What is “Carnival”? 💚✨

 As a flight attendant, I’m constantly being exposed to all sorts of cultural phenomena and celebrations.  Just the other day on a flight from Miami to Phoenix, I was working with a Brazilian flight attendant who asked me if I’ve ever been to carnival. 

“Carnival?  Yea I’ve been to a carnival! Lots!  In fact, I grew up at them.  My family has been traveling as an independent concessioner for years,” I responded.  He laughed and said he meant the festival in Brazil called “carnival.”  

Because I’m always trying to learn… and bored out of my mind on reserve 🙄, I decided to look it up and found out what  he was referring to was Mardi Gras.  “Carnival” or “Mardi Gras” is celebrated in many countries around the world–mainly those with large Roman Catholic populations.  It begins after the Feast of the Epiphany and culminates on the day before Lent begins (Ash Wednesday). 

Because Catholics and some other Christians abstain from the consumption of meat during this season, it is evident to see how the word “carnival” derived… it literally means to remove meat!  

Some of the most beloved traditions during the carnival season is to buy or bake a king cake 💜, to wear masquerade masks 🎭, and to decorate with brightly colored beads ✨. It’s a fun excuse to party before the Lenten season begins! 


Ask a Saint to be your Best Friend

It is such a relief to have saints that have “been there” and have “done that.” They are friends you can turn to in life’s most stressful situations. ❤️  Like having a best friend on earth, one of these heavenly men and women can become your best friend: you can develop a deep connection with them and tell them pretty much anything!

Because saints were human just like us. They fell into the same pitfalls and temptations that we do. But the reason their legacy lived on was because despite their failings and shortcomings, they always chose to…

1. Love God
2. Be close to Him

Loving God means following His commandments no matter the hurt it may bring to you. It means choosing His way over your own selfish desires.

To be close to God, one must part with sin, that is, to be truly sorry for not obeying God’s commandments and to be reconciled with Him again through the sacrament of penance.   Because sin causes a divide between God and man, a saint hates to hurt God, and for this reason, his or her life is changed forever.  He or she strives to do good, no matter the cost… and the reward is being in communion with God in heaven.

When you think about it, loving and being close to God is truly a beautiful way to live.  It can be attainable to anyone throughout life if he or she has the strength and proper spiritual mentors: the saints!  Since the saints have accomplished seeing God in His kingdom first-hand, don’t you think they are the best ones to ask about it?

I hope after reading this, you realize that the time to familiarize yourself with the saints is now!  Network your way to heaven with their friendship and intercession.  Ask your heavenly friends to pray for not only you, but for those you love as well.  Ask them to help make you and your friends on earth, saints!

Here is a link to get you started in picking a best friend: http://saintsnamegenerator.com/

On “Yes” and “No”

If you are one among the mass of millennials who is currently swimming in the dating pool… I’d be willing to bet you or someone you know has dropped the “let’s just be friends,” cliché. It’s a phrase used in 3 situations, all of which are very distinct ✏️:

1. You want to keep options open.

You like the person… but ya don’t ✌🏼. You can’t be tied down because, “What if something better comes along?” While you can reap the benefits of a relationship on occasion, as soon as you start showing feelings, it’s time to retreat. So let’s just be friends, ya know?”

2. You actually really love the person.

You have already proved you have chemistry, but it leaves you feeling broken because it wasn’t done in the right context (within a committed relationship). So “Let’s just be friends, so we don’t hurt each other more than we’ve already done.” 😔

3. You realize the person isn’t what you expected.

Whether it be conflicting morals or beliefs… or you just find yourself physically unattracted to them anymore, you let them down gently with a “Let’s just be friends.” 🙅🏻

Can we please transport to a world where this “just friends” mindset would be considered crazy? Because it is! It is a lie. And I see myself slowly falling into its strangling grip. It brings me back to last Sunday when I was sitting in Mass trying to pay attention, but finding myself concentrating on how strong the priest’s accent was, thinking: 💭”I wonder how long it will take living in Miami, to contract an accent? 🤔 Will it be a Cuban one? A Venezuelan one? Or a Puerto Rican one? And what will my friends and family think if I go home to Pennsylvania and have an accent? Will they like it? Does this priest really have an accent? Or is it actually me with the accent?” … I think you get the picture. God help me control my trailing thoughts in your house. 🙏🏽

Anyways… it takes me back to last Sunday’s gospel from Matthew 5:37 where Jesus says “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”

Reflecting upon that, is that not what we are doing every time we say “Let’s just be friends”? Are we REALLY “just friends?” The answer is no. We are absolutely not just friends! We are lying to each other and using “just friends” to cover up our motives for not pursuing something more or less. Instead of doing that, let’s really be friends to those we encounter by telling them the truth and not sending mixed messages.

