Monday, December 2, 2013

Story of My Life

I was all fired up and ready to go on one of my last posts about delving into my life and putting my stories out there. I had such good intentions! But I still haven't started on them. Well today's the day! I wanna call this series the "Story of My Life" series
(the name may or may not be inspired by my love for One Direction's new song but that's besides the point :)

First up! Some little things about myself I think you should know that give great insight into me:

I seriously love blankets. I ALWAYS am snuggled up under one. Even in the summer. 

I use a singing One Direction toothbrush. Heck yes.

I love Vanilla Coke. And I think it tastes the best at Sonic.

I have been to almost 200 concerts. No lie. 

My name is McKenzie, but everyone closest to me calls me "Skim" or "Skimmy"'s been my nickname since birth when my older sister couldn't pronounce my name and that's how it came out.

I have a curse with hairdryers. I don't think I have ever owned one that hasn't broken within a ridiculously short amount of time of having it.

Every year I get in the mood to chop off several inches of my hair at once. And I do. And I ALWAYS regret it. You'd think I'd learn.

I have met Bill Nye the Science guy, and he was a jerk (but hey, maybe he was having a bad day?).

Welp, there ya go. Story of My Life.
(part one)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Save AND Make Yourself Some Money on Textbooks

Recently I was introduced to an awesome company-, and asked to share some of their awesome opportunities with you!   This is a GREAT site to get your books for college.  I know I personally think it is ridiculous how expensive books for classes in college cost.  I mean, who has that kind of money to fork out HUNDREDS of dollars for ONE book? I don't think so! But has a WONDERFUL site where you can save TONS of money. And with this semester coming to an end and a new one just around the corner who doesn't want that?! Some of the great things  can offer you are:

-you can save 40-90% off of bookstore prices

-free shipping both ways

-you can highlight in the textbooks

-really flexible renting periods

Amazing right?!

PLUS  these guys donate to Operation Smile with every book that is rented, which I LOVE and is SUCH a bonus for renting from this site. What is Operation Smile? This is one of my favorite charities.  As a nanny, I have a special place in my heart for children. Did you know that every 3 minutes a child is born with a cleft? And 1 in 10 of these children will die before their first birthday without receiving the proper medical treatment. I was dumbfounded and heartbroken reading those statistics. But Operation Smile is changing lives by helping these children and their families by providing free,safe, and life-changing and saving surgeries for these children.These children can go on to live normal, healthy, happy, smile-filled lives thanks to this wonderful organization! And by renting books through you can help yourself by saving tons of money, AND you can help save a child and need. Amazing!  
You can also check out
This site lets you rent out books that you already own to other students! So instead of selling those books and only getting pennies back on hundreds of dollars worth of books you can make money on them again and again...AMAZING!

I was compensated for this post but all opinions on these awesome companies are my own.

