About Me

The first blog post is the hardest, right? I’ve been putting off starting this blog because I honestly just didn’t know where to start. I felt like I needed to have a theme and a direction and a plan. I like to try to be one of those one-step-ahead, everything-is-all-planned-out, perfectionist kind of people, but it’s not my strong suit. I’ve decided to let this blog lead the way – I will start typing and see where it takes me. For now, I’m just going to start with a simple introduction.

My name is Julia, I recently graduated from Fontbonne University with a BS in Speech-Language Pathology, and I spent probably 85% of my college career wondering if I chose the right degree. I married my best friend in January of this year. He also recently graduated with a degree in music. He has been in the band Crystal Lady for almost 4 years. From high school to college, a lot of our friends have been musicians, which is a pretty fun crowd to be a part of!

As for this blog, I hope it will be a nice creative outlet for me. Before graduating high school, I had planned to attend Truman State University as a Creative Writing major. Instead of following my heart, I went with a practical major, one with job security (something you can’t be too thankful for these days). Now as a graduate with two part-time jobs and still no clue what I really want to do with my life, I’ve finally decided to dive back into writing. I don’t know where this blog will take me, but I hope to at least just have some fun with it.

I hope you’ll stay posted for more! I plan to blog about my photography and about events and concerts I attend around town with my husband. I’m excited to see where this journey will take me!

Holiday Guide for Supporting Foster and Adoptive Families

The holidays are quickly approaching and there are many gift guides going up from your favorite IG bloggers and podcasters, but if you are shopping for a foster or adoptive family, they may not fit into the usual gift guides. I hope to help everyone find ways to support the foster and adoptive families in their lives this holiday season.

Foster families and adoptive families don’t always need what most other families might want during the holiday season. Especially if the children in their lives have just arrived (or will soon!). Shopping for basic necessities might not always be “as fun” as shopping for toys and games, but these families will greatly appreciate receiving the items necessary for raising kids. One of the best things you can do to support the foster and adoptive families in your life this holiday season is to, of course, reach out; volunteer your time, love, and support. Volunteer to babysit on date night, help out with chores, or bring a meal. A gift of time is just as valuable as a material one (sometimes more!). In this guide I will include some links to basics available on Amazon, as well as to businesses whose mission is to support adoptive and foster families. I hope this guide will help as you seek ways to support these families this holiday season!

Some necessities foster families will benefit from:

  • Backpacks for school-age kids
  • School supplies
  • Craft supplies
  • Suitcases (if the kids don’t have them) with personalized tags
  • Age appropriate books
  • Baby necessities like diapers, wipes, bottles, and formula
  • New clothes for the kids
  • Bedding for kids’ beds
  • Don’t hesitate to ask if they have a wish list!

Some necessities for families adopting a newborn:

Families adopting sibling groups or fostering newborns will likely overlap with each of these lists provided above. The lists below include shops whose mission is to support families fostering and adopting.

  • Fawn & Foster sells baby essentials such as onesies, blankets, and nursing covers made from certified organic materials and donates 50% of their profits to help foster children
  • Goods & Better has just about everything you can think of, plus an awesome mission to get behind. They sell shirts, stickers, pillows, cups, totes, and more. They partner with Foster the Family to provide FosterCare Packages for foster children.
  • With Just Love Coffee you can support adoptive families, even if you don’t know one, and who doesn’t love coffee? This is the perfect gift this holiday season for anyone on your list. Just Love also has a fundraising program through which adoptive families can sell Just Love’s many varieties of Fair Trade Certified coffees for a portion of the proceeds.

If there is a family in your life on a journey to foster or adopt, what they need more than anything is support! Foster and adoptive families have to put a lot of time, energy, and money into being applying, filling out paperwork, taking courses, being approved, and being matched. Sometimes just the gift of a listening ear, a helping hand, and a good friend is just what they need.

Families on their way to adoption often need financial support. Many will have fundraisers, such as GoFundMe or auctions. You can support your time to help them organize a fundraiser, donate an item for auction or food for their event, or donate financially.

I hope you found this guide to be helpful as you shop this holiday season! And even if you are not shopping for a foster or adoptive family, perhaps you will consider supporting them through one of the shops linked above.

