My 5 Favorite Things Right Now

Hey friends! I know my 5 Favorite things right now posts have been a fave so I thought it was time to do another one this month.

1. I’ve talked quite a bit about essential oils on the blog and how helpful they have been in my world. I’ve had a couple questions about which ones I like to buy so here’s the 411 on those. You’ll see a lot of advertisements for tiny tester bottles so that you can try a lot of different scents. If you’re looking for variety, it’s a great way to try different kinds, but overall it’s kind of a bad deal. I recommend buying the larger 4 oz. bottles so that you can save $$$. My current favorite combo is Lavender and Peppermint mixed together, but I’m also into Eucalyptus at the moment and am obsessed with Eucalyptus scented candles! I’ve had really good experience with both Viva and Art Naturals oils which are linked below (click the image). They’re both high quality, potent, and I’m a fan of the droppers they have too. Also, not in love with my diffuser right now so if anyone has one they love, holla at a sister. I generally purchase essential oils on amazon (along with the rest of my life) because they are much less expensive and shipping is fast shipping because who can go longer than 48 hours when you run out of a necessity, but aren’t willing to drive to your local grocery store (me). Did you guys see that they are now doing some crazy 2 hour delivery situation? WOW.

2. You guys already know about my love for Ilia lipsticks. Well, I discovered that Amazon has a few of them in stock and that this particular color, Arabian Knights, is for some reason only $16.99 (like $10 off). Most importantly, this is apparently the color that Anastasia wears in 50 Shades of Grey (still never seen/read this!), but I feel like that makes it extra sexy so every girl needs this.

3. I don’t want to gush too much because I have an entire post coming up in the next couple weeks with my 100% pure obsession, but this brand is out of control good. 100% Pure is by far my favorite all-around natural makeup brand. They use fruit pigments to create their colors…..doesn’t get any better for a weirdo like me. This mascara is the best I’ve found in the natural beauty department thus far. I like the dark chocolate one (literally colored with cocoa) and I want to try the black tea too (again, literally colored with black tea). You can find this mascara here on their website or on amazon (click the photo).

4. I’m super into candles right now. One, because the apartment we moved into is having some smell issues. We won’t go into that. Two, because scents are very helpful with stress. And three, because they make my house feel cozy! I really like the Chesapeake Bay ones and the strength and energy one has been burning constantly in my house. It’s lasted forever! Here are the ones I’ve tried.

5. Last, but not least, Michael and I have been having SO much fun with Trivia Nights!!!!! We’ve been going once a week. I’m sure you’ve got one in whatever city you’re living right now. They are so much fun. We’ve been going with a variety of friends and it’s a great way to merge friend groups with fun conversation, working together, and of course, wine 🙂 If you live in Dallas, here is a list of places to go!

Happy Monday, my friends!

 

Home

Hi friends,

Sorry I’ve been a little quiet around here this week! Michael and I have been living in corporate housing since we moved back to Dallas a few weeks ago and we finally moved into our new place which I am sooooo happy about. My whole being has been yearning to settle in somewhere and make it my home with all the change and transition that has taken place in our world. I’m one of those super task oriented people and I don’t do multiple things well at once, so when we moved, I kind of went into straight nesting mode and wanted to have everything unpacked and ready to go immediately. Well…we’ve been here for 3 days and I’m still not done (when did we accumulate so much stuff?) so I’m calling it quits until the weekend!

I’ve gotten quite a few DM’s asking about seeing our home and how we are decorating it here and I will definitely get to that post, but have patience with me for just a little while longer as I get this place decorated and hopefully buy some new furniture!

M and I lived in a 1 bedroom in SD so our 2 bedroom in Dallas feels HUGE. We found a great place on the first floor which was a big deal for us if we were going to get a puppy. I love being able to walk right outside! Also on that note….puppy was born almost two weeks ago and she comes home in 6 weeks! I know I left you guys hanging on the kind of pup we are getting, and so, after much deliberation about shedding, size, personality, and more…we ended up choosing a Shiba Inu! Baby Shiba or as we are referring to her, “The Shibes”, will come home the first week of September and we are way too excited. All name suggestions are welcome (I like people names for dogs hehe).

