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How To Shop For Your Wedding Dress (On A Budget)

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For all my brides to be (whether you have a ring on yet or not) I want to take some time to talk about shopping for your wedding dress! I also want to share my experience with you, in hoping I can help you to have the most magical time of your life.  Here are my tips for how to shop for your beautiful dress… on a budget.

1.) It’s Not Magic. Contrary to what you see on Say Yes To The Dress (which I may or may not have watched every episode of…Sorry Shane), wedding dress shopping is not always magical.  It can actually be very stressful. Now, I don’t wish that on you.  I truly hope you try on one dress, it’s the one, and everyone cries and rings the bell.

Now back to real life.  I’ll start with my personal experience.

I feel like I actually got pretty lucky with my experience.  I went shopping two times total.  The first time I went with my sister to David’s Bridal. Ahhh, what I like to refer to as “the Walmart” of bridal shopping.  Now that being said, I have got bridesmaid dresses there easy-peasy.  Wedding dress shopping, however, was a whole different story.

I really just wanted to get a good idea about what I wanted.  I had a general idea (aka Pinterest) of what I wanted but I had only tried on wedding dresses once for a modeling gig I did.  It was terrible, nothing fit and everything was heavy and slid down on me.  I really needed help.  We walked in and no one was able to greet us.  We were dirrected to shop the showroom, where I found a dress I was interested in and pulled it off the rack.  Finally after going through over half the dresses our consultant finds us.  She quickly tells me I’m not allowed to take off the rack, only she can do it.  Mind you there are A LOT of dresses, and I really had no set style in mind.   She told me I could pick three and try them on.

I picked my three, and headed to the dressing rooms.  There were people EVERYWHERE (it was the sale week).  I tried on dress, one, and two, and three.  They were all very similar in style.  She pulled a couple more from the sale rack, all in the same style.  She was very pushy with the sale.  When I realized these styles weren’t for me, she said we had pulled everything (obviously not true) and pretty much told me to make a decision.  My budget was $500, and I felt very pressured to choose one of these $400 dresses.  Once my time frame was up she literally just left me and my sister and told us to come find her when I made my choice.  I was so stressed to the point of tears, mostly because I knew none of them were right and I felt very pressured to “say yes to a dress”.  We went to brunch to think on it (with mimosas) and never went back.

I hope others had a good experience there, but mine was trash.  They also were trying to add in extra cost with expensive alterations, belts, head pieces, etc.

My second experience was at a bridal consignment shop.  I went with my best friend since I was 6 years old.  This was the place I had initially wanted to go to with my sister.  This experience was so different.  We were the only ones in the store.  I tried on the first dress, loved it.  I ended up having three contenders, but I kept going back to the first dress.  It was so me.  Things got complicated, however, when my BFF cried (in joy) at my second choice.  First, it was out of my price range.  Second, it just wasn’t ME.  But you start to want to please your entourage so bad and have that “magical moment” that it can sway you.

In the end I knew I wanted the first dress.  You know what? She loved it to! She was so supportive.  In the end she wanted what I wanted, and I told her and the (super nice) consultant I was saying yes to dress #1! It was still a special moment, but far from what you might see on tv.  Definitely fun, definitely an amazing memory, but also very stressful.

I don’t want to scare anyone, but just please be prepared that it is stressful to have all eyes on you, and that people will want different things for you than what you want.  Both times my entourage picked out dresses that I know are more their style than mine.  That’s ok, just stay true to yourself and you will be ok.  Also know alot of people will be looking at your body and that can be stressful too.  I would recommend taking as few people as possible and taking people that you trust their opinion.  As much as I wanted all my future bridesmaids and family to be there, I’m glad for me I kept it small and we can have a special moment together on something else.

2.) Keep An Open Mind. You hear that all the time on SYTTD, and it is true.  What you pin on pinterest may not be what you want in the long run.  Alot goes in to what is cut right for your body, is in your price range, and fits your wedding theme.  Try on one of each and you may be surprised! I know I landed far from where my Pinterest boards led me.

3.) Stick To Your Budget.  It is very easy to get caught up in the land of P’Nina Tournai.  There are alot of very beautiful dresses out there, at alot of different price points.  Just like you need to stay true to who YOU are and your style, you need to stay true to your budget as well.  If you have reservations on price, keep looking.  If you have reservations on style, keep going.  It may take some extra effort to find it, but it will be worth it on your soul (and your bank account) in the end.

