Dreamy Spring Dresses

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1. Angel Lace Dress  2. Into You Slip Dress   3. Embroidered Austin Dress  4. Layered Sandstone Maxi  5. Fringe-Striped Shift  6. Juliet Eyelet Dress  7. Joclyn Smocked Bodice Midi Dress  8. Amethyst Pintucked Frock Dress  9. Knot Front Ribbed Mini Dress

Literally can’t believe that it’s already March! This year is already flying by. The weather here in Austin is starting to get really nice and that leaves me needing to shop for some new clothes! When I think of spring I think of dresses for some reason, anyone else? And I LOVED all of these. Just some ideas, still browsing.

Oh before I go. I’m starting a Newsletter list for the blog! It’ll be updates here and there when anything big comes up, I’ll try to not bombard your inbox but I’d love for you to sign-up  🙂  click here –> * Sincerely Samanda Newsletter Sign-up *

Sincerely,
Amanda

Tuesday Time-Out

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Thanks for following along, I really appreciate the love, support, shares and comments I get from you! I’m taking a brain break today 🙂 Hope you all have an amazing Tuesday and a HAPPY MARCH FIRST! What goals are you working toward today? Or toward this month?? So happy it’s March! If you missed my post about things to do in Austin this March you can find it here. Don’t forget to comment about your goals! One of mine this month is to learn how to work smarter when it comes to blogging so that I have time to let my brain rest! Any tips?

Sincerely,
Amanda

What to do when you hit that don’t give a flip phase

 

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Me circa like 2006 or 2007. I don’t know how I didn’t care that my hair looked so crazy, so I’m gonna say maybe I was coming from soccer practice or something and was running late (or that I just didn’t care)…I do distinctly remember the lady at ACC who was taking my picture asking if I wanted to do something about my hair first and I remember acting like I had no idea what she was talking about…haha. 

You know that phase you go through when it’s easier to not work out? To not put any thought or time into putting together an outfit. To not really do your hair at all, or actually ever. BUT, it’s okay because you just don’t give a flip! Who cares. Life goes on, right?Welcome to my life every few months. I find motivation, then I lose it. And sometimes I just don’t really care.

It’s kind of like that point in your life when you were single but weren’t really looking for anyone and it was pure freedom to look unkempt and be okay with it. You know what I mean? Roll out of bed with your hair a mess, sweats and an oversized t-shirt, and you probably haven’t shaved your legs in months and you’re eating pizza every night kind of stuff. Well, you totally reach that point in marriage too! Suddenly you’ve reached this level of comfort that would have had each other running in the opposite direction if you were just dating. And no lie, it’s kind of a fun place to be. It’s accepting and comfortable and like I said, fun. I’ll spare you the fun details BUT just as I did in my single days, even in my married days I always hit a point where I realize it’s time to work on myself a little bit!

If you’re at that point (I’m right there with you!), I’m sharing tips to help you get that oomph back! 🙂

  • Get up early. Ease into it if you need to, but trust me, once you get into the swing of it, it becomes eaasy. This way you have extra time (for a quiet time, time to reflect, time to plan, time to just be and rest and enjoy coffee) before whatever you need to tackle that day.
  • Make your bed! It makes a difference, trust me. I mean I know this tip is in every self help book out there, but I think it works! It gives you that same feeling and satisfaction that you get from cleaning your entire house and then being able to enjoy it that way. It sets the atmosphere of your day!
  • Fit in a morning work out. Make yourself go, as much as you want to skip it, just keep forcing yourself to get through it until it becomes something you enjoy. I don’t know what it is about morning work outs but they are SO much better than evening workouts. They completely set the tone for the whole day. You feel good, you have more energy and your evening feels free.
  • Fix your hair! For me that means curling my hair. I used to use my curling wand to give myself nice curls/waves almost every day! Granted there are other ways to fix your hair without doing it so much damage, but fix it in a way that you love, that looks nice! I heard this quote once from a lady I really admire, she said, “if someone hasn’t complemented your hair in two weeks then it’s time to change it!”
  • Put on an outfit you love. Putting on some actual clothes helps you feel more put together!
  • Put some make-up on. This one always helps me because unless I’m at the beach where my face is constantly getting sun and sea salt, my skin is discolored and has lots of acne scars! Now, I still don’t mind going make-up less (plus it helps my skin breathe!) but it’s nice to remember what you look like all fixed up sometimes!
  • Fix your nails! I bite mine to no end…but I’ve found that when I put the time into painting them I usually take better care of my nails and let them grow out! Plus just like putting on actual clothes, it does kind of make a difference in feeling more put together.
  • Eat good for you stuff! I’m not saying completely change your diet. Moderation is always key but work in more of the things you know will make you feel good. Like green juice, raw veggies and fruits!
  • Drink lots of lemon water!! There are so many benefits of consuming lemon: it’s good for digestion, good for skin, energy boosting, etc. Same with getting enough water! It helps flush your body of toxins and keeps things functioning properly! You’ll feel better with this one, for sure!
  • Have a date night or go out for a girls night! Get all glammed up and go have fun with the people you love. Being around people you love is confidence boosting, lowers stress levels and helps your body produce endorphins (because chances are you’ll laugh at some point) which lead to an overall sense of well-being!

