shayla lilian

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


i can clearly remember my first few weeks of college. i remember the overwhelming nerves, the unbelievably large classes, feeling like byu campus was like hogwarts and things were constantly moving and rearranging and disappearing and reappearing (i can now admit that really it was just my terrible sense of direction), feeling like i was in way over my head as i didn't have the first clue as to what i should major in, not feeling old enough when classmates had wedding rings and when an outrageously pregnant lady sat next me, how friendly and social everyone was at the dorms, and how ecstatic i got when i saw any familiar face on campus that i could say hi to (and ask for directions), spending hours (not) studying on the infamously social 5th floor of the library. 

i felt like such an adult when it came to living on my own and learning for myself that ice cream does not make a good dinner and i cannot stay awake in an 8am class if i had only retired to bed 4 hours earlier and that a twin bed can (somewhat) comfortably fit 3 girls...everything was new and exciting and terrifying.

then somewhere along the way, i started to get the hang of things. i stopped needing my responsible friends to text me the day i could sign up for classes, i stopped searching the crowds for people i knew between every class, i found my passion for graphic design, i started studying in a cubicle on the 2nd floor of the library, i started putting in my headphones and going straight from one class to the next. it became a comfortable routine.

and now it's all over. i just took my last final exam. and instead of going out and celebrating, i'm blogging?? ha, yep. because i want to remember exactly what this feels like. as soon as i got out of the classroom this afternoon, there was an instant, physical relief that sent chills through my spine. i became all sorts of nostalgic when i looked around campus as i walked to my car and different places flooded my mind with a million memories.

i feel like a big, fun, hard chapter of my life is closing and i am about to step into the unknown again. i'm starting to feel all those same emotions i had before starting college but now it's before starting what they like to call "real life." ;)

Saturday, April 19, 2014


for april's book i read the bell jar by sylvia plath. this book is not for the faint of heart. it explores quite a depressing/hopeless outlook on life. but in a really fascinating way. it's human nature to get sad and feel down trodden  so i felt like i could relate to esther, the heroine of the book, in a small way and some of the words written perfectly describes things i've felt before  but i thought it was really interesting to try and understand a brain that actually has no desire to feel better.

i couldn't help but love esther in all her cleverness and i was wholeheartedly rooting for her to pull out of her deep funk. plus, it made it even more darkly fascinating to read up on the book once i finished it and realize it was "semi-autobiographical." i got that feeling from the beginning, but there's a disclaimer at the beginning of the book that says "this book is a work of fiction. all characters and events are a product of the author's imagination. any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental." but after reading about sylvia plath's life, i get the feeling that there's a lot more truth to this story than she may have let on.

plus, the writing was nothing short of phenomenal. her style reminded me of an even more cynical version of j.d. salinger's in catcher in the rye, so i was not surprised afterwards to read a review from robert taubman calling the bell jar "the first feminine novel in a salinger mood." he basically put my thoughts into one much more eloquent phrase than i was able to...ha but all in all if you like catcher in the rye and you're fascinated by the human psyche and able to stomach some pretty sad stuff, the bell jar is a must read.

and here are some of my very favorite quotes from it:

"i saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. from the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. one fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was ee gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was europe and africa and south america, and another fig was constantin and socrates and attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs i couldn't quite make out. i saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because i couldn't make up my mind which of the figs i would choose. i wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as i sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet."

"i wondered if all women did with other women was lie and hug."

"if neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then i'm neurotic as hell. i'll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days."

"i felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery — air, mountains, trees, people. i thought: 'this is what it is to be happy.' "

"there is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends."

"i felt very still and empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo."

"i am sure there are things that can't be cured by a good bath, but i can't think of one."

