Air trip: The Greenbrier

DISCLAIMER: My photos do not do this place justice. Put it on your bucket list, like, yesterday.

Where to start…


After a smooth trip down to Charleston, West Virginia, we hopped in the car for a drive to White Sulphur Springs where The Greenbrier is located. We were welcomed with this view. Hello, gorgeous!


The next few days were filled with family, fun and memory making. With a side of serious Dorothy Draper of course!

IMG_0649IMG_0657 [hallway cocktails] IMG_0670 [just hanging out]IMG_0675 [always a blur]IMG_0677 IMG_0685 [kids being kids: rolling down the big hill]IMG_0700 [delicious lunch at Carnegie Hall]IMG_0701 [always the official party with this guy around]IMG_0702 [shark romper]IMG_0705 [the old white]IMG_0710 [all the little ones]IMG_0716 [beautiful scenery]IMG_0718[meeting NBA legend Jerry West]IMG_0721 [a little skeet shooting on the side]IMG_0723 [breathtaking chandeliers everywhere you turn]IMG_0728 [patterns on patterns on patterns]IMG_0729 [like I said, more chandeliers – this one is from the movie Gone With The Wind]IMG_0730 [so handsome]IMG_0731 [doing my best to fit in wearing my Lilly Pulitzer for Target jumpsuit]IMG_0732 [ugh, those curtains]IMG_0733[already planning my return visit]

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Mommy mind: I’m a hugger

I can’t quite remember what prompted me to create a blog draft with this as the title a couple of months ago. But I decided it was time to come back to it after a recent interaction with Everett.

[just another cute photo of this little guy cheesein’ for the camera]

We were strolling through the aisles of Hy-Vee when I decided he just looked too cute and I needed to bear hug him, so I opened my arms wide and wrapped him up. After a few seconds I stepped back and with a huge grin on his face, he held his arms out wanting more. I melted. Right there in the frozen foods section of my local grocery store. So these are the mom moments people gush about. I totally get it now.

The reciprocating of love and affection is something that I’ve been dying to be on the receiving end of from my son for a while now. Part of that has to do with the fact that physical touch is my love language. Just ask my husband, close friends or sisters. I am a kisser, hugger and snuggler. If it was more socially acceptable, I’d probably hug people in the workplace.

I grew up in a family that showed love without inhibition. We hug, kiss and embrace often and it is completely natural. It all seems very European, but that was just the way we were raised.

I’m pretty adamant that Everett grow up using this same sort of expression of love. That is why there are a lot of hugs and kisses given out in our household. So if my kid tries to hug or kiss you, feel free to give him some love back. I promise, it’ll make you feel better.

In other news, we are off to another NGA conference tomorrow. Milwaukee and Nashville were the past two host cities, and guess what? Des Moines is hosting it next year! But this year we are headed to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. We can’t wait to see all this beautiful state has to offer, but I will admit, I’m a little bit afraid of staying here. It is so beautiful and Everett is so a wild toddler. Wish us luck!

Interested in following along while we are on the go? Check out my @mrsbranstad Instagram account!

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I first heard about Kidizen from one of my fave blogs to follow, Camp Patton. Upon finishing her hilarious post, I immediately whipped out my well-loved iPhone 4S (why upgrade when you have a toddler?) and downloaded their app.

I created a profile for Evie and have been a browsing fool, but never made an actual purchase. That is until recently.

After seeing a pair of navy Saltwater Sandals in Everett’s size and for half the price as a new pair, I knew this was the perfect item to snag. And what is even better is that shipping is included in the price you see/pay. I love love love that!

Kidizen: Saltwater SandalsDo you have favorite places to find great deals on your kiddos clothes? Do share!

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Obsessed: summer dress code

We are well into summer, but the temps here in Iowa haven’t quite maxed out yet. No complaining here, but I know they will soon be on their way.

I find dressing to be less complicated during the warm months, and tend to stick to a dress code of sorts. I can wear this outfit to work, out for a dinner with the hubs or throw on a pair of flip-flops for running after Everett. Easy, peasy.


one // Target Merona denim vest
two // Madewell braided leather belt
three // Target Merona jersey dress
four // Stella & Dot Jardin chandeliers
five // Old Navy wedges

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Download: Fourth of July 2015

I must be getting old because it takes me at least until Wednesday to recover from a long holiday weekend. We had a blast at the lake and spent most of our time decked out in patriotic outfits, spending time with family and enjoying the great outdoors.

FourthofJuly2015_2 [Evie and Sofia staying out of trouble]

FourthofJuly2015_6[Grandpa teaching Ev how to drive the boat]

FourthofJuly2015_3   [getting up close and personal with dinner]

FourthofJuly2015_8[donut holes and a parade – what could be better?!]

FourthofJuly2015_9 [testing out the waters]

FourthofJuly2015_5 [touchdown in the kiddie pool]

FourthofJuly2015_4   [this kid loves the water]

FourthofJuly2015_1[such a beautiful view]

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TTD DIY: Name in gold

After seeing personalized Clare Vivier clutches literally all over the internet, I came across this crafty monogram post and put a pin in it. Fast forward to present day when I finally got around to trying it out.

I snagged a faux leather wallet in a pretty lavender color from Target and figured it would be a great piece to DIY for a friend as a birthday present.

– leather pouch/wallet
fine paint brush
gold paint
X-acto knife
cutting mat
TTD DIY: monogram clutch 2I started out by printing out my monogram onto card stock paper. Using your X-act0 knife, cut out your monogram. Be sure to save the interior pieces too!

TTD DIY: monogram clutch 1

Hold or tape down the cutout card stock and carefully paint your stencil. Lift and do freehand touch ups as needed. TTD DIY: monogram clutch 3After you complete, let it dry for a few hours.TTD DIY: monogram clutch 4Pretty easy custom DIY, huh? Think you’ll give it a try? If you do, be sure to share your results with me!

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Red, white and cute

Like most holidays, my child will be the one decked out in appropriately themed gear for the week leading up to Fourth of July. Do you do that, or am I just that crazy mom?

I thought I would round up some all American kid style inspirations for the Fourth just in case you are still looking for a festive outfit (or two) for your little ones.


1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8

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