Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I'm Back! and I'm Married!

Hi everyone, it's great to be back!  Stephen and I are officially husband and wife, and we're also now residents of North Carolina (goodbye Ohio, we still love you!).  Your prayers for our wedding and marriage are felt by us and we're humbled and grateful for all of your support!

No, we're not on a honeymoon right now, so don't worry that I am neglecting my new husband so soon after the wedding :-).  We're postponing going on one for now (we'll be at the beach this weekend though!), and he returned to work today.  However, there is plenty to keep us busy here for while, like getting real furniture and organizing the piles and piles of stuff that's in our bedroom and living room.

I know many of you want to see pictures (and believe me, I would love to see them too!), but our photographer is seriously the best, and he does a pretty extensive retouching and compilation process to get them in perfect condition for us, so they won't be ready until mid August. Once we get them, I assure you I will post them so you can see :-)

In the meantime, my lovely bff Emily (who sang at our wedding, so beautifully), has posted a couple of pictures on her blog here, and if I know more people that have posted, I'll link to those also!

My posting might be sporadic for the next 2 weeks or so, but I'll be on twitter here and there to chat, as per my usual :-)

p.s.: I may or may not have already broken at least 5 and a half of my promises I made in my letter to Stephen I wrote a few weeks ago. Whoops. :-P

Thursday, June 23, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Volume 9) : My Favorite Wedding Things

Except it's not hosted at Conversion Diary today, because the lovely Jen just welcomed her child into the world on Wednesday! Yay!  

Go visit Betty Beguiles for more Quick Takes today :-)


Today, I'm sharing my 7 favorite wedding trends that I love this season (or more likely, trends that I would like to see happen, hah.).  Yes, I'm getting married tomorrow (Saturday, woot!), but the things that I pick here aren't necessarily part of my own wedding.  I'll post my own pictures as soon as I obtain them, and after a properly long reprieve from the internet and the world in general! :-)



(1) & (2)

I can't grab pictures from David's Bridal, so here's the link for a beautiful bridal look.  
 I *love* two things about this look.  First, the floor length veil is breathtaking! Can you imagine walking down the aisle with that gorgeous thing over your head and shoulders and flowing behind you?  Second, this look is one of the more beautiful gown + jacket combinations I've see for brides.  All of that lovely, feminine lace? This lady is gonna have to take this all in.....

(3)
Speaking of gorgeous lace, what do you think of this number in Vera Bradley's new collection at David's Bridal? If you get rid of that gigantic bow in the picture, it's so pretty! (I know, I know,that bow is  "high fashion" or whatever. I call it ridiculous.) I could go on about how much I love lace, but I'll spare you.  The way that sheer lace piece fits over the shoulders and neckline will flatter about any bride, and if you want, you can even remove that piece to create a strapless dress, which is a really interesting idea.

(4)

We're all used to those single-toned style dresses that pretty much everyone uses for their bridesmaids.

Ok, they aren't that bad. Heck, my bridesmaids will be in all purple toned dresses, so who am I to judge? :-)

Anyways, I've seen a couple of stores start to sell prints on bridesmaids dresses, which I think are cute! For example, check out this look at David's Bridal.  Now ignoring your personal preferences for dress length and other modesty issues, what do you think about the print?  Would you put your bridesmaids in a print like this? Just your maid of honor and coordinate solid dresses for the others? So many possibilities!

(5)

Now I know we aren't all fans of the Disney princesses, but I love how Alfred Angelo has developed a wedding gown line based on them! They don't match the outfits they wore in their respective movies exactly, but the designers took inspiration from the style of the character in her movie and clearly designed the dresses with that in mind. From left to right in the slideshow it's Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Ariel (Little Mermaid), Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Snow White, Jasmine (Aladdin), Cinderella, and Tiana (Princess and the Frog).   I think Belle's is my favorite, although I love how above and beyond they went to make each dress look extremely "princessy"! I'm a sucker for layers of nice fabric and some good old bling!

