September 30, 2014

Need your help!

 Happy Tuesday girls! Okay so recently I have been brainstorming ideas for a possible book I want to write. It is a book on the life of a Catholic teen girl. So, where do you come in? Well I want to know what YOU want to see in it. This book has recently been impressed on my heart because there are many Mormon or Protestant girls writing books on their family lives and what they do. And it hit me, hey why can't I as a Catholic girl write something as well. So, if you would love to read this future work then comment below on what you would like to see in it. And you could also invite you fellow Catholic girlfriends to come on over and give their feedback! I would really appreciate it. ♥

September 24, 2014

Guest Post// Half-a-dozen Commandments for Catholic Fangirls

Hello readers! Today you are going to be able to read from the wisdom of a sixteen-year-old young lady who goes under the nom-de-plume of Peregrin (variation of Latin for "traveler", "foreigner"). She is ever searching for the good, true, and beautiful as she journeys back to her true home. She blogs at Traveling Home. This post was originally shared at The Catholic Young Woman.
I’m not going to lie. I’m such a fangirl, through-and-through. Whether I’m gushing over The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien’s beautiful poetic writing style, or freaking out while watching North and South, or because Mumford & Sons and The High Kings have such good music, or swooning because Les Mis is on and who doesn’t swoon when it’s on (seriously though?), or dying because I’ve just read an amazing book on the life of soon-to-be Saint Pope John Paul II… (basically, doing typical homeschool nerd teenage girl stuff), I’m into it. Fully. Trying to be fully engaged, fully alive. Trying to love life to the greatest extent. 
But the problem at hand is that when I like, I don’t like. I love. And when I love, few things will get me to change my affections. And this can be hard, because sometimes, it’s quite easy to be smitten with certain people who don’t even know that you exist. I do hope that you know what I’m talking about… 
Anyway. So I’ve been thinking about all of this and I’ve been trying to ask myself… Is there a fine line to the ethics of fangirling over actors and other celebrities? Where could it morph into emotional unchastity? How is what I am doing different from what the screaming masses of stereotypical teenage girls are doing? (To answer the last question, I think that one of the main differences is that I will NOT choose heroes based on looks alone. And I fangirl with utmost great dignity. Well… you know. Not the screaming way, but the philosophical way. *grins*)
Here, I’ve compiled half-a-dozen tips that I’ve been (almost subconsciously) trying to put into good use. Basically, it’s simple. Love your faraway heroes with all your heart, pray for your faraway heroes with all your heart, and remember to be a shining light of grace and beauty for the simpler, everyday heroes in your own life. 

  1. Thou shalt value thy heroes not only for their looks or their talents, but for the full weight of honor that God hath bestowed upon them when He made them in His image and likeness.
  2. Thou shalt do thy research, and based upon the facts that thou wilt acquire, conduct thyself appropriately.
  3. Thou shalt pray for thy heroes often, that they may be the best of themselves and that they may find the path to Heaven, where hopefully thou canst talk with them for eternity. 
  4. Thou shalt use the AMDG test.
  5. Thy heroes shalt lead thee to a better understanding of chivalrous action and the honor of authentic womanhood.
  6. Thou shalt not set impossible barriers for thyself and for any other man.

