Monday, December 22, 2008


"You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough."

In my twenty-two years, I have learned that there are many people who can not be trusted. My first experience where that trust was broken, was really enough to do me in for good.. JFK once said, "Forgive your enemies, but don't forget their names." I have learned that until you can forgive someone, you will always have the constant burden of hate and fear on your shoulders. It took me a long time to forgive that person. I have not forgotten what they did, but I can truly say that I have let go of that hate that I carried around for years.

As I have entered adulthood, though I have forgiven, I have not forgotten of the times where I have felt that my trust was betrayed. Unconciously I have pushed important people away from me, and have been led by fear to doubt not only them, but myself. It has been a strong roadblock in my relationships, both romantically and with friends. After the ending of a "relationship" that ended earlier this year, I realized that not trusting him was what held me back from really appreciating who he was.

So after that, I made a vow to move on and let go of those inhibitions. But then I watched that same person betray his trust to someone else... I have seen friends cheat, be cheated on, and hide it like trust is something you can buy in bulk. Who is that fair to?

I have lost great faith in someone I believed to be a true friend. I had been reassured so many times by this person that she was honest, and cared about our friendship. This same "friend" was with me through some very difficult times, which only made me trust her more. It disappoints me to see how quickly she could throw away a friendship, and what for.

Brent always told me that the only person you can trust or rely on is yourself. I am starting to realize that he is right, to an extent. I am glad that I have a strong relationship with the Lord, and know that I can trust Him. At this time of year I am celebrating the miracle of the birth of our Savior. He is the purest example of the miracle of forgiveness. He forgave his friends that denied and crucifide Him. He taught us now matter what happens we can forgive and learn to love that person. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ this Christmas season, and am greatful for the real reason why we celebrate this holiday.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm freezing like a freezer

I have been caught on various occasions telling my little sisters that I am "freezing like a freezer" (and also that I am smoothe like a smoothie...), but this time I could actually be right. It is definitely colder outside than it is in my freezer. Denver set a new record today at -18, and going outside is insta brain freeze. There were some 300 school busses in the Denver area today that wouldn't start, leaving those poor little kids waiting for a bus that would never come.

Friday night we had our ward Christmas party, dubbed an "Ugly Sweater Party." The turnout wasn't all that great, but there was definitely no competition to Jonathan's 4th grade teacher-esque sparkling sweater.


Saturday was the Salon's Christmas party. When the SF girls get together, there is never a dull moment. We went out to a club last weekend called 24karat. It is above the ever trendy Monark which was the bar featured on Real World Denver (p.s., I am SO excited for Real World Brooklyn!). I love getting dressed up for any occasion so it was fun to get dressed up two weekends in a row. Here is Peri and I excitedly taking our "shots" or Martinellis.


In other news.. I am so prooud of my little brother Chase, who will be serving his mission in San Antonio. I know that he will be a great missionary, and the people of San Antonio are lucky to have him for the next 2 years. I'm also excited to talk to Ty on Christmas, it's been over a year since I've heard his voice. Tomorrow we are having an Enrichment activity at my house wrapping Christmas gifts. I always procrastinate wrapping my gifts, so that will take care of that problem. Yesterday while I was trying to get ahold of someone in my family I thought I noticed the smell of something burning.. I asked Victoria if she smelled it, but she reassured me my nose was confused. Just to make sure I headed to the kitchen and discovered that thick dark grey steam was emerging from our dishwasher. I opened the door and after the thick cloud dispersed, I discovered that a plastic lid was resting on the heating element. Thankfully we caught it before full ignition!! At least it would have kept us warm through this crazy cold weather..

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Winter has been very slow coming, but it is finally here and we have beautiful Colorado snow. Driving to work on Saturday was breathtaking.. Driving west toward the mountains, the sky blue, the roads clear, but everything else covered with a blanket of snow that sparkled in the sun.. Oh how I love Denver.

The Moore's were so kind to have both Victoria and I over for Thanksgiving. I love being around family, especially little kids. Victoria is a convert, and had never had a "Mormon holiday." Not that they are really anything different, but this one definitely included kids, chaos, and jello!

I have so many things to be grateful for this year. For awhile now I have been keeping a gratitude journal. When I am having a tough time, seeing my blessings spilled over the paper reminds me how much my Heavenly Father loves me. Here is a (very) short list of things I am grateful for.

My loving parents,
Erica, Aubrie, Carly, and Kelly
Tyson and Chase
Greg and Tom
Hailey and Harper (and also Aub's baby bump..)
My sweet grandparents
ALL of my aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.. there are a lot of people included in that!
blogs that keep my updated on everyone
Salon Foushee
my amazing coworkers
my clients
my kick-a roommate Victoria
Amazing friends... Peri, Natalie, Karen, Sam, Teresa, Brittany, Jacque, Maxene, Kyle, Adam, Julianne, etc, etc, etc..
my oh so crazy personal trainer Matt
knowing Neva
The Gospel of Jesus Christ
The Bible
The Book of Mormon
Church and my very welcoming ward
cell phones
esp text messaging
my apartment
Justin Timberlake (don't roll your eyes at me)
my car
snow, rain, sun..

