The Blog-tember Challenge: Day 27 | A Wishlist

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Prompt: What's on your wish list? Be sure to include links so we can shop too ;)

Lilly Pulitzer Popover- It's no secret I love Lilly.. and one of these popovers has been on my wish list for years. This print is perfect. This is for sure going on my Christmas list.
Juliet Grace Shop Family Crest- A custom family crest was on my wishlist last year, but those have now been discontinued and I've got my eye on a more financially attainable option!
Sorority Christmas Ornament - I've had one of these pricey ornaments on my mind since last fall.. I'd love one for our Christmas tree this year. Such an heirloom piece!
Pineapple Coin Dish- Pineapples, enough said!
Rewined Candle- I saw these at a boutique in the spring and they were so beautiful and unique!
Tory Burch Minnie Travel Flat- A month or so ago I was shopping with my mother in law and we found these flats on sale in a bright orange color and I considered buying them, but essentially decided against it because of the bright color. However, they were so incredibly comfy that I've been thinking about them since! I love all three of the suede colors! I initially leaned towards the navy (I have a blush purse) but would that be weird with how often I wear denim?
Blush Cowl Neck Swing Sweater One of my most worn items of clothing from last year is a gray cowl neck swing sweater- it was always my comfy go-to for casual and more formal outings, bc it could be styled in so many different ways. This blush one is beautiful and I'm sure I'd wear it just as much!

Brave Love Blog

The Blog-tember Challenge: Day 26 | What I read in September

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Prompt: whats on your to-read list, and what have you recently read?

The view from my favorite reading spot

The Heir by Kiera Cass
I was a little nervous to read this book, simply because I loved the first three of the series so much. The switch of perspective put me off for a few weeks, but I'm so glad I picked it up. Just as good as the other books, but slightly different. It took a second to get used to the switch of generation but I loved this first book, and am already eager for the two that will inevitably follow.

Who do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

Now that a few weeks have passed since I read this book, I'm having a hard time fully articulating my thoughts about it. I was hooked, and really enjoyed reading it.. but it's one of those that's also hard to read at times. It's pretty graphic (just a forewarning) but I did enjoy the story overall. Especially the earlier parts of the book, when the characters are young.. man. Those chapters really tugged at my heartstrings!

Something Blue by Emily Giffin

This book is an old favorite that I love. I've read it lots of times and I was just feeling a comfortable read, so I picked it up. Highly recommend for a chic lit read. :)

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

For some reason, when lots of people are reading a book it takes me a minute to hop on the bandwagon. That's how I was with this book, but when my source of all good book recs, Sarah, told me to read this, I did as told. I loved this book. I feel like I can't talk too much about it without revealing a ton, but it's a majorly captivating read. The ending was frustrating for me, but I'm trying not to let that ruin my overall great reading experience. The sequel comes out in just a few days and I'm kind of torn on if I want to read it.. but let's be honest I probably will!

Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews

I read this because I was in the mood for a lighthearted, chick lit read. It was one, but it just wasn't good. I never got incredibly hooked, or wanted to know what happened next. It wasn't horrible, but I can't say I would recommend or read another book by this author.

The Honest Life by Jessica Alba

The launch of Honest Beauty inspired me to revisit this old favorite. It makes me respect and love Jessica Alba so much for sharing such practical information. She's made such an incredible business empire. I'd love to read more books from her in the future. It's not practical for me at this point to go completely "yuck" free, but reading her research really does help me discern what things we should allow in our home.


The #SheReadsTruth Daniel Study is a study I finished early on in the month, and I really enjoyed it. I liked that it covered the book of Daniel in it's entirety. Some of it was covered quickly, but I really enjoyed it and grew in my understanding and love of scripture from going through it. I recommend!

On my list to read over the next month? Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah, Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple, After You by Jojo Moyes (maybe), Baby Proof by Emily Giffin, and For the Right Reasons by Sean Lowe.. who knows which ones I'll get to, but those have my attention!

Brave Love Blog

The Blog-tember Challenge: Day 24 | Favorite Blogs

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Prompt: Shout out five of your favorite bloggers. Who are your regular reads?

Because a handful of the blogs I read are written by people I've developed personal relationships with.. I'm not going to play favorites with general blogs today. No clique here. :)

Instead, I'm going to share my favorite professional style blogs, people who don't know me but I sure do know them! Ha!

