Friday, January 22, 2010

Book Review - The Undomestic Goddess


My bestie, Laura, was saying the other day that she was looking for a new read! I am the queen of Chick-Lit books and I had to think for awhile before I could suggest something worth her time. Now, these are not Romance novels; I liken those to R-rated (or worse) movies. These are like Romantic Comedies! They're friendly, funny and oh-so-easy.. Just like I like my men. LOL Just kidding!! Honestly though, I recently realized that if you went through my bookshelf and called out the colors of my books, it would sound like this:

"Pink, light pink, purple, white, pink, pink, neon green, dark pink, turquoise, pink, pink, pink and polka dot!"

Now, I know many of my readers are hard-workin' stay at home mommies who have much more important things to do than read such trivial works of literature, but I thought of a fun one you might enjoy!

The Undomestic Goddess
by Sophie Kinsella

Now, this is actually the cover for the audio book, which I also highly recommend. Katherine Kellgren does great voices and, I don't care how old you are, that is always fun!

Sophie Kinsella is one of my favorite authors! She has a very unique way of writing, being able to capture the innermost thoughts of the most mindless characters! She wrote the Shopaholic series, which was turned into a movie, but my favorite Kinsella books are the ones that act alone!

Amazon.com summarizes the book as:

"Samantha Sweeting, the 29-year-old heroine of Kinsella's latest confection (after Shopaholic Sister), is on the verge of partnership at the prestigious London law firm Carter Spink—the Holy Grail of her entire workaholic life. But when she finds she has made a terrible, costly mistake just before the partnership decision, she's terrified of being fired. In a fog, she stumbles out of the building and onto the nearest train, which drops her in the countryside, where she wanders to a stately home. The nouveau riche lady of the house mistakes her for the new housekeeper—and Samantha is too astonished to correct her. Numb and unable to face returning to London, Samantha tries to master the finer points of laundry, cooking and cleaning. She discovers that the slow life, her pompous but good-hearted employers and the attentions of the handsome gardener, Nathaniel, suit her just fine. But her past is hard to escape, and when she discovers a terrible secret about her firm—and when the media learns that the former legal star is scrubbing toilets for a living—her life becomes more complicated than ever."

Here's what I like about this book.. Ms. Kinsella takes the mundane, the trivial and the seemingly useless tasks in making a home and gives them dignity. She compares homemaking to the fast-paced career that Samantha maintained at the beginning of the book and comes out even, if not in favor of the simpler things in life. In a world where we bask in adulation of big cities and luxurious lifestyles, I liked how The Undomestic Goddess valued the country, hard work and ingenuity.

I have the book on my shelf, but I also downloaded the entire text on www.4shared.com! I'd be happy to email it to you, if you'd like! Enjoy!

Other Kinsella Books you may like:
Can You Keep A Secret?
Remember Me?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

7 Quick Takes!!

1. I've just realized that I haven't been including a link back to Jennifer's blog, Conversion Diary, even though she graciously hosts the 7 Quick Takes each Friday! How rude of me! With what I did the other day and now this little stunt, I have officially put myself in the running for the Rudest Blogger Award! Writing acceptance speech now.. Please start voting!

2. Speaking of acceptance speeches, IT'S AWARD SHOW SEASON! Many of you know I'm Catholic. I love my faith. It defines me and my relationship with Jesus is numero uno! However, a close second is my devotion to all things celebrity. It's lame, useless and sometimes just plain wrong, but I can't help it! It's like a train-wreck kind of thing.. I just can't look away! Additionally, I love movies (I've been known to go to the theater once a week!) and I'm a fanatic for everything cinematic! Needless to say, this time of year is my favorite. Last weekend was the Golden Globes (which basically award the most popular movie, not the best), which I conside to be the playoffs and the grand-daddy of them all, the Academy Awards (March 7, 2010) is like my Superbowl. Last year was, hands down, the best Oscar's ever and I'm so excited to see this year's.

3. Last night someone tried to break into our house. This happened to me when I was ALONE in the house over break as well (not to mention the incident when I was house-sitting), so you cannot imagine how freaked out I am. We also got back from break to find a lot of random stuff missing. Anyway, I was coming into the driveway when I saw a man come around our house and when I walked in, my roommate said that someone had just tried to open the door. We called the campus police but they didn't track anyone down. Now, I know I just said I love movies but I should have specified.. I love every kind of movie except horror. Those near and dear to me can tell you.. I am so easily scared. Previews to scary movies have me eyes closed and humming so as not to experience an ounce of fear. It's also quite lame and, I've realized, perhaps limiting me in my ability to remain calm in real-life freaky situations.. Perhaps I should condition myself with a weekend of horror flicks? Any suggestions?

