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. So....it's funny! Right?

At least I make my self laugh.

Anyways..... 

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



Friday, July 1, 2016

5 Musts When It Comes To Vacation Planning

It's no secret that I love love love to travel. The second we get home from a trip, I'm already planning our next vacation (incase you're curious, New York City - my favorite place in the whole world - is up next!). I feel like we've really nailed down a good planning system and I wanted to share it with ya'll!


Save

Cole and I have a travel savings account that we both contribute to each month. It allows us to enjoy vacation to the fullest. We don't have to think twice about going to a nice restaurant and ordering the most expensive thing on the menu (think: $89 chicken at The Nomad in NYC....worth EVERY penny). When nothing is coming out of pocket, it makes vacation so much more stress-free. You can really live it up which, let's be honest, that's what vacation is all about.

Plan In Advance

I'm a little bit type-A when it comes to planning. I really like lists, but I like itineraries even more. Go ahead and laugh..... But seriously, planning out every day of your trip in advance is the best thing ever. It means you 1) won't waste time trying to make decisions on the go 2) can pack your outfits accordingly and 3) make the absolute most of every. single. minute of your trip.

My Google Doc spreadsheet columns start like this:

  • Must Do 
  • Maybe Do 
  • Must Eat 
  • Maybe Eat
  • Shopping

I always make sure to share them with Cole so we can both contribute. Then, we sit down together, sift through all of our options, and decide what items go on the "must" lists. After that, I put together an itinerary based on the neighborhoods of our "musts." It ensures that we never waste time going back and fourth between different areas. It also is really great when something is closed, has way too long of a wait or just doesn't work out...we still have a whole list of other places we'd like to try in the area that we can substitute, instead! It's so easy to rearrange your Google spreadsheet with the click of a finger.

Don't Overplan

I'm preaching to the choir here..... Coming from experience, you need a little time to rest and recoup each day. Vacation is supposed to be relaxing! It's not near as fun when you're exhausted and cranky. Scheduling a little down time at your hotel is a MUST. When in New York, we like to nap and shower before we go out for dinner and drinks each night. 

Also, always give yourself more time to do things than you think is necessary. This allows for you to take your time, not worry about long lines, and never feel rushed to get to your next activity. If you end up with a little extra time to spare, check that Google doc and see what else is close by. Or, just walk around and explore! Some of our favorite parts of vacation were merely spent getting lost with no place to go. 

Do Your Research

Before filling up our Google spreadsheet, we spend a LOT of time researching. We look at "best of" lists, we read blogs, we read menus, we [I] search Pinterest, we ask friends and family, we read reviews, we read and read and read until we know the best time to arrive, the best location to visit and the best item to order. It sounds really time consuming, but I love doing it because it gets me so excited for the trip and it ensures we'll get to experience the best!

Fit Some Normalcy In

There is nothing worse than being on vacation and not even wanting to touch the donut sitting in front of you. Been there, done that. If you're like us, your body is used to working out and eating healthy on the reg. When you throw in five days of indulging and not exercising, your body will go into shock and revolt! Scheduling a workout or two, as well as a few light/healthy meals, is a game changer. Whether you visit a local gym or simply go for a run through a cute neighborhood or park, it allows you to get to know the area on a whole new level. A light meal will help your digestive system balance out the multiple indulgences and not totally hate you. It might not be the best meal of the trip, but it lets you enjoy the fun meals that much more! 

So, there you have it. How to travel like The Martins. And seriously ya'll, don't knock the itinerary until you try it! 


Note: this post is not sponsored by Google. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Seeing Seattle

You know you had a great trip when you return exhausted wearing pants that fit a little too tight. 

After exchanging plane tickets as the "paper" part of our one year anniversary, we spent five days exploring Seattle and eating our way through it's neighborhoods. Below you will find my "do's" and "don'ts" and a few "maybes" in between.

Do:


Go to Pike Place Market
We spent five hours wandering up and down and around Pike Place Market. You don't understand just how massive it is until you've been there and tried to locate a tiny storefront yogurt shop. Fresh fish, fruit and flowers are everywhere you look. It took everything in me not to buy a bouquet of peonies. There are countless good food options and free samples galore - but be careful, you can fill up on the samples way too easily! We recommend: Beecher's (they don't call it "world's best mac & cheese" for nothin'), Ellenos Greek Yogurt, Rachel's Ginger Beer, and Honest Biscuit.


Hike Snoqualmie Falls
I visited the falls at the ripe ol' age of 9. I don't remember it in detail, so I was excited to see it again as an adult and be able to appreciate the beauty in nature. It did not disappoint! It amazed me how silent the forest was surrounding the falls. We hiked a half mile down to the river at the base of the falls and then back up again. My calves were screaming....and I consider myself to be in shape! However, it was 100% worth the drive (about 45 minutes) and the hike (1 mile total). One of my favorite parts of the trip!


