I’m a Marathoner!!! NYC 2016

I’m a Marathoner!! Honestly, I thought I would never say those words in my life. I didn’t call myself a runner until 2014 when I got accepted to be in the Nike Women’s Half in San Francisco! It wasn’t until then when I knew I had become a “runner.”

Fast forward to 2015, getting ready for my 2nd half marathon in SF – I was sooooo ready. But at mile 7, I was struggling & my mind just kept telling me “you will never do a marathon – this is miserable and you’re only at mile 7!” When I crossed that finish line, I was sooo happy that it was over and that I will NEVER EVER run a marathon.

In January 2016 – applications for the NYC Marathon raffle opened up. I’ve signed up for the NYC Marathon before through the raffle but I have never been picked.  I remember signing up this time and not even thinking about it – I paid the $10 to donate to NYRR and then I submitted my name and didn’t think anything about it.  Then on March 8, 2016 – I got the email saying “CONGRATULATIONS!! You have been accepted into the TCSNYC Marathon 2016!!” omg omg omg. I remember this date so clearly because it was the same date I got laid off on my job. It was a horrible HORRIBLE day. I had been let go of my job that morning & me being so emotional – I was crying and I was so down on myself that day, it was just the worst day ever. I remember going grocery shopping (cuz life goes on) and I got the email at Smith’s and I was just in shock. But it also made my horrible day turn into a not-so-horrible day. I was going to run the New York City Marathon and this has been something on my bucket list since sophomore year of high school! Even though, I had told myself I would never run a marathon – I could not NOT do this!! (Also, they charge your credit card immediately once you get picked – so bye bye $200 – either way I might as well make the most of it)

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I knew I had to start training ASAP. I created a training program through the Nike Running App and it had me start my training on Monday, May 9th – which is about a 5 month training program. Luckily, by that time – Steven and I had moved to Carlsbad, California and I had the best running route – along the ocean!

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I trained super well the month of May & June – I was consistent and my miles were going up every week! I also ran the Lake Tahoe Half marathon with my amazing friend Brittany in between training so that helped a ton.

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Then July came… Steven & I traveled to Paris, Amsterdam and England that whole month! and I did not run at all. Then August… Steven started his new job in Los Angeles and we had a temporary place in Studio City, CA and my training was alright.  I ran a ton in August up and down Ventura Blvd.  At the end of September, we were moving into our new apartment in Playa Vista.  Luckily, we have our own little gym here so I could run on the treadmill, but I’m not a big fan of training on a treadmill so I avoided it when I could.  In October, I ran my longest run – 16 miles in Santa Monica along the oceanfront. I was so shocked that I could do 16 miles after my sporadic training. I ran 6 miles and then walked 2 minutes then ran another 2 miles and kept doing that until I hit 16 miles. I felt good when I did that.  Definitely sore by the end of it, but now I knew how I was going to pace myself come race day.

I should’ve ran 2o miles for my last long run training because everyone always says “if you can run 20, you can run 26!” I obviously did not listen and ran my 16 miles. During my last weeks of training – I barely ran at all which was dumb of me.  The week of the race – I ran probably 8 miles total.

RACE WEEKEND

We left for New York Friday, November 4th and arrived around 10:45PM! We ubered to our cute Airbnb (Thanks Tom & Sharon!) and felt right at home. We were so tired so we went to bed early and my brother Mark and his wife Imee and their baby Mila drove from Virginia Beach to hang out with us in NYC for the weekend! They arrived around 6am the next day and we slept in until about 9AM.  I was too excited to get out and explore / pick up my bib and race #!!!!  We went straight to the race convention center and the expo was packed full of different vendors and Asics selling a ton of NYC Marathon gear – it was packed! We picked up my race # and headed to the Highline! I was excited to take Steven to one of my favorite spots in NYC and show him where I used to hang out with all of my friends when I interned there back in 2014.

We walked on the Highline and then went to Chelsea Market – but unfortunately got out of there quick because it was again, SO PACKED! We headed to Ramen-ya (best Ramen in NYC) and then to Central Park! We saw the finish line (eeeek!) and all of the flags of the participating countries all lined up.  I got to take everyone to Sheep Meadows (my favorite spot to have a picnic) and we relaxed until we figured out our next plans to meet up with my Dad, stepmom and baby brother George!! They flew from Florida to see me run!