You can support our journey to adoption through our GoFundMe, Babylist registry, or Amazon wish list!

2020, 26, COVID-19

2020, 26, COVID-19


“Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.’” – Luke 1:38


There is an old saying that goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

I think now more than ever we all know how it feels to see our plans go out the window – and maybe even our second or third draft of those plans followed right behind. Many of us are probably on plan E or F now.

Yet while plans are being cancelled, people are being quarantined, and life as we know it has flipped on its head, the world just keeps on spinning.

Yesterday was the Feast of the Annunciation, the day Catholics celebrate Mary’s glorious Fiat. The “yes” that brought our Savior Jesus Christ into the world. Mary was young and unmarried, betrothed to an older man she did not choose for herself. Meeting an angel and getting pregnant were definitely not on her to-do list. But she said yes. Unselfishly and trusting fully in God and His plan for her, she said yes. She knew what was at stake, and she was probably scared, but she said yes.

I don’t think it was any coincidence that I was born on the Feast of the Annunciation, which was also definitely not the plan. I was born by emergency c-section 6 weeks before my due date.

For a little less than a year now, I’ve made Fiat my motto, my word to live by, and if I am being honest… it. is. so. hard. I’ve got faith, sure. Pixie dust, of course! But trust? Trust is hard. Especially, sometimes, trust in God and His plan.

My plan for years, before I even got married, was to have my first baby by time I was 25. Yesterday, I turned 26, in isolation (#socialdistancing). Last year, shortly after I turned 25, my husband and I decided to start actively trying for a baby. As Catholics, we practice Natural Family Planning and have always been open to children. Since I have been tracking my cycles for several years, I honestly thought this would be pretty easy. Well, it has not been. Again, my plans have been foiled.

Even before this long journey of trying to conceive, I have struggled to trust God’s plans for me. Life hasn’t always moved at the pace or in the direction I would like it to go. But this journey has really tested my faith and trust more than anything. And now it is being tested even more during this time of the coronavirus, a pandemic unlike anything any of us have ever experienced in our lifetimes.

I think this pandemic can teach us to really appreciate what true Fiat is and how to live it out in our lives. Now more than ever we need to put our faith and trust in God. Something that many Catholics online have been saying, and that I’d like to echo here, is that this is the time to become a saint. We need to trust God and let this time of suffering and isolation work in our lives for good and make us saints. This is the time to work on ourselves, our prayers lives, our faith, and help each other out. The only way we can get through this is by sacrificing our plans to save others.

I have faith that the world will come out on the other side of this a better place, with more love and appreciation for our neighbors, a little more selflessness, and maybe a few more saints.

I hope you can use this pandemic to practice Fiat in your own life. And know, I am praying for you.


“And if not, He is still good.” – Daniel 3:18

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” – Proverbs 3:5

Mindful and Intentional

Kon-Mari is all the craze (thanks, Netflix). Minimalism is everywhere (thanks, Pinterest and Instagram). Thrifting is chic (as it should be!) and living slowly, mindfully, and purposefully is on trend (again, as it should be).

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you may already know that I began this process myself by deleting about half the people I was “friends” with on Facebook and then deleting my Facebook app all together. I also made a new Twitter account and now follow mostly #CatholicTwitter accounts. I’ve been unfollowing a lot of accounts on Instagram and following those that bring joy and meaning to my life, and I try to be mindful about what I post on any of my own social media accounts.

There’s many reasons and benefits for all of this. I’m trying to live more minimally. Yes, I was one of those people that binge-watched Marie Kondo’s Netflix show. I began applying it to many areas of my life. Sparking joy should apply to ALL areas of our lives. We can declutter our homes, our minds, and our hearts. It’s literally good for us, healthy and healing.

There are several accounts I now follow on Instagram that have an emphasis on more mindful and intentional living. I will share them on my Instagram story for anyone that is interested!

They’ve also introduced me to a concept called slow fashion. I had honestly never heard of it, but it’s pretty self-explanatory. Fast fashion follows the practically weekly changes in fashion trends and supplies tons of options at low prices so consumers can, and will, buy more more more. WalMart and Target are big contenders here. The thing about fast fashion is that it’s not always ethical. What do I mean by that?