There are a million more things I could list but my brain is shut off and the list is ending there. Thanks to everyone who has been such a support to me these last few months. It's been a rough ride but I am healing a little more each day, and am thankful to have so many wonderful people in my life!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

First and foremost, I have to confess that Victoria and I saw Twilight at midnight last night. I had been hesitant to dive into the popular Vampire series, but the girls at the salon talked me into it. I'll admit that the whimsical and always romantic Edward sucked me right in, and I easily identified with the ever clumsy Bella. So we bought our tickets, counted down the days, hours, minutes.. and finally 12:01 arrived and the big screen came to life. Overall, I'll say it was okay. The make-up was terrible, the story really was pretty shallow, and they tried way too hard to modern it up. I mean really, Eric was asian and Tyler was black? Not at all what I had pictured them. But I still swooned over Edward..

In other news, Michelle came to visit last weekend. Michelle and I were friends high school, and recently got back in touch. I've been her my last few excursions to Utah, so she decided to come check out Denver. We had a lot of fun! We went to The Melting Pot for fondue dessert, that was something cool that I hadn't done before. I also took her downtown to the 16th Street Mall. Here is a picture of Me, Victoria, and Michelle at dinner.

On a more serious note, while Michelle was here we went to the Columbine High School memorial. This is something that I have been wanting to do since I moved here, but I had never actually taken the time to stop by it. Columbine is only a few minutes away from the salon and I still remember the first time I drove past the school, it was like I instantly recognized it without seeing the name. Many of our clients have been affected by the shooting, and the community is still definitely recovering from it. I was only in 6th grade when the shootings happened, but I still remember the death count rising as the day went on.

The memorial is really cool. It's up on a hill, and there is a brick wall displaying quotes from students, parents, the president, and other people from the community. There is also a display for each student, and the one teacher that was killed. What was interesting to me, was that every person had some mention to God. There were quotes from journal entries, poems written, favorite scriptures.. Being up there was a very emotional experience, especially having lost a dear friend this year. Here are a few pictures I took on my phone while we were there.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Those pictures weren't taken from a haunted house, they were taken at my parents house. Eric LOVES, LOVES, LOVES Halloween. It is fun to see him get really into it, and everyone else really appreciates all of the hard work he does putting up decorations. Those are just a sample of what I saw when I was home, and they were just getting started. On top of the killer decorations, my parents always have a little production in their driveway. Hot chocolate, hot dogs, candy, lawn chairs, etc... It's the place to be on the 31st. Many of my friends still stop by to check out the party, and the passersby appreciate the unique decorations and fun treats.

I didn't think I could justify going home for Halloween over Christmas, so I stayed here in Denver. Friday night Natalie and I went to a YSA dance. It was... interesting. People got really into costumes which was really cool. My favorite was my friend Stephen who went as a nerd. He was unrecognizable. He spent the night flirting with friends from across the dance floor, making them very uncomfortable. Here's a picture of his costume.

Saturday I went to a costume party at Kim and Seths. It was mostly girls from the salon, and then some of their friends too. It was a lot of fun, i loved Kim's figure skater costume, and her chihuahua, Chip, was Bob Marley. I was a Devil both nights, but we all know that I'm an angel at all other times.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

wedding bells

I didn't realize that the wedding season lasted all year long. But I guess that's what happens when you're young. My fridge is covered in pictures of couples that are dreamy eyed, and ready for marriage and all of the things that it involves (and since most of them are Mormon, I am mostly talking about the "s" word.)

This year, I have seen a lot of different views on marriage. I have watched most of my close friends get married, and have realized that all relationships are very different. I think I also realized that it doesn't have to make sense to me.. as long as it makes sense to them.

It seems like an abnormal amount of my clients are having trouble with their marriages, or are already filing for divorce. We live in a culture that basically mocks marriage, between celebrities, gay marriages, etc.. Not to mention that no one really "dates" any more, they all just "hang out." I've had plenty of interesting experiences in that area.. and well, needless to say, I don't think I'll be getting married any time soon.

I was in Utah last weekend for Teresa's wedding. What a wonderful thing to be so involved in(I did hair and make-up for her and her wedding party). She looked so beautiful, and I was so pleased that I could help her really stand out that day, and in her pictures. I admire (and slightly envy) the way a couple in love looks at each other.

While I was in town we were also having a celebration for my grandma and grandpa Montgomery's 50th wedding anniversary. 50 years together!! All of my mom's 6 siblings were there, and all but 6 of the cousins were there. What an amazing feeling to be surrounded by so much family. And to think that we were all there because of my two sweet grandparents.

You can see why weddings would be on my mind, with everyone getting married, having anniversary's, and even getting divorced. My mind can't help but wander to those two words written on my calender under the 18, "Neva's wedding." Oh how my heart breaks for Carlos, who was supposed to marry his beautiful bride today. I think of how excited she was when her dress finally fit perfect.. and to know that less than a week after she told me that, she was buried in her wedding dress.

