Thursday, February 6, 2014

Winter Go-to

    First off, I have been anything but regular with posting and for that I apologize. Things have not been going the way I want them to academically, and I've been to scatterbrained to even clean off my desk. That's how you know it's bad.

    Due to all this stress, I've been sacrificing a little bit of style whilst getting ready in the morning. Maybe my fellow students are sick of seeing me in the same type of outfit almost every day, but for the purposes of this blog post it's really quite useful!

  This is my go-to winter outfit:

From the ground up: Bean Boots, Smartwool socks, fleece-lined leggings, a long sleeve tshirt (I got this one for free at orientation! It's for campus greek life, which I'm not even a part of, but it's comfy.),  Fossil tote (with a Vera Bradley lanyard saying hey?), whatever jacket is weather-appropriate, and hair that may or may not be unbrushed. #noshame

    If I'm particularly grumpy, or I know my day is going to be jam-packed, the worst thing to do is also make myself uncomfortable. I'd take comfort over style any day! I have a few different boot or shirt variations for this outfit, but it never fails to be my favorite for long days.

Do you have a winter go-to?


Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Hunt for Tea Cups

Since last semester, I've been loving tea. Loose-leaf, bagged, any kind really. I've been keeping my eyes peeled for a tea cup set with matching saucers, and I never dreamed that would be so hard to find on a budget! I've found many gorgeous ones, either too expensive or too granny-esque or without matching saucers. And I really don't need a set of 6 like most come in, because college dorms aren't known for cabinet space.

Here's some that would be on my wish list if I wasn't so picky (picking these out was even a struggle)!

I think the elegance of a tea cup on a saucer would add a touch of class to a morning wake me up, an afternoon break, or an evening relaxer. I just have to find something that fits my criteria exactly, which is always a struggle (#pickygirlprobs).

Do you know of anywhere to get nice tea cups?


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow Adventures

We had snow! In Chattanooga!

I often forget that snow is one of my favorite things considering I never get to see a substantial amount, but oh my do I love it! My university ended up closing at noon on Tuesday, so I only had to go to my first class, and after that it was time to go play!

I called Joshua and told him he better get his butt over here, because I wasn't going to waste a minute of enjoying this beautiful stuff!

We walked all over the place and were exhausted by the time we got back, but it was so fun! The snow was too powdery for snowballs (thank goodness) but perfect for walking/frolicking all over our town. 

Do you love snow days?


Monday, January 27, 2014

The healing powers of Krispy Kreme

I have been stressed as of late. It seems like these next two weeks are jammed full with first tests, first assignments, and lots of things going on in the personal realm. Isn't it interesting how life is easy-breezy and then before you know it everything gets crazy?

Anyway, instead of me being a Debbie Downer, let's talk about donuts!

My sweet boyfriend surprised me with these, knowing that I was having a rough day. Half original (and still warm!) and half chocolate iced. And of course the Valentine's box!

Sometimes it's the simplest things that can completely turn your mood around. I believe that appreciating the little things is the easiest way to stay happy, because when everyday moments are extraordinary, what could be that bad?

Do you love fresh donuts?


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dress Adoration

Things have been pretty hectic for me and I've been feeling kind of unsettled (not that that's rare for me). Although all I wanted to do today was sit at home, I had to go to the grocery store, and I figured I might as well hit up my favorite boutique, Francesca's. I knew I needed a dress for Valentine's Day and a potential interview, and I stumbled upon this beauty! I didn't want to spend this much, but you know when an impulse buy turns into your new favorite item? That's this dress for me.

I think it might be one of the prettiest, classiest dresses I've ever seen (the pictures don't even do it justice!).

The collar is embellished with rhinestones and pearls, and the back has a surprise bow detail. I don't know if it could be any better. Definitely worth spending the afternoon out of my pajamas.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Put Out Good

     I ran across this quote via Pinterest, and even with my general soft spot for inspiring quotes this one really stuck out. I've always believed in "you get what you give" but this is a philosophy that takes it to a whole new level.

     It seems as though it's human nature to have bad circumstances stand out over good ones. Even the most positive people I know are guilty of this in some regard. Although I would describe myself altogether as an extremely happy person, I too have to make a conscious effort to spread good vibes and therefore conscious effort not to spread negative ones. It's an unfortunate truth, but it's just somehow easier to be unhappy.

