A Christmas Tree Story


Happy Holidays! This is such a fun time of year. This is our first Christmas in our new home and we were SO excited to go pick out a real Christmas tree. I grew up with a fake tree, but Sam is 100% all about the real trees. His family has been going to the same tree lot for years. They invite me to come every year and I have to admit going to the tree lot and picking one out is so fun. We measured our ceiling before we left on our tree hunt. We thought about bringing a tape measure, but thought Sam’s arm height was more reliable :) We tied it on our car, carried it inside and… it was about a FOOT too tall for our little ceiling!!! Once we got the tree stand up, it was way too tall. Well, we just about died laughing (hello Clark Griswold! it’s like we learned nothing from Christmas Vacation). We decided to pull out the weed whackers and trim our tree. We cut about a foot off of the top and after we covered it with ornaments and a star, I don’t think you can really tell. I also decided to keep the top of the tree in a little vase on our kitchen table so we can laugh every time we look at it! Sam and I don’t have a ton of ornaments, so we decided to start a new tradition where we will buy one that makes us think of the other person each year. Can’t wait to see what it will look like in 30 years! I thought I wouldn’t really like decorating an entire house for Christmas, but I think it’s turned out quite the opposite!


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.


  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!

3 Ab Burning Exercises We Love

Brooke and I love to exercise but have decided to really focus on our abs lately. Gotta balance out all of those pumpkin chocolate chip cookies :) We love taking classes at Xcel Fitness because the instructors force us to do ab exercises we would either never think of or never make ourselves do on our own. Here are three of our favorites.

#1 The first exercise requires a big exercise ball – any size. The smaller it is, the harder the exercise will be. You start in a pushup and then pike up. It looks SO easy in pictures, but is hard after about 5 of them! We try to do a few (3ish) sets of 20.

dsc_0070 dsc_0071#2 The next exercise is done on a new torture device we just discovered in pilates called the pilates chair. It is a weighted chair (you can adjust to your liking). This one burns out your legs, but is great for balance and core strength. You step on the pedal with one foot and then rise up. You then continue to do it without holding onto the handles. If you don’t have access to one of these, you can always just do it on a bench. The key is going SLOW. This one we try to do three sets of 20 on each leg. It burns!dsc_0090 dsc_0092#3 The last one can be done on the Stability chair or any similar setup. You lift legs into a crunch and then straighten without putting your feet down on the chair. This is one you can change up by changing the angle of your legs and working each side’s oblique. Try to do three sets of 20.dsc_0101

What’s your go-to ab exercise? Britt’s goal is to have a two minute plank by the end of the month! We love to try new ones, so please share!

Special thanks to our favorite gym for being bomb-dot-com, never crowded and always smelling fresh. We love Xcel! They are doing Free Friend Fridays right now where members can bring a friend to work out for free on Fridays. This includes all classes! I’ve taken a couple friends already and had such a good time. Let me know if you want to come sweat!

Things to see & eat in Spain

spain-travel-guideSam and I just got back from a 10-day adventure in Spain. We had never been before, so we spent months researching and planning. I wish I could have found something like this to help plan our trip – so here you go!  I have highlighted three things to see, plus one thing you must eat in each of the places we visited!

Barcelona: beautiful, hip and braless. Apparently, the no-bra trend is very “in” right now. Barcelona is a beautiful and very hip city, it’s also the city that most definitely seemed the most touristy.


  • Sagrada Familia: Gaudi’s church and a complete work of art that is still being completed. You need to get tickets in advance online. Worth going inside and we wish we would have bought an audio guide because you are unable to buy them once you are there, you have to purchase them with your tickets. Give this at least two hours
  • La Boqueria: This is Barcelona’s food market. It’s packed and a lot of fun. It gave us a great chance to try lots of different types of food in one place. My favorites were of course the fresh strawberry coconut juice and the chocolate stand. It’s located on Las Ramblas, which is the main walking street and area. You absolutely have to visit this part of town.
  • Park Guell: This was a residential area designed by Gaudi that has now been turned into a beautiful park owned by the city. It’s not perfectly manicured and definitely has very unique things to see. We liked visiting for a half day trip.
  • *Bonus – Rooftop Pool: Many of the hotels in Barcelona have rooftop pools and they are worth it! Ours had an incredible view of the city and it was so nice to give our feet a little break for a day.


