what does love mean to you: chelsea style

i promised you guys a treat today & here it is! meet chelsea & jeremy. they are a gorgeous couple who packed up their lives & moved to korea. koreeeea! {maybe i'm more blown away by that than you}. chelsea's also the one that does those Travel Tuesdays posts with beautiful pictures, along with some of the most inspirational quotes, that are supposed to "cure" my wanderlust but in reality it fuels it! for example, these are some of my favorites: 1 // 2 // 3

the fact that they live abroad is one of the many reasons why i asked her to be a part of this months series on love. moving can be a taxing thing on any relationship, but moving to an entirely new country as newlyweds -- i can't imagine the emotions. chelsea talks about how living abroad has shaped all forms of love in her life -- her love for jeremy, her Creator, family, & friends. 

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Hey there! I'm Chelsea and I blog over at Lost in Travels. After my man and I got hitched two years ago, we started getting cold sweats every time we even thought about ‘settling down’ in our hometown. We wanted to do something out of the ordinary, something adventurous. We wanted to spend our lives traveling the globe. So what did we do? Sold all of our belongings that wouldn’t fit in two 50-pound bags and took the first flight to South Korea to teach English to snot nosed adorable little kids and never looked back!
As you can imagine, living abroad can either be a blessing or a curse for a couple. In my eyes, it's the exact opposite of long distance dating. Before we were married, we spent the first ten months of our relationship long distance, on opposite ends of the country. We hardly saw each other, only talked on the phone, and heavily relied on the presence of family and friends for support and advice.

Once we moved overseas, it was quite the opposite. Starting out we were working at the same school which meant seeing each other 24/7 in the most literal way possible. Knowing very few people, we were our own support system. In addition to that, the time difference of being 15 hours ahead of our home town made it difficult to just pick up the phone and call people closest to us. We were told by friends who had paved the way for us in Korea that living abroad was the best thing they ever did for their marriage, they had grown closer together than they had ever imagined. I wish I could say that as soon as we touched Korean soil, it was marital bliss. But that would be far from the truth. The first few months were hard; in addition to trying to get used to everything new in our lives (new career path, new language, new food, the list is endless) we were also still adjusting to married life since we moved just four short months after tying the knot. I remember thinking at one point 'I thought living abroad was supposed to be easier!' Thankfully, after a few months of being in Korea, it clicked. We grew accustomed to the new culture around us and more importantly, we grew together, worked together and began reaping the benefits of living abroad as a married couple.

As hard as it can be living away from family, friends and virtually anything familiar, we have found the benefits far outweigh the hardships that we have encountered from living abroad. Here's how I've personally experience love overseas:

Marriage: While becoming our only friends overnight, in a strange land, were we lived, worked, ate and socialized together 24/7 was a challenge at first, it has turned into one of the biggest blessings I've ever had. Not only did we have more time to spend with each other than we ever did in the states but we were also our only support system for the first part of living overseas. Back in the states I had the bad habit of calling a friend or my sister when we had a fight. In Korea, I didn't have that option. It forced us to sit down and figure it out completely on our own, and quickly. Because who wants to be mad at their only friend for too long? We learned quickly how to rely completely on each other and I don't know of any situation where that would have happened for us if we lived stateside. Living abroad has taught us to love in a completely different way than I ever thought possible and I am eternally grateful for that.

God: We went to a large church back in the states and I never even thought of ever going to a smaller one. That is until we walked through the door of a local foreign church in Korea, made up of about 30 members, and felt right at home. I can honestly say that I have never been so challenged, motivated or inspired by a group of individuals before. Who knew that it would take a move to Korea for me to feel the closest to God?

Traveling: It's no secret that we have had the 'travel bug' from early on in our marriage. But the love for traveling, experiencing new cultures and meeting new people has never been stronger than it has been living overseas. We're constantly scheming on where to go next and how we can go to more places. More than that though, it's a love for people that has grown from living here. Experiencing different cultures has made us think more about the people around us, has made us understand the world better and has opened our hearts and minds to this big world around us that we so desperately want to see all of.
Thanks so much for having me Laurie! Be sure to stop by the blog or twitter (lost_in_travels) and say hi! I would love to meet you!

