Expectation vs Reality

When we become parents we always have our expectations of how it should go. From experience, it never goes how we plan and that’s ok! Parenting is hard. There’s bumps along the way and we need to embrace all the chaos the comes with it.

New Born Stage

I feel like when we give birth we expect to be completely enamored with our babies and for many women that isn’t the case. Postpartum is a real thing that affects women everywhere. It doesn’t make you a bad mother. We expect to be so full of joy when the reality is, yes, we are happy, but we are also running on a couple hours of sleep a night, our bodies are going through a major transition and we’re just trying to keep it together most days.

Keeping Up With Household Chores

When we become parents we expect to have a picture perfect home. That’s almost never the case. Kids are throwing toys around everywhere, there’s dishes in the sink and there seems to be a never ending to do list. Having a spotless home all the time is unrealistic when you have kids. They’re going to be messy, they’re going to play, you’re going to get behind and that’s ok. You need to forgive yourself for not being perfect because the reality is, no one is.

Well Behaved Children

We expect we’re going to have to most beautiful angels all the time. They would never embarrass us in the middle of the grocery store like you’ve seen so many other children do to their parents. Yeah, sorry to break it to you but that’s not going to happen. They will throw temper tantrums. They will embarrass you. I literally had a woman hand me a $20 bill in Wal-Mart one time because my son was throwing a tantrum and she thought I deserved to go get myself a coffee after we left. I was humiliated, but that’s just what having kids is like sometimes. They’re tiny little humans with big feelings they are figuring out how to navigate.

You Will Always Keep Your Cool

Guess what! We’re human too. We aren’t always going to keep our cool and we will likely have mental break downs as well. That’s normal. Whenever I react in a way I’m not proud of I take accountability and apologize. Just remind your kids you’re human and make mistakes sometimes.

Parenthood is a wild ride. It’s also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. Remember that no one is perfect and no one expects you to be and you’ll be just fine.

Cheers,

<3 Bri

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715 Rundown: Sleeping w/Dogs vs Cats, Caitlin Clark, and Scenic Drives

Welcome to this week’s 715 Rundown, a bite-sized news segment posted weekly. This week, we’re covering Trump’s trial, basketball player Caitlin Clark’s salary, social media and children’s psychology, scenic routes that run through our state, UTV/ATV trails, and sleep quality with dogs vs. cats.

Check out Morgan McCarthy and the 715 Newsroom here.

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Does 4-H Have What You Need In Employees?

Does 4-H Have What You Need In Employees?

Heads, hearts, hands and health – they’re the four pillars of 4-H, but how do they play into businesses needs for future employees? That’s what the University of Wisconsin Extension service is asking in a survey they’re conducting this month.

Jill Jorgensen is a WI Youth Development 4-H Animal Science and Agriculture Outreach Specialist in Green Bay trying to drum up some business for the survey. She says their goal is simple, try to get 300 completed survey’s from the state’s business and agribusiness employers before the end of April. Jorgensen the survey will take less than 10 minutes and needs to be filled out by someone over the age of 18 with insights into how the business/agribusiness operates. Respondents can use the QR code below with their smart phones, or access the survey via this link to the Wisconsin Food, Agriculture, & Related Businesses Workforce Needs Survey

Jorgensen says all of the data collected will be shared to help improve programming and the skill set areas identified in the survey as important to employers. She explains more about the survey with Pam Jahnke.


Eau Claire’s Jakob Paulsrud & John Bender Join Forces for an Italian Dinner

John Bender (left) and Jakob Paulsrud, taken by Kyle Lehman.

Cooking, for some, is a chore, but for others, it’s a passion. For John Bender and Jakob Paulsrud, it’s the latter. They’re teaming up to host a 10-course Italian dinner, and it’s sure to be a tasty experience for those who were lucky enough to get tickets.

John Bender, also known as Kitchen Technique, has been in food service his entire life. He became an executive chef at 18, and has continued to spread his passion for food wherever he goes. Since we’re lucky enough to have him in Eau Claire, he’s been hosting dinners for the last two and a half years, mostly at Forage. 

