November Update

Hi it’s me, I’m not dead yet, I promise!

Hello strangers!

It feels like a lifetime since I’ve posted anything on here! Today’s post will give you a little insight into what’s been going on in my life and a look at some things I’ve been up to recently.

I’d like to explain a bit more in detail about why I haven’t been able to post throughout the last three months because I feel like I owe you a full explanation instead of just quick points. I avoided writing about it because I’ve honestly been experiencing the worst kind of writer’s block and I wasn’t posting anything because I was so worried I’d just sound tacky or like I was complaining or just making excuses!

After my friend Ashley’s wedding in July I felt both mentally and physically exhausted. I’ve mentioned often in past posts that my anxiety is probably my biggest enemy to my own success. I tired to do some soul searching to find exactly what my niche was in this blogging world and while I still don’t have an answer, I’m learning to simply write from the heart and I’ll figure it out.

August was a blur of family events and charities for my parish. I decided to ditch my trademark black hair because it was becoming too high maintenance and although I loved it for four years-I needed a change pretty badly. Without giving away too much since that’s next week’s post- surprise!!! I’m now a fiery redhead.

September saw me taking some time to focus on my artwork and trying to find my muse again and before I blinked it was October! Ever since my eczema flair up in March I’ve been watching my sodium intake and trying to drink even more water! Maintaining my weight has been a huge deal to me and since finding out in April I’m essentially allergic to everything outdoors I basically live off of Claritin D and Flonase.

November saw my creativity once again begin to stir. Kind of fitting considering it’s thanksgiving I’m thankful my muse has returned. Currently, you can say I’m loving the spirit of the holidays getting closer. I feel like there’s a kindness in the air that’s unique to this time of year and I always loved it! I’m planning to add a video component to this blog, basically vlogging and introducing you all more to my amazing husband, Tom. This change will probably take place in January 2020. I’ve been making use of my crockpot a lot lately so be on the look out for some low carb stews and recipes that will warm your heart and fill your tummy! November saw my family celebrating Aunt’s birthday and the upcoming Thanksgiving season. I have A LOT to be grateful for, including all of you who’ve been so invested in my blog and my journey.

Even though I feel like I’ve let a lot of people down with not posting and being absent from the internet for so long, I do feel like it’s done me a lot of good mentally. I’m very lucky to have such a wonderful and inspiring little fan friends here on the internet, who I missed very much, but being disconnected and really being able to take a moment to think about my life and what I want to be doing and the direction I’m going has left me feeling incredibly inspired and motivated, which is a great feeling after having so many months feeling trapped and lost.

Without getting too sappy here because I do have plenty to post about in the next coming weeks, I am very grateful to have those of you reading this and those of you who follow my blog in my life. Thanks for sticking around, yo! I really appreciate it. ♥

Hey let’s be friends!

Moving Out of State: Pros and Cons to Consider BEFORE changing your area code.

I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump lately. The term ‘stuck in a rut’ can be applied. Bare in mind as I post this, when I came back to blogging I promised authenticity in my writing. Going forward, I’ll be writing as I feel inspired. Sometimes I may not write at all, sometimes I will simply share photography, and others I may go two weeks without posting. As I try exciting new recipes, visit new places and try new products I’ll keep you up to date. As mentioned in ‘Gone to Carolina In My Mind’ back in November, I’ve spend years toying with the idea of moving away from New Jersey and settling in North Carolina. Having the excitement of a beautiful city at your fingertips without necessarily being IN the hustle and bustle has always appealed to me. The future for my little family and this blog might be out there-under Carolina blue skies. I’m open to all possibilities.

Like anything in life, it’s important to give careful consideration before making any rash decisions but if you (like me) are considering making that plunge it will be important to go in with realistic expectations and without blinders on: that means weighing the PROS and CONS. So take a seat, and enjoy the ride!

The Pros

Change of scenery

While living in the same place you’re entire life can offer a sense of security, but it can also make you feel, well, stagnant. The thought of experiencing new places is refreshing. I would hope to gain perspective, grow as an individuals, and open my mind to new cultures and attitudes. When feeling stuck in a rut or sick of the same dull routine, moving to a new city or state can offer your family a fresh start!

Better opportunities

Relocating can be scary but it can also open up to a world of new opportunities. Stagnant careers can be revived by moving to a new city or state and could present you with various new job options and networking connections. It will also give you and your family the chance to try new things. Have you always wanted to take up a new hobby? Indulge in exotic ethnic foods? Unfamiliar regions can offer various new hobbies, leisure activities, foods and nightlife options that you either have always wanted to try or never even considered trying! Moving can provide you and your spouse with the chance to meet new people and form new relationships–perhaps with individuals unlike those from your hometown.

Finding yourself

Songs and movies are both written and preformed from the idea of ‘finding yourself’. How does one ‘find themselves’? Sometimes the answer is simply leaving your comfort zone and immersing yourself in a completely new element. People who’ve done can usually always attest that it does wonders for self-awareness. It will be force you and your little family to become more self-reliant without the safety net of all of your friends and family close by, but even more acutely especially if you are relocating alone. Being surrounded by unfamiliar faces in a town or city that is foreign can only make you braver, stronger, more resilient and more independent.

Physical benefits

According to many articles I read, studies show moving away may actually be good for your health! Mental stagnation caused by the stress of your daily routine can wear someone down and cause exhaustion and psychological strain. The benefits of starting over in a new place can actually rejuvenate your mind and body by alleviating whatever mental burdens you have been carrying. Moving to warmer, more temperate climates can also cure the winter blues and remedy certain ailments such as arthritis and respiratory problems.

The chance to purge

Being forced to haul all of your earthly possessions to a new state can make you re-consider how much you need them. De cluttering is a MUST when moving long-distance because things can get expensive if one has a large volume of belongings, it can force you to considerably downsize. Hoarding unnecessary items causes clutter, increases stress, and can be emotionally burdensome. Letting go of things with little utility or importance to you will make you feel lighter, clear-headed, and ready for a new beginning.

The Cons

Missing your family and friends

This is number one on my list because why? Leaving family holds many people back from better opportunities. The hardest part for many people considering a long-distance move is bidding farewell to loved ones. If you have close family and friends in your hometown, it will be difficult to adjust to not having them accessible to you at any time. While nowadays in the age of Facebook and Skype, it’s easy to stay in touch but there is little substitute for a hug from your mom or a meal with your best friends when you’re feeling lonely.

Culture shock

This is BIG if you’re a Northerner considering a move South. It’s a change of pace completely and can take some getting used to. It’s not uncommon for people who move to feel withdrawn, alienated and alone in this strange, new place without the comfort of your loved ones nearby. Even if you are only moving a few states away, cultural differences can be drastic. Social norms may be dramatically different than what you are accustomed to in your hometown. You may not have access to your favorite foods and the activities you once enjoyed may not be practical in your new city.

The cost

Moving isn’t cheap. Add moving out of state? It can be a costly venture. If you have a large home, a lot of belongings and furniture to transport, and many miles to travel, you could be looking at up to $10,000 in moving costs. There are many moving services to choose from and many methods to make your move more economical, but depending on your budget, packing up and making the trek to a new state just might not be financially feasible.

The stress

Moving is a stressful experience–there are various tasks involved and a great deal of planning to do in order to successfully execute the move. You have to determine your moving budget, choose your method of relocation, research movers and compare quotes, pack your belongings, transfer medical records, change your address–and the list goes on. Moving long-distance can require even more planning than a local move. You may feel so bogged down by the taxing process that it kills the excitement and anticipation of starting over in a new place.

Other Things to Consider

Weather: How will you adjust to the climate in your new home? You may think you’d love to live somewhere that’s hot all year long, but if you are used to a moderate climate with four distinct seasons, you may be uncomfortable with 80 degree weather at Christmas.

Cost of living: If you are relocating for a job opportunity, take into consideration the cost of living in the new city. You may think you are getting a great salary offer, but if living expenses are much greater there than in your current city, the opportunity may not be so wonderful after all.

Job market: You may want to relocate because you can’t find a job in your rural hometown, and believe that moving to a big city will increase your opportunities. While it is usually true that urban areas have more career options than rural areas, some cities have better job markets than others. Make sure you choose a city with a flourishing market in your industry so that you don’t have a difficult time finding employment.

Communication with your family and visiting the area you want to relocate to first will be key in making an informed decision. You may think you want to relocate somewhere but find it’s not a good fit for you. That’s okay! The point is to keep all options open.

Do you believe in second chances? If so you should listen to Aaron Carter’s new single ‘Pyro’

It Also Helped Save My Serious Case of Writer’s Block

If you were a 90s child like I was growing up you grew up in a golden age of pop and hip hop music. Bands like the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, the Spice Girls, TLC and even Destiny’s Child all fought to be top dog in an age of budding promiscuity in both lyrics and videos but still quite tame compared to today’s cringeworthy displays. Enter Aaron Carter, 90’s tween heartthrob and younger brother to Backstreet Boys youngest member Nick Carter. For those of you who don’t remember, Aaron Carter was THE Justin Bieber before THE Justin Bieber was even out of diapers.

Starting at the tender age of six Aaron’s entire childhood was about performing and he did manage to step out of Nick’s shadow with hits such as ‘I Want Candy’, ‘How I Beat Shaq’ and ‘Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)’. The road to success however was paved with a lot of tough lessons, addictions, and at one point biggest name in Pop music found himself bankrupt.

Aaron and his family premiered in a reality TV show called House of Carters, which aired in 2004 it followed the Carter siblings as they tried to navigate life and reconcile their rather dysfunctional upbringing with becoming functioning successful adults. Seeing the Carter siblings, all which were dealing with different forms of self-destructive behavior and addictions, talk about their experiences and how it shaped them really made me feel something akin to profound sadness. In one episode, when a therapist comes and sits with the family we learned that Aaron never had a childhood to play on the playground at recess or go to a prom. Heck, his Father even referred to him as the former “cash cow”.

Now Nick has been no stranger to opening up about how difficult the road to recovery was in battling his demons and Aaron was able to take a page out of Nick’s playbook and be open and honest about his own struggles. When Aaron came out with LøVE the entire album was written and produced by Aaron himself-which is incredible seeing how far the childhood star had fallen. It makes his comeback even more exciting. While 30-year-old Brittany is happily married with a little family of her own (and a far cry from the 8 year old who thought she’d grow up to be a famous actress and marry him.) I still always kept Aaron in my prayers and hoped that one day he would have the love he so desperately searched for. The same love I was blessed with when my husband came into my life 11 years ago. It seems he’s on the right track now. At least professionally, spiritually and emotionally.

I highly recommend jumping on YouTube and giving a listen to his new hit single called Pyro which dropped today. It is a far cry from 90s Aaron Carter but it’s very relevant to today’s clubby/ electronic vibe. Just by listening to the song you can tell just how much blood, sweat, and tears Aaron put into this single and I am so happy and excited for the album itself to drop. As someone who grew up with and followed Aaron throughout his entire career, I’m a sucker for a good come back stories and I hope that Aaron Carter has nothing but success going forward.

What Being A Bridesmaid Has Taught Me

Some of you may notice I am posting this on a Monday instead of a Friday and the reason for that being so is because I was extremely busy this weekend! On Saturday, one of my best friends got married. This wedding was extremely special to me because it was the first wedding that I wasn’t just a spectator to-in fact I was a bridesmaid.

A lot of people don’t realize the work that goes in to put together a wedding: the blood, sweat and tears so to speak that go into each and every detail. Having been married myself for 3 1/2 years to my high school sweetheart, I know the process and the planning that goes in to creating the perfect wedding. My friend Ashley and I were very lucky to be in each others’ weddings, she was in mine and I have now been in hers.

My friend Ashley & I at my Wedding in 2016.

Being a bridesmaid has taught me quite a bit, I have grown as a person from the experience. A lot of people asked me ‘aren’t you worried that you’re going to get a bridezilla or something?’ And my answer is simple and heartfelt when I reply, ‘not at all.’ For being a bridezilla it’s not in my friend’s nature in the slightest.

Without further ado I’m going to tell you five things I’ve learned from being a bridesmaid.

Getting a front row seat celebrating love is MAGICAL.

1) Be Prepared To Shed A Tear or Two

I wholeheartedly embrace the fact that I am a very emotional person, and I cry when I’m happy as well as when I’m sad, but weddings are so different. You literally get a front row seat to watch two people, who are madly in love, be able to profess their love and make it completely official in the eyes of God and the state.

It’s an even more emotional experience when you stress over the details of the wedding, and you’re nervous the entire night before, and then you finally get to see it all together. The bride in her dress. The groom waiting at the altar for her. I’ve learned that it’s impossible to be standing up at the altar with the bride and groom and not shed a tear (or two!)

Some pre-ceremony ‘waiting for the veil’ selfies.

2) Not Everything Goes According To Plan & That’s Okay!

No matter how much you prepare for the wedding day, it’s impossible for everything to go perfectly. For my friend’s wedding her sister the Maid of Honor (who was also in charge of our hair and makeup) missed the rehearsal because she left the supplies she needed at home. She did make it to the dinner itself after having to drive halfway back home to get the makeup and hair tools that would make the wedding go off without a hitch. Minutes before the ceremony was set to begin, the bride also left behind her veil. So after much scrambling, and a five minute delay to start the ceremony the veil was brought to her and the journey to the alter began. As a bridesmaid, your job is to make sure that to the bride everything seems okay, and that’s exactly what we did! We kept her smiling, laughing and joking the entire time but mostly we kept her relaxed. As long as the bride is healthy, happy, and the groom will be there when she’s ready to walk down the aisle, then everything is perfect. I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff!

My husband & I at the golden hour, the day FLEW.

3) The day will FLY by.

You put so much time and energy (and money) into this wedding and before you know it, it’s 10:30 pm and you’re preparing to head back to the hotel. Between getting ready, the ceremony, wedding photos, and the actual reception, there is no time for a break or to even look at the clock. But don’t worry, time flies because you’re having fun too, especially when you dance your heart out at the reception, which leads to…

We took a break from dancing to visit the dock.

4) You Get To Dance To Your Heart’s Content

Of course, everyone at the wedding, not just the wedding party, gets to dance, but as a bridesmaid this is your chance to just let loose and have fun! You got your best friend married now you can party it up. My husband and I were literally on the dance floor most of the night, every time we heard a song that we wanted to jam out to we stopped what we were doing (whether we were eating or taking pictures) to dance. I learned that the bridesmaid dress, whether you love it or not (which luckily I did, so much so that I’ll wear it again!) gives you a certain authority to dance to your heart’s content without judgment. You earned that moment, so make the most of it!

My friend Ashley & I at her wedding Saturday.

5) Female Friendships Are Truly Extraordinary

Choosing my friend to be in my bridal party, was super special, but being chosen to be by her side too on her wedding day was nothing short of extraordinary. I can’t put into words what an honor it truly is, and every bit of anxiety spend leading up to that day is totally worth it. To know that someone thinks you’re so important that they want you to be part of their special day is truly the most gratifying and humbling experience. Most people only have one wedding day, and helping to make it extra special is a really cool thing to experience. If you’re a bridesmaid, don’t forget to take a deep breath and enjoy the magic of love. It’s a really amazing thing.

Ryan, Ashley, Myself & Tom ( from L to R)

I’d like to wish my friend Ashley and her new husband Ryan all the love, happiness, and health in the world. Being a bridesmaid was super special but being their friend and being able to watch through the years how their life together will unfold-now that is the greatest gift of all!

Recipe: Crack Chicken

This week Tom and I made a recipe we found on Pinterest called Crack Chicken. You slow cook it in the Crock Pot and the best part is it’s keto friendly and low carb. But you don’t have to follow a low carb lifestyle to enjoy it. The whole family will love this creamy, cheesy chicken dish!

Ingredients:

• 1/2 cup chicken broth

• 1 Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet

• 2 pounds of defrosted chicken breasts

• 8 oz package of Philadelphia Cream Cheese cut into chunks

• 8 slices cooked and crumbled bacon

• 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions:

1) Add chicken broth to the slow cooker and stir in a Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet. Then add defrosted chicken breasts to the crock pot.

2) Cook and cover for 4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW.

3)After the cook time has ended, shred the chicken with two forks.

When you shred the chicken, it will absorb any leftover liquid.

4)Add in the chunks of cut up Philadelphia Cream Cheese, bacon and shredded cheddar cheese. Stir all of the ingredients together

5)Cover the crock pot again and leave in for an additional 5-10 minutes until the cream cheese has melted.

While you can serve this Keto Crack Chicken in the Crock Pot on it’s own or with a side salad, I think it would be wonderful served over a portobello mushroom or a pepper stuffed pepper style. If you’re feeling up for it you can also serve this chicken in lettuce wraps for a low carb meal. It’s so versatile the possibilities are endless!

Tom and I ate ours on its own, and not only was it charmingly delicious BUT super filling! You can see the nutrition facts below and see it clicks in at only 1 gram of carb.

What’s your favorite low carb recipe you’d like me to try? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy 4th of July

In honor of the 4th of July this coming week I’d like to dedicate and wish a very happy Independence Day to all of my readers both here and abroad. I thank God every day to live in a country where I can chase my dreams and have my entrepreneurism encouraged and supported. Also, I would love to give a shoutout to those who’ve served and those who continue to serve in the military. We’re truly the land of the free because of the brave men and women like you who selflessly protect our freedom.

While we all have different backgrounds, religions, racial ethnicities and YES even different political beliefs we must always remember how lucky we are to voice our differences because we live here in America.

Happy 4th of July, God bless you all!

Inside Brittany’s Makeup Bag

Hello!

With June approaching to a near close as well as my friend’s wedding weeks away. I wanted to share with you all my favorite “go to” lip products since I’m obsessed with bold, sexy, red lips. It’s very flattering for all types of skin tones and is a timeless classic look that paired with a smokey eye is perfect for a night out or a paired with a neutral eye is perfect for a mid morning brunch. The great thing about red lip is that you can dress it up OR dress it down depending on the rest of your makeup.

Red lips look AMAZING on real dark hair and light eyes; as well as dark eyes and light hair it creates the popping effect that photographs really well and makes your teeth and skin look brighter. 

So without further ado I give you my top 3 red lip choices:

1. Rimmel Exaggerate full color lip liner (022 Rapture) I use this in all my pictures as my lip liner because it’s really a bold but not overpowering lip liner that sets the tone for dramatic lips.

2. Revlon color stay ultimate liquid lipstick (040 Brilliant Bordeaux) 

3. Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks (Outlaw)

In the picture I posted earlier I used the Rimmel liner and Revlon color stay lipstick first. Then I waited till the latter dried before adding the Revlon lipstick on top. It gives my lips the rustic rose lip look that’s in my photos. Don’t be afraid to mix lipsticks to get a color that screams you and your style. I really love Revlon and Kat Von D liquid lipsticks because they literally last forever. I usually have to scrub them off with my nutragena makeup remover towelettes so if you’re going to a wedding or even to work you can count on these lipsticks to go the distance with you.

How do I grade the quality of these 3 products?: A+ their color is spectacular and they last at least 12 hours which makes them worth every dime!

How do I grade the price of these 3 products?:  B- $34.14 (for all three) sure there are plenty of more productive things you can buy with $34.00 and change, however, you’ll be hard pressed to find the quality and any quantity at the level of these three products. Each product has lasted me 6-8 months per product so if you switch them up and out you’ll be hard pressed to need to go shopping anytime soon.

STILL while the Rimmel and Revlon products are very cost efficient, the Kat Von D product is a little pricey ($20.00) but they are worth spending the money so that’s why I gave it an overall B-. 

Happy Product Playing! If you do try these please take a pic and use the hashtag 

#insidebrittanysmakeupbag so I can check it out on your gorgeous self😁