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be sure to stop by & say hello to chelsea, the inspiring traveler/teacher/beauty queen/sweet friend.
the other posts in the love series can be found herehere, & here. thank you to all the wonderful ladies who were a part of this series. it's funny how similar, yet very different love is for from one person to the next. y'alls perspectives were greatly enjoyed. i loved having you all!

now, hello march!


beanie test

so i chopped my hair off! okay, not literally but most of it is gone. last night while watching a movie with my sister-in-law i was browsing last year's edition of celebrity haircuts. i guess some time during that i grew enough courage to decide i was going to get a major cut. so, woke up this morning on a mission. got the earliest appointment i could book. 12 inches & 45 minutes later... TA-DA!
i look at myself & feel like i'm a totally different person. my hair feels so much healthier. feels like i've lost 10 pounds. can't figure out if i look older or younger? once it was all complete the first thing i said was "look! i have a neck. & a collar bone. coooool." but my first initial thought was "i hope i don't look like a boy when i wear a beanie." no joke. i even brought a beanie to the salon with me. i'm sure they are all talking about me right now -- that weird beanie girl who chopped her hair off. but i think it's safe to say i still look like an asian girl with a beanie on my short new hair. 

i'm officially ready for spring! bring on the warmth!

oh! & thanks to all of you who encouraged me on instagram today. your support was greatly appreciated. i mean, losing that much hair should be a crime :)


hearts a'flutter

i know valentine's come & gone but that night the wind was WILD & we were't able to light our lanterns. but a week later, conditions were looking better & we jumped on the opportunity. 
before they were lit, we wrote on them what we loved about each other & our pups. they take a minute to light & you have to be sure the lantern is nice & fluffed out or it will burn. they are biodegradable, so no harm to the environment was done :) we have two more & i'm looking at the calendar now trying to figure out the next time we can light them. kodi was mesmerized by them. maggie, on the other hand, was spooked by them. not photographed is her running back inside. 

now that the lanterns took flight, valentine's day is officially complete here at the brotherton's.
till next year...

oh btw {this has nothing to do with this post, but it's a major crisis, so i thought i'd share} -- i'm having a sisterly sleep over with my sister-in-law tonight, which means M & i won't be together for our daily 365 picture. when i realized it this morning it was too late for a quick snap of the camera & i literally stood with my mouth agape. what do we do? i'm sending SOS's to all of you for help. ideas people! ideas!

the girl with a crisis


lately {9}

all pics from my phone
been all month since i've done one of these posts. lately we've been keeping busy. i finally got a job. M started coaching track & field. & we've been hunting for a new home. been running around with my head cut off a couple times. but that's okay because lately we've also been enjoying the comfort of fast food. which is rare for us to do. one, because it's fast food. two, it slowly adds up & before you know it, you've spent your budget on junk. & three, it's hard for us to decide on a place to eat, so we usually give up & go home. lately we've i also been trying to cut out my social media/laptop/blog/techie life. since we'e been so busy, our time together is thin. so we birthed a list of house rules & "NO PHONE or LAPTOP AFTER 6:30PM" is number one. that's why our 365 pictures haven't made it to instagram yet & that's also why i haven't been replaying to all your wonderful emails in the evening. but i will say it was much easier to adjust to that i thought.

like always, lately things have been good. busy. but good.

what have you been up to lately?



