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My Goals For August

Top, shorts, and sandals are fully from Platos Closet for a grand total of $15!


Ok so first goal is to work on timeliness.. Why? Because it’s August 4th and I’m just now thinking on goals! But really, my life has been so crazy for the last 10 months that it has been so hard to make clear goals and lock them in. Don’t get me wrong I have finished plenty of things, but half of the time it felt more like luck than anything!

I am so happy to say that life finally feels like it is entering a calm patch for the time being (as calm as my life gets anyway). With this I really want to make sure I am enjoying it but also putting the lack of chaos to good use. Weddings are over, I’ve moved, the new job is starting to settle in. So what now?

1.) Health. I know this is the most vague goal ever, but let me explain why. Healthy living is very important to me, but I also think it is important to keep great balance with your life so you are emotionally happy and not just a slave to the gym or the meal planner.  I am someone who loves to be active, but I want t to be fun, so I hate making it a set goal or activity until I’m excited about it. But my general health goal is this: more water, more activity, healthier home-cooked meals and vitamins. I can’t say this will eliminate all the Taco Bueno and mocha frappes, but I definitely want to make a big health step forward.

2.) Adventures. With life calming down, I want to finally enjoy it more. One huge reason I drastically changed jobs was so my personal life can become more rich. As I said above there is a lot of balance I need to practice, but big and small, social and personal, I need adventure in my life. I’m starting with a camping trip this weekend, and I can’t wait to start sharing all of my adventures with you here!

3.) Fall Wardrobe. This may seem silly to some, but my fashionistas will understand. First of all, leaving teaching has opened up my style life a lot. I still strive to look professional at my day job, but I finally feel so much more comfortable to take fashion risks without 650 parents eyes on me (even when I’m just out and about town). I have had a hard time since changing careers because it does change your identity as well as your confidence. I want to find some gems that make me feel good as I continue into my “new” life. I have started my budget friendly wardrobe for this fall, and I can’t wait to complete it and post it here!

This may seem like a small amount of goals, but these three are what I think will most help me with my happiness at this time. Something I don’t share a lot about on here is that I have had issues with anxiety and depression for quite awhile. I am doing well, but I have also faced some hard and honest changes lately that have made my battle with this a lot harder lately. I’m sure a lot of you can relate, probably more than I even realize. It is such a hard thing to open up about, because there is (for me) such a fear of appearing “crazy”. But I want to try and start opening up about it here, if by any chance it can help others with their struggles.

I hope that by posting this here it will help make me more accountable! Please, leave me some love in the comments below. I can’t wait to read them!

Love love,

Amanda

After The Final Rose

can you spot the hanger tag sticking out? #foreverandalways


A sad time has come, my friends. As always, “the final rose ceremony” is always one I lol forward to, and then promptly start a Bachelor nation style withdrawal immediately after (thank goodness for The Bachelor in Paradise promptly starting!)

I think more than anything this seasons ending was definitely a let down for a lot of us. I feel like more than any other season JoJo had SO many good men falling for her. Like I said in my last post, I was pretty disappointed when the final two came down to Robbie and Jordan. While Robbie seemed like an ok guy (and Jordan always came off very flippant and selfish towards JoJo), I just didn’t see the good future boyfriend and husband material in either of these.

Robbie, however really started to win me over after his hometown date. He handled their issue so well. He continued to affirm her and their relationship he rest of the way through their journey.

Now let me go on my dating rant, and JoJo’s situation embodies this for me. I feel like so often women today go only on their heart and a “feeling”. Often times I feel like this is sexual chemistry, or the sheer excitement of the thrill of the chase (aka wanting what you can’t have). Now I definitely understand the excitement, but I think there’s so much to be said for the guy that is there for you. 

Now don’t get me wrong, if you aren’t attracted to someone don’t try to make it work. If it’s not there, it’s not there. But seeing how Robbie and Jordan were both very good looking (and so similar), I don’t think that was the issue. JoJo went for the thrill, but did not look (as her parents advised her) for husband material. Robbie knew what and WHO he wanted while Jordan threw out a few lame I don’t knows and smirks.  In looking at a man that is ready and will be a good husband (and father) through illnesses, pregnancies, morning breathe, you name it I can see Robbie ready for that and having a kind heart for JoJo and Jordan comes off so self centered and weak to me. He was either to scared or not ready to ask her father.. And that is a huge sign to me that either he’s just not there yet or he just wasn’t that into her… And then she kind of pressures him (hellooo ultimatum!) into it.

