How to be dating in six months or your money back…

I’m a little behind on this saga but new advancements today were the catalyst I needed to write this blog series.

Ever since I can remember, since kindergarten at least when I had my first kiss (on the cheek counts, right?), I have wanted to find a wicked handsome guy to get married to. College was particularly a struggle because in high school when I didn’t find anyone worthy of taking me to prom, much less being my boyfriend, I was convinced I would meet my future husband on my first day of college and we’d fall madly in love and get married the day after graduation. Clearly I had it all worked out.

Well when they didn’t happen I was at a loss for what to do. And then when I was only pursued a couple times throughout my four years of college, both of which ended not terribly amicably, I again was at a loss for what to do. I pride myself on being incredibly independent, and a confident initiator, and yet long for a man to pursue me and show how much I’m worth it.  As you can imagine this can come off contradictory and has certainly gotten me in trouble in my dating life.

I was two years out of college and made no more progress toward my life goal of getting married until 6 months ago my dating life took an incredible jump in activity and it isn’t slowing down any time soon. This is largely in part due to a book my brother recommended I check out. How to find a date worth keeping is written by Christian psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud. Through his several years of research, speaking engagements and spending quality time with young singles and newlyweds, he has come up with a theory about finding a spouse and in turn a 6 month “dating program” for singles to partake in to grow as a person while seeking a future spouse.

I have committed to working through this dating program and will be recording my experiences here. I will change all of the suitors names so they can remain anonymous.

Welcome to the journey.

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Shoes for the Working Girl

As I leave the time of life where my shoe searches consist mostly of great heels for a night on the town and transition into daily shoes for the office, I didn’t know where to start looking. Boxes that need to be checked are:

1. comfortable

2. neutral

3. not like they belong to my mom (no offense, ma).

I have a few consolations in searching for this new pair. Now-a-days you can find coupons and sales for practically every brand and most online sites have free shipping so you can try them on risk free. After a brief search I found a few pairs I’m dying to try.

 

DSW - $39.94

DSW – $39.94

Necessary Clothing - $21.99

Necessary Clothing – $21.99

Aldo - $19.98

Aldo – $19.98

ModCloth - $29.99

ModCloth – $29.99

ModCloth - $39.99

ModCloth – $39.99

ModCloth - $59.99

ModCloth – $59.99

 

Do you have any go-to comfy shoes for the office?

Christians need to stop playing the victim: a response to the hullabaloo about Duck Dynasty

If you own a facebook account and are friends with anyone with an opinion, you have surely seen articles floating around about how A&E has “indefinitely suspended” Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty. My liberal* friends give the virtual thumbs-up to these posts because it’s about time someone acted on the bigotry and discrimination they find in Robertson’s statement and with anyone who agrees with him. My conservative* friends post about how hypocritical and how much of a double-standard there is in censorship in the media.

My response? Christians need to stop playing the victim. What Phil Robertson said and perhaps more importantly how he said it was completely ridiculous. I was embarrassed for him and I was embarrassed to think people may think because I identify myself as a Christian, I think the same way he does.  In fact, I think we should be grateful to A&E for putting the kibosh on Robertson making ridiculous, foundation-less and tactless claims in the name of being a Christian.

Robertson said in an interview “It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.” Congratulations, Phil. What we have discovered here is that you are in fact a heterosexual male, and have no idea what a homosexual male desires. It seems to me that if you think what this person is doing is wrong, so wrong in fact that they are going to hell, you could help and encourage them instead of making fun of them. Further, last time I checked no sin can enter heaven. Whether that is “adultery, idolatry, prostitution, homosexual acts, greed, drunkenness, slander, swindling” or the choice sins you and I struggle with daily, Mr. Robertson.

It’s also very interesting that I’ve found those standing up for Robertson like to highlight the suppression of his “Biblical beliefs” but ignore his statements about the Jim Crow south. Perhaps he is telling the truth when he says “I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’ — not a word!” But that is like expecting a Polish Jew in the early ‘40’s to tap a German soldier on the shoulder and say “Excuse me sir, we do not appreciate our living conditions and the laws that have been imposed on us. You doggone Nazis.” Just because you don’t see or experience something yourself, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

My point in all of this is that persecution has existed and will always exist. If you have chosen to follow Christ, He made it very clear that it would not be rainbows and butterflies but that you will have to pick up your cross and carry it. With that being said, not everything in the media relating to Christianity is a cross. I challenge you to really look at these situations of “persecution” (ie. a man making ignorant statements about sin, Obama moving the offices of the Vatican Embassy, etc.), analyze and assess the situation from both sides, and then you can come to an informed conclusion about how we as Christians should, if at all, act.