4. I've decided that once I (finally) get my degree, I'm going to go to Ireland (my birthplace and where most of my family resides) and travel around, supporting myself by playing folk music in the streets and in pubs for a couple months. My favorite place in the world is walking through our dairy farm pastures, passing the cows and breathing in the thick, clean air. I hope to get a vespa or something and make my way around the countryside. Where will I put my guitar? I don't know. But I imagine my trip filled with beautiful music, scenery and people. Wanna go?

5. Have you ever been to the website 43things.com? It's like a virtual bucket list. You can find or create all the things you want to do before you die and make a list of it! It's wonderful to think about.. Then to have an actual list to work off of? I think it's a good idea to try to complete at least one or two of them a year! For example, this year I have decided to grow my hair out to donate to Locks of Love. Simple and doesn't take much effort. LOL What can you do this year to get something on your list crossed off?

6. Do you know my dearest, favoritest singer in the world was nominated for a Grammy? Maura O'Connell is an irish/folk singer from County Clare in Ireland and finally recognized for her beautiful voice and arrangements. A couple years ago she sang at our festival and we got to talking. I told her that I'd always wanted to sing with her and she told me to let her know anytime I was going to be at one of her shows. My mom surprised me with tickets to see her in Cincinnati a couple months later and so I emailed Maura with the news. Leaving for the concert I still hadn't heard back but wouldn't you know, she replied minutes later! I, of course, didn't see the email and was quite surprised to hear her ask for the house lights up towards the end of the concert and call my name! I made my way down the long aisle and sang with her to this song. It was a dream come true! She's coming back to our festival this year and I hope to sing with her again! Maybe this time I'll have proof! LOL

7. Prayers for Haiti, especially my friend Gregory Grene.. His twin brother was killed in the earthquake. Very sad. Gregory is the lead singer of The Prodigals and always a friendly face at our festival. I know he, along with many others, is struggling at this time. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Please go see Jen at Conversion Diary. She's so kind to host the fun!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

(Whimper) I did something bad..

"Is someone in trouble!?"


Okay, so I'm a very protective person. My dearest friends have called me a "Mama Bear" because I go all "Oh, no you di'in't" on anyone who says or does mean things to the people I love. Or to good people in general! Mind you, I'm sure I've hurt people just as much as the next guy, but I still feel physically upset when I even think of past instances in which I couldn't stand up for someone.. For instance, a friend of mine once received an anonymous letter condemning her parenting style and basically persecuting her for the choices she's made for her family. On a side note, I've always been scared that people thought it was me because one time I asked a question in her comment section about her choice to do something in particular, genuinely curious about her perspective. I swear, I did not send the letter! LOL Anyway, for days I felt physically ill that I could not really stand up for her and kick this person's.. teeth, and it still aggravates me today! (I know.. Get over it, right!?) LOL

Anyway, during the last week or so, the comments on Hallie Lord's article about skirts and dresses went from rude-less to rude-ilicious! One person in particular was extremely immature and I was disgusted. Perhaps this woman had been abused by a skirt in her past.. I have no other explanation as to why she was so ferocious about getting her point across! She made a really snide remark towards someone who, to me, was giving her perspective in a helpful, friendly way. I wanted so badly to cheer on the friendly lady and give her some encouragement but unfortunately, because of the Not-So-Positive Polly, the comments were disabled.

So, here's what Mama Bear did. I clicked on this lady's blog and left an anonymous comment (no, I'll admit, I did not want Debbie Downer coming to stay at my blog!!) saying that I thought she was being mean-spirited and immature. Please don't go looking for it.. I'm so embarrassed. I should have just left it in blog-world. I do have a tendancy to claw at people who treat others badly, but I'm not everybody's Mama Bear! Don't get me wrong, I think this lady is a total bee-yatch. I just should have realized she isn't going to change and walked (typed) away. (Sigh) This might be my first experience in blog-regret.. Has anyone else experienced this sickening feeling? Do you have advice for me?

PS - Looking for the picture above, I fell in love with the Bearenstain Bear books again! Did you have a favorite?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nanny of the Year?

Not only did she write on MY wall, but the mother of the new family I am working for (though I've known them awhile) had this as her Facebook status tonight..

"Caitie Beardmore you are awesome! My kids love you and you feel like, wait, ARE part of our family. Had to do a shout-out for the best nanny ever."

Who me!? (Eyelash batting) Oh, I'm sure I'm not the.. Well, okay! :)

(Sigh) So nice to be working for a sane family again.. I held out and it paid off! The mom actually runs her own business placing nannies and housekeepers with families in Indy. Coming from her, it meant a lot!

P.S. Yes, that means I quit working for the last family I was with. I'll just say this.. If Satan himself was married with a couple kids, even HE wouldn't let his youngins play with these "children of the corn". LOL

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Modesty - A Top 10 List

Did you read Hallie Lord's (aka Betty Beguiles) article at Faith and Family Live!? It's fantastic and the comments were virtually rude-less (just go with it)!! A joy to read, that one! The article or Hallie, you ask? Both, I say!

