Saturday, February 28, 2015

My Favorite Modest & Affordable Swimsuits of 2015

For some reason, every year at about mid-February I start itching for the beach. Yes, it's completely unrealistic since the only ocean I live close to is the sea of mid-term assignments my nerdy self is currently drowning in, but a girl can dream, right? (Plus, there are only like 76 days before school gets out . . . not that I'm counting or anything.) 

Since I can't actually go to the beach any time soon, I'm living vicariously through swimsuit shopping. Normally, I wouldn't consider hunting for swimwear a relaxing experience, but this year there are tons of great modest swimsuits to choose from at fabulous prices! 

Are you ready to dive in? (Yes, I went there. Just go with the flow of my pointless puns. Too many ocean jokes? Too bad. I'm not shore I can stop . . . haha)

This store is basically the It has tons of great modest swimsuits that are cute and stylish without crossing the line to revealing. And the best part? They are all really great prices! (Plus they're also having an extra clearance sale right now!) 

While they only have storefronts in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and Canada, their website has a great fitting guide, $5 flat shipping, and a top-notch return policy.

Here are a few of their suits that I've been eyeing:

Tied-Bust Parrots Tankini Top
Currently $22.50
Bow Pineapple Tankini Top
Currently $27.30

Another product they're offering that I'm totally thrilled about is their bralette. I know you're probably thinking, "Yo, Sarah you're supposed to be showing us modest swimsuits, not bikinis", but stay with me here. Basically, the bralette is a mini layering cami that you can wear under your swimsuit to provide extra support and coverage. There are so many swimsuits that I've put back over the years because they were a little too low-cut. This extra layer will totally fix that problemo. You could say my dreams have come true.

Bralette Sunlight
Currently $15.30
2. Kohl's

It's not often you can just waltz into a regular department store and find a swimsuit that complies with the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet, but Kohl's totally surprised me this year. They have tons of adorable choices, and with their $10 Kohl's Cash for every $50 spent promo, you're sure to score a great deal.

Upstream Ruffled Tankini Top
Currently $40.60
Croft & Borrow Fit 
For You Tankini Top
Currently $28.00
So Printed Bandeaukini Top
Currently $22.40

Even Wally World really came through this year! I love the retro look of these suits:

Suddenly Slim by Catalina Women's
Slimming Shirred Halter One-Piece

Currently $32.96

As per usual, the folks at DownEast have released a gorgeous line of swimwear, and from my experience, their suits wear like iron. I've had one of their tankinis for two years and I'm looking forward to wearing it again this summer! Even if there isn't a storefront near you, they have free shipping sales quite frequently and their return policy is fab (but their suits are so great you most likely won't even have to use it, and that's coming from me -- the queen of picky). 

                    Coastal Breeze Halter
                            Currently $39.99  
Lounge About Bandeau High Tide
Currently $39.99 

One thing I love about Maurices is that they cater to ladies of all shapes and sizes. No matter what kind of gorgeous figure you rock, the odds are high that they will have something for you. And can I just say that I love the colors they chose this season? To die for. (But I need to live so I can go swimming. <commences calming yoga breaths>)

     Peacock tiered Plus Size Tankini Swim Top                                          Stripe and Dot Print Plus Size Tankini Swim Top
                           Currently $44.00                                                                                                   Currently $44.00

Peacock Crisscross Halter Swim Top
Currently $39.00

Multicolor Ethnic Print Swim Top
Currently $29.00

6. JCPenney

I have to admit that JCPenney is one of my frequent go-to stores. Thankfully, their swim line does not disappoint. They have some killer coupons, here, too. $10 off $25, anyone? 

Delta Burke Shirred Floral Tankini Top
Currently $35.00
                   Arizona Corsetkini Swim Top - Juniors
               Currently $17.99
                                      Arizona Side Shirred Bandeaukini
                                         Currently $28.00


7. Target

Seriously, what's not to love about Target? (Answer = Nothing.) There's the popcorn, the cute doggy logo, the Dollar Spots, and, lucky for us, tons of cute swimwear! (I could go on about its virtues, but I'm starting to get concerned about the depth of my relationship with this store. I should probably seek some more human friends . . . jk) 

Hop on over and try on their suits, or if you're like me and need to avoid the temptation of buying everything in sight, you can have them mail your swimsuit to your house without feeling guilty since they just started doing free shipping on orders over $25.

