Fall is possibly my favorite season and I ALWAYS go home to Utah to see the colors. However, this year our schedule was already full, which meant it would be hard to get to Utah.  So… while we were in Arizona visiting Brad’s parents, we decided to drive up to Flagstaff to check out the fall colors; they were incredible!!! Growing up in Boston and Utah made my expectations pretty high when it comes to fall colors, but Flagstaff really blew me away!

Big thanks to my husband and in-laws, Ed and Leslie, for the awesome weekend!!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

img_7350img_7184

img_7137

img_7232

img_7238

img_7306

img_7255

img_7342

img_7264

img_7259

img_7253

img_7247

img_7209

img_7287

img_7268

img_7270

img_7304

img_7199

img_7275

img_7205

img_7263

img_7272

img_7280

img_7240

Follow:

img_7876-1-2You could say I am a (recovering) perfectionist.  I want a perfect house, family, job, lifestyle, husband (which I am lucky to have). I want to be the perfect friend, sister, future mother, daughter, wife, visiting teacher, and church member. My thought process is, if I can be perfect at all the things I think are important, my husband, family, friends and everyone around me will be more happy. I think being perfect will some how refine me and make me a better person, always lining me up with the perfect service opportunities, which will help and make me more Christ like- which is the goal right? It is exhausting trying to obtain perfection and right when you think you have conquered a tiny bit of it, the perfectionist check list grows. 

Brad and I were talking a few weeks ago about self-esteem and where we think ours comes from. We wrote down on a piece of paper all of our life accomplishments, things we have done, and things we do that build up our self-esteem. After we were done we categorized these into three categories: “being,” “having,” and “doing.”

The “being” category holds areas of our self-esteem which reflect who we are, particularly at our core.  The “having” category holds the self-esteem that comes from having something. It could be having the perfect figure, having the perfect family, job, Instagram profile, lifestyle, GPA, or anything else. The “doing” category holds the self-esteem we get from accomplishing something. For example, we might feel good about giving a great talk on Sunday, or teaching a captivating lesson, or planning the perfect service project, completing an MBA or a doing well in a hard class. 

As we talked, we asked each other which category is the most important. We decided that “being” is the most important.

“Having” and “doing” are great and everyone gets self-esteem from these categories, which is not a bad thing. But here’s the kicker – when we were done making our lists, we realized that our “being” lists were significantly smaller than the other two. So if you were to take away all of our accomplishments and the things we have, our self-esteem would be kind of stagnant and pretty weak. 

Brad and I agreed that naturally it is so much easier to measure, see, and build your self-esteem from the “having” and the “doing.” Perhaps this is why we tend to focus most of our efforts on these categories. However, who we are at the core and what lies in our hearts is the category that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ care about.  When our life is done, what will we be judged on? According to the scriptures, we will be judged on our hearts and who we have become, which is the “being” category.

I think the adversary plays a trick on us, telling us that what we have and what we do is more important than who we are. Part of his trick is giving us a truth and a lie together. The truth is, it is great to plan a service project or get an “A” in biology; these are wonderful things that should be recognized and do make us feel good. The lie is, that these things make up who we are and without them we are nothing. 

I feel like we live in a day that is hyper focused on the “doing” and “having” categories. With social media and the internet, these categories are spread and positively re-enforced by almost everyone we know and many people we don’t. This can leave us feeling like our self-worth and self-esteem depends on feedback from others or personal satisfaction from having or accomplishing something or another. This is Satan’s biggest, most cunning, most deceitful lie and it is wrapped and packaged perfectly in a Rifle Paper Co. box, accompanied with a perfect piece of stationary.

I encourage all of our friends and family to make this list and really ponder where our self-esteem is drawn from. If you are like Brad and me, and find yourself having much longer “having” and “doing” lists than “being,” evaluating your “being” list and putting extra focus there will build you up faster and more than any fancy car, perfect lesson, or number of Instagram likes, because who you are as a person will always trump what you have and what you have done in Heavenly father and our Savior’s eyes.  

Follow:

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween, dressing up and Mary Poppins so I was really excited for this years costumes.  A lot of the stuff we already had at home, then we bought Brad’s whole outfit from Goodwill and I made his chimney sweep with a black broom, black spray paint, styrofoam ball half and a hot glue gun.

For my outfit, I already had the skirt, tights, purse and shoes. I found a top similar to Mary Poppins’ at ZARA, and got the bow tie, umbrella and plain black hat from Amazon- then I hot glued the daisies and berries on the hat! After we were all dressed, I was pretty surprised how well they turned out. We even won some movie tickets from our church’s halloween party!

img_7828img_7843img_7819img_7866img_3469img_3476

Follow:

Marrakech, Morocco!!

