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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fashion for a Tuesday: Rocking Out (Or Not)

In our early college days, it wasn't uncommon for us to be making the 1 1/2 hour trek to Austin or Houston at least once a month to go see a show. We just love live music. It's always been a huge part of our relationship & our lives.

The first big show C took me to was the Austin City Limits Music Festival, back in 2005. (Fall of our Senior year of HS) At the time, he had 3 rules for what I was allowed to wear:
1) Nothing white
2) No skirts
3) Nothing with a band's name on it

Basic Concert Wear

What I Wore to Shows in HS/College
Basic Concert Wear by amyrenepowell featuring linen tops

Simple & easy. I followed the rules and ended up with a pretty laid-back concert "uniform" (as you can see above). This simple black T-shirt, jeans & Converse combo was my best friend, and I probably stuck to it in some form or fashion through most of college.

Of course, over the years the rules changed a little bit. As we grew up, we began to stand farther away from the mosh pit & closer to the edge (also conveniently closer to the bar). And my wardrobe began to change a bit. I added a bit more color and definitely put the studded belt to rest. (Though I admit to missing it occasionally)

Concert Outfit

What I'd Wear Today


And now we're going to our first show in ages tomorrow night and I'm starting to plan the outfit: Comfy, functional, but also cute. So I'll probably wear something like the above outfit. I really love flannel with a big belt ♥

What do you think... simple yet cute? Or should I try something else? What do you wear to shows/concerts?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Staring Ahead... Into Nothing

{Texas Roads... a great place to think}

So... welcome back to the week ♥

I set goals last week that I didn't keep. And I'm not going to lie to you - I had a tough week. Tornado warnings were going on as I drove to work Wednesday morning, C and I had a hard time seeing eye-to-eye on a bunch of different things (had to put this into practice), and an opportunity that I really want may not work out.

But I'm trying to remind myself that sometimes, that's just life, and you have take the bad with the good.

I read this wonderful article by my friend Leslie this week, which really spoke to me. She spoke of being in that "in between" stage and dealing with being content without all the answers...

Thankfully, finally, by God’s grace I’ve learned to make nice with In-between. And it’s a good thing too, because life is a long series of in-betweens. Life doesn’t always fall into our pre-scheduled blocks. Expectations fail and we find ourselves floundering in the In-between.

‘Arriving’ and finally getting to where you want to be in life is contrived. I think that as a culture, we usually get to one milestone and sit and enjoy it for about a second, only to quickly move on and set our eyes on the next milestone – because that next step will surely, surely make all of life better.

What we sometimes forget is how much shaping and learning goes on during these in-between times. The habits you make in the in-betweens will not magically evaporate when you get where you want to be.

 Emotions: On Female Bread-Winners and Hard-Fought Contentment by @LeslieLaughs


Currently, C and I are in the "in between" stage and are trying to figure out what to do next - and as we get closer to the inevitable decision-making-time, I'm getting more nervous, more tense, and am starting to let my anxiety take over. It's causing strain on my relationship with my husband, and my personal happiness. And thanks to Leslie's post, I'm able to finally see that strain clearly.

I'm one who easily scares. It's hard for me to not be nervous when staring ahead into nothing. I like seeing the next step and not being able to see that is really starting to stress me out. So instead of fitness-related goals this week, I decided to try and apply Leslie's advice to my life. My goal this week is to simply:

focus on being happy where I am

A little vague, but I think it'll do me well. I need to focus on what I already have, be satisfied and content with that, and not worry so much about tomorrow. It'll come when it gets here.

What are some goals you've set for yourself this week? I'd love to know!

{Happy Monday!}
I hope we all have a great week ♥

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Fooday: My New Snack Obsession

I have a confession to make: amidst dieting, working out, and trying to cut back on carbohydrates as much as possible, I found the perfect recipe for... pretzels

update picture -- Fall 2012

I originally made them stuffed with cheese & pepperoni, but then had a little extra dough so I just made little bites. Then last weekend, when my mom was in town, I decided to make the recipe again. And the next day, I decided to make pretzel sticks out of the left over dough. And that's when I decided, this must be blogged.

Because who doesn't love soft pretzels?

