The Week of Extreme Nice

hearts Hi friends! We’ve told you before, but we are huge fans of author Gretchen Rubin. Many of you have probably read her book, “The Happiness Project”. Well, we picked the book for our book club on The PLACE for the month of November. For those of you that haven’t read it, Gretchen created a year-long Happiness Project for herself. She creates a theme for each month and then comes up with a few concrete goals to work on. This time re-reading the book, I loved the February chapter focused on marriage. One of Gretchen’s goals is to do a week of extreme nice – meaning that she picks one person to be extremely nice to for one week. She picked her husband and she made the goal to not criticize him, nag him, or snap at him. I decided to try it. Oh my gosh! What a great week! The trick is that you don’t tell the other person you are going to do it. I have since challenged all of my friends and even my poor Sunday school kids to try it out. Here are a couple of observations:

  • When I wasn’t immediately trying to get my way in every situation, I was able to see Sam’s side much more clearly. For example, we were buying decorations for our Christmas tree and I thought I really wanted white lights. Well, it was the week of extreme nice, so I let Sam pick. He went with rainbow colored lights. This probably would have bugged me a few weeks ago, but after coming home and putting them on the tree, I love them! It also made ME happy to see something make Sam so happy.
  • Attitude is everything: when I began each day with a positive attitude towards my spouse, the little stuff (like forgetting to cap the toothpaste) didn’t bug me as much.
  • Looking at things from your spouse’s point of view is healthy – I realized that Sam and I are so different and look at many things differently, but that is why we are so good for each other. Many times Sam is a lot more logical than I am and in most cases, he has thought through decisions much more extensively than I have, so it’s good to give him a chance to share his ideas (because they tend to make more sense in the long run).
  •  I loved Sam so much more by the end of the week. I was able to take a step back and look at things from a different perspective. I am so lucky to have a loving husband who truly bends over backward to make me happy.
  • We had more fun! I realized I can be very bossy and stubborn, especially when it comes to our evening plans. When I let Sam choose what we were doing, we had tons of fun!
  • I give my kindness to everyone before I give it to Sam. I spend all day trying to be kind to friends and co-workers and by the time I am spending time with Sam, he often gets the tired and grumpy version of myself. Putting him first in my happiness expenditures really made a big difference in my happiness. He is the center of my world and it felt good to make the effort to make him realize that.
  • I tried to come up with one kind thing to do for him each day. Most days this just meant that I made the bed or cleaned the kitchen. He didn’t notice everything, but I could tell our lives ran smoother when I consciously thought of something kind to do for him each day. This was a lightbulb moment for me because these simple acts usually take under 2 minutes and I am normally so slow to do them.
  • Sam never asked why I was being so nice. Ha! I think this is a good thing. Hopefully, it means I am not a terrible person because he didn’t notice a huge change. He was pleasantly surprised to hear about it when I told him I got the idea from Gretchen’s book.

For our book club on the show, we got to interview Gretchen a few weeks ago. It was so great – except for the dozens of technical difficulties that came up. Many parts of her book are about maximizing your time, being responsible, etc. – I felt the opposite of that explaining that we were having issues with a brand new audio board. I shouldn’t have worried because Gretchen was so kind and understanding. She was a joy to talk to. It was fascinating to hear from her perspective what sticks out to people most from her book. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly suggest you do! Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

We don’t need to be perfect, but we can all try to be a little better! If you try the week of extreme nice, let us know how it goes!

 

A few before & after pictures from Brooke’s house

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Now that Parker and I have been in our house for 8 months I thought it would be fun to share some before and after pictures. We are far from finished, but I wanted to show you some of the progress that has been made. To prep for our projects, I curated a Pinterest board to zero in on the styles that we liked. This helped immensely, instead of just showing up at Home Depot to look through all of their options. To describe the house when we bought it I would say it was just blah. An older gentleman owned the home and it had brown carpet, different shades of paint on the walls, and was desperate for some new energy. We decided to go for clean and crisp aesthetic that made people feel welcome. Here is a peek at some of our recent before and afters!

before and after of fireplace

Flooring: We ripped out the flooring throughout the entire house. We started in the living room. You can see there was brown carpet there leading into brownish tile in the kitchen. We replaced it with dark wood flooring throughout the main living area and kitchen and new carpet in the bedrooms. What a difference a new floor makes! Also, people are not kidding when they say taking down wallpaper is the absolute worst. I feel lucky that we only had one wall. The previous owner was a painter and many of the walls were different colors throughout the house. I wanted to make all of the areas flow nicely together so we chose a pale gray to cover all areas. We had Home Depot mix a few different colors together for us, I would be happy to share the paint “recipe” if you are interested. Parker is laying out his plans for our new fireplace and mantle now, I think it will make the room feel very cozy!

