Wednesday, September 30, 2015


I go through phases with music. Currently, the songs on my RN playlist (music I'm obsessed with right now) are as follows:

Our Own House - Misterwives
Oh My Love - The Score
Young and Beautiful - Lana Del Rey
Here (In Your Arms) - Hellogoodbye
Stand By You - Rachel Platten
Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
Magic (feat. Rivers Cuomo) - B.o.B
Light Me Up (US Version) - Birdy
Waiting for Love - Avicii
Shooting Stars - Bag Raiders
I Want You Back - The Jackson Five
Downtown - The Radio Remix version (Don't listen to the original song by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis! The lyrics are deplorable. I just like the instrumental version.)
Believer - American Authors (Tiesto Remix)
You Make My Dreams Come True - Hall & Oats
Shower - Becky G.
Get Low - Dillon Francis
Monsters of the North - The National Parks

These aren't on my playlist (why isn't T. Swift on Spotify???), but every time they come on the radio/Pandora, I belt 'em:
Blank Space
All You Had To Do Was Stay
Shake It Off
Wildest Dreams
(T. Swift rules the radio.)
Locked Away - R. City (I like the term "shawty." Someone needs to call me that someday. As long as it continues to mean "young and attractive woman.")
Worth it - Fifth Harmony
I Don't Like It, I Love It - Flo Rida
Want To Want Me - Jason Derulo

At various times in the past my RN playlist has included the following songs:
Lisa Baby
Next In Line
Anna Sun
Shiver Shiver
I Can Lift A Car
(So basically you should listen to the entire 2012 Walk the Moon album)
Right Round - Flo Rida
Faster - Matt Nathanson
One Last Time - The Kooks
Ugly Heart - G.R.L
Love Will Remember - Selena Gomez
Tear in My Heart - Twenty One Pilots
Who's That Chick? - David Guetta
Burning Gold - Christina Perri
Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) - Beyoncé
Caught Up In You - 38 Special
Junk of the Heart (Happy) - The Kooks
Hey Mama - Mat Kearney
Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson
Just the Girl - The Click Five
We're So Far Away - Mae
Out of My League - Stephen Speaks
Chasing the Light - Mat Kearney
Come On Get Higher - Matt Nathanson
I Wanna Dance with Somebody - Whitney Houston
You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift
Fire Burning - Sean Kingston
Kiss Me Slowly - Parachute
As We Ran - The National Parks
Hooked On a Feeling - Blue Swede
Crazy Beautiful - Andy Grammer
Baby I'm Yours - Arctic Monkeys
Never Stop (Wedding Version) - SafetySuit
Halfway Gone - Lifehouse
Get Out - Casey Abrams
Never Gonna Be Alone - Dèjá Vu
Strangers in the Night - Frank Sinatra
And We Danced - The Hooters
Vanilla Twilight - Owl City
Ships in the Night - Mat Kearney
I Just Wanna Run - The Downtown Fiction
Human - Christina Perri
Dark Horse (feat. Juicy J) - Katy Perry
Low - Flo Rida
Rather Be - Clean Bandit
Young Dumb and In Love - Mat Kearney
Watching You - Rodney Atkins
Oh Darling (feat. Cady Groves) - Plug In Stereo
Come and Get Your Love - Redbone
Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) - Shakira
Party In The USA - Miley Cyrus
A Thousand Years - Christina Perri
R U Mine - Arctic Monkeys
How To Be A Heartbreaker - Marina and the Diamonds
Gone, Gone, Gone - Phillip Phillips
Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO
Dance with Me Tonight - Olly Murs
Hanging By a Moment - Lifehouse
Better With You - Kris Allen
Kryptonite - 3 Doors Down
Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5
Another Man - Itch
Classic - MKTO
Eskimo Kiss - The Kooks
Treasure - Bruno Mars
Burning Down the House - Walk the Moon
All I Ever Wanted - (Radio Edit) Basshunter
Between the Raindrops - Lifehouse
Happily Ever After - He Is We
Amnesia - Five Seconds of Summer
Sun Is Shining - Axwell^Ingrosso
You're The One That I Want - John Travolta
All Night - Icona Pop
Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations
All About Us (feat. Owl City) - He Is We
Human - The Killer
Hero - Enrique Iglesias
My Body - Young the Giant
Crazy Girl - Eli Young Band
Anywayican - Walk The Moon
What I Like About You - The Romantics
Cinema - (Skrillex Remix) Benny Benassi
GDFR - Flo Rida
Poison - Rita Orta
Super Bass - Nicki Minaj
Arms - Christina Perri
Me And My Broken Heart - Rixton
Footloose - Kenny Loggins

