2018 Highlights- Video

I know it’s already the 4th day of 2019, but I hope you all had a happy New Year! I’ve always loved this holiday, but is there a holiday that I don’t like?  😉

Some of us treat it like just another day, some of us set new goals for ourselves, some of us have the idea that this year will be better than last. However you decide to celebrate or think of this holiday, it is exciting to welcome a new year nonetheless. A new year means new beginnings, it marks significant milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, births, deaths. It reminds us that time is precious and that we won’t all be here forever.

I love the new year, but as I get older I’ve learned to try to live every day like the beginning of a new year. Why wait until new year to set new goals and intentions for ourselves? Why not start today? Every single morning you wake up is a new beginning. It is a new chance to live the life you want and be the person you want to be.

I went into 2018 with this idea in my mind, to live every day like the beginning of the new year. To have the idea that I don’t have to wait until Friday to be happy, that I don’t have to wait until I am older to be successful, that I don’t have to wait until next year to be the person I want to be.

My main goal was to set my energy and focus towards my own happiness and self love. I stopped depending on other people for happiness. I stopped putting energy into relationships that weren’t fulfilling my well being and surrounded myself with the people who appreciate the person I am. I stopped filtering my thoughts and spilled my heart out. I stopped looking to others for validation and approval. I stopped caring about impressing anyone other than myself. I read more and scrolled less. I learned to appreciate my body and my mind for everything they are, instead of what they’re not. I appreciated every single beautiful view and constantly found myself in awe of where I currently was. I danced more than I ever have and jumped head first into every body I saw. I found new talents and hobbies and took on every new opportunity that was given to me.

And eventually, I started to love the energetic, emotional, sensitive, vulnerable, caring person that I’ve always been. Nothing rewarding is ever easy. I had the highest highs and the lowest lows this last year, but my main goal for the new year is to continue to love myself and my life like it is the greatest it ever was.


Thank you 2018, for the growth, the adventures, the love, and all of the little moments that I felt 100% genuine happiness. Every year becomes more precious to me than the last, and every year I fall more in love with this life I am living. I can not wait to see what big adventures and happy little moments 2019 brings. ( and how much better the quality improves on my videos thanks to my new camera 🙂 )

A few other goals I have for myself this year:

Don’t take things too personal. Don’t overthink. Eat more vegetables, and less carbs. Do more yoga and push myself into new poses. Visit more beautiful places. Read more books. Document more. Create more. Write more. Let people know that I care about them more often. Say no. Continue to accept the person I’ve become, but keep progressing towards who I want to be.

Happy new year- new month, new week, new day, new hour. Let’s go burn brighter than the sun!

Onto the next adventure, Wren



Christmas Celebrations 2018

IMG_2642Our favorite day of the year is over, but that doesn’t mean that our happiness high has ended. Today, I woke up feeling so blessed and grateful for this time of year that brings family and friends together.IMG_2643This year was the first Christmas I ever spent with out my mom, (due to her moving away) and Whit didn’t make it into town, so Christmas felt a little different this year. We had the chance to facetime Whit, Tyler, and the girls (See cute selfies below). And I’m currently counting down the days until I see my mom next weekend. I’ve learned that growing older means spending less time with family and friends, but it makes the time spent together that much more meaningful.















SLJU9043If you know Derek and I, you know saying we love Christmas is an understatement. Since we were jet lagged, and confused this time last year, it felt like we hadn’t celebrated our favorite holiday in years. So of course, this year, we went all out… With our house decorations, gifts for each other, and my favorite of course- celebrations!IMG_2627











On Saturday, I decided to act like the house wife I am totally not, and host an ugly sweater/ white elephant gift party at our house with our nearest and dearest friends. These people have became my family over the last decade, and if life were completely up to me, I’d spend a lot more time with them. (Even though I see a most of them at least every month 😉 ) They each mean so much to me, and I may or may not get emotional looking at this low quality/ self timer photo of all of us in our Christmas decorated living room.IMG_2528I woke up with my heart so full on Sunday morning, but the celebrations were just beginning. On Sunday night, we went over to Ryan and Amber’s to make gingerbread houses, drink wine, and play their new VR. We had way too much fun that I never took a picture of all of us, but please enjoy this one of Derek’s and my house that I was pretty proud of.IMG_2639Monday was Christmas Eve, and Derek worked during the day. I spent the day organizing our home, wrapping last minute presents, and snuggling Harvey while blasting my favorite Christmas songs. It was a great day alone to decompress after my busy month.

