Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Five Favorites: App Edition

I am cleaning out my draft folder so get ready for a few random posts.  

Confession:  Hi my name is Natalie, I am a 23 year old college student and I freak out a little if I don't have my phone with me for any length of time.

Typical. So my five favorites this week are my Five Favorite I-Phone Apps.


Call me a hipster but one of my favorite apps is Instagram, affectionately refereed to as "the 'gram".  I can't get enough of it. 

The Nike + app. I really like knowing how many miles I have run and how fast.  Now if only I could run more miles faster.  

Bloglovin'.  I hate that I can't seem to leave comments through my iphone but I like that I can read blogs anywhere anytime in such an easy to read format.  


TMI ALERT.  Another favorite is the MyFertilityMD app.  I actually paid nearly $10 for this app but it was so worth it.  It is a very professional app that allows you to chart your cycles using the Creighton Model.  It has great resources including Ask the Doctor options and informational videos and FAQs.

What kind of young adult would I be if I didn't mention Snapchat?  Why is it so great to send pictures to all your friends that can only be viewed for 10 seconds?  Who knows all I know is it makes the top 5 list. 

Honorable Mentions:
Lippincott's Review for NCLEX

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

NAS: Settling

I am sitting at home during my All Saint's Break (we take passionately Catholic seriously :) ) in my parent's Ikea Poang chair and am really excited to spend some time blogging and catching up on reading the last few weeks of the Not Alone Series so if you get comments on old posts you know why.

Ugh settling.  I don't think that word should be included in any conversation also concerning the words "holiness", "heaven", or "deeper conversion".  If we want heaven, if we want holiness, we can never settle. (See Blessed Pier Giorgio) Instead we must always be striving for deeper conversion, for more growth in our relationship with Jesus.  If our vocation and our husband are part of our path to heaven than settling here too is not an option.

I recently went on a vocations retreat with the TOR Sisters (check them out on Facebook) and at the end of the retreat I was talking with one of the sisters (who I had known from my time in Austria) all about how the retreat defiantly brought me so much peace and certainty that I am called to the vocation of marriage.  As the conversation continued, sister just said "but Natalie how are you going to make sure you get a "good" guy."  I smiled.  I have a heart that is ready to lay down my life for my marriage and family and I want to love, honor, and serve my husband.  It is scary to think of laying down my life for someone else and it not being reciprocal (talk about how Jesus feels but I digress). But all I can do is pray and trust.   The Lord will not let me settle.  He will put into my path a guy who will lay down his life for me, who will live in imitation of Jesus, who will treat me as a prized jewel, and who will live marriage on the path to heaven with me (will he fall short?-of course!).  I am not going to settle for anything less because I know the Lord wants heaven for me.  I need to trust that the Lord is bigger than any game of chance.  Each day I ask Our Lady to intercede for me and bring me a man who will walk with me to heaven.  

I challenge you. You too pray to Our Lady asking her to rid your mind of thoughts of settling, to show you your worth, and to lead you to the man who will lay down his life for you, because you are worth nothing less.   
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

NAS: Patience

Heroic Patience. Defiantly not one of Our Lady's easy virtues.  "Be patient" is hard to hear but especially for a woman who so badly wants to be a wife and mother.  I am not going to pretend like I have any answers, that I have it easier than any other woman because I am only 23 or that I have it any harder because I am already 23.  I am going to encourage you-encourage you to remain grounded in the Lord, to trust, and to make sure you know that I am praying for you.  You aren't the first or last person that lacks in patience but I do know you are not the first person that the Lord has forgotten about.  It really isn't surprising that we struggle waiting for our Vocations to start.  If we believe that our Vocations can and should lead us to heaven than of course we want to start walking down that path to heaven, that path that leads to eternal praise of the Lord.  I am confident that it is all worth it in the end.
Ladies, I am here for you to vent to, I encourage you, and I am praying for you.
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Monday, October 21, 2013

WIWS (Vol. 31)

Joining the FLAP ladies because I knew you are just dying to see dorm mirror pictures.  

