Breezy Days: July 2013

Modest Dresses: How + Where to Find Them

July 30, 2013
{Left-->Right. Blue pattern: Loft, $20. Purple floral: Ross, $16. Pink floral: Francesca's, $28 with employee discount. White lace: Ross, $17. Blue&Cream: Anthropologie sale, $40.}

I've had many people comment here or on Instagram with something to this effect:
"How do you find all these cute/modest/affordable dresses?!"
Well my friends, I will now divulge to you my tips & tricks for dress shopping!
{Left-->Right. Teal pencil: Banana Republic, gift from friend+$5 strap tailoring. Taupe pattern: Banana Republic via Plato's Closet, $14+$5 strap tailoring. Cream lace: GDazzle.com, won in a giveaway. Yellow gingham: eShakti, c/o for a review+$5 strap tailoring. Orange eyelet: Old Navy, $7 on sale rack.}

How?
+ Know your height and figure! This will make shopping easier and much more time efficient. If you know that you have longer legs, then you probably shouldn't go for a dress that looks short on the hanger. As for me, being 5'3 with an hourglass shape, I usually go for pencil or fit & flare dress styles. I also know that dresses that look kind of short on the hanger will hit my knee when I try them on because I'm so short! Now that I can eyeball it, I go directly for the dresses that I know will flatter my shape. After lots of trying on and shopping practice, you will soon learn how to spot a dress that will fit your figure by just looking at it on the hanger.

+ Is it worth the hassle? I'm not a huge fan on lots of layering and the most I'll do is a lightweight sweater {I get so freaking hot, no more layers!}. So if a dress needs a top/tank underneath and a sweater on top or needs extensive tailoring, I usually just pass on it. You want dresses in your closet that are fun and easy to style, not something you have to constantly adjust or use a bazillion different layers for it to be deemed appropriate.

+ Sleeves, tank tops, and sweaters, oh my! If I love a dress but it doesn't meet my sleeve requirement, I think about what in my closet I could layer with it. An orange sweater? A tough leather jacket? Then the next question is whether or not it's worth paying for a dress that I would have to layer something over the top? If it's a good price, length, and it tugs at my heart strings...I'll give in and purchase the dress. All of these dresses are completely adorable and I would layer my sweater or chambray shirt over the top to not only make it modest, but give it some personality :)

Where?
 + Ross. I almost always find a nice pencil or lace dress at Ross {and adorable shoes, but that's beside the point!}. You have to visit Ross when you are in a "thrifting" mood, because you have to search for items in your size and try everything on. Although, it is completely worth it when you score a good deal because the dresses are usually $30 and under!

+ Secondhand Stores {i.e. Plato's Closet}. I have found many Banana Republic dresses at secondhand stores for only $14-$16, and the only tailoring needed was to pull up the straps! {yet again, midget status}. It is completely worth the inexpensive fix because they are classic pencil dresses that can be mixed and matched with anything for any season.

+ Anthropologie. Stop rolling your eyes! It can be inexpensive, it just takes more effort and time to keep track of the dress you want until it hits the sale racks. I've found funky pieces for $30-$50 on sale that add personality to my wardrobe AND meet my appropriate requirements.

+ Ann Taylor Loft. This is one of my favoritest places to shop. Seriously EVERYTHING goes on sale, and they can run from $15-$30 on the sale rack! A lot of times they will even do an additional 40-60% off of sale items which is awesome. Most everything has sleeves, is classy, and a good length. Definitely one of my top places to find comfy, affordable, and casual dresses!

Lawn-Gate

July 29, 2013
 It has been an extremely stressful few days, which is funny considering I felt inspired to write this post on prayer the other day...and now I've been non-stop praying that things will work out for us.

On Friday we were sent an email saying that the property owner of our place in Provo was extremely upset to see our front lawn starting to yellow and instead of giving us time to fix it, he instructed our management company not to re-new our contract. Which means we would have the next 15 days to find a new place and move out, with our roots {internship/job} still in California left to finish, and 2 weeks before school starts. Ridiculous right? So we dropped everything and drove up 10 hours through the night to get here. Come to find out, the switch that controls the sprinklers had been accidentally turned off around a week ago, which caused parts of the lawn to yellow.

