Friday, October 25, 2013

5 on Friday

I'm back to 5 on Friday! 

O   N   E

Have y'all heard the song "Royals" by Lorde?  I heard it a couple of weeks ago on the radio and finally downloaded it this week.

Um...obsessed.  Seriously, I love this song.

T   W   O

The Bath and Body Works Christmas candles are out...and on sale!
I got Fresh Balsam.  I get this one every year and it smells amazing.  I know some people swear by Yankee Candle Company's Christmas tree flavored one, but this one is my favorite by far.
And I also got Winter.  I have been burning this one since we got home, and it's so good!  It smells like everything Christmas-y.

T   H   R   E   E

My sister and brother-in-law are coming for the weekend.  They have never lived in a place with a real fall, so I'm excited to do some fall things with them.

Tomorrow morning we are headed to Way Fruit Farm.  It's their "Pumpkin Festival."  They'll have hayrides to the pumpkin patch, fresh apple cider, and a make-your-own caramel apple bar. 

I'm not sure what else is on the agenda.  Definitely some home made chili.  Maybe a walk to the park with Jack?  A drive to look at the leaves?

F   O   U   R

We rode on a train last weekend!  I was actually going to do a whole post about it but didn't get around to it.  So I'll just add it to this post! 

The Bellefonte Historical Railroad Society (whew!) has several train rides throughout the year.  We went on the fall foliage ride, a 2 hour ride to a neighboring town.  Jack LOVED it!  We went with two other families, so Bech and I had fun talking to friends.

Also, this pictures is hilarious.  It was probably in the 40's that morning, and Bech and I were cold and prepared.  Everyone else looks tough...we look wimpy.  This winter will NOT be fun!

F   I   V   E

It's officially two months away from Christmas.  We all know what that means...

Peppermint Ice Cream!

Sadly, this state does not carry Blue Bell peppermint ice cream, which is by far the best.  But I am excited about the Edy' looks pretty yummy.  I will let y'all know how it compares.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

8 Things

Have y'all seen this post floating around the internet?  My friend linked to it (and did her own).  And since I feel like I'm in a blogging slump as of late (okay, fine, I am almost always in a blogging slump!), I thought I would join in!

So here are the 8 things every girl should have:

O   N   E

A Go To Drink

I think I should make categories for this one:

Hot Drink -- White Chocolate Mocha, Skim Milk, No Whipped Cream, 3 shots of Peppermint


Cold Drink -- Route 44 Diet Dr. Pepper with Vanilla

And if there is no Sonic, Diet Dr. Pepper

Alcoholic -- Blue Curacao anything.  Totally the way to my heart.

T   W   O

A Go To Karaoke Song

Let's just make this favorite song to sing in the car.  Because I am not about to sing karaoke!

I would go with Taylor Swift.  I love singing along with Taylor Swift.

Or RUF songs.  Because that would go over great in a bar.  

Nothing says "get drunk tonight" like "Jesus I My Cross Have Taken."

T   H   R   E   E

A Uniform

This one totally depends on my job and the weather, so I'll just go with now.

Jeans (Gap or the Loft) and a solid or striped cotton shirt.

Seriously, this may be part of the reason why I keep my closet color coordinated--it's so easy.  All I own is solids or stripes, almost no patterns.

What can I say?  I'm a creature of habit.

F   O   U   R

A Hairstylist They Love

This one is so easy.

Sidney, here's a little shout out for you.  

Sidney is ah-mazing.  I love to go to her for many reasons:

She knows me, so I don't have to make small talk with some random person.

She doesn't make too much fun of me when I read/do homework in her chair.

She can poof my hair like no body else.

She did my hair for Charity Ball, my wedding, Katy's wedding, etc.  

I will do WHATever it takes to not have someone else touch my hair.  She tells me what will look good and does it.  She knows that I always want to do something awful with my hair, and she refuses to do it, which I need.  However, she would not do that to you.  It's only for me, because she knows I make bad hair decisions.

Also, she has the three cutest girls in the world.

Wedding hair.  See, she's pretty good, huh?

F   I   V   E

An Exercise Routine

Um, should I even bother?

I really did use to exercise.  I just haven't made it a priority in a while.  But now exercise consists of walking the hills of Bellefonte with Jack in his stroller.  Which is exercise, albeit not very organized.

S   I   X

A Hobby

Now, hobbies I have.

I LOVE to read.  I would read all day (and obviously not exercise).  I also love to cook and bake and have recently started sewing.

I also adore Christmas.  Can that be a hobby?  Because the amount of time I spend drinking hot cocoa, shopping for Christmas, looking at Christmas things, watching Christmas movies, and singing Christmas music seems like it would make it count!

