Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Two Great Things

I'm giving this blogging thing another go. As many of you know, I am a health and fitness blogger/copywriter, so blogging comes easy to me. But, when it comes to my personal blog, I lack the motivation to sit down and document my life.

A lot has changed since I last blogged back in October 2011. (ha! that was almost a year ago. NBD) I was living in London, England at the time and we have since come home to Utah. My amazing, genius husband graduated with his Bachelor's Degree in August and then jumped right into the MACC program and graduated in May with a Master's Degree in Accountancy.

This spring we had to make one of the hardest decisions ever presented to us as a married couple. Christian received and happily accepted a job offer from Deloitte in London. We were thrilled to return to that great city. We love to travel and I could hardly wait to get back to my "lovely" life in London. Our bucket list of places to visit quadrupled after we decided to return to London. We spent the last eight months or so planning and preparing to get back over the pond. However, as it came closer to the time that Deloitte was going to start processing visa's, paperwork, actually packing for the move, etc. We both felt a little uneasy about it. The reality of what life was going to be like over there started to sink in and we had to really contemplate whether or not this was something that was RIGHT for us at this time in our lives.

Sidenote: Just a little about Christian and myself--we are both travel junkies, love adventure, easy-going, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of people. So a move to London seemed easy! We of course were sad to say goodbye to friends and family, but we knew they'd come visit and we would come home at least once a year.

But, there was still a little something nagging at us. Christian was excited to be in London, but the reality of it was that he wouldn't be in London he would be in the Deloitte office doing excel spreadsheets for 12+ hours a day and commuting at least an hour or more to and from work. There is nothing wrong with working long, hard hours. But, when your quality of life, marriage, hobbies, freedom and ability to breath is compromised--that is not living. [a little dramatic, I know, but that is kind of how the reality felt to us.]

Anyways, long story short, we have decided to stay in Utah. I think we are crazy for making the decision we did, but I also can't deny how right it feels to stay. Christian received another wonderful job offer and has enjoyed working in his new office. We feel so blessed to be where we are and know that we are where we need to be at this time. We feel so blessed to be so close to our dear families and friends! We feel so lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world (I feel justified in saying that, because we really have seen quite a bit of the world.) And who knows, maybe we'll end up living in London again? We know we will certainly be traveling there as much as our wallets allow.

Monday, 17 October 2011

a tiny update on the ivins'

I can't believe we are already halfway through the month of October! Time goes by way too fast! I guess my last post was a quick recap on our European adventures. [I still have yet to post the pictures that I wanted to...]
We had a wonderful summer and have had a wonderful autumn so far as well! We have enjoyed many memorable times with family and friends.

Here is a tiny update on my dear husband.

-Christian graduated from USU with his bachelor's degree in Accounting! Wahoo!! [He spent his entire summer up on campus going to school and then studying every other hour in between classes... I had moments when I felt that I saw him less here than I did in London... for those that know the hours of accountants during busy season you will know how little you actually see them.]
-Christian started the Master's of Accountancy (MAC) program at USU this fall and will graduate in May 2012. He is an exceptional student and works so hard!
-Christian has been playing on just about every intramural team the school has available. He just started his basketball season and I will be joining him for the futsal season.
-He is still the biggest BYU football fan I know. We have been to a handful of their games this year and he has loved every minute there (except for that sad, embarassing, humiliating, pitiful loss against Utah).
-He has visited the golf course as much as his wife, watch and wallet would allow. He felt that since he could only golf once while in the UK he needed to make up for lost time by going as much as possible. (I think he failed to remember that Utah was covered in snow until May... so he couldn't have been golfing anyways? haha.) I always say how lucky he is that I was raised by a dad that shares the same love for the golf course--otherwise, our marriage would have a big wedge in it due to his love for golf.

