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Monday, April 30, 2012

Scenes & Lessons From the weekend.

The past few weekends have been wonderful. Relaxing & full of good food. And this weekend was no exception. We had two friends come up and hang out with us Saturday and Sunday, and it was awesome.

After the guys left, and I was pouring over my pictures and memories and considering what to write about, I realized while the pictures I took all told the story of the weekend, they represented something larger than just the weekend.

Here's a few lessons I learned:


{Lesson 1} I take too many pictures of myself.

With friends around this weekend, I realized how many pictures I really take of myself. I've joked about it here & there before... and C makes fun of me for it every time he catches me holding the iPhone camera up & making awkward faces... but man it became really evident to me this weekend just how many I actually take.

Not sure if this is a good, bad, or irrelevant realization.... I'll get back to you.


{Lesson 2} Food & Drinks are Made for Weekends.

Because I am trying to lose weight, I'm still following my no-carb/no-alcohol/no-dairy diet during the week. So, naturally, when the weekend comes along, I have some fun with it. And this weekend, with friends staying with us, the fun never ended. We tried more tacos, visited the local boat restaurant for Sangria Saturday & I even ate pizza with tortellini baked on top.

It was delicious... but I'm definitely ready for some fruit, salad, water & gym time :)

Top left: my grandparents in their 20s, Top right: My first Cubs game with my dad, 1988(ish)
Bottom left: C & I at Junior prom (2005), Bottom right: my brother with Max as a puppy

{Lesson 3} I Love Old Family Photos

I somehow ended up looking through a bunch of my photo albums this weekend... I was laughing and (almost) crying while flipping each page. I'm amazing at how many fun memories are stashed away on the top shelf of my closet. These are just 4 of my favorites I found. ♥


So it was a pretty productive weekend, as you can tell!
{Happy Monday!}

Friday, April 27, 2012

10 Things, Volume 16 + a {WINNER}


1) I discovered how to make pictures like the one above this week. Just run a few different filters over a single picture (Pixlromatic), then put in a collage (Diptic), then upload/filter one more time (Instagram). I'm really loving the possibilities here!

2) I also discovered a self timer app for the iPhone (TimerCam), so hopefully my daily outfit pics will look less like this and more like this. ♥

3) I'm still craving tacos. Luckily, we're having friends up this weekend, so we have a legit excuse to actually go get massive amounts on Saturday morning!

4) 30 Rock did a live episode last night that was amazing. Inside jokes, celebrity guests, and awesomeness galore! I'm definitely watching it again this weekend.

5) The process of applying to and then getting approved for a rental house is really annoying, and surprisingly detailed. It's almost worse than filing taxes.

6) Afternoons in the park with a notebook and an iced latte are super underrated and must be repeated often.

7) I keep thinking of Memorial Day sales and get really excited about all the awesome stuff I'm going to be able to buy. (Just don't tell my husband.)

8) I still haven't made it out to Titanic 3D, and I'm a little sad about it.

9) But I am really excited about The Five Year Engagement. I just love Emily Blunt ♥

10) And finally, the moment you've all been waiting for.... THE GIVEAWAY WINNER!

Trish from Everyday Trish

The response was greater than anything I could have imagined.
Thank you to all who entered. 
I also have to thank Valorie for sponsoring part of the giveaway.

Source: etsy.com via Amy on Pinterest

**Bonus - for the next week, any Crazy Random Happenstances reader can receive 10% off any print from Valorie's shop with the code CRH10. So head on over & pick something out ♥

{Have a Wonderful Weekend}

Thursday, April 26, 2012

On Marriage & Blessings.



Relationships aren't easy. That's a commonly known & accepted fact. But sometimes, occasionally... relationships aren't hard, either. Sometimes relationships have been worked on enough for that period of time that they can sort of "coast".

You can sit back and enjoy what you've been working so hard on.

And this past weekend was that occasion for me. It wasn't "the best weekend ever" but it also wasn't the "worst weekend ever." It was just good. And good was what I wanted and what I needed.

BUT... good doesn't imply perfect either.

