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Sunday Inspiration-#Struggles

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This morning Shane and I caught up on a past sermon at Life.Church called #Struggles.  As we were flipping around, I wasn’t sure which episode to click on or really any direction I was being pulled.  But to be completely honest, being a blogger, and a twenty-something female, I saw a hashtag (yup being honest!) and knew it would probably relate to me.

The sermon was all about how do we stay Christ centered in a social media world. I loved it because Craig doesn’t dislike social media. In fact, life church offers alot of free and amazing resources through social media, like church online, the YouVersion Bible App, and other online resources (#notsponsored #onlybygod).  Today we did discuss how social media can hurt us without us even realizing it.

I’m sure you are thinking, why would a blogger write about the perils of social media? Don’t you live for social media? And shouldn’t you probably delete all of your apps right this very moment? Yes, I enjoy and use social media daily. Through my own #struggles, I feel like I have a pretty good reach on social media vs. real life. Today’s sermon gave me some really great pointers because I do find myself getting caught up in it, the coveting, the comparing, the quest perfection. That has to stop for you, and me, right now. Here are the points that really reached me today:

  1. Do I follow people for the right reasons? Do these feeds hurt my soul? Wow. This may sound super drastic to some of you! But we have to remember that the things we take in every single day affect us.  What we hear, taste, see all create an impact on our well being.  I know I have followed people and read blogs that have made me feel not good enough. I like to think I am a very well adjusted person, but some feeds and blogs send me straight into the comparison game.  For me “fake” feeds and blogs (where I can’t get a feel for who the real person is) often leave me thinking they have a perfect life. It’s not logical, no one has a perfect life, but in that moment that is what I feel.  When I took those feeds I felt myself become much happier.
  2. Don’t compare your behind the scenes to some else’s highlight reel. What a perfect way to say that.  Even on this blog I know that majority of the pictures I post are happy, beautiful, and often staged scenes. Not all but I will definitely say some are!  Shane and I both laugh after a “photoshoot” for an outfit because there are often hilarious and unflattering outtakes of me shooing an animal out of the picture, talking, or just being a straight goofball.  Being a blogger helps me know everyone has these problems. Everyone knows what they look like when their front camera is accidentally turned on. You know what I’m talking about.
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  3. If you live for affirmation, you will die from the absence of it. We all know how great it is to be liked.  Awesome. On social media, you can easily post a picture and get likes. It gives you a small boost of “yay! I’m liked! I’m approved of!” when that happens. But that should never, ever be your base of self worth.  This leads me to the last and most important part…
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  4. FInd approval through God’s everlasting love. No matter what anyone else tells you in this world, you are made in God’s perfect and beautiful design. He has had you in his grand slam plan for some time now, and you need to trust that! Identify through God and love. Take a moment and ask God to help you fully accept who you are, and who he wants you to be.

    Social media is a wonderful way to connect to others and should be utilized.  But do not let it harm you and do not use it as a mask to wear. You are so beautiful how you are. I have been able to connect to so many wonderful people through blogging and social media. Let it be a forum to build one another up!

    On this blog I hope to always inspire others, not compare them. I hope to connect to others who share the same passions as I do.  I hope to help put a little fun back in life.  Let’s go through these #struggles together.

Love love,

Amanda

Holiday Wrapup 2015

Me and sweet Puppins decorating when we got “iced” in!

This year has been one of the busiest, most exciting, and loving holiday seasons I have ever had.  I am so thankful for all the time I have got to spend with family, friends, Shane, and the puppies! Oh, and my 600+ students. Have I mentioned it was busy?!

Shane helping me at school, and us acting like kids per usual! :-)

We made so many ornaments in my classroom. I love how these clay snowmen turned out!

  I got to decorate at my new school.  I loved dressing up this “Charlie Brown” tree for the students and staff to enjoy.  We wrote postcards to Santa, decorated them, and hung them all over the tree. I taught them how to draw a cocoa mug and they got to decorate them however they wanted! I love them because all the pictures look so sweet and toasty! Oh, and if you hadn’t guessed I love hot cocoa!

