Like I said yesterday - I'm all about baths. Maybe a little too much? Is that even possible? Anyway, I am. I love baths. So bath bombs and bubble bars really get me, they understand me. LOL. I found Bare Nature Soaps on Etsy as I was searching for bubble bars - you know, Lush makes them, and once you crumble them under the running bath water, they make your water all colorful and yummy-smelling and super bubbly? Well, Victoria from Bare Nature Soaps makes some amazing bubble bars as well and hers are personalized to your wants. I chose an angel food cake scented bubble bar with purple and pink colors. So gorgeous, and so yummy. (The picture on the right is the bath the bubble bar produced, but only halfway.)
Victoria from Bare Nature Soaps is giving away a couple of bath bombs, a bar of handmade soap, and a full-size bubble bar. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter! Good luck!
I'm pretty minimalistic when it comes to jewelry - I think I've said that before on my blog - so I usually only wear my wedding and engagement rings, sometimes a simple necklace, and that's usually it. But then I came across Toni Rae Creations on Etsy and fell in love with her personalized rings. Toni made and sent me a ring with mine and Dustin's initials on it with a heart in the middle and it's absolutely adorable. Now you have a chance to win your very own and she and I are both very excited about it! (dl = dustin lee, cl = cara lynn)
I guess my blog is becoming sort of a giveaway blog as of late, and I don't see that changing anytime soon because I have a ton of goodies coming atcha. Like today, I have this amazing kimono cardigan to show off that I am in LOVE with, and I know you will be too. To enter, just use the Rafflecopter widget below! Follow LOVEIN on Instagram @shoplovein, favorite their Etsy shop (new items added every week!), and they offer 5% off everything - just use code LOVEIN718 - offer expires July 31st - no minimum, can be used repeatedly. Oh, and don't forget to favorite 5 items in their Etsy shop for more entries! Good luck!
Lately my blog has been taken over by giveaway posts - which I don't necessarily apologize for, especially because a bunch more will be happening (I guess it's the summer of giveaways at The Marvelous Flight of Cara!), but I haven't been doing much of actual updating, which I DO apologize for.
Shakeology has been going well, but unfortunately I don't notice much of a difference in my pain level, or my energy level, and it's been over two weeks, so I'm pretty discouraged. But, I'm excited to try Relief by ItWorks and see how that affects my pain levels, so I'll keep you posted on that. Still tapering off my pain meds which has been difficult, but Dustin and I are going to the Vancouver temple tomorrow, and then again next Saturday, July 9th (for something super meaningful to me) which I know will change a lot of things and help me even more than my meds are, so I look forward to what Heavenly Father has in store.
As far as music goes - I was in a HUGE slump for a few years... yes, years, but I finally reached out to a music guru whom I trust and she gave me some advice, and then I wisely downloaded Soundcloud which has really helped me in the area of music as well, especially since making a Sleeping at Last station. So now I can't get enough.
Dustin and I are doing really well - having fun and falling more in love. He's my best friend and he makes me better. He brings out the best of me, a part of me I've never seen.
When I got married, I became obsessed with the idea of being a wifey. It may seem silly, but I love the label, and I think it's adorable - I enjoy being a wife and I think it's cute to wear clothing or jewelry items that say so on them. So, when I found Bleacher Kouture's trucker hat with gold glitter and a DIAMOND outline, I fell in love. Now I can't stop wearing the hat - to the pool, the grocery store, around the house - it fits so well.
Now's your chance to win one of your own!
There are two chances to win, so be sure to enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Visit Bleacher Kouture's Etsy shop and let me know what you would choose if you won!
Along with such an adorable hat, you have ANOTHER chance to win some gorgeous personalized stationery. This time it comes with your monogram on it! This is the first thing I've owned with my new initials on it and I love it, and my very first monogram I've ever owned. You can win your very own set of personalized stationery with your monogram on it, and you get to choose the envelope color as well as the ink color. I chose mint green envelopes and purple ink! Good luck!
Be sure to Like I Design That on Facebook and enter with the Rafflecopter widget below!
What treat is better than chocolate? Truly? It's rich, delicious, decadent, melts in your mouth - it's the perfect delight. But I've gone sugar-free, and chocolate without aspartame or any other sugar replacement is very difficult to find, so when I found Hooray Truffles, I was really excited! Besides being vegan, their truffles are fruit-sweetened, not needing any sugars of any other kind to make them sweet! And the things are delicious, let me tell you.
I was sent a box of the amazing Black Cherry Balsamic truffles.
