What I've Been Up To!

When Language Leaves People Out

When Language Leaves People Out

  In religious studies, religions can be loosely categorized as universalizing faiths and ethnic faiths. Ethnic faiths are for a specific people in a specific time and specific place. Shintoism and Judaism are good examples. Shintoism doesn’t go around looking for followers, trying to appeal […]

On The Menu: Bloody Mary Deviled Eggs

On The Menu: Bloody Mary Deviled Eggs

  Easter is just around the corner and it’s my favorite time of year to make deviled eggs. I mean, they’re always a win at any party, but Easter is a great excuse to make good use of all those hard boiled eggs!   I […]

My #1 Key to a Good Morning

My #1 Key to a Good Morning


If you’re looking at this pic and thinking, “Hugh Jackman and strawberries” are my #1 Key to a Good Morning, you would be half right. Not a bad way to start my day! The hotel next door serves a delicious breakfast that’s perfect during snow days.


The real #1 key to a good morning for me is to have the most boring nighttime routine ever. Day in and day out. Totally repetitive and boring.


I see so many posts about having a good morning routine that will magically make you a morning person. Morning pages, daily meditation, a fireplace, coffee with grassfed butter, a brisk walk in the morning. Honestly, none of those things has pulled me out of bed faster than my little guy crying in the morning. Actually, they never really pull me out of bed at all. I’m addicted to my sleep.


I have found instead that having a super chill, boring, repetitive nighttime routine helps me wake up in the morning refreshed and ready to do things.


These are just a few steps I generally follow for my evening routine:


+ baby bedttime


I can’t emphasize this enough: a schedule for my baby is EVERYTHING. He has a pretty boring evening routine too, it’s just cuter and a bit more fun. Bath, dim the lights, change into pjs, bottle, book, prayer, go to sleep. It’s so nice knowing that he is all settled into sleep, and that really relaxes me a lot.



+ no more than one episode


Who isn’t sucked into Netflix before bed? I read something recently that auto-play and cliff hangers are specific ingredients to keep you engaged in Netflix. The sleep expert suggested watching the first five minutes of the next episode so you can see how it resolves and then shutting it off. It really does make a difference! We also only have one tv in our house and it’s not in our bedroom. Keeping the tv out of our room makes our bedroom an oasis, not someplace to plug in.



+ get ready for tomorrow


I like to make overnight oats once a week to have on hand when I wake up. I also tidy my kitchen and start the dishwasher. When I was working outside my home, I would always set out my outfit the night before. If I have any errands to run first thing, I’ll pop my checkbook, paperwork, or anything else in my handbag to get ready for the next day. A tidy house, breakfast, and a new outfit ready to go are the best ways for me to feel calm in the morning.



+ a hot beverage


I like a nice, relaxing tea before I go to bed. I’m not always consistent with this, but it is such a good way to wind down. I also avoid food for about an hour before I go to bed. That way, when I wake up my body is in a fasted state and ready to start burning some of its fuel. I like a little bit of sweet and zero caffeine for my tea.



+ a skincare routine


I love winding down with a skincare routine. Mine takes awhile. It’s like 6 or 7 products. But the ritual of doing that every night keeps my pores clear and is such a good way to practice self care. I also have a facial brush and massager, which are nice ways to clean and lift my skin right before bed. And of course my serums… addicted!



+ warm pjs


If you’re the type of person who gets hot at night in bed, I would suggest whatever pjs make you feel most comfortable. I’m freezing all the time, so my cozy pjs are perfect for a relaxing nighttime routine.



+ shutting down my apps


This is more psychological than anything else, but I like killing all the apps on my phone before I go to bed. I feel like I’m saying goodnight to my technology and getting a fresh start on tomorrow.



+ a book or magazine


This is the last thing I do in my nighttime routine that zones me out at night. I like to read things on my kindle on the darkest setting or have a physical book or magazine. It’s important to limit as much blue light as possible. I like to do the same thing I do with a Netflix episode: if my chapter is exciting or a cliff hanger, I read the first paragraph of the next chapter to get a sense of closure for the night.



And that’s it! I admit, I love my sleep and love to sleep in. I’m also working on having a morning routine. I don’t practice these steps every night, but when I do I feel like I can get into a deeper, more restful sleep that allows me to feel a little sane the next day.



What about you? What’s your nighttime routine? Do you have any tips or tricks for a good morning? Comment below!




