July, Via Instagram

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

We have officially dubbed July "The Month of Love."  With the amount of weddings, showers, and bachelorette parties we (ok Ty didn't attend any bachelorette parties) attended this month, I think we were sufficiently busier than during the month of our own wedding!  Despite being busy, July was so incredibly joyful.  Here are some instagrams from this past month:

4th of July//Lisa's bridal shower//LACMA girl date//Katie's baby shower//Chase & Hannah's wedding//our first softball game//crazy socks with the cousins//Jane's bachelorette party//Pageant of the Masters with my grandparents//Kat & Tom's wedding//Eric & Elizabeth's wedding//our first anniversary

Can you believe it's almost August?! Seriously, where has the summer gone?

Thanks for reading!

Updates // Closing Doors

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

To all those who have been asking what in the world we are doing with our lives in the near future (I'm talkin' to you, Grandma) I'm happy to report we finally have a plan.

Ty will be starting at Cal State Northridge next month to purse a Master's Degree in Genius Math and I will be starting at Fuller with their Master's Program in Marriage and Family Therapy.  As a double student household we will most likely be spending even more Friday nights in pajamas by 9pm and eating even more meals like this.

In reality, we are both really excited to be going back to school.  For me though, it's been kind of scary to choose a narrowed-down direction of where my life is headed.  Tyler has known for over ten years that he wanted to be a math teacher.  I was never that kid.  The first thing I can ever remember wanting to be when I grew up was a Laker girl, and from then on my career aspirations only became more varied and obscure.  In the past two years alone I have seriously considered making my living as:

a chef
a veterinarian
a zookeeper
an editor
a teacher
an actress
a graphic designer
and an assistant in a senator's office. (That one was pretty short lived.)

I've always been told that "the world is my oyster" and while realistically my chances of getting into Veterinary School are preeetty slim at this point I've always seen my career opportunities as a near-endless array of possibility. 

However, pouring the time and finances into grad school is, in a way, shutting those doors and deciding to stick to one path (at least for awhile!)  I know people change their minds and that the stories of peoples' careers can take all sorts of twists and turns.  But in the past few months I've been affirmed that this is the path I'm meant to stick to.  And it's exciting!  Intimidating as it may be to commit to a certain direction for an extended period of time there also comes great comfort in knowing you are exactly where God wants you to be.

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Confidence + Cool Pants

Thursday, July 25, 2013

When I was in grade school I was teased mercilessly.

I was smaller and younger than everyone in my grade.  I was shy. And perhaps worst of all, I wore ugly hand-me-down clothes.  Looking back I can't imagine why kids so young even cared about where my clothes came from or what they looked like, but they did; and I was made aware of it every single day.

Fast forward twelve years.  I was a senior at Pepperdine with a hot boyfriend who I was going to marry, a solid group of friends, and a decent set of accomplishments to list on my resume.  I was at the peak of confidence.  I had just returned from a month long trip to India and came out of my bedroom in a pair of harem pants that I had bought there.

If Saks sells them they have to be cool, right?

I felt cool. I felt cultured.  But a friend who was hanging out at my apartment took one look at me and said, "You look like MC Hammer!!"  She and my roommate erupted in laughter.  The confident, undaunted Amanda (who, had she really existed, probably would have laughed right along) collapsed.

 I told my friend she was wrong and that they were cool and she didn't know what culture was and I was just wearing them around the house okay and why does she even care anyway and guess what she was a really bad person for making fun of a friend in the first place!

Then I slammed my bedroom door and wept.  I cried my eyes out over a pair of pants. That ten year old me came flying in out of nowhere and every confidence I thought I had built up evaporated.

It was on that day that I realized when our security is set in anything less solid than Christ it is apt to vanish at a moment's notice.

We can have nice clothes, great relationships, and stellar accomplishments but any of those things can be taken away (or ridiculed) in a heartbeat.  It is only when we are truly convinced of the Love of our Maker that we are able to shake off the ridicules of the world and rest peacefully in who we are.

(For the record, I still own those pants and still love to wear them.  That's gotta mean progress, right?)

This post is part of the Choose Beauty Linkup

The Thief of Joy

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I know comparison is something I've written about often, but it's something that I find myself constantly slipping into.  I compare in all sorts of different arenas- from my looks to my intelligence to my wedding to my marriage. When my sense of self worth is not grounded in what it should be I am prone to determine my merit in light of the merits of others.  Social media is no help in this struggle.  I know I'm not the only one who has found myself casually browsing Facebook only to end up in a pool of self-hate two hours later.  In fact, a 2011 study reported that too much time on social media leads to feelings of anxiety and inadequacy, especially in women.  When all we see are the "highlight reels" of other peoples' lives it's easy to feel like everyone has it all together besides us.

