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

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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! 🙂

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What I Wore: Sunday

Today we spent a gorgeous day in Norcia, Italy, the birthplace of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica. It started off foggy and misty, and ended up sunny and hot. It was literally a perfect day. We took the 3 hour bus ride there and started the morning off with Mass at the Poor Clare Cloistered Convent. That was a very beautiful experience. The nuns there are really experiencing a crisis of vocations so they’re praying a lot for new vocations. Our chaplain joked with them “Sisters, you asked that I send any women considering the contemplative life your way: so today I brought 14.” All of us women laughed…nervously. This is what I wore:

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Here’s a close-up of the shirt: black and white gingham.

The Benedictine Trappist Monks in Norcia are famous for their beer. At first I thought it would just be something nice to bring back as gifts but then I tried one, and it was the only beer I’ve taken more than one sip of! It was fantastic.

We continued to walk around the city throughout the day, we were able to see all of it, three times over, because it was so small. But it was just perfect. After spending a relaxing day walking around, sipping coffee and building great community, we finished the evening with Vespers with the Benedictine Monks there. They were in full habit, one monk even came out with his hood up. That was intense. I was able to pray in the crypt of the Basilica there which has the remains of the home Sts. Benedict and Scholastica were born in! If you don’t know their story, I suggest checking out Tommie dePaolo’s book “The Holy Twins.”

Norcia is gorgeous, lush and green surrounded my mountains and marsh. The fresh air was magnificent.

Norcia is gorgeous, lush and green surrounded my mountains and marsh. The fresh air was magnificent.

*If you’re visiting from the WIWSunday link-up, welcome, and stop by again soon!*

What I Wore: Sunday

♫”It’s a great day to be alive, I know the sun’s still shining when I close my eyes, hard times in the neighborhood, but why can’t everyday be just this good?”♫

There are no complaints here on a gorgeous Sunday morning in Roma. This morning we made our way over to Mass at the most beautiful Church here, (besides St. Peter’s of course) St. Joachim. It’s also fun because there are always the most religious sisters in one place besides St. Peter’s as well. I love the super simple songs they sing in Italian–I know almost every word in each song!

This is what I wore for such a gorgeous spring day:

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Top: JCPenney, Necklace: Borrowed, Skirt: Gifted, Shoes: Borrowed
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This is my fabulous photographer, roomie and friend!

Also, today is my dear nephew, Henry’s First Holy Communion! He participated in the Sacrament of Penance for the first time about a month ago, turned 7 a week ago and today is the day he will receive Our Lord! What a gift. If you wouldn’t mind say a prayer for him today!

“O Blessed Imelda, whose faith was so firm and so ardent that in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament thou were rapt in ecstasy.  We implore thee to obtain for us so lively a faith that it will transform our lives entirely. Especially now, as Henry is about to receive his First Holy Communion, may he believe firmly that our Lord and Master Jesus Christ is here present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. We offer up to Jesus thy pure and faithful heart in place of our inconstant and cold hearts. For thy sake may He hear our prayers and come soon to take possession of our souls. Amen.”

Boy's First Communion Pocket Prayer Card

*If you are visiting from the WIW link-up, welcome, and stop by soon!*

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 6)

Happy Friday! We are so blessed to be alive. Just sayin’…

1) Last weekend my dad came to visit me! I met him on the Amalfi Coast (Southern/Mid part of Italy) and we spent the weekend soaking up the sun and beautiful scenery. We also took a day trip to Capri (which I get to go back to in a couple weeks)! Capri was absolutely the most beautiful place I’ve been. Ireland was awesome, but this was a different kind of beautiful. My dad the photographer is the bomba-check these bad boys out:

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The view of Positano, where we stayed. The dome of the Church is the little Cathedral, Santa Maria D’Assunta.

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This was also in Positano, on a little hidden beach at sun-down.

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I thought this was a really fun door. But this always happens-I’ll go hiking with my dad so I wear comfy clothes and he likes to take lots of pictures. First World problems…

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A beach in Capri- the water was SO clear!

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The view from our terrace at dusk.

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Just off the coast of Salerno.

2) Here’s my outfit pic of the day. Another friend, Emily Brom, took these ones. I’m so Blessed to have amazing photographers in the house, I have no idea what I’m going to do this summer! :/

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Top: Unionbay (kids), Necklace: Charlotte Russe, Capris: Old Navy, Sandals: Candies

3) Monday is the feast of St. Catherine of Siena! ♫Celebrate good times, come on!♫  Her head is in Siena, but the rest of her body is here in Rome. Guess where I will be on Monday?

