out with the old IN with the new! best of 2011. goals 2012.

it’s that time…the LAST WEEK of 2011! icanhardlybelieveit.

let’s review 2011. last january started off with snow and ice:

but spring came…so did family…and the Atlanta, GA lds temple re-opened!

the temple made it possible for our friends to become a forever family!:

i turned 24:

the summer’s garden was a success:

(some of the first fruits!)…cinnamon and kids came to visit…we enjoyed july 4th together

(and i succumbed and chopped off all my hair)

my two best friends had their FIRST babies in the same week! i took prego pics of both:

and my SISTER had her fourth…happy new little nephew to ME…this is miles august ayres:

me and miles…i made it back to utah after like 4 years…for B’s wedding! and a reunion of friends:

mine and elissa’s reunion was WAY overdue.

same with ry guy.

and i even MET my blog bestie in PERSON!! miss chelsea vose.

and the year got even better, joe beau came to visit

and as you just saw..Christmas came, and so did my favorite Virginia family.

i try to reflect on the last year and it’s happenings. funny how it always feels like so long ago and yet also that the year sped by. i had to reference back to my old 2011 NEW YEAR blog post to see my list, how far i’ve come and what progress was made.

so, referring back to that list of goals, i DID in  R E V I E W:

– take more pictures: purchased a DSLR which was a major catalyst

– be more social? …eh, yes and no! haha.

– get back to school: i DID take some online classes in 2011. got a 4.0 in them! win!

– get in shape?: i joined a gym and fell in love with zumba. i would say a definite improvement/obsession for a healthier lifestyle was made. win!

– i HAVE done some painting in 2011. wish i’d done more.

– did i make it back to Puerto Rico? pick-up my old guitar skillz? or was there a boda? no, no, and…no. life goes on.

all in all, 2011 was a rough year for me. no lies. and although there weren’t many HUGE events for me…there was a lot of personal reflection and growth. i feel i have come a long way (but still with a long way to go). i feel i am so much more honest with myself and much more trusting in God and His timing. i also was employed full-time all of 2011…and blessed with a great job this year, too! i will count my blessings.

as for my Whitney Tutt 2011 BEST OF list…looking back, i have very little to offer as far as movies and music and all of that this year. so…please excuse my pathetic list.

MY top 2011 album releases:

haha…love how i had to throw in the Biebs there.

Feist, Wilco, Coldplay, and Adele all had noteworthy album releases in 2011 as well. I just haven’t spent too much time listening to them to be able to properly rate them. OH…and Pitbull…Planet Pit has some good ones! ha!

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M O V I E S. i was the worst at seeing movies in 2011. but i did make it to THE END:

also, of course i saw the new Twilight. i should be ashamed of the few times i made it to the theater this year. i didn’t see the new X-Men. or Green Lantern. or Thor. or Cowboys and Aliens. or Bridesmaids. or The Adjustment Bureau. or…well. what DID i see?

that i can remember…Limitless. Fast Five. Super 8. Something Borrowed. Pirates 3. HP7. Breaking Dawn. Jane Eyre.

oh…i did thoroughly love this movie, if you have even heard of it, came out in Feb:

and, i’m such a fan of the 80’s classic, i loved the new one:

so, that’s that.

B O O K S!

my 2011 favvy:

and that concludes my 2011 review.

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NOW

time for my 2012 goals. considering the last couple months of 2011 have been rather positive. it gives me hope for the NEW YEAR!

i mean, i WILL be spending my first two weeks of the new year in Italy. what better way to ring in 2012?! i feel like the year will be as eventful as it’s start.

2012 GOALS:

1. Thanksgiving Day half-marathon (with my sisters, that’s the plan)

2. maintain health and fitness (which will be needed to accomplish #1 – i also have new yoga dvds i need to try more regularly)

3. allow my hair to grow out at least long enough for a ponytail. ha! dye it less. 🙂

4. be more assertive

5. work on my sewing skills

6. practice piano often

7. maintain an eternal perspective

8. develop my art more – paint/draw more (aka: spend less time on Pinterest and more time actually DOING the great ideas)

9. complete one book a month

10. notice/do more for others. serve.

11. try a new recipe each month (i have so many “pending” to be attempted)

12. figure out my “continuing education” plan

13. travel somewhere new

14. work on my “technical” photography knowledge

15. true love

…i think i can handle those. realistic. attainable. worth it. i’m ready.

