What’s Up Wednesday

Thanks for the inspiration by The Daily KC, here’s my “What’s Up Wednesday” update.

What I’ve been up to…

After a long vacation celebrating my one year anniversary, I’m trying to get back into the swing of things with work. My few weeks back have been filled with nothing but photo shoots, food and beverage events and media opportunities. Checkout a photo from my commercial wedding shoot. (Yes that is my actual wedding dress! No that’s not my husband)

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What I’m reminiscing about….

I’m wishing I was still in California hiking the mountains in Azusa and enjoying guilt free naps.

What I’m loving…

Spring gardening season has really inspired me and I’m working to transform my humble abode in to a floral paradise.

What I’m dreading…

As the weather heats up, my office is turning into a winter. I am not excited for the extra sweaters I’ll need to lug in just for my shift.

What I’m excited about….

One Republic will be here this Friday and I will hopefully be at their meet and greet!

What I’m watching/reading…

No new books have caught my eye yet, but I’m open to any suggestions! I’m getting back into The Office to catch up on everyone’s story lines.

What I’m listening to…

Loving Frank Ocean’s “Chanel,” Petit Biscuit’s “Sunset Lover,” Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” and Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like.” New music Friday is my Spotify favorite.

What I’m wearing…

Maxi dresses and Tom’s wedges perfect for my hippie style.

What I’m doing this week/weekend:

Heading to see One Republic and Andy Grammar at Red Rock Station in here Las Vegas and running a pool media event. Hopefully I can fit some Go Karting in there as well.

How’s your week going?

Three Square Food Bank

I had the pleasure of volunteering at Three Square Food Bank this week. I assisted with packing almost 11k boxed lunches for the Kid Cafe Program here in Southern Nevada.

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Three Square works to end hunger in Southern Nevada by providing meals to hungry people throughout the community. This organizations reaches, Lincoln, Nye, Esmeralda and Clark Counties.

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Three Square does more than collect food. Their programs support a food banking warehouse, food rescue initiative and ready-to-eat meals. They work with approximately 1,300 community partners including charities and non-profits, schools and feeding sites.

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During my visit, all of the volunteers helped box lunches for the after school meal program. Over 60% of people in Southern Nevada go hungry everyday. This after school meal box makes sure that students have a full stomach before bed.

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We worked from 9AM – 12PM boxing as many lunches as we could. Eat box received a salad, fruit and a sandwich.

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Three Square offers so many opportunities for individuals to give back. Their Volunteer Activities include:

  • sorting and repacking food
  • filling backpacks with food for the weekend
  • boxing meals for schools and senior programs

If you are interested in volunteering, contact volunteers@threesquare.org or call 702-644-3663.

Pet Adoption is the Best Choice

I love animals. God blessed me with such a heart to love all animals, domestic or exotic. For Valentine’s Day, my heart was just a little fuller. My husband and I decided to add another fur baby to our family. Meet Smokey.

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Welcome Home!

This playful guy was a homeless dog picked up by a kill shelter. He was lucky enough to be scooped up into the loving arms of Adopt a Rescue Pet and make it to his furever home.

Since 2000, this amazing group has rescued more than 1,000 homeless dogs a year and helped them transition into furever homes. Our new love bug was waiting for us at our local Petco.

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Adoption Day

Every year, dozens of pets are either lost, abandoned or mistreated. This helpless creatures were given to us to love and cherish. They, like everything else, are God’s perfect creation and we are called to love above all else.

“Do Everything in Love,” 1 Corinthians 16:14

So before you think about breeding your fur baby or even consider adding another member to your family, think about those animals that have never experienced the love you have to offer.

I know my little guy is going to have a better life than he could ever imagine. I don’t know all of the trauma he went through before God led us to him, but I know he will never have to go through it again.

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Our two fur babies, Smokey and Fiona

For more information on local shelters waiting for you to give an animal in a need a furever home, checkout these other shelters.

The Animal Foundation

NSPCA

Heaven Can Wait Animal Society

A Home 4 Spot

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Las Vegas Valley Humane Society

Jesus Saved Me

So here’s my story. I’ve debated over and over if I was ready to be vulnerable enough to share it. It’s a little nerve-wracking because I’m allowing so many into this personal story. But after sharing with my congregation and within women’s events, I’ve learned to embrace my trials. Warning: this is a long story and has a happy ending

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John 3:16

I officially dedicated my life to God and decided to follow Jesus November 10, 2015. This was my baptism day. This was such an amazing experience and start to a whole life. So here’s everything that happened before.

