Modesty, Rape Culture & the Gospel of Jesus Christ

According to my internet searching (and everything you read on the internet is true right?), the term "rape culture" was coined by feminists in the 1970s. While rape culture is multi-faceted, in this article it will be used more interchangeably with the behaviors that are often associated with it: victim blaming, sexual objectification, trivializing rape, and refusing to acknowledge the harm rape brings to it's victims. 

So why, on this happy Brooklyn blog am I writing about rape culture, modesty and the gospel of Jesus Christ? Because I think that as Christians, we have got to address some of these tougher topics. I wish I had been taught more about these tougher topics earlier in life, so instead, I'll address them now. 

Growing up, to me, modesty was keeping my chest, bum, and stomach covered. Those were the school rules, and that was what I was taught at church and in my home. Although not all my young womens leaders addressed modesty the same way, I was taught that dressing modestly made it easier for the boys to stay virtuous. My cleavage, upper thighs, butt and stomach were ticking bombs that would make it impossible for young men to think clean thoughts. Isn't that a lot of pressure to put on girls 12-18? I honestly never stopped once to ask myself, "Why is it MY job to make sure they are staying virtuous?" I just wanted to be good. So I covered up.

In college I took a walk/jog class. Basically we had 50 minutes to walk/jog around the track, get good exercise and get college credit for it. For this class I usually wore shorter shorts and either a tank top or a tee shirt. One day during class while I was walking, a guy caught up with me and we began to talk. After class he asked me out. I caught a bit of a weird vibe, but felt flattered that he was interested in me. He was tall, handsome and rugged, my kinda man. We went and got ice cream the next night and came back to my apartment and hung out with some of my roommates. He told me stories of his dad's cancer and how hard it has been to watch him degenerate. He was a Christian that was making his way back to church. He said all these things that made him seem so vulnerable and made me want to help him. We watched a movie and I remember continually moving his hands back to my knee as they slowly made their way up my thigh. It was uncomfortable to the say the least but I didn't think too much of it. (Face palm people! This is a red flag!! Why I didn't get out right then I have no idea.) 

The next day he was not in class. He texted me after and said he had slept in but wanted to know if I wanted to come over to his condo that night. I asked him if his roommates would be there and he said no. I told him that I wasn't comfortable with that and that he could come over to my apartment if he wanted to hang out. He then said, "Well... my roommates will be there if you want. But I figured you'd prefer if they weren't..." Umm... what?? I still let him come over the night. (Freshman Brooklyn needed a wake up call!) That night he was handsy again, and I was so uncomfortable. Although I didn't feel sexually assaulted I was on guard, and had to keep moving his hands to where I was comfortable. At the end of the night I walked him outside to his car and I told him I wasn't interested in him and didn't want to waste his time. He told me I had been misleading him and making him think I wanted to do more together, "You can't dress the way you do in gym class and expect me to not want to do those kinds of things to you." I was mortified. Was the way I was dressing in gym class really making it look like I was looking for sexual encounters? I started wearing sweats and baggy tee shirts to class instead so I wouldn't be a temptation for him anymore.

So where's rape culture in that? Any time you blame a woman for a man's impure thoughts or actions, you are encouraging rape culture. If your daughter was raped, would you EVER say to her, "It must be because those short shorts you were wearing or the fact that you had cleavage." I sincerely hope not. And even though my father appreciated when my sisters and I dressed modestly, I know he would never victim blame for what someone is wearing. If we victim blame, we are RELIEVING the rapist of the sin. We are letting that person "get away with it" because we think the way a woman dresses causes the rape. 

Elder Jeffery R. Holland said, “I have heard all my life that it is the young woman who has to assume the responsibility for controlling the limits of intimacy in courtship because a young man cannot. What an unacceptable response to such a serious issue! What kind of man is he, what priesthood or power or strength or self-control does this man have that lets him develop in society, grow to the age of mature accountability, perhaps even pursue a university education and prepare to affect the future of colleagues and kingdoms and the course of the world, but yet does not have the mental capacity or the moral will to say, ‘I will not do that thing?’ No, this sorry drugstore psychology would have us say, ‘He just can’t help himself. His glands have complete control over his life–his mind, his will, his entire future.’… I refuse to buy some young man’s feigned innocence who wants to sin and call it psychology.” (Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacrifice)

Public Service Announcement: The rapist is always responsible for his or her own actions. It does not matter what the girl was wearing. No means no. I went and saw the Intern with my husband for date night (SPOILER ALERT!) and in the movie the lead character is a hard working woman who created this amazing business. Her husband left his job to take care of their daughter and ends up cheating on her. The main character feels like it is her fault that he cheated on her because she was spending so much time working. Public Service Announcement: You don't accidentally cheat, and you can't blame someone else for that mistake either. He chose to cheat on her, she is the victim.

