Sincerely Samanda takes Vegas

I’m flying back home right now and leaving Sam in Vegas until Friday! Wahh ūüė¶ At least it’s only three days this time around. We’ve had such a good time together here in Vegas, check out some of what we did below ūüôā

After running to make our flight to get to Vegas we had just enough time to grab some Amy’s Ice Cream (Austin original that has now expanded to Houston&San Antonio and SO good).

When we got to Vegas it was two hours earlier and just in time for dinner, so we checked into the Polo Towers and then walked the strip to 800 Degrees Pizza. It’s like a subway for Pizza. You go down the line and choose the kind of crust you want, type of sauce and whatever toppings you fancy…kind of neat but not really my favorite pizza ever. Stay tuned later in the post for some of the best pizza we had in Vegas.This was the view from our room.

During the day while Sam was working I went shopping at The Miracle Mile shops! ¬†I took a picture of these high-waisted jeans from H&M because I really liked how they fit,¬†and I didn’t want to buy them that moment but I definitely want to pick some up maybe next payday? They were super cute with a little¬†crop top shirt…that amazingly didn’t show my stomach thanks to these pants. And actually I’m glad I waited because a lot of their high-waist pants are on SALE online!!

We just had to try some big drinks. We got burgers at Fuku Burger and a Blue Coconut drink. It was good and oh so sugary…but good!

So we got more at Fat Tuesday’s. I got Mango (which I think was the best), and Sam got Mai Tai.

I took another picture of this shirt at Urban Outfitters because I also want to buy it. I love things that fit really nice and flowy and cozy! Especially when I’ve been eating crap and my butt is five pounds heavier. But also this is a nice oversize transition piece for fall!

Last night we went with a couple of Sam’s co-workers to Old School Pizzeria! Sam and I ordered a large Classic Combo and some of their yummy lemonade. Their crust is all homemade without any preservatives and is super good! Sam had leftovers for days from the large, their portions are pretty awesome!

I couldn’t leave Vegas without us having a trip to Mt. Charleston. It’s such a nice drive and escape from the hustle and bustle of the city area. It’s plain beautiful! ¬†Everytime we go, I think, I could live in the mountains for sure! I really think I’d love it. But I think that everytime I’m at the beach too..

We ate some brunch at the restaurant The Mount Charleston Lodge. Their sourdough toast was the best part! Seriously, big fluffy toast with melted butter and jam…SO GOOD. And the views are great too.

I really wish I didn’t have to leave Sam ūüė¶ It’s SO NICE being able to escape with him to work sometimes because it turns into a little adventure and it’s always a good time. Back to work and finishing up bridal shower decor and fun stuff this week, which I’m SUPER excited about! I can’t wait to share everything in a post with you guys so stay tuned!! ūüôā

Sincerely, Amanda

Baby Fever vs. Travel Fever

Sam and I have arrived in Vegas!

For those of you who don’t know, Sam travels a lot for work, except the past THREE weeks he has been able to work at home and it’s been such a nice change. Almost a little bit normal for a while. But this weekend and next week he’s in Vegas working with the desert tortoises once again! So in an effort to tack on a few extra days together and have a little getaway I came with him for the weekend!

Yesterday after work I had to literally run out of the building to try to beat traffic, pick up Sam and make it to the airport in time for our flight, but we did it! I just felt a little bad for the people in close proximity to me on the plane because I know I wasn’t smelling my best! The man sitting next to us on the plane didn’t seem to mind, or maybe he noticed we were flustered and that’s why he asked if he could buy us “newlyweds” a drink? Haha. Either way, we thought it was super sweet. And we still think it’s funny to be called newlyweds. I mean I guess we are it just feels as though we’ve been married so much longer than just a little over a year. Not in a bad way. And I just kind of laugh because it feels like Sam and I have worked through so much in our first year of marriage that we have earned some kind of imaginary next title after newlywed. Like advanced newlyweds or something. We’ve passed Newlywed’s 101 and are on to 102.

Anyway, anyone else out there love hearing other people’s stories? Specifically about how they met their spouse? I love love stories and this guy had a great story. I won’t tell it all but he and his wife were engaged after only three months, now married 33 years and happy in love every day with two beautiful kids. It made me so excited about having kids and starting a family of our own.