S   E   V   E   N

A Best Friend

I have several of these.

My mom and my sisters are some of my best friends.  I talk to my mom at least once a day and my sisters at least a couple of times a week.  Not to mention the Braden family texts--which are amazing but, no, you can not be a part of them.

I also have a couple of best friends from all of our moves:  

I get to be in one of my best friends weddings in less than two weeks.  

We went to California to visit my best friend from Malawi.  

I love reading the thoughts of my best friend from high school.

I am seriously missing my best Baton Rouge friend.

And of course, Bech and I have our various couple best friends.

One thing about my friends is that I love people who I can not talk to for three months, see or talk to, and it's like we have seen each other every day.  I just love having people that I feel that comfortable with.

E   I   G   H   T

A Healthy Sense of Self

I hope I have this.  I think I do.  I struggle with contentment and envy (thank you, Pinterest and Instagram), but I think I know who I am and am, for the most part, pretty happy with that.

I'm not sure the original post writer meant this to be individually filled out, but I enjoyed this!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Here Come's the Bride (a couple of months later...)!

This past June, my sister got married.  She just got the pictures back from her photographer and I love them.

One of my favorite things about Katy's wedding was how different it was from mine.  I have been to siblings weddings before that seemed really similar.  And since they were great weddings, it didn't matter at all.  But Katy and I have different personalities, and I love that our weddings showed those differences.

My wedding was inspired by Father of the Bride.  The reception was at my parents house, I wore a vintage style dress, and a New Orleans jazz band played Frank Sinatra songs.  My colors were fall colors--orange bridesmaids dresses and lots of browns and yellows in the arrangements.

Katy's wedding was at The South, a renovated warehouse in Jackson.  The flowers were all white, very sophisticated, almost a New York feel.  Her other colors were navy blue and green.  The groomsmen wore gray suits with succulents on their coats.  The band, Almost Famous, played 80's music.  Everything was so fun, and she added lots of little touches to the reception.

Brother Dave, the bride, me, and Brother Bech.

Katy has always called Bech "Brother Bech."  I am excited to now have a "Brother Dave!"

The Braden girls.
This is just a reminder to myself.  Next time, if you are going to be standing next to your almost 6 foot, model thin little sister, don't order the same style dress as her.  

The Blaise family side, minus two cousins.

We try to get together every couple of years, for a reunion of some sort.  It was great to see them all that weekend, and we will all be together next summer for my cousin's wedding.

And the award for worst ringbearer goes to Jack Evans!

Seriously, he did not take a nap (one of only 3 times in his life that has happened)!  He was grumpy and wild.  Bech actually wanted to send him home before the actual wedding.  But I had a feeling that he could manage it and he did.  He walked down the aisle, holding my hand.  He got to the front, made a beeline for Blaise (his favorite).  We sent him on to Bech's dad, who took him home and put him to bed.  I was sad that he missed the reception, because he would have enjoyed that.  But he could not have handled the rest of the ceremony!

Also, can we talk about those knee socks?  I love my little southern boy!

The bride and groom!

I talked about special touches, and this is one of them.  Katy's friend (and mine!) Kristen Ley is an amazingly talented artist.  She letterpressed Katy's invitation, coasters for the receptions, and the programs.  She makes and sells these confetti push pops that we used for the send off.  Aren't they amazing?

Another fun touch...the photo booth!  There were props to take in and it was so fun.  I visited it several times!

I don't have pictures, but there were also fun hats and sunglasses (actually some of those sunglasses in the pic above are them) handed out, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Krystal burgers as a late reception snack, and glow sticks in the last hour.  And lots of people stayed late and danced, which was really fun.

Finally, one of my favorite pictures of the whole day.  Before the wedding (but after the pictures), the wedding party was hanging out in the reception area.  The bridesmaids were all sitting around this white couch (you can't tell in the picture, but it was a square all the way around).  The photographer came around and took an impromptu picture of us all. 

I know it's crazy that Katy has this many bridesmaids (especially to a non-Southerner).  But, honestly, these girls are all really special to Katy.  Katy is a good friend and she maintains friendships well.  There were probably 5 other girls she could have asked to be up there too (but that would have been a few too many).  That's just who Katy is, and I was glad that all of these girls were there to celebrate with Katy and Dave!

It was an incredible weekend.  Everything was perfect and so fun!  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

This Weekend

On Friday afternoon, Bech, Jack, and I got in the car and headed to DC.  One of Bech's good friends (and a groomsman in our wedding!) was getting married in Asheville.

