Coldplay!

For probably as long as I’ve known Kevin, I’ve known how important Coldplay is to him. Truly, it could be one of the first things I ever learned about him. And how, back in 2009 (I think?), he had tickets to see them in Omaha during his stint at IPF, but gave them away as he felt compelled to attend an ordination instead. Now, I don’t want to say that he regrets that decision…but he may, just a little. So I knew that the next time Coldplay toured in the US, we absolutely had to go.

As for me, I’ve always been a fan of Coldplay. It’s not something I’ve thought too much about, but they would always have been in my top five probably. And I’ve often thought that “Fix You” is the greatest song ever created. I could truly listen to it all day every day, and still cry each time I hear it.

Two years ago (almost to the day!), Kevin and I were driving home from my cousin’s wedding in Philly with my sister & brother-in-law. Coldplay came on the radio, and there began massive praise for all things Chris Martin & company. We agreed (post-wedding festivities, mind you) that we were GOING to Coldplay next chance we got.

Krouchick siblings (minus Keith, who is away serving our country!)
Krouchick siblings (minus Keith, who is away serving our country!)

Needless to say, when tour dates were announced for Head Full of Dreams, we were all in communication. So this past weekend, Kevin and I got to see Coldplay in Philadelphia with some family members. Despite being practically in the nosebleed sections (it was best available even though we purchased them instantly as they went on sale to the public!), it was a truly phenomenal show. I haven’t gone to many concerts in my life (Backstreet Boys, Imogen Heap, Ingrid Michaelson, Trampled by Turtles – that may be it?), but if I never saw anyone else perform again, I’d be okay with it. This was spectacular.

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The playlist could not have gotten any better – they played all my favorites (but they’re all greatest hits as Kevin says). This band was made to perform. They are amazing. And Chris Martin – what a guy. One of Kevin’s total man crushes (I’m completely okay with it).

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We’ve now decided that we’re going to wait to take an international trip until Coldplay is on tour again, and we’ll see them in London front row…it could happen, right? 🙂

 

P.S. If you ever need a Coldplay song for various occasions – I’ve compiled it below 😉

Nostalgia/Melancholy

Clocks // The Scientist // Everglow // The Hardest Part // Warning Sign // Army of One

Feel Good

Message // Army of One // Lovers in Japan

Dance Party

Charlie Brown // Hymn for the Weekend // Princess of China // Every Teardrop is a Waterfall // Sky Full of Stars // Adventure of a Lifetime

Let those tears fall

Fix You // In My Place // Everglow

Moodiness

Midnight // Trouble // Amsterdam // Magic // Ink // Fun

Serenading your love

Til Kingdom Come // Yellow // Green Eyes // Swallowed in the Sea

Anthem Moments

Viva La Vida // Lost // Paradise

Happy days

Life in Technicolor // Speed of Sound // Strawberry Swing // Up & Up

 

There and back again

This summer (similar to last) has been one of lots of transition. And in the three week period that we had to find a place to live in a new city AND move…I decided it would be prudent to plan an impromptu trip to Boston. Not gonna lie – it added a little bit of stress to the situation, but I also think it was worth it.

I surprised my dear friend, Sarah, and her new boy, Rafa, at Boston Children’s Hospital with the help of her awesome husband. It was the first time I’d been back to Boston since Kevin and I left last summer. It was completely surreal and totally normal. However, it was only the fact that I was visiting that made the MBTA bearable (one of the tipping points in our move away from the city ;)).

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Me and some of my favorite people! I’m still not sure what Sarah was really thinking when I walked into their hospital room, but I hope there was some excitement there! To everyone’s surprise, Rafa was taken home just a couple days later, so these parents certainly had their hands full. I simply took in their presence in the little moments I stole with them. Such love <3

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I spent an evening at the Green Briar (an old neighborhood fave) with some truly wonderful people. My heart was exploding with how much I miss these people. The only thing that would have made it better was if Kevin was with me, but sadly he had to work (but he is in Boston right now, so he’s getting his fill!). There was just an immense amount of organic laughter and joy; I never wanted it to end. Which is pretty much how all moments are with the Boston community, no matter where we’re congregating.

