Family, Freedom

Festivities for the 4th

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Hi there, happy 4th of July! We love America & any excuse to celebrate her around here so I wanted to share with you what we did over the long weekend to celebrate Independence Day. There were multiple barbecues, plenty of good music, time spent outside, hanging with family, oh — and several patriotic outfits. I’m all about rocking the red, white & blue.

First, my dad got promoted to lieutenant commander in the Navy. He’s been in the Navy Reserves for several years now, and this was an exciting promotion because his friend came to my parent’s home to promote him right here! My grandma came, my siblings were all there, it was a lot of fun. It was a really nice little ceremony and I’m so proud of my dad for serving our country in this way. Gianna dressed as a little sailor girl for the occasion! It was a perfect way to kick off a patriotic week with more festivities to come.

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On the 4th of July we headed over to Dom’s parents’ house who live only a few minutes away. We spent the day with all Gianna’s grandparents and her Uncle Pete. It was a beautiful way to spend Gianna’s first Independence Day! We barbecued, listened to country music, and spent most of the day outside which always makes me a happy camper.

It was extra special bringing Gianna over to Dom’s childhood home because my in laws are currently in the process of selling it. Dom wants Gianna to see where he grew up, and we took a couple pictures in the front yard so that we can show her one day! There’s been so many parties and barbecues that have taken place at this house, it’s kind of bittersweet to think this may have been the last one.

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The next day we went to another barbecue, this time at my parents’ house. They live right next door to us which makes it really easy to walk over there for family parties. Gianna got a chance to meet some of her cousins and had another eventful day celebrating our country and spending time with family. Family is really important to us, so it’s nice to be so close and have so many opportunities to get together and celebrate.

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Over the holiday weekend Gianna also got fitted for her new casts. If you’re just catching up to this, she has a bilateral clubbed foot deformity and needs casts and then foot braces to help her feet grow in the right direction so she’ll be able to crawl, walk, etc. correctly! She’s been such a trooper and the doctor is really pleased with how her ankles and feet look so far. The casts don’t even seem to bother her all that much, which is fantastic. We’re so proud of our happy & strong girl!

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Going to sign off now to spend a little more quality time with family over the long weekend! We had a busy couple of days but they were really laid back and life giving. The 4th is one of my absolute favorite holidays, and I think it’s now one of Gianna’s favorites as well! She’s an American girl through and through. We’re excited for next year when we can do things like go swimming with her, bring her to the little parade in the next town over, and maybe even watch some fireworks.

Flowers

Let’s Talk Swimsuits

Hi there, friends! Things have been a little quiet on the blog because I really have no energy for anything these days (#37weekspregnant), but I love writing here so I’m going to try to be a little more active! I’m popping in to talk about a subject that I think is really important with summer just upon us, and that’s swimsuits.

Let’s go back in time for a second to my middle + high school days when I had a trickier relationship with swimsuits. You see, my wonderful parents didn’t let me wear a bikini for years. I know, heartbreaking. I can laugh about this now, but it’s hard when you’re young and you just want to fit in and you can’t wear what everyone else is wearing. I finally wore them down and we compromised on certain types of bikinis that I was permitted to wear. The thing is, I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to let this one go. Stop fighting to wear less clothes just because it’s what everyone else is doing. I would tell myself to embrace being a little different, set a new trend, stop trying to fit in, and just cover up + listen to your parents, damnit. I can’t go back and teach my younger self these lessons, but maybe there’s someone reading this who can be helped by it!

In my defense, at the time I truly felt like there just weren’t any good options to look cute AND be modest (ugh, that word—sorry). I felt like every bathing suit that was deemed “acceptable” was frumpy or childish. I also was not super interested in the opinions of my parents or the people at Church who were telling me to cover up. No offense to them, but no one that was “cool” in my eyes was covering up, so why would I want to? They had the best intentions, and I can see now that they were right (obviously), but at the time there was no reasoning with me. If I couldn’t wear a bikini, I’d automatically look like the Duggar’s when they go swimming (google their swim-wetsuit-dresses right now people if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