4) I have just finally gotten on board with Twitter. I was trying to hold out because a) I didn’t understand the point and b) I didn’t want to get addicted like I am to facebook. But I really like seeing what articles people share. Here is one I came across yesterday: “It’s Time for Better Women’s Magazines” I really like the idea of choosing a variety of body types for models. I learned by watching the “Killing Me Softly IV” documentary that the stereotypical model body type is a body type, but that only represents less than 2% of the female population. I think that’s a problem.
Do you know of any solid magazines for women? I love these ones:
Verily Magazine, Eliza Magazine, Radiant, Bow & Arrow

5) I came across a lot of really awesome Christian yet bangin’ beats songs yesterday. Check these out!



6) Speaking of music. I love to sing. And sometimes I get prideful and like to show off. And sometimes I get selfish and shy and don’t want to share. But I think I made a break through this week. I was asked to Cantor at Mass the other day, and it went really well. It was difficult because I don’t know how to read music, and it was Gregorian Chant. But I had awesome and patient teachers, and I was so glad to be able to give my gift back to the Lord. Holla!

7)  I have some ridiculously exciting fashion-related news that I will be revealing soon. Stay tuned! 🙂

**If you are visiting from Conversion Diary, welcome, and stop by often!**

Fashion, basketball and…men.

Three of my favorite things, of course. In fact, until I wanted to be a fashion designer, I wanted to be the first woman in the NBA. Unfortunately, my genes and lack of motivation said otherwise.

My brother, who blogs over at JamTime, sent me a link, asking me to comment. The image below is of Russel Westbook, Oklahoma NBA star, and apparently fashion risk-taker.

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My initial thought was Hmm, this looks familiar…

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Do you think they have the same stylist?

My second thought was I never talk about men’s fashion, so this might be a good chance to challenge myself and branch out a bit.

I think a lot of what applies to women’s fashion is true across the board. Color, proportion, fit, emphasis, continuity and balance, etc. are essential for a well put together outfit whether you qualify for the WNBA or the NBA.

However, here are a couple men’s fashion specifics that every guy can keep in his toolbox.

  • Make sure your tie fits. A common misconception is that ties are one-size fits all, and usually from my experience, men choose a tie that is too long. Here is a great visual to help with this.
  • Your neutral base color should be consistent throughout the outfit. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to have a black tie, brown belt, navy blue pants and camel colored shoes. No. Pick one and stick with it. It will flow better, look more put together and not be distracting.
  • Speaking of belts, as my dad always said “If your pants have belt loops, wear a belt.” Simple as that.
  • Finally, I have realized this semester that a clean shaven face (and haircut for that matter) is greatly underrated. By putting in the extra time, effort and therefore care, you look prepared and invested in whatever event, meeting, date you may be attending.
  • But in the end, do you. There is nothing worse, for man or woman, than giving into a fad that isn’t you. Stay true to and be yourself and you will look your best.

Besides the fact that Westbrook looks like he’s going to his son’s Easter themed bowling party, his clothes fit, there is continuity and complementary in the colors and he has a clean shaven face. I grant Mr. Westbrook a B+.

And don’t forget…

WIW: Sunday (Lenten Reflection)

Today I was asked to write a “Lenten Reflection” by the gals over at Fine Linen and Purple, who host the link-up of “What I Wore” to Mass every Sunday. Here goes nothin’!

I think I can count two seasons of Lent when I reached Easter and actually felt I had prepared for Christ’s resurrection, that I had been cleansed and grown. This year I am really trying to grow in Holiness, closer to the Lord and in the faith. It is so helpful to have daily reminders (homilies, the people in my community, etc.) of my Lenten observances, but perhaps even more helpful is learning about and having the practices and purposes explained.

During Lent, in order to cleanse and purify our hearts, contemplate the passion and death of Christ, to prepare and be able to fully celebrate the resurrection, we are called to: fast, pray and give alms. I am a very practical person, so here is a little synopsis of these three tasks we are called to, and a practical way you can put them into practice. I hope these help you along your Lenten journey!

Fasting
Purpose: Growth in self-control, so that we may free the body as opposed to being enslaved to the body.
Practical Application:
Don’t spend as much time on the internet/tv.
Give up a little dessert or seconds at a meal.
Try not to say any negative or sarcastic jokes.
Hardcore: Only eat bread and drink water for one day.

Prayer
Purpose: “Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” –Matthew 26:41
Practical application: Take on a special prayer devotion such as the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, A Novena, The Morning Offering Prayer, etc.
Offering it up whenever you get impatient, envious, scared, mad, excited, lonely, etc.
Pray for those who wrong you, who annoy you, as well as those you love and care for.

Almsgiving
Purpose: To grow in the virtue of generosity to overcome greed.
Practical Application: Give a little gift to a friend, pay for a meal for a friend or stranger (drive-thru difference).
Get something from the store for a sick family member/friend (medicine, their favorite comfort food, etc).
Offer something to someone who asks for something, or even when they don’t ask for it, even if you really want it. (Ie. The last piece of cake, the choice of where to go for dinner, etc).
Choose an organization whose mission you really stand behind and give a donation or volunteer to help with them.

