Utah Part 1

I spent a week and a half in Utah last month and had the most wonderful time. The last time I was in Utah was well over a year ago and I realized how much I've missed it. I lived in Utah for 5 years, which is a considerable amount of time to live somewhere. And while I lived in California much longer (for 16 years, from 2-18), most of that time I was a child and naturally didn't have as much freedom to go places where and when I wanted. But in Utah I was an adult with full control of life and could go and come as I pleased. Because of that I feel like I experienced as much in Utah in 5 years in Utah as I did growing up in California. Coming back to visit felt like coming back home.

Prepare yourself for picture overload. Here I am flying into Chicago for my layover. Love being able to look down and see the lake every time I fly here.
I'm not sure if this view is of Colorado or Utah. But nonetheless it made my heart happy to see mountains again.
My dear friend Layne picked me up from the airport and took me out to eat and to the driving range. It was great seeing him again and also a lot of fun to hit golf balls again as well. It was a very hot day by Utah standards, but was refreshingly bearable compared to DC. No humidity is incredible.

While Layne was driving me around Salt Lake I couldn't help but take in my surroundings and wonder, has Utah always been like this? I stared out at the dry, open landscape, the small Salt Lake City skyline and the abundance of chain restaurants. Everything felt so much smaller, slower and a little more country. I had never felt this way when I lived here before, but now I seemed to be seeing the state through new eyes. I felt like for the past year I'd been watching life in HD TV and now I was back looking at an older model. As I thought more about this I realized that Utah hadn't really changed, but I had changed. You know, it's one thing to visit a big city, but to live in one, such as DC, well, it changes you. You become very accustomed to the impressive on a regular basis - world class restaurants, the best entertainment, gorgeous buildings, the latest fashions, famous people, historic landmarks - all conveniently located in one concentrated area. So subtly this had become my normal and I had never realized it until this moment. Living in a big city changed the way I saw the world in ways I didn't anticipate. No wonder so many people want to live in big cities - they offer so much. However, in this moment of clarity I was also able to see that even though DC offers "more" in terms of entertainment, food, and landmarks, Utah has so much to offer in its own way. Such incredibly kind and friendly people, the "best snow on earth", an abundance of outdoor activities and beautiful landscapes, a more laid-back and family oriented way of life, the Sundance Film Festival, better weather (no humidity) etc. I'm grateful I've had the chance to live in such different places because they have all taught me so much.

The view that inspired that train of thought.
In Utah I met up with Mom, Grandma, Aunt Heidi and Grayson who drove up together to take Grayson to football camp at BYU. And of course we got together with Emily, Josh, Jake and Steph. It was so incredibly wonderful to be back with family. They just radiate happiness and love.

We celebrated Grandma's 83rd birthday while in Utah. Yes, she really is 83, but she doesn't look anywhere near it and certainly doesn't act like it.
Aunt Heidi and Steph at the bowling alley. Love them!
Grayson got major style points for his bowling skills.

Love these dressed up bowling balls!

Aunt Heidi treated us to Thai Ruby, my all time favorite Thai food restaurant. It was just as delicious as I remembered.
Grayson and I have twin shirts. I saw him wearing his and was obsessed with it so he and Mom kindly got me one of my own :)
On Grandma's birthday we spent the day in lovely Park City. It was a beautiful day and we spent the afternoon shopping, walking around and eating. We took the chair lift up and looked out onto a green and summery Park City. It was the first time I've seen this view in the summer and it was gorgeous.

Isn't Grandma a beauty? We took this picture to send to Grandpa since he loves rocks, but I love it because I think it's such a wonderful picture of Grandma.
Us girls on Main Street.
We ate the most delicious lunch at Bistro 412. It was so nice to eat outside and the food and service were wonderful.

Before leaving Park city we stopped at Chateau Apres Lodge, where Aunt Heidi and Mom both worked for a season or two. It was fun to see this place I had heard so much about.
Luckily, the owner was there and remembered Mom and Aunt Heidi! He remembered that Aunt Heidi went to work on the cruise ship and that he never had to worry when Mom cleaned a room (because of what a great job she always did). That is so incredible to me that even after all this time he would still remember them. Must be because they are so awesome!
I took this picture as Steph and I drove back from Price together. The sun was setting and cast the most beautiful light on the mountains. We enjoyed visiting with each other and listened to a really pretty version of the song "Young Blood." It was wonderful to spend time with Steph and take in the pretty landscape all around us. I can't describe it, but I feel so connected to Utah when I am out in the open, taking in the beautiful scenery. There is just something in the air there and I feel so apart of it. The beauty of the outdoors is so incredible and I just can't help but feel like I've come home when I am there.
While on the drive home Steph spotted a real gem. This bilboard advertises the Helper Arts and Musical Festival which is cool, but the picture they put with it is a cow. Not a painted or artistic cow, just a regular cow standing there. What about that cow represents their festival? We couldn't stop laughing.

This hair is what happens when you let a Mom who loves the 80s put hot rollers in your hair.  Big, curly hair.  
Surprise visit!  This picture wasn't taken on purpose, but I like how candid it is.

On Sunday we went to "Music and the Spoken Word" at the Conference Center. It was beautiful as always, and especially enjoyable with the patriotic theme.

For whatever reason we all got a little emotional reading the quote by President Hinckley behind Grayson and Grandma.  What a wonderful man he was.

Brunch at the Grand! One of my favorite Utah traditions. The Grand is easily the nicest hotel in Salt Lake City and they serve an incredible, all-you-can-eat brunch. We ate crepes, sushi, crab, fruit covered in chocolate from the chocolate fountain, customized omelets etc etc.
So pretty!

Aunt Heidi and I wearing our twin skirts! Exact same skirt. We must be related :)
To be continued....

1 Response to Utah Part 1

July 24, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Love all the pictures!!! I feel like I was able to live vicariously through this post lol. Sounds like so much fun!! Love the bond you share with your family (immediate and extended). Seriously, so presh!

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