I know this all sounds super dramatic, but I think it’s relevant. I think we need to alter the way we present modesty to young women. While I usually love rules (I’m weird and a big time rule follower), I don’t think this is something that can be forced upon girls or willed for them. We need to explain why its important to dress a certain way, even at the beach. This needs to be done in a real way, not a cheesy “protecting boy’s eyes” way. Yes, that’s true, and that’s part of it. But that’s not all of it. It’s mostly about YOU. It’s so hard to explain this in a way that makes sense and doesn’t make you cringe, but your body is good and beautiful and it was made for so much more than seeking the fleeting and superficial approval of your peers. I also think we need to give girls options that are cute so they’ll actually WANT to wear them, instead of feeling like some combination of Duggar/grandma/nun (not that there’s anything wrong with any of those people)! Girls need examples of relatable, beautiful, women to look to in order to see that you CAN cover up + still look cute. They need to see that yes, you can be modest without sacrificing style. I don’t think I’m necessarily anyone’s standard of cool—but I can point you in the right direction. Check out my friends over on Instagram, the Modish Movement. Cecilia & Megan started this Instagram account to be what they wished they had when they were younger, examples of real women who are attractive and yes, modest, without sacrificing their style and managing to look beautiful everyday.

We all want to feel beautiful in what we’re wearing, which is why this post isn’t just for the girl in middle, high school, or college feeling like the odd one out. Maybe you have the opposite problem, and you want to cover up absolutely everything because of some unresolved feelings you have about your body. Maybe your body has changed recently, maybe you’re in the postpartum phase and don’t recognize yourself anymore. Maybe you’re noticing that as you’re aging things look a little different than they used to, and things fit a little different too. The thing is, your body is also good and beautiful and was made to be valued and uplifted. You can look and feel your best by finding a gorgeous swimsuit that is right for your body. You deserve that!

I’d like to share a few swimsuit companies with beautiful swimwear that leaves you covered AND looking super cute. Most of these companies embrace ethical practices and a wide range of sizes, so that’s a bonus!

Roolee

Roolee is a clothing brand based in Utah that sells everything from the cutest floral dresses to home items, and as of last year they began selling swim! They’re always modest while being trendy + cute.

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The Hermoza

The Hermoza is a newer swim company that’s known for its elegant yet accessible swim wear. They have a lot of classic silhouettes with feminine twists as well as gorgeous colors & patterns.

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Jessica Rey

Jessica Rey swimwear seeks to inspire dignity + confidence in all women through providing feminine and flattering styles for all. These suits are ethically made in LA and I’m personally a huge fan of Jessica Rey. These suits are practical and so pretty, I mean just look at those floral patterns!

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Albion Fit

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen Albion Fit swimsuits on Instagram, and there’s a really good reason for that. They’re made to be practical, comfortable, and also modest (there’s that lovely word again) and also really beautiful + trendy with vintage inspired styles.

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Also, if you’re hesitant to shop for swimsuits online you can totally stop at regular stores like Target & J. Crew and look for suits. The red one piece I got in the photo above is from J. Crew! Luckily, high waisted bottoms, sporty tops, and one pieces are all a bit more in fashion than they were a few years ago. This means you can shop for beautiful & modest pieces without having to look like the Duggars on the beach. By the way, no offense to the Duggars—I’m much more about the Grace Kelly & Audrey Hepburn classic vibes anyway.

One more thing!

If you’re looking for additional inspiration and encouragement for purchasing and wearing modest + ethical swimsuits, I’d like to share two articles with you written by a couple of my friends. The first is for the Blessed Is She Blog, written by Claire from Finding Philothea. You can find it here! Another post I love is all about the “why” behind modest swimwear, and it’s beautifully written by Lizzy from Just a Handmaiden. It’s a uniquely Catholic perspective that I had never considered until I read her post, and I’m so glad I did. You can find her post here!

Happy Summer & happy swim shopping, friends!

 

 

Fashion

Slow Fashion Tips & Tricks

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Hi there! I want to continue with my series on ethical fashion by sharing some tips & tricks that I’ve found helpful when it comes to ethical shopping. It can be a bit overwhelming to commit to this lifestyle change, so I wanted to share some things that have made it easier and more practical for me so far.

Wear What You’ve Got

This tip is probably the easiest and the hardest to do at the same time.  It’s easy because the most ethical decision is to wear the clothes you already own, without buying any more! It’s hard because we want to shop for something new. I recommend doing a closet purge (does anyone else get immense joy from cleaning out their closet?) and gaining an understanding of what clothes are working for your current lifestyle. Try to find clothes that are cohesive with one another and begin building your wardrobe with items you already have. You may be surprised by what you find in the back of your closet! It’s also a good idea to take the clothes you no longer want and sell them online or donate them—so they aren’t going to waste!

