Saturday, December 6, 2014

7 Quick, Quick Takes

I don't even know the last time I participated in seven quick takes!  I have still been there as a reader on occasion, but I've been very much out of the blog circuit lately.  C'est la vie....
Here's What I've Been Up To Instead ---
(1) Working
I work. A lot.  So do all of you.  It's not all too interesting.
(2) Dating
I have a boyfriend.  I like him.  Sometimes we go on dates.  Sometimes we both work 60+ hour weeks and there are no dates. Sometimes we fight.  I love him.
(3) Budgeting
I am working on a Total Money Makeover ala Dave Ramsey.  It is part of the reason I'm back to blogging - it's a cheap hobby, and has the potential for side income.

(4) Shopping
I like to shop.  Yes I know I am on a budget.  Hence why I am all about thrift stores and thredUP!  Is anyone else digging thredUP's cute "GiftUP" section as much as me?
(P.S.  If you're not already a thredUP user here is a link, to get $10 off your first purchase!)

(5) SellingPart of my job involves sales.  I thought I would dislike that part.  It is actually my favorite part! And I am pretty good at it.  Like more than 150% to my goal good at it.

(6) Moving
I moved.  This is my first "on my own" big girl apartment. It was a bit overdue. 

(7) Forgetting
Moving has been humorous when I do things like go to cook and forget that I have no silverware.  On the plus side, I can scramble an egg with a spoon.  (Literally I had a spoon. One spoon.)
(7b) Decorating
That first "big girl" apartment means I get to decorate.  It is fun!  Me and my $5 thrift store budget managed to get several decorations :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Catching Up and My TMMO

Once again I am here "catching up," I guess the question is how many times can I start a post with "so long, no blog" or something similar.  Anyways, hopefully I am back here for more frequent blogging but given my track record I make no promises!
My life has been heading all sorts of directions lately, and unfortunately many of those directions have led me away from God.  Yes I still believe life is a journey.  Yes the goals I have set for my Journey are still important.  But I was ignoring them for awhile, and even now my approach to them is a bit different.  I am back to praying regularly, but I can't say the same for regular Church attendance.  I cannot say I have been doing much to model Christ-like living for others so I suppose both goals 1 and 2 need some major work.  Goal 3, being able to see Christ in others and treat them accordingly, is almost second-nature to me though I suppose lately I have been treating people well more from a humanistic approach than a truly Christ-centered one.  Goals 4 and 5 are both much less religious in nature, and I suppose I can say I have been doing very well at 4, making a positive difference in the lives of others, and not quite as well on 5, which is to work everyday at being the best version of myself.  I definitely want to be the best me possible, but lately there has been a lot of room for more work!  So friends, whether I continue with more frequent blogging or not, I would love to be in your prayers!
As you may have seen in the pages I am now working on a Total Money Makeover to help me with the big goal of becoming debt free!  This is a major focus of my journey right now, one I am very excited about and plan to blog more about!  The other big change in my journey is that I am preparing to move into my own apartment.  After living back home with my folks for almost five years after college/graduate school I am excited to leave the nest again.  That means you can also expect some fun posts about setting up house and all things domestic.  While I did live in the dorms and an apartment in college, and in a rental house with roommates during my graduate program this is my first time really being "out on my own" and I am both excited and nervous about the prospect!  Pretty grateful to all the family members offering me extra dishes, lamps, tag sale items etc. to help me move on a budget.

 I am curious if any other bloggers/readers are working on or have completed a TMMO of their own?  Did you make any big changes like a move or have a big change in expenses during your Makeover? Do you have any tips to share! 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Apolgies from the Letters E, F, G, and H

My apologies from the letters E, F, G and H.  They are sad that they have missed the fun here in the blogging world.  Originally my E post was to be about "Everything,"  a quick little update of what's going on in life.  But then life itself caught up in the form of working first shift at my day job, followed by an awake overnight shift, followed by working an Easter Bunny event at a Children's Museum the next day, and then babysitting that evening.  So while that E post was more or less written in my head, sleep won.
And so you are going to get one lovely combined post from my friends E, F and G. 
Everything Fails, Great....
Whether you want to say my life is a joke, everything in my life is a series of failures right now, or omigod if something else happens I might cry - they all summarize the past few days for me, and should be followed by a nice sarcastic "Great."
It started when I went to the mall to pick up a phone charger since mine had broken.  While in the mall (with an almost dead uncharged phone), I lost my keys. Over the course of the next TWO HOURS I searched the entire mall for them. Went back to eveyr store I visited, searched under and around my car in the parking lot, called mall security.  Yes, two hours, no keys, and now a dead phone.  I called AAA for a lockout hoping my keys would be in the car, still no keys.  My dad came to pick me up and I ended up calling AAA again, to have the car towed.  Did you know its very difficult to tow a car without the keys?  It keys, no neutral.  AKA they had to drag my car. 
We can add to this some also humorous moments such as me putting money in the wrong straps at work, dropping coin all over another tellers feet and breaking a wrap of nickels in the process, falling over a chair, almost being late to work, and then the internet in my house not working for two days...
So no, don't write me out of the AtoZ challenge quite yet.  Just accept my apologies from the letters E, F, G and H (my lovely friend H will have her own post later today) and remember that sometimes you just need to laugh and say...
Everything Fails, Great.....

