Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Favorites

Worst blogger of the year award might just go to me. I have not been able to sit down and write once this week. I have less than three weeks of full time school left, after which I have 8 weeks of part time school and then I graduate! Let me tell you, working on your MBA while working full time, with a one year old, with a million other big things happening for our family makes for one tired mama. And one neglected blog. *slaps wrist* Sometimes, something's gotta give, right? My favorites this week are simple, as shopping has not exactly made the priority list AT ALL lately, but I promise I have some exciting posts coming soon!

1. We sold our house
After being on the market for the summer, we finally received and accepted an offer on our house. I will have more details to share soon on what our plans are, where we will be living, and why we did things the way we did. For now, though, we are set to close next week (I cannot wait to close and have it be officially sold), and for the time being, will be living with my gracious, wonderful in-laws. Blessed to have them open their doors to us, and slightly terrified to have them open their doors to us ;-) All of their kids have moved out, and the entire downstairs is vacant, so we have a pretty good amount of personal space, so here is to hoping this fall and winter in cozy quarters goes smoothly!

2. Walking Baby
Finally, at 13.5 months, Jackson finally took the plunge and is walking all over the place. We decided his officially 'walk date' is last Sunday, September 20th. He literally just took off. And now he gets going so quickly he has a crazed look on his face because I don't think he quite knows how to slow down or stop. So funny, and soooo precious. Is there anything sweeter than watching a babe figure out the whole walking thing?

3. Ice Cream Cake
You guys. I am a lover of Dairy Queen ice cream cake. How can you not be. It is absolutely delicious. But my mom makes homemade ice cream cake. And it received the ultimate validation when Mike requested it for his birthday this week. That man does not ask for much, and really isn't a fan of asking things of others. So for him to ask for my mom's ice cream cake said it all. Think DQ cake, with five times the fudge and oreo layer. It. is. so. good. *disclaimer: it is not so good for my waistline.

4. Pizza Delivery
So, even though we don't close on our house until next week, we moved out last weekend so that we would have ample time to gradually get all of our 'little' stuff out, clean, etc. Last night for Mike's birthday, the man of mine wanted his usual birthday dinner of take-out pizza (he makes things way too easy). Where we lived in our old/halfway sold house, there was one pizza place that would deliver. And we don't like their pizza. So, being the pizza addicts that we are, we would make a solid 15 minute drive (each way!) into town at least once a week for pizza. But no more! Mike's parents live within delivery range of our go-to pizza place, and so last night we enjoyed pizza that we didn't have to drive to get. It's the little things guys, for real.

5. This Sweater

I pinned this to Pinterest months ago, and received and e-mail this week that it was back in stock. You better believe I hopped online and ordered it immediately. I cannot wait to see what it looks like in person! One of the sizes is already sold out, go snag one up before it is gone again!

As always, linking up with these ladies today!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

[Blogtember Challenge] Latest obsession

Really, there are so many things to be obsessed with. It seems like every new season brings new trends and traditions to look forward to. One of my favorite things about the blogging community is how much anticipation surrounds weather, holidays, and events. You ladies have me excited for Christmas before the first lead has fallen off of the maple tree!
With that being said, my current obsession is just fall. Period. Anything fall related is number one in my book. This week I have indulged in pumpkin marshmallow candles, pumpkin spice lattes #pslforthewin, and pumpkin spice M&Ms.

Gimme all the pumpkin everything, warm fuzzy sweaters, riding boots, and Sunday afternoon football. I am 100% obsessed with fall lately and am wishing away these final days of warm summery weather!
Brave Love Blog