Friday, November 15, 2013

You're Gonna Hear Me Roar

I have had this blog for almost two years now. And in the past year (and a half if we are being honest) it has been severely neglected.  I have been so busy...with a lot of things. One of them being I get so caught up and distracted with reading other blogs that I never have time to do my own.  And then there's that little comparison monster that creeps in and tells me I haven't had anything good to say compared to these people. And these girls have perfect lives, they aren't anything like me. But lately it hit me...I love reading blogs where the authors are REAL. They pour their hearts out. They talk about REAL things going on in their lives, past and present. Good AND bad. Not just superficial things. They help people, just by sharing, and letting others know they aren't alone in how they feel, or in having bad experiences. 
It got me thinking.... I have been so quiet on my OWN blog. Especially lately.  And I feel like I am almost a completely different person than when I started this thing in the very beginning of 2012. And you know what? I have a lot to say! (these realizations could be due to the fact that I have been obsessed with Katy Perry's 'Roar' lately). And up until now I have been very, very private with my personal life.  I never wanted to talk about things that have happened in my life.  I have barely written personal things in my own journal about my private life. Part of the reason for that is there have been some very difficult and heart-breaking experiences. And it's like I didn't want to record them for anyone to ever read them, I felt like they were too near, too painful, too recent, too humiliating. And even in writing, it had always been very difficult for me to share what I am feeling. So I only alluded to them in past posts. Actually, like only one of them.
But things are different now, and because of these experiences, I have been learning how to open up. And I have decided to open up about my life. To use my tiny corner of the internet for good.  To maybe let someone else out there know that they aren't the only one to feel the way they do. 
I am not saying I am depressed. I am not saying I have a horrible life. I am not saying that I have had the most difficult, horrible experiences that are possible to have.  I AM saying that I have been hurt. That I have made mistakes. That I have lost myself. That I have been betrayed. That I have been broken so deeply I never thought I could heal. That I survived what was, at the time, my worst nightmare.  But, most importantly, that I have learned. That I have been blessed beyond measure. That I have grown. That I have loved. That I have been loved. That my testimony is strong. That I know things horrible things happen, but there is ALWAYS hope. That I KNOW my Redeemer lives, and HE is what has gotten me though everything and anything. That I have always had a light, not at the end of the tunnel and something always off in the distance, but right beside me leading me out of the dark. My Savior. And I know He lives. And I know that there's a purpose in EVERYTHING we are called to go through. I saw a quote recently by Brigham Young that said 

"Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation." 

I know that He would never allow me to hurt more than necessary. And that no matter what He calls me to pass through while on this earth, it will be MORE than worth it when I leave this earth. 
So here's to opening up, and sharing my stories. And you know what?
You're gonna hear me roar.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Life Tip #3,301- Make Sure Your Blind Date Speaks Your Language

(sadly, my sister lost the one picture we got as proof of that hilariously horrible night, but I figured a picture of me and my 20 year old naive self from that same year could suffice)

So a few years ago when my sister was in college, I, for some STRANGE reason (which I still do not understand) let my sister convince me to go to a college dance with her.  She said that she and her ex boyfriend had found a date for me already, all I had to do was come. Hmmm...
Red flag number one.

Well, I should have considered the fact that my sister's psycho EX was the one setting me up with a date, and that's really not the best idea in the first place. 
 Red flag number two.

Not to mention, going on a double date with your sister, her ex, and a complete stranger just MIGHT be a little awkward in and of itself. 
Red flag number three.

But, I went down in faith that it was going to be a fun, memorable night! 
                                                                                                     ....Well, it WAS memorable.

After going on a day trip with my sister, her ex, and their horrible,erratic driver of a professor, we came back to my sister's apartment to get ready for the dance.  I was barely getting over my lingering carsickness from the day's trip with the nutty professor, but I managed to get ready and feel semi-okay.  Then I overheard my sister and her ex on the phone talking.... and it turns out my sister's ex met my date... at a construction site.  Red flag number four.

After having a slight freak out and telling my sister I no longer wanted to go and trying to get out of it,  my sister's ex and my date showed up.  This is the part of the story where I would love to say that he was tall, dark, handsome, mysteriously sexy, and tanned from his long hours in the sun working, and that all of my anxiety over going out with this construction-site-find-of-a stranger was erased. 
                                                Well...he was about 2 inches shorter than me, very shy, and barely spoke a lick of English.   
Red flag number five.

Needless to say the night was full of awkward silences, saying "I'm sorry, what was that?," awkward slow dances looking down at my date, and trying to understand each other over the loud music and obvious language barrier. AWK.WARD.NESS.  