And better yet, who doesn't love soft pretzels that they can make in less than 30 minutes, stuffed or seasoned with anything they like? (Because if you're thinking "not me" you're not in the right spot!)

So here's the super-duper-amazing-have-to-try-it-now recipe that I think you all should print off and go home and make it. Or at least give the recipe a try during your Super Bowl party. Please?

Pizza Pretzel Bites
(modified from Sweet Pea's Kitchen

Ingredients:
  1. 1 1/2 cups warm water
  2. 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  3. 1 package active dry yeast
  4. 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  5. 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  6. 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 5 quarts water
  8. 3/4 cup baking soda
  9. 1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
  10. Coarse sea salt
Directions:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together the water, sugar, yeast, and butter. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the salt and flour to the yeast mixture. Knead dough at medium speed until a smooth and elastic ball forms, 3 to 4 minutes. If dough is sticky, add 1 tablespoons of flour at a time until dough comes together.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl and turn the dough to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into any form you'd like.*
  5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add the baking soda and lower heat to a simmer. Carefully boil pretzels in batches. Boil for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Place pretzel bites on a  parchment paper lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.
*If you'd like to make stuffed Pizza Bites, add ingredients at Step #4


So I've definitely made this two weekends in a row, and I may even try it again this weekend. It depends on if my guy gets me out of the house or not.

{Have a great weekend!}

Ps... If you didn't read it yesterday, I continued my marriage series & would love for you to chime in!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fighting Makes You Stronger (Or So I Tell Myself)


Last week I talked about having fun in marriage. But if we're being realistic, we all know it's not all fun & games. Marriage is work. It's a never-ending commitment to a never-perfect person. And if you're in a relationship like mine - with two strong-minded, high-maintenance individuals who would never be matched up on any online dating site - it's easy to fall out of the fun and into the fights.

So this week I wanted to talk a little about the fights that keep a marriage together.

Maybe that sounds weird. Even as I wrote it I thought, "But yeah, isn't it fights that ruin a relationship?" And then I thought about it, and with very few exceptions I have to say: every fight I've ever had with my guy has made our relationship better, not worse.

The exception to that are fights in which constructive communication was no longer in play. And I believe that is key. Fights - or if you care to call them "disagreements" or "discussions" or whatever - can be productive, if respect and open communication are used.

Our marriage counselor told us over and over again "You are not each other's enemy." I remember thinking that that statement didn't make any sense. Why would Christian become my enemy? And then he left the toilet seat up one time, and I took it as a personal vendetta against me.

So lately, whenever an issue comes up, I try really hard to focus on the fact that Christian and I are on the same team. And miraculously it works! Since I know we're fighting for the same thing, it's easier to compromise or to see his side of things. Of course, I'm not perfect, and very easily fall into the "it's all about me" trap. But I'm trying to move in the right direction.

There are a few topics that we've yet to reach a compromise on - like the toilet seat thing, or when to have kids - so they are ongoing issues that get brought up from time to time. And I honestly don't see an agreement being made anytime soon about them. So we're trying to learn how to live with disagreements. Because, realistically, we're never going to see everything 100% eye-to-eye. And I'd much rather live in a marriage with open disagreement than secretive musings or passive aggressive acts of frustration.

I thought about it, and here's a few strategies I {try to} follow to make sure that a fight ends up making us stronger:
  • Approach every subject open-minded and willing to change
  • Remember that your significant other is not your enemy
  • Remember the reason why you're fighting (and that's not "to be right"!)
  • Don't make it your goal to win, even if you know you're right
  • Think both long- and short-term, both are important

What are some strategies you use during an argument?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Weekly Loving..

Man the week flies by! Where does the time go?? Anyway... no sense fretting. How about we just jump right in to my Wednesday tradition?  

Here's what I've been loving this week...

  • Coffee art! I really want to print this out & frame it in my kitchen...

Source: etsy.com via Amy on Pinterest


  • When Joanna featured this recipe for the Best Chocolate Mousse, I almost died!



  •  How beautiful is this balloon wall? My sister's about to have a baby girl, I think I know how I want to decorate her baby shower!



  •  And here's a beautiful, yet simple, wrapping tip from A Subtle Revelry (and if you're not following that blog yet... you should be)



  •  And, finally... how perfect is this blouse?!? It was so perfect, that Anthropologie even responded to my tweet about it! (And I'm a dork & had to share that with you!)




