Friday, June 27, 2014

Modesty Week - Elise's Perspective

It is such an honor to have my best friend and cousin Elise,
share her thoughts on modesty with us today!
 - She blogs over HERE

Oh, modesty. What a fun topic, right? Really, though - it's a hot topic and an important one at that.

To me, modesty is a lot less about whether or not it's okay to wear a bikini than we sometimes make it out to be. We focus a lot on dress and appearance - ever wonder why? Raise your hand if you've felt insecure in your life because of how you were dressed compared to how someone else was dressed? Okay, now raise your hand if you felt like you had to dress a certain way to "fit in" or get dates or just be normal?

Okay. So, maybe the real hot topic here is deeper than what we wear. Maybe our real "big concerns" are actually feeling like we belong somewhere, feeling like we have value, and/or knowing that we are loved and wanted.

If you look up a definition of modesty, you'll find that it doesn't just talk about clothing. It talks about your demeanor, your actions, your attitude... modesty is not a dress code, it's a value. If we look at modesty as a principle, we can know how to be modest in dress and appearance. We also learn how to be modest in our actions, how to live within a modest budget, etc.

Let's talk about the foundation of the value of modesty. I'm sure there's more to it, but the foundation I rely on is the principle of self-worth. When you recognize your personal worth, you become free. What do I mean by that? I mean that suddenly the clothes you're wearing aren't about feeling valued because you dress like a movie star or you have the latest jeans from whichever store is cool these days. Suddenly, the way you present yourself is a lot more about who YOU already are and a lot less about who you think you have to be to "fit in". You become free because you're making choices based on the knowledge that you already have value and that value never goes away.

Pope John Paul II once said that "the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of a person, but that it shows too little." Who we truly are is not about our bodies or what we put on them. Who we are is deep within us - the things we value, the choices we make, the person we want to become. When we dress for others we take the focus off who we are, and put it on what we are. We become objects to be looked at or enjoyed or appreciated instead of humans with feelings and values and worth.

Learn who you are and you won't need anyone to tell you whether or not that bikini is okay - in fact, that's the most freeing part of it all. Because you know who YOU are, nobody gets to take away your power by telling you how to dress.

I know I get a little soap box-y sometimes, so let me just sum up: You have and infinite and individual worth that is not defined by what others think of you or how you dress. You also have the ability to choose how you want to dress and act. To me, modesty is about knowing who you are and representing yourself in a way that shows that you know your worth - not showing off, but letting the real, beautiful you shine through.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Modesty Week - Ashley Ziegler's Perspective

Growing up I was raised in a Mormon family who valued modesty and also the church leaders. Our church teaches: "Modesty is an attitude of propriety and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior. If we are modest, we do not draw undue attention to ourselves. Instead, we seek to “glorify God in [our] body, and in [our] spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:20; see also 1 Corinthians 6:19)."
Graduation 2010
I never really cared much when I was younger. All I wanted was to wear spaghetti straps, bikini's and short shorts like my friends. I wanted to fit in so bad and I was frustrated that my parents wouldn't let me. I felt it was unfair and ridiculous. I rebelled for a little while and then after doing personal progress my first time, I realized being modest is something I needed in my life to help me prepare for one of the most sacred ordinances I would be apart of some day. Marriage.
photo credit
I told myself I would dress as if I were wearing garments. And from that day forward, I never wore anything immodest. I knew my body was a temple and I needed to start treating it like one. It was really hard. Going on vacations and wearing short sleeved shirts and long shorts. It was hard wearing layers once I got married but the day I received my endowment and really understood the meaning of dressing modestly, my perspective changed, yet again. I thought I was being modest, but then I went through the Temple and now I really had to be modest.

Being modest isn't a chore. It's a choice. A choice that will bless you here and now, and in the eternities. It's a choice that will never hold you back from blessings and will keep you happy for the rest of your lives. Being modest shoes respect for your body and respect to Heavenly Father who gave it to you. Make the decision now to be modest. I promise you won't regret it!

Visit Ashley Ziegler's blog here 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Modesty Week - Deidre's Perspective {Love the Skinny's}

Top: Gap | Jeans: Gap | Shoes: Target

Growing up as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I was taught from a very young age that there was an importance in modesty. And while my mother had rules, she also let me figure out what modesty meant to me all on my own. My mother's rules included length of shorts, which was probably shorter than most Mormon families - all my shorts had to have at least a 4" inseam, and thickness of tank top straps, that is right... she let me wear tanks - I didn't always have to have sleeves. My mother never questioned her rules, even when someone would say, "I can't believe you are letting your daughter wear those shorts." Because in her mind, she wanted me to learn for myself and she didn't feel like a fight over whether my shorts had a 4" inseam or an 8" inseam was worth it.

