Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A Little Holiday Shopping

Michael and I had our engagement photos taken this weekend and for the life of me I could not decide on what to wear. It was a super silly, basic problem to have. I can honestly say it was harder than choosing my wedding dress. I think it was because there were more options and combinations and colors, etc. Whatever the reason, and with all of the Pinterest suggestions, it was quite the challenge.

When I finally did decide on our outfits, there were a few finishing pieces I wanted to find, so the Wednesday before Thanksgiving I ventured out for some shopping. I am not a fan of Black Friday and try to avoid it at all costs, but Wednesday was a day off of work, had a lot of the same sales and less of the crowds.

I'll be sure to share the official photos and outfits once we have them, but for now I thought it would be fun to share some of the cute things I stumbled across while browsing. There are so many cute holiday pieces out!
The earring selection this year has been right up my alley. There are a ton of great dainty options along with a few gorgeous statement pieces.

I am a dress girl through and through and LOVE picking a stylish outfit for Christmas day or a holiday party. Pair any of these beauties with a pair of black tights and you have a super chic look. (Plus, I am convinced that dresses with tights are warmer than pants and top.)
And what completes a holiday look better than a beautiful pair of shoes? Whether sparkly, velvet, plaid or plain, there are so many ways to elevate your look.

I sincerely enjoyed browsing through the winter goodies available and hope you get some outfit inspiration if the cold weather is getting you down.

The gloomier the day, the more reason to dress it up!

What's your favorite find this season? I'd love to know!


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Product Review: Keurig K Select

I can vividly remember being a kid and boldly professing my disdain for the taste of coffee and telling my mom (who drinks at least one pot of super strong black coffee a day) that I would never drink it.

Fast forward 15 or so years and I have turned into a coffee loving adult who needs at least one cup in the morning to make it through the day. Life's funny sometimes.

Because I live by myself, I had only purchased a french press which makes a great cup of coffee, but is a pain to clean. Most mornings I would run out of time and resort to buying coffee on the way to work which adds up.

I've been considering alternatives to save time and money so when I was asked to partner with Keurig to try out their K-Select coffee maker, I jumped at the chance.

I've used Keurig's at friends' houses and even at work when there's an extra k-cup lying around, but didn't know how it would fit into my routine. I'm sure nobody who owns one is surprised when I say, it fit like a glove.

My morning routine is so much simpler now and with a set of reusable K-cups, I've cut out the part of Keurig I was most nervous about - the extra waste. The reusable cups are durable, easy to clean, and make a great cup of coffee. (I find some normal K-cups to be weaker than I prefer). 

My go-to coffee has been Equal Exchanges "Mama Tierra" which supports Catholic Relief Services' partnership with communities in Central America that farm coffee by "helping farmers create democratically run cooperatives, grow more resilient coffee and protect local streams from coffee waste."

Quick coffee. Great cause. Delicious pick-me-up. 

I think it's safe to say that my mornings have been better and brighter ;)

My mug is a few years old from Marshalls, but here are a few other cuties I'm eyeing:

*Thank you so much to Influencer and Keurig for sponsoring this post. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Currently September

September is here, school is in full swing and I'm wishing the weather would act like it's fall instead of summer in the desert - scratch that, there's no way it would be this humid in a desert. Bring on that dry heat!

On the bright side, I've never been so grateful for air conditioning. It's rough, kids.

Currently I am laying on my couch in the only part of my apartment with AC writing this month's edition of the Currently Link Up with Anne in Residence. It's keeping my mind off of the heat and on some fond memories and exciting things ahead.
Starting: To wedding plan again. After the stress of booking the venue so much sooner than anticipated, we haven't really done anything wedding-y (unless you count my random pins here and there). I think the shock of that has settled and I'm ready to dive in to more of the fun details and making our day special. Now to decide on a color palette - I like pretty much every one I see.

