Monday, February 29, 2016

February Budget

Happy Leap Day!! I know we have an extra day in February this year, but it still feels like I blinked and this month was gone. Maybe it's because I'm not stuck in long, cold winter days wondering when the spring will come - it's already here in Berkeley! Seriously though, our daffodils have been blooming for weeks!

Thanks to Fran's wonderful link-up, with the end of the month comes another round-up of purchases and budget posts.

Let's look at February, shall we?


Y'all, I don't have any purchases to add to my budget this month! Say what?!? Crazy, I know!!

Don't get me wrong, I did spend money on other things this month - like one day at the Bloguettes Branding Workshop and a half-day pass to Disneyland this weekend - but those are not things that I would typically include as part of this budget post and I am not going to start now ;)

And thanks to a wonderful goodie bag at the workshop, I do have some beautiful new items added to my wardrobe that I wanted to share with you. I wasn't sure whether they qualified for my usual "gifted" section because I paid for the workshop ticket, so we just won't label these guys.

Let's begin with these AMAZING Kendra Scott earrings - seen here. How absolutely gorgeous is that yellow?! I don't know if all of us got the same color in our bags or not, but I could not be happier with this bright, cheery color. Had I ordered these beauties for myself, I don't think I would have thought to even try this color, so thank you Bloguettes for knowing I needed a good firm push out of my comfort zone. I love them!

We were also all gifted a beautiful Street Level Reversible Tote which was both the "bag" and the "goodie"! Our totes are their latest color design with dark brown and neon green for colors which I think makes them both classic and funky! Because the bags are so new, I could only find places to buy different colors, like the cognac/coral  (here) and the burgundy/tan (here).

I've admired Olive and Piper's beautiful jewels for a while now, so I was thrilled to find a dainty gold necklace with triangles in my bag - especially because I lost the necklace I typically wear at the workshop :( Again, I wasn't able to find the exact necklace online, but it's basically the top portion of this one.

Last, but not least is the adorable "I Don't Need The Internet, The Internet Needs Me" tee that each participant received.

I still cannot believe all of the beautiful things that were part of our goodie bags! As you can see, there were so many wonderful presents - and I haven't even shared the non-wardrobe items with you!

Even though I didn't technically do any shopping this month, I was able to add some amazing pieces to my closet - All of which I have already worn multiple times.

Did you add anything to your wardrobe this month? I'd love to hear about it!


**Linking up with Fran!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


More and more it has become acceptable and even fashionable to wear yoga pants, sneakers and a tee while out and about. Whether you're running errands or grabbing coffee with a friend, comfort seems to be becoming the new chic - and I gotta tell you, I don't hate it. 

I mean, more often than not I am lounging around the house in leggings and a tee-shirt anyway. Now I just need to toss on shoes and an accessory or two and I'm all set. Love. It. 

I recently learned that this look has a name: "athleisure". With the combination of work, school and everything else, I've probably been leaning more toward the leisure side of things lately... I'm sure you all can relate. But then again, leisure implies relaxing which is not exactly the case in the midst of graduate school. 

This weekend I had the privilege of attending the Bloguettes Branding Workshop in San Francisco which is where I got this adorable "The Internet Need Me" tee. The workshop was amazing! I learned SO much and met so many absolutely incredible women. I can't wait to incorporate some of the new tools and ideas and goals. Eek. It was just so good, y'all! - but more on that later.

My little sister sent me this adorable Kate Spade Tumbler on a whim. No reason, just because. How sweet is she??

Tee: Thanks, Bloguettes!
Chambray: Old Pac Sun (similar)
Leggings: Old Navy (similar)
Shoes: (similar)
Earrings: Kendra Scott (exact)
Ring: Gift (similar)
Tumbler: Kate Spade (exact)

Again, super simple, super comfortable look. Leggings, a tee shirt and some tennies. Can't beat it.

It's probably the hustle and bustle of grad school that has shifted my style into more leisurely looks and comfortable pants that still look professional are a must. Luckily, stores like Betabrand have entire lines of athleisure clothing - including a section devoted to comfortable pants for the office!

What's your favorite "athleisure" look? How do you feel about this trending style? I'd love to know what you think!


