Sunday, July 6, 2014

WELCOME HOME: Rainbow Family Gathering 2014

I went to rainbow gathering when I was 8. It was a strange surreal experience. Rainbow Gathering took place in UT this year for the first time in 11 years, so I went to check it out out of curiosity.

This year the Rainbow Gathering was held in the beautiful Uinta mountains just east of Heber. It was a wonderful ride with my sister Sophie up to Heber, where we met up with my Aunt Maria, and my cousins Ali, Lizzy, and Daniel. We met in the Smith's parking lot, (a half hour late, as usual) and Soph and I ran into Smith's to grab some snack bars to eat while we were at the gathering. . Lara bars were on sale for 10/10$ (which is so crazy cheap for Lara bars, plus they had pretty much every flavor.) So I loaded up on Larabars, and we were on our way.

The drive up to the gathering was beautiful and bumpy! But my Caliber took it like a champ, and we arrived to the huge parking area. 

We hiked about 3 miles in to get to the gathering. Mostly uphill. There were people saying "Welcome Home" the entire way up. It was such a beautiful hike. The mountains and fields of flowers were incredible. 

The trail up to the gathering
The welcome sign when we arrived to the gathering

Rap 151
It is tradition in our family to discourage alcohol use at the gathering. Everyone who attends the gathering needs a safe and healthy environment to celebrate in, especially the children. We respect peoples' desire to drink, as well as those who choose not to. RESPECT GETS RESPECT. The gathering is a prayer and peace sanctuary. This is NOT a festival. Be Whole, Be Healthy, Be True to yourself, and Be Yourself and Rainbow. Too much of anything from ONE affects ALL of us at the gathering. LOVE and Respect your family and they will LOVE and Respect you too.

These little blankets were set up along the trail. Take something, leave something.

Once at the gathering, we explored around. We heard some drums, and my cousins abandoned Sophie and I, so we went looking for them. We figured if  followed the sound of the drums we would find our cousins. I had to go to the bathroom on the way there, and successfully peed in the woods. (I feel this is important to mention because A) I didn't get any pee on myself, and B) I don't typically pee in the woods.) 

When we arrived to the camp, there were several people playing big tribal drums.  There was this blonde woman with a baby strapped to her chest singing about being comfortable in your own skin, and that society doesn't need to define who you were. She was dirty. But then again, so was everyone else. 

We continued through the camp, and found one of the cooking camps. They create this large ovens with mud, rocks, and metal barrels(?). They bake fresh rolls for everyone at the gathering. They smelled pretty good, actually. I would have loved to try one. (Stupid gluten.) 

Camp oven (Front)

Camp oven (back)

When the beans are burning, High Holies are sniveling. There will come a tribe of pirates,who care....sometimes. They will be known as the Ogres of the Ovens.
Fresh baked rolls

Lovin Ovens (and other signs)


We continued through the camps, and came across a tepee where a man named BalanceToe could give you a rock reading. He was a super tall native american man. (He was seriously 6'9" or something.) The rocks all had different meanings, and the way that they fell had different messages that BalanceToe could explain to you. My reading with BalanceToe was probably my favorite part of the gathering. I wish I would have taken a picture with him....

As we wandered through, we saw a few naked men. That's not an unusual occurrence. But more than men, there were SO many topless woman. Girl, how do you go along without a bra? (I was yelled at for wearing a bra, BTW. Thought I should mention that...) Do you WANT saggy boobs? And more than that, 70% of the rainbow family has dreadlocks, and there are so many wanderers. (Most commonly known as homeless.). Everything there was so freaking dusty and dirty. Everyone had this earthy smell (B.O) and everyone's dreads just looked awful. I'm not saying that all dreads are nasty, but the dreads I saw, looked more like caterpillar cocoons than hairs. I would not want to be naked there. There are some crevices that dirt should never be....just saying.

The other highlight was the trade circle. I had my face painted, and traded a ring for an upper arm
bracelet, and some old earrings for a pretty anklet. Everything was covered in dust. Including the people. Sophie and I were offered weed by probably 10 different people, and I was offered acid. Everything reeked of pot. And everyone was SOOOO freaking high. Hahahaha. Sophie was really uncomfortable, and totally out of her element. Then again, so was I.

Rainbow Gathering is an experience to be had. It's good for people watching, if you're into that kind of thing. Maybe I'll go again in 11 years when they come back to Utah....until then.

Peace and Love,


Sophie and me

Rainbow Selfie

Beautiful greenery.

Beautiful sunset on the hike back

That's a dirt line. Not a tan line.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Do's and Don'ts: Buying a House

As some of you may or may not know, Dave and I are getting ready to buy a house. We have been skimming through every MLS in utah valley, and walking through house after house. After about a month of doing this, and experiencing the full range of emotion, I thought I would give some tips and tricks in buying a house.


-Set your budget and stick to it. Your budget is everything when buying a house.

-Set your bottom lines. Set your minimum bed and bath. Is a garage a must? How much acreage must it have? How much money are you willing to put into a property?

-Be objective. How many repairs does the property need? How old is the carpet? Does the yard need work? If so, How much? Does it have a fence?

-Ask your parents opinion. Chances are your parents have been around the block a few times, and know how to look for good and bad qualities while house hunting. Ask their opinion. Take them in walk-throughs. They will have your best interest in mind.

-GET AN AGENT. I can not emphasize the importance of this enough. Get an agent. Get an agent. Get an agent. They make the process go so much smoother, and less stressful. They are your biggest advocate. And they know the business. They understand the market. AND-buyer doesn't pay the agent. The seller pays agent commissions and fees, so it's really in your best interest to have an agent. On a related note, I ADORE our agent. He has been incredible to work with. He is nice, funny, realistic, punctual, and professional. His name is Aaron Oldham. You can visit his website HERE.

Let's go over the don'ts.


-Become overly attached to a property. I have been guilty of this with 2 homes, and both times I have been pretty disappointed when it didn't work out like I thought it would. A lot can happen when buying a house, and you need to go in emotionally prepared.

-Overlook repairs that need to happen. "Well it's not that bad..." is seriously the worst thing you can say. Repairs mean more money that you invest into the property. Water damage is no joke. Neither is electrical problems. Or smoke damage.

-Touch anything that isn't yours in a walk-through. No one wants to get sued.

-Overlook a great property because of nasty carpet or paint. Carpet is easy to replace, and a couple gallons of paint can give a property a face lift.

I wouldn't call house hunting fun, but it is a really unique and crazy adventure. Hope this helps someone!

All my love,