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I was also tremendously grateful to have some quality time with this treasured friend! Mike has been in Rome the past few years studying at the seminary out there (he’ll be ordained a Deacon in September!), but is home this summer. So I got to catch up with him AND his family, which is always a treat. I somewhat crashed his family BBQ, but if anyone asks, I’m a long lost cousin…or just an old friend from BU.

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Another gift! Ammmmmyyyyy! I got a beautiful morning (and Mass) with her and her husband plus the beautiful daughter that I hadn’t met yet! All of these moments would have been worth the trip individually, so can you imagine my excitement that just compounded as my visit continued?!

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I was fortunate enough to visit Mother Olga’s new convent and spend an afternoon with her – a nice oasis in the midst of my go-go-go. What a Saint, that woman. And what a gift her order is to the Boston Archdiocese.

There were many more moments not captured on camera, like visits with other lovely friends and my stay at my former apartment (back from my single days). And then just the beauty of Boston that seems so obvious and striking when you’ve been away for some time…

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Classic Brookline.
Beacon Hill!
Beacon Hill!
The original Trader Joe's in my book.
The original Trader Joe’s in my book.
Downtown.
Downtown.
"Star-Dunkin" - aka a little spot of compromise for me and Kevin just down the street from our first home.
“Star-Dunkin” – aka a little spot of compromise for me and Kevin just down the street from our first home.
The Watertown Public Library. THE best library we've ever belonged to. Ask anyone - it's legit.
The Watertown Public Library. THE best library we’ve ever belonged to. Ask anyone – it’s legit.

It was so rejuvenating to go back, and I am abundantly grateful for the opportunity to see people that I’ve missed terribly. It does, however, feel right that it was just a visit and nothing more. I love Boston, and I treasure the people, but we are happily at peace in Minnesota.

Though I’d also be cool if we took semi-annual vacations in the Northeast every spring & fall. And I’d be more than okay if all my friends moved to one big neighborhood. 🙂

Christmas & New Years // Pennsylvania & Minnesota

The holidays were a real whirlwind for us, Gearnses. It was a bummer to have Kevin working most days when my work kind of slowed down, but the solemnities, weekends, and evenings were quite beautiful.

dinner & a movie on Christmas Eve
dinner & a movie on Christmas Eve

We kicked off the Christmas season with a lovely Vigil Mass at our parish. Following Mass, we had a couple friends over for dinner & It’s a Wonderful Life. My family has watched this film every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember, so it’s a tradition I plan on keeping. We unfortunately didn’t finish the movie that night, though, as we had to get up for a 4am drive to the twin cities on Christmas day (eek!).

Kevin & Deacon Paul at the airport way to early Christmas Day

We made the drive that morning, met Deacon Paul at the seminary who would be looking after our car for the weekend, arrived at the airport, had a bit of an issue with our tickets (we owe many thanks to the generosity of others for that day!), but eventually made it to Philly early afternoon. When we got to my house (oh how I love our town), the festivities were already in full swing it seemed. We have quite a big family, and my parents always love to host. One of the big activities of the afternoon was, of course, family football across the street. Not to brag or anything, but my dad did name me MVP (I said it’s all those yoga poses stretches I’ve been doing…).

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Christmas evening continued as usual, with all the people in every corner of the house. One of the great joys of the weekend was simply being with my whole immediate family (which unfortunately doesn’t happen that often!) and getting to see the babies! Millie is almost 4 months now, and Evie is just about 2 months. Kevin and I stayed home from the annual Eagles game on Saturday night to spend time with the little ones, and I miss it so much! My nieces are absolutely the cutest.

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I look just a wee bit tired from the travels that day…but look at those babies in their matching dresses!

After a short weekend, we came back to Minnesota (it was a looong drive back to Duluth that Sunday night). Our nights have been spent watching Christmas movies together (Home Alone, Love Actually, the Holiday), and eating [paleo] Christmas cookies. We had a lovely evening with Kevin’s mom and uncle to celebrate & exchange gifts as well.

dinner at Duluth Grill New Years Eve
our grainy photo of dinner at Duluth Grill New Years Eve

New Years Eve (rather the Vigil for the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God) we went out to dinner with a few friends to Duluth Grill. I had heard so much hype about this place, and I don’t know if I’d say it lived up to it (there was a lot!), but it was still very good! We had a grand time in good company. And Kevin and I spent the next day at Mass and doing date-like things together (which for us means going to Barnes & Noble or Target and hanging out 🙂 #marriedlife).

