Monday, January 26, 2015

Music Monday: Interview With Zac from Beyond 5


I have to admit that Music Mondays are some of my favorite posts to write, but this week is extra special. Do you remember this post I wrote about Beyond 5 after I saw them in concert? I don't usually feature music groups more than once, but Beyond 5 has been up to some amazing things over the last couple of years that are just too awesome not to write about.

Here's the scoop: amidst touring Asia and the US, releasing several albums and singles, and even performing on ABC's Rising Star, several of the band members have decided to put their careers on hold and serve missions. While I will miss having new songs to download, I really admire their faith and their willingness to serve the Lord.



Today, we are fortunate enough to hear from Zac Love (the one wearing red in the picture above) about his recent decision to serve a mission. But first, here's a little background info on him from the Beyond 5 Official Website:
Zac was born in San Antonio, Texas while his father was stationed at Randolph Air Force Base. His interests range from music to competitive sports to studying history and psychology. Zac attended Clearfield High School where he was active in student leadership, soccer, and singing with a performing group that represented his school at sporting events and regional high school dance competitions. Zac is passionate about music and loves sharing his talents with others. He served abroad in Guatemala helping to build a daycare and a school in small towns there. Zac looks forward to attending college in the future to continue his education.
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Sarah: How has music helped you become closer to God?

Zac: Music is the sole reason why I am closer to God. Without the friends who I have met through music, I know that I would be worse off than I am today. I also feel most connected to my Heavenly Father when I am able to sing and play music. Music is able to break through language and cultural barriers to connect people from all over the world. Not many things are able to do that! By connecting with people through music, I am able to see its purpose here on earth. To create joy and happiness and to bring God's children together, and I love that! The more I have been able to share my talents, the closer I have felt to my Heavenly Father.

Sarah: Was it hard to choose between missions and the music business?

Zac: I would be lying if I said that it was an easy choice to serve a mission instead of staying in the music business!! Don't get me wrong, I've always wanted to serve, but I didn't anticipate a thing like Beyond 5 happening! I think the decision was so hard because it was a decision between two really great things. I have changed SO MUCH these past two years because of this band. My band mates and the team around us have been an incredible influence in my life that I will never forget. That being said, I know that there are things that I can do and learn on a mission that I wouldn't be able to do anywhere else. So I'm ready and excited for these next two years, wherever they may be!!

Sarah: Do you have any advice for teens who are facing big decisions in their lives?

Zac: Teens facing big decisions...talk to someone about whatever it is! Parents can be a HUGE help in this category. Believe it or not, they were once our age too and yes, they've been through the exact same things. If that's not an option...teachers, church leaders, friends, and even other family members can give you a different perspective that might just be what you need! And of course there is always our loving Heavenly Father. ALWAYS. Come to Him through prayer with a sincere heart and real intent and you will receive guidance and answers in your life. I know that to be true. I've witnessed His hand in my own life on numerous occasions and especially in making big decisions. So try it!


Beyond 5's most recent album, Faithful, is a beautiful compilation of hymns that reflect the convictions and various religious beliefs held by the band members. I you liked their pop music, you'll love their album of sacred songs. It blew me away.

You can get a glimpse of the album through the videos below. Faithful is available on iTunes and Spotify.





Thank you so much, Zac, for doing this interview! And thank you to all of the Beyond 5 members for inspiring us with your beautiful music and courageous examples.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Fashion Friday: Nerd Alert!

I've come to discover that while there are some things that just don't go together (read: ice cream and horseradish, paper-cuts and hand sanitizer, Sarah and spiders, and mullets and...well...anything... :P), your fandoms and your outfits don't have to be one of them.

Who says fashion and nerdiness can't coexist? I wholeheartedly digress. The things you love and the clothes you wear can come together into one happy party of awesomeness, and as an added bonus, you won't even have to trek to Mordor to find a cute combo.