     That being said, when things are good, things are good. You make a conscious effort to be the happiest you can be, and it seems like the world becomes a generally better place. I've always felt that good energy attracts good energy. If that's the case, and good energy requires much more effort, then it would make sense for it to return to you even stronger. If it's more "natural" to be negative, requires work to be positive, and hard work pays off, then of course the good is coming back tenfold! The little things that happen might just be from the little good things; the really great days, perfect moments, and fantastic feelings are from making a conscious effort to spread good vibes and letting that effect the way you live.

     So I absolutely still believe that you get what you give, but I think it's important to consider how much more giving good will pay off. It may be "easier" to be unhappy, but it's more fulfilling, healthier, and overall better to be a source of positivity and love. As they say at Bonnaroo, "Radiate Positivity"!

Do good vibes make good things happen?


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ich muss nach Deutschland gehen

(I must go to Germany.)

As far as wanderlust goes, I'm filled to the brim with it for any sort of traveling, but I have a certain soft spot in my heart for Germany (and India, but that'll be another post..). In particular I want to see Southern Germany, home of Munich, Heidelberg, the Black Forest, and plenty of mountains and outdoor activities.

Munich (source:tripadvisor)
Heidelberg (source:yourdeutschland)

Can you blame me?

I could seriously google Germany all day. Joshua and I continually joke about relocating there, and even though it's probably highly unlikely, it's so fun to fantasize about! I don't know if I could ever be brave enough to transplant to a new country and a new way of life, but everything seems so nice there (and it's so gorgeous!).

Even if it is just for a week or two, traveling there is definitely on my must-do list!

Do you have any foreign countries on your list?


Sunday, January 19, 2014

What my Moleskine has taught me.

     It's absolutely no secret that I'm obsessed with school supplies. I'm pretty sure I have twice as many Five Star notebooks as I do classes (and I swear I'll use them all...eventually). There's nothing better than spiral-bound and college-ruled for taking notes and nothing better than pretty lined stationary for general lists.

     That being said, when it comes to having a conversation with your soul, there's nothing better than a Moleskine

    In the middle of last semester, I was walking through Target and I picked up a 2 pack of these on a whim. I told myself that I was going to invest in a nice journal and write in it consistently (despite my flaky journaling history). I got home, applied some glitter tape to personalize it, and I've stayed fairly consistent since.
     I try to write at least a few times a week, and it's amazing the things that are revealed to me through putting pen to paper. I think there is something beautifully classic about taking time to physically write, especially in our generation. No amount of typing could every take the place of the soothing feeling of writing everything out, and there's also something very raw about not being able to go back and edit things out.

     As someone who isn't fond of acknowledging my feelings, I've learned the importance of taking a few minutes each day to be introspective, and how much better it can make you feel.Writing down the good right along with the bad helps to put things in perspective by reminding me that things aren't so bad after all. 

     That's definitely worth the price of a high quality notebook for me. 
     (also, I think something about a Moleskine just says "classy" can't beat that!)

Do you like to write things down?


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Mean Mug

     Chattanooga is such a wonderful city to live in, especially if you're a coffee fan. With a university, a thriving art district, and several up-and-coming neighborhoods throughout downtown, the city has it's fair share of small, locally owned places. I've always been a sucker for the coffee-shop vibe and a good macchiato so I decided (just this morning actually!) to make a list of all the ones around campus and give them all a try! The first three on this list I've already visited a couple of times, but I couldn't bear to make it inaccurate.

     So Joshua called me up to have a lunch date before his shift at work, and despite having a ton of stuff to do, what reasonable girl will say no to a surprise lunch date? Certainly not this one. We decided to try out Mean Mug, which is in the redone-ish South Side (right next to Enzo's), and has rave reviews both for it's coffee and food. 

     Not only did they have great, inexpensive food and coffee, but it just had good vibes about it. After a particularly roller-coaster week this was a great way to decompress (and procrastinate a little longer on studying..."oops"). For me, sitting and talking over coffee is one of the best ways to de-stress and get a fresh perspective. Even if I did lose some productivity time, I'm definitely refreshed and ready to tackle my to do list now.

Do you have favorite local places?


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

For the love of Bean Boots.

     Seriously. They're fantastic.

     My family has been loyal LLBean fans for a very long time. I was raised knowing that LLBean was synonymous with quality which is still very true to this day.

    When I was looking for some new rain boots, of course I checked there first and I stumbled across Bean Boots. I thought they were awesome, but had no idea how I could wear these as an every day shoe. I did some searching, and as it turns out the College Prepster had posted a write up about them. I was sold...