It’s been a full couple of weeks, and we have our Epiphany party to look forward to this weekend! Yes, it’s a bit late as we celebrated the Epiphany this past Sunday, but it’s a rich feast that deserves good attention. After that, the Christmas season shall officially be over and it’s back to ordinary time for a bit. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Quebec City

A city on a cliff. Cobblestone streets. Cheese, chocolate, and coffee. Le francais.

Quebec City

J’adore Quebec.

This past August (I know – a wee bit late!) was our fourth trip to Canada in three years, but our first time staying in Quebec City. I love to travel and I love sharing my experiences with others. I often find, though, that I quickly forget everything we did – at least the details. I made sure to take copious notes this time around regarding where we stayed, where we ate, what we did, etc.

Kevin and I are most certainly budget travelers, so nothing we do is ever super fancy unless it was a gift or we have good reason to splurge. We do not dine out much, but rather hit up markets and get snacks to make up meals here and there.

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Our first night, we stayed in Auberges de Basilique– a little inn right across from the Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre. For a decent price, you get a nice room with a private bathroom and free wifi (option to have breakfast included). It also has a stunning view of the shrine when you walk out front. We spent some time at the shrine, which is of course, simply magnificent. A majestic place that is built to draw us into prayer and devotion. My favorite parts are just gazing up at the ceiling and trying to decipher the french written all around.

Since the shrine is about 40 minutes away from downtown Quebec City, we decided to spend the remaining nights in La Cité-Limoilou, just a 25-30 minute walk from the old city. We used Airbnb to find the apartment we stayed in, and it could not have worked out better. Talk about a phenomenal alternative to an expensive hotel! The apartment we stayed in was perfect, we had a nice kitchen to cook most of our meals (avoiding the cost of dining out!), a great touchdown place not too far from the places we wanted to go, and free parking and wifi.

It did rain off and on while we were visiting, but luckily the sun poked out intermittently as well. One morning, we got up early and headed down to Le Chateau Frontenac (most photographed hotel in the world!). It was early on a Wednesday, so the place was all but deserted, which made for a peaceful stroll. I love the Fairmont brand. Their hotels, including the Chateau, really are the epitome of luxury to me. So that landmark is most certainly worth seeing!

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From the Chateau (which is located in upper town), we walked down to lower town. I’ll be honest when I say that Kevin and I are not great city travelers. While of course I’d have no problem filling my time in a place like Rome, Paris, London, etc, many cities prove difficult for us to find “things to do.” We don’t shop much (it’s expensive), we don’t love museums, we don’t go to shows, and we’re not much for drinking. So what is it that we do?

Well, it looks different depending on the place, but here we planted ourselves on the patio of the most quaint little coffee shop, La Maison Smith, in the Place de Royale for some people watching, architecture admiring, journaling, and in Kevin’s case, drawing. It was the perfect choice. I got a fancy latte and Kevin got a tasty croissant. And as we continued our exploring of both lower & upper town, we found plenty of adorable shops & restaurants. Nobody should be left wanting when wandering around these parts.

Since some of the day was rainy, we took some time to drive around the coast of Quebec City and taking in the views of the St. Lawrence river.

The next day, we continued exploring upper town since it really is quite big. This included more shops – some were incredibly unique. We stopped in the oldest grocery store in North America, Épicerie J.A. Moisan, still in operation – lots of novelty items as well as your typical grocery products.

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We spent the remainder of our afternoon walking around the Citadel (since Quebec City was/is the oldest fortified city in North America). Inside the fortress is a museum (for a fee), but we opted to just walk above on the fortress walls. We had a gorgeous day combined with the most grand perspective of the city. Walking around the citadel offered some truly amazing views. A perfect place for a picnic!

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After a late afternoon stop at the apartment for some nourishment & rest, we went out again and decided to take the ferry from Quebec to Levis. It leaves from the vieux-port (in lower town) and costs just 3,50 per person (one way)! We took it in the evening during a striking golden hour, and I’d say it was worth it just for the chance to see Quebec City from the water. Levis seems like it could have some interesting things to do, but not in the evening (everything was closed!). We instead took a long walk up MANY steps to see a high-point view of the river.