While I was sick with the flu, I was playing on Polyvore. Apparently geek oozed from my brain and into the fashion database, so although this is different than what I usually post here, without further ado I present 4 Modest Outfits inspired by my favorite movies and characters:


Gorgeous Like Galadriel

Gorgeous Like Galadriel by thesprinklesonmyicecreamblog featuring button shirts

Want to capture the graceful, natural look that Galadriel so eloquently pulls off? Try mixing soft neutral tones with gold accents. And can I just say that I really want a present from her now? I feel like that invisibility cape with the leaf pin could be super helpful during awkward moments. Plus that elven bread looks divine.


Batman Forever

Batman Forever by thesprinklesonmyicecreamblog featuring Monday

Whether you're rushing to the Bat Cave or going to school, you can save the day in this cheerful, yet sophisticated representation of the beloved superhero. The grey accents help offset the vibrance of the yellow pants, but if yellow ain't your jam, jeans could be easily substituted. 




Casual Star Wars

Casual Star Wars by thesprinklesonmyicecreamblog featuring minnetonka moccasins

The force is sure to be with you when you wear this casual yet put-together combo. Somehow, I feel like this is an outit Princess Leia herself would approve of.  Good it is. Hmmmm yes. <Insert Yoda voice here.>




Fashion a la Napolean

Fashion a la Napolean by thesprinklesonmyicecreamblog featuring opal stud earrings

Last but not least, I leave you with this twist on Napolean Dynamite's coveted brown suit. I had a hard time picking which elements of the film to make an outfit parody of. They're just all too good. In the end, I decided to leave the puffy sleeves, moon boots, and Kip's bling out of this one. You're welcome.

Well, that's a wrap! I'm off to go eat some Tater Tots now. Talking Napolean made me hungry.

May nerdom and fashion live long and prosper for many years to come. (Oooh, I should have done a Star Trek one!)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Snowflakes by Olivia Holt


This December, Olivia Holt released a new song called Snowflakes. I love it like Olaf likes summer and whipped cream loves hot cocoa. Maybe more. The guitar part? Swoon worthy. The melody? To die for. The message? Fantastic.

As I mentioned in this post, I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed with all the choices coming up in my life. It's pretty scary to realize you have to choose where you'll go to school, if you'll go on a mission, what you'll study, what job you'll prepare for, and what you want to do with your life, all while you still have to ask permission to go to the bathroom and sing the ABC's to put stuff in alphabetical order. Ah, the joys of senior year. :P

As I've been stressing and trying to plan everything out to the very last detail, I've learned something-- it doesn't matter how much logic I use, how much time I spend prepping, or how cute my planner is, there's always going to be someone with a better plan than me-- God.

It is so comforting to know that I can put my life in someone's hands who knows the big picture, sees what I am capable of, and will lead and guide me to become the very best person I can be. 

I think everyone is on that journey-- of learning to trust Heavenly Father and find our place in this life.

In the words of Olivia:
Some people spend their whole life in the clouds,
Some ride the wind and never hit the ground.
Some will shine like diamonds in the sun,
Heaven sent down each and every one.

We are snowflakes,
Floating till we find our place.
From a distance we may look the same,
but we're beautiful in our own way.
We are snowflakes.
We are all just like snowflakes, floating along until we find our place. But we're not alone.
I love how Olivia points out that Heavenly Father sent down each and every one of us. As His children, we are "beautiful in our own way[s]". He has given us each special talents and abilities to help us fulfill our missions here on this earth, and He will be with us every single step of the way.

With this knowledge, we don't need to worry about the future. We only need to do our best to move forward and trust in an all-knowing, all-loving God.

You could say this knowledge melts my fears. Yes, I went there.

Happy Monday!




Friday, January 16, 2015

5 Ways to Put Relaxation Back in Vacation

Ah, vacation. It's supposed to be a relaxing and refreshing experience, right? That's what they say, but for a home-body like me it is all too easy to come home from a trip feeling more tired stressed than I was before. Sure there are awesome parts of travel like trying interesting foods (squid, anyone?), meeting new people, and seeing amazing places, but how do you cope with the chaotic aspects of it all? Throughout my travels I’ve discovered some answers to that question and I’m letting you in on all my secrets.


