Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Blogger Basket Swap Reveal

I just love Easter!  If you didn't see my weekend recap, you can check it out here.  In the spirit of Easter, I also participated in a fun Blogger swap hosted by Bekah and Aleshea!

I was paired with Jessica @ BeYOUtiful Beauty and Kat @ Kat Katastrophe.  They are both fantastic women, and you should definitely go and check out their blogs!

I received this wonderful package from Jessica:
post card from her hometown, fresh spring tealights, 2 nail polishes, Almay eye liner, and bubbles!!

I obviously went outside, painted my nails, and played with the bubbles [the purple bottle smells like grape!!] right after I got the mail!

I also sent an "Easter Basket" to Kat.  Obviously, I could not figure out how to send a real basket through the mail, so you can check out my attempt [more than the sneak peek below] at a cat-themed basket on her blog!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Jesus Doesn't Do Hangovers: Easter 2014

I hope you all had a beautiful and joyful Easter weekend!  As I sit here [Sunday night] chewing the ears off of a chocolate bunny and watching 24 with Mikey, I thought I would share a few photos of our wonderful holiday!

Friday - Mike and I went to see Muppets Most Wanted.  We had the theater completely to ourselves and we just loved Tina Fey in it!

Saturday - We had a new central vac installed [Yaaayyy adulthood and home ownership!], played some golf, and shot some hoops.  Then, we heard our neighbor screaming "Mike, Mike, Miiiiiiike" from next door, so we went over and I got accidental-drunk on Stellas and Coronas.  We came home and the second set of photos ensued... I made our friend make me brownies, tried to feed the cat brownie batter, and somehow ended up under our kitchen island.  #drunkmeg  Oh, and with regard to my post title, no one would drink with me, so I tried to convince them that no matter how much we drank, Jesus would make sure we weren't hung over for church in the morning: sadly, no one believed me, but hey, it worked for me!  No hangover Sunday morning!

Sunday - We went to church and spent the day with our parents and families.  My mom brought us Easter baskets, we made schnitzel [recipe this week!], and my mom brought baked stuffed shrimp and nine varieties of cupcakes - she's too much!
 Mike's church group friends!

Friday, April 18, 2014

#FlashbackFriday: San Francisco Part 2

If you didn't catch part 1, you can check it out here!  Here are the rest of my favorite photos from our summer 2010 trip to San Francisco!

Day 4: We rented a car to visit Mike's aunt and uncle in Sacramento [who needs a car when you have cable cars?!]
the Full House house!!

Day 5: We used our second day with the car to visit other parts of the city not as accessible with public transit
I even convinced a guy on this golf course we drove past to let me hit a golf ball into the bay! 

Day 6: Alcatraz!
crepes for breakfast, duh!

Day 7 we took one last spin around the city and traveled home :(

I'm linking up today with some great ladies for a different kind of #FlashbackFriday!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pre-Marriage Wedding Counseling

You might have seen this tweet this weekend...

Or this one...

Well, this weekend, Mike and I had to attend a mandatory couples seminar to be married in my college's Catholic Chapel.  Obviously, we were really mature and deep.

It was an interesting day, to say the least.  I'm not about to go all spiritual on you or try to impose my beliefs on you [like one of the presenters definitely did, even though they claimed their message was to "propose" their teachings, not "impose" them].  I'm not going to talk about contraception or abstinence because I heard enough to last a lifetime - rant over.  I just want to share with you about my past and where I feel I am on my spiritual journey, because I've never really written about that part of my life here.

I was raised Catholic my whole life.  My mom and I attended church together at 8 am each and every week.  My dad is Protestant [even though he claims his church is the golf course - LOL], so I was always exposed to different religions and ideas.  I made my first communion, was an alter server, attended 11 years of CCD, and made my confirmation.  Still, through all of that, looking back on it, I feel like I was just going through the motions.  I never had anything forced upon me, but growing up in a predominately Irish and Italian town, that was what you did!

