The Post Where I Divulge a Little Bit Too Much About Orem High School

My high school is going to be razed next week.  The new high school has been under construction for a few years and will be completed shortly.  A parking lot will be made where the old school sits, and the new school was built in the old school’s parking lot.

I am one of the few people (so I’m told) that loved high school and I find myself very nostalgic at the moment.

  • I have wonderful memories of being on the debate team and winning lots of speaker awards (very cool mallets for winning) and state championships in my division.  The best part is, I seriously had no idea what I was doing.  I talked fast, I was quick, and I let my debate partner do all the dirty work (research) and I presented it all.  I think he still resents me for it.
  • I loved sneaking out of swim class.  I was not a fast swimmer, but I loved being on the team anyway.  I learned “She who swims the fastest does not have the most fun.  She who swims along the bottom of the 13 foot pool with her best friend and successfully sneaks out of the pool to sit in the sauna has the most fun!”
  • My fashion and advertising classes (which I loved) may have been the most relevant classes I took to prepare me for “real life.”
  • I loved choir.  I mostly loved choir tour.  🙂

I drove by Orem High today to take some pictures before it was destroyed and I was too late!  The school’s name was already taken off the building! (Do you see the snow capped mountains?  They are compliments of the Monday’s storm.)  Today was the last day this building functioned as a school.

I happened to go to my old high school right as school was letting out . . . not something I suggest when carrying a bunch of camera gear.  I ran into my niece Betsy (who graduates on Friday) and my nephew Jake in the halls.  They were pretty surprised to see me wandering about!

Each year, the graduating class would nominate people for “Superlatives.”  I had forgotten I was nominated, and found it interesting and funny that I was voted “Most Photogenic.”  Yes, there was a time when I LOVED to be in front of the camera, that was about 10 years and 20 pounds ago.  Now, I just like to be behind the camera.  Maybe the category, “Most Likely to Become a Photographer” would have been more appropriate.  🙂

I posted some of these pictures on facebook and it seems like everyone is a bit nostalgic!  Poor us . . . all of our memories will have to remain in our minds.  Our homecoming King from the class of 1996 (Andy Payne for anyone who knows/cares) messaged me after seeing these pics and told me I made a great Homecoming Queen.  I was all, um . . . what exactly made me great?  They way I accepted and wore my tiara?  Not a lot of duties (meaning NONE) if I remember correctly . . .

I saw this chart outside of the counselor’s office and it stopped me short.  I mean, 27 credits to graduate from high school?  Seriously?  Only 27 credits?  Doesn’t that seem like, not enough?  Gosh.  Four years to complete it too.  That is an average of six credits per semester.  No wonder I thought high school was easy.  To put it in perspective, medical school is an average of 31 credits per semester and there are no lame-o-filler-classes with that.  I’m just sayin’!

As I walked through the school, I couldn’t think of one teacher that I really remembered or who had influenced me . . . most of my memories were of my friends and in the cafeteria, which was renovated a few years ago.  I did however, drop into one classroom where I recognized the teacher’s name, Mr. Ashdown.  He was my driver’s ed teacher and had absolutely no recollection of me.  When I told him I was in his class in 1993, a girl sitting in a desk overheard me and said, “Hey!  I was born in 1993!”

Yes.  she just said that.  In that moment, I knew I had been in denial about aging.  Seriously, how can you deny your age when current high school kids were born the year you attended high school, and the actual school itself is going to be torn down because it is is SO OLD?

I must not deny it anymore.  I am aging.  I have wrinkles and some sun spots.

Heaven help me.

Wait, I think I just need a dermatologist to help me get back into the denial stage.

Yes.  I think I like being in denial.

Don’t Let Your Kids Grow Up to be JPEGS

I read that tag line years ago  . . . it was an ad for HP in a magazine.  When I read it, I didn’t even know what a JPEG was.

Oh my.

I’ve come a long way in four short years.  You see, when David started medical school, I started a new chapter in my life where I was unemployed (not out of choice, but because we relocated to a foreign country), and pregnant.  Honestly, I barely knew how to check my email in 2005, let alone take a picture and then download it and save it as a JPEG file on my computer.  Remember how empowered I felt the first time I learned how to download pictures off my SD card?  Yeah.  I’ve come a looooong way.

When you find yourself unemployed, childless, and living in a foreign country with a husband who has to study a lot, you end up following your nose.  At night, when my husband would study, and the whole island was still and dark, and I had no diapers to change, or babies to tend to, I found myself reading about photography.

That is how this whole new chapter of my life began.

Remember the title of this post?  I’ve taken that to heart, and I get lots and lots of my images printed.  Lots of them. (Remember my basement wall in Kansas City?)

Sometimes, when the sun, moon, and starts all align, I get stuff for free or on incredible promotions too.

Like this for example:

This is my first gallery wrap.  Clients have ordered them, and I’ve coveted their orders wishing I could order all of my images in 16×20 gallery wraps too.  A few weeks ago, a local company offered me a FREE 16×20 gallery wrap using one of my images so I could see their work.  You know, so I would order from them in the future.

