NAS: Make-up {and a giveaway!}

Oh, hello there! I am sorry I have been so quiet lately... I just have had a busy week and, ya know... the blog tends to get the backseat. Sorry, dear blog. And, dear readers... if you even noticed! ;) 

Today, let's talk make-up. How girly can we get, huh?! Hey, we are ladies and most of us wear makeup, so we are allowed! :) But! Bek brought up a great side of makeup... not what we wear, but why we wear it. Have you ever thought about it before? I think it's great to step back sometimes and reflect on those things we do habitually.

What are your thoughts on wearing make-up? Do you see a tension between a pressure from society and a God-given desire to be and make life beautiful? Is your use of makeup compatible with the idea that God sees you as naturally beautiful?


Ooook! So, I mean... if you have read this blog, you know that I have some confidence issues due to my acne. It's just one of those crosses that I have been given to bear. It's not always fun, but it is what it is.

Because I struggle with this area of my life, I don't always see myself as beautiful. I am sure if we looked deeper at the issue, it could be from societal pressures of what is beautiful and all that. I mean, besides our mothers... where do we get our ideas of beauty? Magazines, movies, TV, other blogs, even.  It's a fact that we all have something that doesn't live up to what society says is beautiful. Ha, crazy! It's like we are human or something. Not photoshopped. Not skinny minny. Not perfect.

Imagine that.

But, we as Christians have a little insight that not everyone does. We know (which is different from accepting and believing) that we (every.single.person.) are innately beautiful. Why? Because God created us. When he created the world, the creatures, the people, he created them to be good. Very good. (Genesis 1: 1-28) We are created in the image and likeness of God, who is perfect and beautiful. So, if He is perfect and beautiful, then we must be, too. Well, the perfect thing kind of went down the the tubes there after the Fall, and as our world loses sight of what God's will is, and really take our gift of Free Will to do whatever we want. The good thing is, we all still have the potential to be perfect. We all have the potential to get into Heaven and be a saint.  And that is an amazing thing.

I digress.

What has never changed, though... no matter what we do or don't do, the fact is: we are still beautiful. Even though we don't look like those girls in the magazines or your favorite blogger or your best friend, it's ok. We are all uniquely beautiful. As we have previously discussed, beauty is being exactly as God has created you to be: curves, pimples, flat hair, horrible singing voice, birth marks, weird dance moves, quirks and all.


Does makeup take away from that? No, I don't think it does. Are you wearing it to accentuate who you already are? To give you the boost of confidence that you need to face the day? I don't wear a ton of makeup, just a enough to cover my blemishes, so it's not so noticeable. When I am going out or getting dressed up, I will wear a bit more, because it adds to the fun of being dressed up!

I think problems in wearing makeup can arise if you are wearing it to seek attention. Do you put loads of blue eye shadow on or globs of mascara to garner a reaction from others? If so, then maybe you should reevaluate the purpose of your makeup. If you are only wearing the makeup for others, then you are missing the point of accentuating your God-given beauty. I think that's what makeup should do anyway. Help us show the world that we feel beautiful and are ready to conquer anything!

So, you want to wear your mascara and new shade of red lipstick? Do it! But, do it for you, not for other people!

What do you think?  Linkup at Morgan's today! AND, it's GIVEAWAY TIME!!! I am sorry for the confusion on when the giveaway was supposed to be! :(  So, head over to Morgan's visit to win some CatholicTV swag! :) And next week, I'll be giving away some more! :) :) And, thanks to Bonnie at CatholicTV for the fun swag!

Also, if you can, please consider donating to CatholicTV. They just had a telethon to raise more money to continue their amazing ministry!! They have so many great things going on, so if you can swing it, please consider helping out. Of course, prayers are always, always appreciated. :)
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Next Week!
Rosary + Single Life
October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary, so we wanted to honor Mary and reflect on her help during this time of singleness. How have you called on her intercession before? What is your relationship with our Blessed Mother like? If you don't know much about Mary or the Rosary, is there something keeping you from getting to know her?

October 14
Modesty
Continuing our reflections about our make-up routines, let's chat about modesty! What does modesty mean to you? Does it just involve the clothes you wear and how you wear them? What about the things you say or do? In what ways can we improve our overall modesty?

October 21
Sex!
Our culture is obsessed with sex. With anyone! At anytime! If you want to, just do it! But, the Church teaches that sex was created for the context of marriage. Why do you choose to abstain? Why aren't you going around having sex with just anyone? How would you encourage others to do the same? How do you remain strong when everything in our culture is encouraging you to abandon your convictions?