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We met up with my dad and his family in Flushing (the REAL Chinatown!!) at a Chinese Restaurant.  Note to self: chinese food before a race is not the best idea. do not do it. We ate soooo much food. It was so good to see my dad and his family! My baby brother George is almost 4 years old! and he can speak fluent Chinese!!! He knows English but they speak more Chinese to him than English.  We headed back to our Airbnb because baby Mila was getting tired.  She was such a good baby on the entire trip!

RACE DAY

My transportation time was scheduled at 7:30am – Staten Island Ferry.  But my start time was at 10:40AM – I was super confused! But I woke up around 6:15AM and got ready for the race.  I slept pretty well but actually woke up around 5am and then couldn’t go back to sleep. My brother and Steven drove me to the ferry place and I made it just in time to get on the 7:30AM ferry.  It was packed with runners!! I scoured the place to see if I could make a quick friend.  I sat by this girl who came all the way from Australia! It wasn’t her first marathon ever but first time running NYC.  She gave me some advice on the marathon and she basically said to “just have fun.”

I got off the ferry and we were in long lines for security checking that we had our bib on and that no spectators go any farther.  I was walking by this girl who looked alone so I introduced myself and I immediately made a new friend – Renata, from San Paulo, Brazil! We rode the bus together all the way to the Runner’s Village and it was so good to be with someone instead of by myself.  I had friends at the Runner’s Village but it was impossibly trying to find people because there were soooo many runners. At the village, they gave us bagels, energy bars, bananas and water. Renata and I talked the entire way to the village and we kept saying “I hope we finish!!” “I’m so nervous!” “We are CRAZY!!” Renata got chosen through the lottery as well and she came to NYC by herself, no family.  I was super impressed. I got her email just in case we got separated so we could stay in touch.  She started in the same wave and corral as me!  It was a nice, sunny day and we were ready to run!! The first wave went at 9:40AM and we had a lot of waiting to do.

It was finally time to line up with our corrals and it was almost start time!! Renata and I were so anxious to start running and get the day started! As we were walking towards the starting line, an announcer greeted all of us and someone sang a patriotic song (not the National Anthem though) – then someone started up the cannon and we heard a loud BOOM sound and that was our que to start going!!!

The Starting line was at the beginning of the Verrazano Bridge that crossed over to Brooklyn! My phone died right as I started running and I had my charger in my fanny pack because I definitely was going to document this race as much as I could – as I was pulling my charger out, my credit card and ID fell out so I immediately had to stop – losing my friend Renata! It was okay though… I kept on going and I don’t know why, but it was super hard to breathe running on that bridge.  The Verrazano Bridge was about a mile long and once we got off the bridge, spectators were there cheering us on.  It felt SO GOOD. My Spotify wasn’t connecting, so I decided not to run with any music and rely on the spectators to keep me motivated.  Every chance I had, I high fived all of the little kids and that’s what kept me going! At every mile, they had bands playing which help me stay motivated.  I loved the signs and people screaming “Welcome to Brooklyn” or “Welcome to our home.” It was amazing.

Honestly, Miles 1 – 13 were a blur.  I felt like it went by so fast. I did remember someone (a spectator) at Mile 5 feeding me half a dunkin donut lol and I ate that thing like a savage.  I kept with my pace and running strategy.  I ran 6 miles straight, walked 2 minutes and then ran the next 2 miles.  When I got to mile 8, Steven was cheering me on! It was so good to see him!  Miles 1-13 was all of Brooklyn until we crossed another bridge into Long Island City / Queens / Lower Manhattan.  Mile 15 was not the worst, but we were under a bridge and spectators weren’t allowed under the bridge.  So it felt really quiet and it was a little bit of an uphill battle.  I had already walked my 2 minutes so I had 2 more miles to go until I would let myself walk again. I pushed through that bridge and when we got to mile 16 – the spectators were back and I had to keep going! Also, I kept thinking – don’t die, don’t die because 16 miles was the longest I trained – could I get past 16 and finish this thing?

Mile 16 -20 again were a blur. At Mile 19, they were giving out energy goo which I think mentally was telling me “you can do this.” When I got to mile 20 – I made it to The Bronx. There was a huge sign that said – “Welcome to Mile 20 – say hello to The Wall!” I thought that was pretty funny but I hadn’t hit my wall yet.  I loved running through The Bronx – the culture and vibe there was amazing.  We finally crossed over our final bridge to Manhattan and at mile 22 we were running down 5th ave.  By that time – I was definitely feeling it. I had hit “my wall.” I had friends and family tracking me the entire time and one of my best friends, Andrea texted me at mile 23 and said “3 miles more! Don’t stop running!” I was so tired that I was walking soooooo slow that my dot on the tracking app looked like I had stopped! But when Andrea texted me, that helped me keep going! I knew my family was waiting for me at mile 24 and when I kept going – they were around the corner when I entered Central Park! I loved seeing all of them cheering me on.  I’ve never had family come see me run (except Steven) so it was amazing to share this experience with all of them.

