Utah Band Booking Agency Spotlight

30 Dec

Here’s the deal. I’ve mentioned this a few times, but Utah is seriously getting cool. There are a lot of different reasons to visit Utah including skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling…and other non-snow related events like hiking, biking, jeeping, boating, and more. Not only does Utah have a great outdoor scene, but Utah also has a cool music scene. There are a lot of cool bands coming out of Provo and Salt Lake these days, but Utah is also a great place to find a band for your corporate event, wedding, or party. Check out the following band booking agency if you’re looking for some quality entertainment in Utah, or from Utah (they travel!).

Both Utah Live Bands and Dancebands.com offer the following:

  • Party Bands
  • Jazz Bands
  • Country Bands
  • Event Entertainment

Additionally, they offer some of the nations most popular party bands including:

  • Groove Merchants
  • Amplify
  • Dance Doctors
  • The Salamanders
  • TIYB
  • Chance McKinney

Whether or not you’ve heard of these bands, you may have heard of some of the singers that perform with these bands including:

  • Chris Crabb (big time musical crush on this guy), and
  • Amy Whitcomb (big time girl crush and musical crush on this girl)

Anyway, all I’m saying is that if you’re looking for some fun in Utah, or some crazy local talent, you may want to connect with this guy to get your event sorted out.


Provo, Utah is Getting Cool!

24 Oct

I know this might sound crazy, but Provo, UT is actually starting to get cool. I know this, because A) I’m extremely cool, duh, and B) I’ve lived here a long time, and it didn’t used to be cool. Before you think I’m crazy, let me elaborate.

Rockin’ Music Scene – In case you didn’t notice, some pretty popular bands are coming out of Provo these days. Some Utah musicians have hit it hugely huge including the Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees, Kaskade, and Lindsey Stirling, to name a few. Others are on the up and up like Ryan Innes, Polytype, and Scott & Brendo. With all the great music coming out of Provo, UT, it feels a bit like a mini Nashville, and it’s fun and cool. On top of all the great musicians, there are a bundle of fun places to attend a concert including Velour, Muse, and the Rooftop Concert Series. Music here is fun.


Food — Once upon a time, Provo was confined to such boring restaurants as Applebee’s and Chilies. Nowadays, there are a bunch of hip places that are nomnomnommy. Check out Mountain West Burrito, the Tortilla Bar, Community, and be on the lookout for food trucks like Rocco’s, Sweet Burrito, and Waffle Love.

Google Fiber — If I have to explain to you why Google is cool, then we’re in big trouble. Provo is all hooked up and ready to go for Google Fiber and that is rad.

Not only is the music in Provo awesome, the food delicious, and not only are we capturing the attention of Google, but apparently, we have the hottest people here. Come to Utah for a weekend, and put Provo on your list of places to go. Go hiking, skiing, and find a pretty girl/guy to take on a date to a great concert. You won’t regret it.

Я́сная Поля́на — Check out Yasnaya Polyana in Fall

21 Oct

In celebration of Fall, I gotta say one of the best places on earth to experience this joyous season is Yasnaya Polyana, just outside of Tula, Russia. Yasnaya Polyana is the estate of Leo Tolstoy and one of the most peaceful places on earth. While it takes about 2 hours to get to Yasnaya Polyana from Moscow, it’s definitely worth the trip.

Quick Tip: The cheapest way to get to Tula from Moscow is to take the green metro line to “Tsaritsino.” Once you come out of the metro, you will walk across the street and you will see a few route taxis (“marshrutki”) parked outside of a small convenience store. It’s not the most comfortable of rides, but it’s certainly the best price. This will take you all the way to the bus station in Tula where you can get another route taxi to Yasnaya Polyana.

Check it out!

This is the path leading up to the estate.


This is Tolstoy’s house. You have to put these little shoes on in order to go in to the home. The home has a great library and Tolstoy even has a Book of Mormon in his library.



Here is the pond near the estate.



One of the many paths where you can stroll.





Larisa and I playing in the leaves. Sorry to whoever raked them into such a nice pile that we so gleefully destroyed.



“One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.” –Leo Tolstoy


10 Oct

When it comes right down to it, I’m a bit of a grammar snob. In fact, when in doubt, I use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker just to make sure I don’t sound like I was raised alone in the jungle by bears–bears that don’t know the difference between there, their, and they’re. After all, English is my precious language and I want to get it right.

While I’m a big fan of making sure I use my language correctly, I get a huge kick out of traveling to other countries and finding the most hilarious Engrish out there. Here are some of my favorites from my travels.