4.) Don’t Settle. While this point is kind of redundantin this post, it’s so important. Do not buy your dress until you know it is right for you.  If you need to sleep on it’s that’s fine.  It will be there when you come back if it’s your dress.  Also, do NOT let price point keep you from what you want for your special day.  With that being said, here’s my next point:

5.) Shop Smart. I can honestly say I bought my dream wedding dress for $100 ($108 with tax).  My budget was $500, so this left money for shoes, accessories, and well, a lot of other things.  Do not be afraid of bridal consignment! I feel like sometimes people picture a musty shop filled with 80’s horror wedding dresses but that was definitely not the experience I had.  The consultant was so nice and helpful.  They had plenty of veils and accessories as well.  I had a great selection to choose from, and some actually still had the tags on.  I also love the idea personally that someone else had the best day of their life in this dress and were kind enough to pass it on to me.

If you absolutely can’t handle the thought of second hand, or just don’t have access to it, definitely try shopping the sales and shopping in unexpected places.  I have read quite a few blogs on girls budget wedding days and some found their dress at a department store, or online.  Like I said earlier it may take more effort but the result is so worth it.

6.) Don’t Forget Alterations. If you find a dress you like at a great price but something isn’t JUST right, don’t forget it may still be a better deal to buy the dress and have it altered.  I have a friend who bought her BEAUTIFUL wedding dress on sale because it had a rip.  She took it in for a $50 alteration and looked amazing.  Also, I strongly recommend NOT letting chain stores (like Davids Bridal..Sorry DB) because the upcharge is so much higher than a locally owned shop.

7.) Have Fun. While this post may make this whole experience seem scary and out of reach, it’s not.  Stressful? Yes.  A memory you won’t forget? Yes.  I would rather not admit how many time I scroll back to pictures of MY dress as well as the rejects to relive this special time.  Another reason  I have watched EVERY episode of SYTTD is because even though it’s hard, that moment where you find your dress is absolutely worth all the effort.

I hope this helps you my sweet readers! For more wedding goodness check out my wedding goals and my engagement story! Do you have a special wedding dress story? I would love to hear it through email or in the comments below!

Love,

Amanda

My Wedding Goals

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Today is a special day. Incredibly special. One most bloggers probably dream about at some point (even if they don’t admit it).  The day they get to start their wedding series.

Amanda’s getting married!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Being an avid blog-reader (for much longer than I have had a blog), I always loved coming across stories about the bloggers weddings.  The details, the pictures, the nerves, the whole thing.  Probably because I am one of the biggest hopeless romantics you could ever meet.   So, aside from finding the love of my life, and him asking me to marry him, and a beautiful ring, I was so pumped to get to share my experiences with my readers.  I know my approach to weddings may be super different than some, so I wanted to share my own wedding goals with you today.

1.) Budget. Per usual,  I am very budget conscious.  Shane and I have both discussed long before we got engaged that we definitely want a nice, classy wedding.  But more than that we would prefer money to put on a house, build our future home, take trips, etc.  I am very much of the mindset that while it is one of the most special days,  there are a lot of places to save, especially if you are putting the extra effort and research into it.

2.) Low stress. I know this may seem like a HUGE oxymoron to most, but this is one of my biggest wedding goals.  We have started with a long-ish engagement (about 11 months).  While some have asked us why we aren’t jumping on a spring wedding, I always answer just to make things easier.  The more things are spaced out, the better.  I feel very good about we have done so far (dress, venue, photographer, and assorted decorations).

Another goal I have in our stress free wedding is to make the day the most enjoyable for Shane and I, and also those involved.  I want to have things planned out as much as I can, and take ideas like making things more self serve so each person involved can have a fun memory of our day.

I also want to make it as low stress for my guests as possible.  Mostly (after watching lots of four wedding) making sure they know what the plan is, where they should be and what they could be doing.  Also some drinks may help with that too!

