Wednesday, March 22, 2017

dressing pretty with elle belle boutique

happy wednesday, friends!
i'm coming at you today with a super fun (and pretty) collaboration + giveaway with elle belle boutique!

for more deets on the giveaway and how to enter, head on over to my instagram! (everything will be posted on wednesday, march 22!)

i came across elle belle boutique in the craziest way: i first saw her clothing line from Katie's blog. her clothes were so cute, so i decided to check out her (Stacy - the owner of elle belle boutique) online boutique. i quickly found stacy's instagram, + found out she lives in the same city as me.

like, what are the odds?!

so, i attended her pop up shop at her home a couple weeks ago, + we decided to collab! whoop whoop!

stacy is a stay at home mom that runs this awesome boutique out of her home. her clothes are oh so cute + oh so affordable. she always has new arrivals, + clothes to meet anyone's style standards!

in my photos, the white scalloped cardigan (sold out), the pink scalloped shirt (sold out), + the white jeans are all from elle belle boutique.

side note on the white jeans // they are so flattering, + not see through! i'm very picky about my white jeans, but these definitely hit the mark! i sized up on these because they are pretty form fitting.

if you live in the area, stacy does pop up shops that you can shop in person at! if you do one at her home, you can even try on the clothes before you buy to make sure you absolutely love them! if you don't live in the area, you can shop elle belle boutique online! i do recommend sizing up if you order online. i noticed that i went for the larger size in clothing when i tried them on for comfort.

if you're looking for cute, affordable, and flattering clothing and accessories, be sure to check out elle belle boutique!

+ don't forget to enter the giveaway on my instagram! i'll also be sharing a coupon code when the giveaway ends for all of my pretty friends like you to use!

xoxo, Brandi

Monday, March 13, 2017


the past few weeks have flown by in a whirlwind, yet have seemed to take 5 years. i’m exhausted from trying to sell this house. when we sold our last house, we had moved out within a week, and showings were much easier to accommodate to because we weren’t there.

this time, each time we have a showing, i have to pack up the baby and the dog, and go drive around for an hour until i can come back, and then turn around a couple hours later and do it again.

don’t get me wrong, i’m so grateful for all the showings we’ve had. we live in an new neighborhood that everyone is fighting at the bit to live in - well usually, more on that in a minute. but it’s just flat out exhausting constantly having to leave the house, and pray that a showing isn’t during nap time. and kyle started his new job today, so it was a whole lot harder to get everyone out of the house without his help. and trying to keep up with all of that, run both of our home businesses, and some how keep everyone fed? well, you get the point.

trying to constantly keep the house clean with a 17 month old and two animals is about as equal as trying to brush your teeth while eating oreos (ew). we are always rushing around, always telling lilli “no, don’t make a mess”, and not feeling comfortable at home so it can always be “show ready”.

and although we live in a new neighborhood, it’s taking a while to sell. most houses in our neighborhood are on the market for 2-6 days. but, because of whatever unknown reason, the couple of houses that are for sale in our neighborhood, ours included, are taking much longer to sell. i know that i have no right to complain, but 3 and a half weeks on the market seems like a whole lot longer with a baby and animals in tow. 

because of the financing we are doing with the new home, we aren’t able to legally close on the new house until we legally sell this one, so we can’t move or start renovations (it’s a fixer upper, which is a dream of ours, but that dream feels so far away right now that i can’t even think about it). and the real sucky part - since the new house is contingent on this one selling - we only have so long for this house to sell before the contract is voided, which is coming up way sooner than i like to think about. and, even worse, the sellers of the new house are allowed to accept a new offer at any time, and unless we sell the house within 72 hours of that offer, we lose the house. and all of this will be for nothing and we have to start all over.

i’ve had an incredibly tough time trusting in this season. when we first made the decision to move, it was very clear to us that this is what God wanted and that we were making the right decision. but now, as each day passes and this house sits on the market, it’s so hard not to question it, and wonderful if we made a huge mistake.

i’m not a very patient person, and i get discouraged very easily. but maybe that’s why God is having us go through this? to prove to us how almighty He is? to show us that He never fails, that He wouldn’t have put us through this journey if it wasn’t for a reason that is beyond our own comprehension? and that maybe, just maybe, we will be a bit more patient and a bit more positive at the end?

i know in the end, it’ll all work how however it’s meant to. and i’ll look back on this blog post and chuckle to myself. but right now, i need about 6 glasses of wine and 12 naps. 

xoxo, Brandi

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

currently reading

if you know me at all, you know that i'm a lover of reading. i always tell kyle that if "reading" ever becomes a job, i'd be employed in a heart beat.

i tend to go through a couple of books a month, either on my iBooks app or actual books, and i've definitely found some must reads, and some yeah-I-wouldn't-recommend it.

must reads

the magnolia story || this is going to sound so crazy. haha. but God told me to read this book. kyle gave it to me for christmas, along with a few other books. I was trying to decide which one I wanted to read first, and clear as day, I just had a feeling that I was meant to start the magnolia story.

well, a few days later, kyle lost his job, and God turned everything we knew as the present to the past, and made some major changes in our lives. He was calling us to further our small businesses, and then a few weeks later, He told us to sell our house, and set our sights on a fixer upper on a plot of land.

sound familiar?

i told you guys it was going to sound crazy. haha. this book was awesome, and i definitely recommend it to everyone. but it also was such a motivator and reassurance for me to read, and in a way, it felt like God's way of speaking to me and making our dreams seem like they could become a reality.

overall, its a 10/10!

