Laguna Beach, CA

Planning vacations take a lot of work, they don’t tell you that growing up.

Remember back in the day when your parents had your vacations all laid out for you?

They had the hotels, cars, flights activities all sorted out, like magic it all came together & you always had the time of your life.

I assumed some sort of magic person would come tap me on the shoulder and say something like “Hey you’re due for a Vacation, here are your tickets, have fun.”

Lets all laugh together.

Since that doesn’t happen in the real world (besides those ads we all get from Travelocity and Hotwire.com) we must take the time to sit down & plan a vacations. Laguna Beach, CA was the first vacation I had planned for Shane & I.

Since I’ll avoid flying when I can, we drove. I love ROADTRIPS! Special thanks to Shane for driving, did I mention I love Roadtrips but don’t like to drive? I’m a great passenger; I’ll control the music, AC & occasionally fall asleep.

We landed a sweet deal in Henderson, NV on the way down (we’re all about those deals!)

First stop: Henderson, NV at The Hilton! It was gorgeous & it was right on the man-made lake, Lake Las Vegas. The night we stayed happened to be on a night where there was a small outdoor concert, we ate at a cute outdoor pizzeria & then had a summer night outdoor concert, it was my happy spot.

 (I’ll apologize right now for the blurry pics- it was dark & I was running around smitten ♥)

Our next little place to call home was a small beachfront hotel. It.Was.Tiny. But newlyweds gotta save right? We figured, hey we won’t be in our hotel much, we just need a place to crash while we’re here.

Anyone else obsessed with little hole-in-the-wall food joints? Same. Greek Greek GREEK!

If you’re ever wondering why Seagulls think that your entitled to feed them it’s because of me, I can’t say no to feeding them. It’s a problem I know.

Ice Cream for me, Salt Water Taffy for Shane

Oh & if you’re thinking to yourself “Gee Madi, what’s with the Ice Cream soup?”

It’s because I like it that way. Chocolate on Chocolate with Chocolate Fudge please.

SHOUTOUT to Ralphs & their amazing delicious sandwiches 

I wanted to show Shane everything I knew about Laguna. We use to go here almost every year with my family & I absolutely LOVE IT.

The cute little bakery my dad would go to every morning to get us chocolate croissants

My favorite Montage Beach (side note, our hotel was 3 miles away from this beach, & being right on Highway 1 we did not want to move our car from the hotel so, we walked hahaha sorry babe)

Ruby’s Diner, we hit it up on our trek back to our hotel, getting a Ruby’s Coke is a MUST/TRADITION while visiting

 

1,000 Steps Beach- exploring caves

Surfing. Ok so this one was Shane’s idea, he LOVES to surf but lets be honest, surfing in Cali vs. Hawaii is VERY DIFFERENT. Bless his heart, he surprised me with lessons from a local & off we went to go get pounded by waves. I’ll laugh about it now but it was pretty much a near death experience for both of us. I got sick from all the water that I swallowed & sand was embedded in my hair for a good week after. My favorite part was just sitting on the surfboard out past the waves looking down at all the fishies swimming in & out of the seaweed. On my last run I was able to stand up & ride in- that was pretty cool too but I was just glad I survived.

Note to self: Next time I surf make sure it’s in Hawaii.

On the way home- Henderson NV again, can’t go wrong this place so dreamy ♥

Two beds no problem

“Each adventure you plan, you will learn a little bit more each time, learning from your mistakes & develop new tricks to what works”- A Quote by Me

**A special shout out to family & friends who have worked hard putting trips together making every moment seem effortless as we all know the time, thought & energy goes in to everyone having a good time, a I have HUGE APPRECIATION FOR YOU**

 

 

San Diego- Part I

Going through all the photos on my computer I decided I needed to back track a little bit & share our First Anniversary Pictures! We had a blast traveling up & down the California coast. I wanted to dedicate this post to one of the days spent down in San Diego at the San Diego Zoo!

