Browsing Category

WEEK/END

WEEK/END

The Local’s Guide to San Diego

It’s not a secret, how much I love San Diego, after all, it’s where I was born and raised! How lucky am I?! For starters, there’s SOOOO much to do, see, experience, and of course (my favorite) EAT! Here’s my (just a few) favorite things that I believe is a must!

Whether you’re from here like me, just moved here, or visiting, there’s something for everyone! I’ll keep adding to this when I go back home and as I get told where to go or new places!

 

San Diego Sunset

EAT:

All the fish in the sea:

  • Poke One Half: It’s like chipotle/subway but for a sushi bowl. It’s kinda the new thing in San Diego, and out of all (most) of them this is my favorite! The fish is always fresh, the people are friendly, and the portions are HUGE! They don’t even complain about getting avocado, or even extra avocado. 
  • PB Fish ShopThis place is great because you can pretty much do whatever you want, meat wise, seasoning wise, and how you want it – sandwich, taco, salad, etc.
  • Sushi Ota: Sushi = amazing, need I say more? It’s a small spot, but worth the wait. Always.
  • Banbu Sushi: Banbu is near and dear to my heart, I’ve loved it since they opened and they have a killer happy hour deal on Monday’s and Tuesday’s. If you go, you have to get the Banbu roll!
  • Point Loma Seafood: Quite possibly some of the freshest fish in town if you ask me because all the fisherman drop their fish off as they come in and you order right from the counter.
  • Mitch’s Seafood: Because who doesn’t want to eat seafood overlooking the marina? Thought so.

Poke Bowl At Poke One Half

Acai bowls:

  • OB Fruit & Smoothie:  These are huge!! I may be biased to them because they were my first acai bowl, everrrr. But still to date, the best $7 I’ve ever spent.
  • Rum Jungle:These ones are so instagrammable because they serve them in pineapples, so get one, walk around the corner to the beach and you have the perfect setting.
  • Mad Beet:  This is a new fave, I had them right before I moved and fell in love. They also have really good smoothies!

Oysters ($1 Happy Hour):

  • Herringbone: This place is so cute, a tree in the middle and not only do they have a happy hour for oysters, but everything else is good too. Literally not had anything bad ever.
  • Ironside: A fun spot in Little Italy to grab a glass of wine and get some $1 oysters too!

COFFEE SHOPS:

  • Bird Rock Coffee Roasters: This place is right up from the beach so I love going there, sitting down, sipping some yummy coffee and then going to the beach for the day, or just to see it!
  • Communal Coffee: If you’ve ever seen the wall that’s painted Coffee + Flowers this is where it’s at. They have lavender infused coffee, which is hands down amazing.
  • Lofty Coffee: I first saw this place because Tenley from Bachelor went there, and it’s so so good. I’m a big fan of their warm coffee, which says a lot because I’m 99.9% of the time all about iced.
  • Better Buzz: Order the best drink ever. End of story! Iced or hot, but I’d prefer iced.

Communal Coffee

Pizza:

  • Woodstock’s: Before a SDSU basketball game, a must go! Their crust is made right there, and all the toppings are always so fresh.
  • NaPizza:I love their’s because of truffle oil – and you can buy by the slice which is pretty amazing! 
  • Tribute: Some of their pizza’s have vodka sauce on them – and if you know me, you know I’m all about the sauce. Which is whyyy…I love it so so much!
  • Cucina Urbana: This place is so so so delish! Everything on the menu is amazing – but their pizza. OH MY GOD! Yes, it’s that good.

Breakfast spots:

  • Kono’s: This place is right on the corner by Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. I love their breakfast sandwiches (pictured below) and they have a little sitting area right on the water!
  • Hash House: This place’s portions are HUGE. I kid you not- but their hashes are so so good, especially if you like Rosemary. I’d be prepared for a little wait here if you go at a popular time, but so worth it.
  • Snooze: I’m a fan of this place because you can order a few pancakes (chocolate chip, blueberry, original, etc) or eggs bene (original, smashed avocado, chili verde, etc). 
  • World Famous: I love their California bene – so obviously this is on the list. But you also have water front dining, and you can never get enough of that.
  • The Trails: This place was on restaurant impossible, and I can’t say I went before. But it’s a cute spot, and their cinnamon roll pancakes are to DIE for.

Breakfast Sandwich at Kono's in Pacific Beach

Mexican:

  • Ortiz’s #2: uThis place has some of the best burritos I’ve had, right before I moved I was OBSESSED with their vegetarian!
  • Taco Surf: I love the decor in this place! Their ceiling is covered in surf boards! 
  • El Azteca:One of the best California burritos!
  • Lolita’s: This place is amazing, they have a few locations and I love to grab a burrito before a Padre game!
  • Las Cultro Milpas:This place is in a little sketchy of an area, but so so worth it!
  • Night & day cafe:  Their carne asada fries is what you will be ordering! Some of my all time favorites, and they aren’t stingy with their hot sauce.
  • Salud: They have great tacos, a milkshake with churros on it, and nachos that make me drool just thinking about them. So worth it, and so worth the wait (yes they always have a line)

 

Mexican Food at Pacific Beach

Taco Tuesday Spots:

  • Tacos El Gordo:Best tacos, and very authentic. You won’t be able to tell if you’re in San Diego or Mexico!
  • The Brigantine: I love this place for everything and Taco Tuesday is just an excuse to go there, but hey, I’ll take it!
  • Cafe Coyote: jIn Old Town,  practically every Mexican food place does Taco Tuesday but for some reason I keep going back to Cafe Coyote. Honestly you can’t go wrong with any of them though!

Breweries:

  • Karl Strauss: 
  • Stone: Pictured below at Liberty Public Market, and yes that is my wine glass.
  • Ballast Point:  When I used to drink beer (yes this was a thing- I loved their watermelon dorado )
  • Coronado: Their logo is a mermaid, so obviously I love them. But their food is also really good! I can do a sip of their beer flight and that’s about it for me.
  • Pizza Port: Want to try a whole bunch of local San Diego beers? This is your place! They have so so many different beers, and grab an amazing pizza while you’re at it.

Pasta:

  • All these places are in Little Italy and all of them you can go to and won’t be disappointed! They’re my top three favorites, I noticed as I was writing this post that I could go on and on – So I started to pick!
  • Civico 1845, Bencotto, and Barbusa

Wineries:

If you go about an hour north of San Diego, in Temecula there are tons, and I mean tons. My favorites: Danza Del Sol, Fazeli Cellars, Leoness Cellars (pictured below), Lorimar Winery, Miramonte, and Monte De Oro.

And then if you go about 20 minutes north to Rancho Bernando, there’s Bernado winery which is great too.

Boozy Views:

  • Drinks on the Patio at the Hotel Del Coronado
  • Have a Mai-Tai at BaliHai. They’ll only serve you three, by far the strongest, and most delicious one that I’ve ever had.

Mai Tai at Bali Hai

  • Drink a red bull slushie at PB shore club. This is a must. Hands Down. No Questions Asked.
  • Get a margarita at Cannon Ball – they’re pretty strong so watch out! This is also a great to work up some courage to go on the Giant Dipper
  • Draft: They brew their own beers and the beer list is out of this world. And you also are right on the boardwalk, so great people watching while also getting a salty breeze.
  • Wonderland: They have a great view of Ocean Beach and they have a wide variety of cocktails and beers. They also have a must get: pretzel fondue!
  • George’s: This place has one of the best views I think of La Jolla cove as well as some of the best sangria and ceviche.
  • JRDN: They have great apps and a great happy hour! Also right on the boardwalk in Pacific Beach
  • Costerra: This happy hour could possibly be my favorite in San Diego – the mussels and margaritas are all you need in life! Plus you have an awesome view of downtown San Diego.