For more tips, tricks, and inspiration head over to my Pinterest board , my Instagram, or my lifestyle and fitness Instagram.
A New Understanding of Repentance

A New Understanding of Repentance

  When’s the last time you apologized? When’s the last you repented? Was it in a formal way like the 12 step program or the sacrament of confession or a meeting with an elder? Was it in an informal way, “gosh, I’m so sorry”? Was […]

February Favorites

February Favorites

  February, you’ve had a good run, but I am ready for spring! I recently changed my nail color from Valentine red to robin’s egg blue after enjoying a week full of 50 and 60 degree weather. I can’t believe on the last day of […]

Don’t Get Mad, Get Involved!

Don’t Get Mad, Get Involved!



It seems that every week we’re hit with another national or global crisis. It’s enough to make you stop keeping up with the news at all. I know lots of people who have just opted out of the news lately because it’s hard to get hit over and over with news that’s deeply troubling to our understanding of who we are as citizens and sometimes to who we are as humans.


It’s easy to give up hope. I mean, it’s an option. We can say we’re all doomed and hide away for years. I prefer to take the nobler path and chase after hope. But when I feel kind of powerless, it’s hard to put that anger and frustration to good use.


I was talking with a friend recently about all the ways I channel those feelings. She was surprised that there were so many productive ways to help. She asked me to share on my blog the ways I’ve found that help me keep my piece of mind and (I hope) help our society move toward love and compassion.  Here are some things I came up with….



+ register someone to vote


I was taking a government class in 2012 at my local community college. Our final assignment was to help someone register to vote. I realized that though I had registered pretty much the instant I turned 18, I had spent years and years assuming everybody else had. It turned out that, for one reason or another, not everyone in my community had registered. I guess that surprise is my privilege speaking. It can be really hard to register sometimes! Many states offer voter registration with a driver’s license renewal, but not every state has this option. Sometimes it requires more time and research than a lot of people have the time or inclination to pursue. If you’re a voter, I highly recommend you ask around to the people you love if they are registered voters (yes, even if you think their politics are rubbish). If they’re not, offer to help them out. Doing a simple search for your state name and “register to vote” turns up just about any information you need. You can also click on this link to find more information: Register to Vote

If you haven’t registered to vote yet, it’s not too late! If you moved recently and aren’t sure, it’s worth checking out your voter status.



+ vote in every election


Yes, every one. This year, I was blessed enough to have a babysitter to watch my son while I headed out to vote in November. Not everybody has this option. But voting generally occurs only once a year. They’re open early, they’re open late. It’s so, so worth it to make arrangements to vote in each and every election. And you can bring your kids! Please don’t let that keep you away from the polls.

The reason I recommend voting in every election is that even the “off years” still produce results that trickle their way up to the federal government. If there’s a person who totally agrees with everything you do politically ends up running for town constable, don’t you want to propel that person forward as far as they would like to go? Each election builds up to getting a candidate ready for office in the federal government. It’s great having allies in all areas of government. Many townships and counties also have ballot initiatives that affect your daily life, so it’s also important to vote when you don’t have any particular feelings about the candidates. Plus, it’s helpful to just get in the routine of voting every year to keep up the habit for the “big elections.”



+ bake sales


A few years ago, my friends and family and I disagreed with a particular candidate’s run for office. We decided to partner with a national political action committee (PAC) to fundraise. That PAC offered a lot of suggestions for ways to raise money, and one of those was to have a bake sale. How fun! We camped out in front of my brother-in-law’s house, made signs, and sold cakes and cookies on a very busy Saturday afternoon in a college town. We raised way more money than I ever would have thought! And we got a fun shoutout in that PAC’s newsletter in the fall. Of course, donating is incredibly important. Whether you donate to a cause, a candidate, or a lobbying organization, putting your money where your mouth is helps push our democratic process forward. But why not make it fun? Host a party, dinner, or bake sale to fundraise for the things you feel strongly about.


+ contact your representatives


I think a lot of people feel better when they pen a letter to the editor and it ends up being published. Or they have a comment approved in a national news piece. But is that the most helpful use of our time? It’s fun and satisfying, sure, but we’re going to make a much bigger impact if we reach out to the people in our country who can have a much larger effect on our lives. It’s really easy to find our senators and representatives online. Once you find their names, it’s easy to find a “contact me” on each of their websites. I write to my congresspeople on a fairly regular basis. It’s especially helpful if a particular bill is going to vote, and you reach out before the issue is decided. Your congresspeople really do want to hear from you! I’ve also heard a rumor that if you actually fax your congresspeople, it forces them to pay more attention because it’s a physical reminder of their constituent. Worth a try, right? Find your senator or find your representative using these links.