Eat Fresh Seafood
There's something about eating seafood straight outta the ocean that makes it taste so much better. We dined at multiple seafood restaurants while in town and had our fair share of crab and oysters, but one place in particular deserves a shout out: The Walrus & The Carpenter. The food was absolutely delicious, yes, but the entire dinner was an experience we will never forget. If you find yourself in SEA-town, make this restaurant a priority. We recommend getting there a little before they open (4 p.m.) because there will be a line! Regardless, though, it's totally worth a wait.



Maybe:


Visit the Space Needle
Probably the most "touristy" and cliche thing you can do in Seattle. It is pricy and there will be a little bit of a wait, but the view at the top is unbeatable. And if you've never done it before, it is fun to say you did. Make sure you do it on a clear day if at all possible so you can see Mt. Rainier!


Meet the Fremont Troll
Not an experience in any way, but a fun photo-op....if you're into that sort of thing. There are a butt load of cool shops and restaurants nearby, so you could make a nice little afternoon out of it! We recommend Pie for an afternoon snack - their Peanut Butter Pie is TO-DIE-FOR.


Starbucks Roastery & Tasting Room
Another "touristy" thing. If you have to go Starbucks, go this route. The drinks and pastries they serve are not available at any other Starbucks location and are very unique (think: mint infused carbonated cold brew). It is kind of a cluster and there are a TON of people, but it's cool to watch the bean roasting process.


Take the Ferry to Bainbridge Island
The ferry ride was so fun - if all forms of public transport were that laid back, I'd be all about it. I quite enjoyed embracing my inner Derek Shepherd. Bainbridge Island, though, was a little bit of a let down. There were a few shops and restaurants we enjoyed, but nothing to write home about. We were ready to head back within an hour or two.


Don't:


Go to the EMP Museum
It is WAY overpriced and didn't have much to look at. I'm not a museum person or a music nerd, but Cole is and he agreed that it was a major waste of money.

Stand in Line at the Original Starbucks
Seriously, the line is stupid and they only serve plain coffee. Take a picture outside and walk .14 miles to the Starbucks around the corner. Or better yet, try a local coffee joint, instead. Seattle is the coffee capitol, after all. It basically guarantees you can't go wrong!

Stuff Your Face With Mediocre Food
I'm saying this more as a reminder to myself for our next trip. Just because calories don't count on vacation doesn't mean you should make yourself sick on food you don't 100% love. Save room!



Last but not least, because ya'll know we love our foodcations, here are the places we loved and would recommend to anyone traveling to Seattle! 


Don't waste your time on:
  • Marination 
  • Serious Pie
  • Daily Dozen Doughnut @ Pike Place Market
  • Cupcake Royale



Sunday, June 5, 2016

one year


June 5, 2016, marks 365 days of marriage. What a wonderful adventure it's been so far!

To celebrate, we brunched at Cheever's and sipped cocktails at our favorite places around town. We ate freezer burnt wedding cake for desert and watched our wedding video. The cake was less than delicious, so we headed to Roxy's for a double scoop of salted caramel. They served desert at our wedding, so it seemed fitting.

Considering it's our paper anniversary, we exchanged tickets to Seattle. We'll be boarding a jet plane in ten days - YAY! You can follow along on our adventure via snapchat (@abradley15 - yes, my snap is older than our marriage) or on Insta. I'm still working on a hashtag; maybe #sweetheartsinseattle? Tee-hee-hee.

Marriage is really fun, you guys. I recommend it.

And now, a glimpse into our first year and Mr. & Mrs. Martin!


Places we visited:
The Bahamas, New York City, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Austin

Restaurants we loved:
OKC: Stella, Oak & Ore
Elsewhere: ShakeShack, VooDoo Doughnuts, Doughnut Plant, Momofuku, Izzy's

Things we did:
Swam with pigs, remodeled our kitchen, went to a Broadway play, dressed up as Brand & Andy (from Goonies) for Halloween, competed in a couple's crossfit competition, ran through downtown OKC in our undies, tried a new diet plan, got a puppy (!), paddleboarded

Shows we watched: 
Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Catastrophe, Master of None, Fixer Upper, Better Call Saul

Movies we saw:
The Martian, Mockingjay: Part 2, StarWars: The Force Awakens (twice!), The Nice Guys

Our favorite homemade meals: 
Bobby Flay's Cajun Eggs Benedict, salt cod omelet, protein pancakes, burgers, tacos of all kinds

Gifts we gave each other:
Fossil Watch, Nintendo 3DS
Kate Spade Purse, Bracelet & Necklace

Favorite treats:
Doughnuts, Oreos, Peanut Butter, Chick-fil-a Chocolate Chip Cookies, Hot Fries, Movie Theatre Popcorn, Hotwings

Favorite pastimes:
Working out together, trying new foods and restaurants, drinking on patios, doing dog-stuff