As for my life... here is a tiny update on me:

-I had an extra month of relaxing upon arriving back in the states. I wish I hadn't been so consumed with finding a job and that I would have taken better advantage of my final free month.
-With a bit of hunting--I found the most perfect job! I work for Icon Health and Fitness (the mother company of NordicTrack, FreeMotion, ProForm and about 8 other fitness brands). I feel so happy and so blessed to work there. I am a health and fitness blogger for NordicTrack and will occassionally write copy for the web. For the most part though, my focus is on social media marketing. [You can check the blog out here.]
-This summer I overcame a big fear and started taking ballet classes again! I had plans to start this in London, but after my first moment at the infamous Pineapple Dance Studio I felt very incapable--I walked out and sadly never went back. [I will take classes there one day.]
-I have tried to increase my cooking skills since returning home. In London I had one frying pan, two pots, one big spoon... oh, and my sweet mom sent over some measuring cups. Oh and I guess I bought one crappy hand-held blender, a tiny cookie sheet and a cheap roasting pan. I had very little to help me in the kitchen. Trying to convert the measurements was a bit tough too. So, needless to say, I was so excited to come home and use all of my nice kitchen gadgets! (After typing that, I have no idea how I made anything in London, but surprisingly I did cook quite a bit over there! Shocking what you can do with so little.)
-I have certainly appreciated every moment with family and friends since returning home! I have appreciated having a car. I have loved living "in" the mountains. I have enjoyed the different weather that comes with each season. I miss many things from London. But, I certainly feel that since being home I have a greater love and appreciation for the things we have here. They are small things, but I notice them so much more now.

Until next time, xoxo.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

We are Back...[Three Months Later]

Well, I have now hit my four week... it is now our THREE MONTH mark since returning to American soil. [This post was written that long ago and I finally thought I'd update on here...] I guess I am finally ready to talk about the fact that I had to leave my lovely life in London. It feels like my life in London was a dream. I'd love to share a bit of what happened during our final days in Europe.

 I don't quite know where to begin. We had a joyful reunion with the Jensen family while still on the other side of the pond and had the opportunity to travel with my entire family for two weeks. We spent a few days in London going to museums, walking the river, taking the boat and bus tours, visiting Greenwich, we saw Wicked and much, much more. After our time in London, we rented two cars to carry all 8 of us up to northern England. We stopped at Cambridge along the way and barely missed the Queen. We spent a few days up north in the York and Bradford areas. We got to go to the beautiful Preston temple. We got to meet three of my grandma Jensen's siblings. Two of the three had never been to America and the rest of us had never been to northern England--so we finally got to meet! It was so neat to see where my grandma Jensen had lived prior to coming to America. Since we were not in London on April 29th, the day of the Royal Wedding and my dad's birthday, we watched the Royal Wedding with my great aunts from the good ol' tele like everyone else (I was just fine with this. I did not want to camp out in the cold, wet rain for three nights just to see the royal couple speed past for 3 seconds). I was in awe at how beautiful and elegant everything was--especially Kate! I am not ashamed to say that I had... excuse me, HAVE joined the rest of the world in the obsession with this prim, proper, royal couple! (Kate and I both choose to grocery shop at Waitrose--I think we are meant to be friends).

From Leeds we all flew to Pisa, Italy. We of course saw the leaning tower of Pisa and then drove to Portovenere, a beautiful coastal town. We stayed in a grande hotel just 10 steps away from the Mediteranean water. We attended church in La Spezia and got to meet some amazing people. I loved every minute listening and watching Christian translate for us. He blends right in with those beautiful people. I couldn't believe it! We then took a train to Cinque Terre and saw the COLORFUL coastal buildings along the water. From Cinque Terre we drove to Florence and saw the Duomo and the statue of David. After our time in Florence we went to Rome and truly got to take in most of what that great city has to offer. We went to the Colosseum, Vatican City, the Spanish steps, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, etc. We were in Vatican City the day after Pope John Paul II was made a saint, so things were still set up to accomadate the crowds. It was neat to see all of the banners and posters put up in celebration of the beatification. We had a guided tour of Vatican City and got to see so many wonderful things, but my very favorite thing that we saw was the Sistine Chapel. It truly is the most amazing thing I have ever seen.