  • Paella: this dish is everywhere in Spain, but we saw it most in Barcelona. It is a Valencian rice dish with lots of spices, vegetables and most of the time, includes seafood. We decided to try the vegetarian version at the market and really liked it. Sam is not a huge seafood fan, but I think it would be delicious with fish!

Madrid: architectural, lovely and clean. I fell hard for this city.  I didn’t have that high of expectations because for some reason, not as many people visit Madrid. They were completed exceeded. It’s a beautiful European city with gorgeous buildings at every turn, fantastic history and you can walk the entire thing.


  • Royal Palace: I’m a sucker for anything that involves royalty and this did not disappoint. The Royal Palace is stunning on the outside, but the real treat is taking a tour and looking at the incredibly gilded and ornate interiors. Give yourself half a day to enjoy and take your time. I highly recommend the audio tour, I learned a lot.
  • Prado Museum: This is such a gorgeous museum and it is busy. We decided to chance it and do the free entrance that they offer from 6-8 PM. It was totally worth it! We had to wait in line for about 45 minutes and then got to roam the museum for free for two hours. We did purchase audio guides, which were helpful since we really only had time to see the highlights.
  • Retiro Park: it’s so refreshing to see a gigantic park in the middle of a city. This one is quite grand and you can easily spend hours exploring. It reminded me a lot of Central Park. We rented a row boat and had such an enjoyable afternoon at the park.


  • Churros & Chocolate: they have this treat all over. We liked the chocolate part better than the churro because they are just plain pieces of fried dough and we are spoiled Americans that are used to have them smothered in cinnamon sugar.

Granada: cultural, detailed and different. This place was unlike anywhere I have ever been before. We drove a rental car from Madrid to Granada – which I actually would not recommend. As our hotel concierge said, “Granada and cars do not mix”. The city is a nightmare to drive in and it’s just a huge hassle. I would have taken the train in hindsight. Granada is such a fun mix of cultures because it is located so close to Morocco. This means there are a lot more food options and the buildings look different from other European cities. We had our best meal here at a place called Carmela’s.


  • Alhambra: stunning, intricate, historical. This place was magical. It’s an old Moorish palace that has been restored to immaculate condition and it is just beautiful. We spent nearly an entire day here walking around and exploring because there is so much to see and learn about. You absolutely have to buy your tickets well in advance online.
  • San Nicolas Viewpoint: so so crowded, but the view really cannot be beat! It’s free and we loved watching the sunset here.
  • Street Performers/Guitar Players: this city comes alive at night. Families and couples all go for evening walks around 10 – 11 PM. It was fun to walk around and watch street performers and listen to people play music.


  • Carmela’s: this is where we had our best meal of the trip. It was on the higher end, but every single thing we ordered was amazing. We ate french onion soup, a salad (with ham, of course), homemade pasta with a white wine sauce and a beef and rice dish. It’s in the heart of the city.

Costa Del Sol: salty, smoky and sunny. Europeans love to smoke, so you do have to expect a lot of that at the beaches. We tried to do our homework and found a beach favored by locals in Nerja. We rented beach chairs for a day and just enjoyed the Spanish sun. Beware all beaches in Spain are topless and there are lotsa boobs! If you’re looking for a beach vacation experience, I would recommend Costa Del Sol over Barcelona. There are many more beaches to choose from and they are less crowded.


  • Balcony of Europe: gorgeous viewpoint above the ocean in Nerja. Free
  • White Hill Towns: these are absolutely the cutest and reminded me of Greece. We loved driving through town and seeing them.
  • Malaga: the most underrated stop on our trip. I wish we would have had more time here. Beautiful, walkable city right on the water. We loved spending one night here and would definitely go back.


  • Gelato: I can’t leave it out because I had a lot of it on this trip. It’s the perfect treat after a day at the beach!