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

[Blogtember Challenge] What's in my purse

So. What's in my purse? A lot of stuff, apparently. Isn't that the beauty/curse of the 'big purse'. Anything and everything gets tossed in, and eventually every few months I do an overhaul of the contents and tidy things up. The mess has only grown since adding a little to the mix. Occasionally, I am running errands and know it will only be for a short time, and throwing diapers, wipes, and a sippy in my purse is way more convenient than hauling around a purse and a diaper bag. I am getting personal here, you guys, opening up the heart and soul of my bag that goes everywhere with me. You have been warned that anything and everything could possible be found in the bottomless pit!
1. Day Planner
Despite having an Iphone, I have a hard time using it to remind me of appointments, things I need to do, etc. I bought a day planner and have been trying my best to use it for the little details, even simple things like 'draft e-mail to so and so' at work. I then get the joy of crossing things off of a list too, which I love!
2. Diapers
No brainer here. If we are out and about for the day, I always have a diaper bag packed and ready to go. But for quick runs to Target or the grocery store, I often get lazy and throw a few diapers and a pack of wipes in my purse and call it good. Fortunately, my little guy isn't super demanding in needing toys, blankies, etc., so we can get by with the bare basics. I am sure in six months there will be toy cars and other goodies buried in my bag..
3. Wallet
Money. Credit cards. You know, the fun stuff.
4. Dentist Pack
Yep, went to the dentist a month ago, got my free toothbrush and toothpaste, and have yet to bring it in the house. I guess I find comfort in knowing that in the case of an emergency, the toothbrush is ready to go!
5. Tampons
You know, more fun stuff. The basic rule is to have at least five of these with me, at all times. Because you just. never. know.
6. Lotion
You guys. This stuff is to die for. Black cherry merlot from bath and body works. Literally the juiciest smelling lotion you have ever laid your sense of smell upon. I get comments every time I whip it out.
7. Statement necklace
Obviously what happened here is I took this off at the end of the day and, like the toothbrush pack, never managed to remove it from the bag. At least I always have fun jewelry on hand if I need to spruce up for a big meeting!
8. Coin purse
For all my fun change. Another rule of thumb is to always have quarters! Because the parking meters downtown won't take anything else... :-(
9. Bumble and Bumble hair cream
Great for when you don't have time to blowdry your hair. My sister gave me this sample from the salon she works at...anddd I never brought it in the house. Seeing a trend here?
10. Gum
Always gum. Always peppermint. Just always.
11. Contact case
I have bad eyes, and sometimes they call it quits and demand the contacts come out and glasses come on. I have just made it a habit of keeping a spare case in my purse, and I try my best to keep my old pair of glasses in my car. #visionchallengedproblems
12. Keys
Kind of need these to get where I need to go. And can I get an amen for the automatic lift gate button on the key to my car?
**Not pictured: about 10 tubes of lipgloss. I forgot to dump out the side pocket of my purse for the photo above, but you better believe I have more lipgloss than I could possible need in my purse. Because on any given day, I am most likely feeling a different color and flavor than the day before.

What did you all find in your bags!? Any long lost goodies you swore you would never find again?

Brave Love Blog

Monday, September 14, 2015

[Blogtember Challenge] Real me vs online me

I am not going to say that I lie about my life on the blog, but here is the thing; we usually don't use this little space as a place to hold bad memories. When I look at my blog, I love to see pictures, special moments, and memories of how I felt in those special moments. There are a few areas of life that I really do not show on the blog. Like, ever. And, for that reason, I obviously am not going to dive into great detail in those areas today. But, I think that to touch base and be honest is refreshing, and hopefully some readers can relate and realize that we all have struggles!

1. Online me: coordinated outfits, put together. Real me: this is somewhat true. Only because I have a job. With a dress code. Often in the public eye where people recognize me (to a certain extent) and I have a program reputation to uphold. However, as I type this I am rocking wet slept on hair that dried on the pillow with my bangs pinned back, because getting out of bed was not more important than a few extra minutes of shuteye and baby snuggles this morning.

2. Online me: perfectly happy family, marriage, kids, etc. Real me: I love my family, marriage, and child. However, me and my husband fight. In fact, the man has a tendency to gravitate towards disagreeing, mostly because he just enjoys disagreeing. He should have been a lawyer, seriously. I adore my child, but sometimes on the weekend, I escape to the mall with absolutely no intentions of purchasing anything, because I just need two hours by myself. And while I love my parents and siblings, our issues, drama, and disagreements are for real. We all come together and love one another, but to say we all greet every conversation with a warm smile and a hug would be a total lie.