So that's all the fun for today... over here at least.
To see what others are loving, go check out:

Happy Wednesday! ♥

Oh... I updated my professional website this week.
Check it out!  (If you want)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fashion for a Tuesday: Warm days, Winter months

Guy... guys... I wore shorts this weekend. In January.

It was fun to get a little sun on my legs, but even that's really not enough to really make up for the fact that I was actually excited about winter wear this year. But this weekend, I found myself walking around wishing I'd painted my toe nails so that flip flops were maybe an option.

How this Texas girl did Warm Winter...
Warm Winter Simple Wear


Sure, that particular day was kind of a fluke. The day before & after were back in the mid-50s & it's going to get colder this weekend. But an 80 degree day in January was enough of a shocker to write about.

How one Texas girl does "Warm Winter"...


But I'm wondering... if the heat wave comes back, how do I keep it winter-y without bundling up? As you can see above... I wore a scarf with my T-shirt & shorts. Any other ideas? This Texas girl needs a little inspiration for the next warm winter day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Motivation, Determination, Edamame + Giveaway Winner



So, I've been actively working out for two week now & can't really see many physical changes. What changes I have seen are mostly mental ones.

I can tell that when I'm actively working out, my mind is more at ease. I'm more confident & more willing to try things out. I'm still (and maybe even more so) tired a lot, but I'm hoping that with more conditioning and regulation my exhaustion will go away. But it's the confidence increase that I really need & really enjoy when it comes along.

I'm most concerned with my weekly meals. Any good trainer will tell you that 70% of weight loss and physical fitness comes from nutrition. So I've been cutting back on carbs, mostly. And increasing those leafy greens. Having Edamame as a snack instead of chips & salsa. Especially during the week. It's much harder that it seems it should be. But, then again, there's a reason why I'm overweight. And there's a reason why I hired a personal trainer to set me in the right direction.

And on the personal trainer note... unfortunately, I could not afford a ton of sessions with him, and unfortunately it's getting close to the end! I'm a little nervous to go off on my own... especially since I respond so much better to external motivation than internal (I do what I'm told).

So consider this my little shout out to myself to stay encouraged and to let myself know that I am capable of staying on track - both with working out & feeding myself well. I know I have a great, encouraging husband by my side & luckily a place (here) to air my grievances. All of that helps to keep me focused and on track.

My goals this week are:
  • Document my food daily & analyze it completely at the end of the week
  • Drink at least 6 glasses of water a day - and document it
  • Work out 4 times - twice with my PT & twice by myself
  • Avoid weighing myself until the end of the week
  • Have 1 serving of veggie/fruit and 1 serving of protein at each meal
  • Create an inspiration board to hang in my closet ♥

What are some goals you're currently working on?
How do you make sure you stay on track?

***

We also have a giveaway winner! Forgive me for not announcing it this weekend. But my mom was in town & I unplugged... which is something I've come to completely depend on. It's so rejuvinating taking a step back from the internet & just living life. 

But enough about that... the winner (using random.org) of the magazine giveaway is: Amanda from Simple Girl, Simple Pleasures. She wanted "Marie Claire" and that's what she'll get ♥ Congrats girl!

{Have a Happy Monday!}

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Fooday: Putting Plans into Action (and making yummy goodness in the process)

Last week I pulled out a bunch of different recipe ideas to make during the Golden Globes. I listened to all of your feedback - and then let my husband decide (since he was, after all going to be the one eating the food!).

So I made him sit down and read my post - and he picked out 3 recipes that turned out amazing when all was said and done. We served them tapas style throughout the whole night, and ended up with 3 courses which we served about an hour apart. It was the perfect way to spend the evening!

Here's what I ended up making...

Dish #1: Caprese Kabobs


By far the easiest of the three recipes, we deiced to start with it. So it was our Red Carpet treat. You can't really go wrong with fresh mozzarella cheese, basil and tomatoes! We did decide to spruce it up just a tad bit and get the seasoned mozzarella cheese ("cherry" size!), and I think it added the right kick of flavor. Once the kabobs were assembled, I drizzled a little balsamic vinegar and salt on the top, which proved to be a nice touch.