...until I found out they were on backorder. Until March. Which I guess is what I get for putting something that's actually in style on my Christmas list (lol, but really).

Thankfully, just after Christmas they released a whole new style of them. These feature tumbled leather (which just means softer, I think) and a slip on style, but with the same comfort and protection of the originals. I just got them over the weekend, and they're already my new favorite winter shoe.

The best part? The assurance that even though I spent $120 on shoes, the person who made them loves them just as much as the person wearing them. Brand loyalty. :)

Do you love Bean Boots?


Monday, January 13, 2014

Be afraid.

     There are many things that I have to force myself to do. I am both an anxious introvert and an adventure seeker. That being said, some of my fondest memories and favorite things are ones that have absolutely terrified me. I was terrified to go to Bonnaroo, I had the time of my life. I was terrified to minor in German, it's my favorite class. I'm still terrified every time Joshua takes me flying, but it's always a blast. This semester is terrifying to me because I'm in difficult classes, but I'm loving it already. Just the thought of going to Physical Therapy school is enough to give me a panic attack, but that's my main goal.

    I'm a homebody. I'm scared of strangers. I like to be drinking chamomile tea in my bed by 11 o'clock. But sometimes the need to experience new, exciting, once-in-a-lifetime things is bigger than all of that, and I follow my wanderlust wherever it leads (it's usually easier if I don't think about it beforehand).

     If I always played things safe, if I never stepped outside of my "normal" to see what else there is, I would not do very many things at all.

     Sometimes it's worth it to be scared.

Do you push yourself to do things that are intimidating?


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Perfect Saturday Afternoons

     Something rare happened yesterday: Joshua actually had a Saturday off! The weather was unseasonably warm (65! In January!) and we both just wanted to go. We didn't have a vision for the day but we didn't have anywhere to be either...those kinds of days are the best! 

     After catching some breakfast (and changing into our Chacos!) we headed to Enzo's which is one of my favorite little stores. Lots of local and organic groceries and it has a little eatery/sunroom, too! After walking around for a bit (and trying some Kombucha tea) we picked out a baguette and some cheese and went to Coolidge Park for an impromptu picnic!

     There isn't much better than sitting in the sunshine watching the boats on the river. I think this picture sums our life up perfectly...fancy food, sitting outside, and using Chacos as a cup holder. There's a reason we're great together.
     As the sun started to dip behind the mountains we were reminded of what month it actually is, but having a little slice of Spring was so refreshing, and a great way to end out our week! It's a shame every Saturday can't be a recreational day, but I sure do appreciate the ones that are.

What does your perfect saturday look like?


Friday, January 10, 2014

Brand loyalty

     I recently bought a shirt from Rock/Creek (the Horny Toad Mixologist Button Up. Cutest. Ever.) and noticed this on the tag. How sweet is this? This brand (along with most of the other outdoors-esque brands) is a lot more expensive than your regular run-of-the-mill clothes. But with the extra money comes quality assurance, fantastic customer service, and clothes that are made to be lived in instead of just sat in, and for me that's worth the extra cost.

Do you think higher end clothes are worth it?


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Do something for you


      This semester I've decided to do something way different than before: waking up a little bit earlier than necessary. My 16 year old self would have thought I was crazy, but it has been so refreshing. It gives me the time to get ready slowly, go through a few possible outfits without being rushed, and even do my hair if I want to (even though I rarely do), and I still have time to spare.
     I'm used to everything I do being for school, for my future, for my professors, and I don't allow myself a lot of down time. I suppose I could use this time to get a jump on homework or note organizing, and some mornings I might, but having a little bit of extra space in my day that's just 'free' for whatever needs to be put there is a nice change. I have time each day where I can wake up slowly, drink my coffee, and have a little time set aside for whatever I'd like (even blog writing!). It makes me feel more prepared for the day ahead.

     Although I'm sure there will be plenty of mornings where I use the snooze button multiple times (I'm still in the 'honeymoon' phase of the semester, where going to class isn't an inconvenience) I think that making this small effort will make me happier and more productive overall.

Does waking up early make your days seem better?

    Amanda, xo.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fresh Perspective


   After walking around campus in freezing temperatures, almost falling on ice a few times, and being completely overwhelmed with my day I definitely needed a pick-me-up, so I asked Joshua if we could splurge a little bit and grab some dinner out. Tupelo Honey is one of my favorite feel-good places, with good food and good atmosphere. I think it’s sometimes the little things like a familiar place or a rare indulgence (or both!) that remind you that a bad day isn’t really that bad after all.