3. Online me: optimistic, happy, grateful. Real me: Sometimes, I am grumpy. And short. And would prefer people didn't talk to me. Not all of the time, but you better believe it happens. I don't hold grudges forever, but I often have a hard time letting go of things. I am happy and grateful for the life I have, but sometimes I get jealous of others and wonder why I can't have it all, all of the time. I occasionally get bitter that staying home with my child really isn't an option. Life is what you make it. Wrapping around to the beginning of this post, I think this point is the perfect highlight for why I choose to highlight the good emotions here. To put positive thoughts down really helps me realize all that I have to be grateful for.

4. Online me: organized, a planner. Real me: I am a planner to the extreme, but I am not organized. I like to set goals and can plan for an event a year down the line to every last detail, but good luck getting me to keep my house spotless or remember where I put that receipt I was supposed to keep track of. I am slowly working on developing a system and being more on top of things, but mama needs some major work in that department.

5. Online me: crafty. Real me: crafty. What you see on the blog there is real. I love to craft, particularly when it involves copious amounts of glitter. Yes, nearly all of my crafts (minus crocheting) involve glitter. In fact, I do more crafting at home than I document on the blog. I need to get to work on that one!

Really, I try to be as transparent as possible here on the blog. I have written about some struggles because sometimes I know that it helps for others to be able to know they may not be the only one. But for the most part, this is a place where I love to remember happy times, events, and just maybe my good hair days!! 

Brave Love Blog

[Blogtember Challenge] 5 most impactful books

First off, bad blogger raise your hand or totally falling off the challenge wagon this weekend. Yep, that's me. We have one too many BIG things going on this weekend, and sitting down to blog just did not happen. Saturday was my sister in laws baby shower I helped to host, and I was literally there setting up and tearing down all day. And Sunday, I may have been packing a few boxes and taking a nap. Like I said, lots of stuff happening around here that I am still needing to share. Life is plenty hectic right now is all I can say! I am back for my five most impactful books today!
1. The bible. I really wouldn't have much purpose for living without this one. I am not devoted in cracking it open on the regular, though I wish I was. But the book is what my life basically revolves around.
2. the jungle. I read this my senior year of high school and ended up becoming a vegetarian. Think 1920s slaughter house before any FDA or OSHA existed. Seriously such a heart wrenching, hard book to read. I am back on the meat eating wagon, but am definitely much more conscious and aware of what goes into preparing my foods.
3. The princess diaries. Around age 15, I read this series on repeat. I loved I. I still love it. Girl power and warm fuzzies for the win.
4. One Tuesday Morning. By Karen Kingsbury. Two identical strangers both at the twin towers and, you guessed it, one lives, the other dies, and somehow they get swapped. How the living stranger impacts the wife of the other though is brilliant. I adored this book (and the rest of of the series!!)
5. I love you through and through. Yes this is a baby book. And my sons one and only favorite. We ready it multiple times a night, he helps me turn the pages, and flips it over prompting me to start all over every time we finish, until he decides he is ready to sleep and he pushes it away and turns into my chest for cuddles. I have never loved reading a book more than this one.

Brave Love Blog

[Blogtember Challenge] My Ideal Day: Coastal Living

I am a midwest girl, born and raised. I have spent more time in the snow than any person should have to endure in their entire lifetime, and I honestly don't care for it. Not that this matters much. Unless something entirely unexpected happens, I have zero intentions of ever moving out of Minnesota. Besides, our spring and fall seasons [mostly] make up for the terrible winters.

Due to subzero temperatures and roads covered in ice, winter is when most Minnesotans try to 'get away'. We spent a lot of time fantasizing about warmer, sunnier days in the midst of the dreariness that is February. I would love to go to Europe, see the sights, experience the culture in Greece, and all of the good things that go along with those countries. My ideal day, though, wouldn't be in that trip. My ideal day is one where, at the end, I lay down relaxed, smiling, and happy.