Well, I’m sure we’ve all seen at least one documentary about the working conditions of those who make garments for WalMart. When you really think about those prices, it makes sense. Those pair of shorts are just $12? But, how much does it actually cost to make them? I mean, just stroll over to the fabric department to see how much different fabrics cost. Plus thread. Plus buttons. Plus zippers. Plus time and energy put into cutting and sewing those shorts. Now how much do they cost?

Listen, I’m as much a bargain shopper as anyone else. I have a limited budget I can spend on clothes. My personal closet has several WalMart and Target items. This is a new concept to me. I also don’t want to seem like I’m talking down those that shop at these stores; they are legitimate options for those that have to shop on a tight budget. I’m slowly beginning to shift my perspective on how I shop and am not here to judge or tell anyone else how they should shop.

As a Christian, I see my calling to shop responsibly. Christians are called to care for their brothers and sisters in Christ. Since following accounts that have taught me more about slow fashion and shopping more ethically, I am now shifting gears in how I approach shopping.

As I am minimizing my wardrobe, I also see value in spending more on a higher quality item that will last a long time over stocking up on cheaper items that will need to be replaced more often. For example, I have two pairs of jeggings from WalMart that I love and wear often, but my first pair (less than 6 months old) is already beginning to fray in areas. Whereas my more expensive Victoria’s Secret leggings I’ve had for years are in great condition.

Shopping ethically on a budget can be difficult, but it’s not impossible, and it’s certainly worth it. I’m new to this, so I recommend this blog post from Just a Handmaiden. On her instagram, she has highlights for her OOTD and on her blog, she talks about modestly, slow fashion, and shopping ethically. (Like I said before, I will also share some other accounts in my Instagram stories).

A big step in my journey of living intentional is coming up in June. I will be participating in 30 Days to a Hobbit at Heart by Tea with Tolkien.

Here’s what that entails:

This summer will be a summer of self-improvement and growth. This first day is being celebrated with a blog post! (Yes, I may be in bed while writing it, but hey! It’s summer break AND it’s not even 9 AM yet!)

I plan to write more about this topic as I go on this journey. I will definitely write more about ethically shopping as I learn more about it. I also hope to write about my Hobbit journey at the end of June!

Please comment below to share your experiences. If you have recommendations for ethically sourced clothing stores, share those as well! Thanks!

Low Oxalate Roast

My husband has been prone to kidney stones for almost 10 years. After his last hospital trip, about a year ago, his doctor recommended he start a low oxalate diet. Most people probably haven’t even heard of oxalate, but it’s a compound found in most to all plant-based foods, in varying levels. Once in the body, it likes to bond to calcium and form crystals (aka kidney stones), but most people’s bodies prevent this through citric acid, which my husband’s body does not make on it’s own. Hence, the low oxalate diet.

This diet, as it turns out, is very restricting. It has been a bit of a challenge coming up with meals that he can eat and having variety in our diets. Most of the time, it’s ground turkey with taco seasoning.

The other day I tried out a roast and it turned out pretty good, so I thought I would share it here! I wasn’t originally planning on writing up a recipe, so I don’t have exact measurements. This also can obviously be adjusted to fit your personal tastes and dietary needs.

Some things you might find in a typical roast that my husband cannot have include carrots, celery, potatoes, and black pepper. See below for what I used instead and let me know how you like it if you try it!

1 cup organic mushroom broth

1 cup organic low-sodium beef broth

1 cup filtered water

1/3 cup coconut aminos

1 red bell pepper

1 orange bell pepper

1 small sweet yellow onion

1-1.5 cups baby bella mushrooms

1 large chuck roast, seasoned with salt, garlic powder, and Jimmy Bland’s season rub*

Add broths, water, and coconut aminos to slow cooker and turn on low. Slice and add bell peppers and onion. Rinse and add mushrooms, then stir. Set large roast in the middle of the pot, season top with a big pinch of salt, a generous amount of garlic powder, and a generous amount of Jimmy’s spice rub. Carefully flip roast over and season the other side with just Jimmy’s rub.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Take roast out to pull apart with forks, then add back in.

