Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Five Favorites Volume 3

I'm back for another round of Five Favorites with Hallie.  Last week caught up with me and I find myself fighting a cold (one of my less desirable talents is my ability for catching disease).  So this week my five favorites may be a little more health conscious.

1.  When I start feeling like I might be coming down with a bug I bolster up on vitamins to help ward it off.  Emergen-C gives the extra boost of vitamin C.

Emergen-C 1000 mg Vitamin C, Super Orange - 30 packets
My dad is a physician and he swears by Zinc to help shorten a cold.  It does work!  So many zinc lozenges are overpowering or just plain yuck.  Thera's eldenberry lozenges are the family standby.

Zinc Lozenge Rolls with Echinacea

2.  I'm usually a tea drinker.  When I don't feel well I almost switch to a liquid of tea.  My favorite is Yogi Throat Soothing Tea.  Providing everything comforting about a warm cup of tea between your hands in addition to a little hiatus from a sore throat and attacks of coughing makes this the best.

3.  Vicks VapoRub helps me get some sleep, especially with a sinus cold that .  The vapors clear the sinuses so that breathing is easier.

4.  Another thing that makes the nights easier is my husband pillow.  Sometimes the only comfortable position for sleeping is sitting up.  This pillow provides the back support needed to comfortably do so.

Dottie Lounge Around Pillow Cover
Love the polkadots :)

5.  My colds tend to come with chapped lips.  Normal lip balms did not do the trick.  Thank you for saving my lips, Blistex!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Friday, April 19, 2013

7 Quick Takes or Signs of Spring Volume 10

1.  Spring is finally here! and with it the rain, but between the raindrops the daffodils hint at the sun to come.  Daffodils always remind me of home and my mother.  Each spring our garden would be full of daffodils and Daffodowndilly would be read before bed.

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind 
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
"Winter is dead."
 ~ A.A. Milne

2.  Spring also welcomes the annual Vera Bradley outlet sale.  Growing up in the home of Vera Bradley I had heard tales of long lines, rude crowds, mad grabbing of merchandise, and amazing low prices.  This was my first time at the sale and I was happy to find some great buys without the drama.  It was even more fun going with my lovely sisters.

3.  Being a part time student while working full time can be taxing.  Balancing work, family, friends, and school is tough.  The reality of my final exam in July, really hit home this week.  This combined with the rainy weather called for some comfort food.  Cheese biscuits (an adaptation of my grandmother's family famous  recipe) = easy and rewarding.

4.  Essie's magnetic nail polish collection caught my eye on a Target run.  This concept was so intriguing that I completely forgot about the item I came for, but I left a happy customer with something fun to try.

Apply two coats to one nail (you have to do one nail at a time so the polish is wet for the next step- I learned through trial and error).  Then hold the magnetic cap as close to your nail as possible and the polish forms the design from the lid on your nail.  Ta da!


5.  Dove's new real beauty video is a must see!  You may want to grab a box of tissues first.

6.  B is out of town for his annual Spring guys weekend with a friend from high school.  So I'm taking care of his fishes.  Meet the four angel fish, three platys, two catfish, one sword-tail and Miguel the Plecostomus.  I've been banned from naming the fish for fear of the fatal name curse...if I keep the names in my head it doesn't count, right?

7.  Last but not least, Happy birthday to my brother!  He has grown into such a talented and nice young man.  It's hard to believe he's no longer the little boy with blonde curls.  I'm so very proud of him.  

Drummer Boy

Now join Grace and the others over at the Camp.  Happy weekend!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Questions of the Heart; Answers of Real Women Edition 5

Today's Questions of the Heart guest is Tess from Little House in Chicago (formerly Book Smart Girl in DC).

Tess and I lived in the same dorm in college (Yay, Badin Bullfrogs!).  She is one of those girls that you meet and instantly you want to get to know her better, because she is so kind and talented.  In addition to being a classic beauty, Tess has a lot of wisdom to share.  Check out her reading lists on her blog.  Love them!

I was so excited to stumble upon her blog; it was like running into an old friend.  I'm so proud of all that Tess has done since I met her as a freshman and happy that she found someone who sees what a gem she is.  I can't wait to see where the future takes Tess and Frank after their May wedding.