I believe in modesty in dress. I feel my best when I am covered up. I prefer to not worry about people seeing more than I want them to.  But besides dressing modestly because that's what makes me comfortable, why? What do we need to teach youth about modesty? First off, modesty looks different to different cultures, religions, and even individuals. What I'm comfortable in may not be comfortable for you. I'm not better than you because of the way I dress. And you're not better than me because of the way you dress. Period.

Our bodies are sacred because they were created by God in His image. That's why I dress modestly, to show respect for this glorious body I have been given. Our bodies have amazingly beautiful procreative powers, they can heal, they can lift, they can hug. Primarily, dressing modestly shows respect for our bodies.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I believe that, "Men shall be punished for their own sins..."(Articles of Faith #2) In my mind, this means that if my large chest makes a man think unclean thoughts and he chooses to act on it, I'm not responsible for that. I am more than my body!

I now wear temple garments. These are an outward expression of my inward commitment to follow the Savior Jesus Christ. I have been promised great blessings in a temple of God if I wear them. The top covers my shoulder much like a capsleeve top, and the bottoms come down to the knee. In college I realized I owned a lot of clothing that I would not be able to wear once I was endowed and wearing temple garments. I threw out all of it. It felt amazing to know that I was preparing for a glorious future. Dressing modestly became about ME and my outward commitment to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and less about what the male gender thought of me.

I believe men are better than we are giving them credit for. I believe, that just like women, they can control their thoughts. It might not always be easy, but it can be done. I believe modesty is about my relationship with God, and not about the way others view me. I believe we spend too much time worrying about trivial things such as bikinis, tank tops, and Diet Coke and not enough time worrying about humanitarian work, getting to know our neighbors and expressing love for our families. I choose to dress modestly, and will encourage the young women I teach to do the same, but not because they are object of a man's desire and may cause him to sin. I will teach them to dress modestly, because of the way it makes them feel, act, and because the way they dress can show respect to Heavenly Father for the blessing it is to have such an amazingly beautiful body.

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The Power of 15 Minutes //

If you read my post about What Comes Next for my fitness journey, you know that I'm dedicating just 15 minutes a day to working out. That's it. Just 15 minutes a day 5X a week.

Because of that decision, I've spent the last week or so pondering on the power of 15 minutes a day. Which led me to recommit to reading God's words 15 minutes a day. It seems like it's the millionth time I've recommitted, and 15 minutes doesn't sound like much. So I wondered, what would the significance of 15 minutes a day look like long term?

15 minutes a day= 5,475 minutes a year
5,475 minutes a year= 91.25 hours
91.25 hours= 3.80 days

That's almost 4 DAYS A YEAR. By giving up just 15 minutes a day, over the course of one year I will spend almost 4 days solely reading from the scriptures. That seems pretty powerful to me.

It's like saying, "Here's 4 days of my complete attention to you God, what do you what to teach me in those 4 days?" Sometimes I read my 15 minutes right before bed, sometimes in the morning, and sometimes on a 15 minute work break.

So what could you do for 15 minutes a day? What do you want to change? What do you want to improve? 15 minutes a day over a lifetime could make a significant impact! A super significant impact.

I'm a firm believe in small & simple things. So for right now, this 15 minutes is my small & simple thing that will bring great things into my life.

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How We Wore It // October

I knew this months How We Wore It was going to be a little bit tricky for me. I'm currently living in a 10 piece capsule wardrobe and it definitely didn't give me much to work with! I was hoping to luck out and magically have all the pieces I would need to create the perfect outfit. Then I got this picture in my email...

Well crap. I ripped through the thighs of my black pants (holla at my curvy thighs!) and my gingham shirt isn't a part of my capsule this month! I really need to share more about my capsule with you, but that's not the purpose of this post. So I took a look at this picture and thought, "What could I do with my current capsule?" 

I decided to start with a base of black leggings, because leggings run my world! Then I was inspired by the button up shirt, and used an oversized chambray top to get that look. Living in a capusle wardrobe is actually an awesome experience. It really helps open my eyes to how little we actually NEED to make it by, plus it's an excuse to wear your favorite tops over and over. (Like how I wore my favorite sweater 4 times last week. gasp! And no one even said anything or even cared. extra gasp!) I had other outfits in my closet that would've worked better than what I put together here, but I really wanted to stick to my capsule. 

Chambray top: Old Navy // Leggings: Lularoe // Boots: Forever Young Shoes

Now go check out all these other awesome ladies and see what outfits this picture inspired for them!