These would be perfect for your next party!


Dish #2: Ancho Chili Rub Tenderloin Sliders


The phrase "Ancho Chili" doesn't mean much to me... but the taste and tenderness of these sliders definitely made an impact! Whenever I'm putting sliders or mini-sandwiches together, I always opt to use sweet Hawaiian Rolls, which I did again for this recipe. The sweet contrasted with the spicy chili rub and with the tangy Chimichurri sauce to make one of the most delictable flavor combinations I've ever made in my kitchen (and pretty close to anything I've ever ordered at a restaurant).

One note: the meat will be expensive. We bought 1 lb. at $8.00, and it made six perfect little sandwiches. But if you want to make any more, be sure to budget for it! You can't skimp on the meat quality, since it's the focus of the dish.


Dish #3: Caramelized Onion, Bacon & Goat Cheese Pizza 
   

This won our Favorite Dish Award of the night. This "pizza" actually doesn't use tomato sauce. Instead the Caramelized Onions are so perfectly gooey and tender that they are the sauce. (Oh, and did I mention you actually cook the onions in bacon grease? Because that's the best part!)

Which type of pizza crust you use is up to you. I made a wheat pizza dough, which is my favorite (find the recipe here, where I used it making Calzones), but you can cheat and just buy the pre-packaged stuff. Totally up to you!

{For full recipes, click on the hyperlinks. I didn't want to overload you with text ♥}

***
Tomorrow, I'll pick a winner for the Magazine Subscription giveaway
So if you haven't entered yet... be sure to do so!!

{Have a Great Weekend}

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Focusing on Fun... For Starters


The day Christian asked me to marry him wasn't the happiest day of my life. The day I wore a white wedding dress wasn't either. Nor the day after. My first wedding anniversary was. That is, until I reached my second anniversary. And I'm sure that when number three comes around that will take over.

Because marriage isn't about a day. Or the result of "the big question". It's a process. And each year when I can check off a successful continuation of this process, I deem it a victory.

I feel we're from a generation plagued with separated parents. And while I'm not part of that statistic, Christian is. And so many of our friends are. And it's honestly heartbreaking. But as I talk to my peers, I realize that those statistics have made us different from the generation before us. And it's really refreshing and promising.

While one of the results of our parent's divorces is that less of us are getting married - or waiting longer to get married - the other result is that those of us who have decided to get married are determined to not only not allow the relationship to fail, but also to have fun while in it.

When we first started dating, Christian and I would jump in the car and drive to Austin to see countless amounts of concerts. We bonded over music, and then over movies. And I remember after about a month or so of dating, my dad told me that the "fluff" our relationship was based on - the movies & music that basically made up our relationship - was eventually going to wear out, and then we'd break up. {Of course I disagreed with him then 100%.}

I know he was trying to talk his hopelessly-in-love 17-year-old daughter down from the clouds, and that he had experience to speak from.  But as I've continued on in my relationship - which lasted much longer than anyone expected it to - I actually still disagree with my dad {albeit not 100%!}. Of course a solid relationship isn't just about music and movies (or whatever your hobbies are)... but I truly believe that it's the fun stuff that makes working through the hard stuff possible.

I fight for my relationship because I know it'll be rewarding (and boy do we fight... more on that later I'm sure!!). Part of that reward is having someone to watch a good movie with on a Saturday night. Christian and I don't miss a single episode of Saturday Night Live, because it gives us inside jokes for the rest of the week that continue to bond us together into something stronger. And if, eventually, the rewarding part of our relationship does diminish, I pray that the bond that has been created over the years will be too strong to break.

So for now, we focus of having fun (in addition to working out those pesky real-life problems, of course). We play board games, watch awards shows and cook ridiculously intricate dinners for each other... and not surprisingly, the more fun we have, the easier it is when we hit a wall.

So... Here's to a fun life... 
and a fun marriage ♥

What do you do to keep it fun? 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What I'm Loving This Week...

Ah, Wednesday. My favorite day. Half way through the week and my 2 favorite link ups. I figured today, I'd pull a few pins out of my non-food/non-fashion boards. I blog too much about that stuff anyway (ha! as if that's even possible!).

  • I like to dream about places I'd love to visit, like the Balloon Festival in New Mexico...