I hope this helps if you are planning a trip to Spain. If you have been, I would love to hear your favorite spots as well!

Happy Traveling :)

spain-2-2{Sagrada Familia in Barcelona}
spain-3-2{fresh strawberry coconut juice at La Boqueria}

spain-1{wandering through Barcelona}

spain-2{how come we don’t have macaron ice cream sandwiches in the US? best idea!}
spain-3{Park Guell in Barcelona}


spain-6{Royal Palace of Madrid}
spain-7{The gardens at the Alhambra in Granada}spain-5spain-6


28 Things I have learned at 28 {Brooke}

  1. albionbasinReminisce 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!

28 things I have learned at 28 {Britt}

  1. 28 things newSummer is and always will be the best season. Bright, crisp mornings and lazy warm afternoons just make me happy. This has been one for the books: decorating our house, evening walks (we’re closer to 90 than you think), family time and more.
  2. Honesty truly is the best policy. I had to learn this one the hard way because I maybe can kind of sometimes be quite the exaggerator. (Don’t ask Sam)
  3. Having someone to come home to is the greatest feeling.
  4. Celebrate the little things – job promotions, half birthdays, successfully assembling IKEA furniture, etc. It just makes life more fun.
  5. Take off your makeup every night – your face will be so much better for it. I am so embarrassed to say it, but when Sam and I were dating I remember thinking how humiliating it would be for him to see me without makeup on. Oh the hilarity. Now that’s how he sees me 99.9% of the time.
  6. Laser hair removal is life changing.
  7. Good lip liner > good lipstick
  8. Being a morning workout person sounds so sucky, but is actually so awesome because you don’t have the dark “I still have to exercise” cloud hanging over you all day.
  9. Believe in yourself. No one else will if you don’t first.
  10. Wear whatever you want. So you love all black? Leopard print? Crazy heels? Go for it! The only sure thing about fashion is that it’s always going to change, so do what makes you happy.
  11. Exploring in nature is the most enjoyable way to de-clutter the mind.
  12. Use a tinkle razor and shave your face. It sounds so ridiculous, but your makeup will go on and stay on so much better. Plus you won’t have fuzz all over your face anytime the sun hits it just right. I know some of you are disgusted right now, but try it before you knock it!
  13. Husbands can’t read minds. So you actually have to communicate needs and expectations. “Oh you really didn’t actually mean it when you said you didn’t want anything for your birthday?” hahaha
  14. Trust your gut at work. Know when you need to speak up or move on.
  15. Start each day with a grateful thought – still working on this one.
  16. Home ownership is actually really fun. I know people give it a bad wrap, but there is something really great about having a place to call your own where you can plaster whatever you want on the walls.
  17. Love where you live. Appreciating what a beautiful and lovely place Salt Lake City is has really changed me. Yes, I love to travel, but I also love to explore my city.
  18. Complaining is a habit. It takes work to get out of the habit. (totally still working on this one too)
  19. Getting gray hairs is one of the most shocking and humbling experiences. My dad was basically all gray by 30, so HELP!
  20. No cell phone during date night. I leave it at home or in the car and don’t look at it. This has resulted in conversations where I am actually paying attention and listening intently.
  21. Kindness is all that matters. When you make someone feel valued and interesting, it’s the best thing.
  22. Give yourself credit for reaching goals. Acknowledge it and write it down.
  23. After you write it down, savor that moment. I am so terrible at being happy in the moment, I would rather talk about what I need to do next and how I can do it better, but I’ve learned simply sitting back and being pleased for a moment feels great.
  24. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Real friends are priceless. You can tell them your embarrassing moments and it just makes them love you more.
  25. Mentors are movers. They move you to accomplish more than you imagined you could. I am in the lucky position of now being able to offer advice (to the poor souls who ask for it) and I take it very seriously. I am still in debt to all of the people who took time to explain things, offer advice and encourage me.
  26. Identify nagging thoughts. This one is straight from the Queen of Happiness, Gretchen Rubin. If you do the things you really don’t want to do first, all of the sudden your day gets so much better when you accomplish them quickly.
  27. PMS is real, but chocolate really does work. Brooke would say Midol, but just pass me a cookie and I’ll be fine.
  28. I am who I am because of those closest to me and I am so grateful to them. To my husband for constantly loving me, supporting me and attempting to read my mind. My mom is still my biggest fan and it’s the best to know there is always someone cheering for me. I wish everyone could have a twin sister. It’s amazing to have a confidante and best friend, as well as a sister.