But I think I get like this every time the weather starts to change and I think about the holidays (or see a cute little baby)…I think about having a big family of our own one day and I want to get started! But then I don’t…But then I see Amber Fillerup from the Barefoot Blonde with her cuuuuute family and I think…yes I do! She seriously has the cutest little baby boy ever and I think, I want a little me and Sam running around everywhere with us!! And I want to go to their soccer and football games and watch them grow up.

But then I think about the ease at which I was able to hop on a plane and travel with Sam for work…and I think we can wait a few more years. We have so many places we want to travel (at least I do) and I know it’s not impossible to do with kids, but it’s definitely more responsibility and more focus and energy is on the kids. It’s just funny because with how stressful teaching can be, I figured it would definitely suppress my feelings of wanting to have kids, but I think it’s made them stronger! Hahaha. Which is REALLY truly surprising.

Anyway…not sure what we will be up to while in Vegas. We kind of figure it out as we go when we’re here since Sam is working. We usually stay at the Aliante Casino and Hotel and do outdoorsy things but this time we are right on the strip at the Polo Towers and we are trying to decide what show we want to see, are planning on eating at Lotus of Siam (a recommendation from a friend who said it was the BEST Thai restaurant in Vegas), and walking/doing things around the strip. What things? Who knows! Maybe we’ll be a little adventurous and try one of those oversized souvenir drinks…LOL. You never know, but as our flight attendant said, “What happens in Vegas, ends up on FB and INSTA in five minutes”, so I’ll let you know!

Sincerely, Amanda


Trail Canyon Trail

We just arrived in Sausalito! We are staying in the most charming cottage chantey built into the mountainside overlooking the San Francisco Bay and Sam is passed out next to me from an active day yesterday, a late night and then an early wake up call! So I figured this would be a good time to blog. I cracked open the bottle of white wine that our air bnb hosts left for us and I’m giving it a whirl. I don’t normally drink(like) white wine, but since it’s here and we’re on vacation…I figure I’ll be a little adventurous ūüėČ it makes me wonder how many people think ‘oh not red wine‘ when they stay at our lake house…

Anyway Vegas was good. One of my favorite parts of going to Vegas with Sam is a trip to one of the all you can eat Sushi restuarants! Which also includes other dishes, sides, beer, sake and dessert! We all order different rolls and then share everything and keep going until we hit the point of needing to unbutton our pants. Americans at their finest… It really is a treat though! We hardly ever eat sushi in Austin because it can be pretty pricey! So I always look forward to it! We went to Sushi Tachi in North Las Vegas off on Centennial PKWY. Super yummy!  Yesterday on our last day, Sam didn’t have to work so we headed back to the mountains where it was a cool 80 degree, partly cloudy and windy day to escape the 111degree+ heat advisory weather in Vegas!

We went up a trail that we hadn’t yet done at Mt. Charleston, Trail Canyon Trail, a steep two miles up and two miles down. Since it was a Thursday we pretty much had the trail to ourselves and it was super peaceful and really beautiful with a great view at the top! I really recommend checking out Mt. Charleston if you find yourself in Vegas. It’s a nice little break from the neon lights and noisy slot machines and a great way to work off some of that alchy! Or those food buffets! Or that sushi. But really, it’s just a nice outdoor activity.      

 Okay, I’m gonna wake Sam up now! We’ve got some splorin to do.

Sincerely, Amanda

Mt. Charleston & North Vegas

Like I mentioned in the last post we’re in Vegas for the week! Sam is out here working and brought me along because we are going to San Fran from here to celebrate our one year anniversary on Friday!

We hopped on a plane early Sunday morning, landed in Vegas at 7am, got breakfast and then headed directly to Mt. Charleston for a hike up Cathedral Rock Trail. We were feeling ambitious? The hike was a steep 1.2 miles each way, which doesn’t seem too bad until you are huffing and puffing up it. But it’s a really good workout and the view is worth it. AND there are the cutest little chipmunks at the top that come to see if you have food…if you find a quiet place and sit down long enough to enjoy the view, they’ll come! Sam had sent me a video of one taking food directly out of his hand on one of his previous work trips and so I was excited to get to see them.



