- Be consistent. Like with a diet where you have to be consistently making good choices about what you eat and consistently getting out and moving your body, blogging success comes when you consistently write and consistently post. People can’t read what you’re not writing.
- Be predictable. I eat a piece of toast, an egg, some fruit, and soy milk pretty much every morning now, because it’s good, fills my belly, and I don’t have to think about it. People like predictability and in order to keep readers coming back, you need to let them know that you’re going to post about tech and fashion on Monday, what people were wearing on Wednesday, and a round-up post on Friday. Even if it is only once a week, they’ll know what to expect.
- Get moving. I’ve found that my writing is much more interesting and enriched when we’re out and about living life, experiencing new things, and meeting people.
- Get social. I have the hardest time getting to the gym by myself. However, when I know I’m meeting my friend for Zumba, you better believe I’m there and I’m on time. Same thing with blogging, I’ve found when I support others and what they’re doing on their blogs, they support me and motivate me to be creative. Hence, this post and Maria!
- Remember, slow and steady wins the race. It’s taken me a while to drop the weight, but I knew if I did some crazy fad diet, I’d gain the weight back. Same thing with blogging, starting over and gaining a following may be slow and steady, but you’ll have loyal readers.
We were trying to be a little sneaky, a little clever about it all.
Apparently all of you are extremely polite and didn’t want to assume anything, because when we posted a picture my sister snapped (@reddparty Instagram) from last weekend, there were all sorts of people that were surprised by the caption about this being a baby shower for us.
(Gorgeous, isn’t it?)
|“Favorites”-themed Baby Girl Shower|
So, yes, we’re expecting a baby girl around December 4, 2014.
We are excited. And freaking out since our due date is right around the corner, but so excited!
Um…sorry for not telling you sooner!
One of the must-dos when in Iceland is the Golden Circle tour.
Flo knew some people who lived in Iceland for about a year and a half, and they gave her a recommendation for a company that could take us on a Golden Circle tour: Gateway to Iceland. Our tour guide for the day and the president of GTI is Gummi.
|Our tour group and Gummi. Gummi is in the center in blue.|
The tour consists of three major stops: Thingvellir, Gulfoss, and the geothermal fields of Haukadalur.
At Thingvellir, we got to see the Viking Parliament. The Parliament is a great wall where the Viking leaders would stand and speak. The reflection of the sound off of the wall allowed for those gathered to hear what was being said. Lee is standing just below the spot where you would stand to speak.
We also got to see Silfra, the place where two continental plates–North American and Eurasian tectonic plates–meet and are drifting apart about 2 cm a year. The water was beautiful and clear.
|Silfra at Thingvellir National Park|
We then headed to Gulfoss, an amazing and popular two-tiered waterfall in the Golden Circle. It was windy and loud and breath-taking.
|Gulfoss in Iceland. Notice the tiny people on the left ledge.|
One of the best parts of this leg of the trip was Lee coming upon a group of Japanese tourists. They were all bundled up with jackets, hats, and gloves to keep warm due to the wind and mist, while Lee was dressed like he usually is: short-sleeved shirt, no jacket, no hat.
An older tourist mimed a question to Lee, rubbing her arms and pointing and asking him why he wasn’t wearing a jacket and if he was cold. Lee mimed back to her that he wasn’t cold and grabbed his belly. All of the tourists laughed and laughed.
|Lee is always hot|
Our last major stop was the geothermal field Haukudalur, where you could see geothermal pools and geysers. In fact the word “geyser” is derived from the Icelandic word “geysa”, which means to gush.
|Strokkur geyser exploding|
|Selfie with one of the clear blue geothermal pools|
Because the Golden Circle tour is a must-do in Iceland, we saw a ton of Asian tourists. I’ll be honest, I LOVED seeing them all, taking pictures and being goofy. I love being Asian!
|Crazy Asian tourists at Strokkur Geyser|
We loved the tour, not only because we got to see Thingvellir, Gulfoss and Strokkur, but because of all the little stops and bits of information that you don’t get along the way if you’re doing it on your own.
Like stopping by Alafoss, where you could buy some famous Icelandic yarn or see the studio where the band Sigur Ros records.
|Sigur Ros’ recording studio – We even got to go inside!|
|Point of interest in Iceland|
|The bubbles indicate boiling water|
- Loved having a personal tour guide who is native and knows the history of Iceland.
- Got some good suggestions on how to navigate in Iceland after the tour.