              One Shoulder Solid One                            Crochet One Piece Swimsuit - Mossimo          Tankini Racerback C9 by Champion
             Piece Swimsuit - Clean Water                                          Currently $39.99                                               Currently $22.99
                         Currently $39.99 

8. Amazon

I think they should call Amazon "Simba", because if it were a lion, it would totally be King of the Jungle, (er, savannah, or whatever the proper scientific term is). Check out these cute suits:

Cocoship 50s Retro Vintage Flora Print White
Polka One PieceSwimwear Monokini (FBA)

Currently $23.99
Lady's Push Up Bandeau Tankini
Two Pieces Swimsuit

Currently $24.99

Another thing Amazon carries are board shorts. I know, fashion gurus everywhere might pass out at the site of my obsession, but I'm a total tom-boy at heart and love having pockets in my swimsuit (so I can carry my keys and money and avoid renting a locker, hence leaving more dinero available for ice cream purchases). 

I also love the extra coverage the shorts provide. After all, who wants to get their legs all scratched up on the lake or get a million splinters in their knees from the canoe oars? Not this girl.

Above: Kanu Suft Women's Breeze Board Shorts
Currently $19.00

Right: Volcom Women's Simply Solid
11 Inch Board Shorts

Currently $35.16

Where do you shop for swimsuits? I'm always on the hunt for more sources of modest swimwear (and excuses to think about the beach instead of homework).

May your dreams be filled with sandy beaches and crystal waters (too cheesy?),

Friday, February 27, 2015

Awkward & Awesome

So you know that giant link-up party that happens on Thursdays where people share what was awkward and awesome about their weeks? Well, I don't normally do things like this, but my life has been so full of awkward and awesome happenings lately that I just can't help but write one. Yes, I'm aware that it is Friday <insert enthusiastic fist pump here>, but a little rebellion as far as schedules go never hurt anyone, right? ;)

So let's get to it, shall we?

Waking up after your alarm clock has been beeping for thirty minutes straight. How I can sleep through that obnoxious ringing and still manage wake up to even the slightest hint of bacon-cooking-sounds, I have yet to discover.

Fighting (nicely) for a place in the buffet line because you need mashed potatoes. Desperately.

Waiting for college admission letters to arrive and checking your email 5342 times a day in hopes that news will suddenly appear. 

Overhearing someone else's conversation and laughing at the funny parts without meaning to.

Accidentally falling asleep while typing an essay (sitting up, I might add). 

Realizing you went through most of class with your bangs flipped backwards like the 80's was trying to resurrect itself through your involuntarily wind-blown hair-do.

Eating french fries underneath a display table because you're crazy hungry but don't have time to go to the break room before your next presentation.

The fact that the crocuses are already blooming. Yay for spring (sorry East Coast peeps) !

Getting an A+ on your CP English paper. From the teacher who rarely gives A's. (I must enjoy this moment while it lasts. . . haha)

Finding a hairstyle that works. After reading this post on Wake Up for Makeup, I decided to see if my hair was long enough to do a sock bun, and it was! Then, I remembered seeing something forever ago about sock bun curls. Having my hair done with minimal effort is something I'm totally in support of. Long story short, I found this overnight curl tutorial on YouTube, mashed it up with the first tutorial, and was shocked at how well they both worked on my hair. Having a quick up-do in my hair repertoire and being able to wake up to curls without having to do anything this week has been so nice!

Getting a Valentine in the mail from your cousin with special needs. I've always admired the way he is so adept at brightening others' days. (It was a necklace made from a paper heart. You could say it melted my heart. . . pun not intended. . .)

Chocolate frozen yogurt. (Need I say more?)