2012…bring it!

love, whit

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stress. what’s my deal?!

have you ever had those days..weeks..MONTHS where you just can’t feel at EASE??!

i mean, yeah…we all stress out now and again. if you don’t ever, i’m envious, PLEASE tell how you manage that!!? i stress more than i should anyway. i over-analyze and over think and turn little things into a BIG DEAL. in a nutshell – i’m female. and i have a slight inkling that some of it’s genetic…am i blaming my mother? not necessarily…but half of my “being” comes from her…and if you knew her, you’d see why i reason this way.

point being: if it’s not one thing – it’s another. and sometimes i’ll go DAYS feeling on edge or just like there is something looming in my life that doesn’t allow me to be fully at peace … and i won’t even know what that is!! so i have to actually take a time-out to stop and analyze my life to see WHAT it is that’s somehow, in the back of my mind, stressing me out.

and sometimes it’s something SO SILLY!!!

anyway…i’m feeling that now. the past few days i’m just TIRED all the time, yet i sleep plenty at night. i haven’t been to the gym in 11 days…yes, i went to Utah AND i’ve been sick. but still. that’s always a good “out” for me and relaxes me. i have headaches. even though i’m tired, my mind is just antsy and cannot focus – it flits from one thing to another. nothing sounds good to eat, i’m getting a picky palate. i’m irritable. i’m ok – i mean, lately i feel TERRIBLY blessed and happy about things….but at the same time, stressed and irritable about so much.

i’m at the point of having to write it all out. put in little simple baby steps what i need to do to “lighten my load”. which to some, probably isn’t EVEN a load.

so this is me, trying to figure out my stress sources right now:

1 – i’m suddenly feeling compelled to, yet again, change my life plans. this item alone has A LOT of sub-categories to it that i won’t go into now.

2 – i’ve realized my Italy trip is only less than 6 weeks away and i haven’t booked/purchased ANYTHING apart from my flight – rail passes, hotels, mini-tours, other passes/events, airport transportation and other things… which entails finalizing the itinerary and how long will be spent in each city and in what order. i have a good idea, just need to sit down and DO it.

3 – upcoming school plans for 2012.

4 – finances. my budget. i’m not in debt at all, i’m actually completely paid off in student loans and everything…but i still worry about how much i’m saving/spending. and about the things i’m saving up for. and the fact that i don’t have a retirement plan yet or any sort of account with compound interest.

5 – keeping in touch with people. a lot of people from my mission. or even other friends… i get easily stressed about overdue phone calls/emails/texts or my delay/lack in responding to them. i’m not good at that.

6 – whenever i have upcoming “photography gigs” (which i LOVE!) i always stress beforehand about lighting and how they’ll turn out. i can’t help it. it’s like i always second guess myself that i even know what i’m doing. that stupid voice in my head that i wish i could slaughter. and yes, i have some coming up.

7 – i have some relationships in my life that now and again pop into my day and overly stress me. and i worry about my relationships with people, how i treat them, the things i say, how i react to how they treat me, when it’s OK to let go and move on.

8 – all the little things i like/want/need to do that aren’t stressful but sit in the back of my head and end up unintentionally making me feel like i’m not getting things done…..like the 5 books i’ve started to read and haven’t finished, and the 6 others i’ve bought and haven’t started. the fact that i haven’t been to the gym in so long or to Zumba class. i’ll be SO ready for bed and it’s late when i realize i haven’t read my scriptures or done anything that day of the sort. i have unfinished paintings, i have unfinished projects- a stack of picture frames i bought for my room still sit on the floor next to my desk because i can’t decide how to utilize them/place them on my wall. i always feel i need to draw/paint more to develop my skills. i always remember i don’t practice the piano hardly…ever.

9 – though i’m rather content with it…the fact that i don’t exactly have close friends here or ever even care to socialize…in essence, bothers me.

10 – being too tired sometimes to do any of the above.

11 – bad hair days. bad face days.

12 – my age.

13 – the economy.

14 – whether or not i’m doing the right thing with my life.

15 – lately, mingling. i won’t even bother explaining. haha.

well, i think that about covers everything that is stuck in the back of my head. i understand that having “things to do” is a normal aspect of life. but sometimes…the list gets longer than i’d like. and…stresses me out. HA! go figure.

i’m a mess! i know. whatever.

once i start checking things off…i can rest easier.

this is a step in the right direction i suppose.

love, whit

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The Beatles were right…

i have come to the conclusion that The Beatles were right – love is all you need – or, all you need is love!

yes, the world has so much to offer, but #1- are things of this world REALLY that important because #2 – there’s something far greater than this world. and i do believe that love will get us the second and make the first more worthwhile.