Now let’s dig a bit deeper. First and foremost. It’s easy to get outraged and indignant when men treat women with little respect. Sadly, it’s even more common for girls to cheapen the dignity of men. Do we look beneath the attractiveness of our heroes to find their souls? The human body, although beautifully made and crafted in the image of God, is but a shell. Really, the soul is what matters.
You could say, “He has gorgeous eyes.” But I challenge you – look through the eyes. If his eyes are that beautiful, then why don’t you stare into them for a moment? The eyes are the windows to the soul. Look at them. Are they filled with a true sense of joy? Are they mocking, perhaps, and a bit despairing, or tired? Does true nobility shine through those depths? 
Point number two. It’s pretty simple. Do research. Is he truly a good man, or is the body beautiful and the soul corrupted and in need of redemptive love? I would seriously never dream of fangirling over a man who had only good looks. For me, his deeds would tarnish his handsome face. 
Point the third. Pray. Pray. My friend and I have a running joke that’s not quite such a joke – we think that some of our favorite actors may just be indeed called to the priesthood. It’s a sweet thing that we talk about often. But… but just what if that’s true? And how awesome would it be? Let’s take a moment and think about JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. Both devout Christians, the former was responsible for leading the latter to the realization of Christ and His glory. We all know that God makes everybody for a purpose. Our heroes have a purpose in this life (and the purpose is not exactly running away from that rabid, screaming girls who go far beyond normal to stalk them). Pray that they find that true purpose.
Number four. The AMDG test. (It’s short for the Ad majorem Dei gloriam test, which means “for the greater glory of God”.) When we’re praising an actor, are we giving thanks to God? Are we giving credit to its rightful source? Or are we attributing all goodness to the actor himself? Do we acknowledge that God created all of the Darcys and the Knightleys of the world? Do we keep in mind that all of their talents come from God and should be used solely to lead others to God? We should always be looking for the wonderfulness of the human spirit. Give glory where glory is due. 
Five. When I swoon over the Tom Hiddleston quote that says that women should be respected, it also galvanizes me (well, as soon as I recover from the swoon, that is… *smiles*) to delve deeper into the meaning of true womanhood as set down by Mary’s example and Pope John Paul II’s words. If I want men to read that quote and put it into practice, I guess that I want to be a better girl as well. Otherwise, the guys in my life will read that quote and dismiss the idea of truly living it out because, really, why should they if I’m not being the lady that I should be? Do we look to our heroes as inspirations? Do we admire their chivalry in the right context? Does it make us long to become more ladylike and Blessed Mother-like? 
Point the last. It’s important to remember that we don’t actually know these men very well. In fact, we don’t know them at all. We can admire things that they say in an interview and we can appreciate the little things that they do on camera. I could look at you and tell you that so-and-so went to Cambridge, and so-and-so knows how to speak French, and I-have-no-idea-who used to live in wherever, and on and on… And sometimes I’m dumb enough to think, “Wow, we need more people to be like him.” Or else my thought process goes something like this. “1. Goodness, he’s amazing. And noble. 2. Too bad he’s in England.” 
But really, if you think about it, I don’t know him. At all. And I don’t feel the need to know him, no, not when I’ve been blessed to know so many wonderful others. And all that information? It’s all trivia. Trivia about a glamorized man. So don’t go about thinking that in real life, he’s perfect and so much better than the people that you may really, truly know. 
In Gone With the Wind, Scarlett O’Hara fell in lust (because I’m not going to say that she “fell in love”; if anything, it’s the exact virtual opposite) with a man named Ashley Wilkes. She was captivated by him because he was so different from the rest of the county swains. He seemed to be nobler, of a loftier dignity. She had already made up her own mind about the type of man that she would be willing to fall in love with – Ashley came along, and she smacked her aspirations and dreams onto him. 
“He never really existed at all, except in my imagination. I loved something I made up, something that’s dead. I made a pretty suit of clothes and fell in love with it. And when Ashley came riding along, so handsome, so different, I put that suit on him and made him wear it whether it fitted him or not. And I wouldn’t see what he really was. I kept on loving the pretty clothes – and not him at all.” (~ GWTW, 816.) 
Oh, Scarlett – you turned down the prospect of true, thrilling love for a dream. “So do I marvel at you, who have bartered heaven for earth.” (Anton Chekov, “The Bet”) She missed true love. It went on its course, it departed from her, all the while when she was moaning over Ashley, straining to sit by him, doing little things like that to satiate her lust. She was wallowing over something impossible and dead while life coursed by her. 
Wow, I’m in no way saying that we’re all like that. (I know I’m definitely not like this, and I believe you aren’t either. Which is good, right? *smiles*) 
The whole world isn’t composed of our lofty heroes. Every single man out there is definitely not your favorite actor. (Wow, think about that – that would be a bit creepy, yes?) Nor are they all JRR Tolkiens. (Or Combeferres.) Mainly, the world is composed of good people. They’re not flashy. They’re not famous. But they’re true. They’re the determined men with the “plain, decent, everyday common rightness” (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) Like Samwise Gamgee. Unassuming. Simple and good.
Never forget that.