FYI Kids get in free all of October, which is a good side note to have whether or not you have kids 😉

Reasons why I’d go back to San Diego Zoo:

  1. The place is huge- you can get through everything is one day but you can’t really soak it all in, it would be a blast to try one of the “Special Experiences” next time
  2. Not only is the place huge but the animals are ACTIVE! They’re not all sleeping around & hiding, they’re out and about
  3. I’m all about the babies! I’d love to go back when more babies are born

My favorite were the Panda Bears (all of the bears) of course 🙂 we actually waited for over an hour for the Polar Bear but for some reason he wasn’t in the exhibit that day, so the Polar Bear Statue was the closest I got

 

If I hadn’t played Zoo Tycoon growing up I would called these creatures aliens but the striped guy is actually an Okapi & the longed-neck creatures are Gerenuks! (In Somali meaning “Long-Necked)

Otter Play date

Flamingos & their gorgeous colors

Always the classic Zebra and Giraffe, I’ll never get over their patterns

Pretty sure if I had a Koala napping on my lap all day work would be a breeze everyday

 

Look at that Toucan #hearteyes

So many different aviaries inside the Zoo! I was in Bird Heaven!

I’d choose spending a day with a Gorilla over an Orangutan ANY DAY.  But I didn’t think it was fair to just be snapping pics of the Gorillas while the Orangutans just watched. So anywho I faced my fear (yes I have an actual fear) walked right up to the glass where this gal was sitting, I held up my camera & she gave me THE BIGGEST smile ever. Not even a year year later, Janey, passed away due to heart complications- I was happy I would have this memory of her.

Shane’s favorite part of the Zoo were all the reptile exhibits, they have anything and everything

All the cats were cool, & all of my pics have the same wire fence in front…

Momma & Baby Hippo sleeping

 

One thing I am really going to focus on is my camera work, one reason why I hadn’t posted anything from the Zoo was because I honestly didn’t like any of the pictures I took. As soon as I started following The San Diego Zoo on Instagram I instantly wanted to burn all of the photos, go back and take new ones. I’ve always wanted to get behind the scenes of this zoo & be able to capture the types of photos that on on their IG, maybe one day I’ll be able to 😉

Thanks for reading!

Spring

There is something about spring where I feel rejuvenated, ready to start something big, huge and go at it with full force.

Health has been top notch so I really am feeling invincible.

This amazing weather is just making me want to spend every second that I can outside.

Spring has me constantly thinking about little babies, gardens & the Gosple.

At the end of February my sister had her first baby, Jackson Glenn Lafortune

And he is perfect in every way. I love holding little babies, and am I the only one who thinks they smell amazing?!

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I had the opportunity to take pictures of him, but really, how perfect is he?!

I got hooked into the FitBit craze, I just constantly want to run or walk now! (Pretty sure Shane is going nuts!)

So with all this nice weather, exercise has been constantly on my mind, I’ve been doing cardio regularly (doctors orders)

I love it though, I love running, biking, dancing, lifting…all of it to get my blood flowing.

I’m way sad because I’ve put two huge things on the back burner…Yoga & My Blog.

With work being as insane as it is, I feel like my days are: Work-out, get ready, work, eat & workout, sleep

BALANCING EVERYTHING IS HARD

So a minute that I get to squeeze in some writing is a huge success

Last week being Easter and this weekend being Conference I’ve been on Gospel overload

I really wish everything I’ve heard or any thought that came into my head was somehow saved perfectly

“Keep trying, keep trusting, keep believing, keep growing.

Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow and forever.” -Jeffery R. Holland

They all seemed to have a theme, Heavenly Father loves us and wants us on the right track, he will never leave you & will always be there to help you back up when you ask for it.

Families are forever, they are so important; always keep the Temple in your sight.

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(I’ll try to compose another post about Conference later)

For now, please enjoy the days we have good weather, enjoy the beautiful natures, the sweet smell of flowers & remember that somebody loves you

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10 really awesome reasons why a dog is right for you

Hello my lovely soon-to-be (if not already;)) dog lovers!

Lets face it, at one point or another we have all ran across that cute Instagram account or Pinterest Pin where right in front of you is the sweetest angelic puppy with big wide eyes just begging for your love.

The next minute you’re looking up “ways to convince your spouse/parent to get a puppy”

(been there done THAT!)

Most likely you will get “the talk” on the hard work, attention and exercise a dog needs. Which are all TRUE, hard work is required! That doesn’t matter because you’re too preoccupied looking up the nearest adoption center to get your hands on your new furry best friend.

or

maybe you’ve been looking for a pawed friend, but too scared to commit?

This post is for you too!!!

Lets switch to another angle for a second…

Mortified your spouse/child has been begging for that barking, slobbery, hyper allergic hair ball that drags dirt everywhere! What can you do to convince them that they are in fact a house-destructive maniac.

