The Best Apparel is FOUND Local

Hello everyone! I’m back from my small blogging hiatus to talk about the upcoming Holiday season! Are you looking for some great winter apparel for yourself or a friend? Lucky for you, I’ve got an amazing source for your Holiday shopping: Urban Found!

Urban Found is a boutique store with 3 locations in West Michigan: Holland, Saugatuck, and South Haven. I’m so excited to share with you the best outdoor outfit that keeps you warm and cute this winter!

For starters, I’m in love with this bomber jacket! It’s made from corduroy fabric with a printed floral design. It’s extremely warm for it’s size and can go with just about any outfit! It’s also got a bit of room to layer smaller sweaters with it.

Under the jacket, I’m wearing a thermal long sleeved tee. It’s lightweight but keeps me warm, and the buttons are cute.

Next up are these jeans! I’m in love with the textured bottoms; they give an extra pop to an outfit in a subtle way. Not to mention, they’re super comfortable and high waisted!

In addition, the accessories complete the outfit! The hat is vegan friendly and can go with just about anything. It’s so soft and doesn’t give me bad hat hair!

Last but not least, the bracelet is one of my favorites! It’s so simple, and I love that you can adjust the wrist to make it larger or smaller. (I have child-sized wrists so this was a win for me!)

I’ve been in love with Urban Found since I moved to West Michigan, and I will always be a loyal fan! What I love about them is their free, bohemian style mixed with a touch of urban chic. The quality of clothing is fantastic and prices are very affordable. I highly recommend checking them out for your Holiday shopping!

As always, thanks for checking out my blog today and have fun shopping! Make sure to check out Urban Found’s website here for more info.

xo, Brynne

 

Oversized Jackets: SUCH A FAN

Ok, I don’t know about you, but oversized jackets in the Fall are one of my FAVORITE additions to an outfit! You can rock them over a sweater and they don’t make you feel stiff, and they completely pull an outfit together when the weather is so unpredictable!

The jacket that I have on I thrifted and it’s the brand Dressbarn. I almost didn’t get it as I thought it may be too ‘Spring,’ but I think the colors can go for any season. It’s a size Large which is perfect because I’m a size xs/s so it’s great for layering! I’ve linked some of my favorite oversized denim below… Come check out my finds!

  1. Zara: One of my go-to brands as they always have great neutrals and also really funky prints in their products. Their ‘basic’ collection has an awesome black denim jacket that’s perfect for putting on over a cozy sweater!

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2. Levi’s One of the original and best quality brands for denim in my opinion. Not only do they have great options on the website, but Levi’s is now carried at TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack if you’re looking to save some money. Regardless, I think Levi’s is worth every penny.

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3. Shein

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Ok guys… I LOVE the print on this jacket! It’s so fun and also affordable. I’ve heard really good things about the quality of Shein products. If you were going for a neutral outfit, this would be the perfect pop of color!

Friends, I am SO thankful for all of you who read my blog posts… seriously, it’s a gift! Have an amazing Friday, you made it!!!

xo, Brynne

Campus to Real Life: What I’ve Learned

Hey everyone, it’s been awhile! I’ve been transitioning from graduating college into the working world and it’s been crazy thus far! This change from undergrad to regular life can be difficult in a lot of ways, and I’ve definitely struggled with it a lot. It’s taken a lot of time and grace to find ways to navigate this part of my life as I’m sure it has for many of us. Here are some challenges I’ve faced and how I’m working through them.

Money

This is probably one of the bigger ones that many post-grads struggle with. I am the most intimidated by money out of all of these still. When you get your job(s), you suddenly are equipped with a lot of money which is great! No more campus jobs and no more class to keep you from getting more hours! Needless to say, budgeting can be difficult because it’s easy to overspend and important things such as rent, groceries, and gas money go out the window. I try save at least $50 out of each pay check to go to my savings account, and I try to limit myself in expenses I don’t need such as going out for food/drinks or buying coffee in the mornings. I also plan things such as grocery lists, rent, and gas expenses for the month to get a rough estimate of how much I will spend.

Safety Job

Here’s where we have to set our pride aside. Most of us have this idea that once we graduate, we will have our perfect dream job and life… very rarely does this actually happen. Alongside my main job is a dance teacher (yay!), I have a job I enjoy which helps me with student loans and my savings. Very rarely do we get our dream job that allows us to fully fund ourselves right away. I’ve noticed that once graduation happens, we put this heavy expectation that we should have our perfect job right away. Honestly, that RARELY happens. (If it did for you, yay yay yay!) But there’s nothing wrong with hustling for what you need to accomplish, saving money, and not being exactly where you want to be!

