Have a Good Weekend

Image from urbnite



What are you up to this weekend?

We have a pretty relaxing weekend planned. There is a cadillac dinner fundraiser for a local church on Sunday. And that is blissfully it. I'm sure Saturday we'll be catching up on our 40 Bags in 40 Days Lenten penance. 

Are you looking for a good movie to cozy up with this weekend? I don't understand why this movie doesn't have a cult following. This is my attempt to start one. It has everything! Light-heartedness, action, great music, breathtaking costumes, shot in beautiful places (including Rome!), arguably the most attractive actors/actresses, witty dialogue, dry humor, cheese, cold war history, good old-fashioned sexual tension, need I go on?!


Have you tried this lipstick? I bought it in Sunset Cruise and Scarlett Soaked. Scarlett Soaked is my favorite. It reminds me of Glossier's Zap. I am taking a break from Glossier because every tube I owned ended up breaking! Plus they began to smell funny after awhile. Burt's Bees smells good, moisturizes, and I don't have to worry about chemicals which is great for giving baby George lots of kisses!



This picture is deceptive. It is a much more vibrant, poppy red color. 

Are you like me and wondering how to make friends as an adult? Not just mom friends, one-way-street friends, or friends of convenience, but deep, true friends. This Fountains of Carrots podcast episode was extremely insightful about the shared struggle of loneliness in our plugged-in, helicopter-parent world and how to take the bull by the horns and get out and seek true friends. Rebecca Frech also has a new book coming out in May! I am tempted to pre-order! 

This bit kept me laughing for days:

"Please do not tell me your birth story. I don't want to hear it. I don't want to know who threw up. I don't want to know who had their arms in where up to what... So I go to those mommy groups and people are like, 'Oh here's my birth story,' and I go, 'Cool. Like that's an amazing story. So it's like, he's five... what have you done since then?'" -Rebecca Frech

Bahahaha! Ahhh I can so relate to what she is saying! 

I am curious what the Catholic Church's stance is/will be on this.

From the BBC let's go to Poland!

Who else was deeply moved to see a Minnesotan skier make history and take the gold?


With the winter Olympics, countries and languages are on the brain!

Have you ever prayed with a botanical rosary?

I am probably the last person reading out about this, but yay for Chip and Joanna! 

And last but not least, while the humans in our home have been avoiding illness, my husband Shaun's bonsai trees don't look so great. 



Be sure to check back Monday when All Joy Reminds will launch its very first GIVEAWAY! You can also be smart and subscribe via e-mail on the right hand side so you don't miss out on this giveaway and others to come! 

Peace be with you! 

A Mother's Beauty Remark



This past Thursday I did something I never would have dreamed of a few months ago. I dropped $50 at a salon and didn't even get a hair cut.

There are a few factors going into this. The main one being I have facial hair. Not boring, wispy, easily-hidden-and-shaved-off facial hair; but thick, luxurious facial hair. I can grow a better beard than my brother-in-law. I am sure I will have another post on this later. I have tried everything under the sun to get rid of it: hair removal lotion, Sally Hanson strips, bleach, electrolysis, tweezing, laser hair removal, shaving, in-home waxing. And that last part is where I got into trouble. The cap stuck after I had microwaved the lot and I splashed molten-hot wax everywhere. Thank God George was nowhere near because I got horribly burned. It was an imperfect system anyway: I would often miss hair and it was such a pain to clean up. So, I decided to have the professionals at a salon take care of it for me. It costs a pretty penny but is so so worth it.

The second factor is I have always worn my brows extremely thick and unruly. I know that thick brows are finally in style now. But unruly brows haven't looked right on my face. My stylist tried something new with them and after the initial shock, I fell in love. They're still full but they make my face appear much more feminine and soft.  I recently read that your eyebrows are what truly define your face, secondary to makeup. I do not wear make up, aside from lipstick. I figure with all the money I save by skipping foundation, eyeliner, primer, mascara, blush, etc. I can afford the extra bit to make my eyebrows look nice. I do use boy brow occasionally to really dress them up. I am toying with a brow pencil to fill them in. Any suggestions?

