life

 

Happy Solemnity of the Feast of the Assumption!

A big thing I LOVE about being Catholic as how pro-woman The Church is. We LOVE our Holy Mother Mary for her incredible example of holy femininity and motherhood, and how she leads us closer to her son, Jesus! And how cool is it that God made her Queen of Heaven?! The Catholic church exalts the feminine body and works very hard to protect it from being desecrated and objectified. This is a huge reason why we don't believe in using hormonal contraception, which not only comes with its numerous health risks, but also the damage it can inflict on our fertility. I could write about this for several posts, but I'll just recommend you listen to Janet Smith's Contraception, Why Not?  or Jason Evert's Green Sex presentations on CD:-)

Mary Our Lady Queen of Heaven e1471641990486

Ever since taking NFP classes during our pre-cana (marital prep), I've continued to learn as much as I can about my body and how my lifestyle choices affect my fertility. So many women out there just accept that hormonal birth control is the best and only option for them, and live their lives hardly learning anything about how amazing and incredible our bodies are; especially when it comes to our fertility. NFP taught me just how intricate and honestly, brilliant our fertility is and how factors like stress, nutrition, and environmental toxins can negatively impact it. NFP also taught me how to stand up for my health. While I respect the opinions and recommendations of my OB and am bombarded by the popularity of many products designed for women, I now know I need to do my research and protect my own fertility by becoming a more mindful consumer.

A quick tangent: I've had several family members who've battled and sadly, passed away from cancer. A majority of these cancers have been types caused by environmental factors and not genetics. I also have a very dear friend who nearly died from a pulmonary embolism caused by her birth control. Many friends who are in their early 30s are having trouble concieving due to years of birth control use-many since their teen years. These experiences have also played a big part in my self-learning of how our environment and lifestyle choices affect our health and fertility.

Since NFP classes, I've read various articles and books about fertility health and one of the most common causes of fertility problems is endocrine disruption; a side effect caused by environmental toxins. According to the Emory University School of Medicine:


"Endocrine disruptors (EDs) are environmental chemicals that affect the function of the endocrine system, the system involving the glands and hormones of the body. The endocrine system coordinates the functions of various organs and systems in the body. EDs may disrupt the endocrine system in several ways:

  • they may act as "imposters" of naturally occurring hormones
  • they may block the action of hormones
  • they may alter the chemical message sent by hormones
  • they may disrupt the production of hormones or hormone receptors (proteins used to receive information from hormones)

Most EDs act like naturally occurring estrogens in the body. However, some EDs block androgens (male sex hormones such as testosterone). The theory of endocrine disruptors gained credibility from a number of studies demonstrating reproductive problems in wildlife exposed to certain environmental chemicals. For example, alligators exposed to an organochlorine pesticide, diclofol experienced various reproductive abnormalities. [3] Also, certain birds exposed to the organochlorine pesticide DDT failed to reproduce. [4]"

 You can read more on endocrine disruption on their website HERE.

Examples of Endocrine Disruptors are:

  • industrial chemicals (PCBs, dioxins)
  • certain pesticides (DDT)
  • phthalates
  • phenols (bisphenol A, alkylphenol)
  • plant hormones (phytoestrogens)

As women, perhaps our largest exposure to these chemicals is found in our personal care products. The average woman applies multiple products several times every day. Every day, week after week, month after month, every year......that exposure adds up. Our skin is our largest organ and anything we put on our skin is absorbed into our blood stream in 26 seconds! Since learning these facts, I've become a more mindful consumer and ultimately began looking for safer options to protect my fertility health, and also to protect the health of my babies when I'm pregnant and breastfeeding. Enter Beautycounter.

Since high school, I've dealt with Eczema, so I'm used to being very critical of the products I'm using on my skin. I had NO idea that just because a product works or is recommended by a physician, this doesn't mean it's safe for our health. A friend recommended I look into Beautycounter and I was immediately impressed by the high-efficacy, transparency, AND safety of their products. They have the strictest ingredients screening process in the industry and are so transparent that they've become EWG-verified by Environmental Working Group. If you want to see how your current skincare products rank in terms of safety, you can look them up by name or ingredient in EWG's Skindeep Database HERE. This process is incredibly eye-opening.

