Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Barefoot - Elin Hildenbrand

I've read several books this year already. I'm going to have to write about all of them at some point... but today is for Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand.


Barefoot was at the top of the bestseller list for quite some while. My expert opinion? It was okay. It had good character development and I was interested. It just didn't keep me wanting to read it. I love a book that sticks with you for days/weeks. A book that makes me question other things in life or at least jumps out at me in random times of the day. This book just didn't do that for me.

I laughed and cried at the appropriate moments and liked it just fine. But it was just that... a just fine book. I enjoy a good Sunday afternoon read, this book almost made that mark. The book was enjoyable, just drug out a bit too long to be considered that coveted "Sunday afternoon read" title.
I didn't do a great job in "selling" this book. But if you are interested... Amazon has it here. I vote getting it from the library. :) 
AM

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What I Learn From Timehop

Who doesn't love Timehop? I first signed up for Timehop thinking it would be a fun way to reminisce and watch the boys grow. I knew I would have some sad moments remembering when the boys were little and would get some smiles from memories with friends throughout the years. What I've been surprised by is what I've learned about what I didn't see when it was happening.

I have close friends. I've always been a good friend and have been friendly with those around me. Because of that, I've felt like I have many friends and a few close friends. When I look back on my years in college, it's a blur. My time was spent working, dancing (both teaching and on Classy Cats), and going to school. Boys were a big part of my time too. But when I look back, relationships are not at the front of my memory.

Timehop tells a different story. Every day I'm surprised at the moments I forgot. The moments of friendship, quick stories and general hanging out that meant so much at the time. It still means a lot now. While some of my "remember whens" are with friends I've lost touch with, it makes me feel a connection to them, and that time, all again. Its like opening a present that generates a smile, feels a little sad/wistful and hold a whole lot of blessings.

My Timehop from 02.03.2016. 

Dillon the Villain - in front of the fireplace... who can resist a freshly bathed baby?!? 

The sweetest hug I've ever encountered. 

This must be the Day of the Dillon. What a precious little guy!

I still concur. Age 23 was pretty damn awesome. 

Dave still picks his nose... and wears Dillon's pants. They fit a little better now!

Gold Fork was Houlihans when I was in college. Does anyone remember $5 Long Islands on Fridays... OMG!

Nichole shows up on my Timehop on the regular. I miss her. A true friend who would stick up for you... and tell you when you had salad in your teeth! Honesty is such a great quality.

I wonder what my daily time capsule will bring me tomorrow? 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Finding Joy in Everyday Life

Life is not always butterflies and roses. Regular life is not trips or vacations, fun and exciting days or meals out on the town and days filled of the whole family getting along. Life is difficult and messy and not always full of pleasant things.

However, each day has a bright spot. Even in the most mundane or bleak day, there is a what my mom would call a "God Wink" that shows He's there with you.

Yesterday was a long day for me. It wasn't a bad day... it was just a day. I ran late, I dealt with issues at work... I got grumpy with my kids. But when I was pulling into town after working an extended day (and not making my necessary decompressing run), JM called me up and told me we had a new neighbor... our neighbors got a new Yellow Lab! It was definitely the bright spot in my whole day, and my "Joy" in the regular.

Tonight - I read one of my favorite books, "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" with David. I snuggled him for an extra 5 minutes then ran upstairs to read, "Horton Hears a Who" and snuggle with my Dillon. Best. Part. Of. My. Day.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Book Review - More of the same

I love to read. Since my last book post, I've joined a book club. The ladies are awesome. It's a diverse group of ages, backgrounds and careers - with a very important tie... we love to read. My book club has helped me branch out into new books that I wouldn't have normally picked.

However, when in a book drought, I always lean back into my favorite author. Nora Roberts was one of my first "adult reads" and she has always been there with an easy read that takes me to another land. One thing I love about NR, she has a ton of books that have a magical, futuristic or a little "out there" twist to them. I enjoy the romantic story line with a little extra pizzazz built in.

