Letting Go…

It’s been quite a while since I’ve touched the computer keys dedicated to a blog post. I always have the best of intentions to stay consistent, but life happens and time slips away so darn quickly…and I’m not even a parent yet! No more excuses – I know, I know!!!

Today’s post is a selfish one. There’s no DIY tutorial, or recipe to follow, or latest fashion trend/sale that I scored on. Today’s post comes from a deeper place, a raw place. I also didn’t know where to put it on the blog, so I’ll call it “uncategorized” for now…very atypical for me who likes everything in its place!

Where to begin…

A little over a year ago, I wholeheartedly let a family member into my life. So much so that it was Facebook official (huge deal, right?!?). In the beginning things were going really well until one day they weren’t. I tried so very hard to put my gut feelings aside (you know those instincts you always follow that are 99.9% frustratingly right). I started to rationalize things like the little digs or tit-for-tat comments as just part of the gig, and continued to try and make it work, because that’s what families do, right? At least that’s what I was taught growing up in a large and often times too-close Italian family. Little by little, the once otherwise strong relationships in that same family unit began to suffer and the subject grew awkward and almost untouchable. At first, I didn’t pay much attention. In fact, it didn’t really hit me until we were on our trip in Italy this past Spring. The tides had turned and now the venom was directed at us (my husband and I). It was like a light bulb went flashing on so insanely bright and it was all so clear to me. I finally realized what the catalyst was – the exact person I let in a year prior. Crazy! We got home from our trip and I decided NO MORE. I was choosing my happiness and sanity over any family experience – good or bad. This tidal switch (or what I now refer to as an invaluable life lesson) was the change I needed to stand up for myself and protect what’s most important to me. You see my husband is a pro at boundaries and not giving energy to things that don’t matter. It’s one of the things I admire most about him – his kind heart, but also his ability to take care of himself and now me – our little Roybal family.

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So where’s this all going? I can honestly say I just had to get it out and have made a promise to myself to not spend any time or even this blog post as a bash session about this person. In fact I’m not even going to ask my psyche “why?” or “what did I/we do to deserve this?”. Instead, I’m going to LET GO all of the negative from this experience and send happiness and healing to this person in hopes that they find their own internal peace and content place. I’ve come to realize the hard way that envy and jealously are the true thieves of joy, and I’m not about to let anyone or anything come between my joy or the personal work I’ve put in to create this amazing life I get to share with my husband!

So I’ll leave you with this. A very good friend of mine once said, “people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime”. Today I thought well shoot, that’s just genius!

Until next time glitter lovers ❤

XO,

Amanda

 

Taking Fashion Chances…

Hello out there!

It’s been four months and 18 days since my last blog post…YIKES! I’m embarrassed and to be honest have been in a creative rut. Every time I sit down to write, I prioritize something else as more important – the dishes, the yard work, the laundry, the house needs re-decorating, etc. And most importantly, the fact that I posted my fashionista content for the day/week on Instagram and my social accounts already, because who doesn’t love a good outfit of the day post #OOTD! Also I’m terrible at patience and have the tendency to share, share, share! My point is the two looks I’m about to blog about may look familiar…as in I just posted them over the weekend, but I’ve been taking more and more chances with my wardrobe and am extremely happy with the results!

First look:

The sassy back twist top – Shop Bow N Arrow Clothing! Last year, I read an article about a young gal who opened a boutique in downtown Cotati on the main strip (Old Redwood Highway). The shop is called Bow N Arrow Clothing and the owner is Mercedes Hernandez. She cut the ribbon on her first store front in the summer of 2016, and has gone on to open a second location in San Rafael and is looking into a new spot in Santa Rosa. She’s young, super hungry and quite the fashionista! Not to mention her shop is stocked with amazingly cute things, all at at reasonable prices. Gotta say I love that! Sometimes you think fashion is going to be expensive, but in all honestly, it doesn’t have to be. I’m a big proponent of finding good deals and layering pieces and looks to achieve my desired result. Any who, I was in Cotati this past weekend and paid her store a first visit! This black and white striped tunic caught my eye and has a fun twist detail in the back. When I first tried it on it scared me because I didn’t have a cami on that day. I’m not a fan of my back features at all – broad shoulders, not always toned, okay okay you get the drift, but when I put this top on I felt sexy and fun! I ended up pairing it with white skinny jeans and a cami tank underneath where you could still admire the style of the shirt, but the tank provided a little more coverage for me…win win! Thanks Bow N Arrow clothing!