(6)

Since this *is* a Catholic blog afterall, I want to draw attention to the ceremony itself and what I love about it.    I think it is wonderful when the bride and groom carefully choose members of their beloved family or friends to participate in the Mass!  I was happy to call upon my and Stephen's cousins, brothers, sisters, and friends to participate. My fantabulous friend Emily is even going to sing! I can't wait!

However, aside from saying their vows, it's always interesting to me how the bride and groom usually aren't directly involved with the regular parts of the mass (reading, eucharistic ministering, etc.).  So I was wonderfully surprised to read a couple of months ago about Jackie @ Blueberries for Me and her wedding, and how her and her husband read the petitions at their own wedding.  How cool is that?? And while you're on her page, you should probably read all of her posts about her wedding, and gaze at that beautiful dress of hers! I'm jealous! :-)

(7)

To wrap up.....I love weddings.  I tend to love traditional weddings.  I've certainly never been a huge fan of themed weddings, especially after hearing about too many crazy pirate or Star Wars themed ones.  However I am now in love with these people who decided to theme their wedding day after the spectacular movie "Up!"  I can't stop looking at their wedding pictures....that day looks so amazing! I especially can't get over those completely adorable picnic baskets at the ceremony or the pretty desserts display!



Have a great weekend everyone!!! Next time you hear from me, I'll finally actually be The Nerdy *Wife* .

;-)


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Embracing Modesty is True Freedom

I'm joining the Bright Maidens today, talking about the topic of "Catholic Modesty." I encourage you to read everyone else's post today on this topic by checking out the facebook page!



 I grew up in a very Catholic and modesty-minded household, so much so, that most rules were strictly understood without having to ask.  Modesty in speech was a big deal....not only have I never heard a curse word from my parents or siblings, phrases like "shut up" or "I'm gonna kill you!" were not ever allowed.  My parents carefully moderated the movies and tv programs we watched, taking care to avoid anything with profane speech or sexual themes for my childhood and into my teenage years, for good reason.  When shopping for new clothes, my Mom was never lenient when we wanted to push boundaries with our clothing choices.

One of my first memories involving modesty as a conflict in my life is vivid in my mind.  I was probably around 14-15 years old, and it was time once again for the dreaded swimsuit season.  I already knew the routine.  I would pick out some crappy "ugly" swimsuits that passed Mom's tests...covered the butt WELL (meaning those shorts or skirt bottoms), the top would have sturdy straps, avoiding any low v-necks (or anything that might show more in the cleavage area), not too "clingy," padded, or showing more than a sliver of stomach.  

Well this year, I told myself, I was sick of it.  Nobody my age wore stuff like that, didn't Mom know that?  One piece swimsuits were certainly only for people over 30 (at LEAST).   And yeah, all my past swimsuits weren't *terrible*, I had to admit, but I still gazed longingly at my classmates and people at the pools with their adorable bikinis, and you know....I just wanted to take that opportunity to be cute like that!  

This was one of the years that I was a bit more independent with shopping.....Mom went along with me still, but we went our separate ways while browsing.  I quickly raided the racks for a bikini....something cute, not too crazy, and something I could get past the "Mom test."  I found a striped triangle halter bikini with a matching shorts bottom (the shorts would fly by Mom, that I was certain).  I tried it on, smiled and was satisfied.  I brought it to Mom (kinda having a speech ready), and to my surprise, she didn't really argue with me.  She raised her eyebrows, and asked something like: "Are you sure?"  I said yes, we got it and moved on.

I wore it exactly once.

And the entire time, I wasn't comfortable.  I wore it just around my family, but I found myself constantly looking at my body and thinking about what everyone else was thinking about me wearing it.  I tugged at the top every few minutes to make sure things were covered.  I purposely stayed in the water most of the time so my one sister (the one who often gives me "tough love" of various sorts) wouldn't give me that weird look.  And the whole time I just was frustrated: "Why couldn't I get past these awkward feelings and enjoy my swimming, when every other bikini-wearing girl could?"