Drinks in Coronado at the Hotel Del

Ramen:

  • UnderBelly: This was my first ramen, and it exceeded my expectations. I learned you can put a soft boiled egg in just about anything here and it’ll taste amazing.
  • OB noodle house: This place not only has good ramen, it has good everything! I don’t think I’ve ever had anything bad here. Plus they have awesome outdoor dining!

Dessert:

  • A chocolate dip cone at Mr. Frosty’s: They have other things, but this is the best thing on the menu, and I get it with swirl ice cream. It’s a place that you know is a locals only by the menu on their windows. But I promise, it’s so good!
  • Baked Bear: where you build your own ice cream sandwiches!
  • Moo Time: There’s a giant cow in front, which is why I went in at first. But it’s so fun to walk around – grab an ice cream cone and enjoy the night!
  • BJ’s:  Pazooki, if you live in Southern California, I know this is a chain. We don’t have it in Boston, and I miss it a lot. So send one over here!!

Mr. Frosty's in Pacific Beach

OTHER (food that I felt like didn’t fit into a category):

  • Carnitas Snack Shack: I’m a big fan of their carnitas torta because it’s 1) very filling and 2) very delish! This place will a lot of the time have a big line, but it’s worth it!
  • The Crack Shack: This place has a great name, a fun vibe, and fun sandwiches! It’s a great place to grab a drink, sit outside, and hangout!
  • Bo Beau’s: They have balsamic and parmesan brussels, need I say more?
  • Queen’s Town Public House: This place was a house that they restored into a restaurant and happens to be the cutest place ever, where you can Stay Awhile – when you go you’ll know what I mean.
  • The Prado: A quaint little restaurant in Balboa Park where they have live music sometimes and everything is good! They have a cute little patio outside and awesome sangria!
  • Cheers Deli: This place is right by my high school and a great place to get a LOADED sandwich with all the freshest ingredients.
  • Liberty Public Market: This place is like a farmers market that is always there and always has amazing food! Great photo opps, and Stone even has a brewery here. It’s also where I had my first lobster mac ‘n cheese to prep for the east coast move!

Lobster Mac and cheese at Liberty Public Market

DO:

  • Kayak to a concert at Humphrey’s
  • Take a harbor cruise on the San Diego Bay
  • Cabrillo National Monument
  • Go tidepooling
  • Walk around Little Italy
  • Spend a day in Julian and get a Mom’s pie
  • Giant Dipper at Belmont Park
  • Catch a game at Petco Park and before you go, grab a drink at Fairweather, Social Club, and/or Marriott Sky Lounge
  • Yoga on the USS Midway or Marine St. Beach
  • If you’re in season, catch an SDSU basketball game. My alma matar but also arguably one of the most fun basketball games I’ve ever been to.
  • Explore Balboa Park which is a 1,200 acre park right above downtown filled with museums, walking paths, theaters, dog parks, gardens, not to mention the world famous San Diego Zoo. It’s a great spot for a picnic, not to mention a great photo op. As a child, I loved the Ruben H Fleet Science Center, now I love to just go walk around and look at all the gardens, it’s a perfect picnic spot. Now you can go up the California tower and get amazing views, just make sure you reserve a time/ticket in advance.
  • Del Mar Horse Races: Opening day is where people wear the big hats and huge dresses, and yes it wouldn’t be weird to dress up anytime, and I think it’s so fun to make a day out of it! Their margarita’s are also 10/10!
  • Carlsbad Flower Fields: If you are here in the spring, this is a must! In Carlsbad this is a giant field of flowers, it’s beyond beautiful!
  • Watch a sunset at Sunset Cliffs
  • Walk on the suspense bridge on Spruce Street:
  • Witness Blacks Beach: From me you get no warnings other than the views and cliffs are beautiful!
  • Kayak/snorkel in La Jolla Cove: There are many places to rent kayaks and kayak from the shores to the cove. I would recommend doing a tour, even if you are a local! They tell you fun facts about the ocean, and San Diego in general. I learned a lot of new things (who knew that was possible). Kayak level: beginner, don’t worry! Just watch out, you may get a lazy fat sea lion looking for a free ride.
  • Hike Torrey Pines: my favorite hike is the beach trail
  • Hike Mission trails: there’s a hike for everyone there – from beginners to advanced. My favorite (and most popular) is Cowles Mtn.
  • See the views on Mt. Soledad & Mt. Helix: Best views of the city on these. Mt. Soledad is in La Jolla and Mt. Helix is in La Mesa, so no matter where you are – you get the best views!
  • Ride in a hot air balloon: You can do this in Temecula, and it’s right where all the wineries are!
  • And if hot air balloons aren’t enough for you, you can sky dive! I did mine at sky dive San Diego and I would highly recommend. It was so so so fun!

Skydiving in San Diego

Amusement parks:

  • SeaWorld: I know this place has a lot of controversy right now, and hate me for it. But I love Orca’s and if I could jump in the water with one my life would be complete. I grew up going to Sea World Camp, and this will always be one of my favorite things to do.
  • The (World Famous) San Diego Zoo: It’s HUGE! And there are a lot of hills (fair warning) but it’s great. You get to see every kind of animal you want, and ones you didn’t even know existed.
  • Safari Park: This place is like the Zoo in a lot of ways – but you get to see more of the african animals in their natural element which is roaming the african safari!

Shamu at Sea World

So if you’re going on vacation and need help planning and picking what to do let me know! If you’re a local and have other must do’s/see’s let me know and I will add them! Also, as I continue to go back to San Diego, I’ll keep this updated. Need more recommendations? Look at: Burgers in San Diego and Brunch in San Diego

~ Happy Sun Diego-ing, Amanda

WEEK/END

The Power Of The Positivity: Why It’s So Important

Life these days- it’s hard to stay positive. To fully understand why things happens. To be able to keep faith & look on the bright side. Sometimes I have a hard time believing. With mass shootings killing innocent lives, to hurricanes changing cities, to North Korea, to everything under the sun.

I’ve spent a lot of this past week trying to understand..to try and wrap my head around it. And I won’t lie, it’s been hard. Sometimes you can’t, really can’t, piece together why, or be able to rationalize something that’s going on. Which is something I desperately always try to do.

For most of my life, I’ve always tried my best to “live in the moment” taking in/soaking up each moment, everyday for all that it is. Or find inspiring quotes to help me get through the tough times. But sometimes, that just isn’t enough. I’ve come to accept that feeling, and that it is okay to feel it, you just can’t get stuck in it.

What I’ve learned most about happiness is really three main things:

  1. You have to find it- it won’t find you. You can sit there and dwell on bad things that are going on around you- or things that have happened to you. Or you can digest it (or try to) and believe that today is a new day, a fresh start. For me, I’m happy because of the little things the way Gatsby’s tail wags when he comes running back to you after chasing the ball, the way the fresh air feels when it fills your lungs in the morning. The way your feet sink in the sand as the waves continue to crash onto you. Being in the arms of the ones you love. Fully embracing each moment I’m in, will usually lead me right down the path to staying positive.
  2. You have to work for it. I don’t understand a lot of things in life, that have happened to me, or even that go on in the world. I could sit there and focus on them, and try and figure them out. It’s hard not to question life’s meaning, it’s course. But you have to trust it, and embrace it. And focus on the good- make that count for more than the negative/bad things.
  3. Your mind is a powerful thing. I think the power of positive thinking plays a big part of us. Which is why I turn towards gratitude, towards the people I surround myself with daily, and the people I love. Without one another, I’d be lost (more lost than I already am.) And I know that believing in the positive, really does make it reality.

