It’s My Favorite Day of the Year & 21 Facts About Me.

IT’S MY 21st BIRTHDAY!  As you can imagine, I have a lot of fun things planned, and will do a recap of the weekend here on the blog, soon.  For now, here is a list of 21 things about me you might not know.

  1. I have 5 siblings.  My older sisters; Tara, Tanya, Dana and Andrèa; and younger brother, Ian, are among my best friends.
  2. I’ve attended three colleges and have had 6 majors.  I started at UW – Baraboo two weeks after graduating from high school with a pre-medicine/biology major.  Now, after four semesters at Boo U, a brief one semester in Lacrosse and short periods of time as economics, marketing, communications and pre-law majors, I feel secure with the path I have finally chosen studying Elementary Education and Middle School Math at WSU!
  3. My middle name is Arlene.  It was my maternal grandma’s name.  When I was younger, I hated it.  I thought it made me sound old.  However, now I like it.  It is old fashioned, but I don’t mind.  It makes me feel connected to my grandma even though I never got the chance to meet her.
  4. My taste in music is all over the place.  If you press shuffle on my phone, you might get to listen to r&b, country, alt. rock, rap, throwback radio pop tunes, gospel and classic rock all in 15 mins.
  5. My favorite flowers are pink peonies.  This may have come from my mom or from Blair Waldorf.  I can’t be sure.
  6. I am the world’s pickiest eater.  Many people have said that I eat like a 5 year old.
  7. I wholeheartedly believe in Jesus.  I also wholeheartedly believe in allowing other people to have their own opinions, that love is love, and that religion and politics should be separate.
  8. My favorite movie ever is Clueless.  I could quote it all day, and several people have compared me to Cher.  I like to believe that is because of my fashion sense and go-getter, hopeless romantic personality, rather than my subpar driving skills and frequent blonde moments.
  9. I put all of my energy getting ready into doing my makeup and picking out my outfit, and then I leave the house with wet hair.  Actually, if I’m being completely honest, most of my energy goes into pulling myself out of bed at 6 AM on the average day.
  10. I know every word to every episode of Friends.  I’ve been watching it since I was probably way too young to watch it (the perks of having so many older siblings).  I don’t recommend you ever watch it with me, though.  It gets annoying.
  11. My dream job is to be a mom.  It always has been.  I’ve had more baby dolls than real-life friends.
  12. The key to my heart is 3-wick candles from Bath & Bodyworks.  I get alerts every time they’re on sale (which is most of the time).
  13. I crave to travel and see the world every single day.  Life is for living, and there is so much out there to see.  (Check out the travel category to see posts about where I have been and where I still dream of going!)
  14. As a future teacher, my number one goal is to make sure kids find something that they can be confident in.  I think that it is so, sooo important that students who are not naturally good in traditional academic subjects like math or reading still realize that they are smart in other areas and that they have so much potential.
  15. I have 3 tattoos and counting.  Its true when people say that they are addicting.  I’ll probably run out of viable skin soon.  Sorry mom.
  16. My birthday is my #1 favorite day (lets be real–month) of the year.  So, as you could probably guess, I am HYPED today.
  17. I deeply cherish the time I spend driving alone and listening to music.  Right now, my daily commute is about 45 minutes, and I really think I’m going to miss it when I move closer to school in September.
  18. Soup is my favorite food.  If I’m ever unsure of what to order at a restaurant, 9 times out of 10, I’ll order soup.  Soup is safe.
  19. I doodle obsessively.  I can’t focus on anything unless my hands are busy.  I’ve also recently taught myself to knit for the same reason.
  20. I sometimes eat ketchup on my mac&cheese.  I know.  I’m sorry.
  21. I’m not a big breakfast person.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love me a waffle or a donut, and I’m always down for some bacon (but who said bacon is limited to breakfast?!).  However, I really hate eggs, and in general I would way rather eat stereotypically  lunch or dinner foods for breakfast.  Cold leftover pizza, anyone?

Thank you guys for checking in!  I always appreciate it!  Let me know if you find yourself relating to anything I’ve listed above.

See you soon!

– ♥ Alana

For Your Next Netflix (or Hulu) Marathon…

I’m a self-proclaimed professional binge-watcher and napper.  Basically, I really know how to spend a lazy day.  Below are my favorite shows to watch for hours on end.


Grey’s Anatomy: The earlier seasons are better.

The Office: Everyone’s favorite.  I’m a Kelly.  Sad, but true.

Gossip Girl: S&B forever.  XOXO.

Friends: My all-time fav.

Terms of Endearment: Kronk from The Emperor’s New Groove is secretly a softy.

Parks and Recreation: The world needs more Leslie Knopes.

Big Mouth: For those with a darker sense of humor.

Mindhunter: Because who doesn’t wonder what goes on in the mind of a killer?

Scandal: Shonda can do no wrong.

Gilmore Girls: A childhood (& adulthood) favorite.

The Magicians: Leaves you wanting more.  Good thing the next season is coming soon!


One Tree Hill: Calling all Nathan Scotts.

UnREAL: Manipulation and murder all behind the scenes of your favorite reality show.

This is Us: Wear waterproof mascara or watch alone.

The Mindy Project: Remember when I said I’m a Kelly?  I’m also a Mindy.