I don’t know what it is about Christmas time that makes me want to be the best “1950’s housewife” there ever was, but after cleaning my whole house, I decided to go to the grocery store and cook Christmas Eve dinner for Derek and I.













IMG_2632.JPGThe rest of the night involved cuddling around our flickering fire, opening our Christmas pajamas from each other, driving around town looking at lights, watching one of our favorite movies, and having a slumber party on our living room floor. It was the perfect Christmas Eve night with just the two of us and Harvey. We’ve spent 9 Christmas’s with each other, but I think this year was the most magical one for us together.


IMG_2633After sleeping in on Christmas morning, we woke up on our living room floor and opened our gifts that we bought for each other. Harvey opened his too, he was very happy to get a new frisbee. 😉

IMG_2668IMG_2669We then met Ali over at Grandma and Grandpa’s for Grandpa’s Christmas day omelets and more gifts. We missed Whit and mom, but we enjoyed our morning together. My relationship with my grandparents is something I’ve never taken for granted. In fact, my grandma and I were talking about how I’ve never spent a Christmas with out them!IMG_2671IMG_2670.JPG

IMG_2666After Grandma’s, Ali and us went over to Dad’s for MORE food and presents. (And to see Ms. Dixie of course- pictured below) I thought my heart, and my stomach couldn’t get any more full, but I was wrong. Derek and I came home to shower and get ready for the day before heading to the Durstelers’.IMG_2664.JPGIt was the first time since July that we’ve all been together. Jake and Hattie were in town and Axel had the day off from work. Ali even joined us. Like usual we had way too much fun, and surprise! We ate more food and opened more gifts.IMG_2646.JPGIMG_2645We also participated in our annual gingerbread house contest that Shara hosts every year and all laughed about how intense this thing is getting. We went all out!IMG_2656










IMG_2657Derek and I ended up winning first place. I don’t know how we won the Halloween costume contest and the gingerbread house contest this year, but hey I am not complaining.. we must make a good team. 😉IMG_2644This year’s holiday season was filled with traditions, celebrations, and abundance amounts of love, just like most people always hope they will be. Through out the month, I was reminded daily why I love this time of year so much and how blessed Derek and I really are, especially with the people who surround us. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season and I hope your days ahead and very merry and bright.IMG_2641IMG_2640Onto the next adventure, Wren




A Very Very Happy Holiday Season

IMG_2494I know I always start my posts by saying that I’ve been so busy lately, and am finally finding the time to sit down and write, but I I am not exaggerating this time. So much has happened since my last post that Thanksgiving feels like it was six months ago. Since I’m finally finding the time to write, I decided to to post a little life update. This whole year has been filled with “updates”, changes, and new beginnings. Every time someone has asked what’s new in my life, I never even know where to start because all year something has been new. It’s a very exciting, busy time in our life and I am just trying to soak it all in. So in good ol’  Wren fashion, here I am typing about the past few weeks, so that I can soak them in and capture them forever.

IMG_2418IMG_2255.PNGSince Thanksgiving (which wasn’t even a month ago) Jessica has moved out of our house back home, my mom moved out of state, Derek finished up his semester at school, I worked not one, not two, but twelve holiday parties, and two weddings. I also celebrated Christmas with my coworkers, planned our friend Christmas party, and have been catching up on my videos and blog posts (hence this post) I’ve also left town for the weekend- TWICE.

See..I told you…busy is an understatement of my life. Would you think I was insane if I told you I wouldn’t have it any other way?IMG_2416.JPGBetween all of the craziness, I’ve been focusing on slowing down and really enjoying the non crazy moments. Cuddling on my couch with Derek and Harvey by our fireplace, pulling taffy with my grandma and Ali, singing at the top of  my lungs at a concert with Alyssa, watching cheesy Christmas movies, admiring the lights around town, staying at work way too late with my work family; cleaning up from all of the parties, hot tubbing in the snow with our friends in Park City, and even just driving in my car listening to my favorite Christmas songs.IMG_2324IMG_2300Like I mentioned in my previous post, I didn’t have the chance to do any of these things last year in China, so I’ve taken full advantage of every small and big thing this holiday season. I’ve looked at this whole year with new eyes, and it’s made it so magical, but especially this December.IMG_2419.JPG Speaking of China..We came home a year ago yesterday, and my nostalgia hit hard. In case you are wondering, I did really good and got through my whole work day without tears 😉 Everyone around me says “already a year??” but It’s felt like so much longer to me. I don’t think I’ll ever stop missing our chapter of life over there, but I am thankful for the lessons it continues to teach me and how different I’ve looked at life since.

