College.

This has been an adjustment… Walking to class. Strange schedules. Cooking for one.

When I started class just a few days ago, in some ways, I didn’t know what to expect. I have been to college before, but not to any place this big. And let me tell you- this campus is BIG.

The closest class to me is about a 20-25 minute walk from my apartment, if I don’t have too slow of a pace. The furthest class takes be upwards of 35 minutes and I dread it (it’s only once week though, so I can deal). But part of the point is… back home, I could walk around my entire town in about 35 minutes. That is crazy.

I don’t mind walking and there are many benefits (exercise, fresh air, etc.). Thankfully there has been no actual snow while I have been going to or coming from class, but the wind gets me quite often. Also, I start to sweat. Like, I am kind of (a lot) out of shape. Everybody here says that I will get better and my body will be used to walking in a few weeks… but right now my calves are sore. I mean, has anyone seen some of these hills around campus?! I have to go UP them!

Not only do I have to walk to Timbuktu every Monday (and sometimes Wednesday), but my other classes carry me to completely different buildings with 10 or 20 minutes to get to the next place. I can usually deal with a crazy schedule, but it can be a struggle to get to and from some of the buildings as a new student. I don’t quite know my way around yet. Luckily, I am getting a bit of a feel for it.

I haven’t begun working yet, so when I am done with my classes and crazy schedule, I have been walking back to my new apartment to do homework and readings, watch Netflix, and work on Wildflower Reflections by Elle Renee. I also try to get some healthy meals in… but I have never had to cook for just one person before.

Cooking independently is something I am used to. Back home, I would do a lot of the cooking for my family, especially since I tended to be home when dinner needed to be started. Here, though, I can cook whenever I want and I only have to cook for myself. The first meal I made, there was so much extra that I just told my roommates to have some (which they did, and said it was good)! I’ve been sticking to sandwiches and single serve fruit-cups for the most part. Those are easy! I’ll be working on incorporating veggies next… I may have neglected to purchase any at my last trip to the grocery store.

So far, I love the independence I have already established for myself here at college. I enjoy being able to do what I want, when I want, with who I want. However, I miss my dog. She barks too much for her to come live with me though, and she needs a fenced in back yard where she can run.

This round of college has been quite an adventure so far, and I’m not even a full week in! I am so thrilled to see where else this adventure will take me. Hopefully it’s accessible by car.

Photo Credit: Caitlyn Grebner

Reflections: Three of the Best Trends of 2018

Fashion. Food. Family.

Trends are everywhere we look, everywhere we eat, and everywhere we go. Some are better than others, so here is a list of Elle Renee’s thoughts for the Three Best Trends of 2018!

Body inclusivity. More and more stores and brands have begun to include extended sizes, plus sizes, or alternative options for different body shapes. Aerie is a branch of American Eagle that launched a “Girl Power, Body Positivity, No Retouching” campaign and I was all about that. This brand has undergarments in cute and comfy sizes and styles that are made for “real” women. By “real” the campaign made it easier for women to feel more self confident in one of the situations that many women feel overwhelmed by (shopping for undergarments). Shout out to Aerie for advertising through this type of campaign!

Effective Diets. An example is the ketogenic diet. This diet was pretty great, and one of my aunts is continuing this one throughout the new year. By cutting out carbohydrates and unhealthy sugars, your body adjusts into a state of ketosis. This means that your body starts to use the fat already stored on your body and gains energy from the stored fat. You can lose weight quickly, and keep it off by simply continuing to eat a Keto-friendly diet. I tried this diet for only a couple days, but I didn’t follow through… mostly because I LOVE BREAD and bread is carbohydrates. Kudos to Aunt Carrie, though, for sticking to it and following through with this!

Family Style Tables. More and more often in furniture stores and homes you can see these gorgeous tables. They are longer than a typical dining table so that more people can gather to share a meal. These tables are not only perfect for larger families, but they are wonderful for people who love entertaining and who have guests over often. Even if you have a smaller family, if you have the space, these tables can just create an enjoyable atmosphere everyone will want to gather in!

Thanks for reading! Comment what you think about these or other great trends you noticed for 2018! -Elle Renee

Photo Credit: Maddie Herring and Holly Appleton

Blessed Like a Beautiful Morning

I moved in to a new apartment and I begin classes Monday morning… and Jesus is reaching out for me.