Let’s remember to be charitable and competent when speaking about our beliefs and convictions.

*I use these very general terms simply to make a distinction between two extreme viewpoints, not to place anyone in a box or divide the human race.

Business Casual for the Rest of Us.

“Why are there still all these rules about dress? Isn’t this the age of self-expression and comfort?” It may be, but must we throw all traditions and conventions out the window? Especially the worth-while ones! When we put time and effort into our appearance, we will not only care more about the event we attend, but that will show others that we care based on the time and effort we put in as well. Here are a few quick guides when business casual dress is necessary:

FOR THE LADIES

1. Up top, wear a blouse or sweater. If you can make fitted t-shirts of the dressier nature work, work it.

Drapey raglan sweatshirt

2. You can either dawn dress pants (khakis are great) or a skirt, but leave the jeans and shorts at home.

3. Dresses are always great, but remember you’re not going to the club or the beach.

 

4. Shoes can really make it or break it. Obviously you want them to be cute, but make sure you can comfortably walk in them.

A simple rule of thumb about modesty is if you’re uncomfortable wearing something around a priest, it might be time to pick a new outfit.

FOR THE GENTS

1. Up top, wear a collared shirt (polo or long-sleeved) and it should be tucked in.

long-sleeve classic piqué polo

2. Dress pants are a must (khakis are great) but leave the swooshy cargo pants, jeans and shorts at home.

3. Technically if your pants have belt-loops, they are meant to be used, but this is no longer a social norm. But we don’t wanna see no “pants on the ground,” so make sure they stay up.

4. Ties are optional, unless your name is Ben Vasko.

5. And finally men, invest in some good quality dress shoes. They totally finish the look and you will wear them for years to come. Boat shoes are probably okay for CS Leadership Interns, but unless you work at J. Crew or on a boat, I don’t think your employer will appreciate them.

Unlisted® Men's "Trick Start" Dress Shoe - Cognac

Can’t wait to see you all lookin’ fly!

Who said the “Total Consecration” has to be boring?

I’m back from an unintended hiatus. I can’t promise I will post as often as I used to, but I hope this won’t be the last you hear from me. However, this is probably going to be my last in the series of “Who said…” posts, but I think it might be my favorite…

My time in college has really taught me a lot about the diversity of the human race. We all have different hobbies, interests, personalities, temperaments and vocations. Similarly, I think we all have different types of spiritualities and the way we express those can be very different. The Church is composed of many charisms and spiritualities to aid Christians in following Jesus Christ. For example, we have the Charismatic Renewal, Opus Dei, Legatus, Schoenstatt, and Communion and Liberation, just to name a few. I have tried many of these, but have yet to find one that fits just right.

I was talking to someone the other day and he mentioned another opportunity: The Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary by St. Louis Marie de Montfort. This is a resolution to offer everything in your life: your thoughts, actions, words, prayers, joys and sufferings to the Lord by laying them at the feet of Mama Mary. I heard asking our Blessed Mother for her intercession once referred to as being like a stained glass window. When we offer things to the Lord by ourselves, our petitions are there, but can be kind of dull. But when you offer it to Jesus through Mary, our prayers are magnified and beautified like light which has passed through a stained glass window.

At the end of the 33 days of preparation, which always ends on a Marian Feast day, you then are Totally Consecrated. Most people choose to wear a chain-link bracelet around their wrist as a reminder of the commitment. So I thought, as I so often do, why not spice it up and engage the culture? I have compiled a couple great, feminine options for this chain link bracelet. No doubt people will compliment you on it, and some will notice you wear the same one every day. What a perfect opportunity to engage in conversation with people about the Total Consecration, the Blessed Mother and the saints, or just the faith in general?