Keep a List

This is something I’ve found helpful for the past few years. I read an article a few years back in Verily Magazine that discussed the importance of developing a capsule wardrobe with classic pieces that are made to last and it spoke to me! I think it is helpful to take a look at your closet and remove any pieces that are not necessary. Keep items that are both beautiful and practical. Then, make a list of items that your closet is missing. When you are shopping you can look specifically for these items. This really helps minimize impulse buying! Be thoughtful about what your closet is missing, and picture these pieces with the items already in your closet. Will it go with clothes you already have? Can you mix and match it with several other pieces? These are all questions you should ask yourself before buying an investment piece to ensure that you will wear it often and it will be worth the money spent on it as well as the effort it took to make it.

Buy Secondhand

Buying secondhand is not something I’ve always been comfortable with, but for someone who wants to avoid contributing to the fast fashion world, it’s really an excellent (and affordable!) choice. You may be wondering how buying secondhand is ethical, especially when it is buying a clothing item from a store that may not be a particularly ethical brand. Well, the thing is—this garment already exists. It is already manufactured and created. You are not able to prevent this item from being created. By purchasing something that is pre-owned, you are avoiding contributing to the massive manufacturing of more, new items, for which the people behind the clothes are treated unfairly. It also prevents the already worn item from ending up in a landfill, and you are also loosening the grip of advertising by making it difficult for large companies to track your purchases.  I love shopping secondhand for items from brands I love like J. Crew & Madewell that aren’t considered ethical brands because of their lack of transparency with how their fabrics are sourced and how their clothes are created.

Mix & Match

This tip goes for everyone, all the time! Mix & match your clothes! I tend to buy clothes that will go with one another so I am able to multiply my outfits while using the same pieces over and over again, in different ways. The best way to begin to mix & match is to develop a cohesive color scheme for your wardrobe. You probably find yourself gravitating toward certain colors naturally, I know I do! I tend to go for neutrals as well as blue tones!  This way, when I go about creating different outfits, most of my pieces tend to go together and I’m able to mix & match them.  Also, get creative! Sometimes I’ll throw a sweater over a dress and now the dress is able to work as a skirt as well. Little tricks like this can really expand your closet of fewer, carefully chosen items. I actually love this part about fashion, and I think it says more about our style with what we’re able to create using what we’ve got—rather than what we go out and buy.

Reach Out

One thing that has been huge for me is contacting shop owners and stores I like in order to find out more about their business ethics. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by smaller, online boutiques, and I’ve been a little disappointed in some of my favorite stores that aren’t as transparent. With social media at our fingertips, we actually have the power to reach out to business owners and advocate for positive working conditions and business ethics that value human life. This has been a game changer for me and has encouraged me to shop at businesses that prioritize ethically made clothing!  I’ve been able to speak directly with shop owners of boutiques here in the US, and a few of them have reassured me that many of their items are made in the US and that they make an effort to work with manufacturers who share their values.

Save Up

I saved this tip for last because it really should be the last thing you’re doing when it comes to slow, ethical fashion. If you’ve looked into ethical companies, you’ll know that their pieces are understandably a bit more expensive. If there is an item of clothing that you’re willing to invest in, take the time to save up for it if it’s a bit on the pricier side. I promise you, it will be worth it if this is a classic, timeless piece that will last you for years. For items like this, I tend to ask for them for my birthday or Christmas—otherwise I will wait a little while and find a way to work it into the budget. You appreciate things far more when you have to wait a little bit for them anyway!

I hope you enjoyed my tips & tricks on slow fashion and shopping ethically. Please let me know if you found this helpful! I’d also love to know if there are any helpful tips you have, as I’m still new to this world and learning as well! Please share them if you’d like!