friday's letters {13}

h a p p y  f r i d a y

dear M i hope your birthday was everything & more for you. you really do deserve the best. love you!
dear new shampoo i'm crazy about you. i'm thinking it's the moroccan oil in you, but something about you makes me hair smell & feel so freakin' good.
dear life i'm ready for a change. i go through phases in my life where i want something new. nothing in particular. maybe a move. drastic haircut. new furniture. or better yet, a new phone. you know, just something different. i'm too much like my mom in that area :)
dear gas prices you suck!
dear grocery list i've yet to start you because i know you're going to be a front & back deal. & the mrs. doesn't like those kind of lists. means a good chunk of change. if it were up to me, i'd only ever buy nutella, raisin bread, & milk. but it's not only up to me. my other half needs a minimum of three things of creamer, several frozen pizzas, lots of snacky food & the occasional soda. ...men.
dear day off i relish you. laying in bed till 8:30 then getting back in bed with the computer & a good movie rocks my socks off. don't end!

have a wonderful day!


the perfect duo

recognize these fellas?
what about now?

the other night, just before we took our daily 365 picture, M says to me:

"you're wearing that again? you always wear that beanie & sweatshirt."

i looked at him & said what any offended woman would say:

"bite me!"

okay, i'm sort of kidding. though i did tell him that,  i was playing around. most days by the time i get home i'm tuckered out. so naturally i put on my comfiest hoodie {which there just happens to be only one & it just happens to be from my freshmen year in high school. 2004 y'all}. & that beanie makes that comfy hoodie 10x more comfy. can i get an amen.

our schedules conflict, so it's hard to take a daily picture of ourselves when we look our best. sometimes M doesn't get home till close to 8pm & by that time i half way to my REM stage. so forgive me if you notice me wearing that blasted beanie & hoodie in every other picture. i promise i try.

but a worn hoodie & a simple beanie make the perfect duo for the comfiest evening. dont'cha think?


my man

turns 23 today.
happy birthday sweetie. life is so much sweeter with you a part of it. i'm so glad you're mine.

love you.

ps - this time next year we will be in costa rica -- that will be a birthday to remember :)



what does love mean to you: kellene style

meet kellene! she's a crafty chick that can cook & has an awesome sense of style. & you'll notice her red hair. i mean, can it get anymore more gorgeous?! she blogs over at this lovely little day. her blog focuses on the things she loves. & speaking of love, she's been asked to be a part of this month's series on love. kellene has a different perspective of love that probably many of you share with her, but also several of you don't. so, meet kellene & enjoy what she has to say about love.
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When Laurie asked me to write a post for her series of guest bloggers on 'love' I was really surprised at first. Anyone who reads my blog knows that romantic relationships are rarely something that come up... Actually, I don't think I have ever written anything about my romantic life on my blog. Don't get me wrong, I adore romance and love in all of its many forms, but I am in a very "transitional" point in my life right now and although I have kissed a boy or two this year, a relationship just isn't on my "to-do" list.

That doesn't mean I don't have love to share though, and I think that is exactly what Laurie thought too when she contacted me! In fact, I spend a great deal of my days thinking about love, just not the romantic love that we all have on our minds this time of year. {Side note: **Don't be fooled, I do a fair share of daydreaming about being swept off my feet by some European dreamboat or sensitive soul who loves the great outdoors... but that is not the point of this post. ;) }

This is me, Kellene Elise, from This Lovely Little Day :)
Being single gives me time to focus my love on the people that are around me all the time, the people that may get forgotten come Valentine's Day. First of all, my family. I have a Mom who believes in everything I do no matter how off the wall it may be, and a Dad that would give anything to make sure his little girl is happy, and a brother who I can easily call one of my best friends. How could I not be thankful for a crowd like that to come home to?! My brother will take my call anytime of day {usually after 1am} just to listen to me talk about boy problems, work stress, or about how I don't fit in in Kansas...
Amelia looking out the window on our way home from Wichita,.
Speaking of my brief adventure in Wichita, that was when I adopted my little baby girl, sweet Amelia. My parents had rescued our greyhounds Tucker and Parker shortly before I left and I was feeling quite lonely in my apartment down there. And I was constantly thinking about how I missed the pups at home! I knew I needed a pet, so to the Kansas Humane Society I went! I only went to look but as soon as I saw Amelia and held her I knew that I couldn't leave that day without her. And we've been inseparable every day since.

