January might be a rough collection of too-long Mondays and too-short weekends, but we’ve all survived that, haven’t we? Now that we’re only a few sleeps away from Valentine’s Day, we can really smell the love in the air! Stylinity tracked down the 3 most loving couples (#couplegoals, am I right?) we know, at different stages of their lives and relationships, and get them to spill their secrets. Everything from keeping the spark alive to spicing up their relationship, keeping your partner happy to managing a small family - dive into the love with us!
#1: HERE’S TO FOREVER AND ALWAYS, ASHLEY AND BRENNAN
ASHLEY AND BRENNAN
Give us the most interesting introduction about yourself - tell us more about who you are and a little about what you do on and off the internet!
My name is Ashley and I am a full-time blogger living in Marina Del Rey with my fiance, Brennan! I'm a Southern California native and have been in LA for about 4 years now. I've always maintained a job in the fashion industry; I started in brand sales and then quickly realized my passions were more heavily on the marketing side of things. I went full time with my blog last year in June after 5 years of balancing it with my full time jobs, and I've never been happier!
How is it like working with your partner, Brennan, on your blog and Instagram? How do the both of you find a balance between working and life?
It's honestly a dream! Brennan was my biggest supporter when it came time to quit my corporate job to take the blog full time, and his support has only grown since. He has his own full-time job, however on his days off and when we travel, he is the one behind the camera! He's also on-board with having his own fashion Instagram
I do struggle with turning off work since my job is pretty much 24/7, but the way we find balance is by combining jobs with play! We just went on a 2-weeks long road trip where I was able to work from the road, but we only shot for an hour or less every few days. Once we "got the shot" and went through a few outfits, I shut it off and we explored the new cities we were in. It's basically a win-win! I get my work done, and we get to travel together at the same time
Congrats on your engagement! How is the wedding planning going? What role does Brennan play in the planning? We know the guys tend to stay out of us girls’ way when it comes to wedding planning!
Thank you! It's truly such an exciting time. We FINALLY found our venue and set a date, so now the fun is about to begin! Brennan has played a big role in the venue; he's gone to every site visit with me and has sat down to go over pro's and con's of each. It's so important to me that his vision of the wedding is also coming to life because it's his day too - I never want him to think I'm overruling any decision. He's always open to talking about the small details, which helps me a lot. I also told him he's in charge of DJ because he's the one who's always making the playlists we listen to!
What is your favorite time of the day with Brennan? Mornings! We love to have breakfast and coffee together before he leaves the house, and on his days off we love going to new coffee shops around our house.
What’s the sweetest love note you’ve written to each other? It's kind of a tie… Brennan is always surprising me with sweet things; he leaves little notes sometimes for me to find that are so sweet and simple (Have a great Friday love), but they fill my heart! Also, he asked me to be his girlfriend through my birthday card! I didn't really catch on at first, but after he pointed it out, it not only makes me laugh to think about, but is such a sweet memory
I’m sure that you guys have certain V-day traditions, having been together for 3 years! Since you’re engaged, are there any new traditions that you plan to start together?
Brennan has always been SO good at V-day surprises! He's always had to work, but every year he has successfully pulled off some sort of surprise I wasn't expecting at all. Since we are planning a wedding, I wouldn't be opposed to getting dressed up for a fancy dinner in our apartment, but we'll see! He loves going out to eat, so we may be headed out to date night We'll see what he has up his sleeve!
Want more of Ashley and Brennan? Check out Ashley’s Instagram and blog!
Also going on a date night with the love of your life? Be prepared with my favorites
Crystal Heel Ankle Strap Sandals
ASOS DESIGN high waist midi skirt with tie at asos.com
The Jetset Diaries Frangapani Strappy Evening Dress at asos.com
Floral Print Maxi Dress
Striped High-Low Dress
Ruffle-Trim Mini Dress
Pointed Toe Mules
ASOS DESIGN wrap top with plunge twist front in plisse with long sleeve at asos.com
ASOS DESIGN pleated midi skirt at asos.com
Striped Midi Dress
ASOS DESIGN angel sleeve top with plunge twist front in silver metallic plisse at asos.com
Cupid Peep Toe Ankle Strap Sandals
ASOS DESIGN lace long sleeve midi pencil dress at asos.com
Just recently engaged, Ashley and Brennan are a couple living in Los Angeles. Their love story is one about mutual support, team work, and a whole lot of play. Let them share more about how to balance work and play when it comes to Ashley’s blogging career, and their life together!
