Today is...

my 26th birthday. 
remember this post about how i'm making this year awesome?
well, it's going to be spectacular. i can't wait. 



It’s my birthday week. I was planning on doing something exciting everyday.  But besides conquering my humongous fear of getting my blood drawn, you can call that exciting, right? I have done nothing… I have actually been feeling a little down in the dumps.  This is not how I envisioned this week going. So I am going to postpone my week full of fun until next week. I will ring in the first week of my 26th year in style. 

For the past little while I have been reflecting about my life. Things that I hope for, things that I want to change, and a list of things I want to do in my upcoming year.  My 25th year was always one that I looked forward to. I thought it was going to be the year that all my amazing plans, that I wrote down on a piece of lined school paper when I was 16, were going to happen. But guess what, they didn’t… and my  25th year has not been tremendously exciting. In all honestly, it has drained me of my energy and creativity. Something needs to change. But most of the time I can’t pin point what changes need to be made.

Recently I have been listening to Oprah’s life lessons while I work. It’s an incredibly humbling and rewarding talk show.  One thing she said that stuck out to me is if you don’t know where to start, in whatever you are doing, begin with the simple question, who am I?
Don’t think about it, just write the first things that come to your mind. So today, that is where I’m starting.

Here. i. go.

I am a woman, a lover, a friend, a photographer. I love the color kelly green and fresh flowers on my dinner table. I am a wife to a student who is always busy. And I often forget that he is busy creating our life, a life that will soon bring stability (hopefully).  I love to be daring and trying new things is exciting to me. One of my favorite things in the entire world is sitting and talking with my best friends. It always makes me feel better, and some of my best memories have been created that way. I love ice cream, cup cakes, and Swedish fish. I am creative, and I know what I’m talking about when it comes to marketing. One of my happy places is the ocean. Listening to the waves crash against the rocks and the smell of salt air… to me that is happiness. I love Washington, D.C and learning about all the history. I secretively love politics. I am a hopeless romantic. I am sensitive. At times I wish I would of gone into a career that involved counseling/people.  I am over the moon exciting to be a Mom and share that adventure with Bear. Coming home to a puppy that is super excited to see me makes my heart tremendously happy.  I am a lover of nature.  I am strong but not fearless.  I am scared of tragedy and the unknown. I get obsessive over certain TV shows. I am blessed. I am me, a person that is constantly learning, changing, and growing. So for now, this is who I am.  

Digging deep into your soul and finding out who you are, what you stand for, and how you want to be living your life can open up a whole new perspective to your life. Except it, learn from it, and change what is necessary.

This experiment has made me realize small things that I could easily change to make my life happier. To make me feel more content in the life that I am living. This was the first step to my changing process. 


4 years

We celebrated our four year anniversary in Park City, Utah. We were up visiting all of my family for a long weekend. However, Thursday afternoon/evening we snuck away for a little 'us' time.  We first ventured out on a long walk down to the lake, Shento's all time favorite swimming area. 

After our walk we headed to dinner. We decided that we wanted to keep up our anniversary tradition, which has been grabbing a pie at our favorite New Jersey pizza shop. But since we are in Utah, the closest thing we could find was Maxwells. However, they are an east coast pizza shop and the owner happens to be from New Jersey. It was perfect. 

We sat outside and listened to the live band perform. We ate our jersey pizza and talked a lot about how the love that we have for one another has grown tremendously over the four years. And all of the exciting things that we are looking forward to in this coming year... and for the rest of our lives. 


hello, weekend

it's friday and that makes me one happy girl. 
yesterday, bear and i celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary.
four incredible, emotional, amazing, exciting, scary, and wonderful years. 
i can't wait to see what the next four years have in store for us. 
this weekend we are in park city spending as much time as possible with my family. 
they are in town from california and it's a joy being around everyone. 
it reminds me of when i was younger and the entire bunch got together all of the time. 
it felt like every 'little' event called for a family celebration, and i LOVE that. 
i love that bear has built a relationship with my family, 
and that they have welcomed him with such ease.
and i adore that my grandparents find him so amusing. 
i hope you all have a wonderful weekend. 
fill it with love, laughter, and family.


love list

happy 4 years to the love of my life.


father's day weekend

all of my family got into town this past weekend,
just in time to celebrate father's day.
we enjoyed a lovely evening filled with a delicious dinner, lots of talking and laughing, 
and best of all of the family being together (I missed all of my cousins). 
this week is going to be a pretty busy one, but I am excited to get to spend 
so much quality time with my grandparents and aunts and uncle. 
Happy Tuesday


fresh squeezed limeade

  • Ingredients 
  • 1 1/2 cup lime juice (about 6 Persian limes)
  • 3/4 cup  granulated sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • Several sprigs of fresh mint

Juice all your limes. This is a little time consuming. 
In a small saucepan bring 1 cup of the water to a boil, slowly add the sugar. 
Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and let cool. 
Mix the sugar water, the rest of your water, and the lime juice together. 