I view the world through a positive lens cap, which sometimes get fogged, or scratched, and it’s up to me to fix it until it’s clear. It’s up to me, to determine how each day will go. Will it be just on auto pilot? Or will it be cherished? Fully embracing each moment as it comes. I think you all know what I constantly make an effort to do.

Be kind. Be a friend. Follow your heart. Follow your passions. And it all falls together.

And remember, your happiness is in your own hands. You decide that every day.

~ XOXO, the positivity junkie, Amanda

WEEK/END

The Importance Of A Girl’s Night

Adulting is hard. It’s tiring. It’s overwhelming. It’s confusing. Plus our Monday-Friday jobs pushing way over 40+ hours a week, coupled in time for relationships, pets, and God knows what else! Where’s the time to unwind? Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s not. But I feel like that time is few and far between. Whether you’re single, married, in a relationship, or whatever you wanna call it, a girl’s night is essential to our health.

I’m going to go over the importance of why girl’s nights are so important and what you need to have one correctly.

First, let’s get down to it, throw in some wine and cheese and I am there. I am forever a big fan of pino’s especially Pinot Noir, and yes I will always, always have my favorite Trader’s two buck chucks. But sometimes it’s necessary to be classy and spend a little more than $10 on a bottle because let’s face it…WE ALL DESERVE IT.

What you need (other than your girls):

  1. A bottle or five of your favorite wine, one of my go-to’s is Willamette Valley pinot noir
  2. Cheese and crackers- Trader Joe’s and Costco are my go-to’s for that.
  3. A few other snacks…like veggies, because balance, right!
  4. A few games (totally optional) you know to keep occupied between glasses of wine and shoving your face with apps and complaining about your awful life.

Why?

  1. To connect/check-in. We live such busy lives. And somehow we’re always connected on our phones, on social media. And yet we’re so not connected. So it’s nice to take the time to see how everyone is doing, and mutually complain. And to stay close.
  2. To escape. Whether it be from work drama, boyfriend drama, or just the feeling of the never ending adulting. There’s no better feeling than unwinding, a glass of Pino Gris in hand, and being close to the ones you love.
  3. To remind you that your girlfriend’s are your real soul mates. Remember the quote from Sex In The City- “Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.” and sometimes, when you and all your girls are in serious relationships, it’s important to take a step back, and remember that our girls are forever.
  4. You can wear yoga pants. Sure, getting dressed up and going out is fun. But what about sitting on the couch, laughing, in yoga pants and knowing that your girls legit love you just the same. Yeah, sounds amazing.
  5. To stay grounded. Your friends know you, they’ve been there through the good, the bad. They love you for you and all your weird quirks. And sometimes that’s just what we need.
  6. To vent. Your boss is a jerk? Your boyfriend is stupid? Sometimes we just need to vent/complain let it all out. And chances are, they’ll have the same problems…so you’ll feel like you’re not alone. Plus it just always feels better when someone listens.

Are you convinced yet? I would think so. Let me know you & your friend’s traditions. I love new ideas!

~XOXO, the girlfriend loving, Amanda

WEEK/END

Create & Cultivate LA

Obviously I’m a blogger, hence why you are reading this. But I’m also a content creator, public influencer, and a girl boss. My side hustle is my passion, it’s what I come home from and do after my 9-5. Which is why I heard about Create & Cultivate read their blog, understood that they’re a movement- for #girlbosses to create and cultivate a career of their dreams and immediately became obsessed. They hold all female ( #girlboss) conferences and I knew I needed to go. Here I’ll recap my experience from their latest conference in LA!

It was filled with motivation and excitement for me to grow my brand and create new content! From all the amazing #girlbosses and content creators talking about their stories/giving advice, to “celebs” like Lauren Conrad & speaking about their newest shop to even Chrissy Teigen talking about how she’s became more filtered (#goals for me) and her experience with postpartum. But I won’t get ahead of myself.

Why go to a girl boss conference? It’s hard to stay inspired as a “new” blogger (can I still call myself that?) and it’s important to feel motivated at all times. I like to know what’s up and coming in the blogging community. To feel like there are girls out there KILLING IT. And to always keep learning.

I really didn’t know what to expect, but I was hoping that my VIP ticket would pay off in some way. After all- I’m balling on a budget!

The conference started off at Rolling Greens where it was a lot of networking with wine and kombucha. We started off making our own succulents (how fun!) and sipping some yummy wine. LinkedIn had a pop-up get your headshot done, I didn’t get to do that, the line was too long for the time they had scheduled the event. I met a few girls IRL (in real life) who I know from the blogging community and they are all amazing! It’s always nice to expand your community in that way.

They made sure we were never hungry. They had tons of breakfast options- yogurt, bagel sandwiches, coffee, healthade kombucha, chia pudding! And for lunch we had flower child (YUMMMM!!). Snacks? Oh well the pop-ups, but Postmates were there, and every hour they had a different snack. For the keynote speakers, towards the end of the event, they had wine, champagne, and crown royal was hosting it. They even had dinner of samples to try- pizza, burritos, you name it, it was probably there.

I want to give a shoutout to all the brands/companies that were there because the SWAG was endless! Just to name a few that were there…LaCroix, Purely Elizabeth, all the healthade kombucha you’d want, Olly (vitamins), RXbar, Lola, FabFitFun, KINDbars, Little Words Project, Livestrong, We Work, Wedding Wire, The Little Market. And there were also ones in “The Beauty Lounge” Dermalogica, Ecotools, Nordstrom, The Glam App, and Tresemme. Just to name a few…

Okay, I’ll be done oozing over the brands + aesthetics. For a little.

There were over 800 attendees split up into Track 1 + Track 2 with slightly different panels and discussions.

The first one was PODCAST 101: all about podcasting, which I really liked. I tried to relate everything that was said, back to Blonde Out Of Water. Learning and growing. To be honest, I wasn’t sure into podcasts, I thought of them more as when I’m doing roadtrips- and the crime ones. The only one not like that I’d listen to was The goal digger, by Jenna Kutcher. Anyways…There was Lauryn Evarts, who runs the Instagram I love @theskinnyconfidental but her podcast is Him & Her. We also had Elizabeth Kott & Stephanie Simbari with the podcast That’s so Retrograde and Francheska Medina with Hey Fran Hey. 

A few things I took away from this- Be true to you. Not everyone is going to like what you’re putting out there, but people will align with the side of you they like. And be free, don’t worry about who’s going to like what. I also thought about my brand-what I’m trying to portray, who I am talking to. And coming up THIS WEEK! We will be polling on Instagram, so stay tuned for that!

I will be honest, I skipped the next talk to visit the pop ups. But do you really blame me?

The next one, I went to. And loved. Was NEVER NOT POSTING where Brittany Xavier, Jen Goth, Jacey Duprie, Busy Phillips, Hilary Sloan, & Rachel Curry spoke about how to keep up. <– lots of amazing people, I know. Jen Gotch talked about how she liked to entertain, how she struggles with boundaries, and how she viewed her blog/IG as a diary. I loved that. I love to entertain people, and hey sometimes you might know a little more than what would be “appropriate” (sorry, not sorry.)