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Kitchen Backsplash Before & After. As you can see there was an 80’s Southwest theme going on in the kitchen. We opted for some white subway tile and light gray grout. I love how it turned out, it feels so much cleaner! Not to brag but Parker did a GREAT job with the backsplash! My brother helped him start the project and they were able to knock it out in a few days. So glad I married a (willing) handyman. Our next project in the kitchen is to paint the cabinets – please send over your tips and tricks!

Before and After of front door

Before and After of our front door. Missing from the before photo is the metal storm door that weighed about a million pounds. I am so happy that we went with our white craftsman door. It’s cheery and really changes the entire look of the front porch. The casing still needs to be painted but we have to wait until spring time when the temperatures get a little warmer to do that. Now I look forward to putting a different wreath up for every season! We feel so lucky to have our home and we are enjoying all of the extra space for now. Our main goal was to make our home a place where people felt welcome and comfortable. I will keep you posted on our other updates as we go along!

 

 

 

 

Gift Guide for your beauty loving friends

It’s the happiest time of the year! It’s also the time of year when beauty companies put together holiday gift sets that combine some of their best products at a much lower price. Win! We picked some of our tried and true favorites from Ulta to share with you this year.

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CHI gift set $99We have loved our CHI straighteners since college. They just work so well and last forever. The only thing better than a regular CHI is a travel size CHI! We hate lugging all of our hair products to work and on vacation and this little kit makes it so easy. Essentials Travel Set includes a CHI travel size Hair Dryer, CHI travel size Hairstyling Iron, mini brush and travel size CHI Style and Stay Spray in a free thermal-protectant carrying case. Normally you can buy either the blow dryer or straightener for $99, it’s a steal!

 

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Amazing Grace Eau de Parfum Gift Set  $57Philosophy just knows what they are doing when it comes to scents. We each have many of their body wash scents and decided to try one of their perfumes. This is the ultimate CLEAN scent. If you like crisp and fresh, you will love this smell.

 

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Lorac pro contour palette $45

We are big fans of contour kits and this one combines our two favorites – it has creams and powders. If you have ever looked at a professional makeup artist’s arsenal of products, they always have both. This kit not only has all of this, it also comes with a cool brush and a handy step-by-step guide for flawless application. gift-guide-g-love-your-lips

Ulta Love your Lips CollectionThis is the perfect gift for the friend who loves to try new lipsticks or glosses. It’s filled with six different kinds of lip products. One thing we have noticed about Ulta lip products is that they are priced much less than brand names, but they work just as well. Right now we are really loving lip crayons because they make application so easy and quick.

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Lano Lips 101 Ointment Strawberry Multi-Balm $13.50A friend told us about this stuff and now we can’t live without it. You know when winter comes and your lips get all crackly and flaky? This totally fixes that problem. If we are not on camera, we most likely have this stuff on. It gives your lips the perfect amount of shine and stays on forever. Britt sleeps with it on her lips every night.

We hope you are enjoying this beautiful time of year!

Gift Guide for your handsome husband

Ladies! We’ve got some fun/necessary gift ideas for your man. Brooke and I both tried all of these products on our husbands and they are HUGE fans – as in they are asking for the products for Christmas this year, so here ya go!

guy-gift-guide Art of Shaving starter kit $30

I gave this gift set to Sam a few years ago and now he asks for it every year. The fluffy brush makes shaving feel luxurious and fancy! guy-gift-guide-2 Jack Black Online Only The Jack Pack $49

This company makes great products for men. If your guy is afraid of face wash or moisturizer, this is a fun pack to ease them into it. Jack Black knows the scents and textures that guys like. Sam has been using their products for a few years now.

guy-gift-guide-5 American Crew King of Grooming Gift Set: $29.95

This gift pack is such a steal! Normally each of these products is around $20, so to get them all in a cute little travel bag is great! Even super picky guys love Crew hair products. He also loves having his own toiletry travel bag, so he doesn’t have to share with me because I’m a bit of a space hog when it comes to packing. My favorite thing about these Crew products? They smell SO good!