I went to bed early Saturday night because I was in a foul mood. It wasn't because of C. Sometimes moods just happen. But we still had our fun doing Taco Quest 2012. We kept up traditions by going to Aggie Muster. We even found a new place to move to (maybe! more on that soon, I hope).

It was good despite the imperfections.

Because we're pre-kid and are both blessed with Monday through Friday jobs, weekends are our time to relax together and reconnect. Each weekend is something different - and they aren't always awesome - but they're a blessing in my life right now.

And I've decided to enjoy this blessing for as long as possible.

What are your current blessings?

{Have a Lovely Day}

The giveaway ends tonight! So if you haven't entered yet,

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Weekly Loving.

Happy Wednesday ♥ I'm linking up again with The Vintage Apple & This Kind of Love. Here's a few things I've been loving this week:




  •  This amazing stripes & polka dot outfit. The vest makes it, in my opinion.

  •  A Lavender Martini. I'm totally making this next time I'm with my mom!



  •  I love this hot pink & orange color-blocked tote bag. Amazingness.



  •  Kendi's "casual" outfit. Totally fell in love with it the second I saw it.



And one final reminder: my giveaway ends Thursday night.
If you haven't entered yet, go over here & check it out ♥

{Have a Lovely Day}

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Braiding, 3 Ways.... sort of.

I can't get over braids. I've absolutely fallen in love with them & am really excited that they're the new "cool" hair trend.... but let me just say: this girl doesn't have braiding skills. I've been trying to increase my braiding skills, though, and after months of trial & error, I finally worked a few "braids" into my regular hair routine.

{ONE} The first is my "braided headband". (And I actually use this tip & cheat by just twisting the hair instead of actually braiding it). This is my favorite way to wear my hair, because I can get the headband affect without having to actually wear a headband (which doesn't work well with my glasses).


{TWO}The second is this side braid. I was going for something more like this, but I haven't learned how to French braid yet, so a free floating braid it way! I'm going to play a little more with this one, because I see great potential in it!


{THREE}The third "braid" I do is actually only using braids to make my hair extra wavy. I picked that little trick up from this Threadsense video. But I haven't mastered the actual braiding part in the second half of the video. Just the braid-to-make-it-wavy part.

the wavy part looks like this on me

I don't really mind my limited experience. It's giving me some great opportunities to learn. I just wish it came easier to me!

What's your favorite braiding technique right now? 
And what's your trick?

{Happy Tuesday}

****
ps - have you joined the party?
I'm over here meeting new people today ♥

Monday, April 23, 2012

Adventures in Taco-Land

Last weekend, I relaxed. This weekend, I ate.


C & I grew up in New Braunfels, TX, a world full of amazing tacos. We satisfied our cravings every Saturday morning with tacos from Los Gallos through our entire Junior & Senior year of high school. To this day, every time we go "home" it is mandatory that breakfast tacos are had in some form or fashion. (I even have Los Gallos' phone number still programed in my phone. Six years after I lived in New Braunfels.)

When me moved to Bryan, TX, the quckie, but awesome, breakfast taco we'd come to rely on to start our weekend was no where to be found. And for six years, we've been complaining about it. Until this weekend.

At the insistence of a few life-long Bryan residents, we decided to wake up Saturday morning with a mission: to find the best breakfast tacos in town. And so we woke up Saturday morning (ignoring the massive amounts of garage sales) & started driving.

We stopped at four places altogether, getting a taco at each place. We rated each location on 5 categories:
(1) Service
(2) Quality of Tortilla
(3) Quality of Hot Sauce
(4) Overall Taco
(5) Price
Three of the places came highly recommended by others, and one was just a spur-of-the-moment turn into a convenient store with "Taquiera" written on its sign. I employed an "equal grounds" controlled experiment, getting only a plain bean & cheese taco at each place, while C employed a more diverse sampling.


We discovered long drive through lines at La Familia (with tacos almost twice the price as the other places), and a Spanish-speaking-only stand at Las Mexicanas. Pictures of dead goats at La Botana, and pinata-lined walls at Tienda mi Ranchito.