Dress: Old Navy 
Sweater: Cardigan 
Boots: DSW
Hair: New found love for the .5"-1" Curling Wand 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Color Run-Pittsburgh

Photo dump from the Color Run I ran in Pittsburgh last Saturday.

Over the summer Maggie and I would always snapchat each other pictures pre, during, and post running but this was our first time actually running together!!

Maggie's First 5K!!

Me before the race!!

Three angels waiting to start!!

Our Team

After the race.  Some rain caused a mess of colors. 

Three sisters post race.
"Therefore since we are surrounded so so great a cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us." Hebrews 12:1

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

NAS: Chastity

Chastity as a single person. Physical or Emotional. What are your struggles? How do you overcome them?

I am so glad that Jen brought up the whole abstinence v. chastity thing because they are not in fact the same thing.  We are called to chastity for our whole lives but abstinence won't always be a part of our married life (though sometimes it will be when trying to avoid pregnancy for grave reasons).  Go read her post for more about that.

When I think of chastity I like to think about the physical, emotional and spiritual.

Physical, the most obvious.  I am not going to hash out how and why to be physical chaste because people like Christopher West can discuss it so much more eloquently than I could ever hope to.  I will say though we must think about chastity as not only about not going "all the way" before we are married but also considering hand holding, hugging, cuddling, and kissing as things that involve chastity and chastity within marriage. Ok I am going to stop now before I go in circles over and over again.

Emotional chastity, wowzees.  I think almost every gal can claim to be guilty of this at some point.  Too often we forget that emotional chastity is even an issue and that we must pray with it.  I really took this to heart about two years ago when I realized I was "emotionally dating and marrying"  guys.  What do I mean?  I would be getting to know a guy and I would let my imagination go wild thinking about our relationship and marriage together.  That is not fair to my future husband.  When I come to the altar to marry my man, God willing I will come with a pure body but I also want to come with a pure heart that has not had innumerable emotional relationships.  I decided to start a very purposeful year long emotional dating fast.  I knew that it wouldn't only be a year but that it would create habits that last a lifetime.  During that year I purposefully prayed that I would be emotionally chaste along with the friend who was doing it with me.

Spiritual chastity.  Now that is one no one ever seems to talk about.  Prayer is a very intimate thing-it us communicating with our Creator, Savior, Father, and Pursuer.  Because of the intimate nature of prayer we must be careful of prayer with boyfriends.  If you haven't been dating very long I really don't think you should be saying rosaries and going to Mass together everyday.  Should you be praying together-absolutely.  But lets remember it is a mountain to heaven we are climbing.  When we are married we should be praying together and our entire lives together should be a prayer but we must build up to that not race to it as soon as the relationship is a go.  If you are dating make sure to carve time out to pray by yourself not only with your guy.  

The physical, emotional and spiritual aspects must all be considered in our relationships.  Think of it as three strings leading us closer to marriage and then after marriage closer to heaven.  The strings must all come together at the same time.  We cannot allow the physical aspect of our relationship to jump ahead too far without the emotional and spiritual sides to be right there with it, or any combo of the three.  We must realize that we are whole persons made up of body, mind and soul and all three must grow in our relationships.

Like this but without all that math mumble jumble.  

Hopefully I gave some of my thoughts without dragging them on or confusing anyone.  So all my married ladies out there, what are you thoughts on these Not Alone posts?  Do you agree or strongly disagree with them as a married woman?
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Friday, October 11, 2013

7QT (Vol.20)


There is nothing like communicable diseases to get your Monday started.

I extened the make-up link up for another week so that people have more time to participate.  Hop on over and link-up about the make up you wear on a daily basis.

On Wednesday I wrote a post about The Harmonium Project and Audrey Assad playing here in Steubenville.  Ahh I cannot say enough good stuff about it!!

Don't you hate when you write 7 Quick Takes in advance and do not remember what you were going to write here.

