The attack of the Asian in shop 363

We’ve had a pretty good experience while here in the city. We have felt safer than we ever did in Salt Lake, and the people are generally so kind and helpful.

Until the other day of course. I had an experience I was sure would make me hate New York forever. Needless to say, I got over it the next day when so many good people again proved to me that there are more good citizens than bad in the City.

My dear friend Kaitlin was in town last week from Arizona. Wednesday was our day to spend together out in the city. We got dressed up all cute, or as cute as I possibly can with my terribly awkward grown out hair, took lots of pictures, went to the temple, got sushi, and of course, shopped Canal Street. Well, TRIED to shop Canal Street.

And that is where our adventure begins…

We arrived to Canal street as the sun was setting with a few things in mind of what we were looking for. I went with a list my mom had given me to buy for her for Christmas presents, and Kaitlin with a list for herself, as any tourist should do. I quickly found my list and met back up with them to help Kait shop for a satchel.

We came upon a store, a store I’ll have nightmares of forevermore. 

Like so...

Kaitlin ended up finding a beautiful pastel pink purse. I always, and will always, admire and long for a cute purse when I walk Canal Street but rarely leave with anything, cause let’s be honest, we don’t have a money tree and the word tuition is still a large part of our vocabulary.

Kaitlin got a good deal on the purse, but not as good as the deal the sweet, or so we thought, Asian lady threw out at me if we bought a second bag. “I give you good price. You buy second bag, I give you for fifteen dollar. Good price. Good price.” I expressed to her that I wasn’t interested in the same pink bag as my friend. She asked about other bags. There was one bag I had eyed previously that I was fighting the desire to buy. Well I justified enough good reasons and got the bag I wanted for almost as good of a deal. Well, ALMOST.

Now here is how the purchase went down. Brace yourselves.

Before buying the bag I noticed some yucky marks on the bag. The lady claimed she could get it off “no problem”. I stupidly handed her the money as she was supposedly fixing my purse. It looked great. The yuck was gone. Magic. Well a couple minutes went by as Kaitlin looked around the little shop a bit longer, until Kathy, Kaitlin’s mom, noticed the purse had been ruined by whatever the lady wiped on the bag.

In my mind I thought, no problem. I’ll show her, she’ll apologize, switch my purse out for another black one just like it, and we’ll go on our merry way. I don’t think I’ve ever been more wrong.
I showed her the bag she had ruined. Without hesitation she tells me, “Store policy. No return. Only exchange.” Again, no big deal, I’ll just exchange it for another one just like it. Problem being, they didn’t have another purse like it. But I didn’t just want any purse. I couldn’t afford to just buy just any ol’ purse. I bought that one cause I really liked it and it fit our camera great.

Frustrated, but very calm, we all took turns trying to explain that she was not being fair. She had just ruined the purse and she needed to give my money back. I don’t know if she expected me to just lay myself on the ground and let her walk all over me. She started this game, and I was going to finish it fair and square. I started out with 100% confidence she would give in and refund the money. Boy was I wrong, AGAIN. I wasn’t about to leave with the loss of 20 bucks. That’s precious money when you’ve got a husband in grad school!!

About 30 minutes went by, and other customers started to question what was going on. The lady began yelling, calling us idiot, crazy, stupid, wouldn’t look at me when I tried to speak to her, and began to get aggressive. Other shoppers learned of the situation, became frustrated, and tried talking to her. No luck. She began to get rude and aggressive with other innocent shoppers that had nothing to do with what was going on. I decided that if she wanted to play this game, I’d play right back and I began talking customers into leaving and not shopping there.

Another customer came in to buy 20 dollars worth of merchandise, so Kathy came up with the genius idea to make that our exchange and the customer could just pay us. The owner was furious and would not allow it because it was “against store policy”. It made absolutely no sense. Let me remind you that she is the owner of the store and there is hardly anything legal about these shops to begin with. She was rude to the customer, mishandled the lady’s stuff she was buying, and broke it. I became so frustrated that she was treating so many others so badly over a situation having to do with me.

