public dancing and the half marathon no one knew about

During my last California sister visit in October, I decided to sign up to run a half marathon with Bri in February. I've secretly always wanted to cross it off my bucket list, but mostly it was a perfectly great excuse to plan another weekend getaway.

Well, in October February seems an awfully long ways away. So naturally I didn't feel the pressure to begin "training". (which I desperately needed, as the longest I had run in a good 2 or 3 years was 2 or 3 miles.) Then, like a blessing from heaven, Bri found out she would have to work the weekend of the race. So we called off the trip, and the non-existent training.
Alas, around Christmas we found out that Bri actually wasn't working, and the half marathon was back on. Like a curse from hell I tell you.
So I had basically one month to train, and it turns out there isn't really a "from couch potato to half-marathon in 4 weeks" guide. Sedentary living doesn't exactly transition into long distance running, shocking I know, so I took a very apathetic approach.
This was going to be comical at best, and at the very least, it would be a secret. I told essentially no one, because of course if no one knows than no one can hold you accountable and harass you about "being prepared". blah blah.
I arrived in California. Spent a wonderful day in Disneyland dancing for pictures in front of large crowds with no shame, blissfully ignoring my impending doom the next morning.

Race day came. I spent the first couple hours of that morning feeling so nervous I was certain I would throw up. My bib says MY NAME! I found this so concerning. I had done such a great job keeping this a secret, and now perfect strangers were going to know the name of the girl who got picked up by the bus who picks up the slow and the sad. This was supposed to be good-humored but anonymous failure, and my name was going to ruin everything!
Then, in a wave of uncharacteristic positivity and maturity, I decided I was officially the worst running partner for Bri, and I was going to be excited, and happy, and at least begin the race with dancing and laughter. Before I knew it, we had ran 6 miles, and I still felt great. I mean, we are SLOW going, and strangers are saying things like "Great job Brooke!" and "Keep it up Brooke!" which makes me extremely uncomfortable and happy at the same time, but I'm feelin' good and I am having fun.
Yes, mile 9-12 were a little rough. It was hot, we lost sight of the ocean. I can feel the blister forming on my heel, but it's nothing I cant handle.
Mile 12-13.1 felt awesome, I was able to sprint it out to the finish line and was honestly surprised with the amount of pride and euphoria I felt. GO ME!
I instantly couldn't bring myself to walk like a normal human being, but I collected my medal, a warm banana and limped my way back to the hotel like a freaking champion.

There was never a moment during the race that I felt like I couldn't do it.
So far nothing has been as physically, mentally, and emotionally draining as hiking the 17 miles of The Narrows, where I learned my limits the hard way, and was forced to push past them. And because I survived that beautiful hell hole, I can do anything! Except a marathon. Never a marathon.
{I feel like it should be noted that my experience in the Narrows says more about my lack of athleticism, endurance, and mental health than the hike itself. It could be the easiest/best experience of your life, and if so, I commend you.}

All sore muscles, and blisters in account, I still loved running this race! I will absolutely do another one, ideally with a bit more training.


Saying goodbye to 2014 and hopefully hello to blogging. again.

2014 has come and gone.
It was a good year, the highlights being a new job for both me and Zane, several trips to California that never get tired, too many late nights watching Batman and Superman cartoons, and lots of laughter and emotional breakdowns that come along with being young, in love, and penniless. 

My personal favorite part of 2014 would have to be the end of it. December 2014 marked three years of marriage, and more important (kind of), December was when Zane officially graduated from college! 

Once upon a time, there was a girl who grew up in a house where education was highly valued, and simply expected. I assumed everyone in america needed to graduate from college otherwise they were obviously lazy, and stupid. Then I went to college and realized it wasn't going to be all smooth sailing and pie eating like high school. Now years later, and blah, blah, and excuses excuses,  I have not graduated from college. But Zane has! and I have really come understand the determination, and discipline it took to get him where he is now. I am beaming with pride and excitement for the guy! (I'd also like to give myself a nice pat on the back for being a huge part of making that happen, because what talents do I possess if not the ability to make any situation about myself?)
So cheers to Zane (and me) for graduating with his Bachelors Degree in Digital Media from UVU!