    Before my sister went on her holiday trip, I got to help send her off!
  Our first holiday picture together all four of us! I was so excited to go get these taken. Even though Puppins piddled on the floor right before this picture was taken. #reallife  I did a photoshoot with the Christmas lights in a town over. It was cold but soso much fun! More pictures to come…
  I made my first DIY wreath this year! I am so excited about how it turned out!
  Shane and I threw an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party for our friends! We all had a great time, and even Puppins was worn out from all the fun!  Shane took me on the best holiday date ever to go see The Nutcracker.  We went right after school let out for Christmas break, starting with a dinner picnic in my classroom. It was so perfect. I think he’s a keeper!
  We went to the candlelight LifeChurch service on Christmas Eve Eve. More than anything I love celebrating the birthday of my savior!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  Shane’s mom was so sweet to host Christmas and buy everyone matching pajamas.  It was so special to me how much his family welcomed me with open arms this Christmas. They are some amazing people.

  All the “kids” at Shane’s family’s Christmas celebration.
 The past few days (holiday purgatory) has meant alot of errands, naps, New Years, and wrapping up lose ends. Oh, and lots of hot cocoa! I am so excited for 2016, and all the new adventures and memories that are on their way!

Love love,

Amanda

Welcome, 2016

 

Loved bringing in 2016 with this man!

 
Happy New Years to one and all! I hope you had a great time last night ringing it in, whether you were at home cuddled up or partying it up in a downtown somewhere.

I had a lovely time with Shane and a group of friends going down to our local are district for food and cocktails and then back to a friends house for games and watching the ball drop. Oh, and warmth because it was ridiculously cold last night!

 

Squad

 
Ah we just left! My first day of 2016 has been a perfect one. Rest, a visit to the dog park with the fur friends, and a Happy New Year-mas (aka a late Christmas celebration), and now blogging, pizza, tea, and Game of Thrones. I am still trying to make it through season five!

 

Love these pretty girls

 
One of my resolutions I listed yesterday was to blog more frequently. Along with that I have some ideas of regular scheduled posts for my readers to look forward to! I am going to list them, but if there is something you want to see more regularly or hear more about please leave it in the comments below!

  • Inspiration Sundays
  • Dating Tip Tuesdays
  • Ballin’ on a Budget
  • Product reviews
  • Fashion posts

I am so excited for 2016. I feel like this year is going to continue to grow with love, creativity and hope! I wish the same for all of you out there! Let’s make this year fabulous.

Love love,

Amanda

Happy Fabulous New Year

2016 New Years Resolutions


  

I absolutely cannot believe that 2016 will be here in a day and a half.  This year has flown by so incredibly fast.  I have to say that 2015 was one of the best years in awhile.  There was alot of change, and change is HARD, but also so much good came from it.  I changed schools and apartments.  I lost some friends and met some new ones. Shane and I have grown so close.  Even little Puppins has grown soso much. Oh, and I finally opened LiliesandLattes.com!  This year has been a year of chasing dreams and following my heart, and I plan and hope to continue that in 2016!

I have grown so much in 2015, that I definitely have more goals for 2016.  I feel like posting them here will help to hold me accountable for my goals, and post about when they are being followed and accomplished! So drumroll please….. (brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr) Here are my goals for 2016!

My 2016 Resolutions

1.) Get on a weekly blogging schedule. This is definitely the goal that has been most on my mind.  I always have so many blog posts in my mind, and sometimes I let the school day wear me out to the point that they don’t happen. :-( I know myself and if I had a schedule I know I can get more posts out there and more new stuff for my readers!! I can’t wait.

2.) Make more effort with friends and family. I love, love, love my friends. Friends and family are so important to me. During the school year, however, I feel like this takes such a backseat. That makes me so sad.  I think it will be hard, but so worth it. Even if it is once a week, I want to keep seeing their sweet faces when I can!

3.) Let me be me. Being a very driven person, there is also a whole lot of perfectionism in me too.  Sometimes I feel that every. single. thing. needs to be perfect.  Shane has helped show me the most that imperfection is ok.  It makes life fun and there is no need to be perfect.  Especially as bloggers (and teachers), we constantly strive for the perfect outfit. Perfect decor. Perfect meal. Perfect filer. Perfect lesson plan. Perfectly clean classroom and home.  Sometimes that just isn’t possible.  I need to let me be me and go after what I want, do what I can, and let the rest go.  Happiness is just so much more important.

4.) Make God #1. Going along with #3, I need to trust in God that what I need will be there and what direction I’m going in will be shown.  I think making God my #1 priority over ALL of these things is going to help me find alot of peace and direction in 2016. Also, pray, pray, PRAY!

5.) Hair and Makeup Goals doe. Ok now for a good basic goal… I want to learn how to really do my hair and makeup this year.  I know HOW, but I have no idea on the ins and outs of contouring, perfect eyebrows, how to style my bangs, etc.  I will share these things as I learn on my journey!! Plus what makes a girl feel better than a great face of makeup and easy cute hairstyle? I rest my case.