America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway: Guilty pleasures.

Also Project Runway All-Stars: Making it work for 6 more seasons (and counting).

Rick and Morty: If Big Sean likes it, I like it.


Broad City

The Handmaid’s Tale

The End of the F***ing World





Ulta 21 Days of Beauty Sale

Hello, friends!

Sunday marks the beginning of Ulta Beauty’s semi-annual 21 Days of Beauty Sale!  Each day a few popular products go on sale for around 50% off!  Below is a list of what is being discounted each day and some reviews.  Scroll to the bottom of the complete timeline to see what I think are the best deals of the sale.  I hope you all find this helpful!!

March 18th:

Tarte lights, camera, lashes 4-in-1 mascara – on sale for $10, usually retails for $23:

4.5 star rating on, 4.2 stars on

Said to lengthen and thicken lashes.  A few negative reviews said that the waterproof formula was difficult to remove, so use a good eye makeup remover.

Philosophy 8 oz. The Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash – on sale for $14, usually $28:

4.5 stars on, 4.6 stars on

This daily facial wash is good for normal, oily, dry, combination and sensitive skin and paraben, sulfate and phthalate free.  It promises to bring new life to dull or uneven skin.  I’m definitely planning to pick up a bottle of this as long as it’s half off!

March 19th: 

Benefit Cosmetics 24-HR Brow Setter – on sale for $12, usually $24:

4.6 stars on, 4.1 stars on

This brow setter is a clear brow gel applied with a mascara-like wand that is meant to keep your powder or pencil brow product in place all day long.

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Anti-Aging Finishing Powder – on sale for $14.50, usually $28:

4.3 stars on, 4.1 stars on

According to customer reviews if you have overall dry skin, however if your skin is oily or combination, pick some up!  The powder is said to actually blur the look of pores and wrinkles and stop oiliness throughout the day!

March 20th:

PÜR 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation – on sale for $14.75, usually $29.25:

4.5 stars on, 4.6 stars on (not available at Sephora)

Offering not only sheer to medium coverage but also SPF 15, this foundation is good for all oily, normal, combinations and sensitive skin.

Clinique 3-Step Introduction Kit for Dryer Skin 3-Step Introduction Kit for Oily Skin – on sale for $9.75 each, usually $19.50 each:

4.5 stars on, 4.2 stars on

Tailored to each skin type, these kits each contain a cleanser, a clarifying lotion and a moisturizer.   The kits are meant to be a 3 week long sample of the products so you can see what works for you before buying larger quantities.

March 21st:

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water – on sale for $16, usually $32:

4.5 stars on, 4.1 stars on

Good for all skin types, this spray can be used before and after make up to prep, set and moisturize.  I’ve had my eye on this one for a while.  Maybe now is the time to pick it up?!

Proactiv+ Emergency Blemish Relief – on sale for $10, usually $20:

4.1 stars on, 3.8 stars on (not available at Sephora)

My favorite thing about this spot treating cream is that it dries clear so you don’t have to wear it in the confines of your own home after dark.  It contains an extra dose of acne treating benzoyl peroxide to deep clean pores and absorb excess oils.

Proactiv+ Skin Smoothing Exfoliator – on sale for $20, usually $40:

4.7 stars on, 4.3 stars on (not available at Sephora)

This daily cleanser is exfoliating and acne fighting.  It is suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin.

March 22nd:

BUXOM Full-On Lip Cream – on sale for $10, usually $20:

4.7 stars on, 4.6 stars on

The creamy and not sticky gloss plumps and moisturizes lips.  It comes in 10 shades.  I’ve got my eye on “White Russian”, “Dolly” and “Rose Julep”!

Clarisonic Mia 2 Skin Cleansing System – on sale for $119, usually $169:

4.6 stars on, 4.7 stars on

This kit comes with an electric cleansing brush that uses sonic technology and a refreshing gel cleanser.  The brush comes in 4 color options: white, pink, sea breeze and lavender.

For more information on how the system works, click here.

Although it is still a pretty penny, now is the time to buy if you’ve been wanting the system for awhile to save $50!

March 23rd:

Urban Decay 5 oz. Eyeshadows – on sale for $10 each, usually $20:

4.7 stars on, 4.7 stars on

Available in matte, metallic, satin and shimmer finishes, this eyeshadow formula is top rated and available in 49 shades.  The only two complaints I could find were that the shimmers were “too shimmery” (sounds like someone is fishing for something to be upset about) and that it creases, so pick up an eyeshadow primer while you’re at Ulta!  The Eyeshadow Primer Potion also by UD is my favorite (and it’ll be 50% off on April 5th)!

Exuviance Perfomance Peel AP25 – on sale for $38.50, usually $77.00:

4.3 stars on, 4.4 stars on (not available at Sephora)

This safe to use at home facial peel is meant to be used twice a week to reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles, refine pores, smooth the skin and brighten skin tone.  The pack contains 12 peels, and there are many rave reviews.

March 24th:

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner – on sale for $11, usually $22:

4.5 stars on, 4.5 stars on

Available in 11 colors, the liquid formula goes on smooth without skipping and stays on until it is removed with eye makeup remover.  The pen applicator also has a very precise tip, perfect for winging out your liner!

Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleansing Cloths – on sale for $7.50, usually $15.00:

4.5 stars on, 3.9 stars on

Rated for all skin types, theses wipes are said to remove oil, dirt and makeup while cleansing the skin with no need to rinse.  Perfect for on the go ladies and camping trips!

Philosophy Purity Made Simple Micellar Cleansing Water – on sale for $11, usually $22:

3.6 stars on, 3.3 stars on (not available at Sephora)

Another no-rinse-necessary cleanser that removes oil, makeup and dirt.  However, this is the lowest rated 21 Days of Beauty product, so I would skip it.  If you’re in the market for a micellar cleansing water, check out the one by Simple!  It is rated 4.3 stars and it is regularly $7.99!

March 25th:

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Compact – on sale for $19, usually $38:

4.1 stars on, 3.9 stars on (not available at Sephora)

Offering SPF 50+ and medium coverage, the worlds first solid serum foundation also delivers anti-aging benefits with ingredients such as hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid and antioxidants to improve overall skin tone and skin quality.  Multitasking and 50% off?  Sounds like a steal to me!

IT Brushes Airbrush Smoothing Foundation Brush– on sale for $11, usually $22:

4.5 stars on

Perfect to pair with the Confidence in a Compact serum foundation or other liquid foundations, this brush is made to buff foundations into the skin to provide a flawless airbrush finish.  I’ve had this brush, and I’m a big fan.  It’s only available at Ulta, and March 25th is the time to buy!

March 26th:

Becca Backlight Priming Filter – on sale for $19, usually $38:

4.5 stars on, 4.2 stars on

This illuminating primer adds life to the skin through foundation, smooths the look of impurities and works to keep makeup in place longer.  Apply to the skin like a moisturizer after skincare products and before foundation for the best results.

Becca First Light Priming Filter – on sale for $19, usually $38:

4.5 stars on, 4.3 stars on

Part of the same line as the Backlight primer, the First Light primer cools, evens and refreshes the tone of dull skin as well as blurs fine lines, pores and wrinkles.  Apply to the skin like a moisturizer after skincare products and before foundation for the best results.

Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Instant Full Volume Mascara – on sale for $13.75, usually $27.40:

4.1 stars on, 3.9 stars on

My mom exclusively used this mascara for a long time, and (don’t tell) I would sneak a swipe whenever I could.  Highly recommend… especially when it’s 50% off!

March 27th:

LORAC PRO Contour Palette with Contour Brush – on sale for $20, usually $45:

4.5 stars on, 4.3 stars on (not available at Sephora)

The palette contains 3 highlight shades and 3 contour shades which makes it perfect for creating different looks!  Not only is the palette versatile, but it also is of top quality.  According to reviews, all 6 shades are easy to apply, smooth and highly pigmented, so a little goes a long way.  Plus, it is more than half off!  I’m definitely going to pick up a palette!

Stila Convertible Color – on sale for $12.50, usually $25:

4.5 stars on, 4.4 stars on

These pots contain highly pigmented colors in a formula perfect for the lips and cheeks.  Available in 6 shades, they are non-greasy, light and blend easily, according to reviews.  I’m not the biggest fan of cream blushes, but this does sound like a good one based on the research I’ve done.  They are perfect for creating monochromatic looks, which are very on trend at the moment.

March 28th:

Tarte Tarteist Double Take Eyeliner – on sale for $14, usually $28:

4.6 stars on, 4.5 stars on

Double-sided, this eyeliner has a pencil liner on one side and a liquid pen on the other, so you basically get two eyeliners for the price of one (or in this case the price of one half).  According to reviews, they are easy to apply but tend to run a bit throughout the day, so make sure to set your under-eyes with translucent powder!

Estée Lauder Travel Sized Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recover Complex II – on sale for $8, usually $16:

4.3 stars on, 4.4 stars on

This serum is meant to be used around the eyes and promises to smooth, brighten and repair skin leaving it looking more fresh and younger when you wake up!  I love buying travel sized products first.  You can buy this 0.24 ounce bottle and decide if you like it before shelling out for the $59 1 ounce bottle or $98 1.7 ounce bottle.

March 29th:

Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Super Curling & Lifting Mascara – on sale for $12, usually $24:

4.4 stars on, 4.1 stars on

The very unique applicator promises to lengthen, add volume and separate lashes all at once.  According to reviewers, the mascara does not clump.

Murad Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser – on sale for $15, usually $30:

4.4 stars on, 4.3 stars on

This gel cleaner contains salicylic acid and silver citrate to combat acne.  However, use a good moisturizer because salicylic acid has been known to dry skin, especially on individuals that already struggle with this.

Murad Anti-Aging Acne Time Release Acne Cleanser – on sale for $19, usually $38:

4.5 stars on, 4.4 stars on

A unique blend of ingredients in this foaming cleanser repair mature skin and also work against acne even after it has been rinsed off.  A bonus?  Many reviewers said that it also smells amazing!

March 30th:

Too Faced Melted Matte Liquified Long Wear Lipstick – on sale for $10.50, usually $21:

4.4 stars on, 4.2 stars on

According to reviewers, this formula is comfortable, super long wearing and makes your lips look full without the actual plumping tingle.  The only frequent bad review is that it smells funny, but the smell disappears once the lipstick is dry.  Available in 22 colors, I’ve got my eye on “Feelin’ Myself”, “Its Happening!” and “1998”.

Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads – on sale for $22.50, usually $45:

4.5 stars on, 4.6 stars on

This daily peel which contains a 20% complex of Alpha, Beta and Gamma Acids (as well as Amino Acids, which help the skin renew itself) comes on convenient pads and promise to reduce the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles.  Make sure to also use a good moisturizer, because a few reviews say that it can have a drying effect.

March 31st:

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Pencil – on sale for $10.50, usually $21:

4.7 stars on, 4.5 stars on

Practically every You Tuber’s favorite brow product and my favorite brow pencil, the Brow Wiz has a great formula that applies easily and evenly and a unique shape perfect for creating hair-like strokes.  I definitely recommend it!

25% of everything from Mario Badescu!:

Click here for everything that the brand has to offer.

Mario Badescu’s most popular product is the Facial Spray with Aloe, Herb and Rosewater.  Not only does it smell amazing, but it moisturizes the skin and can be used to prep skin for makeup application, set makeup to make it last or spray the skin at anytime for moisturizing refreshment.  Also, the name of the product can be misleading!  The spray can be used all over: from the face, to the body and even on dry or dull hair!  It is usually $7, but if you can wait until the 31st, you can pick it up at Ulta or on for $5.25!

April 1st:

All bareMinerals foundation primers 50% off!:

Prime Time Foundation Primer – on sale for $12.50, usually $25

Prime Time Brightening Foundation Primer – on sale for $12.50, usually $25

bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20 – on sale for $15, usually $30

Combo Control Milky Face Primer – on sale for $13, usually $26

SeroVital hgh Dietary Supplement – on sale for $49.50, usually $99:

3.9 stars on, 4 stars at (not available at Sephora)

The dietary supplement promises to reduce wrinkles, tighten skin, decrease body fat, increase lean muscle production, strengthen bones and improve mood.  486 reviewers deemed it effective, while 122 reviewers said that it was not.

April 2nd:

Butter London Glazen Eye Gloss – on sale for $12, usually $24:

4.3 stars on, 4.6 stars on (not available at Sephora)

In the pot, the eye gloss is a gel, however it dries like a powder, so it doesn’t leave your lids feeling sticky.  What’s not to love?!  It comes in 7 metallic shades.  I’m marking my calendar right now.

Butter London Glazen Lip Glaze – on sale for $9.50, usually $19:

4.6 stars on, 4.7 stars on (not available at Sephora)

This retractable jumbo lip pencil adds a glossy iridescence to any lipstick you layer it over, or wear it alone for a dreamy look.  Three colors available, Fairy Dust, Gold Dust and Pixie Dust.

Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 42 – on sale for $24, usually $48:

4.7 stars on, 4.5 stars on

Offering UVA and UVB protection, this non-greasy formula has rave reviews.  The only consistent negative review is that it is too expensive for the size of the bottle, so April 2nd is the right time to buy!

April 3rd:

Laura Geller Baked Blush-n-Brighten – on sale for $14, usually $28:

4.7 stars on, 4.3 stars on (not available at Sephora)

Available in 8 colors, the blush and highlighter swirled powder is baked for 24 hours to produce a creamy texture.  However, I have tried them before and frankly I was disappointed by the pigmentation.  However, I am a bigger fan of highly pigmented matte blushes.  If you like a light was of shimmery color, this may be the blush for you.

StriVectin Power Starters Tightening Trio – on sale for $49.50, usually $89:

4.1 stars on, 3.8 stars on (not available at Sephora)

A $129 value if the products were each bough separately, this kit contains a tightening face cream, tightening neck cream and tightening eye serum.  87% of reviewers said that they would recommend the kit to a close friend, but if you have sensitive skin, steer clear.  Reviews say that it may irritate sensitive skin.

April 4th:

Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick – on sale for $12.50, usually $25:

4.4 stars on, 4.1 stars on amazon (not available at Sephora)

The lipstick appears green in the tube but transforms to each person’s “perfect shade of pink” to fatter their skin tone once it is applied.  Reviews also say that it is very moisturizing.  My opinion?  It seems a bit expensive for a lipstick who’s color you cannot view until after purchasing and using.

Dermablend Professional Loose Setting Powder – on sale for $13.50, usually $27:

4.4 stars on, 4.5 stars on (not available at Sephora)

Useful for all skin types, the powder lasts long, blurs the look of pores and soaks up excess oil according to reviews.  However, it can cause flashback (a white cast shown in photos with flash) if you apply too much, so use a heavy hand if you’re planning to have your photo taken.

April 5th:

All Urban Decay eyeshadow primers 50% off! ($6.50-$12):

View all here.

The Urban Decay eye primers are some of the best, in my opinion.  My favorite (as mentioned earlier in this post is the Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion which will be on sale for $11 on the 5th!

Juice Beauty STEM CELLULAR Anti-Wrinkle Booster Serum – on sale for $40, usually $80:

4.5 stars on, 4.3 stars on (not available at Sephora)

Great for those with sensitive skin, this serum is said to reduce wrinkles and moisturize the skin.  Reviews say that it is also light-weight and non greasy!