While it may seem simple, I would love nothing more than a day in southern California along the shore. Not because it is thrilling, a notch on the bucket list, or extravagant. Rather, a day like this is all about my favorite things. Nothing makes me happier than strapping my little guy into his stroller and going for a walk. Add in an ocean view and the salty breeze, and I would do it all day, every day.

I am also a lover of window shopping and boutiques. To spend an afternoon in a coastal town checking out shops that aren't available to me at home just tickles me pink.

Also, the dress code. Swimsuit, cover up, flip flops, sundresses. I love it all. Comfortable and casual, but still stylish. Nothing makes me happier than throwing on a new sundress for a lazy afternoon.

Of course, I would hit up whatever coffee shop happened to be along the boardwalk, and enjoy one (or three) iced lattes throughout the day. I would take my baby to splash in the ocean and build sand castles. I would watch my husband and son play while I dozed for a quick nap in my beach chair.

After the sun makes its way beneath the horizon and dusk settles in, I would enjoy dinner al fresco with my loves, and my little man would be a perfectly behaved angel the entire time (again, this is my ideal day, which means my son behaves exactly how I want him to!) I would have a mojito in hand and fresh seafood in front of me.

Really, this dream day is simple, and something that many of you southern ladies get to indulge in much more often than I could ever imagine. The beach just does something good for the soul. My ideal day is simply relaxation, mother nature, and obviously, some coffee. Now that I have the fantasy going, who wants to book this trip for me!?

Linking up for the #blogtemberchallenge and What's Hap-pinning today!

Brave Love Blog

[Blogtember Challenge] Blog Name

One of the things I struggled with most when starting my blog was what it should be called. What would I write about? Should my writings reflect my topics? I seriously sat there just contemplating the name for hours. Finally, I settled on a name, 'Style, Food, and Family'. I liked it, it had a flow, and most importantly, it reflected what I 'thought' I would write about. The thing with blogging, though, is I honestly don't think you know what you will enjoy writing about most until you dive into it. And, despite my love of cooking and baking, blogging about these things just doesn't happen often. After awhile, I realized the word 'food' really had no place in the name of the blog. I still try, on occasion, to throw in a recipe here or there, but I am not a 'foodie' blogger. Nope, not this girl. 

Recently, as in within the past few weeks I made the decision to finally change over my name. The 'Stang' portion is pretty self explanatory (hello last name). The &Co piece comes from all of the people outside of our family that we do life with; grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, you name it. To me, my blog name is really our family, and everything we encounter along the ride. It's a crazy, often sleepless adventure we are on, but the name is fitting and can grow in change as our family grows and changes, too!
Brave Love Blog

Friday, September 11, 2015

[Blogtember Challenge] Favorites for a Friday Night In

I have been excited for this post, because nights in are kind of my thing. Not that this is always necessarily a choice. Little people tend to dictate what time you can go out, how late you can stay out, and ever more importantly, how late you can sleep in in the morning. Our new normal for Friday nights is relaxed and low-key, just the way we like it.