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Feeling flirty for my Sunday day date with my hubby!

 

Second look:

The designer farm girl look via overalls – Buy My Overalls! I know what you’re thinking…how on earth are overalls trendy again?!? This style was popular in the 80s and early 90s and in my opinion, sort of looked funny on everyone. They were baggy and not very flattering, but alas they’re back and more trendy than ever!

Back story – I recently fell in love with a clothing line called Shop Stevie. Its similar to LuLaRoe in the sense that consultants carry inventory that you can buy at pop-up parties. You can also host a clothing party and get free pieces based on what you sell. Awesome right?!? I hosted my first Shop Stevie part back on February 11th and since then, I’ve followed the trends on the website and tried to dress like them! A pair of distresses skinny overalls popped up in the Facebook group and almost instantly sold out. The gal had the overalls styled with a long sleeve white cotton top and vans like sneakers. It was such a cute look, so I Googled distressed skinny overalls and wala! I was directed to the Charlotte Russe site and searched denim overalls – Shop Trendy Denim Overalls! They come in all shapes, sizes, colors and styles…so cool right?!? I ordered two pairs and decided to keep these. What do ya’ll think…yay or nay?

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I liked them so much, I tried different angles and lighting!

 

Bonus look:

More Shop Stevie love <3!!! This gorgeous floral maxi dress was a bonus reward from my pop-up. I’m wearing a size large and it’s pretty true to size. I think my gal Melissa still has a few on her website, check it out – Get This Dress!

 

That’s all I’ve got for now! Stay tuned for a post about flannel tops and how to style them. And Justine, I’m about three months late on this promised post…sorry 😦

XO,

Amanda

A Look Into My Farmhouse Inspired Window!

It’s no secret that I have been MIA for a few weeks in blogger land (sorry!). We are in recovery mode post fire and the days and weeks keep slipping by me. However, that has not derailed my trolling of Pinterest boards and the Etsy site for accent wall inspiration! I’ve wanted a window pane or wooden accent frame/piece since we moved into our home over two years ago…seems like eons ago now. Nothing in my home screams farmhouse and when I met my now husband, everything was super modern with clean lines (his taste). Over the last five years, I’ve slowly softened him and he’s embraced our light gray and tan cloth couch, any furniture piece with grommets, softer tones of fabric and prints and almost white everything (bedding, accents, pillows, art, etc.) You name it, if it’s white, I love it! Call it a marriage compromise or call it whatever you’d like, but in my humble opinion our house feels like a home now and little by little, we’ve re-done each room and added touches of the both of us. Our dark wood dining room table has light gray studded king’s chairs at each end to break up the darker chairs that came with the table. Tones of taupe, gray, cream, silver and gold accents tie everything together and add a softer feel. Ok, you get the hint!

Back to the point of this post…

Flash back to the week of October 17th, our wedding anniversary date. I get a text mid-day from the hubby. He was on the fence about what to get me for a anniversary memento and remembered my not-so-subtle hints about a window pane accent mirror I had been sending him for a few weeks. He finally caved and asked me if I would like to order the mirror he knows I really wanted, or be surprised and have him find something for me to wear or accessorize with. We all know I have way too many clothes, handbags and pretty shiny things so I immediately said “I would like to order the mirror…pretty please!!!” Not only was it adorable, but it felt even more meaningful this year to be able to add a special anniversary piece to one of our favorite living spaces in our home after surviving the Tubbs Fire. We were less than 100 feet (about 60 feet to be exact) from the flames and had the neighbor right across the street from us not stayed and hosed down the back fence line and bushes, none of our homes would have made it. It’s crazy to think about and tremendously bittersweet as I know so many who didn’t get to go back home. My heart breaks for them so I will try and land my plane and get off this thing!

Well, here she is…isn’t she a beauty?!?

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Extra padding for the ride here!

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LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

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Now to accessorize…eeek! Don’t mind the air purifier or me in the shot either! Wanted to get a full photo of the wall in our kitchen heading into our living room.

Friday evening we hung it and I got to play around with a few wreath accents. Pulled this dried boxwood monogram “R” wreath out of the garage and decided everything would tie in around this piece! We can be twins – buy this mirror!