I can't begin to understand what it's like to lose someone you have your whole heart and soul tied to. Sweet Neva.. As the days pass it become a little more real, I just keep waiting for her to be standing at her station, or maybe standing on her step stool at The Color Bar. I just read a book called The Last Lecture, that I would highly recommend.. It's about a brilliant professor living his last days, dieing from pancreatic cancer. He talks about seizing the day, chasing your dreams, and not just having what you want- but wanting what you have. He says at one point that he's grateful that he knew he was dieing so that he could take full advantage of his time. But I believe that even though Neva went without warning, she did just that. She was an inspiration to me, the girls at Salon Foushee, and all of her clients. I am missing her a lot these days.. but I can feel her close.

I long for a love like Neva and Carlos, my grandma and grandpa, Teresa and Shane, and even my mom and Eric. I am so lucky in this crazy backward world, to have such great examples of how a marriage should work. And okay okay, let me just make it clear that I am in NO RUSH to get married or anything like that. I'm just saying.. one day... way way way down the road.. At least I have people to look up to.

Monday, October 6, 2008

some changes

Last night I was able to go to an AMAZING concert!! The show was Tokyo Police Club, Angels & Airwaves, and Weezer. Even though Weezer was the headlining band, I went to see Angels & Airwaves which is one of my all time favorite bands. All three bands did an amazing job, and Weezer played for over an hour and a half! I went with Kara F, Danielle, and Stephanie. Danielle is a freak for Tom Delong and his side belt. She was like me at and NSYNC concert! And it was Stephanie's first real concert, so it was cool to have it be such a big one! I also got a DVD called Behind The Machine which is some Angels & Airwaves situation, but I haven't had time to scope it out.

I am getting to go to Salt Lake again this week. I leave on Wednesday night and stay clear til Monday evening. I am going because ofne of my best friends from highschool, Teresa, is getting married. I am doing her hair and make-up and am VERY excited about it! I am also really excited to see my family. While I am there, there is going to be a celebration for my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary! 50 years! That is a VERY long time these days!!

So, for the big change going on. As you may or may not know, I had a new roommate move in the middle of July. She called me the VERY day that I had told the relief society president that I was looking for someone, and everything worked out perfect. Well it turned out that she is married, and is a military wife. Due to the training program her husband is in, she hasn't been allowed to live with her husband... Well, until now. Cary got to go to Florida to see her husband 2 weekends ago, and when she came home last Monday she let me know that she's moving to Portland on the 10th. So at first I kind of freaked out. I mean, really, this is huge for Cary. How exciting! She gets to live with her husband! But of course I was being selfish and wondering what I was going to do about a roommate. I mean really, with such short notice?

So I decided to venture on to Craigslist. My mom warned me to be careful, and I found out why way too quickly. After reading ads that claimed "non smoker, 420 friendly" and a man looking for a "female roommate, employed, big boobs" I was getting concerned. Some ads included pictures, many were sob stories of unemployed single moms.. What a cluster. And then I stumbled upon an ad with Mormon in the title. Phew. I quickly responded to the girl who was looking for a female roommate with similar standards, and anxiously awaited her reply. After exchanging a few emails, befriending each other on facebook, and finally meeting her tonight.. I found a new roommate! She seems really cool, and I am really excited to have her move in. I am still really sad that Cary is leaving, but I am also excited for Victoria to move in. She'll be here November 2nd, so I have a few weeks to enjoy some solitude!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Food is by far one of my favorite things. I grew up with my mom making the most delicious homemade bread.. She is an incredible cook! At Thanksgiving and Christmas, her and my dad make tons of pies.. Cream cheese-pecan being my favorite. They are both really great in the kitchen (and on the grill!), which is a huge reason I have such a deep love for food. Unfortunately, due to enjoying too much food in the past.. I don't let myself indulge as often as I'd like now. Even though I keep my meals pretty healthy now, one thing I love to do is bake. I'm known for my Hersheys Kiss filled cookies, and am always bringing in some sort of treats to the salon.

I've been buckling down on my diet, so treats haven't really been an option for a little while. However, I thought it would be a good idea yesterday to look at some recipe blogs. Okay.. maybe that isn't the best idea when you are abstaining from sugar. But I found myself hooked on a few recipe blogs salivating all over my keyboard..

I added a tab on the side of my blog with links to some of the websites that I love to get recipes from, being my favorite. I'm going to be doing a lot of baking towards the holidays so hopefully I'll have some pictures to share. If you have any uber-tasty recipes to share, please let me know!

Monday, September 15, 2008

"marry-weds" party

Fall is finally here, and I am enjoying the cooler weather. This week is predicted to be in the mid to high 70's, and I love how cold it is at night. Fall is my favorite season for so many reasons, and I am enjoying every second of it.

After all that's been going on, we realized a few weeks ago that we failed to have any sort of bridal shower for Peri. Originally, we were going to have a party for her and Neva sometime this month in Neva's backyard. Well, Betty was still wanting us to come around... so we decided to have Peri's party there. I was a little nervous about being at her house, but it turned out to be a good time. We had a Mexican theme (of course I brought Dorito Casserole) and even had a pinata. For Peri and Jacobs gifts we gave them gift cards to PF Changs and World Market, a chia pet puppy, and 8 boxes of brownies (that's only 4 double batches Peri says..). It was good to have all of the salon girls together having a fun time, it really felt like Neva was there with us. Here's some pictures from the big night.