September 20, 2014

5 Favorite YouTube Channels

Happy Saturday friends! Today I wanted to share just a few of my top YouTube channels. I hope you check some of them out. :)

1. Pemberley Digital
If you are a Jane Austen fan then this is your channel, Emma Approved - it's a modern-day retelling of Emma told through weekly vlogs.


2. BeautyTwins124
Jess and Jenna are lovely down to-earth  identical twins who share there love of beauty and fashion. They are really fun videos so give them a try!


3. It'sJudysLife
Judy records her and her husband Benji's life through daily vlogs. They have three adorable girls (including twins).  She also has a beauty channel called It'sJudytime


Ingrid makes such cute and fun videos that have such a fresh feel to them.  Gotta love her how-to videos!  

5.Word On Fire 
Who doesn't love Fr. Robert Barron!? He is a very intelligent man and truly uses his gifts for the honor and glory and God. He frequently uploads movie reviews and those really help me to discern a movies quality and if it's worth of my time and money.

Do you ladies have any go to channels for me to check out?

Black Bean Hummus // Recipe

This is a great after school snack or really anytime you want a healthier version of dip and chips. Enjoy! 

1 can black beans
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
2 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp salt
A couple dashes of chili powder (or to your liking) 

Drain beans. Then transfer the beans to a food processor and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend to a smooth consistency. Adjust seasonings to your taste. I like to serve this with multigrain chips and baby carrots. 

September 18, 2014

Ten Tips for Being a Modern Lady

Today I want to share with you a blog post that I read little bit ago. The name of the post is "Ten Tips For Being A Modern Lady" and the ten pointers are things I always come back to. Some of them I have mastered more than others but I am a work in progress and there is always room to grow. I highly recommend reading reading the entire post at some point.
"A lady always shows respect and consideration for others while placing a premium on
honesty and graciousness. A lady also knows how her individual choices may affect others and how easy it is to choose words and actions more wisely."

1. Follow Through -  This is very important! If you want respect from others then you have to show respect, and that means follow through. Set your priorities of what groups are important to you. Trust me, I struggle with this one a lot. I love being involved in my church but you know what, it's not healthy to stretch a person limits like that. And people will respect you for only committing to certain things and sticking with it, rather than being that "flaky girl".

2. Phone Etiquette - Being courteous means even on the phone. Try to make a habit of returning calls within 24 hours of getting the message. And please when taking calls on your cell phone do consider other around you. And something my parents taught my siblings and I is to never take you phone out at a meal. Another thing, if you have your relatives number then CALL THEM! You don't just have to wait for an occasion like there birthday to say "hi", it makes it even more special when it's not. Being that you called them out of the blue is special in it self!

3. Dressing Like A Lady - This is something that has always come naturally to me. I love wearing dresses and skirts and it's true, when you dress like a lady, you'll act like a lady. What you wear says a lot about you, especially as a woman. So, when in doubt remember these rules.

4. It’s The Little Things -  I am really good at the little and I enjoy it! From offering your guests a drink when they arrive or simply remembering a gift that somebody wanted. Or when hosting a dinner party and remember a certain dish that brings back fond memories for a person is a wonderful little touch that shows the person that you really care. 

5. Always The Gracious Guest - I have had many wonderful examples of what it means to be a gracious host and I know that when I get older and eventually am on my own I will use these skills. A very nice idea is to bring a little hostess gift no matter what occasion it is whether a dinner party or a movie night. Flowers are always nice and a pretty safe option. 

6. A Mouth From The South -  Okay I can honestly and proudly say that I never use ANY foul language and especially not when I'm out and about. Don't think the only way to fit in or seem cool is to use this kind of talk, because well, it isn't. Nothing is more trashy then hearing certain language come out of a woman.