everybody, whether they like to admit it or not, lives to love and be loved. we could even say that we live because we are loved…

i mean, look at where it all started. love first came from our Father in heaven who created us – and put us here in this life to learn something. that thing is love.

like everything else in life, love is a choice. and i…choose love.

why? it makes everything better!

love understands imperfection. love will make me kind, even if a person is entirely rude to me.

love will make me patient and caring. love will teach me to sacrifice and to give. love will make my life no longer be about me.

love is the over-powering SUPERNOVA of all emotions. it really is! where there’s love, there’s also hope. love overrides bitterness and anger. love brings peace and joy. love has perspective and can see beyond the surface – beyond that superficial and trivial stuff.

i don’t know who said, but i read it somewhere and really like it, “too often we waste time looking for a perfect lover instead of creating a perfect love.” – SO true.

but apart from that MUSHY-GUSHY love stuff is the other love that makes every day great.

like a love to LEARN and CRAVE NEW THINGS – to set goals and go for them. to make the most of situations and time. right now, i couldn’t be MORE ecstatic about planning my Europe trip. to travel. to experience. to enjoy the life i have.

i choose love because it lets me appreciate. appreciate little things – everyday mundane things. places. people. friendships.

i LOVE friendships. the conversations. the company. the goodness in them. just this weekend i was talking to a friend about how, for a long time there, i hadn’t felt like myself…he mentioned that for a while i used to argue with him a lot about petty things. i felt horrible and apologized, yet he giggled and said, “it’s ok whitney, i’m in it for the long haul.”

i feel really blessed to have a handful of people like that in my life. people who accept me even when i’m crazy or at my crappiest. and i want to be a person that can love people even when they treat me crappy, too. we all have our down moments. regardless, you know what they say, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” so i refuse to play that game. make the world a better place, yah know?

i guess what i’m trying to say is – that’s the attitude of love. throwing out the bad and embracing the good.

and then, even the little things. i mean, the really little things that i love give life an extra bit of joy.

like, for instance, these shoes…and those tights! they make me so happy, in a way that only some may comprehend 🙂

or the love of creating. that gratification of making something useful or pretty. or maybe just to let out a little inner satisfaction. …

ie: i’m going to have to do this in the upcoming month – LOVE it! …

or you know the goodness you feel when you eat something you absolutely LOVE? haha…i feel that. asian lettuce wraps, among other things, do that to me…

i also love browsing through book stores, painting my nails, and growing a garden. and photography. i LOVE photography. so why not go back to school and get a degree in it? well, i’m going to. can’t wait!

find what you love – and do it.

maybe i am just a cheesy/crazy “peace, love, & flowers” kind of girl … but, i truly believe that love – in ALL of it’s finest forms – is all you need. so go get some!

[ i did not mention it entirely, but looking at that first and great commandment to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, might, mind, and strength” and then to “love thy neighbor as thyself” would, in a nutshell – if done correctly, encompass everything and accomplish all of what i’ve been saying…but…instead of raving about that and how it works for who knows how long, i’ll just throw it in here at the end 🙂 ]

love, whit

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the weekend

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my weekend had me thinking about a few things.

1. in the words of justin bieber, “never say never”  (great documentary, bee-tee-dub) – life has curve balls. plans can change. time will make things happen that you might have never anticipated…i mean, five years ago had i been asked that infamous question, “where do you see yourself in five years?” – this is not entirely what i would have pictured…

…so,

2. prepare. to take on whatever. go forward with faith. no, maybe you don’t have all the answers, and things are unsure – but go forward anyway.

3. TiME. time does so much to a person. a relationship. a block of cheese. it takes times for something to be ripe enough for the picking, but with time, the same thing can also go rotten. i may be only 24 – but sometimes i feel like i’m ALREADY 24. time is slipping away. things need to happen! i feel behind. stuck. as though i’m on pause but the world around me and the clock keep ticking. i get anxious and frustrated. then i have CARPE DIEM moments of caring less about any time-table other than fitting in as much as i can and enjoying life while i am still young and single and life is full of options and opportunities. i guess regardless… time: don’t waste it.

ps – i’m SO ready for full-time school again in january.

again, go forward.

i guess my #3 really goes with #1…and #2. whatevs.

4. thanks to a great lesson in sunday school – the Lord’s wisdom and the world’s wisdom are not the same. a reminder of the constant need to re-evaluate priorities, what’s most important, and my motives.