It came at a perfect time because I was thinking of all my different points-of-view on modesty and how they all fit together! Each one I feel strongly about, so how can I express all my points without contradicting myself and sounding ridiculous (please, do yourself a favor and follow that link)? Well, you know I'm a loyal fan of Top 10 Lists (but not David Letterman), so here we go!

The Top 10 Things I think about modesty!

10. God is Not Lookin' At Your Uggs - First thing's first.. When we meet God face-to-face, the last thing He will say is, "Oh. My. Me! Where did you get that skirt!? It's hideous!" Heck no! He looks at the disposition of our hearts, not the dress that cost us so much it killed us! We are more than fabric and God looks right past the clothes into our souls. Aren't we lucky?

9. But That Doesn't Mean They Don't Mean Something - Having said that, we do live in a society in which clothing is not so optional and oh-so-expensive. We gotta wear somethin' and we decide how we'll spend our money. I don't think you can take Number 10 and say, "See? God doesn't care what I wear! I will just slip into a tube top and some acid wash jeans (the jeans are not so much immodest as they are terrifying) and skip on down to daily Mass!" Hold on there a minute, sister! What I'm saying is this: if we are more than fabric, our clothes should never define or outshine us! I think that's a great little rhyme to remember when picking something out too.. "Does this define or outshine me?"

8. Don't Let Clothes Define You - Let's get a little more specific, shall we? Clothes that define us are clothes that say something more about us than we can say ourselves. If someone can make an inaccurate assumption about who you are through your clothing, you be needin' a shopping trip, girl! This can range from sloppy to slutty. Example: when I went to Ball State I had a friend who was a great Catholic girl and committed to purity. But the girl dressed like a drag queen! Guys constantly got the wrong idea about her and she found herself in many less-than-stellar situations. She never behaved badly, but no doubt it was her clothing that was sending a "Happy Birthday Mr. President" kind of message.

7. Don't Let Clothes Outshine You - Clothes that outshine us are peices that draw so much attention, they don't allow the wear-er to be the center of attention. These are humility-lacking peices. I think of it like a cake.. Wearing a modest skirt may be like sprinkles on a cake! It livens things up, implies a certain festive nature and can show off the baker’s creative side! However, when that dessert is brought out, no one says, “Oh! Sprinkles!” We say, “Mmm! Cake!” The sprinkles are there to enhance, not overpower. However, if you put sparklers and candles and gemstones and a glow-in-the-dark robot on top of that cake, what do you think people will notice? Hello, robot! Similarly is our dress. When we see a lovely Catholic woman, we shouldn’t be distracted by what she wears. We should be concentrating on who she is and guess what! That is exactly what modesty allows us to do! Modest clothes let US shine, not the other way around!

6. There IS Such a Thing As Feminine Clothing - First of all, I'm referring to the culture in which we live. We're not in the land of milk and honey in which the only fashion dilema is what size burlap sack to put on first. The fact is, we live in a society in which the choice for men is pants or shorts and the choice for women is pants, shorts, capri's, dresses or skirts. Men don't have the choice of walking around in ball gowns and pencil skirts. Why? Because dresses and skirts are distinctly feminine. Pants can be both feminine and masculine, but dresses and skirts are specifically made for us ladies! There ain't no such thing as a masculine dress, my friends! Having said that, lumber jack plaid isn't that far out.. I'm just saying.

** To me, this is similar to the debate that goes on about traditionally built cathedrals and more contemporary churches. Can the mass be said in both? Can one grow her Catholic faith in both? Absolutely! But there is a structure that is DISTINCT to the Church. You could walk in blindly and be able to say, “Oh! This is a Catholic Church!” And there is purpose to a traditional structure. Same with skirts and dresses.. You could look at someone from far away and say, “Ah, that person in a dress is a woman!” It helps accentuate and celebrate the gifts of a woman! **

5. Clothing Should Honor Us - Britney Spears vs. the Berka - In one of her stand-up acts, Kathy Griffin (the shameless but sometimes-you-gotta-admit hilarious comedienne) talked about her time in Kuwait and how the native men there would not look her in the eye because she was not wearing the traditional berka that women are required to don. She was irate about it! I, however, see it very differently. They cover the women because they believe the female beauty is too sacred to be shown to every man. Only the husband is permitted to see the entirety of what his lady has goin' on! They look at our culture with our Britney Spears-es and are disgusted! Now, don't get me wrong.. I'm NOT ABOUT to find me a berka and go to town and I don't, by any means, consider the Muslim faith to be dripping with truth. But I'd rather be covered and cherished than be exposed and thrown about like a peice of trash-ola!