They talked about how you need to run your IG like a community, not to focus on the likes or number of followers (which is SO HARD to do) but to offer value to your audience. Why should they be following and engaging with you? And don’t forget to make it personal. 

After lunch we did a mentor power hour where I had Kimmie Green and Jen Goth. I picked them for a few obviously reasons. Kimmie is a total boss and Jen loves to entertain and keep it real. So I had Kimmie for my #careergoals and Jen for my #sidehustlegoals.

Kimmie is a total girl boss- she’s ran her own business and is now the director of PR and communication at QuickBooks, not to mention she has two kids. She is #goals. Jen Goth was my other one- she doesn’t hold back on emotion- and as a follower it’s raw, you can feel it. I used to think of myself as emotionless if you will. Where letting others in, seeing what you’re feeling, means you’re weak. That is something I’ve been working on over the past year or so. But it’s amazing to see she’s vulnerable and full of emotion- yet also runs a successful company, stays true to her brand, and it a total girl boss.

Let’s also take a second to swoon over her outfit!

WorkParty had a surprise guest- Molly Simms where she talked about building your career and having fun while doing it.

Half way done with the day and I felt like I was ready to conquer the world.

We talked about branding and had a fireside panel with influencers who have over a million followers..CAN WE SAY GOALS?! Who said to work hard, keep your goals in mind, and don’t settle.

Overall, Create and Cultivate was an eye opening, inspiring conference where you really understood the meaning of #girlboss and how you have to support each other and everyone will succeed. No one is trying to take the spotlight away from you. I met so many amazing women, listened to so many amazing people, and can 100% say, I can’t wait to do it again.

If you have any more questions, or want to know more about this conference feel free to DM me!

~ XOXO, Amanda the all inspired content creator & influencer.

WEEK/END

If You Love HomeGoods, You’ll Be Obsessed With HomeSense

The decorating junkies better watch out with this store! Conveniently my job is about 20 miles West in a town called Framingham (it’s still weird that West is away from the beach) and TJX also has their headquarters there. This is where the first HomeSense opened in the US.

I always joke with Danny about my lunch breaks because there’s everything you could possibly need to do, errand wise within 5 minutes from my office. Target, World Market, HomeGoods, Petsmart, Traders, I could go on. So we joke about what I buy, as my lunch breaks can get quite pricey. Today won.

When starting my job, my boss told me about the new version of HomeGoods opening soon and of course I was all over it. I followed HomeSense on Instagram and Pinterest anxiously awaiting for the day the store opened, as the pictures of the stores in Canada and the UK already looked amazing. Well, today was the day.

It opened at 8AM, and I have to be at work by 9. I did contemplate going before work, but I didn’t want to be rushed. My friend and I decided to go on our lunch break, and here’s what we found:

Even after going, we don’t really know the difference between HomeGoods and HomeSense, all we know is we love them both. Literally. I saw HomeSense as an extension of HomeGoods.

The differences I saw?

  • HomeSense has no pet section, so Gatsby was a little sad with that.
  • HomeGoods has way more kitchen and bathroom stuff. HomeSense has a little scattered around but overall, not a lot.
  • HomeSense’s lighting section was huge! As I already had a cart with my wall art (see below) sticking out, I didn’t venture into it in fear of knocking one over. But I did see a few that caught my eye. The rug section was also very large.
  • HomeSense also had like almost a man cave section with foosball and giant wall card art.
  • There was more bigger items in general than HomeGoods, like bedframes, bar carts, etc.
  • HomeSense had a general store- my guess? because girls drag their significant others into it and spend far too long so the guys needed a section to kill time in

The opening day

I heard the checkout line was over an hour in the morning, but they had it down to a science by the time I was there. Someone was packaging up, while the other was ringing up. You were given a free reusable bag when entering. And you know I’ll be reppin’ HomeSense loud and proud with that. They also had waters and chocolate to grab. When we walked in we saw no carts or arm carts, I quickly was given a cart from a worker when he saw my struggle of carrying it. It wasn’t standing room only but navigating with a cart was difficult so I will most definitely go back and spend longer, look more when the crowds die down…if they ever.

First picture: I got two pieces of wall art..can you tell the travel bug is itching? And a decent size fake palm plant for our bedroom. 

Second Picture: I got more travel bug bites and bought another wall art. A mug (of course), luggage tags, two great smelling candles because you can never have too many, a book, a notepad, another fake plant..I’m thinking this one will either go on my dresser or coffee table TBD, and a bowl.

Now all I need is all my belongings to come from California (which they are in route) so I can finally have a put together apartment. I’m sure I will be going back to HomeGoods AND HomeSense to put the final touches on once all of it comes.

~ XOXO, the decorating junkie, Amanda

WEEK/END

My Nightmare Experience With Movers

So as I’m sure all of you know that I’ve moved from San Diego to Boston, and what you might not know unless I know you on a personal level is about my nightmare (and that’s me speaking calmly and nicely) situation I am in with the company that has all my stuff, my life.

We found this company allied moving group where everyone was so nice- knew all the right things to say, and seemed perfect. Well, 8 weeks later, we now know it was way too good to be true.

We had a dresser (which my Dad made me), a mattress, box string, boxes full of our belongings, all of our clothes, household goods, a TV, a dining room table (broken down), this from Ikea, overall nothing too big. But priceless to us.

Back story: Our total move was going to be $1,700.00 (too good to be true, I know) and we were allowed to have 2,000 pounds.

On the day of the move, a 5 star relocation truck showed up. And we were told that allied was a “broker” and they sign the contracts then pass them out to other van lines..without us knowing. And this is where it started to turn ugly.

Warning sign #1: You can’t get ahold of them. I was trying to get ahold of the driver to set an exact time, and it took me calling all day (mind you I was driving cross country) and then finally we got ahold of them. And they came up with excuse oh how bad traffic was and came 6 hours late.

As the guys, and my Dad loaded up the stuff, the guys assured my Dad “they see so many loads, [we] didn’t need to be worried about going over weight- we were going to be way under.” Then the next few days we tried to get ahold of them to confirm our weight, and to then it turned into just even trying to get ahold of someone.

So we had already started driving, and my Dad was there when they picked up the stuff. They told my Dad that he had to pay $1,000 to pick it up. My dad not knowing better, paid them. They took the stuff and this mental image now I’m getting to the point of frustration where it brings tears to my eyes. (At this point we had already paid a $600 deposit, so 99% paid in full.)

I went back and forth with Patty, the “admin” at allied moving group- because she was the only one who answered, trying to get ahold of someone from 5 star relocation.

I finally after days of trying recieved a call from a Jason Scott, who assured me he was calling from his cell phone and will be available if we ever need anything. He told me our load was only 1200 lbs so they were going to have to go by cubic feet instead of weight because they go by whichever is more. By going by weight it brought the total up to $2400, but with a positive review on yelp, he would give me a $500 discount. Me, not knowing how to handle this just took it all in, the yelp thing..I got a bad feeling about already.

We called allied moving group- we still at this point thought they were on our side, and they said the number of cubic feet for the items we had was outrageous, which we agreed. And we were going to ask for a reweigh and measure everything once we received.

Fast forward to when we’re ready for our stuff (I’ll skip all the other warning signs, like them not calling us after they picked it up, or answering any number we had, their business phone not having a voicemail set up, etc etc etc.)