Seen at a temple in Thailand. Everyone in my family loved this one.


Brought to you by my friend, Ekitzel, who lives in China. She is the best at flushing!


Lovin’ the use of contractions here!


This one is not THAT weird, but who says “get free?” I guess punks in Lithuania do.


These are just a few of the awesome uses of English I’ve seen across the world. What about you? What are some of your favorites? I would love an explanation or a link in the comments!



Where have you been, Ashley?

7 Oct

So, I haven’t posted an adventure in quite some time. Why, you ask? Well, I was busy growing and birthing this little darling:


Yes, she IS the cutest thing you’ve ever seen!

Anyway, this does not put an end to my traveling. This just means I will be blogging about what travel is like for both of us. Well, all three of us (mom, dad and baby girl).

In fact, this 2 month old already had a trip up to the Wasatch Mountains to learn about Fall.


Anyway, we’re never too young, too old, too poor, or too rich to travel! Let’s do this!

Walden and Antarctica

20 Sep
“I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what I had to teach, and not, when I came time to die, discover that I had not lived.” -Thoreau
I think I’m going through my Thoreau stage of life. I mean…I don’t necessarily want to take off to Walden Pond and live in a shack, but I reflect often about the meat and bones of life and what practices really yield true happiness and true growth, and then I think about everything else. It seems like there are so many “everything else” type distractions from “the essential facts of life” and often time and energy is squandered on fluff that just does not matter. I get tired of the bright colored time wasters and want to spend my time on fruitful life-giving activities.
When I went to the University of Utah, I had the honor of being in a poetry class taught by Utah’s Poet Laureate, Katharine Coles. I think she encompassed this Thoreau-ism nicely. She talked about how she once had long, beautiful, flowing hair and would spend hours upon hours fussing about her hair until finally she realized all the time that was being wasted on her hair and she shaved it off. She’s had a shaved head ever since.
I’m not saying the solution to really living is shaving our heads, but the metaphor is beautiful—each person can search to identify what distracts their energy, focus and time from really living and cut it off to spend time on practices that make life joyful. This can be different for each person. Katharine Coles recently spent time in Antarctica writing poetry and learning about the sciences.
I think I’ll spend some more time thinking about what my Walden Pond or Antarctica really is and report back, but for starters, I simply want to slow down.

Thank you, Sahar Qumsiyeh

17 Sep

I can’t imagine having a wall built around my city separating people of different nationalities.  I can’t imagine half the people in my country labeling anyone with different passport papers as an enemy.  I can’t imagine widespread discrimination that leads to daily acts of terror and brutality.

Today, I attended a lecture at Brigham Young University given by Sahar Qumsiyeh, a Palestinian woman, United Nations employee, and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who has suffered through years of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

She talked about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and shared her personal stories of growing up a Palestinian woman in a divided and violent area.  She told stories of long nights filled with darkness and gun shots, and talked about the day when her own hate for Israeli soldiers arose.

She related how one day a group of Palestinian students decided to lead a protest and wave a Palestinian flag from the University’s main building.  The protesters were immediately met with gunfire and tear gas.  Her friend, Irshad, was shot in the head, but did not instantly die.  The students protected his body, but Israeli soldiers wouldn’t let anyone leave the university to get medical care.  When the students were finally released, the Israeli soldiers took Irshad’s body to his parents house, forced his parents to follow them into the woods, dug a hole and made the parents watch as they filled the hole with their son’s body and dirt. She talked about hate.

Then, she talked about forgiveness.  She talked about praying for the gift of charity and then waiting on the Lord.  She talked about finally being able to look into the eyes of Israeli soldiers and feel love and peace.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict seems so far away, but for so many people, it is daily life.  This kind of violence is literally beyond my comprehension and I am so thankful that I don’t have to live in fear every day.  I am so thankful that I live in a blessed country where we are blessed with freedom and peace.

Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints myself, it was a humbling reminder that the atonement of Jesus Christ is real and that we can have internal peace by applying gospel principles to our daily situations, even if our daily situations seem trivial compared to what others suffer through.

Sahar has every reason to hate, violently protest and lead a miserable life, but instead she travels and spreads a message of peace and hope.  She encourages everyone that the key to peace, even in destructive situations, is to have internal peace through the atonement of Jesus Christ.  She talks about understanding that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, to qualify ourselves to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and to forgive others.

Understanding a message like that is what softens hearts and helps tear down the walls that separate us.

Thank you, Sahar, for sharing such an inspiring message.  Thank you for your courage.  Thank you for sharing your testimony and message of peace. I promise to always be grateful for the freedom and protection I enjoy.


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