And always remember, you rock!

Sincerely,
Amanda

Date Night Ideas for Couples Working with a Budget

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Sam and I went on a date the other night to see Deadpool – that Marvel movie starring Ryan Reynolds (I don’t recommend it by the way! I couldn’t believe that it was a Marvel movie. Too raunchy and twisted for my taste…definitely not a movie kids should go to either!) – luckily every Tuesday the theater by our house does $5 movie night and it got me thinking about dates we have done and love doing that typically aren’t that much money. Dinner at a trendy restaurant is fun and all…but those kind of dates can add up quick $$$….

Here are 11 date night ideas that are a little bit more friendly on the wallet:

  • Explore your city! Austin is filled with fun (and sometimes really weird – see below) murals and I love finding them and taking pictures! Go on a photo scavenger hunt, discover new little parks, or areas you had never been/seen before.

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AS-engaged-008both photo’s by: All Heart Photography
  • Go on a hike! A great way to get in some physical activity and good conversation.

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  • Try making a new recipe together for dinner! Turn on some Frank Sinatra, pour you both some Owner’s Box Cab and get cookin!

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  • Go to a minor league baseball game in your area and make a bet on the winning team. I know lawn seats to watch a game are cheap for the Round Rock Express.

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  • Go out dancing! You can pay $8 at the famous Broken Spoke Dance Hall and get an hour of two stepping and western swing dance lessons! And then stay after the lesson and keep dancing!

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  • Go to a concert or play in the park if they have those in your city. I know Austin always has free performances at Zilker Hillside Theater and free music at Blues on the Green. Bonus – you can pack a picnic!

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  • Go to a museum! Blanton Museum of Art is free on Tuesdays! A lot of museums offer reduced prices/free days.

 

  • Listen to a good podcast together. I talked about Serial in a couple previous posts, the podcast Sam and I have been listening to together! It’s nice because you can pause it and then talk about it together.

 

  • Have a marathon of your favorite show on Netflix or Hulu. Get cozy in your PJ’s, pop some corn, and cuddle up next to each other. Don’t just do it, make it an experience!

 

  • Sit on your back porch/patio/lawn with a glass of wine and a blanket and watch the sunset or look at the stars.

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  • Go to a coffee shop and play a board game. And don’t let your hubby/boyfriend outsmart you at checkers over and over and over again like me lol.

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Any others you’d add to the list? Hope you enjoy and happy date night-ing!

Sincerely,
Amanda

 

The Art of Packing a Weekend Getaway Bag

 

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This can be soo hard. Especially for us ladies, am I right?? I know for me, I always start out with a few things and then by the time I’m done packing I’ve convinced myself that I need two bags full of stuff that I probably won’t wear. Because I normally stick to my favorite shirts/outfits and outwear them anyway. Sometimes I’ve even been totally okay with wearing my favorite outfit two days in a row…we’ve all had those outfits that we just didn’t want to take off! Or is it just me?

BUT I’ve gotten a lot better at the whole overpacking thing. Very slowly (minus the fact that I always bring three bags because –> camera bag and backpack with my macbook and any books I want to read). Basically you have to be okay with minimalizing instead of packing like every day could possibly be a fashion show.