April 6th:

Tarte Tarteist Lip Paints Lip Crayon Lipliner – on sale for $10, usually $20:

Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint:

4.1 stars on, 3.8 starts on; 26 shades, click here for details and reviews.

Creamy Matte Lip Paint:

4 stars on, 3.6 stars on; 16 shades, click here for details and reviews.

Glossy Lip Paint:

4.3 stars on, 4.1 stars on; 9 shades, click here for details and reviews.

Lip Crayon:

4 stars on, 2.9 stars on; 11 shades, click here for details and reviews.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant – on sale for $28.40, usually $57:

4.7 stars on, 4.5 stars on (not available at Sephora)

This product is a rice-based enzyme powder that activates when it makes contact with water releasing acids and enzymes to smooth the skin and accelerate skin renewal.  It can be messy, but according to reviews it is worth it.

April 7th:

MAC Prep & Prime Fix+ – on sale for $13, usually $26:

4.8 stars on, 4.6 stars on (not available at Sephora)

My favorite setting spray, Fix+ is highly versatile.  I use it to prep my skin for makeup, set my makeup and spray my shimmer eyeshadows with to make them pop a little bit extra!  It makes your highlighters glow more, makes powders look more skin-like and reduces the look of pores and fine lines when sprayed to set makeup.  It is also super moisturizing when you spray before makeup is applied!  I give it 5 stars!

Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara – on sale for $11.50, usually $23:

4.3 stars on, 3.8 stars on

Although this is a fan favorite, I think the L’Oréal dupe, Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara, is even better than the original because it is less clumpy!  You can find that anytime at Ulta or your local drugstore for $9.99!


  • 3/20: Clinique 3-Step Introduction Kits
  • 3/21: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water
  • 3/22: BUXOM Full-On Lip Cream
  • 3/25: IT Brushes Airbrush Smoothing Foundation Brush
  • 3/27: Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Mascara
  • 3/28: Tarte Tarteist Double Take Eyeliner
  • 3/30 Too Faced Melted Matte Liquified Long Wear Lipstick
  • 3/31: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz
  • 4/2: Butter London Glazen Eye Gloss
  • 4/5: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primers
  • 4/6: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
  • 4/7: MAC Prep & Prime Fix+

I cannot wait for all of the sales!  Follow @allthingalanab on Instagram to stay updated during the 21 day long sale and see which products I’m getting my hands on!

– ♥ Alana









Life & Love Advice from My Grandma

Growing up, I only ever had one grandparent that I remember, my dad’s mom, Pat.  She is a interesting lady with a great story.  She’s also always given me the best and funniest advice.  For instance, almost every time I’ve seen her since turning 14, she has told me “when he goes for the zipper, get out of the car,” and who doesn’t need to learn that lesson?!  My grandparents had a very strong 51 year long marriage, so I figured she probably has a lot of great relationship and life advice.  Over my spring break I went to visit my grandma, who is turning 85 in a few months, and got to know her life story a little bit better.  Here are some of her stories and some of her best advice.


My grandma was born in Mauston, WI on May 13, 1933 into a lower class family who already had a son, and daughter.  A few years later, her mother gave birth to another son, and soon after that her parents split up.  She spent her summers working at the fair selling food from her grandparents’ food stand.  That is where she learned to speak what she calls “carnie talk”, which is the carnival workers’ version of pig latin.

Her mother gave piano lessons and played the piano at parties around the state.  Since she couldn’t afford a babysitter, she brought her kids with her to gigs.  My grandma credits her mother’s gigs to starting her love for music.  Although one of my favorite memories of my grandma is her singing along to Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl (even though grandma’s singing has always been more of a hum), her favorite musician is by far Elvis.  Her house features several portraits of the king of rock and roll, and she even owns one of his scarves from a concert she went to back in the day, sweat and all.  She always said she was going to clone him someday.

When she was 15, she met my grandpa, Richard, who was 18 at the time.  The next year the two were married.  She was kicked out of high school once the school administrators found out that she had been married.  The excuse was that married people had sex and they didn’t want her telling anyone about sex.  She says that the thing she regrets most is not finishing school.  She loves to read.  Her closet is like a library, if libraries were filled with 90% Danielle Steel books.  Her dream was to become a flight attendant.  However, since she couldn’t finish school that was impossible.

Instead, she was a house wife for quite some time.  She watched over the household while my grandpa stayed in an apartment in Madison during the week to do work at the capital.  Eventually she helped my grandpa and dad run their car restoration shop.  Her job in the office was essential to the business:

“I had to know where and when every single part was made, and I had to make sure everything was paid for.  I had a lot of fun there!  Your grandpa and dad were there everyday and some women from town that also worked in the office.  I used to take smoke breaks with the other ladies that worked there, but I never told your grandpa.  He definitely smelled it, but we never talked about it.”  

She did, however, find some way to fulfill her airborne dreams.  Both she and my grandpa got their pilots licenses.  She says, “I could land just perfect,” and she could go on for an hour about the Mooney airplane that she and my grandpa would take out flying on Sundays.

