3.31.2016

Anti-Pollution Goals


A couple months ago, during the wintry days in Salt Lake City, we had a lot of pollution in the valley. Maybe this has been happening for a lot of years, but I didn't ever notice until I was in college in Provo. I had a friend who went trail running one day in the mountains and he showed us a picture he took of the whole valley under a thick layer of smog. I was super grossed out and didn't really know what to do about it. In the winter months, when you're used to grey skies everyday, it's hard to tell when the air is filled with pollution or when it's just a storm.

A couple years later, I graduated, moved to Texas and didn't think much about pollution. But when I moved back and started working for a company that has UTA as a client, I started thinking about it much more. I realized how important it is to take advantage of public transportation, but I didn't really start. I considered it several times, but never actually did anything.

This winter, I listened to the NPR air quality report every morning when I drove in to work and it always freaked me out. But again, didn't do anything about it. Well that's not entirely true, I thought about it and I bought a humidifier and I bought an essential oil diffuser and I considered buying an aloe vera plant to clean the air at our apartment. But it also seemed silly to buy more things to try to solve the problem.

Greg and I opted to go down to southern Utah over President's Day with my family. It was a particularly smoggy day in SLC when we started driving. Every 20 miles or so, the air would get more clear. We started being able to see the blue sky in little patches until finally, we could see the full blue sky and the bright sun a few hours from SLC. We were pumped! It was an instant mood lift. I seriously could feel my whole body lighten up. I felt happier. And I kept saying to Greg, "Is this just in our head, or do you really feel better?" But Greg really felt like he could take deeper breaths and just get more air in his body.

As we drove, we listened to an episode on Radio West entitled "Utah's Shared Air Pollution Problem." I really like the perspective the host (my favorite, Doug Fabrizio) took. He pushed the discussion to be more about what can each and everyone of us do better, instead of "my neighbor should stop doing this..." Because even though we all might think we're doing something, we could ALL do something to change our behavior and improve our air. It's a shared problem and something that we should share goals about as well. As we listened, I paused the episode every 5 minutes so we could discuss where we fall and what we could be doing differently.

When we finally got to Ivins, we were literally giddy about being in the sunshine. We took walks and bike rides and tried to spend every free moment outside in the clean air. It was as if we had been craving good air for awhile. As we drove back to Salt Lake, we were sad to not just come back to work and reality, but to our literal air. So we made a big, giant list of all the things WE could do to better the environment. We committed to our plans and wanted to share them here as a reminder for what we want to do, and also to give other people some ideas about what YOU can do too. Some of them are really small and some of them are really big. Some are really obvious, and it might seem silly that we need a reminder, but admittance is the first step!

  • Put reusable tote bags inside both cars
  • Don't buy new water bottles. Instead, clean out the plastic ones we already have and reuse those.
  • Run errands on the way home from something else. Minimize extra travel and eliminate single purpose travel.
  • Drive the scooter and motorcycle as primary sources of transportation in the warmer months.
  • Recycle everything that can possibly be recycled, even when it's inconvenient.
  • Make cloth napkins. Then, use cloth napkins everyday instead of paper napkins.
  • Ride our bikes whenever possible. 
  • Walk to church. Even when it's cold. 
  • Grab a dish towel instead of a paper towel.
  • Don't let the shower water run too long to heat up while doing other things.
  • Always turn off the light when you leave a room. Check them all before you leave the house.
  • Turn down the thermostat during the day.
  • Make better use of windows and fans.
  • Delay start on dishwasher so it doesn't run during peak times of the day.
  • Make sure car is running efficiently and tires are fully inflated.
  • Buy an energy efficient washing machine.
  • Buy only as much food as we confidently know we can eat. Minimize food waste.
  • When eating out, only grab as many paper napkins as we need. Don't get extra. And don't throw them away if we have extra at the end of the meal.

3.25.2016

Joshua Tree National Park


















We had a lovely time visiting Joshua Tree National Park. We knew it would be a nice visit on our way home from Disneyland and we've seen such gorgeous photos from the park that we had to stop. And we're adding to our national parks passport! 3rd park this year!

We got in on a Thursday night after the rangers had gone. We drove through until it got too dark to see much. Initially we thought it would be fun to take some pictures of the stars at night, but it was too cloudy. The trees were so neat! And the rock mountains were so different than what we're used to. They are more like hills with rock crumbles stacked on top of each other. I loved how curvy they were, especially in contrast to all the jagged edges of the Joshua Tree.

We went back to our AirBNB for dinner, a movie, and a good nights sleep. Then we woke up early and got to catch the sunrising at the park. It was really neat to see the parks in both types of light.