Our last full day we were very excited because we planned to go to Ile d’Orleans. This is a little island in between Quebec City and the mainland (Beaupre being one of the towns), with one bridge on/off – only open from 9am-9pm (free to visit)! It’s pretty much completely countryside, focused very much on agriculture and tourism. It was the most intriguing little place I’d ever seen! The island is quite long and took us about and hour and a half to drive around fully (with one brief stop at first). Beautiful fields, little farm homes with red doors & shutters, and incredible landscape at every stop. Our first drive around was in the rain, but the sun came out and thank goodness it did or we would have missed the entire point of our visit!

Nearly every house or farm you saw was open for business, selling all different kinds of goods! Blueberries, strawberries, chocolate, cheese, wine, iced cider, and more! We stopped in at multiple places and picked up a few things that we could not resist (I mean…one was the oldest fromagerie in America…and raw goat & sheep cheese? Can’t really get that around here!) Needless to say, I highly recommend this gem!

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Finally, since it was our last night, after stealing some last views of the old city, we went out for dinner downtown, in newer parts of the city (still beautiful, and less expensive). We chose to visit a place called Brynd Smoked Meat, and we were so happy with our choice. We split a delicious salad and some poutine (very generous portions!).

That pretty much sums it up. I’m always happy to answer any questions if you are planning a trip to Quebec! It’s a beautiful place with such wonderful culture. Au revoir!

 

Roadtrippin’ to Duluth

It feels like both a day and an eternity since we moved from the East Coast to the Midwest. On the one hand, it really did just happen….like a week ago. On the other hand, it’s been insanity since we’ve arrived and I don’t really know what day it is anymore because it’s been so busy. I honestly don’t even know how to recap our move and the places we visited because I’m currently living in scatterbrainville.

However, we did it. The evening before we moved out was an absolute nightmare (we should have expected that). It was a complete scramble – we had sightings of skunks and racoons by our car as we were frantically trying to fit everything (getting skunked literally would have threw me into a pit of despair – praise God that did not happen!), we ended up working in the dark of our apartment since we’d given away all our lamps, we ended up having to last minute ship 9 boxes that just would.not.fit, words were exchanged (as were apologies)…but we made it through! The next morning, after leaving the apartment and not looking back, we stopped off at the convent of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth to see Mother Olga. And thank goodness. Instead of leaving in bitterness, we left in complete consolation. It was a grace-filled morning and we left Boston in a state of joy.

The peaceful morning with Mother Olga.

 

The next few days were spent in PA with my family. It was a lot of getting things done that we really hadn’t had time to do up until then, relaxing in my parents’ home, and preparing for our journey. I have so much to be grateful for when it comes to my parents. They have given so much and are a wealth of support.

The following weekend was at the Dills’ in State College, PA! This is where we really entered into our peaceful stage. It was a weekend of literally just hanging out with them as they live their life with a baby. Pure awesomeness. The search for pumpkin spice (fail), deep conversation, good food, laughter, Catholic scattegories, and prayer. It was a gift to be able to stop and see them en route to MN.

Me & Ashlie!

After PA we drove to Ann Arbor, MI – through northern Ohio…mehhh. But we arrived! And we got a full day with Elise & her fiance, Joey! I had visited Elise in Detroit once before and LOVED it so it was great to be able to share that with Kevin now. If you’ve never been to Detroit, go. It’s got such character and draws me into its beauty in unexpected ways. We spent the evening in Ann Arbor walking around U Mich and had a delightful dinner.

With Elise in her natural habitat.

The next couple days seemed to blow by, but we didn’t really spend an extended amount of time anywhere. We stayed at Holy Hill Shrine in Wisconsin, which was beautiful, but we didn’t get to explore much. It’d be nice to go back! Erin, WI was absolutely stunning and I now want to spend a dedicated trip exploring the rurals of this [foreign-to-me] state.

Erin, Wisconsin

Erin, Wisconsin

We had a night in St. Paul with a good friend, but then dipped out early to make it up to Duluth. It was a relief to arrive with our full car, but I made the mistake of thinking the stress of moving was behind us. In fact, it really hadn’t even started. Since our arrival, we have not stopped going. Car registration and issues. Unloading our Ubox. Picking up all our shipped boxes. Figuring out how to live out of a select number of boxes during this transition time. Job searching. Job interviews. And lots more.