1. Pizza. Pizza is a must. I am embarrassed to admit how much pizza gets eaten in our household, but we just love it. SO. MUCH. It is a pretty safe bet that on a Friday night, one of us is running to town (because of course no one delivers to where we live) for a pizza from one of our favorite spots. Gary's and Little Caesars usually win out, but Dimaggios, Mastonis, and Pizza Hut all make it into the rotation, too.
2. Bath time. Not for us, obviously! This is a PG rated blog ;-) Our little guy loves bath time, and there is something so nice about getting him squeaky clean and fresh as we settle down for a weekend off. And of course, after bath time comes the baby jammies, which I can never get enough of. Not ever.
3. Shark Tank. New episodes come back into rotation this month, and I am pumped. Especially after Jackson was first born last fall, we would cozy up pretty much every Friday night to watch the Sharks do their damage on innocent entrepeneurs.
On the occasional night where Mike goes out to do something but I stay in, I use Fridays for all of my guilty pleasures; Say Yes to the Dress, Four Weddings..basically wedding shows. Mike judges that I watch these because I am already, well, you know...married. But check out my bucket list from earlier this week and you will see that my obsession with wedding shows is simply preparing me for my future career!
4. Brownies. Homemade brownies. I have shared this recipe before, and I challenge anyone to find a better recipe. They turn out so perfect every time that I make them, and are just delicious. Is there anything better than a day ended with pizza and brownies a la mode? 
5. Candles. I love me some candles. Especially now that we are getting back into fall weather, there is nothing cozier than a dark house with a Bath and Body Works candle flickering. Don't even get me started on their Christmas candles, the anticipation is already killing me! 
6. No work. This is a big one. As I finish up my last semester of grad school, it is safe to say that most weekends involve at least some kind of reading/paper writing/studying. It is exhausting. But Friday nights, those are my night off. I do not crack a book, I do not run around folding laundry and organizing. I relax. I am lazy. I don't. do. anything. Friday's are for fun, and for this mommy fun means throwing responsibility out the window for five hours.

What do you all do on a Friday night in!? I am always looking for ideas to spice up our obviously spicy life! :-)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

[Blogtember Challenge] My Bucket List

To be honest, bucket lists have never really been my 'thing'. I have hopes and dreams, but writing them down is difficult for me. Perhaps it is because when I look at it I see the things that I have missed, and not the thigns I have achieved. I am not always a glass half full person, and to see all of the things I want to do but haven't isn't always the easiest for me. However, I decided to suck it up for the challenge and put down some of the things I hope to accomplish in this life, and looking at it now, I feel good and motivated. Maybe bucket lists aren't so bad after all!

1. Go to Greece. This is the top of the bucket list. I would love, love, love to see this country. Something about the combination of both European and Middle Eastern culture fascinates me. And hello Santorini. Any girl who grew up during the era of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants era wants to go there, and if you say you don't, you are lying.

2. Take a road trip. I have always driven to a destination, spent my time there, and driven home. I would love to hop in the car and have the drive be part of the trip. Ideally, I would love to hit up the Rockies and west coast; I am thinking drive through the mountains to Seattle, then work my way down the seaboard, ending in Southern California so Mike and I can live out our fantasy lives in the OC with Ryan and Marissa. #goals

3. Run a half marathon. I have zero desire to ever, and I mean EVER run a marathon, but I think I would feel a major sense of accomplishment if I could do a half marathon. My typical runs that I try to manage a few times a week are 3, 4 miles tops, so right in that 5K distance. I am not a fast runner, and I will never win a race. But a half marathon, or maybe even a 10K would be a cool opportunity to push myself past my current comfort zone with my running.
4. Build my own house. Throughout our home buying/selling process (which is still a work in progress) we realized that in building a house, you have total control. We walked through a few houses that we liked, minus the kitchen. Or minus the walls and bedroom that needed desparate remodeling. Or despite the lack of walk in closets. But guess what? When you build a house, you literally can pick the floor plan and design you want to a T. I am not ignorant, and know that a whole new set of headaches and stress comes with home building, but once we started digging into floor plans, I quickly realized that building is likely the only route we can go, because we can have exactly what we want.
5. Dance with my son at his wedding. I truly started thinking about this moment before he was even born. And already it gets me choked up. I picture my tall, dark, and handsome Jax walking away from me to another, and I about lose it. But that moment of dancing with him makes me so happy to think about, because I know he will always be my baby, and I hope and pray he always adores me like he does now. There is no love like the love a mother has for her son [except maybe the love a mother has for her daughter ;-)]
6. See Wicked. We saw Phantom of the Opera at the Orpheum in Minneapolis two years ago, and absolutely LOVED it. Mike bought the CD and played that soundtrack to the point that I could barely stand to hear it. My football loving, jersey wearing, construction working hubby loves musicals, who knew? Wicked is at the top of my list. The next time it comes to town, I will have tickets in hand, without a doubt.
7. Own a wedding dress shop. Okay, this is more of a drema than a bucket list item, but if I could quit my dayjob and had the money to do it, I would 100% love to be a wedding dress boutique owner. I love the fashions and trends in bridal, and how amazing that every day of work you will be witnessing women as they go through a once in a lifetime moment! And also, so. many. sparkles.