Now, if you're in CANADA - you have a chance to win your very own box of truffles as well! Your choice of flavors! You must follow me on Instagram and favorite Hooray Truffles on Etsy! Good luck!
Happy first day of summer!
Since it's the first day of summer, I figured I'd do a summertime wishlist post, including all the things I'd love to have with me by the beach, by the pool, or at home this summer. What's on your summertime wishlist this year?
As I'm sitting here this morning on the couch, drinking my chocolate Shakeology, it's cloudy outside - which is gorgeous - and I'm frustrated. Frustrated with my skin - and I wonder - if you have acne, what do you use to clear it up? Of course I want to use something like Rodan and Fields but c'mon, $171 for an entire regimen? We can't afford that right now, so give me some advice for something I can get at the drugstore - and not Target because we don't have those up in Canada (a true travesty, I know - and there's no sarcasm in that, I truly am heartbroken. I left many things behind in California, not least of which is Target).
On the plus side, I have a new *domain*! Marvelouscara.ca! I'm so excited and I'm still trying to link everything up as I just purchased it yesterday, and it takes a few days for everything to settle - so please let me know if it's all working in Bloglovin' and everything. But I know you're all as excited as I am!
Thank you for entering the awesome stationery giveaway from Find a Penny! There are nine more hours left so be sure to go to this post and enter here!
Since tomorrow is Father's Day, Happy Father's Day, Daddy! Love you!
Happy Thursday! How is everyone? Dustin didn't have to work today so we got to spend the day together driving around Kelowna. It was a gorgeous sunshine-y day! We visited a dear friend in the hospital , bought a homeless man lunch, prayed together a lot, and had tacos for dinner! Now I'm just watching some Full House while he rests! I thought I'd update you all on a simple "Currently" post, so enjoy! What's new in your life? What have you been up to lately?
Hello everyone! I have another giveaway for you! The last giveaway was won by none other than my friend Aubrie. Congratulations, Aubrie!
This time, with Find a Penny Paper Co.
, I'll be giving away a set of personalized stationery! I received mine just yesterday and let me tell you, it is GORGEOUS. You choose the color of envelopes you'd like and the color of ink you'd like for your name (which is written in calligraphy, I might add). I chose turquoise envelopes and pink ink. In my video below I accidentally said you receive ten pieces of each, but you actually receive twelve. Oops! Anyway, good luck!
Hello again! As promised I have my first giveaway for you of the season! It's a 4 oz. lotion scent of your choice from Birdie's Bath and Body! I received Cotton Candy because Dustin and I are both obsessed with the scent (and taste of the candy, but you can't eat this - so don't try) and this definitely delivers! So, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below - it's super simple - and Good Luck!
As I prepare for my Shakeology to get here (I purchased it on Monday, get your butt here already!), my motivation for things have changed a bit. I'm eager to lose weight, to have more energy to become more fit, to work hard and become the woman I really want to become. I read somewhere that we were given three things in this life: a body, a mind, and a lifetime. And how we use of the first two impacts the length and happiness of the third. Well, I'm tired of not being in control of my body and allowing my cravings and such to control me.
I also read somewhere that a goal without a plan is just a wish, so, I need a plan. Besides the Shakeology, what else have I got? More walking, that's for sure. More fruit and veggies, I've been off sugar now for two and a half weeks!, so I'm on the right path! I want to focus on other things that make me happy as well! So, what are those things? My hubby of course, reading dystopian fiction, reading my scriptures, talking about the gospel, going out for sushi or pizza or wings, (not healthy - but a yummy cheat day!), oh - I'll have one cheat day a week which allows one treat.
Things I'm Doing to Better Myself
Read (the books I've already read in 2016 here)
Walk 4x a week
Eat more fruits and veggies often
Drink my Shakeology
Get on a consistent sleep schedule
Make new friends
Read my scriptures daily
Try and blog more
I've done it. I've been off of refined sugars for two weeks now! Days 1 and 2 were the hardest, but it's as if Canada is my Promised Land and the things I've needed for my health for quite some time are all coming to pass now that I've moved up here - the strength to go without sugars, the strength to wean off of my most important pain med! I've come down from 3 pills daily to 1/2 a pill for the past week now, and again - it's been so difficult! But Heavenly Father has provided the strength, and the atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ, is infinite and reaches down deep into my needs and desires - both of these desires being GOOD desires. I'm only down about 4 lbs. and I'm not feeling much better yet, but I'm excited for what the future holds. Especially because I'll be starting Shakeology here pretty soon! Truly, I'm SO excited for all the rich nutrients, healthy benefits, for my energy to come back which I haven't felt in years, for the inflammation to go down in my joints and muscles - everything!