In other news, I was very lucky to have my friend Kyle staying with me this past weekend. Kyle served his mission here in Denver, and has been home for about 3 months. I met him while he was serving with another elder from Kamas, and I used to cut their hair every 6 weeks. I didn't really know him while he was serving here, but we have become very good friends since he went back to Austin. He actually goes to school with Morgan (my best friend from Pittsburg), which makes me totally jealous that they live so close to each other and I live so far away from them both. I had an a lot of fun hanging out with Kyle this weekend, and feel very fortunate to have him as such a good friend.

Here's a picture of us before I took him back to the airport.

Monday, September 8, 2008


I guess I am a little late on the birthday update, I've just been so busy celebrating!! My birthday fun started with a pre labor day dinner at the Moore's.

(For those of you who don't know who the Moore's are.. Kathy Moore and my mom are cousins. When I first moved to Denver I lived in their basement while I found an apartment and waited for Peri to move here. They have taken me in as one of their own, and I love spending time with their family!)

Kathy's son Tommy was turning 32 on the 3rd, so we had dinner at his house to celebrate our birthdays plus labor day. It was fun playing in their brand new backyard, and catching up with everyone. I ended up spending the night at Kathy's because it got so late, and got up the next morning and bought a new DVD player for my room. I'm excited to be able to watch movies in bed now!!

I didn't really have any plans made for my birthday. I don't work Friday's, and I didn't want to plan anything too exciting because I work early on Saturdays. My new and wonderful friend Adam drove down from Arvada, so we ate pizza and watched season 4 of The Office which is one of my favorite shows! For my birthday Adam bought me 3 lotto tickets, and I won $5!! Later that night, my friends Stefen, Karen, and Dave joined us. We had some cake and watched some more of The Office. Then we decided to go see Hancock at the $1 theater. I had heard bad things about it, but I actually really enjoyed it!!

Unfortunately, I didn't return home from the movie with my phone.. I know it was in my pocket during the movie, but it never made it home. We searched the car, I tore apart my apartment, and called the theater several times to see if it had been turned in. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll ever see that phone again. I bought a new one yesterday, so I am still needing peoples phone numbers.

Saturday we celebrated my birthday for real. A bunch of us went to dinner at Hacienda Colorado. It was soooo much fun! Nearly 20 people showed up and we had a blast. The restaurant is one of many, but that particular location is only a few months old. The food was great, and I loved having a lot of my friends there with me! After dinner Natalie and I went dancing downtown, and had a lot of fun shaking our money makers.

The weekend was awesome, I am lucky to have such great friends and family! Thanks to everyone who celebrated it with me, and mostly thanks to my mom for having me! I love you all!!

here's a picture of me blowing out the candles on the cake Kathy made me. It was brownies frosted with Andes Mints. Delicious!!

Peri, me, Karen, and Natalie. My three best girlfriends in Denver.

Peri with my cake at work. It was from Coldstone. 2 layers of choclate cake, one layer of sweet cream ice cream with cookie dough, and one layer of chocoloate ice cream with peanut butter cups.

Cary (my new roommate), Kenny, and Kyra at Hacienda.


Friday, August 29, 2008


I have been lucky enough to run into some pretty big events so far. I must really know how to be in the right place at the right time because I was living in Salt Lake during the 2002 Winter Olympics, and this year I was in Denver for the Democratic National Convention. I don't live right in downtown Denver, so I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to check out any of the festivities. But to my surprise, I got a call with some very exciting news. John Paul and Eloise DeJoria (the owners of Paul Mitchell, Patron Tequila, House of Blues..) were coming to the DNC and needed hair and make-up for the events they were going to. I was very excited to find out that she wanted my boss, also named Kara, to do her hair.. ME to do her make-up.

After freaking out a little, and an expensive trip to the MAC counter for extra supplies I was feeling pretty good about things. This was kind of an intimidating job, because not only is she a celebrity, but an ex model, and she and her husband own one of the biggest hair companies in the beauty industry.

We first met up with her on Tuesday. Rather than staying in a hotel, they were staying on the Patron Tequila Express, a train car parked outside of Union Station. It was somewhat of a tour bus situation, but way cooler! The it had an India type theme inside. Tons of handcrafted wood, the original curtains, and bottles of Patron EVERYWHERE. I learned that Patron makes like 6 different kinds of tequila, including a Coffee flavored one, and one that costs $500 a bottle! Of course I opted out of tasting any of them, but I did have some lemon cake that was made with Patron and it was delicious!!

Doing her make-up was actually pretty easy. But her skin was basically flawless, and even though she's 51, she looks like she's 41. I ended up doing it 3 separate times. Once for Hilary's speech, once for a breakfast with other female celebs, and once for a private concert hosted by the Black Eyed Peas. She was SO incredibly nice and laid back. She kept asking for fashion advice, told us about her and JP met, talked a ton about her kids.. it really made it easy to not be so nervous! Seeing John Paul running around was kind of surreal. But he was so polite, and made sure that we were comfortable and having fun. I didn't get very many pictures (and none with JP unfortunately!), but here is what I got.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


We're going to go for more of a picture book than a novel today.