... or  this amazing Cafe in Poland!
 
Source: dezeen.com via Amy on Pinterest


  • I really want to try these DIY business cards. Seriously how creative and awesome are they?!?
 


  •  I've been trying to come up with my next Tattoo idea, and I really love this one:

Source: rodeo.net via Amy on Pinterest


  •  And finally, I would really love this Mason Jar Pendant Light in my kitchen! It'd make it so cute :)



Be sure to check out  
to see what others are loving ♥

And if you haven't already, don't forget to enter the giveaway
Going on until Saturday!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Starting Something New

(where my name used to be)


Today I start a new job!!

I think I forgot to mention that before. I've been tweeting about it, but the time just flew by so quickly, that I never got a chance to say "Hey blogging friends, guess what?!?" So... skipping that step I guess.

I'm so excited to start! I'd been at my old office for over four years. I started as a student worker, and got hired full-time right before I graduated college. It was a wonderful place to start my professional career, and it had the added bonus of being so laid-back that my wardrobe choices were easy. I basically wore whatever I woke up in the mood for!

But it was time to move on. I am still working within Texas A&M University. Mostly because I love my alma mater and I also love my benefits the people who work for the University♥

What I'm most excited about is that with a new job comes a new wardrobe. Right? At least that's what I've been telling myself.

My new office is in charge of all the technology for all the classrooms in two buildings on campus - and part of my job will be to tend to any issues in the classroom if there's no one else around. Which means crawling on the floor in front of 100 college kids, or climbing up on a table in front of 30. I've thought about these - and a few other described scenarios - in addition to the fact that I now have to walk 5 minutes across campus to get to my new building from my new parking spot - and realized that my usual wardrobe of heeled sandals and a dress, or flip flops and a skirt, may not be the best options.

Here's an outfit I've been putting together in my head for day #1 on the job....
Casual Office Wear - Burgandy


Luckily, I just bought a few Blowfish flats that'll be perfect for the duration of the winter, and I have tights to keep my legs properly covered, if I opt for the skirt/dress route. But once it starts getting hot again, I'm not sure how I'm going to cope.

So here's where you come in... I'd love your input!! How do you figure out how to balance "work appropriate"-ness and cuteness?

It's never been an issue for me before. And while I'm excited about the challenge, I'm also nervous!

Can't wait for some tips!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Getting Motiviation from the Red Carpet + an Accessory Swap

As I sat watching the Golden Globes Red Carpet show, I couldn't help but get a little jealous of all the beautifully clad women. And then I hear Sofia Vergara admit she's been doing two-a-day workouts to get ready for the event. And then there's of course Melissa McCarthy whose over-the-average Hollywood weight never seems to phase her. She was gorgeous, confident, and highly praised.

My 3 favorites - if you exclude Claire Dane's front of the dress

One of the positive things about the ridiculous amount of cameras, behind the scenes interviews, and over-analyzing of every fashion choice at these Awards shows, is that the Hollywood veil is broken down a bit. And it's a refreshing reminder that these women and men are really humans. They have teams and teams of people behind them to make them look that way.

SNL women, represent! (did you catch this meme?)

So, instead of beating myself up, I'm taking last night's Golden Globe's beauty and channeling it into motivation.The women on that carpet are so confident in themselves - or at least they come off as confident. I love seeing these beautiful glammed up girls still having fun and joking through the whole ordeal.

Three dresses that I think I liked...but I'm not 100% sure. They're thinking pieces...

And that's what my goal this week is going to be: finding the inner confidence to hold myself high and give myself what I deserve. Gym trips, better meals, water breaks, and even mental-health breaks. I'm prioritizing that this week. I hope to come out of this week with even more confidence and drive to keep up my fitness goals ♥

All red carpet photos from The Hollywood Reporter
***

And speaking of getting a little glammed up, I joined up with Jess from Stilettos and a Fishing Pole in her Accessory Swap! I was paired up with Stephanie from Living the Young Life - a mid-twenties girl from Tennessee who has big style & bold tastes. It was so much fun shopping for her, because I could get a little out of my comfort zone & buy a few pieces that I'd probably never wear. (Hope she liked it ♥ )

But even more exciting was receiving my gifts! I opened up my giant box with great anticipation and found an array of goodies - a teasing brush (something I don't own but have wanted top pick up for forever), a manicure set & face mask, an awesome set of OPI nail polish, new nail stick-ons in my favorite color, and an adorable Love necklace & matching earrings!