7. The Art of Conversation -So, this one is not really a strength of mine but I know it should be. A couple things to remember when engaging in a conversation is to LISTEN well and show interest no matter the topic, and avoid argumentative topics like politics. One of my biggest pet-peeves about woman is to never flirt inappropriately! Seriously ladies where is your dignity! And remember to always accept a compliment.

8. A Lady at The Table - I really enjoy this one! I love fine dining but I admit I need to improve in my "proper" table setting skills. We as woman should also remember to place that napkin on our laps and to always ask for the food to be past to us instead of a lovely long arm stretch to get that butter! When we are finished we should excuse ourselves to the ladies room to freshen up any lipstick issues instead of dealing with it at the table.

9. Merci - Saying thank you and writing letters is something really special and it shows the receiver that you put time and thought into it. I love sending and receiving a pretty little Thank You note in the mail and I know that people appreciate it.

10. Gossip Girl -Okay ladies this is our biggest fault! We should be lifting up and encouraging our fellow sisters because lets be honest they have to struggle enough in this world without us backstabbing them! And not only do we sin when we participate in gossiping, but we also lead others to sin by sharing every piece of new dirt with them.

September 11, 2014

God's Masterpiece

Dear Daughters of The King,

You are worth being pursued. Don't give your gifts away so easily, the best presents come wrapped! Not only are you saying that you have self dignity, but you are also respecting and helping those young men who are striving to live good and holy lives. To be quite honest modesty makes you stand out even more, because it reveals the true person! The woman is God's masterpiece!

With love from,
Your fellow sisters and brothers in Christ+

September 10, 2014

Radiating Christ

   The Fragrance Prayer
Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman
Dear Jesus, 
help me to spread Your fragrance wherever I go. Flood my soul with Your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly, that my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul.  Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus!

Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from You; none of it will be mine. It will be you, shining on others through me. Let me thus praise You the way You love best, by shining on those around me.

Let me preach You without preaching, not by words but by my example, by the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.

{Recipe} Apple Pecan Cake

This is a yearly Fall favorite in my home. It is so light and fluffy with a burst of fall flavors.
It is a must try!
 Apple Pecan Cake
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar, divided
4 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chopped peeled tart apples
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Praline Icing 
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, cubed
2 tablespoons 2% milk
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in 1 egg; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat oil with remaining sugar and eggs until well blended. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda; gradually beat into oil mixture until blended. Stir in the apples, carrots and pecans.

Transfer half of the apple batter to a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan; layer with cream cheese mixture and remaining apple batter.

Bake in preheated oven at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a large saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter and milk to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat; whisk in confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle over cake. Sprinkle with pecans. Yield: 12 servings.

{Recipe} Apple Strudel

This recipe is a new family favorite! It taste like something right out of a french bakery!

 Apple Strudel 

1 package of puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed in room temperature
2-3 baking apples 
½tsp cinnamon
2Tb white sugar
2Tb flour
½C chopped or ground nuts, walnut or almond
3Tb light brown sugar
2Tb white sugar
2Tb bread crumbs
1 egg with 1tsp water beaten for brushing

Preheat you oven to 375ºF.
Peel, core, and chop apples into ½" cubes. You will need total 2 cups of chopped apples.
Place them in a bowl and add cinnamon, white sugar, and flour. Set aside for 20 minutes so they can release the juices.
In another bowl combine nuts, sugars, and bread crumbs. Set aside.
Roll out one sheet of pastry into about 10"x12". Sprinkle ½ of nut mixture on the pastry covering halfway and place ½ of apples on top. Lift up the front side of pastry and cover the apple and start rolling all the way. Finish the other sheet in the same method.
Pinch the ends of each logs and tuck under. Transfer them on to baking sheet with parchment paper on it, seam side down.
Brush the top with egg wash. Make a few slits on top for the steam to escape.
Bake at 375F for 40-45 minutes until the crust gets nicely golden brown.
 Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream. Enjoy!


