Category Archives: Suitcase

Heslop Family Reunion 2013

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The last week in July my mom’s side of the family, the Heslops, all gathered in Moses Lake, WA at the farmhouse for a reunion. Kelli, Tanner and I drove up late Thursday night. We woke up to the sound of four wheeler engines and Tanner immediately had to get on and go for a ride with grandpa.

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We explored around the farm house, reminiscing about all the memories we had from years ago. I found the concrete imprint of my mom’s hand when she was 10 years old and they poured their driveway. My hand is exactly the same size as my mom’s 10 year old hand.

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We did a little white washing. It was fun to get to see my Uncle Brent and get to know him better.

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After white washing in the sun it got so hot we headed up to Lybbert’s pond to swim. I love swimming in that pond. It feels cleaner to me than any pool and with a rope swing, diving board and raft, it’s much more fun!

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We all wore matching shirts on Saturday with a John Deere tractor because that is what helped all the farm work get done all the years my grandparents farmed.

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Saturday morning we had to get out the guns and go shooting. Any excuse for my dad to try out his guns. 🙂 I knocked down two targets at once! I wish I could say it was because I’m such a crack shot. I don’t even know how it happened, but everyone was impressed.

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Ryan took his turn and so did Uncle Robert. You can tell that Robert had been there a few times — he hit a target every time he shot!

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I learned how to drive a four wheeler for the first time. And I pretty much fell in love. It was so beautiful out there driving along the canals and fields.

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Kelli took Tanner on a ride to see some tractors hanging out in a shed — and he was in heaven!! We wanted him to pose for this picture to recreate one like his dad has.

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That was the best we got because then he was off exploring all the other tractors around!

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If I get a chance I’ll have to upload the video of Tanner looking at the tractors.

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On the way back to the house Kelli ran her four wheeler out of gas because she has such a lead foot. So I took Tanner back and luckily the four wheeler my mom was driving had a rope on it to tow her back. You can never take that girl anywhere.

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I didn’t get Orlene in the picture, but these are the Heslop kids just eating some Strawberry Yum Yum one afternoon.

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Tanner missed his dad, so he had to talk to him on the phone. Just like a little adult.

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And the reason we all got together was to visit my Grandma. We had a delicious dinner at Chicos pizza in Moses Lake where several of the old farm hands came and told stories about working on the farm and we all got a little John Deere to keep.

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I love being in the country. The last morning, this is the sunrise I saw as we were packing up everything to head back to real life. I’m so glad I went!

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Ragnar Trail Relay Zion 2013

Ragnar Trail Relay Zion 2013

Back when my new friend Brenda asked me to be on her Ragnar team I thought I was crazy, I had been running only sporadically after my marathon (all that training made me hate having a schedule to follow!) and I didn’t really know her or anyone else on the team. In fact, I only knew that she and one other girl in my ward were going to be on it. So I went into this weekend knowing that at least 5 people were going to be complete strangers and we would be spending 72 hours together.

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But Zion National Park is so pretty. And I love running and the feeling of community at a race, so I went ahead and said yes.

I’m so glad I did. I’m going to say this right now, if you get an opportunity to do a relay race with a team — DO IT.

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We made team t-shirts for everyone that turned out great. Really time consuming, but they were CHEAP and looked awesome.

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We headed out early Friday morning, April 26, 2013, after loading everyone’s camping gear into Brenda’s truck. We made pretty good time so we stopped for lunch.

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From left to right, Becca, me, Cathy and Brenda.

We stayed just a little too long at lunch and so we had to book it down to the campsite so our team could get checked in and our first runner could change and we could make our start time.

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When we got to the campsite there was a NEVER ending line of trucks and vehicles parked along the road with their occupants all waiting for the shuttle to take them in to the campsite. We sent our first runner on one of the shuttles and we dug through the truck (this picture is me trying to find something in the coolers in the back of the truck without unloading it.)

After a good half hour wait or more we loaded everything on to a shuttle and then perched precariously on top of the stuff and drove in.

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Then we had to carry everything we brought to our campsite which was not close to the dump site. And we brought a LOT of stuff.

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We set up three tents, one for gear and two for sleeping. We were all strangers before, but we aren’t anymore.

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We each ran the same three legs, but we had a rotation all figured out so we knew who was running when. I asked to run the longest leg first because I had basically NO training for this race and I wanted to make sure I would be able to finish my third leg.

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So my first leg was the 7.5 mile loop. It was long and it was SANDY. I felt like I was running on a beach. My calves could not handle it, and I got a bunch of sand in my shoes and got blisters. 5 of them.

Luckily on this leg they had a water station a few miles out and that saved me because I ran in 80 degree weather at 4 in the afternoon.