IMG_2425.JPGI’m going to post my Christmas decorations and Christmas week celebrations in a different post, but for now please enjoy these photos of my very busy, very eventful, very exhausting, and very very happy last few weeks.

Luna’s last sleepover with Harvey before her and mom moved away-My bedroom

IMG_2151.JPGCute Christmas decorations on Main Street with my love- Park CityIMG_2489

Fleetwood Mac concert with Alyssa-Las Vegas

(my old soul can die happy now, love you forever Stevie.) 


A beautiful sunset in the middle of my crazy/ anxiety filled work week-My work

IMG_2484Christmas party with the greatest work family- My living roomIMG_2323One last breakfast date with the best roomie ever, Jess-Xetava CafeIMG_2299Pulling Taffy with Ali and Grandma- Grandma’s KitchenIMG_2495.JPGChristmas coordinated managers- My workIMG_2487Selfies with our China fam (yes we all live in UT, but met in China 😉 )- Park CityIMG_2421.JPGIMG_2422And as usual here’s a little reminder/life tip: Don’t take the small things, the important people, or the comfortable places for granted. Enjoy them while you have them, and appreciate them while you’re able to. And if you ever get the chance like I once did, look at the world through new eyes, like a child looks at Christmas, and life will become so magical.IMG_2492Wishing you all a a very loving, very magical, and a very very happy holiday!

Onto the next adventure, Wren








Thanksgiving Festivities 2018

IMG_2082Just like Halloween, Derek and I weren’t home last year to celebrate Thanksgiving. So, like most holidays (especially the ones I used to take for granted) we celebrated all month long. I love thanksgiving and the month of November. It is such a great reminder of how much we have to be thankful for. I also love the excuse to spend time with loved ones, and of course, the excuse to stuff my face with yummy food all day.


On Tuesday, Demi and Austin had frindsgiving at their house. We had so much fun spending time with them, seeing Auston and Kayden, and meeting all of their friends from Cedar. IMG_2084IMG_2047IMG_2076IMG_2075IMG_20451. I am thankful for friends who enjoy the holidays as much as we do.

IMG_2034We started Thanksgiving day with breakfast at grandma and grandpa’s. They had plans with their friends’ that afternoon and we were headed to Derek’s parents, so Ali and us went over early and started the day the right way- with family and A LOT of food. IMG_E20882. I am thankful for family members who are close in distance, and even closer in my heart. I’ll never take my close relationship with my grandparents for granted.

Mom moved away this last weekend, and Whit didn’t come to town this year, so we spent most of the holiday with Derek’s family. Grandpa Wade and Jake came to town, and it was the first big holiday in Michele and Randy’s new house. Like most days with The Durstelers, our day was filled with so much love and laughs, (and more food obviously!)  but we missed Axel since he had to work.

IMG_20673. I am thankful for in laws who double as best friends. I’ve almost had them in my life for a whole decade, and everyday I still wake up feeling lucky to share their last name.

IMG_2066After we ate dinner, Derek and I made our way to Dad’s where Josh and Ali spent Thanksgiving. We ate dessert with them and caught up with Dad, Jackie, Nikki, Sam, and some of their family members who were in town. By this time, we were exhausted and in a food coma, so we didn’t get a photo. Here’s a cute one from last week. 😉 IMG_20854. I am thankful for the holidays. To have an excuse to celebrate with loved ones, and catch up with the ones we don’t see often enough.

We went back to the Durstelers and ended the night playing board games. When we got home, we couldn’t help but get the Christmas stuff out and start decorating for our favorite time of the year.IMG_20395. I am thankful I married someone who gets just as excited about stockings and Christmas music as I do.

I fell asleep to the sound of Derek’s breathing, double puppy snuggles, and feeling so so grateful. Since Whit and the girls left the state for the holiday, we’ve been watching Benny all week. Harvey has had so much time spending time with his cousin, and Derek and I haven’t minded it at all. 😉




6. I am thankful for my fur babies who fill such a huge place in my heart.

Today I woke up next to my boys, in a Christmas decorated home, feeling like the most blessed person in the world, and that is the exact reason I love Thanksgiving. My belly is still full, but my heart is even fuller. I’ll never take this life, or the little things that make it mine, for granted.IMG_E2089A few more things I am thankful for that I didn’t have this time last year (living in China)

  1. Good food! (especially potatoes)
  2. Our own home
  3. Puppy cuddles
  4. Our soft, BIG bed
  5. Time with friends and family

Onto the next adventure (the best time of the year!)


