How I Pack Light for our Weekend Getaways!

Hello there friends. M and I are gearing up for a weekend with some friends visiting from out of town. I feel like we’ve been traveling constantly of late and I’m ready to slow it down, unpack my suitcase, and settle in at home for a few weeks. I looooooove travel! But we’ve been gone every weekend for a whole month and I’m ready for some quiet time because everything feels totally out of place. Being a total homebody, some of my biggest pet peeves are getting behind on laundry and having an empty fridge……both of these things are occurring in my house right now and I feel like I can’t totally get things pulled together before we leave town again and they cycle starts over! Ahhh!

But with all of our traveling, I’ve been trying to keep things super, super easy when it come to packing. I’ve been wearing dresses constantly because it simplifies the whole “what do I wear” situation while we’re off adventuring and they take up less space. I don’t know how you guys feel about this stuff, but waiting for luggage, getting to the airport early enough to check the dang luggage, and schlepping it to and from my destination reaaaaally cramps my style, so I have officially converted to being a carry-on only traveler. I can hear the shock from here. I swear it’s still me.

And in my process of only packing carry-on’s, I’ve come to realize in my attempt to pack light that all the dresses I have ended up bringing with me are Stitch Fix so I thought I would share! The photos in this post are my fave SF pieces 🙂



I don’t know if any of you have ever tried Stitch Fix, but I did right before our wedding. I was on the hunt for white dresses to wear to showers and the like and was having trouble in those awkward winter months where the white, flowery, lacey items have been discontinued and replaced with darker hues for the winter. I don’t know if any of you read the blog Kath Eats, but Kath always talks about how much she loves Stitch Fix so finally I was like, what the heck, I’m just going to place an order and see what happens. To my complete surprise, I received my first package from my stylist, and not only did most of it fit like a glove, but she totally nailed my style. I ended up scheduling myself a monthly “fix” for the months leading up to our wedding to gather up a handful of pre-wedding festivity items! It’s been a couple years since my last fix and the pieces I ordered are still in amazing condition and have become staple pieces in my wardrobe. Just look at photos from our recent travels and you’ll see them all over Instagram!

I don’t really like subscription services. They always end up feeling like a bad deal to me, being more stuff than I need, not something I really want, etc. Which is one of the reasons I like Stitch Fix – you have the option to receive regular fixes on a monthly basis, or for people like me, you can just place an order whenever you’re in the mood, needing some fresh clothes, or have a special occasion coming up with no subscription obligation.

I just ordered a fresh fix for the first time since our engagement and the whole process still works the same way.

  • You fill out a little profile with sizing, style, and the price range you want to stay in on each item.
  • You receive a box of 5 items – pants, dresses, shoes, handbags, etc.
  • You try on everything at home and keep what you like and send back what you don’t with free shipping both ways.
  • You leave comments on your shipment with why you loved certain things or why you didn’t so that your stylist can nail down your body type and preferences for the next time around!

In order to schedule your fix, you pay a $20 styling fee to your stylist, but if you purchase one of the 5 items which I have never not bought at least one, it goes towards that item. So say you buy a $25 shirt, you’ll have already paid $20 toward your styling fee and the shirt will cost $5.

*plz enjoy when we tried to take photos of this SF dress, but I saw a dog*

Anyway, enough of my banter, but I can’t say enough good things. Stitch Fix is for both men or women, so if you’re trying to come up with a birthday present for your husband or wife, order them a fix and and have them keep what they like! I’ve done shipments where I’ve asked for all dresses or all pants and they have really listed to my preferences and what I’m after. I have a friend who swears by the pants her stylist sends her.

You can click the photo below to sign up for your first fix! And my secret is out…someone else picked out all of these cute dresses, but I sure do love them!

WARNING: Getting cute clothes in the mail is addicting and so is shopping from home 🙂

Hope everyone is having a fantastic week. Happy shopping!

xoxo, B

 

100% Pure Clean Beauty Finds – Eyes and Lips

Hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend! M & I spent a few days with my sweet fam in New York to celebrate my Gma’s birthday and now we are back in Dallas prepping for our new furchild to come home 🙂

This post has been a long time coming. To those of you who are newer here, I’ve been slowly trying to switch my beauty products over to clean ones and it has been quite the extensive hunt trying to find ones that perform well. Like a literal marathon (thank goodness for amazing return policies. I feel like I’ve finally found products that are actually fantastic so I’m really excited to share them with you here! As a little refresher to everyone who has been following along with my clean beauty hunt, I’ve been looking for products that:

  1. work as well as conventional beauty products
  2. are organic, have clean ingredients (aka no chemicals, silicons, etc), and are eco-friendly
  3. provide nourishment and health benefits to the skin

We don’t really think of our skin when we think about the internal makeup of our bodies, but our skin is actually the largest organ of the human body and it soaks up a great deal of what we feed it. 80% to be exact. As I started learning more and more about the importance of using safe ingredients on my skin, it really made me want to begin transitioning my makeup bag over to products that are healthy for my body as a whole. As I looked a little closer at the products I have been using, I discovered that many of the powders, foundations, and shadows I have been rubbing into my skin are chalked full of chemicals and toxins…..and truthfully, I don’t quite understand why there is so little awareness around this topic or how the FDA can possibly approve of these products. I’ve always been hyper-aware of what I was putting into my body, but never thought much about what I was putting on it, and I am so glad to be making this change.

So here we are. If you’re interested in switching over to clean beauty products, are passionate about the environment, love animals, or just love really good quality makeup, this post is for you!

As I’ve been trying out green beauty products, I’ve been hoping to find a brand that does everything well. I want to be able to find my go-to eyeshadow, mascara, blush, and lipstick all in the same place. When I found myself at the 100% Pure website I sort of thought to myself well this looks too good to be true. The packaging is gorgeous (I care about these silly things), the colors are beautiful, and the makeup itself is pigmented with…..fruit??? I can read every ingredient on my makeup bottles now and know exactly what they mean. Their brand motto is “better to wear than not to wear” and it really is true. This makeup feeds your skin while you’re wearing it and I have noticed a difference in skin hydration as well as my eyelash growth because of the nourishing things I’m putting on my face.

I’m splitting my finds into a few different posts because I want to give lots of details on each product and today we are starting with eyes and lips. So sit back and relax as I introduce you to my one stop shop for makeup that works like Urban Decay and is made with food (literally).

  1. Fruit Pigmented Ultra Lengthening Mascara in Black Tea – Lemme tell you right now, when you’re paying $26 for a mascara it better be real good, am I right? Mascara has been the hardest clean beauty product to find for me so far because I like pretty dramatic lashes. I prefer a look that lengthens my lashes rather than making them fuller, and in clean beauty, it’s hard to find a formula that elongates and separates. This mascara performs beautifully and is made with black tea, blackberries, and cocoa, so as an added bonus it smells incredible when you’re using/wearing it. 100% Pure makes a Dark Chocolate Mascara as well which smells incredible, but I generally prefer a black color on my lashes. With this mascara, I coat my upper lashes and lower lashes 3 times and give them each coat a few seconds to dry and set. ***Note: This mascara is not waterproof. If you are looking for fuller lashes that can withstand some tears, I recommend the Fruit Pigmented Maracuja Oil Mascara in Black Tea which is gorgeous and fills out the lashes, but it is just not quite as lengthening as I prefer.
  2. Creamy Long Last Liner in Dark Cacao – I’m not sure if I’ve ever loved a liner before even in conventional beauty. I find them to be pretty uncomfortable to put on and have trouble getting good control over the pencil. Ironically, this clean eyeliner is the best one I’ve ever used. It goes on so smoothly, looks very natural, and does not irritate my eyes at all. ***If you are looking for a waterproof liner, I recommend the Long Last Liquid Liner which performs beautifully, but is a little too bold for me. I prefer a natural, “barely there” kinda of thing most of the time, but for an evening out or a hollywood glam vibe, this stuff is seriously beautiful.
  3. Fruit Pigmented Lip Glaze in Cherry – So when I read lip glaze, I assumed it was going to be a more sheer coverage lip like the Ilia Lip Conditioners (which I love). These are actually totally different from those and I might even like them better?! The pigmentation on these is incredible, and I actually find their coverage to be pretty comparable to wearing a lipstick. This product is super buildable and because of that, its definitely the most multipurpose lip product that I own. My favorite way to wear it is with a layer of chapstick underneath and a sheer coat of color, but I could also wear this as a bold red lipstick for a fancy night out. Also, because it’s a bright color, it stains my lips which makes it super long wearing. I am buying Pomegranate next and I highly, highly recommend adding one of these to your makeup collection!
  4. Fruit Pigmented Pretty Naked Palette I – Being someone who prefers a pretty natural makeup look, I wanted to start my collection with some really neutral eyeshadows for every day wear. This palette includes blush, highlight, and 3 different eye shadow shades which both gave me the opportunity to try some other 100% Pure products and allows my makeup routine to be a no brainer so it was definitely a win for me. These colors are soft, sweet, and most importantly, the pigmentation is beautiful! I find that in really soft natural colors that this is kind of a rarity, but these colors go on smoothly and show up beautifully. ***I recommend grabbing one of the 100% Pure Primers to put on your eyes so that the colors will pop and stay on all day.