Friday, April 4, 2014


Today is the fourth day, letter D, of the Blogging A to Z challenge.  I am stepping away from my undeclared theme of life and faith to talk about another great thing that starts with D - Donuts.
I like Donuts.  I like Dunkin Donuts iced coffee (hello, New Englander here).
I do not like the kind of donuts that you put on your car when you have a flat.  I enjoyed about four days of driving on a donut this week.  My donut happens to be bright red.  It made for some comical situations.
Now i am going to step back into the faith realm, to tell you that my mechanic thinks I should just get my car blessed!  Seriously, that is what he told me because I get seriously ridiculous amounts of flat tires.  I have probably purchased at least 4-6 tires from him within the past two years.  So sometime soon I am breaking out the holy water, invoking St. Christopher, and getting that car blessed! 

Creed for the Churched and UnChurched

As a Catholic I have probably recited the Creeds (Nicene and Apostle) dozens of times.  I know as a Theology teacher that the creeds have been around since at least the Council of Nicea back some 1800 years ago.


Yes as a Catholic these creeds summarize my faith. They unify the beliefs of my Church, and yet as someone who lately is mostly un-churched I know they are only part of my belief.  I know that as a Christian Catholic my relationship with God is of utmost importance, and the creed summarizes some of what that relationship looks like.  I also know that my beliefs are effected by my life experience, my time in Church and out of it.  So here is my Creed:


I believe in God, Creator.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only son, fully human and fully divine, our Savior, Messiah, Teacher and Friend.
I believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary.
I believe that Mary’s Fiat (Lk. 1:38) is the model of perfect Christianity, and that Mary holds a special place in heaven and in Christianity.
I believe that Jesus humbled himself into human form, and shared in our humanity – the joy, struggle and pain of life.
I believe that Jesus was crucified, died, visited hell, and was resurrected into Heaven.
I believe that Jesus lives and reigns in Heaven along with God the Creator.
I believe that Jesus came to save all people, and that those who did not know him are not automatically damned.
I believe in a real heaven and a real hell, and that Jesus as judge will determine where we get to spend our time.
I believe in the Holy Spirit.
I believe in The Church.
I believe in the forgiveness of sins.
I believe that the Saints eternally present in heaven continue to pray for us, and that we can ask for their intercession.
I believe that the Sacraments of the Church improve our lives and bring us closer to Christ.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Best Version of Myself

If you have been a reader of JourneyLiving (or just checked out my JourneyLiving about me/goals section), you know that I believe life is a journey, and that I have several goals for my lifelong journey (as well as short term goals I hope to achieve along the path).
One of those goals is to "work every day to be the best version of myself."
I've been thinking about this particular goal a lot lately.  Specifically I have found myself asking "what is the best version of myself?"  I know that the best version of myself is someone who is happy, someone who is in harmony with God, and someone who is doing meaningful work.  And yet i'm still not quite sure what (or who) this best version of myself looks like. 
Right now, I know what the best version of myself doesn't look like:
The best version of myself is not the person, who eats fast food nearly everyday because she's too lazy to pack a lunch.
The best version of myself doesn't hit the snooze button every morning, and then cut it waytoofreakingclose on her commute time to work.
The best version of myself is not quick to anger and frustration.
The best version of myself is not the person who hasn't attended mass regularly in months.
The best version of myself is not the person who lets her anger and frustration affect the way she treats other people.
I'm not sure what the best version of myself looks like, but I know that right now its not me.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Alphabet About Me

Alphabet About Me

Since I know that the A-to-Z blogging challenge will be bringing a lot of new people over to my neck of the woods, I wanted to introduce myself quickly.  Yes, I already have an about me page – but I thought ya’ll might want a little more information and a little more creativity.

In short I am a twenty-something New Englander who loves to read and write.  I love people, but sometimes they frustrate me more easily than they should.  I am a usually practicing, but lately lapsed, Catholic.  I write about life, faith and all that comes with it here at JourneyLiving, and I also manage L.B.Writes which is all about writing, marketing, and social media for small busineses and non-profits.

 Still want to know more – here is a quick all about me from A to Z:

A – Americorps – I spent two years serving as an Americorps VISTA.

B – Banking – My day job is the banking industry.

C – Catholic – I am Catholic.

D –Dunes Beach – The Dunes’ Beach in Westerly, RI is my favorite place.

E – Exhausted – This is the last letter I am filling in on this list, now I’m exhausted.

F – Forty – this is my fortieth blog post at JourneyLiving.