Based off my favorites, do you have any style blogs that I should check out? :)

Brave Love Blog

The Blog-tember Challenge: Day 22 | Creativity

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Prompt: Get creative! Sketch, paint, dance, play music, whatever then give us a glimpse.

When I first was working through all of the prompts for the #BlogtemberChallenge, this one had me stumped. I know that I see the world through a creative lens, but I couldn't possibly imagine something that would fit within this category. When looking through my photos, though, I realized this would be a perfect time to share something fun that I did while we were in Italy this summer. In every place where we were around the water, I was captivated by the different colors of the water, and the different ripples. I started snapping away, hoping I may end up with some good contenders for a gallery wall or something. This is what I ended up with. Which one is your favorite?

Venezia I
Monterroso I
Monterroso II
Capri I
Capri II
Capri III
Capri IV
Capri V
Venezia II

Brave Love Blog

The Blog-tember Challenge: Day 21 | A Quote

Monday, September 21, 2015

Prompt: A favorite quote/expression and how it has impacted you.

When I first heard this sweet quote in Cinderella, I honestly didn't connect with it. Well, I just didn't connect strongly with it. A few months after seeing the movie, I saw a short clip of a mother talking to her daughter and telling her to "have courage and be kind, sweet girl" and it got me. It's exactly the premise of the quote's use in the movie, but seeing a real life mama share that advise with her daughter really grabbed hold of my heart. I know I have my sassy moments, but I don't want to ever pride myself on being authoritative with a bite.. even though that trait is valued by some. It's really important to me to treat people with kindness, especially people who are working somewhere I'm visiting for a service. I think I love this quote so much now, because it is so simple. It's a beautiful little reminder of one of the things that matters most.

Brave Love Blog

The Blog-tember Challenge: Day 17 | Latest Obsession

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Prompt: Just for fun, your latest obsession. What can you not get enough of these days?

My answer to this question may seem a little silly, but it's my genuine one. I cannot get enough of a well organized household recently. For the most part, I lean on the cleaner side of the world. But efficient is another thing entirely. I've been reading a lot online about how other women organize and structure normal processes in their homes, and I'm hooked. I've also been intentionally cleaning up daily instead of a massive overhaul twice a week. Spending just ten minutes doing a walkthrough has been huge as far as keeping our house mostly clean and lovely. I've cleaned out and purged and created organizational systems in tricky areas of our home. As an overflow of this, I've been spending more of my free time than ever reading blogs of women with wisdom greater than I, and also browsing pinterest. One of my favorite reads lately has been Mix and Match Family's "52 Shades of Shay", that just details how one sweet mama lives life. Call me nosy, but I've found it incredibly fascinating. Ha! So I guess my "obsession" is just learning more about how I can care for the home that we've been blessed with, and love those who visit.

And here's a few more things that have caught my eye:

I am in love with this dress from Lauren Conrad's collection at Kohl's. It's just so gorgeous and posh looking to me! As soon as September is over I'll be picking this up.

This video released a few weeks ago from one of my favorite brands, Emily Ley, made me tear up. Something about it was just so awesome to me! 

Eeeee, I want to go apple picking so bad! 

I've been stalking NYFW via all social media forms.. I especially loved the Carolina Herrera show.

After a year, my forever favorite blog Young House Love updated us on things. I have mixed feelings.. I understand their reasoning for stepping back from blogging but wish we could get at least a monthly update from them.. or something!

Last week I got a maroon pedi to welcome in fall!

One of my favorite things about blogging is the sweet friends that I've made. Tomorrow, I'll be on a plane to visit two blog friends. This week I had a long phone date with another one. It's been especially cool to connect with people all over the world.. and sweet Lucy Claire from Australia is an absolute favorite! She interviewed me for her blog and you can find it here.

I thought this article on my favorite highlighter was super interesting!

Actually, Ben recently banned me from the phrase "I'm obsessed!" because I used to say it so much.. yikes!

Brave Love Blog

The Blog-tember Challenge: Day 16 | The Real Me vs Online Me

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Prompt: The real you vs. the online you? Are they the same or different?