Up to the old country :)

I’ll admit it’s been a lot of trials. But our God is good. And there have also been a lot of consolations. Through the difficulty, God has been affirming the decision we made to move here. I cannot express my gratitude for that because it would be very discouraging if it were just the trials. In fact, while I do feel a bit like a chicken running around with her head cut off, I’ve received immense peace about being here…and about staying here. While I’ve been trying to make plans like “in a year we will move to the twin cities,” I feel a calling to just be present in this place. No timelines. No additional steps. Just enjoy where I am. And with that, I can see a future here, which I did not anticipate. So for now, I will just see where God leads us.

Summer Highlights

This summer truly is going by so quickly. I am torn because as excited as I am for this next phase of our life, it breaks my heart to leave the people I love and the place that has so much significance in my life. To recap the summer that has just came and gone, here are some choice photos…

Just a few of us former residents of 728 at BU in front of the Grotto where my life was literally changed on a retreat nearly 7 years ago.
Just a few of us former residents of 728 at BU in front of the Grotto where my life was literally changed on a retreat nearly 7 years ago.

June was the Brotherhood of Hope Boston Alumni Retreat. A beautiful reunion of friends from both the CC at BU and Northeastern.

Precious time with the Dills and my family!
Precious time with the Dills and my family!

The weekend of July 4th, which turned out to be a bit more eventful than we had planned, was still a really beautiful one. There weren’t any real plans, so I got to do my favorite things of going to Pat’s Colonial Kitchen for brunch, visiting Washington’s Crossing Park, strolling around Peddler’s Village, and spending time with the Dills and my family.

:)

Time with Sarah. This girls been here with me for seven years. We grew in faith together, lived together in two different places, were by each others side on our wedding days, became neighbors, and have just shared many joys, sorrows, and everything in between. I’m going to miss this lady so much…but I know God will provide and our friendship will grow in ways we cannot predict.

The VB's flew out to the East Coast!
The VB’s flew out from AZ to the East Coast!

Two dear friends, Christina and Ky, got married in Connecticut and it was a beautiful celebration! A few good friends came from quite a distance and it was absolutely lovely reuniting for a bit. Emily and Ted (far right) are expecting their first child in November and we were able to throw them a little baby shower in Boston the following day with some local friends out here.

Mother & Daughters

I went home again to PA in August to celebrate my sister, Kristen (blue dress), and sister-in-law, Jenan, who are both expecting their first children in October! Both girls!

Such an awesome group of people.

The Dills (A, J, and JP) drove up to Boston for Ashlie’s birthday, and Elise made it out from Detroit as well! It was quite the reunion and we had a beautiful evening bringing together many loved ones. Mike (tallest guy pictured in back) is a seminarian for the Boston Diocese over in Rome and has been back for just a bit this summer. Brother Sam (second from left, back row) joined us as well! That guy. Aka my former boss, campus minister, and always spiritual father.

Friendship, sisterhood, love, hats 🙂

The four of us ladies, Ashlie, Elise, Sarah and I, did afternoon tea/lunch at the Boston Public Library for Ash’s 25th birthday! We got all fancy and it was splendid. We had the entire restaurant to ourselves on a Monday afternoon, and then strolled to the courtyard for some photos and boy, did we get some stares or what (because of our hats). We loved every second.

Siblings and some cousins at Fenway!

A couple weeks ago, my family did a large vacation in Plymouth, MA since my brother and his wife are currently stationed not too far away for the military. We rented a magnificent home on the water, and some extended family joined us as well. It was a week of games (sometimes a bit too competitive), relaxing, riding bikes along the coast of Nantucket (#worthit), and going to a Red Sox game at Fenway. A wonderful trip (so grateful to my dad!), and a kind of last hoorah before two babies arrive and cross country moves are made by multiple parties.

Boston friends! Oh how we will miss them!
Boston friends! Oh how we will miss them!

Sarah & Javi threw us a little going away party with some close friends, and gosh…I get sadder with every day we get closer to our move. It is so nice being with these people; we had a great time of fellowship and of course, P&P (the game “pencil & paper” that will forever be my legacy in Boston).

Various generations of BUCC Alumni, former roommates @ Priscilla, good friends!
Various generations of BUCC Alumni, former roommates @ Priscilla, good friends!