The second we landed in Morocco, Brad and I both said to each other, “this is my kind of travel.” We could tell the culture was totally different than anything we are used to at all. We stayed in a Riad in the middle of the old town, which is inside the city walls. Our driver told us inside the walls, you experience the “real Morocco.”  In there, cars are rarely spotted, but are replaced by donkeys pulling carts, there are no large stores, only small markets, and it was very hard to find a shop that sold cold water bottles – that was a struggle for me lol.

Highlights of the city, for me, were the amazing tiles and and beautifully designed mosques. Also, all the doors here are stunning! Brad will tell more about the details of places we stayed and things we did at the end of the post!

 

img_5373

This is at the Bahia Palace!

img_5319

img_5312

img_5355

img_5339

img_5325

img_5352

img_5299

img_5303

img_2500

img_5309

The Bahia Palace is huge! All the photos so far have been from there, including this one.

img_5385

We took a tour to the Atlas Mountains and a Berber village – it was a small village on the side of the mountain!

img_5377

If you ever need a good rug for a great price, go to Morocco! They have thousands of them 🙂

img_5388

img_5411

We went to a Berber village on the skirts of the Atlas Mountains and learned how to make Moroccan Oil. That’s right ladies, that stuff you by for 60 a bottle!

img_5428

img_5434

img_5440

img_5452

Atlas Mountains! What we thought was a little hike turned into an 6 mile hike, which we did in flip flops and Sperrys!

img_5454

DCIM100GOPROG1220683.

img_5473

I went chasing waterfalls.. but only for the guy underneath it!

img_5505

img_5530

img_5887

This was our Riad, which is a traditional Moroccan hotel. They all have these pools in the center for cooling off!

img_1045

img_2565

Hot air balloon over the desert!!!

img_1050

img_5624

img_5639

img_5669

img_5693

img_5659

img_5705

img_5751-2

Jardin Majorelle gardens which are outside the city walls!

img_5772

Amazing doors!!

img_5756

img_5739

img_1107

img_5724

Koutoubia Mosque!

img_5872

After walking 30+ miles in my J. Crew flip flops I finally got a nasty blister on one foot! Since we still had a lot to see and were not close to our riad, Brad switched me shoes for the time being lol!!

img_5730

img_5780

img_5869

This is at the La Mamounia hotel which is an amazing 5 star hotel in Marrkech! We didn’t stay here, but did go visit!

img_5865

img_5856

img_5861

img_5821

I could live in this room!!

img_5945

These are the Souks which are the small markets.

img_5919

img_6010

img_5980

img_6019

img_6031

Tiny baby turtles!!

img_6035

These are all in Jemaa el-Fnaa, which is the name of the square!

img_1099

img_6086

img_6065

img_2667

img_6090

img_6097

Museum of Marrakech

img_6104

img_2668

img_2680

 

Brad’s Take

Marrakech is awesome! We loved it! If you go visit, here are a few tips:

  1. Download the Marrakech Riads app — it has a list of things to see, recommended day trips, and, most importantly, a map that updates on iPhones even if you’re on airplane mode! It’s tricky to find your way around the walled city, so this is super helpful!
  2. Stay within the walled city! That’s the “real Morocco” and is what you want to experience! It’s pretty crazy in there, so be prepared!
  3. Watch out for scammers — people will try to rip you off all the time there. Most people are nice, but if anyone wants to give you directions, just tell them “no” and walk away. They will try to charge you for it. Also, make sure to have taxi drivers use their meters. They will try to rip you off also! But if you go into bargaining / transactions with skepticism, you’ll do just fine!
  4. Drink some fresh orange juice! Marrakech is famous for that and it’s really good! The local food is also really delicious. It’s unlike anything else we’ve ever had and is really great.
  5. The airport is tiny and the city really isn’t that big. It’s really easy to get from the airport to wherever via taxi, and, as long as you make sure they use the meter, it’s really, really cheap. This is definitely a great place to go on a budget! All the museums are like $2-3 a person, meals are similarly cheaply priced, and taxis will cost you like $2 for a ride that would cost $20 in the US or Europe. Riads are also pretty cheap too. Enjoy!!!!!
Follow:

As a child I dreamed of going to Barcelona because my dad traveled there a ton for business and it was his favorite city in the world. He would would being home fun gifts and show us pictures of all the cool buildings and architecture. So when Brad told me Barcelona was a city we could get to with points, I jumped for joy! We loved it there. I am a big fan of ALL of Antoni Gaudí’s work, and I especially love his use of natural light in his buildings. I try to keep our home in San Diego as bright as possible and love having our windows open at all times. So I really loved the creativity he used to bring light into his buildings; most of the cool buildings from these photos are his.