3.) Theme. Our theme is most definitely a country-glamour style wedding.  We want it to be outdoors with lots of two stepping, good food, drinks, and games.  I also envision lots of soft, pretty touches and glamour in the lighting and the bridal party.  I know this rustic theme is super popular, but I can’t wait to really make it our own. Plus it fits our personalities to a T!

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4.) Colors. Mainly light pink, champagne/gold glitter, grey, and greens. Be still my vintage heart….

5.) Traditional. I definitely want to mix in some very traditional elements to my wedding. I want it to almost be a vintage/retro sort of traditional in elements.  I want the something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.  We have planned to have a memorial table for family members that can’t be there.  I also am opting out of a first look.  I know they are a perfect fit for most people, but for me I want to wait until he sees me coming down the aisle.

6.) Dance, dance, dance. There will be a lott of dancing.  Dancing, line dances, fun dances, two step…. its going to be time to BOOGIE.

These are the pieces nearest and dearest to my heart.  What was/will be the most important for your wedding? Please leave me comments below!

Love,

Amanda

 

Here’s To You, 2017

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The dawn of a new year always bring a time of reflection; what was good, what was bad, what can be improved, and what direction to go from here.  Looking back, 2016 was a crazy/awesome/messy/painful/beautiful kind of year.

I officially ditched my degree-field career (teaching) in an attempt to live the life I really want and also not shave years off my life with the constant emotional/physical/financial stress the job afforded me.  Hands down one of the hardest decisions of my life, but so far one of the best.  God brought me more situations to learn about setting boundaries with family, friends, and coworkers.  I also learned more on how to treat myself with kindness and how important it is to not continually try and pour love, wisdom, and effort out of an empty cup. I am learning to slow down and enjoy the moments instead of racing from one checkmark on my to-do list to another.  I am relearning the joy of morning stretches before a cup of coffee.  Of the car ride home listening to your favorite songs.  Taking your dog for a walk.  Catching up with an old friend.  Cooking a good meal.  Reading (blogs) all about your favorite things.  Being prepared for the day ahead.  Most of all I am so joyful that my life no longer feels like a frantic rat race from sun up to sun down.  My day is no longer scheduled by five minute increments.  I miss my students incredibly, but I am so happy to find myself.

I worked towards my goals in fashion and blogging, and then I completely stopped.  I do not feel bad about that, however.  I really think God wanted me to take a rest period and look at where I’m at and where I want to be (other than just on January 1st).  I am really finding myself and I could not be more excited and I am doubly excited to have my blog to share it with you.

Hands down the biggest highlight of my year was getting engaged to the man of my dreams in the sweetest way ever (you can check out my engagement story here).  I am so incredibly excited to be starting on this chapter of my life with an amazing man by my side.  If you had told me I would be where I am at now two years ago I would have never believed you.  In just over nine months I will be in the beginning of my own fairytale.

In 2017 I want to reconnect to this blog again.  My biggest focus is planning my fairy tale wedding to my dream man, and of course on a budget.  I have already made great progress in that and I can’t wait to share it on here!  I am also turning the flirty thirty this June, and I honestly could not feel more excited or secure about it.

I want to lap up all the joyful moments, pray and persevere during the hard ones, and love every moment possible.  I am working towards focus, balance, and of course a stylish 2017.  I don’t want to make resolutions this year so I can focus on each moment as it comes.

2016, you were wonderful and hard but I wouldn’t trade you for anything (except for Trump, but we won’t go there).  Here’s to you, and here’s to the new!

Love,

Amanda

My Engagement Story

So… I’m ENGAGED!!!  After a month of enjoying sharing our amazing news with friends, family, and loved ones I am so happy to finally share to my beautiful blog readers.  I am generally pretty quiet about my close relationships on the blog, but I am so ecstatic there is no way I cannot share our amazing story with you.

First of all, I just have to say I am so blessed.  Secondly, I have to say if you had told me two years ago that I would be engaged today I probably would not have believed you! That whole saying about finding them when you aren’t looking.. yeah, it was true!  I am so thrilled to have Shane in my life, and now as my fiance! It is so important to remember to never give up on the love, and the kind of love, that you want in your life.

