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

Ruidoso, New Mexico

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This was the view from our Airbnb lodge: The Lewis Lodge . The view was beautiful and we saw mule deer every day/night, and the very first morning we saw two huge Elk from our porch, literally three feet away, it was incredible! The lodge itself was super quaint with an awesome living room and fireplace and two really nice decks.

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We hadn’t been to Ruidoso in over four years because they had gone through a drought and a few years ago had a huge fire, but they’ve gotten quite a bit of snow and the entire mountain was actually open! View the snow report here. Trail map here. My favorite was taking the gondola up and then riding geronimo down to triple chair #1! All day.

We packed a picnic lunch both days, but there are also a few options for food on the mountain: Eagle Cafe, Arrowhead, Daily Grind Cafe, Plaza Grill and Spirit Bar.

Find lift ticket prices here. Find ski rental prices here. Board rental prices here.

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Looking up at Capitan

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On our last day, my mom and I decided to do the Zip Tour on the mountain. Boasting the highest zip line in the world and the third longest! It was really really fun. Make sure that you call and make a reservation if you want to do it because the time slots fill up pretty much every day!

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This was the first line at the very top of the mountain. It starts out low but immediately goes high up over all of the trees, and is a mile long! You hit speeds of anywhere from 60-90mph!!! So don’t forget to break at the bottom like my mom did 😛 she was okay, and it was pretty hilarious actually.

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We had such a great trip! I’m already looking forward to our next boarding trip 🙂

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

Think of these as Classy Jello Shots

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My chef cousin (he’s literally really a chef, just thought I should clarify because I call Sam a chef sometimes. And he’s great at cooking but he’s not a professional chef!) shared this fun little recipe with me, thank you Chris!!! I thought it might be a fun one to share for Valentine’s day! When he made them for me, they turned out way cooler because he had different shaped silicon molds to pour the mixture into. So if you can find or have any shaped silicone molds, these turn out really fun! I didn’t so I just used mini cupcake liners, which also worked. Not as cute though!

“Wine Gummies”

  • 1/2 cup of red wine
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1 pack of 3 oz of flavored jello (I used cherry)
  • 2 packs of 1 oz unflavored gelatin

Directions:

  • Stir together all of the ingredients listed above in a pot, COLD, until well mixed and the lumps are gone. AKA stir furiously with a whisk.
  • Once the lumps are mostly gone, stir on the stove with very low heat until the mixture is clear (still red obviously but somewhat see through/transparent) and smooth.
  • Pour into molds or liners.
  • Let sit to harden. A few hours – 5 or 6 hours.
  • Refrigerate!

Classy Jello Shots / Wine Gummies!

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

 

Sparkling Rosemary Grapefruit Spritzer (3 Ways)

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Here’s a drink that would be fun to serve/drink on Valentine’s Day! It’s light pink, it’s sweet but not too sweet and it’s easy to make! There are three different ways to enjoy it as shown below: simply healthy, rosemary infused & sweet, or as a cocktail! Let me know what you think 🙂

Sparkling Healthy Grapefruit Juice + Soda Water

  • Juice 4 small grapefruits and strain to get any seeds and pulp out of the juice.
  • Divide the juice between two glasses over ice.
  • Top with sparkling water.
  • Add a sprig of rosemary in each glass.

Rosemary Infused Grapefruit Spritzer

  • Make simple syrup by dissolving 1 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water on the stove over medium-high.
  • Once sugar is dissolved, add a few rosemary springs and bring to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat and let the rosemary steep. Cover and chill in the fridge until ready to use!
  • Juice 4 small grapefruits and strain to get any seeds and pulp out of the juice.
  • Divide the juice between two glasses, over ice.
  • Put two tablespoons of the rosemary simple syrup into each glass.
  • Top with sparkling water.
  • Add a sprig of Rosemary in each glass.

Rosemary Grapefruit Cocktail

  • Follow the steps above for the ‘Rosemary Infused Grapefruit Spritzer’ and then add either Deep Eddy’s Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka for an extra grapefruit flavor or add regular vodka or gin if you prefer!