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The loop felt like it would never end and there were no mile markers so you had NO idea how much farther you had to go. But it did have some pretty views.

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Like I said, my feet were sandy.

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My friend Cathy from the ward was the other person I really knew before this trip. I knew I liked her but I didn’t know how cool she was until after this trip. She was the runner immediately before me so every time she finished I took off running. Which also meant that our schedules were fairly similar.

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As the sun started to go down it started to get chilly but I wanted to stay awake until after my second leg which ended up starting at midnight, almost on the dot.

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Every body tried to stay fueled up and loose throughout the night. It was weird to be eating such random times and things. We were all sweaty and just stayed in our running clothes for 24 hours.

I ran the 4 mile leg at midnight. It was my first time running at night with a headlamp and it took me a while to get the position figured out. You don’t want the light too far out in front or you forget what the terrain right in front of you looks like, but too close and you end up running a lot more slowly because you don’t want to run past what you know. I’m sure there were a bunch of gospel principles I could have been thinking about on this hike… but all I could think about was the fact that I was literally running to the top of the mountain. This leg gained 400 feet in a mile. It was so steep. So steep.

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I came back and tried to sleep but couldn’t get to sleep because my lungs were so cold from running at night so I ended up sleeping for about three hours. I woke up and really enjoyed the sunrise. This is the finish line and the place where every leg ended and you exchanged with your next runner. Really cool arch.

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The campsite was so crowded but it got surprisingly quiet at night. I guess that’s the beauty of having everyone around needing to get up and be running too!

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I ran my last leg pretty early in the morning and I really like it, but I was tired. I think I’d like to run that trail again on fresh legs and see how it goes. The end of all three trails converged for the last half mile up switchbacks. Seriously so steep and narrow, it was difficult to find a way to pass people without feeling like you were going to slide down the mountain.

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When our last runner finished his leg we were all there waiting to cheer him on in our team shirts and we ran across the finish line together. They gave us our medals and we took team pictures.

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We finished in just barely under 24 hours of running.

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We all took showers and cleaned up and then drove through Zion National Park to go to Springdale for a celebration dinner. It was delicious and felt so good to sit down somewhere clean. I love camping, but I also love being clean.

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Because we had the campsite already paid for we stayed Saturday night too. We got up and made breakfast, packed up camp and went to church. After church we went on a little walk hike to the Emerald Pools.

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It was really pretty but my blisters were complaining the entire time! I was really glad to get in the truck and head out and back to civilization.

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Valentines and Vegas

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We had a lot of fun celebrating Valentine’s Day this year. We took a note out of Leslie Nope’s notebook and did our very own Galentine’s Dinner. It was a blast!

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So much good food when it’s all girls getting together. I was STUFFED by the time the night was over.

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We also decided to get a group of girls together and go to Vegas. We borrowed Jess’ parents minivan so we could have one party bus for all 7 girls. It was awesome.

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We stayed in St. George on Friday night at Janeen’s house, slept in some, worked out and then headed out for some lunch. (Left to Right: Jennifer (my roommate), Jessica (my roommate) and me.)

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From left to right: Katie with the sunglasses, Jill in the yellow, Janeen in maroon and Katie in the stripes. These girls are some of my favorite girls in the world right now. We were in the same ward last year and this year we just get to hang out all the time.

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We decided to make this a classy, cheap trip so we all stayed in one room at the Stratosphere. That’s right, 7 girls in one hotel room. We got cozy.

It made it awesome though because we could stay up until all hours of the night and no one had to leave to get to their room.

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We had to eat at Serendipity on the strip!

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And of course we had to try their frozen hot chocolate.

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It was delicious. Weirdly tasted nothing like a chocolate shake and exactly like the name says, frozen hot chocolate.

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We did the typical Vegas things, walking the strip, enjoying the fountain show at the Bellagio, and hitting up M&M World. Those are the most expensive M&M’s you’ll every buy. I promise.

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Who wouldn’t take a photo trying to be an M&M character? Who do you think represented theirs best!?

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We saw an awesome variety show where some incredible gymnasts did feats of strength I cannot comprehend. And believe me, we tried them.

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Such a fun, fun weekend with great girls. Sometimes, I love my life.

Thanksgiving 2012

I got to spend Thanksgiving at my parent’s house and I apparently am really bad at taking pictures with the family! Too much food to eat I guess.

After my marathon, I had a couple of days to chill at home and then my mom and I spent a day doing girl stuff before I had to head to the airport.

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We got pedicures and it was amazing, they even did a hot rock massage on my feet.

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We took a ferry in to downtown Seattle and it was awesome. I love ferries.