Here's Peri on Friday. We went to Salt Lake and took pictures so that we wouldn't have to do them all on Saturday. It was a great idea, because we spent about 4 hours downtown! I can't imagine doing that on Saturday.

This is my favorite shot I took of Peri and Jacob. The light was perfect!!

Peri and Jacob in front of the Salt Lake Temple. SO so so beautiful!!

Me and Sam. I am looking haggard after the all day wedding. And Sam isn't wearing make up but she's always gorgeous.

Hailey is getting SO big! She will be 2 in December. I love seeing her when I'm in town.

This is Brady. He was my client in Denver, but now lives in Salt Lake. Isn't he a hottie?

Julianne moved to New York City to become a rich and famous photographer. She is so very talented, and an amazing friend. I am going to miss "J" very very much!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

taking a break

I'm headed to Utah, again. I feel like I just left, but I am still really looking forward to going. After losing Neva, I am extra appreciative of my family, and my friends. Especially the ones I don't get to see very often.

Peri is getting married on Saturday, which is the whole reason for my trip. Her dress is SO amazing, I can't wait to see her in it. I did her make-up for her bridal photo's a few weeks ago, and the pictures turned out awesome. She is so pretty! I am so lucky to have her here in Denver with me, and have her as my best friend. It's crazy to think of the good ol days at PMTS and Cosmo. When I decided to move to Denver and she brought up coming with, I never in a million years thought she'd actually come. Now a year and a half later, not only did she end up in Denver, but met her fiance here. Totally nuts! Tomorrow night we're going to dinner at Baja Cantina in Park City and having a sleepover at a condo up there. I'm excited! Then the wedding is Saturday morning in the Salt Lake Temple, and the reception is that night in Oakley.

This will definitely be a much needed break. The salon is semi back to normal, or as normal as it can be right now. I'm still having a hard time, but the water works have slowed to a trickle. We have started a fund for a scholarship in her name, and her clients are being so generous. Even people that didn't know Neva. It's cool to see everyone come together over such an amazing person. Here is an article printed in Sunday's paper.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The girls got back from Vegas last night, so today was our first day having everyone back at the salon. We all came in early to have a "Foushee Family" meeting, and talk about what's the best way to handle the situation. It's been really hard so far, even before everyone was back. Clients have called because they've heard the news, and many people have called just to schedule appointments with her. It seems so wrong to break the news of Neva's death to her clients. I think they're just as lost as we are, some have even just hung up when they've heard the news. Unfortunately it's going to take awhile before everyone's found out. Even though a lot of people in the area know about the accident, her name wasn't even released until Monday morning. This morning we all cried, a lot. It was hard to be together without her.. I really consider the girls at the salon to be family, and having Neva missing is going to make a huge impact on my daily routine.

They had a memorial service for her tonight, and her funeral and burial will be this weekend in Alamosa which is about 6 hours from Denver. We decided that we aren't all going down for the funeral, but instead will go when they lay her tombstone at her grave. The service tonight was hard. Her family sat in the front row, they all looked as if they were on auto pilot. Some of her extended family spoke, and then Kym and Kara both talked about all of the things we loved about Neva. Kara told this awesome story about how they went to France and took the stairs all the way up the Eiffel Tower and she had to carry Neva on her back to the top. It was great to remember the things we love about Neva. I am so lucky to have known such an amazing girl. She was such an inspiration to me, and I looked up to her.. even though I had to look down to her since she was a full foot shorter than me.

Here's a story that the Rocky Mountain News printed.

Man comes upon fatal accident involving his fiancee

By Hector Gutierrez
Monday, August 4, 2008

Neva Christine Mondragon was expecting to celebrate one of the most memorable days of her life later this year.

The 27-year-old was getting married in October.

On Saturday, she was planning for another big day: her fiance's birthday on Sunday.

But Mondragon was going to Las Vegas on Sunday, so she and another couple decided to celebrate her fiance's birthday on Saturday evening.

She headed out Saturday morning to get her nails done at the beauty salon where she worked, Betty Valdez, her aunt, said. "She left us at 7:30, and we kissed her goodbye."

It was Mondragon's last moment with her family.

When she didn't show up at Salon Foushee and Day Spa in south Jefferson County, her co-workers phoned her aunt.

Her boyfriend, Jose Carlos Maez, was running errands when Mondragon's aunt called him to say she had not shown up at the salon.

Maez decided to look for Mondragon, traveling the route she would have taken south on South Santa Fe Drive.

Perhaps her car had broken down.

Perhaps her cell phone simply was turned off.

When he reached the 5200 block of Santa Fe, Maez came upon a wreck involving three vehicles.

A crushed red Ford sedan belonged to his future bride. She was dead.

"This is what makes it so tragic. He did come upon the accident," Valdez said.

Another driver, Richard S. Hogsett, 36, of Jefferson County, also died at the scene. A third driver, Kelly Joan Horan, 26, was seriously injured and was being treated Monday at Swedish Medical Center.

Littleton police said they think Hogsett, who was driving a Mercedes sedan, was heading in the wrong direction on Santa Fe Drive when his car plowed into a Honda driven by Horan before smashing into Mondragon's Ford.

