Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter weekend

Easter is truly one of my favorite times of the year. What Easter means to me goes beyond the bunnies and chicks and peeps and chocolate. Now, while I do enjoy most of those baby animals or candy, Easter is all about who makes life possible and that is Jesus Christ.

He was crucified and died for our sins. And then, He did what no one else has done or could do: He was resurrected!

Because He conquered, I know that the grave has no victory.

Some of you might have seen a movement called, #BecauseofHim floatin around the internet?
I saw the awesome short video that was simple yet so profound. It has made me think all week all the blessings that are in my life, because of Him.

Because of Him, I belong to a wonderful family. and someday, my family can be reunited again in Heaven. Because of Him, I gain strength through my weaknesses and challenges I face in this life. Because of Him, I have so much hope for the future and comfort knowing I am never alone.

I was blessed to have the company of my cousin Richard and a few friends stop by for a visit throughout Saturday. It was nice, because it was a good distraction for me to take my mind off the worries of the world. I love how positive and loving my friends and family are. They are always there for me and help me, without knowing they are helping me (and sometimes they really do, like run errands for me!) It's so great to have them in my life.
waldo, the funniest.

Then on Easter Sunday, I went to Sacrament meeting at Church and came home early to visit with my dad, stepmom, brother and sister. The Easter bunny did in fact visit me and gave me cute and yummy treats (but I didn't take a picture of it all) :( but I more importantly did some good photos with my family! Plus, my stepmom did my nails (she's an awesome nail tech)! so yay for pretty french tips! I always love spending time with any of my family or good friends! It was special because my dad gave me a nice, red journal that had belonged to my grandpa Henry. He didn't write anything in it, but I will always cherish it and will definitely fill it up with my life's adventures and thoughts.

I then ended my night watching the Hallmark movie, "In My Dreams." Did any of you catch that Sunday night? Or do you like Hallmark movies? I am a sucker for them and almost all of them made me cry, but not this one! haha.
sibling selfie!

Overall, it was a good Easter weekend. I hope all of you got to spend time with your loved ones and had fun, in however you may celebrate :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Yoplait Greek 100 Taste-Off

*I'd like to thank Yoplait for sponsoring today's #Tasteoff post, and giving me the opportunity to express my completely, 100% honest opinions.

Oh what a treat we have today! I am so excited to present to you the #tasteoff challenge I took recently. I love yogurt. I actually eat yogurt everyday as I have difficulty swallowing pills, so I crush them up and mix them in with yogurt. I also believe consuming yogurt as a snack or with breakfast is a great way to keep me from packing on the pounds. I mean, it's light, creamy and comes in a variety of flavors! what's not to love? It all came down to Yoplait Greek 100 Strawberry and Chobani Simply 100 Strawberry. Since Greek yogurt has hit the market, I sometimes buy Greek yogurt to have as a snack because it's thicker in consistency, which I love (I can't stand runny yogurt!), and at 100 calories for the whole 5.3 oz container, I am so good to go.

I loved that I had the opportunity to participate in this taste-off. I rallied my friends Sherri, Heide and Sofia to test it out too. It was so fun setting it up and marking Yogurt A (Yoplait) and them not knowing which was which. I drew up little ballots to make the taste-off challenge more fun. I also mixed and scooped out the yogurt into glass bowls.

Everyone and I chose Yogurt A which was Yoplait!! It had a stronger trawberry flavor and strawberry chunks versus Chobani's. We all thought that Yoplait's was sweeter whereas Chobani's had a sour-ish, almost bitter aftertaste. While I do like that Chobani's yogurt is thicker, I actually surprised myself and chose the Yoplait because of the better strawberry flavor!

These 100 calorie Greek yogurts are a much better choice than chowing down on a bag of chips, right?! Yoplait Greek 100 is available nationally and offers 12 different flavors of their Greek yogurt such as black cherry, blueberry, strawberry banana, lemon, mixed fruit, apple pie, peach, tropical, however, my favorites are strawberry, key lime, vanilla and strawberry cheesecake. Have you tried Yoplait Greek 100 yogurt before? Which are your favorite flavors?

Check out the Yoplait Greek website and take the challenge for yourself!
Now that I’ve taken the Yoplait Taste-Off, now it’s your turn to get in on the fun! Come back and let me know who won your taste off!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My new reality: part two

I've been soooo out of the loop with blogging that I've started to miss it. to miss you guys. to miss sharing what I've been up to and what's been on my heart.

