Saturday, December 31, 2011

To be a kid again

Sometimes I just feel like life is this constant battle of trying to keep yourself young. Whether it’s how you look, how often you find yourself laughing at nothing, how much you still enjoy the little things, or how winded you get doing things you used to do. Things often seemed so much better when you were ten years old. 
Well not this year!
This Christmas we spent a couple days up at my Uncle Sean's cabin in Big Bear. We all went sledding and had so much fun. No one seemed a day over ten.


That's dad

Kind of busted my knee on this one.
Oh this makes me laugh!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Red Rocks and Canyons

First I would like to say that, Moab is way better in the summer.

Having said that, besides the frigid weather, we had a great time. Thank you Derek for having the wonderful idea of staying a night in Moab on our way home from Concho.
We bundled up and walked the streets, had an all you can eat pizza buffet, and sat in the hot tub.
Mcgriddles in the morning and it's off to Arches. We went to Arches together a few years ago so it was kind of fun to relive. We also stopped by Canyon lands National Park, which we had not seen before. Fun, but nothing to get excited about.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


On spending Thanksgiving in Concho, Arizona.....

We drove about 10 hours, until we reached precisely the middle of nowhere.
It was actually colder and windier than Utah. Seriously, Arizona?? I thought you were supposed to be warm.
Spent time with grandparents. And their animals... Brandi is the beautiful dog below, that I could not stop taking pictures of.
We spent a lot of time in the pool and hot tub at my mom's hotel.
We drove to all the sites.... Petrified Forest, which you can basically see from the gift shop. The local Kmart. Gift shops, and more gift shops - I got a pair of moccasins, Yea!
Ate lots of Thanksgiving dinner and watch/slept through football.
Good times....

Seriously the coolest looking dog.

Derek and I decided to leave one day early and stay in Moab for a night. We had fun checking out Arches again and saw Canyon Lands for the first time (I'll post pictures soon). We're finally starting to put a dent in our goal to see all of the National Parks.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Decades of Obsession

Is it just me, or are there other people out there who find themselves dreaming about the past? Now I'm not meaning my past, but just the past in general, the past that I personally have never see. And will never see. Maybe that is precisely what the problem is, knowing that something so foreign and unique is so completely out of reach to me. We always want what we can't have, right? 

What I want is to live in each decade of the past. There are so many things from each time period that I find fascinating, and I just want to experience it. Yes I do realize that most of my obsession probably comes from movies and glorified ideas of what each decade was really about, but I still want to find out for myself. Just like our generation, I'm sure there was good and bad.

So my plan to overcome this obsession is to find ways to make my life more like the decades of the past. Of course I only plan to incorporate the wonderful things, considering that those are the things that began this whole fiasco. Not things like war and depression. It may not be very realistic, but it is my reality. I mean, truthfully, why do we continue to watch Pearl Harbor every time we see it on the guide? Not because we love watching people sink in ships, but because It's glamorous, romantic, and so very different from our simple lives. So until someone makes me a time machine, I will share with you each of my decade obsessions, and how I plan to incorporate them into my life on my new blog.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Yellowstonage and The Hole of Jackson

Growing up, I heard about Yellowstone so much that I was sure I had it pictured perfectly in my mind.
Those are always the ones that surprise you the most.

Derek and I had decided to go to Yellowstone over his fall break a couple months before, and we invited a bunch of people to go with us. Of course everyone had bailed by the night before, and we were super mad because we needed all the people to cut the cost down for us. After a few hours of sulking, we decided we didn't care about the money and we were just going to go by ourselves. So we did!

We got there late and checked into our crappy little hotel. Of course there wasn't a hot tub, which is super odd since that’s always the first thing Derek checks when booking our hotels. So, we snuck into the Best Western's hot tub and learned all about the must see areas from a fellow hot tubbing dude.

The next morning we got up, had McDonald's breakfast (Mcgriddle...YUM!) and headed into the park.

As beautiful as it was with all the snow, I hope we get to come again at a different time of year. Utah gets cold and snowy enough, that I don't think we needed to get a head start on winter. Plus it was slightly overcast and foggy for most of it, and therefore we didn't get the best view of the Tetons.

My favorite tree!!

I love how you can see steam coming up in the distance everywhere you look. It's actually kind of eerie to think about all the hot, active land under us.
Derek is absolutely fascinated by it. I think it's adorable.