Next thing we know she is screaming at us, “Get out of my store! I’m going to lock you in here!” At the time the idea of getting locked in terrified us. Later on we realized we could have pulled a buddy the elf and decorated the store, called the cops, they’d get us out, and she’d go to jail for kidnapping us. Sounded so perfect later that night.

Feeling panicked since the lights had been turned off and she appeared to be locking us in, I quickly grabbed a bag of the same value, and used my phone light to guide us out of the shop. We calmly walk out without discussion, get about 20 feet away, when we hear footsteps running at us. My heart started pounding. We tried to just keep walking but next thing I know I was being grabbed and yanked all while she is yelling, “You’re stealing! You stole my purse!” Talk about embarrassing. Luckily people around could see what was really going on and didn’t think I was an actual thief.

She gave the bag a big yank at the same time I was letting go. It was an accident, I swear. A convenient one may I rudely add. She fell to the ground, got back up and came at me swinging the purse. Luckily Kaitlin ran to grab cops parked near by. She quickly told them what happened while the Asian family of 3 ran away after seeing the cops. The cops ran after them, held a guy they thought was maybe the husband, but they had the wrong guy. Crap. I thought we had lost.

I was still determined to make this right. Not because 20 dollars is the most important thing in the world, but because of how badly she treated so many people. It made my heart pound and my stomach sick. I was over the 20 bucks at this point.

Well after much explanation to the cops, it didn’t seem much could be done because they didn’t see what had just happened. One of the cops walked back to the cop car with me and asked some more questions about the situation. When we got to the car, he surprised me by saying, “I’m going to get your money back. Maybe double. Don’t you worry.” He took down my information, the store number, and we further discussed my schedule the next day. I was working all day and didn’t have a way of coming down to meet him. He kindly offered to bring the money up to me on the other end of Manhattan. Wow. SO NICE.

I left feeling a little better, yet still with a heart beating a million miles an hour. The more I thought about what the cop did, the more I wondered if he was just saying he’d help me out to get us out of his hair and get on his way. Obviously he has better things to do. He’s a NYC cop!

Well the next day I was at work when I got a text from an unknown number. “I’ve got your money. Where are you at?”

He kept his word!! I wasn’t even excited about the 20 bucks, I just wished I could have seen her reaction when he showed up.

“You’re the coolest! I’m at work on the Upper West Side.”

“K I’m on my way to you.”

This was for reals. I was texting a cop that had just done the nicest favor and set this crazy lady straight.
When he arrived, he so kindly volunteered to bring the money up since the kiddies were sleeping.

GET THIS. Not only did he get my money, he also decided after she started “being pissy” with him, that she needed to learn a little lesson. He charged her for attacking a customer and she has to appear in court. Say waaaaa?! So cool.

After he told me and I said goodbye and closed the door, I practically skipped down the hall. After a few seconds, I began feeling terrible about myself for being so happy about her having to give my money back and go to court. I called Derek to ask if I was a bad person, he said no, so I continued feeling giddy about what had happened. 

I hope that she learns her lesson and doesn’t treat other customers the way she treated me and others that night.

Rought night. Good story. Good friends. Seriously, shout out to my awesome bestie Kaitlin and second mom Kathy for sticking with me through the craziness. Sure love them. We had a good memorable 12/12/12.

Where were you on 12/12/12? Did you do anything to celebrate? Hopefully your 12/12/12 was a little less traumatic than mine.

Here is a pic I snapped at the beautiful Time Warner Center mall on Central Park. Christmas in New York is as dreamy as it sounds.

And whatever you do, DON'T SHOP AT 363. 


Alive. Barely.

Ok ok that may be a bit dramatic. But seriously, we are busy little bees over here. We've had company after company and the day after our company ends next week, I'm off to Jamaica for work. Then the day I get home, I literally don't even leave the airport. Derek will meet me there and we'll give getting to Utah on standby our best shot.

My mother deserves a little shout out here. We would not be able to fly anywhere if it weren't for her working so hard for JetBlue. Thank you Mom!

Just a few short days after we get home from Utah we are off................... to THAILAND!!! I'm just a teeny bit excited. Whatever.