What's sexier than having a college graduate for a husband?? NOTHING!

Bring it on 2015, we're ready for whatever comes next.


Kanarraville Falls

I couldn't completely walk away from blogging about my hiking trip in southern Utah until I mention Kanarraville Falls.
I have done this hike twice now, and I need to declare how much I love it.


It's only about 5 miles round trip, depending on how far into the canyon you go. So you get the beauty of a slot canyon without the suffering that comes along with a longer canyon hike, like say, the Narrows.
It's a fairly easy hike, but there are a couple of obstacles that would make it difficult for the elderly, or small children.

Okay. That's all I really need to say, the photos really speak for themselves.

Photo Cred to my Uncle Brian Borup

Now go do it!


a mistake in the form of a family vacation

The Narrows. Let's talk about it.
For those of you who don't know:

"The Virgin River has carved a spectacular gorge in the upper reaches of Zion Canyon: 16 miles long, up to 2,000-feet deep, and at times only 20 to 30-feet wide. The Narrows, with its soaring walls, sandstone grottos, natural springs, and hanging gardens can be an unforgettable wilderness experience. However, it is not a hike to be underestimated.

Hiking The Narrows means hiking in the Virgin River. At least 60 percent of the hike is spent wading, walking, and sometimes swimming in the river. There is no maintained trail because the route is the river. The current is swift, the water is cold, and the rocks underfoot are slippery"

Straight from ZPS.gov.

My dad and sister had this brilliant idea to do a little weekend trip to Zion and hike The Narrows. Surprising as it may sound, I was actually into this idea. So Dad, Bri, my Uncle Brian, and I, did just that.
In general I would say "I love to hike." is a true statement for me. What I had not realized is that this only remains true for about 6-8 miles. And let me tell you, learning this at mile 8 of a 16 mile hike is the definition of learning something "the hard way".
( it's actually 17 miles, you still have to hike a mile once you exit the canyon. And I don't want to get short-changed a whole mile here.)

Miles 0-5, I was one happy hiker. There was singing, there was dancing, there was even frolicking in the fields.
Miles 5-12 I'm getting a little grumpy. My walking stick is ridiculous. The severity of the situation is beginning to settle in. I stopped talking all together somewhere around this point.
Miles 12-17 Pure misery. I'm pondering whether or not I'm too far up the canyon for the rescue team to reach me. I'm fantasizing about breaking a leg, or just drowning, whatever it takes to stop hiking. There is absolutely no talking, there are no pictures being taken, only occasional silent tears.

Now, a week later, I can walk normal again, my blisters are mostly healed, I've received the most necessary pedicure of my life, I can almost say it was worth it. I'm still waiting for those rose-colored glasses to arrive.

What I can say for certain is, first, I have the best family. Had I asked, my dad would have carried me out of there. Me, my backpack, and my freaking walking stick.
The second, I can do hard things. I can do things I didn't think I could; I mean, I thought I could do this, which is why I agreed to it, but I'm talking about after I realized I actually couldn't do it, I still managed to do it. And that feels pretty good.
But as I explained to my Uncle Brian, a man of never ending positivity and optimism who was trying to get me to come back from the dark side, sometimes being capable of doing hard things doesn't really justify actually doing them. Truth.


once a bride, and always a bridesmaid

I am at the point in my life where my part time job is basically being a bridesmaid.
Especially in the summer.
But I'm not complaining, there are few things I enjoy more than a wedding between two people I love.
This last weekend those two people were Starlee and Colby. They have only been dating as along as I have known Star (about 8 or 9 years now), so it was about time that they sealed the deal, and I feel lucky to have been included in the festivities.
Other than the temple ceremony itself, my favorite part about a wedding is the fact that I have a reason to spend all day with my best friends, no excuses.
After completing our maiden duties (I was in charge of balloons, explanation for the picture below), we all sat around a beautifully decorated table, with delicious crepes, and talked. Is there anything better?

