let’s talk darling.

Darling Magazine Review

Darling Magazine Review

I didn’t realize it until an Instagram friend pointed it out to me the other day…that even though I’ve mentioned Darling Magazine in a previous post, and have posted oodles of photos of past issues on social media sites, I’ve never fully reviewed the truly darling magazine on this blog.

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en route with my knitting, a London Fog and Darling Magazine <3

I was first turned on to Darling back in 2013 while shopping at our local Anthropologie.  They had a few copies of Issue 3 in their fabulous clearance room.  As soon as I turned it over and read their mission statement (it’s printed on the back of every Issue) I knew it was true love.

Full-Resolution-Mission_1050It was as if everything I felt inside was put perfectly into beautiful calligraphic words. I had such deep and passionate feelings about very single sentence in that mission statement.  “Positive change…beauty apart from vanity, influence apart form manipulation, style apart from materialism…Darling leads women to practice the arts of virtue, wit, modesty and wisdom…” How encouraging is that?!  It was everything I aspired to be.  Maybe the most inspiring part of all was that there were other women who felt the same way, which thrilled me because it felt like I rarely met someone who seemed to truly understand me these days and here there was an entire community.  It was a wonderful feeling.


So I opened it up and quickly read the letter from the editor. Let me tell you!!  I was teary eyed!  I tucked that magazine right under my arm and headed for the cash wrap.  I’ve been hooked ever since.  And since I was hooked, I of course had to force encourage Mommy, Geri and Athena to subscribe.  Needless to say, they’re hooked to0.

The Glitter Guide recently posted an interview with Darling editor Sarah Dubbledam here.  I’m including a couple of the most recent letters here for you to read.  Now, if the “Letters From the Editor” are this good you can imagine how wonderful the rest of the magazine is!


Winter Issue 10:


Spring Issue 11:

darling letter

Darling: The Art of Being a Woman is a quarterly magazine and is divided into sections based on personality.  In the print magazine, each section opens with a witty poem and then offers a variety or articles, craft, home or recipe ideas.  It’s wonderful.  Oftentimes, while reading I’ll ask myself which category I fit more comfortably into.  But I can never really decide.  Each day, I fall into a different one.  Some days I’m an explorer, while others I feel more like an intellectual.  I’m always a dreamer  and a hostess and on occasion an achiever.  I’m a stylist hardly ever and a confidant most every day.   I suppose it all just depends on when you catch me.

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The only downside is it is a little pricey, $20 an issue or $80 a year which includes the print and digital editions.  I try to limit myself to a certain budget every year (because I can be a major magazine junkie) but I enjoy this one so much–I literally read them over and over again–that I didn’t renew some of the other magazines I used to subscribe to to get this one.  I really believe in what they stand for and the type of positivity they’re working hard to promote so it’s worth it to me.  Some of the photographs are a little too modern and edgy for my taste, not inappropriate in any way, just not my personal style.  I love that they have a “no retouching policy” and all of the women they feature look real!

I can go on and on about all the things I enjoy about Darling and why I think you will too, but instead of doing that I’ll just post links to some of my favorite articles online.  Of course, these don’t do the print version justice but I think it will give you a good feel for it.

Check it out and decide for yourself and be sure to stop back and let me know what you think!  As you can see, I’m quite obsessed.  :)

Saying No to Slander

 Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Create Your Own Reading Nook

How to Give and Receive Criticism Well

Photoshopping Our Souls Away

Ginger Berry Crumble Recipe

 A Return to Reading

A Fruitful Life vs. A Successful Life

The Three I’s of Prioritize (4-post series)

Happy Reading!!


tea & jam (giveaway)

Tea & Jam Giveaway

Tea & Jam Giveaway

UPDATE:  The winner is Penelope!  Please email your shipping info to Sylvia{at}OrthodoxMom{dot}com!! Congratulations and thank you all for entering!

I want to share some products with you that I’ve been enjoying almost every morning since the beginning of lent.  It has been on my bagels, english muffins and even at the bottom of my teacup.  I just love stumbling across things that I think you’ll enjoy as much as I do!  The two companies I’ll be introducing you to today not only offer top quality products but are family owned and operated, which most of you know by now are my favorite kind of company to support.  It makes me proud knowing that even amongst all the major retail giants, the little guy still exists.

nicoletta's jam

The first company is Nicoletta’s Food. Nicoletta’s offers a large variety of homemade, all natural jams and marmalades.  I think the thing I like the most about their products is how natural they really taste vs. store bought products.  Even some of the organic jams I’ve tried are excessively sweet.  Nicoletta’s jams have just the right amount of sweetness that enhances the natural flavor of the fruit.  They’re really delicious!  Even my boys have been eating them and that speaks volumes because they typically will not come within 10 feet of anything even slightly resembling a jelly.  They had their first taste of it a couple weeks ago after we went to see Paddington Bear at the theater–a rare treat for them!  During the movie they asked what marmalade was.  So when we got home I made them chocolate hazelnut and orange marmalade sandwiches.  They loved them!  They’ve taken them to school several times in their lunch since the fast began.  It’s wonderful!