1. Plan

While I am a firm believer in the need for occasional spontaneity, I also relish the ease of the familiar. Thus, I’ve found that one of the best ways to calm my traveling fears is to take some of the guess work out of it beforehand. Before you leave, book your hotel, research attractions, and check out photos of the area. Then, when you arrive you won’t be overwhelmed with the foreignness of your surroundings. As an added bonus, learning about your destination really builds up anticipation for the vacation. In fact, I’ve found it can be almost as exciting as the actual departure.

2. Don’t Overbook

While you’re busy working on step one and planning ‘til your heart’s content, be sure not to overschedule yourself. I know it can be easy to feel like you have to go to every single tourist attraction or your trip is a failure, but take a deep breath and relax. While it would be great to visit every store on the boardwalk, walk on every pier, or ski down every slope, narrow your must-see list down to a manageable number and be sure to leave time open for things like casually exploring or diving into a good book. Your day planner (and your psyche) will thank you.

oregon coast, vacation tips, beach

3. Don’t Mess With Mother Nature

Nothing’s worse than arriving at a beach expecting shorts and t-shirt weather and being greeted with pelting rain (not that I’ve ever done that before <cough, cough>). It may seem like a no brainer, but be sure to check the weather before you leave and pack accordingly. After all, it’s hard to relax when you’re busy fending off heat stroke or hypothermia.

4. Ditch your Tech

This paragraph may cause a plethora of teens to roll their eyes, but unplugging from technology during your vacation can really boost the relaxation factor. For safety, I recommend keeping your cell-phone with you but on a silent mode. Getting away from the world for a bit is what travel is all about, so don’t worry. Your favorite game, social media feeds, and e-mail account won’t go anywhere while you’re gone and by eliminating distractions you’ll get a lot more out of your trip.


5. Beat the Beaten Path

Although there are some sites worth seeing no matter how busy they are, lines and crowds can be a real downer. Some of my favorite vacations memories are of low-key, local places, and while they may be less famous, they’re certainly no less amazing. Talk to locals and see what activities they recommend. There’s a reason they love living where they do, and they’re usually happy to tell you about it.

No matter what, remember to have fun on your trip. Don’t get so caught up trying to have the time of your life that you forget to live. Close your eyes and savor the moment (and the squid) while you have the chance.



P.S. I wrote this for a scholarship entry at myfamilytravels.com, but thought it would be fun to post it here too. Plus, nothing gets me out of the winter-hating-cabin-fever-blues like thinking about vacation. Well, that and ice cream, but that's another story.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Sweet Things in my Life: Monday Edition

Happy Monday!

I have the flu, which is great in the sense that I've been able to get a lot of bloggy stuff done (re-vamped signature, side bar, about page, and FAQ's, anyone?), but bad due to the fact that I've basically accomplished zero of the things I had planned to get done this weekend. But who cares about plans, anyway? And at least I can justify drinking all the soda and eating all the saltines I want. #notasgoodasicecream #atleastthesodaisyummy

With the flu bug wreaking havoc on my stomach (and apparently my mood...sorry the above paragraph was so whiney), I figured today would be a good day to stop and remember the little things that are making life sweet right now. Here are my top 5:


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1. THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES

I saw the new Hobbit movie last week, and I'm so in love. I know a lot of people have been complaining about making one book into three films, but I really enjoyed the depth they were able to capture by stretching it out. I feel like a lot of times the endings of movies are rushed, like they just kind of ran out of money and were like, "OMGoodness, we've got to wrap this up like a candy bar, stat", so then they just throw a bunch of melted chocolate into a shiny package and call it good. With the Hobbit trilogy (and all the LOTR movies, in fact), this was definitely not the case. I'd say they pretty much nailed the whole chocolate thing. It was basically the See's truffle of the cinematic world. (Wow, I must be hungry. Perhaps I've turned into a Hobbit? Is it time for Elevensies, yet?)


2. IF RAPUNZEL'S HAIR WAS REAL by STUDIO C

As a girl with an unruly head of curls, I can totally relate to this sketch. Except I'm not a dude, and I do actually shower. . . I have found unexpected things in my hair many a time, though. Once there was even a spider <shutters>. That was a very scary day. Let's stop thinking about nightmarish tales like that and just watch this comedy sketch instead, kay? Okay.