On top of the health changes I've been making, I've been reading more - some dystopian young adult fiction, as well as a non-fiction autobiography by Al Fox Carraway called More Than the Tattooed Mormon (here) and it's so good. I resonate with it a lot as I'm a convert - just like Al - and her points and messages are just so good - I highly recommend it!
Dustin has been a great support in everything lately. One thing I really hold dear to my heart is how often he asks me how I'm feeling. It feels so particularly thoughtful to me that he's always asking it, and reminds me that he remembers that I don't feel well. He's also been mostly off refined sugars as well and is so supportive of the Shakeology because he trusts me and my decision to try it out! Especially because of their 30-day money back guarantee! Woo hoo!
5 years. That's how long I lived in sunny, gorgeous southern California. Well, it would be 5 years on May 31st, but can you believe it? 5 years ago I moved from western Pennsylvania - Pittsburgh to be exact - on my own, across the country, because Heavenly Father urged me and opened up a door wide for me to walk through. Now, 5 years later, I've walked through another door up north to British Columbia, Canada to a husband - Dustin - a new family, a new home, new everything! The mountains and rolling hills are gorgeous, the sunshine is brighter, the sky is bluer, it's just so beautiful to be up here. I do, however, already miss the beaches (of course), and my family (another of course), but I'm thankful to be here. And I'm thankful to have time and energy to jump back into blogging again. Will you join me? I hope you will. I'm looking into advertising and being a part of some giveaways coming up soon if I can. Please include me if you know of any!
I'm excited for this new chapter of my life!
Where am I? I'm currently sitting on my couch in my living room in my condo in Kelowna, British Columbia! I live here now! Crazy, right?! I know, I know, my only updates have been on Instagram and Facebook (if we aren't Facebook friends - you can add me here), but now that I'm not going to be working for a while and I'm married! I'm going to have time again to get back to blogging! And I'm so excited!
Loving: The mountain views, Lake Okanagan, long drives with my husband, my in-laws, the list goes on.
Like I said, I hope to be blogging more now that I have more time on my hands! More about Canada, about my move, about what I miss (California, family, etc.), redecorating the condo slowly but surely, maybe even cooking! Who knows! But please leave any questions or notes in the comments below! Missed you guys so much!
I met Michael on the Tinder dating app - yes, we both swiped right. When we met, and I found out he was a Mormon, I remember having the thought that I could convert him and evangelize him to my Christianity. How silly I was and how Heavenly Father must've giggled at my plan. Anyway, the first theological discussion we had was on the topic of grace. We spoke about how it's more than just a free gift to take and use as freedom to do as we please, and then go to Heavenly Father and ask for forgiveness. I was intrigued, but not quite convinced just yet. So, we kept talking. At this point, I had forgotten about my Joseph Smith prayer, but I kept moving forward, and I'm so thankful and glad that I did. Michael and I began having more and more of these types of conversations, many more. Doctrinal conversations that "normal" investigators of the church don't normally have, but Heavenly Father knew I had to have in order to slowly become even more interested. Remember that lacking feeling I mentioned before? The lacking feeling of the gift of the Holy Ghost? Well I began to feel things. I began to feel my spirit testifying to the deep truths of the things Michael and I were talking about. I began to feel a burning in my bosom, something I had always longed for but never understood; a warmth and excitement, a joy and an overwhelming happiness! I could barely contain it, and every time it happened, I had to cry tears of immense joy. So, time went on, and I learned more, my light grew, and my knowledge deepened.
The biggest part of my testimony, the biggest reason why I came to the church and am now a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is because I can't doubt the Holy Ghost. I cannot doubt what I have felt deep in my soul. I cannot doubt what the Lord has put in my path and caused to come to pass. The fulness of the gospel is found in this church, I have no doubts. Joseph Smith is a true prophet called by God to bring the restoration of this true church in these latter days to fruition; he saw Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father in the flesh and was given the priesthood by Peter, James, and John, also in the flesh. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Amen.