I truly hope this is all editing and that Jordan truly loves her and they at happy and make lots of little football babies… But I really don’t think I’m wrong here. But I do want people to be happy, but I just hate seeing people pick partners for the wrong reasons.

What did you think of the finale? Did she choose wisely? And WHO is the next Bachelor? I’m team #JamesTaylor myself! Let me know in the comments below.

Love love,

Amanda

7 Things To Do When You Have A Bad Day


Let me just start by saying today was just a bad day. You could write a whole kids book (Amanda and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) on today. I see this as a perfect time to also blow off some steam from this day in history.

First of all, I wake up in a panic at 4 a.m. from one of those nightmares that feel so realistic you need at least 30 minutes and a glass of warm milk to calm down from. I finally drifted back to sleep only to be awakened a few short hours later by my morning alarm. Grrrrreat…

I put that aside to take on the day with as much verve (and coffee) as I possibly could, only to have some strange phone number call and inform me of a bill I expected, that was actually double what I expected and sooner than expected. I don’t know about you other milleniels, but I am literally working my butt off to pay down my debts from college and thereafter, so unexpected bills only make me feel like I am pushing the ball up the hill just for it to roll back down.

The rest of the day finished out at a polite “meh”, with my friend at work also having a rough day and a thunderstorm cancelling out my much needed hot tub time.  Of course this is mixed in with the normal trials and tributes of a work day to just leave me craving my bed, a cup of hot tea and about five hours of Pretty Little Liars. While this wasn’t the worst day in the history of my life, it was the topper to a rough few weeks.

I did however have some weekday warriors you know who you are!) that helped me stay positive through the day and really help me feel supported and cared for, so I wanted to spread this care on to someone else who might be having a rough day or so..  I present to you 7 Things To Do When You’re Having A Bad Day:

1.) Remember this too shall pass. As much as it feels in the middle that you will never make it through and that this is the end, you will make it! You have made it through everything else so far, you will make it through this as well. Things will get better, tears will dry up, your heart will mend itself. Oh, and there’s payment plans. And Ramen.

2.) It’s ok to cry, a little. As a hugely emotional person, I cry at pretty much any emotion. Happy, sad, you name it. Being this way can also lead to getting over the top and just stewing in the emotion. This is hard on you and not going to change what’s going on. Have a good cry, and then force yourself to move on. Read a book, work on a project, go for a run, or do something that distracts you and makes you feel productive.

3.) Do something nice for yourself. Now let me preface this by saying you don’t have to go on a shopping spree (done that, you end up buying all black anyway). Paint your nails, cook a yummy dinner, buy a latte, take a walk somewhere beautiful, make a bubble bath, meditate, or take a nap. It will help you feel better and remind you everything will be ok one step and one breathe at a time.

4.) Reach out to others. Chances are, the people in your life have been where you are, and have made it out successfully. They also may have great insight into making things better, or a hug, or a great phone call. Or in my case macaroons and Starbucks (how lucky am I?!)

5.) Pray. God knows who you are, where you are, and why you are there. He can also provide peace to you in your day if you just ask him.

6.) Will this matter tomorrow? Many things in our bad days really won’t matter in an hour, let alone the next day. Asking this simple question to yourself can keep a lot of things in check and also keep from having a bad(or worse) day. If it does matter tomorrow, do what you can to fix it and move on to the next thing.

7.) Vent. Example? This post. Call a friend, write it out, make a Facebook status. Just getting your negative feelings out can help so much more than storing them down deep (trust me I know!). Let it out.

I hope these tips help. I have accumulated them over bad days through out the years and they definitely help keep me in check. What do you do on your bad days? Let me know in the comments below!

Love love,

Amanda

Bachelorette Final Two

more style on insta @liliesandlattesblog


Hopefully all you other hopeless romantics out there are glued to this season of the Bachelorette just like I am. I have been a connoisseur of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette since it first few seasons (minus a few after Juan Pablo, I just had to take a break). Whether it is staged or not, there is no denying that several happy marriages have come from the show, especially from The Bachelorette.