Brooke at Silver Lining
Alexa at He and I
Aubrey at Aubrey Zaruba
Hannah at Hannah Rae
Sierra at Sierra's View
Sharlee at My New Lines
Berkley at Berkley Anne
Amy at Harris Inc.
Brooklyn at Brooklyn Jolley
Amy at Lamb & Ivy
Autumn at Stay Gold Autumn
Brielle at Breezy and Co
Riley at Riley Jo Blog
Maren at Maren and Co
Kyla at FordOlogy
Robin at Penn & Quill
Shelbie at R+S Brereton
Jennifer at Jennifer Sikora
Sarah at My For Real Life
Deidre at Deidre Emme
Rachel at Rachel Sayumi

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We Are Fragile

On Sunday I taught the Young Women in my Ward a lesson about developing Christlike love. I found myself inspired to touch on the subject of cyber bullying. We talked about how easy it is to be the bully, how hard it can be to be the one to stand up for what is right, and what to do if you're the one being bullied.

I shared this video that was created by the LDS church for their youth website. It is a beautiful song about how we are so fragile. That we must be kind, loving, and understanding to others even if they are different. When we ourselves are hurt, we must turn to Jesus Christ who can heal the pain. 

We talked about how we MUST choose to be the one who stands for right, even if we stand alone. We must stand up to bullying in all it's forms, including online bullying. Kindness changes lives. I am living proof of that! I've had people stand up for me when I was being bullied online and it made all the difference to know I had someone on my side. 

Knowing I had someone on my side didn't heal all the hurt, but it gave me my confidence back. I turned to Jesus Christ's Atonement to heal the rest and over time my aches and pains were healed! It is a miracle. Christ's atonement is a miracle!

I am fragile. You are fragile. Everyone you meet is fragile. And we must treat them as so.

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Life Update // October 2015

We are wrapping up October and I'm trying to figure out how my Halloween decorations have been up for almost a month. October has flown by thanks to dreaming about our Disneyland trip for the first half of the month and then spending our 5 day vacation in California. It was a blast! You can read about each individual Disneyland day here

We had a blast on our trip! We stayed at the Desert Inn Suites and had a 2 room hotel with 4 queen beds. With 7 people in our group it worked out perfectly. It wasn't anything fancy, but it seemed clean, and was really close to Disneyland which was the best part. We had a really great time and I already miss it! I've joked with my brother about Post Disneyland Sadness. It's a real thing!

Here at home we are staying busy. I'm still on a indefinite hair break. I miss doing hair, but it has been so good for me to take a break. I still watch educational YouTube videos and daydream about decorating my home salon, but for now, life as a Financial Planner isn't bad at all. I like working full time, and I like the consistency in hours and pay I get. We are focusing on paying off our down payment for our home and reaching a few other financial goals.

When it comes to church, I'm still a ward organist and the 1st counselor in the Young Women's program. Playing the organ is still a trial for me. I remember being called as a junior in high school and I was TERRIFIED. I cried so much out of fear. It's still hard over 5 years later to get up there and play the organ for my ward, music is such a huge part of worship and I just don't want to mess it up! It's been going pretty well and I am grateful that my talents are needed.

Being in the Young Women's presidency is a blessing in so many ways. I wish I could give more, serve more, visit more, plan more and be on time more... but I'm doing my best. I truly think Heavenly Father is grateful for my efforts. I love teaching the youth, they have so much goodness in them and I want them to see how positively Jesus Christ's gospel has affected me. I promised myself when I was called that I would never teach a lesson without talking about Christ. There's so much "fluff" we can talk about in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I just want these girls to know that it is Christ's church. It is HIS! Whenever I doubt, or feel sad, or feel hopeless I go back to the basics. That I know my Savior Jesus Christ died for me, and that all I have to do is try and pattern my life after His as much as I can.

That's really the only updates I have, we are still surviving here in the Salt Lake Valley. We love our home, our 5 fur babies, and are excited for all that the future holds.

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My Fitness Journey- What Comes Next?

In my last fitness post, I wrote about my Week 4 Personal Training Update, and that I was quitting. I still feel kinda weird about it. Like, I know that was the right choice for me right now, but I'm still trying to figure out where to go from here. 

We just got back from a 5 day vacation (3 days in Disneyland yay!) where I chose to not worry about calories, working out or any of that! I just wanted to enjoy myself and the company I was with. However, lines at Disneyland are long, and so are flight delays, and 2 hours sitting waiting for a parade, which gave me a lot of time to ponder... What Comes Next?