On Monday a friend and I threw a surprise going away party for another friend who had to withdraw from school for medical reasons.  The theme- fall mixed with hipster.  Read as pumpkin flavored everything, leaves strewn about, hot apple cider, PBR and all of us girls dressing like hipsters.  She was completely humbled that so many people wanted to be there for her.  Now I want to do a fall party every year but hopefully not combined with a going away party ever again.  

Thursday was the Inauguration of the new president of the Univeristy, Fr. Sean Sheridan.  Going to the ceremony was exciting when you think that this is only the 6 president in the Univeristy's history and only the third, including Fr. Mike Scanlen, since the school became passionately Catholic.  And being president of this school is special.  It isn't just any school.  It is a Univeristy on the world radar (seriously the pope knows exactly who Franciscan Univeristy is just ask the bishop of Steubenville about meeting the Pope when he became the bishop of Steubenville) for trailblazing what it means to be a passionately Catholic Univeristy in the 21st century.  This Univeristy doesn't just turn out educated men and women, individuals leave here on the path to sainthood.  Fr. Sean reminded us of the importance this university places on adherence to the teaching of the Magesterium with a variety of departments and boards, importantly the department of Theology,  all taking oaths that they will never teach anything contradictory to the teachings of the Church.  After Fr. Sean officially became the president with the seal being placed around his neck and the crowd applauding he turned and lifted his hands to the San Damiano cross.  Yes, Lord thank you for constantly blessing this University.

I am running The Color Run here in Pittsburgh tomorrow.  I have been planning on doing this since July so I am just a bit excited. It has been a little stressful these last few days due to people adding and dropping from our team but it will all be good on Saturday when we are actually there and just enjoying the fun of it all.  I will be sure to post pictures here and to the 'gram (so if you aren't already instagram friends with me you should be!).  Now I have to go make the T-shirts for our race-Hebrews 12:1.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Harmonium Project and Audrey Assad

I am a little late in posting this but I can't let it pass by without writing about it.

So first a little background on Steubenville.  Steubenville used to be a booming town.  And then steel mills and other industries were shut down and the city has since slipped from vibrant and wealthy to a depressed area.  There is alot of poverty-spiritually and materially. The school is on top of a hill (literally) and is often criticized for not truly reaching out to those in so much need in the city.  There are ministries but are there enough? (Another discussion for another day.)

From the Harmonium Project facebook page.
Enter The Harmonium Project. From their facebook page:
"The Harmonium Project is an up-and-coming music center located in the heart of downtown Steubenville. 

Our Mission: 
To restore and revitalize the now impoverished area of downtown Steubenville.

How? : 
By integrating the student body of Franciscan University with downtown Steubenville in the following ways:

1. By hosting weekly concerts, we aim to bring hundreds of students into the downtown area to have fun, hear great music, buy food (and otherwise spend money to stimulate local economy), and build relationships with their brothers and sisters in downtown Steubenville. In short, we aim to inspire the student body to treat the city of Steubenville as their home.

How will this help? By introducing this new “market” of students into the downtown area, we will inspire local business leaders to “open up shop,” to serve and profit from that same student body. This increased business activity will lead to the restoration and opening of closed buildings, increased job opportunities for local workers, and a thriving downtown culture.

2. By establishing an after-school music program to provide a safe, creative environment for children oppressed by poverty and the surrounding evils of crime, drug use, and violence.

How will this help? The Harmonium Project aims to elevate the culture of downtown Steubenville by giving her children free music lessons, instrument rentals, practice spaces, “jam sessions,” and performance times. This music program will be achieved by the volunteer efforts of Franciscan University students, who will provide children in need with affirming, virtuous relationships. The program will give children a means of creative expression and a place off the streets." 
It was started by 6 students, one of which is my household sister and two my household brothers.  Another man on the job is Marc Barnes, aka author of The Bad Catholic.  Audrey Assad reads his blog and found about this new ministry and wanted to help.

Excitement brewed in the air as the day of the concert came closer.  She performed music from her Fortunate Fall album at an outdoor venue, Fort Steuben, in the heart of downtown Steubenville. To say I was blown away is an understatement.  I liked Audrey Assad but she wasn't a favorite and I hadn't bought this new album yet.  That all changed after this concert.