The thing that surprised me the most about Yellowstone was how insanely large the park is. I was picturing like a small area of hot spots and pools all fenced in, not a land mass larger than Rhode Isalnd and Delaware combined. Another surprise was all the adorable buffalo roaming about. I love the idea of National Parks, so much amazing wildlife is preserved and protected. It makes me so happy to see all those buffalo free to do what they please without being affraid of us.


Good Old Faithful

 After spending the day in the park, we ate at the Old faithful Lodge, compliments to a Mr. Jensen, and then headed towards Jackson Hole. We checked into crappy hotel # 2 and then walked around the town all bundled up. We loved Jackson Hole. Such a cute little Cowboy town.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oh, The Colors of Fall

Our beautiful Sunday drive through Alpine Loop. One of the many "Annual Jensen Family Traditions" that I have been lucky enough to join. This tradition is shared with many other Utahns as well, because Utah is so gorgeous in the fall. 
Growing up in Southern California, where it jumps from summer to winter, I really appreciate the changing seasons that we get here in Utah. All the colors on the mountains are so vibrant that they almost don't look real. Sometimes I imagine planes flying by and dropping buckets of paint along the mountains.

One of my favorite parts of this drive is seeing all of the quaking aspen. They are such a unique looking tree.  As much as I hate to admit it, lately I have been loving all the carvings on them. Fancying myself a sort of tree hugger and all, I do feel bad about this new obsession.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Our European Adventure Cont...


I will start off by saying that Derek and I had the most unbelievable time in Paris. I'm not saying that Paris is better than any of the other cities we visited, but for some reason or another we really enjoyed it, and are positive we will go back someday. Our first day there we wandered around kind of lost and confused for a few hours waiting for our CouchSurfers to get home. Later we found out we were walking in completely the wrong direction, towards the lower end of Paris. Our CouchSurfers, Olivier and Chloe, were this really cute couple from Normandy, that were studying in Paris. They had another couple staying with them at the same time, so we slept on a blowup mattress in the living room. We walked all around Paris for a couple days, and saw Notre Dame, The Louvre, Saint Chapelle, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and Versailles. There are so many amazing things to see, I'm surprised we saw what we did. It just so happens that my birthday occurred while we were there, so we had a really nice dinner, and sat in the park by the Eiffel Tower watching it sparkle. It was a very fabulous and romantic birthday. Possibly my favorite night in Paris was when we met Chloe, Olivier, and a bunch of their friends at the Sacré Coeur (Montmartre) for a picnic. After, we all walked around a different part of the city and saw Moulin Rouge. Paris was so full of life in every single way. Between the beautiful history on every corner, the delicious pastries, the night life, the gorgeous language, and the laid back sense of togetherness; we had decided that’s all we need in life. Needless to say, we did not want to leave Paris.

With our CouchSurfers, Chloe & Olivier


We saw Chicago! With Christie Brinkley! My dad loves her.

We took another long train to Paddington Station where we caught another to Oxford. By this point, it felt like all we were ever doing was taking trains and subways. Which is funny because we probably took more subways in London than we did in every other city combined. Oxford is such an adorable town. There is so much to see, and so much interesting history. The whole place is basically the University of Oxford. All of the colleges are spread throughout the city, and most are open to the public. The major tourist area was Corn Market Street, which didn't allow cars and was lined with shops and restaurants. Connected to Corn Market is the covered market, my favorite place! The rain is not allowed in the covered market.
For the 4th of July we went to London and met a bunch of Carl's American friends at probably the only Tex-Mex place in England. Carl gave us the grand tour which was basically the "Royal Wedding Tour". We started to notice that most of the famous sites were somehow related to the wedding, and surprisingly enough Carl knew all the information about it. This is not something he's proud of. Being in England for more than two weeks, we saw nearly every inch of Oxford and got to know London fairly well. We met a lot of Carl's friends, who were amazingly fun and intelligent people. It was sad to leave because we knew that this was a segment in our life ending. It is very possible we may never see these people again, or experience such an adventure.
We will always have Facebook though. Which, at least, lets us pretend to still be friends with lost segments of our lives.

Our European Adventure was a once in a lifetime experience that we will remember forever. We may have lost some of our savings, and I may have lost some positions at work but we have no regrets. It was all worth it.
One thing I want to take out of this experience is the reassurance of how possible travel is. Not just for the wealthy or the lucky but for everyone. College students like Derek and I. Save up for a year or so, plan it out the cheapest way possible, and do it! All it takes is motivation. CouchSurfing was one of the coolest parts of this trip, and everyone can do it. All it took was us deciding that seeing the world was a priority for us.  Hopefully there will be many more adventures to come.