Friday, April 29, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday!!!

Thanks to Jeniffer over at Conversion Diary for hosting 7 Quick Takes for Friday!!!

Here is what's up:

Photos Required: I now believe that in life on the internet, photos ought to be required. For instance, when you choose to date online or go apartment hunting online. I wouldn't buy a skirt or dress or jeans online without seeing a picture, so why would I choose to meet someone or consider living in a place without even getting a glimpse of the person or place? Isn't a date or home much more important than jeans? skirts? dresses? I think so! So beware, if you are trying to rent an apartment to me or get a date with me, please, draw me in with a photo. This is mostly because I saw a listing for an apartment in my desired town and it exclaimed, "A MUST SEE..." but had no pictures! I guess it isn't as 'must see' since I can't see it right now.

Royal Wedding: I wish there would be less hype over this. It is a wedding of two prominent figures, yes, but at the end of the day, a wedding is a wedding. You may be thinking, "But Kristina, you love all things wedding/marriage". You are right, however, I'd rather have the spotlight on couples who are entering into Holy Marriages rather than Royal or Grand Weddings.

Apartment Hunting: I've decided to raise my rent budget to try to find more of what I am actually looking for. I went to see a place last night that was closer to the top of my previous budget, included no utilities and was smaller than my first apartment, plus the laundry room is on the other side of the complex. If I want a  nice place, I can raise my stakes a bit, as long as it includes the utilities, and actually love the place I live.

Clothes: I got the clothes I ordered from my favorite store Athleta!! I am returning the dresses because they don't fit right. They do fit, but look funny...which is sad becuase they were so comfortable on and modest! The skirts are wonderful though! I really recommend everyone go to the site, and splurge on at least one of their "Whatever Skorts" becuase they are just the most comfortable, modest, yet still stylish and attractive thing I will ever wear.

Happy Hour: One of my supervisors just asked me if I got the email a month ago that we're doing a work Happy Hour tonight after work. I said no, but tell me when and where. I am so happy! I needed a pick me up this week and having some laughs and a drink with my co-workers is just perfect!

Casino: Apparently having a weekend free is the perfect plan. A friend just text me and invited me out to the casino. Again, another night of fun, I could not be more excited.

Prayers: Please pray for my family. My great-aunt passed away on Good Friday. As beautiful of a day that was to go, my family has just had a rough couple of years. 2 of my grandmother's brothers and now her sister have passed, my grandfather found he had to have a tumor removed from his lung after completing a battle of prostate cancer, and now has a 'spot' on his bladder. Last year, my sister had some troubles after giving birth to the twins and many other things happened for us. It seems like we all just keep getting hit again and again. We are trying to be strong but it is taxing on the spirit and mind. Pray we can handle God's will in our lives, no matter what that may be! Thank you!

Hope you are all enjoying your Easter season. God Bless!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Stylish Modesty

If you haven't caught my current drift, I'm on a bit of a modesty kick.

I believe that at the moment, my heart is in dire  need to catch up with my head. I am sure you are all aware of how sometimes, it is so easy to know in our minds how we are to act, speak, and ultimately live as Christian women. We can spout out why we do what we do, how things should be done, and we can preach all day long about "should" and "should not", but sometimes our hearts are left far behind where are heads have gotten to.

I can teach and break down many of the Church's teachings on human dignity, sexuality, chastity, and modesty. Yet I struggle to believe it in my heart. With anything, when my heart struggles to catch up to be passionate as my mind is, I must fall back onto the age old testament, "fake it till you make it".

So I am diving head first into reading and searching all things regarding human dignity in order to jump start my heart to be where my mind is. I know what is right and what is wrong but for some reason, my heart is not in a place where it is passionately working to accomplish all things "right". I share this because I feel alone in it, and I feel if I share it, I will find that I'm not alone. Even if no one shares back with me, I just think a lot of people will read this and nod their heads and say "oh yes, that is me too!"

I wanted to share with you yet another great find on the web. A website that doesn't just claim "modesty" and then offer a "sexy" bikini. The term sexy and modesty don't fit well together to me. If our dignity is truly honored, then being sexy becomes obsolete because we not trying to attract anyone on the premis of sex.