So I have a text to Jason Scott requesting them to ship our stuff…on May 28th. Per our contract who we signed with allied moving group…but we would have thought if they subcontracted it out…5 star relocation would have to follow…said at the latest, we should have our things within 21 business days.

I spoke with the Michelle “admin” multiple times, emailing her, and on the phone..with them relaying “most likely going out” even to “guarantee shipping out 3-5 days.” THEN Michelle called ME to confirm a delivery address because my stuff was shipping out in the morning. She said I would get a call prior 48 hours of it being delivered,  but to plan for that following Saturday or Sunday. That was Friday June 23rd, almost a month after I had requested, and definitely out of contract. But whatever, I was going to get my stuff.

Again, fast forward to the next week, I had heard nothing, and it was Friday June 30th, right before July 4th weekend, where a lot of festivities were going on. I called Michelle, and said I hadn’t heard, I was trying to plan my weekend, and she relayed my stuff, my life, did not make it on the truck.

I told her I was very disappointed, she relayed said she understood and that it was going out within a week on the next truck going cross country.

I got a call from her manager, Karen,…July 11th…realizing they had made a mistake with our shipment and she was doing everything she could to help resolve the issue, and she would call me on Friday (with good news or bad.) Friday came, and went. No call. She also relayed that many people at 5 star got laid off so she was coming in to fix all of their problems.

Monday 7/17- I called and the “manager” Karen wasn’t in the office, but would call me back first thing in the morning.

Tuesday 7/18- I called, Michelle told me  she had left for the day already, at about 2pm PST. Michele, the lying “admin” was so confused why I wouldn’t talk with her. I told her because I did not think she was trustworthy, and she was appalled that I would have felt that way. (LOL TO HER).

Wednesday 7/19- A woman named Mary, answered and relayed Karen, the “manager” and the other “admin” (Michelle) were in the hospital…at the end of the call she corrected herself and said Karen the “manager” was on vacation, and Michelle the “admin” was in the hospital. I told her I needed a picture of my things to prove that this company has them, because I get shuffled around. And I am sick of the excuses and false promises. She assured me that my stuff was in good hands, and I didn’t need to worry. She would call the guys in the warehouse to get a picture.

Thursday 7/20- I didn’t get a picture, no one answered my numerous calls all day. On my way home from work I called nonstop (28 times to be exact). Once I got home, we called from Danny’s phone and on the 2nd attempt Michelle, the “admin” answered and we requested a photo of our items. And we asked where the address was because we were going on a flight to see for ourselves. She told us she would try for a picture by COB the next day. As for the address? She told us to look it up online, we responded with, ‘we have you on the phone, can you just give it to us?’ she placed us on hold so she could get the address of her office, where our stuff supposedly (is/was…who knows) and then she came back on saying she has 2 other calls waiting she needs to get to (we’ve called too many times to count and never been placed on hold) so we could look online, and that was it. Mind you…online the address is Los Angeles, California.

Friday 7/21- I called them 26 times on the way home from work, and no answer. Or a phone call back. If you yelp 5 star relocation, they have a local San Diego address in Pacific Beach, my Mom works very close to that. She drove by and spoke with a woman who worked in the building…she relayed that 5 star relocation uses this as a physical mailing address but they are rarely here, and even when they are, they come nowhere near in the time of business hours.

(this is where it started to look really bad)

Saturday 7/22- My boyfriend’s Mom got a voicemail from Mary from allied moving group saying that “they had good news” and to call them back. I called back and left a message and did not hear back.

Monday 7/24- I called allied moving group and spoke to Patty because Mary wasn’t there. I  advised her that we want our shipment back in San Diego where it came from. If they can get it there, great, or I can arrange to get it. Pattyt relayed that Mary’s good news was that they found a company epic moving lines (part of their scam) who had a truck leaving from Texas to California and then would be able to go to Boston. I relayed what we wanted…just back in San Diego at my house. She had to see how they did that with Mary and I would get an answer and she would call me back.

Well, she didn’t. So I did. I also relayed that 5 star relocation’s number appeared to be disconnected, and she gave me their number, and confirmed it. She called on speaker phone, “Oh I can’t wait to get them on the phone..when I do I am going to say just send Amanda a picture. It’s normally Michelle who answers the phone” I laugh very sarcastically, ‘I love Michelle.’ She replies ‘don’t get me started’ (still pretending to play dumb to this situation that is going on and trying to  be on my side.) A woman answered, not Michelle for 5 star relocation, I could tell that much but I couldn’t make out what she said..she relayed “they said I have the wrong number….I’ll look into it and call you back.”

Side note: I think if you didn’t catch on to this…they’re all the same people..we read the reviews. I am sure allied moving group on speaker called her cubicle mate, and then they laughed.

WE ARE GETTING DESPERATE, WE JUST WANT OUR STUFF. We brainstorm, what will it take to get it back? Money? Legal action? A white flag?

I called (probably for the millionth time that day) 5 star relocation…spoke with a woman, I did not catch her name but asked what she could help me with, I relayed that I was trying to get in touch with 5 star relocation, relayed the number, she asked me to hold…5 star relocation’s hold music came on and then it disconnects the call.

(The hold music went to playing their normal one minute with an option to leave a voicemail, to playing for about a sequence through then disconnecting, to their hold music then the call would get transferred to another line and we would hear a different hold music, to now where their hold music plays and then it disconnects-no option for voicemail.)

I at this point feel like I’ve hit a wall. I send their generic email an email: with my name, details of my move, and discussing what I wanted- my stuff back in San Diego, or I will get it. And to call me ASAP because I needed to get this executed as fast as possible.

They replied: “Amanda.
We are working on getting your items out asap. Our dispatch will call you within 24 hourswith an update on either scenario below.
Thanks”

Me: “Hi,
I do NOT want my items shipped to Boston, per my email below I am asking to either be able to go pick them up or to be sent back to my origin address.
Thank you,
Amanda “

Them: “Jason will call you to arrange that on the number provided below by you.”

My Mom spoke with Mike from 5 star relocation, who my boyfriend’s Mom spoke with before threatening her with damaging our stuff, I have never spoken with him. He told my Mom he had never heard of my move. He was going to look into it and call her back. No call back was ever made.

Tuesday 7/25- no call, nothing from 5 star relocation like the email said I was going to get. On my lunch break at work I called 5 star relocation…speak with another new girl Jessica, she identifies herself as another “admin” (not my normal one)…she relayed she will check with dispatch (like who the heck is dispatch) and call me right back.

Called multiple times (I have 3 numbers who I have spoken with 5 star relocation’s people)  and no answer. No call back.

Getting more desperate than I already am, I called allied moving group again…I spoke with the Patty. She relayed our stuff is being shipped out Wednesday/Thursday of this week on epic moving from Van Nuys, California to Boston, MA. She played dumb, to me ever saying we didn’t want our stuff in Boston (of course), and that she would have to check with Mary on how we can arrange for it to get back to the pickup location, that same lady called the owner of 5 star relocation and no details of that call were shared, she did relay I can pick up the stuff but that Mary was going to call me with that. Oh but get this…in the beginning of the call, I say I’ll hold while she talks to her, she tells me that she is having heart surgery in New York, then by the end of the call her Mother is having heart surgery in New York.

