Friday, July 31, 2015

{Summer Wardrobe Essentials} Colors


In my last style post, I introduced you to the basics of my summer wardrobe. But amidst all those neutrals, I can't forget to add in some bright colors ~ it is summer after all! So in this post, I'm giving you another peek inside my closet + sharing with you some of my favorite colorful summer pieces.

Solid-colored Tops
These are a few of my favorite solid-colored tops, all of which can be paired perfectly with any of my neutral shorts as well as my black maxi, featured in my previous post. I love solid colors, especially in tops, because they add a pop of color to your look, while still being simple + versatile. 

L to R: light pink, Faded Glory at Walmart // blue, Wet Seal // dark pink, Old Navy // blue, George at Walmart // green/chevron, rue21

Bold Maxi
This skirt has appeared on my blog before, but I had to throw it in here as one of my summer wardrobe staples! I love, love, love this skirt, which I got off the clearance rack at Old Navy, because of its bold, beautiful, royal blue color (which is probably my favorite color, actually). This skirt goes wonderfully with all the neutral tees featured in my previous post, and it always makes for a lovely, feminine look.

royal blue maxi skirt, Old Navy

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for another summer style post coming soon, featuring my fashionable little sister!

God bless,
~Stephanie

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

To Lead All Souls to Heaven


A thought struck me as I was praying my rosary last night. I was in bed, barely conscious, struggling to stay awake to finish my last couple of decades. I think I drifted off somewhere in the middle of the fourth Joyful Mystery, but not before a powerful and humbling realization occurred to me.

It happened as I prayed the words of the Fatima Prayer, or the "O My Jesus." Their meaning hit me in a new way ~ in a way that applies to some of the disturbing recent events in our society, and that gave me a different perspective on these situations.

What are some of the horrible events I have in mind? There is of course the recent Planned Parenthood scandal, which revealed the company's selling of the body parts of aborted babies. Not to mention the drama with Planned Parenthood's president that has followed. Articles about this disgusting, heartbreaking situation have been flooding my Facebook newsfeed lately, and the whole thing makes me both angry and sad.

I read a news story the other day about two teenage brothers who stabbed to death their parents and three of their siblings (between the ages of 5 and 12), leaving only two of their siblings alive (a 2-year-old and a 13-year-old). It is a tragedy that disturbed me to the core, and that has destroyed people's lives, and that doesn't make any sense.

A massive satanic statue was erected in Detroit this past weekend. It was unveiled in an undisclosed location in front of a couple hundred satanists who were cheering and yelling, "Hail, Satan." I live in the metro-Detroit area ~ this disturbing event is way too close to home for my liking. And furthermore, let me tell you, Satan does not need to be in Detroit. Anyone who's ever been to Detroit knows how devastated, terrifying, and godless that city is.

What kind of terrible person do you have to be to kill an unborn child and sell their body parts for profit? Or to murder gruesomely your own parents and young siblings? Or to worship Satan? These kind of people are alive and active in our society right now, committing terrible actions. What are we to do about them? What are we to do in this world, with all of this deeply disturbing, grave immorality going on around us?

I know that I sometimes find myself judging these people and the state of their soul. Seeing them as disgusting and wicked human beings. Feeling angry over the awful things they do.

But the words of the "O My Jesus" have a different ring to them. The prayer goes, "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy."

Not some souls. Not the best souls. All souls. "Lead all souls to heaven."

"Especially those in most need of Thy mercy." Not especially the virtuous ones. Not especially the holiest ones. The ones in most need of mercy.

As I prayed the "O My Jesus" last night, the meaning of those words really sunk in, as my mind immediately thought of all the people involved in the ungodly situations that I mentioned. The president of Planned Parenthood. The troubled teenage brothers. The Satanists. They are in dire, dire need of mercy. They are among those who are in most need of mercy.

And Jesus wants them in heaven. He aches for all souls to go to heaven, even those who are seemingly the worst of the worst.

And we as Christians are called to pray for them. That is what these people need. Not judgment, not rejection, not condemnation. But prayer. Their broken, misguided souls need us to pray for them to Jesus, that He would have mercy on them.

And we need to want heaven for them. We are called to desire that their souls would get to heaven, just as Jesus does. And we must do our part in trying to make that happen, by praying for them. Whether they repent and convert or not lies on them; it is out of our hands. But what is in our hands is the ability to pray for them. And we must pray.

So in the midst of all these horrific, immoral events happening in our world right now, we must remember the words of the Fatima Prayer and heed their meaning. Jesus wants all souls in heaven, especially those in most need of His mercy. And as we remember this message, we cannot forget to pray for just that: for these misguided souls to receive mercy and heaven.

God bless,
~Stephanie

Monday, July 27, 2015

Answer Me This: First (and Last) Time Link-up

I'm jumping at my last chance to participate in Answer Me This over at Catholic All Year! Better late than never, right? Read on to see my answers to five random questions and get to know me a little better!