5. maybe North Point is a good idea. (Paige, if you read this, let’s not jump the gun though)

6. i’m glad i called elissa

7. two words – apple festival

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caramel apple cheesecake bars

um, YES!

love, whit

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everything happens for a reason

I believe that, you know, that “everything happens for a reason.” I know the outlook is to tell yourself, “this is SUPPOSED to happen to me. this is the plan. i was meant to go through this.” –  but that’s not always true. I don’t think EVERYTHING is SUPPOSED to happen. I mean, good things can’t happen all the time, I know. Religion has taught me we cannot know joy without knowing misery (Adam and Eve). Opposites are necessary. There has to be bad to have good – dark for light – you get the point. Bad things will happen at some point. It’s inevitable. However, I don’t believe that everything happens because it’s your fate.

Why do bad things happen to good people? Agency. It’s not always because it was supposed to happen that way. We all have our agency, and how we choose to use it – our decisions – create our own circumstances and often affect those of others too (overlooking natural disasters and events of that nature, of course – those aren’t our decisions). Knowing the nature of humans though, often bad decisions are made and they can affect many people. The same way that changing one’s attitude, perception, or reaction to something can change things completely too from good to bad or vice versa.

As a Christian, I know God has a plan for each and every one of us. I also know that plan is not a set trajectory we are forced to follow. There is one He would like us to follow, but it depends on our decisions. God’s not going to force us to do anything because he loves us and wants us to learn and grow on our own – even if that does include heartache.

I believe that due to our choices and the choices of others, things happen that weren’t part of what God would have liked us to go through. I’m not saying we cannot take our life experiences and use them to learn and grow from – we definitely should. I just believe we don’t ALWAYS find ourselves in situations that were “pre-destined” to be ours. Some people, however, and some life events I do think are “pre-destined” to happen – but not all of it. I feel God is always there, leading us through life, and when we make a wrong turn, He will help us learn from it and rearrange the path ahead of us according to our choices and ever-changing needs. I believe He will always look for ways to bless us and help us regardless of our decisions – we just still may be too blind to see it or may choose to always go the other way. So yeah, sometimes we unnecessarily suffer from choices. That’s to say that not everything is needed and supposed to happen – it’s all about decisions. I really don’t believe that the alcoholic who makes it through rehab and then later returns to his vice and finishes out his life alone and unhappy was SUPPOSED to go through that his whole life. No one is supposed to be miserable, it’s a choice we make. With our agency we can change things at any moment.

 So I guess “everything happens for a reason” shouldn’t be looked at as settling for circumstances as your fate — But think “what is the reason that caused this to happen?”  Yes, some situations could have been avoided had we or someone else chosen differently. Things COULD have played out differently. That’s not to say we should live in regret – just resolve to learn from it and go on. Make the future better not bitter. It can make you or break you. It’s part of the experience. Not everything needs to happen how it does, but God will find a way to fit pieces back together for our greater good – as long as we try to do the same. Learn and grow.

love, whit

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life lessons

first, some amusing things:

could you imagine seeing an opera on a stage as amazing as this?!

in Austria they get pretty creative…

i love fotos like these:

not only is this artistic talent with a pencil – sometimes i get the urge to just “massage” my face like this…it feels good, you know, treating my face as pizza dough.

anyway…i’ve decided to note some things i’ve learned. in life. from experiences. i wouldn’t call it a “creed” or anything…just things that i find important. and i’m not claiming to be perfect at them by any means, because i’m not at all. but here i have them as reminders.

“TO LiVE BY” – thoughts for life application:

 1– something my mom has always tried to instill in me:

…including people (- that’s my personal addition).

2 – do not fear telling someone you love them. or appreciate them. or admire them. or care about them. or think of them. i can’t imagine anyone who would not feel at least a spark of goodness inside when hearing such things…even if the feelings aren’t mutual. the world needs more love. more good feelings.

3 – they say “be the change you wish to see in the world”. on my mission, i always applied it as “be the companion i’d like to have”. likewise – in any aspect – BE what you expect from others. be the friend. the kind new face. the one to listen. the one to talk to. the one to say “i’m sorry”. the one who shows they care. the one who can be trusted. the one who forgives. the one who helps. the one that cheers up. the one who can be counted on. whatever it is…BE it.

4 – apologize:

5 – put yourself in other people’s shoes. you know, what is the person on the OTHER END feeling? this perspective has helped me many many times. as humans, our thoughts and actions are naturally selfish…but we ought to consider others before we react, judge, criticize, say or do.

6 – go out of your comfort zone.

7 – the little things:

yes, i need to work on this.

8 – ask yourself the daily question: “have i done any good in the world today?”

9 – take time every day to ponder, think, evaluate, resolve.

10

love, whit

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