As time has gone on, my testimony has grown. Last October of 2014, Heavenly Father caused me to run into a pair of Chinese-speaking missionaries at a Target in Irvine while I was with Michael one day. If I had been alone, I never would've walked up to them, but because I was with Michael, he urged me to go up to them and give them my number. I did, and they passed it along to the English-speaking missionaries, who called me shortly thereafter. We spoke a few times here and there every couple of weeks, but I wasn't ready to meet with them yet, not because I wasn't ready to be converted, but because I wasn't ready to share with my family and friends that I would be adding unto the faith that I had grown up with. (Not leaving it behind, just adding onto. Mormonism is the fulness of the Gospel, and I already had the majority of my cup filled up.) Anyway, by the time January came around, I knew it was time. 2015 was to be the Year of Healing for me, and what better way to begin healing than to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ? I also knew that I now knew too much, and I would be held responsible for all I knew, so I had to make a decision: so on January 5th, I called up the missionaries and asked them to meet, and then on January 8th, we did! We went through all of the amazing lessons, where I learned so much more, where I gained an even greater testimony of the Spirit and of the pre-mortal existence (a lesson for another time), and where I set a baptismal date for March 21st!
And March 21st was the very best day of my life. There were about 50-60 people at my baptism, there was cake, a candy table, snacks, great speakers, a ukelele hymn, so many amazing missionaries whom I love, and I received a basket from my ward full of all the books every member should own, including my very own scriptures inscribed with my name on them! The next day though, I received the best gift I've ever received, the gift I've waited for my entire life: the gift of the Holy Ghost. Ever since then, ever since that most special day, I have lived without anger, without insecurity, I have lived with a constant companion to walk with me every single day whom I am so very grateful for.
I am so grateful for my testimony. So grateful for all of the amazing elders and members who taught me, who prayed and fasted for me, who continue to, and who walk alongside me in this life, encouraging me and loving me. Thank you.
Once I moved back to Pennsylvania, about nine months passed before I really took any action of any kind. That's when I began blogging and took up a part-time job as a sales associate at American Eagle Outfitters. Around March of 2010, I discovered a purpose I desired and that was to go back to school. I had been going to physical therapy for my fibromyalgia for a few months and thought it would be really awesome to go to school to be a physical therapist assistant; to help others in ways I'd been helped myself. So, I began looking into schooling, and discovered I wanted something other than PTA school but wasn't quite sure what yet, so I began taking gen ed classes in the summer of 2010 (best decision I had made in a long time). It got me back into the classroom, around people again, got my brain active, especially because doing nothing for those 9 months since being home from NTBI really took a toll on me mentally and caused some dark depression. School was a great decision, one that still makes me proud and excited to have done to this day. Once fall of 2010 came around, I signed up for more classes, this time declaring my major to be English - I am a huge grammar, spelling, editing, and literature nut - and couldn't have been happier. I finished fall semester, and then spring semester, then met a guy in February of 2011.
This guy happened to be friends with a really good friend of mine, Meg, whom I had gone to church with and somewhat grown up with, someone I had looked up to, but had fallen away from since she had moved to California for school. This guy was hard on my heart, didn't protect it, played with it as if it were a toy, so much so that I had a horrible panic attack... this led me to open back up to Meg once again, reach out to her, and she invited me to come visit her out in California that March of 2011. So, I went. While I was there, I fell in love with it. I had been out to visit one other time and loved it, but never thought twice about perhaps I could move out here. Well, this time around was different. This time I truly thought about it, because I felt something. So, I began praying while I was on this trip. Nobody knew what was going on inside my heart besides Heavenly Father and myself, and my last night in California, a gentleman whom I had never met prayed over me; he prophesied into my life, praying a Bible verse from the book of Revelation, where God is speaking and he spoke directly to me, saying "I have opened a door, and I am asking you to walk through it." That was the clearest sign I could've asked for, so I decided then and there that I would be moving to California, and that whatever hardships would come my way, God would turn those mountains into flat land. And He did!
And there was this guy I met during my visit, Dan, whom I thought to be very handsome, but I didn't know yet that I was to move out to California when I met him, so I thought nothing of it. Well, when I went back to PA and now knew I would be moving to CA, I went onto Facebook and added Dan as a friend and we began talking - so much so that we began long-distance dating. I then moved to California 2 months later on May 31st, 2011 and about a month and a half later on July 6th, Dan proposed and we were engaged. 6 months later on December 31st, we were married. As you can tell, things moved rather quickly, but I believe that amongst a thousand other lessons and reasons during my marriage, a huge one was to get me out to California to soften my heart toward the LDS church. Fast forward two and a half years and a heck of a lot of pain on both ends, Dan and I began discussing divorce. Because of this divorce talk, I prayed what I now call my Joseph Smith prayer, or my Nephi prayer. I prayed because I knew I was missing out on something: the gift of the Holy Ghost talked about in the New Testament was something I had never experienced, and something I was confused about why I had never experienced it before, and it left me asking questions, many many questions, hard questions. The main question I asked Heavenly Father was, what was my religion missing? I wanted the full truth, the entire truth, all of it, and nothing besides the truth, and I would do whatever it took to get there, no matter what, even if it had been a religion I had made fun of in the past, or mocked, I would have the truth. That was my prayer.