We have been watering, mowing, edging, planting, and weeding non-stop to get this front yard back to pristine condition in hopes that the owner will take pity on us. Just in case he doesn't, we have looked into other options for housing. Talk about having the rug ripped out from under you.
We met with management this morning, and I was a nervous wreck the entire time. Pit in my stomach, dry throat, palm sweating, stammering kind of nervous. We {ok, mostly Ryan} explained the situation and asked if they would please be understanding. Especially since we sprung into action once we were informed of the issue, took control, and handled it. He gave us the response that regardless, we were still responsible for the lawn, even if we were out of state and had no clue about it. Also, he would have to talk to the owner and see what he has to say about it, and that he will get back to us tomorrow...

So now we play the waiting game. Will we get to stay? If we don't, will I stay in Utah to move us into a new place? When is Ryan going to head back to California to finish his work for the summer? Will we fight to stay in the house regardless?

What I do feel better about are the following things: that we have found a couple of options of apartments to move into, the rain is pouring down to green up our lawn, and that I seriously have the bestest friends, family, and husband in the entire world. {All of these answered prayers??}
Wish us luck!

Pray More, Worry Less

July 24, 2013
As of late, I've been feeling spiritually depleted. I need to study my scriptures, pray more, and stop fretting about life. I've had this craving to be more in tune with my marriage and with myself. Last Sunday, a woman gave a talk during church and noted that we should all take more enjoyment in the actual doing of things instead of the getting things done. It really spoke to me, especially as someone who takes great joy in crossing things off my to-do list.

Though, how can I expect to connect with my Heavenly Father when I'm busy running around stressing about the future? It's necessary to have that stillness & peace in my life so I'm able to create an atmosphere where I can be quiet & introspective. Not only is this essential to my spiritual well-being but also to my physical and mental counterparts which all plays a part in getting healthy. So my goal this week is to pray more & worry less.

How are you working towards getting healthy this week?

The Story of Us: Shopping for the Ring {Part 19}

July 23, 2013
As I was "patiently" waiting for a ring, I would "casually" bring up the style I liked and what my ring size was. He finally gave in and took me to the University Mall where we perused the different ring stores to try some on...it was surreal! Although, the entire time I could tell that there was something else running through Ryan's mind. After some digging I found out that he was frustrated because he couldn't afford the rings I was looking at. I knew that he had worked really hard the previous summer doing pest control sales to pay for his own schooling/living expenses and that he didn't have the leftover funds to play with.
Hearing his frustrations broke my heart.

What I also knew is that right now we had other financial priorities as a soon-to-be newlywed couple, and a fancy ring just wasn't one of them. He promised that one day he would take me to Italy and re-propose with the ring of my choice {what a sweetheart}. I knew that he would always work hard to support me and our future family, so that was never in question. What he didn't realize is that at the end of the day I wanted him and our life together, not just the ring on my finger.

So that Saturday night, we had a date planned to go ring shopping.
At Wal-Mart.
We were all glammed up in our typical college late-night gear {sweatpants} as we we scoured the jewelry counter at 11 o'clock at night. We treated it like we were at Tiffany's, and Ryan asked the Wal-Mart employee to kindly let me try on whatever ring caught my eye. Ryan and I had a blast going through the different styles and figuring out which ring would best fit me. We finally decided on a 30 dollar crystal encrusted silver ring.

My heart fluttered as we made our way to the check out counter. He was buying the ring he was going to propose to me with, this is a big deal. We are one step closer to being engaged! We checked out with some magazines, my ring, and some Reeses {our favorite candy} to munch on our way home.
Best date night ever?

Now that he has the ring in his hot little hand...when the heck was he finally going to propose?
Maybe at the Lakers/Jazz game we had tickets to on April 1st??

The Story of Us: Waiting {Part 18}

July 22, 2013
The month of March consisted of me bugging Ryan about the proposal. How was I expected to plan a wedding when I don't even have a ring on my finger?! I have the dress, the temple, reception location, colors...but was just missing one thing. If we actually came out in the open and announced to everyone that we had already planned on getting married that August without a ring on my finger? Definitely would come off as a little cuckoo! 