+ run for office


The last time I ran for office, it was for president of my college History Honor Society. And by “ran” I mean nobody else was interested. I’m not going to pretend to know how you can run for office or how to succeed at your campaign.  But I do know that whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you think, and believe, and do, we need you! Please consider researching a group like She Should Run and running for office. Representation matters!


+ buy responsibly


I did a series two weeks ago about fast fashion and ways to reduce your environmental impact of the clothing you buy (or don’t). There are a million different ways to buy responsibly and make your voice heard. Boycotts tend to get all the news and are a flashy way to make your voice heard, but there are a million daily purchases that can support the causes you love. You can purchase items that offer “buy one, give one” programs to help the needy, like Tom’s and L. You can purchase items that support specific causes, like products where some part of the proceeds supports cancer research. You can also stop buying things daily that don’t fit with your politics and ethics. If you are concerned about  working conditions in other countries, it’s easy to find items made in the US and/or things that are made by certified ethical companies and avoid buying things that are made in unsustainable ways. Your money can have a big impact on the world around you in even the simplest ways.


+ you do you


There are a million public ways to get involved these days: marches, social media outreach, boycotts, giving speeches. But what if this loudspeaker approach just isn’t you? Is it worth being publicly outspoken if it’s inauthentic to who you are? Should you change your actions to reflect a more public political atmosphere? These are all questions I’ve asked myself over and over again. I’m getting to a point in my life, though, where I think it it’s not my style and it’s not authentic, it’s not going to make much of a difference. If I can consistently stand for my beliefs in a way that is authentic to me, I will have far more long-lasting impact than I would in a more show-y way. I spend with my heart, I publish on this blog, I vote with my conscience, I support candidates I believe in, I volunteer, I serve in my church and community… I hope me justifying my position here will save some time if you’re questioning your own. You are as effective as you are authentic. When you read stories about brave people in the past, whether during war time or peace time, pay attention to the people who are behind the scenes. If you’re more of a shrinking violet when it comes to standing behind your beliefs, know there are a million supporting cast members behind every moment in history. Someone had to be a practice audience when Winston Churchill gave his famous speeches, right? And I’m sure a good copywriter kept Uncle Tom’s Cabin from being thrown in the dustbin of history. Celebrate what makes you unique! If being loud and proud and going to marches is your thing: wonderful! If not, find your inspiration and your movement elsewhere. We need your contribution, whatever it might look like.



+ provide resources to others


So here you go! Ha! If any of this was helpful, please pass it along. If you have other resources you love, please share them in the comments below. It’s a great feeling when your actions follow your beliefs and support the things you most care about. Spread the love!






For more tips, tricks, and inspiration head over to my Pinterest board , my Instagram, or my lifestyle and fitness Instagram.

On The Menu: A Healthier Shamrock Shake

On The Menu: A Healthier Shamrock Shake

  ‘Tis the season for the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake! Nothing brings back happier childhood Lent memories than a Shamrock Shake and a Filet-o-Fish on Fridays. I mean, I know we’re supposed to be fasting and making sacrifices, but… It’s also Girl Scout cookie season with […]

Who Are You? 10 Ways of Knowing Yourself

Who Are You? 10 Ways of Knowing Yourself

Happy Wednesday! I really try to post on Tuesdays and Thursdays but not every week goes according to plan. Here’s to a good Wednesday!   When I was in high school my best friend loaned me her copy of Who Are You: 101 Ways to […]

DIY: Essential Tools for Taking Care of Your Stuff

DIY: Essential Tools for Taking Care of Your Stuff


On Tuesday, I wrote a little bit about fast fashion and its impact on our world. You can check out that post here!



One way to combat clothing waste is to really take care of your stuff. I’m always surprised when I read magazine articles suggesting that you take clothing to the tailor for button or hole repairs on clothing. Do that many people not know how to do simple mending? Maybe. But that’s ok. I guess my thrifty Depression-era grandma really entrusted me with some money saving technology when she showed me how to do little repairs on my things. I’m grateful I can do that!


Other than mending, there are some other ways I take care of my clothing and accessories. I’ve also helped some friends mend their clothing!


