life of charmings

Saturday, May 28, 2016

the last 6 months of my twenties! [and 20 things i've learned!]

today is my half birthday!!! hey hey! 

t-w-e-n-t-y  n-i-n-e  and  a  h-a-l-f !

and okay. i'm kinda not so much one to even think about my half birthday... but this time? welllll, this time it's setting off all sorts of alarms!

this time, my half birthday begins the last. 6 months. of my twenties!


now, i'm not saying thirty is old. i just.... never... really... pictured myself being 30. however! i realize that each year - each day! of life on earth is a very precious gift, and i hope to live a very, very long and healthy and vibrant and fulfilling one. so, that's the bottom line, right there! i'm still not okay with the number, but heck, i've been shedding tears over my upping numerals since 22. dramatic, maybe? suuuure sure sure sure! guess i just like to keep the feels a-rollin!'

BUT NOW! i've been doing some thinking! so, i'm gonna go ahead and give it a whirl here... 

20 things i've learned in my twenties!! well, so far. still got 6 more months, remember!!

1. your early twenties are just as hard as your early teens! why doesn't anyone warn you?! there is soooo much figuring out! who is your adult self? do you have to have an adult self? what are you supposed to do in life? make money? buy a house? find somebody? how? and if you get married young, like yours truly, you do all that alongside another person doing all that. i can't say we did it gracefully, but! it is what it is!

2. friends may come and go and it's okay. this was such a hard one for me to swallow! i spent way too much time when i was younger missing friends that had grown distant because i'm a really attachy sentimental person. [unless you screw me over, then say hi to the great wall of brittany!] but then! new friends came along! some people stay for life. some people come and go in seasons. some people you might not talk to often, but you always know they're there. and it's okay.

3. don't take life too seriously. really! don't. i mean, okay, it's a fine balance, i know. some things you should totally take seriously. kindness. decorum. safety. so, while it's how you play the game that counts, keep in mind, too, that you win some, you lose some, and in the end... everyone is human.

4. forgiveness isn't so much for the sake of the other person. it's to help your own heart heal! i read that somewhere at one point and lightbulbs went off. maybe i just understood it in a new light, the way that it hit me. but gosh. it's true! so often it's your own heart that needs to change for you to grow and move forward! you can't worry about someone else, they're on their own journey.

5. don't spend too much time dwelling on your own little unfulfillments. it's too exhausting, isn't it? my life honestly is so much better [not easier! but better.] now that i spend so much time thinking of what my family wants and needs more than my own silly little deficits. that brings fulfillment. and exhaustion! but i have this little notion that if you're exhausted at the end of the day, you're doing something right. :)

6. vitamin D is good. tanning beds are idiotic. at one point in college, i hit the tanning beds way too hard. SO dumb. however, actual sunshine is good for you, body and soul! i'm not saying cook in it all day, but i am saying maybe think twice about slathering on crazy chemicals and then baking it into your skin. from what i've read, getting 15 minutes a day of direct sunshine is best!

7. adopt a pet before having babies! obviously, this isn't mandatory, but having fur babies definitely prepared us! i can't imagine going from zero responsibility to full on parenthood. and there are lots of animals out there that really need good, loving homes!!

8. travel before having babies! in our five pre-baby years, we hardly did this, to be honest. we never  really prioritized it budget-wise or time-wise, and honestly, i'm not upset about that at all. but thank goodness we at least made it to italy!! [aaaahh, the old country...] what i really, ultimately want is to travel more as a family. i want our kids to go places and be exposed and feel confident and flexible with that. however, it's a little crazier and a bit more money once you start adding small people in. so. we'll get there, i hope!

9. don't let the fear of failure hold you back. i'm terrified of failure. and it does hold me back. still! learn from my lesson?

10. it's not someone else's job to make you happy. it's up to you to find what feeds your soul, to savor the smallest gifts in your life, to pray your way through things! remember, God wants you to have joy. he can give you what you need.

11. quality over quantity. in friends. in clothes. in life! invest in less.

12. when you're a mom, you need mom friends! there's just nothing that absorbs you and puts you through the ringer and makes you happier or more fulfilled or more focused or concerned or in love than motherhood! and it's all SO much better when you have someone to relate to!