Faith, Freedom

Blessed are the Persecuted

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“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:10-12 

So, here’s the thing. I don’t want to write this post. It’s not fun for me, and it’s not really pleasant for anyone. I like for this space to be a place where I can share the beauty in my life + in this world that comes from God. I like to share about my family, our farm renovations, and fun things like fashion + food. I still plan on sharing about all of those wonderful and light hearted things, but the reason I started this blog was to share how my unique Catholic faith informs every single aspect of my life. My Catholic faith enables me to have a sense of joy that transcends temporary happiness, and it also allows me to witness God’s beauty all around me. I feel it’s my privilege to share that with you! However, in understanding my faith, Christ’s teachings, and the Catholic Church, it also allows me to see the brokenness of this world and it increases my awareness of true evil that exists among us. I feel it’s my obligation to share this with you as well, even though it is much more difficult. 

Frankly, in the past week I’ve seen several injustices on a national scale that I just can’t look away from and I can’t let go of. The first injustice includes a group of Catholic prolife high school students being wrongfully accused of harassing a man (when in fact they were the ones being harassed) and then attacked by what felt like the entire country. New York’s “Catholic” governor Andrew Cuomo signed a truly repulsive law expanding abortion in New York. This law permits abortion through the ninth month, rescinds a previous New York public health law that protects children born alive after an abortion, allows non-physicians to commit non-surgical abortions, and moves the abortion law from the state’s penal code to its health code—which essentially removes the ability to prosecute abortionists. New York celebrated this sick law by lighting up the World Trade Center pink for a night, despite the World Trade Center Memorial including the 11 unborn children who were killed on September 11th, 2001. Lastly, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife found themselves in the middle of a national scandal when it was announced Karen Pence would be teaching art at a private Christian school that upholds the biblical and traditional definition of marriage. So, in America this week we’re shaming young boys in Trump hats for smiling, criticizing a Christian woman for living her faith and exercising her right to religious freedom, all while cheering for the murder of our own children.

As I said before, my faith informs every aspect of my life. This includes treating all people with equal dignity and respect, which I try my very best to do. The thing with respect is, it needs to go both ways. As a nation, we tout “tolerance” and “acceptance” toward all. However, some of us seem to feel that this only applies to those who share in our views. The second someone is different—maybe because they’re wearing a Trump hat, maybe because they believe in upholding the sanctity of traditional marriage, or maybe because they’re not yet born, suddenly their value is discounted. They don’t matter. We can slander them, ruin them, murder them, it doesn’t matter because they don’t fit into the narrative that is currently trending. 

Well frankly I’m disgusted by it and I’m also tired of it. The boys of Covington Catholic High School did not, in fact, harass an elderly, innocent, Native American man with veteran status. No, in reality they were called anti-homosexual and racist slurs repeatedly by several members of the “Black Hebrew Israelites” and then approached by a Native American activist banging a drum in their face who wrongfully accused them of harassing him on national television. What did these boys actually do? They drowned out the hatred that was being spewed at them with innocent high school chants. Oh, and they smiled, all while exercising what I imagine is an admirable amount of self control for a group of seventeen year old boys. Yet, they somehow became the face of racism in America and were bullied on a national scale from liberals and conservatives, seculars and Catholics, alike. Similarly, I have yet to witness Vice President Pence and his wife treat any individual with anything but incredible respect, regardless of their gender, race, or sexual orientation. Yes, they uphold natural, traditional marriage. You know where they get it from? The Bible. If you have an issue with that, your problem is with the word of God, and not with Karen Pence or the Christian school that employs her. 

Last I checked, this is the United States of America. This is the place where men, women, liberals, conservatives, Native American activists, Trump fans, pro-life marchers, Black Hebrew Israelites, Christians, heterosexuals, and homosexuals are allowed to express themselves and coexist despite their differences. But no, evidently that’s not what America is anymore. 

I was disappointed at the reaction of many prominent Catholics, Christians, and conservatives over the past week. The thing is, I know why the liberal media is attacking boys who are pro-life, Catholic, and support Trump. What I don’t understand is why other Catholics were so quick to jump on the bandwagon, or remain silent on the matter? I know why secular feminists are cheering for an expansion of the law that allows them to kill their own children. What I don’t understand is why others aren’t loudly condemning this law and calling for the ex-communication from the Catholic Church of Governor Andrew Cuomo? I know why liberals are shaming the Pences for being Christian. Why aren’t other Christians in America vehemently defending them and their right to religious freedom? I saw many Catholics loudly condemning those who are freely exercising their rights in a respectful way, while remaining eerily silent as our nation’s leaders continue to allow for and encourage the mass murder of children in their own mothers’ wombs. 