G – Grocery shopping – It’s kind of weird, but going grocery shopping is my stress reliever.

H – Hounds – I am a proud Assumption College alumna.  Go Hounds!

I – Icecream – I love ice cream.  It could be another food group in my mind.  My favorite is anything coffee based. Yum!

J – Jokes – I am a terrible joke teller, but I still enjoy when other people tell them (even if they’re super cheesy).

K – Klutz – I am definitely a bit of a klutz.  

L – Little Princess –Frances Hogsdon Burnett’s A Little Princess was my favorite childhood book

M – Mexico – My first international travels.  I have been to Mexico several times, and fell in love with the people and the culture.  A part of my heart got left behind in the mountains of Mexico during a college service trip.

N – New Englander – I am definitely a New Englander through and through, and it is my strongest “cultural identity.”

O – Opinionated – I’m humble enough to admit, I am definitely opinionated. And stubborn.

P –Pro-Life – I am pro-life --- anti-abortion, anti-euthanasia, anti-death penalty.

Q – Questions – I am always asking and trying to answer questions.  Mine and other peoples.  I have been told I should start a service called “Look It Up Lauren” because I look for the answers to other peoples questions even before they do!

R – Rushmore I once celebrated Easter with a sunrise service on Mt. Rushmore

S – Social Teaching – I love Catholic Social Teaching. 

T – Travel – I love to travel, but haven’t gotten to do much of it for a few years. My favorite part is experiencing the culture and meeting new people.  I am definitely not a resort vacationer!

U – Umbrellas – I think umbrellas are cute, but I never have one with me ever.

V – Virtues – I pray for the virtues of purity, honesty, obedience, and perseverance regularly.

W – Writing – I love both writing and reading, and wish I had more time for both!

X – Xylophones – Are a great X word that have nothing to do with me. Oops.

Y – Young – I am young, but sometimes I need to remind myself of that!

Z – Za – I like pizza. Almost as much as ice cream.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

7 Quick Takes - Videos, Lenten Quinoa, and Other Favorites

Once again, life has been happening and blogging hasn't. C'est la vie.  I haven't been too busy to blog or any such, just haven't been writing (here or elsewhere).  But spring is a new season, and why not use this as a time to start up again? 
(1) This video.
I love this video.  Seriously. I. LOVE. this video.  I don't even have any strong personal connection to anyoen with Downs Syndrome (besides kids i worked with at camp, or individuals i work with now in my part time job). But I still love this video.  Must be a prolife thing :)
(2) Also This Video
My boyfriends brother is competing on The Voice, and of course he would love more views for his blind audition!  Social media is HUGE on this show, and the bigger following he gets the better.  Please check out his video, and share it with other music fans.

(3) Me.
Yes, one of my links is a shameless cross-sell to my other blog.  Starting April 1st, please visit L.B. Writes every Tuesday for my "Ten For Tuesdays" series where I will be sharing social media and marketing tips.  Learn about my passion for using social media for social good.
Anyone who knows me knows that I like bargain hunting and love thrifting! (I mean c'mon I managed a thrift store for a year!) Recently I have also come to love thredUP!   I had heard about it all throughout the web, but when Caroline over at the Modest Mom Blog posted a $15 first time shoppers credit I knew it was finally time to buy something!  For just a few dollars of shipping and handling I got a scarf, an Old Navy t-shirt, and a pair of red pants that retailed for over $80! And everything but the scarf still had original tags!  Score!
If you haven't shopped on thredUP yet you are missing out! Head over to their site today for great deals on both kid and adult clothes, and a $10 shopping credit on me.
(5) Vegangela Quinoa
So my dad is changing up his diet, and after reading WheatBelly that means limiting the carbs and losing the wheat.  Which of course means, I'm looking for new recipes to cook!  My google browsing brought me to, Vegangela a (you guessed it) vegan website, where I found this delicious and incredibly easy quinoa recipe! I have made it twice and enjoyed it both times.  Since we're not vegan, I put a dollop of sour cream and some cheese on top of the servings making it extra delicious.  Also worth noting - if you're like me and have a limited spice cabinet (read: garlic, Adobo, and some Mrs. Dash) improvising won't hurt this recipe! In fact the second time I made it I just used southwest seasoned diced tomatoes, added garlic powder and called it even. Still delicious.

(6) The Full Time Girl
I discovered this blog within the last couple of months, and I just love it.  We do have some differences theologically, but this girl is full of faith and just packs so much Truth into her posts! 
So far I think this great post on modesty, "5 Things Modesty Never Taught Me" is my favorite.  Like I said - so.much.Truth.
(7) St. Patrick's Day
Yes, I know it was on Monday but I'm from Western MA. We are all about parade weekend here, and for us that means this weekend!  I'm not Irish.  I'm not a big drinker.  And yet I look forward to this every year.  7,000 runners.  500,000 parade spectators.  Bands. Colleen floats.  Shamrocks in the street.  I love it.