And finally, a night out just before we left celebrating a friend’s birthday. It was a gift to have another reason to see everybody before we left.

There has been much more goodness, but one can only make a post so long! I’m overwhelmed with how much there is to reflect and look back upon my eight years in Boston, but above all I am filled with gratitude. Deo gratias!

 

Carpe Diem.

It’s not every day you and your husband decide to drop your job (and primary source of income), leave the city you know, and take a leap of faith halfway across the country. Butttt that is where we are! We had been mulling over and discerning the possibility of moving to Minnesota for several months. Pennsylvania was an option, as was New Hampshire, but our hearts both seemed content (and thrilled) with Minnesota. However, it was St. Paul we were aiming for!

Things happened, job interviews were had, connections were made, someone (me) spent way too long lusting after cheaper real estate on zillow, we joyfully welcomed a pregnancy that altered some plans, but then that pregnancy went. And in those moments of loss and grief, we received peace and clarity. After Mass on July 3rd, we sat down outside the chapel and said it aloud: we should move to Duluth. I cling back to that moment, though, and trust that it was authentic and of God, because now as we get so close and I’ve given my work my notice, doubt inevitably clouds my vision! (Damn you, evil one!)

Yet even with the occasional doubt and fear, I know this is good. Even with the pain of leaving good friends and a home I love, I know God is calling us to greater things. Now…I’m not sure WHAT those things are, but I trust that they are GOOD. I am in no way tied to my “career path”, though it does lend a bit of security. So the prospect of potentially starting somewhere new and having more flexibility to “figure things out” was, and is, very attractive.

What will we do? Gosh, only the Lord knows. There is only so much we can do to prepare until we get there. Right now my head is filled with logistical nightmares of when to pack up my kitchen aid and how to sell all our furniture on Craigslist. I am re-evaluating a lot of things. I’ve always had my next move planned, and it’s always been on a certain trajectory. And while there was a time that I enjoyed what I do – that time has come and gone. While it will be tempting to apply to the classic HR jobs I’m used to, I really want to start fresh in something that gives me life.

I’d really love to do my own thing and work from home, if possible. I have a few ideas in my head and the wheels are spinning. Whatever I do is going to take some investment and patience. The frontrunners of the moment are:

  • Becoming a Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (a one year program, fairly affordable) and partnering with organizations that teach and/or promote Natural Family Planning. I’d love to work with people struggling with infertility, looking at nutrition first before undergoing tests & treatments that can be quite pricey.
  • Starting my own at-home travel agency that specializes in Catholic Pilgrimages (and maybe adventurous honeymoons!). I can somewhat utilize that hospitality degree and my love for planning & travel! I’d work with a host agency such as TPI or Outside Agents. They provide all the training and tools you need to start earning commission right from home.
  • Selling Young Living Essential Oils. Some people make this their sole income and it works. I somehow doubt I’d be one of those people, but nothing wrong with trying and maybe snagging a little supplemental cash. The best part is it wouldn’t be forced. I absolutely love these oils. I believe in their healing properties, and if nothing else, I get to spread the word of more holistic health options.

I’ll continue to pray on this and look into more details over the next month or so, but I would love if, when we arrive in Duluth mid-September, I can start working towards one (or more) of these goals. Doing something I love would bring me greater joy, but it would all be in service of cultivating a beautiful domestic life with Kevin and to support him in his mission and work. So may God bless our efforts and may the opportunities be great!

Collections // 2

Reading // As is my way, I got a little caught up in re-reading some Harry Potter recently. On book six at the moment – I keep myself to no more than a chapter a day.

Cooking // whatever is in our freezer. We only have about three weeks left actually in this apartment (we’re traveling for another two weeks) and I want to make sure all the meat I bought in bulk once upon a time gets eaten! Which it will. No problem.

Baking // grain-free breads. I’ve found a few good recipes, but this is my favorite. It’s not an everyday occurrence (don’t want to make a habit out of eating “bread”), but it’s super tasty when we have it.

Watching // umm…one of the Marvel films every week. You could say Kevin and I have a problem, but we personally think it’s a fine art being able to watch a film over and over. Especially when the movie is so rich! Last night was Iron Man 3, before that Avengers, before that Thor, before that Captain America…you get the idea. We just really love these films.

