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. 


Commitment Ceremony

I have decided I am officially re-committed to blogging again.
In order for me to start fresh, let me sum up everything you've missed in the year I left you abandoned.


Okay, just kidding. Here's a quick list.

1. We are still in my parents basement, and lovin it.
2. Zane is still in school at UVU, but there IS an end in sight.
3. I went to dental assisting school, finished dental assisting school, and got a dental assisting job. I think...
4. Dallas is still alive
5. A plethora of different hair styles and colors

Which brings us to 6, the final and most important update, we got a DOG!

How many blog entries did I mention my puppy hunger? too many for you to find it interesting I am sure.
My parents made my dream come true in November by buying a perfect Australian Shepherd puppy for me and Zane. Zane named her Red. She is about 5 months old now, and we are truly obsessed with her. Which anyone following me on Instagram, or Facebook, has been painfully made aware of.

Let me promise you right now, I refuse to let this blog be taken over by my dog. But she will me mentioned, and photographed, occasionally, so bare with me.

It's not my fault my dog is as photogenic as Kate Upton, and smizes like a canine Tyra Banks.

Okay, now that you have been introduced to my dog child, we can move on.
See you on the blogosphere peeps!


I was looking through old pictures, papers, and other saved documents on this laptop of mine.
It has begun to run so slow because the memory is so chock full. Thus, I have promised Zane I will work on clearing up some space. While scrolling through some old papers from college, and old church talks, I stumbled upon a document titled "Zane's Ring".

Some of you who know me may know that occasionally I'll write little silly poems to go with gifts that I feel like need an extra somethin'. It can take a gift from simple, and unsurprising, to a cute little memorable package.

The Christmas before Zane and I got married, as one of his Christmas gifts I gave him his wedding ring. He obviously knew it was coming, but it's a pricey little sucker, and a symbol of something very sacred. I didn't want it to go over looked I suppose, so I wrote a little poem.

This morning I stumbled upon that poem, and value it more now than 2011 Brooke realized I would.

It goes as follows...

Poems are cheesy, I know. 
But it’s supposed to be cute, not a talent show. 
You already knew I would get you this ring.
But I want you to remember it’s a special thing.

It means that I’ll love you for better or worse,
it means that I’ll never make you hold my purse.
It means that I’ll kiss you good morning and night,
it means I’ll still love you after a fight.
It means that you’ll have to kill all the bugs,
but I will reward you with kisses and hugs.
It means you’ll have to check under the bed, and in the closet,
it means that you will have to fix every leaky faucet.
It means I’ll tickle your arms and play with your hair,
it means “I promise to always play fair.”
It means that you never have to be alone anymore,
It means that we’re blessed, no matter how poor. 
This ring means that I’m yours forever,

and honestly my love, what could be better?

Looking back on these words, I realize now, I basically wrote Zane vows. 
Although I may not have kept my word when it comes to holding my purse, everything else rings truer today than ever before. 

I am no Keats, but this long lost document just became a very special keepsake, and I think I shall keep it.

Who knew I was such a romantic?