Here are a few questions that help me pack the perfect small getaway <clothes, shoes & toiletries> bag::

  • What do I absolutely NEED at my destination? Essentially am I dressing for warm/cold weather?
  • What can I wear that goes with the one or two pairs of shoes that I’m going to bring? That’s it. Limit yourself to one or two pairs of shoes and go from there. Don’t fall into the shoe trap!
  • How many days will I be there? Is this a two, three or four day long weekend trip and will I be able to wash clothes at my destination? I’ve found that aiming to wear the same thing there and back for travel days helps to eliminate an extra outfit! Then I pack one outfit for each day, one pair of unders and socks for each day, but only one set of pajamas for the entire trip. I don’t think this is gross, but if you do, you can always wash them there! The thing about packing small is that it makes doing laundry a lot easier too! Pop whatever id dirty in on speedwash/speeddry and it doesn’t take too much time while on vacay.
  • Do I want to bring toiletries/buy extra toiletries there/will they be providing toiletries?I keep my toiletries light. Just the essentials because I normally don’t feel like buying extra shampoo, conditioner & body wash while we are there. Besides those things: a razor, face wash. And only the make-up I know I use regularly, every day. Foundation, Bronzer, blush, lipstick, tinted eyebrow gel, eyeliner and mascara. My everyday look.. Unless you feel like carting along a big caboodle, I just don’t see the point. Especially when I’m going somewhere tropical…I don’t like wearing much make-up anyway!
  • Is there anything I packed that i can take out? Look over your bag one last time once it’s packed and if there’s anything that you know you packed as a ‘just in case’, take it out!

Voila! The perfect weekend getaway bag!

Happy Travels!

Sincerely,
Amanda

 

 

Quick, Easy, & Healthy Protein Pancakes

  

 

Quick, Easy, & Healthy Protein Pancakes

These Quick, Easy, & Healthy Protein Pancakes are a lot easier to make than I thought they would be! Here’s how to make them. There are a lot of different versions and ways you can make protein pancakes, but I tried to keep these as simple as possible so that you could most likely make them if you were running low on ingredients or hadn’t made your weekly/bi-weekly grocery store run.

Protein Pancakes

  • 2 scoops of protein. (I used Quest’s peanut butter flavor)
  • 2 eggs
  • a pinch of baking powder
  • a generous sprinkle of cinnamon
  • a dash of vanilla extract
  • about 1/4 cup of almond milk (or your choice of milk…I just eyeballed it, so you don’t necessarily need to measure it out, just a quick pour)

Directions

  • preheat buttered skillet on medium
  • mix above ingredients together really well (using quest protein the mixture was very thick, so it’s okay if it doesn’t seem like regular pancake batter)
  • scoop amount of batter to form the size pancake you want and quickly mold the batter into a pancake shape. Let cook 30-45 seconds per side. Remove.
  • Topping Ideas: berries and whip cream, lite pancake syrup, nutella, peanut butter or toppings of choice!

Hope you enjoy!!

Sincerely,
Amanda

Cute Centerpieces that Double as Party Favors

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I had a lot of fun making these succulent centerpieces for my wedding!! But I think they would make cute centerpieces for any occasion. I knew I wanted my color scheme to be greens, blues, teals, and aquas and I thought that it would go perfect with succulents, and it did! I wanted to keep things pretty simple but the awesome thing about these was getting to create each pot with different paint colors and different size/shape succulents so that the final product was super creative and cute! Thanks to my mom for helping me with all 26 of them 🙂

I found my standard clay pots at home depot. As well as the variety of succulents that we used. And then I bought my different shades of acrylic paint at Hobby Lobby. Didn’t glaze them or anything either because I didn’t want them to be shiny…

Another exciting part about these was that we had families take one home at the end of all the festivities! A year later I still had people telling me that their succulent from my wedding was still alive and was super cute. I’d like to say the same about the one Sam and I kept, but a deer got onto our porch and ate it! Haha…anyway these are super easy to make and super fun.

Hope you like them or found some inspo!

Sincerely,
Amanda

Travel Inspo

Already ready for the next adventure! We had such a good trip to NM… I’ll have a post on the trip in a day or so!