I can’t stop: I keep trying 5 star relocation…and to my awe and dismay I speak Jessica, she apologized she did not get back to me, or pick up my calls, but she was in the warehouse looking for my shipment because “the job has been taken.” (I wish my facial expression was caught on camera) and that we should be getting our belongings by the end of the weekend. I inquired what van line took it out…she said she’d look into that and call me back, I told her I can hold (you know they never call back) and she relayed it could be up to 15 minutes, I said it was fine. Maybeeee 30 seconds goes by and she laughed and asked what I meant by the question, I relayed, which van line is my stuff heading towards Boston on. She laughed and said “we are a van line, it’s on our van line.” (Hmmm, so epic and 5 star are the same???) I asked for my driver’s number, so I can plan my weekend. She said they will call me within 48 hours of delivery so plenty of notice, they did not give out driver’s numbers so they won’t be distracted.

Mind you, 5 star relocation knewwww the night before I did NOT want it to Boston. I wanted it back home to San Diego, so I could be done with them, and all of this.

My Mom and boyfriend’s Mom has also gotten thrown around. After my last conversation with 5 star relocation, she answered my Mom’s call and relayed that they did notify me when it was shipped out and they can prove it because all of their calls are recorded. (Legally, I believe you have to let people know they are being recorded…?)

I am at this point on my way home from work, my Mom called Patty with allied moving group who got ahold of 5 star relocation (of course they did, we believe it’s all the same) who relayed it did go out THIS MORNING!!!!!! on an epic van line truck.

After I hear this, I can’t. Literally can’t. The best part? Epic has the same hold music as 5 star relocation..coincidence? I think not.

Tuesday 7/25- no one has answered me on any of the 3 number’s I have on 5 star relocation.

I have zero reason to believe that my items are on it’s way to Boston, these people have done nothing but lie to me, over and over. I think it’s a way to stall, and for us to stop bugging them.

Wednesday- 7/26, I had a few specific goals: 1) find one which van line my shipment is on…allied moving group said “epic van line” and 5 star relocation said their own trucks. 2) get a number for my driver (after speaking with people after their stuff had left a warehouse this was the only person they spoke with.) 3) Confirm where they are shipping it to. I had emails with both moving companies, as well as conversations requesting it be shipped back to my house in San Diego, but it was meant to be shipped to Boston.

Not to my surprise 5 star has not answered any of my calls, my mom’s, or my boyfriend’s mom’s. I called combined with their 3 numbers over 15 times, left one voicemail, then the mailbox was full. I spoke with allied moving group once, then she did not answer, again and I left a voicemail. I sent both companies emails requesting to be called back. Allied moving group responded with “this is all I have epic’s main number and the number that appears on google.” I’ve started emailing to have some sort of written documents.

Again, I believe epic and 5 star relocation are both working with Allied moving group as one bigger scam. I’ve called epic myself 3 times, and my Mom 5. No answer.

We’ve contacted a lawyer (Thanks Andrea!) to send a letter certified mail, or give them a call. The police? They said that since they have been in contact with us since they have picked up our stuff it is not criminal, it is a civil offense. No matter how awful and terrible they are.

We filed a complain with BBB.

My Mom went back to the address listed on 5 star relocation’s yelp (4629 Cass St, San Diego, CA 92109)…and the man who actually uses the building (they use is more like a PO BOX but are able to list a physical address) was in the building and my Mom asked him if they signed for certified mail…they said they did, but he said no to bother. They have not paid their bill in two months, and as far as he knows they have not been there in a year. He tries to call and email, but always speaks to someone new. He was also unaware that they listed this address on their Yelp page… Does any of that sound familiar?

We also have fire under our asses just in case you couldn’t tell…so my Mom kept calling the number. And a guy answered, Mike The other problem is, they sound so nice on the phone, and at first it worked. He said that it did NOT go out Tuesday morning like we had heard earlier from 5 star relocation and allied moving group, it left Tuesday at 4:30 PM PST, which doesn’t even make any more since because two different companies, two different people told us otherwise. He said that it was in AZ but that it would turn around and go back to LA and we could go and get it, but we did have to give them 24 hours notice. He said it was a problem my shipment was so small so that is why there was a delay, and like we’ve said before, we had no problems with a delay, we have problems with them being impossible to get ahold of and the constant lies. He didn’t have anything to say about that. He assured my Mom that he would call me or her tomorrow.

Do I believe this? No. Literally believe nothing that they said.

My Mom told me this, and I had more questions, obviously! So I called that number she called again…7 times to  be exact. And no answer.

Then (it gets better) you know that address in San Diego close to my Mom’s work from 5 star relocation’s Yelp page? If you look now, it comes up as a firestone (tire place) in LA. Which makes me believe…whoever my Mom spoke with is with 5 star relocation.

So again, I was stumped.

Thursday 7/27- I called 5 star relocation and spoke with Jessica asking when we would be able to get my shipment. She said I was just about to call you, it just now got back to the warehouse. (12:15 EST). I asked where is the warehouse, she said she’d have to look it up. Then she said Chatsworth, CA and that the girls in the office would be texting me the exact address shortly. I told her I was going to get in contact with my Dad to confirm what time they will be there tomorrow.

I also confirmed which phone number I could reach her at because no one ever answers- she said this one and that she will be in the office all day.

My Dad reached out to his buddies who had a truck and a trailer who would be able to go with him as backups to get all my stuff. They were going to leave SD around 9:00 AM

I tried calling the number. No answer. So I texted it, “Jessica..waiting for a call back and have received no text of the address.” Someone replied (her maybe?) the address: 19121 parthenia st northridge, ca 91324. I texted back: Please call me

If you google this address, it’s a self storage facility.

She does and my Dad wanted the names and numbers of people he was going to be meeting and I asked her. I also asked what happens if our stuff is missing? She said she didn’t know who was going to be there but to just have my Dad call/text this number an hour before he is there and someone will be there. And she said my shipment was picked up from my house and sent to this place and never moved so it will all be there. Now, I’m even more curious asking her about when she told me it was moved, etc.

She asked me to hold and Mike came on. And told me yes, it had not been moved. I asked him about my conversation with my Mom last night about how it was on the border/in AZ. All I got was silence.

So that was the plan: My Dad and 2 of his friends were going to drive to North ridge, CA to get my shipment. No talks of money/refunds/anything was said. They were prepared for a show down.

Friday 7/28- my Dad left, I called and Jessica answered, she only wanted me to tell her when he was an hour away. I let her know I would, I just wanted to be in communication with her.

My Dad was an hour away- I called and she gave me names of the guys who would be there. They were definitely not their real names, Mike and James..they like to use the name Mike a lot. Before they got there, my Dad went to the office of the self storage facility and asked where 5 star relocation stored their stuff. The lady didn’t have any units under them.

The guys came, opened a huge storage with other people’s items in it, no method to the madness. My stuff was near the back, and had to move other’s to get to it. Again, not lining up with their lie that it just made it back from AZ.

BUT WE GOT OUR STUFF!!!

BOTTOM LINE

What we found out:

  • They are real scam artists, and have been doing this to many people.
  • They get caught up in their lies- they don’t remember what they last lied about
  • When they first picked up our stuff, they told us if we write a positive review on their yelp page then they would discount our items $500, leading me to the conclusion that the positive reviews are fraud.
  • They are psychopaths- nothing can appeal to their emotions.
  • Allied moving group and 5 star relocation (we believe) are working together on this. Allied moving group also has used north star, epic van lines, sky van lines, and the list goes on.
  • 5 star relocation under the DOT has one truck, and it cannot leave CA. So again, they never had any intention of moving our stuff to us in Boston.
  • When my Dad went and picked it up, they were in a rental truck from enterprise car rentals.