It was really fun getting a little present in the mail! I can't wait to see what all the other girls received ♥

***
If you missed it over the weekend... 
I'm hosting a giveaway!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Who Wouldn't Want a Late Present? {Giveaway}



One of my goals in 2012 is to give back to you guys more. I love every comment & Twitter reply sent my way. I know it takes commitment to follow someone's blog & to invest time reading it. It's something I struggle with and am trying to get better at!

So to thank you for your time... how about a giveaway?

The very first giveaway I hosted a year ago was probably one of my favorites. And I wanted to do it again this year, by giving away something that is not just a one-time gift, but a year-long one....

a Year-long Magazine Subscription...
any of your choice*

So... do you like Real Simple? How about Cosmo or Southern Living? Cooking Light? I've always been a fan of Elle Decor and InStyle myself. It could even be a subscription to an online magazine, if you'd like! (for all you Kindle/iPad-using people out there!)

So here's the fun part - TO ENTER: Be a follower of CRH via Google Connect & Leave a comment below with which magazine you'd love to receive each month in your mailbox (or inbox!).

For additional entries... (leave a comment for each one)

Good luck!!! Winner will be picked & announced next Saturday, January 21 ♥

*with my approval - try to keep $30 or less :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Fooday: Awards Show Cuisine

My favorite time of year is upon us... awards season.

My guy & I are total dorks when it comes to the big two awards shows (Golden Globes & Academy Awards). We make sure to watch every Best Picture nomination, print off ballots and vote for who we think is going to win... but best of all, I always try to create the perfect menu for such an occasion.

In college, my menu consisted of mini chocolate chip cookies served on a platter with toothpicks in them. Gradually my menu got a little more in depth. And then last year our plans changed the day of the Academy Awards and I actually had the opportunity to watch it at my parent's house - and we even got my mom in on the fun!

This year, I've decided to go a little more in-depth, and actually plan out and execute a high-end h'ordeuvres tray that would impress any Awards Show addict.

Here's a few things on my list right now.


And of course, we won't forget the bubbly ♥

 If you were making the menu, what would you want most?

Have a great weekend!
And have a great time watching the Golden Globes ♥

Thursday, January 12, 2012

On Being Married and Blogging About It



Something I really want to focus on over the next year is one of the biggest areas of my everyday life.

My marriage.

While last year I wrote here and there about some ins and out of being married, I never really breached the surface. And I want to change that. Since my marriage - and family - are such a pertinent aspect of my personal life, it's only fitting I make it a bigger part of my blog. And even though I'm still trying to figure what I'm going to write about, be ready to see my take (and hopefully other blogger's takes) on being married.

My first leap into this realm is talking about how my relationship began. I'm going to get more in depth in the future, but here's a few things about my marriage that you may not know:
  1. I met my guy standing in the lunch line in high school. His version of the story is that I butted into a conversation he was having, and he apparently decided he didn't like me.
  2. I had my first kiss when I was 17 the day before my Senior year of high school began. And you can read that story here
  3. I asked my guy to marry me the night of our high school graduation - Boy Meets World style. He said no.
  4. We ended up going to the same town for college, but we both made our decisions separately. Fate's a funny thing.
  5. After our first year of college, my guy dumped me & I finally learned what all those break up songs meant.
  6. After 9 months of being broken up, I won my guy's heart back by dressing up as Pam from The Office for Halloween.
  7. My marriage proposal was a complete surprise and came a year before I was expecting.
  8. A bottle of wine, my father's insistence, and an offer we couldn't refuse resulted in me getting married before I graduated college- something I swore I'd never do.
  9. I quickly learned how much more work marriage is than dating while I tried to juggle it with my Senior year of college.
  10. I finally was able to accept, acknowledge and take responsibility for the fact that I am a complete & utter slob, thanks to my guy's gentle pestering.
I want to cover most of those topics in greater detail. My experiences are many, and I want to share them - for better or worse - with you.