I think this is a perfect place to start our story out.  Shane and I had our first real date two years ago.  We had met online, so we had got together a couple times prior.  Both times were really fun and special, but I didn’t feel like I knew him well enough, and was still guarded in the fact that he could be a player or a very handsome sociopath (you never know).  So after spending time twice and lots of phone conversations I decided it was safe to let him pick me up at my house and take me on a real date.   Let’s just say it went well! It was an amazing date, and fast forward two years Shane asked if I would like it if we recreated that date (our favorite) for our anniversary.  I thought this was so sweet and perfect! So we started out with Shane taking me to dinner at a place called Empire Pizza.  I love this place because it has such an amazing atmosphere, pizza, and drinks!   

We got all fancied up, and Shane drove us there.  We ordered our FAVORITE slice (so good), but before Shane needed to go wash up.  At the time I had no idea he was super nervous.  He had mentioned not eating/sleeping well the past couple days but I thought it was just work related stress.  I only had one inkling that he MIGHT be proposing from my sister (she told me to paint my nails), but she promptly squashed that notion by big sister-ing me and saying nothing was happening but I didn’t want my nails to look bad, right?  It turns out poor Shane was actually nervous for a very good reason.

A quick funny story of while we were out to dinner was the guy in the back corner of the picture.  When Shane was washing up, he was very nice and told me how adorable and sweet I was (aw shucks!).  When Shane came back, the man started  grilling him about why he hadn’t married me yet.  I sure didn’t help when I started to chime in with him (Yeah!). Poor Shane.  Anywho, our food was so tasty! I tried to order the same drink I had on our first date (blue drink) but that drink was no more.  I had a “fancy” cocktail instead, and went outside to take a walk on that beautiful day!

We were all fancied up so (naturally) I wanted some pictures for the blog.  I still had no idea as to what was really going on, and I was just enjoying our date, reminiscing and thinking back to our first real date together.  Shane started to mention that he wanted us to be at the lake by sunset so we could drink wine and watch the sunset just like we had before.  I was so pumped for this, but also so unsuspecting!

We started to drive to the lake, and oh my goodness. We hit traffic every which way we turned.  Literally a whole street was closed, and then the next one was stop and go traffic (which doesn’t happen much in Oklahoma).  I asked Shane later if he was stressed to which he said YES, but I really didn’t have too much of an idea anything unusual was going on.  I remember hearing “Heathens” by Twenty One Pilots about a million times and just dancing and singing along while Shane was probably having a heart attack!!

We arrive at the Lake and Shane find the exact spot where we went that first night.  We had drank wine on the hood of the car and stared up at the stars.  We had actually seen a shooting star that night! When I asked Shane what he wished for he leaned over and kissed me.  The whole night had felt like something out of a movie to me.  I was so excited to recreate it, and that he had found the exact same spot!

Shane laid out blankets and pillows, and covered the whole area with rose petals.  Oh! Another reason I completely didn’t think he was asking me was about our gifts for each other.  I had asked him for a hint, and he said “red and wicker”.  Red and wicker? Hmmm… well that’s not diamonds so it MUST be a picnic basket was what I decided in my head.  How perfect will that be? A picnic in our spot with wine at sunset. Perfect!  I can’t believe how much my expectations were surpassed!

Shane asked if I was ready and pulled out this beautiful basket out of his trunk.  Inside was a bottle of the exact same wine we drank that first date (our favorite for that very reason), a wooden chest labeled “Memories”, and a wrapped package which I quickly discerned as a coffee cup.  I really still wasn’t the wiser but I was so excited to see what was in there!  I did notice that Shane had set up my tripod and Iphone to take pictures, but me wanting pictures is so not unusual that I didn’t think much about it. I figured we would use my clicker to take some cute pictures with the sunset in the background.  I opened the box (which had a beautiful red rose tied to the top) and found that the box was overflowing with pictures of us, momentos from the past two years, and a handwritten letter.

Now, if you can’t tell from my blog, I am a photo-a-holic.  I love capturing sweet moments and getting to look back at them years later.  So when I opened the box I was so excited and started to reallyyyyyyy slowlyyyyyyy go through each and every photo.  I probably could have sat there for hours doing that.  Shane finally urged me and said “Open the note!”.  On the lid of the box was an envelope that said “Let’s make one more memory….”.  I opened it up to find a handwritten letter in there.  Shane has written sweet notes and love letters throughout us dating, but finally something started to click in my head that this may not be the gift I was expecting, but so much better!  I started to read all the sweet and meaningful things he had to say… but then I kind of caught on because he said “I have known since the first time we were here that I wanted to marry you…”.  My heart skipped a beat and I skimmed down to the bottom of the not where he asked if I would marry him.