After the hike we went and ate lunch at the Mt. Charleston Ski Resort because the lodge at the bottom of the trail was crazy packed! I bet it’s good but we were starving. Anyway, I don’t like dogging on places but I wouldn’t recommend eating at the ski resort if you can fight the hunger pains and wait to eat at the lodge. The food was okay at the ski resort, but the service was so bad and they weren’t too friendly. Granted it looked like they were under construction and they were clearly way too under staffed.

Other than the food, it was super cool to see the ski resort! Sam has been boarding there a few times in the snowier months. How crazy is it that there is a mountain with a ski resort in the desert?! There was only a tiny little patch of snow at the top while we were there, but there were SO MANY WILD HORSES roaming around on the mountain side. It was the coolest thing!


When we got back to the hotel we were exhausted! After being up at 3am, flying and hiking a mountain we turned on the TV, ordered two pizzas and literally posted up in bed at 4pm! And on the longest day of the year! We were asleep by 6pm and slept through till morning, it was THE BEST.

While Sam works during the day I am spending my time lounging by the pool. We are staying at the Aliante Casino+Hotel, which is a little bit quieter since it’s off the strip, perfect for relaxing.

Yesterday (Monday) after Sam got home from tracking tortoises in 109 degree weather in the desert, we went to the gym because we are noticing our old age kicking in ūüėČ haha. Seriously though. We eat like we have the metabolism’s of 12-year-old boys…and I for sure don’t.

For dinner we went to Leticia’s Mexican Cocina! SO GOOD! It’s Sam’s favorite Mexican place and now I see why. We shared an appetizer, chips and dips, and some of their tacos and we were stuffed with plenty to take back to the hotel with us!

Our waiter was also telling us about Leticia, the owner, who actually keeps everything there really authentic. The food is made specifically following her grandmother’s recipes from back home and everything seems to have a little extra touch of something that makes it special. Really enjoyed it, definitely recommend it.

Any cool parks in the area or good restaurant recommendations?

Happy officially Summer BTW!!

Sincerely, Amanda


Red Rock

Yesterday I felt like doing something other than lying around the pool all day. Sam’s company puts him up at the Aliante Casino + Hotel when he is in Nevada. It’s really nice, newer and not on the strip, which you may or may not like depending on how you Vegas. I personally enjoy not being on the strip and it’s not¬†too¬†far of a drive if we wanted to go see a show or something. We generally don’t do very Vegas-y things while we are here. I’d like to see a show sometime but we generally do the more active outdoorsy things which we both really enjoy whenever Sam has a day off, but mostly he’s working and when he gets in for the day we eat good food, watch a movie and pass out. Last night we did the all you can eat at Sushi Zushi and practically ate our weight in sushi, it was so good! I love sushi and we really don’t eat a lot of it in Austin, so it was a nice treat.

It’s up to me to find something to do during the day and I felt like being active so I decided to go hiking at Red Rock Canyon, just 30 minutes down the highway from the hotel. There is such a beautiful side to Las Vegas that a lot of people might miss while they are here because it doesn’t get as much attention as the strip, but it’s definitely far more astounding. The Canyon was stunning, from the view on the 13 mile loop drive in the conservation area to the up-close views from the hiking trails.

I decided to hike Turtlehead Peak, one of their “difficult” labeled trails. It was a good uphill (not the whole time)¬†work out but I don’t think it was too bad. It was right along the gorgeous red rock and it’s a trail to hike if you don’t want a lot of people sharing the trail. I was literally the only person on the trail the entire time and the park was pretty busy while I was there. I was actually hoping there would be more people on it since I was hiking by myself; it was very peaceful but the silence and complete aloneness was kind of eerie! I like a good hike but I’d much rather share it with someone that’s for sure. I kept imagining a mountain lion all of a sudden emerging from the Red Rock and while there actually are Mountain Lions in Nevada, they are rarely seen. Nevertheless I was a little on edge¬†but I’m glad I went.