Okay – so after I saw them at mile 24, I knew that I couldn’t stop.  I was only 2 miles away!! At mile 25.5 we ran through Columbus Circle (where my old Internship was – hey Y&R!) and then ran back through Central Park.  At this point, the track was lined up with flags from all over the world.  This time – I could see the finish line so close!! I heard my name get called as I was crossing the finish line and I was smiling so big for the cameras because there were about 20 of them!  I couldn’t believe it.  I had finished a MARATHON. 26.2 miles. Wow. A volunteer put a medal around my neck and I got my picture taken with my medal and kept on walking with the other finishers to pick up our post-race bag full of food and drinks.  I immediately ate an apple and chugged a protein shake that was in my bag.  This was probably the worst part of the race – they made you walk another mile to get out of the race area to meet your families! I was so sore that my face was just stone cold. Volunteers kept asking me – “do you need medical?” hahaha I just kept on walking and finally got my race poncho and met up with Steven and my family!!

I am so happy the race is over! I’m so happy I had the chance to run the NYC Marathon and cross this off my bucket list.  If you are hesitant about doing a marathon – just do it! Your body can handle it even if you think you can’t. (if you train)

P.S – I finished at 5 hours & 22 minutes!

P.S.S – I didn’t make it on ESPN but I did make it onto the NYC Marathon Snapchat story!!

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xoxo,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

 

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Oxford Seminar 2016

I really wanted to do a weekly update while Steven and I were studying at Oxford – but obviously that didn’t happen.

It still amazes me that I studied at Oxford University this Summer!! In January, we knew that Steven was going to go.  He applied, got in and then I got the go-ahead to work at my company’s London office while Steven was at Oxford.  Everything was going perfectly.  Then in March, when I got laid off.. (AFTER we purchased our plane tickets..) I had no idea what I was going to do.  Up until Steven’s graduation every week was different. First it was “Well, I’ll just go and just tour England while you’re at Oxford.” Then it was “No, I shouldn’t go because it might not be safe traveling alone.” & then one day, Steven got an email from the lady who helped plan the Study Abroad saying that there were 3 woman spots available! I remember I was nannying Buffy & Steven was like “you wanna go?” and I was like “okay!!” So that night, I stayed up way late, sent in my application and had an interview the following day because I was going out of town for the next 2 weeks to Virginia.  I had an interview with Laura Ricks & Jonathon Wood at BYU and I was accepted right in their office!

So you’re all probably wondering – wait a minute.. you graduated 2 years ago – how are you going on a study abroad with BYU? I had to pay extra money since I graduated already. I was considered a “grad student” so I had to pay for graduate tuition and take an MBA class while I was at Oxford.  Also, the funny thing was that Steven and I couldn’t stay in the same dorm! hahaha It was okay – the buildings were super close to each other and it was only for 3 weeks.

We left the USA a week early to travel to Paris and Amsterdam (click on the links to read my blog posts about our adventures) & then stayed in London for 2 nights with our friends Kyle, Chiarra, Spencer, and Jaime who were all attending Oxford as well. We hopped on the train at Kings Cross to Oxford University and once we got there we took a taxi to our flats…. Not knowing that where the train station that we got dropped off at would be right next to the Saïd Business School where we would spend a majority of our time at Oxford!

Week 1:

On the first full day we were all together, we got on a bus and traveled to Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral and Bath! People said Stonehenge is overrated but when we got there, I was so amazed by those stones!! You see these things in movies, internet, etc.  But to see this in person it’s just amazing! We got there right when it opened so it wasn’t crowded at all and we took some good pics.  Salisbury Cathedral was HUGE and amazing to walk through. But, what I loved the most about that day was Bath, England.  It’s the cutest little town – think Paris meets London.  It’s super clean, amazing architecture, yummy ice cream everywhere, and the town is just picturesque. We had the chance to tour the Roman Baths. We went through it pretty quick & the bath water was super green so they don’t let you touch it… Even though Kyle did hahaha. By the end of the day, everyone was so tired from jetlag!