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R is for Roybal!

Sunday I had even more fun looking for a wooden shelf or table to place underneath and of course, new decor accents. I had priced floating wooden shelves on Wayfair and Etsy and all of them were over $50 plus the cost to ship them. Some designers wanted to charge me $100+ for a 25″ shelf which seems crazy expensive to me and no offense, it didn’t look half as good as the one I found at Home Goods for $19.99. The shelf I decided on was a distressed, gray finished wooden shelf from an Indian furniture line (name I can’t remember).  I loved the carving and scroll accents, so this has now become a multi-cultural wall, which I love even more!

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Plain shelf…boring!

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Floral accents…

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Fall accents…I just can’t decide!

Because of this indecisiveness, I left the fall accents up. The cotton wreath is in honor of my Daddy and A. LoBue Farms! More rustic-inspired posts to come…thanks for reading!

XO,

Amanda

Fruit Turnovers For Fall…She Bakes!

I received several inquiries about my “famous” fruit turnovers that my husband showed off on his FB page.  I may have bragged a little too since I’m not usually a good baker, but these are even Amanda proof!  I’ve been making them for years (pre-Steve) and these turnovers were actually one of the favorite treats my dad would request.  I guess you could say I have the recipe burned into my memory, probably for life!

I make the turnovers from scratch and honestly it’s so darn simple.  Ok, well I almost make everything from scratch.  I will admit that I cheat on the pastry sheets and use these by Pepperidge Farms.

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Here’s what you need to be your own Betty Crocker and impress those holiday guests with homemade turnovers…wink wink!

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of pastry sheets (depending on how big of a batch you want to make) –> each sheet makes 4 turnovers and there are 2 sheets per box for a total of 8 turnovers
  • 2-4 nectarines or peaches (white or yellow works – it doesn’t matter); I default to apples in the fall since peaches are usually out of season (insert sad face)
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Brown sugar
  • White sugar
  • 1 egg + water = egg wash!
  • 1/2 stick of salted butter
  • Baking sheet, non-stick spray and foil
  • Sugar sprinkles (for garnish before baking)

Here we go!

Step one – take out your pastry sheets from the freezer and thaw.  You want them chilled so they’re easy to work with, so I leave them out for about 15-30 minutes.  FYI – room temperature sheets are difficult to handle and will stretch.

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Step two – make your filling while your sheets are thawing.  For this you’ll need thinly-sliced pieces of ripe fruit.  What I do is I half the peach, remove the pit, then half the big half and thinly slice half moon shapes until I reach the end.  Set aside in a mixing bowl.  Add 1/2 cup of brown sugar, a heaping teaspoon of white sugar, a light dusting (about a 1/4 teaspoon) of nutmeg and a few good dustings (about 1 teaspoon) of cinnamon.  I really shake the cinnamon for these, but be careful with the nutmeg because it can be overpowering.  Melt your butter and pour over the fruit and spice mixture

Tip – don’t forget to preheat your over to 400 degrees when you start so it’s ready in time!

Step three – once all of the fruit is seasoned and mixed, set aside and make your egg wash.  I crack one full egg and wisk for a few seconds, then add a few drops of water from the sink and wisk a little more.  I don’t worry about filtered water since these are going to bake at a high heat and there’s so much flavor already.

Step four – lay out your pastry sheets and cut into 4 equal squares.  I only unfold one sheet at a time so the other stays chilled and doesn’t start to stretch/deform.  The key is to have the dough firm enough, but not frozen.  Brush the bottom and right side (L shape) of the square with egg wash and fill with your fruit mixture (a full spoon full) in the center of the square (like a taco).  Fold over the top half and secure the edges, it should look like big triangle.  I move each sealed turnover to a greased baking sheet that I have laid foil down and sprayed with non-stick spray.  Repeat until all squares are sealed and on the baking sheet.

 

Step five – brush each turnover with egg wash and cut a small slit on the top (I do a diagonal cut over the fullest part in the center).  Sprinkle with the sugar flakes so they glisten after baking.  I go big on these for the after look!  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  Our oven isn’t always accurate, so I turned up the heat to 410 degrees and finished browning them for another 5-8 minutes while I closely watched them.  Remove and set on a cooling rack, then devour!

