a piece of Italy today

Let me tell you about Mary.
She and I volunteered together.
She was my friend, leader, and mentor.
She had faith in me when I didn't have faith in myself.
Now she is on a mission in Rome, spreading the good news of the gospel.
I got this e-mail today, and loved it.
It is absolutely beautifully written,
I felt like I could see what she was describing!
I thought I would share it with you.

This is just so you can get a glimpse of life as a missionary in Ostia, in Rome, in Italy.  It is beautiful here.  I think the climate is perfect- as evidenced by my street.  There are pine trees, fir trees, deciduous trees, pomegranate, lime and clementine trees, olive trees, palm trees and cactus-  all on the same street.  I am convinced that anything could grow here.  It is so beautifully green and definitely doesnt feel like its almost December.  But late at night you can still the almost frozen humidity in the air- which is probably as close to snow as I will get this year.

The Italian people are vivacious!  They are passionate.  They love their families.  They take pride in a job well done and are ever the host.  They sing off tune, but with a gusto that is spectacular.  They are always worried about getting sick- hence they never go outside when its cold, or with wet hair, and always wear scarves. 

The streets are always busy.  Markets are open, restaurants set up tables on the streets, people walk the streets with purpose or for no reason at all.  Gypies play accordians and violins on the metro.  Everyone smokes and everyone has a dog.  I love the cobblestone streets, blackened and smoothed by millions of shoes.  And every building should be dated.  The only one Ive seen that wasnt in roman numerals was a relatively new bank built in 1472.  No big deal.  Only 20 years before Columbus. 

And the food.  Yes, it is incredible.  The secret?  I asked.  Fresh and simple.  Pasta is cheap.  Rice, potatoes and oatmeal are not.  Fruit is delicious (understatement)  And gelator and pizza shops are on every corner.  Note- the Italians fold their pizza, so they dont lose the cheese.  Love it.  I dont know why, but even a cheese sandwich tastes better here. 

I love our investigators, with all of them, it seems we are trying to help them recognize the Holy Spirit and how they receive their own personal revelation.  Because it comes!  God answers every sincere, humble prayer.  I think that after realizing how few people listen to your message, just makes you love those who do even more.  There is Cesare and his wife Rosa and their 2 little boys, Pietro and Junior - when they pray as a family it is magical.  I love this little Peruvian family.  Rosa is a member but Cesare is catholic.  His heart is gold.  He is finally opening up to us, and he looked so excited to see us when we walked in the door.  Luca is Romanian.  The other night at our lesson spread on the table were Book of Mormons in three languages.  Romanian, English and Italian.  He is so close!  He just need to recognize his own faith and leap.  We just met Beatrise and Ilaria- they are from the Dominican Republic.  And Carlos!  He is Peruvian.  The more I get to know him, the more I can see how the Lord has been preparing him to listen to our message.  He even brought a friend( Massomiliano - he was actually Roman) to our lesson yesterday.  After sharing the First Vision, his friend said "Thats nice."  To which Carlos responded,"No.  They said it was true.  There is a difference."

Makes you want to go to Italy, doesn't it? :)

Love you Always,

Taylor Ann


night drives with bub

Dear world, this is Zane.

Sometimes when I go home he drives me around in his big truck.

We sing loud.

And my feet dangle.

I feel happy.

And little.

And comfortable.



I love my night drives with bub.

Love Always,
Taylor Ann


Hi, my family is adorable.

Ok, first things first, I'm going to throw a disclaimer out there for my next weeks worth of posts...
They will be 100% about home and my family.
Yep, there's just no getting around it.
1. I have the best family ever. no bias necessary there.
2. At school my life consists of homework, school, and well... yeah.

But, for your enjoyment while I make the drive back to Utah today
[and by "I" make the drive I very much mean while my brother in law makes the drive and I sit in the back seat....]
I will provide you with the proof that I have the most darling little group of cousins.

These guys are the youngest cousins by quite a few years, 
so we love love love to have them around.
[especially this baby-deprived college student right here!] 

I got to spend a few minutes with them before they headed back to the bay area.
And my heart just kept melting!

"Ok, so I need a million kisses from each of you before I leave"
*Just 5 tay-tay [hand open to indicate the number five]*
"Ok, ok. Then just five"
"How about you, Miss Lolo? Can I have a million kisses?"
*Five [using same five-finger indication as big-sister]*
"Ok, Ok. Five kisses it is"
then...from the carseat up front I see a little hand shoot up. 
*Two, taytay! Two!*
"Ok! Two kisses for my favorite boy!"

