inspiration

#thebravehome | favorites no.1

Image via @ jessleeroth

Image via @jessleeroth

A couple weeks ago I launched my feature hashtag, #thebravehome, over on Instagram and I am LOVING the posts that people are sharing! Here's my first batch of favorites from some amazing people! 

The focus of the hashtag is to celebrate bold, eclectic, fearless home decor, so keep tagging your images with #thebravehome!  I can't wait to see what pops up in the hashtag and stay tuned for next week's feature round-up!

Image via @ emsicisum

Image via @emsicisum

Image via @ houseonasugarhill
Image via @fibre_knots

Image via @fibre_knots

Image via @ kirsten.diane

Image via @kirsten.diane

mocha's recovery

horse rehabilitation

ne year ago I asked you guys for help.  Not for me, but for a friend.  And technically a friend of a friend.  Specifically, a big guy named Mocha.  My best friend since junior high had found her old horse in a state of malnutrition and abuse, and bought him back, desperate to save him from the owners he'd ended up with years after she had to sell him after high school.  Already strapped for cash, adding a horse to the mix, especially one in such dire need of veterinary care, I reached out to you guys and asked for help, $1000 to help her cover the vet, farrier, and boarding bills, and you guys responded with over three times that amount.  Just a few months after getting him back, he was already on his way back to his normal, healthy weight, the farrier was helping his feet get back to a healthy shape, and the chiropractor was getting his body feeling better in it's new, filled out, muscular composition.  
Many friends asked Kristi when she'd be back to riding him.  She often responded that it'd probably be at least a year, which they thought was odd, but Mocha was being ridden by a man well over 200 lbs in his malnourished state, which is hard to fathom, and she wanted to give Mocha time not only for his body to recover, but also his psyche.  

horse rehabilitation
horse rehabilitation
horse rehabilitation
A few months ago, Kristi moved Mocha from the barn she first boarded him at when she got him back, to a new facility with a trainer with years of experience capable of helping her train him, now that his body is healthy and his mind is itching for movement and direction.  Now that he's healthy, his stubborn, ornery self is back and having an experienced trainer to help give him structure, learn how to move his body, and respond to the direction of a rider is helping him grow, not just physically, but mentally.  He might not be a spring chicken anymore, but you'd never know looking at him!  It was so wonderful seeing him feeling comfortable in his body and so willing to try new things.  While I was a competitive jumper in high school, Kristi and Mocha were more of the trail riding types, so jumping is a new thing for this big guy!  He's so eager and it's fun to see them together again doing something new!  

horse rehabilitation
horse rehabilitation horse rehabilitation
horse rehabilitation
Kristi has been trying to convince me to come take lessons at her new barn, and after visiting and watching her lesson on Mocha, I was so flooded with nostalgia.  The smells, the feeling of following a horse over jumps, the dust in your nose after spending an afternoon in the arena.  I spent so many years on the back of a horse, and even after ten years of not riding, it's something that's in my bones.  I've been trying to convince my mom to bring my boots, pants, helmet and saddle from Anchorage the next time she visits!  
I'm so proud of Kristi for all the hard work and sacrifices she's made for this big guy.  Getting to watch the journey from day one, to this point, something we weren't sure we'd ever get to see, it's incredible.  And without you guys, that journey would've been a lot harder.  I know she could've done it, but damn it would've been hard.  Those vet bills were crazy those first few months and having the financial support of your donations was such a blessing.  It's still not easy, any one with a horse will know how crazy expensive they are, and Kristi works her ass off to be able to afford keeping him and training him, but there's nothing more worth the time and money than seeing these two reunited and thriving together.  Thank you guys for donating, even if it was just a few dollars.  Those few dollars added up and the result was so meaningful.  Seeing Mocha like this just one year after he walked off the trailer with his bones showing through his rough, unbrushed coat, it's priceless. 
From Kristina (and Mocha) (and me):  Thank You.

horse rehabilitation horse rehabilitation
horse rehabilitation
horse rehabilitation

changed by miscarriage / the brave ones with casey wiegand



Today the lovely Casey Wiegand is sharing from her heart about coping with loss through miscarriage.  As a woman who hasn't yet experienced motherhood, this is a topic that feels so far outside of my ability to conceptualize, but I know it's something that so many women have gone through, including some of my dear friends.  Casey has talked about it on her blog, and I'm super thankful she's offered to share her story here.  With Mother's Day being this past Sunday, I know it can be a painful time for those mothers who have experienced the loss of a miscarriage.   You're not alone.  


hen you lose something that you love so fiercely and so dearly, it shatters all of you. And when you slowly glue the pieces back together one by one, piece by piece.... then, when you are finally put back together... you're different. The scars are a constant reminder of not only what was lost but also what all you have to lose.

You can love differently. Better.
Because you know it's fragile.