GOLD AND CRYSTAL LINK BRACELET from J. Crew $34.50

GOLD AND CRYSTAL LINK BRACELET from J. Crew $34.50

 

Chain and Gummy Bracelet from ASOS $5

Chain and Gummy Bracelet from ASOS $5

 

 

Red Silk Chain Bracelet from Jill Michael Jewelry $16

Red Silk Chain Bracelet from Jill Michael Jewelry $16

 

 

Hot Pink Chain Bracelet from Ooh La Luxe $8.50

Hot Pink Chain Bracelet from Ooh La Luxe $8.50

 

Arrivederci, Italia.

As my time in Italy is down to 12 hours, you can imagine all the reflecting going on. I realized I haven’t thanked my fellow Bernardi siblings enough for all they have done for me these past four months. This one’s for you:

Mi fretelli e sorelle,

I have been incredibly touched hearing you share all of your graces, memories and affirmations of one another. I have truly grown to love each and everyone of you as family members, for better and for worse, and I am beyond grateful for having shared this experience with you. As I briefly mentioned before, last semester was a rough one for me–I doubted a lot of things, including what I believe as a Christian or just in general, and coming to Rome I only thought and cared about what I could get from the semester, all the Lord would do for me and my life and how I would grow. But it took 33 of my closest friends to draw me outside of myself and look at all the Lord was doing for me and through me thanks to all of you. I never understood the concept of love within a marriage. You mean you have to choose to love someone even when you don’t feel it? How is that even possible? You have all shown me and taught me what love truly is and what it means.

Every time you asked me about fashion. Every time you gave me chocolate. Every time you asked me to sew something. Every time I tried to pay for something or pay you back and you responded “Don’t worry about it.” Every time you invited me to a meal. Every time you touched my spiky hair. Every time you complimented me on my combination of neon pink jacket and red pants. Every time you left an affirmation in my mailbox. Every time you cleared my dishes or got me coffee. Every time you thanked me for the tickets. Every time you laughed at my less-than-perfect jokes. Every time you indulged me in late night cookie and milk breaks. The list could go on and on. But every time you loved me, you taught me how to love better, and proved that I am loved.

Thank you for being so patient, loving, caring and accepting of my blunt, unabashed, stubborn and very sarcastic self. The time you took to get to know me, hear my many thoughts and opinions, but more importantly share your own, meant more to me than you will ever know. Thank you for putting up with my 100 “Kid Snippets” quotes and references every day. Thank you for showing me Christ through your selfless, fun, caring and generous acts. Know I pray for you all each day, that you will continue to grow ever closer to Our Lord and Our Lady, and that one day we will be reunited in Heaven. You are now family and will be treated as such. Therefore, when I need money, am in jail, need you to vote for me or give me a job, be prepared to get a phone call 😉

Tonight I went to Mass and realized it would be my last in Italy. I prayed to God to come up with some reason I would have to stay in Italy, or to give me a job so I can come back and live here. I am positive a huge part of the reason I love it here is because I associate Italy with my Bernardi family. Grazie mille a tutti.

I love you all, and am eternally grateful and indebted to God for the second best gift a girl could ask for. (Clearly the first being His Son).

Ciao, but only for now.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day! I am not able to be with my mom today, but we had a May Crowning for the Blessed Mother and showered our “House Mother” with love and flowers today. In a similar vein, today was the March for Life in Rome. It traveled from the Collosseum to St. Peter’s. At St. Peter’s today, 802 new saints were canonized! Aww yeah. I know that sounds like a lot, but 799 of them were companions to the Italian Antonio Primaldo. Also canonized was Columbian Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya y Upegui (1874-1949), foundress of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and Mexican Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, co-foundress of the Congregation of the Handmaids of St Margaret Mary (Alacoque) and the Poor.

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Happy Mother’s Day, Mama Mary!

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Top: Kohls, Necklace: Gift, Skirt: Piperlime, Heels: Nordstroms

IMG_5671

Our Chaplain Fr. Justin coined the Ascension as “The Inauguration of Heaven.” Now, thanks to the Ascension, 802 of our brothers and sisters are now seeing the face of Our Lord for all of eternity! Stick that in your pipe…

Sts. Antonio Primaldo and companions, Laura di S. Caterina da Siena, and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, pray for us!

If you’re visiting from the WIW link-up, welcome, and stop by soon! 🙂