Tuesday, October 22, 2013

We Two...Build-A-Bear

It may sound silly, but this is one of my favorite date ideas.
It is simple, silly, and sweet.
It also reveals a lot of character.
It takes a special someone to willingly walk into an environment geared to children,
whole heartedly participate, and carry the built stuffed animal for all to see.
There is also a lot to talk about that can break the ice early on:
whether you will build a bear, dog, dragon, or other type of animal,
whether you like unique stuffed animals
or ones that replicate a beloved cartoon character,
whether you prefer Classic or Disney Pooh Bear,
whether stuffed animals wear clothes or simply fur,
whether you will take your creation home or gift it to a mutual friend,
and most importantly
whether your new friend will have two wishes placed in their heart or one
(you will have to go and visit to find out how).
and the better you know each other only adds to the fun.
I should note that this date idea is not something I came up with myself,
but I am the lucky girl that went on such a date
and it holds a special place in my heart, especially today.
I also should note that this may melt your heart and make you fall hard.
Consider yourself warned and pay extra attention to good conversations!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Questions of the Heart; Answers of Real Women Edition 8

A new edition to the Questions of the Heart series is long overdue. I love hearing other women's perspectives on beauty and I hope you enjoy it just as much.
Laura and I met through some mutual friends. Her great smile gives you a hint of her optimism that she shares on her blog: Life is Beautiful.
My love for quotes is also partial to her Wisdom for Wednesday series.

Questions of the Heart; Answers of Real Women

by Laura

What makes a beautiful woman?

Humility, deep joy, and sincere love for others. Those are instantly attractive qualities about a woman. "Humility of not thinking less of yourself but rather thinking of yourself less." When women are comfortable in their own skin and are able to be real with others instead of trying to seem perfect...when they have an overflowing joy from knowing Christ...when they are truly interested in and loving those around them...these are the qualities that light up a woman and make her irresistibly and indescribably beautiful.

What makes you feel beautiful?

I really do feel more beautiful when I try to practice those virtues above of humility, joy, and selfless love. It's like my face softens and smiles more easily when I forget to be critical of myself and just simply love and enjoy those around me.

Of course, I also love makeup and dressing up! It's amazing what a difference it can make on my mood when I curl my hair, slip into a sundress, and have fun with the makeup. That mascara wand really is a magic wand sometimes!

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

Time, grace, and unconditional love. I struggled a lot with perfectionism growing up, and was very critical of myself, inside and out. Throughout the years, I've found such freedom in realizing my worth simply as a daughter of God. My friends, family, and Catholic Faith have also taught me the beauty of unconditional love-- that I don't have to measure up with how I look or what I do in order to be loved and worthy. There's freedom to simply be who I was created to be--and that's beautiful.

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

I've got a whole list for this one--I'm armed and ready for those days! Painting my nails, putting on a green clay face mask, baking cookies, lighting candles, going for a run, fruity-scented lotion after a hot shower. The little things can be such a treat!

But you know, while those pick-me-ups are blessings, I can't help but think of the women who don't have even such small luxuries. A month ago I traveled to Haiti and experienced poverty like I've never seen before. I saw women dying of AIDS, women waiting hours for medical care, women stick-skinny with mismatched clothing...these women have no idea what it's like to treat themselves to a hot shower or flowery lotion or fresh-baked cookies. I can't forget their faces, their smiles, their pain, their unquestionable beauty. And when I contemplate them, beauty becomes redefined for me.

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

You are absolutely beautiful simply because you are wanted, loved, and chosen by God our Father. He delights in you, He sings over you, He dances with joy because of you (Zephaniah 3:17). The world is so stifling with its view of beauty-- harsh, plastic, cold, joyless, counterfeit form of beauty. I know it's tough, but don't let that view damper your natural, God-given beauty. Seek His friendship and His love first and foremost, and from that confident security, let who you were created to be truly blossom. Be wild and crazy. Be gentle and thoughtful. Be happy and grateful. Be creative and nurturing. Enjoy your femininity and celebrate it freely--it's beautiful.
It was such fun planning this with you, Laura!
For more Questions of the Heart you can visit my own answers to Questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and those from  Monica, Melinda, Emily, Anna, Tess, Rachel, and Lindsay.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

To Cut or Not to Cut...Five Favorites Volume 14

Tonight I get to go visit one of my favorite girls, my hairstylist.

My mom cut my hair until I graduated from college. Up until my senior year my hair was straight, straight, straight. It didn’t tangle much, looked great down and up, and was so shiny and healthy. I wore it long, like Pocahontas, and had no idea that I would ever look back and think of it as the glory days of my hair. I loved my hair.

And then it changed.

All of a sudden it was falling out more than usual, I had these long thick waves, and I had no clue what to do with it. It was the one thing that I always liked about myself and now it was revolting against me!

So with graduation and starting a new job, we got me to the hair salon and found my girl. She is so good at her job. She understands what I find to be the most inarticulate statements of what I’m thinking and I always leave pretty pleased or pretty and pleased.

As with every upcoming hair appointment, I am going through the same questions in my head. Do I just get a trim? Do I get a new cut/style? Do I keep trying to grow it out? And these questions lead to the internet searches and a continuing debate until I sit in the chair and make a final decision.