This recipe results in a BIG FOOD BANG! for little effort.  Also, don’t be afraid to try different fruit varieties in the filling.  I’ve made these with an apple filling and a pear filling as well.  Haven’t tried any berries yet, but I am sure those would be equally as delicious.  Enjoy!

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XO,

Amanda

Road Trip to Humboldt County – My First Time Up North!

Steve travels for work quite a bit.  It’s not very often that I get to reap the benefits of those trips because they’re usually during the work week for me, but this weekend we decided to make a couple’s road trip out of the dreaded long ride to Eureka for business.  We left the house fairly early Saturday morning and started our adventure north on Hwy 101.  I’ve never been past the town of Hopland, so this was all uncharted territory for me!  We made a few stops along the way and our stop in Leggett was quite possibly one of the coolest touristy things I’ve ever done.  We pulled over and drove through a historic, 2400 year-old tree.  The grounds were beautiful and Chandeller Tree was magnificent.  Of course I made Steve go in the gift shop and snagged a memento of our trip, a very cool hand-carved wooden magnet of a car driving through a tree!

After continuing on, we stopped one final time in Fortuna to grab a Starbies (what I call Starbucks).  Funny side note – the barista, this young ever so sweet gal, complemented me and started gushing about my outfit and everything I was wearing.  As I blushed and said thank you so much, Steve blurted out “she has a fashion blog”, and the gal was instantly curious and kept asking me questions.  I got so embarrassed and didn’t quite know what to say, other than thank you over and over again while trying to get my red face to calm down!  He couldn’t figure out why I was so embarrassed and to be honest, I couldn’t either.  I guess I still feel like I know nothing about fashion or home decor or cooking for that matter, and this project is just a fun, creative release that no one will take interest in or care about.  Eventually, I hope I learn to take a compliment better and have confidence in myself and what makes me happy, which has been this blog!  It also made me recognize how much I appreciate anyone and everyone (even if it’s just one follower) who supports this venture, especially my husband and the stranger, barista gal at Starbucks in Fortuna, California!

After what seemed like hours on the road, we finally made it to the hotel in beautiful Eureka.  Just kidding!  There is nothing beautiful about the town of Eureka except for our hotel room which was a total score!  Steve splurged and got us the fireplace/jacuzzi suite and it was fantastic!  The three-person tub was flanked by shiny mosaic tiles and the fireplace had this cool modern marble mantle and mirrored piece…very swanky for a Holiday Inn Express and Suites!

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This is so awesome, I want one!

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I also want one of these in our living room…Steve said no!

He left me at the hotel for the afternoon, finished his work and came back to pick me up for our next adventure.  We went as far north as McKinleyville and stopped at Clam Beach, a place he always found inspiring and comforting during his travel days up in these parts 10+ years ago.  We sat and listened to the waves crash and watched the sand move with the breeze.  This spot on the California coast was one of the most peaceful beaches I’ve ever been to.  The sand was so soft and pure, the beach was clean, the people were friendly and the coastline was breathtaking.  It was a little slice of heaven and I’m so happy I got to experience it with my partner in this crazy life.

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My forever everything!

We also spent time in the town of Arcata and toured the downtown square area, dined on yummy Italian food at Mazzoti’s and ended our evening at Slice of Humboldt Pie, where I splurged on Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie with Chocolate Ganache- Check out these yummy pies!

Before we left town Sunday morning, we made sure to stop by Los Bagels in downtown Eureka and grab a “famous” bagel.  In my opinion, the only thing great about this place was the bacon and chive schmear and the everything bagel seasoning you could buy by the jug!  #idontgetit

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All work aside, it was a perfect weekend and reminded us both that sometimes, work can be fun and how lucky we are to get along and not want to kill each other after 8+ hours in a car together!  Until our next adventure!

XO,

Amanda

 

 

Pattern & Texture Mixing…Oh My!

When you’re putting together an outfit do you ever think, there’s no way those two or three patterns will ever match?  Well fear not, this post is meant to challenge the way you think about pairing patterns and textures, get out of that solid color zone and have some fun!  I also like to mix textures and prints too…crazy I know!  Maybe I look ridiculous, or maybe I am on trend, but either way here’s a quick go-to guide for the patterns I like to mix, especially since fall is already here which is equally as crazy!