The answer is surprisingly simple, and I'm entirely embarrassed that I went through such an ordeal just to learn this simple truth: because my Mother lovingly showed me a modest lifestyle from the time I was born, when I put on that bikini, I KNEW that something was not right and could not just simply shake that from my mind. I knew deep within my heart that I had pushed myself away from Jesus with my decision to reveal my body inappropriately. After that day, I promptly stuffed that swimsuit in my drawer, and just about a month ago, I sent it to the thrift store without a second thought.

To this day, I'm not sure why Mom actually let me buy the bikini that day.  Maybe she knew that I would find this lesson for myself through the experience.  Maybe she was just exasperated with me and hoped I would get through a "phase" I was in.  I don't know.  

I do know that our Heavenly Father guides us to a modest lifestyle because he loves us.  I believe it is practically impossible to draw a line in which one side is modest, and one is not, but that when you dress yourself, when you speak, when you watch programs or listen to music, you know in your heart through Jesus if you are crossing the line from expressing beauty and having fun to the shame and guilt of separating yourself from your faith.

If you are new to modesty as a lifestyle, or are working to reclaim modestly like I am, I find it especially helpful to call as an intercessor in prayer our beautiful mother Mary.  Jesus gave his beloved mother to us, and she will guide you in your daily choices so that you may find the way to modesty as a life style.  Now we all stumble in our daily lives for this, but embracing Mary as a powerful intercessor, especially as women, to reclaim our femininity and beauty without soiling it by reducing ourselves and our lives to be satisfied by cheap pleasure.

I've taken to reciting the Hail Mary in times that I am tempted by anything related to modesty....most often, when I am shopping or choosing clothes for the day.  I try to keep Mary and Jesus close to my heart, not pushed away, when I'm frustrated and need guidance on all things modesty.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy (Late) Father's Day! : Messages from my RIDICULOUSLY funny Dad :-)

Yeah, I know it's the day after Father's Day today, but seeing as how I was doing stuff with my father and everything on his special day (yay picnic!), I didn't have time to post this until now.

Anyone who personally knows my father knows that he has a hard time being serious.  He's constantly smiling, cracking jokes, and making all of us shake our heads at the weird things that he says. :-)  Over the last year or so specifically, he has been sending text messages to myself and my 3 sisters that are all themed around how to not be "lame-o's."

So in honor of my father on Father's Day, I'm going to share with you the ENTIRE collection of my Dad's original text message gems that I've received. All of these are copied exactly word for word what he wrote to me.  They have always made me (and whoever I shared them with) smile :-D !!  Hope you enjoy as much as I have!  Please let me know if any text in particular made you smile, or if you have a favorite.  I keep thinking that I need to make a book for him out of these sayings of his, and have it published, hah :-P




Wisdom From My Dad

"Motivational anti-lameness text of the day:
Mary was a little lame.
Her lameness was white as snow.
Everywhere that Mary went
Her lameness was sure to show.
Moral: Don't be like Mary."


"Anti-lameness quote of the day.  On the eighth day God did NOT create lameness, so there is no need for you to invent it now."

"Anti-lameness quote of the day. To quote Shakespeare O Romee-o, O Romee-o, 
Don't be a lame-o."

"Though thy walk thru the valley of 
lameness
Thou can feel like big stuff
As long as thou art not lame thyself..
Al 6:3"

(I think "Al" stands for "anti-lameness"?? Funny, I missed that book in the Bible....)

"The lame lay claim to blame and 
shame...
....because they got no game.
So don't be lame!"

Received after I told Dad I was coming home soon:
"Ok  dont be lame and wreck"

"Have a splendiferous day everyone
....and dont be lame"

"Anti-lameness quote of the day: 
The meed shall inherit the earth, the lame shall inherit bad genes and massive amounts of debt.
Don't be lame!"

" 'Lameness is in the eye of the beholder'.......
or in the case of the ancient Roman executioners 'Lameness is in the eye of the beheader'
So the moral of the story is obvious.
Don't be lame and don't lose your head."

After a toast I gave at my friend's wedding:
"Kendra
That toast was not lame at all. I'm semi-proud of you."