Hallelujah.  Bless them.  I love it sooooo much.  🙂

I recently printed the Timpanogos Temple on a float wrap with a metallic finish.  LOVE IT.

My super talented mother-in-law is an artist, and she made a water color from one of the images I took of Hannah’s ballet class from this post. I love it!

I also had two different books made from from our trip to New York.  The first book is only 20 pages, and it is a generic coffee table book that would appeal to the general public, not just my family.  I selected images from historical church sites for this book.  It has a lovely high gloss jacket cover, with lots of pictures with minimal text.  Many of you asked me to make a coffee table book and here it is!

I really love the black and white layout.

Oh, and I love the four churches spread.

The second book I made was a 100 pages.  MyPublisher sent me an email promoting their new matte cover, telling me I could make a book up to 100 pages for $20.  For those of you who have not made a photo book before, that is a steal. I’m not usually one to pass up a good deal, so I put in about 30 hours over a three day period putting this book together.

I love it.  Really.  It is my family journal of our special time in New York.

I copied and pasted my blog from the seven weeks we were in New York with accompanying images.   Normally, a book this big is about $130, so you can only imagine how excited I was to only pay $20 for it!  I have really loved MyPublisher.  I’ve made 10 different books through them, and have always been really happy with the quality.  I’ve used other companies to make books too, (Snapfish, and Shutterfly) but I like MyPublisher the best.  I have yet to try Blurb, and I know they are less expensive, so they are next on my list.

Here’s the scary part though . . . I hit 100 pages without even blinking.  This book ONLY covers seven weeks.  Do you know how long I’ve been blogging?  YIKES.  I started in 2006, so you know, I have a lot of hours ahead of me and money to fork over to get my blog properly printed into several books!

Random Weekend

Oh boy. This week is slipping away from me. I meant to post about some fun things this past weekend, but you know . . . where did the time go?

On Friday night, Hannah and I went to the musical “Singing in the Rain” in Lehi to see my good friend Bethany who starred in it. This was Hannah’s first play, and let me tell you, SHE LOVED IT. She giggled, and rooted for everyone. We were splashed by real rain that fell from the ceiling, and that was probably her favorite part along with all the singing and tap dancing. 🙂 She was so giddy with excitement, her little body was about to burst, and part of the “bursting” was confessing her undying love for me no less than 98 times . . . that was my favorite part. Now she wants to learn how to tap dance so she can join a musical too.

On Saturday, I had an idea hit me over the head. It was like a persistent itch: I had to execute my idea to relive my brain of this cool concept.

I called Brian. (Naturally, I expect him to be available anytime I’m struck with a concept to photograph.)

I left him a message telling him my idea. I told him to clear his schedule for the next couple of hours because I was the most important thing in his life right at that moment.

Ahem. (Usually when you have to spell something out, it’s probably news to other people.)

He called me back, telling me he was on a plane, just about to take off.

Um . . . Hello? What part about “clear your schedule” wasn’t clear? And, to add insult to injury, he was off to meet his new girlfriend’s parents. (He meets EVERYONE’S parents . . . this is not serious yet.) I know my new rank now.

On Saturday afternoon, David and I went for our first barefoot run. He toughed it out and actually went barefoot for the majority of the run. I was smart and wore my five fingers from the start. 🙂 It was our first “date run.” It was actually fun, and totally apparent that David is in way better shape than I am.

Saturday night, we finally got to spend some time with our good friends Marshall and Jill. They live five houses down from us now, (this is a crazy coincidence, since we haven’t lived in the same city or state for over a decade) but it took three months for our schedules to align. We had such a great time chatting, and just hanging out together. It really is amazing how everywhere you move, there are cool people everywhere you go. We’ve been fortunate to make life long friends everywhere we’ve been. Marshall and Jill have been part of our lives since we’ve been married.

On Sunday, a really nice person got up to bare their testimony (which was really sweet) and they talked about how challenging it was to be in school full time, while their wife was in school part time, and they had a child. If I had heard this before med school, I would have thought, “Oh my! How do you even deal with it?” But, sadly, we are almost POST medical school (did you read that! SIX more weeks!) and I am totally JADED. I looked over at David and whispered, “Whatever . . . try medical school . . . average of 32 credits a semester, and 80 hour work weeks during clinicals . . . did I mention I’m in school part time too and we have two kids?”

David whispered back and me saying, “Where is your compassion?”

You see, that’s the thing, I lost compassion somewhere along the way . . . it could have been when the school screwed us over, not providing nearly enough loan money (this is not an opinion, this is a fact) or the grueling hours David has spent away from us studying, or the FOUR (COUNT THEM FOUR) cross country moves we HAD TO MAKE last year, plus the MONTHS we’ve had to spend apart as a family while David completed rotations elsewhere. My compassion was swallowed up in the process of being jaded by medical school.

I’m trying to be a better person. Maybe my outlook will improve when I see the light at the end of the never ending tunnel of medical school in six weeks.

Let’s hope.

Caramelized Cheetos

Have you ever tried caramelized Cheetos?