I have been filled with anxiety and nervousness about this move and beginning classes again, as well as all of the changes that come with those things. I have been watching my feet, making sure that I am taking the exact right steps, the exact right path… only to realize that Jesus has me. He has me wrapped up in his gracious and holy love.

Have you ever been outside on a fresh, crisp morning? Just going about doing whatever it is you have to do? And then it dawns on you… It is beautiful… The sky is like a sweet, pastel pink with shades of purple and red and orange… The air is fresh, you can breathe deeply… The birds are singing their perfect morning songs… and you know that God is good.

I recently read Psalm 16 and it was a refresher, just like those lovely mornings. I usually forget to take them in, especially in the winter. Psalm 16:8 says, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”

How many times have I just forgotten that Jesus is right by my side? He loves me and He will not let me fall. He lets me learn and helps me to understand that I am only human- never perfect.

There are some moments (many moments, actually) that I forget to take in the wondrous beauty that is my life. I have a family who loves me and friends who encourage me. I have a roof over my head and shoes under my feet. I have clothes on my back and love in my soul. And I have Jesus. Even if I didn’t have anything else, I would have Him. And for that, for having Jesus, I am blessed.

As I fumble my way around this big, new place that is the University of Iowa, I pray that I remember to let my Lord keep control. I pray that He continues to surround me in His everlasting love and that He guides me to wherever this life is going. But most of all, I pray that you, too, can see the beauty in the mornings, even the cold, Iowan, January winter ones. Because in the exact way that Jesus has me, he has you.

Fashion: Elle Renee’s Way

My vision. My style. My way.

From the time I was a small child, I was always dressing up and playing “house” with my friends. I would get into my closet (literally, I could fit because I was small), pull out all of my dresses, and put them on one at a time. I had fashion shows for my parents and grandparents, and even dressed my brother up sometimes, too! The hallway would become the runway and I would walk my little self from my room to the living room where my family was waiting patiently between outfit changes. We played music and snapped some photos.

Now that I’m 21, I don’t have the dream to do the walking, but rather the designing. I still spend about an hour getting ready every morning, making sure my outfits represent me and my style well. But I’m sure many people wonder… What is Elle’s Way? Read on!

Trendy: I like to stay current and keep up with the trends. However, I keep in mind what feels good to wear and what looks good on me. Some trends, like straight legged pants, are not the most flattering fit for me, so I tend to stick to skinny legged options. Another example is a cold shoulder top (there is a purposeful “hole” instead of fabric on the shoulder). I don’t feel confident wearing that kind of top, so I usually try other options, like a regular tank top or something short sleeved.

Simple: I tend to think that less is more. Most of my summer and fall outfits consist of two pieces, which are a shirt or blouse and a pant or skirt. My winter and spring outfits are the same, but sometimes I add on a cardigan or sweater. One of my go-to ensembles right now is a pair of skinny jeans and a simple top (a loose t-shirt or patterned blouse) and a sweater-like cardigan on top. I like to keep my shoe options limited because of how picky I am… So I stick to a sneaker or a bootie in a neutral color.

Neutral: As far as color pallets go I tend to lean towards creams and whites, blacks and grays, and browns and navys. By keeping my pallet generally neutral, I can use more pops of color in my earrings, bags, and makeup.

Comfortable: When I go shopping, I spend a lot of time feeling the clothes- not just looking at them. While it is important to me that something looks great, it is equally important to me that I can feel great in what I’m wearing. I make sure to purchase jeans and pants that provide enough “give” and stretch so that I can bend down at work and take my dog for walks. When I purchase shirts, I always consider the texture. If it is made from a fabric that is itchy or irritating to my skin, I know I won’t wear it, so I don’t buy it.

Modest: I don’t like showing too much skin, so when I try things on in the store, I always think about my grandma. If I choose a blouse that is a bit low cut and I can’t wear it in front of my grandma, then I don’t usually purchase it. The same goes for shorts or skirts. I am always cautious about my image and how I want people to view me, and I want to be seen as a smart, professional woman. To me, that means not showing too much.

