Tuesday, June 28, 2016

a catch up. because it's the end of june ///

i have panic attacks about parallel parking--it's part of the reason i hate venturing to LA or any city in southern california. that and narrow streets. i'll say 2014728156983 prayers out loud every time i'm headed out, "please bless that i find the perfect spot. that there's an actual parking lot. or that i can make the how-to from pinterest a reality."

occasionally, i get my big girl pants on and decide to actually venture to fun places to do fun things with my fam and friendsss. nothing a little beyoncé plus pep talk in the car can't cure. you think i'm joking.

anyways, no time like the present to play a fast paced game of catch-up, so scroll baby scroll!

// a really delicious freshly-picked orange from right outside katie's house. if i could be so lucky.
// went to sea world. complimentary tickets for teachers? use all the perks!!!!!!!
// lavender bundles, from an organic farm somewhere along highway 150 in ojai.
// avocados from one of the canyon's on katie's ranch. katie lives the dream life. why even try?
keep scrolling!

in may we celebrated mothers day at church. skyped with elder quesada flores. & went to an evening with diane guerrero (janethevirigin!!!!!!!!) where she talked about her memoir and the deportation of her parents.

also in may we said farewell to my abuelita. a roadtrip to utah ensued. it was the greatest family reunion the flores have ever seen. ALLTHECOUSINS! baked potato bar! homemade pupusas! homemade elotes! uno! laughing. spontaneous birthday cakes. wut? leave it to my abuela to have the coolest departing-this-earth weekend.

beginning of june = misden's birthday! 26 never looked so good. mini high-school reunion. how is it that it's been eight years, but we're still as awkward as we were at 15, maybe even more?? we brunched hard at recess eatery. the weather was hothothot i melted in places i didn't even know i could sweat from, but anything for a good photo op. ignore the dead arms.

but wait, there's more! scrolly scroll scroll.

// went to a dodgers game. dodger dogs y u so expensive! oh, look my parents in front of a giant bobblehead.
// never has a more accurate picture been taken of the flores family.
// eggs benedict are my weakness. eat all the carbs!

went to sea world. atlantis broke down twice. where are the dolphins in that ride, the medusa head, the shaking on the elevator? am i making that up? someone confirm. please! it's killing me, and a midnight google-ing session on the subject has failed me. it's true.

lastly went to visit ex-roommate katie. my second red-headed roommate named katie. she lives outside of la in a small little stretch of land named piru on a ranch where they grow oranges + avocados + lemons + grapefruit. i came home with a bag of beautiful avocados. free99! take that sprouts. we went to a avocado growers appreciation barbeque. i was a very grateful plus one. PERKS. afterwards we drove to ojai to tour a lavender farm and checked out their lavender festival. pretty smelling purple flowers, grandma boutiques, + weirdly infused lavender food sign me up!

the end.

Monday, June 27, 2016

"what have you been up to, lauren?"

a list of -eds and -ings because parallelism is overrated* 


:: ordered eggs benedict three brunches in a row from here. here. and here. (for the record, s&w's was the best!)

:: invested in a scale—[probably because of the above]

:: rediscovering the glory of gilmore girls, and wishing I could attend every festival-carnival-celebration that Stars Hollow/Emily Gilmore has ever thrown.

:: avoiding LA traffic like it's the bubonic plague because CAR-mageddon. I'm looking at you 5. 405. and 101. bolded exclamation point.

:: acting like newport beach is my assigned temple because... (see above)

:: coming to a political awakening. also looking into alternative party affiliations and possible write-ins for president. can i make my own party? more importantly can i call it the fiesta-party. double the party, double the fun.

:: becoming the queen of breakfast and taking full advantage of a pantry and spice racks that don't have grad school budget restraints.

:: attending the local spanish ward and pretending I know how to play the piano. sidenote: thankfully, the relief society room's piano has prerecorded songs because a poor wayfaring man of grief is still my boss.