October 28
Discernment Challenges
We all agree that discernment is challenging. Figuring out what the Lord is calling you to do with your life can be frustrating and exhausting. But, then add on lack of family support, cultural pressures, and your personal expectations... ugh. And, this isn't just in relation to vocational discernment, but general life discernment, too! How do you keep going? What helps you to push through? How can we encourage one another? What indicators have you experienced that lets you know you're going down the right path?

NAS: Dating vs. Courtship


It might be easy to say that the pursuit of marriage is the purpose of dating (aka courtship). But, that's not how our culture views dating. Does viewing the person you're dating as a potential spouse add unnecessary pressure on the relationship? In your opinion, is there a difference between dating and courtship? If so, what are those differences?


I had a half-written post... and then I started chatting with Morgan... and have compleeeeetely lost my train of thought.  And now it's getting pretty late and I need to go to bed (b/c as I am sure you know, I like to publish the link-up at midnight).

I will work on it more after work, I hope. :) Until then, I can't wait to hear what you have to say about dating and courtship! Link-up below!



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Next Week
Our Makeup Routines
(Thanks to Bek!)
What are your thoughts on wearing make-up? Do you see a tension between a pressure from society and a God-given desire to be and make life beautiful? Is your use of makeup compatible with the idea that God sees you as naturally beautiful?

October 7
Rosary + Single Life
October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary, so we wanted to honor Mary and reflect on her help during this time of singleness. How have you called on her intercession before? What is your relationship with our Blessed Mother like? If you don't know much about Mary or the Rosary, is there something keeping you from getting to know her?

October 14
Modesty
Continuing our reflections about our make-up routines, let's chat about modesty! What does modesty mean to you? Does it just involve the clothes you wear and how you wear them? What about the things you say or do? In what ways can we improve our overall modesty?

October 30
Sex!
Our culture is obsessed with sex. With anyone! At anytime! If you want to, just do it! But, the Church teaches that sex was created for the context of marriage. Why do you choose to abstain? Why aren't you going around having sex with just anyone? how would you encourage others to do the same? How do you remain strong when everything in our culture is encouraging you to abandon your convictions?

#NASBoston: exploring the city!!


Ok! So, yesterday, we left off riiiiiight at the end of our awesome time at CatholicTV. Check it out if you missed it. :)

[Before we get too far, let me just warn you... this is long, too. I just can't help it!]

It is now past noon, and we are FEELING AMAZING.

And are absolutely starving. Famished. We, stupidly, didn't eat breakfast, only had coffee. Those nerves... they fill your tummy up! Oh, and we had a little piece of chocolate while we were at the studios. :)

Once we got home and changed... we finally made it out the door. Walked, the awesome neighborhood that Shae lives in, to the bus stop. We wait for the bus. And all we can think about is getting to Copley Square, solely to find some food.

We had a little snaggle with which bus to take and after texting back and forth with Shae... we finally got on. We were riding along for a while, when all of a sudden everyone got off at this one stop! We were like, wow! We must be there already. I am not sure if it was the lack of food or exhaustion setting in, but in that moment we realized that we caught the bus going in the WRONG direction.

Hahaha... while it wasn't the funniest moment then, I can't stop laughing about it now. And I feel bad because Morgan was not feeling well, so the whole thing was just rough for a bit there.  Anyway... just keepin' it real around here to help you all know how much we don't always have it together. #humblepie  The bus was actually making a loop and we jumped right back on and made it allllll the way to where we were supposed to be.

It made for the perfect time to catch up on all the tweets and FB posts and emails and texts and love that YOU all sent our way. And my family. And my friends. You all are so amazing and I am so blessed.

We finally get off and spotted a bagel place. And went directly there. I inhaled my sandwich. It was DELISH. We sat for a while, people watched, chatted and soaked up the atmosphere. I went in search of a new phone charger and was able to talk to my Momma. She is just the best.

When I returned, Morgan was excitedly looking at me and said, "the recording of the show is up, do you wanna watch it?!" Um.... YES!

It's hard getting a good pic while talking! ;)
That moment was so surreal... and weird... and embarrassing.  But, we watched... and we were so proud of ourselves! I don't want to come across as this tooting our own horns, but we had no idea what to expect, and we were both so pleasantly surprised. I mean, how often do you get to watch yourself having a conversation with people? Not many. It was an experience.

And, I talk with my hands. A LOT. :) One of my charms.

And, OH MY GOSH JEN! I thought this post was going to be MORE pics, LESS writing.

