Monday 5: New Year’s Edition


Happy 2018! Can you believe it?? 2017 flew by, especially the last few months. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with friends and family! My siblings and I spent a quiet Christmas with our dad in North Carolina. For New Years we were back in Charleston and my mom suggested going to a party at a new hotel downtown called the Dewberry. My aunt Carrie (shout out to Neatsmart) came to visit which made it even better! It was a fun evening full of (somewhat reluctant) dancing, people watching and very expensive drinks.

The first week back to work ended up being one day since Charleston got hit by a ‘snowpocalypse’ (which for us is about four inches). It was such a lovely gift to have unexpected time off to just chill with my family. I read, wrote in my bullet journal (more on that to come) and walked around the snowy streets. I’m typically not a fan of sitting around for extended periods of time but those two days were wonderful.

Nicholas got stuck at the hospital for two days which was kind of unfortunate but he got a long weekend out of it so that helped ease the annoyance of having to sleep at the hospital! We had a lot of fun walking around some neighborhoods in the snow and taking pics. We went on a double date Friday night with our friends Lucia and Kevin and then they came over to play cards for a little bit. Saturday we went to a bar in West Ashley to meet up with some people and watch the James Madison football game and then later made a yummy dinner for my fam! Nicholas made a whipped feta dip with honey that was delicious.


That evening we had some people over to celebrate the feast of the Epiphany (when the three Magi visited baby Jesus). We made Lamb’s Wool, a drink traditionally made on that day and everyone shared a moment in nature that they were particularly impacted by God. It was a fun night.

Sunday we went to Mass at the Cathedral and then to brunch after (like the stereotypical millennials we are). Later we explored Daniel Island some which had some incredible houses; and then ended the weekend with watching a couple episodes of This is Us (such a good show!).

It’s been a beautiful start to the new year, I love new beginnings! To start your week (and year) off on the right foot, here are some things I’m excited about that you might enjoy too.


Bullet journal

One of the highlights of the time at my dad’s house was getting to catch up with one of my best friends Maria. She was the one who recommended I start a bullet journal. A bullet journal is like an agenda that you make yourself. The idea is that you can completely customize it to your needs while simultaneously being a creative outlet. You can get an empty notebooks with the little dots (mine is Moleskine) and those become your guide to mapping everything out. In addition to having a monthly calendar, a weekly and daily view, you can also have sections such as books you want to read, parties you want to host, goals you want to accomplish, people you want to pray for or reach out to and have them each marked with tabs. It is time consuming but so fun. And creative and mindful. I am not an artsy person but there are so many cute ideas out there on Instagram and Pinterest that you really don’t have to be! I’m also hoping this might improve my art skills a little. Agendas can get really pricey and I tend to think it’s worth it if you use it and enjoy it a lot, but this is a fun, cheap alternative that can stretch us a little and make it more suitable to what we need! Love love love.


Early mornings.

I love mornings. But I also love sleep. Waking up is often a struggle between my strong desire to sleep and my motivation to get up and get going. One of my resolutions this year is to read more. There are so many good book out there and I’m tired of adding to my reading list without making any progress! So, I’ve decided to harness my love of mornings and books and combine them with a little morning reading. I usually am guilty of getting up as late as I can and then rushing to get ready before sprinting out the door. This morning I was able to sip my coffee, read a few pages and take some time to just sit before getting dressed and heading out. It was so nice. It does require getting to bed a little earlier but I think it is so worth it. Starting your day calmly and intentionally is so much better than running around! How do you start your day? Any tips for making sure you get up when the alarm goes off?

Drinking with the Saints

I got Nicholas this book for his birthday and now I feel like I unconsciously got it as a gift for myself. I love it so much! I am a huge fan of celebrating things and this book is a great tool for that. Each month has the various feast days with some background information and a drink that is relevant. I am no bartender but I ‘m excited to explore it a little more and hopefully save money in the long run by not going out as much! It also makes it so easy to invite a few people over and celebrate a feast day with other people; I think this is awesome for keeping the liturgical year at the front of mind and sharing it with others.



I can be pretty sarcastic. My family loves to poke fun at each other and tease a lot. While I love this dynamic, I’ve come to learnt the value of giving sincere compliments. Relationship and marriage psychologist John Gottman explains that each negative interaction is worth the same as five positive ones. Really what he’s saying is that we tend to focus more on the bad than the good, which makes sense from a biological standpoint since bad things are threats to our survival and therefore should be dealt with. For that reason, it is really important to pepper in those affirming and loving moments as often as we can. That way, when something negative inevitably occurs, it is just a drop in the bucket compared to all the positive interactions that have taken place prior. Both with my family and with Nicholas, I’m trying to make an effort of pointing out their strengths, their achievements and just reminding them how much I love them. We think that good relationships just happen, but the reality is that they require thought and work!