Probably my oldest daily-use item is a cardigan I bought in 2004. Yup, 14 years ago. I wear it often and still get compliments on how stylish and cute it is. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sewn on new buttons, repaired little tears, and gently removed stains. Buying a sweater that is kind of timeless helps too. And having this sweater well-tended reduces the temptation for me to purchase new things. If you love the stuff you have, why let a little tear or stain keep you from using it over and over?


Here are some essential tools to get you started on taking care of all the clothing and accessories you love:


+ sewing kit


A sewing kit doesn’t have to be as cute and well-stocked as mine. And you don’t have to buy a specific sewing kit box. Any box will do the job and any combination of thread, needles, sewing scissors, and other notions will work. It’s also a fun use for a pretty box you love but have no compelling reason to keep (the box for a favorite pair of shoes, luxury jewelry item, or special gift works great!). To stock your pretty sewing kit, you can buy basic sewing supplies at Walmart, Joann Fabric, or pretty much anywhere online. I like to have a selection of neutral threads (including thicker button thread), a packet of needles in various sizes, a good pair of sewing scissors, needle threaders (those things that look like coins with a wire loop at the end), a thimble or two, and some straight and safety pins. If you have clothing you love with particular colors, like a neon yellow dress, it might be worth seeking out a matching thread for repairs. If I don’t have an exact shade of thread to repair, sometimes I twist two or three threads together to give the look of a single shade. If you really want to upgrade your sewing kit, add a domed lightbulb! It’s a super old school tool to make sock darning really easy. Just stretch the sock of the top of the lightbulb and sew. The shape of the lightbulb will stretch out the fabric just enough to make sewing easier and more durable.


+ notions


“Notions” is the sweet old-fashioned word for all the bits and bobs you need to do clothing repairs. I save any extra buttons, sequins, or thread attached to nicer clothing items I purchase for quick repairs. I also think it’s important to stock up on a few pieces of velcro and zippers in neutral colors, a set of buttons you think are cute, and matching sequins or lace for your favorite pieces. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a plain blazer or cardigan and upgraded the buttons with something special. It takes any piece from boring to special so cheaply and easily. Just remember to regularly review the notions piling up in your sewing kit. Old buttons from donated items have a way of sticking around in my sewing kit years after I’ve passed the item along.


+ sweater shaver & lint roller


I’ve gotten at least three people addicted to sweater shavers recently. They are the BEST tool for keeping sweaters and pilled cottons looking fresh and pretty. I like to use a good quality sweater shaver and shave sweaters on an ironing board or mattress. This keeps you from really digging into the fabric and accidentally shaving your fabrics too thoroughly. My favorite sweatshirt pills like crazy and looks old and cheap quickly. Once I use my sweater shaver, it looks like I got a new sweatshirt. Worth every penny! This sweater shaver is small so it’s easy to store and only $5.99!



+ sticky and flocked lint rollers 


To keep things looking fresh, I also go over dark fabrics with a lint roller before I head out. Lint rollers are essentials for most black leggings and sweatshirts. I find it useful to have both a sticky and flocked lint roller for different textures and fabrics. The flocked lint remover works like magic in removing deodorant stains from my shirts. I always pack a travel lint roller when I’m heading out of town for a few days. You never know when your clothing will pick up lint, dog hair, or dust while you’re traveling.


+ gentle detergent


I’m pretty basic when it comes to detergent because my husband and son have very sensitive skin. I like Tide Free & Gentle for pretty much all of my fabrics. I’ve tried things like Woolite and lingerie wash, but I find that a gentle all-purpose detergent works just as well. Scented and colored detergents can sometimes lead to buildup in your washing machine and on your clothing. It’s good to have something that rinses thoroughly to keep your fabric’s integrity. If you have outdoor or athletic clothing, it might be worth investing in down cleaner or speciality detergent. A good stain remover is also an important thing to stock in your laundry supplies for inevitable mishaps and spills.


+ mesh laundry bags


Speaking of laundry, I couldn’t live without my mesh laundry bags. They keep delicates away from the agitator in your washing machine and protect zippers and elastic from damaging other clothing. These are so important for bras, delicate workout gear, tights, silks, wool, and snag-able fabrics. It also makes it so easy when I’m putting things in the drier to know what to pull out and flat or hang dry.