Tears filled my eyes, and I started to laugh and cry all at the same time.  I couldn’t even squeak out a yes so I just started to nod my head.  He asked me if that was a yes, and I said YES!!!

After lots of hugs, kisses, crying, laughing, and even some shouting at cars driving by (“I’M ENGAAAAAAAGED!”), I asked Shane how he could be so calm.  He started to laugh and said “because I’m about to throw up!”.  We both just started laughing so hard and enjoying that special moment together.  Shane had also packed a bottle of champagne which we popped to celebrate.  Knowing me, he had also packed a plate of snacks (say no to hanger).  Oh, and that coffee cup? It is so delicate and beautiful and says “Bride To Be” on it, and is just absolutely perfect.  The man knows me.  We spent the next hour calling friends and family, who were all so supportive.  We then went to my sister’s whose response was somewhere along the lines of “about damn time!”.

Funny side note: Shane had set up tripod to take a video of the whole proposal.  I don’t know if anyone else out there has a problem of constantly filling up their phone storage (I blame you snapchat!), so Shane turned the video on, but it stopped right where the photo directly above is.  My face of pure surprise and joy!  Oh,  and Shane’s foot, about to get down on one knee.  I actually love that the video cut off right there, because now our proposal is a completely private memory for just us.  I think God wanted at least some of this to be special just between us, and not on social media.

Being engaged to Shane is the most exciting thing I have ever done.  He is such a wonderful person, and I am just so blessed to have someone like him in my life.  I am so thankful that he always supports me, laughs with me, and goes along with my crazy schemes and adventures.  He also hugs me when I am sad, and never ever puts me down or tries to change me. He is hardworking, kind, silly, the best friend you can ever have, and loves God.  I am so thankful for him, and so happy I SAID YES!!!

A Little Fall Glamour

Budget friendly outfit: dress from Ross ($12.99), booties from Walmart ($19.98), and cardi from consignment (originally AE) $14.00.

As per most bloggers, we are busy talking about fall. Why? Fall is the end of a long, hot, summer, and the beginning of a fresh and crisp new season. A season full of traditions and comfort. Fall brings in a time for holidays, hoodies, and cozy time at home with yourself or friends and family.  With pumpkins and plaid everywhere, what’s not to love?

As someone who is constantly cold, fall is my favorite only for about a week. I love the newness, the warm smells and cozy campfires (oh and I LOVE Halloween!), but I hate how fall makes everything lose its glamour and finesse. The trees lose their leaves, slowly my favorite summer dresses and sassy wedges with huge sunglasses get covered up with sweaters, scarves, and more layers than I would like to admit. It makes me feel remember we are entering winter (I’m shivering already), which is hands down my least favorite season of all (thanks, Oklahoma!).

In my disdain for the lack of frills fall has to offer, I am often in search of ways to make things feel a little more spectacular. My lovely girlfriend and I planned a “glicnic” (glam picnic) a few days ago. I have to admit, she did more of the planning, but I did find this amazing pumpkin spice drink from Sprouts. It pops like champagne and drinks like the most perfect pumpkin cider I have ever tried. And it’s all natural, yay! 

I donned my best plaid and booties, and had the most lovely afternoon chit chatting on a blanket (about life, faith, and men (duh)). We snacked on pumpkin scones, chocolate hazelnut cheese (amazing) and cashews. The weather outside was gorgeous and sunny, but with that fall chill in the breeze. It was a perfect time and made me feel a lot better about the end of summer and the beginning of a new season of adventures (and fashion). I definitely recommend planning something like this, especially if you’re having a hard week. Grab some blankets and pillows, your prettiest glass and your favorite treats. Bonus points if you pack a hammock! 

What do you do to feel fabulous in the fall? I would love to hear all about it, so please leave me a message below!

Love love,

Amanda

Life As Of Late

Oh the joys of a good wall to stand in front of AKA blogger life….