**Linking up with StyleElixir, Sydney Fashion Hunter, The Pleated Poppy, Pumps and Pushups, CurlyCraftyMom, Style Nudge, The Red Closet Diary

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

5 Weekly Graces Vol. 17

I don't know about you all, but I am so incredibly thankful for the long weekend and an extra day to relax / catch up on schoolwork and housework. It was a great chance to slow down for a minute and just breathe.

And now I am in a space feeling very content and prepared to accomplish all of the tasks on my list for this coming week.

1) Be Bold

Back in December I was approached by a fellow blogger who asked if I would be interested in writing in a guest-post series #BeBoldGirl all about making bold choices in your faith. I was very humbled for even being considered and after some prayer I responded to the request and was scheduled to post that went live today! My post discusses the value of being bold and how it is so very needed in our world today. If you're interested, you can read more here. I'd love to know what you think!

2) Muir Woods

My roommates and I had our day away on Saturday and chose to visit Muir Woods in Mill Valley. It's a beautiful park filled with gorgeous trees and wildlife. The focus of the day was deciding who we are as a lay intentional community and how we can help one another strive to grow. Though there were some bumps along the way, it was overall a pleasant afternoon spent basking in the glory of Creation.

3) Java, Jazz and Jesus

Nothing beats some good alliteration, amiright? That is the title of a young adult event that my roommate and I went to on Saturday night. After the day in Muir Woods, she and I drove up to Sacramento to spend the weekend with her family. The event was focused on conversation about the poem Falling in Love by Pedro Arrupe. I knew the speaker and many of the participants from a retreat I went on in November so it was really lovely to see a lot of familiar faces and catch up.

4) Baptism

The main reason we went to Sacramento was to celebrate the baptism of the daughter of my roommate's best friend from home. I had met the parents on retreat and was so incredibly thankful that they didn't mind me being a part of their special day. The baptism was an intimate gathering followed by a lovely backyard party with some really incredible people. Such a beautiful way to celebrate the baby's official entrance into the church.

5) Job Interview

Last Monday I had an impromptu job interview - basically, I didn't realize entering into the phone call that it was an interview. It went really well and after learning more about the position, I became pretty excited at the prospect. After anxiously waiting all week to hear back (#patienceisavirtue), I have been asked to let them know when I would be available for them to fly me out and have an official interview! I'm so excited I can hardly contain it! Looks like I'll be just fine adulting!

So grateful for a week filled with grace and friendship. Where did you find joy last week?


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day

Just wanted to take a moment and wish all of you a very Happy Valentine's Day and share one of my absolute favorite prayers:

Nothing is more practical than
 finding God, than
 falling in Love
 in a quite absolute, final way. 
What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination,
 will affect everything. 
It will decide 
what will get you out of bed in the morning, 
what you do with your evenings,
 how you spend your weekends,
 what you read, whom you know,
 what breaks your heart, 
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
 Fall in Love, stay in love,
 and it will decide everything.

- Pedro Arrupe, SJ

I hope your days are filled with joy, laughter and, of course, Love!

ps - there's a beautiful image/design of the entire poem that cant be found here.

**Participating in this month's Circle Link Up

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2 Suggestions for Lent This Year

This morning I was approached by a kind stranger who wanted to let me know that I had a smudge of dirt on my face. I had to chuckle a little and explained that it is Ash Wednesday in the Catholic Church and the smudge - which should ideally look like a cross - is intentional.

Side note: I also expressed deep appreciation for his willingness to point it out because there have been many times that I have had something on my face or food in my teeth and no one has let me know. If you see someone with green in their teeth, tell them! I promise they'll appreciate it.


Today marks the beginning of the Lent-Easter season in the Roman Catholic Tradition. For the next 40 days (Sundays excluded) Catholics around the world enter into a time of preparation to enter more fully into the mystery of the resurrection of Christ. You may be familiar with friends giving up meat on Fridays and other types of food or drink. Maybe you know someone who has started to go to mass more regularly or is trying to more intentionally avoid gossip.