13. live beneath your means. put away money for savings! we were both raised with good money advice, and i am sooo thankful! if you're careful with the money you have, you never have to full-on panic when unforeseen expenditures arise. [and they will!]

14. there is a reason for everything. and most of those reasons we likely won't even know until we get to heaven. that's where trust comes in! understand that and move right along! or sit and ponder. pondering's good.

15. always write things down. random thoughts. ideas. to-dos. dreams. late night ideas. little notes!

16. comparison is the thief of joy. okay, comparison for information gathering purposes is one thing, and that i'm a fan of... but really, you can see one thing on the outside, but you don't know what someone else's needs, goals, priorities, flaws, or insecurities are. or if they're even making the best decisions! run your own show and feel good about it.

17. on that note: be a black sheep! be one proudly! nobody ever rose to the top by following the crowd. nobody became the best by doing what everyone else said was "normal." be an independent thinker. do your own research. trust your own gut. march to the beat of your own drum. YOU DO YOU! i desperately want this for my children, even if it takes them half a lifetime to appreciate it.

18. print your photos regularly and keep up with organizing them. i have fallen behind in mine and now i'm so overwhelmed! but i think it's important. :)

19. coconut oil. :) 

20. rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances. 1 thessalonians 5:16-18

Thursday, May 26, 2016

it's that time of year where babies and horses are filling my camera roll with nothing but happiness + also fav zellas on sale alert!

darn good recipe for inner piece, right here. :) i mean... look at the happiness!! tiny babes on tiny horses. i just can't...

and no, rarely am i dressed in proper horse attire. but after a few decades of it, you give up on things like solid footware and eventually have your toes stomped a time or two. 

but! impromptu horse time is my fav! and oh, little red, bless his heart. he's the sweetest thing. and he's almost as old as casey is! [which would be pushing 30!] and rocco standing at the gate there totally reminds me of when maddalena was his age. be still my HEART! time just flies. <3

ok and!! PSA!! tons of the aptly-named zella live in leggings are on mega sale right now! clearly, i actually do live in mine. and it's a good thing they're reversable, too, because i accidentally wore mine inside out yesterday. which i never intentionally do. oh well. anyway! i'll probably be adding to my collection, let's be honest. here i come, pinkies! [and not on sale, but how cute are these crops!]

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

charming house peeks: fiiinally putting some charm into our kitchen!

i've been totally excited to do some official before/after updates as we go about working on our little housey here... but for the life of me, i never, ever thought i'd start with the kitchen!! 

we worked a whole lot on this house starting before we even moved in last november, right up to the holidays, and after, until we grew just plain weary and thought possibly our family members were waaay sick of working for us for free, haha. but despite all the tweaks we made to the kitchen... well, it was still just a little... meh!

until!! until steven returned home from florida... and while we were still there with my mom, he surprised me by painting the cabinets! best surprise ever? obviously! except for the fact that when we got home he was exhausted instead of well rested. haha. 

oh, BUT! the cabinets! it really did the trick to give us a kitchen we finally felt happy with. i mean, there are still things to do... like fixing the leaky faucet. and another cosmetic project or two. we'd still love to add some cute beadboard to the island! naturally, though, in true husband/wife/house project form... the actual doing part is another project for steven. :)

there are a bunch of things that we probably won't do, either, unless we decide to live here for a couple of decades. haha. [in which case, let's go ahead and find a spot in the yard for my future chicken coop? ;)] biggest of all being that we maybe wish they hadn't attacked every possible inch with that specific granite. but. it's there, it's livable, it is what it is! i have not figured out what to do with the one chandelier, either. i'm just not sure what i'd ideally like there! so, for now... there it is. the pot rack, though! we have always liked the pot rack! it's a nice place to hang flowers and herbs and makes me feel like i have a little cucina in the italian countryside. ;)

anyway, when maddalena asked her daddy why he painted the cabinets, steven told her we just wanted our kitchen to match hers, and she's been so proud of that notion!!

