Wednesday, July 30, 2014

ASOS Style & Albion Basin

Sam is going to take some engagement photos in a few weeks, and we've been scouting for good areas to shoot at. I say we because although he is the photographer of the family, I'm his assistant. This might sound like an easy gig, but I assure you it is not. It's a workout with Klair. Luckily though the engagement shoot should prove to be an easier job than I'm used to since, you know, we won't be taking pictures of a toddler for a change. I doubt there will be much running involved, and I can leave my crazy noises/funny faces/talent for eliciting laughter via peek-a-boo at home. Following the advice of a good friend, we headed up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Albion Basin a few nights ago. It's a beautiful area just above Snowbird and Alta ski resorts. I've driven up this canyon plenty of times in my Utahn life, but I had never driven this far. Once you get high enough, the pavement ends and a dirt road begins. This is where it really starts to get pretty, and where we decided to take the photos above. Wouldn't an engagement shoot in this location look absolutely stunning?? I'm in love. I can't wait to see what Sam produces.

Featured in the photos is a skirt and necklace that I bought online from ASOS which you can see here and here. The necklace is a layered locket. It's too small to put a picture in, so I had Klair kiss the inside instead. I've been wearing it non-stop since.

FYI both the skirt and necklace are on sale right now. Also, in case anyone is wondering, my headband came from a local boutique, but there is a similar one here.

If you love ASOS as much as I do, make sure to enter the giveaway below. It's running for only one more day, so don't put it off. They are having killer sales right now, so it's definitely a good time to win some free money towards their merch! Additionally, the giveaway will give you an awesome Style Lately tee of your choice and ad space on some awesome blogs. Win, win, win.

Also, this post wouldn't be complete without bragging about the last two photos. You see, I took them. That's right, me! I'm kind of proud because they just might be my favorite photos of Klair and her "dada" ever. And, even though Sam configured all the settings and set it all up, I'm the one who clicked the button. That's gotta count for something, right? I'd say so.

Happy hump day! And good luck with the giveaway :)
Sincerely yours,  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Advocate | Sunday Reflections 01

Dear readers,

Lately I've been reflecting a lot on life, blogging, and what I'm putting my energy into. That's not to say that I'm entirely dissatisfied with my efforts, but I've felt a pressing need for improvement. God is tugging at my heart strings, urging me in a different direction. A better direction. Earlier this year I made some New Year's resolutions. Now that over half the year has come and gone, I'm left evaluating myself and my progress (or lack thereof). I ran a 5k... and that's about it. While I'm not down playing this feat (because believe me, for me that was a pretty exciting accomplishment) one resolution that I haven't lived up to-- the one that really matters-- was to increase in spirituality. I haven't done that. I feel like I've been pretty stagnant. I have been going through the motions, but I haven't truly invested my heart. I've been so busy distracting myself with other things that my relationship with God, while still there, has become more of an after thought. It pains me to say it, but I suppose sometimes the truth hurts... and it also sets you free. Admittedly, my prayers have become repetitious, my scripture study-lackluster. I attend church functions and meetings, but my thoughts are elsewhere. I have been doing just enough to get by... It's not enough.

I want to rededicate myself to God. Accordingly, I want to rededicate this blog to Him. Blogging is a reflection of me and what I'm focusing on. I feel like I've been doing good things with this space-- sharing modest fashion, writing about my family and essentially journaling about Klair, etc. I want to continue doing these things, but I can be should be doing more. I don't want to simply imply my beliefs. Instead, I want this to be a place where I can proclaim them.

I've decided to start with a new series of posts on Sundays to discuss my recent spiritual reflections and ponderings. Hopefully having a space to write will keep me accountable and help me to focus my attention where it counts. When you put God first, everything else falls into place. I know this. Now, I'm determined to live it. And, I'm hopeful that my attempts will help or inspire others in some way.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon church) of which I am a member, we have a program called visiting teaching. Every willing woman is given an assignment from the Relief Society President (the leader of the church's organization for women) to teach and fellowship certain women in the ward (our local congregations). Any member of Relief Society can be a visiting teacher (all are encouraged) and every woman in the ward is given a pair of visiting teachers that are assigned to her. This inspired program enables the Relief Society President to watch over every woman and to stay informed on what is taking place in her life. Furthermore, it serves as another medium through which friendships are made, and our ward families are strengthened.

This last week, my partner and I (we are assigned a companion) went visiting teaching. We have worked out a system where we take turns making the appointments and teaching the lessons. This month was my turn to teach. It was entitled: Jesus Christ, Advocate with the Father. I thought to myself, "yeah, I know enough about this topic. I've learned it before. I'll just skim through, find a few nice quotes and improv my way through a quick little lesson. Easy." Once I began, skimming turned to reading, and then reading turned to reading. I had gone into the experience trying to discern what to teach to others, but quickly realized that I was the one learning the lesson. Isn't it interesting how that happens? Whenever I am asked to teach a lesson or speak in church, I always find that I learn more from the experience than I'm able to convey to others. This message was one that I needed to hear.

As I read, I found one quote particularly poignant. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “It is of great significance to me, that I may at any moment and in any circumstance approach through prayer the throne of grace, that my Heavenly Father will hear my petition, that my Advocate, him who did no sin, whose blood was shed, will plead my cause.”

Christ, my advocate, pleads for me. Now. Today. And tomorrow... and any time I approach his throne of grace and plead for His healing. I tend to view the atonement as something that happened thousands of years ago. He suffered, bled, and died--in the past. Correct? Technically. But Christ's atonement--his marvelous work and glory--wasn't a one time thing. After his resurrection he didn't ascend into heaven to lounge around and be pampered by the angels. Although he deserves this and much more, he continued working. He is still working. His grace, love, petitions and forgiveness are ongoing. They are eternal. He is actively engaged in my salvation. He is continually pursuing me. His hand is "outstretched still"--to me, to all of us.  

As this epiphany lighted upon my mind and filled me with gratitude, it also ignited within me a desire to do better--to be at least a little more deserving of His perfect love unfeigned. 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought more joy into my life than I'm capable of expressing, and it would be selfish of me not to share that with others. This world is frankly crazy. Often frightening. It can be hard to avoid feeling bogged down by all of the hatred and despair that surrounds us. But, darkness gives way to light. And it is my hope and prayer that this little a corner of the internet can be a place where God's love can shine through and chase away the darkness.

Sincerely yours,

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer Refresher GIVEAWAY | ASOS, Style Lately, & Ad Space

gentri lee // autumn klair // missy sue // dearest lou // style lately

Ah, summertime. The dog days are upon us, and I don't know about you but I'm not entirely thrilled. These 100 + degree days and I don't exactly get along. In my opinion, sweltering heat isn't good for anything except swimming, and this mama can only take so much chlorine. My wardrobe choices drastically decline this time of year. I love boots, scarves, and layering--three things that don't go over so well this time of year. Since I can't live in a swimsuit 24-7 (if only) it's easy to feel bored with the pieces I can actually venture outside in without melting.

If you feel similarly at all, or even if you just like free stuff... then you're in luck! Today I am teaming up with some lovely local bloggers to bring you an opportunity to win. free. stuff. The winner of this giveaway will be able to spice up their wardrobe and their blog (or shop). The details are laid out in the photo above.

To give my own wardrobe a pick-me-up, I recently made a few purchases on ASOS. I was going to create a style post for this giveaway, but my items didn't arrive quite as quickly as I had hoped. Thus, in lieu of my outfit I purchased (which I will post later) here are some of my current ASOS favorites (i.e. what I would buy if I won this giveaway). 

P.S. There is currently a huge sale for up to 70% off right now! All the items below are on sale. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Let Them Be Little

"I can remember when you fit in the palm of my hand.
Felt so good in it, no bigger than a minute.
How it amazes me, you're changing with every blink.
Faster than a flower blooms they grow up all too soon.

I've never felt so much in one little tender touch.
I live for those kisses, prayers and your wishes,
Now that you're teaching me things only a child can see.
Every night while we're on our knees all I ask is please--

Let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while.
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day.
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle.
Oh just let them be little.

So innocent, a precious soul, you turn around--
it's time to let them go.

So let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while.
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day.
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle.
Oh just let them be little.
Let them be little."
-Billy Dean 

These pictures were taken a few days ago. I was still feeling a little under the weather from my July cold, so we spent the day at home. My little ever-happy-ray-of-sunshine found immense joy in a bundle of plastic straws I gave her. Sam started snapping some photos of us--she thought it was particularly hilarious to shove them in my mouth. She and I have so much fun together, and it's really fun to see some candid photos of us playing and laughing. 

As the day pressed on, I felt an increasing amount of cabin fever. Thus, we ventured outside despite feeling a little under the weather. I needed to get out of the house, breathe some fresh air, and watch Klair enjoy the world around her. We went to a nearby park, and Sam took more photos of us playing. Usually, when he takes my photo, I dress for the occasion. This was not one of those times. Yet, despite my lack of makeup, my t-shirt, and Klair's unkempt, messy hair--I love them. I even like the ones of me laughing! This is a huge triumph for me. A year ago, I probably would have begged Sam to delete these photos. He would have protested, and we would have (angrily) settled on keeping them, but never letting them see the light of day. Now, I look at these photos and see the beauty of love between a mother and daughter. Nothing else matters. 

Recently my sister asked my husband to design the quote below. She saw it somewhere, fell in love, and wanted to hang it in her house. Being the awesome designer that he is, Sam quickly threw it together. We are going to frame it, and give it to her for her birthday. I really like the message of it. It's a good reminder to appreciate what I have right now. It's easy to get caught up in the frustrations that inevitably come with raising a toddler--to focus on the negative, to lose my patience. Yet, in the end, all of my mommy woes are good "problems" to have. I am grateful for the frustrations, because it means that I have the blessing of being a mother--something that is denied to so many. I get to experience life, love, and happiness to the fullest.The good, the bad--it's all just part of the experience--a journey that I'm infinitely grateful for. And, I know that someday I will miss reading "Ten Little Ladybugs" ten thousand times in a row. My living room will feel empty without toys strewn across it. My soul will long for the sleepless nights spent holding my baby girl. 
These are words to live by. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Style & Life Lately

July has not been my month. Although we've had some fun adventures, the last few weeks have been riddled with sickness. At the beginning of the month Klair had a cough, but she managed to kick it pretty quickly and I thought perhaps our stroke of luck was an early 4th of July present from the universe. I was wrong. On the 3rd, just as Klair was getting better, I began to feel the beginnings of a cold. I started out the day feeling a little off, and bit by bit the symptoms grew increasingly worrisome... fatigue, headache, dizziness, and then... the dreaded sore throat. Airborne didn't keep this catastrophe at bay. What began over two weeks ago now is still lingering. I actually thought I was over it last week, but our Bear Lake trip proved to be too much for my immune system. I guess water skiing and recovering from a cold aren't compatible. My punishment for over-extending myself was a weekend spent in bed. Today I awoke feeling pretty good. I thought maybe, just maybe the heavens were finally smiling down upon me. And then Klair woke up with a nose that was running like a faucet. We're back to square one. And to top it off my husband says he feels like he might be getting sick. Am I missing something? Isn't it supposed to be... summer right now? I feel like we are smack dab in the middle of cold season again. 

Thus, I apologize for the lack of posting as of late. These photos were actually taken awhile ago, and I'm grateful to have them at my disposal. I'm thinking the yellow hue of this top was waiting for a gloomy day like this to make a bright, summery appearance. 

This bow-back blouse featured came from Loopsway. Not too long ago I did another product review for this lovely company that you can see here. Loopsway is a fab online boutique that sells both jewelry and clothing at affordable prices. Check them out. I'm in love with everything on their site!


Here's to hoping that the second half of July proves to be kinder and that my family can start feeling better sooner rather than later. In the mean time, I'll probably just head on over to the Loopsway website and create a wishlist of all their beautiful, heart-warming, happiness-inducing products.  

Blouse (not currently on Loopsway site, similar Here, Here and cheaper Here) | Wedges | Jeans | Watch

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bear Lake

Klair's Outfits: 


Utah is a gorgeous place. I'm frequently in awe of the beauty that my home state possesses, and last week was certainly no exception. We ventured up to Bear Lake for a camping and boating trip with my husband's side of the family. Even just the ride up there left us in awe. ...and then we got to the lake. This was only my second time there, and my first time during the summer. It didn't disappoint. We stayed in the quaint little cabin with a porch swing in the photos above, and enjoyed our time at the campgrounds immensely. There was a swimming pool, giant trampoline... thing (not sure what they're technically called) and a playground for Klair. And of course there was the lake itself. We spent lots of time on the water boating, swimming, tubing, and even water skiing. Yes, I tried a form of skiing for the first time ever. I've always been a boarder when it comes to extreme sports--wakeboarding, snowboarding, longboarding. I don't have anything against skiing, it's just the culture I was raised in. I decided to give water skiing a try, and it only took me about eight (hundred) times to get up... but I did it! And I think I stayed up for a whole ten seconds before falling back down. Go me! 

I wasn't the only one to try something new on this trip. Sam went out on the tube, and when asked if she wanted to go with her dad our little Klair said "yes." She bravely hopped on, and let us tow her behind the boat (at a slow speed of course). Although she initially looked terrified, she didn't cry at all and even asked to go again. Talk about a proud moment for this mama. 

Also, speaking of tubing, it was hilarious watching my husband, his siblings, and his dad on that thing. They (of course) took it upon themselves to try and throw each other around with the ultimate goal of making the rider fly off. It was hilarious to watch. Sam's little sister surprised us all and out lasted all of the men in the family with their muscles and determination. She caught more air and managed to stay on longer than anyone... and she kept wanting to go. It was girl power at it's finest. Haha! I'm so glad we were able to have such a fun time with our family! 

Before going camping, I had a bit of a cold. Once we got home, my cold came back with a vengeance. Apparently I over extended myself. I therefore spent the remainder of my weekend in bed. My sweet husband took care of Klair so I could rest and try and sleep this thing off. Despite the (lingering) sickness, as I look back on the past week I can't help but feel blessed. We had such a wonderful time up at Bear Lake! And, even though I would have preferred my weekend to end differently, I have an incredible husband who takes amazing care of me. That is something to be grateful for. 

I love this man.