I still don’t have a phone so I used my big bulky tablet to take pictures. Pretty impressive right? I’ve gone a whole week without a cell phone. Which makes for interesting navigating…especially since I didn’t have a paper map and no way for my tablet to work without wi-fi. Still, this week without my phone has been nice,¬†kind of like time traveling back to¬†the 90s and I LOVED the 90s. Simpler times. I’ve ranted to my husband all about how I want to get an actual camera because I don’t want to use my cell phone as a camera because I don’t want to always have my cell phone be my everything…to feel disconnected and present and capture a moment with a good old-fashioned camera, preferably a nice DSLR Digital Camera, haha, but still. There’s something about not having a phone to grab, even if you are just using it as a camera, that feels SO good. There’s a difference, however little it may be.

While I’ve been here I’ve also been reading The Color of Water by James McBride. It’s really good, I recommend the read. It’s made me tear up several times, although the older I get, the more emotional I’ve found I’m getting.¬†Wanted to share this quote from it, there were SO many that touched my heart but I feel like this one sort of goes along with my whole 90s cell phone rant (reality check Amanda): “Sometimes without conscious realization, our thoughts, our faith, our interests are entered into the past. We talk about other times, other places, other persons, and lose our living hold on the present. Sometimes we think if we could just go back in time we would be happy. But anyone who attempts to reenter the past is sure to be disappointed. Anyone who has ever revisited the place of his birth after years of absence is shocked by the differences between the way the place actually is, and the way he has remembered it. He may walk along old familiar streets and roads, but he is a stranger in a strange land. He has though of this place as home, but he finds he is no longer here even in spirit. He has gone on to a new and different life, and in thinking lovingly of the past, he has been giving thought and interest to something that no longer really exists. This being true of the physical self, how much more true it is of the spiritual self…” (The Color of Water, p.250-251).


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The Mojave

Yesterday I had the awesome opportunity to see the work that¬†Sam does in Nevada. There’s a solar project going on here in part of the Mojave Desert that is expected to supply energy to California and Sam is an environmental scientist/biologist for an environmental company that is on the project to make sure construction complies with environmental codes, etc.¬†but¬†what is most awesome¬†is that¬†they are¬†protecting the highly endangered Desert Tortoise. Since there’s a lot of construction and activity going on at the site that could potentially harm the tortoises (and they have put up fencing around the site), Sam’s company¬†relocates them to a safe habitat. What they did is took all of the tortoises that were on the construction site before construction began, checked their health, stuck trackers on their shells (which doesn’t harm the tortoises and¬†they don’t notice them at all) and then¬†drove them to a relocation site that is also on the Mojave Desert (their natural home) where they¬†were¬†introduced to a¬†tortoise burrow (their new home)¬†that is the perfect size for them and they are essentially free. Sam’s company is still legally responsible for the tortoise’s well-being so they track the tortoises and check up on them regularly to make sure they are doing good.

Yesterday I got to see the whole process! They had a tiny baby tortoise that¬†was found the week before on a road near the construction site and they saved him. There’s an in-between safe zone that they bring the tortoises before they are relocated so that they can make sure the tortoise is in good health before they release it and so that they can put a tracker on it. I got to see the whole shebang: they put a tracker on the baby tortoise, relocated him to a perfect burrow, and then I got to track all of the others with Sam the rest of the day. It was SO much fun to find these tortoises that they saved and relocated two years ago; just chillin in the middle of the desert, eating or sleeping under a bush. I wasn’t allowed to touch any of them by law (only certain people are licensed to handle them), but it was really awesome to see them up close. They are SO cute and really do have unique and individual little personalities.

Sam’s job is pretty awesome, He’s one of the people who is certified to hold and touch the tortoise’s, so he gets to know the little guys pretty good. There’s one that Sam found awhile back who had built a burrow too close to where flood waters come through when it rains and his burrow had collapsed on him. Sam dug him out and he was in really bad condition but has since brought him to good health. They think they will probably keep him through the winter before releasing him, to fatten him up a little more and really make sure he is in his best health. Sometimes Sam will take some Globe Mallow (a plant the Tortoise’s love) go and sit in the little habitat they have the tortoise in for now and he will come right up and sit in Sam’s lap. I think it’s the coolest thing!