Between work, school, hurricane clean up, the primary program, teaching new Christmas songs, company staying with us, finding jobs, figuring out insurance, the holidays, being sick, and whatever else life has decided to throw at us, I'm officially pooped. I keep thinking, "I just need to get through this week and then things'll slow down a bit". Yeah right.

Remind me why adulthood seemed so appealing as a kid? Woof.

As crazy as life has been, we really have had some fun experiences lately.

The Thanksgiving Day parade.

Thanksgiving dinner at Derek's cousin's beautiful home in NJ. We loved our time with their family. Those kids are so entertaining and fun.

Hurricane Sandy clean up. My special sister in the back. Closed eyes pictures are so funny to me.

I'm really starting to believe that life only gets crazier. I have always been convinced that life will slow down a bit "once school is over", "once I'm married", once once once. Well I think I'm a little smarter than that now. I hope.

I keep pushing off my last gratitude post until I feel I have time to get out a good, deep, thoughtful, whopper of a post. But remember how I said I'm getting smarter? Well I think I am smart enough to know that isn't going to happen anytime soon. So you get what you get and you don't throw a fit.

Not that I expected anyone to throw one.

As much as those gratitude posts wore me out, I really enjoyed being forced to sit down and really think of what I was grateful for. Holy cow! I am so blessed. With some trials we've been going through the last while, it has been harder to recognize blessings as easily. I have felt blessed all along, but man alive it's much easier to get frustrated with life when trials seem to drag on.

I've had some time to think, and I think that I would like to make my final gratitude about experience. I know I said I wouldn't do something deep, and here I go. I promise I won't go too crazy.

Experience is what makes us who we are. Experience builds character. It defines our values, our beliefs, and relationships. It creates opinions. It makes for competition. It pushes us to do better the next time around. Sometimes experience hurts, sometimes it's quite enjoyable, but it is ALWAYS defining us. Something I have learned and continue to learn is that I can choose how I let my experiences define me by the way I choose to deal with them. If I don't think about them as much, I may not learn as much from them.

I am going to stop myself now before I ramble your little ears off. But do you get the gist?

Oh hey, it's Derek's birthday!!!!! We have celebrated little bits here and there over the past few days. I sure love that guy. He's 24. Old fart yeah? Can't believe it. I love you so much sweetie.

**I know, so unlike me to not do a big long mushy post on his birthday. I'm sure Derek isn't too sad. Haha.

Oh and did I mention my grandparents are staying with us right now? We're so lucky!

Oh yeah... Jk. I'm seriously stopping this time. Thanks for reading my ramblings. :)

XO and welcome to December! I still don't get how we're already in december. Somebody has got to be messing with time.


My absence

I promise my final gratitude is coming. I'm just a bit a lot overwhelmed right now. My camera fell off the bed last night and broke and now we're hurrying to get it fixed before Christmas trips and Thailand, I am up at 2:30 AM finishing batches of cookies my sister and I are SUPPOSED to be making together, in between batches I'm desperately trying to figure out primary for tomorrow, I have a huge homework assignment due Monday, I have missionary packages to get sent off, we have to figure out a whole years worth of tithing before church in the morning (slackers, I know), we have to find new phone plans, switch banks, and the list goes on...and on. I may have broke down last night, and am holding back tonight. If I am alive later this week I'll post.

Some highlights of our week. Helping with Sandy cleanup, Brooklyn Bridge walk, and enjoying music and talent from family.

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!
And I hope your holidays have been a little less crazy than they have over here.


Doctors and health

What would we do without doctors and modern medicine and knowledge? I wouldn't be where I am without it. I didn't grow up rushing to the doctor. My mom taught us to take care of ourself. So to this day I have a hard time getting myself to go to the doctor. I always feel like things will take care of themself. I almost feel wimpy going to the doctor. Actually, not almost. I do. And I'm not sure why.

But my husband has helped me to learn that it's ok to go to the doctor. And with my endometriosis journey, it has been so extremely helpful. Without doctors, I would not have known what was wrong and would not have been able to have my surgery.