You've probably seen me recommend Beautycounter products on here before, so now you know the backstory on why I prefer them. They also donate their earnings to lobby in Washington for higher safety standards in the cosmetics industry, as well as nonprofits like Healthy Child, Healthy World and The Breast Cancer Fund. When you purchase Beautycounter, your dollars are going twice as far by creating demand for safer products while affecting change in the cosmetics industry!

If you're reading this and are excited about a skincare option that protects your fertility health, Beautycounter is currently offering a heck of a deal that allows you to basically swap out your entire makeup routine for high performing and safe products! Celebrity makeup artist Christy Coleman joined our company to design our products so they have the perfect balance of efficacy, safety, AND luxury, so you'll LOVE these! The deal is called The 5-Minute Face and includes six of some of our most beloved makeup products!

5MinFaceBrush

For just $148, you get:

Our moisturizing sheer coverage Tint Skin Foundation

Tint Skin Foundation Concealer Pen (these are amazing!)

A Brow Pencil

Either our Lengthening Mascara or NEW Volumizing Mascara

A Blush Duo

A Lip Gloss

A FREE Retractable Foundation Brush (a $35 value) now through Friday, August 18th, while supplies last!

If you need help matching your skin tone to a foundation and concealer pen, please check out the chart below! Otherwise, feel free to message me!

find your shade lg

Not a makeup person or looking for something else? Check out the rest of our collection which includes skincare for babies, kids, adults, and an entire salon-quality hair care line!

Shop and switch to safer HERE

Comment below how NFP has empowered you to stand up for your health and be entered to win a $15 off coupon for Beautycounter! I will pick a winner at the end of this month!

(Coupon is only valid for clients who don't currently shop with another consultant.)

 

 

When I began this blog over 2 years ago, I began with my reconversion story. I wrote it in three installments, but after looking back over it, I realized I didn't really finish it! So today, I'm going to finish it and may come back and add to it over the years......

I find it funny that I'm finishing up this story in the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola. Iggy has played an interesting role in my faith journey. Back in 2008, I began an internship with an organization that was housed in an old building that had at one time been a Jesuit seminary called St. Loyola Academy. Right next door was St. Ignatius church. I began this internship right around the same time my brother joined the Society of Jesus/The Jesuits, an order that was started by St. Ignatius. It was around that time I had started coming back to the faith after several instances where God made it absolutely obvious He was pursuing me. So, now that you know that interesting little side story, I'll continue with part 4 of my reconversion story!

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Many of you have recently joined the world of MLMs (Multi-level Marketing companies). Some of you promote essential oils, exercise programs, cosmetics, clothing, jewelry, handbags, etc. Or, you sell beautiful homemade crafts and masterpieces online or at local trade shows. Or maybe you’re a blogger! (raises hand) As this new year gears up, perhaps some of you are considering the leap into a side hustle for its flexibility, the potential for bringing in extra income for your family, or because you're yearning for something to put your creative energy and talents toward.

Last June, I jumped into the world of network marketing and I'm so glad I did! But, with any new adventure comes valuable lessons learned. In today's post, I'll be sharing the top 10 things you should consider before taking the leap.

 

Spend some time thinking about what you’re passionate about and then find an MLM company that aligns with your passion AND values.

I can’t stress this enough. Be sure to research the company and make sure they don’t promote or donate to missions or organizations that you don’t morally align with. The last thing you want is to become deeply invested in a company, only to find out down the road that they support something that will make you lose sleep at night and have daily fights with your conscience. That brings me to my next point……

 

Make sure the company practices with sound morals and good ethics.

This should be obvious, but too many people assume that if a company and its products are popular, that the company must be a good and ethical company to work for. I believe a good company is transparent with their consultants and clients, is willing to fall on their own sword when they've made a mistake, have a high-quality product(s) with a realistic price point, aren't always about making a quick buck, and are passionate about fulfilling a real need; not just indulging in a fleeting trend or fad. Some trend products are fun to sell, but if you’re going to build a small business and want it to last for more than a few years, invest in a company that’s fulfilling a need that people will want for a while and is not a demand that will fizzle out after a few years.

 

Think about who your audience would be if you began promoting this company and its products.

Family and friends? Only those who you know through social media? Will you have to go out and seek new clients? Will you need to hold vendor booths at various events and conferences? How will these things fit with your personality? How will any associated expenses fit with your lifestyle? Your budget? Your schedule? Are you comfortable working with social media and public speaking? Are you willing to invest in the time it will take to learn about the products and mission that you’ll be promoting?