I think it’s going to be a good year! Brooke’s list is coming soon and will probably be a lot more insightful than mine :)

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!


  1. IMG_0824 IMG_0828 IMG_0829 IMG_0830 IMG_0831 IMG_0832 IMG_0834 IMG_0836 IMG_0837

Britt’s Master Bedroom Update

If you’ve noticed a long absence from the blog, it’s probably because Brooke and I have both been at a home improvement store. Seriously, we live there now. Between her fixer upper and a few summer projects I wanted to get done this summer, we’ve been getting our hands dirty. No one tells you that any house project is a lot harder than they make it look on TV. Unfortunately Chip and Jo Jo did not show up to magically transform my master bedroom in a quick 30 minutes, but I think it still turned out pretty well, although it could definitely use some ship lap :) . The main change was paint. Our entire house is painted in the same taupe-ish hue. I honestly don’t mind it that much because I’m just happy to have a house (and mostly a garage), but paint is a pretty simple change. After fine-tuning my painting skills at Brooke and Parker’s house – sorry about the guest bed closet- I decided to paint our master bedroom. I wanted the room to be brighter and lighter, but was set on not doing plain white. I settled on Sherwin-William’s 7070 Site White, which SOUNDS white, but is definitely a very light gray with a sky blue hue. I used their Emerald Interior line because the paint already has primer in it, which meant I only had to do two coats of paint on the wall instead of three. I split the painting in two days to let the paint fully dry. I love how it turned out and now maybe want to tackle the rest of the house…master bed 6master bed 3master bed 4master bed 5

(totally spaced the inside of our shutters – how in the heck do i get in there? I’m seriously contemplating using one of my tiny makeup brushes so I don’t screw up too badly)DSC_0071I really love these lamps I found from Target. I originally fell in love with a verrry similar looking lamp from West Elm, but these were $150 cheaper! I’m on the hunt for big, fluffy white pillows for our bed. I think they will offset the rest of the pillows nicely. Where do you find them? Any and all interior decorating advice welcomed!

How to accentuate your best facial features in photos


Britt and I are often asked what makeup is best for TV or photos. After more than 6 years of trial and error on TV we have found our time-tested favorites. Today I am sharing the products that help accentuate your best features. It’s important to note that foundation is a must when you are in front of a camera. It evens out your skin tone and makes it so you don’t look washed out. We’ve shared our foundation favorites in a previous post here. The three features I like to accentuate in photos tend to be: eyebrows, lips, and cheeks.

Lips: After years of being a lip gloss girl I have discovered the benefit of lip liner. Don’t worry, this is not the brown lip liner of the 90’s. My very favorite is made by Butter London. The color is “Sweet Something” and can be used under practically any other gloss or lipstick. However, I really love it plain. The key is to line your ENTIRE lip, not just the outside. It has a matte finish that looks great on camera and is not too shiny.

Brows: Eyebrows seem to be the name of the game in 2016. Everyone is making theirs bigger and bolder. I like to keep mine looking semi-natural by using a brow gel. Fiona Stiles has created a product that helps separate your eyebrow hairs while enhancing them. I use it every single day!

Cheeks: Since learning how to apply blush properly (only on the apples of the cheeks) I have loved the little pop of color it can add to my face. Powder blushes are great for this but can fade quickly. For longer lasting wear, especially in the summertime, I like to use Tarte Fearless Cheek Stain.

Britt and I plan to continue our makeup tips throughout the summer by sharing our favorites!

liplinerDSC_0009 DSC_0024 DSC_0018 DSC_0016DSC_0041


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