The best taco of the day was the Picadillo at Las Mexicanas - but a return visit for fajita tacos that night made us realize that while no one was rude to us, we weren't really welcome. La Familia was over-priced, and had soggy tortillas; and La Botana was good, but not great.

In the end, Tienda mi Ranchito won the taste test. Tucked away inside of a dirty convenient store (which doesn't sell Dr. Pepper), the service was polite & quick, the toritllas perfectly grilled, and the salsa the best of the day. To make sure we had made the right choice, C went back to collect a larger sampling of tacos Sunday morning -- and we found the best Chorizo & Egg taco either of us had ever eaten.

Taco Challenge 2012: Complete.


Now excuse me while I hit the gym....


Have you found a good local place lately?

Hope you had a great weekend!
{Happy Monday}

PS - A few more days to enter the giveaway!

Friday, April 20, 2012

10 Things, Volume 15

I had the opportunity to chat with one of our giveaway sponsors - Valorie (we're actually friends from Texas A&M before she moved away to Washington, DC) - and wanted to share a little bit more about her. Following her blog is an extra entry in the giveaway, but I figured most people want to meet someone before following. So here's your opportunity to learn a little more about her ♥


Getting to Know Valorie of Simply, Valorie



1) What do you blog about/where do you get your inspiration from?
Well, I mostly blog about living intentionally, life after college, starting my photography business, and for some reason Rupert Grint. I'm not stalking him, promisies. My blog is a little snarky, and a lot ridiculous.  
As for inspiration, I guess I get it mostly from my every day life. When I'm blogging, I literally write the way I would speak, and so things I blog about end up being conversations I'd like to have with my friends anyway.  

2) How did you get into photography? [photography website]
I've always loved photography, ever since my parents gave me my first disposable little Kodak camera. Remember those things? They were cool. I first realized that my interest in photography was extreme when I used up an entire one of those photographing bird footprints in the sand on a beach trip. I've been in love since!
I got my first Grown Up Camera -- a Canon Rebel XSi -- in 2008. It took me until around February 2011 to realize I should actually consider becoming a professional photographer, though. Once I did decide, I never looked back. 

3) What was it like to shoot your first wedding?
I know the "correct" answer to this is "dreamy" or "everything I imagined!" But really it was stressful. I was constantly afraid that I would mess everything up and the day was so hectic. Schedules weren't syncing up, I couldn't get in touch with the couple for a while... Things almost went really really wrong, but in the end everything came out okay! Now, I don't think I'll ever be stressed for another wedding because nothing could ever go less smoothly, haha. 



4) You're a Texas girl! Why are you in DC?
Ha! I am a Texas girl! I moved to DC after college for a hundred reasons, but here are the two biggest: 1) I almost did my undergrad degree here, and I couldn't resist another opportunity to move up to this cool city. 2) I want to work in the nonprofit industry - beyond photography I also love social media and nonprofit work, and I'm looking for a way to combine all three. DC seemed like the perfect place to do that.
It was also convenient that my boyfriend and a good friend were also moving up here, so there was literally nothing to be afraid of. I just took the leap! 

5) What tips do you have for bloggers?
I have so many! I feel like I did everything wrong at first and have learned so much now!
Be you, but don't be too you. Haha. Everyone wants to read your true voice and your real experiences, but unless you blog about the best feeding rituals for cats, no one wants to know how many times a week you feed your cat. You know?
Beyond that, figure out who your favorite bloggers are and why. Put your own spin on that with your voice and your words and your experiences. Then reach out - leave thoughtful comments on other blogs, tweet with your favorite bloggers and your readers, thank people for commenting, guest post other places and invite people to guest post on your blog. Connect, connect, connect. That's why it's called social media!
Don't be afraid to do something different or be someone "weird." The internet is full of weirdos! Heck, I blog about Rupert Grint way more than a healthy person should. Like I said, just be you. 

And that's a little bit about Valorie. You can follow her blog, follow her on Twitter or "like" her Photography Facebook page for entries in the giveaway.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

and now back to me...