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The first Sunday we got on a bus that traveled to London so we could go to church! It was a forever long bus ride probably about 2 hours and then a forever long walk to the church – another 45 minutes.  It was a long process, but we made it to church in time and I saw some friends that were on the Global Marketing Study Abroad! It was fast & testimony meeting that Sunday and all of the testimonies were so great and it was so cool to hear from people who were from London and grew up in England all their lives. After church, we walked forever long way back to Hyde Park and played the name game with our professor, John Hoffmire.  All 42 of us got in a circle, and we had to memorize everyone’s names! This was actually super helpful because it helped me to talk to more people once I knew their names!

The next few days – we attended the Business & Poverty Conference that John Hoffmire put together. It’s a free conference and so many people from all around the world came to this conference at Oxford to learn how they can fight poverty through business.  Long story short – they were 11 hour conferences both days.  & for lunch – we had mini lunch sessions with speakers to talk about poverty (or if you were in my lunch session – about nuclear weapons and how we’re all basically going to die..) I learned a ton at this conference.  From employee ownership in companies to what we can do to fight poverty through business.  But also I was confused a ton – some words I just didn’t understand and since they only had a few minutes to talk – they didn’t explain what they were talking about because they assumed most of the people there know what they are talking about! On the 2nd day of the conference, that’s when the singing started.

We sang a ton while we were at Oxford.  John loved listening to our church hymns and we sang “Nearer My God to Thee” about 3084985 times to faculty, the cafeteria workers, people passing by, etc. It sounds like I’m complaining but honestly I loved being able to sing that song.  One girl in our group – Melissa – She has an AMAZING voice and when she would sing her solo part – I got goosebumps every time!

We also got to attend Education Weekend at Oxford.  John Hoffmire’s wife put together this weekend filled with educational speakers, thought leaders, etc.  I loved education weekend.  I think being out of school for 2 years, it became clear to me that I can always just keep learning wherever I am in my life.  There was one speaker, Sanjiv Chopra who was the Dean of Harvard Medical School spoke on happiness and leadership.  He read a lot of quotes from different leaders and also told us (a group of mormon kids) that drinking 74 cups of coffee a day could make us live longer.  HA! That was pretty funny.

Week 2:

for the 2nd week we focused solely on our big group project we were working on with John Hoffmire.  We worked on a financial literacy company! Before I came to Oxford, the group that I was in had a call with John to discuss what we had to do before we got to Oxford.  What I thought was the “Social Media Group” was actually the “build the entire curriculum for this financial literacy group.” Not going to lie, it was a LOT of work. Luckily, since both our group and John didn’t really know what to do – we worked together a ton to go from one project to the next.

On week 2 they gave us a free day! Steven & I decided to go with a group to Blenheim Palace & we fell in LOVE with that place! It’s only about a 30 minute bus ride from Oxford to the palace and it drops you right in front.  Steven was excited to go through this huge hedge maze that they had.  When we got there – I had to go use the toilet, but then everyone kept going so Steven and I did our own thing the whole day! We walked through Pleasure Gardens to get to the maze – got lost in the maze and finally found our way out! We took this cute little train back to the palace for 50 pence and then toured the palace that Winston Churchill was born in.  The Duke & Duchess of Marlborough are the main people who own the place & they eat Christmas dinner with their family each year there.  The palace reminded me of Versailles because it was GORGEOUS all around.

We also had the chance to go punting! You’re basically on a rickety boat and to steer and get the boat moving, you have a long metal pole that one person is pushing into the ground to get the boat going! It’s harder than you think hahaha and we were all laughing our heads off because one group lost their pole and almost fell in and Jaime got some HILARIOUS pics of Steven and Kyle punting.

Okay – let me back up and say that we got to eat breakfast every morning at the Christ Church Dining Hall.  It’s where the Harry Potter Dining Hall was inspired! We had croissants, fruit, cereal, eggs, mushrooms, porridge, beans and hash browns! I didn’t miss a day of breakfast!! So on one of the nights at Oxford, we had a formal dinner night at Christ Church Dining Hall.  We all got to dress up & had a 3 course meal.  SO YUMMY.

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Week 3:

The last week of Oxford was crazy busy!! We were fully involved with our group projects. My project consisted of creating 5 power points about budgeting.  I had an awesome group and we all clicked. Presentations were also happening – The first day of presentations we were in a room with no AC and we were all dying! The 2nd and third day of presentations, we moved to a lecture room with AC and all was right with the world.

I learned a ton about presentation skills and how to create a captivating power point.  It’s all about telling the right story to your audience. We presented on the 2nd day and I’m not the one who will jump right at the opportunity to present or do any type of public speaking – but with enough practice, we all felt confident during our presentation.