Look One:

Camo print, stripes and leopard!  Sounds crazy I know, but I love how this look turned out when I put it together in the wee early hours of the morning.  I didn’t have time to try this outfit on, so bear with me on the photo styling front.  However, I will definitely be wearing this outfit soon and will share photos on my social media accounts!

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My favorite go-to look for casual Friday or the weekends – skinny jeans, a fun top, scarf and my new camo hooded jacket. Can you see me?!?

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Well “Hello There”!

Shop this look!

  • Jeans are from Old Navy under the Rockstar skinny jean line.  I like the midsize rise and tend to size up for comfort, because their pants always fit me differently.  If you have an Old Navy store close by, I suggest trying jeans on and buying in the store…but if you do order online, you can always exchange or return in the store, which is super convenient (at least for me) – Buy skinny jeans!
  • Sweatshirt is also from Old Navy and I sized down to a medium.  Originally I ordered the large and it was boxy on, but the medium is perfect for me and still allows room for a denim or chambray button-down shirt underneath.  It’s also lightweight, super soft and the perfect comfort workhorse for fall! – Buy this sweatshirt!
  • This leopard scarf is several years old and I think I snagged it off a random rack at CVS or Walgreens.  You can find similar scarves online like this one from Nordstrom – Buy a leopard scarf!
  • My favorite new piece of clothing I own…drumroll please…the Urban camo jacket!!!  I snagged this beauty from a local Sonoma County boutique called Ooh La Luxe, but Old Navy also has a similar one that’s super cute!  Here’s the link to find the Ooh La Luxe one – Buy this jacket!   I bought/wear a size medium in this jacket, so I’m assuming it runs a little big since I’m usually a large
  • Here’s another great camo jacket find from one of my online go-to shops, Indigeaux Boutique.  Heather, one of the owners says it fits true to size (TTS) – Buy this Indigeaux jacket!

Look Two:

Stripes and floral prints, oh yeah!  I am going to lean on my sister-in-law for this one.  She gave me permission to share these photos because she paired her adorable floral shorts (which she later talked me into also buying for myself) with an equally adorable striped LuLaRoe Irma top.  I copied her look with my striped duster sweater and floral shorts I shared on the last post.

Shop this look!

Look Three:

Printed top paired with a different printed scarf.  I don’t know about you, but I am loving the blanket scarf look.  I paired this plaid one of mine with a lighter blue and cream paisley printed Irma top I snagged from a LuLaRoe sale.  My theory is, as long as the colors in the prints match it’s free game!

For those more chilly winter days, I put on my fun little C.C. blush-colored beanie!  Both the beanie and scarf came from a local store in my hometown of Los Banos called Fleur de Lis.  Here’s their Facebook page – Shop Fleur de Lis!

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Tip – you can pretty much find blanket scarves anywhere these days.  Check out these cute ones from Indigeaux Boutique that you can order online – Buy these scarves!

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Look Four:

Fur and plaid flannel…one of my many favorites!  I love fall and winter clothes, mostly because I can throw on a “fur” vest and call it a cute outfit day.  My mom gifted me this reversible vest a few years back at Christmas time, but you can find furry vests almost anywhere.  I did a quick online search and found some cute ones on these websites: Forever 21, Charlotte Rousse, Old Navy, Macy’s, Francesca’s…the list is endless.

How cute is this top too?  Indigeaux Boutique online is where it’s at and I wear a size large (it fits TTS) – Buy this plaid top!  Can’t wait to wear mine once the weather cools down here in Sonoma County.

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Look Five:

Stripes and leopard print…almost feels like a classic, right?!?  LuLaRoe saves the day again with this fun cream and black wide-striped Randy tee.  Randy looks like a baseball tee and is one of my favorite women’s t-shirt cuts LLR offers.  I usually wear a size large and always pair them with shorts and/or skinny jeans and flats.  Loving the pop of leopard for a little more coverage on a fall day!   Stripes and leopard scarf_edited

Look Six:

Floral with floral lace/crochet accents.  Sometimes I think it floral on floral might be too much floral.  But then I remind myself that you can never have too many floral prints, so I just do it anyways!  This Joy lace kimono is by LuLaRoe and the green floral top is Cabi from Fall 2016 season.  No active links for the first photo, sorry ladies!