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Micro Groomsman Lithium Ion Trimmer (AKA the best nose hair trimmer) $15:

Awkward as it may sound, this is a great gift! Often times, it is something guys don’t want to buy themselves, but they need it! Plus, it’s only $15. Perfect little stocking stuffer. Cordless too!

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Poo Pourri Secret Santa: $9.99

Ok prepare yourself. You spray this stuff in the toilet before you go #2 and it hides the smell. Ahhh that was hard to type. So gross, but when it actually works you’ll be glad you have some! We got some Poo Pourri as a gag gift a few years ago and have been loyalists ever since. At $10 a piece, you can get one for every bathroom.

Happy Holiday gift giving!

Steal or Splurge: Lip Liner

collage-2016-11-16-1 {I’m wearing Urban Decay on the left, Palladio on the right}

We are 100% in love with lip liner lately. We realized if you cover your entire lip with liner and then either – a) leave it plain b) put gloss over top or c) apply lipstick over – it lasts all day long! It just stays on really well and defines the lip. So, after trying lots and lots of different kinds – we wanted to compare cheap vs. expensive.

We tried out very similar lip liner – the only difference is the price.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Pencil $20

Palladio Waterproof Lip Liner $4.99 (certain colors are $2.99)

Our final takeaway – they work the same! Both stayed on all day and held their color. So for this one, we say definitely go for the steal!

You can watch the video below for the full story – just click expand to make it full screen.

10 things you can only do in Japan

Parker and I just returned from a 9 day trip to Japan. Our main reason for going was to visit our brother and sister in law and their adorable 1 yr old baby. They are currently living in the center of Tokyo and were incredible hosts and tour guides! I had heard great things about Japan but prepared for how much I would love it. The city is spotless, no graffiti or trash anywhere. The people are kind and considerate, even when the subway is jam packed there is no yelling or shoving. I felt very safe the entire trip. The women have incredible style, always looking feminine and demure. And the food is incredible! I loved absolutely everything that we did, but to simplify things I decided to put together a list of my favorite 10 things that we did that you can only find in Japan.

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  1. ONSEN or JAPANESE BATH HOUSE: Being naked with strangers may sound terrifying but it was actually very spa-like and relaxing. I was hesitant when I first arrived at the bathhouse but after the initial shock wore off it was great. Men and women are split up into different bath areas. It was surprising to see moms and daughters together as well as little babies enjoying the water. At the onsen we enjoyed sushi and also got crazy fish foot massages – I was absolutely dying because my feet are so ticklish! Definitely a fun, cultural experience.
  2. CONVEYOR BELT SUSHI: The sushi in Japan did not disappoint! If you find a restaurant with a conveyor belt it makes it really easy to pick and choose what you want to try. I personally loved the salmon and tuna rolls.
  3. DISNEY SEA: We made a last minute decision to go to Disney Sea. I had no idea what to expect. The park is built on the coast and incorporates water into everything, even to the extent of building a Meditteranean looking village with gondola’s! I loved it and would definitely go again.
  4. RAMEN: The only ramen I had ever eaten before Japan was the 50 cent version. We were lucky enough to try quite a few different variations with udon noodles and different meats. All of them just made you want to cozy up in a sweater and relax. Although I am still working on my chopsticks skills…
  5. HARAJUKU: This is a fun little shopping district in Tokyo where you see some of the anime fashion. Bright colored hair, big platform shoes and a lot of My Little Pony. They also have photo booths that photoshop you to look like Barbie, not the best look for Parker :)
  6. GYOZA: Better known here as pot stickers, gyoza is very popular in Japan. We went to a restaurant entirely dedicated to different forms of gyoza. Then on our trek into the mountains of Hakone we happened upon a tiny little hillside restaurant with a Japanese grandma at the head of the kitchen that made gyoza from scratch. They were heavenly!
  7. TOKYO DOME: This is where all of the baseball games happen, but there is also an amusement park outside of the dome that is a blast! If you go after 5 pm it is around $25 for a pass to go on all the rides as many times as you would like. My favorite happened to be the roller coaster called Thunder Dolphin that took you high above all the skyscrapers and then dropped you straight down, even zooming through a building at one point.
  8. SHIBUYA: This is one of the busiest crosswalks in the world. Insider tip – go to the 2nd floor of the Starbucks on the corner so that you can get an overhead view of the chaos. Perfect location to record a time-lapse. You can see my husband’s here.
  9. HAKONE: They call this the Switzerland of Japan. It took a couple of hours by train to get there. In Hakone we saw an active volcano, a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains, and a shrine that was in the water.
  10. HIGH TECH TOILETS: The toilet seats are heated and spotless – even in places like 7-11! The Japanese people are so clean and tidy that I never once came across a bathroom resembling what you would find in America. The toilets are capable of doing so many crazy things (i.e. bidet?!). I now feel like I need to buy one for my house. In the winter time a warm toilet seat can’t be beat!