Because of #Brexit – the pound dropped a ton while we were at Oxford.  It was a good thing for us because BYU could put on more activities since there was extra money in the budget.  For the last night, they took us out to a Thai restaurant and we said goodbye to John Hoffmire and took a ton of photos with him. It’s bittersweet saying goodbye to a guy who helped us grow a ton in just 3 weeks.

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If you are ever wondering if you should apply for Oxford Seminar – DO IT!! It was one of the best experiences of my life! & especially with Steven!!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

 

Virginia is for Lovers & cute asian babies

Hi!! I’ve been soooo busy since coming back from Virginia! Steven & I have been packing up to move to Carlsbad, California and I’ve been baking cakes everyday since I’ve been back!

So about a month ago my Mom invited me to come to Virginia with her to visit my brother Mark, his wife Imee & their daughter (my niece) Mila! Plus my mom used her sky miles so HELLO FREE TRIP. We were there from the 13th – 19th & it was the longest I’ve ever been with my mom in a long time.  We’ve been trying to plan this trip because obviously my mom wanted to see her first grand child & I wanted to see my first ever niece!!

We got to Virginia Beach, VA and basically the whole trip was eating Asian food, playing with Mila and just relaxing. My first full day there, I got to hang out with my brother and our friend Jose Zamora who lives in VA as well and was in the Navy with Mark. We bought Duck Donuts (YUM – also duck beach 2014 hhahaha) & went fishing on the pier.  It was a really windy day which made it freeeeezing so we weren’t there that long.  & we didn’t even catch anything!! So lame!! But, it was fun spending time with Mark!

My mom bought a ton of Chinese food to cook for us and I love her cooking. She doesn’t think I do because I never appreciated it when I was actually living with her before BYU but I do love it! Mark’s best friend Anthony Woo & his wife Amanda drove from Floria with their little boy Anthony Jr. to attend Mila’s baptism. It’s fun seeing all of these guys with babies and kids because 5-6 years ago we were all still living in Vegas trying to figure out our lives and now everyone is all grown up. Anthony Jr. is soooo cute and Mila is such a good baby.  She rarely cries except when I try to give her a bath. My mom loves playing with her.  If she had the choice to stay home and just play with Mila she would do that in a heart beat.

Mila’s baptism was at a Catholic church and there were 2 other babies being baptized. My mom is not religious at all and she thought it was so annoying that she had to keep standing up every 5 minutes hahaha I told her that in Mormon church you just have to sit there for 3 HOURS. Now I don’t know if she’ll ever go to church.. ha

After Mila’s baptism, we had a lunch party at this amazing all you can eat Sushi Restaurant. OMG sushi, Chinese food, Hibachi grill, Pho, everything all in one place and all you can eat. so so so so so YUMMY. We went back to Mark & Imee’s house and had desserts! I brought my cake pans and made an 8inch “pink” velvet cake for everyone! It was a long day for Mila but a very special day for her and her family.

On our last full day we toured Virginia Beach.  We had brunch at Hair of the Dog Eatery and walked along the pier at VA Beach. We saw the huge Neptune statue and got ice cream paid for by mom.  I felt like a little kid again when my mom said “ice cream’s on me!” It was actually interesting seeing my mom eat ice cream and different desserts we had while visiting VA because she NEVER eats sweets.  It was like she was finally giving in!!

Virginia Beach was a great time. I’m glad I got to spend time with my older brother and his family & my mom! I loved playing with Mila and Mark & Imee were such great hosts. I’m grateful that Mark is being taken care of by Imee and her wonderful family. I can’t wait to see Mila when she comes to Vegas this fall!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

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Cheetah Girls, Cheetah Sisters!

This past weekend I had a sisters weekend with my 4 sister-in-laws! Kim & I left Provo Friday night & picked up Cheryl in St. George & then we were on our way to Vegas for Britney Spears!!!

We started planning this trip during Christmas time and it was finally happening! We stayed the night at Kelly’s house in Henderson on Friday night & on Saturday we all spent the entire day together – it was so much fun! Obviously we had to make a stop at Home Goods so I can buy some new cake stands! Then Jenn arrived from San Diego & we all went down to the Strip, ate at Shake Shack, tasted a bunch of cokes from around the world & then we got ready at our hotel while watching Crossroads!!