Whatever someone decides to "give up" or "add in" to their daily routine during Lent is done so in order to strengthen their personal relationship with the Divine. It's not to see who can give up the most extravagant item, or who can add the most prayer into their days. Lent is personal. It's an intimate part of one's spiritual journey.

If you are planning to partake in a Lenten observance this year, I suggest 2 things.

1. When you decide on how you will observe Lent this year, think deeply about how that particular act will affect your relationship with God. If you can't find a connection, maybe think of something else you can choose to do.

2. Don't compare your Lenten sacrifice with someone else's. Don't feel inadequate because you don't have the flexibility in your schedule to add an hour more of prayer to your day. And on the flip side, don't assume that someone else is taking the easy route by doing something that to you may seem superficial. Again, this is not a competition.
There's so much more that I could share about Lent and Ash Wednesday and the history of this time in Catholicism (especially after my class this morning on the Lenten-Easter season). It's a beautiful time in the church filled with rich tradition and symbolism. 

If anyone has specific questions I would love to answer them. I am always so appreciative of people from other faith traditions who let me ask questions and I'd love to provide that space for anyone who wants it. And if I don't know the answer, I have a school filled with professors and at least one of them will ;)


**Linking up with Blessed Is She and the #BISSisterhood

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

5 Weekly Graces Vol. 16

Happy Mardi Gras, friends! I hope you are all enjoying this lovely Tuesday morning.

I feel like this week's graces are not as exciting as usual and seem a lot more mundane, which is sort of odd because I felt like last week was a really good week. I suppose it's the ordinary or routine things that often mean the most - especially when some of those routines will be ending with graduation...
1. Last First

Last Monday marked the beginning of our semesters and on Wednesdays I officially had my last first day of classes ever! Well, at least as a student... So far my courses seem incredible. I am taking two more practical courses, a very academically challenging course as well as a course focused on preparing me for comprehensive exams. In April. Too real.

2. Retreat

This weekend we held another weekend retreat for our immersion students preparing to go on trips in March for Spring Break. It was incredible! This may have been our best go around yet and the material and student participation flowed naturally and beautifully. I am so jazzed for this new cycle of immersions and to get to know my own immersion group more as we prepare for our time in East LA.

3. Mass of Gathering

Every semester my school holds a mass and dinner to gear up for the new start in the year and welcome new students. Friday was our "Mass of Gathering" for this spring and now that I'm thinking about it, it was my last. The MoG is always a beautiful celebration with a predictable homily from our Dean of Students mentioning either Bruce Springsteen, New York City, or both - it becomes endearing, I promise. After the dinner this year a couple of friends had a group of us over for drinks and it was a really lovely time. The past few weeks have been such a beautiful reminder of how many wonderful people I have met in my time here in Berkeley and the joy-filled friendships I have made.

4. No Fainting!

When meningitis shows up at your school and you begin to trend on Facebook, public health shows up and offers free vaccinations to students. Fun fact about me, I HATE shots. I don't hate them because they hurt or I'm afraid of needles, but whenever I get a shot or have blood drawn, the room goes blurry, my ears pop, sometimes my knees buckle and if they don't lay me down, I can faint. Yes, I am that girl. But as much as I hate shots, I sucked it up and went for the vaccine - you don't mess with meningitis. As luck would have it, there was a question on the form asking if you're prone to fainting and because I am, I was put in a different, shorter line so the hour-plus I would have had to wait turned into about 20 minutes! The doctor had me lay down to begin with and I stayed for ten minutes or so, had a muffin, took a photo in the photo booth they had set up at the end of the clinic (not kidding) and went home without passing out! Mission accomplished! As far as I know, 2 of the 3 cases that were known on Thursday are doing well, but please continue to keep our students in your thoughts and prayers.

5. Sunsets

Just thought I would conclude this week of grace with a couple of sunset photos from last week. There have been some absolutely gorgeous ones.

How have you been, friends? What graces have you recognized in your life lately?


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Gifts That Give: Valentine's Day Edition

With Valentine's Day just around the corner I thought it would be nice to share another meaningful gift guide filled with beautiful items that strive to respect the dignity of those who create them.

And not only are these items gifts that give, but they are also great alternatives to the not-so-original gifts you typically find for Valentines. I mean, just how many stuffed animals holding hearts need to be made each year? And I know I'm not the only one who usually donates them within a year - two max!