Long time no see, blog friends. As some of you know, I took a life-changing leap and left my teaching career after being in schools for 7 years (essentially straight after college). I took a job as a leasing coordinator, and have since thrown myself into a new job and new life.

Change is hard, but change is also good. I moved to a new apartment and have adjusted to the new job. More than anything I am adjusting to the lack of stress. I feel so much that stress is just an “expected” part of most Americans life. For so many years I felt that if I wasn’t under constant stress I wasn’t progressing. What a lie! The pressures of teaching were weighing on me so heavily (and my bank account, teachers in Oklahoma are the lowest paid of all 50 states).  I’m not saying my new job doesn’t have trying moments or challenges, but I actually leave with enough energy to embrace my own life and passions.

Now on that note, blogging is a huge passion of mine. I have been slacking lately, however, because this is literally my first chance in my 29 years that I get to relax. Aside from one summer break I took off in 2011, I have been essentially busting ass since I started high school. I realized how much I enjoy having the to get into a show, read a book, and spend time with loved ones. I honestly didn’t know life could be this way and still be able to support myself when I was a teacher.  How sad is it that I went that many years? I wouldn’t take any of it back, but I am definitely reveling in getting a piece of myself back.  Now what I need to do is find a way to intertwine blogging back into my life, so here I am. I miss sharing my passions with others, and I miss my creative outlet. 

In other news, I am (like any other basic) pumped for fall. I know it is officially fall, but with highs around 90 I’m sure not feeling it yet! I am ready for plaid, candles, PSL, brisk walks and bonfires.  I also need a festive outfit for Puppins, and not just because it’s freaking adorable but because he gets cold just as easily as I do! 

I’ve also been trying out a few new recipes and some old ones that I am excited to share here. I’ve also been watching a lot of shows in my newfound free time (binge watching for the win!). So any good Netflix/Hulu/HBOGo shows, let me know!

What do you do when you have a chance to relax? Do you have one? If you don’t, please remember, YOU deserve it!

Love love,

Amanda 

Finding Confidence

I thought this picture would turn out horrible due to no makeup and bedhead. But I said to heck with it and I love the result. I.e, LOVE YOURSELF.


Confidence. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Real confidence. This is something that can be more rare than a pink polka dotted unicorn named Ralph (yes, Ralph). But why is this so hard to come by?

First of all, we are all our own worst critics. I was definitely a late bloomer. Always underweight in school with frizzy brown hair and braces, I was often passed over for more endowed girls that had already grown boobs to fill out their tight Abercrombie t shirts I couldn’t dream of affording. I usually looked a LOT younger than my age (which now I love) It taught me a lot, however, about valuing yourself. I had friends and an amazing boyfriend during that awkward  time who appreciated my curly hair, my silly personality, and my skinny self. Being around others who accepted me and loved me right where I was at was a great first step in finding personal confidence in myself.

I spent the majority of my college years working at a little store called Victoria’s Secret. A place where you can leave feeling dynamite, or like you need to call up the plastic surgeon. I was so nervous when I first started there. What if the girls were mean? What if they all had better boobs/butts/faces than me. Maybe it would be hard to look at the models all day? But in the end I had the exact opposite experience. My time there taught me to be so confident and thankful for who I am and what I had to offer (and not just physically). There was always such a vibe of helping to make every person that came in feel sexy in their own skin.  Whether it was a good fitting bra or a sexy smelling perfume or a comfy but sparkly hoodie, everyone around me was SO supportive of every other girl. I was floored.

I was equally floored by the reactions of customers coming in. Girls that I thought who had the most perfect body would have insecurities too, just like me! The beautiful manager with the seemingly perfect relationship had disagreements just like anyone else. Being a very green (and equally insecure) 20 year old these were huge revelations to me. No matter what someone else’s life looks like on the outside, you really have no idea what they are facing on the inside. This knowledge still gives me a lot of grounding.

Growing into an adult, I also learned that it’s ok to work with you you’ve got. Definitely take time to pamper yourself and make yourself into the best YOU you can be. Tired of my brown hair color, I started dying it. Not because anyone told me, but because it made me happy and fit my personality so much better. I feel more myself then ever. My style changes regularly, but is always something that makes me feel happy and confident. Wear amazing, well fitting clothes (you don’t have to break your budget!), and embrace your personal style.  When you are happy and spending that time on yourself, it will reflect into other areas of life.  As women we often put ourselves last, but why? We are worthy and deserve a great pair of shoes and a bubble bath now and again!