But back to the apt, we are also looking to buy a mattress (still sleeping on M’s college bed) and we are ready to take the plunge and splurge on a real life grown-up bed so if anyone has recommendations, let us know! I will make sure to Insta Story our mattress search so that you can be there to witness the reactions of my husband and truthfully, the real reason so many people read this blog. I have to give it to him, he is hilarious.

Since I’m working from home, I am wanting to create more of an office space in our second bedroom, so we are thinking about selling our current queen bed and purchasing a day bed like this one that extends out to be the size of a queen. Kind of interesting, right? We have lots of guests between family and friends coming through DFW and we want to make sure that everyone is comfortable, but it seems like filling up the entire room with a bed may not be our most practical use for the space. When we brave Ikea to test this out (Lord, help me), I’ll let you guys know if this thing is comfy or not. I hate Ikea with a burning passion and will have to stop for ice cream at least twice.

Other than my attempt to make our little house feel like a home, I’m working on that with B&B too. In a couple months here, this space will be making a little transition to a more professional and hopefully easy to navigate platform. I wasn’t quite expecting this place to take off the way it did, so we gotta amp it up, ya’ll! Pardon this disorganization while I’m working on two spaces at once 🙂

Hope you guys are having a great week. I’m so excited to have a home and most importantly, a kitchen again so that I can really dive back into more food and recipe content.

Side note: I got a lot of questions about the black dress from my post about Jewels gems here. It is sadly sold out online because it is way too cute and comfy, but try your local store and you may find it there! This dress runs a little big so I bought a size down. Also, the cuteness of the Banana sale is out of control right now if you’re in the mood to spend some cashies.

Alright ya’ll, we’re almost to Friday! Happy day to you.

xo, B

 

Eats lately and some thoughts on life

Hi all! Happy Friday to you!

*Just a quick edit here as this post is full of my improvement with my anxiety and excitement regarding our getting a dog. Since I aim to keep this a super honest space, I published this post this morning and followed that up with day full of anxiousness and a panic attack this evening. Lolz. For those of you who struggle with this, you are not alone and we have our days! Also, speaking honestly, 50% of why we are getting a pup is my sweet counselors have suggested the benefits of an emotional support animal for people who struggle with anxiety.  Sometimes these hard days surprise me, especially when I’m doing so well so I don’t see it coming. And then I remember that I’m a work in progress. So humbling and maddening all at the same time*

M and I have been both traveling and living in corporate housing the last few weeks so eating has been pretty funny lately (hence the lack of WIAW’s)! We’ve been eating pasta in Italy, all the meat in Prague, deep dish pizza in Chicago, and a lot of yogurt and salad in between. So random. Today, I’ve got some snapshots of what we’ve been eating at the D’Onofrio house lately, what we’ve been eating on our travels, as well as what life has been like of late.

Breakfasts: When we moved to Dallas, we lived in a hotel for a few days and because of Michael’s Hilton status, breakfast was on point! Our sweet family has spent a couple weekends with us and we spent a great deal of that time brunching away on eggs in every form! Lately, it’s been lots of cereal, yogurt, and fruit as we don’t have many cooking utensils 🙂 

Breakfast with the Bachelorette 🙂 

A couple weeks ago, I announced that I’d made the decision to write on this space full-time. Yay! It’s still kind of magical to wake up in the morning and be enthused about what I’m going to do all day. This transition from a full-time sales rep to a full-time blogging career has been really interesting for me and so therapeutic. I’ve never really been someone who was meant to be cooped up in an office because I’m such an adventurous spirit, and my creativity has felt really stifled for the last couple years. I’m finally feeling like I can breathe again.

It’s been really fascinating to me to see a transition in my health as well. I knew that making yet another move was going to be hard on me because transitions create stress in all of us even though the change is often for good. M and I have been moving, changing jobs, trying to make new friends, and recreating a home repeatedly for the last couple years and that has wreaked a lot of havoc on both my mental and physical health.