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fall Sundays

Sunday's are lovely.
Have you ever heard the song Prayer is the Soul's Sincere Desire? I hadn't until we sang it in ward choir. We performed it yesterday in sacrament meeting. It's beautiful.
And then I taught the lesson in Relief Society, which was a first for me. I was preeetty nervous, but I got to choose a general conference talk as my topic and that was nice. I chose The Lord Is My Light  by Elder Quentin L. Cook.
Then we went to Break the Fast and drove the Alpine Loop (also a first for me!). Every season brings happy things. Fall = bonfires, smore's, hoodies, hot chocolate, boots, crisp air, crunchy leaves, pumpkin everything, Thanksgiving, scarves, etc. etc. etc.
I love every season and all the happy things each one brings.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Nowhere fast

So, Tuesday of this past week, Josh turns to me and goes, "Do you wanna run in a 24-hour relay with a bunch of ROTC people?" 
Um, yes! I've always wanted to do a Ragnar-type thing so I was really excited for this weekend. And it was AWESOME. The race was unlike any I've ever done before, but luckily I have practice running trails (and I love it!) so I was able to take it pretty well.

My first leg of the race was around 1am so it was dark outside and I ran by the light of the (almost) full moon.
In the beginning my lungs were burning really bad from inhaling so much campfire smoke. But eventually the fire in my chest went away and I could breathe fine.
I love trail-running. It makes me feel so alive! And it also makes me feel like a mountain goat. 
I'm not just running. I am cruising and leaping and skidding and pounding. 
Thank goodness I have strong ankles.
I almost took a tumble many times going downhill because I was going so fast.  Or at least, I felt like I was. You always feel faster in the dark. I seriously thought that I was going to crash and roll down the mountain, but I never lost my footing so luckily that never happened.
I am a warm runner so even though the sun wasn't out, I got super hot when I was going up the first major hill so I ran in my sports bra and shorts for a couple miles. The breeze on my skin felt SO good.
The landscape was beautiful. I was all alone - blasting music from my phone, adrenaline pumping through my veins - following the trail of glow sticks. It was glorious.
At one point the moonlight made the dirt on the trail look like it was glittering. It was so cool.
Mile pace of my two loops:
M1 - 7:48                         M1 - 7:31
M2 - 6:53                        M2 - 6:29
M3 - 10:43                      M3 - 11:19
M4 - 10.25                      M4 - 10:00
M5 - 8.06                        M5 - 8:05
.35 miles - 2.42             .35 miles - 2:30
Overall times:  46:38 and 45:54.

And the race wasn't the only "first" that I experienced. 
I also almost got a blister. Almost. 
Towards the end of my second loop, I could feel it forming from all the friction of going downhill. Crazy stuff. I know it's hard to believe that I've never gotten a blister because I've run hundreds and hundreds of miles in my life. But I'm serious. My feet are super tough.
Also, I got to do something that not many people outside of the military get to do. I assembled and disassembled a machine gun. Yeah. They had legit M240 Bravos and they taught us how to put them together and take them apart. It was really cool. Apparently that is part of the Ranger Challenge competition so they competed to see who could do it the fastest. Josh got his time down to 1:20. I know he can get it down to sub-1 minute with a little more practice.