7.) Cook more. I so go through these phases where I cook at home constantly, and where my diet becomes a ramen/mcdonalds nightmare. I love how I feel when I am eating a healthy and balanced diet, so thats my important.

8.) Laugh as much as possible. We only get one life, and I want to live every day to it’s best.  I don’t think that means doing something amazing every day, but seeing what’s amazing in every single day. It is so easy for life to get so serious, and I want to enjoy every minute of the special and the mundane in 2016.

What are your goals for the next year?

Love love,

Amanda

Hot Cocoa for Snow Days

   
    
 
Ok, so we are in day two of the snow/ice hostage situation. While I did venture out for a bit today, the roads were still super sketch and I was very happy to be back in the warm for another day of movies, blogging, and bumdom.

While watching one of my favorites, Moonrise Kingdom, I realized it just wasn’t a proper snow day without some super yummy hot cocoa. I won some peppermint hot cocoa in a game of dirty Santa (ok I bought it and stole my own gift back… Am I the only one who does that?), so I was in business! Peppermint hot cocoa is one of my favorite things. Ever. 

I had already decided I didn’t want normal hot cocoa. I wanted some cafe level, delicious, only ok to drink in the snow, hot cocoa. 

So here I heated the milk (this was whole milk but my favorite is vanilla soy), and mixed in the cocoa mix.

Once all the clumps were gone, I topped with whipped cream. I had chopped up some leftover Ferrero Rocher (yum yum yum!) from my Christmas stocking and topped the cocoa and whipped cream. This is what really stepped it up. You could use any leftover chocolate from your holiday, or even a cookie!

Then I added in candy decor, like a peppermint stick to stir! Oh it was so yummy. You could also use a cinnamon stick, or a pirouette cookie, or even a biscotti as a stirrer and extra treat.

Another thing I would add next time is some crushed peppermint on top.

I hope this tutorial gives you an easy way to jazz up a wintertime favorite. I know we sure enjoyed it today!

Love love,

Amanda

Cocoa was a success! Can you find the three fur friends?

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My Sunday Snow Day

So last night Oklahoma decided to begin dropping one of our famous ice/sleet/snow/tornado combos on us. We went from clear and sunny 70 degree weather yesterday afternoon to near freezing temperatures and yucky sleet this morning. Go figure Oklahoma weather!
 

For real tho

 
I am very thankful as I haven’t lost power, and the tornados were not in my area. I do know that Texas had a lot of damage and some fatalities due to tornados and storms. So let’s all please say a prayer to those affected. There are also many without power and many that may lose power over the night as well who need our prayers! Prayer is powerful!

Today has really been an ideal snow day around these parts though. I stayed at Shane and his sisters house because the roads were already very rough yesterday on our drive back from their parents (there was even a semi overturned in the middle of the highway). 

Shane’s sister was super sweet and made pancakes and Shane made coffee. We figured it would be better to get out and walk to the movies than risk driving. So we bundled up as much as humanly possible and trekked our way to the theater about a mile away.

 

Layers on layers on layers!

 
So here’s what you have to understand about Oklahoma snow. It’s not snow. It’s ice. It looks like a mere dusting in pictures, but it’s a mix of rain and snow most of the time, and freezes into these nice sheets of ice that are oh so fun for walking and driving. 

 

Star Wars ready!!

 
By the time the movie let out it had definitely dropped in temperature. My tootsies were COLD despite two pairs of socks! We stopped by CVS on the walk home. I had been a little sad because all the weather made me miss the after Christmas sales (tears). I was looking for body wash, and instead I found this whole set for $10.00! Woohoo! It comes with lots of bath goodies, a fancy loofah, and I even love the basket! Shane was a huge trooper to tote it on our way back for me!

 

My new pretty!

 
The rest of the day has consisted of naps, peppermint tea, snacks, and an education on the original Star Wars movies. We saw the new one today and I really enjoyed it! I can’t say I have ever really had the bug, but I loved the one today and want to learn more about the other ones. 

 

Cozy cozy cozy

 
What do you do on your snow (or bad weather) days? How do you stay warm and cozy? Leave some love in the comments!!!

Love love,

Amanda

Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal

 

 

Merry, merry Christmas everyone!!

I hope everyone has had a low stress, loving, lovely, and lovable holiday. I am still celebrating Jesus’ birth and all the blessings I have in my heart as I rest and enjoy the quiet after the hub bub of the holidays.