Before ever having kids, Mr. and Mrs. Braund were married for about 10 years.  She said that this allowed them to spend a lot of time as just husband and wife before adding kids into the mix.  She attributes much of their strong marriage to this.  “Don’t rush,” she says.  My grandparents had two children.  My aunt, Susan, and my father, also Richard, weren’t their only babies, though.  They also had several interesting pets.  They had a poodle named Suzie (who they actually decided to name my aunt after), three St. Bernards named Bourbon, Brandy and Sasha, two peacocks Pete and Perky, a macaw named Chandler (named after the shoe store they bought him in) and a cat named Venus (who my sister used to call Penis because she couldn’t pronounce her ‘v’s).  Now, she has a cat named Honey Girl, but St. Bernards are her true love.  They are right up there on her favorite-things list with Elvis and the Green Bay Packers.  (Note: She is the biggest Packer fan in the state of Wisconsin.  She has a book of every score of every game she has ever watched.  I dated a Bears fan in high school, and she still brings it up.)

Christianity has also played a huge role in my grandmas life.  Growing up she attended a Baptist church every Sunday as well as a Baptist school.  After marrying my grandfather, they went to the local Methodist church which is the same church were my parents were married, I was baptized and confirmed in.  She still goes as much as she can, which can be difficult at her age, but I remember she never missed a Sunday when I was growing up.  She always sat in the same pew and wore her Green Bay Packer broach.  Whenever my family went, we sat by her, and she would give me tootsie pops to eat while I scribbled on my church bulletin.  She attributes Jesus for getting her through her long life.  She says, “church has made me happy when times were bad, and you know, because of God, they were never that bad.”  She would always tell me when I was very young that every star in the sky is someone in heaven, so whenever I missed my grandpa to look up and there he was.  It was a beautiful way to think of our loved ones passing on and remembering that they are still looking over us.

My grandpa died in 2000 of an aneurysm and left my grandma a widow after 51 years of marriage.  However, before that they had an incredibly strong relationship.  She had several ideas when I asked her why she thought that their marriage was so successful.  Most simply, she said “we really loved each other.”  She also pointed out that they never fought over things that “didn’t matter” because “it was just a fight then, and it was never even important”.  My grandpa was a very serious and accomplished man.  He was a Brigadier General in the National Guard, ran a business and wrote a book.  However, she said that, unlike his colleagues and their wives, he was never embarrassed of her.  He always took her to work parties and car shows.  She says, “I loved going out to fancy parties with your grandpa because I got to dress up and wear my shoes.  It made me feel really special.  And he always danced with me even if he didn’t want to because he knew how much I loved to dance.”

Since the death of my grandpa almost two decades ago, she has had a few suitors, but she hasn’t really been all that interested.  “They come and knock on my door, but I pretend not to be home,” she says, (which may be the most I’ve ever related to my grandma).  She has had love in her life, and she says now that she has enough love from her kids and grandkids and that she doesn’t need anyone to “put their shoes under [her] bed”.

She does have a loooot of friends though.  Going out and about in my hometown with my grandma is like going out with a Kardashian.  Everyone stops you and wants to say hi, so I asked what she does to be such a good friend.  She says that she always cheers her friends up when they’ve had a bad day, she doesn’t gossip and she doesn’t care what others think.  “A lot of people didn’t really like [one of my friends], but I didn’t care.  I liked her, so who gives a shit?!” she says.  More people need to think like Pat.


“Dress up, it’ll make you feel special”

“Stay close to your family and call whenever you can” (this might’ve been a hint which I most definitely will be taking)

“Don’t rush.”

“Always pay for at least some of the meal when men take you out.  It’s only fair.  You can take care of your self, and you don’t need anyone else to feed you.”

“Don’t holler!  Most things aren’t worth fighting over.”

“Finish school and become whatever you want to be before settling down and getting married.”

“Don’t be jealous of people, be happy for them.”

“If you ever miss someone who has passed away, look up.”

And last but not least, something that is very important to my grandma… “it’s called ‘supper’, not ‘dinner'”

I hope that this post inspires you to get to know your grandparents a little better.  While writing this, I learned a lot about my grandma and got to spend a few quality hours with her.  I think that it also really made her day that I was so curious about her life and wanted her advice, so call up your grandma or grandpa and take them out to lunch.  You might learn something, and you’ll definitely have a great time.

– ♥ Alana

Here are some photos I took at my grandma’s that I think really capture what she is all about:


Grandma and her Mooney airplane

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Grandma is a little bit different than your typical “have you eaten” grandma.  Instead she offers me Oreos, but I’m not complainin’.
An old newspaper article showcasing my grandpa’s business building Duesenberg IIs.

Someday: My Travel Bucket List

I’ve been very fortunate in my childhood and early adulthood to have been given so many opportunities to see the world.  However, like most good things, that has just left me wanting more.  I constantly find myself dreaming of traveling to places far and wide.  Below is a list of my dream destinations as well as what I’ve found during my day dreaming travel research sessions.

Antelope Canyon – Page, AZ


A photographers dream, Antelope Canyon is a canyon located on Navajo land in AZ.  It was formed by the rushing of water through the stone.  By definition, slot canyons are much deeper than they are wide, making for stunning views and a humbling experience.