Now, my sister and I laugh until we cry about that night.  And now I know: Never let your sister's ex set you up with a blind date. And if you, for some reason do, make SURE they speak your language.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Great Utah Migration

Wow. It has been a really long time. I can't believe it is September....where has the time gone?! That means I didn't blog once this summer (although maybe this counts as once because fall doesn't come untill the end of the month, so that's what we'll say).  But I have a pretty big excuse as to why I was so absent from my little bloggie here.  
I stinking moved across the country.
 No lie. From a very small town in Pennsylvania to Salt Lake City, Utah.  
Why? Well, that is a really good question.  There was no thunderbolt, no angelic message, no new, glorious dream job waiting, to tell me this is where I needed to be...but there was the whisperings of the Spirit. A lot of times it would just come to me as thoughts every now and then about "just move to Utah."  And after a lot of thought, praying, fasting, and pondering, (my sister who decided to join me and)  I decided to go on faith, and take a step (or giant leap) into the dark, together.  
Completely crazy?  
There have been many, many times I have thought so, especially as I was I driving the 2,300 miles, alone in my car, packed to the gills with whatever possesions I could manage. 
Or about the time we hit big, wide open, ridiculous Kansas. (No offense, but I HATE you Kansas. And I don't normally say hate, but it fits).
Or the time when we stopped for lunch and we weren't even out of PA yet and I said to my sister 
"Is it too late to turn around?"
Or that first night we stopped, after having a 19 hour day already, and were utterly exhausted and heartbroken, and we couldn't even find a room to stay in, so we had to drive 2 more hours just to stay in a crap hole that was so disgusting/shady/scary we were sure we'd be featured on an episode of Dateline. 
Or when we arrived in Utah, finally, and realized how far from home we were, how lost and homesick we felt, and the lady we are staying with proceeded to make sure we had good alarm systems on our cars because of hers getting broken into a few times (oh yay, we feel safe!).
But I am here to tell you that even though other people might think what we did was completely crazy ( even myself a lot of the times) nothing you do is ever too big and scary for the Lord to make the trip with you. And He is the only thing that has kept me going.  He was in PA with me, He is in Utah with me, He made that scary, boring, ridiculous multi-state drive with me, He has been with me as I have cried and doubted and worried over what comes next. And you know what? He will ALWAYS be there. Always. So whether I am in Pennsylvania,Utah, or Africa, He knows exactly where I am and loves me for exactly who I am, flaws and all. And I am so grateful that He does, and that even when I feel alone, I am not, because, and that is all that really matters.

Random rest area in Ohio.                                               Absolutely gorgeous sunset in Indianapolis, IN.

 Apparently there is a Pocahantas, MO.  

SOOO many rest area trips taken. Somehere in MO.

Best. Hotel. Ever. We wanted to stay. Forever. Overland Park, Kansas.                   

Talk about your open road! No signs of trees, humans, or hills anywhere in Kansas. Ick.

We were SO happy to be out of Kansas and in Beautiful Colorado. And this gorgeous sunset greeted us.

Denver! Hello birthplace!

Even though Wyoming was abandoned by humans too, it had its gorgeous moments.

FINALLY in Utah.

One of the first days in Utah we made a point to seriously break a record and see three Temples in one day. Salt Lake (not pictured), Oquirrh Mountain

And Jordan River. 

It is AMAZING to me to be so close to like 10 Temples. What an incredible blessing.  After our closest one being the DC Temple (which will ALWAYS be my favorite), and having to take an entire day to make it there and back and get in a session, it is incredible to be able to see three temples in one day. They are my favorite places on earth. You cant manufacture the peace and sweet spirit that you feel just walking on the grounds.

This is the view from my window. Mountains everywhere! Loved watching the storm roll in on them.

We got to go takea tour of the Conference Center and see this beautiful Temple again.  The temple where my parents were sealed and my family became a forever family.

Then we went to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir practice. So fun and beautiful!

And of course, we went to see One Direction's new movie, This Is Us, and were complete teenie boppers. We were ridiculously excited:)

And so sums up the last few weeks of my life. Although I have left a lot of other good things out.  We'll just see what happens:)

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Gap Between the Two Trapeze

About a year ago I kept having a recurring thought in my mind, a thought to relocate.  It would come up at the most random times.  I would joke about it, lightheatedly, not really being serious, like, "I am going to move out to (blank) and do (blank)!" *insert awkward, forced laugh.* But every time I would think about it, I would get excited.  Something felt right. Something felt good. So I made a decision.  A really big decision, and I took it to the Lord.  And after a lot of thought, prayer, and fasting, I decided to make a move.  A big one.  Like across the country big.  