The concert was SOOOO AMAZING!!! Our seats were basically front row & Britney Spears was phenomenal (Check my video down below)! Definitely a show to watch if you are ever planning a trip to Vegas! She definitely Lip synched the entire time but whatever cuz she danced for straight 2 hours hahahaha

It was definitely a great weekend with my sister-in-laws.  I’m grateful that I married into an amazing family. With Steven being the only son in the family, he has learned a ton from his sisters and how to treat women. I love seeing him treat my best friends like if they were his little sisters. During the sisters weekend, we also got wayyyyy lucky with the rain and didn’t get poured on once walking outside! It was a perfect weekend!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

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Life Lately…

A lot has happened this past month and I’d thought I would share what’s been going on with life! So beginning of this month, I got laid off. I won’t say a lot about it – but it was totally unexpected and i really just miss my co workers and working with my best friend Kari every day. It’s weird not having a job.  I’ve had a job ever since I was 16 years old and if I got a new job, I would literally have that weekend off and then start the new job on Monday.  My life has been go go go since I was 16.  I started college 6 DAYS after my high school graduation. I worked 2 jobs while I was at BYU and the day after BYU graduation I moved to NYC to start an internship! I’m not trying to brag or anything, all i’m trying to say is that I’ve never really had a break.

So when I got laid off – Yeah, I cried a little and then went home and Steven was there to comfort me and he just said “well now you have this time to figure out what you want to do next.” & in my mind – I’m like “omg there’s no steady income coming in, you’re still in school, how are we gonna live!?!?” Luckily, we have savings and we are totally fine. But it was so weird not having a regular routine. Every day would be the same – wake up, gym, breakfast, go to work, come home, cook dinner, hang out with Steven, sleep. I even had certain times where I would drink my water!! haha

Anyways – with all the time I had, I started baking more cakes and practicing different techniques, learning how to frost and finally started my own cake insta – @lizzies_bakery! I’m still a way amateur baker / I’m super shy still because there are way more awesome bakers that I follow on my personal instagram! But the thing with cakes and why I love them so much is that I can make something from scratch and decorate it how I want or combine different flavors together and it will be something so delicious! and you know me – I LOVE SWEETS. On my spare time, I would always just be on Pinterest or YouTube reading cake blogs and learning new things that I wanted to actually do. At first it started out as a hobby and now I am actually making a little money off of this little business! So if you need a cake for weddings, birthdays, showers, or a holiday party let me know!!

Being laid off is definitely a trial for me – but I know that Heavenly Father knows that I can do hard things and I know that i can do hard things and overcome these unexpected obstacles that come my way. I also know that blessings come when you are trying to do the right thing – Steven’s cousin Rachel needed a nanny part-time until graduation, which is perfect timing because then I still have time to make cakes in the morning! It also keeps me busy instead of just lounging around in the apartment on social media. Also baby time with Buffy who is the cutest and such a good baby.

If you’re still reading this – here are mine & Steven’s plans for the summer. Since my work said I could go to London and now that I don’t work there anymore our plans had to change. Since there’s no point to stay in Provo and keep paying rent – we are moving at the end of April after Steven’s graduation to Carlsbad, CA and living in Steven’s parent’s home by the beach! We’ll be there till May and middle of June and travel to Europe for 2 1/2-3 weeks and then I’ll drop Steven off in London so he can attend his Oxford University Study abroad! While Steven is on his study abroad, I’ll be in Vegas for a little while and then maybe visit my Dad who just moved to Florida – we will see! But then in August – we have NO CLUE where we’ll be!! So Stay tuned!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson IMG_1669

We Love Visitors!!

Last week we had a couple of visitors come visit us here in good ol’ Provo, Utah!! Our first pair of visitors was my friend Lucy Ye & her boyfriend Jerry! I met Lucy while I was interning at Hill Holliday in Boston! Lucy is originally from Boston so while I was out there Summer 2014, she showed me around some of the sites like the best ramen restaurant in Cambridge & Six Flags New England!

Lucy accepted a new job at Square in San Francisco so she made the LONG drive from Boston to SF.  She texted me a pic of her google map showing the route & the line went through Salt Lake City! I immediately texted her and told her YOU HAVE TO COME STAY WITH ME IN PROVO.  I don’t know how they drove so fast but they got to Provo in 3 days… CRAZY. They got to provo really really late and luckily we had their room set up with our handy queen air mattress for them. We let them sleep in and Lucy asks “what’s that donut place you are always posting about?!” UH HI. PROVO BAKERY!!!!!  We obviously had to take them there. After some yummy donuts & driving around downtown Provo showing them Center St, the new Provo City Temple & BYU campus we headed back to our apartment to go night skiing!