I feel like a lot of times it can be easy to get overwhelmed by our lifestyle that is constantly on the go and all the hard work that it takes to maintain it…but when I stop to think about our life I feel really grateful. Our life is actually really crazy but it’s so much fun! From things not going the way we thought they would, to constantly problem solving, to losing passports and getting a replacement the day before a big trip, to being human and having those crabby days, to managing and cleaning Air Bnb rentals and jumping from house to house. Our life is constantly changing. But that is life and that is our life. And it’s so good!

I’m grateful for my husband, who though he matches me in the forgetfulness factor from time to time :P, is so smart and so hard working and is such a wonderful person to go through life with. There are always things that are going to come up in life that make circumstances more difficult, but having him to grow with through it all makes it all so much sweeter.

Anyway all this to say, life is such an adventure in and of itself. Whether at home or somewhere on vacation. But I can’t wait for our next vacation 😉

Sincerely,
Amanda

 

Road Trip 

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Sam, the fam and I are headed back home today from a great weekend getaway to Ruidoso, NM.

The drive will be about nine hours! Which sounds kind of long but it goes by pretty fast. Thanks to Sam for being awesome and driving the entire way to NM…I mean I said I would drive but he was just so good at it.

I’m hoping the way home wont seem too long. It always seems faster on the way to vacation than the way home, but, Sam and I started listening to this podcast called Serial (season one) on the way to NM that we still need to finish. It’s a true story and murder mystery investigation and it’s obviously a sad story but pretty intriguing. We spent the whole car ride talking about what we thought happened and before we knew it we were there!

I also packed a good assortment of road trip snacks to keep us from stopping too often and too distract us from the long drive and here’s what I brought: Krave Sweet Chipotle Beef Jerky, 479 Asiago, Parmesan & Cheddar Popcorn, Snapea Crisps, Dove Dark Chocolate and Dang Caramel Sea Salt Coconut Chips! Tried to keep it somewhat healthy and light and they are all delicious! I especially love the snapea crisps and the coconut chips! Of course on the way home we are loaded up with valentines day chocolates, which I’m not mad about!

What are your favorite road trip snacks??

Hope everyone has a great Monday!

Sincerely,
Amanda

Chicken Pesto Spaghetti Squash

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Maybe you missed my previous spaghetti squash (w/turkey meatballs) post, but here’s the story: I’ve been loving spaghetti squash lately. I feel like it’s such a great way to put a healthier spin on one of my favorite things: Italian food (I’d go to Buca di Beppo once a week if I could)! So this week I tried a chicken and pesto parm version and I think it was a lot more fun than the regular spaghetti version. But try it for yourself and let me know what you think!! 🙂

I cut these length ways instead of in half like I did in my previous post which made them perfect little spaghetti squash bowls!

Ingredients:

  • 2 small spaghetti squash
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 red onion (diced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • basil pesto (I used 1 full 6.25 oz. jar)
  • parmesan cheese – grated
  • italian parsley
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash length ways, coat with olive oil, sprinkle with a healthy dose of salt and pepper and then lay face down on a baking sheet. Bake for 45-55 minutes. When done, face upward and let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Cube two chicken breasts, heat 1tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet and cook the chicken until done. Sprinkle/pour on salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste while cooking.
  • Remove the chicken and place in a big bowl. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and sautee the diced onions and bell pepper. The onions take a couple minutes longer than the bell pepper, so add the bell pepper 2-3 minutes after the onion. Cook for a total of 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the diced onion and bell pepper into the bowl along with chicken. Add the spaghetti squash noodles from all four halves. Add the jar of pesto. Mix all together to make sure the pesto gets on everything and that the onion and bell pepper are spread throughout the noodles.
  • Divide the pasta back into the spaghetti squash skins and serve with whatever sides you like! I like to serve it along with a side salad and garlic bread 🙂

I’m hoping that all this healthy eating will have me ready for the slopes on Saturday. We road trip to New Mexico tomorrow and I CANT WAIT. Sam and I usually try and go on a boarding trip at least once a year but this year we went with Costa Rica instead because I didn’t think I’d be able to make it to Colorado at the time. Which I’m not complaining about AT ALL. Like I said in this post, I LOVE the beach. But I am excited about brushing up on my snowboarding skills! Can’t get enough of traveling lately… Hope you enjoy this recipe! Happy Thursday!

Sincerely,
Amanda