a collection of certainly special, uniquely unusual, and equally momentous thoughts: memoirs of me

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Few of my Favorite Things

You know when you find something that is so great you want to call each one of your friends to tell them how great it is? I've found myself thinking this about several items over the past few weeks so I thought I'd write up a blog post about a few little diddys. I'm not including just any old product here but things that are seriously helping me out in life and that I want everyone to know about.

So here goes nothing (in no particular order):

1. These Tinkle face and eyebrow razors

Image result for tinkle razor
If you're anything like me and have an absurd amount of peach fuzz on your face, this product is for you. Like, WHO HAS THIS MUCH HAIR ON THEIR FACE? I can thank my Grandpa Hewitt and his dang genes. Luckily, these face razors have been there for me in my time of need. When your regular razor isn't cutting it on the sensitive curves of your face, reach for these.

2. Costco wool socks

My mom got me turned on to these socks three winters ago and I seriously look forward to wearing them in the winter time. They are a merino wool blend but they aren't super thick so you get 1) incredibly breathable feet 2) great cushioning and 3) super warm coziness. They are PERFECT to go under boots of any kind. I know what you're thinking, how can a pair of socks be this great? Let me tell you how many people are on the bandwagon.

My mom gifted them to me.
I now have 16 pairs.
I gifted them to my husband.
He gifted them to his mom, dad, and sister.
His sister went and got two more sets for herself. She then gifted them to all of her roommates for Christmas and they all love them!

These babies are only sold seasonly and they come out with new patterns each winter so keep an eye out for them at your local Costco. They are branded as women's trail socks but you can wear them for any and all cold-weather occasions.

3) This kale and pear smoothie

I've been on the hunt for green smoothies that don't have a ton of sweet fruit in them but are still filling and this one does the trick. It's chock full of the superfood kale and has a more nutty taste to it than sweet.

Here's what you need:

1 frozen banana
1 bartlett pear
2 cups kale (you can substitute spinach if needed and it doesn't change the taste)
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 cup almond milk
Splash vanilla

(I also add 1 scoop of this LivFit superfood vegan protein to get even more nutrients)

I crave this smoothie every morning and it feels good to get in so many greens first thing in the morning.

4) These Tombow dual brush pens

One of the hobbies I'm trying to develop this year is a form of calligraphy called brush lettering. After some exhaustive research about the different pens, strokes, paper, and styles I got started. These pens were my first purchase and I don't regret them. They are the perfect pens for beginners and they create the most beautiful letters once you figure out the right pressure for the upward and downward strokes. If you're looking to get into this hobby, this is a great place to start!

5) These Le Creuset 12 oz cocottes

Jeff's favorite dessert is the Butterscotch Bread Pudding from Founding Farmers so I decided that for Christmas I'd buy these little beauties and try to recreate that bread pudding. While we're still figuring out how to make ours as good as the bread pudding at Founding Farmers, we quickly realized that these are absolutely perfect for the great, delicious PAZOOKIE! In case anyone doesn't know what a pazookie is, it's a slightly underbaked chocolate chip cookie baked into this thing and then topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Dreamy, right? If there's one thing that's quickly becoming a Jeff and Hannah Merrell thing, it's pazookies.

6) Hidden Figures

If you're living under a rock you may not have heard of the movie, "Hidden Figures" now showing in theaters. As a self-proclaimed movie lover and frequenter, I've declared this movie one that every person should see. It's good to its core, inspiring, teaches some great lessons about empowerment and civil rights, and makes you leave the theater wanting to do a little better. Seriously, though. This box-office hit deserves all the accolades.

7) This beauty blender

Although I feel like beauty sponges have been around for eons, these teardrop-shaped beauty blenders are the new-kid-on-the block and now I've been asking myself why it took them so long to make a sponge in this shape. I've never loved the red patchiness and uneven tones of my face and have always worn a lot of foundation.

Using a beauty blender (the trick is to get it wet first so don't skip that part!) and then applying my foundation has created a super smooth, even finish with my MAC foundation. I finally feel like I've figured out how to make my face look clear!

8) These coconut curry meals

For anyone who LOVES Indian food but doesn't have a good restaurant near you or doesn't want to pay an arm and a leg for it, these are your answer! They are SO easy to warm up - just throw the pouches in a pot of simmering water and within a few minutes, all that chicken and sauce is hot, hot, hot! Throw some basmati rice in the rice cooker, your favorite vegetable to steam on the stove, and 15 minutes later you have an incredibly delicious meal. Every time we make one of these for dinner I comment about how tasty they are. Easy peasy and super delicious. Get them at Costco (of course!) and put them in your fridge or freezer for the days you don't have anything else.

There you have it. All my favorite things wrapped up into one beautiful blog post! Hopefully you find something that will make your life a little easier, or beautiful, or delicious. I'd love to hear about any of your favorite things. We're in this together and I want to hear about what you rave about!

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Recap

There are a lot of memes like this going around these days:
2016 deaths memes

I get it. Kind of. These are people the world cares about and has loved. It's sad to see creative, talented people pass on. I was especially sad when I learned Alan Rickman died earlier this year. He played a beloved character in one of my favorite movies, Sense and Sensibility, as well as the iconic Snape in Harry Potter. 