 

Look up reviews and talk to someone who is currently employed with the company or has worked with the company you’re interested in.

Make sure the company treats their employees, consultants, and customers with the upmost respect and gives quality customer service to everyone who reaches out to them. Again, this includes BOTH consultants (you) and clients.

 

Learn the difference between a Multi-level Marketing company (an MLM) and a Pyramid Scheme.

They are NOT the same, but sadly, due to the terrible stereotypes created by notorious pyramid schemes in the 90s, we’ve got our work cut out for us in undoing this damage. The good news? Hardly any real pyramid schemes still exist. However, you'll often find the need to explain the difference to people you're introducing your products and company to:-/

When I first heard about MLMs and saw various posts from friends promoting them on social media, I have to admit....I rolled my eyes a few times. But once I joined myself, I realized that so many of us moms were striving for many of the same goals. This is a good article from HuffPo that articulates many of my feelings about moms who work with MLMs.

So what are the key differences? First, an MLM is designed very similarly to any other company, but the majority of their employees do not have office space in one building. This saves big time on overhead costs for them, while giving employees like you and me greater independence to work from home and with our own hours. Here’s a helpful tutorial on the main differences between the two.

 

Do you believe in the company and its products?

Before joining, try to sample as many of the products as possible. Then, decide if you'll actually use the products and if you're truly passionate about promoting the products, the company, and its overall mission. People can sniff out a fake and can tell whether you’re being genuine with them. Plus, in the day-to-day of your hustle, the last thing you'll want is to feel like you're faking your way into a sale and/or recruiting others to join your team. Not only is this unethical, but your conscience will make you miserable (and rightfully so!).

One big reason I knew my side hustle was a great fit was because I was (and still am) excited to share about our company’s mission and its products to EVERYONE-not just my friends and family. It all aligns with what I’m passionate about and it allows my work to effortlessly show up in conversations with others; whether it’s updating them on what I’ve been up to, sharing about what I do for a living with a new acquaintance, making small talk at the hair salon or in the checkout line, etc. For example, before starting this side hustle, I was passionate about preventing cancer and illness by being more aware of what I'm putting in and on my body, and any products I'm using in our home. I was already sharing with others about this, so bringing up my side hustle in conversation came naturally. If the company and its products don’t fit in with your lifestyle or you have difficulty envisioning how it can be relevant to anyone else's life, it will be very hard to market the company and its products to a sizeable audience.

 

Make sure the start-up costs fit within your budget.

The excitement that comes with starting your own business can make you get carried away. When it comes to your initial investment, be frugal and take it one step at a time until you start bringing in revenue. Until you start seeing a return on your investment, you want to be careful not to get in over your head right away. This can make you feel overhelmed and discouraged, and leads many to throw in the towel before they've really even begun!

I recommend finding a company that only charges you up front for sign up fees, basic supplies (like a consultant website or backend portal for keeping you organized, order forms, etc.), and training tools to get started. Companies that require you to pay for your own merchandise to sell can create a hefty amd burdensome investment and can start you off on a bad foot financially. Find a hustle that allows you to purchase products or build inventory at your own pace, and perhaps create your own samples from products you'll be using yourself (within sanitary reason!) so there’s little financial and product waste. Also, find a company who understands it takes time to build your business and customer relationships, and doesn't financially penalize you for this. I'm so thankful to work with an MLM who allows plenty of time to reach realistic sales goals (because life happens!) and puts a huge emphasis on building customer relationships.

 

If you’re strongly thinking about joining, seek out and work with a mentor/upline that you trust.

Ask them TONS of questions! I grilled my mentor for a very long time before I jumped on board. She was very patient and understanding with me! If they aren’t being honest, patient with your concerns, or aren’t being totally transparent; RUN AWAY! In many MLMs, your relationship with your mentor is ongoing as you build your business and seek their mentorship. If they don't respect you, don't take the time to answer your questions and address your concerns, treat you like your questions are stupid or you're an inconvenience, it can make or break your experience with the MLM you choose.

 

Don’t join a company that requires YOU to purchase a minimum order or commit to an auto-shipment every month.

This is a big fat red flag. Purchasing products when you don’t need them is a waste of your money and resources. It’s also a big sign that the company is out to make quick money off their consultants and is not focused on selling their product to a wider audience. This will also drain you of business-building finances quickly; especially if you’re on a tight budget when getting started.