Interestingly, with this new transition, and for the first time in a while, I’ve had a little break from my anxiety. It hasn’t been perfect by any means, but for me, it’s been pretty darn good. And I really have to attribute that to my new career change and a kind spouse who has encouraged me to follow my heart. I’ve been seeking purpose in my life for a while now and have been feeling like I’m spinning in circles. I haven’t been able to find direction yet in the music world or working in what I like to call the “real world”. I always show up to my jobs and work hard, but I leave with any empty heart and a tired soul. I’ve honestly just been feeling completely drained for a couple years, and now that I have more perspective, I’ve been living life in a bit of a fog. Just kind going through the motions in order to get by.

Lunches: We’ve had salmon and salad make by our dear friend from Sweden, lots of salads with chicken, lentils and crackers, pizza and more! I told you it’s been random 🙂

Living in the present is a new thing for me and I’ve been feeling so alive lately. I realize that what I am doing right now is a gift given to me by my spouse and I wake up every day just feeling incredibly grateful to be spending my day working on something that is meaningful.

In regards to health, it never ceases to amaze me how extreme of an impact stress has on my body. I’ve been sleeping 9 hours a night and truthfully, I’ve been needing every bit of it. I think my body is just trying to catch up from the challenging months we just spent in San Diego or something, but I’ve been tired. Sleep is designed to be a reparative time for our muscles and tissues, but it is a time of healing for our minds as well. All of this rest I’ve been getting has reminded me of how important sleep is in times of stress and I often find that I do exactly the opposite during those times.

Eating has been so different as well over these last few weeks and this has been so interesting to me. Part of that is travel, part of it is temporary housing, and part of it is just that we’ve been having so much dang fun with our friends and family. My coffee intake has gone down from 2 cups to 1, but my wine intake has gone the opposite direction! We’ve been hanging out with friends for dinner, happy hour, ice cream, you name it and it’s been so carefree and fun. I can’t remember the last time we had a social engagement 6 out of 7 days of the week and it has been such a joy to hang with our peeps. We’ve been doing a whole lot less smoothies and a whole lot more ice cream and I’ve felt better than I have in a long time. There are seasons with eating and ironically, this season of wine and cheese may be my healthiest one yet.

Dinners: Texas BBQ, Quesadillas, Arugula and sautéed veggies, bunless burgers and more. Let the randomness continue.

Dessert: lots of unpictured coffee ice cream, cherry pie, and gelato <3

Michael and I are spending this weekend moving into our new apartment, which we are so excited about. We’re headed into a cute little 2 bed/2 bath in Uptown so that we can have regular guests and our future fur child will have plenty of room to play! I came up with a solution to our dellimma between 5 super different breeds and suggested that we just go ahead and get all of them. Unfortunately, Michael felt that was a bit excessive so we had to decide on one. Bummer.

BUT…..we do have a future fur baby coming to live with us very soon (7 more weeks!) and I’m excited to introduce her to all of you! Any guesses on what kind we’ve ended up with?

Have a great weekend and rest up, my friends. Sleep is magical and ain’t nobody got time for stress.

xo, Brenna

 

Summer Date Night Ideas in Dallas

DRESS – The perfect date night dress that is currently half off at banana republic plus another 10% off if you have a credit card with them…..oops 🙂

Oh Dallas, I’ve missed you. There are so many memories that this city holds for me as this was my home during our engagement, and Michael’s home while I was in college. DFW airport and I-35 know me and my FJ Cruiser all too well as my guy and I schlepped back and forth constantly in order to see each other. Glad those long distance days are over!

Michael and I are living in corporate housing right now for our first month back in Dallas and when I look out the window of our apartment, the flashbacks are real! I can see the store where we had Michael’s tux fittings for our wedding, our favorite happy hour wine and pizza joint, and the grocery store where we ran into each other on Valentine’s Day. Dallas, wherever we go in life, you will always hold a special place in my heart.

One of the things we’ve found to be so incredibly important in our marriage is dating. It is all too easy to fall into a rhythm of time spent together that lacks intention. The two of us can easily sit on our couch doing separate things on our laptops and feel like we are “spending time” together when we really aren’t connecting. Some people have seen the words “date night” on my calendar and thought it strange to see it written down with a date, time and venue. But for me, seeing those words in my calendar gets me excited for our time together and remind me to be intentional with the person I love most. There’s something formal about having it on my “to-do list” that makes me want to throw on a cute dress and put on some mascara!