My husband and I began dating in high school and like any other 16-year-olds, we were madly in love. We did everything together including trying to control each others lives even down to what family members we approved of. In short, this didn’t turn our well.

With hormones and attitudes high, we both were kicked out of each others houses for periods and shunned on by our family members. I can even remember fighting with his 13-year-old niece and her mom. When looking back, all of our arguments were so comical. (The best part is that his sister is now one of my closest friends. God really is good!)

I was so insecure for so many years that I couldn’t imagine losing him to another person. This need for control and jealousy only led to heart-break and pushed us further away from each other. We cheated and lied and didn’t treat our relationship with  respect. So in 2014, we broke up for real.

We both went our separate ways. I absorbed myself in UNLV and my sorority and he acted like a single dude. One day, he met a fellow student who invited him to bible talk and a few hours later, he was studying the bible for the first time.

Since we weren’t talking, I had no idea. I head it through the grapevine that he was baptized and I couldn’t believe it! The guy who hated when I dragged him to my church plays and despised everything about the sermon was now a follower of Jesus.

For the next few months, he began bugging me to come out to bible talk. Since my hatred for all the terrible things that happened in the past was still raging, I ignored him. After I couldn’t take one more annoying text message, I finally agreed.

I stayed for exactly 15 minutes and bolted. I wasn’t ready to see him but he was so different. So nice and loving and genuinely wanted to be my friend – no gimmicks. I still continued to ignore his requests for coming back to bible talk even though something was eating me inside knowing that I did need Jesus but was too prideful to admit it.

So one night on my friends 21st birthday, I hit rock bottom. I was in a terrible long distance relationship with the world’s worst boyfriend and was at a club surrounded by people who only came for the free booze. At that moment, I was a mess. I left the club and practically ran to my car in tears and called the only person I knew would answer, my husband.

At 1 a.m., he showed up at the top of a parking lot to let me cry out my mistakes and share the Gospel of Jesus. For many of you, all of this may seem crazy. But when you’ve literally lost your identity, hearing that Jesus loves your and wants to give you a new life means everything.

From that night, I started attending bible talk regularly and made friends with several of the girls attending. We started studying the bible and my life radically began to change. I started repairing broken relationships within my own family, with my parents and sister, and even starting fixing things with my husband’s family.

In August 2015 we started dating for the final time with a whole new ideal. Our relationship would glorify God at every outlet and we would not allow ourselves to be the same people we were in the past. In November, I was officially baptized and I haven’t looked back.

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From that huge decision to follow Jesus, my life has been turned upside down. Miracles upon miracles have been poured out because I chose to not be of this world. Here are just a few:

  • My parents began repairing their marriage that was on the verge of divorce.
    • They’re now leading the married ministry at their church!
  • My father stopped drinking after years of alcoholism and we actually have a relationship!
    • Most days I can’t even recognize the old scary man he used to be. Through endless prayer from our family, God performed this miracle and gave him a new life.
  • My husband and I are happily married and always striving to put God first.
  • My sister-in-law and her husband gave their lives to Christ.
    • This was the sister I almost fist fought and God gave me the opportunity to share my life and his word to bring her home to his Kingdom.

I could go on and on about the miracles God has performed in my life since I chose to follow him. If you’re wondering if there is more to this life than devastation and heart ache, Jesus is the answer. He died a perfect man in hopes that YOU would find your way home.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

I encourage you to open your bible and see what God has in store for you.

Shark Tank Tours at the Golden Nugget

Today I experienced one of the coolest tours I’ve been on in Vegas. The Golden Nugget Las Vegas is home to at 200,000 gallon shark tank aquarium that holds six species of sharks.

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We started our tour outside to see the full capacity of the tank. Inside the aquarium, a 30 ft. slide runs from the third story to the swimming pool below.

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We then moved upstairs to the second story of their tank complex. The large room was located directly above the aquarium and allowed us to see the all of the sharks and fish inside.

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Feeding Time

According to our tour guide, the sharks feed three times a week – Tuesday, Friday and Sunday at 2 p.m. The sharks are given a variety of fish that allow them to receive all of the same nutrients they find in the wild.