"Bye babies, I love you. I'll see you at Christmas"
*Wait, tay-tay, seven more kisses!*
*Yeah, tay-tay, seven more kisses!*

"Before I leave, what do you guys want for Christmas??"
*a bracelet and a necklace!*
*I want a bracelet and a necklace too!*
*a pony!*
*a hampster*
*a jewelry box...so then I can put my bracelet and necklace inside*
*a clubhouse*
  ...and that is just to name a few. 
Good luck with those 3 hampsters and a pony, Santa.

Yeah, I know, darling.


In case you were wondering, the kisses added up to almost a million (;

Aaaaaaand I know... 
my little brother is a looker.
And that tan all year round.
And single.
And 17.
So, I mean, if you wanna wait around a few years..

love thanksgiving,
love cousins,
love kisses,
 love you all,

Taylor Ann


true confessions and finding driveways

Ok, so Aspen and I have known each other for...well, ever.
We're the kind of friends who discover old gymnastics pictures in dinosaur leotards,
or spelling bee pictures, 
and share all of our elementary school memories.
I went to drive to her house last night and realized I didn't really know where I was going.
But somehow, effortlessly, my nighttime drive ended at her driveway.
But that's always been the way it is with us-effortless.
And you know, that's the best kind of friendship there is.
Last night we went up to the house,
which is always a favorite place of mine.
the floors aren't in, 
[but when you have a blanket for a picnic you just don't need them]
but the lights are!
We celebrated by playing "true confessions"
with sparkling cider in pretty glasses.




The night ended with my sleepy-slurs in place of sentences, 
and two 20 year old girls in a twin bed.
I think the last bit of conversation went something like this
"So when do sleepovers become unacceptable"
*I don't know- hopefully never*
"Like when you're married...do you still have sleepovers?"
*I don't know... you probably have better things to do with your evenings...*
*but we can have sleepovers anyways*
"I hope we still have sleepovers when we're 80 year old women"
*yeah, me too*

Overall, a total success of a night.
Can't wait to have pudding dates when she gets her wisdom teeth out in a few weeks.

Love You Dear,
Love you All,
Taylor Ann


love it all.

Thanksgiving around these parts is simply the best.

I had that swelling in my heart all day long.

You know, the kind that means you're happy all over.

It started with a run to the top of the world.

Two miles of straight uphill, but the end is really something.

Then, the traditional festivities.

I took part in the baking this year. My job? Apple pie..

Then the fun moved to grandma's, where my job is official masseuse.

Oh.... and life-story teller :) That too.

Then, the men tell stories around the table.

Grandpa tells about his favorite dogs and horses over the years.

And grandma runs around being busy and putting things away.

My daddy is a busy-body, so we take the little kids and go to the movie theaters.

Then we come home and put tired babies to bed and lay around before bed.

Scripture study and prayer with the little sister is last before falling fast asleep.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket 

I suppose there must have been some incredible stuffing and multiple pies in there somewhere....

but that's the secondary stuff :)

I love Thanksgiving.
I love my family.
I love you all.

Taylor Ann


Hi, my name is Taylor and I have a pinterest obsession.

 Ok, I am obsessed with pinterest. It's like the same concept as Facebook [time waster, good for stalking, etc] except...

1. you aren't stalking people. thus-not creepy.
2. It gives you the giggles sometimes, and laughter is always good.
3. It gives you tons of creative crafty and baking ideas. aka enlarging your brain, right?

 Anyways, I made these little guys this weekend, and they were a huge hit. Bennett deemed them "heaven in your mouth" and Kathryn said they were the best cookies she's ever had. The boys across the way also showered compliments. Who knew you could really bake people so happy?

Well apparently you can! So if you want to try your luck I'll tell you what I did. I made the normal cookies, then made up my own frosting. You see, frosting is one of the only things that you can play with a little more without worrying too much about messing it up.... so normally I take advantage of the opportunity to play. For these, I beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together until I liked the sweetness of it all (add milk if it gets too thick), a little honey and vanilla....and vwala! We have a honey creamcheese frosting!

Of course, being the ghetto baker that I am, I used my normal ziploc bag with a cut out corner to pipe it onto the cookies. Fun Fact: the flavor is identical no matter how ghetto the means ;) Oh, and I did not use parchment paper, because note the ghettoness above- we obviously don't own any. But I would definitely suggest doing so to prevent the bottom of the cookies from getting too baked.


Love you Always,

Taylor Ann


Thanks to you.