28 Things I have learned at 28 {Brooke}

  1. albionbasin Reminisce about falling in love with your significant other. To find your forever partner in life is the greatest and best adventure you will ever have. I still think back to those nervous/excited moments when Parker and I went on our first few dates. It’s always fun to talk about the sweet moments at the beginning of your relationship.
  2. Always have cookie dough or ice cream in the freezer. More times than not it comes in handy. Personal favorites? Ruby Snap and Halo Top Icecream (only 250 calories in a pint!!)
  3. Don’t let anyone else make you feel insecure. That includes crappy boyfriends or people that tear others down.
  4. It is okay to be nervous. It usually means that we are jumping out of our comfort zone and attempting something new.
  5. Death is hard. In my opinion, the death of a loved one is the biggest trial that we will face in life. Time, prayer, and love can help.
  6. Babies always make things better. The cuddles, coos, and smiles can’t be beat.
  7. Laughter can save a lot of situations from getting too serious.
  8. Everyone relaxes in a different way, find what works best for you. Exercise is my time to relax my mind and focus on strengthening my body.
  9. Ask people about themselves, you will usually find out something interesting.
  10. Find some female role models to look up to. Read their stories and experiences. Learn about their pitfalls and achievements. Every story can teach you something. Here are a few different articles that feature women I think are fascinating: Joy, Megyn, Oprah, and Mindy.
  11. You will always need your mom, to talk, laugh, and cry with.
  12. Fill up the car with gas BEFORE the gas light comes on.
  13. RSVP to events. When you become the party planner you realize how helpful it can be.
  14. If you find yourself in a bad mood and it is past 10 pm you probably just need to go to sleep.
  15. Get a grill so that your husband can wow you with his cooking skills.
  16. Remodeling a house will be much more work than you expect, but the results will be very rewarding.
  17. You can make new friends in your late twenties and thirties! This includes couple friends, gym friends, cooking friends, running friends, etc. Embrace new relationships!
  18. Don’t waste your time at a nail salon, just buy the at-home kit (this is the one I have been using for 3 years) and save hours and hours of time and $$$.
  19. Find your “hair lady” and stick with them. Someone you trust that won’t leave you crying in disappointment after a haircut that went 6 inches too short or a dye job that left you with purple hair instead of brown.
  20. Buy yourself some “nice” sweats. You know that you will get enough wear out of them.
  21. Be assertive. Learning how to say what you mean takes practice. It is obviously something that I strive to improve every day. {especially when my words are broadcast on TV every day}
  22. Find a job you look forward to going to every day. Being in the news business can be tough at the beginning. However, I have happily found my niche in the lifestyle genre and look forward to interacting with our shows varied guests every day.
  23. Social media free Sunday’s are a good thing that I need to try to stick with!
  24. Dinner parties are fun! Your guests will not be mad if you do not serve them on your best china. They will most likely remember the conversation and how you made them feel.
  25. Your family is not perfect, no one is, so you shouldn’t expect them to be. Love them for all of their quirks, but mostly because they are yours forever.
  26. Listen more than you talk.
  27. Ask for advice. On anything. From your morning routine to your marriage, it is always refreshing to hear someone else’s perspective.
  28. I have so much to learn. Thank goodness we are able to gain wisdom through experience every day!

A Fill-in-the-blank Travel Guide to Big Sur, California

Q: The very best part of Big Sur is the ________     

A: The very best part of Big Sur is the coastline! Every visitor feels like a professional photographer because the scenery is so beautiful. No matter where you stop along the coast – you will get a beautiful photo! (All the pictures on this post were taken with an iPhone #nofilter)

Q: The ___________ surprised me the most.