Indignantly I told Ryan that if we were to get married this summer, that we needed to take pictures for invitations, like now. He kept on putting me off saying that he was waiting for a "perfect time" to propose. Obviously it wasn't soon enough for my wedding planning schedule!
Back in California my mom received a phone call from the dermatologist's office, they called needing to relay some information about the mole sample they took while at my appointment a few weeks prior. It came back positive for melanoma. They insisted that I get into surgery right away. My mom explained that I was currently living in Utah and was finishing up my Winter semester and that it would have to wait a few more weeks. It was planned that the week before finals I would have the surgery to extract the cancer from my body.

At the time I honestly didn't think twice about the surgery because I was so preoccupied with school and wedding details. I had previously had a mole removed off my back because it came back as carcinoma, also a type of skin cancer but not as dangerous as melanoma. I was under the impression that this upcoming surgery would be similar: about 20 minutes, a few stitches, and out of there by lunch! Now it was time to play the waiting game...for the ring, the wedding, and to find out how big of a deal this surgery really was.

In the Moment

I can't even believe we are more than half way through the summer and by this time next month we will be packing up our apartment here in Corona, CA to head back for our home in Provo, UT. The summer has flown by so fast! I feel like as you get older the time seems to go by faster. I remember when I was young that the summer felt like EONS and thinking that it was NEVER gonna get to my birthday in September and that I would NEVER get back to school {yes, I was a nerd and actually kind of enjoyed school}. Now I'm hoping it would slow down a bit! Although, I'm sure by next month I'll be more than happy to go back to a comfy king size bed, the use of a legitimate kitchen, and the feeling of a decorated & put together home. Until then...I'm still living it up by hitting the beach/pool, shopping & crafting with my mom, and having time with family & friends. I'm making it a point to take advantage of where I'm at now and soaking up every last minute I'm here before another life change. Gotta make sure you love where you're at & live in the moment, right?

My Blogger Date With Bree

July 20, 2013
I can't even express how absolutely STOKED I was to finally meet my blogger friend Bree Pair from The Thing About Joy. We have been going back and forth via blog comments, email, Instagram, and Twitter for over a year! She is a blogger from Houston, TX and I've been back and forth between California & Utah, so when she texted me that she would be at Disneyland for the weekend...I hopped to it and drove my bum down there! We hit up Earl of Sandwich {pretty delish} and talked about family, religion, life, blogging, and everything else in between for 3 and a half hours! We seriously talked like we had been best friends for years and we were just catching up after a long time apart. It is completely CRAZY how this blogging world works! We totally clicked & I couldn't have been more grateful to finally meet one of my good friends in real life :) 
Thanks for the awesome night Bree! <3

P.S. I'm wearing an Anthropologie romper in this pic...never would have guessed huh?!

The Story of Us: The Dress + A Father's Blessing {Part 17}

July 19, 2013
We flew down the 3rd weekend of February and had a jam-packed 2 & a half days planned!
Wedding dress shopping, a dermatologist appointment, and Ryan asking permission from my dad to marry my awesome self.

My wedding dress shopping experience was interesting to say the least. I had tried on a couple of *ahem* "modest" dresses in Utah and was horrified with the fit. These "modest" dresses obviously didn't like to accommodate a bust-line, which I obviously have. Suffice it to say, I looked like a stuffed sausage or like I was wearing a potato sack and was therefore discouraged with dress shopping.