If you watched last season with Ben Higgins, I think we all grew a soft spot for wild child JoJo from Dallas, TX. Not only is she spunky and full of style, her dating life had (unfortunately) been full of heartache like most of ours have been.  Ben ended up telling JoJo and Lauren he was in love with them, only to end up picking Lauren and shattering poor JoJos heart. It was exciting to find out it is her time for love on this season!
If you have been watching, this week started us out with the final four: Luke, Chase, Jordan, and Robbie. The Texas war veteran, the Colorado business man, the former pro football player, and the athlete swimmer. Sadly, my favorite mega-hottie Luke was sent packing. We don’t really know if it’s because he took too long to say “I love you”, or exactly why. But JoJo was left in tears (I would be too!).

Then we watched the three remaining have their separate “fantasy suite” dates in Thailand. I loved her date with Robbie. They have a really natural and happy chemistry, and I think for me this was the first time I genuinely believed Robbie, and really saw him work to make her feel like an absolute princess like she deserves. They were grinning and affectionate the time, and she never had to question him for a moment.  They had a slip up of an ex of Robbie’s last week that they already seemed to have cleared like a couple of champs.

Jordan…sigh. I have wanted to like Jordan as much as JoJo does. He comes off so cocky, arrogant, and self centered. He always seems more concerned about himself then with her. He couldn’t even answer to her what the next year would look like. I don’t trust him, and I have felt for so many weeks she is going to get her heart broken by him.

Chase and JoJos date started out great canaling through Thailand. Somehow she did end of offering him the fantasy suite, only to crush him and send him packing literally moments after he says he loves her. Poor Chase! He was a good guy and I think would have given JoJo the most normal and joyful life of the final four. In my mind he seemed the most stable.

The problem I see with JoJo and her many tearful goodbyes was going to much on feeling and abruptly sending them home. (Wells, James Taylor (my favorite ever), Luke, and now Chase). I appreciate her honesty, but how do you have no clue up until those final moments?

With Chase gone, we are down to Robbie and Jordan. Hands down I hope she picks Robbie! While things have moved fast, he loves her and really seems to be manning up and has always done what he can with limited time to make her feel special, and in my mind that is way more important than the fame and fortune she might have with Jordan. Looks fade, a heart is forever.

Also, those monkeys tho! The bloopers at the end are always my favorite.

So, are you team Jordan or team Robbie? Or are you still mourning another sent home (James Taylor)! Leave me some love in the comments below.

Love love,

Amanda

Why You Should Be A Plant Mama (Even If You Have A Black Thumb)

my front porch looking in.


On a whim, late this spring (and on a water infused high), I could not locate any fresh mint. Every store was sold out to millennials like me searching for some minty-licious water. This prompted me to drive down the block to the Home Depot. Let me just say this is a store I love but (unfortunately) know little about. I could, however, navigate my way over to the herbs. I was so thrilled to find loads of different types of mint, as well as other herbs, vegetables, and berry plants. On top of that they were on sale 4 for $12!

Now if you read this blog regularly you know I am obsessed with buying things on sale and at-cost, so, after quickly calculating the cost vs. one box of fresh mint I knew I had to bite. I put away my fear of the stigma of loving to garden (only for grandmas, WRONG!). I painstakingly picked out my four plants: sweet mint, lavender, tomatoes, and sweet pepper (what can I say I like sweets).

I had heard over the years that herbs tend to be a lot harder to kill than normal plants, so that gave me hope. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE plants, and I love nature. As a child I had plants for years ! But it had seemed over the years that my twenties did not mix well with being a good plant mama. I hate to admit it but it had seemed I had developed a black thumb. 

my OG babies!


But somehow, my four plant OGs have made it all summer and have actually thrived! My mint plant is huge and smells amazing. My tomato has a plump fruit on it, and I am hopeful for my peppers and lavender as well. All four have grown and given me so much joy past a cup of mint flavored water. Here are the reasons I have found it feels SO good to be a plant mama. 