Sunny days in San Francisco

IMG_E1499Maybe you know me in person, or maybe you feel like you know me because you’ve been following this blog for so long. But no matter how you know me, you know that traveling is the one thing that I thrive for. I usually try to leave town at least once every few weeks, even if it’s just for a couple days, or in the next town over.IMG_1678These last couple of months have been crazy busy for us. Between wedding season, school, work, and handling personal matters, we haven’t had any time to leave town. When Derek and I started getting into our rut, our routine, our busy schedules, I knew I needed to go somewhere and I needed to do it soon. Back in August, I looked at the next possible weekend for both of us to leave town and it wasn’t until the first weekend in November. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel! (okay that’s dramatic, but that’s how traveling feels to me. 😉 )IMG_1806I instantly thought of San Francisco. We had been to San Francisco once before, but we only had 24 hours in that beautiful city. It was over 2 years ago, but if you want to read about our interesting/ crazy adventure there, here is the link: https://thestellarstories.com/2016/08/08/less-than-24-hours-in-san-francisco/IMG_1803Our experience was so much different this time for so many different reasons. Since Kenzie and Joe had moved there in the time that we were there last, we had a comfortable place to stay. And spending time with them was the highlight of our trip! It was so fun visiting their favorite restaurants and seeing how happy they are with their temporary lives in that charming city. Since Joe is in the coast guard, they are only there for another year- and i am already thinking of planning another trip back.IMG_1656IMG_1788IMG_1789We arrived to to Alameda (where Kenzie and Joe live) on Thursday and started our weekend of eating like kings and queens with Italian. Derek and I remember the food being delicious from our first visit, and this time it did not disappoint! We ate way too good all weekend long. -and probably gained 20 pounds.

(I am drooling.)

IMG_1800This was also the first time in a VERY long time that Derek and I traveled together alone. We’ve traveled all year, but every time we’ve left town it has been with our friends or our families. It was so fun to spend quality time together outside of our regular routines.img_1807.jpgOn Friday, we spent 15 hours alone together. We rode the ferry into the city, walked through China town and got really nostalgic. The little part in our Chinese hearts absolutely loved listening to the language, smelling the food, and walking through all of the stores that became so dear to our hearts just a year ago.IMG_1804.JPG

We even found our favorite desserts from China! (Drooling again)

IMG_E1591We also rented bikes, and rode 8 miles across the bridge and down the coast to a little beach town called Sausalito. Biking across the golden gate has always been on my bucket list, and crossing things off that list with Derek by my side is my most favorite thing in the world.IMG_1596.JPGIMG_1595.JPGIMG_1794

IMG_1808.JPGWe ended the day by going to a fancy Mexican place in Sausilito for dinner and drinks. I think that day was one of my favorite days that Derek and I have ever had together. It was perfect.


(I told you we gained 20 pounds!)

IMG_1793To make the day even better, the weather was AMAZING. Last time we went to San Francisco, it was in July and it was windy, foggy, and freezing. This time in November, the skies were completely clear and it was sunny and warm the whole time we were there. We definitely packed too warm, but I am not complaining. I mean look at that bridge!! IMG_1672IMG_1802On Saturday, we went back into the city. This time with Kenzie and Joe, since they didn’t have to work. We walked around the shops at Fisherman’s Wharf, vistied Ghiradelli Square, and ate lunch at a yummy cafe.IMG_1791 We also witnessed one of the prettiest sunsets I have ever seen. Between living in the desert, and visiting Hawaii, I have seen a lot of pretty sunsets, but I was so breath taken by this one. Maybe it’s because it was the last thing I expected in the city that is known for cloudy nights and foggy days. We were all amazed, so of course I had to capture it!IMG_1782IMG_1784IMG_1783IMG_1781We ate dinner at a burger joint, walked the streets and admired the architecture, and then ended the night with a scary movie at Kenzie and Joe’s. On a quick flight and a 2 hour drive, we made our way home the next day.IMG_1786IMG_1676IMG_1677


IMG_1679IMG_1785This sunny weekend away from home was such a nice little break. It was exactly what Derek and I needed, personally, and as a couple. I am constantly in awe of this world, but I am even more in awe that I get to see it with him.IMG_1799IMG_1738Video coming soon- once I find enough free time. 😉


Onto the next adventure, Wren




Spooktacular Celebrations

IMG_1358Last year on this day, I was sitting in our tiny apartment on the other side of the world, full of Chinese candy, exhausted from spending the holiday with all of our extremely sugar high students, and feeling grateful for where I was, but also wishing I was home celebrating with our friends and family.