#2: 12 YEARS OF WONDER, JANISE AND GABRIEL
JANISE AND GABRIEL
Give us an introduction to your lovely family - how did you meet Gabriel? How long have the both of you been together?
My name is Janise Burrafato and I am a full-time working mom during the day and moonlight as a blogger at Mama in Heels. I live in Los Angeles, California with my husband, Gabriel and our 7 year old twin boys. I met Gabriel 12 years ago while vacationing with my girl friends in the Mediterranean Sea. I was on a cruise ship as a passenger and Gabriel was one of the feature singers for the inaugural ship. It wasn’t love at first sight for me because I was definitely not looking at the time, although I thought he was very cute. When I met up with Gabriel again on my second trip, I knew he was the one. We got married less than 3 years later and then our twin boys joined us a year after that.
How did you guys decide on the names for your sons?
We already had the names for our daughter(s) before the twins were conceived. We thought we were having girls during the first month when we found out we were pregnant. It was until a month later that we were having two boys instead. We came up with the names based on their personality while they were growing in my tummy. We chose Alexander after Alexander the Great and Dante after Dante Alighieri, the famous Italian poet.
What is it like balancing two hustles (a 9 to 5 job + being an influencer) together with family duties and maintaining the household?
It is definitely not easy. Just like most working moms, my 9 to 5 job is very demanding. Luckily, my job is only 15 minutes away from my home so the commute is not stressful at all. I didn’t plan on becoming an influencer. I just wanted to share my struggles and happiness of a full-time working mom of twin boys but along the way a lot of women shared my sentiments.
I don’t work on my blog until the weekends and/or at night during the week after the kids are in bed, so that’s usually after 9:30pm. My posts are usually done during the weekends and I proof read and do some editorial cleaning before I schedule them to go live the next day. Once a month I work with my photographer for photoshoots and that’s usually an hour or so each time.
He definitely does. I always joke that the kids are made of us half and half, so we should split the tasks half and half Luckily he works from home so there is much flexibility there. He takes them to school and picks them up every day, then takes them to their Taekwondo class twice a week at night. I cook and prep dinner every night, and help the twins with their homework. I chauffeur them to their Chinese School every Saturday morning and we don’t get home until noon.
Do you have any tips and tricks for parents on this delicate balancing act?
What works for us is that we set our expectations and accountability from the get go. I think it’s also important to acknowledge your partner when they do little things for you, and to let them know how much you appreciate them. Gabriel does a lot of little things for me so that I don’t have to scramble to get things done last minute, which he knows is one of my pet peeves. For example, he will fill up my gas tank if it’s empty and make sure the dishes are in the dishwasher so that I have a clean area to cook every night.
How do you and Gabriel find time for each other in the midst of busy lives?
We do a lot of things together as a family. I don’t think we have anytime for each other, honestly. It’s hard to squeeze in an adult conversation when your little ones require your attention 24/7. On the weekends, however, we spend about an hour together while having our afternoon tea to talk about our goals, our finances, and other things.
Do you guys plan regular date nights?
We try to have date nights once a month. We are very blessed that we have family who can help us with babysitting whenever we need the help.
Quick-fire questions! Favorite thing about Gabriel? His sense of humor and his confidence.
Who usually plays the good cop and who plays the bad cop? We both play the good cop and the bad cop. When we decided to get pregnant, that was one of the things we discussed about. We want our kids to feel that we are working together as a team and want to support their best interests. The last thing we want is to divide the family and have our kids choose sides.
Who plans the family vacations? We both do since we both love to travel. We both decide where to go and what to see, but I take care of the administrative stuff from ordering the tickets to booking our hotels.
You’ve known each other for 12 years (that’s super long!) - how do you keep things spiced up?
I’m not sure if we have done anything to spice things up but we both agree that the reason we are still together is because we want to be together, and not because we have to be together. I think with that mentality we subconsciously do our best to impress each other and be proud of one another.
Do you have any special advice for other couples on what they can do this Valentine’s Day?
I don’t think you need to spend a lot of money to have a good time with each other. I love surprises so in the past Gabriel had surprised me by taking me for a hike and then picnic once we reached our destination.
