The Bride Claire

A few days ago I catered a wedding at the Grand Hall at the Gateway. Must I say, it was absolutely gorgeous in every way. If you haven't been to the Grand Hall, it's just breath-taking. It almost reminds me of a mini old school strain station. Ya know, with the huge domed ceiling? Well everything is trimmed with gold, so it's like a palace in there.

The colors of the wedding were gold, red, and orange. Her lace was lace {of course} and the boys had black tuxes and the groom had a grey tux {of course}. The groom had classy, brown thick framed, old school glasses and he looked absolutely splendid. {Of course not more than my Chad. But you get the picture. } The center pieces were surrounded by pine tree branches with oranges and glass containers of cranberries and candles among them. Oh good golly. It was beautiful!

SIDE NOTE: Sorry. Sometimes I just have to spill on what I see when I'm catering. It's one of the reasons I absolutely love my job because I get to see everyone's creative ideas at their own weddings. :) You better believe I had my whole wedding planned before I was 17 for that reason alone. A compilation of lots of others ideas mixed in with my own creations = perfection.

Anyway. Back to the wedding.

The bride has a lady come in with vinage furniture. The lady actually does this for a living. She'll bring any furniture you want to your wedding {that she has of course}. The stuff she brought was gorgeous. Vintage {like what you would see in a palace} deep yellow/gold couches, red chairs, old doors, gold trim mirror, cream bed frame to set gifts in, cream birdcage with ribbons hanging from the top, brown old doors to go behind the bride and groom-perfect! And there was a massive self portrait of the bride, PAINTED. And it looked EXACTLY like her. To the T. Amazing artist right there.

So the point of my post, besides ranting on how amazing this wedding was.

What grabbed me the most was when the dancing started. Having seen a lot of receptions, I've seen a lot of different brides when it comes to dancing. The ones where they inch, back and forth, because their dress is restricting them {I feel ya, girls}, the ones who obviously just did dancing because someone in the family wanted it and they'll sway back and forth to get a smile on the face, the "I feel awkward" bride, the half-rock out bride {which is understandable with how dog-gone tired you are at the end of the day as a bride, or the THIS IS MY WEDDING AND I'M GONNA PARTY! bride.

This girl was the I'M GONNA PARTY chick.

I loved it! She was in her dress and everything and not once did I look over and see her NOT dancing. It was inspiring, actually. You could tell what kind of day it has been when she danced. Splendid. Her new husband definitely didn't commend dancing as his forte, but she was wonderful about including him and making him NOT feel out of place or uncomfortable. Talk about loving. By the end, he seemed totally relaxed and basking in the glow of his over-joyous and beautiful bride.

Having been a bride, I understand how exhausted you are by that point. I was. I was ready for some shut eye, but for Chad and I, dancing was important! We loved to go to dances together in high school. We loved to go to stake dances. We love to groove and enjoy some good dancin! So for us, dancing had to happen. I was so serious about it that I changed out of my dress into another, more casual Sunday dress so that I didn't have restrictions from my dress. And we had a blast dancing with everyone.

Anyway. Sorry for the tangent there.

I just loved watching her have the time of her life on her wedding day. It reminded me of my wedding reception and the dancing we had there. It was so so fun and we were greatly supported by so many friends and family. I was deeply touched. This bride was a reminder to me to remember the good times we've had, and the good times to follow.

So, thank you, Bride Claire for your inspiration to me to keep going and enjoy the journey, not just to trek it. You were beautiful and I hope you enjoy all the blessings that come from marriage.

Ally J


Okay, so I've refrained from posting because my dear dear computer is in the hospital right now and I can't do jack with my husband's Mac due to stupidity-but I just have so much to write about that I just can't wait! So I rumaged through my husband's collection of photos so ya'll had something to look at while I rant and rave. :)

So! December has been CRAAAAZY crazy crazy, as always, Chad and I were buried deep into studying for finals and performances the first two weeks of december. I honestly didn't see him very much at all in that time! I remember him calculating up the hours and there was one of those weeks were we had seen each other a combination of 3 HOURS the whole week! Now that is just gross and sad. But! We prayed together both morning and night and read scriptures together every night, without a doubt. That, my friends, holds ya together in the hard times.

On a good note, we only spend 25 dollars on groceries this month! All thanks to forgetting we had money on a gift card still and we returned our blender that was letting off a rather smokey smell. Also lots of nights spend with family and friends that provided dinner for us. :) Hooray! It's the small things.