6. We're a week in to the giveaway & we're not done yet. It's open for 1 more week, so be sure to stop over there & enter if you haven't already. (And if you have already entered -- don't forget you can get up to 10 points by completing 9 other tasks ♥)

7. I have Spring Cleaner Fever, but no motivation to actually start. It's an odd place to be.

8. We've been searching for houses all week online, and have seen 2 in person so far. Today & this weekend, we're visiting a few more. I'm hoping we find "the one" really soon, because I'm getting antsy!

9. A guy at work saw me in the hallway & instead of the usual "Hi," he said "You look good today... I mean, not that you don't look good every day... um..." And it was awkward. And awesome. All in one.

10. A cold front blew in & we definitely are taking advantage of it before another Texas Summer comes in!

{Have a wonderful weekend!}
Click here to enter the Giveaway

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On Marriage & Dating.

Going on dates is not something I've ever been very good at. I'm always awkward and the added pressure of going on a "date" adds just enough more awkward that it's usually no longer fun. This little fact is something my poor husband has had to deal with for years.

So this past weekend, when I came home from the gym and then was informed that we were going to go see a movie, the "D word" stuck its little head out of the ground and I went into full-on panic mode.

I jumped in the shower, refreshed my makeup & hair, put on my new dress, and my favorite pair of wedges. Perfume went on and out we went...

date night

Up first was "The Hunger Games". We liked it (I give it a B), but right after the movie the very uncomfortable inner angst swelled up. I started freaking out about "what if he really doesn't like the movie?" and "what if he wants to go home now?" and "he doesn't really want to be here... I should let him go do guy things" etc, etc, etc. Christian's no idiot & figured it out right away, tension grew just a bit, and then I decided to let it go.

Have fun. RELAX.

And then the night flew by with more fun after each step... we quickly ran through Wendy's for that sexy dinner everyone wants to eat in their newest black dress (yes, really... I ate a bowl of chili in the car on our date).

But we were rushing to the local wine bar, Downtown Uncorked, and there wasn't any other convenient dining around. At the wine bar, we sat & talked & planned, hassled the owner a bit, and I enjoyed my first alcoholic beverage since the previous weekend. (because I'm still doing this)

date night

And at the wine bar I thought, "This is nice. Too bad it'll end soon." And then, it didn't. I suggested grabbing coffee from The Village next door. So we wandered over there, and I sipped on a soy latte while Christian had a beer, while we made fun of appreciated the art on the wall. Finally, when all the art was sufficiently made fun of appreciated, we went to the porch to sit & finish our drinks.

And then the barista took a smoke break, since it was closing time & we were the only ones left, and we talked to him for over an hour. About music, and life, and living in this town, and getting liberal arts degrees, etc. Finally we made our way to our car, and on our way home we both silently agreed the night wasn't about to end.

We were having too good of a time.

date night

So at home, Christian made up a quick batch of Manhattans, which we sipped on our patio. That quickly evolved into Bourbon on the rocks. And then the night was finally finished. Two very satisfied people stumbled their way to bed & fell asleep in each others arms, waking up to a hangover great memories ♥

The best dates are always the ones that develop naturally.

What's the last great date you went on?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Weekly Loving.

Happy Wednesday, all! Before you get too far in, stop whatever you're doing and go enter my giveaway ♥ Entered? Ok. Great.

Now, here's what I've been loving this week:

  •  I love pink blazers. This one, especially.


  •  Other things I'm loving right now are the use of sequins with every day wear. I love this combo:

  • Bubble Pop Up "tents" in France. You can sleep under the stars in style!
Source: ecosalon.com via Amy on Pinterest


  •  How fun would this balloon cloud be for basically any party? I'm thinking I'm trying it out for my birthday this summer!


  •  This beautifully styled bar cart. My bar cart sucks, so I'm drawing inspiration from this:


Have a wonderful Wednesday!

To see what others are loving, go to

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fashion for a Tuesday: Street Style at its best.

There's a few fashion weekends each year I can never get enough of. Red Carpet nights for the Oscar & Golden Globes & Grammy's are of course the top 3. And then there's New York Fashion Week (and London's and Savannah's and pretty much any big city fashion week).

