Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How to Make a Custom Travel Map

In light of our upcoming annual trip to New York City, I want to share with you THE biggest game changer when it comes to vacation planning....a custom travel map!

I mentioned in this post that I am an over-planner. I like having my Google Spreadsheet itinerary in hand at all times and knowing what's next on the agenda....with backup plans in place, of course! When the bakery you originally planned on visiting for a mid-morning coffee has too long of a line, sometimes you need a good plan B! It's SO important to have an idea of where you are and what is around you at all times, just incase you need to implement or kill some time.

Insert: Custom Travel Maps with Google

My saving grace. My best friend. My favorite travel buddy (sorry, Cole).

I used to print out a map and draw on every restaurant, activity, etc. and list it by number according to type. It was super time consuming, very old school, messy and inconvenient. When I discovered I could make my own personalized Google map AND have access to it at all times on my phone......hallelujah, yes and amen. All the praise hands! It has made planning our NYC vacation so much simpler and I know it will make the trip itself smoother, as well.

So, without further ado......

How To Make a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps

  1. Go to and click "Create new map."
  2. Name your map in the top left hand corner.
  3. Using the search bar, add locations. You can search by name or address! Click "+ Add to map."
  4. Repeat as many times as necessary!
  5. You can change the icon style and color to keep everything organized. 
  6. You can add notes and pictures to each location to remind yourself what it is, why you chose it, or what you want to do/order. 
  7. You can add layers per your choosing. I have a layer for each day's agenda, plus one for plan B restaurants, one for shopping/activities, and one for coffee shops......because, well, coffee :) 
  8. Click the "share" button underneath the map title to share your map with your travel companion so they can access/edit, too!
And that's it! You can access your map through the Google Drive app on your phone. I hope this helps you as much as it has me! What are your favorite vacay planning tips? 

xoxo, Amanda

Friday, September 16, 2016

Kylo The Mountain Dog

"I didn't know what love was until I met you" - Me, holding tiny six pound baby Kylo. 

Fast forwards 8 months and #KyloTheMountainDog is now 75 pounds and gaining. I love him so much it hurts. 

I've been an obsessive dog lover since day one - 101 Dalmatians was on repeat circa 1992, I was always the dog when my friends and I played "house," and I prayed every night for years and years that I would be allowed to get a Golden Retriever puppy (it worked, eventually). Seems only natural that twenty-something years later I would be an obsessive instagramming dog mom. 

Sorry I'm not sorry. I can't help myself. They're just so cute!

Kylo is literally the happiest dog I've ever encountered. His smile is a mile wide and his excitement for daily activities is comparable to that of a six-year-old on Christmas morning. He is loving and smart and fluffy and funny and ADORABLE and an expert cuddler. I've been told I glow when I talk about him. It's kind of ridiculous how happy he makes me.

Although Kylo is many wonderful things, he is also still a mischievous puppy. A very large puppy, mind you. We had our fair share of struggles in the early days of puppy ownership but we ended up with a wonderfully well behaved dog overall (thank you Sit Means Sit!). However, when attempting to wean him off his crate, we left him in our half bathroom while we were at work. The bathroom is fully tiled, so we foolishly assumed he couldn't get into any trouble while we were gone.

We assumed wrong. 

Upon returning home for the day, a high pitched howling could be heard from the garage. Oh no. When we opened the bathroom door, water was spewing EVERYWHERE, Kylo was soaked and the toilet hose was no longer connected to the wall. 

Life with a puppy, man. It's a good thing he's so cute. 

On that note, any suggestions on weaning puppies off crates is welcomed in the comments. That gigantic thing is such an eye sore! 

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! We are heading to Stillwater for the third weekend in a row for the OSU game. The pups love visiting their Grammy Pam because she feeds them bacon  - haha! 

xoxo, Amanda 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Respect the Ramen

Hi, guys! It's been a hot second since my last post. Has anyone else been suffocatingly busy as of late? It seems like every weekend from now until New Years is already booked! But that's OK, it just means the holidays will get here that much quicker. Insert Santa emoji here.

I am deep in the middle of wedding season....I'm a maid of honor this month, Cole is a best man in October, and my brother-in-law just got married a few weeks back! Needless to say, our life has been jam packed with wedding-related activities.

But, somewhere in the midst of the craziness, Cole and I always try to find time for a night out together. I think it's so important to keep dating your spouse, even after marriage. For us, date night typically means trying a new restaurant or returning to a favorite one (because we're fat kids at heart and our lives revolve around food). Recently, one of those new restaurants became a favorite and we've been back several times since!

Tori Paitan from GoRo Ramen + Izakaya

Have you been to GoRo Ramen in the Plaza, yet? If the answer is no, cancel your dinner plans and GO! Now!

I like to think of myself as a ramen pro. My gourmet chef of a husband makes his own ramen broth, we've slurped the best ramen NYC has to offer and when I hear the word "ramen," the microwave version is faaaaaar from the first thing to pop into my head.

All that to say, I give GoRo all the stars.

GoRo offers three different types of ramen: Tori Paitan (classic chicken broth with pork belly), Yasai (tofu/vegan), and my personal favorite, Spicy Miso! With so few options to choose from, you can't go wrong.

For those that don't know, ramen is a Japanese comfort soup. The broth is prepared for 12+ hours to create a silky smooth base that is incredibly rich in flavor. Then, the noodles and various meats and toppings are added. It takes some practice to eat efficiently, but I find that chop sticks and a large slurping spoon work best. Please note: I do not recommend eating ramen on a first date. 

