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Simplicity Series: Brittney Ann

October 24, 2016

Hi there! I’m Brittney Ann (or BAC) of Hosting & Toasting. H&T is a lifestyle, fashion & travel blog that was originally started in 2013 as a tribute to my aunt who I lost in 2012 and who’s love of entertaining, traveling and hosting I, no doubt, inherited. I like to think she is following along from up above.

I’m a 20-something who recently moved back to the Sunshine State after 11 years away from Washington, DC. During the day, I work in community relations & events for a fashion brand (although formerly a Politico for many years), and I run H&T outside of that.

I enjoy spending time with my loved ones, traveling, working out, DIY projects, a good glass of wine and cup of coffee, and, of course, entertaining. More recently, I’ve even brought some blog posts to life with TV segments across the country (I love doing these!).

I’m so excited to be a part of Emily Ley’s series and had the pleasure of meeting her and her team when I moved back to South Tampa recently. Thank you again!

How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for your loved ones?

The last few years, this has been something that I really have focused on. I think as women we often take care of everything and everyone else in our lives first and leave ourselves last. (At least that’s what I was finding after college as I was going through my mid-20s and now in my late 20s.)

Physically, my skincare routine has become really important to me as well as allowing myself time to relax with spa nights/days (whether at home or treating myself to something nicer). A good face mask, glass of wine, Rewined candle and I’m pretty much a happy camper.

I also make working out a morning priority for me at least 5-6 days a week. I have noticed that by starting each day exercising, tremendous changes have taken place in my life. Not only am I physically stronger but it’s my hour a day where I’m completely disconnected (phone is away!) and something I do entirely for me which affects me mentally as well.

I find that starting my day this way puts everything else in its place. It really is a running joke that if I’m in a “bad mood”, I didn’t work out that day.  I enjoy barre and spin classes and studios that I can “schedule” myself so it also leaves me accountable.

Probably most important, I also take care of myself by spending time in prayer with God and through spiritual podcasts and readings. My faith is really important to me.

Last, I’m a firm believer that traveling is good for the soul and that you can never travel enough. Exploring new places with those close to me or solo helps to enrich my life as well.

What’s your favorite beauty secret?

Oh, this is a hard one!

For those that follow me on Snapchat (bannc), you’re already aware that most of my beauty “secrets”, obsessions and routines involve my hair and skin.

I swear by overnight face masks (there are so many out there!) and I keep the products in fridge to stay cool. I also wear SPF every day (this Irish girl has enough freckles to go around) and love a good eye cream (right now, Bye Bye Under Eye by IT Cosmetics is my favorite.)

Most importantly, I swear by what I call “Dry Blowouts” and I get a lot of questions about these so I’m going to do a full post soon. Essentially, in between washes, I use Drybar Detox dry shampoo and my blowdryer to keep my hair in check. These “blowouts” have changed my hair’s life, quite literally.

More recently, I have also gotten into using coconut oil to whiten my teeth. It’s working!

What’s your favorite outfit for a quick, polished look?

Well, no matter what the season, I think large sunglasses are pretty much a given in my daily outfits.

In the Spring & Summer, I navigate toward more girly midi dresses, midi skirts and sandals (flats mostly as I’m almost 5’8).

In the cooler months, my go-to’s are loafer flats (love fun prints like leopard!) or booties, a vest, sweater, black or demin jeans and fun scarf.

Last but not least, a nice bag, tote or clutch helps tie it all together. I’ve always had a slight obsession with purses. 

Whats your favorite quick-prep dinner?

Whether it’s just for me or for two or more, 100% TACOS. I can make them gluten free and they’re so easy! I also make a few mean risottos but those take a little longer.

Tell us your favorite Instagram account to follow, and why?

If I had to narrow it down I would say that @laurenconrad_com is one of my faves. I’ve followed her along since Laguna days and love her site and all they feature on their feed. They recently featured my living room too!

I also love the stories that @glitterguide feed tells! And of course, @EmilyLey! :)

What tradition or routine is important to you?

Outside of my workout routine, daily routines that are important to me are making my bed & having a clean kitchen.

I also enjoy taking time to write snail mail thank you notes and send birthday cards to my loved ones near and far.

This goes without saying but love the holidays and all the hosting (and toasting) traditions that come along with it from pumpkin patch trips to Secret Santa and everything in between.

What’s in your purse?

I think the more appropriate question would be “what’s not in my purse?”! I have pretty much been made fun of since high school for carrying what some would call is a “diaper bag” for adults.

But the essentials I never leave home without are…a charger, back up battery, lip balm, mascara, headphones AND a Tide to Go pen.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Outside of social media, I find it by traveling (the more I see, the more inspired I feel!) and my fellow entrepreneur girl friends (they inspire me to do and be better).

I also get inspired when shopping as silly as it sounds. I will literally be in a store (let’s say Homegoods), see one item and an entire party, home design or idea is planned out in my head from that one item!

We know you’re a busy lady! How do you balance all of your work responsibilities along with your home and personal life? Any tips for our readers?

I have two full time jobs between my day job and running H&T so I often have to allow myself a little Grace for when I commit to too much or sleep too little.

I do not think I have it all figured out quite perfectly just yet but I try to leave space and time for personal relationships and my family each week. I also try to leave a lot of that off social media and be present with those I really care about. That has really helped me too.

I think the most important thing is to allow yourself that Grace or “wiggle room”.. It’s okay. You can schedule the most perfect Type A day or week and allowing that “wiggle room” has made all the difference in my life.

However, I always say you can pretty much measure (or judge) my weeks by how many dirty vs. clean coffee mugs I have in my sink (and wine glasses for that matter  too). They tend to pile up quickly in my kitchen sink!

What’s your favorite app (or other tool!) for helping you do life?

Ironically for how much time I spent on my phone every day or on social media, I do not use a tun of apps for life organization. I’m a little old fashioned there so I LOVE handwritten to-do lists and lots of them.

Of course, I also use my Pineapple Simplified Planner to keep me in check too.

The one iPhone “perk” I do utilize is “asking Siri” to remind me to do things on certain days at certain times. I truly do this ALL the time and yell at my phone. I find the notes feature and reminders feature to be quite helpful and you can “snooze” them!

Links to your website and social media accounts. 

copyright 2018 emily ley