Ah! You're right! You're right! Just reflecting as I go here.  Onward to the pics!

We went straight to the Back Bay area, right along the river. It was breathtaking. The weather was perfect. The sky was a gorgeous shade of blue. And this:


The best!!

The "self-portrait" style selfie from back in the day. :)



We literally walked along the beautiful river front... and then just plopped ourselves on the grass and talked. For a long time. Reflecting on the morning. Talking about life. Guh, Morgan... you are such a great friend and I am so happy to have you in my life. I couldn't have asked for a better person to have shared this entire experience with! Loooooove youuuuuu!


Cause, doesn't every park have a guy playing the cello under a weeping willow?!
 After sitting for such a long time, we decided that we were just exhausted. We got some clam chowda to go, and made our way back to Shae's house... in time for this gorgeous sunset:

Changed into our comfy clothes, heated up our soup, and vegged. Shae came home, we chatted, maybeeeee watched our interview a few more times and by 10pm, we were in bed. Passed.out. #partyanimals

On Saturday... we slept in. Had coffee. Hung out. We had no where to be and it was stupendous. :) It was rainy and Fall-like, and I was SO happy! I got to wear my BOOTS!

We made it out the door by noonish, ready to have brunch at Shae's favorite spot. She was the best tour guide... even if her idea of "close" was different than mine. Let's just say, we did looooots of walking and all of our feetsies were feeling it. ;)


We walked to the Boston Common area... where the gardens were beautiful and the ponds were awesome.


Cute little bridge over the pond... perfect for a picture!
I love us.
 Morgan and I let our "Catholic Nerd" flag fly when we came across this stone statue thing (what IS it called?!) commemorating Pope Saint John Paul II's FIRST Mass ever celebrated in the USA. :) Pretty cool, huh?! October 1, 1979.

As we passed it.... we noticed there were just tons and TONS of people. Music. Booths and tables. Cool! Some sort of festival. We get closer... and there is this very distinct smell. And upon closer look at the people... many of them had a certain look, shall we say. And it all clicked.

It was a weed festival, people. Or whatever you want to call it. Hil.ar.i.ous. We needed to get through the crowd, and as we walked, it seemed to get harder and harder to get through. And we realized we were walking towards the food. Along with everyone else. ;)

Sadly, I have no pics of this. But, check out Morgan's recap for the fun.

We then walked through some historic parts. And made our way to the harbor.



Beautiful, and so much history.

Great cityscape!
It was alllllmost time to get to Mass! A few days before we were leaving, I get a few direct messages/emails from Catherine (aka Celeste... she has identity issues! j/k, friend!) from Sacred Sharings for the Soul saying that she will be in Boston at the SAME TIME AND WE SHOULD MEET UP!!! :) :)  Well, obviously. She lives in Toronto, so her being so close won't just always happen. We decided to meet up for Mass on Saturday evening and then hang out.  The chapel is INSIDE the Prudential Center, which is a mall. Morgan and I were so incredibly confused, but we found it.
It was a legit chapel inside the mall.

So awesome.


Catherine is AWESOME. Whenever you meet "random people from Twitter" (as her hubby says), you just never know how it's gonna go. And, well, this couldn't have gone any better. Catherine always, always posts and tweets such beautiful and insightful things... and she is both of those things. But a little ball of amazing energy, too! She could keep the convo going. She has the best one-liners. Is probably one of the funniest people I know! :)

We met back up with Shae... grabbed some Starbucks. It was wonderful to enjoy a hot Pumpkin Spice Latte in chilly weather. Something I will never take for granted again. :)
Thanks, Bonnie!!
Catherine was telling us about the Eucharistic Shrine down the street... and it was breathtaking. It's a fully running parish that offers perpetual adoration. It was awesome. The hustle and bustle of downtown Boston all around, but quiet and peaceful inside. Jesus, you are amazing.

We then made our "short" walk to one restaurant that had way too many people... so we continued our walk to Orinoco's! Amazing Venezuelan cuisine.  I wish I could eat that way all.of.the.time.  The service was great. The company even better. All four of us just got along so well. I laughed so much that my cheeks were sore the next day. #thebest
Yay! Blogging and Twitter friends! :)
My phone died, so I was unable to get one of all 4 of us. Sade face.
We walked back to the Shrine so Catherine could wait for her hubby, and we went on a search for cannolis. There is a divide among Bostonians: Mike's or Moderns.

We had to buy both to see what camp we would fall under. Due to my phone not working very well I cannot give you the comparison. Head to Morgan's for that! But, I will say... I am in the Modern camp. :) YUM!