8. Be a boss. I am not getting my MBA because I think the letters are pretty and I like the way it sounds (of course I do, to both of those things). I want to be a leader. I want to inspire. I want to find that work-life balance where, despite stress and struggles, I put my family first, but come home from work feeling accomplished and like I am making a difference and having a positive impact on others. I will get there, because I have decided I will.
9. Be 'that house' during the holidays. You know, glitter, garland, twinkle lights, the whole nine yards. I grew up in a house that was decked out for the holidays, and honestly, when I go to the homes of relatives and friends who do little to nothing, it makes me sad. It almost feels like their homes suck the holiday cheer right out of me. That will not be me. I want my kids to spend the holidays waking up every morning and feeling magical, excited to hop down the stairs and see what surprises may be awaiting them. Nothing beats the holidays, and I am going to do them right.

10. Swim with dolphins. I don't keep a bucket list. Really. BUT, this was literally my one and only bucket list item forever, and I got to check it off the list on our honeymoon. As soon as we had booked the trip, I told my husband I would be doing this, no questions asked. I did, and it was awesome. I will say, it wasn't quite as incredible of an experience as I had always dreamed of, but swimming with those sweet guys was the best. One kept swimming off to the corner and refusing to come play, and it completely reminded me of a five year old pouting in the corner. Watching their tricks, seeing how intelligent they were, and also importantly, how loved they were by the staff was just the greatest.

Really, my bucket list is simple, and I don't have much for big, crazy dreams. I am just not a big, crazy dreamer of a person. I do truly hope I can accomplish every last thing listed above, because those are the little things that I know make for a happy family and a happy life. #lifegoals for the win.

Brave Love Blog

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

[Blogtember Challenge] Letter to 16 Year Old Me

How fitting is this topic for today's post. Today, I celebrate my birthday. My 26th birthday. My sweet sixteen was an entire decade ago, which is hard to comprehend, because sometimes sixteen feels like yesterday. When did I become an adult old enough and auhorized to give advice to a teenager? I continue to be more amazed every day at the ability of time to fly by so quickly you don't even realize that it is happening. While most of me would never want to be a teenager again, there is always that tiny piece that reflects back and truly thinks, man I had it made. So here it is, the letter to sixteen year old me, in all its glory.


I know a lot of things are happening in life right now, and sometimes it seems overwhelming and crazy. Sixteen is a happy, confusing time, but it is so, so wonderful. The memories you are making right now are memories that you will look back on and smile. And while you may think you know more than your parents (which likely will not change as you grow up, I must say), I do have some very important advice for you.

1. Take advantage of every academic opportunity that comes your way. Internships, scholarships, advanced classes, jobs that are the pathway to the career you want. Do. it. all. Those experiences are invaluable and will help provide you with the experiences you need to be exactly who you want to be.

2. Be wise about boys. You are going to stumble across some bad apples, make some bad decisions, and ask yourself why you wasted your time. While all of these boys are preparing you for your one and only, always put yourself first, and realize that no man should make you feel like less than perfect.

3. Soak up every minute at home with your family. I know you are already excited to move out and 'be an adult', but once you leave, it is just never quite the same. Home will always provide comfort and a safe place, but it will change from being 'your home' to 'the home you grew up in'. Soak up those special memories with mom and dad and your siblings, and give that puppy lots of cuddles and loving (because one day your baby is going to take her place as the baby of the house).

4. Eat all the food. Your metabolism will never be what it is today, so enjoy those late night pizzas and wine coolers that you know you are sneakily trying to drink on the weekends. You will always love pizza, but your thighs won't!