Other highlights: 
Meeting Joshy's ROTC buddies.
The smells. Camping has a lot of smells associated with it. Not all good. But you just have to embrace it. The desert air, the fire, the tin-foil dinners...
After I ran, I smelled like sweat and dirt and grime and campfire smoke. Lovely. And my phone STILL smells like a campfire.
Towards the end of my second loop, a couple of ROTC guys (from my team) surprised me by jumping out from behind some rocks and shooting me with water guns! It was actually refreshing so I finished strong. It was pretty great.
Riding a motorcycle. I got to go really fast. It was so fun.
They cut the run short (20-hour relay) which meant I didn't have to run a third time and we got to go home sooner. We went to Red Robin and I got to watch some of the Young Women's conference. I'll have to rewatch it anyway because I may or may not have slept through most of it...
I was a part of the winning team. Woot woot! And I ran proxy for Josh, so they didn't even have to change the name on the schedule. Huston. (Pronounced like Houston, TX, but spelled better.)

Moral of the story: Trail-running, binoculars, tin-foil dinners, sleeping under the stars, and motorcycles are a few of my favorite things.

And now for pictures...

This was me running all alone in the desert with only the moon and my music for company.

This is what we woke up to.
Oh and Joshy yelling that I was gonna miss my turn. Thankfully he was kidding.

The M&M's are what MAKE this.

This was the TRAIL. Rocky, slippery, and downhill. 
I almost died.

I want a motorcycle.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


When Joshy was in 4th grade, he participated in the spelling bee and he was a bit nervous...
During the practice round, when every kid gets a really easy word just for practice, Josh's word was "tree." He says, "tree, t-r-e, tree" and sat down. I bet some people snickered and figured he'd be the first one out.
HE WON. haha
He got first place in the school spelling bee and moved on to the County Spelling Bee where he was eliminated on the word "froufrou." I know, what the heck is that? It's "elaborate decoration, as frills, ribbons, or ruffles, especially on women's clothing." Joshy is one of the manliest guys I know (I mean, he is my dad's son) so yeah, pretty funny.  
It's also funny that I refer to him as Joshy, not very manly, ya know? But he likes it...

This story was brought to my recollection because just now I drove the truck to campus so Josh could take it and I could stay on campus. As I was walking past the Talmage, I noticed this tree and had to go explore:

 Isn't it great??
It's a little, leafy canopy perfect for picnics and relaxation. I'll have to go back someday and enjoy the shade of this mini-oasis. 

Well, I have other stories I want to share, but I should get down to business so I'll save those for later. Don't worry, I made some notes so I won't forget.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

No one understands? That's not true.

I shared this via FB and Insta, but I figured I'd share it here too. That way my parents can see it :)

Agony in the Garden - Franz Schwartz

"There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. You and I in a moment of weakness may cry out, 'No one understands. No one knows.' No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of our life." - Elder David A. Bednar
I've definitely said those words..."No one understands me. No one understands what I'm going through." But now every time I think that, I also think of this quote from Elder Bednar and I am comforted.
I just want to testify of the truthfulness of the gospel and express gratitude for my Savior and His Atonement. Josh emailed me this picture when he was on his mission and it has been my screensaver ever since because it is such a powerful reminder to me of light in the darkest of times. 
These words from Elder Bednar and this painting by Frans Schwartz have brought me so much comfort and I hope they can do the same for you.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Corazon de melon

Happiness is when your mom texts you, "Buenos dias! Corazon de melon."
It makes up for yesterday when she accidentally sent you an "I love you" text meant for your brother.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

4:52 1600 2013

Arizona Division I track championships, Girls 1600

 If the video doesn't work (it might take you to the wrong race...), then this link should work:
AZ 2013 girls 1600

This race was the crowning glory of my high school running career. All of the hard work and the hundreds of miles of running that I put in are evidenced in this race. And no, I didn't win. I was never a state champion. But I am proud of what I accomplished and I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for His help because I couldn't have done it without Him and all the people He put in my life. Especially my amazing coach and my wonderful family. Thank you, Mom, Dad, Josh, Diego, Fiona, Tommy, and Coach Norton. And all my teammates. And my seminary teachers and high school teachers and competitors (Kristi!). 
Wow, you start listing people you're grateful for and all of a sudden you feel so blessed.
Also, did you notice that for the first half of the race my hip number was falling off? Yeah, I just noticed it too. I was so focused during the race that it didn't even bother me.
P.S. I'm the skinny, brown girl wearing a white uniform top (vertical black stripes down each side) and black spandex.