Happy VDAY prepping!
Sincerely,
Amanda 

 

Tuesday Vibes

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“Moment by blessed moment, we’re making a living. To make this kind of living takes incredible creativity. To see the limitless possibility in the present moment takes a wild imagination…This breath is your canvas and your brush. These are the raw materials for your art, for the life you are making. Nothing is off limits. Your backyard, your piano, your paint brush, your conversation, Rwanda, New Orleans, Iraq, your marriage, your soul. You’re making a living with every step you take. So when you make a living, do not merely make money. Why settle for cash when joy is on the line? You feel a thrill when you dance, when you sing, when you finish your poem; even when you sweep the room you see order pressing back against the chaos. So when you create, never settle for making a living — at least not the way that the world might define that phrase. When you make a living, you are speaking a new world into existence. You are creating grace within the confines, you are co-signing God’s blank checks.”

Making a Living by Jon Foreman

 

Lemon, Ginger, Honey + Mint Tea

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I need some detoxing in my life! You know when you reach the point where you are just tired of feeling tired and you know it has a lot to do with how your diet has been lately…that’s where I am! The expression, “you are what you eat” feels about right. Like the cheese that is melted and wrapped around pizza crust…that’s pretty much the equivalent to my butt on the sofa. There’s a nice little rounded out indention that my butt sinks nicely into… Grey’s marathon anyone?? I can’t wait for the season 12 premiere this Thursday!

It’s hard to get out of bad habits once I’ve fallen into them but tea is always something that seems to help me get back on the right track. And this tea especially is soo good for you!

Here are some of the reasons I love it.

Mint – Curbs cravings! Relieves allergies and can calm an upset stomach.
Honey – Contains antioxidants that can reduce risk of cancer or heart problems. It’s also anti-bacterial.
Ginger – Helps ease nausea, is anti-inflammatory and helps ease bloating, menstrual pain, muscle soreness plus a million other good things.
Lemon – Balances pH levels, cleanses your liver and bowels and also a million other good things. Lemon and ginger are basically super amazing.

Here’s what you do:

Boil water
Juice half of one big lemon
Add 1 tbsp of honey
Grate ginger root into the mix (as much or as little as you’d prefer). I usually grate the ginger until there is about a tablespoon worth to steep.
Break off several big mint leaves and break them into lots of little pieces to steep.

Let it all steep for 3-5 minutes or longer if you’d prefer

Pour the tea through a strainer to catch all of the mint, ginger and possible lemon seeds and then enjoy!!!

If you have any other good tea recipes share them pleeeease! 🙂 Let me know in the comments!

Sincerely,
Amanda

All Heart Photography

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If you are looking for a good photographer for weddings or family photos (or any occasion really), All Heart Photography is seriously great! I’m not getting paid to say this, I just went with All Heart for my wedding photos and not only loved the pics, but thought the photographer was great!

Sam and I met John through church and when we realized that he had a photography business we were super excited. I seriously dreaded looking for photographers when I was wedding planning because they all seemed to be way too ridiculously expensive…and if you are currently planning a wedding or have planned a wedding in today’s crazy wedding business culture then you know how important it is to leverage your budget. But All Heart’s prices are REALLY good.

Not only that, but John was super personable. Yeah we had met him at church but we didn’t know each other all that well before hand. We all went out for coffee so that he could get a feel for what we wanted and it felt like he had been a good friend of ours for a long time. Engagements were just a ball of laughter and my wedding day was super easy with him photographing because I felt like he really put the experience of the day first. Somehow he got all of the photos I could have wanted done, done – without making it stressful, overwhelming, pushy or time-consuming. He did great.

Anyway if you are in the market for a photographer, I highly highly highly recommend All Heart Photography!

John and his adorable family live in Bryan, TX (perfect for you Aggies out there) but frequently travels to Austin and will travel anywhere within 90 miles of Austin, TX at no charge. He also will travel ANYWHERE worldwide for a small travel fee.

You can read more about All Heart here. Read frequently asked questions here.

And look at how CUTE the delivery package is!!!

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He sent us the nicest leather USB drive of all of our photos with a hand written note which I LOVE. Why the heck don’t people hand write letters more often, it’s seriously the best.

Check out the All Heart Photography website!

Sincerely,
Amanda