I decided to move to Utah. 

So right now that's what's happening.  I have not only made the decision, I have made the plans.  I have purchased the space bags for my clothes.  I have gotten the kitchen supplies.  I have secured a place to live. And I have taken that giant leap of faith-the lyric for my blog post title seems so fitting.  (Gotta love Coldplay).  As of this summer, I will be moving 2,000+ miles across the country for a fresh start.  

I can't think about the details too much because I start to get freaked out and think about how I only know like 2 people there, I am not sure what it will hold for me, etc. But mostly I am excited.  I am excited for this opportunity! I am excited for some fresh faces and new places!  

So who lives out in Utah and wants to be my friend?! haha,,but seriously. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I Went Inside

Last week, on the 17th I had the incredible opportunity to go through the temple for the first time.  I have seriously been dreaming of that moment my whole life.  Growing up, my parents always made an effort to go the the temple, and to take me and my sisters there regularly.  They always made a big deal of our "temple trips."  Living in PA, our closest temple is the Washington DC Temple, which is 2 hours away (how grateful I am to have one that close!) so it we would always make day trips out of it.  We'd go down and go inside the visitor's center and then always walk around the outside-which was my favorite part.  I have always, always loved that temple and looked forward to the day I could go in.  And it was always my goal to go inside the DC Temple for my first time.  So, everything about that special day was a dream come true.  
I am grateful for my parents who were able to be there with me, and make the day even more happy.  

You can feel the spirit just driving up to this sacred building.  One thing I will always remember about that day was as we were within minutes of pulling into the temple parking lot, as we were driving around the grounds (if you have ever been to the DC Temple you know the drive right before the temple is very twisty ) the hymn is How Great Thou Art was playing in the background in my car, and I just started quietly crying, totally involuntarily.  I was just so happy, so thankful, and I knew for sure I was doing the right thing, and that Heavenly Father knew exactly where I was, and was so happy for me, and pleased with my decision to go to His house.  And then my mom saw me and she started bawling too.  Good thing I wore waterproof mascara.
Such a happy, blessed day:)  I can't wait to go again.

*I am a happy member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  And if you want to know more about temples, go here.*

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

30 Day Photo Challenge Part 3

-DAY 8- Someone You Love-
This is my little nephew, Jackson.  I love, love, LOVE this kid! He is such a light in my life.  He is so hilarious and stinkin' cute! Just look at him!

-DAY 9- Favorite Shoes-
Ok, for me, picking favorite shoes is like picking a favorite movie...there are just SO many good ones it is so hard to choose! But, these are a top contender. I love them!  And I got them for a steal of only $5 bucks at Rue21! I love finds like that:)

-Day 10- Flowers-
These were some of the first ones that popped up in my yard! 

-Day 11- Childhood Memory-
This is a pic of me and my older sister in the yard of our first house out here in PA.  We lived in an old 18th century house with over 160 acres.  It was a GORGEOUS house and we loved it.  We found out that during the Civil War the Battle of Sporting Hill had been fought on our property which made our LIVES because we were in LOVE with the Civil War and our family went to Gettysburg, PA like most people go to Disneyland.   And we didn't play house like normal little girls, we played "civil war."  We were in long dresses and hoop skirts most of our lives.  We even played our barbies civil war style.  Some of my absolute best memories.

-Day 12- What's On My Playlist-
Ok, this is still weird for me but I have listened to basically nothing else but One Direction since February.  I was a reluctant listener.  I didn't want to like them.  I made fun of them.  But then my sister played me a song one day and I was like "Crud, this is actually awesome."  And I have been hooked ever since. Normally my playlist is varied-anything from Lifehouse to The Killers to Coldplay to The Ting Tings to random 80's music.  I love being able to do anything from shake my booty to belt out lyrics  you feel like you wrote yourself.  