I am so grateful to my mother for letting me learn those lessons on my own. Not only am I able to understand modesty so fully, but I am able to tell my mother thank you - after all those fights of my friends wearing the shorty shorts that I couldn't wear - for letting me learn on my own. Her guidelines put me into a place where I was able to see the importance of modesty. Where I was able to learn on my own and at the same time not be judgmental of those that choose to dress differently.

Fashion is something that has recently become fun for me. I love being able to put together new outfits and try out new styles. I don't feel limited by my choice to be modest because I was able to experiment with clothing growing up. My Mom let me decide what I wanted to wear and she let me dress myself within the guidelines she set. Yeah... sometimes I did weird things like layer four tank tops so I could get a color combo to match my headband, but now I know that layering is a great option to keep clothing modest. I love to shop at stores like Sexy Modest - ironic name, right? - for their famous basic cap sleeve tops. They are extremely comfortable and they are perfect for tops that are too sheer or too low cut. I also love to shop at Downeast Basics for their simple and long skirts that are perfect for pairing with lots of things in my closet. I love buying my swimsuits from Lime Ricki because they always have options that are darling and don't even make you think about buying a bikini. A lot of my other clothing comes from Target, Old Navy, Gap, and Forever 21... because if you take the time, you can find modest outfits in any store. You can see how I take a modern twist on modesty over at Love, The Skinnys.

Modesty to me isn't the length of your sleeve or the length of your shorts... it is the way you carry yourself while you are in the clothing you wear. It is the way you portray yourself and the respect you give yourself. "Our clothing expresses who we are. It sends messages about us, and it influences the way we and others act. When we are well groomed and modestly dressed, we can invite the companionship of the Spirit and exercise a good influence on those around us." I want the clothing I wear to influence me to be the best me, and that is why I dress modestly. I want the clothing I wear to represent the woman I have become, and that is why I dress modestly. And most of all, I want to be able to show people the light of Christ in my eyes no matter where I am, and that is why I dress modestly.

At the end of the day I dress modestly for myself. I dress modestly because I respect myself and I respect the woman I have become. I want others to respect me and I want them to see me for the woman I am. No distractions from clothing or skin. And while I know there are people that appreciate me dressing appropriate and modest, like my husband, that is only the icing on the cake.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Modesty Week - Aubrey's Perspective

Growing up I didn't think about modesty nearly as much as I should have. I grew up in the south. It was hot and humid. I wore the least amount of clothes as possible. 
Fast forward a few years... I went to college at Brigham Young University with a dress code that required modesty. It was my choice to go to school there, so I felt like it was my obligation to obey the dress code. Because the dress code was pretty specific it came up a lot in conversation. I remember one specific conversation with a group of guys. They talked about how much easier it was to be morally clean when girls covered up their bodies. It was very eye opening and taught me the value of modesty.

 photo redblack_zps16833276.jpg  photo august30x30024_zpsc169c954.jpg
black cardi (gap outlet), button down (old navy), red skinnies (kohls)
denim jacket (old roommmate), sequin top (old navy), melon skinnies (gap outlet)
 photo crafts003_zps7f3202e9.jpg
blue cardi (h&m), yellow v neck (the shine project), jeans (gap outlet)
denim jacket (old roommate), white v neck (target), black skinnies (kohls)

Modesty is important to me, because I respect my body enough to cover up. 
Depending on the current fashion trends, shopping for modest clothing can be a little tricky. I shop all over for accent items, but for my staple items (cardigans, jackets, jeans, and basics) my top 3 stores are target, gap outlet, and old navy. Cardigans are my signature and help make almost all shirts more modest. My other tip is to layer, that way I never have to worry about not being modest enough.

I'm really glad I had that conversation as a college freshman. Not only did it make me more determined to be modest for the guys around me, but it helped me see the value of being modest for myself.

Check out Aubrey's Blog HERE

Monday, June 23, 2014

Modesty Week - Laura's Perspective

So this week on the blog -
 it's what I am calling 'Modesty Week'. 

5 incredible people will be sharing their perspective on modesty 
and the importance of it.

They will also be showing you where to shop
 for modest clothing, because sometimes that can get tricky.


Hi everyone! I'm Laura and I blog over at Sincerely, Laura! I blog about my family, my life, and things that make me happy. I'm so thankful that Ashley has invited me over here to talk about one of the things that's most important to me- modesty!

I love dressing modestly. It was instilled in me, at a young age, that dressing modestly is important. Some of my friends assume that I dress modestly because of my religion, and while that is definitely true, it's not the only reason. I dress modestly because it shows that I respect my body. It shows that I respect myself as a woman, and as a daughter of God. I dress modestly because it shows that I know there is more to who I am than just my body.