Taste it for the sweet/sour balance. If it's too sweet, add a little more water.

Serve chilled with mint leaves. 



Around New Orleans

Hi, Simply Us readers! I am Britt, and I blog over at The Magnolia PairI am 23 years old and just coming up on a year from working my first post college full time job. I moved from New Orleans, Louisiana to Birmingham, Alabama with my husband for his medical school education. We have been married for almost a year, July 16th we will celebrate our first anniversary!

So lets get to it. Around her town, New Orleans. 

How long have you lived in New Orleans? 
I have lived in Birmingham, Alabama for only 10 months, I moved to Birmingham with my husband so that he could pursue medical school. I have lived in New Orleans for 18 years, and Baton Rouge for 4 years. 

How about a little history lesson about New Orleans? 
I am going to focus on New Orleans since I am still learning about Birmingham, and don’t consider myself very knowledgeable about this city.

New Orleans is the birthplace of Jazz and has a lot of culture, music, food, and celebrations. Mardi Gras has been celebrated in New Orleans since the early 1700s.

What makes New Orleans unique?                                                                                            My town is unique in the way it welcomes people. There is something so different about arriving in New Orleans, than any other city. People will come out of the wood work to greet you and make sure they offer you a warm welcome. It’s very comforting to feel like the city wants you to be there. You won’t go home hungry and you’ll always be surrounded by happy spirited people.

Favorite Coffee Hangout? 
PJ'S Coffee House. Locally brewed coffee at it's finest. Make sure you order a Vanilla Velvet Ice for me! 

A list of favorite restaurants and what to order. 
Radosta's - Best PO' Boys in town! I order the shrimp or roast beef. 
Commander's Palace- The steak and turtle soup.
Camellia Grill- Definitely get the hamburger! 

Plan a day trip for us. What would be on the agenda?
I would have to say walking around the French quarter and Magazine street. Taking a river boat ride is a great evening activity if you’re there on a romantic getaway. Take a trip outside of the city and visit the swamp or visit Oak Alley Plantation. There are many low key things to do that are so fun.

Favorite place to go exploring?  

Magazine Street, there are so many shops, restaurants, and parks that are so fun to walk to. If I am feeling adventurous, then I'll definitely go visit some of the bayou/swamp areas and enjoy the beautiful cypress trees and wildlife. 

Favorite shops? 
The Pink Tulip: I am biased because I used to work there, but I love her clothing.
Hemline: Always have the prettiest casual and fancy dresses

Wish: Great place to find accessories! 

What is your favorite under $10 a person lunch spot?
That would have to be CafĂ© Maspero’s or Mother’s. Both restaurants are downtown in the French Quarter and are so delicious. This is your best place for deep southern food.

What would a typical date night look like? What do you do, where do you go, and where would you eat? 
Typical date would be dinner at Commander’s Palace, an early evening walking around the botanical gardens, and then head to the Bulldog to grab some locally brewed beverages. If you're feeling more adventurous, then Pat O' Briens in the French Quarter has an amazing piano bar! 

What if I have kids, where is a good place to bring them

New Orleans has a phenomenal Zoo, Aquarium, Children’s Museum, and D-Day Museum, and Art Museum. Some of my favorite field trips as a child included going to the Audubon zoo and the Children’s museum.

Favorite festival or yearly attraction(s)? 
Mardi Gras and Saints football season! Jazz Festival is incredible as well, but as far as spirit and pride of Louisiana, you will want to visit during Carnival or Saints season! 

What is your favorite hike or outdoor activity? 
Watching a derby race at the New Orleans fair grounds or having a picnic at City park! 

And lastly, since you grew up in the South, any favorite southern traditions? Southern tradition i mist enjoy are crawfish boils, Saints football, and Mardi Gras! My Mom can make a wicked Gumbo, and should be in the hall of fame for it. It is amazing, and as soon as I can catch her for a little while, I am going to get her to give me that recipe!