 

Be realistic.

Don’t be fooled by an MLM promising you’ll be making six figures within a year. A small percentage of those in an MLM actually accomplish this. Building a side business (or any business for that matter) takes time and intention. I have fellow SAHMs in my business who’ve achieved six figure incomes in a year, but realistically, most people don't. Yet, plenty of women on my team have done very well and have been bringing in enough to cover their mortgage, utilities, their grocery bill each month, and/or a luxury vacation for their family each year!

As a stay-at-home mom with various life demands and schedules, how we contribute to our side hustles won’t look the same for everyone. Yet, so many of us have found our work very fulfilling, inspiring, and most important: FUN! Whatever path you take, make sure your hustle doesn’t add too much undue stress to your life and is a blessing to you intellectually and financially. If it’s one that requires many little steps spread out over time, you’re consistently moving in the right direction, and aren’t back-peddling, then it may be a good fit for you! One particular reason I love the company and products I promote are the perks I gain as a consultant and the fact that our family would already be using these products anyways; so we’re not double-purchasing things we’re already using! In other words, be savvy and try finding ways to make the hustle work for you, too!

 

And one more thing...... aside from spending time to pray and discern, spend a lot of time discussing the details with your spouse.

Ask them to be honest with you when it comes to the product(s) and whether they can envision you working with this company. After all, they know you better than anyone! For example, have them give you their honest opinion first as your spouse and taking your family's lifestyle into consideration, and then from the viewpoint of a potential customer. Talk about what the demands of growing this particular type of side business would look like in your daily lives and what kind of time you would be able to commit to your hustle. Some business opportunities can become successful with a small startup fee, several weeks to train and build up a client portfolio, and committing to as little as an hour a day (ask me how I know this)! Some need much more time each week, a larger investment upfront, and additional resources to develop. It all depends on what will work for you and what goals you have in mind.

 

Do any of you SAHMs out there have a side hustle? Do you have more questions? Comment with any questions or tips you have for any other moms considering the leap! Please, NO soliciting. Thank you!

Happy New Year! Yes, this is the first post of 2017 on my blog. I am SO behind!

I have to admit.....I've been a terrible blogger recently! Sorry! Many of you out there are probably wondering what life-altering experience I must be going through to basically drop off the face of the earth! Well, some of you may have guessed it's because I'm pregnant. You would be correct! God is so good!

The last several months have been interesting while I've navigated life with a toddler, running a business at home, and dealing with lots of fatigue and nausea this round. Thankfully, baby and I are super healthy, so we really can't complain! Pregnancy is a truly miraculous event and I don't take it for granted. Also, MAJOR props to my super hero husband who has been a huge Godsend! (I married UP!)

It's been quite a whirlwind with all that has been going on; not only within our domestic church, but in the world all around us. Some of us may be coming into 2017 with anger, caution, fear, and dread. Many of us are ecstatic and hopeful. Many of us are still licking wounds or are working through regret over things said during a brutal election season. Whichever emotion best describes you and regardless of who you voted for, I would say that most of us have some level of fear and dread in our hearts with all the unknowns and negative events that are happening in the world these days.

As I begin 2017 here at The Purified Palate, I want this first post to be simple. To everyone reading this is: Be still and know that He is God. He reigns and no government, politician, world leader, or global crisis can ever take His place or change this. *sigh of relief*. Thank God. But easier said than done, amiright? Are we truly living with this knowledge? Are we embracing it? Or are our words and actions toward our neighbor and our circumstances showing otherwise? I'm totally guilty of commiserating in this fear and dread. Anyone else? Misery really does love company. You know who else loves misery and gets way too much of it these days? I'll let you take a wild guess. 

This past year especially, I've really struggled with learning not to focus on what other people think. At the root of all our hearts, I think we desperately want to be known and loved for who we are. In today's world, it's heartbreaking to see such conditional love and how people are so selective and controlling over their relationships; simply based on whether they're in agreement with that person's views and values. I've actually heard people say, "Nah. I'd rather not hang out with that person. I'm sure they'll start talking about the election and such-and-such candidate." 