What comes next in my fitness journey? Am I going to give up? Am I going to keep counting calories? Should I keep doing 30 minute workouts 5X a week? Should I give up soda again for the 100th time? Should I stop worrying about myself physically and figure out where I am mentally, emotionally, and spiritually before I start worrying about how my body looks?

I love Sharlee's post about Changing the Purpose of Exercise. Basically, I'm changing the purpose of exercise as well. I want to start working out because I LOVE my body, not because I hate it. 

I want this new goal to be manageable. New habits are hard for me. Especially these types of habits, so I decided to take it easy on myself and make a goal I could actually stick to. Like 100% for sure I know I can do this without stressing out. 

15 minutes a day every week day. 

Should I commit more time to my health? Probably. But right now, I have a lot of other things on my plate. I'm really working on finding a balanced life right now. One where I can juggle everything I need to and still feel like I'm taking care of me. 

So for right now, I'm not counting calories, I'm not weighing myself each day, I'm not buying a gym membership. I'm just working out 15 minutes a day 5X a week because I LOVE my body. I'm sure this journey will change as I change, and as my life schedule changes, and as habits become solidified. But for right now, I LOVE my body for all the great things it does. I may have 30 pounds to lose, but I'm committing 15 minutes 5X a week to loving my body and showing it the care it deserves, and that to me, is progress.

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Our 3rd and final day at Disneyland was magical. (sigh...) With a 3 day park hopper, you are able to do one "Magic Morning" which gets you into Disneyland one hour before normal operating time. Not all of the rides are operating and a Cast Member told us it's basically only Fantasyland that is open during that hour. But for anyone who's been, you know one hour can go really fast!

We got up extra early and were in Disneyland just after 7:00 am. We did not eat breakfast and planned to eat in the park after doing a few rides. We rode Snow White's Scary Adventures first and there was absolutely no line. I knew there had been some recent updates to Alice in Wonderland so we decided to go check that one out. The line was about 15 minutes long so it wasn't too bad and the updates were awesome. I really enjoyed the updates, they looked really great!

Then we rode the Pinocchio ride and decided that would be a really scary ride for children! We decided to head to find breakfast, but then we decided to do the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk Through first! They have a few dioramas set up depicting scenes from the movies. It's never busy at all and it's air conditioned. There are stairs involved, but it is still a classic attraction that I think you'll enjoy.

We then went to Indiana Jones and got some Fastpasses. Then it was River Belle Terrace for breakfast where I got the yummiest Cinnamon Roll French toast. Holy cow it was AMAZING! It's another food that I am concocting in my head to remake at home. Then we went over to Haunted Mansion again, the line was not nearly as long as Day 1 thank heavens. After Haunted Mansion we were in our time slot for our Fastpasses for Indiana Jones. So we rode that one (one of my ALL TIME favorites) and then headed over to Tomorrowland.

In Tomorrowland we rode Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Autopia, and then the Monorail. After the Monorail we talked and decided we wanted to go back to the hotel to take a nap and then come back late afternoon to conquer our last evening there. We ate lunch at Denny's and pretty much everyone napped for 2 hours straight.

We went back to California Adventures and waited in line for the Monster's Inc ride. It is another one of my favorites that is just a "kid ride" but totally magical for me. After that, we went over to California Screamin', I once again did not ride, but enjoyed just relaxing and resting my feet. Then we rode The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure again because for some reason, that wait is always so short and people were getting sick of long lines.

We decided to go back to Disneyland for awhile and try to catch the parade as well. We rode the Pooh Bear ride and then I got an amazing delicious dark chocolate covered pineapple skewer from Pooh Corner. We were really undecided about what to do with the rest of our evening, so I scouted out some spots for the parade (we were like 5 rows back!) and we parked ourselves there. We sat and waited for 2 HOURS and we still didn't have super good seats. People had parade spots 4-4.5 hours early. It was ridiculous but worth it.

Parades are part of the nostalgia of Disneyland to me. Going with my family for so many years, The Main Street Electrical Parade is a huge part of those memories. Paint the Night Parade pays great tribute to that amazing parade! I only wish they had a better way to show it. It's frustrating to have people smash in front of you. Or as soon as you stand up to stretch they move their stroller where you were just sitting, like apparently common courtesy goes out the window when parades are involved at Disneyland! So be prepared to be frustrated and defend your spot like crazy.

After the parade was over, we were about 20 minutes from the fireworks starting and I was just not feeling up to it. I didn't want to wait anymore and have people get frustrated and be smashing into me anymore. Colten was done too. So we headed back to the hotel and called it a night. I like to end on as good of note as possible and that parade waiting had pushed us to our limits.