Weekends are so good.
This weekend included some bijou market,
ballroom dancing,
a dinner date,
to-do list checking,
great basketball game seats,
a freeeezing football game,
and lots and lots of chatting.

But today is a thank you post,
or a thankful post
-whichever you prefer.

[[You see, because I didn't really hop on the "thanksgivingblogposting" themed bandwagon,
I think I'll make it a blog theme a little later- 
you know, when it's a little more challenging to find things.
I think I may challenge myself and do a thankful month in..
Or February.
better yet, March.]]

But regardless of anything else,
I have some thank yous to say.

1. To Grandma.
Thanks for the darling earmuffs you gave me this summer.
I wore them to the game this weekend,
and they were not only a great accessory,
and gave me an awesome excuse to talk about how wonderful you are,
but they were so warm!
I. love. them.

2. To Kathryn.
Who helped me through the week.
Who stays up late to talk to me about life....
Because let's be real- we kind of have the same life.
And who says as I walk off to bed in half-slumber
"hey Tay?"
"I love you"
*Love you too*
"It'll all work out."
Thank you for being there.
I really do need you.

And I go home in two days.
So that's the best thing of them all.
Helllllooooooo all-nighter to prepare to go home!

I feel like that's the way I always end these "almost home" posts.
17 credits=love.
time=not a lot
not a lot=necessary-all-nighters

Love You Always!
Taylor Ann


food drives and lots of lovin'

My week was taken over. 
Snatched right up.
Collecting cans, 
making announcements, 
contacting volunteers.
You know, all the good stuff. 

Tonight my roommates asked me an insightful question. 
They asked me why I do it- all the service stuff.
It took me a minute to answer....
I have been dong it all so long that I almost forgot.
But it comes down to this-I need it.
I need something that's not about me.
Service is really what saved me,
when I got lost in the sea of people here.
And when I remember that, 
it's all easy again.
And it's always worth it.


a midnight premiere

 SO, last night was like the best night....ever.
 Naturally, my roommates and I took full advantage of the opportunity
to attend the midnight premiere... of TWILIGHT. 
 Kathryn dressed as Harry Potter  
Why? [think back to the Halloween costume...we aren't sure]
And I chose to bring a lifesize cutout of Taylor Lautner along.
Apparently we are a good couple. 
We got a lot of attention...
people were like wanting to take pictures and stuff.
Ok, so mostly.... they just wanted pictures of him.
We will pretend like that is fake...
I even somehow managed to get him all the way into the theater.
What can I say? I've got skill.

Naturally, I also ran into Edward Cullen.
And subsequently told him to button up his shirt.
and spent lots of time with my fabulous roommates,
and giggled alot...
and took lots of pictures,
...with and without Jacob...
and drank maybe a years worth of Diet Coke,
and collectively took 4598743 bathroom breaks, approximately.

Movie Critique?
We were pleasantly surprised!
There were some corny parts.
Like really corny.
Luckily... they were few and far between,
but other parts were good.
And the sketch level?
I would compare it to like a James Bond movie,
but within the bonds of marriage.
Mostly, midnight premieres are fun. 
really, really fun.

And when you come home to hallway chats and lots of giggling....
it may well be worth it to stay up until all hours of the night. 
I mean, look how cute my roommates are.
You wouldn't be able to resist either.


so just some stuff today.

so i have stared at this blogger screen thinking i may have something to write for days on end.

the truth? i'm not a writer. sometimes i feel like i have nothing funny or cutsie to say, so i say nothing at all

well, that's no way to live now is it? don't keep your mouth shut because you have expectations for your words

i love joy. she posted this week about writing like you... talk about your quirks. about the things that make you cool. about the things that make you happy. about the things that make you different. so i think i will.

i'm on a team with all boys to run the spartan in january. i told them i was afraid i'd slow them down. they said they didn't care and smiled as they said i was the only girl brave enough to accept the offer. now, i have a major reason to train. and train HARD.

one of my favorite friend-boys asked on Sunday when i am going to start modeling for anthropologie. even though it's quite the long shot, i blushed and was pleased that anthropologie was the store of choice. all the while being thoroughly impressed at his knowledge of what that would even look like.

i have a date, maybe two, this weekend. and had to cancel four dates to go home the other week. you know something, dating isn't everything but it sure is fun. and dates sure make a girl feel good, regardless of it goes from there.

i'm in high stress mode. food drive is here. and i have a big test tomorrow. and i'm getting sick. boy, do I need thanksgiving and that small town back in my life. and i only can kinda breathe and lay down for a minute once it gets here, but that's going to be very much good enough.

mostly, i love you all.
sorry i've been mia.