And then there's Coachella weekend. Boho and bohemian mixed with rock & roll with a touch of flirty and girly details. Comfortable street style meant to withstand the outdoors but still look put together enough to make any internet browser jealous.

And this year hasn't disappointed. Here's a few of my favorite looks that I couldn't help but share:

Cut-out dresses & ankle boots

Source: ibtimes.com via Amy on Pinterest


Floral Mini + Rain boots
Celeb Style: Kate Bosworth




Leather, See-through tops, & Headbands

Source: instagr.am via Amy on Pinterest


Maxi dresses, big sunglasses and flowers in the hair
Fashion Blogger: Liz from Late Afternoon

Source: instagr.am via Amy on Pinterest


Combat boots and colored hair
Celeb Style: Katy Perry

Source: ghanamma.com via Amy on Pinterest


I love how dreamy it all is! I'm not sure I'll ever make it out to Coachella (didn't it sell out in about 5 minutes?) ... so instead I will draw inspiration from the style & continue to remind myself that fashion is fun.

Have a lovely Tuesday ♥

Monday, April 16, 2012

All I Did This Weekend Was Relax.


And by relax, I mean sleep in, take naps, sit at the computer for hours, watch movies, catch up on TV, stay up late drinking on the back porch, being lazy about makeup, not brushing my hair, ignoring the laundry pile, avoiding the inevitable spring cleaning, and definitely ignoring the dishes.



Not sure if any of that will help me in the long run. But in the short run it was all that I needed. We saw The Hunger Games, and it was good. Not my favorite movie ever, but definitely enjoyable. And we'll go see the sequel. I do love Jennifer Lawrence, though. She was so wonderful in Winter's Bone and it was nice seeing her in another role.


This week will be number 4 of my no-carbs, no-alcohol, no-dairy thing. I'm cheating every weekend and only working out about twice a week, but still losing weight. And I'm not stressing myself out about it. So cheating it is! I am a little sick of salad, though. Lettuce & I are going to have to take a break soon.

If you haven't entered the giveaway going on yet, be sure to do so!

And with that awkward string of random thoughts...

Have an excellent Monday ♥

Friday, April 13, 2012

10 Things, Volume 14 + a giveaway {closed


1. My niece Pepper Jo is a week old. I can't believe it!

2. The niceness of the girls I've met online is incredible. A big thank you goes out to Courtney of Nose in a Book, who's making my niece a quilt & burb rag. Her stuff's really cute. Definitely go check out Bubby's Blankets on Facebook

3. Hey new followers, what's up? Introduce yourself in the comments & I'll come say hi :)

4. In an attempt to wear heels more but not kill my feet, I'm alternating heels one day & flats the other. It's working... sort of.

5. Jessica from What I Wore is killing it with her outfits lately.

6. My April goals are proving to be challenging. But I'm still going strong!

7. I'm still bread-less & dairy-less over here -- and am craving pizza like no other. Not sure how much longer I can hold out.

8. Christian surprised me with a house hunting expedition this past week! We'll still be renting, but ready to move out of an apartment. Though, we quickly realized we'll need professional help.

9. Cherry tomatoes & baby carrots as a snack. Try it.

10. And the best for last: I'm having a giveaway! Actually 3 in 1 ♥


The lucky winner will receive ALL of these great gifts:



First Valorie of Simply, Valorie is the wonderful photographer behind Valorie Clark Photography and has agreed to give away one of her amazing 8x10 portraits available in her Etsy shop. There's some beautiful things in there. This one's my favorite

Valorie did our Christmas Pictures (which were amazing!) and is a really funny/awesome/creative blogger. So definitely go give her a virtual high-five!




Second One of my dearest, oldest friends Sarah Joy recently opened up a beautiful Etsy shop featuring hand-painted and printed floral headbands to support young women's livelihood in "Garbage City" in Ethiopia. Half of her sales go to the Koshe Project.

I had the wonderful opportunity to wear a few of these things, and let me tell you: they are gorgeous. Go check out Sarah's shop & tell her hello ♥



Third And finally, a month of free advertising here on my blog, including a feature in one of my posts, and a new or updated badge for your blog (so you can advertise in style, of course!)