There are actually two canyons at Antelope Canyon, the lower canyon and upper canyon.  All of the sites I’ve looked at have recommended the Lower Antelope Canyon.  The underground canyon only allows groups of 10 people in at once with 15 minutes in between each group which leads to a much less crowded viewing experience.  Also, since the lower canyon is underground, it is much cooler in the Arizona heat.  Because of this, it is recommended to visit during late summer in the early morning to beat the crowds.

Nearby Antelope Canyon are several other beautiful natural sites such as Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, and Lone Rock Beach.  This area is also very camper friendly, making for an Instagram-worthy, adventurous getaway!

Cape Cod, MA


I’ve always loved the vibe of the east coast.  So of course, I would love to visit the most typical east coast destination: Cape Cod.

Of course, anytime you’re on the eastern seaboard, you must eat affordable, fresh, delicious lobster.  However, Cape Cod’s chamber of commerce also recommends a top rated pizza place, and I can never turn down a good pizza.

Not only is the cape a beautiful setting with amazing shops, food and beaches, but it is also rich with history.  This area was the original settlement of the Wampanoag Native Americans and nearby the landing place of the Pilgrims.  Of course, the museums in the area are a must-see.

If Cape Cod isn’t enough, it is only a short 1 hour drive from Boston, a beautiful 1 1/2 hour coastal drive to Provincetown, and a 2 hour ferry ride to Nantucket.

Barcelona, Spain


If I’m being completely honest, I first wanted to go to Barcelona as soon as the Cheetah Girls did, but the more I research it, the more I yearn to go.  My favorite thing to see in new places is hands down architecture, and Barcelona has some of the best such as the Sagrada Família.

However, even if architecture isn’t your thing, there is still plenty to see and do such as seeing the Flamenco Show and experiencing the native dance, food, music and wine all at one at the Palacio del Flamenco in the heart of the city.  Another fascinating attraction I’ve decided I must see are medieval villages just outside of the city.  These villages are pristinely preserved on the water and small-group tours by boat are available!

San Francisco and San Diego, CA


If you grew up in the 1990s or 2000s, you know it is impossible to see that photo and not hear “Every where you look…” and the rest of the Full House theme song play through your head instantly.

Actually, though, I’m not going to write much on San Fran/San Diego now because I will be posting an in depth blog post (or 2 or 3) during my trip there from June 2nd to the 10th!  Hopefully I’ll meet my Jesse Katsopolis while I’m there (swoon).

Seattle, WA


Another dream travel destination inspired by one of my favorite TV shows, Grey’s Anatomy.  Although there is no actual Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital to visit, Seattle does have so much to offer such as the birthplace of Starbucks, the famous Pike Place Market (pictured above) and the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) which looks like a smashed guitar from the outside and has everything you’d ever want to know about American culture on the inside.

The Chihuly Garden and Glass museum is sure to be stunning.  I was able to visit a Chihuly exhibit at the botanical gardens in Dallas, TX.  Dale Chihuly, the artist, is a Seattle native.  And if you aren’t able to see everything individually, you can always view it all from the sky in the Seattle Great Wheel or the Space Needle.

Of course, above all else, I must take a ride on the Washington State Ferries across Puget Sound in honor of Dr. McDreamy, may he rest in peace.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Ever since watching a video in high school Spanish, I’ve wanted to go to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival.  However, even if I don’t go during Carnival, my research tells me that the city is bound to be amazing.  The streets are lively and filled with the sounds of samba, funk and hip-hop, and the beaches are tropical and relaxing.

Plus, being in the southern hemisphere, Brazil’s summer months are opposite of ours, so Rio is the perfect winter destination to escape from the long Wisconsin winters.

London, England


London has always seemed like a very unique place to me.  It is full of regal history and urban culture all at once.  It is a hub of music, fashion and art culture, and it is the beginnings of American history.

I’ve always wanted to visit during the fall because something about walking around London in booties and a peacoat jacket seems super chic.

Of course, I want to see the typical sights: Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, a guard who cannot smile, etc.  However, some out-of-the-norm options really intrigue me as well, such as the Borough Market, which offers more than 100 market and street food options, and the Camden Vintage Market which brings together vintage clothing vendors as well as food and live music and DJS.



Who doesn’t want to see the most vivid Northern Lights dance around the sky?!

Reykjavik offers beautifully colorful architecture, creative people who supply the cities with countless art exhibits, and supposedly wild nightlife below the northern lights.

Only 40 minutes down the road is the stunning blue lagoon.  The vibrant blue hot springs is said to have spa-like affects on the skin, and BONUS, everything around the lagoon powered naturally by the geothermal seawater!



There are so many enchanting destinations in Thailand.  First, Chiang Rai is home to so much Thai culture.  The churches are built extremely intricately, and you can soak in the architecture all set in front of the beautiful Phi Pan Nam Mountains.  Just south of Chiang Rai is Chiang Mai which offers a greener setting than Chiang Rai.  Chiang Mai is known for being home to some of Thailand’s most beautiful temples, however those ancient architectural gems are mixed into the modern city that is Chiang Mai.  Scattered between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai is rainforest, sprinkled with gorgeous waterfalls and elephant sanctuaries!

Of course you can’t travel to Thailand without checking out Bangkok.  The city is known for its colorful street markets and wild nightlife.  For me, the most exciting part of it all is the delicious food readily available to those walking around and taking in the views.