In writing this post I've thought back on the month after my surgery. Such a rough time being apart from Derek and out of work for so long, but there were so many memories made and so many things to be grateful for. Like this cute girl...

This brings me to my next thing I'm grateful for. My health. Derek is probably rolling his eyes right about now, cause sometimes it seems like my body hates me. But I can walk. I can see. I can hear. I can taste. I can smell. I can hug. I can kiss. I have hair to do. I have eyelashes to put mascara on. I can eat on my own. I can go to the bathroom on my own. I can breathe on my own. I can laugh. So many things to be grateful for. Right now is a good time for me to be acknowledging these things, cause my body and my health have been getting me down. I have an out of place rib that 10 trips to the chiropractor can't fix, my endometriosis is coming back more and more every day, I just finished antibiotics for a UTI, and a couple other things we're still working on figuring out. Sometimes I feel defeated, and exhausted. Until I read things like THIS blog. But especially THIS post. Awesome right? I'm so healthy and strong. And so blessed.

There is so much to be grateful for.


Designing and sunsets

I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to be back in school. I thought I was done forever, but the idea of design courses had been on my mind for quite some time. We were able to pull some extra loan money for me to take some courses and I'm loving it. It's always hard to leave a few minutes just after Derek gets home, but im always glad i talk myself into going. Photoshop has blown my mind. It's like a world of its own.

If you follow me on Instagram (@mandywalk), you know I'm a sucker for sunsets. I love anything nature, but when the sun paints that sky I fall in love all over again. God is good. And a fantastic artist.

Notice the sunset reflection on the buildings. Incredible. This picture doesn't do it justice.


Sisters and friends

Major picture overload and serious lovin' going on over here today.
You know you love it.

16: I'm so grateful for 4 beautiful sisters. They are all such good examples to me of what girls and women stand for.

Brynn's passion and love for things is beautiful. She feels so deeply and loves so deeply. Everyone (boys especially) that knows her falls in love with her. I admire her respect for herself. She doesn't feel like she needs to be like other people. She is her own person and that is what everyone loves so much about her. She has the most gorgeous curly hair. And that natural beauty. My goodness. One of my favorite things about "The three little girls" is they are so natural, naturally beautiful, and don't try to be like other people. They are so real, fun, have the best personalities, and are loved by everyone because of these things. We have some seriously good times when we're all together. There is never a quiet moment cause we all have too much to say to each other.

Haley is totally herself and doesn't care what anybody thinks of her. She holds strong to her values and is so good. She is the smartest thing there ever was. She loves learning, has the prettiest long blonde hair, the most precious beautiful freckles all over that cute face, and has an awesome laugh. She laughs so easily too making her too fun to be around. The older she gets, the funner she gets. We talked on the phone about the silliest nonsense the other day for quite some time and I reflected on it for quite some time. Sure love that girl.

And a perfect "blonde" picture...

Hannah is just too fun. And boy does that girl have good sense of fashion. And she definitely doesn't get it from me, because if you look even just a year back on Facebook or this blog and you will know very well that I haven't had the best fashion sense. **No need to really go look back for reference. Just believe me. We're trying to leave those days behind us. We're working on it. Hannah is the craftiest most talented little lady I've ever seen. If you have a baby girl, you must take a little looksy through all of the fun things she sells. I am dying to have a little girl to accessorize in Hannah's talent. She is also so much fun to be around. And has the loveliest longest leanest legs you've ever seen. Lucky girl. Wow, lot's of L's. She is also SO good with kids. All kids love her and are drawn to her. What a natural mommy. She'll be my number one babysitter. 

Mckenna is the best sister in law. So glad she's now stuck with me. She is so kind and fun. And so giving. She is always so nice to let me borrow things I have forgotten when we stay there. So glad to have a sister to share stuff with finally! She's my favorite singing pal. We have so much fun singing around the piano. And thanks to my MIL's piano talent we can enjoy singing together. Mckenna is a musical theatre wonder. We have had so many good laughs together. Especially thinking back to our sleepover days when Derek and I were engaged and we would stay up talking late at night. Or sometimes she'd just stay up talking and laughing to herself while I slept. ;) Funny stories behind that one. Sure love that girl and am so glad she's my sister.