Enter my latest NR read... and book one of 2016!

Buy it here

Stars of Fortune was great! I read it quickly and enjoyed it quite a bit. The book follows along a typical NR trilogy story line. Six people randomly find each other and form a group to fight whatever dark forces are that threaten them/society. Book one - the first couple hooks up (and so on and so forth). While it may be boring to follow such a predictable story line, NR changes it up each book with the magical. In this book we have a witch (or magician), mermaid, transporter, lycan, etc. Together they fight the evil Goddess that wants to take over the world and have eternal youth.

A quick, easy and enjoyable read - I always will pick up a NR book for lazy weekend at home.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Back in Action

I miss my blog. I miss the random diary entries that I feel compelled to share my opinion and our every days going-ons. Life changes and different things take priority. 2015 was not a year that I focused on me and what I need to be a great Amanda. I was a good mom, employee, wife, and daughter, not necessarily in that order, but I wasn't the best "me".

As you may know, I get a lot of passion in having a goal and working towards it or at least having an overarching narrative for what I want my life to be. I think this blog helps me be accountable to that goal or narrative.

So without futher ado.... I'm back. And here are a few things that have been happening over the past few months.

We had Christmas for my side of the family at our house. It was a wonderful day of yummy food (JM smoked a turkey!) games and hanging out with family. It really made my whole Christmas season to have everyone to our house to celebrate the holiday. 
I snuggled my Dilly by the fire. He seems to have me wrapped around his little finger. I mean - who could resist those eyes!
JM and I had season tickets to the K-State Football games again this year. And...we bought two more so we could bring our rowdy boys along. This game was pretty cold so the boys got to stay home. 
I took my Dave on a Mommy/Son date. We dressed nice, ate at a Japanese Steakhouse and went to a movie. It was an awesome Sunday date and I can't wait to take him out again. 
I got to be a Classy Cat again! And guess what? I still knew ALL the dances. Oh how I miss those days! It was great fun to dance with all the "old timers" and watch the band receive the Stutler Award
The boys fooled around at Christmas. :)

I'll be back soon with more words, diary entries and opinions. :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Twiddling my Thumbs

Every time I start a blog post I think it should start...
"So it's been awhile since I've posted" or "I've decided to come out from under the rock that I like to hide."

I do, however, have a great reason (this time) as to why I've been absent from this online journal I call my blog... I have been studying for the last 4 months for the PHR (Professional in Human Resources) certification exam. I took the test on Tuesday and PASSED! I was so relieved, excited, and proud that all my hard work paid off! The passing grade was preliminary, I should get my official results in the mail within 2-4 weeks. The exam was not what I was expecting, so it should be interesting to see what my actual score for the exam was.

But now... I'm twiddling my thumbs. When I would normally have a book or flash cards out to study, I'm wandering around the house trying to figure out my next project. So... I'm gong to start working on my 2014 goals.
The picture I sent to my parents, Jeremy and a few friends to let them know I passed. :)


A couple of years ago, I worked on monthly goals that were all directed towards yearly goals. (In the HR performance planning world we would call these short term objectives and long term goals... obviously my mind is still stuck in my books.)

Without further ado... My May Goals

Since there is only 10 days left they are small but mighty...
  • Read one book and write a review on it
  • Have a garage sale - aka - get rid of our junk/clean the house/ORGANIZE!

Dave also had a big day on Tuesday... I should not let his graduation from preschool be diminished by my test taking... I didn't get any pictures on my phone, but did snap a picture of his "When I Grow Up" picture made with Aunt Boo, the preschool teacher. 


Dave's "When I Grow Up" dreams were: 

"I want to work at the new McDonald's in Topeka. I will probably make $101.00"
and
"I will be 70... that comes after 69. That is when I want to go to space, too." 

Yes - my son aspires to work at McDonald's then go to space. First, they must reinstate the space program. :)

 And just a few more pictures...

The boys love their Papa Sam. We are so lucky they have awesome grandparents (on each side) that love them and are genuinely interested in all that they do. 