Chalk the block with talents and spiritual gifts

Joshy went with me to Chalk the Block at the Riverwoods an hour before it was over.
I'm really glad he did.

Today in church we learned about spiritual gifts and about pride. First off, look at how much talent people have - to create masterpieces such as these using chalk. Incredible!

This one was my definitely my favorite.

Sometimes I worry that it is prideful to show my talents to others. But if the Chalk the Block artists had thought that way and hadn't shared their talents, then we wouldn't have been able to enjoy looking at their work.

So what is pride?

"Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing. The central feature of pride is enmity - enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means 'hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.' It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us."

How do we put off the natural man and become humble?

To paraphrase the end of Ezra Taft Benson's talk, this is how we can obtain humility: By serving others, by going to the temple regularly, by lifting others higher than we are, by forgiving others, by loving God and submitting to His will, by praying for humility, and by following Christ's example.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sometimes I wish

...that I could erase all the memories and feelings and hopes and dreams I've had about a person.

But then I remember that Heavenly Father knows better than I do.
He loves me. He knows that I need to remember the lessons I've leaned from that relationship. And He helps me know that everything is going to be okay. I just need to have faith and trust in Him.

Thank goodness for the gospel.

Monday, September 14, 2015

CTF battle wound

This post contains some graphic images so don't look if you have a pansy stomach.
Joshy busted his knee open during a capture-the-flag game at FHE tonight. We're not in the same group so I wasn't at Kiwanis park with him. Of course, he acted like it was nothing cuz "he's a man." (He did take it like a champ, in fact, he took it better than I did. But today, after the numbness and the adrenaline wore off, he's definitely feeling the hurt.)
After the incident, he drove himself home and asked me if I had a first-aid kit. Like that would fix his knee. Well, my roommates and I were locked out of our apartment so we couldn't help much. Luckily, another apartment came to the rescue and played doctor for a bit. They did a great job cleaning him up, but when someone suggested that they try to stitch him up then and there, I drew the line and took him to Urgent Care. Once the doctor was able to see him, it was smooth sailing. He was very nice and helpful and Joshy's knee looked much better with a bunch of stitches in it than it did when the flesh was all torn up and...yeah, ew. Of course, afterwards we were super hungry so we stopped and got Papa John's pizza.
I didn't get any of my reading done for tomorrow's classes, buuut I don't have to go to work tomorrow, so score!

Just to clarify, my first reaction when I saw this was not to take a picture, but he asked me to. 
He's still bummed I didn't get a picture of him on Labor Day. We hiked Battle Creek Falls and as he stood under the waterfall, a rock fell and hit him on the head. He was gushing blood then and did look pretty cool, but no way was taking a picture my first priority.

I hope he has a cool scar to show for this.

Pizza and chocolate milk. Yum! (Nesquik is the BEST.) 
He finished a whole piece before I could snag a pic.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Stream of consciousness