After our time in Rome came to an end Christian and I headed off to Milan and then to Kos, a small Greek island. My parents, Rachel and Taylor went to France while Megan and Dave went to Portugal. It was so wonderful to see so many amazing things with my family! We feel so blessed that we got to have the opportunity to travel with them. Many thanks to mom and dad for planning and making this trip happen!

Christian and I arrived in Bergamo, Italy, early in the morning with an open day ahead of us. After picking up our Smart Car we headed up to Lake Como. I have had the opportunity to do a bit of traveling and see quite a few things in my 24 years of life, but I don't think I have seen anything quite like Lake Como! Words can't even express the beauty that this place holds. I can hardly wait to go back there. Unfortunately, we could only spend a day there and then we set off for Kos. We traded the alps and a beautiful mountain lake for the beach and breath-taking blue water. We stayed at an all-inclusive 5 star hotel, I learned that this is the only way to travel! We got a great deal on the hotel and didn't have to stress about chasing food because it was all provided. We rented a scooter one day and toured around the town. Another day we took a boat over to Turkey and spent the day in Bodrum. Then we spent the last few days lounging by the beautiful pool and relaxing. We had five days in paradise and got to celebrate our ONE year anniversary in Europe.

After our holiday in Greece we returned to London where we got to spend a few more days with our dear friends as well as some last-minute shopping! We strolled through Notting Hill, Hyde Park, Covent Garden, and a few of our favorite areas before coming back to Utah.

I miss everything over there so much!! However, there really is no place like home! We have the greatest family and friends here in Utah and are so happy to be back with them! We have loved our summer in Utah and have filled it with boating, barbeque's, cabin trips, road trips, etc. We miss London and all that we created there, but it is good to be home. AND I know we will go back.

I am forever grateful for the experiences we had and will cherish those memories forever. I never thought I would be living in Europe within my first year of marriage, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in this world! It was the perfect opportunity to grow together with Christian and as an individual. There is a wonderful world out there and I am so excited for our next adventure! 
[Pictures will come in a later post]

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


I am packing... once again.
We won't leave for America until mid-May, but we have to store most of our things at our friend's house while we travel. 
I am certainly one of the slowest packers ever because I like to slowly go through old memories as I put things away and reminisce as I read journal entries, flip through collected brochures, sort loose papers, etc.
I am just slow.
As I started packing the books I brought over to London I picked up one of my favorites.
It is called "She...", it was a gift from my dear friend Chelsea Lynn. She gave this book to me a few nights before Christian and I left for England. Every time I read it I think of her and the person I want to be. 
This book describes a determined, passionate, loving, curious, accepting, positive, strong, faithful woman. And those are characteristics I want to have.   
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

She crossed borders 
recklessly, refusing to recognize limits, 
saying 'bonjour' and 'buon giorno' as though she owned both France and Italy
and the day itself.
Celebrate her joie de vivre.

She designed a life she LOVED.
Celebrate her Joy.

She decided to start living the life she'd imagined.
Celebrate her Freedom.

She turned her can'ts into cans,
and her dreams
into plans.
Celebrate her Goals.

She saw every ending as a new beginning.
Celebrate her Resiliency.

She colored her thoughts
with only the brightest hues.
Celebrate her Optimism.

She remained true to herself.
Celebrate her Authenticity.

She realized that she was missing
a great deal
by being sensible.
Celebrate her Spirit. 

Many thanks to Chelsea for passing along such an inspiring and wonderful book. You are the greatest!

3rd Stop... Marrakesh!