Getting called as assistant Ward Organist. (I will admit I almost put this in the 'awkward' section, but I really do feel this experience, while totally scary, will help me grow in my musical abilities. And I'm pretty sure that will lead to awesome things in the long run.)

Remembering to do laundry before you're completely out of clean socks.

Having such great readers who listen to my ramblings and share such amazing thoughts! Thank you all for sharing goodness and inspiring me to do the same!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What I Wish I Would Have Known When My Parents Got Divorced

Life has a funny way of teaching us lessons. Sometimes things are brought together, and sometimes things break apart.

I've learned that there is beauty in both.

Today, I'd like to focus on one of the times things seemed broken to me. Lest you get the idea that my life behind this trusty keyboard is perfect, things are about to get personal here. Note: You have been warned. ;)

If you haven't already figured this out from the title, this post is directed towards the children of parents who are divorced or separated. While I realize that I am no expert, child psychologist, or certified counselor, I am a teen who has been and is living through what you're experiencing for over seventeen years, and if it's alright with you, I'd like to share some things I've learned along the way.

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1. Your parents' relationship does not define your worth. Or theirs.

One of the hardest things about my parent's divorce was the way people treated us afterwards. In the blink of an eye, we went from being well-liked and respected to being labeled as incompetent sinners. Gossip swirled throughout church and school (and still does), insensitive comments were made, and friends that were once close became distant. No matter what people say, however, know that your worth is not based on your parent's relationship status or on other people's opinions. God's opinion is all that really matters, and He knows, understands, and has compassion for you and your family's situation. Most of all, He loves you all with a perfect, unchanging, and unconditional love.

2. It's not your fault.

I know, it's often the first thing people say and it might seem cliché or over-stated, but it's something that has taken me a long time to accept. I think that when things go wrong, we often reach for some sense of control, even if that means heaping blame, undeservingly, upon ourselves. As the Third Article of Faith states, you are not responsible for your parent's (or anyone else's) choices. Letting go of that feigned sense of control is scary, but the healing it offers is so, so worth it.

3. You don't have to have a perfect family to be happy.

It can seem like in order to be happy, you have to have that picture-perfect-white-picket-fence-American-Dream-type existence, but the truth is, no matter what your circumstances are in life, you can find joy in the journey, now.

Says Elder Baxter:

ALL of God's blessings, including happiness and joy, are and will be available to you if you keep enduring faithfully. And with that. . .

4. It's okay to cry and be angry sometimes.

Some days are going to be hard. Remember that happier times will come, but don't feel guilty if some days you need to have a good cry, scream into your pillow, or just eat some ice cream out of the carton with a spoon.

5. It's okay to be happy, too.

It can be easy to feel guilty for feeling happiness or joy amid such turmoil, but what your parents (both earthly and heavenly) want most is for you to be truly happy. Find a hobby you can pour your extra energy into. (Piano, photography, and school clubs have been lifesavers for me.) Participate in service both in your home and on a community level. Go on a run. Drive to the library and get a good book. Take a hot bath. Go scuba diving with hippopotamuses (not the real dangerous ones. . . just the friendly Disney kind, mkay?) 
-- just find a healthy activity to keep your mind occupied and boost your spirits. It works wonders.

6. Sometimes change is good.

Honestly, things got better after my parents separated. Yes, there were challenges like changing schools, moving, and working out new budgets, but all in all, they were both happier, and it was nice not to have to walk on eggshells or listen to fighting anymore.

7. Things will get better.

Elder Holland says it a million times better than I can. <Hands over virtual microphone.>
8. Families can still be together forever.

Even if things are messed up on earth now, the Millennium gives us a whole thousand years to work things out. Remember that then, and for all of eternity after that, there will be no pain or sadness. No matter what, in the end you will be happy, and your parents will be too.

In the words of Joseph Smith:

9. Forgiveness takes time.

There are many accounts of people receiving instantaneous feelings of forgiveness, and while I do not doubt those experiences are true, it doesn't happen that way for everyone. Don't beat yourself up if forgiveness takes time. It's a process. As you apply the atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to your life, you will find healing. Pray for peace. Pray for love towards your family members. It might not come as quickly as you'd like, but it will come eventually, and it will be worth it.

