Thursday, April 16, 2015

#ccbeautyswap

For a while now, my Instagram homepage has been graced with the #ccbeautyswap hashtag. I repeatedly saw snapshots of EOS chapstick, Essie nail polish and every Sephora product a girl could dream of as I scrolled through my iPhone. It was due time I gave it a go.

Crystal, the brains (and beauty) behind the Crystal Cattle Beauty Swap, is a blogger and farm girl from Iowa. All of my AGH girls (thats Ag Hall, for all you non-OSU cowgirls) follow her blog religiously. Crystal started the beauty swap a little over a year ago and has had great success with it. Women from across the country come together, get assigned to a partner, and discuss beauty tips, tricks and products. After pen-palling for a few days, you ship each other a box of goodies - preferably items your partner is wanting to try or could add to her beauty routine. It's like a personalized BirchBox....yes, please!

Receiving my package was like opening a stocking on Christmas morning. It was jam-packed with itty-bitty but oh-so-wonderful samples and beauty products. My partner, Lakyn (hi, Lakyn!), really spoiled me and listened to exactly what I wanted.


what I got

Lakyn had been bragging on Bobbi Brown's gel eyeliner and I had my finger's crossed she'd send me some. She did, and I would like to award it an A++. It is life changing; goes on smooth and lasts all day. I here-by declare that I, Amanda Bradley [almost Martin], will never go back to regular drug store eye liner ever again.

Tints & Sass lip and cheek stain didn't disappoint. I've been too chicken to try it on my cheeks, but man, those lips! It gives the perfect pouty color that lasts without rubbing off on every cup you sip out of. They're Real mascara by Benefit gets two thumbs up, as well. It seriously boosts my eyelashes and opens up my eyes like no other.

And of course, who doesn't love Essie and a Naked Palette? I confessed to Lakyn that I had never tried any of the Naked Palettes before and had decided it would be my next beauty splurge....but she surprised me with it before I could buy one for myself! It is definitely all it's cracked up to be and gives you the perfect, natural smokey eye look that everybody is after. I haven't tried the style extender, yet. I'm saving it for a special occasion, but I'm betting it's a winner.

what I sent 

After chatting with Lakyn, I learned she was very skilled with makeup. I am not that skilled; I was concerned that my product choices would disappoint a little as I typically buy my mascara at Target and use eye-shadow that's going on five-years-old. However, when she told me she had thin, damaged hair, I knew I was in luck! I know hair, considering I have a TON of it. Lakyn also wanted to start using lipstick, as opposed to lipgloss, a journey I recently embarked on, myself. I had found the perfect "transition" shade of lipstick that I loved (not too bold, not too plain), and knew she would, too. Lakyn received a package filled with:


I had so much fun getting to know Lakyn and swapping products with her! If you are interested in the #ccbeautyswap, head on over to Crystal's blog and keep an eye out for the next one...you won't regret it!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

roxy's brick and mortar

I've told you about Roxy's before. 

It's the best ice cream to ever touch your lips. And that's not an exaggeration.

It would be an understatement to say I was thrilled when I found out that Roxy's Ice Cream Truck would be opening a brick and mortar location in the Plaza District. That meant:

  1. No more chasing the truck down when I had a hankering for their salted caramel
  2. When my Mr. and I buy a historical home in Gatewood one day, we can walk to Roxy's
  3. I just wanted there to be three things

I had been keeping up with the building's progress via Instagram and knew it would be open come summer. What I didn't know, was that I was on the soft opening invitee list. 

(!!!!!!!!!)

I felt so VIP when I opened the invitation. I guess it pays to schedule them to come to various events in your life, work and personal. 

The soft opening was better than my 6th birthday party. Upon opening the door, you were greeted with brightly colored walls (that match the truck's color scheme, mind you), blue sky painted ceilings and all the ice cream you could handle. A giant, artsy portrait of Roxy (the dog in which the biz is named after) hung on the wall. The staff was helpful and friendly, the owners chatted with those lucky enough to score an invite, and the ice cream was....how do I put this....exceptionally, tastebud exhilaratingly good.