Today we went to Mass at the closest Basilica to us: Cristo Re. It was really wonderful because there was a choir made up of families, young and old and the songs were so upbeat and lively. It is an absolutely gorgeous day in Rome. Viva Cristo Re!

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Glasses: Zenni Optical, Scarf: Target, Jacket: Old Navy, Top: Target, Skirt: Wal-Mart, Tennies: Target,

I bought this skirt specifically for the first time I came to Rome 6 years ago, and realized I styled it today exactly how I did back then…

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7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 2)

An incredible amount of events have happened this past week, both related to The Pope’s resignation and not, but I would be doing you all an incredible disservice if I didn’t recount on this incredibly historic week related to our Dear Papa Bene emeritus, so that will come tomorrow, but for today, the other stuff:

1) On Saturday a large group of us went to Assisi. We saw so much there! First we were able to have Mass at San Damiano, the church St. Francis rebuilt, as well as where St. Clare lived and died. We also saw Santa Chiara, the basilica built in honor of St. Clare which now holds her body and many relics. Santa Chiara is now also the home of the San Damiano cross, the cross from which Our Lord spoke to St. Francis commanding him to rebuild His church. Finally, we saw the Basilica of St. Francis which too was built in honor of St. Francis, and holds his body. We saw the remains of the home St. Francis grew up in–did you know at one point his father imprisoned him in a little hole in the wall? It reminded me of Harry Potter’s room under the stairs… We were also able to see the Church that was built to encompass another Church St. Francis built, and the little hut he lived and died in. Talk about history. It was an incredibly dreary day, it was very cold and poured the entire day, yet Assisi is so beautiful and such a change of pace from Rome that we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. My dear niece  Clare Frances, was the beneficiary of many prayers and a Mass that day 🙂

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Basilica of St. Francis

Olive Trees outside San Damiano

Olive Trees outside San Damiano

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San Damiano Cross

2) Sunday was the Holy Father’s last  Angelus. I didn’t make it there, but here are some pictures from a friend who did: it was estimated there were about 200,000 people there.

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3) A big doing during Lent is “Station Churches.” Each morning during Lent a particular Church in Rome hosts an English Mass at 7am. Each day it’s a different priest, and often times the Masses are held in Churches that are only open for the public on this one day throughout the year. On Monday our chaplain was the presider, so he asked us to put together a choir to sing. We mostly sang Gregorian chants. I don’t know how to read music, and have never been in an organized choir so my fellow altos have been so great and helpful. This has been great to get to see Churches I wouldn’t normally travel to, and it has been fun to see the same people at Mass each day.

4) Wednesday was the Pope’s last audience, so a bunch of us got up at 2am to get in line. It was a great way to start my 21st birthday. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. It was stunning, the sun was shining and I even got sunburn on my nose! We spent the morning with 200,000 of our closest family members from all over the world and all walks of life. We had a leisurely afternoon on the terrace of our house, soaking in that Roman sun. In the evening, we had another Community Night complete with Adoration, confession, Evening Prayer, Mass and birthday cake. To conclude the perfect day, the women were called into an impromptu meeting in the lounge. I had no idea what it was for, and they surprised me with a new pair of pants from GAP, the very ones I had been eyeing every time we walked by for the last two weeks. They know me so well!

5) Thursday was full of many tears: both of joy and sorrow. It was the final day of Pope Benedict’s time and we said our final goodbyes. First we watched his helicopter depart from St. Peter’s, then we gathered in St. Peter’s Square for a prayer vigil during the final hour of his pontificate. Our large and boisterous group as Americans drew a crowd, both of other faithful Christians who joined us in our prayer as well as many members of different media organizations. It was pretty frustrating to have photographers and video cameras in our faces as we were trying to pray, yet part of us is glad we were able to be at least a small witness as young, devoted Catholics. We finished off the night at an Irish Pub, with beers all around to toast our Papa.

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6) We don’t have any classes on Fridays so we just get to catch up on e-mails, blogs, sleeping and shopping. My kind of day. Here are the pants my girls gave me for my birthday 🙂

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Glasses: Zenni Optical, Top: Unionbay, Necklace: Thrifted, Pants: Gap, Belt: H&M, Tennies: Target

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7) Tomorrow we are headed to Siena for a day trip with our entire group. I am particularly excited to see the head of St. Catherine of Siena, my patron saint. The rest of her body is here in Rome. St. Catherine, pray for us!

**If you are visiting from the link-up from Conversion Diary, welcome, and stop by again soon!**