Friday, November 2, 2012

7 Quick Takes, Volume 7

{story of a soul, condensed}

Seven pieces of my life, as of the last two weeks.  Visit Jennifer at Conversion Diary for more quick takes from her and other Catholic bloggers!

{1} We've had a lot of social engagements and big events in our friends' lives lately (weddings and new babies top the list!), and have been spending more money as a result.  I'm always happy to treat my friends and celebrate with them, of course, but I'm also just as happy trimming our expenses when I can.  So, Andrew and I have decided on a new project for the next few months: instead of going out to eat, which we try to do minimally anyway, we'll instead make our own version of what we're craving at home.  I'm really excited since we try to only go out for more exotic food like Thai, Middle Eastern, or Japanese (I figure, why spend money on something basic like spaghetti or burgers if I can make them myself?).  I just made this Indian lentil curry with coconut rice, roasted cauliflower, and this sauteed cabbage.  We already had most of the ingredients on hand, and it was as delish as going out!

St. Francis In the Desert by Bellini
{2} Are any of you as obssessed with museums as I am?  I grew up going to the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. with my family every year after Christmas, and even though I live much further from the National Mall now, I still try to visit other nearby exhibits when I can.  Our bank even offers free admission to a whole slew of museums across the country on the first weekend of the month!  As much as I'd like to visit them all in person, that's a tall order, so imagine how thrilled I was to find out about the Google Art Project!  This awesome online gallery lets you virtually tour exhibits from museums in Spain, Italy, the Acropolis, New York, and practically everywhere else in the world!  It's love!

{3} If you've been reading this blog for a while, or maybe even if you haven't, you can probably tell that authentic love, chastity, and the dignity of the human person are a few of my favorite things to talk about.  I recently found a kindred spirit in Arleen Spencely, and I now I have a humongous crush.  This woman is bold, articulate, and so full of wisdom when it comes to relationships.  Visit her blog, read her opinion pieces from the Tampa Bay times, and her column on Ignitum Today and I think you'll see what I'm talking about.

{4} On the subject of Ignitum, a sort of news-blog hybrid aimed at "the JPII and B16 generation,"  I am a new columnist!  If you missed my first post, on health and hippiedom, you can read it here.

{5} My sweet husband's birthday is coming up in a few weeks, and I am at a loss, for the most part, over what to give him!  Andrew is a man of extreme thrift and, occasionally, extreme stubborness.  Most of the time, his willingness to spend a little less and his strength of conviction are two of my favorite things about him, but when it comes to gift-giving, these traits make it almost impossible!  He never wants to replace worn-out things until they're completely unusable, and insists that he doesn't need much (he's taken the same line of reasoning with our car transmission...I'm trying to talk him out of it!).  But, more personal, sentimental things like letters do mean a lot to him.  I'm trying to think of a present along those lines, and wanted to ask you: what's the best, most meaningful gift you've given or gotten your boyfriend, fiance, or husband?  I can't wait to hear your ideas!

1.  2.  3.  4.  5.
{6} Aside from Andrew's birth, of course, Jesus' birth is also coming up!  I start making Christmas lists for everyone long before November, but now that we're only about a month away from Advent, I've been dreaming about Christmas cards!  We didn't send them last year for our first Christmas, but there's something about being married and feeling more grown up in certain ways that really makes me want to do it this year!  I found all of these adorable designs on Etsy this week.

via Instagram
{7} And lastly, just a little piece of beauty to start your weekend.  Remember how my friend Beth got married two Saturdays ago?  I'd never been a bridesmaid before, meaning I'd never been to a wedding rehearsal besides my own, but this time around, we got to spend plenty of time with our other best friend, Teresa, strolling and reminiscing on our college campus, where her wedding Mass was held, before rehearsing.  This statue of our lady is right outside one of the chapels, and she and her son have been crowned with gold since I last saw them!  I love returning to the place where all my close friendships began and where I met Andrew, and this time was extra special.  I carry it in my heart.

Have a wonderful weekend!  I'd love to hear what you're up to.  Visit again on Sunday for another What I Wore linkup with Fine Linen and Purple, and look for a new little something on Monday!


23 comments:

  1. I will most certainly be checking out the Google Art Project. I'm unable to travel right now, so a virtual tour of museums sounds heavenly!

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    1. Doesn't it?! I'm really excited--we just booked a trip to New Mexico in February (basically, it's a business trip for my husband that we decided to turn into a mini Valentine's vacation), and I can't wait to start researching all of the culture spots there!