Get ready! ♥

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What I'm Loving This Week...

Although it's a new year, some things are staying the same. And that includes my weekly link-ups with This Kind of Love and The Vintage Apple. I've met some great girls through these two link-ups and definitely do not plan to stop participating anytime soon!

Going through my weekly Pinterest finds is always such a treat. Especially because I always seem to pin things & then forget about them!! (Please tell me I'm not the only one to do that!) So here's what I've been loving this week:

  • Watching "Gossip Girl". I just started during Christmas break & am loving the series!



  • These fig & cheese appetizers. I'm thinking I'm going to have to try them during my Golden Globes party ♥



  • Getting back into working out! I've even hired a personal trainer to help me get started!



  • This amazing room. I want a chalkboard wall like that!



  • These words of inspiration for the start of the new year! I've got my goals set & I'm ready to get them done!



Be sure to check out  
to see what others are loving this week ♥

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fashion in 2012


At the beginning of last summer I discovered a new love of fashion blogs. Quickly, I began pouring over blogs like Keiko Lynn, Late Afternoon, The Daybook, Kendi Everyday and Tick Tock Vintage. The more I learned from these women, the more inspired I became to pursue fashion actively, instead of just sitting back and saying "I love that outfit!"

So I began using Pinterest to document my style. Clothes I wanted to buy, and outfits I wanted to put together, just flew in. And I even did a few fashion posts last year, just to give it a go.

I know I'll never be a "fashion blogger" - it's not really even a goal of mine - but I want to be a fashion-oriented individual. So I set up a few fashion-focused goals to help corral my interests into something productive.

Here they are:
  • Photograph and share 1 outfit a month
  • Create 1 new outfit a week out of my own closet
  • Continue to Pin outfits and clothing I'm interested in to Pinterest to document my findings
  • Learn to appreciate and dress my body type
  • Allow myself 1 shopping trip - be it thrift store trip or mall trip - a month to discover new fashions and put my skills to the test
There you have it!

So I'd love to know...
What's your go-to fashion blog?
I'm always looking for recommendations!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Amy in 2012


Never underestimate a good cup of coffee, a brisk winter morning & inspirational music. That and about 3 hours of uninterrupted "me" time was all it took to get myself ready & excited for 2012! Seriously, I'm so excited for where I want to take this blog in 2012, and where I want to take myself. I see this here blog as an extension of my life, and so when I'm mapping out where I want to go over the next 12 months, its only natural to integrate my blog ideas with my other personal goals.

2011 was a year for moving. And I think I succeeded in that. Now it's time to transition. The word for my life in 2012 is implementation. I want to take all the experiences from the past year, and all the knowledge I acquired, and put it into action. There's no point in experiencing something if you can't do something with those experiences. So that's what I'm going to focus on over the next 12 months.

Are you ready? Because I am!

I'm not going to look back at my 2011 To-Do List. ( It's still there for you to check out if you'd like.) Instead I'm just jumping in to my 2012 Goals. Which are:
  • Read 2 books a month - I loved doing this last year, and I want to continue making it a monthly goal
  • Learn Photoshop
  • Design & Publish a website, from top to bottom
  • Watch all the Oscar Best Pictures - Again, this is an on-going goal from last year
  • Find & feature 1 new blog a month - This is part of my larger personal goal of learning to network better
  • Exercise 4 times a week
  • Lose XX weight by March & XX by August & maintain through the holidays
  • Plan my meals for each week
  • Read through the entire Bible in a year - While I don't talk about my faith much here, I've never actually done this & figured if I put it out in public, I would stick to it
That's it as far as my 2012 To-List is concerned. I've set some other personal goals, but those are my little secret :)

I also went through all my posts from last year to remind myself of what was best received and what I enjoyed writing about the most. And, because I am a task-oriented individual, I've set up a new schedule for myself. I did this when I first started to blog, and it worked out well for me, so I'm going to try that again.

One thing I'm really excited about is getting more giveaways going on here! I want to say THANK YOU to my reader more! So stay tuned for those ♥ (And if you have an Etsy or other shop, and would like to host a giveaway here, email me!)