1.) It feels natural. As silly as this sounds, it’s true. There is something so calming and rewarding about getting your hands dirty like our ancestors before us and helping another being to grow.

2.) Instant scentsy. My mint and lavender plants make my home smell amazing! I can’t imagine if one day I tried flowers how amazing those would smell. Who needs a scentsy when you can have the real thing?!

3.) Instant decor. Plants are pretty, and a lot of herbs and fruit bearing plants flower as well. Instant pop of color and flair.

4.) It gives you something to come home to. As corny as this sounds, it feels really good to be needed. I love arriving home to check on my plant babies, see how they have grown and tend to them.

5.) Its calming. Gardening is often listed as one of the most therapeutic hobbies you can have. I can’t put my finger on WHY exactly, but try it for a week and tell me it’s not. You won’t!

6.) Money saver. I chose herbs and veggies because of the high price of herbs. My herb plants are already paying out, and I think next year my veggies will too. $4 for 6 basil leaves? I think not.

7.) It’s engaging. There is a lot of research that goes into taking care of plants. Location, light level, cute mason jar pots…. As well as figuring out the perfect meal or drink recipe for your new harvest!

2nd gen, including lemon balm, parsley, and cabbage to name a few!


My love for my plant babies prompted me into a trip to Under The Sun today, where I purchased 17 new babies for under $20. I urge you to go check out the end of season sales in your area. Let me know about your green (or black) thumb experiences in the comments below!

Love,

Amanda

Why PokemonGO Is A Gamechanger

Team Instinct! Printed by Oklahoma Shirt Co. @LiliesandLattesBlog


So, if you live anywhere, even (or especially?) under a rock you have heard about the PokemonGO phenomenon that launched in the U.S. about two weeks ago. The show most millennials know as basically their childhood (or was I really just that nerdy? #sorrynotsorry) has now been launched into a new free app for smartphones in a whole new style.

Now, let’s talk about that for a second. If you haven’t played, basically, the game makers have taken maps from all over the world (hellooo google maps) and identified places and landmarks as special “pokestops” and “gyms”, so it is completely ready for the location you are in. When Pokemon “appear” it uses your camera to show them in “real life” so you can take photos and have a true poke-experience.

Now, why is this a game changer? First it is such an incredible use of technology. No other game has utilized this particular technology and then made it free to anyone with a smartphone or tablet to use. This game is also personalized to your area.

Secondly, it is getting people out and about in a way I haven’t seen since growing up in the 90s. After downloading this game, I see people out taking walks and hikes. Since you have to explore to find and hatch Pokemon, it takes gamers of all types out of their chairs and couches and out back in nature and also in “populated” areas. As for me I get up more regularly during the day, often will choose walking over driving if I can, and I am more motivated to be active. It is already starting to become a habit even when I don’t have my phone in my hand. It may seem so silly that it takes a game like Pokemon to wake us up to our physical health, but whatever works! 

a happy sight.


Most importantly PokemonGO is a game (life) changer is that it is bringing people together.  The shirt I posted on the outfit pic above was actually printed through an amazing local company called Oklahoma Shirt Company. They created a shirt design for each team on PokemonGO, and offer days where you can get these bad boys printed for free! (Go Teal Instinct!) It is so fun to be walking around a park and hear someone cheer for you and your team! I have seen children, teens, and adults all out playing and all having wonderful, childlike fun as we search for those “rare” mon. I remember all of the good values taught in the show about friendship, teamwork, and working hard. I am starting to see these shine again!

More than anything, in a time where most songs include the word “bitch”, there are gunshots on the news, and hate on so many sides I am happy to see something pure, something healthy, and something kind. Whether it is a fad to you or a new lifestyle, please enjoy all the good and have fun catching ’em all!

Love,

Amanda

Keepin It Local 405


To follow up to my post yesterday, I just wanted to show off some of my favorite local Okie shops, with two of my favorite things, fashion and brews! 

First of all, if you look back to some of my other fashion posts (here and here), you will know I have a passion for shopping on a budget. There is absolutely no reason you should have to spend a fortune to look like a million bucks. Most of my daily outfits (including what I post on here) are extremely budget friendly, and I very rarely spend more than $15 on any particular item of clothing. With that being said, majority of the things in my closet are great quality as well as great price.