Want to find out more about the Burrafatos and their globe-trotting adventures? Check out Janise’s Instagram and blog!
How about a super romantic surprise picnic for your significant other? Shop my recs
HULA Ring Sandals - Sandals - Shoes
HIPPIE Flat Sandals
Celebrate Summer Together Lemon Slice Turkish Cotton Beach Towel
Celebrate Summer Together Watermelon Turkish Cotton Beach Towel
Picnic Halter Top - Shop All Sale - Sale
Picnic Time Canasta Picnic Basket
Picnic Time® 8pc Catalina Picnic Basket
Picnic Time Striped Patio Umbrella
Ribbed Striped Jumpsuit
Broderie Knot Front Crop Top - Shirts & Blouses - Clothing
ASOS DESIGN woven stripe frill beach sarong two-piece skirt at asos.com
ASOS DESIGN lace up front beach maxi dress in stripe palm print at asos.com
Bloom Jacquard Skirt
Grid Print Cami Dress
Floral Flounce Maxi Dress
The Big One® Pink Chevron Beach Towel
Linum Home Textiles Patara Pestemal Beach Towel
ASOS DESIGN Petite chiffon flamenco floral stripe print beach bardot top two-piece at asos.com
Picnic Time Colorado 15-pc. Service for Two Insulated Picnic Backpack Set
Picnic Time Verona Wine and Cheese Basket - Adeline Collection
Picnic Time Toluca Insulated Picnic Cooler
Corduroy Button Bralet
TRINKET Slip On Trainers - Clothing
Picnic Time Collapsible Market Basket Tote
Tinsel Fluffy Bralet
PETITE Lace Camisole Top - Clothing
PETITE Black Joni Shorts - Clothing
12 years together! That’s almost a lifetime. Let’s hear Janise and Gabriel’s story that begins back in 2007, when I was still in grade school! Let them share more about their secrets to a successful relationship and marriage, and working together to manage a small family with two boys.
#3: DADS EXTRAORDINAIRE, TERRELL AND JARIUS
It can be really hard for queer couples to get any sort of guidance and support, especially since sexuality can be a sensitive issue. Let Terrell and Jarius share more about their love story, building their little family, and their tips for queer couples out there!
TERRELL AND JARIUS Give us the most interesting introduction about yourself -- tell us more about who you are and a little about what you do on Youtube and Instagram.
We are Terrell and Jarius, 26 years old married parents raising our two children in Atlanta. People are shocked at our story because we were able to successfully conceive children via surrogacy in our early twenties. Since sharing our story, we have quickly become public figures in the LGBTQ+ Community. We decided to share more of ourselves through our YouTube channel by showing others that you can have your happily ever after no matter the challenges you face. We promote love and self respect to all of our fans.
Congrats on your 2nd wedding anniversary! How is married life treating you so far? How has the addition of Aria and Ashton changed the dynamics of married life?
Thank you! Two years has literally flown by! Married life is amazing but it is no walk in the park. We have our good days and bad days, just as everyone else does. However, now we have a realization that we have made a commitment to one another before God to love each other through the bad days. That commitment is one that we respect and honor and that is what has allowed us to get through those tough times. The blessing in it all is that we genuinely are best friends before anything else, so it makes those not-so-fun times much more manageable.
What are some of the unique challenges that you guys had to face with coming out, or with your relationship? What about starting a family? Do you have any advice for young queer people or queer couples looking for guidance?
The biggest challenge we faced when we decided to come out was getting over our own fear of rejection. We were so afraid of people not liking us anymore or people not accepting us for who we truly were and that caused us to live for them and not ourselves. Our advice to younger people who are considering coming out would be to really assess your situation and be truthful with yourself. Come out on your own terms; not anyone else's. Live life for you and do what makes you happy.
What do you like best about each other? We fell in love all over again when we saw each other parent our kids individually. Our kids are everything to us and to watch the person you love most be an amazing parent is beautiful.
Let’s talk V-day - I bet you guys have some Valentine’s traditions from seven years of being together. Share more about your traditions and anything special you’ve planned for this year!
After being together for 7 years, we have found that we enjoy quality time together. Whether that's learning to cook a new meal together or trying a different adventure. As long as we are spending it with each other, that's all that matter.