First, I just want to sincerely thank you all who sent love, prayers and condolences to me and my family in this time since my grandpa Henry has passed. It's so much appreciated. We had his funeral, Thursday, April 3rd and then, Friday, April 4th, we took his him to the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction. That day was my favorite part of "laying him to rest". I had so many relatives come from Texas, California and New Mexico to honor his life. I have a huge family and I am not joking when I say that I didn't even get to say Hello or take a photo with everyone over the two days!

Grandpa loved the mariachis

Grandpa & Nana's Kids

One good thing about funerals is that it brings people together. I absolutely loved seeing family and family friends come together for my grandpa.

My family decided to wear bright, springy colors the day of the funeral. I thought that was perfect, because my grandpa was so cheery and he loved plants and flowers. He was a landscaper afterall. The teal skirt hanging in my closet would be perfect, but I needed a nice, coordinating top to go with it, so my friend and caregiver Lynda took me to the mall Wednesday evening (the day before the funeral) to find a shirt and I did! The funeral took place at a Catholic Church in the east valley, about an hour away from my home. This was the church that he and his girlfriend went to every Sunday for Mass. We held a rosary prayer thirty minutes before the service actually began. During the service, we sang a few hymns, including, "how great thou art" and that just struck at my heartstrings...lots of tears flowed from the congregation.

The view of the Superstition Mountains from the church

After the service, the priest invited anyone to go up and offer words about my grandpa. I wanted to go but there were steps and the microphone on the podium was too high, plus the podium itself would block people from seeing me, so I was very thankful that my cousin Roy and cousin Devin went up. Shortly after, we had a luncheon there at the church and my cousin Bridget put together a amazing video full of photos throughout the years of my grandpa's life set to about five different songs. Oh, watching that video made me tear up so much. But I love it.

Later, after relaxing for a couple hours, everyone gathered at my aunt June's house for food and company. I wanted to stay longer, but I started not feeling well so I left around 9:30 and got home around 10:30 that night and I left my house at 8:45 in the morning!
I love my grandpa so much. I am so grateful to my good friends Kim & Elisa who were able to attend the funeral festivities with me as well to my mom who held my hand as we went up for communion. I am thankful that my family has many wonderful, generous friends who have helped us with the funeral. My grandpa is so loved and the love that was created by all those who attended was as if you could grasp it within your hands.

Grandpa's brother, Les

I am so thankful that I got to learn more about him and my other family members, like my nana margaret who passed away in 1997. The stories. Oh, the many stories that still need to be recorded. I have alot of catching up to do, but I am not complaining. I am privileged to hear, to know and learn and be with my family.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fools Day Giveaway! (not foolin ya)

Happy April Fool's Day!
I don't have any trickery planned for today and I honestly love a good laugh, but I can't handle any major tricks right now! My best trick was when I was in 8th grade and I gave some "chocolate" to my boy crush. He bit into it and all it was was chocolate covered cotton balls! hahahah. totally got him.

But seriously, what better way to start off April than with an AH-MAZING giveaway!? I promise this is not a joke! I am teaming up with Alyssa of Impractical Composition and other wonderful bloggers for this fun giveaway!

What foolery is up your sleeve today? Or did someone prank you? Tell me. I like to laugh :)

Monday, March 31, 2014

my new reality: part 1

This past week has been an emotional one for sure.
My grandpa henry passed away somewhat suddenly last Wednesday, March 26th.

Let me tell you how much I saw God's hand in my life last week.

Last sunday, march 23-24th, I was having a discussion with a good friend about loss, death, family, eternal life and the things that really matter. Looking back, I feel like that talk with him prepared me for Wednesday. Tuesday night, my friend Carrie posted on our ward's facebook page if it was fast/testimony sunday (yesterday) and I thought, "yeh I am not going to go up for testimony since I just did a few weeks ago). This will come into play later. My mom happened to have vacation from work last week and we had planned for her to come visit me two weeks prior for the 26th. On wednesday, my mom and I went to Rubio's for lunch, one of our favorite places to eat. As we were waiting for dialride to pick us up to go there, my cousin steph called but I don't like talking on the phone when I am with other people, so I texted her and told her i'd call her back later that I was with my mom. Well, about 10 minutes later, my phone is vibrating and it's my dad calling, but I didn't answer because I was literally going down the lift on the dialaride bus and it was too loud for me to answer. My mom and I order food and get settled at a table and start eating when my dad calls again. I had to pick up. I knew something was going on to have him and my cousin be calling me at the same time. I answer, say, "hi dad." and my dad replies, "hi brittany. um, grandpa henry passed away this morning. yeh, my dad passed away." what felt like a minute, was probably just a couple seconds that it took to register in my brain that grandpa was dead. I immediately start crying, which quickly turned into sobbing. my mom is crying too and got up to stand and hug me to the side and picked up the phone because I couldn't even talk to my dad.