One of my biggest secrets to this success involves a local chain of consignment stores by the name of Daisy Exchange.  People bring back their clean and gently used items to earn money back, and they can be purchased at mere fractions of retail cost. I have found so many name brand items (sometimes even with tags on) for such a great price. Items like Victoria’s Secret/PINK, Express, BCBG, Lululemon, and American Eagle just to name a few.  They also have their own lines of never worn clothing like the tank top work above. I got this beauty for $12.99, and I love it. It’s great quality and reps my state. Other “state” shirts like this would be at least double this cost. 

Another thing I have to brag on is the customer service of this store. I have been shopping at Daisy for about ten years, and the managers/owners promote friendliness and great relationships with the customers, especially as I have watched the store grow up. Every time I enter they ask me how I am, how my career is, and always know my name as they do for so many others. They are always willing to help me look for anything I might need and even put outfits together when you need it. Oh they are also an adorable couple.

The store stays very trendy and I don’t worry about finding items that I know are in style and look good. If you have never tried consignment I recommend it, and if you are local go to one of the three locations NOW! I guarantee you will never go to the mall again.

Another company I love that represents OK so well is 405 Brewing Company. They are out of Norman, OK and make so many delicious and locally made brews. My favorite is the grapefruit sour, and my boyfriends favorite is the barley wine. You have your choice of a more sweet or a more hoppy and stronger brew. Check them out!

What are you favorite local spots (OKC or otherwise?) Let me know on the comments below!

Love,

Amanda

A Walk in Downtown OKC

Tonight I wanted to take you on a walk through a very special place in my hometown. I am born and raised in Oklahoma City, OK, and I am so in love with my city. Before you start picturing tee pees and horse drawn carriages, think again. I am actually writing this post to help share some of the hidden treasures Oklahoma has to offer. One of those no so well known gems is downtown or “Bricktown” OKC.

A little back story on Bricktown… It originated in the late 1800s with several railroad companies, and housed many different businesses and ventures including the first local chapter of the NAACP. By 1990s it had declined hugely and the mayor at that time decided it was time for a change. He began what would be a 25+ year journey that has completely changed the landscape of OKC.

Bricktown is now lively, lovely, and full of so many neat experiences. In my recent trip to downtown (pictured above), I had one of the most fun nights I have had in awhile. It started at one of the many gorgeous and luxury hotels available downtown where my friends were staying. We then took a gorgeous walk through bustling downtown past the Chesapeake Arena (home of the OKC Thunder, what what!!). If you are in the area and can go to a game, GO. There is so much spirit and they make it such a high energy event. 

We then took a walk around the breathtaking Bricktown canal, watching boat rides go by and families of ducks swim under the greenery. There are all sorts of murals, sculptures and even mosaics (above) sprinkled throughout. We then stopped off at one of my favorite local eateries, In The Raw for delicious sushi and cocktails, and The Melting Pot for mouth watering desserts.

There are so many other things that are available in this area from wineries, art classes, live music, museums, and outdoor events. Currently there’s a brand new mini golf course, and in the winter there is outdoor ice skating and tubing.

I love my city, I love how it’s grown, and I love what it will grow up to be. If you’re ever in OKC, come and find me downtown!

Love,

Amanda

Sincerely, Me

of all the photos you take, the real and unposed one is the best.


Sincerity. I word you have (hopefully) been learning about since you were a youngster. I sign emails with this word often: “Sincerely, Amanda”. Sometimes I cringe when it is a copy and pasted form, and I scramble my brain for ways to make it a real and sincere (ding ding ding word of the day!) message.

For a long time in my life I never questioned others sincerity often. It’s not that I have been naively floating for the past 29 years, but I just felt that I was a really good judge of people’s general sincerity (omitting certain exes). This judgement I trusted most when it came to female friends. Most certainly if someone didn’t like me for who I was, or wasn’t willing to stick it out with me as I grew, were not a good lifelong friend and could scoot happily on their way out of my life.

