My Favorite Spring Outfit

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This is my go-to outfit! Blue is one of my favorite colors, and the stripes make me feel a little French and nautical at the same time. I am very comfy in this, so it’s great for a mom on the go.

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Shirt: Target, Sweater: Sears, Jeans: Debs, Shoes & Necklace: Maurice’s

I also went about three shades lighter on my hair last week, which is fun for spring. My local JCPenney has a $50 cut and color special right now, so that’s where I went.

Ta-da! What’s your go-to spring outfit?

xoxo Teresa


Shopping My Closet

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Curvy Gal Inspirations

I love Melissa McCarthy’s style in Mike & Molly.

Adele always looks amazing.

Beautiful!

I am the mom of a toddler, so I do not always go out into the world looking fantastic (wink, wink, let’s be real) — but I do get excited about beautiful clothes and the creativity of designers. When I saw the UK-based Slink magazine at my local bookstore recently, I gladly slapped down the $10 because I knew the articles and photos would be nourishing and inspiring. Seeing women with your body type being celebrated really does matter.

Anyway, one part of the magazine that I really love is the style profile of everyday women. The Q&A format made me think: how would I answer? So, I’m answering a few here in my own little space of the blogosphere :)

Where are your favorite places to shop? Maurice’s (www.maurices.com), eShakti (www.eShakti.com), Target

Do you have a style icon/ who? I love the polished look of Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, along with the creative quirkiness and retro choices of Zooey Deschanel. For curvy, I’m a big fan of Melissa McCarthy’s conservative, yet pretty look on Mike and Molly that includes beautiful colors and patterns, and I think the singer Adele looks spectacular all the time.

What’s your biggest fashion faux par? It takes me awhile to come around to certain trends, even the good ones, because I am stubborn and want to make sure I’m not wasting my money. I’m more classic than fashion-forward, but if something immediately strikes me as beautiful, I will buy it.

What’s your biggest fashion memory? My first fashion memory is being allowed to dress myself at a young age and constantly mixing crazy prints and colors because I didn’t know any better. I asked my mom how she had the courage to let me dress that way, and she said, “It’s what you wanted to wear!”

Most expensive buy & was it worth it? My wedding dress. I won’t say how much! Yes, it was worth it.

Do you pay attention to fashion shows and seasons trends or write your own rules? I pay some attention, but I prefer to use a small amount of trends along with classic pieces that I know look great. I watch Project Runway obsessively because I love seeing the creativity behind the designs! I would love to see more plus size designers on the show.

Describe your style in five words. Classic. Creative accents. Beautiful colors.

If you were to give us one piece of fashion advice, what would it be? Be comfortable, but still classy.

Hope you are having a great week!

Teresa C.

Savoring Life

I recently had the chance to read Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are, by Shauna Niequist. Today’s post is a review of that book, followed by my go-to recipe for BBQ chicken.

Savor, published last month by Zondervan, is intended as part devotional and part cookbook. As a person who enjoys cooking, reading, and spiritual life, I like how the author explores those topics in her writing. I adored her previous book of faith essays and recipes, Bread and Wine, so I was excited to set my eyes on her latest e-book. She combined faith, honesty, and her love of food beautifully in Bread and Wine, a book filled with high-quality writing and design. Inside the new e-book, I found many thoughts that Niequist had already shared in her essays in Bread and Wine, except presented in a form that provided a quick thought for the day. As I read, the short devotionals brought my memory back to many of the essays I loved in her previous book. Niequist’s observations are heart-felt and spirit-inspired.

If you are truly strapped for time, the single Bible verse format and quick thought of the day will probably be a great way to start your morning. If you’ve never had a devotional time before, this book would ease you into that, and you would feel like you’re having breakfast with a friend. For people who study the Bible in-depth and seek to learn more, this book would need to be combined with other scripture readings or studies, but Savor gives you the flexibility to do that since the devotions are fairly short. As for the recipes, those were excellent—as always! If you have never read a book by Niequist, I would recommend that you start with Bread and Wine instead of Savor, unless you are hoping to find a quick devotional. I definitely recommend that you seek out her writing if you love to cook.

Speaking of cooking, I thought I would share one of my favorite recipes here. This is Teresa’s Go-To BBQ Chicken Recipe. If you’ve never made homemade BBQ sauce, it is not hard to do! This sauce has a depth of flavor that I have not tasted in premixed BBQ sauces. My recipe is a variation of the Baked Chicken BBQ recipe in Delicious Amish Recipes by Phyllis Pellman Good, a skinny little book of awesome, easy recipes. My recipe is very close to the original one, with a few personal tweaks.

Teresa’s Go-To BBQ Chicken

  • Several boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • pinches of salt and pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • pinch of onion powder

Preheat the oven to 350. Meanwhile, in a saucepan on the stovetop, combine all the ingredients except the chicken. Bring to a boil and immediately turn down the heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Put the raw chicken in a glass baking dish or oven safe casserole dish, and then spoon the sauce over the chicken, and turn the chicken so that both sides are coated with the sauce. Add 1/3 c. water to the dish, and then put in the oven. Bake for two hours total, basting (spooning the sauce over the top of the chicken) about every half hour. The basting will make your chicken moist and yummy rather than dry. Toward the end of the cooking, some of the sauce starts to thicken and almost caramelize. Delicious!

What is your go-to recipe? Have you ever read any of Shauna Niequist’s books? 

Have a great week!

Teresa

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the e-book from Book Look Bloggers in return for my honest review.

A Model of Perseverance

This week, my favorite Christian writer, Holley Gerth, is asking readers to link up blog posts about someone whose perseverance is inspiring.