Your brain goes off the wall with reasons why absolutely NOT!

(click next to see if these are your fears!)

 

Intro to Introvert

Hello ♥

I love my solitude, my long drives, my music & my husband’s hand to hold

I love all my journals, written down thoughts & my books

I’m a quiet person & I love to listen to other people

I’m not the life of the party, you can usually find me in the corner playing with the dog

I’ve always seen this as my biggest flaw

Why do I step back away from others & choose to be alone, even when it’s with people I love?

Why can’t I be the fun energized person that my close friends know me as?

Why do I like to be alone so much?

Why can’t I relax in big groups?

Why do people exhaust me?

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Au revoir December

Did anyone else feel like December was a magical month?

Thanksgiving was a blast & I felt like everyday after was filled with the holiday spirit!

I love that part of my husband business is to hang Christmas lights. I was able to go with him & see a couple client’s houses & even took some photos for his website.

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Lets talk about the snow ♥

Last year we hardly got any in the valley but this year it hit! It hit so hard that the first day of snow I wasn’t even able to drive to work.

Even though I’ll never be a huge fan of then cold, but the snow is absolutely gorgeous!

I’ve grown to love winter.

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Shane has made winter 100% more exciting than it’s ever been.

Last year was full of amazing skiing up at Park City, & this winter season we’ve gone ice skating, built a giant snow tower in our back yard, drove around looking at Christmas lights, drank more hot chocolate than you can imagine & Tim Tammed Slammed til we passed out.

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Christmas shopping was a blast (crazy right?). I felt like our second Christmas together was even better than the first.

Last Christmas spent together was amazing, but this year we actually had money set aside that we could spend.

We finally had a tree to decorate, Christmas decor, & stockings! I loved decorating for Christmas. I felt like I had an entire year to plan out things that Shane would want for Christmas, we were both spoiled with presents.

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The spirit of giving has always been in my heart. I love to give! I love seeing others happy, it brings me so much joy. I guess that is what the holiday season is really about right? I hope that everyone was able to give, even just a little bit.

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Acts of kindness never go unnoticed

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Positive Vibes List #2

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Tis the season for colds, sweats & tissues!

Shane & I both had our rounds of getting sick this winter season BUT there’s always a bright side when you are stuck in bed! So I decided to cure my sickness with a little bit of positive-ness…

1. Husbands– This could probably be listed every time but you can’t help but smile when you’re sick & you having a loving person there to take care of you (plus put up the Christmas Lights!!)

2. Soft Tissue– A comfy tissue is everything, please love yourself enough to go buy a brand that isn’t going to leave you looking like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

3. Sherlock Holmes TV series/Netflix– So I can say I’m definitely grateful for TV shows! Not recommended to watch a Sherlock  episode while you’re only half awake and drugged on Nyquil but definitely worth while you’re recuperating. We became obsessed.

4. Hot Chocolate– It’s warm & it’s chocolate so it makes the list ok? I could stop here but I won’t….ever tried Trader Joe’s Sipping Chocolate? Thank me later.

5. Music– Always helps me sleep, read, draw & you can’t really beat Christmas Music when outside is a Winter Wonderland, it’s so magical

6. Tortilla Soup– Need I say more? (Thank you Cafe Rio!!)

I don’t think I’m alone with being sick this month, what are you grateful for when you’re sick?

**Side note pictures in post are not mine but found from traderjoes.com caferio.com & alishenciya.tumblr.com/post/18953029232**

Giving Thanks

Ok here’s a plunge into my brain of rapid fire of things I’m grateful for:

Shane’s unconditional love, really what would I do with someone who couldn’t handle all my craziness?

Families, somehow I got blessed into the most amazing family & married into another incredible one, I’m constantly surrounded by some of the most unbelievable people

The Gospel, seeing what it’s like to live a life without the Gospel vs. with the Gospel there’s the biggest contrast & I’m grateful for the peace & comfort it gives me

Homemade food, Crock Pots have become my new best friend

Medicine, DayQuil has saved me the last couple of days

Fleece Blankets, no need to say more

Good Playlists, Spotify rescues me everyday at work

Friends, they’re all too good to me, thanks for always listening

Weddings, makes me appreciate Shane all over again, always reminds me of our perfect wedding day

 Kind people, don’t ever take these people for granted

Good Health, I thank the Lord everyday that I can get up & get ready without passing out

Christmas Lights, they just brings me so much joy & give me the chills

TV in the kitchen, life is pretty great when I can indulge my Pretty Little Liars obsession & clean at the same time

& millions more, it was just what I was able to get out of my brain before I hit the bed.  Goodnight.