I'm also so glad that all of my sisters can be such good friends. My sisters love Mckenna. We all feel like sisters and it makes me so happy. Love those girls. Some more sister pics.

After some crying :) Can't believe how young everyone looks.

So posed, but everyone all together. I'm thinking this Christmas we need to take some pictures.

Sisters + mom and Yujin.

17: I'm grateful for good friends. I don't know where I'd be without them. I went through some pretty funny stages throughout Junior High and High School. I moved to Utah mid-JH and my number one goal was to fit in and be cool. I was immediately drawn to and accepted into the "popular group" which I wouldn't say was the most uplifting group to be a part of. I finally broke away and made some uplifting, good friends. I honestly would say 9th grade was my all time favorite year of school. We had the funnest group of friends. Then we all went to high school and made new friends, but were still friends. I then transitioned through a few different groups of friends. Still "friends" with all of them but didn't stay as close as I wish I would have. It then came to be my Junior year and cliques and close groups were forming and I was more concerned about making sure everyone had a friend than I was about fitting into a certain group, until I realized how important close friends were. I became close friends with the sweetest group of girls, most of which are currently out on missions. So proud of those girls and love them all so much. Some are moms, some are business women, and most are missionaries. They are all doing such good things with their lives. I miss them all dearly, but love the time that we get to be together.

I also don't know who I'd be without my old roommates. Moving off to college, learning to live with lots of girls, working, going to school, and dating is all a lot to make someone crazy and roommates get the best worst of the craziness. They were always such good examples to me. I sure love them and am grateful for them in my life. We have so many great memories.

And of course two of my non-high school best friends in the whole world Kaitlin and Yujin. They are like my sisters and I love them dearly. I don't where I'd be without them.

High School friends weekend getaway.



Family lovin'

Day 14

I am so grateful for my family. I don't know what I would do without them. They are the craziest people I know, and I love them so much for it. There is never a dull moment. They are the only people I can be my crazy self around. We have so many inside jokes and good laughs together. I miss them, but love when they get to come visit. I love catching up over the phone and hearing about boyfriends/girlfriends, dances, tests, friend drama, and whatever else they feel like telling me. The other day they "face-timed" us to show us the snow fort they made in the backyard. Makes me so happy. Sure love my crazy family.

We're missing Ammon here. We are obviously trying to pretend he is there.

And another with us all present. Not too crazy about this picture but whatevs.

Day 15

I am grateful for such wonderful in-laws. They are so fun, loving, and feel like they have been family forever. We have so many good laughs when we're with them. They sure know how to have a good time. We have created so many fun memories with them that we'll never forget. They also have a killer sense of humor. Sure love them!

Jake was "too cool" to smile at this point in his life. :) Cutie.

If you want to know the truth, I'm excited for these gratitude posts to be over. I miss talking about what I want to talk about. I probably should have just done this on Facebook or something. Sorry y'all. Be grateful. And can you believe Thanksgiving is in a week?! How is this happening. I'm so excited.


Season of love

The colder it gets here, the more romantic it seems to get. I swear they put something in the air. I was walking around the fun seasonal shops at Bryant Park tonight and felt myself falling more in love with Derek the more I walked. Funny thing is, he wasn't even there.

After his class he met me for dinner in the park. This was our view. We had a little personal heater to keep us warm while we enjoyed a delicious burger. Such a perfect evening. My all time favorite thing to do is go to a sit down dinner with my honey. Not only because I don't have to cook, although that doesn't hurt, but because I feel so much more connected to him every time. It's such a good bonding experience. It's the only time we can really sit down with no distractions and just focus on each other. And it's a great excuse when your groceries cost almost as much as going out to eat does.

Moral of the story: I am grateful for the times we get to go out to dinner together. Love it so much.

Oh, and because I'm sure you care. We discovered my skinny jeans fit Derek better than myself.



I have so much respect for those who serve and have served our country. They sacrifice so much for us. They don't do it for money. They don't do it for fun. They do it for love and pride for our country.