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We walked along the pier, ate some seafood, browsed the Pike Place shops and window shopped for hours. I love all the stores down there and going with my mom was a blast!

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When I got back to Utah it was time to decorate for Christmas! I had a hot date with a cute boy. Tanner helped me put up Christmas decorations and we just had a lot of fun playing. I know I’m biased, but I think I probably have the cutest nephew out there.

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Seattle Ghost Marathon

When my friend, Melinda, convinced me to try cross country at McLoughlin Junior High about 15 years ago I doubt she knew she would be affecting my life this much.

I gave cross country a shot that hot day on the track in 7th grade and I’ve inconsistently been a runner ever since.

I don’t really know what hit me in July 2012, but I decided that it was time for me to reach a goal that had been percolating in the back of my mind… I was going to run a marathon.

I was a little nervous because after two previous half marathons I’d hurt my foot training for a marathon and it had kept me from running for a solid year.

I took out my trusty training schedule and plotted it all out on my calendar.

Then all it took was four months of solid running (and it came to feel like all I did was run the closer I got to the marathon.)

As I got closer I realized that choosing the Seattle Ghost Marathon might not have been the smartest idea I’d ever had. Seattle in November is RAINY. I started to get really scared that I might have to run for hours and hours in the freezing rain.

However, two days after Thanksgiving, we got up early and drove up to Seward Park on Lake Washington where the race started and finished.

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I could not believe how lucky I was!

The weather could not have been more perfect. It was cool, but not too cool and the sun even came out! I fell asleep in the car on the way up and so instead of spacing out a ton of calories over the drive up, I just chewed a protein bar up quickly and jumped out to get my packet and race number.

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Can you believe that sunrise?

I was so ready to go. For some reason every other race I’ve run I’ve been so anxious for the race I nervous peed at least 5 times before the race begin. This time though I just decided that if I had to pee sometime during the race I’d go ahead and stop– this race was not one I was running for time.

I started with the majority of the half marathon runners and I even beat a lot of those people as they ran. Up until mile 16 or 17 I was doing absolutely fine, felt great and just pretty much loving life.

Then I turned down some fuel from my parents who were out walking the course and I started to regret it. So I called them from a couple miles down the road and had them come bring me a protein bar. I think I was about 3 and a half hours in at this point and I was starting to really feel it.

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The protein bar gave me more energy and I even had to chuckle at the signs my aunt and uncle posted along the route — cheering me on and making me a little bit embarrassed that everyone knew there was someone named Kyna and someone named Beans running this race. But I did love it.

I hit mile 21 and I thought I was going to cry. I just hit a wall, I think this is where my lack of pre-race fueling really caught up to me. Luckily right around the corner was my family waiting for me!

My little brother Ryan ran the half mile up and back to the turn around point with me and I came back to the fuel station where my family was. I ate a potato dipped in salt (probably the best tasting snack I have ever eaten, EVER.) And then my other brother, Ty, and my sister-in-law, Kelli, told me they were going to run the last 4 miles with me.

I honestly don’t know how long the stinkin’ race would have taken me if they hadn’t run with me. Ty kept pushing me along and Kelli made me feel like I was a rockstar, saying all these supportive things and pretending like I was just an incredible runner.

All of that family support meant so much to me.

I crossed the finish line at 5:14 and was so happy to be done!

During the race I had run with a woman who was part of the Seattle running club and she runs a marathon every other weekend. No joke. I don’t know how she has the time to run that much, but she was legit. She was only running the half the day of my race because she was running the full Seattle Marathon the next day. She was so excited for me and that I was running my first marathon that she waited for nearly 2 hours to see me finish the marathon. I don’t even remember her name but she was so nice! It made me remember why I love races. Even if you’re not fast, not official and a stranger, being out there on that same track means you belong.

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After the race I grabbed my medal, took my shoes off, rolled up my tights and waded into Lake Washington. That cold water was… COLD. But it probably really helped my feet and calves recover.

We all piled into the van and headed over to Aunt Orlene and Uncle Stan’s house for a post-race lunch.

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Before we filled up on potato salad and sloppy joes (on specailly-purchased gluten free buns), I made everyone take some pictures with me.

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Then I jumped in the shower and washed away 5 hours of sweat. I don’t know if a shower has ever felt so good.

I spent the rest of the day relaxing, stretching and my fantastic mother gave me a massage both that night and the next day. Because of her sweet, sweet hands I barely felt sore at all! I guess my training did pay off!!

Everyone has asked me since if I’ll ever do another marathon. I don’t know if I’ll ever do a full again. I’m not completely opposed to the idea, but I think I’ll go back to half marathons for now!