For me, one woman immediately came to mind: Mama Maggie Gobran.

She was raised in a wealthy family in Egypt, worked in marketing and as a college professor, dressed well, and had what most people would consider to be a beautiful, successful life. This accomplished, educated, happily married woman was already admired — yet, in her thirties, she felt a pull to bring hope to the poor people who collected garbage and sorted it for survival in the slums of Cairo.

She gave up everything. Sold her jewels. Left her job.

She started Montessori-style preschools so that the children, who had little access to education and little knowledge of their own heritage as Coptic Christians, could begin to dream. Without education, these children could not dare to think beyond their current situations of sexual abuse, hunger, pain, and illiteracy. She made sure families had food to eat as well.

She gave of herself to both Muslims, the majority, and Coptic Christians, the minority. She ministered to the whole person – body, mind, and spirit.

To me, it is fascinating and beautiful to picture someone whose love and calling goes so deep that she would be willing to leave her comfortable life and to give herself completely to others. Christ spoke of his heart for the poor, and Mama Maggie’s life is such an example of the service, love, and hope that Christians are called to bring the world.

I am a mom in a small house, by United States standards — far away, and yet, so deeply inspired. I am giving of myself to those I love in smaller ways, but I think of Mama Maggie often as I go about my day.

She had to persevere because the government hurdles did not make helping the poor and starting schools easy. She had to persevere as others looked at her like she was crazy. She even had to persevere when a motorcyclist tried to steal her briefcase holding the architectural plans for one of her projects. She held on tightly to the briefcase and ended up hospitalized for a short time –- but the vision went forward.

She was criticized for giving up her jewels and starting to dress all in white –- a white head covering, skirt, and t-shirt. The sentiment was: who do you think you are? People thought she was dressing too much like a nun even though she was not one. She wanted to detract attention from herself as she represented the poor. No matter what you do –- even the most beautiful, selfless actions –- will still draw criticism. Mama Maggie just kept doing what she was called to do.

In Egyptian society, where it is not uncommon to eat supper and socialize at 11 p.m., Mama Maggie started standing out because she went to bed early so that she could wake up and pray at 3 a.m.

Today, she is in her sixties and still doing her ministry through Stephen’s Children, the organization that she founded. She’s the picture of perseverance. Click here to watch a video of this woman in white, bringing hope where it is needed most. http://www.mamamaggiebook.com/


I first learned about Mama Maggie when I had the opportunity to review a book about her: Mama Maggie: The Untold Story of One Woman’s Mission to Love the Forgotten Children of Egypt’s Garbage Slums by Marty Makary and Ellen Vaughn. All of the information from my blog post, above, was learned while reading this book. The following is my honest review of her book for Book Look Bloggers.

This book gives a detailed portrait of Egyptian society and its complexities that I had never heard before. Religion plays such a huge role in the society that someone’s religion is literally printed on the person’s identification card, and a child’s religious heritage, whether Muslim or Coptic Christian, is intended to be part of the child’s education. Knowledge of the society helps the reader comprehend how many sacrifices and challenges Mama Maggie truly faced as she began to minister to the poor people living in the garbage slums of her country. Seeing the photos inside the book also adds a lot to the reader’s understanding of Mama Maggie. When I first saw the book cover, I was immediately drawn to the woman in white — a white head covering and t-shirt. I decided to read the book because I was hoping to learn more about a female Christian role model I had never heard about before, and I definitely was touched and inspired by her life.

 

 

 

Have a wonderful week!

Teresa

Loving My New IGIGI Dress

Review of IGIGI’s Alison Plus Size Maxi Dress in Turquoise Dream

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First of all, this dress feels wonderful. The fabric is high quality and looks expensive. It’s also incredibly soft, and the bottom part of the dress is lined so that it drapes beautifully. It flowed as I walked.

The color palate is my favorite – pops of turquoise, blue, and green on white, with subtle gray shadows. This was my Easter dress, and I also picture wearing it for a fancy supper at the beach or to a classy outdoor concert.

It will easily go from spring to summer events.

Above all, I feel fabulous wearing it. Thank you so much, IGIGI, for giving me the opportunity to review this dress.

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Now for specifics: as a short gal at 5’2, I had the option of wearing high heels or hemming it. If you are a few inches taller than me, the length should be fine even in flats. For a great fit, your chest measurement is probably the most important consideration when you pick a size for the Alison maxi dresses.

To style it, I wore electric blue suede sandals that give the dress a Grecian vibe, along with a pale green, white, and gold necklace from Maurice’s that has a vintage feel. I also wore a blue sapphire ring, as well as a white bracelet from Macy’s and a blue Fossil clutch wallet.

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By the way, IGIGI has wonderful business practices that can make you feel very good about wearing an IGIGI dress. Read about the IGIGI vision here.

I highly recommend this beautiful maxi dress from IGIGI. It is my favorite dress in my closet right now!

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What did you wear for Easter?

xoxo Teresa

 

 

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My Wild Nails

Pop art meets Easter egg pattern — and they have a baby. That’s my nails for the week, until I’m ready to play the guitar. Then they are coming off.

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I hadn’t tried press on nails for about 10 years because my nails are narrow, and it never looked quite right when I tried them before. I couldn’t resist this wild pattern though. I found out imPRESS makes a short version of press on nails, and the outer edges are fairly flexible when you apply the nails, so the result looks realistic rather than talon-like. I just thought I would share because for about $8 the pattern is pretty darn fun.

Hope you are having a great week :) I’m on spring break from my M.A.T. classes, so I’m brainstorming what I’m going to do with this beautiful day. I will probably take my son to the local discovery museum. He loves it.

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Blessings!

Teresa C.