"Anti-lameness quote of the day: 
Man cannot live by lameness alone, but a girl can if she finds the right man to compensate for it."

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder....but lameness is just plain ugly no matter what. Don't be lame."

"Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the lamest of them all?
YOU ARE if you are taking advice from a mirror! Moral of the story: only take advice from your parents...or possibly a well-trusted bush since that seemed to work out ok for Moses.
Today's anti-lameness thought for the day was brought to you by the letter B and the number 4."

"Anti-lameness thought for the day. 
Although the saying is that good things comes in small packages, remember that lameness comes in any size package.  Most often lameness hides itself in people then comes out and atacks you when those people speak or act. So the obvious lesson for today is that all packages...and people....should be prescreened for lameness before letting them get to close to you. Dogs already know this which is why you always see dogs sniff around people or packages that they have never met before.
I hope this thought for the day helps you get thru this friday the 13th."

"Today's anti-lameness thought of the day is stolen from shakespeare:
Even though the raindrops of lameness from yonder cloud dost fall, ye shant be concerned if thou are protected with the umbrella of coolness."

"Anti-lameness thought of the day:
To help make it thru school remember the three Rs
1. Reading
2. Riting
3. Ridding yourself of lameness"

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. A LAME bird however is basically cat food.  Don't be lame. Don't be cat food.
With everlasting love,
Dad"


I <3 you too, Dad.  So very much :-)


Hope every father had a great Father's Day!

(if you share these, give him credit please!)


Friday, June 17, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Volume 8) : Wedding Edition

Go to Jen's for more reading!


PS, this is kind of a short edition, since I'm kinda busy :-)

(1)

I would love to spare you all the incessant "OMGOODNESS I'M GETTING MARRIED" talk that I'm sure every one of your friends was like during her engagement...... 


BUT I'M GETTING MARRIED IN ONLY 8 DAYS! DID YOU COUNT THOSE? 8!!

K, I'm done.



(2)

On a related note, it never hit me how hard it would be to get married and to move states at the same time. Combine that with trying to find a job and buy a car...lots of paperwork in my future, people.


(3)

After an entire 2 weeks of my mother hounding me to do wedding stuff, I folded and made calls and did other things today.  Wooohoooo.  There is probably not a bride out there as reluctant to plan her own wedding as myself.  I'm so excited to get married of course, but I just wish somebody would make the calls and a lot of the decisions for me, hah!

(4)

I get to attend my cousin's wedding tomorrow, which is very exciting!  Always happy to celebrate the sacrament of marriage! 

(5)

Going along with that last one, whenever I go to a wedding, I always try to guess the type of dress that the bride will be wearing.  I love seeing the bride's everyday fashion style play into the type of dress she picks out.  I've rarely seen a bride in a dress that is extremely different from her regular style!  I've got a dress in mind for tomorrow's wedding, and I'm excited to see if I'm right!

Does anyone else do this?

(6)

I really really really need to participate in Betty Beguile's lovely engagement linkup, but due to moving my belongings to my future apartment all week, I haven't had time!  I'll post it hopefully this weekend sometime, and link to it here as soon as I do! Stay Tuned!

(7)

One last note.....there is nothing quite like packing your overnight bag for your wedding night and subsequent nights (or your honeymoon, if you are going on one).  Just sayin', it's probably one of the things I've done lately that has hit me the hardest that the wedding is coming up soon.  Wow.

(adding in # 8, shhh)

I just remembered this, that I wanted to share that I made it to confession, finally, and now I feel super de duper prepared for the wedding.  Just have to shake the rest of my nerves away now....


(my pseudo-engagement picture!!)


Have a fantastic weekend everyone!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Do You Know Who You're Marrying? : An Open Letter to my Future Husband

My Dearest Stephen,


As of right this very second, exactly 17 days from now, you will presumably be at the front on the church, having strolled up that aisle, and eagerly waiting to see me reveal myself at the end of the aisle.  With any luck it will be a sweet, awesome, heartfelt, and dare I say it, an emotional (aka possibly teary) moment.  We'll celebrate Mass, say our vows, exchange our rings, receive the Eucharist, smile and maybe kiss (gasp! :-D) and be on our way to the rest of the day/reception!  I'm sure you're as excited as I am!  We're about to have a really big party that's all about our marriage, and then move across the country together.  What an adventure!  When we get there, we finally get to move into a home that we have TOGETHER.  Isn't that just the best part?  To live with each other?  Every day for the rest of our lives?