One of my many performances at the end of the semester included singing at the Assembly Hall at Temple Square. I LOVE temple square, especially during Christmas time with the buzillion lights everywhere. It brings back such memories being there...my family has gone every single year since I was pretty much birthed. Yeah. Way to go Brent and Lisa Best for making that happen with all us kids!

The performance went rather well, I thought! I performed with UVU Masterworks Chorale and UVU Chamber Choir. The sound in there was awesome and WE were awesome so....:). Here's a pretty sweet picture of Chamber performing. I'm the little one on the end with the long locks.

I have the best support team ever back home, so I was so fortunate to have ALL my family there, plus my Aunt Missy and the girls! {Mads, Kenzie, and Kate}. Seriously. My fam comes to everything. And most of them have already heard everything we've sung multiple times so...they rock. What a good lookin' group!

{Carter in stroller ;)}

Here's me and the most attractive man in the world! How lucky! I love my husband. Might I mention he held Mr. Carter the majority of my performance and he was so good for Chad! He's gonna be the greatest daddy ever.

I had a performance at the Gateway later in the week with the UVU Jazz Octet. It was bitter cold, and my Chad,Daddy, William, Tom, Leafy and Carter came all that way to see me, and they were pretty much our audience! Score, Ally's fam!

December was still off to a steady pace of filled events, even when finals began to come to a close. My brother-in-law Ryan and his wife, KacyAnn  had their first baby! Sweet Averi Belle Johnson. If you don't already know, I love ALL things baby and Chad has to restrain me from jumping into piles of baby food and rattles at the store {ha, jokes, but really}, so to have baby Carter at 5 months, AND a baby girl niece all together was and still is blowing my mind! I can't handle it! Anyway, I was pretty darn excited to see my new niece. She's a doll.

Proud Uncle Chad and Aunt Ally. And no, this is not OUR child. {We were asked that. ;)}.

We LOVE being Uncle and Aunt to our nieces and nephews. Here's one of Baby Carter too!

Ah. Look at that handsome boy!

We are so very very blessed!

Next on our agenda was Christmas parties and getting presents. Chad and I were actually pretty good because we had a majority of our family presents done by the beginning of December! But of course, were still doing things last minute. Chad and I had a lot of fun having a small little budget for gifts and figure out what we could do to get everyone in our families something, and some things for each other. Being poor can be fun! Haha. And we accomplished our goal within our budget! Wahoo!

I'll write more about Christmas parties and Christmas and the like soon. Overall, we had a wonderful, beautiful Christmas and are fortunate enough to have both our families close by. Again, we are blessed!

Hope your holiday season has been both merry and bright. :)

Ally J



I decided I needed a little breather from studying and life for a little bit. :)

I just adore December.

One of my favorite parts is standing outside when it's snowing, and listening to the silence. It's like this heavy mask of peace has just set over the whole world. Do you know what I'm saying? Honestly it's impossible to describe. But it's absolutely perfect.

This year has especially been needful of Christmas cheer. I must admit, I'm usually the biggest advocate for "no Christmas music till after Thanksgiving!", but this year...I just needed that music. I  needed to have my Christmas and December memories surrounding me.

These last few months have been just a tad difficult. Always blessed, always. But some days were just harder than others. School has been killer (almost done with the semester!), transitioning into married life has been an adventure that I love but definitely takes some getting used to, having a job that I have to work for as much as possible in order to pay the bills every month, and all other things have made things crazy.

So I needed a little Christmas spirit a little early this year. And no worries, friends. I am so so so happy. :) Really! I just needed a little pick-me-up, and December was the perfect trick.

I have so many cherished memories of this time of year. I literally could do 25 blog post about it and STILL not be even close to being done explaining all my memories. But let's do one for today, yes?

          When mom would get the tree out every year (we've had a fake one forever due to my Dad's burning of the tree story), we would pull out all the branches and pull apart the pieces to make it look all pretty and not like it had been sitting in a storage room for a year. I still remember the smell of the fake pin needles. After we would pull out the branches, Ben would bring out all his Ninja Turtle action figures and we would place them in the tree and play with them for hours. They would hid among the branches and do crazy-out-of-this-world tricks, jumping from the top branch to the bottom and surviving. It was the best thing ever. Then mom would say it was time to decorate the tree, so we had to put the Ninja Turtles away till next year.

I think about all these little traditions that didn't seem like anything, but were the world to me and hope my children make ones of their own. I hope Chad and I can create a home were our children feel they can play make-believe. I want them to feel magic, just like I did and always will because it was that precious to me.


Love always,
Ally Jo