+ good hangers


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a collection of wire, plastic, and dry cleaner clothing hangers in a closet all crammed together and allowing clothes to get crushed, caught on wire hooks, and get creases and strange crumples on fabrics. I decided long ago to invest in nice wooden hangers for all of our clothing. Yes, they can be pricey. Instead of buying everything at once, I bought a set of two or three every pay period over about a year to get a full collection for our closets. I personally don’t like things like Huggable Hangers because they encourage overstuffing in closets (which leads to all of the above problems). Wider wooden hangers allow your clothing to breathe and discourage huge volumes of clothing. If you have cedar hangers, they keep any kind of scents and goolies out of your closet. I also have a handful of hangers for suits or delicate fabrics that are specially made for the purpose. I hang all of my cardigans on hangers with rubber shoulders to keep the shoulders from stretching out.


+ shoe polish kit, leather cleaner, and a cobbler


Everyone needs a shoe polish kit and the number of a good cobbler in your phone. I have saved hundreds of dollars on new shoes and handbags just by taking very good care of my leather goods. I like to have my shoe polish kit stocked with a few neutral shades of polish (usually brown, black, and tan) and a clear sealant. A rag or microfiber cloth dedicated to shoe polishing is important. A good shoe brush and suede brush and a handful of replacement laces are useful too. I use good car leather cleaner to clean my purses, salt stains from shoes, and our leather couch. If you have speciality items, like Wellies or designer handbags, you can often find specific cleaners and sealants online from those manufacturers. When the heels of my boots and shoes start showing any kind of serious wear and tear or when the seasons change, I take them to get re-heeled. If they get worn too much, I spring for new soles. When you spend good money on timeless styles, you can keep shoes and accessories for decades.



+ a friend who can sew


If you know of a friend who can sew, all your mending and hemming projects become a lot easier. I can do simple repairs, but I go to my mom or my local tailor for hemming. If you can’t do simple repairs and don’t have the time or inclination to learn online, talk to your friends about doing those little repairs. I have a knack for repairing open-weave sweaters and lace items. Any time I see a friend about to pitch items like that because they’ve gotten tears, I offer to rescue those items from the donate bin and repair them. I hate seeing favorite clothing items discarded just because they have a little tear or snag. Don’t be afraid to ask for favors from your more crafty-inclined friends.



There you have it! Just a few ideas to get you started on reducing clothing waste and keeping the things you love in tip top shape. If you have any other ideas for essential items to repair and restore your clothing, leave them in the comments below!



For more tips, tricks, and inspiration head over to my Pinterest board , my Instagram, or my lifestyle and fitness Instagram




Reducing Your Impact: Fast Fashion

Reducing Your Impact: Fast Fashion

I recently watched a CBC Marketplace special on fast fashion & its impact on our world. (I love Canadian tv.) No big surprise: clothing waste doesn’t have a very good impact. This isn’t the first news report about fast fashion & it won’t be the […]

My Diary

It’s great to be back!

It’s great to be back!

Nice to see you again! If you’re new to my blog: welcome!


A lot of things have changed since I posted here last. I went away for awhile to live the life of a Director of International Student Programs at a Catholic high school. Wow was that a whirlwind! I’m sure I’ll reflect on that in a future post… It also took every bit of my heart, soul, energy, and love to keep my program going, on top of some amazing ministry opportunities that came my way. That life was full and wonderful. After four years, I decided to move on and start a new career: as a stay at home mom!


You heard that right! I’m a mom! My little guy is now five months old. Of course, I could gush about him all day. Things have finally settled into a nice rhythm at home. I spend my days homemaking, visiting friends, cooking, staying healthy, taking care of my little guy and my sweet dog, and my handsome husband. As a former stay at home person, I can say it’s good to be back! I love setting the rhythm of my days, caring for the world right in front of me, and having a quieter, gentler life.


I’m also steering my blog in a little bit of a different direction. On top of homemaking, recipes, simple living, DIYs, and travel, I want to share a little bit more of my heart. Faith is a huge part of my life and it only feels right adding more of that here. I hope to make those posts approachable and welcoming – I don’t want to leave anyone out! Everyone is welcome at my table.


I’m excited to start this new chapter and look forward to having you join me! I’m so glad you stopped by and I hope you visit again soon.


For more tips, tricks, and inspiration head over to my Pinterest board , my Instagram account, or my lifestyle and fitness Instagram account!


P.S. I’m in the process of migrating my blog from blogger to wordpress. Please be patient with some of my posts while they’re under construction.