I hope you have a fantastic week!
Happy Monday ♥

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What I Do During My Free Time (FITB)

It's been such a while since I joined up with Lauren, I figured why not give a little go? After all, I haven't gotten on the resolution bandwagon yet (I'm dedicating some time for that this weekend!), and until then, I'd love to just have a little fun ♥

So here we go...


1.   One of my favorite things to do when I have free time is watch TV. I have so many shows I'm watching right now (even without the network shows that are starting back up this week & next!)

2.   When I have free time I tend to just stare out into space. I waste time like nothing else. I actually consistently impress myself with how much more lazy I can be. I'm going for a new record of laziness next time my guy goes out of town :) 

3.   If I had an entire day completely to myself I would sleep in, wake up & drink mimosas while watching my current obsession (Gossip Girl... for the first time!), then I'd go get a mid-morning pedi, come home for an afternoon movie with some really tasty take-out I picked up on my way home, followed by an afternoon nap, early wine with some more TV, delivery for dinner and then make myself a big pitcher of margaritas & watch one last stupid movie before passing.

{Not that I have my next "me day" planned out or anything.}

4.  I would prefer to spend my free time (alone or with others...) - Definitely alone. I'm such an introvert when I can be!

5.  Most of my free time happens, I guess on the weekends? Realistically whenever I'm home alone & my guys out of town or working.

6.  The best thing about free time is that it's your choice on how to spend it! That's such a rare luxury that I know I take for granted.

7.  The next time I have free time I should probably catch up on my blog reading but instead, I'll probably watch TV or take a nap.

*********

Have a good weekend!

Next week, I'm ready to start up & get this year started!
Get ready ♥

365 Photos + Countless Memories, Pt. 3

Part 3 of 3 :) Almost to the end. By the final stretch of my Project 365, I was almost bored. Trying to figure out why I was doing it to begin with. But, because it was a goal, I pushed through and finished. It's only been 5 days since I've been done & I have to be honest: I felt a weight was lifted. I ended up enjoying the thought of the project instead of the project itself, which just goes to show that maybe I'm not a photographer? (shocker) Or maybe I like doing things that I can easily share?

Either way, I am glad that I had this time to go through every picture one final time. It is refreshing, and has been a great reminder for me. But I'm also ready to move forward, and look ahead. I haven't set any resolutions yet. I haven't even come up with my 2012 To-Do List yet!! I'm planning on spending this weekend writing down my thoughts & setting my plans into action.

But before that, here's the final curve of memory lane: Fall & Winter

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

365 Photos + Countless Memories, Pt. 2

I can't even explain how much fun yesterday's post was for me to write. Going through a year's worth of posts and picking out what impacted me the most is so telling. And it's such a good reminder of how much I am truly blessed with. Especially you guys... re-reading my posts means I also get to re-read some old comments. And they just make me smile so much :) Thank you for reading throughout the year. I don't think I can say that enough.

And since I'm having so much fun, why not keep going? That's my thought, anyway. Here's more of my Project 365! And... it's summer time! (The fun time of year ♥ )

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

365 Photos + Countless Memories, Pt. 1

2011 was a growing year for me. I wasn't sure of my direction in life, but I knew I wanted to move. So I set a bunch of goals for myself on my To-Do List and checked things off as I went along. But I also kept up a Project 365 for the year. I wanted to test myself to see if I'd be able to just do something without praise or comments or stats to check in on. I wanted to see if I could commit to something and stick to it just because. And while I strayed a few times and had to catch up, I am here today happily saying that I did in fact complete the Project 365 in 2011.

I uploaded 1 photo a day for a year to a Tumblr account. And now I get to share some good times with you. ♥ I love how my life pictures and what I was blogging about at the time are so integrated. It just shows that I blog what I living. Is there really any other way?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcoming in the New Year.

Source: etsy.com via Valorie on Pinterest


I keep trying to write something sentimental about ending a year and beginning a new one, but everything seems to come up short. Probably because I'm sick & slightly delusional. But also because it's hard to sum up an entire year in a singular post. So this week will be reflection week. I want to make a newer & better me for the new year, and I know in order to do that I need to look at my failures and successes of the past year.

I'm going to look through my Project 365, check out my 2011 To-Do List, and take a look at those promises I made myself here in public during my 2011: A Time For Change series.

Happy Monday!

Hope everyone's ready to hit the ground running...