We spent Friday night with Katy and Dave and went to Z Burger to celebrate Dave's birthday early.  Katy took a picture of us all there, but I can't figure out how to put it on here.  So...just imagine that we ate at a cross between Fudruckers and 5 guys and we had fun.  Got it?  Okay.

Saturday morning Bech and I hit the road at 5 a.m.  Katy and Dave had agreed to babysit Jack so that we could be childless for the wedding. 

I think Jack had fun!

Bech and I stopped in Spruce Pine, NC, on the way to the wedding for the Spruce Pine Potter's Market.  Basically, certain local potters are asked/chosen to be a part of a small market.  Bech knew and loved most of these potters' work.  In fact, he owns some work from several of them.  He had a blast geeking out and talking to some of his pottery heroes.

Then we drove the rest of the way to the wedding.  It was a beautiful wedding--small, outdoors, and fun.  I was a little nervous because, except for the groom, I literally knew no one there.  But I had a wonderful time talking to and meeting new people.  Bech had worked at Camp Timberlake with Chris (that's how they met), so there was a good amount of Camp people there that Bech knew.

We spent the night in Asheville and got on the road Sunday morning at 8:00.  We made it to DC by 4:30 and home by 8:15.  So basically we were exhausted.  We were gone for about 54 hours, and 25 of them were spent in the car.  But we were so glad we went.

I am ready, though, to go to Asheville again soon, and for a longer weekend.  After all, it is our dream city!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

If you're lucky enough...

I've met lots of new people lately.

Okay, let's stop and be real.  I've met lots of new people in the past, oh, 6 years?

Back to the point.  I've been able to talk to a lot of people and hear their stories.  And one thing I am constantly reminded about is how thankful I am for my family.

Christmas 2002

I come from a family of 4 kids.  Katy is the oldest, I'm next, then Blaise, and Ansley finishes us up.

Christmas 2005

We are a passionate bunch.  Dare I even say, spicy?

None of this sulking for days for us...we let you know when we are angry.

But, we fix fights quickly too.  We hug and make up and try not to let the sun go down on our anger.

Ansley's birthday this year

Mom, Katy, and Baby Marley!

When I was little, my dad (or my mom, who knows?) instituted Braden family night.

Some BFN's were dedicated to board games.  We still do these.

Some were dedicated to lectures on the heart chambers (my dad is a pediatric cardiologist).  We have ceased these nights, thankfully, although they did help in high school biology.

There were even nights in which we did the limbo to Gloria Estafan.  If you were a friend in our house on those nights, I want to apologize now.

The beach, I think 1998

We still keep up the board game nights, although they are mostly dedicated to Settler's of Catan or Imagine If.  There was one eventful Settler's game that involved a thrown phone (see, spicy, I tell you!), but we have learned to play peacefully.

Easter, perhaps 2012?

The Braden's can entertain themselves completely.  We played dress up constantly as children (and poor Ansley was basically a prop!).  Ansley and Katy still like to dress up for Christmas every year.

We have our dorkier habits:  Jeff Foxworthy cd's on car trips, the Braden Family Brain, "Braden Family Business" (aka BFB), our obsession with all things Christmas...

Do you feel like this should be included in the dorkier habits list?  Because I do.

For sure this one should be!  
Summer 2008

We are each other's best friends.  You don't want to mess with one of us.  I remember a boy saying something rude to Katy in high school and I gave him a tongue lashing. 

Don't mess with a Braden.

Then there was the Christmas Bech and I were Africa and my family made cut outs of us for the table.  How sweet/creepy.

We are also all up in each other's business.  We constantly talk on the phone.  Our group texts are hilarious.

Ansley and Blaise, D.C., Spring 2011

We love each other fiercely.  If one of us is hurting, we rally and we love on that person.  We laugh and cry with each other.

Christmas 2006

And we have been taught love over and over by our parents.  

Why thank you, my parents are beautiful!

My dad read us Narnia each night.  My mom stayed up late making Easter dresses.  My parents loved (and continue to love) us fiercely.  

They introduced us to Christ and taught us what love is, and they continue to daily show us that love.

Charity ball 2010

The Braden's are not perfect--far from it.  But we are real, and we love each other.

And I wouldn't trade that for the world.

So what I'm trying to say is, if you're lucky enough to be a Braden...

You're lucky enough.

I feel like I should have a disclaimer that I don't believe in luck, because, well, I'm a Calvinist.  But you get the point!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Andrew Peterson

I mentioned on Friday that we were heading to an Andrew Peterson concert that night in the Lancaster area.  It was actually Andrew, Bebo Norman (on his last ever tour...he's retiring!), and Sarah Groves.

It was really good.  The three musicians took turns talking about songs and singing them.  It definitely made it feel like a house show (which I love).  And there were only 600 people there, which added to that feel.  

But it meant that I got to hear Andrew Peterson sing less, which was sad.

In case you are an Andrew fan, he sang "Day by Day," "Shine Your Light on Me,""You'll Find Your Way," "Dancing in the Minefields," and "Nothing to Say."  

See what I mean?  Not a lot of songs.

But they were all amazing.  I especially enjoyed the first three.  They are off of his new album, "Light for the Lost Boy," which I have had a harder time getting into.  But hearing him talk about each song and then sing them live really helped me connect. 

My new favorite may be "You'll Find Your Way."  It's to his son, and I love it.

"When I look at you, boy,
I can see the road that lies ahead. 
I can see the love and the sorrow.
Bright fields of joy,
Dark nights awake in a stormy bed.
I want to go with you, but I can't follow.

So keep to the old roads,
Keep to the old roads
And you'll find your way.

Your first kiss, your first crush,
The first time you know you're not enough,
The first time there's no one there to hold you.
The first time you pack it all up
And drive alone across America,
Please remember the words that I told you.


If love is what you're looking for
The old roads lead to an open door
And you'll find your way.
You'll find your way back home.

And I know you'll be scared when you take up that cross,
And I know it'll hurt, 'cause I know what it costs,
And I love you so much and it's so hard to watch,
But you're gonna grow up and you're gonna get lost.
Just go back, go back.

Go back, go back to the ancient paths.
Lash your heart to the ancient mast.
And hold on, boy, whatever you do
To the hope that's taken hold of you.
And you'll find your way.
You'll find your way."

The song is based on Jeremiah 6:16: "Thus says the LORD, 'Stand by the roads and look; ask for the ancient paths, and walk in them, and you will find rest for your souls.'"

You can check out the video and Andrew's explanation of the song here.

I know Jack is only a two year old, but these times are going to come.  He's going to grow up and he's going to have to go through hurts that I can't fix.  He's going to have to know that he's not enough.  And this song is my prayer too, that Bech and I would teach him to know those paths, and that Jack would follow them.

Anyway, I know I have praised Andrew's music before on my blog, but seriously, check him out.  His songs are medicine to my soul.  He's an amazing songwriter (and a fellow C. S. Lewis lover).

Friday, October 4, 2013

5 on Friday

I guess this is all my blogging has become lately, 5 on Friday.  But I love it...I can put down five random things if I so desire (which I always desire!).  Check out others here!

O   N   E

I am, perhaps, a little too excited about Herbal Essences new/old releases.  They rereleased two of their old shampoo and conditioner sets, and they're even using the old bottles.

Actually, I just realized there is no perhaps.   I am definitely too excited.  

Please tell me someone else actually cares about this too?

 T   W   O

This one is actually exciting.  Tonight I get to go to hear Andrew Peterson in concert!  

I absolutely adore Andrew's music.  I'm not much of a concert goer (can we say old lady?), but I knew that if he came close to me, I wanted to go!

And he is!  He will be in the Lancaster area (so about two hours away) tonight, and we are going with some new friends!

T   H   R   E   E

I don't know if I've really talked about this on my blog, but we have already been so thankful and excited for all of our new friends here.  I honestly don't think that the social aspect of moving has ever been easier, unless it was in Malawi.

We have made some sweet church friends who we already love spending time with.  The ceramics department and graduate students have been incredible as well.  

And I'm even making friends in grocery stores.

Who said Yankees were unfriendly?

F   O   U   R

Sadly, I didn't get the job I interviewed for last week.  

I was sad, but not completely disappointed.  It was for a Penn State admissions counselor.  I was pretty pumped to have even gotten to the final interviews.  I was also pretty sure that if someone actually had a Penn State connection, they would get it over me.

I had another interview yesterday.  It went well, but I'm not sure that I want it to work out.  It would involve some aspects I'm not so sure about (I know that sounded super weird.  But when I do or don't get it, I'll elaborate!).

So it's back to the grind...I just want a job!  I had NO idea it would be this hard!

F   I   V   E

Check out my little bud in his Sunday best!  Fall weather means breaking out his cute fall clothes.

Actually it's been rather warm this week...I think it will be 81 tomorrow.  But next week should be in the 60's!

Bech was firing a kiln all Sunday, so Jack and I brought him a picnic dinner to eat outside of the art building.  

I don't even want to think about the age where Jack stops wearing smocked longalls.  He just melts my heart in this outfit.

Alright, that was cathartic/fun.  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!