The third is, I am a mother now. I have already written about how mothership is among the most important jobs of all time. I honestly care more about my looks now that I am a mother to George than I was a professional in the work place.

I am not saying that mothers who opt for spending their days in pjs are wrong. Soon after George was born, I discovered that I felt much better about myself and the day when I woke up a little bit earlier, showered, and put on lipstick and perfume. However, if staying in your pjs all day as a stay-at-home mom makes you feel good about yourself, go for it.

I believe my "job" is more important than ever before. Therefore, my appearance is more important than ever before. I get that being a mom isn't just a job; it's a vocation; it's a way of life. Your babies are going to see you sleeping, vomiting, crying, etc. But it is also a job. It has its time, its demands, its duties. And I think I should bring dignity to my work just as much as a lawyer brings dignity to her work by wearing a pantsuit, or an editor for Vogue magazine brings dignity to her job by wearing the latest fashion to work.

I also realize that some of society doesn't see the value of what I do. They would rather see me on the pill, working for a boss, and going out for cocktails in the evening. And women who are portrayed doing these things are well dressed, and beautiful. I want George, my future children, and the world to see that stay-at-home-moms care too. We are well dressed and beautiful too. Both inside and out. I want George, future children, and any curious onlooker to be attracted to what I do, not turned off while remarking, "She's clearly given up. That's what happens when you don't have a job to get you dressed and looking your best in the morning."

Of course, every professional has "off days." Of course mothers get sick and overly tired and deserve a day in their pjs just as much as Jessica Chastain or Angela Merkel do.

It's amazing how life-giving mothership is. I'm not speaking of the obvious. Since having George I have brought myself more to life by seeking mental health, a relationship with Mary, and beauty like I never have before. Not to mention the motivation to do this blog.

I am still trying to find my style. I am reimagining my wardrobe, making a decision on bangs-or-no-bangs, straighten my back and carry myself with confidence. I admire and envy women who grow up in New York. From my Minnesotan perception, they seem to have style and presence engrained in them just as much as French women. In addition to admiring the style of Joan Thursday from Endeavour, Eillis from Brooklyn, and Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything, I am trying to draw inspiration from the people around me whose fashion I admire. I am looking at my great-grandmother Marie's style. Thankfully I have some old photos of her on my computer. She was absolutely beautiful, stylish and had a presence. She was married to the mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota and she fit flawlessly in that society, even though she was not born into it.

John and Marie McDonough, my great-grandparents

I sometimes frequent the blog A Cup of Jo to get style ideas. So many of her features on beauty state that beauty is found in finding a style that portrays your personality and making no apologies for it. I am still looking to make that connection. I still have a ways to go in discovering who I am, who God has made me to be. And when I will be able to translate that into what I wear and how I carry myself, watch out! I just might make everyone think twice about being a Catholic stay-at-home mom!

"GG" and Me


What about you? Who are your inspirations for beauty and style? Do you have any products you swear by?

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Peace be with you!

Have a Nice Weekend!

Image source


What are you up to this weekend?

My cousin is coming to the area and we are getting together with another cousin who lives nearby for a girl's day out followed by a cozy in-home supper. I am baking
 blueberry galette with brie to bring!

If you're still looking for something to give up this Lent, Simcha Fischer suggests giving up our enemies for Lent. (Even if you know what you are doing for Lent, this article is worth reading).

Are you the type of person who likes to give to charity for Lent? Looking for a new charity? Check ouCNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Association). I began giving to them when ISIS started martyring Catholics in the Middle East. They have a good rating on Charity Navigator.

Need a laugh? This Google App Offers to Find Your Museum Lookalike, Yet Not Everyone is Excited About the Results

My friend Jennifer shared this article with me. Founder and former director of Catholic Studies at University of Saint Thomas, Dr. Don Briel, was recently diagnosed with leukemia and only given one month to live. I know Dr. Briel from my time in the Catholic Studies program. I owe so much to him. His reflection on dying, the university, Blessed John Henry Newman is the best thing I have read in a very long time. It is certainly worth 10 minutes of your time. My favorite bit:

"So often today we think that change is a corruption of an idea, but for Newman, time is important, not simply accidental, so that Christianity as an idea, or any living idea, must keep expanding and find new ways of articulating its deepest convictions in order to remain true to itself.