September 8, 2014

The Liebster Award

 Thank you to Emily for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Since I have already done this I will not be nominating others, but I will answer Emily's questions.
General Rules
  •    Provide eleven random facts about yourself. 
  •   Answer the eleven questions they have given you, and write a new set for your nominees.

My Random Facts

  1. I would love to become a missionary with NET. 
  2. I don't have a middle name.
  3. I enjoy watching beauty guru's on Youtube. 
  4. I love anything from Bath and Body Works. 
  5. I can't stand drinks that taste like vanilla and cinnamon. (thanks to getting the flu after I drank one)
  6. I have watched Jackie Francois wedding video numerous times!
  7. I would love to become a fashion model for modest Christian fashion companies
  8. I graduate High School next June! What?
  9. I love shoes + statement necklaces.
  10. Kate Middleton is my fashion inspiration. 
  11. I want to make memories all over the world.

Emily's Questions - Answered

1. Do you keep a journal or diary?
Yes, I keep a journal. But, unfortunately, I don't update as much as I should.
2. Are you afraid of the dark?
Humm...Not really. But then again I wouldn't want to go walking down a dark alley by myself. 
3. What is the best movie you've ever watched?
4. Favorite type of blog? (Lifestyle, beauty, writing, etc.)
I particularly like  beauty, fashion, and lifestyle.
5. Would you describe your style as laid back and casual, dark and edgy, or light and girly (if you had to choose from the three)?
 Well I am definitely NOT laid back OR edgy. So I guess I would be more on the light and girly side.
6. Do you wear makeup on a day to day basis? 
If I don't have to go anywhere then I will only wear foundation, eyeliner, blush, and chapstick (EOS). But if I'm going out I would include eyeshadow, lipstick/gloss, and sometimes bronzer.
7. How much of your blog is designed by someone else?
8. Are you a daydreamer?
*sigh* Yes, I dream of what the future will hold and where I could possibly be in 10 years! But then again I try to keep in mind that I am where I'm suppose to be and I have to continue growing and maturing for what I will be called to do.
9. What is your worst subject in school?
Hands down MATH!
10. Is your name common? (And if you had to change it, what would you change it to?)
Yes, I would consider Grace pretty common. I wouldn't change my first name but I would add a middle name. 
11. How old were you when you started blogging?
I started my first blog when I was 13.

20 Fantastic Fallish Things

I was inspired by Lauren to write up the reasons why I love fall. This is such a beautiful time of year with so many deep meanings during. I wanted to include my favorite fall poem that I learned when I was 10.

October's Party
George Cooper

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.
Then, in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played,
The party closed at sundown,
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly "hands around."

1.       Carmel Latte.
2.       Snuggling up with a good book.
3.       Candles with holiday scents.
4.       Bread pudding.
5.       Apple Pie.
6.       Pumpkin Pie.
7.       Colorful leaves.
8.       Chilly crisp walks + crunching leaves underfoot.
9.       Scarfs + warm sweaters.
10.   Leggings + boots.
11.   Fireplaces.
12.   Cider.
13.   The excitement of the upcoming holiday season.
14.   Rainy days.
15.   Jazz music.
Autumn In New York by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong on Grooveshark  
16.   Pumpkin everything.
17.   Beautiful scenery to photograph.
18.   Red lipstick.
19.   Fall décor.
20.   Plaid clothing.

September 5, 2014

{Recipe} Passion Tea Lemonade //Starbuck Secrets

 Perfect sunshine refreshment! Just like Starbucks!

8oz boiling hot water
Tazo Passion Tea

Steep 2 tea bags in hot water for 15 minutes. While still warm, stir 2 spoons of sugar (you can use any sweetener and as much or as little as you want). Taste and then refrigerate till ready to use.
When you are ready for a glass, just fill your cup with ice, and pour in the tea and lemonade. I do a ratio of 1 part tea to two parts lemonade.