A couple months later, I met Michael, and everything changed.
As it's January 1st, 2016, I decided to do one of my favorite things and make a bucket list for the year! I usually do something like, 26 before 27 since I just turned 26 last week, but 10 things seems less daunting and I never seem to finish that many things anyway. So, here we are! What goals have you set for yourself this year? I also want to clean up my diet, as well as have the best February 14th ever (as it's the day after my divorce is officially final), but these are the top ten that made the cut!
1. Renew my passport.
2. Go to Canada to visit my dear boyfriend, Dustin.
3. Take out my endowments.
4. Blog at least once a week.
5. Lose ten pounds.
6. Read at least 5 books.
7. Go to the temple once a month.
8. Get a gym membership and go at least once a week.
9. Read my scriptures daily; finish the Book of Mormon.
10. Move from where I'm currently living now.
Happy New Year!
What better time to restart my blog than in the new year! I decided I would share my testimony to the LDS church as my first few posts to ring in 2016, so here we go! I'll break them up into parts 1, 2, and 3 all shared throughout the next few days. Enjoy!
My path to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints began years before I even realized it had. Isn't that so absolutely incredible - being able to look back and see Heavenly Father guiding you along the road He wants you to be on to get to a certain specific stop on the eternal journey we're on?
I guess I'll begin by saying that my foundation was lain by growing up in the evangelical born-again church my whole life, raised by two great parents who loved God and Jesus Christ and who taught it in the home; my faith was my identity - it was all I knew and everything that made me who I was. Because of this, during my junior year of high school, I went to Michigan to visit a small Bible college called New Tribes Bible Institute to see if it was for me. Their goal was to ultimately send students to their MTC (ironic to LDS missionaries, right? It even stands for the same thing!), to prepare and then send those students off to "the tribe" (hence New Tribes Bible Institute) to translate the Bible into the language of those people so they could then share the gospel with them. This was my goal. This was what I believed the Lord was calling me to do. (Aren't we crazy how we think things are forever, when we really should take things as they come: one day at a time, and for a season? Anyway...) I believed I would be a tribal missionary, and immaturely believed everyone else should be too (which is another story for another time), so
I went to Bible school for my first year and learned so much about the Bible, so much about the truths of the Old and New Testaments, and started having some health issues come about that couldn't be explained. Joint and muscle pain were the worst, as they were deep in my bones and distracted me from class, took me from prayer, stopped me from sleeping: it was horrible and I could barely live my life because of the pain, so I began going to doctors in Michigan, away from my family back in Pennsylvania, which was really hard as this was the first time I was away from home. When I went home that December over Christmas break, I met with a reumotologist and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and was told that 19 year olds barely ever get it, that mostly women in their 40's get it, so that was rough to hear. It was also rough to hear that there's no cure for the disease; I wanted a quick fix so I could go back to living a normal life again - but Heavenly Father had (and continues to have) other plans. So, I didn't change any meds or diet or anything yet, but I did go back to school in the spring, then started school early that following summer, as well as the third semester, but things started getting worse health-wise.
I couldn't ignore it anymore. Having a diagnosis didn't change the pain. The sleep was still lacking, I could barely exercise or move, couldn't sit through class, so by October I began to feel faced with a decision. That decision was: do I leave and take care of myself or do I stay and suffer through this? So I sought counsel from many people that I looked up to and trusted, I prayed a lot, and I kept getting the same answer: it's up to me. Which was very very difficult for me, as this was the biggest decision I had ever had to make in my life thus far on my own, and I was scared to make the wrong one, but I just kept getting the strongest impression that the decision was mine to make. During that time, I was taking a Romans class, and we had just made it to Romans 12:1 where Heavenly Father tells us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, and I read that in a new light as I never had before. God was asking me to present my sick body as a sacrifice to Him, in the condition that it was, and by going home to take care of myself, I would be doing that. So on October 20, 2009, I left, and moved back home to Pennsylvania.
This was the first big way that I look back and see how God protected me and kept me on the path of finding the LDS Church. If I had not gotten sick, and followed through going to school all the way to the end, I might be in the tribe and wouldn't have found the fulness of the Gospel. I am so grateful for being saved, for being found. I am so thankful for the restoration in these latter days.