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Denver 2012

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To celebrate my roommate, Jessica’s, birthday we went to Denver!

We got awesome flight deals out of PROVO (best airport EVER) on Frontier and headed off for four days of sightseeing, eating and music.

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We headed straight into downtown Denver when we arrived. First stop: Larimer Square for some lunch and shopping.

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I love the cute shops all over downtown. They really know how to turn on the charm!

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After some meandering we decided to watch some MLB.

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The Colorado Rockies lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks, but I still loved it. I love a good baseball game.

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Monday we worked out with Jess’ cousins and her “Stroller Strides” group. I am training for a marathon and I was literally dying. Those mommas know how to work it. After such a good work out we stopped at the Moonlight Cafe in Commerce City for some amazing breakfast. Jess had banana bread french toast and I had a Southwestern omelet that was at least as big as my head.

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Monday afternoon we browsed a used bookstore, pretended like we had room for all of the pretty books in our suitcase and stopped by Sweet Action ice cream for a treat. I tried Roasted Green Chili, Sour Cream and Chive, Molasses and Pomegranate ice creams. The Molasses and Pomegranate were good. The other ones were just as weird as they sounded.

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In the end I ordered Salted Butterscotch and milk chocolate. Delicious.

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Finally it was time for the entire reason we went to Denver– the Jason Mraz and Christina Perri concert! The Red Rocks amphitheater is seriously incredible. The sound quality is beyond compare, it’s so pretty to look over Denver and to be outside. I loved it!

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We got pretty good seats and chilled until night fell and the concert started.

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It was amazing. Christina is a great performer and Jason Mraz is a lyric master.

I was so captivated by Mr. A-Z that I didn’t think to take very many pictures or video. But I did take some of Christina Perri!

Tuesday we slept in, ate delicious gluten free pancakes (well, I did– Jess’ were normal) in the flavors of pineapple upside down cake, peanut butter cup and blueberry at Snooze. AMAZING.

Then we saw the movie “Trouble with the Curve”. Really cute, but I wish Justin Timberlake’s character would have played a bigger part, he was my favorite part.

All in all, a great weekend, I hope Jess had a great birthday. I’m so glad I have good roommates who are also my friends! Happy Birthday, Jess!

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these streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will insipire you, let’s hear it for New York

What would a trip to New York be without eating some fantastic food?!

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I don’t have a picture of our first meal at Cafe Habana, I ate too quickly to even think about it. It was delicious though. The second night we took a trip over the ocean to Eataly and had a delicious plate of salami and cheese. I was in heaven. I could eat salamis and cheese every meal and be a happy person. My stomach might not be, but my tongue sure would!

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Saturday for lunch I grabbed a pupusa from a food truck in Red Hook in Brooklyn (right by Ikea, conveniently.) They had this delicious drink that I had tasted when my brother brought some back from his mission in Guatemala. I think it’s called Jasmine. Or rose something. I can’t remember, but it’s delish!

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For dessert one night we got ice cream and mini pies from this southern style restaurant. I love that you can get fancy Italian, turn the corner, walk by an Indian restaurant where spices spill out the door and stop for some good southern home cooking on the next corner.

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Of course, the famous Halal guys by the Hilton were there every night. We didn’t get any at night this trip though, and I thought we almost wouldn’t get any at all… we did though. It seems we can’t go a trip without it.

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I tried a gluten-free burger at the 5 Napkin Burger and wasn’t too impressed. It was fun to be able to eat a burger normally, but… I think I just want a bun to taste like a bun. And not get soggy. The meat was very tasty though.

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We made a trip to the original Magnolia Bakery and it was well worth the travel. Key Lime cheesecake and banana cream pudding. YUM.

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We also tried out Holey Cream. They make donut ice cream sandwiches. Carol-Lyn tried one and said that it was okay — the doughnuts are a little dry. I had some of their house-made ice cream and it was delicous!

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I didn’t buy anything from F.A.O. Schwartz but it sure was tempting! They had so many fun candies from years ago that I don’t see in stores any more. One example? A huge bag of Pop-Rocks. Insane fun.

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We ended our trip by grabbing a halal dish to share and it was delicious. Although the cab ride to the airport immediately following left me so sick to my stomach I wished I hadn’t eaten anything.

New York knows food. I can see why people don’t really cook while living there, restaurants are more accessible than grocery stores.

What is your favorite way to experience a city? How do you find new restaurants to eat at when you travel? Do you try new restaurants in the city where you live?

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These vagabond shoes. They are longing to stray.

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The show went really well! Everybody loved the graphic that we used this summer for our “Summer of Love”, it was a lot of fun to play off the ’60s groovy theme.