Questions of the Heart; Answers of Real Women

by Tess

What makes a beautiful woman?
A woman who is happy with who she is—who respects and loves herself, and respects and loves the people around her.
A woman with confidence, self-assurance, and graciousness.
A woman who, when she walks into a room, doesn't declare, "Here I am!" but rather says, "Ah, there you are."
What makes you feel beautiful?
Being around children—they care about how you treat them, not who you are or how you dress, so you kind of have to be the most beautiful version of yourself with them.
What has had the greatest impact on how you view yourself and encouraged you to be yourself?
I'm really grateful to my faith for teaching me to see myself as God's daughter whom He loves.
After that, books and blogs I've read have had a big impact. I've come to see that each woman's talents and beauty are different, and that the immense variety of female beauty is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
What is your beauty go-to for the days when you feel anything but beautiful?
Natalie once said, "Patience is a virtue available in regular or waterproof"—her way of saying that wearing a little mascara helps her mood. I feel the same way—taking an extra five minutes to fix my hair or put on mascara and lipstick do a LOT to make me feel beautiful (this might be a little shallow, but it's true!).
Exercise is also an instant mood-lifter. A good work-out makes me feel strong and beautiful. Like Elle Woods says, "Exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy!"
What would you like to share with other women to encourage them to recognize their value and to be beautiful?
Be yourself. It sounds like such cliche advice, but it's so important and so so hard to live by. I think most people live their lives just doing what society tells them without thinking through if they should/want/need to. It's beautiful when women do things their own way—thinking things out for themselves, turning a blind eye to the status quo, and making the effort to be authentic. To me, that's the most beautiful a woman can be—wholly, truly, and uniquely herself.
Thank you, Tess!
For answers from other lovely ladies check out the posts from Monica, Melinda, Emily, and Anna.

Friday, April 12, 2013

7 Quick Takes or Joining the Camp Volume 9

Thanks for hosting the Quick Takes, Grace!
1.  Congratulations to Jen and family on Joseph!  I'm praying that everyone will be blessed with good health and be able to go home soon.
2.  One of mydearest friends from college was at Notre Dame this weekend with her husbandand son.  So B and I made the trip up to visit Sarah and Scott and meet little Luke for the first time. 

I was so happy for B to meet them and vice versa.  He and Luke hit it off.

I had not seen Sarah and Scott since their wedding.  Three hours was simply not enough to make up for the past three years.  Hopefully it won't be as long before our next visit.  I miss you!

3. Saturday we met up with my former danceinstructor and his lovely wife. They aremoving to New York City to pursue their dreams of design and theatre. They are such a delightful couple and I am sohappy to see what the future holds for them.

4.  This weekend was unusually warm and I lovedevery second of sunshine and being able to break out the spring wardrobe.  Unfortunately the cold has returned along with the air conditioning in the office. Welcome to the ice box.
I remember when you could see the sun...
My co-workers are simply the best. Due to the lovely weather we decided to order Jimmy John’s. As you know they are “freaky fast,” so we decided to time them. The advertisments are true! They had our order delivered in the same amount of time it would have taken us to walk the block to their store.
5.  Blue Moon is best served with a slice of freshorange.  My waitress shared my opinionthat the orange makes a difference and thought maybe orange juice might be areplacement for their lack of fresh oranges. It’s ok if you are desperate, butfresh oranges are key.
6.  Do you follow Project Runway?  My schedule has not allowed me to be a true dedicatedviewer, but I have been able to make time to watch the final few episodes.  Yesterday’s episode sent the designers toseveral European countries for inspiration and renewed my desire to see the Sagrada Familia in person.  The architectureis amazing!
7.  My chocolate wrapper just informed me that my smile, "lights up the room."  *blushes*

Happy weekend!





Thursday, April 11, 2013

Questions of the Heart; Defining Moments

This post has been a long time coming.  Sometimes the questions we ask ourselves are the hardest to answer.  I have found it to be true with this one.
What has had the greatest impact on how you view yourself and encouraged you to be yourself?
Life is made up of so many moments that weave together like a beautiful tapestry.  Each thread is important to the overall picture, but on its own may seem insignificant.  Defining a solitary moment that has had the greatest impact on my life has been a little daunting. 

As a child I was horribly shy.  I remember being mortified in preschool because I had been declared the cheese while playing the Farmer in the Dell.  Being encircled by my classmates singing, "the cheeeeese stands alone," was too much for my little shy self to bear.  Was it the fact that everyone was looking at me?  I think that was part of it, but looking back I think it was being alone that was worse.  My shyness was, ironically, paired with a great love of people and an even greater desire to be loved by them.

To say I was not loved would be a horrible lie.  I was so very loved that it seems insulting to those that love me to admit that I doubted it.  I have been blessed with so many people that each in their own way have played a roll in my life that cannot be replaced that the question of defining one moment as having the greatest impact gave me writer's block for weeks on end. 
In my darkest moment when I doubted my worth more than ever before, they were there, loving me.  My mother would constantly remind me to hold on to what I knew was true: I am loved.  Clinging to those words and the many examples in my life of how loved I truly was, I was able to slowly climb out of the pit, not without many wounds and scars, but out of the darkness to see the beauty of the world in the light of the sun.