Why is that? Is it because the people I mentioned here don’t align with the popular opinion today? Probably so. Frankly, I love finding myself outside of the popular opinion. It usually affirms my own opinion that much more. After all, 2,000+ years ago the popular opinion was, “Crucify him!” toward our very own God and savior—Jesus Christ. 

I’m writing this because one day I will have to face judgement by God at the gates of Heaven. I know that I’m going to need to answer for unkind acts, harsh words, selfish tendencies, and many sins I’m sure to struggle with throughout my life. I’ll also have to answer for how I treated the least of His people, and frankly—I think the least of His people expands much farther than those who are considered marginalized by the mainstream media in America today. Lastly, when God asks me if I boldly witnessed to the truth, I want to be able to say yes. 

Faith, Freedom

Make America Pro-Life Again

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“Perhaps we are out of line with the rest of society, to which I say – Good. So were the abolitionists, so were the civil rights marchers, so were the martyrs in Rome, and the Jews in Egypt. Righteousness doesn’t have to be popular, it just has to be righteous.” -Ben Shapiro’s words from the 2019 March for Life

Hi friends! I’d like to share a little bit about my experience at this year’s March for Life with you, as well as some important topics that I feel need to be discussed in relation to this critical issue.

We attended this year’s March for Life with our church from New Jersey. We started our day with mass and a beautiful homily by our parish priest. He encouraged us to fight for a change in the law on the books, but to more importantly pray for a change of hearts.  After mass we began our trip to DC! Despite one of our buses breaking down on the way, we were able to make it to DC just in time for the march to begin! We joined in with over 650,000 others to march for the most fundamental right of all, the right to life. It’s amazing what a truly joyful march it is. When you’re fighting for what is beautiful and true, there really isn’t a need for nasty remarks or hateful behavior.

Granted, 61 million children murdered in their own mother’s wombs under the laws of the United States is certainly something to be angry about. As a nation, the blood of these children is on our hands, and any anger harbored over this matter is certainly righteous. However, we don’t allow ourselves to be defined by our frustration with the intrinsically evil, secular law that governs our land and destroys women and children every single day. Instead, we choose to define ourselves by our hope for the future, our faith in God’s power and goodness, and our love for every precious human life.

We had a beautiful day marching for the abolition of abortion and we will continue to fight for the rights of the unborn – who are truly the most vulnerable, marginalized, and abused group in history. Today, we often hear about groups that are mistreated by our government and whose lives are perceived to be devalued. Frankly, some of these concerns are valid, but others simply fit the mainstream media’s narrative and are used to push a certain agenda that ultimately doesn’t value them. No matter what group pulls at your heart strings, there is no group more widely massacred and devalued than the unborn. The March for Life serves to fight for an end to abortion, and this is the original definition of what being pro-life means. While there are other pressing issues that you may feel passionately about, abortion + euthanasia are the sole issue that as Catholics we must agree on. This is informed by the doctrine of the Catholic Church. According to church doctrine, there is room for discussion and even disagreement on matters of economics, border security, immigration, healthcare, and waging war. There is no room for discussion, disagreement, or compromise on abortion + euthanasia.

This is why there is indeed a correct way to vote as Catholics, and there are causes we are obligated to support. While we don’t need to enthusiastically attach ourselves to a specific world leader or political party, we do need to value a candidate’s stance on this issue before and above all others. If you have been instructed otherwise, you have been misled. I encourage you to dig deeper into the Catechism and doctrine of the Catholic Church and search for the highest truth and prayerfully discern who to vote for and what causes to lend your support to. While we certainly treat all human beings with respect and uphold the dignity of all lives, we are called to value the most vulnerable and fight for those who are truly the only ones with no voice at all.

Moving forward, I continue to urge you to always stand up for what is right, and always fight for life. Support the women who are faced with unplanned pregnancies or find themselves in an incredibly difficult position. Be bold in sharing the truth of what abortion is and how harmful it is to women, children, and our nation as a whole. Do your research and remain informed on matters of abortion + euthanasia. Vote for candidates who are pro-life and vehemently anti-abortion. Most importantly, pray for those who are victims of abortion, and also pray for a change of hearts in those who support abortion.

I’d like to end this post with some photos we took while in DC at the march! We spent the day with family, bumped into some friends along the way, and left with such joy and hope from being among this beautiful, huge crowd of people who feel passionately about the right to life!