  

So please, pamper yourself and your loved ones as this holiday season winds to an end. Have you favorite drink (cocktail or otherwise), watch a funny show or play a board game, and take a deep breath.

  

You are wonderful. Thank you all for visiting my blog and keeping up with my thoughts and passions. I hope this space has inspired you as much as it inspires me.

Merry Christmas and hugs and kisses!!

Amanda

The Reason for the Season

 

The Fab 4

Merry Christmas Eve eve, y’all! Hopefully today wasn’t too much of a day of hustle and bustle for you.

I was lucky enough to get to start to celebrate my Christmas early. Because we are going to Shane”s hometown tomorrow, I was so happy to find out that my church (Life Church in Oklahoma or www.life.church) had early services starting today. I was even more happy  when many of my close friends, Shane, and I could all go together.

my love and I at Christmas Eve eve service

I’m sure many may think that a Christmas service from a “mega church” may not be special. I loved every minute of it.  I love the songs, the spirit, the realness. I love that the goal is to reach as many people as possible with God’s love.  I love that anyone is welcome anytime, anywhere.  If you are feeling the call this Christmas eve, please head over to Life.Church for the Christmas service you can watch online, or any of the past message series.

Gorgeous setup for worship songs

While I found myself in a very un-Christmasy slump, as many people with troubled families or stressors around the holiday do, I felt the pull to go to the early Christmas service.  I think God often tells us what we will need if we can just slow down enough to listen.  In this message Craig talked about the difference of a religion in Christ vs. a relationship with Christ.

To get real personal for a minute, this is what I have found over the past 5 years.  Is a strong relationship with my savior over a bunch of rules to follow to become saved and allowed into heaven.  I finally understand that God meets me where I am, every time.  He loves me like the parents I never had. Unconditionally.  I know I can (when I let myself) trust God with my life in his hands. He will lead me no where that I can not handle and will give me the tools to shine his love into the world.

 

a light in the dark

That is the gift I am most thankful for this season.  This is the reason for the season.  So amidst the back and forth, the cooking, the gift wrapping, and the money spending, take some time to talk to God.  Let this holiday instead be a celebration of the relationship that we get to have with our lord.That he has got our back for eternity because he was born that night in Bethlehem.

Love love,

Amanda

Real Women Wear Tutus

 

 A few weeks ago I was offered to teach an art class before a ballet performance of The Nutcracker. It was an arts integration sort of thing where we made projects relating to the story. I was so sad once I showed up and saw everyone in their fancy dresses and holiday spirits, ready to watch one of my favorite holiday stories. Why had I no thought of getting myself a ticket too?!


Lucky for me I have a wonderful boyfriend who listens to what I want, and surprised me with tickets for us to go back! I was so excited for us to have a fancy date, especially one that fell on the last day of school (aka a night where I wouldn’t have to get up at 5 a.m. the next day! Quickly thoughts of what dress I should wear started dancing through my head. I just happened to stop by a couple shops to see if anything stood out.
I wasn’t seeing anything, and figured I had enough clothes, and I shouldn’t be shopping for myself anyway. UNTIL I SAW IT. A soft pink tulle skirt a la Carrie Bradshaw. I was just going to try it on and of course I fell in love. I snap chatted my sister who replied “you’re wearing a tutu to the ballet, aren’t you?”. To which I replied “yup.”
I paired it with a soft black sweater and black suede wedges. I found a “mini” statement necklace to add a little sparkle.
I loved this date. I loved the ballet. I loved dressing up. I wondered if anyone would comment that it was too much. Not at all! One lady told Shane how charming I was. The usher named me his “tutu girl”.


After such a fun time, I decided real women wear tutus. And here is why:
1. Real women aren’t afraid to be feminine. There is no shame in being as girly as you want. It doesn’t make you unfeminist or old fashioned. We accept that we are girls are there is something so special about that no matter what your age is.
2. Real women are confident. TBH I needed some reassurance that it wasn’t “too poofy”. But once I had it on, I knew that I felt good and that was what mattered.
3. Real women aren’t worried about the opinion of others. We all worry about what others think sometimes. But when it comes down to it, real women know they need to make themselves happy first. This Carrie Bradshaw quote sums this up perfectly for me:
“The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”


So wear the tutu, or the heels, or the lipstick you are dying to try. And make sure to love the you, that you love.
Love love,
Amanda
 

Please check this link up to Tutu Tuesdays by two other amazing bloggers!

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My First Ugly Sweater Party

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                                 One of our friends gave Puppins this sweater. Best. Gift. Ever. He loves it.