Another wedding down, and only 4-5 more to go.

 Getting the balloons was quite a feat. 

Starlee was such a beautiful bride.

PS, weddings wouldn't be half as fun without this guy.


utah lake

My birthday was on Tuesday.
Apparently it's not a nationally recognized holiday, so I had to work. 
Zane and I celebrated on Monday instead, which was just as sweet. After a morning spent at City Creek, Zane and I fought the urge to nap, and instead decided to take Red swimming at Utah Lake. 
Before we even got our pup, we knew our dog was going to love to swim. (future Splash Dog maybe?) And lucky for us, Red has taken to water like a fish. No hesitation, just pure excitement. 
It's basically the cutest thing, and we're obsessed with her. 

Candid. Could he be any cuter??

Later this week when the family was out in the backyard throwing around a frisbee, a game Red also excels at, my dad turned to me and said, "This is what life is about. It's not about having a lot of money... Just enough money to buy a dog."
For all you fellow dog lovers out there, you might agree. For everyone grossed out by dog kisses, and pet hair, what we're really saying is life is about family, and the little moments we get to spend together. The moments we disconnect from the TV, and our phones, stop worrying about work, and just enjoy each other.

A dog just gives you an excuse to make those moments happen. And a freaking cute excuse at that. 



This past weekend my girlfriends and I got together to celebrate one of our own getting married. 
We spent a night in Salt Lake City, eating food, chatting, and mostly just laughing hysterically. It was good for the soul I tell you. 

I read an interview with Kate Hudson recently. (she is so wise) She talked about nurturing your relationships with the women in your life. She said at some point, or maybe multiple times, maybe even multiple times a day, you have to decide whether or not your competing against, or supporting your girlfriends. 
The answer should be simple, always supporting. Yet, more often than I'd like to admit, I find myself in an imaginary competition, in which I am the only player, with these woman who I claim to love. (and I do, I really do)
If I'm being honest, it actually happens with  more people than just my friends. It happens with my own family, and perfect strangers too. (I obviously have some issues)
The silly interview with Kate really hit home. I know that I am guilty, and that the competition only brings me unhappiness.
Comparison, it's the root of all evil. 
And when we are sitting around in a circle, covered head to toe in 6 cans of silly string, laughing until we cry, it becomes crystal clear that I don't have to be the skinniest, the prettiest, the richest, the smartest, or the most successful for these girls to love me for who I am. And I can love them for the qualities I envy in them, and be genuinely happy for their success. 
Epiphany; Life is so much better when it's not about you. 


wedding bells

My sister-in-law Caitie got married a couple of weeks ago.
She was the last of the O'Gwins to tie the knot. She dated, and dated, and dated and we all wondered if she would find someone who fits in the O'Gwin family puzzle perfectly. It's a hard puzzle to solve with brothers as close knit as the O'Gwin boys, and a mother-daughter bond as tight as Missy and Caities. Not to mention the perfection that is Sean and Missy's marriage as an example, talk about shoes to fill.
But, of course, things have a way of falling into place, and they did with Derek.

The wedding day was beautiful. Perfect weather, lots of great company, and even greater food. (waffle's can be found below)

Caitie always eventually welcomed me into the family with open arms, and we have been close ever since. I am so happy for her, and Derek. Three cheers for marriage! hip-hip

But really, this was probably my favorite part. 


Morbid and tender thoughts on a dog. You've been warned.

Today Dallas the dog died.
I remember going to the pound to look at dogs as a kid. That is where we found dallas. In a room full of barking, jumping, out of control dogs, Dallas was calm and sweet. We loved her right then.
Dallas came from an abusive home, so adopting her into our family didn't exactly go off without a hitch. She was scared of everything, and everyone. But it made it that much more special to watch her ease into the safety of being a part of our family. And she really did become a member of our family, even to our mom who I still don't think knows for certain what gender our dog of 14 years was.

Dallas was a good dog. She was tender, obedient, and smarter than anything we could've expected. Even if she never could figure out how to play fetch...