Well........




Here's the thing. (This is when I know you're saying "There's a thing?").  We're all excited to move in together and be with each other more often than before, and I know that it will be pretty cool!  I also know you may not have realized that I actually have some less than desirable traits....can you believe I'm not beautiful, sweet, generous, kind, and responsible all of the time? So, being the good fiance that I am, I'm writing to you to let you know what to expect up front, that way we can avoid all of those argument thingys that those "unprepared" couples go through.


Sleep Time!


So I know one of the first things we'll have to get used to is sharing a bed together.  You may not know this, but I kind of like my space when I sleep.  I spread out, move around, and usually I like to sleep with my feet sticking out of the covers.  I'm afraid this might mean I do something like accidentally push you away if you try to cuddle with me at night....just know it's not how I would really feel when I'm awake!  Just....you know.....keep one eye open for the first couple of weeks, and hope I get used to sharing a bed again soon! 


Being a woman, and a perpetually excited one at that, you know I love to talk.  Right now, when I'm on the phone with you at night, you know I'll talk your ear off if you let me.  You probably haven't thought of this as a problem, since you just know to hang up on me if you're really tired and I won't shut up.  But when I'm right there beside you, that's a little harder.  I give you permission in writing right now (I'll regret this later) that when we're laying there in bed and I'm ranting about whatever ridiculous things I talk about, and you're just saying "MMHMMM" while trying your hardest to tune me out and go to sleep.....just......throw a pillow at me or push me off the bed.  I'll learn how to talk to you more during the day instead of night eventually, since I know you love your sleep!  You know I hate going to sleep at night.....I hate realizing that the day is over, so I go in denial and just turn into a busy body late at night.  Just don't be surprised if I suddenly decide that midnight is a good time to clean the bathroom, chop up some veggies for tomorrow, or organize the closet.  You have my blessings to just ignore my shenanigans and sleep.


You know I'm not a morning person, but you may not know that I am a total grouch when I don't wake up naturally (aka,  poking me awake).  I may grump around all morning, fumble around for coffee and/or sunlight, and try my hardest to not say grumpy things.  I will try! But if I ever try to tell you nonsensical things in the morning, please just tell me "yes sweetie, I love you" and leave it at that.  That should do the trick.


Clothes, Football, Pop Culture and Things You Don't "Get"


Yeah yeah.  I know I have interests you don't share.  I love shopping, I love just looking at and talking about fashion in general. I know more modern TV and Movie trivia than any person should know. You know it's useless to tell me about any big news that happened, because I've definitely already read about it.  During football season, I'll talk about the current state of the Browns, Buckeyes, and the game in general until I'm blue in the face.  Give me a celebrity, and I can name their current relationship status along with name of significant other, names and rough ages of their children, any criminal history, and current movie/tv/other projects they are involved in.  I love people watching and social things in general.  And I know by now that pretty much no matter how much I talk about Violet Affleck's adorable smile or how much I NEED (but not really) that totally cute dress I saw online today, you probably are not going to develop an appreciation for any of those subjects.  That's fine.


I just have this sneaky suspicion that putting myself in such close proximity to you all of the time will cause me to have delusions that because you married me, you definitely care about everything I want to talk about, all the time.


I'll try not to fall into that trap and annoy you.  So here's the solution.  When this inevitably happens, try these steps.


(1) If you know what I'm talking about, you can say something like, "Yes sweetie, the Browns definitely should have drafted a wide receiver first."


(2) Otherwise, you can stick with "yeaah" "ok" and "mmhmmm" until I run out of air to talk, or the food is done cooking and we start eating.