Last night Shane and I threw our very first “ugly sweater party”.  I have been to one of these before, and I always wanted to host one but never quite had the motivation.  I decided 2015 was the year!  I am so glad I did.

I loved the fact that an ugly sweater party was a much more relaxed version of a Christmas party. Now don’t get me wrong I love dressing up (obvi).  But when you are tuckered out from the Christmas shopping, the last week before break (for teachers and anyone who works with kids, it’s just nuts), the party planning, the baking, and all the other things that come from the Holidays, it was so nice to cozy up in a warm sweater and some leggings and just enjoy time with friends (and a glass of eggnog).

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                                          A setting for the end table. Love this easy DIY mason jar decoration!

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                  My sweet baby tree with dirty Santa gifts collecting underneath!

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                                                 My first DIY wreath! Complete with Droid (a la Shane).

Here are some highlights of the decorations we used.  We kept it simple but classy.  It was an extra adventure because my downstairs neighbor has been causing me alot of problems (she calls security on me constantly for things like, going to bed. Or, taking a shower. Or my favorite, watching tv).  So in order to not add more fuel to her fire we had the party at Shane’s place (thank you again baby!).  We uprooted my decorations and replanted them at his place. I love how it turned out.

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                                          Coveted photobooth props with garland touches in the background

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                                                  Complete photobooth with frame and props. Yay!!

 

The most complicated part of this party was the photo booth.  It shouldn’t have been complicated, however, I waited until two days ago to scout out some of the things for plan the party.  Being an often last minute kind of person, I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to find what I needed.  After perusing Pinterest I decided I HAD to have a photobooth complete with props.  So Shane and I headed out to Walmart and Target on Saturday, at about 2 p.m. While I was in severe pain from our favorite Aunt that came to visit. Such a bad idea.  It was so packed. I was so fussy.  Shane was so patient. God love him. Needless to say we did not find the photo booth pack.  HOWEVER, the day OF the party, after I decided I would completely hand make a set of photo booth props out of poster board, we went to the Wal*mart by my house, and they had a whole rack of them! To be very honest I did tear up over finding them.

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                               Silly friends. Maybe should have edited out the dogbed. #bloggerfail

Other fun fact: We went thrifting to find a frame for the photo booth. We found not just a frame but a framed UNICORN picture (I’m obsessed with unicorns) for $5.00 at a thrift shop I had never been to. It is now my favorite.

In the end I love how the photo booth turned out, it was lost of fun, and I learned to never shop on Super Saturday (the last Saturday before Christmas) ever ever again in my whole life.

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                                     My favorite pic. The best boyfriend evet cut mistletoe out of the tree for us!

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                                             Love these guys. Someone got super creative with their sweater here! :-)

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                                          Girls just wanna have fun! Also, I was burning up at this point. No hat, no shoes, no problems!

 

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                                       So much happiness. Thank you for throwing a party with me!

These are some of my absolute favorite party pics.  I loved everyone’s ugly sweaters! My favorite was definitely Shane’s which said “Move over Santa, Here come’s Grandma!”. Too too funny! I love his sense of humor.

We ate alot of food (sadly I didn’t get any pictures, I was at a meeting for a fashion show I am doing in January and had to rush back! More on that later…).  Shane and I made bread pudding with ice cream, cookies, pigs in a blanket, and two kinds of dip.  His sister made her amazing quesadillas.  We had eggnog or eggnogtinis which were eggnog with peppermint vodka in it. They were sooo good!

We played reverse charades. Reverse charades is where one person on your team is the guesser, and everyone else on your team acts it out.  We did (mostly) Christmas themed ideas like rockin’ around the Christmas tree, and Rudolph the red nosed reindeer.

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                                           Love these two and their actually super cute sweaters!

We also played Dirty Santa.  I love dirty santa, even though I get very competitive about it.  I ended up winning my own gift back, which was a watch with different bands.  I’m kind of bad about wanting my own gift back in this game.  I just like my own taste! Is anyone else like this? Or does anyone else have any cutthroat strategies for Dirty Santa?

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                                     The smile you get when you get to see your sweet college roomie!

 

More than anything, I had such a great time.  I love having a reason to get all my friends together around the holidays. I love having some time to relax and be silly.  I always stress out about parties before, and I am always so happy once they are happening.  I love making memories like this, and taking time to be so thankful for the friendships I have.

What is your favorite way to celebrate the holidays? Let me know in the comments below!

Love love,

Amanda