Buying: A few new back-to-school goodies. While I am no longer a student, I do work at a school and as an end-of-summer treat, found myself aimlessly strolling the women's section of Target which is something I try to avoid for the sake of my wallet. (I mean seriously, have you seen these shoes?!)

Rather than go all out, I decided to pick a few items I knew would compliment those I already own. I couldn't pass up the unique blue of this sweater. It's a great transition from summer to fall and I know I'll wear it multiple ways throughout the year, whether with a scarf in the winter, or over a dress in the spring - plus the color is amazing!

I also ordered these pants, these booties, and this top (for some school spirit). I'll let you know how they turn out!

PS - These flats are IDENTICAL to the ones I got from Madewell last year, for a fraction of the price! And this skirt is a pink version of the one I wore in the A New Day post last year :)

Sharing: Workout adventures with a close group of accountability babes. I am hoping to get more in shape for the big day next June and joined a text chain with a few friends from the BIS Team. It's been fun checking in and seeing how everyone is doing and cheering one another on. I've actually been pretty solid for a little over a month in consistent exercise (5-6 times per week) which feels great! Here's hoping it sticks now that school has started...

Reading: Honestly, nothing right now. I finished Crazy Rich Asians right before the movie came out (book and movie were both amazing) and bought the second in the series but haven't had time to pick it up. I have a pile of about 10 books I'm hoping to read, but haven't made it a priority a past few weeks. I'm sure that will change.

Recording: Each and every memory I can (usually in the form of a photo). Michael and I ventured to Portland, Maine this weekend for a Labor Day getaway and anniversary celebration of the day we met. Here are a few of my favorite snaps from the trip.

What about you, friends? What have your currently's been lately? Any book recs or things to share?


Thursday, August 16, 2018

From That to This: Watermelon Salad

Summer is coming to an end and I intend to take advantage of every last minute of it. I want to soak up all of the sun, play all of the lawn games, go to all of the farmers markets -

-- and eat ALL of the watermelon!

Elissa shared a picture of a watermelon salad on her Instagram a few weeks ago and I have been eating it non-stop ever since.

It's been a hot minute since I've posted a recipe, so I thought I would share it with you guys. Fair warning, you will become addicted. It's really that good.

Ingredients (Single Serving)
1 cup Watermelon 
2 tbsp Feta Cheese
2 tbsp Balsamic Glaze (or just balsamic)
5-6 Chopped Mint Leaves

Place your watermelon in a bowl, sprinkle on the feta, balsamic and mint and voila! You have a super easy, super delicious and healthy dish. And if you make enough to share, you'll definitely be the hit at a potluck.

What recipes are you loving this summer? Any seemingly odd combinations that you can't stop eating?


Friday, August 3, 2018

Currently - August

Hello August!

School will start again in a few short weeks and y'all, I'm not sure I am ready to give up this slow, easy summer flow. I suppose I should just soak it in while it lasts and make sure to do some of the things on my summer bucket list before it's actually gone.

Linking up with Anne in Residence again for another "Currently" update because the blogging bug has caught hold of me again and this is probably my favorite link-up. 

following: lot's of lovely ladies via Instagram such as: Shannon, Nell, Laura, and Katrina

Go check out their accounts and show them some love! #followfriday

ordering: nothing at the moment. But I am daydreaming about this embroidered mini skirt, these tassel earrings, and this yellow dress. Oh, and these scalloped booties are so cute!

pinning: ALL the wedding inspo. My wedding board is private (I may or may not have had it for years) but you can follow my other boards HERE. When I'm not pinning wedding things, I pin a lot of interior design for our someday home.

watching: Travelers. A colleague introduced M and me to this show this winter, but I gave up Netflix for Lent and are getting back into it. It's about a group of people from the future who take over current bodies right before they die to try to end certain tragedies that affected the future. Sounds super nerdy, but it's REALLY really good. 

counting: down the hours until Michael is done with work so we can start the drive back to Ohio. We haven't been home since Easter and are both excited to see family and friends along with visiting some potential reception venues and meeting with a few photographers. It's going to be a long short visit.