     If there's one thing I've learned in the past few years it's that bad energy attracts bad energy. The more negatively I'm feeling the more negative even the smallest things start to seem. I've also learned that stepping away from the homework, temporarily ignoring the to-do list, and getting something yummy to eat does wonders for my mental health! I still struggle with this, but sometimes it's okay to put off what you have to get done and instead do something completely different. It might seem counterproductive at first but I've found that it makes getting things accomplished much easier in the long run. Productivity and positivity go hand in hand for me, and since I started college I've had to struggle with balancing them. The older I get, the more I see that life really is about the simple things, and the bad things should never get in the way of that.

What do you do to stay positive and productive?

    Amanda, xo.

Monday, January 6, 2014

First day flurries...

     ...both literally and figuratively! The high here in Chattanooga was 18 degrees, which I believe is one of the coldest days we've ever had. I was already stressed about my first day and picking out an outfit, but it also had to be something I could put some serious layers over (see left. I added my heavy coat, gloves, a hat, and a scarf!). The cold zapped my, and probably everyone else's, desire to be social today, so campus was eerily quiet as everyone was heading to their first classes.
     The first day of the semester is always so overwhelming for me. Having to modify my studying and note taking habits to each new class is always hard, because I want to do things the most efficient way. Sometimes it's difficult to be an old fashioned pen-and-paper kind of gal, because by the time you add in text books, computer, notebooks, and a pencil pouch you don't have much room for anything else. I also highly dislike binders (one of my weird quirks), so I can't just throw everything for each class in one place.

     Having a month for Christmas break really makes me feel like I'm out of practice for this student thing. I even lost the little callous on my middle finger from the way I hold my pens! In a week or two I'll get back in the groove of things, transition phases are just a struggle for me. (#typeAprobs?)

Does anyone else have a hard time going back to school (especially when it's so cold)?

    Amanda, xo.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Slow January Mornings

   Today is one of those rare days where I was able to sleep in and have nowhere to be. With the semester starting tomorrow it will probably be awhile before I can have a morning like this again. Even now I have a small to do list, but it's nothing compared to what I usually have when school is in full swing! I'm ready to see what new things await me this year, but for now I'm happy to drink out of my cat mug (I'm obsessed!) in my pajamas. January has always seemed like a lazy month to me; recuperating from the holidays on top of it being frigid outside is the perfect recipe for lazing around. Add in an empty calendar, a cup of tea, and some Netflix, and I'm a happy girl!

Anyone else taking comfort in a lazy Sunday?

    Amanda, xo.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Tidy it Up: New Semester

    Although I'm typically organized, I'll be the first to admit that by the end of last semester I got lazy. Between studying for finals, taking finals, packing, and generally just being ready to leave, I let myself slack off on staying on top of keeping things tidy. However, the nature of life is that you get what you give, and I am definitely paying the price for all of that. On top of moving all my clothes back in, I'm also having to go through and organize my closet, drawers, desks, and old notes. But that's okay, because an organized room means a happy Amanda...although unpacking and organizing are two of the biggest pains there are.

After everything was out of the suitcase and before the unpacking began.
     Few things bother me more than having stuff strewn about my bed, so the first order of business was to clean that off. I've found that closet organization goes by easier if you do it in sections. I have a section of jeans, a section of sweatshirts, a section of button-ups, etc. so when I'm rushed and have something in mind I have a narrowed section to sort through. I also finally put hooks on the walls to hang up my book and tote bag to get them off the floor.

     I also had some straightening to do for my desk, but that was more of putting things in their rightful place than anything. I have little storage boxes from Michael's where I put things I don't reach for often (like my "Hoarders" level stash of Post-Its) and a desktop drawer set from Target for more everyday items (like my "Hoarders" level stash of pens...). 
     The biggest project I had to tackle was taking care of my notes from last semester. I couldn't figure out what to do with them, but was scared to throw them away, and truthfully I fretted about it on and off throughout Christmas break. Last week I finally decided to get a binder and a set of dividers from Target. Each class will get it's own divided section where I can store everything that I gathered for the class over the semester.
     This pack came with 8 dividers, so I can use it for years to come considering I'm not saving my notes for every class. The way I determined what to save was if I was taking the next level of the class (I'm taking German 2, so I saved my German 1 notes), if I had to take more classes relevant to the class (I'm taking Calculus so I saved my Algebra notes), or if I had turned in a lot of assignments in the class (I saved all my graded papers from Comp 2). Each class got it's own section of the binder, and I took the syllabus, all the quizzes/tests, and any assignments I had been handed back and stuck them in the pocket of each divider. I then went through my notebooks and tore out all my notes for the classes, and put them in the corresponding divided section.
     Now I can reuse my notebooks from last semester (I went a little overboard and bought one per class), and all of my old notes are safely packed away in a binder if I ever need them for reference. They also take up a lot less space than if I had kept them in individual notebooks or binders, so the overall appearance of my desk stays neater.