Versatile: Whenever I pick an item in the store, whether it’s a top, a pair of pants, or some shoes, I try to imagine at least three to four outfit ensembles I can create and the same number of places I can wear it to. Every once in a while, it’s nice to have something more formal, but in reality, I am not usually going places that require formal wear. By visualizing outfits and locations for each item, I can easily say “no” to many pieces of clothing I initially pick from the rack.

So just to recap, Elle’s Way is trendy, simple, neutral, comfortable, modest, and versatile. By having a few signature looks, my process of choosing outfits in the morning is expedited and I can spend more time on the things that matter… like picking out which earrings I want to wear that day!

Thanks for reading! -Elle Renee

Photo Credit: Caitlyn Grebner

Family Style Support

They don’t get much credit, but these are the ones who support me, even when I dare to dream big. I could not pursue this crazy dream without them.

The first person I told about this crazy venture was my aunt, Carrie. She was thrilled for me and loved that I finally had a direction for my life (that I was actually excited about). She has gone to meetings with me for the beginning stages of the t-shirt design and has given so much advice on inspiration and the passions of what drive me to build Wildflower Reflections by Elle Renee. I have FaceTimed with her more than a couple times to get her opinions… and to get her love. She actually has her own blog, which she just made public (you can follow her on WordPress under Honestly Carrie), so she understands a bit of the process of coming up with the topics for readers and keeping the writing entertaining. Here is a shout out to one of the most amazing supporters in my life! Thank you, Aunt Carrie.

Next up is my dad. When I was young, we were best buddies. We would make popcorn together and watch movies in our big, blue recliner. When I entered into the age that I could participate in sports, he was at every game (usually as a coach). Wherever I was on the field or in the gym, I could hear him shouting for me. He’s a bit quieter now (I don’t play sports, so there isn’t much to yell about… unless we can’t find each other in Target), but he’s still shouting for me on the sidelines. When I first told him that I wanted to start the lifestyle brand Wildflower Reflections by Elle Renee, he wanted to make sure that I would still go to school and finish my degree. After the reassurance that I’m still going (majoring in journalism and minoring in business) he jumped on the train. He believes in me, even when no one else will. Here’s to my dad, my sideline shouter!

Next are the handfuls of people that I won’t name individually (because there are SO, SO MANY of them), but who have given me so much love over the past few weeks as I have kicked off the idea and plan for Wildflower Reflections by Elle Renee. They are friends and family, all loved ones, who have voiced their support and who have made me feel so confident in myself and my abilities as a business owner. I love you all so, so much. Here is a shoutout to the ones who love me… I love you more.

My aunts and uncles on the Kahler side! Left to right- Front Row: Ron and Jan; Middle Row: Sue, Catherine, Robin, Kirby, Kent (my papa), Kyle, Carrie, and Mason; Third Row: Marvin, Tami, Michelle, and Ashley.
These are the Kahler side cousins! Left to right- Front Row: Liam, Addisen, and Noah; Second Row: Aiden, Lucas, Colin, Elijah, Caraline, and Austin (my brother); Third Row: Kristofer, Lawson, Reed, Merrick, Melia, RaeAnna, Isaiah, Lauren (me), Caitlyn, and Lane; Fourth Row: Susan, Megan, Luke, Caitlen, and Caitlin.
The Alt side of my family! Front row: Lucas, Grandma Nancy, Grandpa Dennis, Tyce; Middle Row: Renan, Ellen, Erin, Lauren (me), Cindy, Bonnie, Sheila, Jeanette, Devyn, and Sydney; Back Row: Val, (my mom), Scott, and Bill

Laying the Foundation

Building a business is tough work. I have spent days just analyzing all the aspects of Wildflower Reflections as a brand. What it is. What I want it to become. What I can do to get it there.

This dream of mine is an interesting one. I don’t want to follow just one path… I want them all. I adore fashion, so I want to have a brand in apparel. I love decorating, so I want to have a brand in home decor. I enjoy writing, so I want to have a brand for my blog. I want all of these things, but making it happen and taking the first steps are quite interesting to figure out. It has been a crazy couple of days getting the ball rolling.

I have been talking to some of my family members who have business experience, and they are so knowledgeable that I have to take notes. I need: a business bank account at some point, to create an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation), to trademark and/or copyright “Wildflower Reflections” and my logo, and so, so, so much more.