You see, I hadn't had Roxy's since last summer (the truck takes a break during the winter months), and the distinctively sweet, salty, scrumptious flavor of salted caramel came rushing back to me....it never misses a beat. Cole, my +1, got coffee & cream, which is no salted caramel, but a damn close second. It is the closest thing to my uncle's homemade coffee ice-cream that I've ever tasted.

Other recommended flavors: peaches n cream, strawberry, cherry, coconut, pistachio, pecan, cookies n cream......and every other flavor available. Because I've tried them all. Honestly, you can't go wrong. Each rich flavor bursts in your mouth and tastes closer to homemade ice-cream than homemade vanilla itself. 

It's a party in your mouth.

Once they are officially open for business, be sure to swing by Roxy's in the Plaza. You won't be sorry (unless of course you're on a honeymoon diet like I am and I just ruined it for you. My bad.). 


Friday, March 20, 2015

rhinestones & root beer floats

Roadtrippin' to The Pink Pistol has been on my bucket list for a good number of years.

I saw friends come and go from the little boutique. They posted pictures sitting at the checkered soda fountain, floats in hand. They chatted about putting their John Hancock on the floor or about the knick knacks and glittery tank top souvenirs they brought home. I envied them all, hoping one day, I too, could experience Miranda Lambert's little corner of the world.

Miranda kept her boutique offline, to encourage people to make their way to Tishomingo and visit the brick and mortar storefront. This made the anticipation even greater. I didn't know what I'd find, but for one reason in particular, I knew it would be worth spending a day on the open road. You see, two of my best lady friends met me due west of Tish and tagged along on this adventure.

Jess and Shelby, my sisters from another mister, drove up from Denton to meet me for some much needed friend time. We joined paths in Ardmore, piled into the truck and headed east to our final destination.

Upon first glance, The Pink Pistol was everything I hoped it would be. Photo-ops, rhinestones and root beer floats galore, bursting with southern charm. However, upon closer inspection, I became more or less disappointed with the selection the store offered. It just......wasn't what I had in mind.

You see, I was expecting to drop a lot of cash on a new chic wardrobe, but the few clothing items they offered just didn't do it for me. They were way too sorority-boho-cowgirl for my taste, like the "she's trying way too hard" look. The Pistol had a TON of knick knacks (think, Francesca's center islandx10) but nothing really called my name. It was almost....junky, for lack of a better word. Also, they washed the floor clean and didn't allow guests to sign their autograph anymore. Lame. I ended up forcing myself to get a water bottle, because, hell, I didn't drive down there for nothin'.

Now, don't get me wrong. The Pistol was great, but mostly because of the company I had and the over-all experience it offered. The root beer floats were delicious, the photo-ops abundant, and the time spent with friends time to be treasured. I guess Miranda wanted her boutique to be more of an experience (think, why there's no online store), and that it was.




Although I don't think the store alone was worth the trip, the day was not wasted. I drove away feeling satisfied that I checked another item off my bucket list and content that I spent the day with two of my favorites. 'Twas a good Sunday Funday, ya'll.

a bountiful basket

I like food. All kinds of food. A lot. And eating said food, obvs. 

I'm lucky enough to be hitching my wagon to one of OKC's top local chefs who uses nothing but the tastiest of ingredients. Our typical Friday night isn't complete without a trip to Sprouts for fresh fruits and veggies to use in the next morning's brunch spread. 

As of late, it seems like I'm always on a Paleo challenge (it being honeymoon season and all), so my diet requires a lot of fresh produce. If we didn't have a giant white puppy, we'd probably grow a garden of some sort. But, we do have a puppy. And sometimes she likes to dig......so, we get our produce elsewhere. Farmer's markets and health food stores always have a fantastically delicious selection, but they can get pricey. Our solution? Bountiful Baskets

Let me give you the low down. 

You sign up for a basket on Monday. Saturday morning, say 9 o'clock in the a.m., you go pick it up. 


You always get a basket of fruit and a basket of veggies, but every week the items vary. You can count on it being fresh, in-season produce and often times, local! It seems like we always get a surprise item, say, a papaya or pomelo, that we have to google. The best part? The $15 basket lasts us up to two weeks! 