:: getting into fights with the rooster who lives next door. his 5 am booty calls are getting old real quick. update: the rooster, all four hens, AND the chihuahuas have all mysteriously disappeared one day after i yelled 'shutup!' at them from my bedroom window.

:: working as a part-time math tutor...for my brother. i'm compensated in the form of teenage frustration + homemade popcorn. win-win?

:: pulling off my lips twice a day & feeling distrubingly fascinated by the similarity of the skin from my lips and a snake's freshly shed skin. tmi? #accutane

:: sporting the hottest threads: sweats, baseball shorts, old concert tees, my brother's t-shirts + a high bun + NOMAKEUP #thnkuaccutane #drkskinblessings

:: driving through the streets downtown LBC twice a week and giving in to thug-life urges of listening to a bit of snoop dogg, old school r&b, and maaaaayyyybe took out my lil' bow-wow cd. doggy bag circa 2001.

:: pretending i have a second place of residence in huntington beach.

:: coming to terms with my lactose-intolerancenessness and feeling srsly so blessed that i live in the age of chewy vanilla lactaid pills.

you made it to the end!
go you!
(somehow cheering you on just felt like the most appropriate way to end)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Chapter Two: The semester of self

Chapter 2.

I think of my life as a series of chapters bound up in a great big novel. Maybe this is why the great storytelling behind Jane the Virgin resonates so well with me. Documenting my life this way has proven to be a bit of a messy art because there are subchapters, characters who come in and out of my life in sometimes the most random of ways, and there are currently 17 journals (+ my 10 year journal) that house the entire story. Complicated is a gross understatement. 

My departure from Provo this April felt like another close of a chapter. An important one. I can't describe the sensation exactly, but I just feel like things will be different. Mostly because I will be a little different. I felt the reality of this right before I left Provo. I have reached the halfway point of graduate school, the countdown to graduation is a very present event in my mind. Two years will go by quicker than I'd like to presently admit. 

Last year, when I got back from my adventures in Buenos Aires, I wrote a similar post. These are the faces that I think I'll miss the most from this chapter in my life. This is not to say that any of these people will not make appearances from this moment onward (Heaven forbid!), but when I think back on this semester and all the lessons I learned, these are the faces that stick out most. 

I first met Alyssa two years ago. I don't remember the exact details surrounding our first encounter. But we had a mutual friend, Rachel, and I figured, I like Rachel ergo I'll probably like Alyssa—this thought proved to be a true statement. She is one of the most artistic beings I have ever met down from everything she doodles, to the furnishings in her bedroom, back to the socks she wears on her feet. I have been with her during stressful and unpleasant situations alike and greatly admire the poise she's had in moments where I would have screamed at the top of my lungs and said some more unkind words. I don't know where in the world she'll be come late August, but I'm feeling really spoiled to have had her in my life for two years. 

Bro. Swartz & Vescovo Cardullo.
These two. We've had three different second counselors in the bishopric since I first moved into the 97th ward, but these two have remained constant. It's been fun to see their bromance blossom. They couldn't be more different Bro. Swartz is probably the most active person on our ward Facebook page always ready to offer any kind of service. He's a true renaissance man: he paints, he fixes everything, he explores the outdoors, he cooks, and he pays the most sincere compliments. There wasn't a ward council/PEC where I wasn't greeted with a, 'you sure look lovely today' or 'do you know how much you're loved?'

& Bishop. I've raved about him before, but I really did get to know him on a deeper level this year. In moments of stressful frenzy I'd have this voice in my head whisper, "go visit Bishop." I always left chats in his swanky home office feeling like I could conquer the world. It always put a smile on my face to get random texts inviting me over for Sunday dinner or a random game night or simply just because.