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Biologist’s Mesh Metal Coat

We were even able to try on their underwater gear! The marine biologists wear several layers including a metal mesh that protects them in case the sharks bite (which is extremely rare). The sharks are fed so well, they aren’t hungry enough to seek more food.

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Megalodon Tooth

Towards the end of the tour, we were able to see a Megalodon tooth, a Great White tooth and a brown shark jaw. Apparently, sharks constantly regrow teeth so they are always losing their font most fangs.

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Great White Tooth

The property offers a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium with a licensed marine biologist every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. for $40 per person. You can book one here!

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Brown Shark Jaw

La Comida – That Hipster Mexican Restaurant Downtown

la-comidaI finally discovered the hipster Mexican restaurant everyone has been talking about downtown, La Comida. When it comes to authentic tacos, I tend to follow my husbands lead and visit places like Tacos El Gordo or Tacos de Tijuana. But, it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and we wanted to checkout the downtown scene.

We entered through a secret alley lined with a wooden fence, flower pots, rosaries and traditional Catholic artwork. Once we entered, I was amazed at how small the restaurant was.

A dozen tables or less filled the room, each decked with a different chair. The booths held 8+ people and resembled a homely couch. We must have just missed their biggest rush of the year because one only booth remained clean.

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We took our seats at the large over-sized area and met our amusing server, Kyle. He told us about the massive line we missed just 30 minutes earlier. Lucky us.

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We drank from simple mason jars (exactly what we do at our own home!) and dove into their homemade salsa and tortilla chips. I could have eaten a meal of just those! The salsa was not too spicy and had a hint of chipotle seasoning. And they’re chips were fresh out of the kitchen.

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We decided on two orders of El Pastor tacos. Now these are my husbands FAVORITE style of tacos. I was worried they might not match up to taco truck style taste but we both LOVED them! They came with a side of rice and beans and were topped with avocado salsa and fresh pineapple.

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The traditional Mexico feel was a great design for this restaurant. It had the hipster downtown feel with the trendy customers and staff. The decorations of Catholic Jesus, day of the dead art and rosaries from every lamp brought you right to the heart of Mexican culture.

Bucket List of Natural Exhibits

2017 is meant for traveling. This year I’m planning on seeing as many amazing places the U.S. has to offer as I can. Here is my Natural Exhibition bucket list.

Hawaii

Literally any island you visit in Hawaii will leave you breathless. Cascading hills, stretches of crystal aqua water and plush sand under you feet. I’ve been to Maui years ago and just can’t get those perfect two weeks out of my head. That wondrous, terrifying trip to Hana and exhilarating parasailing flight were the biggest highlights I can’t wait to reenact.

Alaska

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Buzzfeed

Discover a frozen wonderland filled with glaciers caves, whale watching and whimsical scenery. Buzzfeed suggests visiting Mendenhall Valley of Juneau to discover a 12-mile glacier cave. Plan to head there from September – April and checkout the Northern Lights!

Lake Tahoe

Lake and clear water were never synonyms in my vocabulary, but Lake Tahoe changes everything. Glassy aquamarine water, pebbled sand and an endless view- rent a house or take a day trip from Reno to experience this beauty.

Valley of Fire

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Just north of Lake Mead in Nevada, the Valley of Fire rests. It’s crimson peaks and valleys ignite the landscape making it a picture perfect moment. Known as the IT destination for wedding photos and now silent Savasana through Maverick Helicopters Heliyoga, the Valley of Fire is a prime destination in Nevada.

Yosemite National Park

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Buzzfeed

About three hours from San Francisco, Yosemite  is one of the most famous landmarks in all of the U.S. You can see the Half Dome and Glacier Point or even hike the John Muir Trail. The key to enjoying this wonder is to start your day early and beat the late rising crowd.

Sequoia National Park

Want to come face to face with one of the worlds largest trees? Head to Sequoia National Park in California and feast your eyes on trees hundreds of feet tall and over two thousand year old.

Grand Canyon

Who can ignore the stunning allure of the Grand Canyon? Glistening rainbow of colors, detailed contours of the mountains and valleys created by shifting water. Although many areas are full of awestruck tourist, there are exceptions in this 277 mile chasm. According to U.S. News, the North Rim is the go to place to beat the crowd. Havasu falls located in the South Rim is also a great find.