When I first read this prompt, it gave me the heebie jeebies. It is natural that you're not going to fully declare everything about yourself and your life online, but at the same time, I feel that it's really important to be consistent. I remember talking about it a lot in high school youth group; how important it is to be the same when you're at school and at church. It's stuck with me. I can think of people off the top of my head who are going to be consistently kind no matter who they're around, not showing favoritism. I love and admire those people. So, for whatever reason, I've always been passionate about being pretty consistent, and about not having secrets unless absolutely necessary. My root feelings about secrets is that they're exclusive (possibly hurtful) and I associate them with "getting caught". My goal is to live my life in a way where there's nothing I need to keep secret, that I can openly share with the people in my life. Parents, friends, etc. Obviously there are some things that aren't appropriate to just go around blabbing about, but I think y'all probably hear my heart on this one. :)

So because of the feelings I shared above- the idea of portraying yourself in a certain way online makes me cringe, yet I know everyone (myself included) does it. People talk about only sharing their "edited lives" or "highlight reel" and sometimes people try to post about their struggles to combat that. I think though, that at times even the way you present your struggles is edited to be the best kind of struggle.. if that makes sense. It really is my goal on this blog to be as honest as is appropriate. It's my hope and prayer that if you sat down with me in real life you wouldn't feel like you were meeting a totally different person. In "real life", I'd hope to be able to connect deeper with you, but overall be the same. I obviously only share photos of my home when it's clean, and don't post photos of myself after a sweaty workout, but I think it's important to remember that no matter what a person is sharing on the internet, those moments exist. Everyone has bad days, and everyone has great days and it is what it is. Let's not take the internet too seriously, and just seek to encourage. What do y'all think? :)

Note: Something I've been thinking about as I work through the Blogtember Challenge is that some of my loyal, wonderful, consistent pre-challenge readers may be sick of seeing content that they know I wasn't specifically really inspired to write. I can see it coming out for me with some of these prompts that I'm just not super passionate about, I've even skipped a few that I specifically didn't feel called to write. This challenge has been just that, a challenge, and really fun for me. I hope y'all can enjoy a little bit of different content and look forward to normal programming starting in (glorious!) October. I'm grateful for y'all! XO

Brave Love Blog

The Blog-tember Challenge: Day 15 | What's in My Bag

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Prompt: What's in your bag?

Here goes it:

2 Bath and Body works mini lotions- one in Oahu Coconut Sunset, one in Sonoma Weekend Escape

Breathsavers 3 Hour Mints

Apple Headphones

A Cliff Bar (Peanut Butter!)

My Kate Spade Wallet filled with essentials

Our bible study books for the study our home group is doing

a small package of Kleenex

Two pairs of sunglasses

My rifle paper company journal for taking notes at church

an EOS pomegranate chapstick

a leather pouch filled with: an eyelash curler, two perfume roller balls, a few lip glosses, a luluemon headband, q tips, hair ties, nail clippers, some gum, and a small package of watermelon jolly ranchers

an expanding file from the Target dollar section that I use to organize gift cards, coupons, and receipts

What are some of your must haves in your purse? Mine have grown as I've become more organized. Having nail clippers and q tips always comes incredibly handy!

Brave Love Blog

The Blog-tember Challenge: Day 14 | Books that have Impacted my Life

Monday, September 14, 2015

Prompt: The 5 books that have impacted your life the most. 

As the photo above may suggest, and as "cheesy" as this may sound, the book that has changed my life the most, the only book I can genuinely not live without, is the bible. Words literally breathed by God. But for the purposes of this post, I'll share about some other books. :)

The Enormous Turnip by Alexei Tolstoy

You may be thinking.. what? I love reading. I always have. It's been a huge part of my life. For years I wanted to be a writer, and somehow I settled with expressing that love here on my little blog. When I was in first grade I remember reading so ferociously that my teacher wrote on my report card "too much reading!!!!" because she thought I couldn't comprehend what I was reading. A few "AR tests" (anyone remember?) settled that debate.. but anyway, I've always been a reader. The book I mentioned above is the first one that I ever read on my own, in Kindergarten. I remember my teacher sent me down to the principal's office to read it for her. I'll never forget that... yay for a teacher who cheered me on! Another few books I remember changing my life when I was younger? Frindle by Andrew Clements and Riding Freedom by Pam Munos Ryan.. and of course all of the American Girl books. :)

Bittersweet by Shauna Niequest 

“I believe that God is making all things new. I believe that Christ overcame death and that pattern is apparent all through life and history: life from death, water from a stone, redemption from failure, connection from alienation. I believe that suffering is part of the narrative, and that nothing really good gets built when everything's easy.” 

This has been a favorite of mine since college, and anytime I pick it up I read it with new eyes.