How I think we got our stuff back:

  • Reported all their positive Yelp reviews
  • Clicked useful to all their bad ones
  • Contacted BBB
  • Threatened police & lawyers
  • Never gave up: called endlessly- left voicemails, emailed them recapping our conversations.
  • We are now fighting for a refund of the money they stole from us to do nothing but store our stuff for over 2 months.

What we wanted:

Obviously our stuff, we have so much in there that is priceless to us. Not to mention, starting over from scratch- everything, sounds like it is not an option.

Typing this makes my stomach churn. And 5 star relocation’s hold music makes my heart beat fast and my ears get red.

So I’m sharing this (and please share with whoever you know, to help us, and any future movers not get scammed like we did)

WEEK/END

25 Things You Might Not Know About Me

If you’ve ever read US Weekly they do a segment where they reveal 25 things you might not know about whatever celeb they feature. Obviously US Weekly will never feature myself, so I thought I’d feature myself. So that all of you can know a little bit more about me!

  1. I’m a lover of anything with water and sun. hint: why I always say I wish I was a mermaid. If I could find a way to ever become a modern day Ariel I would do it.
  2. I’ve lived in San Diego my whole life..except two years in North Carolina for college, and now I am living in Boston. And no, I have never experienced a blizzard, or even “real” snow…so needless to say this winter will be interesting.
  3. I came up with my blog name at work one day, brainstorming with my work bestie all day (I swear we did actually get work done) and came up this blonde out of water because a) I’m blonde and b) fish out of water…blonde out of water…get it? Also refer to #1 where I wish I was a mermaid.
  4. If for some reason my hair decided it didn’t want to be blonde anymore (I don’t dye it) I would have to dye it. I love being blonde…my life motto is: the blonder the better.
  5. I have to think through every situation before I do it, so some say I’m indecisive, which I won’t deny. Whether it is something small, like if I want pizza or pasta for dinner. Or a big life decision, like where I want to work, really anything.
  6. I’m have an extreme case of ophidiophobia, meaning snakes, I can’t even look at them, or picture them. YUCK! Going through the snake house at the zoo? FORGET IT!
  7. Speaking of fears, I hate needles and blood. I’ve had to had blood taken twice in my life and have passed out both times. That also just means I have to close my eyes a lot during Grey’s Anatomy.
  8. My favorite food is cheese, sushi coming in right behind it. But seriously, cheese is a big problem. Like when you’re eating Italian food and they’re shredding parmesan on your pasta and they say, “say when,” I always “forget” to say when because it’s never enough!
  9. I sleep better if it’s cold. Who doesn’t like to cuddle with blankets?
  10. I met my boyfriend at a previous job, where we worked in different departments, and we first bonded over ordering food together from an app called postmates which he introduced me to. When he said, “sometimes [from postmates] I order Ben and Jerry’s at night and eat the whole thing” I knew he could be the one;)
  11. I’d take iced coffee over hot coffee anytime, even on a cold day.
  12. I’ve never seen Star Wars, E.T., The Matrix, and a lot of other “must see” movies.
  13. I’m still waiting for the day that teachers would always tell you you would be able to do math in your head. Yeah, that never came for me. I still use my fingers, or my calculator.
  14. I hate not having toe nail polish on, I think toes look so weird without nail polish on. So even if it’s chipped, I won’t take it off til I have time to re-do it. And for the most part on my hands too.
  15. I had always wanted a dog growing up, my aunts and cousins had them, so I was from the start a dog lover. But my parents never gave in! When I was 20 and could afford a dog of my own, I got Gatsby! My mom? Thrilled. My dad? Pissed beyond belief. But guess who won my dad’s heart? Gatsby did!
  16. I always have an ongoing list of things I want to do, things I want to eat, and places I want to go. Currently: trying to find the BEST lobster roll in New England, wanting to kayak the Charles River, and travel…oh that list is too long.
  17. When I’m stressed or upset, I bake or clean. It’s very soothing for me.
  18. I love holidays. Christmas is by far my favorite, decorating for it, preparing for it, going to look at lights. It’s an all out or get out kind of mentality. And this year…I think I’ll (hopefully) be able to build my first snow man!
  19. My first job was a babysitter.
  20. My drinks of choice are always red wine or a margarita! I think taco tuesday, should be a weekly holiday.
  21. No matter how much I shop, I still have nothing to wear.
  22. I hate hair. Especially wet hair in the shower, even if it’s my own. If it’s not mine? I cringe even more and can’t go near it.
  23. Once when I told my coworker I had a blog, she asked if it was a fashion blog and I bursted out in laughter as I was wearing jeans and a tee that day. I feel like that would never happen with a fashion blogger as everyday would be their runway.
  24. My shoe size is an 8.5 or sometimes 9.
  25. The only food I don’t really like is mushrooms or olives, but in small doses I can handle them.

Can you relate to any of these? I’d love to hear!

~XOXO, the never to be famous, Amanda

WEEK/END

Spending Time With Yourself: It’s Not As Bad As It Sounds

Since I’ve moved and before I start my new job (finally!) and with Danny working, I’ve had a lot of time by myself. Unless you count Gatsby…But here’s how I’ve been filling my time, without going crazy.

What’s even crazier? I’ve come to enjoy doing these things by myself.

Binge watch a tv show

So obviously we all do this anyway..but I had heard about a show called This Is Us and if you haven’t watched I HIGHLY recommend it. I am v obsessed, it goes in depth into a typical family, showing struggles, happy times, and relationships. And you grow to love each character and want to see how everything will play out. It’ll tug on your heart strings, I think I’ve sobbed in a few episodes. I’m also v obsessed with Jack and Rebecca as a couple, and I’m guessing you will be too.

Already seen it? I’ll list a few other binge worthy shows

  • Homeland
  • Revenge
  • Grey’s Anatomy (the earlier seasons are the best)

Read

I’ve never been much of a reader. Like let me buy this book and read it for fun. I did pick up You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero and I loved it. It really makes you think, and helps you grow. It was like the book was my cheerleader after it took me much longer than I thought to find a job. The next one I just picked up? Girl Boss by  Sophia Aromuso. Can you tell I’m into #girlpower these days?

Have a spa day

One night…I took a bath with a bath fizzy, my favorites are from Lush, looked through a magazine, did this hair mask to restore my damaged hair, and it felt amazing the morning after. I also did this face mask and it left my face feeling like I had no oil on it what-so-ever. I like when face masks make you feel kind of dry after, for some reason!

And of course, I did my nails when I got out! Sounds like a perfect night to me!

Cook something you’ve never made before

I have a new ending list of food to try and make from either Pinterest or all the food bloggers I follow…

These were my two favorites I made

Lemon Artichoke Asparagus Pasta which was the perfect amount of lemon zest with cheese, I did add crushed red pepper, typical I know.

Cauliflower Tortillas which I would love to make everyday because who doesn’t love tacos without the guilt? I poured on some hot sauce with chicken and avocados and they were to die for. I did make the tacos a little too thick according to my food critic though.

Journal

I’m big into 52 List Project it prompts you different things to write about and see where it takes you. A lined journal is also a good way to get new thoughts and ideas flowing. I’m also a big believer in it helps you get through things you didn’t know you needed to get through.