Luckily, my mom had done some prep work before my weekend in CA {of course}, and found a Vera Wang line of dresses at David's Bridal that was inspired by the movie "My Fair Lady" featuring Audrey Hepburn {my absolute favorite movie of all time & one of my absolute favorite designers}...so it was pretty much meant to be! I took my mom and Aunt Carol, tried on the first dress and that was it. DONE. I tried on a couple other dresses just for fun...but the first dress was definitely it. It complemented my shape PERFECTLY and looked like it had been made just for me. The only issue? It was strapless.
I was encouraged by the non-LDS saleswomen to wear a bolero with the Vera Wang dress...over my dead body. I may be overdramatic, but what is the point of purchasing a gorgeous dress then ruining the integrity of it by throwing a cheap bolero over the top?! Despite my disgust with the idea of a bolero, I still needed sleeves on my dress to make it appropriate in order to be married for all time & eternity in the San Diego temple. Thankfully, my dress was saved by a extremely talented woman in my home ward who had offered to add sleeves and to do alterations on my dress as a wedding present. She even has a post on her sewing blog about how she did it, it's super cool!
After procuring the dress, I had a dermatologist appointment to attend. They did the typical "you're butt white and we need to look at the bazillion moles you have on your body" test, when I noticed something strange on my right forearm. I pointed out the suspicious mole to my doctor, then he scraped it off and sent it out for testing.

We are now almost to the close of our weekend...we are leaving Sunday afternoon and I'm still wondering when Ryan was going to ask my dad for permission {yet again, I'm lacking some major patience}. He randomly disappears Saturday night...and it hits me, THIS IS IT. My dad had cornered Ryan upstairs and I was sooo tempted to creep up there to eavesdrop on what was being said. What the heck was going on?! After almost 3 hours, they both walked into the living room all smiles :) Permission had been granted under many conditions, one of them being that Ryan would make sure I finished my college degree {like that was ever in question??}.

After our short & productive weekend we jet our way back to school to start making more plans...but how much planning can I even get done without a ring on my finger?!

Weekend Update: Six Flags + Newport Beach + Yardhouse

July 15, 2013
My weekend actually started on Thursday and it has been party central ever since! First off, I got coerced into "chaperoning" a group of my brother and his friends to Six Flags this past Thursday and had a blast. They seriously ran me ragged around the whole dang park, and we made sure to hit all the most important rides. Goliath {biggest drop ever}, the new ride, and of course X2. Then we ended our night with In-N-Out {like good California kids should} and made our way home at 10pm. 
Then on Friday it was time for our huge group of family & friends to make a trip to Newport Beach, where it was PERFECT weather. The last couple times I've been to the beach it has been overcast, so I was elated to see that the sun was out & shining! Yet again, I was coerced by the boys to get in the water and swim through some waves. I made it through the waves alive then dried out in the sun on the sand {and got a little toasted}. 
After the beach I made my way over to Fullerton to meet up with one of my bestest friends Sam. She is one of those friends that no matter if we haven't talked in a month because of busy schedules, it's like no time has passed when we finally get back together. We caught up on life and were joined by another childhood friend, Taylor, for dinner at Yardhouse. I had the most amazing BBQ bacon burger while having awesome conversation with some of my oldest friends :)
Now I'm exhausted from all the partying and need a restful weekend ASAP!
Hope you all had a good weekend!

Adventures With Elder Ev's: First Month in Mexico

July 14, 2013
If you are new to this blog, then let me introduce to you my brother Evan, one of my bestest friends! He is currently serving a 2-year LDS mission in Villahermosa, Mexico and I thought it would be fun to share his pictures, adventures, and mission updates! March 6th he went into the MTC {missionary training center} in Provo, UT...then was in McAllen, Texas for about a month and a half waiting for his Visa to go through...and has now been in Mexico for a little over a month.

He is currently in Palenque which is in the state of Tabasco, only a 2 hour bus ride away from the capital Villahermosa. It is completely surrounded by jungle, rains on & off, and is humid {which means he sweats pretty much all day every day}. They are not allowed to knock doors and they teach those who are referred by church members. 

About the pizza pictured above:
"Amazing enough, there's actually pizza in Palenque. 50 pesos each for a jumbo pizza and 3 litres of orange refresco. Also, awesome fact to know, I'm not allowed to have any form of a dark colored soda, especially coke. So, I won't have coke for 2 years...funstuff."
About the baptism of their newest convert Juan:
"We have a son of a member, about 16 years old, he works everyday but really wants to be baptized. He came to church yesterday, but had to leave right after sacrament for work. I'm looking forward to his baptism at the end of this transfer on July 6th."
"Elder Love and I had a great end to our transfer. After all our efforts we baptized one joven {youngster}, se llama Juan."