A: The quaint atmosphere of the town surprised me the most. I expected a bustling tourist town with shops, crowds, and lines. Sort of like Carmel or Monterrey. Instead, we were greeted with a beautiful campsite (surrounded by dozens of ancient redwood trees!) and a few small gas stations and hotels. I would encourage anyone planning to visit the area to come prepared with your own food and supplies. The “shops” in town are more like convenience stations with higher priced items.

Q: My favorite memory from Big Sur is ________.

A: The conversation and smores at our nightly campfire chats. Our campground was surrounded by the most beautiful redwood trees and had a stream running alongside us. We were able to visit Big Sur due to the fact that our friends, Erin and Cole who live in Palo Alto, reserved a campsite 6 months in advance! They were really the brains and organization behind the entire trip. We just love their little family and had so much fun chasing around their hilarious toddler! Roasting marshmallows while chatting with good friends is a great way to end each travel day.

Q: The worst part of the trip was the ________.

A: Traffic. I will never understand California traffic. We are so lucky to be able to travel so quickly to our destinations here in Utah that I usually take it for granted. That being said, the traffic was only backed up on our way to and from Big Sur. While we were there things were very smooth.

Q: My 3 favorite spots on the trip were _______.

A: McWay Falls, Pfeiffer Beach(for the purple sand!), and Bixby Bridge.

Q: ______ was the moment when I audibly squealed because I was so blown away by the view.

A: When we were driving into Big Sur and stopped off on the side of the road to look at Bixby Bridge. It was our first glimpse at the crystal clear water and breathtaking cliffs after a long trip in the car.

We loved our time in California!

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Twin Tested: 3 Minute Gel Manicure

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Britt and I have been rambling on for years about our love for Red Carpet Manicure. Instead of spending hours at the nail salon we have been able to whip out a professional looking manicure in under an hour at home. Well, there is a new product on the market that is a GAME CHANGER! We seriously cannot contain our excitement about this, therefore, we are telling everyone! The geniuses behind Red Carpet Manicure have combined the base coat, color, and top coat into ONE BOTTLE! You now paint on one coat, cure it for 45 seconds under the LED light, and voila a perfect gel manicure. And lucky for all of us they have the same awesome colors to choose from, our current favorite is Creme de la Creme. Run, don’t walk to your nearest Ulta Beauty store to check out the new product. (Right now all the coral hues are on sale for $7.99!

As a side note, we want to mention that we have tried the other “gel” nail polish products on the market like Sally Hansen, etc. and Red Carpet is a much more durable, long-lasting product. We only share the products with you that we regularly use and love.

What it’s like to meet a Backstreet Boy when you’re 27

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Our 13-year-old selves would’ve died had we known that one day we would meet our absolute FAVORITE Backstreet Boy, Nick Carter. The opportunity came up because of FanX, which is part of Salt Lake ComiCon. As teenagers, Britt and I did not just like the Backstreet Boys – we were obsessed with them! We had their posters plastered all over our bedrooms, learned the dance to every music video, and attended every single concert. Nick was invited to SLC ComiCon because he is working on a new movie about zombies and 90’s boy bands…? We hear there are even members of N’SYNC in the movie. Anyway… before we met Nick for our photo-op a few questions raced through my mind:

  • What do you say to a Backstreet Boy when you are 27 years old?
  • Do you fan-girl or act like a polished professional?
  • Small talk or just smile and nod?
  • What exactly are you supposed to wear while meeting a member of a 90’s boy band?!

Well, here is the conversation. In all it’s 90 seconds of glory:

Nick: “You must be sisters?”

Brooke: “Twins”

Nick: “Well you both are beautiful.” (as he wraps his arms around our waists)

Brooke: *Cheeks start turning red* “We are doing the picture together so that we can put it on our show Monday.”

Nick: “Oh, really?”

Britt: “Yes, we host a lifestyle show here in Salt Lake.”

Nick: “That’s great, thanks for coming, you both are beautiful.” and wave

Quite eventful, right?! No, but really, the experience was really fun. We were lucky to skip most of the line thanks to our press passes. The line must have gone on for hours! Nick was really gracious and kind to all of the fans that we saw him meet with. Life is crazy, you never know who you are going to meet. Now, I am off to go listen to some BSB!

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