Downsizing

When I moved into my apartment, I realized how much crap I have. And I really mean it. Crap. I had so much random stuff that I never use such as: clothing, books, college papers I don’t need, etc. I highly recommend going through everything and asking yourself when the last time you used each item was. It will save you a lot of space! Not to mention, you can sell things on Facebook market or donate to a thrift store help downsize and to allow others to recycle items.

Friendships

College makes friendships super convenient. You can run into people on campus almost anywhere (especially on a small campus). But once everyone has graduated and spread out, you don’t have campus and class to keep connections with others. You need to reach out to others and be good at planning quality time. I’m not much of a planner, and I’ve realized that when I don’t follow through with friendships, they dissipate. Even though it may seem ‘forced’ to make plans, I’ve realized I have to in order to catch up and spend time with those I love! Planning is SO worth it.

These little themes of what ‘real life’ looks like can’t even begin to explain how it really is when you’re working through everything. Transitioning to a new chapter in life is super hard, but things come together slowly. If I have learned anything from this first month of the working world, it’s not to worry so much about making everything work perfectly right away. It takes time to adjust and that’s ok! Whether you have your dream job or you’re still figuring it out, I hope you know you’re not going through it alone! Things will work out. 🙂

xo, Brynne

 

 

Discontent in the Performing World

One of my biggest struggles as an artist is the idea that where I am now is not good enough in my career. There is always someone who has done something better, who was cast, or who has something that you don’t. When I get into this negative mindset, it’s hard for me to push those thoughts away. I ask myself will I ever be good enough? Why am I here when I want to be there? What do they have that I don’t? I have one big piece of advice for you: it’s a trap.

Personally, I don’t see my artistic journey separated from my walk with Christ. If it were not for Him, I would feel pretty terrible about myself. One of the biggest things I have learned is that God uses our biggest disappointments as small shifts in another direction. He redirects us to a perspective we did not quite see before. The times where I have not been cast and been absolutely heartbroken have given me the opportunity to take on another artistic opportunity. The moments when I’ve gotten an opportunity that I wasn’t pleased about have led me to appreciate what I’m given and grounded me in humility. Those times where it’s easy to blame myself or others around me for unhappiness have only been graced and held in positive esteem because I have the hope and trust that God has something in mind for my future.

I was reading through 1 Samuel chapter 1 a couple days ago and was drawn to the story of Hannah. She was consistently disheartened because all she wanted was to have a child and was not able to give birth. She faced judgement from women around her because she could not conceive and cried to the Lord in disparity. But what set her apart in her trial is that she knew despite her situation, the Lord had power to provide what she needed, even if it was not at the time she expected. She said

“O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” (‭1 Samuel‬ ‭1‬:‭11‬ ESV

And because she believed, she was given a son. Had she waited years for this moment? Yes. Did she feel abandoned at times? For sure? Were there times that she doubted God had her best interest at heart? Absolutely. The amazing thing about faith is that even though we cannot see what the future holds, we put our trust in the idea that God can see the huge landmarks in our life that are out of sight to us.

To bring this back to my life, I want to point out some things. I had no idea that I would be working close to where I graduated after school instead of moving to a city. I also had no idea what I would be doing artistically after graduation until a month before I became an alum. I forget that I am human and I can’t control where I’m going to be at all times. Although where I am now is way different from my ideal goal, I’ve learned that it’s ok to have unexpected steps towards the dream you want to reach. It’s also ok to be confused for a bit. The more I settled into what my next chapter of life was going to look like, the more I realized the multiple reasons God placed me where I am for a purpose. Not my will but Yours.

Comparing myself to others in my career is setting myself up for failure, as it will to anyone who does this. We all have different paths because we are different people. I truly believe the places I go have a will far beyond my vision.

When you’re feeling down, just remember that your path is not meant to be exactly like someone else’s. You are meant to take your journey for a specific reason, and it’s going to be beautiful.

Why Do I Love Jesus?

A wise friend asked me a couple days ago why I love Jesus. Honestly, it stopped me dead in my tracks. That’s not something that I think about quite often. Yeah, I love Jesus, I know he died for me, but why? It took a lot of thinking to figure out.

Here’s a disclaimer: I think this answer can change at various points for any person who is trying to answer this question for themselves. If you can’t, I totally get it. It’s a simple, yet difficult question. But I have to know why I love Him in order to tell other people about Him. It would make me a pretty naive Christian to follow blindly.