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Thankful for all of those who spent their time, talent, and treasure organizing The March for Life and for those who are in the trenches every day fighting for and praying for an end to abortion. God bless you & God bless America!

Faith

Saint Stories: Elizabeth Ann Seton

I’ve heard the expression that sometimes people come into our lives for a reason. I feel the same way about Saints. Sometimes, we feel drawn to certain Saints based on our circumstances or a connection we share. More often than not, I think Saints choose us. I think sometimes they feel a connection with us and want to pray for us on our path to holiness. There have been several Saints who I have developed a relationship with during my life. They’ve  pointed me towards Christ and helped me to grow in my faith through their example and intercession. I consider these Saints my friends. This blog series is going to focus on particular Saints that have impacted my life. I hope it encourages you to look for inspiration + intercession from the Saints on your own path to holiness! 

I’d like to begin this series with the person who really brought Saints to life for me and showed me the power of their example + intercession. I’d like introduce you to my very first Saintly friend, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. 

It all started back when I was in seventh grade and getting ready for my confirmation. We were instructed to choose a saint for our confirmation name, to be our patron. I began researching Saints—paying more attention to the names I thought were pretty than their lives and experiences. I had heard of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton before, I liked her name, and I read she was a patron saint of homemakers (#goals), so I chose her. I liked that she was married and had a big family, I always felt that would be my vocation. Basically, I thought she was a cool enough lady to take on her name for my confirmation.

There was a brief period where I thought of switching to St. Cecilia because I also loved her name and I really liked that she was the patron saint of music + singing. Looking back, this is hilarious to me because at the time (ripe old age of 12), I thought I was musical. It turns out I’m not musical at all. At the very last minute I settled on St. Elizabeth Ann Seton as my confirmation Saint for really no particular reason at all. 

Fast forward to my junior year of high school. My parents and I had gone on several college tours in a very short amount of time, and I was exhausted. Seton Hall University was the very last college we were scheduled to tour. I told my parents I knew I wasn’t going to go there anyway, so maybe we should skip this one. They said that was fine, we didn’t need to go to Seton Hall. It was clear to me they were just as tired as I was of meandering through campuses with musty dorm rooms and classrooms that were empty for the summer. Oddly enough, at the last minute I told them I felt like we should go to see Seton Hall after all. I had a strong feeling that I should give it a fair shot. We toured the campus and everything seemed fine to me. We walked past similar musty dorm rooms, decently sized classrooms, an occupational therapy program I was interested in, and a nice library. The very last stop on our tour was the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, the church on campus. Our tour guide asked if we’d like to go inside for a minute and we said yes. I walked through the large wooden door and into the chapel, which has been beautifully restored to depict the Book of Revelation. We knelt to pray, and as I did I felt an overwhelming sense that I needed to attend Seton Hall University. Something was telling me, this is where I’m supposed to be. It’s a little crazy to choose a college based solely on a feeling you had while in the school’s chapel, but that’s what I did. Luckily, God is in the details and Seton Hall also happened to be one of the only schools I applied to that had the degree in Occupational Therapy I would end up wanting to pursue.

It wasn’t until another two years later when I began my freshmen year at Seton Hall, that I finally made the connection that Seton Hall University is named for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. I know! How could I miss that? Frankly, I don’t know how I never made the connection before, and I don’t know how I missed the statue of her in the chapel, but I was blissfully ignorant that I was attending the college inspired by my patron Saint that I had chosen all those years before. 

I didn’t live on campus during college, so I didn’t make friends as quickly as everyone else freshmen year. Instead, I was saving money and living with my grandparents and great uncle who coincidentally lived down the street from Seton Hall. I loved living with them, but it didn’t exactly give me the “college experience” I saw everyone around me chasing. I figured I would use my time to study and to delve deeper into my faith, until I made friends outside of the classroom. In those first few weeks of college St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was my closest friend. I went to the chapel each morning to pray and I would ask St. Elizabeth Ann Seton to intercede for me. I asked her to intercede for my relationship with a boy from high school that I thought could really be something, but that I was nervous about making work while at separate universities. I asked her to intercede for my education and future career, that I would be on the path God had planned for me. I asked her to intercede that I make friends, real ones, soon. I asked her to intercede for me to grow in my faith, trust in the Lord, and to show my why she brought me to this school. 