[maddalena's kitchen // you are my hiding place print was a sweet housewarming gift! // world market jozy table & chair pads  // still love my worn out anthro horse markings tea towel // sur la table utensil crock - similar pretty one, also so cute! // my fav tea kettle - i researched that for so long! // cabinet pulls & knobs // m's little paintings on the fridge make me so happy... also best ever jura coffee maker, latest model // wedding gift julisca serving bowl with my rose plant in it :) // old antique shop ball jars! // baby boy has discovered the best ever melissa & doug magnets]

what we've done...
-had the walls painted!! they're benjamin moore's shaker beige in sherwin williams super paint. the color changes so much with the lighting! it has subtle green undertones, which i love because it's not too warm, not too cool.
-switched out the black outlets. my dad did tons of rewiring in this house. thank goodness for him!!
-replaced cabinet knobs and pulls
-replaced microwave with matching stainless! i don't know WHAT went on in the last one, but. it was in rough condish.
-painted the cabinets... go stevey! :) they match our trim in sherwin williams medici ivory
-got rid of janky under-cabinet lighting. geez.
-took the cups off the chandelier thing, since we don't really know what we want there, anyway
-removed the exterior-mounted blinds from the windows

still on the list...
-fix the faucet where it drips at the handle
-the faucet also is installed backwards with hot being forward, cold being backward... so...
-maybe we just need to get a new faucet?
-i would also lo-o-o-ove a new disposal one day [okay, gross, who am i?? i would LOVE pink louboutins is what i would love!]
-beadboard the island!
-figure out some other lighting instead of that chandelier
-i don't know if there's anything else on steven's list for the kitchen, but he said he's tired of me talking about to-do lists, so i just assumed not. ha. [although, to-do lists are my passion, sooo we may need counseling... ;)]

aaand! let us never  forget... the before and after!

[photos taken from the house's listing // my iphone]

amen, amen, amen!

Monday, May 23, 2016

favorite saturday scenes

[seeing my TWO babies now atop my big boy!!! it's the absolute best. // m has grown up bonding with sweet little red, who is just her size. also, matching pony tails! // official scioscia cousin time documentation! // happy place sunset captures taken by my sis make my heart aaall kinds of puddly. <3]

saturday made me so. so. so. so. HAPPY! 

because 1. we had an actual DNA certified family member in town! our pretty little smart cousin, becca! we've never gotten to live in the same town as family, and we've spent a lot of our lives heading up north to be with everybody... so it's pretty great when loved ones come south. i mean, we really need to bump up the recruitment down here! amenities include: pool. wine. sunsets. improving italian dining scene! 10-15 degree temp boost. uhmm. me? also, you know, the weirder i realize this world is, the more i just appreciate my own kind of peoples. ;)

and 2!! warm, golden evenings... dinner on the back patio... ahhh, i can just feel the quintessential farmhome summer vibe right around the corner!! i know it makes me such a homebody, but there's just nothing better in my opinion. :) if my whole life looks like sinatra-serenaded pool dayspurple-fingered berry pickingequine visiting family strolls, afternoon ridesfour-leaf clover finding, golden sunsets over sips of prosecco, and firefly dotted evenings, i'll be a happy girl forever.

Friday, May 20, 2016

a tale of two vacuums! or... make it three? | comparing the dyson light ball with a shark... plus a princess vacuum cameo ;)

so, lest you think a passionate discussion on vacuums is a toootal mom discush... let me be clear on one little thing: brittany. loves. to vacuum. pre-baby brittany loved to vacuum, so it's true and it always has been. well, it wasn't true when i had my mom to do it for me, but it's been true ever since.

it makes me feel like i can accomplish things! it makes me feel like i have a fresh slate! and when you see in the clear container part all that you just rid your life of? that's the best. the whole thing is cathartic and it makes me happy. in fact, the very last thing i did before we left for the hospital the night before maddalena was born was vacuum. and that was a wise decision!