Friday, April 18, 2014


there's no denying that these last few weeks have been hectic. quite possibly my most stressful finals to date. but that's okay, because they're also my last finals. ever. am i starting to sound like a broken record yet? sorry i keep mentioning that it's my last semester and i'm graduating so soon yada yada ya, but i can't stop thinking about it!

i just finished taking one final that i was extremely stressed about, but i think it went well. and even if it didn''s over! haha i can slowly feel myself start to be able to breathe a little easier and i'm really liking that. i'm also really liking these blossoms that seemed to pop up overnight?! they're right outside our bedroom window and make me so happy every time i look outside to see a little life out there again.

also, amidst the crazy cramming to get all my studying in, projects finished and everything sorted out for graduation, i have to admit i've still managed to have some fun :) here are a few things lately that i've been enjoying:

+ SNL. they have the 2010's shows on netflix right now and nicolaus and i have been watching at least one (sometimes 3 or 4...) every night before bed. i never thought of saturday night live as a binge series, but i have officially been proven wrong.

+ tennis. i played a little in high school and it's been so much fun to get out and play again with nicolaus. plus provo is like a mecca for public tennis courts, so that's been great.

+ games night. we had a little dinner/games night with our friends grayson and brittany last week and that was great. i am not very competitive about most things, but that all changes when there's a deck of cards involved.

+ bridal showering. i went to my sweet friend, danielle's bridal shower last weekend with kerry and am going to my friend brooke's shower tonight. pre-wedding season is in full swing!

+ the grand budapest hotel. there's been a lot of buzz about this wes anderson creation and for good reason! i think it's one of his best yet and if you haven't seen it yet, you might need to.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


apparently the whole senior photo/graduation announcement thing is a very american tradition. my parents had never heard of it until they moved here and they just never jumped on board with it. none of us kids have ever done it before for high school or college and i've decided to change that. i think it's a fun idea to document this time of your life as it's the end of one big chapter and the beginning of another. so nicolaus shot some photos of me over the weekend (and apparently photo shoots by yourself can be a pretty awkward/squinty eyed/lopsided smile ordeal...haha but it was nice to get outside and breathe some fresh air!) and i designed a graduation announcement card, and now i just need to go get them all printed and sent off.
this whole process got me thinking about traditions and whatnot. a lot of the time i've felt like i don't have roots in any particular place or am overly attached to a lot of family traditions. i think it's because my immediate family left all our relatives behind in south africa when i was at such a young age. i never had family reunions or sunday dinners at grandma's or anything of that sort. which always makes me a bit sad because i do love my relatives and cherish the times i have spent with them. but i understand why my parents moved us away and am so grateful for all the opportunites it's afforded me over here in utah. 
utah will always have a special place in my heart because it's this beautiful place where i grew up and have a lot of fond memories. but it's not like we have a ton of family here or we go generations back as pure-blood utahns. a lot of the time i feel really out of place in the culture here and can't wait to get out. but that's the beauty of not feeling rooted here or stuck in certain traditions...nicolaus and i have a whole lot of uncertain options in our future. we have an unmapped life ahead of us where we can ditch old traditions and adapt new ones to our liking. there are good things to come and i love the anticipation of being open to all sorts of possibilities. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


remember noah's nick's boat he bought for cheap and fixed up? well, we took it out to utah lake today and guess didn't sink! nicolaus was only slightly offended that this was a real concern of mine...haha but really it was so much fun to row all over. i've always loved canoeing and our boat is just like that only better cause it's bigger! but also slightly more difficult to stear and took a minute for me to get the hang of...but eventually i did and we rowed around and fished and breathed in fresh springtime air and made friends with some amazing bearded old fishermen in a little motor boat near us. the only downside was the ONE BILLION mosquitoes that tried their best to eat us alive at one point. next time i'm going fully equipped with a gallon of bug spray.

Monday, April 7, 2014


Thank you so, so much to everyone who entered my giveaway and left some really sweet comments for my mom's book, Spots! If it was up to me I would shower you all with free copies, but unfortunately there can only be one winner...and that lucky lady is...

Congratulations Morgan! Hope you enjoy :)

Saturday, April 5, 2014


My sweet, sassy, hilarious, cute niece, Camryn, just turned one! Which is pretty mind blowing how fast this year has gone. Nicolaus and I spent last weekend in Syracuse with his family and we had a fun, family birthday party for Camryn. She is so cute and fun and I really just want her to stay a chubby little baby forever :)

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend! I will be watching a lot of this, spending time with family and doing homework in between. And remember that today is the last day to enter this giveaway for a copy of the book Spots!