Life. It's a gift.
A gift to be cherished, celebrated, adored

5 little "A's" still hang from my husband's necklace. A daily reminder that we have 5 precious babies.
Two who didn't walk here along side of me, but those two that forever changed my life.
A brief life yet so much meaning.

I often get asked about how my pregnancy with Apple was after our first loss. It was terrifying, it was different. With my first two kiddos I had a clueless confidence, I didn't realize the fragility of what I had...how it could be gone in an instant with no warning signs. I was glowing and beaming and never for a second thought about anything going wrong before our loss. But with Apple, I carried that. Every sonogram my knees shook in the waiting room, my prayers poured out at night to protect her and keep her with us. I fought fear until the moment she was in my arms.



Not only was Apple our rainbow baby but also a sweet symbol of Hope for me.

A new humility and sensitivity entered my spirit when it came to this subject. As someone before who hadn't known the struggles of infertility or loss- I didn't notice what I notice now.

"If you haven't already gathered, or happen to be reading this blog for the first time in your life, I am a melancholy girl through and through. I find beauty in not only the beautiful things in life, but the bittersweet and sad as well. To me, there is something poignantly lovely about the human experience from its splendor to its grief. God created all our emotions, not just the happy ones, and for His good purposes. That's why a good cry can feel so good. And hitting our limits forces us to look outside ourselves for a Savior. It is in the plea, when we're at our end, that we can find that which is truly life-giving. Personally, my moments of deepest grief, deepest pain, have resulted in the most beautiful seasons in my heart. I've met God more intimately in those moments than in all the other pleasant ones combined. What isn't completely lovely about that?" - Leslie from Top of the Page

The thing about heartache is...it changes your perspective on life.
It makes you softer (if you let it), it makes you more understanding (if you let it), it makes you love bigger and makes you more available to relate to others who share in hurt.

I will forever be changed by loss.


Thanks so much for sharing, Casey.  If you want to follow along with Casey's amazing family, head over to her blog and instagram.  Casey actually wrote this post for me a few months ago when I was still gathering posts to start this series, and since then she's experienced another loss, so for those of you who follow Casey's blog, that's why the numbers are off in the 4th paragraph.  Much love to Casey and her beautiful family.


Want to share your story?  Here's how to participate:


 Have you experienced something similar, or did this post spark a thought or feeling in you?  Write your own post on your own blog, sharing your experience. Write it quick, don’t overthink it, just spill it all out, it can be pictures if you want, whatever. If you’ve already written one, feel free to link that up, too.


 Include a link in your post back to this post, so your readers can find others writing on the same topic. Feel free to use my photo up there in your post!

 Enter the link to your post (the actual post link, not just your blog link) into the link-up tool thing there below.

 Tell a few people about your post, either through social media or talk about it with a friend over coffee.  Click around and visit a few of the other posts linked up, leave comments for each other, and feel comforted that kindred spirits aren’t as rare as we think!  We're all in this together.  There is strength in numbers!


WED // seattle luxe grunge wedding inspiration

rock and roll wedding photography
nspired by local record stores and the Pacific Northwest's grunge rock history, Karrie (of Sparks Fly Events) contacted me with the idea to do a rock and roll inspired wedding shoot!  I was super excited about the concept and was 100% on board.  We were both disappointed in the lack of variety of "rock and roll" weddings, and in our research there was a lot of the same look.  Lots of black and red color schemes.  We decided to create a luxe-grunge wedding styled shoot with plenty of rock and roll cred, but with luxurious textures and a heavy dose of glamour. Glitter and Leather. Studs and Roses. Our "bride" is a truly rock and roll gal, a local burlesque dancer (she performed in Adventures in Oz with me, as the Tornado!), and the "groom", who can rock a serious man-bun, is a former coffee shop owner (my former boss, actually!).  These two are rad folks, but not in a relationship with one another, though it was fun to have them as our models!  Her amazing nails were actually my inspiration for my crazy emerald city nails for Adventures in Oz!  And you might recognize her studded jacket, it's one of my favorite pieces from my closet and a regular here on the blog in my outfit posts.

rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
I was so in love with the braided faux-hawk the ladies at Embellish created!  Mae's grey hair was perfectly unconventional, yet chic, and the up-do gives homage to punk culture, while still being glamorous and pretty.  Her Elizabeth Stuart dress was classic and elegant, but the giant tulle skirt was so much fun and playful.  As we walked down 6th avenue, the huge skirt flowed out behind her in the wind.  I also loved how it was slightly blush, a departure from more traditional white and ivory dresses, but still decidedly bridal.
We went with tons of gold and blush in the color scheme, and lots of sparkle.  Who says rock and roll isn't glamorous?