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  2. That curry sounds incredible. We love Indian food! I just wrote a post this week on gift ideas. There's a link up on the Table For More blog, but it looks like the link up expired and you can't see anyone's posts. Thomas's birthday is coming up in a few weeks too, and I also need an idea! I hope you have a great weekend Stephanie! :)

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    1. Yesss, it was so good! I'm not an official vegetarian, but we don't have meat often--I'd love to swap recipes with you sometime =) I'm off to go read your post on gifting; I always love seeing the thoughtful little handmade things you and Thomas give to each other!

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  3. Congrats on becoming an Ignitum columnist!!!!

    One time I made an online scrapbook but I wrote the captions in third person, story style, and it told the story of how we met through our first year. Steven loved it so much and we are excited to read it to future kids one day :). I can't wait to see what you decide on making!

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    1. Thanks so much, Stacy =)

      As a former English major, and as an English teacher's wife, I LOVE the idea of making a storybook! So glad you shared with me!

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  4. Jim hates when I buy him things too so I usually just buy a ticket to somewhere for the both of us to go (like last summer I bought us tickets to King's Island and we went to a Christian rock concert while it was there and the park afterwards).
    And yay for being a columnist! Congrats!

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    1. Ohh, what a fun date you guys had! I'm also big on giving the "experience" rather than "stuff" sort of gifts, and I've been trying to find the perfect thing for this winter. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  5. Enjoyed your post on Ignitum. I've been hearing a lot about Coconut oil lately. I'm going to do more research on that...

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    1. Thanks so much! And yes, coconut oil has been awesome so far, in my experience. I use it for cooking, baking, and beauty purposes and it has yet to disappoint me! I hope you had a good weekend, Stefanie =)

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  6. I am SO flattered! Thanks so much for all the kind works and for including my work in your quick takes for this week. Grateful.

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    1. I seriously feel like I'm having a celebrity sighting right now! You and your writing are so amazingly admirable to me, and here you are on my humble little blog! So honored, Arleen! I just responded to your email this morning =)

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  7. I'm so excited that you joined Ignitum!

    What about a journal that you keep for your sweet husband in which you write down all the little things that he does that keep you falling in love with him? =)

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    1. Thanks so much, Amanda! I love the journal idea--Andrew actually proposed to me after presenting me with a birthday journal (I needed a new one at the time) that he'd written a few letters and poems in. It's so special to me, and I guess it's about time I return the favor! Boy, I hope he's not reading this...

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  8. Best gift ever: 365-day love letter. Sometimes just a quote, sometimes a page-long list reflection, favorite memories, etc. A hint? Start writing now.

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    1. Beautiful. Love it, Kathleen! I like the idea of not pressuring yourself to make each entry the same length or depth. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. My husband makes me mixed tapes. Love them. We struggle with making the time to eat at home. I am currently blaming our schedules.

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    1. Oh, good idea, Hannah! I used to give mix CDs to my friends often as gifts, but for some reason I've never done that too often for Andrew!

      I know what you mean with mealtime difficulties. I don't know how much you enjoy cooking, but for me it's really relaxing, so most Sundays I make big batches of things like brown rice, marinara sauce, black beans, and roasted vegetables for easy lunches and dinners during the week. If you have the uninterrupted time to put in a few hours all at once, I've found that it saves you so much time over the next couple of days!

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  10. Advice from a woman who is "spiritually married" (if I can say it like that ;) ) is to make a spiritual bouquet. I don't mean literally a bouquet of paper flowers, although that is nice to do for girlfriends/sisters/etc. But you could creatively present a list of all of the prayers that you will offer for him for his birthday, and it could include prayers to specific saints for specific virtues or intentions centered around your relationship. I am sure that whatever you come up with will be beautiful. God Bless!
    your Sister in Christ.

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    1. I love that idea, Sr.! I've participated in spiritual bouquets before for friends of mine as they prepared for the priesthood (my college campus was also home to a seminary), but never for my husband. For someone who's so resistant to material things, I think the gift of prayer, in such a concrete way, might be perfect for him! God Bless you, too =)

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  11. #1 - We have the same thought when it comes to eating out - we only go to places where we can't cook the food. I've tried various Asian recipes at home but I've never gotten close to replicating what we get at the restaurant.

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    1. Me either; you'll have to tell me if you ever have any luck! I'm betraying my Japanese roots...also, I think I'm just too lazy to chop tons of veggies or measure out lots of ingredients for sauces, which seem to be two of the more common Asian recipe features!

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