So I came down to a couple thoughts. The first one is that Christ lets me discover why I love Him. We were not forced to love God the minute we were born. That freedom of choice is beautiful beyond our human knowledge because if God wanted to, He could have forced us to love Him. But truthfully, what would the point of love be if it was forced? It would be slavery, not love.

The second thing I thought of is His sacrifice. It took me a very long time to emotionally understand this and I still need to remind myself of it when I get too focused on my own life. I talked about this in a previous blog I wrote last summer (Check it out here), but it truly came down to my love of the arts, the gift God has blessed me with. I had to be a part of Jesus’s world by being a part of Godspell which made me see the crucifixion night after night. I would leave the stage every night with tears and mascara streaming down my face. I believe the Lord picks the perfect moments to teach us exactly what we need to hear. I also believe He gives us the right people for those times. The incredible cast that I had the honor of doing that show with became family. They were my friends and my fellow disciples. We laughed, cried, hugged, and joked every day together. If it were not for them, I wouldn’t understand the fellowship that Jesus created during His life. And my fellow cast mate that played the role of Jesus led us with such humility and grace that he was truly believable. That experience showed me that Christ was a friend to His disciples and followers. He loved them and gave himself up to save us. To see that before my eyes night after night was such a rare gift.

The third reason is His grace. This is the one that I struggle with a lot as I do not have a lot of grace for myself. I reflect a lot on the mistakes I’ve made, and usually I look back on them in a way that doesn’t allow me to move forward. I’ve been realizing if you let your past haunt you, you’re not giving yourself grace. And if you’re not giving yourself grace, how can you give that properly to others? The beauty of God’s grace is that He gives it to all of us, no matter what you’ve done. In no way does He hold it against you. It’s the balance of knowing you are forgiven and learning from your mess-ups after it’s happened. He loves us so much that He’s always willing to forgive and love us afterward, but loves us too much to want us to make the same mistake again. Wherever you fall into, whether it be lack of grace or understanding the truth, I’ve learned how important it is to learn both aspects of God’s forgiveness in order to understand His love.

I am very thankful for those in my life who ask the difficult questions. I love to get those because not only does it make me think, but I cannot be a witness of Christ unless my thoughts are challenged. If any of you have questions on my faith, please let me know!

Xo, Brynne

 

What I Wore: Outfit #1 in New Orleans

Hey it’s ya girl, back on the fashion grind! This was one of my fave outfits to wear in New Orleans because it was the perfect mixture of casual, funky, and classy. Not only did it check off all my fashion requirements, but it was so comfy! I found my jeans at Urban Found, which is a smaller West Michigan company, but I found a similar pair from Free People here that I think is so so cute!

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My top is from Madewell (where else do I shop?) but I bought it at Nordstrom Rack. Nordstrom Rack has had some great Madewell tops and pants lately, so I definitely recommend checking it out.

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My shoes are from Old Navy and I LOVE them! I’ve been looking for chunky sandals like this for awhile and these were exactly what I was looking for! Honestly, I’ve never shopped much at Old Navy, but their spring and summer pieces are very fun, hip, and artsy. Not to mention, it’s very reasonably priced.

As always, I hope you had fun checking this outfit out and I’m so pumped for the warm weather to reach the north! Hang in there, it’s coming!

Xo, Brynne

NOLA Day 2

Day  2:

New Orleans has been so wonderful! I’m so glad that I’ve gotten the chance to explore this city because there’s so much to see. My mom and I walked around the French Quarter because we didn’t have the chance to see as much of it on the first day. There are a ton of boutique stores, antique shops, pastry shops, and lots more.

My mom and I started our morning at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. It was a smaller museum, but had a variety of art ranging from photography to paintings and sculptures. They have Impressionist pieces and floors of modern and contemporary works. They also have student, senior, and child discounts if you are on a budget. I highly recommend checking it out.

After we wandered through the museum, our stomachs were growling so we ended up going to a cafe called Envie for lunch. There are multiple Envie cafes throughout the city, but this one looked like one of the cuter ones as it has armchairs, small booths, and plants hanging in the space. The lunch menu was average overall. They had a lot of sandwiches and other brunch foods. Luckily, there was a larger coffee menu and you could mix and match a lot of options. (I got a coconut latte.)

Walking in and out of stores in the French Quarter was an adventure in itself. Many of the stores had artistic courtyards and outdoor paths to walk through, which were very picturesque. Even if you don’t buy anything, the stores are a fun experience.