We went night skiing up at Sundance Resort & it snowed the day before and it was raining in Provo so there was SO MUCH fresh powder.  I’ve never skied or snowboarded in any fresh powder before.  Granted this was my 2nd time skiing.. haha I’m not the best at skiing but Sundance was so much fun and Steven is a good teacher 😉 We skied mostly greens but our last run was a blue and we did it!! I only fell once! After skiing we were STARVED and Lucy & Jerry have never been to In&Out before so we took them there!!

They decided to stay another night in Provo and while Steven & I had school & work, they went to SLC and visited Temple Square! When we got back we drove to the Midway Ice castles! I’ve never driven through a blizzard and in Provo Canyon I could not see the road in front of me.  It was SO scary! I had my hazard lights on and I went like 15 mph.  It was my first time at the ice castles and it was a ton of fun! Cold, but fun!  Going back home was scary also… sooo much snow! I was driving slow but some other cars passed me super fast and 25 min later they drove in a snow bank… SAD. We are so grateful that we made it home safely.  We loved having Lucy & Jerry stay with us in Provo and we can’t wait to hang out them again soon!

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This past weekend we had my stepsister Dana and her boyfriend Cole come visit us! During Christmas, Dana was talking about how she really wanted to go to Sundance Film Festival end of January and when tickets went on sale, I texted her and asked her if she really wanted to come! Luckily, everything worked out and her & Cole came up Saturday night and met up with us at Tower Theatre in SLC and we watched one of the Shorts Program movies. You never know what you’re going to get at Sundance because nothing is rated hahaha Shorts Program is where they compile 5-6 different short movies into one program. The cool thing about the movie was that all of the directors were there to do a Q&A! It was super cool to be there!

After the movie, we made reservations to Market Street Grill because a ton of my friends RAVE about it. But, I wasn’t a big fan.  It was good food but WAY expensive. We ordered the clam chowder and Steven ordered a fish & chips meal.  Dinner was a good time to catch up with Dana & Cole. It was weird actually having her up here because usually she is up here with our parents for a special occasion or something! After dinner, we drove to Park City to walk on Main St. We literally drove through a blizzard to get there but made it there safely! There were a ton of people because it was a Saturday night.  I think I saw someone famous and I think we looked at each other because he was about to get in a black SUV and all of his body guards were like “you good, man?” But, I didn’t recognize his face hahaha

We had so much fun with Lucy/Jerry & Dana/Cole! I’m grateful for amazing friends and family.  It’s crazy how I interned with Lucy in Boston and a year and a half later she’s here with us in Provo! I try and make an effort to not lose contact with people that I meet because you never know if they need a place to stay on their long drives from the east coast to the west coast!! Sorry for the long post!! Thanks for reading!

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XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

 

Quick Trip to Arizona!

This past weekend I flew from Provo, Utah to Mesa, Arizona to visit my best friend Lindsay Murray & her family! I bought my tickets on Allegiant a month ago because I just felt like it’s been too long since I haven’t seen Lindsay! But, then we saw her, Luke & Bentley in Coronado, California over Winter break!

I arrived at the Mesa airport Friday night & Lindsay, Luke & Bentley picked me up and brought yummy pizza from MOD Pizza.. YUM! It was a pretty chill night and it was nice to just catch up with all of them.  I love LOVE playing with Bentley.  I don’t think he remembered me from Coronado but slowly he caught on that I wasn’t some crazy Asian lady always wanting to hold him. Lindsay and I stayed up late and just chatted about our lives and how crazy life has been since we were little freshmen at the Helaman Halls together. So, Lindsay and I were roommates Freshmen year at the dorms and then Fall semester at Liberty Square! Then she got married to Luke and now has Bentley!! I’m honestly so grateful for a best friend like Lindsay because without her I don’t know where i’d be without her freshmen year!!

On Saturday, it was honestly just a chill day! We went to run some errands in the morning, saw the new Gilbert LDS temple, fed ducks at the park, picked oranges at Lindsay’s family’s farm and ate dinner at Joe’s Farm Grill! It was an awesome time hanging out with Lindsay and Bentley.

On Sunday, I got breakfast with my friends Nolan and Stephen! I met them at my days at King Henry and now they live in Mesa. It was awesome catching up with them.  I don’t know how I got so lucky in the friend department. I’m also grateful that I’ve kept in touch with so many people throughout my time at BYU.  I was excited to get back to Provo because it was my first time away from my hubby! We’ve been together every day since who knows when!! Now you can stop reading and enjoy the photos!

Xoxo,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

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Lions, Tigers, Bears, OH MY!