One of the “so, so, so much more’s” is adapting to a name that will better fit my brand aesthetic…

My name is Lauren Renee. I shortened that to L. Renee, and then transformed it to Elle Renee. Later on, when I have clothing and home decor with my brand, they will read “Wildflower Reflections by Elle Renee.” My reasoning? This name is simplistic and modern, not to mention that it’s so, so, so much easier to pronounce and spell than my complicated last name.

So what is the first step? My blog. I will get this thing out in the open. I will gather thoughts on fashion and home decor and other blogs (plus some of my life stories and such), and get them all centrally located (here, on the blog). I will also be working on my social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, and whatever else is out there) and getting them to be in optimal promoting shape (I don’t quite know how to manage that one yet, but I think I’m starting off on the right track…).

After that, I would like to start doing a video blog (also known as a vlog) and be able to tell my readers (you!) about apparel and home decor that I love. I’d like to be able to go into stores and show how I put outfit ensembles together and what I would do with the flatware and cookware I find. (I’ll keep you all updated on the progress of that!)

If you have any questions or comments, I would love for you to contact me through my new Facebook page (Wildflower Reflections), by email (wildflowerreflections@gmail.com), or any other outlet I have provided on the home page of the blog!

I would love for all of my readers to continue to follow along as I continue on this amazing journey!

-Elle Renee

Photo Credit: Caraline Grebner

Being a Boss

I will be successful. I will build the business Wildflower Reflections. I will be a boss.

Part of having a successful business (which is what I want) is being a boss. A great boss. Parts of being a great boss include exemplary leadership skills, the ability to communicate with all types of people, maintenance of emotions in stressful situations, the know-how to guide my team to thriving sales, and so much more.

So how do I know if I encompass all of these traits? Well, I guess I will have to take a look back on myself in past situations and reflect (get it, reflect…ion, as in Wildflower Reflections? The blog’s new name!).

Leadership. I think I have decent leadership qualities in certain circumstances. I can go all the way back to when I was a kid for one example: When my dad’s side of our family would get together for holidays, or just because, I would wrangle all of my cousins (the ones younger than me) and teach them a new game to play. Another example of a more recent time is when I give direction to newer, younger employees at my retail job. I have worked there for a total of about four years, so I know the expectations of the company and I am able to show the “newbies” what to do.

Communication. While I am pretty good at face to face communication, I feel that I can improve in this area as far as when I talk on the phone or am not face to face. I would prefer to talk to people in person because I can then give and receive body languages and other non-verbal cues.

Maintenance of emotions. I have been through so many emotional situations within the span of my 21 years here on Earth, that I have become well equipped in expressing my emotions at the proper times and places. I have worked with many types of coworkers and peers, as well as customers, so I have had a lot of practice in not showing frustration right at the moment.

Sales. This, too, is something I have practiced while working at my retail job. Even beyond just giving customers clothing suggestions, I have worked on the markdown and signs teams to adjust prices and show where sales were for a certain day. I have also been required to pushed a brand credit card and we are encouraged to get customers out the door, with as much purchased product as possible, in an efficient manner.

If those are just a few of the qualities that make up a great boss, hopefully I live up to my own expectations. Along the way, I’ll make connections and would love to attend seminars about being a great boss.

I have already introduced to you all, the idea that I would like to create this grassroots company that features this very blog, apparel, and home decor. I am in the process of getting quotes for t-shirts to start attempting to make a profit and I have a rough draft of a business plan written. I have created and email account (wildflowerreflections@gmail.com) so you can email me with any questions or comments and a Facebook page called Wildflower Reflections, so go like and follow that! I will add links to the blogs there, and keep everyone updated on the happenings and developments as I continue!

I am so thrilled to be dreaming up this path for myself. I cannot wait to see where it takes me.

Thank you all so, so much for continuing to read and follow along with my blog and supporting me in this crazy dream I have!

Thank you so much to my wonderful cousins, Caraline and Caitlyn, for snapping some great photos for my blog posts!

Reflections: Positive Celebrities

Inspirational. Fashionable. Dynamic. These are a few of the people I see in pop culture who make good use of their famous reputations.