Towards the evening, my entire family collected at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. It’s accredited to be one of the oldest surviving structures in New Orleans. It was built in the 1770’s and has served alcoholic beverages since then. It still looks the way it probably did when it was first built, but it’s nothing special as far as drinks go. You can get beers and other dive bar drinks for a reasonable price. The lighting is pretty much nonexistent, but blindness is part of the experience, right?

Our final stop of the day was Willie Mae’s Scotch House, which is known for their INCREDIBLE fried chicken. Every part of the meal is as stereotypical “southern” as you can get. My meal consisted of fried chicken, mac and cheese, steamed green beans in spices, corn bread, and it was absolutely fantastic! We had to wait in line to get in, so if you want to skip the wait, I would suggest going around 6 pm to get in before it gets busy. They stop letting people in after 8 pm so you need to be in line by at least that time to be served. It’s not on the main drag by any means and you either walk a ways from the French Quarter to get there, or you can Uber/Lyft. It’s totally worth it though.

 And just like that, Day 2 comes to a close. As always, thank you for reading and I hope you’re inspired to check out some new places in NOLA!

Xo, Brynne

 

Winter Glam

It is absolutely awful out! In Michigan, there’s a -42 windchill set for tomorrow, so thank goodness my school decided to cancel class and activities for tomorrow! It gives me the chance to catch up on some much needed rest, reflection, and chill time. Despite the terrible weather, I’ve had so much fun this past month pulling some outfits together. This one is definitely one of my favorites that I’ve put together!

 

My top is from Madewell. It was on sale when I bought it and I was overjoyed! I love the details on the arms and the bottom of the shirt. Plus, I’m a sucker for velvet and the color is so flattering on anyone (even on sad, pale people like myself)! It’s also a rare in-between kind of shirt where you could dress it up or down depending on what you’re wearing it for. It’s perfect for going out, a business interview, audition, or even a fun everyday top!

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My pants are from Topshop. I had been eyeing them for awhile in Nordstrom because I thought they were the cutest. Thankfully, they went on sale and then I had a gift card. The detailing is so fun and I love that the colors are all neutrals. The silver brings such a fun pop to the outfit. I wear them all the time!

My boots are from Clarks! I’ve mentioned them so many times before, but I’ve worn them almost every day since I’ve gotten them. They’re really durable and for people who have wide feet, they’re so comfortable. They also have great arch support. I’ve worn them all over Chicago for a day and didn’t feel any pain in my feet. Plus, they’re so classic!

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That’s all I have for today. I’m gonna make myself some hot chocolate tonight and get a lot of sleep. Stay warm out there and bundle up! You’re going to need it!

xo, Brynne

3 Devotionals You Need To Read

Hey guys! I’ve been on that devotional book lately, and I wanted to share three from the past year that have had a huge impact on my life. I love devotionals because not only do the authors tell an amazing story of God through the lens of their life, but each of these books has changed my perspective on life and the people around me. So here’s a little bit about each of the books that have impacted me.

  1. Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst. 

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This book has really shaped my perspective on self-worth. Terkeurst guides the reader through ways of healing in different kinds of rejections with friends, family, and significant others. She constantly talks about how our image is not made by how others see us, but by the love of Christ. Rejection by other humans does not define our self-worth. The only being in the universe that defines that is Jesus, and He loves us beyond measure. Through reading this book, I’ve been through a lot of healing in the ways I judge myself and I’ve stopped putting pressure on the way I live based on the opinions of others.

2. Everybody Always by Bob Goff. 

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I’ve always been a big fan of Bob’s writing and personality. He writes as if he’s talking to you on the couch, and you can sense his humor and positive spirit like no other. His book has taught me that no matter what the social standards are in this world, every person deserves to be loved. As Christians, we will not be fulfilling the main reason we were put on this earth if we do not love others unconditionally. Everyone is our neighbor, especially the ones who are so incredibly different from us. The hardest people to love are often the ones that need love the most, and our job as Christians is not to be selective with who we give our love to. We are to love everybody, always. Goff writes in a way that doesn’t convict the reader in a negative way, but calls them to action in a positive and exciting spirit.

3. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.

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 Rachel is a businesswoman and blogger who wrote an incredible devotional based on the lies we tell ourselves and talks about how we can overcome them. She reaches topics on comparison, gossip, being a mother, relationships and marriage, and so much more. I’m still in the middle of this book but what I love about Hollis is that she is not afraid to write exactly what she means. She is vulnerable about how she feels and every life situation because she shares them to help her readers grow in their life. I cannot wait to continue reading because her experiences show me that I’m not alone. There are topics I don’t connect to yet as a single college student, but her advice is some that I will definitely store up and treasure when I reach those milestones.