Yay! I hope this helps those of you who are wanting to make the switch. I’ll see you guys with a couple more posts on foundations, palettes, primers, and brows in the next week as well. I’ve tried a few different foundations from 100% Pure and I’ll be doing a little review of those to help navigate the decision making on those as well. Ordering foundation online is kinda tricky, but the good news is that this brand will take anything back within 30 days so you can try your makeup with no risk!

I had a couple requests for a makeup tutorial after my Ilia pew more products and I will work on getting one of those up! Hope this helps you navigate the natural beauty world a little bit. See you guys tomorrow 🙂

xoxo, B

Nashville Weekend Recap

Hey ya’ll. I’m back to share our weekend in Nashville with you guys today. Such a glorious-perfect-weather-good-people-filled weekend.

There is so much to do in Nashville that we’ve barely scratched the surface. Shows, concerts, or just hanging out at a bar are all great options because there is music everywhere! It is kind of amazing how many country musicians are walking those streets. We, however, were in Nashville to hang out with our friends! It makes me sad that we live so far apart from each other!

*cuties*

I mentioned in my last post that our buddies purchased a STUNNING home in The Nations neighborhood. As a previous Realtor, if you’re looking to buy a home that is going to make you some cashies, this neighborhood has restaurant after restaurant popping up and really seems to be booming. I think it’s an amazing place to live.

We started Friday evening out with a housewarming party at their new home with incredible beer brewed by Austin (insert praise hands here) and tons of great food! I cannot remember the last time I stayed up until 2am playing beer pong, ping pong, and corn hole, but it felt like being back in college except that our conversations were centered around or jobs, kids, and dogs hahaha. Ohhh adulting.

Saturday was a nice slow morning with coffee from across the street, donuts at home, brunch from Frothy Monkey (go there), and a quiet run by myself. In the past I haven’t loved to run because it’s a time to think and feel and I prefer not to be left alone with my thoughts, fears, and worries as someone who struggles with anxiety. I don’t know if anyone else struggles with this, but I have trouble escaping my mind when I provide myself with time to think – running, flying, driving, etc. I’ve been talking about this lately with my dear counselor in Dallas and am trying to embrace more soul-feeding movement if that makes any sense and not be afraid of it. I’m not quite ready for the mindfulness of yoga yet, but running with headphones in focussing my thoughts on positive things has been helping already.

We spent that afternoon and evening walking around on 12th exploring shops, eating popsicles (Las Paletas), and drinking more beer!

That evening we ventured out to dinner, visited a fellow resident’s new home (Allison is an opthomology resident at Vandy!) went to grab a drink at a bar, and then headed home for more sleeps. You know your getting older when you get over 8 hours of sleep the previous night and are all still ready to head to bed at 10:30……hahaha. We totally had plans to go out on Broadway, but we all got too sleepy. For those of you who are wanting to go out on the town and hear some live music, Michael is obsessed with this place called The Stage!

On our final day we started out our day with some brunch a Red Bicycle Coffee & Crêpes. For some very strange reason, I never think to eat crêpes and I just love them. #forthewin

*he looks thrilled that I am photography him, doesn’t he?*

We spent the afternoon at a local brewery, walked around Broadway, visited this beautiful bridge with an amazing view of the city, and found ourselves some hot chicken (!!!!!) which is fantastic. I had never experienced hot chicken before, but for those of you wondering it is half of a fried chicken with hot sauce tossed into the batter. My stomach doesn’t love super spicy so I went with regular friend and was a fan. Our friends recommend Hattie B’s  for any of you visiting!

And then we flew home, back to reality, to begin the work week. Thank you Allison and Austin for your hospitality, willingness to be our tour guides, and your friendship! We love you!

10/10 would recommend going to Nashville for a weekend getaway and finding amazing friends who live there 🙂

Chicago Days

Happy Monday, friends! Hope everyone had a great weekend. Michael and I went to Nashville this weekend to visit a couple of friends who just bought a gorgeous, gorgeous house. It was one of those weekends that just makes you feel good – centering life around great food, beautiful places, and people you love tends to do that, right? I was soaking it up like a sponge.

