Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Life Via Instagram

Here's a little Instagram update from the pictures I've had on my phone this month.

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// 1,2,3. Hanging out on my patio is becoming a daily routine. I usually come home from work and head straight out there. It's nice to sit under the trees and listen to the birds.
// 4. Mama Mia sittin' pretty.

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// 1. What do we do the minute Andrew comes home after traveling for a month for work? Go to Chipotle of course!
// 2. I was in Racine, WI a few weeks ago for Mother's Day. Before I headed home, I HAD to have lunch at Javier's. I really miss that place! They have the best Mexican Food and the owners are so sweet to me. It was great seeing Ashley while I was in town. We went thrifting after lunch and my heart felt so full. What's better than thrifting with friends?
// 3. Eric and I caught up and had some late night food on my last night in Racine. Words can't even begin to describe how much I miss this guy.
// 4. Gina brought me to her new favorite spot in downtown Racine. It's a gaming store that also serves food. Really good food, too!

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// 1. After Brian picked me up from the airport in Madison, we ate breakfast at The Sunroom Cafe on State Street. It felt so good being there. It was almost like I never left! They have really good food in a sweet little space overlooking State Street. I had the tofu scrambler. Yum!
// 2. Like father, like son.
// 3. My mama on Mother's Day.
// 4. My friend Katie opened her own salon in the Racine area and I've been dying to check it out. She's quite the entrepreneur and I'm so proud of her! It's such a cute place and I walked away with hair five inches shorter than what it was when I arrived. :)

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// 1. My visit to Georgetown Cupcake was a yummy one.
// 2. Salted caramel cupcake... It was perfect in every way.
// 3. Rocky Votolato is a sweetie and he always puts on a great show. I saw him at The Red Palace here in DC this past weekend. Loved every minute! I ran into him on my way to the bathroom and I'm positive he's one of the nicest musicians out there. (And the tiniest! Haha.)
// 4. Open mic Sunday a couple of weeks ago. Charley was a charmer, and that woman next to him played just about every instrument you can think of.

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// 1. Andrew and I taking a break and getting out of the sun at the Botanic Gardens in DC.
// 2. We made homemade pasta that night. Our first attempt at the dough was a disaster, but we realized our mistake and the 2nd batch turned out great.
// 3. It was so good! (They were filled with butternut squash and parmesan and tossed in a sage butter sauce.) Andrew also whipped up a little grapefruit, pomegranate, and fennel salad.
// 4. The view of the Capital building from Andrew's rooftop.

Follow me on Instagram @amanda_face

Monday, May 28, 2012

Botanic Gardens

Andrew and I visited the Botanic Gardens yesterday in DC.
"More than 200 years ago, George Washington had a vision for the capital city of the United States that included a botanic garden that would demonstrate and promote the importance of plants to the young nation. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1820, the U.S. Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America."

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The Botanic Gardens is a really beautiful place. There's so much depth to it and so many rooms and floors to explore. Each area has a theme, and the temperatures change depending on where you go.

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The orchids were all in full bloom and each one was unique. I love orchids, but I haven't had much luck caring for them on my own. They're supposed to be one of the easier plants to take care of, but somehow I can't keep them alive. Before I moved to DC, I had one back in Wisconsin and my roommate Brian was the one who tended to it most of the time because I'd always forget about it. As a result, it died quickly after I moved into my place here since Brian wasn't around to water it. I'm so sorry, little orchid!

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Though I saw lots of pretty colors, my favorites were the delicate branches and intricate bunches of greens found throughout the gardens. I have an obsession with all things dainty.

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The cacti were awesome and definitely the most interesting for me. I find them so fascinating. For some reason these long caterpillar-type cacti reminded me of Sponge Bob Squarepants though I'm not sure why! Maybe the colors and weird oblong shapes resemble something you'd find on the sea floor in the cartoon...?

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More dainty green leaves. The tinier, the better!

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I bet my dad knows the name of every plant and flower I photographed. I really want to take him here if and when he ever makes it out to DC. (He went to college for Horticulture.) He's a huge plant nerd and I love him for it.
If you're ever in DC, make sure you stop by the Botanic Gardens. Not only is it peaceful, beautiful, and interesting, but it's also free. That's one of my favorite things about DC. Even though the cost of living is high, most things you can do on the weekend are all free. I think that makes a huge difference and it's one of the many reasons I love this city.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Georgetown Cupcake

Something you should know about me: I love cupcakes. Like, a lot... A lot, a lot. It's bad.
The first time I had a cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake was last Halloween when Andrew's mom sent a box of them to his apartment. I couldn't believe how good they were.
The second time I had a Georgetown Cupcake was Valentine's Day when Andrew's mom sent yet another box to his apartment. She is a wonderful, wonderful lady.
You know how sometimes cupcakes are just cupcakes, no biggie? Georgetown Cupcakes are so different. They're perfect.