Our travel details for Barcelona are at the end of the post!

img_4917

Casa Milà, one of Gaudi’s buildings!

img_4909-2

img_4945

img_4948

img_4915

img_4946

img_4993

Casa Batllo, another of his buildings!

img_5043

We took a really cool tour through Gaudí’s Casa Batlló. They gave us tablets that combined augmented reality and virtual components so we could be in a room and then look at the tablet and see what the room looked like when it was fully furnished. It was really cool!!

img_5022

img_4979

img_4997

Isn’t this a crazy cool building??

img_5052

img_5068

img_5008

img_5029

img_4951

img_5047

I love all the natural light!!

img_5073

And more gelato! The best part about going on vacation is the guilt free ice cream 🙂

img_5094

Sagrada Família is Roman Catholic church that as been under construction for 134 years!!! Gaudi is the mastermind behind it, of course!

img_5102

I couldn’t not believe my eyes once inside. It is unlike any building, church, or place I have ever been too! It really was super amazing and mind blowing! Pictures just cannot do this building justice.

img_2421

Brad and I realized the whole church is like a giant tree. There are carved leaves all around it and near the top of the building there are these baskets of fruit, oranges, beans, wheat, strawberries, and grapes. Pretty neat!

img_5165

Park Güell is a park that Gaudi helped design. It is full of gardens and beautiful architecture. It is on Carmel Hill!

img_5150

Park Güell

img_2412-2

img_5139

img_5282

This is in the Gothic Quarter of the City!!

img_5166

img_2481

I am a bit of a macaroon lover so when i saw there was a macaroon ice cream sandwich, I was all on it!! It was amazing! Someone in San Diego needs to opened up a shop selling these because they are amazing, and would kill it here!!

img_3003

Madrid’s airport might be my favorite in the world! Those green pillars are all different colors of the rainbow lol!!

img_6227

This is the Caixa Forum Madrid, which is a museum. I told Brad that if for some reason we live in a city when we are older and can’t have a yard, I’ll take this on the side of the building instead 😉

img_6245

Brad and a little metal man

img_1157

Caixa Forum’s stairs were a wonder themselves!

img_6222

When I went to South Africa 7 years ago, I tried this Dannon cereal flavored yogurt and fell in love with it. You have to try it! Every time I travel, I look for this flavor. Every country I have been to has had it except for…. The United States!! It this craziest thing! So if you know where to get it, let me know 🙂

img_6307

Madrid LDS temple!

img_2972

img_6258
img_6337
img_6347
img_6350img_6362

 

Brad’s Take

Spain is a place I would love to go again. These are very different cities and I’m happy we got a flavor of two different parts of Spain while there!

Barcelona Tips:

If you’re going to Barcelona, you have to see Gaudi. Make sure to go visit La Sagrada Familia; it’s a masterpiece and unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. Whether you like his style or not, Gaudi was an absolute genius. One heads up for this: while the other parts of our trip were budget friendly, Barcelona architectural tours were not. So make sure to budget for that before hand!

While in Barcelona, we stayed near La Rambla, which I would recommend to anyone. It’s a very central location to most everything you’ll want to see and has a lot going on (thanks Caitlin)! We stayed at an Airbnb. I would definitely recommend staying in that area and would definitely recommend an Airbnb, because that’s a lot cheaper than a hotel. It’s pretty easy to get around Barcelona on public transit, though we mostly walked. There’s an airport bus that takes you to and from La Rambla that is super easy and costs ~1 Euro.

Madrid Tips:

There’s a lot to see in Madrid! Including a lot of cool museums. You can get into the Prado museum for free late in the day, but watch out, there can be a long line!

One thing that we luckily stumbled upon was the best gathering of street performers I’ve ever seen. There’s a plaza near Plaza Mayor in Madrid called Puerta del Sol that gets packed at night. We were there for two hours watching dancers, roller bladers, and other entertainers putting on great shows. I got suckered into being a prop for the roller bladers and got jumped over by them while laying next to six other poor unfortunate souls. It was a little scary, haha.

One final Spain tip:

If you’re ever in Spain, make sure to get tapas! Get the papas fritas with the spicy sauce and the bacon wrapped dates. They are really tasty! (thanks to our friend Randilyn!)

Follow: