Monday, November 2, 2015

Little Victoria Design Jewelry Review

A few months ago, I featured the Etsy shop Little Victoria Design. The seller, Carol, sent me some jewelry as a thank you. I meant to review it shortly thereafter, but it never happened. Well, what she sent me worked great for Halloween, so I wore it a lot last month!

I received the above necklace with a matching bracelet, as well as two wide elastic hair ties/bracelets, one neon orange and the other baby pink. I wore the set with my "Nothing scary 'bout the Holy Ghost" shirt from The Covenant Gear.

*Carol is so sweet and generous! You can tell she puts a lot of thought and love into her pieces.
*The style is simple and classic.
*The jewelry is comfortable to wear. I usually avoid bracelets because I have a small wrist, but this one didn't bother me.
*I like that the hair ties double as bracelets. So much cuter than wearing a regular elastic band!

*Not a huge fan of bright/neon colors, but there lots of other lovely colors in her shop.

Check out Little Victoria Design for more darling and unique pieces!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

"Papa's Book of Mormon Christmas" Book Review

Are you looking for a new addition to your collection of children's or family Christmas books? If you are, then you will love Papa's Book of Mormon Christmas by Emma Rae Parker. It's about a loving grandpa sharing with his little granddaughter his special appreciation for and connection to the Book of Mormon, especially during certain Christmases in his life.

*The story is very cute and touching, and the characters are charming.
*The illustrations are colorful and adorable.
*It's an easy read and just the right length for both young and older children.
*It balances the secular and spiritual sides of Christmas.

*When I first read it, I thought it was based on a true story. I was disappointed to find out it was fictional. It's still a beautiful story, though, that brings the Spirit and focuses on the amazing gift the Book of Mormon is to us.

I recommend making this book a part of your holiday traditions! (Note: I didn't read the story yet to my kids, ages 5 and 2, because I want to save it for Christmas, but I know they'll love it.)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

"From Baptist Preacher to Mormon Teacher" Book Review

If you don't know me, I love to hear people's stories: where they came from, how they met their significant others, what their talents and hobbies are and where they learned them, etc. As a Mormon, one of my favorite stories to listen to is people's conversion stories: where they first heard the gospel, what touched their spirits and made them want to learn more, what was difficult for them to accept, etc. Therefore, I was excited to review From Baptist Preacher to Mormon Teacher by Wain Myers (with Kelly Martinez). Brother Myers candidly and humorously shares his journey to becoming a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and progressing in the gospel.

*Brother Myers is honest and real. You can feel his personality through the book so it seems that if you met him, you wouldn't consider him a stranger but a friend.
*The book is very engaging and easy to read. Sometimes it read like a novel and sometimes like a compelling church talk (which he says he practices all the time, so maybe that's why it showed in his writing, too!).
*I learned some things about the Church and gospel that I didn't know before. I won't tell you what they were, though--you have to read the book yourself!

*The last quarter felt a little disjointed to me, bouncing from topic to topic and reading more like a sermon than a story line (I guess his preaching days haven't fully left him, lol). I would've liked it organized differently.

If you enjoy a fresh and funny story about a real person and their spiritual journey, I recommend you read this book!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

For Keshia: My Latest Articles

Keshia, you asked that I share the articles I write, so here are the ones that have been published since my original blog post. I am now a regular contributor to these three sites: Skirt Collective, a liberal feminist site (though that one unfortunately has stopped paying); Well Cultured, a men's online magazine; and Baby Gaga, a pregnancy and baby site. Enjoy reading them and thank you for caring!

5 Myths About Female Modesty (this one got a TON of exposure!)

How Not to Teach Modesty to Young Women (my LDS version of the previous article)

How Lammily and Others Are Breaking the Period Taboo

When You Should Act Like a Gentleman

Belts: The One Accessory Every Guy Should Have and How to Wear It

Words You Don't Want to Get Wrong at Work

Messenger Bag or Briefcase?

7 Bodily Fluids You Deal With During Pregnancy

Friday, September 25, 2015

Caden's First Weeks of School

Caden became a kindergartner this school year! I was worried about a few things; namely, the long school day, going potty at school, and his sensitivity causing him to cry often. On the first day, Caden woke up excited and ready to go.

We all walked him to school. Gabe was mad he couldn't stay, too. When I picked Caden up afterward, I could tell he loved it!

On the second day, he told me not to pack him a sandwich, and I haven't since then. He survives on just snacks, which surprised me, because at home he is always hungry. I'm not complaining though--it means less money spent on bread! When it was time to get him, it was raining hard. It settled down but then picked up again on our way home. It made me reconsider my decision to skip the bus. I chose not to use it because Caden wouldn't get home until an hour after school is over and he gets car sick.

The third day was Welcome Night, and Caden showed us around his classroom.

The fourth day ended the first week of school. Caden did very well behaviorally and academically, no surprise. He's made new friends, particularly the next-door-neighbor girl who's in his class. He loves all the specials (library, gym, music, and art). Each day he tells me who got in trouble or cried, who he played with or sat next to, who had classroom jobs, and what they did and learned.

I called the transportation office the next morning to clarify the bus situation. Turns out I can use it whenever I like. Caden was very excited to hear that he would finally be able to go on the bus the following Monday! He takes it every morning to school, and then I pick him up in the afternoon. I haven't decided what to do yet come winter.

As for all my worries, Caden has adjusted amazingly to the long school day, as have Gabe and I. Gabe is actually much calmer and more manageable with Caden gone, although Gabe is usually the instigator of trouble. We now have one-on-one bonding time, and I can get more done while he naps since Caden isn't home to interrupt me.

Caden didn't use the potty at school the first week. I thought it was because he didn't want to wipe himself, but turns out he was afraid the flush would be loud. He's gone pee a couple times since, but saves the rest for once at home. However, he does all the wiping himself now. He's cried a couple times at school, twice when physically hurt and once because the fire drill alarm scared him (he hates loud noises). Each time he recovered quickly, he said.

Yesterday he got his first yellow, which is the first warning for misbehavior. Previously, he had all "green/green" days. I asked him if he cried for getting in trouble. He said no. In fact, he was smirking while telling me. Apparently, he still thinks what happened was funny (a certain boy in his class who seems to have taken on the role of class clown has not been a good influence on him, lol). He lost his after-school TV time and that was that.

Overall, Caden enjoys school very much. He still gets excited to go every day and is bummed he can't go on the weekends too. The bus ride has still retained its novelty. It's so cute seeing his bright smile as he waves goodbye to us from his window. I love my little kindergartner!

Friday, September 18, 2015

"Understanding Your Endowment" Book Review

For those of you who are LDS, have you ever left the temple feeling the Spirit yet also confused about certain aspects of the ceremony? I'd be lying if I said I haven't. Whether or not you have felt that way, I highly recommend you read the book Understanding Your Endowment by Cory B. Jensen. As described on the publisher's blog:
For many members of the Church, the temple endowment remains something of a mystery. Yet when understood, the temple can function in our lives as a modern day Liahona, giving us our bearings in our mortal journey back to our Father. Understanding Your Endowment is packed with insights and keys, which can help you unlock the temple’s purpose and meaning in your life. It will help you understand the blessings the Lord offers His children through His temples and will enrich your personal temple worship.
Understanding Your Endowment examines topics such as covenant ceremonies, the initiatory ordinances, the endowment, and temple sealings in a manner that is plain and easy to understand while still respecting their sacred and confidential nature. Whether you are preparing to enter the temple for the first time or already attend regularly, your temple worship will be enhanced by reading this book.
*It definitely increased my desire to return to the temple often and put more effort into letting the Spirit teach me the deeper meanings behind the symbolism and their applications in my life.
*It discusses temple covenants and ordinances thoroughly and helpfully without divulging sacred information.
*I appreciated Brother Jensen's frequent reminders that symbolic interpretations aren't limited and are very personal and we should discard anything he says that isn't helpful to us. He doesn't pretend to know all the answers or assert that only his views are correct.

*Although it can be read by members preparing to enter the temple for the first time, it is best for those who have been at least once so they can follow the discussion. However, there are still sections that members should read beforehand to help them have a better experience.
*The background on covenants made me glad I did not live before Christ's Atonement ended the need for sacrifices and other gruesome rituals! It did explain a lot of modern practices, though.

I think all members should read and apply this book and use it to teach others preparing for the temple so they can have more meaningful first-time experiences and learn how to make the most of future visits. For a more spiritual review, go to my Mormon Light blog.
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