June 23, 2017

Friday Favorites


In an attempt to keep up with journaling + life, I've decided to start a new series called "Friday Favorites" where I can record + share my favorite parts or new discovering that I'm loving lately.

Take a look at my first post! 


FAVORITE PARTS OF THE WEEK: 

Las Vegas

On Friday we zipped down to Las Vegas to visit Colten's Dad & Stepmom for the weekend. It was hotter than Hades, but we had such a great time. We basically spent the whole time poolside, because it was too dang hot to do much else! Colten's dad used his new smoker + made the best smoked burgers EVAH. Then we swam, swam, swam, some more + finished out the night with smores around the firepit. 

Fathers Day

On our way home from Vegas, we stopped in Hurricane for a Father's Day dinner with my dad + family. It was fun to be with everybody + spend time with my second favorite guy. We played guitar + had strawberry shortcake for dessert. So grateful for a father who does so much for me + has taught me so much. 

Temple Trip 

Tuesday morning I was able to go to the temple with my sister, mom, and dad and do baptisms for the dead. Chantell made the goal to go ten times this summer, so it was fun to be able to go and help her! Of course, the mandatory Iceberg trip afterwards wasn't too bad either! ;) 


FAVORITE FIRSTS:  

Tracking My Steps

So I know I'm behind on the times, but I finally got a Fitbit AND I DON'T KNOW HOW I SURVIVED WITHOUT ONE. Before, I struggled to accurately track my workouts/runs and it was basically all left up to guesswork. But now I've got all the info I need right on my wrist. Talk about motivation to move! It has been so great to finally get a feel for my fitness level + be able to track my steps/distance/active minutes/ etc. Plus, nothing beats the feeling of having accomplished your fitness goals! Definitely a believer in them now. 

FAVORITE THINGS I'M LISTENING TO:

Music: 

Supermarket Flowers - Ed Sheeran (grab some tissues!)
I Could Use A Love Song - Maren Morris
Boom Clap - Lennon + Maisy
 

Podcasts + Talks:

Serial - Sarah Koenig
    One story - a true story - that is told over a season. FREAKING ADDICTING.The first season follows investigative reporter Sarah Koenig as she tries to dig deeper in a homicide case.  My investigative skills are on the fritz trying to figure out where the story is going.

Limetown - Two Up Productions
   Another podcast that is a little eery but UNBELIEVABLY GOOD. The episodes are only 30ish minutes long, and tell the story of Limetown, Tennessee where ten years ago, over three hundred men, women and children disappeared, never to be heard from again. At first I thought it was a true story, and I was out on my run going crazy because it was so intense. Now that I know it's just a fictional story, I've calmed down a little bit... but still. You'll be hooked. I went an extra two miles just so I could listen to another episode.

Want to be Happy? Be Grateful - David Steindl-Rast
    This TedTalk will totally change the way you think about the blessings you already have + make you view your life in a whole new light.

The Power of Introverts - Susan Cain  
     Our world is designed for extroverts, but introverts have made some of the great contributions to society. As a introvert myself, I loved Susan's talk about empowering ourselves + our children to feel comfortable using our strengths (and weaknesses) to influence others.

My Year of Saying Yes to Everything - Shonda Rhimes 
    Shonda Rhimes is responsible for a lot of happiness, tears, + late nights in my life, and hearing about her fearless + remarkable journey to becoming one of the most popular screenwriters + producers in the Television industry will make you wanna have a "Year of Yes" too. {Still not forgiving her for killing Derek Shephard though.}

FAVORITE THINGS I'M READING: 

Articles:

14 Ways to Stimulate Personal Growth {link here}

 Books:

 The Girl You Left Behind - JoJo Moyes
  I'm only about half way through this book, but already I'm really a big fan. It's by the same author who wrote "Me Before You" (did you realize it was a book before it was a movie?).  It's set in both the World War I era + present day London, and interweaves the story of two women trying to do what is right in difficult situations.  
    
 All The Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr
     THIS BOOK. Please Please go read it as fast as you can. I'm realizing most of what I read is historical fiction set in either World War I or World War II, but when you find what ya love you just gotta go with it. This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 2015 and is about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.    For reals the best book I've read this year. 