They are DELISH!  I was introduced to them about five years ago, and FELL IN LOVE with them the second they hit my tongue.

I had not thought about them since the day I ate them a few years ago, and suddenly, I remembered them and I had to make them!

So, there I found myself, entering the automatic doors of my local Walmart, on Christmas Eve.

It was worth it.  Squeezing through Crazy shoppers and all to get what I needed to make this recipe.

Never tried them?  Never made them?  Get the recipe here. Trust me, YOU’LL LOVE THEM!

Today Marks Twelve Years

Today is our 12th wedding anniversary.



We look so young.


My nieces look so young.  (Betsy is the is standing on the top left.)


Our parents, well, they look the same.


Today, as I reflect on twelve amazing, challenging, fun, happy, adventurous married years to my very handsome husband, I only have two regrets:

  • Not having kids sooner
  • Not hiring a decent wedding photographer!

Six! Seven! It All Sounds the Same to Me

I know a girl named Seven.  As in the number seven.  She was my dress assistant when I worked as a fit model in Taiwan.  She was so sweet and lovely, and spoke basic English pretty well with her soft low voice.


One day, after my skin felt like it would fall off my body if one more piece of fabric touched it, (she had helped me slide in and out of over 100 dresses that day) I asked her why her name was Seven.

Did you know that Asians who work primarily with Americans give themselves American names?  Yeah, they just pick out a name that sounds nice to them, and name themselves.

This is why she is named, Seven.

Because some ill-informed Asian told her that the number Seven was a popular name.

I kept calling her Six (on accident) when she was so nice to take me to the world’s stinkiest night market to help me find make-up brushes.  I yelled, “SIX!” several times above the loud hum of the crowded market to get her attention, and only after her non-response did I realize that the numbers six and seven don’t sound the same.


(Seven is on the left in the green shirt.  She is the the only Asian in the photo which might give her away too. . .)

Moral of the story:

Don’t name your kid after a number.

Sometimes, I Miss My Old Life.

Sometimes, when I feel like I’m nothing more than a nose wiping, diaper changing, mouth feeding mama, I miss my my old bridal store.

But just a little bit . . .


I certainly don’t miss working every Saturday, 12 hour shifts during the busy season (January though April), irresponsible employees, crazy brides, alteration issues, or back-ordered dresses.

But, I do miss getting dressed up, socializing with new people every day, working hard and getting a paycheck for it, designing dresses, traveling to China (needing a Hong Kong shopping fix about now!),  and mapping out and executing new floor sets.  I also miss seeing my store at night after it’s closed, when it’s dark, and quiet, and clean, with over 50 mannequins looking so ethereal.

I do miss that stuff.

Walk Down Memory Lane

Once upon a time, a very. very, long time ago . . .

David received music from a retiring D.J.

For reasons that I don’t understand, he gave David all of his music.

This music has been sitting on CD’s in MP3 format for years.

This format was not very user friendly (finding specific songs was a nightmare) until now . . .

This weekend, David transferred all the music to our hard drive . . .

We now have thousands of songs.  Most of which I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard before.

Listening to old favorites such as Sawyer Brown, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson (I’m such a county music lover) and Def Leppard (I am a closet Def Leppard fan.  Even David was surprised to hear this yesterday . . .) have brought back so many memories. Why is it that a song can take you back to a specific date in time, and bring back exact feelings?

We had a wonderful weekend walking down memory lane together.

I pulled out my old scrapbooks, we shared stories, laughed at our clothes, hair, and overall style through the years.

It was too much fun to keep this to ourselves, so let me share a few lovely photos with you:


This is my senior portrait in 1996.  I love the lamp behind my head.  Every photographer’s dream, right?  Halo head?


This was taken in the summer of 1994.  The other two girls int the photo are also named Emily.  That cotton candy was good.


This photo was taken in September 28, 1996.  Coincidentally, I had my first date with David on this day.  So, obviously, this is exactly how I looked when I went out with my future husband.  My hair really is plastered into place, and all that hairspray must have worked because, well, I got my man, right?


In May of 1997, my sisters, mom, and sister-in-law went to Hawaii on a girls trip.  David and I were engaged, and I missed him a lot, but somehow, I managed to have a great time. 🙂 (I’m on the right end)


Could I look any more put out having my picture taken at this tree in Key West?  David and I had a great time vacationing there.  I should have told my face. (June 1999)


Christmas 1999.  It was frigged cold and I have no excuse for these high wasted pants.  None.


These are some of my sisters, my mom, and three nieces, at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  I have no idea what year it was . . .maybe 2001, 2002, 2003?  All I know is that I still have that outfit.  I still wear the red jacket.  It’s as warm as it looks.


May 1999.  We were at David’s cousin’s wedding.  Again, we should have told our faces we were having fun.


June 2005.  The Girl on the end in blue was my business partner in our Bridal Store.  Sometimes, I miss those days.  But not very often.


Hey!  Our faces actually match out moods!  We were having a great time dancing the night away at David’s brother’s wedding in Chicago.  May 2001.

There you have it.  A peek into my past.  There may be more to come . . .