Jakob Paulsrud is the mastermind behind CoVizza, and soon to be Leona’s, a pizza joint taking over at 408 Galloway Street. He has experience in tasting menus and small plates, and is excited to bring that part of his expertise to Forage in collaboration with John.

These two incredible chefs are joining forces on a 10-course Italian dinner on Friday, April 19th at Forage. John describes it as a “no-brainer” to work with Jakob, and they have worked together in the past  – they taught a pizza class together, and John offered dishes in conjunction with CoVizza’s menu at times – and both have incredible passion for food. John says that they have similar drive and work ethic, and are both motivated by the people that they serve.

They’re both stoked to bring this dinner to the people of Eau Claire and beyond. “I’m just excited to do something different and really excited for the opportunity to be a part of our guests night,” Jakob says. “We take pride in what we do,” John adds. “We want to show these people all these great things we’ve learned through the course of our career.”

While this event is sold out, keep your hopes up for something similar. These chefs are cooking up some amazing things, and you’ll want to follow along. “[We’re giving] people an opportunity to seek out an event that’s unique and special, that they can make a memory from,” says John.

Find Jakob’s website here, and John’s website here.

The menu for this event.

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Embracing Fashion Trends: A Millennial’s Guide to 2024 Spring Style Trends

As we shake off the remnants of winter and transition into the vibrant spring of 2024, the fashion landscape is buzzing with fresh trends that are both inspiring and attainable. From the virtual windows of Instagram and TikTok to the curated collections of “Like To Know It”, this season is all about blending comfort with style in a fashion-forward manner. I’m Meg Ann Lee and here’s my guide to navigating spring 2024’s top trends in shoes, colors, and brands. I will also give you some practical tips on integrating these styles into your everyday outfits, because that is always the hardest part!

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Shoes: Comfort Meets Chic

This spring, shoes are taking a turn towards both comfort and flair. Sneakers continue to dominate, not just for their comfort but for their versatility and statement-making designs. Brands like Adidas and New Balance are at the forefront with their innovative designs that merge function with fun. If you would’ve told me 10 years ago that the New Balances my dad wore were going to be the most popular shoe in 2024, I wouldn’t have believed you!! But here we are with Gen-Z’s reppin’ the dad shoe. IMO the Adidas stacked Sambas are the new AF1’s for this season. You can never go wrong with a fresh white AF1 but if you are looking to switch it up, add a Samba into your collection. I like to pick out bold or pastel colors and unexpected material mixes that make them not just a shoe but a centerpiece to your outfit.

Another style we are seeing a ton of this season is chunky loafers. These are not your traditional, understated loafers; they’re revamped with thicker soles which IMO , stacked is the only way to buy a shoe. So many options come in vegan leather and recycled materials, reflecting a growing trend towards sustainability.

Pair either of these shoe options with cropped trousers or a flowy skirt to add a hint of edginess to your ensemble.

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Colors That Make You Feel Something: From Pastels to Vibrant Hues

This season, the popular color palette ranges from soothing pastels to vivid, punchy colors. The Pantone 2024 color of the year is “Peach Fuzz”. These softer colors are perfect for those who prefer a subtle, sophisticated look. Pastel shades work beautifully in floaty dresses, lightweight knits, and accessories.

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On the flip side, electric blues, bold pinks, and tangerine oranges are making a splash, particularly in streetwear. If you have seen ANY Dressed in Lala or Urban Outfitter ads, these vibrant hues are trending.  Incorporating these colors through a statement piece like a jacket, a pair of sneakers, or even bold accessories can instantly lift your mood and your outfit. We predicted “dopamine dressing” was coming after we saw the “dopamine makeup” trend hit in 2023 and here it is!! I’m loving it. Dressed in Lala is definitely taking over my closet.