1. What's your favorite grocery store splurge?

At school, I don't really grocery shop (why do that when you can eat great cafeteria food, right?), but I make occasional trips to the store to stock up on snacks for my room. In such instances, my favorite splurge is tea. The tea aisle is a dangerous place for me to go, because it contains boxes upon boxes of my favorite types of tea, as well as new kinds that I have yet to try.

"Oh, that sounds so good!" "Ooooh, I haven't tried that kind before!" "Ohmygosh, I love this kind!!!"

A quick stop in the tea aisle inevitably turns into me coming home with 3 brand new boxes of tea to add to my preexisting collection of probably 10 others.

Basically, I'm a tea nerd.

2. How's your penmanship?

It's pretty good, actually. I always try to write neatly and nicely, and I often receive compliments on my handwriting. There have also been many occasions when something needs to be written out (like a note in a card or answers on an answer sheet) and I've been unanimously chosen as the designated writer because I have the "best handwriting."

One funny detail about my handwriting though is that it's really big. People notice and comment on that a lot, especially if they get a look at my class notes. I really think I'm incapable of writing small.

Here's a sample of my bio notes written in my big, neat handwriting:


All of what I just said applies to my regular handwriting. As far as cursive or nice penmanship goes, I'm not that great. My 4th grade handwriting workbook gave me basic cursive skills (thank you, Seton), which I probably should utilize more than I do. Nonetheless, my cursive is at least decent.

3. Do you have a "Summer Bucket List?"

I do indeed! I posted about it back at the beginning of my summer vacation, and you can read it here. I'll post a bucket list update toward the end of the summer, to see what I accomplished off of it. I probably won't be able to check off every single item. But that's okay ~ it's meant to be a list of all the things that ideally I'd like to do this summer, or that I hope to do, or will try to do. So I won't feel bad if I don't complete everything in the end.

That said, I actually have done quite a few things on my summer bucket list, or am currently in the process of doing several of them. So it's coming along pretty well! And it's been fun!

4. What's the best thing on the radio right now?

My favorite new song that's out right now (although it's not played nearly enough) is "Bright" by Echosmith. It's so adorable, and so is the music video.


I also love, love, love "Photograph" by Ed Sheeran ~ which, unlike the above song, is being played way too much. The radio needs to stop overplaying it, because I don't want it to become annoying ~ it's too wonderful of a song.


5. Ice cream or frozen yogurt?

Well I will gladly take either, any day, any time. I have such a bad sweet tooth, and both of these are treats that I can never turn down. I'd have to say that I probably like ice cream better overall, but I also love a good froyo outing. For either treat, I always select the most chocolatey flavor(s) and toppings, along with rainbow sprinkles.

Thanks for reading! Happy Monday!

God bless,
~Stephanie

Monday, July 20, 2015

{Summer Wardrobe Essentials} Basics


So I've never done a fashion or style blog post before, but I'm taking a shot at one now! There's a first time for everything, right?

Today I'm giving you a peek inside my closet and showing you some of my staple summer wardrobe pieces. Living in Florida during the school year + Michigan during the summer (a.k.a. hardly ever having to deal with winter anymore) has allowed me to work on building my warm-weather wardrobe. I feel that it's grown to be fairly versatile by this point, and so I'd like to share some of it with you, in hopes of giving you some summer style tips + inspiration!

In this post, I've included my summer style basics, complete with neutral tops + bottoms that go with anything + everything. These pieces are the foundation for a versatile, practical, + stylish summer wardrobe.

Tees
L to R: beige, Wet Seal // navy + white stripes, H&M // white, H&M // navy + white stripes, Old Navy
I have a little collection of basic tees, comprised of neutrals + stripes. These basic colors + patterns match with anything from denim shorts to a floral print skirt, which makes these tees extremely versatile pieces. These are my go-to shirts for creating a simple, cute look.

Shorts
all: Old Navy. denim // white // hunter green
I discovered last summer that Old Navy is THE best place to find shorts! Firstly, for someone (like me) looking for shorts that are shorter than Bermudas, but longer than denim underwear (you know the shorts I'm talking about), Old Navy is where it's at. There, you can find shorts that are on the shorter end, without being too short ~ they are still a perfectly modest length. In addition, Old Navy's shorts run true to size, giving you a comfortable, like-a-glove fit. Lastly, their shorts, along with the rest of their clothes, are reasonably priced.

Now that I'm done with my little sales pitch, I'll tell you about my particular Old Navy shorts. As you can see above, I have some basic colors: denim, white, + hunter green. These colors go with tops of just about any color or pattern, making them versatile pieces that can create the simplest + cutest of outfits. 