I love this quote from M. Russell Ballard, from "Mothers and Daughters" on dressing modestly-

"For example, they need to understand that when they wear clothing that is too tight, too short, or too low cut, they not only can send the wrong message to young men with whom they associate, but they also perpetuate in their own minds the fallacy that a woman’s value is dependent solely upon her sensual appeal. This never has been nor will it ever be within the righteous definition of a faithful daughter of God. They need to hear this—clearly and repeatedly—from your lips, and they need to see it modeled correctly and consistently in your own personal standards of dress, grooming, and modest living." 
lace tee: downeast basics | button up: downeast basics | jeans: american eagle

As a fashion student, I do understand that most of the world is not concerned with dressing modestly. However, there are so many fashion trends that are modest and cute, and so many stores that carry modest clothing that make it easier on us girls who would love to dress modestly! My favorite stores to shop at that carry modest clothing are Gap, DownEast Basics, and Winsome Jones. 
tee: forever 21 | skirt: downeast basics | belt: thrifted

I love that Gap carries such classic styles in trendy prints and colors. Their clothes are, more often than not, very modest and fashionable at the same time! DownEast carries modest dresses & skirts that are so difficult to find these days. I love that when I need a new skirt or dress, I can hop on their website or run down to their store, and bam, tons of cute (and modest!) dresses & skirts. Winsome Jones is a new find of mine, and definitely a new favorite! Their whole motto is "less skin, more style" and I love that! They carry modest skirts, dresses, and tops and their accessories are to die for!
dress: shabby apple | heels: payless

I understand that it's not always the easiest thing to dress modestly and feel comfortable walking around outside without feeling like a Pioneer, but there are so many fun and cute ways you can style your modest clothing to keep up with the fashion world! Be creative, try new things, and most importantly, stick to your standards! You never know who is looking to you to be their example.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

5 Tips for Finishing Personal Progress

Post written by Alissa Merrill,
who recently received her Young Women's medallion at age 14.

I look up to this girl a lot. She has so much faith and a rock solid testimony.

 5 tips for finishing Personal Progress:

1.) Don't get discouraged -  If you look at the whole book, it does seem like a lot of work. If you do it in sections, it is a lot easier. It may not be that exciting when you first start working on it, but trust me it really does become addicting and it is so exciting to finish new things. If you stick with it, you will never ever regret it. 

2.) Find stuff you're already doing that can be incorporated in Personal Progress - I finished lots of my projects and experiences because I couldn't believe how much I already do! You just have to keep track of it and you're good to go! If you're in sports or take part in a performance of some sort, you can use those hours of practicing for a project!

 3.) Have fun with it - Don't make the projects a drag! Find something that interests you and something you will enjoy doing for 10 hours. Doing something you enjoy makes it fun and you're more likely to finish it if you're doing something you like!

 4.) Make goals and pace yourself -  Personal Progress is all about keeping track of and meeting goals. If you give yourself a certain time frame to finish something, do it! It's so much easier to stick to goals if you know what they are. 

5.) Get it done as early as possible - Personal Progress is an amazing tool we have been given for our day. It really is an inspired program that can help you grow so much in the gospel. I couldn't believe how easy it really was to finish. I was home schooled for my 7th grade year, and that's when I began to work on it the most. It really does help to finish it over the summer or when you have time so it's less stressful to get it done before your 18th birthday. Finishing it before high school helped me a ton. And plus, getting to wear your medallion everyday makes it so worth it. 

Blessings I have received from earning my medallion:

Personal Progress was a HUGE eye opener to me.
I honestly thought it was so dumb and boring, but when I started to feel alone
or feel like I wasn't good enough, I would turn to it.
I literally tested it. I was feeling so sad one day and saw my book 
and literally thought to myself, "I wonder if this'll work.. well.. I guess i can try it" 
so I picked it up and worked on what I was struggling with. 
It was Individual Worth at the time. I was feeling so alone but when I picked up that book and started reading the scriptures, I felt this peace that was so indescribable.
I cannot even tell you what I felt when I picked that book up for the first time. 
It was like all of my problems and all of my doubts had gone away. 

Personal Progress literally made me go from sad tears to happy tears
in a manner of about 10 minutes.
 I felt the Saviors love for me. 
And it was the first time in 3 years that I had felt that. 

If you are struggling in any way, Personal Progress can help so much.

 If you feel your faith is faltering,
  work on Faith. 

If you feel you're not sure who you are or what you're meant to be,
 work on Divine Nature.

If you're feeling inadequate and alone, 
work on Individual Worth. 

If you're confused, spiritually or mentally or in any other way, work on Knowledge.

 If you're not sure which path to take, 
work on Choice and Accountability. 

 If you're struggling with serving others, 
work on Good Works! 

 If you're standing alone, 
work on Integrity. 

If you're ridiculed because of 
your beliefs and values, work on Virtue. 

These values are here for OUR day. We just have to turn to it. 
No one can help you if you don't put your arm up and reach out for help. It doesn't work. Personal Progress was my friend when no one else was. 
It pretty much saved my life and it can do the same for you. 
I know it can and  will if you help you in your own life if you will make the effort.
It may not come right away like it was for me, 
but I know it can help with anything and everything.