Perhaps my favorite thing about Nicoletta’s Food though, is their dedication to helping their church and community while all the time giving God the glory.  Right now, they are working on a project that will allow them to convert the dining area of a local shelter into a 5-star restaurant complete with table linens, fancy tableware, waiters, music, a Maitre D’ and a professional chef who will prepare a delicious 3 to 4 course meal!

You can learn more about the Progress Place Project by visiting their Go Fund Me page.  Or if you’re in the Silver Springs, Maryland area and are interested in helping at the actual event please contact tonyalexiou@nicolettafoods.com. 

View their full line of products here.  Keep an eye out for their limited edition Fig Jam coming soon!  (I can’t wait for that one.) :)

It’s such a blessing to be able to get great quality products for our families while helping others in the Faith! 

greekzoe.com teas

The next company I encourage you to check out is Greek Zoe.  Darling Hubby and I have used several other products of theirs for awhile now (like this and this) and have thoroughly enjoyed each of them, but this line of teas they just started carrying are so delicious that I couldn’t not share them with you.  I know my fellow tea lovers will really appreciate them.

All of Greek Zoe’s products are imported from Greece and other places in Europe but unlike most importers today, they only bring top quality products.  Several of those products earned awards from the European Food Administration.  I also love that I can get some of the products I’ve enjoyed overseas but can never find here in the States!

The Tea Odyssey line includes 3 different flavors; Navsicca (Peppermint), Penelope (Chamomile) and my favorite, Ithaca, which is a blend of Greek mountain tea, Salvia, Mentha and Rose Petals.  It is divine!  The moment you set it to steep you can smell the unique blend of herbs.  And they are certified organic and come in biodegradable pyramid bags, which is nice too.

tea odyssey from greekzoe.com

Be sure to check out their other great products like their honey, olives, pastas and more at Greek Zoe.com!  Greek Zoe also travels around the east coast to different fairs and festivals so be sure to take a look at their special events calendar to see if they’ll be in your area anytime soon!

Want to win?


I love both of these products so much that I’ve arranged a giveaway for one lucky reader to try them both!  The winner will receive a sampler box of jams, that includes 4-2 oz. jars of their four most popular flavors, and a box of tea from the Tea Odyssey line in the flavor of their choice!

It’s simple to enter!

  • Just visit both Nicoletta’s Food and Greek Zoe‘s websites and come back here and tell me which product (from both sites) is your favorite!

To earn extra entries:

  • Share the giveaway photo (top of page) on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and/or Twitter and hashtag #orthodoxmomgiveaway!  You’ll get an extra entry for each post! Be sure to use the hashtag or leave a link in the comments so I can verify your post. 

I’ll use random.org to choose a winner!  Winner will be announced on St. Patrick’s Day!


New Book for Orthodox Tweens/Teens: Voyage to the Rock {giveaway}


Xristos Anesti! Christ is Risen!


One of the most difficult thing as a parent to a tween boy that loves to read is finding books that are on his reading level yet still has appropriate content.  I feel like we’ve gone through most of the good series that are out there and we recently began dipping our toes into other book series.

[Read more…]

what’s in my bag?

kate spade 'all typed up'

since i was a little girl, i’ve loved to see what treasures were hidden inside a lady’s handbag and i suppose my girlish curiosity still exists.  so in case any of you are as nosy curious as me, here’s a glimpse of what’s inside my bag at the moment.

[Read more…]

The Hidden Garden by Jane G. Meyer

Hidden Garden Review

Hidden Garden Review

Jane G Meyer has been a favorite of mine for a very long time.  Her books have been, too.

Her latest children’s book, The Hidden Garden: A Story of the Heart, is an absolutely beautiful book about a man whose heart has dried up like a desert as a result of his neglect, and how he finally allows Christ to enter and help him turn it into the beautiful garden that it should have been all along.  It reminds me of the sort of book you could give as a Sunday School graduation gift or to someone newly baptized.  Sort of like some people give, Oh! The Places You Will Go, to kids when they graduate high school.  It just has a message that surpasses age.

All of my favorite little critters and I have been spending quite a bit of time on the front porch lately.  The weather has been perfect and we’ve been busy planting and watering our garden-to-be.   This book arrived on one of those lovely afternoons, so we sat on the swing and read The Hidden Garden.