Cuddling with Amelia
Wynnie and I getting sushi in the summer... One of our favorite things!
Maybe the most powerful kind of love I experience everyday is the love of my friends though. When I think of my best friends, my college roommates Abby and Wynnie are the first to come to mind. When Wynnie graduated she moved to China with her boyfriend and taught preschool for a year. Every time we video chatted it was like she was right there and everything was the same! And Abby is amazing. When I decided to move back to Michigan, Abby took a half day at work, got on a plane, flew 1000 miles down to Wichita, and helped Amelia and I pack up our life, and drive 19 hours home. If that isn't love than I don't know what is! I literally cried in the airport when I saw her!

Abby and I in our roomie days!
I will admit that I can't wait for the day when I find someone to share my life with. We'll be parents to lovable dogs {and Amelia!} and there will always be someone around to eat all of the sweets I am constantly baking! But for now I am loving my friends, my pets, my family... and leaving cupcakes in the kitchen every week for my 3 male roommates. Not a bad life. And certainly overflowing with love. :)

Wishing you all a lovely little day!

Kellene's favorite quote.
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after she emailed me her post, i immediately replied back telling her it was perfect & i love it! i knew her perspective would be appreciated. you always hear about "love" in its most romantic forms, but her forms of love are the easiest for people to obtain, yet we rarely hear about it. i guess it's because those forms of love are thought as being "boring" & romantic love as more exciting. true true. but i love how kellene shows that she doesn't need romantic love right now. that she has all the love in the world right next to & all around her. thank you so much for sharing, my hot red-headed friend.

be sure to get to know & follow along with kellene:
blog // instagram // pinterest // twitter // facebook // shop


time to relax & watch kevin bacon

this weekend was crazy. it felt like five days rather than three. normally that's something not to complain about, but we didn't get to spend any of it at home. don't get me wrong, i LOVE spending time with our families. it's just hard traveling with two dogs, sleeping in unfamiliar beds, not bringing enough clothes {poor packing by me}, & not having that one-on-one time that we so look forward to during the weekends.

i'm writing this monday night. so far it's been the first time i've had any time to sit down & semi-relax. but the Following just came on & M's summoning me to cuddle with him on the sofa. i'm not saying "no" to that.

so, till tomorrow friends!
have a great evening!


makes my heart swell

i haven't seen Wreck it Ralph yet, but for those who have, you've already seen this. i saw this on hulu the other day & it made me smile from ear to ear. the soundtrack makes it so giddy. i had butterflies & those feelings of a new crush {you know the ones i'm talking about}. i could only find the trailer, so if you want to see the full version, go to hulu & search for "the paperman." 

you gotta watch it!!!

hope this made your monday a little brighter!


friday's letters {12} + v-day photo recap

dear valentine's day i'd say you were a success. it's always nice to have that one day to be as sappy as you want & not be judged for it. it's even better to have a holiday that allows you to receive a box of chocolate, eat it all in one sitting & again, not be judged. thanks valentine's day.
dear last night's wind you were blowing so hard we weren't able to set off our giant heart floating lanterns. crossing our fingers you aren't around tonight.
dear friday you came so fast this week. i LOVE fast weeks. & monday is president's day, so you know what that means?! LONG WEEKEND!!!
dear long weekend boy, do i have plans for you :)

hope everyone has a happy weekend!



happy valentine's day love

happy valentine's day to my number one compadre. this is our fifth valentine's spent together. can't wait to spend many more {like, forever} with you.

oh how i love you mitchell.


happy valentine's day + what does love mean to you: caroline style

happy valentine's day lovers! M's always been the romantic in this relationship. so, when i woke up this morning i knew there would be some homemade husband valentine gift waiting for me. & sure enough there was -- an "I LOVE YOU" sign made out of sticky notes on our sliding doors. daw. & all i got him was a pair of shaved legs.

i have a special treat for all of you. meet caroline. for those who don't know her & clayton, prepare to be swept off your feet. i've been an avid follower/reader/student for a while & there's probably nobody better than caroline herself to talk to you about love on this specific holiday. you'll immediately understand why i asked her to be a part of this month's love series. she's such doll. enjoy!