Hogsett's father was too upset Monday to comment.

Maez proposed to Mondragon last Christmas Eve at the lavish Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. "She was getting married Oct. 18," Valdez said.

Mondragon was born in Denver and attended school in her father's hometown of La Jara in southern Colorado. She graduated from Centauri High School. She then enrolled in beauty school at Emily Griffith Opportunity School, where she earned her cosmetology license in 2002.

Valdez said that she and Mondragon's mother, Ana, own a salon in Cherry Creek, and her niece had followed in their footsteps. Mondragon lived with Valdez in northwest Denver.

"She enjoyed traveling and she loved camping and cooking," Valdez remembered. "She liked to cook and give parties - any kind of outside party - so she could cook and have all her friends over."

In addition to her parents, Mondragon is survived by two brothers, numerous aunts and uncles, and her two grandmothers. Her brother had a 6-month-old nephew who Mondragon just adored, Valdez said.

"She was wonderful, and she had a big, wide smile," Valdez said.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Last night as I was driving south on I-25, I passed an accident. It was after midnight and probably caused by someone under the influence. As I passed I looked over to the lights of the cop cars, and the dented in vehicles affected from the crash. The drivers and passengers were close by, staring at the damage caused by the collision. I had a good 20 more minutes of my drive, and being late at night my mind wandered and I thought about how we never know what's going to come at us. I was thinking about how unfortunate it is that we often think, "I'll be happy when..." instead of just appreciating each day we have on earth.

It wasn't until this morning that I realized how my reflections last night would prepare me for the challenges of today. This morning while on her way to the salon, Neva was killed in a car accident. For some reason a car entered Santa Fe going the wrong direction, collided with a car head on, that hit and killed Neva on impact.The driver of the first car was also killed. They don't know why the driver was going the wrong direction, or if he was intoxicated. I saw photos of the scene this afternoon on the news, and they literally made me sick to my stomach.

Most of the girls from the salon are headed to Vegas today, so there were only a few of us working. Neva was supposed to leave for the hair show in the morning, she had delayed her trip until tomorrow because today is her fiance's birthday. Time was moving so slow today... from the time where I got to work and found out she was already an hour and a half late, my client telling me that Santa Fe was closed for an accident, calling her cell phone, receiving the news, and finally breaking down. I have never once seen my boss cry, and as she received the news I watched her eyes over flow with tears. How could it be that "little Neva", only 27 years old, who was engaged to be married in 2 months, was gone? Her empty chair next to me haunted me all day. How will the salon ever be the same without one of our best stylists?

I am going to miss her ridiculously good smelling food in the break room, her extra crazy clients, her amazing blow drying skills, her using a stool the reach the tops of clients heads, her crazy dancing, her little laugh, her being as proud as her nephew as I am of my nieces, parties in her backyard, her taking naps EVERYWHERE, and everything else about her... It's still hard to believe it's real. I think it will take a few days, when the girls are back from Vegas, for me to realize that she's not going to be returning back to work. This is the first death in my "adulthood" that I've really had to deal with. Neva was a constant in my life, I saw her nearly every day and it's hard to picture my life without her in it. Please remember Neva's family, friends, and coworkers in your prayers. We could all use a little extra comfort right now.

Here is a photo from the scene of the accident. The news reports that the after Mercedes SUV hit the first car, it landed on top of Neva's red Ford Sedan.

Friday, July 25, 2008

So so busy!

Thing have been so hectic that I haven't even had time to write anything for awhile! First and foremost, I have to say Happy Birthday to my Grandma Dianne who is the coolest grandma ever. And not just because her name is my middle name! She is awesome and I don't know what I would do without her! She turned 65 on Wednesday, and spent the whole day at Lagoon with all of her kids and grandkids. And when I say she turned 65 that isn't exactly true, but I will always think she's 65. And I'll always think my mom is 35. I think they're probably okay with that.

My new roommate, Cary moved in last weekend. She is really cool, but she's crashing on the couch for a little bit until Peri gets her stuff moved to Jacobs. Things are going well, she is a really cool girl! She is actually married, but her husband is in the military so she is out here doing Teach For America. It's been fun having her around, I think we're going to have fun together!!

Last weekend was full of birthday celebrations. Friday night was Karen's brother Tommy's 30th birthday. Tommy is special needs, and so so so so fun to be around. He is always asking for girls numbers, and always asking for a pen to write down their number. As a gift some guys from his ward bought him a package of pens, and a little black book they called the "chick-tionary." Here's a picture of Karen and Tommy with the cake, and a picture of me and my friend Stephen who is home from BYU-Idaho right now.

Saturday night the salon girls went out to celebrate Peri and Kym's birthdays. We went to my favorite bar called Rock Bar. I love it because it's never been remodeled from the 70's. Also, they play lots of "old school" music. The dance floor is small so everyone packs on and has a good time. The night "Midnight Madness" was going on, which is a moonlight bike ride. People in Denver are really into fitness, including bike riding. I obviously didn't participate, but there were a million people downtown on bikes! It was so crazy, I've never seen anything like it!!

