Wednesday, October 5, 2016

30 Before 30

Truth time: it's a little crazy to think I'm in my late twenties. In three years [and three months] I will be 30. THIRTY! I remember when I was 20 and 30 seemed so old and far it's right around the corner. Gracious sakes.

In light of this alarming realization, I put together a 30 before 30 list. Because that seems to be what girls my age do - almost like a right of passage. 

Thirty things in three years seems doable, right? Some of them I already have plans to complete in the next few months while others are almost more of hopes and dreams and random shit. None of them include babies. Please keep baby comments to yourself and/or wait until I am 30+.

Follow along on my adventures using the hashtag #AM30before30. Keep me accountable, ya'll!

  1. Visit NYC at Christmas
  2. Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower
  3. Make a Wish at the Trevi Fountain
  4. Take a picture with a guard at Buckingham Palace
  5. Eat a beignet in NOLA
  6. Ride a horse on the beach
  7. Buy a historical home
  8. Go on a mother/daughter weekend adventure
  9. Start a side hustle 
  10. Love my job
  11. Volunteer
  12. Buy a Louis Vuitton
  13. Host a dinner party
  14. Hike/camp in the Wichita Mountains
  15. Do a juice cleanse 
  16. Start a vegetable and/or herb garden
  17. Beat an old school video game again (MK&A or Crazy Castle)
  18. Attend a workshop over something I enjoy
  19. Take a class in something fun
  20. Start riding horses again
  21. Pay off my student loans
  22. Perform a random act of kindness
  23. Go to the movies by myself
  24. Try a new and strange food
  25. Buy a new car
  26. Learn what wines pair with what foods
  27. Make a nice homemade dinner for my husband
  28. Make a point to read more books for fun/relaxation 
  29. Find out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop
  30. Turn 30 in style (a.k.a. partaaaay)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Puppies Make Me Happy

Fact: Not much in this world makes me happier than puppies do.

There's a reason I have over 140 pounds of dog in my house. I get so much joy from those two fur balls....even if they eat enough to drain my bank account, bark at all hours of the day/night, slobber on my work pants and leave dust and dirt and hair all over my freshly cleaned wood floors. #worthit

When I came across this Puppies Make Me Happy tank, I knew I had to have it. I'm a self-proclaimed dog aficionado / crazy dog lady and proud of it. It's perfect to wear to the gym with bootie shorts but I also love to style it with a cardi for a cozy look.

Photo by Chad Hamilton - The Athlete's Media

The Puppies, Wine and I'm Fine Weekend Tee is becoming a go-to for me. 1) Wine and puppies are the greatest combo since peanut butter and jelly and 2) it can be worn so many ways! It's great with leggings and booties and a plaid shirt like I'm wearing here, but would also be cute with Nikes and a zip up hoodie for a sportier look! Throw on some skinnies and pumps (or even boyfriend jeans and flats) and you have a whole different outfit. Confession: it's also super soft and comfy to sleep in. Guilty as charged. 

I love Puppies Make Me Happy for obvious reasons (because puppies really do many me happy...duh), but what I love most is that a portion of their sales go to dog-related charities and shelters. Win-win! Their clothes come with a "lifetime happiness guarantee," so you really can't go wrong. Also.....they sent a tennis ball to Chloe and Kylo. They really know their audience. 

Check out all the clothes Puppies Make Me Happy has to offer and use code AMANDAMART for 10% off your purchase! A few shirts I have my eye on (i.e.: adding to my cart as I type) are this Puppies And Fitness Crop and this Muscle T. So cute and functional and I love all their sayings! Plus they have "Humans Make Me Happy" hoodies for your dogs....if you're into that sort of thing ;) 

Happy shopping!


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.