I've been by the store many times here in DC, but I've never gone inside. Nobody ever wants to stand in their long line to wait with me! I had some friends visit DC a few months ago and I was so excited thinking I'd finally get a chance to go there with them, but neither of them were interested. They saw the line and laughed. I was a little surprised and saddened by that, but then I remembered it's normal to not be obsessed with cupcakes the way I am. (Andrew often tells me that I have the diet of an Oompa Loompa. I can't help it!)

Anyway, Andrew's parents came to town last weekend and when I found out we were spending the day shopping in Georgetown, I immediately said, "I want a cupcake!" and Andrew's dad was all for it and said he'd be happy to wait in line with me. What a guy.
So, while Andrew and his mom shopped for clothes, his dad and I went on a mission. I was so excited. To our surprise, the line was really short; nothing compared to how long it usually is!

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They all looked so good!

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We both settled on the Salted Caramel cupcake. We also got a Red Velvet one for Andrew and a Coconut one for his mom. Yummmm.

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It was amazing. Reeeeally amazing. Andrew asked me later on if it was everything I dreamed it would be and it definitely was!

Aside from the cupcakes, I really love Georgetown. It's such a cute area and it's fun to window shop. The buildings are so old; I'm sure they'd have a lot of stories to tell if they could talk! I'd love to live there, but one major downfall is that it's so far from the metro. (Oh, and it's also way out of my price range, haha.) Regardless, it's an awesome area and I really need to take advantage of it more often.

Have you ever been to Georgetown Cupcake? If not, you should visit if you're ever in DC!
You can also order yourself a box of deliciousness from their website! I did this for some friends in Wisconsin a few months ago and I was told the cupcakes arrived perfectly intact and were as moist and yummy as ever. How awesome is that?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dreams Into Plans

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1. Stop complaining and start doing.
2. Focus more on the things I love.
3. Spend less time wasting time.
4. Create more.
5. Cook more.
6. Bake more.
7. Read more, for crap's sake!
8. Have more confidence.
9. Be happier.
10. Find myself again.

It's so easy to forget yourself sometimes and I don't want to do that anymore.
I have dreams, and I'm ready to chase them.

So, here's to you, summer of change. Don't let me down.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Mother's Day Surprise

I went to Wisconsin this past weekend to surprise my mom for Mother's Day. It was really a surprise for everyone though since I kept my visit a secret for the most part. I only told a few friends, though I sort of hinted at it in my Friday Favorites post from last week with this photo. ;)

My friend Brian picked me up from the airport in Madison and we hung out for a while until he had to go to work.

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We had breakfast at Sunroom Cafe (my favorite!) and then we walked up and down State Street and decided to stop for ice cream. I was surprised to see they had vegan options, so I tried the raspberry chocolate chip. It was delicious! (Brian totally refuses to let people take normal photos of him...)

I spent a few hours at Starbucks while Brian was at work, feeling antsy and drinking way too much chai, watching the minutes go by ever so slowly on the clock.
When it was finally time to pick him up, we packed up the car and headed to Racine.

I surprised my dad first since my mom wasn't home, and he was on the phone with a friend when I walked in the door. He literally dropped the phone on the floor before standing up to hug me!
After the shock wore off, we planned out how we should surprise my mom when she got home. I decided I'd hide in our kitchen pantry and my dad would have her sit down and pretend he had an early Mother's Day gift for her.
It worked flawlessly. I jumped out on the count of three and she screamed and cried and squeezed me for a good 10 minutes before letting go. It was a great feeling, and I'm so glad I was able to make her happy!
The rest of the weekend was nice. I saw lots of friends and hung out with my family. The weather was beautiful and I think I made great use of my short time there.

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We went out for breakfast Sunday morning at the usual spot. My little brother is 13 and getting taller every day. I was exactly his height at Christmas and now he's taller than me! I don't like it one bit. He's actually coming out to DC next month with school and I'm chaperoning for a day. Can't wait to see him again! (I surprised my other brother that morning; he had no idea I was in town either.)

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We all got a little pink that afternoon in the backyard. My other brother (I have four, haha) came over to see me and we sat around and talked for a few hours. It's strange how you can be away for so long, but it only takes a few minutes to feel comfortable again with the ones you love, like nothing ever changed.

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I miss Wisconsin. I like it here in DC, but there's a certain normalcy and calm I feel when I'm back home that I just can't seem to find here. I miss how simple it was to get in my car and drive ten minutes to Lake Michigan whenever I wanted. I miss being so close to the water. I miss sitting on the rocks, listening to the waves crash over and over again. I miss driving to the park, reading in the sun, and shopping at the countless thrift stores scattered throughout the state. I miss living in a real neighborhood. I miss how quiet it was at night, and how well you could see the stars compared to here. I miss the pretty green landscape, and sometimes I even miss the snow.
I don't want to say I don't love DC for being just the opposite, because I definitely do; I just know comfort and simplicity hold a huge part of my heart, and a part of me will always long for that kind of life, just as much as a part of me will always long for adventure and a new city to explore. I will be forever torn between comfort and chaos.