I’ll tell you about Nashville tomorrow, but for today I actually have a Chicago recap of some things I’d recommend doing in the city! Michael and I spontaneously went to Chicago for the 4th of July and I thought I’d share with you some fun highlights of our trip if you’re just wanting to kick back, relax, and take in the city on foot.

So when I say this trip was spontaneous, I mean that we booked our flight the night before and then showed up on the doorsteps of our friends and family 🙂 Thankfully, our people are used to our nuttiness and kindly welcomed us into their homes with open arms.

**Pro Travel Tip from MD If You Have Airline Status and Are Willing to Take Risks**

Michael and I weren’t locked into a time that we needed to arrive by in Chicago so we booked the cheapest flight of the day that was going out of Dallas (a 9:30pm flight). We showed up in the morning, however, the day of our flight and asked at the gate if we could hop onto the earlier flight (leaving at 11am)…. and they let us on!

If you have airline status, are not locked into an arrival time, and don’t mind waiting around at an airport if you can’t get on a flight, I highly, highly recommend trying this. Like, fo realz. Go through security as normal and find the gate in which the earlier Dallas flight will be departing from. From there, let the agent at the counter know that you have ____ status with the airline and that you were hoping to catch an earlier flight. Also, check the fullness of flights online at home so you don’t end up going to the airport early and spending a day there for no reason.

******************************************************************************************

Since our time in Chi-town was most focussed on friends and family, most of our gatherings were centered around food, taking in the sights of the city, and regular stops at Dunkin Donuts (which is the best coffee of life in case you didn’t know).

This was actually my first trip to Chicago! I had been once as a little kid to go to the American Girl Store for tea with my dolls, Samantha and Kit, but that is my only memory of that visit. I was blown away by the quality of the restaurants we visited as well as how beautiful this city was. There’s something about Chicago that doesn’t have the overwhelming vibe of a typical big city to me. I’m not sure if it was the wealth of trees or the kindness of the people we crossed, but it didn’t have the same hustle and bustle of the East Coast and I loved the chill vibe. I think part of the chill feel has to do with the water running straight through the city too. I loved that.

ACTIVITES

Speaking of water, we did the Architectural River Tour of the city and it was absolutely stunning. If you do one touristy thing while you’re there, I highly recommend this! It was worth every penny.

Our other big event, was honestly just walking the town, going into stores to explore and walking along the water. We wanted to see the different neighborhoods of the city and going around on foot is the best way to do that any place you go, right?

*Dunkin in hand at all times*

RESTAURANTS

There are 2 important food groups in Chicago – pizza and hot dogs. And we definitely found both. If you’re looking for must have food in Chi-town, these are the places to go (according to our tour guides/family/friends and we agreed with their choices!)

Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder – this restaurant in Lincoln Park Pizza is known for their pizza pot pie and I was honestly a bit skeptical of this situation since I know Chicago is the place to get deep dish pizza. I was proved wrong! This is definitely an entire breed of pizza and is fantastic in its own right. Their salad was also awesome. I definitely recommend stopping by if you’re in the area! As is the case with most restaurants in Chi-town, you will experience a long wait. Plan ahead by getting there early to get your name on the list or plan to drink wine for an hour or so 🙂

Pequod’s Pizza – This deep dish pizza was incredible. It was just absolutely amazing. End of story. I really liked the way the crusted caramelized and hardened on the layer that touched the cast iron skillet. Get one with pepperoni and veggies!

Portillo’s Hot Dogs – This is kinda the place you go to get a Chicago style dog because it’s soooo famous, but M and I both agreed that it’s about the experience. Definitely go here to get a great dog, but if you’re a hot dog connoisseur, I bet there are some mom and pop places that are even more fantastic.

And most importantly, go with your friends. Thank you to my brother-in-law, bestie Alise, and Alise’s bf/our dear friend Connor for a fantastic weekend in the city! We love you!

 

Finding a Happy Medium

Self care is a big theme in this space and I have not been practicing what I preach lately. Life just keeps speeding past me and sometimes I forget that I’m allowed to choose when I hop on and hop off of that train.