These devotionals have been the pages I take pictures of and put on my Instagram stories because they have had such an impact on my thoughts! If you are in need of some inspiration or have struggled with any of these topics, I highly recommend giving these books a read! I have so many things underlined in my copies and I’ve written in all of the margins! Let me know what you think if you decide to get yourself a copy!

As always, have a lovely day!

xo, Brynne

 

How to Fight Distractions and Motivate Yourself

This past week, I’ve have been so busy with homework. Almost every night I’ve been staying up between 12 am and 3 am finishing assignments and other work when I thought I would have more time to finish them and go to bed at a reasonable hour. Then I realized every night I went to bed late, I was also watching Netflix the second I got home from classes or glued to social media. It made my entire evening SO unproductive. During the day, I also found myself showing up late to important events or not getting ready in time and rushing out the door! It made my days very stressful.

Not to mention, it really effected my spiritual health. I felt so disconnected from God, and I also didn’t take the time out of my day to journal or blog. It felt like a complete waste of my nights when I could have been getting ahead on assignments, balancing my sleep schedule, and taking time for self-care. If you’re like me and have done these things before, I totally get it and I’m trying to figure it out too! This weekend I thought of some ways to keep myself accountable for getting things done and also maintaining a healthy lifestyle!

1) Don’t check your phone when you first wake up. I am the QUEEN of morning phone checks. I see if class is cancelled, if my bosses sent an important email, if I missed a message on Instagram, or if I got a text after I went to bed. Unless you are only shutting off your phone alarm to wake up, do not check your phone! It’s made me late to classes/work before and it always makes me rush my morning routine even if I am on time. Not to mention, starting your day off with social media is an all-too-easy way of opening up your mind for comparison. The first thoughts you have when you wake up should be positive. Getting the phone out of your face is one step towards that. (Also, don’t check your phone when you’re about to do work. You will get sucked into scrolling for hours and lose track of time.)

2) Make a to-do list. I’m not a super organized person. Honestly, one of the few reasons I’ve grabbed onto certain organized habits is truly because of my roomie because that’s natural for her. Otherwise, my belongings are everywhere and I can’t seem to get it together. One of the tactics I’ve learned from my Type-A bestie is making a to-do list. If I do it way before the time I’ve given myself to complete tasks, it really puts me in the mindset of how much work I have to get done. Also, I felt SO accomplished when I crossed something off the list. Crossing things off the list motivates me to get it all done and once I do, I finally know that I can relax.

3) If you have free time, don’t say you’ll do it later. Let me spell it out for you: B-I-G  M-I-S-T-A-K-E. Every time I have an assignment due later in the week and I don’t use my free nights to work, I just want to punch my past self in the face when it’s past midnight and I’m still working. Those spare moments when you’re bored and pull out your phone between classes, you could be saving yourself an hour or too in the evening to relax. Just remember that.

4) Do not watch TV. GIRL DON’T DO IT. I don’t care if you are watching Gossip Girl, Friends, Grey’s Anatomy. I have a secret… they end each episode with a cliff hanger just to get you to watch more. First you watch one episode, and then at some point, you’ve gotten to 10 episodes. It. Is. A. Trap. So shut down your Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Turn away from your TV screen. Part ways with your Fire Stick. You can see if Ross and Rachel end up together after you finished your work.

5) Make your workspace peaceful. You will get things done faster when you put yourself in a calm and relaxing work environment. Personally, I work the best when I’m not around others. Then there’s no excuse for me to talk to someone. If I’m at home, I really like lighting a candle for some ambiance and a nice smell (lavender is great for work and studying). If music doesn’t distract you, I enjoy putting on music without words or relaxing folk music so I don’t get distracted.

6) Reward yourself when you get your work done. Tell yourself beforehand that you will treat yourself ONLY if you get everything done that you anticipated. It might mean a piece of chocolate at the end of the night or finally finishing that season finale of your favorite show. Sometimes telling yourself there’s a light at the end of the tunnel is a great way to push through.

I hope your week is productive and filled with rest and happiness! When I write, part of the reason is so that I follow my own advice! So if you think you’re the only one who needs to follow these things, I am right there with ya. But hey, we can keep each other accountable! Let me know if any of these tips work for you!

xo, Brynne