Selfie Day at the park in AV







Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Stitch Fix Review #1

It happened. I took the plunge. I have been eyeing Stitch Fix for a while now and finally decided to sign up! It took about a month to get my first fix, but, it came in the mail yesterday!!!


If you don't know what Stitch Fix is, basically it is an online personal shopper/stylist. You fill out a brief survey with your measurements, sizing and answer style questions and then they send you clothes that meet your profile. Actually, it's as simple as that! I also took the tips from other blogs that I had read, prior to taking the "plunge", and referenced a Pinterest page that had my style preferences on it. Or at least, what I want my style to be. If you are interested in trying Stitch Fix, you can use my referral link https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3113982 to get to the website and you can sign up!

And here are my fixes!

KALEIGH ANKLE BITER SKINNY JEAN - $88


First of all... I am not a selfie taker. This is my first selfie in the mirror try. So I apologize. Next time, I'll wash the rug in the bathroom and maybe make the bed. :) 



These pants fit awesome. I LOVE the way they feel and fit. Super stretchy and I think I'd wear them all the time. There are two negatives though... 1. The color. These are a great blush color. I actually like the color, except it almost looks like I'm not wearing pants! 2. The color/tightness. Because these are a bit lighter in color they show EVERYTHING on the backs of my legs. I tried to take a picture of the back so you could see how it hugs my legs. Gross, but I think I could see a bit of hail damage through these pants. :)
STATUS - Returning

MONI STUD DETAILED 3/4 SLEEVE BLOUSE - $58 

 I love this shirt! Great material and hangs really well. Interestingly, this is the LAST item I thought I would keep from first glance. 

With jeans. Would be great for a date night, if we get one of those soon. 

Love the detail on the sleeves. I tried to get a good picture of the sleeves because they are so cute!
My stylist/the style card that came with the shirt indicated to wear it with a skirt (it had an emerald one) so I tried it with this orangy/pink one. It actually looks better in the picture than it does on. The skirt has a texture to it and I'm not sure I like it with the shirt. 

This feels a little "safe" to me, but I actually like this look quite a bit and would probably wear it to work as well.
STATUS - Keeping
 THOMSEN STRIPED PULLOVER SWEATER - $54


I am on the fence with this one. I really like the fit, color and material. The stripes on the arms are black and the stripes on the body of the sweater are blue, which makes it SUPER coordinatable. However, I don't know that it will wash well - and I am not the greatest at clothing maintenance in the first place. 

With skinny jeans and a polka dot scarf. 

Black skinny pants, long necklace and flats. This would be perfect for a day at the zoo with the boys or runny errands/shopping. 
 STATUS - Ho Hum... what to do? 

MILO BIRD PRINT PLEATED DETAIL SKIRT - $48

I love the print in this skirt. It's navy blue with birds on it. But, I don't love the way it fits me. My butt looks big. Honestly, I'm not sure if it's the material or the cut but I'm not feeling it. Five points if you can find my personal stylist (Dillon-the-Villain) sitting on the counter watching me. :) 
I may need a second opinion on this one. I do plan on taking it to work and having my friend Lyndse give me her two cents before making a final decision. 
STATUS - Leaning towards NO.

LANETTE ENAMEL BOW EARRINGS - $28

These are Kate Spade earrings but are very similar to the ones that were in my fix. These earrings can be found here and are $39. 

These earrings are actually quite a bit out of my comfort zone but I really like them. I've been wanting to stretch a little out of my comfort zone, especially in the jewelry arena and I think this is a great first step. 

STATUS - Keeping

So there you go... my first stitch fix. A few things I didn't mention above... When you receive your fix, they also send styling cards that give you several ideas for how to mix and match your fixes with what you already have. This is AWESOME for me because I struggle with pairing with new things or thinking "outside of the box." Also, you get to give feedback when you check out with your purchases. So the fixes are supposed to get better each time. Woo hoo!

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