Then we went home, packed up the car, and had the coolest drive back to southern Utah. We drove through the Mojave National Forest and we didn't see any other cars for hours. It was slightly creepy to be driving on a small road in the middle of nowhere with no one around. But luckily Greg had done lots of great maintenance on the Matrix before we left, so none of our fears were realized. :)

We listened to many great podcasts... Radio West, another one from a t-shirt company that had interviewed Nathan Bond from Rifle Paper Co., and lots of other great ones from 99% Invisible. I made it a priority to get an SLC library card before the trip so we could find some good e-books, but the podcasts were really great.

After a stop in Vegas for In-N-Out burgers and a night at my parents house in southern Utah, we came home and cleaned up! Great road trip and good times!

3.24.2016

Palm Springs
















We had a lovely jaunt through Palm Springs on a Thursday afternoon. After our stay in Disneyland, we had reservations at Joshua Tree National Park, but we had plenty of time to get there. So we took a nice long drive through Palm Springs and stopped for some lunch. 

Being in Palm Springs was like a time machine! We loved seeing all of those mid century modern homes and the clean white houses with nice type, modern finishes, and all the desert landscaping. I kept saying to Greg, "Do you mind driving down just one more street?!" He confirmed that we had all the time in the world. But our lunch was so big that I knew we only had so much time left before needed a nap! Palm Springs, you're beautiful!

Disneyland





 








We had the most amazing time at Disneyland this month for Greg's birthday! We spent the first day at California Adventure and then his actual birthday was spent at Disneyland. We wore matching shirts, Greg wore his birthday button, and we bought so many good treats. Pineapple Dole Whip twice a day, ice cream cones, frozen bananas, popcorn, churros... no wonder this is the happiest place on earth! 

We were so glad we got to see Cars Land for the first time. I think it might have been Greg's favorite part of the trip. Right when it opened, we ran to Radiator Springs as fast as possible (yes, I even got in trouble from a staff member :). And between strategizing our fast passes and getting stuck on the Toy Story ride, we got to ride Radiator Springs 4 times! Woot Woot.

Disneyland was just as magical as we expected. I always love Small World and of course Space Mountain (that we rode 3 times) and Greg LOVED Star Tours now that it's been updated to be Star Wars themed. 

We really loved the AirBNB we stayed at about 10 minutes from the park. It was the perfect size for us in nice quiet neighborhood in Santa Anna. I hope they don't mind that I put up some decorations to celebrate Greg's birth. I'm sure glad he was born! 


3.14.2016

Lovely Los Angeles


 



When we were planning our honeymoon, Greg was really rooting for Disneyland. The more we talked about it, the more it didn’t really make sense for that weekend of Thanksgiving so instead we had a lovely time up at Zermatt in Midway. But ever since, we’ve been planning a time we could go to Disneyland. Finally, this spring the stars aligned and we went to Disneyland on Greg’s birthday. He’s pretty lucky that early March is a perfect time to go, because I have a feeling we’ll be planning more birthday Disney trips in his future. 

We made a long trek from Salt Lake City in our car. It was a lovely road trip with such cool scenery along the way. We first stopped for a night in Ivins, at my parent’s house. And then we drove to Las Vegas and stopped there for church. Then we headed to Santa Monica to visit an old co-worker of Greg’s from Skullcandy. 


Lastly, we headed to our AirBNB rental that was right on Hollywood Blvd. Unbeknownst to us normal folks who don’t keep up with the celebrity world, this night was the Oscars and our rental was only a couple blocks away from Dolby Theatre. I was worried there would be major traffic and it would be hard to do anything, but luckily the traffic was pretty much cleared before we got there and we were asleep by the time guests were heading out. So instead we got a cool, calm downtown for our stay (with plenty of police escorts!). We walked to the most delicious ramen restaurant and around Hollywood Blvd. We were able to catch a visit to my favorite store, Muji, before they closed. Happy accident! 


 




 








The next day we had an early breakfast, checked out, and headed to the fashion district. I bought gobs of gorgeous fabric for clothing and quilting, elastic, buttons, table cloths, pillow forms. It was a dream! 

We had an amazing lunch and a quick stop for ice cream and then headed to the new Petersen Automotive Museum. Greg was like a kid in a candy store! They had lots of cool cars and the museum design was really neat. They had a section dedicated to dirt bikes and they had a video playing about families that dirt bike and how it’s such a big part of their family culture and their connection to the environment. It was actually pretty moving and I was tearing up. Ha! Cars and bikes have never been very important to me but I’m learning to love them because of Greg. 



The end of our day was spent in the car driving along the coast. We got to drive past the Port of Los Angeles, which was actually really neat. It’s crazy to see all the huge shipping carriers and all the machinery that goes into maintaining such a huge port. We kept driving until we made it to Huntington Beach for fish tacos. The Woolstons love Duke’s fish tacos so we followed with tradition and grabbed a few on our way to our next AirBNB. Delicious!