10. You're not alone.

Especially within the church, it can often feel like you're the odd one out. I remember being teased constantly because my family was different than the other children's. I felt left out when we had daddy-daughter Primary activities because I didn't have a Dad to bring. I wondered who would baptize me and wished someone would take us camping or give us Priesthood blessings when we were sick. Most of all, I longed to know someone who understood what I was experiencing. It turns out, there was someone-- Jesus Christ.

Even if you don't have an earthly Mother or Father who chooses to be active in your life, you do have a Heavenly Father and Mother who love and care for you. In fact, they love you so much that they sent their only begotten Son to die for you.

The Savior himself knows how it feels to be rejected, made fun of, and tormented. He has felt our every pain, heartache, and sorrow (see Mosiah 14:4).

Remember that when it feels like no one could possibly understand what you're going through, He does because He's been through it too. Literally. Best of all, because He took upon himself our burdens, we don't have to carry them alone. He invites us to come unto Him and find rest, and the peace He offers is real. It transcends every sadness and every worry and can heal even the most broken of hearts.

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The journey is different for everyone. I wish I could tell you it's easy, but frankly it's not; however, I can honestly say that I wouldn't trade the experience -- awkward church activities, sleepless nights, custody battles, and all -- for anything. This trial has taught me to be a stronger, more compassionate, and more loving person, and someday you're going to look back and see all the amazing things it brought about for you, too.

One of the things I love most about God is that He can take even the most gruesome, ugly experiences and bring good out of them. Keep holding on to that good.

With the Savior's help, you're going to make it.

Friday, February 13, 2015

What Mormon Guys Wish Mormon Girls Knew (And Vice Versa)

Parents, leaders, and teachers are wonderful. We have them to thank for great advice, venting sessions, hilarious stories, eighties music, and chore charts. Also food. Food is important, especially if you lack cooking abilities as I do.

However, as fabulous as their advice can be, sometimes it helps to have another point of view.

<Insert news lady voice here.>

This is Sarah K. reporting live from Studio Sprinkles. Over the course of the past few weeks, I have scoured LDS Youth communities on Facebook and Google+ and asked members what they would like those of the opposite gender to know. Here's what they said:

(Thanks for letting me pretend I'm a cool newscaster. That was fun.)

"You are all lovely young women and you should never forget." - Mason

"You Girls are amazing and Beautiful!" - A. M.

"Girls, always know you have value. It doesn't matter if you're the most talented, the most beautiful, the best dressed, etc. All that matters is how you view yourself. How you view yourself will determine how you view the world. So, that being said, value yourself and always know that you're beautiful." - Merlin

"Guys appreciate the effort of a girl trying too. Ask one of us out or give us a valentine!" - Chance

"Girls, Even if you are alone on the 14th, just remember that you are always loved by somebody. You are beautiful in God's eyes." - Thomas

Now, for the second part. The girls had much more to say. (No surprise there. haha) Listen up, boys!

"It's okay to be a dorky nerd and please, please, please, ask many girls out on dates, you don't even need to be interested in them, but it will help lift their spirits and help them feel beautiful, and it will help you with socializing before you serve a mission and it will help you build more friendships." - Margaret

"... be the guy you'd want your daughter to be with." - Becca

"We appreciate guys who can get pass the looks and really get to know us 
to see what's on the inside." - Katelynn

"It's okay to be sweet and sentimental. You guys don't need to act all cool and tough all the time. Show your feelings. And be you!" - Isabelle

"Young men, you are all amazing, and so full of potential. Don't let your mistakes and imperfections hold you back. The Atonement is real! Strive to be a righteous priesthood holder, a servant of the Lord. (There isn't anything more attractive than that to us ladies!) Treat girls, and women with respect, and love. Tell us girls we're beautiful sometimes. We need it. :) Above all else, don't ever forget that you literally can become a god someday, if you live worthily. Make your Heavenly Father proud!" - Jenny

"... it's really sweet when guys give small compliments to girls and when they have good manners! And when guys have a huge testimony of the gospel and love serving ... those people are amazing!" - Clarissa

"Respect is key." - Eden

"... girls it's not wrong to talk to a boy or sit next to a boy. We are all brothers and sisters and we should all get along as friends." - Emily (mmmkay so technically this one was directed to the ladies, but I think it totally applies to all. You with me?)