Image result for alan rickman quotes

But do the deaths of all these celebrities really make 2016 the worst year in the history of the world? Okay so Trump won the election, so yes, this may be a pretty bad year, but at least for me 2016 has been pretty epic. 

Here's a recap. 

Got engaged to the love of my life. Secret: Jeff is actually the goofiest and I had no idea before I married him. He keeps me laughing every.single.day. He's also addicted to flossing his teeth. Another thing I did not know before our wedding night (call me for the story).

Jeff surprised me by flying this pillow to DC from Utah for Valentine's day, thus setting the standard really high for incredibly thoughtful gifts (and Valentine's Days).

Celebrated the life of my incredible grandmother with my family and extended family. Connected with cousins that I hadn't previously had relationships with and spent a few days reminiscing on the life and character of our family's matriarch. 

Took our engagement photos at sunrise near the Tidal Basin. Things are getting real. 

Got lost in wedding craziness. Stuffed envelopes. Finalized wedding registry. Designed reception decor. Perfected wedding day makeup. Ordered table linens. Started writing thank you notes. Had two bridal showers and felt the love from so many friends. Moved out of my last single apartment and into the apartment I'd share with Jeff. 

Best month of the year. Married the love of my life and honeymooned in Australia.

Worked the Citi Open tennis tournament for the 2nd year in a row. Took a tour of the White House's West Wing with friends and settled in our married lives. 

Traveled to Philadelphia for the new temple open house and spent some quality time getting to know our new kiddos in Primary. Watched A TON of the Olympics on TV. 

Celebrated my 30th birthday by traveling to Utah. Watched the BYU v. West Virginia football game at FedEx field with the best group of friends. 

Tried to avoid any and all things Halloween (I know, we're weird). Enjoyed watching the World Series and the best Game 7 ever (go Cubs!) and got a lot of calligraphy practice in. 

Celebrated Thanksgiving with our dearest friends, the Doxeys, at Founding Farmers and spent the afternoon handing out warm clothes, socks, and food to the homeless.

Hosted my in-laws at our home and spent a day delighting in Christmas at Mt. Vernon. Spent 10 days in Utah with our families for Christmas. Enjoyed the most incredibly ski night at Brighton where the second run of the day was during sunset. 

Bring on, 2017!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Honeymoon

Never in a million years did I imagine I'd be able to go on a honeymoon on the other side of the world, but when a friend posted on Facebook about a deal for $500 roundtrip airfare from SLC to Sydney, Australia, how can you pass it up? 

Our honeymoon was an absolute dream. Ten days, a brand new sparkling city, my new husband, and absolutely no plans. The pictures will never do it justice!

On the first leg of the trip (SLC to LA) - can't say we looked as excited ten days later after traveling back to DC and never wanting to get on a plane again.

 The first of dozens of photos we took of the Sydney Opera House. This iconic building deserves all the accolades. Our first morning we dragged ourselves off the airplane and through the metro to the main square in Sydney. Coming around the corner, the Opera House filled our view and took our breath away!

Another shot of the Opera House taken from the Sydney Harbour Bridge

I mean, we had to get a photo at every angle!

One of our very favorites spots - Manly Beach. The locals favorite beach which requires a ferry ride to get to. We loved walking along the promenade, watching the surfers, eating gelato, and admiring the strolling families while sitting on a sand-side bench. Could have stayed there for days! 

The view at sunset coming back into Sydney on the Manly Ferry.

Sydney's most famous beach, Bondi Beach. It wasn't our personal favorite but nonetheless, we loved sitting on a bench overlooking the wide beach and listening to the waves hitting the cliffs. 

One of my favorite lifetime adventures! After renting a car and getting a few hours north of Sydney we arrived in Newcastle and found a company that does camel tours at sunset. I seriously had an ear-to-ear smile the entire time. My camel's name was Syd, Jeff's was Daisy, and we rode them on the nearby sand dunes while watching the sun set over the ocean. Life bucket list item complete. 

Visiting the Sydney LDS temple. It was closed that day because it was a Monday but we enjoyed walking around the extensive grounds and enjoying the Spirit that was present. 

Visiting Australia's version of the Grand Canyon - the Blue Mountains with the iconic Three Sisters rock formation in the background. We spent several hours doing a beautiful cliff walk avoiding all the Asians with selfie sticks, and taking in all the beauty of this different part of Australia. 

Our last full day in Sydney we had the most sublime weather so we decided to take a walk to Mrs. Macquerie's chair, a lookout on the opposite side of the opera house. It did not disappoint. Between the cool 70 degree breeze, the clear blue sky, and the perfect vistas from the viewpoint, we fell in love with Sydney a little more. It was a perfect ending to our trip. 

We capped off the trip with one more ferry ride to Manly Beach to stroll the promenade, get some gelato, and watch Sydney come to life on the way back in with the light show "Vivid" in full force. 

Who knows if we'll ever be able to revisit Australia so I will always cherish the incredible memories we made there. It was so special to be there with Jeff, at the start of our lifetime adventure, and explore a new city, especially one we never thought we'd get to. I would wholeheartedly recommend this part of the world to anyone who wishes to make the trek across the Pacific to get there. It was clean, bright, easy to get around, the people were uber friendly, and there was plenty to do. 

Australia, we will always love you!