Other than that, I've just been keeping busy. Work has been jam packed, which is so nice. I love being busy, the days fly by.. and the paychecks are nice! I've been working out a ton still, and I'm really starting to enjoy running. I am so lucky to have such strong legs! I am sure I will feel the same way about my arms.. once they are actually strong! I am about to head out to a wedding reception which will be the first of MANY for the summer. I am so excited for my friends to be moving on and getting married, but it seems so crazy to me! I'll be back in Salt Lake for Peri's wedding so soon, it almost seems surreal.

Friday, July 11, 2008

dress shopping

I have been shopping for a dress for Peri's wedding for the last month or so, and have been getting frantic about it this last week. Her wedding is just a month away, and I have been stressing out about what I was wanting to wear. Originally I thought it would be fun to find a green dress, but lately I've been trying on just about anything that isn't ridiculously expensive. I went over to Park Meadows today, and FINALLY found one! I have probably tried on close to 100 dresses in the last month, so it was such a relief to find one that I liked. It is black, which is typical of me but it fit right and it's a little more dressy than anything I already have. And since i have about 348576 friends that are engaged right now, I am sure I will get plenty of use out of it.

It was Peri's birthday this week so I whipped up a meal of Dorito Casserole and "chubby brownies" via Peri's request. It was also my friend Chris' birthday so he came over for the feast. We got all caught up on Tila Tequila, and watched part of season three or The Office which is one of my favorite shows. Last year we were in Utah for Peri's birthday and had a joint party with our friend Crob. It's crazy to think that was a whole year ago!!

I have been thinking a lot lately about how things can change so quickly. Thinking back to last summer I had completely different friends, and was still relatively new to Denver. I still wasn't 21 and was counting down the Saturday nights til I could go out downtown. It's just so crazy to me how fast things and people can come into your life....and also how quickly they can leave. I have had a rude awakening lately, I realize that there have been some people that I took advantage of having around. I guess that learning those kind of lessons is part of what life is about, I just wish it wasn't so hard. I don't believe in regrets, but hindsight sure is 20/20. I recently read a quote by Marilyn Monroe that I have been thinking about a lot. It said, "Sometimes things fall apart, so better things can fall together." I guess that just means that good things have to come to an end to open up opportunities for things even better. I know things will fall into place, I just hate the waiting game..

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Utah Pictures

Here are some pictures from Utah that I didn't put with the last novel I wrote.

Harper and I after her blessing

Hailey and I.. she was distracted by the swing set apparently

My Momma. I cut her hair shorter, and now we look the same

Grandma Di, one of my most favorite people on the planet

And this is from Denver, but last night I got to go dancing with my friend Natalie. Her birthday was last Monday and she was very excited to be 21. We hit up a lot of the popular bars/dance clubs in Lodo, and appreciated that we can have fun sober.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Aunt Kara

There are no words to say how much I love my family! I loved spending time with them in Salt Lake, and can't wait to see them again. I am learning to appreciate how important family is, and must say that I am lucky to have awesome parents, siblings, sibling in laws, nieces, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.

I must say that I have two of the cutest nieces ever. Hailey and Harper are so adorable, and I feel truly blessed to have them in my life. They are so very lucky to have so many people that love them, and to be raised by my wonderful sisters who can teach them the important things our parents taught us. Being able to be there for Harper's blessing was awesome, and a great reminder of how important the Gospel is to our family.

It's crazy how quickly "the little girls" (Carly and Kelly, who are now 14 and 13) are growing up, and how fast our family is expanding! I was able to get a really cool gift for my dad for Fathers day/birthday, I got a copy of The Proclamation To The Family framed, with a picture of my parents and each of my siblings matted around it. Eventually it will have pictures of each of our complete families. It's really cool and I'm telling you about it because it was so big and awesome that I couldn't bring it on the plane so it's sitting in my room all wrapped up! Hopefully it will be to Salt Lake soon and my parents can enjoy it!

I guess I could give a few details of the actual time spent in Utah.. Sam was kind enough to pick me up from the airport, since my mom was still at Girls Camp when my flight got in. We did some shopping and then I went to her house to cut her hair, and ended up doing her moms too. When I finally got to my parents house I spent the afternoon cutting and coloring my mom, Kelly, and Carly's hair. As the weekend went on I also did Chase, Erica, Eric, Grandma, Grandpa, Teresa, and Brady's hair. I also was able to give Hailey her first ever haircut!

I spent the rest of the weekend baking for the blessing, and trying to relax. Monday I got to go to lunch with my mom, grandma, and several of my aunts which was really fun! I also go to see two of my very good friends from high school, Michelle and Tiffany! It had been several years since I had seen them so it was extra special. Saturday while Erica and Tom went to see Tom's grandma, they dropped me at University mall so that I could drop in and see my good friend Adam. I met Adam at 80's night about 3 years ago and we've been really good friends ever since. Monday night I went to dinner with Kyle and Cameron, two of my good friends from Provo. I also got to spend time doing Teresa's hair.. I am doing her hair and make up for her wedding in October, and also for her bridal pictures in August. We also went and got snow cones with her fiance, Shane. I'm really excited that I get to participate in their wedding!