Chile is an interesting country with a wide array of landscapes.  In the south, you will find snowy mountains perfect for skiing, and in the north there are volcanoes, lush greenery and desserts.  Almost half of the country is coastline!

One thing I for sure have to see before I die is Los Pinguinos Natural Monument which is located on Magdalena Island.  It is home to more than 120,000 Magellanic Penguins from September to March every year.

Valparaíso is a lesser known Chliean city located on the coastline in the middle of the country.  It is known for its brightly colored Mediterranean style houses that line green, rocky hillsides.  The city also has mazes on cobblestone alleyways that hold all kinds of cultural treasures.

Other noteworthy sites to see in Chile are the San Rafael Glacier, the Chilean Fjords, Santiago, and of course Easter Island!

Marrakesh, Morocco


The beautiful tile sided buildings and painted woodwork of Marrakesh bring color to the desert in Morocco.

There are street markets that twist through the city for miles, mosques that hum with prayer of the extremely faithful locals and the North African spices are sure to dazzle your tastebuds!

If all of that aren’t enough, once you venture from the heart of the city, you can ride camels through the desert and soak in the sun washed landscape.

I personally have always loved Moroccan style and colors.  I’ve always dreamed of having a Moroccan rug in my future home.



My family’s heritage is mostly German, so I’ve always wanted to visit.  Of course, ideally I’d love to go during Oktoberfest to enjoy a German brew and an authentic brat with sauerkraut.

I’ve also always found the holocaust to tragically interesting.  It would be a true experience to see the country in which it all started.

Also on my list to see someday…

  1. Singapore
  2. Egypt
  3. Toronto, Canada
  4. Bora Bora
  5. Australia
  6. Zanzibar
  7. Marfa, TX
  8. Switzerland
  9. Agra, India


All photos in this post are provided by Pexels

Push for Progress

Hello, everybody!

It is March 8th, International Women’s Day!

If you don’t know what Women’s Day is, you can find a complete history of the day here.  Today is a celebration of women around the world and, more importantly, a day to shed light on topics that affect over half of the world’s population: girls.

This year’s theme is Push for Progress.  Women around the world are pushing for gender equality when it comes to wages and education and simply pushing to feel safe in our work places, homes and on our streets.  You can become a part of the Push for Progress movement in about 15 seconds here.

I’ve always been a big believer in girl power.  I grew up surrounded by strong female role models.  (I was raised by a single mother who is a master sergeant in the Wisconsin National guard and has put in over 20 years of service.  I also have four older sisters and 9 aunts who I’ve always strived to be like.)  The thought that I was limited based on my gender never occurred to me.  I remember being shocked and frankly confused the first time I heard that women were not being compensated at the same level as men or that in some countries education was seen as a privilege that girls often do not enjoy.

However, as I’ve gotten older I have seen some of the downfalls of being a women in today’s society first hand.  For example, when I went to the doctor about my Endometriosis, I had to go to 5 doctors before I could find one that would even listen to me.  One doctor even sent me to counseling and told me that my pain was purely emotional without even touching me or doing a single test.  I pushed against the doctors that wouldn’t listen to me because I am a young girl until I found someone who would listen and treat me.  Of course this is nothing but a drop in the bucket compared to what other girls go through every single day.

I am proud to be female.  Women do great things every day.  Mothers (and fathers) and teachers across the globe raise the future citizens of our world to dream and achieve their goals no matter their gender, race, religion, social class or sexual identity.  Young women like Parkland High School student, Emma Gonzalez, are leading the way to end gun violence in our schools.  Women in Hollywood are getting bigger roles in popular movies, shifting the way we perceive women in the media.  Women all over the world are doing their parts to instill body positive thoughts in our youth.  Slowly but surely women are getting the chances to serve powerful roles in government, science, philanthropy and industry.

I hope you are inspired today to push against whatever is holding you back and strive to achieve your goals no matter your setbacks.  Also, I hope that today you are proud to be a woman.

– ♥ Alana

Lastly, here are some of my favorite quotes on the topic of International Women’s Day:

“I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” ―Malala Yousafzai

“Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” —G.D. Anderson

“When a man gives his opinion, he’s a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she’s a bitch.”―Bette Davis

“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.” ―Gloria Steinem

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” —Audre Lorde

“I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story–I will.” —Amy Schumer

And here are some wise words from everyone’s favorite feminist, Leslie Knope:



Hey Everyone!

Welcome back!  I’ve missed writing so much, so I decided to restart my blog.  However, I had to make it over just a bit, so Alana Abroad is now All Things Alana!  All of the posts from Alana Abroad can now be found under the travel tab!

If you’re new to the blog, nice to meet you!  I’m Alana, a 20 year old third year college student at Winona State University in Minnesota.  I’m originally from small town Wisconsin and that is where my heart remains, although my brain is usually wandering around the world during long lectures.  I am majoring in Elementary Education and Middle School Math, and I hope to shape the lives of little ones someday soon.  Outside of school, my passions are for fashion, beauty, travel, family and friends and anywhere that I can express myself creatively!

Thank you for being apart of my journey!  You can expect a new post very soon!  Tell me a little bit about you and your passions!

– ♥ Alana