Then enter the year 2015. It seems all the high school angst I mostly skipped over decided it was now time for me to face this lesson. May of 2015 I decided I wanted to grow professionally as a teacher and try a new school with better opportunities for me as a teacher. Almost instantly after being hired I was added on to a group messaging app. Everyone was so welcoming! They even invited me bowling with my new colleagues and I was so pumped. Next I was invited to lunch, at a bar! Surely this is a group of fun loving but professional women.

I entered the school almost like a kid does on their first day in a new grade (actually probably more nervous, lets me honest). Most greeted me kindly and I was so ecstatic not to meet the kids but have a great group of adults to work with. The school I left was more than challenging but the women I worked with were women I will never forget due to their beautiful and transparent hearts. How could this be any different?

Days went by and no colleagues came to my door. That’s fine I thought I will go to them! Days went by and I slowly realized that unless I was greeting them with the daily dose of petty drama I was not allowed. Constant comments about my weight under the russe of feigned sweet jealousy became a daily occurrence (ladies raise your hand if you want others talking about your body negatively every day… Anybody? Bueller?).  It got to a point where some women wouldn’t even respond to my hellos in the hall way and my principal who was “so stoked” to hire me turned out to be verbally abusivr and literally grinned at me when I told her I would not return for a second year, even though my students literally ran to me in the hall just to tell me they loved me and give me a hug.

I felt so duped. These bubbly women who “worked til seven” every night spent a large part of their contract time and there after talking (pardon my French) shit on each other. What a terrible thing to find under the mask of women I wanted so badly to respect and be close to at first.

I do want to say there were a few other very wonderful women at this place, and sadly they either survived the social elements or were experiencing what I did. I was sad to see so few stand up for the right thing. Even a mentor I admired very much chalked it up to “women just do that”. Really? Because I know plenty who dont.

In the midst of my professional night mare I took stock of my own friends and acquaintances. Who takes the time to keep up the friendship when I don’t do it? Always being the social butterfly I started to question what others motives were and are in my life. Are they sincere? Are they genuine? Will they work for it? Or is it easy, a simple place to fall with a friend who is always ther and always take them back? Or am I a placeholder? Someone who is giving and will do the work so they don’t have to.

Right now in my life I crave sincerity and I see genuine love, affection, and friendship slowly filling in the cracks where others don’t. Now I don’t write this post to whine, or condemn, or throw a pity party. I write it to all the other women who give too much to please take time and take stock of those who are sincerely in your life, and those who may have other motives. I beg other omen to take a look at who they are hurting so they can feel important and secure. Security does not come from that, trust me. It comes from love.

Sincerely,

Amanda

Fourth of July Faves

Hello all! Whew, I hope you are starting to recover from your busy July 4th weekend! I will fully admit that I was exhausted yesterday, and I am still exhausted today. It’s the good kind of beer drinking, fried food, fun in the sun kind of exhausted though. Worth it!

I wanted to share some of my favorite moments from this weekend. For my fourth I trekked out to the fields of Oklahoma for fishing, fireworks, fried food and fun. We visited Shanes family and it was just a great time. I love living in the “big city” of Oklahoma City, but so often lately I just crave the quiet peace of the country. Does anyone else have those moments?

 It was such a perfect place to pop firecrackers. I loved this shot of the giant gorill at the firework stand we went to. And I got to pop the most desired firework this fourth, the poopy puppy! If you don’t know what that is, YouTube it NOW. All dog owners will lose it because it just feels like the story of your life sometimes.

Another favorite moment of the weekend was my favorite consignment shop sharing my outfit on insta! This was my cute 4th of July outfit that I planned and laid out. I am all about that style on a budget, and this outfit was a steal. I got both the shorts (on sale for a magical $2) and tank ($5) from Platos Closet.  I added some shine and lace to add a girly touch. I just adore this outfit, and so does my bank account!

As much as I adored that outfit, this is more the uniform I wore all weekend. American AF bikini and cover ups. It’s really the best choice uniform in the hot Oklahoma heat. But hey I caught two bass, swam, and took a nap in a hammock in this little number. That makes it all purpose, right?!


I hope everyone else had a great time celebrating as I did with so many sweet people. What were your fourth favorites? Let me know and leave some love in the comments below! Also for more fashion and favorites follow me on IG @liliesandlattesblog.

Love love,

Amanda