It was absolutely worth waiting for, but holy crap, get there early and be on the defense. LOL! It's always so bitter sweet leaving Disneyland for the last time. I kept looking backwards and feeling all sad and nostalgic and wishing the carefree feeling I get in the parks would never go away!

Recap of What We Rode:
Snow White's Scary Adventures
Alice in Wonderland
Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
Monster's Inc
California Screamin
The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure
Pooh Bear Ride
Paint the Night Parade

Recap of What I Ate:
River Belle Terrace Cinnamon Roll French Toast
Denny's Across from Disneyland
Pineapple Skewer

See the recaps for the other days here:

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Day 2 of our Disneyland trip we were exhausted, but we really wanted to make the morning hours count. We were at California Adventure right as it was opening. First we needed to get Radiator Springs Racers Fastpasses. That's the new Cars Land ride and it is ALWAYS busy at all times of the day, they pretty much always run out of Fastpasses by lunchtime.

I had to wait in a line to get a Fastpass (which is so weird!) but we got our Fastpasses and then headed to Toy Story Midway Mania. It is another one of my absolute favorite rides, but always has a pretty long wait time compared to the rest of the park. We waited about 40 minutes.

Of course by this time of day everyone was ready for a churro break. Some of our group rode Mickey's Fun Wheel and some rode Silly Symphony Swings. I honestly sat out from both as I'm scared of heights and spinning can make me really sick!

I'd been raving about the Ramone's Pear of Dice Pear Soda at the Cozy Cones in Radiator Springs, so we went there and everyone tried a few treats. I'm pretty sure I'm going to figure out how to make the pear soda at home, we snuck a peek while she was making it and it didn't really seem too hard.

It was time for Radiator Springs Racers! Even with our Fastpass we still waited 15-20ish minutes, but at that point the Stand By line was at 90 minutes. It took us awhile after that to decide where to go next, but we ended up doing lunch. Some went to Pacific Wharf Cafe and got Clam Chowder. Soup did NOT sound good to me, so my husband and I headed over to SmokeJumpers Grill for a burger. We split a meal because I knew that there was a treat from the Candy Shop that I really wanted to try!

Our group re-grouped at the candy shop near the entrance of California Adventure and I tried and Olaf Marshmallow Treat. It was marshmallows dipped in caramel and then dipped in white chocolate that looked like Olaf. So yummy and SO sugary!

We went back over to Disneyland (bless those Park Hoppers, so worth the money!) and went straight to Star Tours to pick up Fastpasses. We had some time to kill before our Fastpass return window, so we went and rode Roger Rabbit's Cartoon SpinIt's a Small WorldPirates of the Caribbean as well as Jungle Cruise. Our Fastpass allowed us to get another one shortly after, so while waiting for Pirates a few from our party when and got Splash Mountain Fastpasses.

We went back over to Star Tours and rode that one with our Fastpasses, it is super fun by the way! Motion rides usually get me sick but I can do Star Tours once. At this point a lot of our group was tired. Some of us with thunder thighs (cough cough me!) were chafing and feet were aching. We headed back to the hotel to rest.

Those who stayed in the parks rode Splash Mountain and Mr Toad's Wild Ride. And those of us who went back to the hotel to rest stopped at the Denny's across the street for some dinner. Then I took a shower and collapsed on my hotel bed.

The group in the parks called shortly after and asked if we wanted to come back and see the show Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular at 6:20 pm, which we did! So we put our shoes on and headed back to California Adventure to watch the show. It is a really good show, and after 12 years running they will be playing the last shows in January 2016!

Most of us ended the night there, and once again fell asleep around 9:30 pm.

Recap of What We Rode:
Toy Story Midway Mania
Mickey's Fun Wheel/Silly Symphony Swings
Radiator Springs Racers
Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin
It's a Small World
Pirates of the Caribbean
Jungle Cruise
Star Tours
*Some rode Splash Mountain
*Some rode Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular

Recap of What I Ate:
Hotel Continental Breakfast
Cozy Cones in Radiator Springs
Pacific Wharf Cafe/Smokejumpers Grill
Olaf Marshmallow from Candy Shop
Denny's Across from Disneyland

See the recaps for the other days here:
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As someone who is fairly obsessed with Disneyland, I get a lot of questions about how to make the most of your trip. Vacation looks a little different for everyone, even at Disneyland. So I decided to keep track of what we rode/ate each day and share it with you guys here on my blog so you could see what a Disneyland vacation looks like for me.