Here are my favorites so far…


This is the original style I went to from my long locks and after it getting progressively shorter I decided to grow my hair out for my sister’s wedding. This is pretty much what I have right now. I like it, but part of me wants a change and the other part wants to leave well enough alone.
Love this cut.


The part that wants a change is being stirred up more because it seems like everyone is chopping their hair off or going for the “clavicut.” And by everyone, I mean two of the bigger bloggers that I read and a few newscasters did and then I started noticing everyone I saw with shorter hair. But then Kate revealed her new do this week. It’s super cute!
great cut
Too drastic?

If I kept the length but grew my layers out…
Love this color and style


Or do I keep moving towards this…
Cute-Long-Layered-Hairstyles and haircutsyles


I’ve noticed that when I look at haircuts I almost always gravitate to the blondes. Maybe it’s because you can see the details a bit more. One thing is for sure, I do not think I will ever go blonde. Another thing, I think bangs are here to stay, but should I go blunt or stay side swept?

 hair envy

So what do you think? What’s your favorite?

Make sure to visit Hallie before you go and enjoy your Wednesday evening to the fullest.


Friday, October 4, 2013

7 Quick Takes or September in Review Volume 18

It has been a good long while since I’ve linked up with Jen for a round of Quick Takes. No real reason, just living life. So let’s get down to it; on to the seven highlights of the past month!
My brother-in-law’s family hosts a barn dance each fall. This is the first time I have ever been able to go. Many of the ladies were all dolled up in their traditional barn dance dresses with petticoats and boots, and gents donned their plaid and hats. If you ever have the opportunity to go to a dance with an actual caller, leave all your physical education nightmares behind, and give it a try. It was such fun!
Johnny Appleseed is a big deal here. We celebrate John Chapman’s contribution to the mid-west each year with a festival in his honor. In addition to providing multitudes of apple dishes, everything at the festival is as close to being made as it would have been in the 1800’s as possible. I was so happy to be able to go. We enjoyed dining on buffalo burgers, funnel cake and sarsaparilla, feeling every alpaca wool scarf and blanket, listening to the militia band and the Civil War canon and army drill displays. All in the most perfect fall weather. It is, by far, one of my favorite things of fall.

Sarsaparilla- before I spilled it all over myself and the interior of the car.

Baby season has begun!  Six of the eleven wonderful additions expected by family and friends have arrived; four within the last few weeks! I was especially blessed to get to meet and hold the children of two dear friends within a week of their birth. So far the girls are in the lead, five to one! Oddly enough, I have found myself liking more of the boy clothes that I have seen than the girls.
The zoo is always a favorite. I was able to join my nieces and nephews for a fall day trip. I know that the zoo must close for the animals’ safety, but I really wish they had an indoor winter option. I would come.

The most exotic animals we can see from the train ride and someone saying "hello."
Sometimes I have this great desire to be very domestic and cook. Sometimes I get carried away and make four different recipes in an evening. Sometimes I forget how to cook for fewer people than seven and cook enough food to feed a small army. Sometimes I end up eating the same thing all week. Sometimes would be this week.
Dear Weather,
You have been perfect. You’ve had a couple days, but that’s okay. It happens to the best of us. Just know that you are appreciated for all the good you do. Keep it up!
Love, Christina
P.S. Please, tell those daunting rain clouds that showed up as I wrote this to go away. Today should look something like this:

Have a wonderful weekend!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Five Favorites Volume 13

Recently, I have been doing a lot of thinking. Thinking about so many different things, but they all come down to five big F's: family, faith, friends, function- in terms of actually living and how I am doing it, and femininity- what it means to be a woman, using the gifts given me in my life, etc. Just little bitty things to chew on ;)

So today I have some food for thought to share with you. I am still digesting these articles, but I would love to hear your thoughts about any of them.
3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married
...marriage is the fire of life—
that somehow it’s designed to refine all our dysfunction
and spur us into progressive wholeness...
 Real Chat: When Busy Takes Over
 ...if I was losing my sanity in the process of “balancing it all”,
than something was out of order...


No Whispers, Sisters
...a friend at work whispered to me behind the closed door of an elevator
...a friend at a tailgate whispered the same...


The Basement: Built in Entertainment Center Bookshelves
...I don’t mean that the basement is perfection. I mean that I completely hold back and procrastinate posting my new home decor and diy projects because I am waiting for the “perfect” final touches...


A Few Thoughts on Following Your Dreams While Putting Family First
...find your blue flame,
and you’ll find something you can do that will bring you joy,
and will also fill you with energy that you can give back to others...

Hallie has some lighter fare in her Five Favorites today. So go visit her and the rest after working out your mind with these.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Happy October everyone!
Leaving this September behind is bittersweet. The Fall weather came in slowly, but this weekend the weather was Fall-perfect. I had high expectations that October would still feel very much like its predecessor and to cry in delight this morning with Anne Shirley, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."
Unfortunately, October got out of bed on the wrong side and her morning coffee has not helped put a spring in her step. To make matters worse, but not enough to throw one into the depths of despair, my office has skipped ahead season-wise and I feel much like an arctic animal in the frozen tundra.

Actually, I envy the polar bears their coats, because two sweaters, a jacket, and a scarf are helping minimally and impeding my ability to type. Thank goodness for warm lunches and afternoon coffee breaks.
Don't worry, October.
Our dear friend, Anne, has some words for this situation too,
"tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet."
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