The downside to Bountiful Baskets is that you never know what you're gonna get. Sometimes it's stuff you don't want or don't like. Other times it's so much food that it ends up going bad before you can eat it all. The upside? It's fun to be handed a ton of healthy, fresh produce and then figure out what it is and how to use it. It forces you to branch out from your regular go-to recipes, discover new ways to use ingredients and it's healthy to boot! 

So, what are you waiting for? Ask Siri to remind you to sign up, come Monday morning. If you give it a shot, here's some tips:
  • Bring a bag, box, laundry basket, pillow case, etc. to haul your produce home in. 
  • Prepare to be confused your first time around (we went in the wrong door and got lost....)
  • Bring a printed copy of your receipt, or else. 
  • Show up on time. Seriously. One minute late and you forfeit. 
  • Wait in line (make sure the line matches up alphabetically with your last name), show your receipt, get your basket number and find your corresponding baskets!
  • Load up, go home and dig in. Leave the original basket behind. 
Happy healthy eating! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

at my heaviest

Would you say the girl on the left or the girl on the right is heavier?


In January of 2010, I saw this picture and realized I had gained the sophomore seventeen. Days filled with snacks from Twenty Something and nights filled with beer and Taco Bell really got the best of me. This was my "wakeup call." It was time for a change. 

I started working out (and by working out I mean getting on the elliptical for twenty minutes or going to a kick boxing class). I took diet pills and drank protein. I ate "healthy," like granola bars, salads smothered in ranch and 300 calorie Healthy Choice meals. I did everything I thought was right. Although I slimmed down quite a bit by putting forth a healthy effort, I was never content with my results. Muffin tops and thunder thighs really like to stick around.

That's when I started running. I thought running would jiggle that fat right off. I hated running. I mean really, really hated it. But I thought I'd get better and faster and learn to love it over time. Man, was I wrong. I forced myself to run for four years. 5ks, 10ks, a half marathon........I ran them all but hated every step I took. I did some hot yoga and workout videos, but never really felt satisfied with my workout routine.

In the midst of it all, I graduated college and became an 8-to-5-er. I was introduced to the Paleo lifestyle, which threw me for a loop. What do you mean whole wheat pasta is bad?! But, anxious to get rid of those jiggly legs, I said why not? I went Paleo.

It completely changed my way of thinking. It challenged me and made me reconsider everything I knew when it came to eating healthy. It really sucked at times. It took me several tries years to really perfect the Paleo lifestyle and make it work for me, but every time I challenged myself, I saw major results. I still do. 

Insert Crossfit. This was a whole different world of fitness. I learned to love the feeling of being strong. The feeling of excelling in something. I may not be fast, but I am strong. I fell in love with this feeling and began pushing myself harder than I ever had before. I saw changes in my body and my athletic performance....my legs finally stopped jiggling, my arms and shoulders got definition. I went from going to class two days a week to not being able to stay away. I can't wait to go to the gym every evening because I love the high it gives me. 

Mix that love for fitness with learning to fuel your body with clean food and what do you get? You get abs. After five years of working at it, I finally have abs. And I'm really freakin' proud of myself. 


The funny thing is, all that muscle I've been building up the last few years weighs a lot. That picture at the top? I'm betting you picked the girl on the left as the heavier of the two. If so, you picked wrong. I am currently at my heaviest weight (a whole ten pounds heavier!), but I look and feel better than I ever have. It's taken some mental adjusting on my part, but muscle really does weigh more than fat, and lifting heavy weights doesn't have to make you bulky. It's a weird thing, fitness, but it's a beautiful one. So don't go telling me that I must just "have good genes" or that I "must have quick metabolism" and that you aren't so lucky in that department. I've worked my butt off to be proud of my body and you can, too.

It doesn't take much....no weight loss pills, no crazy diets. Just patience, clean eating and pushing yourself in a fitness routine that you love. It doesn't have to be Paleo. It doesn't have to be Crossfit. Yes, those things work for me, but any mix of clean eating and exercise will get you started in the right direction. I promise, it works.