I’ve been reflecting on these last couple months of living here in Dallas and they have contained so much freedom than I’ve ever felt before. I have majorly been off the train. This career move has been one of the greatest gifts of my life and for possibly the first time ever, I feel like me. This might sound silly, but I feel like this person who’s always been in there is really starting to come out of myself and it just so authentically Brenna. Being out of the world of offices and computers and into time where I have more control, more space, and more quiet has nourished my soul.

In this new time in my life with a total lack of structure, I’m actually craving a little bit of it now in a few different parts of my life. Just a couple short months ago I was permanently on the train. I was getting up at 5:30am to pack my breakfast and lunch, put dinner in the crockpot, go to work, and come home to write this blog. I totally lived for the weekends and was in constant survival mode.

So now I’m wanting to meet somewhere in the middle of those two lives because that’s what feels right to me in this season.

EXERCISE

In this season my, my body seems to be craving more exercise which is so interesting to me because I’m not someone who enjoys it. What I’m discovering though is that I’ve been in such a perpetual state of stress and therefor a constant adrenal rush, that exercising has sounded unthinkable until now for a reason. In the past, intense exercise has actually increased my anxiety because of the constant release of adrenaline so I’m really careful with the way in which I approach any sort of movement.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this terminology, adrenaline is a stress hormone and it is designed to prepare the body for danger. Have you ever heard people use the term fight or flight mode? That is in reference to our adrenal system and frankly, that is very much what it means. Adrenaline prepares our bodies to fight our opponent or run like a madwoman, and as you can imagine, constant release of that stress hormone is very, very hard on our bodies. Many people do not know, however that stress is also released when we exercise. So if you are someone who is suffering from anxiety and you’re feeling too tired to exercise, it’s because your body is pumping adrenaline like nobody’s business and you just simply don’t have enough energy left.

Well, that’s been me. And I’ve just experienced a couple of low stress months of life with very little exercise where I’ve been in what I’m calling “recuperation mode” and I finally feel ready to embrace some movement again. Exercise regimens are going to be different for all of us and for me it’s going to be pretty low key for now. I started going to a kickboxing class once I week and I really enjoy it, but I’m hoping to embrace some mind-nourishing movements too like going for a walk with my puppy (!!!) or maybe even some yoga in my apartment. I’ll let you know when I have a real routine happening.

EATING

Lately, I’ve found myself kind of grazing throughout the day because I don’t want to take the time to make myself a meal. I was so ready for unstructured meals and the ability to stop thinking about/planning food. But, I’ve finally hit the point where I’m craving more nutritious foods than I’m feeding myself. I get up with my husband every morning to make sure he has a nutritious lunch packed for work and then, ironically, l’m eating some cheese and crackers and a piece of dark chocolate for a meal.

Well, I’ve been having some tummy trouble lately, and that is clearly a way of my body saying, “Brenna, your body is ready to eat with a little more structure again plz”. So that’s what I’m going to do. Real meals and snacks where I give myself the time to take a step back from my day, prepare my food, and enjoy eating it.

PRAYER

San Diego was a really tough season for us, and someday, I’ll talk in more detail about that here. It’s something I’m still processing through myself. During that time, I was praying constantly for help, for guidance, and for direction in my life. And God really and truly came through for me. He called us back to Dallas and my life feels like it’s done a 180. But in the last couple months, I haven’t spent my time with God in a ritualistic way like I did in San Diego and that has been the missing piece to the puzzle for me. I’m certainly not “meeting in the middle from this topic as I want to return to the structure in San Diego, but my prayers have shifted from a need for help to gratefulness, appreciation, and praise for the mercies I have received in these short 8 weeks.

SELF-CARE

Ah this sneaky, sneaky topic. In my San Diego life I had to schedule my self-care into my evenings or it wouldn’t happen. My life’s been so much more relaxed now, that I keep being like “ohhhh no I don’t need to make time for that! I’m doing great!”. Lies I tell you. I don’t care what season of life I’m in, I’ve officially learned that I’m someone who must prioritize time for myself. It’s what they say on an airplane: put on your air mask before you help the person next to you put on theirs. So tonight, I’m going to paint my toe nails before my husband gets home because I’m going to be a whole lot more mentally ready to show that boy love if I show myself some love. Can I get an amen?

Also this nail polish is for the win. Highly recommend. It doesn’t last me quite as well as the Essie Gel Couture, But I’m really trying to switch over to all natural products and I’m a fan so far!Alright ya’ll. I have plans to take an hour and sit on the floor of my bathroom and paint my nails with me, myself, and probably, Ariana Grande (guilty pleasure). See you guys tomorrow!

xoxo, B