First off, the fact that she did the concert because she wanted to help out this project and Steubenville is incredible.  Secondly, the album, the lyrics, the sound-blown away.  Like really you have to go check it out and really listen to the lyrics.  The title song, Fortunate Fall, the lyrics are from one of the prayers found in the Easter Vigil Mass. I Shall Not Want-based on the humility prayer.  Yeah good stuff.  The album is very Catholic and not afraid to be. She is an incredibly holy person and that was evident based on the feeling of the whole concert being a prayer.  She ended the concert with Matt Maher's Lord I Need You, with the students praising the Lord and her slipping away before she could receive any applause.  On top of all that the venue was stunning.  There she was playing this amazing album with the Steubenville lit up bridge in the background.

Photo by Matthew Seal from the Harmonium Project facebook

If you haven't bought her album yet-do it, you won't be disappointed.  And don't just take my word for, Marc is also quick to praise it in words more eloquent than mine. Still not convinced, check out Christina Mead's article on Life Teen (I am in nursing school with her sister!).  

I am going to go and continue to listen to one of my now favorite artist's stunning words of prayer.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

NAS: Fave Recipe....for One

This topic is surprisingly a challenge for me.  Every time I think about it my mind goes blank.  You see last year I lived in a house with a kitchen and this year I moved back into the dorms with no kitchen and a full meal plan.  I think I have kind-of been blocking my love of cooking out of my mind.  As in it is kind-of hard for me to remember some of my favorite things to eat last year.  On top of that, I am not really a recipe follow kind-of gal, more like a let the recipe inspire me kind-of gal.  So my go to "mine" recipe doesn't really fall into the "for one" category but it does make great leftovers so that counts for something right.  I wouldn't even know how long it would last as leftovers because normally when I made this last year it was because enough people had begged me to.  Ok so now you just want to know the darn recipe.  My favorite recipe is.......Crock Pot Chicken Chili.  Yum, yum, yum.  You have got to try it.  Especially once the days start to get cooler it will be oh so yummy in your belly.  Please let me know if you try it and I can't wait to see all your recipes but please don't tease this dorm living girl too much.

And don't forget about the Make-Up Link Up hosted here @ "Here I Am"!

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Make-Up Link Up

Now that I have my two quizess, 5 clinicals in 10 days, careplan, and seminar behind me I am so excited to participate in this link up.

Now that the calendar says it is supposed to be fall, even if the weather doesn't reflect it, I am excited for the Make-Up link up.

During the school year I more often do than not wear makeup.  I start with a foundation.  I hope to get a primer soon too but for now just a foundation.

I really like the Arbonne foundation.  If I am going to have something sitting on my face all day I want it to be something good that isn't filled with harmful ingredients.  I still however have some Clinique so I am finishing that off.

Next off is my bronzer.  I don't wear this all year only in winter when I don't have a natural tan left over from summer.  I have tried alot of bronzers and this is the only one I like that isn't too much but does give you some color.  It is also Arbonne.

Next up, mascara.  I heat up my eyelash curler with a blow dryer, curl my lashes, and put on my mascara.  This mascara is!  I have for a long time been looking for a mascara that is more natural, because it is going right next to my eye, and actually stays on.  I tried this Arbonne "Its a Long Story" mascara and it fits the bill and so much more.  So often I find myself catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thinking "wow my eyelashes are really long."  I won't spend more money on something that isn't worth more money oh but this stuff is worth it.  Have you noticed that I really like Arbonne products?