How do we find that line of being happy with yourself and a self obsession in a Kylie Jenner, selfie, instgram filter driven world? I think it is first accepting yourself for who you are. I have super long arms, legs, and even fingers! I will always have finicky, fluffy hair. I didn’t party in high school but I had amazing lifelong friends and over a 4 point GPA I wouldn’t trade for anything. Find those things that make you you and love them! Own them! And those who love YOU will love them too. Also remember not everyone will love and appreciate you and that’s ok too. We are all doing our best.  Also, back on the Kylie Jenner thing… don’t go changing your entire being for others approval.  When you look back your life will not be truly measured in instagram likes, but with you being proud of who you were and the choices you made.

Lastly, do what makes you happy. When you are happy with your choices you are happy with yourself, and consequently your life! I love a lot of things my friends don’t, and that’s ok because they make me happy. I love tent camping, beer, and country music. I equally love fashion, lattes, and all things vintage. I love (now) that I’m a little bit of a contradiction and that’s ok. Once I finally accepted who I am (even when it’s ever changing) I am much more confident. Making that choice has also helped me to cut out a lot of things and people who made me not so happy in who I am.

I hope this little touch on confidence helps someone out there. I wanted to write about it because we ALL have insecurities, we ALL have had people put us down, and we ALL just want to be loved.  I know this is something that literally used to consume me when I was younger.  I look back and wish I could tell that girl everything I know now, but I can’t. But I can share it on here.

Love,

Amanda

Labor Day Wedding

Last weekend Shane and I trekked to Chickasha, Oklahoma for the final wedding (for us) of the 2016 season.  Our sweet friends Rayghan and John were tying the knot after 8 years of dating. They are such a sweet, sweet couple, and it was the absolute perfect reason to hit the road and drive through the countryside.

I had the hardest time deciding what to wear to this wedding. First of all, it fell on Labor Day Weekend, which whether you agree or not holds the key to the change of seasons and a lot of fashion “rules”.  I also knew it was a scorcher in Oklahoma, with highs in the 90s.  I knew I needed a perfect “transition” outfit where I could be cool, slightly summery, while still nodding to the changing season ahead.  I finally narrowed it down to a black floral crop top with a higher wasted black maxi.  I love the crop top trend, especially since I lived through the 2000’s trend of low rise jeans. I feel like we all spent that time displaying our muffin tops, and the high waisted trend is just so much more flattering.  Also, it helped me stay cool during an outdoor Labor Day weekend, and still feel adorable and classy doing it.

The wedding was absolutely perfect.  They held it in John’s parents yard. It was so picturesque.  A partly cloudy sky, a light breeze in the trees, and a couple so obviously in love. Her colors were shades of purple, with her bridesmaids wearing all shades and the groomsmen had matching ties.  I absolutely adored that John and Rayghan included their loved ones in the wedding. Her cousin officiated, and the best man sang an acoustic version of their first dance song.  They also had a hilarious “bet” on who would shove the cake in each others face.  My most favorite part of the night (because I LOVE dancing) was when the DJ called all the couples out on the dance floor.  Couples were voted off based on how long you had been together.  The final two couples had been married 45 years and were cutting a rug just like everyone else! I loved it, and it was so sweet. It was also a great way to get everyone to loosen up and get out on the dance floor. There was also an adorable photo booth and slide show of the bride and groom overlooking the pond in their beautiful backyard.

We drank sweet tea, ate cake, danced and watched the sun go down on a perfect September evening full of love and laughter.  Sadly I didn’t get any photos of Rayghan and John (I hate being that person with my camera in their face), but you can only imagine how beautiful she looked and how happy they both were.  It was a wonderful wedding to cap off the end of summer of 2016!

Love,

Amanda

 

A Girl Walks In To A Pole Dance Class


Last night I had the privilege of attending a sweet friends bachelorette party (Congrats Rayghan and John!). The plan was sushi, a sexy pole dancing class, and then personal shower with cake and cocktails. I was really excited, but a little nervous because I have attended these classes before, but it was years ago, and this time with a lot of people I would be meeting for the first time that night. Nothing like getting your twerk on in front of virtual strangers! Good thing I don’t have too much of a filter around new people anyway.