From Geneva we jetted over to Africa! We went to Marrakesh, Morocco. It was literally a whole new world in Morocco! Here's a list of my "tops":
1- Paradise by the pool!! We arrived in Marrakesh around 7:30 a.m. and by the time we got settled at our hotel it was close to 9:30 a.m. I am sure you can guess what 5 girls did immediately upon arrival... jumped in our swimsuits and headed to the pool! 
2- Luxurious life with amazing service. I don't think I have ever experienced the life I did while in Marrakesh. We spent a lot of our time lounging at the pool and with that came the poolside service... which I can't even begin to express how attentive they were.
3- Crazy cab drivers and infinite mopeds... everywhere! I will never forget my initial worry as we crammed 5 of us into our first cab ride from the airport. I feared not only for my life, but for every other person on the road. They had ZERO organization on the roads there. People curve all over the roads, mopeds zip past barely making the cut in front of the next car. I don't think anyone could pay me enough money to be willing to drive anything in Morocco.
4- Bargain... bargain... and bargain some more. We would bargain for everything we bought. After each purchase I would calculate what the "saved" amount was into American dollars and it was always a SMALL sum. I just had to laugh that I had bargained something that was 60 dirham down to 40 dirham... a difference of about $2.
5- The Square. Our first night we went out to "The Square". Words can't even describe how chaotic and crazy it was. We had people coming at us from all angles with henna, monkeys, snakes, etc. all trying to sell something to us. That first night a man with a monkey grabbed Chelsea's wrist trying to make her hold it and I about LOST it! I was a bit terrified at first but then we just learned if you don't want what they are selling don't talk to them or else they will pursue you to no end.
6- Endless Market. The main market in the Square was a never-ending maze, or so it seemed. It was crazy to go in shop after shop checking out all of the Moroccan treasures. We loved the piles of various spices, loads of Moroccan shoes, jewelry, platters, lamps, vases, rugs, etc. It is a shame that we only had our backpacks to carry our purchases back home.
7- Summer sun and high heat! I LOVED the flawless weather we had while in Marrakesh! The sun was always out and the temperatures were always around mid-80's. We walked around the markets and dirt roads for quite some time and loved every minute soaking up the sun.
8- I rode a CAMEL!!! Yes, we rode camel's in the dessert. Camel's truly are amazing animals. Our guide just let them walk in a line and if the leader went astray all he had to was verbally direct it and it would listen. I was amazed. We also had a little baby camel tagging along because it's mother was in the line up... sometimes the baby would run off from the group and if we got too far ahead of the baby, the mom camel would just start yelling/making camel noises and then the baby would come running back to the group. If you ever get the chance to ride a camel, don't miss it! It was one of my most memorable experiences.
9- Arabian Nights. We went to a legit Arabian nights dinner! We went to a restaurant called the Jad Mahal. The atmosphere was amazing! Half-way through our meal the music was turned up really loud and then all of these women came out dancing with silver platters on top of their heads with lit candles and they were dancing all over! Shortly after the fire dancers, came the belly dancers! We all wanted to take belly dancing classes after seeing them dance. It was quite the experience.
10- Airport Strike. We arrived at the airport to find 100's of people lined up everywhere. As we were trying to find our airline counter the crowd starting chanting and singing... we had no idea what was going on. Soon after the celebrations we found out that there was a strike at the airport and no one had been working for the previous 6 hours. That meant no planes had left for a few hours pushing our flight back 3 hours, no big deal. We still found ways to entertain ourselves and enjoy our last few hours in Morocco though. Emily had to hide here purse due to the strict Ryan Air rules... so she went for the "prego" look. hahaha. It looked so real and gave all of us a good laugh! All I can say is, I am SO proud and grateful to be an American! 
Here are a few extra pics from the trip:
Lunch by the pool.
In front of the mosque. 
Leaving the market after a long day of bargaining.
Shopping... one of our talents.
The Mosque.
After our dinner at the Jad Mahal.
The amazing ricotta chocolate cheesecake. Emily is sad because she didn't eat any of it due to her no sweets restricitions... this is a self-imposed restriction. I am proud of her for being so healthy!
Le Meridian Hotel.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