- We saw some obscure stuff that we wouldn’t have seen without a guide.
- It was fun to meet and interact with fellow travelers. We were lucky to have a pretty good group too.
- They picked you up and dropped you off for the tour.
- At some of the stops we were at, we were at the mercy of how long others wanted to look around and/or shop.
- There are stretches of just driving with not much to see, but you would have that even if you were doing the tour on your own.
|Ogden Temple at night|
This week has been a busy one, getting back into the groove of things after being gone for Youth Conference for a few days. It was good, but we’re definitely glad it’s done and over!
What’s making Lee happy:
- Some awesome poster holders–a little Willy Wonka-esque.
- We went to the Ben Folds concert last night with some great friends. It was a wonderful time. Also, Ben Folds and the Utah Symphony are so talented–he created this there on stage and this was the final product (there is some language, so beware!).
What’s making Winter happy:
- We went again to the Ogden Temple Open House with some friends from our neighborhood. I’m so grateful for friends and temples.
- This sculpture of Christopher Reeves is crazy life-like.
- This could be life changing.
- I’m totally in love with this song and Cat Power’s voice.
- A friend of ours encouraged Lee to do this when she found out we were expecting. Ha ha!
|Happy biking girls after Little Red Bike Ride|
One day for training, I decided to ride up from our apartment in Bountiful to the University of Utah. The trip is about 8 miles up hill, but thankfully there are bike lanes most of the way.
As I sped along the bike lane, I noticed something a little odd painted on the road.
|99% Invisible podcast|
You wouldn’t think it, but there is so much design that goes into these symbols. They need to be simple, universal, and be able to convey a message.
I am used to seeing this type of pavement symbol in the bike lane: a nondescript dude on a bike. (This one actually looks a little weird because the head looks a little like one of those alien skulls from Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.)
|A typical bike lane pavement marking: bike dude|
But then on another section of bike lane, I saw this marking: a nondescript dude on a bike, but he’s wearing a helmet!
|Bike lane dude with helmet|
Kudos Salt Lake City for encouraging bikers to wear helmets! I’ve crashed enough times on a bike and thankfully been wearing a helmet, that I think that we all should be wearing helmets while biking, even though it makes my head look like an orange on a toothpick (name the movie!).
But on my way home, I noticed something odd about the bike lane dude:
|North Salt Lake’s bike lane dude|
Bike lane dude looks like he’s wearing one of those Chinese rice paddy hats!
First of all, as an Asian person, I feel extremely welcome biking in North Salt Lake. I’ve got my own bike lane!
Second of all, despite feeling welcome in NSL, I don’t think one of those straw hats will protect your noggin in a crash.
Just saying, keep wearing your helmet.
|Ready to go on another ride|
Happy biking, friends!
|Bear Lake, Idaho|
We did a service project, played in the lake, went to the Minnetonka Caves, floated the Snake River, and had some great firesides. It was packed and fun.
|Putting together chemotherapy kits|
|Getting ready to shove off on the Snake River|
The last thing we planned was to attend the Ogden Temple Open House on Saturday around noon, so we packed up camp and started up Logan Canyon.
Unfortunately, we got to the top of the hill and were turned around by a couple of state troopers. A terrible accident had happened down the road and would be closed for a couple of hours. So we reversed course–we were now behind about a half an hour.
We made a decision to go to Ogden via Evanston. We were making pretty good time, well that is, until the tire on the scout trailer hauling on the gear blows out about halfway there. Really?!? Hiccup #2 has put us behind another half an hour.
|That is one shredded tire!|
The awesome family hauling the trailer volunteered to repair the tire in Evanston, so the rest of the group could try to make it to the open house.
So our last route option was through Ogden Canyon. We were doing pretty good, until we hit hiccup #3, road construction, where a mile-stretch of the road was narrowed to one lane. We sat waiting for about 15 to 20 minutes for our turn–we had time to hand out treats to all the kids and have a quick dance party while we were parked. It was kind of getting humorous now!
|Lee handed out Rice Krispie treats to everyone|
As you can imagine, we were late. Like really late.
We had prayed before we left. We prayed when the tire blew. And we prayed as we were coming down Ogden Canyon that we would be let into the open house.
|Our goal is finally in sight–the Ogden Temple|
Thankfully, our prayers were answered and we were greeted by a super nice volunteer who let us in, saying our reservation was “close enough” even though we were over an hour and a half late! Wahoo!