How he feels about his mission so far:
"It truly is the best 2 years. Looking back on the 4 months I've had so far on my mission, I can't think of a bad moment on my mission, because they are so many fun and great experiences that I've had."
About the weather/sleeping arrangements in Villahermosa:
"And as far as your bed situation...don't even get me started. Two words that make the difference between your situation and mine: aire condicionado {air conditioning}. I bet Ryan truly appreciates it after serving in Honduras for 2 years. Not to mention, since my apartment is made of stone and is on the top floor, it gets all the sunlight, and therefore feels like a sauna. Heat plus humidity equals a freaking sauna. I am in the habit of sleeping with a fan on me all night. I sweat pretty much constantly here."
About his companion Elder Love:
"He had long hair before his mission. Like, mega long! He showed a picture of his hair to some members at comida {food} on Sunday and she compared him to Justin Bieber. I laughed my head off and said to him: "Tiene la fiebre Bieber?" {Do you have Biber-fever?}"

Biggest hurdle to overcome with investigators:
"The main issue really here is marriage. About 3-4 of our investigators are not married and it's really difficult because 2 of the husbands are borrachos {drunk}. So, it's not our investigators holding up on us, it's their husbands and we have asked if we can talk to them. One of the spouses said he didn't see the point, although he's been living with her for 13 years."
About the Mayan ruins in Palenque:
"I'm going to start out with the ruins...it was fun! It was kind of like the ruins at Chitzanitza (however you spell it...freaking native american word that isn't completely Spanish). We had a member from the church who works at one of the tiendas show us around. It was awesome."

"Side note: heard the howler monkey today, but didn't see it. I'll try to get a pic next time I go to the ruins."
"And patience Bri, you will have your howler monkey pic. I just have to find one first."
{Howler monkeys are found throughout the jungle surrounding Palenque, I have requested that Evan track one down and take a picture with it}
About learning Spanish:
"Time feels a little longer for me cause I still can't understand people thoroughly yet, but I have a feeling that once I know how to speak and understand the language, time is going to fly. Seriously, this past friday at la noche de cine {movie night} we watched "The Best 2 Years". My gosh, freaking hilarious movie. Too bad it was all in Spanish dub. You know that part when Elder Calhoun and Elder Vampelt go and buy bread and Elder Calhoun tries to ask for bread in Dutch? The expression on his face when the lady asks him a question is how I feel almost 80% of the time in Spanish, especially when they speak really fast."
This is our first package we have sent to Evan now that he is in Mexico. We stuffed the package with: peanut butter, nutella, starburst, snickers, twix, gum, 6 cds filled with music {Skyrim soundtrack, LOTR, Zelda with a surprise song from Go West}, cd player, 4 white shirts, Axe hair gel, and 5 ties. We topped it off with a picture drawn by my mom of Evan in the jungle with his new howler monkey friend :)

Sunburn Camouflage

July 13, 2013
This week has been such a blast already! Six Flags, the beach, and dinner with some of my oldest friends. Granted, all these things have made me feel extremely hungover on fun and the beach totally scorched my skin yesterday. YIKES! Ryan says it looks like I have sunburn camouflage on because there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to all the sunburned spots. At least it's good for a laugh right?? Now I'm off to snag some aloe vera and for all the emotional distress...I might have to grab some cake batter frozen yogurt ;)
Have a nice weekend!
*WINNER OF SHOE CARNIVAL GIVEAWAY IS ANNA G.!*

Festive Dots

July 10, 2013
{blouse c/o ever+mi crush}

I don't know what it is...but I am always in serious need of blouses. I guess skirts, dresses, and shoes are always so much more fun to shop for! I get so distracted with all the pretty skirts that I just forget that something needs to be put on top! So when Ever+Mi Crush sent me this adorable red & white polka dot blouse I knew that it was just BEGGING to be worn with a festive outfit for the Fourth of July. White denim cut-offs, Sam Edelman fiesta wedges, and some classic red lipstick made for the perfect low-key Fourth look :)

*Check out the sidebar for current giveaways going on...hop to it & enter for free goodies!*