a time to dance + a time to embrace || besides my boo nicholas sparks, karen kingsbury officially has my heart with her books. my mother in law gave these to me, and i kid you not, it took me three days to finish both books cover to cover. i loved them. i recommend them to any engaged or married couple, as they focus on marriage and the hardships this world can bring to them. trust me when i say that they'll put a whole new (wonderful) view on marriage.

overall, 10/10 for both books!

the year we turned forty || i found this book on a clearance rack, and it sounded good enough to buy but not great. but i turned out to be totally wrong. i finished this book in one day. granted, i had the day to myself (i know, that's the weirdest thing i've ever said on this blog), but i have a feeling it wouldn't have taken me much longer during my regular schedule. it was definitely a keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of story, and i would read it again.

overall, 10/10.

if you're bored reads

most of the books i read on iBooks are usually free or cheap. my book light broke a while back, so i've been reading on here at night more often than keeping the lights on to read my hardback books. most of them haven't been great, but haven't been so bad that i stopped reading them.

crazy love (linked, but free on iBooks) || like i said, i haven't read anything great on here yet, but this one wasn't bad. it wasn't written in the greatest manner, and was a really easy read. but the storyline was pretty good, and it had enough drama in it to keep me reading. it took me about two nights to finish. the only thing i really disliked is that it leaves you on a huge cliffhanger, as in you have to buy the next book (i think it's only $2.99 on iBooks, but still) to know what the heck happened. i would recommend it if you're bored, but not if you're looking for something super dynamic.

overall, 6/10.

not for me reads

i say not for me, because someone who has completely different taste than me may love/hate what i love/hate, but as always, i'm just giving my complete opinion.

the wolf of wall street || i saw this on the same clearance rack that i saw the year we turned forty, and i love to read books that turned into movies because i'm so intrigued by the back stories, and by everything they had to leave out of the movie. (unless i've read the book first, and then see the movie, like nicholas sparks.... then i just cry the whole time BECAUSE THEY FORGOT THE MOST IMPORTANT PART) anyway.

this book was not one of those books for me. i rarely ever stop reading a book because a part of my soul just dies, but this one, i only made it maybe 2 or 3 chapters in when i put it down. it was way to vulgar and graphic for me. the amount of cuss words in this book is astronomical (and yes, i know, there's a ton in the movie. but trust me, it's worse in the book.) and they go very into detail with graphic scenes, and i'm just not okay with reading that. the story itself is very intriguing to me, but i wasn't able to get past the rest to read the story.

overall, for me, 3/10.

Bible studies

i usually do about 2 book Bible studies a month, one with kyle and one for just me. we started two new ones this month:

two as one || this book was given to us by dear friends of ours, and we love it. the Bible studies are fairly short - one page of study, one page with a couple talk questions, and then prayer. we love how blunt it is about everything. it's so direct and gets right to the point, and even though each study is short, it always leaves us with something profound at the end.

overall, 10/10.

19 gifts of the Spirit || i literally just started this book, so i won't be able to give a full review until next time. but, i will say that it's very intriguing, and different from most Bible studies i've read. i'm only on chapter one, but so far, i like it.

what are your must reads, if you're bored reads, not for me reads, and Bible studies that you're currently reading?!

xoxo, Brandi

Monday, March 6, 2017

favorite essential oils

my family and i have been on a journey for a couple years to have a healthier lifestyle. we've been cautious of the things we eat, things we put on our bodies, and medicines we ingest. we were introduced to young living's essential oils by a friend a while ago, and we've been hooked ever since.

i've been asked in the past what my favorite essential oils are, and which ones i recommend. this post is dedicated to just that, and i hope you find it helpful!

lavender || this is by far my favorite oil out of them all. it's the most versatile one i've found, and it's the one we use every day. we use lavender every evening in our diffusers and/or on the bottoms of our feet to help promote better sleep. we like to use it in our baths, on lilli's lovey that she sleeps with,  and in our beauty products. whenever i'm asked which oil someone should start with, this is always the one i suggest!

gentle baby || i used this oil a ton when lilli was younger, and we still use it frequently in her baths. when she's having a rough day, or just needs a little extra "calm", we add it to her baths or put some in coconut oil and give her a rub down.

lemon || this is also another oil that i recommend to first timers. we use it almost every day as well. we like to diffuse it during the day to bring some uplifting smells to the home, and it's a great oil to use in DIY air fresheners, or in your diffusers in rooms you want to smell nicer. we also like to put some drops on our nose and neck when we are feeling stuffy.

stress away || as someone that frequently deals with stress, i love this oil. i use it a lot on my wrists, almost as a perfume. i use it a lot on my diffuser bracelet so i'm able to breathe in its scent all day. it's such a calming aroma to me, and i love how it smells.

digize || as someone who also struggles with stomach issues, this oil is on repeat frequently in our home. i like it mix it in some coconut oil and rub it all over my stomach when it's giving me fits. it always calms down my stomach and makes the day easier.

peppermint || this is another great versatile oil. it's great to use on your stomach during days you're feeling nauseous or just yucky. we used it a lot during our stomach flu days to help with the symptoms. we also use it in our DIY spider repellant, and in our allergy bombs (two drops each of lemon, lavender, and peppermint in a diffuser to help with symptoms of seasonal allergies).

grapefruit || this is one of the newer oils that we have tried, but we love it. kyle uses a drop of this and a drop of lemon in a glass of water in the morning to give him an extra boost in the morning. we also diffuse it, and it makes the house smell like pretty days. i also rub some on my stomach and chest when i'm having a craving for something sweet. just the smell itself helps ward off that intense craving!

what are some of your favorite oils? you can find all of these oils and more at If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me to find out more!

{you can find this shirt at EllyandGrace, and the diffuser bracelet at PeachLeavesBoutique.}

xoxo, Brandi