So I've described my tees as well as my shorts as basic, versatile, and simple. This means that I can mix + match any + all of them to create a variety of simple, stylish, + adorable summer outfits:


Sandals
brown + black sandals, Old Navy
I should also give a quick shout-out to my sandals, featured in all the photos in this post. I love this style of sandal, because they're functional, they go with basically everything, + they add an extra touch of cute to any outfit. I picked up this pair for a great price at Old Navy, and I wear them all the time! 

Black Maxi
Lastly, I can't leave out one of my absolute favorite wardrobe pieces, for summer + just in general: my black maxi skirt. Maxis are the best: they're stylish, practical, + modest, plus you can dress them up or dress them down. A black maxi goes with absolutely anything, making it ~ you guessed it ~ an extremely versatile wardrobe piece. I love pairing mine with different tops for a variety of cute, simple, feminine looks:

black maxi, Target

I hope you enjoyed this post ~ thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more summer style posts coming your way in the near future!

God bless,
~Stephanie

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

{Midweek Musings} 7.8.15

It's been a while since I posted one of these! So since today is Wednesday, I thought I'd post one to check in + get you caught up a bit on my random life happenings.

By the way, my series about my England trip is now complete! If you haven't yet, check out all 5 blog posts to read about my adventures there + see some of my best photos!

~ Lately ~

Listening: My current song obsession is "Bright" by Echosmith. I think it's so cute, plus it's fun to sing. I want to learn it on my guitar so I can play/sing a cover of it!

Reading: My summer reading goal is (was) to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, seeing as we're approaching mid-July and I still have not finished The Fellowship of the Ring, I'm not sure that's actually going to happen (#slowreaderproblems). But that's alright ~ I'll just aim to read as much of it as I can!

Eating/drinking: This summer, I've had a cup or two of English breakfast tea almost every morning. Today was no exception, and I even followed it up with a cup of Zen tea. Also, yesterday I consumed two chai tea lattes. I promise I'm not obsessed.

Wearing: Well, yesterday, I wore a brand new pair of pants that I purchased from Forever 21 earlier this week. I LOVE them! I've always thought this style of pants was so cute, comfortable, + modest ~ and now that I have a pair of my own, I can confirm that all of those things are true!



Planning: I'm kind of itching to do something fun + exciting before heading back to school, so I'm planning a possible (but rather up in the air) trip to visit a couple friends in another state. I'm hoping this won't end up being one of my crazy, way-out-of-the-realm-of-realistic-possibility travel ideas that I tend to come up with, but that it might actually be able to happen! 

Striving: To succeed in my biology class! I'm currently taking Biology 101 at my local community college to fulfill one of my needed science requirements at my regular college. The sciences ~ biology, chemistry, physics ~ have always been my worst subjects, because everything in them literally goes straight over my head. (I know, it's pretty sad.) But I'm determined to work hard at this bio class, try my best to understand cells + DNA + all those other concepts, and ace the class!

How is your summer going? Anything new + exciting going on in your life lately?

Thanks for reading! God bless!
~Stephanie

Thursday, July 2, 2015

{England Trip} Part 5: Surrounded by Beauty

Thank you to everyone who's been keeping up with my England trip posts! I hope you've enjoyed them and that they've given you a taste of the wonder, excitement, and joy the trip brought me. I now give you the last post in this series ~ and I've saved the best for last: my favorite part of the whole trip.

After our stay in Oxford, we journeyed a bit further north in England to the Lake District. We spent two nights there, staying in the guesthouse of a convent of a small order of Augustinian nuns. The beautiful convent was set in the countryside, and from the window of my room, I could see the Irish Sea in the distance, as well as a castle up on a hill. Many of us had rooms to ourselves, each of which was complete with lots of blankets, a cozy chair, and a window seat (which was perfect for gazing out at our amazing surroundings). The sweet sisters were so hospitable, serving us breakfast each morning, packing us sack lunches to take with us during the day, and inviting us to participate their night prayer. Overall, our stay at the convent was a lovely, retreat-like getaway, and I found it rather peaceful and refreshing.

We spent our one full day in the Lake District hiking. We started in a village called Hawkshead, and walked several different trails during the course of the day. Throughout all of it, we were surrounded by stunning beauty ~ some of the most beautiful sights I've ever beheld. At times I could hardly believe it was real and that I was right there in the midst of it, seeing it with my own eyes and experiencing it firsthand.

The breathtaking landscapes were absolutely worth the cold, wet conditions, as well as the soreness we experienced the next day. As we traversed alongside lakes, up hills, and through mountains, it sometimes felt as though we were walking through the Shire. An adventurous group of us would sometimes leave the marked path and climb straight up the mountains ~ where the views were even more amazing and it felt like we were on top of the world. The beauty that enveloped us that entire day ~ the mountains, the trees, the lakes ~ was simply stunning, and I don't think I'll ever forget it.

Now I'll let my pictures speak for themselves. (I tried not to post an obnoxious amount of photos ~ but it's just so hard to pick and choose!) Enjoy!

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