"It is important to be respectful of young ladies, and a little note for young ladies, it is also important to be respectful of young men and the sacred priesthood they hold." - Alyssa

"Sometimes it just takes the right person to look at you and can see who you really are. Be yourself so that person can find you. Friendship is more important than relationships at our age. Open your mind wide and pray for guidance when you need it. Patriarchal blessings can also help." - Piper

So, ladies and gents, there you have it. This has been a news report straight from the battlefront of Valentine's awkwardness. Thank you for tuning in ... er ... reading. (Too much news lady?)

Wishing you the Happiest of Valentine's Days (and lots of chocolate) !

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Well, one of my goals was to post more, but then a few giant word monsters named "ethnographic research" and "annotated bibliography" came and ate up all my post ideas (and my brain).

The good news is, my other goal was to post more authentically, so here goes a ten minute dump of what is in my head right now (this could be scary). 

I've been thinking a lot about this quote lately:

I have seen His hand so many times in my life recently. Even when things are crazy and it seems like getting things to work out is as impossible as nailing pudding to a wall (I know the catch-phrase typically includes Jell-O, but I feel like Jell-O would be too easy for this analogy...), when we are armed with God's power, everything has a way of coming together. On our own, we're toast, but with Him, we're more like a cinnamon roll with extra cream cheese frosting. (Did I just compare grace to desserts? I must be hungry.) 

Images Source

Speaking of food, I just can't get enough Snickerdoodle ice cream lately. I know cinnamon and ice cream seems like a strange combination, but it's pretty much heaven on a spoon. I hope we get to eat it in the Celestial Kingdom.

This pin totally describes my feelings about math homework this week:

Image Source
While we're talking about funny pins, I have to say this pick-up line has to be one of the very best ever written.

Image Source
And with that, I'll sign off with a little teaser about the Valentine's Day posts that are to come. Stay tuned for some not-so-mushy goodness. (And probably some good awkward moment stories, because that's how my life works. :P Aaaah, the joys of Valentine's Day week. #killmenow #notreally #ineedtosurviveforthehalfpricecandysales)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Track On Which We Run

I have this thing with goals.

I tend to think they have to be as big and grandiose as an elephant parading across a golden pathway lined with toucans that are playing trumpets next to monkeys clanging little tiny finger symbols. (Phew! That was a long sentence!) <gasps for breath> <suddenly wants a monkey with finger symbols>

But they're not always that way.

As President Hinckley so eloquently states in the quote below, it's the little things we do on a daily basis that end up coming together to get us on the right path.

I'm to the point in the year where I kind of forget about my New Year's resolutions. (I's only been a month since January. <blushes>) They're still floating in my brain, it's just they keep getting pushed around by some overbearing tasks named homework and college applications and their archenemy procrastination (whom I might add comes with an entire posse of BFF's named Netflix, Pinterest, and ice cream. :P). #thestruggleisreal

The truth is, goals can just be straight-up overwhelming sometimes; but they don't have to be. I love that President Hinckley didn't say our direction was set by moving mountains or leading a parade elephants. They may seem inconsequential, but it really is the day to day choices we make that end up charting "the track on which we run".

So, my friends, if you, like me, are feeling a little overwhelmed with your to-do list right now, take a step back, look at what you really want out of the next week, month, and even year, and make sure what you're doing each day is getting you closer to those goals. Chances are, some things that seem super stressful right now will look pretty unimportant through that lens.

Here's to rebooting, remembering those goals, and sticking to them like a piece of bubblegum underneath a desk in Pre-Calculus (sorry for that mental picture). 

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