The ramen itself is superb, yes, but the drinks, apps and desserts truly make the meal at GoRo complete. Dessert is my favorite food group, after all.

Here's what I recommend you order: 

Drinks: Pai Mei (sake, gin, matcha, honey, lavender)  - you know I'm a sucker for gin and herbs.
Apps: Tebasaki (chicken wings) - I day dream about eating these on the daily. No lie. 
Ramen: Spicy Miso (chicken broth, garlic miso, pork meatballs, corn, etc.)  - the perfect combo of spice, heartiness and comfort in a bowl. Plus, the meatballs are top notch. Nom. Nom. Nommmmm. 
Dessert: Miso Corn Ice Cream (ice cream covered in corn flakes and blueberry compote) - yes and amen.

Trust me, you will leave here fuller than full and will wish you could have eaten more.  Think: Thanksgiving dinner minus the dry turkey. It's that good.

GoRo chooses to #RespectTheRamen. That means they do not accept reservations or parties over 6. There is almost always a wait, so be prepared. It's 100% worth it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My #NSale Wish List

All of the bloggers I follow (and I'm sure all the ones I don't) have posted their top pics from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! The thing about this sale is that it's on NEW items for fall instead of on last season's stuff. Words cannot describe how excited I am for fall to get here this year, so picking out sweaters, boots and scarves has just added to my enthusiasm.

My financially-minded husband won't allow me to sign up for a Nordstrom Card, so I have been not-so-patientally awaiting Friday, July 22, when the #NSale opens up to the public. I have a wish list FULL of items and I have been checking daily to see what is still in stock. Friday can't get here soon enough! Good thing it's also pay day.

Here is what is on my #NSale wish list. Most of the clothing items are around $30 a piece! I'm totally using this sale as an excuse to stock up on outfits for our trip to NYC in November...can you blame me?

Shop my wish list using the links below!

one: Lush Bell Sleeve Shift Dress / two: UGG Tall Suede Boot / three: Sperry Quilted Duck Boot / four: Halogen Pointy Toe Flat / five: Zella Leggings / six: Kate Spade Studs / seven: Blanket Scarf / eight: Michael Kors Tote / nine: Stilla All Day Set / ten: Nike Sports Bra / eleven: Lush Lace-Up Back Tee / twelve: Lush Deep-V / thirteen: BP. Stripe Crew / fourteen: Bobeau Rib Fuzzy Sweatshirt / fifteen: BP. Cardigan / sixteen: Dreamers by Debut Cowl Neck

Now to figure out which items I can and can't live without.....this could get expensive.

Happy shopping!

xoxo, Amanda

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Banker and a Credit Unioner Walk Into a Bar

LOL to the title.

Probably not a good joke if you have to explain it, though...? You see, the hubs works at a bank and my day job is at a credit union. Banks and credit unions don't exactly get along. And the name of the bar I'm about to review for you is Savings & Loan Co.'s funny! Right?

At least I make my self laugh.


Anyone who is anyone in Oklahoma City has tried out the newest cocktail bar on the block, Savings & Loan Co.  Located just to the right of The Tower Theatre sign on 23rd Street, the little establishment boasts a rotating menu of the most unique craft cocktails I've ever tasted.

The name, "Savings & Loan Co.," has a little bit of history behind it. Ages ago, the building that now houses the cocktail lounge used to hold Beneficial Loans. Today, the name, as well as the touches of financial decor, remind guests of the location's historical elements. A perfect fit for the Uptown 23rd district. The first floor's simple vibe is for the "savings" portion of the name and the upstair's luxurious leather sofas and upscale decor lead one to feel as if they splurged on a large loan.

Upon entering, we staked our claim on the first five barstools we saw and waited for the rest of our group to arrive. Having a few friends tag along is a huge advantage when you're taste testing a cocktail menu. Between the five of us, we were able to try a large portion of the drinks and decide which ones would become our future go-to's.

The menu was slightly undescriptive. Or better yet, not descriptive at all. I believe this was by design as it forces you to make conversation with the bartenders. These guys....they take their jobs very seriously. Crafting cocktails is a form of art and they are the Picassos. They love explaining the drinks, discussing how the different ingredients bring out certain flavors and hints, and mixing the cocktail shakers to their own beat. They treat each guest like a regular and include themselves in just the right amount of small talk.

Now, let's get down to business: The Drinks.

Aztec Promise
The first drink I ordered made a good first impression. A real good one. It was by far the most unique cocktail I've ever tasted and it was pretty to look at, too! I couldn't tell you what exactly was in this because I've never heard of most of it, but it tasted like a smokey cactus. Weird, but good.

1,000 Days War
I love coffee. Hot or cold, it may be my favorite beverage in the entire world. Give me an Elemental Cold Brew mixed with rum and banana and you've got yourself a winner. Need I say more?

Italian Soda
I'll be honest: I ordered this drink because I watched the bartender prepare it for someone else and I needed it. It was the most beautiful drink I've ever laid eyes on! Three distinct layers of colorful liquid, almost link a bomb pop! Blackberry syrup, vodka, bubbles and brandy cream. It looked so refreshing......and let me tell you, it most certainly was. I didn't get a picture before the layers started to settle, so you'll just have to take my word for it. Sorry!

Other drinks of note: The State Vegetable of Oklahoma (It's Watermelon, Apparently!) and Canary Island (Lavender, Whiskey and Tranquility)

Have you tried Savings & Loan Co., yet? If so, what was your favorite drink?

If you haven't tried it, make sure to add it to your list and let me know your thoughts when you go.

xoxo, Amanda