We enjoyed some cannolis, chatted some more and said our goodbyes to Shaelena. Then, we tried to go to sleep. But again it was only a few hours of resting our eyes.

Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we got ready and hopped in the cab to the airport, and were both through security before 6am. :) In different terminals and no way to get to one another, we enjoyed our meal together via text: 


Eventually it was time for me to go... so I picked up our complimentary CatholicTV mag where we were featured (in August! Oops, there was a little misprint!), and did some reading. And look at all those familiar faces! Janat Sahm from Verily, Jennifer Fulwiler and Hallie Lord! :) How cool is that?!


Morgan and I both made it home safely. I enjoyed one of the best naps I have ever had on Sunday afternoon. And, then it was back to reality. :)

I have said it already, and I'll say it again... I had the BEST weekend. Our CatholicTV time was simply incredible and the rest of the weekend was nothing less than that. I will forever remember this. I will remember the fun, the laughs, new friends (and old!), the love, the support and knowing that I am certainly not alone. God is so, so good.

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Check back on our Tuesday post for a chance to win some CatholicTV swag!! :)

#NASBoston: being on CatholicTV!

I wish I never had to come down from the high that was #NASBoston! But then... Monday happened, and it welcomed me very quickly back to reality. Ah, well. It's ok. :) What's reality vs being ON TV?!

You guys... it was incredible. Amazing. Fun. Encouraging. AWESOME.

This was actually the very last pic we took of our time at the studios.

I keep going back and forth if I should do a play by play of the weekend... and I suppose that's what I will do. It's more fun. At least I hope so! I will have 2 parts:

#NASBoston: being on TV (this one!)
#NASBoston: exploring the city (tomorrow!)

So... grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up and let's get started. :)

It's how I do.
I was tweeting up a storm because besides talking my mom's ear off over and over and over again... it's all I really could do to contain my excitement and nerves. I AM FLYING TO BOSTON TO BE ON TV... I wanted to run up to everyone and talk about it. But... that would be weird, and no one really cares.

My flight was uneventful... I was able to read and journal and think. Lots of thinking. I enjoyed some good coffee, and the amazingness that is JetBlue. If you can fly them, DO IT!  Once I got to the airport in Boston, I walked around a bit, and then decided to head towards Morgan's terminal. After going back and forth whether to wait for Morgan or head to my friend Shaelena's house... I decided to just hang out at the airport. I read... drank more coffee... did a TON of people watching... watched the cops with the bomb dog to check out a bag that was left alone (at the end of the bench where I was sitting!)... and tried really hard not to fall asleep.  A little after midnight, Morgan made it and we were OFF! :)

We got to the Brighton area around 1am... and Shae stayed up. {Let me just stop for a sec and dote on Miss Shaelena. SHE IS THE BEST HOST IN THE ENTIRE WORLD! She (and her roomies) let us crash on her air mattress, use the ONE bathroom, offered all of her food, listened to A LOT of God talk allll weekend, was excited to hear about our TV debut, made a Google map of all her fave things, played tour guide, hung out with us, laughed with us... and just made the entire weekend that much sweeter. Seriously, Shae... if you read this, THANK YOU! I am so grateful for everything that you did for us. The weekend wouldn't have been the same if you were not part of it. Looooove youuuu!}

Ok... so, we got in. Chatted with Shae. And, then... tried to sleep. Amongst the nerves... sleeping in the same bed with a friend that you have now just met for the SECOND time... and knowing we had to get up early... "sleep" was not what really happened. I think we just closed our eyes and tried really hard not to move and make the bed noisy. ;)

THE DAY HAS COME!!!


 Eeeee!!! We got ready, had coffee, chatted more with Shae. Took some pics. That's what good bloggers do, right?  I wish I had more selfies to share... but, alas! My screen is cracked, riiiight in front of the camera. Boo.

Anyway... check out Morgan's if selfies are yo' thing. :)

Bonnie (the wonderful Director of Marketing and Programming) finally picked us up... and sh*t got real, people. I like to talk a lot when I am nervous... and I was in the back by myself, and I felt like I couldn't really do that. So, I was just nervously twitching back there.

Maybe I wasn't, but that's what it felt like. The ride was pretty short and we got to the studios.

Bonnie showed us around a bit... and then we were able to go to Mass. The network airs Mass every.single.day. LIVE. It's really awesome. :) If you watched a little bit before This is the Day, then you may have see Morgan and I there.  Let me just say, though... most distracting mass EVER. With the camera moving all around and the fact that WE were going to be on LIVE TV so soon... the fact that I was able to stand to receive the Eucharist was a miracle in and of itself.  But, it was a nice calm, even if I was distracted. Jesus does have a way of doing that.