4. Clothing Should Inspire Us - I call this the The Uptown Girl Factor (Feel free to enjoy the song while you read this little number)! A couple years ago I started to really hone in on my individual style. Before this I could easily walk into an ecclectic store, take one look around and exclaim, "One of everything, please!" I find beauty in so many looks.. classic, boho, vintage. But I started to buy only the things that inspired me! Things that made my eyes widen, my breath catch and my knees weak. Same with clothing! There are outfits that I could wear while buying tampons at a gas station and still feel on top of the world! I walk like I'm being followed by a doo-whop-ing Billy Joel; bouncin' and behavin' all over town! These clothes inspire me to be the best woman I can be and this is a big part of modesty! God calls us to find Clothing that allows and encourages us to be the woman He created. PS - I just watched that video.. Ah! Not the model of modesty, is it? Whoops! :)

3. Clothing Should Honor Others - I'll just say this.. I want there to be lots of men in Heaven. If me dressing modestly helps even one guy get closer, I'll happily cover the girls up and don an outfit that encourages us both to be pure!

2. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Just try it! Maybe you're resistant to the dress thing because you just haven't found ones you like.. Search around! I always find good ones at Goodwill (the ones right by a Target especially!) and Dressbarn. With confidence, you can pull off any look! You just have to love it! If you really enjoy the dress you have on, people will enjoy seeing you wear it. Spend time searching for the ones that inspire you and slowly work them into your personal fashion line. Have fun with it! And get some Spanx already! Makes every dress 100 x cuter!

1. But Remember What is Truly Important - Finally, only in America can we have such conversations. There are plenty of people in our world who only have the clothes on their backs and are unable to have such a blessing as modest clothing. Modesty does not only relate to look but emphasis. If you're spending hundreds of dollars on a modest dress, you're missing the point. If all you think about is clothing, you're in line for a reality check, my friend! Thank God you are able to serve Him in such a way and go take a bag of immodest clothing to Goodwill. Some lady who is not as bright as you will be in luck. :)

Friday, January 08, 2010


Merry Christmas, Family!

My favorite pottery studio is minutes away from my childhood home and I could spend hours and hours there! If you're in Lafayette, All Fired Up is a fantastic place to make your friends, your family or yourself a creative, thoughtful gift!

This Christmas I made each member of my family a plate. Wanna see them?
I'm missing two because Papa Bishop and JeriNana took theirs home, but you get the idea!
Let's start with my FAVORITE one! I told you I'm obsessed with paisley!

For mom

For Caroline - Age 4
(I call her my little polka dot!)

For Michael - Age 8

For John - Age 17

For Brian - Age 18

For Annie - Age 6

For Tommy - Age 23

For Dad

For Will - Age 14

For me! Age? Priceless!

Perhaps I will go into business making personalized plates for families.. Interested? ;0)

* 7 Takes Friday! *

Hi Ladies!

Hope you had a lovely Epiphany! When I was little, I always felt badly for the Wisemen because I felt that although they found the baby Jesus (go, Wisemen!), they missed Christmas.. LOL Don't worry! I got it into perspective! :)


1. I love to paint pottery. I'm a fanatic, actually.. And I think I'm going to start my own shop on Etsy.com! Have you been? I'm sure you have.. If not for wonderful, unique, handmade crafts, it's fantastic for inspiration (aka downright copying). Of course, my pieces will be completely my own but I'm on a paisley (the design, not the Brad) kick that just won't quit! I'll keep you posted!

2. Did you watch the People's Choice Awards? FYI - Awards show season is like a prolonged Superbowl game to me! Many times I have to watch each show alone because there are very few people who take it as seriously and will pay as much attention as I do! I can remember who won what and (just as importantly) who wore what from years past. (Sigh) I'd like to pretend it's enlightening but I'm assured that it's quite lame. My brothers say so.

3. Ready for your new favorite website? Right now! Go to www.4shared.com. I have just downloaded numerous books (Chick Lit, of course) that I have been (shamelessly) dying to read! It has music, audio books and more! Enjoy!

4. Okay, one more? www.TVDuck.com. You're welcome.

5. Just saw "It's Complicated" with my mom tonight! Some parts I'm not crazy about but John Krasinski (Jim from "The Office") was BRILLIANT! There were some pretty big laughs and I love Meryl Streep. All in all, I say: AWESOME rented movie!

6. My brother just got casted in a Speedway commercial and has an audition for.. (drumroll, please!).. "Army Wives" on Monday!! Watch out for this kid, okay!? He WILL be on SNL very soon. Be ready.

7. You know what I missed this Christmas season? Those Walgreens "Town of Perfect" commercials! Did you see any? I guess I didn't watch that much TV, but they were so enchanting! I loved the music! Here's one (okay, 10) for the road!



Posts on their way? Picture posts! One on the plates I painted for my family for Christmas and one of all the loot I got when I thrift-store-shopped in Chicago! If you're lucky, I'll include the route I took! Don't miss it!