<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>


Do you have any favorites you'd like to share? 
I wanna hear about them!
XOXO
Love P



June 4, 2017

The Danger of Perfectionism + Comparison

above: a picture I've hesitated posting for awhile because it made me feel insecure about myself  + didn't seem to fit my standard of perfect. I figure it's about time to get over the fear of what other people think + show you the face of a girl who is happiest when she isn't comparing herself to others. 




// "Be ye therefore perfect" //

All my life I've wanted to use this scripture as a checklist or a measuring tape for my success. I grew up with an ultra talented mom who was the epitome of a "perfect" homemaker, wife, and mother. She taught me how to cook, clean, sew, paint, play the piano, mow lawns, read the scriptures, pray, plan family home evening lessons, (etc. etc. etc. etc.) all while teaching these same things to my four siblings, fulfilling her church callings, serving in the community, making it to all of our dad's games, and keeping a spotless house. I remember at age 7 sitting on the edge of the tub and watching my mom putting on makeup and doing her hair. I looked at her and thought "She is the most beautiful person in the whole wide world. My mom is perfect." I knew that if I could become exactly like my mom when I got older, I could be "perfect" too. 

Throw in the fact that I have grandma's, aunts, and cousins who when combined can do everything and anything, and you have the complete circle of "perfect" women. Growing up around this culture of talented, organized, and driven women made me want to grow up and be exactly like them. It was decided. Let the record show that when I grew up I would be dressed to the nines everyday, with a sparkling clean house that was decorated just like the shows I watched on HGTV. I would marry a handsome returned missionary, and I would find pure joy in cooking us gourmet dinners. I would find time to balance my church callings, job (just let me be a stay at home mom!), and home life all while finding time to travel, exercise daily, and be in short, "perfect'.

..... Well....

Now I'm grown up. 

Let's take a tally of how my plan is going so far.

 - I make the effort to get ready everyday, but by about 6:30 I'm already out of my nice clothes and into the biggest oversized shirt I can find and a pair of yoga pants. (if I have pants on at all.)
 - My house is pretty tidy, but heaven knows that if you open my closet you'll find last week's laundry still not put away, and most the things I've worn in the past few days on the floor. 
 - I did marry a handsome returned missionary (check!), but pure joy and cooking dinner are never in the same sentence. Poor Colten can't count on his fingers and toes how many times I've said, "Hey, I don't feel like cooking tonight. again. Alberto's?"
 - Right now I have two church callings which make our already busy lives a little chaotic. (not gonna lie, I've about had it with overbearing cub scout mom's)
 - I'm starting my first "real" job in two months and I'm terrified. And kid's won't be in the picture for a while. 
 - I've only been on an airplane once, and don't even know where half of the places in the world are. 
 - I exercise a few times a week, but honestly its the thing that gets pushed to the bottom of my "to do" list on busy days. 

Obviously, I'm way off track of my Plan for Perfection. And even though I'm able to make it seem light hearted now, I beat myself up over the fact that I haven't achieved this "mormon woman perfection" yet. Throw in the fact that I've always had low self esteem + that our actions & thoughts are so guided by standards set on social media, it's created this awful voice saying I'm never going to be enough. 

I feel like I have a lot of strengths and talents, but heaven knows I was born a perfectionist and that "doing my best" will never be enough unless its literally THE BEST OUT THERE. I work hard to not compare myself to others, but it's so easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to the highlight reels we see everyday on instagram, facebook, or other blogs. I constantly see examples of women (some known and unknown) who have skinny + toned bodies, carrying a baby on each hip, dressed in the newest style, with perfect hair + makeup, telling the social media world about the new business they just started successfully on a whim. They show perfection in little squares with perfect aesthetic in their feed. They live in perfect homes with beautiful natural light, can create perfect candid moments using photography skills they just "picked up over the weekend". 

Am I the only one who starts to feel inadequate? 

This post came as the result of a really hard day yesterday, and the most beautiful answer to prayers given today. 

Yesterday, I cried because these feelings of inadequacy, low self esteem, and failure crept up out of their dark place and right into the center of my heart. I started to really believe that these feelings I was having were true and that I was of not worth. I'm sad to say that this is not the first day where I've had this kind of experience. So, I did the one thing that brings me comfort every time. I prayed to my Heavenly Father, asking for some relief from the bad feelings I was having about myself. I asked for comfort and assurance that I was enough, and that I would be able to have my heart lifted. I fasted this morning for the ability to start loving myself again. Then I got dressed and went to church. 