In my experience, there are only two roads to which comparison leads: the road of pride or the road of self-loathing. Either we end up hating ourselves for not measuring up to others or we pride ourselves on being "better."  Both are traps that I fall into frequently, and neither one provides peace or motivation.

I want to live in the realm of joy.  I want to be solid enough in my sense of self worth that I can rejoice in the accomplishments of others without viewing them as a threat to my own confidence.  Most of all, I want to live in a manner that doesn't play into the comparison struggle of others.  By this I mean I want to be authentic- about my joys, my struggles, my failures, and the fact that I, by no stretch of the imagination, have it all together.

Do you struggle with comparison? What are some strategies that help you overcome it?

This post is part of the Love Yourself Linkup

Year 1- What We've Learned

Monday, July 22, 2013

Yesterday Tyler and I celebrated our one year anniversary.  It's so crazy to think that it has been an entire year since our wedding day!  We've often talked about how one of the best (and hardest) things about getting married young is that you learn a lot of life's difficult lessons together.  In a way, you get to "grow up" together.  It's been a wild year full of highs and lows and though we've got a long way to go we've already learned so much in this first year.  Some of these are written by Tyler and some are written by me but all of them definitely apply to both of us.

1. Hold Your Tongue- In regards to my (Tyler's) words, it's easy to feel like I'm entitled to more than I really am. Sometimes I feel that just because we are married I get to say whatever I want.  It's especially easy to fall into that trap when things get heated because my first reaction is to get defensive.  It's been a learning process to figure out how to stop and think through what I am really trying to convey rather than say the first emotionally charged thing that comes to my mind.

2. How to be Alone, Together- When we were first married it felt like we had to spend every second that we were home at the same time doing something together.  As a result, we never really got alone time.  We've had to learn that we don't need to feel guilty if we are in the same room but doing our own things.  It's important to spend intentional time together, of course, (as well as with friends!) but it's also essential to spend some time by ourselves.

3. "Always" and "Never" are Triggers- These are words that are often thrown around in arguments and they trigger an immediate defense mechanism in both of us.  It's important to not make absolutes- especially in regards to your partner's mistakes.  We've tried to be more intentional about communicating the things that hurt us in a way that is productive rather than belittling. 

4. Pursuing Each Other Doesn't Stop After the Wedding- It's been said a million times but it's worth repeating.  It can be so easy to fall into a routine and become lazy in your pursuance of one another.  A mentor of ours once said it this way- "never give each other just the scraps."  The scraps are a part of the package, of course, but it's also important to find new and creative ways to show your love for each other.

5. Let Others In- Marriage should not be a closed-off room.  It's so important to have trusted friends with whom you can discuss your struggles, triumphs, hardships and joys.  Sharing with others allows you to see that you are not alone in your issues.  When we were first married we thought we were the only people who fought about the things we fought about.  Once we started talking with friends, however, we realized this was by no means the case!  Entrusting in others often puts issues into focus.  On the flip side, it also provides a great place to celebrate in the joys of marriage with others!

6. Be The Encourager- Somewhere along the past year I (Amanda) went from being Tyler's biggest cheerleader to the person who felt like I always had to bring him back down to Earth.  The quirks and dreams I fell in love with somehow became annoyances I felt I needed to tame.  That's not my job.  The world is a harsh place, and I know that Tyler will get plenty of criticism from the outside.  My job is to be a safe haven where  Tyler feels encouraged- a place where his quirks aren't just tolerated, they are loved.

We feel so blessed to be on this journey together.  Though marriage isn't easy, we have been affirmed this past year that it is most definitely worth it!

Linked up at Wedded Wednesdays


Thursday, July 18, 2013

There's something about camping that just screams Summer.  It was my favorite type of vacation when I was little and now may only take a backseat to wine tasting.  Being in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone reception (Hallelujah!) cooking over a fire with family has a way of honing me in on the little things in life that bring joy.  Being amongst giant redwoods which have lived for hundreds and hundreds of years reminds me of the grandeur of the God we serve. Plus we got to spend time with both of our families at the same time which is pretty much my favorite thing ever!  Here are some pictures from our trip.

See half dome in the bottom right?

Thanks for reading!

Happy Birthday, Madiba!