It didn’t take long before I felt more confident in my relationship, I was doing well in my classes, and I had joined Saint Paul’s Outreach on campus. Through this community based organization in campus ministry I made more Christ-centered friendships than I thought possible, and developed a significantly closer relationship with the Lord. All this time, I had continued to ask St. Elizabeth Ann Seton to intercede for me. During the next few months and years of college, I learned of more connections between me and my patron saint that I had half heartedly chose. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was married, though her husband died of tuberculosis. She was a mother of 5, worked in education, and was the first American born saint. If you know me, you know that last one really thrilled me most of all! As I learned more about her, I realized just how many connections we shared. I felt that she was my friend, my sister in Christ, who was rooting for me from Heaven and interceding for me all along. 

Years later, I was praying in the chapel at Seton Hall University for the last time as a student, this time a graduate student in my final year of occupational therapy school. I wholeheartedly thanked St. Elizabeth for bringing me here. I thought of all that had happened since that first time I prayed here, and I began to cry tears of joy. I thought of the beautiful Christ centered friendships that I developed here that I knew would be life long. I thought of Saint Paul’s Outreach, which really did bring my faith to life during my college years—and showed me how to live in communion with the Lord and with others. I thought of the unique experience I had of living with my elderly grandparents and uncle who lived nearby, that I knew I would be eternally grateful for. I thought about how close I was to earning my degree and beginning my career as an occupational therapist. Lastly, I thought about that same high school boyfriend I prayed about years ago. He had proposed to me in that very chapel just days before, and was now my fiancé. Tears streamed down my face as I thanked the Lord for every single one of these blessings and for answering all of my prayers. 

In that moment, I thanked St. Elizabeth Ann Seton for choosing me—for being so much more than a confirmation name, and for showing me exactly why she brought me here. 

Faith, Fashion

A New Year + An Ethical Fashion Resolution

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Happy New Year, friends! The start of a new year is so exciting—I love all of the possibilities that come with a fresh beginning. For many years I came up with lists of way too many resolutions that I would have loved to keep, but most of them never stuck. Last year I only made one resolution, which was to find a new hobby + grow in my faith, which has manifested in this blog! It’s not lost on me that the beginning of the New Year is also the Solemnity of Mary, so I want to be intentional with any resolutions I have and strive for holiness in a new way at the beginning of each year.

This year there is something a little different has been on my heart for quite some time. In addition to it being a resolution, it’s also a bit of a lifestyle change. My 2019 resolution is to make a shift toward shopping intentionally + ethically. Thanks to the influence of some lovely friends online, I’ve become interested in seeking out shops and businesses that share my values and uphold the dignity of all human beings, especially those who make our clothing. 

While I’ve never been someone who chases every new trend on the fashion scene, I’ve definitely contributed to the world of fast fashion in more ways than I’d like to admit. As I’ve learned more about the fashion industry, I’ve been heartbroken by stories regarding how the people who make our clothes are treated. This is certainly not something I’d like to participate in. Additionally, I’ve developed an interest over the past several years in shopping for classic, versatile pieces that remain timeless. Developing a capsule wardrobe is something I’ve been indirectly trying to do, and I hope that this year I can really bring this idea to life.

In this next year (and for years after!) I hope to find shops that share my values and embrace the ethical fashion movement. I also hope to detach from materialism and consumerism in a big way by buying less overall. In doing this, I hope that I can grow closer to the Lord by detaching from worldly things and witness to my faith by upholding the dignity of human life with each purchase I make. Lastly, I hope to build a capsule closet of clothing that is sensible and classic, with quality items that I am proud to wear. I think it will be an especially fun + challenging time to begin this pursuit due to how my body is sure to change in this upcoming year with a baby coming in June! 

I hope that you’ll join me in this pursuit of shopping ethically + intentionally while building a capsule wardrobe! This isn’t a fashion blog, and I’m no fashion expert, but I have gotten questions about where I shop and what I like to wear, so I think this will be a fun way to incorporate this into the blog! Along the way I’ll be sharing some of my favorite finds, tips + tricks for navigating ethical shopping, and sharing about shops I love to support.  Above all, I hope that this resolution + life style change can help me grow closer to God, strengthen my faith, and be a witness through the choices I make and what I put on my body.