Honestly, this is the friendship that surprised me the most this semester! Even though Scott was in the ward all of last year, if you asked me what I knew about him it was could be summarized in two points: 1) He traveled...A LOT. and 2) He has his own fishing boat in Alaska. Sometime in January, I was at Bishop's house waiting on someone to leave when I saw Scott sitting by himself at the island in bishop's kitchen. I thought, "oh, I don't really know him; I should be a good member of the ward and talk to him." It was during this conversation of worldwide travels and a completely foreign life experience that I thought, "we need to be friends." If I had to describe Scott to you in one word it would be good. I know that may sound like a lazy word, but I honest to goodness mean it. He is truly good. He asks me if I need things from the grocery store, listens to when I just need to ramble, is always down for a quick errand run, and always ready for adventure. good, just real good. 

I began teaching Ashley piano in September of 2014. It started out as a calling, but we continued the lessons till well after I was released. Ashley reminds me so much of my fourth grade self! Although, she's much better about practicing the piano than I ever was. She loves to hide in the pews of the chapel and makes me find her before each lesson, and she always asks if we can play Heads Up at the end of every lesson. She and her Father have been the kindest to me and have been more than understanding when my crazy graduate school schedule gets in the way. I always leave piano lessons with Ashley wanting to sing at the top of my lungs with a reminder in my heart that life is grand.

Monday, May 2, 2016

April 2016.

Dear (insert your name here), 

    I arrived in California with a letter waiting patiently for me. This letter awakened my deep love for snail mail, and reminded me why I aptly named this blog "Letters from Lauren" in the first place. There's something magical behind the art of letter writing. So, indulge me if you will while I make this blog post read like a personally addressed letter. Now that I'm at home, I feel like I'm writing these letters to friends still in Utah rather than to friends here at home. 

    For some reason, April feels to me like it was spliced in half down the middle quite like a fully ripe watermelon with one half being the ill-fated season of finals and the other half the carefree and sometimes idle-concentrated weeks of pure freedom. 

   The beginning of the month found me in St. George. Usually this red-rock rich town is merely a bathroom break on the journey between Los Angeles and Salt Lake, but on this occasion it was the destination. I went down to St. George for a school-related conference. While in St. George I had one of those it-truly-is-a-small-world experiences as I sat at a table with three men who had connections to my mission. In fact, I had served with a daughter of one of the men! 

April was very much a month of transitions. I reestablished contact with friends of former lives and celebrated with them the growth that had taken place during our months of separation. With my move to California, I was released as Relief Society president and spent many a shower pondering how I had grown in the course of a year. 

April was a month filled with more goodbyes than hellos. There were a few see-you-laters, but things will be different. It's more than just a feeling. There will be familiarity when we're all reunited again, but four months time changes people, changes perspectives. In four months time, we will all be changed, laced with stories of small adventures. I eagerly await that reunion!

^^My face at discovering what a young-almond looks like.^^
^^(L to R: Facetime with melhor amiga Shelly and her ADORABLE son; when your bishop is one of your best friends; Facetime with Lys even though we live less than a block away from each other. 
^^Last Sunday in Relief Society. I love the bright colors in this picture. Spring is here, y'all!
^^All the Relief Society Presidents in the stake. Our monthly meetings kind of reminded me of MLC on the mission, but minus the whole drive-to-a-meeting-with-a-companion bit. :)

^^A burn party. Where we lit things on fire to say farewell to things of the past. I love how horrible this picture is.

^^An improptu picnic party on campus after Lys, Kel, and I went for a taco run.
^^Chelsea's bridal shower. I hadn't seen this girl since before my mission! She was such a huge part of my life before the mission. This was all that I could hope for for a reunion. 
^^Scott took me to one of the most picturesque places in Provo (I'm convinced of it) for a picnic. It was beautiful! There were petals falling down with every gust of wind and deer frolicking a couple of yards away. Top that off with Bon Iver's Holocene as background music + laying in the sun on a picnic blanket and you have a scene out of a  Nicholas Sparks movie. 

Lastly, JJ's wedding. Her fiancé husband's middle name is Compton, so I guess he's okay. 😉