Growing up, my parents encouraged openness toward others and, even if we disagreed, to always listen and be respectful. I treasure the vulnerability and diversity that comes with open dialogue with people across all idealogies. I have always felt it was a huge compliment when people feel they can open up and share such an intimate piece of themselves; even if we are polar opposites in beliefs.  It is so rare to be a part of open and respectful dialogue, and to experience such unconditional love by our peers these days. Nothing hurts me more than when a loved one or acquaintance assumes terrible things of me or is mis-interpreting my intentions, yet they've made no effort to seek understanding or to actually get to know who I am; and this includes what I'm passionate about, my religion, my politics, etc. This doesn't include the current weather conditions or how my day was. I'm not perfect at this, but knowing how much it hurts to be "loved" in such a superficial and conditional way, I'm going to double my efforts to seek understanding of others before jumping to conclusions or assuming the worst. I'm going to sacrifice my own comfort in order to be more vulnerable and let the other person feel more intimately loved for who they are and what drives them and gives them meaning in this life we share. Surrendering my life and my relationships to Christ means I won't always be comfortable in conversation, but I know that this discomfort is sanctifying me, and this discomfort is giving the other person a glimpse at Christ. I've also grown closer to accepting that at the end of the day, I can't control other's opinions of me and this is something I also need to surrender to Christ. 

My very wise brother, who's going to be ordained this summer as a Jesuit priest, reminded me once that living with such fear and anxiety is very contradictory to who we are as Christians. How will our faith and joy in Christ ever look attractive to others and how will we ever exude warmth and openness to our brothers and sisters, if we live in fear and dread, close ourselves off to the world out of this fear, and make decisions that are controlling and rooted in fear and dread; rather than out of love and joy in knowing He is King; over our world, our lives, and our salvation?

With these things in mind, I decided that when I made out my list of New Year's resolutions, I would also be choosing a theme to focus on: Joyful Abandonment in Christ. I can make as many resolutions and to-do lists as I want, but if I don't have joy rooted in Him and if I don't surrender it all to Him, then nothing else matters. No matter where I live in the world, if I don't surrender my life to Him, I will never feel true freedom. I forget this way too often. I desperately want to be filled with this fruit-of-the-holy-spirit-type joy, and nothing robs me of it more than trying to control my own life out of fear and dread, and getting in my own way of surrendering it all to Him. I also want to be less fearful when it comes to vulnerability and getting uncomfortable in my relationships with others. Fear robs us of the richness and fruit of relationships, and if I surrender them to Christ as well, I pray it makes me a more Christ-like and loving presence in their lives. I pray this vulnerability brings me closer to Christ, too. This reminds me of a great quote by one of my favorite authors and philosophers:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Love

What is your "theme" for the year? What did you learn from 2016? Please share in the comments or on our facebook page!

I wish you and all your loved ones a beautiful, bright, and blessed new year full of joyful abandonment in Christ!

 

Many of you read our previous guest interview with Dolls from Heaven when we introduced you to their incredible ministry and their first doll, Saint Thérèse! If you'd like a review or to find out how Dolls from Heaven got started, please read our previous interview!
Today, we will be talking with The Kiczek Family about how their ministry has blossomed and inspired so many. We'll also be introduced to their newest doll, Saint Joan of Arc! Saint Joan happens to be my patron saint, so I couldn't be more excited that they've chosen her as their next doll.
 
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How has your ministry been doing since starting Dolls from Heaven?
 
It continues to grow and inspire children every day.  By the grace of God, we were able to order another set of Thérèse dolls because the first run is almost sold out and add a second doll, St. Joan of Arc to the Dolls from Heaven’s doll family. We have now the Co-Patrons of France. They will make a great team and can share clothes as Thérèse loved to dress up as Joan of Arc. As it is now, the St. Joan of Arc doll is available for pre-order and the estimated shipping date is early October. All pre-orders get a 10% discount, the coupon code is "Joan." We worked very hard all summer on the St. Joan of Arc book and we hope to inspire all who read to trust in God and to know that everything is possible with God.
 
Are there any new stories you can share with us about how your dolls have inspired others?
 
About two weeks ago, one of our customers and her daughter went to Lourdes, France and took her Thérèse Doll with her. They brought our St. Thérèse doll to the blessed spot where Our Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette. They told us that the doll was much admired by all the people who saw her. The Thérèse doll is a powerful witness to young and old in spreading the love of Jesus to everyone.
Here is the full story with pictures on our blog.
 
What made you decide to create a doll to honor St. Joan of Arc? How is her witness relevant and important to children in our world today?