Brands Making Waves on Social Media

When it comes to brands that are capturing the hearts of millennials on Instagram, TikTok, and Like To Know It, affordability and style go hand-in-hand. Fashion-forward streetwear brands like Stüssy and Off-White are seeing a surge in popularity thanks to their unique blends of luxury and urban aesthetics. These brands offer pieces that are ideal for mixing and matching, which is perfect for creating versatile looks.

If you are a more budget-conscious fashionista, brands like ASOS, Zara, and H&M continue to deliver on-trend pieces at a fraction of the cost. Their collections this season are rich with inspired designs that reflect more expensive labels, making high fashion accessible to all. However, lets all remember fast fashion IS NOT THE ANSWER. You can read my fast fashion blog here.

Incorporating Trends into Everyday Outfits

This is the hardest part, right? I know I fall into the habit of just choosing the most basic things out of convenience but I want to make a point of utilizing my items. Start with one statement piece, like a vibrantly colored jacket or a chunky sneaker and build your outfit around it. Keep the rest more neutral to let that piece really pop. Streetwear can be dressed up with a crisp button-down shirt or softened with a sleek turtleneck, proving that versatility is key.

Accessories are also a fantastic way to dip your toes into trending waters without overhauling your wardrobe with new expensive items. Opt for a bold handbag, funky sunglasses, or even vibrant socks peeking out from those chunky loafers.

Remember, fashion is as much about expressing your personality as it is about trying new trends and discovering your creativity.

You can read my other styling blogs below!

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Pink Pop Mix Your Style Tips Instagram Story (Instagram Post (Square))


Fashion Week Facebook Post (Instagram Post (Square))


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This spring, the focus is on enjoying the blend of comfort, style, and sustainability. Whether you’re revamping your entire wardrobe or just adding a few key pieces, the trends of 2024 offer plenty of scopes to experiment and express yourself. Embrace the new, restyle the old and most importantly, wear what makes you feel confident!<3

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Eau Claire Fashion Night Showcasing Local Stylings for the Second Year

Even in a small-ish Midwestern city like Eau Claire, creativity abounds – and some of it will soon be on display at Eau Claire Fashion Night’s second event, where fashion designers, stylists, and models will be coming together to bring the community an event unlike any other.

Last year’s event was organized by Alexia Kane, co-founder of Eau Claire Maker’s Market, and Lizzy Averbeck of LA Styles. This year, BarbaLynn’s Vintage, a brick-and-mortar vintage store in Menomonie, and fashion brand Ursa Major Workwear, will be at the helm of Eau Claire Fashion Night. 

“We thought it was such an amazing opportunity for the both of us because we were able to network with a ton of different creatives and get a chance to showcase our own individual pieces as stylists and designers,” says Maysa Maraia, owner of BarbaLynn’s Vintage. “We want to extend this opportunity to other creatives.”

This year’s event will be bigger than last year’s, taking place at the gallery space at 328 Water Street, with about 100 total tickets available. There will also be bar service, a clothing pop up, and live music. The event will take place from 7-10pm on Saturday, April 13th.

Participating stylists and designers include Maysa Maraia of BarbaLynn’s Vintage, Noah Savas of Ursa Major Workwear, Sofia Swan and Henry Williamson of Wilderness Wear, Annamarie Charloff of Dawn of Time, Sofia Morin, and Tierra of Teaairaadesigns.

“In an area that’s very underrepresented for fashion, there are so many people that are creatives and love this stuff, but they don’t have a space to showcase what they are passionate about,” says Maysa. “So I’m just really excited for people to show an extension of themselves.”

More information can be found here. This year’s event is all sold out – so look forward to next year!

Photos by Annamarie Charloff.

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Spring Crafts

Spring has sprung! What a great time to get crafty with your kids. Here are some spring crafts you can do with your kiddos to bring in spring.

Wind Chimes

These diy windchimes are super easy to make! All you need is

  • fishing wire
  • a stick
  • paint
  • glass beads
  • jute twine
  • small screw eye pins
  • paint brush

Step 1: Paint the stick. Let your kids paint the stick whatever spring colors they want.

Step 2: Add Hooks. An adult should help with this step. The hooks go into the wood pretty easily. Just twist them into place.