5. Do what is best for you, and not what others tell you is best for you. Never question your judgement and gut feelings, because they are right. Don't allow your judgement to be clouded by parents, boyfriends, or friends. At the end of the day, it is you and Jesus, and if the two of you can rest knowing you are happy with the decisions you have made, that is truly all that matters.

6. When mom wants to buy you clothes, let her. One day you will have to buy your own clothes, and trust me when I say clothes bought by mom are the best clothes.

7. Love every minute of dance team. You will have days where you want to quit, and days where you think it is a negative experience and isn't worth your time. But if there is one thing from high school you will look back on and be so glad that you did, it will be joining the dance team.

8. Watch Laguna Beach, eat ice cream sundaes, and go to Caribou Coffee on Monday nights with Ally as much as you possibly can. That girl is a friend you will keep, so take care of that friendship, because she is a gem.

9. Never say never. Always know that one door may open another. A friendship might not last forever, but it might be what leads you to your own forever. Every experience you have is setting you up for the rest of your life.

10. You are going to have failures, and times where you think that you aren't getting what you want. But you are going to have it all one day. You are going to wake up ten years from now on your 26th birthday, and pinch yourself as you look at your husband, beautiful baby, and the projects in the works for your lives and wonder how you got so lucky. Every rejection, heartbreak, and failure is leading you to exactly where you need to be. So hold on tight and enjoy the ride, because sixteen is truly the time where you are making the decisions that set you up for the rest of your life!
A wiser, more diet conscious, sleep-deprived, happy 26 year old you
Brave Love Blog

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

[Blogtember Challenge] Favorite Season

Honestly, is this even a question? I live in Minnesota, land of four seasons, but nothing, and I mean nothing compares to fall in Minnesota. Cool nights, crisp mornings, and sunshine for days. If it could be 65 degrees, sunny, breezy, and early October year round, I could get onboard with that.
Aside from the weather, so much anticipation comes with fall. September sets in, and suddenly there are months of fun to look forward to. Football, warm comfort food, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. It is like as soon as one good thing ends, another one begins.

One of my favorite things about the fall, aside from the anticipation that it brings for all of the upcoming festivities, is the change in weather. I do enjoy summer, but I am not a fan of the heat (if you can call what we get in our Minnesota summers 'heat'). We are just coming off of a week with 90 degree temperatures and 100% humidity, and I literally. can't. deal. I hate the heat. Hate, hate, hate it. So, when September rolls around and we cool down into the 40's every night and mornings are clear and chilly, it is all I can do not to skip down the street. I love going for afternoon walks in a sweatshirt and jeans. It is the cutest thing in the world when my little guy is loaded up in his stroller, covered in a blanket and hat with a pom ten sizes too big on the top of it. And does anything beat a bonfire on a cool evening in the fall? I am so excited to have nights like that as our family grows.

Of course, one of the absolute BEST parts of fall is the food. My parents have two apple trees that are already busting at the seams with apples ready to be picked, and I am more than ready to start whipping up apple pies and crisps. Homemade apple pie, white chicken chili, and homemade bread fresh out of the oven just screams fall to me. Of course, it is a requirement that the Vikings game be playing in the background while we prepare and eat these goodies.

I just love fall. I cannot wait to enjoy the days immediately ahead and soak up every last moment of this glorious, brilliant season!
Brave Love Blog

Sunday, September 6, 2015

[Blogtember Challenge] My Style

My style, honestly and truly, is simple. I am a huge fan of staple pieces that go with just about everything. Solid t-shirts, riding boots, neutral sweaters, and classic jeans. 
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If you notice, on top of my classic tastes, I also like, ok LOVE, a little (or LOT) of sparkle. Nothing spruces up an outfit and makes you feel happy faster than some glitter and sequins, am I right? I tend to reserve the sparkle for special events and such, but I love the fun touches on some sweaters like the sequin elbow patches. It is just enough to take a simple item and make it something different. 
In typical blogger fashion, I am also a lover of the blanket scarf. That thing kept me toasty and warm all through the Minnesota winter last year, and I can't wait to start whipping it out again this fall! I also officially just hopped on the herringbone vest train, I can't wait for it to arrive and share my thoughts and stylings with you all! 