After mass, we chatted with a few people. And everyone was so nice and so welcoming. I mean, we felt like we belonged there just after stepping in the doors. CatholicTV, you have some amazing people working for you! Bonnie, then, took us on a tour of the actual studios. It was neat to see behind the scenes. I know very little about the world of TV, so it was quite fun!

But, I wish I could say that I was really paying attention... I was so nervous. Morgan and I had no idea when we would be interviewed on the show. We didn't know where that was supposed to happen. We hadn't even met the people that would be interviewing us!

Freeeeaking out over here!

At 10:19, Bonnie finally asks what time it was! Morgan and I were VERY quick to let her know... and she was all, "oh! 10 minutes is like a million hours in TV time!"

Ha. Oh. Well, us newbies here don't know any of that! Can you please just take us to the place we are getting interviewed?!?!!?

No... into the sound room we went. Oh man. Heart pounding, y'all. But, huge smile still on my face!

Ok, so... FINALLY into Studio A... where This is the Day is filmed. We are not on until the second interview. Ok.

Breathe.

And tweet. And text people. And take pics.

News Break with Kate Andrews

Jay Fadden waiting for Kevin Nelson,
who walked in riiiiight before the show started!

Behind the scenes.

Allllll the crazy... and nerves... and excitement... and the OH MY GOSH IS THIS REALLY HAPPENINGs.... led to THIS:




(And, I can honestly tell you... this is what is going on in my head right at the beginning: my MOM is watching. Niki is watching. Alreen is watching. Beth Anne is watching. It was terrifying and exciting all at the same time. People I know were actually watching. I really hoped I could make you all proud. I wanted to look at the camera and say HIIIIIIIII! But, just couldn't.)

Ahhhhh!!!! IT WAS INCREDIBLE! Jay and Kevin are THEE best. :) They made us feel so comfortable and were hilarious. They were ribbing each other before the show started, and I knew we would have a great time. 

Here are some during the show shots... all taken by Bonnie, with permission to post here. :)







Annnnnnd, this! This pic is probably my absolute favorite! :) This was taken right after the show was done. We were all just chatting and the guys were telling us how guys get the ladies' attention in Boston: instead of buying them a drink, they walk up to them and say, "I bought you a nice bowl a chowda" with a wide grin, holding a steaming cup of clam chowder. Ha, it was hilarious! ;)

Ooooor maybe we were asking about a Catholic dating show. Hmm, that could have been it!



After we were done with This is the Day, we had the opportunity to tape some station IDs (where we look at the camera saying, "Hi! I'm Jen Cox, co-founder of the Not Alone Series and you're watching CatholicTV, America's Catholic Television Network" with a big smile!) and be interviewed separately for another show, Encounter, hosted by Kevin. At this point, I have no idea when that will air, but I will be sure to let you know. :)

Morgan was up first!

Then me!
A good looking group!
Thanks for the photo, Bonnie!

And this one. :)
And now that this is really long... and you want to throw your computers/phones out the window, I will begin to wrap it up.

I would like to say thank you so very much to to all of the people at CatholicTV for such an amazing experience. As I said earlier, they made us feel right at home. We were welcomed with open arms and everyone was so pleasant and happy. We left there so encouraged and so on fire for what we were doing with the Not Alone Series.

The hosts and everyone we chatted with spoke to us as if we had something important to say.  In a world where young people so often get looked down upon or people are just awkward around us, the people at CatholicTV spoke to us... just like the human beings that we are. Another member of the body of Christ. They wanted to hear about the struggles of Catholic singlehood, and even if they didn't know what to say our couldn't offer advice, they listened. And encouraged our ministry through the Not Alone Series.

So, all you ladies that we have gotten to know... thank YOU. Without you, there would be no series to talk about. Without your prayers and love and support and understanding of where I am in life... none of this would be possible. I am so grateful and thankful to God for this amazing community of women.

And thanks to Morgan for saying yes. Yes to the idea to start an online "something" for us single ladies. It's crazy to look back on those emails and realize that we really did have "high hopes and low expectations." And we mean it from the bottom of our hearts... if we continue to reach one other person, then we have done what we sought to do. If one other person feels encouraged and reminded that they are not alone, then God is continuing to do his thang with this ministry.

I wonder where He will take it next?!

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(Don't forget to come back tomorrow to see how the rest of our weekend went! I promise, more pics, less writing! :) )
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