So. How to enter? I'm trying something new out called Rafflecopter. So follow the directions below to enter: (there's 10 available entries)


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck! Winner will be announced Friday, April 27 ♥

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On Marriage & Making Big Life Decisions

Taken with instagram
via my instagram - amyrenepowell

I'm a thinker. If I don't take the time to stop & think, I get overwhelmed and stop properly functioning. During college, this meant I'd get sick halfway through finals week and would spend the week afterwards with a non-flu-like-flu. And lately I've been wearing myself down faster because I have more to think about.

I've mentioned here & there that Christian & I are at a place we haven't been before. We're not tied down by school anymore - and we could literally go anywhere we wanted (as long as we find jobs, of course). And the only place we want to go is back to where our family & friends are. We want to go back to where we always knew we'd end up.

But the question is: Is it time to go back? We want to. We have the option to. But it's almost paralyzing to start planning on a major life swing. Finding a new place to live, finding new jobs to work at, transitioning phone & cable & internet, saying goodbye to friends here -- the list is never ending. And then you take into account all the good things about where we're at right now. We have good friends, and good jobs. We have a routine. And we have each other.

Accounting for two people's needs instead of just one doesn't double the equation. It exponentially increases it. (and I'm sure if we had little ones in tow, it'd be even more difficult!) This is the part of "being married" that I never really think about until I'm upon it. Where could I be without him? I want to move to Portland and be writer for a bit. And then I'd like to move to Europe just so I could tell future generations that I did. But I don't think I'd be happy. Because I'd be alone, and while I need my alone time, I don't thrive well when left alone for long periods of time.

And so I resort to thinking and journaling and praying about what's next. Because that's all I can do. And so Tuesday, when I came home and felt completely lost and overwhelmed, I took my picnic blanket, composition notebook, iPod & headphones and headed to the park. I wasn't sure what I'd find, and 2 hours later, I had to leave only because it was getting dark and I was hungry and I had a husband waiting for me at home.

But two hours wasn't near enough time to fully search all the questions in my head. And the answers won't come until I figure out the questions. I just feel blessed I have someone to share my life with and that it's not all up to me. I love that I have a partner & a support group holding me up.

And that's where I'm at this week :)

Thanks for reading!
And stay tuned for a giveaway coming up tomorrow ♥

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Weekly Loving...

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you had a great Easter weekend and getting back into work just fine (which took me a while to do!) ♥

Here's a few things I've been loving this past week:

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
  • Beautiful Fabric DIY Flowers:


  • This cute maxi dress Liz wore:


  • Tips on the perfect way to cook an Artichoke (one of my favorite snacks!)


  •  The best tea cups ever... (except they're sold out... sad day!)
Source: etsy.com via Amy on Pinterest


  •  This amazing basement closet makeover is such a great inspiration to me!


  • And here's a great lesson in staying creative:


♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

To see what others are loving, head on over to

{Happy Wednesday!} 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fashion for a Tuesday: My Own Attempts

In a desperate attempt at challenging myself to rise to the occasion, I began taking pictures of my outfits last week. Sure, they're crappy bathroom-mirror/at-arm's-length pictures... but it's a start. I wanted to document what I was wearing to convince myself that (a) my weight loss is noticeable and (b) I have a closet with potential.

Photobucket

I find myself staring into my closet every few weeks, desperate & in most cases literally in tears because "nothing fits!" or "I hate everything in here!" or "nothing goes together!" And in an effort to change my attitude, I began reading fashion blogs where girls mix & match their closet day after day after day... and so I tried a few new things paired together.

Photobucket

My mom & friends started throwing belts at me that were just sitting in their closets - and my collection grew from 1 to about 15 in the past six months - and my closet's potential grew just as much. I also made a few necessary thrift store trips since Christmas & have added some great basics (and of course a few more belts!)

Photobucket

So here I am, with 6 outfits I'm proud of. And a growing confidence in myself that I didn't realize I had the potential to possess. I'm thinking of trying the 30 in 30 challenge in May (or at least some variation of it) just to see how far I can actually go with this task.

Have you ever done a fashion challenge? How did it turn out?