Here are some of my favorite date night ideas!

Sassetta – We went to dinner on a double date with friends last week to Sassetta, which is an Italian restaurant in the design district and the food was fantastic. Being hard core critics of Italian food, it takes a lot for us to be impressed, but this place really blew us away. Their pasta is homemade and super, super fresh. Go for the lasagna!

Cidercade – Cidercade is an arcade with tons of old school arcade games topped off with the bonus of tons of local ciders. I had the crackberry and you should too 🙂 The arcade games are unlimited with a $10 admission and we had way, way too much fun going from game to game.

Thanks to our friends Laura and Danny for this date night idea!

The Magnolia Theatre and Paciugo Gelato – If you haven’t spent much time in West Village, it is one of the cutest outdoor shopping areas in Dallas with tons of boutiques and local restaurants. We love going to the movies at this theater because it’s fairly small and easily walkable to if you’re living in uptown! After your movie, go next door to Paciugo Gelato, which is one of our favorite stops. It’s summer in Dallas (extremely hot) so cold food and drink are a must. I recommend going there after your movie when the weather is cooler in the late evening and you can take in the romantic vibes of West Village all lit up at night.

Dallas Symphony Parks Concerts – Dallas Symphony does a few outdoor concerts at local parks during the summer and we have had so much fun going to these both as a couple and with groups of friends. There are often lots of local food trucks, but we prefer to pack a chilled bottle of wine and a variety of charcuterie to enjoy outside! Important note: bring a knife for your cheese and glasses for your wine….don’t ask. We somehow always forget this….

The Library Bar – If you haven’t been to the Library Bar in Dallas, this is a place you absolutely need to add to your list. The atmosphere is sophisticated, classy, and super chill. They have wonderful jazz artists that perform on Friday’s and Saturday’s and this is one of our favorite places to go hear great music along with the ability to socialize with each other simultaneously.

I hope these summer date night ideas bring you joy, laughter, and most importantly, allow you to make quality time with the person you love a priority.

xo, B

 

 

Jewels Gems and a discount code

 

Jewelry | Jeans | Top | Sunglasses

One of the things I am trying to shift my wardrobe toward is versatility. I’ve noticed that the pieces I currently own don’t serve me too well in terms of flexibility. I end up owning things that sit in my closet because I have no idea what to wear them with! My expectations are high when it comes to versatility! I’m talking dresses that can be worn for all types of events, shoes that are just as appropriate for church as they are comfortable for an evening stroll, and jewelry that can shift from jeans and a t-shirt to a little black dress. This, my friends, is no. easy. task.

One of the things I find to be helpful when purchasing versatile pieces, is finding a brand that embraces versatility as well. Not only does it make my life easier when I have a “go to brand”, but it allows give me the ability to branch out and try out new pieces. My personal style is pretty classic, but I also like to embrace both my edgy and more feminine sides in my accessories, especially with jewelry.

Accessories play a big role in getting the most out of my wardrobe. If I can wear the same cotton black dress with pearls and heels for a concert or with flip flops and hoops for a casual dinner, sign me up, right?

Which brings me to Jewels Gems. Julie and I connected over Instagram and I couldn’t help but feel like it was meant to be as I was making this shift in my style. No joke, I did a serious clothing purge, and if you go to Good Will, you’ll find most of my closet! With her pieces I’ve had so much fun both dressing up and dressing down my new staple pieces so easily! There something for everyone in her collection and her pieces allow me to make a statement if I’m wearing something simple. Seriously though, so much variety in her shop! An additional bonus, prices are incredible so we ladies can try out all kinds of new things without breaking the bank because that is something I am good at doing 🙂

Julie has kindly offered a discount of 20% off of all Jewels Gems products with the checkout code brenna20 so don’t forget to go check out her beautiful pieces!

What are your tips and tricks for making an outfit go from day to night, school to drinks, and church to the dog park?

This post was sponsored by Jewels Gems.