Antelope Canyon

Located just outside Page, Arizona, Antelope Canyon is one of the most vibrant natural creations I’ve researched. Two most commonly sought after areas at “The Crack” and “The Corkscrew.” An entire hue of violets and magentas decorate this canyon just waiting to be captured.

The Wave

Similar to the layered texture of Antelope Canyon, The Wave is located between Arizona and Utah’s borders. Take a trackless hike in Paria Canyon to discover a view with intricated amber patterns like this.

Zion National Park

146,000 acres stretch across Utah for this indescribable view.  Climb to the top of the mountain and see the lush valley like never before. Hike through the boundless caverns. Or camp out beneath the luminous stars.

Palouse Falls

Located inside Washington State, find an endless valley hidden in the mountains that is home to a majestic waterfall.

White Sands National Monument

Sprawled our over New Mexico in the Tularosa Basin, discover the White Sands National Monument. Wave like dunes cover 275 miles revealing a scene straight of a fairy tale.

Where are you planning to travel this year?

Here’s to 25!

I’m officially a quarter century. Although this sounds ancient, I couldn’t be happier. 24 brought me a great year of new titles – wife, home owner, auntie (again). I can’t imagine what 25 will bring me.

Here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish at 25:

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Full Time Non-Profit Work

One of my main life and career goals is to have the ability to dedicate my everyday to serving the community. I regularly volunteer inside and outside of my job with organizations such as Opportunity Village, Goodie Two Shoes, U.S. Vets, and so many more. My passion is make this work, whether it’s fitting shoes or writing letters, as my full-time job.

Closer to Debt Free

Although I may be young, I’ve learned be a good steward of my money and live with minimal debt. I hope that this year I can finish my student loan and get more than halfway through paying my car off.

Ministry Leadership

I love serving in the teen and children’s ministry at my church, but my heart lies with our Campus Ministry. This was the ministry I spent the most time in and where I first discovered God. College was as struggled and I have the most experience to share with this age group. With God’s direction, I hope to be a leader for these young adults.

Exploring the World

Whether it’s hiking a mountain or flying hours on a plane, I want to see as much as I can. I’ve already recruited my best outdoorsy crew to hike all over Arizona, Nevada and Utah. 25 will be the year that I see as much of God’s beautiful creation as I can.

Goodie Two Shoes Foundation

Of the many non-profits and charities I’ve had the honor of working with here in Las Vegas, the Goodie Two Shoes Foundation is one of my favorites. This foundation specializes in providing children with new shoes and socks as well as other school essentials when available.

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Good Two Shoes travels to elementary schools all throughout the valley setting up shop every Friday. The mornings begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. with volunteer sign in and orientation. The organization travels with a mobile trailer filled with brand new, name brand shoes. Volunteers are briefed on how the shoe sizes are organized and how the process with each child works.

Volunteers individually walk students to their appropriate shoe size and help them pick out the perfect pair. Additional volunteers are on site to provide socks and measure the children’s feet to insure their correct size.

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This organization began in 2003 when  Nikki and Tony Berti planned a one day Good Two Shoes Giveaway. The event was such a success it was able to grow into the amazing foundation it is today. December 2 of 2017 will mark a huge milestone of outfitting 75,000 children in need!

Many of the individuals this group assists have never had a new pair of shoes in their life. Some of them may even be sharing shoes with other family members. Most of them don’t even know what their right size is.

I love Goodie Two Shoes Foundation because they mission is more than just giving a new pair of shoes. They give individuals the opportunity to make a decision on their footwear (many whose decisions have always been based off of affordability) and provide them with the confidence to go out in the world.

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You can find out how to volunteer or donate to their cause by visiting here.

30 Days to a New Me

I’m kicking 2017 off with a month-long fitness challenge, courtesy of TruFusion Summerlin. I was one of the lucky recipients of a month-long pass to their newest facility. Checkout my winning photo!

 
My goal for the year is to receive Pop Pilates Certification and I’m determined to be as strong as possible.pilates

To get this journey in gear, I am bound determined to overcome my hatred of mornings and will be working out BEFORE work.”Allergic To Mornings” is probably the best description for my life. But seeing as I get off at peak traffic times, those 6 a.m. morning classes are calling my name.

So checkout my journey on my instagram. I will be posting a photo everyday and updating the blog periodically with the different classes I am experiencing.