...because now, let me tell the tale of the princess that entered my world almost 4 years ago now, and made everything sparkly and beautiful and happy and perfect... except that i wasn't allowed to vacuum. like... really. i wasn't. it was pure torture to her little ears, and she has only just recently come to terms with vacuums. haha. truly, though, it was so so sad and i could not bear the tears that were shed. so, my floors were forced to reckon with whatever a broom and a dustbuster could achieve... and that was pretty okay with me, since all i wanted to do was snuggle her, anyway! the floors would wait. and they did. :)

fast forward to a new house, a new baby and 3 more years! until now, i'd really never lived in a house that was lived in by somebody else just days before it was ours. this was new territory for me, making someone else's left behinds into our bright and shiny future. for the most part it's been fun! i love nesting so, so much. but you really can't do it without a solid vacuum. in my arsenal i had: a 5 year old, loud as heck dirt devil i paid uhhh, maybe $50 for? a shop-vac that is used for garagey man stuff. a dustbuster, sure, makes little cleanups easy. and a swiffer vac that i rarely use. it's a glorified dustbuster.

it was tiiiiiime! time for some sparkly, new, functionality. enter the question: dyson or shark?!?!?! i had literally been asking people for their opinions and personal vacuum history for months. i'd always heard that a dyson was THE vacuum to have... like, if you have a dyson, you've totally made it in the world kinda thing. and then, more recently i'd heard that shark had moved up in the ranks as a seriously strong competitor!

now, truthfully, the very day i decided i needed a new vacuum and needed it fast, i browsed amazon prime now on my phone while rocking my little mister to sleep for his nap, scanned reviews, and ended up grabbing a [gold!] shark navigator deluxe, which... i have to be honest... i have so far loved. although, after my history with the silly dirt devil, anything is a step up!

and truuuue story: it was just a week later that dyson offered me a chance to review their exclusive to walmart dyson light ball! [walmart! another good place to scan reviews!! don't you love reviews?!] and at first i was like what! i can't possibly! i've already bonded with my beloved gold shark!!! but i quickly snapped out of that nonsense, because, duh! it's a dyson! the vacuum dreams are made of!! "no, i would not like to test out the dyson and then blog about vacuuming." would have been a bold. faced. lie! can you imagine?

plus, i could not possibly resist my very own opportunity to finally answer the question... 

DYSON OR SHARK?! [...and of course we all want a cute little purple princess vacuum! :)]

here are my general findings!!

the dyson light ball
-$319 on rollback right now at walmart!! normally $389
-super smooth to push... i love the way it naturally swivels to get every cranny!
-has a convenient button to turn beater bar on and off
-has tons of suction... possibly a little too much for my lightweight rugs even without the beater bar, but seems to be perfect on other rugs
-the hose simply pulls out of the handle and reaches floor to ceiling! i love this. although, the cord can't be wrapped around the cord holders and in the way of this process. and if you don't want to use the long wand part, you have an extra piece to set aside, but that's okay. also, the way the hose pulls in and out is really cool.
-the hose attachments are great, i looove that the the brushy-style attachment is on the crevice tool making it one versatile piece!
-the attachments stick right on the side when not in use
-the container empties out the bottom super easily
-bagless with washable HEPA filters
-not too heavy, around 15 lbs... although, it sometimes wants to tip backwards while standing
-not too loud! no crying babies :)
-low profile for getting underneath stuff
-slightly wider footprint
-2 year warranty

the shark navigator deluxe
-$121 on amazon right now
-smooth to push and has a self-propelled feature when the beater bar is on that helps me across my lightweight rugs
-has a convenient switch to turn beater bar on and off
-the hose pulls really easily right out of its slot, but it's not as versatile and can't reach as high
-didn't come with a crevice tool!? pretty sure it was supposed to.
-the container empties easily in two spots
-bagless, washable filters, but i don't think they are HEPA
-not too heavy, around 15 lbs... although, it sometimes wants to tip backwards while standing
-not too loud! no crying babies :)
-low profile for getting underneath stuff
-slightly more narrow footprint
-color choices
-5 year warranty

[dyson totally wins in the attachment department]

so, what's the bottom line?! well, i think i'm gonna go with the ole you get what you pay for!

the dyson light ball is definitely more expensive. it also has a little more going on than the shark navigator deluxe. not TONS more. performance wise, the actual floor cleaning seems pretty on-par with one another! [which is a good thing! i've been thrilled with both!!] plus, part of the price for the light ball has got to be that you're getting the dyson name. as we've established... vacuum dreams come true!