We left our hotel around 7:30 am and got into the park right about 8:00 am when it opened. We headed to Indiana Jones to get Fastpasses and then went to Haunted Mansion as all 7 in our party really wanted to ride the holiday version. Sadly, when we got there it was closed. They told us it would be open later, so we went over to ride Pirates of the Caribbean

Then we went and rode Big Thunder Mountain and pretty much walked right on, it was a really short wait, one of the best perks about mornings at Disneyland. It was then time for our Indiana Jones Fastpasses. We rode Indiana Jones and then went over to the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. After riding Finding Nemo, we were all feeling a little sleepy, so we got a snack and took a little break. A churro break! We went and got Faspasses for Space Mountain.

During our break I checked the Disneyland app and it said that Haunted Mansion was now open so we went and rode that one. It was a VERY long wait at this point, but we knew whatever we wanted to ride would have a wait. So we waited about 75 minutes and finally got to ride Haunted Mansion. Then it was time for our Space Mountain Fastpasses. 

After Space Mountain we were all ready for lunch. We park hopped to California Adventure for some Corn Dog Castle. We then rode The Little Mermaid- Ariel's Undersea Adventure and got Fastpasses for Soarin Over California. As we were heading to our next ride we decided to give the Ghiradelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop a try. 

After ice cream, we waited about 40 minutes for Tower of Terror which surprisingly went by pretty quickly. Lines can be fun with a group! And then we went to ride Soarin Over California with our Fastpasses. After Soarin, we went to Flo's V8 Cafe in Cars Land for dinner. And then we headed back to the hotel. We stopped at Cold Stone Ice Cream which is just across the street from the Disneyland Entrance.

We ended around 7:30 pm, which is really early considering Disneyland was open til midnight. Most nights at Disneyland I prefer to end early so I can get a good night's sleep and be up early the next day. We all fell asleep around 9:30 pm, Disneyland can wear you out for sure!

Recap of What We Rode:
Pirates of the Caribbean
Big Thunder Mountain
Indiana Jones
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
Haunted Mansion
Space Mountain
The Little Mermaid- Ariel's Undersea Adventure
Tower of Terror
Soarin Over California

Recap of What I Ate:
Continental Hotel Breakfast
Corn Dog Castle
Ghiradelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop
Flo's V8 Cafe
Cold Stone Ice Cream Across from Disneyland

See the recaps for the other days here:
Disneyland Day 1
Disneyland Day 2
Disneyland Day 3

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Promised Blessings //

In keeping with my goal to share more of what I love and learn from General Conference, I'm writing today to share another talk from the Women's Session...

"Besides repentance, what helps or tools have we been given to help us stay clean and virtuous? Our Primary children and young women all know and sing the song, 'Scripture Power.' Can we expand it to Prayer Power, Temple Power, Covenants Power, Sabbath Day Power, Prophet Power, and Virtue Power?" 

When I was listening to this talk during the live session, I thought to myself, "That is a great list! What can I personally begin improving on today?" I know that I could improve in each one of those areas, most of us could probably improve in each of those areas. So where should we begin? 

Our Heavenly Father does not need us to improve in each one of those areas right now, we just need to be a little better today than we were yesterday, and a little better tomorrow, than we are today. When we are striving to improve ourselves, we can turn to Heavenly Father and ask for his help and direction. We have an atonement available to us because of Jesus Christ, that we can us. 

The blessings of eternity may seem so far out. Near the end of this talk, Sister Reeves says..

"I do not know why we have the many trials that we have, but it is my personal feeling that the reward is so great, so eternal and everlasting, so joyful and beyond our understanding that in that day of reward, we may feel to say to our merciful, loving Father, 'Was that all that was required?'"

Life is hard. It can be so hard. Serving as a leader in the Young Women's organization in my ward has opened my eyes to the problems of others. I asked my husband yesterday, "How did we not know that there were so many families, with so many problems?" Everyone's trials are different, and even though the times of trial are hard, and sometimes almost unbearable, I promise you, that your weaknesses can be made strong, and that our Heavenly Father loves us so much, that He is not asking us to go through this life alone! We have each other, and we have Him. 

I think one day when we meet our Father in Heaven, we will see Him and say, "Was that ALL that was required?" I truly believe that those blessings that He is preparing for us, and the peace we will feel from knowing we did our part here on earth, will make us ask, "Was that ALL?"

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I just wrapped up 4 weeks of working with my virtual personal trainer. It has been a really great experience, and until last week, I planned on working with her indefinitely. I probably blind-sided her by telling her I was not going to continue for the time being.

Shocked? Me too. About a week and a half ago I realized how obsessive I was becoming. We went to dinner for my sister's birthday (somewhere I almost didn't go because I knew I didn't have enough calories for the day), and I laughed because after 2 pieces of pizza I only had 14 calories left. Instead of asking my sister about her engagement, my brothers about school, or my grandma about her chemotherapy, I was going on and on about my 14 calories I had left for dessert. I didn't like that version of me.