I decided to add the second picture of one of my newer fall finds.  Check out this adorable Asian-influenced bomber jacket I found for under $30 at Nordstrom Rack – Buy this jacket!!  The cream crochet top is Ooh La Lux and I bought it several years ago.  The pants are olive-colored Moto Leggings, also from Ooh La Luxe.  Here’s the link to their website – Shop Ooh La Luxe!

Happy pattern mixing folks!  Hope this was a fun read.  Still trying to figure things out and get in a rhythm with the blog.  Hang in there with me!

XO,

Amanda

D.I.Y. Address Planter Box

Many of my Instagram and Facebook friends along with our neighbors have asked about this D.I.Y. project turned win for me.  I saw a tutorial video on HGTV for a succulent address planter box and thought it looked easy enough, so I gave it a go.  Our address numbers sit far back on the left side of our home near the garage, making it difficult for visitors (including the pizza delivery guy/gal) to see .  This was an easy fix and I am so beyond thrilled with how this project turned out.  In fact, I am thinking about making more, either as gifts or selling them on Etsy.  Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make one for your home!

Step One:

Go shopping for all of your supplies.  The first stop I made was at a local floral supply store called Sequoia Floral here in Santa Rosa.  I bought the faux succulents there along with a bulk bag of green moss and the gray-toned wooded box (same ones we used for our wedding centerpieces).  Side note – the tutorial called for a plain wooden box that they painted to match the back board, but I wanted a different texture and slightly mismatched look, so I snagged the gray wooden box from Sequoia.  For the floral pieces, I picked five faux succulents (yay no watering or plant food) that I thought went well together.  Here’s the link to Michael’s where you can find similar floral pieces – Buy these succulents!  Tip – always do floral arrangements in odd numbers…1, 3, 5, etc.

For the paint color and lettering I stopped by Lowe’s and decided to splurge on a more modern look for the address numbers.  Each number was $5.98 a piece, but worth every penny in my book to achieve my desired look – Buy these numbers!.  I found my address numbers in the local store, but online has more finish options to choose from.  I decided on the satin nickel finish for my project.  The paint is Olympia outdoor paint.  I can’t remember the color name but I tried to match the front door as much as possible with a darker gray shade.  Paint tip – make sure to get outdoor paint so it’s weather proof!

For the back piece, I went to the lumber section @ Lowe’s and selected a pre-cut piece of wood that I though worked for size.  Here is my best guess for the size that I used (1-in x 4-in x 10-ft; Actual: 0.75-in x 3.5-in x 10-ft – Whitewood Board) – Buy this wooden board!  I used Titebond wood glue to secure everything and so far, so good – Get this glue!!  Here’s my inventory of supplies, pre-assembly:

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Step Two:

Assembly time!  I measured the size of my planter box on my base board and traced the outline.  I only painted a little over the lines that I traced and let the majority of the square unpainted in order to allow for more bonding strength.  Tip – make sure to nail in your picture hanging bar on the back before gluing anything on the front.  Blonde moment – I didn’t do that and had to re-glue a few numbers because of the hammering…how embarrassing!

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I did a two coats of paint on the front and sides with a little overlap on the back for coverage, then let it dry for a few hours before continuing.  I glued the planter box first, then the numbers.  Let your letters and planter box cure for at least 24 hours before moving anything around.  You want to make sure everything is completely secure before hanging.

Side note – if you get a plain box and decide to match it to the color of the back board, paint both pieces together so they dry at the same time.  Leave the majority of the back of the box unpainted in order to allow for better bonding on the plain wood square you left.

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Step Three (the last one!)

Hang your finished board on the front of your home.  I used a picture hook and strong nail to get the job done, then I played with arranging my succulents.  I put moss in the planter first to build volume and randomly placed my succulents until I was happy with the look.  Wah-la!

 

All in all, it was a pretty simple project to make.  Total cost was about $75, but keep in mind that I splurged on the numbers and a few of the faux succulent pieces (like the gold one!).  If you dare to DIY, share your pics so I can see your creation.  Happy crafting!

XO,

Amanda

Chimichuri…Roybal Style!

Ladies and gentlemen, the first of many Steve Roybal Kitchen posts…wahoo!  I used to love to cook, or forced myself to love to cook out of necessity until I met my now husband, who thankfully kicks my ass in the kitchen.  I have almost zero guilt coming home to a delicious, freshly cooked meal because I have the fun task of cleaning the kitchen after…insert shocked-faced emoji here!