So yeah, I was impressed. Oh we also got to have a really neat little¬†picnic lunch in the middle of the desert with a beautiful view. About a month ago we decided to watch the movie, The Lunchbox, which is pretty good and you’ll just have to watch it or look it up to see what it’s about if you haven’t heard of it; but what we really loved was the lunchbox that was used in the movie. It’s called a Tiffin and it is in one of the pictures below. Basically it’s a stackable steel lunchbox that allows you to separate your food into different compartments and instead of having to put food into plastic bags first you just put whatever you are bringing directly into the four bowls, stack them and then seal them together with the clasp. It might not look big, but you can fit more food in it than you need to eat in one sitting. Sam and I had chicken and steak strips, pita bread, garlic,¬†grapes and cheese in our tiffin. It was the perfect lunch, perfect size, perfect for carrying around in a backpack. Really, a Tiffin is a pretty genius invention. We found ours on Amazon, it was the cheapest we could find: get one! Seriously, they are super fun to use and really convenient.

Read more about the solar project here

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This is the baby tortoise that they relocated. The plant it’s eating is called Globe Mallow and the Desert Tortoise’s love it!

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Watching this little guy eat was the cutest thing! Nom nom nom


We saw a Leopard Lizard and several super cuuute bearded dragons.


Desert picnic


Me “helping” track tortoises.

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Mt. Charleston

Here is a glimpse of our hike up Mt. Charleston. It was a beautiful trail and¬†there were a healthy amount of other people on¬†it, but not too many that the walk wasn’t peaceful and refreshing, except for the occasional hiker with a portable speaker blasting the top 40s, which I didn’t care for. That totally defeats the purpose¬†of a nature¬†walk! ūüėĚ

At the bottom of the park (which is surrounded by quaint log cabins) is a lively pub with patio seating, live music and brews waiting for you after the hike, or before if you need some liquid motivation. It seemed like a¬†really good¬†place to hang out if you have the time; Sam and I stopped in to use the restroom but had to head down the mountain because we were having dinner at his co-worker’s house, or I would have loved to stay.

Instead we ended our night eating some good carne esada, drinking pumpkin beer, and Scott (Sam’s co-worker) and his kiddos took us on a scorpion and spider hunt. I don’t think I have ever seen so many black widow spiders in my life, all in one place. It was absolutely crazy, we easily saw more than 20 of them along this sidewalk near their house that the kids call “spider alley” and we saw one scorpion. The kids loved it, I’m just glad they know what they look like and to look out for them!

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Las Vegas

My husband Sam travels a lot for work and since October is a pretty busy month for him this year, he brought me with him to Las Vegas for the week. It worked out well with my schedule since I have yet to land a job…I don’t have any big plans while I’m here in Nevada, it would be awesome to see a show one night, but mostly I will probably hang by the pool, drink some wine, search for jobs and hang out with my hub. And hopefully get a new/working phone. My phone has finally completely crapped out on me and while it’s been hard for me to not have something to take pictures with (I LOVE taking pictures) it has also been kind of nice being without a phone, being “off the grid” and not constantly feeling the need to occupy any down time with a screen in front of my face. But that is why being without a phone is also kind of annoying, because when you don’t have a phone to stick your face in every still moment, you notice how much everyone else does it too and how much we are all disconnected from the present so much of the time. It’s really annoying trying to talk to someone when they find Pinterest or their new iPhone 6+¬†more interesting, ya know what I mean? We’ve all been there. Might as well be talking to a brick wall.

Anyway, yesterday Sam and I went hiking at Mt. Charleston here in Nevada and he took some really great pictures that I’ll get ahold of some time and share. The weather was amazing up in the mountains and the trees had beautiful color change. It was supposedly a 1.5 mile hike each way, but it was a pretty steep incline on the way up so it felt a little longer. It was a good work out and we forgot all about it when we came up to the tiny fall and the gigantic cave at the top. We sat down and had a picnic lunch before making our descent. It was really nice, I’ll post pictures soon. I’m off to run 3 miles.