#BlogtemberChallenge Day 30: We did it!

A farewell coffee date. Take some time to breath, sip a warm drink, and share with your new blogging buddies. 

We did it! The Blogtember Challenge is coming to a close today and though I am sad to see it go, I’m also so proud of us and in awe of all the challenge has done!

A month ago, I was a baby blogger. I didn’t totally know what I was doing. I remember thinking, “If I get through September, maybe this has a chance of becoming a permanent fixture in my life.” I jumped into Bailey Jean’s challenge, writing my Day 1 post and having no idea if I’d make it to the end. And here we are!

I completed nearly every single challenge. I believe I only missed five. For a month that included a full-time job, two vacations and a jam-packed calendar, I’m calling it a success! I’ve learned a lot about myself and about my writing process, and I’ve “met” so many wonderful bloggers. I can’t wait to keep up with what all of you are doing as time goes on!

As for me and A Genuine Delight, it will likely be quiet around here for the next week as I jump into a new church community group (we’re going to be reading Let’s All Be Brave, and I am SO excited) and spend some time with my mom. After that, I hope to start sharing all of these adventures with you! It doesn’t look like I’ll be leaving NYC at all in October, instead using the month to relax, explore the city in my very first grown-up fall, and settle into some new responsibilities at church.

Thanks for a wonderful month, fellow Blogtember-ers, and I’ll see you soon! We’re only just beginning.
Brave Love Blog


#BlogtemberChallenge Day 28: September in Review

What were your highs and lows for this month?

September has been INCREDIBLE! I feel as though I say that every month, but truly, each is better than the one before. It’s been a month of friendship and adventures and welcoming autumn. And it’s not over yet! But here’s a look at what I’ve gotten up to.

Niagara Falls

I kicked off the month with a bang, waking up in Toronto and driving 10 hours to New York City with a stop at Niagara Falls!

I spent much of the month adventuring around NYC, getting excited and also panicking about fall, hanging out with friends and drafting blog posts.

Dallas, September 2014

Last weekend I flew to Dallas to see my parents’ new house (that they moved into 6 months ago…). It was a wonderful three days of eating my weight in tacos, exploring parts of the city I hadn’t seen before and taking dozens of selfies with the dog.

As for lows… I’m not sure September had any! The temperatures have been slowly decreasing, which is wonderful but has set me off worrying about winter (I am so not a cold-weather girl). There have been some stressful days of trying to balance work, the Blogtember Challenge and my friendships, but I think I’m getting the swing of it! All in all, it’s been a month of exploring, learning, and preparing for the new season.

Brave Love Blog

What have you been up to?

#BlogtemberChallenge Day 27: Wish List

What’s on your wish list? Be sure to include links so we can shop, too 😉

I was a little unsure about completing today’s prompt because I’ve spent so much time this year getting rid of things and simplifying my life. I didn’t want to tempt myself and my consumerist ways. But then it dawned on me that there are some purchases I need to make, so why not talk about those a bit? Plus, it’s more gratifying because I will get to buy something soon!

Cleveland 2011

What I really, desperately need – and am reminded of every morning when I step outside into an increasingly colder climate – is a winter coat. I have been getting by on a $30 coat I bought at Charlotte Russe five years ago, but I have no expectations that it will survive a New York winter – or even fall. The trouble with this is that I have no idea where to start! I’ve recruited some friends to go with me shopping, but do any of you have any recommendations?

The other thing I need is new PANTS!  In Phoenix I bought all my pants long and wore them with heels everywhere. That does not fly in the city of walking everywhere! Most of my pants have been destroyed because I’ve worn them with flats and through rainy weather. I do believe the answer to my problem will be crop pants – long enough to wear with flats and still be warm, and they’ll slide nicely into boots as well. I’ve been looking at these pixie ankle pants, from Old Navy (which is having a sale!) If I try them on and they fit, I might just buy every pattern and color.


Brave Love Blog

What are you shopping for this season?

Follow me on Pinterest here!

#BlogtemberChallenge Day 26: Changes

How have you changed in the past year?

Here I was reading this prompt and thinking that I’ve changed in almost every way possible. Almost nothing about my life is the same as it was 365 days ago, and I mean that in the best way. But according to my Timehop app, one year ago today I was between back-to-back vacations to Los Angeles and Dallas. I was rooting for my favorite baseball teams to make the playoffs. I was giggling over newly-released promos for the new season of Saturday Night Live.

On the beach in the Pacific Palisades in September 2013

Pacific Palisades, September 2013

So maybe things haven’t changed as much as I might like to think. I’m in the middle of a whirlwind couple of months including hosting a friend here in NYC, taking trips to Toronto and Dallas, hosting my mom and her friend. My baseball teams have all been eliminated from playoff contention, just as they eventually were in 2013. The first promos for SNL’s 40th season were released yesterday and I laughed hysterically.

My interests haven’t changed. But I have. The way I approach these things has. Last fall, when I was on those trips, I didn’t want to go home to Phoenix. I wanted to lay on the beach forever, to be “home” every weekend to root for my high-school football team, to be anywhere but where I lived. I loved Arizona but I knew a chapter was coming to a close, and I was anxious to turn the page. This year, I had a blast on my vacations. I laughed with friends and family, saw the sights, said some tearful goodbyes when they were over. But I was thrilled to return to NYC.

A year ago today I wrote down this Bible verse: After your season of suffering, God in all His grace will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you (1 Peter 5: 10). Wow. I have 100 percent found that to be true. I certainly don’t consider myself to have been “suffering” at this time last year – by all accounts, my life was fantastic. But today, in this season, I feel so much stronger and more established.

At the beginning of 2014, I made my word of the year happiness. I wanted to continue to work toward my future, but also to find joy and delight in every day. It took effort for a while. Some days all I did was run errands and write cover letters, but I tried to appreciate the sunshine, friendships – whatever I could. Nine months later, finding that joy comes so much more naturally.

I’ve accomplished some really big dreams in the past year, and set my sights even higher – because for the first time, I truly feel like anything is possible.

Cherishing a weekend in Dallas last week.

Dallas, Texas, September 2014

Those baseball games and YouTube videos are no longer the high points in my day – they simply enhance my already fantastic life.

Brave Love Blog

#BlogtemberChallenge Day 24: Fall Bucket List

Your fall bucket list. What do you want to do before winter rolls around?

I continue to just be absolutely giddy about getting to experience an actual fall this year. As I mentioned the other day, my last 12 years have been tragically fall-less, and so I want to experience every last thing I’ve been missing out on!

In Phoenix, "fall" is pretty pathetic due to 90-degree temperatures throughout October.

In Phoenix, “fall” is pretty pathetic due to 90-degree temperatures throughout October.

In order to give my chance to actually accomplish my goals, though, I’m going to do what I did with my summer bucket list and limit myself to three goals. Anything else I accomplish before winter comes by will be a bonus!

1. Go apple picking. I had a friend mention that this is possible outside the city, and one of my readers suggested it in a comment recently! I love apples – and applesauce, and apple crisp, and apple cider… – so I can’t think of a better way to celebrate fall than by picking my own and then baking up a storm!

2. See the fall leaves. Orange is my very favorite color so I can’t wait to see the whole world display it! I can already tell this one will be easy to accomplish – the leaves in my Brooklyn neighborhood are already starting to change – but I want to spend time at Central Park and just really soak it all in before winter comes along.

3. Celebrate Thanksgiving. I have no idea what this will look like yet. I’ll definitely be working (so excited for the extra vacation day I’ll get in exchange), but I’ll possibly be able to do so from home. I’m hoping my roommate and I, and any visitors, can whip up something resembling a Thanksgiving dinner and enjoy my favorite tradition!

Brave Love Blog

What else do I need to do during my very first grown-up fall?