1. If you want to keep options open and are unsure of how to progress your relationship. Say it. Pray about it. God will help guide your course, if He wants you together.

2. If you really care about the person’s heart and soul, make it clear to him or her. Offer a prayer for them. Let them know that the progress of your relationship took a course that you didn’t like. And you want to change that.

3. If you suddenly find yourself unnattracted to the person…maybe don’t say “Hey I think you’re ugly. Or your morals are shi*” Instead you could say “You know what… We have our differences and the more I think about it, the more I realize that we aren’t compatible.”

You aren’t lying. You aren’t leading the person on. You are letting your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No” be “No”.

So for goodness sake, can we please start being honest with each other and living by this gospel? Jesus said it for a reason… not just for kicks and giggles.

Here is my morning prayer for all those who’ve been mislead in the past and who’ve mislead others with a “let’s just be friends.” 🙏🏽

God, if it is your will, please help my generation and me to clear the confusion in the relationships we are involved in. Help us to let our “Yes” mean “Yes” and our “No” mean “No”. Please wipe away any fear we have for pursuing relationships that are in fact, good for us… and for ending those that are not. Amen.

French Onion Soup With Bacon (Gluten Free)


• 32 oz carton beef broth
• 4 sliced onions
• 2 tbsp almond flour
• 1 tbsp butter
• 1 tsp garlic
• 1/4 tsp thyme
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• Gluten Free Bread
• Provolone cheese
• Bacon
• Scallions


Place sliced onions, garlic, butter, 1 tbsp almond flour, and black pepper in rice cooker. Set to saute and simmer setting. Stir occasionally. Add remaining tbsp almond flour and cook until onions are soft and flour is slightly browned.

Add thyme and beef broth and leave on saute and simmer setting for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

Meanwhile set oven to low broil. Use the top of a jar to cut circles out of bread and top with provolone cheese and bacon. Broil for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Scoop soup into bowls, cups, or ramekins and top with cheesy gluten free bread and scallions. Bon appetit!

“I am” Poem

Amidst all the temptations in this world, it’s so difficult to stay true to your innermost values.  From time to time, we get swept up in the meaningless noise of our surroundings and may begin to wonder “Who Am I?” anymore?

Try this simple exercise to remind yourself who you are, what you love, and where you want to be.  Please feel free to share your poem in the comments!

“I am” Poem

I am a country girl heart , with an uptown girl lifestyle

I am home-cooking, loving my family, and putting the world away for a minute

I am spontaenous peanut butter and jelly making at 2AM

I am graceful, strong, and deep: a black swan

I am overthinking, over analyzing, prioritizing

I am everlasting sunshine, a gentle sea breeze, and sometimes a storm to chase.

I am “every mile is a memory”, and “everything happens for a reason”

I am perpetually praying throughout the day and guarding my heart to protect my soul

I am twinkle lights, a secret garden, and watching the fireflies on warm summer nights

I am embracing femininity to its fullest: a First Lady in the making

I am “al naturale” because it sounds classier than “all natural”

I am TeawithV

I am me

Recognizing Blessings

As I sit here sipping coffee in my Miami apartment, I look around and feel an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. A child-like peace. I realize God has had His hand in every moment of my life to guide me where I am today and has strategically placed certain individuals along the road to help guide the course of events in my life.  Whether those persons had a positive or negative impact, their presence shaped my thoughts, motivations, and inclinations to certain decisions that have led me to where I am. If you asked me a short time ago where I would be living in a year, I’d never fathom that it would be Miami. As a small-town girl, I seemed to be fixated to the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. While I always dreamed of living somewhere that was perpetually sunny, it seemed like a far off dream… something out of question.  Yet, even though it seemed like a joke, God found a way to answer my prayers.  I was offered a position as a flight attendant soon after college and having few base options to choose from in training, I soon found myself in Miami with 5 days to find accommodations.

When contemplating whose presence in my life are a blessing, one person stands out from the rest: and that is my mother.  I never could have found a place in time or pursue this lifestyle without her love, help, and support.  She reassures me every time I feel like giving up that everything will be ok, and if the flight attendant thing doesn’t work out, I am always welcome back home in Pennsylvania.  Her gentle words and attitude mirror that of the blessed mother… Like the blessed mother, she possesses an unconditional welcome and continual loving support for a child with big plans.  