On the docket.

i have a love-hate relationship with weekends these days.

you see, I always end up being maybe more busy than the rest of the week.

but I also get to pack in more fun than during the week.

aaaaaand I let myself stay up super late.
[it's the weekend- that's totally allowed]

so here's to dinner dates and dancesport.

and speed dating and more dancesport.

and maybe some homework too.
[ok, so I have to do homework]

and dancing, music, nail painting, maybe some crafting.

but don't forget that it's 11-11-11, so make an extra big wish :)

and be sure to make it the greatest day ever.

ps, I totally made these last night.
they were delicious. super delicious.
pinterest, you rock my world. 

and in honor of 11-11-11:
I am naming things I'm lucky for... 
because I'm just surrounded by lucky, I'm not actually lucky, really. 
[lucky that I have the cutest, most patriotic little sister ever, lucky that byu is magical and has paper windmills lining stairwells and giant hampster balls rolling around on campus, lucky that my hair can fit in a bun now- thank you inventor of the bobbypin :), lucky that wintery layery outfits are fun, lucky that I love sweets-how do people live without those little guys, lucky for other peoples birthdays when I can take them to cupcakes, and lucky that I found the perfect color nailpolish at the grocery store last night-and it's named Vixen.]

all in instagrams, too.


another one of those crazy weekends.

Thursday night:
"hey tay, so dad wants you to come home this weekend"
"what the heck? For real? this weekend as in... tomorrow?"
"yeah, I'll figure it out and we'll book tickets tonight"
[i mean who wouldn't cancel everything to fly home for the weekend?]

cleaning checks. test. rush rush rush. airport. pick sister up from school. diet cokes and target shopping with the sister. flight. phoenix. dinner on our layover. girl talk. life talk. boy talk. back scratches. another flight. coercing people into letting us sit together. this song about 500 times. books. naps. HOME.

little sisters soccer game. lunch. talk talk talk. see people from home. get asked multiple times why i don't have a boyfriend. home. homework. talk some more. nap. movie. more people from home. talk talk talk. sushi with the family.

church with the family. more people from home. brunch. airport. flight. nap. dinner. flight. talk talk talk.

and just like that, we were back in Utah.

Normally, I'm pretty independent, but this was one of those times where I didn't want to go back to being on my own. 

So here's to moms who let you take naps and give you candy for the flight home

 and California weather- including blue skies and puffy clouds
 and wooden carved welcome bears at the frosty
 and lots of diet soda.

and being crazy. and spur of the moment trips home.

love you all. 
taylor ann


Thoughts on life.

Today, there's a lot on my mind.

Most of the thoughts center on how short life can really be,
and that anything can happen. to anyone. at any moment.
Today it has been two years since my cousin Caroline passed away.
She was young, with three little ones- all under the age of 12.

I was able to visit her 3 or summers back or so, when she was in remission.
Although she was my senior by, I don't know, almost twenty years,
we talked frankly and openly like we were cousins.
After all, that's what we were.
We spent time talking about marriage and dating and high school,
we enjoyed fabulous dinners due to our mutual love for good food,
we bonded over our mutual love for great shoes,
we talked about growing up and how there's no need to rush.

I was in Texas for especially for youth, a church camp.
That year, my roommate had to bum out on me at the last minute,
and in all honesty I was a bit nervous and frustrated.

I will be forever grateful that Heavenly Father stuck his hand directly into my life,
and gave me a little extra time with Caroline.

Everything happens for a reason,
even when you don't understand it.
Today I found out a friend from high school, who just got married,
is moving home because her husband has cancer.
I don't understand that.
Caroline Terry lost her battle with cancer 2 years ago,
and left behind a loving husband and three children.
I don't understand that either.

So today, be grateful for what you have.
Love the people you love,
and take advantage of every opportunity.

I love you all,
Taylor Ann


a little something

"I thought I understood it, 

but I didn't.... 

only the idea of it...

of you and me."

-Like Crazy


perks of the job

ok, so it's not a job.

I volunteer. I volunteer a lot.
Right now volunteer with BYU Student Alumni,
and sometimes I get to wear a cutsie polo that matches all the boys.
And you know when you have to wear the same outfit as the boys it must be goood.

and don't worry there's a real cute matching windbreaker too!

But the real perks of the job?
Today I got to sit three rows away from our prophet Thomas S. Monson
I could see his facial features and gestures even when they weren't on screen,
I could see his wrinkles and the twinkle in his eye.

I'd say that's quite the perk.

Love Always,
Taylor Ann