All joking aside, he makes a mess, but it’s totally worth it.  I admire his creative mind and sharp tongue (for tasting purposes) when it comes to creating recipes and blending flavors.  He’ll hit the store on his way home, grab random ingredients and then bam…dinner is created.  According to him, the trials aren’t always a slam dunk (he’s going to kill me for writing that), but they are always made with love and taste good to me (earning bonus points back)!

Fast forward to a few months ago where a group of Piner High School buddies came back together for a cooking throw down.  Mike Graves, one of the Graves twins made this chimichuri sauce and paired it with pancetta (Italian bacon) wrapped salmon bites.  I don’t eat salmon EVER, but the chimichuri was to die for.  I swear I could bathe in that sauce and it got Steve’s wheels turning to re-create it.  He must have been patiently waiting for the perfect cut of beef to pair it with and boy did we find it strolling around downtown Healdsburg one Sunday afternoon.  We made a stop at the newly opened Journeyman Meat Co. and were immediately hooked.  This place is a great local go-to for us for specialty butchered meats, home-cured salumis and homemade sausages…all reasonably priced minus their dry-aged case which offers filet mignon steaks for $50 a pop.  I’m sure they taste like butter, but for now we’ll settle for the equally tender hanger steak cut for the bargain deal of $12/lb.

 

He’s made this dish twice for me now after I bugged him to make another trip to HBG for more hanger steak just yesterday!  Here’s the link to their shop – Buy Journeyman Co. Meats!

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So, where did this long-winded post lead you all…well I though it would be fun to share his super not so secret anymore recipe for chimichuri!  Here’s what he had to say about this to-die for, mouth watering, make your eyes roll back in your head sauce…

From the Master Chef himself, “I don’t really use a recipe, I’ve been adding/tasting as I go each time I make this, but it goes something like this”:

  • 1 bunch of Italian Parsley
  • 1 bunch of chives (the secret ingredient!)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 shallot roughly chopped
  • ABOUT 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar (I usually end up adding more towards the end though)
  • Salt to taste (I probably use about 1 tbsp) and then
  • Add the EVOO as I pulse until I get the consistency I want (not sure what that means!)

He said, “I think that’s about it” so there you have it folks.  Mangia!

Goodbye Summer Sales

Summer is quickly fading and it makes me sad!  I love the bright colors, relaxing on the porch at night, bright sunshine and warmth, and the ability to wear white pants and not get that look…you know the look I’m talking about!  The “how dare she wear white after Labor Day” look.  Well, I like to break the rules and am still rocking my white skinny jeans several weeks after Labor Day!

Summer also reminds me of how I have always been self-conscious of my broad shoulders.  As a kid, I was teased for having linebacker shoulders and I guess I never got over that…until this year when I started purchasing off-the-shoulder and bare shoulder tops.  I’m not talking about a tube top, lord knows those never looked good on anyone, but the style of blouse that sits ever so delicately on the side of your arms.

I am also a sucker for a good sale, and this past Labor Day was no exception.  My Mama was in town for the long weekend and we took advantage of Macy’s…in all kinds of ways too!  Fun little fact – Macy’s is having a one-day sale right now!  You get free shipping on orders over $25 and there are screaming good deals in their “Last Act” section on some last chance summer pieces.  Here’s the link to indulge – Shop Macy’s One-Day Sale!

Back to the point of this long winded post – I scored this pinstripe off-the-shoulder top with pink and silver accents.  It’s by I.N.C. and has little tiny mirrors as the shiny accents…so fun!  I haven’t had a chance to officially wear it, but after today’s styling session, I think I might just need to talk the hubs into a date night to show this little cutie off!  Ignore the selfie face, I never know where to look…ha!

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Where I shopped for these items…

Shoes are the Fable ballet flat from Aerosoles.  They don’t have the pink color anymore, but the Champagne color is equally as awesome!  I wear a 9.5 in these and am usually a 10, so they tend to run a little big.  Buy these flats!