Next up, eyeshadows. So this past spring I bought my first every eyeshadow primer and I was forever converted.  Eyeshadows never used to stay on more than a few hours until I started using the primer.  Now I have to purposefully take off my eyeshadow at night.  I have never tried anything else but I like this Urban Decay primer that I picked up at Sephora with a gift card. The first eyeshadow that I regularly use and have on at the moment is this gold Sonia Kasuk eyeshadow quad (from Target).  Depending on my mood and the day I use the colors for base, highlighting or whatever the proper eyeshadow terminology is. In addition, I have been a long user of the Almay eyeshadows that you buy according to your eye color (hazel!). The one on the left is for night and the right for day but to be honest I nearly never use the night grey eyeshadow.  However I do use the one on the right nearly everyday for a basic subtle look. 

I also have some random eyeshadows in search of ones I actually like.  None of these are anything good and I rarely use. 

So what make-up do you wear on a daily basis?  Be sure to link up here so that we can see!

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013


There are so many things I want to write about.  I want to tell you about the Audrey Assad concert and the Harmonium Project. I want to write about working a health fair at a steel mill today in Weirton, WV and thus getting a glimpse into quintessential America.  I want to give a huge shot out to my Guardian Angel (Happy Feast Day!!) and belated Happy St. Therese Feast Day.  I want to share about things that are weighing heavy on my heart (though these will never be shared on this out in the open blog.) And this beautiful weather-who doesn't want to write about this? But instead I will keep chugging away at this care plan and studying about AIDS.  In the mean time can you please participate and promote the Make-Up Link Up?

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

NAS: Career as a Vocation

How do we know what God's call is for us if we are focused on our careers? Is it appropriate to focus on that career and then get married/enter religious life later? Or maybe the call/vocation IS the career and you could be single?

Oh this topic, this is something that I can write about. If you have ever read more than a handful of posts on this here bloggity than you know that I am studying to be a nurse.  In fact I am in my last of five years.  It hasn't been easy to get to this point.  To make a very long and grace filled story short I didn't get into the nursing the program on the first try and I failed a class which they miraculously decided to let me repeat over the summer.  Me being a nursing major didn't happen by accident and the Lord's hand has defiantly been in it throughout.  And nursing, nursing is special.  People come to you when they are in a very vulnerable state- they are hurt, they are sick, they are bringing a life into the world, they are trying to be as healthy as they can be.  As a [future] nurse I get to, in a very real way, be Jesus' hands to them- caring for them, cleaning them up, comforting them.  However, beautifully, they also represent Christ to me.  I get to wash the feet of Christ and I get to hold His face and tell him it is going to be ok every time I go to work.  

Nursing Dedication Ceremony

So how does this play into my vocation?  I know I am meant to be a nurse for a reason, that reason, not positive.  Because of all this I have felt for a while that God might have some "professional goals" in mind for me before I settle down with a hubby wubby (do not tell any guy I may end up dating that he may end up getting called that in our wedded life).  Maybe missionary work.  Possibly become a midwife.  Like I said last week, hopefully a Creighton Model Practitioner  Or something else awesome that He hasn't even led me to yet.   And maybe I will be on the path to marriage very soon and then nursing might go to the back burner.   I don't know anything for sure but I do know I am open to whatever He wants.

So do I think I can listen to God's call about my vocation and career at the same time?  Absolutely.  I think both are important.  In fact something that has given me much consolation in the thought of not having to be a full time stay at home mommy (though nothing is wrong with that) is St. Gianna.  Not only was she a loving mother and wife but she was ALSO a physician.  That means she probably worked long hard hours caring for her patients while her children were with nannies and then going home and also being a wife and mother.  She did this and became a saint.  We can have the career and vocation if that is the path of sanctity the Lord has called us to.

Me with St. Gianna's banner in Lourdes, France.

Is it appropriate to focus on a career and then get married later or maybe even spend our whole life focused on a career and remain single?  News flash- our life should be in the hands of the Father's will.  If He is calling us to the above thing then by golly we should do it.  I think the Lord has, does and will call people to spend their life in a career that becomes their vocation and we must always follow the Lord's will in everything we do. 

I look forward to hearing all of you ladies' response to this topic. 


If you haven't heard yet I am holding a link-up on this here bloggity- Make-Up Link-Up.  Can't wait to see what make-up you wear on a daily basis.  It will be open until October 14th. 

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