  1. Michelle Obama. No matter what your political outlook is, everyone should acknowledge that this former first lady has become the very definition of inspirational. Mrs. Obama went to school at both Princeton and Harvard and worked at a law firm. While her husband was in office, she not only raised two daughters on the public stage, but also made huge strides in ending childhood obesity in a health movement that was felt all over the United States. Now she has a book out, a memoir titled “Becoming.” Through all of the pressure and fame she has seemed to remain so honest and down to earth.
  2. Meghan Markle. She was on TV and now is a duchess, so you know she has to stay fashionable. In early 2018, the world (literally, the whole world) watched Meghan walk down the aisle to marry Prince Harry. Her wedding dress(es) were phenomenal, and she hasn’t disappointed at all through her first royal tours and outings. Before the Duchess of Sussex married her prince, she accompanied him to Birmingham… where she wore a white sweater by AllSaints and pants by Alexander Wang. This is a look I have recreated many times, and I love that “normal” people can still wear clothing like she does!
  3. Chrissy Teigen. She’s funny, loud, famous, relatable, sassy, and kind. If that isn’t dynamic, I don’t know what is. Chrissy began by modeling and now has a couple cook books out. She’s married to music superstar John Legend and has two beautiful kiddos, whom she is not afraid to raise her own way. She supports women and she knows how to hold her own, while still being considerate of others.
Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels.com

Wildflower Reflections

Name change, brand change.

Hello, everyone! Shortly, you will see a change here on Landing With Lo. I have been notified by a couple people that there is another blogger, whose name is Lo Bosworth. Her site is The Lo Down. She was on a reality show, The Hills, when I was a kid and she built a brand after that show ended.

I felt that Landing With Lo would probably end up stepping on her toes and keeping in mind my future, and the lifestyle brand I would like to create, I have decided to change the name of my blog and future business…

Wildflower Reflections is taking over, and I’m in the process of designing t-shirts for the new brand! Comment for additional information on the t-shirts!

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

Looking in the Mirror

This year has been such a wild ride.

In November of 2017 I withdrew from all my college classes and then I lounged on the couch for three months (I’m not even kidding).

Right after my 20th birthday, I took three months off work and disconnected from all of my friends and most of my family. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize the face looking back. My face was the same, but there was no smile… no joy. My eyes were the same, but there was no sparkle… no depth. I cried all the time and slept with my momma in her bed a lot of nights. It was awful, but I didn’t know what to do.

In March my momma encouraged me (told me, actually) to get off the couch and get out of the house for at least an hour. Once I got up and put on some jeans (instead of sweatpants) I didn’t feel any better. But I looked more normal; I looked more like “Lauren.” Every day I spent a little more time outside, either walking Dymond (my beautiful pup) or just driving to my grandparents’ house for lunch. I also started counseling (again).

Finally, I reached a point where I was comfortable enough to start to look for a job that wasn’t high stress… I still wasn’t working at the retail store. I applied for a nanny position and got an interview. For the first time in three months I woke up early, put on a nice outfit (with a cardigan, of course), and did my makeup. I got the job.

Fast forward a couple months and I started at my retail job again and stopped nannying. At this point, I had been in counseling for a while and was on new medication aimed at assisting me with depression and anxiety. It helped so, so much and I continue to take medication for anxiety.

I feel so much more like “Lauren.” I smile all the time and my eyes have their sparkle back. I laugh and I talk to my friends every day. I wake up, shower, put on a decent outfit (unless I just feel like wearing sweats once in a while), eat breakfast, and go about my day. I still have my bad days, but everyone else has those, too.

I knew I needed to get back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree, so I talked to my momma… and then I applied and was accepted to the University of Iowa. Classes begin January 14th and I am filled with eager anticipation to start fresh in a new city. I’m going to be on my own again, and I have a feeling that I will still call home (a ton) and visit (a ton).

I have so much to look forward to- I will get Landing With Lo together (hopefully, at some point); I will be working on my education toward a degree in journalism (which is my absolute passion); I will be independent and free and able to use the skills I learned from counseling for my new normal life.

I’m excited to see where this life will take me because when I look in the mirror, I’m starting to like what I see.

Photo by Nadine Wuchenauer on Pexels.com