If ever there was a moment where I felt love from my Heavenly Father, this was it. 
The lesson for today? Getting over Perfectionism. 

I sat stunned that such a perfect lesson was being given on a day when I had specifically prayed and fasted to be able to look past my perfectionism + feel like my best was worth something. As I listened to the sisters in my ward share their own experiences + feelings about perfectionism and the insecurities it brings, I started to realize a couple things. 

1) Men are that they might have joy - not guilt trips. 
If I didn't exercise every day, it was probably because I was busy doing things that made me happier - like spending time with my husband, or reading a good book out in the sun. No need to guilt trip myself!
If I didn't make a cute treat + handout to take to my visiting teaching sister this month, it was probably because I was doing things that made me happier - like eating the treat with colten while watching netflix. No guilt trip needed! 
If I didn't post a mushy picture of me + my husband on instagram this weekend, it was probably because I was doing things that made me happier - like keeping some things to ourselves + focusing on doing fun things like fishing + canoeing at the lake. Why feel guilty?

2) Everything does not require your best. 
We get wrapped up in the idea that we need to excel at everything. HELLO?! Why?! Honestly it's exhausting to put 100% into everything we do. I am really good at some things, so I should be happy with myself over those accomplishments instead of beating myself because I didn't do perfectly at things that don't matter as much. Do you need to be perfect at washing the dishes? No, and in the end it doesn't matter if they sit there overnight... or until monday. I would rather put my whole heart into the important things like loving my spouse + family, or strengthening my testimony, or making it to the temple regularly than trying to have a perfectly decorated house, or trying to win the instagram game. 

3) Comparison is the thief of joy. 
We've heard it and pinned it a billion times on pinterest, but it's got some truth to it. You will never have someone else's life. You might not be able to run a marathon like them, or travel like them, or have the things they have. BUT GUESS WHAT? They will never get to have your life either. Once we remind ourselves that we were all here with different talents, opportunities, and struggles, we can be grateful and happy with our own lives. 

4) Perfection isn't possible
Remember how I told you about my mom + aunts + other women I know being perfect? Though they are wonderful women who work hard + have talents, their lives aren't perfect and neither are they. ( I say this so lovingly!) It only appeared that way. Now that I'm older I realize that their perfect lives were marked with heartaches, challenges, and some of the same struggles I find myself facing today. Perfection isn't attainable and I think we were designed that way. 

So - to finish up this huge blog post. 
I know that even if my life isn't "perfect", no one's actually is, so I'm going to be happy. 
I am going to be happy because I have a wonderful life. 
I am going to be happy because I still have new things to learn + things to focus on. 
I am going to be happy, because I no longer want to be perfect. I just wanna be Paisley, who is good at being a peacemaker, can cook a mean stirfry, and can rock a messy bun + worn out jeans like nobody's business. 

So grateful for answered prayers + the ability to see myself in a new light. 
XOXO
Love P





May 19, 2017

Baby Brown Birth Story

 

 

Last Sunday I had the incredible opportunity to be the birth photographer for a friend here in Cedar City. Sweet little Theo Brown was born on Mothers Day, and came into the world as beautiful and perfect as could be! I still can't get over all that hair! Such a sweet, heavenly moment to be apart of as these two became parents. Thank you, Aubryelle + Riley for trusting me to capture such a tender birth story. 

XOXO
Love P

May 14, 2017

Dylan's Senior Session


// Isn't he a handsome guy? //

I had the best time the other night hanging out with my younger brother and shooting his senior session before he graduates from high school! This boy... the epitome of determination and knowing what he wants in life! He works hard to achieve his goals and deserves all the best in the world. It's hard to believe he's already done with high school and getting ready for the next chapter of his life, which I am so glad to say will be up here in Cedar City as he attends Southern Utah University!
Wishing his good genes would have been shared with me a little more! ;)

XOXO 
Love P

April 7, 2017

Saying Goodbye to SUU


Well, it's official! This girl is all done with student teaching + is totally ready for graduation on Friday. My last day of student teaching was April 7th, and it was definitely a bittersweet moment! I have loved both of my placements and feel that I grew so much into my own style of teaching. It's been so fun to see "my kids" around town and get big hugs from them. Those are the things I will be craving over the summer!