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One evening we took a cab ride and our cabbie pointed out this friendly pedestrian crossing the street in front of us.

Oh, New York.

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I took a run through Central Park one morning and it was a lot of fun to get out and stretch my legs, but it was so humid I thought I might die. I was so sweaty, it was incredibly unattractive I’m sure.

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Once the show was over we had a couple of days to play. And play we did. We started off going to the Natural History Museum. All I wanted to do was quote “Night at the Smithsonian” the entire time. I also got to see a replica of the famous, world-ending calendar. Not that I could read it.

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I touched a real dinosaur egg!

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The dinosaurs are pretty cool. I can’t imagine what we would do if they still lived on the earth.

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We then got caught in the rain.

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Again and again. It poured all day. But we spent the remainder of the day inside watching plays!

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Our first play was “Bring it On” — yep. Like the movie in all of it’s high school drama glory. I loved it. The audience was totally into the play and it was so funny, and even though the majority of the cast was brand new to Broadway they were really good!

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We watched Evita at night, starring Ricky Martin. That’s right. Ricky Martin is living la vida loca in the starring role in Evita. Seriously impressive. He’s got great stage presence and there were some really cool sets and scenes in the show.

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Our last day in New York we went shopping. We browsed the design store of the MoMMa and they had some really cool stuff in there. This purse was made out of a keyboard! I also got to walk down Fifth Avenue and see all of the swanky stores there. Of course, I only actually shopped at UniQlo (sp?) which had prices that were more in my price range!

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concrete jungle where dreams are made

I never thought I’d say this, but I just got back from one of the most fun work trips ever!

The lead up to this trip was a bit stressful, but it was all worth it in the end.

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We started the trip off with a stunning sunrise. We left Provo at 5:45 a.m. to make it to the airport in time to park the car and get through security.

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We were on time, but our flight wasn’t. So we sat down and ate breakfast at the restaurant near our gate. I’d always wanted to do that but never had the time!

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Made it on to the flight and got a good nap in after the early morning.

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We got brave on the way in to the city from the airport and tried some street fruit. Anyone know what this is? It was good, very large pit, but like a cross between a grape and a mango.

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When we got to our hotel there was some chocolate waiting for us. Sadly, it wasn’t that delicious. I don’t know if white chocolate ever is.

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After we got settled into our hotel we went to meet up with my two favorite New Yorkers– Roxanne and Sam!

We went to dinner at the most delicious place, Cafe Habana. It was tiny and adorable and so good. I wish Roxy and Sam lived close still, but at least I get to see them every once in a while!

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You see some of the most random things in New York. Including a bicycle turned into a stylin’ Cadillac.

Saturday morning we got up early and headed off to Ikea.

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We fit all of this in a Jeep Liberty– after we made a trip back to the hotel to drop off the couch we bought first.

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We loved the corn we got the night before at Cafe Habana so we got it again at the food trucks in Red Hook near Ikea.

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After we got everything we needed at Ikea we headed back across the Manhattan bridge. We had it all to ourselves and we realized it was because we ended up in the busy traffic and it took us more than an hour to get back to our hotel.

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That night we decided to try out Eataly to indulge my Italian obsession. The cheese and meat platter was beyond delizioso!

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Sunday morning we set up the booth and took a walk through the Meet Market.

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Sunday night we took a stroll. New York is a city you must see at night.
The rest of my trip in another post — I think this one is long enough!

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Elder Kyrkie is OFF!

I can’t believe my second-to-youngest-tallest-little brother is on his mission.

Kyrkie is now Elder Taylor in the MTC learning Spanish and getting all ready to go to San Antonio, Texas.

He is SO excited!

When I picked him up from the airport he literally could NOT stop talking.

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We went to sushi for lunch before I dropped him off and it was so much fun to sit there and talk about missions and the gospel and feel the excitement of knowing that you are doing exactly the right thing.

We skyped with our parents for a second so they could say goodbye and then he stopped talking.

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I think he got a little bit nervous when he realized it was about to really happen.

He took his last nap for the next 2 years in my car and then we headed off to the Provo Temple to take a couple of pictures.

Hard to do when one person is 6’4″ and the other is 5’2″.

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Look at my little missionary all growed up!
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We walked back to the car and we drove into the MTC. I’m getting good at dropping people off here!

He remembered to give me a hug and I got all teary-eyed and told him it was because mom wasn’t there to cry. 🙂

He was so excited and just ready to go. He even left with his cell phone still in his pocket. Oops.

Write him soon!

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Elder Kyrk Taylor
MTC Mailbox 317
TX- SAN 1010
2005N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604

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