We got out to go on long walks over the past few days and I really enjoyed it. Something I miss about college is just how you typically walk everywhere. I think taking time to get outside and move is so important and beneficial. It is especially helpful if we do it with friends or loved ones because it forces us to chat in an intentional way. There are so many things that distract us at home (phones, TV, chores etc) and walking helps keep us focused on only what is around us. I think this is a great way of building emotional intimacy while also staying active and healthy. I’m hoping to get out and walk some more this week.

What are you excited about this week?




Monday 5: Endurance & other things I’m excited about this week.

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This weekend was a good one. Friday evening we hosted Nicholas’ medical themed housewarming party and it was a good night. I had so much fun working on the preparations (white balloons with red crosses, candy as ‘prescription meds’, sangria as ‘type O negative’ wafers as ‘tongue depressors’, medical wristbands for guests) and I think people appreciated the thought (and even if they didn’t I still had a blast). It got a little hectic right before, we were running around trying to get everything together right until the first person showed up; but the chaos, if a little stressful, was also exciting.


Saturday was more relaxed, we attended a recital for the Charleston International Music Festival where I played with a chamber music group. It was a really good concert, I was so impressed with these high school and college students who play at a professional level!

Later we had a barbecue with the players and teachers. Sunday we went out to lunch with my brother and one of his friends and then enjoyed a laid back evening before the work week started.

Not every weekend is going to be super exciting, but I think a little thought and planning can help us make the most of those two precious days. I hope yours was a good one too!

Regardless, Monday’s can be tough so here are a few things that might help make it a little more exciting!

This TED talk

Recently I’ve been trying to listen to more podcasts. I love music, but I think podcasts can offer a good alternative that is a little more informative and gives you something to think about. This TED talk I heard was certainly thought provoking; given by a doctor who had lost her husband (also a doctor) to cancer, she talks about what makes life worth living in the face of death. One of her key points I thought was very important was the idea that living fully includes accepting suffering. And suffering together makes it more meaningful and less painful; or as she put it: “it makes it okay; even if it’s not.” I enjoyed her refreshing perspective on what is really important in life and how to persevere during difficult times – definitely worth a listen!

Miniature saints

Last year I won a key chain that had the miniature images of saints Louis and Zelie Martin – the first married couple to be canonized. I thought they were so adorable and have love having them on my key chain since. I looked them up and was even more excited to find that they are only $5! With shipping it comes to about $7. I think this is such a good gift idea, they are so cute and inspiring! They have a ton to choose from so there’s really something for everyone.


I think photographs are so important. While having pictures on your phone or computer can be helpful, to me sitting down and looking through photos is one of the simple joys in life that I think can also be really fruitful. That’s why I decided to print a bunch of pictures and put them in a scrapbook. I bought a photo album but instead of slipping them in the plastic sleeves, took the sleeves out and glued the photos directly to the paper underneath so I could write quotes around the edges. On the sides I wrote the date and little comments about the photo (like what we were doing, the context, fun memories) and then around the margins I wrote quotes that pertained to what was going on and that were also inspirational. It has been such a fun project and there’s something really beautiful about flipping back through the moments while reading quotes about why they matter.


When I think of endurance, I think of someone who has run a marathon (or even more than 2.5 miles) or a Gatorade commercial. But I think endurance is also really important outside the context of sports. When you work out, your muscle fibers break down because of the stress, but instead of collapsing completely and leaving you incapacitated, they build back up stronger than they were before. In life we often encounter strenuous challenges; these can feel like they’re breaking us and leave us weary and disheartened. But just like those squats or an uphill run, that strain actually makes us new…it makes us stronger. Strength isn’t an absence of weakness, it’s the result of enduring suffering or strain. I think this is really important to keep in mind as we face the various difficulties -some worse than others- the tough times are preparing us to be more…and they don’t last forever.


More and more I’ve been realizing the importance of surrounding yourself with inspiration. The music we hear, the words we speak, the movies we watch…they all have an influence over us, whether we’re aware of it or not. That’s why I’m becoming such a big advocate of keeping a stash of good quotes around that you can refer to frequently. I have a notebook, in addition to the ones I put in the scrapbook and the snapshots I have of quotes I come across on Instagram. Reading them often gives me a little dose of truth and beauty that reminds me what life is really about and why the things that stress me out aren’t worth it.

Hope your week is full of inspiration!