The Hidden Garden by Jane G Meyer

The boys loved it!  Our favorite part is at the end of the book where Jane gives tips on How To Tend Your Garden.   We just finished planting seeds for our garden this year, so it was perfect timing.  I was able to compare the lessons in the story to what my children were seeing develop with our garden.  The boys learned lessons in loving God and your neighbor, and just like our seedlings, we really need little to survive and those are the things we should ask God for daily.

The illustrations were done by Masha Lobastov, who also did the illustration in one of our other favorite books, And Then Nicholas Sang.  They are so perfect for this book, each page has such a whimsical feel to it and it just sort of makes you dreamy.  The only thing that struck me as sort of off, and I didn’t mention this to the boys, but Lucky pointed it out on his own.  The illustrations of Christ, in particular, make him look more like a regular guy than the Christ we are used to seeing in icons or more iconographic  illustrations (which I prefer when depicting saints, etc).  Which, I’m sure was the point in this story but Lucky kept asking who the man knocking at the garden’s gate was and when I told him it was Jesus, he kept saying, “No, that’s not what he looks like!” :)  Other than that, it is impeccably illustrated.

This book would be a wonderful gift for Lent!  Jane’s tips on preparing your heart to welcome Christ is so appropriate for this time of year, this season of renewal and life and new beginnings.  Once again, a job well done by Jane G. Meyer. 

The Scent of Holiness {book review}



I realize I am way late in posting my thoughts on this book considering it came out some months ago. But I had a really hard time organizing my thoughts on it.

Now, just in case this becomes a very long post, I want to make myself clear so there are no misunderstandings on why I couldn’t quite put into words my thoughts about it. I absolutely loved loved loved this book. I always post honest reviews of products and books and so I want you to know that I’m being 100% honest when I say this: This was by far one of the best books I have ever read. Like ever. And I read A LOT

Matushka Constantina Palmer compiled such a treasury of Orthodox wisdom and knowledge in this book and I highly encourage everyone to make The Scent of Holiness a part of their home library.

It is often said, that only the Orthodox Church contains the scent of holiness. We are the only faith to have the ‘fragrance of Christ’ present in the many, many miracles that happen through myrrh streaming icons, weeping icons, and the fragrant relics of our saints and martyrs. That being said, this book is appropriately titled because the stories contained within it’s pages are also uniquely Orthodox.


The first thing I got really excited about it was that it was geared towards women.  There really aren’t very many Orthodox books written from a woman’s perspective, even though there is such a need for it.


It also made its way into my heart through personal experiences. Most of you know, that I live nearby two monasteries. We have observed monastic life for over a decade, it’s beauty and peace eventually drawing my husband and I to move from our families to be nearer to the monasteries and their grace.

Over the years, we’ve been blessed to have grown quite close to our fathers and sisters, as they are commonly called, and have heard many stories and witnessed many miraculous things. I cannot adequately express our love for them. They have become our family.

I’ve often regretted not writing all of those stories and experiences down to pass on to future generations, but Constantina’s book was the answer to that regret. Her experiences were so similar to mine that I felt like I was re-experiencing all of those moments. DH and I often discuss how our spiritual lives and battles have changed since moving closer to the monasteries.

When I read the following in the Introduction to The Scent of Holiness, I knew from my own, albeit limited, personal experiences that I was holding a gem because even the introduction was clothed in hidden truths.

“Where there are struggling Christians, there is also the evil one keeping vigil. This, however, should not become a stumbling block to visiting monasteries. Monasteries are a spiritual battle grounds; when we step into them, we may also be dragged into the fight.”

an excerpt from the Introduction...

an excerpt from the Introduction…

She explains it so incredibly well. We must expect our temptations to increase as our efforts to become better Christians increase. I love that she introduces the world, us Americans especially, to the beauty and joy and love and strength that is found at monasteries and in monastic life.

There is a popular saying in Greek, “Christ is the Light of Angels; Angels are a Light for Monks; The Monastic Life is a Light for all men.”

Monasticism is a Light for all Men

“Christ is the Light of Angels; Angels are a Light for Monks; The Monastic Life is a Light for all Men.”

I have recommended this book to everyone I know and every person who has purchased and read it has left feeling renewed. As soon as I finished it, I started it again. Then, I lent it out and wanted to read it again and couldn’t wait to get it back, so I bought the ebook. Since then, I’ve given three as gifts. Now that Great Lent has begun, I’ve started reading it again. It’s that good!

My copy of the book is dog-eared, and there are notes in practically every margin. It is now, uniquely mine and I will pass it on to my children one day because it has become that personal.


I especially love how the book is divided into 33 knots (symbolic of the 33-knot prayer rope) instead of regular chapters. And the stories are all short enough to read in small intervals; 15 minutes in car line, 20 minutes in the doctor’s office.