Serve over rice, riced cauliflower, noodles, or potatoes.

*A friend of my dad’s named Jimmy used to make the best spice rub ever. It’s kind of a family secret for having the most delicious and tender meat ever. Substitute with your go-to rub or your favorite blend of spices.

To Mother Mary on Mother’s Day

mother mary

Dear Mary,

Sweet Mother, Queen of Heaven

Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your yes.

Thank you for bringing your Son into this world. Thank you for being my guiding light to his most Sacred Heart.

Thank you for your warm comfort within your mantle. Thank you for your love.

Thank you for being my Mother, my model, my most loving companion.

Love, Julia

Going Green

I know I’m a few days late for Earth Day, but I’ve been wanting to write about ways I’ve “gone green” this year. I thought about making it a New Year’s post, but I think Earth Day is more fitting.

Before I get into it, I want to say this is not sponsored in any way. These are just ways I am making changes in my own home, for the environment and for my wallet.

For Christmas last year, my husband and I decided to buy subscription boxes for each other instead of just one-time Christmas gifts. I’d had my eyes on a particular subscription box for a while and they were having a really great deal we didn’t want to miss out on. In November, my husband signed us up for Mighty Nest’s subscription service, Mighty Fix.

Mighty Nest has hundreds of great products to choose from. Their Mighty Fix sends one product to you each month, either of your choice or a surprise. With the Mighty Fix, you can also add on any items you want without any additional shipping charges. It’s a pretty great deal.

I’ve been receiving Mighty Fix packages for about 6 months now and have loved each and every one of them! I’m going to share what products I’ve received and what I love about them.

My first fix came with a little welcome letter. Each fix comes with a nice detailed little card about that month’s particular fix, what it can replace in your home, and how to use it.My first fix was two Swedish dishcloths.

These dishcloths are much more absorbent than regular cloths and much more Earth-friendly than typically plastic-y dish sponges. They are also compostable! We use ours literally every day and usually just toss them in the dishwasher or washing machine to get them clean. I recently ordered a third one to add to our collection.

My next fix was wool dryer balls.

I had plastic dryer balls before that didn’t last very long. These have held up very well. I just keep them in my dryer, unless I need to wash them, and use them with every load.

In addition to the dryer balls, I chose to add something to my monthly package.

I am sensitive to perfume-y smells and air fresheners, so before our cat I just used essential oil diffusers to keep our home smelling fresh.

My husband and I also have allergies and I use an air filter in our apartment, but wanted something more. Air quality is especially important to me, living with allergies and asthma. The Moso Natural Air Purifying bag naturally cleans the air with natural charcoal. It does not emit any smells, just purifies. I currently have it in our bedroom.

I believe the next fix I got was a set of Lunchskins bags. I don’t have a picture of the ones we first got, but we use them so much, I ordered more. Lunchskins are reusable sandwich and snack size bags. They velcro shut, are dishwasher safe, and replace plastic baggies. We love them.

Another fix we got shortly after was a set of Bees Wraps. I’ve had and used Bees Wraps in the past and like them. They are great for covering glass bowls or wrapping cheese. I will say, I have noticed a bit of a transfer of flavor with these. I used my big Bees Wrap to cover some homemade banana bread, and I guess the banana bread was warm enough to affect the beeswax, because there was definitely a bit of a flavor from it. That being said, it is beeswax, so it’s not harmful and has a slightly honey-flavored taste to it.

After that fix, I received one of my favorite and most used fixes.

I arguably have far too many kitchen utensils. The silicone spatula and spoon I received from Mighty Nest could easily replace half of them (and have! I threw many old and worn out utensils away). These food-grade silicone utensils are safe up to 450 degrees and won’t wear out like plastic. They are also chemically inert, so no chemicals leaching into our food! I use these almost every day and they are dishwasher safe.

Ok, now for my biggest fix.

I recently added a bunch of stuff to my Mighty Fix order. I just opened this package today.