Searching for thoughtful gifts with meaning helps me to enter more fully into the celebration of love each year. That doesn't mean that I don't gravitate to gifts with hearts or those that are red, pink or purple, but I do try to find unique items and items that are Fair Trade certified to make sure that my holiday celebration doesn't come at the expense of others.

Below are just a few of the many options you could give to a loved one this Valentine's that aim to provide a fair wage to the hands that went into making them. Each link contains some information about the particular item and how the sellers are working to make the world a better place through their business practices.

7. RGB Nail Polish - in violet, bare, and coral

Beyond these, there's always Fair Trade chocolate, wine, and coffee - the true way to my heart ;)
Or you could always plan a day together or make a gift to cut on costs and consumption!

What are your plans this Valentine's?


Monday, February 1, 2016

5 Weekly Graces Vol. 15

Oh hey there, February! Where did you come from? I can barely even sort through everything that happened in January let alone think about plans for this month. But to be fair, classes begin this week which means my seemingly flourishing social life will be coming to a very abrupt end. It was nice while it lasted...

Our trip to Jerusalem ended about a week and a half before the beginning of the semester - which is awesome because I truly don't know that I would have been in a good space to just dive right in to classes. Because of the gap in between, last week was pretty relaxing with a great mix of fun times with friends.

1. Back to Work

Y'all, I LOVE my job. I love working with passionate and talented students and amazing coworkers. Juggling school and work at the same time can be pretty rough, but I am always overjoyed and energized when I am able to just work. Last week we went through the application and selection process for our immersion students and I learned which trip I will be accompanying over spring break - East LA! I'm really excited to meet our group this week and begin the preparation process. Here's hoping that I love where I am working after graduating as much as here!

2. Karma Wednesdays

There's a movie theater in Oakland called The New Parkway Theater and each week they have "Karma Wednesday" where they show a slightly older movie and invite customers to pay what they want for a ticket. A group of friends and I went to watch the latest Hunger Games and it was a blast. The seats in the theater are groups of random chairs and couches which gives the space a fun, eclectic feel. I'll definitely be returning again this semester.

3. Bob's

My first year in Berkeley a couple of friends were helping me locate paczkis for Mardi Gras and we stumbled upon Bob's Donuts - a tiny, hole-in-the-wall donut shop in San Francisco that did not have my polish donuts, but did have the best donuts I have ever eaten! They make everything fresh and more often than not I have been there while they're making a new batch. It is so fun to watch! Because they're in the city, I don't get to go super often - which is probably for the best - but last week I was visiting a friend at USF and we made a last second decision to hop on over to Bob's to have a treat. Always a good decision. If you're ever in San Francisco and looking for a great donut, Bob's is the way to go. Just be aware that there will probably be a line.

4. Ballin'

I am one of the least coordinated and athletic people you will ever know. I wish I was exaggerating, but alas, it is true. Yet even with my lack of skills, my classmates continue to invite me to play basketball in the park when they go. They've seen me play. They know it isn't pretty. I always appreciate the invites and also enjoy running around on the court, so there are some days like last Thursday that I accept their invitation and play. It is always such a great time! This week we played 21 and it was a blast! I'm just really grateful that no matter how much I stink, I always feel welcome and included. Their patience is admirable!

5. Birthday Parties

Birthday parties are the best! It's so much fun gathering together to celebrate the life of a friend and to fill the time together with fun and laughter. On Friday a group of us gathered for dinner, drinks and darts at a local bar for one friend's birthday and then on Saturday we danced the night away at another friend's house for her special day. There was just so much joy! I offered to bake the cake for one of the parties which was the perfect way to pass the time on a rainy Friday afternoon. I even had time to make a fun cake topper which I think turned out pretty darn cute (if I do say so myself). For those interested, you can find the chocolate cake recipe I used here.

Even as I re-read and edit this post, my heart is just so full from all of the people who helped make last week so wonderful! Here's hoping the rest of my last semester is just as full of love, friendship and laughter!

What were some highlights from your week?


**Linking up with EmberGrey and #KeepingtheGood