If you are looking for a book to get you motivated for Lent, this is it. I promise, you will not regret it. It has been such a blessing for my family. Many times after dinner, when everyone is sitting around in the living room, I read a “knot” or two out loud. And even the children enjoy it and benefit from it.For those of you who have never visited a monastery, this will make them feel like home before you’ve even stepped foot at one. It will give you an appreciation for monasticism and it’s vital role in the Orthodox Faith.

Elder Amphilochios of Patmos said, “Wherever Orthodox monasticism is absent, the Church cannot exist, just as there cannot be a government without an army or a well-governed state without gendarmes. The monastics guard the boundaries of our Church and protect Her from Her enemies who, in our contemporary, materialistic age, rush to mangle Her like wolves.”

And Constantina ended the book perfectly by quoting St. John of the Ladder…

“I am full aware, my good friends, that the struggles I described shall seem to some incredible, [while] to others hard to believe…But to the courageous soul, they shall go away carrying zeal in their hearts.”

Those who read this book will certainly go away with zeal in their heart. This is hands down, one of the best Orthodox resources available.

Order your copy today from Conciliar Press. Can’t wait? Download the ebook now! Also, be sure to stop by Constantina’s blog, Lessons from a Monastery.



Q&A Journal for Kids


the kids are busy growing like weeds and i can’t help but want to bottle up their childhood innocence and keep it under my pillow.  every day is full of new discoveries and funny kid conversations.  and you all know how much i love kid conversations.  remember the one about christouli eating lucky’s grilled cheese sandwich?  or when ace asked if all the incense from our prayers made God sneeze?

(if not, click the link above)


i’ve mentioned lots of times how much i love pinterest.  because, seriously, i do.  it’s not like other social networks that just slurp up your time leaving you zoned and distracted.  pinterest is great because it actually encourages you to do things.  i can’t tell you how many recipes, crafts, home decor, or organizational ideas i’ve found there in the past year or two.  you can follow all of my favorite pinterest ideas here.

my latest find was this awesome q&a book for kids.  i love recording the quirky and funny things the boys say all the time but sometimes i just don’t get around to it, or i try to remember to write them down when i get home and end up forgetting.  or what about the time i logged dozens of them in the notes section of my phone only to lose them when i switched phones?  :(

that’s why this journal is perfect! it is a 3-year journal that asks one random question a day.  some questions are serious, silly, or just typical.  since lucky doesn’t know how to write yet, i write down his answers word for word.  ace has been writing his own answers, but i’m beginning to notice a pattern of them being very short, which means he’s being lazy, lol.  so, i might start writing down his, too, so that i get better answers.

here are a few that we did this month:

this one is from ace’s journal.  this kid is going to really give me a heart attack when he’s in middle school.  at least, if he ever goes missing, i know where to find him.  😉


this was one of lucky’s.


gee, thanks honey.  i think, lol.

you can see the 20_ _ underneath, which is where we’ll write the answers to the same question in 2014 and 2015.  Neat, huh?

you can order them from amazon…just follow this link!

A Thunderous Whisper {book review}


I think by now you all know how much I love and appreciate a good book.  And by now, I know how much you love a good recommendation.  So, be sure to add this one to your Christmas lists this year.  Because the thing about giving books at Christmas is, they’re picked up and enjoyed long after the video games get old, and dolls are outgrown.   They’re loved and cherished for years and years to come.

I know I picked up my copy of Little Women last night that my grandparents gave me twenty-three years ago on Christmas Eve.  I have read it every year since.  And there are several books that have become Christmastime traditions for me.  Some classics, some are titles no one else has ever heard about.  But both are enjoyed year after year. [Read more…]

The Scent of Holiness

Scent of Holiness

I first met Constantina about ten years ago at St. Anthony’s monastery in Arizona.  I’ve followed her updates via email since then.  I rejoiced when she and her husband were baptized into the Orthodox Church, marveled at their experiences as missionaries in Seoul, and whispered Axios at the news of John’s calling to the priesthood in Thessaloniki.

I have always been inspired by her perspective of life and desire to serve others.  Which is why I couldn’t be more excited about her upcoming book, The Scent of Holiness.

Below is the trailer for the book.  If this is any indication of the beauty and grace that will be found within it’s pages, this book is bound to be a treasure for all.

The Scent of Holiness will be released by Conciliar Press this fall.  Call 1-800-967-7377 to pre-order.  Also, be sure to check out her blog, Lessons from a Monastery.

Josiah and Julia Go to Church {review}

Josiah and Julia Go to Church Review

I am so excited to tell you all about this absolutely delightful new book for young readers!  Josiah and Julia Go to Church: A Young Child’s Guide to Church Etiquette was written by Kelly Ramke Lardin and illustrated by Sheena Hisiro.  It was just released by Conciliar Press. [Read more…]