Then, I went to a Catholic Jesuit college; the college where we will be married in 5 short months.  What an amazing experience.  The Jesuits' "slogan" is "men and women for others."  A Jesuit education is about fostering not only intellectual development, but also moral and spiritual growth.  Intellect and faith are seen as complimentary, not contradictory.  It helps students discover the deeper meaning and purpose of their lives while also finding their individual places in the larger society.  Even more than suggesting we attend mass on Sundays, professors and administration stressed the importance of community service.  At Holy Cross, 90% of students will do some type of community service over their four years.  I was a "Big Sister," volunteered at Blood Drives and with area schools, and spent spring break on an immersion trip to Louisiana to rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina.  All of these were incredibly rewarding experiences that helped me discover who I am today and encourage me to work in the youth development non-profit world.  

Now, last weekend, much of what we talked about was where we currently are in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  After a lot of thinking, I realized that I don't currently see Jesus in the church, probably because I do not often attend church.  I see him in the morals and values I try to embody each day.  Jesus was loving, kind, friendly, empowering, forgiving, and teaching.  In my daily life, I try to encompass all these things, and now I know without a doubt why: Jesus is the reason.  I know I will never be mighty, excellent, holy, or perfect like him, but I will continue to work to be better as a person who is pleasing to Jesus.  I know that I need to work to a place where I can also find Jesus in the church, but I will get there.  I think that going through this counseling has definitely made me think about my faith, and it will be a great starting point for what will become our faith.

Like I implied at the beginning of this post, I don't always agree with everything the Catholic church teaches, but I can tell you one thing, I LOVE Pope Francis.  He is the first Jesuit pope and really does stand for the Jesuit belief of "finding God in all things."  Jeesh, he even tweets!!  He is going to be a great change for the church, and if you don't know a lot about him, you should read this.  

Just FYI, Mike is not Catholic but has been so supportive of getting married in a Catholic church.  He was raised Lutheran and grew up very similar to me.

Now, reflecting after the seminar, here's what I hope for in my marriage with Mike: for us to find a church and community at which we both feel comfortable and welcomed, in whatever Christian religion that means.  I like to think we will go to church each week, like we both grew up doing, but who really knows.  I also hope and will work to make our marriage filled with the messages Jesus taught: kindness, love, honor, and truthfulness.  Our children will be raised understanding and loving the church, and I know we will instill many Jesuit values in them.  So, maybe the Catholic church didn't succeed as it hoped, getting us to follow every one of its teachings, but it did get Mike and I talking.  We've talked about our faith since this weekend.  We are both on the same page, and we know that our life together will be full of love.

Oh, and Friday was our fourth anniversary, so we went out to dinner and actually remembered to take a photo this year!

Linking up for a couple of Wedding Wednesdays with Kristyn & Mary and Meredith & Jordon!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Fun Round Up

I just love Easter: spring weather, flowers, baby chicks, ducks, and bunnies, and, of course, the beautiful reason for the season: the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Here are some of my crafts and treats perfect for your Easter celebration:

Easter egg paint chip garland
Bunny butt coconut cake /// Speckled nails
Coconut nests /// Hawaiian Luau Peeps
Peter Cottontail paint chip garland

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I haven't done one of these in almost a year, but I always love looking at Ashley's photos.  When I saw this week's prompts, they really excited me; I had to get my Canon out and participate.  Here are my takes for this week's Scavenger Hunt:

I was given this great countdown board by my fabulous bloggy friend, Annalee, in a blog swap but I have to admit, I only remember to update it like once every two weeks.  I think right now, we are at about 159 days!

Signs of Spring:
Our tulips are finally starting to come up!

Last Thing You Bought:
I know I already shared these this week, but these were the last thing I bought and I am just in love with my wedding shoes!

If you're around these parts often, you know that our cat is named Shadow, so I took a different take on this prompt: Shadow in the sunlight.

Four Things:
As many of you know, if there is a photo in a blog post of Shadow, there also has to be one of Roxy [equal opportunity!!].  I thought at first I would take one of her four little paws, but as she was sitting in the window, she started making her barking noise to the birds [as seen here] and I took four great shots of her in the sunlight.

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