Three Generations on Natural Beauty.

My mom and grandmother came to New York City for a visit a couple months ago. My family very rarely gets to come visit so this was quite a treat. I was so excited to have gal time with my favorite home-girls (literally) haha! My grandma hadn't been to New York City for quite a while and she wanted to see all the undiscovered non-tourists places—HOORAY! We visited all our favorite restaurants, museums, and off-the-radar spots. We ate dessert, laughed, and talked up a storm. It was such bliss! At the end of their visit we even took a trip upstate to the Catskills to one of our favorite places to hike in Peekamoose! 

I loved having some precious time with wiser generations. I learn so much from these incredible women in my life! While I had them here (and their wealth of knowledge), I wanted to get their take on something I know my gal pals and I struggle with on a sometimes daily basis: Natural Beauty. So without further ado, here are two generations' (my mother and my grandmother's) thoughts as well as my own take (not as wise, but trying) on natural beauty. 

 

Tips from my Grandmother:

Natural beauty begins inside with positive thoughts.  These thoughts can bring a sparkle to your eyes and a smile to your face. Another beauty tip is to be satisfied with who you are. If you aren't worried about yourself, you can focus on others. That's when beauty shines through!

Regarding physical and mental health, you can be the most beautiful when you're caring for yourself with a proper diet, cleanliness, and physical fitness. Maintain good manners, attitude, and dress (which does not have to be expensive or elaborate).

Here's another tip: Let go of problems, frustrations, and resentment. Let bygones BE GONE to keep wrinkles away!

Final tip: Be joyful and pursue happiness. Your beauty will shine!

 

My Mom's Natural Beauty Tips:

Maybe I've gotten lazy. Maybe I've gotten wiser. I don't worry about makeup anymore. Since I've edged into the big 6-0, I worry about makeup less and smiling more. I worry about my looks less and my spirit more. Reaching out is the watchword. The prettiest folks are the friendliest. God wouldn't have it any other way.

I have to admit, I'm not perfect in my pursuit of beauty, but I'm working on it.

In the end, I hope folks remember my acts of love more than my looks.

Natural beauty is found in the deep recesses of our souls. It's the gift only God gives. Our acts of kindness pass this beauty on....generation after generation.

 

My Tips:

Still trying to figure this all out myself as gal in her twenties. I feel insecure about being natural sometimes. I have feelings like I’m not enough or i’m not DOING enough. You know, those annoying reminders you don’t have what it takes. 

I have noticed by nourishing my body from the inside out I have seen a huge improvement on my overall glow and sans-makeup state. Eating a (most-of-them-time) plant-based diet has helped this process immensely but also not making myself feel guilty for having that cupcake when I’m with a girlfriend is essential. I feel like when we start shaming ourselves and trying to have an overly perfect meal plan all the time, this creates so much stress. So I let myself cheat…once in a while at least. 

I’m learning inner joy can be contagious. I heard recently giving someone a compliment can mean more to them then handing them money. Isn't it amazing how we can build someone up with just our words alone? I love this. Putting this into practice in my own life everyday has helped nourish not only my deep friendships but has also helped curate new ones along the way. 

My most beautiful friends and people I see around me are those who radiate joy and the joy is then handed off to those around them. A smile can go a long way on the sometimes not so friendly streets of New York City. This is natural beauty to me. I see it in my mother, grandmother and many people I am so blessed to have around me. My only hope is that I can bring this kind of natural beauty to the world and this is my journey.

 

Bits and Pieces.

As I eat leftover tortilla soup I made a few days ago (ergo...I hope this is still OK to eat), I'm reflecting on blessings.

This year has taught me to step back, take a few deep breaths, and consider the good things in my life. I'm very thankful for these in-between moments and pauses and all the blessings I've been given. I'd like to share a few with you.

I also hope you're enjoying your "in-between" moments and blessings as well. Why don't you share them with me? 

Love ya! -B

A cozy corner inside my favorite New York City boutique Warm. Always finding new treasures in here. I have to be careful--if you know what I mean. Warm carries some of my favorite designers such as Ace & Jig and Ulla Johnson. Be sure to stop in if you are in the city!

Cherry blossoms are blooming all around the city. I love to smell them as I pass. It's such a great break from the hustle of daily life.

Story of my life pretty much. Going from flight to flight. Here is a taste of some of my carry-on essentials. The jacket is from Warm btw.

So thrilled that Ulla Johnson has her own little shop in New York City now. So happy I get to shop my favorites in person. I can't get enough of Ulla's ultra feminine style. A must-visit shop if you are in the city.

flowers in my hair...

We recently took the most magical trip to California. We went for work but, after projects, spent some much-needed time together.

We explored some of our favorite spots, staying in a cozy Malibu house. We enjoyed days by the ocean and even read some books outside. How relaxing is that???

As we left our cozy retreat, we drove by this quaint stretch of land full of  gorgeous wildflowers. I practically jumped out of the car to get a few shots. What fun to dive in and smell the gorgeous yellow flowers, and, of course, dodge the bees (haha)!

Here's to opportunities to stop and "smell the flowers" (and maybe pluck a few for your hair!) I hope you have a chance to enjoy a springtime flower field, too.  

Also...if you're headed to California...be on the lookout for my California guide to all things cozy, simple, fun and flower-packed.      

Coming soon!  

love is a funny thing.

Love can be funny. One thing that's helped my marriage is a sense of humor. Sometimes a well-timed joke is just the right medicine. It hits the spot. 

Sunday was the anniversary of our engagement. Aaron and I got engaged in Paris in the gardens of Notre Dame. The funny thing about the engagement was... I didn’t actually say "yes". Ok, let me rephrase that. I didn’t say yes right away. 

Of course, I loved Aaron. He was the only one I could ever imagine spending the rest of my life with, but was I ready? Did I feel ready? Heck no! 

When Aaron popped the question, I was scared out of my bones. I was out of breath and practically hyperventilated. What a sight! I probably looked like some crazy tourist lady to the locals. 

Looking back, I’m kinda glad I didn’t say "yes" right away. Deciding to love someone forever is a hard decision. I didn’t take this lightly. After all, my life flashed before my eyes! 

Thirty-five years ago, my mother actually said "no" to my dad when he asked her to marry him. Even though she loved my dad, she high-tailed it to Europe and backpacked her way through the tough decision. 

I guess I have some of the same wild spirit in me. It showed up in Paris. Mom always taught me to be independent and to chase adventure, so I had to take some time before I decided to share my adventure with someone else. In the end, however, both my mom and I found our way back to the men we loved. 

I’m glad I said yes to Aaron. He makes me laugh. He makes me breakfast. PLUS, he makes the best homemade pizza in my life. Seriously, he is the best adventure buddy I could ever love to laugh with. 

I’m glad love can be funny. Don't take things so seriously you lose sight of the fun. As for me, life is a lot more fun now that Aaron is my partner in crime. 

A pause.

Pauses are interesting.

Pauses take all shapes and forms, but they are necessary. Sometimes you just need to hit the remote control and take a break.

Through my 26 years of life, I've experienced pauses for health issues, for death, and, sometimes, pauses for life. I've got to admit I've put this blog on pause so far this year. I've been taking much needed time for family, old friends, and some very valued time for myself.

I think, sometimes, especially in New York City,  you can get so wrapped up in the game of it all you forget to press pause. You forget to even take a breath.

I'm glad I pressed the pause button, but now it's back to blogging!  Watch for more stories, recipes, tips, fun and exotic explorations!

I'm taking the pause off my blog, but I'll still cherish the moments of reflection. Matter of fact, I might share some with you. Let's walk together through this hyper-social landscape and take time to pause along the way to admire the view.

I look forward to getting together again!

In the meantime, let me know what you discover when you hit the "pause" button.

Love,

Brynn

How I got my start.

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A couple of weeks ago, on my dear friends Kat and Em's site The Refined Woman, I had the pleasure of doing an interview about everything from how I launched my career to my biggest challenges. I always think sharing your story is a very powerful thing. Although my story is not perfect, it's mine. I have to say... I have loved the ride so far. The interview is below. Be sure to check out more uplifting and wonderfully authentic stories like this on The Refined Woman.

 

Growing up I really wanted to be
A mix between Meriwether Lewis and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Women.  A strong, exploring woman!

My most-used emojiis are
The pizza and red heart because of my overwhelming love for pizza.

My go-to order at a coffee shop is
A decaf black coffee. I’ve been off caffeine for about 2 years now. I would like to think I’m a little less cray because of it.

I don’t know how I ever lived without
My husband. He makes a mean breakfast (lol)!

One thing people don’t know about me is
I’m the distant relative of Meriwether Lewis (Chief explorer of the Lewis and Clark Expedition). I also cannot blow a bubble with gum for the life of me.

My real life hero is
My mother, who has been with me through everything. She started an organization to help cancer patients and helped launch an after-school club to provide a safe place for students to play and learn. She also supports a center which serves kids in need. If I can make half the difference in the world as she has, I’ll be blessed. Go mom!

What I love about my work is
I love the flexibility to travel and work with my husband. There are days or sometimes weeks when we hardly get to see each other, but other times, we can tackle large-scale projects together. We have so much fun. I love creating lifelong memories with him!

The hardest thing about my work is
There is no set stopping point. I am always working on the go. It’s hard to know when to truly decompress. Tech breaks are a must. I cherish those electronic-free moments.

How I got started with my current career
I was working in corporate fashion. The intensity and bottom-line mentality was stressful. I realized it was no place for me. I wanted to try to make a go of it on my own.

Luckily, I had some great people to mentor me and help me grow and expand. I had already created Being Elliott. Styling and consulting came as a natural extension of my blog.

I’ve always been a very visual person. I feel blessed to work in a very visual field. My work is not always a picnic, however, I often have to power through stressful moments. I tell anyone interested in freelance the first years can be tough. It’s important to have a strong foundation and support system.

The dumbest thing I did when I was starting out
I said yes to too many projects at once. The result: I felt like an inexperienced court jester trying to juggle fire. We all know how that turns out!

My typical day looks like
I always start my day with a power smoothie! You can’t go wrong with kale, spinach, water and a wide assortment of healthy add-ins!

I might be on location styling. I might have my own photo shoot. I may even have to style and shoot right in my own home.

My biggest interruptions are unexpected delays. I live and work in New York, where life is dependent on subways, cabs, walking, and, of course weather! That can get crazy!

Everything is deadline oriented. That can be frightening. An unexpected call, someone arriving late… it’s like watching dominoes fall. I have to be creative to stop the avalanche!

I used to think success meant
Like every little girl, I looked at magazines and thought flawless beauty, perfect clothes and lots of money spelled success! Of course, I also thought you had to add New York living to the mix!

My current definition of success is
I believe success is finding beauty in imperfection, celebrating unique qualities and, most importantly, sharing love.

An example of when I had to push through my insecurities/fear of taking risks was when
I don’t always have the best self-confidence. When facing big projects, that negative voice in my head screams at me. I try to remember God gave me a gift to use. In any job, you’ve got to be open to failure. Don’t let that paralyze you. It’s OK to make mistakes. I’ve made my share. It isn’t the end of the world.

I know my work/life balance is out of sync when
I’m crabby! I need to stop, pray, eat a healthy snack (My go-to snacks are almonds, kale chips, or fruit) and focus on others.

The last time I created something I was proud of was
My husband Aaron and I created a short film which was featured at Cannes. I also just created and directed a unique handbag commercial which not only featured handbags, but also the strength, dignity and beauty of women. It’s something I’m really proud of.

I wish I could tell my younger self
Don’t be so worried about tomorrow. Focus outward. Everyone is dealing with their own struggles. Help others feel better. In the end – you will feel better.

The legacy I hope to leave is
My mom says she wants her tombstone to read “She loved God…and it showed.”  I’m with my mother. I hope people are able to see how much I love them.

xo,
Brynn

In the company of women.

We need each other, truly we do. There's something special about connecting with a group of creative ladies. That's exactly what I had the opportunity to do a few weeks ago. In a sense, we played "dress up" and had a fun photo shoot together.

We're all New Yorkers. We share the big-city challenge. In this dog-eat-dog environment, we've decided to create a community, not a competition. That's pretty doggone refreshing!

I've found the secret to connecting with cohorts without fear is to know who you are and what you have to offer. In other words, the secret is standing on a firm foundation.  

We all have unique gifts to share. And, guess what? A lot of times our gifts compliment each other!  

We can also connect when we share our fears and are vulnerable. Every person struggles. Let's admit it, link arms and accomplish something in spite of it. 

I encourage all girls to jump in there and connect!

-All Dresses above all by BHLDN

This post is in collaboration with some of my favorite NYC girls.  Be sure and check out their posts today too: Esther Houston, Krystal Bick., Kat of The Refined Woman and Janelle of Wait You Need This.

Photos by Israel Veintidos.

Spicy Sweet Potato Pasta

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Pasta is one of my favorite things ever. This is why I partnered with the kind folks at KitchenAid to create a healthy spin on my go-to favorite.

I am sharing my recipe for Spicy Sweet Potato Pasta. I used the KitchenAid 5 Blade Spiralizer to create fun sweet potato noodles.

The spiralizer attached right on to my KitchenAid Artisan Mini Mixer making it such a breeze to use. I simply popped on the blade I wanted to use, added the peeling attachment and just turned it on.

I must admit it was a little mesmerizing to see the spiralizer turn the sweet potato into ribbons. They're just so pretty-haha!

Try my recipe for yourself below.

Happy pasta-ing-it-up!

 

INGREDIENTS:

3 large sweet potatoes
3 cups arugula
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup cashews (+ 2 cups water for soaking them)
¾ cup water (for blending)
½ teaspoon salt (for blending)
1 clove of garlic, minced
handful of fresh chives, rosemary and basil, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to season


DIRECTIONS

Place the cashews in bowl and cover with water. Let soak for at least 3 hours (I soaked mine overnight). After soaking, drain and rinse cashews. Transfer to a blender (You can also use a food processor). Add the 3/4 cup water, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt to the nuts. Blend until very smooth consistency. Set aside.


Use your KitchenAid 5 Blade Spiralizer to create sweet potato noodles. I used the medium spiraling blade and the peeling attachment for this.

Grab a large skillet and heat your olive oil on high.

Add sweet potato noodles to olive oil. Toss to cook for 8-12 minutes (depending on how thick your noodles are) until crisp.

Remove pan from heat and add arugula. Toss in fresh herbs and the sauce you blended. Mix ingredients together.


Top off with salt , pepper, and extra leftover herbs.

Add extra red pepper flakes if you like to spice things up! Haha!

Enjoy your creamy healthy pasta.
 

Bits and Pieces.

I had a few crazy freakouts this week. Anxiety is an issue I deal with. How about you? I know better, but sometimes I let emotions get the best of me. Soooo I'm trying to take one day at a time! Time is going too fast, however! How can it almost be March?! Holy Moley! Let's slow down, calm down and focus on something new. Bits and Pieces features my latest favorite products from books to movies, skin care to foods. So...deep breath...let's go! 

This vintage (and wonderfully lived-in) KISS shirt

I'm a HUGE t-shirt and jeans gal. I feel most comfortable in this favorite shirt Aaron gave to me. I have been a KISS fan since high-school. Totally in love with this shirt, which has a rare glimpse of them without their stage makeup. Love! 

Boxed water.

Where to begin? Aaron and I were going to see the movie "Lion" (a really good movie, by the way) and needed water that didn't cost an arm and a leg. We grabbed some Boxed water because it looked cool. Well….now this water is my go-to. I take this little guy to the gym and it’s a desk essential. Basically, Boxed water is always in my bag.

Sunday Riley’s Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil and Good Genes

Sunday Riley is a one of my favorite skincare lines. Their products give me unparalleled results. My recent favorite is their Juno Face Oil. These drops make my skin look luminous and deliciously glowy. I only have to use three drops at night. When I wake up my face looks bright and refreshed. Juno Face Oil also lasts forever. 

Another favorite is Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment. This product works great even on my uber sensitive skin. Good Genes exfoliates dead skin cells to help reveal fresher-looking skin. How can anyone resist that? I normally smooth on Good Genes in the morning and let it do its thing for about 15 minutes. Then I rinse it off and I smooth on my Juno face oil. I tend to use Good Genes as a mask, but you can also use it as a serum. I have seen huge results after using this project. Good Genes makes my skin look toned, radiant and baby soft! 

Stranded Dry Shampoo

My dear friend Lauren Scruggs (who is inspiring and amazing - more on her here) just developed this awesome dry shampoo! It not only smells amazing, but it's also free of dyes, sulfates, paraben and even gluten. Three cheers for healthy beauty products! This dry shampoo is a loose powder (similar to baby powder). What’s rad about Stranded is it's formulated for blondes, brunettes, and red heads! You buy the shampoo based on your hair color. This dry shampoo is so light. I take it in my gym bag for when I need extra oomph in the hair. Love it! 

Vintage Books 

I'll do a guide to Upstate New York soon. In this feature, I'll reveal where Aaron and I get our vintage books. The price is always right! I love picking up books about loads of things: from Marilyn Monroe to ice storms! We recently picked up these two. Can’t wait to dive in!

P.S-Aaron and I recently discovered Homeland, a gem of a show. I find I'm thinking about this storyline when I shouldn't be. It’s always in my head! Dang! If you don’t know about Homeland, it's basically an edge-of-your-seat (not kidding!) thriller/drama show. Claire Danes plays a pretty BOSS (with a capital B!) CIA agent who is also bipolar. She is fearless and risks everything for truth. I really love her stamina. I recommend you watch an episode (Best to start with the first one). I promise you'll be hooked. Also, this show is highly binge-appropriate, especially if you have Hulu!