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Changes

Diving into November there has been many new changes

We left our perfect little loft/tree house/den in Sugarhouse & moved into Shane’s parents house while they leave to serve their mission in New Zealand

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There were so many mixed emotions with this ever since Shane & I got married. When we first talked about moving there I said yes immediately, helping them out, saving money, & being able to live in their gorgeous home was a dream to me.

As time went on & we moved into our first place together, the thought of leaving our Loft gave me so much sadness. Our little place was the perfect size for the two of us, no neighbors, beautiful scenery & everything was new! The thought of leaving got harder & harder.

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Moments came up when talking to him mom how there might be other people who could benefit from their place better than Shane & I. Blessing right? If that happened we wouldn’t have to move! As the year went on Shane & I had our own personal financial goals, where we wanted to be at the end of the year & what we wanted saved for a down payment for a home.

Life hits hard.

 When I felt like everything was in place & we were on the right track, I got severely sick. Medical bills piled from all angles & we watched our savings account slowly drain as insurance couldn’t even help. It was heartbreaking for both of us to work continuously, budget & see no financial growth.

Moving into the house seemed more like a blessing everyday & letting go of our first place got a little bit easier as Shane & I talked about our future.

 As Shane & I talked, the stress dissolved. There have been so many variables especially over the next couple of years who knows what could happen.

As scary as it all was, I’ve come to realize that this is only the beginning

Bring on new adventures.

“The only thing that remains constant is change”

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Why I Write

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Hello.

I get into these moods that inspire me to write. I probably can’t even count how many drafts I have on my account, I’ll write, then stop, re-write & by the time I want to post it’s definitely too late & by then I’ve already written five other up-to-date posts.

I feel like I’m a lot better at taking pictures & posting those than I am about just writing about things going on.

I usually read other peoples blogs to get inspired, turn on my music & just go for it. Unfortunately, sooner rather than later I’m distracted by something else.

I wanted to drag this post towards why I personally write & post.

Fun fact for you, this is actually my fourth blog. I’ve gone about them in all sorts of different ways but I started this one from scratch. Creating the website itself, & moving it onto Word press.

It started back to my senior year of high school when I took a creative writing class, you had a journal & just wrote. If you wanted to you could share. Just like anyone, high school was a very tricky time for me, finding out who I was & where I fit in. Full of plenty of mixed emotions I wrote down a lot of my feelings, or took those feelings & turned them into stories. I felt like the more I wrote, the better I felt. Not that I ever thought I was any good, it just always just a way for me to get my feelings out. Some of my friends would read my entries, & they’d tell me that I was a good writer. I even had a written entry go into our Rambler (A book that our High school would publish, full of short stories, poems, photographs and such.) It made me feel good that something that came so naturally to me other people liked.

So anyways it’s like my therapy, I love to write. I’ll admit, I don’t have a large vocabulary of words, I’m sure some English majors could look at my entries & find plenty of grammar mistakes or broken rules of writing the English language (that’s a thing I’m pretty sure), but that’s not really what I’ve specialized in so I don’t really care what’s correct or not.

I decided to start this blog at the beginning of this year because I’ve always had the impression of wanting to inspire others, I want people to read my entries and be like WOW, I want to go and try something new. Well, I’ll admit, running a blog or posting a ton of entries in a week is pretty much my weak spot. Like I said, I write these things down but hardly anything makes it to the final draft. So let me apologize for my “inspiring words” not being so inspiring.

I love writing others, over the past couple months, people have reached out to me with their trials. As heart-breaking as some people’s stories are, I love being the one people turn to. I love to listen to peoples stories, how they’ve handled situations or over-came something difficult. That’s all I’ve ever wanted this blog to be & people are inspiring me left & right!

Please don’t stop writing me

**This week: I want you to take 5 minuets (at least) every evening for yourself. To reset & refresh. Find a quiet place without any distractions whatsoever, & focus on your breathing. The trick with this, is not to think at all, to center your mind & to let everything from the day go.**

Love yourself a little more.

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