That's it for me today, but can't wait to see and hear the trends and styles that you all love! 

Brave Love Blog

Friday, September 4, 2015

[Blogtember Challenge] First 10 Songs on Shuffle

I'm Honestly, I laughed doing this one, because this list is SO not an indication of what I listen to most often. In fact, there are songs on this list that u haven't even listened to, or can't even remember the last time I listened to. It does show variety, with country, classics, Christian, pop, and rock. I like just about everything [except screamo!], and I think this list shows it!
Take special note of husband is THE biggest R-Kelly fan, and more than one of his songs made the playlist at our wedding reception. I just knew one of his songs would make the list, at least I wasn't embarrassed by it making up the ENTIRE list!

1. Maggie May - Rod Stewart
2. Dreams - Gavin DeGraw
3. Love Bug - Jonas Brothers (don't judge..)
4. In My Daughter's Eyes - Martina McBride
5. Everyone's Got Something To Hide Except Me and my Monkey - The Beatles (honestly I have never listened to this song once)
6. What's My Age Again - Blink 182
7. The Voice of Truth - Casting Crowns
8. Go Low - R Kelly
9. Stay - Rihanna
10. Day N' Nite - Kid Kudi

Brave Love Blog

Day 4: Passions

Mixing things up for Friday Favorites in honor of the 'Blogtember Challenge', I am bringing you the five things I am most passionate about today!

Really, I am passionate about a lot of things. Once I set my mind to a specific task, more often than not it is all I can focus on until it is completed. Of course, I am passionate about my family, my faith, the line of work I am in, and all of those 'givens'. I am more excited today, though, to share those passions that most people may not know about me.

1. I love creative projects. I wouldn't necessarily call myself 'crafty' where I make quilts, paper mâché, or wood work projects. I do, however, love to create things that I know no one else has. When you custom create decor, coffee mugs, or a hat for your little one, there is a neat feeling in knowing only you have it. 
2. Coffee. You all know I couldn't leave this one off of the list! Coffee makes me happy, tastes delicious, and I truly believe gives you a good reason to wake up in the morning when you just don't really want to! Hot, iced, black, with cream, latte, mocha, I love it all.
3. Music. This one has gotten away from me a bit over the last few years because life happens. But there is nothing more therapeutic to me than sitting down at the piano and putting out a few of my favorite songs. There is something about having total control of how a song is going to go. Soft, loud, fast, slow? I just love it.
4. Running is what keeps me sane. I am not a daily runner, but I do try to make it happen 2-3 times a week. I used to do it much more before baby, but as I have said, life happens. A treadmill is high on the list for a new house whenever that time comes, and I intend to use that thing until it breaks down.
5. Making a difference. Really, this does tie into my job. There are so many jobs out there, but I just can't picture myself ever doing a job where my sole purpose is to make a profit off of others. Bummer, because that seems to be where the most money lies ;-) still, at the end of the day if I know what I am doing is improving things for others somehow, then I can go to bed happy.

What about everyone else?  What are YOU passionate about??
Brave Love Blog

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

[Blog-tember Challenge] Blog Collage

Being today is about the collage, I will keep the words to a minimum and let the pictures do the talking. Here on my blog you will find a lot of one year old boy, some sweet family moments, foods (when I find the time to serve something besides chicken nuggets for dinner) and DIY crafts, usually involving excessive amounts of glitter. Enjoy!

Brave Love Blog

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

[Blogtember Challenge] Best day of my life

First off, I can't pick 'one' best day of my life, because hello; child, marriage, trips, etc. I know it will only get harder to narrow down as life continues to do its thing. But in terms of the most fun, special, magical, happy day of my life, I'm going to go with our wedding day. (My child's birth is obviously an even tie, so I defaulted to the one with the better abundance of pictures!) 
If I could redo our wedding day over and over again, I would. Best. Day. Ever.
Brave Love Blog
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