This package includes some fixes I received in the past and liked enough to order more of, such as the Lunchskins. I also order new products to try, like the Avocado Huggers. The fix for this month was the Meliora All-Purpose Cleaner.

So, I’ll be honest. I’m not sure how much I will use this fix. I have an all-purpose cleaner I love.

I make my own bleach-strong, kid-safe all-purpose cleaner with Force of Nature. This stuff uses salt, water, vinegar, and electricity to make powerful, germ-busting cleaner. I use it for everything, from my glass-top stove, to mopping my floors.

Gross, I know, but a little Force of Nature on a microfiber towel on my Swiffer, and my floors are clean! This is way better and cheaper than the perfume-y Swiffer Wet Mop wipes.

I am looking forward to seeing how the two cleaners compare and I will probably post about it on Instagram.

Something I already love about Meliora (besides the cool Latin name) is how few ingredients they use to make their vegetable soap.

I also ordered their laundry soap stick in this month’s box. Both cleaners container 4 simple ingredients: Sodium Cocoate, Glycerin, Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, and Water. I can’t wait to see how they do!

Another new product I ordered was this cute cotton bowl cover:

I brew my own kombucha and have been using coffee filters for covering my vessel. I don’t drink coffee, so that’s literally the only thing I use those coffee filters for. I am excited to use this cute cotton cover instead!

I think the last thing in my box I have yet to talk about is the Avocado Huggers!

We love avocados and rarely have halves leftover, but when we do, it’s hard to store it in a way that keeps it from browning and going bad. Cue Avocado huggers! These are cute, food-grade silicone, and dishwasher safe. I’m sure I will put them to use (probably soon!).

Ok, I think that about wraps up my Mighty Fixes!

I love Mighty Nest for so many reasons. I hate doing chores and when I do have time to clean my home, I want it to be effective and safe. These products help me feel good about what I’m doing.

We’ve all seen those interviews of people with their little mason jars of trash from over the years. Zero waste seems so unattainable in real life, but companies like Mighty Nest are changing that. Their products always come in recyclable packaging. Each fix comes with a card that tells you how it replaces a disposable in your home. If you are not one for subscriptions or just want cheap ways to be greener, I do have a couple more suggestions for you. I do highly recommend Mighty Fix and find it very budget friendly, but there are other easy swaps anyone can do.

As pictured above, I use microfiber towels for mopping with my Swiffer instead of Swiffer WetMops. They are pretty cheap at Walmart and I use them for most of my cleaning. They are washable and reusable, and I like the soft texture.

I also have reusable produce bags.

These cotton ones I ordered from Amazon are machine-washable and perfect for bulk produce like rice or dry beans. I transfer my bulk produce to glass mason jars for storage.

Here you can also see my mesh produce bags, which I bought at Fresh Thyme.

I use these for fresh produce like fruits and veggies. I toss them in the wash after I use whatever was in them.

No matter where you stand on global warming/climate change, I think we can all agree we need to take care of planet Earth. Anyone can do it. Amazon has great swaps for common disposables. Reusable totes can be bought at literally any grocery store. Reusable products just make sense. They save money and save the planet.

I hope this post will help you find ways to make healthy changes in your home! Happy Earth Day!

Goodbye Facebook

It’s not me, it’s most definitely you…

Social media has turned into quite a nightmare… or is that just me? I feel like Facebook is just a cesspool of negativity every time I look at it. Sure, there’s funny memes, weird life hack videos, and it’s great for stalking people you knew 15 years ago and potential SOs of friends. It’s even a nice way to share what’s going on with friends and family that live far away and may not otherwise get to partake in your day-to-day.

But honestly, how many of your Facebook “friends” are really friends? When was the last time you saw that old high school girl friend? Or even made plans to hang out with your old crew? Who have you intentionally reached out to – no, not “liked” their picture or commented on their post – actually called or texted and had a real, genuine conversation with?

A lot of times my anxiety stems from feeling like I have no friends and I think I leaned into having Facebook “friends” as an illusion of comfort. That’s NOT healthy. I still struggle with being alone sometimes, but I’m also learning to love it. I’m getting to know ME. I’m realizing what my true hopes, goals, dreams, and aspirations are, for me, myself, and I. I’m learning to be more comfortable with a small, close friend group. I’m spending more time with family. I’m learning that I want the connections I make to be meaningful and positive.