Step 3: Add beads. Cut some fishing line and add colorful beads. Add one at the end and tie a knot around it to prevent the beads from sliding off.

Step 4: Add hanger. Use the twine and two hooks to make a hanger to hang it up anywhere!

 

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Sun Catchers

The sun is out for much longer so making sun catchers is always a fun activity. You can buy sun catcher painting kits at any craft store or places like Wal-Mart for super cheap.

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Paint Rocks

This sounds silly but it can add some flair to a rock garden or the landscaping around your house. Plus, your kids can paint almost anything they want! Let the creativity flow.

 

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Dye Some Flowers

This activity is so fun and easy. Buy some white flowers, cut off a little of the stem and add food coloring of your choice to their water and watch the flower change color over time.

 

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Have fun crafting!

<3 Bri

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4-H Builds Resumes

4-H Builds Resumes

For many 4-H members and families, the organization and the opportunities it offers are focused on hands-on learning, networking with people, and leadership – plus making great memories. Well it looks like a lot of those traits are exactly what today’s job marketplace is looking for! 4-H is the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization. In Wisconsin, more than 26,000 youth are members of 4-H. Wisconsin 4-H also has over 5,600 volunteers who serve as mentors for 4-H youth.

Jill Jorgensen, WI Youth Development 4-H Animal Science and Agriculture Outreach Specialist in Green Bay is part of a team that’s asking businesses to take a simple survey (less than 10 minutes) and tell them how 4-H skills play into their potential hiring process. “We’d like anyone over 18, that understands what’s needed in your workforce, to fill it out,” Jorgensen says. Ideally they’re looking for at least 300 completed survey’s within the state to allow for some state-based analysis. Wisconsin is part of a larger group of states in the Midwest cooperating with the University of Missouri-Columbia, where the information will be collected. Jorgensen says the results will be made public once it’s complete.

Jorgensen says participants can access the survey through this link. The QR code below will also take you to the survey. Respondents are welcome to skip to the end if they’ve submitted appropriate information for their business.


Luke Callen Explores Timeless Stories with New Album “Also Going Nowhere”

Photo by Rosei Skipper.

What do swimming holes, interstate drives, and marriage proposals have in common? They’re all used as inspiration on Luke Callen’s new album, Also Going Nowhere, which was released in February of this year. Now, Luke and his band are on a tour across the country, and they’re making a stop in Eau Claire – this Friday, April 12th, at the Gibson Street Entry at the Pablo Center, with opening music by Eau Claire artist Courtney Hartman.

This album was inspired by a rather timeless medium – vinyls. “I wanted to go into the studio and specifically make a record to be pressed to vinyl […] each side with its own complexity of emotions and each side that could stand alone.” He found inspiration at every turn, or in his words, “quite literally everywhere.” The album has 11 tracks, each brimming with Midwestern charm.

The cover for Also Going Nowhere.

Luke wanted to highlight those stories often left out of country and Western music. “The true outlaws of what we call the United States were the indigenous communities resisting oppression,” he says. “The two songs on Also Going Nowhere that tell part of this story are ‘Clementine’ and ‘Blind Men and Fools.’”

Luke hopes listeners come away from Also Going Nowhere with “a sense of belonging and a sense of hopefulness,” and is excited to play the record in Eau Claire. “There always seems to be a real community around the arts in Eau Claire and being a part of that community for an evening is always a beautiful experience,” he says.

Catch Luke Callen and his band playing at the Gibson Street Entry this Friday, April 12th, with Eau Claire-based opener Courtney Hartman. For more information on this free show, click here. This show will remind you that “miraculous, strange, beautiful things are happening around us all the time.”

To find Luke, check out his Instagram and website.

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715 Rundown: Student Loan Forgiveness, Cheese, and William Shatner

Our rundown today takes us through some national news with aid to Ukraine, how parenting a school shooter can lead to jail time, student loan forgiveness, Wisconsin’s’ cheese output, and William Shatner on the eclipse. Listen above!

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