Make an easy checklist so you can cross everything off

I love to at the end of the day cross off everything off my to-do list. So when I’m not doing (all that much) I’ll add things like shower, put away laundry, clean kitchen counters, etc. Which makes you feel like you used your day to the fullest and lets you feel accomplished.

Lay in the sunshine

Gatsby and I both love this one. Soak up that vitamin D and get a nice summer tan while doing it. I also always came back inside feeling refreshed and ready to cross things off my to-do list.

All things to focus on yourself, enjoy it, and soak up every second. I’m sure that as my life gets back to busy with work, boyfriends, puppies, and social life I’ll wish I was back to this time.

WEEK/END

Behind The Scenes On How To Get Pictures Like A Film Crew Followed You

I love pictures, and I know I’m not the only one. I wish I could have a film crew following me around, capturing my every moment. So that I can look back on all the fun times and memories, but that’s not the case.

I also know I’m not the only one, who travels with a friend, or significant other and know in advance I want to come back with the most amazing pictures. 1) to show off the blast time you had and 2) of course for the memories (not to get too sentimental). Here’s what I’ve found helps get you there..I’ll use Danny as a guide because he’s always so patient with my picky-ness.

Scope the right person

I always look for either someone young who I can immediately look at and know with simple instruction can manage your camera, and knows how to tap the screen on your phone for better lighting.

The person that you see taking a picture, getting angles, and trying different ways to capture something is usually a good bet as well. And my favorite line is “One more!!” as they’re taking them, and trying for a different pose. Normally I find people are totally 100% willing, and sometimes will even ask to return the favor.

Be willing to try new poses

You can always take a picture side by side. But when looking through photos, it’s always more fun to see different poses, action shots, and most of all having fun.

I try and get “candid” shots. Jumping into the pool, kissing, jumping for joy. For new ideas? I scroll through explore on Instagram, or Pinterest and the options are endless.

The cheesy picture poses are worth doing!

It may feel silly, but when you see the final product it’ll be worth it.

Options are always better

Usually for every one picture I like, there are 50 others, that for me, didn’t quite do it. If you take your time, get a few angles, change it up a bit, more than likely if you’re like me…you’ll end up liking one or two.

When you take your time, and don’t feel rushed, you can focus on the perfect shot, the perfect smile, and the perfect photo op.

Everytime I go away for a weekend, a cool place, or on a vacation, I drop hundreds of pictures onto my computer to go through. You get to relive your time!

Invest a good camera

I used to look at other people’s pictures and they looked so bright and the quality was good- I thought my iPhone was supposed to do that? It wasn’t until I got an actual camera (crazy right?) that I noticed how much of a difference it made.

Pictures you have forever- it’s worth it. Especially when you go to print them and they are just as clear as they are on the screen.

What I use now? Canon t5 rebel & GoPro hero session, occasionally my iPhone

Avoid using a selfie stick

I think getting a tripod, as dorky as it sounds, it perfect for the shot you want without your arm taking up half of the shot. And you can set it as far back as you want (as long as you’re an undercover track star) which allows you to get as much back ground as you want.

We used a tripod on our road trip when obviously no one else was brave (or stupid) enough to pull over and snap a shot!

If there is a person around- that is my obvious piece of advice. Only use this when there’s no other option.

Take pictures of each other 

We always have so much fun doing photoshoots of each other. My famous line “am I sucking in?” and then look at the picture- and hate it. And have him take 50 more.

It’s a great way to bond and laugh over the stupid faces you make, and then you have the real person in front and behind the lense.

Like I said, candids are my favorite.

Hope this helps // go start snapping!

~ XOXO, Amanda

WEEK/END

What They Don’t Tell You About Adulting

So now that many of us have been out of college for dare I say a decent amount of time, or it is quickly approaching. I’ve jotted down some things that I wish I would have been told- just for some warning about adulting.

I thought when I didn’t have to work, a social life, class, AND do homework/studying life would be so much easier. But do I wish I could go back to those days? 100%. Adulting sucks. It’s hard. And it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

We had everything scheduled out for us our whole lives– you go to elementary school, then middle school, high school, college. Then what? There’s no map. BOOM! You’re on your own. So here’s what I’ve found out (so far)…

1. Meeting (& maintaining) friends takes work.

In school, you’re “forced” to be with your friends 24/7, so meeting people your own age, with similar interests isn’t that hard. Plus it was easy to weed out the weirdos. Real life, you have a job where the ages could be anywhere, where half the people don’t care to do anything but work then leave.

Not to mention friends you’ve had your whole life, have a whole new life, maybe even in a different city in a different time zone. It’s so easy to “grow apart.” What I’ve learned? If you make time for it, it works. But you have to work at it.

2. Your first, second, and maybe even third job won’t be your dream job. 

I was totally guilty of thinking that after college, I was going to land the job of my dreams, with the best coworkers, and do one job for the rest of my life. I was wrong, I worked in a hotel, at a front desk. And while it sure wasn’t ever boring. It wasn’t what I wanted to be doing forever. Still? Yeah, don’t have my dream job.

3. Life isn’t a linear track – it has ups and downs, twists and turns.

Sometimes I really think I’m doing good- on the right track, and then a curve ball happens and I am speeding down a different track that I had no idea how I got there. I used judge myself harshly, on difficult times, and while it’s true, it may not be ideal…there’s no going back.

It’s important to see that twists and turns lead to the same destination as one path. I like to now embrace the adventure, the roller coaster’s twists and turns, constantly reminding myself how far I have come, and how none of it happened how I thought it would. But look, I’m alive.

4. No one cares where you went to college, what your degree is in, or what your GPA was.

I think where you went to college is more of a talking point- like “Oh did your school have football?” Or some generic question steaming off of that. Experience matters more than what the degree is in. College was great, best days of my life, but when interviewing, I have never been asked what my degree was, told the person, and then if it wasn’t what they wanted to hear was it a dead end. I was a communication major (which I LOVED), but that has no list of jobs I can do. Nor will I let it give me one.

Last but not least, my GPA, which I thought 100% mattered. Turns out? Again, I was wrong. No one talks about it, no one asks. All you get was “cool, you went to college.”

5. When you feel down, out of place, or sad; it’s normal.

Life has always been mapped out- you finished this grade, you got to go to the next. And spend a whole year again with everyone who was familiar. It’s normal to be lost for a minute, a day, however long. Sure, it’s not enjoyable or fun. No one likes it, but there’s worse things, and life does go on. And once you’re feeling up again, another twist or turn comes along and you’re back down, and you just have to learn to accept that it’s okay.

6. There are no wrong decisions. 

I myself struggle everyday with this, still. And I have thought I made wrong decisions in “big aspects” of my life. But even when I thought it was wrong, there were always benefits to it. And you can always change any decision you make, go with it for awhile, and if it doesn’t work. Change it.

7. There are no rules. 

There’s no “how-to” book to adult. There is no “right” way to act, there is no “right” way to feel, or “right” path you need to be on. As long as you listen to yourself (brain, and heart) and trust your gut, it’s what’s “right.”

8. You have to be your own support system.

Yes, your parents, friends, significant others will have your back. But why should they be your only cheerleader? After all, we all know we’re our hardest critic. I used to be so harsh on myself, not that I’m not anymore. But I used to second guess if I was doing the “right thing,” making a smart move, going through a rough time, or even if I was deserving of something good that happened.

What I learned? It’s normal to be unsure, or insecure, whatever you wanna call it. If you realize you’re going to be with yourself for 100% of anything that happens, and you can help yourself through it. It makes it that much easier, and you more confident.