She woke up every morning excited to greet me and Bri. She'd hop up on our beds and lay her head on our heads. She protected us form the imaginary ghosts in the basement. She was our hiking companion. She was our date for many a dateless Friday night.

But the day came when she couldn't hike anymore, she couldn't come down the stairs to the basement, and she couldn't hop up on any beds.
This morning she could barely even walk.

Growing old is slow. So slow you hardly notice it happening right before your eyes.
Having a puppy in the house made it impossible to ignore how every move Dallas made was a struggle, how every breath was labored.
14 years is a long life for a dog. It was time to let her go.

Now we hope she is happy, eating canine manna to her hearts content. We hope she is still protecting us from all the dark, scary basements. Mostly, we hope she is free. Free from the emotional and physical pains that she experienced in this life, and all the limitations of mortality.

Goodbye Dallas. We loved you as much as anyone could.


sometimes puppies strengthen friendships

Once upon a time there were two best friends, who just so happened to adopt two cute puppies at the same time. And they all lived happily ever after with their constant puppy play dates. 

That fairytale is actually the story of my life. Surprise! 
Hillary and I have always been great friends, best friends since Freshman year at Utah State, but after I got married, and she got married, we just weren't spending as much time together anymore. It happens. 
But then we got these puppies, and it gave us a reason to get together. ALL THE TIME. And our dog's thank us, because now they are BFF's and it's almost too much happiness to handle. 

 8 weeks old 
 6 months old. 

We had a little date at the park last Saturday. Lindsey was in town so she brought her mom's little dog Rex to tag along. 
He was maybe half the size of Red, and one fourth of the size of Winnie, we thought they might smash him. 
He ended up surviving. 

I feel blessed to still have these high school friends of mine.
They make me happy, and fulfill my life in ways a husband just can't.
Who else would be willing to play hours of Karaoke with me? or put up with my cursing while I lose miserably at cards? or eat an entire bag of captain crunch with me at midnight?
or love that scary make-up-less face you see above?

Okay, maybe Zane would do all of those things. But having four people that love me that much?
nothing short of a miracle.


friends in California

About a month ago, my friend Hillary and I hatched a plan to go to California to celebrate her cute husband Michael's birthday.
My sister is currently working in Disneyland, and our good friend Jo Metcalf  is working at Conan. So basically everyone in my life is doing super cool things, and I felt the need to take advantage of that and live vicariously through them.  So we spent one day at Warner Brothers, and two days in Disneyland.
A million thank you's to both of them for making it all possible!

This was my first grown-up-friends-only vacation, and it was just super great. 
It's similar to a family vacation, but no one cries, and everyone gets along the WHOLE TIME. 

I love Michael and Hillary. I have been friends with them both since I was little, and feel so lucky that those friendships have lasted, and transferred into our marriages. We really had a blast. We got to do a lot of fun things, and take a break from everyday life. 

Fresh out of our 10 hour car ride, we went to Disneyland to participate in a little scavenger hunt my sister was working on. The park was closed down for the night, it was so cool to see Disneyland empty! Truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. So fun, so magical. 

Friday we visited Jo at Warner Brothers. I had already done this with Bri last year, but Zane, Hill, and Michael had not, so we couldn't pass up the opportunity. Pluuus we got to see so many cool things I didn't get to see at my last visit.  

This house used to be the Gilmore Girl home in the glory days. Possibly my favorite show of all time, so this alone was a dream come true. 
It is used now as the back of Spencer's house in Pretty Little Liars. 

Hannah's house on Pretty Little Liars 

Just a set used for shows/movies set in New York City

Remember the one where Pheobe and Rachel go running?

The highlight of our trip to Warner Brothers was easily the Central Perk set from Friends. 
Every prop in there is straight from the Friends.

The famous couch.
Even the writing on the chalk board was left exactly how it was when the show ended, has not been touched in 10 years. Needless to say, we loved it. 

The rest of the trip was spent at the happiest place on earth.

Chip & Dale 

we're romantic 

Aren't Michael and Zane such good sports?

cutest couple


Sometimes life is so good.