     I feel so much better having done all this! Starting out my new year and new semester already organized is like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Definitely worth putting in the extra effort to get everything tidied up.

Does organizing make you feel like you have a fresh start?

    Amanda. xo.

A Few of my Favorite Things (After Christmas Edition!)

     Although I still love the holiday season (and will never get tired of watching Elf every year), I think it's interesting how Christmas has changed for me over the years. As a child it was a season of wonder, surprises, and the ever-mysterious Santa Claus. Now that I'm older, I tend to know about the presents that I'm getting or my family lets me pick them myself (they know I'm picky), and I'd rather watch the delight on my cousins' face as they tear through their own pile of presents. However, I did get some really fantastic gifts this year that I've had my eye on for awhile!

-First is the Fossil Weekender Tote. I put this on my list to use for school in lieu of a backpack, and it is even more perfect than it looked online (I'm pretty sure I squealed when I opened it. Bag love at first sight!). I had been in the market for a good school tote for awhile, and although Fossil is one of my favorite companies they just did not have anything that struck my fancy. I almost went with a Longchamp (I do still have my eye on one of those for the future!) but they reissued this bag right before the Christmas season and I fell in love. It has one big pocket that's structured perfectly for a laptop and a few books, it has several open pockets and a zipper pocket in the liner, and it has a little flap with a turn lock to keep everything in. Although classes don't start for a few more days, I've been using it to carry my laptop and my current reading to Panera, friends' houses, etc. A nice plus is that even if I don't wear perfume, I still have the wonderful scent of Fossil leather! (haha...but really though)

-Second is the Teavana Perfectea Tea Maker. I have drank bagged tea like crazy for awhile now, but my roommate is an even bigger tea lover and showed me just how great loose leaf tea is. I was really overwhelmed at the thought of it at first, just because Teavana has such a large selection of teas and I get overwhelmed easily. I ended up with the Maharaja Chai Oolong and Samurai Chai Mate, which are both fantastic on their own or as a blend. The tea maker really couldn't be any more straightforward, and it even fits onto my Tervis tumbler which is one of the best tumblers you can buy. I've used this tea maker almost every day since I got it, so at $20 it would have definitely been worth the money had I bought it myself.

-Lastly, the Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover. I have been wearing this thing like crazy since Christmas...there's even a chance I'm wearing it right now. I love the quality and durability of Patagonia items and this sweatshirt is no exception. It's perfect as a standalone layer when the weather is colder than 60 degrees out, and I could easily put a light layer under it for those below 30 days (what can I say, Tennessee weather isn't bad!). When I talk to my friends about it I tell them that it's literally the equivalent of putting on a blanket and that's no exaggeration. As far as comfy goes, it's one of the comfiest things I own. It can be dressed up with skinny jeans and boots, dressed down with leggings, or kept in the outdoorsy family with my favorite prAna cord pant, and any way I wear it I'm perfectly content with the look and feel of it!

What are some of your favorite gifts?

-best, xo.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Comfort Zones.

     As Christmas break is drawing to a close, I have become a ball of nervous energy due to the thought of the Spring 2014 semester beginning on Monday. Christmas break has spoiled me; after almost an entire month of not doing my own laundry or having to plan my own meals, I have mixed emotions about moving back into the dorms tomorrow (the fact that I have to take Calculus doesn't help either). Leaving for the Fall semester was easy, because although I was nervous about what to expect I was overwhelmed with the excitement of new opportunities. I am still excited to go back, and I love my university very much, but I have relearned how nice it is to be at home and have thus settled into my comfort zone. With so much to see and experience in the world, I think one of the best things a person can do is push their limits - it's just sometimes easier said than done!

     I am sure this semester will have plenty of new experiences just as last semester did, so I'm trying to make this Pinterest-find my mantra to remember when I get nervous:

(and Calculus is way out of my comfort zone, so maybe this will be helpful when I get overwhelmed in that class too!)

Are the Spring semester jitters normal?

best, xo
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