We had friends from our church over for dinner the other night and my husband made scone burgers. Think 2 scones plus a very yummy patty. I panicked all day about how on earth I was going to fit the calories in and how fattening it was. Instead of being grateful that my husband was making his specialty for our friends, I was complaining about it all day. I didn't like THAT version of me either.

For The Strength of Youth is a pamphlet that comes from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It gives guidelines for youth and adults alike to be their best selves and live a happy life. In the pamphlet in the Physical and Emotional Health Section it says, "To care for your body, eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Practice balance and moderation in all aspects of your physical health. Also, avoid extremes that could lead to eating disorders."

I wouldn't necessarily say that counting my calories would eventually lead to an eating disorder, but maybe it would. It was certainly controlling my life way more than I am proud to admit. I want to be the version of me that's ME. That eats a donut every Wednesday, because that's moderation. That tries to work out 30 minutes a day, but will drop everything to serve as the Savior would. I think Heavenly Father wants me to take good care of my body, but I think he wants me to focus on the moderation for now.

So what comes next? I'm not really sure. We have a Disneyland trip coming up and I don't want to spend the whole trip worrying about finding the healthiest foods, or turning down a Mickey ice cream bar because it doesn't "fit my macros". I'm trying to figure out the moderation thing right now. I'm taking a break from calorie counting, and focusing on trying to eat more fruits and veggies and to ONLY eat when I'm hungry and ONLY eat until I'm full.

We should LOVE our bodies. Exercising and eating right should be done because we LOVE our bodies, not because we hate them. So that is what I'm focusing on. That's what comes next for now.

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// 5 Tips To Get The Best Clothes & Deals On ThredUp //

Awhile ago I came across a blogger who was raving about ThredUp. It's basically online thrifting. Lots of name brand clothes, new and used at a fraction of their retail price. J Crew, Free People, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Nike, Lululemon, etc.  When I first logged on I was overwhelmed, and can you blame me? There are SO many clothes to go through on their site.

Along with having so many clothes to go through, you have to remember that it is like thrifting. While most of the clothes they sell are excellent quality, there are a few tips I have for you to make sure you get the best clothes and deals possible.


1 // Use THIS REFERRAL LINK to get $20 to use toward your first purchase. 

Thred Up is so confident in their clothes & process that they offer you $20 to try it out. You have to use THIS LINK to get the $20 credit to your account though! 

2 // Shop "New With Tags"

Near the top of the page there is a way to filter by Size, Brand, Color and Condition. Under Condition click "NEW". Everything filtered under NEW is New With Tags, which is obviously going to be your best bet for getting superb clothes. These option are a little more expensive, but totally worth it if you ask me. 

3 // Know the Return Policy

Once you receive your clothes, you have 14 days to decide what you want to keep or return. I ordered a pair of shoes and once I received them, I decided I didn't think they were worth what I paid. I chose to return them. It is a very simple process. You go to your ThredUp Account, choose the order, choose the item you want to return, and they print a return label. There is a shipping fee if you want to be refunded, but if you choose store credit there is NO FEE. You get all your money back in store credit and they pay the shipping back. 

4 //  Double Check Your Items

Learn from my mistakes. I purchased a dress from a brand I'd never heard of, and when I got it I realized it was too small. I went to return it because I had such great experiences with returns, and realized because it was a SALE item it was non-returnable. Ever since I have chose to purchase only items that are returnable unless they are really worth the risk. Besides that pair of shoes which were super cute, just not worth the money to me, the dress was the only item I regretted. If you make sure that your items are indeed returnable, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. Their customer service is top notch!

5 // Share!

Once you receive your first package and you fall in love with the clothes and the company, you can get your own Referral Link under ACCOUNT > Referrals & Invitations. You can share that link with friends/family/twitter/blog followers/etc. If they use your link they get $20 credit to use to try it out and you get $20 credit added to your account as a thank you from ThredUp for sharing what you love!


In THIS POST I'm wearing a blue plaid shirt that is J Crew that I purchased for $12. It was New With Tags and was worth over $50! Total steal. Let me know if you get anything!! And be sure to use this LINK to get the $20 towards your purchase. No minimum!

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Divinity //

I've set a goal to share my testimony more, especially when it comes to General Conference Talks. I find such peace and solace in General Conference; and reviewing and sharing the talks is something very important to me. So today I wanted to start by sharing my thoughts from the talk:

My favorite quote from this talk is this one...