I don't LOVE everything on this website, but I do like that they have quite a bit of skirts that are casual but some that are dressy looking as well for us working professional ladies! Funky Frum is the website, and if I return stuff that I bought from Athleta the other day, then I will definitely be trying some skirts from this website! Check it out and let me know what you think!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday!!!

I actually remembered this morning to come to the blog world and write up my 7 quick takes of the week!

Thanks to Jennifer @ConversionDiary for hosting!!

Follow up to the bathing suit post (check that out here!), I thought it was rude of me to not at least share some good resources for modest clothing, and even some more than not modest swimwear in case you decide you still want the beach/pool experience! I just ordered some clothes from Athleta and I can't wait for them to come. It is somehow sporty and feminine. They have skirts and dresses, and my all time favorite: the skort. The skorts they make have shorts built in that are almost mesh material. I have worn my skort to Haiti and hiking/biking before and couldn't believe how comfortable I was in so many ways.

 They have wide leg yoga pants, not just tight ones, and even modest tanks and other tops.
They are a bit pricey, but I reccomend buying one thing at a time if you really enjoy what you's good quality and supporting this line, shows that there are women out there that demand this type of clothing!

As far as swimwear, definitely Lands End (they even sell some of their stuff at Sears stores!). I also stumbled upon: Rey Swimwear! Vintage and modest swimwear, and their unbeatable tagline, "Who says it has to be itsy bitsy" is the perfect mantra for the modest woman's battle for covering up!

Apparently I am back in full swing at my old parish, St. James. I left there almost 2 years ago and have been quite the Church nomad ever since. I left because it stopped feeling like home. It feels like home again. I have no idea why. I think it may have something to do with the pastor. Of course, one reason why I left was also because of him as well. But when I started coming back, whenever he looked at me, I feel as though we both might cry. Tears of joy of course over my return. I haven't been away from Church, but it just felt like he truly missed me in my absence. To feel that from a pastor of a large parish was quite overwhelming and humbling. Another person who had been away and come back to the same parish, said she had the same experience. Oh, how he loves us! I feel so blessed.

Apparently, this also means I'm slowly getting back into youth ministry. Praise the Lord! I went with them to a talk by Jason Evert last week and I thought it was great. His calm and relaxed way of encouraging teens to live a pure life is amazing. He never condemns and he doesn't lay on the whole "you can't, you can't, you can't" mantra onto them. Just gently encourages that they should try to remain pure. I bought the book he and his wife wrote for young women called "How to Find Your Soulmate: Wihtout Losing Your Soul". I think it will be my saving grace. It just speaks to my heart. No over the top doctrine (that I already know), but practical advice on how to live while waiting for my husband.

Another great find, introduced to me by my brother-in-law, is: Trits. I can't believe I haven't blogged about this yet. But Quick Takes, perfect timing! Trits Ice Cream Dessert is originally made in Costa Rica and is a big deal among the surfer population. What is it? It's an ice cream sandwich and I believe my sister describes it best: the cookie almost taste like the crust of a cheesecake but hard enough to be the sandwich, and then it is filled with vanilla ice cream, but it's just sweet and delicious. A guy my B-i-L knows is bringing them to the US and they were debating investing, so I got to try one. Absolutely delicious! I hope they take off in the US because I'd love to eat them all summer long!

Nephew story: My 2 1/2 year old nephew is just hysterical these days. I can't even narrow down one incident, but I will try...this morning, my sister sent us this story via emial with a picture for proof. He was having yogurt for breakfast. They just bought this shelves with the removable boxes (that serve as drawers)for storage from IKEA. My sisters hears the following words from him, "Mama Mia see Jimmy eat yogurt in BIG box" go in to find him sitting in the "drawer" on the floor eating his yogurt. (Mama Mia is what he calls Mia now since my sister taught him the Mama Mia song). His version of the song goes like this: "Mamma Mia, go again, bye bye, itch ya" Where the "g" is, replace with "d" and you will get what he sounds like. (Real words he's imitating: Mamma Mia, here we go again, my, my, how could I resist ya)

Bike Ride: Last night, it was absolutely gorgeous outside. I was in the midst of doing laundry and cooking/cleaning my apartment which was badly needed, when I had the strongest desire to go for a bike ride. I ended up not going because I needed to finish the laundry, but I really was just excited over the fact that I wanted to do something active! Hopefully I will get to go for a bike ride soon!