Love Does by Bob Goff

I don't love non fiction books. There, I said it. :) This book changed that for me. I read this book in just two sittings, and devoured every word. It's a book about life and God and loving others that has you hooked in to every word and story. It's the very definition of an oldie but a goodie.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond

This book impacted be because when I first got married, I didn't know how to cook at all. I love Ree Drummond, and always will.. and reading her cookbook gave me the confidence to try any recipe and just see what happens. Now I love cooking, and have three full Thanksgiving dinners under my belt. Thank you Ree!

Well, that's only four. But I'd rather not force a last one. There are plenty of books that I LOVE.. but have they genuinely changed my life? Probably not. I will say that the books I've read in the last year and would recommend are Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, The Selection series by Kiera Cass, and The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan.

If you enjoyed today's prompt, you should check out this post on Val Marie Paper's blog.. with a ton of awesome ladies listing their 5 favorite books! I've read a lot of books simply because they were listed on here, and a few of my top books made the list as well!

Brave Love Blog

The Blog-tember Challenge: Day 12 | Currently

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Prompt: What are you up to currently?

Reading... Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Watching... nothing! I need a new Netflix/Hulu/Amazon show to watch. I wish that Castle was on one of those, I've been intrigued by the commercials.

Trying... to piece together our living room. Last Saturday our AC went out and when the technician came he said the issue was because I had furniture blocking the big vent. Meh. So everything got moved around and is now officially a hot mess. Oh well, I love a decor challenge. I just don't like the messy in between!

Cooking... pumpkin EVERYTHING.

Eating... no sugar for the next two days. The hardest thing ever, I have such a sweet tooth!

Drinking... water, as always. Although my season of enjoying a carmel apple spice and a peppermint hot chocolate are approaching... YAY!

Pinning... so much recently. I go through such seasons with pinterest, radio silence for awhile, then overload! Find some of my favorites here, here, and here.

Tweeting... this happened last weekend, but the Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe retweeted a photo of me and some friends and responded to us! We have been doing a bracket for each season and celebrating the winner with a cookie cake. This season, I ended up as the winner.. and we were celebrating kind of late but we got Kaitlyn's attention which is awesome!

Going...  to hang out with Nicole and Jamie next weekend in Mississippi, and then celebrate Kristen's wedding in Oklahoma City the weekend after that!!

Loving... these new arrivals from Lilly. Here, here, and here

Learning... so much during the New Testament Theology class we're taking at church. It's pretty intense (we even have a syllabus!) but I've loved developing a deeper understanding of scripture.

Thinking... about travel for next summer. There's a few places in Paris that we missed on our last trip, so I'd love to stop over there for a day or two when we visit family, among other places.

Feeling... anxious about some things upcoming in my life, just being honest.

Hoping (for)... a refreshing and encouraging fall season filled with joy.

Listening (to)... the Kidd Kraddick Morning Show every time I'm in the car, as always.

Celebrating... I'm a little ashamed of my two Bachelor references in one post but I'm still celebrating the engagement of Tanner and Jade! I cried during their proposal. Yep.

Smelling... Farmstand Apple by Bath and Body Works! I love you, candles!

Thanking... God for how He sustains us.

Considering... this interesting article on The Nightly Routines of 15 Successful Women.

Starting... to really want new living room curtains. Too bad really nice thick ones like I want are  $$$$!

Finishing... my organization projects around the house! Yippee!

Brave Love Blog

The Blog-tember Challenge: Day 10 | My Bucket List

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Prompt: 10 items off your bucket list. If you haven't made one, now's a good time to start.

Photo by Stacy Reeves, a previous bucket list item
This prompt made me realize that I have never actually made a general, no time frame bucket list. It's been fun to make a note in my phone and add fun, daydreamy goals that I would love to accomplish. A ton of mine are travel related, so it was hard not to make every single one a travel thing, haha! Another thing that I realized is that many wonderful things I couldn't have dreamt up have happened in the past few years. We got to model for our favorite wedding magazine, I tried skiing, I was posted by Anthropologie on their Pinterest account, we traveled to Italy... so many wonderful things, and it inspired me to dream a little for this selection of bucket list items!
  • Build our dream house 
  • Go on an African Safari 
  • Host a black tie event 
  • family photos at Versailles
  • attend the Kentucky Derby
  • Travel across the state of Alaska
  • host Thanksgiving every year 
  • host a party and have it featured on Style Me Pretty Living 
  • Host a Christmas Party of some kind
  • go apple picking (there's no where in our area to do this which is why it's a bucket list item!)
Note: When Ben and I were brainstorming for this, he said that one of his bucket list items is to ride an Arabian horse at full speed down a beach shirtless with long hair flowing in the wind. Haha!! 