now, to be picky, i still kinda prefer the extra-easy-ease of use of the hose on the shark simply because i can do it completely one-handed while holding a baby... but in that same regard, it is not as versatile. and mine is apparently missing a tool. hm! i also like the self-propelled feature on the shark because i have one area rug with a pad under it that seems to makes every darn vacuum stick right in one place...

but other than that? the dyson light ball is a fantastic vacuum that lives up to its name! i mean, my 2008 newlywed self would be cuddling it to sleep at night. oh, young newlywed B. here's the deal, just blog for 8 years and then you can have a dyson. okay, cool. :)

so... are you like me? do you love vacuuming? do you have a vacuum that you love? have you ever used a dyson or a shark!??! i need to know things!!

thank you, dyson, for making a vacuum lover's dreams come true and sending me the light ball to test out! :*

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

chats over coffee!

every morning i drag myself out of bed with one goal in mind: coffee.

well, first i have diaper duty, necessary wardrobe changes, toy retrievals, getting the fluffy pup out and fed and such...


i mean, i don't mean to place some kind of weird importance on coffee, either. i just look forward to it! i love the warmth. the taste. and of course i love the boost of caffeination! God gave us coffee. i'm sure he knew moms would appreciate it. heck, i'll even enjoy a cup of decaf. but you shouldn't really drink too much decaf because they use nasty chemicals to remove the caffeine. so, there's that. 

bottom line: i love having something so simple and so attainable to look forward to every morning. it makes me happy.

and something else! something else is that i really love bonding over coffee. i love that coffee brings people together! i love sipping on something comforting, musing over all sorts of life's *things* with someone else that loves that, too. :)

so! do you have your coffee? i drink mine most of the day. so. i do.

let's muse! today's topic? coffee, duh.

...apparently, your coffee drinking can have health benefits, if you're drinking black and organic! coffee cheers to that? we usually get subtle earth organic coffee. it's delish!

...OH! with my coffee lately i have so been loving catching up on elizabeth minchilli's snaps [eminchilli on snapchat] from italy every day! she has zero idea who i am, i can promise you that, but she's a food writer, and her snaps make me soooooo happy, as she goes between her homes in rome and umbria, talking about food and wine and coffee and flowers and her puppy, picco. :)

...speaking of, before we visited italy, knowing of my adored ritual, my old bloggy friend rachel, who used to live in rome, shared with me a link on how to order coffee in italy! we ordered many a cappuccino. :)

...wondering how much coffee to drink when pregnant and nursing? there doesn't seem to be a completely definite answer, but i feel like this topic comes up in conversations a whole lot, so! here's my account: while pregnant, it's important to remember that caffeine can cross through the placenta. based on what my doctor said and my own reading, i felt pretty safe sticking with one cup of coffee a day! while nursing, i gave it up for the first handful of weeks, and then started it back in slowly both times because babies can be sensitive to it. then, for a long while i stuck with just one cup. now that rocco is 10 months, i'm drinking two in the morning and maybe one later in the afternoon! good thing, too, because that boy is on the move!

...okay, also, i found this recipe for a lavender latte. how incredible does that sound?! i can't wait to try making one!

...and to eat with your coffee! maddalena and i have been LOVING this easy little treat for breakfast: cinnamon raisin ezekiel bread, toasted, buttered with grassfed kerrygold, sprinkled with organic coconut sugar and extra organic cinnamon. tastes like such an indulgence! every darn time i see this i melt... johnny cash's description of paradise: "this morning, with her, having coffee." swoon. and wait til you read his birthday love letter to june. <3

...which reminds me of one thing i love about my parents: whoever wakes up first gets the coffee maker all ready for the next person, mug out, water filled, and pod in place [they have a keurig]. they always include me, too, when i'm with them, and it's such an easy way to make your person feel cared about!! coffee is a love language, absolutely, for sure.

[ha, and finally, please note that my fav go-to uniform has clearly changed zero! ;) piko // zellas // happily ever after. and [!!!] i've got my eye on these babies. oh, you know i need them!]

Monday, May 16, 2016

a few not-to-be-forgottens from april 2016!

...most of which was spent down in florida! best month ever award! :)