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3. AUSSIE'S 3 MINUTE MIRACLE CONDITIONER

Speaking of hair, have you tried Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle conditioner yet? It has been a total game changer for me and my frizzy locks. Since I've been using it, I haven't had to do deep conditioning treatments nearly as often. (Plus, it's only $3 a bottle at Target, which is a total win in my book.)



4. FLASHLIGHT by HUNTER HAYES

Since technically it's Music Monday, I can't help but throw tune in with the mix. If this blog had a theme song, I'm pretty sure Flashlight by Hunter Hayes would be it. It's all about the tiny miracles in our lives that give us strength to carry on. I love it.

5. NEW YOUTH THEME

I am so excited for this year's youth theme! Finding more ways to serve is one of my main goals for this year. Plus I feel like the "embark" phraseology couldn't be more applicable to my life right now. Here's to a year of change and new beginnings!

(Also, I might have loved the nautical theme "embark" suggests so much that I Photoshopped my own little typography word art thing. Thinking about the beach can make any winter inversion better, right?)


   

So there's a little glimpse at what's making life sweet these days. What are the sweet things in your life?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Somebody



I have a pet peeve.

Well, more than one, actually <hangs head in shame>.

I cannot stand the sound of people chewing, even myself, but I absolutely adore food. Paradoxical, I know. :P

I also very much dislike being stuck behind slow walkers, unless they are cute Grandmas and Grandpas. (See how adorable they are?)


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But high school couples don't have to use canes and aren't nearly as charming as the elderly folks above, so I'm pretty sure those googly eyed teens could walk faster if they really wanted to.

Rant over. 

Sort of.

I guess what I'm trying to get at in this post is bigger than just a pet peeve: it's a problem. In fact, it's one of those issues that just gets under my skin, lights a bonfire in my soul, and sends fireworks spewing out of my brain (hey, maybe that explains my frizzy hair?).

The truth is, I'm sick and tired of girls being obsessed with marriage.

I know, it sounds bad. Please don't freak out or hate me. I am a firm believer in the importance of finding an eternal companion and marrying them in the right place, but I'm also a firm believer in marrying them at the right time, and freshman (or even Senior) year of high school is definitely not that time. Know what I mean?

Marriage is hard.  That's why it's for grown ups. Yes, it brings tons of joy, but it's not the happily ever after that the movies make it out to be. True, you get to experience that special someone's strengths and talents, but you also have to  learn to live with another person, accept their faults (including the way they chew and walk slowly sometimes), and help someone else with their struggles and trials along with your own. Yes, they help you bear your burdens too, and when you're equally yoked, marriage can add great depth and meaning to life; but my point is you can't just wait for marriage to save you. That's too much responsibility to put on another person.

I believe that instead of focussing on being somebody's, we need to concentrate on being somebody.

Allow me to explain:

Every day, I see girls bend over backwards to get a guy to notice them. They'll change their hobbies, clothes, beliefs, sense of humor, and even personality just to get some attention. 

I don't do that, and yes it often means I stay home during Prom and Homecoming and spend Valentines Day with my boyfriends Ben & Jerry (long live Chocolate Fudge Brownie!), but I believe that eternity is a very long time to be someone I'm not. 

Want to know a secret? Someone who truly loves me won't want me to change my favorite things or personality just to match theirs. 

They'll love me for who I am.

They'll love me and my lame puns, plaid shirts, obsession with Star Wars, and crazy hair.

They'll love me for having goals, loving education, and being a firm believer that ice cream makes bad days (or any day for that matter) better.

They'll love me even though I might talk about Lord of the Rings too much, obsess over neuroscience, get lost in books too often, burn food, and have the worst time waking up in the morning.

And they'll even love me when I'm covered in drool, styling a messy bun (and not the gorgeous ones that show up on Pinterest either, I might add), and sporting oh-so-fashionable sweat pants because it's finals week and I passed out on the couch. 

And your special special someone is going to love you, too. 

For who YOU are.

Not for who the popular crowd wants you to be or who People magazine says you should emulate.

They'll love YOU. 

Wait for that person, but don't just sit there.