(3)On days that I'm grumpy, really need somebody to affirm my opinions, or I won't be quiet, please just direct me to my phone or my computer so I can call/tweet/text the appropriate female friends of mine.  Women love these sorts of things. With any luck, I'll forget I expected you to care in the first place.


Problem solved!


Other Random Things


You already know how much I despise spiders. I also hate all bugs. They are not my friends. Just brace yourself, because every time I find one of those things in our home, you will be getting rid of them while I don't look. 


I will tell you that you need to learn to like things like salad and other healthy foods, and then I will want to eat things like cheeseburgers.  Just go with it.  We'll figure out how to both eat healthy soon enough! :-D


I may get homesick. Please know that I may get irrational when I'm dealing with all of the changes that come with moving.  Know that I don't hate you, I'm just anxious and a little worried.  I know you're there to be a part of it all right beside me.  And if I don't say it then, "Thank you, and I love you."




PHEW!


Now this is of course just a short compilation of what I think could possibly go wrong.  You know me better that this though......I'm unpredictable, and frankly, a bit difficult.  Here's hoping you follow what I've told you through this letter, and what you've learned about me in the last 4+ years, and that we can avoid all of those arguments that other people seem to have.  We are totally better than that, and I'm sure we will soon learn to never think about each others faults or shortcomings or annoyances ever again.  


Thank goodness!


Your loving, adoring, and slightly apologizing future wife,
Kendra

Friday, June 3, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Volume 7)


Get over to Jen's to see more Quick Takes!



For this week, it's been a long week, so I'm just going to post 7 cool items I've found online this week that look really neat to buy.  Everybody likes window picture shopping, right?


(1)

A cute floral skirt!  


Seriously, I don't think I own any nice skirts at all, and doesn't this look fun? I'm thinking that a white blouse with some cute heels would really be something nice for a work setting.

(2)

You read that right, it's scented nail polish.


First, I'm really itchin' to buy a bright nail polish for this summer. It's something very cheap and lively to add to any summer outfit.  I'm also really curious to what it could possibly smell like ?!?!?  Since it runs so cheap, I may have to buy some and let you all know if it's any good.


(3)

A floral handbag.  Yes, I'm into floral things this year :-)


I don't think this needs much explaining.  Nothing like flowers and pink to make you feel extra feminine and beautiful!


(4)
Decorated hair pins


Honestly, these are one of those trends that I'm trying to imagine on an adult woman, and I'm not sure if it will come off as "chic," "vintage," or "childish."  Thoughts?  I definitely love the pastel colors, and the peach rose is really catching my eye.


(5)

Mismatched Maxi Skirt




I've had my eye on this skirt for a week now; it's so interesting! I don't have plans to buy it at the moment, but I can't stop trying to figure out in my head the perfect top to go with it.  I just am that kind of person that needs to complete the outfit in my head, even when I'm just browsing, hah.  Ideas?  I was thinking a solid colored wide strap tank (maybe a boat neck tank?) in a bright color, like sky blue or magenta.



(6)

Oh swimsuits, you always look nice in the pictures.



I know nobody likes swimsuit shopping, including myself.  I haven't bought one yet this year, just browsing for now.  I'm not sure how this swimsuit would actually fit on my own body, but it certainly looks nice in that picture!  I really love the polka dots, as well as the clever color contrast between the teal and the red band.

 (7)

Ridic cheap jewelry: A key to faking "real" fashion



Ok, I'll admit these definitely don't look high end or anything.  But I really like browsing through this store's jewelry selection (sorting by price of course) and seeing what's there.  Each of these sell for only $1.50!  If you're really strapped and just want something fun to add to an outfit, you can't go wrong with something as fun as a necklace with a giraffe or an owl on it!  Yay!



Hope this was at least a little fun for you, it was very fun for me! Have a fantastic weekend!  

Additional information: At the time of this post, I am not affiliated with or compensated by any of the retailers or brands of the items show.  Items 1, 3, 4, 5 are from www.shopruche.com .  Items 2 and 7 are from www.forever21.com . Item 6 is from www.reyswimwear.com