Listening // my younger sisters cd mixes. Since she graduated and will not be needing a car in DC, my parents passed the Acura onto us (which we’re so grateful for!). She generously left some fun mixes in her car, and it’s funny what similar taste we have. A fun variety to, from Coldplay to Tupac to the Weepies…it’s all over the place.

Wanting // another Stitchfix box! I had a gift card from my birthday that allowed for two fixes (spent a bit over my allotted amount), and now I’m addicted. I don’t foresee it happening anytime soon, but a girl can dream!

Making // homemade organic & natural makeup! It seems that I go a little bit deeper each month into a more crunchy way of life, and partly because it’s so much fun and fulfilling to create from scratch (and to know everything I’m using/eating/surrounding myself with). I’ve made a pretty successful powdered blush and powdered foundation thanks to the recipes of Wellness Mama. The concealer didn’t turn out as I expected, but I think I know the issue…but it means I gotta re-do it. Another time!

Traveling // the past few weekends have been here in Boston, but August will be the month of travels – a grand family vacation on the Cape followed by another trip to Quebec! Followed by our cross country road trip to Duluth!

Back to the Oratory

A little over two years ago, when Kevin and I had been dating for 7ish months, we took a pilgrimage to Montreal together. We stayed at the retreat house on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Oratory, and a truly special trip it was. There were highs and lows to the weekend, and in a lot of ways, I really felt afterwards that this was it. I would be with this man forever. It’s kind of funny to say that now since there really were some rough patches over those four days. But it was the first time we openly spoke about marriage with one another…and children…and baby names. (That was as emotionally unchaste as we’d get until engagement.) 

 Montreal is a really special place to us (and really just Canada in general). And spending so much time at the Oratory was a truly spectacular experience. St. Joseph has always been a great intercessor in our relationship (hello 30 day novena that ended with a first date), so praying to him throughout that weekend also aided greatly in preparing us for our future. And there is something about the Oratory itself: it’s majestic, but humble. If you’ve been there and stood in the great shrine on top (with no one else around), you’d understand what I mean. For all of it’s simplicity, I could sense my unworthiness in a very real way.   

 There were other great aspects of Montreal that we got to explore outside of the Oratory grounds, and I was continuously stunned with beauty (could have also been the fresh snow). We spent an evening at Notre Dame in Old Montreal and that.church.is.beauty. Anddddd Celine Dion was married there, nobigdealthatdoesntinfluencemyopinionatall

 Anyway, we are going back this weekend and we are so excited. We’re at such a different stage in our life, and since it’s not January spontaneousblizzardseason, we’re hopeful that we won’t get snowed in like last time when we tried to visit the Shrine of St. Anne in Quebec City. That’s another place that we’re so looking forward to visiting. St. Anne is my patron Saint, and we’ve been praying to her in particular for some special intercession in these recent months. I so look forward to bringing our petitions and our love to that beautiful, sacred shrine. 

 And! I just can’t wait to be in French-speaking Canada again! The beauty! The elegance! The romance! The cheese! And the spring time!

Au revoir!

Out of the city we go!

Just for a few days…but I’m so grateful! Even with the occasional snow day (only thanks to the MBTA shutting down), it has been “GO GO GO” around here. And I am so excited to GO elsewhere! Like middleofnowhere, New York for the long weekend with my best friends?! I don’t care how much snow there is, as long as it does not delay our traveling and I am not in the city.

This will be our third annual YO_O trip since college. We’ve certainly seen each other many other times in these past few years, but these trips are long weekend trips to a neutral place and they are the best.

2012: YOMO – “You only Minnesota Once” (little did I know I’d marry a Minnesotan…)

2013: (just realized this one never happened…but there were a couple of weddings, so it’s understandable!)

2014: YOLVO – “You only Las Vegas Once” (my bachelorette party…good time, but no need to go back)

2015: YOLMO – “You only Livingston Manor Once”

This year is super exciting because we are meeting the lovely John Paul! Ashlie and Josh had their first child in November and we all have been dying to meet this lil guy! We will also be meeting Elise’s new beau…so it’s gonna be a great time!

This will be our first trip with any of the men (except Josh…he attended YOMO), but I’m sure the four ladies will find a reason to all be in the bathroom at the same time for 5 hours or so (or until JP needs to be fed)…