So many wonderful vendors contributed to the shoot, so scroll down to the bottom to see all the amazing talent involved!

rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography
rock and roll wedding photography


Vendors:
Photography:
Liz Morrow Studios
FB | TW | IN

Florals:
Laurel's Floral Decor
FB

Dress:
Elizabeth Stuart
FB | TW | IN

Second dress:
Ivy and Aster
FB | TW | IN

Chalkboard art:
Colour And Dust
FB | TW | IN

Venue:
Events on 6th
FB | TW | IN

Design:
Sparks Fly events
FB | TW | IN

Hair + Makeup
Embellish Salon

texas style council: a campy farewell

t's been over a month since Texas Style Council's final conference, CAMP, but I'm still feeling inspired by my weekend surrounded by amazing women.  With founder Indiana now living in Atlanta, GA, Texas Style Council pulled out all the stops for this final event.  I've always appreciated Indiana's focus on community and connections rather than stats and sponsors when it comes to the content of the conferences.  TxSC has been the one conference I choose to attend simply because of the more down-to-earth vibe.  Big conferences with the focus on networking and business connections and becoming the biggest, richest blogger on the block, they're just not for me.   A weekend in the woods with my favorite ladies, casual style, sessions on journaling and confidence, and s'mores?  That's what I'm talking about.  
And you know what?  Even though I didn't attend any sessions on making connections with big brands, crafting super pinnable content, and growing your audience, I left feeling so much more motivated to make this space meaningful, healthy, and inspiring.  I suppose, since CAMP stood for "Create A Meaningful Presence," that means the weekend truly lived up to it's intention, eh?  One of the big reasons I'm going on a new Brave trip and starting my podcast is because of TxSC and the encouragement from blog friends to just go for it.




 
 
I co-lead a session with Megan from Greetings From Texas about what to do when your blog becomes a slog.  The word for the session was "SHIFT," but Megan aptly noted that perhaps it should be "SHIT."  Like, oh shit... this used to all come easy and I had tons of ideas and sponsors were interested in working with me and I was excited and now I feel all blah and don't know what to say anymore and sponsors don't seem to give a shit about my blog, and being a full time blogger just isn't what it used to be.  We talked about shifting focus to keep the passion alive, or even shifting to different goals other than blogging, even quitting blogging.  We talked about how in the past year or two there's emerged a huge gap in terms of income between the top 200 bloggers (in terms of income) and the rest of us and how that's affected monetized bloggers.  We talked about finding new passions through blogging, and focusing more on quality than quantity when it comes to blog posts.   Megan was way more on top of her stuff and actually had someone tape a little snippit of our discussion, which you can find on her blog here.    
I had learned about Megan last TxSC when I attended her + Becky Murphy's session on book writing.  Megan wrote a book about her experience with Ovarian cancer and adoption, which is hilarious (despite those topics not seeming immediately hilarious), but I hadn't really read her blog until learning that we'd be co-leading our discussion session.  Julie, Jen, and I were supposed to be rooming with Moorea, but after Moorea had to cancel her trip to TxSC, Megan took her spot in our room and I was so glad she did.  It was a blast getting to know her and I feel like I gained a brand new amazing friend.


Hanging out with blog friends I've known since 2009, I realized that they aren't just blog friends.  They're truly some of my best friends.  I've known these women since before they were married, or had kids.  I've watched them change careers, get new jobs, start their own businesses, write books.  They saw me graduate college, drive around the country, get married, and buy a house.  All of a sudden I realized that these aren't just "blog friends," they're full blown real friends I just happened to meet through blogging.  We pick up right where we left off (when we hung out at TxSC in 2013!), and stay up till 3 in the morning chatting in our bunks, cracking up, sharing secrets and dreams.  The sessions and workshops at these kinds of blogging events are nice, but those are the things that stick with me, not the notes I jot down listening to keynote speakers.  

 



I'm sad to see TxSC go, mostly because this last iteration of the conference was my absolute favorite.  I mean, you know me, I love camping, so a weekend full of inspiration with rad chicks in the woods?  Such a perfect event.  Honestly, I wish I could put something together like TxSC Camp here in the PNW on a yearly basis.  I feel like we don't need more blogging conferences, there are plenty of those.  But a weekend getaway where you get to meet up with old blog friends, meet new blog friends, and feel encouraged and inspired to go after the dreams you feel you were meant to live out?  Heck. Yes.  More of those, please.  Less feeling not good enough.  Less stressing about looking fancy and impressive.  Less strategies.  Less networking.  More connection.  More friendship.  More empowerment.  More soul-feeding conversation. 



 

Over the last five TxSC conferences, Indiana and her team put in countless hours of work, dozens of sleepless nights, and some serious blood sweat and tears to bring a truly inspiring event to life each time.  I'm so thankful for Indiana, both as a friend, and a "friendtor" (a term we learned from TOMS' Bethany Joy Clark at CAMP).  She poured her heart into each TxSC, from the very first meeting of a few bloggers over Costco quiche during SXSW, to a full on sold-out ALT style conference, to a weekend glamping retreat in the woods.  This lady is a powerhouse and I can't wait to see what she has up her sleeves next.




photobooth photos by Logan Pearce Photography, other photos by Liz Morrow Studios, Chelsea Laine Francis Photography, and via instagram.