Find out who YOU are.

Discover what you love. What makes you sad. What makes you happy. What makes fireworks leak out of your head and what scares you silly. Make goals. Make plans. Dream.

It's okay to be you. It's okay to exercise your talents, follow your heart (Wow, I sound like Mulan! My day is made! lol), and become who you've always wanted to be. 

Go to college, write that book, open that cupcake store, go parachuting with your 97 year old Grandma (ok, well maybe that's not the best idea ...), and follow your dreams.

In the end, I think you'll discover becoming somebody helped you find that other somebody, and that kind of sincerity and authenticity, (not fake masks, feigned giggles, or altered egos), is what love is really all about.

Ok, my rant is officially over now. Thanks for listening ... err ... reading. I totally owe you a candy bar now. Or a milkshake. Yes, definitely a milkshake. ;)

Best wishes to my favorite somebodies!


P.S. While I was planning this post, I read this one by Shelby at This Little Light of Mine. It is phenomenal. You should read it. 

P.P.S. And because a lovey-dovey post wouldn't be complete without words from the leading love expert, Olaf, here is a Frozen meme. You're welcome.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Courage, Ramen, Wizards, and Me

One of my goals for 2015 is to have more courage. With all the changes coming up in my life (school, career choices, running out of ice cream...), it is easy to become bogged down with fears about the future. Will I manage to graduate without pulling out all of my hair or dying during finals week? Will I learn to make food or will I have to survive off of cereal and burnt Ramen? (Yes, I have managed to burn Ramen before. The reality of potential starvation is becoming quite apparent.) Will I go on a mission? Will I get in to my dream school? Will I be okay away from home or will I revert back to my thumb-sucking, sippy-cup drinking days?

The whole graduation struggle is real, folks.

This year, I want to stop being such a scaredy cat. In years past, I've spent a lot of time feeling guilty for being afraid. If I am to be a brave ninja warrior, I have to be courageous all the time and never be scared, right?

Wrong.

Remember this scripture from  2 Nephi 2:11?
For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad . . . (neither tasty food, nor burnt Ramen, neither cowarding, nor courage).
Ok, so I might have added a few lines in there, but the point is if there weren't things to be afraid of, we could never have real courage.

I love this quote from Mark Twain:



Courage isn't about never being scared. It's about being afraid, looking your fears straight in the face, and going "nah-nah you can't get me" with your tongue sticking out anyway. It's knowing that things might go wrong, but trying your best regardless. It's being afraid, but pushing on.

But wait, there's more! Want to know how to make your courage stronger?

I'll tell you. Just follow a yellow brick road, meet a girl with a cute little dog and a blue gingham dress, go on a trek to Oz, and beg the wizard to make you brave.

I kid. The gospel of Jesus Christ provides us with something a bajillion times cooler than a wizard, a towering emerald city, or even sparkly red shoes.

Faith.

God has a plan for each and every one of us. As President Monson once said, He "is in the details of our lives". With this knowledge, we can take comfort in the fact that no matter what happens, He will guide our paths and help us become who He wants to be. 

Faith is knowing that ice cream will melt, Ramen will burn, struggles will come, and times may be hard, but trusting in God and doing his will anyway. It's being scared, but knowing that God is more powerful than any struggle you might face and choosing faith over fear. It's believing that Heavenly Father is aware of your needs and will not require anything of you unless he ". . . prepare[s] a way for [you] that [you] may accomplish the thing which he commandeth. . .". In short, it's trusting God.

You know how super heroes can get an energy boost and then their powers are insanely strong? Faith is the energy boost of the courage-seeker's world. 

This year, I'm on a journey down a yellow brick road of sorts, but instead of a wizard I'm seeking counsel from my Father in Heaven. I'm learning how to trust Him and let Him shape my life. I'm discovering how to more fully utilize the atonement and find comfort through my Savior. And through all that, I'm learning how to have real courage. (And also, I'm on the hunt for some cute red sparkly shoes like Dorothy's, but that's another story.)

Here's to a 2015 full of fear-facing, courage-finding, faith-laden awesomeness (and unburnt Ramen).


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