Ah, but that is life I suppose, and I don't regret leaving. As my hero Christopher McCandless once wrote, "The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
I come back to that quote often because I find a lot of truth in it. I stepped outside of my comfort zone and moved across the country with no real plan. Even though I may never find the right or best path for myself, I know I'll feel better about my life for having tried, and I'm so happy to have parents who support me every step of the way. The world is far too big and exciting to stay comfortable in one place, don't you think?
Plus, it also makes surprise visits that much more meaningful...

Happy Mother's Day, mom.
Thank you for giving me roots, and for giving me wings.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What I Wore: Simple Saturday

Kendal and I headed out this afternoon for a little photo shoot, but unfortunately the weather wasn't agreeing with us.
Right when we found a nice spot, the wind picked up and 10 minutes later it started raining.
Luckily we were able to snap a few quick shots before we were rained out!

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Coltrane dress from Emerging Thoughts
Thrifted belt
Mudd wedges from Kohl's

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Thrifted skirt
Typewriter necklace from Forever21
Red flats & white tank from Target

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This wall of leaves was an excellent find. Isn't it pretty?

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Hope you're having a great weekend!

P.S. Stacie from Curious Damsel mentioned me in a wish list post today.
She's sweet, check her out! :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Local Natives

I can't get enough of this beautiful song.


"I bet when I leave
my body for the sky,
the wait will be worth it."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Instagram Lately

Some people think Instagram is the death of real photography, but I disagree. I happen to own a real camera as well as an iPhone and enjoy taking real photos much, much more than Instagram photos. But, since my camera is a little clunky and not that easy to take with me everywhere I go, my iPhone is a really nice filler, and I think Instagram is great. It's basically a fun, free photo app that allows you to take/upload photos, edit them, and share them with friends in a little mini feed right on your phone. It's a neat idea, and I think it's silly when people bash it.

Anyway, I thought I'd share some photos I've taken on Instagram the past couple of weeks.

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1. My favorite cuddler.
2. My friend's mom can't stop buying cats. He sent me this photo and I almost died!
3. Kittytime is the greatest app ever (if you're a crazy cat lady like me). It's completely dorky and may or may not be verging on obsessive, but that's okay.
4. Mia B lookin' pretty.

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1. It was my birthday on April 1st, and Andrew's parents surprised me with these bowls from Anthropologie. Aren't they pretty? I love his parents. They know me so well.
2. They also surprised me with this Sticky Fingers book! (Sticky Fingers is a Vegan bakery here in DC. My roommate and I think Doron is pretty amazing!)
3. My friend Ashley sent me this sweet gift in the mail. Wilson's is a coffee shop in my home town. It was really nice seeing that logo again. :)
4. My friend Matt sent me this old polaroid of us brushing our teeth. It made my day and made me miss him lots. He's en route to Russia as I type this!
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1. I went to Eastern Market recently in DC which is a huge farmer's market/flea market held every Saturday in the city. I bought some vintage ties for Andrew from a nice lady and thought her little bow tie display was really cute.
2. I took a little break from walking around the market and had lunch for one.
3. This cactus was calling my name. It was sitting all alone at the end of a table full of other cacti and I thought it looked so sad; I just had to have it. I was paranoid I'd kill it because that's usually what happens when someone leaves plants in my care, but I am determined to keep this one alive. I was told to not overwater it - that's key. It has already grown too big for this little planter. I'll be transferring it over soon! Must find potting soil...
4. Something I love about DC is the constant entertainment all around you. You can always count on seeing musicians when you walk through the city. This group's audience kept growing and growing; they were great!

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1. I was missing Andrew one day, so I posted this photo of us from late last summer when we went for a bike ride and visited the monuments. I can't believe it's almost summer again! I can't wait. :)
2. They had cute little glass mugs at a Thai restaurant I ate at with some of my coworkers last week.
3. I made a simple dinner one night a few weeks ago and felt like documenting.
4.Another birthday gift from a sweet friend. Kendal got me this really cute owl camera strap. I'm in love!
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1. This dress was so pretty, but I'm trying to spend less and save more when it comes to clothing, so I took a picture to fill the void instead.
2. This is my face. Hi!
3. My new book arrived and I'm so excited to read it.
4. While Andrew was packing for his trip, I curled up with "Great House" by Nicole Krauss. I love the way she writes. I also love her husband. Or, uh, I also love her husband's writing, that is... ;)
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1. Sending off Etsy packages is always a great feeling. :)
2. I love Annie Chuns. Perfect little work meals!
3. Yes, I took a screen shot of the time Jenny Lewis retweeted me on Twitter. How could I not??
4. This is another screen shot, and one that really freaks me out! I follow Hello Giggles on Instagram and they posted this photo the other day. I thought it was some sort of mistake. I stared and stared at this girl who I thought was me and felt very confused. I sent it to some of my friends and most of them refused to believe me when I told them I had no idea who that person was. I even posted it on Facebook and received the same responses! So strange.
Do you use Instagram? What are your thoughts on it?