"We have come to this earth to help build His kingdom and to prepare for the Second Coming of His Son, Jesus Christ. With every breath we take, we strive to follow Him. The divine nature within each one of us is refined and magnified by the effort we make to draw nearer to our Father and His Son.

Our divine nature has nothing to do with our personal accomplishments, the status we achieve, the number of marathons we run, or our popularity and self-esteem. Our divine nature comes from God. It was established in an existence that preceded our birth and will continue on into eternity."

How important it is to remember that we do not have to prove ANYTHING to our Heavenly Father. He loves us unconditionally. He loves us whether we win first place, or last place or finish somewhere in the middle. He loves us whether we are the bishop of a thriving ward or the bishop of a struggling ward. He loves us whether we have lots of friends, or find most of our friendship within our own family. He loves us whether we are a top performer at work, or someone just scraping by. Bottom line? HE LOVES US. 

We are extraordinary to Him because He created us. He loves us, because we are His and He wants us to turn to Him for validation. Not Facebook, Instagram, Employee of the Month contests or Student Government winners. He wants us to turn to Him. 

We can ask Him in humble prayer, "Heavenly Father, how do you really feel about ME?" I promise that if you ask with a sincere heart, He will answer. he will tell you just how much He loves you. 

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Personal Training Update //

It's technically been 3.5 weeks now that I have been working with my personal trainer as I was a little late to getting around to this post.

I've had a great time so far working with her. She sends me my workouts, I do them, I try to eat healthy and I've slowly been losing weight! Last week my weight loss was only 1/2 a pound, but I knew that my eating was not where it should be and that I couldn't expect a lot of weight loss when I was only giving 50% effort so I'm very pleased with that weight loss.

I only did 4/5 workouts. We have had so many things coming up at short notice lately, my sisters birthday party, a garage/bake sale for my grandma (and who can turn down homemade cinnamon rolls?) as well as LDS General Conference. I'm just really trying to figure out that gray area where moderation/hard work meet.

Non-Scale Victories // 

I've been watching my portions a lot better. Even though I ate out, I only ate til I was full and saved the rest for later. Even though I ate treats, I only ate 1 instead of 2-3. This is a HUGE victory for me as I've definitely been known to eat myself sick. (Why Why Why would I ever do that to myself?? I'm still figuring it out!)

Instead of my husband and I each getting a dessert at dinner the other night, we split one. These are the small changes that I am trying to make! Almost imperceptible, but as Elder Devin Durrant said this past week in LDS Conference, "Small efforts sustained over time can produce significant results."

This Weeks Goals //

My health goals have been changing a lot after praying, talking with my husband and pondering why I'm REALLY doing this and what I want this lifestyle change to look like. I'll probably share more about this on my Week 4 review. I've got a Disneyland trip coming up that I'm still trying to figure out what my plans are for that trip...but for right now my goals for this week are still...

Eat veggies 1X a day and fruits 2X a day.

Do at least 4 of my workouts.

Keep praying, pondering, reading and deciding on my next steps after this month with my personal trainer is over!

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4 Questions To Help You Prepare for LDS General Conference + Free Printable //

"Conference messages come to us after prayerful preparation, through the Holy Ghost. This principle is true for all members of the church as we prepare to participate in ward, stake and general conferences. We study it out in our minds what we need and desire from Heavenly Father, and we pray to understand and apply that which we have been taught. As the time for conference arrives, we sacrifice other activities, laying aside the things of this world, to seek for the things of a better."
 // Elder Robert D. Hales 

General Conference is my absolute favorite time of the year, and we are lucky enough to experience it 2X a year. With the Women's Session just last weekend, I'm doing some last minute preparations for this coming weekend for the full sessions. Preparing for General Conference has been on my mind for a few months now, and I finally reached out to Brielle from Breezy and Co and passed on the idea of creating a printable that could be used to prepare for General Conference. She loved the idea and got right on it!

You can get the printable by going HERE.  

It is perfect to pass out to those you visit or home teach, you could hand it out to your young women, use it in Family Home Evening, or even just use it for yourself. It has 4 great questions to think about.

1 // What problems or trials am I facing in my life?

2 // What questions do I have about the gospel?

3 // Where could my testimony use some strength?

4 // What do I hope to learn from General Conference?

I don't readily have access to a color printer, and luckily Brielle is offering a free black & white OR color printable, whichever works better for you. I printed off my b&w option tonight and started filling in my answers and praying that my heart & mind will be open to the answers I need to hear.

I KNOW that if you ponder those 4 questions, pray, study and prepare however you choose to, you WILL receive answers. You WILL feel the spirit. You WILL come away from Conference feeling uplifted, inspired and ready to take on the world. So tell me, how do you prepare for General Conference?

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