Top is I.N.C. brand from Macy’s and I’m wearing a size Large.  I checked online and they only have plus sizes left, but here is the link to those – Buy this top!.  Here is also a similar one that I found on the Macy’s site that would be equally as cute!  Anything peasant and off-the-shoulder is perfection in my book!  Buy this other awesome top!

INC similar off the shoulder top

Earrings are from Francesca’s Boutique, which is my favorite chain store for anything boho and girly, especially when I’m on a budget.  My pink tassel earrings are similar to these, and are always a fun staple to have in the wardrobe for that pop of bright color!  Buy these earrings!

pink tassel earring

Last but not least, let’s talk about fantastic printed shorts, like these navy shorts with a flirty floral print.

floral shorts - Indigeaux

My sister-in-law introduced me to this boho chic online boutique based out of Marshall, Texas.  Because Texas isn’t exactly close to Santa Rosa, we’ve only been able to shop their online store (here’s the link – Shop Indigeaux Boutique!), but Indigeaux Boutique has gotten me in a lot of trouble lately.  It also has me looking fly these days, thanks to Heather and Brooke, the owners who are ever so helpful and available to answer questions about sizing and the fit of each piece!  Of course, I ordered these shorts after my sis-in-law talked me into them and even further took a chance and paired them with my gray stripped duster sweater I scored a few seasons back from a CABI trunk show I hosted.  It was chilly that morning and my Vineyard Sweater saved me!  You might be able to find it at a CABI outlet store like the one we have in Napa or online.  What do we think – is a long sweater and shorts a good look?

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I also gave a sneak peak into my next topic…pattern mixing!  More to come later my friends.

XO,

Amanda

The first of many!

Well, here we are.  A little nervous, scared, excited and optimistic!

Over five years ago, I started a blog on the Google Blogger platform called 40 Days and 40 Nights.  It was originally designed to be an accountability tool to make sure I was staying on track with my Lenten ask/pledge.  That year I’d chosen to do something good for someone else every single day instead of giving something up.  I’d document it by way of a blog post, and surprisingly, it turned into a creative release and even developed a small following.  I’d force myself to sit down every day and think of what I should say, and how it would look and feel.  Last night for sighs and giggles, I logged in and re-read some of my old posts.  Boy was I young and naive back then, or at least it feels like I was!  Now that I’m in my early thirties, I know so much more…yeah right!

Recently, I’ve been in a creative rut.  I find myself starting a project, then just dropping it after a few takes.  My husband knows all too well about my photography books in the closet, or the full paint set and canvas collection he furnished and surprised me with.  I had this nasty habit of sitting down and busting out a few prints, or edit a few photos from a wedding or a weekend adventure, then drop it like a hot potato and then nothing at all.  The equipment would just sit there, taking up scarce closet space, just collecting dust…sad isn’t it?  I’d always tell myself, go pick up your camera and drive around looking for inspiration.  Or, get that paint out and go to town on a canvas to replicate that cow print you’ve been wanting for so long.  Alas, Sunday evening would roll around and nothing – no painting, no photographing.

So now what?  Que in the fears and challenges of why will this blog be any different.  The reality is that maybe it won’t.  Maybe it’ll just be something I start and never pick back up again.  Maybe it won’t catch momentum like my first one did, or no one will care.  All of those maybes just may BE true, and that’s ok!  My hope is this new journey reignites that creative spark to do something more than hit Kirkland’s or Home Goods on the weekend and re-decorate the living room, or dining room, or master bedroom, or my office at work.  Everyone knows by now that I have plenty of my home touches in every nook and cranny of our frequented living spaces!

And so the vision is born into a new blog space.  A fresh start if you will, where the content of this blog is subject to change.  Here are my thoughts and a few of my favorite categories to write about:

  • Wearing & Styling will feature favorite clothing pieces, outfit pairings, and of course where to find them for a good price!
  • Rustic Home will be a living Pinterest-esque board and DIY project source
  • Eating & Exploring will showcase food pics and recipes, along with our travel adventures.  Bear with me because Steve Roybal said he would contribute to this page, so buy extra stretchy pants for this category!
  • Random Thoughts will be just that.  A random place to put those “I need to get this out and on paper” posts that aren’t linked to fashion, travel, food or the home decor space.

For now, I’ve titled the blog “Living in Glitter”, because who doesn’t love all things that sparkle?!?  Feel free to take it for a read and I hope you enjoy!

XO,

Amanda