Long story short, the greatest impact on how I view myself that has encouraged me to be me has been; love.

"He took the child by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum," which means,
"Little girl, I say to you, arise!"
~ Mark 5:41

What has had the greatest impact on how you view yourself and encouraged you to be yourself? 
What is your beauty go-to for the days when you feel anything but beautiful? 
What would you like to share with other women to encourage them to recognize their value and to be beautiful?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Five Favorites Volume 2

Congratulations Hallie on little Charlie!  He is adorable.  Linkin' up with Moxie Wife for a second week of Five Favorites.

1.  I love the simplicity and cleanness of black and white in design, clothes, etc.  I spotted this sweater on sale and I'm having shoppers remorse for not even trying it on.

2.  I have always felt that Thomas gets a bad rap for doubting Jesus rose from the dead because he had not seen the risen Lord.  He just voiced what I know I would have thought.  For this he's always held a special place in my heart as one of my favorite saints.  This post about Thomas, his doubt and what we can learn from him is worth checking out.

3.   Let me introduce you to my "bridesmaid" shoes.  I have worn them in two weddings already and will be wearing them again in two more this May.  They are cute, comfortable, and can be worn over and over again.

Naturalizer Prissy Shoe

4.  I tried Panera's drive thru for the first time today.  Yummy food without the bother of getting out of the car in the rain...I am a fan.

5.  Emily shared Litographs with me this week.  Created from the text of classical books, these prints are so cool and affordable.  Persuasion may have to find a place in my home.

Have a great week!

Friday, April 5, 2013

7 Quick Takes or In The First Week of Easter... Volume 8 friend Jen gave to me, procrastinator's week at Conversion Diary.
Maybe I should have left that in my head.  Moving on...
1.  Hoppy Easter!

I did this all by myself.  Aren't you proud?

Holy Week and Easter weekend went by quickly due to much busy-ness.  B's parents came for a long weekend visit.  They do not get a chance to come out often, so we crammed a good deal into the weekend.

His parents don't have a Steak n Shake back home, so they traditionally have dinner there their first night in town.  Ironically, that was Good Friday.  On Good Friday Catholics fast (only one normal sized meal and snacks for the others) and abstain from meat.  This little sacrifice is a way of remembering that Jesus sacrificed himself for us.  Fortunately, Steak n Shake had added a fish sandwich to the menu for Lent.  Unfortunately, Steak n Shake had added a fish sandwich to the menu for Lent.

2.  My dear friend Caroline came back to town to be present at our friend's baptism on Easter.  It was so nice to visit with her for a short while.  Caroline and I share a love of polka dots and Minnie Mouse :)

3.  Easter dinner gave my family a chance to celebrate my mother and grandmother's birthdays together.  My sister made two cakes for the occasion:

a little lamb cake,

and a fire hazard.

4.  Helping my youngest niece find an egg, I asked her to bring me a napkin. She reached in and found- an egg!  Oblivious to my prompt, she also brought me a napkin.  Our family gathering was large enough to need two tables and therefore two napkin baskets.  So her mother told her Aunt Christina needed another napkin, but I liked them from the other basket better.  She looked at me oddly, but complied, found- another egg! and brought me a second napkin.  I'm very messy, I know.

5.  Every year we try to come up with new ways of decorating the eggs.  My youngest sister, ever the artist made one with a beautiful paisley print.  I attempted giraffe print.

6.  I'm so excited for Emily J. the winner of Melinda's Happiest Mommy on the Block giveaway.  Melinda and I enjoyed reading all the responses to the prompt, What makes you feel beautiful?  Here are some great ones:

"When I'm looking for the good. I think feeling beautiful starts with having a beautiful spirit."
"When I push myself to do something that scares me or makes me nervous. The feeling of accomplishment and confidence makes me feel beautiful. Now if I can just get the courage to do it more often!"
"When I look at my wedding photos and I feel just as happy as I did that day!"
"Giving. Anything at all, wether it be a smile, a hug, words, guide a meditation or give the homeless an apple. It has this reversal affect, where I feel a little more alive, contributing something to the universe. I feel beautiful when I am actually feeling alive."
"Making someone genuinely smile because the feel the love you have for them."
"When my favorite jeans fit, just right."
"Having my hubby grab my hand in public. Feels like he is staking a claim and saying "she is mine!""
"Having family all together for a celebration!"
7.  I told you about my senstive eyes in my Five Favorites this week.  I went to the eye doctor and wore sunglasses for the rest of the day and I didn't even get my eyes dilated!  Thank you, numbing drops.