IMG_1179IMG_1182This year,  I took advantage of everything I didn’t get the chance to do last year. First off was decorating our house. Filling our home with holiday decorations is one of my favorite things to do. And I was pretty happy with how it turned out this year. (Now onto Thanksgiving and Christmas! (The best 😉 )













IMG_1470Next up was costumes. I decided that since we didn’t get the chance to go all out on our costumes last year, I would plan something extravagant and make up for it next (this) year. The second I watched the Grinch for the first time last Christmas season, I knew. To be honest, I had the idea for over 10 months, but didn’t put these outfits together until this time last week. (Procrastination at its finest) But man, was I proud. I mean, look at our Max!


Out of all the costumes Derek and I have had, these ones were my favorite. It could be because we’re both Christmas lovers and prefer Christmas trees over haunted houses, but nonetheless, I loved them! They were so fun to put together. I think we might wear them for the rest of the year. 😉


IMG_1464Since Derek and I both worked Halloween day and Derek worked Halloween night, we celebrated early.  Last Tuesday, we spent the night decorating Halloween cookies with our Dursteler clan. I love decorating things, but holy moly cookies are not EASY. I do not have the patience for those. Here is a pretty picture of Shara’s cookies since she didn’t make the family photo and her’s were good enough for both of us. 😉IMG_1472On Saturday, we attended the Boos and Brews Halloween event at my work with our friends Jess, Erik, and Ian. After decorating the space all week, and helping out with the finishing touches, it was fun to see it all come together.


IMG_1475We had way too much fun and danced the night away.  Derek and I even won the couples’ costume contest! I promise It wasn’t rigged, since the attendees voted, but we were still surprised! We both never win ANYTHING.IMG_1468IMG_1469The best part about the whole night was that Derek’s parents were there the whole time, and their costumes were so great that we didn’t even recognize them until they were standing next to us in the contest! It was such a funny moment when we realized it was them. It will go down as one of my favorite Halloween memories and stories to tell. ( I am still sad we didn’t get a picture!) IMG_1467On Monday, we had a few friends over to carve pumpkins. Since we didn’t get to carve pumpkins last year, it was one of the top things on my October to do list. Even though I didn’t accomplish everything on my list, It was the perfect ending to our Halloween celebrations.IMG_1466IMG_1461IMG_1463













Like I mentioned before Derek worked 12 hours today and I worked 6, so nothing too exciting happened here, even though today was the actual holiday. I spent the afternoon cuddling Harvey (another thing I took advantage of this year). Jess and I ended up going to dinner and having game night at Ian and Erik’s. It didn’t feel like a holiday, but we still had a great night with good friends.IMG_1460The older I get, the more I realize that it’s not the actual celebrations or the things you do to celebrate a holiday, but the people you do them with that make the memories great ones.

I hope all of your spooky seasons were fun-filled, full of love, and spooktacular!

Onto the next adventure, Wren

You are not a sad story

Hi friends! It’s been a while since I posted. A WHOLE MONTH. That makes me sad, but it also makes me realize how busy I have been. Between wedding season, Derek being in school full time, the change of seasons, a few changes to family life, and our friend Jessica moving in with us, life has been a little crazy lately.

Somewhere in all of this craziness, I decided to sit down at my computer last week and make this little video as a little reminder of that life is so so good. Just this year, I’ve watched family and friends go through traumatic experiences, broken hearts, losing family members, drug and alcohol abuse, divorce, infertility, eating disorders, unemployment, sexual abuse, anxiety and depression.

Even though I haven’t personally experienced most of the things mentioned above, I still struggle. I’ve had more dark days in the last year than I have had in a very long time. Some of them caused by the growing pains of learning to love the person I am, some of them caused by accepting my sensitivity and emotions, but most of them caused by feeling helpless to my loved ones around me.

We all have dark days, and I wanted to make this little video to remind myself, and whoever else needs it, that life is beautiful. You are not a sad story. You are so much more than your body, your bad thoughts, your trauma, and your experiences. Your life is meant to be lived, to be beautiful, to make you happy and proud. Do whatever it takes to make it that way. And know that I am cheering you on!

Onto the next adventure, Wren