I cried and couldn't believe this happened (the shock factor.) Different thoughts crossed my mind including, "everyone in rubio's is probably wondering what happened to that girl." Then I didn't care, my grandpa just died. After I settled down a bit, in crying I asked my dad what happened. how did it happen? He said, "i don't know. all i know is that natalie (his girlfriend) found him and that we got to get his body to the mortuary right now."

After I got off the phone with my dad, I cried off and on more and just gushed out to my mom how thankful I was that she was with me that day. It's rare that my mom visits me during the week and just the fact that she was there with me was such a blessing. Later after we got home, I had a group of friends show up as we had a meeting planned for 4pm. I completely spaced it after talking with my dad. My elder missionaries and my friend J gave me a blessing which was so comforting and my girls (aka my teachers) gave me hugs and just let me know they were there for me. My friend stayed and talked with me for an hour and I cried more. Then, later that evening my friend Des stopped by unexpectedly and we talked and cried together for a little over an hour. It was such a Spirit filled conversation I just felt so strongly God's love for me that day.

Personally, I've had many condolences offered and prayers offered on behalf of me and my family. we truly appreciate it so much. I've had many texts and phone calls and facebook comments and messages left offering words of comfort as well as just communicating with family near and far. It was honestly overwhelming those first few days, not to say that I am not grateful. it's just that my grandpa was a popular, friendly, funny guy. I am so blessed to have so many who love me. Also, i think it was thursday evening that my friend carrie stopped by with flowers for me and was good to chat with her about other things too and then my friend rachel came by saturday and again, was so therapuetic to talk about my grandpa and just his life and the last two days of memories I have with him which I'll share in another post.

So about testimony/fast sunday? Yeh, after wednesday, that night, i just knew that I had to go up and share my testimony, the things I know and believe. I did and I went up for my grandpa. To share a bit about him and even though this is a time of saddness because we miss him, there is hope in Christ and the atonement.

In Mosiah 16:7-9,
  "And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.
  But there is a resurrection , therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
  He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death. "

It comforts me to no end that death does NOT claim victory over us. Because of Christ and his sacrifice and resurrection, He overcame death and it's such a blessing to know that death will not conquer us either and that we can have eternal life and live in a perfect paradise with our creator, God. I know I'll see my grandpa again, someday.

It's monday now, and it still hasn't quite hit me that my life is completely changed with my grandpa gone. This is my new reality: that I must keep going forward and living my life wholeheartedly and passionately as he did. I do know that I've just gone through and am going through a major life defining moment. I know everything will be good because of my Heavenly Father and the promises he has made. My faith and trust lies in Him and my grandpa would want each of his family members and friends to not be sad so much, but rejoice  and honor  his life and that's what we will be doing later this week. Forever yours grandpa.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

giveaway with Modern Penny

Good news for ya today!
My week has been so jam packed filled I've neglected my poor little blog, but I just had to pop in say hello to give you an opportunity to win an Ipad mini!! I'll be back as soon as I can to share in length some personal news.

I am teaming up with Ashley from flats to flip flops and other amazing bloggers to bring you this sweet giveaway courtesy of Modern Penny! I've never heard of ModernPenny.com before, so I'm definltely checking them out to see what daily cuties I find :) you know I love to shop! you too, eh?
flatstoflipflops.com Modern Penny Daily Deal Site
Started by BFF's Kelsie & Julie as a way to share items they loved at prices you'll love, Modern "Penny" is your very own personal shopper disguised as a daily deal site that offers one amazing deal a day. No worries though...they also have a "past deals" section where you can grab past deals for a limited time. Not only do they offer some amazing clothing and jewelry, they also sell home goods, baby, craft supplies and much much more!
Here is just a sampling of what they have to offer:2014_3_belts1-850x8502014_3_goldgeoearrings4-550x400
Go ahead and check it out here!
And if you aren't already loving them(you know you are).... today they are generously giving away....drum roll please.....
flatstoflipflops.com Win and Ipad Mini from Modern Penny
Enter using Rafflecopter below! Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end April 1st!
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*as always, my opinions and thoughts expressed are my own. However, this post is sponsored by modern penny.