2nd Stop... Geneva

After a few lovely days in Paris we jumped on another train and headed to Swissland.
I will share my top ten things from Geneva...
1- Seeing Chelsea's life... I got to see where one of my best and dearest friends lived and worked.
2- We had the privilege of staying with a wonderful family right in the heart of the city. They were so welcoming and wonderful!
3- Meeting the darling kids! I loved every single minute with those kiddos. If you can't tell, I love kids and I have missed my nieces and nephews so much since being in London. It was just fun to be around darling and energetic kids again.
4- Geneva is a beautiful city with a much quieter atmosphere than Paris or London, which we thoroughly enjoyed after our busy days in Paris.
5- Lake Geneva is amazing! The apartment we stayed in was about 5 minutes from the lake. I love being near water!
6- We had evening workouts along the lake. Our workouts included a run around the lake, lunges, steps and dips. It was the most enjoyable workout that I've had in a long time... hello, working out in a beautiful setting with 4 of your besties! It was a cake walk working out in those circumstances.
7- I had my very first experience eating fondue while in Geneva. It was at a quaint little restaurant set at the top of a hill in the city center. I couldn't have asked for a better setting to try my first fondue!
8- I loved seeing the Jet d'Eau, this is the infamous water fountain that is set in the lake and shoots nearly 500 feet in the air.
9- We got to spend a few afternoons at the botanical garden and other neighboring parks. They were absolutely beautiful! The parks in Europe are definitely one of my favorite things about this part of the world... they are always huge and so elaborate!

10- Last but not least- the CHOCOLATE. It was everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE! The chocolate section at the grocery store was so big and AMAZING. I found my new favorite treat, Ferrero Raffaello. This amazing creation consists of white chocolate, almonds and coconut. They are heavenly! I just looked online and it looks like they are available at Walgreen's... so if someone in America stumbles upon these, please let me know. 

Monday, 18 April 2011

1st Stop... Paris!

Three of my best friends arrived in London on March 25th. It was the beginning of an amazing adventure! We went to many different places and saw so much that I don't even know where to begin as I want to share the adventures we had.
 I will begin with our first stop, 
1- The Eiffel Tower: This landmark is just as amazing as I had imagined it to be. Day or night it was quite the sight to see. I will never forget the first moment I saw it... we rounded the corner from the tube station and there it was brilliantly lit up in the dark sky. I screamed I was so excited to see it! Then the "sparkle" came on about 20 minutes after arriving there and it was so mesmerizing watching it with my dear friends. The only thing that could have made the experience better would have been to have the love of my life by my side. Fortunately, we will be going to Paris again in a few weeks with my family so we will get that chance to see it together. 
2- The Louvre: I don't think you could see every piece of art even if you had a month to tour it every day. It was humongous and amazing! Mona Lisa is small, but it was still so amazing to see a piece of art that was painted by Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th-century. Simply amazing. The entire museum is full of amazing-ness.
3- Crepes along the Seine River: Sadly, Chelsea was the one taking this picture, but she led us to the BEST crepe stand in Paris and we enjoyed eating our crepes as we walked along the river. It was perfect!

4- View of Paris: On the left is the view from Chelsea's favorite lamp post in Paris. It was a great spot to admire the city. This was Chelsea's 5th time going to Paris... she knew everything.
 5- Sacre-Coeur: On the right is the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur. It was an amazing church at the top of a beautiful hill overlooking Paris.

6- The Shurtleff's: The lovely lady sitting in the fourth seat on the right is Sister Shurtleff. She and her husband were amazing hosts and took nine of us young adults into their home and made us feel so welcome.
7- Angelina's: On our last day in Paris with this crew we went to Angelina's. Angelina's is an a.maz.ing cafe just off the Champs Elysees. The food, desserts and hot chocolate were all delicious. The hot chocolate is famous because it is Oprah's favorite. The WHITE hot chocolate is simply divine. 

8- Classy Parisian Girls Night Out: After a long day of sight-seeing we went out for a nice French meal. Above, we are just hanging out at the Hilton before dinner (thank you Papa Metts for arranging our hotel).  We went to an amazing restaurant that had delicious food, but did not quite understand that Americans can drink more than 2 tablespoons of water per meal. It was quite amusing that I had to ask for water approximately seven times throughout dinner. haha! We had a lovely time!
9- French Onion Soup in France: I may have gained a stone or so while in Paris... everything was so delicious! One of my favorites was my French onion soup though! 

 10-Laughing, Acting, Dancing, Twirling, Jumping, Posing... you name it and we did on the Champs Elysees. Our last evening was full of some of my favorite moments from the trip. It was just 5 of us girls, after saying farewell to our new friend Jeannie, living a dream on a wonderful night in Paris.