We started out with sushi from The Sushi Bar in OKC. I kept it simple with tuna and Philly rolls, yum! We had a little extra time to head back to the hostesses house for some cocktails. I was pleased to find out the girls seemed really sweet, most of them being childhood friends of my friend Rayghan.

Then we headed downtown to a place called Teaze Dance. Like I mentioned, I have been there before but it was a few years ago. First thing I noticed was the fun decor. Everything was very burlesque and a little vintage which I am always a huge fan of. The instructor must have seen us coming and let us have some time to take pictures and play around before we started.

Let me say, the instructor was amazing. She never once made any of us feel like we were doing a bad job even if we were struggling. It was neat to know she hadn’t been doing this her whole life and started with a workout pole in her house, and finally ended up taking classes to get where she is today.

We did three separate classes: pole, aerial, and burlesque/hip hop. In the beginning I was most excited for the burlesque because I love dancing. We started with pole, which was fun but difficult as a good core strength helps you. But it was still super sexy and we all had fun doing our best. It is such an amazing workout too, I am definitely sore today. 

Next was the aerial. I think the silks were most favorite for all of us. We learned how to spin, spot, and flip upside down. It was so exciting and also made us feel really sexy and adventurous! I was really nervous to flip upside down because I never trust my balance, but I did it!

Last was th burlesque. She taught us a very sexy and fun chair dance. She was a very good teacher and we had a whole fun routine by the end of the night. My favorite thing she told us was even if we felt like we were doing it differently or slower than everyone else, it just means you are Beyoncé and everyone else is your backup dancers! I think it helped boost all of our confidence and relax and have fun.

Even for the most conservative girl I would highly recommend taking a class like this. All women want to feel sexy, fun, and free and this really helps you have a chance to do that. I am not very confident when it comes to most athletic things and this actually gave me a lot of confidence and also gave me a good reminder to have fun and not worry about everyone watching you (especially when they are busy worrying about themselves). I would definitely do it again. It was a fun workout and a great confidence boost! It even motivates me to be a little more active on the regular.

Have you ever done anything like this? Let me know in the comments below!

Love love,

Amanda

Shopping Off Season

actual cost? $54.38. My cost? $8.71.

Let’s spend some time talking about one of my favorite things today. What is that you may ask? Well I will be happy to tell you, it’s saving money. Before you laugh and scoff and say, ” Cmon Amanda who doesn’t like saving money?!”, hear me out.

I love reading all the posts about Nordstroms sale, and online offers, but a lot of the time even the sale prices on those items are too expensive for me. Will it always be that way? Hopefully not. But should I (or anyone) have to give up looking classy and fabulous because of price? Definitely not. 

People who know me often compliment my outfits and may assume I spend all of my money on clothes. While I wish this could be true it’s not, but I still maintain a very beautiful wardrobe because it makes me feel happy and confident (and is one of my favorite hobbies!).

boot socks 5 for $5, fleece lined leggings $3


blanket scarves 5 for $5, Rue 21


One of my first big tips to share on here (aside from my love for consignment shopping) is to shop end of season or off season sales. While it is still (literally) 108 degrees here, in about a month or so I will be ready to wear all of these items and I saved around $50 just buying them early. Keep an eye out around the end of seasons for stores that have sales, or even extra discount sales like Rue 21.

Next, make sure you know your style and the trends. For me I know warm leggings, boot socks, and blanket scarves are all trends I see carrying in to next year, so all things I know I will want to wear. I also bought them in colors that go with what I already have (neutrals are your best friend guys). I love the tribal print scarf the most because it gives a pop of style without being overwhelming.

Next you need to know quality. These are all decent quality pieces that would last me a few years with good care. Now for me I know these aren’t live long pieces, or I may be willing to spring a little more for them. But I may be over blanket scarves by 2019, so I’m totally content with the price and I know all items are good quality that I will enjoy wearing, and won’t fall apart on one wear. Plus, if you are dissatisfied with quality or texture you won’t use it. 

I hope these tips help you save some money and feel confident and stylish. There is no reason to not feel beautiful when you can shop on a dime!

Love love,

Amanda