So here’s a man who is orthodox in the most creative ways — not just a sort of antiquarianism or conservatism, a kind of holding on to the past — but seeing the way in which a living idea can both retain its essential character and also respond to the changing conditions of history."

-Dr. Don Briel

UPDATE 2/16/18: I just received an e-mail from Catholic Studies that Don Briel died last night. Please pray for the repose of his soul. 

Thanks to Nicole over at The Kavanaugh Report, I bought George this Radio Flyer:


He ignored it for a few days and just started using it today!

Currently reading:



I want to learn about finances. This is the book for me! I love his "dream big" mentality. He gives you concrete steps to make your big dreams possible. He is also very affirming of stay-at-home-moms which is incredibly refreshing to read in a book about finances! 

I find the rosary of the 5 Wounds a powerful prayer for the recent Florida tragedy. Basically, you pray the rosary but for each decade you contemplate one of the Wounds of Christ: 1st decade: the Wound in Christ's left foot. 2nd decade: His right foot. 3rd decade: His left hand. 4th decade: His right hand. 5th decade: His side. 




{Me: Gotta love those Starbucks lovers. They'll tell you I'm insane. 

Taylor Swift: Got a long list of ex-lovers. They'll tell you I'm insane.}

And last but not least, sad news for my husband Shaun's bonsai trees! :( The Picea Abeas died. We are clueless as to what happened!



Check back Monday when we'll talk beauty!

Don't miss a post! Subscribe on the right hand side!

Peace be with you! 


This Lenten Season

Can you relate to the feeling of comradeship I have when I see other people out in public with ashes on their foreheads today? It's the one day of the year when Catholics share a secret (or not so secret) handshake.

I am not one of those Catholics who get excited about Lent. It's the bleakest time of year weather-wise, flu season, and now we are supposed to fast and do penance. Maybe if I didn't live in Minnesota I would think differently. There must be a special spot in heaven for Minnesotans who partake in Lent.

I recently heard a priest call Lent the most important season in the Church. Even little lay-Catholic me knows that this is false! Easter is the most important! The Church does penances well but the point of it is not penance for penance's sake but to prepare ourselves for the truly important event: The death and Resurrection of our Lord! We are Easter people, not Lenten people. Nevertheless we do have the 40 days of Lent.

What are you doing for Lent this year?

Since I can remember I have given up sweets for Lent. Later I added alcohol to the fast.

At this point in my life, I don't do much of either. I thought it was time to try new things for Lent!

First of all, my husband Shaun and I are doing this amazing 40 Bags in 40 Days penance for Lent. You can read more about it at White House Black Shutters. Basically, you compile a list of rooms, drawers, computer files, etc. that you want to cleanse of things you no longer use. Then for each day of Lent, you go through those places and fill up your bags / digital trash can. You of course can either donate or trash the physical objects. Ann Marie also offers daily e-mails to help keep you on track and supported. I cannot tell you how excited I am to do this! Not that I think it will be easy, but I love the whole correlation between the physical act of "cleansing" and the spiritual aspect of "cleansing" your soul for Jesus!

Then, and this one is going to be insanely hard for me, I am going to try looking people in the eyes when I speak to them! I can look a person in the eyes while he or she talks to me, no problem. But when it's my turn to speak, for some reason I have to look away to connect my thoughts to my mouth! I'd like to challenge myself to acknowledge the person's dignity more while also having more confidence in my speech by looking the person in the eyes.

Lastly, I would like to enter this Lent with a spirit of poverty. This means aside from necessary (and I mean necessary) monthly trips to the salon and a new dress for Saint Patrick's Day, I am not permitting myself a thin dime this Lent! I am also trying to cut back on our grocery bill. This blogger's grocery list is a challenge I want to try! To help with this, I am devouring a Dave Ramsey:



If you're stuck on what to do for Lent this year, another idea I thought about trying was giving up perfectionism for Lent.

When I was in college, I wrote a letter to a priest every day for Lent. That was one of the best things I have done, period!

I'd love to hear your Lenten ideas!

Peace be with you!