I need to get to confession before Holy Week really kicks into gear. Know of a Church that has offerings for the procrastinators? Let me know! I'm such a last minute person, but I do really want to be able to go through the Triduum in a state of grace, it's so much better that way!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Bank Saves MY Money!

I am beyond excited!!! This is an entire post about why I'm learning to love Bank of America!

I was really upset at one point because I realized that my savings account at my bank barely earned interest at all last year. Amount $.05 maybe...

...but then I realized that being in the "Keep the Change" program, which saves all the "change" from my debit card purchases by rounding up my purchases to the nearest dollar and transering that money into my savings account, has really paid off!

I've saved a good deal of money through it and the bank matches it, 5%, up to a certain amount. So I made $56 from that annual payment.

Today, I was reminded of the "Add it Up" program. This is where you earn 3,4, or 5% (and even a possible 7% bonus) cash back on certain online purchases made with your debit card. All you do is enter the coupon code they give you for the stores they offer it for.

I decided to order some new slipcovers for when I move. I had an option of 3 coupon codes, and figured the most savings would come from the free shipping code. The shipping was approximately $27 and don't forget, I earn 4% cash back on this one, and that was almost $9. So I technically saved $36 on something I really wanted/needed. Once you make $5 in cash-back, they transfer it into your checking account. They also occasionally have "in store" coupons you can print out.

Why I love it: ways to save and get some money back in your pocket without doing too much work to find the deals!

Monday, April 11, 2011

It's That Time of Year!

Oh, the joy of Springtime!

Trees and flowers in bloom, the joy of Easter, sunshine, cool breezes.

Almost everything about spring is loveable. Almost.

Being that it is the season prior to Summer (read: bathing suit season) it means that it is the usual time that one preps for Summer (read: buys bathing suits)!

I normally just run to my safety net of Land's End because even though each top and bottom is about $55 on average. At least I would know that I was getting good quality material and enough bathing suit to cover far as bathing suits are concerned.

As far as bathing suits are concerned is the part that is bothering me a bit more each year as I get older. I realize that we, as a culture, accept being covered less in the name of "Summer". I now wonder why. During the same summer, I will never be caught going to the mall or dinner (or anywhere for that matter) wearing a mini skirt or a halter top. But for the past 2 years, that is exactly what my bathing suit consisted of. I would wear a t-shirt over my top until at the beach or a pool for modesty, but as soon as I laid in the sun or went in the water, my suit was apparently modest...enough. the part that is making it difficult for me to consider bathing suits this year. I've never been a big "on the fence" type about anything. So why is it okay for me to consider a bathing suit that is more revealing than any clothes I'd choose to dress in? Modest is Modest. Just because a suit consists of more than a few triangles and strings, does not make it modest. Only on occasion will I leave the house in a sleeveless tank top, and never in anything higher than a few inches above my knee. Not only for modesty sake, but for comfort sake as well.

Modest is Modest. Some have tossed out the idea "do I swim in public at all?". Some have given in and bought the full coverage modest bathing suits. The issue may reside in the fact that defining modesty is really hard to do. I've always understood it to mean that someone is not trying to do anything to draw attention to themselves. This is an entire attitude. My goal has been to be modest. I fail because I am by nature loud and sometimes even needy for attention. In addition to not drawing attention to oneself, I believe that modesty is important because in choosing to live it out, we make a responsible choice to also to protect others. I think this is at the core of social responsibility. Respecting our own dignity and honoring it so that others have no chance to degrade it.

I believe I have come to the decision that I am to stay dry this Summer season and in my regular non-revealing clothes(*). I may purchase a bathing suit similar to one I've had in the past just in case I go back to Haiti (I would need it to go in the river to wash up). It will be a challenge since I love to swim, but a worthy sacrifice to offer up in the name of modesty.

I'd love to hear your comments/thoughts.
(*): Disclaimer: This is what I have come to for my own self. I am not saying this is the only answer or only way to do it. Just sharing with awhat I've discerned for me at this point on my journey. I do not think any wrong against those who disagree or judge you who still continue to buy a bathing suit/swim! Have a blast! (Hopefully you will do it as modestly as you discern fit)