Too cool for work.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Five Favorites

Linking up with Hallie of Moxie Wife and her guest host Jen of Conversion Diary for my first Five Favorites. Prayers for both of them as they await the arrival of new additions to their families.

Here are my five favorites this week:

1.  After a busy Easter weekend I am longing for a day to stay in my pjs and do absolutely nothing productive.  Ever since I was a little girl I have loved nightgowns.  Then peer pressure set in and anything too girly was out.  Well now that I am free to be myself, I am returning to my prefered sleepwear. There is something so feminine and elegant about nightgowns.  Slip one on and I instantly feel pretty.  Gilligan O'Malley at Target provides the perfect combination of super soft fabric with fun and pretty styles.  On a stay at home day just throw your hair in a top knot, dab on tinted moisturizer and any unplanned guests will think you are super stylish. 

Gilligan & O'Malley® Women's Racerback Maxi Sleep Dress - Assorted Colors
 Why yes, I am always this put together.

2.  Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is one of my absolute favorite musicals!  I was super excited to pick it up in a DVD set with three other wonderful shows.  They really should have called this the Howard Keele collection because he's the main male character in all of them.

TCM Greatest Classic Films: Broadway Musicals DVD

3.  It's Clinique gift week at Macy's!  Time to go and pick up my favorite mascara!

High Impact Mascara

I have super sensitive eyes and Clinique has been the only mascara I have been able to wear without tearing up and basically negating the point of mascara.  A bit more pricey than general store brands, the free gift and the amount of wear I get out of the mascara makes the investment worth it.

4.  After my car accident I took an extended break from the kitchen painting project which I've picked up again this week.  Now that all the walls have a coat of paint on them I am enjoying the new color more and more.  I felt an extra sense of pride when I saw that Young House Love's kitchen is a similar color scheme.
Pinned Image
Benjamin Moore: Yarmouth Blue

5.  If you haven't noticed yet, I love quotes.  So a list of favorites would not be complete without a favorite quote from the week.  A conversation with my almost three year old niece:

C: Aunt Astina my strawberry is SO BIG!
Christina: That strawberry is bigger than your nose.
C: It's bigger den my daddy's nose!
Christina: It is so big it could be the nose for a snowman.
C: Yes...No.  It is not a carrot.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Questions of the Heart; Answers of Real Women Edition 4

Happy Easter! 
and Happy First of April! 

Sorry for the mini break from the blog without forewarning.  Easter preparations and such were first priority and did not allow a minute for reflective writing. 

The following is not an April fools of any kind.  I am beyond thrilled for today’s edition of the Questions of the Heart series.  One of my favorite bloggers who never ceases to inspire me each day and who I admire greatly will be sharing with you her view of beauty.  Want a clue?  Here it is: #Encourage Beauty

That’s right, Anna from In Honor of Design is my guest today.  This is so very exciting!  I have been following Anna for a good while, she is one of my blogging inspirations, and one of the two women who started the #Encourage Beauty campaign which inspired Questions of the Heart.

I am honored and humbled she agreed to participate.  This confirms without a doubt that she is just as kind, generous and lovely as her blog advertises.  I admit I had no doubts this would be the case because I know one of Anna’s sisters and several of her cousins, however, the honor is still all mine.

So without further ado, I give you the Edition Four.

Questions of the Heart; Answers of Real Women

By Anna 

What makes a beautiful woman? 

I think a woman's most beautiful feature is her dignity and grace. When carried with confidence it positively impacts anyone they meet. 

What makes you feel beautiful? 

After having children, I feel beautiful after a good night's sleep, a run, or a shower. Even more than that, when I nurture my children, I feel so happy to be doing what I was made to do, and it makes me feel beautiful. 

What has had the greatest impact on how you view yourself and encouraged you to be yourself? 

I had a few important role models remind me that I was created beautiful in the eyes of God and that was enough. When you focus on that, its easier to accept your flaws. When I started dating my husband, he showed me what unconditional love meant...accepting me for all who I was. That changed my heart immensely! 

What is your beauty go-to for the days when you feel anything but beautiful? 

A good mascara, tinted moisturizer, and dry shampoo! 

What would you like to share with other women to encourage them to recognize their value and to be beautiful? 

EVERYONE has gifts. To each their own. When you can accept your weaknesses and embrace your strengths, confidence will follow. A confident woman who can wear a smile, and uplift those around her makes the most beautiful kind:) 

Thank you so much, Anna! 

Did you participate in the #Encourage Beauty campaign in March?  Anna and Hilary are offering a calendar so that you can challenge yourself to encourage beauty at any time.  With this in mind, I will be continuing the Questions of the Heart series through April and maybe beyond.  Feel free to share your responses with me, I love hearing what other women have to say about beauty.

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