I'm especially grateful for my brother and soldier. I never really comprehended American pride until my brother chose to serve in the military. 

I had never really thought to thank a soldier before until being with my brother when he is in uniform, and so many are so gracious and kind. So many thank him, pay for his food, or do a kind deed to show their gratitude. It was so extremely touching and I couldn't believe I had never thought of that before. I am now always sure to thank a soldier when I see one and I hope to be able to buy a meal, or do a kind favor for more in the future.

So grateful for him and all of those who serve and have served our country.

I can breathe

Today I'm doing days 10 & 11. I've been so excited for this post.

I am thankful that the primary program is overrrr!!!! Holy cow. I without question will appreciate our kid's primary teachers after this calling. That was so exhausting. I'm also grateful for the opportunity to be the chorister. Being the chorister is a lot of work. But it's so worth it. Those kids spirits are so innocent and sweet.

After sacrament meeting we had a party. I got to hold babies and eat fudge. Talk about the perfect primary. Two of my favorite things.

I'm also grateful to be so close to so many beautiful sites and scenery. This FDR memorial is on the bottom tip of our island. I can't wait to go back at sunset with the camera. It has an incredible view of all of manhattan and queens. I believe you could live in NYC your whole life and still not see all of the sites. 

Annnnd. For your entertainment. We get a pretty good laugh out of this.

Hope your weekend was wonderful!


The sound of music

Day 9: I am so grateful for this man's musical talent. It is one of the many things that caught my eye from way back in the day. He is so incredibly talented. I hope someday I can figure out how to share his music with you. 

One of my favorite things to do is put all things aside, and sit on the couch or sit in bed and play and sing together. It often helps us de-stress and come back to what matters most.

Day 8: I also have to get to catch up from yesterday. 

I am grateful for naps. Especially lately. I've never been much of a napper, but this week has been exhausting to say the least and I've been able to sneak in a few naps. They've been a highlight. 

Any nappers out there? Do you find the shorter the nap, the better? I've always felt like long naps only make me more tired. I like a short 20 minute nap. Not that I've done that this week, but in general I prefer shorter.

Happy Friday!



Today I'm feeling grateful that my sweetheart involves me in all of his schooling. Tonight he is so very sleepy after a long day of hard work. Isn't he cute when he sleeps?

I am so flattered when he asks if he can practice his presentation in front of me. Or if I can read through a paper. Or talk through an idea for a project with him. It makes me feel respected and valued.

I sometimes catch myself feeling jealous and wishing I could be the one in school. But I know we are a team. We couldn't do this without each other. He has worked so hard to be able to build a good future for our family. He studies so hard, is always learning, and is so determined. What 23(almost 24!!) year old has served a 2 year mission, gotten a bachelors degree, and is almost done with their Master's Degree? Smarty pants.

He is the epitome of focus, hard work, and dedication. I sure love that boy and am so grateful for his hard work and willingness to include me in all of his studies.

This is what the city looked like today. It was a complete blizzard. As beautiful as it is, I hope that those without power and homes were able to keep warm. I'm so grateful we were able to come home, turn on the heater, and snuggle up to Modern Family.

To my beloved public transportation

It's late, and I'm falling asleep, but I'm keeping my promise.

Everything I think of that I want to share requires some explanation and I need something quick tonight. So I think something that is pretty self explanatory is my gratitude of public transportation. I love it so much. I have become passionate about public transportation.

Having a car was wonderful, but I really can't say I've missed it all that much. And that is one of the beauties of this city. I am not given a chance to miss it because public transportation is so available. It makes for such a simpler sustainable life.

I was terrified of the idea of riding the gross, stinky, humid, scary, subways when we first moved here. But it is so normal now. It's just life. It's not a crazy out of the ordinary adventure. It's just the way life is. How we get around. We don't need cars. We don't need fuel to survive, and that feels great.

Disclaimer: The subways aren't scary. You get used to the smell. They are overwhelming at first, but they really do make sense once you get used to it.

Now for some public transportation visuals, for fun, and just in case you didn't know what public transportation looks like. Jk.

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