And there you have it. My "Currently"s for August 2018. What are you up to this month, friends? Any show recommendations or Instagram accounts you can't get enough of?


Monday, July 30, 2018

4 Lessons Learned As A [New] Plant Lady

Freshman year of college my mom gave me a tiny cactus to make my dorm room feel a little more homey. By the spring semester of that year, the cactus was dead and I had pretty much given up on any chance that I could care for plants of any kind.

I mean, who kills a cactus?!  This girl.

Fast forward nearly 10 years (woof) and you will find 15 different plants living in my apartment and 1 outside. To be fair, a bunch of those plants were gifted to me, but nevertheless, I have definitely become a full-fledge plant lady. What started with caring for a few succulents in grad school (you may remember THIS POST) has slowly blossomed and taught me a few lessons along the way.

[Ironically, the plant collection really took off after I wrote a post for Blessed is She detailing my struggle with keeping foliage alive. At that point in time I had only managed to care for 1.5 succulents and my spider plant who miraculously survived 3+ drops from the top of the refrigerator curtesy of Zelie.]

(More Cute Baskets HERE, HERE, and HERE)

Try Try Again

Cheesy and cliche, but so true and so important to remember.

I felt SO embarrassed after killing my cactus in college and had pretty much given up on ever having a garden. Had I not inherited a bunch of succulents when I moved into my apartment in California, I probably would have never tried again - seriously though.

But you can't learn if you don't try. So if you are sitting there thinking that you are not made for plant care even though the idea of it excites you, take a chance friend! If I can do it, you can do it!

The same philosophy should be applied when working on anything new skill. You've got this!

Google is Your Friend

(But you have to know what you need to find.)

My pothos plant's leaves were turning a gross brown color that clearly signified something was wrong. The only problem was, I didn't know what the issue was. I thought maybe it was getting too much sun - it wasn't. Or perhaps it needed more water - it didn't. In fact, it turned out to be the exact opposite. I was overwatering it and probably not giving it enough sunlight. Classic.

The only way I found this out was by Googling like crazy for the information I needed, which wasn't as easy as it sounds. I found pages and pages on how to care for a pothos or how pretty grown ones look in hanging pots or why you should get one for your home, but that didn't really help me. I didn't need the pictures of thriving plants. I needed pictures of dying ones with notes on what exactly was killing the plant and if it was possibly to bring it back. My learning style is very visual and rather than assume the words describing overwatering matched my plant, I needed to see it.

Thankfully just about everything you could ever need is on the internet, sometimes you just need to know specifically what it is you are looking for.

It's Not Dead Yet

I moved from "easy" house plants to a trickier (for me) outdoor plant this summer. It required a lot more watering and a lot more pruning. While I was away with students, I had M watch the apartment and care for the plants and Z. He did so well with all of them... except my verbenas. 90% of them were gone when I came home and there was a lot of dead plant to cut away. I tended to it, but was pretty sure it was pointless. Slowly the leaves regained their dark green hue and even grew fuller in the pot, but there were still no blooms to be seen.

At that point, I was ready to toss the thing. Sure it was nice that it was technically growing, but I really didn't need a flowerless, needy plant that couldn't grow back the following year anyway. So, I dialed my on-call gardener (aka Mom) and told her I had met my match. She listened patiently as I described what it looked like and then told me to give it another few days because the flowers just might start to come back.

I kid you not, the next day little specs of blue started showing up and two days later there were bunches of little flowers soaking in the sunshine.

Similar to the above lesson of trying again, don't fool yourself into thinking there's no use trying. Mistakes can be mended. New growth can occur. And lucky for us, our growth is always possible by the grace of God, when sometimes plants are actually dead (please note aforementioned cactus).

Don't Discount The Little Things

The verbenas were not the only plants currently in my apartment that I was sure were goners. From the pothos dying a slow, hydrated death, to my succulents being ripped from their soil by a bratty feline, I'm pretty sure I've been convinced every plant I own, with the exception of a weird tree-ish plant from Ikea (the technical term, ladies and gents) was dead at one point in time.