Wow, she made me really want to pack my bags and head to New Orleans. Thank you Britt for such a great around your town guide. To find out more about Britt and her wonderful blog head on over here.  Or find her on twitter,  and facebook

And if you ever want to showcase your town, please email me at katrinanbrooks@hotmail.com. 


over the weekend

1. I made a delicious shrimp sandwich, in which I enjoyed it outside while basking in the sun.
  2.    I got to spend a little quality time with Bear.
 3. Fresh squeezed limeade.
4.  We made an ice cream run to the local BYU creamery. Highly recommended! 


it's friday

I am super glad it’s Friday. Although we have nothing planned, well, 
let me rephrase that, I have nothing planned. I am excited to have a weekend 
to catch up on household chores, photo editing, and swinging in our hammock. 
Bear has lots of research/hanging out to do. He is one busy guy these days. 
And it happens to be that the weekends are his busiest days, which puts 
a real damper on enjoying each other on my days off. I know that if his days are 
filled up he is making progress. And progress is exactly what we want. 
So although I feel like most of the time my husband is off doing something 
without me, it makes me happy to know that he is making headway and we 
are one step closer to being finished with this grad school journey.

Have a great weekend everyone! 


iced raspberry green tea

this last weekend was hot. as a matter of fact, it was a record breaking heat in Utah. any piece of clothing that touched my body was immediately taken off.  apologize to any of my neighbors who saw me strutting around my house in my underwear. I am normally a lover of the high temperatures, but this weekend was too much.  it could be because it went from cold, to extremely hot over night, and my poor body could not regulate the hotness. the one thing i do know is that you have to stay hydrated. so my big glass of cold iced raspberry green tea never left my side. i think we have gone through about 4 pitchers in a matter of two days. so i am here to share with all of you this simple drink recipe that just might save you from the heat.
Grab yourself a fun 36 ounce pitcher. A summer time color always makes for a good pick.
4 green tea bags
2 raspberry green tea bags
boiled water

boil the water, mix in the honey (I normally use a tablespoon, but if you want your tea sweeter you can always add more), add in the tea bags.

let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
grab a large glass, fill with ice, pour the tea and enjoy!

you can experiment with all different tea flavors. Some of my favorites have been mango, blueberry, and raspberry. get creative, enjoy your iced tea, and have a lovely summer.

Moab, Ut

alright, here are some more photos from our stop in Moab. it's definitely a beautiful location. the rock formations and the bright shades of red and orange are surreal. my camera couldn't do the surroundings justice.

we had a great time hiking around and exploring some of the different locations right on the outskirts of Moab before heading over to Arches National Park. it started to get pretty windy once we got the park, so we spent a lot of time oohing and awing from the car. bear and i both agree that we need to go back and spend an entire weekend camping and hiking.

however, for the short time we did spend in Moab, it was great. a perfect and beautiful stop before heading into Colorado.


hey, june

can you believe it… june is here already! this month happens to be one of my favorites. my birthday, bear and i’s anniversary, dinners outside enjoying the warm summer evenings, cooking with the fresh vegetables from our garden, these are all things that make me happy. i truly couldn’t be more excited that this month finally has arrived.
a lot of my greatest memories have taken place in the month of june. like the time when bear bbq’d up some delicious baby back ribs and we ate outside in the flicker of candlelight. although we were only two feet away from our neighbor’s air conditioner blasting out some awful noise, cars passing by on the busy street only a couple yards away, and the night sky cloudy and hazy because essentially we lived in a city, it was still wonderful. i felt content sitting in my back yard with the one i love. enjoying my house, my city, and my life.

this past year has been a rough one. moving has really knocked the ground from under me and I haven’t felt like i have been able to stand back up. of course some days are better then others. but since we waved our goodbyes to new jersey, life has thrown us for a ride. i realize everyone moves, and everyone goes through life changes. mine are no different than anyone else’s, no worse, and no need for sympathy. but i realize that for me, change is very hard. it’s hard to go the grocery store and not encounter crotchety old woman. i mean, who wouldn’t miss that? i have a running list of things that I miss about living in new jersey, and i could bore you with all the details, but I won't.  i will tell you the number one thing that i miss about life in the east is the feeling of contentment.

so with all that said, june is my month, a clean slate, a fresh start, a new year, a time to shine, whatever you want to call it. it’s my time to move past this year, be hopeful and excited about the future, and be content in the life i am living right at this very moment.