 It's crazy to think that my time at SUU is done, because I swear it just started. I mean, this was basically yesterday right?! With graduation just three days away, I've been thinking about all the change I've been through during my four years here going to school. I remember being so excited to graduate high school and get started on my next adventure. Throughout the next few years, I would experience so many things that helped me stretch, grow, and become more myself.

I had some really good roommates, some really bad roommates, and some that are still my best friends. I've survived an overflowing kitchen sink, crazy roommate boyfriend drama, stupid girl fights, and homesickness. I've learned how to cook rice successfully (finally!), spent long nights in the library, and have spent even more time having Justin Bieber dance parties that were #money. I fell in love, fell out of love, and then fell in love with the right person. I became an aunt. I snuck into old buildings on campus, played countless pranks on people, and had week-long sleepovers in the kitchen. I helped someone really close to me get through depression, and got through a little bit of depression myself. I decided to go through the temple.  I ate too many birthday cake milkshakes (thanks em), went bowling a thousand times, and survived being chased by a hobo in the sheep tunnels. I gave four presentations and then realized I hadn't put a bra on that morning. I skipped class. I made friends in the Elem Ed program that I don't think I'll ever lose. I married my best friend. ... And I did it all while earning my bachelors degree & majoring in Elementary Education.

Over the years here at SUU, I've tried to have three rules:

#1 Comparing your college experiences to other people's is dumb. Don't do it. 
I feel like there is this pressure when you go to college that if you aren't constantly partying & having a great time you are a college failure. Let me tell you this: There might be nights where you go out with friends and that's awesome! However, there might be nights where you find yourself just in your pajamas watching Anne of Green Gables with your roommate, and you shouldn't feel bad about it. ITS TOTALLY OKAY.   Don't hate yourself because you look on Instagram and see that other college kids did something super fun and meanwhile you were home doing your homework and trying not to kill your roommates for not doing her dishes. #we'veallbeenthere.


#2 You can do anything (even if its out of your comfort zone) for thirty minutes. 
I had a roommate my freshman year who started this whole idea. She would lure us into crazy late night ideas or boring sounding activities by simply saying, "You only have to do it for thirty minutes". And then if we whined she would just yell "THIRTY MINUTES! THIRTY MINUTES!" until we finally agreed. While at first this was kinda annoying, it eventually became the rule of our house. Because of this simple rule, we went to concerts, campus events, opera performances, firesides, parties, etc that we wouldn't have ever gone to if left up to our own choice.

I've tried to keep this motto throughout the rest of college, and it's been so rewarding. I really have to be pushed to get out of my comfort zone, so it's the perfect motivator to get out and try something new! (Plus, if you go and its totally awful, thirty minutes is the perfect amount of time to spend there before it's time to make an excuse and scram).

#3 Overall, do whatever will make you the happiest.
If you only listen to one thing I have to say, this should be it. Go somewhere quiet, grab a pad of paper, and make a list of things that make you the happiest. Maybe it's a list of 50 things. Maybe it's only got 8 things written on it. Whatever you feel covers it. Then, DO THOSE THINGS. Easy right?!

Try to do at least one every day, or every week (whatever you have time for!) Maybe your happiness requires that you spend 30 minutes a day watching funny YouTube videos. Maybe trying new recipes make you happy, or having a game night with some friends.

As an almost graduated student, I look back and have very little regrets because I always tried to choose happiness over all else. To me, happiness meant spending most weekends at home with my family + hometown friends. It meant going to the track and getting some much needed exercise to clear my head. It meant the occasional binge-watching gossip girl and grey's anatomy. Happiness was being well organized, finding time for photography, and learning how to do brush lettering. Happiness was skipping class to go to the temple with my mom, or drives up the canyon blasting country music. Bottom line, you should be happy! Take time to do your favorite things, and do them without guilt or embarrassment. I promise it will make your life feel like YOUR life, and it will make all the difference.


So, I guess this is it! As good as the last four years have been, I feel ready to close the door on this part of my life, and start getting ready for my next adventures. But first, Summer Vacation!!
XOXO 
Love P 

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