Even though I was in Salt Lake I caught up with two people I had met in Denver. I ran into Steffany from Arvada while I was at University mall, which was unexpected but awesome. And Sunday night I went to Draper to hang out with Brady, who was in my ward here and also used to come into the salon. It was fun to see them in Salt Lake, but definitely reminded me how much I was missing Denver! It reminds me that I am definitely in the right place, and am just lucky that my family is such a short trip away!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

coming to SLC

It's barely been 2 months since I was last in Salt Lake, but I'm headed there again on Friday. Erica, Tom, and Harper are flying in from LA to bless Harper in my parents ward. I am SO SO SO SO excited to meet her! This is the first time my whole family has been together (with the exception of Ty on his mission) since Thanksgiving, and will be the last time until Christmas. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to come out on such short notice but everything fell into place. I'll be there from Friday morning, til Tuesday night. I was trying not to tell anyone I was coming, I get so overwhelmed trying to run so many places while I'm there! But I probably mentioned it to more than enough people so I am sure I will be jam packed with activities and people while I'm there. Not to mention I have 11 people on my agenda to have their hair done. 11! That's like 2-3 full days of work. But it's cool, because I like to keep my family and friends looking good.

Fortunately, I'll come back for work on Wednesday and Thursday, and then I will have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off for the 4th of July. I don't have any plans yet, but I am sure it will include bbq's, fireworks, and hopefully sleeping in! It's pretty awesome when you need a vacation from being on Vacation.

I've had a pretty busy week or so at work since I'm going to be gone next week. All of my clients have been crunching to get in before I leave, or before the holiday. It has been nice being busy because the time has been flying by! Sometimes long days are hard being on your feet all day.. so I treated myself to a pedicure yesterday. It was nice to get off of work and relax, where as most days I head straight to the gym after work.

Okay, so the most random thing happened yesterday/today. There is a gas station on the corner of the end of my street. I always tell people "turn left at the Starbucks/Sinclar station" but yesterday when Peri went over for some peanut butter m&m's and a diet coke it was closed. I didn't really think anything of it because it's kind of a sketchy place.. but today I pull onto my street and there is no signs whatsoever of a gas station. The place is completely demolished. I guess Peri will have to walk a little further for her diet cokes from now on. Nothing with businesses really surprises me any more since the Starbucks popped up within 2 days, and the sushi restaurant next to us changes names on what seems to be a weekly basis...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

it's been awhile..

I guess so far I haven't been very good at updating this. I figure now that summer is here, I should probably keep a little more up on things. Not that summer necessarily means I have more time, but I guess it means that I have a lot more events to report on.

Things have been steadily the same for a little while. Work is going very well! Things are picking up as the weather gets warmer, and I am really enjoying most of my clients. Last month I did a photo shoot with Kara. She did 2 different looks on 4 different models, and I did all of their make-up. It was a really neat experience!

I've been spending a lot of time at the gym, and by a lot I just mean way more than normal. I have been comfortable running on the elliptical, so I decided it is time to step it up a notch. I have started an interval training program on the treadmill, and am doing 5-6 miles a day. My legs are sore ALL of the time, but I know it will get easier. I am still working out with my trainer at least once a week, and can definitely feel my body getting stronger. I am not very flexible, especially my hamstrings from standing all day, so I am going to start taking "hot yoga" on Tuesday nights to try and increase my flexibility and lengthen my muscles.

Other than that I am just staying busy with friends. Peri's wedding is coming up SO soon! I have a new roommate, Cary, who is moving in next month. I met her last week and she seems SO awesome! It is so weird how all of my friends are engaged, but I guess that's what happens when you grow up. I currently know 4 couples getting married August 16th! It's crazy..

I am getting excited to go to Salt Lake at the end of the month! I am going to be able to see a few friends, and lots of family which is nice since it isn't a holiday. I am SO SO SO excited to see Erica's baby, Harper, I wish that I could see her every day! It will be nice to see Erica and Tom too, not to mention a lot of my extended family. Sometimes a trip to Utah doesn't feel like much of a vacation with all of the running around and hair I do, but when I come back I only have 2 days of work before I have 3 days off for the 4th of July. I am VERY VERY excited about that!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Angels & Airwaves

Monday I got to do something that was a little more exciting than normal. One of my favorite bands is Angels & Airwaves. The band is made up of Tom Delonge (Blink 182, Box Car Racer), Matt Wachter (30 Seconds to Mars), Atom Willard (The Offspring), and David Kennedy (Box Car Racer). So Danielle and I got to go to KTCL and listen to the "Garage Session" which is when the guys talked to one of the DJs and played a few songs before the show. It was SO awesome to hear them live! After the garage session was over, they came and hung out with us and the other listeners. They were so laid back and weren't the least bit arrogant. They were having fun signing autographs, and Atom ended up drawing faces and hats on a lot of the pictures. David seemed to be particularly fond of me, and left me a nice note and picture on my poster. Here are some pictures from the signing..

Tom signing my picture

Atom drawing a Pope hat on himself



David, Matt, Tom, and Atom. Matt wanted to make sure we all knew that he is 4 inches taller than Atom, even though it doesn't look this way in the picture.