


Everything below this is from either Banff or Jasper National Park. The second to last photo is the Athabasca Glacier, which was so rad you should definitely google it.

That was our trip in selfies! (And some other photos). It was totally an awesome experience, and it has definitely given me a lot to thing about when it comes to deciding where to apply to grad school. I'll try my best to get my next road trip up on here from the Navajo Nation, but until then, you can always read and then re-read this post!



28 August 2015

My Great Salt Summer

As you may have surmised from social media I've done a lot this summer. Seriously. Several things. I went to Canada on two different occasions, took classes, worked, started an internship with a transit agency and slept a lot. One thing I managed to do with great regularity was go to my favorite place on earth, the Great Salt Lake.

The stunning waters, soft sand, quiet beaches and endless vistas drew my to its shores again and again. Jake and I managed to go on more than a dozen occasions, spending whole afternoons and evenings in the salty waters. Something that I finally invested in this year was a set of plastic buckets and shovels to build sandcastles with. 

Best. Purchase. Yet.

I'm going to take you in chronological order of some of the more notable sandcastles that team Anderbright made.


1. The Lagoon Castle

This might not make 100% sense if you haven't visited the Great Salt Lake in person. The Great Salt Lake has a bunch of really curious characteristics that are pretty unique to it. (I wrote an entire blog post on it forever ago if you are curious as to what some of those are). Like the big puddles that hang around at the beach after high tide recedes, the Great Salt Lake has big pools or inlets of water that stick behind the regular shoreline after wind storms or from the inevitable evaporation that constantly changes the lake's shape. You end up with these long sand bars that form the regular shoreline to the lake where the little waves crash, and where I build my sandcastles. After playing in the water for a bit I saw him building this castle, so I came along to help. Anyway, it was one of the first larger sandcastles we built. It was built on the back end of one of these sand bars, on the calmer lagoon side, hence the name.


2. Age of Salty Empires

I was putting some towers up using my big orange bucket and then I decided to build a wall between them. Then I had this childhood moment of inspiration where I remembered how I used to play in the creek by my house growing up and pretend that it was all a small civilization and that I had these god-like powers to create towns, canals, roads and bridges. (How I didn't realize urban planning was my calling from an earlier age, I have no idea). I also used to (read: still do) play Age of Empires II, which is such a rad game. When building this castle I had the sudden inspiration that I needed to build a wall around my highly coveted stretch of beach to keep the wild and ferocious monsters from trespassing onto my territory. As far as I can recall, it was wildly successful.


3. Great Salt Coffin 

You probably saw this castle on social media with Jake's seemingly dead body occupying its interior. I was going for something similar to the Age of Salty Empires, but with a more bad-ass front. Then as I started to build the walls back along the shore line of the peninsula it was occupying, the winds shifted north and the shallow waters of the Great Salt Lake began to recede leaving my coastal castle a little dryer than expected. With it situated higher on a bigger piece of land, I decided to give it some symmetry, giving it its coffin shape.


4. The Canadian Tower of Glory 

Jake and I have tried a few times before to create a castle of any notable height. Most of them were so much of failures that they didn't warrant a photo to be taken of their shame. This time we were pretty sure that it was our lucky day, and we built the castle you see above. It was actually a lot cooler about 15 minutes before we took this photo. About an hour earlier, the winds shifted to the south and the prevailing breezes skimmed the great expansive surface of the lake causing the water to rise on the southern shores. The water level was at least 3-5 centimeters lower when we started construction. The castle was originally at the high point of the island when we began construction, but as you can see in the photo it suddenly became flooded. Think of it like a saltier version of Dry Tortugas National Park. I think I forgot to tell Jake that I was taking the photo, so pardon his somewhat frustrated expression. I'm calling it our Canadian Tower of Glory because we had some left over miniature Canadian flags from our Canada Day party back in July, and we put some in our beach bag to decorate the awesomeness that is a Great Salt Sand Castle. 


That pretty much catches us up! 

Except, have I told you about our cat, Joy? 

I suppose the internet would not be any worse of a place with a few extra photos of felines on it. Here we go.

Joy is jealous of all electronic devices in the house because they take attention away from her cuteness. Also, note how I am on Facebook looking at photos of my friend's cats. Because the internet.



Joy is a very cuddle cat. It is awesome. Except at 4:00 AM when she nudges you, and meows at your face to make sure you are alive. And also, if you are alive to make sure to give her some token of affection and attention. Adorable.


This one is just too cute. Sometimes when I come home, she is sitting in a corner propped up like she is some kind of primate. Damn. The internet would be a much more boring/less adorable place without cats. 

Thanks for reading. I know I have no sense of regularity whatsoever, and given that this is the first week of a new semester, chances of me writing a follow up post to this a dropping by the second. If I ever do get around to such a literary work I think I'll write about my trips to our neighbor to the north, Canada.

Until then, bests!


^ Canada ^