I am currently lying on the floor of my room waiting for it to be 9pm so I can go to dessert night and then go to bed. Here's a synopsis of my day (just the fun deets):
When I woke up and went out into the living room, I noticed the fan was on and decided to turn it off because it was wasting electricity. I hopped on the coffee table and then (since I jumped on the edge) it became unbalanced and I fell on my butt. Hard.
I lay on the floor for awhile, much like I am currently doing. (Except then I was also moaning from the pain in my tailbone.)
After the pain subsided, I kept moving forward, hoping for a better day than that event foreshadowed.
I curled my hair (which is a much faster process now that my hair is short), ate a flat egg on toast, and biked to work.
While at work, I made plans for the weekend (NATIONAL PARKS CONCERT. Woot woot!!!), and broke a dust mop. Don't worry, I reported the accident and found one on first floor to borrow for now.
Then, I bought a bagel and an apple and went to the library and did homework (I saw Tate at the Hub! No, I wasn't hanging out at the Hub - that's for freshmen and freshman mentors. I was working at the computers because I no longer have a laptop since Joshy is home. I've discovered I really like doing my work at the library anyway. Since I'm around people, I have less distractions. That could only be true for an introvert like me.), then class, homework, class, saw Eliza at the library! (I love seeing people I know on campus (especially if I like them!)...although, I did see an ex the other day and that wasn't as fun. My heart started pounding and I know I blushed. I know because I used the restroom right after I passed him and I saw my rosy pink cheeks in the mirror as I was washing my hands. Rosy pink sounds pretty was more...ruddy or flushed. Those have the connotation I'm looking for. Well, here's to future improvement.)
Then I went to the Wilk and had Chik-Fil-A. Two words. Waffle fries. Two more words. Chik-Fil-A sauce. Mm mmm. (Bonus! My meal only cost me $1.83 because I had two $2 coupons from that time I worked at the Cougareat. You know, those two days at Subway during Women's Conference. Man, I had quite a few random jobs this summer. Fun stuff.)
After that short break I went back to the library and did MORE homework. Then two meetings - one for Inscape and one for Leading Edge. I'm excited to be a part of these student organizations and gain valuable editing experience. (After reading this, I'm sure you think that I should definitely NOT be an editor. My response to you is this: This is MY blog. I can do what I want. Also, go look up the word "blog." And also "stream of consciousness.")
Then I ran to the LSB and tried to jump onto the ledge of the parking garage to get to my bike, but I bonked my knee on the edge and it still hurts really bad (hence the second time I'm lying on the floor today). Luckily no one was around to witness that.
I've realized I do lots of embarrassing things.
And now I'm home. Hooray for days when you're on campus from 5am to 8pm!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Eternal spirits

I love the apostles and prophets that guide our church today and I am grateful for their examples and testimonies. The ldschurch account shared this excerpt form a talk by M. Russell Ballard and I wanted to share it as well.
"Occasionally I hear people say, “I am living righteously, but things are not working out for me. I am losing patience and I wonder, where are all the blessings?”
To any of you who feel this way, I would encourage you to change your perspective. We are eternal spirits! We must live our lives with the end in mind—not the middle. We must trust in the Lord. We must understand that some will be tested more than others. We should remember that no blessing will be denied if we continue to keep the commandments.
Turn to the plan of salvation—it can answer all of your questions. Take the sacrament each week. It will help you regain spiritual strength. Trust in the Lord and understand that all blessings will come at the right time."
                           - M. Russell Ballard

Monday, September 7, 2015

My big brudder, Maria, and me

After we went to the temple on Friday, we had some burgers and Cajun-style fries at Five Guys. It was all top notch.

Then I showed him the pipe line run!
At one point I was ahead of him and I heard him shout my name in a terrified tone - "MONICAAA!!!" 
I turn around, my heart full of dread and I don't see Josh anywhere
Then he pops out from his hiding spot behind one of those protrusions on the pipe and starts laughing his head off. 
I was so relieved to see him alive and well that I only gave him a little bit of grief for almost giving me a heart attack. 
He got me good. I guess things haven't changed much in our relationship and I am so glad. I love having brothers who tease me and have fun with me and are even a bit protective of me.

After we went running, we had brekkers at my apartment and then cheered on the girls xc team to victory. We enjoyed being spectators at a cross-country meet, that's for sure.

Then Maria joined us and off we went to Center street for a photo shoot with all the cool walls we could find. (My idea.)

Josh played along quite well.

Maria not so the beginning.

I actually wasn't a big fan of this particular fence anyway.

But then we stumbled across this beauty.
#bookwormsforlife and these are our favorites. Huck Finn is special cuz Maria and Kristi love it and my dad loves P. G. Woodhouse's Wooster and Jeeves collection (actually, he loves ALL the books on this wall) so therefore those books also have special place in my heart.

This wall was another gem.

We had a lot of fun trying out some weird stuff.

I love hanging out with these two. 
Josh said we have a good synergy. 
I agree. We're fun.
This one's my favorite.

Or this one. 
It's a pretty remarkable candid shot that I was able to capture. 

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket...

This is the one decent photo we got at the dolphin wall. Maria and Josh were a bit burnt out and we were all hungry so...

We stopped to get pupusas! (My first time)

They were really yummy.

After our picture adventure we went laser-tagging with a group and had froyo at Spoon it up. So good. How was it my first time there?? 
Also, I LOVE LASER-TAG. I got second place overall at Laser Assault. It's so fun!