Over Winter break, Steven and I went to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, California! We went with Steven’s sister Kelly, her husband Greg & their kids Ryan and Briella. It was a great day to be at the zoo because all of the animals were awake!

Santa got me a Canon Rebel EOS T5 Camera (Or whatever you call it) for Christmas so I brought my camera to the zoo to take photos of all the animals! It came with a zoom lens so when we got on the tram the photos turned out SO GREAT with the zoom lens. We saw Rhinos, Giraffes (my favorite), Antelope, flamingos and tons of other animals that I don’t remember what they’re called but it was SO COOL. I haven’t been to the zoo since I was a little girl so it was fun reliving those childhood memories.

One of the funniest parts of our zoo trip was when we were feeding the Lorikeets AKA they look like parrots. We bought this $4 nectar so we can feed them and to enter into the Lorikeet cage, you had to go through 2 gates.  One gate had to be closed at all times.  So we entered the first game and since the first gate was opened because more people were filing in the 2nd gate to the actual cage was locked in…. THEN Steven and I just felt this huge drop of something wet and gross and this lorikeet literally just dumped on us!!! I just started screaming and the worker in the cage said “you’re in the wrong place if you don’t want to get pooped on!!” UGH haha it was horrible. But, then we started feeding the lorikeets and got some good photos so then I was fine about that.  We still had to dodge all the birds peeing on the trees. We got out of there fast after feeding them!

Then we saw the gorillas and the baby gorilla was jumping around and playing on the ropes! It was so fun to watch them interact with each other.  It was like one big happy family of gorillas 🙂

The zoo was awesome with Steven and his sister Kelly & her family! You can also pay for more adventures like caravan rides & feed the giraffes, or “roar & sleep” where you can go camping with the wild animals!! One day I want to do that with Steven and our family once we have kids. I recommend going to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park anytime of the year!! Enjoy the photos!

xoxo,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

P.S. Sorry for the bad quality photos – the file size was too big and it was taking foreverrrrr to upload so I had to shrink them 😦

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Christmas in Carlsbad & Las Vegas

Our first “married” christmas together! Steven and I left Provo Wednesday, the 23rd and headed south to sunny Las Vegas, NV! We spent 2 days with my family before heading down to Carlsbad! It was nice because my mom and stepdad made an effort to actually have some sort of “Christmas” at our house for Steven.  Growing up, we would always have a Christmas tree but not a lot of presents under the tree because my parents would just give my brother and I money in a Chinese Red envelope. My parents worked the graveyard shifts at the Casinos so they were always asleep Christmas morning.  (I know, so sad..) Anyways, we brought gifts for my family and my family had gifts under the tree for Steven and I! We had the chance to open our gifts on Christmas Eve and it was a ton of fun! It was a special time for me especially because my parents put the effort in to make sure we had a Christmas in our home before we left for Carlsbad. My mom really loves Steven and it’s tender to see that I married the right guy who loves my family and vice versa!

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(That’s Shark Fin… A Chinese delicacy… worth $2,000)

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We also had the chance to spend time with my baby brother George, my dad and my stepmom Sandy! We had a huge FEAST at their home with Sandy’s family as well. After spending time with my dad’s family, we went to Erick Yamagata’s annual family Christmas party.  They are basically like my second family and every year i’ve gone to their family Christmas party! I brought Steven (Obviously) & introduced him to everyone of Erick’s family. I’m glad Erick & Tricia could get to know Steven better!

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Christmas Day –

We left Vegas and drove South another 5 hours to Carlsbad, CA where Steven’s parents live! We got to open presents with his family and it was a ton of fun seeing his nieces & nephews open their gifts! The BEST gift that was given was fart silly putty. hahaha you press your fingers down into this putty stuff and it makes a loud fart noise.  The kids were going crazy and Steven’s dad bought it for $.99 at the dollar store!! Also, Steven’s family stays in their Christmas PJ’s all day for Christmas.  But, when you’re married you buy your own PJs and Steven forgot about that so… sweatpants & leggings for us hahaha next year we’ll get matching PJs.

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(Steven’s dad in his Darth Vader ONESIE LOL)

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(I helped Ethan, Kylie & Lexi make their gingerbread house!)

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(First Christmas with my husband was perfect.  I can’t wait for many more!!)

I love love spending time with both of our families. I’m grateful for this Christmas season that reminds us of what matters most in life & how we can spread cheer to everyone that we see! Check out this AWESOME video and I hope you all have a great holiday break with your families wherever you may be!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson