Brandyn Blaze

Life Between The Scenes

Category: Nostalgia (page 1 of 4)

My Own Personal Fairy Tale

This past weekend marked 11 years that my husband and I have been together and our first anniversary as a married couple.

It’s hard to believe we’ve spent more than a decade together, and it’s even crazier to think about how much longer it’s been since our story really started. Today I thought I’d share our tale with you and celebrate our love for the whole world to see.

It all started 15 years ago in a record store.

I was a 15 year old girl with a serious rock-n-roll addiction. I was convinced that I’d grow up to be a record producer and had struck up a friendship with a man who owned a small studio. He offered to teach me how to run the equipment in exchange for helping out around the place and I jumped at the chance.

One day, we ran to the mall, I believe we were exchanging some speakers that didn’t work, and stopped off at the record store. I flipped through the CDs, hoping to find something cool to add to my collection as he talked with the owner.  I’ll never forget the second I looked up and spotted the cutest boy I had ever seen standing right across the room.

I remember being so nervous and trying not to stare, wishing I had the courage to go up and say hi. I also remember the utter delight and excitement that poured through me when I noticed him talking to my friend.

I kept to myself, and continued flipping through CDs until my friend told me it was time to go. As soon as we were back in his SUV, I asked who that kid was, unable to hide my crush on the boy. He laughed and told me his name and that I would be seeing a lot more of him, as he was going to be helping out around the studio as well.

Of course, I spent extra time getting ready on the day I knew he was going to start, determined to make a good impression. Before the end of the day we were talking music and by the end of the summer my crush had only grown stronger.

As the summer drew to a close, we found ourselves facing our last day working together. He was about to head to California to visit family, although at the time I thought he was going back permanently. As we rode in the back of the SUV as our boss drove us home, we slowly inched our hands closer together until our pinkies were touching. We both kind of smiled nervously at one another before we linked our hands together, holding on until we reached his house.

Before he left, I gave him one of the billion rubber bracelets I always wore, which I learned years down the line he had worn the entire time he was away.

I didn’t hear from him again until shortly after school had started. I saw him in the halls once and we caught up for a minute and I gave him my new number, but we never got in touch. Some time later I’d seen him again and we’d once again swapped numbers, and still didn’t contact each other.

Fast forward 4 years and you’ll see a 19 year old version of me coming back home for summer break following my first year of college.  We wound up finding each other on Myspace and messaging back and forth for awhile. I still had just as much of a crush on him as I’d had back then, and I was determined to get a date. Soon we’d made plans that quickly got cancelled, but I hadn’t given up hope. A few weeks later I found my opening.

After spending an entire summer following Poison around, a few friends and I had plans to go to a show in Cedar Rapids. The Gibbs Brothers Band, who had opened for Poison, were shooting a video there, which we had learned about while we were hanging around backstage at one of the shows. They were playing at a bar with a Poison tribute band called Posin’, which sealed the deal for me.  I was beyond excited, but when the day came everyone else had backed out.

I was determined to go anyway and started looking through my contacts, hoping to find someone who would be able to go with me last minute. I still remember the smile that crept onto my face as I landed on his phone number. After an afternoon of uncertainty, I finally had an answer. I picked him up in my beat-up ’89 Camry and away we went.

He likes to remind me that I nearly crashed on the way there as I took a turn too hard, and I like to remind him that I was incredibly nervous and a fairly new driver. He also likes to remind me that I did eventually smash my car in the parking lot before the show. At the time, it was mortifying, but as far as first date stories go, it definitely adds some flavor!

Before long I was sitting in his lap as we enjoyed the show, and eventually a gal we’d met convinced him to dance with me.  We had a blast that night, and by the time I dropped him off I was certain we’d started something. I remember sitting there nervously, anticipating a kiss, and being shocked when instead I got a hug and a request to call me later.

The rest, as they say, is history.


young couple, new love, beginning of our love story

We look so young!


Soon we had moved in together and six years later we had our amazing daughter. The following Christmas he asked me to marry him, catching me totally off guard as we stood in front of his entire family.

On the 10th anniversary of our first date, we finally tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony we wrote ourselves, using rings my husband made for us himself.  It was an amazing feeling to stand up in front of all our loved ones and celebrate our commitment to one another and honestly couldn’t have gone better. Cementing the fact that we want to spend our lives together was a wonderful way to tie up the decade.


wedding collage, my love story, combined wedding wiccan and traditional



Through the years we’ve certainly had our ups and downs. There’s been moments of bliss and times of strife. We’ve grown and changed along with each other and have chosen love in every step along the way, even when it wasn’t easy.

And at the end of the day, that’s what love is. It’s unconditional and strong. We’re there to support one another and cheer each other on. We weather the storms together and join each other in celebration when the skies are clear.

I am so incredibly blessed to have such an wonderful person by my side. This is one story I would never rewrite.





Why I Am Not A Pinterest Mom

Every now and then I scroll through my Pinterest feed and marvel at all the crafty moms out there. I pin a ton of projects and recipes, telling myself that I’ll create something just as beautiful when I have the time.
Then the day comes when I find myself fighting a creative itch. I scroll through my boards and find something wonderful to copy. With excitement flooding my brain, I grab a sheet of paper and jot down everything I need and head to the store to buy the necessary supplies. Then I sit down and remember that these projects rarely turn out for me…especially when I produce them in a rush.
The following post is another throwback from my old blog and show’s you exactly why you’ll rarely find pin-worthy projects on this blog.

not a pinterest mom, pinterest fail, cake fail, not crafty, mom blog problems

****Originally posted 4/21/2015 on Life, Motherhood, and The Pursuit of Happiness***
I woke up this morning with the idea that my daughter and I would make a cake together. I had some cake mix in the cupboard along with some tubes of icing and a package of icing tips that were supposed to screw right onto them that had never been used.
I planned on writing “Celebrate Everyday” and making a few flowers or something in red, and then using the white as a border. It seemed easy enough and I was excited as we got down to mixing the batter.
Now, baking with a toddler meant that I would have to account for spills, fishing eggshells out of the mix, and comforting said toddler when the loud mixer startles her. With this in mind, I managed to get through the actual baking process without much stress.
After the cake had cooled and my daughter was busy playing with her dad, I got down to what I believed would be the fun part. 
I spread on the can of frosting with a huge smile on my face, envisioning how amazing the finished product would be. Almost-Husband would tell me how wonderful it looked and that I was so talented. I’d smile and say thank you before taking some great pictures for the blog.
As I moved on to the icing tubes I realized that the tips I had did not, in fact, screw onto them. They were two different brands, because of course they were. Not one to be easily dissuaded, I attempted to do the white border while holding the tip firmly in place on the tube. That only worked for a moment. 
No problem, I thought, the border can be a little wonky. The lettering will be much easier!
Ha! No, the writing was not any easier. I gave up after the “C” and just scrawled “CAKE” and threw on some sprinkles.  
not a pinterest mom, cake fail, perfectly imperfect

Beautiful isn’t it?

This really shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me. As you may have already noted, I used a boxed mix and pre-made frosting, despite the fact that I actually enjoy making cakes and what-not from scratch. I did this for one reason: I’m mostly lazy. 

I also have no patience. While most people would have attempted to fix whatever mistake they made and continue on, I say “Screw that!” and move on. I want it to be awesome and I want it to be easy. 
This is why I tend shy away from Pinterest. Aside from the fact that any kind of creative projects tend to cost money, there’s also the knowledge that I am just no good at that kind of stuff. 
Don’t let the dresser revamp fool you, by and large I fail at these sorts of things. Most of the time, it is due to my impatience. Something goes wrong and I give up or rush through it. I’m not going to waste my time doing things that I’m not good at…even though I know that “practice makes perfect”. 
What’s interesting to me, however, is how much pressure there is to be crafty, especially if you’re a stay at home mom. Even more so if you’re a stay at home mom that blogs
You see all the fabulous stuff on Pinterest and you see your friends posting on Facebook about doing various crafts for holidays and birthdays. You kind of get the feeling that that’s just what moms do. 
Well, not this mom. 
This mom uses boxed cake mix and cooks Hamburger Helper on the regular. She reads and writes and plays guitar. She occasionally draws a silly cartoon or sews something. She plays hours and hours of Peggle when time permits. She does a lot of things, but trying in vain to recreate some fancy craft project or recipe she saw on the internet is not one of them.

How about you? Are you a Pinterest mom? Why or why not? Tell me all about it in the comments below–don’t worry, no judgement here!! 

Mommy Blogging Throwback {With Video!}

Every now and then, I miss being a mommy blogger.

I left that circle to pursue writing full time and design a blog that better fit me as a person. I needed to throw off the shackles and have more freedom to write about topics outside of the parenting niche, and all in all, I feel like it has been a great move.

However, sometimes I miss the community that came with that particular brand of blogging. The years I spent building my first blog were definitely well spent and offered a lot of lessons that have helped me with this project. They also gave me the confidence to branch out.

A couple years ago, I made a silly little YouTube video about life as a mommy blogger. I recently watched it again, and found that it still applies to the way I work now. Being a work-at-home mom is definitely a unique lifestyle!

Today, I thought I’d share that video, along with the post I wrote around it, exactly as it originally appeared on February 24, 2015.



The Truth About Mommy Blogging


Awhile back I touched on the realities of being a mommy blogger with a post that outlined a typical day in my life.

As a stay-at-home-mom, I need this outlet to keep me sane. Spending every minute of my day catering to my little one is exhausting and has a tendency to make me feel more like a robot and less like a person. Having a little chunk of the internet to call my own where I can express myself as an adult is seriously amazing, even if it is hard to squeeze in the time to write.

writing, mommy blogging, blogging, funny video, work at home mom

In the time that’s passed since I wrote that first piece, I have learned a few more things about mommy blogging. Namely, that it takes a lot of work. There’s pictures to take, networking to do (ugh, I hate that word!), research, site maintenance, linky parties, and of course all the social media hullabaloo. With all the time and energy that goes into it, I would say that blogging is less of a hobby and more like a lifestyle.

In fact, I think one of the biggest truths about blogging is that bloggers mostly write for other bloggers–particularly if you own a “mom blog”. Sometimes this truth can be a little disheartening as you wonder how on earth you can be successful if you can’t reach a broader audience. However, I think this is one of the biggest perks of blogging: the sense of community. Over the past few months I have made some amazing friends through this adventure. We support each other, we share our life experiences, we talk each other through bad days and celebrate the good ones. If you had asked me a month ago if it was possible to have real friendships over the internet, I would have told you no. Today, I can tell you I would have been wrong.

If it wasn’t for these wonderful blogging comrades, I never would have had the guts to do what I did yesterday.

You guys, I put a video on YouTube.

It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. Spilling my guts in writing? No problem. Showing goofy pictures of myself to the whole world? Easy-peasy. But video? My voice and mannerisms on display? Terrifying.

I’d had this idea kicking around in my head for the longest time and feeling emboldened by my new-found clan, I decided to bite the bullet and just do it. Aside from technical issues and the horrors of editing, it was a great experience and I’m pretty proud of the result, if I do say so myself.

So, here it is, the realities of mom blogging in video form!

Can you relate?


How Revamping A Dresser Changed My Outlook On Life

My basement and office are both full of random objects I’ve saved for future DIY projects. I tend to come up with ideas faster than I can complete them, and it’s turned into a bit of a hoarding situation. Lately, I’ve been motivated to complete as many of them as possible to free up space, especially since my husband and I have been kicking around the idea of moving out of state. I definitely don’t want to drag so much junk along with us!

Aside from the space saving benefits of finishing these projects, there is a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from taking old junk and turning it into treasure. This is something I’m reminded of daily when I take clothes out a dresser I refurbished a couple summers ago.

Since I can never do anything without writing about it, I had posted the following piece on my old blog and I decided to share it with you today as it was originally posted on April 12, 2015.


Every now and then, I find myself battling envy as I’m confronted with photos of beautiful homes, expertly decorated with the latest trends. I look around my home and dream of the day when I can afford to choose the things I surround myself with. Nearly everything we own has been a curb find, thrift store bargain, or a hand-me-down. There is no “theme” to speak of in any room in our house and our worn-out furnishings serve as a constant reminder that we’re not quite there yet.

A few weeks ago, I was in one of these funks. For days all I could see was the negative. I was fixated on all the things that were wrong. All the dilapidated furniture, the leaky ceiling, the dryer that has to be run 3 times per load, the bills that are always stacking up…all of it was just eating away at me. I felt stuck. Trapped.

As I was wallowing in self-pity, I looked at my beat-up dresser and began to imagine what it would look like with a few modifications. Soon, the thought occurred to me to stop complaining and do something about it. We may not be able to buy new things, but we can certainly make the things we have better!

ugly white dresser, cheap refurbishing


I became fixated on this idea. Suddenly, the project took on a sense of urgency. The only thing that I needed to figure out was how much it would cost to get the necessary materials.

Luckily, I happened upon some adorable contact paper for a little less than $3 at Dollar General while I was picking up pull-ups for my daughter. I snatched it up immediately and began formulating my plan.

About a week later I picked up some blue spray paint and a small bottle of gray craft paint at Wal-Mart, bringing my project total to just under 10 dollars!

refurbishing a dresser cheap
I had Almost-Husband scrape off all the old, cracked wood veneer while I painted the knobs gray. While he was working on the top of the dresser, I spray painted the drawers. There was a little ridge around the drawers, so I taped that off before we sprayed it, then I painted it the same color as the knobs. Finally, we lined the drawers and top of the dresser with the contact paper.
Beautiful blue and gray dresser refurbish, diy project


It turned out even better than I had envisioned it! I finally have something in our home that I can be proud of!

So many good things came out of this simple project. I had a blast working alongside Almost-Husband while our daughter ran around the yard, and it was amazing to see one of my many ideas finally come to fruition. I had previously believed that I had no eye for design, but I managed to create something I love!

If I could take an eyesore like that and turn it into something beautiful, then I can do the same with anything in my life. Starting with all our run-down furniture! It may sound superficial at first, but I feel like surrounding ourselves with nice things will motivate us to keep working our way up. Each project we complete will serve as a reminder of what we are capable of and that if you put in the effort, you’ll see results.

Making do with what you have doesn’t have to mean settling!


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