It was a relief to finally be there and also to be in such a reverent and beautiful place. The newly renovated Ogden Temple was breath-taking. I loved the art, the intricate chandeliers, and the etched glass dome in the Celestial Room. It was a wonderful ending youth conference experience for our small group of tired, bedraggled youth!
|After the Ogden Temple House|
We believe that these temples are the house of God and that they are sacred once they are dedicated. We make covenants with God within these temples and are so grateful for this relationship we have with God.
As Lee and I reflected on what had happened en route to the temple, we were reminded of how much Satan wants to keep us away from God. I’m grateful we persisted and didn’t get discouraged despite all the roadblocks that were in our way.
The question is: can you pick up what we’re putting down?
Sunday, April 6: Birthday celebration! Hanging out with the family for General Conference and birthday time.
|Light the candles!|
Monday, April 7: Waiting for the bus on a bright sunny day. These are my favorite red shoes.
|Red shoes are the best|
Tuesday, April 8: Oh man, I love how sunny it’s been lately. You can’t even know how much it makes a difference.
Wednesday, April 9: Driving to work together. I love this time together every morning. It’s filled with funny talk, the billygoat game, and selfies.
Thursday, April 10: Someone was nice enough to warn me and my fellow bus riders about a damp seat. People are so nice!
|Don’t sit here!|
Friday, April 11: The tulips are appearing! Happy!
Saturday, April 12: I spent some time in the afternoon just hanging out in the garden. Double happy!
|Happiness = tulips|
We hope you have a great upcoming week, friends!
- 1 c of hard red wheat (don’t use dry pack wheat–it won’t sprout)
- Paper towels
- Paper plates
- Spray bottle
- Cute Easter tins or baskets
1. Pour the wheat kernels into a Mason jar and fill with water; soak for 24 hours. They will start to sprout a little.
|Soaking wheat kernels|
2. Depending on what you want to decorate, cut a couple of shapes to fit your baskets or tins. I found some round Easter tins at the dollar store, so I cut out a few circles out of paper towels and laid them out on a paper plate. You’ll need a couple of pieces for the bottom and a couple pieces on top.
|Paper plate + paper towels|
3. Spritz the bottom paper towels with water. Spread some seeds on the paper towels, then place a second layer of paper towels on top and spritz well. For the next 48 hours, spritz the paper towels several times a day, trying not to let the paper towels go dry.
|Spread the wheat|
4. Transfer the plate to a sunny spot, keeping the paper towel on top still and spritzing a couple times a day. You will begin to see some sprouts!
5. Once you see green, then you can remove the top paper towel. Keep growing and spritzing till you get the length you want. The roots will have intertwined themselves into the bottom paper towel and you should be able to move easily.
6. Place the grass in your Easter tin and decorate with Easter eggs and cute fuzzy chicks.
You will die from cuteness overload. And you can trim the wheat grass later and blend it in a smoothie. It’s a two-fer!
Sunday, March 30: Our first tulip! Thank goodness that tulips are pretty hardy even in crazy spring snowstorms! This tulip perked right up after the snow melted.
|Spring in Utah|
Monday, March 31: Selfie! Just hanging out before calling it a day.
Tuesday, April 1: I checked my weather app this morning and it said it was going to 82 degrees and sunny! I was so excited that I wore a skirt with no leggings. As I gathered to leave, I realized it was NOT going to be 82 and sunny that day. It was not till later when I realized the weather app was set to show me the weather for Orlando, Florida.
My iPad played an April Fool’s joke on me. Ha ha! Oh well!
|Fooled me, iPad!|
Wednesday, April 2: Oh the sky was gorgeous today!
|Pretty Utah clouds|
Thursday, April 3: I took another Illustrator class and we were asked to make a fake website. Of course, I made a fake website about goats. Maybe I should make a real website about goats because we love goats…
|Ha ha! Goats!|
Friday, April 4: We were fascinated by this car and we were trying to figure out how this damage occurred. Lee thinks the corner of a semi backed into the car. I think a huge bolder smashed into the side of it. What do you think happened?
Saturday, April 5: This weekend is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints General Conference. I love General Conference! And because we’re usually hanging out at home watching each session, there is a lot of cooking during conference weekend. I made a roasted cauliflower soup with smoked bacon. Yum!
|Cauliflower soup! Yum!|
Anyway, we hope you have a fine upcoming week!