Friday, March 29, 2013

What I Know

I wanted to take a break from doing my 30 day photo challenge posts and focus on the most important thing in my life- my Savior Jesus Christ.  I am so grateful to be able to have this special time of year to think and ponder on the incredible sacrifices of the Lord, and all that He did for all of His children...and more personally, all that He did for me.  I cannot even begin to imagine all that He suffered, endured, and sacrificed on my behalf alone.  And not only for me, but for everyone, every soul, at every time, in every place.  It is so humbling, so incredible to think that He loved us enough to experience all that He did, to make the Plan of Happiness possible.  I am so incredibly grateful that He willingly, unselfishly, lovingly suffered, bled, and died for me...and that He made the Atonement possible.  My testimony of the Atonement has deepened and strengthened so very much over the past few years of my life as I have experienced some difficult challenges.  My Savior has been there to help, comfort, strengthen, listen, guide, succor, and heal me without measure.  He has been patient, understanding, and loving. And no matter how many times I make mistakes and fall short of the mark, He is always waiting for me with open arms.  He loves me unconditionally.  

As I was getting ready this morning,  I was thinking of the statues of Christ that are in the visitor's centers of our temples.  I was thinking of how He is standing there with the piercing in his side, the wounds in his hands and feet, but He is standing there having won the victory over death and the world.  And how His arms are out-reached and welcoming.  I imagined myself being able to meet Him, and to kneel at His feet and thank Him for all He did, and still does, on my behalf.   I tried to imagine what that would feel like, and I was filled with such a sense of joy and gratitude. I am so incredibly grateful for all my Savior has done for me.  And I am grateful that because He suffered on behalf of us, mercy can satisfy the demands of justice and we can go back to His loving arms and thank Him, and live with Him in peace after we do all we can do while we're here on this earth.  I am grateful that because we are blessed with His gospel and temples upon the earth, we can be with our families forever. I am grateful that He made everything possible. I am grateful that we have a reason to celebrate this Easter Season...because Christ conquered death, and He lives!  I know this with all of my heart, might, mind and soul and I am grateful every day that He lives.

If you have a minute, watch this video, so touching.  I love Elder Holland!

Monday, March 25, 2013

30 Day Photo Challenge Part 2

I actually have been good and remembered to take pictures every day since my last post for my 30 day photo challenge...but blogging about it every day...yeah...not so much. So...since it has been a few weeks I am going to do the rest of the challenge with groups of pictures so I can keep up with it! haha. Here are days two through seven:

Day 2- Outfit of the Day-
No, nothing fancy.  Nannying doesn't always allow for super cute clothes.  But I love my Batman shirt so it's all good:)

Day 3- Clouds-
You would never know it snowed really hard later that afternoon.

Day 4- My Favorite Colors-
These are just 3 of them.  Yellow, aqua, and lime green.

Day 5- Something New-
I recently discovered Victoria's Secret am in LOVE!

Day 6- Technology You Love-
These things allow me to watch Netflix through the PlayStation at the house I work at.  And I loooove, love Netflix.

Day 7- Faceless Self Portrait-
I love braiding my hair at night and getting pretty waves/curls the next day.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Random Facts About Moi (30 Day Photo Challenge)

I came across a photo challenge on pinterest the other day and I thought it would be cool to do! Day One is a self portrait with some random facts about yourself.

(please excuse the not-so-good webcam quality photo)

1.  I LOVE the color gray.
2.  I have a serious, serious love of Lindor Lindt Truffles.  Like, they're family.  It's pretty sick.
3. I am a total hopeless romantic.
4. I am terrified of horses.  Which is weird, because there are horse and buggies everywhere around here.
5. When I find a new show I love, I am hooked.  One episode every few days? Psh...try,like, one season every few days.
6.  I don't like getting to bed early. Sometimes I take naps at night just so I can stay up later (but mostly on weekends when I have off).
7.  It took me till I was like 20 to be able to snap my fingers.  And now, I use my thumb and pointer finger, not thumb and middle finger like most people do.
8.  I prefer men's pj pants to women's ANY day! Seriously, I have long legs and the women's are always like flood pants on me.  Mens are the perfect length. Just ignore the fly haha.
9. I am a cry baby.  I NEVER used to cry at things.  I made fun of my parents on a daily  basis because they cry at EVERYTHING (commercials, TV shows, random conversations, a good book) and now it's come back to bite me.  I do the same thing! I even bawled at this One Direction song:

Monday, February 25, 2013

This is what happens when we have the house to ourselves

In a very rare occurance last weekend, my sister and I had the house to ourselves.  And this is how we spent the was epic.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Yeah...I have a confession

I have a pretty big obsession with looking at wedding photos.  People I know, people I don't know, the more the merrier!

I think it's pretty stupid that America is obsessed with British royalty.  I mean, Kate and William are a cute couple, but really???

I can't sing and have a a pretty big fear that I am tone deaf and don't really know it.  I pretend I am not because I can learn some songs on my guitar by does that mean I'm not?

I HATE being called ma'am.  I realize people are being polite...but it makes me feel about 50 years older than I am.  Come on people, I'm a "miss!"

I am kinda obsessed with One Direction's music and may or may not have been very,very bummed that their tour sold out before my sister and I could get tickets. Come on, I think they have a very positive message! And I like shaking my booty to that positive message!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Little Things

Today I was sitting in the home of the family I nanny for, watching Alia (18 months old) and Rylan (4 years old) crazily chase each other around the living room and giggle.  The TV was on with one of my favorite shows playing, and the hum of the dishwasher was in the background, and I thought to myself 
"I am so blessed."
It's the little things in life that matter so much, that may seem small, especially to others, but are truly very big things.
So I have decided to focus more on these Little Things, these Tender Mercies and that are such big blessings from the Lord to remind me how much he loves me, and to make sure I recognize them, and thank my Heavenly Father for them.

Little Things I Love This Week:
  • The comforting sound of the dishwasher running
  • Waking up to a soft,white glow in my room from freshly fallen snow covering my skylight
  • A girls night with 3 of my best friends that are 3 of my absolute favorite people
  • Inside jokes with friends
  • Blasting music and having an in-car dance party with my little sister
  • Gorgeous sunrises to admire while I drive to work in the morning

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Keep the Change You Filthy Animal

I am SO excited for it to be 2013.  2012 was definitely not what I expected, but looking back it was SUCH a blessed year.  I am SO grateful for the wonderful people in my life and these wonderful memories and experience I am able to have and cherish.   These were some of my favorite moments from 2012:

-January- started this blog!-February- started nannying, celebrated my little sister's 21st birthday, made some awesome new friends, and smashed the living daylights out of a heart pinata.  -March- Went to the Baltimore Aquarium with one of my best friends and sister, and experienced Cheesecake Factory cheesecake for the first time.  -April- Went to the re-release of Titanic and totally fangirled, went to an All-American Rejects concert, and day-tripped down to DC with 3 of my best friends. -May- Chopped off 5-6 inches of my hair and dyed it brown, went to the Mayfair and saw Boys Like Girls.  -June- Went on my first vacation in over 5 years down to the Baltimore area!  -July- My Grammy (my grandma) turned 90!  -August- Won tickets to the Mixtape fest and saw 98 Degrees, Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block, LL Cool J, and MANY more awesome old groups! Also house-sat and enjoyed hot-tubbing. And I was hired to photograph my first wedding! -September- Went to see Switchfoot just miles from my house! -October- Went to Atlantic City to celebrate 2 of my best friends birthdays with them and my sister! Also saw There For Tomorrow in concert and had an epic time!  -November- My baby niecey was born! Little Maggie! And I flipping saw Joseph Gordon-Levitt LIVE and in person and almost touched his butt! -December- Turned 25! Christmas celebrations, spent time with my family, sewed some awesome ornaments and had a WONDERFUL holiday.