But when my mom came to visit in June, she pointed out a very important feature on a plant I was ready to toss in the garbage - baby leaves. There were tiny little leaves sprouting from the end of its vines!

Sure the plant had seen better days and the leaves that didn't quite reach the light of the window were wilting, but there was still so much going on internally that I couldn't see. It is alive and it is growing!

And by some strange miracle, this seems to be a trend with all of my plants. It hasn't happened overnight, and it hasn't happened without error, but my once deadly, anything-but-green thumb is doing alright with it's new garden. And all of this plant care is definitely teaching me lessons on the importance of resiliency, asking for help, and searching for small pieces of growth when it seems like all hope is lost.

Any other plant ladies/gents out there? I'm curious what advice you have for how to best care for your gardens and would love any book/blog suggestions for continued learning.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

5 Things I Am Loving in July

Hey friends,

Happy Tuesday! On Saturday I came back from my last summer immersion trip which means my summer schedule is finally here! I am very excited for a slower pace and more time to just go with the flow.

Summer also means a bit more free time to create and for whatever reason, my blogging bug seems to be coming back so maybe that means I will be posting more than once a month? Maybe. I make no promises other than to follow where the Spirit is leading. And that's really about all we can do, right?

Today I thought I'd share a few of the things I am loving this month. Nothing too earth shattering, just a good old fashioned round-up of things catching my eye this July.

1) The Blessed is She Mini Planner

I have been waiting for this baby to arrive since May and am so happy it's finally here. I love it's unique, intentional design that will help me remember to center my days around God and the gifts I've been given. The large size was just a bit too big for my taste but the mini is PERFECT. I'm already gearing up for August and my little planner heart is happy :)

2) Fr. Pedro Arrupe

One of my favorite examples of faith is on his way to beatification and I am so happy.

From my Instagram post a few days ago:

If you have never heard of Arrupe, I can’t recommend reading about his life enough. He answered the call to the priesthood while studying to be a doctor, which was put to good use when he was missioned to Japan. Living just outside of Hiroshima, Arrupe turned the Jesuit residence into a makeshift hospital for those who survived the devastating dropping of the atomic bomb. 

As Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Arrupe called out Jesuit institutions stating that we are called to be men and women for others, emphasizing a faith that does justice - something that I strive to teach my students every day.

There is so much beauty and depth to this man and his faith in God. He is a great leader of the Church that who I feel a great closeness to. I have been praying for his canonization for a long time and I am SO grateful that the recognition of his sainthood is underway.

3) Sour Patch Watermelon Gummies

My students introduced them to me on our Appalachia immersion and I'm obsessed. Usually I'm not a huge gummy/non-chocolate candy fan, but for whatever reason these things are what I'm craving lately. SO. GOOD.

4) The N Sale

Nordstrom is having their big annual anniversary sale and I am loving the sneak peak into trends to come this fall. The sale is open to anyone on July 20th but if you have their card, I think you can jump the line and start now. I don't really shop at Nordstrom at any other time of the year - department stores aren't really my jam - but I do love scanning the picks of this sale. I have bought these leggings in the past two sales and LOVE them. I live in them under dresses in the fall and winter or just lounge around the apartment with them in a cozy sweater. This year, I am loving this floral dress (this one too!), this scalloped sweater, this cozy cardigan, and these booties.

5) The Beach

This I was not expecting. Honestly, I have never really been a beach lover. Maybe it was being too self-conscious in a bathing suit or maybe it was the burning sand, but going to the beach was never something I desired to do. I would go if friends or family invited me, but it would never be something I chose to do. This summer I can't get enough and lucky for me, there are several community beaches 5-10 minutes away and M is always up for a visit. Has anyone else found themselves growing into loving the beach or maybe the reverse of now disliking it?

What about you, friend? What are you loving this month?