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

A Haven in a Heartless World

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Image via

This past weekend we went to see the Festival of Arts with my grandparents in Laguna Beach.  All of the art was beautiful, but this oil painting really struck a chord with me.  It is called "The Girl Who Married A Cloud."  Artist Paul Bond painted it after he spent some time in Indonesia. One day he saw a beautiful scene of tied up canoes set against the backdrop of moving clouds.  The dichotomy reminded him of marriage.  Often times, especially in today's society, marriage is portrayed as limiting, suffocating, and restrictive.  While it's true that marriage does limit us, it's within those limits that we are absolutely free to be ourselves.  




It is within those confines of unconditional love that we are given the liberty to fully be who we are, and to allow another person to do the same.

Perhaps that's why Christopher Lasch calls marriage a "haven in a heartless world."

p.s. You should most definitely check out Paul Bond's work here.
p.p.s In case you were curious, the woman in the painting is his wife in her wedding dress.

*Linked up at Messy Marriage and HWC

Rosemary Lime Spritzer

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I really truly keep intending to post pictures from our trip to Yosemite.  However it seems that every morning when I get to my computer at work (uploading pictures to my ancient home laptop would certainly cause it to self-implode) I find that I have, yet again, forgotten the camera.  I know, excuses excuses.  I promise it will happen.  Soon! In the meantime, though, I'm just going to keep posting cocktail recipes.

It's no secret that I like herbs in my beverages.  My father-in-law makes fun of me for this all the time.  In fact, while we were in Yosemite he brought me up a beer that had coriander and sage in it!  For our wedding our signature cocktail was homemade lavender lemonade with mint infused vodka. (Convenient since our wedding colors were lavender and mint!) So it's no surprise that when I discovered this recipe by Joy the Baker I had to make it immediately.  It's easy, quick, and so refreshing.

Rosemary Lime Spritzer
adapted from Joy the Baker


  • Rosemary Simple Syrup
  • Juice from 1 lime wedge
  • 1 shot vodka
  • 4 oz. lime flavored sparkling water


To make the rosemary simply syrup, simmer 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup water and 5 large sprigs fresh rosemary.  (If fresh is not available, it can be substituted with 1 tsp dried).  Once sugar is dissolved, allow syrup to cool for 15 min.  Strain out rosemary.  Syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Mix 2 Tbsp simple syrup with vodka and sparkling water over ice.  Squeeze in lime juice and garnish with rosemary sprig.


Monday, July 8, 2013

I spent this weekend celebrating all kinds of things- independence, babies, homecomings, and marriage!

My dear friend Casey returned home after spending a year teaching English in China.  I feel pretty confident in speaking on behalf of the entire American population and saying that the US is glad to have her back!

We obviously celebrated Fourth of July which is hands-down my favorite holiday.  Don't get me wrong, I adore Christmas.  But there's something about the carefree nature of Independence Day that I love.  No one ever has super high expectations, but it's a day that is always spent with good food, friends + family, and fireworks.  I feel an atypical sense of American pride on the 4th when I think of all the freedoms I get to enjoy that so many others in the world may never know... such as wearing an "iPood" shirt in public.

Another one of my dearest friends is about to have a baby! We celebrated her and her baby girl with a beautiful shower filled with friends and family.

Yet another close friend of mine (who wrote the article mentioned here) is getting married! She was radiant at her bridal shower and I can't even imagine how jaw-dropping she is going to look on her wedding day.

Though I didn't get to see Ty as much as I typically do on the weekends, I had an amazing time celebrating some of the wonderful ladies in my life.  Many of my friends are spread out all over the country (and world!) so I really do cherish the time I get to spend with them.

Thanks for reading!

Top image via

Peach Fuzz

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Last night as we were sweltering in the LA heat Tyler told me a story about a drink his dad used to make when he was a kid.  It was one of the defining tastes of Summer for him and as he described it I decided we needed to make some immediately. 

We tweaked it a bit from his childhood staple (and added vodka!) but the summer-in-a-glass effect remains.  Plus it feels healthy because you are eating an entire peach!  We left the skin on for the added texture, but if it freaks you out then simply peel the peaches before putting them in the blender. 

Peach Fuzz

Serves 2
Courtesy of Doug Jaynes


  • 2 medium sized white peaches, cored and sliced  
  • 1.5 cups lemonade
  • 4 oz vodka
  • 2 cups ice


Blend all ingredients in a blender.  Serve immediately in chilled highball glasses.