What's on your bucket list? Do you have any items that you think I would enjoy and should add to mine?

Brave Love Blog

The Blog-tember Challenge: Day 9 | A Letter to my 16 year old self

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Prompt: Write a letter to sixteen-year-old you. Any advice or funny stories?

This is an emotional one for me. I won't lie, a huge part of me didn't want to write it. When I was 16, I became a Christian the summer aftermy birthday (in February) and there were a lot of growing pains for me in trying to cover myself in the truth of scripture and of Jesus's love for me, and trying to turn from the things of the world. I wasn't raised in a Christian home, and so I can genuinely tell you the first time someone told me that God made me how I am. That's now one of the biggest turning points in my life. When I was 16 I was starting to really get close with some of the people who are still closest to me, something that is very close to my heart. I love having close friends who I've grown up with. They know my history and my mistakes and my triumphs and I love that. One of my favorite things about long time friendships is that you can clearly see God's faithfulness in their lives over time, as well as your own. That's essentially what writing this little letter did for me.. it reminded me of His faithfulness that I'll look back on the same way when another 8 years have passed. Praising Him for that today!

Side note about faith: I saw something on twitter this weekend that said, "if your faith involves hating someone, you're doing it wrong" and it has really stuck with me. Just thought I'd share that. If you're someone who wouldn't say you identify as a Christian (or you are!) and have been wronged by Christians in the past, I deeply apologize for those wounds you've received, and hope that seeing that little quote can encourage you. 

Dear Victoria,

Psalm 139:14- I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Josh and Stacy recently shared bible verse with you after youth on a Wednesday night. Right now you think you have the whole world figured out, driving around town in your silver slug bug.. but you aren't even close. God has and will be faithful and protect you from your foolishness, but turn and seek Him. Surround yourself with friends who love Him and listen to their stories and have fun with them. Consider your worth, simply as a creation of God, but also now as His child. You are special and unique and not alone.

I wish I could tell you about all that's to come.. about how the Lord's plans are not only going to heal your heart in so many ways, but that He is going to provide so much for you tangibly. He's going to literally pick you up out of trying situations and give you a safe place. But it's more fun if you just figure it out and let yourself be surprised by it. Over the next few years of high school, your best friends will become a family. Cherish every second of those carefree days. Leaving them for college will be heart, but you guys will make it. And college will bring even more sweet things. During the rest of your time in high school, soak up the awesome variety of people you're surrounded by. People who are different than you help you grow. As you get older, you'll spend more and more time with like minded people, which can be really encouraging.. but you'll also miss getting to love on people different than you.


Oh and PS. You took your first photo with your husband this year. 



Brave Love Blog

The Blog-tember Challenge: Day 8 | My Favorite Season, Fall!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Prompt: Tell us about your favorite season. Why is it your favorite and what does it say about you?

The season of Autumn is my favorite for so, so many reasons. This may sound crazy, but I feel like the rhythm of my life has settled into my love of fall, too. Pretty consistently, the Spring season is a hard one for us. I can identify reasons why Spring has been difficult for us each year. Summer always brings transition, good or bad.. and fall is always rich. There's the undertone of gratefulness that brings me back to what matters, no matter the circumstances. I love every single bit of this season.

College football has grown on me so much over the years. I love how it brings people together, and I love having a team to cheer for. I love making football snacks.

 I'm such a fan of pumpkin. If it's pumpkin, I will order it. Yum.

I love the cooler fall weather. I love wearing jeans and light sweaters and boots. I love being able to walk around and not be sweating like crazy. Texas problems.

Since we got married, we've been hosting Thanksgiving.. and we're obsessed! I've really gotten a hold on my favorite Thanksgiving dishes, and we love gathering friends and family in our home. It's without a doubt one of my favorite days of the year. Nothing can bring me down on Thanksgiving.

And another fun reason I love fall... is because Southern Weddings is always released in November! We've been counting down the days till V8 in our house- and it's almost here... yippee!!

Now that Labor Day has passed, I can feel my beloved fall creeping up on us. I'm so excited. I can already feel my heart just beaming with joy over the new season! What is your favorite?

Brave Love Blog
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