I thank God everyday for her.  She is a great role model to live by, and I hope to someday be half the mother she is! From her, I learned the value that spending time with your child and supporting his or her dreams has.  I admire how she maintains peace in our household…how she loves hot fudge brownie sundae+movie nights…how she has a small obsession with collecting Longaberger baskets, Princess House, and other dish sets and uses them to decorate our table and counters for every holiday…how she loves to color…how she is fond of jumping in the car and taking mini vacays and is not afraid of putting the world away for a minute…how she is the hardest, most dedicated worker I’ve ever met… and lastly, how she is always there for her children.  With her, there is never a dull moment and that is a great quality to have when there’s not much to do living in a small town! 

Just yesterday I called her crying because I was lonely and bored in Miami and she was so calm in saying, “Well, just fly home tomorrow night and I’ll pick you up from Philly (a two hour drive).  It doesn’t matter what time.   I’ll just get a coffee to stay awake.”  How many people would say that?  😂  Either she is slightly crazy, or the best mother anyone could ever ask for!

God has definitely blessed me with an angel on earth, and I am proud to call her my mother.   I can’t wait until the day when we can arrange our schedules to spontaneously hop on planes and go on vacations together…when I finally figure out a healthier hot fudge brownie sundae recipe that won’t leave me feeling guilty afterwards 😂, and when we have the time to extavagantly decorate the table and have home-cooked meals and tea parties together again. 

Words can’t describe how thankful to God  I am for my mother’s presence in my life.  May He bless her each and everyday for her kindness and example.  If there’s someone who has had a positive impact on your life, reflect on that today and let them know how much they mean to you! 

It is HUMILIATING to be a good girl: And why that is in fact, a GOOD THING!

I’ve been told time and time again by family and friends “every guy wants a good girl.” And I’ve come to realize it’s true…as a good girl, I’ve had a handful of guys who’ve taken an interest in me over the years. However, in my experience I’ve realized that while “every guy wants a good girl,” he only wants her when the time is convenient for him. In the meantime, he can pursue some of her less modest peers, a phenomena known as “sowing one’s wild oats.”

What does this mean for us “good girls” then? And by “good girls,” I mean the girls who respect their bodies and recognize it , as a precious gift 🛍, are goal-oriented 🎓 , modest 👗, classy 👸🏽, and ultimately fun-loving 💕 creatures… It means we constantly feel HUMILIATED. Humiliated because our worth was disregarded by someone who’d rather invest their time and effort into a cheap asset, rather than the expensive one that is going to last.

If it has happened to you, you know the frustration and hurt brought about by this dysfunctional behavior. It may leave you wondering, “Did I do something wrong?” But that is NOT the case! Rather, you did something right!

You are living in accordance with God’s plan for femininity, which Saint Pope John Paul II coined as the “feminine genius.” (See: http://madeinhisimage.org/fashionandthefemininegenius/) In summary, it is a concept that recognizes that lasting beauty stems from intrinsic qualities like virtue and character, rather than external vanities.

So if you feel like you’ve been the girl on the back burner or hurt time and time again, I’m here to say, “Keep on doing what you’re doing.” No matter how broken our world seems at times, we “good girls” can be the glue to mend it back together. We can lead by example, embrace the humiliation as a humbling experience, and keep hoping for a love that allows us to serve God better as a couple, than we ever could on our own!

And when the guys who broke your heart finally realize that your worth is more precious than rubies, pray for some divine intervention on how to deal with them at that point. ✌🏽 Things will always work out how they’re supposed to if you sincerely try and follow Christ’s example. After all that’s what “good girls” do best!

Sometimes it takes a little “dying” behind closed doors, so that others can “live.” 

Strawberry Chia Jelly 🍓🤗 

You can now enjoy peanut butter + jellies with 0 guilt! Try my healthy chia jelly recipe. 

• 1 1/2 cups mashed strawberries
• 1 tbsp+ 1 tsp chia seeds
• 1 tsp raw sugar
• 1 tbsp honey

Mash strawberries by pulsing them in a blender or food processor. Simmer in a saucepan on stovetop for approx. 2 minutes. Add honey and sugar and stir. Remove from heat, place in a bowl and allow to cool on counter.

Stir in chia seeds and transfer to refrigerator to cool and thicken. (Approx. 30 min.- 1 hr.)

Peanut Butter Fruit Dip

This creamy, delicious peanut butter fruit dip is perfect for get-togethers or for a healthy snack. 😋

• 1 container Yoplait 100-Calorie Greek Yogurt (Vanilla flavored)
• 1/4 cup+ 2 tsp PB2 powdered peanut butter
• 1/8 cup milk (Almond or Whole)

Stir all ingredients together. Serve with fruit.