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Happy Valentines Day!! My name is Caroline & I blog over at jcaro.com. This past May I married my husband Clayton. He's my absolute favorite person on this earth, & through our time of dating & now 8 months marriage I've come to know love in a deeper way than I ever knew possible.
I will go on a “Valentine’s Day Date” with Clayton. If you spend any time on my blog, you know he's my best friend & I treasure him more than anything here on this earth. He sees my ups; he sees my downs & loves me all the more. I laugh the hardest when I'm with him; I feel the safest with him, and I probably make fun of him more than anyone else. it's mutual.
When it comes to sappy, I am the queen. I love cheesy romantic gestures. I love Clayton's notes, surprises, & flowers. I treasure the hours spent helping my brother make a Valentine’s Word Search for his first girlfriend. I loved secret admirers and quirky gift exchanges. I love holidays, I love flowers just like every girl, and I love love.

But, the problem with Valentine’s Day is far too many people leave the day feeling unloved—both those in relationships and those who are single.

It’s not the day’s fault. We should celebrate the one we’ve committed our lives to and the one we're going to spend forever with. We should set time aside for the warm, sentimental moments that make our heart race. We need to celebrate our partner because in the next week they are probably going to drive us up the wall, lead us to tears, or make us question our own sanity as we stomp out of the room. But, we don’t dwell on the latter reality. It is the warm, sappy moments that we—especially young women—envision and crave. We picture candle lit dinners, petals on the floor, classical music mysteriously coming out of the walls {or, whatever other cliché picture comes to mind when you think of a romantic Valentine’s Day}.

The problem is these expectations are unattainable.

Clayton is the sweetest. He still makes my heart jump sometimes; I want to spend any free time with him. He's selfless & makes me want to love the Lord more. & he serves me so well {it's midnight & he just spent the last hour revamping my resume for me, that's love!} even though he's all those things, we don't live in a scripted Hollywood romantic comedy. The expectations from culture simply aren't attainable {nor should they be the goal} when we are two very human people without makeup artists, scripts with the cutest of lines, & a soundtrack to go with our lives. Love might have flowers & chocolate, but true love really is...
  • something beyond feeling; it's commitment that says whether I like you or not today, I love you. I choose you over & over & over again
  • it's swallowing a good comeback because you realize that unity is better than winning
  • it's learning to communicate without holding up defenses
  • it's hearing criticism and realizing it comes from a place of edification
  • it's about... it not being about you.
... true love is work. I cried at every birthday party all through elementary school. My tears came with such clockwork that my mom applauded me the first year I didn’t cry. I would wait so long for my party and the anticipation would build for the best night of the year to celebrate ME. When it came and didn’t live up to the Mary-Kate and Ashley hype in my mind, I cried. I think that’s a bit like Valentine’s Day. For some who are single, Valentine’s Day has evolved into a focus on what is missing for idealized, romantic moments. For those in relationships, the expectation for those same idealized, romantic moments remains unmet... because we don’t live in a movie.

These expectations don’t lead to love. They inevitably lead to being let down.

I challenge you to align your expectations with reality and remember what Valentine's Day is really about. Valentine’s Day is an excuse to buy chocolate for yourself and friends. It’s a reminder to love and cherish those around you. It's a reminder for me to convey the love I already have welling up within me for Clayton. It is not a reminder you are single. It is not a reminder that your spouse isn’t romantic. It’s not a reminder you don’t have much money or that you have to work too much. It’s a happy and simple thing. It’s a random Thursday with chocolate & a reason to show love yourself. Let anything beyond surprise you—not be the expectation.

Share some love instead of calculating what's coming your way. I guarantee that's the purest form of love. Pure, selfless love.

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i told you, she's fabulous, right? & together, she & clayton are a great team. 
you can find her here:  blog// twitter// instagram 

happy valentine's day! go express some love!
ps -- happy birthday to our teenager, maggie. 13 is a milestone! 


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