Marie Kondo’s “spark joy” craze doesn’t just apply to physical items in our homes. I think it should apply to everything. Facebook doesn’t spark joy for me anymore (if it ever did), so I said goodbye. I purged my friends list (so don’t take it personally) and deleted the app from my phone. For now, I am keeping my account, mostly as a means to run my Color Street business, and to have Messenger to reach friends and family I would otherwise not be able to contact. As time goes on, I may delete my account all together.

It’s weird, adjusting to not having another app to mindlessly scroll through, but I am excited to see what I can accomplish with having less screen time in my life. Truly, smart phones have become addictions. Piece by piece I want to grow apart from mine and explore my creativity more. Find peace and happiness.

Goodbye, Facebook. Can’t say I’ll miss you.

*Update 3/20/19:

Since deleting Facebook I have:

⁃ Written a blog post

⁃ Deep cleaned my bathtub

⁃ Cleaned my washing machine

⁃ Done six+ loads of laundry

⁃ Put away a few loads of clean dishes

⁃ KonMari’d my bedroom/wardrobe

⁃ Visited some friends in real life

⁃ Gone to confession

⁃ Gone to Mass

⁃ Worked my Color Street business

⁃ Donated bags and boxes of clothes and misc items to St. VdP

Live and Learn

It’s still January, so I give myself permission to still write about new year’s resolutions… Now and in another blog later 😬

My new year started off with me working just two jobs instead of three, and let me tell you, the extra time has been amazing. I feel like I can actually breathe. The end of the year was a whirlwind and I feel like I barely got to notice, much less enjoy, the holidays.

With this extra time, I’ve decided I want to do more baking.

This post is NOT about my successes in the kitchen this new year. Oh no. It’s about the flops.

Because that’s just it! The new year is NEVER going to go perfectly. There is so much pressure on January 1st to be the first day of a shiny, “New Year, New Me”. Why do we do this to ourselves? I will be writing a whole post about my thoughts on this, so I digress.

One new thing I started last year was brewing kombucha.

It is so much fun and so much cheaper than store bought. My husband even likes it better than store bought! Now, we don’t drink tons of it at a time, so I have bottles of booch sitting in my fridge. I thought, why not try making sourdough? I’ve seen lots of folks post about it in the Kombucha brewing groups I joined on Facebook.

I gave it a go. This is what happened.

Yeah… All over my cabinet. If that’s not bad enough, it totally smelled like rotten eggs when I opened it. So, that jar went in the trash.

I do plan to try it again. Just not yet.

On MLK day, I had the day off, and didn’t want to be completely lazy all day, so I turned to instagram for baking suggestions. The one I got was to make French macarons. I have long desired to make my own delicious and delicate little macarons, but been far too intimidated. It seems my fears were not irrational.

I don’t even know. It was pretty much hopeless. Not to be wasteful, I formed the dough into balls by hand and pressed it onto parchment paper.

They surprisingly turned out pretty tasty! Overcooked and crunchy, but not terrible. I only tossed out about half the dough.

The new year shouldn’t be the only time to learn from our mistakes, but it’s certainly a good reminder to be patient with ourselves. Life is often imperfect, but we can always make the best of it.

Happy new year, happy baking, and please, if you have any tips for macarons, send them my way!

Anniversary Post!

Today is my WordPress 1 year anniversary!

That seems like a pretty big milestone to me. I haven’t written as much as I would have liked to at this point, but I have a lot of ideas for future posts. After my last post, Responding to “The Call”, I have been considering taking my blog in a Christian-focused direction.

The one thing I have struggle most with in regards to writing posts for this blog is finding the “direction” or “theme” I wanted my posts to have. As I am working on growing in my Catholic faith, I think writing a Catholic blog will be perfect for me. I am researching topics I find interesting and learning more about Catholicism every day, so why not write about it?

I am excited to see what comes of this next year of blogging. Thank you for being a part of this journey thus far and I hope you will continue to enjoy what I write!